Saturday, 30 January 2016

Larchmere Yys Overview

Here is an overview of the Larchmere Yys region of Hyperborea in my AS&SH campaign; the article is intended to represent information readily available to player characters.

Larchmere Yys, this small frontier region between the immense Spiral Array Mountains and the swampy Dagon Bay, was settled roughly half a century ago by Apollonian pilgrims. The people of Larchmere Yys Village (population c. 300) are a peaceful folk; they grow crops, herd goats, and continue the worshiping of Apollo to this day. The settlement is surrounded by strong larch timber walls, and watchmen are stationed in towers in the northwest and southeast; they are especially wary of strangers since people started to disappear without a trace.

To the southeast lies a deadly swamp known as the Toad Bog, infested with giant frogs and aquatic hydras. It is said the swamp is cursed and those who die here come back from the dead to feast upon the living. Just outside the swamp at the coast lies another village, Pisko (population c. 150). The seemingly welcoming inhabitants of this recluse settlement are in fact Dagonites, who have sacrificed many men who were unfortunate enough to set foot there. Allegedly, there are numerous underground tunnels connecting the major buildings to an ancient temple complex. The oldest of these tunnels might even lead down to the seabed where the fish-people and their aboleth masters live in their alien cities.

The hills to the south are presumed to be burial mounds of long forgotten kings. Further south lies a deserted wasteland, mostly inhabited by purple worms. The only notable site there is the Horrid Crater, where the infamous Witch of the Barrens lairs, whose prophetic powers are sought by many daring - and oft desperate - individuals.

To the west one finds the Spider Grove, a source of excellent timber in the region; also, giant spiders. Betwixt the forest and the great Lake of Mists stands a small community of all sorts of eccentric individuals; travellers, pilgrims, brigands, and hunstmen, these men of the road have finally found peace in their lives. Velmar (population c. 200) has an aura of unearthly languor as the inhabitants seemingly ignore the outside world and live only for the pleasures of the flesh.

To the northwest lies the Crystal Lake, whose waters are famous for their restorative powers. The lake is guarded by a vicious naga, who is known to be a collector of arcane curiosities. Further upriver stands the small Esquimaux village of Noatak (population c. 150). The people of Larchmere Yys have good trading relations with the Esquimaux; the ultimate goal is to convert them to the faith of Apollo.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Ten Magic Items

Ebony Bow: Shooting an arrow with this ebony dark short bow makes absolutely no sound; however, while in hand, it also makes its user completely mute and deaf.

Hammer of Thor: This huge two-handed war hammer should be treated as a +2 maul whose attacks make a deafening blast. Unless countermeasures are taken, the target hit and everyone in a 10 feet radius must make a Save vs. Paralysis or becomes disoriented for the next round (-2 penalty to rolls and AC), and the Referee should immediately check for wandering monsters.

Head of Habram: If a gold piece is put in the mouth of this decapitated head, Habram animates for an exploration turn. He is able to converse in all languages and he detects every lie; however, he is rather moody, so a separate Reaction roll is made each time.

Mirror of Truth: This handheld mirror shows the true reflection of everything, essentially revealing shapeshifting, illusions, and invisibility of any kind.

Not So Lucky Handkerchief: Protects its bearer from four harmful spells. For each spell blocked, however, the handkerchief's bearer becomes enamoured with the next acquaintance they make.

Ring of the Emperor: This magical ring makes its wearer's equipment (including their clothes) invisible to the eye.

Sword of Hunger: The guard of this large two-handed sword depicts a demonic face with a gaping mouth, as if the monster was about to swallow the blade. It functions as a -2 magical weapon, but upon a killing blow it transforms into a +3 sword for as many rounds as the killed creature's Hit Dice.

Vials of Capricious Fate: Three vials containing fluids indistinguishable based on colour, consistency, or scent. Their effects if drunk are the following:
  • grants superhuman strength for an hour; it also dulls the mind, meaning during this time no spells can be cast and one can only speak one's mother tongue
  • grants immunity to all magic for an exploration turn, while dramatically increasing perspiration (-2 reaction and double chances of random encounter)
  • turns one into an incorporeal shadow for an exploration turn; spells and and enchanted weapons may still affect the recipient

Wand of Sickly Green Lightning: Green lightning strikes out from the wand hitting the target automatically and dealing 2d6 damage. Every 1 on the damage roll means the wielder momentarily loses control over the dark forces and is dealt 1d6 damage.

Witch Steel Armour: The arcane symbols on this chain mail grant its wearer +2 bonus versus physically harmful spells (e.g. Fireball) but -2 penalty versus those affecting the mind (e.g. Charm Person).

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dwimmermount Town Procedures (Muntburg)

My current Dwimmermount campaign, as I have stated it on this blog, is exclusively focussing on the exploration of its tentpole megadungeon. The surface world merely serves as background; even its history is just a bag of clues to the dungeon (like how the red metal called areonite was used mostly by the Eld, who were great sorcerers, thus encountering something made of that is a sign that there might be magical traps around).

The base town of Muntburg is a place where characters go to sell their hard-earned loot and replenish their supplies of torches, helmets, and hirelings. In order to make these things expeditious yet interesting, we have been using some simple rules (namely that items were limited to a stock of 6 in the market per session and the Meatshields random henchmen generator), but they got boring soon. I wanted something that offered more player agency in the form of a simple mini-game.

Note: The numbers were written with Kazamaták és Kompániák in mind, which means it should work with S&W, LL, and the rest with no or minimal modification.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Dwimmermount - Session 3-6

I suppose it is time to update my blog with the most recent events of our face-to-face campaign; fortunately, my players have been keeping quite a detailed log of deaths, accomplishments, and all sorts of things related to this game, so this shouldn't be too taxing on me.

The party have explored most of the first level (Path of Mavors), including the kobold lair - where Éöpl cut a sweet deal with the forces that secretly lead these poor creatures -, the orc-controlled parts of the Laboratory, and most recently a good chunk of the Reliquary, where they met strong undead creatures, and a strange room of forgotten technology guarded by hobgoblins.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Revisiting My AS&SH House Rules

Even though I am running a monthly Dwimmermount campaign in the capital (for which I still have to write up the latest session report, repopulate some areas in the dungeon, and create a short side quest based on the treasure map the party found on the first level), I'm entertaining myself with the possibility of starting another AS&SH campaign, this time in my home town.

First, let's see the house rules of the previous campaign, copied from the AS&SH page (which I'll probably replace with the content relevant for this new campaign, anyway, so this post is also sort of preservative in nature).

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Dwimmermount - Session 1-2

Shortly after abandoning our Anima Prime game mid-campaign (on which I still intend to write a blog post; I just don't know when), we started another old-school campaign focussing on exploration. As a tent pole of the campaign, I chose Dwimmermount, a megadungeon I have recently reviewed on this very blog. Our system of choice was the under-development second edition of Kazamaták és Kompániák, a Hungarian retro-clone of B/X D&D.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review: Dwimmermount

This is a review of Dwimmermount; something, I started working on the day I received my copy, but then I got distracted. Now it is finished, for better or for worse. I tried my best to make it as spoiler-free as possible, but still, read further at your own risk. Lastly, I present my personal thoughts regarding Dwimmermount as a whole, hoping that the Reader may see through my rambling and understand what I am trying to say.

Note that I am not interested in the discussion of the product's controversial history and Kickstarter campaign; the past is the past, and I firmly believe that the product can nevertheless be judged upon its own merits or lack thereof.