Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Temple of Thul-Gaal

So, last week I had a dream. No, seriously, it was a real dream of GMing an RPG. The rules were a bit fast and light, and there weren't any dice rolls... more of an interactive cinematic sort of thing. But that's beside the point. I have, in the course of the last week or so, come up with the beginnings of a one-shot. Or some-shot. A short campaign.

When I first started writing it all down, I was pretty excited - this would fit into the current campaign, and be a lot of fun. For me. Because I would kill everyone. I realized that maybe, just maybe... that wouldn't be fun for everyone else. So, I took a step back, and decided that I would tweak a few things so it would become a one-shot, where people wouldn't care if their characters get absolutely slaughtered.

Now, I still have some tweaks left, and a few puzzles to work through, which is perfect, because you guys have some work to do, too. You need to make up some characters.

Your character must follow these guidelines:

  • Roll up character stats
    • Roll 3d6, five times, to make a column of stats; repeat to make 5 total columns
    • Choose a column; you may use the chosen stat column in any order
    • You may trade 2 points from a non-primary stat to add 1 to a primary stat
  • Choose a character - any character class from the original list
  • Your character starts with:
    • 620,000 XP
    • 815,000 gp
  • You may trade gold for:
    • Normal equipment, mounts, etc.
    • Any magical item, at its base price
    • A chance for random magical items
      • Trade 1,000gp for a 15% chance of two magic items of a random type.
      • Trade 3,000gp for a 25% chance for a weapon or armor, a 25% chance for a potion, and a 10% chance for a miscellaneous magic item.
      • Trade 10,000gp for a 50% chance for four randomly determined magic items, one random potion, and one random scroll.
      • Trade 30,000gp for 1d4 random potions, 1d4 random scrolls, and a 50% chance for six randomly determined magic items.
      • Trade 100,000gp for 2d4 random potions, 2d4 random scrolls, and a 75% chance for each of the following: 1d3 swords, 1d3 armor, 1d3 miscellaneous weapons, 1d3 wands/staffs/rods, 1d3 rings, and 1d3 miscellaneous magic items.
      • Note: You may trade a (random) scroll or potion for two (random) recipes.
      • If you have the core rulebook, you can roll up your own magical items; however, I have a spreadsheet that does it instantly, so if you want to trade for magic items, let me know and I can do it automatically. If you want to trade scrolls/potions for recipes, tell me before hand, so I can roll recipes instead.
    • As many henchmen as you'd like
      • Roll up each henchman as a character
      • Trade 1 gp for 1 XP (a henchman with 100,000 XP costs 100,000 gp)
      • While henchmen can have henchmen, you cannot exceed the number of henchman your character is allowed in total (4, plus Charisma bonus, plus any proficiency bonus)
    • Creating magical items, new spells, ritual spells, constructs, etc.
      • To create a magical item (etc.), you must:
        • Purchase a library
        • Spend the money for the item/scroll/potion
        • Make any rolls required for research, etc.
        • Note: failed rolls still use money!
  • Mages and other studious casters begin with 50% of their spell list generated randomly, and the rest chosen.
    • Researched spells (see above) count as a chosen spell
    • If you want to replace a randomly chosen spell, it costs 1,000 gp per spell level to replace; you may choose any spell you have as a scroll or recipe.
    • If you do not have the spell as a scroll, it costs an additional 500 gp per spell level to buy the spell. Only spells in the spell list may be purchased; spells not on the spell list must be researched (see above).
  • Wishes will be neutered for this one-shot. They are allowed to be cast as any spell, or the reverse of any spell, instantly; they also allow a character to be resurrected, returned from another dimension, or cured of an affliction (insanity, possessed hand, etc.), but they cannot be used as an open-ended "true wish".

Whew! What a list! If you have any questions, let me know. I'll wait to run the one-shot until everyone has a character rolled up, spells and all. Also, if you want to roll up any number of backup characters, that would be awesome. I'll have some upper-level characters created, probably, so nobody is left out, but if you want to make your own backups, go for it.

Long ago, in a land far away, an ancient temple was built in the wastelands...

The temple belonged to an ancient race, the Thrassians, cruel, dark creatures, with scaly skin and terrible claws, with great leathery wings and horrible sharp teeth. These Thrassians ruled the land with iron fists, but like all terrible rulers, they were vanquished, and their ways were lost to history.

These days, the Thrassians of old are but legends; stories told by old soldiers to frighten the new recruits, and told by parents to get their children to bed or to eat their vegetables.

Nonetheless, the stories (at least most of them) are true. And, deep in the Desert of the Dead, our heroes gather to face the greatest threat these ancient monsters ever built: the Temple of Thul-Gaal. Undead - and worse - prowl its dark hallways, and magical traps pervert the very earth on which the temple stands. The tower is hidden behind a ridge of mountains; inside is an ancient volcanic desert, devoid of life. During the day, wind blows through the desert and shifts the sands, obscuring the path to the temple, but never burying the temple itself; that site juts out of the landscape like the hellish claw of an enormous demon...

Few have returned from the voyage; the dizzying heat, the blinding dust, and the unforgiving rocks have claimed countless lives. Only those who turn back from the temple's gates have survived, and even those have faced staggering casualties. No one who has entered the temple has returned to tell the tale.

Even so... stories persist of a treasure in the temple, unimaginable wealth. For ages, adventurers lost their lives in pursuit of that treasure; soldiers, mages, clerics, and thieves left and never returned. And yet, they must; as the adventurers stop coming, the undead grow restless. Like a cat sharpening its claws, if there are no adventurers to lay them to rest, the undead creep forth, raiding villages and destroying lives and livelihoods. It has come to the point that those nearest the temple feel they must step in and destroy the temple, or die in the attempt...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Zaharan Thieves and Grek Trieb

Siathamh 9 - Seachdamh 8, 6638; next holiday, Guard's Day, 8/3!

Special intro: Sorry for the late writeup - I've been very busy working and writing other blogs!

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator

The party elected to continue their journey by sea, without stopping to repair the ships. After avoiding two octopodes, they reached the southern port of Cehennem Limani. Selling the treasures they had pilfered from the pirates, they decided again to not keep their ships. They remained docked, but aboard the ships; the city seemed somewhat hostile...

It was a good decision. During the first watch, two dwarves and a human, all thieves, boarded the ship. They were successfully intimidated by the dragon, realized they "were on the wrong ship," and left the way they came.

During the second watch, a second group of thieves arrived; two elves, two humans, and a dwarf. The elves and humans were killed quickly, and the dwarf was pinned by Caranthir in dragon-form, and surrendered.

After a bit of discussion, Caranthir suggested the ships cast off immediately. The four pirate ships (manned by ex-slaves) were able to oar their way out quickly, but the sailing ship was a little slower to leave port. As it was creeping away, a voice called out of the darkness. A group of four men and women stood on the dock. The leader called, "No one escapes from Semih Iravani!", and the fight was on.

These men and women were much stronger than the others; as the leader walked out onto the water, another vanished, and a third took to the air on a broom! The fourth began fiddling with something in his hand. The nightblade on the broom flew over the ship and tossed a bottle of military oil onto the deck, then pulled out a bow. The leader stepped forward and flung a stone at the spellcasters, ending the priestess's spell before she could cast it. The man on the shore finished his ritual, summoning a djinni! Caranthir, in dragon form, took to the air, making it as far as the nightblade and loosing a breath of freezing air. On the deck, the priestess took an arrow from the shore, while Gróin took a slingstone to the helmet, losing his spell!

The party was beginning to get worried as the high-level thieves took them on. Suddenly, a figure appeared on the bow - the man who went invisible! With a grin, he swung his sword! The white mage fled for safety, injured by yet more sling stones, as the thief battled it out with Gróin. The djinni turned into a whirlwind, hurting Gróin and the others, but of course, Luce was unharmed by the magical wind. Caranthir managed to down the flying nightblade, and grabbed her broom as she fell; Gróin injured the thief on the boat, and he dived overboard. The leader took a Dispel Magic to the face, which turned off his water walking - he fell into the water with a splash.The djinni, meanwhile, was destroyed by Gróin's magical attack.

Even as the leader reactivated his water-walking (as it turned out, he had a ring), Caranthir flew down and blasted him with his freezing breath, killing him on the spot. He returned to the ship and reverted to human form, only to be chopped to within a single hit point by the invisible, back-stabbing thief! He turned and cut him down. Back on the shore, the lone survivor drank a potion of Gaseous form and fled, leaving his stuff behind.

As it turned out, the thieves were quite well-armed, with plenty of magical items; most of them were identified on the spot, with others being identified at Cliffport later.

Two days later, the party landed again in Pueblo de Puerto, then continued on. A day after leaving the port city, Caranthir and Rhea split off from the party to fly due east, towards the islands. They landed on Fuega, a tiny island with a tribal nation on it; the natives welcomed the visitors, especially when they learned that they wouldn't be stealing from them. The next day, Caranthir and Rhea circled Vulka, an inhospitable island littered with sharp rocks. Invisible, they swooped over the island... and found a dragon turtle! The creature lived on the island; it fired a cloud of steam at them, but they were too high to be touched. After spending a few more hours searching the opposite side of the island, the duo found a treasure, and carted it back to the ship.

Meanwhile, the ships encountered yet another two octopi, which fled, and four giant squid, which were quickly killed by well-aimed catapults. Finally, they landed in Cliffport, just in time for the Brightest Day celebrations (for those that weren't there, any light or healing-based spells were 3/4 the price, so a Healing potion was 187 gold instead of 250). Arnborg Anvilaxe, the dwarf Caranthir restrained, left the party here, to continue on her own way.

As the celebration ended, a skinny, dirty ogre walked up to Caranthir and handed him a letter! While somewhat difficult to read - the entire letter was written in what looked like a child's handwriting, and was also stained with something somewhat greasy - it turned out that the party was summoned to aid a tribe near the river, who were being harshly treated, accused of a crime they didn't commit. They were willing to give an artifact of some power in trade for assistance. So, Gróin, Caranthir, Rhea, and Laurita flew to their aid.

First, however, Caranthir wanted to make a wish; he found a wish, and did so, meeting 6 clerics along the way.

As luck would have it, they were off by a few miles, and happened to land near the home of none other than Lady Dracull! As long as they were in the neighborhood, they decided to drop in. The Lady was pleased to see them, and offered them a meal; interestingly, the Lady also seemed to be quite pregnant. Hmm...

After leaving the Lady with an offer of help, should she ever need it, they party once again journied toward the river, and the Grek, er, Trieb. As it turned out, the tribe was a tribe of ogres! They seemed friendly enough, though, and Caranthir was happy to help in trade for magical items. They went to visit the "bad guys"...

...Who turned out to be human. A cleric, a mage, a thief, and a fighter had banded together to drive the "evil" from the land. The cleric, Brother Dellus, is on the warpath to recover a holy relic of great significance for his order; it was stolen from their temple not long before, supposedly by a group of rampaging ogres. The fighter, Sir Tainly, was possibly even more obnoxiously full of his abilities than Caranthir; the two did not hit it off well. In fact, that evening, Caranthir sent Rhea to assassinate the knight in his sleep; she only managed to awaken the mage, a dour, gaunt man by the name of Graybeak, and learned that he was really, really powerful. As the four were leaving the camp, they met a rogue named Wag Lightfoot, presumably the leader of the thieves. The camp seemed to be about 75% fighters, a handful of mages and clerics, and the rest thieves. An odd lot, to be sure.

The next morning, Gróin and Laurita flew off to find the cleric's temple, while Caranthir and Rhea left to confront the knight. Caranthir demanded a trial by combat - if he won, the knight would leave; if the knight won, Caranthir would leave. The knight snubbed him into accepting a duel "to the death" (or close enough), and the fight began. As the two hacked at each other, the knight managed to land several blows, doing considerable damage; Caranthir, however, had the better armor, and eventually knocked out the knight. Clerics rushed in to save him, and Sir Tainly was able to recover after a night of bedrest. Brother Dellus, however, flew into a rage; his holy mission was to save the relic, the promise of a knight be damned! The mage, somewhat eager for a rematch, backed him up. Caranthir left the camp, irritated that the knight reneged on his word.

Meanwhile, Gróin was having much better luck. He found the temple - a tiny building with barely a path near it - and was invited in for bread and water. Brother Al explained the real story of the holy item:

Some time before, the old cleric had left on vacation, and had taken Brother Dellus with him. As the old cleric left, Brother Al and Brother Bodh made a bet. Brother Al said, "I bet you thirty silver that every time the old relic [meaning the head cleric] wobbles out the door, everybody freaks out, and nothing gets done until he gets back. Write that down, Brother Bodh!"

Brother Bodh, having the flowery language of someone with too much time and ink on his hands, wrote the following: "When the holy relic leaves its seat of power, chaos will grip this place, and all tasks will fail until the relic is returned."

When Dellus and the "old relic" returned, Bodh and Al were out drinking. Apparently, the old cleric went to town to pick up some supplies, just as Sir Tainly arrived, invited himself in, and asked if anything valuable had gone missing, as there were ogres in the area. Brother Dellus checked, and indeed, a sacred cup was missing! Dellus panicked. He tried to look up what the chalice was for, but only managed to find the pages Bodh had written, which drove him into an even worse panic as he put one and one together to make twenty five, and thought the missing chalice spelled the end of the world for heir monastery. Just as he was having a breakdown, Al and Bodh arrived. Seeing Dellus upset over the missing chalice, Al nudged Bodh and muttered, "Thirty silver."

While this remark was intended as a means of settling their bet, Dellus took it to mean that he was a traitor and had sold out his friends. Dellus swore not to return without the relic, and took off with the knight.

The holy relic, however, was nothing more than a gilt-covered cup with fake gemstones on it. The holy words written on the bottom of the chalice, "In campis feram", meant nothing more than "Made in the Wild Plains", poorly translated into Nobiran.

Gróin and Laurita found the nearby village that sold the chalices, and bought six of them. The shopkeeper immediately shut and locked his doors, and fled out the back, holding more gold than he had ever seen in his life. Six pieces! They returned to the knight's camp, and Laurita discovered the true thief - one of the thieves under the employ of Mr. Lightfoot, in fact. They guided Brother Dellus to the room, and managed to catch the nimble (if quite smelly) thief moving it around a few times. It's hard to pocket a chalice when someone is watching its location, magically. Mr. Lightfoot persuaded the fellow to give it up, and Brother Dellus nearly broke down in tears. Ignoring the rest of the camp, he immediately fled home, to restore the, er, cheap knockoff trinket to its rightful place. Next to the magnet in the shape of Mejasta, the shot glass with a picture of the King on it, the spoon with a painting of Cliffport, and other trinkets collected by the old cleric on his journeys.

The ogres, meanwhile, were jubilant, and true to their word, they offered the party two magical items. The first was a helmet; the ogres let the children play with it. The children would climb a tree and leap off, floating to the ground like a feather. When Gróin tried it on, he was rewarded with a vision! He watched Elrik, the world's greatest explorer, climbing a cliff; he lost his footing, but somehow, he managed to land on the ground unharmed. His back to a howling wind, he dusted himself off and kept going. The helmet, it seems, not only allows the wearer to cast Feather Fall at will, but is also immune to all wind-based damage! Additionally, there is no penalty to attacks when levitating or "gyrating" in the air (Elrik, as you recall, is the owner of your magical map, and the world's most famous explorer).

However, that wasn't all. The ogres began chanting, something that sounded like "Ooga Chaka, Ooga chaka!", and the town elder slowly walked towards the group, holding a ring. As it turned out, the ogres were actually chanting "Ogre Chakrum", a heavy throwing blade. This chakrum was blessed by many shamans, resulting in a magical +1 bonus. The heavy blade can be used by anyone with strength +0 or better, and the ability to throw darts or knives. The blade is quite heavy, and thus deals 1d8 damage, but requires two hands to throw.

Whew! What an adventure!

  • Experience from selling stuff, from last time: 1504 for PCs, 752 for henchmen
  • Experience from encounters:
    • 2 octopi (escaped)
    • Level 3 Dwarven Delver, level 4 Dwarven Delver, level 1 thief (283 xp)
    • Level 6 Dwarven Delver, level 5 Nightblade, level 4 Nightblade, 1x level 1 thief (1523 xp)
    • Semih Iravani, lvl 10 thief (1550 xp)
    • Juan-Pablo Aguilar, lvl 9 thief (1300 xp)
    • Eluned Melruth, lvl 9 nightblade (1900 xp)
    • Brin Eveningfall, lvl 6 nightblade (820 xp) (fled)
    • 2 octopi (fled)
    • 6 roc, ignored
    • 4 giant squid (2280 xp)
    • 6 clerics (passed)
    • 3 werebears (avoided)
    • Sir Tainly, lvl 10 knight (2250 xp)
  • Experience from treasure: 6834 xp
    • Total experience (give or take): 18740
    • Experience per PC (Gróin and Caranthir): 4685
    • Experience per henchman (Luce, Rhea, Elenora, Laurita): 2342
    • Special experience:
      • Caranthir: 10000 (stealing gold!)
      • Rhea: 5000 (helping steal gold!)

    • Mundane weapons: 33 arrows, 19 bolts, 28 bullets, 1 Arbalest, 2 Battle Axe, 1 Bola, 1 Composite Bow, 1 Dagger, 3 Leather Armor, 3 Nets, 1 Sap, 1 Shortbow, 1 Sling, 2 Staffs, 2 Swords, 3 Whips
    • Mundane stuff: 2 pints Ale/Beer, 3 Backpacks, 1 lb Belladonna, 4 Blankets (wool, thick), 2 lb Candles (tallow), 1 lb Candles (wax), 1 lb Comfrey, 2 pairs Dice, 3 Flasks of Oil (common, 1 pint), 2 lbs Garlic, 2 lbs Goldenrod, 1 Grappling Hook, 1 Hammer(small), 1 Lantern, 1 Rations (Iron), 3 Sacks (large), 1 Sack (small), 3 Thieves’ Tools, 6 Torches, 1 Water/Wine Skin, 5 lb Wolfsbane
    • Magical stuff:
      • -2 Leather Armor (cursed)
      • Arrows +1 (quantity 24)
      • Broom of Flying
      • Elven Library scroll
      • Gauntlets of Ogre Power
      • 2 Holy Water(1 pint)
      • Horn of Blasting
      • Ring of Invisibility
      • Ring of Water Walking
      • 2 Shield +1
      • Shield +2
      • Spell Book (Burning Hands, Hold Portal; Continual Light, Alter Self)
      • Spell Book (Choking Grip, Floating Disc, Hold Portal, Magic Mouth, Protection from Evil; Continual Light, Deathless Minion, Detect Evil, Detect Good)
      • Spell Book (Darkness, Burning Hands)
      • Spell Book (Light, Magic Missile)
      • Sword +1 / +3 versus summoned creatures
      • Sword +1 / light 30' radius
      • Wand of Detecting Enemies (11)
      • War Hammer +2
      • Ogre Chakram (+1 throwing chakram; 1d8 damage)
      • Elrik's Air Helm: Immune to wind-based magic; additionally, wind does not affect the wearer, there is no penalty from levitation/gyration and the wearer may feather-fall at will.