Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Oakheart Academy for Wayward Girls - Part One

Tucked away in the northwest of The Hexenbracken, you will find The Oakheart Academy for Wayward Girls.

The Academy was founded by Gristel Oakheart as a place for noble families to send their daughters of rebellious or otherwise undesirable disposition. The Hexenbracken was rife with witchcraft and dark sorcery. At the Oakheart Academy, the girls would be cured of any transgressive, mystical tendencies.
However, a dark secret lurks far beneath the dormitories and halls of the academy. Gristel Oakheart is high priestess of the loathsome Juiblex, the Faceless Lord and god of slimes, jellies, and oozes.

It is rumored that Gristel herself is using many of the students in evil rituals in order to create a gateway for the foul god to enter into this world. Many students have gone missing and there have been a  few who have left seek help from the outside. Most of these are brought back by Gristel's sentries or are devoured by the aboleths in the waters throughout The Hexenbracken.
Furthermore, Gristel has been performing experiments on students, as well as on herself, to create the perfect consort for Juiblex. Many of her experiments have resulted in horrific slime hybrid abominations that she keeps locked away in a hidden vault deep beneath the Academy.

  1. Prisoners and test subjects are magically teleported to this room. The doors to the North, South and East are locked. The west wall of the room is covered with several hooks hung with leather aprons and gloves. Several candelabras illuminate the room. On the wall next to the East Door is a lantern covered in red glass. When the lantern is removed, a switch to open the East Door is revealed. However, as it opens, an enormous black pudding (AC 6 HD 10 MV 80' (40') No of Attacks 1 3-24 dam SV F5) falls from the ceiling.
  2. The floor of this room is covered in magical symbols that glow a sinister green color. Along the east wall are 8 metal amphoras sealed with wire and wax. Each one holds a virulent slime of varying hue. If opened, the slime will explode into the face of whomever is holding the vessel. Save vs. poison or die. 4d6 damage is save is successful.
    The symbols on the floor are actually carved into the stone and the greenish glow is from a green slime   seeping through the cuts and cracks. Anyone who steps on a symbol will be attacked by the slime. (AC 10 HD 2 MV 3' (1') No of Attacks: 1 SV F1)
  3. This room is where some of Gristel's vile experiments occurred. There is a stone tub in the center of the room where a grey ooze (AC 8 HD 3 MV 10' (3') No. of Attacks: 1 2-16 dam SV F2) is working away at dissolving a bright white skeleton.
    The door to the South West is sealed and if observed closely, will seem to "breathe" and "bulge". If opened, a torrent of slimes, oozes, puddings, and gelatinous cubes will explode from the door, filling the room and slowly drowning and dissolving everyone it's wake. The twisting corridor beyond and stairway down are filled with the undulating, shapeless jellies of Gristel's creation.
  4. Room of the Cubes - 24 Gelatinous Cubes (AC 8 HD 4 MV 60' (40') No of Attacks 1 2-8 dam + paralysis SV F2) routinely slither through this room and down the narrow passages that lead to Gristel's lair. Gristel throws rotting meat from the dining commons, and the remains of victims to her cubes regularly. Gristel can walk freely through the cubes without injury. 
  5. Gristel's Lair - There is a 25% chance that Gristel will be in her lair - a room filled with all manner of magical equipment - bubbling test tubes, glass vials, stone amphoras, and in the South East corner of the room - a stone well filled with bubbling green slime.The door to the North West leads to another corridor that is filled with cubes, oozes, and slimes. Gristel is impervious to any of their damaging effects.
    Lesser Slime LordAC 0
    HD 10 (80 hp)
    MV 80' (60')
    No. of Attacks - see below
    Damage - see below
    SV MU10
    Gristel can cast the following spells four times per day - Disintegrate, Teleport, Transmute Flesh to Slime, Transmute Metal to Slime, Wall of Fire, Wall of Ice, Wall of Slime. She can also polymorph self into slime at will, and Gate 1d10 oozes or slimes four times per day. She will not battle with intruders, but rather will teleport them away to the mass of slime beneath the vault or into Room 6 where her sentries lay in wait.
  6. Guard Room - Gristel's Sentries await instructions here. There are 1d8 at any given time (AC 0 HD 6 MV 60' (40') No. of Attacks 1 Dam by weapon SV F8) They are tall humanoid figures in black armor. Beneath their helmets and armor, the heads are covered in burlap sacks and the bodies of the sentries are comprised of writhing black and green slime. They will attack with long swords or axes. Players must save vs. paralysis if damaged during armed combat. When defeated, the slime within the sentries will spill out of the armor and attack (AC 4 HD 4 MV 40' (20') No of Attacks 1 2-12 Damage plus save vs. paralysis)
I need a shower after writing this post...

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Map in the Old Notebook

Found an old notebook with this map inside. I used to fill this small notebook on breaks and when it was slow. This is from 2001? 2002?

So we're looking at the continent of Nawayar in the north and the archipelago of countless islands that made up the Island Kingdoms. Several of the islands were connected by high stone bridges and the shallow sea is filled with stone blocks and ruins. 

Some of the islands made up a confederacy of islands called The Lighthouse Kingdoms. Some of the larger islands had their own independent capital cities. Among other things, this helped to dissuade piracy. 

Nawayar featured a few distinct regions - The Riverlands were an expanse of swampy wetlands that were ideal of smuggler hide-outs and the occasional sunken temple rising from among the reeds. The Scrublands and The Sagelands were great expanses of rolling hills. The Sagelands boasted a thriving wine industry while The Scrublands were more desolate. Sort of like the difference between the Napa Valley and Modesto.

The great cities of Nawayar are: Riverton - bustling port city on the delta of the great river. Casiel - secret ancient city of the Moon Elves. Nawa - mysterious and dangerous place between the great desert and the high jagged mountains. Lom - a beautiful metropolis of artists, philosophers and scholars. South Point - a gloomy city battered by the sea and the salty wind.

The large island of Nuvan to the south was covered in active volcanoes. The lava flow birthed an ever-growing reef of volcanic rock. Also there are many rumors of labyrinthine lava tubes that lead far beneath the ocean.

Likewise, the land of Oris is said to be inhabited by a mighty tribe of Fire Giants, who build immense castles on the sides of the fiery mountains.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Hobgoblin Queen's Birthday - The Throne of Ngorluz

Although the Great Map Contest over at Tenkar's Tavern is over. I still wanted to share my notes and ideas for the wonderful Dyson map - The Rose River


~Part Three~

1d10 Bugbear Guards with long blowguns and scimitars

Lair of the Bruggler. He will attack passing ships with a large trident and club. In his lair are several humans and goblinoids shackled to the wall. If freed, they will help lead a revolt against the Ngorluz and her court.

Patrols of Goblins and River Dwarves on the bridge with composite bows and flaming arrows of course. Beneath the bridge are two ogres with clubs who will amush and destroy any passing boats.

The Entry Hall
This cavern is blocked by a large iron gate. A goblin in a spiked helm sits here in a cage. When given the password, he blows a whistle to an ogre who tugs a massive chain to open the gate.

Two long tables are here covered with all manner of brightly colored packages. Gifts for the Queen. At least five of the parcels are explosive. One large package holds 1d20 angry stirges and another holds a quasit. The punch bowl contains a thick, purple liquid. If disturbed, a purple-berry punch water weird erupts from the bowl.

The Throne Room of Ngorluz
The room is filled with thick, greasy smoke from burning torches and braziers. A huge throng has crowded in to pay homage to the Hobgoblin Queen. Ngorluz sits upon a throne made of bones, broken spears and swords, shields and scraps of wood. She drinks from a large iron helmet which may or may not still have the remains of a head inside.
Ngorluz is 7 feet tall, she has four arms, four breasts, large tusk-like fangs that jut out from between her lips. Her hair is long and black and bristly. It hangs in thick ropy braids down to her knees.
Ngorluz's court -

1d20 Hobgoblins
2d20 Goblins
1d10 Bugbears
2d10 feral jackals
1d6 Brugglers
1d4 Ogres
1d4 Hobgoblin Champions
1d4 Hobgoblin Witches
1d4 Hobgoblin Shaman

If Ngorluz's life is in danger, she will teleport herself outside to where her barge is waiting at G

The Landing
Ngorluz's barge is a large craft made up of bits and pieces of shipwrecks. She sits on a large wooden throne and shouts orders to her crew of 16 men, ogres, and large goblinoids who take up the oars.
Another 1d20 archers man the rails and an ogre stands at the stern with a large pole to help steer the barge. He also carries a large whip and a pole with a sharp metal hook at the end.
Ngorluz's royal bodyguards are also present on the boat. They are 1d4 Bruggers and 1d4 Bugbears.

Bruggler info is here
Ragnar - Bugbear God of Death by Remo di Sconzi

Ngorluz by Me

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Devilmount is Here!

pudgy fingers grippin' like a chocotaco

Let me preface this with a brief story.

It happened about a year ago, when me and the tribe took up residence in a large house just outside of Baltimore. The house was nestled in a safe little cul-de-sac. All the neighbors were friendly, rowdy on weekends, but passed out silent by 9 pm. It was quiet during the weekdays. Tranquil even. The only sounds from outside were birds and the occasional dog.
So one quiet afternoon in late spring, I heard a commotion outside. A spry Labrador puppy had jumped over a backyard fence and was bounding happily towards the mail-carrier. She was a large hysterical woman and she was screaming at the dog.

The dog had stopped. Happy and sitting on his haunches, tongue out, happy.

That's when I noticed she had a can of pepper spray in her right hand.
I ran out to the porch. I figured maybe I could get the sweet and clearly satanic puppy over to my yard until his family returned home. Thankfully one of the neighbors across the way called the dog to her and he ran into her house.The mail-carrier began to explain to the neighbor that she was terrified of dogs and when she felt like she was in danger, she would scream the "blood of Jesus" mantra.

The neighbor lit a Virginia Slim and nodded. Later, the neighbor confided in me that the mail carrier was usually a little "off" but that was the first time she had ever heard the mail-carrier fully invoke the blood of Jesus.

Anyway, I was thinking about that day when I saw the same mail-carrier drop off a book-shaped package on my porch today. I knew what lay within - DEVILMOUNT - Jack Shear's appropriation of the legendary lost Kickstarter mega-dungeon. I wished that the mail carrier could have seen the cover of the wonderfully grim book she had delivered. I'm sure she would have flung it from her mail sack and sprayed it with mace. Anyway, the book is all dark and glossy and likes to show off my fingerprints. Inside it is filled with inspired devilry and ghoulish delights.

As a loner kid I would occasionally buy a module and run a couple characters of my own creation through it, like a Choose Your Own Fighting Wolf Way book. I think I will drink some Sucaba and some daytime cold elixir and run it for my imaginary shadow people friends late one night. Or perhaps I'll gather together some unsuspecting players together and run it in the guise of something kinder and gentler.

Well done Mr. Shear. Well done.

Search & Replace Dungeon

Zak Smith posted this exercise recently - the Search and Replace Dungeon - sort of a mad-libs for dungeon stocking and creation. I made three of them. I decided to post the most cohesive here. I did go back and make a few changes and I keep finding more problems, but whatever. Here it is. Enjoy and go make your own.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Tomb of Karazuul - A Monday Micro Map

Shadowdrift Hex 4008 - Valley of the Serpent Moon

I drew this map on the back of a business card while waiting on hold last Monday. I decided to write a brief adventure around  it.

A sudden avalanche has revealed a cavern that leads to the entry chamber of The Tomb of Karazuul. Karazuul was an ancient and powerful wizard. According to legend, the tomb is filled with untold treasure and jewels.

1. The Doorstep
A low cavern opens into a carved stone passage. The passage drops down into a steep stairway. The steps are narrow and steep and carved into the stone. The shaft drops down 100' and opens into a large chamber. 
The door to the tomb is immense. Over 60' tall. The door is painted with a vivid depiction of a wizard (presumably Karazuul himself) entwined with a multi-armed demon. A narrow shaft carved into the mountain carries a beam of sunlight into the chamber, illuminating the colors on the door. At certain times during the day the beam refracts through a crystal set somewhere in the shaft, filling the chamber full of strange, shimmering light. The effect lasts for five minutes.
During this time, everyone viewing the door must save vs. spells or experience one of the following effects-
  1. Roll twice.
  2. Player is attacked by an illusionary copy of the demon pictured on the door. Anyone who failed their save will also see the demon.
    Illusionary Demon - AC - 0, HP - NA, 6 attacks each round 1d8 (tentacles/arms), Move 60', Save as N/A (immune to magical attacks)
    After two rounds of combat, the demon will vanish and the door will open
  3. Player receives a telepathic message from Karazuul himself - "You have been chosen. Kill your companions and take your place upon my throne" After the message, the door will open for the player.
  4. Player is dazed. They are unable to speak or see for 1d6 rounds. Player must save vs. spells a second time. If failed they must again roll on this table.
  5. Player becomes obsessed with a vision of a key, a crown, and a curved dagger. They feel compelled to find these three items and will do whatever it takes to find them and keep them for their self. 
  6. Player loses 1d4 points of constitution and corresponding bonuses until they leave the tomb.
  7. Player goes into a spasm and begins speaking in tongues. Their glossolalia eventually triggers a password and the door opens.
  8. All of the above.

2. The Entry Chamber
This chamber is 80' long by 30' wide. At the far end of the room is a dais with an sarcophagus on top. 
The rest of the chamber is completely empty and the heavy stench of decay is in the air. 
As the players make their way through the chamber, the air gets heavier and the stench becomes nauseating. 
As the players get closer to the dais, they will notice that the sarcophagus is covered in carvings of horrific faces. Each face's "mouth" is exuding the stench. It can be seen as a wispy, curling vapor from the mouths. 
If the players open the sarcophagus  they will discover a mummified corpse. Within moments, the mummy erupts from the coffer and attacks with it's fists.

AC 3, HD 5, Attacks 1d12 (+ disease), Save as F5, Move 60' (20')

When the mummy is defeated, it will burst into a putrescent goo. Everyone in a 20' radius will be hit for 1d4 damage. Inside the pool of goo and wrappings is a long golden key. Inside the sarcophagus is 478 gold pieces and a golden amulet with a ruby set inside. The amulet is worth at least 500 gold pieces.
On the back wall of the dais is a mural depicting scenes from the life of the ancient wizard. A secret panel can be discovered after much searching. 

This passage is narrow and slopes down at a nearly 45 degree angle. Halfway down, a large pair of double doors are on the west wall.

4. The Chamber of Stone Warriors 
This chamber has a high ceiling that can be barely discerned. The room is filled with large statues of warriors with skeletal faces. Each one is 16' - 20' tall. At the foot of each statue is a brazier filled with a strange green fire that illuminates the grisly features of each statue.

One of the shorter statues has a golden dagger hanging from it's belt. The gold is a distinct contrast from the pale gray stone. If the golden dagger is disturbed, the statue will come crashing down and shatter into hundreds of pieces that morph into six giant black scarab beetles.

AC 3, HD 3, Attack (bite) 2d6, Move 150' (50'), Save as F1

Each beetle has a golden sigil on it's belly. They can be pried off and are worth 100 gp each. The sigils are diabolical in nature and can be studied by chaotic magic users to learn 2 first level spells and 1 second level spell.

The dagger is 14" long and is in a curved golden scabbard. The dagger itself is forged from a gold and blue metal. It's worth 1000 gp. It acts as a +2 short sword if anyone chooses to wield it. 

If any other statues are disturbed, roll 1d4
  1. Statue falls and shatters into more Scarab Beetles (1d6)
  2. Statue erupts to life and attacks. Treat statue as a stone golem.
  3. Statue disintegrates, revealing a pack of 1d6 Ghouls inside
  4. Statue falls and shatters into insect swarm (1d4 hp damage per round) 

5. The Pit
Farther down the narrow path is a mural. The mural is horrific to behold. It features unspeakable acts of evil being performed by Karazuul. The mural will seem to shift and move. If a player examines the mural closer, there is a 25% chance of them falling through this illusionary wall and into an eternal bottomless pit. The player's character will tumble through an endless empty void.

6. The Antechamber
This room is small and completely dark. A ray of moonlight creeps into this chamber through a hole carved through the mountain. When the moon is in the right position, it will illuminate a 6' radius hole in the door. The hole can only be seen during the right position of the moonlight. Sorcery keeps sunlight out of this chamber and only moonlight enters.

7. The Sealed Tomb
The burial place of Karazuul himself. This room is empty save for the stone sarcophagus in the center. If the lid is removed, the walls on the north, east and west walls will suddenly vanish.

Karazuul's body is completely preserved. His skin is pale and a black beard grows from his chin. A golden crown is on his head. 

If the crown is removed from his head, Karazuul will remain motionless. If a member of the party is now in possession of all three artifacts: the crown, the dagger, and the key, they will suddenly be teleported into the sarcophagus from the entry chamber. The lid will be magically placed back on and the player will be entombed and mummified and thus, dead. The artifacts will then appear back in Karazuul's coffin. The dagger and key in his hands, and the crown upon his head.

If the party attempts to rescue the player from the sarcophagus, they will be attacked by the same mummy creature as before. The player's equipment and items are the only treasure to be found inside.

8. Second Antechamber
This small room is empty except for a copy of the same murals on the walls as in the other antechamber. A door off of this room opens to a tiny room filled in with dirt and sand.

9. The Throne Room
On the dais is a large golden throne. A staircase leads down from the center of the room into darkness beneath the dais.

If a player sits on the throne, they will be teleported into Karazuul's sarcophagus and Karazuul himself will appear seated on the throne. He will then summon the "Cosmic Guardian" and an enormous, shapeless, slithering horror will lurch out of the darkness from beneath the dais.

AC 1, HD 9, Attacks 2d8 (tentacles plus special), Save as MU8, Move 120' (60')
If one of the creature's loathesome tentacles hits a player, they must save vs. paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d6 turns. At the beginning of each combat round, each player must save vs. death ray before they are able to attack on their turn.

If the Horrible Cosmic Guardian is defeated, Karazuul will vanish from his throne and laugh a mocking laugh. A search of the throne room will reveal 8000 g.p. 10,000 s.p. 688 e.p. and a large ruby worth 500 g.p. Of course, all of the treasure is cursed and each player leaving with any treasure found in the tomb must either have a powerful cleric remove the curse, or fall sick and die within 2 weeks.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


To celebrate the fifth person to join my crazy blog, I am posting the greatest USBM album of all time in its entirety -

Weakling - Dead As Dreams

Friday, March 8, 2013

BADASS! The Role Playing Game

BADASS! started its brief, unfinished life on my old Mac SE in the early/mid nineties. I was in my early/mid twenties. At the time, my friends and I were all playing that bloody card game and I noticed how many different kinds of people that it pulled in. In that similar spirit, I wanted to make something simple and epic and conducive to playing with a buzz.

BADASS! was all about how high fantasy didn't necessarily make for good fantasy, but the aesthetic was the important thing: Boris Vallejo, Frazetta, Richard Corben, Heavy Metal - the film and magazine, Ralph Bakshi's fantasy films, Cheech & Chong, Moebius, Cerebus, Conan, Robert Aspirin, The Beastmaster, Hawk the Slayer, Elf Quest, Full Moon films, Derek Riggs, P Craig Russel's Elric adaptations, the Gauntlet arcade game, Custom Vans, beer, and high-quality Humboldt County pot.

In BADASS! There were two classes - Warrior and Wizard. Below these were "sub-classes" where you could specify what kind of warrior or wizard you were. As your character progressed, they would eventually become a "Master Class"

Barbarian -> Warlord
Knight -> Paladin
Hero -> Guardian

Sorcerer -> Master Sorcerer
Trickster -> Enchanter
Demonologist -> Summoner

Each class and sub-class had a series of skills available to them at each level. You would roll 1d6 to determine how many you could start out with. If your character's name was seriously badass, you could add one to the total.

Multi-Classing a barbarian and sorceress would have been possible with the "SORCERESS" boxed supplement
Some of the skills took the place of needing a party full of rogues or clerics. You could take related skills (such as "You Can Move Hella Quiet Like a Cat" or "Pick Pocket the Crowd"
Also you could take healing skills ("Sacred Herbs" or "Laying On the Hands") and you could also call upon a patron deity for assistance - usually for 1d6 HP just before being vanquished in battle, or do get a bonus to attack during battle.

You could try and gain favor with a deity throughout the game until he or she accepts or rejects you. This was an easy campaign hook. "Battle and heroic deeds please Scareth the Armored! Go forth and make war in his name!" After a while, Scareth or Grom or whoever would send a divine gift - a magic sword, bigger muscles, a helmet, whatever. Or the deity could send something dubious or downright harmful - a spiked helmet with the spike on the inside, a pack of feral wolves that consistently chase the hero, a pox upon their loins for sleeping with a follower of a rival temple.

A scene from a typical Level One adventure
Level advancement was simple and fairly quick. The only real foes in the game were other warriors, wizards, and a fairly generic assortment of goblins, trolls, dragons and giants. Each victory was worth a number of points. 10 points per goblin, 15 per troll, 50 per giant and 100 points for bagging a dragon.

That's about all I remember. The game was played with 2 six siders, so you could always raid the monopoly set or get dice at the Quickee Mart.

I imagined that the game would be a series of small books - a warrior book full of swords and armor, a wizard book full of spells, and a game master book full of everything else. The books would go into a box that could also fit some dice, a poster, and your stash.

Would have become a boxed campaign setting