Delving into Coppercore

Took about two weeks off after publishing Palace and then have quickly delved back into the monster known as Coppercore. So let's talk about Coppercore briefly...what the hell is it all about?

If you have purchased some of our past adventures--Nevermore Mines, Willowmere Vagabonds, Of Beasts and Men, Trollback Keep...these are all adventures located in the Dragonback Mountains--a place in the far north. Mountainous valleys, glaciers, and deep mysterious forests...Coppercore is the main human town in this region.

Jon created this setting a long time ago and has playtested it for over 30+ years with various gaming groups. When I moved nearby and joined the table we worked together to tweak it with the main purpose of typing up all his handwritten notes before they were destroyed by mold, etc.

I brought in a lot of tricks that I was using for the City of Vermilion and incorporated it into Coppercore to make it a bustling town with a huge sandbox to adventure in. Different taverns have different rumors...rumors lead to situations or places to explore...there are things happening in town that the PCs can get involved in or not. There are numerous adventures, both mini in size (3 pages) to bigger (30 pages) from Appendix A to Appendix X. Some are interconnected, some not, but they are ALL very modular. So even if people don't like the setting, the adventures can be pulled out and used separately--a more glorified Book of Lairs.

There is no correct way for PCs to explore this area...whatever hook interests them IS the adventure.

I used to run a Patreon and would bust out adventures once per month. It was a blast, but I felt the work was sloppy due to the deadline of one per month. Some of the adventures I wrote there, I'm tweaking and having an editor look over and will probably be redoing the maps. Some that may sound familiar to past Patreon members are: Red Copper Run Mine, Ice Troll Lair, Ice Needles of the Cryoptera...the rest of the Appendices are all new. Everything is being converted to Old School Essentials and hoping to get enough funding to commission new art.


Part of the fun of creating is developing new monsters. I've always liked lizardmen and wanted lizardmen in Dragonback Mountains. didn't make much sense as it's more of a cold environment. I enjoy delving into google and learning about the earth's creatures and plants to get inspiration. I stumbled upon a alpine newt. These dudes look so cool! Check them out--

So I support Dean Spencer on his Patreon and awhile back I had him draw me a newtman or Triturus (from alpine newts scientific name). They will be making an appearance in Coppercore!

Art by Dean Spencer

Here is the statblock I came up with for them using Old School Essentials:

Triturus are similar to lizardmen, except instead of lizards they are newts, and inspired by Alpine Newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris formerly known as Triturus alpestris). Triturus exhibit dark-blue coloring on their backs, white-black-spotted stripes below sky-blue stripes on their flanks, and their bellies (or chest) a bright orange. Females are mottled brown with weak spotting on their backs and are usually bigger than the males. All adult triturus are excellent climbers and may climb any surface, but move slower than a human on land. During battle, triturus sometimes use a bizarre technique of riding each other into combat. This strategy is employed when Triturus can use terrain to their advantage. For example, while one triturus climbs up a sheer, vertical cliff, its rider may be shooting arrows or using a spear to attack. Triturus can be primitive or semi-intelligent, with several tribes able to communicate in the common tongue.

Triturus: AC 5 [14]; HD 1+1*; hp 9 ea; Att

Art by Dean Spencer

1 x weapon (by weapon or 1d6 bite); THACO 18 [+1]; MV 120’ (40’); SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (1); ML 9; AL N; XP 23

  • Items: Each triturus carries a spear and 1d10 cp ea.

  • Regeneration: 1 hp/round. Can grow lost limbs. Fire stops regeneration.

  • Spit: They can spit a toxicity 3x per day. Target must roll a saving throw vs. paralyzation or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.

Triturus Tadpoles

Tadpoles are the early stages of the triturus race and have not fully developed their intelligence or into a humanoid as they look much like a tadpole. They have external lungs and mainly feed on what they can find around in their restricted water environment which includes fish, bugs, and even vegetation. After two years, they turn into an adult triturus.

Triturus Tadpoles: AC 5 [14]; HD 1-1; hp 4 ea; Att 1 x bite (1d4); THACO 19 (0); MV 90’ (30’) SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S 16 (1); ML 6; AL N; XP 6

  • Regeneration: 1 hp/round. Can grow lost limbs. Fire stops regeneration.

  • Spit: The young can’t spit. Their toxicity is harmful if consumed. Save vs. poison or take 10 damage.

Two monsters in one! Somewhat goofy, but better than flumphs.

The Fate of the Blog

It's probably no secret that I don't like advertising or doing social media (sorry folks, left Facebook awhile back). I'm still on MeWe (check maybe once a month?), Instagram (barely post), and more of a stalker on Twitter. I just didn't want to be part of the endless tirade of promoting stuff....and much happier for it.

But I have this website and blog...thought the blog would be fun, but admittedly I'm not very good at posting things. But I like the idea that I'm not schluffing my crap on people on social media--and if they are interested in Merciless Merchant stuff, they can come here. So if anyone has questions about anything we have produced or want to know the backstory of things or whatever--feel free to post questions in the comments, or email me at Otherwise I'm just going to continue to ramble about random stuff when I'm in the mood.

Grutzi is trying to talk me into doing a interactive story--like a choose your own adventure on the blog...where you all get to decide what happens to a character as they journey to Coppercore. Perhaps there will be some easter eggs in Coppercore relating to the story. I don't know...might be fun?


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