Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Fearless Vampire Fucker


The flail known as the Vampire Fucker* was made by the dwarf Lit when the Kingdom Under the Mountain still flourished and neither Man nor Dragon had come to despoil it. Whether vampires were known to the dwarves of old, the power came to the flail only later, or Lit had the power to prophesy is unclear. No dwarven songs seem to feature it, though some human scholars of their language have pointed to "maces" and similar devices found in their legendry that may be references to the Vampire Fucker.

It is known that it still had this name when the dwarf king in exile gifted it to Liudprand the Unsparing, the first hochmeister of the Sword Brothers to oversee their time in the Dark Country. Whether the king, whose name is not recorded, gave it willingly or was a captive in Schonberg (no the central fortress in Nunhead, one of the Seven Cities) is the subject of much debate.  It is clear that Liudprand, and sometimes his lieutenants, used the flail to "banish" a number of Varkolaks that were serving as quasi-deities to Bogdani tribesmen** and supposedly even some members of his own order who had been afflicted. However, the timeline of the Sword Brothers fall is often unclear, and these incidents may have been post-hoc rationalizations for massacres and internal paranoia. Despite its vampire slaying powers, it is still effective against the innocent.

The last references to the Vampire Fucker occur only in sources by the Sword Brothers themselves and contain the most depraved incident in the history of the weapon, if such tales are true.  It seems that the Witch of Averois, was grievously injured when a knight attempted to use the flail in a perverse act of sexual torture. Thereafter she had the reigning hochmeister seal the flail in a "museum" containing multiple relics seized on crusade in the Desert Lands. The vault which contained it has never been opened since.

A peculiarity concerning the weapon is the number of sources maintaining it is a "whip." All physical descriptions known note a heavy head at the end of a long chain. This strange nomenclature may be a reference to the flails ability to extend when the lifeforce of its wielder is at its height.

Vampire Fucker
Weapon (flail), very rare
You gain a +1 bonus to attacks and damage rolls made with this weapon.

If your hit points are at maximum (or temporary hit points above your maximum) the weapon has 10' reach. If your hit point maximum is lowered by an effect (such as the vampire's bite) this function still operates as long as your hit points are at or temporarily above this new maximum.

When you hit a vampire (as defined by the DM) with an attack using this weapon, the vampire takes an extra 2d6 radiant damage.


*Its name is translated from the rough language of the dwarves, whose runes clearly articulate this meaning.

**Bogdani is the ethnonym of the pagans of the Dark Country.  They are normally divided into White and Black Bogdani, though the distinction's meaning is often unclear to Realmishmen.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

FLGS Nightwick Session 1

We had a near TPK in my FLGS Wilderlands game and decided to take a hiatus at least until the end of October. In the meantime I'm running Nightwick for them. Unlike the Nightwick Regulars (who are still in the month of Elders, 1395), this game's in game month lines up with our current month - i.e. September 1395. Hopefully the coming weeks will show how I plan to reconcile this disparity.

This is another guest post by longtime player in my games, Chris.  You may remember him as Burgell the Gnome and Aslog in the Wilderlands.

Characters Present
Ermel the Dagger - Karslish Human Ranger 1
Dame Ysentrude - Realmish Human Paladin 1
"Sir" Ginger van Evergreen - Frogling Cleric of St Santa Claus 1
Flint Lichtbringer - Dwarven Paladin dedicated to St Richard the Prior 1
Anastasia Romanov - Novgovite "Human" Warlock of the Archfey 1

10th September 1394
We're in Nightwick and trapped due to some military happenings. Dame Ysentrude gets taken to a chirch for some walled-in girl to tell her some vision of seals breaking. Some lady in the town complained that her grandmother got killed by a sword brother and wants us to put her to rest. Another lady mentions her father is a wizard and wants to meet anyone going into the abbey.

We go see the lady with the grandmother problems who expresses that she is very poor and cannot offer much. Lame. Then we go to see the wizard in his tower.  Halfdan says he's a terrible wizard and he looks like it. He wants us to find some plants. Okay. So we head, finally, to Nightwick Abbey.

After journeying through woods we burst through to the abbey covered in kudzo and also two bell towers and crumbling ruins without the crumble. There is a cemetery covered in that same kudzu, though not as much. The east tower's doors are smashed open so we enter in. There is also a 10 foot hole with a metal ladder, which the trap door of is cut like meat fillet and half of it is plopped into a corner. Flint unspools rope down into the opening out of mistrust for the ladder and Ginger just goes down the latter.

Flint kicks the door open to reveal a room with a large statue at the end of it. It's a sword brothers statue! Ginger busies herself listening at each door. There's fighting beyond one of the doors. Of course one of the paladins wants to go to that. Thank goodness she is distracted by poking at the statue. Not enough though, and Dame kicks the door open and it breaks like meat. Good. Dame and Flint charge into the room where the battle sounds are coming from. There are a bunch of undead dancing around in combat with themselves. Flint throws a javelin at them and makes them angry!

{FIGHT IT OUT}

We fought a bunch of skeletons and Ginger and Flint got hurt. We prevailed over them, eventually, and were rewarded with 2 gold crowns from two lead skeletons. We decided to leave, licking our wounds, back to Nightwick.

Monsters Defeated
10 Blind Dead and 2 Blind Bruders

Treasure Gained
2 Ducal Coronets (50gp each)

XP Per Player
150

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tales from the Boar's Head: Thalos' Tomb

A Bad Way to Go

Session Date
13th Day of the month of the Crimson Dragon 4500CCC (August 13th)

Characters Present
Aslog, Skandik Priestess of Odin
Velor Silent-stream, Half Elf Druid
Dabetha Darkmantle, Dwarf Storm Sorceress and devotee of Manas
Udogar Thalthaac, First Man Bard
Thalos, Tiefling Blade Pact Warlock (Deceased)

Events
  • The party met with Thalos, a warlock from the Demon Princedoms far to the south, and convinced him to seek treasure within the tomb they had been exploring.
  • Dabetha also took the time to make sure she had notes on the other possible adventures around Haghill and the City State.
  • They left Haghill at dawn on the 13th and arrived at the tomb without incident.
  • After reviewing Velor's map, they decided to try to explore beyond the chamber where they had fought a group of guard skeletons and, on a later expedition, the shade of a typhonic beast.
  • Near this chamber they found what appeared to be an ancient library of sorts filled with scrolls. A skeletal priestly figure mechanically puttered around looking at scrolls seemingly without comprehending them. In the center of the room was a great brazier.
  • Thalos attempted to test the skeleton's reactions by dimming the fire within the brazier. This prompted no reaction. 
  • Before the party could move in behind him, Thalos attacked the creature with an eldritch blast.
  • The rest of the party filed in, attacking with spell and sword, and the skeleton had no time to react before it was destroyed.  With its last act it attempted to push some of the scrolls into the fire but was unable to.
  • Searching among they scrolls they found that many were blank, but that some still contained writing.  They were able to find an ancient King's List, a strange map, and a scroll of diminution.
  • Dabetha, feeling there might be a secret door nearby, attempted to search for one using her stone-cunning, but to no avail.
  • They then decided to see what was within the pit found in the room where Velor, Aslog, and the now gone Torin had faced a bronze cobra.  They, in fact, used the wreckage of this cobra as a weight for their rope as they lowered themselves down.
  • Or rather some did.  Udogar, frustrated with dithering over whether to go down the pit or a nearby flight of stairs, jumped down and was quickly joined by Talos.
  • Below they found a strange set of cells packed wall to wall with bones, as though a great many people were locked in them and left to rot over hundreds of years, and a torture chamber. 
  • The torture chamber was guarded by a hulking skeleton with a great, two handed scimitar. Once he drew this vile weapon a swarm of scarab beetles appeared from no discernible location and followed him.
  • Thalos attempted to fight the undead torturer while Velor and Aslog began to make their way down the rope.
  • Dabetha jumped past the two going down the rope and cast a shield spell in mid air, using her storm sorceress abilities to gently land on the ground once this was done.
  • Thalos took a mighty blow from the torturer, but what slew him was the scarabs. They swarmed over him - two swarms in one space! They then set about hollowing out his corpse.
  • The torturer then turned his attention to Udogar and Dabetha, but Velor was able to intervene and do a great deal of damage to him.  Aslog also helped with her mace, which had great efficacy against the being.
  • Udogar was knocked unconscious by the torturer's wicked blade, but Aslog was able to heal him.
  • Once the torturer was dead, they felt some sorrow for their newly met and newly departed friend, but Aslog did observe that they had not been shieldbrothers long.
  • Dabetha took the sword and began experimenting with it, finding that if any part of it touched the ground scarabs began to appear. She faintly heard the voice of Thalos's shade say "careful where you sleep."
  • They then climbed back up the rope, retrieved it, and went down some nearby stairs. The sound of running water, which pervades the strange tomb, was even louder in this section of the dungeon.
  • Beyond this they found another guard chamber of skeletons - 4 with swords and shields and 4 with bows. These proved to be more aggressive than the first set, with the archers firing as soon as they were within sight.
  • The fight saw Udogar use illusions to great effect, creating illusory cover for his allies as they moved up the hallway and dealt with the sword swinging skeletons.
  • Having spent many resources and lost a friend, the party decided to return to Haghill rather than continue exploring, at least for now.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Mechwarrior: The Legend of Curly's Lostech

This is another mech-based campaign idea. I've been on kind of a mech kick since rewatching Evangelion with my wife and have been thinking about various mech campaigns. This is one I came up with a while ago and have thought about adapting to Traveller or other systems (maybe even Lancer) at various points. If I ever ran this I'm not sure what rules I'd use since the current Battletech RPG looks kinda naff.

If you don't know anything about the Battletech setting I recommend watching the intro cinematic to the video game. "Some Indian" who writes Straits of Anian I think correctly identified it as doing an excellent job telling the history of the setting using only visuals.

An AWOL Kurita mech waits in ambush on the devastated planet of Alexandria

Alexandria was once a jewel of the Star League. A high population world nearly entirely covered with urban environments and manufacturing zones, it was home to several mech factories and produced many of the designs still seen in the Succession Wars. It's position along the central spine of the Inner Sphere also made it strategically important for maintaining hegemony over space.

Unfortunately, when the Star League disbanded it ended up wedged between houses Steiner and Kurita - both known for their bellicose militarism. During the first two Succession Wars  the planet was pounded with everything each house had at its disposal, including notably treaty-defying orbital bombardment. Between the wars the two sides would raid across their borders and often the target was Alexandria. Now most of the planet is rubble and few have any reason to visit the dying world.

The current inhabitants live a meager life in the ruins. They run in factions that are little more than heavily armed street gangs. The only way to eek out a living, it seems, is by squabbling over the ruins, the planet's atmosphere likely incapable of supporting crops. Somewhat recently, a group of pirates with a company of mechs and even more conventional fighting vehicles landed on the planet and has been attempting to use it as a pirate port.

You are members of the 2nd Legion of Vega, stationed a few jumps away from Alexandria. A sink for dishonorable warriors, washouts, burnouts, and even political prisoners, the Legion of Vega is noted for its unconventional tactics, poor morale, and miserable duty assignments. Despite being assigned to this forlorn hope, it looks like your luck is about to change. A member of your company has heard a rumor that one of the factories on Alexandria would need only minor repairs to become operational again, and may even have a huge store of Lostech!

Luckily for you discipline in the 2nd Legion is so lax that making off with a drop ship and hitching a ride on a jumpship to Alexandria seems to have been met with a very muted response. If you get the factory working, maybe they'll forgive you for going AWOL because of the wealth you'll bring to House Kurita.  If not, you can always be the petty tyrant of your own planet.

Unfortunately there seems to be a problem.  Someone is occupying the factory... and its the pirates...

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Tales from the Cutthroat Inn: The Mystery of the Manipulated Mules...

...May Forever Remain a Mystery!
The "Beast Master"

Session Date
9th Day of the Month of the Crimson Dragon 4500CCC (August 9th)

Characters Present
Annapurna, Altanian Ranger
Red Hawk, Altanian Fighter
Grafari, Skandik Rogue
Ion Skamos, Tiefling Cleric of Set

Events
  • Red Hawk and Annapurna debated whether they wanted to do more tag team pit fighting or go it alone, deciding at last to continue as a tag team duo. They defeated a skandik of immense size (and possible giant ancestry), two Alryans who fight in legionnaire style, and a pair of Karakhans whose sword and shield/bow and shortswords mirrored the twain.
  • Ion Skamos able performed religious duties at the Temple of Thoth the Terrible, gaining two favors.
  • Grafari elected to spend his downtime preemptively scouting out the horse market where their mule was normally kept and where they purchased him. One night, during Grafari's stake out, a tremendous storm of bats appeared in the area in which he was hiding, drawing the attention of the guards who then thought he was the cause of the disturbances.
  • He had done this because the hook that the party sought to pursue next was a thing they had cobbled together out of two pieces of information. 
  • The first was that their mule had both a speed-based enchantment on it AND seemed to have a spell that caused it to be dominated by some unknown agent - though its actual behavior never seemed to show evidence of this.
  • The second was that the Overlord was allegedly hiring exorcists to rid him of ghosts that were haunting his stables. The veracity of this rumor was never proved, but they believed the haunting to be caused by the same agent who hexed their mule.
  • They decided to go inspect their mule for vampire bite marks, since the bats had shown up, but on their way down the Old South road they were ambushed by an Antillian assassin.
  • The assassin offered no reason for his attack but seemed to focus only on the Altanian members of the party, each of which he downed with a poison blade.  However, the magic of Set was able to save them and also did a great deal of damage to the Assassin, who looked for a way out despite his quarry still living.
  • He attempted to scale up a nearby wall, but Grafari jumped up and slammed the back of his head into the very wall he was trying to scale. 
  • On his person they found only money; no orders or any sense of who he might work for.
  • They then went and rested for a day so that Red Hawk could recover from his nearly mortal wounds.
  • The next day they made it to Guardsman's Road before they were blocked by City State constables who seemed to be investigating something in the street.  They were ordered to return home or take a detour.
  • Instead they persisted in some time trying to make out what they were investigating, but only saw that the constables were interested in a strange, damp section of road. The Rainbow Warriors gave up trying to figure out this mystery and returned on their way to the stables where they had their mule.
  • There they encountered City State guards, one of whom recognized Grafari from the incident with the bats. The guard accused Grafari of being "involved with the ghosts" which prompted Annapurna to reply "he doesn't know anything about ghosts." Grafari, not willing to play along, responded "I know a lot about ghosts."
  • Annapurna tried to use this purported knowledge to get hired as the exorcists, but a failed persuasion roll showed that the guard knew of the reputation of the Rainbow Warriors, who were known city wide for their lack of efficacy with things of the Other World.
  • The party, exasperated, requested to see their mule, which was difficult to examine due to the guards crowding them. Luckily, Bumpkin Winterbur - the man who runs the horse market - arrived and made the guards return to their posts.
  • Investigation of the mule turned up nothing, but detect magic showed that nearly every animal in the stable - even the rats - had some kind of enchantment placed on them.
  • They then went to question the smith who occupied the same building as the stables - whom Bumpkin called "Madman."
  • And he was mad! The party asked him many questions but Red Hawk soon got the feeling he had little to add and was unlikely to be behind any of the goings on despite his strange demeanor.
  • Annapurna then investigated the floor of the stables for unusual prints, finding the soft steps of a pointed shoe belonging "either to a woman or a fancy lad."
  • The party asked if they could use Madman's house to monitor the stables and both he and Bumpkin agreed, though admittedly only after the rather forceful assertions of Ion Skamos.
  • That night a new set of guards stayed in the stables while the Rainbow Warriors watched through a peephole cute into Madman's wall.
  • After the midnight bell, the party and the guards heard the sounds of large cats, which Red Hawk was able to identify as tigers, outside in the horse market.
  • The Guards jumped to their feet and ran out to see what was making the noise.
  • Grafari then sneaked into the stables, hoping to be able to see what the guards had found, but was interrupted by what were clearly the footfalls of an invisible person.
  • Grafari grabbed the person, who became visible when he tried to dominate Grafari and make his escape. It appeared the man was a Gishmeshi in his early-mid 30s with a sort of wizardly bearing. 
  • Grafari called out for help "he's trying to put the whammy on me!" And the rest of the party came running.
  • They were able to subdue the enchanter due to his restrained state, but interrogating him seemed to do no good.  After some brief defiance he seemed to mentally "check out" and not respond in any way to their actions.
  • Outside the party heard that the guards were losing a fight to two very non-illusory tigers. Red Hawk complained that they should aid them against the tigers even as he fastened the door shut.
  • There was some discussion of what should be done, but during this discussion Grafari managed to stomp the Enchanter's face into the muddy street and drown him before the rest of the party realized what was happening.
  • This caused the city to erupt into total bedlam! The animals in the stables began to freak out, as though suddenly aware of their circumstances after years spent in a coma. 
  • The tigers seemed to react similarly, though whether or not they spared any of the guards is unknown.
  • Annapurna wanted to figure out some way to let the tigers out of the city by opening the gates, but the rest of the party felt the best thing to do would be to beat feet back to the Cutthroat Inn before anyone found out they were responsible.
  • On their way they heard what sounded like the other stables in the city being in a similar state. They also heard the distinctive cry of an enormous gorilla, but were unable to see such a beast. The sky overhead was filled with bats.
  • Annapurna noted that they had in some way stopped a hideous conspiracy but also opined that they would likely never know what the conspiracy's goal was.

Monsters Defeated
An Antillian Assassin, The "Beast Master" Enchanter

Treasure Gained
280gp 180sp, Scroll of Magic Missile

XP Per Player
787



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tales from the Boar's Head: High Times in Haghill

First Session Date
July 30th (30th day of Vineyard's Bounty - 1st day of Crimson Dragon 4500 CCC)

Characters Present
Aslog, Skandik Priestess of Odin (Cleric 2)
Velor Silent-stream, Northern Elf Hermit (Druid 3)
Dabitha Darkmantle, Dwarf Storm Sorceress (Sorceress 1)
Udagar, First-man Courtier (Bard 1)
Pakhom, Altanian Warrior (Fighter 1)
Morcant the Magician, Avalonian Scholar (Wizard 1)

Events

  • Velor visited the strange priest known to locals as Boomer, who worships a spider god. He was able to determine from the austere nature of the temple - a black cube with an open bronze dome, that it was not dedicated to Nephtlys but little else.
  • Boomer appeared as a man with a great belly and round, hairless head but long, spindly limbs. His lily-white skin glistened with sweat. He charged Velor an exorbitant price to remove the strange disease given to him by the ghostly set-animal encountered in the tomb.
  • Torin, the first-man barbarian who had been accompanying Aslog and Velor on their previous adventures, was called back to the City State for some kind of mercenary duty. Distraught by this, Huberic scoured the area until he found Udagar, a bagpipe playing member of that strange and ancient race, to serve as entertainment at his now near constant feasts.
  • Udagar had been charged by some ancient member of the Reptillons to follow Dabitha but arranged for her to follow him in order to make some money in Haghill.
  • Morcant and Pakhom had arrived because of rumors of a tomb containing ancient Orichalcan treasures.
  • Aslog and Velor explained to these four the nearby tomb, and also why their other hooks (killing adherents of the Toad living in Mermist Marsh and dealing with flying snakes in the Dearthwood) should be avoided.
  • After a day of feasting they headed into the howling hills, and found the tomb in the late afternoon.
  • Entering the tomb there was some retreading of areas to explain the situation to the newcomers, but eventually they decided to take a path shrouded in darkness.
  • ...That led to skeletons! Some armed with swords and some with bows. Battle was soon joined.
  • Aslog's ability to turn undead proved decisive, as did Udagar's fiery breath which he belches through bagpipes.  Less decisive was Morcant's use of Fog Cloud, which temporarily made the undead very difficult to hit.
  • Despite being victorious, the party felt it had used a large number of its resources and it would be best to return and rest, and perhaps feast a bit, in Haghill. 
This session was a bit short because we had four new people, two of whom came in after we had just gotten past introducing the situation and so they had to be caught up.


Second Session Date
August 6th (6 - 12th Day of Crimson Dragon 4500 CCC)

Characters Present
Aslog
Velor Silent-stream
Dabitha Darkmantle
Udagar
Alkmemna, Tiefling Noble (Warlock 1)

Events

  • Dabitha spent the week between sessions gathering herbs, giving her one use of a medicine kit.
  • After informing Alkmemna, who Aslog had met before, of the tomb and its treasures the party ventured into the Howling Hills.
  • Near the tomb, they spied an Altanian barbarian acting as a sort of lookout  near a rock on a nearby ridge. Alkmemna, who saw him first, waved, which prompted him to blow into a horn he carried.
  • Udagar began to blow on his bagpipes as a kind of dominance display - a "counter-doot" to use his verbiage.
  • The barbarian seemed to take this to mean that he was summoning even more men, which caused him to run off the ridge waving his arms, presumably for his comrades to stop.
  • While the party could not understand Altanian, Aslog was able to find a higher vantage point and see that there were a group of Altanians yelling confusedly at each other about whether or not they should attack. Eventually it seems the more sheepish members  of the troop won the day and the barbarians slunk off into the distance.
  • During her watch, Aslog noted that there was a great tower in the distance and a circle of standing stones on a much closer hill.
  • Entering the tomb they made their way back to where they fought the skeletons, but unfortunately the room was now home to a ghostly set animal much like the one they had faced previously! Battle ensued and both Aslog and Velor were stricken with the strange, lotus shoot malady the beasts carry.
  • While wanting to go on, the disease made it too difficult for Aslog or Velor to participate in combat so they decided to return to Haghill.
  • They arrived in the dark of the night, though the light was good because both Howla and Vanis were in the gibbous phases. They found Boomer sitting in his temple, disrobed, though once he realized his presents he covered his glistening white bulk with disturbing alacrity.
  • Dabitha and Aslog, who had not entered before, realized that this was a temple to Yezud, not the spider god of the City State.
  • Dabitha had used prestidigitation to make it appear as though Velor was nesting a group of spiders on his body, in hopes they could shave off some of the exorbitant rate. Boomer agreed to do this for Velor, but noted that Aslog's obvious devotion to Odin would mean she was lucky to get any treatment from him whatsoever.
  • Boomer also revealed that the plants which sprouted from them were Amber Lotus, a plant held sacred to Set.
  • They then asked Boomer to join them for a feast at Huberic's mead-hall, and he reluctantly agreed. 
  • Huberic through an even bigger do once he saw they had managed to bring Boomer out of the temple, killing cows with his whips and trading stories. Huberic informed the party that along the Pagan Coast they had encountered the strange sand dunes that were home to giant moles - "big as a dragon."
  • Ochcall Cat-eye, Huberick's skandik lieutenant, discussed a time when he found a strange tree bearing golden fruit in the Adderwood, claiming when he reached for an apple the tree bit him and nearly killed him.
  • Boomer then shared his knowledge of the existence of a strange weapon known as the Infinity Blade that seems to "stretch infinitely" into other planes. He stated that this would be found in the Admantine Crypts of the Dark Star, reported to be somewhere in the Howling Hills.
  • They asked Boomer if the tower they saw was the location of these crypts, but he stated that locals called it the Howling Tower, and that it is where the hills get there name - "well that and all the wolves."
  • They then drank and partied all night, with Udaga getting a bit of a hangover (and a level of exhaustion) but they decided to try to return to the crypt the next day.
  • Unfortunately, on their way Alkmeman spotted a group of 6 riders in the livery of the city state - a priest and 5 guards.
  • The party decided to approach them and ask their heading and business, but the guards moved to block them from interacting with the priest.
  • Udaga saw that the priest was a young man in a kind of old age makeup who had also used some sort of makeup to make his whole body look jaundiced.  This detail helped Alkmemna and Aslog know that he was a priest of Hamarkhis, but only made Udaga scoff at the strange actions of youth.
  • Scoffing, it turns out, offended the priest, who swatted at him causing a blind red light to flash in the air. When the party regained its vision, Udaga was on the ground dying.
  • Rather than flee, as Alkmena and Dabitha advised, Velor and Aslog waded in with spell and sword.
  • Aslog's use of inflict wounds nearly killed the priest, whom a guard had called Jahungir, and a thunderwave from Velor finished him (and most of the guards) off.
  • The rest of the battle was quite short but soon all the guards were dead and their horses fleeing.
  • Feeling this a bad omen, the group returned to Haghill to rest for another week.




Monday, August 5, 2019

The Magnificent Mech Pilots

This is one of those posts where I do a kind of campaign pitch in order to cement my ideas in case I want to run it or just to get it off my chest. What I describe below is based on the official Lancer setting but I have decided to switch out blink gates for something more like heighliners or Battletech jumpships for wrap-my-brain-around-it reasons. All distances within a system are done at high but not quite relativistic speeds.


There is a dark power growing at the edge of known space.

It began with the Far Field teams - brief reports that surveyed planets already showed evidence of human habitation mining, and even manufacturing, then whole teams went missing. Nothing was done, despite the anomalous reports. Far Field teams go missing all the time. It's one of the hazards of the job.

Then the attacks started. Union officials and even the victims said they were carried out by pirates. They still do. For pirates, though, they are exceedingly well equipped. They do act like pirates though - taking ships, armor, and sometimes even slaves. In one instance at least it seems they forced an entire colony to evacuate and seized to expand their manufacturing base, sealing off communications with the Union shortly afterward. The captives who have escaped have escaped claim that it is the work of someone the raiders refer to as the "Baron." This has led the few in the core who care what's going on to point their finger at the Karrakin Baronies, but anyone can call themselves something.

Though if they were involved that would explain why nothing is being done. Despite these bold attacks on colonies that are ostensibly part of the Union, few resources have been sent to the frontier. The Council has stated that it is the job of existing auxiliaries to patrol these areas for pirates, a clear underestimation of the threat posed. A few on Cradle and a great deal more in the colonies believe that the Council's refusal to act is partly based on the control the Baronies have over their manufacturing base. Perhaps they are behind it, or perhaps they are trying to keep the Union out of what they consider an internal struggle.

But now the situation has changed. Through the industry of the colonists, the bureaucratic maneuverings of a sympathetic Council member, or the good hearts of the pilots themselves, a troop of the most elite mechanized cavalry in the Union - Lancers - has arrived at Matterhorn Station, near the bulk of these attacks. Despite being few in number and without much in the way of official support, these pilots have the potential put the pirates on the defensive.  Maybe they could even discover who the mysterious "Baron" is and put an end to his sinister ambitions.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tales from the Boar's Head

I've mentioned before that I've started running games at my FLGS.  I've decided to center that group around the Boar's Head Tavern in the CSIO. The first few sessions involved whoever showed up fighting against the same cult the Cutthroat Inn group fought against.  Last time, I started running an adventure originally made by Cole for his Swords of the Inner Sea campaign.  I converted it to 5e as well as changed some of the aesthetics to match the history of the Wilderlands.

You may notice that one of the characters is from the home group game I had to abandon.  Some of the players have migrated to the game store group.

Aslog, Priestess of Odin

Session Date
July 2nd (2nd Day of Vineyard's Bounty, 4500 CCC)

Characters
Aslog, Skandik  Priestess of Odin (Cleric 2)
Torin, First-man Warrior (Barbarian 2)
Velor Silent-stream, Half elf hermit (Druid 3)

Events

  • Torin competed in some pit fights where his strange, draconic aspect drew a big crowd.  He won two of his three bouts.
  • Aslog performed ritual services at the Temple of Odin.
  • Velor spent his time in civilization enjoying its more decadent offerings.  While drinking and partying he met Kawab, an Altanian traveler who claimed to have recently seen the entrance ton an ancient tomb in a valley in the Howling Hills.
  • Kawab offered to take them there for a fee, which led the trio to debate their other options: heading into the Mermist Marsh to kill servants of the Toad God for the priest of Tsathoggus, head into the Dearthwood to deal with the menace of strange, flying snakes, or attempt to burgle the manse of Xanatheira Lily-limb for the wizard Sarkand.
  • They decided burgling was outside of their skill-set. Velor noted that the flying snakes were supposed to possess poison of great potency, and the trio all generally agreed the indigent priest of Tsathoggus's promise of an unspecified "boon" was too vague to be of value.  That left the tomb.
  • After some debate over price, Velor paid Kawab and they left for the Howling Hills.
  • Heading along the Twilight Road, they pass through the village of Darkfield, taking only a few brief moments to notice the strange, metallic spire that dominates the town and the distant sight of a tower of stone.
  • They arrive in Haghill after dusk, but their hardy adventuring constitution prevents them from being too tired.
  • Just outside the village, an assemblage of warriors - Skandiks, Altanians, and Tharbrians - watched as Huberic of Haghill showed off his prowess with a whip by killing grown bulls.
  • Torin approached the group, and was greeted by shocked gasps from warriors who had never seen a member of the first race of "men" before. 
  • He attempted to kill a cow with Huberic's whip.  When he failed he offered Huberic a bet that he could kill three cows without moving from at least three strides away. Huberic accepted this bet and offered 100gp. Torin then proceeded to spit a line of lightning out of his mouth, killing the three cows and winning the gold and the admiration of Huberic and his warriors.
  • The trio and Kawab were taken to Huberic's meadhall where they were offered a chance to feast. Aslog elected not to, fearing she would be too tired for their journey to the tomb in the morning.
  • The rest joined in the revelry but only Kawab felt the effects the next day.
  • Despite his hangover, the Altanian led the trio of blue weirdos to the valley where he claimed the entrance lay. 
  • The valley had no vegetation, unlike the scrubland seen in other valleys in the hills, and it appeared to be the remnants of a riverbed, long since dried up. In the center  was an immense stone slab.
  • Aslog approached the slab ahead of the others. As she did so a troop of jackals appeared, their eyes inhumanly intelligent. 
  • As she approached nearer one of the jackals opened its mouth and spoke in the tongue of ancient Orichalca. Aslog, handily, understood this dead language and realized that the jackal was warning her not to open the tomb.
  • She explained this to the other members who decided the treasure within the tomb was worth fighting a few jackals. And fight they did, making short work of the jackals as they pounced.
  • Using the combined strength of the four of them they removed the slab and were greeted with a set of stairs down into the earth and the smell of fresh, running water. 
  • Kawab was told to wait outside and there was a brief discussion once in the dungeon about whether or not they should kill him. Torin wanted to get their money back but Velor looked down on such an obviously evil act and forbade it.
  • They came to a chamber that was lit by the remaining sunlight above and Aslog struck up a torch. Inside were the remnants of ritual killings from when the tomb was sealed - much of their bodies now crushed into mummia by time.
  • There was also a spinning wheel, a loom, and jars that seemed to be for dye. Inspecting the jars  they found a blue dye, a red dye, and one which seemed colorless but looking at it made their eyes hurt, much like the visual artifacts of a migraine.
  • Beyond this chamber was a walkway suspended over some kind of pool. Velor decided that they should through the bodies into the pool, less they animate.
  • When he went to do so, he noticed only too late the strange, stone apertures that lined the side of the walkway.  From one of these emerged an arm of normal girth but inhuman length, purple skinned and terminating in wicked talons.  The arm also grasped an ancient form of bronze scimitar which it used to hack at Velor, who was injured but not mortally so.
  • Retreating, Velor then decided to use the bodies to test these arms, throwing them down the causeway. He discovered that every 5 feet there was an aperture containing one of these wicked arms. Torin and Velor worked together to lure out a great number of arms which Velor then cast entangle on. Thereafter the two hacked apart the immobilized arms.
  • Aslog destroyed the remaining apertures with her mace before an arm could emerge. 
  • The causeway, they found, was a four way intersection. Taking the way opposite the entrance, they found a huge relief of Set making the desert bloom in front of a great pit. Aslog noted that Set is an enemy of Anubis, and that may have been the reason for the jackals.
  • In front of the pit was the image of an immense snake wrought in bronze. Both the snake in the relief and the brazen image had a strange, lotus-pod like growth on their heads from which protruded an extra number of eyes.
  • Moving into the room, the bronze snake activated. Luckily, this beast was made in a time before steel and its immunity to normal weapons was overcome by the party's modern weapons.
  • Leaving the broken bronze cobra, they made their way back to the intersection so as to not get in to deep and have their method of retreat cut off.
  • Heading a little down the causeway to their left, the say an eerie green light and decided to double back and check that out later since it could portend intelligent foes.
  • The other way led to a platform on which stood a terracotta statue of a priest. This statue held a real wooden staff in its hand which it raised as they approached causing a great wind. 
  • Torin and Aslog were able to keep their footing but Velor flew from the causeway and into the pool. Once inside, his half-elf eyes saw that the floor and walls were covered in those terrible arms, in such a way that he was not sure there was any substance beyond them. The arms rushed toward Velor, elongating hideously and grabbing him.
  • Aslog went to throw Velor a rope while Torin rushed forward to fight the statue.
  • Velor was able to use the spell thunderwave to drive off the arms and make his way to the rope.  Once he was back on the causeway the combined might of the three of them easily overcame the statue, which broke at the top revealing a bare skull underneath.
  • Then they returned to the room with the eerie light. Inside was a sconce with a torch on it that glowed the eerie green color. 
  • The torch cast the shadow of a creature that was unseen otherwise - Aslog was able to tell that it was the outline of a Typhonian beast! 
  • She removed the torch from the sconce seeing if the light would change (it remained green) and then approached the shadow.  Upon reaching the middle of the room where the creature would be if it were to cast such a shadow, she poked the empty air with the torch.
  • Though the air wasn't so empty! The invisible fiend grew angry and attacked Aslog with its unseen claws.
  • The inability to see the creature except by its shadow and the creature's great speed and ferocity took the trio aback, but they were able to slay the beast.
  • Velor, who was injured in the battle, noticed that he had a strange, green shoot coming out of the wound. They decided this was likely some kind of hideous infection and returned to Haghill in hopes of getting it cured before their next outing.
The past couple of weeks we've failed to make quorum but hopefully their adventures in the Setite tomb will resume tonight.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Namazu

A heretical depiction of the God of Law separates the Noppinese Imperial Family from the teeming hordes of Namazu

"In High Shang we exchanged much of the beautiful paper money of Cathay for passage to the island nation of Noppin. [Molo digresses here, yet again, to describe the currency of Cathay. This description is the third such in the text and is once again completely contradictory to his earlier digressions. I have omitted it because scholars interested in such things are unlikely to look to a translated text.] Noppin is said to have been originally inhabited by a race of Froglings [sic] that were displaced by the arrival of humans. Despite the protestations of the locals, it is clear that the Noppinese inherited a great deal from these Froglings. Their style and manner of dress, when different from the Cathayans, is identical to that of these creatures, which the locals call Namzu [sic]. Indeed, even their High Pontiff is an exceptionally large member of this race. [Some scholars have translated the title as Emperor, but Molo clearly uses the same form he gives to Pontiff Molestius II, his contemporary] 
"The religion overseen by the High Pontiff of Noppin is also clearly influenced by whatever paganry the Namzu engaged in before their coming, as it is unlike that of Cathay or the Land of a Thousand Idols. Lawful monks from Cathay have brought their heretical from of the Law to Noppin and now the High Pontiff is head of a kind of hybrid Church. Due to the influence of the Law and perhaps in imitation of the First Emperor, the people of Noppin emphatically insist that their large namzu pontiff is a human, noting his 'mustache' instead of his whiskers, and his 'lovely' 'hydrated' skin instead of his oily hide.
"The smaller Namzu are relegated to the fringes of Noppin, living in the cold north or in the forests of Kokushi. It was in the Suicide Forest of Kokushi that our expedition had a most strange encounter with them. A frogling merchant we had picked up in the Land of a Thousand Idols stated many times that he was very confused at our attempts to communicate with his Noppinese cousins.  He claimed they were merely catfish dressed up by the locals as a prank. When we were able to speak to them in a crude form of Cathayan dialect, the frogling still insisted that they were mute animals. The namzu, too, said that we must have dressed up the frogling as a joke and talked it to walk upright. They said that the frogling could not speak and only croaked.
"Locals accused the Namzu of a great many ills. They claimed they were mischievous, prone to larceny, and even known to cuckold fishermen.  This first accusation may explain our encounter, but we saw no evidence of the other two and the idea of a woman giving herself to such a creature beggars belief." - Excerpt from The Travels of Parco Molo, 5th Edition, Evan Van Elkins trans. and ed.


A Namazu in traditional dress.

Namazu are small, catfish who walk and talk in the manner of men and are native to the islands of Noppin. While superficially similar to Froglings, and in many ways occupying the same social niche, the two races do not recognize the each other's person-hood.

Namazu are said to be quite stealthy.

Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity increases by 2 and your Charisma increases by 1.

Age: Namazu reach adulthood around age 20 but can live to be several centuries old.

Alignment: In the five-fold system of the World of Nightwick, Namazu are usually Neutral and are never Lawful or Chaotic. In the nine-fold system of other worlds they tend towards Chaotic and Good alignments.

Size: Namazu are usually no taller than 3 feet. Your size is small.

Speed: Your speed is 25ft for both walking and swimming.

Amphibious: You breathe both air and water.

Sensitive Whiskers: Namazu can feel the vibrations of the air and earth with their whiskers. You gain advantage on Dexterity Saves made to avoid pit traps, sudden collapses, unseen precipices, or any other effect that would cause the ground to suddenly not be beneath your feet.

Resilient: Namazu's bodies are compact and strangely pliant. You never take bludgeoning, thunder, or force damage on a successful saving throw even if the effect would normally deal half damage.

Small and Barely Noticed: Namazu are used to avoiding the Big People. You are not blocked by any creature that is a size or more larger than yourself, and you may always hide if only other large creatures are looking for you - even if you are not initially obscured.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Cutthroat Inn: A Quick One

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


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

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

Treasure Gained
None

Xp Per Player (in either or both sessions)
75

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Future and/or Past Revisited

Time is a Black Ziggurat - the wisest human

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


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

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

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hexes for a Golden Voyage


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Wilderlands Player Handout

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

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

Saturday, June 22, 2019

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

in Oracle Lake?

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

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

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

Monsters Defeated
1 Goblin roofer

Treasure Gained
Precious Knowledge

XP Per Player withheld until the adventure's end.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Characters for the Wilderlands

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

Aslog

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


Innana

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


Morcant

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


Pakhom

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


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


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