In a bend between the Spine and the Orient Sea lies the Valley of Fire.
The Valley is a desert plateau scoured by raging deflagration. Piles of rubble and ruins few and far between, huge billowing flames venting from the karsts, canyons and crevices crisscrossing the valley.
You have no reason to be there. Go home. Or come underground.
Under the desert, hidden from sight and the scorching sun, in these very canyons, karsts and crevices rivers flow and life abounds. Trees, ivy, honeysuckle, fungal sprawls and fauna teems nestled in the moist chthonic cavities, protected from the inhospitable inferno above us.
Over the millennia witch hunts, war, distrust and persecution drove to the Valley both monstrosities and practitioners of the occult arts. Here they found even weirder beings and more inexplicable phenomena.
To resist the vexing environment and wanton aggression covenants and congregations were formed. Eventually the Schools of Magic were founded; as they started accepting apprentices a greater influx of young, foolish and ambitious students came to the Hypogea. But conflict continued. Many schools were destroyed, together with their immense knowledge.
The Five Great Schools left joined in a Conspiracy, to find strength through numbers, to keep their friends close, and to keep their enemies even closer. Together they elect the Grand Sorcerer of the Valley of Fire, to lead them through the Dark.
Chthonic Codex: Cryptic Creatures describes the creatures of the Valley of Fire. Each entry presents, over a spread, fragments of the Codex, an illustration and game mechanics for Adventure Fantasy Game and Sword & Wizardry and other Old School game systems.
The PDF of the first volume, Cryptic Creatures, will be released in November 2013. At the moment the estimated size is 64 pages. Preorders will receive the current PDF plus updates as production completes. Print copies of the first volume should be shipped in early December 2013. PDF and print copies of the second and third volume will be shipped before April 2014. Please note that all time estimates are conservative, but being late is always a possibility.
The Chthonic Codex ships in three limited editions. They should ship in early 2014 and are available in limited numbers. All three editions come with additional material otherwise unavailable.
The Codex Edition is an handmade coptic-bound book containing all the material from the first three volumes.
The Boxed Set is a boxed set containing the three volumes.
The Boxed plus Codex edition comes with both the boxed set of three books and the handbound codex. Each copy will feature different special, unique material.