Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary Now Available!

It's a little late, and it doesn't have everything it will eventually have, but it's now available!

You'll find the download link for the bestiary --> HERE <--

What it's got:
  • All of the monsters from the original Monster Manual (some in other guises for legal purposes)
  • Some of the monsters from the original Monster Manual II
  • A couple of the monsters from the original Fiend Folio
  • A few new monsters

What it's not got, but will eventually as new playtest versions are released:
  • Most of the monsters from the original Monster Manual II
  • Most of the monsters from the original Fiend Folio
  • The rest of the new monsters
  • Random encounter tables (can't be done until the final creature list is nailed down)
  • An index (ditto)
  • Lots of formatting changes
  • Artwork

We now have a complete set of books for playtesting purposes, even if we know that the Bestiary will be considerably expanded as the playtest period wears on. Enjoy!

More Medieval Erudition: Bad Air

Stemming from the Classical period, and running through both the Medieval and Renaissance periods through even to the mid to late 19th century, was the idea that diseases were caused by areas of "bad air", also known as misasma. Though this was disproven in the 19th and 20th centuries, when the germ theory of disease was established and proven (to just about everybody, it seems, except Bill Maher), it was the prevalent explanation of epidemics such as cholera, plague, malaria (from the Italian, mala + aria, literally "bad air") and the like for most of recorded history. Including, of course, those periods of history that are the basis for most fantasy RPGs.

Miasma was caused, the theory went, by poisonous fumes emanating from both venomous animals (snakes, etc.) and decomposing bodies. These elements, sometimes called 'effluviums', were the actual things responsible for diseases. The air itself was literally the cause of disease.

In this way, the foul smell of air around marshes and swamps, and on some rivers (such as the Thames in London) was seen as indicative of its nature as the source of disease.

It's easy to see this applied to a fantasy RPG. Those entering certain areas, particularly those adjacent to areas of stagnant, foetid water, or those frequented by poisonous snakes and other creatures, would be more likely to be struck by a disease of some sort. This is actually already reflected in the AD&D rules, which give modifiers to those in crowded cities and in marshes, making them more likely to contract some sort of disease. Too, the areas around certain temples dedicated to the princes of daemonkind would be similar hotspots of disease. Such places could be combatted, not with disinfectant, but with strong winds to blow away the disease-causing miasma...

Ironically, the misasma theory of disease did lead to some sanitation-related health reforms, due in part to false connections between improved sanitation and the remittance of disease. But it wasn't until germs and viruses were really discovered to be the cause of such diseases that surface disinfecting became the norm, as we see today.