Sunday, January 22, 2023

Week #3

I'm still on-the-fence about many aspects of this project, including whether or not to continue putting actual maps and room keys on this blog. Also whether or not to continue including stats for both OSR and FAGE. The latter is becoming difficult as FAGE requires a lot more space for creature stats and many places for ability checks that OSR rules usually omit. FAGE also uses a silver standard for coinage, while most OSR titles use gold. I've simply been describing treasure value as "coins".

I have completed through location 22 and am having fun creating low-powered magical items for the party to find. The idea of single-use items is something I am stealing from the Cypher System.

Favorite monsters in this area include Skeletal Librarians and Moth-men. In keeping with the sword & sorcery theme, I am avoiding goblins, kobolds, or any other humanoids that one generally encounters in a low-level D&D dungeon.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Week #2

 "For another such kiss I  would invent a whole new continent."

    - Sinbad in The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad

I have continued inventing new lands in this second week, including the first dungeon locations on January Isle.

8 Western Castle

The remains of a ruined castle are strewn across the area.

Within the ruins, two pirates stand over a shaft leading downward. They are debating whether they should climb down into the darkness in search of an escaped captive. They are equally afraid of the dangers below and the danger of reporting failure to their captain.

The shaft if 5 ft wide and goes down about 40 ft to what might be water. A knotted rope has been attached to aid climbing.

More ruins can be seen to the east (location 7) across a wide chasm with no visible bottom. It extends for miles to the north and south. A delicate stone bridge once spanned the chasm, but it has collapsed in the center, leaving an 80 ft gap. Any fall into the chasm would be fatal.

9 Tunnel

A narrow, rocky ridge would have blocked the path here, but a 10 ft wide, 80 ft-long tunnel provides access to the far side. Daylight can be seen clearly at the far end. Both walls of the tunnel are carved with bas relief scenes of unfamiliar animals and trees.

At the midpoint, inscriptions in an ancient language can be seen. Intelligence (Cryptography) 15 to decipher that this is a story about a great wizard named Ibab Kornitz and his search for the True Name of an angel referred to as The Hand of Burning Truth. There is also a warning about the danger of passing between the Pillars of Truth.

10 Pond

A small freshwater pond is surrounded and shaded by large vine-draped trees. Scattered bits of overgrown stonework suggests that there were once buildings here. The pond has some weeds, algae, and noisy blue frogs, but is safe enough to drink.

11 West Entrance

The knotted rope extends down to an ankle-deep puddle of water in the NE corner. The entire dungeon is cool, musty, and completely dark. Surfaces are cut or paved with native volcanic rock.

Perception (Seeing or Tracking) 11 will spot faint muddy footprints leading to the south chute. This slopes down steeply and is damp and slippery. Staying on one’s feet would be extremely difficult but it can be safely descended by sitting and sliding. Ascending without a rope or other climbing gear would be impossible for anyone without climbing skills [OSR thieves or FAGE: Strength (Climbing required 11)].

12 Moldy Face

Damp. The floor covered in muddy debris and small yellow mushrooms. Intelligence (Natural Lore) 18 to identify them. These are poisonous if eaten and if harvested retain their potency for one month.  Western wall is covered in pallid moldy growth that, in flickering torchlight, resembles a large, leering human face.

13 Cages

See 11 for chute leading up. All doors in this dungeon are old, rotting cypress wood with no locks. They open easily unless otherwise noted.

In each corner of the room is a large iron cage that might once have held several prisoners or large animals each. They are empty and open now. Each has a latch with a padlock. As with most rooms in this dungeon, the floors are strewn with debris that might have been furniture, carpet, or tapestries in the distant past.

If debris on the floor is searched, Perception (Searching) 11 discovers a single iron key that fits all four padlocks and a pair of crystal dice (value 50 coins).

14 Two Chairs

Although other furnishings have rotten to debris, two heavy bronze chairs rest side-by-side along the north wall, facing to the south.

Beneath each is a hidden pressure plate. If two people sit more-or-less simultaneously, (1) a small secret door unlocks and swings open on the west wall, and (2) the trap is disabled until the secret door is closed.

If a single person sits in either chair, the trap is triggered causing the ceiling to collapse in the northern half of the room, causing 2d6 damage. Dexterity (Acrobatics) 11 to dodge and take half damage.

The secret door, normally locked, reveals a small compartment containing 200 coins, an iron key that fits the locks in 13, and a gold necklace worth 100 coins. The necklace is magical. It enhances the wearer’s singing voice, allowing even the most tone-deaf to perform with respectable effect. 


Saturday, January 7, 2023

 Week #1

Monster stat blocks will be compiled in an appendix for each island. A GM map is shown below. Players will be given a map that does not show the paths. Given the rugged terrain, surface exploration will be by "point crawl".

1 North Beach

A black sand beach. Driftwood includes old, burnt ship timbers. Bleached bones (human) are easily visible, half buried in the dark sand.

2 West Beach

An 8-oar longboat is pulled up on the black sand beach. Four sailors sit nearby around a campfire. They are relaxed, cooking and conversing.

They are part of a pirate crew, sent ashore to recapture a wealthy prisoner who escaped while the pirates were anchored to refresh their water casks. Four comrades pursued the escapee inland while these fellows guard the longboat. The pirate vessel is expected to return in three days to retrieve them all.

If players engage in parlay, the pirates will reveal their purpose, but not their identity. They describe the escapee as a “treacherous thief” and claim their ship will return “very soon, at any time now”.

3 South Beach

Swarms of small brown crabs move across the black sand beach. A large, weathered spar rises from the sand, evidence of an old shipwreck. The remnants of several old campfires are visible above the hightide line.

4 East Beach

A black sand beach. Old campfire rings, surrounded by small piles of fish bones and shells. Further down the beach, a single curving whale rib protrudes above the sand.

The “whale rib” is actually the horn of a giant, carnivorous rhinoceros beetle laying in ambush beneath the sand. It will attack if approached.

5 Ruins with Pod Droppers

Small clearing, light falls on white marble ruins, no intact structures.

Perception (Searching) 10 reveals: (1) skeletal remains (maybe a year old) of two treasure hunters. (2) a rotten leather sack with 80 copper and 11 silver pieces.

While searching, three large objects drop from trees at the edge of the ruins. The Pod Droppers attack mindlessly.

6 Ruins with Owl and Leopard

A snarling leopard paces back and forth, hunting a large owl, perched atop a smooth, marble column. Perception (Seeing) 18 to notice that the large owl has human eyes.

The Leopard is distracted so party might be able to sneak past Dexterity (Stealth) 10. Otherwise roll reaction for the leopard. The owl will fly off if any combat ensues.

This area has numerous surface ruins in white marble. Among them is a cistern, 10 feet in diameter and open to the sky. It contains clean rain water. The cistern is engraved in an ancient language, Intelligence (Cryptography) 15, that reads “Blessed are the gifts of the sky.”

The owl is actually the Wizard of January Isle, Ibab Kornitz, although he has no awareness of this fact. His only means of surviving the war was to transform himself into an animal and purge his own memory. Much of his original personality remains, if not his human intellect. Ibab is friendly and curious. During the day, he might be seen in the distance watching the party. He will fly away if the party appears hostile.

7 Eastern Castle

This hilltop is crowned with the ruins of a castle that was composed of polished white limestone blocks. Not a single structure is intact or roofed, but the architecture seems fair and dignified. Similar ruins can be seen to the west (location 8). Separating the two ruined castles is a wide chasm with no visible bottom. It extends for miles to the north and south. A delicate stone bridge once spanned the chasm, but it has collapsed in the center, leaving an 80 ft gap. Any fall into the chasm would be fatal.

Perception (Hearing) 15 will bring the sound of voices from across the chasm. These are the pirates at location 8, but they will not be visible from here.

Within these ruins is a flight of steps leading downward into the darkness. The upper steps are covered in old dirt and fallen leaves, undisturbed by tracks or footprints. The air within is cool and musty. This entrance leads to room 11 of the dungeon below.