Monday, February 08, 2016

Temple of the Underworld: Adventures on the Planes

I have been playing a new campaign for a few months now. It is 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons rules in a campaign world of my design. It is focused on a megadungeon called the Temple of the Underworld, which was, as it's name suggests was devoted to deities of the dead or the underworld. The elven deity Labelas Enoreth, though devoted to longevity, is the closest thing that the elves have to a deity of the dead and thus also worshiped there.

The first couple of sessions were rather routine explorations of the first level of the dungeon, with a very brief foray into a flooded sub-level. However the campaign would be uprooted by the actions of the dwarven fighter Grell defiled a shrine devoted to a demigod son of Zeus. This angered Zeus, so Zeus sent a spirit to confront the PCs and give them a quest to fulfill. They were to travel to the Temple of Zeus far to the south and present themselves to the priest their for further instructions. They... didn't make it.

In order to get horses to expedite their journey they agreed to do a task for the local count. They followed a map to what was once a bandit's lair, but turned out to currently be inhabited by orcs. They did alright at first, but due to my lack of understanding of 5e encounter difficulties ended up running into an overwhelming group of orcs that quickly defeated them (I am strongly considering using converted stats from 1e or 2e rather than the existing 5e stats). Instead of allowing this to end in a TPK I judged that Zeus, wanting to insure that the PCs did not die without fulfilling their obligation to him rescued them.

They awoke in the presence of Zeus himself. Zeus bade them again to go to his temple, but this time the one in the extraplanar city of Sigil. The PCs agreed, but before leaving Olympus sought an audience with Ares, who granted it because the Count was preparing for a war and had his favor. So Ares granted them another quest in exchange for assistance, including a guide, which was a new PC (one who only showed up for one game as it turned out). The PCs then sought out the Great Eagles of Zeus, the descendants of the giant, golden eagle that is Zeus's personal companion.

Before they made it to the roost of the Eagles they encountered a dryad in a grove on the slopes of Mount Olympus. It charmed their guide and when they attempted to leave with him she summoned two wolves to attack the PCs. However they were able to smooth things over by mentioning their obligation to Zeus. When they met the Great Eagles they again mentioned their obligation to Zeus in order to secure their aid. Thus they secured a ride to the town of Thrassos, where there was a portal to the gate town of Glorium, from where they could get to Sigil. However, to access the portal they needed the consent of the town elders. It took some time to secure that consent from the busy elders, so while they waited they sought out a mage to send a message to the Count on the Material Plane. The halfling rogue, Himaru, was dismayed that unlike many of his companions he could not see in the dark and so commissioned a magic item that would make up for this weakness. The mage agreed in exchange for money, trade and a service. It seemed a certain house in town was the site of mysterious events.

They set out for the house and quickly experienced a number of strange phenomena, including two parallel passages that led back to the other and an unusual creature, like an ambulatory bush that was responsible for the strange phenomena. I used the The Random Esoteric Creature Generator by James Raggi to create this creature. They did not want to fight this bizarre creature and so parlayed. The creature seemed interested only in being left alone, so they left, but warned the creature that they could not guarantee others would not come. They did advise the mage of what they found. The PCs also took on another quest in order to hopefully expedite their audience with the elders. They pursued a priest of Loki to a nearby cave where they discovered a hidden, ruined temple to Loki. They soon found the priest, accompanied by hirelings and learned that he was searching for what he described as a Hammer of Thunderbolts with a short handle.

After a short time they fought a group of norkers and their orc allies. While the PCs were dealing with a group of goblins that arrived as a random encounter, pursuing them as they fled, the priest and his party slipped away and discovered their goal in a nearby hidden room. The PCs soon realized what was happening and hurried after them, discovering the priest trying to tip over a pedestal so that the hammer would fall in. After the battle the PCs realized what the hammer was, no mere Hammer of Thunderbolts but the Hammer of Thor himself, Mjolnir. The PCs resolved to return the hammer to Thor, not wanting to anger him by trying to keep it, not that they had any way to use the hammer. Of course by hindering Loki's priest they attracted the attention of Loki, but would hopefully have the favor of Thor.

After another week they elders could finally let them through the portal. In Glorium they sought out the Temple of Odin, which contained shrines to other deities, including Thor. They prayed at the shrine and Thor himself appeared. After a demonstration in which a tree was demolished by Mjolnir's power Thor granted boons- Boots and a Cloak of Elvenkind for the rogue and a ring of Enlarge/Reduce for the dwarf. Thor also directed them to the portal.

Finally they arrived in Sigil, the portal leading to the Great Gymnasium, headquarters of the Transcendent Order, one of several factions that held influence over the city. They were ushered out of the building by guards as the gymnasium was closed to the public at that time. They sought out a guide and found one, an Azer. He agreed to show them to the Temples of Zeus and Ares in the city and they got their new quests- find the relic that started the whole thing and bring it back to the Temple of Zeus and travel to a dungeon on the world of Abeir-Toril and share it with the Count. They were able to find a portal that led to the depths of the Temple of the Underworld (one I intended for them to find during there adventuring originally) and started searching for the shrine, since they came out in an unfamiliar area. They encountered Manes demons and Shadow Demon and a swarm of ambulatory fungi, before deciding to take a rest, which is where things stand now.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Misadventures of Ghorrka the Wookiee Thief

I am using the Mythic Game Master Emulator to run games of Edge of the Empire in between my actual games which are once every two weeks, not often enough for my tastes (I'll probably write about those as well). Also it's a way to learn the system better. I rolled up a Wookiee thief and began a solo game.

Ghorrka has spent his life on the metropolitan world of Lantillies. Unfortunately unlike some of his species he has not had the opportunities they have had to join the guilds and companies of Lantillies and instead has had to make his living illicitly. Recently the galaxy has been torn asunder by the Clone Wars. While Ghorrka has tried to take advantage of the chaos it has been difficult, especially with Lantillies being the original headquarters for Cerulan Spear Command and thus under higher security. So in a way he was relieved to hear that the war was over, finally people would think more of other things besides potential threats to their well-being and livelihoods. That was before he heard of the subjugation of Kashyyyk.

Now Ghorrka sought to escape the reach of the Empire. Maybe he'd head out to the Centrality or maybe the Tingel Arm. He'd rather avoid the Hutts if he could, but perhaps the Kreetan Narrows would be safe enough, being on the edge of their territory. However to do any of these things he'd need money. So he left his safehouse amongst the tenements for low-class laborers in Lantillies industries for the nearby spaceport. He kept to the shadowy alleyways, watching for someone who looked like a worthwhile mark. Eventually he saw a man who looked well off enough, but didn't have any bodyguards or other accompaniment. So Ghorrka tried to position himself in a nearby alley, creeping slowly on his target. Unfortunately, he misjudged the man's speed and so missed him, another attempt failed as well.

After some time looking for another mark, Ghorrka decided to take another, more risky, but also potentially more lucrative approach. He made his way to the docking bays and looked for one that seemed quiet and unlooked after. So he snuck in and found a terminal. He then hacked into the spaceport network and brought up information on spaceport activity. He found out that a yacht belonging to a low-level executive on a business trip was docked nearby. So, Ghorrka decided to check out that one. However, when leaving he saw a group of spaceport security heading towards the docking bay he was in. This was because he had accidentally alerted them to his presence in the system. He managed to escape and head to the yacht.

Unfortunately he is spotted sneaking into the docking bay. He hears a cry for spaceport security go out and decides to take the risk of breaking in quickly, grabbing anything valuable and then running. It takes him a moment to open the hatch and he runs inside. Inside, he finds several datapads, a credit stick and a box with a necklace in side. He throws these into his utility belt and runs. Unfortunately as he gets outside he is stunned by a barrage of blue rings.

He awakens later in the spaceport jail. After some time of waiting, eating some food and more waiting the guard comes in with a disreputable looking man. "Yes, this is the one. He escaped from my master Forba two weeks ago."

Ghorrka recognized the name Forba. He was the only Hutt living on Lantillies, mostly because the famed Lantillian Planetary Security Forces or Forba himself had driven the rest off. If Forba was interested in him his life was about to get very interesting, but at least he wouldn't be in jail anymore. Heck, association with Forba would take some of the heat off his back as even the LPSF was somewhat leary of provoking the Hutt. However, the Hutt would ensure he was paid back in full, and then some. (So he loses some Criminal obligation, but ultimately has a net increase in his overall obligation due to his new Debt)

Ghorrka followed his liberator to Ghorrka's townhouse. The well-appointed, even extravagant house was a far-cry from most high-class dwellings on the planet, which like the starships they built were conservative in design and far from flashy. Down the main hall was Forba's audience chamber, filled with the usual lackeys, mercenaries, neer-do'-wells, performers and slaves. In the center was the Hutt himself, typical of his breed in physical attributes, except that he was darker in skin tone than most. Ghorkka stood before Forba the Hutt, and waited to be addressed.

"Ah, Ghorkka. I hadn't bothered to follow you're career up to this point, but I couldn't help but notice you're little performance earlier today? I wonder what exactly you hoped to accomplish? Perhaps it has something to do with the recent invasion of you're homeworld?"
"Indeed mighty Forba, I was attempting to find a way to escape Lantillies for more... hospitable parts of the galaxy."
"Unfortunately it seems you did not do so well. Fortunately I was there to help you. Of course I will expect that you repay for my generosity."
"Well then I will be certain to do whatever it is you want. I certainly would not want to disappoint my benefactor."

Forba laughs a great, deep belly laugh, "I am pleased. I needed a new minion, one less associated with me than my more experienced employees for a... job I need doing."
"You see, one of the gangs in the spaceport has been neglecting there payments to me. Furthermore, I have seen evidence that they are up to something. I need you to infiltrate their hideout and find out what."
"Of course I will give you time to rest. You may do so in the general quarters. Later, you will be told what the mission entails."

So Ghorrka found himself in the employ of a Hutt, something he wanted to avoid. Will he be able to fulfill his obligation to Forba well enough that Ghorkka allows him to leave and doesn't either get angered if he fails or decide he has outlived his usefulness if he succeeds and sell him into slavery? Perhaps Ghorrka will attempt to escape and see his debts turn into a bounty on his head! If he does leave where will he go?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Imperial Navy Order of Battle

I've created an Order of Battle for an Imperial Sector Group. It's for a Star Wars campaign I'd like to run and I thought I'd share it. It's based on information from the Imperial Sourcebook.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

D&D Campaign Setting: Earth: the Planes

Here's what I've been working on on the "D&D Earth" Campaign Setting I talked about earlier. It's a work in progress, but it is about D&D Earth's relationship with the rest of the planes.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A D&D Campaign Setting: Earth

There are a lot of references in D&D to Earth, such as why and by whom the Forgotten Realms were forgotten and Oerth being one of five alternate worlds with varying amounts of magic, Earth being the least magical. So yesterday I got an idea to detail Earth as a D&D Setting, where the PCs would either be visiting from D&D worlds, or being Earth natives dealing with D&D elements crossing over. This has sort of been done before, with d20 modern's Shadow Chasers and Urban Arcana, but I'm thinking of a somewhat different version, including a bit of "Yog-Sothothery". Other inspirations is the 2e Historical Reference series.

The world has had periods of waxing and waning magic, with the earliest having been in prehistory, during the time of Atlantis. The waning of magic contributed to Atlantis's destruction, but magic eventually came back during the Age of Myths, including the age of the Greek heroes. By the time of Classical Greece most magic again disappeared. Magic again peaked during the Dark Ages, including the reign of King Arthur (who yes, exists in this version of Earth), then started to wane again during the Middle Ages, eventually reaching it's lowest point. However by the 20th Century magic again began to be restored, slowly and subtly. By the modern day it has again started to take hold again, and subtly effects society in the background.

Not all myths are true, but they do tend to be partially true. Mythological figures may have had somewhat different motives or be slightly different than they are presented in myth, different kinds of creatures might have been confused for those of a different type, or their may be more than one of a creature that was thought to be unique. The conventional understanding of history is wrong as well, since you know, myths and legends are true.

Most people, even many "bad guys" tend to be neutral, with optional rules for "unaligned" characters and "temporary" alignments, so that characters like paladins don't get completely nerfed. Hitler is evil however.

Just a few of my ideas. I will post more later.

Skill Tiers

I am considering introducing a new concept to handle characters in d20 based games that have lots of skills, but little skill in combat. These are "skill tiers" inspired by the new Mythic rules Paizo has created. They work much like Mythic Tiers, but they only grant 4+Int modifier skill points per tier and a bonus feat that must be a general (not a part of a specific category of feats like Item Creation, or Metamagic feats), non-combat feat.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mercinary Hirelings for Pathfinder

These stats are for low-level fighting hirelings, including untrained commoners and trained warriors. Thus they cost 1 sp per day or 3 sps per day respectively. Excursions into a dungeon will usually cost extra "hazard pay", that usually being 5 sp per dungeon level for untrained hirelings, or 1 gp per dungeon level for trained hirelings. They are presented with minimal equipment, as they are supposed to be provided with equipment by their employers. However, a set of example equipment is also presented in case they are encountered as NPCs.

Peasant Hireling CR 1/4 (or 1/3 if properly equipped)

XP 100 or XP 135
Human commoner 1
N Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +0
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 5
Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +0
Speed 30 ft.
Melee club +1 (1d6+1/x2) or
quarterstaff +1 (1d6+1/x2)
Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 9
Base Atk +0, CMB +1, CMD 11
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Skill Focus (Profession [farmer])
Skills Craft (carpentry) +4, Handle Animal +3, Profession (farmer) +7
Languages common
Combat Gear club or quarterstaff

with equipment
AC 13, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor)
Combat Gear club or quarterstaff, studded leather; Other Gear 4 sp, 2 cp

Militiaman CR 1/4 (or 1/3 if properly equipped)

XP 100 or XP 135
Human warrior 1
N Medium humanoid
Init +4; Senses Perception +0
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 7
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0
Speed 30 ft.
Melee club +3 (1d6+3/x2) or
quarterstaff +3 (1d6+3/x2)
Str 15, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +1, CMB +3, CMD 13
Feats Improved Initative, Power Attack
Skills Handle Animal +3, Profession (farmer) +4
Languages common
Combat Gear club or quarterstaff

with equipment
AC 15, touch 10, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor)
Speed 20 ft.
Melee halberd +3 (1d10+3/x3)
Ranged light crossbow +1 (1d8/19-20/x2)
Combat Gear halberd, light crossbow; Other Gear 9 gp, 1 sp