Monday, 16 October 2017

Scout Ships

The smallest useable class of ship players are likely to encounter in my Wolf Sector Stars without Number setting is the Scout Ship. Scout ships were built by many different sizes and configurations by the emerging worlds in Wolf Sector to discover Spike drive routes to nearby systems. After the expansion in Wolf Sector was complete most of these Scout ships found their way into civilian service. The Confederations of the Comarid, Unity of Suns and Compact all still maintain a number of scouts in service. But far more scouts are found as independent owner-operated starships.

Rapier Class C Spike-2 Scout

An example detailed here is the Rapier Class Scout hull developed on Kaitos by Scheuerman-Thiesen Limited. The class A Rapier was a Spike-1 drive scout first launched in 3170. The class C Rapier with a Spike-2 drive detailed here is a more recent starship first trialed in 3190.

There is no scout class in the Stars without Number rules so I have developed one of my own slotting in between the Fighter and Trader. The armour and speed of the scout reflect its origin as a Military scout. The scout has a single hardpoint that usually had a multifocal laser in military use but now is usually left empty. In the case of the ship shown here it has been upgraded with a simple railgun the cheapest available starship weapon.

The scout class is still fairly expensive at a starting cost of 450 to 500 thousand credits fully upgraded. This is about on par with a base model Free Merchant with no upgrades. The reason for going with a scout for independents is the ease of operation, lower cost and operating expenses. But it cannot haul cargo. Some small operators remove all of the living area outside of the cockpit and install a small cargo hold capable of holding six XM class cargo containers.

Centerfold of the Promotional Pamphlet put out by STL.

Shown below is the “Talent for Trouble” spike-2 drive Rapier Class C scout owned and operated by Captain Irina Donskoi. Donskoi is a former UOS Naval officer originally from Tyr. She pays for the operation of the TFT2 by delivering private, high priority shipments. She has a reputation for being willing to deliver just about anything with no questions asked. So far she has managed to stay one step ahead of her payments with Frontier Alliance.

The "Talent for Trouble" and Captain Donskoi delivering mail to Tyr

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Delivering the mail in Stars without Number

Communication between the Stars

It has been a few months since I read my Stars Without Number rules but I believe there is not a lot mentioned about communication between star systems (and I just did a quick perusal again). Even psychics at the height of the Terran Mandate were unable to communicate between worlds.

This fits in perfectly with how planets became completely cut off during the silence that followed the scream. With my Wolf Sector setting there are a few confederations of planets that have pulled together for mutual protection or trade (or have been overwhelmed by stronger worlds).  These confederations of planets will want to stay in close communication. Something that is not possible by at the light year distances between systems.

A logical idea would be small drone ships with jump drives that jump from system to system and transmit and receive the latest information. News, financial transactions, legal documents and entertainment could be transmitted in a few hours while the drone refuels then jumps again. In this case planets could get weekly or even daily updates. This idea has some merit but I have envisioned that the Spike Drive engines are newly rediscovered technology. The latest versions are still massive, even when only a small mass needs to be moved.

Information is transmitted from system to system in Wolf Sector via small, scout starships. Naval ships come daily with government information and news, commercial line mail ships arrive every few days (if you are in the UOS systems) and independant scout ships arrive on a random schedule.

The Rapier Class scout "Talent for Trouble" approaching the planet Tyr.

This communication allows beginning players to buy a small scout ship and supplement their income by hauling the mail. In this case most mail is going to be digital but there is always going to be things that cannot be transmitted.

Ten ideas for items moved by a Mail Ship

  1. Financial documents requiring hard documents.
  2. Gold, gems other hard currencies used to legitimize credits.
  3. Corporate secrets that are too risky to transmit.
  4. Top secret new technology.
  5. Personal gifts.
  6. Illegal pharmaceuticals.
  7. High end luxury foods.
  8. Bottles of Esgari Redwine.
  9. That must have component for a machine that can only be found on the originating planet.
  10. Small animals (pets).

This was just off the top of my head. I am sure I will be able to think of all sorts of small items that could fit on a small starship. The size of scout ship I am thinking of would be 80% spike drive engines and fuel tanks with no room for cargo or even living quarters.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Mystery of the Wailing Ghost

I created an image in Blender on the long weekend that is reminiscent of Scooby-Doo, where are you? An adventure immediately came to mind based on the image. I had to decide in what game system to set the adventure.  I happen to have had a copy of Meddling Kids for a number of years and never used it so I dug it out and read them again. Meddling Kids rules are very simple and really designed for kids. But I think any age group could have fun with these rules as a one off.  Campaign style play I think might be a little more trying.

Quick Overview of the Meddling Kids Rules
The system expects the characters to be kids or young adults in the today’s world. But there is really little reason why any modern era could not be used and any age group.

Players create characters using a point method. Split 24 points amongst the four stats in any manner (Strength, Moves, Smarts, Health), an average human would be 6 in all four. Then the character gets 26 points in abilities which are essentially skills. Players also need to pick an archetype which adds one free ability.

The rules are simple, roll 3d6 total the result, add the base Stat and any bonus for an ability. If this number exceeds the Target number then the character succeeds at the task. Target numbers are set from 4 to 34. With 17 being an average task and 25+ difficult.

There is no combat. Player characters cannot harm adversaries. Characters can get “bonked” if they fall down the stairs or get hit by something. The damage is compared to the Health Stat and if it exceeds the Stat the character is unconscious for the amount exceeded in minutes.

Creatures that are encountered can only be defeated by being captured in a Trap. Traps must succeed against the creatures Target Number which is its Health plus Strength. The level of the trap is based on the Smarts of the person putting it together. The roll is 2d6 + Level of the trap.

There is an optional rule for Chase scenes which seems like a natural to use for this style of game. When characters meet a creature they have to make a Smarts roll. If they fail they run and the creature chases them until they can outsmart or distract the creature. Each successive time they meet the creature the Target Number should drop significantly.

There are a few other rules, but that is essentially it.

The Wailing Ghost of Serene Bluff

How to start
The player’s characters are in a vehicle returning from a concert in a nearby big city. It is in the early evening (4 pm) and they are travelling along a deserted stretch of single lane highway taking a shortcut to get home. They have car trouble and luckily see a sign pointing down a dirt side road to Serene Bluff, last gas for 20 miles. Turning down the road they make it to the village of Serene Bluff.  Serene Bluff seems pretty deserted. But there is an open Stop ‘N Go gas station and repair shop.

Serene Bluff was a fairly popular place for people from the big city to come and enjoy the fresh country air and stay at the many local inns. The diner, grocery store and gas station all did brisk business up until the 1990s when people started going to the Caribbean for their holidays and not upstate. Now just the gas station, diner and one bed & breakfast remain and none of them are doing much business.

The Ghost
To add to the troubles of Serene Bluff, it has always had the reputation of being a spooky place. The Ghost of Clayton Barnes, better known as the Wailing Ghost scaring cottagers away with its blood curdling wailing late at night. Clayton Barnes was the mayor of the town in the 1930’s who was involved in a scandal and hung himself vowing revenge of the community that turned its back on him.

Buddy and Scruffy meet the Wailing Ghost of the Old Mill

Scene 1
The characters arrive at the Stop ‘N Go Gas Station. The problem with their vehicle is the starter and the gas station attendant Hunter Ford does not know how to fix it. They will have to wait for the mechanic and owner Charley Green to come in the next day and look at it. In the meantime Hunter suggests they can get a meal at Mel’s Diner.

Entering the diner the characters encounter Melinda (Mel) Law behind the encounter serving coffee to an old man named Corey Stone (the owner of the Applewood Inn). In the kitchen preparing food is Mel’s husband Felix.

If the characters stay for a meal (the apple pie is not homemade but still pretty good) a state police car shows up after an hour. Felix scampers to the kitchen out of sight. A state trooper named Damian Cooper enters. He likes to drop in and talk to Mel.

If the characters relate their car trouble to the State Trooper or Mel they will suggest that it is a good thing that Stone is here because he runs the best (only) Inn in town. Mr Stone crumbles about out of towners being such a pain and so noisy to look after but he will agree to put the characters up for the night. His Inn has six rooms and only one is currently occupied. Mel will caution the characters not to wander around town at night. If asked why she will reluctantly mention the Wailing Ghost of Clayton Barnes. This is something that makes Officer Cooper laugh.

Have the character’s make Smarts rolls at a target number of 27 to notice that Felix makes sure he is not around when the State Trooper enters.

Scene 2
Assuming the character stay at the Applewood Inn (after all there is no where else to stay) Corey Stone brings guides them to the Inn a few door up and across the street. The Applewood Inn is a somewhat cozy (run-down) manor house with a wide veranda. Upon entering the lobby they meet the other resident of the Inn. A Mr. Bob Nansen, who is a large cheerful fellow full of enthusiasm for the new guests. Bob will ask where they are from, where they are going, how long they are staying. He will avoid answering questions about his own background saying only that he is renovating a nearby building.  Mr Stone or Mel at the Diner know that he is supposed to be renovating the Old Barnes Mill near the river.

Mr Stone will not want to talk about the Wailing Ghost, mumbling something about out-of-towners minding their own business. Bob if asked well just laugh nervously. He has only been in town a short time and has not seen anything.

Scene 3
Later that night, hopefully when everyone is asleep they are awakened by a noise in the hallway. Going to investigate they will find that the door to Bob Nansen’s room is open and a light is on. The room is a mess with clothes and papers and magazines scattered on the floor and a chair knocked over. There is a handwritten note on the night table.

At first I thought it was just my imagination but soon I became aware something was watching me at the Old Mill. I stayed late one night working in the kitchen and I heard its wail. I dare not stay after dark. I think it is following me back to the Inn now. I must tell….

If characters search around the Inn immediately (it is around 11 PM) everything is very quiet. There are no signs of disturbance or tracks. At some point in the search (especially if the group of characters splits up) they will encounter the Wailing Ghost.  When first encountering the ghost characters should make a Smarts check at a target of 28 or run in fear chased by the ghost.

The ghost will quickly give up the chase. If the characters trail it they will see that it enters a cellar door under the Diner. Following it under the Diner the characters will enter a pitch black cellar full of food supplies. If they make noise an agitated Felix will come down stairs with a flashlight and confront them.  There is no sign of the ghost. If characters search for clues, make a Smarts rule against a target of 20. They can find a piece of white bedsheet painted with phosphorous stock in the edge of a floor to ceiling cabinet. They cannot investigate the cabinet now because Felix appears.

Scene 4
Eventually, the players are going to want to investigate Old Barnes Mill. It is down a side road behind the Diner near a river. The building was once a saw mill running on water power. The sluice and water wheel are still around the back of the building. But the building was converted to a home at some point in the past. It appears to have been abandoned for a number of years. There is a pickup truck parked near the front of the building. A few skids of lumber, bags of concrete and a skid of bricks. Work of the front of the building is evident. Bricks have been faced on the building and new windows installed. The door is new and is locked.

Going around back of the building there is no evidence of construction. The wooden walls are grey and faded. The windows are boarded up with plywood. It is fairly easy to pry a board off a window to gain entry.

The building has 2 floors and a cellar. There is no evidence any renovation was being done on the building on the main floor other than a skid of lumber lying in the main hallway. The rooms on the main floor are pretty much empty. The rooms on the second floor have old and decaying furniture. In the master bedroom there is a picture on the wall of Clayton Barnes looking very stern.

The cellar door has been oiled so it does not squeak and there is a light bulb hanging from a cord. There is power for the light bulb and the switch just inside the door lights a string of 4 light bulbs that illuminate a central path through the cellar. The cellar is piled high with cast iron machinery from the old mill days. In the center of the cellar is a 10 foot long 4 foot high machine covered in white sheets. Pulling back the sheets reveals a printing press. There is fresh ink spilled on the press and on the floor.

Character using Smarts to search the cellar on a 20 discover that a cabinet on the wall can be pulled upon to reveal a rough brick-lined tunnel that leads to the cellar beneath the diner. Just inside the tunnel is a table with a pair of bright lamps. On the table is a clean sheet and a briefcase. Inside the briefcase are the plates for making US $20 bills.

At any point when players enter the Old Mill at night the Wailing Ghost can appear. If they split up it is possible that the Wailing Ghost will appear simultaneously to both groups. If the players take the counterfeit money plates, both ghosts will appear and wail at the players attempting to get them to drop the briefcase in a chase.

Setting a trap with the briefcase as a lure and using the old machinery from the cellar is the obvious method of catching the Wailing Ghost(s).

Once capture the ghosts are revealed to be Felix Law from the Diner and Bob Nansen. State Trooper Damian Cooper will drive up to arrest the criminals. He was responding to an urgent phone call from Old man Stone who was concerned after Bob went missing. Cooper will tell the player’s characters that he has been keeping an eye on Mel’s miscreant brother Felix who was released from State Prison just over a year ago. Bob Nansen is actually Bob “Fingers” Snider a notorious thief and forger and Felix’s cellmate before his release. He recently got out of prison shortly after Felix. Cooper became suspicious when he received a phoney $20 at the Diner.


Bob “Fingers” Snider
Strength 6, Moves 8, Smarts 5, Health 5, Trap DC 11, Disguise (Health+4), Dodge (Moves+1d6), Drive (Moves+4), Magician (Moves+2), The Whiz at Counterfeiting (Smarts+4), Slam (Smarts+3).
Bob will be encountered as Bob Nansen and contracter from the Big City renovating a the Old Mill. He is the primary Wailing Ghost. He has the recording of a ghostly wail on his cellphone he uses to scare people away from the Old Mill. Bob is the muscle of the gang and the whiz with the printing press.

Felix Law
Strength 4, Moves 7, Smarts 7, Health 6, Trap DC 10, Disguise (Health+4), Nimble (Moves+2), Drive (Moves+4), Sneak (Moves+3), Fast Talk (Health+1d6).
Felix was offered a job by his big sister Mel in this small town. He hates it in Serene Bluff but he came up with the idea of using the storey of the Wailing Ghost to keep people away from the old mill where he could set up a printing press with his cellmate Fingers. Felix is the brains of the criminal gang. He arranges for the distribution of the counterfeit money. He knows he should ensure it is spread far away from Serene Bluff but he is lazy and occasionally spreads it in nearby towns. He thinks he accidently once gave a counterfeit bill to the State Trooper that is always coming by but the big, dump cop did not clue into it.

Damian Cooper (NPC)
He is a veteran State trooper. He has been working on a case involving counterfeit $20 bills. A surprising number of which are found in towns in this backwater area of the State. He stopped once at the diner and came away with a counterfeit $20. A little background checking revealed Felix’s past. He is suspicious but needs proof.

Hunter Ford (NPC)
A middle aged gas station attendant, NPC, no Stats needed. He is a wanderer who ran out of money in Serene Bluff so he took a job at the gas station. He has been here for 3 years.

Charley Green (NPC)
The young, 25 years old, owner of the gas station. He inherited it when his father died. At the time he was working as a mechanic in a bigger town. He returned and the quiet suits him just fine.

Melinda Law (NPC)
Mel is the owner of the Diner. She moved to Serene Bluff 10 years ago to escape the Big City. Serene Bluff was perfect and quiet and first but the ghost has here scared and the lack of business adds to her stress levels. She offered her ne'er do well younger brother a job once he got out of jail. She watched him like a hawk at first, especially around the cash but he seems to be doing his job. She will be sorry that he has gone back to a life of crime.

Corey Stone (NPC)
Old Man Stone is one of the few long time residents of Serene Bluff. He has two children who left home and never returned. His wife passed away 10 years ago. One by one his friends and hired help at the Inn have left for the big city. It has made him bitter and angry and city slickers.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Prisoner of the Goblins

I wrote a short encounter after creating an image in Blender.

Prisoner of the Goblins

This is an adventurer for novice adventurers with a spread of experience between levels 2 and 4. I have used some place names from my Stillwater setting but this adventure is generic enough to fit in almost any fantasy setting.

The adventurers have arrived in the frontier village of Yarrow. The village is a small one with a population under 80, consisting primarily of sheep herders and hunters. The centre of the village is a Shrine devoted to the gods of law administered by the Priest Cabrahen. Cabrahen was a young adept when he came to Yarrow ten years ago and has become the leader of the village. Two days ago Cabrahen went out with two other villagers in search of a missing calf. The trio split up and ascended up into the foothills of the Cruel Sister mountains. Only the two villagers returned to Yarrow.

The priest Cabrahen encounters the goblin Crooked Lip.

After Cabrahen remained missing overnight a search party set out from the village. Near some standing stones in the hills they found the lost calf (alive), Cabrahen’s staff, his wool cap and a goblin knife.

In the nearby foothills to the east of Yarrow is a well-known goblin cave. The goblins keep their distance from the villagers of Yarrow and they have never been much of a problem. Now it looks like they have taken the leader of Yarrow.

Most of the villagers hunters who know the hills and the goblins think it is unlikely that Cabrahen is still alive but the women and children of the village have insisted that something be done. The adventurers arrive just in time to help.

The villagers can offer food, shelter, warm clothing and a total of 20 gold coins to search the goblin cave. This is all the villagers of Yarrow can offer. Directions to the goblin cave are straightforward. If the players insist, one of the men of Yarrow will lead them to within eyesight of the cave. Villagers will suggest players head out early in the morning to take advantage of the goblins aversion to sunlight. It is a 3 hour walk uphill to the cave.

Key to the adventure below. Statistics for the inhabitants of the caves are given at the end.

Dungeon Key

A. The Goblin Cave
The entrance to the goblin cave is a short ravine in the side of a hill. The ravine ends in a five foot wide, 6 foot tall cave entrance. Near the entrance to the cave there is evidence that the cave is occupied by goblins. Footprints in the dirt and some food debris (gnawed animal bones). In the evening hours there will be goblins coming and going from the cave and two goblins stationed outside the cave. During the day there are no goblins in this area.

B. Sentry Cave
A small cave off the main entrance is used for sentries to guard the goblin lair. At night this cave is empty but during the day there are 6 goblins and 4 wolves stationed here. The goblins are not alert but the wolves are alert. One goblin has a whistle for alerting the entire lair if they come under attack.

C. Central Cave
This large cave has four exits and is a central area for the goblins. At night there  will be 8 goblins here sitting around eating deer meat. They are armed with spears. During the day this cave is empty.

D. Cookfires
This cave is the cooking area for the goblins. There is a natural three foot in diameter chimney leading 10 feet up to the outside. Beneath the chimney is a large cooking fire with a large iron pot suspended over it. The fires are burning all day and night. The fires are low but the coals are very hot. The stew is always simmering. In the stew is a mix of various animal meats. During the day there is one goblin here stirring the stew (the goblin witch doctor). At night there are 8 goblin woman here and 6 immature goblins. The woman and young will fight by hurling hot coals at players using wooden spoons (1-4 points damage).

E. Sleeping area
This cave has two dozen grass pallets on the sandy floor. It is a sleeping area for the goblins. At night this cave is empty but during the day there will be 22 goblins sleeping here.

F. Captive
The tunnel to this cave is blocked by a crude wooden gate built by the goblins. The gate door is tied shut with rope. Two goblins stand guard before the gate day and night. Inside the cave is the captive priest Cabrahen. His hands are tied and he is gagged with a cloth. He has been stripped from his clothes and wears ragged shirt and loose-fitting pants. His boots are gone.

Cabrahen is hungry and scared but otherwise unharmed. He can tell players that he spotted the missing calf lying on the ground near the standing stones. Once he approached the calf he found it was alive but has an arrow in its side. He cast Cure Light Wounds healing the calf, which immediately ran away in panic. Just then a goblin appeared and cracked him over the head.  He awoke in this cave. The goblin, who he knows as “Crooked Lip” brought a sick immature goblin to him and made it clear he needed to heal the goblin to stay alive. He cast cure light wounds to restore the goblin but it was clear that the goblin was sick not injured.

Through hand gestures he convinced Crooked Lip to let him see the food and water sources for the goblins. He cast Purify food and water on water and the goblin young have made a recovery. He has still had to heal 2 more goblin young in the fast few days when they became very weak with fever.

He has witnessed some fighting amongst the goblins with regards to his fate. Crooked Lip has defended him from an older goblin he assumes is the witch doctor. A goblin chief also came and argued with Crooked Lip over something in front of the cave bars.

G. Goblin Chief
The chief of the goblins resides here with two bodyguards. He is here day and night when he is not moving about the caves. At night the goblin witch doctor is with the chief. The goblin chief has the treasure of the goblins buried in a shallow pit and the back of the cave. A leather sack with 8 pieces of jewelry worth 400 gold, 25 gold coins and 135 silver coins.

H. Goblins Women and children
This cave is the sleeping area of the goblin women and children. During the day there are 8 goblin women and 6 goblin children here sleeping. At night the cave is empty.


Cabrahen (1): AC 9, Cleric 3, HP 14, MV 30’, #AT 1 fist, Dmg 1-2, SA C3, ML 8, AL Lawful. His spells are Cure Light Wounds and Purify Food and Water. He has had all of his possessions taken by the goblins. He is dresses in a ragged shirt and baggy pants. He has no shoes.

Goblins (30): AC 6, HD 1+1, HP, 3, MV 20’, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg weapon type, SA NM, ML 9, AL Chaotic. Each goblin is armed with either a short sword or a spear. They do not have any treasure. During the day 22 are at area D, 2 are at area E, 2 are with the chief and 4 are wandering about. At night 2 each guard area A and area E, 6 are at area B, 8 are at area C and 2 are with the chief. The remaining 10 are out in two hunting parties.

Goblin women (8): AC 7, HD 1+1, HP 2, MV 20’, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg weapon type, SA NM, ML 6, AL Chaotic. They will hide from players but will defend the young goblins. They have no treasure.

Goblin young (6): AC 9, HD 1, HP 1, MV 20’ #AT n/a, Dmg no attack, SA NM, ML 6, AL Chaotic. They have no attack and will hide or run from adventurers.

Goblin Chief (1): AC 6, HD 3, HP 15, MV 20’, #AT 1 short sword+2, Dmg 1-6+2, SA NM, ML 9, AL Chaotic.  The plus to hit and damage is due to strength. The chief of the tribe is not very bright. He won rule of the tribe because of his immense strength (for a goblin) and the backing of the old witch doctor. He has a gold necklace worth 200 gold. He is also wearing Cabrahen’s tunic and pants.

Goblin Hero (1): AC 6, HD 2, HP 12, MV 30’, #AT 1 short sword+1, Dmg 1-6+2, SA NM, ML 10, AL Chaotic. This is the goblin that Cabrahen calls Crooked Lip because he has a scar splitting open his lower lip. Crooked Lip is remarkedly smart for a goblin. He has reasoned the worth of having a living human cleric for the tribe. He has defended Cabrahen against the jealous witch doctor.

Crooked Lip opposes killing Cabrahen but he will fight to keep him from leaving. If the future of the tribe is threatened he can be convinced to let Cabrahen go with players.

Goblin Witch Doctor (1): AC 7, HD 2, HP 10, MV 30’, #AT 1 dagger, Dmg 1-4 +poison, SA NM, ML 10, AL Chaotic. The witch doctor has no special powers. He just believes in the potions and cures the previous witch doctor taught him. None of his potions have any worth and some are actually poisonous. His dagger is coated with poison. Players taking damage must Save vs. Poison or die in 1d6 days. He has a Ring of Protection +1. He is very jealous of the obvious ability of the human cleric and has argued that he should be sacrificed to their god.

Wolves (4): AC 7, HD 2+2, HP 13, MV 60’, #AT 1 bite, Dmg 1-6, SA F1, ML 8, AL Neutral. The goblins keep four wolves as sentries.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Once more into the void - The Lair of the Basilisk

Last session we headed into the nearby mountains searching for the Lair of the Necromancer menacing the town of Winterton. With only vague directions we decided to follow the river. Eventually, we came to a cave near a small, mountain lake. Outside the cave are numerous stone statues of woodland creatures, all broken into little bits.

Once More into the Void Session 14 - Lair of the Basilisk

We decide that this might be the place we are looking for and enter the cave with Mukah the Half-orc barbarian in the lead. Inside a tunnel leads to a small cave full of rubble. Just beyond is another tunnel partially blocked by a stalagmite. Mukah moves forward rounding the stalagmite and he comes face-to-face with an enormous Basilisk. Mukah feel his muscles stiffen but he manages to fight it off.

Alcor Fenn tries to move up around Talrek and Thyrell but he is unable to squeeze past the stalagmite. Talrek finds he is blocked by a momentarily stopped Mukah so he casts Spiritual Hammer and attacks the basilisk.

Mukah and Alcor attack the Basilisk while Talrek casts Spiritual Weapon.

Thyrell moves to stand behind the stalagmite and this gives Otrivush Oto a clear look at the basilisk. The wizard casts Magic missile striking the monster. It squeals in pain and echoing squeals are heard from the north. Another, much smaller, basilisk appears behind Mukah. The adult basilisk manages to bite and poison Talrek. Alcor strikes the adult basilisk with his spear and the creature begins to slow. Thyrell changes weapons, peers around the stalagmite - right into the eyes of the adult basilisk. Thyrell is restrained.

Talrek tries attacking with his Spiritual Hammer while looking away from the basilisk to avoid its gaze. He misses but strikes it with a Guiding Bolt. The adult basilisk is struck but the bolt of energy right in the head and its skull explodes as it falls down dead.

Mukah, now free to move, turns and attacks the smaller basilisk. Oto moves to cast Magic Missle but he meets the gaze of the basilisk and is restrained as well. Alcor bravely runs up meets the basilisk’s gaze with impunity and stabs it with his spear.

Thyrell successfully throws off the restraining effect of the basilisk before becoming petrified but as he turns to see what is happening he meets the gaze of the second basilisk and is again restrained.

Talrek tries directing his Spiritual Hammer with little success as he is not looking at the basilisk. Mukah tries attacking with his sword while averting his gaze and almost hits Alcor Fenn. The later moves quickly to avoid the swing. Mukah flies into a rage with frustration. Oto comes out of his immobility and casts another Magic Missile. Just then an even smaller, third basilisk enters the cave from the north. Oto hits the second basilisk with another Magic Missile finally killing it.

Alcor is bitten from behind by the third basilisk. In his anger he unleashes his Tiefling demonic ability and brings down Hellish Rebuke on the basilisk. The creature is roasted in hellfire but does not stop attacking. Mukah roars in rage, looks right at the basilisk and chops it in half killing it.

After the battle the discussion turns to possibly leaving the caves to rest in a safer location. Oto sends his familiar Artimouse the rat to scout ahead and learns that there is only one cave left in the lair. In the lair the adventurers discover an unhatched basilisk egg.

Thyrell drags the adult basilisk carcass into the tunnel entrance to scare away intruders and the group makes camp for the night.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

How tall is my Halfling?

I have come up with two new companions for the adventurers. The little party of characters I created using B/X Moldvay rules that I use in images detailing posted adventures. I went with an elf and a dwarf.  According to B/X rules the elf must be a fighter/magic-user and the dwarf a fighter. And of course my halfling is a fighter and cannot be a thief as much as I want him to be one. But I tend to ignore that. If I was running an adventure and needed to choose rules I would probably use Labyrinth Lord’s Advanced Edition Companion. It is the closest to the house rules I used back in the 1980’s.

Creating the meshes in Blender for the Elf and the Dwarf had me thinking of scale. As in how tall is the dwarf. I opened the Basic Rules and according to them “Dwarves are short, stocky demi-humans about four feet tall.” I already had made my halfling 4 feet tall so I had to look up halfling as well and it turns out in the Basic rules they average 3 feet tall. Elves are 5 to 5 ½ feet tall.

I modified the character meshes to match. Now Ted Quickfoot is 3’ 1” tall. My new dwarf, Toskar Redhelm, is 4’ tall and the new elf Juenael is 5’ 3” tall. Standing them all in a scene with Ted in front of Johann the human fighter makes me realize the tiny size of halflings. Granted Johann is a very large human fighter at 6’ tall. Xobin the mage is probably a more average human height at 5’ 7” tall. This is a fantasy setting so it can be expected that humans are a little shorter more in line with the Medieval averages.

It is hard to imagine that Ted the halfling can be any use in a fight. I am using Basic rules and gave him a strength of 16. He could be kicking in stuck doors. It seems a little out of scale.

Toskar, Johann, Xobin, Juenael and Ted (opening the chest)

Newcomers to Xobin’s crew of adventurers.

Toskar Redhelm: Str 18, Int 13, Wis 11, Dex 7, Con 14, Cha 11, Hp 6, AC 4, HD 1, #AT 1 battleaxe+3, Dmg 1-8+3, SA D1, AL Lawful. Toskar is a 45 year old dwarf from Grimwell. He joined up with the adventurers after hearing of their exploits in the Barrow of the Forgotten Legion.

Juenael: Str 15, Int 17, Wis 11, Dex 18, Con 7, Cha 13, Hp 8, AC 1, HD 2, #AT 1 longbow+3, Dmg 1-6+3, SA E2, AL Lawful. Juenael is an elf from one of the destroyed elven communities in the wildlands. As such she is a wanderer. At various points in the past she has crossed paths with Xobin. Recently she did so again and decided to travel with him. She does not discuss her age but she appears unchanged from when Xobin first met her when he was a young apprentice.


I really should write up an adventure to explain the scene in the image and the mysterious blue phantom. I have been making incremental improvements on these character meshes. Mainly with a better understanding of how textures work. But other small things as well (added pockets to Xobin's robe). Johann is still the only one wearing a backpack.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Barrow of the Forgotten Legion Finale

The Big Finale

So I decided to wrap up the rest of the Barrow of the Forgotten Legion in one long post.  Here it is below.  The link to the previously published Map is here.

(16). Passage to the Great Cavern
This is a simple passage that eventually enters the Great Cavern (33).  It is notable for the fact that flickering lights from the Great Cavern can be seen and chanting can be heard. The players should have plenty of warning that they are approaching an occupied area.

(17). Ogre Skeletons
A narrow passage with a low roof leads to this cave. The cave floor is piled with large, humanoid bones. These are bones of ogres killed in the battle mentioned in the background.

(18). Spider Lair
This small cave has a low ceiling (5 foot high).  The cave entrance is wrapped in sticky webbing. Inside the cave are more webs and a large egg sack tied into the webbing. The dozens of spiders in the egg sack are the young of the Giant Black Widow spiders. At this point in their development they are harmless.

(19). Spider Attack
Remnants of giant spider webs coat the walls in this cave and the ceiling. Hiding amongst the webbing in the ceiling are 2 giant black widow spiders. Directly beneath them is a pouch lying on the cave floor. In the pouch are 2 potions of healing and a small purse containing 36 silver coins.

Giant Black Widow Spiders (2): AC 6, HD 3, MV 20’ in web 40’, #AT 1 bite, Dmg 2-12 + poison, SA F2, ML 8, AL Neutral. The black widow spiders are 6 feet long. The bite of the black widow spider is poisonous (save vs poison or die in 1 turn). If the spiders fail their morale check they will retreat to area 18.

(20). The Natural Tomb
The map needs to be examined carefully to understand the layout of this cavern. A natural “bridge” arch crosses the cavern from north to south allowing passage to areas 22 and 23. The bridge is 10 feet high and not reached easily from within this cavern. There is also a raised plateau to the west.

The lower floor of this cavern is piled with humanoid skeletons. The humanoids are a lot larger than average humans (they were ogres). Someone has gone to the enormous effort of stacking foot bones at the bottom, femurs in piles, ribs in other piles and skulls on top of the piles. The effect is quite creepy. The skeletons bones have been completely removed from their bodies and cleaned so there are no rags, remnants of skin or hair.

(21). Tomb of Tempest
A low entry-way (3 feet tall and wide) leads into a small cave with a more normal cave roof height of 9 feet. In this small chamber is a single stone tomb. The tomb is a stone box with a removeable lid. Inside the tomb is a human-sized skeleton dressed in a robe that now appears to be brown. In one hand of the skeleton is a silver necklace with a pendant worth 400 gold. Written on the back of the necklace is the word “Tempest”.

(22). Drowned Tomb
The passage to this cave narrows down to 2 feet in width in two places. After the second tight squeeze, rough hewn steps lead down to a clear pool of very cold water. The water is 5 feet deep. At the bottom is a stone tomb that has collapsed on one side. The lid of the tomb is lying a few feet to one side. In the open tomb is a human-sized skeleton wearing rags. The skeleton clutches a 3 foot long metal rod. The rod is non-magical, but it may fool players as it has not rusted as much as would have been expected.

(23). On the west side of this small cave there is a crumbling wooden coffin resting on a low, stone platform. The coffin can be opened easily, in fact the wood is so dry it crumbles apart. Inside the coffin is a zombie wearing tattered chainmail and holding a rusty sword.

Zombie (1): AC 7, HD 2, MV 40’, #AT 1 sword, Dmg 1-8, SA F1, ML 12, AL Chaotic. This zombies has improved AC due to the tattered chainmail but it is still normally slow and easy to hit. Zombies are not affected by sleep or charm spells. Zombies always lose initiative.

(24). Trapped Floor
This cave appears empty and is different in that the floor is covered in light, brown sand. Players entering the chamber immediately notice that the sand feels deep. In the center of the cave there is a 5 foot in diameter pit filled with sand. Players walking over the pit will immediately begin to sink into the pit. They will find that it is impossible to move their legs once they are trapped. Outside aid is necessary to get out of the pit. It takes 5 rounds for a player to be sucked under and begin suffocating.  The pit is 8 feet deep.

(25). Trapped Cavern
This large cavern is at the top of three rising tunnels. In the area shown on the map the floor of the cavern is fake. It is dirt and debris over a wooden trapdoor. Players walking onto the area have a 2 on 1d6 chance of triggering the trap. The floor will swing open dropping players ten feet onto large wooden spikes. Have players who fall into the trap make a Dexterity save at -2. Those passing the save manage to grab hold of the pit edge. The other players fall onto the spikes taking 2d4 damage.

(26). Necropolis
This large cavern has two passageways cutting through it. Above the passages are raised ledges 8 feet above the cavern floor. Piled on these ledges are dozens of humanoid skeletons. The skeletons are considerably larger than human-sized (they were ogres). The skeletons have been arranged neatly and cleaned of rags, skin and hair.

(27). Many legged bugs
There is a pile of stone debris against the west wall of this cave. In amongst the debris are six, one foot long Giant centipedes. Should any player disturb the debris the centipedes will attack. The centipedes will continue to attack as long as their morale holds and there are players in the cave.

Giant Centipedes (6): AC 9, HD ½, HP 2 each, MV 20’, #AT 1 bite, Dmg Poison, SA (NM), ML 7, AL Neutral. The bite of a centipede does no damage but the victim must save vs poison or become violently ill for 10 days. Players who do not save move at ½ speed and cannot perform any other action.

(28). Human Guards
A group of four human cultists are stationed in this cave on watch. They are protecting the cultists tasked with performing a ritual in area 33. The four guards are reasonably alert. They have a lantern to provide light.

Human Guards (4): AC 6, HD 2, HP 6, 8, 7, 10, MV 40’, #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1-6, SA F2, ML 10, AL Chaotic. The cultists are wearing chainmal and are armed with spears. They do not have any valuables. One of the guards has a pendant of Horkus.

(29). Weakened Floor
At this point in the passage leading to area 30 the floor of the cavern has been weakened by the tunnel that passes underneath it to area 33. For every player standing on the marked square at the same time increases the chance that the floor will collapse. There is a 1 on 1d6 chance with one player, 1-2 on 1d6 chance with two players, up to six players making the collapse automatic. The fall causes 1-3 damage. It also makes a lot of noise and will bring guards from area 28 and area 11. It will also put the cultists in area 33 on alert.

(30). Campsite
This large cave has been turned into a sleeping chamber for a large group of humans. There are two dozen piles of blankets on the cave floor arranged for sleeping. Dozens of bags and sacks lie about on the blankets. Seven open wooden crates are piles along the east wall. The crates are full of food and waterskins. In the center of the cavern are the remnants of a fire. Off in one corner there is a small chamber with a more elaborate sleeping area. A straw mattress covered in sheets and a wooden footlocker lie on the floor.

Amongst the blankets and sacks are clothes and dried rations. The footlocker is locked with an iron padlock. The padlock has a poison needle trap (save vs poison or die). In the footlocker are two bags of gold coins for a total of 500. Also, there is a golden ring worth 400 gold.

(31). Hidden Shrine of Law
This long passage drops down under the passage to area 30 and then rises back up to a dead end. The dead end of the passage is an area that is strangely still and quiet. A small 3 foot tall stone statue of a birdman (a representation of the god Nis) stands on a small pedestal. The statue weighs 2000 coins so it is not easy to move. Players attempting to move the statue will gain a feeling of uneasiness like someone is watching them.

Players resting within 10 feet of the statue regain hit points at the rate of 1 hp per 4 hours.  There is no limit to the amount of healing, players could come back repeatedly. The statue also removes curses on any character resting for 4 hours within the area of influence. Evil creatures will feel uncomfortable near the statue.

(32). Chamber of the Mascot
As players come down this passage they will see an enormous bestial humanoid creature resting on a pile of furs. The creature will stir if any players come within thirty feet. It comes alert even if the players are using stealth or are invisible. It can smell them. The creature is an ogre. The cultists used the ogre for information on the barrow which is folklore to the ogrekin. The ogre is chained by its ankle by an iron chain attached to the wall. Unknown to the cultists the orgre has been working on pulling the chain anchor out of the wall. It is now quite lose. Should the players attack the ogre it will pull the chain from the wall before attacking.

Ogre (1): AC 5, HD 4+1, HP 23, MV 30’, #AT 1 fist, Dmg 1-6, SA F4, ML 11, AL Chaotic. The ogre is unarmed but will fight desperately to survive.

The Cultists prepare to begin their ritual just as our heroes arrive

(33). Great Cavern
This is a huge cavern about 100 feet in diameter. The ceiling is high, fully 50 feet overhead. In the center of the cavern is an enormous 3-tiered step pyramid on a stone platform. The pyramid is 45 feet square and 15 feet high with steps leading up on each side. Dozens of lit candles cover the pyramid. Atop the pyramid is an open area and a 12 foot tall statue of an ogre holding a stone offering plate out in front of it. Around the pyramid is a shallow pool of water. The only dry way to approach the pyramid is from the west or a wooden plank over the water to the south. A pile of unused stone blocks lies to the east of the pyramid.

In the chamber is the main group of cleric of the cult of Horkus. They are attempting to use the evil of the pyramid to aid in bringing one of their ancient leader back from the dead. They have located the remains of this man in this barrow, placed them in a wooden crate and carried them to the top of the pyramid. The leader of the cultist has just arrived to begin the ceremony. The other cultists have prepared the pyramid for the ceremony and captured local villagers to be sacrifices.

Cultists Acolytes (8): AC 5, HD 1, HP 3, 2, 4, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, MV 20’, #AT 1 mace, Dmg 1-6, SA C1, ML 7/11, AL Chaotic. The acolytes are wearing brown, worn fabric robes over chainmail armour.  They are each armed with a mace. They cannot cast spells.

Cultist Adepts (4): AC 5, HD 2, HP 11, 8, 9, MV 20’, #AT 1 mace or spell, Dmg 1-6, SA C2, ML 8/11, AL Chaotic. The adepts are dressed the same as the acolytes and are indistinguishable from them. But they have more hit points, attack as a 2 HD creature and can cast spells. The spells known are Light, Cause Fear and Cause Light Wounds (one spell to each cleric).

Cultist Priest (1): AC 3, HD 3, HP 20, MV 20’, #AT 1 mace+2 or spell, Dmg 1-6+2, SA C3, ML 10, AL Chaotic. His spells are Cause Fear and Cause Light Wounds.

The Priest leading the cultists is very fat but still moves fairly well. He is armed with a magical mace+1 and wears a suit of chainmail +1. As long as the Priest is alive and within sight of the rest of the cultists they gain the improved morale. If he flees or is killed the morale of the remaining cultist will drop. He gains an extra +1 to AC due to Dexterity and an additional +1 to hit and damage due to strength.

Around the priest’s neck is a silver chain holding a pendant dedicated to Horkus depicting a clawed hand crushing a human skull. The Pendant is magical for chaotic creatures, granting a +1 to AC. The priest is wearing a large suit of plate mail under his robes.

The huge statue atop the pyramid is that of a ogre. It looks very much like the statue in area 4 and is also a statue of the ogre god Tiruk. The eyes of the statue are rubies worth 100 gold. In the wooden crate atop the pyramid is a skeleton that has been recently wrapped in fine cloth. In one hand a metal rod has been placed. The rod is made of silver and is worth 400 gold. Players should get an XP reward (200 each) for destroying the remains of this evil cultist from the past.

Thus ends the adventure to the the Barrow of the Forgotten Legion.