Thursday, 1 December 2016

A new ruleset for Wind on the Steppes

This blog has been sleeping for such a long time, that I’m not sure that anybody is still following it. All my apologies for those who were interested in it. Still, I’m feeding it today with some feedback, and I hope I will start it again when I’m finished with the current project: convert Wind on the Steppes to the newly edited D100 ruleset Revolution D100.

I’m working hard on it, so I hope that it can be ready for 2017. I’ll try to integrate some material from this blog. In the meantime, I encourage you to have a look at Revolution D100.

The rulebook has a very reasonable price for its 256 pages and can be found here
There are no rules for shamanism in the SRD, but of course they will be present in Wind on the Steppes.

The lucky visitors at Dragonmeet can have a look at the Alephtar Games' booth.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Khitan Customs

Khitan Hunters - National Palace Museum in Taiwan
Khitan are a mongolic tribe federation which founded an empire in northern China in the 10th Century, before being driven out by the Jurchen. This sino-mongolic empire was called the Liao Kingdom and is mentionned page 130 of Wind on the Steppes.

Gianni Vacca, the prolific rpg-blog-runner and author of The Celestial Empire sent me a link to a blog dedicated to languages. The linked entry is about the Khitan and provides the full translation of a chinese text describing many of their customs: "Record of the Lands North of Yan". This text has been written in 1058 by Wáng Yì 王易, an envoy of the Song. It is a superb source of material to bring credibility, colour, amazement and ideas in your game.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Where a shaman meets the Great Tiger

Siberian Tiger
Thanks to Gianni Vacca, I discovered an amazing video about the friendship between a goat and a tiger. It probably actually shows a shaman in goat form (certainly his Animal-Mother) negotiating with Bar, the Great Tiger Protector Spirit.

Enjoy !

Thursday, 17 December 2015

How Much, How Big ?

Horses (from the blog les-verts-tacots)

This is a question which arises in many situations during a game, and many settings propose guidelines or even price lists. But in an economy based on exchange, it is difficult to set any price list, and in an oral culture, accounting documents are missing. We are therefore obliged to extrapolate from reports written by foreign visitors. The following guidelines try to give a comprehensive estimate of numbers to be found among nomads, either for exchange or to estimate the size of an encounter. I based these numbers on reports from visitors or on the amount of beasts sold every year at the town market in Bukhara.

The following numbers are very rough, may vary widely and are only given as guidelines to create an encounter or as background elements for player characters.

Size of a camp
The camp of an important Bey can be as small as 50 yurts, split in groups of 3-6 yurts, each one housing a family. Such a camp would have 5-6000 heads of sheep and 3-600 horses. Goats, cows and camels are less numerous. The usual ratio between animals could be the following:
10-20 heads of sheep / horse
50-100 heads of sheep / goat
1 cow / 10 horses
1 camel / 5 to 20 horses (depending on the area)
An average family consisting in 6 members is expected to have 4 yurts and take care of 40 horses, 400-head flock of sheep, a few goats, 4 cows or yaks and 4 camels. In desert areas, increase the proportion of camels. Since camels and cows have a similar usage, it is possible that an isolated family lacks one of them.

Costs of goods
These can widely vary according to variety, scarcity or quality. The BRP rule using item value levels instead of money is therefore well suited to this setting. One can use sheep as kind of reference, if not as currency.
Cheap items are supposed to be made by the Nomads themselves.
One sheep is an “inexpensive” item.
An average item like an average horse costs about 10 inexpensive ones (sheep).
An expensive item “costs” at least 10 horses or 100 heads of sheep. For example camel, slave, metal armour, high quality silk dress, or wolf fur coats. Of course, there is no price limit to expensive goods.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The 7 treasures of the Buddhism

flicker user dknisely

Although Buddhism is a religion of renunciation, the temples are very rich, holding precious items like gold-plated statues decorated with pieces of jewelry. The rich Buddhist worshippers and the merchants travelling along the Silk Road have been encouraged to make gifts to the temples they visited on their ways, thus leaving there pieces of silk, gems and other materials, and in particular the Sapta Ratna, the “Seven Treasures”.

At first conceived as symbols of the authority and sovereignty, like a wheel for the law, an elephant for the king and so on, they slowly changed to more mundane goods like gems and jewels. As a real sign of respect for the Buddha, the caravans transported these treasures to the numerous temples spread all other the Silk Road… and at range of marauding Nomads. The Sapta Ratna can inspire a GM wanting to offer good reward to plundering Nomads PCs, or as precious goods to be protected by courageous caravan guards or pious monks.

The Seven Treasures of the Buddhism were: Gold, silver, pearls, lapis-lazuli, rock crystal and most probably coral from the Mediterranean. The seventh could have been amber, diamond, agate, cornelian or ammonite.
These treasures would be found in Buddhist temples, should anyone want to plunder them. Caravans transported of course much more other precious goods like musk, glass, furs, gems, art work and so on.

[note: despite the temporary unavailibilty of Wind on the Steppes, I'll continue to feed this blog, although at a slower pace.]