A slow river of world-building by glimpse and omission; ideas in the raw to be used and improved upon at your leisure.
    

Once upon a time, there was a writer who wrote a story game that doesn't exist. This is that game.

The Logic of Tales and Dreams is not a game of our world, and found herein are evidently mere fragments of the original whole. It is not recorded from whence these fragments came, nor how they were transcribed into this form - but perhaps we may learn from them despite these obstacles. Readers familiar with role-playing games as a form of collaborative storytelling might best think of the Logic of Tales and Dreams as an artefact fallen through the cracks of the universe, its origin a faraway place in which the role-playing game - as it is understood here - never came to be.

The Logic of Tales and Dreams is free and creative commons licensed: download it and do with it as you will.

   

Recent Additions to the Principia

Sibellus Noir, Part XI
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The eleventh installment of Sibellus Noir arrives:

So we wade into the madhouse, the moll and I, into the sweating, crying crush of a high-walled avenue, open to the sky. Chem-clouds wisp and drift at the rooftops, buoyed by the heated breath of packed madmen and lost women. Ten paces from the arched tower-base gate, a lay-preacher and his followers, screaming the God-Emperor's blessings as they shove and push for space. Thirty paces and chained penitents mob a sobbing man beneath a buttress whose flanking statues are worn featureless, forcing him to the filth-strewn flagstones. The crowds don't care, breather-masks and faces don't turn to look. Servants, workers, the faithful, beggars, even machine-men, packed and pressed into slow currents and tides.

Two servants fight as the stream carries them with their fellows, the woman tearing at her foe's guild livery. Others, carrying banners, laugh. A drenn addict totters behind, bent and buffeted, giggling and choking by turns as she vomits grey bile. Bodyguards watch with murder in their eyes, shielding their fat charge as he threatens a ragged man.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-11.

[ Posted by Reason on September 21, 2012 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part X
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The tenth installment of Sibellus Noir presents a tour of Mortuarium:

Mortuarium is a noted Tolus subdistruct, an expanse of gentle Spire-facing slopes leading down and away from a piled structure-ridge. The ridgetop is dominated by vast edifices with foundations that reach down into the mid-City strata: a cathedral of the Imperial Creed; palatial whitestone manses; arrayed vox-masts; half-buried macrostatues. The Mortuarium citytop slopes down from these looming masses, past varied architectures and further grand structures, descending into an alchemical slump-vale where tower vents, deserted upper-works, and a railhead are cloaked by flowing rivers of corrosive fume-mist.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-10.

[ Posted by Reason on July 22, 2012 | Permanent Link ]

The Callidonean Play, Part III
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The third part of the Callidonean Play is available:

The legends of Brythan are everywhere: in the taverns, told to children, in the sermons of travelling preachers, recounted in the playhouses, and embellished by chroniclers for each new generation. The commoner masses believe every word, savants pretending to sophistication decry the details, and playwrights and ecclesiarchs continually rework and restore the oldest myths. The most popular legends are told in a score of ways - every Lord's domain has similar local myths, supposed prophets, hidden peoples, shades, curses, and prophecies. Certain spectral themes recur over and again, and a suspicious Inquisitorial mind might see the past workings of the warp hidden behind these commoners' tales.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-3.

[ Posted by Reason on June 2, 2012 | Permanent Link ]

The Callidonean Play, Part II
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The second part of the Callidonean Play is available:

As for all of the populous Yeuros worlds, Brythan is a unique tapestry of lives, its history intricate and distinctive. Commoners and nobles alike are suspicious of outsiders, first evaluating strangers by their declared allegiances to Lords and brotherhoods, and only later, if at all, by individual worth. Faith and the hierarchy of the Ministorum are of great importance to the Brythanic peoples, and the schism with the Rhamean Temple is recent enough in the mind of the masses for all void-traffic to be thought potentially tainted by Rhamean interests. But is still possible for new arrivals at the landing fields of Hive Londus to find respect and acceptance enough to learn of Brythan: guilders seek trade opportunities, void-guilders are expected to send emissaries to the High Ecclesiarch in his role as Imperial Governor, and commoners are just as intrigued by the exotic as they are suspicious. A handful of days is enough to obtain a passable, superficial grasp of Brythanic culture and history, and most of the subtle and the taboo will reveal itself in the course of a season.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-2.

[ Posted by Reason on April 21, 2012 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part IX
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The ninth part of Sibellus Noir is a short interlude on districts and wards in the City:

Ask of Spire-facing in any stratum or district of the City and citydwellers will point towards the spirebase and vast Spire Primus. Awareness of the direction of the Spire permeates City architecture: the principal entrances of important structures are often Spire-facing; manses of the wealthy are set Spire-facing; macrostatues and their reinforced plinths are aligned toward the Spire; sigil-posts and route markers extend an ornamental spike in that direction, often as not; Spire-facing arrows are embossed upon structural greystone by apprentice masons; and Spire Way is a common name for long Spire-facing avenues. There are many other signs, varying from district to district, such as a different shape for Spire-facing windows, sigils upon flagstones, and the facing of altars and Aquila. To not see the direction of the Spire is to be blind.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-9.

[ Posted by Reason on November 21, 2011 | Permanent Link ]

The Callidonean Play, Part I
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The first part of the Callidonean Play is available:

It is the commencement of 816.M41, and remnant detritus and pilgrim masses of the long All-Saints-Festival are but slowly vanishing from the grand hives of the Ministorum world of Rhame, golden capitol of the Yeuros cluster. Within Hive Templum Primus, a newly ascended Inquisitor and his retinue of Throne agents prepare for a long and uncertain journey, the festival distant from their thoughts. Their destination is Brythan, a world at the trailing edge of the cluster, farthest from the hives of Rhame, last light of the Imperium before the impassable warp storms of the Lantac Abyss, and last of the Yeuros worlds to be brought to the God-Emperor by the Rhamean Crusade so many centuries ago.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of part 1.

[ Posted by Reason on November 13, 2011 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part XIII
Lore of the Principia Infecta

For the eighth installment, an interlude on the topic of communications within the layered stone and crystal of Hive Sibellus:

The Vocae is a grand vox-message network under the control of the Administratum, its powerful tech-devices and voxcaster masts capable of sending a missive across the vast breadth of the City, there to be stored in a shadowed cogitation vault until such time as the recipient claims it. The network is ancient and run down, however, its pillared missive-shrine offices only maintained in any more than a token fashion in wealthy spire-shadow regions. Stylized High Gothic abbreviations engraved upon markers and archways close to masts and missive centers mark its presence in every district, but functional Vocae offices are a rarity in the broader City far removed from the great spires - crumbling, worn, and barely staffed where they can be found at all.

For all this, upon the dizzying heights of the Spire Primus there yet stand huge vox-installations that bristle with arrays, vanes, and gimbaled grid-mounts, all devoted to what little traffic passes through the Vocae. Weathered servitors, their unshielded outer flesh alternately cooked by transmission-heat and frozen by the winds, crawl about the massive vox-arrays at the behest of a secluded faction of tech-adepts. These Mechanicus servants care nothing for the message-ciphers that pass through the cogitators and vox-engines that surround them. All that matters is that their sacred machinarium functions in the proscribed ways, conforming to the dictates set upon adamantine plates by a conclave of long-dead Magi.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-8.

[ Posted by Reason on March 3, 2011 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part VII
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The seventh installment of Sibellus Noir is available in PDF format.

The flank of what must be a statue halfway blocks the dark corridor. A saint's hip, or the sleeve of an Imperial hero, once thirty spans tall and proud upon the old Citytop - then swallowed by structures raised by machine-men. Drowned in greystone, given to the Pit. I lean back against it, shoulder and one hard boot heel. The lumen beyond long ago faded to a dull glow, a companion to the red pinprick of another bad lho-stick. I blow out the tainted smoke, watch it spiral and fold on itself in the half-lit passage.

The life-warrant is a weight in my shot-coat, and on my mind. A poison charm to keep the watchers at bay - and a thin hope out here, away from the Pit's whispered, suspicious bustle. I pull it out again, turn it over in my machine hand, fingers clicking on warrant metal. Not much to show for a pledged life, thrown to the wastes by the Man.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-7.

[ Posted by Reason on January 30, 2011 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part VI
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The sixth part of Sibellus Noir is available in PDF format.

The librarium is beyond the easy reach of the masters, for all two scints of what that's worth. But it still has its slaves, just as damned as those of the Pit. They dress like records clerks, fresh from hidden rooms where machines pick over their minds. Arrayed eyeglasses screwed to devices that protrude from surgery-scars on shaven pates, heads weighed beneath the machines that ride them. Hands replaced by spreading tines and hooks. Focused, unblinking stares, fixated on what awaits when red-cloaked machine-men decide a living brain is too febrile for its assigned task.

Their remains stand at intersections, dead flesh contorted within metal frames to become bowed catalogues and guide-pointers. What's left when the machines are done with men and women. The clerks who can still walk and speak whisper to one another when we pass - unwelcome intruders into their world of tomes and dataslates, the moll and I. For my part, I try not to see what the machine-men have wrought here. The end of a path I don't want to stand on.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-6.

[ Posted by Reason on December 3, 2010 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part V
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The fifth segment of Sibellus Noir is complete and available in PDF format:

It's like this: you walk the low alleys in Magistratum blue and silver, listen to the curses and the screams, step over the drugged and the dead—but not because it has any worth. It makes no difference to the misery and the filth whether the barracks makes itself known, whether you knock heads together, whether you send the thieves and the killers before a magister. The City will be the City. She was cruel when you were a kid, she'll be hard-lipped and sneering when you're gone. No. You do what doesn't matter because it's a path to the few moments that do.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-5.

[ Posted by Reason on August 29, 2010 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part IV
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The fourth portion of Sibellus Noir is complete and available in PDF format:

Broad greystone stairs slope down into thrumming blackness past the last functioning lumen. Rounded and pitted, the steps are slabs laid an age ago in some deep ward, dragged from their resting places to bring slow stone-rot to the Citytop. Condensate drips from fundament ducts overhead, set too low for comfort. The fan-pumps within rattle and wheeze, left to die in their own time by the machine-men - too small, too insignificant. Or too near to our destination: a prison for the madmen that the Pit calls correlators.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-4.

[ Posted by Reason on May 29, 2010 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part III
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The third portion of Sibellus Noir is complete and available in PDF format:

Spend the years drenned to the hilt and it never leaves, always that last dreg feeding the fires. The chem-burn makes them jump and turn to its heartbeat, makes them crazy in the end, biting blood from their own arms to stop the screaming. The coordinator wore long sleeves, eye-covers to hide the hollows. Made it part of a look. He wasn't fooling anyone who matters - but he's still the one who'll tell the machine-men to take your eyes or send the watchers to break you. I remembered that while the drenn-sweat formed on his face, and the moll watched him like he was half a squashed raque, squirming.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts 1-3.

[ Posted by Reason on April 11, 2010 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir, Part II
Lore of the Principia Infecta

The second part of Sibellus Noir is available as PDF:

Vaults, passages, and stairways pass in watchful, wary silence. From deserted halls where fungus hangs from City stone in place of carved angels, we come to the populated back ways. The hurrying of a scribe avoiding something better left unsaid. Chains hang against the walls, guides for blinded serfs, the least of the Pit's own. Rejected even by the Man, their eyes taken by the machine-men, they serve. Then a crossway, a spiral stair, and a huddled knot of hard men in meshwork Legion armor, jarred by our intrusion into their whispered conference. One holds up a life-warrant as a ward, thinking us watchers. Who else walks between the lumens?

We follow a line of serfs bowed beneath parchment bundles, upon their way to a master's scribe pen, hand over hand upon their wall-chain. Our boots on stone and duct-plate bother them not - as though they simply hear by our footfall what the Legion-men could not see. The rusting plates where their eyes used to be drip runnels of sweat, glistening under each dim lumen. A whitestone statue of the Man watches our quiet procession from its alcove. Armored, judgmental. Staring.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF of parts one and two together.

[ Posted by Reason on March 13, 2010 | Permanent Link ]

Sibellus Noir
Lore of the Principia Infecta

In the grand tradition of striving to achieve goals that are neither straightforward nor likely to be completed, allow me to offer you the first and opening part of a little thing I call Sibellus Noir:

Sibellus. City without end, layered hive of mankind, asylum for billions struck ignorant and mad by its walls. I've been gone a long time, to far, sickened places. Long enough for me to forget - if I had wanted to. Long enough for a generation of newborns to be crippled, struck dumb, made sinners. But the City has its hooks into me, just as it does them. So I remember everything.

It's been five years by my ticking clock, and twenty by the booming beat of the City. The Man sent me away, and now the Man brought me back. He thinks he is the one whose devices and secrets have the hold over me - but the City is a cruel moll, and she wields the sharpest implements of all. No man can ever forget Sibellus, not in his heart, no matter how much he wants to.

Download the creative commons licensed PDF.

[ Posted by Reason on February 15, 2010 | Permanent Link ]