Monday, July 8, 2019

The Cutthroat Inn: A Quick One

This session didn't last very long due to my feeling incredibly scatter-brained.  Still, some stuff did happen and it needs to be recorded.


Characters Present
Annapurna, Altanian Ranger
Grafari, Skandik Rogue
Ion Skamos, Tiefling Cleric of Set
Green Sonya, Half-Orc Barbarian
Red Hawk, Altanian Fighter

Events
  • The party was joined by Green Sonya and Red Hawk as the serpentine creature made its way towards the beach.
  • They took several shots at it but the intervening water - it was about 3-4' beneath the surface - made it so that few of their shots had any effect.
  • Ion waited to cast thunder wave on it once it cleared the shoreline, but instead the creature raised its head loch-ness style and fired two spells at him. The first was without effect so the Rainbow Warriors are unaware of its potential puissance, but the second was a bolt of lightning which not only struck Ion but Green Sonya and Red Hawk as well!
  • Ion collapsed, not dead but dying, and the others retreated after realizing that they could do little while the creature remained in the water.
  • As they fled, they saw the being's glittering crown dip beneath the waters of the.  Apparently the serpent was satisfied that it had seen them off.
  • The warriors returned for Ion, whom Annapurna healed.
  • Ion, his memory jogged by the shock of near death, realized that the style of crown the creature wore was that of ancient Orichalcan kings, and that his purple skin and hawkish features too looked like that nearly extinct race.
  • Some discussion occurred about potential ways to kill this creature - procuring potions of water breathing or perhaps spells of the same from amiable wizards and attacking it beneath the surface. Poison was considered but Ion remarked that the creature would be immune to most mortal poisons.
  • Finally it was decided that further research was needed and that perhaps other avenues of adventure should be pursued until the warriors had more experience under their belts.
Monsters Defeated 
None

Treasure Gained
None

Xp Per Player (in either or both sessions)
75

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Future and/or Past Revisited

Time is a Black Ziggurat - the wisest human

Seven years ago I attempted to create a kind of recursive timeline of the campaigns I knew about or participated in, since it became established that Uz existed in the "future and/or past." Further research has revealed I inadequately calculated for the Zigguratic nature of time, creating false worlds (campaigns that were never run or that I didn't play in), and not seeing just how much each recursion is different. After careful years of study I have created a more accurate model that is rendered below.


* These settings were both run by Nightwick Regulars but do not have blog posts I can link to (yet).

** I have never actually played or run Humanspace Empires but it so prominently features in the past of a number of these games that I thought it necessary to include it.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hexes for a Golden Voyage


The following hexes are adapted from the seven voyages of Sinbad the Sailor. In some cases I have done minor adaptations to make it more D&D-like. When hexes are on the same island I will not so with a parentheses next to the XXXX entry.

XXXX What appears to be an island is actually a fish of enormous size that has slept for many years. Sand has accumulated upon it and shallow rooted jungle trees have even taken root. Should any fire be set on the fish, or perhaps an anchor stuck into its side, it will awaken and return to the bottom of the sea. Anyone on the island when this occurs must make a Saving Throw or be swallowed up by the sea, starting the next round 100' or more below the depths.  Those that succeed tread water on the surface.  Heavy metal armor will cause an automatic failure. Should the creature be attacked, it has 36 HD.  It is easy to strike, but only weapons with a +2 or higher bonus or that are meant for sieges (such as a cannon or ship's ballista) will damage it.

XXXX This heavily wooded island has a wide shore. A beautiful black mare has been tied to a stake in the surf.  Anyone approaching the mare will be beckoned by a man who waits unseen at the shore. He well ask the characters to wait with him in a underground chamber.  He is a groom of the king of the city in hex XXXX. He is awaiting a hippocampus to come and mate with the mare. Any foal born of such a union will be able to gallop tirelessly, having double movement speed in overland travel. If the characters refuse to wait with him, he will bang his shield and summon his 6 fellow grooms (HD 1+1, AC 15, armed with spears and daggers) to attack.

XXXX This island is the home to a mated pair of rocs. They spend the daylight hours hunting the giant snakes that live on the island in hex XXXX (see below). The island has three eggs buried partway in the sand and those not expecting such eggs my believe they are domed buildings without obvious entrances. Should the egg or hatchling of the rocs be taken to a noble or king rich enough to afford it, each of the three will fetch 3000gp, though woe be unto the noble who buys them.  Should the eggs be struck or stolen, the rocs will attempt to sink any boat belonging to men associated with the act.  A negative initial reaction roll will mean that the rocs think that a ship could serve as a meal.  Unless their children are disturbed, the rocs are unlikely to pay attention to individual humans.

XXXX (Isle of Gems) This hex is full of a sandy desert infested with giant, venmous serpents (HD 4+2, AC 14). The snakes rarely emerge during the daytime due to fear of the rocs in hex XXXX (see above). Anyone wandering through the desert at night will encounter a snake for every 5 minutes of travel.

XXXX (Isle of Gems) The mountains in this hex are jagged and difficult to climb, but their heights are covered with gemstones (tigers eye if you're feeling cheeky).  A group of merchants who know the secret way up the mountain through the skinned corpses of sheep down the mountain to collect the gems.  Anyone who does so, or finds a sheep thrown by another person, will get 250gp in gemstones.

XXXX (Isle of the Apes) The shore of this island is home to 300 ape-men (HD 1+1, AC 14, Claw 1d6 or weapon) who can climb with such alacrity that they can easily get onto a ship even from the swirling ocean.  They will cut the sails and ropes of any boat as well as carrying away any goods or treasure aboard.  They will ignore anyone who does not attack, but if one is struck all the apes will move to attack the assailant if possible. They lair in a subterranean village, where they hide from the giant (see below), and have collected 1000gp in spices and other goods.  No one is certain what they do with it, even seemingly the ape-men.

XXXX (Isle of the Apes) A large "abandoned" manor serves as the home for an adolescent giant and his mother (as Hill Giant and Stone Giant).  The mother is rarely seen unless the adolescent is injured.  The adolescent scours the island looking for people to eat.  He will select the heaviest member of any party to take home and roast on a spit.  He will only attempt to seize his potential meal and if attacked by others or injured will run to his mother. There is furniture in the manor worth 2500gp, and a +1 set of greek armor (as plate).

XXXX (Isle of the Cannibals) This small city of c. 1,500 is inhabited solely by cannibals and the Type IV Demon that serves as their king. The king usually operates under an illusion to make him appear as a mortal, but the scent of death is always present about him. Anyone who eats food prepared by the cannibals or presented by the king must make a poison Saving Throw or lose all sense and wish to do nothing more than eat.  The first meal of each day prompts a new saving through, but with a penalty equal to all previous meals consumed. Eventually those stricken begin to resemble cattle and eat grain out in the fields, watched by cannibals.  These victims are eventually slaughtered, their blood and organs fed to the demon and their flesh devoured by the cannibals.

XXXX (Isle of the Cannibals) This city, also of around 1,500 inhabitants, is much more innocuous than the city of the cannibals; however, it has a macabre tradition.  Whenever a man or woman dies, they are lowered into the catacombs beneath the city along with their possessions and their living spouse. Some of the spouses have tried to form gangs in the underworld, killing newcomers for the little food and water they are given. An entrance to these catacombs exists on a cliffside facing the sea and is unknown to the inhabitants of the city.

XXXX This island seems like a lovely paradise - temperate but warm weather, sweet flowing streams, plentiful fish and fruit.  Its sole inhabitant is the Old Man of the Sea (HD 4, AC 10, 1d6 damage with both fists, immunity to nonmagic weapons). He will ask to be helped up onto the back of anyone unfortunate enough to meat him, so that he might cross a stream he sits in front of. Once on the victim's back he will refuse to remove himself, forcing the character to move as though encumbered and in heavy armor, and will constantly gode and strike the victim into doing his bidding. It is impossible to remove him unless he sleeps, which he only does if he drinks alcohol. He has never actually seen alcohol before so does not know of this effect.  This slumber also removes his immunity to magic weapons.

XXXX The area around this island is a set of doldrums which will permanently entrap any boat with sailors not adept enough to avoid it entirely.  Once trapped the only option, baring magic or player ingenuity of course, is to set down on the nearby island.  It is rich in natural resources, gems, gold, silver, and ambergris which flows out of a geyser for some reason. However, the island lacks any forms of food. A stream on the island leads into a dark cave that, if traveled long enough, leads through the earth and into hex XXXX, but it becomes so narrow that anyone attempting to make it through with treasure will at best only be able to come away with 1000gp in goods, and that is if they can think of a way to avoid bringing food on the journey.

XXXX This city of 666 buildings is actually home to 666 vrocks masquerading as humans.  They will do little to reveal their nature, but will also refuse to allow any to leave the island.  A family of humans dwells hear in fear of the vrocks, but they know a secret that can destroy them: causing the vrocks to fly into the sky will make the gods of good and light aware of their presence and bring down a cleansing fire.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Wilderlands Player Handout

I wrote a players' handout for my Wilderlands FLGS game.  You may find it here.  It is also available in the sidebar of this blog.

If you have any thoughts on it, let me know!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Tales from the Cutthroat Inn: What's at stake...

in Oracle Lake?

Session Date
21st Day of Midsummer's Eve 4500 CCC (June 21st)

Characters Present
Annapurna, Altanian Ranger 4
Grafari, Skandik Rogue 4
Einarr,  Skandik Paladin of Thor 4
Ion Skamos, Tiefling Cleric of Set 4

Events
  • Grafari spent his downtime trying to rob people; however, he was unsuccessful and now the constables are trying to find this mysterious skandik assailant.
  • Ion Skamos decided to preform religious duties at the temple of Thoth the Terrible.  This gained him a favor with the temple.
  • Einarr performed religious duties at the temple of Odin.  This gained him two favors.
  • Annapurna participated in the pit fights at the Cutthroat Inn. Her opponents were an Alryan using a traditional sword and shield combo, a fresh off the boat Altanian who utilized a strange whip/sword combo, and a troll tied to a post. She defeated the troll and the Alryan, but the new blood beat her to uproarious applause - since she previously earned a reputation as a heel.
  • The Rainbow Warriors decided to look into a haunting in oracle lake they had overheard a drunken Altanian singing about many months ago.  His song is provided below:
Three nights awake
In Oracle Lake
The Lady cries for Help
Four nights she sleeps
And doesn’t weep
Her soul’s gone down a well
  • There first idea was to try to find the Altanian, but they quickly realized he was likely a mercenary who had already left to patrol the Dearthwood.
  • However, asking around they were able to turn up some things: the ghost appears in a little rowboat in the lake, she is incredibly beautiful, and she has haunted the lake for many centuries.
  • The Warriors decided to make their way to the lake and eat by its shores while they try to determine the origin of the ghost.
  • On the way, while passing through Silver Street, they passed under a group of goblin roofers.  Unfortunately for Annapurna, one of the goblins happened to decide the moment of her passing was the best time to take a leak. She moved out of the way only after she'd been hit by the stream.
  • Einarr, hoping to dissuade the goblin from taking such actions in the future, hummed a rock at him but missed by a mile.
  • Ion, less forgiving, cast sacred flame upon him, causing the goblin to burst like an over cooked hot dog and fall into the street.  The goblin's compatriots scuttled into a hole in the roof and hid.  No one called the guard.
  • Upon making it to the North Gate, they were stopped and asked to pay 5gp a piece as a gate toll.  Most paid, but seeing that the guard was a Skandik, Einarr challenged him to an arm wrestling contest. Einarr won, but still paid part of the toll.
  • While the contest was occurring, the other party members learned that a group of bandits had been operating north of the wall, near a ferry across the Roglaroon, and that a group of elves from the Irminsul forest in the Elphand Lands had arrived with great kegs of wine to sell.
  • North of the wall they stopped by the great stadium and found that apparently this, the first day of summer, was a traditional time for Tharbrian-themed gladiatorial matches. They elected not to watch because they had other things on their mind.
  • The gladiator school, which Annapurna was interested in, was closed but had a clear "NO SKANDIKS" sign on the door.
  • They stopped for a bit in the Topaz Inn, where they met the inkeeper, a guard, and a strange foreigner.
  • The guard informed them that the current bouts were "nothin" because "next week we're gonna feed a whelp of some noble from Warwick to a group of owlbears.  It's gonna be sick!"
  • The strange foreigner ranted about a "Flying Sultan" who had a great palace in the Desert Lands. When asked for more information, he said he could provide none but that there was said to be a powerful oracle behind the Green Goblin Inn and perhaps that person would know.
  • The owner informed them that the foreigner worshiped some god named "Miker? Michael? Mucker? I don't remember." He also stated that some guards from the nearby watchtower had recently seen a "crowned sea serpent" in the lake.
  • They left the inn after a few drinks and headed to the lake. After observing it some they decided to inquire about the ghost at a nearby stone hut. 
  • When they knocked they knocked a voice issued out asking "Who dares challenge the goblin king," but after intimating that they had killed a goblin this very day they heard only the sound of latches locking and flat feet scuttling away.
  • Next they decided to inquire at the watch tower.  From the royal guard stationed there, Ion Skamos was able to learn the path of the ghost and her boat and where on the lake she disappears.
  • They decided to make their way to the north shore, in accordance with what they learned from the royal guards, and passed by a burial ground which had a couple of likely treasure-filled tombs, but decided they were on a mission and shouldn't get distracted.
  • They also passed by a smaller lake that had been made by Athena and a small shrine tended by a lone priestess.  This they left alone.
  • Once on the North Shore, they looked for any sign of ruins or other intelligent construction that a ghost might haunt but found none. Einarr was able to tell that the area lacked some kind of spirit who should be present and was laden with a strange sorrow. The lake had an ominous quality that also was just at the edge of his spiritual senses.
  • With little else to do, they waited for dark, and just as they thought that no ghost would show up, she appeared.
  • She was the most beautiful woman any of the men had ever seen, despite being entirely a ghostly white.
  • Annapurna called out to her, and while she looked in her direction she made no answer but attempted to flee to a boat that suddenly appeared on the shore.
  • Arrows struck several of the party in the back, seemingly shot by no one but on a trajectory meant for the ghost. Einarr was able to determine this was part of the ghost's manifestation.
  • Annapurna and Ion made their way to the water line and tried to watch by the light of a gibbious Howla and a hang-nail Vanis. Ion, luckily, has darkvision and so was able to see a long, serpentine shape making its way towards the boat from beneath the surface.  He guessed it would intercept the boat at precisely the area where the ghost was said to disappear.
  • Due to his knowledge of all things ophidian, Ion was able to determine the creature was a water naga, and he noted the glint of gold atop its head in the moonlight.
  • Once this was relayed to Annapurna, she made ready to shoot her bow at the point where it would breach the water.
  • Just before it did so, they heard a cry of "Oh no! He comes!" in their minds from a soft, feminine voice.  Then the creature's head burst from the water and they saw its purple skin, the angular, kingly features of its face, and its golden crown.
We stopped there for the night and will pick up at this spot next week.

Monsters Defeated
1 Goblin roofer

Treasure Gained
Precious Knowledge

XP Per Player withheld until the adventure's end.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Characters for the Wilderlands

Like this post but for my FLGS Wilderlands game. Innana has already been claimed by someone. The other players, so far, have made their own.  Cole is responsible for both finding the PC portraits and color correcting them to match my crayon-colored-weirdos vision of the Wilderlands.

Aslog

  • Aslog is a Skandik hermit and priestess of Odin. Her alignment is Chaotic Good.
  • She was raised in a Skandik noble house on the island of Bezal. 
  • Her home was raided by a rival band of Skandiks and her family killed.
  • She was thrown on a raft by the raiders before washing ashore on an uninhabited island. 
  • Odin appeared to her and told her to seek out the secrets of the Runes.
  • She has made her way to the City State of the Invincible Overlord to see what secrets of the Runes may have led to the Overlord's ascension and to imitate her god in a life of wandering and adventure.


Innana

  • Innana is an Alryan street urchin and rogue. Her alignment is Neutral.
  • She was born in some village in the Northern Wilderlands, but she doesn't remember where.
  • She was captured as a young age and raised as a slave in the slaver city of Antil. 
  • She was able to escape with the help of a guard that took pity on her.
  • After that she traveled the cities of the Western Wilderlands, thieving and foraging, until finally arriving in the City State of the Invincible Overlord.


Morcant

  • Morcant the Magician is an Avalonian sage and wizard. His alignment is Neutral Good.
  • He was raised in Valon, city of the Sea Mages, by a rich artisan.
  • He was sent to sea wizard school where he became fascinated with the lost history of the Orichalcan Dragon Lords.
  • He was selected by a sage and wizard who specialized in ancient Orichalca to serve as an apprentice.
  • However, at some point he angered one of the nobles of that fair, northern city and was forced to flee.
  • He has made his way to the City State of the Invincible Overlord to learn more about its Dragonlord past.


Pakhom

  • Pakhom is an Altanian outlander and fighter. His alignment is Chaotic Neutral.
  • He was born in barbarian Altanis.
  • His parents abandoned him in the jungle when he was a babe, but he was found and raised by another tribe of Altanians.
  • He became a warrior and a smith. He even had a wife.
  • During a battle with a Skandik raiding party, he maimed a witch. The witch placed a curse on him that he would bring doom to his tribe.
  • Fearing this curse, his tribe forced him to leave.
  • He has made his way to the infamous City State of the Invincible Overlord to win fame and glory.


Alkmemnon
  • Alkmemnon is a tiefling charlatan and Warlock of the fiend. His alignment is Chaotic Neutral.
  • He was born and raised in the distant Demon Kingdoms to the south of the Wilderlands.
  • He claims to have been raised as a noble, but his family was ousted from power and scattered throughout the world through the use of diabolic magic.
  • He has spent the rest of his life lying and cheating until he can figure out a way to return and reclaim his birthright.
  • He now finds himself in the City State of the Invincible Overlord, which overflows with wealth and has a number of ships ready to sail the Winedark Sea.


Arbrannon
  • Arbrannon is a wood elf ranger and spy. His alignment is Chaotic Good.
  • He grew up in the forest near Caer Cadwen in the land of Viridistan.
  • He spent most of his life fighting against the World Emperor, ruler of Viridistan, and his demonic satraps - helping guide rebels and spy within the city and castle walls.
  • The replacing of the satrap of Caer Cadwen with a demon of great power forced him to leave his forest in fear of his life.
  • He has now ended up in the home of the World Emperor's chief rival, the City State of the Invincible Overlord.  He seeks to gain money and power before returning again to defeat Viridistan's demonic forces. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Tales from the Cutthroat Inn: Death of the Black Spider!

Creepy crawly!
Session Date
14th and 15th Days of Midsummer's Eve, 4500 CCC  (June 14th)

Characters Present
Annapurna, Altanian Ranger
Red Hawk, Altanian Fighter
Grafari, Skandik Rogue,
Einarr Oddrson, Skandik Paladin of Thor
Ion Skamos, Tiefling Cleric of Set
Green Sonya, Half Orc Barbarian

Events
  • Grafari spent his downtime robbing people.  He was moderately successful.
  • Red Hawk and Annapurna returned to pitfighting - defeating a pair of convicts and a single half-giant champion but losing to a pair of Alryan fighting women. Annapurna unfortunately was branded a heel for using her bow in the fight with the half-giant.
  • Green Sonya continued her process of training mice to weave spider silk.
  • Ion acted as a street preacher, but found the people of the City State to not be very separate to the doctrines of Set.
  • Einarr similarly performed religious rights, though he did so at the temple of Odin.  He gained a favor from the temple.
  • The party left on the city state with high hopes of finally ending the Son of the Spider God, now that they had both a cleric and a paladin who could do magical damage to the incorporeal creature.
  • Their journey was hindered by the presence of many flying snakes in the Dearthwood.  The Rainbow Warriors consistently ran away from these, knowing their large numbers and potent venom could mean death for even a powerful warrior.
  • Avoiding the snakes caused them to push on through the night and then rest the day of the 15th to avoid further exhaustion.  They did this in the culvert they had taken over from the winged apes.
  • Finally they were able to make their way to the Halls of the Black Spider in the early evening of the 15th day of Midsummer's Eve. 
  • They sought out the Black Spider, but were first barred by a ghostly figure (which they defeated) and then by a lesser giant spider (which they avoided).
  • Finally they entered the large, cavernous home of the Son of the Spider God. 
  • The Son seemed to be on the hunt, as it quickly webbed up Einarr who could now only see into the Son of the Spider God's strange, spectral realm.
  • However, the rest of the party soon overwhelmed the demigod. Unable to make away with the meal without exposing itself to attacks from the material plane, the creature finally met its end due to sword and spell.
Monsters Defeated
1 Spectre, The Son of the Spider God

Treasure Gained
The head of a demi-god, 500gp in reward money

XP per Player
700