Monday, June 26, 2017

Mastering the Megadungeon

Several months ago I got the idea for this post when a person on the Swords & Wizardry G+ group asked for advice on making a megadungeon.  I have two - Nightwick Abbey and Uz's Undercity - and I have run them quite a lot.  By my (probably flawed) math, I have run Nightwick alone for more sessions than James ran his original Dwimmermount campaign and online playtests combined.   My online group often asserts that megadungeons are my bread and butter.  Presumably I've learned something about making them and running them in all that time, and this is my attempt to try to organize that learning.

A megadungeon needs a theme.  The standard theme is, of course, "a wizard built it for weird wizard reasons."  That is a fine one and allows for a wide variety encounters, tricks, and traps, but for reasons I will reveal later I don't think its necessarily the best idea.  I think you need something stronger - more particular to the dungeon.  Make sure the theme is something that speaks to you.  It needs to come from some kind of media you don't mind revisiting to draw from the well when you're not in the mood or stuck for ideas.  For me that meant horror movies.

It is also important for levels and sublevels to have themes that, while tied to the dungeon as a whole, make them unique.  One of the bigger problems with the first version of Nightwick Abbey is the first level showed all of its cards too early.  The "new"* version instead has much more themed levels - a cloister, a garden, torture chambers, catacombs, etc. - that help the DM and the players keep from getting bored.  It also means there's a greater sense of discovery because either the thing you discovered is new and interesting (a new level with a different theme) or it hints at something about the level currently being explored.

The Player's Map of First Level of Nightwick Abbey.  Letter Designations were Assigned by Players.

I use geomorphs for Nightwick and the Pettigrew Papers for Uz, and both of these sources allow me to have micro-themes within the bigger themes of the level and the dungeon.  In the case of Nightwick Abbey each geomorph has a broad description of what it is before I start stocking it.  The geomorphs have since become fairly obvious to the online group - who keep track of their divisions, but I'm not so much bothered by that.  Geomorphs are a very easy way to Jaquays your dungeon.

Stocking algorithms are incredibly important to the way I design dungeons and run games in general.  The main reason I use them is the help keep the voices in my head quiet, but I think its worth commenting on how they affect my games.  Once I have assigned a geomorph/pettigrew complex a theme I divide the number of rooms in it by three (always rounding up if I have to).  That gives me the number of rooms with monsters in them.  Then I use Courtney's Treasure Tables to generate an equal number of small caches (1d3 treasure parcels each).  Half of these will go in rooms with monsters, a quarter of the ones without monsters will be trapped, and a quarter will just be free treasure.  If the theme of the geomorph/complex necessitates a boss monster then I will increase their treasure parcels to the 4 + 1d4 - 2 one.  I give each geomorph or complex a special if I can think of one.  If I can't think of one then in the case of Nightwick Abbey I don't sweat it that much because Nightwick's entire operating mode is a special.**

On the level map I posted there are only maybe two truly empty rooms.  Only 1/3 of the rooms have a monster encounter, but the rooms without them often have elaborate decorations or clues as to the nature of the dungeon.  These are usually based on the geomorph, level, or dungeon theme.  This is why it is important to have a very personalized theme: when you're stocking an 80 room level, eventually you will run out of ideas; however, if the themes you've picked are resonant enough with your brain you should be able to fill in the gaps with something.  It also important to remember that something is better than nothing.  All D&D is hackwork and a half-assed idea that gets your game on the table is better than a perfect one that takes months.

Imma Stock all the Rooms!

Back in the dim antiquity of 2009 when I first started thinking about the dungeon that would become Nightwick Abbey, there were a lot of hot takes saying that megadungeons needed to be huge.  At the time I felt that Nightwick was too small but was unwilling to enlarge it due to laziness. Then I ran level one.  For five years.  ~77 rooms got me about 5 years of play without my needing to make a second level (though I kept promising I would).  Experience with the Uz Undercity - which is a little less traditionally designed - has convinced me that 60 - 80 rooms a level is plenty mega for players to get lost and have plenty of options to explore.  I wouldn't advise trying to get by with just one level, but the current version of Nightwick has 2 60 - 80 room levels and two ~30 room sublevels.  This has been enough prep that I haven't touched it in two years and it seems like I may not have to for a long while yet.

One thing to remember is to restock your content.  A simple version I use is that a room restocks on a 1-2 on the dice.  The first week after the room has been explored you roll a d20, the next week a d12, then a d8, then a d6, then a d4 and you roll that d4 for each additional week until it restocks.  This has worked very well for me, when I remember to do it.

I'll end with some pictures of my "Nightwick Abbey Prototype" - the graph composition notebook I keep my dungeon notes in.

*It is some years old.

**It's a living dungeon that shifts when the PCs do things it doesn't like.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yavana Session 4

Brandon as Xenophon (Ilionian Fighter 1 - 2)
James as Diomedes - Dio for short (Ilionian Fighter 3 - 4)
JP as Janster (Margive Assassin 2 - 3)
Chris as Adom (Khemian Rogue 3 - 4)

The session opened with the news of the Satrap Ajaxos's "death" at the hands of his "own guard."  High Vizier Babashek has brought in a group of Margive pirates known as the Black Brotherhood to oversee security in the city during this troubling time.  Xenephon, knowing the true fate of Ajaxos saw a silver smith and asked him to make a miniature model of Babashek's tower so that they might replace the miniature tower Babashek is using to hold the satrap with a fake.  Since this tower would take about a week of work to create, the party decided to pursue other ambitions.

Janster and Adom both purchased magic weapons (a +1 dagger and +1 rapier respectively)* since their encounter with a Messenger of the Outer Dark, as Babashek named it to Janster, had left them feeling impotent.

They decided that they wanted to see the mustaba on the "island of yipping lizards" they had heard of in the first session.   Hiring Captain Proetus of the Margo, they made sail for the island.  On the first day they camped at a small pirate base on an island off the coast and the captain told his guests not to leave their quarters during the night.  This they did, and the next morning they set sail again.

At dawn on the third day the Margo had a close encounter with a mosasaurus.  The party was rightly disturbed by the sight of the beast and even more disturbed by the captain's warning that if the ship's ballista didn't hurt the creature it was a 3 mile swim to the island.   Luckily, the creature seemed to nuzzle the ship, determine it was not made of fleshy bits, and then move on for more supple prey.

Arriving at the island within sight of the mustaba, Captain Proetus informed them that if they did not return by sunrise the next day the ship would sail away without them.  Worried by this "timer," but also feeling the mustaba looked easy to check out, the party headed into the rocky hills surrounding the dungeon.

The entrance to the dungeon was home to a group of compy nests, but with the proper application of stairs and doors and oil the party was able to funnel the little creatures into a kill zone, though a few bad rolls meant that Xenophon almost lost a toe and almost fell prey to 10 of the little guys.  Still, they managed to sweep aside the compies and move deeper into the complex.  Bypassing two doors they headed into a large open space whose decoration seemed to depict a war among the stars.  This war was seemingly between dino-men and yellow hairless men.  

Janster, being adept int he arts of purloining, managed to climb up to the ceiling and use the decorations as hand holds to recover a large number of small gems that served as sparkling stars.  From this room they found a room filled with the mummies of raptors.  When Xenophon headed into the room to investigate two of the mummies animated and battle ensued.  Adom was struck by one, but these undead versions seemed much less deadly than the living counterparts they encountered last session and they were slain fairly quickly.  In this chamber they discovered a crate of spices used for mummification but decided these were likely several thousand years passed their sell-by date and thus they moved on.

In an adjacent chamber they found a large number of canopic jars.  Checking the contents they found that each jar seemed to contain amber wrapped around a small compy.  Deciding the amber was valuable, they pocketed these and moved on.  Next they found a room containing skeletons wielding strange khopesh-like swords. Believing these skeletons were guarding something, they did battle despite the lack of crushing weapons.  Unfortunately they found nothing beyond them, though they did decide to take one of the swords.

After passing through a number of decorated chambers, the party came to a small shrine dedicated to a dino-god they had seen depicted in the village of the Iguana People.  Leaving some food at it, Dio found himself transformed - his skin became squamous and scaly and he gained a +3 bonus to his AC.  While these effects dissipated after a day, he was greatly impressed by them.  

A light beyond the shrine turned out to be a flame skull guarding a large treasure horde.  The flame skull seemed incredibly dangerous after it struck Dio with two magic missiles, but the application of superior numbers quickly overwhelmed the construct.  Realizing the creature regenerated fairly quickly, Dio was tasked with "mud stomping" it until the treasure could be gathered.

Adom, a curious fellow, decided to check the other rooms while the party decided what to do with the treasure they had acquired (2000gp, 20 garnets, and a large golden raft).  He found sarcophagi with inanimate inhabitants and a sword similar to the ones used by the skeletons in the earlier encounter but much fancier.  The party debated how to get the treasure out of the dungeon and decided to set two men to carry the raft (and extra treasure loaded onto it) and two men to carry the chest of gold.  Despite their worries the pirates seemed willing to let them keep their treasures due to the captain's insistence that they had already been paid.

* I've been worried for the past session or so that I'm running a Monty Haul game.  The players seem to be enjoying themselves, but I suppose they often do in Monty Haul games.  With all of the regular members of the party having magical weapons except one, and most of them having over 2000gp in expendable income I may want to think about re-balancing the base value I use with Courtney's treasure tables.  My initial response to this session was to Delete Fucking Everything but I like the setting too much to do that and my tendency to be Demogorgon must be pushed aside.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Yavana Session 3 - In the Jungle of Serpents

Brandon as Xenophon Stratigos, Ilionian Fighter 1
James as Diomedes, Ilionian Fighter 3
JP as Janster, Margive Assassin 1 (2 at session's end)
Chris as Adom, Khemian Rogue 3
KC as Sable, Nordron Druid 1 (2 at session's end)

The party once again started in the town of Asterion.  Kistomerces the merchant let it be known that he was seeking Janster for an offer, and while Janster was unwilling the rest of the party felt that if he did not see the merchant they would have Problems.  They got Janster semi-intoxicated on the teal wine of Yavana, went out into the street, and then quickly shoved him into Kistomerces's largest storehouse.

The White Jade Egg

Kistomerces found this unsettling but made his offer anyway.  He told Janster that he could join "the Angry Dead" if he but held on to a jade egg until Kistomerces asked for it again.  Unsure what the "Angry Dead" were, and willing to sell the egg to another person for profit, Janster agreed.   When he discussed it with his compatriots, they agreed he should sell it but decided it could wait until they returned from their selected adventure.  The other new hooks for this week, stealing self-propelled ship belonging to the witch Sycorax and going to search for some black cube in the desert Sable saw in a dream, seemed out of reach to them at this point.

After a brief discussion they decided that all of them wanted to go and retrieve a giant ruby from somewhere within the Jungle of Serpents.  Babashek, the High Vizier, had let it be known that he sought such a ruby and was willing to pay 6000gp for its being rendered unto him.  The party took their canoes and paddled up the turquoise river until its right bank came close enough to the jungle that they felt they could disembark.  They had only been in the jungle a few hours when disaster struck.

Clever girls

Distracted by movement further on in the jungle, the party was unprepared when a large deinonychus leaped out of the forest and gutted Sable.  Shortly thereafter the movement in front of them was revealed to be a second such creature intent on getting into Diomedes' steel hide.  The fighting was brief but intense, with Janster and Adom showing that agility can be as useful as strength in a scrap, their poniard and rapier deflecting raptor claws and skewering brains.  Luckily for Sable, Adom is somewhat skilled in the arts of medicine and was able to prevent her from perishing and even restore her consciousness.  Once awake, she made use of the goodberry spell to heal her and her compatriots.

Janster then scaled one of the nearby trees to see if he could spot the tower in which the ruby supposedly lay above the canopy.  He saw it not but did spy a dark shape just a bit north of them.  They decided to go investigate and soon found that it was a massive bunch of army ants surrounding something.  Using fire and slings the party forced enough ants off to make out that it seemed to be a pterosaur and some kind of rider.  With still further use of torches Adom was able to slip off a gold, bejeweled belt buckle from the corpse.  They then elected to set up camp far away from the army ants, sleeping in a large tree.

That night during all of their watches they saw signs of fires burning in the jungle as though there was a village.  Deciding they might no more about the tower, the party attempted to make its way to this village but was stopped by a group of lizard people.  These were guardsmen for the village, which was itself entirely made up of lizard people, and while they did not let the party stay within the village they did peacefully trade some ornaments and discuss the lizard people's hatred of dinosaurs.  In a way they made "neutrals" with them.

The lizard people also knew the location of the tower, which was about two days walk (at least with slow human feet) due north of the village.  Indeed after going north Janster was able to spy a clearing and ruined tower from the canopy.  The trip to the tower was uneventful except for a few nights spent in trees and an increasing number of snake tracks in the sand.

The Peril of the Tower

Janster elected to climb a tree within only a mile or so of the tower to get a better look at the clearing.  This time he noticed something ominous: a massive snake ball in a riot of colors and separate species. They decided fire would be the best weapon against such a swarm and prepared a set of oil flask cocktails for this purpose.  As they entered the clearing, the snake ball exuded tentacles of living snakes forming several "heads," such that the broad out line of the thing from a distance was as a giant hydra.  What this creature was capable of will never be known, for the fire proved efficacious before the beast had a chance to strike.  Once the snakes either burned or slithered away, all that was left behind was an enormous ruby.*

The Messenger of the Outer Dark

That night it seems the fickle and forgetful gods remembered that Janster had not yet sold the egg, for while the party was sleeping on their tree limbs a strange demon visited Janster and attempted to rob him of the egg.  Adom, who had been keeping watch, attempted to hit it with his sling.  He missed, but the alerted creature gave out a strange cry that awakened the rest of the party.  Attempts to attack it proved fruitless, and a strange discussion began with the beast.  Janster said "I will have to show it to Kistomerces before I can give it to you," to which the beast responded "how long will that take?"  The joking response was "could you give us a ride?" and after a bit of fumbling and wrestling the creature was able to do just that - flying out to the void and then down again to Asterion.

It deposited him outside the warehouse of Kistomerces in the dark of midnight.  During a flustered attempt to explain what was going on to one of Kistomerces' assassin-guards, Janster produced the egg and it was deftly snatched out of his hand by the demon, who then flew up into the void.  Kistomerces, after being informed, was enraged.  He informed Janster that if he wanted to join the elite group of assassins, for that is what the Angry Dead are, he would have to recover the egg once again from a place called "the Dungeon of Dreams."

The rest of the party decided that there was little they could do now and instead rested the rest of the night - except Xenophon who kept a long watch.  The next day they pushed on long enough to return to the lizard people village and bargained with them for guidance back home through the Mangroves.

Babashek is like this guy's handsomer (but equally bald) brother

Once returned to Asterion, they made their way as quickly as possible to the palace to speak with Babashek.  A guard attempted to halt them but was dumbstruck by the size of the ruby they carried.  They found Babashek planning the fate of Yavana in a chamber in the palace and he payed them a hefty reward for their trouble. Seeing that the party was capable of great tasks, Babashek announced that there were a set of ruins in a valley in the Moonshadow Desert.   In these ruins lives a boy who carries about him the "Beads of the Sky."  But no man has ever gone to the city and lived for anyone who enters the valley is beset by a terrible sandstorm.  He wants the beads.

Xenaphon was also, somewhat surprisingly, able to get Babashek to admit that he was a vizier of that sort - the type that kills their satrap and marries his daughter.  Babashek reacted basically with "you caught me, but the plan is already in motion."**  Xenophon made an offer to help him but once they were out of the palace he told his friends the will need to kidnap the princess Babashek planned to marry "for her own good."

*Well that and burned snake corpses
**Indeed, unless the PCs do something very drastic, next session will start with news of Ajaxos' death.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Demons of Yavana

Because of my working on the Dwelling of Demons dungeon, I realized I needed to have some demons in my game that C&C doesn't provide stats for.  The list below is a weird mix of Gygax and Lovecraft - the latter portions coming from Realms of Crawling Chaos and the d20 Call of Cthulhu book.

Demons of Yavana
All demons (even least) may cast Darkness 15’ radius at will, teleport without error, and possess deepvision.

Dretch #1d6 (4d10) AC 15 HD 2 Move 20’ Attacks 3 (1d4/1d4/1d4+1) Save P  Pallid and bloated soldier-slaves of the demon world.  Can use stinking cloud once per day and scare and telekensis at will.  50% chance to gate 1d6 other dretches.  These will themselves try to gate their friends until there is a great horde.

Manes #4d4 (5d10 x 10) AC 11 HD 1 Move 20’ Attacks 3 (1d2/1d2/1d4) or 1 (weapon) Save P Nearly mindless remnants of souls sent to Hell.  When killed release an acid cloud (CON save or take 1d6 damage).

Messenger of the Outer Dark #1d6 (3d4) AC 15 HD 3 Move 20’/60’ (fly) Attacks 2 (1d4/1d4) Save M  Appear as rotting corpses with bits of shining black carapace.  If both attacks hit automatically deals 2d4 damage the next round.  Can fly through the Void to the Outer Dark.  10% chance to gate a Servant of the Outer Dark.

Moon Thing #3d4 (1d6x10 AC 11 HD 1 Move 30’ Attacks 1 (weapon) Save P Pallid squat beings from the moon.  Face is a mass of tentacles.  Serve as pirates and sailors on earth when summoned.  5% chance to gate Sin if he is freed.

Black Fiend # 1d3 (1d6) AC 20 HD 6 Move 40’ Attacks 3 (1d6/1d6/1d8) Save P Large, jet-black men with horns.   Only hurt by silver, magic, or fire. 70% chance to gate 1d3 black fiends, 50% to gate 1d8 least demons.

Daughter of the Night # 1d3 (1d6) AC 20 HD 6 Move 30’/60’ Fly Attacks 1 (weapon) Save M  Faceless women with sensous bodies.  Any who would desire female company and look upon them must make a CHA save or be charmed.  Save is made again the next day.  If failed new save is made again the next week.  If failed thrice the effect is permanent. 50% chance to gate 1d3 daughters of the Night, 70% chance for a single greater demon.

Oozing Guardian #1d3 AC 15 HD 5 (d10) Move 45’/30’ (climb) Attacks 4 (2d4) or 1 (swallow) Save P  Creatures of living black liquid.  Tendrils cut like steel or can swallow victim after successful grapple.  Victim who is swallowed will dissolve in 2d4 rounds.  30% chance to gate Servitor of the Outer Dark.

Rutterkin #1d3 (1d6) AC 20 HD 4 Move 30’ Attacks 1 (1d10) or 2 (1d6+1/1d6+1) Save P Malformed bullies of demons that communicate by telepathy.  Can cast fear (by touch), fly, and telekinesis (3 times per day).  50% chance to gate 1d8 least demons.

Servant of the Outer Dark #1d3 (1d6) AC 20 HD 5 (d12) Move 30’/90’ (fly) Attacks 6 (1d8 each) Saves P M  Frog-like beings that shift and writhe and dissolve and reform again.  Accompanied by a hideous piping.  All present must save (CHA) or begin dancing erratically as it devours them.  Only hit by +1 or better weapons.  50% chance to gate 1d8 least demons.

Being of Moloch #1d3 (1d6) AC 16 HD 9 Move 30’ (Hover) Attacks 1 (3d6) Save P  Sapient patches of radiation.  May levitate one being of man-size or smaller at will.  Often does this to desired victims. May spend one round moving erratically (gaining AC 22) before teleporting to any spot within the 50/32 hexmap.  Only hit by +1 or better weapons.  20% chance to gate another Being of Moloch.

The Dark One  #1d3 (1d6) AC 21 HD 9 Move 30’ Attacks 4 (2d4) or 1 (3d6) Saves P M  Giant, tree-like beings with goat feet and long tendrils, may attack either with tendrils or buy stomping prey.  Only hit by +1 or better weapons.  Causes fear to all who look upon it (Wisdom save negates.  Must only be made one time).  May cast Enlarge Animal and Entangle at will.  Speaks the secret language of animals.  20% chance to gate another Dark One.

Primordial One #1d4 (3d4) AC 15 HD 9 Move 15’ (land or swim) Attacks 3 (2d6/2d6/Swallow) Save P  Beings created by the Men of Gold out of the substance of demons.  Hit only with +1 or better weapons.  Regenerate 1d3 HP/round.  Enemies swallowed will dissolve in 2d4 rounds unless freed.  20% chance to gate another Primordial One.

Sin #Unique AC 26 HD 123hp (19d10) Move 90’ Attacks 1 (Weapon 3d10+12, Follow through as fighter of 19th level) Saves P M Pale blue demon from the moon who once helped rule The City of Pillars.  May cast detect magic and dancing lights at will.  May cast sleep thrice per day.  May cast phantasmal force at night regardless of moon phase. If the moon is gibbous or full, may summon a moonbeam (15d8, DEX save for half) thrice.  Gaze attack forces CON save (CL 15) or take an automatic 1d8 damage each round as he moves the blood inside of you.  He can focus this on just one person (CL 19) and gain complete control over their movements, but not their thoughts or speech.  70% to gate a Servants of the Outer Dark.

Hex Descriptions from Yavana

This is a post my home group players SHOULD NOT READ.

1007 - Asterion Population ~ 5000, 500 Militia, 50 Men at Arms.  Tags: Incompetent Ruler, Corrupt Officials - Capital of Yavana.  Satrap is Ajaxos (Knight 12), a deluded warrior.  His vizier, Babashek (Wizard 10), plots his death.  Chief merchant is Kistomerces - will buy magic items for 50% value.  Guard is lead by Nordron barbarian named Eirik Blom.  Has latent psychic powers.

0604 - Elone - 500, 50 Militia, 5 Men at Arms. Tags: Grasping Noble - Acts as trading post along river.  Governor Akekos (Fighter 6) is in league with Babashek and thinks he will replace Ajaxos.

1712 - Oetylus - 2000, 200 Militia, 20 Men at Arms. Tags: Plague, Malignant Slum - Shitty habor town that acts as repair point on ships going to Asterion or Ilion.  Beset by plague of boils because of angry home gods.  Think it’s because of the necromancer in hex 1414.  Governor Lukos (Rogue 7) is a cunning rogue who cares little for his people.

0208 - Olizon - 2000, 200 Militia, 20 Men at Arms.  Tags: Wizard School, Forced Evictions - Totalitarian Aramite city.  Ruler is the Wizard of Red (Wizard 12), who seeks apprentices.  Expels people from the city based on strange visions he gets from using a spyglass to read the shadows on the Dwelling of Demons.

0204 - The High Keep - Large Keep - 80 Men at arms, 8th Level Lord (Knight), 5th Level Captain (Barbarian), 20 Crossbowmen, 20 Light Horse, 40 Hoplites - Tags: Exiled Magistrate, Wanted Outlaw.  

0809 - Moonrise Castle - Castle - 200 Men at arms, 8th Level Lord (Wizard), 6th Level Captain (Knight), 50 Knights, 50 Crossbows, 100 Hoplites - Tags: Motherlode, Secret Recipe

0210 - Dwelling of the Demons - tomb of demon sealed during the Age of Silver.  Belt buckle in

0216 - Shrine of the Old One - Gorilla People temple dedicated to ancient dinosaur god.

1105 - Water God’s Temple - Temple of Abzu.  Sealed from priests and parishioners by the angry god.

1414 - Palace of the Necromancer - Palace located in a cave.  Inhabited by necromancer and bandit crew.

2306 - Tomb of the First Men - Tomb dedicated to hero of the First Men from the Reptile Wars.

0106 - The last remaining wall of a temple to Serapis.  Guarded by 5 harpies.  An old altar piece is buried in the sand inside what would’ve been the temple.  Contains 90pp, a set of gilded laurels (150gp), incense (600gp)

0111 - A group of 6 cavemen are working their way through an old Aramite village of five huts looking for loot.  The inhabitants took all valuables with them because of the coming of a strange mold found in many of the huts.  Some corpses can be found with strange black threads growing out of their eyes and mouth.  CON save or contract a deadly disease from the mold spores.

0202 - A group of 16 gorilla people pick through the remains of an old battle between Ilionians and Aramites.  Few items remains, but picking through the carnage will yield 500gp in gold teeth.

0214 - Iron Golem guarding a Sun Sword.

0301 - Scorch marks cover a broad area of land.  A burned corpse holds an undamaged set of Pipes of the Sewers.

0315 - 60 gorilla people have a small village around a hideous idol of a gorilla god.

0410 - 4 Charon Fiends guard an ancient vault containing the miraculously preserved body of one of the Men of Gold.  The body itself, if it can be carried, would be worth 2500gp if melted (though what man in Yavana would do this is unknown).  Burial garb (2500gp), “heavy silver” worth 2500gp, 5000gp

0413 - An algae-filled cistern is all that remains of an Aramite castle.

0502 - Wild dogs play with a copper golem (HD3).  It plays with them like a little boy, tussling and play hitting, but will attack any humans that come near along with the dogs.

0505 - 2 Rocks lair on a mountain.  Has a platinum idol of Zeus that, if it can be carried away, would be worth 9000gp.

0509 - A storm giant attempts to open the magical door to his treasure cache but has forgotten the magic words.  Without the words it is impossible. If somehow opened it contains 8500gp, an extra set of lovely clothes for a giant-sized humanoid (8500gp to right buyer), and a magic cutlass +3 for a normal sized human.

0515 - 0616 Isle of the Old God; A group of 6 satyrs frolicks on this island, playing pan pipes, singing, and molesting the occasional herd animal.  If any humans land, they will inform them that “[they] have such things to show you” and will attempt to take the players to a pit containing a primordial one that they call “mother.”

0602 - 6 Iguana people celebrate the destruction of an air loom a wizard had been using to harass them.  The air loom’s parts are worth 3000gp, but none of the iguana people will allow anyone to take it away.

0606 - 2 cavemen worship a 3’ tall silver idol in the style of a moai.  Praying or meditating before it will turn the victim into a caveman (charisma save avoids).

0609 - A dead body in a cavern is guarded by the hero’s wraith, which refuses to leave this mortal coil.  He strikes at all that enter with a short sword of wounding and appears as a spectral hoplite.

0611 - Abandoned camp filled with obvious plague victims holds chest.  Chest is locked and contains 500gp.  Spending enough time in the chest requires a CON save in order not to catch the plague.

0705 - 3 Raptors hover over the corpse of a wizard.  They have destroyed his spellbook and are engaged in tearing out and eating pages, which has given them an odd, phosphorescent glow.  Wizard wears  a golden circlet (2500gp), 1 star sapphire (2500gp), and has 250pp

0707 - 13 Purple scaled human-like  beings (2 HD, AC 16, as Fighter 2) are cursing over their dead worm-mount.  They speak no language known to the surface world.  Their weapons are masterwork but made of a strange plastic no one will buy.  Their strange plastic cards are worth nothing on the surface world.

0801 - The remnants of an old trail are the haunt of 3 giant mantises.

0803 - A shrine to Dionysus lies in the jungle.  A fount burbles with dark purple wine.  If the wine is tasted, gives the identity of the demon in the Dwelling of Demons.

0805 - A khemian wizard (4) and his 15 pirate minions are attempting to salvage some papyri from the river.  They have 1500gp on them in a small chest two of the pirates carry, wizard robes bejeweled with little garnets cut into dinosaurs (1500gp),

0903 - Dead man tangled in vines with dead pteranodon mount.  Covered in army ants.  Save or die to interact.  750gp jeweled belt buckle on corpse.

1009 - Giant metal buckle appears to be natural rocks from a distance.  No guardians.  If excavated worth 1000gp in iron.

1101 - The Tower of the Hydra is a ruined tower (no floors or roof remaining, but exterior walls) where hordes of snakes are summoned by an ancient force.  The snakes fight in a mass as a 7 headed hydra.  If the “hydra” is slain, his body is revealed to be surrounding an enormous gem worth 6000gp.

1104 - 112 Iguana people built their village around a basalt block depicting the coronation of one of the First-men.  Together the village has 60000sp, a golden circlet covered in emeralds (2000gp), and a rod of pure gold (2000gp).

1106 - Partially submerged painted depicts serpent with spiral eyes.  Looking at it for any length of time requires a WIS save or be blinded for one hour.  A group of 7 Jaculi hang in nearby trees to drop down on those blinded by the stone.

1109 - A set of boundary stones kills any who cross it and resurrects them as zombies (Wisdom save to avoid).  2 victims have yet to succumb to rot.  In the center of the boundary stones is a buried sarcophagus containing no corpse but 1000gp.

1115 - A group of 160 bandits work 30 slaves at a wheel of pain.  They are led by a bandit chief (HD 5, AC 16) and have 4 sub-chiefs (HD 2, AC 14).  If their camp is raided one will find 1500gp in a locked chest, a silver circlet belonging to the chief (500gp), 10 bloodstones (50gp each) in a small sack, and a mahogany throne (500gp)

1202 - A +1 Ilionian breastplate, partially hidden by ferns,  serves as the home for a mass of 5 poisonous snakes.

1208 - The foundations of this old Ilionian villa are haunted by 4 shadows.  Under a “loose” cobblestone (trapped with poison gas, CON save or face type III poison), is a bag containing 1500gp, 4 black pearls (400gp each), and gold-threaded desert pants (1500gp).

1210 - 6 weretigers guard a shrine they have defaced and rededicated to Mouther Mountain.  3000gp, kingly robes (3000gp), gilded castration tool (3000gp to the right buyer)

1412 - A group of 6 fire giants futz with their broken earth borer.  They wish to return to their cthonic abode.  They have 650pp, art-deco pottery from the center of the earth (6500gp to right buyer), and the earthborer itself could be sold for 6500gp to the right buyer.

1702 - 1 Kraken guards a sunken ship.  Inside a chest in the ship is 15,000gp, and platinum bars (7500gp).  Chest’s are trapped but mechanism is too slow to work underwater.

1904 - A group of seven pirates had attempted to return here for their treasure but were ambushed by an ankheg.  In a partially unburied chest one can find 5000gp.

2011 - 6 Cyclops guard a tomb of a bi-clops (2 headed cyclops mage).  Tomb contains +2 Great Hammer, 25 steel bars (6000gp), purple mantle (3000gp), and 3000gp

2012 - 16 strangely lovelorn cyclops attempt to repair a woman of gold for sex reasons.  They argue mightily over who will get to “serve” her first.  It is very strange.  The broken woman could be sold for 2000gp.

2014 - A patch of oil emanates from a strange, metal barrel at the bottom of the ocean.

2204 - 4 Perytons hover over a raft filled with corpses.  Each has golden antlers worth 1000sp each.

2310 - A strange, tumbled keep is completely covered in green slime.  All interior metal and organic matter has been destroyed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dinosaurs of Yavana

Castles & Crusades doesn't have a lot of dinosaurs so here are the ones that inhabit Yavana converted from AD&D.  I tried to have it so that certain types (club tail, long neck, duckbill) only had one representative so that I didn't have to describe minute differences between extinct animals.

Allosaurus #1d2 AC 14 HD 15 Move 120’ Attacks 3 (1d4, 1d4, 6d4) Save P  Vicious predator, can run across the ground at great speed.

Ankylosaurus #1d4+1 AC 19 HD 9 Move 30’ Attacks 1 (3d6) Save P Armadillo-like dinosaur with club tails and armored plating.  If attacked or threatened uses tail as club, otherwise docile.

Camarasaurus #2d4 AC 13 HD 20 Move 15’ Attacks 1 (3d4) Save P Swamp-dwelling Smallish (50’ long) long-necked dinosaurs.  Easily spooked.  Attack represents trample.

Compies #3d6 AC 14 HD 1 (1d4) Move 30’ Attacks 1 (1d3) Save P Small, carnivorous dinosaurs.  Hunt in groups.  10% chance a group will confer a disease as giant rat.

Dimetrodon #1d2 AC 15 HD 3-5  Move 30’ Attacks 1 (1d10+5) Save P  Sail-backed reptile ancestor of mammals.  You know the one.

Dinichthys #1d4 AC 13 HD 10 Move 60’ (swim) Attacks 1 (5d4) Save P Actually giant mean fish, not dinosaurs.

Elasmosaurus #1d2 AC 12 HD 15 Move 60’ (Swim) Attacks 1 (4d6) Save P  Long necked reptiles of the loch-ness type.

Mosasaurus #1d3 AC 12 HD 12 Move 10’/60’ (swim) Attacks 1 (4d8) Save P Crocodile-like marine dinosaur that goes on little flippers.

Orintholestes #2d6 AC 15 HD 2 Move 60’ Attacks 1 (2d4) Save P Man-sized predators that run incredibly fast.  Feast on men and on dinosaur eggs.

Plateosaurus #5d4 AC 14 HD 8 Move 30’ Attacks 1 (2d4) Save P These are panicky herbivores that go on two legs.  Attack represents trampling.

Plesiosaur #1d3 AC 12 HD 20 Move 60’ (swim) Attacks 1 (5d4) Save P  large (50’ long) marine loch-ness type.

Pterosaur, Giant #1d8 AC 14 HD 6 (d10) Move 10’/60’ (fly) Attacks 1 (3d4) Save P  Giant flying lizard that can carry off a large horse.

Raptor #1d6 AC 15 HD 4 (d10) Move 60’ + 5’ Jump Attacks 3 (1d2/1d2/2d4) or 1 (2d6) after jump Save P Technically deinonychus, but everybody calls them raptors.  Have bright feathers.

Trachodon #2d6 AC 14 HD 12 Move 60’ Attacks 1 (1d8) Save P  Duck-billed dinosaurs of the plant eating sort.  Run from attack; only defense is lashing tail.