Dec 28, 2010

Specialty Priests of the Westron Church (part 3)

These are the priests affiliated with the Goddess of Agriculture, Corrise.

Corrise - Goddess of Agriculture
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 11, Constitution 12. Wisdom or Constitution 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Constitution 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Agriculture (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bill, flails (both), hand-throwing axe, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: All non-magical non-metal armor, all non-magical (non-metal) shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Creation, Divination, Plant, and Summoning (can only use wall of thorns , weather summoning , and creeping doom from this sphere).
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Healing, Protection, Sun, and Weather.
  • Powers: Identification A priest of Corrise can examine any normal (non-magical) plant and determine if it is healthy, if not what is wrong with it, where it naturally grows, etc; Create Food and Water (Priest can cast this once per day, for free); Immune to any food poisoning from vegetable source; Heroes' Feast - at 8th Level can cast this once per day.
  • Symbol: Sheaf of Wheat
Green Man - Demigod of Vegetation and Plants, husband of Corrise
  • Priest's Alignment: True Neutral, Neutral Good, or Lawful Neutral
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 9. Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Herbalism (required). Sickle Weapon required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Warrior.
  • Weapons and Armor: Club, quarterstaff, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: No armor; all wooden shields (no metal or leather).
  • Restrictions: May not wear Leather or Furs in their clothing.
  • Major Spheres: All, Divination, Healing, Plant, Protection, Summoning, Weather.
  • Minor Spheres: Combat, Creation, Guardian, Necromantic, Sun.
  • Powers: Identify any plant (magical or non-magical) perfectly; Pass through Overgrowth (as per Druid, but at 1st level).
  • Symbol: Oak Leaf and Acorn.
Saint Ermo - Patron Saint of the Earth and Building
  • Priest's Alignment: True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12. Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Required one of (Mining, Stonemasonry). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Club, dagger/dirk, knife, mace, maul, morning star, picks (all), scythe, sickle, sling, staff sling, stiletto, warhammer. Armor Permitted: All non-magical non-metal armor, all non-magical non-metal shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Creation, Elemental (the priest may only use spells dealing with dust, stone, rock, mud, and earth, plus transmute metal to wood ), Plant, Summoning.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Divination, Healing, Protection.
  • Powers: Immune to all Snake venoms (+3 to saving throw); Detect grade or slope as per Dwarf (if character is already a Dwarf, then chances improve by 1 on the dice); Determine approximate depth underground as per Dwarf (if character is already a Dwarf, then chances improve by 1 on the dice).
  • Symbol: Stone.
  • Homehall Cathedral, in Gorrem
  • Monastery - Harmonious Reflectory of Order in Octorix, Barony of Henn
Brother Rudiger - Patron Saint of Home and Community- detailed writeup here.
  • Priest's Alignment: Any non-evil alignment.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Charisma 12. Wisdom or Charisma 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Charisma 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Local History (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Dagger/Dirk, Knife, Flails (both), Morningstar. All armors and shields allowed.
  • Restrictions: Priests of the order of Brother Rudiger must always wear vestments indicating their priestly status.
  • Major Spheres: All, Creation, Healing.
  • Minor Spheres: Combat, Protection.
  • Powers: Incite Berserker Rage (A willing warrior may be incited at most 1 time per day. It takes 1 round for the priest to incite the warrior. Then the warrior has +2 to hit and damage, and cannot leave the field of battle while foes still face him. Once he leaves, he chooses whether or not to emerge from the rage); Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB);
  • Symbol: Knotted golden rope.
Saint Lilliane - Patron Saint of Orphans and the Dispossessed
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Strength 12. Wisdom or Strength 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Strength 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Healing (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Dagger/dirk, knife, stiletto, swords (all). Armor Permitted: All armor, all shields.
  • Restrictions: May never turn away an individual looking for hospitality.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Healing.
  • Minor Spheres: Combat, Creation, Divination, Protection.
  • Powers: Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level); Laying on Hands (as per Paladin in PHB)
  • Symbol: Open Hands.
  • Tolbe Cathedral - in Botts (also known as the Orphans' Cathedral)
Saint Varina - Patron Saint of Vineyards and Wine
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, Chaotic Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 9. Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Brewing (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Club, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: All armor and shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Elemental, Plant, Protection.
  • Minor Spheres: Divination, Healing, Sun, Weather.
  • Powers: Immune to the effects of Alcohol; Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Constitution raised to 18 at level 8.
  • Symbol: Bunch of Grapes.
Saint Norena - Patron Saint of Fire and Comfort
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Intelligence 10. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Firebuilding (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Wizard.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bill, dagger/dirk, knife, stiletto, swords (all). Armor Permitted: All metal armor, all metal shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Elemental (the priest may only use the spells whose names include the words Fire, Flame, Heat, Pyrotechnics, and the spell chariot of Sustarre ), Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Charm, Divination, Healing, Necromantic, Protection, Weather.
  • Powers: Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level); Immune to fire and heat attacks (+2 to saving throw); Create Food and Water once per day.
  • Symbol: Cooking Fire.
  • Appuco Fast cathedral - Khomaes
Olimo Vis - Demigoddess of Autumn and the Harvest
  • Priest's Alignment: Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Neutral Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Intelligence 10. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Club, quarterstaff, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: No armor; all wooden shields (no metal or leather).
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Divination, Healing, Necromantic, Plant, Summoning, Weather.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Charm, Creation, Elemental, Protection, Sun.
  • Powers: Immunity (automatic successful save) vs. all priest spells of the Elemental Sphere, and wizard spells with coldness and/or heat in their name; Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level).
  • Symbol: Leaf.
Elongar Suu - Demigoddess of Summer and Growth
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, Chaotic Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Dexterity 10. Wisdom or Dexterity 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Dexterity 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all), Club, quarterstaff, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: All armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Animal, Healing, Plant, Weather.
  • Minor Spheres: Divination, Guardian, Protection, Summoning.
  • Powers: Identification of the time of day, whenever outside; Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB);
  • Symbol: Tree.
Neuvirra Oss - Demigoddess of Spring and the Planting
  • Priest's Alignment: True Neutral, Neutral Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Strength 10. Wisdom or Strength 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Strength 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Club, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: All non-magical non-metal armor, all non-magical (non-metal) shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Combat, Plant.
  • Minor Spheres: Divination, Healing, Weather.
  • Powers: Charm/Fascination (Works as the 3rd level Wizard Spell suggestion, but cannot be used in combat); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB).
  • Symbol: Sapling.
Frigia Nor - Demigoddess of Winter and Feasting
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, Lawful Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Constitution 10. Wisdom or Constitution 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Constitution 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bill, flails (both), hand-throwing axe, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: All non-magical non-metal armor, all non-magical (non-metal) shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Creation, Elemental, Protection, Weather.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Divination, Healing, Plant.
  • Powers: Create Food and Water (once per day); Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level);
  • Symbol: Bare tree.
  • Sky Cathedral in Werms.

Specialty Priests of the Westron Church (part 2)

This second installment (of three) concerns itself with the goddess of magic, Magenta, and her affiliated demigods and saints.  The goddess has a lover, Kostamus (the demigod of Sunlight), with whom she has had three daughters - the three Moons (Poritia Nove, Veltin Crimsea, and Argina Lustar).  This is curious, as it is the only option for Evil priests in the church (Veltin Crimsea, the demigoddess of the Red Moon has a strain of wickedness running through her personality).

Also listed here are the two twins, Noxecatt and Dralizar - demigods both, but definitely not part of the Westron Church!  They are listed here because of their origin, it is said (by myth) that they were fathered by the prince of devils Baxilar in a treacherous affair he had with Magenta in her youth.


Magenta - goddess of Magic
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Intelligence 13. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Spellcraft (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Wizard.
  • Weapons and Armor: Belaying pin, dagger/dirk, dart, knife, quarterstaff, sling. Armor Permitted: None; no shields.
  • Restrictions: Priests of Magenta receive d4 hit dice, rather than d8 hit dice.
  • Major Spheres: All, Astral, Charm, Divination, Elemental, Healing, Protection, Summoning.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Guardian, Necromantic, Plant, Sun, Weather.
  • Powers: Inspire Fear (2x per day, as per Wizard spell of 4th level); Languages (Learn one new language per level, up to 8th level. This may be of a sentient species or of a plant or animal.); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Infravision at 3rd level (60', or 120' if the priest already has infravision); Shapechanging at 8th level (as per the Druid in PHB).
  • Symbol: Bowl with a flame above it.
Kostamus - demigod of sunlight, Lover of Magenta
  • Priest's Alignment: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Lawful Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Intelligence 12. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Healing (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Wizard.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all), crossbow, dagger/dirk, dart, javelin, knife, spear. Armor Permitted: All metal armor and all shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Divination, Healing, Necromantic, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Charm, Elemental (the priest can only use spells with the words fire, flame, heat, and pyrotechnics in the names), Plant, Protection.
  • Powers: Detect Secret Doors as per Elf (if already an Elf or Half Elf, chance improves by 1 for all categories); Infravision as per Elf (if priest already has Infravision, it becomes 120'); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Laying on Hands at 5th level (as per Paladin in PHB); Prophecy at 8th level (as per Saint Gianna, below); Chariot of Sustarre Cast the spell once per day, for free.
  • Symbol: Chariot wheel.
Saint Brigid - patron saint of Healing and the Sick
  • Priest's Alignment: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Intelligence 10. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Healing (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Lasso, mancatcher, net, quarterstaff. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: Priests of St. Brigid must never appear in public unless wearing the symbol of Saint Brigid. May never attack, only fight in defense.
  • Major Spheres: All, Creation, Divination, Healing, Necromantic, Protection, Summoning.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Charm, Guardian, Plant, Sun, Weather.
  • Powers: Immune +2 to all saves versus poisons and disease; Laying on Hands (as per Paladin in PHB); Soothing Word 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Identify any disease or poison (at 3rd Level) with an Intelligence check.
  • Symbol: White crook with three red healing berries. Common symbol on clothing livery is the cluster of three red berries.
  • An order of Nuns operate the Hospital of the Pierced Pelican at Haaksen.
Saint Kelvin - patron saint of Light- detailed information can be found Here.
  • Priest's Alignment: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Lawful Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Intelligence 12. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Direction Sense (Required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Wizard.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all), crossbow, dagger/dirk, dart, javelin, knife, sling, spear. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Divination, Healing, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Creation, Necromantic, Plant.
  • Powers: Infravision as per Elf 60' (if Priest already has Infravision, it doubles to 120'); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB);Laying on Hands at 3rd Level (as per Paladin in PHB); Charm/Fascination at 5th level (Works as the 3rd level Wizard Spell suggestion, but cannot be used in combat); Prophecy 1x per day (The priest goes into a 10 minute trance and may ask one question of the DM.);
  • Symbol: Sun with rays of light
Saint Gianna - patron saint of Oracles
  • Priest's Alignment: True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 9, Charisma 11. Wisdom or Charisma 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Charisma 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Astrology (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Dagger, Knife, Dart. No Armor or Shields permitted.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Divination, Elemental, Healing, Summoning.
  • Minor Spheres: Charm, Creation, Necromantic, Sun.
  • Powers: Languages (Learn one new language per level, up to 8th level. This may be of any sentient species.); Prophecy 1x per day (The priest goes into a 10 minute trance and may ask one question of the DM.).
  • Symbol: Bowl with 1 strand of smoke coming up out of it.
  • Hol Kram, the Cathedral of Starry Wisdom, is located in the city of Na Kram.
Poritia Nove - demigoddess of the White Moon
  • Priest's Alignment: Lawful Good, Neutral Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 9. Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Religion (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Warrior.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all), dagger/dirk, hand/throwing axe, javelin, knife, lasso, polearm, spear, staff sling, stiletto, swords (all). Armor Permitted: All armor and shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Healing, Protection.
  • Minor Spheres: Charm, Divination.
  • Powers: Detect Evil (as per spell, 3x per day in addition to other spells); Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Permanent +1 to hit and damage vs. all Evil foes.
  • Symbol: White Moon on a Black Field.
Veltin Crimsea - demigoddess of the Red Moon
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Evil, True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 11, Intelligence 11. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Astrology (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all), dagger/dirk, dart, knife, stiletto, sword/rapier, sword/short. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Divination, Necromantic, Summoning, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Elemental, Guardian, Protection.
  • Powers: Infravision (60' - a priest who normally has infravision would have 120'); True Neutral priests can Turn Undead and Neutral Evil priest can Control Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Shapechanging once per day, can turn into a Bat.
  • Symbol: Red Moon on a Black Field.
Argina Lustar - demigoddess of the Golden Moon
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, True Neutral
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10. Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Navigation (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all), dagger/dirk, dart, javelin, knife, sling, spear. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor; any shield that is circular or crescent-shaped.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Divination, Summoning, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Elemental, Healing, Necromantic.
  • Powers: Infravision (60' - a priest who normally has infravision would have 120'); Charm/Fascination (Works as the 3rd level Wizard Spell suggestion, but cannot be used in combat); Inspire Fear at 5th level (2x per day, as per Wizard spell of 4th level); Chariot of Sustarre at level 10 Cast the spell once per day, for free
  • Symbol: Golden Moon on a Black Field.
Noxecatt - demigoddess of Underworld and Darkness - NOT actually part of the church
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Evil, Lawful Evil
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 11, Intelligence 11. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Astrology (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Weapons Permitted: Bows (all), crossbow, dagger/dirk, dart, knife, stiletto, sword/rapier, sword/short. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Divination, Necromantic, Summoning, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Elemental, Guardian, Protection.
  • Powers: Infravision (60' - a priest who normall has infravision would have 120'); Control Undead (as per the cleric in PHB)
  • Symbol: White mound with a black portal on it.
Dralizar - demigod of thieves and the night - NOT actually part of the Church
  • Priest's Alignment: Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Intelligence 12. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Disguise (required). No Weapons required; NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Rogue.
  • Weapons and Armor: Blowgun, bows (all), crossbow, dagger/dirk, javelin, knife, lasso, net, quarterstaff, spear, stiletto, sword/bastard, sword/long, sword/rapier, sword/sabre, sword/short. Armor Permitted: All non-magical non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: Charm, Divination, Protection, Summoning.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Elemental, Guardian, Plant.
  • Powers: Charm/Fascination (Works as the 3rd level Wizard Spell suggestion, but cannot be used in combat); Detect Secret Doors as per Elf (if already an Elf or Half Elf, chance improves by 1 for all categories); Shapechanging at 8th level (as per Druid in PHB, but must choose nocturnal animal forms).
  • Symbol: White fox silhouette on a black field.

Dec 27, 2010

Specialty Priests of the Westron Church (part 1)

The many various orders and chapters of the Westron Church each have their own specialty priests (for a list, see this post), available for Human player character use - here are the important stats.

First the goddess of Fertility (one of the three that the Westron Church is based on), as well as her affiliated demigods and saints.

Nadene - goddess of Fertility
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral or Neutral Good
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Charisma 12. Wisdom or Charisma 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Charisma 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Herbalism (Required).  NWP groups - Priest, General.  No weapons required.
  • Weapons and Armor: Weapons Permitted: Javelin, polearm, spear. Armor Permitted: Hide armor and leather armor (normal or magical), all non-metal shields.
  • Restrictions: Priests of Nadene must be married.
  • Major Spheres: All, Healing, Necromantic, Plant, Summoning.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Charm, Creation, Divination, Protection, Weather.
  • Powers: Charm/Fascination (Works as the 3rd level Wizard Spell suggestion, but cannot be used in combat); Incite Berserker Rage (A willing warrior may be incited at most 1 time per day.  It takes 1 round for the priest to incite the warrior.  Then the warrior has +2 to hit and damage, and cannot leave the field of battle while foes still face him.  Once he leaves, he chooses whether or not to emerge from the rage); May choose one of the following animals which which the priest may communicate (not control, just talk to): Cattle, goats, horses, rabbits, sheep or snakes.
  • Symbol: The symbol of Nadene is a Pine Cone.
Kyclos - demigod of the Cycle of Life
  • Priest's Alignment: True Neutral
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10.  Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Religion (required). NWP groups - Priest, General.  No weapons required.
  • Weapons and Armor: Weapons Permitted: Dagger/dirk, knife, scythe, sickle. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: Priests may not eat animal flesh - they are vegetarian.
  • Major Spheres: All, Divination, Healing, Necromantic (Special Note: These priests cannot use resurrection spell; they use reincarnate instead), Plant, Summoning, Weather.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Charm, Creation, Elemental, Protection, Sun.
  • Powers: Incite Berserker Rage (A willing warrior may be incited at most 1 time per day.  It takes 1 round for the priest to incite the warrior.  Then the warrior has +2 to hit and damage, and cannot leave the field of battle while foes still face him.  Once he leaves, he chooses whether or not to emerge from the rage); Turn Undead (same as a Cleric in PHB)
  • Symbol: Braided Circle.
 St. Horace - patron saint of Animals
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good or True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 9, Charisma 13. Wisdom or Charisma 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Charisma 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Animal Handling (Required).  No weapons required.  NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Warrior.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bill, cestus, club, dagger/dirk, knife, mace, main-gauche, stiletto, swords (all), warhammer. Armor Permitted: all non-metal armor; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Animal, Charm, Divination, Protection.
  • Minor Spheres: Combat, Creation, Healing, Plant.
  • Powers: Identification of any Natural monster or animal; Speak with 3 specific types of animals (priest chooses, 1 bird, 1 mammal, and 1 fish or reptile; Soothing Word for Natural monsters or animals 3x a day (can remove a Fear spell or calm down animals or monsters up to 2x the priests level); Shapechanging at level 5 (as per the Druid's power from the PHB - same animals the Priest may speak to)
  • Symbol: Salmon 
  • The Stone of Life - Great Cathedral of St. Horace, is located at Ungams. 
  • A number of different Ranger Hermitages exist throughout the valley, that are associated with St. Horace, who's clerics have an affinity for both Human and Elven Rangers.  The original, is the site of the Eagles of Jazzan.
Mother Kimber - patron saint of childbirth and children
  • Worshiper's Alignment: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Lawful Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10. Wisdom 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Healing (required).  No weapons required.  NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Lasso, net. Armor Permitted: None; no shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Astral, Charm, Creation, Elemental, Healing, Protection, Summoning, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Animal, Combat, Divination, Guardian, Necromantic.
  • Powers: Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB)
  • Symbol: Circle with a dot in it, off center
 St. Leiathar - patron saint of Weather
  • Priests's Alignment: True Neutral or Neutral Good
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Constitution 12. Wisdom or Constitution 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Constitution 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Weather Sense (required).  No weapons required. NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Battle axe, bows (all), club, hand/throwing axe, javelin, spear, warhammer. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor, all shields.
  • Restrictions: None
  • Major Spheres: All, Astral, Elemental (the priest can only use spells with the words Water, Air, and Wind in their names, and the spell chariot of Sustarre ), Protection, Weather.
  • Minor Spheres: Combat, Divination, Plant, Sun.
  • Powers: Inspire Fear (2x per day, as per Wizard spell of 4th level).
  • Symbol: Cloud.
  • Cloudhome Cathedral in Werms.
 St. Jaspar - patron saint of Strength and Rocks
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, or True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 9, Strength 15. Wisdom or Strength 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Strength 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Endurance (Required).  No weapons required.  NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Warrior.
  • Weapons and Armor: Battle axe, cestus, club, mace, maul, morning star, picks (all), polearm, sword/two-handed, warhammer. Armor Permitted: All armor and shields.
  • Major Spheres: All, Combat, Healing.
  • Minor Spheres: Elemental, Necromantic.
  • Powers: Immune to life draining and paralysis from undead, also to chill touch, energy drain, enervation, ray of enfeeblement, and vampiric touch; Turn Undead (as per Cleric in PHB); Incite Berserker Rage at 5th level; Inspire Fear (2x per day, as per Wizard spell of 4th level) at 8th level.
  • Symbol: Mountain.
  • The Cathedral of Earthroot is located in the City of Shadows, capitol of Henn.
 Brother Ian - patron saint of Knowledge and Fire
  • Priest's Alignment: Neutral Good, or True Neutral.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 10, Intelligence 10. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Firebuilding (required). No Weapons required.  NWPs allowed: Priest, General, Wizard.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bill, dagger/dirk, knife, stiletto, swords (all). Armor Permitted: All metal armor, all metal shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Elemental (the priest may only use the spells whose names include the words Fire, Flame, Heat, Pyrotechnics, and the spell Chariot of Sustarre), Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Charm, Divination, Healing, Necromantic, Protection, Weather.
  • Powers: Pass Unharmed through any wall of fire spell; Immune - +2 saving throw vs. priest spells of Elemental sphere, and all wizard spells of Evocation and Alteration with the words fire, burning, flaming, pyrotechnics, and incendiary in the title.
  • Symbol: Lantern
 St. Ellain - patron saint of Art and Water
  • Priest's Alignment: Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Lawful Good
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 13, Intelligence 12. Wisdom or Intelligence 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Intelligence 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Artistic Ability (choose one) (required).  No weapons required. NWPs allowed: Priest and General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Bows (all) are the only weapon allowed.  No armor or shields allowed.
  • Restrictions: Priests in the order of St. Ellain receive D6 for hit dice, rather than D8.
  • Major Spheres: All, Astral, Creation, Divination, Elemental, Plant, Protection, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Healing, Necromantic.
  • Powers: Identification of and Immunity vs. certain spells. Because of the priest's superior insight into creativity and art, he is Immune (receives an automatically-successful saving throw) to all first-level wizard Illusion spells for which a saving throw is possible, and gets a +2 saving throw vs. all other Illusion spells for which a saving throw is possible (he can't make a saving throw against someone else's invisibility, for instance).
  • Symbol: Quill
  • Ramee Tower Cathedral - Khomaes
 Sister Silpha - patron saint of Travel and Air
  • Priest's Alignment:True Neutral or Neutral Good.
  • Minimum Abilities: Wisdom 12, Charisma 10. Wisdom or Charisma 16 means +5% experience; Wisdom and Charisma 16 means +10% experience.
  • NWP and WPN Prof: Navigation (Required). No Weapons required;  NWPs allowed: Priest, General.
  • Weapons and Armor: Club, javelin, mace, maul, polearm, quarterstaff, spear, trident. Armor Permitted: All non-metal armor and all shields.
  • Restrictions: None.
  • Major Spheres: All, Charm, Divination, Protection, Sun.
  • Minor Spheres: Elemental, Guardian, Necromantic, Plant.
  • Powers: Receive a new Language once per level, until level 8; Soothing Word (3x a day can remove a Fear spell or calm down people or monsters up to 2x the priests level), Charm/Fascination (works as 3rd level Wizard spell) at 8th level.
  • Symbol: Walking stick.

    Wizardry and the Schools of Magic

    Magic in the Valley of the Old Ones works in a true-to-old-school Vance-like manner.  If that means nothing to you then it is simply this - spells are a way to release a specific type of energy (called magic) in a certain form (the spell's effects), and that energy is captured in potential form when the magic user "memorizes" the spell.  Once the spell is cast, then the energy is released, and the spell must be re-memorized in order to cast it again.  Priest and Druid magic is different, in that it is merely released from either the supernatural source, or nature (in the case of Druids), so it need not be memorized in the same manner.

    The magic of Magic Users is known as arcane magic, or simply wizardry.  It falls into a number of different schools, each having to do with a different aspect of magic.  All practitioners, as usual, have access to the school of Lesser Divination (which provides the basic spells req'd for all spellcasters).  Again, this is as per 2nd Ed rules.

    The other 8 schools of magic, however, are all studied and researched at a number of different magical institutions, located in different cities.  This is not to suggest that all of the magic users within a certain barony are of a certain school, only that the master of that school and the chief practitioners are located in a particular city.  It is customary (but by no means universal) that rulers of Baronies will allow magic users to travel across borders, even during times of strife, if they are visiting a particular school and agree to a vow of peace while in the territory.
    • Elder Institute for Necromantic Legerdemain - The school of Necromancy is located in the city of Devrie.  It is a tall, spindly black tower, the dome of which is a huge white skull made of marble.  The grounds around the tower - a large circle of land - are devoid of living things.  The current grand master is Necromancer Malchaumis (male).
    • Eldritch College of Channeling and Shaping - The school of Invocation and Evocation is located in the city of Lynch.  It is a castle, with a number of massive round towers all about it, each of which is topped with a huge brazier that are constantly burning with multi-colored flames.  Head mistress of the college is Shere Shard (human female)
    • Ancient Presagery of Secrets and Mysteries -The school of Greater Diviniation is located in Pellorix.  It is one of the oldest schools of magic in the Valley, being over a thousand years old.  It is a simple manor house on the outside, surrounded by a walled garden.  Inside the house are endless corridors and rooms - some of which are said to stretch on for miles and miles.  The Chief Sage is Ciarra Pickthal (female)
    • Tower of Thaumaturgical Flux - The school of Alteration is located in the city of Scallen.  It is a massive tower, with the foundational layers made all of jade and emerald, but the top stories of which are constantly changing in composition and appearance.  The Key of Alteration (current master of the school) is Mistress Trollencule (female).
    • School for Mastery of the Illusionary Arts - The college of Illusion is located in the city of Ockham.  It appears as a small castle, floating in the air above a perfectly calm pool.  The castle is always different, and none but those within the School know it's true nature.  The head of the School is Pandulf the Magnificent (male).
    • Glamor Hall for Bewitchment and Entrancement - The school of Enchantment and Charm is located in the city of Khomaes.  It is a great walled park, full of flowering plants and trees of all varieties, all year long.  The portal to the halls and chambers of the school (a polished marble and gold arch, with royal purple drapes to be pulled aside) appear somewhere within the park to those who require entrance.  The Queen of Enchantment (head of the school) is Mellisonde (female).
    • Demesne of Planar Knowledge and Magical Petitioning - The school of Conjuration and Summoning is located at Werms.  The school appears as a tall black castle, with lots of looming spires and towers, and is always surrounded by swirling clouds of black and grey fog and smoke.  The current master, sitting the the Throne of Knowledge, is Yazeed the Traveller (male).
    • Grand Lyceum of Abjurative Sorcery - The school of Abjuration is located in the city of Botts.  It is a walled campus of several buildings built upon a shining plaza made out of curious metals from a fallen asteroid. The head of the Lyceum is the Abjurer Glub Nar (male).
    Any character that is a magic user or illusionist, especially a Human or Fey Changelings (half-elf) character, will have studied their basics at the school in question, regardless of their Barony of origin.  A modicum of knowledge about how to travel to the school, and requirements for gaining entrance, are therefore part of the basics that the character knows from their initial training.

    Non human practitioners of magic (chiefly Elves and Gnomes) will often have their own masters.  The major exception are the Gnomes of  both the Oncor Hills and the Uidan Forest, many of which who practice magic take up their training at the School for Illusionary Arts at Ockham.  Some even maintain that the School retains several Gnome Illusionists on its staff.

    Dec 26, 2010

    Druids in the Valley of the Old Ones

    The class of Druids in the Valley of the Old Ones, as one would expect, are very similar to the concept as presented in the first and second editions of AD&D.  They are mystics who venerate nature, and draw their power from nature and affiliated deities.

    Amongst the Druids to be found in the Westron Baronies, there are three orders of druids.  The first, the Brown Order is affiliated with Kyclos - the demigod of the cycle of life.  He is affiliated with the Church by being observed by followers of the goddess Nadene as being her consort.  The Brown Order of Druids is so named because of the brown mantles and belts that they wear on their all white robes.  There's is an order that is dedicated to the circle of life - things all have a place in nature, and Man would do best to fit in with that heirarchy.  The order has its learning and heirarchy centered at the Druid Hall at Kavaman, in the eastern end of the Nell Nod Forest.  Druids of the Brown Order are often traveling companions of Priests of Kyclos, and occasionally with Priests from the Order of St. Horace (patron saint of animals).  Druids of the Brown Order are often found in agricultural communities, or not far away.  Equally, however, they will be found in places of learning.

    The Green Order of druids is also affiliated with the Church.  It is very much involved in the communing with plants and trees, and as such is affiliated with the worship of the Green Man (the demigod of plants and the wild who is the seasonal husband of the goddess Corrise).  While Druids of the Green Order are every bit as much interested in scholarly learning about nature, and knowledge of the world around them, they do not have a great center of their worship, but rather tend to congregate their hierarchy around a series of groves, the oldest and largest of which is Mamblir in the Deeper Forest.  Druids of the Green Order rarely settle, and often spend years traveling abroad away from their home grove.  The Green Order often go abroad wearing some sort of green - robes, cloak, or mantle.

    Finally, the third order is the mysterious group of Druids known as the Silver Order of druids.  These are not affiliated with the Church in any way, and are chiefly interested in the grander universe - how things work, how they work together, the effect on the stars by the endless world, how fire works, and why it doesn't - these are the sorts of questions often asked by Silver Order Druids.  The master of the order is a mysterious individual who lives high atop his Star Tower, in the Aghanz Hills.  Members of the order often travel abroad, seeking places of deep mystery and meaning in which to make their homes of contemplation of nature.  They are very fond of the various sites of the Old Ones, and seek to understand their peculiar relationship with nature.

    Thieves in the Valley of the Old Ones

    In a sword and sorcery setting like the Valley of the Old Ones, there are ample adventure and storyline opportunities for thieves.  In fact, they are a vital part of any large adventuring party.  But how do they fit into the setting?  In the Westron Baronies, there are of course thieves and outlaws of all stripes - as many as you would expect in any typical medieval setting - and there are also laws and lawkeepers at all levels who would seek to thwart them.

    Before discussing outlaws, however, a brief word about laws and justice is in order.  Since the collapse of the Duchy at Narn, and even before, each Barony set its own laws and handed out its own justice.  In all but the most wealthy, there is little in the way of a prison - except for important notable prisoners (Gorrem, Ungams, Na Kram, and Huygen are exceptions with large prisons for criminals of all social levels).  Because of this, justice is usually quick.  Either execution, or mutilation, and the criminal is let go.  Thieves who have been at it for a long time, and who are not excellent at their trade, are often missing ears, hands, or have brands on their bodies.  Thieves who risk bold crimes who aren't very good at it, end up dead in one of the many gibbets that dot the countryside outside the larger cities and castles.  In many cases, determining who is guilty and who is not, is done by Ordeal.  This can vary from the very crude Ordeals by Fire and Water (just as brutal and horrible as they were in our own Middle Ages), to Ordeals by Combat and by Magic. In some areas, these Ordeals are handled by members of the Church, and in others by civic Judges or Sheriffs.

    Thieves, or particularly the adventuring type, are often wise to avoid crimes in the larger cities (although not all follow this advice).  With the many adventuring sites, burial mounds, ancient ruins, and petty castles and towers scattered throughout the valley there are ample opportunities for thieves to get rich by removing the treasures of those who are either long dead, or who are living outside the law themselves.  Not too many will give more than an instant of pause to the legality or morality of a thief plundering the dungeon burrows of an orc chieftain, or taking the golden treasures in the tower of a long dead necromancer.

    All of this is not to say that crime does not exist in the cities, nor are there outlaws who operate in the populated reaches of the Baronies.  Those criminals, however, are often a member of one or more thieves' guilds.  The guilds that have overlapping geographical reach often have secret signs and passwords to identify one another (after all, they can't go about with easily recognized outward signs of their membership), and are often at war with each other.  Being a member in a guild requires the thief to contribute some amount of his take (perhaps 10% per year) but provides a reasonable source for hiring "help" and also for learning the skills of the trade.
    In almost any population center, there is some level of organized crime.  In the larger areas this guilds fulfill this role, but in smaller areas this could be a band of rogues (thieves to be sure, but also affiliated sell-swords and outlaw magicians) that practices a systematic (or highly random!) campaign of banditry.

    Thieves, as with all others who live on the fringe of society, are as likely to be from an "alien" culture as from the native population.  In the hearlands of the Valley this includes members of the Storm King Tribes, the Sun King Tribes, and the many, many types of non-humans that dwell in the valley (including the somewhat friendly demi-humans such as Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings).  Both Faery and Goblyn changeling children (commonly called Half-Elves and Half-Orcs) are often thieves, even in civilized areas.  Although the occupation seems to diminish any strong feelings of trust and honor amongst their fellow pursuers of the trade, there is a sort of kinship amongst thieves, as they are all together outside the law.

    Dec 24, 2010

    What's Going On Here

    (From the Introduction to the Valley)

    The Valley of the Old Ones is a homebrew setting for old school Fantasy gaming.

    The world is one where there is a lot of built in mystery.  Not so much at the tactical level - meaning that it is not a world where mysteries are the main type of adventures.  Rather, it means that the meaning behind several features of the world is unknown (and finding out what it "means" could be a key point of a campaign held here).  In brief, there are a few things that a DM should know about the world if they are interested in holding adventures there, and perhaps this would also be useful to set the mood for players as well.

    Currently the Valley of the Old Ones is a vast body of land (some 3200 miles side, and half again almost from north to south).  It is bounded on the north and south first by incredible mountain ranges (themselves home to many fantastic spots and sites of adventure), but beyond those mountains, desolate deserted terrain awaits.  To the north it is vast tracks of ice fields and snowy expanses.  To the south it is endless desert, blanched lifeless by the unceasing pounding of sunlight.

    The chief civilization of the Valley is of a human series of baronies, known collectively as the Westroners.  These people came into the valley, migrating from the west, approximately 1500 years ago.  They came as a barbarian migration, but quickly settled down and became tied to the land.  Until recently, all of the baronies were feudally tied to the Duke of Narn.  The Duke, in turn, was loyal (as a self-proscribed servant) to the King in the West (the legendary ruler of the Westron peoples, who will eventually claim the lands due him, and watched over by his loyal subjects here in the Valley).  However the power of the Duke and his demesne were broken some 20 years past with the unexplained death of Alasdair III.  His son, Alasdair IV "reigns" in his place at the city of Narn, however he is neither completely effective, nor sane.  The city runs itself, and is served by a court of deluded and deluding sycophants who believe, still, in Ducal power.  Yet little real power is projected beyond the immediate lands of the City and its direct feudal holdings.

    In the previous 20 years, coming to today, the various Baronies have looked to their own rule and defense.  The defense was originally against the many non-human races who would spread mischief and evil, and do harm to the genteel populated areas of the valley.  However, as time has passed, threats also now exist from one Barony to another, as each seeks to make itself stronger for purposes of greed and also defense.

    Additional cultures are located within the Valley as well.  The two most prominent amongst Humans are the Tribes of the Storm King in the north, and the Tribes of the Sun King in the south.  These are two very different barbarian cultures.  The one in the north is reminiscent of the barbarians of northern Europe in the late Iron Age.  The Germans and Vikings of the 8th and 9th century on Earth are the inspiration for the Tribes of the Storm King.  In the south, the barbarian culture is similar to several on Earth that covered the change from complex late Stone Age to early Bronze Age (Aztecs, early Egyptians, etc).  There are numerous warring city states in the southern mountains, each worshipping some aspect or other of deities in the pantheon of Photoss the Sun King and his son Hazeron the demon prince.  Mysterious groups of human nomads also crisscross the Valley, themselves tied to neither the Westron baronies, the northern or southern barbarian tribes.

    Player characters are adventurers making their way in the Valley.  They can be aligned with one of the several Baronies, or freebooters.  They could travel in the barbaric north - home to the Storm King tribes and many gigantic, dangerous beasts such as mammoths, great saber cats, and dire wolves.  They could venture to the sun drenched rocky slopes of the south, braving raids of the cannibal warriors of the Sun King and their blood drinking witches.  The mountain ranges in the south are dotted with great lakes and verdant, marshy river valleys that are full of all manner of great reptilian horrors, dinosaurs, and lizard men.  In between the mountains of the north, and those of the south, are the valley heartlands.  In addition to the many fantastic creatures and sites of adventure one would find in a land if wizards and dragons, there are also ancient sites of the Old Ones that can be found, full of inscrutable powers and unimaginable riches.

    The Valley is a land where a good sword will take you far.  A good spell book might take you farther.  The gods are fickle, and the darker powers are ever threatening.  In short, it is a perfect setting for adventure.

    Dec 17, 2010

    Fighting Men of the Westron Baronies

    The Westron inhabited civilized parts of the Valley of the Old Ones certainly has a lot of opportunities for those who take up the life of the sword.  In game terms there are certainly three broad classes of fighting men.  These are the Paladins (which have already been touched on), the Rangers (an in depth article is coming soon on these wilderness trekking self appointed protectors of the good and innocent) and of course the largest group - fighting men (or fighting women).

    Fighting men can come from all social classes.  This means that they can range from lowly peasant warriors (with rude armor, often made of hide or semi-cured leather) up through knights of various feudal orders, with the best of equipment and training.

    Depending on the social structure that the player's character comes from, as well as the desire of the player to have his/her character in an organized body, the player can make a number of choices - some of which are detailed here:
    • Freebooter - the "typical" adventuring freesword.  This is a fighter who takes up quests, and pursues wealth and glory where he can find it.  Usually by taking on missions, with several companions, of adventure - whether it is exploring some ancient site reputed to have treasure, or the campaign against some outlying bandits or monsters.  The goal is to rely on a strong arm and a sharp sword to earn a living, with little structure or organization.
    • Baronial Armsman - fighting men can gain employ in the service of the many Baronies in the Valley in several different capacities.  The most common is as a soldier in the household army of a Baron.  Or, one could be a Knight or squired to a Knight.  There are also body guards, and castle guards.  Some Barons also have small bands of warriors kept in reserve for special missions (protecting traveling dignitaries; questing for treasure or information; special missions against enemies; etc).
    • Northguard - this is a border patrol, sometimes affiliated with the Northern Rangers, that patrol the borders of the Westron lands against encroachments and invasions of massed barbarian warriors of the Storm King tribes.
    • Sunguard - similar to the Northguard, this is a loose organization that is dedicated to protecting the southern Baronies against the evils of the cannibal warriors of the Sun King's tribes.
    • Holy Warriors - many of the religious orders and sects of the Westron Church have armed bodies of soldiery that serve them - whether it is protecting shrines or accompanying traveling clergy
    • Mercenaries - usually organized into small companies of from 10 to 100, mercenaries are often commanded by a reasonably experienced Captain, and often specialize in some sort of combat, as a unit (pikemen, archers, horse scouts, etc).  They will be hired out to all the possible employers listed above, and perhaps more (henchmen for an adventuring party, bodyguards for a wizard seeking spell components, carrying out a personal raid of vendetta for a merchant or Baron, etc).
    In short, the Valley is a dangerous place, not only from all the possible sites of adventure, but also the wild lands between the sparsely populated baronies.  In such a setting, the possible employment of a fighting man is varied, but always available.

    Dec 13, 2010

    The Westron Church

    The main sites of human civilization in the Valley are populated by people who migrated into the valley from the west, over a thousand years ago.  Their culture is, collectively, known as the Westroners.  Details of their history or origin before they migrated into the Valley are hazy, at best.

    One of the defining things about the Westroners, is the fact that most of the aspects of their religion come from a single church structure.  That is not to say that it is simple, or monotheistic, but it is all one church.

    The main objects of worship of the Westron Church (as it is known) are three goddesses.  These are Nadene, Magenta, and Corrise.  In addition, there are a few other demigods and demigoddesses, and a large body of saints and scions.

    In tone, it is the equivalent of the Roman Catholic church at the height of its medieval power (say, 13th century, prior to the period of the Avignon Papacy).  It is reigned over by a body of five very high level clerics.  There are three Theurges (which are the high priest or priestess in the service of each of the three goddesses), as well as the Patriarch and the Matriarch.  This body of five, known as the High Office, rule over a complicated bureaucracy that is split into two halves.  There is a Patriarchy, which has a hierarchy of male clerics overseeing the external affairs of the church (military orders, missions, proselytizing orders, etc), and there is a Matriarchy which is composed of female clerics that oversee largely internal affairs (education, ministration orders, charity, finance, etc).  The lead members of each of these two halves of the bureaucracy are the two that sit in the High Office with the three Theurges.

    For Player Characters, the key aspect of the church are the many different orders that they can have Priests or Paladins from.  These are listed here, but will be detailed more later. The organization is related to which of the three goddesses each order is most closely related.  The Paladin orders were detailed in an earlier post, but are recalled again here where appropriate.

    Nadene - goddess of Fertility
    • Kyclos - demigod of the cycle of life, consort of Nadene; Brown Order of Druids
    • St. Horace - patron saint of animals
    • Mother Kimber - patron saint of birth and children
    • St. Leiathar - patron saint of weather
    • St. Jasper - patron saint of strength and rocks
    • Brother Ian - patron saint of knowledge and fire
    • St. Ellain - patron saint of art and water
    • Sister Silpha - patron saint of travel and air
    Magenta - goddess of Magic
    • Kostamus - demigod of the sun, lover of Magenta
    • St. Brigid - patron saint of healing and the sick
    • St. Kelvin - patron saint of light
    • St. Gianna - patron saint of oracles
    • Poritia Nove - demigoddess of the White Moon; Paladins of the White Lady
    • Veltin Crimsea - demigoddess of the Red Moon
    • Argina Lustar - demigoddess of the Golden Moon
    • Noxecatt - demigoddess of the underworld and darkness - NOT officially part of the church
    • Dralizar - demigod of thieves and the night - NOT officially part of the church
    Corrise - goddess of Agriculture
    • Green Man - demigod of vegetation and plants, husband of Corrise; Green Order of Druids
    • St. Ermo - patron saint of the earth and building
    • Brother Rudiger - patron saint of home and community; Paladins of the Hearth
    • St. Lilliane - patron saint of orphans and the dispossessed; affiliated with the Brotherhood of the Sword paladins
    • St. Varina - patron saint of vineyards and wine
    • St. Norena - patron saint of fire and comfort
    • Olimo Vis - demigoddess of Autumn and the harvest
    • Elongar Suu - demigod of Summer and growth
    • Neuvirra Oss - demigoddess of Spring and the planting
    • Frigia Nor - demigod of Winter and feasting

    Although the two twin demigods of Noxecatt and Dralizar are listed under Magenta, their worship is distinctly not part of the Church structure. They are listed here, simply because of their relationship to Magenta (who, according to myth, mothered the two twins after her adulterous affair with the prince of devils, Baxilar).

    The two Druidical orders (the Brown and the Green) are listed here with their affiliation with the church. That affiliation is at times extremely tenuous, however there is a third order of Druids that has absolutely no ties with the church - the Silver Order.

    Dec 6, 2010

    Paladins!

    Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
        Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde,
        Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
        The cruell markes of many' a bloudy fielde;
        Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield:
        His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
        As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
        Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
    As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

    But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
        The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
        For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
        And dead as liuing euer him ador'd:
        Vpon his shield the like was also scor'd,
        For soueraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
        Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
        But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad;

    Yet nothing did he dread, but euer was ydrad.

    Vpon a great aduenture he was bond,
        That greatest Gloriana to him gaue,
        That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond,
        To winne him worship, and her grace to haue,
        Which of all earthly things he most did craue;
        And euer as he rode, his hart did earne
        To proue his puissance in battell braue
        Vpon his foe, and his new force to learne;
    Vpon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.
    - Edmund Spenser, 1596 A.D.


    The Paladin is a crucial element in the battle between good and evil in the Valley of the Old Ones.  As servants of a higher authority, they are subject to review of their adherence to the laws of chivalry.  A brief word or two seems in order, so that a player who chooses this class would know what sort of Holy order they are buying into, in the game world.


    There are, in the main, three orders of Paladins among the Westroners in the Valley of the Old Ones.  All three are lawful good, and have Paladins who are played exactly as the rules prescribe (no variation in class, alignment, abilities, etc).  There are anti-paladins (and worse) in the game setting, but these will be discussed another time.


    First, is the Order of Knights of the White Lady.  The White Lady is one of many names given to the eldest daughter of the goddess Magenta.  She is the incarnate as the largest of the three moons that travel across the sky above the Valley of the Old Ones.  Her role in the world is to battle evil and monsters wherever they may be found.  In this she stands in opposition to many of those who are not good, but who still look to Magenta (the goddess of Magic) for guidance and power.  One of the curious worldly aspects of the White Lady is that fact that in her appearance as the large white moon, known by her proper name Poritia Nove, she casts no reflection on the Two Moon river.  For that reason, many evil creatures and men have decided that they are more safe in that region than elsewhere in the valley, and it is a magnet for vile creatures and beings of all stripes.


    There are, of course, priests and monks and nuns of the White Lady, but those will be detailed elsewhere.  The Paladins of this order are a typical chivalric order, as was common on Earth around the 13th or 14th century.  A long period of training and serving as a squire would precede the actually conference of Knighthood on the player.  The act of passing from level 0 to level 1 coincides with being Knighted into the order (something that occurs before the start of the campaign for most characters).  A patent of nobility is expected from the family (even if impoverished) for those who would join this order.

    Paladins of the White Lady will dress all in white robes - silk if possible.  Their symbol is a black heater shield, with a white disc in the upper right corner. This symbol - the shield with the white disc - appears on the breast of their tunics, on military pennons and banners, and also as the device on their shield.  Individual knights in the order do not wear personalized heraldry.

    In addition to the normal chivalric duties of protecting the honor of women, defending innocents, and meting out justice the knights of the Order are primarily interested in vanquishing evil wherever it may be found.  This is a very aggressive order.


    Second are the Knights of the Hearth.  This is an order that started out as a group of Priests from the Order of Brother Rudiger.  They had taken up vows to protect those villagers and towns folk who lived far away from the castles of their baronial lords.  Such people are always in danger of being set upon by one sort of danger or another.


    After a while, it turned out that bands of the Priests from the order were doing more fighting than anything else, and that gave order to the Paladin's order.


    These knights are sometimes known as the Peasant Paladins for they will accept anyone, regardless of a noble patent or not.  They have just as stringent requirements as the other orders, but welcome those of ability, rather than just those of a high birth.

    The knights of the order are not interested in military adventures against strongholds of evil, nor do they seek questing.  These are simple, quite utilitarian knights who seek to protect the people that they serve from evil and injustice.  Never ones to back down from a fight, they also do not seek it out.  One of the things that many knights of this order secretly desire is to be able to fight, and perhaps sacrifice themselves, in  a desperate battle defending innocents against overwhelming odds of evildoers.


    The livery of the Knights of the Hearth is quite interesting.  They do not have any heraldic symbol, choosing instead individually a set of simple clean livery, consisting often of just one or two colors.  In their pursuit of justice and the defense of the helpless, it is quite common for Knights of the Hearth to collect favors and to adorn their armor and weapons with the same.


    Finally, there are is the Brotherhood of the Sword.  These knights came out of the Order of St. Lilliane, that formed when the Cathedral of St. Lilliane was defiled and destroyed by trolls.  The surviving priests took up arms, implored the local secular Knight, Sir Vallimor of Botts to train them in the use of arms, and thus the fighting order was born.  These knights took an oath on an inverted sword, and that remains their symbol to this day.


    Of all the three orders, the Brotherhood of the Sword is the most prone to solo wandering and adventuring.  Given strongly to the idea of a quest or mission errant, the brothers will often go on long quests lasting years - following the code of chivalry the entire time they are out questing, always upholding the Paladin code, as well as the reputation and honor of their order.


    The livery of the order is simple.  It is a white tunic, and a white shield, with a red upended sword portrayed on the center of each.  This, in simplest form, appears as a red cross.

    1st level of the Dungeon underneath the Forest Abbey of the Hedgehog People

    If you like the old school look (genuine vintage TSR looking maps), and you like doing digital map drawings, then I can recommend (from my experience) nothing finer than Dungeon Crafter.  I prefer the old 1.4.1 version, and there are some excellent tile downloads available over at Dragonsfoot.

    Anyway, following that paradigm, here is the map for the first "dungeon" level of Finch Abbey.  The location of the adventure I will be running at MarsCon.  I use the word dungeon hesitantly, because while it is the first level an adventurer would recognize as such beneath the good abbey, there are also two basement levels below the abbey.  So this guy is pretty far underground for starters.

    As far as inhabitants go - that will have to wait until after the convention, before I post it here.
    Dungeon level 1, beneath Finch Abbey

    Dec 5, 2010

    Week of Encounters Day 7: The Staff of St. Varina

    [This is the last of the Valley of the Old Ones Week of Encounter Seven encounter challenge. It took me a bit longer than a week to complete (almost two) because of holiday travel, work and school and family. However, It think this rounds out things nicely, with a small after-adventure mini dungeon that can lead to big things. A great way to introduce the next leg in a campaign, sandbox or otherwise. Thanks for reading. For giggles, I am planning on going back and adding illustrations to all the encounters. I plan to use them in an upcoming campaign.]

    This adventure takes place in the Enchanted Forest region, on the western shores of the Lost Mare river.

    The player characters (in the area west of Lost Mare river) are on the road to a local town tavern, for some much needed rest after an adventure, when they are approached by a young acolyte of St. Varina. This young girl is in training to become a Priestess of the order, she explains, but was recently out tracking the source of some complaints made by the lord of a local manor. His manor is at the edge of some very marshy wetlands (Arriot Bottom), which is perfect for him because he has many peasants working Arriot vines for their berries (he makes a sort of wine out of it, and sells it for a handsome profit).

    Lately, one after another, a number of harvesting parties who have gone out into the swampy waters to harvest the berries have gone missing. The few survivors have complained about lizard men. The young acolyte decided to travel out on her own to protect the serfs, but she secreted away the relic from her order's abbey.

    The staff of St. Varina is a marvelous magical item, imbued with fantastic effects of channeling St. Varina's blessing on a spell caster of the order, in addition to granting several combat bonuses (it gives +2AC, +1damage vs. evil creatures, and will grant one additional spell per day of levels 1, 2 and 3 when the spell caster is capable of casting spells of that level). More important than its abilities is the value of the staff as an artifact and as a token of pride for the local Abbot and his following.

    To shorten things up, it turns out that the young priest DID encounter a raiding band of Lizardmen (she remembers the exact location, and can lead the characters there if they desire), and in the attack she was knocked out and the staff was stolen.

    If the players decide to investigate, they too will be attacked by a band of marauding Lizard Men.

    Lizard Man of Arriot Bottom
    Num Appearing: 2-16
    Alignment: Chaotic evil
    Movement: 60'
    Armor Class: 5
    Hit Dice: 2d (10 h.p.)
    Attacks: 1 (weapon)
    Damage: As weapon (plus 1)
    Save: F2
    Morale: 9
    Special: Can swim 120' also these Lizard Men differ from normals in that they are small, fast and quite intelligent. They receive a -2 initiative modifier.

    The lizard men will attack the group for a while (roll for their numbers, but as a minimum there should be at least 1 per party member), but if they start to lose, they will withdraw back towards their lair.
    The lair is actually a dungeon underneath one of the large tree islands in the marsh. There is a large opening under one of the larger swamp trees, and it leads down to a series of rooms full of lizard men (as the DM sees fit). As mentioned these lizard men are quite ingenious and clever compared to most of their sort. The tunnels and chambers would be full of not only a handful in each chamber of weapon wielding lizard men (by the way, this clan favors a sort of battle axe, but some use a broad sword, and a few carry shields that improves their AC by one), but often with traps and sometimes with "pets" such as giant swamp lizards or worse.

    Giant Swamp Lizard
    Num Appearing: 1-4 (or trained as riding or attack animals)
    Alignment: Chaotic evil
    Movement: 90'
    Armor Class: 4
    Hit Dice: 4d (20 h.p.)
    Attacks: 1 vicious bite (plus infectious drool)
    Damage: 2-12
    Save: F4
    Morale: 9
    Special: Infectious drool can corrupt and infect a victims bloodstream. If a successful attack is made for the first time against a victim, then that victim must make a saving through vs. paralysis to see if it is susceptible to the infectious drool. If the save is failed, then the victim will fall over, stiff and paralyzed for 1d4 rounds. Note that if the victim lands in water (the swamp lizard is often around water), it will start drowning. A "wild" swamp lizard will then begin to start eating the victim (chewing for an additional 2-12 points of damage a round). A "trained" swamp lizard will move to another victim. They are really quite stupid, and can often be duped with large amounts of carrion.

    Finally, the last room in the lizard man lair is reached, and it is guarded by a lizard man chieftain (4hd) with a two handed sword and a breastplate giving him AC 3. This room is quite a change from the rest of the lair - it still has the horrible lizard smell of the rest of the lair, but the floor here is metal grating. Underneath, the huge sound of a rushing waterfall can be heard. The metal grating is completely overgrown with very slimy wet moss and algae, making it quite slippery. Each round, a combatant with shoes on will have to make a dexterity check or fall down.

    The chieftain is not alone.  He has a trained swamp lizard in this large room with him, as well as 6 lizard man body guards (with shields, broadswords, and also throwing darts).  Finally, the room is a very tall chamber, and the chieftain keeps his 3 hunting pterodactyls in here with him.  The 'dactyls are fearsome as well as unusual (especially since they swoop out of the 40' high ceiling, with almost complete surprise the first round).  This particular species can give an ear splitting war cry 1x per three rounds.  Every mammal within 40' must make a save vs. being stunned, or be stunned for one round.

    Shrieking Pterodactyl
    Num Appearing: 2d4 (as a trained hunting flock)
    Alignment: neutral
    Movement: Fly 180'
    Armor Class: 6
    Hit Dice: 1d (5 h.p.)
    Attacks: 1 bite
    Damage: 1d3+1
    Save: F1
    Morale: 7
    Special: Ear splitting shried - 1x per three rounds. All mammals within 40' must save vs. stun or be stunned for 1 round.

    If the lizard man chieftain is defeated (along with his bodyguards and his pet pterodactyls) then the loot behind his throne area can be searched.


    Loot of the Lizard Man Chieftain
    The staff of St. Varina is indeed there, and it is unharmed.

    There is also a stash of 1000 gp in a sealed clay jar. If the seal is broken, a 20' cloud of gas erupts that (unless a save vs. poison is made) will subtract 1d6 dexterity points for 1d4 weeks. The victim is also prone to the occasional shakes.

    Finally, there is a very special magical spear. It is a +1/+1 spear but it also has the ability to detect elves (of any sort, good or evil) within 40 feet.

    As the players are examining the loot, the spear begins glowing a sickly purple.

    Suddenly a group of dark elves come up a path in the cliff wall deep below the stone grating floor, and they spring an ambush by suddenly crashing open the floor - crashing all within down into the waterfall. All must make a dexterity check (-2 to dex for this one) although characters who are good swimmers or divers can add +2 instead of subtracting -2. If the save is made the character pulls to shore at the top of the waterfall (near where the dark elves are standing), else they plummet to the bottom of the waterfall is - some 30' below where the dark elves are. There is a narrow goat path from the bottom up to the top.

    Dark Elf Raiding Party
    Num Appearing: 2-8
    Alignment: Chaotic evil
    Movement: 120'
    Armor Class: 4
    Hit Dice: 1d+1 (6 h.p.)
    Attacks: 1 (weapon)
    Damage: As weapon (plus 1)
    Save: MU2
    Morale: 9
    Special: These dark elves are quite exceptional. In addition to have a giant lizard for every two dark elves (same stats as the ones listed above with the lizard men), these are a long range patrol of warriors, and as such they each have a pouch of specially prepared healing mushrooms, 1 dose per dark elf, which for any elf or half elf acts as a potion of healing. For weapons they carry long swords and also hunting crossbows (fire 1/turn) that do 1d4+1. The bolts of the hunting crossbows have corrosive acid tips, and unless a save vs. poison is made, the victim will take 1d3 points of damage per crossbow strike for each turn, total of 2 turns after the initial shot. These elves carry flasks of oil and will gleefully use them in combat, however one must pause to light a small bunch of tinder with a flint and steel before they can ignite the oil.
    (fantastic dark elf and lizard beast drawing from http://fantasyartfolio.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-draw-manticore.html)


    The dark elves have come up the path, leading from an opening to a vast underground network of tunnels eventually leading to a dark elf city. The group encountered is somewhat weak, being solely fighters with no spell casting ability amongst them, however future encounters will likely check to see if combat is likely before sending out a band of simple warriors without a magic user or shaman.

    It should be pointed out that the entire area - the cliff top, the goat path, and the cliff bottom is covered in the same slimy stuff as the grating above was covered in.

    If the players choose to search under the waterfall, there is a chamber there full of loot - the DM should prepare rewards (or roll randomly) as he/she desires.

    Dec 1, 2010

    Week of Encounters Day 6: Horrors of the Red Swordsmen

    [Okay, I've gotten off schedule from my original planned "one week" of encounters, however I will still post encounters #6 and #7.]
    This encounter takes place in the Darkearth Plains region, near a small village up where the Aghanz Hills meet the Destriel Mountains.  It is an area populated mainly by Storm King Barbarians.  The evil priests who venerate Torgin of the Void are an exception.

    There are evil priests who venerate 'Torgin of the Void' - the dark god of chaotic magic. These foul practitioners who prey on the innocent in order to spread their brand of fear and chaotic discord. Once a priest of the coven of Torgin reaches 9th level, he/she is able to cast the spell "Cursed of Torgin". This spell transforms human victims into abominations - the red swordsmen of the void!

    Cursed of Torgin (spell)
    Level: 5
    Duration: Permanent
    Range: 30'
    By casting this spell, the priest of the Coven of Torgin is able to convert a number of human victims, who must all be within 30' of the caster, and must be disabled. The victims are converted into mindless, soulless abominations who will now blindly follow the orders and will of any Torgin priest or magic user of level 5 or higher. Priests and clerics of a good alignment may attempt to "turn" the red swordsmen, however they are treated as if 2 levels higher than they are, and if they are "turned" then they will just be at abeyance for 2d6 rounds.
    The number of victims affected per casting is 2d4 plus the caster's level.
    Each red swordsmen thus created receives a random "red tattoo" on their face. See the writeup of the red swordsmen for details on the tattoos and their conferred powers.
    This spell may only be cast once per day, and only on a moonless night.

    The evil spellcaster who is in command of a group of red swordsmen will no doubt waste no time in putting them to a use designed to forward the spell caster's plans.

    The plot of this encounter is simple: the player characters are traveling in the north, near the Destriel Mountains, when they encounter a runner from the local tribe of Storm King barbarians. The local tribe is ruled by a chieftain named Hetman Magdor. The runner was sent to a holding in the nearby hills, which was defended by a troop of warriors from Magdor's tribe, and led by his brother Otto. The runner has reported that all 12 warriors, and their riding buffalo, as well Otto have been slain. The runner further mentions that his lord, Magdor will be only too glad to hire the likes of the adventurers for a task most urgent. It seems that the local evil magician, a sickly, perverse old man named Eggulet has dispatched a marauding band of Red Swordsmen to terrorize the neighborhood. The Hetman Magdor is interested in both putting a stop to Eggulet and his swordsmen, but also (very much) in seeing his daughter back alive. She disappeared a fortnight back, coincidentally with an attack by the Red Swordsmen on the the village of Magdor, 'Briney Tor'.


    Cursed Red Swordsmen of Torgin
    Num Appearing: 2+1d4 (always in groups, or as their 'creator' instructs them)
    Alignment: Chaotic evil
    Movement: 120'
    Armor Class: 6 (or better, as with worn armor)
    Hit Dice: 1d-8d
    Attacks: 1 (weapon, usually sword)
    Damage: As weapon (plus 2)
    Save: F- variable
    Morale: Special
    Each Red Swordsman of Torgin will also have a special tatoo that imparts some magical quality. These are the most common:
    1. Body covered in rot grubs, each melee round 1d4 will leap onto the swordsman's opponent.
    2. Ability to breathe poisoned gas 3x per day in a 10' cloud. The gas is weak so the save is +2, but if not made then the victim begins wretching uncontrollably for 1d6 rounds (during which time they are -4 to hit, and +4 to be hit).
    3. Fast. As per Haste spell.
    4. Flaming skin - does 1d4+1 damage per melee round to anyone not immune to heat and fire attacks. Also has a chance (25%) per round of catching something of their foe's (clothing, equipment) on fire.
    5. Screaming Skin. Each strike against the swordsman that does damage releases a screaming, hissing escape of some steam like substance. The sound it makes on escape is horrible (all within 40', except other swordsmen, must make an intelligence test or be stunned for 1 round).
    6. Rusting Blood. Each strike that scores damage against this swordsman with a metal weapon, will have that weapon corroded as if by a rust monster.

    The DM should prepare a minor wilderness campaign with several encounters as the players track the trail of the Red Swordsmen to the tower of Eggulet. Once there, it will be revealed that Eggulet has been murdered - his tower is poor disrepair, but it should be full of treasures (enough to warrant the Player's giving it a look around). The dungeons beneath the tower, however, are a different story. They are populated by several types of magical creations, not to mention traps and tricks. If the Red Swordsmen are survived, the players should be able to score a major haul of treasure.

    Nov 28, 2010

    Week of Encounters Day 5: Living Skulls of the Purple Marsh

    This encounter takes place in the Darkearth Plains region of the Valley.  It takes place just north of the Great River, where the Jazzan Mountains can be seen to the south, and the Harp Woods spread out to the North.

    On the northern banks of the Great River, as it passes just east of the Jazzan Mountains, near the Harp woods, there is a swampy expanse that stretches for approximately 25 miles along the river. This swamp is called the Purple Marsh, named long ago for the semi-aquatic Narreck trees that clog the waterways of the swamp (the Narreck, when they flower, produce a purple floss that becomes airborne in the spring winds, and spread the growth of the trees).

    The locals from the fishing villages that owe fealty to the Barony of Khomaes have long known that they should give the Marsh a wide miss. It is widely known that the normal dangerous Marsh inhabitants (trolls, lizardmen, dangerous large aquatic grazers such as the catoblepas and so on) are present, but these rarely leave the marsh to raid surrounding areas. When they do, the fighting men of Khomaes, led by Knights of the White Lady, often arise to contain the threat, and keep it limited to the marsh itself. The area is too large, and largely impassable to military units, for the soldiery to clear out the marsh - but they can keep the dangerous inhabitants contained.

    Recently, numerous trading cogs from areas west of the Jazzan have been attacked by a string of piracy in the area of the Marsh. The Player Characters, traveling through the area, come across the wreckage of a cog that has washed up on shore. It was attacked, and the crew mostly killed, but a few survivors are found with the wreckage. They talk about an attack by a pirate ship that came out of the morning mists on the Great River, as the cog passed by a part of the Purple Marsh. The cog was carrying a heavy cargo of expensive clothes and other luxury items, meant for trade in Khomaes and Gorrem river towns. These trade goods have all disappeared. The player characters should be given a sense that tracking down the pirates will be quite profitable for them.

    The survivors will describe the pirates as living men (human fighting men and thieves), but with skulls for heads. Living Skulls with no flesh, no skin, no eyes - but attached to the body and capable of a rude speech. The players have no concept of these skull men, nor have they encountered anything like it before.

    Living Skull
    Num Appearing: Special (created creature)
    Alignment: Chaotic evil
    Movement: 60'
    Armor Class: 4
    Hit Dice: 2d (10 h.p.)
    Attacks: 1 (claw) or by weapon
    Damage: 1d6 - or by weapon (claws are 40% poisoned)
    Save: F2
    Morale: special (commanded creatures)
    Special Abilities: Similar to undead - can be controlled by Evil priests and clerics, but cannot but turned by Good or Neutral priests and clerics.

    The claws of a Living Skull are poisoned 40% of the time. Every time a claw attack scores, there is a 40% chance that it is poisonous (does an additional 1d3 points of damage per round, for 1d6 additional rounds - save for half as many rounds).

    Living Skulls are supernaturally strong, even if they are slow (if using initiative rules, they suffer are -2 slower than a typical human). Their strength gives them +1 to hit in combat with weapons, and +2 damage when using weapons.


    The searching and investigating of the players should lead them to a watery inlet into the Purple Marsh, that goes to a protected lake, surrounded by small islands and ridges of dry land, but the whole area is thickly forested with Narreck trees. The region is full of primitive bands of hunting lizardmen who are always seeking a source of fresh meat. On one of the larger dry land ridges at the edge of the lake, there is a small walled village, with some simple piers stretching into the lake. There are several galleys (the sort that would make good piracy vessels) moored here.

    The village appears deserted. There are some wild denizens of the Marsh who have moved in where pirates and brigands once dwelt. Nearby is a solitary stone structure (all else is made of wood and bamboo), a squat round tower, with a large bronze brazier (25' across) on the exposed top floor. Examining this reveals that there is a dungeon complex underneath. Several layers, magically constructed, lined with marble and extending deep underground, past the water table levels of the swamp. Some areas of the dungeon are dry, and some are intentionally flooded as pools.

    Within the dungeon is a society of cultists of the ancient Old Ones' deity, the "One beneath the Waves". These deranged beings seek to draw their deity back to the world, in order to destroy it. They have taken up with a clan of Kuo Toa (who dwell in the dungeon as well, within the flooded chambers, and elsewhere), and have perfected and cast a spell on the inhabitants of the brigand village on the surface. All of the men (and women and children - although the latter were mostly eaten by the cultists in cannibalistic rites) were transformed into "skull men" - mindless servants that are enslaved to the cult and do its bidding. These are strange hybrids of life and undeath, but are immune to the religious sway that modern priests and clerics would have over normal undead. While slow, like most undead, they fight very well and are persistent to the point of destruction.

    The dungeons under the tower are quite well stocked with treasures of both the normal and magical types, and exploration of the site by the Player Characters would prove quite valuable. What to do with the knowledge of the Cult and their macabre invention is up to them.

    Living Skulls are created by EHP's of the cult of the "One Beneath the Waves". It is a level 6 spell, taught only to priests of the cult, and it works as follows:

    Create Living Skulls (spell)
    Level: 6
    Duration: Permanent
    Range: 30'
    This spell turns incapacitated humans (it only works on humans) into Living Skulls. The created beings have no memory of their pre-converted life. The process removes all skin, hair, eyes, brain, muscle etc from the head, leaving an exposed skull. The created beings respond to simple commands (as with other simple undead) from their creator, although this can be a command to transfer their allegience (such as "Obey Igor").

    The number of humans converted per application of the spell is equal to 1d6 plus the caster's level. All of the humans to be converted must be incapacitated (sleeping, knocked out, tied up, or something similar), and within the range of the spell.