Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Karslish Hexes

I wrote some hex descriptions for if I ever run a game in Karse (specifically the area around Nindol). I have rendered the stats as if I was writing it for Swords and Wizardry because that provides an easier starting point. I can come up with an easy effect in S&W and then if I want to run it later in 5e I have some idea what I need to convert.

XXXX A Dragon of Lust (9HD, Aged) lairs on top of a hill where a castle once stood in the days of Rutha or Brutus. The Lady Worm, as she is called, has both the phallic qualities typical of a dragon of lust and exaggerated feminine characteristics - breast, lips, eyelashes - not normally found in reptiles. She will claim that a kiss from a handsome man will save her from a terrible curse, but in reality it causes a Save vs Death effect to any who try. In a great chamber under the castle ruins she has trapped a number of young knights whose combined ransom is equal to 2500sp.

XXXX In this lonely part of the Tulgey Wood is Guyborne the Slayer’s Camp. Guyborne is a bounty killer (4HD, Leather Armor) of some renown and dresses in the front part of a tandem horse costume. It is said that he once worked as part of a duo, but that his back half committed a crime and he slew him for the bounty. Currently he has 50gp buried in a shallow pit covered with leaves, poached rabbits over a fire, and a sword that is +1/+3 vs bandits Named Robber Ripper, and an elixir of greater invisibility.

XXXX This ruined castle is called Hobgoblin Hall. It was built by a warlock long ago and there are said to be twisting passages beneath filled with undead and demons. More importantly to the locals, a group of goblins have set up here, though it is unclear whether they lair here because of the name or if it’s named that for their lair. They are 41 in number, 30 regular goblins (15 with max hitpoints and horns), 10 hobgoblins, and one great goblin (as bugbear). They have 50sp, a suit of plate they cannot wear, and a cabochon crown worth 250sp.

XXXX A small barrow acts as the home of 24 elves. They are gaunt, lank, and swollen of head.  They wield blunted bronze greatswords as though they were sharp as steel. They have a locked chest with 2500cp.  They can fish coins out with their spindle fingers but have lost the key. They will attempt to chase off any who come near, and will moan and howl like ghosts.

XXXX Deep at the bottom of the Salt Salt Sea is the City of the Orknies. 500 Orknies swim with the bodies of dead children while their ghosts cry for their parents.

XXXX The Outlandish Knight keeps his drowned brides in a sea cave here.

XXXX A great stone container (perhaps from the time of the Star Lords) lies just off the coast, too submerged to see without the light of the moon - for the sun never shines undimmed on Karse.  The container vomits forth a great number of boneless things (3 HD, AC as Chain but from mush, immune to normal weapons unless first slashed with Holy Water). And these wash ashore occasionally to bother the residents.  During the day they can only survive 2d6 hours before they dry out in the sun. Should the container be closed or destroyed, the boneless things will send no more.

XXXX This village of 200 people is strangely absent from both maps and politics of the surrounding country.  Whenever outsiders enter, the villagers pretend to be mad to drive away interlopers. It has kept the kings and the sheriff’s men from collecting taxes. If a man should observe them without being observed, they will act as normal people.

XXXX A group of Ram-Men Raiders live in an longship they have upturned to serve as a house.  It seems to have contaminated the water, making about 100’ of the water into a pool that turns men into beastmen. In the part of the boat that is submerged in the water there is a red gem worth 1000sp, but deeply cursed if placed in water. The raiders are led by a 4 HD beast-ogre.

XXXX A foolish monk chained himself up in a boat and cast it into the sea from the monastery in Hex XXXX. He believes he has landed in the Land of Milk and Honey and nothing will disabuse him of this notion. He will remark on how similar the Land of Milk and Honey is to his home and claim it is miraculous.  If taken to the monastery, he will merely be aghast at how similar it is and at no point recognize it is the one he left from. The brothers there, for their part, will express astonishment at how the God of Law would wash up another brother identical to the one who cast himself into the sea, upon the shore.

XXXX This river is blocked up by the Guzzlin Worm, a dragon of gluttony (8 HD, Old), who drinks it down and kills anyone from the nearby village who tries to stop him.  Inside his stomach are 200 golden fish, each worth 1gp.

XXXX In a great sinkhole “lives” an undead giant (As Stone Giant but with the immunities and life drain of a Wight)  who was cast in here by Brutus himself. His face is an awful rictus and his skull splintered when he crashed giving him the appearance of a crown. In his hole he has 500sp in cattle, and the plate of 2 knights who have tried to defeat him.

XXXX A set of standing stones are very close together, with barely enough space for a man to pass between them.  Locals call them “the Wanking Stones” for they appear uncannily like men in a circle jerk. They are, in fact, old imperial knights who attempted to jerk off in front of a witch and she turned them to stone.

XXXX An elfish knight (4HD) in shinning +1 plate and with a +1 lance and sword, guards a bridge atop a unicorn. He challenges any who would cross to a duel.  An enchantment lies upon him that any who has accepted his challenge cannot strike him. However if one tries to cross without accepting he will not oppose them. If he should be attacked without the challenge being formally accepted, he will fight viciously but be able to be struck.

XXXX A ruined coach house serves as the home of the dread giant Headless Jack (stats as Frost Giant). Jack once had two heads, but Rutha the Conqueror took off one with the Sword in the Serf.* Now he has one great and mournful head and one neck stump. He wears iron chains which burn his skin (though do no damage) due to some curse laid upon him by Rutha’s witch of a wife. Any who hear Headless Jack’s Mournful wailing must make a saving throw or “get the shits” as the locals say.  Any who have this have disadvantage on all rolls until they have a full day of rest. A save must be made only once per encounter. Headless Jack has no treasure of his own but his remaining head is worth 5000sp if brought to an official of the king.

XXXX A strange, fox-headed man (4 HD, armor as leather) sets snares for small animals.  The snares only ever catch babes, which he shoves in a sack, presumably to eat later.  The babes come from the village in hex XXXX, and they are trapped in the snares by magic.  Returning the babes home would gain a reward of 1000sp.

XXXX A small island lies where this river enters the Tulgey Wood. During the day or under the light of the full moon, the shining image of a grail may be seen in a small set of ruins from the shore. About the shore are what appear to be 6 Coracles, but they are actually giant turtles (2 HD, AC as Chain), with deceptively shaped shells.  They will wait for men to climb and appear to swim out to the lake only to dump their passengers into the swift flowing river to drown them.  They will also attack any potential victims with their wicked beaks. The grail in the ruins has been painted on with some golden paint, but it cannot be removed while retaining its value; however, a drowned victim of the turtles has a more or less fresh suit of plate that could be fished up with some difficulty.

XXXX A 10th level sorceress in the guise of a pheasant is attempting to evade a 12th level sorcerer who is currently in the guise of a man, but may change to follow her.  The sorcerer will ask if the characters have seen a pheasant passing nearby. If they confirm they have, the pheasant will take flight from bushes nearby, turning into a nightingale in the process. The sorcerer will change into a bird too and the twain will be lost in a great flock of songbirds. Should they say they haven’t seen the pheasant, the sorcerer will pass by and the sorceress will return to her form as a lady and offer to enchant one item they have to have a +1 bonus.

XXXX A parrot, rarely seen outside the warmer climes of the Desert Lands or the Land of a Thousand Idols, is flying about a copse of trees.  It tells a tale of a woman who murdered her lover when he said he must part. The woman’s description matches a dame who lives in a nearby village.

XXXX The ghost of a lost knight hovers about his harness - nothing else of his body or belongings remain.  He asks that the harness be taken to his lady love in Hex XXXX. If presented with the harness, the woman will begin to weep. The ghost will then appear.  She will rush to greet him, tears in here eyes. The ghost will indicate not to touch him, but she will kiss him anyway and in that moment die. Should the characters witness this they will automatically succeed their next three saves against death effects.

XXXX A knight, who calls himself Le Chevalier Etrange, stands among a group of standing stones.  He wears a comical suit of plate with a carved mustache and glasses. He offers his magic sword to any who can perform a list of impossible tasks (drink the ocean, tame a questing beast, lift a castle on your shoulders, etc.).  If he is asked to do it to prove it can be done, he will hand over the +1 sword without a fuss. If attacked he will reveal his true form as a Knight of Ozgin.

XXXX A set of two stone giants on enormous horses are jousting with trees for lances and a set of standing stones for lists. Their enormous horses could be sold ad breeding stock for 2250sp.

XXXX Three giant vultures (3HD, armor as leather and shield) peck at the body of a dead knight.  They occasionally lift their head to talk about the sorrow of his failed quest, and one even weeps for the knight’s lonely lady love. The knight’s plate armor is in good condition, if you could chase the vultures off.

XXXX A small hut serves as the home of a witch known as the Mother of Toads (9th level magician).  She seeks companionship, despite her bloated, hideous form. She will cast Charm Person on the character with the highest charisma. The spell, as cast by her, also makes the victim perceive her many hideous deformities as perversely sexually exciting. Her hut also contains her spellbook and a 8 potions (randomly determined by the referee).

XXXX In the ruins of a great hall, larger than any built by man, the old King of the Giants (Stone Giant, max HP) is trapped.  The roof has collapsed upon him, and the great beams have formed a right angled cross, which keeps him from rising. He will offer eternal servitude if he is freed, but he is a liar and a cheat and will be a terror upon the country if loosed. His treasure was stolen out from under him long ago.

XXXX A group of 12 reavers from the Northern Islands (1 HD chain armor, small shields, spears, bows, 12 arrows) ride gaunt ponies.  They are lead by a lord (4 HD) and are looking for a village that lies on a different island. They are too proud to ask for directions, and soon they will starve.

XXXX A group of peasants have lit candles around the body of this knight who perished while questing.  Trauma on the knight clearly show where bits have been cut off (apparently both pre and posthumously) for relics. His belongings are too rusted to be useful, though some of his bits have clearly been stolen and replaced with fakes.

XXXX The island of Yesleg Mon was once the home of the dread sorcerer Nilrem.  Now his hollowed out cave is home only to 3 rawheads who occasionally go to the mainland to eat naughty children, when the wind blows their lies the right way. They have about them 3 scrolls of 5th level spells (randomly determined by the referee) and a golden rod, 6 feet in length, worth 1000sp.

XXXX This rocky island is the home of Eucastes (9 level Fighter who can cast 1st level spells), King of the Pirates. He has a crew of 50 men for his small warship, and acts like a lord over the hundred peasants he tries to make make food on this rocky hellhole.  He often raids with his men inland. He has a spellbook (Written in Crowleyan) with every 1st level spell in it, as well as a hoard worth 2000sp, and a +2 Longsword. One of his companions, sometimes called the Old Man, is actually a demonic lieutenant of Armadeus who will gate themselves away if trouble should occur.

XXXX The ruins of a tower, all crumbled and fallen, show both evidence of fire and of great pressure, as though a fiery serpent squeezed it until it collapsed.

XXXX An elf in the guise of a handsome monk hunts in the woods with his 3 blinkdogs (who appear as bloodhounds).  He will challenge characters to games of chance involving catching game and then use his blink dogs to cheat.  If killed, he will have no treasure on him (even treasure the characters gave him while betting).

XXXX A woman lives in a lone manorhouse - the fields about are empty of peasants and her servants are missing.  In her cellar she has trapped 12 knights that she is starving. She believes them responsible for her husband’s death because a knight of Armadeus in the guise of her husband’s wraith has convinced her of this.

XXXX A small peat bog is home to 3 Boggy-men.

XXXX A village of about 100 men and women is ignored by those who live around it and is on no maps.  Everyone in the village is flush red and covered with boils, signs of the Red Death. However they function fine and seem perfectly healthy otherwise.  Interacting with them or any of their possessions will prompt a save as though one had come into contact with the Red Death’s miasma.

XXXX A small stockade serves as the home for One-Eyed Dwardie (4 HD, Plate) and his band of 133 men. Each of his men is blind (and suffers penalties associated) and Dwardie is their king.  To join his band one must give up both eyes. He is also known to take the eyes of captives, which he keeps in a great cauldron. This cauldron is used by a witch (level 3 magician) to cast divination spells. He has amassed 1000sp in goods.

XXXX This “abandoned” manor house now serves as the hideout of the Fallton Boys (each level 4 Fighting Men who can also use thieves’ skills).  They are all of noble blood but are butchers and sociopaths without compare. There is a 30% chance when encountered they have 30 men with them, but they may have alienated these men so that they have fled to nearby parts to rat them out. They have 1000sp in a chest smothered in contact poison (save or die).

XXXX A group of 30 forlorn ex-serfs hides in the woods.  They were tired of serfdom and have fled here to avoid the toils and punishments associated.  They originally wanted to act as bandits, but 10 dead serfs later they realized they aren’t cut out for it.  Now they pray to Old Gods whose names they long ago forgot that death will come to them swiftly.

XXXX A giant cross serves to mark an area of sanctuary in this otherwise uninhabited countryside.  A rogue (level 4) will not take his arm hands off the cross for fear of knights that hang around within sight and await to kill him during the day.  At night he climbs up the cross to avoid wolves and other beasts that come to eat him. He has not eaten in several days. The knights will pay 500sp for his capture and delivery to them, but both parties refuse to say the man’s crimes.

1 comment:

  1. Great hexes. I like the format- just enough detail so it is clear but so adaptable.

    Weirdly enough I'll be able to use most of them basically on the fly for a Wuxia style campaign I'm running- replace cross with Shinto archway, Knight with Samurai... the Fox Headed man as Spirit Folk... Even the monk who's reached Nirvana.