Ulflandia – Giants and Magic Wells

I’m about 90% finished writing the Ulflandia hex crawl, which means I’m pretty much on schedule to get the next issue of NOD out this month. I should get Bloody Basic – Sinew & Steel Edition out as well, and maybe Bloody Basic – Weird Fantasy Edition (depending on how much reading I get done between now and the end of the month). Once those are put to bed, I turn my near-sighted eyes to Grit & Vigor, which I would like to publish before the end of summer.

That being said, I thought I’d post a few Ulflandia entries today to give people a taste of it. Enjoy!

3324 OLD GROG | MONSTER

Old Grog the hill giant smith dwells here, keeping a forge, three unruly daughters and a motherly wife who could only kill a person with kindness, for she’s otherwise gentle as a lamb. Old Grog remembers the old ways, and he can breathe magic into his creations if he has the mind to – he’ll swap minor magic weapons and armor for tales well told (and a heap of gold). If somebody will promise to wed one of his daughters, he’ll make more powerful magic items. He keeps a giant spider on an unbreakable silver thread in his workshop as a guard animal and companion. The spider is well versed in elven poetry and gnomish limericks, and he has a fine baritone voice (for a spider).

Treasure: 150 pp, a silver hammer (80 gp).

3630 FOREST GIANTS | MONSTER

A band of fifteen forest giants and their mates dwells in a massive hall made of timber in this hex. The longhouse is surrounded by a wooden picket and a shallow moat, about 20 feet wide, filled with gooey mud and crossed by a drawbridge.

The forest giants have grey skin, no hair and emerald eyes. They dress in tunics and leggings, usually of green, brown, russet or grey, and wear cloaks. Forest giants are excellent bowmen, and carry large longbows and scimitars.

The forest giants have a love for ale and wine, and will gladly trade their guidance through the woods for intoxicants.

Treasure: 65 pp, 1,750 gp, a silver medallion set with a citrine (500 gp), a sable cloak with a golden clasp set with alexandrite (1,500 gp), a scroll of darkvision, a +1 shield (giant-sized), a potion of hide from undead, and a potion of remove paralysis.

3724 NOBRUN THE NECROMANCER | STRONGHOLD

The stronghold of Nobrun of the Glassy Eyes appears to be a cave set in a doughty granite hill topped by long, green grasses with a base surrounded by huckleberry bushes. The cave mouth is shaped like the maw of a demon, and there is the notable scent of sulfur surrounding the place.

If one approaches the cave mouth, a vrock demon is conjured. The vrock, Xerial, is Nobrun’s major domo. He will inquire as to the nature of the visit and peruse his scroll to see if the visitors are expected. If they are, he will permit them to enter the cave, at which point they will see a stone stair leading up to the top of the hill and a simple wooden door painted dull green. The door is wizard locked. Beyond the door, which appears to be attached to nothing, is the invisible tower of Nobrun.

Nobrun is a necromancer. He is inhumanly tall and thin, with long, bony fingers absolutely covered in rings. Some of the rings look valuable, others are made from human hair or meteoric iron and engraved with runes. The necromancer dresses in purple silk and black velvet, in the manner of a Spanish grandee. Nobrun is always heavily perfumed (usually lavender), and he has a long, black beard (he colors it) and strange, glassy eyes. One of his eyes has a permanent x-ray vision spell cast on it, while the other always sees with a faerie fire effect. He normally wears a patch lined with lead over the x-ray eye.

Nobrun lives alone, except for his army of zombies. All of them are shaved smooth and dyed purple, and dressed in black velvet doublets and leggings of silver maille. Nobrun is currently between apprentices.

3924 THE BOILING WELL | WONDER

A well in this hex produces great gouts of steam from the water, which nearly boils with magical energy. The water is about 20 feet below the surface, the well being constructed of grey stones that are slick with green slime that must be cleared before one can safely enter the well.

By bathing in the water for one minute (suffering 1d6 points of Constitution damage in the process), a magic-user or sorcerer gains the knowledge of a single weird spell. The spell remains lodged in a person’s mind for 24 hours. A sorcerer can add the spell to her natural repertoire if she has a spare spell slot, while a magic-user can scribe the spell on a scroll or in his spell book. Of course, they can also just cast the spell and discharge it from their mind permanently.

The second time a magic-user bathes in the well, the Constitution damage becomes Constitution drain. The third time, it becomes 1d6 points of energy drain. A fourth dip is fatal, turning the magician into a rampaging chaos beast.

The random spells learned from the well are:

D6 SPELL
1 Accursed Archer
2 Blasphemous Shield
3 Golden Torch
4 Hex of Diminution
5 Invocation of Righteous Anger
6 Unknowable Incantation of the Yellow Doors

ACCURSED ARCHER
Level: Magic-User 1
Range: Medium (150 ft.)
Duration: Concentration + 1 round

This spell forces a single opponent within range that is shooting or throwing missiles to automatically target one of his own allies. If he has no allies, the spell simply applies a -1 penalty to his attacks on non-allies.

BLASPHEMOUS SHIELD
Level: Magic-User 2
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 minute

This spell conjures a shield (much like the shield spell) before the spellcaster. The shield bears an image blasphemous to a single chosen cleric within sight of the magic-user.

The cleric must pass a Will saving throw each round he or she attempts to do anything but attack the bearer of the shield. The shield bearer enjoys AC 18 against the cleric’s attacks, and a +1 bonus to saving throws against the cleric’s spells. Spell that are saved against have a 25% chance of turning back on the spellcasting cleric.

GOLDEN TORCH
Level: Magic-User 2 (Lawful (Good))
Range: See below
Duration: 1 hour

A golden torch appears in the magician’s right hand (always the right hand, and there it must stay). It emits a golden glow with double the illumination of a normal torch, and emits positive energy in a 30-foot radius. This positive energy doubles the normal healing rate of living creatures and grants them a +1 bonus to save vs. poison, disease and death effects, forces undead creatures to pass a Will saving throw to enter the positive energy and imposes a -2 penalty to their Fortitude saving throws.

HEX OF DIMINUTION
Level: Magic-User 4
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous

This hex slowly shrinks a creature down to tiny size. Each hour, the creature’s size category is reduced by one. The spell is permanent, though it can be reversed with one or several permanent enlarge person spells, dispel magic or wish. The creature’s equipment does not shrink with him or her.

INVOCATION OF RIGHTEOUS ANGER
Level: Magic-User 5
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 minute

As the cleric spell righteous might, save that the magic-user is unable to cast spells while enlarged.

UNKNOWABLE INCANTATION OF THE YELLOW DOORS
Level: Magic-User 6
Range: Personal
Duration: See below

Often used as a last ditch effort to escape certain doom, the unknowable incantation is a dangerous spell. When cast, the magic-user is surrounded by walls of black energy (negative energy, in fact) with four yellow portals placed to the north, south, east and west. The black walls form a circle with a 20-ft diameter, and they rise 20 feet before ending in a ceiling.

Touching the walls causes 1d6 points of energy drain. Each round, the walls and ceiling contract, moving inward by 5 feet (the movement is actually fluid, not all at once). If they close in on a creature, it is killed unless it is immune to energy drain, in which case it left unharmed.

The walls can be avoided by entering one of the yellow portals. Each portal leads to a random plane, elemental or outer. The magic-user has no control over where the doors lead, nor has he any knowledge of where they lead. Once a door is touched, a person is transported to that plane. There is a 5% chance that the door deposits the person before a power of that plane.

Ulflandia – Introduction

Over the weekend, I got the Bloody Basic – Mother Goose Edition PDF up for sale, and just a moment ago I got the Bloody Basic – Contemporary Edition soft cover up for sale. So, if you like the various flavors of Bloody Basic, today is a fine day to be alive. The link to my Lulu shop to the right will take you there.

I’ve been working away at the next hex crawl for NOD, which is located just south of the Klarkash Mountains and is dominated by the island of Ulflandia, ruled by Queen Gloriana and inspired by the folklore and fantasy of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, et. al. Below, you will find the introduction. I’m still playing around with things, mostly cosmetic, so it might be changed here and there before it is published. Enjoy!

ULFLANDIA

Ulflandia, which is sometimes called Brigantia, is a large island located off the coast of the Klarkash Mountains, effectively dividing the Tepid Sea from Mother Ocean. The island was a fey stronghold in ancient times, but a series of invasions changed it into an ostensibly human kingdom. In the days of Nomo’s glory, it defied that empire for decades before finally becoming an independent, though tributary kingdom. The island is now dominated by Queen Gloriana from the city of Tremayne, the largest settlement on the island. The island can be divided into numerous sub-regions. The woodlands in the eastern portion of the island are called The Greenwood. The grasslands in the north are called Plains of Logris, while the hills that run down the center of eastern Ulflandia are called the Ruffians. The hilly peninsula in the southeast is called Belerion, the peaks in the south are the Coblyns. The western portion is taken up by the hilly Lawlands and the mountainous Hielands. Between Ulflandia and the Klarkash Peninsula lies the Black Strait. The Klarkash Mountains have been covered in NOD 25, but the hilly portion on the southern peninsula is known as the Braga Hills. The southeastern portion of the map contains a portion of the Wyvern Hills (see NOD 1) and an island chain known as the Zebrides.

THE PEOPLES OF ULFLANDIA
In elder days, Ulflandia was home to the giants and fey, who battled and intermarried and generally had a wonderful time, separate from interlopers from outside. Humanoid tribes of gnomes, kobolds and goblins filled things out.

When Partholon sallied forth from Hybresail to leave the decadent wizards behind, a portion of his fleet was diverted. While Partholon landed further north, and came to dominate the human tribes of the area and found Nomo, the other grey elves landed on the isle of Iskey. Under the command of the warlord Nemed, the grey elves fought the native giants and carved out a small kingdom for themselves which they called Tyrnog.

The elves of Tyrnog soon colonized the southern reaches of Ulflandia, founding the kingdoms of Elphyne, Albion, Annouven, Prydain, Belerion, Avalon and Ylfelond. Over time, the elven population of Ulflandia changed. The elves of Tyrnog, called the Aysheeth, were still of the grey variety. The elves of the western lands of Elphyne became the Gruagach (wild elves). The elves of the mountainous Lawlands and Coblyn were known as the Gwyllion (high elves). The elves of the Greenwood were known as the Elvene (wood elves).

In the meantime, the northern portions of the island were begin settled by the orcs and hobgoblins of the Klarkash Mountains, and the wild humans of the Braga Hills. These peoples came collectively to be called the Sassenach by the elves, though later that term only applied to the humans of the Plains of Logris.

In time, the Empire of Nomo came calling. In a series of invasions the Nomoi, under the command of Brutus, colonized the north and began grinding down the old elven kingdoms. They made the fortified colony of Tremayne (Trēsmanus) their capital, and soon conquered the Plains of Logris and then the eastern portions of the Greenwood. The kingdoms of Ylfelond and Avalon were made tributaries of Tremayne, while the other kingdoms of the island proper barely maintained their independence through arranged marriages, bribes and costly wars. The old elven kingdoms gradually faded in importance, devolving into giant citadels hidden by powerful illusions and smaller hill forts that surrounded the old citadels.

The men and half-elves of Nomo made forays against the ancient giant chiefs and the goblin tribes of the Ruffian Mountains as well. Under the command of Aurelios Ambrosios his younger brother Uther Pendragon, the sage wizard and demigod Merlinus, and their collected knights, squires and men-at-arms, the kingdom of Tremayne rose to the heights of its power, only to be disrupted in time by royal struggles and minor civil wars. Modern Tremayne is ruled by Queen Gloriana, who continues the struggle of the heirs of Nomo to bring the entire island under her control.

THE PEOPLES OF ULFLANDIA
ELVES: Elves are the aristocracy of the ancient fey tribes of Ulflandia. They serve as rulers, warriors and hunters. Under the elves are the working fairies, including such creatures as the brownies (household servants), knockers (miners and armorers), fenodyree (heavy labor), habbitrot (spinners of cloth), kilmoulis (millers of grain) and leprechauns (cobblers and other skilled trades). In some cases, these creatures are more powerful than their rulers, but the fey cleave to their traditions, which place the elves at the top of the pyramid.

Among the elves, there are several tribes, as follows:

AYSHEETH (GREY ELVES): The tall, beauteous elves of Iskey are called the Aysheeth. They descend from the original elven colonists of Ulflandia, who came from the West to escape the wars of the wizards and build kingdoms of their own.

Among the Aysheeth, the nobles wear chainmail under brilliantly colored tabards and capes. They carry round shields and arm themselves with lances and longswords. In their retinues are the galloglass and kerns. The “common” Aysheeth, or kerns, wear lighter armor and carry spears, bows, axes and greatswords. Noble grey elves fight in chariots or on horseback, while the kerns may fight on foot or as light horsemen.

ELVENE (WOOD ELVES): The Elvene are the wood elves of the Greenwood, living in roving bands who hunt and patrol their lands and answer the call of their rulers when it is time to fight. They dress in scarlet and green, and are merrier than the more guarded and elegant grey elves.

Elvene armies are composed of longbowmen and light infantry. Both wear light armor, with chainmail shirts about the heaviest armor among them. They wield longbows, short swords, hand axes and sometimes spears. Cavalry is rare among the elves of the Greenwood, for they often fight in thick woodlands.

GRUAGACH (WOOD ELVES): The Gruagach live in the wildest parts of Ulflandia. They cultivate a wild appearance, growing their hair long and keeping it tangled or spiking it, and painting their faces and bodies with blue dyes. They wear woolen tunics in dazzling plaids and checks.

Wild elf warriors are light skirmishers, for the most part. They wear light armor and wield longswords, greatswords, battleaxes, spears and shortbows. Some fight from chariots, while others are mounted on light horses or, in rare occasions, Irish elk.

GWYLLION (HIGH ELVES): The high elves of the mountains are more akin to the grey elves than their wild cousins of the wilderness and woodlands. They are honorable warriors, and more organized than their kin.

High elf warriors put light and heavy infantry and cavalry into the field, as well as their famous longbowmen.

SASSENACH (HUMANS, HALF-ELVES, HIGH ELVES): The Sassenachs are the descendants of the invaders from Nomo. They include humans (the most numerous of the invaders), half-elves (who are most often to be found in administrative and mercantile roles), and elves (the ruling class). The Sassenachs organize themselves along feudal lines, and hold chivalry in high esteem (at least in theory, though not often in practice).

Sassenach armies are composed of light and heavy infantry and cavalry, crossbowmen, and foreign mercenaries drawn from the other peoples of Ulflandia and from beyond.

THE GODS OF ULFLANDIA
The Ulflandians worship the divine pantheon of the Motherlands under different names. The Ulflandians have some unique deities as well, including Sirone, the goddess of healing, Epona, the horse goddess, Canta, the god of medicine and physicians, Puck, the trickster god, and Merlinus, the god of magic.

KABIR / ULFLANDIAN NAME
Asur (Sun, Kingship) = Dagda
Bel (Rebirth) = Bel the Fair Shining One
Ghobb (Earth) = Govannon
Karn (Hunt) = Cernunnos
Nudd (Sea) = Nodens
Tut (Mischief) = Puck
Ys (Fertility) = Matrona

MOTHERLAND DEITY / ULFLANDIAN NAME
Bacchus (Drunkeness) = John Barleycorn
Diana (Woodland, Hunting) = Flidas of the Beautiful Hair
Hecate (Magic) = Morgana le Fey
Hercules (Heroism, Strength) = Percival
Juno (Motherhood, Queenship) = Morrigan
Mars (War) = Camulus
Minerva (War, Arts) = Brigantia
Pluto (Death) = Dispater
Saturn (Time) = Sucellos
Venus (Love, Beauty) = Penarthun

OTHER DEITIES / PORTFOLIO
St. Angus, Youth, Beauty
Arianrhod, Moon
St. Canta, Medicine, Healers
St. Dylan, Sailors
St. Ecna, Sages
St. Elen, Travelers
Epona, Birds, Horses
Merlinus, Magicians
St. Ogma, Bards, Eloquence
Taranis, Thunder

RELIGIOUS ORDERS

BLACK FRIARSThe black friars are dedicated to the atmospheric deities. A scholarly order, they study the stars and atmospheric conditions. The black friars tend towards Lawful behavior, and tend to be loyal to the Queen (though not always her Church), the Starry Order of blue magicians and the two orders of knighthood.

The black friars are primarily dedicated to Dagda, Arianthod, Bel, Nodens and Taranis.

GREY FRIARS
The grey friars are druids dedicated to the chthonic deities of earth and the underworld. Like the white friars, they tend toward true neutrality, seeing themselves as guides to the afterworld, and thus above human affairs. They are often to be found in opposition to the necromancers of the Cunning Order of red magicians (see below).

The grey friars are primarily dedicated to Dispater, Govannon, Morgan le Fey and Sucellos.

WHITE FRIARS
The white friars are druids dedicated to deities of flora and fauna. They are a neutral order, and consider themselves emissaries of the nature gods to humans, and thus are above other human institutions, including the Queen and her government. They do not often press this claim, as diplomacy is less costly than fighting an angry queen and her armies. White minsters (monasteries) are known for their gardens and the numerous sentient animals to be found around them.

The white friars are primarily dedicated to Cernunnos, Epona, Flidas, Matrona, Puck, and John Barleycorn.

THE QUEEN’S CHURCH
The Queen’s Church handles most of the day-to-day religious chores of the kingdom. Gloriana is the head of the church (hence the name) and has its unswerving loyalty. Sages and adepts make up most of the priesthood, which is divided into Vicarages and Bishoprics, with the immediate superior of the church being the Archbishop of Cantiacorum.

The Queen’s Church honors all of the deities mentioned above, as well as Brigantia (the patron deity of Ulflandia), Camulus, Merlinus, Percival, Saint Angus, Saint Canta, Saint Dylan, Saint Ecna, Saint Elen and Saint Ogma.

KNIGHTLY ORDERS

THE MOST OBEDIENT ORDER OF THE GLORIOUS QUEST

Also known as the Knights of the Cauldron, the Questing Knights, and the Knights of Percival, they are an order dedicated to recovering the Cauldron of Dozen-King for their queen, Gloriana. The order is composed of warriors and clerics, all Lawful (Good) in alignment. While the brothers wear their own livery, they sew a badge in the shape of a red heart over their own hearts. Once each year, at the end of campaign season, they gather at their chapter house in Camulodunon to report on their progress and adventures over the previous year, and they are permitted an audience with their queen, who travels to the city from Tremayne for that purpose.

The quest of the knights is supported by the Black Friars, the Queen’s Church and the Blue Magicians. The white and grey friars oppose it, though the white friars neither publicly nor actively, and the yellow and red magicians care little for the quest.

The arms of the order are a field azure numerous crosses or. This livery is worn by the members at their convocations, and is worn by their retainers when on official duty.

THE ORDER OF THE RED CROSSE

The Order of the Red Crosse is dedicated to the veneration of St. George, the local name for Mithras. The knights are loyal to their god first and to the Queen second. They have numerous fortifications throughout the country, and their main chapter house in Tremayne. The knights are commanded by a Knight Commander, and all of the knights wear white emblazoned with a saltire gules while serving the order. Most of the knights are Lawful (Good) clerics and paladins, though the ranks of their warbands are filled out with lay brothers (i.e. fighters).

MAGICAL SOCIETIES

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF PHILOSOPHERS

The members of the Royal Society are more commonly referred to as yellow magicians. Their ranks are primarily filled by sages, alchemists, magic-users (especially transmuters) and scientists. In public, the philosophers wear robes of yellow. It is headquartered in Tremayne at Mumpsimus College. The society is led by a president, elected by the members for a life term, or until recalled by the membership. The society is known for its wealth and influence with the Queen, and is regarded with jealousy by the other magical orders and the merchants of Ulflandia.

THE STARRY ORDER

Colloquially known as the blue magicians or even blue friars, the Starry Order is composed of Lawful (Good) magic-users, sorcerers and warlocks. It is closely allied with both the Knights of the Red Crosse and the Questing Knights, and with the Black Friars. The order is chartered by Gloriana, and has its headquarters in Cantiacorum, a seaport located south of Tremayne. Members are known for their blue robes and their white headbands.

THE CUNNING ORDER OF WYSARDS AND WITCHES
The red magicians are a very loose fellowship of magic-users, sorcerers and warlocks, unofficially divided into four colleges – The Conjurers (who wear burgundy robes and golden bells), The Evokers (who wear crimson robes and rose badges), The Illusionists (who wear scarlet robes) and the Necromancers (who wear maroon robes and skullcaps). The society is technically a secret society, with secret passwords and hand signals to allow members to communicate with one another. In reality, the existence of the order is fairly well known, and though the exact location of their lodges is unknown, most people know whether or not there is a lodge in their settlement.