Monday, January 15, 2018

Deeper In Blood & War D3 Vault of the Drow By Gary Gygax As War Campaign

"As a member of a bold party of adventurers, you and your associates have trekked far into what seems to be a whole underworld of subterranean tunnels -- arteries connecting endless caves and caverns which honeycomb the foundations of the lands beneath the sun. Your expedition has dogged the heels of the Dark Elves who caused great woe and then fled underground."

So one of the things I've been doing is staying away from the near constant "commercial whine of the social media OSR" & once again the near fire hose releases of retroclone systems & adventures. This means keeping my head down & once in awhile reviewing product as my schedule allows. And I've been getting back into the classic modules that I so much love. Which gets me into D3 Vault of the Drow by Gary Gygax which puts the PC's in the middle of some old school cross hairs in the world of the Elves. Yes, I said Elves and not Drow because I'm modifying out the module!? Why? Well, because I'm saving my pennies for a hard cover version of Lion & Dragon. 

I already know its going to be a great quality purchase & I've got ideas rolling around in my head for the latest campaign project. I've already talked with RpgPundit about it. He's already got an adventure for Lion & Dragon called RPGPundit Presents #14: The Secret Order of the Red Lady. This sounds great but I really want a classic adventure here and I'll get around to reviewing the adventure sometime in the coming week as my work schedule allows. If you've been following my latest modification of  D1-2 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth By Gary Gygax then you know what's coming.

This is going to be set up during the Hundred Years War, the events of Against the Giants have already happened. The world has been rocked by the Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra whose been stirring the pot of war behind the scenes. The events of Against the Giants parallel the war in France & the sucession issues in England. Why!? Because the Elves have been interfering with the birth of male princes & the issues of Scotland. " The question of female succession to the French throne was raised after the death of Louis X in 1316. Louis X left only a daughter, and his posthumous son John I lived only a few days. Philip, Count of Poitiers, brother of Louis X, asserted that women were ineligible to succeed to the French throne. Through his political sagacity he won over his adversaries and succeeded to the French throne as Philip V. By the same law that he procured, his daughters were denied the succession, which passed to his younger brother, Charles IV, in 1322."

"Charles IV died in 1328, leaving a daughter and a pregnant wife. If the unborn child was male, he would become king; if not, Charles left the choice of his successor to the nobles. A girl ended up being born, therefore rendering the main male line of the House of Capet extinct.
By proximity of blood, the nearest male relative of Charles IV was his nephew Edward III of England. Edward was the son of Isabella, the sister of the dead Charles IV, but the question arose whether she should be able to transmit a right to inherit that she did not herself possess. The French nobility, moreover, balked at the prospect of being ruled by Isabelle and her lover Roger Mortimer, who were widely suspected of having murdered the previous English king, Edward II. The assemblies of the French barons and prelates and the University of Paris decided that males who derive their right to inheritance through their mother should be excluded. Thus the nearest heir through male ancestry was Charles IV's first cousin, Philip, Count of Valois, and it was decided that he should be crowned Philip VI. In 1340 the Avignon papacy confirmed that under Salic law males should not be able to inherit through their mothers.[8][9]
Eventually, Edward III reluctantly recognized Philip VI and paid him homage for his French fiefs. He made concessions in Guyenne, but reserved the right to reclaim territories arbitrarily confiscated. After that, he expected to be left undisturbed while he made war on Scotland."
The war on Scotland is a big deal because its one of the Elves ancient seats of power on Earth. When it comes to power so above as so below. The Elves in question here are the worshipers of a death god or goddess depending upon on which group of Elves we're talking about. So this gets into issues raised in Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos especially their version of Elves. So what do the Elves gain here? A morass of  war, blood shed, and the perfect opportunity to take back what they feel is theirs namely all of Europe. Bankrupt the humans through various cults, witch cells, violence, food riots, etc. And set everything up for their human agents to act on it.

Les Grandes Chroniques de France, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Reproduction in "Les Rois de France", Hachette.

This sets everything up that's happening in the Underworld as the PC's struggle to deal with the very alien world of the Elves. There are numerous settlements, opportunities, alliances etc. that the PC's are going to have to deal with. Every single monster encounter in D3 Vault of the Drow is aligned with the Drow (Elves) because these were the strong hold of the death god or goddess. Elven blooded PC's are a must here & its well worth remembering that D3 was a competition module. This is a hex crawl in every single sense of the word.

These are the last of the great Elven states with militaries, well organized societies, cults, etc. All waiting to inflict pain & huge amounts of suffering on the world of Europe above. The dark European world wouldn't know what hit it. Already we've seen the set up for a possible French invasion from the Frogmen in the form of 
the Kuo-Toa or Deep Ones. Everything here is aligned for the ongoing war between England & France. "Relations with Flanders were also tied to the English wool trade, since Flanders' principal cities relied heavily on textile production and England supplied much of the raw material they needed. Edward III had commanded that his chancellor sit on the woolsack in council as a symbol of the pre-eminence of the wool trade.[24] At the time there were about 110,000 sheep in Sussex alone.[25] The great medieval English monasteries produced large surpluses of wool that were sold to mainland Europe. Successive governments were able to make large amounts of money by taxing it.[24] France's sea power led to economic disruptions for England, shrinking the wool trade to Flanders and the wine trade from Gascony." Wizards & black powder are a must as the PC's navigate the alliances & triple crosses between the factions of this series.

Battle of Sluys from a manuscript of Froissart's Chronicles, Bruge, c.1470

So not only are the stakes going to be very high but the blood shed is going to monumental. PC's are going to die, retire, & generally have to deal with some very weird alliances as the module series progresses. Fairy mounds & other doorways to forgotten bits of  the countryside could get the PC's home or killed very easily as the witch cults of Europe do their best to cause all kinds of murder, mayhem & chaos. There's going to be witch hunts and trials in the middle of the events of  The Hundred Years War.

"Becfola and the Snarling Horde," by Arthur Rackham (Irish Fairy Tales, 1920)

The Church is going going to be a huge mover & shaker in this campaign with their interests at stake  as well as the crowns of Europe.The Church could see these events as an all out war with Satan's forces. They just might be right as Elves pull out the stops & triple crosses are the norm not the rule. The lower tier hit points for PC's are going to put player's teeth on edge but anyone can die anytime is something we've seen before in Dark Albion. The PC's are going to move into the movers & shakers circle of the Hundred Years War if they survive D3 Vault of the Drow.

Is there are far more sinister connection between King Arthur's ancient reign & the events of the Hundred Years war as old alliances come to call? There is a strong
connection between Queen Mab  & the Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra  especially around Ireland & Scotland.
"the Irish folklore of the last High Queen of the Daoine Sidhe - and wife of the High King Finvarra - was named Una (or Oonagh, or Oona, or Uonaidh etc.). In the ballad tradition of Northern England and Lowland Scotland, she was called the Queen of Elphame "  The Elven forces at work within the Underworld of Europe stirring the pot of the war placing the PC's right in the cross hairs! The PC's are going to be very deep behind enemy lines when the module finally wraps up & better be on the Church's good side!
Svirfneblin (or deep gnomes) are another left over faction of a time long past when humanity worked side by side with these slaves of the Elves. Ancient alliances are not forgotten. But is the price of alliance to high for even the most strident party of adventurers? Will the party have a good relationship after D1-2?

Svirfneblin by Russ Nicholson from the first edition Fiend Folio.

Erelhei-Cinlu is a perfect ancient hold over from thousands of years ago when the Elves were at the height of their power. The place is wicked and perfectly suited to give even the most jaded gamer pause. The power of the place even to this day sends a shiver up the spine of many AD&D players. Simply changing some of the window dressing and adding a historical veneer is one of the challenges of adapting these classics to home campaigns and having a blast with them.

Monday Monster Matters - A Swords & Sorcery Monster Cocktail Commentary - Using Classic AD&D Monster Resources In Old School Campaigns

Just putting together some random classic monster thoughts on a Monday. So let's dive in.

So I've been fighting this Flu for the past three weeks & we're now onto week three. Over the weekend I've been concentrating on my 'Old Earth' campaign setting which is my regular Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition game that takes place in  the land of Lomar. My game world is a mess of a place where Hyperborea exited Earth leaving the place in tatters. An invasion from below by the empire of the necromancer tyrants of K'n-yan & the Hyperboreans left most of the world's military in shreds. These two empires ruled for years and in the setting its mostly black powder weapons in or near the human city states. Hyperborea floats in the night sky out near Saturn yet can be seen in the night sky of Earth. My players are in the middle of events out in the Western Wastelands a region of what used to be Alaska and bits of Russia. I know that I'm upsetting more then a few Lovecraft & Clark Ashton Smith purists out there.

So l like to look around for material for my own home setting & one of the things I stumbled across was a tumbler talking about using first edition AD&D resources from the Monster Manual, The Fiend Folio, & The Monster Manual II. Right up my OSR alley right?! Not exactly because they're talking about adapting it to Fifth edition. Look if you play fifth edition then more power too you but for me there are only so many hours in the day. I've got no desire or time to learn yet another incarnation of the systems that I love when I do traditional & retroclone systems. My take away here is to take another hard look at The Monster Manual, The Fiend Folio, & The Monster Manual II for some non traditional foes for my Swords & Sorcery setting.  Sure AS&SH second edition uses a lot of traditional old school monsters but customization is one of the keys of the OSR to me.

First up on my list for the Western Wastelands is going to be "The Peryton" which is one of my favorite creatures from the Monster Manual. The AD&D version was taken from " Jorge Luis Borges in his Book of Imaginary Beings, using a supposedly long-lost medieval manuscript as a source."
Yes I totally stole this from the Wiki entry but here's the interesting bit "According to Borges, Perytons lived in Atlantis until an earthquake destroyed the civilization and the creatures escaped by flight. A Peryton casts the shadow of a man until it kills one during its lifetime, at which time it starts to cast its own shadow. A Sibyl once prophesied that the Perytons would lead to the downfall of Rome."

So these things are out in the wastelands seeking the souls of Hyperboreans, going off to the Dreamlands to breed, and generally making themselves into an apex predator of  mankind.

1987 D&D Adventure Pack and notice the crumbling castle in the background perfectly pitched for AS&SH exploration.

The bad ass coffer corpse is another monster that is totally going in to the Western Wastelands as the remains of humans. For that matter all of the undead from the first edition Fiend Folio are pitch perfect for this.

Soldiers that went up against the forces of 
K'n-yan might have died by the millions but that doesn't mean their necessarily gone entirely. A few of those brave souls battled back from beyond the "Underworld" and came back as Bodak. These things are the bane of necromancers everywhere. Dealing with undead & damned souls is the business of witch doctors, necromancers, & priests everywhere. These things are abominations against many of the warrior ideals of tribes everywhere.

Death Dogs & frost foxes are left over Hyperborean monsters that were used extensively for hunting down slaves & humans for sport by the Hyperboreans. These monsters were beloved pets but are now wandering horrors feeding on adventurers & tribesmen alike.

Yeah so Old Earth is filled with lots of left overs, rejects, and horrors that have been hunting humanity for thousands of years. The fact is that the we've got tons of horrors out in the wastes making life tough for the various barbarian tribes & wizards. How you as the dungeon master use the monsters  is really going to determine the pitch of the campaign slant. The players are really going to be the ones to help define the world. The classic monsters are classic for a reason especially things like rot grubs that just scream magical toxic waste from Hell.

The classic rot grub is one that I've continually used as a byproduct of black magick ceremonies & sacrifices ala when Deep Ones or others have done some foul deeds breaking the dimensional barriers. These along with larva are always fun to throw in especially around doors leading to the Underworld or Undereborea. Adventure locations can make or break a campaign but its the monster's encounters that people will continue to talk about for years to come in my experience.
For now keep em rolling! A bit of Clark Ashton Smith's poetry to keep things moving on a Monday!

The force of suns had waned beyond recall.
Chaos was re-established over all,
Where lifeless atoms through forgetful deeps
Fled unrelated, cold, immusical.

Above the tumult heaven alone endured;
Long since the bursting walls of hell had poured
Demon and damned to peace erstwhile denied,
Within the Abyss God's might had not immured.

(He could but thwart it with creative mace. . . .)
And now it rose about the heavenly Base,
Mordant at pillars rotten through and through
Of Matter's last, most firm abiding-place.

Bastion and minaret began to nod,
Till all the pile, unmindful of His rod,
Dissolved in thunder, and the void Abyss
Caught like a quicksand at the feet of God !
The Abyss Triumphant  (1912)
by Clark Ashton Smith

All artwork is copyrighted & trademarked to their respective holders this blog post is not an attempt to violate these but merely for educational & entertainment purposes. North Wind Adventures nor Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition's authors are any way responsible for the content or opinions of this blog. All opinions & ideas are copyrighted & trademarked to this author & are for educational and entertainment purposes only @darkcorner productions 2018.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'Old Venus' Campaign Setting Redux & Upgrade For A Sunday

So I've been rereading a lot of classic pulp novels & semi Appendix N material, this includes a good dose of Edgar Rice Burroughs but not the usual Tarzan & Barsoom novels. I'm going for some of the really obscure stuff that over the years various "fans" & gamers have dismissed. I'm talking about one of ERB's last book series The Venus or Atmor novels. The Atmor series  isn't in the public domain in the United States but its readily available through any number of used book stores.
The first novel the Pirates of Venus contains most of the action taking place in giant trees very reminiscent of Endor from The Return of the Jedi film. I've often wondered if ERB's Pirates of Venus might have been part of the inspiration for villages of the Ewoks. The enemies are Venusian communists who are some of the more stupid & insipid enemies found in ERB's works Wiki has a pretty good break down of what I'm talking about;
"The novel contains elements of political satire aimed at communism. The novel's villains, the Thorists, start a revolution in the nation of Vepaja for their own good only, cheating the uneducated masses and killing or driving away those doctors and other highly educated that form the foundation of the society. Throughout the book the Thorists remain distant and unreal, and those few that the hero Carson Napier meets are often stupid or incompetent. The Kalkars, villains of Burroughs' other novel The Moon Maid, were also modeled on the Russian Communists.)"
So why are the ERB Venus novels important to an old school D&D or AD&D dungeon master? Because they give context to the 'Old Venus' setting. When you begin to look at the latter three novels in the Atmor series there's a deep & abiding dungeonsque ecology happening on the planet. We get this especially with Escape on Venus when the hero confronts a society of Deep One hybrids who embrace many of the conventions of Venusian life.

This boiling stew pot of ecological cycles of life & death are dependent upon the Great Old One of Clark Ashton Smith's The Immeasurable Horror & A Voyage to Sfanomoë. 
There are one or more plant themed Great Old Ones who preserve life on Venus & then go on to continue the cycles of life & death every couple of thousand years. This cycle falls right in line with the Henry Kuttner/ C.L. Moore Clash By Night & its sequel Fury.
All of this lines up quite nicely with C.L. Moore's North West Smith novels & Leigh Brackett's The Enchantress of Venus. Leigh Brackett's Venus is a world where man is the late comer & exploiter. There are lots of ancient ruins, countless dungeons, etc. because all of the mysteries of Venus have been explored or have they?

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition now offers many monsters & resources that make the 'Old Venus' setting far easier to flesh out.
So let me put this who affair into the context of my 'Old Earth' campaign setting. The two Venusian Great Old Ones were asleep at the very beginning of the Hyperborean wars. Soon however they exploded across the surface and the terraforming began. Ancient ruins not seen for 20000 years came to life with frightening vigor & the world became a seething hothouse of horror and weirdness. Today there are a few scattered barbarian colonist tribes trying to scratch out an existence. This is a prehistoric alien world of incredible danger and riches whose products can make or break a trade house with ease. I'm going to flesh this out as time permits but that these days is at a premium.
All of the stories & novels discussed in this blog post are being used for violation of the  trade marks & copy rights of their respective holders. None of the rpg game systems discussed are in anyway responsible for the content of this blog. This blog post is for educational & entertainment purposes only and the contents are the copyright of the author.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Blood, Power, & Violence Using D1-2 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth By Gary Gygax As War Campaign Foundation

"The final confrontation with the giant, King Snurre, and the entry of mighty adventurers into the cavers under his stronghold discovered that Dark Elves, the Drow, had instigated the giant alliance and its warfare upon mankind and its allied races."

So I'm thinking tonight about one of the all time classic modules Descent Into The Depths of the Earth by Gary Gygax. I'm thinking about how I would use D1-D2 as a template for a Dark Europe derived from Dark Albion but without the Albion part of setting. But the adventure would be set in a quasi mythical/ historical Europe none the less. Perhaps during the chaos of the Hundred Years War.
The  Against the Giants series events have already played out and humanity is at full stop war against itself as Europe is burning in the fires of conflict. Meanwhile behind the scenes a sinister force is pushing buttons of local conflicts. All across Europe the Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra has been stirring up the fairy race's cults after she's come out of stasis. The war between human kind & the various giant races hasn't worked out in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, etc.  This is a high level campaign race with the PC's tackling head on the war & its problems behind the scenes. Because everything hinges on the Elves! 

I've been out most of today & I've been thinking about Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos especially their version of Elves. Elves are a low down terror straight out of European mythology. The baby stealing, murdering in the night,slavers of humanity, & those who consider humanity as nothing more then slaves. In other words these Elves are monsters and beasts of the highest order. They form cults, create havoc & chaos among humanity especially the various royal families of Europe. The Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra 
has been setting up various cults within royal families making alliances & setting humans against each other's throats.  This 'underdark' isn't the one of Forgotten Realms fame but the far more alien & weird underworld of European myth & legend where the underworld literally touches the realms of the dead. Descent into the Depths of the Earth I've seen described as the outline of an adventure which means that you as the dungeon master are going to have to dip into the occult mythological traditions to flesh out the monsters, encounters, & put a very different spin on events.

Here the cults of the elves are going to take center stage because there isn't a single 'Dark Elf' to get in your way. Simply these are going to be the alien elves of legend whose legacy is reaching back through the mists of time to put a collar of slavery back around humanity's neck. There are no half elves here but there are Elven blooded descendants who know far more of the horrors of their former masters. Thinking about it perhaps Dark Albion might have far more baring on this sort of a campaign.

This is a very high level adventure module couple this module with the events of the Hundred Years war & you've got the makings of a very lethal campaign. There is going to be desperation writ large across the events of Europe. The PC's are going to be coming straight into the historical remains of the Elven civil war below the Earth & the war of humanity raging above. So instead of D1 being a primer for the Drow its now the primer for the various bits & pieces of Elven history left behind in the underworld including factions & encounters.

There's also the fact that French frog princes & kings have been for centuries trying to check the English power & expansion. But could there be far more to it as the frog princes know what's really behind the throne of England?!?
"The French kings had endeavored, over the centuries, to reduce these possessions, to the effect that, roughly, only Gascony was left to the English. The confiscation or threat of confiscating this duchy had been part of French policy to check the growth of English power, particularly whenever the English were at war with the Kingdom of Scotland, an ally of France." Scotland was once a seat of Elven power on Earth and one of the sites of humanity's rebellion against the Elves.

The Elven princess/ priestess Eclavdra is beyond dangerous in this adventure as adversary. She's on the run, at the height of her power, and is crazed prone to almost any action.  She is basically a party of adventurers worst nightmare. She's a survivor of the Elven civil war from the dawn of humanity & a renegade worshiper of the death god to boot.

The PC's in this campaign are beyond a low level annoyance they're merely a hindrance and she's got the power & numbers of Elves to back it up. She's treading on the ancient inheritances of the Elves.
Descent Into The Depths of the Earth assumes a large party of players. I've run this adventure as a convention set up;  a large party of 7-9 characters are really need. Otherwise smaller parties should enlist the help of local human adventurers if possible. Anyhow this is just the initial set up for a completely different take on D1-D2 Descent Into The Depths of the Earth. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

1d6 Random Saturday Morning Treasures Table For Your Old School Campaigns

So I got an email request for a random table for a Saturday morning cartoon treasure table for a  kids Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea  game adventure by a long time reader. These are going to be some treasures with a bit of treasures with an over stated series of magical effects & ideas.  The theme going in is going to a classic Harryhausen Sinbad style game with a pirate theme to it.

So I'm going to quickly put this together for a reader with the handle Harry Dent and his sons. The idea here is that these treasures have belonged to some of the weird inhuman creatures that seem to populate Saturday morning cartoons. This means that the effects are going to be weird & very quirky. There is a 60% of these treasures being guarded by pirates or 2nd level warriors obsessed with obtaining these items for their magical power & legendary prowess.

1d6 Random Saturday Morning Treasures Table
  1.   1d100 glowing gems that have the ability to temporarily bestow super strength after exposure to the gem's weird power for 5 rounds. The effect lasts 1d20 hours per exposure and there is a 20% chance of random mutation from each exposure unless a save vs wands is made. The gems are worth 50,000 gold pieces to the right collector. 
  2. 1d8 potions of healing whose effects also include making the victim's face and demeanor the subject of the effects of a fear spell each time a potion is consumed. The owner's face takes on a hideous continence the potion heals the poor fool. The potions are also a part of the formula for the ancient Philosopher's Stone.
  3. A wand of 1d20 random magic spells of 1st and 2nd level whose spells fire off with comedic sound effects and strange fairy lights. The wand once belonged to a gnome magus of incredible power whose tribe was lost to slavers. Worth 70,000 gold to the magus's family.
  4.  A book of Druid knowledge that is capable of being used by anyone. This book can be used to heal the land around a ten mile radius & was created by the legendary sky bears for use by their fabled druid priests. Humans using the book can read any sky bear runes & glyph writing. They temporarily gain dark vision within a 10 foot radius while holding the book. Worth 60000 gold pieces to a sky bear collector of relics.
  5. A chest of pirate gold capable of changing the owner into a ghostly form. The owner has all of the minor abilities of a ghost and can interact with the newly departed. The gold can be traded with the undead for passage into the Underworld and for certain favors from the lords of the undead. At the bottom of the chest is a map to the skeleton knight's treasures in the underworld but they will require a boon from the owner. There are several thousand gold pieces of the dead.
  6.  The golden sword of Ur, this legendary sword once belonged to the pirates of Ur and allows the owner to find the mythical dungeon under the sea that belonged to the pirates. The fishmen of Ur now guard the place and only this +2 sword can act as a key to their legendary undersea abode.The sword is worth a cool 20,000 gold pieces.

Using Unusual Mini Campaign Settings For Your OId School Campaigns

Many of otherworldly nature & Weird Tales promises of adventure of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea often seem a bit pedestrian for the average experienced jaded old school Dungeons & Dragons players. But a gift of a paperback book from last night's game might help to make a mini campaign setting with a twist or two.

A Comet by Jules Verne 1964 Ace D 245

So during last night's game I was gifted a paperback of 'Off On A Comet' By Jules Verne which is an old favorite novel of mine ( the anti Semtic bits are totally unnecessary to the novel & are not my cup of tea at all). The idea of the novel got me thinking again of doing a mini campaign setting which is one part of the novel & one part Arthur C. Clark's Rendezvous With Rama thrown into a blender with Swords & Sorcery plus Clark Ashton Smith. 

The idea here is that there is a remnant of Atlantis & Hyperborea that has become a part of a comet various cultures have been swept up to become a part of this comet worldlet. This includes some very alien cultures from across the scattered multiverse mixed in with a variety of human ones. In fact I'm thinking of miniature human cities perhaps something akin to some of H.G. Wells more advanced humanoid ones from When The Sleeper wakes.

An illustration from Jules Verne's novel "Off on a Comet" (French: "Hector Servadac", 1877) drawn by Paul Dominique Philippoteaux.

At the moment this is an idea that I'm toying with but the long term weird forces of the comet may have picked up literally hundreds of ruins, temples, & dungeons over thousands of years of activity. This leads to temples from Greyhawk, towers from Blackmoor, & much more.

Great Comet of 1577

  This could also lead to using some of the more obscure old school monsters from either the Fiend Folio or Monster Manual. Could this comet be a part of the cause of the world ending events of both Blackmoor & Greyhawk? I think that these apocalyptic images would translate into both a mythical & legendary background where the supposed riches & lost treasures could well be a large temptation for adventurers. Getting off of the comet is another story however.
Astronomy: various apocalyptic scenes, including a comet, lightning, and French soldiers. Coloured lithograph, n.d. [c.1847?] Welcome images.

Could there be much more going on within the interior dungeons of the comet itself? Could there be deeper secrets within the alien interior of the comet. Several of the entries in the Greyhawk box set hint at various gods & powers taking very specific interests within the solar system of Greyhawk itself. So chances are that there could be far more going on than at first it seems.

Many of these interior comet dungeons could hint at some of the secrets of lesser known demons, gods, alien Lovecraftian entities that have been hinted about in various classic modules. Yes I'm thinking of the classic T1 Temple of Elemental Evil here. Here the comet's interior might be serving as a prison for one of the other  Chthonic gods or demons of the Elemental Evil horde.

This idea right at the moment is within its infancy & so these ideas are as much a sounding board as they are something to mine right now. This may change as I tighten & mess with some of them as I get closer to using them.

For now keep those dice rolling!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

1d20 Random Legacy Relics of The Ancients Table For Your Old School Campaigns

In a land where weirdness and mystery had strongly leagued themselves with eternal desolation, the lake was out-poured at an undiscoverable date of elder aeons, to fill some fathomless gulf far down amid the shadows of snowless, volcanic mountains. No eye, not even the sun's, when he stared vertically upon it for a few hours at midday, seemed able to divine its depths of sullen blackness and unrippled silence. It was for this reason that I found a so singular pleasure in frequently contemplating the strange lake. Sitting for I knew not how long on its bleak basaltic shores, where grew but a few fleshly red orchids, bent above the waters like open and thirsty mouths, I would peer with countless fantastic conjectures and shadowy imaginings, into the alluring mystery of its unknown and inexplorable gulf.
It was at an hour of morning before the sun had surmounted the rough and broken rim of the summits, when I first came, and clomb down through the shadows which filled like some subtler fluid the volcanic basin. Seen at the bottom of the stirless tincture of air and twilight, the lake seemed as dregs of darkness.
Peering for the first time, after the deep and difficult descent, into the so dull and leaden waters, I was at length aware of certain small and scattered gleams of silver, apparently far beneath the surface. And fancying them the metal in some mysterious ledge, or the glints of long-sunken treasure. I bent closer in my eagerness, and finally perceived that what I saw was but the reflection of the stars, which, tho the day was full upon the mountains and the lands without, were yet visible in the depth and darkness of that enshadowed place.
The Black Lake  (1922)  by Clark Ashton Smith

There are relics & instruments of the gods that no man should hold. Things that the hand of  mortal man should never have let alone touch. These treasures come with prices all of their own. Penalties &  punishments that are handed out by the fates because circumstances call to them.

1d20 Random Legacy Relics of The Ancients Table
  1. The crystalized hand of a warrior, it grants its user a vision of a possible future once a day should there be a time of war. 
  2. A super science wand device that 1d6 points of damage to all victims within a 20 foot radius. The device bleeds weird colours into reality  each time its used. 
  3. The preserved spleen of an unbeliever once per day it can be used to dispel magic as per the spell. 
  4. A preserved face & head of an android once a part of a bigger machine but able to cast polymorph other once per day. 
  5.   Strange tangle of wires & machinery that is a part of a table like affair. It is able to cast remove curse once per day. 
  6. A crystal drone like device that can fly around its owner within a ten foot radius & cast protection from evil within a ten foot radius. 
  7. A remote device that looks like a preserved human eye which is capable of creating a wizard eye as per the spell four times per day. 
  8. Weird purple pylon capable of summoning an elemental from the elemental plane twice per week with a sacrifice of a bit of blood. 
  9. Crystal machine capable of casting a contact higher plane 3 times per day. 
  10. Cloud kill generator bomb able to create a cloud kill spell three times per day. - 1 pint of humanoid blood is used to activate the mechanism, members of the race whose blood is used receive a -4 on their Saving Throw.
  11. Weather control musical instrument capable of summoning dangerous weather with the right depression of the keys. 
  12. A door like frame device made from cut crystal that acts as a hold person spell three times per day. 
  13. Brain washing helmet that removes all fear from its victims and creates berserks
  14. God machine capable of resurrecting one adult human if the victim is placed with if they've been dead less then twenty four hours. 
  15. Biomechanical device that dispels chaos within a thirty foot range but it will burn itself out after drawing from the biosphere of the local population of humanoids. 
  16. Basket machine capable of creating food and drink from rocks & dirt once those are placed within. 
  17. A mechanism capable of creating three  insect swarms as per the spell three times per day.   
  18. Continual darkness bomb made from the preserved  swollen heart of a giant combined with strange mechanical mechanisms. 
  19. Wand that can find traps but will also find the emotional weakness of anyone within a 20 foot radius four times per day. 
  20. Rod of Law capable of removing a curse within a target that is within line of sight. The wand can also place a blood curse three times per day on a target.