The Fruits of Evil

The idea of alignment – a mishmash of ethics, morality and game play – is probably familiar to most role playing gamers of the D&D persuasion – I’m not sure how (or if) the newer versions of the game use it. Whether its Law vs. Chaos (which was always really Good vs. Evil by another name) or the nine-alignment schmeer, alignment was much more integral to the earlier versions of the game than to the later.

Oft evil will shalt evil mar … and it doesn’t do good will any favors either!

In Chainmail, Law – Neutrality – Chaos was a fantasy version of the army lists you would see in many wargames. For those unfamiliar, an army based on the Normans would be chosen from a list of the kinds of soldiers common to a Norman army. For a fantasy game, lists based on Law and Chaos, with Neutrals serving in either army, made sense. This is the earliest version of alignment.

When the wargame became a role playing game, alignment was retained but became a bit more than just a cosmic allegiance, although it would still have had that role to play for characters who were building strongholds and armies for the endgame that was assumed/intended for older editions. Hey folks – that’s what all that dang treasure was for – building a stronghold and recruiting an army so you could play Chainmail!

Alignment now governed how your character behaved. This was just a simple description in Moldvay/Cook, but in AD&D it also governed access to certain tactics – i.e. evil can use poison, good cannot – and helped determined how expensive it was to gain a new level. Again, for those who do not know how AD&D worked, to reach a higher level you required training, and the cost of that training was more expensive if you had acted outside your alignment while earning your experience points.

Later editions took a path more like “good guys are supposed to be good, evil are supposed to be evil … but then what is evil really?” Sort of like “alignment relatavism”.

What if evil simply corrupts a character and ruins his or her plans? I don’t mean a supernatural corruption here – like the taint of Chaos in Warhammer. I mean, by committing an evil act, a character begins a chain of events that eventually overtakes and destroys them unless they find their way back to the path of good. Here, you don’t really even need a character to have an alignment, you just have to know what is good and what is evil, and no that by accomplishing goals with evil methods, that evil is going

He eventually made his point

to come back to haunt you eventually. We find this theme in many stories, especially the folktales, fables and fairy tales that form part of the foundation of D&D.

I just recently watched Majin: The Monster of Terror (or Daimajin in its original title), and its one representation of this concept. I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it – and I do heartily recommend it – but if you watch it you will see how the bad guy ultimately screws himself. You can create a tragic and powerful storyline as characters find success by employing evil tactics and then gradually find themselves corrupted, choosing evil over good to get out of bad situations they have precipitated, until all seems lost.

“So we used poison to kill the orc king – so what? The orcs are evil, so what’s the big deal?”

How might that act come back to haunt the adventurers?

Well, where did they get the poison – perhaps some evil organization or creature who will become a bigger threat than the orcs. Maybe the use of poison negates the protection provided by a good entity to a kingdom – the short cut in fighting evil then ushers in more sorrows for the kingdom, and gradually the king and his people find out who is responsible. Maybe the orcs had friends who would have accepted their defeat in combat as fair, but figure poisoning requires vengeance. You destroy 100 orcs only to raise the ire of 10,000 orcs living deeper underground. There’s also the issue of trust. Can the player characters trust one another when they’ll use any means to get what they want?

Can the adventurers find their way back to the path of good? Role playing of this variety can add another dimension to a game about adventuring, fighting and treasure hunting, and reveal the philosophies behind “alignment” in a way that arbitrary rules about who can use poison and how much gold it takes it get to 5th level do not.

Dragon by Dragon – February 1982 (58)

The Clyde Caldwell cover to the February 1982 Dragon Magazine is chock-full of fantasy tropes. You have the warrior woman in weird, revealing armor and a gnome fighter mounted on a giant lizard. You also get a Clyde Caldwell trope, namely lots of feathers. That said, I adore Caldwell’s work, and consider it fundamental to 80’s D&D.

We’ll begin this rule with the editorial – which is rare for me. This one deals with “assassin” and “killer” games, and is written on the subject due to an incident in December 1981 in which a college student playing Assassin was shot by police. I bring it up because I played a game of TAG (The Assassination Game) in junior high school. Well – briefly. I managed to get assassinated while walking from first to second period, but remember that by lunch period we were informed that the school had put an end to it due to one idiot performing an assassination during class. I suppose these days the entire school district would be put on lockdown if some kids were playing “assassination”.  What odd memories we nerds have of youth.

The first big article this month is by Len Lakofka, who is “Beefing up the Cleric.” This article introduces a multitude of new cleric spells that will show up later in official AD&D product. They include ceremony, combine (a neat idea), magic stone, magic vestment, messenger, dust devil, enthrall and negative plane protection. One spell I didn’t immediately recognize – readers of this blog might have better memories than I – Death Prayer (2nd level). This spell reduces the likelihood of a corpse being animated at a later date.

The Dragon’s Bestiary includes the sull and beguiler by Ed Greenwood and Magenta’s cat by Roger E. Moore. These last monsters are the descendants of a cat familiar who was made psionic by its mistress, Magenta, and in the process freed from its obligations as a familiar. It went out and made babies, and they inherited the psionic powers. It’s a very cool idea – a psionic cat causing trouble in a village, trouble blamed on some legendary menace the adventurers try to hunt down.

Michael Parkinson offers up “Medusa’s Blood”. This article details the many creatures that were born from Medusa’s blood, including old fantasy favorites like Pegasus, the Lernaean hydra, the chimera, Cerberus and the Theban sphinx. Some new monsters from the lineage of Medusa include Geryon (the three-headed and three-bodied giant, not the demon lord), Echidna and the Blatant Beast.

The Medusa article is followed up by “Four Myths from Greece”, with stats for Atalanta the huntress (9th level fighter), Daedalus (sage/engineer), the Sybil of Cumae (16th level cleric) and Chiron (15th level centaur ranger).

Dragon 58 has a special section all about dwarves, featuring “The Dwarven Point of View”, “The Gods of the Dwarves”, “Sage Advice on Dwarves” and “Dwarven Magical Items”. Dragon did a few of these series, and elements of them became standard parts of Dungeons & Dragons in later days, especially the dwarven pantheon. Roger E. Moore’s “The Dwarven Point of View” is one of those articles that represents the inflection point of the original DIY days and the middle phase of “explain it all”. It’s a useful article for folks new to fantasy gaming, but I suppose some folks didn’t like the Dragon magazine doing articles that might tie their creative hands, what with it being “semi-official” in D&D world.

I liked this bit from “Sage Advice”:

“Why aren’t ettins mentioned among the bigger creatures which attack dwarves and gnomes at -4?

Ettins may be big and dumb, but they don’t suffer any penalty “to hit” against dwarves and gnomes because of the most obvious difference between ettins and other big humanoids: their two heads. In the words of the Monster Manual, “One of the ettin’s heads is always likely to be alert, so they are difficult to surprise.” And, presumably, also difficult to sneak up on in any other way.”

Now let’s be honest – the answer here is “crap, we forgot to include the ettin”.

Another question that struck me is one that shows a clash of mindsets that I’ve seen myself in our hobby. The question writer asks:

“What would be a reasonable spread of races and sub-races for adventurers and NPCs? For instance, what would be the chance of a PC dwarf being a mountain dwarf?”

An interesting question, and one that would be answerable in a particular campaign, or if there was really such a thing as dwarves and we have solid demographic data on  them. I appreciate the answer:

“The chance of a player character dwarf being a mountain dwarf is 100% — if the player wants to be one, and if no circumstances of the campaign prohibit such a choice.”

I’ve fielded a few similar questions from people reading my games, as though I had some special right to tell them what they could and could not do in their own homes. Some folks have the mindset that there is a “right and wrong” to these games we play, and they seek answers from “authorities”. This isn’t a dig against these folks – it’s just a way of looking at things that differs from mine that I find interesting.

On the topic of “The Gods of the Dwarves” – I really loved Moradin when I was a kid. The demi-human pantheon was another case for me, as a young man, of being amazed that you could make up pretend gods and goddesses for a game. This article also introduces a new undead monster – the rapper.

This issue of Dragon also has a bit of fiction from J. Eric Holmes called “The Bag”. It involves a character of his called Boinger. I haven’t read this one, but I’ll include the first couple paragraphs as a taste for those who might want to delve deeper:

“Perhaps the small master is looking for something special?”

The muscular young halfling put down the leather backpack he had been examining and looked at the person who had addressed him. He was worth looking at, Boinger decided. For one thing, his species was not one the adventurer had ever seen before. The creature was obviously not human; his complexion was slate grey and his face was covered with wrinkles so that it looked like a folded piece of linen with a long, pointy nose sticking out. He was shorter than Boinger himself. Some sort of gnome, the halfling thought, out of the north, I suppose. Shorter than a dwarf, taller than a Lilliputian …”

In Robert Barrow’s “Aiming for Realism in Archery: Longer Ranges, Truer Targets” you get another article trying to make the game more realistic. This one has a useful little table about archery accuracy derived from medieval tournament data:

This article is followed up by “Bowmanship Made More Meaningful” by Carl Parlagreco. This one introduced the idea of minimum strength scores for different bows – a 16 for composite longbows, for example, or 8 for short bows. Using a bow without having the strength required presents a -2 penalty to hit per point of strength deficiency. There’s more – so check it out if you like more realism in D&D.

David Nalle presents “Swords – Slicing Into a Sharp Topic”, which gets into the weeds on that fantasy staple, the sword. You get information on its history and construction. No game stats in this one, but good information for folks new to the topic.

There is also an article by Glenn Rahman on the Knights of Camelot Game. I’ve never played the game, so I cannot review the article, per se, but I love the bit on “Acts of Villainy”. These include:

  1. Distressing a Lady
  2. Imprisoning Persons
  3. Looting a Shrine
  4. Piracy
  5. Seizing a Castle by Storm
  6. Slaying a Good Knight
  7. Slaying a Goodly Hermit Man

This is a great checklist for Chaotic/Evil characters in any game – try to do three or four of these things in every game. The article also has two awesome little tables – the kind of random fun that screams old school gaming to me. The first deals with the merchant ships you might run into while being a pirate:

The second is a random table of dying curses from goodly hermits:

It is so hard to keep track of things like this, but I love the idea of using them during play.

Speaking of useful stuff, Jon Mattson’s “Anything But Human” is for Traveller, but could be useful to anyone. It is a collection of random tables for creating aliens. As always, my review of this article consists of using it – here’s my random alien:

It’s a mammal, feline, average of 67 inches tall, that has a bonus of +1 to education and a penalty of -1 to strength and social standing (which in D&D-esque games would be a bonus to intelligence and a penalty to strength and charisma). The creature has a -3 to their psionic rating. It has no special abilities.

“What’s New? – with Phil and Dixie” covers love magic in D&D. I had a crush on Dixie as a kid … and probably still do.

This issue also has cut-out counters of all the magic-user spells to aid magic-user players in keeping track of what they’re doing.

As always, I’ll leave you with Wormy …

Grandeur from Tramp

Dragon by Dragon – January 1982 (57)

Wow – 1982. I was ten years old (well, nine in January) and still a couple years away from learning about Dungeons & Dragons. Thirty-six years ago – much as changed, and much has not. I guess all these years later, we can be happy that people are still playing D&D and AD&D and other “old school” games. Let’s start the new year by looking at the new year in 1982 in gaming …

Let’s start with the cover, because it’s pretty different from the traditional fantasy fare. We have a woman, maybe modern, knitting dragons (or something like them) onto a blanket  and the dragons are becoming real and flying into the fireplace, all while a strange painting of a man or woman looks on. The tragedy is that I can’t quite make out the signature, and I didn’t see the artist’s name in the magazine.

Update: Nathan Irving writes me to let me know the artist is Dean Morrissey, who provided covers for 16, 18, 28, 60, 84 and 91.

The first big article is “Modern Monsters” by Ed Greenwood. It’s a great article, giving modern (in 1982) vehicles and firearms stats for D&D. The article also goes into some of the pitfalls of pitting “medieval” characters against modern characters. It really all goes to the point that jumping from one reality into another was assumed to be a regular feature by our elders in the hobby. Here’s one insight you might enjoy:

Magic will ultimately determine the fate of an AD&D party in a modern setting. It is the party’s “heavy artillery,” and must be expended with caution, for it is not wholly renewable. Magic users without spell books will be unable to regain their spells.

Lenard Lakofka presents some useful ideas and tables in “Shield and Weapon Skills”, including this insight about shields after he watched some folks from the SCA put on a demonstration of medieval fighting:

Fully 60% of the blows are caught by the shield. Second, a trained fighter who normally uses a broadsword is a much poorer fighter when using a battle axe for the first time. To place these facts in terms of AD&D™ rules, some minor rule changes are proposed. A shield will now give +2 to armor class instead of just +1.

He also presents some rules for determining how long shields last in combat. My favorite scheme is for shields to have to make an item save whenever an attack roll is a natural ’20’.

The tables I mentioned are for determining an NPC’s weapon proficiencies, but they could also be used to determine an NPC’s armaments.

In the “Sorcerer’s Scroll”, one E. Gary Gygax presents some more details about the Greyhawk setting – a good read for those who use that campaign setting.

In “In Search of a James Bond”, Mark Mulkins covers how in a TOP SECRET game one could work for three different operational bureaus at the same time without sacrificing experience points. What Mark covers in three pages I would just hand wave.

Up next is an article I kinda dig called “Random Magic Items” by Pete Mohney. It’s a collection of some groovy little random tables for generating magic items. I’ll generate three of them now:

1) A magic girdle, not cursed, that gives a +1 bonus to all saving throws.

2) An amulet shaped like a double-headed axe that allows the wearer to control animals once per week.

3) A hat that provides a +1 bonus to intelligence – we’ll call it a thinking cap.

If you’re a player of DragonQuest, this issue has an article about magicians by Jon Mattson. Since I’ve never played the game, I can’t comment on the merits of the article.

This issue’s Giants in the Earth covers a couple characters I don’t know – C. J. Cherryh’s Morgaine and Vanye (with art by Jim Holloway) from the books Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan and Fires of Azeroth, Lynn Abbey’s Rifkind from Daughter of the Bright Moon and The Black Flame, and two characters created by Robert E. Howard – Belit and Dark Agnes. Howard. Belit is a Chaotic Evil 10th level fighter in this write-up, though I would probably go Neutral Evil given her devotion to Conan since I conceive of Chaotic Evil as being utterly self-interested.

The special feature of this issue is an AD&D adventure called “The Wandering Trees” by Michael Malone. It is intended for characters level 6th to 9th. The adventure begins thus:

Long ago, so far back that even the elves are not sure when, Termlane Forest was the home of a tribe of tree-worshipping men. These men built a great temple at the heart of The Forest, where they worshipped their mysterious tree-gods.

The adventure concerns a forest of moving trees with only two safe ways through, and a lost temple somewhere in between. It’s a hell of a dangerous forest, so beware. The adventure also includes stakes for the Phooka.

In “Up on a Soapbox”, there are two essays – one by Brian Blume on the problems with playing evil characters in games, and another by Roger E. Moore on the benefits of playing rpg’s with women.

Michael Kluever has an interesting look at “The History of the Shield”. It’s a good primer for those who like to get crunchy. It’s not a short article, and it is well researched with a useful bibliography.

There’s a great insight into 1982 geekdom in “The Electric Eye”, namely the results of a survey regarding to what high tech goodies readers of the magazine had to play with. The results:

  • 46% have an Apple II or Apple II+
  • 38% have a TRS-80
  • 20% have an Atari 400 or 800
  • 9% have a CBM
  • 6% have no computer
  • 6% have a S-100
  • 3% have a North Star
  • 3% have a VIC
  • and 20% have some other computer

The bottom line, apparently was:

Who is the average Electric Eye reader? He’s a 17-year-old male high school student. He has owned a 48K Apple-l I+ with a disk drive, a printer, and a joystick or a paddle set for about a year. He has spent a little over $100 on software, but he mainly either copies out of magazines or does it himself. He reads The Electric Eye for the program listings and reviews, but he is also interested in other facets of computer gaming.

As always, I leave you with Wormy


Hell is for Geniuses

In working on my Blood & Treasure revision, I started thinking today about one of the aspects of monsters that often gets overlooked – intelligence. Starting in AD&D, monsters started getting intelligence ratings, and I think most referees note them and use them to help play a monster encounter, but I wonder whether they really take them into consideration.

Let’s take Hell for an example.

Illustration by Thomas Theodor Heine

Many devils have a high intelligence rating, making them the equivalent of college graduates or even geniuses. A few are super geniuses – and we’re not talking Wile E. Coyote super geniuses, but the real deal – folks smarter than Einstein, Elon Musk and Tony Stark put together. They’re also lawful (evil, but lawful), which means they can work together. Imagine it – thousands of super geniuses working together to create a tech boom in the depths of Hell.

There is some literary precedence for this idea. Milton, in Paradise Lost, noted that the rebel angels used engines of war – possible cannon – in their battle against the Heavenly Host. This was probably an early version of casting “modern” warfare, with its noise and smoke and fire, to our typical vision of Hell, or a Hellish landscape.

We could go a step further, and let the devils in a campaign go full steampunk. What a surprise for high level adventurers, who are expecting the cover to a heavy metal album, and instead enter a nightmarish “World of Tomorrow” when they visit Hell – something more Kirby-esque than classical art. This would also mean that the allies of Hell on the Material Plane would have access to some interesting “magic items” – cannons of course, but also rocket packs, difference engines, steam-powered tanks, etc.

This could make for an interesting campaign, as Hell embraces sorcery and super-science and begins equipping mad wizards and anti-clerics with steam-era technology to conquer the Material Plane, with the adventurers left to discover what this stuff is, how it works, where it comes from and, ultimately, how to stop it. Maybe they’ll need to engineer a rebellion in Hell – the low-order devils against their masters, like something from Metropolis. Or maybe they’ll need to ascend the Seven Heavens and petition the solars and planetars for help in storming the Hellmouth – thousands of aasimars and elves and dwarves brightly arrayed against an undead army that looks like it might have crawled out of the trenches of the First World War!

It could be epic.

Illustration by Thomas Theodor Heine

Dragon By Dragon – August 1979 (28)

It’s August 1979, and you’re standing in front of a magazine rack. Which magazine do you choose?

Well, too bad. I’m not reviewing Playboy (more’s the pity). You’re going to have to be happy with The Dragon #28.

We open this issue with this:

“It is fun to be unique. It is fun to be part of something unique. Sometimes, though, some of us forget just how strange all of this stuff is to the uninitiated. In the eyes of the mainstream of contemporary culture, what we do — play “games” — is decidedly different. Some would even
call it strange …”

Kask ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie. The funny thing is – as much as Gary and Dave’s little game has influence modern video games, those of us who still play the pen & paper varieties are still considered strange. People I work with are always a little surprised – not sure quite how to react – when I mention that I write role playing game books. Interesting to hear in the comments how many of us are “open gamers”.

Well, this issue opens up with a biggee – “The Politics of Hell” by Alexander Von Thorn. Van Thorn has an author page at, and (if it’s him) a Twitter account. If you have any questions about Hellish politics, feel free to contact the author directly.

The first line is: “Author’s note: The following article cannot be considered the official doctrine of either Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or the Roman Catholic Church. However, it is compatible with AD&D, and except for the parts about Asmodeus it is not in conflict with works on demonology as generally accepted by Catholic exorcists, thus enjoying tacit approval by the Church.” You know, just in case you were worried about your AD&D game rubbing the Catholic exorcists the wrong way.

The article pretty much sets up the political landscape of AD&D’s version of Hell, as we came to know it through the Monster Manuals, with Asmodeus on the top of the heap. It also includes stats for Satan, Belial, and Astaroth (with art).

Next, Jake Jaquet presents The Dungeon Master’s Guide – possibly the most useful RPG book ever made. The article is a collection of comments and reminiscences by people who were involved with the project, including Jeff Leason, Len Lakofka, Lawrence Schick, Jean Wells, Allan Hammack, Mike Carr, James Ward, Darlene Pekul and Gary Gygax, in an exclusive interview with The Dragon (I’m sure it was quite a coup to land that interview!)

Up next, Dan Bromberg writes “A Short Course in D&D. This is an interesting article about folks at Cranbrook Prep School setting up a 2 week course in D&D for incoming freshmen. They ended up charging $1.50, plus another $1.50 for low impact dice (the DM didn’t have to pay). The course books were a copy of Basic D&D and the Player’s Handbook. Given the fact that I still find rules in AD&D I didn’t know existed, a course like this might have been useful to me when I was a kid.

Time for some war gaming – “The Cavalry Plain at Austerlitz” by Bill Fawcett. This is a nice description of the battle that pitted the cavalry of Napoleon’s France against Austria and Russia. It is followed up by an article on “Simulating the Cavalry Plain”, also by Mr. Fawcett. He gives a nice overview of the order of battle on both sides, along with victory conditions for each side. Highly useful for folks playing Napoleonic war games.

I didn’t get interested in the Napoleonics until I started reading Military History magazine in college. Now I’m super excited to get GRIT & VIGOR published so I can write up a Napoleonic supplement to it.

Next up – alignment time! Gary Gygax opines on Evil: Law vs. Chaos in “From the Sorcerer’s Scroll”. In this, he defines the characteristics of Chaotic Evil and Lawful Evil … and then let’s Neutral Evil fall where it may. He defines “evil” as the desire to advance self over others by whatever means possible, and always by the foulest means possible (emphasis mine). I like this, because it makes no qualms about what evil characters are in AD&D – they’re villains. They’re not misunderstood, and they’re not necessarily realistic depictions of human beings. Just theatrical villains you can take some enjoyment in beating the crap out of (or in playing, if you’re in the mood to foreclose on orphans and tie maidens to railroads). The Law vs. Chaos element is the desire to create a world ruled by evil vs. evil for its own sake. Now you know.

Dig this ad:

Looks like Judge’s Guild got into computer games early. The only thing I can’t figure is whether or not this was a licensed game. Here’s the article on the game at Wikipedia … and here, apparently, is a clone …

Allen Hammack writes “Six Guns & Sorcery”. If this sounds familiar, you might remember it from the old DMG, where they provided guides for conversions between AD&D and Boot Hill and AD&D and Gamma World. If you need a quick bravery stat, you can use the following:

Subtract the following from 100 for each class:

Cleric: 2 x Wisdom
Fighter and Monk: 1 x Wisdom
Magic-User: 3 x Wisdom
Thief: 4 x Wisdom

Maybe more interesting are the damage dice for some Old West weapons – Derringers do 1d4 damage, other hand guns do 1d8, shotguns do 1d10 and dynamite sticks do 4d6 damage. With these values, I wonder why they were so worried about including firearms in D&D.

Phil Neuscheler now writes “Fantasy Smith’s Notebook”. This was intended as a series of articles concerning the modeling of miniatures for D&D.

“When you have small amounts of cash to start with, you may wish to get adventurer character figures first, and use a substitute for monsters in your miniature games. After all, you will continue to play your own character(s) no matter what kind of monsters you encounter, so you’ll use the character figure more often than any individual monster. Monsters are simply not cost effective.”

The article provides contact information for several miniature makers active at the time. I wondered how many were still in the business today:

U.S. Airfix – I remember these guys making airplane models – maybe snap-together models. They still produce figures, though I’m not sure they have any ancients or medievals anymore.

Archive Miniatures – These guys appear to be defunct.

Garrison (Greenwood & Ball) – Sadly closed for business. Name sounds more like a law firm.

Grenadier – These folks appear to now be owned by Mirliton. Free downloads at the link.

Hinchcliffe Models Ltd – Still alive, but owned by Hinds Figures Ltd.

Heritage Models Inc – now defunct.

Jack Scruby’s Miniatures – there’s a Jack Scruby line at HistoriFigs. Also found a catalog from 1972 at Amazon.

Martian Miniatures – couldn’t find them online.

Miniature Figurines Ltd (Minifigs) – alive and kickin’ with a Tripod site.

Ral Partha Enterprises – still around, and pushing the resurgence of Chaos Wars. I always wanted to get into these minis when I was a kid, but the money just wasn’t there.

Next up is “Armies of the Renaissance – Part IV The English” by Nick Nascati. This covers the Welsh longbow and its importance to the rise of English military power, as well as their deadly combination of bill, pike and musket. They wore less armor than other armies, but appear to have had a high level of discipline. Also notable is the adoption of the red coat in the late 1600’s.

You might remember Lance Harrop from last week’s installment of Dragon By Dragon – this week we’re looking at his “Elvish Tactics in Fantasy Miniatures”. Not surprisingly, elvish tactics are all about speed and maneuverability. Lance gives us the following order of battle:

The light archers, light horse archers and light cavalry are there to harass the enemy. The light archers are protected by the light infantry. The medium infantry are the main line of troops, with the medium archers behind them. The elite heavy infantry are the reserve, and the medium mounted infantry and heavy mounted infantry are fast deployment reserves. The medium cavalry are the shock troops, and the heavy infantry are the elite elvish knights.

As always, Mr. Harrop gives a few notes about elves:

* They use silver to denote rank, not gold
* They do not use red or black leather
* High elves wear blue and white, middle elves green and white, low elves dark green and tan, sea elves sea green and sky blue and dark elves browns and blacks
* Elves are concerned with having a unified front

Next, Gygax sounds off in Up On A Soap Box – in this edition, on manufacturer conventions. You can imagine how fascinating this article is 35 years after it was written.

In Out on a Limb, we present this week’s Great Moments in Nerd Rage:

“This brings me to a point that I didn’t want to write about when I started this letter: spell points. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF FORGETTING SPELLS!!!!!!!” – Mark Jacobs

And in response:

“Gee, it’s always so much fun getting letters from unproven critics who think they have some inner track on “the way of things.” As to what may or may not be absurd, let me say this; if you don’t like it, why give me all of this grief? D&D has always made a point of being nothing more than guidelines for structuring a game, and stating so.”

Oh wait – some more:

“Your argument that healing is too slow is specious, and naive. You obviously have never been in a combat situation yourself, nor have you apparently even participated in something such as the Society for Creative Anachronism’s mock battles.”

God, I love this hobby (and God – I hate this hobby).

We now have another installment of The Voyages of Exploration Ship Znutar. An excerpt:

We have next a full board game by Tom Wham – The Awful Green Things from Outer Space. I won’t go into much detail here – the rules look pretty simple, the game is tied in with Znutar above, and I love that they used to do things like this in The Dragon.

Len Lakofka’s Bazaar of the Bizarre presents Potions of Forgetfulness, Rings of Silence, the Horn of Hadies (their spelling, not mine), the Chime of Warning, the Apparatus of Spiky Owns (a play on Spike Jones, God bless him), Leomund’s Plate and Cup, and a slick little guide for generating random magic-user spell books. To whit:

Jon Mattson now gives us “Level Progression for Players and Dungeon Masters”. This is actually a guide to how many XP players and Dungeon Master’s earn for playing different games. I kinda love this – would be a blast to introduce to the blogosphere. I have to reproduce the level charts:

“Giants in the Earth” time! Lawrence Schick and Tom Moldvay (my hero) give us the following literary giants given AD&D stats:

Leigh Brackett’s Eric John Stark (15th level fighter) – I have to admit, I was bored to tears by the one Eric John Stark book I read; they also include stats for Northhounds (4 HD)

Lord Dunsany’s Welleran (A Lawful Good ghost that possesses anyone who picks up his sword)

James M. Ward now gives us “Monty Strikes Back”. He was the original Monty Hall Dungeon Master, you might remember, who gave out tons of great treasure. This is another story of a game played with many of the early entrants into the hobby.

“We were on a winter level tonight and were far from pleased. It was Friday, one of our usual D&D nights and we were going down into a refrigerated level of Monty’s that we had found weeks before. We had all made fur coats for our figures and most of the group was going down. Robert, Jake, and Dave (I) (Tractics boys through and through) were going down as their 20th level fighters; Brian (a tractics lover too, but a fanatic on Western Gunfight) was going as his 21st level thief/fighter/cleric dwarf; Ernie, Dave (II), and I were going down as wizards of the 18th level (just little guys); Freddie was his stupid high level sword carried by a flesh golem from Jake’s golem squadron; Tom and Tim went as druids (probably because they liked all types of herbs).”

In “The Dragon’s Augury”, we have reviews of Divine Right by TSR, Sorcerer by SPI, and a book, America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World by Barry Fell. Still for sale at Amazon, and four stars!

“The Dragon’s Bestiary” gives us Jake Jaquet’s Slinger. Here are the basic stats in B&T format:

Tiny Magical Beast, Low Intelligence, HD 3, AC 17, ATK 1 spine (1d4 + poison IV), MV 60, F15 R11 W15, AL N, XP 300.

These little buggers, which look like iguanas, can throw their tail spines about 20′. They are vulnerable to fire.

Fineous Fingers, Fred and Charly are stealing a Palantir in this issue.

And that wraps up issue #28. It’s always nice to leave with a song, and since Spike Jones was mentioned …

Cocytus, Hell’s Frozen Heart – Hunters and Titans

Finally. The last of the nine circles. Here are a few previews of the things to see in the final bit of the Hellcrawl, due for publishing in a couple weeks. It includes two of the key components to this circle – the elder titans imprisoned here after the titanomachy and gigantomachy, and one of the four angelic watchtowers meant to provide a last bit of help for those who wish to escape Hell and return to the surface of Nod.

57.52 Hunters: A pack of 13 winter wolves patrol this hex constantly in search of a golden elk that roams Cocytus, a glimmer of hope in an otherwise hopeless place. Adventurers can try their luck as well – the elk is capable of casting the following spells, each once per day: Heal, cure disease, neutralize poison and restoration. The wolves are encountered on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6.

58.50 Clytius: Clytius, the elder titan, was immolated by torches conjured Hecate, and he burns to this day. He is chained to the walls of Cocytus here with adamant links, sending flickering shadows over the frozen hills and moaning in agony. Salamanders caper about him, basking in the warmth and sampling the flesh of the shades roasting in his fires while skewered on pikes. Magical shields and armor tempered in Clytius’ flames grant their wielders immunity to fire for a temporary amount of time. Each day, there is a 1 in 20 chance that the armor or shield loses this new magical property.

CLYTIUS: HD 35 (180 hp); AC -8 [27]; Atk 2 slams (3d6 + 1d12 fire); Move 15; Save 3; CL/XP 40/10400; Special: Flaming aura (60 ft. radius, 1d6 points of damage per round), immune to fire damage, spells as 20th level magic-user and cleric plus at will—change self, commune with nature, cure serious wounds, eyebite, free action, fly, fog cloud, monster summoning VI, produce flame, protection from fire, read magic, remove curse, speak with animals, soften earth and stone, speak with plants, teleport without error, wind wall; 3/day—antilife shell, astral projection, contact other plane, dispel magic, invisibility purge, plane shift.

60.53 Watchtower of the West: Though Cocytus is the very heart of Hell, it is not without angelic influence. The gods of Law, cognizant that the only way for mortals to escape Hell is by being of a non-Chaotic alignment, and knowing how they do the way Hell can prey on a person’s soul and by degrees turn them from the path of Law (or even Neutrality), they established four watchtowers staffed by powerful champions of Law. These angels are in Hell to provide atonement and succor to Lawful and Neutral souls in Hell.

The watchtower is composed of brilliant white quartz and takes the form of a grand tower keep, about 100 feet tall, with pearescent battlements and golden spires that give off a warm, inviting glow. The battlements are guarded by three companies of luminous aasimar, who wear white tunics (no armor) and carry white heavy crossbows, silver glaive-guisarmes and daggers and quivers of twenty +1 crossbow bolts.

Araqiel is the angel of judgment for clerics, and this is his watchtower. Here, Chaotic clerics can turn from the path of wickedness and atone for their past sins, and neutral druids can prepare themselves for the ordeals ahead. Clerics in need of atonement must fast for one week and cast aside their armor, relying until they escape Hell on nothing but their spells.

Phlegethon – Ice Wights, Magic Crowns and Nrogara of the Long Stride

Wow – been a while since I previewed old Phlegethon here. I’m actually now working on Malebolge (not to be confused to Male Bulge, a truly frightening demi-plane of male underwear models), and have my eye on Cocytus. I’m nearly through with Hell!!!

So, here’s four nasty little surprises lurking in Phlegethon …

46.62. Misty Cave: Water from the boiling river flows into a misty cave. One must wade into the cave – the water reaches their waist – and if they do they discover that it is clad in ice. The cave is 200 feet long and quite rugged and twisting. The water in the cave is tepid at first, then chilly and finally slushy at the back wall. In the colder portions of the cave, one sees several corpses (ice wights) embedded in the walls. The back of the cave is solid ice, and within it one sees the leering face of Lucifer. The face gives off a low, rumbling laugh and then a wall of ice forms about 20 feet behind the adventurers. The ice wights break from their confinement and attack the party, attempting to wrest from them their weapons, shields – anything they can get – and then merge back into the icy walls.

ICE WIGHT: HD 8; AC 0 [19]; Atk 1 claw (1d6 + level drain); Move 9; Save 14; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Drain 1 level with hit, +1 or better weapon to hit, immune to cold, merge with ice.

50.66 Tower Keep: A grand tower keep dominates the badlands here. It looks to have suffered little damage over the eons from wandering Vandals, and this is because permanent walls of force screen it from the landscape.

The fortress is composed of the reddish stone of the badlands, set haphazardly with purple moss growing between the cracks. Trickles of reddish water seep from the high, barred windows and form little streams that collect within the area contained by the walls of force, making a reddish moat that is hot to the touch (1d4 points of damage per round).

The fortress has double doors for entry, the doors being made of strips of cold iron bolted to a backing of 10-inch thick black oak. The doors are always kept locked, and murder holes above the doors permit the devils inside to pour boiling red water on those who bother them.

Within the doors, the fortress takes on the aspect of an Escher painting (treat its navigation as a maze, except for the inhabitants). It is the home of Galiffiet, a night hag of tremendous power and cunning. Under her command is a company of giant spiders and a “harem” of six chaotic androsphinxes, the largest and most dominant of them being called Rekur.

Gallifiet seeks her lost lover, Zenrukh, the balor demon who now leads the resistance of “fallen devils” in Hell. Whether she wishes to help or destroy him is unknown.

Gallifiet holds a treasure of 790 sp, 11,110 gp, 320 pp, ten pounds of silver ingots (worth 100 gp), a brass candelabra (worth 4,000 gp) that casts the illusion of the angel of death hanging over one person within its light, a silver pendant (worth 4,800 gp, a gift from Zenrukh) and a golden crown that, when tapped against various materials, summons various evil lords and ladies (15th level each) that must serve their summoner for 1 day.

Base Metal / Thief
Copper / Magic-User
Gemstone / Monk
Gold / Cleric
Iron/Steel / Fighter
Platinum / Antipaladin
Silver / Illusionist
Stone / Ranger
Wood / Druid

55.39 Adamant Fountain: An adamant fountain is hidden away in a deep cave, magenta-colored water pouring from the fountain, through the cave and out into the badlands.

The fountain features a hollow adamant statue of a marilith holding six adamant swords. If struck by a metal object, the sound waves cause the water to drain from the fountain and the bottom descends, permitting folk to enter a strange subterranean prison. When a person approaches the fountain they are attacked by black tentacles (per the spell), which last for 10 minutes.

The prison is a vast labyrinth of corridors an alcoves, the alcoves filled with force cages. The cages contain various powerful undead (corporeal), demons, devils, daemons and demodands.

57.40 Black Avengers: A company of 20 wicked avengers occupies an ancient castle of blue-grey stone. The avengers (Ftr 5; 20 hp each) dress in black cloaks and coats of blackened mail and arm themselves with longswords and longbows. Their leader is a fallen ranger, Nrogara of the Long Stride (Ftr 16; 68 hp), who was bewitched by Amduscias through a strange, cloudy crystal ball he discovered in a wizard’s tower.

The avengers have a treasure of 1,260 sp and 350 gp in a grand, heavily ornamented gold urn (worth 7,000 gp). They also have 8 casks of fine burgundy (12 gallons each, 100 lb each, worth 600 gp each).

This guy has nothing to do with Nrogara of the Long Stride. Absolutely nothing.

60.38 Forgotten Sea God: On the banks of the boiling river, amidst the weeping pines, there is an ancient abbey of pocked, gray stone and roofs of sparkling aquamarines. Within the abbey there is an idol of a forgotten sea titan, muscular and pale, a cloak of silvery fish scales thrown over his shoulder. No priests now throng the idol or drown victims in the sacrificial pool at his feet, and the idol’s missing head and symbol of Dagon engraved in its chest tells the tale as to why. Still, the god’s pool is still inhabited by the souls of the departed, and when the living approach too close, they begin to rise from the waters as brine zombies (1d4 per round for 10 rounds), seeking new souls to join them in the abyss.

The pool leads to a pocket dimension of a wine-dark, salty sea populated by brinze zombies and shadow sharks. At the heart of this seemingly infinite plane there is kept a relic called the Orb of Elemental Water, an orb capable of casting any water-based spell at will and controlling water elemental creatures en masse. It is a powerful artifact, and it is guarded by a monstrously huge hydra whose heads are those of the high priests who once served the forgotten god (his name even escapes them now), each one capable of casting spells as a 12th level anti-cleric.

(Yeah, there are other Orbs in Phlegethon – one of those things that wasn’t planned)

Phlegethon, The 7th Circle

And now we’re into the 7th circle of Hell, Phlegethon. Here’s a preview …

After the crowded, dangerous cityscape of Dis, it’s nice to settle back into the bleak, dangerous wilderness that dominates most of Hell.

Phlegethon is the seventh circle of Hell, wherein the violent are imprisoned for eternity. It is divided into four different landscapes – bleak highlands, the boiling river of Phlegethon, a tangled woodland of despair and a salty desert caressed by rains of fiery flakes.

The only way to enter Phlegethon is by hitching a ride on Geryon, the reigning prince of Phlegethon. The circle is ringed by 10 mile high walls of granite and quartz, at the tops of which is the vast, sprawling city of Dis.

Myriad caves open in these walls, sending the dank waters of the Styx in waterfalls to fall in the highlands, blanketing them with a red mist. The grandest cave, replete with sparkling quartzes serves as the palace of Geryon.

The reddish liquid of the Styx forms streams and rivulets that flow into the boiling Phlegethon, where shades who dedicated themselves to violence in life are anchored to a depth commensurate to the level of their sins. The craggy, damp hills are home to many oozes and fungi, not to mention the minotaurs of Baphomet, medusas of Stheno and Euryale and savage centaurs of Chiron.

The highlands end at the banks of the Phlegethon, where the centaurs patrol in armies, keeping the shades interred in their boiling punishment. Vandals (shades that escaped the Phlegethon) roam the highlands, keeping its cities and fortresses in a constant state of ruin. The highlands ever ring with the clash of sword and shield, so bring plenty of hit points if you’re planning to spend much time there.

Beyond the boiling river is a gnarled woodland of twisted, black trees with human faces. These are the shades of people who committed violence to themselves in life, their bodies twisted into the shapes of trees that moan and grasp at hair and clothing. Harpies and hell hounds pursue the Profligates through these woods.

The innermost landscape of Phlegethon is a desert of life draining salt. The salt wastes are wandered by the blasphemers and userers, who carry their heavy purses chained round their necks. The salt wastes end at miles-high cliffs that overlook the mountains and jungle valleys of Malebolge, the eighth and penultimate circle of Hell.

Dangers of Phlegethon

As with all of Hell, Phlegethon is not entirely welcoming to life. It has several specific dangers to watch for.

Dehydration: The salt wastes of Phlegethon aren’t just bone dry, they suck the moisture out of living bodies. Living creatures must double their normal water intake here or suffer 1d4 points of constitution damage per day. After two days, living creatures feel their tongues swell and lips crack, and they are unable to speak properly (i.e. no more spells boys and girls!). After three days, one’s skin is so dry that it begins to flake off. Movement is reduced to half and salt insinuates itself into open cracks in the skin, imposing a -2 penalty to all attacks and saves due to pain.

Depression: The woodlands are not just dismal, they suck at one’s will to live. Each day in the woods, one must pass a saving throw or be struck by despair (as the crushing despair or emotion spell). Those who succumb to despair become beacons for the monsters of the woods, and subsequently wandering monsters are encountered on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

Phelegethon: The Phlegethon is a boiling river, with flaming oil above and super-heated water below. Touching the water inflicts damage per round based upon how much of one’s body is exposed: 1d6 for a single limb or head, 3d6 for half of one’s body and 6d6 for one’s entire body.

Races of Phlegethon

Phlegethon, like most of the other circles of Hell, is not only inhabited by pitchfork-carrying devils and their victims. Four races known to people of the surface world dwell in Phlegethon, though these races have been changed in many ways by their habitation in Hell.

Centaurs: The centaurs of Phlegethon’s highlands are large creatures, wild and unruly and with blazing eyes. They are immune to fire.

CENTAUR: HD 8; AC 4 [15]; Atk 2 kicks (1d8) or longbow (1d8); Move 18; Save 8; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Immune to fire.

Harpies: The harpies of the dismal woodlands almost have the appearance of angels – porcelain skin, icy blue eyes, white, feathered wings – but marred with a cruel visages and black talons.

HARPY: HD 6; AC 5 [14]; Atk 2 talons (1d6); Move 6 (Fly 18); Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Flight, siren-song, magic resistance (30%).

Medusas: Phlegethon’s medusas have skin as hard and green as malachite.

MEDUSA: HD 8; AC 1 [18]; Atk 2 claws (1d6) and snake bites (1d4 + poison); Move 9; Save 8; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Gaze turns to stone, poison, half damage from non-magical weapons.

Minotaurs: The minotaurs of Phlegethon have the heads of Brahma bulls, as white as snow, and the bodies of gorillas. They are especially cunning, and are immune to mind control and illusion.

MINOTAUR: HD 8+4; AC 4 [15]; Atk Head butt (2d6), bite (1d6) and battleaxe (1d10); Move 12; Save 8; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Never get lost in labyrinths, immune to mind control and illusion.

Lords of Phlegethon

Several archdevils and demon lords make their home in Phlegethon. The great lord of all the circle is Geryon, who dwells above the landscape of Phlegethon and rarely imposes himself on those below.

The master of the highlands is Baphomet, demon lord of minotaurs and wayward crusaders, who fights ceaseless battles against his ambitious rivals – Gorson, Caym and the sisters Stheno and Euryale.

Amduscias claims overlordship of the woodlands, but must contend with Marchosias, the chief of hell hounds, Eurynome, demon prince of ghouls and lacedons, and Ipes, the chief of the hezrou.

The desert is firmly under the control of Moloch, who savages all who would challenge his dominion. His vassals are Gremory and Uvall.

Dis, Grand City of Hell – Bureaucrats!

I have no idea which preview this is, and yeah, I’m just lazy enough not to look.

Today, we’re looking at Spades.

Originally, I had planned on spades being associated with war, but then I realized that Spades was where I had planned to place Pandaemonium, the Parliament of Hell … thus, Spades is the center of Hell’s government … thus Spades is where the most terrifying thing in the universe has to live … BUREAUCRACY!

Within the blocks and quarters represented by the suit of spades are the most terrifying edifices of Hell, where even arch-devils and demon lords fear to tread … the government offices of Dis. Devils are natural bureaucrats, and the city of Dis lays this truth bare to the world. Each block of spades is crammed full of the government offices of one ministry or another. Petitioners find themselves waiting in lines that last for days only to discover they have the wrong paperwork or should be in the adjacent line.

One cannot enter one of these quarters without showing their papers (which they almost certainly will not have). This requires they be guided to a devil that can process their claim for papers, and thus starts the insanity. In essence, the attempt to process any task in one of these quarters is the same as for finding anything in a block of Dis, and the penalty (wisdom damage) is the same.


1. Zombie bureaucrats seeking papers (and brains) (4d6)
2. Amaimon tax collectors (1d8)
3. Azizou demons on inspection (1d6)
4. Iron golems (1d8)
5. Bearded devils on patrol (1d8)
6. Random official and retinue

“My symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” – C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (1942)

A. Nybbas: Nybbas is the demon lord of jesters and charlatans, and he heads up the Ministry of Food & Drink, which is in charge of tasting the food of archdevils and demon lords (they use shades for that) and in arranging entertainments and diversions for the masses of Hell. Nybbas’ quarter is always in an eternal state of misrule and mayhem, and the people here play rough, seemingly getting their ideas for pranks from old cartoons (you know, the funny ones made by our grandparents’ generation).

The quarter is a carnival of capering buffoons and clowns and mad pranksters parading through blocks that may once have looked like a sinister Paris, though it is now a ruin of broken glass, splintered wood and vandalized buildings. Besides the japing shades (most of them were wicked bards, illusionists and jesters in life), the quarter is inhabited by nupperibos and lemures, who work in the diabolical bureaucracy under the direction of dretches.

Nybbas’ gate is a 10-ft. tall red door with a golden knocker in the shape of grotesque jester’s face. Touching the handle on this door sends a 6 dice electrical shock into the person who touches it. The shock acts like chain lightning. Behind this door there is a 10-ft. long tunnel that ends in a second door colored green. When one enters this door, a gallon of alkahest, the universal solvent falls from the ceiling (save or struck by disintegrate spell). Beyond the green door there is a white door; when opened, the first person who opens it is struck by a scalding hot pie in the face (6d6 points of fire damage, plus 1d6 points of damage per round thereafter until the filling is scraped off). Beyond the white door there is a chamber guarded by 1d4+4 rubber chicken golems … okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far. Beyond the white door is the final chamber – a seeming dead-end holding a garishly colored statue of a harlequin pointing at the door through which the adventurers entered. Pulling this finger releases a stinking cloud (as the spell) and, 6 rounds later, causes the entry door to become a gate into the next quarter.

In the center of this madhouse is a grand castle reminiscent of Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein castle, though Nybbas’ looks like it’s been through a tornado. The castle also serves as the ministry headquarters, where 20 companies of nupperibo and lemure bureaucrats do their best to follow the rather chaotic orders of their master. Five companies of red jesters serve as the supervisors of the ministry and Nybbas’ personal guard.

Nybbas appears as a fat man in a comfortable throne flanked by two fiendish giant hyenas. His court is filled with red jesters and shades forced to laugh eternally at stale old jokes and cruel pranks. Everyone entering the room must pass a saving throw each turn or be struck by hideous laughter. Nybbas has a moon-like face, glistening eyes that burn with an infernal passion and thin lips curved into a grotesque smile. He holds a traditional jester’s marotte tipped with a grimacing skull with living eyes.

NYBBAS: HD 15 (80 hp); AC -6 [25]; Atk 1 slam (2d10) or marotte (1d12 + save vs. hideous laughter); Move 6; Save 3; CL/XP 23/5300; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, magic resistance 76%, immune to fire and poison, spells (dream, nightmare, hideous laughter, stinking cloud), summon 1d6 red jesters 1/day.

4. Chadper: Chadper is the Minister of Internal Revenues and perhaps the only demon in Hell more feared by other demons than by shades and mortal visitors. He and his tormentor demons, with their hell hounds, collect the tributes owed to Lucifer, in soul coinage and shades, by the other demons of Hell, down to the lowliest lemure.

The entire quarter is composed of black streets of smooth obsidian and buildings of the same material – all of it seemingly carved from a great block of the material and smoothed as though by burning sands. The only shades in Chadper’s domain are those collected for Lucifer and meant to be doled back out to the demon lords and arch-devils to reward their loyal service. They might be found in long chain gangs heading into or out of the city, but most often are kept in deep, stifling pits awaiting an accounting. These pits are guarded by squadrons of erinyes, who perch on the buildings above, slinging the odd dart or rebuke into the pits to keep the shades quiet. Chadper detests noise, and demands almost complete silence throughout his domain. All communication is by whisper or hand signal, and those who break this commandment are immediately set upon by a squadron of silenced tormentor devils and summarily executed.

The gates of Chadper’s domain are composed of the same obsidian as the rest of the domain, and consist of long tunnels with low ceilings (10-ft.) upheld by rows of pillars (20) carved into the shape of grotesque minotaurs. The gates are completely silenced, and rarely passed through save by captive shades, tormentors carrying back tributes, or demons and devils (including lords) coming hat in hand to beg forgiveness from Chadper and pay their taxes. The gates are guarded by obsidian golems, who merely masquerade as the grotesque pillars. Folk who enter the gate areas can be teleported by Chadper into his throne room as he desires, once per day.

Chadper’s great chancery is an obsidian cube, unadorned, with tiny doorways marked in silver tracery on the ground level of each face. Within are 1,000 joined courts where the tribute of Hell is counted, re-counted, certified and then, by the direction of Lucifer, doled back out. Chadper has no lair, per se’, but merely travels from court to court, accompanied by a squadron of tormentor devil guards, directing the dretches who serve him. He commands 8 companies of dretches and 20 companies of tormentor devils, making him among the most powerful devils in Hell. He can also sic a dozen hounds of Chronos on those defy him or refuse to submit to his summons.

Chadper appears as a faintly glowing angel with a twisted, atrophied face and two large, saucer-like ears that permit him to hear, per clairaudience, anything said in Hell. He wears black robes and a black breastplate and carries a +3 glaive that opens bleeding wounds (1d6 hit points per round until healed) in its victims. Those who die from these wounds rise up as vampires under his control.

CHADPER: HD 20 (101 hp); AC -5 [24]; Atk 1 glaive (3d4+3 + bleeding wounds); Move 18 (F24); Save 3; CL/XP 31/7700; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, magic resistance 35%, immune to fire and poison, spells as 15th level cleric, double damage from sonic attacks and saves at -2 vs. sonic effects, control stirges and vampires, change into death fog (double strength) 1/day, summon 2d4 vampires or 1d4 stirge demons 1/day.

9. Leonard: Leonard, or Master Leonard, is also known as the “Black Goat” and serves as the Inspector General of Hell. His quarter appears to be a place of Renaissance splendor – broad avenues of azure stone flanked by white trees and buildings of peuce and tourmaline with ornamental iron work and gold filigree around the doors. Promenading through the streets are shades dressed in finery, with large, ribboned hats on the women and fine, ebony sticks in the hands of the men. All of these shades are mere illusion, and the buildings, though pretty, are all empty.

Underneath the streets the demons of the Inspector General do their work, in labyrinthine dungeon corridors were every torture known to demon is employed to root out opposition to Lucifer. The practitioners of the torture are 16 companies of azizou, who have a special knack for the work, while another 8 companies of barizou skulk about Dis seeking out disloyalty and inefficiency.

The gates of the quarter are located above ground, and are flanked by an honor guard of 60 manes demons in gleaming, golden armor, with hundreds of pretty, fluttering pennons on long pikes, each one topped by a bleeding, moaning head. The gates are curtains of acid (6d6 points of damage when walked through – save for half – and 1d6 points of damage each round thereafter (for 10 rounds) until neutralized with salt – eats flesh, stone and all metals except silver, gold and platinum). The curtains of acid are drawn aside to allow people to pass when Leonard wants them followed by his geruzou demons.

Leonard’s lair is deep within the dungeons under the streets, in a fortress of solid blue jade (3-ft. thick walls) called the Hall of Injustice. The Hall has many pitfalls and is guarded by a company of mehrim (goat demons). Leonard can be found in a scrying chamber, which allows him, via hundreds of floating crystal spheres, to see through the eyes of all of his servants.

LEONARD: HD 17 (101 hp); AC -1 [20]; Atk 1 touch (save or lose half hit points) or rapier (2d4+2 + 1d6 electricity); Move 18; Save 3; CL/XP 26/6200; Special: +2 or better weapon, magic resistance 85%, immune to electricity, petrification, poison and mind effects, cast spells as 11th level cleric and magic-user, teleport with error 3/day, scry (as with crystal ball) 3/day, summon 1d6 mehrim demons 1/day.

Dis, Grand City of Hell – Asteroth and Natijula

Still plugging away. I’m working on “spades” tonight, which I was going to have revolve around violence, but then got my head out of my butt and realized needed to revolve around bureaucracy. How could I have missed that? Anyhow … enjoy some crazy diamonds.

2. Natijula: This block is as hot as an oven, with brick buildings of bright red, with flint roofs and wrought iron accoutrements that give it the appearance of a Hellish New Orleans. The buildings hold bakeries of hellstoker demons producing ashen loaves and deadly delicacies, café’s that serve scalding coffee and bitter tea and every sort of restaurant and tavern. In the streets there are fire pits on which are roasted stench kows and other hellbeasts. These pits are tended by lemures whose flesh drips into the pits, the fire hissing and sending up gouts of steam that become sinister steam mephits. Zombified shades in silk finery walk the streets selling wine from casks on their backs or giant rats on iron skewers.

The gates of Natijula are tall and composed of ivory-colored stone with steep battlements and blue, conical roofs. The battlements and towers that flank the gates of thick, bluish wood, are defended by a company of anti-paladins sans heads. Behind the gates are hidden a giant ballista, cranked by a stone giant in black platemail and armed with a giant halberd.

Natijula, the self-proclaimed Lady of Agony, is an inhumanly tall woman with an hourglass figure. Her head is bald and she has deep-set green eyes. Her body is covered in golden scales and she wears a classic chainmail bikini and many rings on her fingers and toes. Two massive eagle wings sprout from her back, and she has the ability to take the shape of a roc.

Her “palace” is a great courtyard paved with azure stones and filled with long tables where all manner of demons and devils feast, served by emaciated halfling shades weighed down by iron boots. About 1 hour in 6 is filled with a melee between the demons and devils, always over something trivial, but always fought to the death. Natijula has a deep, abiding hatred for all Mephistopholes (they’ve had dealings in the past), and will do everything in her power to oppose him and his servants.

5. Liro: This quarter is reminiscent of Venice, with many canals of water, Stygian black, cutting through the Renaissance-style buildings of glistening, slick black stone with silver highlights and ornaments; the tarnished domes, the thin bell towers with their black, iron bells that, when struck, cast a deafening silence over the quarter (save or deaf) and their crooked piazzas of spongy stone that spurt blood as one walks over them. Floating above the streets are ghostly shades engaged in a never-ending dance and cavorting in the heady fumes dispatched from great, silver braziers that line the streets and produce no light or heat, only a thick, white smoke that stings the nostrils.

Within the canals there float black lotus that attract ill-tempered sprites, and on great burgundy lilly pads there sit black-fleshed hezrous, fat and self-satisfied, eyes drowsy and glazed, thick purple tongues darting about, capturing screaming sprites and sending them to a terrible death in their bellies.

Leather goods are the business of this quarter, leather drawn from every creature imaginable. Some shops sell the prepared hides, while others fashion them into suits of armor (always of the finest quality), scabbards, boots, saddles, cloaks and other goods. Leprechauns handle most of the fancy craftwork, the other goods being imported from other quarters.

The gates of the quarter are located about 20 feet below the surface of these waters – quite a surprise to those who have entered through a normal gate from elsewhere – and are secured by walls of ice one foot thick. Swarms of giant piranha guard the gates, under the seeming command of the hezrou, who make some effort not to displease the mistress of the quarter.

Liro’s palace is set between three of these canals, giving it a triangular shape. It is the most imposing building in the quarter. It is a gracious affair, though much of that grace is robbed of the place by the tempestuous behavior of Liro. Liro is a short, elegant, petite demoness with dark, ruddy skin that is slightly scaled around the hands, feet, shoulders, neck and eyes. Her eyes are teal in color and appear to be looking directly into the eyes of every person within 30 feet of her (even those behind, who see her as facing the other direction). She wears only a cloak of tiny, triangular gold panels and a diadem of gold and pearl. She is surrounded by a pall of the same stinging white smoke that issues forth from the braziers on the streets, though this acts as the death fog spell. Liro is always accompanied by a guard of chittering rubinous xaocs, visitors to Hell who find it entirely too stifling and staid for their tastes.

J. Astaroth: Astaroth is a prince of Hell, and through the markets of his quarter flow spices, narcotics and other such substances sought after by the manors of the demon lords and arch-devils. Astaroth’s quarter is a maze of zigzagging corridors between ziggurats of iron and marble, atop of which pit fiends on thrones of fire roar defiance to the assembled masses of bearded devils who cluster at their feet.

The streets are lined with walls covered with blue tiles and mosaics of serpent people, demonic lions, pit fiends and great battles between devils and demons, all with the bodies of mortals trampled beneath them. Alcoves are set into these walls wherein sit wrinkled, pot-bellied shades wrapped in tattered, dusty azure robes. Before them are spread shallow wicker baskets filled with all manner of herbs, spices and narcotics. Anything you could want, at tremendously high prices, though they will sell almost anything for a drop of a person’s blood. Mangy camels covered with oozing sores, some with leathery bat wings, are led through the dusty streets, laden with goods from the world above, or with the bodies of shades in need of correction and punishment. The everpresent buzz of fly demons can be heard above, the demons swarming over the streets and sometimes swooping down to pluck up a shade, camel or traveler for a quick meal (i.e. 1 in 6 random encounters is with 1d8 fly demons).

The streets are patrolled by scorpion demon magistrates, on the lookout for double dealing and a cut of the proceeds of the shades’ business. They serve Astaroth as his enforcers in his quarter, keeping the spice lords (there are several) under control. Among them are Tizu the hezrou who controls the opium trade, Mosheveti the marilith who controls the supply of saffron and white pepper and Vucarik, the pit fiend who controls the flow of honey. These lords dwell in the ziggurats with their retinues.

The gates of Astaroth’s quarter are numerous, though most of them are false. Finding a gate in this quarter can always be accomplished in 1d3 hours of travel, but only 1 in 4 found gates is genuine. False gates drop people into deep pits lined with burning coal, where they are roasted alive. All of the gates are guarded by twin sirrush and a company of bearded devils armed with mancatchers and heavy crossbows that fire spiked spheres. When these spheres hit a person, they discharge an electrical shock that deals 1d6 points of damage and paralysis for 1d6 rounds (save to negate).

Astaroth dwells in the largest of the quarter’s ziggurats, one surrounded by a moat of mercury (those passing over must pass a saving throw or lose 1d6 points of wisdom and suffer confusion for 10 minutes). Within the ziggurat there is a grand palace of chambers thick with painted columns and deep pools of icy water inhabited by bound water elementals which Astaroth can shape into the form of beautiful women who dance seductively for the arch-devil and his court of pseudo-intellectuals. Astaroth commands three squadrons of inquisitor demons (xxx), five companies of scorpion demons and ten companies of bearded devils. Astaroth is mounted upon a wolf-headed black dragon so ancient it may predate Hell itself.