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

  • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Tales from the Cutthroat Inn: Death of the Black Spider!

Creepy crawly!
Session Date
14th and 15th Days of Midsummer's Eve, 4500 CCC  (June 14th)

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

  • Grafari spent his downtime robbing people.  He was moderately successful.
  • Red Hawk and Annapurna returned to pitfighting - defeating a pair of convicts and a single half-giant champion but losing to a pair of Alryan fighting women. Annapurna unfortunately was branded a heel for using her bow in the fight with the half-giant.
  • Green Sonya continued her process of training mice to weave spider silk.
  • Ion acted as a street preacher, but found the people of the City State to not be very separate to the doctrines of Set.
  • Einarr similarly performed religious rights, though he did so at the temple of Odin.  He gained a favor from the temple.
  • The party left on the city state with high hopes of finally ending the Son of the Spider God, now that they had both a cleric and a paladin who could do magical damage to the incorporeal creature.
  • Their journey was hindered by the presence of many flying snakes in the Dearthwood.  The Rainbow Warriors consistently ran away from these, knowing their large numbers and potent venom could mean death for even a powerful warrior.
  • Avoiding the snakes caused them to push on through the night and then rest the day of the 15th to avoid further exhaustion.  They did this in the culvert they had taken over from the winged apes.
  • Finally they were able to make their way to the Halls of the Black Spider in the early evening of the 15th day of Midsummer's Eve. 
  • They sought out the Black Spider, but were first barred by a ghostly figure (which they defeated) and then by a lesser giant spider (which they avoided).
  • Finally they entered the large, cavernous home of the Son of the Spider God. 
  • The Son seemed to be on the hunt, as it quickly webbed up Einarr who could now only see into the Son of the Spider God's strange, spectral realm.
  • However, the rest of the party soon overwhelmed the demigod. Unable to make away with the meal without exposing itself to attacks from the material plane, the creature finally met its end due to sword and spell.
Monsters Defeated
1 Spectre, The Son of the Spider God

Treasure Gained
The head of a demi-god, 500gp in reward money

XP per Player

Friday, June 14, 2019

Making Lychgate Part I: The Map

Medieval Riga, Seat of the head of the real Sword Brothers

This is the first in a series of posts where I want to outline a playable version of the city of Lychgate, the seat of the bishopric that includes the territory of Nightwick Abbey.  I have technically run it before but only in very vague terms. I want to correct that and also just have a city of my own make to run city adventures in.

Specifically I want it to be an adventure site, but perhaps a little less chaotic than the City State of the Invincible Overlord.  The first season of Netflix's Castlevania series has a scene where some priests try to mug a guy, which is about right.

I was originally inspired to do this by Jeff Russell's Middenheim project, as well as the original presentation of Middenheim and Chris Kutalik's Fever Dreaming Marlinko. More recently I've been running the City State of the Invincible Overlord again and am debating incorporating some aspects of that into my presentation. I'm still on the fence about some aspects, and part of the purpose of doing these posts is to make up my mind one way or the other.

On to the map.  I knew I wanted a map in some way based off of Riga because, as I noted in the caption to the picture, it was the seat of the real world Livonian Brothers of the Sword.  However I had to  make it line up with the River Deep and Dark River as they appear on the "official" Dark Country map.  When I was still thinking of primarily designing it by district, I turned it on its side and made this:

The districts are...
Red - The Fires (once slums but then a series of fires occurred allowing the Bishop room to build a new palace and his cronies some nice houses).
Purple - The Low District (Slums)
Orange - The Old Fortress (Middle Class and Upper Residential)
Yellow - The New City (Middle and Lower Residential and market area)
Blue - The Market District (Duh)
Green - The Shanty Town (totally burned to the ground the last time the PCs visited, likely rebuilt by refugees after the recent battle).

These are still going to be the district locations in the final version, but I debated doing a more CSIO-style street by street stocking and made this map just yesterday:

I have a hand written version with a couple of the unnamed streets on here named but no scanner.  In hindsight I have decided to rename the Street of Swords Half Moon Street.

If I end up focusing on districts then I wasted some time coming up with street names.  If I do the more CSIO model I'll still need the districts for encounter table purposes so it was worth my time.  The next couple of posts likely won't need me to make a decision one way or the other anyway.

Next up will be an overview of the city, the watch, and religion.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Quick Death in Texas

I was bored today so I guess I made a Boot Hill sandbox or something. 

Texas, 1876...
Perdido County

0103 - Van Gundy - Tiny town that serves as a rail stop on the Houston Pacific Railroad. Founded before the Texas War for Independence, it is named for a volunteer cavalry officer who died on the spot in that war.

0716 - O'Farol Ranch - A cattle ranch. Cattle have recently been able to take the short route to Martha (1013) and on the Houston Pacific Railroad from there because the Comanches who would've made that passage impossible have been "removed." Still, there are rumors of Comanche holdouts in the nearby hills.

1011 - Fort Douglas - A small US Cavalry Fort established during the Comanche Wars. Saw fierce fighting even after the removal treaty was signed. US cavalry presence is actually fairly light and many of the people stationed are actually Mexican "contractors" procured by the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

1013 - Martha - Small town and rail water stop. The locals hope the new railroad junction to Chihuahua will make their town more prosperous, but worry about the influx of both Mexicans and Chinese rail workers. A strange phenomenon known as the "Martha Lights" have been sighted at night ever since the town's founding.  Some say that they're the souls of dead Comanches.

1018 - Rail Work Camp - Camp of American and Mexican foremen and Chinese and Black workers making a train junction from Martha to Chihuahua. Overseen by the Houston Pacific Rail Company.

1219 - Plato - Mostly empty ghost town that briefly housed Anglo-Texan settlers. Founded because of a mistranslation - the settlers thought they heard a Mexican say this place was "silver," and thus a good place for a mine, but he was actually saying it was flat "like a dish." Flat desert between the two ridge-lines.

1304 - Cool Water - Sizable town (for the area) founded because of its access to water. Currently the town has taken to a religious mania. The town council has outlawed drinking, gambling, and many other of man's base pleasures. 

1405 - Cool Water Lake - The lake that Cool Water was founded to get water from. Notably it now often sees a steam paddle boat gambling parlor that utilizes the lake to avoid the laws of Cool Water.

1501 - Buck - Small town established initially to trade with Mexicans and Comanche when Anglo-Texans first started settling.

2021 - Cromwell Ranch - A cattle ranch owned by an English immigrant. He has a fierce rivalry with both the O'Farol's and the Montroses.

2024 - Quicksilver - A small town dedicated to a small cinnabar mine. Population is dwindling as locals are falling to a mystery ailment.

2316 - Salamis - Small town founded on the site of a battle with the Comanche.  The officer in charge said his victory was "greater than Salamis," though nobody bothered to remind him that was a naval battle.

2505 - Fort Jackson - Largest town in the area and home of a US Army fort. Presumed base of the PCs. Remarkably like Promise City or whatever it's called in the book.  Former staging area against the Comanches but has seen a massive troop draw down since last year.

2610 -  Montrose Ranch - a ranch owned by Canadian immigrants of Scottish ancestry.

Rumors and Jobs in Fort Jackson
The O'Farol family at O'Farol ranch is looking to hire "regulators" to help with cattle rustlers.  Locals say that they asked the Pinkerton office for assistance but were turned down for some unknown reason. Pay is to be negotiated at the ranch.

The Lyonesse Princess serves as a gambling hall, brothel, and saloon to those poor souls in Cool Water who still desire the sins of the flesh. They have recently taken on a number of Pinkertons as guards and bouncers. Combined with new ordinances forbidding tthem from dealing with the local bank, signs point to the ship having a great deal of money on board. 

A "well dressed" Indian man with a strong, Lousiana accent has been asking around in various saloons and flophouses for a group of "good men" who can take him to Fort Douglas and assure him a face to face meeting with its commander, Major Hogan. He offers $100 but insists that he must see him face to face.

Murdered men and women found brutalized in the open desert have led many locals to think that some tiny hold out of Comanches still exists. Others think it is more likely these murders were carried out by white men - Indian hunters driven mad with blood-lust now that their quarry is gone.  A scant few say these mutilations are too brutal even for a human and suggest that there may be some unknown animal about.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Characters for Nightwick Abbey

I plan on running a Nightwick game at my FLGS in addition to the Wilderlands game I started last week. I made some pre-made characters for it in case someone didn't want to take the time to make one and I gave them short backgrounds.  I thought I'd  share the backgrounds on here to give a sense of the kind of characters I imagine adventure in the Dark Country.

Note on alignment: Nightwick uses a 5 point alignment line: Lawful - Good - Neutral - Evil - Chaotic. Lawful and Chaotic characters must have magical abilities granted by the God of Law or some fowl devil respectively. Most humans are neutral but some may be Good or Evil.

Nestorios Parsimonios
  • Nestorios Parsimonios is a sage and alchemist and aspiring wizard. His alignment is Neutral.
  • Nestorios is from Zenopolis, the greatest city in the World and the last bastion of the old Empire. 
  • His father was also a wizard who seems to have had a child mostly to serve as an apprentice. 
  • He became fascinated by alchemy while reading his father's books. 
  • After his father finally died of a strange illness - unrelated to the strange substances he studied of course - he acted as an alchemist for some years. 
  • However Nestorios became bored and, after finding a text describing the strange state of the infamous Nightwick Abbey and its seeming shifting qualities, he has left for the Dark Country to observe these properties for himself.

Dame Ysentrude
  • Dame Ysentrude is a Realmish noble and paladin. Her alignment is Lawful. 
  • Ysentrude was born to an impoverished noble family in the Realm of Man. Her family was once storied and powerful, but now her title is laughed at by the common folk. 
  •  As the youngest daughter, she was likely going to be married to a noble of another kingdom, but the God of Law has shined his light on her and shown her family that she is destined for the life of a warrior. 
  • She has left her home to head to the infamous Dark Country in order to fight the Devilry there and make her name famed throughout the World. 
  • Luckily, the people of the Dark Country seem to think her family still has wealth.

Ermel the Dagger
  • Ermel the Dagger is a Karslish Ranger and purported hero of the People. Her alignment is Evil.
  • She was born in a cave in the Karslish Isles where her family was hiding from the brutal servants of a local lord. 
  • A holy man who lived in the woods near her village declared that she were destined for greatness. 
  • Ermel grew up stealing from both the forces of the evil lord and her fellow villagers, knowing that it was for her destiny. 
  • Finally she was caught and threatened with hanging by the Baron, but she was able to have a stay of execution on the promise that she would go on Crusade to the Dark Country.

Friar Schub
  • Friar Schub is a Realmish cleric and hermit. His alignment is Good.
  • He was born in the Realm of Man inside a monastery.   
  • Schub's mother died at birth and his father, a trapper, gave him to the monastery rather than raise him own his own.  
  • He eventually began to prefer the seclusion of religious meditation to his cell, but he would return after many days to harangue his brothers with fiery sermons. 
  • Recently, the Lady herself appeared to him and told of the Great Evil in Nightwick Abbey and so he joined a caravan to the Dark Country and the village of Nightwick.

  • Oberich is a dwarf rogue and refugee from the Kingdom Under the Mountain. His alignment is Neutral. He is also a fine dulcimer player.
  • He was born in the Kingdom Under the Mountain. When he was too young to remember, the Dragon came up from the mines and drove  people to the four corners of the world.
  • He lived thereafter with his parents in a series of rundown shacks as his father served as mason and goldsmith to various human lords and ladies.
  • Oberich became jealous of the treasures of men, but decided that rather than indulge in this jealousy that he would go out into the wilderness and perhaps learn about the world before the coming of men. 
  • He traveled the forests, valleys, mountains, and especially caves of the World.  Oberich spent much of it among the pagan folk of men or fighting goblins - the descendants of his brethren who turned to Devil Worship. 
  •  Recently he has heard of the hoarded gold in the ruins of Nightwick Abbey.  All gold beneath the Earth belongs to the dwarves, and he would seek to reclaim it.
  • Dirk is a Frogling fighter and criminal. His alignment is Evil.
  • He was born in Hopland, the marshy home of the Froglings. 
  • His father abandoned him when he was young.  While his mother could support he, he decided to turn to crime because he was bored. 
  •  He quickly became a leg breaker for a local gang. 
  • He tried to moonlight as a highwayman, but his gang leader found out and put a hit out on him. 
  • He came to the Dark Country to find wealth in Nightwick Abbey, more wealth than he could ever have working for the van Grouch gang.

Monday, June 3, 2019

I'm Surrounded By Idiots

Dammit! I told him to hold!

This is a wargaming idea I've been musing on for a couple of years that crystallized in my head during a shower today.  It would likely work for a variety of scales and periods but my intention is for horse and musket games in Ruritania-style imagi-nations where the characters of the generals, colonels, and units are considered important for flavor reasons. The goal is to simulate the vagaries of command and control situations in countries where generalship is based on hereditary position. It draws from the game fantasy warriors and is hopefully a sort of spiritual cousin to Fleet Captain.

Units in the game are grouped under brigadiers and those units may only perform moves and actions based on their brigadier's current orders. There are three potential orders:
  1. Assault - units must make moves that move them closer to an enemy, fire upon that enemy (in close range if possible), and charge that enemy. If the enemy appears as though it is not likely to stand, a charge is always required.
  2. Oppose - units may make moves that take them closer to an enemy and fire upon that enemy, but may not move within close range and must fall back if the enemy comes within close range.
  3. Hold - units may not take any move but may fire at enemies that come within range. Units will only move if forced to retreat.
Brigadiers have a rating between 1 and 5, 5 being the best. They also have one of the characteristics described below:
  • Brash - wants to Assault.
  • Unsure - wants to Oppose.
  • Cautious - wants to Hold.
  • Cowardly - wants to retreat a full move and Hold; however, may instead desire to save his reputation and Assault.
In the course of a battle, the CinC (which stands in for the player and has neither a rating nor a characteristic) will want to issue new orders to brigadiers in accordance with the shape of the battle. If the CinC does not have troops they command directly, they may move into base to base contact with a brigadier and change their orders. No roll is required if orders are changed in this way as the presence of the CinC makes sure these orders are carried out.

If the CinC cannot make base to base contact, or if they have personal troops who they cannot leave, they must send a runner who arrives at the brigadier in the same number of turns it would've taken the CinC to reach base to base contact in the turn they were sent out.  A CinC may send out any number of runners but only one runner may be sent per brigadier.

When a runner arrives with new orders, a die is rolled. If the result is less than the brigadier's rating, the brigadier adopts the new orders and acts accordingly. If the result is greater than the brigadier's rating, the brigadier is willful and adopts new orders in accordance with his characteristic.  If the scenario should impose modifiers to this roll, a 1 is always a success and a 6 is always a failure. A cowardly commander may never have a rating above 4 and a will always Assault on a result of 6.

If this is the first scenario using a brigadier in question, they must be named and their character and rating established. To determine their rating, roll a die.  A result of 1 OR 6 means the brigadier's rating is 1, with all other results being equal to the brigadier's rating. A separate die is then rolled for character, with the result determined per the table below.
  1. Cowardly
  2. Cautious
  3. Cautious
  4. Unsure
  5. Unsure
  6. Brash
If the brigadier has appeared in a scenario before, or it is part of a longer campaign, the character and rating from that scenario are generally kept.  However, if at the end of a scenario the brigadier has disobeyed orders AND his units were routed, a die is rolled.  If the die is equal to or less than his rating, the general's rating improves by one (never higher than 5). As an optional rule, if a Brash brigadier disobeyed orders and routed the units of the enemy, a roll may be made as above.  If the roll is GREATER THAN his rating, his rating decreases by 1.

Another optional rule is for elite units which are determined to have ratings greater than their commanders, such as grenadiers or horse guards. These are given a rating by the scenario (usually a 3,4, or 5) and if the brigadier disobeys orders then a separate roll is made for the unit.  If the die is less than or equal to the unit's rating, they perform the intended order of the CinC and not the brigadier.

Tales of the Cutthroat Inn: Love's Labors Fled!

Session Date
2nd Day of Midsummer's Eve 4500 CCC

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


  • Red Hawk and Annapurna debuted as tag team pitfighters - The Ruby Two - and one their first bouts against a pair of pirates from the Overlord's dungeons and a set of Karakhan twins.  Unfortunately, they lost their third match to a set of grappling orcs who were bear-wrestling type spiked armor.
  • The party found a note in the papers they had discovered in the Hag's chamber in the Stone Temple.  The letter is reproduced below:
Gracious and beautiful Sister, A fool thou art! Twice have your plans failed and I fear that soon it shall be thrice or fourice! Your attempt to raise Glaukos was ill-considered. Even the idiot second sister could’ve predicted his keepers would be more willful than you expected, if she was not dithering in the mountains looking for the Scorching Vault! I would say that she is ineffective as you, but at least she has yet to find the tools for her plan. You have already bungled two! Howla and Vanis have gone full again and still no mist comes to kill the men of the City State. You are lucky our sisters in the Court do not know of your failings - at least I think they do not. If this Midsummer’s Eve passes without my getting an earful from them I will be most surprised. With love and charity, The First Sister
  • With this letter in mind, Grafari sought out the sage Angordis the Venerable who informed him that even in ancient times (c. 4000 years ago) the Scorching Vaults were already a ruin sought by adventurers. It was some sort of weapon forge - though he insisted forge was not quite the right term - for a civilization long dead. In order to make up for the price of the sage, Grafari planned an executed a series of muggings.
  • Green Sonya spent time trying to teach some rats she can talk to how to sew spider silk into garments.
  • The party then elected to go to the Stone Temple and hopefully clear it so it could serve as a new base.
  • While passing through Silver Street in the early morning, they saw a large group of guards - 3 captains and 12 regulars.
  • The captain, an Alryan fellow, stared at Green Sonya agape and declared "I must have her!"
  • Sonya, taking this as flirting, decided to lead him on a bit in hopes of diffusing the situation, but once it became clear he meant to literally possess her - and keep her in a cage in the city jail(!) - Sonya thought better of it and fled.
  • She ended up cornered by a group of guards in a slim alley off of the Street of Crafts.  Luckily, the rest of the party was able to climb up onto nearby buildings during the chase and meet her there with a rope.
  • Red Hawk used his companion - Big Red the Hawk - to distract the guards while Grafari lowered a rope for their companion from a hidden location.  Green Sonya scrambled up and out of sight of the guards.
  • They were then able to make it to the temple without incident.  Outside they dressed themselves in the robes they had found last time, feeling these were the robes of the priests of Pretressa.
  • Sonya and Red Hawk worked to convince the mephits which guarded the temple that they were the true priests, this time apparently getting the lie(?) to stick.
  • They were then joined by Ion Skamos, who had apparently made it to the temple before them.
  • They explored the underground again making sure any sewer monsters that had come up were exterminated or driven away.
  • The first set they found was a group of gricks which they scared off with fire and yelling, relying on the creature's not having resistance to fire damage in hopes that it would drive them away. It did so.
  • The second was a group of goblins who they tried to make a deal with, but failing to warn them about the gricks that had recently fled into the sewer meant that the party soon heard the sounds of the goblins' untimely demise.
  • Finally, after establishing the general layout of the place, the party bumped into a group of spiders from the Temple of the Spider God.  Luckily Sonya knew where she could get a device that pacified the creatures - since she is an initiate of Nephthlys, and returned shortly with it and pied-piper the spiders back to the temple.
  • With that done, the party spent some time discussing what they would do next - more adventures in the City State? Finally slaying the Son of the Spider God? Investigating the lost pirate fortress of Glaukos the Impious? Figuring out where this Scorching Vault is and what interest it would hold for a coven of hags?  Hopefully we'll find out soon!
Monsters Defeated
Sorta none? A bunch were driven out.

Treasure Gained
Real Estate

Xp Per Player