Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Four Against Darkness: Heart of the Lizard

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And so it’s out, and I can finally post the cover – that I had shown you a while back, I think – and a link to buy my novella Heart of the Lizard, the fist (hopefully) story in a series set in the world of Andrea Sfiligoi’s game Four Against Darkness.
The book is published by Ganesha Games, and includes a novella and a big appendix with all the gaming material you need to use in your games the magic, creatures, monsters and treasures you read about. Andrea wrote the appendix, and also illustrated the book.
The book is currently available as a pdf, with the paperback coming soon.

Four Against Darkness is a solo roleplaying game of dungeon delving and monster bashing. Think classic Old School RPGs, but in this series you handle up to four different characters, and you can do without a dungeon master. There is a large selection of adventure scenarios and supplements available on the Ganesha Games page. Of course, if you’ve gut a bunch of friends, you can turn this into a masterless game for your party.

Heart of the Lizard is a novella that uses the setting and the atmospheres of the game. It features a party of four adventurers, describes how they first come together (yes, there’s a brawl in a tavern – but it’s better than that), and then follows them as they go adventuring in the goblin-infested ruins of an old temple, looking for the fabled jewel known as The Heart of the Lizard.

And as you can see from the cover, it’s not just goblins, they’ll have to face.

When i first discussed this project with Andrea, we decided to try and keep the story as “classic” as possible while putting a few twists here and there to keep the material fresh, and possibly different.
So yes, the story features a a rogue, an elf spellcaster, an half-orc barbarian and a cleric, but Haq, Kil, Gress and Varda are not necessarily your stereotypical dungeon crawlers, and this is not your standard fantasy-of-hard-knocks.
Not only that, at least…

“What sort of treasure are we talking about?” Gress asked, cautiously.
“An emerald the size of a fist—” Haq said.
“Cursed,” Kil said.
“—inside an old temple filled with riches—”
“Haunted,” the elf interjected.
“—one day out of this town—”
“A cesspool,” the sorceress added.
“—south, in the hills.”
“Where the goblins dwell.”
A big grin split Gress’ bruised features. “This is getting better and better,” he said. “When do we start?”


The story is light enough to be suitable to young readers, and I really hope that it will be appreciated by seasoned readers and players, but also that it will help introduce new, young gamers to fantasy tabletop RPGs.

And now, let’s see if the audience appreciates this.
If they do, Haq, Kil, Gress and Varda will probably ride again.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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