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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

New Dark Albion Supplement In the Works: Chaos Cults and Mutations

So, the last couple of days I've been extra busy typing up the first few parts of what will become a short supplement for Dark Albion.  No name decided yet but the subject matter certainly is: Chaos Cults and Mutations.  This was one of the main subjects people have repeatedly told me they wanted to see in Dark Albion, that they had hoped would be found in the book but wasn't.

My initial reason for not having had this in the book itself was because really, Chaos Cults are so varied that it seemed like I wouldn't really be doing justice to the concept by trying to limit the definition of what one might look like.  Similarly, there are tons of great resources one can already use for "mutation effects".  Aside from some stuff you can find in OSR products themselves, you could always have used stuff like the mutation tables in WFRP's Chaos sourcebook, or even Gamma World.

But of course, this is a little bit of a cop out. As long as it's clear that there is a great variety of possible Chaos Cult manifestations, it would probably be really useful for Dark Albion GMs to get some examples of how to make some of the most typical kinds of cults.
And as for mutations: well, all those other ones are good but they're not uniquely medieval, are they?  Part of the whole point of Dark Albion as a setting is that it's got a very high level of "15th Century Authenticity".

So this is what I'm working on:  a set of rules, guidelines and tables for generating a random Chaos cult fitting to the setting.  This will let you generate a cult based on its general nature, size, motivations, potential patrons, resources, complications, and current plans.

Second, detailed rules on mutations: what they are, how you can suffer one, what happens to you if you do (hint: you'll probably be going to a very special BBQ courtesy of the Clerical Inquisition), how hard it is to potentially save yourself, and of course full random tables of mutations (about 50 different kinds in all) that will get detailed descriptions.

Some of these mutations will be easy to hide, some will be "arm-coming-out-of-your-chest" levels of obvious.  Some of them will give you special powers that might tempt a PC to try to keep them around in secret; others will just leave you fucked up and miserable.  But most importantly: as many of them as possible will try to be reflective of folklore, legends, monsters, or ideas that either were literally present in the medieval and renaissance world, or that could easily fit into that mold.    So these will be very 15th century "mutations", the kind that witch-hunters would look for.

This will include the most 'medieval authentic' rules on things like witch-marks, Familiars, and Influence-By-Evil-Spirits that I think we've ever seen in D&D.

Finally, the may or may not be an adventure included, if I can get Dominique Crouzet inspire enough to work on something that I'd help him out with.

So anyways, Dark Albion fans, stay tuned!  No set due-date yet, but I don't think this will take excessively long to put together. Expect it to be somewhere around 24 pages long, and of course up to the same production qualities as Dark Albion or Crouzet's awesome adventure "The Ghost of Jack Cade" (available now, and believe me you should check it out, OSR fans!).


Currently Smoking:  Neerup Egg + Image Virginia


  1. I hope you will put some Frog men, even if they are not really a mutations result ... but a species. They have a Chaos cult that can be followed by weak humans.

    1. Yeah, Frog Men are not mutants. They're a separate race. But yes, the Frog God cult is a thing, and might get some mention.

  2. Based on pics, Dark Albion has a high production value. Occult illustrations give your game a gothic atmosphere, but not necessarily make the game occult or gothic, though witch hunters do. Mutations, dating back to GW give your cults a Lovecraftian feel of the mutagenic ooze. On the other hand, you are sacrificing depth for playability. Nobody who is of any greatness sets out to be a villain, all of the evil is done with the greatest intentions and all of mean-ness is carried out dressed as revenge. There is evil to be sure, but to put a chaotic or Lawful Evil label on it only disenchants your game and takes away depth. Nothing is black and white, the reality is an explosion of white light slightly out of focus, that can be best made sense of in terms of shades of gray. By calling your supplement Cults of Chaos, you are reducing the subject of you supplement to a bunch of cookie cutter stereotypes, reducing in stature those who join those cults. That makes you setting weaker, and in the real world, reducing your enemy to any stereotype makes you underestimate them.

    1. Lol, I seriously can't figure out if you're for real or a really clever parody of an idiot.

    2. It must be over your head. Don't worry about it.