A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

Gygax ’75 - Misericorde

Dark Souls Knight


In 1975 Gary Gygax wrote an article describing a simple approach to creating a campaign world over 5 weeks, which you could then expand upon through play: like God intended. Ray Otus took this article and expanded on its ideas to create a structured work book with concrete steps for each week and his own example of creating a small campaign setting. Recently Dungeon Possum posted about his plans to go through this process. This got me interested in doing the same. I am keen to create a basic-ass fantasy setting. I normally gravitate towards Gonzo He-Man nonsense. Playing Dark Souls and Demon Souls over the last year has me interested in Arthurian fantasy—by way of a confused Japanese man. And so that’s what I will go with. We’ll call it Misericorde for now, until I figure out the names for things in this setting.

Week 1!

The Pitch

  • A land of grey skies and perpetual rain. Farmland, fields, and forests. Stone walls guard wooden homes with thatch roofs. Standing Stones. Barrows. Villages built inside hills and caves. Witches hiding in forests. Wizards in towers. Knights, of course.
  • Far from your home is the Castle by the Water. The former seat of power is now home to the Dragon, who defeated the Good King and levelled that great city ten years past. Your countryside is now ruled by petty warlords, bandits, and far darker beings none dare speak of.
  • The names of the Good King’s knights fade from people’s memories, but all twenty survived that day. From Agralan the Gloom Knight to Sina the Star Knight, they all quest about. Some with bloodlust in their eyes terrorize all they encounter. Others protect whomever they meet in the hopes of atoning for their past failure.
  • Magic is a rare art, usually practiced by the wicked, a source of calamity. Most people will tell you the last good wizard was Ellenel, who perished by his lord’s side when the Dragon took the Castle by the Water.
  • Players are aspiring adventures, all human. There are no demi-humans. Players can learn magic as per the rules of Wonder and Wickedness. Advancement is diegetic—you gain power by gaining power.


  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: a dreamy and fantastic sort of England, with knights, dragons, magic, and all the good stuff.
  • King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green. A children’s retelling of the Arthurian stories, and beside’s Patrick Stuart’s adaptation of The Green Knight, my only real source of knowledge about these stories.
  • The Green Knight by David Lowery: A beautiful film, and Gawain our protagonist is a brown dude to boot.
  • Ninja Scroll: Peak 90s anime, the films presents a fantastic feudal Japan. There are lots of ideas you can transplant into a world of knights, wizards, farmers, bandits, etc.
  • Sui generia by Brendan S: I love Brendan’s idea for creating a setting by making the generic unique. There is one dragon. There is one troll. They have names and histories and a solid place in the world.
  • Dark Souls: I love this view of Western fantasy, mysterious and confusing.
  • The minis I painted for my Zornheim war band. They look like people I might imagine in this setting. Sort of, anyway: we don’t have guns in long ago fantasy England.

Dev Patel Green Knight

Week 2

The Wilderness


Play begins in the town of Llangolen. The Hidden Crypt is known to the players’ characters and the townspeople. It is a burial site from ages past, accidentally unearthed, no doubt full of treasure, mystery, and danger. Some other points of interest are noted below, and labeled on the map above. (The map was created using Hex Kit, with tiles by Thomas Novosel.)

  1. Town of Llangolen
  2. The Hidden Crypt
  3. Harlech Castle
  4. The Solitary Grave
  5. Mendolin’s Skull
  6. The Red Tower
  7. Town of Tywyn
  8. The Cairns (mountain range)
  9. Swamp of Sadness
  10. The Monolith

An example random encounter table for the area near the Town of Llangolen. The random encounter tables would change depending on the hex the players find themselves in.

2d6 Encounter
2 A Knight of the Good King
3 Man-eater the Troll
4 Wizard and Hangers On
5 Undead (Skeletons, Ghouls, Wraiths)
6 Bandits
7 Travellers
9 Local Militia
10 Questing Knight and Retinue
11 Gogol the Giant
12 The Dragon

The Twenty Knights of the Good King

d20 Knights of the Good King
1. Agralan the Gloom Knight
2. Sina the Star Knight
3. The Blood Knight
4. The Chalice Knight
5. The Lion Knight
6. The Beetle Knight
7. The Lotus Knight
8. The Storm Knight
9. The Gold Knight
10. The Twilight Knight
11. The Swan Knight
12. The Bastard Knight
13. The Songbird Knight
14. The Silk Knight
15. The Emerald Knight
16. The Pumpkin Knight
17. The Crucible Knight
18. The Robber Knight
19. The Salt Knight
20. The Forgotten Knight

Week 3

The Hidden Crypt

Coming soon? …