Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Werewolves of Kaelaross

Werewolves are cool. They are vicious, powerful and scary, at least in books, movies and comics. In D&D they are lethal for novice adventurers, but from 3rd level onward they seem just one more monster. I would like to rectify that.
In this version, werewolves become more powerful as their human halves gain experience and levels. It is plausible that a human infected with lycanthropy may not have all the special abilities as soon as he is infect, but he gradually gains them over several months or a year as he becomes accustomed to his new condition.
However, the werewolf cannot use any weapons, armour, spells or special abilities that it might in human form. Any clothes or armour worn when the werewolf transforms is ripped and damaged beyond use. The werewolf does retain Strength, Dexterity and Constitution modifiers from its human form.
The time it takes to transform (either human to wolf or wolf to human) is generally 1 combat round, during which the werewolf cannot attack. However, this can be prolonged, usually for dramatic effect (think of all those werewolf movies).
The standard werewolf form is as a large wolf - quadrupedal and almost indistinguishable from normal wolves except for the eyes. As the werewolf progresses, it learns how to change into a wolfman - a hybrid form that is familiar to fans of horror movies. The major advantage of taking wolfman form is the extra claw attacks. However, the werewolf cannot run as fast on two legs like a human (120' per turn or 40' per round) as it can as on four legs as a wolf (180' per turn or 60' per round).

I admit the Special Abilities are more of a suggested progression than anything else - if you don't like some of them, or think werewolves should get some abilities regardless of level, go ahead and modify as you see fit. I admit the infravision thing could be acquired at 1st level, but that seemed rather crowded on the table and I wanted to space the abilities out a bit.

Character LevelWerewolf ACWerewolf HDBite DamageWolfman DamageSpecial Abilities
1631d8Cannot be wolfmanLunar Transformation,
Bestial Mind
2642d4Cannot be wolfmanInfect with Lycanthropy,
Immunity to
mundane weapons
3552d42d4/1d4/1d4Combat transformation
Wolfman form
4562d42d4/1d4/1d4Command Wolves
5571d101d10/1d4/1d4Track Faultlessly
6481d101d10/1d4/1d4Retain intelligence
7491d121d12/1d6/1d6Summon Wolves
93112d62d6/1d6/1d6Regenerate (1 hp/rnd)
103122d62d6/1d6/1d6Transform at will
113132d82d8/1d8/1d8Summon Dire Wolf
122142d82d8/1d8/1d8+2 or better
 enchantment to hit

Lunar Transformation: The werewolf transforms involuntarily on the night of the full moon and goes hunting
Bestial Mind: Weaker werewolves have the mind and intelligence of a wolf - they see all humans and livestock as prey, and have little strategy or judgement. Think of a dog chasing sheep.
Infect with Lycanthropy: The werewolf can pass on the disease of Lycanthropy to any victim that is bitten and survives.
Immunity to Mundane Weapons:  The werewolf cannot be damaged by non-magical weapons, except for silver weapons which do damage as normal.
Combat transformation: The werewolf can transform when threatened or angry (i.e. as combat starts) even if there is no full moon.
Wolfman Form: The werewolf can take bipedal form and attack with its claws if it wishes.
Command Wolves: If wolves are in the vicinity, the werewolf can call on them and command them to join it in a hunt.
Track Faultlessly: The werewolf's sense of smell is so good that it can track at least as well as any ranger with the nose of a bloodhound.
Retain Intelligence: The werewolf no longer becomes a mindless killer when it transforms, but retains the intelligence of its human form.
Summon Wolves: Even if wolves are not naturally occurring nearby, they will appear to help the werewolf (up to 1 normal wolf per level).
Infravision: The werewolf can see heat patterns in the dark up to 60' like dwarves and many monsters.
Regenerate: If attacked by spells or magic weapons, a werewolf with this ability can regenerate at 1 hp per round. However, the werewolf cannot regenerate from wounds caused by silver weapons.
Transform at Will: Regardless of the lunar phase, time of day or level of danger or stress, the werewolf can shift between forms at will. However, during the night of the full moon the werewolf is very uncomfortable staying in human form and may transform involuntarily if threatened or attacked.
Summon Dire Wolf: The werewolf can summon 1 dire wolf per 3 levels. If dire wolves are already present (e.g. naturally occurring) he may command any number of them.
+2 or better enchantment to hit: The werewolf effectively becomes immune to magic weapons of +1 enchantment. However, the werewolf can still be damaged by silver weapons, and also weapons with special bonuses against lycanthropes.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Bandits of Shorgan Forest part 3

This follows on from Part 1 (the caravan) and part 2 (Elfmeet) and has the characters confronting the bandits in their lair in the Shorgan Forest as can be seen on the map below:

The journey from civilisation to the bandit lair will take about 20 miles from Elfmeet or 10 miles from Glensor through woodlands that, although nominally claimed by the elves of Glensor, are all but wilderness.

This is more of a standard dungeon crawl. The bandits are a mixture of orcs, goblins and chaotic humans. They are led by a large, cunning goblin, advised by a chaotic goblin shaman. If Zendillia has escaped Elfmeet,  she will be encountered here as well. 
The entrance to the bandit lair is a cottage set into a hillside. 
  1. 3 human bandits (AC 5, Mv 90', HD F1, hp 5, 7, 3, Att 1 sword for 1d8, Ml 8, align C, XP 10, equip. scale mail, shield, sword, 3d6 sp each). 
  2. 2 human bandits (AC 7, Mv 120', HD T1, hp 2, 3, 1, Att 1 arrow or 1 handaxe for 1d6, Ml 7, align C, XP 10, equip. leather armour, shortbow, 10 arrows, hand axe, 3d6 sp each). They are supposed to be keeping a lookout but are only 30% likely to be on guard (roll d10, 1-3 on guard looking out the window, 4-7 asleep, 8-0 distracted by playing card & dice games). There are 6 simple beds and 4 chairs scattered around the hallway.
    If there is fighting in area 1, they will try to use their thief abilities. Check morale - if they hold steady they will try to backstab the PCs as they 
  3. empty apart from simple furniture. Any surviving bandits from the encounters during the journey to Firebright Keep may be found here. 
  4. 1 human sergeant (AC 4, Mv 90', HD F2, hp 10, Att 1 sword at +1 for 1d8+1 (Str 14), Ml 10, align C, XP 20, equip. chain mail, shield, sword, 16gp) . In the event of a fight in area 1, he will emerge from this room and join in.
    In his room there is a good quality bed, table and chair plus a chest. The chest itself just contains clothes (human male size, worth 5gp if the PCs loot it) but it sits on top of a wobbly flagstone, which can be lifted to reveal a hole containing a leather sack. In the sack is 130gp and 540sp. 
  5. 4 orcs (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1, hp 4, 4, 7, 6, Att 1 weapon for 1d6 or 1 javelin for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 10, equip. leather armour, shield, spear, 2 javelins, 3d6 sp each). They are contemptuous of the humans and won't help them. They will, however, attack any intruders trying to go deeper into the lair. 
  6. 6 orcs  (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1, hp 5, 7, 2, 2, 3, 6, Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 10, equip. leather armour, shield, spear, 3d6 sp each). The orcs are directly loyal to the orc leader Horvog in area 7.
    This area is filthy and smells like a latrine. There are hides, pieces of clothing and ragged blankets that are used as makeshift beds.  
  7. Horvog the Orc Leader (AC 4, Mv 60', HD 2, hp 10, Att 1 weapon for 1d6+1, Ml 8, align C, XP 20, equip chain mail, warhammer, shield). Horvog likes to tell the other orcs he is the leader in this enterprise, but really he knows the goblins are more powerful.
    He has a bed, underneath which is a chest. It is unlocked, but inside is a spitting cobra (AC 7, Mv 90', HD 1, hp 4, Att 1 bite for 1d3 + poison or spit for poison, Ml 7, align N, XP 15, spit poison requires save vs poison or go blind, bite poison requires save vs poison or die in 1d10 turns) plus Horvog's wealth - 630 sp, and 4 gems (2 quartzs worth 50gp each, an amber worth 100gp and a jade worth 80gp)
  8. 4 goblins (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1-1, hp 4, 2, 3, 2, Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 5, equip. leather armour, shield, hand axe, 3d6 sp each). 
  9. Grethel the Goblin Shaman (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 3 (3rd level shaman), HP 10, Att 1 weapon for 1d6+1 or 1 spell for special, Ml 10, align C, XP 65, equip. leather armour, shield +1, mace +1, spells: Cure Light Wounds, Detect Law (reverse of Detect Chaos), Hold Person).
    Grethel's chamber holds his bed and chest (full of shamanic paraphenalia plus some clothes) and at the far end is a shrine to some chaotic deity, possibly an aspect of Slargor with a horned grinning skull staring down from a niche in the wall, surrounded by some sort of yellow padding. The padding is actually Yellow Mold and anyone either disturbing the skull or touching the mold will trigger it (AC always hit, Mv 0, HD 2, hp 13, Att Spores, Ml 12, align N, XP 29, spores cover 10' cubed and require save vs poison or death in 6 rounds)
  10. The grand chamber: Here are 10 goblins (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1-1, hp 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 5, equip. leather armour, shield, hand axe, 3d6 sp each) all gathered round a large fire in the middle of the cave.  
  11. The store room is guarded by 3 goblins (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1-1, hp 2, 3, 7, Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 5, equip. leather armour, shield, hand axe, 3d6 sp each).
    There are various boxes and barrels of food, drink and equipment, much of which has been looted from the caravans that the bandits (including the goblins) have been looting.
  12. The prison: Here are 4 people held primarily as food, though the idea of ransom has occurred to the leaders. The prisoners are chained and shackled to the walls. The guards are 2 normal goblins (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1-1, hp 5, 6, Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 5, equip. leather armour, shield, hand axe, 3d6 sp each) plus a goblin warrior veteran (AC 5, Mv 60', HD 2d8-1, hp 9, Att 1 shortsword for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 20, equip. scale mail, shield, shortsword, 21gp and keys to the prisoners shackles).
    - Fritzus Asker, NM, male, align L, a merchant from Thaldion
    - Delmina the Swift, Ha1, female, align L, an adventurer
    - Doroggar Hardhammer, Dw1, male, align N, an adventurer, drunk in the back of a wagon when captured and of uncertain mental state
    - Bullon Berion, F1, male, align N, a trader from Alvenir
  13.  Marrgon, the Goblin Chief is a 3rd level goblin warrior (AC 4, Mv 60', HD 3d8-2, hp 14, Att 1 sword+1, dam 1d8+2, Ml 10, align C, XP 50, equip. chain mail, shield, Sword +1, key to chest).
    Marrgon is the battle leader of the goblins, though in strategic matters he defers to Grethel the shaman. He is ruthless, but prefers to expend human bandits in futile attacks, keeping orcs and goblins for fights that matter. That said, he expects the orcs, including their leader Horvog (area 7) to obey him.
    His chest is under his bed. It is locked (the key is around his neck). Inside is 1200gp, 2300sp and a piece of jewelry worth 500gp.   
  14. The guests' quarters: This room is well-furnished but empty. There are maps on the walls showing nearby parts of Teiglin, especially Glensor and Bauglir. If Zendillia has escaped Elfmeet, she will be found here.
    This is an opportunity to present hooks to other locations. One such place marked on the maps is called Raxxoli's Tower. 
  15. The practice chamber. This room has 3 goblins and 2 orcs honing their weapon skills.
    Goblins: (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1-1, hp 5, 3, Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 5, equip. leather armour, shield, hand axe, 3d6 sp each)
    Orcs: (AC 6, Mv 60', HD 1, hp 6, 5, Att 1 spear for 1d6, or 1 javelin for 1d6, Ml 8, align C, XP 10, equip. leather armour, shield, spear, 2 javelins each, 3d6 sp each)
    Around this chamber are archery targets, wooden mannequins heavily damaged, and a number of animal and human corpses hung up by ropes and chains and also used for weapon practice before being eaten.  

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Bandits of Shorgan Forest part 2

Part 2 - Finding the Spy in Elfmeet
This follows on from Part 1 where the PCs have escorted a merchant and his cargo through several ambushes that have evaded army patrols.
The spy can't be collecting info as the caravans are leaving (there is no-one else setting off at the same time) - it must be beforehand, so the spy must be operating in Elfmeet, a crossroads town of about 560 people.

The Merchants Guild requires members to register significant business transactions such as large trades between towns.
The clerk at the Merchants Guild has been charmed by the spy and passes the info on without question
The clerk is Ranulf, NM, neutral, AC 9, Mv 120', hp 2, Att 1 dagger for 1d4, who is normally good at his job and discrete.
The spy is Zendilla (4th level magic user chaotic), an attractive woman who dresses more as a lady than a mage (AC 9, Mv 120', hp 11, Att 1 dagger or 1 spell. Spells include Sleep, Charm Person, Web, ESP)
Asking around town about merchant caravans will get a range of replies:
"Try the local tavern - it's called the Longbowman"
"Try the town guards in the Watchtower"
"Try the Thieves Guild" - a red herring as there is no thieves guild in Elfmeet
"Try the Merchants' Guild"
"Try the Tax Office" (which is actually inside the Merchants' Guild)
The PCs could be given the runaround about town. However, they should end up at the Merchants' Guild.
Ranulf the Clerk will be quite honest and open about passing info on to Zendillia - "It's her hobby - she's very interested in that sort of thing"
Ranulf is both magically charmed and infatuated with Zendillia and will not accept she is involved with banditry.
Zendillia will initially brush off any questioning from PCs or officials, but if the questioning persists she will try to cast a spell (usually Sleep) and make a run for it. She will use sleep if there are a number of PCs but she may try to charm a lone investigator. The tactic of coup-de-gracing sleeping PCs might be tempting, but a bit harsh. If she is able to incapacitate the entire party, the DM can say she just panics and flees.
If the PCs kill her, there will be a commotion and they will be charged with murder - nobody else in the village has suspected her of anything.
If she is captured, she will be co-operative, particularly if she thinks she can avoid a trial.
At her residence there is a map of the local area with marks indicating ambush points between Elfmeet and other local settlements such as Firebright Keep. There is also a symbol that does not correspond to any known settlement. This is the bandits' lair. 

Just as an aside - other things may be going on in Elfmeet, and only two out of a possible 560 NPCs have been outlined. If the DM wants to add side-treks or additional adventure hooks in the village, go ahead and expand it as much as you want. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Bandits of the Shorgan Forest part 1

This is an adventure seed that I have developed into almost a proper adventure for characters of levels 1-2. There are gaps, but I am sure a good DM can improvise or write down the stuff that they might need. As this would be a long post, I've split it up into three parts.

The adventure takes place in Teiglin, in the borderlands between the wild Shorgan Forest and the more civilised baronies of Glensor and Bauglir

Part 1: The Caravan
The adventure starts off in the town of Elfmeet, with PCs being hired to escort a merchant's caravan along the road to Firebright Keep. There have been an increase in bandit attacks in the last week, always targetting merchants, and avoiding army patrols.

The Merchant's name is Orizon, and he has 2 assistants - Dermish and Macmoon, but he knows he needs more muscle to defend him.
He has 5 pack mules laden with wool cloth (30 sacks, each worth 70gp for a total of 2100gp).
Orizon, 2nd level fighter, neutral,, Str 13, Int 13, HP 12, Equipment: Chain mail, longsword, shield, 3 javelins
Dermish 1st level fighter, lawful, Str 13, Con 13, HP 6, Equipment: Chain mail, longsword, shield
Macmoon 1st level thief, neutral, Dex 13, Int 13, HP 3, Equipment: leather armour, shortbow, quiver with 20 arrows, hand axe

The journey is about 40 miles long and the caravan can do it in 3 days (18 miles per day) unless the PCs are very slow. The caravan encounters at least 2 sets of bandits (no particular location on the map).

1st attack is when the caravan has camped for the night - the attackers automatically gain surprise unless there is a guard posted.
4 orcs (AC 6, HD 1, hp 5, 4, 4, 3, Mv 120' (40'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save F1, Ml 7, Al C, 15sp each, Leather armour, shield, hand axe),
4 goblins (AC 6, HD 1-1, hp 3, 4, 2, 3, Mv 60' (20'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save NM, Ml 6, Al C, 10sp each, Leather armour, shield, Spear)

2nd attack is around a fallen tree that is blocking the road. In this encounter one of the bandits will have a schedule of expected caravans from Elfmeet. The bandits are
2 goblins (AC 6, HD 1-1, hp 3, 4, Mv 60' (20'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save NM, Ml 6, Al C, 10sp each, Leather armour, shield, Spear)
2 orcs (AC 6, HD 1, hp 5, 6, Mv 120' (40'), Att 1 weapon for 1d6, Save F1, Ml 7, Al C, 15sp each, Leather armour, shield, hand axe)
2 human F1 (AC 5, HD 1, hp 5, 4, Mv 90' (30') Att 1 weapon for 1d8 or 1d6, Save F1, Ml 7, Al C, 3gp each, Chain Mail, Battleaxe, shortbow, 10 arrows)
1 human F2 leader (AC 4, HD 2, hp 11, Mv 90' (30'), Att 1 weapon for 1d8+1, Save F2, Ml 10, Al C, 10gp + 30sp, Chain Mail, Longsword, Shield, Shortbow, 10 arrows, schedule of caravans).

There could be other encounters if the PCs don't pick up the schedule after the second attack. The schedule indicates that someone is telling the bandits whom and when and where to attack.
In neither encounter are there clear tracks leading back to the bandit lair.

There may also be random animal encounters on the journey (1 in 10 chance every 6 hours)
1d10  Encounter(number appearing)
  1. Black Bear (1d2)
  2. Beetle, Giant Fire (1d4)
  3. Wild Boar (1d3)
  4. Giant Ferret (1)
  5. Herd Animal (2HD deer) 2d6
  6. Herd Animal 4HD wild cattle) 1d8
  7. Giant Shrew (1d3)
  8. Snake, Pit Viper (1)
  9. Giant Crab Spider (1)
  10. Wolf (1d4)
After the safe arrival at Firebright Keep, Orizon thanks the PCs and advises them to return to Elfmeet to find the bandits' spy in town.This may lead them to the bandits' lair.

Part 2 Elfmeet to follow, then Part 3: the Bandit Lair