Friday, September 30, 2011

Spell: Processions of the Damned [Labyrinth Lord]

“The aggregate appearance is of dignity and dissoluteness: the aggregate voice is a defiant prayer: but the spirit of the whole is processional.”


Processions of the Damned
Level: 6
Duration: 1 turn per level of caster
Range: 240'

This is a very rare, old spell. Few know it. Fewer know of it. It is not to be cast lightly, for the caster must make a save versus spells each turn the spell is in effect, or else they themselves will join the Procession and never be seen again.

Each Procession appears from out of nowhere and whether it returns from whence it came or goes on to some other destination is known only to those who are caught-up within its ranks. A Procession cannot be crossed; anyone trying to do so is randomly teleported 1d100 feet backwards. Anyone lost to a Procession is unrecoverable without resorting to some rather extreme efforts--Wish spells could work, possibly, but it is unclear how the use of such a spell might affect the Procession and could cause more trouble than it's worth. Deities will usually decline to have any dealings with the Processions. These are old, eldritch things that they are loath to even talk about because the Processions are outside the power of most deities. They are truly damned.


A Random Selection of Damned Processions
  1. The Battalions of the Accursed. Hundreds of soldiers, all of them wounded, their uniforms torn, their armor in tatters, some have lost limbs, or faces, or their heads. Wreathed in unsettling copper-colored flames, they march onwards, ever onwards to the beat of drums and the call of jaunty fifes. Any Fighter watching this procession needs to make a Save versus spells or have 1d6 of the livid, fiery and rotten members of this procession attempt to recruit them into the ranks of the marching damned. (Treat each of the Accursed as a zombie with HD equal to the Player Character affected. Destroying, defeating or turning these Accursed undead will release the victims from joining the Procession, but they are then cursed to rise up after their own death to join the Battalions of the Accursed, making it impossible to resurrect or otherwise recover them. This curse can be lifted by a suitably high-level Cleric.)
  2. Twitching corpses, every one of them someone the characters have killed either directly or indirectly, parade before the party. Each corpse stares at those whom it holds responsible for its terrible fate. They are all now the possessions of a terrible otherplanar being that has taken a decidedly unhealthy and clearly malevolent interest in the party...
  3. Thousands of tottering skeletons caper and prance across the space like mad mimes who make no noise whatsoever as they mock those who observe them. Any one watching this procession must make a save versus spells or have their own skeleton rip itself free of their flesh so that it can run off and join this necromantic procession. The skeleton takes as many turns to tear itself free as the affected character has hit dice/levels. If the Procession disappears before the skeleton can free itself, the character suffers 1d8 damage for each turn their bones tried to get free, but they won't be joining the Procession. This time. If a character's skeleton does manage to free itself, the character is dead, but recoverable. Their bones now belong to the Procession and might never be seen again.
  4. Hundreds of mummies in full regalia strut serenely before the observers, haughty and arrogant in their power and knowledge. Any spell-caster observing this procession must make a save versus spells or find themselves caught-up in the Procession. If they are forcibly restrained from joining the Procession, they need to make a second Save versus Death Magic or suffer the effects of a Trap the Soul spell--their soul now residing in a gem worn by one of the mummies...and their former body now serving as the host for some alien undead sorcerer.
  5. A horde of distracting freaks pass by, observers must make Save versus Spells or suffer effects of Confusion.
  6. Observers lose 1d6 hours and have no recollection of what happened during that period of time.
  7. A cadre of sleepwalking giants strides overhead. Observers will need to dodge or avoid being crushed by their heavy boots. (Save versus Petrification or suffer 3d4 hit points from being stepped on.)
  8. Highly respected, yet none the less condemned clowns cavort and sport about. If anyone laughs at their antics, they must make a Save versus Spells or suffer the effects of Horrifying Rictus.
  9. Dozens of glimmering, flickering Mere Shadows dance past, each one quietly, softly trying to drain some small bit of essential identity from each observer. For every turn this Procession continues, all observers must make a Save versus Spells or suffer the temporary loss of 1 point of Wisdom. (Effect lasts 1d4 hours).
  10. Gaunt Pedants draped in charms, tokens, talismans and amulets sidle past the party along a zig-zag path. Each one leers provocatively at those whom they meet along the way, but none of them will speak first nor move to interact with any observer until someone else acts first. Then 3d4 of the tall, nearly-dessicated beings will attempt to sell their questionable wares to the gullible for exorbitant prices. The Pedants will only walk more slowly in the course of their negotiations, never fully stopping, and anyone too caught-up in their deal-making runs the very real risk of being carried off with the Procession.
  11. A handsome coterie of fine young cannibals will saunter past making cat-calls and offers to purchase fresh meat from the observers.
  12. Dozens of capering little harlots will dance, prance and slink past anyone who will look upon them, each one offers incredible, fantastic, impossible even unspeakable things to those who will meet their price.

Cave and Tunnel Hazards I (Random Table)

Cave and Tunnel Hazards: Table I (D20)
  1. Mud covers the floor of this tunnel section to a depth of (1d12) feet. It is slippery and nearly impossible to avoid, but could possibly be bridged or climbed around by a sneaky barbarian or thief-type. Base 30% chance that some thing lives within that mud.
  2. Sand covers the sloping floor which tapers to a funnel-like cavity that feeds into a larger chamber below. The loose, sugary sand doesn't really start to slide until someone passes the midle point of the room, at which point it drains out from under trespassers at a very fast rate. Save/Dex Check at -2 penalty or get dragged down into lower chamber (d20x100) feet below. Base 40% chance that the lower chamber is occupied (random encounter).
  3. Poison gas fills the passage for 4d100 feet.
  4. This section of cave/tunnel contains a trapped pocket of flammable gas. Any open flame or firesource will ignite the gas, filling a 4d6 foot area with a burst of pungent green flames that will inflict 2d6 damage to all within range. The sudden burst of light will also disrupt nightvision for 2d10 turns. Roll for Wandering Monster.
  5. The floor suddenly tilts 2d10 degrees in a random direction.
  6. A swarm of tiny translucent-yellow ants that cast a peculiar double shadow in torchlight have riddled the surrounding rock and stonework with a maze of miniscule tunnels to a depth of 1d4 feet in an area roughly 4d10 feet in any given direction, causing the floor, walls and/or celing to all be extremely fragile and prone to collapse if disturbed by loud noise, walking over it, etc. Anyone triggering the collapse will suffer 2d4 damage and be buried under a powdery mass of very splintered and sharp stone while they roll for a Wandering Monster.
  7. A series of sharpened wooden stakes have been set beneath a loose layer of dust, making the floor into a sort of raised spike-trap.
  8. The floor suddenly subsides by 1d10 inches. Make a Dex check or loose balance.
  9. A swarm of up to a thousand little brown bats comes shrieking down the hallway--their usual means of accessing the natural chimney they lair within has been blocked by a small rockslide.
  10. The curious gray mold all over the walls and ceiling of this section give off a noxious poisonous gas if exposed to torchlight, inflicting 1d4 per turn of exposure. Dousing the flames or the lamps/torches will cause the mold to stop exuding toxins.
  11. The floor is damp, but not with water. A dilute form of acid has slowly been accumulating in this area. It is slow acting, but persistent and will slowly dissolve leather footwear, and corrode metals that are dragged along through it. The nuisance acidic residue will persist for 5D10 feet and will wash off easily with water, oil or wine.
  12. Tiny, glistening worms dangle from the ceiling, each one suspended on a wet thread of luminous mucous that is both adhesive and narcotic in composition. Contact with the worm's threads will cause affected surfaces to adhere powerfully to any other surface for 1d4 hours and force a Will Save or suffer hallucinations for the duration. Wine might dissolve the adhesive, but it could possibly make it worse (50% chance of dissolving it or causing double duration).
  13. The floor is covered with a 1d4 inche deep pool of stagnant water that carries a base 40% chance of transmitting some sort of infection or disease. Possibly some form of Dungeon Funk?
  14. One of the walls begins to crumble and collapses into a mound of rock and dirt. Luckily no one was hurt. 30% chance that this uncovers a perviously unknown or unmapped tunnel or passage either above the ceiling or below the floor and leading to some mysterious Sub-Level.
  15. The surfaces of this passage are heavily encrusted with sulfurous compounds, making it look all yellowish and rounded and slightly melted. This location is extremely flammable and will produce terrible, brimstone-like smoke that will suffocate anyone trapped within the passage for more than 4 turns. It is otherwise benign and doesn't even smell very much unless scratched, chipped or ignited by an open flame.
  16. Base 30% chance for every person who passes by this section of wall for it to finally give way and flood the passage with hot, stinking mud for 4d20 feet. It will require 1d4 days for this mud to finally cool down enough to attempt passing through it, but it is sticky and slippery at the same time, making any attempt to traverse it difficult and awkward.
  17. Cracks in the floor are natural vents for a boiling mineral spring below. 40% chance of steam erupting form the cracks when stepped on. There might also be a weak point in the floor that collapses like a pit trap, depositing those caught by it into the mineral springs below.
  18. Ceiling partly collapses for 1d10 feet in a random direction causing 1d4 damage to all caught in the collapse. Some of this debris might need to be shifted or dug out a bit to get past it.
  19. Poison gas fills the passageways in a 4d20 foot radius.
  20. Rickety boards and broken weapon-hafts have been assembled into a make-shift bridge over a sinkhole that extends under each wall and runs to a depth of over 100 feet where it drops into some sort of massive, open space that might or might not have water flowing through it. There is a 10% chance per increment of 100 pounds lugged across the bridge tha tit will finally fail, dumping everything and everyone into the sinkhole to slide down its sides until reaching the yawning gap at the bottom. Perhaps one might make a Dex Check to stop from falling through. but what of everyone else behind them? If the party was smart and had each person go over one at a time, then the sinkhole has a 40% chance to collapse a bit more around the edges, sending anyone within 2d10 feet of the sinkhole tumbling downwards to the gap and what awaits below...hello sub-level!

September Short Adventures 30: Other Mother

Preamble
A September of Short Adventuresis an OSR Challenge initiated by Matt over at the Asshat Paladinsblog. You can click on the Moustache Dragon over on the right-handside-bar (just above Features) to learn more about all of this stufffrom Matt directly. All of our 25 (possibly more...) entries areformatted along the lines of what Matt calls the Get Ready, GetSet, Go! format. In a nut-shell, this approach breaks eachadventure into a Title, Three escalating sections of adventuredetails (the Ready section is limited to an elevator pitch only 2sentences...), and a final catch-all section for any NPC notes/stats.The idea is to keep it short, simple, easy to read without any maps,drawings, diagrams or 8X10 glossies. Keep description to a minimum,avoid lengthy exposition, and no casts of thousands -- unless it's aninvading horde of three-eyed orcs or goblins riding purple wombats.

We're also going to aim to keep thingsgeneric, setting agnostic and thus portable or adaptable to anycampaign/setting using the particular rules-set we'll be using in anygiven September Short Adventure such as Mutant Future,Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry (White Box), etc.

FreeRules
Labyrinth Lord:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html
Mutant Future:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/mutantfuture.html
Swords and Wizardry (White Box):http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/whitebox.htm
September Short Adventure Number 30
Title: Other Mother
Rules: Swords and Wizardry (WhiteBox)

Ready
Manfred Urdrangibar, former student of the ethically-impaired madman Doktor Morbius has continued his explorations into the blackest arts known to science. But to what nefarious end?

Set
Evidence will continue to pile-up like bodies that something very, very wrong is going on out at the ancestral Keep of the Urdrangibar family. The local worgs are seeing to it. They are dragging corpses of missing persons back to the village and leaving trails that lead clearly to the lands of the Urdrangibar family, including the secret clearing where the Loyal Retainers have traditionally done their sordid hostage-buying business with the local bandits. (see Short Adventure 28: Skin Trade)

The elders of the Urdrangibar family have become increasingly concernedand now quite upset at having their secrets revealed. They do not know yet that it is the worgs behind it, and instead might be likely to blame things on the mucking-about of those Player Characters, especially since they are undoubtedly foreigners, not from around these parts, vagabonds and probably have had dealings with those mountain nomads. (see Short Adventure 27: Burning Hatred.) The worgs have used any/every opportunity to help foster this suspicion, going to great lengths to 'help' the PCs with their investigations.

Theghouls of the Lost Valley have put two and two together after interrogating their erstwhile ally Herr Doktor Morbius and they are themselves concerned that Manfred Urdrangibar is up to no good. The kind of 'no good' that could adversely impact them. However, they are an unknown quantity until the events of Short Adventure 29: Sour Note play themselves out.

Go!
First-off the LoyalRetainers of the Urdrangibar family will deliver an invitation to thePlayer Characters. If they pay the family a visit, they will be addressed by Baron Urdrangibar himself and charged with clearing his good family's good name. The baron will use all his guile, wiles andsome rather impressive blandishments, minor titles, trinkets, a few scrolls of obscure but low-level spells and other bribes and inducements to convince the Player Characters that all the disappearances and bad things going on are the fault of Herr DoktorMorbius. If they aren't buying it, the Baron will reveal that Morbius is working with the ghouls of the Lost Valley, going so far as to produce one of Morbius's own misshappen henchmen whom the PCs can interrogate at-will—at the end of the questioning the Baron will insist that the pitiful thing will be destroyed, of course.

The Baron will maintain all pretense of polite behavior and observe all the niceties, including the provision of sumptuous suites for each guest for overnight.

Should the PCs decide to attempt to go exploring the old Keep, they will find ample opportunity to do so just after Midnight as all hell breaks loose and the Keep is attacked first by one group, then another.

In the ensuing chaos the PCs have roughly an hour or two to go exploring the old Keep, to get embroiled in its defense, or to make an escape--or just about anything else they care to do.

The worgs have sent in a team of Prowlers and the ghouls have sent in some agents (with a new and improved flesh golem courtesy of Morbius) to find out just what Manfred Urdrangibar has really been up to...but none of them arefully prepared for the horrible truth.

Whether the PCs join forces with the ghouls or worgs or go it alone is entirely open.

What is inevitable is that these ancient rivals and enemies are going to discover what is going on in Manfred's laboratory, one way or another.

The laboratory is huge, having been carved out of a natural cavern hundreds of years ago to form something akin to a chapel for one of Manfred's ancestors. At the very center of the dimly red-lit chamber is a colossal, writhing mass of flesh that resembles a bizarre combination of a gigantic Venus of Willendorf and the Diana of Ephesus...it is a living, breathing, faceless mass of human flesh that produces copious amounts of fresh, sweet blood for the Elders of the Urdrangibar family who have been vampires for a long, long time.

Manfred adapted the methods he learned from Herr Doktor Morbius to fashion a living amalgamation of parts, pieces and even whole bodies in order to create the huge fleshy abomination that he has taken to calling the 'Other Mother.'

The pseudo-golemic 'Other-Mother' is Manfred's crowning achievement, and it might have enabled his family to forgo their predatory ways...but alas the Keep is under attack and the ghouls and worgs will quickly realize that this blasphemous perversion of flesh and blood could over turn everything if it is not stopped immediately. They will probably do everything possible to make sure that one of their team gets out to carry word to their faction, the rest will attack the abomination with everything they can bring to bear.

Will the ghouls cooperate with the worgs or PCs to destroy the 'Other Mother?'

This is a perfect time for some well-rolled and well-played Reaction checks, charisma usage, and convincing arguments on the part of the Player characters...

Manfred will hide behind the towering tumorous body of his unholy creation and not engage the PCs in combat. He instead will spend his time gathering up his notes and papers to keep them away from the intruders. The Other Mother will defend him with Her bulk, tentacles, tumorous masses, and those nasty clone-spawn that She can disgorge from time to time after swallowing a victim or two. She is possessive and very dedicated to Manfred's well-being and will do everything in Her considerable power to protect him from the intruders and especially those unwashed and ill-mannered Player Characters.

Every 2d4 turns another group of 1d4 random attackers will enter the chamber and join the fight until the 'Other Mother' is finally destroyed once and for all. You can also throw in an Angry Mob of villagers, if you like. This is a climactic show-down and the culmination of all too many plots, schemes and nefarious plans all going down in flames at once.

Once the ersatz group of 'heroes' are on the verge of destroying the 'Other Mother,'it will use its last dying breath to extrude a winged polypous spawn that will envelop Manfred in a gooey embrace and attempt to carry him away from here on buzzing almost hummingbird-like wings. If the group manages to trap or kill the flying polyp-thing, it will disgorge 2d4 clone-spawns of Manfred that will run away in different directions, each one using secret passages, trap doors, or whatever else is within reach to beat a hasty escape.

Some version of Manfred Urdrangibar will most likely continue...as will a new and improved form of the Other Mother...but that is a problem for another day.

After Destroying the Abomination
Once the Other Mother is destroyed, it's just a matter of cleaning-up a few dozen vampires and their minions. Killing-off the remaining Loyal Retainers who will never surrender, never flee, never give-up. Sorting out the ghouls, dealing with the loot-crazed bandits, avoiding the torch-wielding Angry Mob, and noticing that the worgs are gone -- or are they?

If the flying polyp-thing escapes, just where will it take Manfred?

Will he continuehis blasphemous experiments? Almost certainly...

Will any of his clone-spawn also escape? Will they then take up his insane experiments as they slowly come into possession of Manfred's memories and warped genius? Almost definitely...

What comes next? I shudder to think...


Loose Ends
The Urdrangibar Family Elders are all vampires (there are approx. 2d6 of the things), and they didn't get this old and powerful without knowing when to cut losses and wait out a temporary set-back, and for a practically immortal undead, even the sacking of their family's Keep is just a momentary inconvenience. It is very likely that at least one of the Elders foresaw some of what is happening and has prepared contingency plans. These are very old vampires, and they each have at least ten levels in at least one class, probably a spell-casting one...so they are not going to be easy to take down and will not submit to this accumulation of rabble and opportunists. They will withdraw, abandon the field and bide their time so that their revenge will be all that much more sweet and terrible when it comes...so now the Player Characters have made enemies of some nigh-immortal undead sorcerers with a real grudge against them...


And you thought that the worgs could get spooky and manipulative...

The rest of the family are most likely to pretty much get killed by all these enemies in one place at one time, though you might have 1d4 survive just to keep the family name alive...


The elders might have some sort of back-up plan for this particular contingency as well, and they still have loyal agents and allies in the surrounding regions, so this could get interesting and complicated as still more rivals and former allies seek to profit from the Urdrangibar family's fall, while supporters and followers try to restore them or protect them until they can rally those forces still loyal to them for a come-back...this is just the start of all sorts of fun stuff!

The Baron Urdrangibar will never surrender despite the odds, and most likely fall in the midst of defending his beloved Keep. If so, then it is suggested that his body will not be recovered and some small group of 1d6 Loyal Retainers carry away their beloved Baron to some secret crypt out in the mountains, perhaps in another hidden valley where the rest of the Urdrangibar family have their tombs, etc. He will not be taken prisoner, as the few personal guards he has will make sure that his body never falls into enemy hands. At least one of his personal retinue is a full vampire, so in a worst case situation, the vampire will assume gaseous form or change into a bat-form large enough to carry off the Baron. If however, the PCs are able to prevent this from happening, they will find that having the Baron's body on their hands will prove a dire challenge in its own right--it will serve as a weirdness magnet, attracting all sorts of sycophants, followers, minions, slaves, and followers, even cultists will arise who worship the Baron...all of them intent on recovering the body and resurrecting the Baron. So, if the PCs do succeed in preventing the Baron's removal from the scene...it won't be an easy victory, and it will lead to a lot of skullduggery, conspiracy and worse.


But then, that makes it all that much more fun...

Notes / NPCs
GhoulAgents(3d4) [HD 2; HP 12; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 claw; Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP:3/60; Special: Immune to Sleepand Charm,Save or be paralyzed for 3d6 turns.] Note: Each wears a bone ring thatallows it to move about in daylight under the guise of its mostrecent victim. These agents of the ghouls have infiltrated the Keepand are seeking answers that they are not prepared to discover.

Flesh Golem Mark II(1d4) [HD 12; HP 88; AC 7[12]; ATK 2 axes; Move 10; Save 9; CL/XP24/2,000; Special: Only lightning(which heals the thing), fireand cold spells (onlyslow it down) affect it, and you need a +1 or better weapon to harmit.] This is one of Morbius's new-models and wields a pair ofscythe-bladed war axes and obeys any command from the ghoulscompletely and literally.

WorgProwlers (1d4)[HD 4; HP 20,20,18,18,16,15,14,12; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 Bite; Move 18;Save 15; CL/XP: 4/120] Note: These creatures are supernatural andhave been trying to steer the PCs toward some sort of confrontationat the Keep in order that they might disrupt Manfred's work on theflesh golems.

WorgHybrids (2d4)[HD 4; HP 20,20,18,18,16,15,14,12; AC 4[15]; ATK 1 weapon/spell; Move9 (14 mounted); Save 15; CL/XP: 12/220] Note: These creatures aresupernatural and are the elite shock troops that the worgs have beendeveloping in order to face the threat of Manfred's flesh golems.They are all equipped with a random variety of +2 weapons and cast1d4 random spells.

LocalBandits (4d6) [HD 3; HP 14 on average; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 weapon;Move 10; Save 15; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +1 to hit worgs, move withouttrace through the woods, move silently as a thief.] The bandits areextremely upset over the way that the Urdrangibar family have cut themoff from any further dealings, so they have come to raise trouble andmake mischief. It is a matter of pride to them – they've served thefamily well and loyally for centuries. Now they are drunk, angry, andstirred-up by worg-cultist agitators.

TherioclastTroopers(6d10) [HD 3+1; HP 12 on average; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 weapon; Move 12;Save 16; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Saves vs lycanthropy] Grim anddour warriors who might be either Humans, Dwarves, Elves orHalflings. Studded-leather armor, crossbow (with a mix of silver andiron headed bolts), silver-headed hand-axe or blessed scythe,rune-engraved short-sword and skinning-dagger. These are hard-bittenprofessionals who exterminate shapeshifters and each one has a 10%chance to spot one outright. Someone has delivered incontrovertibleevidence to Somber Jill that the Urdrangibar family are up tounspeakable things and she is not losing a single minute in attackingthem all out...

SomberJillis their leader. She is a 10thlevel Fighter/Magic-user of indeterminate descent and no tolerancefor shapeshifters whatsoever. She wears blessed chainmail, carries aflaming sword and the silver-headed hand-axe and crossbow (withsilver-headed bolts). Adjust her stats to best present something of achallenge to your players, but not an overwhelming one. Her CHAR isat least 15, otherwise her other stats are all open to yourinterpretation. (We might further develop her if there isinterest...)

OtherMother(1) [HD 12; HP max. (regenerates 2 pts/turn); AC 9[10]; ATK 1Slam/Engulf/Spew; Move 0; Save 7; CL/XP: 14/26,000; Special: Slamattack has 25% chance of adhering for follow-up Engulf attack, Saveor be swallowed and be cloned within 1d4 turns, Spew does acid damageas per Black Dragon, spawn minion-clones from swallowed opponents.]Every opponent swallowed by the Other Mother serves as a template forit to clone fresh minions, each new clone that gets spawned causes3d6 damage to the victim until they reach zero hp at which point theyare absorbed/digested and no longer clonable. The clone-spawn servethe Other Mother with complete disregard for their own well-being andemerge completely naked, but will have spells available to them ifthe swallowed victim had spells memorized or available. Theclone-spawn only have 3 HD unless they are able to survive longenough to better integrate the memories/abilities of the victim, aprocess that takes several days but produces an exact replica of thevictim that serves the Other Mother with total loyalty.

ManfredUrdrangibar(1) 6thlevel wizard with a focus on golem-making, flesh-working, and veryfew (if any) attack spells. This isn't his fight. He never reallywanted to do things quite this way. They made him do this, or sohe'll loudly declare. The Other Mother will see to it that he gets toescape and carry on his work elsewhere, away from his family'smeddling and all these enemies who don't appreciate his genius.

Other Mothers' Little Helper (Flying Polyp-Spawn) (1) [HD 6; HP 36 (regenerates 1/turn); AC 9[10]; ATK 1 sting; Move 120 (extremely maneuverable flight); Save 13; CL/XP: 12/600; Special: requires +1 or better to hit due to speed and agility in the air.] Sting can either cause 3d6 damage, paralysis for 2d6 turns, or impregnate victim (irregardless of gender) with a clone-cyst that will grow rapidly (in about 3d4 turns) into a full-grown clone that serves the Other Mother with complete loyalty (unless they make a Save and are Confused for 1d4 turns after which they have some really difficult identity issues...). The clone-cyst will cause 2d4 damage per turn until it is killed, removed or gives birth. All damage to the cyst is shared with the host on a 1 for 1 basis. Removal of the cyst takes 1d4 turns and inflicts double damage on the host and they must make a Save or have a small fragment of the thing lodge inside them and go dormant for 1d100 days...

Clone-Spawn of Manfred (2d4) [HD 3+1; HP 14; AC 9[10]; ATK 1 fist/weapon/spell; Move 9; Save 16; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: has 2d6 random spells, casts all spells as though 6th level despite current hit dice, carries all of Manfred's memories and a few 'upgrades' courtesy of the 'Other Mother,' including regeneration (1 hp/turn) and a form of parthenogenic reproduction as well as the seed-spores of a new Other Mother...] 

LoyalRetainers (3d4) [HD 6; HP 36 on average; AC 4[13]; ATK 1 weapon;Move 10 (30 when mounted); Save 13; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Savesvs magic, regenerate 1 HP per turn unless burned, freely cast Charmin place of an attack.] Tall and emaciated-looking, the LoyalRetainers are elegant in their traditional finery and carry +2 curvedlong swords and an array of secondary weapons includingcuriously-crafted composite short bows dating back to thesemi-mythical hordes of an ancient conqueror who once dominated thisarea as part of a vast, now vanished empire that is credited withhaving driven-out the serpent people. They are old, very old andsmell like catacombs even in the brightest daylight. Most suspectthat they are not really human...

TheLoyal Retainers will arrive every 2d4 turns until a total of 120 have beendestroyed. None of them will retreat, surrender or parley.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Short Adventure 29: A Sour Note

Preamble
A September of Short Adventuresis an OSR Challenge initiated by Matt over at the Asshat Paladinsblog. You can click on the Moustache Dragon over on the right-handside-bar (just above Features) to learn more about all of this stufffrom Matt directly. All of our 30 entries areformatted along the lines of what Matt calls the Get Ready, GetSet, Go! format. In a nut-shell, this approach breaks eachadventure into a Title, Three escalating sections of adventuredetails (the Ready section is limited to an elevator pitch only 2sentences...), and a final catch-all section for any NPC notes/stats.The idea is to keep it short, simple, easy to read without any maps,drawings, diagrams or 8X10 glossies. Keep description to a minimum,avoid lengthy exposition, and no casts of thousands -- unless it's aninvading horde of three-eyed orcs or goblins riding purple wombats.

We're also going to aim to keep thingsgeneric, setting agnostic and thus portable or adaptable to anycampaign/setting using the particular rules-set we'll be using in anygiven September Short Adventure such as Mutant Future,Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry (White Box), etc.

FreeRules
Labyrinth Lord:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html
Mutant Future:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/mutantfuture.html
Swords and Wizardry (White Box):http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/whitebox.htm
SeptemberShort Adventure Number 29
Title: A Sour Note
Rules: Swords and Wizardry (WhiteBox)

Ready
Young Willy comes stumbling into thevillage. Miraculously the young boy has made it through the woods tocollapse at the feet of the local guards.

Set
Covered in scratches and dried blood,the boy is weak, starved and extremely frightened. He is taken toMamam Grenka's hovel where the aged crone ministers to the boy'sfragile health. But for all her poultices, potions and powders, theold woman can do nothing for the child's nightmares.

He raves in his feverish state of alost valley, dark tunnels, and prisoners. In his tightly clenchedleft hand is a crumpled scrap of parchment (but it's not goat-hide)on which has been scrawled a note and a simple set of directions(sorry—no map!) leading to what appears to be the lost valley thatWilly claims to have escaped from...and it is signed by Herr DoktorMorbius. (see Short Adventure 21: A Pound of Flesh)

However, Mamam Grenka is a gossipy oldwife and she tells several of her usual hangers-on and visitors allabout the note. Within an hour of his arrival, someone has snuck intoMamam Grenkas' hovel and stolen the note from Morbius.

Go!
The 'Lost Valley'mentioned in the note is the same one mentioned in Short Adventure28: Skin Trade.

Isthe Note Genuine?
  • Or is this all somesort of elaborate scheme that Morbius is using to double-cross hishosts?
  • Was it actuallypenned by the ghouls as a gambit calculated to draw-out their rivalsand implicate them as it leads to a secret pasture maintained by theUrdrangibar Family for centuries...
  • Who else could havewritten this note?
  • Does it lead to theactual Lost Valley of the ghouls, or is it a trap that leads insteadto someplace far, far worse?
If the note islegitimate, then what is going on between Morbius and the ghouls?Perhaps Morbius is growing fearful and distrustful of his 'allies,'and desperately wants to escape from their Lost Valley before theydecide to eliminate him. It is possible that Morbius has finallydiscovered a way to strike back at his former pupil and this is justthe start of some overly convoluted and devious schemes aimed atdiscrediting Manfred. This could be the onset of a nasty and brutalpersonal vendetta or even all-out war between two mad scientists...

WhoStole the Note?
  • Was it the worgs?If so, then will they see to it that the Player Characters receive itso that they can potentially mount an expedition to rescue the Doktorfrom the clutches of the ghouls? Or are they more inclined to keepthe note from the PCs so that they don't get side-tracked from beingsteered into a conflict with the Nobles of the Urdrangibar Family andtheir ancient brooding Keep overlooking the winding gorges of theVillustichanna River? It is well-known that there is something goingon over there. People are beginning to mutter and whisper rumorsbased on the offhand comments of certain informants who are allied tothe worgs...
  • Was it the LoyalRetainers of the Urdrangibar Family? They are long-time rivals of theghouls from the Lost Valley and perhaps they have their own plans forattending to Herr Doktor Morbius and his duplicitous undead allies.
  • Was it one of LordRupprecht's agents seeking some clue as to who robbed him of hisfavorite artworks? (see Short Adventure 22: Art Thieves).
  • Was it the ghoulsof the Lost Valley? They don't like drawing attention to themselvesand they could very well have sent someone to recover young Willy, orat least eliminate any evidence or trail that could lead back tothem. If so, why did they not kill Willy? Perhaps they wereinterrupted by all the activity at Mamam Grenka's place and are stillthere, biding their time and waiting to strike later...which meansthat the young boy is in peril. Does Mamam Grenka sense the danger?Whom will she ask for help if she does?
  • Perhaps the localbandits have someone working with them in the village who snatchedthe note thinking that it could be useful to them. Will they then take it to the Loyal Retainers or someone else?
  • It could have beenone of the Therioclast Troops from Somber Jill's growing army ofmonster-killing fanatics...(see Short Adventure 23: A Snowy Evening.)

EveryoneKnows...
Seemingly everyonein the village knows about the feud between Morbius and his formerpupil Manfred Urdrangibar. Rumors that the note was stolen atManfred's command in order to foil any plans to rescue Herr DoktorMorbius has people asking 'Why?' and making some wonder just what isgoing on and why the Urdrangibar family is involved anyhow...

What only Morbiussuspects (so far) is that Manfred has continued his own experimentsinto the secrets of death and life and all things in-between at theexpress behest of his elders and family members. But what are these experiments? What sinister things have been going on out at the Urdrangibar Keep? 

Wouldn't you like to know?

Notes / NPCs
Willy(1) [HD 2; HP 4 (heals to 10); AC 9[10]; ATK 1 fist; Move 9; Save 17;CL/XP 2/30; Special: should he survive, Willy will grow up to betainted by his time among the ghouls and will find himselfincreasingly drawn to their hidden tunnels where they will welcomehim as an agent working on their behalf amongst the humans...]

MamamGrenkais a 6thlevel spell-caster with a lot of experience with potions, powders andherbal lore. She focuses on healing, restoratives, mid-wifery andsuch things but certainly knows how to shrivel-up portions of theanatomy of those who incur her wrath...no one asks her about herbackground. People overlook that she might have ties to the mountainnomads because she has been a fixture in the village for generations.And she knows more gossip and dirty secrets than anyone else.

GhoulAgent(1) [HD 2; HP 12; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 claw; Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP: 3/60;Special: Immune to Sleepand Charm,Save or be paralyzed for 3d6 turns.] Note: wears a bone ring thatallows it to move about in daylight under the guise of its mostrecent victim.

WorgProwlers (1d4)[HD 4; HP 20,20,18,18,16,15,14,12; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 Bite; Move 18;Save 15; CL/XP: 4/120] Note: These creatures are supernatural andhave some measure of human in their ancestry due to unspeakable ritesperformed by demented cultists long, long ago...they are consideringjust how far they can manipulate the Player Characters into doingtheir dirty work and will leave them clues as to the terrible thingsgoing on at the Keep.

LoyalRetainers (1d4) [HD 6; HP 36 on average; AC 4[13]; ATK 1 weapon;Move 10 (30 when mounted); Save 13; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Savesvs magic, regenerate 1 HP per turn unless burned, freely cast Charmin place of an attack.] Tall and emaciated-looking, the LoyalRetainers are elegant in their traditional finery and carry +2 curvedlong swords and an array of secondary weapons includingcuriously-crafted composite short bows dating back to thesemi-mythical hordes of an ancient conqueror who once dominated thisarea as part of a vast, now vanished empire that is credited withhaving driven-out the serpent people. They are old, very old andsmell like catacombs even in the brightest daylight. Most suspectthat they are not really human...

LocalBandits (1d6) [HD 3; HP 14 on average; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 weapon;Move 10; Save 15; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +1 to hit worgs, move withouttrace through the woods, move silently as a thief.] Cunning andclever, the bandits in these parts have an understanding with certainof the local Nobles and they are in cahoots with anyone who will paythem gold. They fear the Loyal Retainers and serve them faithfully asthose who do not have a tendency to disappear under troublingcircumstances. Banditry is a way of life for them, something thatthey have done for generations. It's in their blood.

TherioclastTroopers(1d4) [HD 3+1; HP 12 on average.; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 weapon; Move 12;Save 16; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Saves vs lycanthropy] Grim anddour warriors who might be either Humans, Dwarves, Elves orHalflings. Studded-leather armor, crossbow (with a mix of silver andiron headed bolts), silver-headed hand-axe or blessed scythe,rune-engraved short-sword and skinning-dagger. These are hard-bittenprofessionals who exterminate shapeshifters and each one has a 10%chance to spot one outright.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September Short Adventure 28: Skin Trade

Preamble
A September of Short Adventuresis an OSR Challenge initiated by Matt over at the Asshat Paladinsblog. You can click on the Moustache Dragon over on the right-handside-bar (just above Features) to learn more about all of this stufffrom Matt directly. All of our 25 (possibly more...) entries areformatted along the lines of what Matt calls the Get Ready, GetSet, Go! format. In a nut-shell, this approach breaks eachadventure into a Title, Three escalating sections of adventuredetails (the Ready section is limited to an elevator pitch only 2sentences...), and a final catch-all section for any NPC notes/stats.The idea is to keep it short, simple, easy to read without any maps,drawings, diagrams or 8X10 glossies. Keep description to a minimum,avoid lengthy exposition, and no casts of thousands -- unless it's aninvading horde of three-eyed orcs or goblins riding purple wombats.

We're also going to aim to keep thingsgeneric, setting agnostic and thus portable or adaptable to anycampaign/setting using the particular rules-set we'll be using in anygiven September Short Adventure such as Mutant Future,Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry (White Box), etc.

FreeRules
Labyrinth Lord:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html
Mutant Future:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/mutantfuture.html
Swords and Wizardry (White Box):http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/whitebox.htm

SeptemberShort Adventure Number 28
Title: Skin Trade
Rules: Swords and Wizardry (WhiteBox)

Ready
For the last three weeks a number ofyoung people have been disappearing from the surrounding countryside.Many believe it is the work of the worgs, the cultists, the mountainnomads, or worse villains.

Set
Even before the local authorities canpost a reward or bounty, let alone hire anyone to investigate, aterrible explosion rocks the area and a massive ball of flame eruptsfrom what was supposed to have been a deserted old ruin up on one ofthe sides of a scenic mountain overlooking the village.

Go!
Chaos ensues. Thelocals are in a panic. Someone should go investigate the explosion atthe ruins. Someone should investigate the missing persons. Rumors andgossip will fly fast and furious. There is a mob-in-the-making amongthe villagers, but so far they do not have a target or a ring-leader.Yet.

This is a volatilesituation indeed.

The old ruin up onthe nearby mountain was Herr Doktor Morbius' secret laboratory wherehe was conducting research into various forms of reanimation andrevivification such as the manufacture of flesh golems. His misshapenand demented henchmen have taken a few 'specimens' from among thelocals, but not very many as they prefer to collect bodies and pilfergraves which they consider a safer bet. Or at least they used tothink it was safer, before they ran into a pack of ghouls who tookexception to their raiding the ghouls' larder.

The heist ofvaluable artworks from Lord Rupprecht's salon in Short Adventure 22:Art Thieves was in response to an agreement between Herr DoktorMorbius and the ghouls. He was to deliver the loot to the ghouls, andthey would become senior partners in the body-snatching trade with anespecial interest in Herr Doktor's research.

The ghouls comefrom a hidden colony of humans descended from prisoners and 'lost'children that the ghouls have maintained in secret for centuries. Theonly way to access the valley is via a series of extremelytreacherous tunnels that the ghouls guard with ancient traps andarchaic sorcery. They have allied themselves to Morbius in order togain access to his work on flesh golems as that might give themimproved defenses against more modern opponents who do not run awayin fear from a few stacked skulls, foul stenches or wicked pit traps.

Whether the minionsof Morbius were successful or not, and whether they were able tosuccessfully return to Morbius' lair is something of an openquestion. If Morbius was able to cement his alliance with the ghouls,then there is a distinct chance that he not only survived theexplosion but he has been taken away by his 'friends' to the hiddenvalley to continue his work in safety. If the minions have failed orhave been thwarted by the Player Characters, then the ghouls mighthave taken Morbius prisoner. Poor old Franz or one of his brethrenmight even be setting out to try and rescue their master...

Meanwhile, theworgs watch everything and will make sure that a few clues reach thePlayer Characters regarding those disappearances and how they do notlead back to the exploded ruins, but rather to a rather imposing andancient Keep maintained by a rich and aristocratic family that havedwelt in this region for practically ever. One of the younger scionsof this noble family was once a student, even a protege of HerrDoktor Morbius, before they had a falling-out.

Everyone in thevillage knows about the feud between Morbius and his former pupil.

What they don'tknow is that the student has continued his own experiments into thesecrets of death and life and all things in-between at the expressbehest of his elders and family members. Instead of looting graves,this man of science has instead used his families' wealth to acquirespecimens from the woodsfolk who are rarely seen outside of thewoods, and the local bandits who have been happily selling theircaptives as hostages for ransom to what they regard as 'the gullibleand sanctimonious nobles' without realizing that those hostages havenever been seen ever again.

There is a secretrendezvous site for the Loyal Retainers to meet with the Bandits andto carry out their customary business. This clandestine trade inhostages has been going on for the better part of centuries, but hasonly lately been made available to the young scientist. The banditsdo not question easy gold, those that do grow too curious disappear.

Examining the ruinsof Herr Doktor Morbius' former laboratory will produce all sorts ofevidence that he was in fact up to no good. The Therioclasts will becalled back from their anti-monster campaign in the woods andexpected to secure this area, but it will take 2d4 days before theycan get the message and respond.

Should the PlayerCharacters arrive before the mob, they have a 30% chance of runninginto a very grim and determined Franz who is going to rescue hismaster. Franz might try to bribe or even hire the PCs to help him onhis mission. If they let him go or he escapes, Franz will make hisway to the entrance of the ghoul's tunnels, but should he enter themwithout the PCs all knowledge of their location will be lost withhim.

There could be afew other red herrings or actual clues scattered in the ruins. Theremainder of Morbius' minions will be scattering except for a fewconfused misshapen monstrosities who will be squabbling over who ismore free or who will lead now...

Herr DoktorMorbius' journals will be missing from the ruins. However, uponreturn to their lodgings, the Player Characters will find theJournals sitting on a table or bed in one of their rooms. No one willhave seen a thing. This is a gift from the worgs, and there is a 50%chance that they will leave some sign that this is the case. Aparticular section of one of the diaries has been marked with ablood-soaked handkerchief as a book-mark. The passage so notedconcerns Herr Doktors' former student and casts vague, darkaspersions upon the Noble Family and for some reason there is a loosesheet of foolscap upon which there is an exceptionally detailed andwell-done anatomical sketch of a bat signed by the student. Thesketch is worth a few gold pieces to anyone who collects art, but asit is the work of the scion of a Noble family with deep roots in thecommunity, no one will buy it. Everyone will insist that it bereturned to the former student and in fact if this is not attemptedwithin 1-2 days, someone will alert the family and they will sendtheir Loyal Retainers to pay the PCs a visit and offer to buy thesketch and any of Herr Doktor's things that they might havediscovered. The Loyal Retainers will offer an exorbitant amount,hoping to use the Player Character's greed against them. They havealso alerted the local bandits, so the gold will most likely not gettoo far before it is recovered, at least according to the Noble'splans.

The worgs know toomuch about what is really going on over at the Keep and they want itstopped before it goes much farther...but they cannot come out andsay anything without stirring-up too much trouble for themselves.They are inclined to attempt to work through guiding the PlayerCharacters as cats-paws and dupes, as that is their way. The worgsmight foul-up any ambush by the local bandits in order to get theplayers to reconsider leaving and they will keep dropping cluesbefore the Player Characters in hopes of manipulating their inquiriesso that the PCs begin to see the Nobles as a real threat that needsto be dealt with...a threat that they might not be able to run awayfrom.

Of course, theNoble family might just hire-on the Player Characters and send themoff to find the lost valley of their long-time rivals the ghouls. Orthey might instead try to have them killed by assassins, but thatsort of thing rarely works and will only get the PCs riled-up...whichmight get the worgs to attempt to make it look like the Noble familytried to kill them all...

The intrigues andbetrayals, revelations and implications should start flying fast andfurious now...


Notes / NPCs
Franz theFaintly-Singed Flesh Golem (1d4) [HD 12; HP48 (will heal to 78); AC 5[14] (wearing chainmail); ATK 1 fist/battleaxe; Move 7; Save 9; CL/XP 12/2,000; Special: Only lightning(which heals the thing), fireand cold spells (onlyslow it down) affect it, and you need a +1 or better weapon to harmit.] (S&W[WB]Bk III p. 19)

Misshapen Squabblers(2d4) [HD 3; HP 16,16,14; AC 9[10]; ATK 1 fist; Move 6; Save 16;CL/XP: 5/240; Special: Only lightning (which heals them), fireand cold spells (only slow them down) affect it, and you needa +1 or better weapon to harm them.] Note: These brutish masked loutsare of minimal intelligence and no longer obey Franz or anyone else.They are free now, no more slaves, but are confused easily if anyonetries to talk to them and this can provoke them to go mad or toattack as they are emotionally and mentally unstable in the extreme.

Mob at the Ruins(4d6) Dwarves, Halflings and a few Humans. Mostly unarmored, withmaybe a pitch-fork or bill-hook for weapons. All have torches andthey are looking for trouble.

WorgWatchers (2d4)[HD 4; HP 20,20,18,18,16,15,14,12; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 Bite; Move 18;Save 15; CL/XP: 4/120] Note: These creatures are supernatural andhave some measure of human in their ancestry due to unspeakable ritesperformed by demented cultists long, long ago...they are consideringjust how far they can manipulate the Player Characters into doingtheir dirty work and will leave them clues as to the terrible thingsgoing on at the Keep.

LoyalRetainers (1d4) [HD 6; HP 36 on average.; AC 4[13]; ATK 1 weapon;Move 10 (30 when mounted); Save 13; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Savesvs magic, regenerate 1 HP per turn unless burned, freely cast Charmin place of an attack.] Tall and emaciated-looking, the LoyalRetainers are elegant in their traditional finery and carry +2 curvedlong swords and an array of secondary weapons includingcuriously-crafted composite short bows dating back to thesemi-mythical hordes of an ancient conqueror who once dominated thisarea as part of a vast, now vanished empire that is credited withhaving driven-out the serpent people. They are old, very old andsmell like catacombs even in the brightest daylight. Most suspectthat they are not really human...

LocalBandits (6d6) [HD 3; HP 14 on average.; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 weapon;Move 10; Save 15; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +1 to hit worgs, move withouttrace through the woods, move silently as a thief.] Cunning andclever, the bandits in these parts have an understanding with certainof the local Nobles and they are in cahoots with anyone who will paythem gold. They fear the Loyal Retainers and serve them faithfully asthose who do not have a tendency to disappear under troublingcircumstances. Banditry is a way of life for them, something thatthey have done for generations. It's in their blood.

TherioclastTroopers(2d4) [HD 3+1; HP 12 on average; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 weapon; Move 12;Save 16; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Saves vs lycanthropy] Grim anddour warriors who might be either Humans, Dwarves, Elves orHalflings. Studded-leather armor, crossbow (with a mix of silver andiron headed bolts), silver-headed hand-axe or blessed scythe,rune-engraved short-sword and skinning-dagger. These are hard-bittenprofessionals who exterminate shapeshifters and each one has a 10%chance to spot one outright.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Short Adventure 27: Burning Hatred

Preamble
A September ofShort Adventures is an OSR Challenge initiated by Matt over atthe Asshat Paladins blog. You can click on the Moustache Dragon overon the right-hand side-bar (just above Features) to learn more aboutall of this stuff from Matt directly. All of our 25 (possiblymore...) entries are formatted along the lines of what Matt calls theGet Ready, Get Set, Go! format. In a nut-shell, thisapproach breaks each adventure into a Title, Three escalatingsections of adventure details (the Ready section is limited to anelevator pitch only 2 sentences...), and a final catch-all sectionfor any NPC notes/stats. The idea is to keep it short, simple, easyto read without any maps, drawings, diagrams or 8X10 glossies. Keepdescription to a minimum, avoid lengthy exposition, and no casts ofthousands -- unless it's an invading horde of three-eyed orcs orgoblins riding purple wombats.

We're also goingto aim to keep things generic, setting agnostic and thus portable oradaptable to any campaign/setting using the particular rules-setwe'll be using in any given September Short Adventure such as MutantFuture, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry (WhiteBox), etc.

FreeRules
LabyrinthLord: http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html
Mutant Future:http://www.goblinoidgames.com/mutantfuture.html
Swords andWizardry (White Box):http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/whitebox.htm
SeptemberShort Adventure Number 27
Title: BurningHatred
Rules: Swordsand Wizardry (White Box)

Ready
There is smoke upahead. Something is burning.

Set
A small caravanof gaudily-painted wagons has been attacked. Two of the wagons are infull blaze, there is a chance that the third one might be saved ifsomeone were to help the mountain nomads instead of just watching orriding past.

Go!
The next Therioclast patrol will be along in 1d4 hours. They will assume the worst if they spot the PCs consorting with the nomads.

The nomads will want to get off of the road and make camp in the woods along a trail that only they can find easily. At least one of them has blood-ties to the dryads and will be able to negotiate passage through the woods that will close-up behind the nomads, making it extremely difficult for the Therioclasts to follow them.


Thesepeople were not attacked by bandits. They ran afoul of theTherioclasts. The nomads are rumored to have ties to various abhumanand nonhuman beings, including a few different varieties ofshape-shifters, lycanthropes and the like, all of whom they hide fromthe Therioclasts.

Aidingthe mountain nomads will incur the suspicion and potentially thewrath of the Therioclasts.

Itcan also expose the Player Characters to whomever the mountain nomads are hiding intheir wagon. Like the runaway flesh golem seeking to escape from HerrDoktor Morbius from Short Adventure 21: A Pound of Flesh. There might even be some loot in the wagons from the heist that took place in Short Adventure 22: Art Thieves, if you want to make things even more complicated.

Thereare doppelgangers among the mountain nomads. They will stay back andwatch the PCs carefully in order to decide if they want totry to ambush the Player Characters and impersonate them in laying a trap for the Therioclasts or not. The nomads and theirdoppelganger kin desire revenge on the Therioclast fanatics, but theyknow better than to attempt to stand up to the troopers openly. Not yet. Theywill opt for misdirection, subtlety, and just mislead the PCs intohelping them, rewarding them with lots of strong liquor and strikingin their sleep...or not. The doppelgangers could use some allies, butthey will settle for dupes, if it looks like they can accomplish something useful without having to outright attack the PCs. They might consider trading some spells, or helping out with magical healing in exchange for various 'small errands' or favors. They are also very skilled in themanufacture of potions, folk remedies and aphrodisiacs...as well asvarious potent toxins and poisons. It might be possible to buy or acquire some potions, but the nomads will deny any knowledge of poisons and never sell such things to an outsider.


If the Player Characters attack the mountain nomads, or just ride on and leave them to fend for themselves, the worgs in the woods will make note of this and remember it for a long, long time. The nomads will mark them as unfriendly and may well ambush the PCs at a later date, or just notify their friends among the local bandits all about the PCs so as to make it easier for the bandits to find them. They might also send the flesh golem after the PCs if they are particularly hurtful to them. And if the PCs are really in a foul mood and attack the nomads, the worgs will come to their assistance.


Doing so will impress the Therioclasts (+1 on Reaction Rolls for 1 month).


Shouldthe Player Characters stop and attempt to help the nomads, the nomadswill be thankful and offer them the hospitality of their camp thatnight, such as it will be with two-thirds of their possessionsdestroyed. They will quickly have plenty of meat for the fire,provided by the worgs out in the woods – this being something thatone of the Player Characters might inadvertently witness.

ThePlayer Characters could earn the trust of the nomads, but itwould take a lot of doing, and in the end it is not likely to workout very well as the nomads are increasingly being targeted by theTherioclasts and things are getting uglier each week that goes by. APlayer Character might become enamored of a particular nomad, andthere could even be a bit of a liaison possible for some members ofthe party, depending on circumstance, but the nomads will eventuallymove on and the PCs are unlikely to be able to follow. This couldlead to any number of romantic, or personal entanglements. There arerumors that the nomads consider it lucky for one of their females tobear the child of a proven warrior or particularly giftedspell-caster...but what is less well known and even less spoken aboutis that a nomad male will know if a female he has been with hasconceived. The nomad male will then do everything in their power tomake sure that the child is raised among the nomads, includingkidnapping the mother or abducting the child. Sometimes they willleave a changeling in its place. There are all sorts of possibilities along these lines. (One of the Player Characters could even be a Changeling or possibly a long-lost child whose real father who was a nomad was killed so that they wound up raised among the villagers...but that gets really cliche and trite unless you find a way to put a fresh spin on it. Good luck with that.)

Becominga true friend of the nomads is possible, but will bring a lotof trouble from the Therioclasts and many villagers who will be illat ease with anyone who wears the mark of the nomads in any way,shape or form. And no outsider will ever be fully accepted by theelders and Wise Ones...not without lots and lots of challenges,tests, tricks and so on. Pursuing this path could end up with thePlayer Character acquiring some form of lycanthropy, becomingenthralled by some dryad, or worse.

Themountain nomads have good reason to hate the Therioclasts and to wishto avenge themselves upon the fanatical soldiers who are waging a warof extermination against all the inhuman beasts and shape-shiftingthings that would mock humanity. No matter how much the PlayerCharacters might sympathize with the nomads, in the end the nomadsare going to start fighting back against the Therioclasts and thePlayer Characters are very likely to be caught in the middle.

Thelonger the Player Characters associate with the nomads, the morelikely they will become targets of the Therioclasts.

Notes/ NPCs
MountainNomads(3d4) [HD 2+1; HP 11 on average.; AC 5[14]; ATK 1 weapon/spell; Move12; Save 14; CL/XP: 2/80; Special: +2 on Saves vs magic, all MountainNomads are dual-classed magic-users and can cast spells while wearingarmor that they've prepared or received as an heirloom; they are notnecessarily entirely human...but they tend to have CHAR 15 or better,on average, with at least a couple of CHAR 17 or 18 in the group.]

MountainNomad Wise Ones(1d4) [HD 4+1; HP 19 on average.; AC 5[14]; ATK 1 weapon/spell; Move9; Save 12; CL/XP: 5/810; Special: +2 on Saves vs magic, Wise Onesare dual-classed Magic-user/Clerics and can cast spells while wearingheirloom armor; they are almost always hybrids, mutants, half-humansor abhuman-descended. Wise Ones can cast Bless/Curseonce per day. They DetectMagicautomatically. They have friends among the fey, the were-folk, theprowlers and hunters, the beasts and the worgs...]

DoppelgangerKin(1d4) [HD 4; HP 24,22,20,17; AC 5[14]; ATK 1 claw/weapon; Move 9;Save 14; CL/XP: 5/240; Special: Immune to Sleep and Charm, +5 on allSaves vs magic; can shape-shift to resemble any person.] They will bevery suspicious of strangers and stay amongst their kin-folk unlessthey sense a good opportunity to ambush and impersonate someonepotentially useful to them...

WorgWatchers (2d4)[HD 4; HP 20,20,18,18,16,15,14,12; AC 6[13]; ATK 1 Bite; Move 18;Save 15; CL/XP: 4/120] Note: These creatures are supernatural andhave some measure of human in their ancestry due to unspeakable ritesperformed by demented cultists long, long ago...they will hang backin the woods and watch...and wait. They are very interested in howthe Player Characters respond to the mountain nomads.

TherioclastTroopers (2d4) [HD 3+1; HP 12 on average.; AC 6[13]; ATK 1weapon; Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP: 4/80; Special: +2 on Saves vslycanthropy] Grim and dour warriors who might be either Humans,Dwarves, Elves or Halflings. Studded-leather armor, crossbow (with amix of silver and iron headed bolts), silver-headed hand-axe orblessed scythe, rune-engraved short-sword and skinning-dagger. Theseare hard-bitten professionals who exterminate shapeshifters and eachone has a 10% chance to spot one outright.

Runaway Flesh Golem(1d4) [HD 12; HP 68; AC 9[10]; ATK 1 fist; Move 8; Save 7; CL/XP12/2,000; Special: Only lightning(which heals the thing), fireand cold spells (onlyslow it down) affect it, and you need a +1 or better weapon to harmit.] (S&W[WB]Bk III p. 19)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eight Magical Weapons


September Short Adventure 26: Let's Make a Deal featured a mysterious Magical Weapon. Just in case you're too busy or a bit stumped on what the Magical Weapon might be, here are a few to choose from. Feel free to modify or adapt these to best suit your campaign's needs or your own sensibilities. Also, do keep in mind that what we're detailing here are just the obvious or openly revealed aspects of these weapons, they could all be hiding their own secrets...and they definitely have minds and personalities of their own...

Eight Magical Weapons
  1. A massive two-handed sword hammered out of a still smoldering shard of meteoric black metal.
  2. An incredibly delicate-looking translucent battle-axe.
  3. A pair of mother-of-pearl inlaid flintlock revolvers from an ancient brothel.
  4. The last five-and-three-quarters foot-long section of a slender, blackened and rune-inscribed spear that is now effectively a staff.
  5. A grotesque, almost fluid-looking hammer of some disgustingly green-tinged alloy.
  6. A composite short bow assembled from overlapping layers of dragon scales, monstrous chitin, and what appear to be bones.
  7. A triple-headed mace sculpted in the form of a Cerberus-like canine monster.
  8. A sleek and shimmery longsword with a blade forged from a shaft of moonlight.
Details are as Follows:
  1. Signurtifhardrume; +2 to hit/+2 damage (Double damage against all hybrids on a natural roll of 18 or better); INT 12; speaks to wielder only via telepathy; Casts Detect Hybrid twice a day and Cause/Cure Light Wounds three times a day (wielder's choice). This blade requires blood every 1d4 days or it becomes discontent and will actively sabotage the current wielder's next combat by with-holding curative spells or holding back on either the to hit bonus or the damage bonus. This blade is very likely hiding any number of other possible powers, abilities or bad habits from its current wielder...and it is a pathological liar.
  2. Shimradrikath; +2 to hit/+2 to damage; INT 5; Grants one bonus attack every day; Casts Knock on a successful hit; Able to cast Dispel Magic once per week on a successful hit; On any natural '20' the wielder must roll a Save or go berserk for 1d4 turns, during which time they get double attacks, double damage, and can continue fighting even if they are at negative hit points; This weapon will not tolerate any armor better than a bronze breastplate and will never serve anyone who can cast spells of their own; once per day this weapon can attempt to break any other magic weapon—wielder just needs to roll two 20s in a row is all.
  3. Armistice & Easykill; +2 to hit/+2damage; Any natural roll of a 17 or 18 results in target needing to make a Save or be stunned for 1d4 turns, a roll of 19 equals double damage, a roll of 20 is triple damage; Wielder gains +1 to DEX and has the ability to wield both guns at one time; Wielding only one gun at a time penalizes wielder by loss of -2 to DEX and -2 to hit; INT14 (each); Opponents get to make a CHAR reaction roll to determine if the guns decide that they like the target, in which case they will not fire upon them.
  4. Udramakkim; +2 to hit/Target must Save or be stunned for 1d4 turns (no damage); INT 16; Casts spells as a 5th level Magic User (4,2,1); Will absorb 1d4 spells from any spell book or scroll it is allowed to destroy; Confers 1d4 bonus hit points to wielder (permanently) for every 1,000 gp of loot or treasure it is allowed to destroy; Will never back down from a confrontation with its 'lessers.'
  5. Gronditing; +3 to hit/+1 damage; Grants wielder one additional attack on every roll of 19 or better; Affects target as though Green Slime on any natural roll of '20' to hit; Wielder is immune to effects of Green Slime while weapon is in use, upon losing or surrendering the hammer the former wielder must make a Save or have all of their armor transmogrify into Green Slime.
  6. Zalalaftrium; +2 to hit/+1 damage; INT17 (CHAR 12); Casts Cause Light Wounds on any three arrows used in an attack per day; Any arrow fired from this bow can affect target as though it were a +2 weapon; All arrows fired from this bow are treated as if they were silver-headed despite their actual make-up; This weapon is a relic of an ancient empire of serpentine warrior-wizards and will compel the wielder to seek out serpent-descended beings so that it can be returned to those unto which it belongs.
  7. Barog'Garmigon; +2 to hit/+2 damage against anyone wearing magic armor; INT 4; on command of the wielder this mace can attempt to bite any target already hit for an additional 1d6 damage (but only three times in a given day); Once it bites successfully, the mace will hold on and continue fighting/inflicting normal damage all on its own; If this mace is taken more than 60' away from the wielder, it goes inactive for 1d20 turns and can be claimed by anyone else that then picks it up.
  8. Xuchichatlikol; +2 to hit/+2 damage; INT 15; Inflicts double-damage on all shape-shifters; Hits all gaseous, out-of-phase or shadow-form monsters as though normal; Wielder always has initiative; Blade cannot function in sunlight.

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