Thursday, 26 July 2012

City Tour: Questions & Answers, & the End of the Tour

All of which brings us to the end of our tour, right back where we started, outside the PILGRIMAGE INN. I hope, ladies and gentlemen, that you found the tour both educational and interesting, and I thank you all for both the pleasure of your company and for parting with your gold.

Now, before I leave, are there are any further questions?

Mercenaries? Look no further than that long building practically next door. That's the place to hire sell-swords and the like, at least if you want some legal protection and loyalty that money can't buy (although, it helps). It's, appropriately enough, called the MERCENARIES' GUILD. If you're on the look-out for someone cheaper, trawl the taverns or hang-out at the FIGHTING PITS.

The most powerful people in the city, individuals? Well, that depends on who you ask, but if you want my opinion, I'd say that the most powerful magi is THE WHITE WIZARD, old greybeard who lives by the chasm. He has to be powerful, certainly more than those dusty old wizards of the ACADEMY; he wouldn't have survived living by the chasm otherwise.

For my money, the most powerful fighter has to be the BLACK WIDOW, a deadly loppe who is the unbeaten champion of the FIGHTING PITS. I've seen her go head-to-head with a full-grown hill giant; she tore him to pieces.

If you equate power with wealth and influence, you'd have to be speaking of LORD CYRUS, the son of an extremely wealthy Merchant King who effectively controls the economy of the kingdom. CYRUS sits on the council, and manipulates the councillors as it suits him. He's really nothing more than a spoiled child, a bully; albeit a malicious, vindictive one with access to his father's empire. If it wasn't for the priests of the city, I could well imagine him running the place.

And the most powerful priest? That's easy; it's MAEL ISCO, the Patriarch of the CHURCH OF  THE DIVINE FLESH. They say he's as close to perfection as any Consumer can be without dying.

If that's all, then thank you, I hope you enjoy your stay, and may the Gods Blessings go with you.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

City Tour: The Church of the Divine Flesh

The CHURCH OF DIVINE FLESH, or HOUSE OF CONSUMPTION, was the first church built on the battle. The city largely spread out around it, although that's not so evident today. This is a major reason behind the church's power and prestige. It doesn't hurt that they bought up a lot of land, which they later sold for great profit, or rent land to others. It's certainly the richest of all the churches, in influence if not in gold and jewels.

They worship DOKONALI, the God of Perfection, Physical Prowess, Pride and Power. A lot of warriors follow him, as do some merchants, and the more energetic, power-hungry and gluttonous nobles. His clerics have to be seen to be believed; and we're in luck, because there's one, together with his entourage. Yes, that bloated man being carried in that iron-contraption, that's the cleric; high-ranking too, judging by his size. Those muscular men, the ones straining under the weight, are the acolytes, studying hard so that they can be ordained, blessed, and become clerics like their rotund mentor.

It's an odd religion. Until they receive the 'Blessing of the Faith', the followers exercise their bodies and minds, preparing themselves for perfection. The twice-daily sermons are intense training sessions. Then, when they are ready, the acolytes take the blessing– a ritual involving eating a chunk of raw flesh, said to represent the flesh of DOKONALI himself; and then spend the rest of their service living too excess. The clerics eat, drink, carouse; they ingest and smoke drugs, have orgies; you name it, they 'consume' it. That's how they got their other name, the Consumers. The largest, greediest, clerics rise quickly through the ranks, and take on their own entourage of acolytes, who attend to their every need in exchange for their teachings.

Why do they go to such extremes? Balance. They firmly believe that to become perfect they must embrace both extremes; and, of course, believe that it is not until they die and pass into their God's realm, that they will achieve their perfection; which, for them, is the same as becoming gods themselves, for who else could ever embody perfection?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

City Tour: Winter-Hold

A tour of the TEMPLE QUARTER wouldn't be complete without a visit to this temple: WINTER-HOLD, temple raised in honour of the God of Death himself, the RAVEN KING. One of the Northern gods, the RAVEN KING stands guard over the realm of the dead, where the souls of the deceased eventually end up. His ravens are said to shepherd the souls to his realm, which is why they are considered ill-omens and can be found on battlefields. They have a reputation of being scavengers, but they're merely messengers, watchers, and shepherds. You should always treat a raven with kindness, especially if you're about to die.

The temple holds the entrance to the largest of the catacombs and crypts, the NECROPOLIS, and some of them are actually rented out to other faiths, who consecrate and decorate if for their own religious needs. The priests run most of the funeral arrangements of the city, largely because they're the best there is. They also sponsor adventuring parties to destroy undead; for despite what you may have heard, the followers of the RAVEN KING consider the walking dead to be abomination.

If you intend to risk your life on some foolish venture, such as delving into the WEEPING CHASM, or the CATACOMBS, then pay a visit here, and drop a few coins in the donation box; you never know, it might ward off death, or at least ease your passing when you finally die.

Well, that's our tour nearly over. There's just one more stop before I return you to the inn, and that's the most powerful church in the city, right on TEMPLE AVENUE itself.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

City Tour: The Jewelled Hall, The Crimson Church, & the House of Cards

The Jewelled Halls

This ornate stone edifice houses shrines to the entire dwarven pantheon, and the interior is richly decorated in precious metals, stones and jewels. Each of their gods is represented by a specific jewel, and each shrine shines with that gemstone. It must be the richest place in the whole city, and the sight of those bejewelled shrines must be amazing; but if you're not a dwarf, you'll never see them. The stout folk refuse entry to anyone else; even if you lay bleeding on their doorstep. They'd likely tend to your wounds, but would do so outside.

The Crimson Church

Our next stop is this brightly coloured church; when it catches the sun its glow makes the surrounding buildings and streets look like they've bathed in blood, much to the annoyance of their neighbours. This, is the CRIMSON CHURCH, where the followers known as the CRIMSON HAND worship the warrior goddess AADILA, the Crimson Goddess, the Red Hand of Justice, with domain over war, justice, and, perhaps surprisingly, mercy. That sound you hear, the clash of steel over music best described as a musical tattoo; that's the clergy practising their blade-work, which is akin to dancing, which really has to be seen to be believed. They are all soldier's in their church's army, trained warriors as well as clerics. Both the City Watch and army have a lot of followers amongst their ranks, and a few judges too.

These clerics offer training to warriors, for a donation, and can teach your average adventurer a thing or two.

House of Cards

Also know as the HOUSE OF LUCK, this church is dedicated to SAMNANG, God of Luck, Gambling and Last Chances. The followers worship by gambling, in a variety of games, and welcome anyone to their church, so long as they come to try their luck at a game of chance.

If you have coins burning a hole in your pocket, you could do worse than spend it here. Of all the gambling dens in the city, this one won't cheat you or rob you of your winnings as you make our way home. If you have need of their services, offer them a game of chance; you win, they'll help you free of charge; you lose, and it'll cost you. Be warned, their price isn't just gold.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Ghouls in the City of Bones

[Inspired by a recent post from Monstrous Television]

Ghouls in the City of Bones

Beneath the City of Bones, lurking within the deeper levels of the Catacombs, is a slowly growing Kingdom of Ghouls; but these are not your usual ghouls, these are free-willed, less savage ghouls who retain many memories of their previous lives. Ruled by a self-proclaimed King, the ghouls survive by feasting on the dead, robbing from the living, and providing services to adventuring types who delve into the catacombs: services such as guiding delvers to tombs that can be looted; ancient lore; assassinations and thievery; and some even hire themselves out as henchmen. Their presence in the catacombs isn't well know, but rumours are plentiful. Several of the city's religions have a standing bounty for the destruction of these undead abominations.

Ghouls as a Playable Class

Ghouls are created by being killed by another ghoul, and when the new ghoul 'awakens' they are, at first, weaker versions of the average ghoul, growing in power as they struggle to survive in their new world. If a character is killed in such a manner, they may 'return to life' as a ghoul, albeit at 1st Level.


Prime Requisite: Wisdom.
Requirements: None (other than being dead).
Hit Dice: 1d8, +1 hit point per level after 9th.
Maximum Level: 13.

Ghouls begin 'life' as an undead abomination, with all the relative immunities and vulnerabilities that accompany it (immune to charm, hold and sleep magic, non-magical poisons and diseases; can be turned/commanded as an undead of Hit Dice equal to class level, vulnerable to holy water and so forth). They quickly learn to defend themselves with tooth and claw, hitting an Armour Class of 0 with an Attack Throw of 10+, and increasing in attack and Saving Throws as a cleric. Their teeth and claws do 1d3 damage each, but they may also use weapons such as swords, daggers, maces, flails and hammers, and may wear light armour; they know how to wield one-handed weapons and use shields.

At 1st level, they learn to move stealthily, gaining the ability to Move Silently and Hide in Shadows as a thief of equal level. At 2nd level, their connection to the realm of the dead intensifies, allowing them to Paralyse an opponent with a successful hit by tooth or claw (Save versus Paralysis, or paralysed for 2d4 turns); this also grants them their own immunity to paralysis.

As they are undead, ghouls cannot naturally heal and require sewing and stitching or magic; healing by means of the healing proficiency will recover hit points, as will spells such as cause light wounds. However, at 5th level the ghoul can feast on the marrow or flesh of the dead (or the living) to regain hit points, effectively gaining the ability to heal 1d6+1 hit points at-will with a turn spent feeding.

Their connection with the dead increases as they grow in experience and power, so much so that at 10th level they have a dark aura that provides them with +1 to Armour Class and Saving Throws (already added to the table below); to those can can sense such auras, they are wrapped in shadowy wisps of darkness.

At 9th level, the ghoul can establish their own conclave, attracting 2d6 other ghouls to act as spies and the like, allowing hijinks such as a thieves' guild.


Acrobatics, Alertness, Ambushing, Bargaining, Berskergang, Black Lore of Zahar, Blind Fighting, Bribery, Caving, Climbing, Combat Reflexes, Contortionist, Disguise, Eavesdropping, Intimidation, Knowledge, Landsurverying, Loremastery, Manual of Arms, Mapping, Martial Training, Passing without Trace, Running, Skirmishing, Skulking, Tracking, Weapon Finesse (can apply to tooth and claws), Weapon Focus (bite, claws, can separately).

Ghoul Level Progression
Hit Dice
Ghoul Scavenger
Ghoul Bone-Collector
Ghoul Flesh-Eater
Ghoul Kinsman
Ghoul Elite
Ghoul Noble
Elder Ghoul
Elder Ghoul, 10th level
Elder Ghoul, 11th level
Elder Ghoul, 12th level
King of Ghouls, 13th level
*Hit point modifiers
 from constitutionare ignored

Ghoul Attack and Saving Throws

Petrification & Paralysis
Poison & Death
Blast & Breath
Staffs & Wands
Attack Throw

Thursday, 12 July 2012

City Tour: The Maze & the Ancestor Tree

The Maze

Not all the temples, churches and shrines belong to the human pantheons. We have quite a few of the demi-human, or non-human ones too. After all, their gods Avatars took part in the great battle, same as all the rest. This obsidian temple is one of them. Known as THE MAZE, or the WEB OF FATE, this is where the loppe worship their creator deity, the spider goddess, MOTHER WEAVER; at least that's how it translates into the Common Tongue. I don't have the mandibles to pronounce her true name. Inside is a maze of webs, with their High Priestess at the very centre, in eternal commune with the Goddess.

Anyone can enter the maze, and if you can find your way to the centre, you can ask three questions, to the WEAVER herself, through the High Priestess, and have them answered truthfully. Take a translator with you if you don't understand their language, but be warned, I'd heard of people who have entered, only to get lost and come back out, scared witless; others have disappeared altogether.

You can spot the priests of the loppe by the maze patterns painted on their abdomen. Exercise caution when dealing with them, for they are skilled manipulators; the MOTHER WEAVER has domain over birth, death, fate, and her followers believe that fate can, and should, be manipulated for their own benefit. Loppe priests make excellent lawyers.

The Ancestor Tree

If you look down that street, right at the end, where it meets those others, you can see a tree. It's the urban elves ANCESTOR TREE; a dead, grey tree, petrified, hard as stone after all these centuries. It's the closest the native elves have to a temple or church, to religion in fact, and they only pay homage in passing, except on special days, what we'd call holy days, but they think of as excuses to get drunk. The tree was planted by their ancestors when the elves first settled here, but the tree eventually died, despite being tended to. All foliage withers eventually, within the desolate wasteland the city is built upon. Even GREEN HILL will wither in time; every time it does, the council go to great length and expense to spread new turf, plant new trees, bushes and flowers, and bring the hill to life again. Various clerics of the nature deities lend their magic to the cause, as do a few specially trained magi from the ACADEMY.

Despite not having clerics attending to their tree, the elves do keep an eye on it. It's a good idea to be on your best behaviour when near the tree.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

In-Character Play Report: Ishi-Limina

Well, I asked for in-character play report, and one player decided he'd do a cypher: here it is...