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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Travelers Tale - A snippet for Swords and Wizardry Appreciation Day

Created for the 2013 Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day

The following is a fragment of a scroll or pages from a book that the GM can have the characters stumble across.

Dependent upon the GM’s wishes, this can either be used as a guide to a strange, new world after the characters have passed through a magical portal; or perhaps be found in their current, comfortable, known world and be used as a hint towards the existence of portals between worlds.

The text as follows (or a print out of the attached pdf marked Players Copy) should be imparted to the player characters.

Stats for creatures and people listed within will be listed at the end of the main text here, and will be compatible with Swords & Wizardry.


. . . Yesterday, after coming down from the mountainside where I emerged from the portal, only to find that there was no portal on this side, I came across Lisstrah, the alligator man, or saurial, as he said his people were called.

Lisstrah came to my aid as I fought the huge reptile that had attacked me on the edge of the vast swamp.  

The Swamp Wyrm, as he referred to the dead creature lying on the ground, was still twitching from our battle when Lisstrah began to cut away the scaly skin; telling me to build a fire on a nearby bit of dry ground and that soon we would eat.

As he dressed the beast, my new friend told me that I was not the first to stumble through the wall of the mountain, although many fell prey to the dangers of the swamp.

During our meal and the days that followed, Lisstrah told me much of the swamp, and of the swamp wyrm.  The eyeballs of the swamp wyrm, he said, are much prized by the alchemists in the preparation of potions that allow the imbiber to see clearly under water, while it’s intestine is used by hideworkers to fashion waterproof containers, such as pouches and packs.

On the other side of the Great Salt Marsh lies a town known simply as Marshton.  Lisstrah said that his folk were typically tolerated in Marshton, and that his clan often traded in the market there.

The folk of Marshton refer to the Saurials as the ‘Swamp Spirits,’ because of their knack of appearing and vanishing suddenly when within the swamp and marshes.   The Saurials share the Great Salt Marsh with a folk called the Sskar-trog, or Troglodytes, as the locals call them.

The Sskar-trog live in vast cave complexes beneath the swamp, and have a less than stellar reputation among the humans, since they have a bad tendency to look upon human animal pens as a communal feeding ground, and have not been very receptive about the concept of private property.

[large section missing here]

. . . I copied this map from one I found in the library at Myrddis.  Ever since I stumbled through the gateway near Hellespoint in my own lands, I have wandered this bleak, desolated world looking for a way home.

I have come to learn that worked steel is very valuable to the people of this world, which they call Zaalbar. Apparently the art of steelwork was lost at some time in the past and most steel weapons that existed have fallen into rust and disrepair.

I have learned more regarding the Lost Emperor, as many I have met have referred to him. . .

It seems that the Lost Emperor was an immortal being, virtually godlike, and that he had ruled this world for several millennia. One day, about three hundred years ago, another came and challenged the Emperor.

This challenger gave his name as Cron-Mar and he said that he would take the soul and power of the Emperor in single combat if the Emperor were brave enough to face him.

The generals of the Emperor's armies offered to fight for their beloved ruler, but he would not allow any to fight in his stead, and took the challenger out of the Holy City of Baalbek to face him in single combat upon the Plains of Myrrd.

The ringing of their swords was heard for six days and nights, until suddenly, a silence fell upon the land as the Emperor fell, Cron-Mar's axe buried to the hilt in the breast of the Emperor. A sudden and horrific storm sprang up from the skies as Cron-Mar threw back his head and laughed in maniacal joy. As the storm raged, the forests and grasslands of the world blackened and died, and items of steel and iron melted away, even as they were being worn and worked with, creating a horrifying death knell from across the lands.

Cron-Mar is said to have wandered the wastelands that remained, killing and raping as he desired. He was unstoppable, it is said that he would laugh off spear thrusts and sword blows as though they were naught but the wind.

For ten years did Cron-Mar lay waste to an already wasted world. Finally, he was heard to say that he was heading into the Starfall and richer worlds that were to be his for the taking.

Perhaps this meant that another gateway that leads away from this desolate, gods-forsaken world exists or existed in or near the chasm.

I intend to make my way there, but I feel I must first acquaint myself with the legends of this world to see if I could learn more to aid my search.

[Missing sections of text]

. . . Yesterday I met another traveler who had come through the gateway. She resembles the Kybari Elves of my world, but said she hails from a country called Artigili, in a very vibrant
and living world. Her name is Tuathan Cel Gord, or Tuath Silverwood, as she said it would tranlate into the common tongues of mankind.

Tuath has been on this world for two decades and had given up on finding a way home and recently taken up residence here in Myrddis. A lovely maiden, Tuath is a skilled bowyer and fletcher, talents very rare in this world with so few trees.

After my weeks of research in the Libraries, I have spoken to Tuath to let her know my intentions to leave and continue my search. She has agreed to accompany me on my quest to find a way home. While we were preparing to leave Myrddis, Lisstrah and Akut'tha arrived looking for me.

They had heard tales of something unusual near the Starfall and offered to travel with me to investigate. I was happy to have the companionship of friends again, and we shall set forth in the morning. . .

[missing text]

. . . I sketched this while staring at the mirror in the Fire's Shadow Inn last night. The past four years in this world have aged me more than those four years would seem, but my sword arm is still strong and my reflexes are still quick. We leave after breakfast this morning for the trek across the trackless wastes that lie between here and the Starfall itself. Perhaps my friends and I will find a way to leave this world soon . . .

[the bottom of the page is tattered and no more text is to be found]

Creature and NPC listing

Saurial Race
The Saurials are a reptilian race and can spend extended amounts of time underwater. Saurials are able to see underwater as clearly as on land, and their movement increased by 50% when underwater.
Their scaly hide provides Saurials with a natural base AC of 7 [12].
The only classes open to Saurials are Fighting Man, with a racial limit of level 6, or Saurial Scout, with no limitations.


The Saurial Scout
Hit Die Type: 1d6+1 per level. After reaching 9 hit dice, the Saurial Scout gains an additional 2 points per level.
Armor/Shield permitted: Leather, Chain, Any Shield
Weapons Permitted: any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus): Strength 12+ And Dexterity 13+

Saurial Scout Class Abilities:
Tracking: Saurial Scouts are able to track other creatures, and are even able to do so from under water. The base chance for a Saurial Scout to track is 80%, modified by -10% for each day of age of the tracks. Saurial Scouts do not suffer any penalties for the trail being wet, whether it be from precipitation or the target passing through water.

Concealment: Saurial Scouts are able to conceal themselves quite readily in natural environments. If still and unobserved when concealing themselves, a Saurial Scout can only be spotted on a 6 on a 6-sided die roll. If moving slowly and carefully, they can still only be seen on a 4 to 6 on a 6 sided die roll. If in urban environments, they suffer a -3 penalty.

Wilderness Survival: The Saurial Scout is adept at finding food and water in the most inhospitable environments. They can readily provide for themselves on a daily basis while on the move, and if they wish to spend 4 hours a day looking for food, they may provide food for 1d6+ half level additional individuals. Saurial Scouts can find ready shelter as long as some is reasonably available.

Saurial Scout Advancement Table
Level Experience Required Hit Dice (d6+1) Saving Throw
1                          0                            1                          16
2                     2,000                         2                           15
3                     4,000                         3                           14
4                     8,000                         4                           13
5                     16,000                       5                           12
6                     32,000                       6                           11
7                    120,000                      7                           10
8                    240,000                      8                             9
9                    350,000                      9                             8
10                  460,000                   9+2hp                       8
11+ 110,000 per level above 10 9+3, with an additional +2 per additional level 8 and remains at 8 thereafter.

Saurial Scouts attack using the Cleric attack table.


Lisstrah, Level 3 saurial scout
Str: 12 Dex: 13 Con: 10 Int: 9 Wis: 9 Cha: 10 +1 to hit Ranged / -/+ 1 AC
Hit Dice: 3 HP: 11 XP bonus: +5% Saving Throw: 14
Armor Worn: none AC: 6[13]
Attacks: by weapon


Swamp Wyrm
Armor Class: 6 [13] Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1 bite (1d6+1) Saving Throw: 12 Special: none
Move: 8 (18 swim)
Challenge Level/XP: 4 / 250 XP



Armor Class: 9[10]
Hit Dice: 2 Attacks: by weapon Saving Throw: 16   
Special: Darkvision
Move: 9 (12 Swim)
Challenge Level/XP: 2 / 30 XP


Tuathan Cel Gord (Tuath Silverwood)
Level 3 Elven Adventurer
Str: 10 Dex: 14 Con: 13 Int: 12 Wis: 10 Cha: 15
Hit Dice: 3d6 Hit Points: 12 Saving Throw: 13 (MU)/15 (FTR)
Armor: Leather AC: 6 [13]
Attacks: by weapon
Spells: 2/1
Spells in Book:
Level 1: Detect Magic, Light, Read Languages, Read Magic, Shield
Level 2: Invisibility, Knock


Akut'tha Level 2 Human Fighting Man
Str: 14 Dex: 9 Con: 12 Int: 9 Wis: 9 Cha: 10
Hit Dice: 3 (d6+2) Hit Points: 19
Armor: Leather+Shield AC: 6 [13]
Attacks: by weapon


The contents of this post and the associated images and documents are declared open content and/or creative commons. the text, cartography and pathetic drawings are done by myself, Anthony Hunter.   Feel free to use as you wish, and support gaming companies, large and small with your purchases and your creativity.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shrine of Kwathogga

This short adventure seed is inspired by this map posted by Matt Jackson on G+

After being attacked by a vicious mutated, toothed duck as they camp by a remote stream, the adventurers can track it back to its lair if they so desire.   They come upon a shallow, musty cave, reeking of duck droppings and littered with bones and scraps of clothing, apparently from other victims of the mutant duck.  If a torch is used and a careful search is performed, the adventurers can note a partially chewed femur protruding from what appears to be the base of the rear wall.

Closer examination will reveal the faint outlines of a secret door carved into the rock wall.  The ground in front of the door shows semi-circular grooves in the dirt and what appear to be webbed foot prints, some the size of a normal duck, such as the one which attacked them, and more disturbingly, some as large as a man’s footprint.

Removing the bone from under the door, it can be easily pulled open, revealing a rough stairway leading down into the dark.  An odor reminiscent of chicken coops, mixed with the smell of damp and mildew, overlain with a pervading scent of rotted meat, blasts forth from the depths, causing all but those of the strongest stomachs to gag from the smell.  A dim, flickering light, as from a torch, can be seen at the bottom of the stairs, and a rhythmic sound of what seems to be waterfowl can be heard echoing through the darkness.

If the adventurers proceed quietly, they may find that the rooms to either side at the bottom of the stairs are empty of living creatures.

The room on the right appears to be a sleeping room of sorts, but instead of cots or beds, there are half a dozen large ‘nests’ around the room.   Two of them, if investigated, have large eggs, the size of a small keg, covered under the straw.

The room on the right seems to be some type of mess hall and kitchen combination, but the fare is none that sane men wish to sup from.  On the preparation table lies the remains of a dismembered human corpse, and on one of the plates, a partially eaten hand.   

Searching this room may reveal another secret door, this one cleverly disguised as a pantry shelf, triggered by pushing down on the one broken shelf that sits at the bottom.

Descending into the damp darkness that the secret door leads to, reveals a large, underground water source, the far reaches of which cannot be revealed by torchlight.  (this may lead to additional adventures if the referee so desires.)

In the final room of the complex, as the adventurers approach the door, the rhythmic quacking, for it cannot be denied to be anything but, grows to a frenzied pitch.  Behind the door, which is a heavy stone affair, carved with what appears to be ducks, but with tentacles coming out of their beaks; lies the foul temple of Kwathogga, god of the Anatidae (waterfowl).  A dozen beastmen, with duck visages and feathered bodies, are chanting (quacking), as another of their number, robed in multicolored feathers and adorned with what appears to be human scalps, begins to pour oils upon the freshly severed heads of four human males, each adorned with a wild, scraggly beard.

If the Adventurers are noticed, they will be in for a fight to the death with the duck people, the leader of whom is a shaman/cleric/witchdoctor type of equal ability to the most powerful member of the adventuring group.

Should the Adventurers survive the encounter, the two statues on the right side of the temple are covered in a layer of hammered gold and have eyes of precious gems.  Beneath the altar is a cache of weapons, coin and items that have been taken from those unfortunate enough to blunder near the duck people’s lair.       The leader of the duck people also possessed a magical amulet that allows the wearer to speak and understand any language he hears, and a magical dagger that ignores half of a target’s armor protection.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Moleskin Maps, A short review

I am now the owner of all four collections of Moleskin Maps, produced by +Matt Jackon at Chubby Monster Games, and I wanted to take this opportunity to provide a short comment regarding them.

Mr. Jackson has provided four excellent sets of what appear to be hand-drawn maps (if I understand correctly, they are inspired by maps that he had originally drawn in his Moleskine, thus the name).

There are 11 maps in volumes I & II, and 10 maps each in volumes III & IV.  Most of them are underground caverns, although there are also a campsite (possibly two, depending on your interpretation of the map, a small village and a farm in volume I, as well as some other non-underground locations in the other volumes.

Each volume is a pdf with maps, and a location key sheet for the GM to set up what the map is going to represent.

If you visit Matt's blog, you can find samples of his work, to see if you like what you see.

In addition to a nicely laid out pdf, each volume also has a zip file containing high resolution PNG files, which you can use in your virtual table tops, or print out as needed for your not so virtual tabletops.

The price is very reasonable on these, and I highly recommend them to GM's who need some inspiration for locations.