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This conference is just starting - all the papers are in twitter-thread form and publicly readable, and it'll be going until Friday. Do discuss it there or here!

You can follow along at:

The World of Kavis / Camahay
« on: May 22, 2021, 01:03:03 AM »
Camahay is a southern region with a peninsula and islands curving around south of Dulshan. Camahayans vary significantly between those in a set of small city-republics, and those in the semi-nomadic clan societies of the region.

Camahayan Knots
Camahayans have an elaborate system of communicating particular hopes and feelings via coloured textile knots, which are often ceremonially given or left to particular individuals as a ritualised form of cultural communication.

~More to be added~

The World of Kavis / Dulshan
« on: May 22, 2021, 01:01:19 AM »
Dulshan (lit. "the land of five"), is a country or region well to the south of Chardil.

Wealthier Dulshand families have a strict order of attachment for male children, the so-called rule of five. The first child is turned wild - usually abandoned in sacred spaces in jungles or on mountains. Most of these children die: those very few who survive are considered extremely holy. The subsequent order is that the second child inherits the family estates, the third is given to the priesthood, the fourth is given to some sort of military occupation (see the notes on Francolins below) and the fifth and further children work on behalf of the second in some capacity and often take up respected skilled occupations. Female children are not governed by these rules, although a child initially considered female, as long as she would not become the first, may at any time once they are able to understand the concept challenge a relevant younger brother to a duel for the place they would have had in the family heirarchy had they been male. If they win the duel, they are treated as male from that point onwards.

Poorer families - those who are not of the estate-owning classes - do not usually observe the rules, although in the urban centres lines can sometimes blur and choosing to observe the rule of five is an important prerequisite for attempting towards or claiming higher status.

The Francolins
Dulshand fourth sons often serve across the world as mercenaries - the Francolin Companies are the most notable form of this.

~More to be added~

Pangolin Games / Exile Princes Lore Dump
« on: May 22, 2021, 12:58:55 AM »
I've tried to intentionally keep TEP lowish on settled lore - after all, the random maps make it a bit of a sandbox setting by nature - but nonetheless, lore has happened, and I think what's there sort of helps to tie the setting together thematically, so I thought I should make some notes on it, firstly in case it interests people and secondly so I don't contradict myself.

The Houses
These are sort of a major organising principle of the game, though not every house appears in every game. I'm not even really sure what a house is, in this setting. They're not houses in the usual sense of being families or extended families, I think, though I'd imagine that some families tend to align to particular houses. Rather, I suppose the best way to think of them is as loose factions vying for power, with different interests, methods, and philosophies to apply to that power (with a further important caveat that in practice they often don't represent or live those philosophies: they're not ideologically selective or sorted.

I'm not going to focus too much on playstyles etc here, but rather any bits of background story info on each house.

House of Scholars (Playable)
The scholars were the first house, though are now one of the smaller ones. Their original leader is not named in the lands' chronicles, and is known as the Duke in Green.

House of Generals (Playable)

House of the Dragon (Playable)

House of the Phoenix (Playable)
Their legendary founder is called Phyche.

House of the Wolf (Not Yet Playable)
House of Princes (Not Yet Playable)

Faith and Saints
It's my intention that the game will eventually have some more faith identities outside the major faith. There are currently hints of this (lost altars etc) but it's not as explicit as it later will be.

The major faith of the Exile Lands is a monotheistic religion with a fairly un-varied in rank and type, mixed in gender, clergy. The clergy and faith tend to be somewhat associated with social conservatism, but not by any means universally so: in many areas there is no effective central church authority, though some are formed into more formal bishoprics, so different churches have their own lines of succession and often rather fierce theological debates.

The major saints are the Blessed Alche, the Unmarred Fynda,  the Learned Woll, the Noble Thele, the Honoured Curalin, the Sacred Alazda, the Prophet Carc, the Saintly Oraphas, and the Risen Theyan.

Oraphas is probably the most fleshed-out saint so far: he is at least in standard re-tellings a wood sprite, and the subject of "Saint Oraphas was a Wood Sprite", a popular tavern song about how an angel taught him the holy word and he lived contemplatively in the woods until coming upon some demons and sending their king, Pentagathus, back to hell by singing the holy rites. Whilst he is a popular saint, some more conservative clergy dislike his worship both because it encourages people to have a better view of the fey, who they consider untrustworthy, and because it encourages hermits and other religious practices outside the church's control.

General Chatter - The Boozer / May pubmoot?
« on: May 16, 2021, 05:01:53 PM »
I was wondering about the 28th? We've often done Thursdays, but there's no way I can do the 27th, the 28th is the day I have to do two talks in one day but after that I'll finally be free come the evening so that would be viable though the concern/downside is that I might be knackered.

I think the main alternatives would be Tuesday 25th, just before I run into conference madness, and Monday 31st, but I suspect a Monday pubmoot wouldn't be well attended (I may be wrong).

General Chatter - The Boozer / Baelin's Route
« on: May 15, 2021, 09:23:03 PM »
So Viva La Dirt League, a New Zealand based comedy group who do a lot of very good little skits based on fantasy and gaming tropes, recently released their first longer piece, and it's really rather fun and quite charming - entitled "Baelin's Route", it's the tale of an NPC with only one dialogue line who accidentally ends up becoming the hero of an adventure. Can very much recommend :)

Exilian Media / Just As An Aside: An Attempt At Comedy
« on: May 12, 2021, 04:11:52 PM »

In which I make a probably lame attempt at Dragon Age related humour :)

Questions and Suggestions - The High Court / Post drafts?
« on: May 11, 2021, 11:01:44 PM »
I'm wondering whether I should look and see if there's a post drafting mod anywhere. This would be a nice-to-have for me personally as I often find I start writing a post then it gets to midnight and I'd like to just save the draft and come back to work on it in the morning, but sometimes end up scrapping the post instead.

Would this be useful to anyone else or just me?

I found this really interesting, rare case of the YouTube algorithm being on the money - a short and enthusiastically done dive into some of the specifics of what makes the Hades soundtrack interesting, done in helpfully layman's terms.

Issue 41: Spring 2021


Spring has sprung!

Welcome to our latest newsletter, we would like to remind everyone, that there are new beginnings and new opportunities. We hope you embrace everything Spring has to offer.

What new ideas have you found recently? Though a second lockdown has been an unusual time and has introduced a lot of uncertainty. One thing's for sure, along with the uncertainty, are the new buds of Spring, people have discovered new creative ways to express themselves and make the most of the situation we're all in.

Exilian's wonderful commuity is continuing to expand, with every vistor bringing their own unique input that adds even more colour to the already brilliant work that everyone does. Hoepfully, we'll back to our usual activities, but for now, enjoy the sun, wildlife and we've got some lockdown ideas to keep you busy until then.

We've got lots to talk about in this issue, let's get straight to reading more about it  :)

Always, make sure you: 'Enjoy your stay!' and tell others about it too!


  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Devlog:⚔️ RAIDBORN [Action-RPG] Skyrim meets Dungeon Crawler
    • Roadwarden [Fantasy/RPG Elements/Pixel Art][DEMO]
    • [Dev Log] Tourney: The medieval tournament sim
  • Arts & Writing
    • Dubsartur's crafts
    • BagaturKhan's Revenge of Tyrants
    • Jubal draws stuff!
  • Miscellany
    • Exilian's Birthday
    • Playlist
    • What to do in lockdown?
    • Funny Picture Thread


Devlog:⚔️ RAIDBORN [Action-RPG] Skyrim meets Dungeon Crawler

Markus, is the developer of Raidborn and is the person behind Phodex Games. Games like The Elder Scrolls and Gothic inspired Markus, with their atmospheric fantastasy worlds, which helped Markus through some dark times.

Using this inspiration, a new game with personal interpretation of an atmospheric fantasty world has been made, adding well liked elements from other games like Dark Messiah Of Might And Magic, dungeon crawling and Ultima Underworld.

Markus finds game design a "true passion", maybe you'll find that this jouney interests you too?

Roadwarden [Fantasy/RPG Elements/Pixel Art] [DEMO]

Roadwarden is an interactive fiction, in which you explore and change a hostile, grim realm.

Would you risk a lonely journey into the wilderness? Roadwardens embrace this a struggle worth taking, delivering messages, assisting merchants, getting ris of beasts, highwayment and even more gruesome taks.

Dangerous work, respectable and it pays well. Why not check out what Roadwarden has to offer today?

[Dev Log] Tourney: The medieval tournament sim

Tourney is a tycoon style simlator, simulation PC game. You'll take control of a medieval noble house and then build a a tournament or "tourney" ground, where you'll watch champions viying for victory or diving in to get involved in combat!

Gamplay Tourney features:
* Build your tourney ground. Event areas for jousting, melee and archery; and buildings such as apothecaries, blacksmiths, stands, ale wagons, hog roasts and more
* Choose your champion. Build their skills. Buy them the best armour and weapons.
* Fight your way to the top and win the tournament
* 13 playable houses with unique heraldry, traits and heroes
* Keep the peasants and nobility happy to keep the gold rolling in
* Hire staff members such as jesters and troubadours
* Lots of parody and hidden references!

The game has great graphics as well, would be good to hear what you all think pre-release. Let us know in the comments below?

Estimated release date is Quarter 3 of 2021, we'll see you there!


Dubsartur's crafts

Exilian member Dubsartur has recently finished making a medieval garment - a round embroidered mantle.  Mantles, an overgarment in a similar category to shawls or cloaks, were fashionable in western Europe from the 14th century into the 17th. They varied according to style and length, with slightly longer ones for men and later examples moving to more open fronts and fake-sleeve additions. Dubsartur's gorgeous example, as well as the intricate embroidered neck decoration shown close above, was done in deep blue with a white star pattern around it.

The next project on Dubsartur's list is a doublet, and the thread is replete with pictures of the craftwork and historical reference images, so if you fancy learning about some bits of historical costume and tailoring it's a good time to head over and take a look - perhaps even post your own attempts if you feel like getting involved!

BagaturKhan's Revenge of Tyrants

The year is 20,000 BC, and the galaxy faces a crisis. The vast Empire of Hyperborea stretches over thousands of star systems, but on the planet Zabergan Prime, events are unfolding that will be of huge significance to the stability of the whole Empire. The Lord Governor, Zholt Krazhinsky, has been trapped and overthrown by his Nicomedian military forces and former allies. Will the Empire manage to rescue him and stop the rebels before the galaxy is pitched into all-out bloodshed?

This epic science fiction tale by BagaturKhan has just started being posted and promises many more thrilling installments as Krazhinsky's perils and tale unfold for the reader. BagaturKhan has graciously reduced his fee for reading this story from 2 billion euros and a chocolate pie to it being absolutely free, as he says in the thread, so do take a look and let him know what you think!

Jubal draws stuff!

Jubal's been foraying outside his usual grounds of writing and music to try producing some character art for his World of Kavis RPG setting, an early medieval fantasy world of mysterious fey spirits, unpredictable magic, wandering holy men and clashing shield walls. In this thread, he goes into notes about his methods and asks for feedback. If you want to see the miscellany of characters and cultures portrayed from around Kavis (and there may be monsters coming later too if there's interest), or if you're an artist yourself and can make suggestions to improve, why not head over and check the thread out?


Recent Events and Exilian's Birthday!

Exilian has just had its 13th birthday! We're hoping this won't be an unlucky year though despite the numbering! We had a good time celebrating at our "virtual pub" meetup recently - for those who don't know about that, we've been doing regular meetups on a monthly basis via jitsi which have led to some really great conversations and will hopefully lead to some nice collaborations and neat new projects in the future. If you've not heard of those and would like to come, please let us know (in the comments below or via email at and we'll get you added to the mailing list.

We also had our workshop, Coding Medieval Worlds, which brought together nearly thirty historians and game developers from across four different continents to discuss problems of how to use medieval ideas, concepts and images when creating the fantastical and historical worlds that are used in computer game settings. We were delighted to organise the event in collaboration with the University of Vienna's Digital Humanities unit, and with kind support especially from Vienna's Daniel Knox and from our fantastic speakers, and we hope to bring more of those workshops out in the coming years. Also, keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks as we soon hope to be able to process the videos of our keynote talks and get those to you as well.


It was difficult to pick which songs to add here, but we went with the last two on the thread, to make it random!

Jubal's recommendation's are:
"I've been enjoying Hades, and one thing I have to say among a number in its favour is that it has some absolutely cracking songs:"

"After having been bombarded with sub 60 second clips of this for months, having a full length version is somehow really really nice to give the song a sense of a closure!"

What to do in lockdown?

Pentagathusosaurus rex asks "What have you folks been doing to stay sane?"

Jubal's been TTRPG-ing more, looking at creative projects. tinkering with RPG notes, various online things, and game design. "You should come to the next Exilian virtual pubmoot" - Tusky has seconded this invite.

Tusky's similarly been getting involved in creative projects, and Tourney. It's been a great time to spend time using other things that Tusky would not usually have the time for day to day, like using the grpahics tab to draw things and playing more of the guitar. "Also finding a nice long game to enjoy is a good time sink."

dubsartur's has a blacklog of books to read, looking at articles to write, and is also getting involved in sewing projects. Another good thing dubsartur has been doing is talking to the Exilian community about how it is that they feel, you may find it in helpful to read through these posts and comment on as well? We'll be back to our usual activities soon, we're nearly there. Until then, we will keep ideas here for you all!

Books are good, books are always good. - Pentagathusosaurus rex

Funny Picture Thread

Here are some funny pictures to round up our newsletter, hopefully you'll smile and laugh!

Jubal: Meanwhile I am back at work this week and feeling very much like this cat. (Not that I have lied on any applications obviously, I just *feel* like an impostor)

That's all for this issue, folks - we'll be back in summer and look forward to seeing everything being a bit brighter with you then! See you next time...

General Gaming - The Arcade / Adventures in Thedas (Dragon Age Thread)
« on: April 01, 2021, 12:07:27 AM »
I have finished Dragon Age 2! I quite enjoyed it, I don't really see why it's supposed to be "the bad one" in the series (ofc still not having played inquisition). I might have played through differently with hindsight but it was a perfectly reasonable game overall.

I should probably take a break before starting Inquisition, but 2 seems to point to Inquisition much more than Origins pointed to 2 - the ending has a certain cliffhanger-ness to it.

Something I've been intending to post but keep failing to: my sketching attempts to go with my TTRPG campaign set in Kavis. I started on this late last year and have been trying to slowly improve my skills, with varying levels of success.

I know that there are some obvious problems with these, especially in the proportions: I always do legs a bit too short, hands not wide enough and sometimes lacking good proportions too, and I find limbs tricky especially when they're not flat-on to the "camera" (and who really wants to see all characters with their hands at their sides all the time?) In terms of the style, the way I do them is sketching on a rough paper, and then the colour is added digitally with a low-opacity layer and a soft paintbrush tool in GIMP. But anyway, I'd really appreciate other feedback if anyone has any and what you think overall :)

So here are a few of the characters and NPC types my players have recently encountered - this output is from the last couple of days. I've got a big stack of older stuff including quite a lot of monsters already too, I mostly use them to make play tokens for gaming on Roll20, so I may post more and some of the nonhumans at some point.

Biriir, leader of the Francolin mercenary company.

Enwain, leader of the mercenary Ox Hooves from Nistria.

Heatherling of Smew's Isle, the Reeve's advisor & wizard.

Mosser, a flamboyant Hanau pirate.

Little Ryfe, the guard captain. He's 6'10.

One of the Black Feathers, partisans of Mocra the Bearded.

One of the Francolin mercenaries.

One of the Ox Hoof mercenaries.

A catch-all for countries that don't have their own threads.

The interesting one that's just happened has been two elections in southwest Germany - both were really bad for the CDU (centre-right), which is suffering badly after some corruption scandals relating to COVID procurement. Unlike in Britain, in Germany it turns out that politicians can't just ignore that sort of thing. The CDU still has a lead in national polls, but both the states that just voted, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wurttemburg, can now have "traffic light" coalitions of Greens, Social Democrats, and the right-liberal Free Democrats running them. This coalition might be functional enough to work at the national level if the CDU keeps slipping. Also, in really nice news, the AfD fell back pretty hard in both states: that's especially interesting because often if a hard-right party falls back it tends to be the conservative party that picks up the votes, whereas here both the centre-right and far-right lost out and the centre & left broadly gained.

The Dutch election will be in the middle of this week, after the government resigned over a scandal of failing to pay people benefits they were owed (again, something I can't imagine happening in UK politics any more). That looks less interesting, though it's hard to read much into the myriad small parties of Dutch politics: the left parties may reshuffle the deckchairs, with the Labour party recovering a tiny bit since the last election at the expense of the socialist left and the Green Left, but none of them are likely to be in power. PM Rutte's conservative-liberal party, the VVD, looks like it'll easily come top, with the Christian-Democratic CDA and the centre-left liberal D66 looking like they'll retain enough support to continue in the PM's coalition. The far right PVV look like they'll do about as well as in the last election. Polls are also suggesting that Volt, a rare example of a pan-European political party, may enter the parliament for what I think would be the first time in a national election: they're hardline European federalists.

Sharing in case this is of interest for people :)

A workshop for existing writers with some experience in “traditional” linear fiction, exploring how to effectively build a fragmented interactive narrative.

Closed Hands is is a groundbreaking work of interactive fiction by PASSENGER, directed by Dan Hett. The game follows the deep intertwined stories of five people thrown together by their involvement in a fictional terror attack.

Join the game’s director and lead writer Dan Hett to explore both the tools and techniques used in Closed Hands, and how you can write and create interactive stories yourself.



Our Aurora competition is over! We had a range of exciting entries, some judged and some submitted by our admins for fun, and we're really pleased and excited to be able to share them with you at last! Thanks especially go to Marie-Therese Sauer and Samuel Cook for being our two excellent and very able judges, and to Tusky Games and Bigosaur for providing prizes.

And speaking of prizes, THE WINNER IS...

Phoenixguard09 with his piece 'Our Light'!

With a combined score of 32/40 from the judges it scored well both on execution and closeness to the prompt, making it a well deserved winner as you'll be able to see by reading it below. Phoenixguard now gets the grand prize including copies of Tourney and Son of a Witch and a custom-written song of his choice - and, of course, our warm congratulations. We hugely value all the pieces we get in for our competitions, though, and as such here's the showcase, with poetry, art, gaming and hopefully inspiration for your own future projects. Do leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Entry Showcase

WINNER: OUR LIGHT - Phoenixguard09

My eyes open.

The night sky wheels by overhead, the softly glittering stars like a scattering of diamonds strewn haphazardly across a stretched bolt of midnight black cloth. I lie, face up on the cold ground. I can feel the chill which has begun to set deep within my mortal shell. I struggle to shift.

I cannot.

My eyes close.

I remember.

Before our arrival, there was little of note on this world. Ferocious storms wracked the land, leaving nothing but jutting outcrops of bare rock, torn forth from the treacherous dark oceans. Great winged beasts ruled the sky, warring amongst themselves and preying upon the weak, lesser creatures which could only manage to eke out a pitiful existence in this inhospitable landscape. Beneath them dwelled the many, varied denizens of the roiling seas, which, dangerous though they were, bore a far greater variety of life, including some, though not many, who could challenge the primacy of the Sky-Lords.

It was not naturally a world upon which to properly nurture life, the true calling of my kind.

We came here in scattered groups, driven across the breadth of creation, seeking a haven after our home was destroyed by the Terrors in the Void. Finding this rocky, storm-lashed world, my people settled upon it, using the faintest touches of our power to calm the fierce gales, to shape this new world to our liking. Needs must we were careful and selective in the way we unleashed the words of creation. Finally, we hid in the secluded reaches of this newly becalmed world and granted enlightenment to but a few of the endemic species.

For countless rotations of the stars, our creation existed in peace, as we slowly but surely guided it into prosperity.

Our downfall was swift, sudden and entirely predictable.

As the millennia rolled on and on, the gathered magics we had worked swelled ever greater.

The Terrors came once more, and this time there would be no escape.

My eyes open again.

The night sky still wheels by overhead, the softly glittering stars like miniscule needlepoints piercing a stretched bolt of midnight black cloth. I lie, face up on the cold ground. I can feel the chill which has set deep within my ragged mortal shell. Lifeblood, brilliantly shimmering in the pale starlight seeps into the alabaster snow beneath my form. I struggle to shift.

I cannot.

My eyes close once more.

I cannot remember.

I hear a sound, a deep reverberating growl which causes the very ground beneath me to shake and quiver. Something approaches.

One of them, swollen with the sheer power it has absorbed from my brethren, the ones it has already hunted, brought down and consumed. The ground trembles. The air shivers. Reality bends around it as all the works of my people react to the presence of this thing which is anathema to us.

I won’t let this thing take my power for itself, for I have seen the things these creatures do with their prey, the torturous agonies they inflict.

My eyes open, one final time.

The night sky wheels by overhead, the softly glittering stars like a host of fell eyes glinting in the darkness. I lie, face up on the cold ground. I can feel the chill which has finally set deep within what shreds remain of my mortal shell. The fire of my life seems all but stolen away.

I intone, the words of creation spilling forth from the spirit within my ruined form. The predator growls once more, and attempts to move closer, but it cannot, buffeted now by waves of force which surround my failing shell.

My eyes fix upon a distant star, high above in the night sky. Home, perhaps? It pleases me to think so. A place of love, light and laughter, an unreckonable span of time ago.

I will give this world our light.

The words pour out in an ever greater torrent of creation as all I am, all my being, is projected up into the cold northern sky. There is a blinding flash, and years of the world roll by in an instant. The world-shaping energy crackles and tears at the very air around and above me as the words rip into the sky. The predator shies back, waiting for me to expend the last of my strength. It wants to feast.

I will not let it.

With one final invocation, silence falls, like the pale grey ash which drifts down and settles on the snow.

My mortal shell is gone, only a shimmering pool of lifeblood left behind to mark its presence.

I am free.

From above, the tattered remnants of my spirit beholds the predator below, sees the ephemeral fangs it bears, dripping with gore and power. Its eyes blaze with a dark hunger, but it cannot understand me now. I can see in its eyes how it perceives me now, a glimmering ribbon of pale light, wavering and flickering in the night sky. Eventually, it turns away in defeat, its great shaggy head dropping as the excitement of the hunt leaves it. It pads away, long, sinuous, bladed tail flicking despondently as it goes.

I am free.

I am light.

My people may be gone, destroyed by the Terrors from the Void, but I remain. I alone of my kind, endure. My consciousness exists now in the so-called northern lights. I have seen many an age of this world come and go, but I will always be there, in the night, watching.

Giving you the aurora.

Giving you our light.


You shoot awake, the cold sweat dripping down your neck, your heartbeat echoing in your mind. You feel the urge to look out of your tent or building and, as you do, you see a bright flash of light emanating from the north of the island. Emerging from this light is a ship plummeting towards the ground, wisps of flame and smoke trailing from it. You watch it as it falls, almost in slow motion, until with a large, fiery explosion, it makes impact with the ground. Whether or not your better judgment agrees, you feel that you should investigate it...

On A Bright and Twisted Night is a D&D scenario by Agaming with chases, unexpected interlopers from the stars, and a dash of insanity besides. Split into two parts - The Broken Sky, and The Twisted Wreck - it sees the players venture north through increasingly unsettling adventures to investigate a mysterious eldritch vessel that has fallen from the very stars, and then reckon with the strange terrors they find within. Complete with map and puzzle sections, there's plenty here for you game masters out there to use!


The serpent breathes
Out into infinities
Its bloodless sangunity
That winds between pines and the moon in the sky

The dancer shines
On upward and heaven-bound
Her shimmering world abounds
Nothing but dancing: no smile, tear, or sigh

The trapped god strains
On mocking bright prison bars
Caught between salt and stars
Wrapped in auroras that ravel and tie

The ink it flows
White-greens and icy blues,
Teals, pinks, a thousand hues,
Writing its truth, obfuscation, and lie

The Northern Lights are,
A consequence, nothing more,
Of gas, sun, an earthly core,
And still! They are myriads
And still delight I.

AURORA - Tusky

And that's all folks! We hope you enjoyed all these great pieces - and we hope to be back with more fun community projects for you to join in on as we carry on through 2021.

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