Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Fistful of Denars...

...or if you prefer, Once Upon a Time in the Lauragais.

I recently played in Zzarchov's Neoclassical Geek Revival game on G+.  It takes place in a highly fictionalized version of medieval Europe -- the party was currently in Ireland -- and oddly enough that meant Philip the Black of Luxembourg merely had to get on a boat and cross over from Wessex.  After playing in both of those games I noticed something odd: the historical background allowed me to picture the setting more easily even though they both included fantastical elements.  This is even more remarkable in Jeff's Wessex game since I'm still able to picture the physicality of the setting despite football-helmeted goblins and what I can only assume are travelers from Carcosa.

These two campaigns have inspired me to think about how I would use a historical milieu for D&D.  I'd already been thinking about setting a campaign in Southern France, and so I decided to shift the focus away from the Hell-Caverns and towards the Wilderness that surrounds it.  Occitania, a region that contains much of Southern France, will be the broad canvas on which I will paint my milieu.  During the middle ages -- and to a lesser extent today -- Occitania was separated from the Ile-de-France by language and custom.

The time period I would most want to highlight is the Albigensian Crusade.  Depending on which scholar you believe, the crusade was either an attempt to dismantle the various heretical movements in southern France, an act of genocide, an attempt by the northern French to gain territory at the expense of their southern neighbors, or some combination of the three.  This period provides a macro-level event that I can use to give the events in the campaign context.  It also provides the violence necessary for an action-adventure game like D&D without either falling into the trap of being too chaotic or of having the sides remain too stable.  Players, assuming they want to become involved, can either through their lot in whole hog with one side or the other or they can play both sides against the middle a la Yojimbo.

It also provides niches for NPCs.  Fighters and Specialists (since I'll likely be using LotFP) are mercenaries, brigands, and war profiteers who have come to the Lauragais to make their fortunes.  Clerics can be inquisitors, mendicants, or possibly even heretics trying to win support for their side.  Magic Users I'm especially happy with.  This period also marks the emergence of nigromantici (black magicians) in medieval literature, and in a story related by Caesarius of Heisterbach we see a necromancer summon the devil to help root out heresy.*  Some will possibly point out that these characters can be put in any setting if I'm willing to make it fantastic, but it's nice to have "historical precedents."

I want to give the setting a bit of a Spaghetti Western flavor, only with dungeons.  Luckily, parts of southern France are scrubby enough to look like a Fistful of Dollars.  They may not have looked this way at the time, but mood is just as important here as history.  This brings me to a potential problem:  I need some way to divorce the setting from actual history in order to make the way I interpret facts for the game separate from history.  This is necessary in order to add in the fantasy that comes along with D&D and also to avoid offending anyone who has strong feelings about the Cathars -- you'd be surprised how many people that is.  Jeff Rients did this by a fictionalized version of south western England invented by a Victorian novelist.  Sadly, I don't know of anything like that for Occitania.

Or do I?  Take a look at this map:

Those with a knowledge of French geography or the  fiction of Clark Ashton Smith will note that Averoigne has replaced Auvergne.  If wikipedia is correct, CAS actually based Averoigne off of Auvergne.  While Auvergne is not where one thinks of when one thinks of the Albigensian Crusade, it might make an interesting frontier area.  Simon de Montfort or one of his emissaries could use Vyones as a staging point for campaigns further south and Gaspard de Nord could be impressed into hunting heretics in Toulouse or Carcassonne.  This would obviously allow me to add in more fantastic elements since they are already present in the setting.

I may not use Averoigne, since it would be away from most of the actual action of the war, but it is a thought. I would like to have Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Narbonne be on the campaign map, but I think Vyones might deserve a place as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if you see more posts on this idea soon.

EDIT: had to change the link to the Danzig interview I have up there because I had accidentally used a "humorously" edited one that actually completely undermined the humor of the thing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nightwick Abbey ConstantCon Accidental Session Report

I wasn't going to run Nightwick Abbey this Saturday, but I ended up doing it at 3:00 in the morning for the first round of Fight About Games Club.  It just kind of happened.

Anyway, here is the session report from Mike, who played Boloris the Cleric

My senses and memory is still reeling from my journey towards a strange place I would eventually come to know as Nightwick Abbey. I don’t remember how I came to be here, or who my fellow travellers are though they have saved my life. I washed upon the shores of this foreign land years ago, learning the local language while traveling in disguise using robes stolen from the local clergy. Such a strange place...

Where I would sense the presence of the gods of my homeland I only sense malevolent spirits, wrathful and full of hate. My mana is strong still and these evil spirits turn, much in the way the evil spirits of my old homelands did when bidden to leave. 

Some of my fellow travellers had been to this tainted place before. Thieves, robbers, mercenaries intent on looting whatever treasures lie below. I was in the same predicament, drifting throughout the countryside with little besides what I had looted along the way. Horrors I could never imagine haunted the desecrated abbey. 

We entered a trapdoor and followed a trail of dead bodies as the mapper in our group carefully recorded the labyrinth like passages. Some of my fellows beheaded many of the bodies along the way. I did not question them, the place reeked of evil spirits and I have seen it possess men before even after death. One of my fellows had an odd sense of humor about it though, switching heads and body parts as some sort of joke to confuse future looters. The same fellow also insisted on collecting the armor and hats made of human skin. I kept my sword ready should his madness be directed towards the rest of us.

There was a baptismal font along the way, I believe it is used to induct newborns into the faith of this lands god. A chemically green liquid filled the fountain which we collected before moving on. Eventually we reached a desecrated chapel. Blood appeared to be painted on the walls and frescoes. Within a book completely smeared in blood and with pages torn from it we found a scroll of sanctuary.

Not much later we discovered a secret room and a lockbox filled with treasure. Sick of rations I began to dream of the feast I would soon be enjoying, then something struck me from behind and I blacked out in a sea of pain. I dreamt of the old lands, chants to the old gods became twisted mockeries and then the earth fell into the ocean. I awoke back in town under the care of a local cleric. The others had rescued and paid for the cleric to heal me. I decided to set out with them again. Before I first entered Nightwick Abbey I did not intend to go back to that hellish place once I collected my share of the treasure but I have come to believe that this darkness that has taken the place of my old gods must be destroyed or laid to rest. 

Our second expedition was not as fruitful. We discovered some desecrated shrines before discovering a door covered in sigils. Inside was the skeletal remains of some priests that locked themselves some time ago. They had used chalk to ward off evil, but their sanctuary had become their tomb. We felt as though time was running out and headed back to town for now...

If you're interested in playing in future sessions send me an email at evanDOTvanDOTelkinsATgmailDOTcom.  We play every Saturday from 2:00 - 4:00 PM EST.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Blog: From Beyond the Drowning Woods

Here is a new blog. It looks to be the sort of dark fantasy I like.  Plus, he listed me as an influence, and he likes Perytons so we know he has good taste.

By Popular Demand: Random Cult Generator PDF

You can find it here.

Edit: Gender table provided by Chris Huth.  Go look at his stuff  now.  Also, he has a blog you should probably read.  I know Blair has talked about how awesome he is before, but he's awesome.

The City at the Center of the World

In the eyes of the people of the West, Zenopolis is a city without equal either in luxuriousness or depravity.  Its domed temples and tall spires are a testament to a bygone age: the age of the Empire.  When the barbarians swooped down from what is now Novgova into the Dark Country and the West, the Empire could do little to resist them.  Plagued by internal struggle and external invasion, the emperor Zeno moved his capital to an island city once used to as a fortress to defend against pirate attacks from the Desert Lands.  The Empire may have withered, but in the eyes of the people of Zenopolis some corneal of it still remains.

Zeno did not only move the capital.  He also revived the worship of the Old Gods.  While the Church of Law still exists legally, it does not hold the position it does in the west.  Instead, a cacophony of religions exist in the City at the Center of the World.  The Church claims many of these are diabolic in nature, and the clergy shudders to think what slithering things these deranged madmen worship.

Zenopolis's climate is arid when compared to the West, but the trade from the Desert Lands, the Dark Country, and places even farther than that have made it rich.  Its armies are filled with soldiers from across the World, though the Autocrat is particularly fond of using barbarians from the Dark Country as his personal guard.  Many of these men fled the lances of the Sword Brothers and found employment in the City.  It is sometimes said that the Autocrat's fondness for them goes beyond mere martial prowess, but most of the barbarians would staunchly deny this.  Such activity is unmanly.

Zenopolis is not the first built on this island.  Even before the imperial fortress, cities existed here.  The location is perfect for trade between the East and the West, and as such there has scarcely been an epoch where the island was uninhabited.  Rumors say that the ruins of these cities lie beneath the current edifices.  They intertwine and overlap creating a network of tunnels, chambers, and catacombs which could never be fully mapped.

In the days before the Church of Law, many of the temples possessed undercrofts and secret chambers that connected to these dungeons.  Since the revival of the Old Ways, many of these structures have seen renewed habitation; however, most still languish in obscurity.  It is said that when they were sealed, many of the priests and oracles were still inside.  What has happened to these populations in the thousand plus years since they were trapped inside is a mystery.

A more intriguing mystery, however, is what became of the golden idols and relics which were sealed in as well...

Recently, my mind has been filled with ideas for different games.  I was having a hard time picking one, but earlier tonight I decided to take the common elements and spin them off into their own project.  The above is a result.

Essentially, I wanted to make an EPT style Underworld that was heavily inspired by CAS's Zothique cycle; however, I don't want to abandon the work I've already done on the Dark Country and the World.  Hopefully, this is a good compromise.

The monsters will not be standard D&D fair but neither will they be LotFP creatures.  I'm not exactly sure what they will be yet, but I have some ideas.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Random Cult Generator

I was looking through my new copy of Vornheim, and I became disappointed in the lack of a random cult* generator.**    So here is one I just made up:

The [Table A] of the [Table B] [Table C] -- Worships a [Table D]

Masculine terms are used whenever the word is gendered, but if the judge would prefer to have the cult worship a goddess or be an all female order he or she has only to change the gender of the noun.

Table A -- 1d20

  1. Cult
  2. People
  3. Servants
  4. Lovers
  5. Friends
  7. Faithful
  8. Hearers
  9. Mystes 
  10. Masters
  11. Teachers
  12. Students
  13. Slaves
  14. Perfecti
  15. Brotherhood
  16. Cabal
  17. Congregation
  18. Temple
  19. Order
  20. Church
Table B -- 1d30
  1. Blessed
  2. Blood
  3. Transcendent
  4. Terrible
  5. Silver
  6. Gold
  7. Electrum
  8. Hateful
  9. Glorious
  10. Hidden
  11. Burning
  12. Sacred
  13. Holy
  14. Bloated
  15. Fearful
  16. Blinding
  17. Unnamable
  18. Voracious
  19. Divine
  20. Hideous
  21. Blue
  22. Red
  23. Purple
  24. Yellow
  25. Green
  26. Orange
  27. Enlightened
  28. Night
  29. Omniscient
  30. Unconquered 
Table C -- 1d20
  1. God
  2. Eye
  3. Toad
  4. Serpent
  5. Worm
  6. Maggot
  7. Maw
  8. Tongue
  9. Phallus
  10. Mask
  11. Light
  12. Fire
  13. Dark
  14. Idol
  15. Star
  16. Comet
  17. Oyster
  18. Hands
  19. Angel
  20. King
Table D -- 1d12
  1. Strange aspect of a mainstream deity
  2. Delusional NPC
  3. Powerful undead entity (lich, vampire, crypt thing, etc.)
  4. Non-sapient monster (carrion crawler, peryton, oozes, etc.)
  5. Non-magical idol
  6. Construct (golem, animated statue, crazy-frankenstein thing, etc.)
  7. Demon/Devil (1d6: 1-4 - minor demonic entity 5-6: demon lord or prince)
  8. Powerful intelligent monster (medusa, dragon, beholder, etc.)
  9. Dungeon
  10. Constellation or star sign
  11. Lovecraftian entity (1d6: 1-4 -- Independent Race 5: Great Old One 6: Outer God)
  12. Ephemeral concept (love, hate, death, etc.)

* Technically a cult is any religion that venerates one god above others, making 99% of clerics cultists; however, this definition is really terrible when applied to how the word cult is used by most people.  For the purposes of these tables a cult is a religoin that does not actually worship a god of goddess but thinks it does. In some systems this definition would mean that the cult should not have clerics.  That's perfectly fine, if not desirable.  The upper echelons of the cult should be filled out with magic users or anti-clerics, whichever makes more since with your chosen system.

**Vornheim is otherwise an excellent product.  Cults are just something I shove in everywhere. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Are We In Hell?

Have the players roll up a new character sans equipment.  I recommend using LotFP for reasons that will be spelled out later, but use whatever you want.  Once they're done, they awaken naked (or in weird futuristic gaffer tape underwear) in a a sleeping chamber (or sci fi sleeping pod).  Once they figure out how to exit this, assuming the referee is mean enough to not have it open automatically, they find themselves in a seemingly endless maze of corridors and rooms.

The monsters they encounter should be outside of what one would normally encounter in D&D.  No goblins or orcs to be found; however, it is important that some of these creatures are intelligent and could be cajoled into trading with the PCs.  To make sure these are alien as possible be sure to only reveal their names once a PC has asked them what they call themselves.  Other dungeon monsters should refer to them with descriptive titles like "the pallid things" or "those angry midget dudes."  

One of the reasons you might want to use LotFP is for its language system.  That way your amnesiac characters might dimly remember the language the scaly guys are speaking without having to select it from a predetermined list.  Also, since almost all equipment (including spell books and holy symbols!) will have to be gained through foraging or trade, the lack of weapon and armor restrictions should help the magic users and clerics feel a tad more useful.  The encumbrance system too will help because it means that characters will have to pick and choose what's important enough to take with them.

The dungeon should be big.  No.  It should be huge.  Enormous.  When designing it make sure to make it have lots of interesting specials and factions so that the players won't get bored, but the overall structure shoul seem endless.  Also, and this is important, there shouldn't be any exits.  The dungeon itself is the campaign setting.  

Here are some hypothetical explanations for this:
  • Hell or purgatory is a really weird dungeon.  You're there now.
  • This is the remnants of some crazy-big spaceship that went all metamorphosis alpha in the most D&D way possible.
  • Some stupid wizard built it and wants to see how brave heroes from various dimensions work together.
  • It's an ark.
  • The PCs are part of some past experiment to see what the future will be like a la The Morrow Project or Idiocracy.  Turns out it's a dungeon filled with morlocks.  Who knew?
One last note: whatever your explanation is, one of the factions should think everyone is in hell.  It's just better that way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Last night I suggested that someone should do a city campaign on G+, and over a number of different posts this idea has evolved into a shared campaign with multiple players and multiple DMs all in the same city.  Something like a tabletop version of Thieves' World.

I must admit that I'm not entirely sure yet how such a campaign would function, but the idea is one that I would totally be on board for.  If anyone has any ideas or suggestions post them here.

I Don't Know if Anyone Still Cares About This...

...but I'm a Pundit.  Does that mean I have to start smoking a pipe and complaining about Swine?

More Unfocused Thoughts on Arklyrell

It's been a while since I messed around with this, but I've had a bunch of ideas I haven't articulated so here they are:

  • A lot of this setting will be based on The Sword's Album Warp Riders.  They're both set on a tidally locked planet of science fantasy nonsense, so I thought they fit well together.
  • The south is ruled by the Chronomancer, a pseudo-immortal God-Lich of immense power.  He trades minerals and other natural resources with the civilizations on the campaign map that are mined on the Day Side of the planet.  He does this with a horrid, skeletal work-force.
  • The Chronomancer is probably equal amounts machine and undead.
  • The Elves on the Night Side get more tribal as it gets colder.  The ones closest to the sea are (comparatively) hospitable.
  • One of the cities in the icy part of the map is totally going to be Vornheim.
  • System will probably be LL + AEC so that I can have some of the doofier classes like Illusionist and Assassin in there.  I'll also add some weird races like Ghuls.
  • Equipment list will include a giant, white dragonfly that you can purchase as a mount.
  • I might get rid of the Roc nests, but I'm not sure about that yet.  They provide a good excuse for the large citadels.  It's sorta like Might & Magic 1 where the people live in underground cities to avoid being burned to death by dragons.
  • Treasure tables are totally going to include Mutant Future artifacts.
  • I need to work the Fuel-less Fire in there somewhere. (In case you haven't guessed from the other posts that mention it in passing, the Fuel-less Fire is a sentient patch of radiation).
  • I bet I'd use the Fiend Folio pretty heavily when making wandering monster tables, but that's just a guess.
  • There are ruins on both the Day and the Night Side.  No one knows how they got there.
  • I've pretty much settled on the human settlements on the islands being grunting, Mycenaean types.
  • Dwarves are gross, genetically engineered degenerates who mine precious things out of the mountains on the islands.  Rumor says that a strange, dark skinned race of Dwarves lives on the Day Side, but that's probably impossible.
That's all for now.  I'm probably not going to do much more with this, but that stuff had been in my mind for a while.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nightwick Abbey Visual Inspiration

This stuff has been cluttering my Nightwick Abbey folder, so I decided to post it here.  I may have put some of it on here before, but I don't really care.  As with the last post, click to embiggen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

From the Journal of Brother Leif

Here is one of the player's report's of Saturday's session.  You can read Zak's slightly more stream of consciousness version of events as well.

Visual Inspiration for My Next Project

This'll probably be for the Hell-Caverns, but I may do something else.  Click them to embiggen.  Trust me, you want to.

If you're not following Monster Brains, then you should be.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Attention People Who Make Geomorphs

I've been using Geomorphs for Nightwick Abbey since the the first time I ran it in its current form.  Since that time, one thing has been a constant thorn in my side: those damn geomorphs are hard to describe to players!  I love how easy and quick they make mapping interesting dungeon levels with lots of connections and nonlinear stuff, but they make rooms really hard to get across without looking at the actual geomorph.

Sometimes this isn't a problem, especially when I have a mat handy, but on G+ it's a nightmare.

So I guess what I'm saying is make some more ones that have square rooms. 

Nightwick Abbey ConstantCon (The Actual Session 3)

Throughout the Dark Country dark rumors have begun to spread.  The soldiers who frequent the Medusa's Head Tavern in Nightwick village say that the Abbey has become more active in recent weeks, no doubt due to the meddling of all these bizarre foreigners who have recently come to the village.  They have the look of dangerous men, and the peasants and the soldiers -- who rarely agree on anything -- know they are not to be trusted.

Yesterday, a dark omen was seen in the village.  According to several of the more superstitious peasants two priests were seen heading up to the abbey with a foreigner and even stranger company: a talking pig and a talking hound the likes of which no one in this benighted country has seen.  No doubt these priests were actually warlocks in a clever guise, for only the devil could be behind such dealings. What they did there no one knows, but the barkeep at the Medusa's Head swears on his life that shortly after they were seen a talking pig arrived at his establishment and paid for a drink and a room with ancient coinage.

Hopefully some of the players will comment on their experiences, and I remind them that they receive a 10% experience bonus if they write up a session report.

If you're interested in playing in future sessions send me an email at evanDOTvanDOTelkinsATgmailDOTcom.  We play every Saturday from 2:00 - 4:00 PM EST.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nightwick Abbey ConstantCon (Session 3)

The party, after purchasing several dogs and a linkboy named Richard, headed straight to the du

Edit:  This is a joke.  The internet in my neighborhood crashed as soon as they got passed the entrance to the dungeon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nightwick Abbey NPCs

Lord Eckhard is the appointed governor of Nightwick.  He is a boisterous and opinionated man who was exiled from the Realm several years ago.  He made a name for himself as a mercenary in the Bishop of Lichegate's army and was "rewarded" with this posting after the Bishop had the previous governor executed.  He is a short but broad man with a large beard.  He is fond of wearing his battle scared armor even when it is impractical to do so.

Father Roderick serves as the village priest.  He is a soft spoken balding man of tall stature and thin frame.  He gets on well enough with the pagan members of Nightwick's population.  He believes the Church's chief goal in the area should be to protect the innocent from the horrors that lurk in the forests and old ruins.  This has put him at odds with the Bishop Notker, but Notker has not yet found a priest who will willingly live that close to the Abbey.

Bruno  is the proprietor of the Medusa's Head tavern.  He is a veteran of a number of campaigns both in the West and the Dark Country.  Currently he primarily caters to the men-at-arms in the service of Lord Eckhard, but he has enough rooms to put up travelers.  Bruno looks like an out of shape former athlete, and he loves to hear tales of blood and thunder as they remind him of his glory days.

Rupert van Toad is a Frogling merchant who sells his wares outside of the North Gate.  He is not allowed within the walls due to a law passed by the Bishop.  He has a finely appointed shack that, sadly, lets too much of the cold, and during the winter months he becomes sluggish.  His wares are usually of fine quality, and he "rarely" overcharges.

Duncan  is a simpleton with a surprising gift for making metal objects.  His slack-jaw, scraggly hair and filthy clothes make some newcomers to the village a bit uneasy.  He serves as the town blacksmith and makes weapons, armor, and more mundane things of the finest quality.  His mother was, if rumor is to believed, a witch and so few are willing to take advantage of his decreased mental state.

Halfdan the Black is the local wizard.  He lives in a stout tower only a few hundred feet from the village.  He  is not fond of guests and typically only leaves his tower when he needs to purchase new "supplies" from Rupert.  He occasionally takes interest in magicians who make expeditions into the Abbey, but few know the purpose behind this.  The villagers know him as a man of mercurial moods and believe that he is best avoided.  His hair is long and unkempt and his clothes look as though he took them from the body of a dead noble buried a half a century ago.

Bishop Notker the Unshaven is an officious and arrogant clergyman who presides over Lichegate and the villages and towns that surround it.  He is a small man with a round head and he dresses in the finest vestments possible.  Recent pagan actions against his men and position have angered him immensely and he wishes the governors and priests under his jurisdiction would take a harder stance on pagan practice.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monsters of the Hell-Caverns (Updated Periodically)

The Hell-Caverns (of Narbonne?) are stuck in my brain.  Here are some monsters I started working on before I decided I needed to focus on the dungeon I'm currently running (Nightwick Abbey).  This list owes a lot to the Dismal Depths as do most of my monster designs.

If I ever go back to working on this project, I'll update the list as I need to flesh out the dungeons.

Awful Rats (N) AC 14 Move 12 HD ½ Horrid rats with crow heads.  On a natural 20 to hit, roll again.  If the roll is again a 20, the attacked character takes maximum damage and loses an eye.

Maggot Men (N) AC 12 Move 12 HD ½ Small creatures that resemble a combination of human and maggot features.   Build huts out of spittle and filth. Wield stone spears and daggers (break on natural roll of 1).  Leaders have 3HD. 

Frogmen (C) AC 12 Move 9/18 HD 1-1 Small, bloated toad-like humanoids.  Usually waddle uncomfortable, but will occasionally jump to attack.  Gains +1 to hit and damage.  Love the taste of Maggot men.

Skeleton (C) AC 14/15 Move 9 HD 1-1 Undead.  Ancient warriors animated using foul magic or mad science.  Typically wield rusted swords and shields but 25% chance of having a bow and 3d6 arrows.  Take only 1 damage from piercing and slashing weapons.  Take normal damage from bludgeons.

Morlock (C) AC 14/15 Move 12 HD 1 Degenerate descendants of a technologically advanced race.  Wield stone weapons (break on natural 1).  25% chance of having a bow and 3d6 arrows.  Leaders have 4 HD and are often found with mail armor and steel weapons.

Robbers (C) AC 14/15 Move 12 HD 1 Hoodlums who have hidden in the dungeon.  Typically outfitted in leather and shield.  25% chance of bow and 3d6 arrows.  Leaders have 6 HD and wear mail.

Cur (N) AC 12 Move 12 HD 1 Mangy, aggressive dogs.  Used as guard dogs by many of the intelligent dungeon inhabitants.

Mole Men (N) AC 14 Move 9 HD 1+1  Pseudo-insectoid humanoids with large claws for burrowing.  Sometimes used as slaves by morlocks.  Those not enslaved will kill morlocks on sight.

Creepy Crawlies (N) AC 13 Move 6 HD 2 Cleanup crew.  Blanket of flesh eating insects.  Hit all opponents in a 20’x20’ area as if they were AC 12.  1 in 6 chance of being poisonous.  All attacks deal 1 damage, except fire which does maximum damage.

Deros (C) AC 16 Move 12 HD 2 Unfortunates who have used the Deros Machine on level 3.  Have cobolt colored skin, milk-white blood, and red eyes.  Attack anything that isn’t a Dero.

Ghoul (C) AC 14 Move 12 HD 2 Undead.  Appear as hybrids of humans and hyenas.  Surprise on 1-3 on 1d6.  Touch paralyzes (Save allowed) for 3d6 rounds.

Glow Mutant (N) AC 12 Move 9 HD 2 Poor, irradiated bastards.  Constantly scream and glow as a torch only green.  Never surprise party.  If hit is successful, target is grabbed and takes damage each round until the creature is slain.

Zombie (C) AC 12 Move 9 HD 2 Undead. They’re Zombies.  Only take 1 damage from piercing weapons.  Slashing and bludgeoning weapons act normally.

More Unfocused Thoughts on the Hell-Caverns

  • One of the entrances to the caverns will be an archway in the dungeons of the local castle.  The castellan's ancestor who built the edifice stole a number of stones from the ruins nearby and even some inside the caves.  At certain times of day, the doorway -- which is made entirely out of stones from the caverns -- turns into a portal to some deeper level.
  • I picture the monster list as a mixture of lost world fare, mythos booglies, more traditional looking demons (with extradimensional origins), and radioactive mutants.  Those last guys look like this:
  • The rules would definitely be LotFP, but I'd draw from Realms of Crawling Chaos and the Dismal Depths as well.  The Black City is also a big inspiration.
  • I'm refining the elevator pitch to '"The Black God's Kiss" meets the Shaver Mystery.'
  • I might be able to cannibalize some of my Uz material, particularly deros.
  • In case it isn't obvious yet, the Hell-Caverns aren't entirely made out of caverns. Depending on whether or not I use Dave's Mapper this could mean that theres an even mix of caves and dungeon or it could mean that the various Saturday Night Specials are manufactured complexes and are connected by natural caves and tunnels.
  • The magic items and dungeon specials are as likely to be technological as they are magical.  Since the characters are High Medieval knights, clerics, and magicians I don't think this will matter all that much to them.  It's all deviltry.
  • Mole people.  There will definitely be mole people.
  • You will find few more staunch opponents of Erich von Daniken than I, but his fantastical bullshit makes good fodder for D&D.
  • I bet I'll be using the Random Esoteric Creature yadda yadda quite a bit.
  • Despite the name of the dungeon, I'll be taking a slightly more atheistic attitude towards the metaphysics of the setting.  I'm not sure where clerics get their powers from yet.  The Malleus Monstrorum for CoC -- an awesome book btw -- I think says Jesus might be an avatar of Yog-Sothoth.  While that offends me on some small level, I suppose it's kinda neat if I'm also throwing von Daniken in the mix.
  • When I settle on a specific location I'll change the name of the dungeon to The Hell-Caverns of X.
  • I think the Hell-Caverns of Narbonne sounds good, but the Hell-Caverns of Conques could explain where the vivid depictions of demons on the Cathedral of St Foy come from.

An Alternate Play Report Method

I just remembered the Ryth Chronicle presents a considerably more truncated sort of play report than the ones more commonly found in the blogosphere.  Fore example, my last Google + session would have looked something like this:

A: Group of 4 player characters and 1 henchman descended down the steps in the North Tower on two separate expeditions.  Lost 2 in a berserker ambush and were forced to retreat with little treasure.  Purchased several dogs and recruited 2 new characters and attempted a second expedition.  Lost no characters and gained 400sp and some leather armor made from human, but lost all of the dogs and failed to push beyond the dungeon entrance.

This form only represents the first few reports in the Chronicle, but I thought it might be a neat way to do a quick session report.  Still, I like the idea of the players sharing their experiences, so I'll likely continue to use my current method for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps I can use this form when none of the players has the time to make their own reports.

Another idea, though one I imagine would be quite difficult, would be to put out a ConstantCon newsletter that included a list of the active characters and the expedition reports from the various dungeons.  That could be pretty sweet and I know I'd read it.  Maybe DMs could through in a short article or two about their dungeons/campaign worlds.

I Don't Think My Players Would Agree

Lawful Good Human Cleric (3rd Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength- 9
Dexterity- 9
Constitution- 10
Intelligence- 14
Wisdom- 13
Charisma- 15

Lawful Good- A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Clerics- Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Need a Megadungeon Idea?

How about Derinkuyu?

Assuming Google image search didn't lie to me, you even have a side view:

Edit:  Heres a better side view

click to embiggen

Unfocused Thoughts on the Hell-Caverns

Hercules in the Hell-Caverns is one of the least-recounted tales of that hero

While it's unlikely that I'll seriously develop another megadungeon in the near future, I thought I would spend a bit more time thinking about what I would do withe the Hell-Caverns.  There are three reasons I decided to go with the Hell-Caverns instead of Old Jerah.  First, the Hell-Caverns are much closer to my normal aesthetic, and therefore if I ever decided to run them I would be much less likely to experience the Gamer ADD that often overcomes me when I run things that aren't pseudo-medieval dark fantasies.  Second, the Hell-Caverns model offers a bit more flexibility.  It's much easier to imagine pseudo-Babylonian ruins in a dungeon beneath a medieval milieu than it is to imagine gothic ruins in dungeon beneath a Babylonian milieu.  Finally it fits better with the implied setting of LotFP.  

Here are some unfocused thoughts:
  • I'd probably place the dungeon near Conques since I have some familiarity with that region in the time period I wish to set the game.*
  • Narbonne might also work.
  • The wilderness around the caverns would mostly be populated with mundane encounters.  Robber knights, wolves, bandits, pilgrims, heretics, etc.
  • I might do separate encounter tables for day and night, with some small chance of encounter creatures from the nearest dungeon entrance at night.
  • Some of the upper dungeons will be the remnants of a monastery carved into the side of a mountain.
  • The caverns contain a mixture of medieval, Greco-Roman, Atlantean, snake-men, and old ones ruins.  Generally the deeper you go the older, and therefore more alien, stuff gets but there are isolated nuggets of the weirder shit in the upper levels.
  • I kinda picture this as the the Shaver Mystery during the Albigensian Crusade.  In other words: they'll be a shit-ton of heretics and morlocks.
  • Some areas of the caverns are miles across and are essentially lost worlds with their own ecosystems.  These will usually just have dinosaurs or ice age megafauna, but sometimes they'll have weirder things too.
  • I'd probably put more strange lights in the dungeon, rather than the pitch-blackness that clouds Nightwick Abbey.
  • CAS's Averoigne is once again a big influence (as is his Hyperborean Cycle).  Much like the Averoigne stories, many of the menaces will be Mythos (Smythos?) in nature, but the characters -- or at least the NPCs -- will contextualize them as Abrahamic demons.
  • If the Dark Country is my attempt to do Averoigne and Uz is my attempt to do Zothique then the Hell Caverns are all three of his big cycles pushed together.
That's it for now.  I'll possibly put up more later, but who knows?

Two Weird Fantasy Megadungeon Ideas

Old Jerah: Once the City of Mot, the One Who Pulls into His Gullet, now all that is left of Old Jerah are broken buildings and its supposedly endless catacombs.  When the priest-kings of Jerah ruledit was known as a place of great terror, and all slaves and soldiers feared becoming the next sacrifice to the Black God of Ghouls.

Then, if accounts are to be believed, the demon Li-Lit appeared in the temple of Mot and slew his priests and the Priest-King himself.  Only the women of Old Jerah, which was famous for it's misogyny even among the harem managers of Almodad, survived.  They fled the ruins and founded the city that men currently call Jerah and set there a black temple dedicated to the night demon that freed them.

Since then Old Jerah has lain in ruins.  The merchants who travel in caravans that pass near the outskirts of the necropolis tell dark tales in the taverns.  They whisper of inbred degenerates, hyena-headed ghoul-priests, and strange lights that dart about the ruins.

The Hell-Caverns: In the eons before humankind walked the earth far stranger races built towered cities on the great continents of the world.  Great were the heights they reached, and even greater were the cataclysms that crushed their palaces beneath the earth.  Many were their names and numbers, but all these are lost to humankind's memory.  Their forms too were numerous, and they can be guessed at from their degenerate descendants that often dwell in the deep places of the world.

One such place lies near a small town in the Languedoc region of France.  The rocky landscape hides a vast network of caves and ruins.  Many of these ruins were built by humans in some forgotten epoch when fair Atlantis or distant Mu were in their infancy.  Some are older still, built by slithering things with alien masters.  These creatures wielded magic and technology beyond the understanding of men.

Those that have gone in the caves seldom speak of their experiences.  Those that do often are cleansed with holy fire by the Church, for what they say questions the nature of humankind and its centrality to God's universe.  Some even question the existence of God, pointing to the unquiet things that lurk in the dark as evidence that some far more strange power than Him governs the universe.  Those that can be bothered to stop their heretical babbling do tell of glittering gems and items of wondrous power, but their usually shuffle off this mortal coil shortly thereafter.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nightwick Abbey G+ Play Report

The G+ Nightwick Campaign will primarily rely on player made play reports.  Below is one from Zaunn, a Magic User:

It was a dark and loathsome day as I, the mage Zaunn, joined forces with warrior Sigmar, the sorcerer Igor, his dog Frankenstein, Beaumont the unruly and his manservant Gentle Ben to plunder the ruins of Nightwick Abbey or as I would like to think of it, "The Temple-Tomb of Elemental Horror".

Climbing over the fallen abbey wall we made our way to the north tower where Sigmar had explored before. Within we opened a trapdoor and proceeded down a rusted ladder to the dungeon proper. At my suggestion we lowered a rope tied to an iron spike in the floor of the tower as to supplement the ladder as I did not trust it to withstand our weight.
Once down we discovered and followed stairs leading down into the darkness. At the bottom there was a large chamber and a corridor. We followed the corridor but before we reached the far end I heard from ahead a voice cry out "shut up you fool!" from behind a closed door. We threw open the portal and found within 6 warriors dressed in leather armour made from tanned human skin. Battle was joined. But alas Beaumont, Sigmar, and Frankenstein all fell to the blades of their foes but not before one of the evil cultist was themselves slain.
Igor and I beat a hasty retreat. All the more hasty as Igor had the only source of light. We rapidly climbed up the ladder and made it to the top as the cultists reached its foot. They jeered us from below and Igor cast down his lantern, smiting one of them in the face. He fell, dead, his face aflame and his companions retreated themselves lest we launch more flaming missiles in their direction.
Returning to Nightwick town the three of us, as Gentle Ben had also survived, recruited to new companions. These were Redwall and the Cleric Gregor. We also purchased hounds, Igor to replace his lost Frankenstein while Gregor and I felt is best to beef up our party as best we can and dogs were the cheapest force available to us. Gregor and I both bought two dogs apiece, mine I named Riddler and Lemming. Our task was to recover the remains of Beaumont and Sigmar and perhaps avenge their deaths upon their killers.
Thus upon the next day we returned to the Abbey, descended the rope, as I suspected that the ladder had somehow alerted them to our descent upon our previous expedition. Arriving in the large room at the foot of the stairs we encountered the undead corpse of the burned cultist. Unleashing the dogs we surrounded it. It lashed out and slew my Lemming but Riddler and I soon cut it down.
At this point things went down hill for us again. Igor was overcome by "disconnection sickness" He retreated with Frankenstein the second, leaving the lantern with Redwall. Meanwhile before I could examine the defeated undead Gregor seized up Redwall's crowbar and forced open the door to the chamber where we had encountered the cultist before. The four of them were there. However Gregor had made such noise opening the door our chances of surprising them were nil. Again we retreated, Redwall leaving a booby-trap in the form of a bedroll across the hallway. We made it to the ladder but this time the cultists were close on our heels. We ordered the surviving dogs to attack as we climbed to safety. The dogs slew half the cultists, the remained of whom fled, chased by the remaining dogs. I took the opportunity to loot the fallen cultists and thus we were able to leave with 400 silver coins, 2 hideous suits of leather armour and two longswords. The coins were divided between the four of us while Redwall and I took a suit of the armour apiece; I suspect it may be enchanted. Nobody expressed an interest in the swords so I dragged them back to town with us to see what their resale value might be, if any. Who knows, perhaps I may be able to learn something about from where the cultists are being equipped.

If you're interested in playing in future sessions send me an email at evanDOTvanDOTelkinsATgmailDOTcom.  We play every Saturday from 2:00 - 4:00 PM EST.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nightwick Abbey and the Philosophy of Raggi's Game

Let me start by saying I wouldn't describe Nightwick Abbey or the Dark Country as "weird."  According to Beedo's taxonomy of horror the Nightwick Campaign should fall firmly into the Supernatural Horror camp.  While the Church of Law is a bit too hierarchical -- some might say fascist -- to be truly considered good in the context of modern, Western society, it is somewhat admirable in its eternal struggle to hold back the creatures of the Pit.  In light of the fact that the greater evil is, in fact, Satan, the God of Law and his followers more or less fill in the "good" niche.  The setting is intentionally filled with a mix of Judeo-Christian and Gothic imagery, even if that imagery is filtered through metal album covers.

But there is a reason I picked Lamentations of the Flame Princes: Weird Fantasy Roleplaying as my preferred system for the setting.  The primary reason is that the players' part of the rules is almost a perfect fit.  The classes work not only the way I want them to on a mechanical level, but also on a flavor level.  This is especially true of Magic-Users.  On a more petty level, I'm generally a fan of Ascending AC and I enjoy the fact that any class can wield any weapon or wear any armor, but these reason pale in comparison to the way that the overall flavor of the rules meshes with my vision of the game.

At least on the players' side of the screen.  I'm not as comfortable with some of the advice for the GM's side of the screen, or rather I'm not as comfortable with it for what I want to do right now.  The two key points of tension are monsters and magic items.  Raggi, rather famously, doesn't like standardized monsters, and I agree with him, up to a point.  Where it becomes a problem is in the stocking of a megadungeon.  Now, I've already established that I don't mind non-standard monsters.  Quite the contrary.  I feel that a diversity of such terrors can greatly improve the quality of one's megadungeon.

Herein lies the problem.  In Raggi's conception of the game, as I understand it, monsters are only an occasional threat.  Of course, when they do show up their supposed to be horrible and memorable.  This model doesn't seem to fit terribly well with my vision of Nightwick Abbey.  It certainly doesn't fit with the campaign I ran with my face to face group.  I'm afraid I'm probably not creative enough to come up with an plethora of completely unique creatures to haunt the abbey, and it just isn't the sort of place where humans are terribly common.  I suppose I could use Raggi's own Random Esoteric Creature Generator, but the results would by and large lack the themes that make the Abbey what it is.

Magic items are more of an issue of practicality than anything else.  I've pitched this as a FLAISNAILS game, and some of the incoming PCs are undoubtedly going to have magic weapons and armor of the simple +X variety.  What is easier: stocking my dungeons in a way that makes those characters consistent, or coming up with some sort of houserules to change those items to be more thematically approprate?  What happens if someone gets one of Nightwick Abbeys LotFP style magic items and then takes it over to Wessex?

Still, his ideas are not without merit.  Last night I decided to read the example of play in the tutorial book on a whim.  I'm generally a fan of such things, and I'm especially fond of the one in Empire of the Petal Throne.  Raggi's did not disappoint.  While I'm not entirely sure this was the purpose, it reminded me of the more exotic works of Clark Ashton Smith.  Specifically I was reminded of "The Weaver in the Vault" and "The Tomb-Spawn."  Both of these can more or less be described as TPKs in short story form.  They're also among the few dungeons, in the D&D sense, that I've seen in literature.

When I think about D&D, I usually have one of CAS's worlds in the back of my mind.  For the Dark Country, Averoigne is undoubtedly the most important of his milieus; however, the above two stories and "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" have profoundly affected the way I view dungeons and D&D in general.  When I say that Raggi's model reminds me of those stories I mean it as the highest form of compliment.  I must say that I am interested in trying it out in a Smithian context.

So while the G+ version of Nightwick Abbey will not follow his conventions, that doesn't mean that future versions will not.  I may try to find a way to wed the two together, or maybe it would be more interesting to think about what kind of campaign dungeon I would develop if I took Raggi's philosophy entirely to heart. Perhaps something like the catacombs of Chaon Gacca.

Whatever Happened to Greyhawk?

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't posted a play report or even a musing on Greyhawk and its accompanying castle in about a month (I'm too lazy to check the exact time).  There are several reasons for this, but I'll focus on two of them.

First, my group usually meets on Tuesdays, and while that day has been good for me the majority of the time I'd been with them in recent weeks my Tuesdays had gotten a lot more hectic.  This is due entirely to graduate school concerns, which I will not bore you with.  Since I've been unable to play with them the last few weeks I've turned over my DM responsibilities to one of the players (the one responsible for Verbobonc on our campaign map). I believe he started the Village of Hommlet on Tuesday and I look forward to joining them next week.

So why haven't I talked about Greyhawk while I wasn't playing it?  The chief reason is that it doesn't excite me the way it did when the current campaign started.  While I liked working on some of the city bits, the dungeon just didn't have the same Evan-ness that Nightwick Abbey does.  The Dark Country is the best expression of what I want D&D to be like and while I may occasionally be lured by something more "vanilla" or tongue-in-cheek, it is the setting that has the most traction with my otherwise Gamer ADD addled mind.  Handing off the shield to another player and then setting up for the G+ game has allowed me to avoid smashing the campaign against the rocks.  I heard the sirens' call, and I handed the rudder to someone with wax in their ears.

On a tangentially related note, I haven't posted on my Traveller blog for essentially the same reasons.  I hope to pick it up again in the lull between semesters, but only time will tell if that happens.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Dark Country and Hattiesburg

To truly understand the Dark Country you have to see the clouds passing over the full moon above the longleaf pines in South Mississippi.  It would also help if that same moon was illuminating the still waters of the marsh the water company accidentally created just off of Hatcher Rd. when they failed to recognize and fix a leak that lasted over several months.  You would also need to see the yellow lights of my parents house peeking through the trees, strangely contrasting the silvery-blue of the moonlight.

Hattiesburg and its accompanying satellite towns, of which my home town of Purvis is one, were founded shortly after the Civil War as timber towns.  They are all firmly in the Pine Belt, and I have it on good authority that the peculiar manner in which the native flora creates a canopy over the roads is a bit creepy to outsiders.  If you're driving from Meridian to Hattiesburg you will pass through about two hours of empty forest before little towns start appearing like lights in Mirkwood.

Despite the fact that much of those woods are actually pine tree farms, there is a certain wildness to the area that is hard to describe.  What it lacks in mountains, which both my current home and the Dark Country possess, it makes up with a sloppy wetness that creates all manner of streams, swamps, and bogs.  I can't help but think that this is the reason that the Dark Country and so many of my other settings are riddled with swampland.  Swamps are dangerous and they look dangerous.  Those in South Mississippi, and therefore I would wager those in the Dark Country, are a thick mass of brambles that lie below a strange mixture of pines and cypresses.

It is in this context that I used to take my "nightly constitutionals."  On cooler nights -- which are rare outside of the winter -- when I couldn't think or needed inspiration, I would grab a walking stick my father made for me and pace up and down the little stretch of road the led to what was once the family farm.  I only started doing this in college, and by that time the part which formerly constituted the farm had been taken by the forest.

The farmhouse, where I spent the early phases of my boyhood, is little more than a ruin and the only stable structure on the whole property is the barn that houses my parents last two animals: a feral sow that wondered onto our property and wooed my mother with silly pig antics, and an old mare who my mother could never bring herself to break.  My typical route took me to the edge of the old farm, where the marsh mentioned above almost came up to the road, to the "Dead End" sing that stood outside of our neighbor's pasture.  Sometimes I could hear the pig crashing through the woods, walking beside me for whatever inscrutable reasons pigs have for doing such things.

The pasture too had a strange sense of benighted mystery.  Whenever it would rain, which was quite often, the section closest to the road would become more of a pond than a pasture.  This caused the pasture, even in drier times, to become fog-shrouded during the cooler hours of the evening.

Purvis itself is an odd town.  Their high school, which I did not attend, had a rather peculiar mascot that I think illustrates some of the town's macabre oddity.  They are the Tornadoes.  The story goes that when Hattiesburg was first founded, Purvis served as a den of sin that the loggers would go to when they weren't on the job.  It was filled with all manner of brothels and gambling parlors.  That is until the day the tornado came. Supposedly it caused the clock tower to stop at the very time the town was destroyed.  The citizens of Purvis rebuilt, but they left the clock in it's broken state to remind everyone what God does to punish the sinful.

The tower is gone now, and I've only heard the story from my parents and another couple of locals so I can't speak to its veracity.  Still, this combination of Baptist mysticism and fog-bound forests fires up my overly imaginative synapses.  I am the sort of person who sees supernatural and sinister designs in everything, even if I know they're not real.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but rather a day dreamer.  It is this quality that has most affected my presentation of the Dark Country.  If it seems like I'm uncannily capable of describing a superstition-riddled patch of swamp and woods, it's because I come from a superstition-riddled patch of swamp and woods.

Inspired by this post at Hill Cantons.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nightwick Abbey G+ Game Ad

Nightwick Abbey has lain in ruins for almost two centuries.  Built by power hungry knights and mad wizards, it now is home to only ghosts and goblins. Peasants refuse to work in the shadow of the ruined church, and at night eerie lights issue forth from its depths.  Many have tried to wrestle gold from the crypts which lie beneath, but few have returned.  Are you brave enough to seek your fortune in a demon-haunted dungeon?

A ConstantCon game using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Roleplaying rules.*

Play will be from 2:00 - 4:00 PM EST every Saturday.  The end time is somewhat flexible, but I'd rather not go longer than two and a half hours.  

I'll be determining the party composition randomly.  If you would like to be added to my list send an email to evanDOTvanDOTelkinsATgmailDOTcom.  I would like to begin play on the 12th of this month, but I may have to postpone it until the 19th.  

This is a FLAILSNAILS game.  If you have any questions or need help converting your characters, let me know.

I decided to go with Nightwick because I have material already made for it, and thus it will be less work for me.

* A free version of the rules may be downloaded here.

Edit: I can't spell.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Since I did a pitch for the Wild Lands, I thought I'd do one for Treasuredeep.  I originally made to test out the excellent "game" How to Host a Dungeon.  My wife gave me the name.

The premise: Many dwarf years* ago, a clan of dwarves sought to build a great hall in a land they knew to be rich in mithril.  For many years they toiled in the rock, and from the ore they made many wondrous items and fabulous treasures.  Under the Hammerhand kings the dwarves of Treasuredeep entered a golden age.  Songs from this time are still sung by dwarves everywhere.  These songs tell of great battles against the goblins, of magic swords of terrible power, and of large-breasted mustachioed dwarven maidens.

They also tell of the sad fate of the Hammerhand dwarves.  It is said that one day while expanding their hall, the dwarves tunneled into a series of caves that housed the Wyrm as Old as Time.  It slew many dwarven warriors and drove them from that section of their mine.  In the many years that followed, the Hammerhands led campaign after campaign into the caverns in a desperate attempt to win back the treasures of their fathers and to slay the Wyrm for good and all.  Alas none where ever successful, and it is said that the last members of the house of Hammerhand who were still alive led a suicidal charge into the dragon's den, never to be seen again.

In the time since, the Realm of man has spread over the surface, and the races of dwarves and elves have slunk to the dark corners of the world.  Now a town of men lies near the most famous entrance to the abandoned mine.  Rumors say that the Wyrm as Old as Time has slept for the (human) centuries since it ate the last king.  They also say that new residents now lair in the old mine, and they are much less friendly than dwarves.  Still, if legends are true their is a fortune in that old mine, and you're just the PCs to get it.

How this works:  This one would be much closer to Myrddin in design.  Each session is a discrete delve into the dungeon with a randomly selected party roster.  The dungeon itself would be a mixture of geomorphs and my own hand drawn maps.  Most areas will have a definite theme determined by the results of the How to Host a Dungeon game.

Like the Wild Lands, this campaign concept is vaguely inspired by the Hobbit; however, I think this one would be a bit more gonzo.

I may work up a similar pitch for Nightwick abbey, but I imagine most of my readers are familiar with that dungeon.  In session format, it would more or less work the same way as this one.

* dwarf years are much longer than human ones and are based on tectonic processes rather than the movement of the sun.