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Forms of the Matter Lords is a system neutral bestiary of 20 elementals inspired by physics, chemistry and other scientific phenomena.
Designed for use with fantasy or science-fantasy roleplaying games, This book can be used either as a random encounter table table or as a table of random summoning results.
Ever since my first forays into the fantasy genre, elementals have always fascinated me. I remember flipping through monster manuals as a kid and marveling at the art for these primal entities. As I grew up and started to write my own fiction and run my own games, I wanted to bring that same feeling of awe into my stories, and so I started to dig into the deeper lore of elementals in search of new inspiration. I sifted through the decades of lore written about these beings for the Dragon Game. I even turned to mythology in search of their origins. But no matter where I looked the answers I found didn't satisfy me. Every interpretation of elementals I found was missing that feeling of awe I had originally felt. The elementals presented in these sources felt spiritual comprehensible, and (most significantly) natural. As I pondered this, I realized what I was missing: the elementals I'd been in awe of as a kid felt so magical precisely because I didn't know all the intricate cosmology behind them. The wonder I felt while staring at those illustrations was the same wonder I felt when a new alien was introduced in my favorite sci-fi shows. The elementals appealed to me because of their mystery and their strangeness. What's the life cycle of a being made of fire? What kind of world would such a being inhabit? What would their societies be like? And what strange forms might they take to suit their needs? I wasn't looking for primordial spirits of nature in my elementals, I wanted them to feel like aliens! And so for my inspiration I turned not to the lore and myth upon which other elementals were based, but to another source: the old chemistry textbooks I hadn't opened in years. If I was going to make my elementals feel alien, I wanted to focus on what separated them from the natural spirits of other folklore - the fact that they were purely inorganic, made of raw elements and could take any shape.
Now I am proud to present to you Forms of the Matter Lords, the fruit of my elemental exploration. Here you will find creatures inspired by some of the most interesting properties of real elements, as well as some of the strangest scientific phenomena.
- 40+ page black-and-white zine (printed through Mixam.)
- 20 system-neutral elemental stat blocks designed for use with your roleplaying game of choice
- 20 black-and-white illustrations. (One for each entry.)
- 2 sample behavioral patterns for each elemental: behavior when summoned and behavior when encountered in the wild.
- Flavor text and descriptions of each elemental, to inform you about their origins, and help you fit them into your setting.
- Starter guide for using the zine and advice on system conversion.
- Numbered spreads, which allow the book itself to be used as a random table.
(All layout images are non-final.)
Hannah Strang (@Featherfallflyt)
Hannah is a self-titled wordsmith, professional writer and editor, and a lover of games that bring stories to life. They spend their days sampling all types of tea, taking deep dives into folklore and game mechanics, and seeking out faerie circles. A game master for half a decade, Hannah has experience running all sorts of tabletop games, with systems that vary from no-prep and rules-light to crunchy and filled with mechanics for deceptively complex activities like opening doors and using rope. The worlds and stories she creates are lush with magic, intrigue and otherworldly beings, and her favorite aspects of gameplay are exploration, roleplay, and entertaining her players' zany ideas, which never fail to delight. Hannah is thrilled to be bringing their editor's touch to this project, ensuring Forms of the Matter Lords is compatible with any ttrpg system. The games we play wouldn't be the same without wondrous creatures to inhabit their worlds: Hannah hopes you enjoy this menagerie of marvels, and that its contents will inspire, astound, and enchant your players for years to come.
Jasper Kist (@deadhandknocks)
Jasper is a TTRPG designer and writer from Minnesota. They have been a dungeon master for the better part of a decade and an avid peruser of the indie TTRPG scene for about as long. They are a fan of weird fantasy and horror fiction, and a collector of (far too many) TTRPG books. They enjoy running games with a focus on ingenuity and problem-solving and love to design puzzle-like encounters for their players. Currently their work is published on their blog Dead Hand Knocks, but they hope to continue bringing you projects like this one in the near future.
Sophia Rapacz is a compulsive creative who, while in possession of myriad ideas of her own, has so far found she’s most productive when applied to the creative endeavors of others. Sophia has been an artist her whole life, and practicing artist in a professional capacity since the age of 11. Unable to commit to a single medium, she has dabbled in everything from drawing to sculpture and graphic design to animation. Sophia has been invested in Forms of the Matter Lords since before she joined the team as illustrator, and hopes that her art will help bring this weird little thing to life.
$1200 Improved paper quality & fancy finish
$1600: Sticker pack - All physical reward backers will receive 4 3"x3"stickers of art from the zine at no additional cost
$1800: Bonus spread of level-less, system-neutral elemental spells
$2000: More Art!
“A ton of flexibility and creativity in this initial offering. I could use these creatures in any system I decide to play in. Great jumping off point for broader worlds of the alchemical.”
- Damon Runnals, Dungeon Master
“It’s rare to see something designed with the imaginative freedom and whimsy that conjures flavors of Grant Morrison, ‘Roadside Picnic’, and Clark Ashton-Smith… It’s even rarer to see it done so effortlessly!”
- Josh Hames, Weird Fiction Historian, Owner of Other Skies Books
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