An Etruscan Dodecahedron

Cúarapom – A Lost Dice Game

Note: This post is a piece of indirect world building. The post itself is about a fictional ancestor to Yahtzee from 3rd century Rome. The world building touches on ancient Roman-Chinese trade, the rise of Esperanto, and historical records. Cúarapom is pronounced (Quar-a-pom, not the way I keep saying it, Quare-uh-pom)

History of Cúarapom and It's Language, Arcaicam Esperantom.

Flavio Biondo

Scholars had long believed that Flavio Biondo, 15th century historian, had a lost work that detailed Roman history from the time of the Etruscans to 410 AD as a prequel to his famous history, Historiarum ab inclinatione Romanorum imperii decades. Notes from his posthumous publisher hinted at note of pre-Roman times, but nothing conclusive.

Churchill Babington's Personal Effects

In 1865, Churchill Babington published An Introductory Lecture on Archaeology that points to a paper written in his early career about the Preists of Nortia. In this paper, he mentioned the famous fertility rite, but also attributes the Goddess of Fate with a relic of a dodecahedron discovery in the 1830s near the Palatine Hills. Quoting an unknown work of Biondo, he describes the twelve-sided object as a divination device for Nortian priests.

Amongst his effects after Babington's death was a manuscript of Biondo's lost work that detailed Etruscan and Roman history. This work features many pieces of works thought to be lost to antiquity, including a passage written by Livy that details the dodecahedron, its symbols, and the possible meaning of the results. Livy also mentioned that there were, in fact, four dodecahedrons, each with their own symbols. Babington appeared to have no small fascination with these objects producing a reconstruction based on citations from Livy.

Connections to Arcaicam Esperantom

Another discovery near Shenyang in the 1870s produced missing pieces of Wei lio, a 3rd century document that describes relations between Rome and China written by Yu Huan. Babington had a translated copy, but many discredit this translation as wildly inaccurate and prone historical errors. (The original document has been authenticated and current English translations have corrected these issues.)

The new manuscript describes the relationship of Lieou Tche-ki to a Roman he names Feng-Ti, "Crazy Western Barbarian". As a part of their business relationship, Feng-Ti attempts to invent a trading language to assist his men in understanding the cargo they are transporting. It even includes some of the vocabulary and grammar that clearly demonstrates Latin and Chinese root words modified by affixes.

It appears that Lieou Tche-ki rejected this idea, but entertained it enough to humor his trading partner. Over the course of his musings, he mentions a pastime of the sailors that he writes as Cuarapom, using the trading language.

Arcaicam Esperantom

After L.L. Zamenhof published Unua Libro 1887, devotees called for numerous changes to Esperanto. Zamenhoff continued to refine Esperanto by translating other works, especially poetry. This changed when he heard of the new additions to Wei lio and their publication in English. Friends had mentioned the passage describing Feng Ti's trading language and acquired a copy to study.

His goal was to recreate a language that he saw as an ancestor to Esperanto. With this ancestor language, he would then attempt to evolve it in much the same way that Romance languages evolved from Latin. This would address a frequent criticism that Esperanto had no history and felt contrived.

In 1893, he produced a manuscript for Arcaicam Esperantom, but never published it. It is believed that the attempt to create this ancestor languge was the main cause in the rejection of 1894 update to Esperanto. His 1904 changes removed many of the inventions seen in his 1894 draft.

Cúarapom's Survival

A curious exception to the rejection of Zamenhof's 1894 version of Esperanto, was the inclusion of a game he named Kvarapo, a curious game of Four-of-a-Kind. He also mentions the game by a different name, Cúarapom, apparently pointing to the so-called ancestor of Esperanto. The odd dodecahedrons described in the game were produced and the game was briefly popular in Europe.

This popularity led to uncovering the Arcaicam Esperatom manuscript featuring the full set of rules written in that language. Zamenhoff's notes made it clear that he kept all of the words of the original game described in Wei lio, but added the names of certain results and filled in missing pieces in the game itself that he discovered through playing it.

When the game was published in 1901, it was published in English and Arcaicam Esperatom along with a modified version of the history calling it "The Game of Roman Sailors". The game became popular and was enjoyed on both sides of the Atlantic.

With the advent of World War I, the game lost popularity due to the issues in manufacturing the dice. After World War II a similar game named Yacht grew in popularity and in 1956 a version of it named Yahtzee was published by Milton Bradley.

Cúarapom's Revival

In recent years, I've become interested in Cúarapom. I hope to make the dice, but I get by with a d6 numbered 1 to 3, a d4, a d6, and a d12. In the meantime, I have created score sheets and cleaned up an older version of the English rules. (There will be edits.)

I kept a few of the original names of results, but it felt like too much mental overhead to use them all. That's why Three of a Kind is in English instead of the original term, Triapom. Sinsecúom for a straight felt like a big stretch when there are already other vocabulary words. I hope I found the right balance.

In playing the game, I've found that it is difficult to score in the lower section. Most games are won by the strategic use of the upper section and the two categories that are similar to Chance in Yahtzee. It is extremely difficult to score the Pluy Gravam and attempts to roll it, even with a 4th Roll token have proven unsuccessful.

Let me know what you think.

Cosmology for 3d20 Supers


Throughout the vast infinite multiverses known as the Omniverse, there are 10 dimensions, 1 Fundamental Force, and 1 Fundamental Particle.

The Fundamental Force and Fundamental Particle

The Fundamental Force exists in all multiverses and has infinite names. It is the force that holds all measurement, time, and possibilities together. The most common names are The Singularity, The Breath, Magic, The Universal Equation, or the OmniForce. In this game, the Fundamental Force is called Magic.

The Fundamental Particle is known only in some of the multiverses where sentient species actively interact with the Fundamental Force. Like the Fundamental Force, it has an infinite number of names. In this game, the Fundamental Particle is called an Em Particle.


The first four dimensions are familiar to many: length, width, depth, and time. All creatures move about in space-time within their respective universes. In other words, creatures travel from one place to another and experience time as a series of moments that make up the past and the present moment. The future represents moments that have yet to occur. For a game that never ventures other galaxies and stays largely centered on Earth, this will be all that any character needs to know.

For time travel within a universe, Chronotons or Time Particles are used to generate a field that measures relative time. Once time is mapped, time travel is possible.

Parallel Universes

Dimensions five and six deal with probability and all possible outcomes of events that happen in any given moment. Pithanotons or Probability Particles are used to generate a field that measures relative probabilities of parallel universes. In other words, It is a GPS of parallel universal travel that enables you to safely travel back and forth in parallel universes. Hexaton Fields are a combination of Pithanoton and Chronoton particles that allow travel to parallel worlds at any point in time in those worlds.

For universes that develop travel to parallel universes, Hexaton Fields allow travelers to arrive back in their homeworld at the exact moment after they left.

Strange Universes

Dimensions seven, eight, and nine deal with completely alien universes where the laws of physics operate differently. These universes include the realms of the Gods, anti-matter universes, and madness-inducing worlds.

Travel to these worlds requires the use of the Fundamental Force or the  Fundamental Particle. Magic is typical for universes that are not scientifically developed, Em Particles are used in worlds that have an advanced understanding of science and magic. It is not possible to understand Em Particles without an understanding of Magic.

More details about the methods of travel to strange universes are covered in the Magic section.


  • The Omniverse is comprised of all possible universes within all ten dimensions.
  • Magic is not unexplained science, it is a fundamental force that exists everywhere in the Omniverse.
  • With the right science, it is possible to travel in space, time, and parallel universes.
  • With magic, it is possible to travel in space, time, parallel universes, and strange universes.

Cosmology Idea

A cosmology idea that I wanted to jot down. Feel free to use it.

The void of the multiverse is rife with necrotic or negative energy. We might call that entropy, heat death, friction, etc. The point is that a living creature at any point in the universe will slowly die due to exposure to necrotic energy.

Planets and asteroids are exceptions. These points of life are direct connections to the life force of the universe. In a traditional D&D sense, this may be the Positive Energy plane, but it could be any form of energy that gives life, renews, or otherwise cancels out necrotic energy.

Life evolves on planets due to the connection to this life force. Outside of the relative shelter of a planet or asteroid, the universe really is trying to kill you, but not deliberately.

I felt like thinking of cosmology this way might allow for an alternate spelljammer where ships are powered by a Spring of Life or some other gem or device that is a fist-sized planet. The small device provides air to the ship, but also propels itself by canceling the necrotic energy around it. (This would be why planets move.)

Just an idea. I may develop it more later.