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Showing posts with label Nyssa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nyssa. Show all posts

Friday, 1 June 2018

Episode 7 - Circling the City

Allfray, the cleric awakens, and the same as every other morning, along with his Brothers & Sisters greet the morning sun with prayers, there are no strangers at the Obelisk unlike last night, but he is cautious. The dwarf Bahlgrimm slowly awakens, but he is alone in a tenderfoot pub having overindulged with his blue fairy friends. He learned many of their songs, and picked up some of the fey tongue as well, but most surprising is his hand is marked with a small blue mark, while he is unsure of its meaning, but knows it is a blessing from his new small fey-kin friends. Their sorcerer Solauder played it safe, returning to his drover allies, he spends most of the night in a common room, reading over books, and studying his magic spells. He knew there were always the Towers, but he did not have the coin or membership to study in any of those places.

The cleric is careful leaving his monastery, wanting to get a good view all around in case he is being followed, he casts detect evil...and sees a presence of two black ravens flying overhead. Black is the colour highly associated with Keran, God of Night and Fright - an almost exact opposite of his own goddess, High Lady, Quanna. He was uncertain if they were watching him, but their presence around Quanna's obelisk was quite unusual. None of his brothers know what could be going on, but without knowing his mission, couldn't really give him specific advise.

The group goes right away to the river bridge, the first spot on the map, and survey the area. A huge bridge, made in a much older style than the majority of the city brick-works. There are twenty empty flag poles on each side of the bridge, most are in very good condition, but none have flags. While the bridge is not busy, there is constant movement of activity between city sections. They slowly walk forward, casting both detect magic and evil spells. Around halfway across they spot two cloaked humanoids working at a flag pole and a third around twenty feet away from them.

The group shouts a warning, but they are ignored. As they approach, the group tries to figure out what the cloaked figures are doing. Moving forward, the two solitary figures turn and cast spells towards them, the cleric retaliates by casting protection from evil. The fighter dashes forward, immediately lashing out with his axe, but he is not concerned with the cultists but strikes the flag pole... the reverberations echo out and reveal to him a secret, the Great River from the basin below still runs. They cannot see it, but in the echoing noise, he sees that which is hidden. The fighter strikes again, as the sorcerer releases magic missiles, as the cleric tries to hold them still with a spell. Their combined force brings down the two, and as they turn towards the last of their enemy, has already started running away. They see the flying banner above them only when they touch the flagpole, they use their magic to rip the banner off and direct it down. The city map shows the first area marked by a pink mark where the bridge is on the map.

They then head to the second area on the map, the empty well. A much poorer area, with many tall buildings near-by. The lot looks abandoned, as more than a dozen broken water pails are strewn out along the area. The team looks around and not seeing anything else, glance down the well, realizing
it is an empty well, a sandy bottom. At first, they see nothing else, but eventually they notice a number of small shadowy figures skirting around in the well port. The cleric, confirms they are multiple sources of evil. The sorcerer takes over, taking his time, he blasts them with his sorcerer spells one at a time. Once cleared of the impish figures, the group starts to move down the well. 

They go less than twenty feet down when they see a rough side tunnel, which should not be there and they deter through that instead. They head through the side passageway, then reach another drop.They slowly do down, and head down into another rough cavern, when they are attacked by large, thin centipedes. It takes several rounds to put them down, as the centepedes are much faster than anything underground they've seen before, and even worse, their bite inflicts poisonous wounds.

In the center of the unnatural bottom cavern, is a small black pool, they are unsure of the murky substance. The cleric doesn't detect poison but they can't see very well into it. After some hesitation the fighter reaches into the inky substance, he touches something, an arm? A body? All of
the party members agree, he should remove it. He gently removes the body from the dirty water, revealing a small and quite attractive female elfling, a water nymph. The black oil quickly drips off the body, to reveal both her fragile shape, her lovely blue hair and elaborate clothing. The
cleric casts a minor healing effect, not much, but enough to awaken her. Her bright blue eyes open and her face is a youthful figure, she hugs the cleric and then the others and expresses her appreciation and excitement at being awakened. She is angered when she hears her well has been emptied, but tells them she will care for it again, and they can return anytime and she will do whatever she can to assist them. The second mark, a small blue spot appears
on the map.

Next they make their way towards the lesser known spot on the map. Unnervingly, it is close to the temple of Keran. Not just a holy spot, such as an obelisk, but a large structure, with dozens or more of the vile worshipers, known for their horrid acts of faith. They are cautious, but head over. When they triangulate on the map, they believe it is an almost ignored posting board, seemingly in the middle of many things, yet so unimportant to be almost invisible. They cautiously approach, and see the many bit of paper on it, hundreds of notes, to and for and about just about every subject. The wizard casts detect magic again and see dozens of magic writing, but when he meditates, four pieces of magic writing emerge. At the same time, the group realizes they are being watched, a silvery humanoid knight, just in the distance,yet like the post, while not hidden, you could not notice it.

They look on each magical postings, and after reading them realize the are open invitations, if they accept they will be bound to a mission. But how do they accept and which one do they take. They realize the knight has been watching them, watching the post. The approach it and the cleric begins
talking to it, looking for some kind of response, but there is none. Seeing their frustration, their fairy friend emerges from her invisible status, takes the note needed and goes to the knight, saying, "We accept the Seed Tower mission." Now only the single message is still glowing, the group takes
the note and each confirms agreement. The words on the note start glowing as magical etchings show on each of their arms, marking their acceptance of the quest to clear the Seeding Tower. Now a small grey spot appears on their map, marking the posting board.

They go to the Aviary, a tall builidng, formerly a Seed Tower. These are one of the most common types of magical buildings in cities, especially the Spirelands as it is the main way for every population to grow it's food. Most are inhabited by tenderfeet, (halflings in common tongue), who care for the tower and the plants inside. This one, was intended to be converted from a Seedling to Aviary yet for some reason the task wasn't completed. They are unsure of how they get in, as the locks are bolted. They try their weapons, but they are useless on the bolts. They see the birds in the air, the black ravens as before but also golden ones and purple ones and silver ones. They all seem to engage each other, but not in combat, but playful push back.

High above they see the bird entrances, the avians should be able to just fly in or out of the tower, but none of them do. Unsure of what they must do, the cleric and drow try to intrepret the scratched writings on the door. Not exactly a magical script yet it seems to be a ward. Slowly the drow recognizes some of the letters, it matches some of the script on the invite. The drow takes the invite and concentrates, then starts reading out the script in a magical tongue, the sounds coming from his mouth have both an audible and visible form, and as the last words are spoken, they swirl around the caster until landing on the door in a swirl, which opens the locked door.

They push the door to reveal a dark, vast, barren tower, so very different than the seed tower or what it should have been turned into. There are dead vines along the main walls and support bars. They enter the area, and immediately see the shadowy figures flying above. The cleric and fighter turn to each other, knowing what this is, saying - Gargoyles. One of the worst and perhaps best known type of city vermin, they haunt lonely places, seeking both the dead and the injured to turn into more of their sculpted, twisted brethren.

As the group spreads out, some of the gargoyles swoop down, scratching the party members. This was obviously their terrain, able to hide so well in the shadows, to swoop down and claw or bite or seize anyone on the ground. The fighter is the first to notice the cleric's holy symbol, glowing, green. The cleric had never seen or heard this before, but it made sense, the tower as a place of plant mana or energy, this was a place of  Holon, the Earth Mother's domain. The drow elf looked at the posting from the script message from the posting board, it too is glowing in the same magical green sheen. As the fighter moves inward, he is attacked more and more by the sweeping goyles, clawing, scratching him. He sees their movement and realizes they are trying to trip him up. The cleric tries to piece this together...why wasn't the ritual completed....what was the ritual? If it was any Heavenly Deity, that would, should have an obelisk, a centre of their faith, but for the druids it should be a pool or tree.

For almost every step he takes, the sorcerer casts bolts of energy, hitting more and more of the goyles. The cleric starts turning, as pockets of green vines burst out, grasping at the flying goyles, seizing them to the walls. But it's the fighter who is barraged repeatedly by the gargolyes, he is who they fear. The cleric yells for the fighter to move forward, to move to the centre of the Tower, but as he does, he sees something hidden, in the back of the tower, he points out a hidden shape, an obelisk, a wooden obelisk!!!? When pointed out, both of his comrades see it and then understand, that is the point they must reach - a perfect balance of the old faith along with the substance of life (wood) but the symbol of new energy (obelisk.)

The elf dashes towards it, reaching it almost the same point as the fighter. They are harassed by a constant barrage of gargoyle claws, the sorcerer is held down, but the dwarf fighter steps forward, he touches the obelisk first, drops his sword and then reaches out for the elf, who passes the quest
note. As the fighters hand connects with the promise note with the wooden obelisk, a green light flashes out, as plants explode out from the obelisk, upwards and outwards, grasping all the goyle figures. A mere moment later the green light dims, but the entire Tower has a huge tree in its centre and dozens of birds fly in.

They see no more gargoyles, as they all seemed to have been consumed by the tree, as there seems to be a balance of plant life in the centre and the dozens of birds at the outside portion of the Tower. Their fairy companion yells congratulations! A final small green dot appears on the map, and the circle is now complete on the map, a colourful circle marks their four actions.

Cut and bruised, the team needs some time too get themselves together, yet minutes later the tower is happily invaded by Tenderfeet and city knights wanting to know what had just happened. The group are lauded as heroes...few knew how to enter the Tower, let alone transform it into the Aviary. But now the hundreds of birds of all kinds are already in the building, flying high above. For the next few days the team is brought back and forth, meeting nobles and Towermen, making connections, telling stories.

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The group is given their payment and they each head back, finished from their duties for this mission. The dwarf Bahlgrimm connects once again with his new found fey friends, and they collectively drink half of his coin, sharing stories and he learns of the fey, their homes, stories and jump-gates. (+3 on all future social fey charisma or wisdom interactions.) They are new allies, ones he knows he can count on, but now his thoughts jump back to his family, and what should be the next steps be for him. He returns to the Wagon, and signs up again for a new mission. (400 crowns; 4000 exp points)

The dark elf Solauder knows he can make connections in the Spell Towers, loose ones anyway with some of the coins at least. He could stay here and work hard, to slowly grow into a respectable position but he hesitates, this is not his home and he realizes there is probably another way to learn what he wants to know. Away from the others, he goes to the Obelisk of Light, and asks to learn the Spells of Light, it was this that best imitates the Fire spells from his home. He then returns to the wagon, and immediately signs up for a new mission. This for now is his home, and while not really content, he knows it is best to stay, and to prepare, for what he is unsure, but he knows something is coming for him.  (800 crowns; basic spell advancement; 4000 exp points)

Allfray, the cleric splits his reward with his church - but their gifts more than make up for his offerings. He has learned a lot from the brief adventure, but each time as he is sharing the daily prayer, his eyes watch the strangers, peering to look into their intent. Something is wrong. His dreams show him signs, of himself away from the city, until he wakes up understanding that the temple, this obelisk is not his home anymore, or not now anyway. He needs adventure, he needs travel, he needs to find himself and a way to connect others to the Holy Light. He goes to the Quarnik Maces, and signs up for a mission to travel far from his spire homeland. (400 crowns; 4000 exp points, 7 levels of potions - 3,3,1 or 2,2,2,1 etc)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Common City Laws

Have been using some of these city laws for awhile in my games. In most cases, there was never a conversation between DM and players, but what they found out during the game sessions. While I love to play impromtu style, in many ways, having the set rules make it easier in many ways as I am consistent in my rulings.

Towers: In Nyssian speak, a Tower is a Guild, or a group of professionals. Most cities are run and controlled by the various Towers, thru the use of laws and bureaucracies. Some of the most common types of towers include: Sollus (Light), Spell (Wizard Training) Sorrow (Mortuary), Silence (Martial Arts), Sword (Military Training), Trade, Paper (Bureaucrats), Merchant or Work. Most cities have a Tower Council that runs most aspects of the cities bureaus and offices, that elect their own on the High Standing Council (Towerocracy) if other ruling governments are not preeminent. Religious holy sites called obelisks are also on the Towerocracy listing. Rich or otherwise powerful Nobles may also get a seat on the Council. The Chair is very rarely a voting seat. Many groups may get multiple seats that represent their prestige and political power, so it is rarely doled out equally.

Taxes: Most travel taxes are paid upon entry thru the city gates paid on the wealth you are carrying, usually coins or other pieces of value. You pay once every two weeks, so entry more than once in that two week cycle will not cause additional taxes, to areas under the same entity. Rates are based on wealth, status, identity and role: Low (5%), Medium (15%), High (30%.) Travel tax is different than tax day; anyone in the city must pay on that day set amounts. Some Nobles may have Right to Travel, which prevents taxation on their horse or person. Magic is rarely taxed unless it is in the form of wealth, armor or items of status.

Gambling: By Tower. Small groups of card or dice rollers take and place bets at specific time and places, they often flee when Lawful groups appear not that they are breaking laws but do not want to be observed. Casinos are temples of Fatanus (Lady Luck), that are located in large communities. They take bets on almost anything, but sports is the most common. There is a fee to enter the Casino, and taxes happen as soon as winning happen, not when you leave the building, usually 10-15% flat charge but it can be more, often in proportion to the bet/risk percentage. Many have tables and specific types of games that are outright rigged, usually there is one or several tables that is completely open to actual fate . Minotaurs and Clockworks are the most common guards. Magic is often hampered by fields.

Jube: This is the most known and feared drug usually referred to as Spice, this is often called the Dream Spice. Most lawful societies allow usage of almost any drugs in medical or religious purposes, but some are restricted by class or nobility. It is rarely illegal to consume, but to create or transport usually is. Jubal is the Lord of Nightmares and Shadows; God of Addicts. They have no obelisks but hovels where they go to consume their dread. While most other types of activity can be covered by bylaws, jube isn't; it is tolerated, never spoken of in polite company and offered assistance by workers of Darras, the dutiful God of the Poor. Addicts aren't technically arrested for being addicts but being drunk or disorderly or causing other problems in public; the unspoken rule is don't arrest anyone if not causing issues for others.

Prostitution: By Tower, Open or Restricted. Open is the rarest type. Nearly every general fetish is accommodated. Payment varies from 20 to 2000 gp depending upon the desired service. Celestial or Devilish or Elemental entertainers are available in most large cities. Protection is guaranteed, so is discretion. Very few good-aligned religions and no neutral ones have rules against this type of vice.

Religion: Except in the largest cities, churches are uncommon. Faith is practiced near an Obelisk which is dedicated to a specific deity or ideal. Many cities have state religion where a particular church or cult takes a flat fee from all taxes paid. The Lawful faiths ones have a strict adherence of what must be done, as well as how and when it should be done.

Slavery: More accustomed to indentured service than slavery, most are captured due to debt, breaking laws or being captured in battle. Normally after a set period of service (20 years) they are granted freedom and settling rights. Children cannot be held enslaved, women and progeny are always freed at a child's birth. Halflings, Ogres, Cat-Kin, Gnolls, & Goblins are the most common beings held; Dwarves can be held as prisoner but very rarely as slaves.  Many lawful and good groups oversee any slave in their area and use political pressure to free anyone they can. In Lawful Bound communities only Nobles with Right of the Chain may purchase slaves. Many communities permit Nobles to utilize slaves, but to a limit of three, five or ten outside of plantations. There may be no market square auctioning, or public lynching but it is seen by most as an evil, unjustice by most people.

Weapon Laws: Rapier, dagger or club can be carried by anyone, virtually anywhere. Some places have the same laws with the use of bow. Most professional adventurers have a license which usually costs from 5 to 50 gp for a year. Some locations have the Right to Carry; where Nobles can carry weapons without license.

Dueling: Most places have at least one day a week where anyone can duel without a witness. Nobles and Adventurers can duel as long as the other person also have the same right. It is not illegal to duel a non-noble or adventurer, but there will be questions if someone dies in a duel. Right of Honour gives Nobles the right to challenge those who have dishonoured them. Again, it is assumed that dueling is to the first three strikes, not death. If someone has a reputation for bloodshed, their actions are highly questioned, and legal experts often find a way to arrest or banish them.

Arena: Similar to Dueling laws except anyone that signs up for Arena fights has no recourse to get out of it later; death may occur though it is not specifically part of the deal. Gladiators are paid, given freedom from slavery or prison, or may be given other noble rights. It is never a one shot, often up to five duels must happen over a month or more. One of the few areas where magic combat openly occurs. Entry to the arena is usually between 1-4 s.p. and dueling occurs at least once a week. There is a continual standing of the top 50 warriors, who must defend their positions for wage and status.

Magic: There are few general rules regarding wizardly magic use. Some magic and users are heavily restricted, to the point where nearly every high level spell-caster stays away, whereas in Lyrria, the most powerful Wizards also virtually rule the entire nation. In most cities, clerics and their obelisks minimize the effect of potential spells as some types of spells (damage, cold, illusion, enchantment, etc) may be blocked. Also, in larger cities, higher level spells are blocked, so that 7th - 9th level spells cannot be cast within several miles. One benefit is that lower level spells, (0 & 1st, sometimes 2nd as well) are not lost when cast, so both clerics and wizard spells virtually guaranteed of being cast an unlimited number of times in cities.

Magic trinkets such as wands are often seized at the gate, to be handed back upon exit. Only weapons or armor are ignored, unless they are full of gems or valuable metals, then they are taxed at obvious value.

Nobility: Nobles represent those of power and stature, most often from wealth or past prestige. Many nobles have unique rights that citizens cannot normally obtain. While the first generation most often keep many of the rights of their parents, it does not descend a second generation unless it is earned. Depending upon the rules of the nation, Nobles have unique responsibilities. They cannot turn away from a request from an officer of the city or nation. They may not have entry fees to a city, but they have a yearly tax, on ALL of their wealth. They may be able to kill a low level commoner for insult but they cannot bad mouth the crown or it's officers.

Their magical rights are tattoos that show their capacity outside of regular laws. These must be shown if questioned. They are very difficult to fake.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

My (Updated) House Rules

These are the assumed rules I use for running all games. Even when I run other system stories and I am gm, this is what I think should be the default. Again, most times unless it is appropriate, I just use these rules unless there`s apart of the story/game that dictates otherwise.

Cleric Spells
Wizard Spells
Deities The High Gods
Role vs Roll
Active vs Passive Skill Checks
Low Magic
Spells or spell-like affects
Affect of Hordes

Fire spells, items or creatures do not exist on Nyssa. Magical fire was believed to have been banished when the sun was burnt out. Fire spells have since that point are ineffective. A few creatures have the power of fire, such as the flame-winged Phaetox, but it is faith that powers their wings and they are under a very strong compunction - they are physically incapable of telling lies.

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Constructs treat their HD number as their intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores until they reach 10 HD, unless the default attributes are higher. If they have an intelligent score higher than 7, they can speak. Otherwise use as per the construct entry in the MM. Constructs have no soul at creation, though rare, it is possible for them to generate one.

A few sentient and free constructs worship the Holy Cog, and gain cleric levels as lawful beings. Most have alignments that mirror their creators in their ethos (Good, Neutral or Evil) but virtually always Lawful.

Constructs have at completion maximum HD. For example, an 8 HD flesh golem would have 80 hp with unmoving constitution scores of 10. They do not naturally heal, so unless they have someone to
support / heal them with magic, they have 51-70% of their maximum start number when encountered.

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Guns were once utilized, heavily in some sections of the world.  They still work, but are very unpopular. Though guns cannot be enchanted ammunition can be if made out of magical materials (like anthril), but it is rare and very expensive. The biggest associated problem with guns, is that creatures killed by this weapon will arise as an undead within three days or less. Most people refuse to use guns and societies often arrest anyone seen having them. Lawful clerics lose access to their spells if they use a gun. Only dwarves in their enormous cities have battle cannons to attack huge sized opponents (dragons and giants). Their theory is that it is easier to handle an undead than a living threat.

The prestige class of the Smokers use these weapons, but they are despised. Most either make their own or go to specialized creators or collectors to buy ammunition.

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Magic or the energy to cast spells is often called the Frequency and it comes from the gods. Obelisks are divine outlets by which the frequency comes to the mortal domain. Any time obelisks are in towns they become the equivalent to churches; the central location for meeting and spellcasting.

Wizards take the energy needed to cast spells. Psionicists and sorcerers create the frequency within themselves, sometimes they are called living obelisks. Clerics are given the energy through their holy symbol.

0 - 2nd level spells generally are not lost in cities, due to being near obelisks, for both clerics and wizards. Must still memorize spells as normal. Larger obelisks sometimes enable additional spell levels not to be lost, but only for the faithful. The dedication of the obelisk is unimportant, if it acts as a connection to the heavenly or demonic forces, it will still charge all spell casters as noted for all spell-casters.

Wizards gain 2 spells every level until 10th. They gain one spell per level until 15th. Wizards no longer gain spells automatically every level past 15th level, they must research them.

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Clerics, except for raise dead spells, require only one spell component - their holy symbol, this is the rule for all spells regardless of the description in the PHB or other sources. Clerics are utterly tied to their holy symbol, which is why most will have more than one in their possession.  If they lose access to their holy symbol, they cannot cast any spells. One free feat clerics receive at first level is Create Holy Symbol. This requires 1 hour of prayer at an obelisk or holy site, (or six hours otherwise) and they must verbally say the required prayers. If they are unable to complete the verbal and somatic components, they cannot complete this ritual.

Clerics have 10 + wisdom modifier, of clerical spells in their prayer books by spell level they can cast. They can replace spells freely with other priests at holy sites. When they gain access to a spell level, they gain 6 spells+their wisdom modifier, They gain the remainder on the second level that they have access to the spell

Clerics generally do not memorize healing spells. They can switch out any memorised spell for a healing spell of the same equivalent power level (1st = 1d8; 2nd - 2d8+5, etc.)

The High Gods cannot physically come to Nyssa, only their proxies or servants. Most gods have multiple domains, each will have a different proxy or Avatar. These are utterly and completely loyal. Demi-Gods are able to walk the land, but only in areas of their faithful.

Most people are pagan, meaning they worship more than one god. Only Paladins are required to worship one god; theirs is almost always Japeth. Clerics often follow multiple gods and sometimes follow a principle and not a specific godly force.

It is standard practise to make an offering to any obelisk you go to or pass by; it is considered extremely rude not to. You can use any god from any setting, all are found in small cults in one or two cities somewhere in the world. Most good aligned people say they follow the Quadrane (Quanna, Japeth, Darras & Mathai) or the idea of good gods that serve.

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Undead arise when anything dies and the corpse is not properly interned. Things killed by undead generally take 5-12 days, unless a shorter period is listed in the monsters description. If killed by anything else (including a natural death), it takes 21-40 days, and will most likely arise as a Carcass (HD 1+.) Anything that dies in a settled area will be buried in either a druid's grove, temple's catacombs or public mausoleum usually called Tower of Sorrow. Searing Towers are an archaic tradition of cremation, once popular in Phastia, the Desert Lands. Creating undead is perhaps the most vile and hated action imaginable, no society, even evil or chaotic ones condone it.

Jackalla, lawful servants of Anubis act as undertakers in 95% of all communities and are focused on destroying undead. They usually found in Sorrow Towers, large mortuaries, that also serve as their homes. They care little about societies practices, as these jackal humanoids hunt undead continuously.
City folk know the Jackalla as undertakers and always show them respect but never communicate with them outside this role. Outside the city, Jackalla are much more known for their undead raids. They are often willing to trade magic and wealth for service in hunting down undead.

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Cosmology There are no stars in the night sky, rather there are four constant moons. Another seven moons can be seen at differing times during the year. The seasons of the year are based on Curen’s (Silver Prime Moon) position; Rising, Peak, Descent, Dearth. The other primary moons are: Drelth (Red), Frel (Blue); Kredant (Green).

The seasons, magic cycles, and predictions are based on their relative positions. There are actually more than 100 moons all around Nyssa, very few of them are ever actually visible without a telescope, but they all have meaning and most have specific connections to magic, fate and the gods.

Weeks are also usually called the Ten-Day. Years are called Cycles. Months are often called Turns, and are each five weeks long there are 15 to a standard year. Holidays occur outside of the weeks.


1st Day: Counting Crowns (Crown is a gold piece for most civilised people)
2nd Day: Steadfast (or Steadfast Prayer or just Prayer)
3rd Day: Burning Candles
4th Day: Sharpening Swords or Sharpening
5th Day: Market (or Tower Day)
6th Day: Wash (or Well Day)
7th Day: Peal (Ringing Bells or just Bells)
8th Day: Hammering (or Hooping)
9th Day: Gate (Travel)
10th Day: Sword Day

Days are generally known by these names throughout the domain for most Nyssian speaking peoples. There are specific tasks most people follow on that day.

These days are rarely fixed, cities share the same week day names, but have them on differing days. Thus the day that fair are is in that location is Market day, the next day that town will have Market day, and so on and so on. Usually scholars will keep a definite record to determine where they are in relation to other locations as counted by the number of days from a specific event.

Most faiths have a day of service, wherein the faithful should visit their church (Obelisk); once a specific period (some every week, others every month, etc.) The 2nd, 3rd & 7th days are the most common. Market day is the rarest, as it is fair day when the market is open and most people do their weekly shopping. Sword Day is often used for military faiths.

Because the days can differentiate between towns, it is possible to visit the same days in a row by Chasing the Week-Wheel. Some merchants, bards, and religious orders deliberately make their living doing this, so virtually every day they have their special day of activity.

Sword Day: Most non-nobles do not pay taxes but can be called upon for military service in times of danger. It is mandatory to participate in training once a week during sword day, but not necessarily using the sword as a weapon. Many may help build or repair sites in their hometown.

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Active vs Passive Skill Checks: If the player asks to do something, that is an active roll, and done as normal. At any time, a DM can roll at a half chance check to determine if they notice or realise something that just jumps into their heads, this is a passive roll.

Roll vs Role Playing: How players describe they do something is equally important as a dice roll. For example with trap finding: If a player tells me what they are going to do or how they are going to check, if it fits the scenario, I give them a bonus to the skill check roll. If a player tells me look for traps, without any detail or description, they just roll the dice. This is how a non-thief can potentially disarm a trap, or convince a stranger to do something, or anything else in game, etc.

Low Magic My world is an assumed low magic item world, every dweomered item essentially decays over months (or years), so going into a dungeon they might find info, scrolls and coins, but all the 'Real Magic' has long since faded back into the Ether. Only items found on an outer-plane or at last partially stuck in the Ether can avoid this, but then once on Nyssa, the decay starts to happen. There are ways to avoid this, but usually only available at higher levels.

Free Character Change No penalty for changing characters: outside of a dungeon.  Go ahead, play what you want. Getting killed imposes a slight drop in level for starting a new character.

Duelling Proficiency: Most characters are proficient with both rapier and dagger, as duels are common and it is the weapon of choice for aristocrats and most soldiers. You can carry these anywhere. Many places allow duelling, as it's assumed that both parties consent. Even in places that do not allow duelling as a daily practise, it happens on Sword Day (last day of the Ten-Day week) as its a traditional fair day when competition happens. Duels, both for training and honor occur
regularly. The majority of duels are stopped once three strikes happen or other stated condition.

Spells or spell-like affects are not affected by critical or fumble rolls unless there are side rules specifically in the spell description.

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Teleport Spell (5th level) can only be cast from one teleport pad to another. You must know the exact location of the second pad and have been there previously.  If it is blocked (a simple cloth covering it) you cannot teleport through. It takes one hour to carve a temporary teleport insignia in sand (up to six hours if in stone.) The Greater Teleport (7th level) does not need a teleport pad to begin; but it always needs a teleport pad to go to.

An open Teleport circle is slightly different, as anyone can use, and but it will take them to a specific Matched Location only.   If a sealed Teleport Circle it requires a password to step into and out of.

Both clerics and wizards have access to Obelisk Jump, a 4th level spell equivalent to teleport but it can only transport individuals from an obelisk to another one.

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A hoard of gold (especially coins) act as a scry blocker, which is one reasons why kings and dragons cannot be scryed. Top priority.

A hoard of silver (especially coins) acts as an enhancer to many spell & spell effects involving illusions.  Most Fey collect silver for this reason. Seconded priority.

A hoard of platinum (especially coins) prevents charm spells & effects. Some say this is why it is so rare. No Priority - works when there are more platinum in one central location.

A hoard of electrum (especially coins) prevents deception in spells or spell effects.

A hoard of copper coins prevents strength draining magic or effects. Giants always have tonnes of copper in their lairs.

The largest number of coins in a treasury will be dominant, so no dungeon or lair will have more than one hoard affect active.

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After 24 hours, raise the dead can ONLY be cast at an obelisk. There is no additional material components, but the god will not enable them to be cast on an opposed aligned creature or someone that has angered them. Most times a service is required. Reincarnation is much more popular, but the listing is significantly different and so is the mandatory service.

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Hembria was an ancient magical empire that spanned the domain; Hembrian is vernacular for anything old.

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Guilds are also known as Towers and they commonly hold seats of power in communities. Rather than one-person one vote, each tower has one vote on the governing counsel. Some common towers: Sollus (gardens), Song (Bardic), Sorrow (mortuaries), Silence (martial arts), Solomon (wizards), Law (bureaucracy), Trade (merchants), War (military). Many others exist. In theory they are equal in the power, but this rarely works without political entanglements.

Dragons are called Tyrants, only two known types of dragons are native: purple & ice.

Drow do not exist in Nyssa. (There is a good-aligned, highly musical black skinned Elf called the Dral.)

Psionics exist on Nyssa; they are heavily located in one known area of the world, rare elsewhere.
Talented is a pseudonym for psionic. Tallene are psionic humans.

Coinage: Oromians (the nation of sailors) mint all Nysarian coins. All bear official seals of the local government (City, Region or Nation) and a Tyrant. Wing/Seal, is the equivalent to Heads/Tails. One slight difference, if the coin is subsequently lost, it should not be looked for. This is called an offering to Fatanus (Lady Luck.) Common (Copper), Noble (Silver), Crown (gold), Lord (Electrum) are the names.

While slavery is common in many parts of the world; it’s much closer to forced service. Most are criminals, prisoners of war, or of a differing race. In all but the most evil nations, children are granted freedom at birth (along with their mothers). Halflings are the most common type, next followed by Ogres, Goblins, Gnolls and Minotaurs; dwarves are the least common. Good aligned characters may not keep slaves; but not required to rescue slaves. Lyrria has an open door gate policy, the law does not enforce return, so they are essentially immediately free.

Rapine Creatures: Salamanders, Minotaurs and Gargoyles are a neuter sex; they can create brute drones or forcefully mate with other humanoids to reproduce unique combinations.

Rule of the Fist. In civilized areas large bladed weapons, missile weapons, martial weapons or exotic weapons are illegal to use on the street. Everyone can use a dagger, staff or fist. In some areas, the list also includes free use of the rapier. Beating someone up (unless an elder, child or invalid)  is very rarely considered criminal.

Spice, is the word used for illicit drugs, some varieties are: Bliss, rage, dream, jube, pixie dust, and angel blood. They are illegal in most lawful societies, but they are available.

Taint rules are found on Nyssa. Association with undead or demonic beings may cause the physical body to rot away or become deformed.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Path to Suuvren; Adventure Five

The adventurers are sent to a far off spire city of Suuvren - a trader city, among the league of Quooven. Like many of the other spire towns, this one has a high road, that crawls up the side. As they reach the top, the realize the town is much farther away from the edge as many other places they have been to - and another major difference, no standing army. Most towns have units of archers, horseman and spearmen or other specialists at the ready, but this one, there was at least no obvious groups of soldiers anywhere that they can see. Plenty of citizens, and a multitude of races, all scurrying about doing their business, none seemingly at least aware of the new group of traders coming into the city, and fewer caring in the slightest. Like a few other places in the spirelands, phaetox and minotaurs, have a significant number - but neither were likely to be rulers or sitting on the high counsel. Phaetox, like elves were usually archers; Minotaurs were soldiers, they liked to go on long, enduring hunts.

Just like every city, a few destinations helped defined the community - the Towers and obelisks. The Towers were places of learning and gathering - not just arcane spells, but music, and maps and other wondrous things that helped shape the cityscape. And obelisks - were the places of faith. A few were dedicated to a specific godly figure; like Japeth or Casna, some to an idea - like freedom of expression. Every obelisk was the meeting area for groups of followers, some came together on a daily or weekly basis to make their required sacrifices for heavenly approval. In larger cities, many obelisks were the center of official churches, that had the control of the land around the obelisk - but in the spirelands and smaller towns,  no group usually had domination for long.

The party had been sent to various places in the spirelands over the last two hundred days, making contacts and doing tasks, many of the activities much more dangerous than they had thought at the outset. This time, they had a contact, Allfray - Curate of the Lady, by the designation they assumed the follower was most likely a priest, and they were asked to meet him at the obelisk of Quanna. They separated from their regular travel colleagues and made their way towards the obelisk, at least none of the preachers on the side of the streets seemed to be their quest. They started to ask around, looking for their contact, and in a few minutes, they find a rather typical human, male, tunic, and a necklace with the bright symbol of his goddess, though not out in a prominent way.

Allfray looked unassuming, but ready for his task. He had heard their names called to him in his dreams in the last few nights, and he knew that he needed to find these drovers, these men who were dedicated to the road. Yet neither looked like a typical member of this group. The black skinned elf, didn't seem typical of his kin, the studious dral, who were incredibly dedicated to studying songs and poems of the past. The dwarf wore non-typical and banged up armor, it didn't seem suited to his people's usually dour and hardy bearing. They all greeted each other - Bahlgrimm the a Dwarf warrior and Solauder, the Drow Sorcerer.  None were sure what they are to do next, as if one of them was supposed to know the next steps.

Bahlgrim though is the first to notice a small purple owl that seems to be interested in the group and starts to frighten it away. The cleric, tries another approach - reaches out to the avian, and his presence puts it at ease, as the avian lands on his arm. (Some colours particularly show the influence of the heavens, just as Yellow is associated with Quanna, Purple is connected with Casna, the LN Lord of Order.) The cleric sees the owl carry a scroll case, opening it he sees two sheets of vellum, one is a symbol of the Lady of Light, but is energized with power. The second is a overview map of the city. Allfray sees some of the prominent locations in the map, but is there a trend, what does this map mean? Why were they given it?

Knowing they may need more time and discretion to determine the meaning of the map, the group decides to find a more quiet place, perhaps a room at one of the nearby taverns. Allfray reaches out to the owl figure, and it collapses becoming a tattoo on his fore-arm.

The head for the Furroud Bull, a local tavern. They grab a table upstairs and bring out the map once again, trying to determine its meaning. They are stumped, mostly because none of them are scholars of arcana...they hesitate whether they should reach out.

On the upper level of the tavern, they look for patterns in the map, and why it's cribbed with the symbol of Quanna. The individuals look out, trying to find anything to help. Allfray sees someone at the far end of the bar area, a tall horned grey minotaur keenly watching them, the cleric slowly heads towards the observing minotaur but the horned one turns away, heading out the front door. Allfray wants to know who was paying so much attention to them, and follows the mysterious figure, first out the door and then down into a passageway. Having to keep up, Allfray uses his tricks to stay at the same pace as the other, watching him enter another building. He turns back and heads back to the others. He tells them he knows where the minotaur watcher went to - and they agree to investigate.

The cleric goes back to his residence at the small monastery, heads into his unadorned room. He hesitates a moment opening his storage chest, where his heavy armor has been laying dormant. His gear, the items he had tried to promise himself he would try to avoid, left where he (almost) promised he would not touch them again . A voice, a familiar voice reminding him that this is not his work, not his duty. Knowing he could not win the debate, especially with himself, he said no words, said no familar promises, but donned his armor. He was doing what needed to be done, even if he had no words for it.

Allfray returns to the back-alley and to his allies, then to the back-lot building. They carefully review it, looking for an easy way in. This indiscriminate building, a warehouse did not advertise and one could pass it without being brought to attention. Yet, both the Drow and Cleric found traps, if they tried to go through either the windows or hop up to the second floor, there were too high a chance of setting off traps.

Instead the team approached directly, and knocks on the door, and a set of eyes appear at the slot but nothing else - they seem to be looking for a password as they ask no questions. The cleric again steps around the problem, casting command, action word - open. The watching eyes, opens the door and steps aside, as the guards come over, the female attendant steps aside and puts up her hands to shake the guards away...the team has earned her honour.

They find themselves in a very busy room, 40 or more people of all different races, all seemingly focused on consuming something. There are humans, grey elves, dwarves, golden horned jahlen and even grey skinned minotaurs, many of them either consuming alcohol or other drinks, oblivious to everyone except those female green skinned, plant-like servers. Many of the men standing aside, eyes glazed in conversations with images of smoke or dream. Each of the party members, like the rest of the consumers, are drawn into their personal realms of dream, for a few minutes. No one, neither server or drinker pay them little attention; the party realizes there are shum dreams, and little of they are lost to their own illusions and dreams. They gather their resolve and determine it's best to move ahead.

They head up the long grand stairs and realize, at least right away, that few of the others at the base level are aware of them. Most are still in the dreaming haze. Is it the room they wonder, but then determine they had walked past a large fountain in the middle of the base room without any of them
realizing it.

As they go up, the staircase separates, and they head towards the larger and more fanciful door heading at the western side. Even before they reach the top, they see three rat-humanoids running towards them with long bladed weapons out. The cleric wins initiative, slamming down with his hammer on one of the ratlings, at the same time, their spears came hurtling towards Allfray and Solauder, but only the cleric was nicked. The drow released a sleep effect, causing each of them to drop.

The fighter stops running, assessing their situation - in utter calm confidence. The cleric, looks towards the door, then towards his dral elf comrade, who is busy going through their pouches. Soulader pockets a few coin purses and a small highly decorated fob.

The group has little time to re-organize themselves, as they see the grey horned minotaur, who was first observing them, gathering a crowd, made up of dwarves, elves, humans and other minotaur-kin. They have just a few rounds before they are overwhelmed, as the group of the warriors call out to them, and are making their way up the stairs in a careful manner.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Balashi (Snow Whale) - Gargantuan Animal with a hypnotic song

My default playland is a campaign that I created years ago - one on oceans of snow, ice and cold with small little islands of violence and tranquility. Most activity happens on these islands - either on top of spires or in gardens that are surrounded by magical pillars. In theory, the way to get to and fro is to travel the oceans of snow. While there are magical flying ships or magic at higher levels, at lower levels a lot of time a big part of the game is getting from those points. These snow whales are always in the background, always a danger, simply because of their size and strength.

Balashi - Snow Whale

N Medium Magical Beast
Init -1 Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; +17 Perception

AC 21 touch 9, flat-footed 21 (-1 Dex, +12 natural)
hp 187 hp (15d10+105 con)
Fort +16, Ref +8, Will +5
Resist Water or Cold Spells DR 30

Speed Swim 75 ft. (Snow) or 50 ft (Ice)
Melee Tail Slap +25 (4d10+10) or Bite +20 (3d10+8)
Special Attacks Capsize & Song of Peace

Str 30, Dex 8, Con 25, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 15
Base Atk +15 CMB +29 CMD 38
Feats Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills +17 Perception, -10 Stealth, +33 Swim
Languages Balashi

Environment any oceans
Organization solitary, pair, or pod (3–16)
Treasure Half (swallowed)
Advancement 16-25 HD


Song of Peace (Will DC 19 or Will DC 25) Long heralded for their wondrous music, what many people fail to realize is their music has the ability to lull people into a sense of peace and relaxation. Those who hear the music are usually lulled into a mild relaxation, but able to act normally. When threatened, the balashi increases the intensity of their songs, those who hear the wondrous music for two rounds or less, must make a DC 19 saving or fall into a semi-comatose sleep, able to take actions to defend themselves but unable to take violent actions against the snow whale. Those who hear the music for more than nine rounds must save vs Will DC 25 or fall into the same stupor. This music has a 500 meter range.

Capsize (Ex) A whale can attempt to capsize a boat or ship by ramming it as a charge attack and making a CMB check. The DC of this check is 25, or the result of the captain's Profession (sailor) check, whichever is higher. For each size category the ship is larger than the whale's size, the whale takes a cumulative –10 penalty on this CMB check..

Monday, 5 February 2018

Anchor Cat (Prison Cats)

Anytime players see small cats in a dungeon, it's usually these buggers. Small, unassuming but they have a powerful effect, as they can virtually eliminate teleportation.

Anchor Cat
NG Medium Magical Beast
Init +9 Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +14
AC 15 touch 15, flat-footed 10 (+5 Dex)
hp 22hp (4d10+0 con)
Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +2
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Claw +9/+9 (1d3) Bite +5 (1d4)
Special Attack Pounce, Slow Bleed, Dimensional Anchor
Str 5, Dex 20, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +4 CMB +1 CMD 16
Feats Weapon Finesse (2 claws), Improved Initiative
Skills 8 Skill Points , +5 Acrobatics , +14 Perception , +16 Stealth

Environment     Any land, usually in Settlements
Organization     Solitary
Treasure Value  None  
Advancement    5-12 HD (Small), 13-20 HD (Small)

Skills: Cats receive a +8 racial bonus to Stealth and Perception checks

Pounce (Ex): If an anchor cat leaps upon a foe during the first round of combat, it can make a full attack even if it has already taken a move action.

Slow Bleed: Creatures struck or bit by an Anchor Cat have a long lasting bleed. Treat as a confirmed critical, roll 2d6 for the number of rounds they are affected. They bleed 1 dmg for every round. Any additional damage, adds 2d6 for the cumulative number of rounds they will continue to bleed. Any magical healing or effect used will immediately stop this bleeding. Affected creatures never have more than one bleeding woundm multiple attacks increase duration not the number of wounds.

Dimensional Anchor (Su): An anchor cat can block dimensional travel as dimensional anchor as a 17th level Sorcerer once per round as a free action. If the anchor cat can no longer see the target, the effect ends. The ability effects only a single target at a time; if the anchor cat uses this ability on a second target, the first target is freed from the effect. These cats understand magic and psionics and have a good chance of predicting who the caster will be to target their anchor effect on.

A tiny, furry, multi-coloured cat walks out into the room, and every prisoner in the yard seems to keep a safe distance from it.

There are many legends of where Anchor Cats came from but many scholars believe it was in ancient prisons, where the Tarrin, also known as the Eternal Ones, kept the first known unhuman prisoners.

Their origin story speaks of them as cats that were originally brought to Tarran to hunt for vermin. Over time they became linked to the Eternal plane, learning to absorb the prison energy to trap creatures, especially limiting others ability to teleport away, thus essentially anchoring them. After realizing the cats usefulness, the Tarrin made hunting trips to the mortal lands, letting the cats accompany them, and it was the cats that sometimes left their masters to inhabit the mortal planes, in communities all over various worlds.

On Nyssa they first became beloved pets of  the Elder Elves, then Tenderfeet and then to Horn-Kin. Few people fully know their capabilities, they simply accept that they are both pets and defenders, not just of typical vermin but other external and invisible threats.

Anchor cats care nothing about treasure or knowledge, only that their and their allies are not being trampled on. They don't need to be directly cared for, but that doesn't stop them looking for attention. They care little about alignment, only that their owner treats them well and it doesn't see their Master treat others badly.Many evil creatures with an affinity for animals could keep these protective animals in their care.

It is assumed every prison will have prison cats, even if they aren't anchor cats, it is considered bad luck if you go more than three days without seeing a cat.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Flesh Ghoul (Living Humanoid with Transparent Skin)

Flesh Ghouls are a scourge in the Spirelands, feared for both their transparent skin and their cannibalistic tendencies. Many believe they are true undead ghouls, but this is untrue - they have twisted ghoulish tendencies but are very much alive with many bad habits and traits.

They are raiders and have little need of trading or adventurous allies. They prefer to attack trading caravans or stealing from smaller Spireland communities. When they attack, they kill what they can and then take anything they need to fill up their larder. Most prisoners are locked up in cages, and half the time they are feasted upon within weeks, the other half they die from ignorance.

Most Flesh Ghouls believe in whoever is the strongest (or smartest or fastest) can lead, but they do so only until their cupboard is bare. While there are sometimes outright revolt, that is not their typical style, most that are unhappy, just leave.

Flesh Ghouls have much the same relationship with their kin, the strongest male usually leads their household, yet some of their matings are equal and more balanced between the partners. Their children are born with some colour in their flesh, but gradually lose it before they reach ten years.

While the overwhelming majority of Flesh Ghouls have twisted habits but like most species, there are variants, but these non-evil versions have few options except to escape.

Flesh Ghoul  

CR 3
NE Humanoid Init +2
Senses detect life, low-light vision; Perception +5

AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +1 from Dodge)
hp 13 (3d8)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +1
Opponents gain -2 to hit them in melee, -4 to hit if using missile weapons

Speed 30 ft.
Melee short sword +3 (1d6+2)
Ranged short bow +4 (1d6)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS Str 13, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats: Dodge & Mobility
Skills Escape Artist +5, Perception +5, Stealth +7
Languages Common, Goblin

Environment Remote Locations
Organization Gangs (3-12)
Treasure Half
Advancement: By HD or class

Transparent Skin provides significant advantage, as long as they do not wear armor, opponents gain a -2 if they attack them using melee weapons. If they are using missile weapons within 30 ft, they take a similar -2 disadvantage. If more than 30 ft away this increases to -4 disadvantage. If their opponent is more than 30 feet away, they take -6.

High Level Abilities
4 HD Gain + 2 to any 2 Ability Scores; +1 to AC; +5 skill points
5 HD Rage (1/day); +5 skill points; Gain new feat, Dmg Reduction 2 /Silver
6 HD +1 to AC; +5 skill points; Poisonous Touch
7 HD Gain + 2 to any 2 Ability Scores; +5 skill points; Gain new feat
8 HD Rage (2/day); +1 to AC; +5 skill points; Dmg Reduction 5 /+1
9 HD +5 skill points; Immunity to Poison; Poisonous Touch (DC 18)
10 HD Gain + 2 to any 3 Ability Scores; Rage (3/day); +1 to AC; +10 skill points; Dmg Red 10 /+1

Flesh Ghouls rarely deviate from this HD schedule before 11th Level. If they do take non-core HD then they cannot take further levels from this schedule. Their most often choices are: Rouge, Fighter, Ranger, Cleric & Sorcerer.

Poisonous Touch: By touching an opponent, they inflict a weakening effect, causing a -1 to physical attacks for up to one hour. The opponent must beat a DC 15 to avoid this poison. If their opponent makes this save, they are immune to further attacks for the next 24 hours. If they roll a natural one on the saving throw, the effect is doubled and lasts for six hours. They can do this three times a day.

Inspired by the Nehwonian Ghoul from Fritz Lieber's Fahrd and the Grey Mouser Series.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Low Level Swamp Encounter Table

Jungle Encounter Table (2d12) 

02 Trap (Pit, Falling Logs, Falling Net)
03 Wood Statue (25% Wood Golem, CR4)
04 Spider, Giant (#1d6, CR 1)
05 Dryad                                          (#1d2, CR 3)
06 Cultist                                         (1d4 HD, 1d4)
07 Crocodile                                   (CR 2, 1d3)
08 Lepers or Outcast                         (# 1d4, 1d2 HD)
09 Merchants                                     (# 2d4 ~ 1d4 HD)
10 Undead, Carcass                         (# 1d6, CR 1)
11 Shocker Lizard                           (# 1d4, CR 2)
12 Snake, Anaconda                       (# 1d4, CR 2)
13 Plant (assassin vine)                    (# 1d4, CR 2)
14 Ooze, Garden                             (# 1d4, CR 2)
15 Patrol                                           (# 2d4 ~ 1d4 HD)
16 Gargoyle, (covered with vines)   (# 1d3 ~ CR 4)  **
17 Boggard                                     (1d4 ~ 2 HD)
18 Fey giant toad                             (#1d3, CR 3)
19 Harpy                                        (#1d2, CR 4)
20 Flytrap                                        (#1d3, CR 3)
21 Iron Cobra                                  (#1d4, CR 2)
22 Poison Frog                                 (#1d3, CR 2)
23 Barghest                                     (#1d2, CR 4)
24 Stirge Swarm                              (#1d12, CR 2)

Start with a 5 out of 20 chance encounter. If no encounter is found, reroll and increase the likelihood by +1 every three hours or when the party makes noise / affects the environment.

Typical Jungle Humanoid
2 Leshy (# 2-4,  2-4 HD, Any G or N)
3           Boggard                       (# 3-6,  1-4 HD, Any E)
4 Horn (Minotaur-kin)   (# 1-2,  4-7 HD, Any)
6-10 Lizardith                      (# 1-2,  2-4 HD, Any)
11-13 Human (# 1-20,  1-3 HD, Any)
14-15 Elf (Green Elf)            (# 3-6,  1-3 HD, Any G)
16 Changeling                   (# 1-2,  2-4 HD, Any)
17 Ghoran (# 2-4,  2-5 HD, Any)
18 Goblin                          (#5-8, 1-2 HD, LE)
19 Suli                              (# 1-2,  2-4 HD, Any) 
20 Clockwork                   (# 1-2,  2-4 HD, Any Non-C)

Alternates - when you want to switch out a roll
Bog Lights
Large Hanging Web-Coccoon
Green-skinned Swamp Beavers
True Dead hammered to tree or chained down
Abandoned home (or one belonging to a farmer, recluse, witch, seer, artist)
Derelict Cart

Friday, 19 January 2018

Swamp Swimmer (Dianoga)

Every now and then I am hit by a sudden blast of nostalgia and think of an old toy or game or song that I want to use in my game inspired write-ups. This was definitely one of them. I was looking for the trash monster (Dianoga) from the original Star Wars movie, didn't see it quickly online, and decided to write it up.

Swamp Swimmer (Dianoga)

CN Large aberration
Init +6; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +5

AC 21, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (-1 Size, +3 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 60hp (8d8+24 con)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +6
Defensive Abilities freedom of movement

Speed 20 ft., Swim 40 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d8+5), 3 tentacles +8 (1d4+3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Str 21, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 5, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Atk +11; CMB +11; CMD 24
Feats Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack
Skills Swim +15, Perception +5, Stealth +17 (Bonus +10 Stealth and Swim in water or swampy environments)
Languages None spoken (some may understand lizardith or common)
SQ Change colour (add +10 to stealth checks for up to 10 minutes)

Environment Swamp or forest (prefers a wet environment)
Organization solitary
Treasure Incidental
Advancement Large (9 - 15 HD), Huge (16-24 HD)

This creature appears to be a large green-grey slug with at least five ten foot long tentacles and a single eye on a stalk that it can subtly raise out of the water to view everything around it.  It hunts in watery or swampy areas, using it's camouflage abilities to sneak up to their prey. While it can survive on oozes and small creatures that reside in swampy areas, it prefers to hunt larger more intelligent things. Some Swamp Swimmers learn to drown their opponents then store the carcases underwater to feed on them later.

They are equally as active during the day or night. They are solitary creatures, budding one or two tadpole offspring every four to five years, that swim off to survive on their own without need of nurturing.

Many lizardith bards, druids & rangers prefer a Swamp Swimmer to accompany them in their tasks. Unless compelled to, Swamp Swimmers prefer to stick to watery areas, but it can survive for weeks away from its natural habitat. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Finding Unlost Items - Third Game Session

Sent by their team to accompany a caravan wagon in their standard routine both unpacking the goods and handling town security in a long, monotonous route, spending days in the wagon travelling between the barren towns. The communities in the far north are mostly on high island spires, more than a mile above the frozen tundra.  After three weeks of travel the group is taken aside, asked if they want to take on a mission, to help a Master-Smith locate a missing tool. They agree and the caravan turns off their course to go to a spire out of their way.

Once reaching the spire the team departs, told they have ten days to complete their mission. Before they even reach the path going up, a group of soldiers greets them and informs the team they are going to accompany them to the town above. The team hesitates, unsure if they want this to happen but they relent. The trip up is long but free from distractions.

At the top, they see a small city in pristine condition, the roads & gates into the city heavily covered by soldiers, but what they find odd is that they are all in very different uniforms and designs. They realize there is not one army but multiple units from various cities. They learn the city of Fonnashi, has been hit repeatedly by a plague, that causes sickness, rapid aging and death. They have received help from its various neighbours in trying to defeat whatever has been infecting the town. While it has been put down, the plague always returns.

The team wants to learn about this plague so they seek out the nearest obelisk (church) to find a cleric and find the largest nearby one is dedicated to Casna, Lord of Laws. They inquire about the city, its history and the plague and find out the plague is not continuous, but something that has hit the city repeatedly. Nobody is sure why or how it spreads. Magic can detect it, but only after it has infected a carrier, most often rats or other vermin. While it hasn't killed a huge number the fear has driven most inhabitants away.

Not sure how to help the city, the group refocuses on their primary mission - and head towards the large, impressive Forge Tower. They enter to find a busy workplace, inside are a dozen dwarves in the midst of their duties slowly building devices and shaping the furnace fires. The Dwarven workers slow as they watch the group come in and look around. All but one of the dwarves look very old and frail, far more feeble than they would have expected. The team asks questions about the ongoing curse but also about their jobs at the forge and why the difference between the dwarves. One of them speaks up and says that the others are near obsessed with production, very rarely leaving the furnaces. When asked about the city, the same younger dwarf says that people get in a fit when a new case is found, but the population had long left in patches over the last 20 years.

They ask about Kossail, the Master-Smith who they were asked to assist, and the dwarves point to a large double door, quite elegant as opposed to the bare and simple decorations and furnishings in the rest of the area. They tell the party that he is an ally but a distant one, mostly concerned with his own efforts. Those who hire him, do so if they have the coin and the materials, many are people from away, not just from the spirelands but many coming to this place just to speak with him. He is distant but dutiful, every month he pays his shares to the Furnace.

Going through the doors they are impressed with decor of a higher substance, intricate detailing showing craftsman of different regions and processors. They immediate see a substantial supply of weapons laid out on racks, various styles and makes. In the center of the room is an intense covered furnace of a completely different style than the dwarves. Solauder, the Drow Sorcerer feels a connection to the warmth here, one unlike he's found anywhere else in the world. Upon concentration, his hands once again covered in holy flame, as it once was. He feels the power, and energy and connection with his magic unlike anywhere else. Near the heat, there are two small grotesque figures, one with angelic wings and markings of peace, the other with cloven hooves, demonic horns and pitchfork. Their eyes seem to turn to watch any who approach too closely.

Kossail, the older man in his full furnace apron and gloves greets them, he is human but something about him looks off. He is quite formal and asks if they need his abilities as a builder. They explain that they have been hired to help him, and ask what it is he needs. The artisan tells them he has misplaced a hammering tool, one that is quite important as he is unable to get proper replacements here. His friends have been looking for it, but even with their spells, they are unable to find it. The only thing he is certain is that it's not far has to be somewhere in the city, as he would know if it was taken farther away.

The drow believes that something is not exactly right, he goes toward the furnace, it is more than what he initially thought, is this an actual connection to the plane of flames? Here in this world, this world. Approaching the flames he feels the burning warmth, then his eyes open and realizes the room as being separate from the realm, the statues are in fact living figures, and Kossail is not a man, but a figure of light, something not of this mortal world, nothing here in this room is.

When asked what he is, where they are, Kossail tells him he is exactly what he appears to be - a builder, just not one from this world. He finds it highly useful for him to be here, on a mortal world. He needs the missing tool, someone has taken it, and he believes it is someone that knows what he is and is trying to hurt him.

The team asks if he can assist them in their task, and he believes so. He gives them a charged arrow amulet, and tells them they can seek out what they need. Stepping back, the drow concentrates on the carving horn. He gets no images. Something is missing, something isn't right. They are not sure what it is. Concentrating again about the plague, he is given directions in his mind, a path heading away.

They leave right away, going towards a much poorer section of the city. They head through an unholy area, supported by a small obelisk to Keran, the dark Lord. No worshipers or other dark features, just menacing. Going into low society housing, where many of the poorer folk reside, they go to a tenement building. Mostly abandoned, just like the rest of the city.

Some of the locals see them, and come out to assist. The tenets open the door and give directions to things in the area that might be helpful. Like the dwarves, they all seem older than they should be.  Making their way through the house, the go through the near abandoned house reaching
stairs heading they do they enter the dark basement, and in a few minutes face three large translucent rats, with a dark greenish smudge on them. Taking defensive stances they move forward, but the rats, jump towards them. Using their spells, they take one out right away as the dwarven fighter blasts forward, smashing another one down. The last rat scratches but misses his aim, as the spells and blade of the dwarf  take it out. They gather up some of the droppings into a glass vial, then doing as they always do use Holy Sand to eradicate the scrappings of the dead rats. They head back to Kossail with a few more questions.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Ice Hag often called Ice Crone

This is the default hag on my world, as icy conditions predominate. They are usually found in icy caves, found throughout the realm in virtually every location.

Night Crone
NE  Large Humanoid
Init +1 Sense Perception +9, Nightvision 120 ft
A C 19 touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +9 natural, -1 size)
hp 76hp (9d8+36 con)
Fort +10, Ref +4, Will +4
Dmg Reduction 9/Blunt, Darkvision, Spell Resistance 18
Speed 40 ft., Climb 40 ft.
Melee 2 Claws +12 (1d6+7), Bite +8 (1d8+2)
Ranged Icy Staff +6 (1d10+12)
Special Attacks Charming Gaze (DC 18)

Spell Like Abilities (CL 11th)
At will: Meld with Ice, Chill metal, Pass without Trace, Icy Sheen (+4 to AC) 
Snowball swarm (5/day, 3d8 dmg), Wall of ice (3/day).

Str 25, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +6 CMB +14 CMD 25
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Dodge, Mobility, Vital Strike
Skills +5 Climb, +5 Perception, +2 Survival, +10 Craft (Ice)
Languages  Local Dialect, Giant, Dwarf, Elf

Environment Icy Wastes
Organization  Solitary or Covey (3-9)
Treasure Value  Double

Charming Gaze (Ability Ex) Anytime a victim meets an ice hag’s gaze, they must resist their powerful trance. The will save is Will DC 18. (The save DC is Charisma based.) The hag must continually look at the victim to keep up the gaze, if the gaze is broken, so too is the powerful charming effect.

A frozen, withered crone looks at you and crackles, you know you are in deep shit.

Horrible creature found throughout the cold wastes of Nyssa, who seek to feed on the living and use the dead as zombies under their command. Hags prefer to attack lone travelers or small groups, when this is not possible, they use their ice manipulation to create scenarios to isolate individuals.

While hags live in communal cave lairs, they work together only for mutual defense. They sometimes share meals in good times, however treasure and magic are always kept hidden from the other covey members. Often one hag’s jealousy can lead to infighting. Once they have fed, an ice hag can easily be bribed with coin or magic.

Hags are similar to undead in that they are created by victims from other races. They trap victims in an icy pit, ice block or similar area, and after years of imprisonment, with both their minds and physical bodies decimated by ice - they emerge as new Ice Crones with a hunger for inflicting horror and carnage on others.

An ice hag uses their spells to weaken and separate groups before entering melee.  What many travelers in the ice often fail to reckon is the horrible, twisted crone they sometimes must face in the wild, can be a sweet, even kind elderly folk that they know. It is not a different personality but a split spirit, in some ways, something like a lycanthrope.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Tinker Faerie (Advanced Pixie)

While I was watching Peter Pan recently, I thought how great it would be for a Tinkerbell companion. I looked at the Pixie creature and wanted to buff it up a bit. I would use these as companion creatures for PCs gaining experience at half the points their companion gains.

Tinker Faerie (Advanced Pixie)

Personality: These fickle beings want to see and experience everything they can. They have a wonderful sense of humour, loving to laugh or make others do the same. While typically not loyal to anything or anyone, the few things that do earn their trust have an ally that will never abandon them. Their size means they care little about possessions, and have a fondness for beings with the same traits. Many have a fascination with children, animals or magic users. They avoid anyone that shows cruelty, regardless of the reason.

Physical Description: They are 12 inches tall and weigh around 2 pounds, smaller than the typical pixie cousins. Most have pale skin, bright blue eyes, with gossamer wings, but pixies from other lands have other skin colours. They usually wear light or green coloured clothing. Most have either tiny rapiers or bows, but tend to rarely use them. They often wear a magical ring as a belt, as this is typically the only type of magic item they can use.

Relations: They get along with other fey and children of any race with a sense of wonder or adventure. They generally shun larger mortal creatures. Some magic users, elves or rangers can earn their trust.

Alignment: Like many fae, they tend towards chaos, shunning rules and order to simply do what they want. Rarely do they desire to hurt other creatures, unless the others represent a threat to them or their fae kin.

Lands: They are found in any fae lands or mortal lands which border these areas, which can be either city or rural areas. They have never actually ruled any lands as they do not care about such things.

Religion: Their devotion is to the the fae realm. Few of them worship the gods and they do not have clerics among their own kind. Many mortal philosophers believe they do not have the intellect for such faith, this is not true, they simply do not feel the need to follow any specific one. If killed, their bodies are transformed into pixie dust and their spirit, like many other faeries, is usually reborn.

Language: Fae & the common tongue. At higher HD they learn to speak with plants, animals and any mortals

Adventurers: For Tinker Faeries they tend to zip around looking for things that capture their interests. They align themselves with mortal creatures who have similar personalities or interests. These are the ony ones who gain HD / levels.

Tinker Faerie (Advanced Pixie)
• -8 Strength, +12 Dexterity
• Tiny size: +4 bonus to Armor Class, +2 bonus on attack rolls, +8 bonus on Stealth checks, -2 penalty on CMB, lifting and carrying limits ½ those of Medium characters.
• A pixie's base land speed is 20 feet. has a base fly speed of 30 feet (Average); Fly +10
• Low-light vision.
• Racial hit dice: 1d4 ; they start with 2 hp
• +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
• +1 natural armor bonus.
• Start with 10 skill points at 1 HD
• Gain a +1 bonus at 1 HD  if they chose any skills from the following list: Bluff, Escape Artist, Knowledge (Any 1 listed), Perception,

Special Qualities

Damage Reduction 5 plus 1 per HD /cold iron.

Spell Resistance equal to 10 + 3 X HD.

Light (Ex) : A Tinker Faerie is continuously surrounded by a 1 ft radius of light. At 3 HD they can expand it to a five foot radius, at 6 HD to ten foot radius. If their effect is dispelled, it takes 3 rounds for them to reactivate as a full round action.

Skill Selection: Acrobatics, Bluff, Craft, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Fly, Heal, Knowledge (geography, nature, local, magic), Perception, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Use Magic Device

HD Advancement
2 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; New Feat; Minor Invisibility (3/day);  Know Alignment (at will)
3 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; Fly 40 ft; Speak with Plants; See Invisibility
4 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; New Feat; Fairy Dust (3 doses a day + 2/ additional HD)
5 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; Fly 50 ft (Good); Speak with Animals; Minor Invisibility (at will)
6 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; New Feat; Summon Insects (2/day)
7 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; Fly 60 ft; Speak with Other; Summon Fey (1 / day)
8 HD +1 AC; +5 skill points; New Feat; Greater Invisibility (2 / Day + 1 per charisma)
9 HD +3 AC; +15 skill points; New Feat; Teleport Home (1/week)

Tinker Faeries cannot take standard classes. They always advance as per this table. They only gain hit points, skills and feats after 9 HD

Minor Invisibility: As per the invisibility spell in the PHB. At 5 HD, they can activate the spell at will. If their spell is dispelled, it takes 3 rounds for them to reactivate as a full round action.

Speak with plants, animals and other:  They must either be touching or within a five foot radius to activate these abilities. They can use each of these abilities any number of times a day but each use on a particular creature lasts no more than ten rounds.

Fairy Dust: A Tinker learns the secrets to make magical fairy dust and store them in a faerie pouch. They must have one free hand to utilize and this is a free action. These are the most popular dusts a Tinker Faerie makes, but others are possible. If they lose the pouch, the dusts will dissipate in four hours. It takes a week for the Tinker to make a new pouch. They know how to make 2 types of fairy dust at 4 HD plus another type per HD gained.

Levitate (Yellow) 1 dose for medium sized creature;
Fly (Pink): 2 doses for medium sized creatures,
Minor Healing (Blue) 1 dose @ 1d6 healing, creatures can be only healed their charisma bonus each day;
Dispel magic (Red) 2 doses as a druid at 10+their HD;
Friendship (Orange) 1 dose for chaotic alignments (DC 13); 2 doses for other alignments
Slow (DC 14) (Green) 2 doses;
Dancing lights (DC 14) (Purple) 2 doses;
Entangle (DC 15) (Silver) 3 doses
Web (DC 14) (Grey) 2 doses

Teleport Home: Their highest spell invocation. They are able to select one locale they have been to previously as a home base, and once per week they can teleport themselves and up to five others back. It is a full round action to teleport. Once they select a home base, they cannot change the location.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Out of the Pits (Pt B)

Atropa Belladonna, Elven Ranger
Bahlgrimm, a Dwarf warrior
Solauder, Drow Sorceror
Fuantos, Dwarf Soldier (NPC)
Vierna, Human Cleric of Darras (NPC)

The team starts where they left off, at the plant ensconced room. They consider going further in but the trees are so packed tightly in, they hesitate. They can tell it's a fairly small room, but are unsure of anything else within the room because of the heavy leafy presence.

They move ahead in the passageway, and see another locked padded door and leave it alone as it appears to be a locked funerary room. As they go forward, they see a side passageway, with plenty of tracks coming and going, since this is the only place with lots of movement they want to check it out.

As they head into the side passage, a heavy iron portcullis comes down and and they hear the screeching laughs, then see the small yellow eyes of goblins. Bahlgrimm pulls the gate up, just enough for the second dwarf warrior to roll underneath. He rushes forward to take on the pitiful, as Atropa pings away with her bow. Quick enough, they take down some of the goblins as the other ones dart away. Fuantos finds the lever to open the and the rest of the party goes through.

They slowly make their way ahead, being careful not to set off any similar traps. They find a deep pit that covers most of the cave passageway. At the bottom of the sixty foot pit, are sharp spikes and a multitude of snakes crawling around. The team takes quite a bit of time to attack the snakes with missile weapons. After much debate, they decide against going down. They tie ropes to each other to get past the narrow ledges on the side.

They don't have much time before the hear the clanging of boots onto the floor, a small contingent of skeletal soldiers, clad in breast-plate with shields and spears, all marching in formation. The Drow casts a spell of energy, as the two dwarves run in formation up to their foes, bashing them down. All the while the Elven ranger pierces the undead with her arrows. The cleric raises her holy symbol but cries out in pain, she is losing her connection to the divine here. Even with their perfect formation, the skeletons are quickly overpowered and brought down in a flash.

Going further ahead, they see several heavy wooden doors, all well established and enamoured door on the right, no obvious trap or lock., no sign any of them have been entered unlawfully. After the fourth door in a row, they see a heavy wooden bulwark, it covers the full passage width. As they investigate it, the see the tiny flickers of blood everywhere, Atropa believes this is where the skeletons came from, and even worse, where lots of people died trying to get through. But how...where. She goes into a deep trance, she sees in her mind the solution, she sees visions of her walking peacefully through the bushes. If she remains true to the path...she believes she can pass through them. But she hesitates, can it be so easy?

The cleric rips a shred from her bodice and covers her eyes, then simply walks calmly ahead, through the thorny bulwark. When she reaches the end, she hands back blindfold and she reminds them to stay calm, stay true; then, one by one each of her teammates does the same. But Bahlgrimm hesitates, he starts thinking about drowning in the thorns. As he does, the bulwark closes around him, piercing him a dozen times...he struggles to get out. His hesitancy (and rolling number one on the dice.) caused the bulwark to close in on him. Vierna immediately helps the injured dwarf out.

They see a vile pit of blackish bubbling putrescence just pass the bulwark. When they investigate
they see the small bits from previous sacrifices, plus small chairs all around the pit. They almost immediately pass the scene but they eventually look up, they see a three prong rack, used to drop the prisoners into the the black bile, and one body hanging above. Soulauder casts an energy spell, destroying the body. But just a few moments later the see three new, bodies in the rack, while weak they are obviously still alive. The group debates about on whether they should rescue, and come to the conclusion that they could not keep any of the freed prisoners safe, better to rescue them another way.

Moving forward and reach a side door to a much smaller room. This door is open, with a set for three holy symbols. The top, showing the symbol for Lord of Laws (LN - Casna), and the bottom one showing , Lord of Destruction. (CN - Faval) The middle one has a symbol for the Earth Mother (N Holon) has all been torn out. The Ranger looks in and is confused...something about the room is disorienting. She walks out unsure of her next steps. Bahlgrimm steps in to find out on his own and is fascinated, he looks up, and sees a swirling mass of light, and energy and...power! His eyes open wider, as he scans around the small balcony he is on, is there anything that can get him up there. He sees the roots are hanging upside down, hanging up. He starts to climb, but he feels pressure, more pressure with each foot upward, so much so it slams him down to the balcony. He looks up again, thinking about how to get up there, but the calls from his colleagues catches him once again, and he goes back to his group as much as be is tempted to find out what the magical swirl is.

Going further in, they come to an elegant set of wide stairs, culminating in an impressive and very elaborately decorated door. The group approaches, with the ranger taking lead. With some scanning, Atropa notices there is a trap, a false floor. She sets it off, and the see the floor drops...meaning anyone that attempted to open the lock from the stair-top would be dropped into the deep pit. The cleric advises that she has no mana or spell energy left, something near-by is draining her, stopping her ability to cast spells. They carefully search the pit, and find a small control box, which opens the door.

As they go inside, they are surprised at the brightness of the large temple room. Five prisoners, chained to the left and right side. Four huge columns reaching sixty feet up. A large panoramic curtain with a symbol of Keran at the centre fore of the alter 100 feet ahead. Three large, well armed skeletal figures approaching with impressive spears. As the team spreads out, Vierna is walking slowly, painfully. She is in tremendous pain. Atropa spends some time to carefully scan the room, and she determines the curtain, with the evil unholy symbol is causing problems for their cleric. At the same time, in the centre of the room, there is something else, a large presence, an evil otherworldly, figure, stuck in a black pool of goo. It is struggling to get out, to get into this realm. Atropa yells out that she believes it is the curtain that is the source of danger.

The dwarves clash with the skeletal figures, bashing them back. The skeletons have the advantage with reach, but the two dwarves stay strong as rocks – cutting the undead down. Atropa starts to climb, wanting a better shot at getting the curtain. Soulader concentrates on the skeletons he launches some of his energy spells.

At the same time the Drow sees Vierna in a daze, she has dropped her holy symbol and weapon, and has started walking listlessly towards the evil, invisible presence. Wanting to protect their ally, Soulader casts sleep on her which brings the cleric down to the ground. (Player Gaining advantage for quick thinking, to be used at a later time.)

Atropa having reached the near top, fires an arrow at the curtain's binder. It connects, bringing two binding rings down. As it does, a bright light emerges from behind the curtain. The light hits the invisible figure which roars in pain, at the same moment a flash of energy emerges from the creature which rebinds one of the binders.

At almost the same moment, Fuantos drops from a massive blow inflected by the skeletons. Bahlgrimm stays planted, defending his team by making sure none of the skeletons came too close to the spell-casters. Atropa releases another arrow, which cuts down the last few bindings, causing the curtain to drop. (Player Advantage) As it does, everyone sees a huge mirror emanating a heavenly light that for a moment covers the room, blinding everything. It then quickly starts to fade. The light, sign of the Heavenly Queen, purifies everything, banishing the evil presence in the room, both the otherworldly figure and the skeletons.

The team awakens the cleric and they release the prisoners. They determine the cult was using the mirror's magic plus the blood of the prisoners to attempt to release the demonic creature... They needed the mirror to weaken his goo prison, but not the direct light. Once the cleric has her spells, she casts bless on the large curtain, enabling them to destroy it.

Returning to their employers they are rewarded with 250 crowns (gp) a piece for their efforts. The dwarven contingent are saddened at their comrade's loss but they will be welcomed as rock-brothers into their camp for mourning and nourishment.

Exp Points:
portcullis opening – 150 ex points
four goblins - 200 exp points
snake pit – 250 exp points
4 skeletons - 400 exp points
bulwark - 250 exp points
Stairs Trap – 250 exp points
skeletons - 300 exp points
Curtain & Unholy Symbol - 300 ex points
Mission Completion - 400 exp points
                                  =2500 ex points
                                   600 exp points per player       
+2 bump on dwarven etiquette rolls or tunnel / cave rolls