Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ideas from the Companion Boxed Set - Players Companion: Book One

Due to a rearranging of my furniture and books, I have rediscovered my D&D Companion rules, and I've decided to look through it and see what (if anything) I could use with Kaelaross and the B/X D&D I generally use. There are 2 books in the boxed set, one for players, the other for DMs.

In book 1 the following have caught my eye:
The Changing Game - This page looks at long term campaigns, long term goals and ambitions, and the changing nature of high-level adventures and campaigns - it could be much more than just going deeper into the dungeon to kill bigger monsters:
  • Settling down and establishing strongholds
  • Wide-ranging exploration
  • Becoming a political player, or at least a force that rulers will be aware of
  • The Planes of Existence
  • Paths to Immortality
New Armour and Weapons - these weapons benefit from more explanation than just lines in a table - perhaps this could be done with other weapons.
Bastard Sword - I would allow dwarves to use it two-handed but not one handed, but probably not let halflings use it at all.
Blowgun - This weapon is reliant on poison, which brings up questions of ethics and game balance. I would expect those who use blowguns to start making checks to handle the poison correctly
Heavy Crossbow - I would say too big for halflings, but dwarves could cope with it
Net, whip and Bola - The Entangle/Slow/Delay effects offer interesting tactical options, though I am not sure about the effects being so dependent on target's level

Unarmed Combat - Better than in the 1st Ed AD&D DMG, but I'm sure a lot of DMs will want to at least tweak these rules, particularly in non-standard situations

Strongholds - I liked this section as a good introduction to players owning and maintaining their own places. One thing that crossed my mind was there was no mention of surviving, loyal henchmen from dungeon expeditions being offered good positions in a stronghold  "Bob, you've served me well in our times together in the Caverns of Chaos. Want a cushy position as the captain of the guard at my castle?"
 It's interesting that the expected wages of some of the castle staff are quite expensive, thus prompting either further adventuring for loot, or else careful government of the PC's lands to generate tax revenue.
In Kaelaross I can well imagine powerful PCs setting up their own strongholds, or perhaps being asked by a ruler to look after a borderland village or keep that is proving troublesome or vulnerable to attack. Imagine if the town council of Ironmarket asked the PCs to capture Charsis - in return they get to govern it.

Character Class Descriptions: This half of the book gives some straight-forward extensions for human character classes for levels 15-25, including experience needed, spells per day, improved thief skills and the like. There are also spells for levels 6-7 for clerics and 7-9 for magic users. All of this is a no-brainer for inclusion - of course it's accepted as part of gaming in Kaelaross. Heck, it's the basic reason for the Companion Set's existence - everything else is optional add-ons.
Interestingly it offers all human characters a choice - settle down and set up a stronghold (see above) or wander around the campaign world. Wandering around offers further options for each class.

The Druid is introduced as a proto-prestige class - once a neutral cleric reaches 9th level he may choose to undergo the training necessary to become a druid. I like the idea that druids can't use metal - only leather, wood, stone and bone. This could lead to some interesting magic weapons created by druids for druids.
I am not sure about actually having druids as part of Kaelaross - it could be more of a step away from the B/X feel than I am prepared for yet. I won't say never, but I will say not yet. Haaken is a deity I created as a possible patron of druids, so if I did introduce druids, he would be the one to instruct them.
As for the druid spells, I might consider Haaken granting them to his conventional clerics in exceptional circumstances.

Wandering Fighters have the options of becoming knights, paladins or avengers. Like the druid, these are proto-prestige classes, with quite a few abilities (casting clerical spells) and roleplaying restrictions (loyalty to a liege).
I'm not sure I would actually have these as part of gaming in Kaelaross, at least not as written. I've already written about orders of knights in Toutus, and I view knighthood as something to be roleplayed rather than additional abilities to be min-maxed. Offering intrinsic benefits to a fighter who is roleplayed as a knight as opposed to one roleplayed as a gladiator, a professional soldier, a bodyguard or a barbarian does not sit well with me.

Magic Users - I'm amused by the bit about PC magic users settling down and building their own dungeon and inviting monsters to move in! However, I do not take this very seriously, and if any of my PCs tried this, I don't think I'd let them get away easily with "farming" the dungeon for looted treasure. The note about Magists being the wizard-in-residence at a powerful NPC's stronghold is an interesting alternative to the mage maintaining his own domain. Perhaps this could be applied to other classes (a PC cleric becomes a resident Chaplain, a PC fighter becomes a resident Marshal of the Guard, a PC thief becomes a resident Spymaster?)

Thieves similarly have the opportunity to either become guildmasters in a town (their equivalent of settling down into a stronghold) or else wander around as a rogue (interesting use of an over-used name).

Demihumans in the Companion Set have reached their maximum levels. And here things aren't so adaptable or suited for adventuring. The book talks about clan relics, but I can't really see these being very useful as they can't be carried around in your backpack into the dungeon or wilderness. They also seem quite specific - not exactly world-specific, but each race has just one possible clan relic, and there isn't much leeway offered to DMs or players wanting to do something different with top-level demihumans.
Because I have added new classes for demihumans in Kaelaross (namely the Dwarven Cleric, the Halfling Defender and the Elven Ranger), and also added extra levels to "standard" halflings (known in Kaelaross as Halfling Scouts) I am aware I have already sort of interfered with the Companion set's ideas of what demihumans should do at this level. The spellcasters (particularly dwarven cleric and halfling defender) make clan relics sort of redundant, or at least can cast spells that are similar to the relic's effects.
The additional attack ranks and special defences are worth bearing in mind, and if any demihuman PC reached  top level and continued to keep track of XP, I would allow them these extra bonuses as some compensation for their level limits.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Bellenos Empire

While the classic medieval stories of knights in armour, splendid castles and feudal chivalry of Britain, France and Germany have inspired a lot of Toutus, Bellenos, one of its main rivals before the empires collapsed, is from further south - namely the Renaissance Mediterranean, especially Venice, Florence and Genoa. While feudal loyalties were what bound the various duchies and counties of Toutus together, it was trade that kept Bellenos together. The Bellenosians certainly had powerful armies, but they were more a means to an end when trade and diplomacy failed rather than the reason for the state. 

If this makes it sound like the Bellenosians were more benevolent than the Toutatians, think again. At their best they were charismatic, sophisticated, cooperative diplomats. At their worst they were cynical, greedy lying bastards who would buy large tracts of land from ignorant natives for just a handful of glass beads, and then viciously repel the angry natives with steel when they realised the deal they had struck was unfair. In other cases the Bellenosian explorers simply conquered hapless natives in foreign lands, claiming the land for the Bellenos Empire (with the expectation of being governors of these new territories). 

Bellenos arose as a coalition of city-states on the home island of Bellenia, which then spread  around the Vendalian Archipelago. The empire had grown powerful through their merchant-explorers, travelling around the archipelago and beyond - even reaching the shores of Toutus, though never establishing anything more than trading enclaves in Toutatian towns and cities.
They also explored east and south. To the east they came across the huge continent of Keshiss, with its northern and southern halves both projecting west towards Bellenos. To the south the Bellenosians found the Cynidean islands, with the dying Cynidean culture that collapsed just as the Bellenosians made contact. The Bellenosian towns and trading posts only cover some of the islands - a lot of it is still wilderness and abandoned Cynidean ruins. One of the most notable of these Bellenosian towns, which has survived the Summoning and subsequent collapse of the Empire is Tekhumis the Desert Port

The Bellenos way of war was less feudal and more regimented than in Toutus, and with less reliance on armour and more on manoeuvrability - lightly armoured crossbowers protected by ranks of pikemen and halberdiers were common among the regiments of the city-states. Since Bellenos was based on an archipelago with many overseas outposts and colonies, there was a much greater emphasis on its navy - not just slow, crude cogs, but sleek, fast schooners and mighty galleons, while closer inshore there were galleys manned by hundreds of rowers each. The sailors who manned these ships were reluctant to wear armour that could drown them if they ended up in the water, so in Bellenos the Swashbuckling style of fighting was developed. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Grulven Mountains

The Grulven Mountains are a range of subarctic peaks just to the south east of the Walrus Freehold. The Grulven Mountains were previously the heart of a dwarven kingdom of Urrugorn. However, it collapsed before the rise of the Toutus Empire, about 430BY. The surviving dwarves retreated from the centre of the range to the edges, where there are some outposts and settlements of dwarves, slowly trying to reclaim their heritage. 

There are quite a few giants, including hill, stone, frost and fire, plus some ettins and cyclopses. These giants contributed to the fall of Urrugorn. Some of these giants have gathered into significant tribes, particularly the hill and frost giants. Any DM looking to place the modules G1-2-3: Against the Giants in Kaelaross could do worse than have them here, threatening the cities  and farmlands of the Walrus Freehold.  

But more damaging was the war of attrition between the dwarves and tribes of goblins and orcs of the Underworld. The goblins seemed to be in charge, with the orcs as auxiliaries and mercenaries. There are some goblin tribes that actively seek out and try to kill as many dwarves as possible - for some the war of attrition is not over. Although they would like to take back what is theirs, for many dwarves the emphasis is on defence and safety. The goblin tribes under the Grulven Mountains are known for their military organisation as well as their particularly dangerous warrior-chiefs and shamans who often rival heroes in prowess. 

The Grulven mountains are dotted with ruins of dwarven strongholds and towns. Some of these still have the descendants of the orc and goblin invaders while others are devoid of living humanoids (though not necessarily free from danger). 
As well as lots of silver, gold and gems, some notable artefacts of the dwarves were lost in Urrugorn, inlcuding the legendary Axe of the Dwarven Lords, and the Forge of Fate, a whole blacksmith's workshop that can enhance the potency of any weapon or armour made or mended there. 

Blackbeard Clan (population 1,500): Although generally decent and upright dwarves, there is an ongoing problem with a cult of chaotic dwarves. Any dwarves proven to be part of the chaos cult (not just chaotic in alignment) are liable to banishment, or execution if further crimes are linked to the offender. This is not as effective as it might sound as banished or fugitive chaotic dwarves are directed to Ironheart Keep, a formerly abandoned stronghold now taken over by chaotic dwarf cultists. The Blackbeard Clan is also quite isolated - there are some trade caravans that travel to and from Hurin Castle, but this is quite a trek through monster-haunted wilderness. Interestingly the Blackbeard Clan has had some friendly contact with the Orchunter Clan of elves, mostly with trade but occasionally some military cooperation, though the traditional tension between dwarves and elves has not completely disappeared. 

Trollslayer Clan (population 1,700): This clan provides mercenary dwarf warriors for Stalim. With its closeness to Stalim it is the most open-minded and also prosperous of the three main clans. The warriors of the Trollslayer clan can be quite ferocious against giants, though rumours of them being utterly fearless, bare-chested, adorned with tattoos and sporting orange mohican hairdos are probably an exaggeration. 

Hearthkeeper Clan (population 2000): Although the most populous of the three clans, the Hearthkeeper clan is also the most under attack, both from giants and also orcs and goblins. The leaders of the clan are certain that there is some sort of malign intelligence sending these attacks, but no-one can be certain who is the evil mastermind. As it is even more isolated than the Blackbeard Clan, the Hearthkeeper Clan is in quite a vulnerable situation. 

Bloodberyl Mine is a famous mine that had been in the hands of dwarves until quite recently. Around the same time as the Summoning the mine was overrun with orcs, goblins and other chaotic humanoids, and the dwarves simply don't have the numbers to reclaim it. 

Random Encounters:
Roll 1d12+1d8  Results
2 Cloud Giant
3 Fire Giant
4 Frost Giant
5 Troll
6 Hill Giant
7 Giant Hawk
8 Ogre
9 Wild Yak (4 HD herd animal)
10 Mountain Goat (2 HD herd animal)
11 Mountain Lion
12 Black Bear
13 Wolf
14 Goblin
15 Orc
16 Wyvern
17 Giant Eagle
18 Ettin or Cyclops
19 White Dragon
20 Red Dragon

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Werberin Island

Whereas Klantorr is a very lawful realm, Werberin is quite the opposite - mostly neutral, with some very chaotic aspects.
During the Wars between the Empires, numerous levels of government disappeared - the Duke of Varreshiss and the Senechal of Werberin were killed by invading Bursian troops and assassins, while later on the Empire collapsed with the Summoning. This has left a power vacuum that has not been filled in Werberin in the way the clerics took over Klantorr. The result is that Werberin is now a collection of independent towns and villages living in an uneasy anarchy.

Geographical features:
Gaelaron Forest is on the south-eastern tip. There are relatively few dangerous creatures - the Senechal of Werberin saw that the forest was kept under control until the wars between the Empires. There are some stags, wild boar, giant ferrets and giant shrews that threaten the unwary, but nothing that an armed adventurer couldn't deal with.
The Sorrowflow river runs from Vander's Silvermine past Westlier Keep, through the Oystercatcher Marshes and into the sea. It was previously named the Sarrinflow but its name changed during the Bursian attack on Werberin when there was a major battle on the banks as Varreshiss troops held one side and Bursian troops tried a frontal attack. For days the river ran red and corpses were washed downstream, and the river was nicknamed the Sorrowflow.
The Oystercatcher Marshes surround the estuary of the Sorrowflow, and are mostly salt-water or brackish water. Giant crabs and scarlet crabs are known to crawl around in the marshes, and giant hawks sometimes compete with the giant seagulls, each looking for easy scavenging, or maybe weakened and lost prey.
The Bertrach Ridges run along the southern coast of the island, and are rugged hills rising to a few mountainous peaks in the middle. Unlike most of Werberin Island the Bertrach ridges were never completely cleared of monsters, and a few very dangerous creatures can be found - there is at least one nest of wyverns, giant eagles and hill giants have also been sighted. More commonly there are giant goats (3HD herd animals), wild ibexes (2HD herd animals), giant hawks, mountain lions and black bears. 

Principle Settlements:
Cornaxville (population 20,000) is the largest settlement in Werberin. It is run by supposedly a town council but this is really just a front for the thieves guild. The whole town is dangerous and lawless, and muggings, pick-pocketing, burglary and swindling are all common activities.
Endorell (population 15,000) is a fishing town with a large farming community attached. The town is sort of lucky in that the most powerful inhabitant is a crotchety old mage called Varshild (16th level mage, neutral, male) who prefers to be undisturbed while he studies. He has hired a band of 240 mercenaries called the Purple Chevrons to act as peace-keepers, primarily so he can continue his research, but with the side benefit of some sort of order kept in the town. This should not be construed as any sort of benevolence - the Purple Chevrons are paid to make sure the town stays quiet, not necessarily charitable or just. There is an active thieves' guild here, but it stays discrete.
Hastlin (population 13,000) is known for its shipwrights and carpenters of exceptional skill. However, it has seen better times. At the moment the council who run the town are in league with both pirates and the Red Hand organisation. There is a well-developed and busy port where ships can offload cargo and passengers but unless you are on good terms with the harbour-master, there is a good chance that some mishap (usually theft of some sort) will happen. Whole ships have gone missing from the quay when the owners weren't looking.
Shepherdshelter (population 5,000) has grown rapidly since its early days as a farming village. It currently has a military government - when the duchy collapsed a contingent of soldiers retreated here and set themselves up as the de facto government. They have recruited replacements and the company is still in charge. These days they have several advisors - a merchant-trader, a head cleric and a mage. Shepherdshelter is on the shore, and a quay and port are being constructed slowly when money and materials can be spared. The local fishermen simply pull their boats up onto the beach, but this is not good for larger ships.
Vander's Silvermine (population 4500) is, as the name suggests, based around a silver mine. The mine itself is relatively peaceful - a few mindless vermin but nothing the miners can't handle. However, wyvern attacks on travellers and shepherds outside of town is becoming a serious problem. The town is run by an alliance of merchants and headed by an appointed mayor. The mayor is primarily interested in keeping the merchants happy, which means keeping the mine open and money flowing. The town is recovering from a period when a mad cleric of Storshin dominated the town, demanding human sacrifices to keep his goddess appeased. For five years the people of Vanders Silvermine obeyed, cowed by his clerical magic, until a popular uprising saw him thrown off a cliff. Nonetheless, it is thought he had acolytes hidden among the population and they might still try to restart the insane cult of Storshin.
Westlier Keep (population 2200) used to be the administrative heart of Werberin, but it was sacked and most of the officials and officers killed in the Bursian attack during the wars. These days it is a shadow of its former glory, with most inhabitants being beggars, bandits and outcasts from other settlements. 

Smaller settlements include farming hamlets and small villages of less than 500 people are dotted over Werberin but are not shown on the map. 

Economy and Trade:
Because it is a collection of now-independent towns and villages, Werberin has no structured economy - it is as laissez-faire as it gets. Even laws don't really stop the flow of production and demand as far as moonshine liquor, hired thugs and fenced goods go. Theft is common, particularly in Cornaxville and Hastlin, and there crime is almost an accepted part of the economy. Mercenaries, private bodyguards and security consultants are in good demand. Although the government of Werberin was destroyed during the wars, a lot of the means of production were not badly affected - the farms and small villages around Cornaxville, Shepherdshelter and Endorell were ignored by the Bursian troops, so crops and livestock are still farmed, though bandits (mostly human but a few humanoids) can ruin a farmer's whole year. 
Trade outside of Werberin is possible, but not reliable. The main problem is that a lot of merchants simply don't feel safe doing business in Werberin, so those who want to sell stuff need to export it to the buyers themselves (this is one of the reasons Shepherdshelter wants its own port). Nonetheless, there is some trade with Klantorr, the cities of the Walrus Freehold and Teiglin. 

Military Situation:
Werberin no longer has a proper military force - after the wars and the collapse of the Empire and Duchy, the remaining forces either disbanded or became mercenaries (or in Shepherdshelter, the local rulers). Settlements have to provide their own defences and law-keepers, either recruiting within their own population or hiring from outside. As such the quality of troops or town watch varies wildly from the professional (the Purple Chevrons of Endorell and the military rulers of Shepherdshelter) to the ineffectual (the "town watch" of Cornaxville who never interfere with Thieves' Guild business) to the negligible (the occasional angry mob that forms in Westlier Keep when a scapegoat is found). 
The problems that face Werberin are not massive but they are many-fold. 
The Undead of Narvellis occasionally raid - they are not after money or food, but people, either dead or alive. This is rare but quite terrifying when it happens, when one of the dreaded ghost ships of the Drowners of Sorrow arrives on the shore. 
The human barbarians of Cortacus have developed raiding ships, like rougher, cruder versions of viking longships. They are not interested in large-scale invasion, but can take on a large village if they are motivated enough. 
Disputes and raids between settlements on Werberin are common enough and the archmage of Endorell gets annoyed enough with bandits linked to Cornaxville that he will order the Purple Chevrons to punish the offenders or at least the town that sponsors them. Such tit-for-tat squabbles might escalate into something more serious. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cortacus - the Wild Land

Cortacus is a large island off the north-west coast of Toutus. As far as islands go, it is big, measuring 600 miles or so from east to west, and 150 miles from north to south, and it sits on the west side of the Walrus Freehold, north of the Vareshiss Islands
Unlike quite a few regions where I have gone into detail and mapped the relevant area, I shall leave Cortacus unmapped, at least for the time being. The thinking behind this is that even before the Summoning, Cortacus was mostly wilderness. The parts that have been mapped - the eastern end with Najask, Fjordport and the Orgrist Hills, and the southern edge abutting the Varreshiss Islands - are mapped because they are relatively close to civilised areas and towns where human cartographers and explorers may gather. 
The central and western part are almost unknown to humans. They know that it exists, and the Toutatians have sailed round the coast so they know its dimensions, but its interior is almost total mystery. 

Nonetheless, there are rumours and third-hand accounts of what could be found in central Cortacus - some of these should be taken with a pinch of salt:

  • A civilization of stone giants who have excavated and hollowed out entire mountains into giant-sized strongholds
  • Tribes of fire giants and frost giants who war with each other and use human barbarians and ogres as proxies
  • A red dragon ruler who dominates human barbarians, forcing them to mine for gems and gold on pain of being eaten
  • An entire citadel of chaos cultists who have been established from way before the Summoning, who have allies and emissaries all over Toutus including the Red Hand and the Traitor Legion
  • A race of winged centaurs calling themselves Pegataurs 
  • The ruins of the Turrokoth Despotship of hobgoblins, mentioned in the book "The Histories of the Ancients", containing the Despot's lost treasure gathered from decades of raiding human cultures
  • A tribe of amazon women who keep their menfolk in chains and ruthlessly cull sick or crippled men. 
  • A rookery of large rocs, dominated by the biggest giant roc ever seen
  • A tower of untarnished white metal reaching a mile up into the sky, where an incredibly powerful wizard has mastered the secrets of immortality but prefers academic research to conquest or physical wealth
  • An underground cavern network (perhaps connected to the Underworld?) where reptilian humanoids domesticate and herd dinosaurs and giant lizards. 
  • The remains of a failed Toutatian colony on the western end. The ruins of the town are haunted by various undead creatures as well as the evil spirits that brought about the colony's demise

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Dungeon of the Month February 2012

The Giant Caves of the Twisted Hills
A short adventure using B/X D&D or Labyrinth Lord rules for characters of levels 6-9
These caves are in the Twisted Hills, in the stretch of hills between the coast of the Walrus Channel and the Grulven Mountains. The six giant-sized chambers (rounded walls, wide passages) all have ceilings about 20-25' from the floor, while the human-sized areas (square and rectangular rooms, 10' wide passages) have 10' high ceilings. 
The caves have become the lair of a clan of hill giants who have allowed smaller creatures to live in the areas that the giants find too cramped to be comfortable. Note that if they have a mind to, the hill giants can stoop down and fit into the 10' high x10' wide corridors  but they suffer a -2 to hit and a +1 penalty to AC as it is similar to a 6' tall human fighting in a 5' tall passageway. The other creatures in the human-sized rooms give the giants a wide berth - they know the giants are the rulers of this dungeon.

The Giant-Sized Caves - all the areas 1-6 have high ceilings
1) 2 hill giants (hp 24, 29, stats as per rulebook) + 2 cave bears (hp 32, 20, stats as per rulebook). In the middle of the room there is a pile of 5 boulders (range 20'/40'/80' dam 2d6)  which the giants will pick up and throw one each on the first round if they have the opportunity. The giants and bears are on sentry duty and watching for trouble.
2) 4 hill giants (hp 38, 22, 30, 27, stats as per rulebook) + 2 hill giant young (hp 15, 24, stats as per ogres in rulebook). To one side of the room there is a pile of 7 boulders (range 20'/40'/80' dam 2d6)  which the adult  giants will pick up and throw one each on the first round if they have the opportunity.
3) 3 hill giants (hp 39, 44, 26) + 1 hill giant young (hp 10, 15, stats as per ogre in rulebook). At the south-east side is a pile of 5 boulders (range 20'/40'/80' dam 2d6)  which the giants will pick up and throw one each on the first round if they have the opportunity.
4) 1 hill giant Chief (AC 4, Move 120' HD 10, hp 55, THAC0 11, Att 1 mace for 4d6 dam, Save as F10, Ml 11, Align Chaotic, XP 1000) + 2 hill giants (hp 48, 47, stats as per rulebook).
The hill giant chief has a large chest (5'x5'x5') that contains a massive weight of treasure: 120,000sp, 21,000gp, 1,200pp, a finely wrought golden sceptre worth 3,200gp, a silver and iron helm with fine enamelling worth 1,800gp and a set of 6 matching emeralds worth 1000gp each  (50,000gp total)
5) 1 hill giant (hp 34, stats as per rulebook)  +3 cave bears (hp 27, 22, 35, stats as per rulebook)
6) 3 hill giants (hp 40, 40, 35) + 1 hill giant young (hp 18, stats as per ogre in rulebook). On one side of the room there is a pile of 5 boulders (range 20'/40'/80' dam 2d6)  which the giants will pick up and throw one each on the first round if they have the opportunity before closing for combat.

The Forgotten Rooms
7) Empty
8) A patch of Green slime (hp 11, stats as per rulebook) is dripping off the ceiling and will try to drop onto anyone who simply enters the room without checking. If someone announces they are checking for traps or other suspicious things before entering, they will detect the slime and can avoid it.

The Thoul Lair (if you're playing with LL rules, use Thoghrins, which are thouls with different names)
9) Empty
10) 8 thouls (hp 19, 10, 15, 16, 13, 12, 17, 14, stats as in rulebook) are making a terrible noise as they are ripping apart a deer carcass.
11) 5 Thouls (hp 15, 12, 16, 24, 20, stats as in rulebook), plus a troll (hp 35, stats as in rulebook) as their leader. There is a sack hanging from a hook on the wall, and this sack contains 1220gp, 560pp, a jewelled platinum dagger and scabard worth 1100gp, a silver and tourmaline necklace worth 680gp and 3 small topazes worth 200gp each (6500gp total)
12) Empty apart from a crossbow trap. Anyone opening the door triggers several crossbows set to the side of the door (3 crossbow bolts, THAC0 10, dam 2d4 each). The thouls know about this trap and can reset it or disable it to get into the room. Any thief trying to find or disable traps has normal chance of doing so.

The Abandoned Hideout - the giants know that there are scavengers in these rooms, and will often throw waste and leftovers into these rooms to be devoured.
13) 5 carrion crawlers (a.k.a. carcass scavengers in LL, hp 20, 17, 12, 19, 11, stats as in rulebooks). Among the decaying bones in this room is a single sapphire worth 2000gp
14) Empty
15) Empty apart from in the middle of the room are two metal plates, 5'x5', one on the floor, one on the ceiling directly above the first. Anyone stepping in between these plates gets 3d8 damage of electricity shooting through him. If they are wearing metal armour they suffer an extra 1d8 damage.

The Minotaur Den - After the previous minotaur boss was killed in a battle with the hill giants the minotaurs here have had to tread very carefully around the giants and pay them a large sum of loot. Also because of the threat of the hill giants, the minotaurs have banded together in an unusually large group of ten. They have recently attacked and looted a trade caravan.
16) Empty
17) 4 minotaurs (hp 22, 32, 24, 28, stats as in rulebook)
18) 5 minotaurs (hp 30, 30, 22, 10, 17, stats as in rulebook) plus three terrified humans who have seen their colleagues killed and eaten. The humans are:
    Obremm, human male F2, hp 5 (normally 10), align Neutral, merchant-trader
    Murdork, human male F2, hp 4 (normally 8), align Lawful, caravan guard
    Merria, human female, NM, hp 2 (normally 4), align Neutral, mule-handler
19) 1 minotaur boss (hp 57, stats as in my previous post on minotaurs) with a pile of treasure in one corner  15 rolls of silk worth 200gp each, 40 jars of rare spices (each weighing 1lb and worth 20gp), 10 ingots of dwarven mithril worth 300gp each,  a leather sack with 1300pp and a chest of 2700gp (16000gp total)
20) Empty

The Haunted Rooms - These rooms were abandoned by living things a while ago
21) 1 Spectre (hp 19, stats as in rulebook)
22) Empty
23) 1 Invisible Stalker (hp 44, stats as in rulebook) stands over the decayed body of a wizard who was killed by the spectre emerging from room 21. The invisible stalker is still following the instructions to "watch my back" - nothing about protecting his summoner from attacks by undead. The wizard's body still has a ring of protection +3, a wand of illusion and 2 potions of extra-healing.
Of course, when the PCs enter the room, all they will see is the wizard's body unless they are currently detecting invisible creatures.
24) 6 shadows (hp 13, 12, 14, 17, 12, 9, stats as in rulebook)
25) Empty
26) Secret Room

The Nagpas's Haunt - These creatures have reached an understanding with the giants and will advise them on matters of intellect and knowledge. In return, the giants let the nagpas study here without too much disturbance. 
27) Empty
28) 1 Nagpa (hp 48, memorised spells: Detect Magic, Invisibility, Dispel Magic, Confusion and Feeblemind, stats as in my previous post on nagpas). The nagpa has a locked chest with the key around his scrawny neck. Inside the chest is the nagpa's collected treasure - 20,000sp, 4,800gp, a pouch of 12 gems worth 100gp each (3 amethyst, 3 jade, 3 amber and 3 and 3 chrysoberyls) and 6 silver-wrought 12" high statuettes of heroes and deities worth 500gp each  (total = 11,000gp)
The nagpa also has his personal spellbook with his known spells in it - this can include whatever spells the DM thinks are appropriate but should include the spells the nagpa currently has memorised and Explosive Rune. The DM may introduce new spells to magic user PCs via this book. 
29) Empty apart from a book on a table. This book was a spellbook now ruined, and is trapped with an Explosive Rune spell on the inside first page - anyone opening the book to look inside unleashes the explosion that causes 6d4+6 damage to all within a 10' radius. Anyone in the radius except the reader gets a saving throw vs spells to take only half damage, the reader gets no save. 
30) 1 lesser nagpa (hp 36, memorised spells: charm person, phantasmal force, hold person, stats as in my previous post on nagpas) and two displacer beasts (known in LL as phase tigers, hp 24, 20) as guards
31) 2 lesser nagpas (hp 30, 26, #1 memorised spells: detect magic, web, dispel magic, #2 memorised spells magic missile (3 missiles per spell), Mirror Image, Protection from Normal Missiles, stats as in my previous post on nagpas)
32) Empty apart from desks, chairs and bookshelves. The books on the shelves belong to the nagpas and they are very old, on arcane and magical topics. There are 68 books, each worth 2d6x10gp and weighing 1d6 lb. The entire collection is worth 4700gp and weighs 238lb. There is also one other book, hidden among these less valuable books, which is the lesser nagpas' shared spellbook, which they use to refresh their memorised spells. The exact contents are:
1st level: Charm Person, Detect Magic, Magic Missile, Sleep, Ventriloquism
2nd level: Locate Object, Mirror Image, Phantasmal Force, Web
3rd level: Dispel Magic, Fly, Hold Person, Protection from Normal Missiles, 

Monster XP summaries (Hill giants xp 560 cave bear 440 young hill giant 140)
#1 560+560+440+440 = 2000xp
#2 560 x4 + 140 x2 = 2520xp
#3 560 x3 + 140 = 1820xp
#4 1000 + 560 x2 = 2260xp
#5 560 + 440 x3 = 1880xp
#6 560 x3 +140 = 1820xp
#8 38 xp
#10 80 x8 = 640xp
#11 80 x5 + 680= 1080xp
#13 135 x5 = 675xp
#17 320 x4 = 1280xp
#18 320 x5 = 1600xp
#19 1000xp
#21 820xp
#23 1060xp
#24 59 x6 = 354xp
#28 1700xp
#30 570 +570 x2 = 1710xp
#31 570 x2 = 1040xp

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Mercenaries of Toutus

This is not a complete list, but just the most notable and famous of the mercenary bands around the west coast of Toutus. You may notice that Teiglin does not feature much - as a large kingdom with its own army, it does not need mercenaries, though they may be found around the borderlands along side adventurers

Tancrad's Motley Mariners - Tancrad Anchorhead (12th level fighter, unaligned) is a mercenary fleet commander with 5 ships at his disposal. He is based in Trislem in the Walrus Freehold, and usually has one or two of his ships there. He also does business in and around the Varreshiss Islands, and there is often one of his ships in that area.
Each ship is a caravel with a crew of 50, made up of many different nationalities, appearances and a few different races (a number of dwarves and halflings are among the ratings). They are all combat trained (1st level fighters minimum) and none are obviously chaotic - some discipline and standards of behaviour are required. Many are legitimate sailors, but some are reformed or refugee pirates and buccaneers either turned honest or just lying low.
Tancrad usually hires his ships out for exploration, trading in dangerous waters or amphibious raids. Anti-piracy patrols and other dangerous tasks will require extra hazard pay.

Sterin Clerical Services - 20 clerics of Partheusa are based in Sterinport and on hire on a daily basis, either the whole company or a contingent of 3-5 (never fewer - they like to watch each others' backs). They usually dress in chain mail, with surcoats and shields bearing Partheusa's emblem (a blacksmith's hammer on an orange background).
As befits followers of a goddess of trade and craftsmanship they are professional and detached about their work and generally offer the range of clerical spells up to 4th level, including healing, divination and protection. They often work along side more combat-oriented mercenaries as combat medics, or dealing with limited outbreaks of disease or undead.

Svarrien's Company - These are a relatively conventional mercenary company of 200 men split into 4 platoons of 50 men each. They are all human fighters of at least 2nd level and are equipped with plate mail and either wield spears, shields and swords, or swords and light crossbows. They fight in formation, with the crossbowers firing over the heads of the spear and shield men who are braced to fend off cavalry charges.
Svarrien's Company are based in Sturnornel Fort, and are based around a core of survivors from the Urdus Ducal army who fled eastwards during the Summoning. There is still some sort of loyalty towards the humans in the area, though since the duchy has collapsed they are now interested in money rather than feudal obligations.

Uldur’s Scouts - a company of human light cavalry with studded leather and fur armour, lances and maces who are based in Walrus City and go out on patrols on the Icemud Tundra, visiting trading posts and trappers. Like Svarrien's Company, they have some loyalty to the city, and are unlikely to betray Walrus City or attack its citizens and traders, but they do expect to get paid, and will often moonlight  in side jobs when things are quiet around Walrus City itself. Uldur himself was killed during a battle in the Wars between the Empires when Bursian forces attacked Walrus City, but the company still carries his name. There are believed to be 75 in the company, which is often split into patrols of 12 each. 

Grundil's Quarrellers - In Stalim in the Walrus freehold among the 550-strong militia are Grundil’s Quarrellers, 150 dwarf crossbowmen originally from the Grulven Mountains who now act as mercenary guards. They are paid by the city council and as such are relatively loyal to the city as a whole. The dwarves are used in defensive duties, including manning the city walls and assisting the other militia and city officials at the city gates checking visitors and traders going in and out. There is the unofficial role that it keeps the dwarves of the Grulven Mountains on good terms with Stalim and there is a turnover of dwarves coming to join the company for a 3 or 4 year "tour of duty" and going back to the mountains to tell the other dwarves what their human neighbours are like ("Alright I suppose, and their ladies are leggy, but they don't have proper skill with metal and their beer is like watery yak pee")