Thursday, May 19, 2016

More News from the Dark Country

After the most recent G+ session of Nightwick, Antion or whatever had his character participate in a new system I've developed to eat the PCs money and to also give them stuff.  This is part of the result.

Breaking News
While fishing near his hut in the Fog-Bound Forest, Kozel is approached by a woodsman. He is a young man with a bright face and a nervous smile. He identifies himself as Jurgl and says that "travelers" in the village related to him that when Arnawald the Black Eagle successful sacked Blackleg in a second siege his men found a Temple to "Saint Santa Claus."

Knowing the go-- err... saint was responsible for his defeat at the first siege, he sent his men into the temple to seize the ido-- er... relics inside. They burned the idol after hacking it with axes.

Now the place lies in ruins and is said to be haunted by foul creatures from the Fog-Bound Forest. Perhaps, though, Kozel may find his answers about the "saint" within...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Savages of Time

Savages of Time
AC 14
HD 3
Attacks Crude Weapons
Special Cosmic Entropy
Move 9
HDE 6/400

The Savages of Time are heralds of cosmic entropy found in only the oldest ruins on dying and dead worlds.  Their presence seems to erode these ruins such that by the end they are nothing more than foundations.  From Earth the nearest example of their handy work may be seen on Mars, though - due in part to the zigguratic-structure of time, some of the ruins of that planet remain untouched.

They appear as morlock-like creatures - stouter than a man and with imbecilic features.  They are not so much albinistic as colorless.  They have neither art nor legends nor songs.  Their material culture, such as it is, consists only of crude tools for practical purposes.  Even these are prone to break in the hands of non-savages.

Wounds dealt by a savage contain the chill of cosmic entropy.  As such, they may not be healed by non-magical means.  Weapons which strike them must make a saving throw or rust beyond usefulness.  Those made of precious metals do not rust but instead tarnish, reducing their value by half with each failed save.  After four such failed saves the atoms of the weapon scatter harmlessly in a process that is only understood by those who meditate on the impermanence of all things.

Even magic fails in their presence.  Magical weapons used against them must make a similar save (the weapons attack bonus acting as a bonus to the roll) or lose an effect with each strike.  Should all its magic be drained in this manner, the weapon may then be destroyed as described above.  Spells cast on the Savages of Time may never be memorized again and the spell slots used are no longer available to the caster.

Some scholars have speculated about the nature of their spontaneous generation and seeming lack of secondary sexual characteristics.  A mad few have postulated that the savages of time are emanations of a 5th dimensional being best, but still dimly, understood as a god or titan of entropy.  Should such a being exist its presence would only be detectable by use of dispel magic.  Even this would only reveal the parts of the  creature which intersect with the dimensions perceivable by man. In any event such a creature would appear as a shifting mass of colorless bubbles constantly ebbing and flowing, presumably about 30' in diameter.  It would possess the following statistics: AC 15 HD 16 Attacks Beam of Entropy (3d6 damage), Special Cosmic Entropy Move 3/120 (Fly).  Slaying the creature would remove the Savages of Time from existence and may even restore the ruins around them.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

News from the Dark Country

Pictured: The murder of one of Arn's wife's handmaidens by a group of rebels.

News from the Dark Country
Word has reached Nightwick that the villages around Blackleg are once again inrevolt. Arn, Arnawald's son and de facto Lord of Blackleg, is more competent than his predecessor and seems to be managing the situation much better.

However, the reports say the rebellion is more organized this time, relying on raids and terror rather than mass attacks. There are dark whispers of coins left in the eyes of rendered skulls and daggers thrust into dead men's hearts. Perhaps it is the work of the infamous Brotherhood.

The members of the lodge who pay attention to such things have informed Kozel that the Deer-men have once again retreated into the forest. Signs in the soil around the Abbey make it seem as though their numbers are greatly diminished since their last exodus.

The army of Sir Ulrich of Lichtenstein has failed to return from its great campaign in the Witchwood. No survivors have scrambled out in the two years since he left. Those who have gone looking for them, either to help them find their way out or to loot their corpses, report no signs of the Lost Army. The only thing out of the ordinary is some extra activity at the Witchfort.

From now on whenever I generate news for the G+ and home groups I'm going to post it on here too.  It might not make much sense to y'all but whatever.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Here, Have a Map

When I was running the Wilderlands a while back I decided an easy way to get interesting maps would be to convert maps from the Doom, Doom 2, and Final Doom so that they could be easily represented on twiddla.  Since I was copying them from various wikis I wasn't necessarily sure where the entrances and secret doors were 100% of the time.

Anyway, since I can't do anything else with them I decided to start posting them on her after I work them up in gridmapper.

Note to my players: it is highly likely that I will still use these maps at some point in the foreseeable future, so you might not want to look too hard at them.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Do You Want to Die in a Hole?!

Do You Want to Die in a Hole?!
Nightwick Abbey has lain in ruins for almost two centuries.  Built by power hungry knights and mad wizards, it now is home to only ghosts and goblins. Peasants refuse to work in the shadow of the ruined church, and at night eerie lights issue forth from its depths.  Many have tried to wrestle gold from the crypts which lie beneath, but few have returned.  Are you brave enough to seek your fortune in a demon-haunted dungeon?

A ConstantCon game using the Swords and Wizardry White Box

Play is from 8:30 - Midnight CT every Monday. 

This is not a FLAILSNAILS game.  You'll need a new guy for my precious-setting-shithole-hellscape.

Email me at evanDOTvanDOTelkinsATgmailDOTcom if you're interested.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hail, Horrors!: Knights of Hell

At the bottom of space there is a Dragon.  Its mouth gapes wide, fangs bared, gouts of flame spiraling up into the void.  It is written that the river Acheron, which once brought life to the people of the Desert Lands in the eons before the founding of the Empire, flows through the World and down the throat of the Dragon, pooling in the first of its thousandfold terrible stomachs.  It is in that boiling morass of mud and hate and fear and fire that the souls of the damned first enter the Pit.

This is the realm of the Fishers of Souls. Horrid and hideous, blind and lame, they are the lowly smiths of Hell’s great armies.  They wade through the searing muck to find larvae - the debased form that the souls assume upon first entering the nether-realms.  These they grasp with great hooks of bone and sorrow and drag to the strange “forges” of Hell - vats and other devices too alien to man for our kind to understand their use.  It is in these that demons are made, and thereby those who sought to gain the favor of the Lords of the World are set to suffer with them in chains in the belly of the Dragon.

Most of these souls a changed into lesser fiends - such as imps or familiars - or gather together into a host of fiends with the power to possess mortals.  There are certain souls, however, of special wickedness that they are elevated into the Pit's great hierarchy.*  The forges change them in ways which reflect their diabolic masters.  

These are the Knights of Hell.  Four types are described below.

All Knights of Hell have the following statistics: HD 4 AC 16 ST 14 Move 12 (24 if able to fly).

All Knights of Hell may only be wounded by silver or magic weapons since they are not of this plane.  Holy water is also sovereign against them.  

Should a single Knight of Hell possess a man that man will not become a cadaverite in the normal fashion.  Instead his body will warp to take on the aspects of the demon that possesses him. Eventually he will become a physical manifestation of the demon with double the normal Hit Dice.  However, this physical body also means that he can be wounded by normal weapons.

All Knights of Hell reform in the Pit if defeated on the material plane unless special lawful weapon are used.

If forced into a magic circle, all Knights of Hell will teach one second level spell (roll or pick based on the most appropriate for the nature of the demon).

Knights of Armadeus appear as great carrion birds of enormous size - nearly the size of a draft horse, or as a great shaggy beast of diabolic aspect.  In either form they have the power of flight.

They may dispel invisibility at will.  Once per day they can create 10' of darkness and locate any object relating to an arcane or secret matter within 4 hexes of their current location

If forced into a magic circle, their form will change to that of a spectral warrior with black skin, black teeth, and black eyes.  In this form they may locate objects, and speak the true names of lesser fiends for the creator of the circle.

Knights of the Horned One appear in the form of satyrs, rams, bucks, and he-goats.  Sometimes these have the heads of animals, other times the heads of men.  They are always horned.  In none of these forms may they fly.

Knights of the Horned One may cast a powerful charm against persons (-2 to save) or monsters (no modifier) at will.  Once per day they may hold person, teleport from one spot shaded by a tree to any other within the confines of a hexmap (Judges Guild or ACKS regional sized), and may locate any object pertaining to a carnal affair within 4 hexes of their current location.

If forced into a magic circle, they will change into an angelic form of the animal they most resemble - or, in the case of a satyr, a strangely diminished angel.  In this form they will charm an object of the magician's lust, carry him to a shaded grove, or locate an object associated with his heart's desire.

Knights of the Horned One often engage in carnal acts with witches and warlocks.  The result of these acts will be stillborn until the sixth time, when it will grow into a devil-man.

Knights of Ozgin appear in a riot of forms, even for demons.  Most are vaguely mannish, though only in the broadest sense.  Their faces and limbs are twisted or multiplied in strange ways such that any semblance to humanity is difficult to tell.  They clothe what parts of their body can be clothed in raucous colors that are sickening to the eyes.  In no form may they fly.

Knights of Ozgin may become invisible or make one individual invisible at will.  Once per day the knight may create a phantasmal force. render a victim maddened (-2 saving throw or perceive friends as diabolic foes that must be slain), or locate any object related to deadly madness within 4 hexes of its current location.

If forced into a magic circle, a Knight of Ozgin will become a billowing rainbow of colored smoke.  In this form it will always lie to the caster, but usefully the statements are always the precise opposite of what is true.  They will madden the magician's foes at times which would most likely lead to siblicide.

Knights of Moloch appear as bulls or minotaurs belching fire and smoke.  In either form they are priapic.  Only in the forms of bulls may they fly.

Once per day they may create a fireball, teleport from one furnace to another within a hexmap, protect another individual from normal missiles, and locate an object related to the murderous arts -both clandestine and martial - within a 4 hex radius.  They may belch forth flickering lights at will and their touch burns like fire (advantage on damage dice).

If forced into a magic a magic circle, their penis will vanish and their smoke and fire will die away.  Blood will poor from their orifices in a most disturbing manner.  In this form they may instruct in the use of weapons, reveal the names of murderers, will carry the caster from furnace to furnace (caster is not immune to damage from this effect), and will locate objects as described above.

Notes: the semi-assumed max-level for Nightwick characters is 10.  Since it is so reliant on medieval and horror movie imagery, I decided it was useful to begin the ranks of demons at much fewer hit dice than Vrocks.  Example barons, marquises, dukes, princes, presidents, and great kings of Hell will be discussed in due time.

*It must be remembered that the Pit's supposed hierarchy is an imposition by man on pure chaos.  In fact, some dangerously heterodox scholars claim the demons described above are so "regular" only because they must conform to man's perception.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Poison for Body and Soul

The mechanics for poison in the World of Nightwick are not dissimilar to diseases, though the saves occur at shorter time intervals.  Hiding poison in food or drink increases the time between saves by a degree, thus a round becomes a turn, a turn becomes an hour, and so on.  Hiding poison in food or drink well requires special skills and increases the time interval by two orders - a round to an hour, for example.  

Should the victim of a poison or a disease ever successfully make three saves in a row, they move to an earlier stage.  If this occurs at stage one, the poison passes out of the character's system harmlessly.  

A second dose of poison will cause an immediate move to a lower stage regardless of time interval.

Basilisk Venom slowly turns its victims into a stone statue, which the creature then unhinges its jaw and grinds in its gizzard for sustenance.

Stage 1:  Muscles begin to slow.  -2 to all STR, DEX, and CON related actions.  Save each round or move to stage 2.

Stage 2: One or more limbs turned to stone.  -4 to all actions (regardless of associated ability scores), and move reduced to 3.  Save each round or move to stage 3.

Stage 3: Body is now mostly stone.  Must make a saving throw to perform any action other than screaming.  Make a save once each round or become a statue.

Giant Centipede Venom is typically meant for smaller prey than humans, but can be fatal for unlucky individuals.  Saves against centipedes of smaller than man sized have a +2 bonus.

Stage 1: Area of bite swells and becomes extremely painful.  -2 to all actions involving affected area.  Make a save each hour or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Bite swells and muscles begin to cramp.  -4 to all actions.  Make a save each hour or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3:  Body is completely paralyzed.  Save every turn or die of suffocation.

Giant Spider Venom varies based on the type of spider.  The one described below assumes a spider whose bite causes necrosis.

Stage 1:  Strangely painless red welt appears.  Make a save every turn or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Lose 1 hit point as welt bursts to reveal rotten flesh beneath.  Magical healing will only restore 1 hit point until poison exits system.  Make a save every day or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3:  Rot grows to cover most of limb or torso.  -4 to all actions.  Make a save each hour or die of toxic shock.

Lotus Powder comes in a variety of colors and is produced in the Land of One Thousand Idols.  The entry here is for black lotus powder, which is commonly found in traps.

Stage 1:  Vision blurs, brain fogs.  - 2 to all mental actions.  Make a saving throw each round or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Character swoons.  Can be roused for 1d4 rounds before swooning again.  During waking periods character takes a -4 penalty on all die rolls.  Make a saving throw each turn or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3: Character falls into coma filled with unearthly visions.  Visions are always positive to the character, but their heavenly or hellish nature depends on their alignment.  Make a saving throw every week or perish.  Returning to stage 2  or magically neutralizing the poison is the only way the character may be roused.

Froad Poison is secreted by the strange creatures that live in the swamps.  It is extremely potent to all humanoids except Froglings and Bullywugs, which are immune to its effects.  All other creatures have a -4 to related saving throws.  Oddly, the poison of a Driffit is very similar in effect, but does not force the penalty to saves.

Stage 1:  Muscles tighten and breathing becomes laborious.  - 2 penalty to all d20 rolls and -1 to all d6 rolls.  Make a save each round or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Muscles continue to tighten and heartbeat becomes shallow.  -4 to all d20 rolls and d6 rolls are impossible.  Movement decreases to 6 and is impossible in armor.

Stage 3:  Body is completely paralyzed but hideously aware.  Saving throws to return to a lower stage are made once a week.  Otherwise the victim will remain in this stage until they perish from exposure or other causes.

Wyvern Venom, while potent, is slower acting than other forms of venom or poison.  Wyverns prefer to fly down, sting an opponent, and then fly away and follow it until it perishes.

Stage 1:  Area swells and becomes excruciatingly painful.  -2 penalty to all d20 rolls and a -4 penalty to rolls involving the afflicted limb.  If stung in the leg, movement is reduced to 6.

Stage 2:  Blood begins to thin.  In addition to the effects of Stage 1, a save must be made to perform any physical action.  On a failure the character swoons for 1d4 rounds.  Make a save each day or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3:  Character collapses into a coma.  A save must be made each day or the character dies - assuming they are not eaten by a Wyvern before then.

An Advanced Case of Possession

Possession works much the same way as poison, a fact that has not escaped sermon writers in the Church of Law.  The most common type of possession, a host of fiends, is described below.  More powerful possessors will inevitably be related to a demon lord and will be described at a later date.

Host of Fiends

Stage 1: Character is encouraged by strange voices to participate in vile acts.  +2 bonus to all actions made in accordance with the voices' desires.  If the act is particularly heinous (referee's discretion) then a save is immediately called for to advance to stage 2.  Otherwise, the save is made each week.

Stage 2:  Voices become demanding.  Instead of providing a bonus, a -4 penalty is incurred by following any course not advised by the fiends.  As with stage 1, a save is made either when a heinous act is committed or when a week passes.  If the save is failed, proceed to stage 3.

Stage 3:  The character is now a puppet for the host of fiends.  The character is controlled by the referee and only an exorcism will return control to the player.  Save each week or the character is permanently possessed and becomes a Cadaverite.

Rules for exorcisms will be forthcoming, as they are more complicated than neutralizing poison or curing disease, but they may only be successful if the victim is at stage 3 or lower.

Heraldry Depicting a Basilisk of Apparently Immense Size

Note: this section repeats the basilisk venom information from above to make it easier for referees to use without referencing this post.

Basilisk, Nightwick
AC 15
HD 6
Attacks Bite
Special Poison
Move 9
HDE/XP 8/800

Basilisks in the world of Nightwick are actually snakes of sinister aspect.  They have night-black bodies except for the small, crown-like protrusion from the top of their head.  They are found most commonly in the Desert Lands, but in warmer months they plague the Dark Country and Iron Kingdoms.

Basilisk Venom slowly turns its victims into stone, which the creature then unhinges its jaw and grinds in its gizzard for sustenance.

Stage 1:  Muscles begin to slow.  -2 to all STR, DEX, and CON related actions.  Save each round or move to stage 2.

Stage 2: One or more limbs turned to stone.  -4 to all actions (regardless of associated ability scores), and move reduced to 3.  Save each round or move to stage 3.

Stage 3: Body is now mostly stone.  Must make a saving throw to perform any action other than screaming.  Make a save once each round or become a statue.

Basilisks are sacred to the Demon Prince Apollo, as are all serpents.  They have been seen ruling courts of snakes in the desert, devouring those that displease them.  Whether or not the snakes are intelligent or if they are merely vessels for intelligent demons is as yet a mystery.