Friday, June 7, 2019

Clargarser: Prominent NPCs


Fablon Wagshank: Head of the Corpse Worshippers


Fablon lives in and runs the Corpse Worshipper compound, reporting only to Tehedrin, the immortal corpse founder.

Traits:

  • gruff
  • shakes with excitement when imagining violence
  • Messianic Ideation
Fablon Hires out Mercenaries from his crew of Corpse Worshippers. There are currently 24 living Corpse Worshippers. Fablon can organize larger groups of Militia on a case by case basis.

Mercenary Recruitment Chart


Season Recruitment Fee Mercenaries Available Payment
Spring 30 gp 1d4 1/2 share
Summer 10 gp 2d6 1/4 share
Winter 20 gp 2d6 1/2 share


Aleena Lymro: Head of the Larchmont Clinic

Aleena runs the medical clinic attached to the Corpse Worshipper compound. 

Traits:
  • obsessed with earwax
  • white knuckled
  • teetotaler
You can pay 20gp/week to stay at the clinic. This guarantees maximum natural healing and gives a +2 on any save vs. disease or poison at the end of the week.


Tehedrin: Worshipped Corpse, Bartender

Tehedrin is a skeleton in plate mail armor with a seemingly magic sword. The Corpse Worshippers treat him like a demigod. He is the bartender at the tavern in the Corpse Worshipper compound. 

Traits:
  • creepy
  • wants to give people their idols back
  • more Vincent Price than Skeletor

Carousing at the Corpse Worshipper bar

Carousing in a town like Clargarser where disease and famine have devastated the liquor supply is relatively safe. Here's how you do it.
  1. Roll a d8.
  2. Remember that number
  3. Multiply that number by 50. You gain that much xp and pay that much in gp to the bar.
  4. Divide the number by 2 (round up) and Subtract it from your constitution score and remember that number too. Let's call this your "party score"
  5. Roll a d20.
  6. If the number is under your party score everything is fine. the end.
  7. If that number is over your party score, you have vomited on one of the prominent NPCs in town and cannot use their services until you make a gift to them of 100gp * your level. 

Xylarthen: New Wizard in the Tower

He killed Raglom in battle and now he has moved in to Raglom's tower to steal all the dead wizard's knowledge. He has managed to raise his intelligence score since his debut in Men & Magic

Traits:
  1. Handsy (sigh)
  2. Arrogant
  3. Has no emotional investment in whether anyone lives or dies

Wizarding Services and Costs

Currently these are the services that Xylarthen offers. He may provide more as his research continues.
  1. Reincarnation: There is a 35% chance that Xylarthen has a scroll of reincarnation on hand. If he does it costs 10,000 gp to get reincarnated.
  2. Remove Curse: Xylarthen will cast remove curse for 400gp + 100 gp for every level your character is over level 4. You will have to wait 1d4 days for him to memorize the spell.
  3. Spell tutelage: If you want to learn a spell that Xylarthen knows, he will teach it to you for 200gp * spell level for spells level 1-3 and 500gp * spell level for levels 4 and up.
  4. Divination: 1/week Xylarthen can cast the 4th level spell question (Blueholme p. 34) for 500gp. You will have to wait 1d4 days for Xylarthen to have time.

Mo Afsa: Black Smith

Just a blacksmith. any weapons or armor of the basic equipment list but you may have to wait.  Suits of armor will take at least 2 weeks to make.  

Nupo the Gnome: Merchant, General Store Owner

This guys personality changes. Often over the course of a conversation. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Session Report: The Construction of Nese Geard and the Death of an Orphan

Adventure Day 1 (after a 3 month relaxation/rebuilding period)

The squad - Larchmont, Xander, Lister, Herbert, Theodora (now a gnome after her reincarnation), and Sven - have spent the winter building a stronghold in the town they previously destroyed (specifically in the rich section of town). Their large round tower is modest but well appointed and tasteful. Boasting a moat (which is actually a 10 foot wide by 10 foot deep ditch as they have yet to find water), a drawbridge, a small outdoor animal shelter, MANY slit and regular windows (covered in oiled paper - they could not yet justify the expenditure of glass), scavenged furniture from locally destroyed dwellings AND a secret tunnel that allows them passage beyond their moat and within the city limits into an abandoned but stable abode (some 50’ from the edge of their ditch). There is housing for the mule, the owl bear, and Theodora’s new pet Terrier - Bartholomew (Bart). As well as all of the adventurers. There is even a plush velvet chaise/fainting couch. The tower was christened Nese Geard (Neverland).  

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Money was saved by using local building materials (aka the detritus left behind by the towns destruction). But more money was needed for digging the moat (ditch) and tunnel for the same reason. All in all, costs were around 11,000 gold. But it’s really all about REBUILDING THE ECONOMY. Two guards were brought on to care for the tower and a hired man (Level 1 Fighter, Armor Class 2) was a acquired. 
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The Nese Geard Tower (complete)

During the time off Theodora worked through the stages of grief and came to terms with her new form. She is very thankful to her compatriots for resurrecting her. She has also used her time to train a street dog (Bart) to be a companion (which aids her with her new small stature) as well as craft a number of magical scrolls. 

Also during this long winter of building and scrounging the Owl Bear has grown! He is now the size of a dog and becoming more difficult to control. An animal trainer was sought. None survived the destruction of the town though (unfortunately). The Owl Bear requires a lot of food. Which has resulted in the team feeding it the rotting unburied corpses of the towns dead. This has resulted in the animal developing a taste for human flesh. Not a positive when combined with its strength and growing size...

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The caravan of food has returned with 75 out of 100 people who left with it. Population numbers in town are low. 500 or so. The Corpse Worshippers have also lost many members to illness and desertion. But the people were happy for the supplies!

The merchant who returned with the caravan, a man whose name I can not recall, showed some interest in the Owl Bear when Larchmont mentioned it to him. He offered 900 gold pieces. The adventurers (Larchmont, Herbert, and Theodora) suggested something like 1000 gold pieces if they threw in Owl Bear feed for the journey. As this was the rotting corpses of local people the offer was rebuffed and the team accepted the 900. The merchant left mildly disgusted and quite disturbed.  So much for Paladin goodness and honor! The people of this town have become so desensitized!

Then it was time to head back to the dungeon! The coffers would not refill themselves. 

In the bar built by the adventurers Larchmont, Herbert, and Theodora (with their hired man, the dog Bart, the mule, and their orphan boy/mule leader/torch holder) meet up with some prior acquaintances - the merchant (still disturbed) and the new leader of the Tower, the powerful wizard who brought Theodora back to life (as a gnome...). Pleasantries were made and rebuffed as Larchmont and Herbert immediately acted too friendly with the man. But he and Theodora shared a connection and he offered to teacher her more advanced magic during her off time. There was an odd attraction between the older man and the (ADULT) gnome. Both parties look forward to their next meeting. 

Moving on, the team chose to avoid the Corpse Worshippers leader, the skeleton man, in the banquet room as they STILL have not found his idols AND took a 3 month long break. And the one they did find (known as “the butt plug”) is currently stuck/unretrievable. 

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The dungeons looked a little different than their last visit. Not only due to a few map malfunctions. But they were covered in a yellow/gray mold. Thicker in some places than others and with toadstools growing from it. 

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This mold was believed by the party to be dangerous and they did their best to avoid it. 

Encountered while in the dungeons were - 2 man sized naked mole rat creatures, 3 giant spiders, and 2 large flesh toned snakes. 

The rats and spiders were fairly easily dispatched. Though Herbert was briefly poisoned by spider venom and inhaled some of the mold (he recovered during a quick break). The snakes were a bit more challenging. During the encounter with them Larchmont was bit in the face and on his remaining hand (he recovered), the dog was bit in the leg (he quickly recovered), and the orphan boy was bit in the throat. Sadly, he died there and was left in the dungeons. 

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The party chose to kill two birds with one stone and send him off like a Viking while also seeing if the mold would burn. A Molotov cocktail was tossed into the mold filled room with the corpse of the boy. 

Very little happened. The room was too wet. After, it was still moldy and smelly. And the boy’s body was barely singed. 

The party decided the mold was not likely a threat then (as clearly they were fine and a number of other creatures were living amidst the mold) and returned to the Giant Slug/rushing water room and explored into a new part of the dungeon. The mold continued there. They did not get very far though as Herbert was late for a dinner appointment. 

All made it to the surface and back to Nese Geard safely. Minus the orphan boy. His name was Moe. RIP Moe. 

- Erika (Theodora)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

What Did I Just Read?

I'm just going to ramble about a book I read while taking some long bus rides this weekend.



I couple months ago I bought an adult fantasy novel by accident.  I thought it would be a typical Conan knock off but no the 33rd installment of the Richard Blade series: Killer Plants of Binnark is the type of book that features our subplot where one of the characters tries to force the main character to breed with her 14 year old daughter after she has sex with him. After a brief discussion Richard Blade agrees to marry the daughter and then has sex with the mother again. Also, there are man eating plants.

Here is an overview of the main conceit of the series from the Glorious Trash Blog:

 It’s pretty goofy, a long-running melding of the men's adventure genre with heroic fantasy, all about a James Bond-type who, each volume, is sent via a high-tech computer into Dimension X, where he tests himself in some quasi-Medieval, fantastical world, scoring with tons of scantily-clad babes along the way.

Joe Kenney's above excerpted review of the first novel mentions that the word "fellatrix" appears multiple times, but I still think it downplays how libertine these societies that our hero Blade visits are. In Killer Plants of Binnark Blade is held prisoner, we are given an almost lustful description of the deterioration of Blades body in captivity and then some guy comes in to interrogate Blade and one of the first things he asks is if Blade has had sex with his daughter yet.

My take away was that it is a good thing for Richard Blade that the he can never visit the same dimension twice because he does not use protection. This is a series about an interdimensional deadbeat dad.

Finally, don't worry Blade is whisked back to his own dimension before he has the opportunity to consummate his marriage to the 14 year old.

Here's Some more info.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Stephen Colbert Started with Holmes Basic

Here is the whole thing. 

I am half watching Stephen Colbert play dungeons and dragons with Matt Mercer. I don't love watching other people play dnd but... well there is no but I'm not that into it.  But Stephen Colbert's first set of Dnd rules was Holmes Basic.  Readers probably now that Holmes is my favorite rule set so I was a little excited. Stephen then goes on to give a brief inaccurate summary of Tactical Studies Rules publishing history. Which is interesting because it demonstrates the confusion and difficulty of engaging with the hobby back in 1977. 

Here are some highlights from the Colbert publication history of Dnd:

He says that Men & Magic was a supplement. It wasn't it is the first of the 3 LBBs. But that makes me think that even back then these books were getting split up and applied piecemeal to cobble together a ruleset. 

He also describes Holmes Basic as a pamphlet not boxed set. Which is also how I first got a hold of the book. I got this copy from my uncle. I figured that my uncle had lost the rest but it turns out that the book was sold separately.

He refers to all the little brown books that predate Holmes as extra modules. He seems to think that they were published afterwards. My guess is that this is because his group was only able to track them down afterwards. 

The video provides an interesting window into how people found out about and experienced Dnd back in the 70's.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Dungeons beneath Clargarser


Detail of Nupo's basement. You can see the bed he slept in
during the plague outbreak
I am very happy that my wife is no longer merely willing to play Dungeons and Dragons with me, but also motivated enough to get isometric graph paper and map out the dungeon the party is exploring.

Level 1 of the Dungeons of Clargarser
The first level of the dungeon takes part of the lower half of the map from the Mad Demigod's Castle by Richard Graves. The first time the party went down into the dungeon I actually tried to use the Dungeon as written. Unfortunately, the dungeon is pretty boring and has basically no treasure. Here's a sampling:

3. A wooden table and a stool exist here. On top
of the table is a small box containing 89 nails.
A leather backpack that contains a dead
mouse and an empty potion bottle can be
found under some wooden debris along the
west wall.
Not quite the thrill that my people are looking for when they play  a game called Dungeons and Dragons. Here's one that's more interesting:

30. ROOM OF NAMES. The walls of this secret room
are made of smooth polished granite. Several
hundred names have been carefully
engraved on the walls in small silver letters.
These are the names of former adventurers
who perished while exploring the dungeons
under the Mad Demigod's Castle. Any PCs
that die while exploring the dungeons will
magically have their names added to the
walls of this room.
That is pretty good, but it's a secret room. That should be the first thing you see when you come down into the dungeon.  Any way, I took a couple elements from the Towers Two to try to add more interest,  redrew the map to make it less of wandering around in corridors, and added an artifact.

The Second Floor of the dungeon as explored so far. 
The second floor is still being explored. I am going for a classic Holmesian vibe as the dungeon gets deeper. So far the party has fought a giant slug next to a fast running underwater stream. You can see the slug on the map.
Here is the mini that was used for the giant slug.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Read Magic: Return to the Memory Palace



I hated read magic when I was a kid.  Read Magic was the first chink in the armor, the first time I doubted the infallibility of the The Dungeons and Dragons. I did not understand the rules of Dungeons and Dragons very well.

Before reading The Dying Earth all I thought about spells as just some special written words that you memorize and then repeat to cast the spell. Then you forgot them!? And also if the spell wasn’t in your spell book you couldn’t read it? And if you got a scroll you didn’t know what spell it was?!

Some people think of read magic as a spell that is essentially used to read sloppy handwriting. This was not satisfying to me when that was how I thought of the spell worked. Lamentations of the Flame Princess has made this interpretation explicit in its rules, which is disappointing.

I refused to think of it as anything other than a cheap way to gimp magic-users. It was the thing that sowed the seed of discontent in my young heart (even though I always ignored the spell I was still offended on some deep aesthetic level). Read magic is probably what drove me to experiment with GURPS. 

Then I read The Dying Earth and started thinking of Spells as intricate devices you assemble in your mind. Now spells are hyperdimensional structures that a magic-user can unravel to produce a given effect when brought into the physical world. A scroll is created when a magic user instead of assembling the spell in his head creates the hyperdimensional structure within the two-dimensional plane of a piece of paper. This takes one week and costs 100 gold per spell level.

Read Magic creates a double artificial mind palace outside the magic-users mind. The first mind palace functions the same as the magic-user’s. Spells from spell books can be transferred there safely. Spells from scrolls can be copied without unraveling. The second mind palace is different. It provides a glimpse of a potential future in which the spell has been cast. The magic-user can observe the effects of the spell without triggering the original spell structure or affecting the prime material plane. At its heart read magic is a divination spell.


Sometimes when Vizirian came to this place he imagined he was in the mind of a dead god. It was formless and void as if someone had sat down to commit the moment before the birth of the universe to memory. There was no time dwell on the profound immensity however. His party was waiting back below the fallen tower of Zenopus and they needed to know what was written on the scroll.
 The scroll hung before him in the air towering over him. Here it appeared as a giant twisting knot. Looking at it he perceived things he could neither articulate nor understand. Vizirian paused before he willed the structure into the other chamber the one that was less like his mind than even this one and somehow more like the external world yet wholly alien. Then he did it. It was indescribable and bizarre. But then it came to him, Ahh yes, Magic Mouth.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Map Key of the Plague Year 4: How The Party Vaporized the Leader of the Apothecary Brigade by Accident

I put a giant death laser in the center of the city and the Party set half the city on fire and blew up the stronghold containing the evil 7th level Plague Doctor. Here's how it worked. Everyone should put giant death lasers in the middle of their cities.
In the Middle of the City of Clargarser stands Raglom's Tower.
Nupo is a friendly NPC. You can see his house.
Clargarser Keep is was occupied by Meelnos Moosit until he was vaporized.
Raglom's tower or "The Panopticon" rises high above the city. At the top of the tower is a giant dome like the top of an observatory. Slightly below this dome are 4 giant glass lenses that jut out from the tower on big metal arms that resemble thin spider legs. The only entrance to the tower is from underground or by flying into one of the many windows on the upper floor.
The Control Panel Has Three Levers not One.
Here is the upper floor. The shaft was going to have a cool wizard elevator in it but Raglom died before he could complete it so intruders must figure out a way to climb the 130' to the top. If you put this in your campaign maybe the wizard will finish the elevator.

Raglom bought the fossilized dragon at auction. The players spent a week in a mine excavating it and then another week delivering it to the auction. If you use something like this put a bunch of stuff the party sold around tower.
For the levers up is off or closed and down is on or open.
Also the labels are wrong for the levers.
The eastern an western one are reversed.



So,  just above the control room in the tower is the artificial star. I made it so that its possible to keep climbing up the shaft to the room with the star and catch on fire and die due to being too close to the star. No one decided to try that after looking up the shaft and seeing the blinding light at the top. I made the tower like this to convey the power and potential danger of the controls in the control room. That way when the party starts messing with the levers and they hear things moving upstairs, they understand that they are messing with something powerful.

The metal shell around the star lowers in two halves, an eastern half and a western half. Lowering a half will blind people on the corresponding side of the city. Light can be seen pouring over the city from the windows if this happens.

The knobs control the positions of the four lenses. The positions of the knobs correspond to the orientation of the lenses so when a knob is turned to the up position the lens is at the north end of tower. When a knob is turned down then it is south. Knobs can be lined up focusing the light and heat of the star even more. Make sure you do not say that the knobs are all in the same position when the party finds it or they will blow things up right away (unless that is what you want.)

Number of knobs lined up and its effect:

    1: Extreme oppressive punishing heat
    2: Immediate sunburn and blindness if the light is looked at. 1d6 damage per round
    3: Flammable burst into flame. metals begin to melt. people save or die.
    4: Vaporization. Enough energy to convert matter into plasma or whatever fantasy reason you have for stuff to just explode. No saving throw. Get out of the way.

If you keep the first lever in the up position you can adjust the other knobs to where you want them then lower the the first lever and everything will move seamlessly into position. This is not what the party did.  They pulled some levers. Blinded the city. Then they put 3 knobs in the same position and set the eastern half of the city on fire. Then they adjusted the knobs together shooting a death ray down towards the south where it was then aligned with the final lens and aimed at the keep, which exploded. Fortunately the keep was where the plague was being manufactured that was afflicting the city. But They also burned down half the city. Then they asked how much xp they got. They got zero.

Clargarser: Prominent NPCs

Fablon Wagshank: Head of the Corpse Worshippers Fablon lives in and runs the Corpse Worshipper compound, reporting only to Tehedrin...