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.

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