Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Weird That Befell Drigbolton: What's This All About Then?

As announced recently, the first module in the Dolmenwood Adventures line -- The Weird That Befell Drigbolton -- is primed for publication and should be unveiled some time in the next few weeks.

Thus far, little concrete information on the module has been revealed, merely that it is "An investigative, event-based module for characters of 3rd-5th level, set in and around the backwater hamlet of Drigbolton, on the northern verge of Dolmenwood."

So, to whet your appetites, here's a bit more info:
  • The adventure revolves around the fall of a star to earth in the Dolmenwood region. (Though the events and locations in the module are trivial to transplant into any campaign setting.)
  • The core of the star has crashed on the moor, close to the rustic hamlet of Drigbolton. The crater is surrounded by a phosphorescent, pinkish jelly to which the local wildlife has taken a liking.
  • The people of Drigbolton, investigating the site of the crash, have also discovered that the pink jelly is delicious and nourishing and have taken to mixing into their food and drink. They have interpreted the fall of the star as a gift from heaven and the jelly as "manna". The hamlet is now in a state of perpetual festival, as the need to farm, hunt, and forage no longer dominates the villagers' lives.
  • As the star fell, parts of it broke away and crashed in other locations in the Drigbolton area. The presence of these star-parts has begun to warp the nature of reality in the sites where they have fallen -- the stuff of stars is not meant to mix with the rude matter of the earthly plane.
  • The core of the star, while currently brooding in dormancy, is not, however, inert -- its bitter consciousness remains intact and is scheming to reassemble the missing parts, restoring itself to full potency.
  • Left unchecked, the presence of a fully conscious star on earth may have grave repercussions. Will a band of bold, wily, reckless, or simply unlucky adventurers stumble onto the scene and interfere with the star's plans? Only YOU can say.
The crater and the core of the star, by Andrew Walter

As the module is set up, the player characters come onto the scene a few days after the fall of the star, having heard rumour of odd astronomical phenomena. The referee may have players simply stumble onto the weird goings-on around Drigbolton, but several other hooks are detailed:
  • The adventurers may be hired by a wizard or alchemist to collect chunks of valuable star-metal which broke away during the star's descent.
  • They may be commissioned to investigate the cause of the star's fall, which is surely not by accident. The secret machinations of a wizard of great power are suspected to be behind this.
  • They may be sent on the trail of an occult tome of ill-repute -- the Black Book of Llareggub -- which is believed to be in the possession of someone in the Drigbolton region. (Could this book be in some way related to the falling star?)
So, there you have it. Keep your eyes peeled for further details and announcements!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Weird That Befell Drigbolton: A Dolmenwood Adventure -- Coming Soon!

A Dolmenwood Adventure

Written by Gavin Norman and Greg Gorgonmilk
Illustrated by Andrew Walter
Cartography by Kelvin Green

An investigative, event-based module for characters of 3rd-5th level, set in and around the backwater hamlet of Drigbolton, on the northern verge of Dolmenwood.

More info / tantalisation to follow!

Coming Soon! (Like, the next few weeks? The files have been submitted to the printer and are being analysed as we speak!)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Wormskin 5 and Cross-Class Subterfuge out now in PDF!

Missives from the Necrotic Gnome!

Two new releases have crawled out of our dungeons in the last week:

1. Wormskin Issue Five by Gavin Norman, Greg Gorgonmilk, and the usual coterie of rascally collaborators. The latest instalment in the chronicles of Dolmenwood, this issue unveils the sinister cabal of sorcerers who dominate the Wood's arcane energies -- the Drune. Also details 7 hexes around the region called Hag's Addle and describes the titular hag and her lair in depth. The issue is rounded off with four new monsters: boggin, brambling, drune, flammbraggyrd.

(The print edition of Wormskin 5 is in progress. It should be available in the next week or so.)

2. Cross-Class Subterfuge by Greg Gorgonmilk. A short but eminently usable pamphlet containing guidelines and charts for those whose tastes chafe against the traditional Thief class. These rules describe a means of dissolving the Thief class and redistributing its sneaky abilities to other character types. Now the whole party can know the joys of moving silently and hiding in shadows!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Jungle Megadungeon: More Dead Snake-Cultists

Here's a few more monsters which may be encountered in the surface areas of the jungle megadungeon, where the ruins of a snake-cult temple are located. In the two fungus-infested mummies presented, we begin to see a "twisted biology" theme coming through. The main megadungeon is envisaged to be the lair of a long-dead vivimancer, with experimental life-forms having oozed out into the surrounding jungle, over the centuries since the labs have been abandoned.

HD 7+4, AC 6 (bronze breastplate), Att: bronze warhammer (1d8+2) or snake vomit, Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 10, Al LE, XP 900

The corpses of eunuch high priests, bodies swollen to grotesque proportions on a diet consisting solely of whole snakes -- a great honour among the cultists of Thaa. In death, their organs were removed and the body cavity filled with mummified snakes. Interred in robes of gold and silver thread (worth 250gp undamaged) and great, bronze breastplates, they remain in a state of undeath, ready to defend their tombs against intruders.

Snake vomit: three times per encounter, an eater-of-snakes can vomit forth a stream of writhing, snapping-jawed, mummified snakes, targeting characters within 10’ and a 90° cone. Characters in this area suffer damage equal to the eater-of-snakes’ current hit point total, with a save versus breath weapons for half damage.

Mushroom-Head Mummy
HD 3 (suffer double damage from fire, but emit screech), AC 8, Att: 2 × throttling (1d6), Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 11, Al C, XP 65

Mummified snake-cultists whose rest has been disturbed by the incursion of fungal mycelia. Their cloth-wrapped bodies are now riddled with fungus, a great, garish bloom erupting from the top of the head. These corpses are now under the control of the mushrooms, which cause them to rise from the grave, if disturbed by light or sound. The mushrooms seek to attack and kill any creatures they come across, providing more fodder for their mycelia.

Note that mushroom-head mummies are not undead and thus cannot be turned.

Screech: if damaged with fire, the mushrooms inside the mummy let out an ear-splitting screech, causing 1d3 damage to all within 30’ and triggering a check for wandering monsters.

Puffball Mummy
HD 5+2 (suffer double damage from fire), AC 8 (spore cloud when hit), Att: 2 × throttling (1d6), Mv 90’ (30’), Ml 11, Al C, XP 460

Blessed members of the snake-cult who, in death, were ritualistically mummified and placed in tombs among the temple complex. Over centuries, fungal mycelia have crept into their coffers, infecting the corpses. Light or sound will cause them to rise from their graves, bent on attacking those who disturb them. The mummies’ bodies are now little more than grossly swollen husks filled with fungal spores. A dust of spores drifts from the crowns of their heads and their bodies are fit to burst, if damaged.

Note that puffball mummies are not undead and thus cannot be turned.

Spore cloud: when a puffball mummy is damaged, a great cloud of fungal spores are released. All within 10’ of the mummy must save versus poison or breathe in a lungful of spores. This has two effects: 1. 1d6 choking damage for three rounds; 2. the spores take root and grow inside the victim. Unless cured by magic (e.g. cure disease), one thus afflicted swells up, over the course of a month, and then dies, being entirely taken over by the puffball fungus (effectively becoming a puffball mummy).

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Jungle Megadungeon: Snake-Cult Zombies

I've been running Barrowmaze recently and enjoying it a great deal. It's inspired thoughts about writing a megadungeon of my own, set in a jungle.

I've started writing up a few ideas. Here are a few monsters, to start with.

Snake-Cultist Zombie
HD 2, AC 8, Att: bronze dagger (1d4) or curse, Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 10, Al LE, XP 29

Fanatics of the snake-cult who swore to protect the temple in death as in life. Their ritualistically scarred bodies have been preserved by magic and lain to rest wrapped in golden silks (worth 25gp, if undamaged). The lingering spirits of these men and women will be awoken to avenge any who disturb their rest.

Curse: upon rising, a snake-cult zombie may pronounce a curse upon intruders. The curse affects one target whom the zombie lays eyes upon as it wakes. The target must save versus spells or tremble with fear, incurring a -2 penalty to attacks and a 25% chance of spell failure for 1d6 turns.

Snake-Priestess Zombie
HD 4, AC 7, Att: gaze or bronze scimitar (1d6) + constriction (2d4), Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 10, Al LE, XP 190

Female aspirants selected for their sensuous beauty and ruthless devotion to the cult. In life, they were initiated in the secret rites of the priestesses, becoming semi-ophiomorphs -- their eyes and tongues are those of snakes and, in place of legs, they move upon great serpentine tails (10’ long). Finally, they were ritually impaled to bring about a state of lingering undeath. They now serve as sleepless guardians of precious treasures.

Gaze: one whom a snake-priestess zombie focuses her gaze upon must save versus spells. Failure indicates that visions of writhing serpents cause the victim’s will to be overcome. One thus afflicted becomes a mind-slave of the priestess, following her mental commands. Another saving throw is allowed, each time the victim suffers damage. If the snake-priestess dies, any under her command fall unconscious for 1d6 turns.

Constriction: using her great tail, a snake-priestess zombie may grab and constrict a victim. Once an attack with the tail succeeds, the victim is grappled and suffers automatic damage (2d4) each round, as well as a -2 penalty to attack rolls.

Temple Guard Zombie
HD 4+3, AC 5 (bronze plate), Att: bronze broadsword (1d8) + bite (1d8 + poison), Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 10, Al LE, XP 215

Warrior temple guards whose tattooed bodies have been preserved by magic to watch over tombs and shrines of the serpent cult for all eternity. During life, these men underwent a process of physical transformation via dark rituals, gaining deadly, snake-like fangs.

Poison: one bitten by a guardian zombie of the snake-cult must save versus poison or suffer one hit point of damage per turn. The poison lasts indefinitely, until it is neutralised or the victim dies. (Poison from multiple bites is not cumulative.)

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition: Out Now In Print!

At long last, the print versions of the revised Theorems & Thaumaturgy are ready!

What's in the book?

  • Over 160 new spells to add to your Labyrinth Lord campaign. (Compatible with all other extra-mature D&D editions/clones, of course.)
  • Three wizardly classes: the elementalist, the necromancer, and the vivimancer.
  • 24 new magic items -- eight associated with each class.
  • 16 new monsters which can be summoned by the spells in the book.
  • Fully illustrated, by David Coppoletti, Cadanse D, Claytonian, and Russ Nicholson.

For people who have the original edition: what's changed?

  • Completely new layout (in a smaller 6" x 9" format).
  • Completely new illustrations (and lots more than before).
  • Updated elementalist and vivimancer spell lists (precise details here).
  • New vivimancer and elementalist magic items.
  • The book now focuses purely on the elementalist, necromancer, and vivimancer. (The additional material from the original edition is to be expanded and republished separately.)

How to get hold of a copy?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Start of 2017: Projects in the Works

As is traditional, I thought I'd write a short post mentioning the various RPG-related projects that I have in the works for the coming year:

  • I've finally started a proper campaign set in Dolmenwood! Previously, I've just run odd one-shots and side-adventures in the forest, but my latest campaign is set firmly within the its bounds. I'm running Barrowmaze, which I've situated in the middle of Dolmenwood, as the "tent-pole" for the campaign, but plan on introducing various other side-quests and complications to involve the players in the wider wood.
  • I'm play-testing the first in the Dolmenwood Adventures line -- a 5th level adventure code-named "Wormwood Falls", written by myself and Greg Gorgonmilk. We've had one session so far which was a lot of fun. The adventure features a lot of very weird, psychedelic stuff and I was happy to see that it played out really well, in practice. The second session is in a few weeks. The adventure is going to be illustrated by Andrew Walter and should be out in early spring. Full colour, A5, around 50 pages, maybe hardcover and softcover options.
  • Following on from that, the second Dolmenwood Adventures module is beginning to coalesce. Tentatively, it will be a 1st level adventure written by myself and Yves Geens and may involve fairies. Publication date unknown.
  • Continuing the Dolmenwood theme (clearly, much of my gaming life is dominated by the setting now!), issue five of Wormskin is nearing completion for a tentative February release. This issue reveals much about the Drune, who have remained stubbornly mysterious until now.
  • I also plan to publish a short "Welcome to Dolmenwood" guide, containing a brief introduction to the setting, a gazeteer, and descriptions of some of the main factions. This will act as a great starting point for anyone interested in Dolmenwood. Should be out in Jan/Feb. Probably a free download.
  • Onto other things... My Complete Illusionist project is coming along nicely. I have a few dozen spells to write up still and am awaiting some contributions from other people, but it's looking like a 2017 release of the book is pretty feasible. Illustrators as yet undetermined.
  • Another small project which I have on the go is a series of print-at-home booklets to speed the creation of wizardly PCs. The first booklet in the series is quite far along, so more info on that coming soon.
  • Last but not least, I have the long overdue B/X Warrior. Honestly, I go back and forth on the concept a bit -- the mechanical aspects don't fit quite as naturally as they did with the thief/rogue archetype. However, the book is 95% written, so I just need to put the finishing touches to it and it will be done.