Lazy Worlds & Settings

For May’s Fanzine I needed something to fill the gap between when the previous adventure ended and the adventure featured in that issue started. With the recent posts about Lazy GMing I decided to take the lazy way out but it had some interesting spin-offs.

I started with a suggestion along the lines of have the characters do a few random encounters between adventures. I then thought, I hate random encounters why am I saying this?

I then came up with a table with ten entries and three columns for a person, a action and a motivation. So three dice rolls creates a stub of an adventure or a scene for the characters to walk in on. This seemed good. The results would be something like Farmer + Accuses + Murder but most GMs could work with that. The person column went from Village Elder to homeless beggar. So we had 10 people x 10 actions x 10 motivations for 1,000 possible random things going on in a village.

I not got a bit enthusiastic about this. These are so open to interpretation that they could be hack and slash encounters…

Farmer: You killed by son now I am going to kill you!

(farmer hefts his scythe and advances)

Player: I prepare Shockbolt

Or they can be nice situations to role play out. The random event, of itself, does not impose a play style.

For the GM a plot hook or random event is not really much help if they have been told role play an entire village or string of villages.

Random Villages

Using the same basic mechanism of 3x1d10 rolls I produced a table with three columns. The first was the first half of the village name, the second the last half of the village name and the last the villages primary industry. I thought primary industry was important. Once you know that it is easy to imagine all the supporting industry. If the place is known for leather working then the farmers are likely to have plenty of cows. Leather requires stitching and that requires thread. Already, we have fields of cows, a tannery, possibly old folk spinning thread in the village square. Where there are cows there are butchers. We can now start to give the players a picture of village life and give people employment.

The really curious thing was how I filled in the first two columns, the name.

I seem to be developing a bit of a thing for east Asian culture for fantasy. Here is a short list of things that I think are almost universally cool in RPGs. Himalayan style mountains, Tibetan style monks, Genghis Khan style hordes, Kung Fu Monks, Jungles, Ninjas, Pirates, ‘Lost Temples’ and finally dragons. All of those are features of this Asian culture. It also breaks the mould a bit of traditional fantasy being almost exclusively medieval European in style.

What you lose in moving away from the standard form is knights in shining armour.

This move to the east was never explicit or intentional. My regular RMC game is set in the Forgotten Realms, in the Dales region. All my online games through have a distinctly oriental feel and it is getting stronger with every iteration.

You can imagine that the name parts in these lists ended up as things like Phu, Dai and Ngu.

On my to do list is build my own setting. It has been there for a while. I am filing away copies of these things in my setting folder. I think there could be a future RMu fantasy Asian setting bubbling away somewhere in my subconscious.

But Wait…

The ‘random encounters’ so far have a village name, industries, actors, actions and motives but if the heroes are going to have a variety of side quests here the typical GM is going to want some more assistance.

I have been playing with Geomorphs recently. A geomorph in RPG terms is a fragment of a map, a bit like a jigsaw piece but one that it doesn’t matter which way round you use it. You can even flip them over and it will still fit. Most RPG geomorphs are for dungeon layouts but a few create towns and villages.

In the fanzine I have provided three Geomorph dice. You have to print them out and do a bit of cutting and gluing but at the end of it you should have three paper or card d6 with each face holding a section of map. I have included one here so you can see what I mean.

If you take the images and use an editor to flip or mirror image the images you can create 6d6 each of which can have four orientations. That is a massive amount of variations. In the example village I used three images in a triangular formation with the bottom image half way along the two above it.

The thing with visual maps like this is that they are open to interpretation. In the bottom corners of the 2 face above I can see a couple potential churches, one a western looking church and the other a ziggurat style one. The 6 looks like a market but is that a bandstand?

What started out in the fanzine as a one liner of give the characters some random encounters ended up taking about a quarter of the entire magazine and with random people, places and maps.

On the condition that you do not roll all this stuff in front of the players there is no reason for them to ever know that they are ‘between’ adventures at all. If the GM is good at improv, and most are, there is great potential to turn some of these little hooks into full blown side quests.

So this is my contribution to Lazy GMing, a thousand random villages, villagers and adventure hooks.

RPGaDay 2018 Day 11: Wildest Character Name?

This is well timed!

How about The Invincible Mage Eric the Terrible!

Eric is, or should I say was, the cause of much pain and suffering in our latest 50in50 adventure.

Following on from BriH’s 40th level spell and Rolemaster statted magic items in the The Curse of the Ancient Tomb this adventure has a new Rolemaster statted monster, the Velociraptor, the star of the first Jurasic Park movie.

You can tell by the stupid name that I wrote this but I assure you that this is a fun single page adventure and fully justifies getting out all those really cool dinosaurs from Creatures and Treasures.

I Am the Invincible Mage Eric the Terrible! sees the titular mage summon dinosaurs in order to terrorise a town. Sadly for Eric, although the summoning goes to plan, controlling the dinosaurs does not. Which leads to the characters having to deal with a town overrun by large, carnivorous creatures that are eating everything in sight and destroying much of what they see. Game stats for a velociraptor are included.

This is aimed at d100 systems but is generic enough in nature to be adapted to others.

And…

I almost forgot but the Rolemasterblog Fanzine Issue #16 was released this week. It is all about adventures and adventure writing.  It touches on a undead adventures with “The Magpie Crypt” and a unique monster in The Cave of Horror. There is also an essay on The Faerie  Orchestra inspired by a real place in Iceland that could be a source of several adventures.

 

Load up the loot

As requested here are some thoughts on scaleable treasures for our adventure.

We have so far been working on several power levels for a beginning party, mid level, high and very high level party.

I can also see four distinct bands for the loot. I consider myself a tight fisted GM and tend to give away little treasure. This is particularly true with adventures I share as I don’t want to break someone else’s game.

My original plans for the city of forgotten heroes was to supply magical weapons that had no real value and/or faded away after the next full moon. The big treasure was the jade throne, a one ton mass of evil magic. The sort of treasure that the party may have trouble spending down the tavern.

My first instinct was also to provide magical runes in the form of entire books and potions that may or may not be spoiled. Single use magic and it may or may not be kill you(!).

Not that generous at first appearances.

So we have four levels of wealth miserly, poor, wealthy and rich.

At the rich end there are some nice stock items in Creatures & Treasures.

The Lich King

At the palace location we have the lich or lich-like ruler. Here I would like to see something necromantic, you would be hard pressed to convince anyone you had turned yourself into a lich by accident so the ruler must have had necromantic leanings.

So in order of decreasing power…

Robe of Kazlauskas: This robe was made by Kazlauskas before he became a Lich. It is made of a very fine black cloth with strands of silver lining the bottom of the robe, and it has a belt of silver links. It protects its wearer as AT 4 with a DB of 30 without maneuver penalties. The robe can cast 40 charges per week of the following Essence spells (30th level effect, charge cost in parentheses): Stun Relief II (2), Cut Repair I (3), + 50 Lightning Bolt (5), + 25 Fireball (4), Protection II (2), Telepathy (4), Perceive Power (4), Detect Invisible (2), + 20 Ice Bolt (2), Ache (2), and Shield (1). Artifact.

Kawfigu’s Ring: Forged by Kawfigu the Necromancer long ago, this gold band imparts many powers to whoever wears it. It protects the wearer as a Robe of
Protection. All RR’s against spells cast by the wearer are modified by –15. Further, they may cast up to 50 power points per day (up to 5th level) from the Sorcerer’s base spell lists (at no personal power point cost). Most Potent.

Talisman of Absorption: This talisman can absorb magic spells cast at its owner. The attack level of the talisman is 10th, and any spell failing to resist is absorbed. It can absorb 50 + (1–100 open–ended) power points before becoming inert. Potent.

Whispering Sword: This + 5 short sword uses the two–handed sword table for attack (still using one hand, short sword skill and fumble range), whispers when swung, and floats in water.

I like the Whispering Sword as this has great role playing potential with it giving dark whisperings when in combat.

It is entirely up to the GM whether to include these magical treasures or not. If they are added in then the undead ruler should make full use of them. For a more powerful game or richer game then you can add more than one of these items to the lich king.

The Librarian

I don’t think the Wight librarian needs magical treasure but I can imagine a locked chamber where the most restricted books were stored. There is one book in particular in C&T that is both a great treasure and has the potential to completely mislead the party.

Book of Yesh: This book is an ancient artifact in which much magical lore is written. It contains the names of many Demon Lords and the rituals necessary to summon them. It also describes how to make protective pentagrams which can decrease or negate the chances of a demon–summoning harming the summoner (depending upon the type of demon and the materials used). It lists all the various “Black Channels” spells and how to perform them. It fully describes both the appearance and power of many powerful ancient magic items. The book is 1’x20″ and 7″ thick and bound in black cloth with silver trim. It is virtually indestructible and is written in elvish with a single large “Y” in the center of the last page. Most Potent.

Of the stock items that is the only one I would adds significantly to richness of the location. What you can do though is add runes into the books that have survived in the library. This is a useful mechanic so that if the party are in serious trouble you can make a tome of medicine available that has a rune of the correct healing spell. So a treatise on blood may yield up a rune of clotting. A tome on anatomy may give up a rune of shatter repair and so on. I would suggest that the GM wing this and use it to advance the story and enhance the game session rather than slavishly following a table of random magical items.

The Gate House

I have been thinking about the gate house captain and guards and I simply do not think that the captain and guards should be carrying treasure. If any other adventurers had ever travelled this way before then they may well have killed the guards and captain before. The chances of any magical treasures surviving is slim.

There is an opportunity here to offer a minor magical weapon to a low level party. We can do this by putting a slain body on the road close to the gate house. Someone who didn’t make it. If the party can get to the body and retrieve it or at least loot it then you can give a beginning party a magical weapon, needed to harm the non-corpreal undead.

So those are my thoughts…

Brokedown Palace

The title above is a song by Grateful Dead which I thought was very apt for this post.

So we have a magical throne that urges one towards the dark arts and necromancy. The last human ruler of the city of forgotten heroes was very magical and it was them that caused the throne to be hurled down into the deepest well, or more accurately a cistern, where it should never be found again.

If we are dealing with a lower level party then I would suggest that a Revenant (3rd level) takes the place of the king or queen.

For a mid to high level party I would like to use a Lich. There are three suggestions here.  If you don’t have stats for Sprectre771’s ex-wife we will have to discard the first option. So we are left with two possible Lich ‘builds’. For are hack and slash game a Lich Magician is the most aggressive version. The magician base lists lend themselves to straight out blasting combat and there is plenty of more devious lists to challenge an entire party.

The most fun version if you have the time to role play it out is the Lich Sorcerer. The fun a GM could have with the Transferal and Subjugation spells (Soul Destruction 8th and 11th levels)

A Lich is a 20th level foe and spell caster on its own territory, this is a major opponent.

The Palace

I would like to see the party being surrounded and pushed back and back by overwhelming numbers of undead spectres, ghostly figures. Finally, with their backs to the gates of a palace there is only one place they can go and that is into the palace grounds and the undead don’t follow.

Any experienced players are going to know they have just gone from the frying pan into the fire but right there and then they have a moments respite, a moment to regroup and treat wounds.

Behind the party a palace stands set in dead and withered formal gardens.

It is here that the party can find the actual location of the throne. You could play so that if the party were to simply ask for Lich about the throne then it will tell them that it was thown into a bottomless cistern so no one will ever sit upon it again.

As the party enter the palace there is one ante chamber and then the hall. The most notable thing about the hall should be that there is no throne but a clear place where one had stood. That is a clear and obvious clue.

At its simplest this could be a straight fight with the Revenant/Lich and then search for clues for the location of the missing throne. It will be much more interesting to up the role playing tension here. There is one caveat. As a GM you should read up on the Revenant and what it wants and how it acts before introducing this element to your game. RPGs are meant to be fun and suicide is a serious subject. You should play this in the right way for your group. Alternatively you can swap out the Revenant for either a lesser or greater Shadow (4th or 8th level). I rather like the Shadow alternative as it adds a touch of the vampire palace to the adventure.

The location could be under the palace or at another site. Right now I am inclined to put the throne below the palace.

Thinking about the entire module we have here the party could simply be tasked with retrieving the dark artifact from the city, maybe before some dark agent gets it first. They are told it is referred to as the kings seat of power before the city fell to an undead army. They should be able to find more information at the city library. So the party have to get into the city (gate house or the marshes), visit the library (wight’s domain) and the palace (Lich/Octopus). Between these location we can have a number of semi random encounters. These are easily scaled to the party level. So one to take place in back streets should the party decide to go that way, one for a market place, square or plaza and a third on the city walls. So where ever the party decide to go they will meet a prepared encounter. Then on the way out the party will meet another prepared encounter on the streets of the city, as they now have a cart and heavy load to move and the final encounter is the original gate house with the spectre.

Is that enough?

 

Q: What has a spine but no bones?

A: A book!

Sorry for the bad joke but the non-corporeal undead also have no bones and one of the best suggested encounter locations was the library, it was just too good an opportunity for a bad joke to skip.

Here we have a rather interesting floor plan of a library. The architecture itself can hint at the former wealth and culture of the city before it fell into decay and abandonment.

We can have the floors littered with a carpet of decaying books and scrolls.

So what the players need to achieve is to find the location of the throne and to learn something of its nature.

I am imagining the library to be abandoned by day but as the sun sets a ghostly presence can be felt.

The monster this time is the former librarian, using the stats of a Wight. These start at 10th level and go up to 20th level. As a single foe against a party of heroes I think that is a fair fight. Given the ability of the undead to regenerate the party may need to fight this wight again and again if they are not adept at getting what they need from the library.

I think it would be important for the GM to describe the wight and it coming for the characters rather than naming it as a wight. If the characters have already fought undead that are hurling shockbolts or lightning bolts and these are doing cold crits it can be one of those situations where the players really have no idea what they are fighting. Most of us started in MERP so wights are nothing new. Against a background of spectres, revenants and apparitions knowing what is what becomes harder.

There is loads of opportunity for atmospheric description here with the sun going down and the characters feeling the temperature dropping. The light fading and then the appearance of burning red eyes in the darkness…

I have not added room numbers to the map intentionally. I think as GMs we can describe a sort of uniform rot and decay. I would suggest that the greyed out areas as the most sodden with swamp water coming up from the ground. the stairs down are flooded with stagnant swamp water. If you need to discourage investigations into the flooded basement we can stick a crocodile down there. Try fighting one of them in the dark. They are only 3rd level but with an 80 OB (Large Bite) and a bit of surprise they could put off the inquisitive!

So now we need to provide the characters with some reward. I do not like the idea of demanding skill rolls to find information that the players need to advance the story. I think rolling to see how soon the information is found is find. I am sure that the RM2 players here probably have Library Use or Research as a skill. I would suggest that good rolls allow for a speedier finding of the right scrolls and books and poor rolls means it takes longer.

Another alternative is that finding the location of the throne is an automatic success but we create a table so that 101+ tells the characters that there is a guardian protecting the throne, 126+ tells the characters that the throne corrupted all who ruled from it. 151+ adds the detail that the throne was known as the necromancers seat and so on.

Any thoughts?

 

What Merriment One Can Have With a Broadsword and a Drunken Elf!

Somewhere in our deep dark roleplaying history someone made a mistake. They had misread the racial description for Elves and rather than making them immune to normal diseases had made them immune to normal poisons. This had a consequence of making it impossible to get an elf drunk.

When my last campaign started I wanted to correct this error and pointed out the rules where it shows the immunity and resistance roll mods to show the players that we had been doing it wrong all this time. I was amazed at the players reactions (if those that wanted to play elves.) The ability to drink anyone under the table was really important to them despite the fact that is was a blatant mistake on our part.

They were adamant that elves cannot get drunk. I tried to argue that if Alcohol doesn’t effect them then how do all the healing herbs work? The answer was that herbs were magical and alcohol is natural. There is no helping some people so in my game now when ever an elf takes a healing herb I make them make a resistance roll and if they make the roll then the herb has half the usual effectiveness. Believe it or not the players are happy with that.

That little story has nothing to do with today’s post. I just wanted to share it as I was creating an Elven NPC and I just saw the immunity to disease on the character sheet!

So What Is It All About?

The last fanzine I published was the Halloween special and it is proving quite popular. The Shadow World issue was the best selling version to date. Don’t get me wrong, these sell in tiny quantities but I am hoping to build the readership over time and I hope it will grow significantly once RMU is released.

I would like to create a Christmas Special and pack it with cool playable material. Adventures, magic items, maybe a Grinch monster, some Icelandic Christmas Trolls and some festive spell lists. Really what I am asking is for anyone who like to contribute anything to a Christmas Special then please do.

I am trying to make the Fanzine a GM’s resource. By putting monsters and adventures in a ‘paid for’ publication then there is less chance that one of their players may have already have read the plot and know the twist or the villain. The Halloween Special includes three adventures and ‘new’ monsters, as these are my own creations I am free to publish them. All a GM would have to do to play them is create a couple of NPCs.

So try putting your creative hats on and send your submissions to weareareallawesome AT rolemasterblog DOT com!

 

If you cannot stand the heat…

A Lamprey

So far we have sent the characters up the creek without a paddle, half drowned them and made them fight under water against a new and unknown monsterous race. Today, it is apt to make their day go from bad to worse!

The river they have been careering down so far has been randomly generated and designed to make it virtually impossible to swim out of or row out of.  anyone reaching the shallows would be facing swimming rolls at something like -90 and taking krush criticals should they fail.

Now, I suggest giving them a bend in the river that has formed a bit of a calm pool. The river widens here and the rate of flow slows and the characters get a chance to reach the bank.

Finally, staggering to the bank it is time to reintroduce the Orcs that we had start this whole thing off in the first place. These have been tracking the river down stream assuming the characters will be killed in the rapids and their bodies washed up in this pool or another one further down stream. This is easy pickings for the orcs which is why they hand out near here in the first place.

This pool is also the domain of a huge lamprey. Once upon a time the orcs attacked a group of adventuring heroes just like the characters now. That party included an alchemist who was adept at making potions and the group regularly enhanced themselves with these. A perfectly normal lamprey fed off of one such magically enhanced hero and in drinking the hero’s blood also consumed a potion of Enlarge designed and dosed for a human. The same thing happened again with its second victim. The second potion was one of Extension used by the hero’s magician to extend the duration of his defensive spells. The final victim of the lamprey was the monk who had cast Strength III on himself. The combination of all this magic infused blood on the poor fish turned it into a huge monstrosity and trapped it in this pool. It now spends most of its time lurking in the mud at the bottom of the pool waiting for a victim of sufficient size to satisfy its hunger.

So returning to a current party they have just escaped or slain the freshwater merfolk and ended up in this pool where they can finally emerge from the river. As they do so they will be confronted with a band of orcs in front of them who have arrived at the same time. There should be just enough orcs that the party should not be certain of the outcome. I will not be specific as this is largely dependent on how the river run went, that could easily have broken many bones on its own and the fight against the merfolk.

The orcs know full well what lurks in the pool and will not go too close. They would prefer to use slings and spears to hold the characters off. They know full well what is coming next.

A Lamprey
Lampy The Lamprey, victim of mixing too many potions.

Warning: The image at the bottom of this post is really disturbing! It is a real, but dead, lamprey. It is just to give you a sense of how horrifying a lamprey is. That is a real one, we are dealing here with a fantasy 30′ one!

Behind the characters rising out of the water is Lampy the Lamprey. This is a 30′ long, 3′ diameter blood sucking fish.

Level 8
Base Rate 90
Max Pace/MN Bonus Run/0
Speed MS/AQ SL/SL
Size/Crit Huge/LA
Hits 90
AT (DB) 3(0)
Attacks 110 HGr 100/Special ✓ *
Enc 1
Special Attack Lampreys suck blood. If its grapple attack delivers a critical it will suck 3-30 hits of blood per round, starting the round after the critical was delivered. Ripping the lamprey off yourself or off someone else will deliver 4 ‘A’ slash criticals to the victim. Fire or eletricity may (Very Hard maneuver roll) cause the lamprey to release its prey.

So as the characters face off the orcs, out of the water behind them rises the giant lamprey intent on attacking the person most in the water. It will attempt to grapple and latch on to the victim and drag them back into the pool and down to the bottom. As soon as they are dead i.e. drained of blood it will return for the next victim.

If the body is not too laden down with equipment it will just be left to float back up. As the death is probably going to be from loss of hits if enough concussion hits can be restored before the soul departs then the character can be revived without the need for life giving. That does make it rather important to finish off the orcs quickly!

This ‘misadventure’ is a potentially interesting way of weakening a party or even bringing low a very powerful party. It is unrelenting, the river is extremely difficult to fight but can deliver real harm to the characters. The orcs are do not need to be particularly numerous or high level. Many partys will almost discount an encounter with half a dozen orcs but in this case the orcs are just the trigger at the start and by the time they are encountered at the end they may be significantly more dangerous!

The fresh water merfolk and the Lampy are not things the characters are ever likely to have met before and tucked in the middle there was a Naiad. I have given the Naiad an additional power. She can rescue some of the characters by casting waterlungs on the characters. The mechanism for doing this is actually via another of the alchemists potions. The ‘drowned’ characters will not have known this at the time but the naiad had taken a draft of the potion and delivered it using a ‘kiss of life’ type action.

The anatomy of a story metaphor that we started with was put the characters up a tree, throw stones at them and then get them down again. Over the past three posts we have done the up the tree and thrown the stones. The getting them down again is the perfect time to throw the characters an adventure hook. Right now they are God knows where, beaten and bloodied. Now is a good time to kick them into a different direction.

Scroll down for the scary Lamprey photo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A real lamprey
A real lamprey

Evil Healers?

All this talk about channelling got me thinking. There was also a thread on the forum of someone wanting plug and play adventures.

The problem with plug and play rolemaster adventures is that no published adventure can ever know what options are in play and which aren’t. As a rule of thumb you could optional rules relating to character creation in the companions made PCs more powerful, not less. If you accept that premise then any adventure written against the core rule books would be varyingly under powered when used with characters created with optional rules, spells and skills from the companions. As an example the core RMC core rules has no option for two weapon fighting styles which in many games are extremely common. Stunned manoeuvre is another skill that can have a huge impact on the outcome of a fight.

Any adventure where the PCs had twice the attacks and could shrug off stun results would have a huge advantage over adversaries who didn’t and couldn’t.

So bearing that in mind I am not going to give you any actual stats as you will have to build the enemy to fit your game and challenge your players characters. What I want to do is suggest what to me seems at first an unusual choice of villain.

This little adventure is completely off the top of my head, untested and unplayed. You should use it for inspiration only!

The Evil Healer

At first thought Healers would not necessarily seem the natural choice for an evil mastermind or villain. I think the prejudice comes from the idea that healers do good things to people and most people don’t want to piss off their healer. If anyone was going to coerce a healer and force them to do bad things, they are more likely to bad people themselves so a vengeful healer is most likely to be still on the side of ‘good’ or at the very least an anti-hero. Or that is what I was thinking until I stopped thinking of the healer as a one dimensional, personality free cliche.

Separate the person from the profession and  there are a multitude of reasons why you can justify an evil healer. Think how many stories there are based around experimenting on people or animals or even individuals that can get a twisted pleasure from being around the suffering of others or even their own.

For this adventure idea I want to think along the lines of having a whole ‘party’ of terminators after the PCs. What made the movie Terminator so cool was his unstoppable nature. In this little adventure at the heart of it is a simple band of brigands lead by an evil healer. The brigands have become incredibly successful as they are almost impossible to put down. Their leader can just put them back together and back on their feet again.

The healer will need the healing base lists including transference but I also  suggest adding Symbolic Ways, Light’s Way and Calm Spirits.

Back when this band started out the Healer assumed control buy using Calm Spirits to completely disarm literally and figuratively the original band of brigands and an crossbow bolt to the back of the head dispatched their former leader.

The current band is made up of two warriors, a thief and a monk. The skill level of each is up to the GM and the party that wander across this place.

The band’s hideout is littered with stones inscribed with magical symbols (using Symbolic Ways) that provide the band with a number of magical effects. Some are used as traps such as stones in the floor that when stepped on cast Calm spells. I will leave the level, number and position of these to the GM as having a single character ‘Calmed’ may be a big problem to a 1st level party but a Calm III may be more of a challenge to a higher powered group. As the brigands have been here for years any and every stone that is suitable has been enchanted to give the brigands every advantage. There are stones that will heal, protect and so on. All of these are well known to the brigands and they will use them to their best advantage while keeping them a secret if they can.

The band’s ‘lair’ is an old and now abandoned mine building. The stairs in the top left lead down into the collapsed mine tunnels. The rest of the rooms were once store rooms, workshops, dormitories, kitchens and all the other supporting services for a working mine.

The GM can dress this place as they see fit.

Much of the complex is still unused.

  1. This hall is used as both kitchen and mess hall. The corridor leading off of here ends in a natural chimney that draws the smoke from cook fires away.
  2. The centre of this room is set up for sparring and martial training. Around the periphery are assorted weapons, shields and armour that the band have accumulated over the years.
  3. These are the private quarters of a warrior.
  4. This is the groups main living area. Along one wall is an odd assortment of stolen furniture that is used for storing non-cash loot.
  5. This is the healers private quarters.
  6. These are the private quarters of a warrior.
  7. This room contains barricades and wall shields the group could use to defend their home should they ever need to. Invaders would be permitted to get this far and no further.
  8. unused
  9. unused
  10. The entrance hall is serving as little more than a tack room for the bands saddles and tack. The actual mounts are kept outside in a corral that is hidden from easy discovery.
  11. This room is piled high with junk. There is a way through but it is difficult to spot. The intention is to make it easy for band members to pass through but create the impression that the way is blocked to the untrained eye. The sort of thing they have done is lean bunks and pallets over the openings so there is no line of sight.
  12. This has been turned from a workshop into a gym for the Thief and Monk to hone their skills.
  13. The private room for a monk.
  14. This is the private chamber for a scout or thief.
  15. The thief’s walk in wardrobe.


The players should meet the brigands outside of their lair. They [the brigands] will attempt to size  up the party before deciding if they are a good target or not. If they decide to rob them then they will wait until the party are a long way from the nearest town or village and then try and steal their horses in the night. If the party look too tough then if they cannot steal them then they will kill them. Once the party are stranded then the brigands will try and pick them off. They never fight to the death. They know that as long as they can get home they will be healed up and can try again. Nothing is worth getting killed for.

The brigands can and will come back night after night and grind the party down if they have to.

A Safe Place to Camp

There are times when what you want is a world saving adventure and there are times when you just want to kill something. This little adventure is of the just kill something variety. This is really intended to be used with a beginning party of 1st  to 3rd level characters.

In many of the games I have played in it seems like Orcs get used almost as the default bad guy in beginning adventures. This time it is their weaker cousins the Goblin that is going to take the beating.

The entrance to this cave should lie on the parties route of travel and should offer some shelter from the rain or from a storm. As goblins are nocturnal the earlier the party decide to camp the more off guard the goblins will be. There are many lessons to be learned in this little side adventure, not least that it is sometimes better to run away to fight another day. The goblins operate at -75 during daylight so they will be very reluctant to chase a fleeing party. Mind you come night fall they will be out for revenge.

I have included far more goblins than any single party should be able to handle. The idea of charging in madly will probably get you killed but stealth can be your friend. The goblins are not good at coordinating but the players should be working as a team. Low level magic can work well against these 2nd level foes such as Sleep V and even projected light will give the characters the advantage.

You should remember that these round–headed imps  wear clumsy, stone clogs which certainly doesn’t help when they are trying to move quietly.

A Safe Place to Camp 01 (GM)

 

 

 

  1. Sleeping area: this area is where most of the warband sleep. They have nests made up of bits of cloth and vegetation such a furns. The goblins tend to sleep close to the walls as they feel less exposed and are not particularly trusting of their fellows. There are sleeping nests for twelve goblins here.
  2. SPARTAK’s sleeping ‘nest’: this area is where SPARTAK and his harem of five goblinettes spend their days doing whatever it is that goblin warlords like to do.
  3. Communial ‘Council’ Area: This area is not realy used that often. The goblins prefer to be further away from even the little little daylight that reaches here. What this is used for is pre-night raid prep talks. If there are disputes to be settled then the group will gather here sort it out the in a sort of no holds barred wrestling match.
  4. SPARTAK’s bodyguards: There are four burly Goblins here who like the rest are probably sleeping on duty or else slacking off. These are the body guard for the goblin leader. They have decent cured leather breastplates (AT9) and spears that they are wielding two handed. There is a flat topped rock in the centre of this area upon which are many flat pebbles and a leather cup. The goblins entertain themselves during the long summer days couped up in here trying to flip pebbles into the cup. The body guards names are RUSLAN, PETRO, OLGA and OLEK. If they are attacked they will try and form two ranks of two with their spears to the fore. If any of them fall then they will break and flee back to (13) below.
  5. Mess area: Small smoothish boulders have been scattered around here to serve a stools or seats. This is where the goblins come to eat and the northern wall is splattered with left overs flung from bowls and the floor to the north is covered with small bones and scraps.
  6. Work Area: This is where the war band are fixing armour, making weapons, fixing nets and even making shoes. Goblins love machines and as such mastered using leavers (wooden beams) to raise and drop stone blocks to cold forge metals (just poundng out the shapes). Stone hammers are in abundance.
  7. Dressing Chamber. SPARTAK has his armour (rigid leather 10) hung up on a T shaped wooden dolly. Beside it is his woolen cloak (no more than a cape on anyone else) and to the other side a low table holding his weapons (a dagger, short sword and light crossbow). He likes to make a big show of having his body guard ‘dress him for battle’ thinking it impresses the goblin minions.
  8. This area is fenced off using a crude home made corral just inside the narrowest point. Inside the corral is a young mountain lion cub. The goblins are planning on training it into a war cat.
  9. Entrance Guard Post:There are a pair of goblins here that have of course fallen asleep during their watch. They have light crossbows (Goblins love machines of all sorts) and halberds but nothing is loaded or to hand. These goblins are not brave and would rather raise the alarm and flee than die. They are called VSEVOLOD and WOLODYMYR.
  10. Kitchen: Such as it is. A large flat stone serves as butchery block and counter. There are basic rough made kitchen impliments suh as a stone club for use as a tenderiser, an old axe used for seperating joints of meat and cauldron style cooking pots and buckets for water. There is no designated cook, it is just whoever is bottom of the pecking order at that time.
  11. Weapons Store: The goblins are trying to make and stockpile spears, halberds and crossbows. The product of their labours are stored here in piles of shafts, piles of stone spear heads, a few halberd heads and so on. There are very few completed weapons as these are being handed out to the war parties members as soon as they are ready.
  12. Treasure Chest!:Out of sight behind this natural pillar is a small stone coffer holding the war bands loot. Currently standing at 14bp, 9sp and some pretty stones that hold no value to non-goblins.
  13. This area serves a dual purpose. It is SPARTAK’s and his body guards latrine and it is the fall back point for his body guard. The narrowing of the cave walls means it is easier to defend but also the buckets of urine can be thrown to put out torches. The goblins much prefer total darkness.

The total warband amounts to 19 goblins. En masse they will almost certainly kill any party but their leader is no genius. He has visions of crafting a phalanx out of them where a mass of spears and halberds will make them unapproachable. Their love of machinery draws them to the light crossbow and Spartak envisions ranks of crossbow goblins marching forward in regimented fire, reload,  and advance lines protected by a forest of spears and polearms. As it is the crosbows are slow to reload and these long weapons mean goblins struggle to parry and do not carry shields.

If the party enter the cave by day many of the goblins will be sleeping, one or two may be in the kitchen area. As evening falls they ecome more active with weapons being repaired and new ones being made in the workshop area. After night fall they will take a meal in the mess area. Late at night a patrol will be sent out of five or six goblins being three spear bearers and three crossbow goblins.

Each goblin is carrying just 1d10 bronze pieces as treasure. The four bodyguard goblins have have an additional d10 copper and Spartak has an additional d10 silver. That may not sound a great deal of treasure but this is only meant to be a minor distraction. Spartak and his crew are a breakaway group from a larget goblin tribe who have visions of world domination but are probably note going to realise those dreams.

If the players attack and then withdraw the goblins will try and harry them for days. Spartak will initially want to kill all bar one of the players. If they all die then no one will be able to carry the news of his victory and spread his fame. If the losses are too great on his side, say more than four or five actual fatalities then he will just try and drive them off and count that as a victory.

All the stats you need for the goblins are on page 123 of the RMC Creatures and Treasures or 571 of RMU Creature Law.

You can download a players map here.