Ultra Violet Grasslands (now ENnie nominated!) by Luka Rejac is a wonderful book that distracts you so much with beautiful evokative art that you might miss some of the awesome rules tucked away in there. One of my favorites is below: SPELLS ARE INVENTORY TOO


A character in UVG can carry about 10 significant items. So spells can take up slots just like any other item, tool, or weapon. Spells carry a psychic weight which encumbers the character. And this makes sense in my experience. One can be so occupied with a problem that it literally weighs you down. But riffing on that, why stop at magic? 

Magic items could also take up extra encumbrance due to the psychological weight of carrying them despite their size- like Frodo and the Ring at the end of LotR. Elric's Stormbringer might be another. A good candidate might be the Deck of Many Things- just a deck of cards, but the weight of its potential fate-changing power is great.

More mundane items could do the same thing. For instance, if your PC is carrying the decapitated head of a ruler. A head might take up 1 slot, but the psychological weight could make it greater. Extending this further, what about sins or breaking of oaths? 

Every time the PC sins or goes against some aspect of their background, oath, or pledge- they have slots taken up. It's an additional tangible way the player can understand and experience their choice without resorting to taking negatives on to-hit and skill rolls.

This I think is quite interesting.

EDIT: Also would be good for "obligations" the PCs might pick up. Non-trivial things they know they should do but aren't getting around to doing. This might be particularly useful in a hex crawl.

EDIT2: Could also be used for curses like lycanthropy or ghoulification. Each aspect of the curse would be listed as its own set of 1-3 slots. Again representing the burden of the knowlege the PC carries about thier inner desires.

Well, if you can't get rid of it you can make it smaller via compartmentalization. Options include:
  • Complete your obligation (removal)
  • Seek holy intervention to pardon your guilt (removal)
  • Undertake a quest (removal)
  • Wear an object or talisman or keepsake (compress from X slots to 1 slot) but NPCs know your sin
  • Give in to the desire or curse (compresses from X slots to 1 slot) but DM controls your actions
SUMMARY- I think I really like this idea. It is a way to add player choice in how PCs manifest and deal with psychological guilt/curses/desires/transgressions/sin etc. It promotes its exploration without putting it at the center of the game. And it has a real meaningful (but not intrusive) game impact.

TREASURE: GP = XP; but value come in a lot of forms

Cyril Van Der Haegen is the artist
of one of the best 5e images


This is some of my musing about how I like to do XP in my BX games. Two other great ways: This article by Ben L. of Through Ultan's Door fame. And the below tweet.

Who the "crown, local lord, and guild" might be will change according to the lands the PCs are in. What follows is human-centric, but one can (and should) imagine a Fey lord will want something completely different as would a Death Knight or Ghoul Guilds.

Players might raise objections to a lot of the below and want a better arrangement. That's absolutely fine and expected. Remember (1) In accordance with GP = XP, they will receive XP for "gross" treasure recovered (pre-tax); (2) only the value they receive in GP is taxed; (3) If they want a better deal they should argue using the in-game fiction.


Flora & Fauna
Biles from animals
Nectars from plants
Salts from minerals

Rare Raw Goods

Gems & Jewelry
Gems- raw, imperfect, perfect, cut; type associated with a metaphysical/mythic property
Jewelry- magical individual pieces or sets that project power/honor an event
Candleholders, cups, silverware, china- denotes status


Professional organizations will want raw materials to manufacture various goods. Biles, Nectars, Salts, Cloth, Gems, and Rare Raw Goods.

Religious organizations will want artifacts lost to the church, the locations, and or bodies of important figures. They will also want to capture the same items of religions antithetical to their beliefs for destruction. Art, Books, Cloth, Statues, Icons, Emblems, and Weapons.

Nobelity will value display above all and want to track the latest trends. Art, Jewelry, "Perfect" Gems, Luxury Objects, and Weapons.

Illicit or Secret Organizations will want items of power that align with their agenda: Books, Weapons, Artifacts, and Magic Items.


Crown- will take 30% at the door

Local Lord- will take 20% at the door

Guilds- will take 25% of any sale within the confines; 10% from members (membership esoteric)


Develop standings and status among those who want items and control wealth exchange 

Thieves guild- will smuggle and help you avoid all the above for 25%

Fences will sell goods quickly, quietly, and/or maximum value (pick two). Not quickly means PCs will have to wait (one complete adventure maybe); not quietly means PCs will draw attention from Illicit or Secret Organizations; not max value means PCs will get less gold.


Fighters: Building a castle and raising troops takes gold, but before that it requires status, and for that, you must look the part and been seen as nobility.

Thief: The guild will require payment, but status in the guild will require increasingly more daring heists and increasingly rare items.

Clerics: Tithes and shrines must be built. Also, holy symbols made from various material symbolically connect to the gods will increase spell casting and the chance of miracles.

Wizards: Spell components can increase casting power, duration, and prevent spell slot loss. The component must have a symbolic, mythological, or alchemical connection to the spell being use. Each component takes up 1 slot of encumbrance as it has to be preserved and easy to reach.

Elves: Similar to Fighters and Wizards, but value magic items above all else.

Dwarves: Much the same as Fighters, but value relics and symbols like Clerics. Gems prized, pearls hated.

Halflings: Like Guilds, value rare and raw goods. Value books, fine cloth, luxury goods, but gifts given above else as a symbol of experience and community.


The wizard, Mayfly, is trying to work out how to bypass a lake horror that guards the bridge to Black Keep. Mayfly decides to create two potions of Flesh to Stone but add bile from a cockatrice and salt from the ground marble of a medusa-made statue

EFFECT: Since Flesh to Stone gives a save throw, the DM rules the inclusion of the bile and salt causes that save to be made at a -4. 

The thief, Fetch, wishes to receive divine protection against misfortune on her next sojourn to the Black Keep. Fetch prays at the temple of the Crow, god of the Wheel of Fortune & thieves & Kenku, and offers a jade ring and a ruby ring (both stolen). Jade is associate with the lost Serpent empire and ruby is associated with the heart.

EFFECT: The DM gives a positive sign to the thief (murder of crows swirls around them) and (secretly) gives them +4 to their next save (heart) vs. Poison (Serpent empire) roll from any source.

The fighter, Redd, has decided to entreat the local lord for the land around the Black Keep. After all no one is using it, what with all the death. They decide that because the lord is known for his strict adherence to protocol and formality, they will spend gold to: commission a new shield, clothing, and buy a quality horse & tack. Redd also brings a gift for the lord's high consort & seer: a book of astrology from the Black Keep.

EFFECT: Reaction roll is low: Because the fighter carries themselves in a manner befitting of a knight, the lord denies the land but agrees to confer a title on the fighter. However, they are approached later by the high consort, because of the gift, who has some information about the Black Keep.

The cleric, Fish, is concerned about the demons hold the throne room of The Black Keep. Fish decides to sanctify two bells in order to ring them when demons are speaking-- potentially breaking spells of corruption, lies, and charm. One pure silver bell is made from the silver rosary worn by the head Abbess (but Fish has to go on a quest in repayment) and the other two-handed great bell is made from the wood of a pulpit Fish saved from destruction.

EFFECT: Both bells are made of materials that reinforced the theme of Fish's diety. The DM rules the small one maybe be rung to remove a spell cast by a low-level demon. The larger, because its made from a pulpit, must be rung continuously but also the player of Fish must make sermons every round (CON check) to counteract a spell.

LAIR OF THE LAMB: At least 1/3rd of all PCs Escaped

A visual summary of the party's experience in Arnold K's Lair of the Lamb.
The players started with 9 PCs and ended with 3, plus the NPC, Akena, who they picked up in their escape from the clutches of the Lamb. One of my players did take some pretty extensive notes during the session and I'll have to get those on the blog at some point.

As a party, the players were very focused on getting out and generally did not spend too much time trying to find the various secrets. However, I was overjoyed when one of the players finally decided to eat the little green mushrooms they came across and received a vision from the god Shendormu.

The classes in italics above represent what each player picked once they leveled up from a 0-level to 1.

The Lair of the Lamb, I think, is a new classic in old-school gaming. It is based on a universal fear, being hunted in the dark by a monster, yet in the context of a highly interactable swords & sorcery setting which yields strong, strange rewards for player's who take a risk! The module demonstrates through play, how much players can do and have fun with 1d6 HP, a knife, a background, and a goal: escape. The dungeon revitalized.

In addition to a great module, Arnold as written fantastic DM advice, notes, and justification for choices in the module. This provides new DMs and those new to old-school play a solid foundation to understand the goals of the scene and how to ensure a good time. But he doesn't stop there, he has a section of advice for the players as well. Then to top it all off, the factions and setting a described juuust enough a DM can easily spin another 2-3 sessions out as the players move into the location were the dungeon is housed. Perfect. And as much as I love Tomb of the Serpent Kings, I think Lair of the Lamb pulls ahead. But play both- they are free and far better than 90% of what's out there.