I’m doing the final edits on the first adventure setting for the Second Edition of Babylon, On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowed. As I posted back in May, it’s called The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea, and concerns an isolated group of Meslamtaea-worshipers who inhabit a half-ruined city located in the middle of a marsh near the southern Tigris. The final document should be a little over 50 pages of content.
If all goes as planned, CCoM should be available for download at DriveThruRPG on Monday, July 20th. See you then?
Over the course of several journeys, you’ve heard whispered references to a mysterious figure known as “DJ Ishkremshüz.” In out of the way spots, you’ve seen graffiti of a stylized ice cream cone, and picked up DIY flyers advertising a secret, never-ending party.
You’ve asked around at back-alley tea shops and street-side record vendors. What you’ve discovered is that DJ Shooz is real, a legendary underground turntablist, and that he presides over a massive dance party so underground, it’s literally subterranean.
Ravin’ Under Dark is a free, unofficial scenario for Ryuutama that takes travelers into a perilous underground world, developed through twenty encounters, which can be played, dropped, or randomly chosen at the GM’s discretion. Also included are rules for managing illumination in the Underground, and several new monsters like the üntergoblins — a race of nekogoblins endemic to this lightless world.
I’ve written before about how much I enjoy Ryuutama, especially its “anti-grimdark” feel. As an outlet for some of my lighter, sillier ideas, it’s perfect.
That said, Ravin’ Under Dark clocks in at roughly 11,000 words. The process of writing, editing, and laying it out took time away from my work on new BFJB material. I’ve also been lucky that my work schedule has remained pretty consistent, even with the COVID-19 closures.
As a result, I’m going to revise my timetable for the release of the Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea — I’m guessing it’ll be available for purchase sometime around the beginning of July.
I’ve held off making this blog post for longer than I should have. Rather than a handful of smaller updates, I was waiting to have something to show from the BFJB adventure setting I’m working on. I’ll get to that, but first…
Alea iactanda est is making stellar third party material for BFJB. You should check out their Ecstatic Profession, and their Urban Encounter Tables. In candor, something like the ecstatic was on my list of possible future professions (under the title “Shock Head”, derived from Heimpel, W. (2003). Letters to the King of Mari: A New Translation, With Historical Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns). Alea iactanda est’s material will be a valuable resource for anyone running a BFJB 2.0 campaign, or any other TTRPG set in the Ancient Near East.
Moving on, I ran across the following two articles during research for the new adventure setting:
They might give you a window into some of the source material for what I’m going to talk about next.
The title of the new adventure setting is The Cursed Colony of Meslamtaea. Here’s a draft of the cover I’ve been working on:
As far as a projected release date, I’m thinking sometime in June, 2020. A lot of that depends on what I decide to do about hiring a third party to draw a map or two. I’m far enough along that I’ll probably have to make that decision within the next week or so.
Since professions were discussed above, here’s a draft of one that’s going to be included in the new adventure: the Taskmaster.
The taskmaster profession is, at its core, a specialized bureaucrat. The Bully skill operates much like the Bureaucrat’s Authority, but specifically only targets wardū, amātum, and captives.
Obviously, slavery, and issues surrounding human interaction and relationships between slavers and the enslaved are morally and politically charged. Several of the non-player characters who appear in the eponymous Cursed Colony are either captured slaves or slave masters, and a lot of the potential drama comes from friction between the two factions. My current draft of Cursed Colony (which I’m going to abbreviate “CCoM” henceforth) contains a lengthy discussion of how these issues should be treated with respect to BFJB games, including which aspects of slavery should be ignored or de-emphasized.
All that said, here’s another excerpt with an artifact entry:
As mentioned last week, I discovered that some of the area measurements in BFJB 2.0 are incorrect. Over the past week I’ve gone back to my research notes and checked every number, and what follows represents the result.
In most of these cases, the errors stemmed from the process of converting units, exacerbated by the fact that I have a very hard time conceiving of area measures in the abstract. As I doubt that these changes will matter to very many customers, I’m going to hold off updating the files for now.
I’ve updated the basic character sheet available here.
I spent most of my day doing yard work, and that ultimately prompted this revision: at some point started thinking about gardener-PCs in BFJB.
In other news, I started work on a short adventure location this week, and it’s coming along nicely. We’ve made enough money off of the new edition that I can spare a bit for an artist, who I might get to design a map for it.
I realized tonight that in doing unit conversions for the area measures of the cities in §14.0, I may have confused square miles and miles squared. I also need to check on the notations for area measures (e.g. sq. miles versus mi2) in the chart in §12.8 for Old Babylonian Units of Area.
I’m going to attempt to work through those numbers this weekend, and will publish an update as soon as I’m finished.
At long last, the print-on-demand version of Babylon, On Which Fame and Jubilation Are Bestowedis available as a print-on-demand product at DTRPG.
In light of this version coming out on the heels of the PDF, and because of everything else going on in the world right now, I’ve reduced the prices on both versions for the time being.
These price reductions aren’t permanent, however, despite what DTRPG might show you right now, the PDF will always be included at no extra charge with the print product, regardless of when you purchase it.
I realized in reviewing the bibliography of BFJB 2.0 that several items were accidentally omitted. I’ve always endeavored to provide thorough bibliographies for BFJB materials, if for no other reason than that bibliographies were a huge help to me in compiling the information on which BFJB is based.
The omitted entires are as follows:
De Boer, Rients. (2014) “Early Old Babylonian Amorite Tribes and Gatherings And The Role of Sumu-Abum.” ARAM, vol. 26, no. 1&2, 269–284.
Ebeling, E., Meissner, B., Weidner, E., & Soden, W. V. (1994). Reallexikon der Assyriologie und vorderasiatischen Archaologie. Berlin: W. de Gruyter.
Fleming, D. E. (2004). Democracys Ancient Ancestors: Mari and Early Collective Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Luckenbill, D. D. (1910). “Some Hittite and Mitannian Personal Names.” The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, 26(2), 96-104.
Porter, A. (2014). Mobile Pastoralism and the Formation of Near Eastern Civilizations: Weaving Together Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sasson, Jack M. (2015). From the Mari Archives: An anthology of Old Babylonian Letters. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.
Speiser, E.A. (1948). “Ḫurrians and Subarians.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 68, No. 1 (Jan. – Mar.), 1-13.
Stillman, N., & Tallis, N. (1984). Armies of the Ancient Near East: 3000 B.C. to 539 B.C. ; Organisation, Tactics, Dress and Equipment. Devizes: Wargames Research Group.
Szuchman, J. (2010). Nomads, Tribes, and the State in the Ancient Near East: Cross-Discipilinary Perspectives. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Wossink, A. (2009). Challenging Climate Change: Competition and Cooperation Among Pastoralists and Agriculturalists in Northern Mesopotamia (c. 3000-1600 BC). Leiden: Sidestone Press.
At this time, I do not plan on revising the PDF or print-on-demand versions on account of these omissions. In the event that I issue a revised edition (as I did with BFJB 1.0 two years after the initial release) I will probably update the files to include them then.
Finally, speaking of the print-on-demand edition of BFJB 2.0, I should receive (what I hope to be) the final proof this week. If everything checks out, I think we’re still on track to have that available by the end of March.