Oubliette Writing Portfolio


This page has a few little snippets of writing from Oubliette Second Edition. They’re not necessarily in order, and they span the entire 400 page book, so take each section separately.

If you’re looking to hire my services for writing, please contact me and I’ll gladly send you any of my games to read as portfolio material.

Book Introduction


You were expecting a burst of light. Your life should have flashed before your eyes.

But it didn’t.

Just blackness, everywhere, forever, and the sensation of falling. There’s not a sound, no rush of air on your skin, not even a proper locus of consciousness. At first, fear takes hold, what if this is all there is after death? But it makes little difference, there is no sleep, no rest, no stimulus to grow weary from.

Just as your mind begins to unknit, you wonder why you should even be if there is nothing to experience. Then it looms before you, a massive door, the size of the moon, writhing with fractal detail. It opens, drawing you in, and for the briefest of moments, you sense the millions of other spirits rushing through the gap headlong, then back to nothingness.

The sensation of falling increases, despite the fact that you have no senses, let alone a body with which to perceive changes in balance or acceleration.

It mocks you, this motion without self.

You become aware of a sensation, one that could only come from a having skin, a body with which to feel. Cold.

It takes you a while to remember what it means. Cold and wet.

Now sound returns, bringing with it the drum and tap of rain. The splashing of feet. You try to move, but you are coming back only in parts and pieces, as though someone is reassembling your riven spirit like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces come together slowly. You can move your eyes, but not open them. You can feel the rain on your face clearly now, but you can’t move your head to shield your face.

Then things fall into place. Control over your body returns, and you gasp, desperate for breath. The sound of it echoes as you try to peel your eyes open.

Where Am I?

It’s an alley. Stone. Slick with muck up to the hip, and you’re laying in it, slipping and falling as you try and fail to stumble upright. Irrational—or perhaps delayed—terror courses momentarily through your veins, causing you to cower into the shadow of a mound of decaying garbage and rot, from which you recoil moments later. Every new sight is a surprise, a shock.

As you try to calm yourself, a woman appears in the rain, at the end of the alley. She is wiry, dark of eye and hair, and wears a motley of rags that are soaked through to her bones. She raises her hands, as though in surrender, or in an effort to show that she’s unarmed. You mumble at her, but the words come out wrong; parts are still missing.

“Raste tranquilli, amui,” she says, carefully entering the alley. She seems to be leaving it open so you can pass.


“Ah, I see. Be calm, friend. You are in no danger.”

“What… what happened?”

“You died, I’m afraid. My condolences.”

“…Is this Hell?”

“Only if you make it so. Relax, I am a friend.”

“Where is this? What’s going on?” you ask, your mind whirling and your heart in your throat. It should already be too late to panic, but your brain is unconvinced by this reasoning.

“You’ve died. You’re dead. Gone from the World of Life. This is someplace else. This is Oubliette.”

“Oubliette?” you echo, trying to latch onto the conversation to calm your unsteady nerves. She doesn’t seem so bad.

“Yes, Oubliette. Do you know what an oubliette is?” she asks, stepping into the alley further and out of the pounding rain of the street beyond. You try to ignore the hideous things stalking past in the rain.

“N-no… wait, it’s a dungeon, isn’t it?”

“Very good. Yes, this is Castle Oubliette, the dungeon at the end of the world. Welcome.”

How Did I Get Here?

Approaching cautiously, she leads you further into the alley. She stops under an overhang of rotting wood, fabric, and leather from which dozens of glass jars hang, catching the rain. Faces peer over the edge and down at you from above, but they are shaped and colored wrong so you look away.

The woman wrings out her hood, sucking the rain from it and sighing, quenched. She waves to the green and brown creatures above, smiling at them. At your prompting, her attention returns to you.

“I suppose I should try to explain a little more, eh? Have a seat, you might faint,” she says, patting the muck next to her as she slides to the stones.

“This is Oubliette, where all things go when they are forgotten. Yes, even you. Now, brace yourself. A lot of this isn’t easy to hear.”

She adjusts herself, leaning toward you, to put her hand on your knee, as though to comfort you.

“You’re dead. Best to accept it now. This is the afterlife. And yes, it’s eternal. You’re stuck here. You’re just as eternal as everyone—and everything—else around here. You’re not going to Heaven or Hell, you’re probably not even going to leave this part of the Castle for quite a while. It usually takes some time to get used to the place. If you’re from Earth, you’re likely to see a lot of things here that you’ve never heard of or never believed could be real. And for good reason, all the different creatures and magics—well, nevermind all that. You’ll get the idea.”

The woman’s eyes flash and her hand lashes out like a lightning strike, then returns with an arthropod the size of both fists put together. Her eyes are alight with glee.

“Ooh, aren’t you a big one. Oh, apologies. You’ll get hungry soon, and finding food will probably be the first thing you need to do. This is an edipede. Good steamed or stewed, but you can eat them raw if you need. Want to try it?”

She smiles. “I thought not. But you will soon enough. Anyway, you’re what we call a ‘newcomer,’ which means you’ve only just arrived. And you’ll be here quite a while. You’re immortal, now, after all. I know, I know. Hard to believe. But you’ll believe just fine after you wake up from your first death.”

Aren’t I Immortal?

“My apologies, that was cruel of me. Few people believe when they first arrive. But it’s important for you to understand that, deep in your heart, because if you don’t you might end up Broken.”

She points down the alley, where a pile of bodies lies in the rain. You stifle a flinch when you realize they’re not dead, just unable to move. “They’re Broken. Their minds are gone, shattered, and they’re likely to sit there for eons before that changes. So keep your wits about you, you’ll need them. Just because you come back from dying doesn’t make it pleasant. Those poor souls probably suffered one too many deaths, and now their minds are wrecked. Don’t let yourself become like them. Folk like you and me, still up walking around with our minds intact, we’re called Unbroken. Best to stay this way, if you ask me.”

She cracks open the stubby edipede and scoops out the colorful insides, shoveling them into her mouth. Up close, you notice that she has an assortment of charms and wands hanging from her belt, none of which are familiar. They look very old.

“Oubliette isn’t a kind place. Unless you’re quite strong, you may want to lay low for a while, so you can get the lay of the land. A strange place it is, and you’re going to see a lot of things you never thought possible. And, well, chances are, you’re here because you’ve got a little spark of the unusual in you too. If you nurture that, you may just make it here.”

The woman finishes her edipede and looks out at the dwindling rain. After a moment she carefully unwraps the age-spotted bundle she’d been carrying on her back to reveal a large tome.

“Here. Take this. It’s… a guide of sorts. Someday, when you’ve no need for it any longer, you’ll meet a newcomer in an alley, they’ll be lost and terrified, but hopefully the book will help.”

She stands and flaps her uselessly sodden clothes, stepping lightly back out into to the rain as you open the strange book. It’s filled with cramped text, illustrations, pressed leaves, specimens, and charts. There are even, on the first few pages, these very words.

Your eyes widen as the book tells you what the woman is going to say next.

“My name is Lucette de Ardes. I’ll be seeing you around, newcomer.”

Caste Level Description


Rank 7, Godlike

The harbinger of doom came to our court. Ours. Of all the councils in Spearfield, Vlad visits ours the most. Terror gripped us, as you can surely imagine, and while the most brave of us spoke to this holy abomination, the strongest of our knights crept around to bracket her from all sides.

I’m sure that Yvienne meant no harm, but it was her words that set the thing off. In an instant it had torn through the court, through the lords, through the knights, and through the walls.

We were forced to abandon Toullers after of that. I’m sure they won’t forget. But I myself took away something different. Ambition.

—Marie Gyul, supplicating to Linthara.

Eldritch is the true start of the highest Castes. These beings command powers so great that they can easily wipe aside armies of lesser opponents. They are hideously strong and most of them are highly intelligent and capable of extremely large-scale planning. Each has its own legend and history, and most have more than a few powerful enemies. For most denizens of the Interior, the eldritch Caste appears to be the end of the line.

Primary Concerns: The eldritch often rule the lower Castes, and thus have a number of responsibilities to attend to. Some lead organizations, while others make their way through the complex pantheon of Celeste politics unencumbered. Whereas many people of lower Caste ponder questions about what Castle Oubliette actually is, and how the cosmos is structured, the eldritch are the least powerful to begin to understand the answers to these questions.

Location Description


Rabble Ward

Unfathomably deep and bone-chillingly cold, the Cistern is a small lake centrally located in the middle of the Fellmoor basin. No living person has been able to find its bottom, but there seems little point to that quest when the freezing waters of the lake teem with life. Crabs and eels and massive, dripping spiders the size of grown men are dredged regularly from the sharp dropoff just beyond its shores. The spiders are particularly delicious.

In addition to a thriving sprawl of fisheries, Cistern has several lakeside villas that—on good days, at least—actually resemble something like the Old World. These resorts offer fine dining, carefully escorted swims, a limited warranty against dying while on vacation, and all the creature comforts that a citizen of Oubliette could reasonably hope to expect. Of course, these services all come at a considerable premium, and it is not unheard of for some people to labor for decades just to afford a week on the edge of the Cistern. Apart from the villas and the fisheries, there are also many dozens of miles on unoccupied shoreline, where nothing but amphibious predators and the occasional hermit live.

Both the Draculeans and the Guild maintain villas here. Strangely, so too do the Purehearts. Sweetwater, their foremost spiritual training facility, is just a few miles down the shore from Aigues-Mortes: Vlad’s private estate. Rumors sometimes circulate about parties hosted by one villa for the other. Draculean courtiers especially love these stories, as they reaffirm their private belief that everyone would rule like Vlad, if only they could.

Most of the interactions between the Cistern and the rest of the Interior are driven by its fishing operations. Wagon trains from Grandhall and floating delegations from Celeste routinely stop by to fill their holds full of barrels of preserved crabs and spider legs in brine. Goblins from Mubigild come trailing battered sacks of salt, charging a high premium for the thick crystals that fill each bag. Occasionally, a merchant guild or Cutting gang will try to catapult itself into the big-time by taking the ward. During these brief but bloody conflicts, the fishermen put aside their grievances and summon towering elementals from the lake, scattering the invading warbands into the neighboring swamps of Fellmoor.

While Cistern has many huge fish to catch, it also has progressively larger monsters the deeper one delves into its dark maw. There are reports on the water’s edge of monstrous things thousands of feet down that actually span the entire width of the Cistern like trap spiders. Beneath them, the Cistern Spider waits. Folded up tight in the cold and quiet, its body is as big as a cave system. Its unblinking eyes watch the surface, as if awaiting some kind of signal. Legends still persist of the last time it came out of the lake. Back then, Mubog was still a district.

Deep Lore

The Veiled King

Shrouded literally and figuratively, the Veiled King is the closest thing Oubliette has to a god. Folk speak the name with great superstition. Many do not even believe that the Veiled King exists at all; that he is a confabulation, a bogeyman, a story told to put something in place of the divine.

But the Veiled King is as real as anyone else in Oubliette, perhaps more so. She is like a ghost that haunts the Castle, umbral and insubstantial. Her powers rival God’s and she is the sole purveyor of the portfolio of the Forgotten. She directs the evolution of the Castle, collects the Forgotten as they cross The Gate of Reason, and stands against the avatars of the Faraway Castles.

Nakaryon is her name now, from the Enteuil word “Anacaron”, possibly stemming from the Greek Acheron. She is not really a god, per-se, in that her blood is not divine, but her power is unmatched, particularly within her domain. She has lived many lives. She was once a woman of France, once a witch, then a queen, then a regent of a king, then the king herself. Oubliette is her castle, and it came to the World of the Forgotten through her own folly. On the Plain of Clouds she rebuilt it, protected it, and allowed some to reside there. She negotiated with unimaginable powers for a slice of infinity, and in that space she has done what she could in the defense of her people.

Because she was “written-out” of existence so vehemently, Nakaryon strongly identifies with the forgotten, exiled, shunned, and disenfranchised. After arriving in the Plain of Clouds, she began to gather such people to herself to protect them from the evils that lurk in the wastes. She rebuilt her castle as a way to defend them. Using her extraordinary magics, she explored the cosmos, and in so doing she realized that she could collect the outcasts of the World of Life directly from the Gate of Reason. She directed them to Oubliette, where—initially—she intended to make a utopia for them. Unfortunately, collecting such a valuable (if unguarded) resource from the World of Life made her enemies in nearly every other Castle on the Plain of Clouds. She fought them for a time, with True Vlad and a host of other ancient creatures known as The Army Hunters at her side, but retreated before the fighting became too intense, sensing that the war would be far more trouble than she could afford at the time.

So she returned to Oubliette and, against her own conscience, began rebuilding Oubliette. She took away her laws, stopped making appearances, and generally allowed the denizens to do as they would. She encouraged fighting, carefully steering her flock into a period of war and violence that she sincerely hoped would one day make them able to stand against the forces that have arrayed themselves against Oubliette. Ever since, her activities, both in the Castle and beyond, have been directed towards the winning of the oncoming cataclysmic battle, The Meta Warp. To that end, Nakaryon has retreated from the public eye, leaving much of the direct interference to the members of her elite intelligence and espionage apparatus, the Cryptarchy. Through intermediaries in Celeste and Slair, they communicate with her and receive complex, abstract orders, many of which lead to more confusion and violence.

For twenty-six thousand years, she has stayed this course, sticking firm to her philosophy, clinging to the ideal that in the face of an eternity of enslavement, the only rational choice is to undergo a kind of trial by fire so that those who survive have a chance at fighting back. But recently, within the past couple of millennia, events in Oubliette have reached such a fever pitch that she has begun to question whether her decisions have really been the right ones. Nevertheless, she will not permit anyone to speak against her policies to her face, unless they have earned that privilege by overcoming her test. That precious handful of confidantes she has know that she secretly weeps for what she has done to her people, and that she fears that there isn’t enough eternity to for them to learn to forgive her.


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