NaGaDeMon 2022

This year I am going to post my remix of 5e lore. Right now, this may not make much sense, here is what remix means specifically (in no particular order):

  • Two types of deities, Gods and Titans
  • No Alignment (including spells)
  • Feat Requirements
  • Optional Icons similar to the Archmage Engine. (Example: The Six-Armed Man)
  • Dragons organized by House instead of Chromatic/Gemstone/Metallic distinctions
  • Major Changes in Elemental and "Outer" Planes
  • As much of a bestiary as I can finish in a month
  • Travel in space, the Astral Sea, the Ethereal Plane, and anywhere else you want to go.
  • A different name for D&D Golems, automatons, and many other creatures with English names in parenthesis.
  • Using Ancestries, Bloodlines (maybe) and Cultures instead of race.
  • Magic weapons, Unique Magic Items, and spells.

A note about naming. I took a few Old English classes in college and still have my textbooks. Using a mix of English, Old English, Welsh books, Irish books, Frisian, and some things I've done with vulgarlang.com, I want to see how different it feels when there is a consistent, but different naming system for creatures.

Why?

I've modified tools to more easily make magic items and creatures on my computer locally. I still won't have much art, but I'll have content written. I've actually written about 25% of this.

Another idea that I've had for some time is the equivalent of stock art for writers. In other words, I make adventures, creatures, magic items, etc. with only descriptions, text, and statblocks. All of this stuff will be OGL, so folks can go crazy with it.

Tomorrow will start with Astral Sea, the Ethereal Mists, and the Elemental Planes.

Dal Tana, the Magical Salts of Shastra

General Notes

Dal Tana is the name given to the Five Salts that power salt mages. These salts can be consumed (in moderation) as food. Chefs all over the world make dishes with the bright colors of the salts. As such, most shops sell at least a little red, yellow, and blue salt. Black salt is the rarest and most expensive, rivaling the prices of fine jewelry. White salt is so common that it can be purchased in bulk for a few coppers.

Salt Mages, though, spend their lives mastering the ten forms defined by the accepted two-color and three-color combinations of the five salts. Each two-color combination fuels a different category of magical spells while the three-color combinations unlock special magical abilities.

Salt Mages use their own language to name and activate their spells. The source for this information uses Shastranusian words as is it provided from the miners and formen of the salt mines. These words appear in italics.

Mother of Salt

Mother-of-Salt (Flanya Vi Priru), is the source of the five salts. It transforms soil and rock to salt wherever it is buried, starting with black salt and growing outward to the other colors. The longer it is left undisturbed, the larger the salt deposits generated from the mother-of-salt. The largest mines in Shastra are believed to come from a single mother-of-salt that has been untouched for thousands of years.

Shastran Alchemists (Enzarosh) believe that they can split a Mother-of-Salt in two allowing for the creation of new mines. However, given the time scale required to generate enough salt, this is only theoretical.

Mining the Salt

Mining salt in Shastra is an arduous task. Salt must be dug out by hand with non-magical tools. It cannot be flooded with water to make brine for extraction by evaporation. The water will ruin the magical properties and flavors of the salt. Magic tools or even nearby magic items have a corrupting effect on black salt and a destructive effect on Mother-of-Salt.

Shastran Artificers (Oon Zerosh) are in high demand. They are renown throughout the world due to their extensive experience building effective, yet non-magical drills. These muscle-powered drills are similar to Archimedes screws normally used to pump water. The salt is hard, yet brittle; the drills are designed to allow most of the broken pieces to be gathered into carts. Drills range in size from the lever-powered tunnel borers to the personal hand drills operating by turning a crank.

As the miners dig deeper into the mine, some are tasked with reinforcing the tunnels with arches. Shastran Alchemists (Enzarosh) have developed a thick paste that interacts with the salt to create a substance they call concrete. The paste has a simple formula, lime, manufactured rock sand (meo loisha) or volcanic ash, and a bit of water. When the paste is applied to the walls of the tunnel, it transforms into a concrete arch to keep the tunnel from collapsing.

Working in the salt mine is dangerous without protective equipment. The three biggest dangers are dehydration, hypothermia, and inhalation of the salt. To protect from dehydration, miners cover all skin with a thick cloth garment and gloves. This also prevents hypothermia from the unnaturally cold tunnels. To prevent inhalation of the salt, Shastran Alchemists have developed a type of electrum called Gretuer Mona that makes the salt inert. A mask made of Gretuer Mona covers the nose and mouth of the miner. From time to time, an inert bright pink dust gathers on the mask and the miners merely wipe it off with their gloves.

Other Hazards of Salt Mining

The five salts react strongly to the presence of magic and spellcasters (Inzarosh) except for Salt Mages and Psions. The five salts become volatile and either activate random magical effects or detonate magical items and spellcasters. They doesn't affect the fey or fey creatures unless they use magic or cast spells. If the salt activates random magic, much of the precious salt is lost.

To protect the salt, security around the mine entrances is tight and the penalties severe. Guards line a perimeter around mine openings far enough away that magic will not trigger the salt. Visitors are questioned and sent away peacefully. Those that resist face nullification or worse.

Shastran alchemists originally developed Gretuer Mona to non-magically detect the presence of magic or persons that employ magic. Sprinkled on suspected magical items or spellcasters, it turns into a fine, brightly-colored pink dust in the presence of magic. The electrum alloy doesn't discriminate between divine or arcane spellcasters.

Those that do no consent to the test will discover that one or two psionic guards are stationed at every post. The guards will cover the area with Gretuer Mona to nullify any magic items and disrupt spells. Then they will attempt to force feed an elixir made with the electrum alloy to all trespassers. The elixir will temporarily nullify the ability to cast spells or commune with deities or patrons. It is extremely painful to spellcasters through intense headaches and a burning sensation. Sorcerers will writhe in intense pain from the transformation of their blood into dust. All others will have stomach pains, but no other harmful effects.

The elixir can last anywhere between two hours to forty days depending on the amount swallowed and the constitution of the victim. (This had horrific effects in the last war 30 years ago). The guards are punitive by order of the king. They will continue to force feed elixir until trespassers are unconscious or dead. For those they do not employ magic, either the psions will drive them away or the guards will cut them down. The five salts are the primary income for the Shastran kingdom, so no quarter is given to any potential threat.

Any unauthorized Salt Mage that approaches a salt mine suffers a fate worse that nullification. They are poisoned by their own salt, doomed to become a brightly colored zombie that vomits blue and red salt or a Dessicate (darnyawu), a Salt Mage lich whose magic is fueled by their body.

In short, don't mess with the guards of a salt mine. Since you cannot use spells or magic items to combat them, they will mess you up in ways worse than death.

Shastranusian Words

  • Cran Manucho - A brightly colored zombie that vomits bright red and blue salt created by posioning a salt mage with their own salt.
  • Danu Poa - Literally the Hollow Person. This is the name for those that use psionic powers.
  • Darnyawu - The Salt Mage lich created by poisoning a salt mage with their own salt.
  • Enzarosh - Shastran Alchemists. They are known for developing concrete, electrum alloys, and the nullification elixir. They are also employed to refine raw salt into its five component salts.
  • Flanya Vi Priru - Mother-of-Salt, the source of the Five Salts.
  • Gretuer Mona - An electrum alloy made of gold, silver, and a bit of platinum. The Shastran Alchemists alone know the formula. It can detect the presence of magic or magical items.
  • Inzarosh - A generic term in Shastran for any creature that can cast spells.
  • Meo Loisha - Manufactured rock sand. Shastran Alchemists and Artificers worked together to create this cheaper substitute for volcanic ash, a critical component in making concrete. Meo Loisha has to be very fine, almost like dust to active the salt in the mines.
  • Oon Zerosh - Shastran Artificers. They are renown for the creation of non-magical and non-clockwork machinery used to dig in the salt mines. They also worked with alchemists to develop a material used in making concrete.
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.