Random Domain Events for Blood and Treasure

Writing up a couple sections of Blood & Treasure today. Came up with this table of events for high level characters ruling a domain.

Each month, the Referee should roll 1d6, a roll of 1 indicating that some random event has occurred. Determine the event on the table below by rolling d%:

ROLL EVENT
1-10 Arrival of a yeoman family looking for 20 acres to farm.
11-18 Departure of a yeoman family.
19-24 Arrival of a professional and his family looking for work.
25-30 Departure of a professional and his family.
31-36 Arrival of a mid-level (1d4+3) character wishing to pledge his loyalty to the lord or lady in exchange for 40 acres of land.
35-40 Departure of a vassal and his family.
41-46 Arrival of 3d6 pilgrims looking for succor. Roll their alignment on 1d6 (1-2 = Lawful, 3-5 = Neutral, 6 = Chaotic). They expect one night of hospitality from the lord.
47-49 Arrival of a tribe of humanoids looking for plunder and war. Use humanoids common to the area.
50-54 Arrival of human or demi-human lord and 2d6 followers looking for hospitality. The lord brings a valuable gift and expects to stay for 1d4 weeks.
55-57 Arrival of human army looking for conquest. The army should be powerful enough to challenge the lord or lady’s army.
58-60 Arrival of demi-human army looking to rid their land of the lord and his followers. The army should be powerful enough to challenge the lord or lady’s army.
61-63 Arrival of undead plague in village. Roll 1d10: 1-3 = Ghoul, 4-6 = Wight, 7-8 = Wraith, 9 = Spectre, 10 = Vampire.
64-66 Arrival of powerful monster in wilderness. The monster should represent a strong encounter (see Monsters below) for the lord or lady of the domain and his or her most powerful followers.
67 Ill weather ruins crops. No agricultural rents will be collected this year and food must be imported to keep people alive. If food is not imported, all yeomen and professionals leave and all serfs attempt to escape. Vassals have a 30% chance of leaving their lord or lady’s service. There is a good chance that the ill weather was caused by a monster or rival spellcaster
68-69 Arrival of king’s herald, demanding the lord and his knights go off to war.
70-74 Arrival of diplomat from neighboring fief offering alliance through marriage or demanding satisfaction for some real or imagined slight. 50-50 chance of either.
75 Earthquake damages castle. There is a good chance it was caused by a subterranean monster or rival spellcaster.
76 Comet sighted! The lord will suffer bad fortune for remainder of the year until a pilgrimage is undertaken to the nearest temple or sacred site and a sacrifice worth at least 1,000 gp per level of the lord or lady is made.
77 A member of the lord or lady’s family or retinue dies suddenly and mysteriously. There is a good chance it was caused by a monster or rival spellcaster.
78-80 A mine is discovered on the periphery of the lord’s holdings. Roll 1d20 to determine the product of the mine: 1-12 = base metal, 13-14 = copper, 15 = silver, 16 = gold, 17 = platinum, 18 = fancy stones, 19 = gems, 20 = jewels. There is a 50% chance it was discovered by the lord’s agents. Otherwise, it was discovered by prospectors who work it in secret.
81-85 Bandits plague the fief, hiding in the wilderness.
86 Pregnancy in the lord or lady’s family (ignore if circumstances do not lend themselves to such an event).
87-91 Arrival of traders who wish to set up a market. The traders bring with them exotic goods and useful news of the world.
92-96 Arrival of entertainers who wish to put on a show. There is a 1 in 6 chance they are not what they seem to be.
97 An inhabitant of the fief receives a mysterious vision.
98 There is an assassination attempt of the lord or one of the members of his family or retinue. The assassin has a level equal to to their target.
99 The lord or a member of his family or retinue is cursed by a high level spellcaster or monster.
100 A valuable item is stolen or a member of the lord’s family or retinue is kidnapped by a high level rival or monster

I tried to make sure that many of them are really just adventure hooks in disguise.

Deviant Friday – Matt Rhodes Edition

Matt Rhodes has a groovy line style that is very clean and expressive – and I love his colors. I think he makes fantasy characters live beyond the archetypes. Enjoy some of my favorites.

And her triumphant return to Deviant Friday …

My New Character …

Found at Kitschy Kitschy Coo

… is definitely going to be a gnome barbarian!

Hmmm – why not roll up a quick gnome barbarian for Blood & Treasure?

And just for fun, I’ll time how long it takes.

I’m starting at 12:29 PM (yeah, I’m on my lunch break)

First – roll my ability scores. Since I definitely want a gnome barbarian, I’m going to roll 3d6 and arrange as I like. I get 8, 5, 13, 14, 10, 9. Wow – great scores. Okay – he’ll be uncharismatic (I think the photo is proof of that), the good stuff goes into strength and constitution to meet the class requirements, everything else is mediocre.

I make a note of the special abilities from being a gnome, adjust ability scores. Pick a couple languages. Roll 1d10 for barbarian hit points – got a 10. Hot damn.

Now I note the skills and special abilities of a barbarian. Increase land speed, rage, etc.

Final step – buy gear. I have 50 gp to spend (Cha 5 x 10 gp), and if I’m using the photo above for my model, not much gear to buy.

Done at 12:42 PM – took 13 minutes, most of that looking at equipment.

KNOBBY THE BARBARIAN

Strength: 13 / +1
Intelligence: 8 / -1
Wisdom: 9 / +0
Dexterity: 9 / +0
Constitution: 14 / +1
Charisma: 5 / -2

Class: Barbarian
Race: Gnome
Level: 1
Hit Points: 11
Armor Class: 10
Saving Throws: Fort 12, Ref 15, Will 15
Speed: 30 ft.

Languages: Gnome, Common

Special: +2 save vs. illusions, knack for listening at doors, see twice as far as humans in dim light, rage (1/day, double damage for duration of combat but -2 AC), no bonus for attacking him from behind or while invisible

Skills: Bend bars (12), break down doors (12), climb (12), jump (12), survival (15), swim (12)

Money: 25 gp, 1 sp

Gear: Club (0 gp), backpack (2 gp), bedroll (1 sp), 50-ft silk rope (10 gp), hooded lantern (7 gp), oil (3 pints) (3 sp), flint & steel (1 gp), ration (7 days) (35 sp), waterskin (1 gp)

The Corundar [Pars Fortuna and Space Princess]

Image by John M. Stater

Edit: Now with crappy art by yours truly

The corundar are a silicon-based lifeform native to volcanic areas. They grow in and consume mineral salts in solution, but can survive on humanoid blood if necessary. Most corundar lair around a mineral spring, preferably underground, using the spring as a hatchery and as their main source of food.

Corundar consider themselves creatures of perfection. They attempt to beautify their lairs by making the walls, floors and ceiling smooth and angular. They likewise favor perfection in living creatures, both in mind and body. Corundar will always attack creatures with a combined intelligence and charisma score of less than 20, and always attack creatures with the lowest combined score first. Generally, three corundar will rush the imperfect creature, while others will circle them and provide defense until the imperfect specimen has been destroyed.

Corundar look like pyramidal lumps of crystal, about 3 to 4 feet in height and colored red, blue, orange or green. They are supported on four stubby, crystalline legs and have three long mineral straws protruding from their main body mass. These straws can move in the manner of tentacles, and are razor sharp on the edges. Corundar have tiny motes of light moving through their bodies, originating in their hollow center, where they maintain a pocket of mineral salt solution. They can control these motes as a means of communication (a difficult language to learn, requiring a minimum intelligence of 15). They can see with their entire bodies, making them very difficult to surprise. They can sense vibrations from the air and ground as well, making it possible for them to understand speech.

Corundar attack with their straws, whipping and slicing with them or using one of them to spray a corrosive solution of mineral salts (10-ft. long cone, 2d6 points of acid damage, save for half damage, usable once per day). Corundar are immune to acid and cold and suffer only half damage from fire and electricity.

Corundar (Pars Fortuna)
HD 4; AC 16; Atk 3 straws (1d6+1) or spray; Move 9; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Immune to acid and cold, resistance to fire and electricity (50%), surprise on 1 on 1d10, acid spray (see above).

PC Race: +1 Con, -2 Dex; surprised on 1 on 1d10; acid spray 1/day, immunities and resistances; knack for finding secret doors

Corundar (Space Princess)
HD 4; DEF 16; FIGHT 10; SHOOT 7; MOVE S; STR 6; DEX 3; MEN 5; KNO 4; DL

PC Species: Mineral (new type, see below) / multiple arms and multiple legs (must spend 1 point of Luck to play a Corundar)

Mineral Alien: Mineral aliens are composed of rock or crystal. They have slow movement and DEF +2.

Sample Lair:

1. Empty Cavern: This cavern is untouched by the corundar, who use it as a buffer between their lair and the outside world; they have erected a crude “scarecrow” here – essentially a skeletal corpse on a slab of rock

2. Guard Post: Two corundar are always on guard here; when not otherwise occupied, they are grinding the walls with their straws

3. Low Cavern: This cavern hosts a hot spring that was insufficiently infused with minerals to serve the corundar; it is a 10-ft. deep pool of scalding water (2d6 damage per round) that sends a thick mist into area [1]

4. Guard Post: Three corundar are always on guard here

5. Workshop: Five corundar work here grinding stone into tools and other pleasing shapes and turning shed crystal into lenses for the temple

6. Temple: The corundar worship a clear crystal pyramid that represents perfection to them; small lenses are hung from the ceiling by thin chains; the temple is guarded by two corundar and the idol is attended by a priest who cast spells as a 5th level magician

7. Laboratory: The corundar high priest [7] maintains a laboratory here; the walls are carved into shelves holding various jars and beakers of mineral solutions; a vat has been carved from the stone in the center of the room – there is a 1 in 10 chance that it holds the makings of a potion

8. Guard Post: Two corundar are always on guard here

9. Forge and Foundry: This room contains a vent of super-heated, poisonous gas (the corundar are immune, of course, since they need not breath, but the gas does mar their appearance) that they use for purifying and working copper ore; there is a 30% chance that two corundar are here working

10. Mine: This cavern connects to a seam of copper that is mined by the corundar; there are usually 2d6 corundar here collecting the ore

11. Rest Chamber: Corundar need to sleep about 6 hours a day; this chamber holds 2d6 sleeping corundar

12. Mud Chamber: This chamber is filled with steaming hot mud; the corundar have created a pool for the mud and channels leading from the walls; they bathe in the mud when damaged

13. Guard Post: Two corundar guards

14. Vibro-Chamber: This space has acoustics that allow the corundar to create pleasant vibrations – in essence, a corundar concert chamber

15. Mineral Baths: There are 3d6 young here and 2d4 adults

Hellcrawl Preview – White Towers and Black Volcanoes

I’ve come to the monumentous decision to push the portion of the Hellcrawl covering Stygia, the 5th circle of Hell, back to the next issue of NOD. Honestly, I don’t think I could write it quickly enough to get NOD 13 out in February if I don’t. So, Stygia and Dis will be covered in NOD 14, and NOD 13 will contain Abaddon and Gehenna.

And speaking of Gehenna … a few more previews of that bleak landscape:

Image found at the Happy Whisk

25.58 Aurika’s Tower: The dwarven adventurer Aurika (Elementalist 11; 32 hp) has established herself in a tower of cracked, creamy white stone. The tower is a spiral cone, in the fashion of an alicorn, and appears to have been raised from the ground by the way the metallic sands are piled around it.

The tower can be entered through a single large portal that is blocked by a massive block of stone that weighs about 3 tons. Aurika simply uses passwall to move through the stone, though she rarely ventures out into Gehenna. She sought the gates of Hell as an adventurer long ago, and the dwarves still speak of her legendary career. After finding the bleak wasteland of Gehenna, she became intrigued by the metal sand and what challenges they might hold to an Elementalist. She was also changed by her travels through Hell, her natural dwarven avarice heightened and excited.

Aurika is a heavy woman with brown skin and a thin nose (for a dwarf). Her hair is brown and worn very short, and her grey-green eyes show a fickle side to her personality.

The bottom of her tower contains pure lead sands, which she has sifted with the help of various elementals. Aurika is using this lead sand to create a lead golem, which she believes will be able to challenge the demon lords. The lead golem is about 50% complete.

27.57 House of Lead: A monastery of lead blocks has been constructed here. The monastery consists of an outer building and an inner building. The courtyard between them is a weird garden of burning coals and slim, crystalline growths reminiscent of branch coral. Igniguanas skitter around the coral. The only way from the outer building into the inner building is across the 12-ft. wide garden, the rectangular portals from one building to another being offset and located about 10 to 20 feet above the ground – a difficult jump indeed.

The outer building is home to the lesser demonic monks, a collection of peoples from Gehenna and a few tieflings as well, all dedicated to attaining physical and mental perfection that they might better serve their ultimate liege, Lucifer. They number 20 in all.

The inner building is the home of their master, Amus (Monk 15; 68 hp), a muscular man, heavily scarred, with reddish skin and a face encased in a brass lion mask that covers his entire head. A sapphire embedded in the mask permits him to communicate telepathically with all sentient beings within 100 feet. His home is a great cube of lead, 40 feet to a side, and cluttered with ledges and poles jutting from the floor, ceiling and walls at every conceivable angle. Amus’ meditation platform is a stout column in the center of the building, about 10 feet tall and topped by a bed of nails.

Besides Amus, the inner building is guarded by four chain demons, that lurk in the shadows. Their true purpose is to guard the treasure within the lead pillar, a vial of Lucifer’s own ichor, which appears as a black, viscous fluid.

28.61 Volcano: A volcano of black rock rises from the sands here, eternally spewing streams of magma that solidify on the extremes of the hex into promontories of porphyry, serpentine, hornblende and magnetite. Rivers of molten metal flow through these promontories from a molten lake into the rest of Gehenna, and sleek crystalline sea serpents can sometimes be seen surfacing in the lake.

There are dozens of monastic cells carved into the rock within the rim of the volcano. Naked hermits, their hair singed and their skin like leather, dwell in these places, contemplating the fall of Lucifer and the end of the cosmos. They are all powerful clerics (Cleric 9), and capable of answering many and varied questions about Gehenna and Hell as a whole (i.e. they’re a good source of adventure hooks).

30.48 Xarcho: Xarcho is a magnificent citadel of 2,000 Xulites who serve Mulciber. Their citadel has 60-ft. tall walls laid out in a circle set with nine great towers, each 100-ft tall and studded with arrow slits from which 4d6 heavy crossbow-armed Xulites can shower bolts down from any given angle.

Within the walls, the citadel is divided into raised streets lined with cheerless basalt buildings housing the people and their shops, and between them 200-ft. wide canyons of basalt where the smithwork of the people is performed. The furnaces are natural vents of burning gasses that send a crimson radiance into the sky – a radiance that can be seen from one hex away in otherwise black Gehenna.

At the center of the citadel there is a palace-temple of black marble where sits the balor Vugencothi, the Herald of Insanity and ruler of Xarcho. The balor is entertained by the sufferings of slaves drawn from all over Hell, including the form of the succubus Neveh, flayed alive and bound with leather thongs crafted from her own hide. She is forced to dance by a gang of sabre-toothed tigermen armed with pitchforks and wearing leather battle harness.

Rising from the black temple there is a scarlet spire around which curls a writhing flame. Once per day, at the direction of Vugencothi, this flame can be send blasting through the citadel, this holocaust of flame inflicting 6d6 points of damage on all who are not immune to fire (no save).

The temple is surrounded by a marketplace of shrewd traders and moneychangers from around Gehenna. At one end of the plaza there stands the infamous inn known as the Sign of the Smoking Serpent, where fire nymphs in mithral collars that send shocks of electricity through them serve platters of smoked meats (very well done, of course) and fiery wine that forces normal folk who drink it to pass a saving throw or suffer 1d4 points of damage and the loss of their voice for 1d8 days.

Xarcho is currently suffering a rash of banditry from a warband of Uccenite warriors. Encounters with the sahitim occur on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6 in this hex. Encounters are with 2d6 sahitim, and there is a 25% chance that they are battling with 2d6 bronze men.

5th Edition D&D For Free

Most of us have seen the claims – the new edition will join all the editions (and one ring to bind them?). “But how,” people ask, “how can such a thing be accomplished?”

Easy. Roll some dice.

The Land of Nod’s Handy Dandy D&D 5E Simulator

Here’s the deal, for each of the following items, roll 1d12 and use the rules from the corresponding edition.

Sections
I. Classes
II. Races
III. Equipment
IV. Spells (includes powers if you roll an 11 or 12)
V. Combat
VI. Monsters
VII. Treasure and Magic-Items

Roll d12 for Edition
1. OD&D
2. OD&D plus supplements
3. Holmes Basic
4. Moldvay Basic/Cook Expert
5. Mentzer BECMI
6. AD&D
7. AD&D 2nd edition
8. AD&D 2nd edition plus Complete Handbooks
9. D&D 3rd edition
10. D&D 3.5 edition
11. D&D 4th edition
12. D&D Essentials

Now, we have to figure out two more items – Feats and Skills. You’ll need a d6 and a d4.

Feats: 2 in 6 chance of feats
1. D&D 3rd edition
2. D&D 3.5 edition
3. D&D 4th edition
4. D&D Essentials

Skills: 3 in 6 chance of skills
1. D&D 2nd edition proficiencies
2. D&D 2nd edition + Complete Handbooks proficiencies
3. D&D 3rd edition skills
4. D&D 3.5 edition skills
5. D&D 4th edition skills
6. D&D Essentials skills

Ta-Da! You’re ready to play your campaign of 5th edition D&D without having to wait for them to release it, provided you’ve bought every other edition of D&D (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

Let’s see how it works. For my first campaign of 5th edition, I’ll be using …

Classes from AD&D 2nd edition, plus all the handbooks for kits
Races from D&D essentials
Equipment from D&D 3rd edition
Spells from OD&D
Combat from D&D 3.5 edition
Monsters from AD&D
Treasure and Magic-Items from Moldvay/Cook D&D
Feats: D&D 4th edition
Skills: D&D 3rd edition

So, if you want to play a halfling thief with the buccaneer kit armed with a sunrod and kukri getting an attack of opportunity on Yeenoghu, then by golly, you’ll be in the right campaign!

Space Princess Inspiration … Power Nelson!

Yesterday, Golden Age Comic Book Stories featured a Power Nelson comic with art by Dick Sprang (one of the greatest names ever). The combination of “out-there” science and old school art makes it a nice source of inspiration for Space Princess, so let’s have at it. We’ll begin with Power Nelson himself.

According to the Public Domain Super Heroes Wiki, Nelson comes from the unimaginable year of 1982, when two world wars had left the people of earth defenseless against a Mongol horde led by Emperor Seng I. Seng now rules from his palace in New-New York (yeah, they beat Futurama by half a century). A group of scientists have endowed Gene West with superhuman powers. When fighting the Mongols, he goes by the name Power Nelson (which is kinda weird, if you think about it – it’s like if Clark Kent called himself Super Hank when he put on his tights).

For Space Princess, Power Nelson is a perfect candidate for being an Atomic Superman. We’ll make him a combination Star Warrior / Atomic Superman:

POWER NELSON – Star Warrior (Veteran)
STR 10 | DEX 4 | MEN 3 | KNO 3 | HD 6 (34 hp) | DEF 16 | SKILL 6 | LUCK 1
Gear: Light body armor (+2 DEF)

Oh, and just for fun, why not some stats for Mystery Men! as well.

POWER NELSON (Gene West)
Adventurer Level 10 (17,800 XP)
STR 16| DEX 7 | CON 7 | INT 3 | WIL 4 | CHA 3
HP 63 | DC 14 | ATK +5 melee, +5 ranged | SPD 2
Powers & Gear: Invulnerability III (15,000 XP), Super Constitution (3,000 XP), Super Dexterity (3,000 XP), Super Strength (10,000 XP)
Gear: Light Armor (600 XP), Spiked Boots (600 XP)

Yes, those yellow fellows above are the aforementioned Mongols. Since we’re not big on racist stereotypes here in the Land of Nod, we’re going to pretend they look that way because they are aliens from the planet Mongol-IV (which really isn’t that much better, to be honest).

MONGOL: Humanoid Alien (+1 DEX, -1 MEN) | Super Hearing

Ugi is the hapless son of the emperor. We’ll make him a rookie Star Warrior with pretty abysmal ability score.

UGI – Star Warrior (Cadet)
STR 2 | DEX 5 | MEN 3 | KNO 3 | HP 20 | DEF 15
Gear: None

Hey – there’s an interesting idea. You have a more powerful character adventuring with a bunch of lower level characters – how do you balance things? Give the powerful character his own personal Gilligan!

The scientists whip Power Nelson up a pretty slick spaceship in almost no time. From the size of it, I’d call it a blockade runner by Space Princess standards. Soon, he and Ugi are off to the planet Pluvius in search of radium needed to combat the green plague that is dropping people like flies in New-New York.

On the surface of Pluvius, they run smack-dab into a Tentacle Plant!

TENTACLE PLANT: HD 4 | DEF 18 | FIGHT 14 (1d8 tentacles x 6) | SHOOT 8 | MOVE n/a | STR 10 | DEX 4 | MEN 5 | KNO – | DL 5

Special: Those hit by the tentacles must make a STR test or be swallowed whole the next round, suffering 1d6 points of automatic suffocation and squeezing damage per round thereafter.

Next, the Gilligan of New-New York leaps into a yellow pool (why would you jump into a yellow pool to clean off?) that shrinks him to one-fifth his normal size. What a nice touch – a great little thing to throw into your next dungeon or space fortress.

The Ref is really socking it to them with the random encounters – now a Croco-Tiger!

CROCO-TIGER: HD 10 | DEF 17 | FIGHT 25 (2d6 bite) | SHOOT – | MOVE n/a | STR 15 | DEX 5 | MEN 3 | KNO 1 | DL 16

Power Nelson grabs him by his upper jaw and flings him into the yellow pool, shrinking him. Croco-tiggers definitely do not love strange yellow pools most of all.

Across the desert and another random encounter – Pluvian archers – maybe one of the best things I’ve seen all week. It’s like they’re wearing some kind of rubber armor.

PLUVIAN ARCHER: HD 1 | DEF 16 | FIGHT 5 | SHOOT 4 | MOVE n/a | STR 4 | DEX 3 | MEN 4 | KNO 3 | DL 2
Gear: Vulcanized Armor (+2 DEF, missed attacks by blunt weapons turn back on their attacker; super-science DC 15), Longbow (1d8 damage)

The king of the Pluvians, Rari, uses a ray gun to bridge the language gap. Essentially a wand of comprehend languages, or for Space Princess a Rosetta Ray (DC 15 super-science).

As with most kings, Rari sends Power Nelson and Ugi on a quest. Capture the queen of the Hairy Guroos and in turn get the radium needed to stop the green plague.

The Hairy Guroos can be portrayed as cloned cavemen armed with spears. Not surprisingly, Queen Wodo is a bit more attractive than her people.

Radium Catapult!!!

RADIUM CATAPULT: Range 100 paces; victim loses 1d10 points of strength. If reduced to STR 0, the victim is left unconscious.

Dungeon of Spikes!!! 

Damn this is a great comic. No stats needed for this one – you have an hour to live – straight up.

Just as Power Nelson is about to be killed, a “strange arm” appears with the antidote for the raw radium that sapped his strength. It’s Princess Leelee, the rightful Queen and a true space princess if ever there was one.

Health is not enough! – great motto

A quick kidnapping of the evil queen, and Power Nelson gets his radium and saves the world. Not bad for 15 pages of work.

But what of the cover? Worry not, gentle reader …

BUBBLE TANK: Super-Science DC 65 | HD 20 | DEF 25 | SPEED Slow
Attacks: Three flame throwers in separately controlled turrets (range 100 paces, 4d6 points of damage) and spiked tracks (DEX test against DC 10 to avoid, otherwise trampled for 6d6 points of damage)

Grooving in Gehenna – Hellcrawl Preview

Mammon by George Frederick Watts (1885)

Time for my first preview of Gehenna, with an overview of this rather warm circle of Hell.

Although Gehenna is a dry, inhospitable wasteland of black, burning metallic sand, it almost looks like paradise to travelers who have just slogged their way through many leagues of sewage and decay in Abaddon.

Getting into Gehenna is dangerous. When one is one the very edge of Abaddon they cannot see into Gehenna. Instead, they see nothing but miles of sewage and junk as far as the horizon. When they place one over the border, though, they suddenly find themselves in the midst of a howling, raging storm of burning metallic sand and fire (per the fire storm spell). This persists for 1d6 rounds, and when it ends, one sees nothing but Gehenna, with no trace or sign of Abaddon.

Gehenna, as mentioned above, consists of mile after mile of rolling dunes of metallic sand. The sand is mostly black, but there are lines of coppery red, golden brown and silvery white worked into the landscape, making it almost pretty for a circle of Hell. Rivers of molten metal flow through the landscape aimlessly, ending in bubbling lakes. There are also great mesas of basalt to be found in Gehenna, and it usually on these that the landforms that the various tribes and lords of Gehenna dwell.

No plants exist in Gehenna, but the landscape is often broken up by growths of metallic crystals, some tall and branched like trees, others in spiked clumps.

All of the animals of Gehenna are immune to fire. Most are reptilian or insect in nature.

Gehenna is the ring of Hell allotted to the souls of the avaricious and prodigal. Avarice (also known as greed or covetousness) is the rapacious pursuit of wealth, status and power. While all people have ambitions, the covetous take this to an extreme, casting aside the eternal (and Lawful) for the temporal. In time, these things they sought fall through their hands as dust and escape them.

In Gehenna, the shades of the avaricious are turned into “misers”. Misers take the form of slaves in Gehenna, being driven by the Gehennites to push around great stones for their pointless monuments to the glory of Mammon, Amon or one of the other lords of the circle. The misers have lost their humanity and their individuality, and are now little more than beasts of burden.

The shades of the prodigals, on the other hand, become small in stature – nimble little thieves who try their best to steal from travelers and others, but find their bodies become immaterial whenever they attempt to hold onto anything, their newly acquired wealth quickly slipping through their hands. They are naked and hunched, and would be pitiable if not for their rapacious faces.

Races of Gehenna
Gehenna, as lifeless as it might seem, has its own inhabitants. These are the seven tribes of Gehenna, all of them races known to people of the surface world but altered by their habitation in Hell.

Arkusites: The Arkusites are hairless gnolls with pallid skin and icy blue eyes. The Arkusites build strongholds of gold and ride out from them on feral centaurs to raid and plunder. Arkusite warriors wear glistening scale armor, amply decorated with gold and tall, golden conical helms and wield long horseman’s axes and shortbows. Warriors are extensively tattooed.

Arkusites worship various demon lords, and change their allegiance often. Their priests use drugged wine to bring on prophetic dreams and practice ritual cannibalism.

The Harrites: The Harrites are kobolds that look like pteradactyls with golden scales and eyes like multi-faceted garnets. They roam Gehenna in great swarms, swooping down on victims from above with their cruelly barbed and hooked spears, snatching people up into the sky to be roasted alive in their towers. The Harrites dwell in great fluted towers of blue metal (cobalt, in fact). In the base of these towers, which rise in clumps from the landscape, they keep great fires burning at all times. The towers are open from base to ceiling and ringed with platforms and shelves on which the kobolds dwell. They hang their captives over these fires from chains and allow their screams and moans of torment to echo up through the tower. On the ceiling of the tower they keep strange ooze, which feeds on these screams and produces weird, sticky nodules that the kobolds collect and sell. The nodules are eaten by the inhabitants of Hell like candy. The Harrites usually worship Pazuzu.

The kobolds can exhale plumes of burning ash. Alone, a kobold can spew this into the face of an opponent once every 1d4 rounds, the victim having to pass a save or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. In groups of 30 or more, the kobolds can swoop down and exhale in unison, creating the equivalent of an incendiary cloud that lasts for 1 round.

Lamuresti: The Lamuresti are the elves of Gehenna, with warm, copper skin and entirely black eyes. They are graceful in appearance, with sharp, severe features. The Lamuresti are completely loyal to Mammon, whom they call their divine king. Each lamuresti village is governed by a priestly steward (an anti-cleric of level 1d4+2). They construct two-towered bronze ziggurats to Mammon and decorate their walls with bas-reliefs and metallic tiles depicting woodlands and marshes they may never visit. They are particularly known for their bronze lions.

The villages of Lamuresti contain eternal flames fed by the bodies of the shades punished in Gehenna (or any other captive they can get their well-manicured hands on). The Lamuresti are known for their harsh punishments and cruelty (pyramids of skulls, flaying captives alive, walling people into their city walls, etc.). The males wear flowing robes of cloth-of-gold and conical caps, with tighter dresses and feathered head-dresses on the females.

Lamuresti warriors wear scale armor and carry short swords, spears and longbows.

Sarrimites: The Sarrimites are changeling goblinoids. When first encountered, they look like hunched and muscular goblins, with short, bandy legs and bearded faces with over-large teeth jutting from their grim, low-set mouths. They wear iron masks that depict noble-looking men with dead eyes and long beards. When joined in battle, they shout their war-cries and become large hobgoblins. If reduced to half their normal hit dice, they grow into ogres (their equipment growing with them), gaining 2 extra hit dice and doing +2 points of damage with their attacks. The Sarrimites wear iron scales and horned helms. They attack with axe, spear and hand cannon (per heavy crossbow).

The Sarrimites are usually loyal to Mulciber, but worship his wife, the sensuous demoness Tyrana, a winged lilin only marginally loyal to Lilith of Erebus. Her temples grace the citadels of the Sarrimites and are attended by the female goblins. The citadels are ruled by the high priestess of Tyrana, the goblin king being subservient (and married) to her – a situation no goblin king cares for.

The goblins are expert engineers and smiths. Their villages are joined by iron-shod roads that rise above the burning sands of Gehenna, and they have canals that channel the molten rivers of metal to their foundries where most of the weaponry, armor and ordnance of Hell is manufactured.

Uccenites: The Uccenites, or “wolves of Gehenna” are sahitim, demonic humanoids who dwell in some of the deserts of Nod. Like their surface kin, the Uccenites are lean and lank, with golden-orange skin, with black horns like those of an antelope rising up to 3 feet tall. They swathe themselves in black robes, the men veiling their faces, the women adorning theirs with black tattoes.

The Uccenites are nomads, setting up temporary camps around large sepulchral tomb mounds in which they store their mummified dead. These mummies are animated, of course, and appear as naked, hunched sahitim (they are interred in a fetal position that bends their spines) covered in red ochre paint and in a state of decay. These mounds look like conical pyramids, wider than they are high, made of various metal blocks. The Uccenites also raise megalithic monuments to Amon, whom they worship exclusively. In honor of their demon lord, they sacrifice captives by slowing carving up their bodies while alive – first the ears, nose and lips, then the fingers and toes, etc.

Uccenite warriors wear mail tunics and carry bronze shields, scimitars and jezzails (as crossbows). They ride beasts that look like a cross between wolves and camels.

Xshayathiyans: The most grandiose and powerful of the peoples of Gehenna are the Xshayathiyans, also known as ophidians. They were worshipping demons before it was cool – perhaps before there actually was a Hell. Here they preside over stately cities of silver and gold, encrusted with gems and inlaid with serpentine and lapis lazuli. They wear kilts and loose tunics of cloth-of-gold and –silver and tall crowns (even the lowliest wear crowns). Warriors wear bulbous helms with golden face masks depicting demons, gorgons, medusas and other monstrous creatures. They are armed with iridescent scale coats, oblong shields, spears, axes, short swords and longbows.

The Xshayathiyans are ruled by their magic-users, who preside in palatial temples that are home to powerful glabrezu demons, the ruling class of the ophidians, who serve as the various satraps under their emperor, Mammon from his capitol, the Burnt City. These temples also hold ritual vats in which the priests bathe in oil or in the blood of sacrifices. The temples are guarded by winged gorgons and serpoleopards.

Xshayathiyan magi possess the most useful objects in Gehenna – at least for adventurers. These are stones that look like pure, white quartz spheres that, when buried one foot beneath any soil, cause a spout of pure, fresh water to erupt into a fountain for 1d4 minutes. One waterskin can be filled from the fountain per minute. The stones, called stones of necessity, function once per day, and there is a 5% chance per use of them crumbling into dust.

Xulites: The Xulites are bronze men – humans with skin not only the color of bronze, but the consistency as well. The Xulites build citadels of brass, decorated with gynosphinxes with golden bodies and ivory faces. Within these citadel they keep gorgons who feed on the metallic sands (they are immune to their petrifying breath) and grow crystalline trees of emerald and ruby.

The Xulites are slavers, capturing the zombie-like prisoners of Gehenna and using them as beasts of burden. They wear pointed helms and scale hauberks and wield longswords, spears, daggers and crossbows that throw metal darts. The elite Xulite warriors ride scaled lions (like miniature dragonnes) into battle, their roars driving their foes in fear before them.

Lords of Gehenna
Mammon, the Grand Prince of Avarice, rules the Circle of Gehenna with subterfuge and double dealing. There are those who say he commands a power greater than himself, and uses it to get his opponents out of the way. Four demon lords have proven too powerful for Mammon to unseat, they being Amon, Maphistal, Paymon (king of the glabrezu demons) and Pazuzu. The smith of Hell, Mulciber, also dwells in Gehenna, though he shows no interest in the politics of Hell and is not seen as a rival by any of the other lords.

Party On Dude (Random Party Events)

Painting by Frans Hals, 1623

Your adventures have been invited to a party – maybe its a halfling wedding, maybe a swank soiree with the aristocratic set or an intimate dinner party being thrown by a merchant prince you’d like very much to rob.

This is one of those tricky things to run in an RPG – there are just so many moving parts! So, why not a random table?

Roll once per hour per adventurer (or more often if you’d like), with an “event” happening on a roll of 1 on 1d4 during the first hour of the party, 2 in 4 during the second hour, 3 in 4 during the third hour, etc. Roll the event with a d20. Any event that doesn’t make sense for the particular circumstances of your party can be re-rolled.

 ROLL d20
1. Insult the member of a chaotic cult / 1 in 6 chance it is an anti-cleric, who will curse you; otherwise a lay member who will report you to his superiors

2. Start a small fire / gain a permanent -1 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

3. While snooping around, walk in on three burglars stealing jewels (or some other valuable) from the host

4. Walk in on the host or their significant others in flagrante dilecto with someone else

5. Uncover a plot of murder against a high noble or official – or maybe it’s just in your imagination

6. Horrify some folks with your stories of past adventures / gain a permanent -1 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

7. Impress some folks with your stories of past adventures / gain a permanent +1 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

8. Learn a valuable rumor while conversing with other party guests

9. Drink a bit too much / make a saving throw or become drunk and (1-2) make a scene – perhaps dancing on a table or removing too much clothing – and be escorted into the street, (3-4) pick a fight with an NPC with class levels, (5) wander outside and disappear for the night or (6) get sick in a potted plant. Either way, you gain a permanent -1 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

10. Spill a drink on (1) the host or hostess, make a Charisma check to avoid being sent away in shame, (2-3) the largest, most violent person at the party, make a Charisma check to avoid a fight, (4-5) a seemingly mild-mannered man or woman who can make your life a misery, (6) your soul mate!

11. Make an important contact with a (1) friendly cleric, (2-3) wealthy merchant, (4) friendly magic-user (50% chance they are not what they seem), (5) petty noble or government official, (6) member of the local thieves’ guild. There is a 1 in 10 chance the person is actually a doppelganger trying to infiltrate your party or a vampire on the hunt for prey.

12. Make eyes at an attractive partygoer / 50% chance they are unattached; if not, make a Dexterity check to avoid the notice of their significant other (who either (1-3) makes a scene; (4) does nothing but fume or (5-6) has you severely beaten or killed – by themselves if they are capable, or by a gang of minions); if alone, you may approach and make a reaction check to see how they receive you

13. Cornered by a zealot who talks endlessly about subjects you know nothing about / Make a save vs. sleep; if you remain awake, make a Charisma check to extricate yourself from the conversation or this is your result for the next hour as well.

14. Get an impromptu lesson in some area of knowledge from an engaging expert / at some time during play, you can have a one-time bonus to miraculously know an important fact you otherwise would not
15. Quell an argument between two guests / gain a permanent +1 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

16. Make a terrible faux pas, breaking a sacred taboo of the local culture / gain a permanent -2 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

17. Accidentally promise yourself in marriage to another guest or to their son, daughter or ward

18. Agree to look into a seemingly innocent (but actually very dangerous) problem of a party guest

19. Stand in the corner nursing a drink and interacting as little as possible / gain a permanent -1 reaction bonus with people at the party and others in their circles

20. Get challenged to a duel at dawn with an excitable party guest / 1 in 6 chance they have twice your levels as a fighter or magic-user; otherwise they are a 0-level loudmouth

The Esper – A New Class for Space Princess

And so it begins …

ESPER

Illustration by John Schoenherr

It’s a well known fact that approximately 0.000056% of sentient beings in the galaxy have latent psionic powers that can, with training, be fully realized.

One path of training goes through the monasteries of the psychics, who combine their psionic training with physical exercise and the art of laser swordsmanship. The other path of training is through the academies of the espers, who ignore the physical to attain mental perfection.

Many espers wear the saffron uniforms of Star Patrol’s Science Section (Psi Division), while others work for governments and private companies, giving them an edge in negotiations and helping them explore strange new worlds for resources. Still others operate independently of organizations as freelance troubleshooters, criminal masterminds or cult leaders.

HIT DICE: Espers roll d6 to determine hit points

REQUIREMENT: STR score of 4 or lower, MEN score of 5 or higher

SKILLS: Espers add their SKILL to the following tests: Activate Psychic Power (MEN)

STARTING GEAR: Ray gun, crystal pendant (for meditation and focus)

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Level Hit Dice Skill Powers Luck
Mentalist 2 4 3 3
Savant 4 8 6 1
Guru 6 12 9 0

The esper has a number of psychic powers depending on his level, plus ESP as a bonus power. Espers can also spend their starting luck points to buy additional powers. To use a power, an esper must make an activation test – essentially a MEN test against a Difficulty Class (DC) determined by the power to be activated. No power can be used more than once per hour. The player can choose these powers from the psychic’s power list in the main rulebook.

Espers can also attempt to activate powers that are not in their repertoire, but suffer a -10 penalty on their activation test to do so. Powers not in an esper’s repertoire can only be activated once per day.