Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pahvelorn - Sessions X, XI & XII - A Real Sewer Party


A Deer-Man from some cartoon.
 This adventure was played over the course of three sessions and was a resounding success for the party, though it's unclear if the rescue of the an avatar of the creepy lizard god is a good or bad thing.  It was however clear that leaving anyone in the hands of a deer demon worshiping human mutating warlock would be a bad thing.

After the party, consisting of two priests (Saren the Contemplative, and Tarvis, who Smites), two warlocks (Higgans, the sinister and Satyavati, the dabbler and a former Ratcatcher and Thief (Beni Profane) returned from the buried city of Pahvelorn with a load of plundered goods - the stockpiles of a mage likely transformed into a tentacled horror of some kind by his own thaumaturgical overreaching.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monster Monday - Corvus Rex

Partially inspired by a petty God of Assassins I recently had cause to make up for my Rat Catcher in Pahvelorn, with a few additions from the Samurai movie "Onibaba" - the Corvus Rex, Crow King or Burning Medicine Spirit, is a powerful monster designed to present a trick or plot advancement rather than an enemy to combat.  Though setting one on a character who has betrayed someone spectacularly or finding one in a locked room of a sinister assassin cult would be perfectly reasonable.
No Enc. 1
Movement: 40'
Armorclass:0 + Special
Hit Dice:8
Attacks: 2 or Special
Damage:1D8 + Special +Poison
Save: CL 6
Hoard Class:None

The Corvus Rex - also known as a Crow King, Raven's Vengeance, Betrayer's Wight or Burning Medicine Spirit is a manifestation created by the psychic pollution of betrayal.  In addition to being creatures called into existence by terrible acts of betrayal Corvus are a weak avatar of the animal spirit "The Beaked Stranger", in its guise as god of assassins.  Each entity appears differently, wearing the guise (and body) of a victim of betrayal who was later devoured by crows. This limited set of circumstances lead to Corvus Rex most often forming in the aftermath of great battles, where one side has won through deceit, and most crow kings have the outward appearence of an officer or soldier of a defeated army.  Other Crow Kings appear as those who have died by execution and been left on the scaffold for the crows to devour.  In any case these spirits manifest when the shock and hatred of the betrayed victim is so strong that the crows feasting upon him have no choice but to carry the word of injustice to their carrion herding god. 

More Doodles.

Really I must finish some content here.  It's real life intruding on my active fantasy life I tell you - intruding something brutal.

Here's the last bit of work I did for Patrick over at Henchman Abuse.  I expect there may be some time for posts come mid November, assuming things don't get real scketchy.

ASE II Contains new spells!
Player Handouts for Mysterious Discoveries!

Crude Maps drawn by Other Adventuring Parties!
I have so much else I want to share, and so little time - Well I should be putting up a long overdue Pahvelorn play report, and maybe some thoughts on combat customization and/or random wilderness encounters

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spirits of Order

Here's another monster my players managed to avoid aboard the Apollyon.
Bureaucratic Specter
No Enc.
Hit Dice:
Hoard Class:
1 + Special
1D8 + Special
CL 8

Places of bureaucracy are often cold and stuffy, filled with a certain oppressive feeling, and this is no accident.  Within the dusty halls of records, scriptoriums, courts and tax levy offices mortals dreams and hopes are destroyed through the remorseless process of regulation and routine.  The ceaseless, route toil of officials and clerks slowly create an intense psychic power, such is this power that it sometimes manifests itself, and a free flowing wraith of hateful despair begins to coalesce, usually in and around the meticulous records kept within depositories and bureaus.

This energy does nothing but cause unease and slowly harden the hearts of those who come into long term contact, at least until it has an empty vessel to center its manifestation on.  When a person dies within the domain of a bureaucratic specter, that person's soul becomes the focal point of the free floating energy of the creature.  Within the unmoving shell (most often a bureaucrat who died at his or her post) holds the immense power of the specter and can project it through the precincts of the office.  The body becomes a dry, mummy like husk, almost always sitting upright in a well worn chair.  Specter treasure often consists of both the belongings of those it has killed and valuable items of a bureaucratic nature such as official weights, seals and signets or items originally meant to make the specter's surroundings appear majestic, such as valuable tiling,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Really Busy These Days

Below is a final drawing I prepared for Pat's ASE II, depicting the major factions of ASE Level 3.  Hingehead, Moktar, Gillman and Goblin, taking a break atop a pile of pipes.

I should also note that I am extremely busy with my job these days, so it's unlikely much will be going up in the next week or so.  I'll try to put up a few tables and play reports, but can't promise much.

Also ApisFurioso, from Pilgrim's Guide to Zeitgeist is running a pretty cool sounding ASE campaign using a party of space adventurers from a Sci-Fi future.  What's really cool is that he decided to use my Red Demon small adventure as the jump off point for the world of the Thousand Towers, and got his party to pull sick rock and a map to ASE from the derelict war machine.  Check out his play report here!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ghouls, Ghuls and Ghola

So recently Will over at A Wizard's Kiss had a cool idea about creating variants of monsters - specifically ghouls.  Check out his post here for what is an all around good blog.

Because I am lazy I am stealing his idea - not his ghouls, but putting up a list of my own five, because I realized I have a bunch of different ghouls in my game.  All use the basic ghouls statline, though the last two are tougher (4 of 5 HD undead). 
Ghuls - or something from one of the Mummy movies

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Things found amongst the loam and dust of the Certopsian Plains

So next Thursday is the 2nd go at ASE Google+.  I'm excited so I made a table of random stuff to be discovered while wandering through the grass and cracked dirt sea of the Certopsian Plains...

Moebius I'm pretty sure...


Monday, October 15, 2012

Animated Furniture - a Monstrous Monday Item

This thing looks like it'd come to life...
I created a mess of this stuff for an area of the HMS Apollyon that was overrun by an NPC party and never saw players, but I've also used it as an enemy for more ASE home-group.  The statistics below aren't really meant to stand in for any particular type of animated furniture so it's a bit limited in contextual information.


Metal Hardwood Light Wood
No Enc.
Hit Dice:
Hoard Class:
12 (automaton)
12 (automaton)
12 (automaton)
*Special – Immune to Normal and Silver Weapons (+1 better to hit)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

HMS Apollyon - Devils aboard the Apollyon

If you don't recognize this...
Devils are strange creatures, they've always been one of my favorite villains, even when I was a kid with the Monster Manual I. They're wholly obviously evil, powerful, and alien - yet they are orderly, intelligent, willing to negotiate and even polite.  Perfect bad guys in a way.  Still, I started playing D&D in the 80's and the "Satanic Panic" still makes me uncomfortable playing with Devils involved (My Clerics never use crosses either) - I was raised agnostic, but I don't want to step on my players' religious sensibilities by messing with their real life cosmology - hence it feels hard to use Devils.  The problem is compounded in the Apollyon setting, which is both explicitly apocalyptic (It's in the name even!) and inhabited by what are effectively sorcerers in league with extra-planar forces of order (mostly Devils). Sure I call them Batezu (not Bateezu), but what we're talking about here are the nomenclature of hell, returning exiles of heaven, the bowed army, the apparatchiks of the pit. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

HMS Apollyon - Session XI - The Eelman Connection

The Desperate and Foolhardy Adventurers 

Quartle(Th/MU3) , Frogling water elementalist and former junkyard owner, with his familiar the Steam Beaver.
HENCHMEN: Pincip, Pikeman of Argos (Lvl 1 Fighter)

Elsjinn (Monk 6) - Tiny martial artist and diplomat.

Sir the Fist of Uther (F5/MU5/C5) - A juggernaut of AD&D

Semm (C4) - Hammer of Victory, HMS Apollyon's newest shrine owner

Gimili (D6) - A Dwarf with a secret and infernal enemy

Vorning Vess (E1) - Necromancer recently returned from holiday, owner of a grenade launcher

Would you cross this to get at a dead guy's stuff?

Their Monstrous Victims

8x War Dead Zombie Thralls
1x Something Else Dead and formerly in a top hat

Thursday, October 11, 2012

HMS Apollyon - Merrowmen as a Character Class

A typical Merrowman, with bio-sword
Recently, after several sessions of lead in, the party has managed to smuggle a pitiful remnant of the once threatening Merrowman tribe that hunted the rust vault back to the relative safety of Sterntown.  The creatures - The Shaman Red Bones, 14 Merrowman hunters, 1 Merrowman warrior and 34 Merrowmen juveniles/noncombatants (Merrowmen gender is only apparent to Merrowmen and they are an egalitarian lot) disappeared into the cavernous basements of the Rustgate's vice queen "Madam Introuvibibi" in exchange for her sponsorship of the adventurers as productive members of Apollyon society.

Still this is an ancomplishment, and while there are currently less than a hundred of the creepy little eel things, their numbers will grow, and their strange flesh-melding magics are a powerful force, added to the arsenals of Sterntown's underworld.  On a lighter note, if someone wants to roll up one of the little creepers they can now.  It should be noted that these humanoids started as goblin equivalents and share many traits with their more common cousins.

As a game matter I am excited to introduce these creatures as a class, they have become "important" to the dungeon ecology of the Apollyon by player choice, and not my own.  When I introduced them I figured they would be creepy goblins - they are stated as such, but there trapped lair and mutagenic technologies apparently made player's interested in them.  They have suffered a cruel fate, being the most alien and weakest enemy for NPC parties to pick on - but through a combination of the misguided player view that leech goblins are cute, and player hatred of certain NPC adventurers the Merrowmen survive and prosper as indentured servants of some dangerous Sterntown factions.

Below is the class as I intend to play it:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

HMS APPOLYON - State of the Ship - Pre Session XI

Map of Deck 9 of a Dubious Nature
Last Session ended in triumph, with a force of War Dead defeated and zombie parts scattered around the buried vault.  There are still tasks undone, in order of perceived importance/reward they are:
A)Make good on your debt to Madam Bibi, bring back her Merrowman "contractors" or find something else to offer her.
B)Figure out where that force of undead came from - and if there are more - beyond the Merrow Dens seems plausible. 
C)Explore some other part of the ship - the elementally potent Supply area North of the Auxillary Power, or the 10th deck.  This of course is in service of either the goal to find a way to the Deck 7 workshops or simply for plunder. 
One Shot Fallout - A One shot with a party of ringers including Sem and Sir recently brokered the 'return' of a Batezu lord's grandson from uptown.  This leaves loose ends.
A)Mhalchris the Batezu has sent a letter and wants to offer you a train ride for a favor - no stings attached...
B)Some neauvo rich family called the "Slankets" is putting around that they have a deed from a piece of the old Haldivar family property in Uptown.  They need to hire someone to have a firm talk with some elderly retainers that refuse to leave.

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Mega-Dungeon Thoughts

Occassioned by a very strange HMS Apollyon Adventure played on G+ last weekend, and a controversial view of a well known Megadungeon by one of my players aboard the HMS Apollyon.

Not a solution to Boredom
I've been running the HMS Apollyon as a "living" mega dungeon for various groups of G+ players (mostly the same 10 or so folks) and my players seem to generally enjoy it.  I've been wondering why, based on my desire to become a better GM generally, and to keep the setting interesting.  Lately a couple of interesting sessions have occurred that have provided me some potentially useful thoughts about mega dungeon design, elaborating on the post here regarding my general thoughts on the whole megadungeon phenomenon. These thoughts perhaps came to a head yesterday when one of my players said some unflattering things about a major and well respected megadungeon project.  An argument that I have no interest in rehashing or involving myself in having not read the dungeon in question, respecting its author and having heard completely contrary opinions of the place from others who've played it. I also think I should respect my player's opinion on what he thinks is fun, these are all games after all.

HMS Apollyon - Grimore, Hammer of the Damned.

Hammer of the Damned – Grimoire

Bound in cracked rust colored skin, most likely from one of the denizens of the planes of punishment, this volume is partially filled with the liturgy of an extinct cult devoted to eliminating the presence of Outsiders from the material plane. It is bound with an ornate gold lock, which someone has taken a hammer to in the past. Likewise the embossed sigils on the cover have been carved at to distort them and eliminate any trace of magical protection they may have offered.

The grimoire once contained a wealth of spells, but many pages have been ripped out, scribbled over or partially burnt. I currently contains only the spells listed below, but the fragmentary documentation of other spells can be used to gain a 20% bonus to the research of spells dealing with extra-planar entities with a successful intelligence check.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Google + ASE - Session 1 - Learning a Few Lessons

A decision to embark on a life of adventure driven by destitution and the social collapse of brewing war, the adventurers marched to the nearest ruin, an ancient pre-fall tower of cherry red ceramicrete that most recently was home the a skull crushing Wizard/warlord named Johnny Two-Bad who was apparently killed by the City State of Denethix's armies 30 years prior.

Art by Gex - from a comic title Mute Tower

The Certopsian Situation - Available Forces (Cavalry/Special Forces 1)

Priestess of Fleck.
The following are the cavalry forces within the Fist, 3rd Expeditionary, beyond Checkers and Dr. Benway, that a cunning party will be able to suborn into leaving their posts and joining the scramble for gold.  Included is the name of the, unit, the type of unit, their numbers, statistics for their leaders and rank and file, the share they will demand of treasure and a description.

1. Bluto and Company - Flying Monkeys, Light Cavalry** - 1 Serjeant, 8 Troopers - 3 Shares

Bluto (Flying Monkey 3) STR 15 INT 11 WIS 6 DEX 16 CON 12 CHR 13.  AC 4 HP 14, ATK 1, DAM 1D3/by Weapon, MV (50'/30' Fly), ML 8.  gilded scale mail, scimitar(1D6), 2 large revolvers (6 Shot+2D10 bullets) (1D8/2Atk per)
Trooper (8) (Flying Monkey 1) AC 5, HP 4, ATK 1, DAM 1d3/by Weapon, MV (50'/30' Fly), ML 6. scale mail, scimitar(1D8), carbine(1D6); 2D10 + 5 bullets  [30'/100'/200'].
* Flying, may attack flying enemies and can scout as if on raised terrain at all times.
** Inconspicuous, Unlike many flying units Flying Monkeys are mistaken for birds on a 4 in 6 when seen from a distance and scouting or moving.

Bluto and his band were recruited by a detective thaumaturge who was killed only a few weeks later.  He and his monkeys have since stayed on, despite a lack of a wizardly master, because they have nowhere else to go.  They are extremely unhappy having lost most of their troop in desperate actions to fight off  mutated pterodactyls and pterosaurs riders many times tougher than them.  Bluto is a gruff monkey but charismatic of average intelligence (fairly high for a monkey) and a sluggish curmudgeonly demeanor, he's brave and loyal normally but recent events have worn him and his troopers down to the point where a big score and flight seem a great option.

If sutibly impressed by the magical powers of his new business partners Bluto's natural monkey magiphilia will come to the fore and he may be talked into only a single share as a reward.  His troops are good ranged skrimishers, and can hover out of melee range for up to 10 rounds.  They are hit and run fighters though, and despite their general willingness to fight and will flee determined attackers.  As scouts they have the distinct advantage of flight (slow clumsy flight) and can spot terrain features, hex contents and other forces as if they were on a hill at all times.  They are visible when doing this, or moving, as all flying units are, but will often be mistaken (4 in 6) for large birds.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ASE Pregens for slackers/replacements

ASE Pregens - In Case somebody Dies or Forgets a character

Bluto Slanket (F1)
HP 8 AC 4
Former Mold Farmer
Excels at drinking gams

14 STR +1
10 INT
5 WIS -2
13 CON +1
12 DEX
12 CHR
Long Sword, Splintmail, Helmet, Bec De Corbin (Polearm), 3 Hand Axes,
30' Rope, Grappling Hook, Lantern, 2 Flask of Oil

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

HMS APOLLYON - SESSION X - Chariots of Hellfire

The Desperate and Foolhardy Adventurers 

Quartle(Th/MU3) , Frogling water elementalist and former junkyard owner, with his familiar the Steam Beaver.

Elsjinn (Monk 3) - Tiny martial artist and diplomat.

Sir the Fist of Uther (F5/MU4/C5) - A man-thing of many talents.

Sem (C4) - Hammer of Victory, HMS Apollyon's newest shrine owner

Henry (Muder Ballad Boy 2) - Hardbitten delinquent and human gun show.

HENCHMEN: Pincip, Pikeman of Argos (Lvl 1 Fighter) , Krang the Unknowable, Former Dinosaur Hunter (Lvl1 Fighter)

So much mayhem, in service of more mayhem
Their Monstrous Victims

1 x  Flamethrower Corpse Chariot.
22 x War Dead Zombie Soldiers.


Monday, October 1, 2012

HMS Apollyon - The Taxonomy of the Dead


Corpse Chariot

No Enc. 1-2/(1-10)
Movement: 30'
Hit Dice: 6 -10
Attacks: 2 or Special
Damage:Claw (1D12)/Claw(1D12)
or Special
Save: CL 8
Hoard Class:
XP:920 - 2400

Corpse Chariots, War Machines or Animated Corporeal Amalgamations are a  form of undead colony.  These creatures arise from several co-mingled consciousness anchored to a single object.  In almost every case these undead colonies are anchored to pieces of siege weaponry.  It is unclear if the reason undead cannon are common is because the colony began with the souls of the weapon's crew who died at their posts or if colonies directed by more intelligent undead are herded to form around and animate abandoned weaponry.