The Glass Delusion

The glass delusion was a weird pathology common in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance where the afflicted believed they were made of glass. It was also popular in literature, with some interesting changes to make it more suitable for fiction. The whole thing – history and fiction both – is super gameable! This post is […]

The Great Whiskey Fire of 1875

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 Justin Moor. Thanks for helping keep […]

The Florentine Architecture Feud

The cathedral of Florence, Italy (Santa Maria del Fiore) is an architectural marvel. Yet its construction was marked by a three-decade-long fight between its most famous architect and his bitterest rival. This story’s got politically-motivated arrests, fine Renaissance art, a papal intercession, libel, and even a jewel theft! It makes amazing inspiration for an RPG […]

The Puzzling Genesis of the Piasa Bird

Rocky bluffs line the Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois. Painted on one is a terrible dragon with golden scales, red wings, antlers, and the face of a fanged man. It’s just a replica. The original painting wore away centuries ago – if it ever existed it all! This creature, the Piasa Bird, is a contentious piece […]

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 South Sea Scam Colony

From 1879 to 1881, a French nobleman found several hundred willing dupes, took their money, and packed them off to a nation he’d made up. Dazzled with promises of land and ease, these peasants found only pestilence and death beneath the hot Pacific sun. The audacity of the scam, the ambiguous motives of the scammer, […]

The Court of the Khan

This post is brought to you by beloved Patreon backer Colin Wixted. Thanks for helping keep the lights on! If you want to help keep this blog going alongside Colin, head over to the Patreon page – and thank you! The emperor, Möngke Khan, lived in an orda (tent city) larger and more splendid than […]

Emissary to the Mongols

The Catholic powers of Medieval Europe didn’t understand the sudden intrusion of the Mongol Empire into their sphere of influence. Nonetheless, nations must communicate with one another, even those they don’t understand. So it came to pass that in 1253 King Louis IX of France dispatched an envoy to the Mongol Empire. Ostensibly, this was […]

Feodor Fedorenko

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The Secret History of the Mountain Folk

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The Bizarre Court-Martial of Francesco Caracciolo

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Hoskinini’s Fugitives

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The Great Onion Scheme

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The Lyon Mail Stagecoach Robbery

Material more than one year old is available to Patreon backers at the DEEP TIME ($2/month) level and higher. If you’d like access to this piece and hundreds more like it, consider becoming a patron! I’ll even write you a handwritten thank-you card.To view this content, you must be a member of The Molten Sulfur […]