Monday, April 29, 2013

One Page Dungeon Contest 2013 entry

Here's my entry into this year's One Page Dungeon Contest:


It's not great, but it does the job. I had a hard time fitting it all on one page. It won't win any awards, but it was a fun creative exercise.

Friday, April 26, 2013

This is the Book That Jack Made

This is the book.
This is the book that James conceived.
This the book that James conceived that Tavis nursed throughout gestation.
This the book that James conceived that Tavis nursed throughout gestation that James aborted.

This is the clotted mass of filth that rose from the corpse of the murdered text and through the necromantic skills of Jack is now unleashed upon the world so many can raid the unknown depths beneath the mountain of a realm where space marines and satanic phlegm guard the way to twisted gods and crooked saints forgotten by men but not by beasts who prowl the paths where glory lay and also certain death.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Bookface!


Tim Shorts thinks he's so clever.

NO ONES CANZ DEFEETZ TEH BØKFASE!
(Also, this is what I look like after two solid days of conferencing with students)

Seriously, though, the Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams is pretty damn cool. I'm not the only one who thinks so. Go check out Matt Jackson's review. Or Erik Tenkar's. Then go score yourself a copy in PDF for free.



And this pretty fellow is Wizards Mutant Lazer Pistols #4. Sweet. Check out Sniderman's review here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

S&WAD Update

Cool news!

I learned today I won two contests associated with Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.

First, I won one of Reverend Dak's firearms supplements for Swords & Wizardry.

Second, I won Matt Jackson's "Name the Tomb" Contest with this entry:

The Tomb of Hargoth

Hargoth was the first Owlbear. A beloved pet of Ur-mu "the Bastard" Ab'rkada, Hargoth was the most successful construct ever created and the first to be bred successfully (with a bear) to produce further progeny. Hargoth was a beloved member of Ur-mu's retinue and often roamed the small labyrinth beneath Ur-mu's tower. When Hargoth died (due to natural causes—he suffered from what we now call psittacine beak and feather disease), Ur-mu built a grand tomb near Hargoth's favorite haunt for his perpetual enshrinement. Ur-mu placed an eternal flame atop Hargoth's sarcophagus in tribute to the owlbear's devoted years of service as guard, companion, and fellow traveller of the wastes.

This was centuries ago. Nothing remains of the tower. Its wooden supports decayed under the elements, its bricks turned to dust or were scavenged by settlers, and the labyrinth lost to memory . . .until now. The entrance to Ur-mu's underground complex was recently discovered by a shepherd boy chasing after a stray goat. He crawled through enough debris to locate barred doors too heavy for him to open. He has reported this discovery to his father, who reported to the steward of the flocks, who reported it to his lord and master, who wonders what lies beneath the hills in that far corner of his barony.




Thanks, guys!


Crazy Week - Light on Posting

This is a crazy week for me, as I am doing half-hour one-on-one conferences with my writing students all day, every day, Monday through Friday. Posting and email responses will be extremely light.

I will announce the Conan contest winner this weekend, and get an updated version of my Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day scenario onto Google Docs/Dropbox over the weekend, too.



Friday, April 19, 2013

WTF OSR Blog Readers?


Why in the Jale God's name do my quick little posts on the state of the blogosphere garner more pageviews than the slavishly-written content posts that take me hours to write?


Iä! Jaash im raa!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

IF YOU ENABLE GOOGLE+ COMMENTS ON YOUR BLOG

then only people with Google+ accounts can comment.  I just tried to leave a comment on Erik Tenkar's blog about this new feature. No can do. I keep getting routed to a Google+ sign-up page. No, thanks.

This sucks. It locks out people like me who have chosen not to have a Google+ account but still want to be part of this vital online community.

Please, OSR guys, don't do this.

SERIOUSLY PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!

Don't let the OSR become a walled garden! We need to keep it open to all comers to keep our corner of the hobby growing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

UPDATED! - - Harnly's Hole: An Adventure for S&W WhiteBox

UPDATE on 2014-02-03: An updated version of this adventure in PDF format can now be found on the downloads page!




(Hey, I'm not on Google+, so will someone post the link to this post on the S&W Google+ Group? Also, there's a link to a Google Docs version at the end of the post.)

Why do I like Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox? It's deadly, that's why! It makes for gritty, dangerous dungeon crawls at low-level where the spectre of death is ever-present.

This scenario was created using only the monsters found in the WhiteBox ruleset. My preferred version of these rules is the no-longer-available 2nd printing by Brave Halfling Publishing, although you should have no problem running it with the freely available 3rd printing PDF from the Swords & Wizardry website. The stat block are for the monsters as found in the 2nd print and differ slightly from those found on d20swrd.com.

This scenario is a grind; there is much risk and slight reward in the way of treasure (but there are treasures!). It is also designed to have 2 of the player characters join the game after their discovery; the DM may opt to run these as NPCs. The Hs beneath monster entries are for keeping track of that particular monster's hit points during play.

Harnly's Hole

A Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Scenario
for 4-5 low-level characters
(pre-generated characters included)


Map made with Dave's Mapper.


Fort Harnly wasn't much of a fort. It wasn't anything more than just a glorified one-room guardhouse in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it was so far away from the Baron's stronghold that he tended to forget about it and, eventually, he stopped posting a trio of guards there altogether. After many years, Fort Harnly fell into disrepair and nearly faded into memory.

Off all the guards who served at the frontier post, only Harnson Groot is still alive. Now a one-legged sergeant and pole-arms trainer in the Baron's mercenary force, he regales green recruits with stories of encounters with bugbears, goblins, kobolds, and gnolls who roamed the hills at the Barony's edge (although what he recalls most vividly are wasting away the hours on cool, pleasant evenings swimming in the pond behind the fort).

He remembers those years fondly (as those who are up in years are wont to do), so much so that he has requested permission from the Baron to retire to the run-down fort and start a farm when he resigns his commission at the Baron's mandated 40 years of service limit. The Baron has agreed to this request, and has even agreed to let Harnson send a few recruits out on a training exercise/scouting mission to begin preparing the area for Harnson's return.

Harnson has charged three recruits to venture to Fort Harnly. After some thought, he also asked the Baron's priest if there was an acolyte he could spare to accompany his men. Father Noaventure agreed to this request and sent along one of his slightly more worldly clerics.

The party set out on mules from the Baron's keep two weeks ago and have just arrived at Fort Harnly. Along the way they recruited a few villagers as torch-bearers, porters, and men-at-arms (see hirelings list, below). A shipment of building supplies and a relief party left a week after the party's departure. The recruits' mission is to secure the area, clean up the fort, and investigate any strange goings-on in preparation of the fort's renewal.

WANDERING MONSTERS
(1d6; below ground only)

1. Giant Spider
2. Small Giant Centipede
3. Ghoul
4. Gnoll
5. Lemure Demon
6. 2 Giant Rats



1. A dryad inhabits this tree. A naked dwarf is tied up here and the dyrad will begin to feed on his life force soon. The dwarf, Virlek Gyndulfson (see pre-gen list, below), has been seduced with a Charm spell and protected by the dryad and somehow tied himself up. His equipment is all in good working order and is in a tidy pile a few steps away from the tree.

A heavy iron chain dangles into the depths of a pit here, ending on a small cairn of rock on an outcropping below. This was the pond old Harnson remembers, although it has collapsed and there is no trace of a water source. The pit does not appear to be natural, nor does it appear to be the handiwork of any known race.


Dryad: HP 9; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 wooden dagger (1d4); Move 12; Save 16; HDE/XP 3/60; Special: Charm person (-2 save).

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2. This one-room guardhouse has fallen to ruin; 2 ragged looking gnolls have taken shelter for the night. The gnolls are heavily injured but will fight to the death if provoked. They are exhausted and terror-plagued and will rave nonsensically about a "horror below the earth" but not mention any specifics.

If treated well, the gnolls will explain they are the last survivors of an expedition that breached the column in Area 4 to explore the depths below. They were ambushed by bandits as they came scrambling out of the pit in area 1 while some unknown enemy "breathing fire" chased them to the surface.


2 Gnolls: HP 4, 5; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (2d4) or weapon (1d10); Move 9; Save 16; HDE/XP 2/30; Special: None.

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3. This pit is filled with the recently dead bodies of 3 gnolls and 7 human bandits. The gnolls appear to have put up a ferocious fight despite severe burn wounds that appear several days old. Also, tied up and knocked unconscious beneath one of the dead bandits is Raafan Autuk, a 1st level Magic User (see pre-gen list). He's the seventh son of a seventh son; his father is a rich merchant specializing in rare pipeweed who bought his son's way into the magic academy. Raafan was being held for ransom, having been ambushed on his way home for a visit. He'll come around after some strong drink is poured down his gullet.

Between all the dead bodies, there's 27cp, 34sp, and 73gp. There are several swords of various lengths, clubs, bows, and daggers laying about.



4. The broken column is an entrance to the largest cavern in the complex. The column appears to be of gnomish design and is engraved with ancient gnomish script and warnings which have been scratched out beyond decipherability. A Read Magic spell will reveal various inscriptions (most of them gnomish graffiti) and one message that stands out from the rest: "Beware the One Who Sleeps Below!"

The tunnel to Area 12 is empty, but the ground is worn smooth of dust and debris—except around the column, where the remains of the broken column is scattered.



5. These stairs do not appear to have been carved by any earthly hand, and have been carved from the bottom up. The gentle slope ends in a twisting stone staircase which also isn't of any known design. There is a 30% chance that the spiral staircase contains 3–5 giant rats.

A faint howling, screeching sound can be heard coming up from the depths. The sounds get louder near Area 6, but then become inaudible further down.


3–5 Giant Rats: HP 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 2, 4, 1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 bite (1d3); Move 12; Save 18; HDE/XP 1/10; Special: 5% are diseased.

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6. Two dead gnolls lay at the entrance to this room, their bodies burnt and horribly disfigured. They carry a total of 6 gp, 2 cudgels, and 1 spear.

Further in, a giant slug's bulk blocks the way to Area 11. It will attack if disturbed. It is always disturbed. Inside the slug are the digested remains of 2 gnolls and 75gp worth of coins in various denominations.

As the party ventures closer to Area 11, the howling & screeching sounds heard in Area 5 get louder.


Giant Slug: HP 16; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 bite (1d12) or acid; Move 6; Save 3; HDE/XP 13/2,300; Special: Spit acid (2d6).

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7. Another dead gnoll blocks the entryway here. His trappings and hide patterns indicate he was someone of rank. There are 3cp, 12sp, and 6gp in a pouch at his waist. A heavy, wicked-looking cutlass (treat as long sword +1) lays close to his outstretched hand.

Also in this room are twelve brittle, inanimate gnome skeletons. Among the bones are 2 emeralds worth 68gp total. Hidden in a hollow shin bone is a scroll of Protection from Chaos.



8. At the bottom of the stairs, blocking entrance to the room, is a Hell Hound carcass with a dead gnoll gripped in its jaws. Pieces of a broken sword and a splintered cudgel scatter the floor, as do 150cp and 75sp, making the floor near the entrance treacherous (20% chance someone falls while moving through this area).

Two more Hell Hounds are anxiously pacing around the room. The Hell Hounds will attack on sight.


2 Hell Hounds: HP 11, 10 ; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; HDE/XP 5/240; Special: Breathe fire (8 hp).

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8a. A narrow stone staircase spirals up to Area 8b. The door to Area 9 is locked and warded; Dispel Magic will have no effect. It can only be opened with the right magical key. The door and lock are covered with a thick layer of yellow mold.


Yellow Mold: HD n/a; AC n/a; Atk 1d6 damage + spore cloud; Move 0; Save n/a; HDE/XP 3/60; Special: Poisonous spore cloud, killed by fire.



8b. This is evidently a storage room, stuffed with rusted weaponry; miscellaneous gears, thinning, spotted sheets of waxy grey metal, slow leaking, near empty vinegar barrels; rotted portraiture, and other such items. Everything is covered in a fine layer of non-toxic yellow dust.

Dangling from the corner of a picture frame at the back of the room is an iron key ring with the special keys to the doors in Areas 8a & 10. The keys will glow with a faint purple aura under a Detect Magic spell.

Inside one of the vinegar barrels is the ancient, desiccated corpse of a dead halfing. He has a cleric's Ring of Spell Storing in his pocket and an Amulet against Scrying on a normal chain around his neck. A +1 Short Sword is in a finely engraved sheath at his side. He also has 52gp in various coinage in his trouser pockets.



9. The smell of sulfur is strong in this stone staircase, despite a gentle downward wind coming from above. A continual stream of shadows march downward as well, two abreast. They will not attack unless attacked and will step aside to let the party pass. The shadows will keep coming, pair after pair after pair. (DM Note: use the same HP for each pair during combat).

It is not possible to find the end of the staircase; it keeps going down and down. Anyone attempting to go downward off the map will find themselves walking downward for an eternity. If they are off the map and turn around to go up, they will instantly find themselves between the doors to Area 8a and Area 10.

The top of the stairs dead-ends in rock, and yet the shadows emerge from the rock and march down nonetheless.

The door to Area 10 is locked & warded and requires a special magical key to open.


2 Shadows: HP 8, 12; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 touch (1d4 + strength drain); Move 12; Save 16; HDE/XP 4/130; Special: Drain 1 point str with hit, hit only by magic weapons.

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10. The bodies of three dead gnolls lay in a gnarled heap, blocking entrance to the room.

A congregation of 1d8 lemure demons and 1d6 ghouls are screeching and dancing and feeding on the bodies of another 2 dead gnolls. There is another gnoll, barely alive, gnashing and howling in agony as he is being eaten alive. The demons and ghouls will attack on sight.

The sides of the cavern walls are slick and wet, and appear to be sweating. This is actually grey ooze.

At the end of this area, the floor suddenly gives way to an endless pit. Anyone falling in will fall into darkness forever and ever without end. The smell of sulfur wafts strongly up from the hole. Any PC within 5 feet of the pit must Save vs. Poison or suffer a –1 to all melee attacks due to severe nausea.

In a small niche above the pit is a small, jewel encrusted bronze statue of a demon laughing in its sleep. The idol is worth 1,000gp. Removing the statue will summon another 1d8 lemure demons out of the pit (same stat block as first group).


1–8 Lemure Demons: HP 7, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 9, 10 ; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 claw (1d3); Move 3; Save 14; HDE/XP 4/120; Special: Regenerate (1hp/round).

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1–6 Ghouls: HP 9, 12, 5, 7, 11, 7; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d4); Move 9; Save 16; HDE/XP 3/60; Special: Immunities, paralyzing touch.

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Grey Ooze: HP 9; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 strike (2d6); Move 1; Save 14; HDE/XP 5/240; Special: Acid, immune to spells, heat, cold, and blunt weapons.

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Gnoll: HP 1; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (2d4) or weapon (1d10); Move 9; Save 16; HDE/XP 2/30; Special: None.

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11. This bridge of rope and wood plank looks hastily built, but it is in good condition. Still, there's a 5% chance a board gives way and the PC falls down to Area 10.

The ceiling above the bridge contains 2 giant spiders. They will attack if the light carried by the party is brighter than 3 torches.

Walking across the bridge stirs up the demons and ghouls and their screeches and howls will echo through the caverns.

On the other side of the bridge is a pit trap tainted with poisoned barbs. The trap can hold the weight equivalent of a normally-encumbered human in chainmail; anything heavier and the floor will give way. Falling in the trap causes 1d6 damage from the fall, plus Save vs. Poison or take 1d6 poison damage as well. Additionally, PCs take 1hp impaling damage per round until they can escape the pit.

There's also a black pudding skulking beneath the spikes of the trap. It will not move to attack but will digest any PC who is fully impaled or dies in the trap. Under the black pudding is about 2,162gp in various coinage

It's possible to break through the thin wall at the end of this area into the stairway in Area 12.

The smell of sulfur is strong throughout this part of the complex.


2 Giant Spiders: HP 7, 9; AC 6[13]; Atk 1 bite (1d6 + poison); Move 18; Save 16; HDE/XP 5/240; Special: lethal poison, 5 in 6 chance to surprise prey.

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Black Pudding: HP 22; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 attack (3d8); Move 6; Save 5; HDE/XP 11/1,700; Special: Acidic surface, immune to cold, divides when hit with lightning.

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12. The small tunnel of Area 4 opens into a tremendously large cavern that glitters with iridescent rock. The floor here is smooth and devoid of rock and debris and slopes gently downward. This area is the nest of a purple worm and her 3 new hatchlings. They can be encountered anywhere in Area 12, including the stairway, but they will not enter Area 13 or the stairways going to Area 13.

The hatchlings prefer to group on the outcrop above the stairway. The pit on this rocky outcrop appears to be filled with a sickly-looking pool of water. It is actually a grey ooze.


Purple Worm: HP 37, 7, 5, 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (2d6), 1 sting (1d6 + poison); Move 9; Save 3; HDE/XP 17/3,500; Special: Poison sting, swallow whole. (Note: no XP for defeating hatchlings.)

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Grey Ooze: HP 9; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 strike (2d6); Move 1; Save 14; HDE/XP 5/240; Special: Acid, immune to spells, heat, cold, and blunt weapons.

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13. Anyone entering Area 13 will find themselves walking on the ceiling and be filled with a sense of impending doom. Rest here is possible, but spellcasters have only a 75% chance of properly preparing their spells.

The room itself is empty, and the stairs carved in the floor and ceiling of stairway do not appear to have been carved by any known craftsmanship. The bottom step is removable stonework and reveals a secret crawl way to Area 14.



14. Two Hell Hounds are napping on either side of a trap door to a rickety spiral staircase that leads to Area 15. Everything in this area, including the Hell Hounds and trapdoor, is covered in a thick layer of normal grey dust. The Hell Hounds will not awaken unless the trap door is touched.

In a niche at the back of the cave is a wooden chest with a poison needle-trapped lock (Save vs. Poison or take –2 damage). Inside the chest are 2 Potions of Extra Healing, a silver dagger, a demi-human sized War Hammer +1 vs. Ghouls, and a Whip +1 vs. Demons.


2 Hell Hounds: HP 13, 13; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; HDE/XP 5/240; Special: Breathe fire (8hp).

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15. The jale-colored column holding up a small crumbling outcrop beneath the stairway is not of human or demi-human design; engraved with ragged, barely legible letters in ancient gnomish is the message "Today our realm ends here." It's possible to tunnel through the rock pile to reach Area 16 with a few rounds of heavy digging.

The floor of this area, from the column to the short staircase, is littered with the bones of many gnomes. If the bones are dishonorably disturbed (kicked, picked-up, pushed out of the way, etc.), they will assemble into 47 animated gnome skeletons and attack. They can be gently walked on without triggering this effect.

At the top of the short stairway is a small statue of the Jale God carved from a hunk of nearly weightless, jale-colored, obsidian-like rock that is not of this world. The statue is surrounded with hundreds of bones from various humaniod races: bugbears, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs—even an owlbear or two. Scattered among the bones are various coins worth 400gp.

The statue is worth 1,500gp. However, the PC who removes the statue from its altar must Save v. Spell or suffer the effect of a Quest spell. The Jale God will send the victim on a quest to carry his image to a shrine located in another realm.

This quest can be averted with a Remove Curse spell cast by a cleric of at least 10th level. If this is done, however, the Jale God will manifest and attempt to gamble for the victim's soul.

Anyone who makes a successful save upon picking up the statue will find they can never be rid of it. Every time the statue is sold or given away, it will reappear in the PC's possession again soon after. This cycle can be stopped by placing the statue in a shrine dedicated to any of the petty gods in the Jale God's retinue.


47 Gnome Skeletons: HP 1 each; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 strike (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; HDE/XP 1/15; Special: Immune to sleep and charm spells.

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16. After tunneling through Area 15, the party will find themselves facing another support column. This column made of ulfire-colored stone is similar in design to the column in Area 15, but is smooth and unblemished despite the message that seems to be carved in its surface: "The Sleeper Who Sleeps Sleeps Below."

A rusty iron chain dangles down to a ledge where 2 small giant centipedes rest on a clutch of 1d20 eggs. The eggs are worth 5gp apiece to the right collector.

The ledge abuts what appears to be an endless pit. It is not. Anyone or anything falling in will fall roughly 60 feet and land on the back of a Baalrog Demon who's been sleeping for a thousand years; he will immediately wake up if something falls on him.

If the Baalrog is awakened, he can be put back to sleep by placing the demon idol from Area 10 in the centipede nest and singing "Hush Little Baby" as the PCs make their escape.


2 Giant Centipedes (small): HP: 2, 2; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 bite (0 + poison); Move 13; Save 18; HDE/XP 1/15; Special poison bite (+4 save or die)

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Baalrog Demon: HP 36; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 sword or whip (1d6); Move 6 (Fly 15); Save 5; HDE/XP 10/1,400; Special: Magic Resistance (75%), surrounded by flame (3d6), magic weapon required to hit, unaffected by spells from casters lower than 6th level.

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PRE-GENERATED CHARACTERS
(Pre-gens tweaked from Ramanan Sivaranjan's LLB Character Generator)


Arquen Fordhart
1st Level Female Fighter

HP: 7 AC: 3 [16] XP: 0

STR: 11
INT: 10
WIS: 6
DEX: 9
CON: 9
CHA: 12

Saving Throw: 14 (+2 vs. death or poison)

Weapons: Two-Handed Sword (1d6+1), 3 Daggers (1d6-1)
Armor: Plate mail
Equipment: 6 Torches, backpack, waterskin, 1 week Iron Rations, 50' Rope, 2 flasks oil, 9gp

Languages: Common, Alignment

Optional Appearance: Young, Scrawny



Filk Laroosh
1st Level Male Fighter

HP: 6 AC: 3 [16] XP: 0

STR: 12
INT: 7
WIS: 10
DEX: 10
CON: 15 (+1)
CHA: 11

Saving Throw: 14 (+2 vs. death or poison)

Weapons: Flail (1d6), Dagger (1d6-1), Short bow (1d6-1)
Armor: Plate mail
Equipment: Quiver of 20 arrows, 6 torches, backpack, waterskin, 1 week Iron Rations, 50' rope, small sack, 10gp

Languages: Common, Alignment

Optional Appearance: Young, Spit-and-Polished



Kelkek Pigsherd
1st Level Male Fighter

HP: 8 AC: 5 [14] XP: 0

STR: 15
INT: 8
WIS: 13
DEX: 9
CON: 17 (+1)
CHA: 10

Saving Throw: 14 (+2 vs. death or poison)

Weapons: Spear(1d6), Light Crossbow (1d6-1)
Armor: Chainmail
Equipment: Case with 30 quarrels, 6 torches, backpack, waterskin, 1 week Iron Rations, 50' rope, 11gp.

Languages: Common, Alignment

Optional Appearance: Drab Clothing, Tall



Hernvixen Clavershell
2nd Level Female Cleric

HP: 7 AC: 4 [15] XP: 1,501

STR: 8
INT: 11 (+1)
WIS: 13
DEX: 10
CON: 16 (+1)
CHA: 9

Saving Throw: 15 (+2 vs.poison or paralysis)

Weapons: War Hammer (1d6)
Armor: Chainmail, Shield
Equipment: 6 torches, backpack, waterskin, waterskin of holy water, 1 week Iron Rations, 10' Pole, Holy Symbol, Scroll of Cure Light Wounds, 4gp

Languages: Common, Alignment, Halfling

Optional Appearance: Drab Clothing, Pretty

Turn Undead:
Skeleton: 7
Zombie: 10
Ghoul: 10
Wight: 13

Spells Prepared:
Level 1: Light



Virlek Gyndulfson
1st Level Male Dwarf

HP: 7 AC: 2 [17] XP: 0

STR: 10
INT: 17 (+7)
WIS: 13
DEX: 5 (-1)
CON: 12
CHA: 15 (+1)

Saving Throw: 14 (+4 vs. magic; +1 vs. death and poison)

Weapons: Long Sword (1d6), Dagger (1d6-1)
Armor: Plate mail, shield
Equipment: 6 torches, backpack, waterskin, 1 week Iron Rations, 10' pole, 4gp

Languages: Common, Alignment, Gargoyle, Halfling, Human Dialect, Kobold, Lizard Man,

Optional Appearance: Mature, Fancy Clothing



Raafan Autuk
1st Level Male Magic-User

HP: 6 AC: 9 [10] XP: 0

STR: 12
INT: 17 (+7)
WIS: 5
DEX: 12
CON: 8
CHA: 11

Saving Throw: 15 (+2 vs. Spells)

Weapons: Dagger (1d6-1)
Armor: None
Equipment: Lantern, 4 flasks oil, backpack, waterskin, 1 week Iron Rations, 50' silk rope, 77gp.

Spellbook contents
Level 1: Read Magic, Light, Sleep, Detect Magic

Spells Prepared:
Level 1: Read Magic

Languages: Common, Alignment, Gnoll, Gnome, Human Dialect, Kobold.

Optional Appearance: Youthful, Elaborate Attire



HIRELINGS
(courtesy of Greg Gillespie's Meatshield Generator)

Pick up to 4:

Name: Peltik Ratcatcher, 0-level male porter
HP: 3
AC: 0 [19]
Weapon: Dagger (1d6-1)
Armor: None
Background: Peasant
Posessions & Knowledge: A large bar of soap
Notable Features: None
Suggested rate of pay: 5sp/day


Name: Bargarda Counts, 0-level female porter
HP: 3
AC: 0 [19]
Weapon: Dagger (1d6-1), Club (1d6)
Armor: None
Background: Escaped convict
Posessions & Knowledge: Makes a mean stew
Notable Features: Wears hair in pigtails.
Suggested rate of pay: 5sp/day


Name: Marton Martinson, 0-level male torch-bearer
HP: 3
AC: 0 [19]
Weapon: Dagger (1d6-1)
Armor: None
Background: Only survivor of a goblin massacre
Posessions & Knowledge: Speaks goblin
Notable Features: Large scar on back of skull
Suggested rate of pay: 5sp/day


Name: Dardic Faversham, 0-level female torch-bearer
HP: 3
AC: 0 [19]
Weapon: Club (1d6)
Armor: None
Background: Miller's daughter
Posessions & Knowledge: Set basic traps
Notable Features: Emaciated
Suggested rate of pay: 5sp/day


Name: Kilstad Killstab 0-level male man-at-arms
HP: 3
AC: 0 [19]
Weapon: Dagger (1d6-1), Hand-axe (1d6)
Armor: None
Background: TPK survivor
Posessions & Knowledge: Eidetic memory
Notable Features: Tattoo of bird on left hand
Suggested rate of pay: 1gp/day


Name: Relix Yunk, 0-level female man-at-arms
HP: 3
AC: 0 [19]
Weapon: Spear (1d6)
Armor: None
Background: Deserter
Posessions & Knowledge: Sock full of marbles
Notable Features: Honest to a fault
Suggested rate of pay: 1gp/day




EXPERIENCE TOTAL
approx. 14,355

TREASURE TOTAL
approx. 5,355gp

 MAGIC ITEMS AVAILABLE
 Scroll of Protection from Chaos
 Ring of Spell Storing (Cleric)
 Amulet Against Scrying
 +1 Short Sword
 2 Potions of Extra Healing
 Silver Dagger
 War Hammer +1 vs. Ghouls
 Whip +1 vs. Demons



If you've read this far, you deserve a reward! Or two!

First, use the code SWApprDay to take 25% off any Sword & Wizardry product at the Frog God Games site! This offer is a one-day only deal, good only for April 17, 2013!



Second, use the code SWAD252013 to take 25% off any Swords & Wizardry products listed on this page at the d20fpsrd shop! Again, this is a one day only sale, good only for April 17, 2013.




Thanks for taking a look at this scenario. I hope you enjoy it; let me know what you think in the comments below!



EDIT: I've thrown all this into a very rough Word document that you can find here. I hope to come back to this and clean it up later.



 Bookface approves!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Teaser 2!


Harnly's Hole

A Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Scenario
for 4-5 low-level characters
(pre-gens included)
Map made with Dave's Mapper.

Fort Harnly wasn't much of a fort. It wasn't anything more than just a glorified one-room guardhouse in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it was so far away from the Baron's stronghold that he tended to forget about it and, eventually, he stopped posting a trio of guards there altogether. After many years, Fort Harnly fell into disrepair and nearly faded into memory.

Off all the guards who served at the frontier post, only Harnson Groot is still alive. Now a one-legged sergeant and pole-arms trainer in the Baron's mercenary force, he regales green recruits with stories of encounters with bugbears, goblins, kobolds, and gnolls who roamed the hills at the Barony's edge (although what he recalls most vividly are wasting away the hours on cool, pleasant evenings swimming in the pond behind the fort).

He remembers those years fondly (as those who are up in years are wont to do), so much so that he has requested permission from the Baron to retire to the run-down fort and start a farm when he resigns his commission at the Baron's mandated 40 years of service limit. The Baron has agreed to this request, and has even agreed to let Harnson send a few recruits out on a training exercise/scouting mission to begin preparing the area for Harnson's return . . .

CHECK IN WEDNESDAY TO SEE THE REST!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thwizeviblyz, Petty God of Baby Laughter

Another Aspect of the Jale God:

Name: Thwizeviblyz, Petty God of Baby Laughter
Symbol: A baby pulling a cat's tail
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 60' (30')
Armor Class: -3
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 50 (9 HD + 11)
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2d8
Save: C12
Morale: 9
Hoard Class:  VII
XP: 5,600

The Jale God knows many forms. This of all his aspects is the least known. Yet here his influence is perhaps the most entrenched.

Every time a baby laughs, Thwizeviblyz (whose name is best pronounced by the untoothed mouths of children) is greatly pleased and grows in strength. As his power is tied to the health of the human and halfling populations (elven and dwarven babies do not laugh), his power waxes and wanes with the tides of famine, drought, war, and plague. In good times he is one of the most powerful of gods, in bad times one of the weakest. Yet Thwizeviblyz persists as long as the Jale God persists, overseeing the birth and death of civilizations over the ages.

The key to his longevity is that every child unconsciously worships Thwizeviblyz. Being born is a fate no mortal soul can avoid, and Thwizeviblyz knows there is nothing sweeter than innocent souls enjoying the moments before fate's fingers begin to twist their life's threads. Young children's unbidden laughter at life's minor absurdities mesh with his own view of the cosmos.

His presence goes unnoticed by those over three years old. But those under three know him as shadows upon walls, curtains fluttering in a windless room, and soothing voices emanating from beneath closed doors. He cannot be attacked in these forms. Thwizeviblyz brings the gift of teething everywhere he goes; the sharp pain in the mouth a reminder that life is pain and blood and fire in the mouth. Tonya, the Petty Goddess of Children's Teeth, is grateful for this service and owes her existence to him.

If a party carries children under three within their ranks, Thwizeviblyz might bestow a Blessing upon the party that gives a +3 to morale, +1 to STR, and +2 to CON. However, he has a particular hatred of mimes, clowns, jesters, and jokers, whose worthless mouth noises bring forth false laughter from children. If a party includes one of these lousy comedians, his Blessing will also cause their jokes and antics to have no effect on children of any age; in fact, children will instead flee from them in terror.

If a child should die through the party's fault while under the Blessing, the Blessing will immediately become a Curse and the party will suffer the bonuses as penalties instead. This curse can only be lifted by a cleric of 10th level or higher.

Thwizeviblyz will often manifest among adults in a tavern as a lice-ridden, besotted old man who sits near the hearth and speaks nothing but gibberish if approached. If he is treated well while in this guise, (plied with drinks, fed a food of the gods, etc.), there is a 3% chance he will grant a Limited Wish; if it is an unbidden child who treats him well, he will grant a Wish. He's used to being treated poorly or ignored and will go out of his way to blend into the crowd to avoid notice.

Thwizeviblyz is sometimes honored as a patron of pregnant warriors; any pregnant female fighter who invokes his name in battle gains a +2 for all melee attacks as her target breaks down in delirious laughter. It is rumored that this is the key to the Amazonian's prowess in battle.

His main weapon is a sputtering geyser of acidic spittle 5 feet wide and reaching up to 30 feet away. This is a targeted attack and does 2d8 burning damage. Uniane* has a devestating effect on Thwizeviblyz, causing him 4d6 damage and forcing his immediate teleportation off the material plane.


Reaction Table (2d6)

2 Friendly: Speaks happy, upbeat gibberish. Will bestow a Blessing.
3-4 Indifferent: Speaks long winded streams of consonants with no break; lots of spittle.
5-6 Enthusiastic: Gurgles and spits, nibbles fingers, picks nose, plays with snot. Will grant a boon if you can figure out how to ask.
7-8 Annoyed: Lots of urgent hand gestures and wet, blurbering blubbering, angry faces.
9-11 Unfriendly: Temper tantrum. Will throw things. Cries a lot.
12 Sleeping: Lots of thumb-sucking and wet slurping noises. Wake at own peril.



*uniane [oon-e-a-neigh. halfling concept]
Laughter comes is many forms: the snigger, the snort, the chortle, the choke, the titter, the giggle, the cackle, the choke, the snicker, the chuckle, the sputtering burst. But none is as pure and heart-heavy as uniane, the sound of an innocent child laughing at his reflection in a mirror and realizing for the first time he is laughing at himself and not, as he thought, at another child. The startling self-awareness begins the path away from childhood.

Hymenphalia, Petty Godling of Hermaphroditic Fertility

Name: Hymenphalia, Petty Godling of Hermaphroditic Fertility
Symbol: An apple blossom encircled by string of pearls OR two snails engaged in copulation
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 60 (10 HD)
# AT: 1
Damage:  1d8 or 2d8
Save: C12
Morale: 2
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 3,100

Hymenphalia, once the reigning godling of the third sex, is now a bitter husk, banished from the world by the curse of a rival petty goddess and rendered sterile by the lack of worshipers for thousands of years.

Once, the cult of Hymenphalia had temples in every trading town, major port, and city-state. The major cities of most empires in the realms were host to the annual Spring Rites wherein the three sexes gathered in the fields to copulate in orgiastic ecstasy and ensure the harvest. The three genders lived in harmony, protected by the various gods of the six carnal loves.

Then Pherosathoola, Petty Goddess of Sexual Fear, gained in power and Hymenphalia's worshipers began to die. Rumors that succubi and incubi were the children of hermaphrodites spread amongst the populations. Whispers of the evils of the intersex were spread among men and women, and hermaphrodites were banished, persecuted, tortured, murdered. Hermaphrodites born to women were killed at birth, and women who bore such children were themselves sometimes killed. The third gender nearly disappeared through this genocide, Pherosathoola growing stronger all the while.

Of the gods of the six carnal loves, only three still have influence, and two of those are weak but regaining power. Hymenphalia is not one of them.

Hymenphalia is a peaceful godling yet longs for Pherosathoola's destruction. The Jale God favors this godling with boons from time to time. By his decree one out of every 5,000 souls borne to earth is a hermaphrodite, but as Pherosathoola's powers are so great,  intersex who survive birth must live in hiding, blending into a world that is blind to their suffering.

Hymenphalia is weak and has limited powers. Hermaphrodites may seek a Blessing which will grant a +3 to all melee attacks, but the spell's effect will not last longer than a week at most. Those who build a small shrine in Hymenphalia's honor will earn the favor of the Jale God and be rewarded in some way by one his aspects. Those adventures whom Hymenphalia encounters that have persecuted hermaphrodites (or worse) will be Cursed instead; the Jale God does not generally interfere when this occurs.

Hymenphalia will attack only if there is no other option, wielding a large spear (1d8) or a double-edged bastard sword (2d8).


Reaction Table (1d4)

1. Friendly: Will grant a Blessing.
2. Indifferent: Will ignore party.
3. Morose: Will openly weep and seek solace from the Jale God.
4. Enraged: Will Curse party.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

PETTY GODS: NEED WORKS OF FOOD

Folks, I'm in serious need of submissions for the Petty Gods project!

See here to submit.


The Importance of Jeff & James to the OSR Cannot Be Overstated


Jeff is the number 1 referrer to my little corner of the web.

Spots 2 & 3 belong to Mr. Smith.

What does it say when the top referrers to my blog have been absent from posting for a long time yet STILL manage to drive the most traffic?

So here's a shout out to Jeff & James. May their dwarves never falter and their spells never fizzle! Thanks for feeding all the folk my way, guys.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Teaser



Harnly's Hole

A Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Scenario
for 4-5 low-level characters
(pre-gens included)
Map made with Dave's Mapper.

EDIT:
I have the bare bones sorted out. This is a good, old-fashioned dungeon crawl that tries to evoke a dangerous underground feel. This might also end up as my One Page Dungeon Contest entry for this year.

EDIT 2:
Almost done! All I need to do is profread proodread proofread this sucker.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Quick Bookface Installment


The most excellent Christian Walker sent me a nice surprise in the mail yesterday. Five issues of his old zine Scrollworks! Issues 15 through 18,  in fact. I haven't had a chance to look through them yet. They happen to carry the d20 logo, so might need some converting to my preferred gaming systems, which is easy enough to do. Thanks, Christian! Happy birthday, man!


The 17 Atacorns

Atanuwe, a nine-legged hermaphroditic horse-thing beloved by the Jale God, was bred with several human women in his service, and the witch-mothers gave birth to seventeen mule-things with the faces of human men and women. These creatures are called atacorns. They are known to dwell near rivers and underground streams. If witches are sometimes characterized as malicious, the atacorns are regarded as experts in the area of cruelty. They are known in local folklore as child-thieves, cheats, liars, poisoners, slave-traders, cannibals, and occasional usurpers.

The 17 atacorns have horns like unicorns. Some horns are vestigial little things that refuse to sprout. Some have many horns. Some have undeveloped nodules where horns might appear. Some have horns that grow smaller as time goes on.



Atacorns have the same stat blocks as Gargoyles, but do not fly.

The 17 Atacorns

1. Kulkurush - The Child Thief
Widely known as the best child stealer in the realms, Kulkurush has three deer-like horns growing from the back of his head which molt every spring. He saves his antlers and in his spare time decorates them with bizarre, intricate landscape carvings which he sells to interested parties. Carrying such a carving on one's person results in a –2 to WIS but a +2 to DEX.

2. Farthigny - Fiddler in the Dark
Everyone who has heard the strange music in the trees near the edge of streams has heard the music of the fiddler in the dark. Farthigny has but a single horn growing sideways from his chin, which he has carved into an ever-present fiddle. He spends much time whittling away at his growth to maintain its pure sound. The bard's guild will pay 5,000gp for the fiddle.

3. Harloch - The Cannibal Below
Everyone thinks it's a troll, but it's massive Harloch that's been demanding payment, slaying and eating those who refuse to pay. He rams misers with his six moose-like antlers, wrenches them apart with his bare hands and eats them alive in front of any screaming onlookers. His antlers are tough as iron and, if one can be separated from his skull, will be found to be as light as the finest balsa wood. They would make excellent paddles, imparting a 30% boost to movement rates if used as such.

4. Yawnwewe - Liar of the Sewers
The small-horned Yawnwewe whispers lies from the gutters near the market's edge, which is, of course, where the most hard-nosed barterers set up keep and somehow, to their unknowing amazement, learn to please a customer with lies. Yawnwewe's two horns are little more than nubs, but could bring a +2 to CHA to those who find them and give them a good rub.

5. Balzak - Poisoner in the Wastes
A touch of Balzak's twisted black horn can turn any water into a rancid, germ-ridden poisonous broth, which is why she's been driven to the edge of the desert, far from any settlement. Thieves and assassins seek her out to make use of her talents. Her horn, if separated from her body, is useless, as it is her malignant soul which uses her horn as its outlet.

6. Luroch - Cannibal of the Docks
Nearly every ship has lost a sailor to Luroch, whose name means "she who devours" in an ancient tongue. Luroch avoids the sun, skulking in the sewer outlets near the dock's edge during the daylight hours. She comes out to feed when the tide returns, spearing unwatchful sailors with her four-foot barbed horn. The horn itself would make a fearful weapon, essentially working as a flail +3.

7. Sisyphut - Child Slaver
Need a child's hands to weave the delicate strands of spidergoat silk? Don't trust gnomes to tend the gardens of your castle's underdark? Sisyphut can meet any child labor need, no demand too large, no child too small! He has connections across the realms, and his special bond with his half-brother Kulkurush can even get you the child of your enemy as your personal valet! Sisyphut's horns are five delicate ivory curves that grow downward from his brow, creating a natural barrier to attacks to his eyes. The ivory itself is valued at 500gp apiece and bring the owner of each a +1 bonus to DEX (Sisyphut get a +5 to all melee attacks despite the obstructed view).

8. Nigoosh - Cheater at Cards
No one expects a dwarf to cheat at cards, which is why Nigoosh, whose hollow horns house marked cards, cold decks, peggers, gaffs, shiners and various blackout inks, gets away with it so much. He's not naturally talented at the grift but learned the hard way at his mother's knee. He's wrapped his two bull-like horns in swaddling and iron to make it look like he's wearing a helm, but don't be fooled when he goes to scratch an itch on his head. The horns are worthless, but there's a 3,000gp price on his head two empires over.

9. Tyrellian - Usurper of Innkeepers
Tyrellian has no horns to speak of; that is because his horn is in-grown, growing from the inside of his forehead back into his brain, neatly splitting it in two. This brain division has given him two distinct personalties: one a humble sniveling servant, the other an arrogant jackass. Tyrellian moves from town to town, hiring on as a floor scrubber or dish licker in isolated taverns on the outskirts of towns and then killing the owner, taking over the business, and murdering patrons in their sleep before quietly escaping and moving on. He carries no money, and his horn, if removed from his skull, will allow the holder to understand the language of fungi.

10. Grigi - Panderer to Minor Nobles
The fourth son of a third son of a king might not be high in the ranks of nobility, but high enough to be embarrassed if his betters found out about his particular kinks. That is where Grigi comes in, procuring whores and harlots to service the hanger-ons and distant relations of nobility. There's no human fetish she hasn't seen and several that she's willing to perform herself for the right price. Her triple horns resemble those of goats and are prized beyond compare by a certain nobleman for their penetrative properties.

11. Hessith - Panderer to Fat Merchants
Fat merchants might be rich but riches do not cure the foul of sight. Hessith specializes in finding beautiful maidens to service the foulest of the richly foul. She doesn't engage in any hanky-panky herself. Her sixteen horns were originally ten feet long and grow 1-inch shorter every 100 years. As soon as the horns disappear, she's been assured by the Jale God that she'll ascended to goddesshood. If she is dehorned before her death, they will grow back to their full length in three days. If ground into powder and inhaled, her horns grant a +3 to STR and CON, but such use is addictive and the PC must continue to snort the ground horn every day or take a non-replaceable –5 to HP every day they don't. If a PC manages to snort an entire ground horn over the course of the addiction, they will gain a permanent +5 to CON.

12. Qolalel - Harborer of Child Killers
Qolalel knows all the secret ways in and out of every home and hovel in the kingdom, having scouted escape routes for her band of wretched murderers. She is looked at with scorn by her half-siblings Sisyphut and Kulkurush for protecting those who waste their livelihoods. Her horns resemble a twelve-point stag's, but are harder and thinner. She molts her horns once every three years and sells them as wall decor to the wealthy; yet through her horns she can hear the whisperings in all the halls of powers in which they hang. The value of a set of her horns is 1,500gp; several necromancers and liches have purchased sets for their own use.

13. Du'u - Chamber Pot Sculptor
No one pisses without Du'u knowing. Sculptor of chamber pots used by the rich and the poor around the realm, Du'u knows what everyone has to drink, who has kidney stones, who has various unmentionable diseases, who is pregnant and who is lying about being pregnant, and he will sell this information for the right price. A normal boxwood unicorn horn grows from the top of his head.

14. Onzrwzcn - Trainer of Rats
Rats are ubiquitous in the realms and the reason for this is Onzrwzcn, half lieutenant in the rat piper corps. Gifted with a hollow silver unicorn horn, Onzwrcn drilled holes in his horn, attached a bellows by way of a sheep intestine, and learned to create music in the same manner as a bagpipe. He taught rats to follow his musical commands, training them to fetch keys, steal coins, unlock doors, undo traps, and generally harass those who need harassing by rats. His horn makes for a unique instrument and the bardic guild would play handsomely for its procurement.

15. Lefpth - Trainer of Demi-human Harlots
Working in the employ of her brood-sister Grigi, Lefpth trains halflings, dwarves, and gnomes in the finer arts of human pleasure. Her horn is a small twisted lump of barely protruding keratin no larger than a child's thumb. However, this lump is extra sensitive and merely touching it sends Lefpth into orgasmic tremors. The scrapings and clipping from this horn are a powerful aphrodisiac when mixed with red wine.

16. Redmer - Cleanser of Menstrual Rags
Redmer, whose four horns protrude from his knees and feet, is a thin, sickly looking atacorn whose entire existence has been spent washing the menstrual rags of the upper class. Twisted and bent, Redmer appears to be an ancient, haggard woman when in fact he is the youngest of all the atacorns; he was born elderly and gets one minute younger every year. His horns currently hold no power, but when he reaches the age of ten his horns will give him the ability to walk on water.

17. Nalonem - Goblinoid Lice Picker
Sought out by all the goblin-like races as the finest lice picker in the realms, Nalonem's horns appear more like fine strands of baleen atop her head. The tough rows of horns are a natural comb and she gets handsomely paid to groom goblin shamans and hobgoblin queens. The goblin king has offered to buy her horns for all the wealth in his second-favorite treasure vault; so far Nalonem has declined. If her horns are separated from her head, a tattoo that covers her entire scalp will be visible. This is a map of the Labyrinth of Myzithra on the island of Anari.

The Three Stone Heads of Jergen Groot

The Three Stone Heads of Jergen Groot
Alignment: Lawful
Save: Magic-User 12
XP Value: 7,000

Jergen Groot was a simple man who wanted nothing more than a simple life. All his life he had done what he was told: first by his parents, then by his vicar, then by his wife. From sunup to sundown he tended his goats, plowed his fields, smoked his pipe, and slept the sleep of the just. He lived a dull but happy life for 52 years.

In his 53rd year, a local baron (in truth a wealthy adventurer recently given leave to create a barony out in the hinterlands) arrived one night to conscript all able-bodied men in the village to defend his keep against a horde of foreign invaders. Having never lifted a weapon beyond a fire poker (and then even only in jest) and having never even seen the baron, let alone known how to address one, Jergen stepped forward and asked why the men of the village should fight for the baron when clearly the baron had done nothing but demand taxes that the villagers paid with nothing to show for it.

The baron cut off Jergen's head with one swipe of his blade.

The Jale God saw this act, and out of amusement caused another head to reappear on Jergen's shoulders.

Shocked, the baron cut off this head, too.

And the Jale God repeated his trick.

Believing this to be the work of necromancers in his midst, the baron had Jergen and all his relations drawn and quartered. Then he himself cut off Jergen's head yet one more time. He demanded his henchmen burn Jergen's body and the three heads in a roaring bonfire in the village green. The fire quickly grew out of control and burned the entire village and the surrounding wilderness to the ground.

The Jale God laughed.

And the three heads of Jergen Groot survived the flames, having turned to stone in the wash of flames.

The Jale God kept the three heads of Jergen Groot for many years. Then, he lost them in a bet with another minor god, who in turn lost them in a bet with another, and so on and so on until they found their way back into the world, lost to the ages.

It is rumored that the first head of Jergen Groot can give the gift of True Seeing to those who place a tear upon one of its cheeks.

It is said the second head of Jergen Groot can grant those who place a garland of daisies on its brow the courage of 10 men, the strength of 5 men, and the luck of the devil himself.

It is said the third head of Jergen Groot will turn the hand that touches it to stone.

Where the first head goes, the others follow. He who possesses all three heads of Jergen Groot has a 5% chance of receiving a visit from the Jale God himself, who will attempt to win them back.

Uroborialis, Petty Goddess of Instinctual Wisdom

Name: Uroborialis, Petty Goddess of Instinctual Wisdom
Symbol: a flame encircled by a snake swallowing its own tail
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 80' (40')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 60 (11 HD)
# Attacks: 3 (2 bite, 1 crush)
Damage: 2d8/2d8/2d8, poison
Save: C10
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None, as wisdom is its own reward.
XP: 7, 227

While her symbol is often engraved on walls in temples and shrines, tombs and towers, hovels and castles, Uroborialis herself has no organized worshipers or clerical orders. The gods themselves often seek her counsel, although they are wary of her uncanny powers, for she owes her existence to the life-force of every being that brings forth young and thus has no need for the constant adulation sought by other gods.

This Goddess of Instinctual Wisdom appears as two female heads at either ends of an undulating, serpentine body encrusted with sparkling scarlet scales. While both heads are strikingly beautiful, one appears as a queenly grey-haired priestess and the other is a red-headed, befreckled young woman. Each head can carry on separate conversations, finish each others sentences, or speak in unison—sometimes doing all three at once.

Uroborialis has a strong association with fire, as she can use any flame source as a portal between the godly and material planes. Thus, she is impervious to fire-based attacks. It is said that in the olden times, when worship of petty gods was widely practiced, ardent followers of Uroborialis would paint a flame on their foreheads as a sign of their piety. As she never answered any of her followers' prayers, her presence in the pantheon of petty gods was eventually forgotten.

Uroborialis is extremely wise and venerated among the petty godlings as the wisest among them, and it is she who is tasked with the job of creating innate knowledge of survival in all creatures before birth. To do this, she must keep up a constant stream of banter and observations for the winds to carry the knowledge to those who will need it in their time of need. In a long ago age, she created a group of seven divine homunculi to assist in keeping up her banter and pondering the nature of the multiverse; they ramble the world engaging in petty observations and debates over the minutiae of creation. Although Uroborialis is in constant telepathic contact with these twee philosophers, she allows them free reign to explore what mysteries they may as long as they are not in harm's way, in which case she will manifest to interact with any interlopers.

She reacts best to creatures with high Wisdom scores. Those with WIS scores under 9 often find themselves acting purely on instinct within her presence, revealing their inborn natures not tamed by their respective cultures. Uroborialis will not banter with any creature whose WIS is under 9 because of this effect. She tolerates those with WIS scores of 10–15, and engages in deep philosophical philandering with those above 16. Spellcasters who hold a discussion with Uroborialis have a 20% chance to permanently gain the ability to double cast a spell under 4th level before needing to re-memorize the magicks needs to cast it. Anyone with a WIS score above 10 who engages in conversation will also find they have gained the ability to converse with any intelligent creature in that creature's native tongue for the length of the conversation for 1d12 weeks.

Uroboialis gets three attacks. She can crush victims in her powerful coils for 2d8 crushing damage. Additionally, each of her heads can bite for 2d8 damage apiece. For each successful bite, the victim must Save vs. Poison or suffer a numbing paralysis within 1d4 rounds.

Uroborialis has the unnerving ability to unhinge either of her jaws and she will attempt to swallow paralyzed victims; swallowed victims suffer 3d6 points of damage per round while inside her belly. Victims will not be digested, but will be regurgitated out the opposite end from which they were swallowed in three rounds. PCs who survive passing through the goddess's gut receive a permanent Blessing per the Bless spell and the paralysis is lifted.

Otherwise, the paralysis can only be cured by a Blessing from a cleric of 10th level or higher whose WIS score is 16 or above. When the victim is cured of the paralysis in this manner, he or she will have found the answer to one of their life's most perplexing questions, but will be unable to explain it to anyone else.

If she is successfully attacked with an intelligent weapon of non-lawful alignment, there is a 30% chance the intelligence in the weapon will be released, as it has gained the knowledge of true self-awareness and will attempt to flee from itself, thereby creating a self-contained nuclear reaction that warps the space-time continuum and merges the trapped intelligence back with its original self at the time of its birth.

Uroborialis will attempt to flee if she is reduced to below 10 hit points. She unhinges one of her jaws, tucks one head inside the other, and rolls towards the nearest flame source to escape to the godly plane.

REACTION TABLE (2d6)
Hostile: Attacks on sight.
3-5 Unfriendly: Speaks cryptically, usually in riddles, puns, and obscure languages.
6-8 Neutral: Ignores PCs entirely.
9-11 Indifferent: Will offer straight-forward advice.
12 Friendly: Will grant a boon or truthfully answer any question in exchange for a long philosophical discussion.

She is often found in the company of Verthish, the Petty God of Single Pips, who himself is a manifestation of the Jale God. He finds her constant stream of insightful chatter soothing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pherosathoola, Petty Goddess of Sexual Fear


Name: Pherosathoola, Petty Goddess of Sexual Fear
Symbol: Vagina dentate encircled by a snake
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 56 (10 HD)
# Attacks: 1 crush / 2 claw / Special
Damage: 1d10 / 2d6 x 2 / 2d4 + special
Save: F10
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: none on self; XX in nest.
XP: 3, 100

Pherosathoola has the torso and upper limbs of a beautiful human female, while her trunk is that of a large white snake. She is approximately 20 feet long from head to tail. Her head is a tangled, writhing mass of 12 venomous red snakes. Each snake imparts a distinct poisonous effect.

Pherosathoola was originally a rusalka who practiced daily devotions to the Great Goddess in an attempt to ascend to immortality. She accidentally swallowed the fertilized eggs of a golden goose and gained a millennium's worth of mild magical powers, including the ability to assume human form, but as she was tied to her pond, she could not wander.

One year she lusted after a young shepherd who stopped to quench himself from the waters of her pond every day. Her longing grew so great that she rose from the waters in her human form and seduced the young man. Unbeknownst to Pherosathoola, this shepherd was favored by Curdle, the Petty Goddess of Blind Milkmaids, as he tended the sheep for the Order of Amelkin which was devoted to her worship. In her rage, Curdle appealed to the greater gods to mete out a divine punishment. An unknown god responded to her plea and turned Pherosathoola into her current form, punishing her for her lustful ways by ascending her to some of the most baleful duties in all of petty godhood: birthing succubi & incubi.

Anyone who meets Pherosathoola's gaze will find themselves afraid to engage in sexual intercourse with anyone but her for 1d4 months. She can dispel this effect at will. Her visits to victims come as they are asleep, and victims believe they dreamed of the tryst when it indeed took place.

She will have sex with both males and females, transferring sperm from human males into human females and thus impregnating them; the resulting child will always be an incubus.

She also impregnates herself with the seed of the males she lays with, resulting in clutches of 10–50 eggs every 2 weeks. Incubated in their underground nests, these eggs hatch and the offspring are always succubi. Succubi hatchlings do not breath or have a pulse until they are seven days old. She will vigorously defend her nest from intruders.

Anyone who lays eyes on Pherosathoola must Save vs. Spell or be Charmed; this effect wears off only with a Blessing from a cleric of 12th level or higher. She herself can dispel this effect at will.

Pherosathoola has several attacks. She can crush a victim with her powerful, constrictor-like coils (1d10) she can can claw with her razor-sharp iron nails (2d6/2d6), and 1 snake in her hair can bite (2d4 + special). Each venomous snake on her head has different damage and effects; see the table below (Save vs. Poison or suffer effect).

Snake Bite Effects

1. Carcass Scavenger poison: paralyzed for 2d4 turns
2. Giant Centipede poison: become overwhelming sick and move at half normal movement for 10 days.
3. Sea Dragon poison: instant death.
4. Dart frog poison: fall into death-like coma. 1 in 6 chance fellow adventurers believe PC is dead and proceed with funeral rites.
5. Subterranean Locust poison: become incapacitated for 1 turn.
6. Lust potion: immediately attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with Pherosathoola.
7. Acid: suffer 1d8 acid damage.
8. Spitting Cobra poison: blinded until cure blindness spell administered by caster of victim's level or higher.
9. Love potion: become enamored with random party member and attempt to woo him/her. Effects only dispelled after sexual congress with that heartthrob.
10. Fear potion: run away hysterically screaming as if turned undead for 1d12 turns.
11. Giant Spider poison: suffer uncontrollable spasms for 5 turns, then suffer paralysis until Blessed by a cleric of 12th level or higher.
12. Sea Snake poison: instant death.

Anyone killed by one of Pherosathoola's snakes will be used to feed her most recent brood of hatchling succubi.

Pherosathoola currently has no clerics, as their chief duty is to mate with her once a day.

REACTION TABLE(2d6)

2 Friendly: Will openly greet players and be helpful. She will not use her natural Charm to ill effect and will direct her succubi children to leave the adventurers alone.
3–5 Indifferent: Will not show herself, but will not run if discovered or engaged. Will not dispel her natural Charm, but will not use it to her advantage.
6-8 Neutral: Ignores PCs; will not engage even if approached, preferring to vanish back to the godling plane.
9-11 Unfriendly: Will use natural Charm to her advantage and attempt to mate with as many PCs as possible.
12 Hostile: Attacks nearby targets.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Primer

I'll be participating in Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day on April 17. S&W was my intro into the wacky, wild world of the OSR when I returned to the hobby a few years ago.

I'm not exactly sure what I'll be posting, but rest assured that it will be as gonzo as my usual content-heavy posts.

If you haven't done it yet, be sure to check out the free online d20 S&W SRD.


S&W comes in three flavors: Complete, Core, and WhiteBox.

Complete will cost you some cash, but the other two are available as free PDFs. You can download the Core rules for free here, and the WhiteBox rules for free here. There's also a support site with some free downloads here.

There's an active Google+ community here.

There's a forum that needs some loving here.

Finally, be sure to check out Mythmere's blog for more resources (and if you want to see some really old stuff of Mythmere's check out his old C&C site on Tripod.com!).

And this is also an excuse to yet again post my favorite RPG cover image from the WhiteBox 2nd printing:

Conan Contest Now Closed

Well. That was a disappointment.

Having extended the deadline by another week, I received only ONE additional entry. If you entered, there's a 50% chance you will win—talk about great odds!

My little blog is obviously not a hot-spot for contest activity. I wish I had the clout of Erik over at Tenkar's Tavern, who has companies ponying up prizes left and right every time he coughs.

So. The contest is between Dylan Hartwell's  "The Cave of Nanoc" and Ted Bonnah's "The Bathhouse of Blood".

This is going to be a tough decision. I will announce the winner sometime later this week.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Behold! Conan Approaches!


Today is the last day to enter the deadline-extended CONAN CONTEST! Get your entries in before 11:59:59 PM Central!



EDIT: Just a few hours, left folks! Send your entry to:

 mwschmeer AT gmail DOT com

Friday, April 5, 2013

The 12 Eidolons

THE EIDOLONS are twelve (12) radiantly magical, ancient stone figures which impart specific, spell-like effects on those in their presence. The exact origins of the Eidolons have been lost to the ravages of time, but they are rumored to have been crafted by a cabal of petty godlings as gifts to their most beloved worshippers. If all twelve Eidolons are gathered together, they can be used to bind a single godling to the material plane by removing its immortality.

All Eidolons are statues carved from highly polished marble that are approximately one-and-a-half feet tall and weigh 15-20 pounds. The effects of Eidolons cannot be dispelled by magical means unless otherwise noted.

1. FEAR
Exquisitely crafted from dark, amber-colored stone, this Wyvern figure radiates energy of pure fear. Anyone coming within a 30' radius of its presences will run away, hysterical, at full running movement for 20 rounds. PCs with a CON of 15 or higher may make a Save vs. Fear based on their CON score; success means they can rally their courage and proceed unaffected. This Eidolon currently resides in an evil cultists temple.

2. HATE
This highly detailed serpentine statue is a realistic representation of a Spitting Cobra, carved from a block of red-veined black marble. The statue imparts a 20' foot radius of overpowering hate, so much so that any PC that enters the area of effect will become despondent with self-hatred and suffer as if under a Feeblemind spell if they fail a Save vs. Spell with a -5 penalty. This statue currently resides in the treasury vault of a keep that has fallen to ruin.

3. SLEEP
Currently residing in the nursery wing of the castle of the Goblin King, this chalk-colored marble statue of a cat in repose makes anyone who comes within a 25' radius fall asleep within 2 turns. PCs get no save, but this effect can be delayed for an additional turn by imbibing a potion of wakefulness.

4. ILLUSION
A dusty pink dragonfly, this Eidolon is currently on display in the private chapel in the home of a wealthy noble family. It radiates one of three effects that last three times as long as the normal spell descriptions (roll 1d6):

1-2 Color Spray
3-4 Dancing Lights
5-6 Hypnotic Pattern

PCs with CON scores of 13 or higher may attempt to Save vs. Spell to avert the effect.

5. ENVY
Made of highly polished green marble flecked with golden highlights, this rough carving of a fox terrier infuses the air with a 15' radius of jealous rage. PCs entering the area of effect must Save vs. Spell or will become envious of their friends, covet the possessions of others, begrudge the good fortunes of their fellow adventurers, etc. This effect will last for three days after moving out of the area of effect. During this time, they will act rashly on at least one of their feelings of discontent. The whereabouts of this Eidolon are unknown.

6. PRIDE
This lion carved from purple marble is located in a collapsed dungeon. A 50'-long cone of arrogance emanates from this statue, bathing all intelligent and semi-intelligent creatures with excessively high feelings of their abilities and achievements. PCs must Save vs. Spell; failure means the affected gain a +4 bonus to all feats of strength or displays of dexterity. This effect lasts for 1d4 days. Then they suffer a -4 to feats of strength or dexterity for 1d4 days.

7. LECHERY
Carved from a rare chunk of blue-black marble, this bull-shaped Eidolon creates unrestrained and promiscuous sexuality in all who come within a 10' radius. PCs coming within the area of effect will immediately become violently aroused and attempt intercourse as quickly and frequently as physically possible with any sentient being available. No pregnancies will result from this compelled coupling, and none of the PCs will remember having committed these acts. PCs with CHA scores of 10 or lower may Save vs. Spell to avoid these effects.

8. WRATH
Shaped to resemble a snarling bear standing to attack, this rough-hewn hunk of black-flecked red stone creates an overpowering sense of anger in all who come within a 10' radius. PCs caught in the area of effect become belligerent and indignant, and work themselves into a berzerker rage, gaining a +2 on melee attacks and doing twice the normal damage for 1d4 rounds per PC level. The PC will have no memory of flying into a rage or of the battle. This statue is currently housed in a shaman's hut in a remote region of the wilderness. Eating a compote of mint leaves, black currants, and juniper berries can negate the effect.

9. GLUTTONY
Nimis, a petty god of overindulgence, created this pig-shaped, orange-colored Eidolon for his favorite prostitute. The stone imparts an insatiable desire for food and drink in a 30' radius, and affected PCs will be able to eat and imbibe to no ill effect for as long as they are in the stone's presence. They will feel no urge to void bladder or bowel, they will not vomit, they will not get excessively drunk but only feel a nice, happy numbness from any alcohol ingested. However, once moving out of the area of effect, the PCs will immediately feel the results of their carousing and suffer a -4 to all melee attacks, saves, and checks for 2 days. The stone is rumored to be housed at Gladinia's House of Unspeakable Pleasures.

10. GREED
This pale-yellow image of a croaking frog has been passed from thieves guild to thieves guild over the centuries, as each has gotten rich in turn. It is often displayed near a secret entrance, and it is customary for thieves to rub its highly-shined vocal sac for luck. Touching the statue in this way imparts a +5% to all checks of a thief's abilities for 1/2 day. Additionally, this Eidolon radiates an aura of greed, imparting those within 10' of its presence an overwhelming desire to possess wealth. Thieves guilds will send this Eidolon to guilds which have fallen on hard times, thereby bolstering the brotherhood of thieves throughout the realms.

11. LISTLESSNESS
Imparting a 25' radius of fatigue, this goat-shaped azure stone makes those in its presence fall into a state of languor. PCs fall into a state of pleasant physical weakness and lose interest in actively pursuing their previous activities for 1d4 days. While in the stone's presence they are also unable to perform melee attacks, but can parry attacks at a -4 penalty. Listless PCs are extremely difficult to get interested in doing anything other than philosophizing about the meaning of life. PCs with INT above 15 can Save vs. Spell to avoid these effects. The statue is currently buried in the waste pile of a medium-sized city.

12. VAINGLORY
On a failure of a Save vs. Spell, those in the presence of the Eidolon of Vainglory can't help loudly boasting about their deeds and those of their friends and acquaintances in the most heroic of ways. Carved from a slab of royal purple marble to resemble an elk stag at the height of the rutting season, it was rumored this was a gift to the founder of the Skaldic Guild himself. The statue emits a 10' radius of prideful energy that creates an effervescent feeling of vanity and a high-sense of self-worth. On a failure of a Save vs. Spell, those in the presence of the Eidolon of Vainglory can't help boasting about their deeds and those of their friends and acquaintances in the most heroic of ways. They also gain a +3 to all CHA-based rolls, and spell-casters regain any previously spent spells. All effects wear off after a day. Some say it's currently hidden away at the Bardic Academy for Minor Poets; others say it's behind the bar at the Wrinkled Tit.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wälläkatüntün

Wälläkatüntün (minion of Verthish, Petty God of Single Pips, an aspect of the Jale God)
20th Level Magic User whose brain is housed in an Iron Golem

# Encountered: 1 (unique)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60’ (20’)
Armor Class: 1
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 240 (54)
Attacks: 1 (punch or stomp) + spell attacks (casts as 20th level MU)
Damage: 5d12 (punch) or 10d10 (stomp)
Save: MU 20
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: none

Thyrfyt Dyfkyt was a low-level apprentice in the Order of the Wizards of Illustrious Light when he stumbled across a crumbling parchment scroll in the academy's library that had sat untranslated for hundreds of years. Written in a knotted, ropey, thread-like pictographic language not even the most learned of scholars could transcribe, the scroll delighted and intrigued young Dyfkyt. He decided to make translating the scroll one of his life's endeavors, so he stole it from the library. It was not missed.

For his main studies in the school of magic he focused on inter-dimensional dice probability and alchemical mechanics, discovering several of  the immutable laws of probability that exist to this day (rolled stone moss properties, handbirds being worth more than bushbirds, the foolishness of betting against gambling den owners,  etc.). His findings gained much renown, so much so that he soon found himself in the favor of  the Jale God. Dyfkyt convinced His Jaleness to manifest as Verthish, the Petty God of Single Pips, so they could secretly visit gambling dens together.  Because of this, Dyfkyt became one of the godling's most trusted minions.

After decades of communicating with demons, gods, and godlings; crafting magical weapons for wealthy adventurers; and inventing potions of various effect, Dyfkyt retired to a hermit's life, taking up residence in an isolated cave that he expanded into a small collection of comfortably appointed rooms.

In his 79th year he finally cracked the mystery of the ancient scroll. The last remaining dwarf from a party of adventurers sold Dyfkyt a small fragment of an ancient manuscript unearthed from a lost city buried beneath the sands of a far-off land. From that fragment (which was nothing more than a nursery rhyme transcribed in three different languages), Dyfkyt discovered his scroll was written by visitors from another world. The scroll detailed the rituals needed to open a magic mirror portal to the alien homeworlds. He opened such a portal, stepped through, and was whisked away to Iukkoth where the Mi-Go reign on the edge of the pit where the dreaded Ksaksa-Kluth dwells.

Greeted by the Mi-Go as a human ambassador, Dyfkyt was imprinted with the name "Wälläkatüntün", which in Mi-Goian means "walker between worlds". While on Iukkoth,  Wälläkatüntün eventually discovered the dread space magics of The Old Ones inscribed on the skins of T'choskoids in the living library of the  Mi-Go beneath the warm black sea. He secretly committed as much knowledge to memory as he could and fled for home through another portal before his hosts could throw him into the Great Pit of Ksaka-Kluth to digest for a million eons. The Mi-Go consider this a high honor for human ambassadors.

Once back in his study, Wälläkatüntün scribed what alien magics he could remember to a spell book, which he then locked and warded and hid away (it has only recently been discovered by a number of heretical scholars).

Although he had assumed he had been gone but a number of days, Wälläkatüntün had been on Iukkoth for a thousand years.  He quickly constructed a giant iron golem and, using the magics learned in his travels on the alien sands, transferred his brain into the golem so he could easily travel among the stars without suffering the usually necrotic effects of frequent portal travel. This enraged Ywehbobbobhewy, Lord of Waters, King of Mirrors, Patriarch of the Most Profound, the petty god of magic mirror portals, as His Profoundness feeds on the flesh-bound souls of those who travel between worlds.

Protected by the Jale God for thousands of years, he travelled among the planes and between  the planets searching the space ways for the location of  Xoth where it is rumored The Old Ones dwell.   Having learned the secrets of travel in time and space, he himself was nearly godlike in his ability to appear and disappear through conjured portals. Wälläkatüntün eventually went mad from all he had seen and learned about the invisible worlds between the worlds.

Wälläkatüntün met his final destruction at  Ywehbobbobhewy's hands at the Battle of the Waters of Kirkadi at the end of the Flame Wars of Jubrini (which Wälläkatüntün had started in an attempt to reach Xoth). Wälläkatüntün nearly managed to send his life-force back to Iukkoth; all but a small slice of his soul made it through the portal before his destruction. That slice is now housed in the The Balanced Quarterstaff, which belongs to Verthish, who collected it from the battlefield centuries afterward.