Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Do you just summarize what is general knowledge? Do you roll on some kind of "rumor" table? How about individual write ups for each character?
I think tailored information would be best - though very time consuming to put into practice. The elf in the party might "know" that there are tribes of wild elves in the mountains constantly at war with orcs and goblins and that there are Aarokroka (sp?) tribes in the mountains who eat elves. The party dwarf might "know" that there are no dwarven clans presently in the mountains since the great Plague after the Landings Wars and that any dwarven halls are still haunted by disease ridden dwarf zombies and all the treasure in the halls was certainly taken when the dwarves fled the plague halls. A human character from the Western Alliance might "know" that the mountains are haunted by elven undead, who rose up after the Landings Wars and that humans are eaten by the various humanoid tribes in the mountains. A human PC who grew up close to the mountains might "know" that the mountains are wracked by almost daily thunderstorms and that there are active volcanoes in the range that are gates to the plane of fire and that Giants fight against demigods in the uppermost regions.
Yeah, that's not that good - but it makes the point. How to handle the fact that PCs would "know" different things - and that not everything they think they know can be true. For example:
There are dwarf halls haunted by undead, but they are not devoid of treasure, nor is the plague still a threat in them. There are elves in the mountains, but they are the canibals of the region, having driven the humanoid clans far away. There are giants and a couple demig0ds in the mountain range as well, though they are much more likely to work together (against the elves) than to fight one another. And, yes, there are daily thunderstorms and multiple active volcanoes - though there are no (known) gates to the plane of fire...
So, if I know that characters are going into a heretofore unexplored area, how much knowledge should I assume they have? And how should I handle it? I suspect it's generally handwaved, maybe with a few rolls on some rumor tables. And maybe that's enough.
I suppose that it would be a simple matter to roll up a few random rumors, then simply write it out as a paragraph: "Granock has heard that the Mountains are the haunt of..." and hand it to the player. It would be interesting to see what they do and don't share with their fellow players.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I Am A: Lawful Good Human Cleric (6th Level)
Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.
Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Tower Level Four
T17 Guest Room
This room is well appointed with a huge canopy bed, chests of drawers, several full length mirrors. Tapestries line the walls and carpets cover the floors.
T18 The Parlor
This room has fine carpets on the floors, cushioned couches and overstuffed chairs, a collection of wine (valued at about 5,000 gp for the entire collection), and two suits of magical platemail armor (Guardian Spirits – see New Monsters – who will attack if the master of the tower is threatened in any way).
T19 The Seer King’s Outer Chamber
This room is dominated by a dais with several large chairs – a huge throne-like seat and two smaller, yet very ornate, wooden chairs. Lining the walls are a number of paintings and other works of art (about 12,000 gp total). The chairs circle a small table with a crystal ball on it.
If the party attempts to use the Crystal Ball to find the Seer King, every attempt will simply reveal the Seer King's motionless state in the Observatory. In fact, any scrying related to the Seer King (attempting to scry the demon who took the book, for example) results in an image of the Seer King standing motionless on the balcony.
T20 The Seer King’s Inner Chamber
This chamber is in disarray – the bed is unmade, clothing and papers and empty wine bottles are scattered throughout. Dust is thick on the furniture.
The Seer King will sometimes spend days alone in his chamber so he has forbidden the Unseen Servants entrance to his Inner Chamber. There is nothing of particular value or interest in this mess.
Friday, May 21, 2010
When 2e came out, I was torn. There were plenty of things to like about the game, but the attitude around it was off. It almost seemed like the people behind D&D didn't particularly care for the way I loved D&D. Maybe I was completely irrational, but the game felt changed in some insidious way.
As time went on, that feeling only increased. There were bright spots, most notably Dungeon magazine, but a lot of the stuff TSR put out didn't really speak to why I fell in love with D&D in the first place. I wanted to love D&D, but it wasn't really clear that the company behind D&D wanted to return that love.
Then something pretty cool happened. In 1999, at my very first GenCon, I sat in the audience as Ryan Dancey announced 3rd edition. It was like a religious revival. One presentation and free t-shirt later, and I was a complete convert. My friend Nate called it a money grab, an appeal to munchkins. I think my exact response was, "**** you dude. This is the best thing that's ever happened to D&D."
For whatever reason, the entire presentation of 3e's announcement felt like it had been directed straight at me. I was a complete D&D goob again. Hallelujah, praise Gygax, my faith was restored.
A year later, my faith had been well-placed. 3e was awesome. D&D felt like the game I always had wanted it to be.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
T16 Servants’ Rooms
These unremarkable rooms are kept clean and usable by the Unseen Servants. Each room has a small bed, a small table, a small mirror, a bowl and pitcher and a two drawer chest.
Really, that's all I wrote for this whole level...sigh... Okay - here goes:
T9 Spiral Staircase
T16 Servants’ Rooms
These generally unremarkable rooms are kept clean and usable by the Unseen Servants.
A. B. C. -
Each room has a small bed, a small table, a small mirror, a bowl and pitcher and a two drawer chest. I
n addition to the above listed items, these rooms contain dresses, makeup, combs and other accouterments of camber maids (all of very minor value - 1-10gp per room). The walls have tapestries depicting famous love stories and the rugs on the floors are deep and luxurious. There is a 20% chance per room of finding 1-20 sp and 1-6 gp. In room C the PCs might find a journal tucked away in the dresser. The journal is the diary of a young lady named Clarissa who was a servant in the Seer-King's household. She writes lovingly of the Seer-King's wife, respectfully of the Seer-King himself. She writes of her love for a young man named Giles and her disdain for Mistress Pyria (presumably the Housekeeper, in charge of the chamber maids of the household). She also writes of her fear of Master Connell (the Steward).
D. Mistress Pyria's room. This chamber is more spartan than the other ladies' chambers, eschewing the carpets and tapestries for hard wood flooring and only a single painting, a poorly painted portrait of an oder man (not the Seer King). The mirrored table in this room has only a small simple (worthless) comb, basin and wash bowl. In the chest of drawers are four dark blue dresses and one white dress. The bed in this room is softer and more comfortable than the other womens' beds.
E. Valet's chamber - This room contains many trunks of clothing (the Seer-King's castoffs, which the Valet would often keep for himself) as well as a large bed (for the Valet and his wife) and a chest of drawers, a mirrored table, a small desk and chair. A rug in the middle of the room (valued at 100gp) is soft and deep. (Hidden under a loose floorboard is 18 gp and a small 50gp ruby)
F. G. H. Footman's Chambers - These rooms are very similar. They each contain a simple bed, wardrobe, chair or two, tapestries depicting hunting or battle scenes. Weapons racks are on the walls, each with 2 spears (room for more, though). F has a highly decorative helmet (10gp), G has a shield and H has a pair of throwing daggers.
I. Master Connell's room - this large chamber contains a huge canopy bed, a desk, a small table with four chairs, several chests of drawers, two wardrobes. Tapestries line the walls (depicting famous historical and religious scenes). The carpets on the floor are deep and very valuable (four rugs worth 200gp each). On the desk are a gold pen and crystal inkwell (worth 10gp), a number of papers (mostly notes about household business) and a small scale. One drawer in the desk is locked (the key is long gone). The locked drawer contains 100sp and 200 cp as well as two ledgers (which on the surface appear similar, but in fact reveal that the Steward was stealing from the Seer King). A hollow in the headboard of the bed reveals a small secret compartment with a potion vial (invisibility) and a dagger (+2). One of the wardrobes has a false back which opens to reveal a secret compartment containing a black robe (non-magical) and a silver dagger with strange sigils etched into the blade.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tower Level Two
T9 Spiral Staircase
T14 Grand Library
This entire level is taken up with the Grand Library. The Seer King is a collector of lore and has thousands of books here. All of the books in the main tower are valuable (to a library, collector, historian, sage, etc) but not magical.
The answer to what is causing the plague cannot be discovered in the tomes in this library, no matter how long the party studies. They can find the Seer King’s journals, which he has kept for the past century. If they study the volumes (and there are 147 volumes (of 150-300 pages each) covering a total of 119 years of his life, they will find that he traveled widely during the past century (unbeknownst to the people of Malan), he has enjoyed the company of several good friends and that he has very much enjoyed helping the people of Malan, even with very trifling affairs.
A more thorough examination (taking 2-12 days) will note a subtle shift in the Seer King’s attitude, beginning about 3 years ago. He begins writing about “deep knowledge” and attaining “the ascendancy,” though with no definitions of what these things mean.
The final entry is probably the most relevant to the adventure. The Seer King writes that he had finally acquired the book The Sacred Knowledge of the Worlds but that a demon had stolen it and fled through the soul gem. He made preparations to enter the soul gem and follow the trail of the demon to retrieve the book in “the maze of the deep knowledge.”
A small closet (T13A) houses cleaning supplies and other mundane items. When stepping through the soul gem, however, the closet becomes the gateway to the Seer King’s Mind (see The Seer King on level six of the tower).
The entrance to the tower (T15) chamber is magically locked (at 20th level) and can be opened with the key that is around the Seer King’s neck (a three tone whistle).
T15 Special Library
Herein are the Seer King’s most valuable books and scrolls.
Here the party could find The Book of the Ages, (magic from ancient eras – some unknown today) The Songbook of Soliman (a bardic songbook), Far and Near (A Treatise on Magical Travel), Chaosia (a huge book speculating on the nature of demons and the chaos realms), Hope and Sorrow(a book studying various religions and religious practices related to the dead, of vital interest to necromancers), anything the DM desires to be here. Behind one of the bookshelves is a secret hiding place where the Seer King has hidden a Tome of Clear Thought.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The journey to the tower is unremarkable, since this is a fairly settled area. If desired, a couple minor random encounters can be dropped in. Remember, the tower is only a day's journey from Malan (to the East, along a road for most of the journey).
Entering the tower is meant to be a minor challenge, since the main doors are wizard locked at 30th level. There are no windows on the first or second level. The first windows appear 35' up, but are all shuttered (and wizard locked). The tower is 80' tall, 60' in diameter, flanked by two lesser towers (30’ in diameter, 30’ high), all roofed with conical wooden roofs.
The main doors and the shutters are constructed of Ironwood and are reinforced with iron. They are nearly indestructible (and are shielded against magic) though a persistent person could hack through them with 4 successful bend bars rolls.
On the sixth level there is a balcony directly over the main doors. The doors leading into the sixth level are glass and lead. They, too, are wizard locked and shielded, though they are breakable via normal means (frankly nearly any non magical attack will destroy the doors).
The party can deactivate the wizard lock by simply speaking the key (found on the portrait in the library of Malan). Or they can seek magical means, or batter their way into the building.
It doesn't really matter how the party gains access to the tower (though cynical players may assume that the glass doors are meant to railroad them into a particular area), they will find the tower to be neat and orderly and well kept.
General Notes about the Tower:
- Ceilings are 10’ unless otherwise noted.
- All spells function normally within the tower, with the exception of the library (see below)
- Unseen Servants flit around the building taking care of mundane tasks. They will not attack and if attacked they will simply disappear.
Tower Level 1
T1 Oaken Doors
Heavy oaken doors serve as the main entrance to the Tower. The doors are incredibly strong and enchanted to withstand any magical attack (including magical weapons). Brute force could be used, but the doors have 200 hp and note that magical weapons do zero damage to the doors. The doors could be opened using the Seer King’s three tone whistle key (hanging around his neck).
T2 Entry Hall
The floor here is thickly carpeted so footsteps are muted. Several stuffed chairs and a small table stand in the center of the room under the grand chandelier. Artwork lines the walls, none of it particularly remarkable. There are two suits of full plate mail armor with polearms.
This is the hall where the Seer King generally meets outsiders. Few people (only a very few close friends) have been beyond this hall.
The suits of armor radiate magic, because they are magically animated guardians called Guardian Spirits (see New Monsters). If the master of the tower is ever threatened in this room, the suits of platemail animate and attack, defending their master.
Guardian Spirits AC 1; MV 90’; HD 8; hp 8-64; THAC0 12; #AT 1; D per weapon (typically polearm and mace); SD Immune to sleep/charm/hold/polymorph/fear, +1 wpn to-hit; SZ S; Int Very; AL N; XP 1,275+10/hp.
A couch and several comfortable chairs rest along the walls here. Several tables have vases of fresh flowers on them. On one table is a decanter of fine wine (see New Magic Items) and a half dozen long stemmed glasses.
Shelves filled with mundane household items line the walls here.
The kitchen is very clean, almost as if it hasn’t been used for some time (because it hasn’t). Along the north wall is a basin with a water pump, a stove and an oven. Along the eastern wall, between the doors, is a rack of pots and pans and other kitchen utensils. Along western wall are shelves containing small sacks and jars with four, sugar, spices and various other items for cooking. If anything is shifted out of place, an unseen servant will replace it (if possible) within 3 rounds.
The pantry is well stocked with various dry goods – four, sugar, spices and the like – as well as dried and cured meats, jars filled with vegetables and sauces, and various other foodstuffs.
The servants’ closet contains a few dusty cloaks and a dress in need of repair.
T8 Dining Hall
The huge oaken table and chairs will accommodate 20 people. Four huge, 10 candle, silver candelabras rest on the table (worth 100gp each). A chest beside the door in the western wall holds silverware and serving utensils (250 gp). Along the northern wall are portraits of previous generations of the Seer King’s family. Along the curved NE wall are tapestries depicting hunting parties in the southern woods.
T9 Spiral Staircase up.
The 6’ wide staircase hugs this small tower’s wall as it spirals upward to the upper floors. A wrought iron railing protects climbers from the treacherous fall
T10 Servants’ Room
When the Seer King built this tower for his wife, he intended to have a number of servants attend them. Since his wife’s death, he allows the Unseen Servants to care for the tower, preferring to forgo any human contact. This room is empty. If the party searches carefully, they can find a loose floorboard. Underneath is the diary of the Lady-in-waiting that the Seer King had employed for a brief time while his wife was alive. The Lady-in-waiting loved her mistress but feared the Seer King. With the diary is a pouch containing 13 sp.
T11 Stairs to Cellar
This narrow staircase descends into the darkness, leading to T12.
Here is the Seer King’s fortune (or so it is supposed to appear). The door is locked with a mundane lock (the key is in the Seer King’s Inner Chamber T19) but it is also trapped – with poison darts. If the key is not used, 20 poison darts shoot out of the ceiling (THAC0 14). Each hit causes 1 hp damage and a sudden loss of Constitution (down to 5), which causes each character to make a system shock roll (at CON 5) or pass out for 3-12 turns. Constitution can be regained at the rate of 1 point per day.
90 gp White Pearl
7 gp Tiger Eye Turquoise
700 gp Golden Yellow Topaz
11 gp Eye Agate
500 gp Golden Yellow Topaz
60 gp Rose Quartz
Scroll: Magic Missle (6th level)
Potions: Climbing, Giant Strength, Levitation
Monday, May 10, 2010
Advanced Illusion Range: 180’
Illusionist 4 Duration: 1 minute/level
This spell functions like the spell spectral force, except that the illusion follows a script determined by the caster. The illusion follows the script without requiring the caster to concentrate on it. The illusion can include intelligible speech if the caster wishes; however, such speech is likewise scripted, so the illusion will not respond if spoken to.
Secondary: the illusionist can create a small 3-D illusory effect (no more than 3’x3’) that is a single color and translucent.
Residual: the illusionist glows slightly and makes inexplicable noises (jingling bells, sniffing sounds, etc).
Edditzi's sophisticated immaterial occultation