Category Archives: Role-playing

The Magical Alphabet!!- U- Ulgarg’s Bag of Belly Buttons

The ancient and shriveled goblin shaman Ulgrag kept a bag of victim’s belly buttons as a trophy.  He would gladly take them out and show them to the other members of his clan at a moments notice. After an unfortunate incident where Ulgrag’s head ran into a knights war mace, the bag was collected and sold off to a mysterious pawn shop, simply known as “The Emporium.”  Now the shop keeper has a deal for you…

Goblin

In the bag at any given time are the belly buttons of:

Virgins (There are 10 of these)- they can be put on the fingers of a person (like black olives) and become suction cups that allow the wearer to climb sheer surfaces.  Lasts for 2d10 minutes before shriveling up and crumbling to dust.

Children (1d4 of these)- Throw at a target and it acts like the Phantasmal Killer (Wizard, lvl 4) spell.

Old People (2d4 of these)- These shriveled and nasty belly buttons can be crushed into a fine powder and blown in the eyes of a target.  The target must make a DC 14 Fort save or be blinded for 2d10 minutes and being to have horrible, violent hallucinations.  Alternatively the user can crush up four at a time and throw them at an area, which acts as the Web spell (Wizard, lvl 2).

Goblin (3d6 of these)- Ah how Ulgrag liked to carve out the belly buttons of naughty lil goblins of his clan!  Each one of these thrown summons a loyal goblin soldier (2 HP, +1 attack, AC 12, 1d4-1 dmg- rusted dagger).  These lil bastards giggle, cause mayhem, and last for 2d10 rounds or until killed.

Women (1d3 of these)- The owner can stretch this belly button out and lower it around their head.  They will be transformed into a beautiful woman (Charisma 18, +4).  The perfect disguise… or just something to do on a lonely Friday night.

Men (1d4 of these)- This can be thrown on the ground and a level 1d4 fighter will appear and serve your will.  This is a mindless husk, but very capable with a blade.  Only one of these belly buttons can be used at a time.  The fighter lasts for 2d3 rounds before disappearing.

Once all these belly buttons have been used the bag will sit empty for 1 month.  After 1 month the bag must be set under the full moon and bathed in the blood of a yak, the venom of a spider, and the spit of a whore.  Once these rites have occurred the bag will refill.

 


A Review of the 5e Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook- Part Two

For Part One- go here.

 

53 art

 

Yesterday I covered chapters 1-4 (basically character creation and to get the PC’s up and adventurin’).  Today I will hit chapters 5-11 and the Appendixes.

 

Chapter 5 is the equipment chapter.  If you’re familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, I really don’t need to touch on this chapter.  The one cool thing I’ll mention about it is at the end of this chapter there is a d100 table of trinkets.  Each player receives one trinket when they create their character.  These are cool.  They could be the jumping off point of a plot hook of the character.  Is it magical?  Is it cursed?  Totally up to the DM to flesh these out (or not).

Another thing is the finesse feat of 3.x is now attached to the weapon itself (like daggers and rapiers) rather than something that the player needs to take to be functional.

Chapter 6 is about customization options for characters- these are rules that the DM can state whether or not they are allowed in their game.

Multiclassing functions a bit like it did in 3.x.  Your levels in each class add together to your actual level (IE a 3rd level fighter that takes a level of rogue is now a 4th level character).  The cool thing is that there is Ability Score minimums required to multiclass- I dig.

The chapter then touches on Feats.  I really dug what they have done.  First off the Feats section is only 4 pages long.  Again, these are an optional rule.  How it works is that Classes don’t get feats. As with 3.x (and maybe 4e- not sure about that) when a character gets to level 4 they are able to raise an Ability score.  The player can either raise one Ability by 2, or two Abilities by 1. If the GM allows the optional rule of feats you can take one instead of raising an Ability score.  So the first level you are even getting a feat is at lvl 4.  Very cool.  Again- this speeds up chargen and doesn’t overwhelm a beginning player with too many options.

Chapter 7 is about Ability scores- this covers modifiers, the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic (which is awesome), Proficiency bonuses, Skills, and Saves.

As a major fan of OSR-style play (fast rules, simplicity, and fast women) I was really happy with these rules.  Gone are the numerous saves and weird bonuses and long skill lists.  Everything is traced back to your Abilities and Proficiencies.  All saves are now handled by your Ability score.  Each class has at least two Abilities scores that they are Proficient in for saves.  As the class levels up, so does their proficiency score- to cap out at +6 for ALL CLASSES by level 17.

When a PC is required to roll a save they roll a d20+ the appropriate ability modifier+ proficiency bonus (if applicable) to beat the determined DC.  Very easy.  I feel was inspired by Castles and Crusades.

Ability checks are done the same route and if you have a skill (determined by class) that is applicable you apply the same formula as stated above.   While it isn’t touched upon here, this is also the same for toolkits.  Your race, class, and background may give you proficiency with a toolkit.  If someone needs to pick a lock they require a thieves toolkit..  A fighter with this toolkit would roll a d2o+dexterity modifier and hope they hit the DC.  A thief is proficient with the thieves toolkit, so they would also add their proficiency bonus to the roll- making them better than others at opening locks (or disabling traps).

I really like this approach.  There isn’t the skill list wIith too many options (some redundant) of the 3.x era, and everything boils down to an Ability roll.  Everyone can try anything.  You wanna swim in a strong current?  Roll a strength check.  Oh you have the Athletics skill- go ahead and add your proficiency bonus to that then.  Done.  It’s simple and elegant.

One of the coolest mechanics in the game is the Advantage/Disadvantage system.  I really think that it was inspired by the mechanics of Barbarians of Lemuria. If you have the advantage on a target (and there are multiple things that grant this) you roll two d20s and take the higher of the two.  If you are at a disadvantage, you roll two d20s and take the lower of the two.  You can’t have more than one advantage or disadvantage at a time.  If a situation arises where you have both- you simply roll your d20 (even if you have three things giving you advantage and two giving you disadvantage).  I love this, because it’s not going to slow things down with people trying to figure out what cancels what and what’s left over, etc.  It’s a DONE DEAL.  Move on.  Roll your d20 and kill shit!  It’s a great, simple, and rewarding mechanic!

Chapter 8 is all about adventuring.  It discusses travel (broken down into times that work for dungeon crawls, city crawls, and hexcrawls), movement, vision and light sources, environmental factors, resting, and activities between adventures.

 

Resting…

Resting

I’m just resting… See?

 

Resting is broken down into a Short Rest and a Long Rest.  Short rests are for an hour more when there is no strenuous activity other than eating, drinking, or pooping.  During this time a wizard can recover a select number of spells (class ability), some other classes have things that refresh from a short rest.  Also PC’s can access their Hit Dice pool and get some healing.

I think that this is the evolution of healing surges from 4e, but I could be wrong.  Each character has a pool of dice equal to their maximum HD (IE a level 5 warlock has 5 HD pool).  The player can spend a number up to the maximum of their HD pool and roll those dice, and adds their Con modifier to each one- and that replenishes their health.  Expended Hit dice from the pool are replenished at 1/2 of level with a long rest (IE a the 5th level Warlock could regain 2 HD to their pool back with a long rest).

Long rests are a good night sleep- 8 hours.  This replenishes casters spell slots (more on this in the magic section), refreshes some class abilities, and replenishes ALL lost hit points.  I remember this rule from 4e.

I’ll be honest- when I read this, my OSR brain had the reaction in the meme below:

Healing

It causes my normal instinct of brutality and death and chaos that is prevalent in my Hubris campaign to twitch a little.  It may be too forgiving for my tastes, but honestly I haven’t played it yet and I can’t make a judgement.  It’s easy to houserule it to NO HP back or maybe I won’t be such a prick and let them have 1/2 back, but I won’t make that houserule until I play it RAW so I can actually made an educated decision.  Also I’ll concede that while 5e takes many inspirations from old school games, it still is more heroic than games like DCC or LotFP.  Level 1 characters aren’t Luke Skywalker on the moisture farm on Tattooine, they are Luke from Empire Strikes Back.  And hey- that’s fine- I’m just so used to gritty death and maiming that I have to recalibrate the way I think about things.

It also touches on things to do between sessions such as crafting, cost of living and lifestyle expenses.  These are SIMPLE rules and I love it.  Gone are the skills or feats needed to do anything…  Simple and down to one paragraph.

Now onto Chapter 9…  the big one… the thing that is on every veteran D&D player’s mind… Combat!   I was actually really surprised by the rules for combat…  why?  Because it is only takes up 10 pages in 5e (actually 9 if you count the two half pages as one page)!  It makes me weep (in a good way- not looking at myself naked in a mirror kinda way).  It’s so small and lite compared to 3.x and 4e.

Combat pretty much runs the same from 3.x and 4e days- roll your d20, add your Strength or Dex mod and beat the targets AC.  If your character is proficient with a weapon- add your proficiency bonus.

However some changes have been made, and I have to say- I like them.

Here’s a few to highlight:

  • It looks like drawing a weapon is no longer a move action. It’s just part of the attack action. Likewise sheathing one weapon is like drawing one. Sheathing a second weapon in the same rounds counts for 5′ of your movement action.
  • Same with drinking a potion- running over to kill a goblin, but need a potion?  Drink it on the way to shove your boot down his throat.
  • Movement has been broken down into 5′ increments. So you could move 10′, attack, and then move up to another 20′.  Took a page from Savage Worlds (or the Spring Attack Feat from 3.x)on that one.
  • Falling prone is no longer a movement action- getting up costs 50% of your movement (IE- if you move at 30ft, it takes 15ft of your movement).  I really like this and I know many of my players will too because you can still be effective when you get up and still move half your rating and attack or cast a spell or whatever.
  • There are still attacks of opportunity by there isn’t a SHIT TON of ways to provoke them.  It’s simply attempting to run away in combat, but you can use the Disengage action and not attack and your enemy doesn’t get a AoO.
  • Invisible attackers- there are no longer a ton of modifiers that need to be figured out when an invisible assailant is throttling your ass.  They get Advantage when attacking you and you suffer disadvantage when attacking them.  Easy peasy.
  • The above statement also is true when firing into melee at close range.
  • Everyone can two weapon fight now!  And again there is no plethora of modifiers, you just roll your normal attack.  If you hit you don’t get to add your strength modifier (unless it’s a negative) to your roll.  I’m actually surprised that they didn’t make the second attack at a Disadvantage.  There are class features in several classes (IE- Fighter and Ranger) that grant the bonus damage back.

Death

Death in 5e is handled differently than I’ve seen in any other edition.  Gone are they days of negative HP tracking.  Once you are at 0 HP, you are unconscious and dying.  When in this state you roll a d20 (no modifiers, this is purely luck now) and if you roll a 10 or above, you mark it as a success.  9 or below is a failure.  Once you have three successes you wake up with 1 HP.  If you get three failures before three successes you are maggot food.  Rolling a 20 on this roll automatically stabilizes you, whereas rolling a 1 counts as two failures.

Another way to die is from massive damage.  If you are dropped to zero and there is enough damage to equal or exceeds your maximum HP you are toasted instantly, no saves.  I like this because it keeps the threat of death for early level play, but diminishes with each level as you grow stronger.

Chapter 10 moves into spellcasting rules.  While certain things remain familiar to veteran D&D players- the way spells are now handled has changed.  Instead of having spells per day and having spells that scale as you level up, you now have spell slots.  These slots are how many spells you can cast per day.  Several classes (IE- Bard, sorcerer, etc) have spells that they know, whereas a wizard doesn’t- because they have their big badass tome of spells.

When you cast Magic Missile as a level one spell, you conjure two missiles that automatically hit and do 1d4+1 damage each.  You can choose to cast Magic Missile as a level two spell (thus taking up one of your level two spell slots) and do more damage.  The spell (and this is how any spell that follows this formula is described) states that at higher level spell slots it does 1 more dart.  So you could cast this as a ninth level spell and have 10 bolts that do 1d4+1 damage.  Higher level spells can never occupy a lower level spell slot.

This is a cool way to do things and I think will add a bit more versatility to a spellcaster.

All spellcasters can also use cantrips, basically level 0 spells.  These have unlimited use and gain in ability as the caster levels.  While it seems, to me, that casters have less spells they can cast in a day, the added bonus of cantrips, their versatility, and scaling growth keeps casters in the game even after their spells have run out.

Chapter 11 is the spell descriptions.  This is (as with any D&D book- or clone) the bulk of the book, weighing in at a whopping 82 pages.  I’m not really going to talk about the spells as I didn’t read all of them, but perused them here and there…  There are changes to some spells, some new ones, etc.  However any caster will be happy to frolic through this section.

We now move to the Appendixes- the first one is conditions- and funnily enough this is where my favorite art in the book is.  They are just simple sketches, but I really enjoy them.  The book covers the 14 conditions that are possible in 5e, and most of them are old hat to veteran players, even if in older editions we didn’t refer to them as a “condition.”

Appendix B is the gods of the multiverse.  5e touches on the deities of Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Eberron.  Then it goes on to touch on deities of our world (nice touch) including Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse deities.

Appendix C is the planes of D&D, touches on planar travel and the like.

Appendix D is creature stats- while it’s not a bestiary and more of what a caster can summon, it still gives you a glimpse of how stat blocks work in 5e.  For some free enemies go here.

Appendix E is inspirational reading…  How sad that they didn’t call this Appendix N…  Tsk tsk.

Then there is an index.  Huzzah… I HATE books that don’t include an index.

My Beef

Now I’ll touch on the one thing in the book that really didn’t do anything for me…  And that is the art.  I’m not saying it’s bad…  It’s technically skilled and has a decent aesthetic, but I just feel it is pretty “meh.”  I understand that D&D is attempting to be the gateway and attract a large audience (and that is what D&D does best), but the art didn’t conjure any visceral emotions for me.  I didn’t get a “holy shit!  I want my character to do that shit!”  I just feel the art is too save….

Truth be told I’ve become spoiled by the amazing art by the many talented artists active in the indie RPG/OSR area.

 

People like:

 

Doug Kovacs
15_DKovacs_GreenMary_Sample 16_DKovacs_DwarvenTrap_sample

 

Jason Sholtis

wight1 antlerman Deadgiantjungle

 

Zak Smith

zak_alice_connie zakess hatter Voivodja_MAp

 

Jez “the Man” Gordon

scenicdunnsmouth03 scenicdunnsmouth02 scenicdunnsmouth01 dreamaskewcover DEADWEST02_bw

And David Lewis “the Beast” Johnson

goblins gnome 2 final avarian-1 avarian

 

I just prefer art that gets my blood boiling with excitement and inspires me to write shit for my players…  The art in 5e just doesn’t do that for me…

In Conclusion- From what I have read (I haven’t played it yet), 5e is a solid and great addition to the worlds greatest RPG.  I am excited to play this game and run my players through it.  It’ll be a good change from the chaos and grit that is constant in their lives (in a good way) with DCC and my Hubris session.

Is this version of D&D in the “heroic” vein that 3e and 4e were…?  Yes…  but rather than super powers of 4e, it pays homage to the grittier and deadlier days of yore and then moves forward to the heroics, firmly acknowledging both types of play and creating a happy place for all.

I tip my hat to the people at Wizards of the Coast and the consultants that aided in making this a great game and all their hard work.  Thank you.

 

Now I’ll have to have my girlfriend add another panel to this strip she did for me a few years ago.

the-complete-evolution-of-dnd

 


A Review of the 5e Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook- Part One

I just finished reading through the 5e Players Handbook and figured I’d take the time to write a review on this bad boy.


PHB cover art

Disclaimer: I was not asked by WotC to write this review- I was not given a monetary reward, beer or even donuts for doing this… I did it because I wanna.

Disclaimer Number Two: I am NOT going to touch on all the fucking nastiness and bullshit that has permeated the net since the release of the D&D Basic rules.  If you don’t know about it and want to dive head first into it- go here..  Nuff said.

I guess I should give a little bit of background on myself- I started RPGing in 1995 with 2e and played it for six years before moving to 3.x (and eventually Pathfinder upon its release).  I had the 3.x monkey on my back for roughly 9 years before I just got so dissatisfied with the overly-complex rules and started fishing elsewhere.

I immediately turned to the OSR (because I remembered all the fun I had with the original red box campaign my friend had run for me years ago) and started running games using Swords and Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess (free version, paid version).  When I started writing my Hubris setting for publication I fell in love with Dungeon Crawl Classics and have been playing that for nearly a year.

I am not a fan of 4e at all.  It’s not my cup of tea.  I am not opposed to, or look down on, people who desire and enjoy playing it.  There is no badwrongfun when it comes to enjoying a game and having a blast with your chums.

When WotC released the free basic edition (link above), I downloaded it and was actually really impressed with what I read.  So it came no surprise to me that I was chomping at the bit for the PHB to be released.  I picked it up yesterday and poured through it…

Ok… Enough babble- onto the meat and potatoes

Let’s Get Started, Shall We

I’m not going to spend much time on production value- It’s a WotC book- it’s top notch.  Good binding- and page quality, etc.

The Players Handbook weighs in at roughly 316 pages, includes the character sheet, and even a small bestiary (that is a nice touch). Side note: WotC released a supplement for Tyranny of the Dragons for free with some magic items, monsters, and spells.  

First off I’ll open with that I really dig the philosophy behind this edition- it clearly borrows things from previous editions (2e, 3e, and 4e) and makes them work.  It also borrows from other sources (although I have no proof to solidify this, just my experience on other games)- Savage Worlds and  Barbarians of Lemuria- but I’ll touch my briefs on this later.

Chapter 1 is Character Creation and is standard fare- roll 4d6, keep the highest three.  Do this six times and then allocate in order you desire.

Chapter 2 is about races.  There are nine races in the PHB and several of them have sub-races (very cool).  Each race gains several traits such as increased Ability (5e term for Attributes) score, darkvision, proficiency with items, toolkits, armor, etc. (more on this later), and other things.  Each of these racial abilities give the race (and the player) a little more nifty in their PC, but not at the cost of really increasing bloat.

starter1a

The races are dwarf (with hill dwarf and mountain dwarf sub races), elf (with high elf, wood elf, and dark elf sub races), halfling (with lightfoot and stout halfling sub races), human, dragonborn*, gnome* (with Forest gnome and Rock gnome sub races), half-elf*, half-orc*, and tiefling*

*= There is a side bar starting these races are uncommon and not in every D&D setting. While it doesn’t state it- it is implied that one should ask the DM if it is alright to choose one of these races.

While the races are standard fantasy fare, I like what they have done with them (except Dragonb0rn- I’ll be honest… It just makes dragons mundane for me, but that is my own opinion).  I like the different abilities and flavor texts (especially for beginning role-players), and I like that sub races create even further variation within a class without HUGE rules bloat.

Chapter 3 is all about classes and there are quite a few of them in the PHB!  Twelve classes and, like with races, many have variations or paths that  make them more unique and special.  This is cool because you could have two very different fighters or rogues based on their chosen path (or profession).  I like that they adopted a more kit mentality with the classes (like from 2e) rather than come up with 80 new classes, each one roughly 3 pages long- creating more complex rules (as we saw in 3.x/4e).  With this approach you’ll see nods to 3.x prestige classes that have been absorbed into these various paths/professions/etc.

Examples: Eldritch Knight is now a path for fighters; Arcane Trickster and Assassin are rogue paths; and while it is named differently the Shadowdancer prestige class has now been made a Monk “tradition”, the Way of Shadow; Wild Mage is a Sorcerer bloodline.  Very cool.

The classes in the PHB are: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin (there is no anti-paladin, but I can see this being a path in the DMG or released later), Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard.

Each one of these classes has very cool abilities- and more importantly is VERY quick and easy to understand (bonus for new players).  I made two characters to see how long the process would take (thinking of the 2.5 hour chargen for Pathfinder for new players) and I had a Fighter made in 25 minutes and a Wizard in 35.  That’s not bad for not being fully familiar with the system.  I then walked one of my players through chargen and he had a fully functioning Wood Elf Rogue within 30 minutes.  Awesome!

At level 1 each class also gains proficiencies with certain skills, weapons and armor, saves, and toolkits (more on proficiencies later), full hit points, and starting gear (this is an awesome feature and REALLY speeds up starting play rather than the dreaded “YOU MUST GO SHOPPING NOW BEFORE YOU PLAY!!” crap.  It’s nice to see this- I’ve been doing it for years in my home games and it really does speed up kickstarting your campaign).

Chapter 4 describes a new feature to Dungeons and Dragons- personality and backgrounds (and the optional rule- Inspiration).

Backgrounds are a nifty little thing- first a player chooses one of the following backgrounds: Acolyte, Charlatan, Criminal, Entertainer, Folk Hero (one of my favorites), Guild Artisan, Hermit, Noble, Outlander, Sage,  Sailor, Soldier, and Urchin- each one grants a few proficiencies or skill or equipment (or even a role-playing perk, like being able to get the local militia to give you aid- from soldier).  Then the player rolls on several tables to generate a personality trait, an ideal, a bond, and a flaw.  The rules state that if this doesn’t go with what you had envisioned or if you don’t like it- JUST MAKE IT UP!  How novel!

Joking aside I like that WotC has gone this route- this is something stated in the book several times- the rules aren’t the end all and be all of everything… and in the end the DM has final call on all things (and I know that has gotten some of the 3.x/4e ruleslawyers butthairs in a tangle, but hey- that’s the way it should be).

Aside- Hack and Slash has been doing his own awesome Backgrounds- scope em out!

Inspiration is basically like Bennies from Savage Worlds and is completely option- DM’s call.  Basically when you do something cool, the DM will give you an Inspiration point.  You can burn this later to give you an Advantage on a roll (or cancel a Disadvantage, I suppose).  More on Advantage/Disadvantage in Part 2.

I think I’ve prattled on enough for today- tomorrow we will hit the rest of the book- starting with customization like multi-classing and feats!


The Magical Alphabet!!- T- The Teeth of Mad ‘Ol Philomena

The Teeth of Mad ‘Ol Philomena- These teeth belonged to the irate and paranoid gypsy, Philomena Renfrew.  She was known for her ability to see dark portends of the future and took great glee in expounding them to others.  She would cackle and clap the more horrible the vision.

Dentures

Ironically she was unable to see her own misfortune and died at the hands of an angry mob that had tired of her visions.  They gathered around her and slowly removed her nasty, disgusting teeth and then beat her, stabbed her, and then set her corpse on fire.  Her teeth were gathered in a bag and dumped in a river.

 

Eventually the teeth resurfaced, covered in muck and blood.  The teeth vibrate with power and whisper of a dark rite that one can undergo to gain her powers.  The one wishing to gain the powers of Philomena must remove their own teeth on a dark, rainy night and then shove the teeth of the ‘ol hag into their open mouth wounds.  The teeth will painfully take root, giving the person a terrible grin.

 

The person now gains a bite attack at a +2 (2d3 damage) and 3 times per day can attempt to see a vision of a person or other intelligent creature.  The user must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom check.  If they succeed they can claim luck or calamity.  If it be luck the target gets to roll two dice and take the higher of the two for any check.  If it is calamity, the target must roll two dice and take the lower of the two.


The Magical Alphabet!! S- The Stuffed Vulture, Mr. Krinkles

The Stuffed Vulture, Mr. Krinkles- This once majestic bird was the familiar to the crazed wizard Boubou the Mischievous.  He loved his bird, who he named Mr. Krinkles, more than his wife and his kids, who eventually left him due to his doting devotion towards his bird.

 

Stuffed Vulture

When Mr. Krinkles died, Boubou went mad with grief and ended up stuffing his familiar and placing enchantments on the vulture, to preserve his essence.

 

Although Boubou is now a long distant memory (“good riddance!” said his wife, “Loved his bird more than me and mine, he did!”), Mr. Krinkles still remains.  The owner of this stuffed vulture can hear it cawing and crooning in their head and are linked telepathically.  If the owner spends sufficient time petting the stuffed bird and whispering kind and encouraging things to it (about one hour), they will be able to summon Mr. Krinkles as a familiar (even if the owner is not a wizard).  Mr. Krinkles will remain until killed, at which point he reverts to his stuffed self and the owner must coax him out of this state once again.

 

Treat Mr. Krinkles as a dire vulture for stats and abilities.


Awesome New Lamentations of the Flame Princess Kickstarter- That ‘Ol James Raggi is at it Again!

LotFP

Yesterday James “the cannibal” Raggi made a huge and awesome kickstarter announcement (using Indigogo).  A Pay What You Want deal for a full hardbound AND full color RPG module!  He states in his explanation of the project that he’s had awesome luck with the PWYW for physical products at conventions and wants to try it as a kickstarter.  This is really exciting and cool- and potentially costly (if people don’t pitch in enough).

Raggi is honest though and shows the break down of how things will cost.  That’s one thing I do appreciate about Raggi, he won’t BS about shit and he doesn’t do smoke and mirrors- he’ll lay it out and explain what’s going on.

The module is written by the kick ass heavy metal Rafael Chandler.  Raggi explains the relationship:

Rafael Chandler conceived of all the concepts in the book, did all the writing, and was the creative director. LotFP has paid for all the artwork and graphic design and other production bits (except printing) and is taking care of promotion, order fulfillment, warehousing, and all that fun stuff.

 

I am excited for this module (as I really enjoy the LotFP stuff) and what this could do for the indie RPG industry at large.  Very exciting.


Hubris Session Recap- Session 15- Carousing and a Fight That Ends the Thought of All Good Things

It’s been a month since we’ve played due to me getting really sick and having friends come visit me…  So, yeah.

Players

Fletch- Shadowdancer (was human, but got turned into a Skaven last session).

Liam- Mutant

John-Cleric of Yelsa

Stephen-Human druid

Chuck- Half Demon

 

Last session- we ended with group discovering the entrance to an abandoned secret thieves den that would become Hammer and Sword’s new headquarters.

I refreshed the groups memory about this and explained that henchmen and people from the tavern The Lying Lady were overseeing cleaning and restocking the place, because that is fucking boring and I didn’t want to take up game time with that.

Foreshadowing…  Well Kinda.

I said two weeks later… I described the group being two days travel from Fairweather and watching two wagons waiting as a third (the one they tracked for two days) pulls up.

The two wagons waiting belonged to the Plague Doctors of the Scarlet Veil and to the Skeletal Gun Runners of the Floating Island of Terror (Patron inf0).

Helmet of a Skeletal Gun Runner, loyal to the Black Queen

Helmet of a Skeletal Gun Runner, loyal to the Black Queen

The Plague Doctors of the Scarlet Veil

The Plague Doctors of the Scarlet Veil

 

I described the wagons, and that the one pulling up had 10 slaves on it…  That these poor souls had been arrested by the Magistrate of the Craftsman District for being unable to pay his high taxes.  Throughout the sessions the group found out that the magistrate was selling these people to the Black Queen and to the plague doctors.  They decided to hit one of these trade-offs of slaves to A) hurt the magistrate; and B) to hopefully recruit more people to their cause.

I then flashed back two weeks and asked what that group did during that time…  I decided to do this type of set up for a couple reasons: 1) we hadn’t played in a month and we only have one other session in August due to more company arriving at my house; 2) I wanted to allow the group to metaplan this out rather than through investigating and planning taking up the whole session.

My players told me what they did over the last two weeks- and on the night before they set out to track the wagon I asked what they did…  And four of them decided this would be the perfect time to carouse!  Stephen did not carouse- instead he searched for a place to plant the golden seed given to him by Yelsa.

I busted out the awesome tables by Jeff and Zak (and make modifications of my own to fit my setting).  The first two up were Chuck and Liam.

Chuck woke up with a glowing black tattoo of Samuel L. Jackson on his chest with the words “Bad Motherfucker” around him.  I have not gotten further on his tattoo than that.

Liam woke up in his bed and found a golden locket next to him.  He looked at it and saw a baby in the fetal position, but its top half was facing the opposite direction as its legs and it was screaming in agony.  He recognized it as a symbol of the Twisted One.  He opened it and saw the horrible visage of a woman that is clearly a byproduct of inbreeding and the teachings of the Way of the Flesh.  The note expounded on the magic of that night and that she looked forward to their wedding!  Liam had too bad a hangover to worry about it at that point.

Both of them lost 400 GP and gained 4 XP.

Then Fletch and John stepped up to the plate.

Fletch decided to hit up some whores at the Lying Lady and found an ugly one that would take his new ratty appearance…  He woke up the next morning in the sewers with his female doppleganger.  She purred at him and smiled, speaking of their love.  She rubbed her belly and said that his seed had been planted well and that soon they would have a litter.  Aside: Fletch is now a happy and proud father of a beautiful baby boy and asked if I did this because he is now a dad…  I said absolutely.  

John decided to go into a back alley and play some cards with some shady blokes- he promptly was taken for all he was worth and more…  When it came time to collect the thugs started beating him to a pulp.  He called to Yelsa for help and she answered.  John woke up in the morning to find blood on the walls and chunks of meat hanging from hooks…  The blood parted to form a message, “Go to Shadowfall and investigate the strange new cult there that is affecting my followers… or feel my wrath.”  I love the quest spell!

Both of them lost 5oo GP and gained 6 XP.

Stephen didn’t carouse but instead decided to plant his seed in the Skye District, which is currently under reconstruction after one of my other players set fire to it (carousing again) and burnt most of it down.  He planted his golden seed and heard “give me blood to help me grow”.  He stabbed himself with an arrow and dropped his blood on the place where he planted the seed.  The ground shook and then a huge tree burst forth and grew at an alarming rate.  The tree obliterated the Skye District and destroyed the walls and immediate buildings of the surrounding districts.  When the dust settled a strange and horrible visage met their eyes (see below).

The Life Tree of Hubris

The Life Tree of Hubris

 

The tree opened its mouth and bellowed, “I AM THE LIFE TREE!  I HAVE BEEN RESURRECTED!!  NOW STARTS A NEW DAWN AND NATURE SHALL RECLAIM WHAT HAS BEEN LOST!!!”  So now Stephen will have an Invoke Patron for his character…  I just need to decide how I want to handle it.

With that the group decided it was time to hit the ol’ dusty trail and track down those wagons.

A Random Encounter That Derails the Best Laid Plans…

So the group set off to encounter the wagons, traveling two days north in the Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow.  I had a player roll 1d6 with the chance of an Encounter or Lay of the Land on a 1 or 2- they rolled a 3..  No luck.  That night they made camp and set up guard in 2 hour segments.  The first two passed without any drama.  The third, Chuck’s watch, is when I rolled an encounter.  I rolled 26 on my Encounters chart, which is 1d4 rabid hyenas (I rolled a 4) and a Gnoll Shaman.  I used the stats of the Hellhound in DCC and a gnoll shaman is treated as a level 4 cleric.

 

This was a pretty brutal fight.  One hyena grabbed Fletch’s level 1 warrior hireling and drug him off into the night (he broke free the next round and then was promptly downed by the same hyena).  Liam was downed by a hyena during the second round (and sorry to say spent the whole of the fight bleeding out).  Chuck got off Flaming Hands (and since this was his first time casting the spell we rolled for his random effect, aaaaannnndd…..?  Raining frogs!  All in a 30′ radius were knocked prone and took damage (if they failed their saves) from falling amphibians.   Chuck also got of another spell, Scorching Ray I think, which helped hurt the hyenas.

Stephen did animal summoning and summoned two Black Mambas (he fully admits watching Kill Bill recently).  His deadly snakes killed 3 of the hyenas.  The other was cut down by John…

The shaman was a tough cookie, casting word of command on Fletch and commanded him to attack Chuck (who he thankfully missed and returned to normal the next round).  He then attempted to cast it again the next round and failed.  Finally the group started to work on him and he turned to flee with the group giving pursuit.  The gnoll turned around and cast turn unholy- everyone failed except for John who decided to let the shaman go so he could turn his attentions to his fallen comrades and bring them back from the brink of death.

After they regrouped they looked at their wounds and since I had given them this one metagame advantage, decided fuck it…  Let the plague doctors have this group of slaves…  they were wrecked, needed to rest and heal up and there was NO WAY they were going to survive such an assault with such wounds.

I asked what they wanted to do next session and John said, “well I have to go to Shadowfall (more info in my Great Plains link), so that’s where I’m head.”  The rest of the group agreed…  So next session that’s where they are headed.

 

Next Time

My players have a tiny bit of experience with Shadowfall when I first started writing Hubris.  I’m excited because we are coming up on nearly a year (2 months shy) of running this campaign (huzzah) and they have spent most of their time in Fairweather.  I’m not complaining because it’s been a great campaign thus far and pretty brutal.  I’m looking forward to them trudging across the plains and seeing what they come across.

 

In conclusion I’ll leave you with this tasty image…

Horrible


The Magical Alphabet!!- R- Reign

Reign- This halberd was once the trusted weapon of the great King Thallus, and aided him in his fight against the undead hordes that descended from tall mountains in the frozen north.

Reign

This weapon is believed to have been created by the goddess of life and healing to aid mankind in their struggle with undeath.

 

The holder of this weapon is immune to the dreaded level drain effects of many undead.  It does 1d10 damage to normal creatures, but to undead Reign deals 2d8 damage.

 

The weapon also has two other abilities:

 

  • Daylight (Wizard, lvl 3) 3x/day.
  • Sunburst (Wizard, lvl 8) 1x/day.

Reign is an intelligent weapon and can communicate telepathically.

 

Should any creature not aligned with Reigns goals of destroying undead, they instantly burst into flames and suffer 10d10 damage (no save).


The Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow- A Hubris Territory and Some Awesome Art

First off I wanted to share some great art by the talented David Lewis Johnson for my upcoming Hubris campaign setting!

Here are two pictures of the Avarian race/class

Avarian 1

 

 

Avarian

 

This is the Four Goblin Clans of Hubris

Goblins

This will be the last territory I put up on the blog before going live with the kickstarter.  I wanted to put this up in honor of Jez Gordon’s Awesome RPG day!!!

Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow- Three of the major kingdoms of Hubris reside in these great plains, although none are at war tensions always run high.  The castles of powerful lords, outposts, and villages dot the landscape of these rolling plains.  While some of these structures are inhabited, many others have been abandoned for centuries; the cries, moans, and calamity issuing from these decrepit ruins keeps the curious at bay, leaving these remains undisturbed.  The largest structure on the plains is the Ruins of Mallanthory, an ancient city, recently destroyed, that holds mysteries, horrors, and untold treasure.  Terrible monsters, hordes of undead, and enclaves of the Wretched, the corrupted fae of the Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories, make their home on the plains; this land is extremely dangerous for unprepared or unseasoned travelers.

 

Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow- Lay of the Land

1-15 Rolling plains of grass, farmlands, grey mud, and thorns.

16-17 Area of briars that drip blood.

18-20 Vineyard with grapes that have are faces of humans, young or old.  The grapes scream when they are squeezed.  Those that drink the wine are flooded with euphoric memories that are not their own.  This effect lasts 10 min per drink.

21-25 Rocky hills with shrubs.  In the morning a steaming fog rises off the ground.   By the evening everything up to 4’ high is encased in a 2” thick layer of ice, regardless of te time of year.

26-27 Plantation displaying a hideous level of opulence with slaves out in the fields working in the worst of conditions.

28-29 Tattered remains of a farmstead, crops overgrown with razor grass, thorns, and weeds.

30 A thick mist that makes it hard to breathe for any who are in the area.  Peering into the mists causes the person to see all those that have died, in various states of decay, flitting in and out of reality.

31-32 Abandoned fort of: 1) Eisenbar; 2) Fairweather; 3) Shadowfall; 4) unknown long forgotten empire; 5) goblin; 6) Klind.

33-34 Gnoll slaver camp.  There are always 3d6+3 gnolls and 2d10+10 slaves present.

35 Entrance to a Malfactorium underground stronghold.  They are tunneling through the earth towards: 1) Eisenbar; 2) Fairweather; 3) Shadowfall.

36 An orc warband attacking settlement.  They are using a gargantuan slug abomination to destroy the settlement’s keep.

37-40 Several Wretched and savage beastmen are dancing around a screaming emerald green fire.

41 Hangman’s Tree moving across the plains: 1) sneaks up on group making camp; 2) seen in the distance; 3) people fighting at its base; 4) someone being strung up.

42-45 Giant statue of the Spider Goddess, surrounded by chanting bugbears that are completing a terrible ritual.

46-50 Dry and brittle hillocks.  These hillocks are actually an extensive hive of bees.  Stepping on the hillocks causes them to crumble and break, releasing waves of angry bees that sting, bite and kill.

51-55 Small undefended farming community with 3d6+3 peiople.

56-57 Remains of unremarkable village.  Exploration of the ruins reveals two dozen bodies wrapped in thick cocoons.

58-60 Remains of unremarkable village.  A large idol of Set can be found in the center of the floor of the church.

61-62 Eisenbar paladins attacking and burning settlers.

63 Ancient keep of a forgotten empire.  Home to the self-proclaimed vampire queen, the “Red Lady.”

64-65 Large obelisk erected to the Great Slumbering Monlolith.  There is always 2d4 priests present.

66-67 Small mutant community (hostile to outsiders).

68 Discarded metal tower of Floating Island of Terror.

69-71 Area covered in strange glowing moss.  Eating the moss causes: 1) hallucinations; 2) ability to float 1’ above the ground; 3) glowing in the dark; 4) a great night sleep.  Effects 1-3 last for 24 hours.

72-74 Abandoned Eisenbar fort now occupied by Gnolls.

75-77 Fairweather labor camp.

78 Prison camp built entirely out of the bones of the guilty, reinforced in iron.

79 Cave filled with Vile Gut Clan goblins.  There are always 2d10+10 goblins present.

80 Hideous alter with serpentine body, arms of a baby, and five hundred screaming heads.

81 Asylum for the strange, insane, and mutated.  Patients are cruelly treated.

82-83 Lone inn for weary travelers.  Painted in prismatic colors.

84 Rip in the fabric of reality.  Walking through the rip will transport the characters to: 1-2) another area of Hubris; 3-4 a new world; 5) Different plane of existence (use Planes of Hubris table, pg XX); 6) into the Void.

85 Fissures in the ground belching up yellow steam.

86-88 Small tranquil pond.  Magic does not function while near it.  Should someone bathe in its waters, magic doesn’t work for 24 hours.

89 Abandoned orchard with fruit that has interesting magical properties.

90 An Eisenbar stronghold that has been taken over by orcs.  The orcs are corrupting creatures in their strange alchemical potion: 1) Fire Breath Clan goblins; 2) gnolls; 3) humans; 4) bugbears; 5) a chimera; 6) dire bats.

91 Bizarre upside down pyramid with a door made of liquid gold.

92 Crystalline cube with shadowed figures frozen inside.  Upon closer inspection each character sees that the frozen figures are themselves.

93 Bizarre metallic ruins that only emerge once every 100 years for 1d10 days.

94-96 An ancient wooden fort occupied by 3d8+4 Fire Breath Clan goblins.

97 A small stream that babbles softly.  After soaking a blank piece of parchment in the stream for 1d5 days it will have a random spell transcribed on it: 1-3) wizard; 4) cleric.

98 Cabin of the exiled prophet Crazed Tubble.

99 Field of strange waving shrubs that are actually tentacles of man eating plants.

00 Gigantic 25’ tall Murder Machine that has been deactivated for a long time.  Grass and vines have grown on and around the suit of armor.

 

Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow- Encounters

1-10 Bandits seeking easy money.

11-12 Small band of Malfactorium seeking the Skull of the Crying Peasant for their queen.

13 Gnoll slaving party (one is riding on the back of a Murder Machine).

14-15 2d4+1 Vile Gut Clan goblins (2 are riding on giant wasps).

16-21 Traders making their way to: 1) Fairweather; 2) Shadowfall; 3) Bogwood Swamp; 4) Glasturbury.

22-24 2d8 Bugbears accompanied by a giant spider-demon possessing the head of necrotic baby.

25 2d8 Eisenbar paladins attacking heretics of their faith.

26-27 1d4 Rabid hyenas led by a gnoll shaman.

28 Sentient twister that is lonely, but holds treasure in its eye.

29-32 A vampire thrall and 3d4+3 militia from Shadowfall.

33-34 Band of centaurs seeing vengeance for the murder of their leader, the Time Keeper.

35-36 The Wretched attacking a caravan.

37 Golem made of metal and spikes with bodies impaled on each.  Some are still living.

38-39 1d3 humans infected by the Metalphage.

41-45 Refugees of a recently attacked village seeking help.

46-47 Sorcerer falls out of the sky and dies.  Holding strange glowing orb in his hands.

48 1d4 dead victims of the Hangman’s Tree, all emit toxic miasma.

49-52 3d4+3 guards from Fairweather.  They are: 1) fighting Eisenbar paladins; 2) camped out along the side of the road; 3) investigating rumors of a haunted keep that has appeared seemingly out of nowhere; 4) harassing a small avarian caravan; 5) dead and been torn apart by a vicious troll; 6) are looking for the characters.

53-54 10 Skeletal Gun Runners from Floating Island of Terror delivering a shipment of guns and gunpowder to: 1) Fairweather; 2) Shadowfall; 3) Bogwood; 4) Glasturbury.

55-57 A raiding party of 5d3 gnolls riding in an armored wagon that was stolen from a group of Skeletal Gun Runners.

58 A mutant eunuch carrying the living severed head of Apalas, a mistress of Ithis the Bulge.  She was sacrificed to satisfy the needs of the Barking Moon, an ill omen of lunacy and starvation.

59 Stone giant infected with Metalphage.

60-62 Sorcerer making a deal with a small ice memphit with 4 heads.

63 Hunters of the Court of Delirium searching for Wretched.

64-66 Farmers about to burn someone they believe to be possessed.

67-70 1d4 +1 troops from Vigilance Keep.

71 Royal envoy of Fairweather headed to Shadowfall.

72-73 Earth elemental wandering around and melding boulders together to form a structure.

74-76 2d4 ghouls hunting the characters.

77-80 Eisenbar paladins seeking the characters for: 1) help with a problem beyond their ken; 2) to cleanse the characters by pain and fire for their perversions.

81-82 Swarm of biting flies.  Chance players become infected with larva.

83 A strange creature who claims to be from a different world called the Charred Planet.

84 A strange, otherworldly consciousness that guards the door to an ethereal library.

85-86 Mutant outlaws- 1) hostile; 2) friendly.

87 Necromancer with 1d4 zombies, 1d4 skeletons, and 1 ghoul.

88-91 Exiled fae offering passage through the Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories to anyone who can offer him a bottled baby’s laugh.

92-93 Small community of mutants.  Always 5d4+3 present.

94 A man sitting on a boulder, smiling.  Says he’s been waiting for the characters for 1d100 years.

95 A beastman of the Wretched seeks protection from his own kind.

96-97 Burned bodies tied to stakes.  Stomachs are bloated with necrotic grubs.

98 An emissary of the Spider Goddess descends from the sky on a thick web, offering parlay with the characters.

99 Small village of children.  They were once adults, but sold their emotions to a demon to remain forever young.

00 A Witch coven has just finished a dark ritual that has brought forth the physical manifestation of their patron.  The physical being of the patron is weak and frail, so it is placed in the womb of a cow.  The patron will gestate for 3d3 months and then burst from the animal in a spray of blood, smoke and acid, fully formed and ready to bring darkness to the planet.

 

 

Locations

Blood River Chasm- Once a child of Eisenbar reaches eight years of age they are dropped into this craggy fissure and must fight for survival as they make it to the exit.  During this time they undergo the Trial of Pain, mutilating their flesh with whips, chains and ritual scarring to prove their worth to the Empire and Drallic the Flayer.  Monsters, traps, other children, and natural hazards bar the way to safety.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) No child has exited the Blood River Chasm for three weeks.  While the Trial of Pain is deadly, and many children die, there are always a few that emerge.  It is forbidden for any citizen of Eisenbar to enter the trial.  However, there is no law against sending in foreigners to investigate.

2) The Blood River Chasm has become filled with a thick crystalline web-like substance.  All attempts at removing it have failed.  A cleric of Drallic the Flayer has had a vision that the breath of a dying child prophet will remove this curse.

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Capital City of Eisenbar- The smoke from the pyres that purge the unworthy from the earth can be seen for miles around Eisenbar.  The nation and its settlements lie south west of Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories, which helps to separate Eisenbar from Shadowfall.  Drallic the Flayer of Flesh, the patron deity of Eisenbar, passed down the Sacraments of Pain, Torment, and Intolerance, on which the nation is founded.  The Anointer of Pain, Altor Von Krall, rules Eisenbar from the Bloody Spire, a high red tower perched precariously on the Pit of Weakness.  The tower is said to have over a million hooks that hunger for the bodies of the weak.  Bodies of sinners, unbelievers, the infirm, the elderly, and other weak creatures can be seen strung up around the tower.  It is believed that should the Anointer of Pain ever fail in his duty, the Bloody Spire will crumble and fall into the pit.

 

Eisenbar does not tolerate outsiders and it is very rare that the gates of their Great Iron Wall of Pain is opened, save to allow Paladin’s to venture out into the wilds to purify heathens.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) Altor Von Krall has been growing ill.  The opposition is calling for the Challenge of Righteous Pain.  Either Von Krall will defend his right as Anointer of Pain, or a new leader will secure the title.

2) Altor Von Krall is seeking brave and worthy people to delve into the Ruins of the Barbed Mother, to the north of Eisenbar.  Recently discovered ancient lore tells of Drallic the Flayer’s own scared Armor of Pain and Misery is said to rest there.

3) An Eisenbar warband is planning to venture into the Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories to search for the Well of Unfathomable Knowledge.  They are looking for recruits to help secure it.

4) Priests of Drallic the Flayer are seeking brave souls to infiltrate Shadowfall and pour the blood of their god into the Black Pool of Inexplicable Ecstasy.

5) An explosion has destroyed much of the market area; bodies are scattered throughout the square.  Officials are accusing agents from Shadowfall.  The famous sorcerer, Balbin Myvok, hasn’t been seen since the explosion.

6) Several townspeople have been rounded up and having been judged as impure and unfit for the blessing of Drallic the Flayer; these poor helpless victims are to be cleansed by being flayed into submission.  Suddenly one of the priests points at one of the characters and shouts, “Seize them!”

 

Sacraments of Pain, Torment, and Intolerance

Those that are weak, unworthy or unclean shall be purified by flail, chain, or hook until their blood quenches the thirst of the parched ground.

Those that are weak shall be flayed alive until their spirit breaks and all that remains is a worthless husk.

Those who are unworthy shall be cast down as slaves!  The boot heel and the barbed-flail shall be their only comfort.

The worthy shall pay tribute to Drallic through the scarring of their own flesh!

Do not wait for the filthy and weak to make bed in your home, seek them out and bring the will of Drallic!

Shall a child not survive to the Trial of Pain, they are mere dust and their name unspeakable. 

The tainted and abhorrent are to be destroyed without hesitation.

There are no allies, only tools to be used and discarded when broken or no longer serve a purpose. 

 

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Lake of the Flayed- This calm lake is filled with the bones of those that were weak and unworthy of the blessing of Drallic the Flayer.  The punishment for those that succumb to the shameful weakness of death during the Ceremony of Righteous Flaying is to be thrown into the lake to spend eternity in constant torment.  When the sun sets the lake becomes luminescent and the moans and screams of the Flayed are heard throughout the night.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A necromancer seeks to free the imprisoned dead at the bottom of the lake.  The resulting wrath of the Flayed against Eisenbar would be overwhelming.

2) It is believed that the memories and knowledge of the Flayed can be gathered and extracted from the waters of the lake.  Several alchemists seek to use their properties in potent and dangerous potions.

3) An island with a moss covered has risen from of the Lake of the Flayed.  A skeletal boatman in a rickety raft waits at the lake’s edge.

 

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Purity Keep- This Eisenbar stronghold is their strongest and most defended settlement outside of the great fortified wall of their capital.  This outpost watches the kingdom’s northern border.  The outpost will do trade with outsiders, including the Floating Island of Terror.

 

The outpost houses hundreds of troops and groups of Eisenbar Paladins who venture into Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow or the Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories to spread the word of Drallic and purify the heathens.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A massive invasion force of orcs from the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire (pg XX) has conquered Purity Keep.  Eisenbar is sending a legion of Paladins from the capital to reclaim their fort and annihilate the heathen monsters.  Any outsider who helps will be rewarded.

2) A war party of Paladins has disappeared on a mission into the Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories.  The men still in the outpost have heard the missing men’s voices in their dreams.

3) The great and renowned alchemist Setivus Marr Crop is being held prisoner at Purity Keep and will soon be put to death for his sins of dabbling into perverted arts of alchemy and witchcraft.  He has managed to sneak out a note with a caravan and is begging for help.  He promises a great reward for those who help him.

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Fairweather- Fairweather was once considered the jewel of Hubis, but has slipped into the grips of madness, plague, decadence and debauchery in the three hundred years since The Twisted One first appeared before King Maldran, promising the way to power and knowledge was through the purity of blood.  The Reign of the Mad Kings dawned when King Maldran and the royal family of Fairweather struck a deal with the Twisted One, and began practicing the Ways of the Flesh.  As the royal family continues to follow the teachings of the Twisted One, engaging in inbreeding for the sake of purity of blood, each generation becomes more grotesquely deformed and unstable.  While the nobility is allowed to partake in the pleasures of the flesh of kin, only the royal family is allowed to produce heirs.  Any who are not of noble birth are denied practice of the Ways of the Flesh, and if caught doing so are executed in the most brutal fashion.  As the Twisted One’s teachings have become law, the rift between the nobility and the common citizens has grown wider.  The nobility wear extravagant avant-garde fashion, while the poor wear rags in varying shades of brown, grey, and black.

 

The current king, Ithis the Bulge, is extremely deformed and prone to terrible, violent mood swings.  Ithis is hailed as the God-King, as many believe he is the Twisted One made flesh.

 

Three years ago a terrible plague, The Metalphage (pg XX), began ripping through Fairweather, causing people to mutate into grotesque creatures; jagged metallic shards, wires, and tubing burst from the flesh of the infected, either driving them mad or killing them.  The mere touch of a Metalphage infects others and also corrupts metal, rusting it.  Entire districts of the city have been quarantined and sealed in an attempt to halt contamination.  The Plague Doctors of the Scarlet Veil conducts terrible experiments on the infected from their heavily guarded Red Monastery, in an attempt to discover the secrets of this curse.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1)  Riots have begun in the poor districts over lack of food, poverty, inequality, and the plague.  Many nobles have been taken hostage or killed.

2) Several plague doctors have gone missing while investigating a district suffering from the plague.  The captain of the guard is eager for their return and is willing to pay handsomely.

3) The gates of a quarantined section of Fairweather burst open and metalphage surge into the square attacking all in reach.  The city guard is quickly overrun.

4) The ancient wizard Hepple is said to have contact with Malevolence, one of the Five Dragons of Hubris.  People shy away from him, for fear he will bring down a terrible fate like that of Mallanthory.

5) In preparation for the birthday of Corwin, King Ithis’s young nephew, all the jewelers in the city are being rounded up, their shops ransacked, and are being forced to craft beautiful gifts for the young noble.  A nearby shop owner has escaped the guard and runs up to the characters, shoving a large black ruby at them, whispering “this is too dangerous to fall into the wrong hands!  Please, take this!  It must remain hidden.  If I am ever free, I will come back for it!”  He then turns and runs back to his captivity.

6) The eccentric artist, Jean Le Tiepe, in a continued desire to be popular and relevant has begun kidnapping those he views as beautiful or unique and transforming them into sculptures or other pieces of art.

7) The extravagant Purple Moon Ball is about to take place.  It is one of the premiere events for the nobility of Fairweather.  Harold BiPhis, a noble of low-standing, is desperate to find the golden cluck cluck bird to stuff and wear as a hat, in the hopes that it will elevate his status.  He has agreed to take the characters as his entourage should they succeed.

 

Ravings of the Mad God King

1 All nobles shall wear orange on the day of my birth! 

2 All those not of noble birth are denied carnal pleasures for one year, save for when a noble demands it!

3 The consuming of animal flesh must be doubled on the third day of the week!

4 Those with hair of brown must wear a hat to hide their shame!

5 If a dog crosses your path, you must pet it and then bathe and scrub until raw to cleanse your flesh!

6 By royal decree all nobility must mock those of lower birth!

7 The sight of a bluebird is unlucky!  Kill it!

8 When an unworthy is executed it shall be celebrated in the streets!

9 None shall consume food, but for pork loin for one week!

10 At the fifth bell toll on the fifth day of the fifth month all must run naked in the streets to taste the pleasures of the Twisted One!

 

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Twisted Angel Lake- Three hundred years ago, in the Year of the Beheaded Herald, the Twisted One rose from what was then called Fairweather Lake and offered the knowledge of the Ways of the Flesh to King Maldran.

 

Twisted Angel Lake is now a holy site.  All from Fairweather are required to go to its banks to bathe in the waters and be blessed and cleansed at least once a month.  Ithis the Bulge, with help from the Black Queen, has recently begun construction of a massive tower in the middle of the lake to honor the Twisted One.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The construction of the tower has awoken the horrific nightmare, the Unblinking Monstrosity, in a terrible wrath.  The beast and its minions will destroy the tower and flood the lake. The Unblinking Monstrosity will move on to the plains and wreak havoc on the land until stopped.

2) As the temple nears completion the air around it shimmers in random hues and crackling energy fills the skies… Each day a noise akin to a roar grows louder.

 

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Port of Ustler- This small port and outpost serves the launching point for Fairweather’s trade vessels and warships.  The port was founded by Ustler the Babbler over 200 years ago in the Year of the Expired Monkey.

 

Recently the port has been covered in a thick murky fog that has made it difficult for ships to land and make sail.  The land around the village has been come damp and muddy, hindering land travel.  The sounds of thousands of frogs fill the air, day or night.  Several villagers have disappeared, their companions and family claiming to have seen grotesque frogmen grabbing their loved ones and then vanishing into the fog.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The waters around the Port of Ustler have become fetid and mucky.  The sludge is so thick ships cannot move through it.  All the fish have died or mutated into abhorrent monstrosities.

2) All the inhabitants of the town have suddenly been put into a deep magical sleep, slumbering in positions of daily activity.

3) The whole town has been turned into hideous frogpeople.  Is there a way to break this horrific curse?  Or is the village and port doomed to be put to the torch to cleanse this blight?

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Glasturbury- The town of Glasturbury is a large city with an extensive farming community that serves as a resting point for caravans and traders traveling between the capitals and territories of Hubris.

 

Glasturbury is led by the Frail, a select group of five individuals that have undergone a painful and potentially fatal ritual that transforms them into immobile fragile husks that are strapped to intricately carved papoose boards.  This transformation allows the five to become virtually immortal, immune to magical effects, religious intervention, and gives them the ability to communicate telepathically.  A side effect of the transformation is that the Frail exude a toxic miasma, causing horrible mutations to those that stay in their presence for too long.  If a target is in the presence of the Frail for more five minutes in a 24 hour period they must succeed a DC 18 Fort save or gain 1d3 cosmetic mutations, and there is a 30% chance of one power mutation (pg XX).  Mutants are immune to this effect.  The Frail have a group of loyal mutants that serve their every need.

 

Recently a group of adventurers discovered the entrance to an extensive set of ruins beneath Glasturbury.  The adventurers disappeared into the depths, and after being gone for several days, only a few of the returned, but with many riches in hand.  The survivors remarked at the extensive array of corridors, traps, and monsters that they had come across, and that these ruins seemed to go on for miles.  Now others with hearts full of adventure, many would-be adventurers have delved into this dangerous and ancient dungeon in the hopes of making a name for themselves or the discovery of riches.

 

Glasturbury has begun charging an entrance fee of 15g per entry into the dungeon.  Those that leave the dungeon are allowed to keep any and all items or equipment found from the depths below, even the gear of adventurers that have died.  The items are then appraised by the council and a tax is levied on the adventurer.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A invasion force of Malfactorum surge down the mountain towards Glasturbury, seeking to expand their domain.  The city is looking to send an envoy to the stone giants, seeking aid.

2) A member of The Frail was found murdered.  Evidence has been planted that points to involvement by one of the characters.

3) A caravan of Avarians has set up a carnival on the outskirts of the city, offering entertainment of magic, music, and shows.  Their soothsayers are offering, for the right amount of coin, to delve into the depths of a person’s soul and read their future.

4) The animated corpses of dozens of adventurers that have died in the dungeon wander up from the ruin’s entrance and begin attacking the inhabitants of Glasturbury.

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Hangman’s Tree.  This twisted tree was used as the gallows of the Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow, sending many guilty and innocent people to their deaths.  Eventually spite and malignancy warped the tree, causing it to become alive and hungry for more lives.  The tree wanders the plains attempting to string up unwary travelers.  The tree is left alone because of the rare and valuable nut it produces once every decade; The Heart of the Crimson Sorrow.  The Heart of Crimson Sorrow is said to have amazing magical properties, including the ability to resurrect any creature that has died.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The Hangman’s Tree is about to bloom.  A wizened, toothless old man wants you to retrieve the Heart of the Crimson Sorrow for him, at any cost.  There is always a huge fight for one of these invaluable nuts.

2) A large invasion force of Klind has made it to the great plains and is going to attempt to take the Hangman’s Tree back to the Blighted Sands and keep it there under heavy guard.  They hope to use the Heart of Crimson Sorrow to bring forth Set into Hubris.

 

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Red Monastery- The secretive Plague Doctors of the Scarlet Veil (pg XX) conduct terrible and harsh experiments in their secure haven, far away from prying eyes.  The plague doctors have been granted executive powers by Ithis the Bulge in order to find the desperately needed cure for the Metalphage (pg XX).  People, whether sick or healthy, are rounded up daily by the plague doctors and transported to the Red Monastery, never to be heard from again.

 

People whisper that the plague doctors themselves are responsible for the Metalphage and are using it as an excuse to round up any and all that interest them to be used in their diabolical experiments.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) No one has heard from the monastery in months.  Fairweather is desperate for news on a cure.  A few brave souls are hired and sent to investigate.  However they discover much more than they bargained for.

2) The plague doctors believe that they are close to discovering the cure for the Metalphage, but they need a book which they believe contains crucial information.  According to their records the book was held in the vaults of the university in Mallanthory.

3) Nyxon, the head of the order of the Plague Doctors of the Scarlet Veil is said to have opened up a trade agreement with the Black Queen of the Floating Island of Terror.  In exchange for potions, tonics, and slaves, the plague doctors are given wheellock firearms and other weapons of destruction created by the Black Queen’s artisans.

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The Roving Nibbleton- Nibbleton is a gargantuan dog that was discovered in the Canyons of the Howling Red Rock by the Black Queen’s agents, The Black Guard of Abhorrent Action.  The Black Guard was quick to bring this prize to their mistress on the Floating Island of Terror.  Once in the Black Queen’s clutches, she altered the dog and enhanced him with her technologies to fit into her incomprehensible machinations.  Nibbleton’s flesh has been replaced with steel, his teeth made razor sharp, and his breath now jets of fire.  A small city of iron has been built upon his back to transport people and goods across the dangerous plains between Fairweather and Shadowfall.  Smokestacks and cannons line Nibbleton’s flank, and a few members of the Black Guard are posted there for protection.  Nibbleton is guided by a blind giant, Oog, who sees through the creatures glittering ruby eyes.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) Several of the engine rooms that burn coal to power Nibbleton’s walking have been sabotaged by unknown terrorists.  The smokestacks begin to belch fire and then explode; thick black smoke issues between the metal plates of the dogs hide, which creak and shift, bringing Nibbleton to a lurching halt.  The engineers will be able to repair the damage, however they need brave souls to go inside Nibbleton to deal with whatever was let loose by the terrorists

2) The people living on Nibbleton are aroused in the early hours of the morning by a claxon alarm.  During the night someone removed the ruby eyes of Nibbleton.  Oog thrashes about blindly in a violent rage.  It is whispered that Oog’s strange ability to see through Nibbleton was granted by the Black Queen for his years of devoted service as a torturer in her Screaming Prisons on the Floating Island of Terror.

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Ruins of Mallanthory- These shattered ruins were once the care-holders of much of the knowledge of Hubris.  The University of Mallanthory researched history, documented events of time and space, and is believed to even have conducted magical experiments to access other planes of existence.  The crystalline towers of the university were crafted hundreds of years ago by magical craftsmanship and experimentation, and shone brightly in the weak Hubris sun.

 

One year ago, in the Year of the Blighting, the great Malevolence, one of the Five Dragons of Hubris, descended from the sky and destroyed Mallanthory, killing thousands.  Now all that remains of the city is ruins filled with the wrathful spirits of the dead, horrible sentient magic, and rips in the very fabric of reality that spew forth unimaginable malignant beings.

 

Those that are brave enough to delve into the ruins of Mallanthory will find riches and knowledge aplenty, but must be willing to risk more than their lives and souls to obtain them.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) Travelers have seen bright lights over the ruins of Mallanthory and have heard eerie high pitched screams from its direction.

2) Jabbin the Keeper, a crotchety 8’ tall old man with eight arms, is looking for an ancient tomes that will further his knowledge to help him unravel the mysteries of the arcane.  He is willing to fund the expedition (within reason) and allow the characters to take whatever spoils they find, save for the books he seeks.

3) Samson, a wealthy merchant, lost his whole family and his estate when Malevolence razed Mallanthory.  He desperately wants to return to what remains of this estate to find a family heirloom, call the Tear of the Fallen Angel.  It is believed to bring loved ones back from the Void.  He will pay handsomely for this.

4) Thick swirling clouds of smoke have begun billowing out of several of the ancient chimneys of the ruins of Mallanthory.  Those that get near can hear chanting, cries, and druming.  A shrouded specter seems to follow the characters, flitting in and out of reality, waving them towards the ruins.

5) A blind homeless woman wanders up to the characters and addresses them by name, stating that the spirits from beyond have given her a message.  She says that a rip in the fabric of reality will transport any who go through it to a realm of plenty and that they must travel to the ruins of Mallanthory to go through the portal.

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Shadowfall- This city was built into the rock face of a large ancient sink hole that was created over a thousand years ago by The Bringer of End Times, a gargantuan worm.  The Vampire Lord, Depraved Genieva, and her Court of the Withered Hand have ruled Shadowfall for the last one hundred and fifty years since the time they marched into the sinkhole, culling all the bandits and monsters that had made this strange place their home.  Genieva has built a grand temple to Yelsa, the Goddess of Sex and Violence, at the bottom of Shadowfall, where she holds extravagant galas of decadence and depravity.  Only the most honored of her guests are allowed into her inner sanctum to bathe in the Black Pool of Inexplicable Ecstasy.  Almost the entire city of Shadowfall is in constant twilight.

 

Bathing in the Black Pool of Inexplicable Ecstasy

1 Your touch is able to bring people to the point of sexual ecstasy (lasts one week).

2 All your scars and wounds are healed (does not heal mutations or grow back lost limbs).

3 Removes one corruption (minor) or one mutation (not from mutant class).

4 Your flesh rejuvenates and you become 2d10 years younger.

5 Your flesh turns a golden color and you emit a pheromone that attracts all who see you (+2 to Personality, last 1d4 weeks).

6 You are able to communicate telepathically with one other person who bathed with you (permanent).

7 Your body is invigorated: +2 to one physical stat- 1) Strength; 2) Agility; 3) Stamina permanently.

8 Your flesh turns jet black.  You are able to cast the Scare spell as if you rolled a 16-19 (pg 191, DCC- this lasts until cast).  Your skin then returns to normal.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) A strange orb of sunlight appeared in the temple of Yelsa, killing many members of the Court of the Withered Hand, and almost killing Depraved Genieva.  She is now seeking answers.  Was this an attack?  How did this happen?

2) The bodies of three vampires have been found.  All have had their fangs removed, their hearts cut out, and a strange symbol burned into their forehead.  Their bodies have been arranged in a ceremonial fashion.  The constable is looking for help in unraveling this.

3) A strange cult has taken up residence in Shadowfall and is recruiting members at an alarming rate.  No one has seen their faces, as they all wear full length burka-style garments.

4) A strange sickness is running rampant through the streets of Shadowfall, making the blood of the living toxic to the vampires.

5) A terrible earthquake rattles through the land.  Much of Shadowfall is damaged.  People need help getting out of the city, getting supplies, or rebuilding.  Plague, famine, crime, rioting, and death are constant.

6) Depraved Genieva is throwing a lavish masquerade ball and somehow the characters have been invited.  When they get there Genieva has them escorted to a side room.  She informs them that someone in her court is making attempts on her life, and she wants them to discover who the traitor is.

7) No one has heard from the small farming community of Nythol, which lies near Shadowfall, in several days.  Scouts report seeing small creatures with pumpkin-like heads dancing around a bonfire, and the smell of rotting meat permeates the air.

 

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Saldov and Evernight Keep- Saldov is a small community that developed around the Evernight Keep, ran by the vampires of Shadowfall.  Evernight Keep defends Shadowfall and its lands against incursions from Eisenbar.  The Master of Shadows, a vampire of the Court of the Withered Hand, and his eunuch thrall Yeldan rule over the settlement.

 

The humans of Saldov serve as both labor and as cattle to those living in Shadowfall.  They toil in the fields during the day to grow food for the mortals and bleed at night to feed the vampires.

 

As incursions from Eisenbar have become more prevalent The Master of Shadows struck a secret accord with emissaries from Klind for aid.  In exchange for building a secret altar to Set in the basement of Evernight Keep, the Klind gave the Master of Shadows access to their alchemical baths.  The Master of Shadows has transformed dozens of loyal servants into grotesque behemoths that will guard the settlement from Eisenbar Paladins.  The Klind emissaries wait patiently, like a snake about to strike, for the moment when the Master of Shadows loses control of his monstrosities and they can claim Evernight Keep as their own.

 

Rumors/Adventure Hooks

1) The Wretched have completed a ritual that turned first born children of Saldov into pigs.  Sadly several were slaughtered before anyone realized what had transpired.  People are now crazed to eat the tastiest bacon they have ever had, with no regard to the consequences.  Yeldan is desperate to reverse the process.

2) A plague of giant hook worms has begun consuming all of Saldov’s crops.  The local garrison has attempted to stop the crops from being consumed, but was overrun.  However the Myrtle, a disgusting night hag, wants the worms to reach their full potential so she can use them as an army of minions.

3) The Klind emissaries have managed to link their secret shrine to the Holy Temple of Set in the Blighted Sands (pg XX).  The link between the two has created a portal which allows the Klind to send an invasion force from the Blighted Sands through to conquer the region.

 


The Magical Alphabet!!- Q- Quiver of the Bird

Quiver of the Bird- The quiver of bird arrows were made by a shaman who worshipped the ancient Yub Yub bird!  The shaman gathered feathers of the various friends and children of the Yub Yub bird and placed them into an ornate leather quiver and blessed them in a ceremony of the hunt, live, and battle.

Quiver

The Quiver of the Bird holds 10 regular arrows that if left alone for one month six will be transformed into one of each of the unique and special arrows listed below.  The other four do 2d3 damage instead of 1d6.

 

Arrows of the Bird:

  • Crow- This arrow will cast Darkness (Wizard, lvl 2) where it lands as if cast by a 9th level caster.
  • Eagle- This arrow turns into a spectral eagle and when fired into the sky will act as a loyal guardian and pet to the user for 1d5 days or until dismissed and killed (use stats from your favorite MM, but increase all by one step on die ladder).
  • Hawk- This barbed and jagged arrow can be fired at an enemy and will strike true no matter the roll (except on a 1). The arrow does 3d6 damage and on a natural 20 does 10d6 damage, and bursts through the flesh of the creature, leaving a nasty jagged hole… When firing the cry of the hawk can be heard.
  • Vulture- The arrow of the vulture does 1d8 damage to living targets, but to undead it acts as a Turn Undead of a 10th level Cleric and also does 4d6 damage to all undead in a 30’ radius of where the arrow lands.
  • Peacock- The arrow casts Color Spray (Wizard, lvl 1) in a cone that affects the entire range of the shot.
  • Yub Yub- The prized Yub Yub bird feather is gold and warm to the touch and infused with life. The user can touch the tip of the arrow to one target and heal them for 6d8 + 6 HP or can fire it into the air and let the arrow land, healing all within a 60’ radius for 3d8+3 HP.

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