Thursday, April 28, 2011

My latest haul from Noble Knight Games....

Eager to try out my latest catch, I rolled up my first Tunnels & Trolls character for his turn in the Arena of Khazan...

Z'al Baaz (Human/Warrior)
ST 10  CON 7
IQ 10  DEX 11
LK 11  CHR 9
Personal Adds (Melee): +/-0
Ht: 6'1" / Wt. 200 lbs

Z'al was captured by slavers and sold to the arena... his story to follow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My own dice bowl...

Saw this over at breeyark's blog, so I had to make one myself....

need to find a better way to cut the felt - mine is not quite circular.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So I fell off the bandwagon...

I did well for the fist week or so of the A to Z challenge, but I couldn't keep the pace. My apologies. Hopefully I can start posting some regular content again in the next few days...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April A to Z: J is for Just Because...

Just because it is my birthday, I am taking a day off of the challenge. : )


Monday, April 11, 2011

April A to Z: I is for Imagery

Today's post is a complete cheat of the A to Z challenge, too busy with work and "I" is stumping me. So, we go with Imagery. No game should go without lots of good imagery from the DM. Good descriptions and words taken from good pulp writers can help that immensely. I suggest of course the staples R.E. Howard, C.A. Smith, and of course H.P. Lovecraft to start. Good examples can be found online, so without further delay - and to give you something worthwhile to read today, I give you two examples of great stories with links to them for your online reading pleasure. I hope to be back on track tomorrow with "J".

From "The Charnel God" by C.A. Smith (can be found here).

"Mordiggian is the god of Zul-Bha-Sair," said the innkeeper with unctuous solemnity. "He has been the god from years that are lost to man's memory in shadow deeper than the subterranes of his black temple. There is no other god in Zul-Bha-Sair. And all who die within the walls of the city are sacred to Mordiggian. Even the kings and the optimates, at death, are delivered into the hands of his muffled priests. It is the law and the custom. A little while, and the priests will come for your bride."

"But Elaith is not dead," protested the youth Phariom for the third or fourth time, in piteous desperation. "Her malady is one that assumes the lying likeness of death. Twice before has she lain insensible, with a pallor upon her cheeks and a stillness in her very blood, that could hardly be distinguished from those of the tomb; and twice she has awakened after an interim of days."
The innkeeper peered with an air of ponderous unbelief at the girl who lay white and motionless as a mown lily on the bed in the poorly furnished attic chamber.

"In that case you should not have brought her into Zul-Bha-Sair," he averred in a tone of owlish irony. "The physician has pronounced her dead; and her death has been reported to the priests. She must go to the temple of Mordiggian."

"But we are outlanders, guests of a night. We have come from the land of Xylac, far in the north; and this morning we should have gone on through Tasuun, toward Pharaad, the capital of Yoros, which lies near to the southern sea. Surely your god could have no claim upon Elaith, even if she were truly dead."

"All who die in Zul-Bha-Sair are the property of Mordiggian," insisted the taverner sententiously. "Outlanders are not exempt. The dark maw of his temple yawns eternally, and no man, no child, no woman, throughout the years, has evaded its yawning. All mortal flesh must become, in due time, the provender of the god."
Phariom shuddered at the oily and portentous declaration.
- - - -

From "Gods of the North" (aka: "The Frost Giant's Daughter")  by R.E. Howard (can be found here).

The clangor of the swords had died away, the shouting of the slaughter was hushed; silence lay on the red-stained snow. The bleak pale sun that glittered so blindingly from the ice-fields and the snow-covered plains struck sheens of silver from rent corselet and broken blade, where the dead lay as they had fallen. The nerveless hand yet gripped the broken hilt; helmeted heads back-drawn in the death-throes, tilted red beards and golden beards grimly upward, as if in last invocation to Ymir the frost-giant, god of a warrior-race.

Across the red drifts and mail-clad forms, two figures glared at each other. In that utter desolation only they moved. The frosty sky was over them, the white illimitable plain around them, the dead men at their feet. Slowly through the corpses they came, as ghosts might come to a tryst through the shambles of a dead world. In the brooding silence they stood face to face.

Both were tall men, built like tigers. Their shields were gone, their corselets battered and dinted. Blood dried on their mail; their swords were stained red. Their horned helmets showed the marks of fierce strokes. One was beardless and black­maned. The locks and beard of the other were red as the blood on the sunlit snow.

"Man," said he, "tell me your name, so that my brothers in Vanaheim may know who was the last of Wulfhere's band to fall before the sword of Heimdul."

"Not in Vanaheim," growled the black-haired warrior, "but in Valhalla will you tell your brothers that you met Conan of Cimmeria."

Heimdul roared and leaped, and his sword flashed in deathly arc. Conan staggered and his vision was filled with red sparks as the singing blade crashed on his helmet, shivering into bits of blue fire. But as he reeled he thrust with all the power of his broad shoulders behind the humming blade. The sharp point tore through brass scales and bones and heart, and the red-haired warrior died at Conan's feet.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April A to Z: H is for Humanoids

I chose not to use the typical Tolkien or D&D based humanoids as adversaries in my game. Typically encounters will be with humans. When humanoids are encountered they will be of the following variety:

Beast-Men: Beast men are genetic experiments from ages past that have survived and reproduced on their own in the wild. They are creatures of chaos, and they carry a hatred for humanity in their hearts for their miserable lot in life. They are represented by the stats for Gnolls from the Holmes edition. They are mostly animal headed (not restricted to dogs or jackals - could be goats, cats, etc) fur-covered humanoids. They are usually encountered in the Desert of the Dead Gods, though a few tribes have ventured farther afield to raid human and Sumalhi settlements. They rely on their thick hide for armor, though a few may scavenge armor taken from the dead. They fight with any weapons they can get their hands on. Each tribe has a shaman that leads them in their worship of ATUM'BOM the god of chaos and destruction of humanity.

Mutants: Mutants are the surviving members of humanity that were trapped in radiation filled zones after the collapse of the ancients. Their mutations stabilized after a few generations and were passed on to each surviving generation that followed. They are represented by Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins, Bugbears, and Ogres in my world. For every 20 encountered (regardless of type) one will be a "Wild Mutant", these wild mutants will have 1d6 unstable mutations (these can be determined by choosing spell effects to apply to the mutant or using your favorite Gamma World type game to generate a mutation for them). These mutants live in nomadic tribal groups, and some have ranged far beyond the Desert of the Dead Gods and may be encountered in practically any terrain. Some even reside in the slummier quarters of Ugarit and other city-states. They are treated as second class citizens by all however, which causes much resentment amongst the mutants. A recent cult (started by human sympathizers and lead by human high-priests) is very popular among the mutants, the Cult of CA'AMERKU the Avenger. This cult has inspired many mutants to rebel at their status in society and has caused some recent riots and violence in the upper city of Ugarit.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April A to Z: G is for Gnomes

After some consideration, I have changed course on the use of demi-humans in my setting. Though I plan to alter how they are used for this game, I will still allow some of them to be used. Today we will discuss Gnomes...

The Gnomes (called the Sumalhi in my game) reside in the foothills west of Ugarit in houses carved into the steep, rocky hillsides. They stand just under 4 feet tall with ruddy brown complexions and stark white hair (no beards). They are of slender builds and average under 120 pounds. Their eyes are black and pupil-less. They are decent fighters and especially resistant to magic (+4 to saves vs. magic) They have normal eyesight and no "infravison", though they can detect slanting passages, slopes, traps, shifting walls, and new construction 1/3 of the time underground. In addition They are renown healers and are adept herbalists, a Sumalhi can cast heal light wounds once per day (this is treated as an innate ability and not a spell). They advance as Fighting Men.

The Sumalhi were an ancient star-faring race before the time of isolation and a colony was founded on this planet during the height of Human Space.

In my game the Sumalhi will replace Dwarves as player characters.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April A to Z: F is for Fane of the Ebon Drake

The Fane of the Ebon Drake is located on the 3rd sub-level of level 1 (not yet mapped) of the under-city of Ugarit. This natural cavern has an opening in the ruins of old Ugarit on the swampy shores of the Sea of Reeds (a flat flood plain that feeds into the Narrow sea south of the modern city).

The cult of the Ebon Drake has cleared out the adjoining halls to this cavern for use as their temple headquarters. It is here that the High-Priest Arkon resides. There is an abundant guard here as well to ensure none but cult members have access to this area.

The cave itself is home to DYR'KON the Black Dragon. He is a ancient, old drake (over 200 years old) and very intelligent. He allows the cult to reside here as they have proven useful in bringing him slaves and virgins to eat. In his old bloated form he is not eager to venture forth for his meals (though do not take this as a sign of weakness as he is still a cunning dragon). He has not ventured forth from his cave for near a decade now, and most folk think he has died (and believe the cult to be charlatans).

Wandering Monster Encounters Near the Fane of the Ebon Drake

  1: Giant Crocodiles (only in natural caves near water)
2-4: Temple Guards (3d6)
5-7: Temple Acolytes (2d4) with Temple Guards (2d4)
8-9: Temple Priest (2nd level) with (2d4) Temple Acolytes
 10: Hight Priest Arkon (3rd level) with 12 Temple Guards

Hight Priest Arkon (Cleric 3rd level, HP: 13, AC: 6, Spells: 2 1st level) He has leather armor and a ring of protection +1, a +1 dagger (called the Fang of Dyr'kon), and a scroll with Hold Person.
Temple Priests & Acolytes have 1 or 2 HD, and AC 7 as well with leather armor and daggers.

Temple Guards (Move 120'/turn, HD 1d6, HP 4, AC 7) Each has leather armor and short sword.
DYR'KON the Ebon Drake
   Move: 90'/turn or 240'/turn Flying
     HD: 8
     HP: 64
Attacks: Breath or 2 claws / 1 Bite
Damage: 1d6 claw, 4d6 bite or Acid 60'x'5 cone

(Note: My mission here is to use ONLY the Holmes Edition as a complete game, so no characters above 3rd level. Spells above 2nd level are only available via scrolls.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April A to Z: E is for Encounter Tables

As short post today, as I had a hard time coming up with a subject for "E". Not sure why I am sure there are a dozen or more topics I could have chosen for this letter but my brain was not cooperating with me today. So, I have outlined the level 1 wandering monster tables for the Under-City of Ugarit below.
Under-City Level 1 Master Table
1-3: Temple Sub Table
4-6: Undead Sub Table
7-9: Vermin Sub Table
 10: Special Sub Table

Under-City Level 1 (Temple Sub Table)
  1: Berserkers of Yamm (2d6)
2-4: Acolytes* (2d8)
5-7: Priest with Acolytes (2d4) and Guards (2d6)**
8-10:Temple Guards (2d6)

*Acolytes will be from one of any of the gods of Ugarit (or make up your own).
**Priest is a 3rd level Cleric in this case (along with 2d4 1st level clerics and 0 level guards).

Under-City Level 1 (Undead Sub Table)
1-2: Skeletons (3d4)
3-5: Zombies (2d4)
6-7: Ghouls (2d6)
  8: Wight
  9: Ghast
 10: Mummy

Under-City Level 1 (Vermin Sub Table)  
1-3: Giant Rats (3d6)
4-6: Giant Snakes (1d4)
7-8: Giant Spiders (1d6)
  9: Giant Centipedes (1d4)
 10: Giant Scorpions (1d3)

Under-City Level 1 (Special Sub Table)
 1-2: Adventuring Party (2d8)
 3-5: Thieves & Slavers (3d8)
   6: Escaped Slaves (1d10)
 7-8: Beast-men (3d6)
9-10: Mutants (3d6)

Monday, April 4, 2011

April A to Z: D is for Desert of the Dead Gods & The Lack of Demihumans

Desert of the Dead Gods

The city of Ugarit rests on the western edge of the Narrow Sea at the foot of the Sumalhi Hills. Beyond the Sumalhi hills lies the vast plain of the Desert of the Dead Gods. The land here was once the prosperous and vibrant land where the ancients had vast cities that dotted the plain. Now the plain is sun baked and fire blasted by weapons in ages lost to history. These weapons laid cities to waste and turned some areas of the land into black baked glass. The area is now home to numerous nomadic bands of mutants and beast-men who were rumored to be the slaves of the ancients. Few are brave or adventurous enough to explore these lands, but it is rumored that the ruins are littered with artifacts and treasures of the ancients that once lived here.

Encounters in the Desert of the Dead Gods:

1: Wild Dogs (3d12)

2: Ghouls (2d10)

3-5: Nomadic Tribe* (3d100)

6: Iron Golem (1)

7: Band of Adventurers** (3d4)

8: Giant Spitting Snake (1d3)

9: Giant Ants (2d100)

10-11: Giant Scorpions (2d4)

12: Blink Dogs (3d6)

*The Nomadic tribes will be either:

1-3: Mutant Humanoids (use the following creatures as the tribe members: Goblins, Bugbears, Hobgoblins, and Ogres - these are mutated humans or experiments of the ancients, their true origin is not known).

4-6: Beast-Men (use Gnolls as beast-men stats - the Beast-men are jackal headed humanoids that hunt the Desert of the Dead Gods looking for slaves and treasures).

**The Band of adventurers will be composed of the following:

2d4 Fighting Men

1d3 Magic-Users

1d4 Thieves

1d3 Clerics or Draala (1-2 = human cleric, 3 = draala)

2d6 Slaves / Porters carrying equipment


The Ugarit campaign while using the Holmes edition and the Monster Manual, does NOT use Elves, Halflings, and Dwarves. Nor does it use any of the standard monster races (well not by name anyway). Some new character races will be introduced as substitutes for these races.


I will use the Draala (a very familiar race to players of Star Frontiers) in my game - this race was described in detail in the latest issue of Fight On! #11 written by Jason Vasche.

April A to Z: C is for Cults of Ugarit

In my Ugarit setting, clerics are not restricted to blunt weapons as some of the cults very much wish to shed blood for their gods. My clerics are restricted based on which cult they belong to. The city of Ugarit is considered the city of the Gods as all major cults have a base there (and make war for control of the under-city and it’s precious resources in artifacts).

There are many more cults than what I have described here but I provide a sample of some of the cults vying for control of Ugarit and the under-city.

Cult of Yamm – As mentioned in my “B” entry, the cult of Yamm is a very active (and aggressive) cult in the under-city. Yamm is the god of primordial chaos and represents the power of the sea, untamed and raging. His cult thrives on violence and are the most feared cult in the city. They have no presence in the above ground city of Ugarit as the other cults banded together to abolish their temple years ago, but they thrive in the under-city where it is much harder to root out secret temples. The priests of Yamm are not restricted to any melee weapons, however they cannot use missile weapons as they are seen as weak and unworthy of use.

Cult of the Ebon Wyrm – This cult reveres an ancient black dragon rumored to lair deep within the under-city. Some cult members make pilgrimages to the lower levels once a year in hopes of receiving special blessings from the fabled drake. Most cult members wear dark hooded cloaks and carry wicked curved daggers as a symbol of the wyrm’s fangs. Priests of the Ebon Wyrm cult can make use of short swords, daggers, and short bows in addition to clubs and maces.

Cult of the Virgin Spear - This cult reveres Anat the War Goddess. The followers of Anat are all females and must remain virgins until they have killed their first man in combat. So the cult of the Virgin Spear is composed of all the virgin followers of Anat that have yet to kill in battle. The priests of the Virgin Spear are able to use both spears and short swords in combat.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April A to Z: B is for Berserkers of Yamm

The cult of Yamm has certain followers who ingest a sea moss found in caves along the coast of the Narrow sea. The moss, called "Yazeem" provides a euphoric feeling of invincibility and a heightened sense of awareness (a +2 to initiative rolls). These users of Yazeem are known as the Berserkers of Yamm. Their hands are stained green from their frequent use of the sea moss, and most dye their hair and beards green to match. They do not wear armor and employ a wide variety of melee weapons, none employ missile weapons.

A band of Berserkers of Yamm will typically number between 6-36 members, anytime a band of 12 or more are encountered, they will be lead by an Acolyte of Yamm (a 1st or 2nd level cleric, roll d6, 1-4 1st level, 5-6 2nd level). These acolytes will also have dyed hair and green stained hands (though their stains are from administering the Yazeem to their party rather than ingesting it themselves). Most often these bands are out hunting out other cults or searching for slaves.

Berserker of Yamm
Move: 240 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 1d8+1 hit point
Armor Class: 9
Treasure: 3d8 coppers
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Attacks: 1
Damage: By weapon

Acolyte of Yamm (1st level)
Move: 120 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 1d6
Armor Class: 7
Treasure: 3d8 silver
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Attacks: 1
Damage: By Weapon

Acolyte of Yamm (2nd level)
Move: 120 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 2d6
Armor Class: 7
Treasure: 3d6 gold
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Attacks: 1
Damage: By Weapon
Magic: 1 1st level spell

Friday, April 1, 2011

April A to Z: A is for Acolytes of Ugarit

For my first installment of A to Z April, I present to you six NPC clerics for the Holmes edition of my Ugarit setting. These clerics could be potential allies or adversaries in the ancient-under city of Ugarit. The ancient under-city has numerous temples to the various cults found within the city walls of Ugarit. Each cult vies for control of more and more territory of the under-city. There are priceless artifacts from the forgotten age hidden amongst the ruins of the ancient city.

The city of Ugarit has been inhabited since the time of founding some 60,000 years ago and has survived massive devastation and countless empires only to be built again atop the ruins. There are many layers to the under-city each inhabited by cults and creatures that have retreated from the blinding sun of the arid world above.

AKKOR - Acolyte of Hadad (1st Level Cleric)
[STR 16, INT 8, CON 9, WIS 12, DEX 6, CHA 13, AC 6, HP 5]
Equipment: Leather armor, shield, mace, small pouch containing 14gp, small vial of holy water in leather pouch worn around his neck.

Akkor is a brute of a man, though slow witted and fat, he is as strong as a bull and easy to get along with. He enjoys a good laugh and can drink most under the table.

BASHERA - Acolyte of Anat (1st Level Cleric)
[STR 11, INT 10, CON 13, WIS 14, DEX 9, CHA 9, AC 4, HP 5]
Equipment: Mail, shield, mace, small pouch containing 6gp, copper arm band worn as symbol of martial strength on right arm

Bashera is a fiercely independent priestess of Anat the war goddess. She thrives on violence and likes to compose poetry of her battle glories to recite afterwards. She takes offense at those who mock or scoff her poetry. When not fighting or working on poetry, she tends to be quiet and sullen. Bashera is tall and fair.

JESHEM - Acolyte of Yamm (1st Level Cleric)
[STR 10, INT 14, CON 8, WIS 13, DEX 11, CHA 7, AC 7, HP 4]
Equipment: Leather armor, club, small pouch with 12gp, dagger, small holy symbol* worn on leather thong around neck

*The holy symbol of Yamm is a round, bronze disk with a wave symbol cutting through the center (~).

Jeshem is a wicked, cunning young priest. He has a keen eye for potential slaves and will not hesitate to take those he considers weak and sell them into slavery. He is somewhat paranoid and will trust no one fully. (Nor should they trust him!) Jeshem is short, lean, and wiry. As is the custom for cultists of Yamm, Jeshem’s hair is dyed green as his is short-cropped beard.

NYKO – Acolyite of Ea (2nd Level Cleric)
[STR 8, INT 14, CON 9, WIS 14, DEX 8, CHA 11, AC 9, HP 8]
Spells: 1 1st level spell
Equipment: no armor, small pouch containing 16gp, copper wrist band, wooden staff carved with cuneiform script (as symbol of Ea, go of knowledge)

Nyko is an aloof, sage-like priest. His knowledge is immense as is his ego. He can recite histories, poems, and sagas of all cultures and religions. He is tall, lean and bald.

TULEK – Acolyte of Shalim (2nd Level Cleric)
[STR 10, INT 9, CON 13, WIS 11, DEX 13, CHA 8, AC 7, HP 10]
Spells: 1 1st level spell
Equipment: Leather armor, hooded cloak, club, small pouch containing 14gp, copper ring with onyx stone (worth 5gp, symbol of Shalim god of Dusk).

Tulek is a man of little words. His devotion to Shalim (god of Dusk and Assassins) has given him the skills to work quickly and quietly. He is small, and of dark hair and complexion.

ULMAC – Acolyte of Ashima (2nd Level Cleric)
[STR 10, INT 10, CON 9, WIS 17, DEX 10, CHA 12, AC 7, HP 9]
Spells: 1 1st level spell
Equipment: Leather armor, club, small pouch containing 10gp, 2 knuckle bone dice in leather pouch worn on thong around his neck.

Ulmac is a boisterous, jolly soul. He casts his dice (fates) for those that ask (and that supply him a few coppers for his troubles). He is quick to point out that Ashima is fickle and nothing is carved in stone until it has come to pass. He is tall and barrel chested with a bald head and red beard.

The pdf of these NPCs can be found here and in my download sidebar.