A Dragon

Suddenly, in my campaign, I needed a dragon. I use them rarely, but now the players would eventually meet one, and even though I doubt they will come to blows with it I felt it necessary to at least have some sort of stats for it. It got me thinking a lot about how stats for a dragon ought to look. For one, they should all be unique, at least I feel that way. They’re magical beasts, the worst adversaries, not common beasts. I did want a standard, red fire-breathing dragon though. An old warrior of his kind, a majestic, proud and greedy creature. This is what I wound up with.

Dragon-Hoard_web

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

IRONAX DRAIGHTUR

20 HD Ancient Dragon

HP 118; AC 18
Move as unburdened man
Flight is faster, but poor maneuverability

Fort 4; Ref 6; Wil 3
Magic Resistance 50%

2 Claws @ +10 (2D8)
Bite @ +10 (3D8)
Tail @ +5 (2D6, sweep, knockdown)

Fire Breath in 100’x100’ Cone, deals 6D8 Damage (Ref ½), D3 Rounds to recharge, replaces other attacks

Dragon’s Voice, SUGGESTIVE WORDS or POWER WORD: STUN at will.

Dragon’s Gaze, ESP or FEAR at will if gaze is met.

Dragon’s Nose, DETECT MAGIC or DETECT GOLD at will.

Dragon’s Blood, a non-dragon mortal may be bound by a GEAS (if willing).

Dragon’s Ears, 4/6 chance to detect invisible creatures, surprised 1/12.

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Lindrain, a Windfare Dale adventure

I’ve been too busy to write anything for a long time, but I finally managed to finish a short interlude adventure and location description for my campaign; Lindrain Fortress.

This module describes an old elven ruin, currently inhabited by a gang of bandits called the “Blackfeet” which have featured heavily in my campaign so far. It is also the site of a hidden outpost of the fallen Elven Empire, with several very deadly traps and a portal to the fabled Teliandrin where the three fallen High Elven Houses once dwelled. The portal could really lead anywhere, though… into the belly of a megadungeon, to another planet or campaign setting perhaps (Carcosa springs to mind). Thus, I decided to put the adventure out here; it could be a nice start if you want to run a campaign where the characters are transported far from home for some reason.

This adventure really lacks hooks, but I doubt anyone who wants to use it will have trouble supplying their own. It should be said that I have provided no leads in the location for how to access the underground areas; in my own game, the players have already found this information elsewhere and will be heading here primarily to find the portal. They have already found one elven Spell Gem (out of the three needed) for the portal, and they have scried out the location of the ruin, but they have also enlisted the aid of an elven ambassador who knows the pass phrase and is backing their attempts to find the necessary keys. The presence of the Blackfeet is what will surprise them. Other possibilities might be to have the bandits possess information on the portal, but either be too afraid to use it or perhaps awaiting some sort of magical assistance after having lost one or more men to the traps below.

The adventure includes an Elven Spell Gem; you can read more about those here on the blog.

The maps for the adventure were made by the incomparable Dyson Logos. You can download the adventure here, or in the Library.

Winter’s Blade

A long time since my last post – I’ve been busy working on a new module for my players, but I should have something juicy for everyone in a while.

I was, however, fidgeting around with some changes to the Tomb of the Iron God before running it for my players a while back and I created some more interesting magical items to replace the more generic +1 swords with. I created this particular sword, and fel very pleased with it.

Winters_BladeThis magnificent greatsword is made from a gleaming and silver-like metal. It is exquisitely crafted and looks very valuable. Someone with knowledge of weapons or blacksmithing would guess it is of elven make. Its name, “Ythaliona”, is inscribed in elven runes along the hilt. This is ancient elven, but if the characters can translate it the name means “winter’s blade”

Winter’s Blade radiates powerful magic, and is indeed a very deadly blade; it deals an additional D4 frost damage per strike to all creatures vulnerable to cold, grants its wielder a +1 bonus to hit and also grants the wielder Resistance to Cold as per the spell when held. Perhaps most impressively, it also deals double damage to dwarves. If the sword is ever used to damage an elf, the wielder suffers 3D8 points of cold damage and must save vs Poison or die immediately.

However, for each battle in which the blade is used (defined as wielding it and using to make at least one attack) the wielder ages one year. If this effect is unknown, the GM should keep track of this aging in secret; there is a cumulative 5 % chance per year aged that the wielder notices the effect, through joint pains and physical signs. The aging is of course less of a drawback for elves, albeit still a heavy price, but it can be absolutely devastating for humans as their physical bodies are ravaged. See the rules for aging in LotFP Rules & Magic p. 34 for the actual effects.

Should it become commonly known that someone is wielding this blade, an elven prince (Lvl 2D6) will appear with his retinue within 1D6 months to claim it as an heirloom. Perhaps the characters will be glad to be rid of it, perhaps they will ask a price, but regardless the prince will press them to hand it over and will gladly do battle with them if they do not do as he says.

The Void Slime

This slime is a strange mindless being, deadly to organic life and organic matter, summoned forth from the black void of Uathagl’Chak.

It is attracted to movement or life, and will slowly slither towards it at a rate of 5’ per round. In any round when a living being is within 10’ of the slime, there is a 50 % chance that it will emit an elongated feeler pseudopod as a standard attack, aimed with a form of alien sense that suffers no penalties for lack of visibility. On a hit, the target is coated in a thick, viscous black fluid that is highly corrosive. This substance is extremely dangerous, and will inflict a total of 2d4 damage, but at a rate of one point per round per hit. During this time, washing the struck area off thoroughly with water (the entire contents of a water skin, or access to water from a river, lake or well for example) will stop the damage from occurring that round and any further. A character suffering a total amount (during one battle) of damage from a Void Slime equal to half his total hit points or above will be scarred and debilitated, losing 1 point of constitution and 1d3 points of charisma permanently.

The creature is only susceptible to damage from other acidic substances and fire. A hit from a torch will cause 1d3 damage. Flaming oil and other fire based attacks will cause damage as normal. It is utterly mindless, and is thus immune to any mind-affecting spells, and also does not have a nervous system or normal body, which makes it immune to almost any other source of damage. If a weapon made in any part from organic material is used to strike at it (including a torch), the wielder must save versus Paralyze or the weapon will be ruined.

The only basic instinct a Void Slime has is a slight tendency towards spatial territoriality. If left alone for a turn, it will slowly slither back to where it lairs.

Void Slime; HD2; AC12; Morale 12; pseudopod (+2/2d4 spec); special immunities, mindless, 50 % attack chance, only damaged by fire and acid; speed 5’ per round

Gods from the Void

In an earlier post, I wrote about the Anmunak, wildmen of Windfare Dale. I touched on their cursed religion, but didn’t go inte detail – but here’s some more on the Quathroc.

This evil foursome are interstellar beings of a somewhat Lovecraftian inspiration which have usurped the places of countless gods on countless planets; I haven’t detailed exactly why and how they do this, but I’d rather leave that murky. In this case, they usurped the places of the Anmunak animal gods and in doing so doomed their society to collapse in a wave of depravity.

There is a slight inspiration from the chaos gods of Warhammer fame here, but I also wanted these beings to feel both alien and somehow strangely tangible; these are real things, albeit distant and utterly incomprehensible. Woe to the one who actually draws their attention. The Anmunak did, and the destruction and corruption they faced tore them apart and turned them into a degenerate race of bogeymen.

The symbol below represents the Quathroc; it is an old Anmunak symbol which used to display the runes of their animal gods, but here more sinister runes have taken their place.

You can find the details on the Quathroc in this document or in the Library.

Quathroc_symbol

Humanoids or not?

There are few monsters more prolific in classic D&D gaming than the classical humanoids; goblins, orcs, kobolds and many others are staple opponents – especially at lower levels. And they are fun opponents! As smart or stupid as the GM is willing to make them, and with a wide variety of different powers, weapons, tricks and backstories.

For me, they are also often a lazy option. They come with pre-packaged concepts, they are generically evil and most players won’t even stop to consider who and what they are – they’ll just hack away. I don’t advocate too much moralizing in my games, but I like it when the players see the characters for what they really are.

James Raggi, the author of LotFP, states his dislike for using humanoids quite clearly and he suggests using humans instead for anything non-monstrous. I have, as usual, not taken it quite as far as him – I’ll use humans for the most part, but throw in a few unfamiliar humanoid races that the players haven’t met hundreds of times before.

anmunak

Meet the Anmunak. The original inhabitants of the Vale, a primitive people who once inhabited the fertile river valleys and built their monuments and sprawling temple cities. Their society fell prey to a group of cosmic beings called the Quathroc (more on them later), who usurped their gods and sent their society into a spiral of madness and depravity, and were later displaced by the more civilized people who moved into the valley.

If you want to study the Anmunak closer, you can take a look at this PDF file or search the Library.

Delving in the Dale

I’ve decided to start this unassuming blog about my OSR escapades mostly for myself; I enjoy writing, and I find that it helps me focus my thoughts. An archive of thoughts, ramblings and house rules is also always fun to have, and should it prove an interesting read for anyone else… well, no harm done!

About a year ago, I found a copy of Lamentations of the Flame Princess sitting on a shelf in one of the local gaming stores in my native Stockholm. Having spent a lot of time playing both editions of AD&D as well as some D&D growing up, I had something of a shock when I picked it up and started reading – is it still OK to play this way? I’m sure many readers are familiar with the wave of nostalgia that washed over me.

Needless to say, I bought that copy and went home to read it. Mr Raggi’s narrative is a very fun read, although I’m glad it wasn’t my first time around or it might have felt a bit overwhelmed. Things were, however, still the way I remembered them. I downloaded a number of other “Retro Clones”, among them Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry and Dungeon Crawl Classics, but with time it turned out I had struck gold the first time around.

After a bit of planning I had my starting point; a “gaming world” described with nothing more than a hex map and a short description of some of its major religions, and a slightly more detailed description of a place called Windfare Dale. I was ready to try out this crazy old-school on my players – a group of complete rookies in the RPG world as well as veterans of many game systems but newcomers to classic Dungeon Delving!