Thursday, 8 May 2014

unlikely treasures 2: even still more loot for the taking

Roll d12 for the loot!

  1. Matched set of masterwork half-plate & masterwork heavy shield with silver shield spikes (1400gp).
    Weighs 70lbs.  Armour is AC+8, armour penalty -6, spell failure 40%, weighs 50lbs.  Shield is AC+2, armour penalty -1, spell failure 15%, weighs 20lbs.  Shield spikes are a masterwork silver weapon doing 1d6 damage on shield bash.
  2. Mithril throwing hammer with ornate dwarven runes and ornamental blue gem inlays (1200gp).   Weighs 1lb.  Head is topped with a cabochon-cut blue jasper (100gp) and hilt inlaid with lapis lazuli  bands (four bands worth 10gp each).  The runes name the hammer 'Truesilver's Kiss'.
  3. Medium ornate-carved cedar chest (1100gp).
    Weighs 35lb.  Contains six everburning torches, six vials of antitoxin and three thunderstones.  Opens so torches light (harmlessly) around contents.  Chest is worth 100gp (weighs 50lb empty).
  4. Crystal flask holding tawny liquid (1000gp).
    Weighs 1lb. Holds nine doses of exotic perfume (worth 100gp each) that grants +2 reaction bonus for anyone with a sense of smell.  The flask is worth 50gp empty.
  5. Deed of ownership (1000gp).
    Weighs 1lb. Ownership of an axebeak egg from a renowned breeder and trainer.  Hatching, training, saddle, stabling and upkeep not included.
  6. Gold and ivory puzzle box (1000gp).
    Weighs 5lbs.  Fiendishly difficult, requires a Disable Device (DC20, can retry once a day) then an Intelligence check (DC15) to open.  Has hardness 7, 15 hit points and a break DC of 25.
  7. Large ornate-carved oak and ivory chest (1000gp).
    Weighs 280lbs. Contains 180lbs of silver dust in 18 burlap bags of 10lb weight (worth 5gp each). Chest is worth 90gp (weighs 100lb empty).
  8. Necklace of amber beads on gold wire (1000gp).
    Weighs 2lbs.  Made up of 16 amber beads (50gp each) and a larger cabochon-cut amber (100gp).
  9. Ornate gold bracelet to fit large person (1000gp).
    Weighs 4lbs.  Would suit efreet or fire giant.
  10. Silver fox coat with yeti fur trim (1000gp).
    Weighs 5lbs.  Suitable for royalty, would suit an average human.
  11. Crystal-studded gold-plated conical open helm (900gp).
    Weighs 5lb.  Helm is AC16 vs. head attacks only, crystals are blue quartz and rock crystal worth 700gp in total.  Helm without gems is worth 25gp
  12. Masterwork gold-plated breastplate with steel armour spikes (800gp).
    Weighs 30lb. +6AC, -3 Armour penalty, 25% spell failure. Would fit a muscular human.  Spikes do 1d6 (x2) in grapple or as normal attack.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

3DPBMHSCBtm: knights of saint-george

In the 3DPBMHSCBtm there are constants.  Yet even these constants diverge within each world.  The knights of Saint-George are one such. The pale warrior who watches over warriors, wanderers, herdsfolk and the diseased is beloved by many.  The knights protect labourer and noble alike.  The red cross on a field of white is known to all three worlds

And yet…

About the Knights

Knights are lawful, good or both.  As militant servants of a divine power, they possess a peculiar mix of humility and pride.  The church organises into orders and preceptories. These work together for the greater good and to foster law and order in the land.  Knights of Saint-George are bound by a code of conduct. This code divides into two 'hands'.  Some knights contemplate their open palms when considering whether an intended action will violate their code.

The Sword-hand
1. Fear Saint-George and maintain his church
2. Loyalty
3. Generosity
4. Be noble in bearing
5. Truthfulness

The Shield-hand
6.  Respect the honour of women
7.  Protect the weak
8.  Guard the honour of fellow knights
9.  Obey those in authority
10. Never refuse the challenge of an equal

The first tenet is absolute.  Those who do not fear Saint George or allow his church to falter are dishonourable exiles.  The second tenet is reinforced by oaths of fealty. These are made to Saint-George, his knights and servants, then the local church and church-ordained ruler.  Generosity is enforced by  tithe (10% of earnings).  More is expected generally and particularly of paladins and ascetic monks (they give 90% of earnings).  Nobility in bearing combines courtesy, good posture and self-respect.  A knight always represents Saint-George - they never slouch, never whine, seeking to remain strong and composed.  Truthfulness is delivered with honesty first, compassion second.  Sometimes the hard truth is the one that people need to hear to avoid falling into self-deception.

The sixth tenet is crucial - Saint-George disdains arrogance.  No order refuses entry to women, sisterhoods are respected for deeds  as much as other orders.  The seventh tenet is a measure of efficiency.  The weak require protection as much from themselves as from the many who would oppress them.  The eighth tenet challenges hubris and keeps knights honest.  To challenge evil, one observes and resists it in the face of corruption, temptation and leniency.  The ninth tenet supports the first and second.  It teaches respect for local authority, even if such is misguided or needs to be challenged.  The tenth links to the preceding two.  A knight stands ready to justify deeds and intent to peers to ensure they are just.

Defenders of civilisation: Altorr

In Altorr, knights are grim protectors.  With lance, sword and shield, they defy demon, giant and tyrant while driving off dire beasts and disease.  Their preceptories assign knights on periodic tours of duty. While the druids consider them as misguided fanatics, most bards welcome story fodder like the Knights.  Many nobles view the Knights as a two-edged sword.  Their willingness to fight is welcome, interfering with noble judgements and challenging 'unjust' rulers is not.

Ascetic Order of the Crimson Cross
An order of monks devoted to keeping the law.  Their hard fighting style combines strikes and blocks with training in club, dagger, spear and shortsword.  The Ascetic Order can teach riding, law (Profession (barrister)) and religion.  These monks defend the innocent in all trials, including those of combat where they must.

Order of the Black Shield
An order of knights deemed extremist among other that takes any action against evil.  Holding the fight against evil above all other considerations, they are fearsome.  They are taught religion and to understand deception.  Their vows allow divine redemption by atonement without the sting of guilt in dishonourable conduct.

Order of the Warding Cross
An order of knight protectors challenging moral decay.  They are taught diplomacy, riding and noble history as well as martial prowess and knighthood.  Aspirants are lawful good or lawful neutral.  The order is known for an additional code.

  • Courage and enterprise in obedience to the order.
  • Defense unto death of any mission.
  • Respect to peers and equals; courtesy to lessers.
  • Combat is glory; battle the true test of self-worth; war is the flowering of chivalry.
  • Personal glory above all in battle.
  • Death before dishonour.

Champions of good under a burning sky: Bellotra

In Bellotra the Knights never want for action.  Crusading against demon, devil and undead, caring for the sick, maintain hospitals for the afflicted and embassies for good.  Obvious celestial affiliation led to initial distrust among Bellotrans. Over time exterminating vampire demonologists, smashing devil slave markets and quarantining plague victims softened local attitudes.  Bellotran knights outside an ascetic order wear signet rings with Saint-George's seal on the sword-hand's ringfinger.  This signifies the noble bearing they aspire to.

Ascetic Order of The Shining Hands
This order balances cleric and monk.  Bound by sacred vows of poverty, they reject arms and armour for monastic discipline and prayer.  Versed in religious thought, they wield formidable powers.  They work with other orders as bodyguards or enforcers in return for simple shelter or food.

Emissaries of the Scarlet Cross
These ordained persuade where force fails or falters.  Their talents are augmented by divine favour and secret words spoken at the creation of all worlds.  The emissary is versed in diplomacy and planar lore. Their gifts call to souls, convert the unbeliever for a time and sustain the good of heart.

Wardens of the Blooded Cross
An order sworn to slay vampires and redeem their victims.  Wardens are eclectic - those who turn undead and who were scarred by unlife are welcomed.  Quite a few wardens are ex-clerics and ex-paladins.  These hunters of the dead gain divine spells and protection against undead magics.  Their calling card is a stake with cross-carved hilt.

Watchers over giants in the earth: Carcetus

Under the stone sky, the knights of Saint-George keep vigil and light in the deep.  Preceptories are refuge from horrors and enemies.  Warriors of Saint-George are welcomed, not least because they follow orders and co-operate without additional compulsion.  Yet where Knights flourish, foes arise to meet them.  Those who lead communities know Knights are harbingers of conflict - the preceptories are never completely safe. More than one Knight has faced hostility from allies.

Ascetic monks charged with guarding a community.  Their defensive fighting style uses evasion and blocks alongside club, dagger, shortspear, shortsword and spear.  They serve as bodyguard, sentinel and scout. They are also taught to read people and situations as well as acrobatics, climbing and stealth.

Sworn to heal wounded or afflicted in their care.  Adept in battlefield medicine, they also maintain hospitals and quarantines  to protect the sick and diseased.  This does not stop them harming the foe.  Their preceptories are defended ferociously against incursions and are known for crippling traps.

These knights keep sacred fires burning.  In Carcetus, light is life and a votary defends the sacred fires with fanatical zeal.  These pious templars are fortified against magic and harm.  Typically fighters or rangers, they favour the sword, learn of other religions and defend the fire.

Regarding the Secret Orders

Not all orders are bound to one world.  Some are well-known but few in number for ordination is arduous and their enemies are relentless.  Others are reclusive, keeping their mysteries hidden.

Crusading Order of Chalice-Bearers
These rare knights bring the good fight to the evils of the Ten Thousand Worlds.  Though many are called, few are chosen.  Aspirants (mostly paladins, clerics or rangers) are taught extensively of planes and religion and divine magic.  When ordained, they gain formidable powers against evil outsiders.

Order of Pomazal
This reclusive order of anointed knights claim sanctity of body and weapon perfect a warrior of light.  They achieve this sanctity by ordeal and sacred chrism.  Using special oils on ancestral weapons and themselves, they become formidable opponents wielding weapons of terrible power.

Secrets and lies

The dragons died to end the Demonplague and their gold was divided among the remaining survivors.  In Altorr, this story is taught to children.  In all such tales, it hides an uncomfortable truth.  Each preceptory guards one or more dragon eggs from hatching or from corruption.  Only the abbots in charge know this dire secret.  Yet tales of the Whispering Darkness, the insidious, unseen horror of Carcetus, persist despite knightly quests.  "The Darkness gnaws at the base of the cross."  Muttered by drunkards, fools and the broken who recall sibilant slanders before attacking any knights present.  This tale is not yet fully told.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

assorted dungeon keys

And if you thought the lock was unusual, check out the keys.  Roll d12.
  1. Bronze master key.  Fits 50% of locks on this level or in this part of the dungeon. 
  2. Darkwood key with long shank.  Totally non-conductive for electricity.  May be useful for an electrified lock? 
  3. Fulgurite key of hexagonal shape that reduces electrical damage by 2 points when used to open an electrified lock. Worth 300gp. 
  4. Heavy key of magical red-veined iron that reduces heat or fire damage by 2 points when placed in a lock that radiates heat or flames.  Worth 300gp. 
  5. Jet key set into ring carved from a single piece of stone used by ancient wizards.  Warm to the touch, suitable focus for magic jar.  Worth 250gp to arcane collectors, 200gp otherwise.
  6. Leaden key that reduces negative energy damage by 1 point if inserted into a lock charged with negative energy. Worth 150gp.
  7. Naga-bone key of interlocking small bones for the blade and a bone cameo for the bow.  Worth 200gp for the craftmanship and exotic material. 
  8. Plaited red gold and faience key with spiralling blade and bow shaped as a miniature shepherd's crook.   The crook is used to disable a needle trap on certain locks by those in the know.  Worth 300gp to the right people, 150gp to the uninitiated.
  9. Rusted iron key with letters SIR etched on bow.  This key radiates moderate transmutation magic.  If placed inside a metal lock, and the word 'SIR' is spoken, lock and key collapse into flakes of rust. This destroys and unlocks the particular lock.  The key is only usable once.  Worth 700gp.
  10. Topaz key of rose and orange hue.  Enchanted to be tough as steel.  Worth 600gp due to craftmanship and enchantment. 
  11. Vampiric skeleton key, works on locks 50% of time. If touched by bare skin drains 1 point of Constitution then open locks 75% of the time until next sunrise.  Will not be inserted into a lock in sight of a holy symbol.  Constitution loss is recovered by 8 hours sleep
  12. X-bladed silver key.  Fits a specific superior lock that imposes a -20% (-4) to picking due to wards.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

3DPBMCSHMtm: jotunfell

Frost Giants Attack by Jeff Fairbourn
The next piece of 3DPBMCSHMtm returns to Altorr and deals with the reaver giants of Jotunfell. Bards and faerie mock giantish slowness. Yet the warriors recall rocks smashing cavalry and shield-mates sundered by axes and do not laugh.  When the reavers of Jotunfell march, nobody is safe. More than one lordling ignores the hillfolk then finds his steading smashed and his serfs enslaved. The mountain passes are feared with good cause.

The four clans

Jotunfell is a glacial mountain pass surrounded by hills.  The Aerie of Jotunfell is a great castle commanding the pass.  The Skugga family of cloud giants hold the castle, forming the linchpin of an alliance of giants.  The Skugga banner is a black cloud on azure with two silver teardrops.  The frost giants impale a cave bear skull on a longspear.  The cyclops banner is a golden one-eyed ram skull with curved horns on black field.  The hill giant standard is a great spear with three gilded dire wolf skulls pointing three different directions.

Every equinox, the Skugga invite the leaders and retinue to Jotunfell to discuss events this season.   Cautious acceptance is best recommended.  The giants know not to offend the Skugga.  Giants fall badly from great heights.  The Skugga play favourites between hill giant and cyclops as the frost giants enjoy the show. Between such games of state, raids are plotted.  Here the Skugga display tactical acumen and diplomatic skill in getting the giants to agree.

The hills have eyes

Cyclops and hill giant clans violently contested claims to the hills around Jotunfell before the Demonplague. Now the clans work together with occasional violence.  The ogre families who serve the hill giants enjoy opportunities for violence and torturing hill folk.  Their glacial cousins have stranger habits still.

Jotunfell hill giants are ravaging brutes that smash opponents with ogre and dire wolf allies.  Hurled rocks soften up cavalry or spellcasters.  As they advance they bellow dire threats to break the nerves of opponents and this often succeeds.  Then they charge, intent on breaking the bones.  Those taken as slaves are valued for their strength, either as disposable warriors or as labourers.  While hill giants demand the slaves breed, few do.

By contrast cyclops pick their battles.  They take full advantage of terrain and weather.  The large crossbow has versatility. Some bolts are tipped with black adder venom or dung.  Cyclops snipers watch for spellcasters and single them out.  If the foe are softened up, the greataxes come out. Few shield walls can withstand that.  The cyclops delight in slavery, valuing each of their thralls, feuding when a slave is stolen.

Both groups accept bribes from slavers or rogue merchants seeking audience and trade with the Skugga. Each group demands tolls independently of the other.  The Skugga rein in the hill giants by making messy examples of ogre allies of theirs.  Both groups salve their honour and the ogres get a reminder of who's really in charge.

Heart of ice, bloody hands

Frost giants dwell in the glacial crevasses of  Jotunfell.  Serdtsida Bluebeard wields boreal sorcery, leading the clan to reaving softer lands and slave taking.  The great winter wolf Gyar is his companion.  He is chieftain as the jarl was defeated in battle and carried off by the Skugga.  Serdtsida uses magic to deceive or destroy foes.  He thinks the jarl is dead and will brutalise any who suggest rescue attempts within earshot.

The other giants are savage warriors.  Serdtsida has grown brutal and alliance the Skugga has its rewards - this are good times.  Even eating human tastes better.When reaving the lower hills, they are terrifying.  They keep three ogres as scouts and spies among ogre allies of the hill giants.  Though few, they are well fed and equipped.  Relations with the cyclops, hill giants and ogres are cordial despite cannibalism and psychopathic shows of might.  Nobody interferes with slavers visiting the frost giants.  Though few, the frost giants are brutal enemies with poor impulse control and access to magic.  Even the wildest hill giant notices a trail of chewed bones and dismembered, half-eaten limbs.

Kadjila, the slave-handler is the clan's smith and carefully trades slaves and steel with the Skugga.  She hated the lecherous jarl, supporting Serdtsida staunchly.  Those too weak to survive are eaten by the giants or given to the ogres as pets. Kadjila's forge is kept by three ogrekin.  Each has a massive arm, stunted legs and enough smithcraft to make them very valuable.

Castle in the air

Dwelling in the Aerie is the Skugga, a family of cloud giants.  Though only five in number, each has a personal attack griffon and numerous slaves in attendance.  Peto, the family head is a brutal sorceror of Abyssal ancestry who plans to rule Altorr.  His remaining family are ordinary cloud giants.  Clad in finery, evil lives in their eyes and the cruelties they indulge upon their victims.

The Skugga united the giants by tactical acumen and shows of raw power crushing their opponents.  The Skugga view other giants in the alliance as allies rather than friends.Slavers make overtures to the Skugga with choice slaves, finery and treasures to warm the avaricious.  The Skugga now hold a debased court.
Their slaves indulge sadistic whims, terrified of being 'cast out' off walls or left for the harpies.  Slaves are kept for cooking, cleaning and craft.  The Skugga enjoy being pampered by a retinue while playing a harp or engaging in negotiations.

The Skugga enjoy harpysong, numerous harpies nest in the towers, taking odd slaves as mate and food. The nests hold small altars to Pazuzu, a demon lord accepting tributes of bloody fresh tongues. Yet their filth conceals greater horror. The frost giant jarl lies chained, naked and used by the harpies who took his tongue. Others have come before him.  The harpies still bring sacrifices who die faster.
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