Friday, 30 December 2011

A Map of Walrus City

This map is of Walrus City in the Walrus Freehold

1. The Port
1a Harbour wall and north beacon
1b South Beacon
1c Allurist Pier
1d Derriss Pier
1e Gorronor Pier
1f The Warehouses

2 Defences
2a The Citadel and Barracks
2b South Gate
2c East Gate

3 Trade and Finance
3a The Harbour Market
3b The Southgate Market
3C Bronze Street Market
3d Westgate Tax House
3e Southgate Tax House
3f The Guildhall
3g The Bank of Walrus City

4 Temples and Shrines
4a Temple of Vought the Waverider
4b Chapel of Rhondus the Protector
4c Shrine of Sturnornel the Dilligent
4d Shrine of Haaken the Beastmaster

5 Merchants Houses
5a House of Arken
5b House of Gelbrennor
5c House of Sarderozi
5d House of Hearthbreaker
5e House of Shoresighter

6 Rest and Recreation
6a The Garden of Roses
6b The Garden of Tulips
6c The Amphitheater
6d The Gruggerball Pitch

7 Inns and Taverns (also see Innkeepers of Walrus City)
7a The Worried Warlock Tavern
7b The Trollhunter Arms
7c The Black Wolf Tavern
7d The Crossed Swords Tavern
7e The Old Owl Inn
7f The Golden Dragon Inn

8 Other Locations of Note
8a Walrus City Cemetary
8b The Law Court

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

NPCs of Walrus City - the Merchants

These five non-player characters are all part of the collection of merchants who run Walrus City in the Walrus Freehold. There are other merchants who are involved who keep a lower profile or maybe just aren't as interesting.

Sir Nestorius Arken

11th level fighter, Align Unaligned, Gender Male
Str 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Dex 13, Con 8, Cha 15
Equipment: Plate mail +1, Sword +2, Bag of Holding, warhorse + barding
Sir Nestorius is probably foremost of the merchant barons of Walrus City, and he not only bankrolls the rather small city guard, but also has a sizeable mercenary force of his own whom he can command in battle. Sir Nestorius is still quite brave and hardy, and regularly travels out into the wilderness to visit fur trappers, walrus hunters and lumberjacks to enquire about their goods and prices. In the event of a major threat to Walrus City, he sometimes acts as default commander of the city forces. 
Appearance: Sir Nestorius is a burly middle-aged man, standing 6’2”, 220lb with greying blond hair and a big handlebar moustache. He does not normally wear armour around town, instead preferring the tunic and robe of the rich gentry and lesser nobility.


8th level Elf Spellsword, Align Neutral, Male
Str 12, Int 15, Wis 15, Dex 10, Con 10, Cha 13
Equipment: Chain mail +2, Sword +2 (allows fly 1/day for 1 turn), wand of acid arrows
Gelbrennor has left his birthplace in the Silverbow Clan and joined the humans in Walrus City because, unlike most elves, Gelbrennor enjoys the merchant lifestyle and is more interested in making money than magic. He has had mixed success both financially and socially. Among well-educated and cultured people he thrives and is eager to tell stories from his elven background and own experience. Among common people he comes across as insufferable arrogant, aloof and annoying.
Appearance: Gelbrennor is 5’1” tall, weighs 110lb and has jet black hair kept in a pony tail. His face is not quite as handsome as some elves, but it reflects wisdom, age and perhaps a little cynicism. He often wears his chain mail, even around town.

Lady Sarderozi

11th level thief, Align Chaotic, gender Female
Str 10, Int 14, Wis 14, Dex 16, Con 13, Cha 16
Equipment: Cloak of Protection +2, Bracers of Defence AC 4, shortsword +2 +4 if backstabbing
Lady Sarderozi is a merchant who does whatever she wants to stay ahead of the competition. She is prepared to deal with the Red Hand, pirates and even chaotic humanoids if she thinks they are willing to do business. She is not afraid to undermine and damage competitors if she can get away with it. Like many merchants in Walrus City, she makes most of her money in ivory from walruses and mammoths, but is quite happy to make money in other ways.
Appearance: Lady Sarderozi deliberately looks as inoffensive and innocent as possible. She is 5’4”, 120lb and has shoulder-length blonde hair and grey eyes. She looks very pretty and sweet, and very few folks see her ruthless side until it is too late.

Sir Magnarrus Hearthbaker

10th level halfling defender, align Lawful, gender male
Str 15, Int 12, Wis 14, Dex 10, Con 13, Cha 13
Equipment: Plate mail, shield, shortsword +1
Sir Magnarrus is the counterbalance to the greed and thievery that goes on among Walrus City merchants. He plays straight, and expects others to do so. Magnarrus likes to think of himself as a patron of the city, and will often provide money for good causes he approves of. Sir Magnarrus has taken an interest in land-based farming, and imports a lot of food into Walrus City. He buys food off nearby farmers in the Walrus Freehold, but also imports from other regions such as Teiglin.
Appearance: Sir Magnarrus is burly for a halfling at 3’5”, weighing 130lb and looking more like a well-groomed dwarf than a typical halfling. His curly brown hair merges into sideburns that he is proud of.

Lady Vestillis Shoresighter

10th level fighter, align neutral gender female,
Str 14, Int 12, Wis 13, Dex 15, Con 13, Cha 11
Equipment: Leather Armour, Longsword, Crossbow +2, 20 bolts
Vestillis is a reformed pirate who is trying to go legitimate. She has found her niche in Walrus City, in shipbuilding and providing passage to both people and cargo across the Walrus Channel and further to the rest of Toutus. She has visited both the Godsblood Straits and Tredgor and Luthien in Teiglin, and makes regular voyages to the Varreshiss islands. Lady Vestillis is business-like, and not charitable. She expects to be paid for what she does, but she also respects those who trade fairly with her, and will do the best job she can with regular customers.
Appearance: Vestillis is curvy and average height (130lb, 5’3”) and is getting on in years (45 years old). She is descended from the local tribes, and has reddish brown hair, pale freckly skin and a stern, weather-beaten face. She is nearly always dressed for sea voyages in waterproofed leathers. 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Minotaurs of Kaelaross

The normal minotaurs of Kaelaross are physically very similar to those of other worlds such as Mystara or Greyhawk. In Kaelaross minotaurs are not natural animals - they are never female, and no young minotaurs have yet been found. They are creatures of chaos, particularly favoured by the chaos gods Slargor (god of war and bloodshed) and Skreech (goddess of insanity, berserkers and psychopaths). Most have emerged from the Planes of Chaos through the Chaos Portals into Kaelaross. A rare few are created from particularly bloodthirsty and degenerate humans who have become so brutally successful at hunting other humans that even the chaos gods notice their bloody prowess. They are "gifted" by being transformed into bestial minotaurs.

Minotaurs are often found alone - they are not the most sociable or cooperative of creatures. Even minotaur bosses and minotaur kings are rarely encountered with their minions - they tend to dominate a wide territory in which they allow other lesser minotaurs to live and hunt, and they often have only a handful (1d6) of normal minotaurs in tow. In the event of two minotaurs meeting there is a (usually non-lethal) wrestling match. Once dominance is established, the two often go their separate ways unless there is a reason to work together (such as a common foe). Violent and fatal clashes between minotaurs sometimes occur, either because of a perceived sleight to ones dominance, or just because one of them was in a bad mood and decided to take it out on another minotaur.

Stats are for Labyrinth Lord but should work for Basic/Expert D&D

Name          Normal Minotaur   Minotaur Boss   Minotaur King
No. Enc.      1d6               1               1
Alignment     Chaotic           Chaotic         Chaotic
Movement      120'              120'            120'
Armor Class   6                 4               2
Hit Dice      6                 9               12
Attack        1 weapon or       1 weapon or     1 weapon or
              1 gore/1 bite     1 gore/1 bite   1 gore/1 bite
THAC0         14                12              10
Damage        by weapon +2 or   by weapon +3 or by weapon +4 or
              1d6/1d6           1d6+1/1d6+1     1d6+2/1d6+2
Save As       F6                F9              F12
Hoard Class   XX                XX + XXI        XXII
Size          large (8' tall)   large (9' tall) huge (11' tall)
Type          humanoid          humanoid        humanoid
Intelligence  7 (low)           9 (average)     11 (very)
XP            320               1000            1200

In combat all types of minotaur can either wield a two-handed weapon such as a polearm, battleaxe or greatsword or else attack with their natural weapons - biting and goring. It is possible that they have found a magic weapon they can use. The most terrible and strongest minotaur kings occasionally wield one of Skreech's Decapitators. Normal minotaurs do not wear armour, but minotaur bosses and kings may do so. Minotaurs are excellent trackers and can follow a trail as well as any elf ranger. If tracking a bleeding creature (wounded and not fully healed), the minotaur will follow the trail without error and without hesitation.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Salty Forest

Formerly known as the Urdusberg Forest, the Salty Forest was partially submerged in the Summoning as the rest of the Urdus isthmus sank. Interestingly, it was not simply tilted with one end dipping into the seas and the other end high and dry - the whole forest was shifted downwards to about 2-4ft below the high tide mark. Many of the trees have died from too much salt around their roots, and these are dead trees, rotting where they stand or have fallen. A number have actually survived, turning the Salty Forest into a temperate quasi-mangrove swamp. 

The tides come and go, and at low tide a lot more soil and roots are exposed to the air but the vegetation both live and dead tend to stop the water from flowing back to sea easily, turning the Salty Forest into a swamp with many pools of standing brackish water.

There are islands where the forest floor pokes above the waters even at high tide - these islands are sought-after by creatures both intelligent and instinctive that do not like spending much time wading through the water that for humans is typically waist deep. Some of the original forest inhabitants that survived the initial flooding have moved to these islands. None of the islands are larger than a mile across, and many are only a hundred yards or so in diameter, but they are important refuges from the salt water. 

Although eerie and apparently deathly with half of its trees dead and rotting from salt poisoning, the swamp is actually full of life. Fish that can cope with shallow salt water, amphibians that don't mind sea salt and many types of bird (especially coastal birds and waders), reptile and insect can all be found here. In between the surviving trees (which are now putting out seeds and saplings of their own) there are reeds and sea grasses. Some folk assume that swamps are full of undead creatures - for the Salty Forest this is untrue as there have been no human disasters or battles in the forest that would result in undead rising from their graves. 

During the Toutus Empire, the Urdusberg Forest was reserved for hunting by noblemen - peasants and common folk were not allowed in (though poachers would often defy these rules). Since the Summoning and the flooding of the forest no human, halfling or other civilized race has paid much attention to the forest - it has been abandoned. Some creatures from the Chaos portals in the ruined cities of Aerisport and Maquosmouth have found themselves here, but not many. For the most-part, the Salty Forest is wilderness, left alone in the battle between Law and Chaos. 
Notable inhabitants include:

  • A company of 30 men from the Traitor Legion have set up a fort on an island. Their intentions are unknown but unlikely to be good. 
  • A band of lizardmen have become nomads within the forest, moving around from one island to another. They are known to be led by a particularly vicious and powerful lizardman who calls himself the Lizard King. 
  • Rostorros the Treant is known to wander the Salty Forest. Although he mourns the death of many of his trees, he accepts that the nature of the forest has changed, and that his new trees need to be salt-tolerant.  
  • A network of dryads has been decimated as over half of them died with their trees during the initial flooding. Those that survived have made contact with each other and watch out for each other. 
  • A number of small juvenile black dragons have roosted in the swamp. They probably have not gathered much treasure yet, but at least one has been flying back and forth to Maquosmouth, a ruined city with plenty of abandoned wealth. 

Random Encounters in the Salty Forest - Roll 1d8+1d12

Roll   Result
2         Gorgon or Catoblepas (DMs choice)
3         Treant (1 in 6 chance of being Rostorros himself)
4         Dryad
5         Snake, Pit Viper
6         Spider, Giant Black Widow
7         Lizardman
8         Placodont
9         Giant Seagull
10      Boar, Giant
11      Herd Animal (Swamp Deer, 2HD or Swamp Stag 3 HD)
12      Toad, Giant
13      Scarlet Crab
14      Normal Crocodile
15     Ogre (if more than 5, one will be a leader type)
16     Giant Crab
17     Troll
18     Traitor Legion Patrol (1d4+1 chaotic human fighters level 3-5)
19     Snake, Rock Python
20    Black Dragon

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Ruins of Cynidea

The Cynideans were a civilization that ruled a number of large, hot, dry islands in the south-east of known Kaelaross from BY-1200 to BY 223 when a great dust storm covered the remnants of the civilization with the desert. During their time, the Cynideans were great city-builders, producing temples, tombs, fortresses, palaces and other such monuments. The Cynideans worshipped strange gods alien to most clerics of Kaelaross today - Gorn, Madarura, Usamigaras and Zargon.

Temples: The temples built by the Cynideans were generally above ground, but often had crypts and catacombs below ground.
Tombs: The royalty and nobility of Cynidea could afford their own personal tombs, and these were often as small pyramids, or else dug straight into a rock face. The Cynideans took burial and proper preparation of the body for the afterlife very seriously, with much thought and effort going into royal tombs, including treasured possessions, and vicious traps to protect the deceased from villainous tomb robbers.
Palaces: The kings, nobles, high priests and merchant-princes of Cynidea liked to live big - as well as places inside towns and cities, they often had their own retreats out in the countryside, guarded by a garrison of soldiers and tended by dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of servants and slaves. 

Fortresses: Cynideans often built fortresses at strategic locations, such as outside a city, on a restless frontier or at junctions on important trade routes. These fortresses were usually thick outer walls studded with towers, with buildings and rooms on the inside of the walls, surrounding a central courtyard. There were variants, including forts with central keeps or with concentric rings of walls and building. 
Cities: There were twenty five recorded cities of Cynidia from written histories, yet adventurers and explorers from Bellenos and the other recent empires only managed to find twelve of them. The ruined cities all used to have at least 5000 citizens and slaves - anything smaller was considered a town or village. Although some of the cities are disorganised masses of hovels and huts, the major ones were carefully planned and neatly laid out for maximum grandeur and magnificence. 
Pyramids: Although originally created as tombs for kings of Cynidea, pyramids evolved into more than just a single burial chamber, and often later constructed as vast complexes with dozens of storeys and hundreds of rooms in which priests, servants and soldiers worked. 

In the fifty years before its collapse, Cynidea was taken over by the emerging Empire of Bellenos, which has in turn collapsed during the Summoning. The ruins can be found dotted throughout the islands, including Valcio, the large island on which Tekhumis the Desert Port is now situated.
The ruins so far discovered close to Tekhumis are:

  • The Lost City of Abraxos
  • The Buried Pyramid (where the module B4: the Lost City is located)
  • The Tower of Indissa
  • The outposts of Huskoss, Eckragg and Yippross

p.s. If you're admiring the pictures, they were done by David Roberts of the British Royal Academy on his visits to Egypt and the Holy Land, and they are in the public domain.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Dwellers in the Twilight Forest

The Twilight Forest is an ancient Taiga (cold, coniferous forest) like that which covers much of Scandinavia, Russia and Canada. Its western borders are in the eastern quarter of the Walrus Freehold, and it continues eastwards across much of northmost Toutus. It is bitterly cold during the winters, and mildly cool in the summers - survival is possible, but not easy, and starvation or freezing are very real possibilities for those who have not prepared shelter and food stores for the winter.  Although there are some wild animals that live here, it is generally the humanoid inhabitants that get the most attention.

Silverbow Clan: This clan of elves is centred around the Silverbow Village, and the village itself is only 600 strong. However, there are plenty of elves scattered widely around the Twilight Forest, and although the elves themselves don't talk about how many they are, there are probably another 4500 elves beyond the village. The members of the Silverbow clan are shy and elusive - humans don't find the Silverbow elves - they find the humans, often at Heragon village, the remotest outpost of civilization in the Walrus Freehold. The Silverbow clan are known to have links with the fey - dryads, treants, sprites, pixies and the like, and may have fey allies when confronting enemies.

Orchunter Clan: The elf rangers of the Orchunter Clan are known for their tactic of training predators to fight along side them - particularly wolves, giant weasels and brown bears. The Orchunter village is conveniently on the Salmoning River, the same river that Hurin Castle, Stalim and Trislem all sit on, so there is regular contact with civilized humans, including trade with merchants willing to brave the icy river or wild forest. Unusually for elves, the Orchunter clan go underground during winter - they have dug out a series of storerooms, living rooms and dormitories underneath the village where the vicious winter blizzards cannot get to them.

Cheruscu barbarians: These human barbarians have fallen from a grand and fearsome past - over five centuries ago the Cheruscu fought a long and bloody war against the Toutus Empire. Unlike some barbarian tribes that simply fled or surrendered when the soldiers of Toutus came, the Cheruscu inflicted a number of brutal defeats on the proud Toutatian army, including the notorious massacre of three regiments ambushed in the Twilight Forest. It was a war the barbarians could not win, and grudgingly they shifted further north where Toutatian expeditions were unlikely to reach. They have never got on well with civilized humans, and there is good reason. The Cheruscu are chaos worshippers, particularly Slargor (god of war and slaughter, a natural choice for war-like barbarians) Bhael (god of fear and darkness) and Havok (goddess of disasters, including blizzards and plagues). Any prisoners taken (whether human, demihuman or humanoid) can expect to be sacrificed in a messy way. The people of Stalim, Walrus City and other towns and villages hate and fear the Cheruscu with good reason.

Northern Rakastas: These cat people are rare, and seem even rarer due to their elusiveness. They have no large-scale organisation or plans, but wander around the forest in prides of 5-20 individuals, never staying in one place more than a week. They generally leave other folk alone, as they consider only four-hoofed animals to be proper food, but in harsh winters when food is scarce, they could view lone travellers as potential prey. The Silverbow clan have had some success in contacting them but even then the Rakastas are not interested in trade or business (a concept that some of them don't get), but will share stories, legends and poems instead.

Winter Centaurs are a varied and unpredictable subspecies of centaur. They all have pale skin on their human parts, white or dappled grey on their horse parts and blonde hair, and they all dress in animal furs and hides to keep warm. However, while some stay neutral and will leave civilized folk alone, about a third of them are chaotic and are vicious raiders. These chaotic centaurs may turn to worship the chaos gods, especially Slargor and Havok. Their interaction with the human Cheruscu barbarians varies - some chaotic winter centaurs will simply attack them as another target of opportunity, while others will ally themselves with the Cheruscu in order to attack a common foe such as a large caravan or a fortified village. Winter centaurs are always nomadic, wandering around the Twilight Forest looking for food and avoiding foes. It is interesting that the chaotic centaurs will generally not attack other centaurs unless they feel actually offended or threatened - unprovoked centaur-on-centaur attacks are unheard of.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Dungeon of the Month December 2011

As Dungeon of the Month, I present to you the Abandoned Chapel of Slargor, a short dungeon for characters of levels 3-5, for use with Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons or Labyrinth Lord. 

This chaotic shrine to the deity of war and slaughter is located in the Godsblood Straits, on the south edge of the south-western edge of the Confederacy of the Ten Peaks, not far from the human village of Ferrian. It had been discovered, attacked and looted by adventurers 75 years ago, just before the Wars between the Empires began. Since then the cult has not returned, but other creatures have taken its place, making the chapel their lair.

  1. Antechamber: This chamber is empty apart from some inanimate skeletons left from when the chapel was sacked. Anyone entering will trigger off a magical effect - a disembodied, large mouth will appear above the double doors and warn them:
     "This area has been proscribed by the authorities of the Toutus Empire. Anyone entering here with the intention of worshipping Chaotic deities will be arrested and tried for treason, and faces death or life hard labour. Have a nice day."
  2. Main Chapel: 3 giant geckos live here (hp 12, 20, 7, stats as per rule books) This large chamber has six large columns of reddish brown marble and a dais (raised area) at the south end on top of which is a vandalised and partially demolished statue of Slargor. There is still a faint aura of Chaos about this place if anyone tries to use Detect Chaos, but there are no significant effects. The three geckos will scuttle across the ceiling among the pillars, and will attack any intruders that stay too long, or anyone on their own (they are more reluctant to attack groups of humanoids). 
  3. Store Room: This room is filled with rotten rubbish, including smashed up crates and barrels that used to hold supplies. The food that had been here has rotted away, but there are still 6 giant centipedes amongst the rubbish (hp 2 each, stats as per rulebook). 
  4. Heddreth's Lair: Heddreth is a mad cleric who has taken up residence in this chamber and will try to recruit any adventurers who don't attack him. If the PCs are able to talk to him, he has a wildly ambitious, Quixotic idea of rebuilding a massive temple here and attracting thousands of followers He, of course, would be the high priest. He hasn't had much success yet (even the bugbears next door think he's crazy) but he's sure it's only a matter of time. He has a table, chair and bed.
    Heddreth, 5th level cleric: AC 3, Move 120', HP 23, Att 1 warhammer or spell, THAC0 14, Dam 1d6+2 (warhammer) or by spell, Ml 12 (fearless), Align Chaotic, XP value
    STR 14, INT 8, WIS 16, DEX 10, CON 14, CHA 8
    Equipment: Chain Mail +1, Shield, Warhammer +1, Unholy Symbol (silver & bloodstone worth 150gp), 2 vials unholy water, 645gp, 2310sp, 2 amber gems worth 100gp each
    Spells (as per D&D): Hold Person, Silence 15' radius, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic
  5. Bugbear living chamber: 4 bugbears live here (hp 12, 11, 13, 17, stats as per rulebooks plus one javelin each, thrown for 1d6 damage). In this room there are a number of barrels with salted, dried meat and various animal hides hanging from the wall including the hide of a giant gecko, and a barrel with 6 spare javelins. 
  6. Bugbear dorm: There are 6 bugbears here plus (hp 16, 16, 21, 10, 16, 7, stats as per rulebooks) and 10 straw-filled mattresses. They can hear any fight happening in room 7 and will rush in to investigate. 
  7. Bugbear chief's room: The bugbear chief is a tough customer, and he has 2 bodyguard/drinking buddies. The bodyguards are as normal bugbears (hp 22, 21, as per rulebook, plus one javelin each thrown for 1d6 damage)
    Bugbear chief: AC 4, HD 5, hp 31, THAC0 14, Att 1 morning star for 2d4+1 damage, Ml 11, Align Chaotic, XP value
    The bugbear chief has a throne (carved wooden chair) underneath which is a sack with his treasure: 6200sp, 1400gp, 110pp, 3 small aquamarine gems worth 150gp each and a scroll with 3 magic-user spells - Levitate, Web and Water Breathing.
  8. Empty apart from inanimate rat skeletons. 
  9. The gray room. This room is covered both floor and walls in gray slate flagstones. There is what appears to be a pool of liquid in the middle - it is actually a gray ooze (hp 13, stats as per rulebook) that will attack anyone that approaches within striking distance. 
  10. The Undead Priest: The door to this room is locked from the inside, and an Open Doors check or Pick Locks (by a thief) is needed. Once inside there is a raised stone platform in the middle of the room on top of which are the skeletal remains of a priest of chaos, still clutching his warhammer and dressed in tattered and faded ceremonial robes. The priest is actually an undead wight (hp 15, stats as per rulebook - although it wields a warhammer, it still inflicts the standard energy drain rather than normal damage). There is a secret compartment in the stone platform (as per finding secret doors) which, if opened, releases a burst of acidic gas - all within 10' must save vs poison or suffer 2d6 damage plus temporary blindness for 1d6 turns. Once the gas has dissipated the treasure can be retrieved from the compartment (a golden amulet worth 360gp, a platinum unholy symbol of Slargor worth 600gp, a platinum and coral ring worth 300gp and a carnelian-studded silver and steel ceremonial dagger worth 450gp (non-magical but still functions as a weapon)).
    If the DM is feeling generous, the gas trap is crudely constructed - any thief trying to find and disable traps gets +25% to both rolls, but only if the thief announces he/she is doing so. 
  11. empty
  12. Ghoul Pack: 4 ghouls (hp 8, 5, 12, 13, stats as per rulebook) used to be acolytes of Chaos who were slain by the forces of Law when the chapel was sacked. They have a special hatred of lawful clerics and will target any cleric over other humanoids. 
  13. Shadows: This room is dominated by a hemisphere of magical Continual Darkness centred on a skull on the floor in the middle of the room. This may distract PCs from the corners where 2 shadows lurk (hp 7, 11, stats as per rulebooks). The skull has something rattling around in it - if the darkness is dispelled or a thief makes a successful pickpocket roll in the magical darkness a large peridot worth 700gp is found. Smashing the skull has a 50% chance of ruining the gem. 
  14. Spider Lair: This room is filled with cobwebs. Anyone entering here must make a Strength check each round or be snared as per a web spell. The webs are fairly damp, so using torches to burn them will clear a 5'x5'x5' volume per round while a pint of oil on the floor will burn away a 10'x10'x10' volume. Any disturbance of the webs attracts the attention of 2 giant black widow spiders (hp 15, 9, stats as per rulebook) who of course can move around their own cobwebs with ease. Anyone attacked while entangled in the webs suffers -4 to hit and +4 penalty to AC, with no dex bonus. 
XP for monsters calculated with Labyrinth Lord: #2 195xp, #3 36xp, #4 350xp, #5 260xp, #6 390xp, #7 330xp, #9 65xp, #10 80xp, #12 116xp, #13 94xp, #14 160xp, total = 2076xp
Treasure apart from mundane equipment and individual coins
room 4: 1226gp + magic items
room 7: 3,020gp
room 10: 1710gp
room 13: 700gp
total = 6656gp

Monday, 5 December 2011

Magical Groups in Toutus

The College of Magic in Brandir is based on the members of the College of Magic in Erkhart who fled the city with whatever they could carry during the Summoning. Although the new capital of Teiglin is now Thaldion, Brandir was chosen because one mage who was instrumental in the evacuation had a magic carpet that was attuned to flying back to the mage's home in Brandir town. This carpet became a vital shuttle between doomed Erkhart and Brandir, helping both mages and books to escape.
The College of Magic still fulfils its primary role of educating new generations of magically gifted youngsters in magic use. The grand town house in Brandir has numerous classrooms, and there are 15 teaching mages and usually about 60 pupils and apprentices at any one time. There are also 5 research mages who, as their titles suggest, prefer not to deal with annoying teenagers but delve deeper into the mysteries of magic, both investigating rare spells, and occasionally creating new spells of their own.

The Students of Gerontium in Maquosmouth are the human defenders of the abandoned city. They are former pupils of Gerontium, a mage of great power and expertise in creating golems and animated statues, and they use such constructs as their main weapons against the hordes of chaos that have invaded the city.

The Magocracy of Najask is the ruling elite of this northern city. There is a ruling council of 10 mages, each of whom has a few apprentices serving under them for 45 magic users in total. Although the Magocracy has elements of a college (some mages used to be teachers of magic before the Summoning), the focus has now shifted to governing the city and protecting it from the forces of chaos. The Magocracy tries to keep good relations with both the clerics of the city and the warriors in the city guard but mages are not the easiest of folk to work along side, and friction will occur.
The Magocracy can be quite tough with visiting mages - they are expected to present themselves to the authorities, and then to behave themselves while visiting. Trying to disguise spellcasting abilities can be treated as badly as spying or subversion, while unauthorised spellcasting, especially if there is damage done, is dealt with harshly. If townsfolk are killed because of an unauthorised fireball or lightning bolt, the mage will be wanted for murder. 

The Guild of Wizards is a small but interesting guild in Walrus City. They are mages for hire, who help out when others need magical advice and assistance. Unlike traditional guilds, the Guild of Wizards functions as a single company with individual mages as partners. The Guild of Wizards has made a speciality of using spells such as Move Earth, Woodform, Stoneform, Wall of Stone and Disintegrate for large construction projects, which has upset some of the more traditional guilds such as the Masons and the Carpenters guilds. There are only 6 mages in the Guild of Wizards, but they are all powerful enough to warrant the title Wizard.

The Keepers of the Iron Tower are found in the Varreshiss Island of Serridor. They live alongside the elves who share an interest in arcane matters. Before the Summoning the Iron Tower started off as a neutral meeting-place between elves and men, and it was often magic users who negotiated with the elves. Over time, the Iron Tower also became an informal meeting place for magic users, and the Keepers of the Iron Tower were formed to keep meetings peaceful. Since the Summoning and collapse of the Varreshiss Duchy, the Iron Tower has become a refuge to all sorts of mages. Some mages use it only temporarily, when they need to meet someone at the Iron Tower, or when they wish to avoid something or someone in their homeland. The Keepers of the Iron Tower are twelve mages who are permanent residents looking after the tower and providing hospitality and security. 
Visitors to the Iron Tower are not just restricted to those of the Varreshiss Island - members of the Magocracy of Najask and other mages of the Walrus Freehold will visit the Iron Tower as a meeting place or refuge, and members of the College of Magic in Brandir are aware of the Iron Tower even if they don't go there often. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Riggennaxxas, Lord of the Frozen North

Riggennaxxas is a huge white dragon that dwells to the north of the Walrus Freehold. He is very old for a white (at least 550 years) and although some humans think that white dragons are stupid, they are just slow learners - and Riggennaxxas has had plenty of experience and time to think things through.

Riggennaxxas does not often venture into human lands and when he does, it is usually at night, silently soaring above unsuspecting towns and farmsteads. He does not attack humans or demihumans if unprovoked, but will happily snatch cattle and horses from fields without stopping in flight - he doesn't care about the distinction between wild animals and livestock. 
When Riggennaxxas has attacked settlements, it has been in retaliation for some perceived wrong, and he will angrily announce his reasons for attacking, leaving survivors to learn the lesson. He has twice attacked Walrus City because adventurers set off from there on expeditions to kill him and loot his lair. The authorities of Walrus City now strongly discourage further attempts - lesson learnt!

Riggennaxxas's lair is a series of huge icy caverns dug into a glacier, with room for him to take off and land through a hole in the roof of the main chamber. His "pets" are a pack of 6 polar bears that cannot get out of the caves so they rely on food from the dragon. Despite this confinement, they are very loyal to him. 
He particularly prizes gems, and his lair had many precious and semi-precious gems embedded into frozen walls and ceilings - prizing them out of their icy setting without damage could be tricky. Riggennaxxas does not care much for ivory, but he is aware that other creatures, particularly humans,  consider it almost as valuable as gold, so when he kills a mammoth or walrus for food, he carefully removes the tusks and puts them in a side-chamber of his lair. He has acquired a stockpile of about 120 tusks, each worth 500 gp. 
As well as gems and tusks, Riggennaxxas has large amounts of silver and gold as befits a dragon of his standing. 

Riggennaxxas can be negotiated with - even traded with, but as a proud and superior dragon he is a touchy customer who always wants to come out on top in a bargain. He has traded with a band of elves who set off from the Twilight Forest, selling them mammoth ivory and breathing on a magic weapon that required a white dragon's frosty breath to fulfil its enchantment. However, in return they had to slay a frost salamander that had encroached on Riggennaxxas' territory. Similarly, a band of marauding frost giants are now killing the mammoths and caribou the dragon normally feeds on - any adventurers who dealt with these (either at Riggennaxxas' request or on their own initiative) would be in a better position to negotiate. 

Riggennaxxas does not directly rule over any creatures except the polar bears in his lair, but he knows about imposing his authority on nearby settlements and tribes when needed. This is true of several villages of elves in the northern Twilight Forest, and some bands of ogres who roam the Icemud Tundra. They will all leave him alone for the most part but if he asks anything or if they have a common enemy, they defer to him.