Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Tomb of the Falerii

Map numero 2.  Not as happy with the hatching on this one, those grave niches were particularly troublesome.  Still usable though, and I've included a keyed version and a link to a .PNG version for your VTT GMs out there.

I also wrote a little DCC RPG one-page dungeon text (well if you print on the back too), that came to me as I was mapping, to go along with it!  Perfect for a short side-quest.


Ring of the Falerii : This OPD is designed to be a filler scenario or a small side quest.  The MacGuffin to get the players here is a Ring of the Falerii.  The Falerii were an ancient family of considerable power and prestige.  A signet ring bearing their crest could be found nearly anywhere conceivable.  This is a good way to add some spice to a random ring (mundane or magical) that the players have picked up in their travels.  Alternately the ring could be given to the players by a patron or employer to facilitate this quest.

Characters researching the Falerii, or that have a background in the area history may learn the following:
     -  The Falerii were a rich and powerful family that extended their influence through the Military and a vast Trade empire.
     -  The arch rivals of the Falerii were the Gracchi family.  They opposed each other through nearly 500 years of history.
     -  This cave was once home to an Oracle cult.
     -  The Falerii women were famous for their  cunning and ferocity.

Some false clues and rumors:
     -  The Falerii often trapped statues.
     -  All Falerii women were buried with vast quantities of gemstones.


1. Cave Entrance.  The cavern consists mostly of limestone and appears mostly created by flowing water, although signs of human enhancement can be seen here and there.  The ledges in this part of the cavern are about 3' high.  On the second ledge is a crumbling wooden barrel.  It contains many very small bones.  A character with the appropriate background or a DC 14 Intelligence check may note that these are medium size fish bones.

2.  Pool Bypass.  The Owlbear that lives at 5 has widened a natural crevice here to bypass the pool at 3.  Observant characters may notice the cave has claw marks on the walls and a DC 18 Intelligence check to note the claws are bear size and shape.

3.  Cave Pool.  A Cave Octopus Init -2; Atk tentacle +2 melee (1) and beak +4 melee (1d8); AC 11; HD 2d6; MV walk 20’ or swim 40’; Act 8d20; SP grasp 1d4, camouflage; SV Fort +2, Ref -2, Will +2; AL N.) lives in this pool.  It will attack anyone that approaches unless it is thrown food.  It prefers salt cod.

4.  Bones.  This is where the Owlbear that lives at 5 eats his meals and disposes of the bones in large piles scattered about.  In the center of the cave floor he has arranged an human skeleton with a bull skull.  Anyone shifting any of the bone piles or making any other noise above a whisper will alert said Owlbear at 5, even if he is sleeping.  The owlbear cares nothing for monetary treasure and there is some scattered about this chamber.  Searching PCs may discover 2d20 (x Luck bonus) GP worth of coins.

5.  Den.  An Owlbear (Init +1; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2) or claw +4 melee(1d4); AC 17; HD 3d8; MV 20’ or climb 10’; Act 2d20; SP spell resistance; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +8; AL C.) makes a lair here.  The ledges down to 4 are quite steep (10'-12') and the Owlbear will attempt to pounce on intruders from above if it detects them approaching the lair.  The Owlbear is a touch OCD and the floor of this part of the cavern is strewn with shredded cloth arranged in piles by color.  Under the 'blue' pile there is a sapphire worth 100 GP.

6.  Oracle Room.  In antiquity a cult established an Oracle in these caves, charging the wealthy exorbitant prices to hear her prophecy.  They weren't complete charlatans.  Once every lunar cycle the earth vents hallucinogenic gas into this room.  Anyone who fails a Fort Save DC 18 enters into trance-like state and experiences visions.  If the character has a Personality of 17 or higher, these visions are at least partially true predictions of the future, albeit it almost certainly obfuscated.  Anyone who does succumb to the magic vapors forgets their visions when they are over.

7.  Memorial Chamber of the Falerii.  The door to this room is made of heavy stone and imbued with magic.  If the correct phrase is uttered "Damnation to the Gracchi" the door will swing open noiselessly.  If the door is touched without uttering these words it will discharge a many forked lightning bolt trap.  It will hit anyone within 30' of the door inflicting 2d8 points of damage (Reflex save DC 15 for half).  Once discharged it will slowly recharge itself over a one month period. 
The walls of this room are decorated with 23 ancient wax masks.  The masks were made shortly after death of individual family members of importance. They are illuminated by magic stones places on a ledge in the wall behind them, creating quite a beautiful, and eerie sight.  The magic on the stones is permanent.  They will illuminate a 10' radius for perpetuity.  The masks are quite valuable to a historian or art collector (25 GP each), but also quite fragile.  Anyone carrying a mask that takes damage or falls down has a 50% chance to crush the mask(s). The Statue is of stern looking patrician man in a toga.  An inscription on base reads  "By Might, by Wealth, by Birthright. A Falerii to Rule!".  There are three slots in the base of the statue.  To reveal and release the magic lock on the secret door, the slots must be filled with: 1. A quality weapon, 2.  Gold (at least 10 GP worth) and 3. A Signet Ring of the Falerii (the MacGuffin!).

+Edwin Nagy  created this great handout for his VTT group to represent the magic statue!  Thanks Edwin!

8.  Tomb of the Falerii.  Each niche in the walls is 3' off the ground and contains the remains of a member of the Falerii.  In addition to what is listed below all have a gold Signet ring that will open the secret door again once closed and is worth 20 GP.  If any of the female skeletons are disturbed in any way, all of them (female) will animate as very fast Skeletons (Init +4; Atk claw +2 melee (1d4); AC 13; HD 3d6; MV 60’; Act 2d20; SP un-dead, half damage from piercing and slashing weapons; SV Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +0; AL C.

a.  Matriarch.  Golden Tiara worth 80 GP.                                      
b.  Soldier.  Has decayed bronze ceremonial armor (+3 AC, d10 Fumble die) and a quality Shortsword (+1 to hit, 1d7 Damage).
c.  Daughter.  Silver ring inlaid with amethyst worth 35 GP.
d.  Daughter.  Gold brooch worth 15 GP.
e.  Male Priest.  Metal scroll tube with 2 random divine spells.
f.  Male Child.  Leather pouch around neck that acts similarly to a bag of holding.  It can contain as much as a large sack.  It currently contains a mummified rat and 2d5 pieces of hard candy.
g.  Soldier.  Buried with the Magic Bone Battleaxe of a conquered enemy.  It is magical in that it is as hard as steel and always razor sharp, expanding the wielder's critical range by 1.
h.  Patriarch.  Platinum and Ivory scepter with a Diamond Eagle statuette on top worth 500 GP.
i.  Female Magician.  Magic ring that allows a Wizard to recall one lost spell per day without using a point of Spellburn.
j.  Male Merchant.  Buried with magic Trickster's Scale that will grant the user a 10% bonus to value of any barter that uses the scales.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kobold Hygiene

Kobolds take baths too...sort of...

As promised, here is a Keyed version of the map with my thoughts on what might be under each number.  The stats are loosely for DCC RPG as that's the system that I'm enamored with right now, but it shouldn't be hard to convert on the fly to any B/X, Labyrinth Lord or other retro(clone) system.

General Information

Kobolds - All Kobolds throughout the complex 'bathe' in the mud and other less savory things found in area 6.  When dried this coating makes them the exact shade of rusty ochre as the walls and floor of most of the complex.  This grants all Kobolds a bonus of +4 to hide and surprise in rooms 3 through 10. 

The cowardly runts prefer to hurl tiny javelins coated with slime and feces, and then run away, unless their "Mother" in room 14 is threatened.  If enemies breach the caves, all Kobolds will throw their volley and retreat room-to-room until pushed back to room 11, where they will fight with increased, nearly fanatical, morale.

They also defecate like rabbits, leaving golf ball-sized pellets in all areas except 4, 10, 13 and 15.  Anyone who ends up prone on the dungeon floor in any of those areas has a chance of contracting Filth Fever.

Filth Fever - Fort Save DC 10 or contract Filth Fever - causes Stamina loss of 1d5, incubates in 1d2 days and lasts 2d5 days.  If the fever is not cured by magical means before running it's course, then a Fort Save DC 13 or 50% (round up) of the stat loss is permanent. 

Kobold: Init +1; Atk tiny javelin -2 melee (1d4-1), or +0 ranged (1d4-1); AC 11; HD 1d4 (3); MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 100’; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Room Key

1. Trapped Entrance.  The Kobolds have dug a 10' pit lined with wooden spikes coated in filth.  The spikes are hung with strings tied with crude bells, pieces of scrap metal and hollow reeds that make a terrific clatter if anyone falls into the pit.  There is a 75% chance this noise alerts the guards in room 3.

2.  Un-trapped Entrance.  This entrance is not exactly hidden but the angles obscured by the large boulders make the cave unlikely to be spotted by casual observers or passersby.  Anyone actively searching the area, however, will have a good chance to find the cave.

3.  Flowstone Gallery.  This gallery is festooned with several large stalactite/stalagmite columns and rather beautiful formations of flowstone between some of them.  So beautiful, in fact, that if they are somehow removed without crumbling they would fetch quite a price (400 GP) to collectors or wealthier patrons.  The process would be long and delicate, requiring stone working or some related expertise.

4.  Clean(ish) Water.  This is one of the few rooms in the complex the filthy Kobolds don't regularly defecate in.  The water is clean by their standards but still dangerous to civilized creatures (see Filth Fever above if ingested).  There is a 50% chance that 2d3 Kobolds are here filling crude or scavenged containers with water.

5.  Main Living Area.  This is the common room of the tribe.  At any time except during a sacrifice (see 11 and 12) there are 10 +2d7 Kobolds here doing disgusting Kobold things.

6.  Kobold "Baths".  This is the room where the tribe comes daily to bathe in the mud mixture that gives them their distinctive coloring.  At any time, except during a sacrifice, there are 3d4 Kobolds bathing here.  Characters entering the "bath" may contract Filth Fever as above but may (Luck Check) stumble upon a silver torque that some creature lost here ages ago.  It is worth 150 GP.  There is, in fact, a slow moving underground river that connects 6 and 4.  Enterprising characters may be able to discover this and travel between the two if they succeed on a Stamina check DC 10.

7.  Kobold Shaman.  The tribes current Shaman lives here.  He is responsible for the regular sacrifices and keeping the prisoners in room 8 alive until needed.  If the tribe runs out of outsiders to sacrifice, the Shaman is also in charge of determining which Kobold gets to be a martyr.  Needless to say the Shaman is universally feared by the tribe. He can cast Paralysis with +1 Spellcheck.  He also has a Magic Necklace made from a dead rat that gives +2 bonus to Fortitude Saves but stinks to high hell (-2 Personality when interacting with any creature with a sense of smell).

8.  Prisoners.  A small cage walls off the niche in the passageway here.  There is a 60% chance that it is occupied by some unfortunate soul slated for sacrifice.  Roll randomly.  1. Man-at-arms (service for safe return) 2. Lizardman 3. Merchant (reward for safe return) 4. Dead Rat 5. Goblin 6. Elf - tortured to death 7. Adventurer.

9.  Elite Kobold Quarters.  Kobolds highest in the pecking order live here.  How they decide who is elite, however, is a great mystery, these Kobolds have the same stats as the rest.  6 are usually in attendance, except of course during sacrifice. 

10.  Gas Room.  This room is dug out like the rest of the Kobold complex but the tribe shuns it completely.  There is an odorless and tasteless gas that vents from below into this room.  It is highly flammable and noxious.  Observant characters (Luck DC 15) may notice a strange blue-green hue around open flames as they approach this room.  Any character searching may also notice there are no tracks going into or out of this room and no Kobold droppings either.  If a torch travels 5' into the room or a lantern or candle 10', the gas will ignite, causing 2d6 points of damage to anyone within the room as well as catching flammable items aflame for another 1d6 per round until extinguished.  Even if no open flame ignites the gas, any character spending 5 consecutive turns in the room must make a Fort Save DC 14 or become nauseous for 1d4 hours (-2 attack and skill checks - including spell checks).

11.  Chaos Temple.  Long ago this was an active temple to some power of Chaos.  The Kobolds accidentally tunneled into it when they colonized this warren and claimed it for their own.  They soon discovered the secret denizen of the Temple and through extensive trial and error (and many devoured Kobolds) learned to live in equilibrium by continuing the sacrifices to the Chaos Slug that lives in Room 13.  The walls and floor of this area as well as 14, 15 and 16 are of polished grey marble with scenes of chaos etched in bas relief.  The Kobolds do not gain their bonuses to Hide and Surprise in these rooms.  If the tribe is sufficiently alerted, the bulk of the Kobolds able to fight will make a stand here to protect their 'Mother', using the pit and columns to best effect for defence.  The original entrance in the SW is blocked by rubble.

12.  The Pit.  The Pit is 30' deep and empties into a widened passage that leads from 8 to 13.  Driven into the floor of the cave are 4 stone plinths with manacles mortared to them.  It is here that the Chaos Priests sacrificed their victims to grow the Chaos Slug and where the Kobolds have learned to do the same to keep it at bay.  During any such sacrifice, nearly all of the Kobold tribe will be gathered to watch from Room 11, cheering and jeering the fate of the poor wretch(es) below.  Only those unlucky enough to be on guard duty at room 3 and the Kobold 'Mother' and her Bodyguards will not be in attendance.  If the Slug is due for a feeding (see Room 13) any living creature entering this area will awaken it and the Slug will start the slow journey to dinner. 

13.  The Chaos Slug.  The Chaos Slug (Init +0; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6 plus poison);AC 16; HD 8d6(42); MV 10’(cannot run); Act 1d24; SP detect living creatures 100’, poison; SV Fort -1, Ref +2, Will -1; AL C with Type I (paralysis) poison, p. 398).  The Chaos slug is a creature raised from humble beginnings on the pain and suffering of the human sacrifices the Chaos Priests fed it.  The Slug is huge and deadly but slow moving and relatively lazy.  It is used to being fed a steady diet of sacrifices and will not go out of its way for food unless hungry.  It will sense any living creature that enters room 12 and immediately begin to wake and shuffle toward them if it is hungry.  The Slug needs one Kobold sized sacrifice every 3 days or it will go in search of food.  A human-sized meal will last a week or more.  The bones of the Chaos Slug's former meals litter the floor as well as assorted coins worth 200 GP, and a Shield +1 named Stalwart.  Possessed by the spirit of a great soldier and martyr Stalwart speaks any language it's owner does.  It constantly urges it's owner to make hopeless last stands and berates them as a coward if they don' a fussy, echoing, tinny voice.  The Kobolds were too freaked out by the talking shield to keep it so they let its previous owner die with it.  The Shield was much pleased...

14.  The Kobold "Mother".  This is the former Sacristry of the Chaos Temple.  It has been taken over by the grotesque "Mother" of the Kobolds.  She is 3 times the size of a normal Kobold and nearly immobile.  She lays on a filthy bed of furs and refuse and is constantly nursing 3d6 Kobold pups on her many, many engorged udders.  The "Mother" of the Kobolds will not fight but is protected by the biggest and best warriors.  10 Kobolds with maximum HP and a +1 to hit are constantly nearby. Under bed (Lice infestation assured!) is a sack with various coins totaling 87 GP.

15.  Nursery.  When the Kobold "Mother" isn't feeding them, here is where the young of the tribe live.  There are 6d7 at any time and cannot fight.  They will cower or run if threatened.  Observant characters may notice they are all males.  The "Mother" immediately eats any female offspring to protect her status in the tribe.

16.  Secret Vestry.  The Kobolds have not discovered the secret door that leads to this chamber.  It was the private Vestry of the Chaos Archpriest.  The remains of Cedar armoires and dressers line the walls and a gilded altar rests in the middle of the far wall.  Most of the clothing and items are decayed to the point of unrecognizability.  One cloak seems to be in fine shape.  The Magic Cloak bears many sigils and runes of chaos and evil but also provides +1 on all Saving Throws as well as grants the wearer Infravision of 60'.  The altar also has 2 golden candlesticks and an electrum collection plate worth 100 GP total.  Hidden in a leg of the plainest armoire is a large ruby worth 125 GP and under a loose flagstone is an oilskin wrapped Grimoire of Chaos that contains the specifics on the Chaos rituals necessary to grow the Chaos Slug ever more powerful, in theory, so powerful that it can eventually devour entire cities!  Lawful characters receive 1 Luck point for destroying the book, Lawful Clerics will also gain 4 Experience Points for doing so.  Chaotic and Neutral players will find no end to interested parties willing to steal, kill for, (or even pay...if they have to...) for the book. 

And here is a link for the map all cleaned up with a transparent background.  Ready to drop right into your favorite Virtual Tabletop.

Kobold Hygiene .PNG

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Inaugural Foray

The description of this blog is no joke.  I had to look up exactly what blog means.  (It is a truncation of 'web log' for any other old farts out there who are too embarrassed to admit they don't know either).  I get the concept of what a 'blog' is, of course, or at least what people who have them put in them.  I have been lurking in the OSR blogosphere for years, picking up cool stuff for games, reminiscing with product reviews on books I lost in some move or basement flooding incident, and thinking to myself how I would do it differently...

Then my 2 year long online D&D 3.5 game ended and I heard that some people were playing old-school D&D and various retro-clones on Google Hangouts and resolved to find out what a Google Hangout was.  After a couple of weeks of getting into some pretty cool games I found out that with my newly active Google account I could rant to the world for free with Blogger!

I'm not a super creative person, but I do love to take other peoples ideas and tweak and twist them, maybe coming up with something different, or at least usable in a different way, from time to time.  So, that's what I'll try to do here.

One blog I've been following for a long time and using for inspiration and entertainment is +Dyson Logos  blog Dyson's Dodecohedron.  I followed his excellent tutorials on how to make amazing hand drawn maps and here is my first completed attempt after some practice.

So there it is.  Post 1 of hopefully some few more to come.  While drawing this map my mind ran off with some ideas for what lives here (the map title might be a little hint) and I wrote down some descriptions that I'll clean up and add here later with a keyed version of the map.