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The Lovecraft Factor: Bridging the Gap Between Miskatonic and Midgard

A sketch of the fictional character Cthulhu, drawn by his creator, H. P. Lovecraft, May 11, 1934“Memories and possibilities are ever more hideous than realities.” —H.P. Lovecraft, “Herbert West–Reanimator”

Howard Phillips Lovecraft is considered by many to be the godfather of modern horror—and appropriately so, for his macabre influence can be seen far and wide while navigating the 21st century pop culture landscape. For me, Lovecraft was something of a gatekeeper to the widening world of weird literature at a time of my life when discovery was critical to my development as both a young storyteller and a fledgling game master.

Lovecraft is one of the preeminent writers of the classic “Weird Tales” era of pulp storytelling (and likely the most celebrated). And though his contemporary (and ofttime pen pal) Robert E. Howard would inevitably leave more of an impression on emerging game designers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Lovecraft’s grim legacy—much like the incessant Call of Cthulhu itself—is inescapable.

The Midgard Campaign Setting from Kobold Press features its own nebulous corner of Lovecraft country: Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void. And though little can be definitively said of it, let’s explore those “tenuous paths” in an effort to discover something of the creatures from that “distant and primordial realm” so elusively referenced by the Midgard scholars.

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Goblins of Midgard: The Firebrand, the Raider, and the Mercenary

Midgard With EagleWhen they aren’t picking lice out of each other’s scalp or roasting rats over an open fire, these three goblins of Midgard are carrying out acts of destruction and mayhem.

While few are accounted masterminds among their number, each has a reputation that extends outside their little tribe. Feel free to add them to your game as NPC adversaries.

Roasty Toasty, Female Goblin Rogue

Roasty is an arsonist in the employ of Radovar Streck, alchemist and member of the Zobeck City Council.

Whenever Streck has need of a little urban renewal work, either to keep the volunteer firefighters’ union busily happy or to frustrate the territorial ambitions of the Greymarks, he calls on Roasty.

For especially big jobs, Streck might provide Roasty with a powerful accelerant. But usually, the means of lighting a spark is left to Roasty’s imagination and her small squad.

She frequents the Wheatsheaf Tavern and the Ragpicker’s Guild in Lower Zobeck when she isn’t making deliveries for Streck’s peat and coal wagon. (Her nickname comes from this job, when she hollers from the wagon perch, “Get yer coal. Get yer peat. Get yer roasty toasty!”)

She’s easily recognizable as being the only goblin wearing a frilled cotton mobcap adorned with a rosette of red and gold, the Free City’s colors. She thinks of herself as a patriot, always speaking loudly of her devotion to the city. Of her arson projects, she is very discreet.

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Advanced Races: Aasimar Now Available

Sword of the Righteous!

COVER_Aasimar

Aasimar might carry a few drops of heavenly blood—but they are warriors and summoners to be rightly feared! For they shall lay down the word of the Law, sinners, and strike down upon the wicked with furious anger! 

With celestial power and the unique insight of the divine, the aasimar deliver both a touch of divine grace, and unique insight into how and why great evils might best be destroyed!

Advanced Races: Aasimar gives you everything you need to play an aasimar adventurer from the celestial traditions. This 20-page sourcebook by designer Adam Roy includes:

  • 6 new aasimar racial traits and 4 Mythic traits including Celestial Awareness, Fiery Light of Heaven, Mythic Mark, and Splendor of the Divine
  • 9 new Mythic feats and 4 regular feats, including Adamant Spirit, Greater Smite, Purity of Heaven, and Supreme Celestial Resistance
  • 3 new archetypes: Celestial Rhymer, Celestial Summoner, and Purifier
  • 14 new spells and 2 new subdomains, Angel and Radiance
  • 3 new Mythic magic items and 4 Transcendant Artifacts
  • An overview of the Aasimar in the Midgard Campaign Setting
  • And much more!

The celestial chorus calls you to right the wrongs of the world—smite down demons, speak forth the words of the Law, and bring down your righteous hammer on the unholy! 

Available now at DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, and Paizo.

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Monster Monday: Shroud Eater

Cesar Tort provides a picture of the “Wall face” appearance, purportedly paranormal but probably made by human hands, of the famous House of the Faces in Spain.This woman was once beautiful, but her bloated features are now just one horrible mask, a parody of her former self. As she nimbly emerges from the darkness, the details of her terrible transformation becomes all too evident: the tattered remains of her own burial shroud are being slowly consumed by the distorted mouth of the creature she’d turned into. The rotten tissue within the oral cavity has transmuted into a putrid mass mixed with dark blood whose stench is unbearable.

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Ravenfolk PC Race – 13th Age Compatible

Ravenfolk detailWith the release of Advanced Races 5: Ravenfolk (available at DriveThruRPG and Paizo), it’s time to take a crack at bringing this avian race into 13th Age. I enjoyed converting the darakhul and gearforged, but I’m especially excited by the ravenfolk because this book is my first solo design project for Kobold Press!

Our ravenfolk are Western cousins of the tengu, shapeshifting creatures out of Japanese folktales. In Midgard these creatures are the trickster children of Wotan, and sacred warriors of hawk-headed Horus. The racial ability and feats reflect this Midgardian identity.

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