Saving or Sacrificing the Substitute King

In and around Mesopotamia, from maybe 1900 to 300 B.C. (off and on), priests practiced a particular brand of human sacrifice meant to keep their kings safe. When omens and auguries predicted the death of the king, priests would swap the real king out for a fake – a substitute king – then kill the […]

The Book of Overthrowing Apep 

The Book of Overthrowing Apep is a 4th-century B.C. Egyptian religious text intended to help the priesthood assist the sun god Ra in his nightly struggle against the chaos serpent Apep. You wouldn’t want to read it yourself, but it does contain some striking and very gameable imagery! Let’s look at the coolest stuff in […]

Imhotep

Once a month here on the Molten Sulfur Blog, I run content taken from our book Archive: Historical People, Places, and Events for RPGs. This post is one of eighty entries in Archive, each more gameable than the last! This post is brought to you by beloved Patreon backer Arthur Brown. Thanks for helping keep […]

The Heretic Vendetta

Last week, we talked about the village of Montaillou around and after the year 1300 in (what is today) southern France, and how it makes a great adventure site: full of heresy, political rivalry, and interpersonal drama. This week, we’re going to look at inter-household drama in Montaillou, focusing especially on the vendetta between the […]

Montaillou: The Spy-Infested Anthill Village

A lot of RPG adventures are set in villages. Today, I’ve got a real-world Medieval village that’s just screaming to be fictionalized and dropped into your campaign setting. As you’ll see, it’s got loads of baked-in plot hooks that transcend the Medieval genre! This is the village of Montaillou, in what is today France, in […]

Talking the Tsembaga out of War

The Tsembaga were a tight-knit cluster of clans that lived on the fringes of highland New Guinea. Around 1930, they almost went to war with their neighbors, the Dimbagai-Yimyagai. The reasons why the war never materialized are complicated, and they make a great template for a diplomatic or social adventure rooted firmly at the level […]

The Confucian Village of Misfortune

The village of Dachuan – in Yongjing county, Gansu province, China – endured great suffering between 1948 and 1991. It also saw just a little bit of redemption. 85% of households in Dachuan claim male-line descent from Confucious, China’s foundational moral philosopher. This quirk of ancestry hurt the villagers under Mao, failed to save them from […]

The Secret History of the Mountain Folk

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Eleusinian Mysteries

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NPCs in Wooden Screens: the Duein Fubara

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NPC Foibles from Suetonius

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Akodessewa Fetish Market

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Egyptian Iconoclasm and Stone Golems

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Pagan Ghosts Don’t Fear ‘Turn Undead’

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The Kaguru Ghostland

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