Fulgrim’s Backpack

What is in your backpack?

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is titled “What’s in your backpack?” asking for what folks have in their real life backpack or their character’s backpack. I found the topic interesting and was initially going to talk about the art of selecting items for a character’s backpack or what a standard load for the backpack should consist of.

But then I started thinking. That is all fine in theory, but what happens as a character progresses? What really happens to the items they carry in their backpack? So I decided to let one of my characters empty out their backpack and see what they have accumulated over the early levels.

Fulgrim Ironforge

With that, meet Fulgrim Ironforge, a 4th level Barbarian from the Pathfinder RPG System. Let’s see what he has to say.

“Backpack? Ye want ta’ see in me backpack?” the dwarf with a shaved head and long, thick brownish beard says looking up his chair. “I ‘spose I got time fer that.”

The dwarf slides a worn leather backpack from one side of the chair. Several straps hang from the pack with similarly worn brass buckles, scratches scoring the surface of the metal. A battered tankard clanks against one of the buckles as the dwarf finishes sliding the backpack in front of him.

The dwarf reaches to one of the side pockets of the backpack and begins to draw things forth, placing them on the table. From a side pocket he pulls out a ball of twine, several pieces of chalk, and a whetstone. “Can mark ye way wit da chalk if needed. Dat twine, never know when it might be handy.” Fulgrim states as he moves to another side pocket.

From that pocket he pulls out a dingy cord about three feet in length, stained with dark red and rust colored spots and places it on the table, followed by a vial of thick, silvery liquid. “De cord is a good way ta’ keep yer weapon on ye if somethin’ try to take it from ye. Dat silvery stuff can ‘elp against stuff resistant ta normal weapons.”

Fulgrim moves on to the next side pocket and slides out a much used deck of cards. The edges are worn and marred with dirt. He shrugs as he places them on the table “Somethin’ ta play in de evenings.”

Finally the dwarf opens the top flap of the backpack and begins removing items from the pack. Several vials, a flask or two are placed on the table. A silken rope is placed next to the vials as Fulgrim rummages around in the backpack more. “Flask ‘o de finest dwarven liquor fer de cold nights.” Fulgrim says, still rifling through the pack.

Fulgrim pulls a blanket out that seems unusually bulky, even for a blanket. He smiles as he places it on the table and slowly unfolds it revealing several caltrops, a hammer and a water skin. “De blanket keeps de spikes from pokin’ a hole in de pack. Helps muffle de sound too, keeps ’em from clankin’ in when ye don’t need ’em ta be.” Fulgrim adds.

Reaching further in the dwarf pulls out several more items, several small pouches of powder, trail rations, flint and steel and another waterskin. “Dat looks ta be it.” Fulgrim says.

Fulgrim gazes at the items on the table for a moment, “Guess it don’t hurt ta be prepared!”


Here is a list of what was actually in Fulgrim Ironforge’s pack:

  • Alchemist’s Fire Flask
  • Antitoxin
  • Blanket
  • Caltrops
  • Chalk (x3)
  • Flask
  • Flint and Steel
  • Hammer
  • Marked Cards
  • Tankard
  • Oil (x3)
  • Powder (x3)
  • Rations, 1 week
  • Rope, Silk (50′)
  • Twine (50′)
  • Waterskin (x2)
  • Weapon Blanch, Silver
  • Weapon Cord
  • Whetstone x3

I tend to load my dwarven characters up with more supplies than I do other races.


I think it is interesting to see what characters tend to keep in their backpack. I tend to vary mine from character to character. Some are pack rats and fill their pack full of miscellaneous items and others only pick up the bare essentials. Fulgrim is just one glance at one character to see what is carried


Review: Coliseum Morpheuon: Anthology of Dreams

Editor: David Paul (Anthology)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
Price: Print $9.99/ Kindle $4.99
Tankard Rating: 4/5

Coliseum Morpheuon: Anthology of Dreams is the recently released anthology from Rite Publishing taking place in a mysterious dream world. The book contains eleven short stories based in the world of the Coliseum Morpheuon ruled by Khan of Nightmares. Edited by David Paul and stories from a myriad of writers including Tim Hitchcock, Jonathan McAnulty, Steve Schend, Neil Spicer, and more. The book is 222 pages in length and available in both paperback and a variety of electronic formats.

The stories all take place in the Realm of Dreams upon an island within this plane of dreams. On this island is a city with a great coliseum where the Khan of Nightmares lets bloodsport contests unfold. Several of the stories help explore the island in greater detail, describing this plane of dreams and the tenuous border between dream, sleep, and wakefulness.

The list of authors with stories in this book was enough to get me excited upon scanning the table of contents of this book. While many of the names were recognizable, I was anxious to read fiction from Tim Hitchcock and Neil Spicer, both of which have Pathfinder modules I have run. Also of interest to me was Steven Schend a name easily recognized from my Forgotten Realms days.

The first story, Living Legend by Jonathan McAnulty, helps let the reader know the Plane of Dreams is not like the normal world and that it is ever changing. The pacing of this tale is excellent and really starts to paint the picture of this dream world that the other stories continue to add depth to. The story is also one of my favorites from the anthology as well. It offered a strong start to the book.

The book rolls on into Focus by Tim Hitchcock with a tale that helps one get a feel for the inner workings of the Coliseum as we catch a glimpse of a gladiator’s life. This was another entertaining story and again, helped provide the reader with more detail of this facet of the Realm of Dreams.

Another story that stood out to me was Oneirobound by Matt Banach. It was another story that helped give the reader a better idea of this dream world and the environment within. I enjoyed the tale of the journey depicted and would not have minded reading it earlier in the book to help paint a more detailed picture of this realm.

With eleven stories in the book I cannot cover them all in this review and do not want to spoil what the reader has in store when they read this book. So lets take a look at overall impressions of this Anthology.

I enjoyed the vast majority of stories in this book. Exploring the plane of dreams was quite interesting with the boundaries you could push. The stories were entertaining and the book as a whole provided a good sampling of authors.

Given The Iron Tavern is predominantly an RPG blog, one of the great strengths of this book is the wealth of ideas it can give a GM. There are many ideas to “borrow” from this book to use within your campaigns or twist into your tales at the table. Whether it be simply more vivid dream depictions for your characters or your characters crossing this line into the dream world, this anthology is ripe with ideas to pluck.

For GMs looking to further explore this plane of dreams as depicted in the stories in this book, Rite Publishing also has a mini-setting called Coliseum Morpheuon that one can drop into their game as they see fit.

Overall I found this book a very enjoyable read, both the stories within and the ideas it sparks in any GM. The book is available in a variety of formats including print and kindle format.

Tankard Rating

4 tankards out of 5 tankards

Note: The Iron Tavern was provided a review copy of this book.

Broken Mountains Patrol

Iron Tavern BarrelThe pair of dwarves quickly move forward through the common room of the Iron Tavern, Baerun stands his ground as they draw closer, his face suddenly breaking out in a large smile as the pair are steps away.

“Thought ye’d seen the last ‘o us, did ye?” the first dwarf calls as he claps Baerun’s back with a blow that would have knocked the less hearty down. A wide-mouthed smile also breaks out across his face from underneath his beard.

The second dwarf pulls a stool out from the bar, the wooden legs scratching against the floor as he makes himself comfortable. “Expectin’ me to pour my own drink dere, Baerun?” he says as he leans forward elbows on the iron topped bar.

“Reggor.” Baerun says to the dwarf that clapped him on the back. “And Nortik, of course.”

“Have yerself a seat Reggor. I’ll pour ye a couple of ales.” Baerun continues, still smiling as he pulls a couple of mugs down from the rack overhead and begins filling them from one of the tapped wooden barrels marked C.A.

He places the overfilled mugs down before each dwarf each sitting at the bar.

“How was the trip across this time?” Baerun asks, wiping down the bar top. “Nip of fall is in the air, won’t be many more easy trips I reckon.”

“Ah, de’ mountain trolls gettin’ restless. Lotsa’ prints, probaby a trio ‘o dem. Nortik and me tried to track ’em a bit, but we lost ’em across a rock field. Maybe we’ll run into ’em on da way back.” Reggor replies, pushing an already empty mug away and nodding for another.

Baerun promptly offers another, following with a second for Nortik who is also pushing his empty mug back across the bar.

“Them trolls always causing concern in these parts.” Baerun replies. “Just part of getting the ore out of here. Hungry? I can have something made up for ye?”

Reggor and Nortik both nod.

Baerun scrawls something on a small piece of parchment and sets it on the ledge of a pass window behind the bar. A burnt, human sized hand takes the slip of paper from the ledge and disappears from sight.

“It’ll be ready in a bit.” Baerun says to the pair of dwarves as he walks back to you at your end of the bar.

“Sorry ’bout that. Old friends!” Baerun says as he passes another mug of ale along to you. “Who are they ye ask?”

“I told ye that the dwarves patrol the main road to the mine earlier, eh?” Baerun replies.

“Those two are part of the patrol. Once winter hits the patrols will stop, though a trading caravan or two might try to pass through if they are desperate. They will have their own guards along of course knowing the dwarves don’t patrol in the winter.”

“Reggor and Nortik are some of the toughest, that’s why they travel with just themselves. Those prints of three mountain trolls they found? Lucky for them trolls that those two didn’t find them! Sometime I will see if I can get them to tell you some of their stories, they have some good ones!”

“Fact, if you are looking to head to the mines on your business you might be able to tag along with those two. I could put in a word for you if yer interested. Safest passage yer likely to see!”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, looks like their food is up.” Baerun says as he looks at the pass through window and sees two heaping plates of food sitting there.

The Broken Ridge Mountains

Dwarven Mines of Broken Ridge MountainsThe heavy wooden planks creak below your feet as you make your way towards the sturdy, fir wood iron topped bar at the back of the common room in The Iron Tavern. The dwarf with the graying beard adorned with various beads of an off orange color turns his attention to you as you approach.

“Welcome to The Iron Tavern mate!” the dwarf states as he wipes up a spot from the iron topped bar. “Don’t think I’ve seen ye around here before. The name is Baerun Ironforge.”

“Take a seat right there.” Baerun says, motioning to one of several empty bar stools “Ye look like a Copperstone Ale could hit the spot for ye, the climb up the pass must have been a long one.” without waiting for a reply the broad shouldered dwarf pulls a mug down from overheard and moves to one of several tapped wooden kegs behind him. He fills the metal mug from one with scripted initials C.A. burned into the wood of barrel. The foam splashes over the top of edge of the oversized mug as he sets the drink down on the bar in front of you.

“First time to the Broken Ridge Mountains ye say? Sure I can tell ye more about them, though ye might be a little late now just learning about them right here on their doorstep!”

“Not many folk come around these parts for pleasure. Only us dwarves find the land fit to live in amongst them rocky, steep ridges we call home. And even then most of us find it best to live under the ground. Us dwarves been living in them mountains for hundreds of years, mining them for about that long.”

“Most of the folk that come through here are here for one thing only. Get the goods the dwarves made or raw materials for their own crafting, load it up and then head back down to the valleys of men and elves.”

“Yep, most of them pass through this here pass, Red Mountain Pass to get there. Especially busy in the summer months. Ye can already feel the crisp in the air though, fall is just around the corner, the first snows won’t be far behind. Oh we’ll still see travelers through here, but not many. The snows make the trek tough on a person. Not even speaking of the critters that roam these mountains.”

“Oh, don’t worry – it isn’t too bad if you stay on the main road to the south gate. Ye aren’t traveling alone are ye?”

“Mmmhhmm, well keep yer wits about ye then. The dwarves do their best to keep the patrols moving along they thoroughfare, but even that can’t keep one fully safe from harm what with at least three days travel from here to the south gate of the halls, and that’s on the fair days.”

“The orcs have sense enough to stay in their holes, but a few of the giants’ll wander down from the upper parts of the mountains and cause trouble every so often, or worse yet some of them mountain trolls. Don’t want to be crossing paths with a mountain troll if ye can help it! Ye’ll likely be just fine though, still ye might have wanted to bring along some others rather wander alone out there.”

Baerun sees the empty glass before you and whisks it away without asking, pouring another healthy round of ale into, foam spilling along the sides. He puts it heavily down on the bar top in front of you.

“What’s that? You want to know more about this here pass? I can…” he begins just as a loud bang comes as the heavy iron door is thrown open and crashes against the wall.

Two dwarves come walking through the door, great axes across their backs and several smaller throwing axes along their well-worn leather belts. They wear leather breeches that have seen many years of travel and long sleeved, dark red shirts under leather vests with a multitude of pockets, straps and hooks.

The pair stride confidently in, paying little attention to anything else within the tavern the first calling “Baerun! Why you little….”

“Er, that tale will have to wait for another time!” Baerun says hurriedly as his attention turns to the new arrivals.