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Fiction Friday: The Veranthea Codex (with new add-ons!)

chainz biker orc - JBThe Veranthea Codex is a Pathfinder compatible campaign setting, player resource, and GM tool by Mike Myler and Rogue Genius Games. The Kickstarter has funded almost 50% in its first week, and there are new add-ons (like NPC Cards, VTT maps, Face Cards, and more) revealed to celebrate their success thus far!

Check out the project page, download the four free preview PDFs, and pledge to the campaign!




Immortality is a tedious thing to some, but not Yawvil: the wizard never lost his youthful curiosity, the wealth of knowledge within his reach never enough. With the same enthusiasm the ancient mage took to his first spellbooks, he prepared the last of the meticulously arranged reagents on the floor, practicing in his mind the powerful incantations for the ritual required to view the Conxecron without revealing his presence.

What petty arguments would the pompous, deific fools engage in this century? What “powerful secrets” will they reveal? What ridiculous decrees are to be forced upon the land? With a familiar sense of supreme satisfaction, Yawvil began the initial arcane gestures for the centennial delight but out of the corner of his eye, a book floated down from its shelf—the Veranthea Codex. The old wizard grinned and nodded to the worn adventuring journal as it emanated a shimmering blue light, teleporting away from his keep. Only while the gods were distracted could his clever little book do its work, its grand accumulation.

If the pantheon’s predictions were correct, this year’s read would be most interesting indeed…



Braxthar Grimdrahk web coverBraxthar gave a sigh and straightened up—after spending hours exploring another abandoned town in the Forever Dark, the ache in his back was excruciating. A search that, once again, had turned up nothing. This place had been looted by adventurers centuries before he found the map leading beneath the surface.

Turning back towards camp, Braxthar caught something just at the edge of his vision: a faint glow, the telltale sign of a secret door. He checked to ensure his revelator was on in disbelief, but the glow remained. It made no sense to the dwarf; he’d been through this area three times already today, and his meticulously crafted devices never gave false readings, even if his brother’s did. He turned a knob on the detectorium to check for traps and, finding none, carefully pressed his hand against the door.

To his surprise it swung open easily, not just unlocked and unbarred but almost as if it moved of its own volition. All that greeted Braxthar was a small plinth and a worn old book upon it, which beyond all reason, he felt compelled to read. He prepared to scan the room beyond for traps, but before he knew it he was standing with his hands on the tome. The dwarf struggled for the reason he’d just blindly walked into what could have been his death, but whatever had just happened was out of the grasp of his normally ordered and calculating mind. Before the intrepid explorer had time to ponder the anomaly any further, blue energy shimmered around both Braxthar and the book—and the world turned black.

An enormous giant charged toward him across a dry expanse, greatsword held ready to strike. Braxthar nearly dropped the book scrambling for cover that wasn’t there, barely avoiding the gnome that rocketed overhead to slash the behemoth’s hamstring with surgical precision. The ground shook as the giant crashed not two feet from Braxthar, momentarily stunned. Before it could recover, the gnome flashed Braxthar a casual smile, then buried his sword in the giant’s neck.

Beztekorps cover (FINAL)And Braxthar’s hold on the world slips away once more.

Swimming back to consciousness, the smell of saltwater fills Braxthar’s nose as he finds himself on the deck of a sailing ship. Spotting the gleaming spires of fair Srendath on the horizon, the dwarf briefly feels a semblance of place before being thrown into a wall of barrels by the unwary elbow of an orc twice his size.

Braxthar spins about to find the ship full of orcs and goblins prepared for war; a red fist decorating every uniform and crimson-painted hands clutching firearms of every type. As curiosity of these strange firearms begins to get the better of his caution, blackness consumes Braxthar again.

Sitting on the floor of the secret chamber, empty handed and confused, the dwarf hears a smooth, royal voice state, “Thank you, Braxthar Grimdrahk.”



The rattling of chains echoed deep beneath Mount Nestraka, where Shojo Matsumo, the Master in Irons, stalked a sect of the cult of Elaith. He knew they were down here, but after hours of searching, Shojo found a sliver of doubt had made its way into his steel heart.

The tunnel finally opened, yawning into a blinding expanse of shimmering colors, as if the brightest light of the sun shone upon His Personage of Golden Fortitude’s treasury. Unable to see beyond the threshold, Shojo focused his spirit and stepped within—expecting a cultist trap. Instead, a kaleidoscope of emotions overwhelmed him: his mind whipped between sublime bliss, great rage, and bottomless depression.

Without warning, the light disappeared and Shojo’s emotions calmed once more, leaving him in a small cavern littered where dozens of eyeless bodies faced the center of the room, where a thick tome floated above the floor, encircled by an azure halo. Hesitantly, Shojo approached the the old, leatherbound book and plucked it from the air—and in a blue flash, the room was empty. Unable to explain what had happened, Shojo Knew to take the tome to scholars in Verentai, for they could tell him what it truly was.

Master in Irons cover (FINAL)The tunnel behind him was not the same he had entered—miles of mazelike tunnels were now a hundred feet long, opening to a horizon hundreds of miles from where he had been. He could see Nokada, the seat of his ruler’s power in the distance, but felt compelled to instead visit Bahran-Tayl to the North, and see what new wonders the ju-wai shu masters were tearing from the veil of reality. Somehow, he knew that His Golden Personage of Fortitude could wait.

In Bahran-Tayl, the Master in Irons found himself ignored and unquestioned, walking alongside the powerful mages as though one of their number. Yet, after only an hour of marveling at their breathtaking experiments he grew profoundly weary, and lay down on a nearby cot to rest.

In what felt like moments, Shojo awoke in another place entirely. While he knew this was inexplicable, he remained untroubled and stepped outside into majestic Oisho, capital of Jerentok. For another hour, he took in the sights and sounds of the city before growing tired, laying down to rest, and awakening elsewhere.

The Master in Irons cannot recall how long this continued.

Shojo explored the thick Jungles of Zerrah, scaled the Triple Peaks of Wunai, and braved the Korelli Swamps. He sparred with dragonii warriors in Prealant, traded tales with pirates in Rukharr, and slept with a Crent-Sira nobleman. Eventually, Shojo found himself in Nokada once more.

He immediately returned to His Personage of Golden Fortitude to present the inexplicable book, only to find it had simply vanished. The ancient emperor nodded as though this were no surprise, and simply presented Master in Irons his next task. Though Shojo was relieved to avoid reprimand, he left the throne room puzzled, doubly so by a disembodied voice stating plainly, “thank you, Shojo…”



Black rain fell off the coast of Ominara, men and machines tumbled from the sky. There were flak clouds and fireballs and shrapnel, the bellow of guns, and Explodicus© engines roaring all around. Spoony’s Squadron swarmed like flies above a carcass—the blockade runner was a few short miles from shore and safety, but she was nearly down.
“What do you think, Gimmick? Time to board?”

The pseudodragon looked startled. “You’re kidding, right boss? That thing’s a flying wreck.”
The Zeit Commander licked his lips and grinned, a response to which Gimmick could only groan. Spoony slammed the speedbrakes, held her steady, and screamed to a stop on the back of the crashing carrier.

Spoony Jawz web coverHe leaped from the cockpit and came up in a roll. Nobody came to challenge him though—his boys had done their work well.
“Alright, Gimmick. You know what we’re after—check the hold.”

“Aye aye, Spoony,” said the dragon,winging off through an open hatch. Spoony followed after, but went forward where his familiar had flown aft. Goblinvanian Intelligence hadn’t known much, just that it would be small, whatever it was. If it was his job to grab some advanced magical whatsit, and he couldn’t leave it with the rest of the cargo.

The flight deck was full of bodies, broken glass, and the blinking autopilot light. “Too easy,” said the goblin. Yet the captain’s pockets were empty, and a search revealed no secret compartments. Then Spoony’s ears twitched, hearing something behind his head.

“Didja find it?”
No answer.

Spoony frowned, and turned. The sound hadn’t been Gimmick but instead an old, leatherbound book floating in the air totally ignorant of the scene around it. “Oh,” said the Zeit Commander. “Yeah. That would be it.” He reached…


Blue light. Elsewhere.


Spoony coughed on dust and looked around wildly. The engines sounded wrong, not aircraft at all. He was in some kind of arena full of oversized gobchoppers with enormous drivers at the controls—trolls, ogres, and giants. They swung lengths of chain longer than he was tall, and the crowds in the stands screamed for blood. As a pair of leather clad giants swerved towards him, Spoony braced for impact…




The engines were gone. Brine filled the air, and a strange chanting echoed all around. Spoony stood upon a tiny green island at sea. Weirdos in robes standing along the banks—worshiping him!

Spoony cupped a hand around his mouth and shouted, “Yeah thanks. Listen, your god commands you to tell him where the hell he is!”

The chanting abruptly stopped, and the robed figures looked at him bewildered. Then the green island moved, rising up, higher and higher, as gigantic tentacles reached for Spoony…




He was on his back, blinking at the roof of the cockpit. Gimmick was trying to drag him out of the crashing plane.
“Boss! Are you OK? Did you find the thing?”

“No,” he said, and realizing the book wasn’t in his hand any longer, “and no. Now run for it!”



Stunned by what he’d seen and heard, Yawvil stumbled to his bed, falling down on the soft linen and for the first time truly feeling the weight of his very, very long life.

The Conxecron had not gone well.

Veranthea Codex hardcover Mockup (large)For the first time in centuries, the gods knew more of what was happening in the mortal realms than he did—to even think of it filled him with frustration! The Metal Clans in Urethiel were fighting, scheming, and raiding. That bizarre wizard in Privatend was brewing trouble as well, with some demented sorcerer named Boris. Then there’s Goblinvania to worry about—when did they develop planes big enough to brave the flight across the ocean?

Summoning one of his many golems, Yawvil began to send for the items he would need, devices to harness their power, reagents for his most exotic magics—and the Veranthea Codex! That above all would prove to be pivotal in the arduous times ahead!

Its place on the bookshelf stood empty, and for a brief moment, the ancient mage felt anxiety—something he had long thought lost to him—until a familiar blue light filled the chamber. Yawvil’s old adventuring journal, once more embossed with resplendent gold and luxurious leather, had returned.

Hungrily he picked up the tome, searching through the Veranthea Codex for the fresh writing with details on the many emerging threats of this world he had declared his own…



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The Legend of Drizzt board game is part of the Adventure System Board Games by Wizards of the Coast. These games are designed as a co-op experience with no DM required! In this game you get to play as Drizzt and his companions.

It contains scenarios set around the city of Neverwinter. You will be getting a lot of Drizzt and his followers throughout your adventures in this board game.  For those of you who don’t already know, Drizzt Do’Urden is the most famous character in the Forgotten Realms world.  Created by R.A. Salvatore and featured in his New York Times Best Selling novels, Drizzt and his companions have become a fantasy staple for fantasy fans and RPG fanatics alike!

This is a great game for families. My wife enjoyed the Neverwinter Nights computer games but has never been very interested in joining my friends and I for tabletop D&D games. My son is 9 years old and although shows much interest in the D&D RPG, still has a tough time with the vast amount of rules required to play a fair and balanced game. The Legend of Drizzt Board Game is a perfect introduction to a family who has not yet played D&D or anyone who has trouble fully grasping the concept of tabletop role-playing games.

My family decided to set up the Legend of Drizzt game on our dining room table at home.  We started a timer to see how long it would take to get all the pieces out, read up on the rules, and start playing.

It took almost an entire hour to get all the dungeon tiles and other icons punched out of the large cardboard sheets and read up on the rules.  Even after reading the rules multiple times we were still all a bit confused despite my 25 year background playing role-playing games.  We decided to just dive right in and figure it out as the game progressed.

My suggestions for first time players:

1.  Make sure you read ALL of the rules by yourself prior to having friends over.  

2.  Punch out, organize, and bag up all the cardboard pieces in advance of your first session.

To start out you choose one of multiple adventures you would like to play.  Next the adventure tells you which cards and items you will need.  After gathering these you mix the specific dungeon tiles up with the generic tiles and place them within a stack of tiles from which you draw each round.  I know, it’s a bit confusing but it’s much easier if you can sit down and look at the pieces.  Then you choose which hero you would like to play and find the required cards for that hero.  Each hero has an attack they can do every round, an attack or stance they can do once per day, and some other one-time use abilities or items.  As the game progresses you find treasure which helps you reset these powers or obtain new powers in the form of magical items.

The game progresses like this:  

  • Hero Phase: This is the phase in which your hero moves through the dungeon and makes attacks against monsters.
  • Exploration Phase: This is the phase in which you add new Cavern tiles, draw Monster cards, and place Monsters.
  • Villain Phase: This is the phase in which you draw and play Encounter Cards as well as activate Villains.

Each player performs all three of these actions each turn, so by the time it is your turn again as many as 3 additional monsters may appear on the map and engage you in combat!  If you would like a detailed play by play (with images) of a session check out this site!

Opinion:  As a veteran RPG Game Master I found the game to be fun, but lacking and repetitive in many areas.   Take in mind that I have over 25 years of role-playing experience under my belt so my opinion is a bit biased.  As an introduction to D&D or a “D&D gateway game”, I think the Drizzt Board Game is excellent.  My family had a lot of fun playing it.  My 9 year old son enjoyed the game immensely and was quite excited each time his turn came up.  He played Drizzt and mangled most enemies he encountered very quickly.  My wife was interested in the game, perhaps a bit more so than traditional tabletop RPGs, but she found many of the rules constraining and suggested we throw out some of the rules and play it our own way.

Overall family score: 3/5

Name: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game
Company: Wizards of the Coast (HASBRO)

Price: $65 US

Type: RPG/Adventure

Number of Players: 1-5
Target Audience: 12+  (9+ will do fine) 

First time set-up: 45m-1hr
Subsequent set-up: 10-15m
Game time: 1-2hrs per adventure 

This game includes the following components:

  • 42 plastic heroes and monsters
  • 13 sheets of interlocking cardstock dungeon tiles
  • 200 encounter cards and treasure cards
  • Rulebook
  • Scenario book
  • 20-sided die

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