September 17, 2014

Ancients and Aliens: 20 quick questions

In an effort to help flesh out my campaign setting I'm answering some questions I found over at Jeff's Gameblog. Next I'll start working on a gazetteer and a better map. This is the map we're currently using at the table.

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
Well, there aren't any clerics yet. You can play a Prophet though and preform miracles while making up your new religion as you go. If you get your Prophet character to level 9 and build a church, then your religion will become famous enough to start producing clerics.

When people talk about priests they are usually referring to the magi (magic-users) who run the ziggurats and watch over the cities while the old Anunnaki gods are away on business. The magi are usually too busy with their own power struggles to pay much attention to what some lunatic prophet is doing, but expect backlash once they notice people turning away from the old gods.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Crazy Gorgathon runs Gorgathon's Outfittery and Supplies which caters to all the adventurers and sell swords currently running around Niru. He is in fierce competition with Sweeney's General Goods which is now run by Sweeney's daughter Deandra. 

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Nowhere really, making platemail is a lost art that the dwarves and elves have forgotten. You could get some custom scalemail though. Gorgathon can get specialty items shipped up from Nippur, or you can go talk to Ithleb the Smith about making some here in Niru. 

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
It used to be the god Enlil (or possibly Enki), but now that the Anunnaki are gone the answer isn't clear at all.

The most powerful magi in each city holds the title Ensi (or Ninsi if she is a lady). The Ensi is the representative of that city's patron deity and pretty much runs everything now that the Anunnaki are gone. Back in the old days the Ensi would be whoever the ruling Anunnaki chose as an apprentice, and all the other magi in town would in turn be apprenticed to the Ensi. Those magi would manage the populous of the city and report back to the Ensi, who then reported to the deity. Whenever an Ensi died or fell out of favor the ruling deity would simply choose a new apprentice. Now however, becoming the Ensi of a city is a lot more competitive. Sometimes an Ensi will plan ahead and try to appoint a successor, or leave instructions for testing those who wish to ascend to the position once it is vacant. A dead Ensi can't really enforce their will though, so it is up to the magi of a city to come to some consensus about who should lead. Sometimes this transition is peaceful, but increasingly the matter of succession is settled through threats, duels, and assassination. The most powerful wizard is likely one of these Ensi, but it's hard to tell which one of them is the mightiest wizard in the land. They all claim to be the best, but to keep their rivals off guard they also take pains not to reveal the full extent of their powers. It's likely to be one of these five though...

Murmuhraag - Ensi of the air/breath god Enlil in the city of Nippur
Ziusudra the Mad - Ensi of the trickster god Enki (new convert) in Shuruppak
Litani the Breathtaking - Ninsi of the sex/war goddess Inanna in the city of Uruk
Shuugarad - Ensi of the sun god Utu in the city of Larsa
Kokazari - Ensi of the moon god Nanna in the city of Ur 

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
Ninurta the goddess of bravery and combat. No contest, she was the baddest ass ever.

Now that she has gone back up to the heavens that distinction probably goes to barbarian lord Ghokon who has untied many tribes of the Hills Peoples and taken control of Susa, Chogha Mish, and the lands to the east near the Zagros mountians. There are a few other contenders though. The amazon queen Alera is said to be more fierce in battle than the lions who fight beside her, she now rules over hundreds of women living somewhere in the northern wilds. There is also Lugal-Guzox of Girsu, he is said to rule that city being so fearsome that the local magi there all bow before him.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?
Murmuhraag the Ensi of Nippur. Nippur is the central trading hub of all of Sumer, and goods from all over the world are bought and sold here. Taxes are levied on every person, animal, and wagon that enters the city. The city sprawls across both sides of the Euphrates, connected by a floating bridge/blockade. Boats and rafts must also pay a tax to split a section of the bridge and open the water route if they wish to pass through to another city. Murmuhraag always gets his cut.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?
Most of the ziggurats have magi alchemists who create magical potions. The potions are traded between the cities, but the recipes are well guarded secrets. Most of the healing potions, curatives, and salves found throughout the land are made in the city of Isin.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
Try the closest ziggurat. Even if they don't know a helpful spell, the magi have access to scrolls that might do the trick... for a price. You could try travelling to Isin, where their patron deity is Ninisinna the goddess of Healing. If all else fails you could go off into the wilds and ask one of the shamans of the Hills Peoples to help, but even if they aren't charlatans they might still be mad about all the slavery and killing and stuff.

Undeath is perfectly natural for humans and the other slave races created by the Anunnaki. A few days after you die you just get up and start walking to the Underworld where you spend eternity working for the goddess Ereshkigal. Just stay out their way and those zombies usually don't get too bitey... usually. This undeath does not happen to the native people like elves, dwarves, and orcs supposedly because they don't have souls. However, some foul necromancers can create elf, dwarf, and orc zombies. These are abominations fueled by stolen souls, obviously.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
You're one of the magi, and you should probably stick with them for a while. They'll want 10% of your earnings, but you'll level up faster with their help. Also, you don't start off with your own spellbook, so to memorize spells you'll need to go into town and use one of the Tablets of Fate which are the well guarded communal spellbook i-Pads used by the magi and their Elfulan guards.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Get thee to a ziggurat. You might have to travel to a specific city for certain information. The sages in Eridu are said to be the most knowledgeable, but each city has it's specialties.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?

Just about any city will have unemployed soldiers and guards. Try looking inside a tavern or outside a ziggurat. Without the Anunnaki doing the off-world trading, the ziggurats now have a huge surplus of food but a shortage of coins. Many cities have cut back on the number of guards, gladiators, and soldiers that they employ. Unemployment and crime has gone up. You can generally find someone willing to put their life on the line in exchange for a bag full of coins.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Not really. No stealing, no killing. Justice is a very "eye for an eye" sort of affair. However, adventurers tend to stand out among the crowd, and will likely be followed and watched. The people in the cities have been part of an elaborate Anunnaki breeding program for thousands of years. The Anunnaki bred most of their slaves in order to enhance qualities like complacency, pragmatism, and servility. So while the are no laws explicitly against carrying weapons in town, most people will just assume that you're up to no good, stay out of your way, and point you out to the authorities.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?
There are two taverns in Niru, you can take your pick.

The Tavern of the Full Tankard is a small friendly place run by a man named Sam. He's a decent cook and serves locally brewed beer of variable quality. Some batches of beer are better than others, but the prices are always affordable. Sam has hired a refugee from Kutha to help do chores and keep the place clean, an older man named Thessel.

The Weary Ass is a larger building with nice furnishings and rooms for rent upstairs. The prices here are significantly higher, but the food is good and the young ladies are proud to serve beer and wine imported all the way from Uruk. The proprietor is a woman named Hessia who rules her tavern with an iron fist. She refuses service to non-humans, but makes an exception for Elfulans "because they work for the magi, so I pretty much have to". Porgun the Brute is kept on staff to help "take out the trash", but some of the regular patrons also like to get involved in that sort of thing.

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

There are a whole load of wild humanoids gathering up at the Chaotic Caves of Chaos harassing travelers and decent working folk. There are also a bunch of demons and vampires that crawled up from the Underworld and into the city of Kutha, which is why Kutha was abandoned and Niru is now full of refugees. Most horrible of all is the Ulu, it now stands over thirty feet tall and just keeps growing as it gorges itself on the walking dead who are shambling toward Kutha and their afterlife in the Underworld. That's why so many people are paying the Lamentation Priests to fast track the spirits of their dearly departed straight to the land of the dead. Otherwise when the dead rise again after a few days and make the long walk to the Underworld they risk being eaten along the way by the Kutha Ulu and robbed of their afterlife.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

Tensions are high between many of the city-states, but not many of them can afford a big build up of troops. There are occasional raids and border skirmishes between many cities, but the most serious open fighting right now is between Larsa and Girsu.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Oh, of course! Just about every city has an arena. Some of the matches are fought to the death, but others fight until someone yields or until first blood. It's all very civilized. Watch out for the Halflingons though, they get a little berzerky sometimes.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Each of the old Anunnaki gods has a group of zealots led by the magi of that faith, so there are plenty of spies, assassins, plots, and deceptions going on there. There are also the Jedite clans, who are sort of like organized street gangs with psychic abilities. Rumors persist of elvish spies and sympathizers working within some cities, but most folk just laugh at such conspiracy theories.

18. What is there to eat around here?
A bunch of wheat and barley mostly. Barley porridge, and barley cakes with onion and beans washed down with barley ale. A lot of bread which is course, flat, and unleavened. Most homes will have their own garden with a variety of vegetables and fruits, in the cities these are grown in open air courtyards or up on the roof. The top level of each ziggurat is a lush garden usually with fruit trees and exotic plants. The people grow things like chickpeas, lentils, onions, cucumbers, garlic, lettuce, and a number of herbs and spices.

There are a lot of different fruits available as well, some of these are dried or preserved in honey. The most important food crop in the south is the date palm. Besides all of those dates there are also apples, figs, grapes, mulberries, pears, plums, cherries, melons, and pomegranates. Wine is available, but ale is cheaper.

The fish swarming in the rivers and the gulf are a major source of food. Food stalls in the cities will sell things like fried fish, and freshly grilled goat, mutton, and pork. Meat is not sold as often in the sparsely populated towns and villages. There they wait until the whole animal will be used, because it spoils quickly in the heat. Conversely, it is easier to buy milk, cheese, and butter from the herders outside the cities. Cattle are generally not slaughtered for food until they are too old for work, but times are tough right now and some people will eat whatever they can get their hands on.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
Oh sure. Elvish and dwarvish civilization collapsed all at once thousands of years ago. The Anunnaki sent horrible monsters and mutant horrors into those cities and tunnels, so there are all of these terribly infested ruins now that hold lots of coins, lost treasures, and magic items.

There aren't really legends though. The Anunnaki gassed the elves and dwarves with some kind of clouds of forgetfulness before they tried to wipe them out. Although there were survivors their culture, stories, and even their languages are all but lost.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
Well, there is said to be an old red dragon lair under Xylarthen's Tower which is about 30 miles northeast of Niru. Even better, recent reports from the Watchkeepers suggest that the dragon is already dead and the horde of treasure is still sitting down there somewhere. Also a group of Watchkeepers recently killed a black dragon just a few miles east of town at Swamp Tower, but no one knows where it's lair might be.

There should also be a lot of loot left in Kutha, but the Ulu, vampires, and all the other demons make that a less attractive option.

August 26, 2014

LL Custom Class: Orionixie

by Fairyjar18
Orionixies all appear to be slender and lithesome green skinned women.  They are amphibious, equally at home on land as they are in lakes and streams.  Their fingers and toes are partially webbed, and they can breathe underwater using the four gill slits on each side of their neck.  Orionixie skin color ranges from the yellowish greens of chartreuse and lime to the blueish greens of turquoise and teal.  Their hair is typically dark black, but some prefer to use potions and dyes to make their hair more colorful.  Orionixie consorts have come to set the standard of sophistication within the cities.  In recent years it has become fashionable for them to make use of many dyes, cosmetics, and tattoos to create dramatic and eye-catching effects, but many still prefer the classic natural look.

All appearances to the contrary, Orionixies are not actually female.  Technically they are neither male nor female, but a mutable third sex.  They are able to control the shape and movement of their sexual organs allowing for a surprising range of intimate interactions.  Orionixies are found intriguing by males and females of many species.  While Orionixies are all of the same sex and very similar physically, they do have two separate genders which they can distinguish easily by smell.  Orionixies can only become pregnant by Orionixies of the opposite gender, but either gender can carry the child.  Pregnancies are somewhat rare though because Orionixies seem to fall in love with members of other species as often as with each other.  It's complicated.

Orionixies occasionally gain random innate magical talents that manifest over time.  These are at-will abilities with no fancy hand gestures or chanting involved.  Although some Orionixies can develop the ability to decipher and read magical runes, they do not seem to be able to cast spells or use magical scrolls.  However, they do have an aptitude for using magical wands and staves.
by Araniel

Requirements: Str 8 or less
Prime Requisite: CHA and INT
Hit Dice: d6
Max Level: 10th
Hit Progression: as Cleric/Thief
Saving Throws: as Elf
Weapons: Any
Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded Leather, and Shield

Special Abilities
Water Breathing
+1 Skill Point each level
Sneak (2 in 6)
Swimming (2 in 6)
Subterfuge (2 in 6)
Random once per day innate magical ability each level

At first level and each level thereafter roll for a random first level Magic-User AND Cleric spell.  In my game we're rolling a d12 and a d8.  The player chooses which one of those options will become the Orionixie's once per day magical ability.  If one of the options rolled is already possessed then the Orionixie can choose to gain an extra use per day for any one of her existing abilities rather than gaining a new one.

1st level Magic-User spells-------------- 1st level Cleric spells
1. Charm Person ------------------------- 1. Cure Light Wounds
2. Detect Magic -------------------------- 2. Detect Evil
3. Floating Disk -------------------------- 3. Detect Magic
4. Hold Portal ---------------------------- 4. Light
5. Light ------------------------------------ 5. Protection from Evil
6. Magic Missle -------------------------- 6. Purify Food and Drink
7. Protection from Evil ----------------- 7. Remove Fear
8. Read Languages ----------------------- 8. Resist Cold
9. Read Magic
10. Shield
11. Sleep
12. Ventriloquism

by Luka Basyrov

It is said that the first Orionixies were created by Enki, the cleverest and most sympathetic of the Anunnaki.  According to legend, Enki's wife Ninhursag was spending all of her time creating and refining the other slave races.  Ninhursag became known as "The Great Mother" due to this important work, but Enki missed her company and grew lonely.  He sought to spend more time with her by helping with her designs, but she became annoyed and irritated by his interference.  She bid him to leave and design his own project rather than tamper with her delicate experiments.  Hurt and dejected, Enki decided to heed her advice.  He worked to create a lovely companion for himself, one who might spark Ninhursag's jealousy.  He eventually created several alluring women with quick wits, tender hearts, and impressive "natural talents".

Enki touted his creations as a great success, and the other Anunnaki were envious of his harem.  Before long he was creating Orionixie playmates for others.  His ploy worked.  Ninhursag was at once jealous and impressed.  Soon the two of them were spending all of their time collaborating together to create a new species, the human race.

Enki's testing methods did not match Ninhursag's level of care and stringency.  Eventually the Orionixies were revealed to pose certain unintended difficulties.  Some of the Orionixies seemed to possess unpredictable magical talents, each individual having a different set of abilities.  This distressed some of the Anunnaki who did not want their playthings to have access to such power.  Especially feared was a charm that clouded the mind and made their Anunnaki masters suggestible and compliant for a time.  In addition, although Enki had made sure that these green skinned women would not become pregnant by any other species he was surprised to discover that they could somehow reproduce by having relations with each other.  This disappointed many of the Anunnaki who did not want the complication of children within their harems.  Steps were taken to limit these pregnancies.  Orionixes who did not obey the new edicts were threatened with exile from the harems.  Exile would mean leaving behind their friends, family, and the life of luxury that was all that any of them had ever known.  It was a powerful deterrent, but the heart wants what the heart wants.  Eventually certain Orionixies were cast out of the Anunnaki harems and forced to make a home for themselves within the cities or to take their chances in the wilds.

Over time their population has not grown much, there are only a few hundred living in each of the cities.  Today a large percentage of Orionixies can be found living and working in exclusive brothels and bathhouses throughout the cities.  As consorts their allure and mystique ensures them a good income, but some individuals prefer to try other professions.  Few employers would turn down the opportunity to hire an Orionixie, simply having one on staff would draw customers and boost the employer's reputation.

by Samshank

These are the numbers I plugged into my customized class thingamabob to make an XP table.

100 Base
70   Hit Dice: d6
70   Hit Progression: Cleric/Thief (+1hp after L9)
15   Max Level: 10th
35   Elf saves
20   Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded Leather and Shield
90   Weapons: any
40   Magic: no divine scrolls, no arcane scrolls

Special Abilities
25  Water Breathing (neck gills, and webbed fingers and toes)
0    +1 Skill Point each level (if using LotFP skills)
20  Sneak (2 in 6) {or MS + HS as a Thief of the same level}
0    Swimming (2 in 6) {free with Water Breathing}
10  Subterfuge (2 in 6)
25  Random once per day magical ability gained each level, equivalent to first level spell

480 - TOTAL

Standard Base Experience X Orionixie Class 480%
0 -----------Level 1 ----------- 0
400 --------Level 2 -------  1920
800 --------Level 3 -------  3840
1600 ------ Level 4 ------   7680
3200 ------ Level 5 -----   15360
6400 ------ Level 6 -----   30720
12800 -----Level 7 -----   61440
24000 -----Level 8 ----- 115200
48000 -----Level 9 ----- 230400
_________Level 10+_________
1hp/Level = +100,000 each
Level 10 @ 330,400 XP

August 17, 2014

Ancients & Aliens: Session 4 - The Babbling Blade

Like most sessions, we begin inside Watchkeeper Hall.  The group is gathered beneath the giant cocoon of Ony the Mutant and listening as the young magi Lithsharric tells them what he has learned about the magical silver sword recovered last session.  Ony had asked Lithsharric to look into the nature of the sword as a final favor for Saruk; whose life was lost in the very room where the sword was found.  Ony also told him that the sword might be cursed and warned him not to touch it directly.

Lithsharric sits with the group and explains that not all of the runes on the sword are magical.  Some of the writing is in an ancient language, possibly Elvish, which he can not decipher.  Lithsharric says that his master might know how to read the language, but he suspects that his master might "keep the item for further study" and never return it.  The older magi compensate adventurers with gold, but they tend to keep any magical item that is brought to them.  Lithsharric has kept the sword hidden in his room for the past two weeks while studying it.

Some of the magical runes are simply beyond his current understanding, but he was able to learn a few things.  This silver sword has multiple magical abilities.  The sword can detect invisibility, and evil, and some kind of necromatic something or other.  It has some kind of restoration magic that isn't exactly healing.  Also, "these runes over here are some kind of anti-necromancy something.  Oh, and there is this very elaborate line of magical runes that swirls from the pommel around the hilt and all the way down the blade.  I don't have any idea what those do, but they sure look impressive."  Finally, Lithsharric tells them that he has an identify spell which should reveal all of the sword's magical powers, but this spell requires that he touch the sword, except Ony had insisted that he not touch the blade because it might be cursed, but Lithsharric doesn't really think the sword is cursed because it has so many enchantments and besides who would put restorative magic on a cursed blade, so I was thinking that....

At this point Sura the Orionixie just reaches out and grabs the sword.   She is one of the newest watchkeepers, and was assigned to the group in order to fill the vacancy left by Saruk's untimely passing (it's the dice, I swear).  Her sword arm begins moving around on it own and holds the sword up near her face.  "Me'atma thainos inth Shivurill" says the sword.  "Hoshin civithil doezen shrive?" after a few moments with no response her moves out toward other people nearby as the sword says "Commastay?" and "Nithliven?".

Everyone just looks around at each other in confused silence for a while.  The sword sighs and mumbles "Sozha impuur".

by 14-bis
Sura suddenly goes into a trance and starts to see images in her head.  It's like a memory that she doesn't recognize.  She sees an oval hallway, a strange door, and then a room with a large stone sarcophagus inside.  After this vision the sword begins tugging her toward the exit of Watchkeeper Hall.  Based on Sura's descriptions of the petrified wooden walls the others think that the sword must be leading them back to the roots of Xylarthen's tower.  Everyone decides to gear up and follow Sura, who can't seem to break free from the sword's grip.  Even Lithsharric volunteers to follow along (played by Glenn since his mutant hasn't emerged from the cocoon yet).

The sword eases up and stops pulling at Sura once she starts walking down the road, but she still can't let go of it.  They spend the whole day traveling along the old dwarf road and make camp at the usual spot where a trail through the forest meets the road.  During the night Jakob the Ratling is watching over the camp from up in a tree.  He hears movement and sees rustling as if multiple creatures are slowly approaching his sleeping friends below, so he calls out an alarm to wake them up.  As he shouts Jacob can see the creatures break cover and rush forward toward the camp.  The party is just getting to their feet and pulling weapons as the first two orcs leap out from the bushes.  Jakob takes aim with his sling and calls out to the others "I see eight of them!"  Lithsharric decides eight is more than enough orcs to justify a sleep spell, so he casts just as some of the other orcs are coming into the light of the campfire.  All of the orcs succumb to the magical slumber and the party decides to light torches and poke through the bushes to find and dispatch them all.

The next morning Lithsharric explains that he has no more magic to aid them with.  He has cast his only spell and he'll have to return to town in order to memorize another.  Like most magi, he does not own a Tablet of Fate (spellbook/Anunnaki iPad) and has to use the communal one that is kept under guard back in Niru.

The group decides to head back to town, not wanting to risk the entering the dungeon without a sleep spell at the ready.  They pack up their things and start walking, but after a few steps the sword swings itself around until the blade points skyward in front of Sura's face and says "Hoshah ibbil vor, asa kleftinduur?"  She says "we'll come back later" and continues walking toward town.  The sword says "Velthix mohn" and swings around behind her pointing down the side trail.  She struggles against the sword, but cannot pull it any further down the road or pry her fingers away from the hilt.  No one wants to leave Sura behind, so they all decide to follow and see where the sword is leading them.  As Sura starts moving toward the trail the sword says "Shonda" and she regains control of her arm.  Lithsharric wonders aloud if the sword might be speaking old elvish.

After a few hours they reach the lake.  They leave the trail and skirt around the southeast edge of lake, then head for the northernmost hill on the other side.  Soon they are at the remains of Xylarthen's tower.  They haul open the heavy round trap door, and see a hand print of died blood on the underside of the lid.  They decide to be extra careful, so Jakob the Ratling goes down first to sneak around and have a look while the others wait up top.  Jokob climbs down the ten foot ladder.  The small landing is lit by the shaft of light coming from the top of the ladder, there are blood stains on the floor and walls here, and dried blood on the rungs of the ladder.  He can also see a dead orc at the top of the stairway going down to the hallway ten feet below.  That's when Saruk shambles into view.  Saruk died on the last expedition, and the party was forced to leave his body behind.  Zombie Saruk staggers up the stairway, much of his flesh is gone now revealing the bones beneath.  A couple of giant maggots seem embedded within and feeding on him as he walks.  Jakob gets the hell out of there and hurries back up the ladder.  Everyone backs away from the ladder and waits while Sir William begins a rumbling growl.  They watch warily as Saruk emerges up and out of the dungeon.  Saruk climbs to his feet and then slowly turns in a circle as if looking for something.  No one is quite sure if he recognizes them before he shambles off westward.  They watch silently as he begins his long walk to Kutha and the entrance to the Underworld.

The sword tugs Sura toward the dungeon entrance.

Everyone goes down the ladder this time.  The trip down to the first landing is somewhat complicated by Rina the Halflingon's new war dog, Sir William.  Rina opted to buy the most expensive dog in town, and he is well behaved as she ties ropes around his legs and body into a makeshift harness.  However, when he is lifted up into the air he goes totally berserk.  Sir William tries to bite Rina once, paws at the air frantically, and starts making these panicked piercing yelps as he is being lowered down the hole.  Everyone gets out of the way and gives the dog some space.  Sir William calms down a bit once his paws hit the landing, but he still whines and paces around for a while.  Rina climbs down and gives him a jerky treat, unties the ropes, and gets her dog under control.

Everyone follows Sura now, as the sword tugs her along through the dungeon.  They defeat a giant python that tries to constrict multiple members of the party at the same time, swing through the room with the giant weasel nest that they cleared out last time, and then enter the room that Sura saw in her vision with the giant sarcophagus.  The sword says "Felthan RELCH issin bessle weir", and Sura regains control of her sword arm.

The sarcophagus is over ten feet long and six feet wide, a big iron chain is wrapped around it and held in place with a heavy rusty lock.  Everyone searches the room for clues, and Jakob finds a hidden compartment with a key.  They unlock and then remove the chains.  A few of the party members work together to remove the heavy stone lid.

The lid flies open and swings aside as a ogre wight sits up and grabs for the party members with horrible long claws.  The sword yells "Shadamor̃gh!" and swings Sura into melee.  The fight goes on for a while.  Shields are splintered.  Rina is hit by the wight's icy tough and feels some of her life force drain away as it leaves a bloody welt on her skin.  Soon after this the ogre wight is destroyed and crumbles down into a pile of dust.
by Vshen
After the battle the sword leads Sura over to Rina and says "Shonda nicht issil halthen, bonna Mazzlien" and then it begins to glow bright white.  They sword says "Mazzlien mortho?" and as they puzzle over the meaning, the sword juts forward and stabs at Rina.  It cuts her, but not badly.  It hurts a bit, but at the same time Rina can feel her strength return as the bloody welt turns into a bruise.

After this they pull out the bag and wrappings that they had kept the sword in previously.  Sura tries to talk the sword into going back into the bag.  It takes some time, but eventually the sword says "konda duvlien" and Sura fingers open dropping the sword inside.

After that they all went back to town.  Lithsharric tried to study the sword some more, but got possessed by it.  The sword marched him around town with his eyes shut and his head lolling about.  It eventually found Rina while she was shopping.  The sword babbled some things at her and then Lithsarric set down at her feet.  He fell to the ground and then immediately woke up thinking that the sword had teleported him to the market.  Rina took the sword, and they've been happy together so far.

The party took another trip into the dungeon after that.  I don't remember much of that except that they found a bunch of orc zombies and the sword started glowing white and actually turned some of the them.  Then the zombies died... again.  Oh, and they found a bunch of treasure under a piles of wight dust.

I'm tired now.  The End.

August 12, 2014

LL Custom Class: Primitive

Whoops.  I hit the submit button before this was finished.  Oh well, I guess I'll do a quick patch and call it done.

Requirements: Intelligence of 8 or less
Prime Requisite: STR and DEX
Hit Dice: d8
Max Level: 12th
Hit Progression: as Fighter
Saves: as Dwarf/Halfling
Weapons: Any
Armor: Leather, Studded, or Hide.  No shield

Special Abilities
Sneak (2 in 6)
Hear Noise (2 in 6)
Hunting/Tracking (2 in 6)
Savagery:  The ferocity of their melee attacks makes any object a formidable weapon.  Sticks and stones may indeed break bones. (Primitives use d8 for melee weapon damage, or d10 if 2-Handed)

*Dual-Wielding House Rule* - When holding a weapon in each hand, roll the attack roll as normal.  If successful roll a damage die for each weapon, but only the weapon with the higher roll struck successfully.  If the damage rolls are tied, then the target takes damage from both weapons. The primitives in my game will be taking advantage of this house rule, so I thought I should go ahead and mention it.

Primitives are individuals who grew up in the wild, far removed from civilized society.  This class is a bit of a catch-all and can include Neanderthals, wild elves, feral halflings, humans raised by wolves, Prehistoric Batman...

or generic cavemen types...

Anyhow, here is the XP chart I'd use for any of those...

100 Base
120 Hit Dice: d8
70   Hit Table: Fighter (+2hp after L9)

0     Bonus +1hp after L9
25   Max Level: 12th
55   Dwarf/Halfling Saves
15   Armor: Leather, Studded, or Hide.  No shield
70   Weapons: No bows (long, short, or cross). No flexible weapons

30   Magic: no wands, no spell scrolls
0     +1 Skill Point each level
20  Sneak (2 in 6) {or HS + MS as a Thief of the same level}
10   Hear Noise (2 in 6) {or as a Thief of the same level}
10   Hunting/Tracking (2 in 6) {or use Find/Remove Traps percentages as a Thief of the same level)
30   Savagery (use d8 for melee weapon damage, or d10 if 2-Handed)
555 - TOTAL

Standard Base Experience X Primitive Class 555%
0 --------- Level 1 -----------0
400 ------ Level 2 ------- 2220
800 ------ Level 3 ------- 4440
1600 ----- Level 4 ------- 8880
3200 ----- Level 5 ------ 17760
6400 ----- Level 6 ------ 35520
12800 ---- Level 7 ------ 71040
24000 ---- Level 8 ----- 133200
48000 ---- Level 9 ----- 266400
_________Level 10+_________
3hp/Level = + 130,00 each
+130,000 - Level 10 --- 396400
+130,000 - Level 11 --- 526400
+130,000 - Level 12 --- 656400

August 10, 2014

LL Custom Class: Halflingon

Halflingons are one of the many slave races created millennia ago by the Anunnaki's genetic experiments in splicing the DNA of various alien species with the native races found on this newly conquered planet.  Now halflingons are known throughout the lands for their aggression and brutality.  Although they are typically only a little over three feet tall they are freakishly strong for their size, easily as strong as a full sized human.  Halflingons are easy to identify due to their short stature, skull ridges, hairy feet, and goatee/fu manchu facial hair.
By Malloriel

Requirements: Wisdom 8 or less
Prime Requisite: STR and CON
Hit Dice: d8
Max Level: 12th
Hit Progression: as Fighter
Saving Throws: as Dwarf/Halfling
Weapons: No 2-Handed Melee or Longbow
Armor: Any

Special Abilities
Sneak (3 in 6)
+1 Initiative
+1 Melee Attack Rolls
-2 AC bonus when attacked by large creatures
Redundant Organ Systems

Halflingons are rash and impulsive, easy to anger, and difficult to kill.  Even piercing their lung, heart, or brain is no guarantee of death thanks to their redundant organ systems.  People talk about the gladiator matches they've seen.  Everyone has heard stories about halflingons fighting each other, or wild beasts, or trolls.  Most people think twice before messing with a halflingon.

Initially regarded as a failed experiment, the Anunnaki felt that the halflingons were too aggressive and uncontrollable to serve any useful purpose.  For many centuries the halflingons were bred only to fight in the gladiator pits of the cities for the amusement of the populous and their Anunnaki masters.  They were kept apart from the general population, locked away in the gladiator schools.  Although some few won the admiration of the crowds and became famous, as a whole the halflingons were always socially marginalized and segregated.  Throughout this time they were uneducated, illiterate, and trained only for combat in the pits.

Eventually small numbers of halflingons were brought into the military to help root out the remaining pockets of dwarven and elven resistance.  They were sent to scout within the cramped dwarven tunnels and used as shock troops to soften up the ranks of enemy humanoids.  Through this military service they gained respect from their fellow soldiers, and as veterans they gained citizenship rights for themselves and their offspring.  The Anunnaki were wary of letting the halflingons roam free within their cities.  They worried that the halflingon penchant for violence would increase crime and be a bad influence on the other slave races.  The city guards were always told to keep a close eye on them.  Halflingons were often restricted to live only in certain areas of a city, and sometimes had curfews imposed upon them.

The Anunnaki have been gone now for fifty years.  The magi still pray to the Anunnaki and rule in their name from the ziggurat temples, but many of the old policies and programs have become neglected.  The halflingons are enjoying a new found sense of freedom and equality within most of the cities.  Now they can seek education at the ziggurats along with the other citizens, and enforcement of the other restrictions is no longer a priority.

Most halflingons live in tight-knit communities.  The elders have a very "us vs. them" view of the world.  Halflingons tend to be very private people.  They don't talk much about their family or their past, but these are often their primary concerns.  It can take them quite a while to warm up to outsiders.  It is unwise to walk into a halflingon home uninvited, only the most immediate family members are allowed within.  Being invited inside is a great honor, and accepting means that you are now a member of the family.

100 Base
120 Hit Dice: d8
70   Hit Progression: Fighter (+2hp after L9)
0 Bonus +1hp after L9
25   Max Level: 12th
55   Dwarf/Halfling saves
60   Armor: Any
55   Weapons: no 2-handed weapons or longbows
30   Magic: no wands, no divine scrolls, no arcane scrolls

Special Abilities
40   Sneak (3 in 6) {or HS + MS as a Thief who is 4 levels higher}
5     +1 Initiative
10 +1 Melee Attack Rolls
15   AC -2 when attacked by large creatures
15 Redundant Organ Systems (half damage from critical hits, and any critical with "instant death" is now survivable)

590 - TOTAL

Standard Base Experience X Halflingon Class 600%
0 -----------Level 1 ------------- 0
400 --------Level 2 -------  2400
800 --------Level 3 -------  4800
1600 ------ Level 4 ------   9600
3200 ------ Level 5 -----   19200
6400 ------ Level 6 -----   38400
12800 -----Level 7 -----   76800
24000 -----Level 8 ----- 144000
48000 -----Level 9 ----- 288000
_______Level 10+__________
3hp/Level = +130,000 each
----------- Level 10 ----- 418000
----------- Level 11 ----- 548000
----------- Level 12 ----- 678000

July 29, 2014

Ancients & Aliens: Session 3 - Under Xylarthen's Tower

I should really try to do these session reports right after the game.  Once I wait a few weeks my memory gets a bit hazy.  This is my best recollection of the events.

*Spoiler Alert*  Mugato will show up near the end and kill someone.

After charming and questioning their prisoner Kelvar the Dwarf; the magi of Niru learn that the Chaotic Caves are not a staging area for invading the town of Niru, but rather a staging area for adventuring within some nearby dungeons.

Apparently, the elves know that the red dragon who dwelt within the dungeon depths is now dead, and there is a whole dragon horde just sitting down there waiting to be claimed.  The elves have been bribing various humanoid leaders to join them at the caves and have been using these minions as NPC adventuring parties and delving into the nearby dungeon.  In exchange for humanoid cannon fodder henchmen, the elves give a share of the recovered gold and magical items to the humanoid leaders and their tribes who now dwell within the Chaotic Caves.

So, having learned all of this the magi now want the PC's to go into the dungeon and grab the dragon horde before the elves and their allies can get their hands on it.  It didn't take a lot of convincing.  Once you mention "horde of a dead dragon" PC's seem fairly eager to go investigate.  And so, off they went.
Step 1

They walked along the old dwarf road and soon they were passing by Swamp Tower.  They had cleared out the harpy and giant toads in a previous session and in the following weeks the tower had become an outpost watch tower for the town of Niru, with a new ladder inside, a rebuilt platform up top, and few Elfulan guards 30 feet up watching over the road and the swamp.  Saruk the Elfulan (John) gave them the standard Elfulan greeting, which we all suddenly learned was a Romulan fist over the heart quickly followed by a Nazi type outstretched open hand.... Perfect!

Step 2
Shortly after this someone noticed a large humanoid shape running through the swamp toward the tower.  The Elfulans up at the top of the tower yelled "Troll!" and started hauling up their ladder.  The PC's rushed forward and engaged the troll before it could start climbing up the side of the tower.  The two Elfulans above did their best to rain arrows down upon the troll.  Jakob the Ratling used his sling, Saruk used his bow, and Ony the Mutant used his special Jedite fighting style to hurl energy balls ("Hadoken!")  at the troll.  Only our newest player was foolhardy enough to engage a troll in melee.  Laynie had never played in any tabletop RPG before tonight, and only minutes before this encounter had rolled up Rina the 1st level Halflingon who was wielding a battleaxe and shield.  I love having new players at the table, but I was a little worried that this first random encounter might get her character killed right out of the gate.  Luckily everyone except the troll survived, and there was much rejoicing.

The party marched along the road for the rest of the day and made camp near the side trail that they hoped led to the lake that the dwarf had mentioned.  The PC's made a campfire and kept watches that night.  Good thing too, Rina the Halflingon got the drop on some elves who were trying to sneak up on the camp.  Most of the elves were killed by the party but one vanished into the trees that night.

The next day they followed the trail, found the lake, and searched the nearby hills until they found the dungeon entrance.  At the crest of one of the hills is a gigantic petrified tree stump.  The gargantuan stump is smooth and level in the middle but with jagged bits sticking up around the outside edge.  The hollow petrified tree was once a tower, home of the ancient elf wizard Xylarthen who lived thousands of years ago.  He was said to have betrayed his own people and aided the Anunnaki when they first arrived on the planet.  There are many versions of that story, and no one really knows the truth anymore.  The tower is completely shattered now, most say that the Anunnaki destroyed Xylarthen and his tower once he was no longer of use to them, but the dungeons below still remain. In the middle of the vast petrified stump is a petrified wooden hatch with handles that opens up to reveal a petrified wooden ladder leading down into the petrified wooden depths below.  The dungeon rooms and hallways all seem to be open cavities within the petrified roots of the once great tree.

The PC's ventured down into the depths Under Xylarthen's Tower (I'll change it up a bit and hope that my players don't read too many spoilers).  The hallways within are a kind of seamless oval made of petrified wood, mostly brown with streaks and splotches of red and purple all throughout.  The doors and hinges are of the same material, and seem to be stuck shut for some individuals but open easily for others (d6 roll to open doors).  The doors all shut on their own after a time, sometimes while the PCs are still in the room.

The first room they entered had a big furry ogre with tusks who demanded a password.  He died.  They saw some stairs going down, but chose a different hallway instead.  They walked past a side room that smelled like a communal bathroom and eventually entered a large empty room with a door on the western wall.  The door led to a room where some giant weasels were building a nest.  The weasels were killed and their nest looted.

On a hunch, Jakob the Ratling went back to the empty room and found a secret door in the northeast corner that opened unto a narrow tube with a ladder leading deep into the depths below.  Saruk went down the ladder to investigate with his infravision.  After 80 feet the narrow tube opened into the ceiling of a room.  Saruk heard a lot of grunting and saw furry shapes moving around below.  He hurried back up to tell the others.

They seemed hesitant, but Rina convinced them to investigate. They all climbed into the narrow tube one by one, and Saruk led the way down the ladder.  The light from the torches tipped off the creatures below.  A furry white ape with a big horn on the top of it's head looked up the tube and started whooping loudly as it began to grab onto the ladder.  Saruk let go of the ladder and dropped down the shaft, he hit the Mugato full in the face with his feet.  The creature was stunned and Saruk fell on top of the beast in the room below.  The five other Mugato in the room jumped back, but then move to surround Saruk.  Knowing that seconds matter, Saruk tries to cast his sleep spell while still lying on the stunned ape.  John used his d30 roll, but it isn't quite good enough.  Three of the apes pass out and fall to the ground.  The other two Mugato are standing over Saruk now, and quickly pummel him to death.
Look out dude!

At this point Rina is down the ladder and engages the two ape men with her battleaxe and shield while Jakob and Ony scramble down the ladder as quickly as they can.  The battle is fierce.  Rina is trading blows with the two ape men while her friends alternate between helping her and killing the white apes on the ground before they can rouse from their slumber.  Rina's shield is splintered by a blow that would have crushed her ribs.  She scores a critical hit and cleaves into the neck of one of the beasts.  I can't remember now if this is the second or third time this session that Rina was covered in a spray of blood.  Soon the party is victorious, and victory is sweet.  Saruk is avenged.

They find the ape larder which was full of dead elves and dwarves, their equipment, and scattered and torn sacks with thousands of silver and gold coins.  Oh and there was also some weird sword made of silver with a bunch of magical looking runes all over the blade.  I innocently asked who was picking up the sword, and that set off some group-wide paranoia.  After that everyone refused to touch the thing.  They decided that the magi back in town should take a look at it, so Ony carefully bundled up the sword with sacks and rope as if it were a viper waiting to strike.

 They all started discussing the logistics of taking the loot and Saruk's body back to town.  They wanted to give him a proper burial so that he wouldn't come back as a zombie (as all the created races "naturally" do).  They used some dwarf ropes to tie Saruk's body to Rina.  She climbed up the ladder while Saruk's limp form dangled beneath her.  Jakob followed up afterward and watched over the body while she went back down to help haul up more of the loot.

Ony and Rina grabbed all the gold, but left most of the silver behind and started up the ladder.  That's when Jakob heard a droning/buzzing sound approaching.  The ratling left his torch near Saruk's body and scurried over to the secret door.  He got on the ladder just as 6 Giant Carnivorous Flies entered the room.  Jakob pulled the door closed.  The three of them start discussing their options while holding on to the ladder.  No one wants to go back down and explore any more of the level below, so Jakob cracks open the door and takes a peek.  The flies are feasting on poor Saruk.  Everyone carefully skirts around the edge of the room while the occupied flies take no notice.  The group quickly exits the dungeon and heads back to town.  And that's how Saruk saved the party one last time even though he was dead.  It's too bad that they had to leave his body behind.

So, the three adventurers make it back to the town of Niru with the loot.  Ony the Mutant gave that magic sword to the young magi Lithsharric to see if he can decipher the runes on it's blade.  Then Ony apparently got out of his bed in the middle of the night, climbed up the wall, and encased himself in a giant cocoon up near the ceiling of Watchkeeper Hall.  Maybe it's a mutant thing?  The cocoon is freaking out some of the other watchkeepers.  Most everyone is sleeping with a weapon under their pillow, and they take turns watching the cocoon throughout the day and night.  Even if they do not particularly like him the other watchkeepers seem to at least respect Ony's accomplishments, so everyone is hoping that Ony emerges mentally intact.  However, just to be safe... if an Ony-monster emerges there are some extra flasks of oil and firewater in the four corners of Watchkeeper Hall now.

July 27, 2014

LL Custom Class: Ratling

Ratlings are small (about halfling size) sentient rat men who are invasive and can be found in almost any environment.  They often live on the outskirts of some other community; in the sewers under the human cities, in the forests of the elves, and in the dwarven tunnels deep in the bedrock.  Ratlings are scavengers and opportunists.  They live off of the scraps left behind by others, but can fend for themselves if they must.

by Mablox

Requirements: Str 5 or less
Prime Requisite: DEX and CON
Hit Dice: d6
Max Level: 9th
Hit Progression: as Fighter
Saving Throws: as Dwarf/Halfling
Weapons: No 2-Handed Melee or Longbow
Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded Leather, and Shield
Special Abilities
+1 Skill Point each level
Sneak (3 in 6)
Detect Smell (3 in 6)
Climb Walls (5 in 6)
-2 AC bonus when attacked by large creatures
+1 initiative
Speaks to rats
Iron Stomach (can eat rotten and spoiled foods, immunity to puking and nausea)

Pragmatic and adaptable, most ratlings prefer to let others handle any direct combat though they do enjoy looting and nibbling the remains of the fallen.  They are not picky about alliances and will join up with whomever seems best able to protect and feed them.  They are not well regarded by other races, but when tolerated they can prove useful as scouts and spies.  Perhaps the mutants are their closest allies.  In the sewers under the cities, ratlings and mutants can be found living together as equals.

Ratlings can be solitary or live in small family groups, but most prefer to live in large packs for protection.  A large pack of ratlings is called a "mischief".  The politics within each mischief will vary, but most are led by a single ratling who is either respected or feared by the others.

Ratlings rarely go to war, but there is an ancient tradition that ratlings follow when multiple mischiefs must work together and combine their forces.  The leaders of each mischief must choose to give up their individual identity and become equal co-leaders of the new ratling horde.  They do this by ritually having their tails all broken and then knotted together permanently; they all give up their old names and become "Rat King".

by Meghan Stratman

100 Base
70   Hit Dice: d6
70   Hit Progression: Fighter (+2hp after L9)
10   Max Level: 9th
55   Dwarf/Halfling saves
20   Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded Leather and Shield
55   Weapons: no 2-handed weapons or longbows
30   Magic: no wands, no divine scrolls, no arcane scrolls

Special Abilities
0 +1 Skill Point each level (if using the LotFP skill system) {or use these Thief Skills instead}
40   Sneak (3 in 6) {or HS + MS as a Thief who is 4 levels higher}
15   Detect Smell (3 in 6) {or same chance as Hear Noise for a Thief who is 2 levels higher}
10   Climb (5 in 6) {or Climb Walls as a Thief of the same level}
15   AC -2 when attacked by large creatures
5     +1 initiative
2.5 Speak to Rats (Rats aren't guaranteed to be helpful, but may accept bribes)
2.5 Iron Stomach (Can eat rotten and spoiled foods, puking immunity)

by Beth Stone
500 - TOTAL

Standard Base Experience X Ratling Class 500%
0 -----------Level 1 ------------- 0
400 --------Level 2 -------  2000
800 --------Level 3 -------  4000
1600 ------ Level 4 ------   8000
3200 ------ Level 5 -----   16000
6400 ------ Level 6 -----   32000
12800 -----Level 7 -----   64000
24000 -----Level 8 ----- 120000
48000 -----Level 9 ----- 240000