Friday, 27 January 2012

Elkhorn Island

Elkhorn Island, just north of the Godsblood Straits, is sparsely inhabited with no major settlement. Before the Summoning it was claimed by the Duchy of Urdus. However, it is generally accepted that what went on there was not accurately recorded. Some say that there was a cult of chaos on the island that performed some sort of unspeakable rite, while others say that a flaming green star crashed to earth there three hundred years ago.

These days the biggest population is the shrine of Adonor which sits on an old site that contains ruins that predate the Toutus Empire. There are five clerics here, one of whom is always a high priest. They will not say why a shrine is maintained here, and especially why a high priest is required, but they are friendly and helpful to visitors. Visitors are warned not to stray too far from the shrine, as the clerics do not patrol the woods.

The woods of Elkhorn Island include a selection of wildlife, including a clan of werebears (most of whom are true-breeding, not infected). The werebears have a truce with the lawful clerics of the shrine, and the two groups do not interfere with each others' business.

The truth about the island is disturbing. There was an ancient temple of Bhael on the site where the shrine of Adonor now stands. Chaotic cultists flocked to it from all over Toutus until BY 1312 when the Toutus Army invaded and put a stop to the cult. However, in its final hours when the cultists saw the army approaching, they appealed to their dark overlord Bhael to assist them, and a powerful demon fell from the sky. This demon slew many Toutatian soldiers and a few cultists as well (the forces of Chaos do not care about collateral damage). The force of soldiers had come prepared, and advising and assisting the commanders were some powerful clerics of Adonor. They used powerful clerical magic as well as divine assistance from their patron - first they tried to banish the demon back to the Planes of Chaos, but somehow it resisted. They did manage to imprison it deep under the cultists' unholy gathering place and put it into a deep slumber.
As the Toutatian soldiers gathered their wounded, buried their dead and finished off the cultists who were trying to flee, the clerics decided to maintain a vigil over the imprisoned demon, and thus a shrine was established on the site. The strong aura of Law from the shrine counteracts and suppresses any malign influence the buried demon might have on its surroundings - the clerics know and encourage this as they do not want the island to become more tainted by chaos than it has been.
The one relatively accurate description of what happened in Elkhorn Island is written down in a book called "The Abominable Cults of Chaos Worshippers", but very few copies of this still remain.

Forces of Chaos might well seek to unleash the demon, but getting past the lawful clerics would be a problem. If it were unleashed, it would cause as much death and destruction as a mobile Chaos Portal, and creatures and worshippers of chaos would flock to the demon as the most powerful leader of Chaos on Kaelaross. Certain members of the Traitor Legion know this, and the contingents of Traitor Legionnaires both in the Salty Forest and on the Island of Lost Souls are well-placed to sail to Elkhorn Island if they could overcome or bypass the clerics of Adonor.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Kaelaross and the Monster Manual

Although my intentions earlier in the blog were to keep Kaelaross clearly B/X D&D, separate and distinct from AD&D, I have decided to relax a bit. If I were to allow monsters from 1st Edition Monster Manual into Kaelaross, which ones would I use? Note that I don't expect those who read this blog to necessarily have the book, and I won't make them central to any adventures on this blog without giving them B/X D&D stats. If you do want B/X D&D stats for these, you could try Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion.

Boar, Giant - Although not as common as their lesser cousins, giant boar are known to inhabit the warmer areas of Toutus, including the Howling Forest (near the Godsblood Straits).

Brownie - These fey creatures related to sprites and pixies have been touched by the powers of Law. Although very shy and wary of bigger folk, brownies are nonetheless useful allies against Chaos. They have been known to ally with powerful lawful mages as familiars, and also found in both the Shorgan Forest and the Talloak forest.

Couatl - These agents of Law, when not on the Planes of Law, are found in warmer, tropical climates and rarely in Toutus.

Demons, all - All these demons could be found in the Planes of Chaos, and could travel to the Material Plane either through a Chaos Portal or individual summoning

Dragon, Silver - Silver dragons are as rare as gold dragons and, like them, can disguise themselves to blend in with lesser races. Silver dragons are known to be friendly with lawful clerics and deities but, unlike lammasu and shedu, are not in servitude or owe any great loyalty. Tales of silver-bearded dwarves transforming into silver dragons have occasionally been heard both in the Grulven Mountains and the Ten Peaks.

Ghast - These stinking undead are primarily found in Narvellis, in the Varreshiss Islands, but apparently some clerics of Storshin have discovered a ritual to transform normal ghouls into ghasts and are travelling from one region to another looking for ghouls to transform.

Ghoul, Lacedon  - These undead are found in the waters around the Varreshiss Islands, particularly the cursed and haunted Narvellis Island with its undead masters.

Golem, Flesh, Stone & Iron - These constructs are among the most powerful that a magic user can create.  The students of Gerontium in Maquosmouth would be most impressed if they found out how to create these.

Irish Elk - These huge majestic herbivores are found in northern climates, including the hills and plains of the Walrus Freehold, and on some of the Varreshiss Islands.

Ki-Rin - These heavenly creatures are very rarely seen except on the Planes of Law. When they do appear on the Material Plane, it is to oversee the fight against some terrible evil foe. Ignore the psionics and give them 1 clerical spell from each level from 1st to 7th

Koalinth (aquatic hobgoblin) - These creatures are believed to have come through the Chaos Portal created in the sunken city of Urdus, and now have set up bases around the Godsblood Straits. They often clash with their main rivals, the Sahuagin.

Lamia - These chaotic deceivers are found in ruined, desolate areas including the Twisted Hills and the Godsblood Hills. They are also found on the Planes of Chaos, and most of the lamias on the Material Plane came through the Chaos Portals.

Lammasu - These noble creatures of Law will sometimes be sent by Lawful deities to assist or advise their mortal followers. They are also found on the Planes of Law.

Leucrotta - These strange predators are definitely chaotic in nature, and are found near some chaos portals, including Maquosmouth and Aerisport in the Godsblood Straits.

Lurker Above - These strange ambushers dwell underground. They have evolved in the Underworld, but have adapted and thrived in deliberately created dungeons.

Morkoth - These strange underwater predators are not common, but can be found in deep waters, including off the western coast of Toutus such as around the Vareshiss Isles and Godsblood Straits. Sages believe, based on survivors accounts, that these are not natural creatures but evil monsters of Chaos.

Ogre Mage - Rather than being a separate species, on Kaelaross, Ogre mages are ogre leaders who have made a dark pact with a powerful chaos god (usually Bhael) and been transformed. They may either be on their own or else among a band of normal ogres either as leader or as lieutenant to an ogre chief.

Peryton - Bizarre stag-headed predators. They could only be a creation of Chaos, and their vicious behaviour confirms this. A few have been sighted around the Chaos Portal in Aerisport, while others are seen in the Twisted Hills south of the Walrus Freehold

Quasit - These demonic imps are often found in areas where other demons are found. Also they may ally themselves to a particularly chaotic and unpleasant magic user.

Rakshasa - Originating in Pelepton's home plane of Aegothis, these tiger-faced shapeshifters have slipped through chaos portals and have now infiltrated surviving cities around Kaelaross such as Ironmarket and Trislem.

Remorhaz - These giant polar worms are found on the icecap north of the Walrus Freehold. They are not natural creatures but are thought to have come through a portal from Noreesis Vale (change alignment from neutral to chaotic).

Roper - Sages believe that although these creatures may have started off as natural creatures in the Underworld, they have been touched by Chaos and are found in some planes of Chaos as well as dungeons and the underworld.

Sahuagin - These violent sea raiders are the bane of both other sea creatures and shore-dwelling land folk. They are thought to have originated in the Planes of Chaos, but several outposts have been established around the chaos portal in Urdus where they clash with both the Koalinths and the mermen in the area.

Satyr - these wild and unpredictable fey are notorious for their appetites for wine, music, dancing and women. They are found in small groups in the largest forests, including the Shorgan Forest, the Talloak Forest and even the Twilight Forest.

Shedu - Along with Ki-Rin, Couatls and Lammasus, these are the messengers and agents of the Lawful gods sent to assist and advise their mortal followers in their battle against the forces of Chaos. Ignore the psionics and give them spellcasting as if 7th level magic users.

Slithering Tracker - These amorphous predators may be related to less intelligent slimes and oozes. They are found in both dark dungeons and also the sprawling caverns of the Underworld.

Toad, Ice - These creatures are found in the far north, on the ice floes and icecap north of the Walrus Channel. They only come onto human lands during the bitterest winter, though there are records of a band of ice toads causing trouble among trappers and hunters north of Walrus City a few years back.

Umber Hulk - These huge monsters are creatures of chaos, placed in the Underworld by dark powers (such as Havok) to cause as much disruption and death to miners and explorers as possible.

Water Weird - These malevolent creatures are found in the Elemental Plane of Water, but have been tainted by Chaos, giving them an evil urge to kill. They rarely occur in bodies of water such as seas, rivers, lakes, underground pools or even village wells.

Winter Wolf - These chaotic predators originated from the Chaos Plane known as Noreesis Vale, but have slipped through a chaos portal and now roam the northernmost reaches of Kaelaross, including the Icemud Tundra and Twilight Forest as well as the island of Cortacus in the Walrus Freehold.

Xorn - These creatures from the Elemental Plane of Earth don't often occur on the Material Plane, but when they do it is either at the beckoning of a powerful spellcaster or else deep in the Underworld.

Others, which I have not had time to comment on, include:
Aerial Servant
Beetle, Giant Rhinoceros
Eagle, Giant
Frog, Giant
Frog, Killer
Gar, Giant
Gargoyle, Kopoacinth
Groaning Spirit
Leech, Giant
Lizard, Giant Fire
Lizard, Giant Minotaur
Naga, Spirit & Guardian
Night Hag
Owl, Giant
Pike, Giant
Porcupine, Giant
Sea Hag
Shambling Mound
Slug, Giant
Sphinx, Andro
Sphinx, Hieraco
Wind Walker
Wolverine, Giant

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Adventure Seeds on Klantorr Island

Klantorr Island is, on the surface, not very interesting - too stable, rigid and peaceful for adventurers to fit in - and many clerics of the theocracy would readily agree. Nonetheless, things do happen that the Theocracy is not prepared for and adventurers are better-suited to dealing with.

1) The PCs are accused of sorcery and chaos-worship by a cleric and several townsfolk. The PCs can either try to run from overzealous soldiers, junior clerics and townsfolk, or try to prove their innocence to a higher-ranking cleric, preferably a sane one. The problem is caused by a mischievous mage who has found a spell that tampers with dreams, allowing him to make people dream whatever he wants them to. Among faithful folk like those of Klantorr, this can easily be misinterpreted as divine guidance. The PCs have a slight advantage in that they are not the first to be framed, and there are several suspects in the town jail who have been set up by fraudulent dreams.

2) A senior cleric in Berranport is actually a chaos-worshipping cultist with an amulet of non-detection. He seeks to create a Chaos Portal underneath Berranport in its sewers, and he believes the ritual to do this requires a number of human sacrifices. Although a proper Chaos Portal is well beyond his means, he has been contacted by creatures from the Planes of Chaos and has summoned some of them into his lair in the sewers. These have been used to kidnap certain townsfolk in Berranport and take them down into the lair ready for sacrifice. The chief cleric of Berranport is eager to stop these monstrous kidnappings, while his newly-appointed deacon (the chaotic cultist) will happily give advice that will steer the party into all manner of dead ends and wild goose chases.

3) The miners in the Valhorrian Heights have dug into a network of caverns connected to the Underworld, and troglodytes and grey goblins are causing havoc in the mines. This has put a dent in the local economy, and merchants are looking for mercenaries and adventurers willing to go in and make the mines safe. A band of five miners were captured by goblins in the initial battle, and they have been taken into slavery. Any captured goblin can tell the PCs that slaves are usually held for a while at an outpost near the surface before being taken down into the bowels of the Underworld - perhaps the PCs could rescue the miners?

4) A caravan of merchants and pilgrims travelling from Guntharn to Charventown have a doppelganger in their midst. As the caravan progresses the PCs and others notice that people have gone missing or turn up dead. In some cases this seems impossible as someone else was talking to the murdered person at the same time as others discover their corpse. It is a race against time to find out who the doppelganger is impersonating now, and to stop it before more people are killed.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Reanimating Other Species

Most animated skeletons and zombies are either human or close enough to human bodies that there is no significant difference.
However, there may well be situations where a caster wants to animate something else, something definitely not human.
According to the Labyrinth Lord rules for Animate Dead:
"These creatures are unintelligent, and do not retain any abilities they had in life. All skeletons have an AC of 7 and hit dice equal to the creature in life. Zombies have an AC of 8 and the number of hit dice of the living creature +1"
Beyond this I expect the DM/Labyrinth Lord would use his judgement in deciding the rest of the animated creatures' stats.
My guidelines that I would use are:
  • I would slow down any movement of zombies by half, to a minimum of 30' per round. Skeletons move at the same speed as they would in life.
  • Swimming and burrowing are possible. Flight is possible (but slow and unmanoeuvrable at half speed, minimum 90' per turn) for zombie creatures, but not skeletal ones as feathers for birds or skin for bat-like wings would decay away with the rest of the flesh. 
  • Attacks and damage I would keep the same as the living creature, except that zombie creatures always attack last. If fighting PCs with slow weapons that mean they would attack last, the zombies and PCs roll for initiative after the normal-speed creatures have resolved their actions. 
  • Saving throws are for fighter levels of half the original creature's hit dice - for unintelligent beasts this may mean no change from when they were alive.
  • Morale is always 12 - animated dead are fearless
  • As undead creatures, animated skeletons and zombies are immune to sleep, charm, hold and other mind-affecting spells. They are also immune to poison and death magic.  
  • Organic poisons deteriorate along with the rest of the creature's body. Only zombie creatures freshly animated can use poison at full effectiveness. After the first day, victims of possible poison attacks gain +1 to their saving throws per day after the creatures death until after 19 days the poison has become completely ineffective. Skeletal creatures don't have the fleshy venom sacs to hold the poison. 
  • Although the animated creature is mindless (intelligence 0), its alignment is chaotic, as dark magic infuses its being, giving it an intuitive urge to kill the living. 
  • Treasure is irrelevant to these mindless creatures, so they won't have any of their own, though they could be placed as guardians or there may be incidental treasure in their area. 
  • Creatures with obvious hard natural armour could retain their armour class, but this is DM judgement call. 
  • Creatures with less than 1 HD become 1 HD zombies, or 1/2 HD (1d4 hp) skeletons

Although not explicitly stated in the rules, I think I would restrict Animate Dead to deceased animal things - no animated undead plants, oozes or fungi. As for invertebrates (giant spiders, purple worms, giant beetles, carrion crawlers) I would say that they could be reanimated as zombies, but not skeletons (chitinous exoskeletons decay too quickly to be left after the rest of the flesh has gone, and soft-bodied worms don't even have that). Elemental creatures don't have organic bodies, neither do ethereal creatures.

Here are a few examples from the Hideout of the Gang of Three: (rooms 18 and 26)
Minotaur zombie (AC 8, Move 60' HD 7, THAC0 13, Att 1 horn/1 bite for 1d6/1d6, always attacks last, Ml 12 (fearless), Int 0, XP 440)
Ogre zombie (AC 8, Move 60', HD 5+1, THAC0 14, Att 1 club for 1d10, always attacks last, Ml 12 (fearless), Align Chaotic, Int 0, XP 260 each)
Ogre skeleton (AC 7 Move 90' HD 4, THAC0 16, Att 1 club for 1d10, Ml 12 (fearless) Align chaotic, Int 0, XP 80)

And some commonly encountered species
Giant rat zombie: AC 8, Move 60'/Swim 60', HD 1, THAC0 19, Att 1 bite for 1d4, always attacks last, Ml 12 (fearless), Align Chaotic, Int 0, XP 10
Wolf skeleton: AC 7, Move 180', HD 2+2, THAC0  17, Att 1 bite for 1d6, Ml 12 (fearless), Align Chaotic, Int 0, XP 35
Giant hawk zombie: AC 8, Move 30'/fly 210', HD 4+3, THAC0 15, Att 1 bite for 1d6, Ml 12 (fearless), Align chaotic, Int 0, XP 150
6-headed hydra skeleton: AC 7, Move 60', HD 6, THAC0 14, Att 6 bites for 1d10 each, Ml 12 (fearless), Align chaotic, Int 0, XP 570
Rhagodessa zombie: AC 8, Move 90', HD 5+2, THAC0 14, Att 1 bite for 2d8, Ml 12 (fearless), Align chaotic, Int 0, XP 260
Purple Worm zombie: AC 8, Move 30', HD 16, THAC0 8, Att 1 bite/1 sting for 2d8/1d8, Ml 12 (fearless), align chaotic, Int 0, XP 1500
Centaur Skeleton: AC 7, Move 180', HD 4, THAC0 16, Att 2 hooves/1 weapon for 1d6/1d6/1d6, Ml 12 (fearless), align chaotic, Int 0, XP 80

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Klantorr Island

For a brief overview of Klantorr Island see the description in the Map and Overview of the Varreshiss Islands. Klantorr was once part of the Toutus Empire, but after the Summoning it has become an independent realm ruled by a Theocracy of the lawful clerics of Rhondus.

Klantorr island has the largest population in the Varreshiss Archipelago, with 45,000 humans and 4,000 halflings. There are a few other races but none more than in the hundreds.

Before the Varreshiss Islands were taken over and incorporated into the Toutus Empire, they were colonised by the Ferdenmen, a human tribe who were adept at sea-faring. Many of the lower classes of Klantorr Island are still Ferdenmen, either pureblooded or mixed with Toutian blood. Ferdenmen are short and stocky for humans, with reddish, blond or light brown hair and fair skin. Ferdenmen are very rarely seasick, so they find other folks' heaving and puking over the side of ships quite amusing.

Charventown (population 5,300) is the capital and largest settlement - the only one that can be called a city. It is the heart of the theocracy, and the cathedral that towers over the city is the religious, political and legal heart of the realm.
Guntharn (population 1,400) is primarily a fishing village, though there are miners who set off into the Valhorrian heights every day. Because it is relatively isolated, the Theocracy is not taken quite so seriously here.
Berranport (population 2,000) is the main naval base, as well as a trading and fishing port. Because of its ease of access, Berranport is where a lot of visitors to Klantorr stay and do business.
Pikefish (population 1,900) is a market town for farmers and herdsmen that also serves as a stopover for river traffic passing to and from Charventown.
Hierarch's Retreat (population 1,300) has a country residence for the clerics away from the business and politics of Charventown. The town also has a cell of 5 doppelgangers who have evaded detection so far.

There are other smaller villages and hamlets (of less than 500 people each) dotted around the meadows and plains of Klantorr which are not shown on the map.

Physical Geography
The Charven River: This is the main artery for Klantorr Island, and it carries most of the trade goods and many passengers to and from Charventown.
Lake Ammorin: With the town of Pikefish on its southeast bank, this lake is noted for its large fish, including giant pike and gar. Not safe for swimming in.
Lake Lucian: High tides sometimes wash salt water into Lake Lucian, giving it an estuarine air about it. Giant frogs and toads are found around the shores.
Valhorrian Heights: A small but rugged area that reaches up to mountainous altitudes in places. There are significant deposits of both copper and tin ore, so miners find this range moderately profitable. There are wild boar, sheep and goats in the hills, while giant eagles and griffons compete against each other on the mountain tops and crags.
Wastell Woods: This woodland is not very safe - bands of both gnolls and kobolds have been encountered here over the centuries despite various attempts to clear them out - perhaps they have hidden hideouts.
Trellseed Woods: This is the largest woodland in the Varreshiss Islands, and it has a range of wildlife, including stags, wild boar, wolves, brown bears and wild cattle.
Gangrel Woods: Although there used to be a problem with kobolds and giant weasels here, the previous barons have effectively eradicated them, making the Gangrel Woods popular with woodcutters, berry pickers and pig herders.
Lellmar Woods: Another patch of woods that has been made safe for human use. However, this has been disrupted by the arrival of a boatload of gnolls who are fast-moving and evasive, raiding small farms and attacking travellers then moving before the Theocracy's troops can respond.

The island realm is protected by 10 battalions of  200 troops each, plus 5 warships harboured at Berranport. Each of the battalions is commanded by a Major (6th level fighter) supported by a Commissar (6th level cleric), and each company of 50 men has a Captain (4th or 5th level fighter) supported by a Chaplain (4th or 5th level cleric) so the army is closely controlled by the church of Rhondus. Similarly, each warship has a complement of 50-70 men, commanded by a Captain (4th or 5th level fighter) and a Chaplain (4th or 5th level cleric).
The battalions are:
4 heavy infantry (chain mail, sword, spear, shield)
2 heavy crossbow (chain mail, sword, heavy crossbow, 20 bolts)
1 heavy cavalry (banded armour, lance, shield, sword, warhorse, barding)
2 light cavalry (leather armour, scimitar, lance)
1 engineer (chain mail, sword, tools such as hatchets, pick axes & shovel)
The warships are named The Righteous (flagship), The Valiant, The Redeemed, The Scrupulous and The Meritorious.

Klantorr is mostly self-sufficient, and given its circumstances it needs to be. Crops, livestock and fish provide plenty of food, while the tamer parts of Gangrel and Lellmar woods provide a supply of timber for housing, fuel and boat-building. The Valhorrian Heights can be mined for copper and tin, which can be smelted for bronze, but iron, gold and silver need to be brought in from outside. Bronze tools and weapons are therefore cheaper and more available than iron ones on Klantorr.
Klantorr also brews Viskey, a strong alcoholic drink brewed from barley and oats. The Theocracy is generally disapproving of this, though to make it illegal would invite insurrection. This is both popular with the locals and also exports well.

Trade is primarily with the Walrus Freehold. Although the Theocracy does not agree with the cities of the Freehold and their mercentile, materialistic attitude, nonetheless they recognise that trade is necessary. Klantorr can grow crops, fruit and vegetables (particularly on the broad grasslands between Pikefish and Berranport) that won't survive in the harsh cold of the Walrus Channel. In return the Walrus Freehold provides all-important iron (particularly from Najask) as well as ivory and furs.

Though it is further, Teiglin is also a trading partner. Teiglin is warm enough for wines to be brewed, and in return, Klantorr can sell its Viskey in Teiglin.

Monday, 9 January 2012

A few thoughts on the 5E announcement and nerd rage.

So 5E has been announced today. What has got me writing (and I don't often do opinion pieces) is not so much the announcement as the community's reaction to it. 
Some folks are dismissive of it before they know anything about it. If it's WotC, it must be crap. 
Some folks are contemptuous that WotC is asking the community about what they want - these commentators reckon WotC ought to know what we want without asking. 
The worst excesses of edition wars and nerd rage is resurfacing. 
I want to keep an open mind about this. I don't know what the rules will be like, I don't know what the core classes and races will be, I don't know about the default setting. It could be good. It could be crap. 
If it looks good, I will begin to buy the books, starting with the Player's Handbook. I do not feel obliged to buy more books than I think I will enjoy. If the 5E PHB isn't what I want from a game system, then I'll simply turn my attentions to a game system I do enjoy. If I like the system, then the DMG and MM (or whatever equivalent there is) will be under consideration. 
If it looks crap, I will do what I did with 4E - simply bypass it and stick to the editions I know and like.
My concern is just how angry, defensive and divided the different D&D communities will get over this, usually blowing things out of proportion and claiming WotC is wrecking their game and angry that WotC didn't listen to THEM and THEIR ideas of what a game should be. 
I am not a businessman, so I'm not going to tell WotC how they ought to run their business. I will look at the products, and decide whether I want to spend my money on it. If WotC decides to drop the D&D brand altogether (very unlikely at least for next 5 years) there are other companies and the OSR blogs, small publishers and massive back-catalogue of D&D stuff on ebay. My gaming (and blogging) is sure to continue regardless of what WotC do, but it is entirely possible that their 5E will be part of it. 
Besides, I have not heard of any definite release date, so I won't be shelling out the cash for the new edition for a couple of months yet. When it arrives, then I'll look at it and decide. 
Edition wars aren't as bad as the London Blitz, but there is still the same advice: "Keep calm and carry on". 

A Timeline for Kaelaross

This is a work in progress - as more details are added to the setting, I expect this timeline will expand. The standard timescale in use across Kaelaross is the Bursian Year (BY) reckoning. 

BY -14,000 Rise of the Warrior Kingdoms of Kzuth
BY -6000 primitive humans colonise Toutus and spread over most of the continent
BY -1200s Rise of Cynidean empire in what would eventually become part of  Bellenos
BY -800s First city-states on eastern coast of Bursia
BY -350s "Papyri of Zoth" written in Cynidea
BY -205 City-States of Bursia become a republic
BY 1 Bursian Empire is founded as the first Bursian Emperor is crowned
BY 223 Great dust storms buries what is left of Cynidea, leaving nothing but ruins
BY 300s Human kingdoms form on south coast of Toutus continent
BY 430 In the Grulven Mountains the Dwarven kingdom of Urrugorn collapses
BY 482 Bursian civil War begins
BY 497 Bursian civil war ends, start of Age of the Tetrarchs in Bursia
BY 500s Toutian Kingdoms form an alliance 
BY 561 Start of the Tetrarch War in Bursia
BY 562 End of the Tetrarch War in Bursia, founding of the second Bursian Empire
BY 722 Toutian kingdoms are unified into the Toutus Empire in response to a humanoid threat
BY 820 Urdus Isthmus is colonised by the Toutus Empire
BY 826 Construction of Seaview Keep started
BY 830 Port at Maquosmouth formally starts to accept ships
BY 844 Zelchus takes over ownership of Seaview Keep
BY 850 Toutus Empire invades the Dwarves of the Ten Peaks
BY 860 Teiglin is incorporated into the Toutus Empire as a colony
BY 899 Dwarves of the Ten Peaks form a Confederacy
BY 1050 Dwarves of the Ten Peaks revolt against Duke of Urdus
BY 1067 Ironmarket becomes regular trading place between humans of Urdus and Dwarves of the Ten Peaks
BY 1221 Warlock Harbour built off coast of Teiglin
BY 1312 Chaos Cult on Elkhorn Island is destroyed, shrine to Adonor established on the island.
BY 1322 "The Histories of the Ancients" is written
BY 1330s Human trappers and hunters form settlement on what would become Walrus City
BY 1423 Construction of Hurin Fort begins
BY 1432 Walrus City formally established
BY 1456 "Magic Weapons I Have Known and Loved by Snorrvord the Elder" written
BY 1466 Najask City formally established
BY 1483 Walrus City governed as Imperial colony
BY 1501 Walrus City and other cities around the Walrus Channel become the Walrus Freehold
BY 1511 "The Abominable Cults of Chaos" commissioned and written
BY 1550 The Wars Between the Empires begin
BY 1551 "The Noble Families of Toutus" is written
                Vettrel Keep on Kaynor Islands abandoned by Teiglin, taken over by pirates
BY 1557 Weberin Island is sacked by Bursian Forces, resulting in anarchy
BY 1560 The Summoning - for 3 weeks Bhael roams Kaelaross on his own, for another 3 weeks Bhael does battle against Rhondus and Adonor across the face of Kaelaross. Many apocalyptic disasters happen and Chaos Portals are created. 
               Capital of Teiglin officially moves from Erkhart (now ruined) to Thaldion
                The Urdus Isthmus sinks below the sea, forming the Godsblood Straits. Other geographical changes also happen. 
BY 1561 Construction of string of forts to the west of Ironmarket begins
BY 1565 Klantorr Island officially ceases to be a Barony and becomes a Theocracy
BY 1591 A company from the Traitor Legion establish a base on the west of the Island of Lost Souls
BY 1595 Failed attempt to recapture Erkhart in Teiglin. Castellan Keep is reoccupied instead.
BY 1601 Thestor II begins his reign of Teiglin
BY 1610 Current Year

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dungeon of the Month January 2012

The Hideout of the Gang of Three - a dungeon for characters of level 5-7 using Basic/Expert D&D or Labyrinth Lord rules.
This dungeon is set in Mellish, on the west coast of the Godsblood Straits, and is the secret base for the three powerful NPCs who run Mellish as their own private fiefdom.

1. The Entrance Hall: 1 minotaur (29 hp, stats as per rule book), 2 ogres (12, 18 hp, stats as per rule book), one chaos priest (hp 13, see below for stats, human 4th level cleric) and one chaos warrior (hp 18, see below for stats, 4th level fighter) all stand guard. In the middle of the room is an octagonal pit 20' deep (2d6 falling damage). The creatures here will try to push intruders into the pit.

Grulgor's domain (rooms 2-10)

2. Rubbish Pit, open pit 20' deep (2d6 falling damage) with an ochre jelly (hp 17, stats as per rule book) at the bottom. The sides are very slippery and cannot be climbed out without help (thieves get -30% to Climb Walls check, other characters need to use rope and iron spikes and/or crampons). Although the ochre jelly has no interest in treasure, 43sp, 11gp and a spherical turquoise worth 10gp have ended up in the pit.

3. 4 ogres (hp 25, 14, 16, 12, stats as per rulebook) are lounging around here. Unless they have a reason to be alerted, they suffer -1 to their surprise roll (in effect being surprised on 1-3 on d6). The room is filled with straw mattresses covered in badly tanned hides (not valuable).

4. 5 ogres (hp 18, 27, 21, 22, 18, stats as per rulebook)  + 1 ogre leader (hp 30, stats as per my article on this blog). The ogre leader has a key on a leather thong around his neck. The key is to a wooden chest under his crude wooden throne, in which there is 12,000gp, 4200gp, 300pp and 2 large aquamarine gems worth 400gp each.

5. 3 chaos warriors (hp 19, 16, 17, see below for stats) are on guard here. They will attack any intruders. The room is decorated with trophies including helms, shields and banners of fallen foes, plus a few mummified heads.

6. Vordentus (6th level human thief, AC 3, Move 120', hp 17, Att 1 shortsword, THAC0 14 (10 if backstabbing), Dam 1d6+3 + poison (2d6+6 + poison if backstabbing), Ml 8, Align Chaotic, XP 570, equipment: leather armour +1, Ring of Protection +2, shortsword +2, thieves tools, vial of distilled mushroom poison (if injected or swallowed, save vs poison or suffer 1d6 damage per turn until dead, poison is neutralised or 24 hours has passed)
Vordentus is the chief spy of the Gang of Three. He is resentful about not being made a full partner (why not make it the gang of four?) and is considering defecting to the Red Hand. In the event of there being a fight in room 5, Vordentus will be alerted. He will then use his thief abilities and poison to make hit-and-run attacks against lone or straggling intruders or maybe just escape with his life. Vordentus's room includes his bed, his table and chair and a chest with a false bottom. On top are clothes and rations (nothing worth more than a few silvers) but underneath the false bottom is 1100gp, 2 vials of distilled mushroom poison and a coded letter from the Red Hand that is difficult to decipher but is basically an invitation to quit Mellish and head for a secret location west of Aerisport in the Godsblood Hills.

7. 3 chaos warriors (hp 13, 28, 20, see below for stats) + Lieutenant Karnus (6th level fighter, AC 2, Move 60', hp 31, Att 1 polearm, THAC0 12, Dam 1d10+3, Ml 11, Align chaotic, XP 320. Equipment: Polearm +1, Plate Mail +1, 25gp)

8. Grulgor the Angry, 8th level fighter, align Chaotic, male
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 8
AC 0, Move 60', hp 51, THAC0 10, Att 1 polearm for 1d10+4
Equipment: Plate Mail +2, Ring of Protection +1, Polearm +2, 3 javelins, potion of extra healing
Grulgor is one of the Gang of Three, and thus part ruler of Mellish. His quarters include a bed, a table and a box of clothes. Underneath the bed is a loose flagstone (same chance to spot as secret door). Under the flagstone is a leather sack in which there are 15 amber gems each worth 300gp, a platinum and amethyst ring worth 600gp and 350pp.

9. 1 ogre leader (hp 29, stats as per my article on this blog), Borzogg, who is Grulgor's loyal companion and hench-thing. He has a strong hatred and rivalry with the ogre leader in room 4 who commands most of the ogres in the dungeon.

10. Empty apart from some barrels of beer and fresh water.

Velshist's Domain

11. 2 minotaurs (hp 30, 18, stats as per rulebook). They have been charmed by Velshist in room 13, and will obey her slavishly.

12. 1 minotaur leader (hp 43, stats as per my article on this blog) + 2 minotaurs (hp 19, 23, stats as per rulebook). All three have been charmed by Velshist in room 13 and will obey her without question. The minotaur leader will sometimes act as her deputy. The minotaur leader has 2 golden torcs that it wears as bracelets - each is worth 500gp.

13. Velshist the Rapacious 8th level magic user, AC 5, Move 120', hp 19, THAC0 15, Att 1 dagger for 1d4+2 or spell, Align Chaotic, XP 1060
Equipment: Bracers of Defence AC 7, Cloak of Protection +1, Dagger +2, Wand of Illusion, 2 potions of Healing, bag of holding. Spells: Magic Missile, Detect Magic, Charm Person, Web, Levitate, Mirror Image, Fireball, Dispel Magic, Charm Monster x2
Velshist carries her bag of holding with her at all times and it contains the rest of her treasure. The centrepiece and her prized possession is a chess set carved from ebony and ivory. The board is worth 500gp and each of the 32 pieces are worth 40gp. Together the whole set is worth 2000gp.The bag also contains 105,000sp, 660gp, 108pp, 2 potions of gaseous form and an amethyst and silver pendant worth 240gp.

14. A permanent Phantasmal Force cast on the room that apparently populates the room with 1d6+2 monstrous, rapidly moving shadows. Although creatures formed by Phantasmal Force are normally AC9, these are moving fast and erratically enough to count as AC6. The illusion is permanent, and after one is hit and dissipated, it reforms after a turn.

15. 1 apprentice mage (5th level magic user, AC 9, Move 120', hp 17, Att 1 dagger or 1 spell, THAC0 17, dam 1d4+1 or by spell, align Chaotic, XP 350, memorised spells are: charm person, magic missile, web, mirror image, fireball, equipment: robe, dagger+1, spellbook, 64pp, topaz worth 650gp), plus pet rust monster (hp 21, stats as per rulebook)

16. 1 Fire Elemental (8HD, 1d8 damage, hp 42, other stats as per rulebook), with two fire pits. The fire pits are only 2' deep, but cause 2d6 fire damage per round to anyone who enters that square (including jumping across). The elemental will try to push PCs into the fire pits.

17. 1 apprentice mage (5th level magic user, AC 6, Move 120', hp 9, Att 1 dagger or 1 spell, THAC0 18 or 17 if thrown, dam 1d4 or by spell, align Chaotic, XP 350, memorised spells are: magic missile, sleep, phantasmal force, invisibility, dispel magic Equipment: robes of protection +1, ring of protection +1, 4 daggers balanced for throwing, bracelet worth 120gp) plus pet rust monster (hp 30, stats as per rulebook). The apprentice mage has a locked chest as well as a bed. In the chest are some underwear, a ceremonial robe and a sack with 180pp and a coded letter from the Red Hand, which if decoded is inviting the mage to defect to the Red Hand.

Urquart's Domain

18. The Long Corridor: Along the sides are lined up 25 human zombies (hp 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, stats as per rulebook), 5 ogre zombies (AC 8, Move 60', HD 5+1, hp 26, 33, 18, 22, 21, THAC0 14, Att 1 club for 1d10, always attacks last, Ml 12 (fearless), Align Chaotic, Int 0, XP 260 each) and 2 minotaur zombies (AC 8, Move 60' HD 7, hp 22, 29, THAC0 13, Att 1 horn/1 bite for 1d6/1d6, always attacks last, Ml 12 (fearless), Int 0, XP 440)

19. 5 ghouls (hp 9, 6, 9, 7, 11, stats as per rulebook).

20. 4 chaos priests (4th level clerics, hp 18, 21, 21, 16, stats as below) with their beds and belongings. There is also a table with a dull gray jug of ale and 6 dirty flagons in the middle of the room. The jug is tarnished but well-crafted silver - if cleaned up it is worth 800gp, while each flagon is similarly badly tarnished silver, worth 200gp each if cleaned.

21. 2 chaos priests (4th level clerics, hp 17, 16, stats as below) plus 1 spectre (hp 820, stats as per rulebook). This will soon be a chapel of Chaos, but is as yet unfinished. The area has not been sanctified/desecrated nor has the carving been finished. The spectre is a former priest of chaos, and will not attack his living brethren despite his hunger. Nevertheless, the two priests of chaos both wear amulets that supposedly protect them  from energy drain. The amulets are actually bogus (no magical properties at all) but are very nice and worth 750gp each, being wrought gold studded with amber stones. .

22. 1 bone golem (hp 33, stats as per rulebook), plus a large collection of inanimate bones and two partially constructed and currently inanimate bone golems.

23. Urquart the Doomed, 8th level cleric,  male, Str 13, Dex 8, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 14, AC 1, Move 60' hp 28, THAC0 14, Att 1 warhammer +1 for 1d6+2 or spell, Ml 10, align Chaotic,XP 1060
Equipment: Plate Mail +1, Shield +1, Warhammer +1 +3 vs lawful creatures, Unholy Symbol, Potion of Invisibility
Spells: Detect Law, Darkness, Cure Light Wounds x2, Snake charm, Bless/Bane, Hold Person, Animate Dead, Dispel Magic, Sticks to Snakes, Cure Serious Wounds
Around his neck, Urquart has a key to the large chest that dominates the room. Inside is 121,000sp and 80 gold ingots worth 100gp each. There is a catch on the side of the chest that needs to be pressed, otherwise unlocking and opening the chest releases a vial of poison gas - save vs poison or die instantly. The catch is not too difficult - any thief trying to find/remove traps gets +30% to both rolls.

24. 1 deputy cleric Derrefane (6th level cleric, AC 3, Move 60', hp 25, THAC0 16, 1 staff of striking for 2d6+1, Align Chaotic, Ml 10, XP 570 Equipment: Plate Mail, Staff of Striking 20 charges, unholy symbol, 2 vials of unholy water, 1 potion of healing,
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Darkness, Detect Magic, Hold Person,  Bless/Bane, Silence 15' radius, Animate Dead, Dispel Magic).
This is Derrefane's quarters, and he has a bed, a table, chest and coat stand (on which several ceremonial robes hang). A stone in the wall behind his bed is loose, and if detected and pulled out there is a silk bag with Derrefane's treasure - 2300gp, 240pp and 4 jade cabochons worth 100gp each

25. Hidden pit trap. Apparently empty, but the room has a false floor. Anything more than 50lb weight will cause the false floor to slope down into the middle of the room, into a 30' deep trap (3d6 falling damage).

26. 15 human skeletons (hp 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, stats as per rulebook), 3 ogre skeletons (AC 7 Move 90' HD 4, hp 23, 12, 22, 16, THAC0 16, Att 1 club for 1d10, Align chaotic, Int 0, XP 80).

Chaos Priest: 4th level clerics, AC 2, Move 60', HD 4d6, Att 1 mace or 1 spell, THAC0 18, Dam 1d6 or by spell, Ml 10, Align Chaotic, XP 135
Equipment: Plate Mail, Mace, Shield, Unholy Symbol, 3d6gp
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Darkness (x2 if Labyrinth Lord rules), Hold Person, ( and Bless/Bane if Labyrinth Lord rules)

Chaos Warrior: 4th level fighters, AC 3, Move 60' HD 4d8, Att 1 two-handed sword, THAC0 15, Dam 1d10+2, Ml 10, Align Chaotic, XP 80
Equipment: Plate Mail, 2 handed sword, 3d6 gp

Monster XP values
#1 (320+280+135+80), #2 500, #3 560, #4 700+380, #5 240, #6 570, #7 240+320, #8 560, #9 380, #10 0, #11 640, #12 640+1000, #13 1060, #14 0, #15 350+350, #16 1060, #17 350+350, #18 500+1300+1320, #19 145, #20 540, #21 270 +820, #22 1560, #23 1060, #24 570, #26 150+240

Treasure Values apart from individual monster treasure and magic items
#2 25gp
#4 7700gp
#6 1100gp
#8 6850gp
#12 1000gp
#13 13,940gp
#15 970gp
#17 1020gp
#20 2000gp
#21 1500gp
#23 20,100gp
#24 3900gp