Saturday, 31 March 2012

NPCs of Walrus City part 2

Shemeera of Sestarna
9th level halfling defender, align lawful, female
Str 13, Int 13, Wis 15, Dex 10, Con 10, Cha 12
Equipment: Chain mail +1, Mace +1, Shield +1, holy symbol, 2 vials of holy water
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Light, Bless, Hold Person, Cure Serious Wounds, Cure Disease
Shemeera follows Sestarna, goddess of hope and healing, and hopes to establish a shrine to her deity in Walrus City. In the meantime she has set up a home that also functions as an orphanage, hospital and welfare centre looking after the poor and needy. Word of her good work has spread around Walrus City, generating a range of reactions. Some of the more charitable merchants and middle classes have donated food, blankets, clothes and money to her home, but some malevolent folk seek to undermine and sabotage her work. 
Appearance: Shemeera is a middle aged halfling, with blonde-turning-silvery hair in a bob and a friendly, relaxed face. She stands 3'2" and is still fairly fit and slim. She usually wears her holy robes, but may wear her chain mail underneath. 

Gunderan Longdagger
10th level thief, align Chaotic, male
Str 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 12
Equipment: Leather Armour, Sword +1, Dagger +1, thieves tools, backpack
Gunderan is the leader of a gang of thieves that work the harbour market area of Walrus City. Gunderan has met members of the Red Hand but has not fully joined them. Nevertheless, for the right payment he is quite willing to work with them. He does not see himself as evil and considers himself a tough guy trying to survive in a tough world. Quite often his actions are not so much deliberately evil so much as callously pragmatic. He has previously worked with Darreth Stonefire and Melduvia Zalnin, both of whom have become innkeepers. 
Appearance: Gunderan is 5'11", slim, athletic (120lb) and with iron grey hair and grey moustache and sideburns. He has a thin, hawk-like face apart from a disjointed nose that has been broken several times. He usually dresses in dark clothes that are smart but also good for hiding in shadows, and always carries his sword and dagger. 

Telleshan the Sorceress
14th level magic user, align neutral, female
Str 8, Int 17, Wis 12, Dex 10, Con 13, Cha 13
Equipment: Staff of Wizardry (14 charges), Ring of Regeneration, Amulet of ESP
Notable memorised Spells: 
7th level: Lore, Reverse Gravity
6th level: Anti-Magic Shell, Stone to Flesh, Invisible Stalker
5th level: Conjure Elemental, Feeblemind, Teleport
4th level: Wizard Eye, Polymorph Self, Wall of Ice, Dimension Door
Telleshan is the most renowned mage in Walrus City, famous for single-handedly slaying a rampaging frost salamander that attacked the city walls. Although she is not a merchant she is often consulted by them on magical matters. She is also the unofficial ambassador to Najask, as she know some of the Magocracy personally. She tries to stay out of business rivalries and intrigues of the merchants, and also deliberately avoids getting dragged into other peoples schemes. She will sometimes help adventurers with problems involving magic, especially if they are willing to pay her in kind (finding a particular item, investigating a mysterious place for her and the like). 
Appearance: Telleshan is 5'3" tall, 160lb and rounded and quite plump. She looks more like a matronly aunt than a powerful spellcaster, with her brownish hair tied up into a bun. She dresses smartly, in town clothes that do not indicate her wizardry, though anyone will notice she constantly walks around with an unusual staff. 

Siswasa Harrani
6th level Elf Ranger, unaligned
Str 13, Int 11, Wis 10, Dex 16, Con 10, Cha 11
Equipment: Leather Armour, Shortbow, 20 arrows, Sword +1, Boots of Elvenkind 
Siswasa is a renegade from the Orchunter Clan who has fallen in with the crime gangs of Walrus City. Although her ranger training is of some use in the city, she is uncomfortable and wants to move on, but she is not sure where as she doesn't want to go back to the Twilight Forest. She has never said what has made her flee from the Twilight Forest, but she has dropped hints that she killed another elf either in anger or self-defence. Siswasa is very cautious around other elves and becomes quite paranoid if they are from the Twilight Forest. She has been involved in crimes with Gunderan Longdagger, but unlike him she has never been caught or punished. 
Appearance: Siswasa is like most elf maidens - slim, petite and quite pretty. She stands 4'11" and has golden blonde hair, but she keeps her head covered with a large hooded cloak as she does not like attention. She dresses in rough-and-ready street clothes, with her leather armour underneath. 

Dannagor Goldtooth
6th level dwarf warrior, unaligned
Str 10, Int 14, Wis 10, Dex 8, Con 16, Cha 12
Equipment: Chain Mail +1, "Bugswatter" (Hammer +1 +2 vs invertebrates), dagger, 
Dannagor is a fence, a shady merchant who does whatever he can to make a profit. He knows not to cheat those he regularly deals with unless he is certain he won't be caught. Dannagor can be very annoying and full of himself, varying between the ingratiating toadying around important customers and town officials to dismissive contempt to anyone he considers lower than himself. When he talks about himself he will exaggerate anything good and conveniently ignore anything bad, even when the people he's talking to know the truth. 
Dannagor's redeeming feature is that he is fond of children of any race, and as such he has donated some (ill-gotten) money to Shemeera of Sestarna to help with her orphanage-hospital. 
Appearance: Dannagor is 4'1", 150lb, with iron-grey hair, balding on top. He does not have the traditional full beard of most dwarves but has thick sideburns linking up with a full moustache without any hair on the chin. Dannagor considers himself a respectable merchant and dresses as such, in dwarf-style smart town clothes. He only wears chainmail underneath if he is expecting trouble. 

Monday, 19 March 2012

NPCs of Walrus City 3 - the Innkeepers

The inns and taverns mentioned here are marked on the map of Walrus City

Darreth Stonefire
10th level dwarf warrior, align Unaligned, male
Str 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Dex 9, Con 16, Cha 12
AC 3, Move 60', HP 56, THAC0 9 melee or 12 thrown, Dam 1d8+3 or 1d6+2
Equipment: Chain mail +2, Battleaxe +1 +3 vs giants, trolls & ogres, 3 throwing axes
Darreth is a retired adventurer and mercenary who has bought an inn called The Trollhunter Arms, and settled down in Walrus City. He is not very trustworthy and he knows some shady characters. Get on his wrong side and you might be pick-pocketed, burgled or drugged. The city watch know that Darreth is not exactly a law-abiding citizen, but they have yet to catch him acting in a criminal manner - whenever something bad happens to those who have been in his inn, he claims it is merely unfortunate coincidence. 
Darreth still has the dwarven weakness for gold, and although he does not like to get his hands dirty, he will tip off allied thieves about wealthy customers in exchange for a cut. 
Appearance: Darreth is 4'4" (tall for a dwarf), weighs 140lb and has iron-grey beard and hair, both of which are kept quite short. He has a notable scar across the left forehead and temple. He usually wears a normal innkeeper's apron over town clothes unless he is expecting trouble, but he always has his battleaxe stashed behind the bar if customers get out of hand.  

Melduvia Zalnin
4th level thief, align Neutral, female
Str 11, Int 11, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 13, Cha 13
AC 3, Move 120', HP 16, THAC0 18 melee, 15 missile, Dam 1d6 (mace) or 1d6+1 (crossbow)
Equipment: Leather Armour, Ring of Protection +2, Light Crossbow +1, 20 bolts, mace, thieves tools, potion of healing
Melduvia is a former criminal trying to go straight She owns and runs the Old Owl inn which she wants to keep as a respectable establishment, but old associates still involved in crime keep turning up. Melduvia still knows quite a bit about the seedy underbelly of Walrus City, but she is reluctant to talk about it to anyone as she does not want to get involved again. Melduvia is thinking of moving to either Najask or Trislem for a fresh start. 
Appearance: Melduvia is 45, 5'6", 110lb and still quite attractive. She wears smart town clothes wherever she goes and could be mistaken for a nobleman's wife. She has light brown hair which she keeps in a bun, fair skin and green eyes. She enjoys wearing jewellery, usually cheap (turquoise and lapis lazuli) but not obviously so. 

Tarnist Wildwanderer
6th level fighter, align Neutral, male
Str 16, Int 11, Wis 13, Dex 9, Con 16, Cha 9
AC 3, Move 90', HP 35, THAC0 12 melee, Dam 1d8+3
Equipment: Chain Mail +2, Sword +1, Dagger +1, Ring of Cold Resistance
Tarnist is a retired trapper who has spent 15 years on Icemud Tundra and in the Twilight Forest. He has made quite a lot of money from the fur trade and has retired to become the innkeeper of the Crossed Swords tavern, a favourite among old soldiers, mercenaries and adventurers. Tarnist now has a wife and a baby son, and he is trying to adapt to this new way of life, but he keeps listening to other peoples' stories and remembering his previous career. He could prove useful to adventurers as he gets asked by both those with problems adventurers might solve, and by those looking for adventure. However, he does his best to keep things legitimate, and has been known to kick out those who use his inn for planning crimes. 
Appearance: Tarnist is a tall (6'4"), red-headed northerner, he claims to be half-barbarian and he certainly looks the part. He has pale skin, blue eyes and reddish hair including a drooping handlebar moustache. His hooked nose, deep brows and large chin make him look particularly fierce. He has lost two of the fingers on his left hand (he says he lost them in a fight but he was actually mishandling a spring-loaded trap) and has scars from some claws on his right forearm (genuine, from a fight with a grizzly bear). He wears rugged clothes, usually leather or fur, plus his chain mail tunic even when behind his bar. 

NM, unaligned, female
Str 10, Int 9, Wis 7, Dex 10, Con 10, Cha 9
AC 9, Move 120', HP 3, THAC0 20, Dam 1d8
Equipment: Sword
Tellimi was born into the tavern-keeping tradition as was her father and grandfather, but she is not particularly proud of that. She acts all dark and mysterious because she is rather envious that other tavern and inn owners have adventurous or shady pasts whereas hers is boring. She has dropped hints that she is actually a magic user keeping a low profile, and this has been picked up by one or two shady characters who don't realise she is bluffing. 
Appearance: Tellimi is 5'2", 100lb and rather plain and dull looking. She has black hair she keeps short, and has pale skin. She often wears dark dresses or gowns to add to her air of mystery and looks a bit like a goth.  

Natchor Highfiddle
2nd level Halfling Scout, align Lawful, male
Str 10, Int 11, Wis 10, Dex 13, Con 10, Cha 12
AC 6, Move 60', hp 6, THAC0 18 for 1d6+1 (shortsword) or 1d4 (throwing daggers)
Equipment: Leather Armour, Shortsword +1, 4 throwing daggers
Natchor has settled down in Walrus City having fled the Summoning further south fifty years ago as a youngster with his parents. He briefly flirted with being an adventurer, but saw several of his friends get killed, and decided to quit adventuring while he was alive. He now makes no bones about preferring quiet safety over adventure and riches. These days Natchor runs the Worried Warlock tavern, and is very house-proud. Some would say he takes neatness and tidiness too far, but he just likes things to be in good condition and in their right place.  
Appearance: Natchor is a typical halfling, standing 3'2" and with light brown hair kept short and large sideburns. He wears halfling-style town clothes most of the time and keeps his leather armour

Monday, 12 March 2012

Ideas from the Companion Boxed Set: Dungeon Master's Companion: Book 2 part 1

As a continuation of my previous post about the Player's book from the Companion set, I'm now taking a look at the Dungeon Master's Companion. As it is a considerably larger volume (64 pages as opposed to the 32 page players companion), I'll split it into 2 posts.
The book has 5 sections:
  • The Campaign
  • Procedures
  • Monsters
  • Treasures
  • Adventures

The Campaign
Part 1 General Guidelines is interesting not so much in terms of ideas for my Kaelaross campaign, so much as the viewpoint of the writers in Adventure Planning. I'm not sure how I feel about this part. On one level it makes sense but on the other hand it implies adventures worked out to a mathematical formula. But by taking this planning of adventures per level you can calculate what the PCs ought to earn more carefully. I say ought to earn, because this is dependent on whether the PCs follow your carefully laid plans. As if....
The 6 to 8 adventures per level for frequent play does seem quite stingy. I am assuming (and I think the author is assuming as well) that this is one adventure per session. At that rate, I'm not sure if many people actually got to use the Masters boxed set with honestly levelled-up characters.
I suppose there is  the question of where the XP comes from. Traditionally this is mainly treasure with some Monster XP. It is interesting that the book actually recommends that 1/5th of the XP should come from monsters, and the DM can award some goal/achievement XP, with the balance being made up with treasure.

Part 2 The Fantasy World covers aspects such as Obtaining a dominion, dominion administration, tournaments, dominion confidence levels and checks, changing rulers/officials, dominion events and titles. This system has been thought out and written in considerable detail, so that when any name-level PC obtains his own stronghold and surrounding area (his Dominion), his DM knows how to make the necessary calculations.
My inclination is to use the rules as guidelines. I think they are interesting, but the DM is allowed to overrule anything in the Dominion rules he deems unsuitable for his campaign.
One interesting thing I've just realised is that the rules say the PC gets 1 XP per 1 GP of resource and tax income. This means that for a newly established borderland dominion with 500 families and a single vegetable resource (a lot of cabbage farms perhaps?) the PC gets 500xp per month from tax income and 500xp per month from resource income. That's 1000xp for just sitting around watching cabbages grow! For larger dominions with better resources (and most do - the 1gp per family for one vegetable resource is the minimum) this means a serious contribution to a character's advancement. I wonder whether the writers were bearing this in mind when writing the previous part about planning adventures per level?

Mass Combat - the War Machine: This is something I remember from when the Companion rules first came out. It can be used, but it seems overly complicated when most factors are in the hands of the DM anyway. If I were able to, I'd want to fight it out on a map with miniatures.
As I said when talking about the range of possible adventures in Kaelaross, war and battles can be part of adventures, and will probably be part of maintaining a dominion.
Actually, I can see that while I would want to wargame the big, significant battles, this system could be useful for when there are lots of battles and skirmishes to be dealt with.

Part 3 The Multiverse: This part, along with the AD&D view of the Multiverse, helped shape my map of the Cosmology of Kaelaross. My cosmology is not exactly the same, but there are enough similarities for a lot of ideas in this part to work in Kaelaross.
The implication in here is that travelling to and from the ethereal and elemental planes is part of Companion level play, but beyond that the "Distant Planes" are master-level. This is not strictly true in Kaelaross - the planes of Law and Chaos closer to the Material Plane should be feasible for mid-level (6-12 level) adventures, particularly Hestoris and Carceros. Further beyond these planes, yes, it gets more dangerous and difficult for characters, and higher level characters are better suited to the more inhospitable planes such as Noreesis Vale and Urdunor.
Wormholes and Vortices have been mostly replaced in Kaelaross by portals, but some of the spontaneous ones (there are thought to be connections between the deepest oceans and the elemental plane of water, as well as between the Elemental plane of Earth and deepest parts of the Underworld) could be wormholes rather than portals.

Procedures - Although not exactly an inspiring piece, this part has a go at tidying up some of the odds and ends of D&D, such as:

  • Aging, 
  • Constructs (not as much information as I would like), 
  • Damage to magic items, 
  • Demihuman crafts - interesting but rather limited in that each race only has one path it can follow, namely Clan Relic > Special Oil > Magic Transport. 
  • Maximum hit points is basic maths, but a useful check to make sure a player isn't fiddling the numbers on his character sheet. 
  • Poison, 
  • Expanded To Hit rolls and Saving Throws 
  • Haste spells
  • Treasure - which, as with Adventure Planning in Part 1, confirms that treasure is the main source of XP for adventurers, forming about 4/5ths of XP earned. 

None of theses parts are particularly interesting, but are there in case any DM is interested.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Labyrinth Lord Dungeon Creatures: levels 5 to 12+

As a continuation of my previous post, here are the dungeon-dwelling higher-level monsters from the Labyrinth Lord rules.
Level 5
  • Carcass Scavenger (a.k.a. Carrion Crawler)
  • Gargoyle
  • Gelatinous Cube
  • Hellhound, 5 HD
  • Lizard, Giant Chameleon
  • Hydra, 5 heads
  • Lycanthrope, weretiger
  • Medusa
  • Minotaur
  • Ochre Jelly
  • Owlbear
  • Rust Monster
  • Scorpion, Giant
  • Snake, Giant Python
  • Statue, Animated Stone
  • Weasel, Giant
  • Wraith
  • Ogre Leader *
  • Statue, Animated Terracotta *

Level 6
  • Cockatrice
  • Gray Worm
  • Hydra, 6 heads
  • Hellhound, 6 HD
  • Leech, Giant
  • Lizard, Tuatara
  • Manticore
  • Phase Tiger (a.k.a. Displacer Beast)
  • Spider, Tarantella
  • Troll
  • Nagpa, Lesser *

Level 7
  • Basilisk
  • Cave Bear
  • Dragon, White 
  • Griffon
  • Hellhound, 7 HD
  • Hydra, 7 Heads
  • Spectre
  • Wyvern

Level 8
  • Cat, Sabretooth Tiger
  • Djinni
  • Dragon, Black
  • Elemental, 8 HD
  • Giant Catfish
  • Giant, Hill
  • Hydra, 8 heads
  • Invisible Stalker
  • Octopus, Giant
  • Ogre Chief *
  • Minotaur Boss *

Level 9
  • Chimera
  • Dragon, Green
  • Giant, Stone
  • Golem, Bone
  • Gorgon
  • Hydra, 9 Heads
  • Salamander, Flame
  • Vampire

Level 10
  • Black Pudding
  • Lycanthrope, Demon Boar
  • Dragon, Blue
  • Ettin
  • Giant, Frost
  • Golem, Amber
  • Hydra, 10 Heads
  • Nagpa (normal) *
  • Death Knight *

Level 11
  • Dragon, Red
  • Efreeti
  • Elemental, 12 HD
  • Giant, Fire
  • Hydra, 11-12 HD
  • Minotaur King *

Level 12+
  • Cyclops
  • Dragon, Gold
  • Dragon Turtle
  • Elemental, 16 HD
  • Giant, Cloud
  • Giant, Storm
  • Golem, Bronze
  • Purple Worm
  • Salamander, Frost
  • Nagpa, Greater *
  • Nagpa Lord *
Beyond level 12, we are getting into the realms of Companion level play, and I intend to look at the monsters of the Companion boxed set soon.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Labyrinth Lord Dungeon Creatures: levels 1 to 4

This list was compiled primarily for my own use, but I wonder if others would find it helpful as well.
This focuses primarily on dungeon-dwelling creatures rather than planar or wilderness creatures, and I went through the Labyrinth Lord rulebook when compiling this rather than Basic/Expert D&D, so there might be a few differences. Also it does rely on my own guestimate as to how tough each monster is.
For the sake of completion, I've included dungeon-dwelling monsters I've created elsewhere on this blog at the end of each level, indicated with an asterisk *.
As for using these lists - I've found them useful for selecting monsters for either writing an adventure or in the middle of a session where I want a monster of particular strength that will challenge the PCs without overwhelming them. These levels are guidelines, and assume there is just one of the monsters - it does not take into account the number appearing recommended in the monster stats.

Level 1

  • Bat, Normal
  • Beetle, Fire, Giant
  • Centipede, Giant
  • Ferret, Giant
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Hobgoblin
  • Kobold
  • Men, Brigand
  • Men, Berserker
  • Morlock
  • Orc
  • Rat, Normal
  • Rat, Giant
  • Shrew, Giant
  • Shrieker
  • Skeleton
  • Zombie
  • Scarlet Crab *

Level 2

  • Baboon, Higher
  • Bat, Giant
  • Bee, Killer
  • Fly, Giant Carnivorous
  • Gnoll
  • Lizardfolk
  • Locust, Subterranean
  • Mule
  • Neanderthal
  • Rot Grub
  • Shark, Bull
  • Snake, Spitting Cobra
  • Snake, Pit Viper
  • Stirge
  • Toad, Giant
  • Troglodyte
  • Juvenile Ogre *

Level 3

  • Ape, Albino
  • Bat, Giant Vampire
  • Beetle, Spitting
  • Beetle, Carnivorous
  • Bugbear
  • Cat, Mountain Lion
  • Crab, Giant
  • Fish, Giant Piranha
  • Ghoul
  • Golem, Wood
  • Green Slime
  • Hawk, Giant
  • Lizard, Giant Gecko
  • Ogre
  • Shadow
  • Shark, Mako
  • Spider, Crab
  • Statue, Animated Crystal
  • Wolf, Dire
  • Yellow Mold
  • Statue, Animated Wax *
  • Axebeak *
Level 4
  • Ant, Giant
  • Doppleganger
  • Gray Ooze
  • Harpy
  • Hellhound, 3-4 HD
  • Lizard, Draco
  • Lycanthrope Wereboar
  • Lycanthrope, Wererat
  • Lycanthrope, Werewolf
  • Rhagodessa
  • Snake, Giant Rattler
  • Spider, Black Widow
  • Statue, Animated Iron
  • Throghrin
  • Wight