Changing Places September 22, 2016 10:27 11 Comments


The world in Tephra is incredibly vast and very different from our own. Sometimes, you may decide you want to step away from the Tephra scene and play in a setting that’s easier to relate to. Adapting the Tephra system into a true Victorian Steampunk setting is easy, and I’ll give you some tips on making the necessary changes to our system.

To start things off, you may want to limit race selection. Humans are the go-to choice, but you could also include simulacrons if your setting includes intelligent constructs. Furthermore, you could change the names and histories of Tephra races and attribute them to mad science or eugenics.

How advanced do you want your setting to be? Bio-Zappers may seem too advanced. Maybe firearms are less common than swords. You may decide that different parts of your world may have different levels and types of technology. England may favor subtlety and tradition and focus on developing smaller trinkets and gadgets. Meanwhile, the United States might be experiencing an industrial boom that is churning out automatons and giant land vehicles. You could even adjust crafting costs to account for local strengths and weaknesses.

The second decision you need to make is your beginning point and how your setting diverges. World War I, or the Great War, makes for a memorable point in Victorian time. The Leviathan book series makes use of this period to spur the story, keeping a few events true to history while adjusting others to fit a fictional narrative. Maybe your setting takes place a few years after The Great War. Perhaps the repercussions are drastically different than in our history. Using real history as a guide can help to fill in any gaps. I personally struggle with developing and representing religion in my settings, so I’ll look up different historic faiths from around the world to inspire my writing.

Most importantly, remember that Tephra books exist to suggest rules. If you find that your setting requires adjusting these rules, you are free to make changes as you see fit. Sometimes you may want to give your party a new game mechanic to try out. It’s okay to use your creative liberties and give your party a great story. Don’t worry too much about breaking the game. You can always talk to your group and change things that don’t work.

Thank you all for reading. If you have any questions or tips you would like to share, please comment below or check out our reddit page. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!

The Arachnoforge: From Pitch to Paper January 2, 2016 12:46

With the upcoming Narrator’s Accomplice being nearly finished, we find ourselves looking back on our favorite monsters and how they came to be. Some of them were created on the spot, others had months of writing put into them, and some started out as jokes before evolving into the amazing monstrosities that they are now. One of our favorite creations from the list of monsters has to be the Arachnoforge: the automaton spider that produces and manipulates molten metal. I had the pleasure of developing this beastie, and I wish to share with you how it came to be.

I was tasked with fleshing out and finishing a number of creatures from the Rogue Automatons chapter. When I took the dive into the automaton section, I saw a list of many mechanical monsters that needed work, love, and a hint of madness in order to be made whole. As fate would have it, the Arachnoforge, being first on the alphabetized list, would get the first wave of madness I could produce. I had a solid but sparse concept designed largely with the efforts of Martin Solis and Geoffrey Treece. There were notes about other ideas that had been added on, and some of them went in some interesting directions.

One of them made this thing out to be some sort of walking tank that forged and shot its missiles. While that certainly sounded cool, I didn’t find myself agreeing that something named the Arachnoforge should do that. No, I decided to go a different route. I decided this automaton should embody the tactics of a spider, and the mind of a predator. I wanted this to be a foe worth fearing.

I took inspiration from the initial note that the Arachnoforge should be a walking furnace of molten metal. It would secrete this metal from its thorax much like a spider’s silk, and shape it into anything it needed. The first use for this molten metal was the Arachnoforge creating a metallic latticework that would make the terrain difficult to walk through.

I wanted to have the feeling of entrapment on multiple levels, so I then thought, “What’s the most horrible way I can overpower some weak adventurers?” I looked through the initial concept notes, and the answer gave me one of those evil smiles you might find on Snidely Whiplash (sans the mustache to twirl). The Arachnoforge would grab at opponents, pinning them to the ground under its bulk. Then, held down, the Arachnoforge would slowly encased its in molten metal, limb by limb. That was when I knew this creature was going to be giving players proper nightmares..

Between the lattice of metal web, the grappling style, and the victims being encased from head to toe in metal until they’re burned and suffocated, I felt great pride when I turned this in to the boss man. My pride went even higher when he said it was his favorite beastie from the Rogue Automatons Chapter. It was even the first one to get its artwork done! I couldn’t be happier with how the Arachnoforge turned out, and I look forward to getting feedback from people's encounters with it.

See below for the Arachnoforge’s stats and info, or check it out in our Narrator’s Accomplice.

Arachnoforge AP: 3 PAR: 4

Defective Automaton

HP: 108  |  Wnds: 12  |  Pri: +4  |  Spd: 25 ft (land), 35 ft (climb)

Brute +5 | Cunning +5 | Dexterity +12 | Spirit +0 | Sciences +0


Iron Frame - medium metal armor

Eva: -1 Def: +3

Soak:  3  |  6  |  9  |  12

Note: If armor is sundered, the Arachnoforge will gain +10 ft land and +5 climb speed.

Immunities: Anatomical effects (diseases, gases, medicines, poisons, venoms), bio-flux, and all abilities requiring a spirit resist. Fire does not damage the Arachnoforge.



1 AP

Piercing Clutch - Unarmed Grab

Acc: +6 Stk: +4

Damage:  6  |  12  |  18  |  24

Notes: On hit, target is grabbed and takes damage based on strike roll. Target may break the grab by spending 1 AP and rolling a Brute or Dexterity resist opposing the Arachnoforge’s Dexterity roll.

The Arachnoforge can maintain six grabs at once.

0 AP (Part of a Move)

Gridlock - Molten Metal

As the Arachnoforge scurries about, it can leave a thin trail of iron behind. Using its hind legs, it can fashion an iron web. Any space this web ends up on becomes a higher tier of rough terrain. If the terrain was not rough, it becomes minor terrain. If the space was Tier 4 Impossible terrain, then the space becomes a solid wall that cannot be moved through.

Note: The latticework of this web does look quite nice, though.

1 AP

Encase (Reflexive)

Once the Arachnoforge has grabbed an opponent, it can begin covering the victim with molten metal. For every AP spent, the victim has one called shot location encased in metal, causing them to suffer wound effects until their next breather. The molten metal also deals 1 point of unsoakable damage on contact.

Note: The neck wound effect will not bleed, but will instead cause the victim to begin suffocating.

The Tephra Pipeline July 23, 2015 11:00 3 Comments

We're laying down the rails! We have a lot of things in the final layout and editing phase, and I wanted to share them with you.

The best part is that this isn't even close to everything we have in the works. It's a long process getting new products from beginning to end, so I'm only sharing the items that are so far along that I am confident they'll see the light of day. Some of them are coming out in August, some in September, and some might not come out for 6-9 months yet. But we are pushing along!

In addition to these, we're always working to get out more merchandise and tools to enhance your game. So keep an eye out or join our newsletter, so you'll never miss an update.


Extra Credit

On hold indefinitely.

Extra Credit is a light-hearted adventure, in which you are enlisted by a Tordryoni University to go on a field trip. If this adventure doesn't make you laugh, it's probably because you don't have a throat. Written by Tim Bedard (the creative lead on The Golden Bandit).


Released here.

This three-part saga takes adventurers through multiple levels, cities, and more! It's got an army of automatons, a giant airship, shock-troopers, a mercenary company, and more. This adventure has been in the works for years, and I'm excited to say that we are wrapping up the maps right now and just have a bit more art to finish it off. Written by Martin Solis.

A Big Misunderstanding

Released here.

Do you ever sit down at the table and you realize, "I only have 2 hours and I only have 2 players... none of my material is going to work!" Worry no longer, friend, because A Big Misunderstanding is designed exactly for these moments. This adventure is a quick and fun adventure, but what makes it really shine is its replay value. It has four very unique villains for you to choose from. Between that and a fully realized downtown for the adventurers to explore, this will be a game that you can play over and over again and it will never feel the same twice. This will be the premiere game for Austin Witt, but he's already written 3 other adventures that are in the final editing phase!

From Boot Hill

Released here.

I just finished the layout on this adventure last night - mix weird west, undead, and a bit of horror flavor and you've latched on to what makes From Boot Hill such a fun adventure. We spent entire sessions just exploring the ghost town, there's so much to do! New adventure by Patrick Regan.

Setting & Expansions!

These are some big books that I am elated to share with you. While we're getting to the point where we can pump out adventurers pretty quickly, getting out some of these bigger 100-200 page books is a challenge. But we're working on them! First in the queue:

Adventuring in the Outer Reaches

Still in progress, but you can find new races here.

Take your game into the chaos of old Paldorus, the crucible of the Izedan desert, or into the frigid wastelands of Siyesh. The world of Tephra's not a nice or normal place, and this book's going to prove it. Not only will you be getting a mountain of setting, you're going to see: a half-dozen new races, game-changing specialties, and a slew of new crafts ranging from turning yourself into a monster to building ancient Izedan ray guns. This is the book that you're courageous explorers have been waiting for!

The Industrial Carnage of Evangless

From the beautiful capital cities to the war-wrecked western lands, Evangless is the world's industrial juggernaut and a land in turmoil. New organizations, specialties (we love specialties!), and a ton of setting and adventure concepts will keep the adventurers constantly in the action. If you thought Evangless was a nice peaceful Utopia, this book will prove that thought entirely wrong.

The Encyclopaedia Automata

The playing guide only teased you with automatons. This book is going to obliterate the subject. We'll start by giving you all new ways to play automatons, letting you combine different elements together or build up giant automatons that you can pilot. Then we're going to introduce new automatons: magnetech automaton swarms, golems crafted from the earth, and aetherial manifestations, to name a few. We're going full-steam ahead into automaton crafting! New content largely written by Jeffrey Wood.

The City of a Single Law

There's a city that sits on the northern tip of Izeda. It's partially Evanglessian, partially Izedan, and entirely unstable. This is the city of Dis, and it's got only one rule: no person can own another person. This city-delving expansion is written by Gustavo Martinez.

For Narrators!

The Kickstarter Adversary Book

Now released! Click here for more information.

Yep, I'll be releasing the Adversary Book to the public soon - it's full of 50+ fully-built NPCs that you can throw into your game. It's surprisingly cool! This is entirely done - I just want to give our Kickstarter backers some time to enjoy it exclusively. That said, if you do  want one, you can get it with our Extreme Softcover Bundle. It's the only way!

The Narrator's Accomplice

Now released! Click here for more information.

And finally, the one I care the most about: the Narrator's Accomplice. This is the book that will take your games to the next level. We've got traps, environments, narrating advice, tools, house rules, rewards, relics, and a ton of monsters, otherworldly beings, scientific abominations, and crazed automatons to give you everything you need to take your Tephra game to the next level. This is the one that I am most personally invested in, as it's my top priority book. I promise: it is going to take your game to the next level.

Let me know what you're most excited about and what you want us to focus on next!

Cheers & Gears,


Did the Golden Bandit really just try to steal an entire Clocktower? May 1, 2015 12:45

The Golden Bandit (& other Rangston Adventures) has just released!

We've been working on this little doozy for a while. Rangston's a troubled town in Western Evangless, where the law isn't well enforced and inventors just want to have fun. It's a place where people like the Golden Bandit can pull off heists so spectacular that they involve stealing a whole clocktower. It's a place where cattle barons and Brimstones fight to keep everyone under their thumb.

I've never been happier with an expansion release. Not only is Victor Helton's newest art spot-on, but this adventure also comes fully-packed with a ton of ideas, adventures, and people to use in Rangston. And if that doesn't get you, then how about the full list of background stories and a new craft: Widgets?

But what really tickles my fancy is that this book's creative lead also made a cool tune to go with Rangston. You can check it out on our Soundcloud.

Cheers & Gears

Free Adventure Concept: She's Gonna Blow! April 26, 2015 23:30

Are you running out of freaking awesome adventure ideas? I know my well sure dries up on occasion... so here, have an adventure concept. Don't worry about paying me, this one's on the house:

She's Gonna Blow - Free Concept Adventure!