27 March, 2012

Map Discovered in Castle Nicodemus

This map wasn't actually found last night, during my regular Monday night game. It was found in last week's game, by Dodekatheon, Priest of The Spider God. He discovered it on the marble desk where Darf the Dwarf cut off his own hand to save his life from poison; poison injected by a needle hidden in the top drawer handle of a marble desk; a marble desk with accompanying ancient, worn down marble chair, so old that the centre of the desk is worn a full half inch low by the passage of hand, pen and paper.

Those present were quite sure the map had not been there when Darf's extremity was removed. Neither does it have any blood on it, as do the other parchments on the desk. Furthermore, it bears words in what can best be interpreted by the discoverers as some obscure variation of Anglo-Norman. All the other papers are written with Devolved Morvalian.

Therefore, how did this map come to be present on this desk, in this room? What does it indeed map? What connexion might it have with the elusive spearman? When pursued, the spearman fled down a long, waterlogged, subterranean passage. The passage forked. Where did the spearman go? Who is he?

In last night's game, none of these questions were answered. However, another question, one which our harried vagabonds had not even asked, was answered in full. A matter of weeks in The Lands We Know amounts only to a matter of days in this extrinsic realm of Anglia, wherein Nicodemus lies.

The protagonists had more earthly concerns, of course. The Southern Gatehouse remains cleared of all but the rats. The goblin Ug, beetling away in the subterranean foundry, had not the time to yet complete the mechanism which will hopefully replace Darf's hand. Fap, the she-goblin, had no skill in smithing. Ug was amenable to the impending passage of his loyalty from Darf to Philip the Bloody; after all, Philip is an obvious wizard, and one of clear and decisive mien.

19 March, 2012

Another Adventure Location for Anglia/Nicodemus

Back around 1992 I worked up an adventure locale for my players to work on after they had completed the Mask of Power campaign (a name for it that I only just now invented.) I never considered the term 'campaign' to include the idea of rolling up new characters or playing in a new setting. It was just The New Thing for whenever they got done with The Old Thing.

Well, I moved away, as did some of my players, before we got to finish The Old Thing, so this locale was never visited. It's still there in my milieu though. Somewhere. Waiting. Here, in much-vaunted bullet point style, are the main things about Castle Kirwan.
  • Located in a different world than Anglia/Nicodemus, but accessible from there via Ancient Morvalian gateway.
  • The normal animals of the world, such as mammals, reptiles, etc., are all hexupeds as opposed to our common Earthly quadrupeds.
  • Psionics!
  • The world is loosely based on Klah from the first two or three Robert Asprin Myth books.
  • Other than humans, all the monsters in this world are from the Fiend Folio. However, not every monster in the FF is present in the world. The most common bad-guy species is norkers.
  • Castle Kirwan itself is exactly as seen here, above to the right.
  • The noble family in residence are unwitting shadows of the Royal Family of Amber from the Zelazny novels.
  • The environs of the castle have a distinct Russian feel.
  • A massive war roughly two generations ago left behind huge battlefields where the skeletons of the dead lie beneath the surface. Cue high-level Animate Dead spell.
  • Seventh Son of a Seventh Son by Iron Maiden.
  • NPCs include The Veteran of a Thousand Psychic Wars and his faithful manservant Igor.
  • The Russian Tarot, as shown below.

One of the influences for coming up with all this was my love of piroshkis back then. Specifically Igor's frozen piroshkis, which is all I could get where I lived, but they were awesome. I can't find them now. All I can find are these damn hot pocket things, which pale horribly in comparison. Anyway, you can get piroshkis in the environs of Castle Kirwan. Dammit.

15 March, 2012

My Take on Sigil

Planescape continues to interest me, and if you look far enough you can get there from Castle Nicodemus.

My Sigil is a place of wonder and amazement. My Sigil is a place of disillusionment and horror. You will not find priests and priestesses there energised and fresh from afternoon tea with their deity. You may, however, find clerics who seem to stare blankly through you, and who never say a word.

There is no vast wilderness where a hexcrawl will eventually take you from Asgard to Olympus to Gahenna. There is no miles-high spire of rock with a spinning cheerio at the top. There is, though, a great and ancient archway which holds a door of iron 101 cubits high, and which bears the words "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate."

In fact, you will never see the 'outside' of Sigil's massive toroid. Assuming an outside even exists, in it you would find yourself outside reality, and it would shred your mind.

Sigil is not the true name of the city. This moniker refers to the symbol which stands for, or perhaps spells its true name. Only one individual in all the multiverse knows the word for which this glyph stands, and to speak it is to grasp the fate of the City of Doors. This is The Lady of Pain.

14 March, 2012

Some Grot Things

It's been over a week since megasuperGMSunday, and I still haven't gotten up the promised and requested TPS Report. I will. Really.

Not right now though. Right now, it's another list of stuff about the Grot setting I'm working on. There's a label thing you can click on over there to see all of them so far.

  • Lord Vitus is the master of the isolated fortification known as The Morgus. He is a cambion who dances from foot to foot when he becomes excited or agitated. He has, however, no sense of humour. The pile of decomposing jesters can attest to that.
  • The most intelligent denizens of Grot would pale at the suggestion that The Gods actually exist, but none can deny the inexplicable and unpredictable appearances of the being known only as Mr. Scratch.
  • On the continent of Cenobus, in the Fortress of Necron, there still exist those who practice the ancient arcane art of Pupatic Vivification as detailed in the Simulacracon. The resulting Arcano-Automatons are not to be trifled with.
  • A great deal of the wilderness is overrun by briars. Most are animate, antagonistic, and filled with horrific faces.
  • The seas of Grot consist of a widely varying miasmic pus, the effluvia of unseen ulcerations below the surface. The hulls of boats are made of glazed brick or queer iridescent glass to prevent destruction by the corrosive fluids. Sailors learn quickly to stay away from the rail or be consumed by the often animate swells.

03 March, 2012

More Nicodemus Things

More stuff about Anglia, the part of the world where Nicodemus Castle sits. Lurking. Like a toad in a hole.

  • Cathedrals in Freeport are enormous and Gothic. The biggest is dedicated to Odin, but has transepts devoted to Thor, Freya, Frigga, and others.
  • It is possible to find wizards who use learning and casting methods unlike your own.
  • The prevailing political system is a remnant of feudal nobility. There are Dukes and Barons, but not all of them own land. Those that do aren't necessarily in possession of serfs.
  • The largest town in the North is Cooperton-on-Wythern. It's on the Great North Road, several days travel north of Freeport.
  • Goblins often wear enormous hollowed pumpkins, with only their arms and legs sticking out.
  • Rumours out of the Northeast claim there is a secret monastery hidden away far into the mountains, dedicated to some ancient God. It is said the monks cut off a part of their bodies.
  • The dark blue and shadowy mountains are a place of mystery and trepidation. Few venture there by choice. Dwarves are rumoured to go about in the dim daylight there.
  • The theme for the elves, and their part of the forest, is Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.
  • Travelling Priests and priestesses of Thor are often seen as respected counsels in villages. It would be highly irregular for such a cleric to hide their calling, even if inconvenient.
  • There are more cloudy days than clear days. Rain and snow are plentiful.
  • It's common for people to confuse hobbits with leprechauns.
  • The Northlands are rife with banditry and highwaymen.
  • Ruins of the Age of the Wizard Kings are a relatively common sight around the countryside. Rumours persist that 200 years past, Freeport was built on top of such ruins.
  • It is common knowledge that orcs and goblins worship various demons and devils. Orcs may, in fact, be named after one of them.

20 Questions

I originally posted this a while ago on the Castle Nicodemus devoted blog. I've since decided not to bother with keeping a separate blog for it - kinda dumb. Thus, I'm re-posting it here.

Thanks to Brendan at Untimately! Here are 20 rule questions that are bound to come up at some point, and the way I will answer them for Nicodemus games.
  1. Ability scores generation method? 3d6 in order, no adjustments. Str, Int, Wis, Con, Dex, Cha.
  2. How are death and dying handled? At zero the player rolls on Trollsmyth's Death & Dismemberment Table. They will keep rolling on it anytime they're hit until they're above zero, usually with a negative modifier the same as their hits.
  3. What about raising the dead? No NPC in the area can do it. Try hauling them elsewhere.
  4. How are replacement PCs handled? Play an NPC for a while, or roll & arrive.
  5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Group, 1st round determines all. Chainmail weapon classes determine melee order.
  6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? Crits yes, on a 20 if you also roll max damage. Fumbles are generally rp'd via imagination and circumstance.
  7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? Can sacrifice for a head crit.
  8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly? Yes.
  9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? Be willing to run.
  10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no? Yes.
  11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? Yes. Be smart.
  12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? Usually no big deal. Don't push it.
  13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time? Gain a level right away. All spells after starters must be found in some way, including within the party. Also counts for clerics.
  14. What do I get experience for? Treasure, monsters, carousing, session reports.
  15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? Either works. Description can be more effective.
  16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? Yes, OD&D rules.
  17. How do I identify magic items? The Gypsy Lady will identify for 250gp.
  18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? The Gypsy Lady occasionally has potions for sale.
  19. Can I create magic items? When and how? OD&D rules. Can't really be done in the field.
  20. What about splitting the party? Caveat emptor

02 March, 2012

GM Day

SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!! It’s the first annual GMs Day Games! March 4th at the Nicodemus Coliseum and Arena. MONSTERS!! NITRO-BURNIN’ WIZARDS!! It starts at 10 AM Eastern, but it goes TIL ALL THE PLAYERS ARE DEAD! No reserve seating, tickets are free! You can have the whole seat, BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE!!!

go to CoopStuff.com for awesome stuff!
Running all day Sunday on G+ Hangout, for as long as I have players, with a break in the middle while I go play Barry Blatt’s Tekumel. Bring your flailsnails characters and come and go as you please. Join anytime and stay as long as you like.