If you did not know, Swords of the Serpentine (or Eversink according to all my filenames) is up for Preorder.  Very few of the projects in my life can I point to and say with 100% confidence “I am proud of this work” but I am proud of Eversink.  If you’re into RPGs in any way, it’s a game that is worth your $$$.  The amount of work and love poured into the game is staggering.

My contribution was the city.  Not being much of a “rules guy,” I put together the City that is Eternally Sinking into the lagoon.  Not sinking all at once, but a little at a time. Over the centuries, it builds up.  The layers accrete.  As you delve lower and lower into the Eversink Underbasements, you dig up hidden secrets someone, somewhere, in time, hoped would sink away and be buried forever.  Nasty sorcerers, demons, small gods, forgotten races, intelligent fungi, cult lairs, secret-laden books, portals through time, you name it, it’s down there somewhere.

So that’s cool.

I’m attracted to well-developed settings. My favorite setting of all time is Planescape.  Back in the early days of eBay, I bought ever AD&D 2nd Ed Planescape adventure, book, boxed set, and add-on.  I’ve read through them all.  My favorite Planescape setting is Sigil.  I’m one of those people who could not get enough of the City of Doors.  Sure, the planes are cool and all, and the little towns that park at the gates right before the planes with their little weird alignments are cool, too.  But nothing has the sheer bonkers awesomeness of Sigil.

And then there’s Blades in the Dark, which has Duskvol, and its glorious, glorious map.

If the game is set modern day, it can lean on Fodor’s travel guides.  If it’s in a historical setting, it can lean on history books and old maps.  But a 100% fantasy game requires a complete setting as rich as a Duskvol or a Sigil.  I cannot say Eversink is as rich as Sigil — Sigil has several of its own splats to build out what was in the original Planescape boxed set — but it, you know, it has markets and food carts and churches and cops and people and places and things.

Eversink is based on my wandering around Venice once, yes, but also other historical places — the bazaars of Medieval Alexandria and Cairo, the winding dirty back alley streets of early modern London and Paris, the early Universities in Germany, the rise of the white, austere cities of the Hanseatic League. I tend to be rooted in history, learn lessons, and mine the real world for ideas.

I had this idea in my head of the last shining moment before the end for Venice — May 19th, 1498.  That’s the day before Vasco Da Gama walked off the Sao Gabriel at Calicut (Kozhikode) and the world changed forever and ever and ever.  200 printing presses were operating in Venice in 1488, 10 years earlier, most of them churning out cook books, translations of Greek classics, and early smut.  447 Venician-produced books were in circulation in 1498. 1498 was the furthest and most glorious extent of Empire.

And yeah, Ankh-Morpork.

Eversink is rich, and powerful, and has trade fleets, and crazy people wanting to make some quick cash, and sorcerers, and ancient secrets, and angry forgotten gods.  And a certain shining perfect optimism ready to be darkened, at any moment, by plot.

It’s good. You should buy it.  It will make these pandemic times better.

Stats:

  • 14,604,942 test results.
  • 1,685,408 confirmed cases.
  • 99,384 confirmed dead.  We’re passing 100K today…
  • 466,076 recovered.
  • 47,754 cases in MD with 2,357 dead.
  • 1 out of every 188 people have it in Howard County.

These numbers are just mind boggling.