Stories

Posted: May 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Lost Roads | Comments Off on Stories

A lot of the lore and wisdom in the Lost Roads of Lociam is passed on as stories.

Below, therefore, are some stories for you to enjoy, and hopefully the will tell you a little more about the world.



 

The man of Arah-en

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna that part of the land there overlaps an older, far vaster domain, known only as “The Old Land” or “Arah-en. This kingdom once stretched all the way from the Shining Strands to the Blackdrop gorge, and from the GreatWald to the River Izx. This kingdom fell apart long ago, long before Hara came out of the west to settle this land and make it into the realm of his dynasty.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-henna of a single standing stone that bears witness to the old road that ran through Arah-en, connecting the three major cities with the northern coast and the eastern river. The road is long gone, and if the stone was once a milemarker it has since grown into a standing stone taller than a man. Some say that runes can sometimes be seen skittering across its surface on cloudless nights under the new moon.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna a wanderer can take off from the path when he reaches the standing stone, and head down into the canyons to the east. There, a lone river winds between cypress and Hol-tree, pooling and slowing until it turns into the marshes of Garrak. Before the big lakes immediately before the marshes, though, there stands a big lone tree. This tree is an Iron-barked oak, older than the storms, and marked by countless centuries of passing wanderers. Some words are carved in the bark and then grown over as the tree mends itself and reaches taller into the sky. Nowadays the bark is so hard it cannot be cut, and the tree will not burn.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna a wanderer that reaches this old tree may find a deep hole in the ground not fifteen paces out of its shade. The hole is regular, not cut or dug by man or beast, but just a sinkhole in the earth itself, swallowing small pebbles to widen in the spring and filling in with the slides of the autumn. It is terribly deep, and too small to climb into. If one listens carefully it is said you can hear the echoes of a deep cavern underneath, but if you throw a rock into the hole it will simply vanish, and you will never hear it hit the bottom.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna that a wanderer who sits by the hole may encounter an old man, wandering round the hole, chanting on an ancient hymn and tugging on his great beard. This old man is, as far as memory stretches, as much a part of the land as the hole, the tree, the river or the the stone leading to him. He is simply called “The old man of Arah-en” and he sometimes appears to walk around the hole, around and around, chanting his ancient hymn and tugging on his great beard. Where he comes from noone seems to know, or where he goes off to, but he appears from time to time, to walk around and around his hole in the ground.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna they speak of a powerhungry magician named Kerra-sha traveling to probe the mind of this old man, and dig the secrets of the ancient hymn for his own use. When, late one night, the magician came upon the old man walking around and around his hole he threw a powerful spell of scrying upon him, wanting to learn all the old man knew, and all of Hara-shenna stopped.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna they speak of a night when the veil of the night pealed back, and a beacon, bright and true, shone out across all the lands. The mind of the old man of Arah-en showed the true and the simple of the world, and washed away all the gray and maybe from the world. In a strange kind of fashion there was a wrong and a right for everything, for a moment.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna kings and powerful men traveled to the hole by the tree by the river to seek out the old man of Arah-en. They wanted his mind’s beacon to light the way for their court, their company, their army or their followers. With the truth and simple right and wrong noone would be able to sway them, but they all traveled in vain. While they fought over who had the right to hire, kidnap or use the old man, he kept walking around and around his hole. He would never fight over any of their causes.

It is told in the hills of the kingdom Hara-shenna people live in a strange sort of peace, knowing that the old man of Arah-en walks around and around his hole near a tree by a river, and that the riddle of wrong and right can be revealed by the light of his mind.


By the first beach

There was a time, long before the stars shone down on the land and long before there were waves upon the ocean, when there was nothing at all.

There was nothing between the land and the sea and the sky apart from a distant hum. The tempest of Chaos on Order was nothing but a whisper in the air, and the ground moved in a slow hum of power.

There was a single living being on all of the world. He lived all alone by the very first beach, by a long-gone black sea, where no waves stirred, and where the water cast no reflection, because there were no stars, no moons, and no sun to reflect.

This lone being had noone to talk to. He had no voice with which to speak and no ears with which to hear, as he was alone and there was noone to talk to, and noone to hear. He had nothing to do, and so sat by the ocean, watching the still surface.

Countless years passed, and slowly the lone being made plans. Each time he sat by the beach he would think of something new, imagine something new, and place it in his plan. He trained himself in working with his hands, to slowly prepare himself for the task ahead.

Slowly he started working, and more years passed. Slowly, over the course of too many years to count, he completed the plan he had laid out. The thing he had built was a family.

Once they were ready, he spoke to them.

“I wish and hope that you will find everything that you see, to be more than what you see.

I wish and hope that you will find everything that you seek, so that the world will be more than what you see.

I hope and pray you will find it.

I hope you will find me in you.”

And once this was done he build a home, a big and elaborate house, with many doors and windows, as stars were starting to shine down from the sky, and waves slowly started lapping at the shore. Across the horizon, at times, a faint red glow could be seen as the sun was starting to rise before it sank back down, a bit brighter every day.

The house had ups and down, stairs, attics, basements and rooms. Doors upon doors and windows facing windows. Now the waves were rolling and crashing, the wind was blowing, and the stars were shining. The sun slowly rose over the horizon, and the rain fell in the middle of the day. The world was being born around this house.

The being, not alone anymore, with his family walking through the house and across the beach, decided the plan was completed, the work was done, and it was time to play. It was time to have fun, as countless years alone in the darkness by the still sea had finally come to an end.

Finally, the being, who was no longer alone, found a game to play. It was a fun game, and he told his family of how to play it, but they didn’t play with him. He played alone, just to have fun.

Once the being started playing, the first part of the game was all about hiding, and the being went into his elaborate home, through a thousand doors and up a thousand corridors.

When he had hidden in a room, he moved to another, and down a hall, and up a corridor, and through a window, up a roof and into an attic. Finally, he completely forgot where he had hidden himself.

And so, hidden away in this house on the beach, this lone being had to spend the rest of his game in doing a single thing, over and over.

The rest of the game, throughout the elaborate house, this being, the first being, did nothing but trying to find himself. All he left to the family he had created, which was now spreading across the world, were his words.

“I hope you find me in you.”

There was a time, long before the stars shone down on the land and long before there were waves upon the ocean, when there was nothing at all.

There was nothing between the land and the sea and the sky apart from a distant hum.



 

The Death-speech of Paladin Kyyrios

As noted by arch-scribe Al-Rassh of Ynnios, Wisdom’s Halls

It so happened that the scribe Al-Rassh of Ynnios stood present at the pre-dawn of the 9th day of the 4th month in the year 1431, when the Paladin Kyyrios of the Order Anew Circle delivered what was to be his death-speech. It has since become a part of the myth of this character.

The Paladin had fought a Chaos incursion in the westmost part of the mountain range known as Lorra’s Deep, a treacherous area of jagged rocks and steep cliffs. He has entered this area with a virtual army; nine other paladins, fifteen other knights of high standing and a total of 140 warriors in tow, along with support, guides, sages and magicians. The entire party had been of over 200 people, but now, nine days afterwards, there was only the Paladin left. He had fought his way to the center of the Chaos incursion and found the diluted human mage who had conjured these beings into existence. He had laid this man to the ground, as well as the principal demon controlling the mind of this hapless servant of chaos. He had then started his fighting retreat, unescorted, wounded and alone.

For five days he had trekked up the mountainsides and over steep cliffs until he came to the place known as Lorra’s Fall. There his flight ended as the night was still heavy around him, and to the east there was nothing but the sheer drop many hundreds of meters to the rocks below. The Paladin ran up the slope with the demons on his track, and found the campsite of Al-Rassh and his companions, mostly hunters and poets, who had set out for this location to gather herbs and write songs about the mountains. They had not had much luck either, but nothing of the hardships they had endured could have prepared them for the squalid tide of demonic flesh now rumbling up the paths on the heels of the bleeding paladin. He stumbled into the camp right at the edge of the Falls, and seeing that the night was still about them, and that he would not be able to hold the demons off with his back to nothingness, and with darkness all about him he wept. The scribe noted down his final words, and they are now engraved on a massive piece of rock taken from the site and placed above the eastern gate of Wisdom’s Halls. Below is a faithful copy of the last words of the Paladin before he waded down the slope into the host of demons, never to be seen again. The demons never reached the camp of the scribe or his party, but were driven off and dissipated, but at the terrible cost of one of Lociam’s great heroes.

“I feel so extraordinary. It is as if something’s got a hold on me. Standing still, yet I sense I am in motion, overwhelmed with a sudden sense of liberty.

My Faith stays true, and yet I feel so freed, so tired, so worn. So long have I fought, so many friends have I lost, and now I stand here, with my back to nothing, and with darkness about me, knowing I will lose this fight because there is no daylight. So sure of myself have I been, in my ability and my Faith, and now I find that a simple matter of time elude me, and will lay me in an unmarked grave.

I used to think that the day would never come that my life would depend on the morning sun.

When I was younger, those of my age spoke to me. Now that I have grown into my own they’re afraid of what they see.

That’s the price that we all pay, as our valued destiny comes to nothing. How I would long for their companionship now, where I am alone in the fight. And fought I have, fought for such a long time it is like a journey, mapped in scars. I can’t tell you where we’re going, where the journey ends. I guess there was just no way of knowing.

But it appears to end here, for me. While I have performed well, the journey mapped by scars and guided by pain ends here, simply because of the darkness about us. How I wish I had done things differently, and not been here in darkness, or been able to ask respite of the enemy. But alas, such is not their way. It is just such a sweet irony that I fail here because of something as simple as the lack of the early dawn of summer. And here I was, thinking that the day would never come that my life would depend on the morning sun.”

With this last cryptic utterance he leaped to his feet and charged into the oncoming horde.



 

The incarnate and Kuras

Peace is a treacherous thing. Even if you think that you are at peace, that the war is over and the enemy vanquished, that does not have to be be absolute truth.

So did the city of Mare-deep learn in the fall of 1209. Long faded were the memories of wars with the neighbors, and now the only strife they experienced was the jockeying for position between merchants and Houses, of politics of the court and the changing policies of their rules. Far removed was the thought of real war, and the cityguard which dutifully patrolled the streets and walls stood ready against threat of menacing highwaymen and bandits, the occasional burglar or drunken brawl. Nothing more had been needed for generations in their city.

To the north of the city, in the ridges of the Shimmering Red mountains, between the Haunted peaks of Gar, a darkness was slowly dwindling. Banished there long ago in the wars of humans and trolls, a lost tribe of mountaintrolls dwelled. They had done so for many years, and left alone they had nurtured the hatred for their foes, and plotted secret revenge for many generations, merely waiting for a sign from their kings to once again march to war. The signal never came, as the kings of trolls were long ago laid to waste, and the war was long over. Yet the tribe waited, protecting their little domain they considered to be quite vast, and for every generation seeing how their numbers dwindled, weapons growing dull and memories fading. Finally, in the fall of 1209, there were just a handful left, and while they still as fiercely protected their domain, they were considered nothing more than a smelly nuisance by the neighboring villages, easily repelled when one or two of the trolls strayed into their region, and rarely did their manage to rob any of the merchants traveling the forest around the mountains.

Sitting around their sacred stones the last of the tribe decided to send an emissary to the court of whatever king might be in rule and see if they could be reinforced for the battle they thought was close at hand. Of course, there was no king, and no battle, but so long had passed and so much darkness was in their minds that they never could consider this. So a messenger was chosen, outfitted and sent on his way. He wandered straight south, following the old markers that his father had taught him, and that his father before him had taught him. Noone had traveled that way for many generations, but the trolls assumed all was the same in the world, so the messenger was greatly surprised when he came upon the city of Mare-deep on the third week of his travel.

Not sure what to make of this strange human-filled obstacle the troll attacked, and was repelled by the city guard reinforced by some adventurers that happened to be in the city at the time. Badly injured by fire and magic the messenger withdrew, and headed back to his tribe. After reporting what he had seen the tribe came to realize that the world they had left behind was no longer there, and if humans could build a city on what had once been a troll trail, then much more must be lost than they could ever have imagined. Eight warriors were selected to go raze the city, despite the objections of the messenger, and they headed down from the mountain. In the foothills they were greeted by an armed company of the king’s men, who had been sent out to investigate the odd troll that had attacked the city walls with such ferocity. The trolls, who had learned of war but never actually been in one, were greatly outmatched, and the battle which followed was a bloody affair. Two trolls escaped, and while one perished the other managed to reach the tribe, pursued by the company which was still relatively intact.

Times were dire. The tribe sat around its sacred stones, and now the stones outnumbered the tribe, which had once been a mighty thousand, and now less than a handful. The wailing and gnashing of teeth from their council echoed between the peaks, until they reached agreement on what had to be done. The tribe unbarred their ancestral cave and ventured deep into the shrine of their long-sleeping goddess, the Dark and Terrible Mourg-Aagkh. There they armed themselves with ritual weapons and proceeded to slaughter one another, splattering blood on the walls of her cave, until only one troll remained alive, a crumpled heap on the cave floor, covered in the blood of his family and uttering curses in tongues long-forgotten by men and dwarves. This did indeed wake the old goddess, as they had hoped, and a terrible bargain was struck.

So, in the 8th year of the rule of King Akura the Sage-like, the Haunted peaks of Gar shook, and a great rumbling was heard throughout the land, as the ground heaved in pain. From the mountain’s innards came rolling black fog and thundering crashes, as the dark goddess became an incarnate, possessing the lone troll and imbuing him with all of her terrible power. An evil breath came down from the mountains and choked the forests and the fields, and the armed company had to hide in caves or choke to death. Then the incarnate emerged from its cave and started down towards the city of Mare-deep.

It was a terrible sight to behold, powerful beyond belief, this incarnate. It looked like a troll after a fashion, but with three sets of horns on its head, two curved and one straight, and with dagger-tusks in its mouth along row after row of awl-like teeth. It was grotesquely muscular, covered in magical blood-tattoos and moving divine glyphs, and carried an array of ritual weapons bathing in flame, ice and lightning. The first to encounter it was a scout from the company, who barely escaped with his life, as he only just managed to outride the creature. The company prepared on the slopes of the foothills, and soon the incarnate was upon them.

Nearly eighty men lost their lives within a matter of minutes, as arrows bounced off the advancing monstrosity, and a cavalry-charge was swept aside with four cleaving blows, leaving men and horses in a tangled bloody dying mess on the field. Then the beast came upon the rest of the company, and only a handful escaped with their lives, abandoning their stalwart companions to a most gruesome death at the hand of the dark goddess working through the troll. They fled back to the city and tried to report what they had witnessed, and were scarcely believed. However, as reports of villages being struck with fire, wind, ice and thunder came in, the ruler of the city, the merchant-son Uhlmek, was wise enough to prepare. He reported to the king and requested that a great-company be sent to his aid, while he evacuated the people from the city and prepared it for a siege.

The siege happened just as the leaves started turning golden and red on the trees, when the incarnate came upon the city. Invoking terrible curses the walls shook and houses rattled, fires broke out and men fell dead where they stood, as if struck by arrows or lightning. The guards fought valiantly, but as the incarnate smashed the gate and strode into the city they understood all was lost. Seemingly offended by the sight of shrines and churches the creature proceeded to walk street by street, almost ignoring the soldiers attacking it, and raze every church it could find, including the Savior’s church and the shrine of the saints by the square, smashing them one by one. Then it turned towards the castle and a last stand was made at its drawbridge. Many hundred men fought the lone incarnate, but it was immediately clear who would win the day, and soon they were pulps of flesh crushed underfoot, flung against the walls or into the mote. Undisturbed the incarnate then proceeded into the caste, pulling it down with its bare hands, wrecking pillars and walls until it crumbled around it with the sound of crying and thunder.

Emerging from the wreckage the incarnate sniffed the wind, and then set off at a great pace after the evacuated population, heading south. Its intent was clear; not only would the city be razed, the churches crushed and the castle pulled down, but the entire population would have to be slaughtered as well. Setting off faster than most men could ride the incarnate pursued the evacuees.

Just south of the city, by a roadshrine, lived the young priest Kuras, the living saint of the Man-father, who had saved the fleet-people of Yo-ung in the storms of 1199. He was blessed with the sight of his god, and the strength of many men, and now lived a humble life blessing passing travelers and praying, maintaining the balance the Man-father had created, and advising those that would listen. The evacuees passed by his shrine and told him of the terrible thing that had happened, and he blessed them all and sent them on their way, before taking a piece of chalk and drawing a line across the road.

A few days later the incarnate came down the road and attempted to cross the line of chalk. There it was halted, for the first time since it emerged from its cave, and bellowed in rage. Kuras stepped forward with his great mace in his hand. The incarnate’s eyes flamed with black fire as it cursed him, striking at him with all the powers of dark, frost, fire and lightning but the living saint survived, although scarred and bruised. Much of his armor melted or rusted to pieces, as he attacked the terrible creature.

The battle was long and many times it looked as if one side would be victorious only to be foiled at the last moment. Kuras would strike at the incarnate, crippling and mangling its flesh, only to have it heal before his very eyes and snap at him with its tusks, or sweep at him with a ritual weapon of great savagery and intricacy. The incarnate would curse and strike at Kuras with spells and weapons, shatter his bones and hacking him limb from limb, only to have him pulled together by the might of his god, and continue fighting. Finally, by the end of the fourth day’s battle, Kuras managed to smash the incarnate’s big cleaving ritual blade and drive it into the chest of his opponent. The incarnate topped backwards, spewing blood, bile and dust everywhere, and Kuras quickly jumped onto his foe, smashing its head until the incarnate was finally dead. The body withered and crumbled into dust in a matter of minutes as Kuras collapsed by the roadside.

Only several hours later some evacuees who had seen the lightning and fire over the treetops managed to reach the site, seeing trees felled around the shrine, rocks smashed and the ground covered in blood and metal shrapnel. They treated the wounds of the living saint and prayed for his recovery.

The city of Mare-deep was rebuilt and stood ready in 1247, and the roadshrine of the living saint Kuras was made into a church, the chalk line into a silver filament placed into the new stone road and the Man-father’s church of the city into a towering place for worship and training of holy warriors.

Little did the people of the city of Mare-deep know that this act of destruction and horror prepared them so well for the coming Black Crusades, and without that church and its place of training for paladins and priests, the town would have been ground to dust but a few decades later.



 

The power of Faith

Last night had been a good night. The brutal fighting between the two armies had generated a lot of casualties, and they were now strewn about the battlefield, ready for the likes of Yorran to claim. He was, he readily admitted, the lowest of thieves. He did not steal from the living. Neither did he take the time and spare the effort of digging through the graves of the wealthy to pry riches from their cold dead fingers. No, Yorran was a low thief. He stole from the recently dead, the fallen on the battlefield, among others, before they could be carted off and buried. The early morning hours were his best, since the field was then littered with bodies from the previous night’s fighting, which had been brought to a halt when darkness became too dense to see your own banners in. Now it was yet too early for the dead to be carried off the field, and far too early for the fighting to begin again. He pried a ring off a finger of a fallen soldier, and looked at the sword. With the trained eye a smith would envy he noticed the hairline cracks in the metal blade, and knew it was not worth carrying off. He could pick up as much jewelry and money as he could carry, but only ever one suit of armor, and two weapons. Anything more was excessive, and overly cumbersome, even for him. He pushed the sword away and continued, about his business.

A few minutes later he found himself straying too close to the camp of one of the armies, something which was related to a great measure of danger, as officers and soldiers alike never approved of his kind. The fighting had never reached this far up field, but there were still bodies up here, as a group of soldiers had withdrawn up the side of the hill, and several had died from their wounds here. This unit had seen heavy fighting, and all the armors were in a mess, and weapons and shields alike where broken. Yorran also noticed that some of the men had not died swiftly when they fell, and that none had noticed this, so that they had died out here in the cold of the night, surrounded by nothing by their dead comrades. Yorran pitied the men who did not die in combat. He had some morals, after all.

In a gorge next to the camp he saw three bodies tangled in the undergrowth, and decided to examine them. After a few minutes of climbing and silently cursing at thorny bushes he started his search of the bodies. A few moments later he was interrupted as two officers and four soldiers rushed by the bushes, without noticing him, and continued down into the gorge. Yorran sat very still and hoped noone would see him, or hear his heart beat, much like the drum in a deathmarch.

He followed the rushing men with his gaze, sitting very still, and saw them descend into the gorge, and then disappear. For a few moments he just sat there, unable to see where they went, staring down the gorge. They could not have vanished. There was no cover in the gorge at all. None. A groups of six men could not have hidden that quickly. Especially not from him, since they didn’t know he was there. He cursed silently to himself as he crawled, on his belly, from the bushes, and slid down the side of the gorge, to investigate. To not know would mean that he could expose himself without knowing it, and get murdered up here. Such things happened to thieves of his order.

At the bottom of the gorge the tracks of the soldiers ended by a boulder, and Yorran thought that they could have climbed over it. But no, it had been too quiet. He would have heard it. And too quick. No person could climb that quickly. He felt a tingling deep in his soul, and focusing on the tingling he found that it seemed to be caused by the boulder. He reached out to touch it, to somehow feel more, and his hand passed through its outer layer, and was invisible. The boulder wasn’t real! It was just a clever illusion. Pressing further he felt no resistance, and walked through. The boulder wasn’t thicker than paper, and on the other side was a passageway, and further, into a hollow the path lead. Whatever they had in here must be valuable, especially if they sent so many men down to guard an invisible door. None were here now, though, but, Yorran thought, they could be back at any time, and he hurried down the passageway.

Further down he stopped and pressed himself to the wall. He heard voices up ahead, and didn’t dare to use the small measure of magic he had himself, as it might be felt by those up ahead. Instead he crept, slowly, silently as mist, his back to the wall, down the final meters to the far end of the passageway. There was a room-like cavity between the boulders, with a ceiling made by another rock, and lit by five torches. In here crowded a group of people. The soldiers and officers that rushed by just now, two more officers, some sort of dignitary, all crowded around another person. This person was laid out on a slab of rock, immobile, dressed in armor. A small heap of a person was propped up against a wall in the far end as well. Probably dead. Yorran tried to see more, but couldn’t. The others were in the way. Then, one of them spoke.
“Curses! Why isn’t the priest here?” It was the dignitary who spoke. One of the officers answered.
“My Lord, he was killed in last night’s fighting.”
“So where is the sorcerer then?!” the dignitary snapped, his armor rustling.
“He is drained since the death of his comrade, and he has been asked to shoulder all of the magical defense all on his own. He is hardly able to speak, let alone do anything here.” The dignitary grumbled. He then shifted to the side, and Yorran got a good look at the man on the slab. It was the King! Yorran was stunned. He knew the king by sight, having seen him many times in parades in town. The royal looked deadly pale. Even worse, actually. He wasn’t breathing. Pale and not breathing. Oh dear Savior, thought Yorran. The king has fallen! All is lost!

Yorran gripped at his sword-pendant. It was a small icon of the Savior’s sword, and it hung, now worn with touch and age, around his neck. It was at this time that the heap of a man in the corner moved, slowly straightened and got to his feet. It was a small monk, Yorran could plainly see. He was dressed in the simple robes of his calling, with the image of the Saviors sword embroidered on his chest. It was just a small icon, now worn grey, but still recognizable. The man moved, half-sleeping, over to the slab.
“He has been in here since sunset, my Lord. He has been in prayer all the while. It looks as if the prayer is over.” The dignitary eyed the small monk, and moved reluctantly to the side, allowing the man to lay his hands on the body of the King.

What happened next was difficult to put into words. For anyone who was not a believer in the Savior’s church one could say that there was a sound, like a chime, and a light, and that it was then over. For Yorran, and anyone else who was a believer, it was something far more. The air seemed to open, sending gentle light onto the hands of the small monk and the body of the dead king. The slight rustling of the heavenly gates were heard, and the muffled sounds of steps as the soul of the king walked down the path of the dead, which normally is traveled only one-way. Then the light shifted, shone on the faces of the monk and the king, and the eyes of the monk closed, as the eyes of the king opened. His wounds knitted together, the flesh taking on its healthier former state, the royal beard moving as breath was drawn. The king sat up as the monk fell to the floor. An officer rushed to the monk’s side. After a quick check he looked up at the dignitary.
“My Lord, my Liege. He is dead.”
“What has happened here?” The King spoke, his voice clear and unwavering, regal.
“My Liege” the dignitary spoke “You were killed in last night’s battle, and now it seems this humble monk has given his life to save yours. To bring you back, sire.” The King looked at the still form on the floor.
“A noble sacrifice, something which will be repaid his order in time. But now I must return to the lines. Death has showed me that there is nothing that will stand in our ways, and I need to show our men that the Savior is on our side in this battle. He has seen it fit to return me to this war, and I do not intend to prove that my Savior was wrong about me. Let us make haste.” He swung his armored legs off the slab, and with the vitality of a far younger and abler man he rushed from the chamber, trailing his general, officers and soldiers. None noticed Yorran.

He was alone in the room with the dead form. Yorran slowly made his way to the fallen monk. He didn’t bother searching him, as a monk would be poor if he had walked this far through the war-stricken lands, giving out alms to all needing. He felt he was shaking, like he was beside himself, in shock, and could not readily understand why. Within him all the words of sermons and lessons welled up, filling him, and brushing aside the petty thoughts of trinkets pried from the dead. This was a greater task. Yorran, who normally brushed aside thoughts greater than the next meal or rumor of war felt himself weeping, caught up in the moment, the gravity of the event unfolding before him. He kneeled next to the older man, placed his hands on the cooling body, raised his face to the heavens, and began his prayer.
“Honored Savior, who gave light and hope to the world. Save all of us who dwell in loss of our dreams, and help us realize the greater good for ourselves and for our children…” here the nursery-prayer started on about to end war and suffering, but Yorran opened his heart instead. In a small, trembling voice, he spoke to his Savior, and felt that somehow, somewhere, he was heard.
“Savior. Hear me. This man gave his life for his king. Now let me give my life for him. Let him continue the good work he has done. I am not about to dwell in light or dreams, and will waste my life here. Let me instead give my wasted chance to this man, who can do so much better. Please. Please. Please…” his voice faded as he slowly leaned over he dead body in prayer. Over and over asking, asking to be taken instead. To offer his own dreams in exchange for those of the small monk.

Three hours later the illusionary rock wavered and released from its grip a small monk, breathing freely now, his heart once again beating, and around his neck the simple and worn sword-pendant of his Savior, and of his savior.



 

The Test

The knock on the door was almost completely silent, and it had to be repeated twice before the notary on the other side noticed it, and came over. He listened for a third series of timid knocking on the door, and assured himself it was not just a trick of his mind, and then pulled the heavy brass-door open. Outside, in the gloom om the pre-dawn stood two forms. One was a man, hunched over and looking into the ground, holding his hat in one hand and a boy by the hand in the other. The boy was about five or six years old, and stared at him, wide-eyed, under a fringe of unkept, brown hair. The notary recognized the style of clothes and features as the Kooger-tribe that lived out in the southern woods, over the river, some days from the city where the academy was. He looked at the man for a few more moments, but failing to get a reaction cleared his throat and spoke.
“May I… help you… sir?” The man made an effort to look up, failed, and instead started digging through his pockets, produced a piece of paper in poor condition and handed it over to the notary. The bright eyes of the boy were still fixed on him in amazement. He carefully unfolded the paper, and read it. He then beckoned the man and his boy inside, went to his desk, and re-read the note. He muttered “Harraman” under his breath as he got up, smiled to the man, and started walking towards the stairs.
“Please stay here. I will inform my master. Please, have a … seat.” He regretted it at once. Once these two sat anywhere it would be his afternoon to clean it afterwards. These tribesmen were notoriously dirty and infested with all kinds of bugs. He went forth up the stairs, knocked on the door to the study and entered at the voice of his master, Aldous Claghsman. The elderly man, wearing his robes and gloves, were working with something his apprentice and notary did not fully recognized, and quickly covered it with a cloth and turned.
“Yes what is it?” he snapped. He seemed mildly irritated to be disturbed. He was always busy with something, so there was never any way not to disturb him. His apprentices all learned this early on.
“We have another letter and another hopeful from Harraman, sire. They are downstairs now.”

The old man wanted to moan, but before his apprentice he only let a sigh be heard. Harraman was a constant nuisance. He traveled up and down the land, and spotted more or less talented children, and sent them, and their fathers, to him, to be tested. Why him? Well, because Harraman had been in his class at the academy when they had been youngsters, and because his was the only academy in this part of the land. And, sad to say, Harraman was good. He had found children in far-off corners of the region that would, one day, become arch-mages, high priests, and sorcerers of great renown. These were talents that would have been wasted had they not been found. And still Aldous hated these hopefuls. Mostly because it distracted him from his own work, but also, he had to admit, because many of the hopefuls showed far more promise than his own apprentices, and a few even greater promise than he himself had done when he was their age.
“Bring them to the main hall. I will test the boy-child.” The apprentice hurried off and he finished the small matters he was working on before slowly making his way downstairs. There the boy and his father waited, anxiously. The older man reeked of fear, Aldous felt. The child was curious, and not intimidated.
“Good morning. My name is Master Aldous Claghsman. I believe you have a letter for me.” The man held out the paper, folded and unfolded many times, and Aldous took it.
“Thank you” he ventured, but got no response. The man was stiff with fear. Poor savage. These tribesmen were all equally impressed and terrified when they came into this city, the academy, these halls. He liked doing that to them. He glanced at the letter. It was much the same as the ones that came before it.
“Dear friend” Ha! “I have sensed great promise in this child, and send it to you for testing. If I am proven correct I ask you to please school him, and introduce him to the arts until he is old enough to travel to the academy at Fireground. If I am wrong please extend my apologies to his father, and see them on their way. Harraman.” Harraman had sent three hopefuls that had been weak. Three out of eightynine. This was number ninety. Aldous sighed.
“Come here” he beckoned to the child.

The child, bright-eyed and unwashed, barefoot and dressed in rags, stepped forward, urged by his father.
“Hello there little boy” Aldous whispered. “I am uncle Aldous, and I will be asking you a few questions. Do you understand me?” The boy nodded.
“What is your name, child?”
“Foor” was the short answer, and then the child blew his nose on his sleeve.
“Hello there Foor” Aldous said, trying not to show his distaste for the manners, or lack of manners, the boy showed.
“Tell me, can you read?” The child looked puzzled for a few seconds, then decided on an answer.
“No”. Aldous nodded. He didn’t expect as much. He activated the magical tattoo he carried on the back of his right arm, and summoned up a small image of Harraman in his palm. A simple illusionist trick. The child looked first at him, then at the simple illusion, and then back at him. That was a good sign.
“What am I holding in my hand, Foor?” Aldous asked, and Foor squinted, tilted his head to one side, and looked.
“Nothing. It isn’t there. It’s just… image. Nothing there.” As if to emphasize his point he pulled his finger across the image, disrupting it and dissolving it.
“Good Foor” Aldous spoke, and activate the second magical tattoo on the shoulder, on the right and below his neck. A small flickering flame appeared between his fingertips.
“What is this then?” If the child said ‘Fire’ it was good, but if it said more, it was better.
“It is real. A flame without burning on anything. Warm. Dangerous. But magical. Controlled. Neat.” Aldous cocked an eyebrow, looking at he boy. This was impressive, even for one of Harraman’s selected.

“Now Foor” he continued, steadying himself. He always disliked this last part of the test.
“I want you to empty your mind, don’t think of anything. I want you to relax, all right?” Foor nodded. Aldous stretched out with his magical sight, his Fathom seeking into the boy, Astrally examining the core of the child. If he could find a spark, and he was pretty sure he would, the boy could practice at the academy, and become a magician one day. If he found more, like a small flame, this child had the promise of greatness.

The apprentice was rocked off his high chair in the hall by the sensation that shot through him. In all his years with Master Claghsman his Astral sense had never experienced anything like that. It echoed and reverberated, and he rushed to the main hall, feeling that this was the origin of the disturbance. As he burst into the hall he saw the prone body of the father of the boy, sprawled out on the ground. His master, Aldous Claghsman, was sitting on the floor, on his honorable behind, looking stunned, his eyes glazed over. He turned his eyes on the small boy in the middle of the floor and felt, even without trying, the huge, consuming blaze inside that tiny soul. The force of the child’s soul was greater than his own, Aldous’, anyone he had ever encountered. He was the promise. He was the new beginning of magic. The apprentice, sensible as he was, ran.


The Future

Posted: May 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Lost Roads | Comments Off on The Future

So what comes next?

Well, this project is not just the Core Rulebook, as you may have figured out. There is a lot more to it, and if you are missing something, it is possible that it will be covered by the expansions to the game being written.
Below is a small list of publications coming up.

Core Rulebook

Adventure
When Two Tribes go to War
This adventure is all about two nomadic tribes vying for the same territory, deep in a swamp. The characters get tangled up in this plot and will have to see it through.
Apart from the adventure itself the publication contains information on the people of the marshlands as well as sieges and defences,

The Same Old Story
Bandits ravage the countryside, and the farmers huddle in the village by the mountain. Who can ever help them? Well, the traveling band of adventurers, of course!
Apart from the adventure the publication also includes expanded equipment-tables with rules for additional armor.
This adventure is now out and you can get it through the Adventure-section of the page!

Circles Disrupted
A magician is demanding a ransom from the local king or he threatens to burn all the crops and plunge the land into a never-ending drought. Will the characters be able to get to the magician in time to stop his evil plot?
In this publication you can also find rules for magical circles, the colleges of magic as it were, as well as rules for magical rocks and crystal, and lastly a new Sphere of Higher magic; The Sphere of Nightmares!
This adventure is now out and you can get it through the Adventure-section of the page!

The World that Is

The first expansion of the game is about the current world, and the primary occupants of this era; the humans. The expansions include articles about the cities, countryside and wilderness of the continent Maoc, and information on the human race’s rich past in this world.
It also contains rules for herbs and plants, as well as potions and brews that can be made from them.
The expansion also contain three new Spheres; the Sphere of Illusions, the Sphere of Undeath and the Sphere of Winter.
The Undead make their first real appearance in the game in this expansion, and have their own section in the publication, with an article on them, as well as listing of walking deceased monstrosities.

Adventure
The Passing of a King
Conflicts within royal court spill out into the city, with the task of killing a monster that ravages the countryside. Will the death of the monster settle the dispute of succession to the throne, or stire the conflict further?
In addition to the adventure itself the publication contains material on peoples of the plains, people of noble blood and some more potions.

God is on Our Side
Two armies, both certain they they have the blessing of the very same god, march against eachother. Are they both right? Are they both wrong? Is one going to be able to use divine might to smash the other?
This also contains an article on religion for the common people, as well as information about living in the cold, the tundra and the glaciers of Lociam, and finally about herbs as a commodity, herb-traders and gatherers.

The Making of a Church
If you thought the politics of a court was tough, you should try a church. This adventure is all about the schism forming in the Salvation-church, and about villagers taking up arms to defend their faith against their neighbors’ heresy.
This of course contains a lot of information on the background of the Salvation-church, but also rules on addiction to magical potions and some hard-to-put-down new potions and brews.

Campaign
Hunt for the Dark
The campaign centres on the undead, and on the people hunting and fighting them. The characters are drawn into a long-standing conflict between a group of undead-hunters, Lifebringers, and their foe; a powerful vampyr.
This campaign is in XX parts and also contains information on the Black Crusades, the Lifebringers and the scant information that is available on the magic of the more powerful undead creatures of Lociam.

The World that Was

This expansion details the older races of Lociam; the elves, the dwarves and the animal-peoples. It contains information on their culture, religion, and their ways. It also allows characters to be made from these races, not just humans. The expansion also includes information on super-human martery of weaponry, expert craftsmanship and four new Spheres of Higher magic; The Sphere of Artefacts, the Sphere of Darkness, the Sphere of Ordered Silence and the Sphere of Spirits. Among the new monsters introducted here are both spirits and creatures of Shadow, as well as the true Dragons of Lociam.

Adventure
Has nice Ring to it
When a magical artifact is stolen from a dwarven king, the characters are set out to get it back, racing against time as the thief uses the awesome power of his new prize to wreak havoc on the lands.
This publication also include information on peoples of the mountains as well as a new Higher magic Sphere; the Sphere of Rock.

Campaign
Eastern Monition
An ancient evil rises in the coastland, and the elves muster a defense against it, enlisting the help of the adventurers in their midst to hold back the rise of this new old darkness.
This also contains information on peoples of the coastlines, rules for traveling by sea, and new martial mastery techniques.

The World that Will Be

The old world is dying and a new one is taking its place. This third expansion deals with the emerging power of Chaos and their Third People.

The World as Yet Unseen

What about everything else then? Well, the World as Yet Unseen details the mysterious islands and continents one can go do discover, as well as the moon some adventurers have tried to reach.


Presentation

Posted: May 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Introduction | Comments Off on Presentation

The Lost Roads of Lociam is a fantasy roleplaying game set in the fictitious world of Lociam, where the forces of Order can Chaos battle for supremacy.
The mortal races, championed by the numerous human peoples, are constantly struggling to survive as these diametrically opposed forces clash all around them. Neither Order nor Chaos can directly act upon Lociam, so they influence the mortal races to fight for them. Seas churn and skies burn as the champions and armies of Order or Chaos engage in war after war. When the world was created Order had the upper hand, but as time has worn on, so has the defenses of Lociam eroded under the relentless assault of Chaos, and Chaos can now project and make manifest demons, mortal projections of its power, into the world.

The struggle has had a magnificent by-product; magic seeps through everything, and nearly all living things can use magic in one form or another, ranging from a scholarly wizard able to transform his (or someone else’s) physical form as he wishes, or hurl streams of fire from his fingertips, all the way down to a carpenter able to mend his tools with a simple touch and a focused thought. Even plants and rocks contain a small measure of magic, and carefully studied, craftsmen and alchemists can extract this magic into wondrous things.

The creators of the mortal races have not abandoned them in their struggle to survive. The gods are part of everyday life for the devout, and they can pray to their deity for advice, support or a miracle. Some are even elevated to higher standings, able to make manifest the will of the god they champion.

The humans of Lociam are divided into nine races, spread across all of the known world, and they have taken it from the older races that used to rule it. The humans now number greater than most other sentient creatures combined, and their many kingdoms reach across entire continents. They form communities, realms and congregations, expand and explore, invent and toil, war and marvel at the world they inhabit.


Bound into kingdoms modeled on the First Kingdom founded now almost fifteen hundred years ago, humans now strive to uphold a higher standard then they once did. Gone are the darker ages of slavery and oppression, and now, under the guidance of their churches and rules, human kingdoms flourish and grow more powerful with each passing year.

Nearly all humans have an active faith, and while some practice it with a greater devoutness than others, the powers of the gods are not to be denied on Lociam. They are very real indeed, and their influence reaches far. The most powerful religious organizations among humans is the Salvation-church, founded by a near-mythical human over thirteen centuries ago, walking the land to stop an all-consuming war which was raging at that time. This church has formed cathedrals and congregations everywhere, and one of the mightiest cities known to man is formed around the very mausoleum of the fallen savior.

Not all of the older races are gone from the world of Lociam. Hidden away in their secret realms can still be found elves; immortal keepers of nature, dwarves; tempered fury with cunning crafts, and the animal-peoples; half form of each realm. Trolls still wander the back roads, and giants can be found in the high hills. Rumors of dragons stirring mingle with tales of new horrors; demons of chaos, walking dead and giant beasts that would feast on a human should they encounter them. The vigil of the humans of Lociam is never ending.

Lociam is a world of a million opportunities, if one is cunning, courageous, crafty or conniving enough. Groups of adventurers seeks their fortune in far-away lands, and bring home both riches uncounted and stories almost too impossible to believe. Some study their entire lives to perform a task for their church or king, while others just leave their homely hearth to seek glory or gold in foreign lands. Some are strong of arms, others carry magic to blast or smooth out opposition. Epic tales of adventurers are handed down generation to generation, inspiring many young folk to seek their fortune away from their homelands.

This, is the world of Lociam, where the Lost Roads are found, and traveled.

The Lost Roads of Lociam is a fantasy-roleplaying game built on a sturdy and very flexible rules-engine using the hundred-sided dice (D100). It has been scaled back to be as small as possible, and not get in the way of play, while still able to handle diverse situations that player-characters can get into.

The Core Rulebook contains everything you need to start playing, and this Core set is then possible to expand with later publications, including adventures, background-material, new rules and epic campaigns.

Character creation is large and varied, where random chance is combined with choices to let you form an interesting character. Parts of the character creation can be done a few different ways, to give you more or less control over how the character forms. It is all up to the players and gamemaster. The skills-chapter details all the normal skills of the game, ranging from the mundane searching and climbing, stabbing and sneaking, to the exotic, such as the age-old magical language and higher magic, as well as meditation, the ability to foretell the future, and lots more.

The next chapter is on game mechanics, detailing the rule-engine for the game, movement, spotting hidden things, breaking open doors, persuading people, getting scared, all the good things that can happen to you during the course of the game.

We then get to the combat-chapter, which handles timing-issues, how to land a punch, how to evade one, damage, armor, healing and a lot more. The entire system is designed and built to be quick enough to not take up the entire evening’s of play, but still deadly enough for players not to get into combat lightly.

Magic comes next, and it contains the general rules for magic, as well as a listing of the so-called “Lower Magic” learned as many other professional skills, depending on your chosen path of education. Then follows the five first Spheres of Higher Magic, used by those that devote real studies to the use of magic. There are more spheres in later publications as well.

Then we are at religions and gods. This chapter contains rules for prayers, offerings and such, and then a listing and description of the nine most common human faiths on Lociam. Each description comes with a chapter from the religious text, a sermon or lesson from that religion as well.

This is followed by a chapter on the human races of Lociam, known as “The Second People”. The chapter contains some of their history, their differences and their similarities. The human races of Lociam are diverse, even though they all stem from the same ancestry, they gain strength from their diversity, as the races band together.

Once the humans have gotten their time in the spotlight there is a chapter on the the other creatures of Lociam; a collection of monsters that can be encountered in the wild. More monsters will follow in later publications as well, along with articles about other sentient creatures like the elves, dwarves and animal-people as well as the mortal half-demons. This chapter also details a lot of gear, weapons, armor, services, and a lot of other equipment, everything an adventurer could ever need. This is accompanied by some rules on carrying heavy loads and how money works.

The rulebook is richly illustrated by a diverse collection of artists and contains several optional rules to make the game more interesting, without being vital to running the game itself.

The game has been playtested by hundreds of players worldwide, and while the rules work, there is always room for improvements, and in later publications the game will expand, including more races, more magic, more monsters and more adventure. For a start the first adventure; “Lights in Old Houses”, is available on the page right now, for free.

Welcome to the Lost Roads of Lociam.


Rules

Posted: May 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Introduction | Comments Off on Rules

Originally the rules for the Lost Roads of Lociam were far from uniform and a bit of a mess. With revisions being made the rules were streamlined and simplified, and finally made into a bit more of a cohesive whole.

The base of the rules-engine is the hundred-sided die, or the D100. This is normally rolled with two ten-sided dice (D10), with the darker one being the multiple of ten and the lighter one the single digit (so that the dark die landing on 8 and the lighter on 4 would result in an 84 and so on). The D100-test is used for all skill-tests, all basic attribute-test and a lot more. There are some exceptions, but using two ten-sided dice you can get through all of them.

Attributes for humans are rolled with 2D10 (rolling two dice and adding the results together) meaning that the attributes range from 2 to 20. The values obtained for the eight attributes are then used to calculate attribute-rolls which are used when no skills can be applied to a certain situation, like breaking up a door or spotting a lie when you get told a fib.

Player characters have eight attributes

  • Strength – reflects the physical strength of a character. Feats like breaking up doors and lifting heavy loads are dependent on this attribute.
  • Dexterity – This attribute describes how nimble and coordinated a character is. This is used for such things as stacking card-houses or undoing a knot you have tied in your pocket with only one hand.
  • Speed – This is fairly simple; a measure of the physical speed and reactions. When a character is involved in a contest of reaction (like the hand-slapping game) or when you want to try to grab a snake before it bites you.
  • Constitution – is a measure of the physical endurance of the character, stamina, resistances to disease, exposure and pain. When you want to stay away all night or engaging in long-distance running this is the attribute to test against.
  • Wisdom – This attribute is all about the smarts and knowledge of the character. It is not about intelligence or problem-solving, only about information the character has gathered. T is used to determine what is the best place to make a campfire (“I wonder if this will result in the fire spreading”) or which material best used for a blanket (“This fiber is loosely stitched, but it might attract the damp”) for instance.
  • Perception – Is also fairly simple; it is all about the senses of the character, sharpness of eye and general alertness, for instance. You can use this to spot a lie when you get it told to you, or recognizing a single in a crowd speaking all at once.
  • Charisma – Charm, weight of personality and talents of persuasion are all included in this attribute. When you want to intimidate someone or bluff them, this is the attribute you test against.
  • Mana – The final attribute is that of magical power. It is used as a base for a character’s magical talent, reservoir of magical energy and resistance to magic used against him/her. It is used for a few different magical tests, including magical perception and resistances.

These are used to calculate secondary attributes like movement-rate, initiative, alertness and a lot more.

Then there are some tertiary attributes, which reflect the player’s interaction with the character. One of these are Karma; the favor the character has with his/her chosen deity, used to check if a prayer is answered or a miracle performed. Another is Common sense, which fills in the gaps in knowledge between the character and the player (naturally, a character will know more about the world he/she lives than the player who only plays a game in the same world every once in a while).

Combat in the game is divided into rounds, where the speed of the character and his/her combat-experience factor in in determining the order of actions in that round. The order is then followed down the turn. Each combat-action (like the swing of a sword for instance) has a roll to see if it hits, another to see if the target manages to get out of the way or block it in some way, a roll to check how bad the damage is, and finally, if the target has a suit of armor, checking if this mitigates some of the damage. With only four principal rolls to make per action, the pace can get high enough to impart the feeling of a quick and deadly conflict, which adds to the excitement.
The tide of battle can be turned with a few good rolls, and can be very deadly. For a player character is is a lot easier to get knocked out than killed though (heroes tend to get knocked out rather than killed, whereas henchmen and monsters die like flies). This keeps the combats interesting, and as natural healing is slow when not augmented by magic, one has to think both once and twice before getting into an armed scrape. An arrow from a longbow, for instance, if it hits, is not avoided or mitigated by armor will knock most anyone out, and the same goes for a good solid bash with a big mace, or the stomp of a 3-meter troll’s massive foot. To quote one of the playtesters; “Incapacitated does not mean decapitated, but once incapacitated it is hard to defend yourself against anyone’s intentions of taking your head off.”
The combat rules also include rules for such diverse situations as drowning, falling, fire, natural disasters, poisons and starvation.

The magic rules have been streamlined to minimize the number of rolls, both for Lower magic (which is part of most everyone’s professional education) and Higher magic (which is the more complex arcane art used by magicians and others that study it in more depth). The magic rules are mostly concerned with these two kinds of magic and with rules for spotting/sensing magic nearby. These are dependent on the innate magical talent of a character, both for their type and range.
Lower magic is learned as part of a character’s education; thieves have one kind, warriors another, traders a third, and so on. If you want to learn more magic you can study the entire “package” of another education, and, depending on your talent, master some or all of them.
Higher magic is divided into Spheres, each concerned with a specific topic. The Core Rulebook contains five Spheres; Change, Fire, the Body, Water and Wind. In this game you do not learn one spell at a time, but an entire Sphere at a time. However, that is not enough. You also have to study the magical language Arcane, and the greater your proficiency in this language the more effects of the Sphere will you be able to use. You can therefore have a character with a great deal of study and time invested in a Sphere and able to only do a few of its effects (but succeeding more often than not) because of his poor training in Arcane, whereas if the positions are reversed, the magician would know a lot of the Sphere’s effects, but fail on most attempts to use them due to lack of training in the actual Sphere.
Lower magic is commonly quick, immediate and low-powered; useful in situations you get into in your professional life, but not more. Higher magic, on the other hand, can literally move mountains, given enough study, preparation, energy and time. The quicker and more subtle the effect, the lesser power can be used through it, normally. Higher magic is divided into Thoughts (which require no vocal component to take effect), Spells (which require speech and moving of arms), Runes (which you have to write down) and Rituals (which can take hours of chanting). The more powerful effect, the more energy the magic will claim from the user.

The rules for religions govern what sort of things certain deities consider to be good offerings, rules of conduct and traditions, along with how prayers and miracles work. Prayers are rolled with 2D10 rather 1D100, adding a character’s Karma, to overcome a difficulty; the greater the favor asked of the deity the higher the result must be. Asking for your god to make you a copper coin so that you don’t starve a devout follower can succeed with about four tries out of five. However, the same follower asking for the god to make him/her a private floating island would take a month of prayer and fasting, a suitable offering and a one in one hundred roll.

The rules are easy to learn, and there are examples to the more complex rules in the rulebook itself. In addition to this, there are several examples on the homepage, of both character creation and combat, to walk you through the process, and make it even easier to learn.


FAQ

Posted: May 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Introduction | Comments Off on FAQ
  1. Why did you write this?
  2. Where can I get hold of this game?
  3. Is the game done?
  4. How do I participate in this project?
  5. How do I get up-to-date information regarding this project?
  6. Where are the [insert favorite race/monster/magic here]?
  7. What do I do if I find an error in the game or on the page??
  8. How do I get in touch with you?

Q: Why did you write this?

A: I wrote (and I am still writing) this game because it is the kind of game I would like to play, that I would love for someone else to have written. I have tried to stay as true to my vision of the world and the rules as possible, while making it a playable game. You can read more about all of this in the Design-part of this page.

Q: Where can I get hold of this game?

A: You can order it through this homepage, I put it up on eBay from time to time, some hobbystores carry it (but very very few) and if you visit a Roleplaying-convention I am attending I am likely to have set up a table selling it there too.

Q: Is the game done?

A: Yes and no. The Core ruleset is done, and you can buy it here. However, the game is far from done, and there is a lot more of it to come. You can read a bit about it in the Future-part of the page.

Q: How do I participate in this project?

A: I am always on the lookout for new talent to add to this project. Particularly I am looking for skilled illustrators that would not mind drawing a few of the pictures for the upcoming expansions and adventures. If you are interested in joining in you can email me.

There are other things you can do to help as well, and these will be posted as the openings appear; playtesters, writers, artists, coders and a lot more.

Otherwise you can donate a buck or two to the project, as it has no corporate backing, and relies solely on the author’s funds to get off the ground.

Q: How do I get up-to-date information regarding this project?

A: The best way is to keep an eye on this page, but you can also join our Facebook-page as it gets updated with all major happenings. There you can also connect to other fans of the project.

Q: Where are the [insert favorite race/monster/magic here]?

A: The game is still growing, and while I would have loved to include everything that Lociam has to offer in the Core rules it would simply have been too much to read or play with at once. The Core rulebook would have been a thousand pages long, which would have been too much. However, there are several planned expansions, and more information coming out, and if there is something you feel is missing please feel free to ask.

Q: What do I do if I find an error in the game or on the page??

A: The forums are the best way to go about it, as it gets monitored reguarly. This page also has a webmaster, but mailing there can leave you filed with all the spam it gets, so the forums are recommended.

Q:How do I get in touch with you?

A: The best way is to register on the forums and send a message to Rasmus over the private messages. If you are unable to you can mail “webmaster (squiggly) lociam.com”


Webshop

Posted: April 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: News | No Comments »

The game has no webshop of its own, but relies on a multitude of different channels for distribution, so that you can choose the method that suits your online shopping the best. Quite the number of physical stores carry the game as well, so you can step into any of those and get the game there.

A good way of finding out if another store has been added is to follow our Facebook-page of course.

Lulu.com prints the book on demand and ships internationally. The Wanderer’s Compendium Vol I and II are also available here.

Amazon.com is one of the biggest stores online and has the book on as print-on-demand.

The friendly Un-store has an order for the book too. If you want a signed copy this is the place to buy it from, and specify it in your order.

DriveThruRPG (with associated sites) now sell the Core rulebook and Wanderer’s Compendium vol I and II as PDFs, which is a great deal and will save you a heap of cash!

The game is also available at Noble Knight’s webstore

The guys over at IPR had some of the book in stock, but they sold out. You can still get PDFs and bundles from them though. They also sell the Wanderer’s Compendium vol I and II as PDFs. You can access their entire range of Lost Roads of Lociam-products here.

 

Swedish stores


Located in Gävle, the Hobbyshopen stocks the game.

Located in Göteborg, Wizard-games stocks copies, or your can use their webshop.

Located in Stockholm the SFBokhandeln in Gamla Stan holds copies, or you can order through their webshop.You can also get the book from the Gothenburg store.

Located in Storvik Speljätten not only stocks the game but also the Compendium. You can also use their webshop.

Located in Umeå Collector’s Point not only stocks the rulebook but also the Compendium Volume I, and has a webshop.

Located in Katrineholm and Lidköping GameManiacs also have their game on their order-page.

Swedes

Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Lost Roads | Comments Off on Swedes

As this game was written originally in Sweden, by a swede, it of course ties closely to the Swedish roleplaying community. It comes with the package.

Svenska Lociamspelare

Lite lokalt stöd

Tack så mycket för att ni stödjer mitt lilla projekt.
Den svenska rollspelstraditionen har varit stark i många år, och jag tillhör den första generationen rollspelare som spelade på svenska, i början på åttiotalet.
Det här spelet har till och med gått igenom lite versioner på svenska, men efter en del vidare arbete visade sig engelska vara ett bättre val av språk.
Jag har däremot inte glömt bort att de svenska rollspelstraditionerna är rötterna till allt detta, vilket alltid styrt det jag skriver och skapar.

För att underlätta för svenska spelare vill jag erbjuda lite saker.

Den första är en möjlighet att köpa spelet direkt från mig. Priset är 149 riksdaler (samma som på konvent alltså), plus frakt om vi inte kan arrangera ett överlämnande på något sätt. Posten tar 60 kronor för ett bra vadderat kuvert, så det blir 209 kronor sammanlagt. Om ni är intresserade kan ni maila mig på webmaster (snabel-a) lociam.com så kan vi lösa någonting.
Spelet finns också att köpa i flera svenska butiker, bland annat Hobbyshopen i Gävle, Science-fiction bokhandeln i Stockholm och Wizard-Games i Göteborg.

Dessutom har min strålande medarbetare Per producerat en liten översättning av färdighetslistorna, samt lägre och högre magi, om ni har svårt med de engelska termerna. Den kan ni ladda ner via länken nedan.

PDF
Svensk färdighets- och magilista

Det enda jag är missnöjd med hans för övrigt strålande lista är ett fel inte i översättning utan språkbruk. Förr i tiden fanns på svenska ett uttryck om var att ”slå någon blind” eller döv, eller stum, eller halt. Det har nu fallit bort, och det enda vi har kvar av det är paradoxalt engelskans ”stroke”. Det hade passat bra in på ett par besvärjelser i listan.
Om ni producerar mer material på svenska så hör av er så lägger jag mer än gärna upp det här.


Character Sheets

Posted: March 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Resources | Comments Off on Character Sheets

In the Core rulebook you can find the four page character-sheet, but if you need to print some rather than photocopy those, they are found below.

PDF
Character Sheets (Core Rules)


Design History

Posted: February 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Introduction | Comments Off on Design History

Designer’s Notes

A lot of things have been asked about the work I have made called ”Lost Roads of Lociam”. I thought I would answer some, and expand on a few points. As more questions arise I will attempt to explain my reasons behind them as well.

Why did you write this?

Well, I have always liked roleplaying games, and have always been fascinated by the challenge, the interaction, the stories and the twists in the game-mechanics, rules and settings that come with them. I have always felt compelled to try to make some improvements to some of the games, adding an article here and there, and adjusting a rule where I find it is missing. For instance I have written several articles, adventures, monsters, texts, campaigns and alternative rules for “Vampire – the Masquerade”, “Middle-Earth Roleplaying”, “GURPS” as well as several Swedish systems of roleplaying, like “Drakar och Demoner”, “Eon”, “Mutant” and a few others. It is something I enjoy doing.

I have been writing roleplaying-games since I started playing back in 1982, and most of them were really bad. They were loose ideas that I tried putting on paper. Back in 1990 I started on a game I called Silent Fighters, a really bad idea about aliens and magic and all sorts of things. I quickly abandoned the idea for the world, but parts of the rules stuck with me. I started reworking the world, and expanding on the rules. This leads us into the design history that I will elaborate further on later.

I have played a lot of games, and found some things lacking from them, things I felt were needed to make a good game.

Why? What’s wrong with [insert favourite game here]?

Nothing, I guess, but I have felt some things missing from a few games, and I really wanted to make sure they were part of something fresh that I could get to play, or maybe even share with someone else. I also never truly liked games based on books or movies, as they were too “set” for me. I wanted freedom to explore.

1. In most fantasy-worlds there are plenty of monks, priests, churches and religions around, but being written largely by people who have no faith themselves, or trying to be politically correct and not offend anyone, they really don’t do much. Except for the occasional “hunt and kill” the gods make a very small or no appearance at all in most fantasy-games. You get to kill some, but they don’t affect the people on the farms. I always thought this was odd. Why would the communities support the churches if they did nothing in return? They can’t all be secular landowners, can they?
This game has active gods. You can sit down and pray to them, and sometimes they will answer. About one time in one hundred if you are not a devout follower, and a lot better if you are a faithful. Even a farmer can get rain if he prays, and a hero can conjure an angel when one is most needed. Gods play an active, but not personal, part in the game.

2. In most fantasy-games magic is something reserved for the select few. A special caste of characters or people is able to use magic, whereas most others are barred from it. This was always such a shame, I thought. In a high-magic world, or a magic-rich world, magic should be something natural for most beings to use. So magic, in this game, is for virtually everyone. Some trolls and animals are not clever enough, but the average carpenter, city-guard or mayor-clerk will have some magical skills at least. Then there are some who specialise in magic, and grow more powerful, of course. But few are barred from magic, and most can learn it, if they have the time and energy to spare.

3. I never liked the big complicated combat-rules. When people fight in roleplaying-games all the elaborate tables for hitting, wounding and saving show up, and it slows the action to a trickle. I thought this was a shame as well. This game has exactly one table to keep track of. The rest are skillrolls, and basic math. If you want to you can add modifiers and optional rules, but the basic system is really quite simple. It is also pretty dramatic, and deadly. If you get in a fight chances are you are going to wind up hurt. That’s part of the deal. If you want to hurt someone else you have to stake your own skin on it.

Now that we have covered the three basic things I wanted to address, we might as well get to some of the smaller points as well.

4. Why are there always big monsters available everywhere as opposition for the player-characters? Is there not enough evil in the human heart to make good bad guys? The movie “Willow” was such an astounding example of how this could work that I cut out most of the monsters from the basic game, and left the humans in there. There are some monsters in the basic adventures, there needs to be; this is a fantasy-world, but most of the antagonists are humans, just like the characters are.

5. Most games cannot handle “ordinary life ™” at all. The skills of a normal hunter or farmer can’t fit into the scheme of things, with heroes and magicians running around as player-characters. I thought this a great shame, and have proven that even blacksmiths make great heroes (right Stig?) and that they can go back to their forge and make a few more horseshoes after saving the kingdom. The rulesystem is designed to hold up to the pressure of ordinary life, so that fishermen can be fishermen, and carpenters can be carpenters, as it were.

6. Finally, a few games I have seen out there try to be too big at once. They try to encompass everything you might possibly every need, and in the process grow utterly unwieldy. The core rulebook for this game is really slim, and streamlined, outlining the things you need to start playing and inventing stuff on your own, not every conceivable rule you might need for every situation, nor hordes of monsters, or detailed descriptions of loads of races to play. There will be more information of that sort in the adventures and expansions. This is not a marketing-trick either; it’s not like I am trying to get you to buy more stuff (even though I would appreciate it if you did), but if you read the Design-history below you will find that this game was once far too massive to actually play. Better make it leaner and playable, than “complete” and utterly impossible to enjoy. The elves are coming, but they are not in the core rulebook. The same goes for the illusionists, and demon-spawn (for those of you who want to play bad-guys), and a lot of other things. A lot will also be given out free on the web as the project progresses.

Design-history
Here is a small note on the “evolution” of the game. This moves from a simple form to a better, hopefully a more complete version has only been possible through the tireless work of all my playtesters, even those not mentioned in the credits. I thank you all.

  1. The first version of this game was “Silent Fighters” and never got completed. It was all of 16 pages when it was abandoned. Good riddance. This was in late 1990, as I recall.
  2. I tried my hand at “Silent Fighters” again, and completed it at a staggering 26 pages. It was still mostly rubbish.
  3. The third try at “Silent Fighters” was, believe it or not, a slimmed version, but included religions for the first time. 16 pages.
  4. Fourth try was in Swedish, and was called “Solgård” which is pretty close to “Solar Halo” but not quite. It was 60 pages and had twice as many races and monsters as any other version. It still had some big flaws, and not even the sci-fi version of the game corrected those. We are now up to 1994-1995.
  5. Now the game changed a bit, and turned back to English in “Roads of Xiam” (this was before I figured out Xiam is an alternate spelling for the old name of Thailand). This was a whopping 160 pages of text, packed with things, like twice the number of skills, triple the magic, a total of 26 religions and a lot more. It was terrible to read or find anything in.
  6. I never knew when to stop. The sixth try was even bigger. It was 167 pages of smaller text, adding more and more contents. It was now spiralling out of control. It had over two hundred magicforms in total, as well as 53 races to choose from.
  7. The seventh version, 1996-1997, added a few more skills, but didn’t much improve things overall. A lot of mistakes were corrected, but even more new ones were added.
  8. By the middle of 1997 the eight version, now named “Lost Roads of Lociam” was a massive tome of 253 pages of pure text, and included far too much material to possibly be playable by anyone but myself. No one else could grasp the thing. It had nearly 300 forms of magic, over 80 playable races, nearly 50 monsters roaming the lands, and a lot of other confusing bits.
  9. Version nine was still a tome, now 261 pages with some basic layout and still not a single illustration. It had much of the basic rulesystem we have today, but it was just far too big to manage.
  10. In 1999 version ten was ready. It was just 107 pages, as I had decided to make a lot of the material into expansions rather than try to cram it all into a single volume. It was slimmed down but still missing a few key ingredients compared to what we have now. Still, for instance, magic was learned one spell at a time rather than in spheres. This made magicians terribly weak, even the good ones like the playtesters tried they hands with.
  11. The eleventh version was the first with the magical spheres, and was 108 pages thick. It had still to face one of its worst tests to date though; Santa Claus.
  12. By version 12, in 2001, playtesting was progressing weekly, and more and more bugs and flaws were discovered in every adventure. I had begun drafting the expansions at this time, but the system had still some basic mechanical flaws. One of the playtesters, nicknamed “Santa Claus” which is a pun in Swedish I suspect few of you will get, had troubles getting through the math of the game, particularly when testing attributes in gameplay. At first this was discounted as an error on her part (yes, Santa Claus is a she) but I soon realised this was a key to improvement. By streamlining the system into containing nearly exclusively D100-rolls the game was smoother and better. Thanks for that, Santa Claus. The manuscript for this version I gave to my brother-in-law, hoping he would test it out further with his groups, but he is a lazy bugger sometimes and I kept testing as I proceeded to the 13th version.
  13. Now we are up to 2003, and version 13. This was about as well as I thought I was going to get it, and I started asking around for illustrations, and illustrators. The feedback I got was very positive, and after some tweaking, a few very long delays, and some bouts with inactivity and other projects, this is now the version that is going to print. The material from that 261-page tome is now split into expansions and expansions-to-be and will be printed as well, later on. The game has been playtested by a total of playtesters exceeding a hundred, in multiple settings and adventures, some of which will turn into printed works for you all to enjoy, and others better forgotten.
  14. This version, version 14, is what I hope to present to you all. It is in essence just a re-formatted version 13 with some more kinks ironed out, and some additional planning and expansions changing the order of some articles in adventures and supplements. The current version, 14.2 is version 14 with some errata smoothed out, correcting mostly errors in typesetting for the printing and some minor errata and typos handled.

I hope you enjoy the game, as I have enjoyed bringing it this far. It is all up to you now to see how the game develops from this point on.