Brymstone


“Making for Brymstone are you?” the innkeeper asked.

“They’re a sly lot there – have the silver out of your purse and the boots off your feet as soon as look at you. Give themselves airs too – though they’re no better nor I.” He looked anxiously at the already darkening sky.

“Just stay on the road is my advice. On days like this you’re best not to leave it for anything,” he adds.

“If you get there, head for the First and Last – the beds there are nearly as good as ours”.

The lone inn is soon lost in a fold of the wild, rolling heathlands. The ill-made road rises over the high and windswept moor before descending into a country of neat farmsteads and rich meadows. Yet soon there are signs of the town. Tumbledown shacks huddle round smithies, loom houses, and dyers’ vats. Grimy children and scrawny chickens run in the road.

Brymstone is smelt before it is seen. A curious taint of smoke, rotting fish and seaweed, stale urine, tar and the unmistakeable whiff of greed. There it is, at last, a sprawl of a place, like a sleeping dragon. Strong walls are its flanks, tight-packed rooftops its scales, and the haze of wood smoke its breath.

Many others are on the road now. Red-cheeked country folk herding geese to market. Grizzled trappers with their pack ponies and overladen carts, swaying down the ruts. At the city gate, two guards eye you warily. One is tall and surly looking, the other stout and balding. Each wears a leather cuirass and holds a staff surmounted by a coat of arms. Short, single-edged swords hang at their belts.

“Have you lawful business in Brymstone?” the surly guard demands, while his mate scuttles away to the gatehouse. An officer appears dressed in a fine coat of mail. “I am Gothwin, captain of the gate. All law-abiding strangers are welcome in Brymstone.”

“But the law of this place demands that no man shall go armed through the streets, save for his dagger. Further, no man may openly practise magics or illusions, save in his own home. I order you then, in the name of the Guild Council, surrender your weapons and talismans into my charge, or else turnabout and return whence you came.”

Serpent King Games is very pleased to announce that we will be publishing Robert Dale’s legendary Brymstone campaign. Dragon Warriors fans have whispered of Brymstone for many years. Brymstone is renowned as one of Dragon Warriors creator Dave Morris’s own favourite campaigns to play in, but information about it is elusive. Dave has posted a few excerpts and memories on his blog. Hardier seekers of fortune may have tracked down ancient, yellowing copies of Red Giant magazine, an eldritch tome written in the last millennium, which published the start of what was to be a complete campaign setting. Unless you were lucky enough to be part of Robert’s own gaming group, that was all you could get your hands on.

Robert is typing up his notes as we speak, and we hope to get Brymstone released towards the end of 2021, as a PDF and print book from DriveThruRPG. It seems that next year is Thuland-themed!

Press release: The Cursed King adventure

“Thuland welcomes you! The town of Oskild is celebrating a prosperous year and the Master of Rings Festival has something for everyone: games, hunts, song and plenty of food and mead. There is much to do here and the rewards are rich for those who are worthy. Oskild also has a myth, that of a cursed king who suffered for his people, a magical artefact used in revenge, and dwarves who retreated deep into the earth in shame…”

The next release for Dragon Warriors will be The Cursed King, by Jonathan Hicks. We are anticipating a February 2021 release date, as a 64-page print and PDF book. As ever we will round out the adventure with source material on the warlike kingdom of Thuland, and its jarls, merchants, farmers, smiths, and raiders, as well as adventure hooks so you can expand the adventure into a short Thuland campaign if desired.

The Cursed King is an adventure for players with characters of Rank 5-6, of any profession and heritage.

We are very much looking forward to exploring the northern waters and crags of Thuland with you!

State of the Snake, 2020

It’s been a while. Sorry about the wait, folks.

A lot of this is kinda State of the Ian, to start with! Uh I never claimed to be completely lacking in ego. I handed in the corrected, final version of my PhD thesis late last year. What with the global pandemic and all, it took a while for various external examiners and exam boards to do their thing, but as of June 2020, I officially have a doctorate in games! Which is pretty cool.

But it did take ten years, near enough. What with that and, for most of the decade, a full-time lecturing job, I struggled to keep on top of SKG work. Many, many thanks to Chris, for sticking around through all of that, and to the other SKG folks who’ve now moved on to bigger and better things: Jon, Gar, and Kieran. I’m sorry to you all, and to Dave and company at Fabled Lands LLC, and to all the Dragon Warriors fans, for not doing much more than keeping the game and the company in a holding pattern, for so long.

I think it’s about time that Serpent King Games awoke from hibernation, though. My day job is still frequently… a lot of work. But I love Dragon Warriors, and Legend, and you lot, to bits, and I’m determined to make a lot more time for more SKG releases in the coming years.

Fortunately we are doing OK financially — largely through not taking a salary! Our monthly payment from DriveThruRPG rarely has much left after paying royalties to Fabled Lands, and paying the accountant. But the big Bundles of Holding sales every few years do bring us a good surplus. The first one was used primarily to secure the remaining print stocks of Dragon Warriors from the Magnum Opus days. The second one should let us launch a new supplement or two.

I’ve spent the past month or so going down our fairly scant submissions pile and figuring out what needs doing next for each one. Look out for some more announcements over the next few days.

It’s been fantastic to see some real love for Dragon Warriors from the community while SKG has been kinda quiet. Big thanks to Dave Morris, as ever, for making this awesome game and world, letting the rest of us play in it, and sharing his thoughts and adventure materials over the years. More recently, many thanks to Simon Barns and his team at Casket of Fays — if you’ve not checked out this well-made Dragon Warriors fanzine, grab the first issue free.

Serpent King Games Statement on Black Lives Matter

First up, apologies for taking so long to write this. As many of you know, this is very much a part-time labour of love for the two of us, and so while we agreed a few weeks back that we needed to write something… it’s taken a while to make the time. But it’s fitting that this is our first statement on anything in most of a decade.

Black lives matter.

Racial injustice, state violence, and other forms of oppression have a disproportionate impact on the Black community, both in the UK where we live, in the USA where protests against that oppression are ongoing, and elsewhere.

Silence is violence, but it is not enough to speak out. We have donated £500 to Black Protest Legal Support. Protests work, and it’s vital that activists can protest safely and receive help if arrested.

We will also be taking active steps to amplify more diverse voices and talents within the tabletop roleplaying game community. Our hobby has the potential to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Let’s work together to ensure we reach that potential. We’ll have more news on what we plan to do, in a few months. Our next few releases for Dragon Warriors are planned out already, but we still hope to make a start on this important work.

Trading at Dragonmeet on Saturday

We’ll be trading at Dragonmeet in London this coming Saturday, with four boxes of printed stock. Come and find us on your right as you come through the main door.

The Reeve’s Tale is released!

After a very successful Bundle of Holding campaign, we’re ready to release the latest in the fantastic “Tale” series, from Kieran Turley, the Reeve’s Tale.

Madness and dark magicks afflict the land! When the latest lord of Brochleah is determined to live through the dread curse that taints his family, you are his only hope.

A horror scenario to challenge a group of Dragon Warriors characters of 5th to 6th rank.

Will you accept the challenge of Dragon Warriors?

Reeve’s Tale cover

We are lucky enough to have arranged to have cover art for The Reeve’s Tale by the incredibly talented Frank Victoria, whose concept art you will have seen make it into props and costumes and such in major Hollywood movies such as The Hobbit and Thor

This is the cover!

 

Dragon Warriors News

It’s been a while since the last general update. Sorry about that. We’ve all been busy, as per usual. I personally am unable to devote much time to SKG right now due to a combination of day-job workload, and final months of PhD write-up. I’m hoping I should be on the home stretch of my PhD by the end of summer, and able to get back to it, but at the moment I barely have time to do the essentials like the accounts.

Fortunately, Chris and Kieran have been hard at work trying to finish off some older projects that have been languishing in development hell for a while. Here’s where we are with those:

The Reeve’s Tale. This is written, and laid out, and ready to go, except we’re waiting on one last map. Hopefully this should be available on DTRPG over the next few weeks, though.

Cold Fury. As many of you know, we struggled for a long while to secure the rights to all the material from the Magnum Opus Press edition of In From The Cold. We came to the conclusion that we just weren’t going to get a chance to reprint The Key of Tirandor. That would have left the book a bit short, especially because we didn’t want to make you buy the Daemonology rules twice (they are now in the Players Book, after all). So, for the first time in hardcopy form, we’ve added in Fury of the Deep, the much-loved scenario by Jon Reed and Damian May. This seemed to need a new title… so, In From the Cold + Fury of the Deep = COLD FURY. Cold Fury, too, is close to being finished — the layout will change a little, and we’ve written a new intro, but this is largely a reprint of both text and art, so it should be pretty quick. Expect it soon after The Reeve’s Tale.

The Summoner’s Tale. This is the next short adventure. Still needs some tweaking, and art. We’ll get there though.

That’s all for the moment (we have other stuff on the back burner, but aren’t ready to raise hopes yet!), but, rest assured, we’ve not all vanished, and we’re still committed to bringing you new(ish) stuff for Dragon Warriors, as fast as we can.

Fabled Lands Kickstarter

Dave Morris, co-creator of Dragon Warriors, has a new Kickstarter project for his much-loved Fabled Lands gamebook series. This reunites Dave and Jamie Thomson, the original Fabled Lands writers, with Russ Nicholson, the classic fantasy artist who illustrated the original Fabled Lands series (as well as Book 6 of the 1980s edition of Dragon Warriors, among many other things).

Want to see a sequel to the Fabled Lands? We didn’t see one for many years, and the reason is largely one of money. In the glory days of the 1980s, you could publish a gamebook (or even a paperback RPG book like Dragon Warriors…), see it stocked in major bookshops, sell tens of thousands of copies, and expect, not to become wealthy (chance would be a fine thing) but at least to make a reasonable living as a writer and game designer. These days that’s a lot trickier, even using Kickstarter, even for an established author.

But Fabled Lands, and their partners at Megara, are managing it. They’ve funded the Kickstarter already (within 45 minutes!). There will be a new Fabled Lands book. More funding will mean better art, though. Get to it. 35 euro for a hardcover, beautifully illustrated, fantastically written slice of gaming magic.

Oh, and it’s called The Serpent King’s Domain, which would make us feel very happy here at Serpent King Games, if the title had anything to do with us! It seems to be one of those ‘great minds think alike’ moments, though.

Fabled Lands: The Serpent King’s Domain Kickstarter

Friends or Foes Available in POD Format

Just a quick update to say that Friends or Foes is now available in POD format:

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/93970/Friends-or-Foes

You can expect more of our catalogue to appear in POD over the next few weeks.

The Summoner’s Tale and The Reeve’s Tale are still in editing with a third book in the planning stages.

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