Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Just wanted to pop in today and say thank you, from myself and my family, to all the men and women who have served and are serving in the U.S. military and its many allies over the years!

Think about giving a donation to the USO, or one of the many fine charities that support our fighting men and women, such as Wounded Warrior.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On Nabu - Part One

Time now to explore the eastern half of J11 - the golden sands of Nabu. Nabu is the "ancient Egypt" portion of the theme park that is Nod. Since archaeologists started dungeon delving into pyramids and Lovecraft gave us Nyarlathotep, a campaign world without at least a little piece of ancient Egypt is unthinkable (in my opinion). For my setting Nabu (named after a Babylonian god of magicians - way to mix references, eh?) is meant to represent an ancient apocalypse. Unlike the real Egypt, which really was a culture clinging to a river that cut through a desert, Nabu was once a green, fertile savanna - essentially the northern portion of Pwenet. Through some activity of the ancient Nabu, the place was razed and left barren, scattered with ancient ruins (why else would they be in the middle of a desert) and inhabited by strange beasts created by the energies invovled in "modern" Nabu's creation. Without further ado, part one of NABU ...

Nabu is a sand sea desert that stretches from the Golden Coast in the north to the savanna of Pwenet in the south, and from the Wyvern Hills in the west to the Great Yamas in the east.

The Nabu Desert was once a lush garden and the location of the Nabu Empire (its emblem the double-headed phoenix). It is said that the last empress of Nabu, Nerotis, brought ruin down upon her empire by way of her dark sorcery. Remnants of the Nabu civilization now lie beneath the desert sands.

During each week of traveling through the Nabu Desert there is a 1% chance that adventurers come across a small piece of desert glass. This glass is pale yellow in color and can be cut like a gemstone. This yellow glass is valued at around 10 gp for a normal-sized piece. It is said that especially large chunks can be cut into crystal balls. These crystal balls cost half as much to craft as normal crystal balls, but they are haunted by images of despair and misery that slowly drive the user insane.

Random Monster Encounters (Roll 3d6)
3. Dragonne (1d4) or Phoenix (1)
4. Desert Hag (1d3) or Spectre (1d3)
5. Ant Lion (1)
6. Camel, Wild (4d6)
7. Sphinx (see subtable)
8. Jackal (6d6)
9. Humanoids (see subtable)
10. Owl, Giant (1d6)
11. Serpoleopard (1d6)
12. Snake, Giant Spitting (1d6)
13. Snake, Viper (3d6) or Snake, Giant Viper (1d6)
14. Jackalwere (1d6) or Owlwere (2d6)
15. Ghoul (2d6) or Shadow Mastiff (1d6)
16. Scorpion, Giant (1d6) or Basilisk, Desert (1d6)
17. Skeletons (6d6)
18. Lamia (1d4) or Mummy (1d6)

Humanoid Encountered (Roll 1d6)
1. Bandit (6d6)
2. Berserker (3d6)
3. Dragon Man (2d6)
4. Gnoll (3d6)
5. Sahitim (2d6)
6. Vulchling (6d6)

Sphinx Encountered (Roll 1d4)
1. Androsphinx (1d2)
2. Criosphinx (1d3)
3. Gynosphinx (1d4)
4. Hieracosphinx (1d4)

Bandits: A number of bandit tribes dwell in Nabu. Some are bands of exiled thugs from Ibis or Ophir, while others are the nomadic descendants of ancient Nabu. The bandits wear leather armor or thick robes and carry curved long swords, lances and light crossbows. They ride swift, golden horses. Bandits are led by sergeants and captains who wear chainmail and carry long swords, crossbows and shields. There is a 1 in 6 chance that the bandits will be accompanied by a level 1d6+1 adept.

The nomadic bandits ride camels and are known for their deep indigo robes (which often stain the skin blue), facial scarring (moons and starbursts), veiled men and fine steel long swords (+1 to hit), for they are master smiths. The nomads are traders, slave traders and livestock rustlers. The nomads are lead by a warrior-aristocrat caste. Beneath them are the yeoman herdsmen and then the more servile castes. Priests are an independent caste, equal in standing to the warrior-aristocrats. The nomads live in domed tents made of goat-skin. Beside being expert smiths, they are fine leather workers and jewelers. Their diet consists of flat bread, porridge, camel milk and cheese, stews of blood and meat and a thick beverage made of millet, goat cheese, dates, milk and sugar. They arm themselves with long sword, lance, shield, javelin, short bows (covered with leather), daggers and clubs. Their chief god is Seth.

Berserkers: The berserkers of the Nabu desert are yellow-robed zealots searching for artifacts of ancient Nabu. They arm themselves with curved two-handed swords and ritually scar their bodies with magical glyphs and formulae, in particular the infamous “yellow sign”. The leader of a berserker clan is protected by six sergeants with maximum hit points, and usually has the abilities of a fighting-man and adept.

Cultist: HD 5; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 12; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Cleric spells (4/3/2/1), rebuke undead, backstab x2.
Dragon Men: The dragon men of the desert are hearty nomads who hunt and gather aromatic substances from the plants of the desert. They value the yellow desert glass above all things, and use it in bizarre rituals dedicated to Apophis, the demon prince of dragons. Dragon men wear no armor and arm themselves with curved two-handed swords and a clutch of javelins. They are led by adept/fighting-men called warlocks.

Warlock: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (2d4) or 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Adept spells (2nd).
Gnolls: Bands of gnolls are thicker on the savanna than in the desert, but bands sometimes venture into the sands in search of loot. Gnoll bands are not terribly well organized, but are usually bullied by a marauder or two. Gnolls carry wicker shields, spears and javelins.

Marauder: HD 5+5; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (2d4) or 1 weapon (1d10); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Berserkers.
Sahitim: The sahitim have wandered the deserts for ages. [Hex 3836] holds the ancient fortress of Per-Bael, the greatest, but not the only, sahitim lair in the Nabu sands. Sahitim are armed with short bows of laminated horn and two curved long swords, or a curved long sword and a hooked pole arm. Normal warriors wear leather or ring mail while leaders wear chainmail and carry brass shields. The sahitim are usually led by evil cultists or huntsmen.

Sahitim: HD 1; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Half damage from acid, cold, fire, protection from good.

Cultist: HD 5; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 12; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Adept spells (2nd), back stab for double damage.

Huntsman: HD 5; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 15; Save 12; Special: Surprise on 1-2 on 1d6, track, double damage with missiles.

River of Death
The so-called River of Death, also known as the Nabu River or the Ancient River, runs from the Great Yamas, through Pwenet and Nabu to the Golden Sea. It was once the focus of the powerful Nabu Empire, and managed to survive the destruction of that empire by heavenly fire.

The River of Death is anywhere from 400 yards to 5 miles wide (averaging about 2 miles) and is anywhere from 3 to 7 miles deep at its center. It is inhabited by many varieties of edible fish and its fertile shores are home to a variety of animals and humanoids.

Random Monster Encounter (Roll 3d6)
3. Barge of the Dead (see below)
4. Crocodile, Giant (1d6)
5. Harpy (2d6)
6. Nixie (6d6)
7. Frog, Giant (4d6)
8. Cheetah (2d6)
9. Cat Person (1d2 men + 2d6 women)
10. Cattle (2d6)
11. Crocodile (2d6)
12. Jackal (6d6)
13. Lion (2d4)
14. Gnoll (3d6) + Marauder
15. Ghoul (2d6)
16. Nymph (1d6)
17. Hippopotamus (1d6)
18. Swallower (1d2) – 1% chance of encountering Ammut

Battlefield Terrain (Roll 1d10)
1-4. Meadow – no penalties
7-10. Tall Grass – half movement, partial cover

Barge of the Dead: Remnants of the Nabu Empire, these spectral pleasure barges are always encountered at night. They are crewed by 20 to 30 skeleton rowers and 10 skeleton warriors in leather armor with bronze shields and spears and short bows. The barge’s revelers are ghosts. Any treasure found on such a barge will turn into black river mud the next morning.

Skeleton: HD 1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.

Ghost: HD 10; AC -1 [20]; Atk 1 touch (age 1d4 decades); Move 12; Save 5; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Frightful moan, telekinesis, only harmed by magic weapons.

Bubasti (Cat People): The bubasti live on the banks of the River of Death, hunting in the tall reeds. They live in small prides led by a male barbarian and 2 to 5 female rangers.

Bubastus (Cat Man): HD 3+1; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d4), 1 claw (1d3) or 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Berserkers.

Bubasti (Cat Woman): HD 2; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (1d3), 1 claw (1d3) or 1 weapon (1d6); Move 15; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Surprise on 1-2 on 1d6.

Gnolls: Bands of gnolls are thicker on the savannah than in the desert, but bands sometimes venture into the sands in search of loot. Gnoll bands are not terribly well organized, but are accompanied by a marauder. The gnolls have wicker shields, spears and javelins.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Quick Review - Star Trek 2

I finished reading Star Trek 2, adapted by James Blish. Now, this is not a novelization of the Wrath of Khan, but rather an adaptation of several Star Trek episodes (including "Space Seed", from which we get Khan) originally published in 1968. Apparently, there are multiple volumes of this series. The volume contains the following adaptations: "Arena", "A Taste of Armageddon", "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "Errand of Mercy", "Court Martial", "Operation - Annihilate!", "The City on the Edge of Forever" and "Space Seed".

I've seen all of these episodes of course, so you might wonder the point of reading them. While adaptations of books to film are often lacking, primarily because of all that has to be left behind and the penchant of Hollywood for re-writing the source material, I have often found novelizations of movies to be an improvement. The written word has an unlimited special effects budget for one thing, and the writers of adaptations usually fill in the gaps of characterization in interesting ways.

The fun of this book is that it predates the fan-boy "canon" of modern Star Trek, where everything has been organized, classified and filled in. In 1968, Star Trek was still something of an unknown quantity, much as Star Wars was in the late 1970's, when we had only seen one film and were still able to fill in the details with our own young imaginations.

Since it predates canon, we discover some interesting details that might be fun to explore in a role-playing game set in a more pulp sci-fi Star Trek setting. A couple that spring to mind are the description of the gorn in "Arena" -

"The first thing he saw was the Gorn. It was a biped, a reptile, a lizard that walked like a man. It stood about six feet four, with tremendous musculature, dully gleaming skin, a ridge of hard plate running down its back, and a strong, thick tail. The tail did not look prehensile; rather, it seemed to be a balancing organ, suggesting that the creature could run very fast indeed if it wished. The head was equipped with two tiny earholes and a wide mouth full of sharp teeth."

Not terribly different from what we saw on screen, except for the "run very fast indeed". The adaptation gives you a much better sense for the fact that Kirk was supposed to be completely outmatched physically by the gorn, and that his only hope for winning was to use his brain.

In "Errand of Mercy", we learn about the Klingons -

"The Klingons were hard-faced, hard-muscled men, originally of Oriental stock."
Surprise - the Klingons are humans, though obviously separated from the rest of humanity at some point in the past and thus of slightly different stock, larger and more militaristic. In effect, hobgoblins to the Federation's humans.

Kirk comes off as more of a Flash Gordon-type in the book and Spock is more half-human than Nimoy portrayed him. The book contains other little notions that might make old Trek fans see the series in a new light, and for that reason the book is worth reading. Understand, it is a thin volume (112 pages) and a very quick read, but since I picked it up for $2.80 at a used book store, I would say I got my money's worth.

Pars Fortuna Preview #1 - The Caledjula

As I've mentioned before, I'm working on creating a set of rules based on Swords & Wizardry called PARS FORTUNATM. The gimmick is that the races, monsters and magic items are all based on things generated using a variety of online random generators. I'm also including a host of alternate rules - a different magic system, loads of spells adapted from non-traditional sources, etc. The idea is that the game will be playable as is, or could serve as a toolkit for those wishing to spice up their existing old school games. In the end, it may come to nothing, but its a fun experiment for me.

Here then is the first preview, a race/class called the Caledjula. This race has shown up on the LAND OF NOD blog before, but here has been turned into a class and refined somewhat. Of course, the most obvious take away from this preview is that I need to hire an actual artist to illustrate the game.

Caledjula (The Sky People)
Caledjula are tall, statuesque humanoids with angular bodies, reddish-orange skin and black hair. Their heads are shaped like sidewise crescents, the peaks being their over-sized ears. Their eyes are large and brightly colored. Their long arms end in hands with seven thin fingers.

Caledjula have a radar-like sense reminiscent of bats. They are capable of imitating all sorts of speech, and their pleasant, deep voices and calm demeanor make them excellent diplomats. Caledjula are natural illusionists, with an inborn talent for creating minor figments and phantasms. Most importantly, the caledjula can fly thanks to a strange and little understood gland in their brains.

The caledjula dwell in the mountains. They hire themselves out as heralds, orators and cryers, and often serve in the retinues of merchants and nobles. They indulge in multi-colored garments, always close-fitting and flamboyant.

Prime Attribute: Intelligence, 13+ (5% experience.)

Hit Dice: 1d6-1/level (Gains 1 hp/level after 9th.)

Armor/Shield Permitted: Shields.

Weapons Permitted: Club, dagger, dart.

Healing: The caledjula excel at the healing arts. Any creature given over to their long-term care heals an additional hit point each day and enjoys a +1 bonus to saving throws made to fight off disease. In addition, a caledjula with a healer’s kit has a 2 in 6 chance of neutralizing poisons and a 2 in 6 chance of restoring 1d4 hit points after a battle by applying first aid.

Magic: Caledjula can cast magic spells. See the section on Magic for more information about this powerful ability. In addition to the spells a caledjula can learn as a magician, all caledjula begin the game knowing one illusion that they can cast once per day. This spell is chosen from the following:

• Dazzling Lights: This spell creates a pattern of lights that dazzles all creatures of 1 HD or less within 10 feet, causing them to suffer a -1 penalty to hit in combat. Each creature is allowed a saving throw to avoid this.

• Ghost Sound: Ghost sound allows you to create a volume of sound that rises, recedes, approaches, or remains at a fixed place. You choose what type of sound ghost sound creates when casting it and cannot thereafter change the sound’s basic character.

• Prestidigitation: Once cast, this spell enables you to perform simple magical effects for 1 hour. A prestidigitation can slowly lift 1 pound of material. It can color, clean, or soil small items. It can chill, warm, or flavor 1 pound of nonliving matter. It can create small, crude, fragile objects that cannot be used as tools, weapons, or spell components.

• Smoke Image: This spell shapes existing smoke into any shape, creature or object the spellcaster can visualize. The image is composed entirely of smoke and if disturbed dissipates back into smoke.

• Ventriloquism: You can make your voice seem to issue from someplace else. Anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory.

Radar: A caledjula’s radar sense allows them to fight without penalty in complete darkness. They cannot see in the dark, but they can navigate through pitch black halls and caverns without running into things.

Voices: Caledjula are natural mimics, and have a 3 in 6 chance of successfully imitating voices and sounds. The gregarious personalities and sonorous tenors of the caledjula make them natural public speakers. Caledjula enjoy a +1 reaction check bonus when parlaying with monsters and other folk.

Replaces the artwork - maybe a slight improvement?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Deep Ones are Here!

Newly discovered fish with hands.

Raccoons now have some competition to replace humans as the dominant species on earth, post-apocalypse.

Edit - Apparently not a new species, but a newly designated species.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Wilderness Adventures - Part Two

First part of article here.

Battle Conditions
Once a Referee knows where a battle will occur and what the adventurers will be fighting, he still must determine other factors that can influence the outcome of the fight.

Before a battle, one adventurer (usually a ranger) must roll a saving throw. If successful, the encounter proceeds as normal. If the saving throw is failed, conditions are applied to the encounter based on how badly the saving throw failed (i.e. the difference between the character's saving throw number and the number the player rolled). If any condition does not make sense, apply the condition above it instead.

1-2. Mist/Dust
3-4. Precipitation
5-6. Wind
7-8. High Ground
9-10. Surrounded
11-12. Storm
13-14. Earthquake
15+ Roll 1d10 twice on table

The battlefield is wracked by an earthquake. All creatures must succeed at a saving throw or fall down. Those who remain standing suffer a -10 penalty to all actions and can only move at half their normal rate. Spell casters must roll saving throws to cast their spells.

There is a 5% chance each round of a fissure 10 feet deep opening up beneath each creature. These unfortunates must succeed at a dexterity saving throw or suffer 1d6 points of damage. There is a 5% chance each round that a fissure will slam closed, killing anyone inside it. An swampy areas, these fissures will drain away the water leaving a quicksand that sucks in creatures who fail a dexterity saving throw. On cliffs, fissures that occur near the edge of the cliff actually drop creatures of the cliff, where they suffer 8d6 points of damage.

High Ground
If there is high ground on the battlefield, the monsters have it. High ground gives them two advantages. They receive a +1 bonus to hit against creatures on lower ground, and creatures trudging up to meet them do so at half normal movement.

Mist and Dust
The battlefield is shrouded in a thick mist or clouds of dust. Creatures 5 feet are -5 to hit with missile weapons. Creatures more than 5 feet away are -10 to be hit by missile weapons. The chance of surprise is increased by 1 for both forces.

A storm is soaking the battlefield. All combatants more than 10 feet away are -5 to be hit by missile weapons. Creatures move at half their normal movement rate safely, but must succeed at saving throws or fall prone if attempting to move any faster. Charging creatures will slide 3d6 feet when they fall prone.

The battle takes place during a lightning storm. Movement is cut in half due to the rain. Creatures more than 10 feet away are -10 to be hit by missile weapons. There is a 1 in 6 chance each round of lightning striking a random combatant, inflicting 5d6 points of damage and stunning them for 1d4 rounds. Creatures trying to fly in storms must make a saving throw each round to avoid falling.

The adventurers begin combat surrounded by their opponents. If only a single monster is encountered, ignore this result and give it the high ground instead.

High winds roar across the battlefield. Unprotected flames are extinguished and missile attacks are made at a -3 penalty to hit. Small flying creatures must make a saving throw to avoid being blown off of the battlefield and out of the battle. Larger fliers must make a saving throw each round to move through the air.

Monster Encounters
The monsters common to a wilderness region are detailed in that region’s description. Simply choose a monster or roll it randomly, roll for the number encountered, and proceed. If you want to challenge the party, assume an equal number of monster hit dice to the party’s hit dice.

If the Referee wishes, 1 percent of random monster encounters can be with an elemental or extra-planar creature. These are often quite dangerous and so should probably be reserved for experienced adventurers.

Extraplanar Creatures
1. Achaierai
2. Barghest
3. Belker
4. Couatl
5. Djinn
6. Efreet
7. Elemental
8. Ghost
9. Hag, Night
10. Hellhound
11. Ghost
12. Nightmare
13. Quasit
14. Salamander
15. Shadow Mastiff
16. Tavis Wyrm
17. Titan
18. Vampire
19. Xorn
20. Zetan

Traveler Encounters
Encounters with travelers are not intended to threaten the adventurers. Instead, they are meant to present role-playing opportunities or lead to side adventures.

Leaders of groups of travelers are level 3 to 12 level (1d10+2). The leader’s assistant is half the level of his boss. While the character class of a leader of a group of travelers is usually obvious, other details can be determined by rolling on the following tables:

1-2. Lawful
3-5. Neutral
6. Chaotic

Race (Human, with a 1 in 6 chance of being demi-human)
1 Beastman
2 Centaur
3 Dwarf
4 Elf
5 Gnome
6 Half-Elf
7 Halfling
8 Mechanical Man

A caravan consists of several wagons or, if at sea, one or more merchant ships. Each caravan consists of 3d6 traders and guards based on the value of the cargo they are transporting (see below). There is one sergeant for every 6 men-at-arms and a 2 in 6 chance that of spell caster of some sort is with the caravan.

Caravans travel from one city-state to another, hauling whatever the Referee deems appropriate. Assume that each trader has a team that carries 1,000 pounds of goods. A team consists of one of the following:

• A wagon pulled by 2 draft horses, 2 oxen or 4 mules
• A single elephant
• A train of 4 camels or 5 giant lizards
• A sledge pulled by 2 porpoises

For the sake of player interest, it is best to use valuable or useful cargo. If you wish, you can roll randomly for each team’s cargo on the table below.

Roll - Cargo (Value) - Guards

01-12. Ale (50 gp) - 1 man-at-arms

13-22. Iron (100 gp) - 3 men-at-arms

23-32. Oil, lamp (100 gp) - 3 men-at-arms

33-38. Copper Ingots or Dust (500 gp) - 3 men-at-arms

39-44. Tools (1,000 gp) - 6 men-at-arms

45-50. Weapons (2,000 gp) - 6 men-at-arms

51-56. Wine (2,000 gp) - 6 men-at-arms

57-60. Salt (5,000 gp) - 10 men-at-arms

61-64. Silver Ingots or Dust (5,000 gp) - 10 men-at-arms

65-68. Wine, fine (10,000 gp) - 10 level 1 fighters

69-72. Wood, rare (10,000 gp) - 10 level 1 fighters

73-75. Linen (10,000 gp) - 10 level 1 fighters

76-78. Coffee (50,000 gp) - 10 level 2 fighters

79-81. Gold Ingots or Dust (50,000 gp) - 10 level 2 fighters

82-84. Tea (50,000 gp) - 10 level 2 fighters

85-87. Cocoa (100,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters

88-89. Silk (100,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters

90-91. Tobacco (100,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters

92-93. Cinnamon (200,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters

94-95. Ginger (400,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters

96. Pepper (400,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters

97. Cloves (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters

98. Mithril Ingots or Dust (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters

99. Platinum Ingots or Dust (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters

100. Saffron (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters

A patrol consists of 6d6 men-at-arms (with one sergeant per 5 troops) led by a fighting-man or 6d6 longbowmen (sergeants as above) led by a ranger. There is a 2 in 6 chance that a spell caster of some sort is with the patrol.

A group of pilgrims consists of 6d6 people led by a cleric or druid. There is a 1% chance per 10 pilgrims of there being a magic-user and/or thief with the group. All of the pilgrims share the alignment of their leader.

There is one man-at-arms mounted on a warhorse per five pilgrims. The troops are led by a fighting-man and sergeant, also mounted on warhorses. In a lawful group of pilgrims, the fighting-man can be replaced by a paladin.

Pilgrims travel on foot (60%), donkeys (30%), or horses/camels (10%). Classed NPC's are always mounted. The pilgrims are heading to a wilderness shrine or to a temple in a city-state and will be glad to travel with like-minded adventurers.

Pilgrims wear a badge symbolizing the shrine to which they are heading. This badge could be a feather of a particular color, a shell, a straw hat, a cloak of sack-cloth, or a bit of embroidery over their heart.

A stronghold is a structure established by a high-level adventurer and manned by his followers. You can randomly determine the type of stronghold encountered by a roll of the dice. About two strongholds out of six are ruins inhabited by monsters.

An abbey is a religious manor inhabited by clerics or druids. Abbeys are always dedicated to a saint or deity. An abbey is established by a patriarch (level 9 to 12 cleric) or archdruid (level 9 to 12 druid) called the abbot or abbess. It houses 3d6 low level clerics or druids and 5d6x10 lay brothers (normal humans). Additional clerics, druids or paladins can be visiting at the Referee’s discretion.

A traditional abbey consists of a square outer wall. Inside there is a courtyard surrounded by a two story structure consisting of dormitories, a chapel, storage and work rooms, a stable and a bell tower. The abbey is surrounded by fields that are worked by the inhabitants. Medicinal gardens are maintained either within the walls or just outside the walls. The abbey’s armory is stocked with mail hauberks, shields, maces, slings, throwing hammers and whatever weapon is favored by the patron deity (i.e. longbows for abbeys of Apollo Helios).

A castle is established by a warlord (level 9 to 12 fighting-man), paladin (level 9 to 12) or ranger (level 9 to 12). The castle is a feudal manor supported by 1d4 villages. The castle is defended by a number of men-at-arms commensurate with its size. The lord of the castle is assisted by one sergeant per 10 men-at-arms, and a cleric (or druid) and magic-user of half the level of the lord.

Motte-and-Bailey: 2d6 men-at-arms
Keep: 4d6 men-at-arms [or tower keep or shell keep]
Concentric Castle: 8d6 men-at-arms

A grove is established by an archdruid (level 9 to 12 druid) with the permission of his or her order. The grove consists of several trees around a clearing. An altar rests in the middle of the clearing. The founding archdruid and 2d6 level 1 to 3 druids dwell in a nearby lodge. The lodge is a gathering place for elves, rangers, the fair-folk and forest creatures.

A monastery is not much different from an abbey except that it is inhabited by monks rather than clerics. It is established by an abbot (level 9 to 12 monk). The abbey contains a training ground surrounded by a shrine, armory and barracks. The monastery houses 1d6 monks of level 2 through 5 and 3d6 level 1 monks.

A magic-user’s tower is built in a hard-to-access spot that offers unique magical properties. It is to these places an adventurer must travel if they wish to commission a magic item or to obtain spells of level 5 or higher. Magic-users have 1d4 apprentices and 1d3 level 1 magic-users.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wyvern Coast Round-Up

Well, it took a while, but I've now posted one half of the material for map grid J11. Of course, you can get more material by downloading NOD #1 to the right. But, if you're a died-in-the-wool html man, here's a round-up of the different posts.

Wyvern Coast Sandbox: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven

Ophir City-State: One, Two, Three, Four

Supplemental: Gods of Nod


Image from here.

On Wilderness Adventures - Part One

This is some information I cobbled together when I was trying to create some guidelines for my campaign regarding wilderness adventures. I found the move a hex, roll for encounter stuff a bit boring, and was trying to find a better way. These guidelines might prove useful to some, though I never felt as though I had them right. I'll mention that the movement rates are what they are because I was using 6 mile hexes.


The following table shows the normal rate of travel (in miles per day) for different modes of travel. The first number is over easy terrain, the number in parentheses for difficult terrain.

Foot, unencumbered: 12 (6)
Foot, encumbered: 6 (3)
Camel*: 16 (8)
Donkey/mule: 12 (6)
Elephant: 12 (4)
Horse, Draft: 8 (4)
Horse, Riding: 24 (12)
Horse, War: 12 (6)
Ox: 6 (4)

Easy terrains are grassland and tundra. Difficult terrains are highlands, mountains, taiga, wastelands, wetlands, and woodlands. Camels treat deserts as easy terrain.

Each day, there is a 1 in 6 chance that a random encounter occurs. In addition, each wilderness hex the adventurers travel through holds set encounters they might find. Adventurers may come across one of these encounters accidentally (1 in 6 chance) or by searching.

Random monster encounter tables should be provided for each wilderness area. In addition to the threat of the monsters, the Referee must determine the battleground on which the encounter takes place. Battleground in this case includes not only the terrain where the encounter occurs, but also the weather and tactics of the enemy. Battlefields and battlefield conditions are addressed later.

Wilderness Types
The following wilderness categories are used in NODTM.

Aquatic areas are filled with fresh water and include lakes, rivers, streams and canals.

Aquatic Battlefields
1-3 Sandy Ground
4-7 Rocky Ground
8-9 Kelp Forest (movement cut in half, -5 penalty to missile attacks)
10 Chasm

A grassland is a flat area or an area of gentle, rolling hills that supports grasses, sedges, herbs and few to no trees. Prairies, meadows and savannas are all grasslands. Steppes are semi-arid grasslands that usually separate deserts from woodlands.

Grassland Battlefields
1-6 Meadow
7-10 Tall Grass (movement cut in half, surprise chances increased by 1)

A highland is a rugged area of hills covered by grasses, herbs and sedges and sparse trees. A highland with heavy tree cover is considered a woodland. A highland with very little rainfall or grass cover is considered a wasteland.

Highland Battlefield
1 Meadow
2-5 Gentle Slope (movement cut in half, creatures with high ground are +1 to hit)
6-9 Steep Slope (movement cut in half, creatures with high ground are +1 to hit, if hit for damage must make saving throw or roll down slope for 1d3 damage and knocked prone)
10 Cliff (if hit for damage must make saving throw or go over cliff)

Mountains are very tall highlands bordered by highlands or separated from other mountains by passes or valleys.

Mountain Battlefields
1 Meadow
2-4 Gentle Slope (movement cut in half, creatures with high ground are +1 to hit)
5-7 Scree Field (if moving at full speed must make saving throw or slip and fall)
8-10 Boulder Field (-3 penalty to missile attacks)
11-17 Steep Slope (movement cut in half, creatures with high ground are +1 to hit, if hit for damage must make saving throw or roll down slope for 1d4 damage and knocked prone)
18-19 Cliff (if hit for damage must make saving throw or go over cliff)
20 Chasm (if hit for damage must make saving throw or fall into chasm)

Tundra is a scrubland or grassland located in a cold area. They are often marked by permafrost. A tundra can be flat, rugged or mountainous.

Tundra Battlefields
1-4 Meadow
5-9 Rocky Ground (if moving at full speed must make saving throw or slip and fall)
10 Ice Sheet (if moving at full speed must make saving throw or slip and fall for 1d3 damage)

Wastelands are hot, arid expanses of sandy or rugged terrain. Rocky deserts that support succulents and/or scrub. Sand sea deserts are covered with shifting dunes that can measure over one hundred feet in height. Either kind of wasteland might have scattered oases. An oasis is a fresh spring surrounded by vegetation. Some oases are large enough to support strongholds and villages.

Wasteland Battlefields
1 Meadow
2-5 Rocky Ground (if moving at full speed must make saving throw or slip and fall)
6-10 Sand Dunes (movement cut in half)

A wetland is land inundated with water. A marsh is a wetland dominated by grasses, while a swamp is a wetland dominated by trees. Marshes can be filled with salt water or fresh water from springs (bogs) or rain (fens). Marshes can also be called moors. Salt water swamps are called mangrove swamps.

Wetland Battlefields
1-4 Meadow
5-6 Tall Grass (movement cut in half, surprise chances increased by 1)
7-9 Shallow Water (movement cut in half, surprise chances increased by 1)
10 Deep Water (movement cut in half, no missile attacks, surprise chances increased by 2)

A woodland is covered by a closed or opened canopy of trees. It might be flat or hilly. Jungles are tropical woodlands that often contain swampy areas. Taiga are coniferous forests found in cold climates.

Woodland Battlefields
1-3 Meadow
4-5 Undergrowth (movement cut in half, surprise chances increased by 1)
6-9 Lightly Wooded (missile attacks at -3)
10 Heavily Wooded (missile attacks at -5)

Dangers are threats one must plan for and deal with while traveling through the wilderness. Each danger listed below can be avoided by taking a number of precautions. Failure to do so results in penalties that accrue before a battle or by the end of the day.

Most of the dangers result in fatigue. Each source of fatigue an adventurer (or his mount) suffers results in a -1 penalty to all actions (attacks, saving throws, attribute checks) and one half penalty to movement.

Adventurers that are traveling through mountains and rugged highlands need to link themselves with ropes and carry miner’s picks. Most importantly, they need to avoid being anything more than lightly encumbered.

Equipment: Rope (100 ft.), pitons/spikes, hammer, miner’s pick.

Penalty: 1d6 points of damage from falling and exertion, half with a successful dexterity saving throw.

Cold Weather
Characters need double food rations in cold weather. Characters must find shelter at night and start a camp fire (requires a flint and steel and a tinder box or a saving throw). Shelter can be an existing cave or it can be built. Building a shelter requires such items as pickaxes (for an igloo), hammer, string and axe.

Equipment: Bedroll, flint and steel, tinder box, winter clothing (or furs), winter blanket.

Penalty: 1d6 points of damage and fatigue.

Getting Lost
Besides using proper equipment, one should take the time to climb trees and hills to sight the area (when possible). Spells like find the path are a perfect substitute for proper equipment and smart adventuring.

Equipment: Maps, charts, lodestone.

Penalty: Fatigue.

Hot (Dry) Weather
Characters should only travel at night and must consume an extra water ration each day to avoid dehydration. If traveling during the day, one must keep the sun off their skin by dressing in robes, cloaks, caftans and hats. Characters should avoid any armor heavier than a mail shirt. It is also important to rest often by cutting daily travel distance in half.

Equipment: Caftan or hat, cloak or robes (i.e. Arabic dress), extra water ration per day, lack of armor (see below).

Penalty: 1d6 points of damage and fatigue.

Hot (Humid) Weather
Humid weather is draining. One should avoid wearing much clothing (natives of such environments are naked or practically naked), including armor. Characters must rest often by cutting their daily travel distance in half.

Equipment: Lack of clothing, extra water ration per day.

Penalty: 1d6 points of damage and fatigue.

Bring food or bring somebody who can hunt for food. Spending time hunting cuts daily travel distance in half. Bringing traps and/or fishing gear gives a +1 bonus to survival saving throws. The spell create food and water makes enough food for three humans or one horse per caster level. This food will spoil after a couple of days.

Equipment: Rations, animal traps, fishing gear.

Penalty: Each day without food results in fatigue. A week without food inflicts 1d4 points of damage. Creatures brought to less than half their normal hit points from lack of food will suffer one point of random ability score damage each day.

A creature can swim at one quarter of their movement rate for a number of rounds equal to its constitution score. Swimming for each round beyond that requires a saving throw.

If forced to stop swimming, a creature can tread water for a number of rounds equal to their constitution score. Treading water for each round beyond that requires a saving throw.

Failure to tread water results in sinking. A creature will sink 5 ft each round. Creatures can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to their constitution score. Holding one’s breath for each round beyond that requires a saving throw. When a single such saving throw is failed the creature drowns.

Most environments allow for the collection of water as one goes; unfortunately, this water is not always safe to drink. This problem can be solved with a purify food and drink spell. Without it, adventurers run a 30% chance of being sickened, with a failed constitution saving throw indicating nausea and forcing the adventurers to make camp for 1-3 days.

Clerics can use create food and water to create enough water for four humans per caster level. This water does not go bad, but must be stored somewhere. The cleric/druid spell create water creates 2 gallons per caster level.

Equipment: Canteen, water skin.

Penalty: Humans and demi-humans require a half gallon of water per day. Horses and oxen require 10 gallons a day. Camels require 2 gallons of water per day. Elephants require 30 gallons of water per day.

A day with sufficient water leaves one fatigued. A day without any water inflicts 1d6 points of damage and causes fatigue. Creatures brought to less than half their normal hit points from lack of water will suffer one point of random ability damage each day.

Depending on the terrain, vermin are almost impossible to deal with. Food can be kept in water skins and hung from trees to make it safer from vermin. Adventurers can sleep in tents and burn sticks on incense to ward away mosquitoes and other disease carriers. Boots should be shaken vigorously before being put on in the morning. Complex perimeters formed of string and little bells are of dubious utility.

Equipment: Tents, incense sticks.

Penalty: Lose one day of rations and succeed on a constitution saving throw or suffer fatigue from sickness and poisonous stings.

Wear and Tear
Each night, armor and weapons must be oiled and stowed away. Bows should be unstrung (a spare bow could be unstrung during the day and kept strung at night). Metal weapons should be sharpened. One can use a mending spell if without proper equipment.

Equipment: Armor and weapon oil, whetstone.

Penalty: -1 AC if wearing armor. -1 penalty to hit if using weapons.


Tomorrow I'll post info on battlefield conditions, different types of encounters and strongholds.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Ophir, The City of Slaves - Part 4

The first three parts of Ophir can be found here, here and here. For information on the pantheon of Ophir, click here.

F. The Souk
This diagonal street of reddish clay is shaded by wooden slats and numerous striped shades hoisted on wooden poles. It is always thick with activity and hosts dozens of stands selling fruits, vegetables, foodstuffs, cloth, tools, trinkets, exotic animals, copper pots, crockery and other items. Smugglers and fences are common, as are beggars, street urchins, entertainers and common trollops. The guards work their way once every twenty minutes, extorting as much coin as possible from the peddlers and their customers (especially foreigners). Three idols of Melkarth, god of merchants among other things, line the street. It is common for large business deals to be consumated by spitting in the hands and shaking them beneath one of these statues.

27. Guardhouse: This building is constructed of limestone blocks. It rises three stories and is really more of a tower with a crenelation on the roof to protect archers. The building houses fifteen men-at-arms of the royal guard and their commander, Karba. On the ground floor there is a small cell with an iron door, and outside there are two pillories. If there has been a recent execution, the body or head will be displayed from the top of the tower. A secret trapdoor in the cell leads to the catacombs below.

Karba is a woman with long, raven-black hair held back in a thick braid whose beauty is only marred by the ever-present sneer on her face. She dresses in a chainmail hauberk over a scarlet tunic and wears a yellow scarf wrapped around her helm. She carries a red shield decorated with bronze studs and wields a curved long sword and dagger. Her soldiers wear crimson ring mail and helms circled with yellow turbans. They carry pole arms, short swords, short bows and five arrows each. Karba is a swaggering, rakish woman, an insult always on the tip of her tongue and her cold, appraising stare capable of making veteran warriors sweat. While her men patrol the area, she can usually be found at the Inn of One Thousand Delights [7] or the gambling hall [54], her feet on a table and a goblet of spiced wine in her hand.

• Karba: HD 5 (29 hp); AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Men-at-arms are +1 to hit under her command.

29. Temple of Astarte and Adonis: Astarte was once the patron deity of Ophir and she had a magnificent temple dedicated to her on a hill overlooking the city-state. The temple was sacked many decades ago, and Astarte fell out of favor. Her temple fell into ruin and her priesthood was forced to purchase and renovate a smaller structure into a shrine dedicated to the goddess and her consort, Adonis. The new temple is constructed from limestone blocks with a few horizontal bands of green marble as decoration. It is topped by a green marble dome. Within the temple there is a large space with a high ceiling dominated by idols of Astarte and Adonis. Behind are apartments for the priests, the largest belonging to Jumaga. Jumaga’s bed is draped with four leopard skins (worth 25 gp each). Outside the temple there is always a place for worshippers to remove their footwear and cleanse their feet before entering. Two guardsmen, Hayad and Alahm, guard the temple at night. Offerings of fruit, grain, flowers and money (4d6 gp) cover the altar in the daytime.

The temple’s priest is Jumaga, a youthful man impeccably dressed in white robes and well-spoken. He has two assistants, Iamir and Hada. Iamir, a gnome, looks younger than his master, and is opinionated and rash. Hada is quite young and only recently left his work as a shepherd. He is servile and friendly. The temple guards, Hayad and Alahm, are both young and foppish (baggy trousers, red sashes, velvet fez, curled mustachios and always annointed with fragrant sandalwood oil), and have only taken this job until something better comes along. Hayad is trusting and egotistical, and Alahm is a blustering fool. Jumaga has become popular in Ophir for his parables and generosity toward the poor. He is often out of the temple tending to the peasantry. A small vault is hidden beneath the temple and does not connect to the catacombs. Here, the priests hide escaped slaves before moving out of the city. The temple’s treasure, kept in a locked chest guarded by a spell that creates an invisible, deadly gas when the chest is opened without saying the magic words (“Quick Brown Fox”), consists of 400 gp and a garnet worth 1,000 gp.

• Jumaga, Adept Lvl 6: HP 23; AC 7 [12]; Save 10; Special: Adept spells (2nd); Leather armor under pristine white robes, winged sandals, sickle (treat as hand axe).

• Acolytes, Adepts Lvl 2: HP 2d6; AC 7 [12]; Save 14; Special: Adept spells (1st); Leather armor under white robes, shepherd’s crook, 1d100 cp in alms for the poor in a leather sack, small skin of ale for medicinal purposes.

• Hayad, Swashbuckler Lvl 1: HP 8; AC 8 [11]; Save 14; Special: Move 13, stunning attack 1/day; Long sword (scimitar), silver dagger, pouch of snuff, purse with 1d6 sp.

• Alahm, Swashbuckler Lvl 1: HP 5; AC 8 [11]; Save 14; Special: Move 13, stunning attack 1/day; Long sword (scimitar), silver dagger, silk slippers with curled toes, purse with 1d6 gp.

34. Chandler: Obna is a hedge wizard with a nasally voice and squinty eyes. Chivalrous and cultured, he can always be found with a clay pipe clenched in his teeth, blue smoke curling around his balding head. While Obna makes a living as a chandler, and is capable of enchanting his candles with spells that he knows. An enchanted candle releases its spell when the candle has been burning for 1 minute and lasts as long as the candle lasts, usually 1 hour. Enchanted candles sell for 100 gp per spell level. Obna lives with his wife Esther, a matronly woman of great beauty, wit and kindness. He has twin thirteen-year-old sons, Nabo and Onab, who are his apprentices. While Nabo is content to take over his father’s business one day, Onab longs for the adventurous life. Obna’s town house has four stories, the first containing a workshop, the second a living room and library, the third living quarters for the twins and the fourth a bedchamber for Obna and Esther. Obna’s workshop is protected by a second-hand homonculus called Tatty Tom that he received as a wedding gift from his former master. Tom’s actually shares his bond with Esther, and is goodhearted if a little mischievous. Obna’s treasure, kept in a locked chest hidden in his workshop, contains (beneath ratty blankets and bits of candle) 1,000 sp, 500 ep, 100 gp and a smoky quartz worth 4 gp.

• Obna, Adept Lvl 3: HP 11; AC 8 [11]; Save 13; Special: Adept spells (1st), skilled as a chandler; Dagger, darts (3), spellbook, snakeskin turban. Obna knows three spells, charm person, protection from evil, sleep.

• Nabo, Adept Lvl 1: HP 3; AC 9 [10]; Save 15; Special: Adept spells (1st); Dagger, darts (3), spellbook.

• Onab, Magic-User Lvl 1: HP 5; AC 8 [11]; Save 15; Special: Magic-user spells (1st); Dagger, darts (3), spellbook.

• Tatty Tom, Homonculus: HD 2; HP 18; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (1d3); Move 9 (Fly 18); Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Poison (unconscious for 5d6 minutes.

36. Vigilante: Jumog is a vigilante and a neurotic, opinionated loner. As a half-orc, he can pass for human, but has a pock-marked face and entirely too much bristly hair on his body. By day, he maintains an unkempt appearance as a freighter working on the docks. At night, he skulks about town in blackened chainmail, his face hidden by a scarf, waylaying the evil and wicked (especially the predatory priests of Lotan). His home is eqally unassuming, being a simple stone structure with a flat roof and a wood door covered in peeling white paint. A secret trapdoor allows quick access to the roof, and another inside leads into the catacombs. This trapdoor is covered by a heavy chest and locked. Jumog has very little treasure, giving most of what he takes to the Temple of Shedu [56], but he does have 100 gp, a rock crystal worth 5 gp and a bronze ewer worth 95 gp. His primary nemesis is the Black Orchid, the most skilled assassin in Ophir.

• Jumog, Half-Orc Fighting-Man Lvl 2: HP 13; AC 3 [16]; Save 15; Special: +1 strength bonus; Flail, chainmail, shield, brass holy symbol of Shedu (135 gp).

37. Warehouse: This mud brick warehouse contains stolen goods owned by the Thieves’ Guild. It is guarded by a jackalwere called Hadep and his pack of four. Inside the front door there is an empty desk. A loft on the east wall serves as the jackalwere’s lair. Their treasure consists of 2,000 sp, 2,100 gp and a moonstone worth 800 gp hidden under soiled cushions. The moonstone is coated in a contact poison that deals 1d6 dexterity damage each hour until neutralized or until 6 hours has past.

• Jackalweres: HD 4; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (2d4); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Sleep gaze, only harmed by silver or magic weapons.

39. Monastery of Melkarth: This monastery is a fortress-like structure of three levels. The first level holds a reception hall, a chapel of Melkarth and a large training chamber for the monks. The second level holds storage chambers, living cells for the monks, a kitchen and a dining hall. The third level holds living quarters and office space for the abbot and his officers. The abbot is Diyab, a mature man who is quite altruistic and courteous. His monastery is attended by fifteen monks. The monks of Melkarth go bare chested and wear loose pants and white turbans. They maintain long, curly, square-cut beards and full mustaches. When not in training, they either wander the city looking for good deeds to perform (especially against the cult of Lotan or the machinations of Ob [22]) or stand outside their monastery, demonstrating feats of strength and agility. The monks keep their treasure in a limestone sarcophagus. It consists of 4,000 gp, 2,000 sp and a chalcedony worth 1,550 gp. They are hording their funds to construct a larger monastery overlooking the city, provided they can get permission from Prince Zargo.

• Diyab, Monk Lvl 11: HP 69; AC 4 [15]; Save 4; Special: Move 24, unarmed attacks deal 1d10 and 1d6 damage, stunning attack 11/day, deflect missiles 2/rd, harm creatures only harmed by +3 weapons, slow fall, still body, fast healing.

• Monk: HD 2+2; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 fist (1d6+1); Move 14; Save 13; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Stunning attack 2/day.

40. Animal Trainer: Zarda is a smallish woman with a piercing eyes and a pointed nose. She has red hair and bronzed skin and always dresses in clothes of deep scarlet. Zarda runs a kennel where she trains hunting and guard dogs for the nobility. At any given time she will have 1d10 animals in her care (and under her command). The kennel is located on the ground floor of the building, with living quarters on the two floors above. Zarda is middle-aged. She is cruel and antagonistic, and quite unstable mentally. She loves animals, and uses them to punish those who cross her. Zarda herself owns a large, red wolf named Jaza. Zarda hides 290 gp in a leather sack buried in the floor of her kennel.

• Zarda, Barbarian Lvl 1: HP 7; AC 6 [13]; Save 15; Special: Superstitious; Leather armor, curved long sword, dagger.

• Jaza, Wolf: HD 3 (14 hp); AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d8); Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 6/400; Special: None.

41. Healer: Nokin is a young man with an impressive physique and perfect smile. A skilled healer, he can be antagonistic towards patients who ignore his advice. Nokin is often involved in arguments with Alsha [43] and Zarda [40] over the noise produced by their establishments. At any given time Nokin will have 1d4 patients in his establishment undergoing some treatment (leeching, cupping, induced vomiting, etc). Nokin’s building is built of limestone with porphyry detail around the entracne, a thick wooden door painted white and bearing a painting of the caduceus. The ground floor chamber contains several tables and chairs, a single bed, cupboards filled with jars of leeches, medicinal herbs and cloth for bandages and a shrine to Asclepius decorated with fresh flowers. A locked iron chest holds more expensive tools (saws, needles, silk thread, etc). Nokin’s second floor contains a living room, dining area and small library. The third floor contains his bedroom and his treasure, 45 gp, 43 sp and 70 cp in a locked chest.

42. Leatherworker: Muam is quite a sight; missing an eye, his other eye has a nervous twitch, squeaky voiced, introverted and often morose. He has lived a life of great misfortune and loss. Muam is skilled at his craft, but works slowly. He is not capable of manufacturing leather armor, although he can repair it. Muam lives with his elderly mother in a two-story adobe building with a flat roof. Muam and his mother live on the second story, with the first given over to his workshop and supplies. His treasure consists of 12 gp and a silver medallion worth 10 gp that he lifted off a drunk.

43. Blacksmith: Alsha is a round, middle-aged woman with cropped black hair and large hands and arms. She usually has an unkempt appearance and is known to be rather arrogant. Alsha can make any type of metal tool as well as arrow- and spearheads. She employs five journeymen and three apprentices, the apprentices sleeping in the workroom at night. The upper story of her building is given over to living space for herself and her family. Her husband, Kobar, is a member of the royal guard (and disgruntled at its corruption under the command of Karba). She also has two daughters, Sifar and Alshada. A locked iron chest in their living quarters contains 122 gp. Alsha’s building is built of rough-hewn flint, with a yellow door and several shuttered windows on the ground floor.

• Alsha, Fighting-Woman Lvl 3: HP 25; AC 8 [11]; Save 16; Hand axe & chainmail (packed away), light hammer, 5 sp.

G. Street of the Ancestors
This street of hard-packed red clay is lined by several tall buildings. Small, clay idols line the sides of the street in little niches. These are ancestor idols, and even the most criminal Ophirian leaves them and the offerings made to them alone. Offerings include flowers, small loaves of bread and copper pieces.

48. Bakery: This large, adobe brick bakery is run by Sarah, a mature halfling woman who once lived the life of an adventurer. Sarah is trusting, outspoken and a bit tongue-tied around handsome elves. She runs a bakery and coffee house that is popular with foreigners in Ophir. The ground floor is divided into a bakery (five brick ovens), kitchen and coffee house. Sarah bakes pita bread (and serves it covered in savories on request), loaves of wheat bread and fruit and nut breads daily. She also serves cold meats and cheeses and dark coffee sweetened with honey. She employs several assistants and has two apprentices, both humans. Sarah is very popular in Ophir, especially with sailors, who refer to her as their “Little Mama”. Sarah and her apprentices live above the kitchen. Aside from an ample supply of flour, cheese and other edibles, Sarah keeps 300 gp and 500 ep in a locked iron box in her bedroom.

• Sarah, Halfling Fighting-Woman Lvl 5: HP 29; AC 9 [10]; Save 12; Chemise, head scarf (all clothing covered in flour), dagger tucked into the ribbon around her waist, short sword in her room.

49. Woodcarver: Muma the woodcarver has a collection of fetishes from the jungles of Cush and most of his business is in carving idols and holy symbols. An old, pot-bellied sinner, Muma has a beautiful young wife called Mara that most believe to be bewitched. The area outside his shop is littered with wood flakes and sawdust, but the inside is very neat. Muma can be found in the center of his shop sharpening his blades or carving an idol, his wife flitting around tidying up or serving him sweet coffee. Muma is very jealous concerning his wife, and usually sends her away when people enter his shop. He and his wife live above the shop in a lavish bedroom (rugs, silk curtains, bronze braziers, a cedar chest of clothing with a false bottom holding 20 gp, 110 sp and a sapphire worth 400 gp). Muma is perceptive and well-spoken, but not to be trusted. He is a devotee of Baal-Zebub, and makes sure that holy symbols carved for the gods of Law are tainted, giving the clerics that use them a -1d4 penalty to rolls made to turn the undead.

52. Excisewoman: Zita is an excise-woman (tax collector). She is youthful, capricious and rash, with the appearance of someone with little taste who has come into money. Zita is a cunning and overconfident tax collector. She is engaged in a little graft, and hoping its not enough to draw the attention of her superiors. Her ultimate plan, when she has enough money, is to buy a merchant galley and leave Ophir forever. Her home has three stories and is constructed of pearly white stones. There are two balconies on the second floor and the front door is constructed of wood and clad in greenish copper. Zita’s treasure (200 gp, a pearl worth 125 gp, a piece of coral worth 115 gp and a panther skin worth 15 gp) is hidden in a leather sack stuffed inside the wall behind her wardrobe. She is usually encountered making her rounds through the city accompanied by 6 to 8 men-at-arms. At night, she can be found carousing and on the hunt for male companionship, favoring the Inn of One Thousand Delights [7] and the Bloody Bones Tavern [10] as her hunting grounds.

[Referee Note: When Zita appeared in my campaign, for some strange reason her voice turned out to be that of Dr. Girlfriend from the Venture Brothers. She also seduced the party’s dwarf. Do with this information what you will.]

53. Scribe: Ho’am is a youthful scribe with an imposing height. Cautious and modest, he is a devotee of Lotan and quite wicked. Ho’am employs ten scribes, sending them to work for others or keeping them in the scriptorium to finish more important jobs. The scriptorium consists of a ground floor filled with writing tables and second story living quarters. His desk is adorned with a bone paperweight worth 20 gp. Ho’am has a strained relationship with Lathba the sage. The man is a good customer, but he is patronizing. Ho’am would act against the old man, but he has seen his prowess with a sword.

• Ho’am, Magic-User Lvl 2: HP 5; AC 9 [10]; Save 16; Special: Magic-user (1st); Dagger, spellbook, writer’s kit, 7 gp.

54. Gambling House: Evil Gladiator 6; braided hair, interrupts others, serious and dull. Mulla, an ex-gladiator with braided hair, runs a gambling house that specializes in “pit fighting”. The building is two-stories tall and made of masonry with a slate roof. The ground floor is dominated by a 20 foot tall cage in which combats occur. The back of the main floor features a long bar stretching from one end of the room to the other. A loft circles the main floor about 10 feet above the ground and leads to offices and Mulla’s apartment. Gladiators enter from a back room seperated from the main floor by a thick, stone wall.

When a fight is imminent, three clarks position themselves around the cage and the challenger is brought into the room and put inside the cage. When the champion enters, the spectators begin placing bets with the clarks. For most fights, the house has a limit of 25 gp on a bet, with odds determined by comparing the XP value of the contestants. Higher bets must be approved by Mulla, who keeps 600 gp on hand for losses. He also owns a scroll of invisibility that he would like to unload on a magic-user capable of paying 300 gp for it.

Contestants cannot wear armor heavier than leather and may not carry weapons larger than a short sword. Contestants can be determined by rolling on the charts below.

• Mulla: Evil Human Gladiator 6, HP 43, AC 16, MV 12, ATK short sword +10 (1d6+5) or spiked gauntlet +8 (1d3+3) or both +6/+4, SA +1 to hit and +2 to damage with unarmed strikes, SV 13, AB Str 18, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 11.

1. Beastman Barbarian, Lvl 1d4+1
2. Human Barbarian, Lvl 1d4+2
3. Elf Swashbuckler, Lvl 1d4+1 (1 in 6 chance of magic-user spells)
4. Mechanical Fighting-Man, Lvl 1d4+1, studded with spikes
5. Dwarf Fighting-Man, Lvl 1d4+2 in gladiator gear
6. Human Fighting-Man, Lvl 1d4+2 in gladiator gear
9. Human Monk, Lvl 1d4+2
10. Bugbear
11. Ogre
12. Minotaur

• Beastman Barbarian Lvl 3: HD 3d6+12; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 axe (1d6+1) or fists (1d2+1); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Cannot be flanked or back stabbed, fears magic, berserk (+2 to hit and damage, -2 to AC). Wears leather armor and carries hand axe.

• Human Barbarian Lvl 4: HD 4d6+12; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 sword (1d6) or fists (1d2); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Cannot be flanked or back stabbed, fears magic, berserk (+2 to hit and damage, -2 to AC). Carries shield and short sword.

• Elf Swashbuckler Lvl 3: HD 3d6+9; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 short sword (1d6) and 1 dagger (1d4); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Stunning attack 3/day, deflect arrows 1/rd.

• Mechanical Fighting-Man Lvl 3: HD 3d6+6; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 flail (1d6+1) or fists (1d3); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Mechanical man abilities.

• Dwarf Fighting-Man Lvl 4: HD 4d6+8; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 short sword (1d6+1) or 1 net (entangle); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None.

• Human Fighting-Man Lvl 4: HD 4d6+8; AC 5 [14]; Save 13; Short sword, leather armor, shield.

• Human Monk Lvl 4: HD 4d6+12; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 fist (1d6); Move 16; Save 11; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Stunning attack 4/day, deflect missiles 1/rd, harm monsters only harmed by +1 weapons.

• Bugbear: HD 3+1; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (2d4) or 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 9; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Surprise on 1-3 on 1d6.

• Ogre: HD 4+1; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 weapon (1d10+1); Move 9; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None.

• Minotaur: HD 6+4; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 head butt (2d4), 1 bite (1d3) and 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Never gets lost in mazes.

56. Temple of Shedu: The temple of Shedu is quite old. It resembles a Greek temple, with columns on the outside and an inner sanctum containing a marble and gold idol of Shedu. Behind the inner sanctum are sparse living quarters for the priests. Entrances to the catacombs have been bricked up to prevent entry by the Lotanites and other strange creatures. Unbeknownst to the priests, a bedlam has taken up residence in the catacombs beneath the temple, and it is slowly driving the priests of Shedu mad.

The temple is overseen by Hoda. Hoda is an aging cleric who keeps his grey hair and beard properly oiled and curled. Once a towering figure, he now leans heavily on his staff. He is assisted by Balhad, Ib, Hama, and Saysnah. The temple’s treasure now consists of only 1,000 sp. It is kept in a locked chest protected by a glyph of warding (a thunder clap that deals 6d6 points of damage and deafness for 4d6 hours).

• Hoda, Cleric Lvl 8: HP 42; AC 1 [18]; 7; Special: Cleric spells (4th); Mace, chainmail +2, shield, holy symbol, potion of healing. Hoda is mature, unkempt, neurotic, inquisitive and antagonistic.

• Acolytes, Adept Lvl 3: HD 3d6; AC 3 [16]; Save 12; Special: Adept spells (1st); Mace, chainmail, shield, holy symbol. All are trained in the healing arts.

57. Public Baths: The public baths are one of the oldest finest buildings in Ophir. They are built in the Roman style (pillars, painted stone), and consist of a reception chamber, dressing rooms (one for men, one for women), steam rooms (using the old Roman furnace concept), two pools fed by natural springs (no medicinal qualities) and an exercise room (with weights and massage tables). A day at the baths costs 10 gp, paid in the reception area. Massages cost an additional 10 gp. Attendants wait on customers in each chamber. Two guards (sergeants, 15 hit points each, armed with pole arms and short swords) are present in the reception hall and two more guard the owner’s chambers.

Above the reception area are the living chambers of Ubago, the old deviant who operates the baths. He is attended by young men (eunuchs) with shaved heads and bodies who wear only loin cloths. Ubago’s living chambers include a feast hall, a lavish toilet, an office decorated in antiquities dating to the days of the Purple Kings (such antiques are a hobby of Ubago, and people will find him as competent as any sage on matters of the history of the Wyvern Coast) and a large bedchamber. Ubago is a loud man with an aquiline nose. He is madcap and sensual, and sneezes frequently, especially around dwarfs. It is difficult to truly like Ubago, but almost impossible to hate him.

58. Wine Merchant: Saybee is a bald, gap-toothed man who runs an upscale wineshop purchased with funds he earned adventuring (mostly in the Klarkash Mts, a subject he will speak on endlessly). The shop consists of a long counter, behind which stands Saybee with a look of eagerness on his face. He is quick to greet customers and does his best to steer them to a proper wine and vintage. He stocks his shop with bottles and casques of wine from as far away as Lyonesse and Nomo. He sells the local spiced wine, but believes it an inferior product; he’ll even suck his teeth and roll his eyes slightly when a customer insists on it. Saybee is addicted to the black lotus. Because of this, there is always a 15% chance that his shop will be closed while he’s on a “trip”. Saybee lives alone. His treasure consists of 1,500 ep, 300 gp, 10 pp and a oval piece of polished lapis lazuli worth 95 gp that he uses as a focus for meditation.

• Saybee, Psychic Lvl 6: HP 10; AC 9 [10]; Save 10 (8 vs. mental); Special: Sixth sense, powers –mesmerism, mind thrust and telekinesis. Leather armor, curved long sword scimitar, dagger, crimson sash in which he keeps a packet of black lotus, three darts and 20 gp. Cautious and sympathetic, he touches people while talking to them.

59. Astrologer: Hobeah is a hedonistic and aloof worshiper of Marduk (he has a large, wooden idol in his parlor) and is an √©migr√© from Ishkabibel. He has bronze skin, thinning white hair and a long, sparse, white beard. Hobeah dresses in colorful robes embroidered with images of shooting stars. Hobeah has three wives, Isha, the oldest, being his favorite. His only son, Juba, is his apprentice. Upon entering Hobeah’s shop one finds themselves in a plush parlor with expensive, though worn, mahogany furniture, the aforementioned idol of Marduk and several tapestries depicting astrological events. Beyond the parlor there is a kitchen and dining area. Bedrooms are on the two floors above. The attic has been transformed into an observatory, with a telescope, astrolabe and shutters that open to reveal the night sky. A table here is covered in star charts, and shelves covered with almanacs and books and scrolls on astrology line the walls. An iron chest locked with a superior lock (-3 to open) contains 262 gp. Hobeah is capable of producing star charts at a cost of 50 gp that have a 1 in 6 chance of simulating a scroll of augury in its overall effect (i.e. it contains knowledge that a person can later use to make a tough decision).

Level: 2 (cleric)
Range: Personal
Duration: Instantaneous

An augury can tell you whether a particular action will bring good or bad results for you in the immediate future. The base chance for receiving a meaningful reply is 70% + 1% per level, to a maximum of 90%; this roll is made secretly. A question may be so straightforward that a successful result is automatic, or so vague as to have no chance of success. If the augury succeeds, you get one of four results: Weal (if the action will probably bring good results), Woe (for bad results), Weal and woe (for both) or Nothing (for actions that don’t have especially good or bad results). If the spell fails, you get the “nothing” result. A cleric who gets the “nothing” result has no way to tell whether it was the consequence of a failed or successful augury. The augury can see into the future only about half an hour, so anything that might happen after that does not affect the result. Thus, the result might not take into account the long-term consequences of a contemplated action. All auguries cast by the same person about the same topic use the same dice result as the first casting.

60. Den of Thieves: This is a four-story, nondescript building of adobe. The doors and windows are always kept locked, and one might spot a shadowy figure on the roof from time to time. The first floor is a maze of corridors, dead ends, secret doors and lethal traps. The second floor is a crawlspace of trapped vaults containing the thieves’ treasure as well as supplies of water, iron rations, rope, torches and weapons. The third floor contains living quarters for the lesser thieves and training rooms, and the fourth floor has larger living quarters for the superiors.

The den houses eight footpads, including a gnome and halfling. The leader of the thieves is called Katya. Her lieutenant is Bors Turmudgeon, an immigrant from Lyonesse, and her sub-lieutenant is Kaffa. Ketta’s den of thieves is co-operative with Zargo’s assassins, but opposed by those merchants that do not deal in slaves.

The guild’s treasure consists of 11,000 sp, 5,000 ep, 1,000 gp, 100 pp, a jasper worth 6 gp, a +2 lance of polished oak with a steel head chased in silver runes and a recently heisted cargo of 100 coconuts that are worth 10 gp/coconut.

• Katya, Thief Lvl 10: HP 35; AC 5 [14]; Save 5; Special: Back stab for quadruple damage; Leather armor +1, brown robes with many pockets, short sword, three darts with silver tips, earrings worth 700 gp, jeweled dagger worth 900 gp, vial of acid, burglars’ tools.

• Bors, Thief Lvl 4: HP 12; AC 7 [12]; Save 11; Special: Back stab for double damage; Leather armor, short sword, dagger, burglars’ tools, 7 gp, polished quartz pebble that can be used as a magnifying glass.

• Kaffa, Thief Lvl 3: HP 9; AC 7 [12]; Save 12; Special: Back stab four double damage; Leather armor, daggers (3), burglars’ tools, 12 gp. Kaffa fancies himself a contender for guild leadership and Katya’s bed. She finds him an insufferable ass, but keeps him around as a potential fall guy should things ever go wrong. His presence in the guild also keeps Bors on his toes.

• Footpad: HD 2d6; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Back stab for double damage. Have short sword, light crossbow, leather armor, burglars’ tools, 2d6 gp.

Magic Item: Candle of Thought

Candle of Thought
This appears as a normal candle. When lit and held in one's hand it casts a soft, steady white light, never flickering, even in a breeze (though a strong wind will extinguish it.) When the melting wax from the candle hits a creature's flesh (a painful experience, maybe worth 1 point of damage), forgotten events in that person's past will appear projected on the wall or floor within the area of the candle's light. The person holding the candle can summon up these memories if he is concentrating on them (i.e. - what was that person's name), otherwise they are random. The candle will burn for one hour before used up, with each memory extraction taking 1 minute.

Inspirational Art - Or Just Creepy

I don't know what the heck these things are, but I know I don't want to run into them in a dark woodland on a crisp, cool fall day. They are the creation of Scott Radke. If I was running them as an encounter, it would be as the adventurers were walking through an old, tired forest on a narrow path hemmed in by ferns and spikes of dull, beige flowers. Everything would seem normal enough, but then one by one they would become aware of these things, standing amidst the ferns, staring with their tortured eyes. Approaching them would cause them to scurry into the underbrush (and effectively make them invisible and silent). Attacking them would elicit a mind-piercing shriek and cause them to flee in the same way described above. The shriek would work like a Psionic Blast*. If nothing is done, they will appear to follow the adventurers through the woods, just popping up along the path as the adventurers walk. During this time, they will begin to evoke powerful emotions in the adventurers, sorrow, anger, etc - all of the character's emotional baggage, especially concerning fellow adventurers, will bubble to the top.

* Psionic Blast: A psionic blast works like an ego whip, but instead stuns creatures in 30-ft cone emanating from the psychic’s forehead. A psychic suffers a -5 penalty to activate a psionic blast.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On Ophir, The City of Slaves - Part 3

The first two parts of Ophir can be found here and here. For information on the pantheon of Ophir, click here.

Before I continue, I should mention that this work presents the concept of slavery as it has often appeared in pulp fiction. Slavery was fairly common in the ancient world, and thus appears often in fiction. The slave girls, gladiators and galley slaves of pulp fiction and sword & sandal movies, however, do not do justice to the suffering of real life slaves. Unfortunately, the crime of slavery and human trafficking is alive and well in the world. For a more serious take on the subject, you might want to visit this wikipedia page or this website. I hope nobody takes this work of fiction as belittling the plight of actual slaves. I know I promised no politics on this website, but I don't think taking a stand against slavery is too controversial.

D. Avenue of Lost Souls
The streets that surround the Temple of Lotan are paved with basalt tiles, several bearing brass holy symbols of Lotan (in the shape of an eel wound around a trident). They are usually quiet, people avoiding the temple whenever possible, and they are never profaned with laughter or other loud noises.

At night, the streets are all but deserted due to the priests being about, hunting for sacrificial victims. The streets are patrolled by wary guardsman during the day and servants of the nobles who live near the temple going about their business.

3. Beggars: A band of seven beggars dwell in this ramshackle, two-story brick building. Once a fine townhouse, it has fallen into disrepair, missing wooden shutters on the windows and its entryway, tiled with blue marble, now cracked and dingy. The beggars are lead by Jumbi, a mischevious and secretive young man with a scruffy beard and a crescent shaped scar on his cheeck (made by the signet ring of an aristocrat who meant to teach him humility. The building was left to Jumbi by his maternal aunt. Jumbi and his friends are religious beggars of Shedu who have taken a vow of poverty. They are less obnoxious than the average Ophirian beggar, but no less wily. They keep no treasure, spending all of their money on food for themselves and giving the remainder to the Temple of Shedu [56]. They are aware of the change that has come over the priests of the temple, and are on the lookout for adventurers who might be able to help. As religious beggars, they are capable of blessing those who give them coins. The blessing, once made, can be invoked by the blessed at any time, and then acts as the cleric spell of the same name. They are likewise capable of cursing those who abuse them or commit blasphemies in their presence.

4. Tapestry Weaver: Alulla’s work hangs in the palaces and temples of Ophir and other city-states. An elderly woman with a small, wrinkled face, long silver hair and a hunched back, Alulla is well read in history and mythology and has a 1 in 6 chance of answering obscure questions on these subjects. Her building is two stories tall and built of dark grey stone with a flat roof. The arched windows on her second floor are covered from within by tapestries, and two fine tapestries for sale (100 gp each) hang outside during the daytime. Alulla owns a pair of intelligent, talking ferrets (Zim and Yip) who keep her up-to-date on the goings on of the city-state. Alulla’s home is simple and neat. She keeps her loom near the window and her treasure (135 gp) under the floor boards. Most of her earnings go to the Temple of Shedu [56]. Alulla has a long-standing loathing of Hogo [8], whose family stole her father’s fortune and may have murdered him long ago.

6. Temple of Lotan: Lotan is the demonic god of the sea of the Ophirian pantheon. His temple is a large structure built of black stone and topped with a roof of grey slates. The entrance is barred by an iron gate night and day. During the day, a priest stands behind the gate to accept offerings to the temple and give Lotan’s blessing (a dab of blue paint on the bridge of the nose). At night, when the priests of Lotan hunt for victims, the streets around the temple are deserted.

The interior of the temple is covered in plaster and painted an amber color. A thick, purple carpet leads from the entrance to the great idol of Lotan, which appears as a massive merman with a curled, black beard, stern countenance, golden crown and trident (plated and too large to remove) and gem-encrusted breastplate (three sapphires worth 3,000 gp each, twelve garnets worth 500 gp each). To the left of the entrance is a thick, wooden door that leads to a four-story tower that contains the apartments of the priests and an observatory. Behind the idol there is a trap door that leads to a series of catacombs that run beneath much of the city, connecting (via secret door) to a number of cellars. The catacombs nearest the temple of Lotan house treasure vaults and tombs of former priests. Further away, the catacombs are used for storage of supplies. The very far catacombs are haunted by monsters and avoided by even Lotan’s grim priests.

The high priest of Lotan (and pontiff of the city-state of Ophir) is Aralla, a stately woman with pale, clammy skin and large, glassy eyes. Aralla is a sorcerer whose mother had congress with the demonic servants of Lotan. Aralla is served by Mugo, Harah, Jumbi, Says, Ibiq and Farba.

The temple’s treasure is hidden in multiple vaults in the catacombs. Each vault is locked and guarded on the inside by an iron cobra and (10%) a mummy of a former priest. In total, the treasure consists of 500 ep, 2,300 gp and a lapis lazuli dolphin worth 125 gp.

• Aralla, Cambion Adept Lvl 7: HP 14; AC 9 [10]; Save 9; Special: Adept spells (2nd); Purple robes, golden torc (300 gp), silver dagger, potion of human control.

• Acolytes, Adepts Lvl 2: HP 2d6; AC 5 [14]; Save 13; Special: Adept spells (1st); Ring armor, shield, black robes lined with crimson, light mace.

7. Inn of One Thousand Delights: The best inn in town, it features two taverns (one for wine, one for dark ale), a restaurant specializing in goat cheese, spices and ground lamb on flat bread. The taverns consist of long tables and booths hidden by thick, velvet curtains. Besides the booze, one can shop for prostitutes and hookahs (black lotus is extra) in the taverns. They also have dancing girls and musicians most nights, and games of dice run by employees (usually assassins) of the inn.

The inn is owned by Ophir’s brotherhood of assassins, who occupy the top floor. The innkeeper, Hood, is in their employ. He is a wicked man, malevolent and overbearing, but unskilled in fighting or assassination. The rooms in the inn are sumptuous and expensive (5 gp per night). The inn has its own stables, and baths and a laundry service can be purchased.

The top floor consists of apartments and meeting/training rooms. The assassins are ultimately led by Prince Zargo, but day-to-day operations are overseen by Joram, his lieutenant. The assassins’ most proficient killed is the Black Lotus.

• Joram, Assassin Lvl 4: HP 16; AC 5 [14]; Save 12 (11 vs. death); Special: Cheat death, decipher script, diguise, sneak attack for double damage, stealth, poison; Short sword, dagger, darts (3), leather armor, black mask, 4d6 gp.

• Black Lotus, Assassin Lvl 8: HP 37; AC 4 [15]; Save 8 (7 vs. death); Special: Cheat death, decipher script, diguise, sneak attack for triple damage, stealth, poison; Short sword, +1 dagger, leather armor, disguise kit, vials of poison (2), vials of acid (2), burglars’ tools.

• Assassins: HD 2d6; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 dagger (1d4 + poison) or 1 dart (1d3 + poison); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Sneak attack. Dagger, darts (3), black mask, 1d6 gp, vial of acid.

8. Noble: This is the manse of Hogo, an old, haggard-looking hedonist. Hogo lives in a large, two-story building of exposed brick. Ornamental metal works adorns the entrance and the windows. Hogo is a minor nobleman who lives by the old ways. He is cruel and sadistic and given to indulging his lusts. He keeps a small harem of five women (all slaves) and a small staff of slaves to cater to his every need. Hogo throws lavish orgies that are widely attended by the chaotic and evil aristocrats of the city-state. Hogo employs a large bodyguard from Lyonesse called Morgo the Black. Morgo guards the entrance to Hogo’s domicile when his master is in, and accompanies when he is out (usually carried by slaves on a sedan chair). Morgo is tall and lank, with thinning hair and a drooping black mustache. He is as wicked as his master, and would turn on him for the right price. Hogo keeps his treasure in the bank, though he is suspicious of the banker. Hogo has set his eyes on Ramma the dancer [18]. His entreaties have so far fallen on deaf ears, so he is planning to send Morgo and some thugs around to kidnap her.

• Morgo, Fighting-Man Lvl 3: HP 14; AC 4 [15]; Save SV 14; Chainmail, two-handed sword, dagger, 10 gp.

10. Bloody Bones Tavern: After a few years in the army, Nosir retired and purchased this tavern with his plunder. The walls of the tavern are decorated with weapons and shields (gifts, mostly) and is frequented by soldiers, guardsmen, mercenaries and fighting-men. Nosir is a cruel man and always on the lookout for an opportunity to profit off of another’s misery. He has lost three wives (the last under mysterious circumstances) and the wenches he employs would probably leave if they didn’t enjoy the protection of their clients. Nosir allows them the use of the back room to entertain for a cut. He has chambers above the tavern, but can no longer make it up the stairs. He now sleeps in the back room. He keeps his treasure (36 sp, 180 cp) in a locked strongbox under the bar.

• Nosir: Evil Human Fighting-Man 1, HP 10, AC 10, MV 9, ATK falchion +2 (1d6+1), SV 18, AB Str 10, Dex 9, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 7, EQ falchion, buckler (kept behind the bar). Wavy hair, birthmark on right arm, lewd and miserly.

E. Square of Ineffable Damnation
Named for the many slaves that travel through this square weekly from the harbor to the slave pens [16]. The alleys here are reddish dirt and overgrown with weeds, but the square itself is tiled with reddish marble. The southern part of the square has a large fountain, and it is believed to be lucky to throw a copper coin in (retrieved by the priests of Adonis and Astarte each night and used as alms for the poor).

Crowds here consist of prospective slave buyers and those who wish to watch the auction, laborers moving from one place to another and peddlers selling bits of roasted meat on kabobs (often rat), salted dates and clay pots of beer.

14. Slaver: Muta is a wicked elven slaver. He is a mature elf, remembering well the days when the Purple Kings still ruled the coast. Muta is immaculate in dress, loquacious in speech and forceful in personality. His home is built of white stone and has a green door covered with brass tracery. Muta has been a member of the Brotherhood of Slavers for several decades, rising up through the ranks as a slave driver. He has a keen intellect and expects that he will one day run the show (which is highly unlikely). Muta employs a ogrillon bodyguard called Jaroom. Jaroom has purple skin and flaming red hair, and dresses in a black leather jerkin and mail kilt. He carries a curved two-handed sword called a zulf-i-khar and wears a necklace of rat skulls. Muta’s household is run by an old slave called Mumba. He suspects Ramma the dancer [18] of being involved in sneaking slaves out of Ophir, but does not feel ready to move against her, especially because he fears the involvement of the Temple of Shedu. His treasure consists of 10,000 cp, 1,000 sp and 100 gp.

• Muta, Elf Slaver: HD 3 (12 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 long sword (1d8); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Elf abilities. Chainmail, curved long sword, dagger, 3d6 gp.

• Jaroom, Ogrillon: HD 2 (8 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 sword (1d10+2) or 1 dart (1d3+2); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.

16. Slave Market: This mini-fortress contains the city-state’s slave pens. The building consists of three stories of barred cells along the perimeter, with an empty space in the middle that serves as a barracks and stables for the slavers. The building has a flat roof that is patrolled by archers in azure cloaks.

In front of the fortress is a broad plaza and a large wooden platform shaded by a blue tarp. Every day, 4d6 slaves are auctioned off here by Aliq, the auctioneer. Aliq and his unfortunate charges are always under the watchful eye of the archers and their amazonian Cushite commander, Hova.

• Aliq, Talking Weasel (treat as halfling) Thief Lvl 3: HP 9; AC 9 [10]; Save 13; Special: Back stab for double damage; Thick saffron robes, dagger, darts (3), platinum ring worth 100 gp, ring of keys, 3d10 gp. In play, Aliq ended up sounding like Joe Pesci. This struck one of my younger players so funny that I got requests to “do the weasel voice” almost every session.

• Archers: HD 3; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 long bow or curved long sword (1d8); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None. Chainmail, shield, long sword, long bow, 10 arrows, 1d6 gp.

• Hova, Fighting-Woman Lvl 5: HP 32; AC 5 [14]; Save 12; Special: Immense strength (+1); Two-handed sword, longbow, 10 arrows, ring armor, gold hoop earrings worth 50 gp, 5d6 gp.

Random Slaves
1-5. Bearer (20 gp)
6. Courtesan (60 gp)
7. Entertainer (60 gp)
8. Eunuch (40 gp)
9. Gladiator (60 gp)
10. House servant (40 gp)
11-19. Laborer (20 gp)
20. Specialist* (600 gp)

* Specialists may be animal trainers, sages, etc. or adventurer-types, in which case the price is per level.

17. Barber: Visits to the barber should be relaxing, but such is rarely the case with Lathiq. Lathiq is a rough looking customer with thick eyebrows and several chins, but he is also a skilled storyteller and surgeon. The ground floor of his shop is given over to his operating room, where he gives haircuts, bleedings and tooth extractions. The second floor consists of living quarters for himself and his two “wives” (Gala, a raven-haired beauty, and Aneth, an elven slave girl). He keeps his money in a locked chest trapped with a poisoned needle. The chest contains 700 gp and an onyx worth 30 gp.

• Lathiq, Bard Lvl 8: HP 43; AC 7 [12]; Save 9; Special: Decipher, inspiration, legend lore, fascinate; Leather apron stained with blood, silver dagger, three darts, razor, shears.

18. Dancer: This is the home of Ramma, a beautiful dancer who plies her trade in the Inn of One Thousand Delights. She has caught the eye of some dangerous folk, but feels herself capable of handling them. Ramma lives in a one-story, flat-roofed, adobe building near the Slave Market. She is a member of the “underground railroad” in Ophir. Her treasure consists of 85 gp kept in a locked iron box. If things get too hot in Ophir, she may try to join a band of adventurers on their way out. She has two small caches, large enough to hide humans, hidden beneath her home’s tiled floor.

• Ramma, Bard Lvl 1: HP 8; AC 8 [11]; Save 16; Special: Decipher script, inspiration, legend lore. Costume jewelry worth 25 sp, long sword, dagger. Seductive, whispery voice, joking and sociable.

20. Alchemist: Nabe’ is a true alchemist. He is a middle-aged man with a paunch and thinning black hair. He is clean, obsessive and forceful in personality, a bachelor with a penchant for the bordellos and gambling dens of Ophir. Nabe’ keeps a shop and small laboratory on the ground floor, a larger laboratory and study on the second floor, and his bedroom on the third floor of is adobe building with its scattered blue tiles and blue doors and latticed windows. A failed experiment (a synthoid) is locked in the attic and fed through a small hole in the ceiling of Nabe’s bedroom. Nabe keeps his treasure in a lead-lined wooden chest. It consists of 1,000 sp and 200 gp.

• Synthoid: HD 2+2 (8 hp); AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 slam (1d4); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.

21. Sage: Lathba the sage specializes in the subject of molds and fungi. He has an extensive collection of molds and oozes (including green slime and black pudding) kept in hermetically sealed glass globes displayed around his library. Lathba’s home is three stories tall, with a reception area on the ground floor, a library and den on the second floor and a bedchamber on the third. Lathba is currently single, but he has a penchant for elven men and is a terrible flirt. He has an impressive wine collection that he keeps in an old sarcophagus propped against one wall of his reception area. Several other artifacts, including a stone seal bearing the elder sign, hang from the walls of his reception area, which is also decorated with a soft couch covered in lion hide, an oak chair with blue cushions embroidered with star patterns, two wicker chairs that have seen better days and an amberglass globe with a permanent light spell cast on it (kept under a black velvet throw when not needed). In his youth, Lathba was quite the rake, and he still retains some fighting ability.

• Lathba: HD 3 (12 hp); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 short sword (1d6+1); Move 9; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None. Crisp speech, extroverted troublemaker, argumentative.

22. Renegade Monk: Ob once served the Monastery of Melkarth [39], but was cast out when his cruel, violent nature was revealed. He now works as an enforcer for the den of thieves [60] and as a part-time adventurer-for-hire. Ob’s house is a two-story affair and constructed of grey stone. The bottom floor is a patio of sorts, with vine-covered pillars and a small fountain. The upper floor consists of a living area and simple bedroom. Ob keeps no treasure, for the guild sees to his daily needs. He has a +1 shield (projects an aura of darkness once per day with the command word “F’taghn”) hanging over his mantle.

• Ob, Half-Orc Monk Lvl 5: HP 33; AC 7 [12]; Save 10; Special: Move 17, unarmed strikes deal 1d8 and 1d4 damage, stunning attack 5/day, deflect missile 1/rd, harm creatures only struck by +2 weapons, slow fall; Jade pendant of a coiled serpent worth 155 gp.

23. Boardinghouse: Ib is a wretched man with greasy, thinning hair, a bushy beard and lazy eye (right). He is flatulent, insensitive and irresponisble, and runs this decrepit three-story boarding house. The building is in disrepair and sparsely furnished. Rooms cost 1 sp for a night or 5 sp per week. Food is not served on the premises, and the smell that pervades the place would make it an unappetizing place to eat. A number of secret corridors exist between rooms, with secret doors and spy holes that allow Ib to do some business as a spy for the guild. Ib is married to a harridan called Zora. He has three children, all very shy girls between the ages of 5 and 10. Zora despises her husband, but remains with him for her daughters sake. Given the opportunity to move on (or throw him out), she would happily take it.

• Zora, Barbarian Lvl 2: HP 13; AC 9 [10]; Save 14; Special: Cannot be flanked or back stabbed, fears magic; Meat cleaver, 1d6 sp. Fat, imposing, crooked nose, wears too much make-up.

25. Ibhad the Mason: Ibhad is the finest mason in Ophir, though his appearance would mark him as a simple laborer. He owes much of his success to a +3 light hammer that he stole from a drunken dwarf many years ago. His home is a masterpiece of the mason’s art, the stone being unplastered to display Ibhad’s prowess. The interior is a mess. Ibhad’s has two wives, Lahi (age 38) and Ima (age 16), a maiden of Zinj purchased from a slave trader. Ibhad’s home is three stories tall, with a kitchen and work area on the ground floor, a den on the second floor and living quarters on the third floor. At night, Ima is kept chained in the kitchen when not entertaining her husband. Ibhad’s fortune in a stone chest. It consists of 100 gp and 10 pp. He knows of several secret entrances into the catacombs, including one that leads into the treasury!


One last part tomorrow.
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