A Life Of Fiction XXXVI

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Gas-Lamp Fantasy Role-playing: As you may be aware, dear reader, I have been working on a gas-lamp fantasy role-playing game in the past. In fact, I have spent many hundreds of hours working away on the system. I finished the core rules, and several supplements. I have put some of the completed supplements on the Amazon Kindle store.

I spent a year and a half working away on this system, and wrote more than a million words. I completed a lot of what I set out to do. But there are several supplements for the RPG which are still unfinished. I do intend to complete those supplements, in some distant future. But I’m not sure exactly when, as I cannot face doing any more to the system, at the moment. After working so hard on the thing I need a break. It has been a break of more than a year at the moment.

What I have decided to do is to put the rest of the completed works on Kindle; and to put extracts from the unfinished books on this site, so that people can get access to some of the work which I have done. The works on Kindle, for copyright reasons, will not have much in the way of illustrations. But all of the original text will be there.

The unfinished works will have extracts appear on this site in coming months. They will be found in the RPG pages. To give an example of the sort of thing to be found I have included, below, the chapter on Travel Beneath The Surface, taken from the (incomplete) Beneath The Gas-Lamp World.

Note that should I finally get around to completing these supplements, then the extracts from them will be removed from this website. I am not a charity, I’m afraid, and I need to find some way of making a living. It has been suggested that I do so through some of the supplements to the Gas-Lamp Fantasy Role-Playing Game. But, until that occurs, they will be here, free, for role-players to enjoy.

Travel beneath the Surface

(From Beneath The Gas-Lamp World)

Some of the realms listed in the book are a long way beneath the surface of the world. They will be hard to reach, even if the characters are aware of them. There are really only three ways in which the characters can reach the realms listed in the book from the surface of the world.

Spelunking: This is the low tech approach. It is a form of travel which any group of character may attempt (of course the term spelunking has not yet been invented, and will not be for another fifty years).

The characters will need climbing and rappelling equipment. They should take plenty of rope, as well as a lot of food. Reaching some of the realms listed will take a great deal of time.

The characters should ideally have Climbing as a skill, and the higher the better.

The Mole Machine: This is a way of using high technology to journey down beneath the surface of the Gas-Lamp World.

Jules Verne, that great French wizard and scientist, if released from the schloss in Prussia where he is being held prisoner when the campaign starts (see other Gas-Lamp Fantasy books) will immediately start work on designs which he has imagined while being a prisoner of the Prussians. (It is also during this period that Jules Verne will complete the design of the Nautilus).

Magick: The third way of reaching the underground realms will be by Magick, specifically by Portal Magick. But that has big disadvantages, as Portal Magick is a school of Magick which is almost lost – player characters will not start out knowing this school. It would be a very experienced player character wizard who would have the amount of ranks needed in that mystical school to travel hundreds of miles beneath the surface of the world. It is possible that the player characters find some powerful NPC wizard who can transport them to one of these hidden realms.

There are other things to consider when they characters venture down below the surface of the world, unless they want their adventures to be disastrous.

The Reason for Travel: Why venture down beneath the surface of the world? The main reason for this is to seek adventure, or to repeat some legendary journey which they have heard about. The characters may hear tell of some person who ventured deep below the surface of the world, and discovered one of the realms listed in this book.

The characters may hear directly from some individual who found themselves in some hidden world. Perhaps they meet some aged miner who broke through to some other world, and stayed there for years before finding his way back to the surface.

They may find some old account from hundreds of years ago, perhaps some book or vellum scroll. Perhaps some eleventh century monk followed tunnels to and underground civilisation. Perhaps some medieval wizard used a spell to transport himself to some underworld. They may simply come in contact with some impossible map (see the section on maps, below).

Another reason is searching for some lost relative. Perhaps some cousin has not returned after going in to explore some cave system in Wales, and the characters go in search of the missing geologist, not aware that he is now in a hidden civilisation thirty miles beneath the surface of the earth.

Maps: It is almost essential that the characters make a map as they go. If none of the characters have any skill with cartography then they should hire somebody to go with them who can. There is little point in finding great secrets under the surface of the earth if the characters cannot make it back up to the surface world to tell of their fantastic journey.

Of course the characters may already be in possession of some strange map, and that is the reason why they are embarking on this mission in the first place. Perhaps they have discovered some yellowed old scroll, telling them of the route to take to this land miles beneath the surface of the world. Which is fine, as far as it goes – except that such old maps tend to be inaccurate. The characters should still take somebody who is good at mapping, to correct any mistakes on the old map which has come into their possession.

Food and Water: The characters should consider the fact that, while there are such things as underground streams, food and water can be hard too come by. The characters should carry enough provisions with them so that they are unlikely to starve. That, unfortunately, will mean that they may have to carry a lot of food with them, even if they have some way of finding food underground.


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