Sunday 18 December 2011

Doing without the cleric class: Blessings & pacts

[Players in my Labyrinth Lord campaign, don't worry, I won't be changing anything, as we've already agreed you can use the cleric class as written. This is just musings, but actually is more in line with how I would see such things working in this setting.]

The cleric class is one which I've never been that keen on. I think in the right setting -- one in which militant and hierarchical religious organisations are very influential -- they can be great, but somehow none of the settings I tend to be attracted to have much emphasis on such institutions, making clerical adventurers an odd fit. Actually, in general I tend to baulk against all classes which come with some kind of built-in moral imperative or social background (clerics, druids, assassins, rangers, paladins... even sometimes the humble thief!), preferring to stick with a more neutral tone where adventurers can simply be adventurers, without having some exterior agenda. Given this, I sometimes find myself musing about how some of the important abilities of the cleric class, such as healing and turning undead, could be maintained in a setting without clerics as a class of adventurer. My latest musing have led me to something like the following.

Cosmic Blessings
Any character can visit the myriad temples devoted to weird cosmic powers which exist throughout the world. Many of these temples have priests who can perform various rituals, channelling the power of their patron to bring about miraculous effects in the physical world. It is also possible for individuals to make offerings to the patron of a temple or shrine in the hope of receiving a blessing.

Blessings take the form of imbued clerical spells. Any PC can be imbued with a single 1st level clerical spell, and those with higher WIS can receive additional blessings according to the normal chart for extra clerical spells. (Characters with low WIS may also have a percentage chance of not receiving a blessing when making an offering.) Once a blessing has been received from a cosmic power, it is imbued in the character until used / cast.

Naturally, all blessings come at a cost. I imagine something like 50gp for a 1st level spell, then 100gp per spell level for 2nd and higher level spells.

Also note that each blessing must be attained from an appropriate temple -- for example, cure light wounds from a healing power, spiritual weapon from a deity of battle, and so on. This could lead to interesting campaign possibilities, where a journey to a shrine in an attempt to receive a specific blessing could become an adventure in itself.

Cosmic powers are fine with general promiscuity of worship -- they are quite happy to bless someone who has already been blessed by several other powers.

Cosmic Pacts
Another option, again open to all characters, is to make a pact with a specific cosmic power who patronises an appropriate area of influence. Such a pact is regarded as lifelong, and monogamous -- a marriage, so to speak, of a mortal soul with a cosmic power.

This is the point at which my musings get a bit fuzzy... what exactly would be the benefit of a lifelong pact? Possibly one or more (appropriate) clerical spells "for free" per day, and possibly even using some kind of spell progression based on character level or something else.

There would, however, also have to be some kind of downside -- the cosmic power is going to want something in return. The only thing I've specifically thought of so far would be the mortal's soul, to be claimed immediately upon death (making PC resurrection difficult or impossible). This would be a fairly severe option, but would lend an appropriate weight to such pacts, and would make it an interesting and somewhat risky choice for PCs to make. The choice of which power to make a pact with would also be an interesting roleplaying opportunity, as each power would, presumably, grant completely different abilities to its followers, perhaps domain-specific abilities like I've discussed before here and here.

If anyone has any further thoughts or ideas for such a system please feel free to comment!

Monday 12 December 2011

Underworld sketches -- Dungeon Welcome

I'm off work ill today, laying around in bed, listening to music. And from somewhere the inspiration to draw something struck me. I've not drawn anything just for the sake of it for many years, decades in fact. But I find the result rather charming, and it was, obviously, D&D related. I present the sketch for your amusement. I imagine this monster to be some kind of weird dungeon welcome committee.

Sunday 11 December 2011

Spells of the god of gold -- part 1

I previously developed, in collaboration with one of the players in my Labyrinth Lord campaign, a set of new spells available to clerics of the god of blades. Now there's a new cleric in town (/ in the party), a fellow called Obadiah, who is a staunch follower of a cosmic entity known as "Assedh, god of gold and precious metals". So we've been putting a bit of thought to some special spells for worshippers of that god.

Here's what we've come up with for the low level spells. (One is, obviously, a Labyrinth Lord adaptation of a classic from AD&D.)

The rest of this post is designated Open Gaming Content according to the Open Gaming License.

Assedh's Pick
Level: 1
Duration: See below
Range: Touch

This spell has two possible uses, which may be chosen as it is cast.

Firstly it may be used to enchant a pick for 2 rounds per level of the caster. The weapon gains +1 to attack and damage, and is able to harm beings which can only be affected by magic.

Alternatively, the spell can enchant a pick as a cosmically enhanced digging aid. The enchantment lasts for 1 turn per level of the caster, and enables a 5' cubic area of earth to be dug out in one turn.

Level: 2
Duration: 12 hours, +1 hour per level
Range: Touch

This spell places an enchantment on a specially constructed garment, allowing its pockets to contain an increased capacity. The selected garment must have at least a dozen small pockets sewn into it, and must have golden thread woven into it, costing at least 100gp. When enchanted, the garment's pockets are collectively able to contain up to 100 pounds of weight (1,000 coins) as if it were only 10 pounds. In addition to the weight reducing capability, the enchanted pockets show no visible bulge, even when completely full. Items larger than 1 cubic foot cannot be placed in the pockets.

If the spell ends (either due to its duration expiring, or due to being dispelled) while there are items inside the pockets, the wearer of the garment must make a saving throw versus spells. If the save succeeds, the items in the pockets are dumped at the subject's feet. If the save fails, however, the contents of the pockets are lost in some alternate dimension.

Locate Precious Metals
Level: 3
Duration: Instant
Range: 120'

Upon casting this spell the cleric becomes instantly aware of all quantities of precious metals within range. The caster gains an approximate knowledge of the value of precious metals present, as well as a precise location in terms of distance (for example "30' north, 20' east").

Underground, this spell only detects metals on the same dungeon level as the caster, thus it cannot be used to detect treasure on higher or lower levels.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Theorems & Thaumaturgy proofreading

Hello people who were interested in proofreading my book of spells!

I've noticed that in the past I've had some trouble with emails from my account being ruthlessly junk mailed by some email providers, so I just thought I'd check... I sent emails to Bob, Quibish and Jim Pacek a couple of weeks ago and haven't heard anything back yet, and just wanted to check you guys received the mails. No worries at all if you did receive the mail but haven't had time to look at it yet, I just wanna make sure everyone who offered to help has got a copy of the book now.

If you could drop me an email / comment here to let me know if you did / didn't receive the book that'd be great.

Also if anyone else reading this would be interested in a spot of proofreading, just let me know!

Thanks everyone!

Sunday 4 December 2011

Labyrinth Lord PDFs updated

I recently discovered that the file for the souvenir font which I've been using was somehow corrupt -- it had a few weird artefacts on certain characters when I printed it on my printer at home, but I assumed this was a problem in the printer or the driver, not in the font itself. However one of the players in my campaign found that printing one of the PDFs caused three different printers he tried it on to crash with firmware errors! This led me to track down a new copy of the font, which now works on all known printers*.

So I've re-exported all the PDFs in the downloads section on the right. As a result, the Esoteric Equipment & Urban Activities, Expanded Thief, and the Necromancer documents have had a content update as well, to the latest versions that we're using in the campaign.

* Based on a sample of 4.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Adventure Log PDF

I thought I'd share this very simple adventure log sheet which I've just knocked up for my Labyrinth Lord games.

Get it here.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Musick to play in the dark

I just received a CD of one of my favourite albums today, which I've only ever heard on mp3 before -- "The place where the black stars hang" by Lustmord. A dark ambient classic.

A short poem in the CD insert caught my eye / imagination, and revealed a previously unthought connection between Lustmord and Lovecraft:

Not stars but suns
or these alone
noxious shrouds of flame
form a universal dread
of abnormal formless spawn

Nethermost abnormal son
that lies beyond the sun
eternal, dark
answerable to none

There is a place
where the black stars hang
and the strangest eons call
that amorphous mass
unknown, immense
ambivalent to all

Saturday 26 November 2011

Pick pockets results charts!

I've been doing a spot of musing lately on what  sort of things could result when a PC thief attempts a bit of petty pocket picking on the side in between adventures. This comes up every so often, especially now we have three thieves in the party, and I'm never properly prepared for the event. Unprepared no longer!

I present my lovingly crafted pick pockets results charts! (Players in my campaign, please don't look at the charts, unless you love spoiling fun that is ;)

This is the second draft of these charts. The initial version I came up with included a lot more extreme results -- including being able to pilfer some pretty valuable items, and the accompanying possibility of severe punishment (incarceration or execution!). After some discussion with the players we decided that, while this was realistic, it wasn't much fun. So the final tables have been kind of smoothed out. Items of moderate wealth can be stolen, and moderately bad consequences of failure may occur, but nothing at either extreme.

I hope some other DM out there might also find these charts useful!

Saturday 19 November 2011

Theorems & Thaumaturgy update: writing finished (!?)

Yes, I can hardly believe it when I type it, but I think I finished the writing of Theorems & Thaumaturgy today! That means there are no more TODO notes to myself in there, all the spells are finished, and all sections finalised.

There's still some way to go, of course: proofreading and artwork. The people who kindly volunteered to do some proofreading can expect to receive an email from me rather soon now. Artwork is under way -- no illustrations done as yet, but with three artists gearing up for it.

Phew! What a project it's been, so far... I can't wait to see the end result lying on my gaming table and being consulted by a motley crew of necromancers, elementalists and fey elves! :D

One interesting thing that I noticed is that the last little bits of finishing up on the book involved quite a few decisions to remove stuff. You know, some of the TODOs had been lying around in there for months, and I got the feeling that some of them just weren't going to happen, or at least not in a way that'd really do the idea justice. So I thought it better to just remove them, rather than do a half-hearted job. I found that an interesting process.

DM info sheets: Specialists

I've recently been putting a bit of thought into the kind of specialists living in a big city which PCs might want to consult or hire. As a result of this I've knocked up some simple info sheets to print out and fill in the details of such characters, which I thought I'd share, in case they're useful for anyone else.

They contain a very small amount of mechanical information, and are otherwise just convenient tables with blanks to fill in.

So far I have: Sages, Magic-Users, Shrines and Alchemists.

Thursday 17 November 2011

New monster: Taxidermic Basilisk

Inspired by an incident in our game last night involving stuffed animals, may I present the taxidermic basilisk...

(Also added to the old-school monster wiki.)

This post is designated Open Gaming Content according to the Open Gaming License.

Basilisk, Taxidermic
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 6 + 1
Attacks: 2 (bite, gaze)
Damage: 1d8 / taxidermify
Save: F6
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XVII
XP: 570

The product of a bizarre magical warping of the average basilisk, these creatures may occasionally be found in the lairs of mad wizards and the like. Slightly smaller, more lithe and more serpentine than the normal basilisk, the taxidermic basilisk has scales of a dark green colour, with scintillating pearlescent eyes. The gaze of this creature carries a deadly curse – any who look into its eyes must save versus polymorph or be instantly transformed into a stuffed version of themselves. In combat, characters who avoid meeting the creature’s gaze attack at -4 (-1 if using a mirror). Creatures which fall victim to the taxidermic basilik’s gaze can only be returned to their normal form via obscure magic (which may be in the possession of a magic-user who would create such a creature) or powerful spells such as limited wish.

Monday 14 November 2011

What happens to a PC in a dungeon whose player is not present?

A game session is halted in the middle of a dungeon or other weird supernatural locale far from home. When the subsequent session comes around one or more of the players who were there last time are unable to attend. What happens to their PC(s)?

Some initial ideas:
  1. Disappear in some freak act of teleportation
  2. Turn to stone
  3. Miniaturized
  4. Turn into a figment – cannot interact with anything, cannot pass through solid objects
  5. Kidnapped by shadows, demons, imps, etc
  6. Absorbed into the ground
  7. Fall into a faint and cannot be roused
(All these effects are, of course, intended to be temporary. When the player returns the character will recover / reappear.)

Please provide further ideas... if we could build it up to d20, d30 or even d100 that'd be awesome!
(The concept is that the missing PCs should not be able to function as normal party members, or to help the PCs of the players who are present. The assumption is that in mythical realms like dungeons, the laws of normal reality are weakened and weirdness holds sway. So, pretty much anything goes.)

  1. Character is turned into a frog by pixies. Another character must carry them for the entire session.
  2. The character turns out to be a doppleganger. The real character is back at the tavern tied up and naked in the storeroom.
  3. The character turns out to be a doppleganger. The real character is held by monsters somewhere in the dungeon!
  4. The character was a hallucination of the other others and wasn't with them in the first place.
  5. Character and all equipment is transformed into a pink mule, complete with (empty) saddle bags.
  6. Turned into a gold coin that has fallen into the treasure when no one was looking. 
  7. Abducted by scientists, via a time travel/teleportation device and subjected to annoying, tedious and ill-informed questions about "the past," then finally returned to his own time.
  8. Kidnapped by Glasya, daughter of Asmodeus, who needed a last minute date for a swanky party in Nessus. 
  9. As above, but it's an intime soiree and the PC gets to sit at a dinner table with the Big Man himself.
  10. PC falls into a rupture in time-space and is immediately deposited at the time and place, most convenient for the DM.
  11. PC is abducted by aliens, probed, then returned. 
  12. The gods decided to put mankind on trial. Guess who got to appear and testify for the whole of humanity.
  13. PC is whisked away to a dimension where they are fed midnight tomatoes by beautiful women, lying on a chaise longue.
  14. Character transformed into an incredibly lifelike tattoo on one of the other PCs.
  15. Character disappears and is replaced by a sheet of paper covered in stats describing their abilities and equipment.

Sunday 13 November 2011

The personal diary of Weebrian Jig -- part 1

Play report after our first session of AD&D 1st edition. Written from the point of view of my character Weebrian Jig.

The personal diary of Weebrian Jig, Prestidigitator of the Illuminated Order of Mesmerists, Servant of the 7th Angle.

12. Readying 579CY.

Called as a representative of the IOM on official guild business to the Guildhall of Verbobonc. Met one Alderman Crow, the chairman of the town council, and the venerable Mellium, sage of Verbobonc. Also present were an unusual group of warriors (mostly of orcish blood, I remarked) and a druid of Gnarley. It was requested that myself, the warriors and the druid travel to the village of Hommlet, some two days' journey south of Verbobonc, to surreptitiously investigate the uprising of banditry in the area. It was suggested that we had been chosen for this task as we were relatively unknown in the region, and were to conduct our investigations under the guise of a travelling band of adventurers so as not to rouse fear in the village. It was hinted that this may have something to do with events 10 years past in the area involving a "temple of elemental evil" which was defeated. We were told that Lord Rufus and Lord Burn in the village know of our planned arrival, and may be spoken to in confidence.

After the meeting I invited my companions-to-be to the Rusty Nail, which, bearing in mind their "unusual" racial stock as well as the fact that they were outsiders to Verbobonc, I thought would be a safe place to take them in the city without risking any trouble. One of the warriors, a brutal looking chap, but who apparently had some noble heritage in addition to his orcish blood (must remember to inquire after this), initially refused to enter the tavern, deeming it in some way beneath his station. Tis indeed a homely establishment, not intended for nobility, but I make no excuses for having taken them there, as I had good (aforementioned) reason and besides know nothing of upper class establishments. In any case another of the warriors, a strikingly beautiful young lady, apparently a follower of St Cuthbert, persuaded this haughty nobleman to join us.

Unsure whether the orcish heritage of my companions bodes for ill or good.

13. Readying 579CY.

None of my travelling companions reported any unusual dreams, or any dreams whatsoever, despite my request. My own dreams were tranquil and featured (several times) the unusual image of a unicorn eating potatoes.

Was pleased to note that Wilstan, one of my warrior companions, performed an augury upon the morn of our departure, casting the entrails of a chicken upon the ground. However as I stooped to interpret the divination he thrust his boot into the guts and requested that we should all do likewise. Naturally I refused, somewhat mystified at his intent. I believe he is a follower of Rao, although I have not previously heard of such strange customs among the worshippers of the god of Reason & Serenity.

With horses provided by the city of Verbobonc, we set off upon our way, with grey clouds looming overhead. Leaving the safety of Verbobonc, I wisely clad myself in a plain black cloak, covering my IOM regalia so as to blend in with the everyday travellers of the road. Intended to reach the village of Etterboek by the afternoon and to overnight there. Along the road we encountered: Dwarvish merchants heading north to Verbobonc, a horned beast of some kind (spotted in the distance by the sharp eyes of Kazhireh, a female warrior, also of Gnarley), a thunderous rain storm, soaking us to the skin.

Stayed in the Golden Cockerel inn in Etterboek. An adequate, although expensive, establishment. No specialty desserts were offered, disappointingly.

14. Readying 579CY.

Set off early, on a clear windy morning, hoping to reach Hommlet by nightfall.

The road was not busy. The only people we encountered were two laden caravans escorted by two guards, apparently in a very great hurry. They briefly informed us that the road was safe and clear. This proved to be very much mistaken. I wonder now if they were lucky, mad, or treacherous.

I believe today I experienced my first taste of this "adventure" which my master has enthusiastically recommended to me. I remain unsure of the merits of this lifestyle, but am pleased to note that my training proved adequate to meet its challenges. Here is what came to pass.

As the road passed through a region of boggy ground, we reached a point where a huge tree had fallen across, blocking easy transit. Madrak, our half-orcish escort from the distant north, went ahead to investigate it, at which point a confusion of arrows rained down upon us. I believe Madrak was gravely hurt by this initial volley. I leapt from my horse and called Rotter to guard, and I too received a glancing blow from one of the missiles. After this initial volley, our attackers (who were quickly observed to be a band of orcs) charged at us, presumably believing us to be near finished. We were greatly outnumbered. My warrior companions fought well, obviously trained for this sort of eventuality, and the tide of the battle turned in our favour. I myself was forced to wait in hiding amongst the frightened horses, with the patterns of the chromatic orb and the spook phantasm urging to be released from my mind as I have never noticed them doing before. As the orc brigands rushed towards us my chance, and the test of my training, came. Launching Rotter to savage one of them, I focussed on another, and advanced boldly towards it uttering the syllables to conjure the nightmarish phantasm. The brute turned on his heels, fled and was soon decapitated by one of my companions. I was very pleased to observe the spell's remarkable effects in the heat of battle. A second orc proved an easy target for the chromatic orb, as he stumbled towards me. The light of the pearlescent orb hit him full in the eyes, blinding him and allowing me the opportunity to cast darts into his face, causing him to fall to the ground. I now understand why my master insisted that I spend such long hours playing the game of darts with the halfling patrons of the Rusty Nail. The practice has proved unexpectedly useful.

I am thankful for the presence of Rotter, who has proved his worth as more than just a sleepy beast of watch. I shall consider attempting to acquire further such hounds, as they prove faithful and vicious if correctly trained.

Subsequent to the battle, we gathered ourselves together and set about searching through the bodies of our fallen assailants (three of whom, unfortunately, managed to escape, despite the pursuit of Alric and Kazhireh). We discovered a total of 20gp in small coinage, a pouch containing 5 gemstones, and a sack with 8 pieces of silver jewellery decorated with gems. I am unsure what exactly we are required to do with this kind of loot, as surely it has been stolen from reputable merchants and locals to the area. I think that perhaps we should hand it in to the local constabulary, although I remember my master gleefully mentioning the riches he has gained from "adventuring", so perhaps there is some right for members of the Adventurers' Guild to keep possession of items acquired in such manner. I shall have to reread my contract of guild membership, and perhaps inquire at the guild quarters in Hommlet, if such an establishment exists.

It was also noted that the emblems on the orcs' shields identified them as members of the "vile rune" clan, a name which bears little significance to me.

Hurriedly we finished our journey to Hommlet, bearing with us a single still-living orc, whom Wilstan had wisely captured. I look forward to perhaps being able to test the worth of the hypnotism spell on the brute, if we get a chance to interrogate him. I think it may also be wise to "soften him up" first with an application of the spook phantasm. I have read that its effects can be particularly spirit-crushing if the victim believes he is unable to escape.

After several more miles of travel we reached Hommlet, and head straight to the chapel of St Cuthbert on the outskirts of the village. The resident clerics were glad to heal my companions' wounds, and Chryseïs (our St Cuthbert devotee) offered them one of the pieces of jewellery as thanks.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Theorems & Thaumaturgy update

I've been pretty quiet on the book front for a while now, but progress has been happening (slowly but surely), and the text is really very close to completion now. I just put the finishing touches on the section of magical tomes this morning, and all that remains now is to finish up a couple of appendices. Very exciting!

It's clocking in at 72 pages at the moment, and that's without any sort of artwork, so it should be a decent sized book, which I hope will sit nicely alongside Labyrinth Lord & the AEC.

One very cool thing that graces the book, which I've not mentioned before, is a complete index of all spells in the game -- including all the new spells in Theorems & Thaumaturgy in addition to the cleric, druid, illusionist and magic-user spells from the Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion. I hope this will prove useful to anyone using the book in play!

I would hazard a guess that the people who kindly offered to do some proofreading should be receiving the initial finished copy of the text some time in the next few weeks.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing the book in its finished printed form, and to get using it at the gaming table! (Especially as there are now three players in the campaign who are using new classes in the book -- we have a necromancer, an elementalist and a fey elf.)

Sunday 6 November 2011

The devil is in the details - Many Fey, Some Fey

Some time ago I created (and posted) a set of tables of random racial characteristics for Dwarrow and Ratfolk characters in my campaign. Following last week's PC massacre, there have been some new character being rolled up. Among them are two Fey (not coincidentally, as the party was decimated by ghouls, and Fey are immune to their paralysis!). So this morning I came up with similar tables for Fey (including a few entries from the original Elf "Devil is in the details" article in Fight on!).

Many Fey
  1. Have an unusual number of fingers (roll 1d6 + 2, re-rolling if you end up with four!).
  2. Have hair which animates or changes colour depending on their mood.
  3. Lie as a matter of course.
  4. Are 90% resistant to sleep and charm person.
  5. Guard their true name with their lives.
  6. Have the attention span of a gnat.
  7. Feel a great affinity to one type of animal.
  8. Love games of chance.
  9. Apparently sprang into existence fully formed, having no memory of a childhood or family.
  10. Have an irrational hatred of one specific thing (gnomes, horses, moonlight, etc), and fly into a rage when encountering it.
  11. Love all forms of art, especially pieces which other races would regard as incomprehensibly convoluted.
  12. Find humans and dwarrow endlessly boring.
  13. Are terrified of spirits and undead.
  14. Refuse to have anything to do with cosmic powers, including acceptance of cleric spells being cast upon them.
  15. Only have a 1 in 6 chance of needing to sleep each night.
  16. Carry an array of small charms to protect against all manner of things.
  17. Have a 30% chance of reflecting sleep or charm person back onto the caster.
  18. Are prone to addiction, and start play with a penchant for: 1. alil, 2. fine spirits, 3. yellow powder, 4. exotic pipe-weed.
  19. Have silver, gold, or violet hair.
  20. Suffer from fits of insanity (10% chance per day, lasting one day, roll on the table in the DMG p.83).
  21. Can detect subtle psychic impressions in objects, getting a feeling of the appearance and mood of the last person who touched the object.
  22. Actually physically disappear when they sleep, vanishing to a dream dimension.
  23. Have an imaginary friend (though of course they claim it is real) with whom they converse.
  24. Find water distasteful and will only drink wine or fruit juices.
  25. Can generate minor electrical shocks.
  26. Have eyes of an unusual colour (violet, pure white, silver, etc).
  27. Are able to cast a single 1st level spell once per day, selected from the list of fey sorcerer spells.
  28. Have a deep love and respect for the ancient line of fey nobility.
  29. Find humour in almost anything, even at totally inappropriate moments.
  30. Are deeply superstitious, having a long list of things which are supposed to bring good or bad luck.

Some Fey
  1. Have a sadistic bent.
  2. Have almost no concept of self-preservation, making them completely reckless.
  3. Speak to themselves in a private language which only they understand.
  4. Will not die from ageing.
  5. Insist on things (people, items, plans, etc) being assigned numerical values.
  6. Harbour the desire to mate with a being of another (perhaps unusual) race.
  7. Have detailed memories of a past life (possibly as another race).
  8. Are incredibly avaricious, but only seek wealth of a very particular kind (emeralds, pearls, platinum, gold rings, etc).
  9. Are completely hedonistic and do not care a whit for the future.
  10. Prefer to not enter the fey dimension, for reasons of their own.
  11. Have a habit of pronouncing personal names backwards, and will not reveal the reason for this.
  12. Both fear and desire to know the deep places below the earth.
  13. Value logic and rationality over all else.
  14. Breed new animals in pursuit of a singular vision.
  15. Can detect the influence of cosmic powers, as a cleric. If successful, become terrified, enraged or sick (equal chance).
  16. Find books and writing to be delightful curiosities.
  17. Have a twin which resulted from a spontaneous division. The two twins' personalities are usually radically at odds.
  18. Refuse to use a personal name of any kind.
  19. Shower friends with gifts.
  20. Will only dress in a specific colour.
  21. Study an ancient spiritual text which is written entirely in indecipherable code which generations of fey have failed to crack.
  22. Have star-shaped pupils. The number of points on the star is deemed auspicious.
  23. Are fascinated by light, and will spend long hours gazing into prisms or beams of sunlight.
  24. Are strange and silent.
  25. Study a complex system of astrology which can only be applied in retrospect.
  26. Are unaffected by all but the most extreme changes in temperature and weather.
  27. Trace their ancestry to another world.
  28. Are haunted by animals of a certain species, which they believe are spies.
  29. Cannot conceal their emotions.
  30. Will swiftly die if imprisoned.

Friday 4 November 2011

Slippy's adventuring log -- in memorium of a near TPK

DM's note: I've not run a session (yet) where a true TPK has occurred. I have however "participated" (shall we say) in the almost complete destruction of two parties of adventurers. Once was a group of 1st level scummers who perished battling lowly fire beetles. One character escaped with his life -- Slippy the ratman. In our game two days ago it happened again. This time with a more competent and experienced party, who met their doom at the hands of a co-ordinated attack of ghouls and gnolls. Again one character escaped with his life, and again it was Slippy the ratman.

Following are Slippy's notes on this grisly occurrence. The facts are, in places, grossly exaggerated, but as he says "a truer telling of the events that transpired there today will never be heard".

Written by Yves, Slippy's player.

Slippy didn't speak a word to the gatekeeper Olob when he returned to Lembde in the late afternoon, clad in his dented plate mail which seemed to be missing a few pieces, his trusty bowler no longer on his head at a jaunty angle. He pushed by the guards inquiring about his fellow travellers and made for the village tavern. Roughly throwing open the doors he flung some silver pieces in the direction of the bar and sat himself down at the nearest table while shouting: "Inkeeper! Ale for everyone!". He then looked around the tavern, his gaze shifting from one Red Man to the next, and then started yelling to no one in particular: "Gather round ye folk, for I have a tale of woe and sorrow to tell, a story of the bravest companions a ratman ever did lay his eyes upon." Without waiting for the Red Men to react he continued: "The story of Skarr, a finer ratwoman the sewers of S'raka haven't produced; of Blade, a fine and goodly fellow, blessed in the sight of men and gods; of Hjalhir too, a clever, scholarly man, brother to the great warrior Beomir of whose exploits even you must surely have heard; and Tal Copperhand the Dwarrow, known as Deepingdale to his friends, and to some as the drunken fool of Dreg. Employed by the Imperial Cartography Guild were we, as you well know, and for the greater glory of the Empire did we go to the cursed place known as the Chasm Deeps. We ventured far, ignoring the risk to our own lives, coming across such marvelous sights as the statue of Breets, and such bizarre spectacles as the magical mirror, undoubtedly the work of the treacherous Yellow Men, when we reached a large room, a barracks or dormitory it might have been, seeing as it were filled with bunk beds.” Here Slippy paused, for added dramatic effect as well as gulping down the pint of ale the innkeeper had put in front of him.

„It were in this very place we came upon a rough barricade, thrown up by vile Gnolls to bar our further exploration and mapping. While the warriors among us took up defensive positions, my good companion Tal the Dwarrow threw down some flaming oil, were it to frighten away the Gnolls or to deter their approach I do not known, for at that very moment much confusion arose and all hell broke loose. It was that fine fellow Blade who first spotted the roaming band of Ghouls - even more despicable since they were once Yellow Men - who caught us by surprise in the back. Blade was quickly beset by them and succumbed to the paralyzing nature of their cruel claws. At this moment yours truly nocked and loosed an arrow, but due to the shoddy craftmanship of the bow - which he purchased here in Lembde and for which he expects the bowyer will provide him full compensation, seeing as by this first event everything that followed transpired, and if the man can live with four deaths on his conscience and keep my gold then my hat is off to him, what a black soul he must have - anyhow this bow lost its string and fell to the floor. The Dwarrow rushes forward, taking no heed of the danger, to protect his scholarly fellows, while my brave halfling friend Skarr also unleashed a volley, unfortunately to little effect. Our scholar Hjalhir meanwhile kept working on his maps, because that's what he does, and nothing else, especially not accursed magicks. The fight turned sour quickly, my companions one by one succumbing to the Ghouls' crippling touch, which left your narrator on his own, warding off three Ghouls with naught but a dagger.“ Slippy continued, as he gulped down the remainder of the second flagon.

„Fortunately Blade, blessed he be, as I have mentioned earlier, by divine intervention recovered his wits and set about reviving the others of our little group, and it seemed the tide of the battle had turned in our favour. 't was around this moment however that fate spit us squarely in the face, for a group of ravenous Gnolls then entered the fray, jumping over the smoldering remains of the barricade. Your faithful Ratman took it upon himself to engage these vile curs, allowing Blade to see to the fallen. By very selflessly sacrificing a very expensive gold necklace I bought us preciously needed time. Then the story admittedly takes a slightly odd turn, as for reasons not entirely clear to myself - though I suspect the combat fatigue and large breakfast I had this morning to be the culprits - I fell soundly asleep, which my foes seemed to think was a very excellent idea because three Gnolls followed my lead.“ Slippy paused, cleared his throat and emptied the third pint before moving on.

„Next thing I remember I was being dragged away by one of the Gnolls who didn't feel quite so nappish, looking around to see, to my dismay, my companions once again struck down, being torn apart by the remaining Ghouls - at this point I should note there were probably a dozen of them, of which we killed perhaps ten, six of those I did in single-handedly - and my Gnollish captor continued to drag me off while yapping gleefully. Waiting for the most opportune moment, I then broke loose of his grasp, and, seeing that my comrades were in dire peril indeed, became so ferociously enraged that the Gnoll thought the better of it and set to running for his life. In my bloodlust the recollections have become a bit of haze, but I distinctly remember grabbing a long sword and tearing up their dung-covered lair, decapitating Gnolls left and right while I strategically beat a retreat to the exit, as to alert the rear guard which remained behind to look after our mules. According to them at least three Gnolls ran out of the cave with me in hot pursuit until I lost track of them, and collapsed quite exhausted, physically but mostly emotionally, struck by the loss of my equipment and also those guys I told you earlier about. So in short, as a truer telling of the events that transpired there today will never be heard, let it be recorded for posterity and recounted throughout the ages, the tale of brave Henry Slippums! Cheers!" And with that Slippy drank deep of his fourth pint of ale and he felt a whole lot better for it.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

My AD&D character

I got the illusionist I was dreaming of! (Not that hard with Method I -- 4d6 drop lowest arrange to taste...)

I decided to go for a human, and I have named him Weebrian Jig.

From memory, his ability scores are:
STR 13
CON 13
DEX 16
INT 16
WIS 13
CHA 14
COM 14 (yes we're using Comeliness!)

My master (randomly selected) is a gnome called Blasphemy Rumtum. He's taught his apprentice well, and I have a good selection of spells. The only thing sadly lacking is the illusionist's staple and all-round useful phantasmal force. Something to look forward to though.

Now I'm just trying to ascertain from the DM if it's possible to get a bodyguard hireling whom I could equip with a weapon and a shield. The other alternative is of course one or more war dogs, though at 25gp each they don't come cheap to a 1st level magic-user!

I'm considering using the classic prodigal sorcerer as his "character portrait", and am trying to come up with a title for him. Something suitably arcane sounding like "Weebrian Jig, Prestidigitator, servant of the 7th Angle". He's LN in alignment.

I'll continue to post news on his exploits...

Sunday 30 October 2011

Playing AD&D!

I'm very excited, as a friend here in Berlin is starting up an AD&D (1st edition) campaign! We're starting tomorrow evening with character generation. (I'm hoping for an illusionist.)

The really cool thing for me is that, though I've owned copies of all the AD&D 1e books for years, I've actually never played it! I've played loads of basic D&D (Mentzer / Labyrinth Lord), and loads of AD&D 2e, but never the Gygaxian masterpiece.

Very much looking forward to it. Maybe I'll post my character when he's made :)

Saturday 29 October 2011

Deepingdale's adventuring logs 9

Campaign logs written by Steve, Deepingdale's player.

Company Members Present
Slippy, 3rd Lvl Ratman - Founding Member
Venser, 3rd Lvl Human Thief Rear Guard*
Cagliostro, 2nd Lvl Human Necromancer
Hjalhir, 3rd Lvl Human Wizard Rear Guard*
Blade, 2nd Lvl Human Cleric of Hegg, God of Blades
Deepingdale (Tal), 2nd Lvl Dwarrow
Skarr, 1st Lvl Female Ratfolk Thief
Stignarr, 1st Lvl Human Fighter Rear Guard*

Starting and ending locations: The Chasm Deeps returning later to the Red folk’s village of Lembde, 2 hours east of the Chasm Deeps (5 miles).

Session 9 (26/10/11)
After cleaning ourselves up after the fight with the spider, Hjalhir decided that he was in no fit state to continue and so we escorted him outside to join Venser, Stig and the mules at the camp that they had set up in a small hollow in the cliff face, just around the corner from the entrance (hopefully away from prying eyes and noses).  The remainder of the company apprehensively returned back to the deeps.  We returned to the spiders room and after listening, John the animated skeleton opened the door opposite on the northwest wall.

This lead into a large room 40’ x 55’, which was both strangely and quiet disturbingly, very clean.   Immediately Deepingdale became a little anxious about possible traps, but after an extensive search, nothing could be found.  3 other doors lead off from this room, one on each wall.  We decided to move north first and when John opened the door it revealed a dark corridor ahead.  Cagliosro’s animate undead spell ran out at this point and John collapsed to the floor, his work done for now.  As the Necromancer started to collect up John’s inanimate bones and return them to the coffin which he strangely carried on his back, suddenly out of the dark, shot a web thread and entangled Johns ulna (lower arm bone).  Before Caglisro had a chance to grab it, the sticky web thread shot back into the darkness along with John’s lower left arm.  Caglisro, in fear, quickly shut the door in front of him, thinking that another giant spider was about to do the same to him.  The party quickly assembled with Deepingdale acting as a shield guard at the front and Scarr and Slippy with bows with Blade with his Glaive set to receive.  We cautiously opened the north door and peered into the darkness.  All along the corridor ceiling hung a deep blanket of dusty old spiders webs.  At this point Caglisro heard a wooden creaking sound to the south of us and we closed the north door and prepared for our visitor.

Scarr had the plan to surprise however was sneaking up on us and we pretended to leave the room back to the east, but instead stood still very quietly and waited with weapons poised, but nothing happened.  10 minutes later we decided to proceed through the southern door to investigate.  Using Deepingdales brute strength he managed to wrench the door off its hinges when trying to open it.  This would prove a problem later.  The room to the south entered into another large oblong room 60’ x 30’ with a large 20’ stone statue of a frog in the centre of it within what was once clearly a fountain.  A number of double doors lead off from this junction hall.  The doors to the west and south where both slightly ajar and spots of fresh blood lay on the floor leading through the western door.  A strong smell of dogs (gnolls?) hung in the air.  The doors to the east hung off their hinges and through these we could make out day light from the entrance.  Deep looked through the doors to the west and could see a carcass of a dead deer lying on the ground. 

An additional door lay on the northern wall leading back into the dead spiders room.  We decided to check this first as another door which we had not opened yet lead to the east and looking at our map we wanted to know if this room contained gnoll guards as the smell seemed very strong from this area.  After hearing nothing, we opened the door to reveal a small 20’x20’ room, its floor seemed to look exactly like the nights sky, brilliant black with shiny stars that looked up at us.  Deepingdale asked Cagliosro to check it out and the Necromancer started casting a detect magic spell.  Whilst he did this, from the door way Deepingdale dropped one of his stone marbles onto the floor into the room.  For a moment the marble rolled around and once it settled it disappeared through the floor.  Deepingdale then took out his 50’ rope and dangled 3’ of rope into the room.  The rope settled on the floor, then like the marble, slowly sunk into the floor and disappeared.  Deep was unable to retrieve the rope and began cutting the section off with his knife.  It is at this point that the party came under attack and Cagliosro's spell was detect magic spell was interrupted.

From the room to the south with the Frog Statue in it, we saw a grey humanoid hand push open the door on the southern wall.  Scarr who was standing guard shot at the hand with his bow, but the arrow embedded into the south door and the hand quickly withdrew.  Perhaps this was our earlier stalker we thought.  Deep dropped his knife and the rope, withdrew the Azure Serpent Sword from his scabbard and quietly moved into the room behind him to see what the fuss was.  Slippy and Blade joined Scarr and at the same time from the east we heard a terrible humanoid dog like cry and from the corridor charged two 7’ Gnolls carrying large spears.  Slippy and Scarr let loose their arrows and Blade attacked with his Glaive.  The Cleric of Hegg and the Ratfolk soon dispatched the foul dog men and just when we thought all was safe, from the door to the south three ghouls charged in.  Scarr managed to leap onto the Frog statue just as an undead red man ghoul leapt up at him clawing with both hands and biting with his teeth.  The little rat women was badly scratched in the back, but managed to resist the diseased paralysis from the ghouls dirt ridden claws.  In a state of shock and surprise, Scarr’s arrow missed completely.

Deepingdale, Slippy and Glaive prepared to receive the three ghouls.  Combat was chaotic and confused.  Deepingdale skewered the Ghoul in the back who was leaping up at Scarr, but before we knew it, despite managing to strike the Ghouls with Hjalhir’s magical dagger, Slippy lay on the floor paralysed from the unclean claws and bite from one the Ghouls who was now lying on top of him trying to eat him.  Deepingdale was also hit, but his Dwarrow endurance was no match for the filth of the ghouls and he took nothing more than a small flesh wound.  Blade then tried to cast a sanctuary spell to rescue Slippy, but just before the spell incantation was complete, a ghoul scratched him and disrupted the spell.  Despite this, Blade bravely tried to pull Slippy from under the attacking ghoul but instead was bitten and clawed himself and ended up also lying paralysed next to Slippy near the door.  Deepingdale seeing that the situation was turning dire, backed off, retreating slowly to the north east door and stood over the two paralysed bodies of his colleagues defending them from the ghoul claws eventually killing his own assailant, but not managing to do anything more.  Scarr in the meantime shot arrows down from his safe vantage point.  After failing to earlier cast control undead on the attacking ghouls, Cagliosro at this point managed to successfully cast an animate dead spell and raised the dead spider and the two Gnolls who proceeded to enter the battle just as another 4 ghouls appeared through the south door.  The undead gnolls and spiders made quick work of the last two ghouls before their comrades could join them to reinforce their attack.  Meanwhile, Cagliosro managed to drag our paralysed companions back into the dead spiders room and summoned a new John the skeleton from a scroll to support the ensuing combat.

Unfortunately it was now becoming very clear that with only three remaining party members left in combat, one of which was seriously injured and potentially cut off from the rest of us, we decided it was time for a fighting retreat (or running for our lives).  Deepingdale opted to prepare burning oil to try to dispatch the four new ghouls who had entered the chamber, but through the pressure of battle he lost the initiative and ghouls poured in and pursued poor Scarr as he leapt down from the frog statue just before one of them jumped up at him narrowly missing Scarr.  Scarr ran like the wind through the broken door to the northwest, into the clean room, pursued by ghouls.  The undead gnolls and spider helped Cagliosro to carry our paralysed colleagues towards the exit.  Meanwhile, through the south door we heard the howling cry of more Gnolls.  Deepingdale tried to attack the ghouls who were now chasing after Scarr.  Whilst watching the door to the south, Deep slung the flaming oil flask into the room with the ghouls, but it went in too far, missing the undead.  Recognising that the situation hung in the balance Deepingdale ran to join Cagliosro in the dead spider’s room, just as the Ghouls were trying to force the door open to the west.  Deep managed to spike the door shut, but the door to south now burst open with more Ghouls and something else behind them.  The party then ran for their lives and headed for the exit and daylight, with the angry sound of pursuit we did out best to carry our colleagues to safety.  Fortunately, as we emerged into daylight we noticed that we were no longer being pursued.

We joined Venser, Stig and Hjalhir in the camp by the cliffs and quickly packed away our stuff and fled to the village to rest.  Again, fortune shown on us as we encountered nothing during our return trek and after two hours we arrived safely in Lembde to be greeted by Olob, our friendly gatekeeper.

Deepingdale enquired about possible sources of healing and we were directed to the village herbalist, Meerka, where we were able to purchase some non magical balms and tonics to help speed up natural healing process and assist in removing ghoul paralysis.  We then retired to the inn to rest and recuperate after a lucky escape.  Praise be to Assedh

Tuesday 25 October 2011

It lives!

Alex & I have been on a frenzy of creativity, and the result is the shiny new Old-school Monster Wiki!

So far all the monsters from Labyrinth Lord + the AEC are in there, all tagged up by creature type.

All it needs now is:
  • More monsters! Get in there and add your crazy home-brew monstrosities! (Alex is looking into how to import more monsters from various tomes automatically...)
  • More tags! Get in there and get tagging... wilderness environments especially needed at the moment.
  • Spread the word :)

Sunday 23 October 2011

A database of old-school monsters?

I've recently been musing on the possibility of creating encounter tables for specific dungeon environments -- in the same way as there are tons of tables for various types of wilderness environments, from swamps to arctic tundra, I thought it'd be very useful to have tables for things like fungoid caverns, volcanic rifts, lost tombs, etc. There's loads of prototypical dungeon environments which could easily have their own table.

I had in mind using these tables as an aid while stocking dungeons, for which I often use the normal dungeon encounter tables. I tend to find these a little limited and generic though, hence the idea of different tables for different types of dungeon.

But: I just had what seems like an even better idea, and one that could be immensely useful for all sorts of things.

An online old-school monster database, with tags.

The tags are the important thing. The fact that monsters are usually only indexed by name is what makes coming up with suitably themed collections of them tricky. I realised this when looking at the extensive monster lists in the AD&D Monster Manual II. There's this huge list of monster names, sorted alphabetically or by hit dice or by wilderness environment. But to use the lists successfully you really need to know what the monsters are like, just from their names. For instance, I came across quite a few stumbling blocks in the list of 1st level dungeon monsters: rothe, vilstrak, vulchling, tween...? A lookup in the fiend folio and I now know what these things are, but it's slow work.

But what if there were a database where you could just search for monsters of 1 to 3 HD with the tags "fungus" or "whimsical"? Such a tool could be used to whip up encounter tables in a jiffy, or to get quick inspiration for encounters of any sort. I think this could be a seriously useful tool, if set up right.

So, a couple of questions:
  1. Does anyone know if anything like this already exists? (I've never heard of anything like it, but you never know... I imagine possibly a resource like this may exist for 3.5th or 4th edition.)
  2. Any thoughts on what software / system would be good for something like this? A freely available, easy to use, multi-user, wiki-style, online system would be perfect, but something that works as a database as opposed to a page / post based wiki or blog.
I'd imagine including a foundation of monsters from the OSR clone books (LL, AEC, S&W, OSRIC), supplemented with links to any freely available old-school OGL stuff that could be found online. (Possibly also stuff from the AD&D monster books, though that's not freely available.) The idea is that at the beginning it'd simply be a list of all the monsters (their names, hit dice and source -- either a url or a page reference in a book), but that then people could add tags to them, gradually increasing the worth of the database.

Any thoughts?

Saturday 22 October 2011

Deepingdale's adventuring logs 8

Campaign logs written by Steve, Deepingdale's player. 

Company Members Present
Slippy, 3rd Lvl Ratman - Founding Member
Venser, 3rd Lvl Human Thief Rear Guard*
Cagliosro, 2nd Lvl Human Necromancer
Hjalhir, 3rd Lvl Human Wizard
Blade, 2nd Lvl Human Cleric of Hegg, God of Blades
Deepingdale (Tal), 2nd Lvl Dwarrow
Scarr, 1st Lvl Female Ratman Thief
Stignarr, 1st Lvl Human Fighter Rear Guard*

Starting and ending locations: City of Bolaar (Yellow Men area of Chasm of Nayellem), proceedings down the river west to the village of Lembde and then on foot via the old road to the Chasm Deeps.

Session 8 (19/10/2011)
After considerable carousing in the yellow mens city of Bolar, in the Chasm, Deepingdale eventually managed to train up to gain warrior hood (2nd lvl Dwarrow).  Henry and Venser had an eventful few days, meeting a strange Frog Cult in Bolar and after getting considerably drunk they managed to glean some information about the whereabouts of three of the Breets Relics, the Aquamarine Raven, the Blooded Shield and the Eye Stone.  All three of which are said to be found in the Chasm deeps.  However, what did Henry and Venser offer the Frog Cult in return for the information, we all wondered the next morning in the sober light of day, only time will tell?!  Our mage Hjalhir is still not well and although the herbs from the Rim help with his concentration, it is clear that sometimes he is unable to cast his spells correctly.  Before our departure we were unsuccessful in finding a suitable temple in Bolar to heal him.  Our inquiries about a temple of Hegg were met with disbelief.  These are a godless folk or are they?  We have decided to travel under the guise of a group of Imperial Cartographers (Clever idea of Henry’s), Venser and Hjalhir forged some suitably important looking papers with fake wax seals and the spell casters will act as our scribes and the fighters in the company as security.  After finishing our preparations, we regrouped and managed to get passage on a river barge for 8gp each, travelling west for 5+6 hours through the forest of Lensirrik (apparently it’s old name, now called Lensk).  Before catching the barge we were warned by the yellow men to disguise or spell casters as the Red Men are very warlike and hate all spell casters and see them all as witches.

After an uneventful river journey, the barge dropped us off on the river bank near the last human habitation in the Red Mens area, a village called Lembde on the far western edge of the chasm forest.  The earlier advice from the Yellow men was well served and on our arrival at the gates to Lembde, a small fortified village, a large yellow painted eye (the witch eye as it is known by the locals) looked down on the company.  On introducing ourselves as the Cartographers Company from the Imperial Cartographers Guild, we struck up a conversation with one of the gate men, a trusting fellow called Olob.  The village had never been visited by outlanders before.  After some charm from Henry (aka Slippy), he told us that this was the domain of King Mab, beyond imperial control and the deity Mox, watched over the Red People checking for any witches and that the Yellow men were their most despised enemy who they had warred against for years, although now an uneasy peace has lasted between the two peoples for the last 100 years, but they were still very weary of magic users or witches as he called them.  Olob also warned us of the numerous ferocious Owlbears in the forest of Lensk.  A pleasant enough chap, despite his bright red skin and blue hair, he was welcoming and granted our group entry into the village and directed us to the inn, he also suggested speaking to one of the local hunters, a man called Boleg, known to have defeated an owlbear and familiar with the monsters ways, he could perhaps offer some advice with our mapping.

Caglistro, Venser and Stig remained outside the village, the Necromancer, not convinced by the warm welcome, refused to enter and instead set up a small camp beyond the stockade.  On entering the village we spotted a 20 foot tower, at the bottom of which was a large cage with 3 ferocious looking Owl Bears inside it and some men stood around, clearly their keepers.  On enquiring we were told that the Owlbears were the villages “Protectors”.  When Hjalhir passed the cage, the Owlbears became very aggravated!!!

On entering the inn (and several beers purchased for the locals and 10gp later), we quickly made many new friends and many friendly locals contributed to correcting our apparently, very out of date maps that the Dax women and the one that Mol had provided us with.  The Cartography Company proved to be a great cover.  We also had a very useful talk with the Hunter Boleg, who reassured us that we were unlikely to encounter any Owlbears, as they mainly stayed in the forest and our journey by foot, west of Lembed towards the Chasm Deeps was on the old road that lay beyond the woods.  But he said our main concern should be for the large group of gnolls who inhabit the area west of the village, near the cairn and chasm deeps.  A few beers later, Boleg also told us about the chasm rifts, a poisonous volcanic area and finally, he then shared with us the tale of the legendary chasm Dragon, Meerka, who he described as a large black shadow who in the past had attacked the village and is still seen flying overhead at least once a month.  Meerka has been present in the Chasm area for many years and is thought to live in the chasm cliffs above the chasm deep.  Finally, Slippy enquired about Boleg’s facial scar and his own run in the Owlbears, we bid Boleg fair well, with the challenge of returning with an Owlbear beak, in return for a free night on the ale!

Buoyed up by such expectations and with our adventuring juices flowing, after a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we set off early in the morning, down the old road into the west.  The first thing we came across was a huge run down 20 foot stone cairn with an inscription at its base, in imperial common (which Slippy couldn’t read, much to our hilarity) “Sacred Eye of the Overseer Breets the Great”.  The Sacred Eye was marked on the Dax map as relic number one, however, despite our meticulous searching; someone had already removed it from the Cairn.

We continued on, encountering nothing, seeing steam rising, probably from the chasm rifts that Boleg described, off to the North about 1 mile from the old road and eventually we arrived at the farthest west end of the chasm, where a entrance fronted by two large stone pillars, decorated in memory of past overseers, greeted us, along with a pile of old bones and a strong smell of dogs and fresh blood coming from the cave entrance (Gnolls?).

Stig and Venser kindly offered to wait outside with the horses and mules.  The humans lit their torches and bows were drawn and we cautiously walked forward.  Ahead of us lay a 40’ wide entrance which eventually narrowed to 30’ and a 60’ long entrance hall with 5 stone columns on each side, also carved depicting the overseers.  This hallway lead into a large 80’ large cavern with natural corridors leading off to the north, northwest, west, southwest and south.  Again, a pile of bones greeted us along with the sound of frogs from the Northwest passage.  Scarr scouted ahead and noticed the smell of dung coming from the northern passage.  After considering our options, we decided to try to avoid being attacked from the rear by laying marbles and caltrops at both the northern and western passage way entrances.  From the western passage a strong smell of blood and dogs emanated.  The company, especially our Necromancer, was interested in the frogs, so we headed up the northwest passage where another passage lead off to the east.  Scarr, Deepingdale and Slippy went off to explore, the little rat women thief crawled up the wall of the natural passage way which lead into another small cavern, suddenly from the darkness we head a scream and Scarr suddenly disappeared into the cavern ahead of us.  Nightwing  the owl reported that a large creature was devouring the rat women and so we cautiously entered the cavern to find a giant toad had swallowed Scarr.  Hjalhir failed to cast his magic missle and battle ensued, the toad spat Scarr out, who was fortunately saved at the last moment by a healing spell from Blade.  The giant toad was dispatched by arrows, slings, pole arms and swords.  Scarr removed the giant toads tongue, she thought it might come in handy one day!?

We returned to the passage after finding nothing of note in the giant toads beautiful stalagmite adorned cave and headed into the frog room, a circular 30’ room with an ornate pool in the centre.  Surrounding the pool were 8 statues with carved frogs on top, from inside each stone frog came the sound of real frogs.  The statues were hollow and we thought they were connected to a passage way below, where the sound was coming from.  In the pool lay crystal clear water, with no apparent source.  Scarr decided to take a quick bath in the pool and was very refreshed and whilst we waited for Scarr, Slippy had a quiet religious moment.  We managed to convince Caglisro not to piss into the pool as it may be the only source of clean drinking water available to us.

A passage way lead off to the west, which 20’ later opened up into a large oblong man made hall 20’ wide by 80’ long with a 20’ high vaulted ceiling.  Directly opposite the entrance to the hall on the west wall was a wooden door with an iron ring door opener.  As we entered the room,  Deepingdale and Scarr moved forward to listen at the door opposite and the keen eyed Scarr spotted a shadow shifting in the vaulted ceiling above us.  On careful further examination we could make out a large spider’s web and behind it sat a giant spider.  A single bulls eye shot from Deepingdales heavy crossbow downed the beast and before it could stop twitching in its death throws; Scarr had removed its poison sacks, fangs and any other useful type ingredients that rogues find useful in their strange trade.      

On examining the hall, we could see that at the southern end on the southern wall another door and a final door at the southern end on the eastern hall. In the middle of the east wall lay a large pile of rubble, old broken furniture etc.  Using our company, non-extendable (Patent pending) 10’ poles we found a yellow man skeleton with a small leather pouch with 90sp in it.  At this point we decided to rest and collected our comrades from outside.

Friday 21 October 2011

Here, have a dungeon

Spoiler warning: Players in my campaign, this is the map for a dungeon are you may explore at some point. Best not study it...

For everyone else, here's a blank map I recently drew, which I quite like and thought others may enjoy too. Do with it what you will, if you will.

Monday 17 October 2011

A dungeon level: Part 1

Spoiler warning: Players in my campaign, this is the map for the dungeon under the old oak tree, which your characters long explored. I guess you most likely won't go back there, but still I'd suggest not looking at the map, and especially not reading the key, as I think this would spoil some of the magic, so to speak.

Inspired by a comment from Brendan on an old post of mine where I shared a dungeon map I'd drawn, I thought I'd post another map, and the accompanying key for it. The map you see is actually the first level which leads down to the map I posted previously. The latter was only partially stocked, and the party never ventured into it, so it remains unfinished and unexplored. The 1st level was however almost fully cleared out, explored over the course of probably almost a dozen play sessions -- I'm really surprised how long it lasted!

So here's the map, and the first part of the key, typed up from the notes I used to run it. The notes are very rough, so a dash of imagination is required while reading! Still, I hope it proves entertaining, interesting and / or useful for someone. I'll post the rest of the key as I find time to type it up.

The Dungeon Under the Old Oak Tree 
1. A large glade in a forest. Huge oak tree in middle, hollowed out. Shaft leads down. Sides of shaft covered with tree roots, like ladder. 1 in 10 chance to fall. Sandy floor at bottom, walls still riddled with roots. One root has "NOLLY'S KINGDOM" carved into it.

1a. Roots covered in moss, crawling with worms & insects. Old leather glove laid over root (left). From east comes whooshing sound. Faint glow and warmth from south.

2. In passageway tree roots reach out to grab items from PCs as they pass. If anyone fails a DEX check they lose an item. Can be recovered by cutting the roots -- at which an ominous rumbling is heard.

3. Muddy floor, mossy walls (glowing). Three 5' deep nooks. One has cosy cloaks & coats (in pocket of one is key to 28). One has a portrait of a gnome-like creature. One has a hat stand with red & purple felt hats.

4. Low round roof. Round cobblestoned floor. Neat wooden table & chair. Small bell and plaque "PLEASE RING". Walls still mossy & rooty.

5. Bookshelf full of nonsense. Sack of bones behind bookshelf. Two comfy upholstered chairs. Chairs attack if touched: AC 7, HD 1 (5, 6hp), Att
2 x 1d3 (clawed arms). Books fly out.

6. Cute kitchen. Sheep-headed faun called "Ramius". Acts all Mr Tumnus but tries to feed PCs sleep tea (save vs spells) and then eat them. AC 6, HD 2 (12hp), Att butt 1d6, knife 1d6.

7. Ramius' lair of horror. Skulls & bones. Chest with fresh human remains and 87gp, 192sp, 202cp, sapphire worth 400gp. Four sheep skulls which Ramius can command: AC 8, HD 1 (4hp each), Att 1d6.

8. Cobblestones. Round roof. Door carved with tree motifs. Large red patterned rug, concealing magical circle. Teleports to 32. 2 in 6 chance of stepping on rug by chance.

9. Stone walls. Small table with glass jars. Inside are tiny dead people (1" high). Two scrolls -- one of MU spell reduce, one (written in fey tongue) a page from a story about a journey to another world of micro-people.

10. Stone. Statue of two dogs and their master, a hunter. Mirrors on west & east walls, anyone looking in sees the hunter's face instead of their own, mad look in his eyes. Hear barking and a horn somewhere distant. Each turn 2 in 6 chance of being attacked. Hunter: AC 6, HD 2 (10hp), Att 1d6 + 1 (axe). 2 x dogs: AC 7, HD 1 (3, 5hp), Att 1d6 (bite). Hunter has a pouch of ancient silver coins (300sp), worth five times normal value to a collector.

11. Archway formed of serpents. Giant crab spider lurks. AC 7, HD 2 (8hp), Att 1d8 + poison, 1-4 surprise.

12. Decrepit statues of ancient kings. Old leather boot rests behind one (left foot). Chalk arrow drawn by south-east door. Rotten stench coming from 13 / 18. (There may be a troglodyte in this room.)

13. Three troglodytes. One is bigger then the others and bullies them. Fish hanging from ceiling. Piles of fish bones. Never sleep. Either here or at the river or prowling in 12. AC 5, HD 2 (12, 7, 8hp), Att 3 x 1d4, F2, 1-4 surprise, stench. Secret doors: buttons hidden in giant gawping face carvings.

14. Giant fish skeleton hanging. Pile of trash -- clothes, leather, rusted weapons. Small wooden chest (trapped, save vs poison or die in 1 turn), contains: 492gp, 1017sp, 128ep, silver bracelet (200gp).

Sunday 16 October 2011

OSRIC player's guide

I just downloaded the OSRIC Player's Guide from RPGNow. I've only scanned through the first dozen pages, and so far it looks great, as expected. What I wanted to point out was that, as James also mentions, the artwork is really something -- the piece on page 3 is a special favourite so far, laugh-out-loud funny!

Well worth a download.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Deepingdale's adventuring logs 7

Campaign logs written by Steve, Deepingdale's player.

Company Members
Slippy, 3rd Lvl Ratman - Founding Member
Cagliostro, 2nd Lvl Human Necromancer
Deepingdale, 1st Lvl Dwarrow Fighter
Skarr, 1st Lvl Ratfolk Thief
Stignarr, 1st Lvl Human Fighter

Session 7 (28/09/11)
After a restful night sleep in the ruins of Caan, clarity and the wisdom of Assedh seemed to take hold of the situation.  It became apparent to Deepingdale that Stig was behind the business with the Silk Merchants horses and after convincing Stig to take him into his confidence, Stig revealed that he had been quested by the deity of despair to wreak havoc in the surrounding area, as a result of his temple visit in Yelleth.  This explained much as Stig had not been himself since that day, what with the sacrificing of one of his hounds and his general strange demeanour, even for a man folk.  Kallac the Merchant needed a lot of convincing not to take the matter into his own hands and after some reassurance and a promise that Blade would heal the horse, the matter was closed.  Blade and Deepingdale agreed that Stig should in turn make a contribution of 100 gp during the first opportune visit to a temple of Hegg.
The party then preceded, without further occurrence, to travel to Rim, the strange Fey town on the edge of the chasm of Neyellem.  The town was a weird mixture of stark basic black wooden buildings, tall and narrow, with narrow and few windows.  As Stig intelligently observed, these were clearly a people not wanting contact with sunlight.  As for the Rim themselves, they appeared tall and thin, with any unclothed appendages covered in bandages and each wearing an ornate wooden mask.  The party was escorted with other merchant caravans to a large simple barn as night fell.  After talking with some of the more experienced caravan hands who had made this trip before, it was clear that at night, the Rim were not to be seen, literally disappearing, perhaps like the Fey Goblins we had encountered in the Forest of Harln.  One of the merchant baggage handlers had explored the small town, but found no one around, all of the buildings where empty and he had a strange sense of being continually watched.

Clearly, with no options for a pint in the very much absent inn, we settled down for some well earned rest after being paid by Kallac for our services on the outward stretch.  A few games of cards were underway amongst the merchants however Skarr had other ideas and tried to make a fast buck the easy and unlawful way, through light fingers.  Caught red handed, a brawl ensued and Skarr narrowly escaped the barn alive.

The next day we checked out the wooden items the Rim sell (tourist crap, unlike their own masks). Hjalhir tried ESPing one of them but this gave him the paranoid sensation of being watched continuously so he broke it off.  Stignarr bought various herbs from the Rim in an effort to help Slippy recover faster (with some effect).  Cagliostro paid a guard to go up and down the lift into the chasm, which proved to be uneventful but the Rim charge per person/animal for use of the lift.  We then all went down the lift, going westward through the canyon, passing a statue of a long dead human overseer of Nayellem City (whose name I can't recall at the moment). We also learned that Breets was the first of these overseers, back when humans ruled over Nayellem.  Eventually we reached the small town of Giw, another Rim settlement like the ones at the top and bottom of the lifts. After a meagre dinner of smoked fish we rented a barge to go to Nayellem City by river, as the surrounding area just consisted of treacherous swampland.

Nayellem City is the largest town in the chasm, with heavy fortifications and walls, guarded by, as far as we've seen, the puce men.  The party then split up to explore the city of Nayallem, carousing, rumour gathering ensued.  Considerable information was gathered on the different factions in the chasm and some information too on the whereabouts of three of the Breets relics, Slippy and Venser, during their carousing and asking around about the relics & so on, met an old man who took an interest in them. He seemed to know quite a lot about the relics, and told the pair that the aquamarine raven, the blooded shield and the eye stone were all taken into the chasm deeps (a network of caverns which lie at the far western end of the chasm) when the last overseer was killed and the wars started anew.

Deepingdale's adventuring logs 6

Campaign logs written by Steve, Deepingdale's player.

Company Members
Slippy, 3rd Lvl Ratman - Founding Member
Venser, 3rd Lvl Human Thief
Cagliostro, 2nd Lvl Human Necromancer
Hjalhir, 3rd Lvl Human Wizard
Blade, 1st Lvl Human Cleric of Hegg, God of Blades
Deepingdale, 1st Lvl Dwarrow Fighter
Skarr, 1st Lvl Ratfolk Thief
Stignarr, 1st Lvl Human Fighter

Location: Road to the City of Rim, North West from the City of Yelleth, near Chasm of Neyellem, Encounter point: ruined City of Caan in the desert of East Riding.

The company completed its business in Micmar and proceeded to head North West along the well used commercial road towards the City of Yelleth where we hoped to join a caravan to Rim.  Considerable party funds were used to purchase expedition equipment, mules, from the Dax advance and wages for the salvage of the Breet relics.  Before our departure a small band of Dwarrow security guards from Deeppockets Bank arrived with Stignarr in chains, they had found him at Uncle Nori's request and returned him to me.  Fortunately for Stig, I was able to release him from my charge after he revealed that he had the chalice from the Sunken Palace on him, this fetched a pretty coin at the market in Micmar and the 400gp that he got for it was enough to repay his dues to the bank.  Stig has decided, of his own free will, to stay with our company and join us to travel to Rim.

A final discussion with Mol, the learned Sage of Micmar, revealed further information about the chasm and its inhabitants, plus a further detailed map of the whole chasm.  Visits to the sage are money well spent.  Mol explained that three human factions exist in the chasm, constantly at war with each other, the yellow folk, the puce folk and the red folk.  The Rim seem to have established a neutral relationship with all three factions and openly trade with all of them.  Mol knew nothing of the relic of Breet.

Our Acolyte priest of Hegg, Blade, managed to progress with his studies and reach the rank of Adept before we departed from Micmar.  I long to complete my training and progress from Veteran to Warrior, hopefully Assedh's gold will shine on me and our travels to Rim will enable such good fortune.

The company travelled safely for just over 2 weeks to Yelleth, the closest city to the chasm, here we sought merchants who needed a security entourage and we were fortunate to meet Kalac, a silk merchant who was in such need.  Henry managed to strike a good deal with him (70gp each) for the outward journey, half paid upfront, half on his caravan's safe arrival at the City of Rim on the eastern edge of the chasm.  As we ventured further from Micmar, Hjalhir's health seemed to take a turn for the worse, he appeared preoccupied at best and at worst, drugged!

From Yelleth, ahead of us lay a 10 day journey, accompanying two horse drawn wagons, two drivers and Kalac the silk merchant.  Both wagons were apparently laden with tonnes of silk, ready to be sold to the Rim.  On the 5th day we reached the ruined desert city of Caan and it was here that we met with mixed fortune.  As we entered the city, Kalac warned us to be on our guard and explained that the ruins were dangerous.  To our left on the opposite side of the fast flowing river of Mallong, a ruined tower rose up as a high point in the deserted city and as we approached a large swarm of what looked like black birds, rose out of the towers broken roof, followed by two giant birds.  The birds proceeded to fly towards our scouts, Venser and Skarr.  I managed to mount Hjalhir's horse and ride with him towards the attacking birds, it was only when we approached them that we saw that they were in fact a swarm of stirges and the giant birds looked like Rocs.  Battle ensued, I dispatched the first Roc with a bolt from my heavy crossbow and the second, when it had landed, I removed its head with the Azure Serpent Sword.  We were to have less luck with the Stirges.  Aside from Venser and Skarr, our scouts and Stig, how remained back at the wagons with Kalac, every member of our company was set upon by the blood sucking stirges, in a matter of minutes our situation turned dire and Slippy (Henry), despite being one of our hardier company members, succumbed to the stirges blood sucking attack.   It was only due to Cagliostro's intervention that he didn't die.

For myself, I was lucky not to also suffer a similar fate.  Whilst I was able to dispatch two stirges with the help of Blade, I received terrible wounds from the damned creatures.  After what seemed like an age, we managed to turn the tide, again with the aid of the Necromancers dark magic and a few arrows and darts from our scouts, we managed to slay the remaining creatures.

The return from deaths door spell, although successful, seems to have permanently aged Henry and he is lucky to still be alive.   It is a shame that the same can't be said for Cagliostro's familiar, Jack the Raven, only three weeks old, sadly killed by a stirge.  The Necromancer's brief attachment, seems to have caused him considerable pain.

Once we recovered from our wounds, thanks be to Hegg, we proceeded to explore the nearby ruined tower and low and behold, at last our efforts were rewarded.  Clearly these beasts have be praying upon caravan companies for sometime, we retrieved a chest, a large bundle of silks (with Kallac's mark on them) and several pouches of gold (323gp).  Within the chest, we found 10 ingots of gold (1,000gp), a scroll tube (Haste and Dimension Door) and a magical potion flask, yet to be identified.

After some magically assisted bargaining, Kalac kindly agreed to buy the salvaged silk off us for 400gp.  All in all, despite Slippy's bad luck, the money, 1,723gp and the items have made up for our trouble.

On regrouping, it now looks like perhaps our misfortune is not yet through with for today, mysteriously one of Kalac's caravan horses, whilst sheltering from the combat in the ruins, has had its let badly cut by what looks like a knife.  Suspicion within the company, strangely fell upon Stig, who was supposed to be guarding the caravan.  It is unclear at this point what the motive is, or whether these suspicions can be proven.  Stig pleads innocence and points the finger at the other caravaneers, however his past record is not one that can be trusted and I am yet to decide, but not yet quick to judge.  I hope we can get to the bottom of this before we reach Rim.  We have enough to contend with, without trouble from within our own.  With the extra gold, my goal of reaching Warriorhood is now in my grasp and I will be glad of the extra training before we descend into the chasm.  Time to rest after another narrow escape. 

Deepingdale's adventuring logs 5

Campaign logs written by Steve, Deepingdale's player.

Company Members
Slippy, 3rd Lvl Ratman - Founding Member
Venser, 3rd Lvl Human Thief
Cagliostro, 2nd Lvl Human Necromancer
Hjalhir, 3rd Lvl Human Wizard
Blade, 1st Lvl Human Cleric of Hegg, God of Blades
Deepingdale, 1st Lvl Dwarrow Fighter
Skarr, 1st Lvl Ratfolk Thief

Location: Ling (West from Forest of Harln, Old Aalia)

Prior to the social events, Hjalhir returned and tried to identify the magic prism, the Azure Serpent Sword and the Fey Goblin Horn.  After failing on the prism, he successfully confirmed the Azure swords water breathing and magical sharpness (+1 to hit and damage) and also identified the horn as being heard in both the real and Fey dimensions.  Not sure yet how this item will be helpful.  Cagliostro failed to write up the Necromancers spell copied from the Sarcophagi from last weeks jaunt.  Both the mages managed to summon familiars, a Raven, Jack, for Cagliostro (very appropriate) and an Owl, Nightwing for Hjalhir.

Supplies were restocked in Ling and the company had a rare respite from dungeoneering this week, a social date to attend the funeral of Hjalhir’s brother, Beomir, a past company member, killed by an Ogre in the Dungeon of Garm.  The funeral took place in Ling, west of the Forest of Harln.  Good ale and ox was had by all and the event was attended by some past patrons of the company, Xathania of Dax, a local well-to-do Merchant, rumoured to also be a sorceress, who past company members (Slippy and Hjalhir) had run errands for.  In addition, a mysterious Wizard, Maxanimus, with his Fey vallet Vex.  Due to previous business dealings with the Dax women, Hjalhir had a run in with the Wizard, after being paid to successfully steal his hat.  It looks like its payback time for Hjalhir!  After suddenly disappearing at the funeral (he was magically transported by Maxanimus into a void), Hjalhir was forced to take a strange yellow crystal powder as part of a bribe to force him to search the Dax women's home for two of the Serpentine Swords, in order to copy the inscriptions of the swords for the wizard.  In addition, the Wizard was also interested in the inscription on the Azure Serpent Sword which I have in my possession.

Fortunately for Hjalhir, an opportunity arose to visit the Dax home.  Before the run in the wizard, Skarr and I tried to avoid arrest by some imperial guards who turned up at the funeral looking for the dropped Prism from last weeks encounter.  Apparently, after Hjalhir used ESP on some bloke with a detecting wand, it looks like the prism was something important belonging to the Archprismists.  The guards forced us to hand it over.  Probably best for all of us, who knows what trouble we would have got into if we would have managed to keep it!

The company was invited to meet with the Dax women, over at her swanky mansion in Micmar.  She made an interesting business proposition to the company, asking us to explore the Chasm of Nayellem near Yelleth (two weeks N/E from Harln), in order to retrieve several relics (7 again!).  She has offered to provide us with a treasure map of the area and to pay us 4,000gp for each of the retrieved relics and a further 500gp up front for travel expenses etc.  Xathania’s father is apparently a relic collector.  Note to self, we need to find out more about this family before we blindly do their bidding.  Knowing that the very people looking to kill me are from the Chasm, I was initially put off by the idea.  Since then, perhaps getting closer to this place isn’t such a bad idea after all.  I will write to my Uncle to seek counsel on this matter. 

We explained to the Dax women about Hjalhir’s predicament, she seemed not to care and denied any knowledge of the Serpent Swords in her possession and felt that her previous payment of 900gp for the hat job released her from any responsibility for Hjalhir.  It is all a funny business and I have a bad feeling that we are pawns in a bigger game.  My colleagues don’t seem to care, expect for the promise of gold in their back pockets.  Gold is no laughing matter, but I ain’t no cat and I have used up two of my 9 lives already!

After the visit to the Dax mansion and failing to find the swords, Hjalhir seemed to weaken and pale, we think he has been cursed by the Wizard.  The company seems hell bent on finishing our business at the Dungeon of Garm and heading straight for the Chasm with Xathania’s fathers map.  I am not in such a hurry and feel led by my nose.  Slippy’s money lust is clouding his judgement.

I will use my remaining time in Micmar to write to my Uncle and try to find out as much as possible about the Dax family, Maxanimus the Wizard and the Chasm of Nayellem, perhaps the Sage, Mol in Micmar can assist me.  Only Assedh knows who we can trust!

It has only just crossed my mind that this whole thing could be a lure by the Dark Fey to get me to come to them!

Encounters: Imperial Troops
Treasure(less): The magical prism was retrieved from us by the guards.

Deepingdale's adventuring logs 4

Campaign logs written by Steve, Deepingdale's player.

Company Members
Slippy, 3rd Lvl Ratman - Founding Member
Cagliostro, 2nd Lvl Human Necromancer
Blade, 1st Lvl Human Cleric of Hegg, God of Blades
Deepingdale, 1st Lvl Dwarrow Fighter
Skarr, 1st Lvl Ratfolk Thief

Session 4 (07/09/11)
After disastrous carousing in Dregg, I lost 200gp and gained no experience due to over confidence in gambling and too much ale, I now have a reputation as a drunken fool!  So much for listening to my Uncles advice about keeping a low profile.  The party, minus the Wizard, Fighter and Thief set off, along with a new companion, Skarr, an acquaintance of Slippy’s, for the dungeon by the old oak tree in the Magic Forest of Harln for more salvaging.  The Necromancer is intent on copying the text from one of the sarcophagi, he believes it contains the formula for a powerful spell.  I am happy to accompany him, it is the least I can do to return the favour for his last actions.

On our way, I tried the Goblin Horn, it has a residual of Fey Magic.  It seemed to summon a strange large disc in the sky along with some Ariel beasts (A Giant Eagle and some half mixed flying beasts) mounted by people who seemed to fight each other.  The disc was bigger than a ship and made a terrible din and passed overhead.  Our new companion, Skarr spotted one of them who dropped an ornate leather satchel containing an apple, a bread roll, a small purse with 16pp and a magic glass prism.

This time we took a different route through the dungeon, as recommended by the Gnomes and Slippy showed us a strange room with a tilting floor and a large rolling bolder.  In the centre of the room was a stone pillar with six levers, some of which triggered either the floor to move or a strange magical experience (The Cleric of Hegg apparently swapped consciousness with John the Skeleton for a short period).  It is unclear what our random pulling actually achieves and the local Forest Gnomes warned us not to mess with such things.

We headed directly to the sarcophagi with the magic runes and left the Necromancer to copy down the spell.  On exploring nearby rooms, previously unchecked, we found several more sarcophagi, one of which, when opened seemed to trigger a magic ward which stunned all the party members except for myself.  After some time my companions returned to there old selves.  We need to be more careful in the future, especially when we are such a small group.  This sarcophagus also contained some runes on the lid.  The other 3 sarcophagi contained 3 zombies and with some good tactics from Skarr, we managed to burn and slay them before they could attack us.

As we ventured further, along corridors which we had previously been missed, we came across a long narrow passage with an archway, on further examining and using my Gnomish Stone Trickery skills, I spotted a possible drop trap.

Again, the smart thinking of our new companion would later help us avoid being trapped.  On proceeding, we were set upon by a giant, spiky scaled lizard.  We were able to slay it with the mighty Azure Sword and some burning oil and well placed arrows.  Time to collect our Necromancer and return to Dregg to replenish supplies before our luck runs out.  We also need to identify the magic prism that was dropped from the air.

Giant Fire Beetle x 1
Skeletons x 2
Zombies x 3
Giant Tuatara Lizard x 1
Magic glyph paralysed party (except Deepingdale & Cagliosro)

Magical Prism