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Iconics: Corio

Corio the unanointed

The introduction to the iconic characters continues with Corio, a member of a primitive race of cannibals punished by God for their distance from the doctrine of the true Faith. In the world of Of Iron & Thorns, the peoples of Antiquity have survived in various forms up to the period in which the adventures take place, partly absorbed into the predominant ethnic strain of the known world, consisting largely of the descendants of Imperial Rome.

Celts today are a savage, primitive, degenerate race of cannibals from the Second Era. Their bones are thick, and their hair grows heavily on their tattooed bodies. Celts are the cannibal, heavily tattooed brutes that inhabit the forested hills and mountains of northern Italy and farther north. Their culture is primitive and bloodthirsty, based on strength and conquest. They prefer raw meat, particularly human flesh. Somewhere in the past, during the conquests in Gaul, the Celts were allowed to enter the Empire and accept the worship of Christ. Those who declined in preference to their false gods were gradually brought to a primitive, apelike state. They are stooped and have teeth that they file for use as weapons. One of the pregenerated PCs is a Celtic monatto who converted to Christianity.

Excerpt from Shadows of the Sunken Dread

Although at the end of the Third Samnite War, which had seen the coalition of ancient peoples against the rising power of Rome, the numerous Celtic tribes of Gaul had begun to withdraw to remote places, it was only with the declaration of Christianity as the universal religion after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge that the peoples of antiquity (not only the Celts but also the Ligurians, Umbrians, Etruscans, Samnites, and others) were punished for their pagan view of creation, becoming those collectively called The Unanointed, heretical peoples of the second era. The mutations were slow and inexorable, sparing those who willingly chose to embrace faith in the One God. Among ancient populations, perhaps the Celtic one is the one that underwent a more rapid mutation; the evolutionary path began to reverse rapidly, reverting these tribes to a bestial state of cave-dwellers, massive, hunched, and simian, often with sharp teeth to better tear muscle tissues and tendons, and bodies covered in tattoos, scarifications, and bone ornaments. Celts mostly inhabit the Empire’s unpatrolled forests, living in an almost perpetual state of war with neighboring tribes. An important enclave near the wooded hills of Modena gave birth to Corio.

In 5th edition terms, Corio is a barbarian-ranger with a handful of traits derived from his devolved ancestry. In this setting, the Celts roughly fill the role of orcs. They are populous, warmongering, and follow tribal and primitive practices, often residing in remote areas.

Here again you will find, as in Floramonda‘s sheet, the humoral stats, but the relevant thing is that Corio is not baptized. He therefore does not suffer the limitation of the peace of God but may be subject to an heightened vulnerability to demonic possession and unholy black magic and other disadvantages that will be described elsewhere.


Medium humanoid (celt), chaotic neutral, unbaptized
Patron: None
Sainthood: 0

Armor Class: 14 (thick skin, Dex)
Hit Points: xx (3d12)
Speed: 40 ft.

16 (+2)14 (+2)12 (+1)8 (-1)12 (+1)8 (-1)

Humors: as mentioned before Corio is melancholic. The barbarian is a melancholic and introverted individual, with a primal and feral nature. He is fiercely independent and self-sufficient, relying on his instincts and his connection to the natural world to survive. He can be fiercely protective of his allies and his territory.

He has advantage on saving throws toward negative effects on black bile humor damage (e.g., digestive issues, food poisoning, pain and intellectual disorders).

Skills: Athletics +5, Nature +3, Perception +3, Survival +3
Senses: passive Perception 13
Languages: Common


  • Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d12 + 3) slashing damage.
  • Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.
  • Equipment Hide armor, greataxe, 2 javelins, backpack, bedroll, mess kit, tinderbox, 10 torches, 10 days of rations, waterskin, 5 GP.

Features and Traits

Unanointed Corio, being one of The Unanointed, bears the mark of ancient paganism. He has an innate resilience against certain negative effects stemming from the dark times of the second era. Corio has advantage on saving throws against spells and effects that attempt to manipulate or control his mind, reflecting his resistance to unholy influence due to his pagan heritage.

Devoluted Brain and Body Corio’s devolved nature grants him an uncanny resistance to certain ailments. He has advantage on saving throws towards negative effects related to physical afflictions, such as diseases and poisons. His body’s primal resilience protects him against various forms of physical harm, emphasizing his robust and enduring nature.

Monatto Corio, having worked as a monatto, possesses a keen understanding of the art of survival and scavenging. He can efficiently find resources in the wild, allowing him to forage for food, water, and other essentials with expertise. Additionally, he has an innate ability to sense the presence of undead creatures, making him a valuable asset in detecting supernatural threats.

Martial Archetype: tracker. When you choose this martial archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Survival skill, and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses this skill.


Corio is often silent and has some difficulty in explaining his ideas in he language of modern man. He is instictual and very loyal, wiser than anyone can guess. He had no ambitions besides living a peaceful life but recent events dragged him in a conflict the likes the world has never seen before.


When papal forces decided to strengthen their military presence in the hills of Bologna, several expeditions were sent to eradicate the most dangerous threats to civilization. Units of monster hunters and militant monastic orders were deployed to establish forts and watchtowers on the foothill border. Among them was Father Theobald, still a young initiate.

Attacked by a group of Celts, a massacre was averted thanks to the lookout, Corio, who, after finding survivors, decided not to betray their location. When reinforcements arrived, Theobald chose to intervene on behalf of the Celti, requesting him as a slave for the heavy labor of the diocese. In the following years, Corio worked as a monatto, having survived the plague.

In the period following the Night of Screams, Corio is possessed by a demon and later freed by Father Theobald. When Lady Floramonda returned to Bologna, she decided to save the two companions by incorporating them into her company. Theobald and Corio left their sanctuary in Bologna to serve the will of God.

Shadows of the Sunken Dread
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Fundraising for animals in Romagna


[English text below]

✒ “Shadows of the Sunken Dread” è un breve modulo (circa 8 pagine PDF) che verrĂ  pubblicato il 30 di Giugno allo scopo di raccogliere fondi per gli animali domestici custoditi nei rifugi colpiti dall’alluvione in Romagna a Maggio 2023.
Of Iron And Thorns è un’ambientazione Dark Fantasy ucronica con molti rimandi all’Italia Medievale, ma con mostri e magia e un cupo passato dove luce e oscuritĂ  si combattono da secoli.
Il 100% dei fondi raccolti con l’avventura verranno donati all’OIPA (prove verranno pubblicate sulla pagina Facebook, su Telegram e sul sito) impegnata in questi giorni anche nella salvaguardia degli animali colpiti dall’alluvione.
L’avventura è generica ed adattabile a qualsiasi ambientazione, e non solo quella di Of Iron and Thorns (che uscirĂ  nei prossimi mesi). In ogni caso, se necessario, presterò supporto sull’adattamento del modulo anche a raccolta terminata.

🐈 Di seguito l’incipit.

“Le terribili tempeste che stanno straziando la fertile Romagna hanno spazzato via interi villaggi nei paesi interni alla costa bizantina. Nei mercati e attorno i focolari dell’Impero si sussurra che siano gli spiriti inquieti dei Migliori di Fano, i paladini Guido del Cassero ed Angiolello da Carignano brutalmente uccisi per mazzeratura da Malatestino I Malatesta, geniale e crudele Signore di Arminum.

Le incessanti inondazioni che stanno avvolgendo la regione hanno costretto la giovane Maddalena Malatesta, nipote del malvagio Signore, ad allontanarsi dal Castello di Montefiore Conca senza il suo gatto Cerasus. Da quando la giovane Maddalena è stata portata alla dimora ancestrale Malatestina non ha fatto che perdere forze e divenire sempre piĂą debole, desiderando solo la compagnia del suo piccolo compagno. La condotta di soldati della casata inviata dal padre Ferrantino per il recupero del gatto, ma non è mai tornata dalla missione. Tempeste psichiche impediscono ogni forma di preveggenza attorno il castello, su cui orbita da giorni un’ombra di terrore. Il signore Malatestino I Malatesta ha deciso di ricorrere ad un gruppo di eroi assortiti per recuperare il piccolo Cerasus. Ma sarĂ  solo questo il suo solo obiettivo? E perchĂ© la vecchia spedizione non è mai tornata?”

✒ Shadows of the Sunken Dread” is a short module (approximately 8 pages PDF) that will be released on June 30th to raise funds for the pets hosted in the shelters affected by the flood in Romagna in May 2023.
Of Iron And Thorns is a dark fantasy uchronic setting with many references to Medieval Italy, but with monsters and magic and a shady past where light and darkness have been battling for centuries.
100% of the funds raised with the adventure will be donated to the OIPA association (proofs will be published on the Facebook page, Telegram, and website), committed to safeguarding the animals affected by the flood.
The adventure is generic and adaptable to any setting, not just that of Of Iron and Thorns, which will be released in the coming months. In any case, I will provide support for adapting the module even after the fundraising is completed.
Here’s the opening passage:

🐕 “The terrible storms ravaging the fertile land of Romagna have wiped out entire villages in the countries along the Byzantine coast. In the markets and around the hearths of the Empire, whispers spread that these are the restless spirits of the Best of Fano, the ringer paladins Guido del Cassero and Angiolello da Carignano, brutally slaughtered by Malatestino I Malatesta, the brilliant and cruel Lord of Arminum.
The incessant floods engulfing the region have forced the young Maddalena Malatesta, the wicked Lord’s niece, to leave Montefiore Conca Castle without her cat, Cerasus. Since Maddalena was brought to the ancestral Malatesta residence, she has grown weaker and weaker, yearning only for the company of her little companion. The company of soldiers from the house, sent by her father Ferrantino to recover the cat, never returned from the mission. Psychic storms prevent any form of foresight around the castle, which has been shrouded in a shadow of terror for days. Lord Malatestino I Malatesta has decided to enlist a group of assorted heroes to retrieve little Cerasus. But is that his only objective? And why did the previous expedition never return?”


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The Three Paladins of the House of Este

Bradamante, Marfisia, and Fiordispina are the three matron paladins of the House of Este.

Bradamante, Ruggiero’s wife, now leads the Christian armies in Jerusalem against the necromantic power of Agolant, the eternal love from which the House of Este sprang set aside by Faith and Duty. Both fight for justice and to give the world a future. He remains in Ferrara to protect the banner of the House of the Silver Eagle.

Fiordispina, is secretly in love with Bradamante. She blinded herself to escape the lust of sodomy. Two meters tall, one hundred and forty kilograms, invulnerable to weapons of mortals, invincible in her silver armor, represents the endless power True Faith in the city of Reggio Emilia, to guard the banners of the House alongside the throne.

Marfisia, sister of Ruggiero, raised corrupted by the False Faith of the Saracens and now champion of the Cross, represents with her zeal the inevitability of Truth. She brings light and justice to the shadowy and eerie halls of the court of Modena run by the dark-hearted scion Niccolò III.

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Matilda of Canossa

Matilda of Canossa, better known as Matilda of Tuscany, marquess and powerful seer. No one has heard of the noblewoman for generations, her castle appears ghostly and uninhabited, and the roads leading to its walls are in disuse. The reality is that Matilda has made profound studies in the field of esotericism and thanks to the skull of her ancestor Sigifred of Lucca, a demilich, she has passed into a state of undeath that binds her necrotic life force to the dungeons of her castle, surrounded by dozens of portals. She can activate these portals at her will, each leading to the dungeons of all the palaces and fortifications in the previous lands of the abbey (most of the mountains and hills in Emilia and a lot of territories in the plains including some lands of Nonantola). There are countless lordly fortifications built on the ruins of the marquise’s castles, all of which form a network of powerful energy lines capable of interacting with the world of the dead. Matilda silently awaits the moment to raise the dead from the depths, the carnage that will ensue will be unimaginable. The skeletons of Montegarullo (Roccapelago, Modena) have been snatched into control by the powerful Obizzo, And the effectiveness of seeing skeletons in battle has been amply demonstrated.

In Carpi, in the Castle of House Pio, her influence has driven to madness the court noblewomen who provide her with young blood for her sacrifices. Matilda is now a black-boned skeleton, still dressed in the sumptuous robes of her court. Tiny flames of light glow in the depths of her skull’s eye sockets, and her knowledge increases daily. The birth of the antichrist has led her to move outside its halls, making recent contact with the pontiff…

Matilda consulting his ancestor the demilich Sigifred of Lucca
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The setting of Of Iron And Thorns focuses on the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The region is divided into nine provinces each of which has determinate characteristics and is potentially the site of countless adventures.

The basic setting that will be released along with the rulebook deals with the province of Modena. Another 8 gazetteers will be released later that will detail all the lands, castles, villages, and inhabitants of the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Piacenza, Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, and Rimini.

In order to give a taste of what the nine provinces have to offer I publish on this page a brief incipit, starting with the great and learned university city of Bologna.

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Carpi, Domain of House Pio

Carpi is an important city north of the Estense territory of Modena. Originally a possession of the Abbey of Nonantola, it passed into the hands of House Canossa and finally, briefly, to the dark-hearted sanguinary House Bonacolsi. Carpi was lost in the hands of House Pio, powerful Ghibellines, several years ago. The Pios made Carpi their ancestral home and have since consolidated their power over other surrounding lands, including Soliera, Novi, Campogalliano, and San Prospero, the latter two through the minor lineages of House Roberti and House Castelvetri.
The Pio Castle is served by a host of Magyar slaves who are used as servants, denuded and branded on the forehead with the red bands of the Pio coat of arms. Magyar children who are born in the court are killed at birth and women placed in the service of the court where they are kept illiterate. Although they are not allowed to speak Hungarian (actually, not allowed to speak at all), prayer groups dedicated to the Dark One have been established among the women and girls. They meet at night in the servants’ halls to plot revenge for the death of their children.
The Castle of Pio is haunted by a mysterious ethereal figure known only as the White Lady, who seems to attend the meetings of the enslaved women, In reality, the White Lady is an ancient ally of Matilda of Canossa and maintains the dimensional portal that connects all the ancient lands of the abbey with the ruins of Canossa Castle where Matilda resides and plots in silent undeath. The Lady uses an ancient artifact to siphon off the energies of slain infants to power the Canossian Portal.
The castle contains the ancient Bonacolsi Tower and is a land of air and water, containing a splendid nymphaeum and a birdhouse that the noblewomen of the Pio use as a place of rest and contemplation.
The patriarch of the Pio is currently Alberto III Pio, grandson of Pico della Mirandola; he is young and energic, married to an Orsini by whom he had three children: two daughters and a stillborn son, whose miscarriage was caused by the White Lady. She kept the spirit of Alberto III’s son intact for matters that are unclear today.
Albert III’s father, Lionel I had been a condottiere in the service of House Colleoni of Piedmont against House Medici.
The Sienese artist, architect and war expert Baldassarre Peruzzi lived in the castle as court wizard, occultist, alchemist and sage, a direct adviser to Albert III.


In an area traversed by deep irrigation canals, stands on an embankment a massive lookout tower of recent construction. Originally burned by Passerino Bonacolsi (ce hm fighter 18), the castle of Budrione is directly administered by House Pio.

Gargallo, land of House Stoffi (Pio)

Gargallo is another terracotta lookout tower, with a base of about eight meters, in the hands of House Stoffi loyal to the Pio, who maintain a lookout garrison there as protection from the nearby House Este di San Martino, a cadet branch of the Este.