On Monks and Swashbucklers

This post will finish my posting of the hybrid “fighting-man” classes I was using in my last game, and it involves the oft-maligned monk. Now, I grant you that the monks as presented by Gygax lo those many years ago do not fit into a medieval milieu. On the one hand, I want to say – who cares? I run my games for fun, not verisimilitude. On the other hands, lots of folks do want their games to make sense and stick to a sort of “reality”. For those folks, allow me to suggest that the monk is still a usable class. The trick is to ignore the name and the “fluff” and just look at the game stats. What you have is a non-armored combatant who is quick and generally hard to kill. In other words, a very acceptable way to emulate a swashbuckler or two-fisted pulp adventurer. Heck, I’ve even used the class to stat out Popeye (don’t ask). So, before you relegate the monk (or any other class) to the dustbin, think about how you can adapt the flavor to the mechanics.

The following content is Open Game Content.

The Monk Sub-Class
The monk is a sub-class of fighting-man. Monks train themselves in the unarmed martial arts, including wrestling. They develop lightning fast reflexes and iron wills. Most monks are trained in special monasteries, but some simply apprentice themselves to a fighting master. Different masters and monasteries use different techniques, and they (and their students) are often quite competitive.

  • Prime Attributes: Strength & Constitution, 13+ (+5% experience)
  • Hit Dice: 1d12/level (Gains 5 hp/level after 10th.)
  • Armor/Shield Permitted: None.
  • Weapons Permitted: Any.

A monk’s unarmed attack inflict 1d4 points of damage at level 1, 1d6 points of damage at level 2, 1d8 points of damage at level 5 and 1d10 points of damage at level 9.

At level 6, a monk can make a second unarmed strike each round. The secondary strike’s damage begins at 1d4 and improves to 1d6 at level 9.

Monks improve their unarmored AC by +1 at levels 2, 5, 8 and 12.

A monk’s movement improves by +1 at each level. A monk carrying a medium or heavy load loses this extra speed.

A level 1 monk can use a stunning attack once per round, and no more than once per level per day. The monk must declare its use before making an attack roll. A missed attack roll ruins the attempt, and counts towards the monk’s limitation. A foe successfully struck by the monk is forced to make a saving throw. Those struck by a stunning attack always take normal unarmed attack damage, but a failed saving throw results in the foe being stunned and unable to act for 1d4 combat rounds.

At level 2, monks gain the ability to deflect arrows and other non-magical missiles. The monk must have at least one hand empty to use this ability. When a character would normally be hit by a ranged weapon, the character may make a saving throw. If the saving throw succeeds, the monk deflects the weapon and suffers no damage. This can be done once a round at levels 2-6, and twice at levels 7-11 and three times at 12th level. The monk must be aware of the attack to use this ability. An attempt to deflect a weapon counts as the monk’s primary unarmed attack. If a monk is high enough level to have a secondary unarmed attack, the monk may still make the secondary attack. This ability cannot be used against siege weapon ammunition.

At level 3, a monk’s unarmed attack can deal damage to creatures only harmed by +1 magic weapons. A level 5 monk can damage creatures only harmed by +2 or better magic weapons. A level 8 monk can damage creatures only harmed by +3 or better magic weapons, and level 12 monks can damage creatures only harmed by +4 or better magic weapons.

At level 4, a falling monk takes damage as if a fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is, but must be within 10 feet of a vertical surface that he or she can use to slow the decent.

At level 6, a monk can feign death for a number of turns equal to the character’s level.

At level 7, a monk’s naturally healing increases to 2 hp per day.

At level 12, the monk gains the fabled quivering palm attack. The monk can use this attack once per week. The attack must be announced before an attack roll is made. The monk must be of higher level than the target. If the monk strikes successfully and the target takes damage from the monk’s unarmed attack, the quivering palm succeeds. Thereafter, the monk can choose to try to slay the victim at any later time within 1 round per level of the monk. The monk merely wills the target to die, and the victim makes a constitution saving throw to avoid this fate.

This attack has no effect on undead or creatures that can only be struck by magical weapons, unless the monk is able to inflict damage on such a creature.

The Swashbuckler: If you don’t think that a kung-fu-style monk fits into your campaign, you can rebrand the class as a swashbuckler. In this case, the monk’s “unarmed attacks” are instead made with long sword (rapier) and dagger, and only with these two weapons. The stunning attack can represent a dizzying flourish of arms or a pommel guard to the head. The quivering palm can be renamed “the lunge”, representing that moment when the swashbuckler stabs his foe, who then staggers about for a moment before expiring with a look of disbelief in his eyes.

.nobrtable br { display: none }

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 16 Postulant
2 1,750 2 +1 15 Novice
3 4,000 3 +2 14 Brother
4 8,500 4 +3 13 Cenobite
5 20,000 5 +4 12 Mendicant
6 40,000 6 +5 11 Monk
7 80,000 7 +6 10 Canon
8 160,000 8 +7 9 Prior
9 325,000 9 +8 8 Abbott
10 550,000 10 +9 7 Abbott
11 750,000 +5 hp
+10 6 Abbott
12 1,250,000 +10 hp
+11 5 Abbott

S&W Format
.nobrtable br { display: none }Hit Dice: 1d6+3 per level, +3 hit points per level after level 9

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 14 Postulate

2 2,900 2 +0 13 Novice
3 5,800 3 +1 12 Brother
4 11,600 4 +2 11 Cenobite
5 23,200 5 +2 10 Mendicant
6 45,000 6 +3 9 Monk
7 90,000 7 +4 8 Canon
8 180,000 8 +5 7 Prior
9 360,000 9 +6 6 Abbot
10 480,000 +3 hp
+7 5 Abbot
11 600,000 +6 hp
+7 4 Abbot
12 720,000 +9 hp
+8 3 Abbot

Art by Alison Acton

On the Wyvern Coast – Part Seven

Twenty-seven more sites to explore in the southwest part of the Wyvern Coast map.

0132 Makronissos: Although King Philostos was a noble triton, his unruly sons were a shame to the entire kingdom. As each came of age, the king dutifully granted them leave to construct a fortress and attract whatever followers would have them. Naturally, Philostomes, the eldest, chose to stay by his father’s side, and it is he who now wisely rules Nimos in [0631]. His brother Mathian is the quarrelsome lord of Makronissos, while the youngest, Sthenelaus, lusty rascal that he is, rules Fleves in [0231]. The three rarely have anything to do with one another, though Mathian and Sthenelaus delight in outdoing their older brother and foiling the plans of the other.

Prince Mathian’s fortress is a three-story shell keep constructed from marble blocks on a trefoil pattern, the courtyards topped by onion-shaped domes of glassy-steel. The keep is surrounded by the homes of his fighting-men and women. These homes are constructed of marble blocks, resembling the courtyard homes of the ancient Romans. Makronissos is home to 99 triton warriors, 82 females and 110 young. Prince Mathian, in a fit of madness, constructed a basalt temple to Oceanus, Titan of the Sea. The temple is overseen by Marta with the help of four assistants. The household is overseen by Erigone, Mathian’s wife and a sorceress in her own right. Mathian’s nine household knights, who ride sea horses into battle, can be identified by the deep crimson kelp they wear as sashes. All of the howling warriors of Makronissos carry tridents and shields. They glory in battle. Prince Mathian himself rides in a bronze chariot pulled by seven sea cats. The treasury of Makronissos lies in a pit beneath a heavy stone slab that takes six tritons to lift. It contains 20,000 sp, 29,000 gp, 500 pp and five amphorae of fine wine.

  • Prince Mathian, Triton Fighting-Man Lvl 9: HP 52; AC 4 [15]; Save 8; Special: Magic resistance 90%; Shield, trident.
  • Marta, Triton Cleric Lvl 10: HP 40; AC 5 [14]; Save 5; Special: Cleric spells (5th), banish undead, magic resistance 90%; Shield, trident, holy symbol (gold conch).
  • Assistant Clerics, Lvl 3: HD 3d6+3; AC 5 [14]; Save 12; Special: Cleric spells (1st), banish undead, magic resistance 90%; Shield, trident (silver conch).
  • Erigone, Triton Magic-User Lvl 8: HP 19; AC 6 [13]; Save 8; Special: Magic-user spells (4th), magic resistance 90%; Silver dagger, grimoire.
  • Household Knights: HD 6; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 trident (1d8+1); Move 1 (Swim 18); Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Magic resistance 90%.

0134 Expensive Rubble: A large mound of marble blocks rests here, the remnants of construction by the tritons in [0233] and [0631].

0231 Fleves: Fleves is the stronghold of Sthenelaus, brother and rival of Mathian [0132] and Philostomes [0631]. Sthenelaus is wild and unruly, with a massive appetite for war, women and song. His cadre of retainers are nine devotees of Bacchus. Fleves itself is a coral feasting hall capable of holding Sthenelaus, his retainers, his court druid, Helle, and magician, Talthybios, and his 292 followers (93 males, 94 females and 105 young). The hall’s ceiling is covered in beaten bronze and hangs 40 feet above the floor. The tables, benches and chairs are the remnants of a century’s worth of shipwrecks. The walls are lined with trophies and weapons – the warriors of Fleves prefer barbed spears, bucklers and hoplite-style helms. The tables are always loaded down with the harvest of the sea, including stoppered stone crocks of wine. At one end of the hall is a massive marble idol of Bacchus. Heaped around the statue is the treasure of Fleves: 10,000 sp, 5,500 ep, 17,000 gp, 1,020 pp, an aquamarine (450 gp) and a jasper (6 gp). The idol is guarded by Helle’s four assistants at all time. The feast hall is surrounded by a thick forrest of kelp prowled by twelve sea cats trained to ignore the tritons of Fleves, but to attack anyone else on sight. Sthenelaus goes into battle in a chariot drawn by six hippocampi. His maenads ride hippocampi as well, their green hair tied into long braids, their arms bearing ritual scarification.

  • Sthenelaus, Triton Fighting-Man (Barbarian) Lvl 9: HP 50; AC 4 [15]; Save 8; Special: Magic resistance 90%; Buckler, helm, barbed spear.
  • Maenads, Triton Fighting-Women (Barbarians) Lvl 6: HD 6d6+12; AC 4 [15]; Save 11; Special: Magic resistance 90%; Barbed spear, net.
  • Helles, Triton Cleric (Druid) Lvl 11: HP 41; AC 4 [15]; Save 4; Special: Cleric (Druid) spells (5th), magic resistance 90%; Barbed spear, shield, helm, holy symbol (gold vines, worn around neck).
  • Helles’ Assistants (4), Triton Clerics (Druids) Lvl 3: HD 3d6+3; AC 4 [15]; Save 12; Special: Cleric (Druid) spells (1st), magic resistance 90%; Barbed spear, shield, helm, holy symbol (silver vines, worn around neck).
  • Talthybios, Triton Magic-User Lvl 8: HP 18; AC 5 [14]; Save 8; Special: Magic-user spells (4th), magic resistance 90%; Silver dagger, grimoire.

0233 Tomb of King Philostos: As mentioned in [0132], King Philostos is dead, killed three centuries ago in battle with the sahuagin. In his honor, his sons, putting aside their rivalry, constructed a fabulous tomb for their father. The tomb is built of marble and stands 20-ft wide, 20-ft deep and 20-ft tall. Atop the tomb is a 20-ft tall bronze statue of Philostos. The tomb is surrounded by false columns carved onto 5-ft thick walls. The interior of the tomb is dry, and actually cannot be entered by water under any means. At the center of the tomb chamber is a gold-plated sarcophagus suspended from the ceiling by bronze chains over a pit of charcoal. The walls are covered in bright mosaics depicting the life, death, funeral and ascension of King Philostos.

A captive fire elemental called Horogule guards the tomb. He dwells in the fire pit, but copper piping allows him to move rapidly throughout the tomb chamber. His access to the chamber can be closed by depressing the right eye of the images of Philostos in the chamber murals. He is depicted four times, once on each wall. By depressing the right eyes on the images, the fire pit and pipes are sealed, trapping the fire elemental. There are two clues to this course of action; the first is a charred skeleton by one wall reaching toward the image of Philostos. The other is that the bas-relief of Philostos on his sarcophagus has his right hand over his right eye and his left hand grasping a trident that is impaling a fire-breathing dragon.

The tomb treasure is concealed in four floor spaces. Above each of these spaces there is a trap in the form of a crescent axe that falls from the ceiling, splitting would-be thieves in two (attacks as a 6 HD monster, 2d6 damage). The floor spaces contain 10,000 sp, 5,100 gp and a bronze figurine of Neptunus (500 gp).

  • Horogule: HD 16 (43 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 strike (3d6); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 17/3400; Special: Ignite materials.

0631 Nimos: Nimos is the stronghold of Philostomes, the eldest and favored son of King Philostos. Nimos now rules Nimos and its 118 triton warriors, 93 females and 108 young. He is advised by his aged mother, Diomede, a priestess of Amphitrite. Philostomes is philosopher, poet and warrior. His army is well drilled and schooled in the concepts of chivalry. His personal guard consists of eight knightly warriors led by Aristonike, a chaste paladin and Philostomes’ ideal of beauty. Nimos is a marble citadel atop a sea mount. It is built in the ancient Greek style, and within its thick walls there is a fortified palace, a temple of Neptunus and Amphitrite and stables for the prince’s twenty hippocampi. Beneath the sea mount there is a dungeon protected by roving sea cats and cunning traps. The dungeon’s only resident is the undying eye of a wicked sea titan, killed a milennia ago by King Philostos. A vault in the citadel holds 21,000 sp, 5,500 ep, 27,500 gp, 500 pp, a spinel (7,000 gp), a zircon (10 gp)

  • Philostomes, Triton Fighting-Man (Bard) Lvl 9: HP 45; AC 2 [17]; Save 8; Special: Magic resistance 90%; Helm, scale armor, shield, trident, silver dagger, golden horn, gauntlets of dexterity.
  • Aristonike, Triton Fighting-Woman (Paladin) Lvl 8: HP 34; AC 2 [17]; Save 9; Special: Magic resistance 90%; Helm, scale armor, shield, trident, holy symbol (silver conch), potion of healing.
  • Knights of Nimos, Triton Fighting-Men Lvl 6: HP 6d6+12; AC 3 [16]; Save 11; Special: Magic resistance 90%; Helm, scale armor, shield, trident.
  • Diomede, Triton Cleric (Druid) Lvl 11: HP 44; AC 4 [15]; Save 4; Special: Cleric (Druid) spells (Lvl 5th), magic resistance 90%; Helm, shield, trident, holy symbol (gold image of Amphitrite).
  • Diomede’s Priestesses, Triton Cleric (Druid) Lvl 4: HD 4d6+4; AC 4 [15]; Save 10; Special: Cleric (Druid) spells (2nd), magic resistance 90%; Helm, shield, trident, holy symbol (silver image of Amphitrite).

0640 Eador: Eador is a lair of 345 gnome artisans, 114 gnomewives and 64 gnomelings. They dwell in burrows beneath the roots of a large, gnarled oak tree. The gnomes of Eador produce delicate images in stained glass for trade, most of their contact coming via traders from Ophir or clerics interested in decorating their monasteries. Their work can be seen hanging from the branches of their tree and also lodged between gnarled roots, illuminating some of the burrows beneath. The gnome-king of Eador is Kermid. Kermid’s honor guard is composed of six level 3 fighting-gnomes. The community is also served by a cantankerous druid named Thumbar and his three level 2 assistants. The gnomes keep a flock of sixteen giant ravens as guard animals and messengers. Deep in their burrows, the gnomes keep 2,000 sp, 10,100 gp, 110 pp a matching pair of electrum clasps, each set with 11 tiny topazs (35 gp) and 1,000 gp worth of stained glass.

  • Gnome: HD 1d6; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Simple illusions, +4 AC vs. giant creatures.
  • Kermid, Fighting-Gnome Lvl 5: HP 28; AC 2 [17]; Save 12; Light mace, platemail.
  • Honor Guard, Fighting-Gnome Lvl 3: HD 3d6+6; AC 3 [16]; Save 14; Hand axe, chainmail, shield, crossbow.
  • Thumbar, Gnome Cleric (Druid) Lvl 6: HP 30; AC 6 [13]; Save 9; Special: Cleric (druid) spells (3rd); Club, leather armor, shield, holy symbol (wreath of oak leaves).
  • Thumbar’s Assistants, Lvl 2: HD 2d6+2; AC 6 [13]; Save 15; Special: Cleric (druid) spells (1st); Club, leather armor, shield.
  • Giant Raven: HD 3; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (1d8); Move 2 (Fly 30); Save 14; CL/XP 4/240; Special: None.

0745 Morix: Morix is a relatively new dwarf stronghold built into the mountains. It is inhabited by 360 dwarfs with 135 females and 55 dwarflings. The dwarfs mine tin (about 20,000 gp worth a month), trading it to Ophir for iron and gold. Morix is ruled by King Okolast and Queen Maiu. Okolasts housecarls are six level 3 fighter/clerics. He is assisted in times of battle by two level 2 sergeants. The entrance to Morix is located 60 feet above the ground in the side of a mountain, with supplies being lowered and raised via pulleys and stout ropes. The dwarfs also maintain two escape tunnels that emerge well away from the entrance and can only be opened from the inside. The halls of Morix are patrolled by seven brown bears. Okolast’s main hall has a vaulted ceiling supported by massive pillars engrave with the name of every dwarf from his clan lost when they were forced to quit the Bleeding Mountains across the sea. His throne is cast from bronze and decorated with goblin skulls. The dwarfs of Morix maintain a dozen forges and a multiple shrines to Volcanus, whom they call Weyland. Their heavily trapped vaults contain 10,000 cp, 10,500 ep, 2,500 gp, 1,100 pp, a cymophane worth 40 gp and jewelry worth 30 gp. They generally have 60 tin ingots (5 lb each, worth 15 gp each) on hand and 15 barrels (60 gp each) of slightly sour wine (as dwarfs prefer it that way).

  • Dwarf: HD 1; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 6; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Detect attributes of stonework.
  • Okolast, Dwarf Fighter/Cleric Lvl 5: HP 24; AC 1 [18]; Save 10; Special: Cleric spells (2nd); Platemail, shield, military pick, dagger.
  • Housecarls, Dwarf Fighter/Clerics Lvl 3: HD 3d6+6; AC 1 [18]; Save 14; Platemail, shield, hand axe, dagger, crossbow.
  • Sergeants, Dwarf Fighting-Men Lvl 2: HD 2d6+4; AC 3 [16]; Save 15; Chainmail, shield, hand axe, dagger, crossbow.
  • Brown Bear: HD 4+1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d6); Move 9; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Hug (+1d8 damage if hits with both claws).

0833 Exiled Merrow: A band of ten exiled merrows have taken residence in a dilapidated keep choked with barnacles. The merrows have no mermaids in their harem and are taking their humiliation out on anything that passes by. They are lead by an especially large and stupid male called Kthuk. The merrows are armed with thick spears and nets. Their treasure consists of 500 ep, 400 gp, a rose quartz (165 gp) and a silver statuette of entwined mermaids (7,000 gp).

  • Kthuk: HD 6 (26 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 weapon (1d10+3); Move 9 (Swim 9); Save 11; CL/XP 6/400; Special: None.

0930 Feeding Frenzy: A merchant galley recently slipped under the waves, victim of a tusked whale. It carried with it over 100 chained slave rowers, whose corpses are now at the center of a feeding frenzy of thirty lacedons and twenty sharks. The lacedons look like water-logged corpses with feral faces. From the tattered clothing they wear, it is obvious that most are former corsairs and sailors. At the center of the lacedons is a female with stringy, black hair, grey skin and wearing the remnants of a silk gown. Bards may be able to identify her as Ivada, Lady of Comiar in the territory of Ophir, lost at sea six months ago. Her return in a more civilized state could be worth a 200 gp reward from her father, as she was his last heir. Amidst the ship’s wreckage one could salvage 75 gp worth of cedar lumber, hides and skins worth 250 gp, an amphorae of spiced wine (40 gp), 60 gold ingots (1 lb each, 100 gp each) and a collection of marble statuary (2,500 gp) intended for the home of a wealthy merchant of Antigoon.

  • Lacedon: HD 2; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d4); Move 9; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Immunities, paralyzing touch.
  • Shark: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d6+2); Move 0 (Swim 24); Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Feeding frenzy.

0933 Zorix: Zorix is a small, rocky island with several sandy beaches. The center of the island is dominated by a craggy upland, from which flow two streams marked by many waterfalls. One flows to the northern shore of the island, the other to the western shore. The upland has many caves, and most show signs of visitation. One has seen more visitation than the others, and contains a crude, blood-stained stone altar and many black candle nubs. Just beyond the altar the cave floor drops away suddenly; thirty feet below is a grotto. The grotto is filled with icy, cold water. The ceiling is marked with dozens of reddish-orange stalagtites and the floor of the lagoon with similar stalagmites. Hidden among the stalagtites are a dozen piercers. The waters of the lagoon hide a submerged, 20-ft long tunnel that emerges in a large vault. This vault measures forty feet in circumference. The periphery is submerged in icy water, while the center rises above the water in a 20-ft tall black pillar. This pillar is actually Zorix, a massive, demonic roper, believed by cultists from Ophir to be the spawn of Baalzebul and one of his avatars on Nod. They are correct in this assumption, and any aggression committed on Zorix will be noted by the Lord of Flies. A century of offerings to Zorix now lie in the water around his dais and amount to 20,000 cp, 5,500 ep, 1,200 gp, 510 pp, a bronze kyton (100 gp) that once held blood wine.

  • Piercers: HD 1; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 slam (1d6); Move 3 (Climb 3); Save 17; CL/XP 2/30; Special: A piercer scores 2d6 damage on the roll of a natural 20 to hit, the piercer’s belly is coated with acid that deals 1d6 damage to exposed flesh.
  • Zorix: HD 12 (51 hp); AC 0 [19]; Atk 1 tentacle (weakness), 1 bite (2d10); Move 3; Save 3; CL/XP 17/3500; Special: Tentacles grab and cause weakness (save or lose half strength points), smite good once per day (+12 damage to good creature), cleric spells (one per level, up to 9th), immune to poison, half damage from acid, fire and lightning, magic resistance 25%, only harmed by magic weapons.

[Because the 12-year-old in me still likes piercers and wants desperately for them to finally work!]

0936 Tomb of Clever Eksirossa: Eksirossa was, in her day, the greatest thief to have ever pilfered a vault in Ophir, a city-state noted for its thieves. Her tomb was constructed to her special design by a band of duergar who took her right hand and the jewels on her fingers as payment. The tomb is constructed in a cave overlooking the sea. The cave is filled with twenty feet of water at high tide and about 5 feet of water at low tide. The cave’s ceiling is 35 feet above the floor, thus 15 feet above the water surface at high tide and 30 feet above the water’s surface at low tide. Hanging from the ceiling by a thick, iron chain is a bronze sphere 13 feet in diameter. The sphere is hollow, the skin being 3’ thick. The ball has three obvious, circular portals. None of these portals are trapped, per se, but all are dangerous.

The first two portals are located on the upper surface of the globe. Either requires a master thief to overcome its locks. When one is opened, it reveals inky darkness within the globe. This is a portable hole that sends anyone entering into a cramped, empty space several miles away. This space contains a coffer corpse and a treasure of 500 silver-plated lead coins (worth about 1 gp, but weigh 1,000 lb).

  • Coffer Corpse: HD 2+2 (16 hp); AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 fist (1d6); Move 9; Save 16; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Only harmed by magic weapons (though weapons appear to do damage), false death (if “killed” with normal weapons, will fall and then rise again, causing fear), choking (those hit by fist must save or be choked for 1d6 damage per round).

The second portal is much as the first, but leads to a slick tunnel-slide into a cavern filled almost entirely with bubbling magma. In the center of the cavern there is, atop a basalt dais, a pile of gold coins. Suspended from the ceiling of the magma cavern and leading from the entrance to the dais are nine rings suspended from chains. The second, fourth, sixth and ninth rings wil collapse if any weight is placed on them, the others will hold up to 200 pounds before collapsing. The pile of treasure on the dais is a treacherous treasure. The coinage on its surface amounts to 1,100 gp and 500 ep, all of its ancient and counterfeit and bearing very rude messages in a variety of languages.

  • Treacherous Treasure: HD 7 (31 hp), AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 slam (3d6); Move 6; Save 9; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Surprise foes 40% of the time.

The final portal is located on the bottom of the sphere. It is also a portable hole leading into the center of the sphere. Moving up through the hole actually entails coming in from one side. The interior of the sphere is 10 feet in diameter. The center of the sphere is taken up by a circular cage with steel bars from top to bottom. Inside this space is the skeletal corpse of Eksirossa, identifiable by her missing hand and her broad grin, which reveals a mouth full of gold teeth (10 gp worth). The door of the cage has a very complex lock that requires two successful rolls to open. A failure on the first attempt results in the portable hole detaching and falling into the sea below and trapping the would-be thief inside the sphere. A failure on the second roll results in the sphere detaching from the ceiling and plunging into the water below, causing 5d6 points of damage to anyone inside (or beneath it). Eksirossa’s corpse is wearing a single glove of dexterity, a +1 dagger that glows when within 30 feet of precious metals or gems, and her personal burglar’s tools, crafted by masterful hands and giving thieves a +1 bonus to all thievery rolls.

1034 Delec: Delec is a village of 300 loutish copper miners living in adobe huts. The village has few females, for few women can be persuaded to live among the miners. Delec is surrounded by a stone wall, three stout watch towers and a moat filled by a stream. It is ruled by Lord Shemel, a pompous twit every bit as unpleasant as his subjects. The village knows no crime, primarily because Shemel and many of the miners are actually members of the Brotherhood of the Purple Hood, a clan of assassins that has existed since the times of the Purple Kings. Despite Shemel’s buffonish act, he is the shrewdest and most dangerous man on the Wyvern Coast after Zargo, whose rule he plans to usurp. Delec is defended by 60 men-at-arms in chainmail and toting pole axes, short swords and crossbows. The men-at-arms are commanded by seven sergeants, all assassins under Shemel’s ultimate command. Shemel’s treasure is 1,000 copper ingots (1 lb each, 1 gp each), 20,000 cp, 1,000 sp, 500 ep and 2,800 gp.

  • Sergeants, Assassins Lvl 3: HD 3d6; AC 7 [12]; Save 13; Special: Death attack (save or die, otherwise double damage), surprise on 1-2 on 1d6; Leather tunic (backed with steel plates), short sword, dagger, crossbow.
  • Lord Shemel, Assassin Lvl 7: HP 24; AC 6 [13]; Save 9; Special: Death attack (save or die, otherwise triple damage), surprise on 1-2 on 1d6; Leather tunic (backed with steel plates), spring-loaded cane (treat as javelin), silver dagger, poisoned dagger (save or die).

1036 Zonay: Zonay is a village of 100 pious goatherds living in timber huts surrounded by a thicket and moat. Zonay is governed by Difer, a reeve of Prince Zargo recently arrived from Ophir. Zonay is protected by ten men-at-arms (chainmail and shield, battle axe and crossbows) commanded by Sergeant Phaus. A stream rushes by the village and fills its moat. The goats of Zonay were known to produce the finest cheese on the Wyvern Coast, and thus were highly valued by Prince Zargo. Unfortunately, the arrival of Difer has changed this. For untold ages the people of Zonay paid heed to a kilmoulis named Kolong who tended their herds and produced their excellent cheese. In return, they were careful to ever speak his name reverently and leave nothing but dishes of perfume for his meals. Alas, Difer thought these the acts of fools, and has now brought the wrath of Kolong down on the village, for their milk is curdled and sour and their goats growing thin. A party of adventurers capable of rectifying this situation might attract the patronage of Prince Zargo.

1226 Noromina (West): Noromina island is ringed by reefs. It is dotted with a few small farmsteads that mostly raise sheep and garlic. A remote temple of Melkarth was constructed on the island by cultists several centuries ago. It has a caretaker named Grono and hosts athletic games every seven years in honor of Melkarth. At this time, dozens of adventurers, athletes, aristocrats and merchants crowd onto the island, pitching simple tents and grand pavilions and enjoying competitions that include races, swimming, javelin throws, archery and wrestling. Hidden behind a loose stone in the temple are 1,000 sp and an ivory idol of Melkarth worth 105 gp. The shephards have stout locks on their doors and have holy symbols painted on their doors and each wall of their home, for the other end of their island is plagued by vampires.

  • Grono, Gnome Cleric Lvl 4: HP 20; AC 4 [15]; Save 11; Special: Cleric spells (2nd), banish undead, hear noise on 1-2 on 1d6, communicate with burrowing animals; Chainmail (rarely worn, slightly rusty), light hammer (1d4 damage), holy symbol of Melkarth.

1326 Noromina (East): This side of the Noromina island is mountainous and inhabited by bestial vampire spawn called kalikantzaros. The kalikantzaros look like smallish humans with bestial features (tusks, hairy bodies). They fear the sound of bells. They only come up from their subterranean abodes at night in the dead of winter.

  • Kalikantzaros: HD 4; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d6 + level drain); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: See this blog post.

1336 Vignos: Vignos is a sprawling village of timber huts overlooking the sea. The landward side is protected by an earthen rampart and several watch towers. Vignos is inhabited by 500 dour, xenophobic fishermen ruled by Lord Jerig, himself a paranoid with an intense hatred of elves. The villagers get their water from a large reservoir located in the hills beyond their village. Vignos is defended by 100 men-at-arms (leather armor, long bows, spears) and twelve sergeants under the command of Jerig himself. An old woman named Ronia has a vast knowledge of the Wyvern Coast, and will happily hire on to guide adventurers. Jerig’s coffers contain 20,000 cp, 1,000 ep, 2,500 gp, 20 pp, a garnet (70 gp), a silver ring decorated with scaled dolphins (80 gp) and a painted terracotta wine pitcher (115 gp). Vignos has over 100 fishing boats (worth 30 gp each)

  • Jerig: HD 3 (19 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 9; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Gives soldiers a +1 boost to morale.
  • Ronia: HD 2 (9 hp); AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: While under her guidance, the chance of surprise and random monster encounters are rolled on 1d8.

1837 Sabre-Tooth Tribe: A tribe of 63 cavemen, 61 cavewomen and 37 cavechildren dwell in a deep, winding complex of limestone caves. The cavemen wield flint knives in combat. They are led by a prudish, tempermental chieftain called Yog along with four sub-chiefs. They worship sabre-tooth tigers under the guidance of a shaman called Jothag. Yog is always accompanied by his six bodyguards. The sabre-tooth people have persisted in these hills since the days when the Wyvern Coast was an archipelago of tiny islands. They are extraordinarily long-lived, with the elders of the tribe reaching well over 300 years of age.

  • Caveman: HD 1; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.
  • Bodyguards, Fighting-Man (Barbarians) Lvl 3: HD 3d6+9; AC 8 [11]; Save 14; Flint knife, tiger hide.
  • Sub-Chiefs, Fighting-Man (Barbarian) Lvl 4: HD 4d6+12; AC 7 [12]; Save 13; Flint knife, wyvern hide.
  • Yog, Fighting-Man (Barbarian) Lvl 5: HP 31; AC 7 [12]; Save 11; Flint knife, wyvern hide.
  • Jothag, Cleric (Druid) Lvl 3: HP 9; AC 9 [10]; Save 12; Special: Cleric (druid) spells (1st); Gnarled acacia-wood staff, tiger tooth necklace holy symbol.

1946 Magnolia Grove: A large magnolia grove, a hold over from the days when the savanna was a swamp, covers several acres here. The grove offers shade, but the presence of dozens of castaway spears stuck in the ground suggests danger. This danger comes in two forms. The first are the nine dusky-skinned dryads that inhabit and protect the grove. They are particularly adoring of human hunters, and often lure them into their trees, only to cast them away centuries later. Moreover, living in the branches of the magnolias are a species of pseudo-dragon with white scales. The pseudo-dragons feed on the magnolia nectar with long, curled, pink tongues. At any given time, there will be 2d6 of these pseudo-dragons observing intruders and prepared to attack if they show any inclination to harm the trees.

  • Dryads HD 2; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 wooden dagger (1d4); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Charm person (-2 save).
  • Pseudo-Dragon: HD 2; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 bite (1d3), 1 tail sting (1d3 + poison); Move 6 (Fly 25); Save 16; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Magic resistance 25%, poison (25% lethal, otherwise catalepsy for 1d4 days), invisibility (80% effective).

2028 Absalon: Absalon is the name of an island ringed by high cliffs. The cliffs are dotted with dozens of sea caves, one such cave leading to the surface via steps carved into the stone. The walls of this cavern are decorated with images of bearded men dressed as fish. The surface of the island is green and lush. It is composed of verdant meadows with trickling streams and copses of tall pine trees. In the midst of this paradise there is a large granite upland covered by a sparkling town of white walls and tall, white buildings. A single gate permits access to the town, which is peopled entirely by children. The children of Absalon range in age from infancy to twelve years of age. The children perform the roles of adults – tending the miniature, dun cattle that graze in the meadows, making pottery, woodworking, etc. The recognized leader of the children is a boy named Lodeses. Lodeses is wise for his age, but still a child and in over his head trying to lead the 2,000 young citizens of Absalon. Nonetheless, he and his peers are expert slingers; they wear leather armor and carry slings, javelins and knotty pine clubs into battle. They are determined to defend their village, especially the domed church that sits in the center of town.

The domed church consists of a large, central chamber 30 feet in diameter surrounded by a dozen small rooms used for storage. Seven statues of fish-garbed men, like those in the sea cave, stand against the walls of the church, their hands extended in peace. In the center of the room there is a squat dais upon which rests a large vessel carved from malachite and used to burn incense and offerings of meat. A secret catch on the dais shifts this vessel and reveals a narrow set of stairs that leads to a grotto deep benath Absalon. It is here that the people of Absalon, upon reaching their thirteenth year, descend to undergo a monstrous transformation into a hybrid of fish and man. These bizarre creatures welcome these visitors. Young women are mated with, their children eventually being placed at night in the church to be found and raised by the children of Absalon. The fish people, who call themselves oannes, have pallid, scaled skin, lipless mouths and curled beards (on the men) and large, fishy eyes. They are exceptionally bright scholars and philosophers for many years. But they never stop growing, and eventually turn feral and are forced into the sea, where they complete their transformation into tusked whales.

  • Child Soldiers of Absalon: HD 1d4; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 9; Save 18; CL/XP A/5; Special: None.
  • Oannes: HD 6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 bite (1d4) or 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Spells (change self, dispel magic, ESP, levitate, magic missile, shield, all once per day each), create small, simple object once per day.

2247 Strange Statue: Half-buried in the soil is a bronze statue (60 gp) of a tall, bald woman with two hands at the end of each arm, each hand holding a dagger. The statues eyes are formed of bone chips and the woman’s face bears an inhumanly wide grin. The statue attracts weird parasites that dwell on the astral plane. These parasites will attach themselves to the astral body of any magic-user present and feed off his magical energies, creating a cumulative 1% chance per day of failure when he tries to cast spells. They can only be removed by casting remove curse while on the astral plane.

2429 Lionweres: A pride of seven lionweres, consisting of one male, four females and two cubs, dwells in a cave. The females hunt during the night, taking the form of beautiful, tawny-haired maidens to get close to their prey. If doing poorly in a fight, their yowls will draw the attention of the male, who will arrive in 1d4 rounds to either save them or take revenge. The lionweres have hidden in their caves a gold ring worth 100 gp, a platinum oil lamp worth 950 gp, trade (1,000 gp), 1,000 sp, 400 gp, 500 ep, 20 pp and a hematite worth 35 gp.

  • Lionwere (females): HD 6 (24 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 bite (1d8) or weapon (1d8); Move 15; Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Weakness gaze, hit by silver or magic weapons only.
  • Lionwere (males): HD 6 (36 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 bite (1d10) or weapon (1d10); Move 15; Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Weakness gaze, hit by silver or magic weapons only.

2839 Ivory Tower of Kinyoth: Rising above the highlands is a 75-ft tall tower of ivory and limestone. This is the tower of Kinyoth the tower hag. Kinyoth is the undisputed master of this hex and the hexes surrounding it. She stands 9-ft tall. She has steel grey skin, black claws and weathered, black teeth, pale yellow eyes and limp, black hair that falls beyond her shoulders.

The tower has five levels. The first level is approximately 20-ft in diameter. The walls of this level are slick, rippled ivory and seem to sweat a yellowish ichor. The first level is a dumping ground of the magical detritus of several centuries – ruined scrolls, broken vials, magical cabinets, scorched wands, etc. Lurking among the ruined items are ten barics. Winding stairs lead to level two.

  • Baric: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claw (1d4) and 1 bite (1d10); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: None.

Level two looks much like level one. It is furnished with a multitude of torture devices and has seven sets of manacles attached to the walls and two iron cages hanging from the vaulted ceiling. Three prisoners currently occupy this chamber: An ogre called Tundrun that has been shrank to the size of a halfling, a young woman named Marya in an iron cage who appears to be suffering from leprosy, and a naked, scarred man named Lhumler with wild eyes who is chained to one wall. Lhumler was once a paladin, but successive bouts of torture and rape have reduced him to a mere fighting-man. The room is guarded by two headless screamers.

  • Headless Screamer: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 claw (1d6) or 1 thrown head (1d8); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Throw and retrieve head, scream, immune to cold.
  • Lhumler, Fighting-Man Lvl 6: HP 7 (39 normally); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 fist (1d2); Move 9 (due to a limp); Save 11.
  • Marya: HD 1d4 (1 hp); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 fist (1d2); Move 12; Save 18; CL/XP A/5; Special: Leprosy (treat as mummy rot).
  • Tundrun: HD 4+1 (21 hp); AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 fist (1d4); Move 6; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None.

The third level is a dank library lit by candles made from the fat of virgins. A large, wooden chair sits in the middle of the room, and chained to the outer walls are six large tomes (30 lb each) containing magical lore (1d4 spells each). The books are guarded by six inaeds.

  • Innaed: HD 3; AC 0 [20]; Atk none; Move 0 (Fly 18); Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Invisible, spells, immune to all weapons or normal weapons (depending on state).

Above the library is a laboratory of sorts, stocked with vessels containing preserved animals and body parts, a large wooden storage cabinet with a grisly harvest of human feet and shelves filled with all manner of humanoid bones, organized by type and size.

The top level contains Kinyoth’s personal lair and treasury. It is a round room without light and furnished with a greasy, straw mattress atop four large, wooden chests. The chests are locked and trapped with acid, poison or green slime. They contain 10,000 cp, 11,000 sp, 14,400 gp, 1,100 pp, five blocks of ambergris wrapped in waxed paper (100 gp), a rhodochrosite worth 950 gp and a cursed (-1) staff tipped with steel spheres grasped in demonic talons. Curled up along the wall is a 20-ft long gnasher lizard called Phac. Kinyoth is currently attempting to construct a gate deep beneath her tower that would allow the amphorons of Yothri easy access to Nod.

  • Kinyoth: HD 16 (71 hp); AC 0 [19]; Atk 2 claws (2d6); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 26/5900; Special: Spit, claws, tower, spells, only harmed by silver or magic weapons, immune to mind effects, magic resistance 70%.
  • Phac: HD 9 (47 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (2d6); Move 12; Save 6; CL/XP 2000; Special: Behead, swallow.

3029 Dagul: Dagul is a village of 100 peasant farmers living in stone huts. The village is surrounded by an earthen rampart and there is a tall, stone watch tower in the center of the village. Lady Hunnsa, the village reeve live in a house connected to the watchtower. Dagul is defended by 10 stout men-at-arms under the command of Sergeant Foriz. The village is known for its sheep, who produce incredibly soft, white wool favored by weavers throughout the Tepid Sea region. Hunnsa keeps 1,000 sp, 1,200 gp and a rose quartz (125 gp) in a locked chest trapped with a poison needle.

  • Hunnsa: HD 3; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 long sword (1d8+1); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None.
  • Men-at-Arms: HD 2; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 pole-axe (1d10); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.
  • Foriz, Fighting-Man Lvl 4: HP 21; AC 3 [16]; Save 13; Chainmail, shield, pole-axe, short sword.

3247 High and Dry: Embedded in the ground and choked with savanna grasses, is the long and petrified skeleton of a basilosaurus, a primitive, toothy whale.

3538 Village of the Dead: Behind a thicket lies a small village of adobe huts with thatched roofs. From afar, one might see people in the village going about their business with a slow, deliberate manner. Closer examination will reveal the villagers to be brain-eating zombies. At the first sign of life, the twenty remaining villagers will swarm. Scattered about the village is 2,000 sp, 500 ep, 600 gp and a piece of polished coral worth 95 gp.

  • Brain-Eating Zombie: HD 3; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 strike (1d8); Move 6; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Absorb spells.

3546 Demonic Springs: In the midst of the savanna you find boiling, bubbling springs. The springs form a deep pool, the banks of which are caked in rare earths and polychromatic mineral deposits. Within the springs lies a demon called Otstatho the Everburning. Otstatho’s skin gives off a tremendous amount of heat (the source of the pool’s boiling), so it commonly remains beneath the surface of the water. Should Otstatho emerge from the water, it would appear to be large, translucent grey amoeba. Otstatho is capable of telepathic communication, and will hammer into people’s heads the things it has heard other poor adventurers scream as it engulfed and roasted them alive. On an attack roll of a natural ‘20’, Otstatho will engulf its foe, inflicting 2d6 points of burning damage each round.

  • Otstatho the Everburning: HD 10 (48 hp); AC 7 [12]; Atk 2 cilia (1d8); Move 9 (Swim 9); Save 5; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Telepathy, drain magic from items (2d6 rounds), destroys wood by touch, engulf, immune to fire damage.

3927 Sabres Unsheathed: Two sabre-tooth tigers, brothers, hunt here in a pass through the highlands.

  • Sabre-Tooth Tiger: HD 7 (33, 32 hp), AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d4+1), 1 bite (2d6); Move 12 (Swim 6); Save 10; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Rear claws rake for 2 extra claw attacks if first two claw attacks hit.

New Monsters
The following monsters are open game content.

Baric
Barics are 6-legged, rat-like animals notable for their duck-like bills filled with needle-like teeth. They usually grow to be 3 feet long, but some males have grown as long as 7 feet. Barics run in packs in wild forests. Barics can be trained as guard animals or trackers, but it is very difficult and dangerous to do so.

  • Baric: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claw (1d4) and 1 bite (1d10); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: None.

Gnasher Lizard
Gnasher lizards are 10 to 20-foot long reptiles with stone-colored scales and gaping mouths filled with a double row of dagger-like teeth. They are carnivorous and territorial, usually dwelling near sources of water in woodlands and highlands. They are solitary creatures, except during their mating season in spring and early summer. If a gnasher lizard rolls a natural ‘20’ for its bite attack, it will sever the head of its target. Bite victims who are not beheaded must make a saving throw to avoid being gulped down whole, where they will suffer 2d6 points of damage each round from the beasts digestive juices.

  • Gnasher Lizard: HD 9; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (2d6); Move 12; Save 6; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Behead, swallow whole.

Hag, Tower
Tower hags are 9’ tall crones with grey skin and black teeth and nails. They are usually allied to otherworldly creatures of chaos and evil, and work to help them enter our world. Every tower hag lives in a towering fortress made of ivory. To create such a tower, the hag must obtain the first adult tooth from a child. This tooth, wrenched from the mouth, is mixed with the hag’s stony saliva and planted into the ground. The tower immediately sprouts from where the tooth was planted, expanding to full size (50 feet in diameter) within one round. Any equipment or items in the tower are teleported from its old location to its new one. Most tower hags carry half a dozen teeth with them at all times. Each tower is similar in design, being fi ve storeys tall. The bottom two storeys are always prisons and traps; the middle two laboratories and libraries and the topmost storey the hag’s personal lair and treasury. Battlements ring the top of the tower, standing 75 feet off the ground.

A tower hag’s spittle is thick and congeals to form a substance as hard as stone. In combat, they can spit at an opponent as a ranged touch attack, inflicting 2d6 points of damage and sticking them to the ground until they make a successful strength roll. Tower hags can also extend their iron claws, increasing their damage to 2d10, but also exposing them to a sundering attack. Finally, they can summon a new tower by spitting a tooth at an opponent or group of opponents. Anyone within 50 feet of the tower suffer 4d6 damage as they are struck by it and must succeed at a saving throw. Those who fail are carried to the top. If the hag is within the area of the tower’s growth, she always ends up atop the tower.

Tower hags can cast the following spells: Animate dead, astral spell, cacodaemon, bestow curse, death spell, detect invisibility, gate, invisibility, monster summoning V, protection from good 10′ radius, (un)holy word and wizard eye.

  • Tower Hag: HD 16; AC 0 [19]; Atk 2 claws (2d6); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 26/5900; Special: Spit, claws, tower, spells, only harmed by silver or magic weapons, immune to mind effects, magic resistance 70%.

Headless Screamer
Headless screamers arise from the corpses of the beheaded. They are cruel and chaotic beings who delight in tormenting the living. Headless screamers look something like zombies with a noticeable red slash across its neck. They can throw their heads with alarming accuracy, and in fact do not need to throw their own head, for the headless screamer’s intelligence and animating force are in the body. Many of these creatures keep four or five heads handy. Thrown heads have a range increment of 20’. The thrown head will snap its jaws, dealing 1d8 points of damage to anyone hit and then latching on if the target fails a saving throw. A latched head inflicts 1d4 points of bite damage each round until removed. Headless screamers can telekinetically retrieve these heads and still move or attack each round. Headless screamers can also emit a shrill shriek from the air hole in their necks. Anyone hearing this must succeed at a saving throw or suffer a -1 penalty to hit, damage and save for 1 hour.

  • Headless Screamer: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 claw (1d6) or 1 thrown head (1d8); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Throw and retrieve head, scream, immune to cold.

Pars Fortuna

After spending some time with a host of random generators, I’ve made a few decisions about Pars Fortuna

First, the random classes were too random. I might go with race as class and use boons to let people tweak their characters in interesting ways. If I go race as class, I’ll probably aim for nine to twelve races.

I found a random kaiju generator and might use them as “god-beasts” – challenges for high-level characters.

Magic item categories are also taking shape. I might replace potions with herbals (the most common magic items found), then have Weapons, Armor, Weird Science, Staves, Jewelry and Clothing.

I’ll definitely introduce a random setting – at least a starting setting. I’m not sure how far I’ll go with it (since Nod gives me plenty of setting to write), but it might be a multi-cultural town surrounded by a variety of wilderness, some random encounter tables and maybe some simple adventure seeds or suggestions.

A Random RPG?

Sometime in the last few days my daughter and I picked up a nasty little flu bug. Last night, in the throes of fever, my addled brain came up with the idea of writing a randomized role-playing game.

Think about it. If your using an old school clone, Swords & Wizardry being my favorite these days, you have two key elements. The first is the core rules of the system (ability scores, combat rolls, saving throws and hit points). Beyond that, you have the options for players (classes, races, spells, weapons) and the options for Referees (monsters and treasure). I’ve already posted some random races and monsters on my blog and I know where I can go to generate some random coinage, random magic items and random classes. Random spells I’m not sure about, but given the vast number of OGL spells floating around, I could randomly choose non-SRD spells for whatever spellcasting classes turned up. Imagine a spell system without old standbys like magic missile and fireball. Essentially, you could put together something akin to Talislanta (no elves) and Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed for old school gaming. The idea is tempting, even if for no other reason to see what it would like when I was done.

Considering the enterprise more, I think I might do the following:

  • Six classes and six races – lots of variety, but not so much that players are overwhelmed.
  • Maybe one spell list for all spellcasters, ten spells of each level, level one through nine. It would be fun to give them all Jack Vancian names. Maybe the spellcasting system would be the spell interval system I did that showed up in Knockspell #4.
  • Use the basic magic item categories, creating about twenty unique magic items for each, with unique meaning that there is only one such item in existance. Since magic items don’t turn up too often using S&W’s random treasure system, that shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Maybe have all weapons deal 1d6 damage, and then produce two illustrated pages of weapons for players to choose from. Maybe some “classes” of weapons would have special benefits – like light weapons give a +1 bonus to initiative, long weapons a +1 bonus to hit people wielding shorter weapons, and rolling two damage dice for heavy weapons, taking the higher value.
  • I’m thinking 50 monsters would be sufficient – some spirits, some humanoids (replacing the kobold – goblin – orc – hobgoblin – gnoll – bugbear – ogre hierarchy), some dragonesque monsters (subterranean treasure and knowledge horders – perhaps they’re the only way to discover new spells), some hybrid beasts to replace normal animals.

Well, the idea intrigues me, so maybe I’ll pursue it along with rolling out my mega-sandbox on this blog. Perhaps I’ll call it Pars Fortuna?

Fortuna by Albrecht Durer.

On Doughty Woodsmen and Knights in Shining Armor

This post continues the look at the hybrid character classes I used in my last campaign, featuring the ranger and paladin. What follows is open game content.

The Paladin Sub-Class
The paladin is a sub-class of fighting-man. Paladins are chivalrous champions of Law and Goodness. They might resemble the “knights in shining armor” of fairy tales or perhaps the rigid, honorable samurai of Japan. The point of paladins is purity. They do their best to remain mentally, spiritually and physically pure. From this dedication and the iron will required to maintain it, they derive a number of blessings to aid them in their struggle against Chaos and Evil.

  • Prime Attributes: Strength & Charisma, 13+ (+5% experience)
  • Hit Dice: 1d10/level (Gains 4 hp/level after 10th.)
  • Armor/Shield Permitted: Any.
  • Weapons Permitted: Any.

Paladins can detect evil (as the cleric spell) by concentrating. They emanate a permanent aura that protects them as per the spell protection from evil.

Paladins are immune to all diseases, including mummy rot and lycanthropy. Their touch can cure disease (as the cleric spell) once per week at level 1, twice per week at level 6 and three times per week at level 12.

A paladin can cure 2 hp per level by laying on of hands. This can be used on the paladin or on others, and the healing can be divided among recipients as the paladin chooses.

At level 3, a paladin gains the ability to banish undead as a cleric two levels lower.

At level 4, the paladin gains the service of a divine warhorse (or other mount) if he successfully completes a quest to locate the animal. The divine mount is unusually strong, loyal, and ready to serve the paladin in her crusade against evil. Should the paladin’s mount die, a year and a day must pass before another can be called. When riding their divine mount, a paladin gains the mounted combat ability (see Boons).

  • Divine Warhorse: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d3), 2 hooves (1d4); Move 18; Save 12; Special: None.

Upon reaching level 6, a paladin becomes immune to fear, natural or supernatural. Allies within 10 feet of the paladin gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against fear effects.

Once per day, a paladin of level 9 or higher may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. Smite evil gives the paladin a +2 bonus to hit, and a bonus to damage equal to the paladin’s level. This ability can only be used on supernatural creature of darkness an evil, such as anti-paladins, demons or the undead. The paladin can attempt to smite evil once per day.

At level 12, a paladin’s touch is capable of removing all ailments from a creature, including disease, poison, ability score damage, level drain, hit point damage, confusion, curses and insanity. The paladin can apply this healing touch but once per day.

.nobrtable br { display: none }

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 18 Squire
2 2,700 2 +1 17 Scutifer
3 5,500 3 +2 16 Banneret
4 12,000 4 +3 15 Gallant
5 24,000 5 +4 14 Companion
6 48,000 6 +5 13 Knight
7 95,000 7 +6 12 Paragon
8 180,000 8 +7 11 Peer
9 360,000 9 +8 10 Paladin
10 700,000 10 +9 9 Paladin
11 1,000,000 +4 hp
+10 8 Paladin
12 1,300,000 +8 hp
+11 7 Paladin

S&W Format
.nobrtable br { display: none }Hit Dice: 1d6+2 per level, +3 hit points per level after level 9

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 16 Squire
2 2,500 2 +0 15 Scutifer
3 5,000 3 +1 14 Banneret
4 10,000 4 +2 13 Gallant
5 20,000 5 +2 12 Companion
6 40,000 6 +3 11 Knight
7 80,000 7 +4 10 Paragon
8 160,000 8 +5 9 Peer
9 320,000 9 +6 8 Paladin
10 440,000 +3 hp
+7 7 Paladin
11 560,000 +6 hp
+7 6 Paladin
12 680,000 +9 hp
+8 5 Paladin

The Ranger Sub-Class
The ranger is a sub-class of fighting-man. Rangers are warriors trained to operate in the wilderness. They are self-sufficient, cunning and well trained at fighting the barbarian tribes (human, humanoid and otherwise) that lurk on the fringes of civilization.

  • Prime Attributes: Strength & Wisdom, 13+ (+5% experience)
  • Hit Dice: 1d10/level (Gains 4 hp/level after 10th.)
  • Armor/Shield Permitted: Chainmail, leather, padded, ring and shield.
  • Weapons Permitted: Any.

Rangers have a +1 bonus to surprise (i.e. surprise on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6) and a +1 bonus to avoid being surprised (i.e. surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8).

When fighting tribal humanoids (bugbears, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs, and the like) or giants (giants, ogres, and the like), a ranger inflicts extra damage equal to their level.

With a successful saving throw, a ranger can find and follow a creature’s trail for 5 hours. When tracking humanoids or giants, the ranger does so at a +2 bonus. The ranger can also determine the approximate number of creatures and their type. Rangers can also use this ability to hide tracks.

Rangers have a 2 in 6 chance to notice traps and concealed openings in a natural surrounding merely by passing within 30 feet of them. They are also capable of disarming and building simple snares and pit traps (1d4 damage).

A ranger’s training includes learning how to survive in the wild, climb cliffs and trees, conceal themselves in natural environments, move silently in natural environments and concoct and counteract natural poisons. When a ranger’s success with one of these skills is in doubt, the player should roll a saving throw to avoid failure.

At level 6, a ranger chooses one specific type of creature (i.e. goblin, gnoll, or hill giant) as his favored enemy. The ranger gets a +2 bonus to hit his favored enemy and a +2 AC when fighting his favored enemy. Further, when tracking his favored enemy, a ranger receives a +2 bonus to the tracking save. The ranger is always able to neutralize poisons of the favored enemy, whether manufactured or natural.

.nobrtable br { display: none }

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 18 Woodsman
2 2,250 2 +1 17 Scout
3 4,500 3 +2 16 Guide
4 9,000 4 +3 15 Wanderer
5 18,000 5 +4 14 Voyager
6 40,000 6 +5 13 Pathfinder
7 75,000 7 +6 12 Warden
8 150,000 8 +7 11 Hawkeye
9 250,000 9 +8 10 Ranger
10 500,000 10 +9 9 Ranger
11 725,000 +4 hp
+10 8 Ranger
12 950,000 +8 hp
+11 7 Ranger

S&W Format
Hit Dice: 1d6+2 per level, +3 hit points per level after level 9
Armor Permitted: Chainmail, leather, ring and shield.
Spellcasting: If you do not use a druid class, replace druid spells with cleric spells.

Level Experience Hit Dice Attack Save Title
1 0 1 +0 16 Woodsman
2 2,500 2 +0 15 Scout
3 5,000 3 +1 14 Guide
4 10,000 4 +2 13 Wanderer
5 20,000 5 +2 12 Voyager
6 40,000 6 +3 11 Pathfinder
7 80,000 7 +4 10 Warden
8 160,000 8 +5 9 Hawkeye
9 320,000 9 +6 8 Ranger
10 440,000 +3 hp
+7 7 Ranger
11 560,000 +6 hp
+7 6 Ranger
12 680,000 +9 hp
+8 5 Ranger

Art by N. C. Wyeth via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

D’OH


I played Age of Fable for three hours. Then I was slain by an elf (and goblin).

If you’ve never given it a shot, I highly recommend it. Very imaginative and a great way to pass the time while you wait for the internet to do its stuff.

Random Village Table

Stocking dozens of large, sandbox style hex-maps is much easier when random tables come into play. A few months ago I put together a large spreadsheet file that can stock any size map with monster lairs, demi-human lairs, strongholds, ruins, dungeons and villages. What follows are charts I put together to create a random village, slightly modified since the spreadsheet can generate random number in any range, whereas these need to work with a set of dice.

Matt’s Random Village Generator

How many live in the village?

Roll 1d6 x 100

What do the villagers do? (Roll 1d6)

1. Fishermen
2. Herdsmen
3. Hunters
4. Miners
5. Peasants
6. Woodsmen

What are the villagers like? (Roll 1d30)

1. Ragged
2. Foppish
3. Swarthy
4. Fair-skinned
5. Chaotic
6. Lawful
7. Jovial
8. Somber
9. Militant
10. Peaceful
11. Licentious
12. Pious
13. Lanky
14. Stout
15. Dour
16. Hard-working
17. Thrifty
18. Lazy
19. Honest
20. Deceitful
21. Ill-tempered
22. Loutish
23. Friendly
24. Rude
25. Diplomatic
26. Literate
27. Cowardly
28. Bombastic
29. Wrathful
30. Meek

What do the villagers live in? (Roll 1d6)

1. Huts
2. Houses
3. Longhouses
4. Cottages
5. Domes (1 in 6 chance of domes, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d4)
6. Towers (1 in 6 chance of towers, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d4)

What are the dwelling made of? (Roll 1d8)

1. Adobe
2. Bricks
3. Stone
4. Thatch / wicker
5. Timber / logs
6. Wattle & daub
7. Decorative stone, i.e. marble, porphyry (1 in 6 chance, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d6)
8. Metal, i.e. iron, bronze (1 in 6 chance, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d6)

What protects the village from invasion? (Roll 1d6)
(note, 1 in 6 chance of moat, 1 in 6 chance of watch towers)

1. Thicket
2. Earthen rampart
3. Wooden palisade
4. Stone wall
5. Metal wall (1 in 10 chance, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d4)
6. Geodesic dome (1 in 100 chance, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d4)

Where do the villagers get their water? (Roll 1d4)

1. Stream / river
2. Well
3. Cisterns
4. Aqueduct or reservoir

Who rules the village? (Roll 1d6)

1. Council of elders
2. Mayor and aldormen
3. Aristocrat / noble
4. Reeve of the nearest royalty
5. NPC with class levels (1 in 6 chance, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d4)
6. Monster (1 in 10 chance, otherwise re-roll on this table with 1d4)

Does the village have a specialist? (Roll 1d10)

1. Alchemist
2. Armorer or Bowyer
3. Den of assassins
4. Guide
5. Healer
6. Sage
7. Temple with cleric or druid
8. Tavern
9. Inn
10. No specialist

What are the villagers known for throughout the land? (Roll 1d6 and 1d6)

1-1. Their fine beer / ale
1-2. Their fine wine
1-3. Their legendary livestock
1-4. Their beauty
1-5. Their cunning
1-6. Their brawn
2-1. Their vigor
2-2. Their magical abilities
2-3. Their fine orchards
2-4. Their skill at weaving
2-5. Their skill at stoneworking
2-6. Their skill at woodworking
3-1. Their skill at smithcraft
3-2. Their domesticated monsters
3-3. Their strange customs
3-4. Their outlandish costumes
3-5. Their thick accents
3-6. Their impenetrable keep
4-1. Their vampire problem
4-2. Their melodious voices
4-3. Their were-(fill in the blank) problem
4-4. Their athleticism
4-5. Their love of gambling
4-6. Their haunted manor
5-1. Their suspicious lack of crime
5-2. The guardian spirit that protects the village
5-3. The friendly neighborhood druid who stops by now and again
5-4. Their fey allies
5-5. Their fey tormentors
5-6. Their awful weather
6-1. Their rare herbs
6-2. Their outstanding breads and pastries
6-3. Their love of a good donnybrook (i.e. the fight scene from The Quiet Man)
6-4. Their xenophobia
6-5. Their visitations from beyond
6-6. Their dark secrets

If anyone out there in internet land has some ideas to add to this, I would love to hear them!

On Coins & Coinage


In a previous post I went over the concept of huge coins and how they aren’t completely unrealistic. Nonetheless, I use 100 coins to the pound in my games, primarily because the challenge of logistics isn’t something my players were into.

The other way that coinage in Nod differs from the core rules is in the different types of coins I use. To the standard gold – silver – copper I added the platinum and electrum of my youth. To whit …

Platinum Piece (pp)
Platinum is difficult to work and thus fairly uncommon in coinage or art. Most platinum pieces in circulation were minted to commemorate special events (coronations, conquests, etc), and thus should carry some history with them.

1 pp = 10 gp, 20 ep, 100 sp and 1,000 cp

Gold Piece (gp)
Gold pieces are less common than silver, and often used for large transactions. They are the most common coinage carried by adventurers, whose wealth often rival that of the great merchant houses and minor nobility.

1 gp = 1/10 pp, 2 ep, 10 sp and 100 cp

Electrum Piece (ep)
Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. For a brief time it was a common material for coinage, but the inability to determine the proportion of gold to silver caused it to fall out of favor. Most electrum coins found in hordes are, therefore, of ancient manufacture.

1 ep = 1/20 pp, 1/2 gp, 5 sp and 50 cp

Silver Piece (sp)
The most common coins in circulation and the basis for all economies. Adventurers prefer gold, of course, to lighten their loads, but the vast majority of non-player characters in Nod carry silver coins.

Orichalcum: Orichalcum is an alloy of bronze and gold, and thus in fantasy terms about as valuable as silver. A Referee might want to have his adventurers find a horde of orichalcum coinage in order to fool them into thinking their toting around gold coins (or maybe fool them into thinking they are just copper coins).

1 sp = 1/100 pp, 1/10 gp, 1/5 ep and 10 cp

Copper Piece (cp)
Coins were rarely minted from copper. Most of the copper pieces in the game would actually have been made of bronze, brass, billon or potin. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin (80:20). Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc (90:10). Billon is an alloy of copper and silver, with copper making up more than 50% of the of the alloy. Potin was an alloy of copper, lead, tin and zinc. Coppers are carried by the peasantry, who prefer barter to coinage.

1 cp = 1/1000 pp, 1/100 gp, 1/50 ep and 1/10 sp

Other Materials
Coins have also been minted from less valuable materials, including lead, iron, tin, shells and wood. In general, I would count these items as one tenth as valuable as copper, though the folks using them might value them more highly.

House Cleaning

For those interested in the classes I’ve presented on this blog, I’ve now gone back and added experience charts more in line with S&W’s core rules.

Barbarian & Bard
Fighting-Man
Psychic
Scientist

I’m in the process of going through the post on weapons and adding links to images.

Today, I’m going to try to write a post concerning the coins I use in my sandbox and another on the random tables I use for stocking my sandbox with human villages.