Archive for the 'Planarch Codex' Category

Dark Heart of the Dreamer (Print)

July 27, 2013


Thanks to Sage and Adam, I now have 70 35 copies of the original print version of Dark Heart of the Dreamer to put into your hands. Thanks to the magic of USPS Global Forever stamps, shipping to anywhere in the world is included in the $10 price. The Paypal button below will get you one, assuming that they aren’t already sold out.

To summarize, Dark Heart of the Dreamer is the first supplement for Dungeon World in the Planarch Codex series. More information about its contents is available here on the page for the PDF version. The print version is a 3.5×5-inch pocket-sized, 32-page, chipboard and 100% recycled paper, soy-based-ink offset-printed, saddle-stitched (i.e. stapled) booklet. It is very stylish, but because of that, it is more expensive than something you might print on a photocopier.

There’s a possibility that these may be reprinted as part of a Kickstarter for future Planarch Codex material, but no promises on when that will be.

NOTE: It’s possible that there may be some issues with shipping. This is always the case when you are dealing with physical objects and, potentially, multiple different international postal systems. Please be patient. Also, I reserve the right to refund anyone’s money after two good-faith attempts to ship the booklets, since I don’t want to keep sending the limited number of copies I have into a black hole.

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Planarch Codex: Dark Designs

February 9, 2013

Jason Morningstar asked if I was willing to share the InDesign document for Dark Heart of the Dreamer so other folks could see how I put it together. But of course!

Here’s a modified version of the layout that uses easily available fonts: Times New Roman, Bebas, and Blackmoor LET.

DARK DESIGNS: A Scoutbook mock-up inspired by the Planarch Codex.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Planarch Codex: Cartography of Dis

January 28, 2013

And here’s two different maps of Dis, one with Tony Dowler’s amazing art to help seed your imagination, and one with just the outline of the city and the borders of districts and neighboring planes (in case you want to make the city fully your own).




Planarch Codex: Planes of Dungeons

January 26, 2013

Here’s the sheets I use when I run the Planarch Codex using World of Dungeons


The Parishes of Dis

August 18, 2012

Just a map sketch, drafted for the 4th playtest of the Planarch Codex next week. The idea is for the map to print light enough that you can draw buildings and other stuff on top of it. Plus, the parishes are created by the players and the boundaries of them can change over time as the city grows. For example, in the last playtest, the top half of the central tower fell and crushed one of the other parishes.

Dark Heart: Wicked, Invisible Cities

July 14, 2012

There are many ways to generate random planes and parishes for your game; this is merely one possible method.

The city of Dis always invades planes through urban areas, due to its sympathetic resonances with created spaces. These can be currently inhabited or long-since abandoned, such as vast ruins or tomb complexes. Consequently, it’s possible to generate both the parishes of Dis (the planes it’s already completely consumed) and the planes it is currently invading using the same method: they both involve fantastical urban locales.

Writing and then playtesting a set of tables for generating planes and parishes is an immense task, but luckily we can stand on the shoulders of giants. When you visit a new plane or parish, pick one of the themes on the following chart or roll-1 (with the result being a number 1-11, matching with the themes on the left side). Start with the first city with that theme, looking up the appropriate entry in Italo Calvino’s classic book, Invisible Cities, and using the entry to inspire your own vision of the locale. Color in the numbered circle to the left of the city’s name, to mark that it’s been used. The next time you pick the same theme, look up the next unused city.

Then, if you are visiting a parish, imagine how the place has been overrun and remade into a borough of Dis. What has persisted, in an altered form? What has been turned into something unrecognizable? What remains of the original inhabitants and how have they adapted? What people and institutions from other parts of the city have moved in?

Alternately, if you are visiting a plane, roll+0 to see how well it has resisted Dis’s advance. On a 12+, the city’s invasion has just begun and most of the residents of the plane have no idea. On a 10+, Dis has established a solid outpost in a single location; some natives are growing concerned. On a 7-9, the invasion has spread across the plane and its inhabitants faces dire choices about whether to attempt some dangerous plan or resistance or take action to preserve as much as they can before the inevitable end. On a failure, the plane is all but consumed and everyone there is struggling to deal with the fallout.

If Calvino’s description doesn’t provide enough sense of dynamism, suitably pro-active NPCs, or interesting situations for the PCs to become involved in, consult the “oracles” from D. Vincent Baker’s sword and sorcery game, In a Wicked Age, available online at The oracles named The Unquiet Past and A Nest of Vipers are probably the most appropriate for this game, but draw inspiration from Blood & Sex and God-Kings of War as you like.

For an alternate method of plane generation, you might try using the planet-generation rules in Kevin Crawford’s Stars Without Number, which is also available for free online.

Planarch Codex: Human Heritage

March 21, 2012

The new heritage rules in the Planarch Codex (“when you invoke your rights of blood and tradition”) means that humans need some monster moves. Here’s my initial shot at those.

Humans are short-lived creatures of passion and destiny. They may be weak and petty from the perspectives of most other species, but they feel more deeply, love more strongly, and recklessly attempt the most dangerous and impossible things, for their timelines are measured in years, not centuries. And, for that, the gods and demons favor them above nearly all others. Want to get things done or shake things up? Throw some humans at a situation.

Monster Moves

  • make someone fascinated by you
  • escape from restraint, bondage, or captivity
  • earn the attention of one or more powerful forces
  • persevere
  • any other monster move that doesn’t require special powers or abilities (reflecting the incredible diversity of human ethnicity and culture)

Planarch Codex: Posse Creation

March 19, 2012

Cleric! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping sell-swords, cut-purses, and diabolists!

  • Yes, for I have been defrocked for the crime of ________ and sent into exile, though the god ________ still heeds my prayers and must have some plan for me.
  • Yes, for I am the last surviving keeper of the ancient and noble faith of ________, now lost to (violence, time, cataclysm, fissure, or conversion).
  • Yes, for I am a dark templar of my faith, charged to seek out lost secrets, sources of power, and ________, all for the greater glory of ________.

Fighter! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping apostates, cut-purses, and diabolists!

  • Yes, for I was born and raised among the wretched and outcast in ________, living hand to mouth, dreaming of future riches and ________.
  • Yes, for I am the black sheep (or exiled scion) of the noble house of ________, and this is the ignoble company I keep, obscuring and protecting me from ________, who has “great plans” for me.
  • Yes, for I am through with the wars and battles of ________, and will live out the rest of my days as a servant to my own interests, seeking ________.

Rogue! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping sell-swords, apostates, and diabolists!

  • Yes, and what else is new? I used to ________ with ________, and they were no better than this lot, that’s for certain.
  • Yes, but it’s only a temporary situation. You see, I have grand plans for ________, if only ________ would stop blocking my path to true greatness.
  • Yes, but how else would these idiots know where to find big piles of loot? They’re the unfortunate cost of doing business and I have this great job in mind where we can get ________ from ________.

Wizard! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping sell-swords, apostates, and cut-purses!

  • Yes, and such is the lot of a wizard, to be shunned and feared by pleasant society. Luckily these unsavory types don’t ask too many questions about my strange and unsavory practices, such as ________ and ________.
  • Yes, but once the wizards of ________ acknowledge the true earth-shattering potential of my new line of research into ________, they will beg me to teach them my methods.
  • Yes, but I’m not your average hide-behind-the-armored-dude hedge-mage who crawls head-first into a hole in the ground wearing fancy robes. I like to get my hands dirty. How else do you learn the real stuff like ________ and ________?