Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - A Crown of Snakes and Flowers

NOTE: These are adventure seeds and setting work for my own Hyperborea campaign inspired by the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea Gazetteer.

20). A Crown of Snakes and Flowers

When the doom finally came upon the great city of Kor the King was lost, his body and the crown of Kor never found. It is said that the nameless beast, which no power seemed able to stop, slew the king and consumed his body leaving only a bloody bag of flesh behind, but there are rumors that the king escaped through tunnels beneath the city which led beyond the walls into the dense surrounding forest.

Escaped or slain, he was never seen again but within the forest of Koth (called Trogos by the native tribes of ape-men and fish-eyed troglodytes) the crown of Kor, adorning a worn and ancient skull, has been described as the center of an inhuman and barbaric shrine. The crown is of reddish gold formed into bands of snakes and flowers, and so the shrine is a strangely bright affair of flowers laid in offering while snakes writhe about the rotting bodies and man and beast beneath their floral coat.

Tribes of the frog-like reptilian trogs surround the shrine, and their fondness for snakes has led them to cultivate true monstrosities as pets. What other relics of mighty Kor may be found if this truly be the lost crown, and are the worn bones and fleshless skull the pitiful remnants of its once powerful king?   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - The Hanged Man

 19). The Hanged Man

The roadsides of Hyperborea are dotted with hanging trees, gallows or gibbets, rarely unoccupied. These are often places of the unconsecrated dead and in consequence are avoided or quickly passed by the common folk of the locale, but it is not unusual to see a cleric setting wards, a patrol of warders and workmen removing one malodorous corpse to make room for a fresh one, a wandering skald, a lurking necromancer's apprentice, a pair of body-snatchers, or among the Rus, a dispossed drifter called a Zhulik serving some vile purpose of the local Koldun ( a type of Witch/Necromancer/Soothsayer) as depicted here.

The Hanged Man serves as a warning to rebels, outsiders and any troublemakers and the spaces on the gibbet are all too readily filled. The symbol of The Hanged Man is found in many lands of Hyperborea among thieves as a simple twist of rope or as a small doll-like figure of cloth among certain dark cults of murder and assassination. Among the Norse it is banned emblem and those found with it are subject to the punishment of Ullr. 

Warhammer Quest Card of the Day - Ring of Life

Ring Of Life:
The Warriors find a silver, jewel-encrusted ring. Within the central gemstone, a tiny flame burns brightly.

The ring has the power to heal grievous wounds. It may only be used on a warrior on zero wounds. To use the ring, roll a dice. On a roll of 1 the flame flickers and dies, and has no effect. On any other score, the Warrior is healed back up to full wounds.

One use per adventure

1). This silver ring appears so small as to fit only the hand of a child but it will widen to fit any finger. There is a central green stone and four orange stones set in its sides.  A tiny living flame can be seen dancing within the heart of the green stone.

Once donned the ring melds with the flesh and bone of the wearer and it can never be removed. Any attempt to harm the ring (which requires a +3 or better enchanted weapon) will cause damage directly to the wearer. If the ring is destroyed so shall be the wearer of the ring, utterly and without clerical or magical means of revival.

The ring is a potent magical item. On the death of the wearer the green stone will spring to life and a pulsing aura of magical energy will surround the body. In a single Turn the deceased wearer will return to life with full Hit Points, rested and feeling energized. If the ring is examined it will be noted that one of the orange stones has disappeared.

The ring will return the deceased wearer to life 4 times, an orange stone disappearing on each revival, but if the wearer dies for a fifth time a flow of green energy will pulsate around the body with the hint of some snake-like being writhing about the flesh, then both body and green aura will disappear; both body and soul gone to some outer plane or consumed by the fire that lurks within the green stone.

Upon the ground will be found the tiny silver ring, the central green gem dancing with its hidden light and four orange stones set in the band.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - Older Than The Memory of the Dead

NOTE: These are adventure seeds and setting work for my own Hyperborea campaign inspired by the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea Gazetteer.

18). Older Than The Memory of the Dead

The foundations of Khromarium are set deeper and more firmly than bedrock. They touch upon the boundary of the black abyss and the nightmare dreams of the Elder Gods who were never worshiped by man. More terrible than the bodies of the Dead that Walk are the Blue-men who inhabit these frail shells of humanity.  That they themselves are corpses of some ancient and unknown race speaks of a terror the passing ages has allowed to endure.

The Blue-men are corrupters and desecrators. They delight in pain and the torture of the living. They trample the ceremonies and rituals of the Gods beneath their feet and scatter the offerings of the pious. Rarely seen, the Blue-men are powerful and draw energy from the power of priests and mages. The drain the life from strong warriors and wear their skin as a cloak to mask their decaying limbs. They find their ways into the very bones of men.

When and where they will appear is unknown. They prefer moonless nights but will come out in the brightest day. Singly they are a terror, but in groups of three or four they are a devastation. Wherever they come from it is deep beneath the great city, among the tunnels that wind down and down beneath the earth, swallowed in darkness, older than the memory of the dead.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - Bearers of the Dead

17). Bearers of the Dead

One of the more bizarre cults of Hyperborea is the Priesthood of the Burden. When and where they first arose is a mystery and who their patron deity may actually be, if they have any at all, is unknown. Each priest is a strong man or woman, they have need to be, for each morning when they rise they pray to their deity and strap onto their back the bones of the dead. Are these the bones of a loved one? An enemy? A worshipper of their unknown God? Only members of their order know and none will say.

They have no temples, no shrines, though they are often seen among tombs or graveyards. They offer no prayers and give no sermons though they sell their services and gain coin through the power granted to them. The members of the priesthood may be found in Khromarium, Ptolemides, Yitharium, almost anywhere in Hyperborea carrying their gruesome burden upon their back where-ever they go.

Warhammer Quest Card of the Day - Stone of Bravery

Stone of Bravery:
This stone gives great confidence to the bearer, such that fear seems but a dream.

This valuable semi-precious stone is worth 250 gold.

(RPG: The bearer of the stone is largely unaffected by fear and terror, and gains +1 to Fear rolls, and +1 to Terror rolls.)


1). This is a dark common looking lump of rock until it falls into the hand of a Fighter Class character. The moment it is in his hand it transforms to a gem of deep blue that glows with a strong inner light. The light is strong enough to illuminate a 20ft radius, though with a blue tinge.

The Stone of Bravery becomes linked to the Fighter holding the stone and will not link to another till that Fighter is dead. If the stone is taken more than 10ft from the Fighter it reverts to its appearance as a common dull rock, but within 10ft of the Fighter it will spring to life again.

The Stone removes all Fear effects on the Fighter and allows him a +1 to hit and +1 to damage as combat modifiers. The Fighter is also immune to Sleep and Charm spells and spell-like abilities.

In battle the Fighter will gain a +2 in initiative rolls.  

Inspiring Illustrations - The Blood of Medusa

16). The Blood of Medusa

The Hellenic people came to Hyperborea long ago. They came in single galleys and large fleets, the greatest were those lost coming home from the ruin of Troy swallowed by the capricious will of the Gods and the dark waters that separated the living world from the realm of the dead. They found a land much different than their sunny warm homeland but they also found other Hellens and they found both their monsters and their Gods. It is said that Apollo has walked in Hyperborea since the dawn of time and wild Pan has left Old Earth to dwell here for long ages. So too dwells the Medusa or the Gorgon as they call her here.

The Medusa in Hyperborea is not she of Old Earth legend, but these Medusae are her kin. Her sisters or her children. They are found on the many islands which dot the cold Hyperboread sea, they inhabit the peaks and passes of the great mountains which split the continent and rise toward heights greater than man has ever climbed. As deadly as their Old Earth namesake, they leave the smashed fragments of common men and heroes, frozen by their gaze, amid their lairs and hidden dens.

The bravest of men hunt these fiends, fair in body and face, but foul in spirit with a nest of vipers for their hair. To slay a medusa is to earn more than fame. Even dead the power of their gaze remains in their own cold, dead eyes. And the blood of a medusa will grant a man flesh that can turn a blade, healing that can return a man from death, or reflesh men turned to stone.

It is said in Ptolemides that the son of the last Hellen king is a frozen statue in the lair of a Medusae Queen and that to free him will see the lost glory of the Hellenic people and the fortunes of Ptolemides return to a golden age not seen since the coming of the heroes in the long ages past. Much gold and much more speculation is now spent on where this Queen may reside but the common belief is that the great captain Eudoxus and his expedition is bound for an isle shown only on a parchment-skin map held in trust by the priests of Apollo.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

B1 In Search of the Unknown - A Hyperborean Campaign Alternative - Part 4

L1A10) This long room, no wider than the outer halls, is lined with tables alternating against the north (top of the map) and south (bottom of the map) walls. The small 10ft northerly nook of this generally east-west room is lined with shelves. This room was lit by several glass lanterns hung set near the ceiling which arches close to ten feet above the floor. These lanterns could hold oil and all are still about half fool (and presently unlit). They can be taken down simply by removing them from a hook and chain arrangement near the ceiling. There are 4 lanterns in total.  Once they were enchanted with the spell 'Continuous Light' but that enchantment has long since faded.

In the long room several of the tables toward the middle have been overturned and debris scattered, but those tables nearest to the door and those near the small bend in the chamber are upright.

There are two tables near the door that still have the remains of small items.  Several small hand tools with rusted ends (worth 5 silver in total as salvage to a dealer in such delicate instruments) a scratched glass oval that was once a powerful magnifying glass now worthless except for starting fires in strong sunlight, and a jumble of 5 pieces that would make an Atlantean LazPistol but it is missing its power back. The LazPistol must be assembled to function. A functioning LazPistol would be worth thousands of gold and even the parts in this condition would be worth 100gp a part to the right dealer.  The LazPistol parts strongly resemble those of a hand crossbow except that these are all made out of metal with no wooden stock. Since the players characters are unlikely to have ever seen a LazPistol these parts can be casually described as those of a hand crossbow.

The second table is scattered with a number of square cylinders (the housing for LazPistol powerpacks) but they are simply hollow metal tubes with no interior components. A large table vice is attached to the edge. It weighs over 25lbs and is worth 10 silver to any smith. A selection of fine files has rusted to the wall and the rack they were set in rendering them relatively valueless.

The player characters will notice a scattering of bones on the floor with the largest concentration amid the overturned tables. The bones are from at least a dozen human-sized skeletons. No flesh remains on these bones and anyone with knowledge of such things will notice the rounded ends of the longer bones denoting boiling in some metal cauldron. Amid the bones are a handful of rusted weapons. 3 Longswords, 5 maces, 1 warhammer, and 2 crossbows.

There are also a dozen metal rings of iron etched with runes. These metal rings are about 8 inches in diameter and will radiate magic if detected. They are a magical item concocted by Zelligar long ago. Tired of interference by holy men, shamans and clerics he devised a means of rendering his lesser undead creations immune to their Turn Undead abilities.  With his iron slave collar his animated creatures were under his control alone.

At the end of the room near the small north facing door is an empty weapons rack (though a small compartment at the bottom of the rack contains sharpening stones, metal polish and spare strings for crossbows). There are also shelves on either wall of the 10ft area around the door. The floor is littered with small boxes and bits and pieces of metal squares, tubes, sprockets, springs and whatnot. There is 50lbs worth of the stuff and a metal craftman would gladly pay 5 silver per pound for these bits and bobs.

NEW MAGIC ITEM: Zelligar's Iron Slave Collar

Using arcane knowledge granted to him from his researches in Quasqueton Zelligar crafter his iron slave collars. These collars can fit around the neck of any humanoid undead, but his iron collars only function on skeletons and zombies allowing them complete resistance to the Turn Undead ability of clerics. Each of these iron colors is etched with the same runes, is made of a reddish tinged iron and weighs around 3lbs. There is a 10% chance that when a Turn Undead is attempted against a wearer of the collar that the collar will explode causing 1d6 damage to everything is 10ft radius and completely decapitating the skeleton or zombie.

These collars would bring a bounty of 50gp each to clerical authorities in Ptolemides or Khromarium, but any Necromacer would pay at least 100gp each for these collars.

NEW WEAPON: Atlantean LazPistol

An Atlantean LazPistol resembles a hand crossbow but without a bow and made entirely of a light grey metal. Said to have originally been brought down from the stars by travelers to fair Atlantis in the distant past and imitated by the legendary Atlantean weaponsmiths, these LazPistols are exceedingly rare and hard to replace. They have an effective range of 50ft, may be fired twice per round and do 1d6+3 damage. Their powerpacks come in two sizes 25 bolts and 50 bolts. If left in the sun these packs will recharge at a rate of 5 bolts per day. LazPistols are valued in excess of 10,000 gold and powerpacks at 500 and 1,000 gold respectively, but they are rarely offered up for sale. 

Warhammer Quest Card of the Day - Boots of Swiftness

Boots of Swiftness:
You find a pair of dusty boots made of a strange material. As you put them on, everything around you seems to blur and slow down.

While wearing the Boots of Swiftness your Warrior may add +1 to his movement.


1). These small soft boots are made of a grey felt-like material. They are trimmed in red and have wing-like cuffs above their tops. They radiate magic strongly if detected, but simply putting them on leaves no doubt that they are enchanted.

As soon as the wearer slips the second of the pair over his feet he is immediately overcome with a momentary sense of vertigo as the world spins around him. This disorientation is fleeting and passes within 1 Turn. The world is moving slow after this and the wearer has doubled his movement speed and attack rate and halved the time it takes him to prepare and cast spells. Unfortunately his speed makes his speech high-pitched and hard to understand, he has a 25% chance of spell failure for every spell he attempts to cast. His attacks are doubled but his chance to hit is at -2, his speed is doubled but he will be exhausted within 10 combat rounds or 3 Turns of constant use and need to rest. Removing the boots ends these benefits and negative effects as well, though exhausted users will still need to rest. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - The Harvester of Kor

15). The Harvester of Kor

Kor, magnificent Kor, vast and ancient Kor, capital of old Hyperborea. Ruined Kor, infested with semi-intelligent man-apes of Hyperborea like worms in a carcase festering in the sun. Kor of towers that scrape the clouds, of magic that lifted men to the sky and touched the moon, Kor of dark-despair and haunted madness. Kor that was, whose foundations are of emerald that cannot be cut or shaped by any means that man can bring to bear. Kor with doorways that cannot be opened, wickedly curved and shaped, squat and peaked for the entrance of beings that were never human.

A monster came to Kor that could not be named. It ate the souls of men, and their hearts, licked clean their bones, and left a bloody pile of empty skin behind. The armsmen of Kor, with their armor of diamond that could not be pierced, their golden bracers that gave them the strength of ten, their curved blades of blended steel that would cleave shields in a single stroke, these heroic men fell one by one to the nameless beast that stalked by day and at night breathed out its fetid nightmares through the streets of the ancient city.

And Kor died, its people fled, its king's flesh hung from the gates of his palace like a flag, an empty sack that screamed from a hollow mouth. The high-priest of Kor whose Gods are forgotten burnt himself alive on a pyre of sacred tomes and cried aloud for vengeance even as the fire ate his flesh and burned his name from the knowledge of men.

When his ashes were long cold and scattered by the winds which played joyfully among the empty streets of Kor the Harvester came down from the dark between the stars. In the shape of a man he met the nameless beast and chased it deep beneath the dungeons of the city. Tied to this earth for an aeon which to him is the single beat of his heart, he walks the streets of Kor.  It is he who opens forbidden doors, he who takes his tithe of blood from among the beast-men, he who they fear beyond their own  Xathoqqua, and he who awaits to find again the hidden nameless thing and fulfill his oath so one day he can again return to his cold and distant home in the darkness of the sky.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - The Tomb of Isabella

14). The Tomb of Isabella

Isabella of Khromarium is a princess of sorts of that eternal city. Her family was as old as the stones of the Great Council Hall where the rulers of Khromarium sat and extolled laws unto their more savage brethren. But Isabella is gone from the city, dead some say, murdered so that her wealth might pass to her relations, as she is the only child of her parents. Other suspect her lover who they also say Isabella rejected in favor of an older suitor more in keeping with her class and station, Or did her pale beauty attract the attentions of a powerful noble or the reclusive Malygris the greatest and most wicked mage in all Khromarium who is said to have an eye for such young maidens as Isabella. But what has truly happened to Isabella remains a mystery.

Demosthenes, Isabella's one-time suitor is the scion of a wealthy family. He is a duelist and not an adventurer so he has sought out the services of such to find his darling Isabella. Through bribery and torture he has managed to find a clue to his Love's where-abouts.

On the outskirts of the Ruling Quarter where all the Councilor families have their mansions are the crypts and tombs of Khromarium's oldest families; Isabella's chief among them. It is here that Demosthenes has been told that his Love was taken. He himself is above breaking into her families crypt and delving into the darkened passageways to search for her, but he will provide servants to move stones and carry torches. He warns that the crypts are no simple affair but are instead passages going back to the earliest reaches of the city and perhaps older even than man's occupation. He wishes them luck and urges them to haste since every hour he is parted from Isabella is a torment.

At least the fop's gold is good and burial crypts of the wealthy promise decent pickings in burial loot if nothing else.

Warhammer Quest Card of the Day - Chalice of Fate

Chalice of Fate:
The Chalice of Fate has the power to warp time, to change fate, and to alter reality.

The Chalice allows you to re-roll when determining the Wizard's Power during the Power Phase. You may only re-roll once, and you must accept the second roll even if the score is worse.

1). This golden chalice is surprisingly small for such a remarkably powerful item. It is no more than a palm-sized goblet of gold and silver with 8 small rubies around the base of cup. It has the power to reverse time, but only for a stretch of three minutes.  The chalice must be filled with a clear white wine produced from grapes in the land where the chalice was forged. If a cupful of this wine is swallowed from this chalice time reverses and all that has transpired in those three minutes is as if they never were.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Own Private Hyperborea

My Own Private Hyperborea

I became a huge fan of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea a few hours after opening the box. I loved the Baggley art, and if that had been it I would have been fine with the set. What I quickly realized is that Jeff Talanian had somehow tapped into a setting that brought me back 30+ years to the dawn of my gaming experience and the Greyhawk setting.

Hyperborea is nothing like Greyhawk and yet it brings back to me the same feeling of having found a well-spring of imagination and the invitation to drink my fill.  The game rules add greatly to my own 1e AD&D Houseruled system.  Jeff would probably be appalled out how readily I trim to fit his excellent rulesystem, but then again probably not. The mechanics aren't really the Thing.

Then there is the setting. As you read through the rulebook you realize how meshed it is with this fantastic setting. The setting itself is described in a relatively small gazetteer, until you read more and realize that the chapter on monsters enhances the gazetteer and the chapter on treasure, and even the chapter on character classes which fit this amazing setting so well. Everything is really part and parcel with Hyperborea, but drastic alterations and additions fit Hyperborea as well. You can easily have a Conan-esque game with only touches of weird monsters, technologies and horrors from beyond space and time. You can have a Lovecraftian game of mind-warping terror or something inspired by Clark Ashton Smith with adventure and fantastic encounters, or an A. Merritt inspired game with technology that is more akin to magic and alien races that have been on earth longer than mankind. Anything goes, adventures and ideas drawn from the pulps and early strange fiction writers, adventures with a touch of the weird and historical such as C.L. Moore penned or Clark Ashton Smith described in his haunted French countryside of Averoigne.

My own campaign drags quite a bit of the historical into the game and removes some of the more alien and technological from the realms of common experience. The esquimox have mostly disappeared from my campaign (I have given them the ability to cross between Hyperborea and Old Earth at will). The Ixians are gone entirely, the Hyperboreans and fading race of man akin to such people as A.Merritt described in his various works, but completely human. The Hellenic people are much more populace (as are all the places and cities of Hyperborea) and important in my campaign (the fishing town of Port Greely has disappeared and in its place is the Hellenic city-state of Ptolemides; a place a growing importance in my campaign). I have added the Rus as an important cultural group and plan to add a civilization of Finns, the Kimmerians becoming more of a Cossack-like civilization (without guns). Technology does still play a part in my campaign, but mostly alien technology which is hard to understand and extremely dangerous. There is also room for a lost expedition from the Miskatonic University of the 1920's and perhaps ships, planes or even submarines run aground on the shores this lost land.

Almost everything fits. So much so that the land grows and twists as it is traveled and a sudden mist may find travelers on the other-side of the continent, or somewhere in the distant past, or another dimension entirely.  And yet there is a stability; Khromarium the eternal city, Ptolemides, they provide a running continuity for my players.

I'd love to hear about other people's Hyperborea campaigns. I recommend trying it if you have a taste for Clark Ashton Smith or old Weird Tales kind of adventure. I will certainly be posting much more about in various ideas (which hopefully can generate some inspiration in any campaign setting) but also expand on this post to detail my own campaign, because talking about your campaigns as DMs and/or players has become part of the great enjoyment AD&D has brought to me over the years and I can't think of a better place to talk about it and hopefully receive responses.

B1 In Search of the Unknown - A Hyperborean Campaign Alternative - Part 3

L1A6) As the PCs approach this alcove they will hear a loud groaning as of someone in pain. A glance inside will show an empty alcove except the ever familiar stone lips of a magic mouth on the back wall. It will give a deep groan as the PCs watch and force itself to say;

"Passss worddd" before snapping its lips shut.

If questioned the magic mouth will say;

"Tooooo Mannn-eee... Tooooo Mannn-eee..."

It will then try to disappear and remeld with the wall (and secret door) but fail and reappear with a deeper groan and then pinch its lips shut. It will not speak again, but will let a groan escape every few minutes.

If the players try to detect a secret door and succeed they will find one at the back of the alcove. It appears to be of the same stone as the surrounding walls, but there are indications of a hidden keyhole (this lock can be picked but is already unlocked) and hinges along the one side. The door is actually made of stone though only half as thick as the walls. There is nothing to pull on this side of the door but if 50+ points of strength are used to push at the door it will give an inch then slam shut. The PCs will each have a 1in6 chance (a 6 on a d6) of noticing a faint putrid smell when the door is momentarily opened but it is quickly lost amid the general smell of damp and mold that permeates the corridor.

This door is very strong and bound together with magic, which lessens its weight allowing it to be opened as a normal wooden door. Trying to destroy the door is impossible without monstrous strength (such as that of a giant) or with magical weapons. Even then it would quite an undertaking to chip away the stone with an edged weapon, though a magic mace or sledge would have better results).

Once opened this door can only be locked again with a key

NOTE: The Password is 'Zenopus' but the door is already unlocked.

L1A7) As the PCs approach this alcove they will see a pair of stone lips appear. The lips will say;

"Password!" in a loud, clear and authoritative voice.

If given the password (Password is 'Suponez') there will be the sound of a click, the magic mouth will disappear, and the secret door will be unlocked (though not revealed unless it is discovered by searching for secret doors). It can be pushed open.

If given the wrong password the mouth will begin shouting very loudly;

"INTRUDERS! INTRUDERS!" over and over again for 3 turns before resetting.

Once opened this door can only be locked again with a key

This door is very strong and bound together with magic, which lessens its weight allowing it to be opened as a normal wooden door. Trying to destroy the door is impossible without monstrous strength (such as that of a giant) or with magical weapons. Even then it would quite an undertaking to chip away the stone with an edged weapon, though a magic mace or sledge would have better results).
Even a casual glance into the alcove will reveal a small round object in the corner, though a light source is required. On examination it will be revealed to be the head of a man with the top of his head caved in and the slightly slick insides of his empty skull revealed. The man has a weasely face and beady brown eyes. His scalp appears to have been torn open and pushed aside before his skull was broken and partly removed.

L1A8) The corridor and alcoves here are awash with congealed blood. The smell of putrification and corruption is overpowering and PCs will need to save vs their constitution on a d20 (their con or less) or suddenly be overwhelmed with the need to vomit (DM's feel free to edit this out if it is too graphic for your game). Examination of the alcoves and corridor immediately in front of both is a disgusting and messy job. Anyone doing so will be covered in decomposing blood and be left literally red-handed, the smell will also linger.  But those doing so will discover;

The head of a two-handed axe with the haft broken off near the head. It can be repaired easily.

A scattering of coins 7gp, 23sp, and 15cp.

A torn leather pouch with 1gp, 2cp still in it. If the pouch is carefully examined a small inner pocket will be discovered contain 5 small diamonds worth 25gp each to any semi-honest merchant.

A dagger with its tip snapped off (-1 to hit)

The broken foot-long blade-half of  a longsword (good as an iron spike at least).

A blood-soaked book with all but the middle 3 pages ruined. It will make a normal man's head spin to try and read it, but it is the remains of a spellbook. It contains the following spells:

Level 1; Flaming Missile
Level 1: Light
Level 2: Fire Web

The rest of the book is ruined and cannot be deciphered,

L1A9). From the entrance the short flight of stairs rises to just over the height of a man. The stairs themselves are bloodied but the general dampness of the air and slickness of the stones has gradually allowed the blood to pass and collect in area L1A8.

As the first PC or PCs ascend the stairs they see a scene of some carnage. First one than another body hoves into view. They are at a small cross-section of corridors with one path straight ahead and two others on either side dwindling off into darkness or stone walls with the hint of other openings revealed along the way by the light of their lanterns, magic or torches. Directly ahead the corridor has two doors at either side and the crumpled form of a man in armor is huddled near to the left-hand doorway.

The body of another armored man is head-first toward the stairs and the PCs can see his bloodstained head and ravaged face,; the flesh torn and mangled as if an animal had gnawed at it.

Two more bodies are on the floor about 10ft to the right, both armored men, tangled together in death.

One man in dark robes is propped against the wall near the right-hand door in the corridor straight ahead of the stairs. His arms and head dangle lifelessly and he is bent at the middle but still upright.

If the PCs poke, prod or shoot any of the bodies before approaching closer than 5ft the body will utter a low, guttural moan and begin to push itself to its feet. This will take 1 combat round in which the PCs may attack freely and at +4 to hit.

If the PCs approach closer than 5ft there is a 50% chance that the body will lurch forward and make an attack on the PC using eithers its pummel or bite attack. Otherwise the body will utter a low, guttural moan and begin to push itself to its feet. This will take 1 combat round in which the PCs may attack freely and at +4 to hit.

After the first of the Living Dead has been roused all 5 of the bodies will rouse at the same time and attack the nearest PC.

These creatures a new type of monster created by Zelligar called 'Living Dead'.


Living Dead
No. Encountered 1d100
Size: M
Movement: 15
Dexterity: 3
Armor Class: 10 or by armor type
Hit Dice: 1
No. Attacks: 1 (pummel or bite)
Damage: 1d8 Pummel or 1d4 bite
Saving Throw: 16
Morale: 12
Experience Points: 48

a). Always attacks last, Takes 1 combat round to awaken if not moving, Cannot run
b). Immune to poison, fear, charm, paralysis, & cold based attacks
c). Arrows, bolts and piercing/thrusting weapons only do 1hp damage if they hit.
d). Natural '20' considered head-shot and immediately kills living dead
e). Multiple Living Dead will attempt to Overbear see [AS&SH] V.3 Combat actions, unarmed combat
f) Immune to clerical Turn ability (as they are not undead, but are more akin to a very weak flesh golem).
g) Electrical attacks heal damage and can even temporarily increase the Living Dead's HPs. HPs can be increased to double normal amount. Lasts for 1 day.

Zelligar sought to create an army of flesh golems cheaply and experimented with his necromantic abilities to raise the dead. These were his first attempts and were mildly successful, but far too weak for his needs. Still, the made useful servants.

L1A9) continued...

All Living Dead have 8hp. They are recently converted to the Living Dead and are a bit slow to respond to noise so any noise made by the PCs before reaching L1A( is ignored.

Body #1) A living dead in chainmail armor clutching a broken sword (the top half of the blade is found at L1A8). He has suffered terrible wounds to his face and throat and is missing the little finger of his left hand.   He is AC5

A gold ring is on his right hand. Worth 2gp but his family in Khromarium would pay handsomely for its return.

His chainmail is slightly damaged and rusty but still serviceable.

Body#2) A Living Dead with head wound. He appear to have been a Norse or a Kelt, at least the white and red stripes of his pants declare him to be.  He is in serviceable chainmail but bears no weapons.  He mumble something about "brainnzzz" as he attacks but is other silent. He is AC5 In combat a natural 18, 19, or 20 will strike his damaged head and kill him on the spot.

A worn, but serviceable chaimail shirt.

Body#3) A Living Dead in chainmail with a sheathed dagger at his belt and a coin-purse. This body still has a few pieces of equipment left in a brown sack hanging over its left shoulder. He is AC5. Half of a long plaited beard of golden hair dangles from his face but the other half has been torn out by the roots. He is AC6

A slightly damaged (brings AC to 6 instead of 5) chaimaail shirt.

A dagger +1 (non-magical, but very finely made)

Coinpurse with 18gp, 5sp, 12cp

In the sack can be found a metal canteen of water laced with raw alcohol, 1 week's worth of Iron Rations, a 10ft length of wire, a 50ft coil of role and an Iron Hamee.

Body #4) A Living Dead in ruined chainmail. No weapons. His armor has been yanked to pieces and ruined. He is AC10

Body#5) A Living Dead in dark robes. The robes have tiny glyphs sewn cunningly into them that are not visible under casual examination. The robe is magical and gives +1 to saving throws versus fire or fore magic. The body has had its throat torn open and is unarmed. He is AC10

Inspiring Illustration - The Priestess of New Delphi

13). The Priestess of New Delphi

She sits upon her raised chair her feet high above the ground, as they never touch the ground; not if she is to receive visions from Apollo Helios. Priestess, prophetess and bodily host to the essence of the God she reaches toward him, toward his avatar, the Sun, as she reaches toward truth, and above the earth, never touching its soil, she will remain till the end of her days as priestess.

At the end of her days, when age and infirmity take away her ability to receive the God within her, the priestess steps from her chair and passes the bowl of seeing, which contains a deep red and potent wine, and the living stem of the tree of life, to the youngest of her handmaidens who then ascends the golden chain, never again to set foot upon the ground till the end of her days. Or so it should have been.

The Priestess of New Delphi dwells within a sacred cave. A golden chair with the feet of a lion is raised high so that the Priestess's feet dangle freely, never chancing that she may touch them to the cold stone floor, and thereby become tainted with the base earth. Beneath this chair the stone floor is split, and from this crevice pours forth a subtle smoke that loosens the mind and allows the visions of the Priestess to pass wordlessly from the greater realm wherein dwells Apollo Helios to those supplicants deemed worthy (normally worthiness is judge by the weight and worth of the supplicants offering) to receive her prophetic sight.

Or so it should be.

Recently a darkness has crept into the sacred caverns and ominous are the visions granted to Apollo's Priestess. Beneath the caverns of New Delphi a slumbering power has awakened and mixed with the sense altering drafts from below now comes the stuff of nightmares.

New Delphi is a wealthy and powerful holy site for the Hellenic people, but they themselves cannot disturb the sacred ground. Only outsiders may journey beneath the caverns of New Delphi and seek out what taints the dreams and visions of the Priestess. Success will bring great reward and the gratitude of the worshipers of Apollo and his Priestess. Failure may well mean a lost and lonely death, if not worse, beneath the cold stone of New Delphi.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Warhammer Quest Card of the Day - Amulet of Vindication

Amulet of Vindication:
This antiquated porcelain amulet is covered in a layer of cracked and peeling black leather.

This amulet allows the Warrior to cancel out hostile magic. When a spell is cast against the bearer of the amulet, roll a d6. On a roll of 6 the spell is cancelled out and has no effect.

(RPG: The amulet gives the Warrior a magic resistance of 6+. This works in the same way as the Magic Resistance ability that some Monsters possess. See page 83 of the Roleplay book.)

The amulet may be used every time a spell is cast at the warrior

Barbarian, Dwarf & Elf only


1). Through a covering of cracked and peeling leather, dyed black but faded to a purplish brown, can be seen the yellows and blues of an ancient porcelain amulet; sharp runes formed into the fragile substance. Touching any part of the amulet left unprotected by the worn leather immediately causes 1d10 hp cold damage and yet there is no sense of coldness through the leather covering or in the air around the amulet.  

Divination magic will reveal that the amulet is powerful but also protected from magic that would reveal greater details about it. Only through clerical magic or sagacious lore can more be learned of this powerful item.

Created centuries ago by a powerful mage, it was used as a defense against his brothers in magic and can absorb the most powerful spells, but at a cost to the wearer. A 1st level spell cast at the wearer can be absorbed with no effect at the cost of 1d4hp in damage, a 2nd level spell at 1d6hp damage, a 3rd level spell at 1d8hp, a 4th at 1d10hp, 5th at 1d12hp, a 6th level spell at 1d20hp, a 7th level spell at 2d20 damage, an 8th at 3d20, a 9th at 1d100.

The mage gave his amulet to his most promising apprentice as he and his enemies gained in power. Such spells as they now employed would cost such damage from the amulet that its risky protection was too much of a gamble for the mage.

B1 In Search of the Unknown - A Hyperborean Campaign Alternative - A Note On Magic Mouths

A Note On Magic Mouths

The magic mouths at L1A3 and L1A4 control the iron bars which block the passageway at L1A5. Upon finishing their warning they are meant to raise the bars for 5 Turns then drop them again. (The bars will automatically raise for 5 Turns if anyone passes the alcoves at L1A6 & 7 heading toward the front gate).  Unfortunately the magic mouths have become slightly deranged during their years of solitude and have developed a bit of a pugnacious attitude and something of a Scottish accent.

After their initial attempt to follow their original instructions as to what to shout at intruders they simply give up and leave the bars raised permanently, but now shout insults at anyone who passes them by,

Here are some of what they may shout and an insult generator.

1). Run Away, ye Pansys!
2). An where dae ye think you're goin'?
3). Back to ye own country!
4). Suck mae wally!
5). Freedom! Freedom!
6). Up yers, ye coot.
7). Ye bloustie ol'callyack
8). Ach, stick it up yer trakkans
9). Stitch this, jimmy!
10). Ere's a kiss for ye, ya off-lookin minger

Insult generator:

Most of their insults begin with Ye or Thee, then roll 1d100 three times.

1-2). bampot
3-4). bassa
5-6). bauchle
7-8). bawheid
9-10). boggin
11-12). bowfin
13-14). clag-tail
15-16). clapped-in
17-18). clatty
19-20). cuddie
21-22). diddy
23-24). doaty
25-26). dobber
27-28). doolie
29-30). doowally
31-32). eejit
33-34). feartie
35-36). ginky
37-38). glaikit
39-40). gomeril
41-42). gommy
43-44). hackit
45-46). haggis
47-48). heidbanger
49-50). hing-oot
51-52). honkin
53-54). jessie
55-56). keech
57-58). lavvy-heid
59-60). maddy
61-62). midden
63-64). midgie-raker
65-66). minger
67-68). numpty
69-70). nyaff
71-72). oof-lookin
73-74). plookie
75-76). puggled
77-78). scabby
79-80). scadge
81-82). scaffbag
83-84). scunner
85-86). shaan gadgie
87-88). skelly
89-90). soapdogger
91-92). tosser
93-94). tumshie
95-96). wally
97-98). wally, wally

99-100). Reuse previously rolled word or double use next word if first roll.

Monday, June 17, 2013

B1 In Search of the Unknown - A Hyperborean Campaign Alternative Part 2


The wilderness around Quasqueton is dangerous but in a more natural way than the dungeon. There are no human settlements now closer than 30 miles and no roads or even large trails leading to the hill. There are animal trails and a small stream about two miles from Quasqueton which runs from north to south and empties in a marshy area. There is a chance that the players will find a beaten trail through the woods, not fresh, but as recent as a few weeks past, someone using bladed tools or weapons widened an animal trail in the direction of the hill. This chance becomes near certainty when the gates of Quasqueton are found since the cleared trail leads to the gate. Backtracking along this trail the players will find that it splits in two. One way leads back to the small stream, the other to a campsite.

The Campsite

At some point a few weeks before the PC's arrive someone, several someones, established a small camp at the base of the hill. It has been destroyed and only torn and muddy canvas, broken wooden casks and some metal debris such as a dented pot, iron chain, a cask of iron spikes (48 rusty iron spikes salvageable from the dirt and forest loam).  Exploration of the campsite will reveal that a building once stood in this place, the fallen stone walls covered by bushes and vines but its foundation, still forming a square with the campsite in its middle, shows the dimensions of a mid-sized structure.  Even if the campsite is not explored in detail there is a 1d3 chance of one of the players hearing the sound of burbling water and only a dozen feet into the woods a small spring can be found.

NOTE: Before setting off on their quest the PCs will be supplied with 1 pack mule for every 3 PCs. 1 full month of iron rations per PC. 1 medium-sized tent for every 3 PCs. Sundry camping gear which the DM may decide to detail or allow the PCs to request, but anything within reason should be allowed. The one item of true note is a compass-like device which always points in the direction of Quasqueton, but whose pin spins in happy little circles within the dungeon itself.

A wilderness encounter table has not been included. This is a forested area and forest animals and animal-like monsters dwell within it. The players characters cannot expect any animals or goods left unattended to remain unmolested but the main focus of the adventure is the dungeon and not the wilderness.


It is recommended, but such advice can easily be ignored, to have the players generate 3 player characters each before starting the adventure. 1 PC can be left behind to hold the horses and guard the camp, while two others journey into the dungeon. If one or even two PCs are killed during a game session a third will be readily available to take up the fallen torch and keep the game moving forward without too much backtracking. Then one or two new PCs can be rolled up and be ready to be worked into the campaign.



NOTE: Keyed areas are simply marked 1. , 2. , etc... on the map, but are listed in the text as L#A# (Level#Area#)

NOTE: Passageways: All Passageways on level 1 are made of smooth, largish blocks of stone of varying size. Floors and walls are slightly slick. Passageways are unlit but have wall sconces to hold torches every twenty feet on opposite walls. Unless otherwise noted.

NOTE: Doors: All doors on level 1 are wooden with iron pull-rings on either side. Hinges are set into the wall and copper hinge-plates protect the wood around the hinges. All doors have keyholes and are locked. Unless otherwise noted.

L1A1). The entranceway to the dungeon appears to be no more than weathered cliff face of blackish slate, except that a section of dirt and vegetation has been cleared in front of a shallow cave-like opening and a stone-faced door, the exterior rough unhewn rock , the interior smooth and finished, stands open. Examination of the door will reveal 3 rusted iron spikes driven into the rock preventing the door from closing.

The passage is an even 10feet wide and 8feet high. The air is damp and musty and tinged with the smell of corruption.  The passageway is unlit though sconces for torches are set every twenty feet on opposite walls. During the early morning sunlight will illuminate the first 20feet dimly but further than that and the hall is black as a very black pit.

L1A2). (Trapped Door). A sturdy wooden door with tarnished copper hinge-plates and a rusted iron pull-ring with a small key-hole beside it. This door has old cracks running down its face, but they do not weaken its structural strength. It is a very large door, as are all the doors in the dungeon, made of thick heavy wood. It opens inward but is jammed shut. There are black stains running down the edge of the door from just above the keyhole (blood) and at the foot of the door are several wormlike objects that are a fuzzy-green with white showing through (the severed fingers of the corpse at L1A3).

TRAP: The pull-ring is trapped with a magic trap (it will radiate magic if detected). Anyone touching it will receive 1d6 electrical damage and a 50% chance of being knocked on their ass and stunned for 1d3 Turns. This damage and effect will occur each and every time the pull-ring is touched.

The door may be pushed open with a combined strength of 24.  It is not locked, merely swollen shut. If attempts are made to break down the door axes, maces or sledgehammers will make the door gong like a drum and awaken or alert and guards or inhabitants from L1A3 to L1A13. It will take 3d6 Turns to knock open the door

Attempting to burn down the door with a normal fire will be unsuccessful as the door is damp from the moist atmosphere and the hall is poorly ventilated. Such a fire will force any PCs who need to breathe air out of the tunnel and send a plume of black smoke from the passageway out the front door to hang above the hill like a big bat-signal in the sky.

Once the door is open examination of it will reveal that there are gouges along the hinges where iron spikes were driven-in and removed and dark black streaks (blood) along the inside of the door from just above the keyhole.

L1A3) (Magic Mouth) There is a large pool of damp congealed blood on the floor (the floors are damp and slick but not awash with water so the blood has not dried but neither has it washed away) in the alcove, on the walls, a bit on the ceiling and in the passageway between L1A3 and L1A4. The upper torso of a thinnish man in torn leather armor is tossed into the corner. At first glance he looks more like a bundle of rags. He has no lower body, head or fingers on his right hand. If anyone steps into the passageway opposite the alcove or into the alcove itself a pair of stone lips (magic mouth) will appear and speak the following words:

"Who Dares Enter This Place And Disturb the Sanctity of its Inhabitants?"

Then with only a slight pause a voice from L1A4 will be heard to say:

"Htead Niatrec Ot Demood Srerolpxe Yhdrahloof Fo Pourg A Ylno!"

 Then from L1A3:

"You're Saying It Backwards Again, You Idiot!"

Then from L1A4 (with an apologetic voice):

"Sorry, Sorry, My Bad. Woe To Any..."

Then from L1A3:

"Wait, Wait, I'm Supposed to be Saying That Too!"

"Woe To Any... O Bugger It."

And the stone lips in L1A3 Disappear.

If searched the torso has only a ruined set of leather armor on its half-person.

L1A4) If the PCs slip into this alcove without stepping into the passageway or L1A3 a pair of stone lips will appear on the back wall. It will remain silent for a moment and then say:

"You're Supposed to Talk With Him Across the Hall First."

If the PCs fail to leave the alcove the voice will say:

"Off With Ya. I have Nothing More To Say."

And if the PCs still haven't left it will begin to whistle tunelessly.

In the alcove PCs will see the severed lower body of a thinnish man dressed in dark trousers and wearing soft leather boots. Dark stains are congealed on the floor and walls. The lower body is tossed in the corner of the alcove.  The boots are salvageable and might be sold for a few silvers. A sheath is built into the side of the left boot and contains a throwing knife.

L1A5) A set of thick iron bars block the passage. If the PCs have listened to the message from L1A3 the bars will be raised. If not they are lowered and locked in place. It will require a combined strength of 60 to lift and hold the gate. If strength is withdrawn and the point value is less than 60 the gate will come smashing down with a change to do 1d12 damage to anyone underneath and a 25% chance to pin a PC to the floor.

NOTE: The Magic Mouths will reappear whenever anyone approaches from the front gate, but have grown lazy and surly in the years they have been left alone.  They won't bother lowering the iron bars again and will only yell rude insults at anyone passing their alcoves from now on.