Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nightwick Abbey Session 10

picture only tangentially related

Since my wife was away dealing with certain aspects of our lease -- we decided her character had been placed in the stocks for being a witch -- the party consisted of...

Mo'ongo -- an extremely dimwitted Fighter (dumber than most great apes)
Thign -- failed Magic-User
Slimey -- brother of Slick and expert Thief
and Barley Brownbeard -- craven (and drunken) Dwarf

We picked up immediately where we left off rather than use the 1 real time week = 1 game time week since Slimey wanted to burgle the Bishop's palace while he was engaged in the chevage ceremony.  He made preparations for that while the rest of the party looked for gainful employment.  They expected to be in the city for about a month while Almaric the Incontinent studied the Staff of Power in order to find it's key words.  Asking around Barley discovered that a group of Bandit's laired in the nearby swamp.  At first they sought to join a group of mercenaries (Bader's bo
ys) who were contracted to fight the bandits, but upon discovering their was a bounty of 5 gold per bandit head they decided to go freelance.

At that point the bulk of the party made their way to the cathedral square to watch the peasants perform chevage while Slimey got ready to pilfer the Bishop's valuables.  Slimey managed to sneak into the Bishop's chambers without attracting the attention of the guard.  Within it he found a chest containing too many copper pieces for him to carry and a silver ring bearing a star sapphire.  Sensing that the ring was not only valuable, but likely magical, he chose only to pilfer this one object.  He then urinated on the Bishop's bed and made ready to leave.  He was able to scamper down his rope undetected, but had to abandon it when a guard approached.  Seeing the rope (but not the thief) the guard alerted his fellow watch-mates and they scattered to raise the general alarm.

While this was transpiring, the rest of the party was listening to the Bishop's speech and being very glad they weren't serfs.  Mo'ongo especially expressed disdain for the ritual the peasants were forced to undergo.  Slick soon made his way to them and explained that they needed to leave the city ASAP.  Unfortunately at that point the bells of the town began to ring, sounding the general alarm.  Quite quickly all became chaos as guards rushed about and peasants began to riot.  The party decided just to play it cool and wait for things to cool down, but when they could not leave the city they realized this might be a sticker situation than they originally thought.

That night Slimey met with one of his guildmates and negotiated passage out of the wall through a secret method known only to the thieve's guild.  They then found themselves in the cold swamp that stretched for miles along the Dark River.  Instead of waiting until morning, they began looking for the bandits that night.  

This turned out to be a fateful (and fatal) decision.  They were soon ambushed by a huge number of ghouls.  Mo'ongo's player commented "This is the last time we do a wilderness adventure!"  to which Slimey's player responded "Well with this party anyway."  Despite the fatalism, Barley and Slimey were able to escape, though Mo'ongo and Thign met an unfortunate end.  Thign had been paralyzed during the surprise round, and Mo'ongo had lifted him up with the intent to carry him to safety.  Unfortunately that took his hole turn and he was now subject to the ghouls' attacks.  They managed to bring him to -2 hit points, at which point I told him that normally he would get to save vs. death, but since he was surrounded by ghouls both he and Thign were quickly, and unceremoniously, devoured.

Slimey and Barley now found themselves lost in the Swamp.  However, they were soon able to regain their bearings with the sunrise, and made their way to the farmland around Lichgate.  Unfortunately, the city was still locked up tight.  However, since the peasants from the countryside were in the city when it was locked up, their houses were all empty.  They then squat in a rather nondescript farmhouse while Slimey waited for Barley to recover from his injuries.  During the following days, a number of armed men came by and searched the neighboring farmland but where unable to find any sign of Barley or Slimey.  A few days after that, a Frogling caravan came by with a brightly colored carriage.  They seemed very confused by the lack of peasants to buy their goods, and they also did not find any sign of Slimey or Barley.  They moved on to the city gates, and at that point the session ended since it became clear that the two new characters would not be finished in time to continue play.

I suppose this as good a time as any to explain my "basic luck mechanic."  When a player asks me if something is present that I haven't decided on myself, I roll a d6.  If the result is a 1 they get exactly what they ask for, but the higher the number gets the worse off they are.  This is done within reason of course: for little things like the presence of a rope, the way a door swings, that sort of thing.  So there you have it.

Minor Encounters Take 2

A second attempt of a Minor Encounters Table for post-apocalyptic map stocking.

Minor Encounters (1d8 + 1d12)
2 -- Ancient Structure (Intact)
3 -- Battlefield
4 -- Religious Structure
5 -- Cave System
6 -- Meeting Place
7 -- Mutant Lair
8 -- Fort
9 -- Ruined Structure
10 -- Village
11 -- Isolated Homestead
12 -- Natural Hazard
13 -- Infrastructure (sewer, roadway, etc.)
14 -- Camp, Industrial
15 -- Camp, Semi-Permanent
16 -- Wandering Mutants
17 -- Cache
18 -- Fallout Shelter
19 -- Construction Site
20 -- Special Hazard (Biochemical, radiation, etc.)

Stocking a Postapocalyptic Sandbox and a Map

These Charts more or less utilize Welsh Piper's Campaign Hexagon System, but are more tailored to Postapocalyptic nonsense.  If you're using Gamma World or Mutant Future, you might want to stick to the basic ones found on his site.  These are intended for games where technology has not quite devolved that far.

Major Encounters
1 – Town
2 – Fortress
3 – Bunker
4 – Ruin
5 – Mutant Lair (Large)
6 – Special Hazard

Minor Encounters
1 – Village
2 – Ruined Structure
3 – Isolated Homestead
4 – Fort
5 – Wandering Mutants
6 – Mutant Lair (Small)
7 – Camp, Industrial
8 – Camp, Semi-permanent
9 – Ancient Structure (Mostly intact)
10 – Natural Hazard
11 – Infrastructure (Sewer, roadway, etc.)
12 – Battlefield
13 – Cache (1d6: 1-2 Weapons, 3-4 Food, 5-6 Books or other intellectual goods)
14 – Contested Area
15 – Construction Site (1d6: 1-2 Settlement, 3-4 Fort, 5-6 Landmark)
16 – Cave System
17 – Fallout Shelter (30% chance of having pre-war valuables, 60% chance inhabited)
18 – Religious Structure (1d6: 1-3 Church or Temple, 2-4 Graveyard, 5-6 Pilgrimage site)
19 – Special Hazard
20 – Meeting place

I will note that I'm not as comfortable with the second table and I'd like someway to increase the chance that "ruins" show up, but what can you do.

click to embiggen

This map is what I hope to use the stocking tables with.  I've already determined the number of minor and major encounters, I now just have to figure out what they are.  

The map itself is based off of East Tennessee and the surrounding areas.  Each hex is roughly 10 mi, but the spacial representations are not entirely accurate.  The two ruined metropolises are Knoxville (my current place of residence) and Chatanooga.  It supposes a nuclear war, followed by a nuclear winter, followed by a nuclear summer, followed by global climate change ending in what is more or less an ice age.  Sprinkle on top of that massive pre-war pollution and you have a cold, acidic hellhole of a place.  Still it's better than what's to the West of it.

I'm still looking for a system to express this setting in, but I hope to have one soon.  I'll probably steal the premise of the Morrow project even if I don't use the rules, though with slight modifications of course.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gentle Reader: Recommend Me a Post-Apoc RPG

I'm already aware of Mutant Future and Gamma World,  but I'm looking for something with a tad more guns.  Don't get me wrong, I like Mutant Future and I'm off and on working on an adventure for it, but I'd like something where society hasn't collapsed as much.  Think Thunderdome with more mutants, or maybe Fallout.

I'm not generally a fan of systems that are too complex, but I would like something that supports hexcrawling fairly easily.

Any ideas?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race as Class, Race Plus Class, and Racial Classes


Regular readers of my blog will no doubt know that I have acquired a rather bizarre set of races for the Dark Country.  While it does have Dwarves and Gnomes, both are slightly (or drastically in the case of Gnomes) altered.  The other races are Changelings, half fairy creatures who replace Elves, and Froglings, drunken amphibian merchants from my campaign's equivalent of the Netherlands.

When I originally conceived of the Nightwick Campaign, I pictured using these races, though Gnomes and Changelings did not exist at the time, as other races are in OD&D: they can level as a fighter or a thief and get a few extra abilities based of their race.  When the decision was made to switch it over to Labyrinth Lord, I decided to stick with the Race as Class dynamic familiar to all those with experience using OSD&D.  This was primarilly done for simplicity's sake.  I know of a number of systems for desiging B/X/CMI classes, but I know of none for desiging AD&D races.  For that matter, Labyrinth Lord defaultly uses race as class and only with the advent of the AEC, which I only purchased recently, did it have the option to split race and class.

However, the longer the Nightwick Campaign goes the more I find myself using my 1e books.  I've primarilly been using them for dungeon stocking since I like the wide array of systems and monsters availible within those tomes.  However, I've also been contemplating using more of the classes from the AEC/AD&D.  The player of Barley Brownbeard almost made a ranger instead of a Dwarf using the AEC, and I would've let him.

In light of the increasing AD&D-ness of my campaign, I am left to wonder what I should do with the various demi-humans that putter about the Dark Country.  Some of them, like Dwarves and Froglings, would lend themselves well to having different classes.  Dwarves worship the God of Law, though their practice differs from human worship, and I'd desperately love to have Fighting Frogs like that fellow at the top of the page.  Others are tougher to figure out.  How do I deal with Changelings' inherent magical ability or Gnomes' alien psychology?

I'm not sure what the answer is yet, but it may lie in combining the various approaches.  Perhaps Dwarves may enter some of the classes currently available to humans to a limited degree, while Froglings and Gnomes have classes specific to themselves and Changelings are just Changelings.  This of course depends as much on the preference of my players as it does on me, so I'll have to posit this to them.

Dark Country Region 2

click to embiggen

This map lies to the immediate West of the Region 1 map on the larger Dark Country map.  It's home to the last Dwarf Kingdom in the region, which I imagine Barley Brownbeard hails from.  It's also much less settled than Region 1 and the northern regions, with just a few settlers from the Western Kingdoms in the South East.  The North West is predominately pagan.

Might not be much to look at, but there it is.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Favorite Setting

I have a profound love for the Wilderlands that has been little dulled despite the fact that I haven't run a campaign there in quite a few years.  To give you an idea of how young I am, the 3.5 version by Necromancer Games was the first thing I bought entirely with money I had earned.  I still own it, though the box is a little worse for the wear, and occasionally I glance through the pages and have a deep sense of nostalgia.

I think there is more to it than nostalgia of course.  It's one of the most versatile settings, as Scott and Rob Conley's blogs can attest.  At the same time, at least for me, there is a feel to the material.  It's some sort of mishmash of the Hyborian Age, Lankhmar, and the Lord of the Rings that represents the full wackiness that so embodies the unholy concoction that is D&D.  At the same time it's palpably different from a more Gygaxian setting.  It's always seemed more like the Mediterranean c. AD 500 (or possibly later) rather than the 15th Century assumed setting of TSR D&D.  It then has a light sprinkling of the Classical world and even some Persian stuff added to the mixture.  It's a world where the paganism of D&D makes 100% more sense, and -- at least in the 3.5 products -- it uses that paganism to the hilt.

It has a wide variety of civilizations, cultures, and therefore ruins.  They have rough equivalents to actual cultures (such as Skandiks) that are pretty easy to detect and therefore easy for players to grasp.  The gods are a wonderful mix of real and fictional ones and most are the definition of awesome...

Well, to be honest I doubt I have to convert any of my readers over to the Wilderlands.  Its reputation among Old Schoolers is well known.

Throughout most of college I was running the Wilderlands in some form or other.  My players have adventured in Lenap, Tarsh, The Elphand Lands, and of course the CSIO.  It is the CSIO campaign I remember most fondly as it was the one that both lasted the longest and... well is most memorable.  I co-DMed with another player (Brandon who comments on these posts occasionally and has a blog about video games called WannaDev) and the players stole sacred stones, fought in arenas, were mostly slaughtered by bears, led attacks on Skandik outposts, scaled the Tower of the Elephant, met a "juvenile dragon" (an ancient worm who liked fart jokes), and even witnessed the destruction of the CSIO by a giant Markab robot.  The crowning moment was when my (now) wife rolled three 20s in a row to attack said robot, thus killing it instantly and gaining enough xp to ascend to godhood.

The science fantasy aspect has been one that I've always liked and that I've emphasized or demphasized to various degrees over the course of my DMing the setting.  One time the players were in the Ghinor Highlands and met a group of Duregar who kept Derro on leashes and used crackling purple laser pistols (I like "crackling purple" as my description of ray guns).

Recently my thoughts have turned to it once again as my ennui with the Dark Country continues.  I had started developing my own version of the Wilderlands c. 2008 (I found out about this whole Old School thing from Scott's Wilderlands OD&D blog), and I might use it if my campaign kersplodes.  Who knows.  I just needed to reminisce a bit about a great setting.  Theres a lot of adventure in those maps.

In fairness I should also link to JP's Death Blog: The Blog that Eats People, a blog for horror movie reviews and commentary.  He's not only another friend, he played Bjorn (of the Bjorn Horn) in the above mentioned CSIO game.

Swords & Cinema: Deathstalker

This is the first in what I hope to be an irregular blog feature.  Basically I'll review a Swords & Sorcery, Horror, Sci Fi, or other relevant movie and then provide stats for something from that movie in Labyrinth Lord terms.  These will contain spoilers but since most of them will be terrible movies I don't think anyone will mind.  First up is the 1983 film Deathstalker:

Our story takes place in an unnamed fantasy kingdom in the psuedo-not-really-Middle Ages.  Our "hero," Deathstalker, treads the world looking for gold to steal, men to fight, and women to rape.  We first meet him when he "rescues" a young woman from both a band of inbred cancer patients and a man who has her tied up.  After slaying all of them, Deathstalker then attempts to help himself to the poor woman, but she's able to slip by when an old man intrudes and asks Deathstalker if he'd come to the court of his king.  

It turns out the king is a decrepit old man whose throne was lost to the evil wizard who now rules the land.  The wizard keeps the kings daughter locked in his harem and the king would love to see his daughter returned to him.  In one of the better parts of the film -- despite the acting -- Deathstalker refuses and rides off.  You'd have to be mad to take on the wizard.

Later he finds a number of the wizard's guards assaulting an old witch-woman.  He helps her overcome them, and then finds that the captain of the guards possesses the power to turn into a hawk due to a magic amulet the evil wizard loaned him.  She informs Deathstalker that the amulet is one of three items of power and that the possessor of all three would "be the power."  The wizard already has two of them, but the third -- a sword that looks like the Tizona could still be claimed by Deathstalker.  He says thanks but no thanks and rides off into the distance once again.

Unfortunately for Deathstalker it's harder to get away from a witch-woman.  He stops to drink at a pond and she appears to him, explaining that the sword just happens to be in a cave a few feet to the right.  He crawls inside and finds a strange demon-puppet who encourages him to fight a ogre-like creature.  Deathstalker is almost defeated but then is given the Sword of Power and cuts the ogre's weapon in half.  The ogre fails his morale check and flees the cave in horror.  

Then the most surreal thing I've ever seen in moviedom happens: the demon says that he can only be saved by "the boy who is not a boy."  Deathstalker then immediately becomes a small child and leads the demon out of the cave where he turns into Anthony Bourdain.  They then set out on their adventure.  The soon meet up with two other adventurers, a man in a strange half-shirt of scale and a bare-breasted warrior woman.  Deathstalker beds her in the same night they meet.  They inform Deathstalker that the wizard is holding a tournament to see who deserves to inherit his kingdom.  In reality he really seeks to slay the winner and leave the kingdom defenseless since all it's adventurers died in the tournament.

They arrive at the wizard's palace and he holds a celebration in honor of the upcoming tournament.  They now meet the wizard, who has a tattoo on his face of Shudde M'ell that constantly switches sides.  He brings out a woman and says that whoever can get her from the other man can have her for that evening.  The warrior woman starts to fight the men off to protect the woman but soon gets in over her head, at which point Deathstalker intervenes.  He, unsurprisingly, fights off everyone and the wizard announces that he'll send the woman up to his room later.

The wizard then turns one of his henchmen into the woman and tells him to go kill Deathstalker.  He enters Deathstalker's room and does attempt to dispatch our "hero," but Deathstalker overcomes him and is all set to rape him when he realizes that he isn't a woman.  Deathstalker, horrified, lets the man go.  The man then runs into the warrior woman.  She attempts to help "her," but he turns back into a man and they have a sword fight.  While the warrior woman wins, she is mortally wounded, and Deathstalker finds her just as she dies.

Then the tournament begins.  We see a montage of different, ridiculous fights ending with half-shirt man defeating his opponent.  He is then kidnapped by the evil wizard, but it turns out they were working together the whole time so it's no big deal.  The wizard wants him to get the sword from Deathstalker, which he attempts to do only to be slain.  Deathstalker then wins the final bout of the tourney, in which he fights an orc that has popped up at various points in the film.

Finally we have the big showdown between Deathstalker and the wizard.  First the wizard transforms himself into someone I don't think we've ever seen before.  Deathstalker cuts off his head but the wizard seems perfectly fine.  Unfortunately for our villain Deathstalker finds the amulet within the castle.  He seizes it, but we never find out exactly what it does.  The wizard then uses the chalice to transport Deathstalker and himself into the courtyard of the castle.  There Deathstalker overcomes a number of the wizards illusions, all created by the chalice.

Deathstalker then gets the chalice and throws the wizard to the hungry masses that have gathered around.  They either beat him to death or devour him, I'm not sure which.  Deathstalker decides that the items of power are too powerful for any one man to have so he destroys them.  Then the whole frame is engulfed by fire so I can only assume that destroying the items also destroyed the castle and it's surroundings.

This is not a good movie.  Parts of it are mildly entertaining, and despite the fact that the budget is so low some of the sets are genuinely evocative.  Still, too much of this film is filled with bad acting and the degradation of women that I couldn't feel properly entertained.  I suppose it's worth watching if you don't mind rape and constant rape references in your movies, but I doubt that's a large part of my reading base.  I've left out a number of scenes which seemed to have nothing to do with the plot whatsoever and much of it is goddamn incoherent.

I give this film 2 out of 5 sword fights.

Sinister Transformation
Level: 5
Duration: Until Caster is Slain
Range: See Below

The caster switches bodies with a person known to him.  He exchanges his Hit Dice, ability scores, and attack matrix with the victim.  The caster then can perform any actions the victim could and continues on in this way until he is slain.  Once this happens, the caster reverts to his original form and the victim remains dead.  The caster does not gain any knowledge the victim would have by using this spell; the transformation is only physical.  Still, due to the strange nature of magic, the caster cannot cast any spell he knows but the victim does not.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nightwick Abbey Session 9

This will be a bit shorter than most of my play reports since a good bit of the session was taken up by bullshitting.

The Characters were:

Mo'ongo -- a simple minded Fighting Man
Slimey -- a greasy Thief
Barley Brownbeard -- a surly Dwarf
Ffraid -- a quite Druid
and Thign -- a drunken, failed Magic User

What was left of the party after their encounter with the Hobgoblins in the previous session limped to the nearby village of Hommlet, which lay between Nightwick and Lichgate.  There they found Thign drowning his sorrows in the Inn of the Welcome Wench.  He told them the sad tale of his failure to learn magic under the tutelage of a renowned professor, and how he came to be in Hommlet.  Upon hearing that he had some knowledge of magic, Mo'ongo rather crudely showed him the Staff of Power they had previously realized they possessed.  Thign, flabbergasted, explained that he couldn't use the staff without knowing the proper key words.  At that, and Slimey's urging, the party rested and prepared to head to Lichgate on the morrow.

 They left the next morning, but due to the incautiousness of Mo'ongo, they were pursued by a number of guards from Hommlet.  Realizing they wanted the staff, the party ducked into a nearby thicket and was able to evade their pursuers.  One of my favorite things about the RC is the evasion table.  It really encourages parties to hide from intimidatingly large forces.  They then passed a few pilgrims on the road, but Mo'ongo and Slimey antagonized them until they went on their way.

Finally, the party arrived at Lichgate.  They found a small, well protected trading town with a timber outer wall and a stone inner wall surrounding the Cathedral.  They then set about getting accommodations, and setting up for what Slimey hopes will be a great caper.  When we begin play once again, the town will be home to a ceremony in which the peasant-settlers of the region pay homage to the Bishop as their secular lord.  During this time, Slimey hopes he and the party can sneak into the palace of the Bishop and make off with some of his valuables.

Some minor events happened as well.  Mo'ongo slept with a bar wench, we established that all the Dwarves in the Dark Country would be played by little people if there was ever a movie, and we decided the current pope of the Church of Law is Pope Molestus VI, and his predecessor was Decievious I.

I must confess that the campaign is starting to lose the spark it once had, which is why I've been posting sou much about my side projects lately.  I'm not really sure what to do at this point, but I'm rather upset with myself for not being able to bring more of the tone of my Nightwick Abbey blog entries to the table.  The dungeon itself has been about right, but anything that happens outside of it lacks the kind of air I'd like to have in the Dark Country.

Edit: Oh! They also met with the sage Almaric the Incontinent to see if he could tell them more about the staff.  He informed them that they were carried by the 12 magicians that worked for the emperor before the Empire's collapse.  He said it would take him about a month and 200gp to figure out any of the words which activated the staffs powers, and the party payed him and went on their way.

Miniature Suggestions for the Land of Uz

I was wondering if any of my gentle readers could suggest a good site for Ancient Near East miniatures.  I'd also like to know where I might find some neat miniatures to use for warrior women and women adventurers of other types (priests, magicians, etc.) that fit well with historical bronze age figures.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Rocket Man

Mapping a City's Underworld

I've recently become enamored with the Swords of Abandon project at Sword +1.  I'm particularly interested in his Ugarit project as I am both a fan of large underworlds and neat maps.  EPT was also one of the largest influences on my recent Uz project.  While it's obviously more based in real world cultures, EPT was what I was reading when I was working on it, and I almost thought about using it (or Swords of Abandon) as my system for Uz.

The Uz sessions took place in a Barkerian Underworld:  I printed out four sheets of 10x10 to 1' graph paper, which would be a tiny bit smaller than one of M. A. R. Barker's underworld levels for EPT.  Then I set about mapping.  I only got one of the four sheets mapped out completely, but I figured that was enough for what would be at most three sessions.

In reading EPT I discovered something I'd never known before.  Barker didn't conceive of "Saturday Night Specials" the way they are explained in B/X and Mentzer.  In EPT a Saturday Night Special is not a single chamber but a complex designed for a special and fantastical purpose.  The examples he gives are not a well that changes your hair color every time you drink from it or a magic mouth on a stair case.  Instead, they are temples, tomb complexes, and the abodes of demons.

This forced me to think about "specials" in a different way.  Before filling up the rest of the dungeon, I placed a tomb, a temple complex, and a system of caves filled with degenerates on my graph paper.  Then I wondered: should I fill in the intervening space?  M A R Barker says that one could either leave it empty, or generate it randomly a la Gygax's various tables.  I decided to map it off of feeling, as I usually do.  I drew rooms in random positions because I liked the way they looked there, or the way the hallway was shaped.  I differentiate this from the random method, but that's more or less what it is.

Still, I could have left it empty, which is essentially the way the 3.5 version of the CSIO (and I presume the original Wraith Overlord) handles it.  I see merit in both systems.  The empty space version is obviously more "realistic," and strains credibility less.  Still, the packed in and randomly stocked extra rooms add a kind of fever dream quality I really like to see in my "underworlds."

I'd probably stick to the method I used if I were to design the rest of the underworld because I think it provides more play opportunities.  When I ran Uz for the Hattiesburg group I only stocked the "Saturday Night specials" -- including the empty rooms and minutiae -- and then stocked the random rooms as they went.  It seemed to work fine.

Sword & Sorcery Map Take II: A Work in Progress

click to embiggen

Here is another take on the area around Uz and it's fellow city states.  The original map seemed a bit small in actual play so I decided that I should make it roughly the size of a Wilderlands Hex Sheet.  I'm pretty happy with the result, though I suppose it is vulnerable to some of the pitfalls of the earlier map.  

The chiefest among these, to my mind, was how close the City States were to one another.  On the one hand it allowed them to hop from city to city, which did help to both keep me on my toes and make play interesting.  On the other hand, I agree with Blair: resource management should be an issue.  A desert setting where you don't have to worry about water isn't really a desert setting.  

I, obviously, haven't added any cities yet.  I may go with the six I had sketched out for the initial three sessions (I should probably do a report on the final session sometime) or I may only stick with the ones that were developed through play (Uz, Almodad, Jerah, and Phut).  I'll hopefully have it stocked -- at least in a sketchy sense -- fairly soon and I'll post the result, but I also have to plan for tonight's session in the Dark Country.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Experiment

Riffing a bit off of Zak's post that has been making the rounds, I wanted to try a simple experiment.  Below I have an encounter table drawn up, but I'm not sure how well it conveys what I want it to.

Tell me what you think the encounter table says about the region.

The Swamp (1d8 + 1d12)
2 -- Greenhag
3 -- Death, Crimson
4 -- Zombie
5 -- Mongrelman
6 -- Larva
7 -- Worg
8 -- Wolf
9 -- Centipede, Giant
10 -- Men, Pirate
11 -- Orc
12 -- Ogre
13 -- Toad, Giant (Dormant in Winter)
14 -- Ghoul
15 --Will-o-wisp
16 -- Men, Bandit
17 -- Dark Country (Irish) Deer
18 -- Men, Merchant
19 -- Haunt
20 -- Mites

Something That Has Been Bugging Me

How come whenever someone is mapping catacombs or crypts or some other burial place filled with undead they always look like this:

The hell is that shape supposed to represent?  Where does it come from?  I should note that I do it, but I'm not sure why or from whence it came.  Enlighten me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Uz Test Session 2

The party, sans the Phutian whose player was unable to make it, began their adventure from the Whore's Nose.  Keret elected to spend a few weeks resting and forging himself a new pair of khopeshes in the temple of Kothar, the Key and the Gate.  Meanwhile,  Belit, priestess of Li-Lit, sought to create a congregation of Li-Lit worshipers within the heart of Almodad.  You see Almodad is the hated enemy of the Jerites, and the religion of those warrior women is forbidden within it's walls.  Now that she had access to the cellar of a (pseudo)abandoned building she could build a cult in secret.

There was a metagame reason for this as well.  Those of you who've read my write up of the Priest class will know that they can only regain spells by praying at a shrine that has been dedicated to their deity.  Since Belit was in a city where her religion is proscribed, she was up a creek without a paddle.  I had not yet developed any mechanics for making a shrine, but ruled that she needed to find at least five members of a "congregation" and then she must perform a ritual involving the sacrifice of a man.  After a few Charisma checks, reaction rolls, and the finding of a drunken guard she had met all the requirements.  She performed the ritual, along with her five parishioners beneath the Whore's Nose.  She then performed the necessary rituals to regain her spells per day.

These events took a couple of weeks, but afterwards the party hooked up with a trade caravan heading to Uz.  They were offered a few bits of coin if they were able to fend off any potential attackers.  While on their way they were assaulted by a number of strange humanoids with metallic blue skin and a strange, white fluid instead of blood.  They rode giant, albino lizards and two of them utilized metal rods that shot beams of crackling blue energy.  Still, they were susceptible to sleep (though it required both Belit and Lott to cast the spell) and thus easily overcome.  Unfortunately, the shock of the strange weapons had caused the rest of the caravan to bolt back to Almodad, taking the party's camels with them.

Keret then attempted to tame one of the albino lizards (the only one he was able to catch before they all scattered).  He failed to break the creature, but where he failed Belit succeeded.  They now had a -- rather large -- mount.  They continued down their path heading into the purple hills.  There they fled from a number of spitting lizards, and a few zombies that guarded the City of the Dead.  At last they made it to Uz as the red sun sank over the purple hills.

Once inside the city, they immediately noticed that portions of it were in ruins.  They asked a guard what the problem was, and he informed them that a number of statues had exited the undercity and began laying waste to the town.  They seemed to be the guardians of the body of Uz of Uz, First King of Uz.  These statues had a sacred duty to protect the body, and the guards were not permitted to interfere with their search.  He also explained that the statues were irreplaceable since their secret of their construction had been lost.

After this conversation, the party heard the footsteps of an oncoming statue and fled the city.  They returned to Almodad to retrieve the "statue" they had stolen, which was actually the embalmed body of the king placed in an electrum mixture.  Returning to the shady smith's house, they found that he had apparently died after shaving off a bit of the electrum and exposing the skin of the corpse.  His body was completely desiccated which caused the party to be extremely careful in handling the king's statue.  Keret used the blacksmith's equipment to heat the electrum and reapply it to the statue while the rest of the party rummaged through the shop for whatever goods they could acquire.

Keret then expressed that he wished to use the statue as a weapon, believing it would attract the animated guardians to wherever it lay.  Belit wished to return the statue (since her player just wanted to go back to exploring the undercity), and Atos the Ilionian and Lott the sorcerer went about their own business.

Both sought a way to pay homage to their deities.  Atos found a shady dealer in an otherwise abandoned market place who offered to sell him a cobra (a creature needed for the most sacred rite to honor Apollo).  Rather than purchasing this, Atos merely killed the merchant and carried off the basket that contained the snake.  He then purchased a goblet of wine.  Finally he forced the snake to bite the glass and infuse the wine with his poison.  He drank the resulting mixture, and a successful saving throw revealed that he had the favor of Apollo.  Note: this was borderline insane for a first level character, and he barely passed.

Lott on the other hand needed to honor Mot, also known as He Who Pulls into His Gullet or the Charnel  God.  He found a homeless man who he lured into the now vacant blacksmith's shop.  Once their Lott slit his throat and burned the body sending it (spiritually) to Mot's great maw.

They then continued to debate what to do with the statue, but play more or less stopped.  I'm not sure what to make of the fact that my players seemed to take to human sacrifice so readily.  Also, I may need to up the requirements of making a shrine if it took so little time.  Still, a fun session and I look forward to the one I'll hopefully run this evening.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Uz Test Session 1

I'm currently in my home town in Mississippi for a short vacation, and I wanted to work up a game for some of my old friends.  I hinted at this earlier.  At that time I thought I would be using the Underworld setting for these few sessions as I wanted to test some of the mechanics, classes, and monsters I'd been developing.  However, certain factors led to my developing a new setting based around the map I posted last week.  This setting has no name at this time, but the central city of the setting is called Uz, the First City of Men, and that seemed like an appropriate enough title for this post.

This milieu takes place on a far future Earth where a highly technologically advanced society suffered a catastrophic calamity that plunged it into barbarism.  At the time play begins, mankind has just dragged itself back into the Bronze Age.  I described it to my wife as "the Old Testament as written by H P Lovecraft."  In all honesty it is much closer to Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique cycle, but my wife hasn't read that.  Anyway, most of the cultures are very, very, very loosely based off of civilizations of the Ancient Near East, such as Phoenicians, Babylonians, and Sumerians.  There are also some fanciful elements such as a society of warrior women and a host of Morlocks.  Ilion also exists somewhere off of the map, since one player wanted to run a Greek character.

Most of the monsters exist because of genetic engineering in the previous eons before the rise of Uz, the first city constructed after the Deluge.  Magic exists most likely due to some sort of sciencey-wiency reason that I don't care about right now.  Thats enough about the setting.

The party consisted of :
Sheikmar of Phut -- a Phutian (kinda-sorta Phoenecians) Warrior and devout worshiper of Dagon
Belit -- Jerite (from Jerah, City of the Warrior Women) Preistess of Li-lit
Keret --  Warrior and worshiper of Kothar from Almodad, the Jewel of the Desert
Lott -- Magician of no particular religious affliation, also from Almodad
Peleus -- Ilionian lackey of the sorcerer Ajaxos (more on that later)

The party (sans Peleus) arrived at the gates of Uz just after nightfall.  After paying a small tax they were allowed into the city by the guards at that gate.  They found themselves in an impoverished and crowded district, and quickly set out to find a tavern or inn.  Inside the Red Fish tavern they found a number of locals drinking and discussing business over the teal wine of Ilion.  One of these men, a black robed figure named Shamir, approached the party after seeing the depths of their drunkenness with a proposition.  He took them to the palace of his master, the sorcerer Ajaxos.  (My wife compels me to note that it was a "ramshackle mansion" "in the ghetto."  Admittedly it was not in the best part of town.).

Ajaxos, after berating a slave boy, told them that he sought a strange item: the Fuel-less Fire from the temple of Moloch!  He asked the party to sneak into the undercity and bring it back to him post haste.  For this purpose he gave them a small censer to contain the flame.  He sent with them a lackey, Peleus (whose player had just arrived), and off they went to capture this strange prize.

Ajaxos had outlined two methods of entering the undercity that would take them close to the area beneath the temple of Moloch.  They chose to enter through a chute on top of a large platform near the center of the city used for rites honoring Uz of Uz, First King of Uz. Despite the late hour, four blind fanatics protected the chute.  Lott used his sorcery to place three of them in a deep sleep, and the party disposed of the other one quietly.  They then threw the bodies down the chute, which ended in a rather bloody mess.

The party lowered themselves into the room beneath the chute by means of a rope Lott had provided.  Once at the bottom, they discovered the chamber was a large tomb adorned with a -- now gore covered -- sarcophagus and a number of large, stone statues.  Keret relieved one of the splattered corpses of their kilt and put it on, despite the blood stains.  The other party members pried open the sarcophagus only to find that no body lay inside.  Instead, there was a small electrum statue resembling a Uzite king.  They decided not to take the statue unless they found no other booty and headed down a passage to the South.

In this passage they found two horrible creatures that resembled combinations of men, vultures, and hyenas. Readers of this blog who have read the Clark Ashton Smith story "The Tomb-Spawn" will know them as Ghourii.  The party slew these quickly, though not without some loss of hit points.  They continued on until they discovered a fork in the passage.  They elected to head down the one which, if their recollection was correct, would lead them closer to the surface structure of the Temple of Moloch.

They reached a large chamber which lay beyond an archway that possessed no door.  Within this archway was a strange trap that utilized technology long forgotten by the men and women of Uz.  When Keret passed under the strange device, a strange, red beam shot through him.  Though he survived, his armor, weapons, and other metal possessions turned into a viscous, white goo the party was unable to recognize.  Peleus attempted to destroy the triggering mechanism first with arrows, and then with his spear.  He did succeed in breaking it, but this caused red lightning to burst forth before the system finally shorted.  The strange energy destroyed Belit's equipment and reduced Sheikmar and Peleus to piles of bubbling goop.  At this point, the remaining three decided that discretion was the better part of valor and returned to the chamber containing the electrum statue.

They made an impromptu grappling hook out of a few bits of Lott's equipment (since he was the only party member with any form of metal on his person) and tied a rope around the statue.  Lott remained at the bottom while the others climbed up in order that he might make sure that the statue would not slip loose of its bindings.  As soon as the statue was lifted completely off of the sarcophagus, every statue in the room sprung to life and attempted to reach Lott.  Luckily for him, Belit and Keret were able to lift him out before he could be slain by the stone guardians.

They then began to wonder how they might sell such an obviously pilfered item and made there way to the docks which peppered the River of the Gods.  After they hid the statue in one of the character's backpacks they payed for passage by boat to the nearest city by river (Almodad).  Keret had to barter for his and Belit's passage using tulwars he had lifted off of the fanatics' corpses before climbing out of the tomb.

They arrived in Almodad the next afternoon and immediately set about trying to find a smith of ill repute.  It turns out that (after a successful Charisma check) Lott knew of such a man and they headed into his warehouse.  Along the way they bumped into a Phutian who claimed to be looking for his good friend Sheikmar.  He followed the party, much to Keret's chagrin.

At the blacksmith's shop the party exchanged the idol for some gold that they then used to purchase some new equipment.  Belit also let the Phutian know that Sheikmar had met a strange end in the undercity of Uz.

The party then wished to find an inn to stay the night.  They found an establishment called the Whore's Nose, which happened to be in the middle of a robbery.  The player of Peleus had made a character (yet unnamed) but had not yet had a chance to rejoin the party.  The exact exchange went something like this:

Keret's Player:  "We look for an inn."
Me: "You find one called 'the Whore's Nose.'"
Peleus's Player: "I rob it!"
Me: "You see an Ilionian emerge carrying a comic money-sack with a dollar sign on the side."

Keret attempted to subdue the thief, at which point Lott picked up the sack and began running down the main thoroughfare of the city.  Belit followed, and guards gave chase.  The morbidly obese innkeeper then arrived at the door.  Keret attempted to gain some boon from his capture of the thief, but his new Phutian ally punched the innkeeper in the face.  This caused the woefully out of shape man to suffer a fatal heart attack right there in the street.  Keret then weaseled a few coins from a guard before "accidentally" letting the Ilionian escape.

Lott and Belit (and now the Phutian) continued to attempt to evade the guards.  Since night was oncoming, they were able to find a -- mostly -- abandoned market square into which they lured the guards.  Belit sent their pursuers into a deep sleep, and Lott and the Phutian set about cutting their throats.  Shortly thereafter a few more guards arrived, but Lott had prepared sleep again for that day and they were no match for his magic.

Meanwhile, Keret entered the Whore's Nose to gain some favor from the innkeeper's wife.  She was a voluptuous woman who was elated to discover that her fat husband had croaked.  She immediately began loading everything of even remote value in the inn into a large sack before heading out into the night.  Keret then looked around to see if she had missed anything, but only found a number of large wineskins filled with the teal wine of Ilion.  He somehow alerted the party members to his location, and the session ended with them regrouping at the Whore's Nose.


A few notes on the mechanics: I used the Swords & Wizardry White Box with a few house rules and treasure tables borrowed from Labyrinth Lord and the LBBs.  The monsters were almost completely homebrewed, and the traps were derived from those in Sham's Dismal Depths project.

The map I was using for the undercity was fairly large (a full page of graph paper at 10 lines to 1').  I had stocked some of the Saturday Night specials before hand.  When I say Saturday Night specials I do not mean the "tricks" outlined in the LBBs but rather the sorts of complexes MAR Barker discusses in EPT.  EPT was a major influence on this setting, even if most of the particulars are wildly different.  I was going to stock the rest of the dungeon as we went, but the players never made it out of the initial tomb complex for me to try that out.  I'll hopefully be able to work up some generic encounters to place as we go before the session tonight.

For the city parts of the session I used Zak's urbancrawl system.  This might be my favorite thing to ever come out of his blog.  I still need to work up such a map for Almodad, but the one for Uz has already become fairly complex.

It is unlikely that I will continue to work on the Underworld as this setting fills much the same niche but comes with less difficult questions to answer.  While I'm sure I'll miss the whole Hollow Earth thing, the far future can be fun as well.  Especially if you have an excuse for dinosaurs, a red sun, and "meat" animals.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monster Monday: Gnolls

Gnolls are terrible canine headed humanoids live somewhere to the East of the Desert Lands.  They are cruel beyond imagining and delight in torture of all forms.  The men of the West first discovered their existence during the crusades, and ever since they have been a constant terror to those living in civilized lands.

Gnolls occasionally make their way into human lands with peaceful motivations.  They often hire themselves out as mercenaries, where their feared reputation is best put to use.  Lawful men and women would seldom hire such beings, but the sinister cults of the Anti-Church frequently utilize these vile beings to serve their own ends.

Few superstitions surround Gnolls as they are quite rare within the Dark Country itself.  In the West men say that Gnolls were once humans.  Ruled by the great king Prestor John they built a city larger and more beautiful than the world had yet seen.  But they soon became decadent and immoral.  Their king begged them to renounce their wicked ways.  Infuriated, they stormed his palace, ripped him to shreds, and devoured his flesh.  For their crimes the God of Law gave them faces to match their hearts, turning them physically into the predatory creatures they had become.  

Supposedly, the God of Law then returned Prestor John to life, and placed him in a city on the opposite side of the world.  There he reigns in glory as an example that subjects should always listen to their kings, or so the chancellors in the kingdoms of the West are quick to remind men and women who have not payed their taxes.

The people of the Dark Country have little time for such nonsense.  Gnolls are not unknown; in fact, they are more likely to be seen in its brooding forests and dark mountains.  The natives claim that the fanciful tale of Prestor John is merely a product of the West's lack of contact with these fiends.  No creature that savage could ever have been human.  Besides, the people of the Dark Country are capable of creating equally fantastic and nonsensical stories without the aid of outsiders.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Did it Before it Was Cool

It being this.  I changed the name of the feature about half way through it so heres the listings for my...

Monster Monday posts
Creature Feature posts

Sorry I've dropped off on Monster Mondays, but I've had less time to sit and hypothesize sense the campaign started.

EDIT: ;)

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Map for a Swords & Sorcery Campaign

During my idle time today I worked up a map for a swords & sorcery style campaign.  I envision the culture as being reminiscent of Mesopotamia with some light sprinklings of other cultures from the Ancient Near East.  As always I used a modified version of Welsh Piper's Hex Based Campaign Design System, with some heavy fudging.

click to embiggen

I wanted to make sure that I could have quite a few city-states that were politically dis-unified.  For this I needed multiple rivers.  Egypt was largely politically unified due to the Nile.  Mesopotamia on the other hand had two large rivers and a few smaller ones that allowed for a higher level of independence among the city-states.  Granted they occasionally unified, such as under Sargon, but in general they remained separate.  Since I wanted a similar poltical and cultural situation, I more or less based my map off of Mesopotamia.

click to embiggen

I stocked the map using Welsh Piper's system with some modifications that allowed me to more or less pick where certain items should be placed.  I then estimated how long a days walk was from the city state (about three hexes) and made the arable area within that span into farmland.

Some final notes: the scale is 10 miles to a hex, and I forgot to change the island in the NW into a jungle before exporting the first png image.  This is also my first time trying to make a more smooth coastline.  I think it worked out pretty well. Hope you like it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Would you play a Priest?

I recently posted both an overview of the class and a lists of the "gifts" associated with Apollo.  I want to know if I've made them too undesirable.  I personally would only play priests in such a campaign, but I'm kinda a weirdo.  My wife has expressed that she feels otherwise.

So what do you think: would you play a priest in an Underworld campaign?  If not, why not?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Inspirational Trailers

The Problem with the Underworld

The Underworld (formerly the Lost Lands) is one of my longest lived ideas.  It entered my brain roughly two and a half years ago, around the same time I got the first inklings of what Nightwick Abbey was going to be like.  I've tried several times to either get a campaign started in that setting or to even run one shots in it.  The play report I posted a few days ago was only the first such attempt.  

Sadly that was the only session of that particular game despite the fact that my players enjoyed it immensely. Every time I've tried to run the Underworld it has stalled pretty quickly.  I never knew why.  I love the idea.  It scratches an itch Nightwick Abbey doesn't and takes D&D in a direction it is capable of going but seldom does. So why the hell do I never get anywhere with it?

Well today I stumbled upon the answer.  Before I say it, I need to offer up a comparison.  The Dark Country has been a fixture of my imagination for an equal amount of time.  Even before it had a name it was a land of dark forests, pagan rituals, corrupt clergymen, and sniveling devils.  Despite the fact that this is obviously not the case, it feels as though I discovered the Dark Country rather than invented it.  Even though little outside of a single village and a neighboring city has been detailed, I feel fairly confident that given merely a minute to think I could come up with the "right" answer.  I haven't done so for everything and my conceptions have shifted over time, but I still have a sense of what the Dark Country is.  In some sense it would be that way if I never detailed it; it simply is what it is.

Conversely the Underworld feels much more artificial.  Perhaps it is because having to make most of the monsters from scratch and redesign the classes makes me more aware that I'm creating it rather then discovering it.  However, I don't think this is the case.  Some of the things I create feel as though they belonged there the whole time.  A good example of this can be found in my recent treatment of Priests.  They just feel right.  Similarly some of the monsters I've created fit the setting like a glove.  In some sense it's almost as though the setting couldn't exist without them, even though I only conceived of them yesterday.

Yet it still feels artificial, but I think I know why.  Some of the restrictions I placed on the setting to make it more fantastic also make it further from my own experience.  While it's nice to say that only extinct animals exist in the Underworld (with the exception of Humans), it's something thats very difficult for me to execute.  I don't know much about dinosaurs beyond what Jurassic Park and even older, less accurate movies (not to say that Jurassic Park is accurate, just think about what that means for the other movies!).  Of course I could just research extinct animals, and  I have.  The problem is that whenever I add an extinct animal some of that artificialness creeps in.  I added that animal to fill some sort of game or ecological need.  It wasn't already there waiting to be discovered. 

This problem goes beyond animals and monsters.  The nature of the Hollow Earth also forces me to admit how "created" everything is.  Demographics too have been a thorn in my side, especially because they seem contrary to what I "know" about the setting.  In my minds eye Ilion is a huge city with a vast network of tunnels extending beneath.  It trades with some of the greatest empires in the Hollow Earth, and it's sailors know no equal.  However such things would require it to be much more settled than all the teeming wilderness around it would allow.  Is Ilion a large fortress that dominates other wilderness forts, or a cosmopolitan trading hub?  One makes sense but the other is right.

Now obviously if I was a player this probably wouldn't bother me.  If the referee was good enough at describing the world and it's mechanics I'd fall for this thing hook line and sinker.  BUT I'm not a player, and I doubt I could convey the setting well enough to be engaging if I realized the artifice involved.

So what am I to do?  I love the idea: Swords & Sorcery Science-Fantasy in the Center of the Earth.  I love some of the details I've built up around it, such as the snake worshiping cult of Apollo.  However, the framework itself seems to be flawed.  I'm not sure how to fix it yet.

Interesting Gygax Quote

Grendelwulf over at Axe & Hammer has posted an interesting quote from Gary Gygax.  I suggest you go check it out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

At Least Someone Thinks We're Not Crazy

Offered without comment (except the title).

Priestly Mutations Example

This is a companion piece to my earlier post.  I'm not as comfortable with it as I am with the rest of the class.  What follows is a (mostly) complete table for the "transfiguration" of Priests of Apollo.  I've been trying to work up ones for the other deities, but I'm not as happy with them.  I'm not really that happy with this one, but at least I have enough entries to make a d6 chart.

Apollo (1d6)
1 --  Skin begins to slough off, making your visage hideous (-1d3 Charisma).  If this result is rolled again then you grow scales (+1d3 AAC)
2 --  Eyes become slitted like a snake's (-1d3 Charisma).  If the result is rolled again then you gain permanent dark vision.
3 --  Hands begin to fuse together (-1d3 Dexterity).  If the result is rolled again your arms become tendrils resembling a snake's tail (-1d6 Dexterity).
4 --  Fangs grow (-1d3 Charisma, gain bite attack -- damage as small weapon).  If this result is rolled again, increase the damage by a weapon type.  If it is rolled after great weapon has been gained it causes paralysis.  If this result is rolled yet again, the bite becomes poisonous (+1 to Saving Throw)
5 --  Limbs become stunted (-1d3 Dexterity and Charisma).  If the result is rolled again, body elongates and becomes more flexible (+1d6 Dexterity).
6 --  You have displeased Apollo.  Save vs. Spells or become an Unwanted One permanently.  The referee must decide whether or not your character is removed from play.

Priests of the Underworld

It is very likely that I'll be able to playtest some of the stuff I've been developing for the Underworld.  Since I've recently hammered out the nature of the deities of the Underworld, I decided to work up a class that better reflected this than the Cleric does.  Here is the result of my efforts.  It should be fully compatible with the Swords and Wizardry White Box (with one small exception).  This is not designed to be balanced against a Cleric.  The assumption is that this class and the Cleric will not be used side by side, and as such I have upped the xp requirement for the Priest.  I never liked how quickly Clerics level compared to other classes.  Comments are appreciated.

Everything below the line is designated open game content.


The Priest
Priests replace Clerics in an Underworld campaign.  You gain your magical power through your connection and devotion to an otherworldly entity.  The nature of this entity is determined by the referee with input from the player, but three gods are provided for the main campaign area of the Underworld.  As a Priest advances in levels, their appearance becomes more unearthly.

Table 3: Priest Advancement

Level               Exp. Points                  Hit Dice                       BHB                ST

1                      0                                  1                                  +0                    14
2                      3,000                           2                                  +0                    13
3                      6,000                           3                                  +0                    12
4                      12,000                         3+1                              +1                    11
5                      24,000                         4                                  +1                    10
6                      48,000                         5                                  +2                    9
7                      96,000                         6                                  +2                    8
8                      192,000                       6+1                              +3                    7
9                      384,000                       7                                  +4                    6
10                    768,000                       8                                  +5                    5

Table 4: Priest Spell Progression

                                    Spell Level
Level          1                      2                      3                      4                      5

1                 1                      --                      --                      --                     --
2                 2                      --                      --                      --                     --
3                 2                      1                      --                      --                     --
4                 3                      2                      --                      --                     --
5                 3                      2                      1                      --                     --
6                 3                      3                      2                      --                     --
7                 4                      3                      2                      1                     --
8                 4                      3                      3                      2                     --
9                 4                      4                      3                      2                     1
10               5                      4                      3                      3                     2

Priest Class Abilities

Weapon/Armor Restrictions:  Priests may use any kind of armor, but are restricted in their choice of weapon.  Below are lists of weapons that are permitted to Priests of various gods.  The Priest may also use any weapon permitted to the Magician class.

Apollo: bows, short swords
Moloch: Khopeshes, slings
Baldr: Spears

Spell Casting:  A Priest gains the ability to cast spells from his or her deity.  Each day, a priest must perform a ritual in a temple or sacred place dedicated to that deity.  They then may select which powers they gain that day in accordance with the spell list for their deity and the chart below.

Transfiguration:  Beginning at level 2, and every level thereafter, the Priest begins to take on aspects of his or her deity.  The referee rolls secretly on a table associated with the Priest’s deity to determine the nature of this transformation.  Mechanical changes are explained on the chart itself.

Saving Throw: Priests gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against death and poison.

XP Bonus for Divinity:  This bonus is due to a high divinity attribute.  (This should be replaced with wisdom in other campaigns)

Priest Spell List
What spells a Priest gains access to is determined by his or her deity.


Level 1
1.         Cure Light Wounds
2.         Detect Chaos
3.         Detect Magic
4.         Light
5.         Read Languages
6.         Sleep

Level 2
1.         Find Traps
2.         Detect Invisibility
3.         Detect Thoughts (ESP)
4.         Locate Object
5.         Speak with Animals

Level 3
1.         Crystal Ball
2.         Cure (Cause) Disease
3.         Dark Vision
4.         Light, Continual
5.         Remove Curse

Level 4
1.         Cure Serious Wounds
2.         Neutralize Poison
3.         Speak with Plants
4.         Sticks to Snakes

Level 5
1.         Commune
2.         Contact other Plane
3.         Create Food and Drink
4.         Dispel Chaos
5.         Insect Plague
6.         Wizard Eye


Level 1
1.         Charm Person
2.         Detect Chaos
3.         Hold Portal
4.         Light (Dark)
5.         Purify (Putrefy) Food and Drink

Level 2
1.         Bless
2.         Hold Person
3.         Invisibility
4.         Knock
5.         Web
6.         Speak with Animals

Level 3
1.         Cure (Cause) Disease
2.         Fly
3.         Hold Person
4.         Invisibility, 10 ft. radius
5.         Lightning Bolt

Level 4
1.         Charm Monster
2.         Confusion
3.         Hallucinatory Terrain
4.         Massmorph
5.         Plant Growth
6.         Remove Curse
7.         Speak with Plants

Level 5
1.         Animal Growth
2.         Feeblemind
3.         Hold Monster
4.         Passwall
5.         Teleport
6.         Transform Rock-Mud
7.         Wall of Stone

Level 1
1.         Cause Light Wounds
2.         Detect Chaos
3.         Hold Portal
4.         Light
5.         Protection from Chaos

Level 2
1.         Curse
2.         Knock
3.         Levitate
4.         Light, Continual
5.         Phantasmal Force

Level 3
1.         Dark Vision
2.         Dispel Magic
3.         Fireball
4.         Fly
5.         Hold Person
6.         Lightning Bolt
7.         Protection from Chaos, 10 ft. radius.
8.         Protection from Normal Missiles

Level 4
1.         Cause Serious Wounds
2.         Dimensional Portal
3.         Plant Growth
4.         Remove Curse
5.         Wall of Fire

Level 5
1.         Commune
2.         Conjure Elemental
3.         Hold Monster
4.         Raise Dead
5.         Telekinesis