- Northerners – from the cold wastes, a barbarian region. +1S,-1W. Arctic Survival Proficiency. Ice Mage, Fighter, Barbarian, Druid, Ranger, Cleric, Bard classes.
- City Folk – Whether Lankmahran, Kvarch Naran, or from any of the other great or small cities, these humans are wise to the everyday world of Nehwon. -1Co,+1W. May choose 1 prof: Urban Survival, Appraisal, Brewing, Carpentry, Cobbling, Pottery, Stomemasonry, Weaving. Black Wizard, Illusionist, Urban Mage, Wild Mage, Fighter, Thief, Cleric, Paladin, Bard classes.
- Rural Folk – the rest of humanity, that creates the agriculture and commerce for the big cities. +1W,-1Ch. May choose 1 prof: Rural Survival, Agriculture, Animal Handling, Direction Sense, Weather Sense. Fighter, Ranger, Druid, Thief, Bard, White Wizard, Wild Mage classes.
- Players can also be half elves, following the elf stats above, but with limited save resistance as per normal.
- Gnomes are a slave race to the Dwarves, and do most of the administrative and craft work in the city, and the surrounding lands. +1W, -1Co. Reading/Writing Prof. Black Wizard, Earth Mage, Urban Mage, Illusionist, Cleric, Thief classes.
Halflings are Sea Mingols (or just Mingols, as per above). Short, dark skinned, often shoe less, expert navigators and traders. +1D,-1S. Seamanship Proficiency. Water Mage, Air Mage, Fighter, Cleric, Thief.
This series of articles are for a new Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2e game that I’m running, based on but heavily modified from Fritz Leiber’s world of Nehwon from the Lankhmar series of books.
I’ve added demihumans to the world, as residents of the various cities and tribes. They’re still all intermingled, but are also treated differently socially, much as the Mingols, Ghouls, and Kleshites were already in the world.
I’ll be adding world, class, race, and other information in coming articles, so if this interests you, please check back!
Continued from Here.
Adam’s Druid decides that the never rotting flesh in the next room, plus the zombies that won’t rot are unnatural, and decides to summon insects to try and return natural order. The women panic, and take some reassurance to get settled down again.
The next idea involves taking the women to the “warm healing room” (#11), to see if it will regenerate their missing limbs, which the party assume were the hands that attacked them in the wand room (#6). The women are very unwilling, and require great amounts of persuasion (from Adam and Sebastian) to enter the room. Rightfully so, for as they enter, they are only able bask for a moment before incinerating to ash.
Confused, horrified, and disturbed, Adam and Sebastian exit the room, and inform the remainder of the party that the women are gone.
Bothered, but determined to push on, the party heads down to #7, where a clockwork trap (timer in chest, reset button on head) built into a suit of armour scares everybody for a while, before they let it count down, and the door to #8 opens. The next room is full of piles of rusting metal, and a treasure chest that instantly bounds away from the party.
Leading a merry chase, dodging sharp rusty shards, eventually the party catches the chest, using Colin in bat form to harass from above.
Upon opening, large chunks of metal fly from the chest, bonding instantly to Al’s Armour, adding 100 pounds to it’s weight. They appear to be impossible to remove. Al sheds the armour, as he’s too encumbered to move.
The party debates for some time, trying to determine if there is a way to remove the grimore from the the giant cat without being attacked by it AND the 100 other cats in the room (#2). Adam’s Druid is withdrawn, and sits petting cats while the party finished investigating the last 2 rooms, and deliberates.
Colin comes up with a plan, and stages himself on the library balcony (#1), facing the library. The others stand out side the doors to #3 and #7, out of “blast arc”. Colin then sounds the Horn of Blasting, which instantly throws the majority of the cats in the room against the far wall, dissipates the unseen servants, but fails to ruffle the fur of the large cat, much less displace it from it’s post. Pulped cats (probably about 70 of them) are plastered into the north wall.
The party reenter the room from the various doorways, amazed at the damage. Adam, horrified at the loss of life (after his recent unintentional maiden murder), flees back to the healing room (#11), too mortified to continue.
The rest of the party attack the lone Giant cat, attempting to destroy it, and free the book. It’s fast, but the party manage to slay it. It instantly rises again, however, slightly larger than before, and moving a little bit faster.
The party fights on, separating the cat from the book for a little while, but it aggressively attacks anybody holding, or nearest to the book. As it’s slain a second, and then third time, it grows even larger and faster.
Greg falls back to the healing room, heavily wounded, and heals up as much as he can before he can return to the party. The cat is slain another 2 times, now moving at amazing speeds, and the party is now quite concerned. It’s now far too fast to outrun, so the party can’t even escape the encounter.
Stepping in too close, Chet the summoned warrior goes down in a massive flurry of claws. He bleeds out as the party is too occupied to aid him. The party manages a sixth kill, and then Colin joins Chet, dead instead of just unconscious. Al & Sebastian fight on, both heavily wounded, until Greg returns, racing in to help.
Finally, with even Greg heavily wounded again, the cat is slain, and stays down. Adam’s druid turns to ash in the healing room, more than doubling his maximum hit points.
The grimore turns out to be a spellbook, with some fairly nice wizard spells for the party. The damage however, was very severe. Greg, Al, and Sebastian drag the 2 corpses to the healing room, but as they feared, it will not restore life to the dead.
In an act of desperation, Greg slips the brass gauntlet from Colin’s dead hand, picks up the white orb, and touches it to Colin. It resurrects Colin to everybody’s surprise. Amazed, Greg restores Chet, and Adam’s deceased Elven fighter he’s been carrying for weeks in the bag of holding.
Restored, the party is ready to continue their adventures…
The party takes the dogleg turn north/west, and then continues north again at the junction to approach room #9.
Here an alter of white marble, streaked with pink sits, framed by large brass doors to the east and west. On the Alter sits 2 spheres, one pure white, one pure black. A brass gauntlet, covered in intricate detailing sits between them.
On the North wall, a cutout widow swirls with light and darkness, punctuated with flashes of lightning.
With some religion and spellcraft, iconography on the alter is revealed to state “life and death are punishment for the uninitiated, power for the chosen”.
Wary of the message, and uncertain of how to proceed, Colin slips on the gauntlet, and decides to “initiate” by entering the two brass doors.
Starting with the left, the brass door is quite cold to the touch, and as it pushes open, there is the gasp of indrawn air, if as the door was suctioned closed. No light or sound seems to penetrate the room, and Colin steps in, and immediately disappears from view. He immediately feels very cold, and hopeless. He attempts a light spell, but sees no illumination.
He begins taking damage, first quite minimally, and then adding up quickly.
After a duration, Greg decides a rescue is in order, ties a rope to his belt, dives in, leaving the party with the other end.
Grappling in the void, Greg takes hold of a shape, and pulls the cord to indicate he needs to be retracted. The party pulls him out, and sees that he’s holding a physical shadow, torn from the darkness.
The party attacks, and quickly discovers that non magical attacks heal instantly. Only magic seems to affect the creature. Sebastian begins to lash out with his magical mustache, Al wields a bronze spear, and Greg un-sheaths a set of javelins from earlier adventures. Adam mutters a cause light wounds, and falls to his boxing proficiency.
With the combined might, the shadow falls to the party. Meanwhile, Colin eventually finds a door on the north wall, still suffering damage every round, and near death. He falls through, and quickly quaffs a healing potion.
He peers down the hall into room #12, and the enters the space, silently. On a peg on the wall just in side the room he finds a number of cloaks. The center of the roof is a giant open column, stretching off into the darkness above.
With some experimentation, he determines that he can grip the cloak’s edges, and leap, transforming into a gigantic bat, and fly around. Landing again, he decides to rejoin the party, via the alternative south door (#11).
This room is the opposite of it’s partner, actually healing Colin as he passes. It’s warm, radiant (blindingly so, if you attempt to keep your eyes open), and he makes it through without peril. He rejoins the party, many of whom decide to take part of this healing chamber as well.
The party decides to proceed back through the floor plan to room #4, and discovers it contains a large slab butchering table, with dirty, used instruments, and unidentifiable portions of remains scattered about.
The Door to the south leads into Room #5, which is full (wall to wall) of cages, filled with young women, all missing their hands. After the party assures them they mean no harm, they beg to be freed. They warn however, that the wall lever opens all the cages at once. The cages farthest from the wall actually contained zombie women, some of the oldest prisoners of the room.
The party dispatches the zombies through the bars, then frees the women.
The party gathers after completing the fire node, and attempt to rest in the central room, but are disturbed by a Fire Elemental which chases them from the node. Adam keeps it at bay with the fire key, as the party retreats.
It’s a moderate climb, but Colin, aided with rope and pitons climbs 60’ with a guide rope, bring us all up after. He lands on a windswept balcony, with an iron railing, and with heavy red velvet curtains partially obscuring the door beyond. The door appears to be pine, swollen and soft with age and neglect.
On the balcony rests a deck of cards, sitting on a plain round table. While waiting for the remainder of the party to ascend, Colin draws a card. It’s the Jack of Hearts. A young male human fighter appears suddenly, armed with a broadsword, and chainmail. He says he’s here to help, and his name is Chet. He can’t remember any other details of his previous life, or any more about himself.
At this point the remainder of the party has ascended, and approach the desk as well. Krispy goes for broke, and draws a pair of cards. The first, a “marked joker” makes him lose 10,000 xp, and drop in level. The second is the Jack of Hearts again, and this time summons Fran, a female fighter in Plate Mail (really?) with a short sword and bow. She also only remembers her name, and that her mother was named Christina.
Greg draws the Jack of Diamonds, and gains 2 points of wisdom.
Adam draws the Queen of Clubs, and has a weird sense of great foreboding, leaving him vaguely unsettled.
Sebastian and Al pass on drawing a card. Colin attempts another draw, and determines that he is unable.
The party turns to face the door, puzzling how to enter. Adam recalls that the elemental tokens were referred to as the key to the next level, and places the fire token against the panel, where it softly sinks into the surface.
After the other 3 tokens are presented, the door opens.
The room within is a 2 story library, open floor with railings to support the second story of books and ladders without. It’s 75’ x 100’ and contains at least 100 cats, sprawled throughout the entirety of the room. Damage to books is very evident, both from scratching and urine. A very large cat sits near the center of the room, apparently reading from a grimore.
When approached, the large cat gets quite hostile, preparing to attack if neared. Adam’s Charm Person or Mammal refuses to “lock on” to the target, indicating that the cat is not as it appears (to no one’s surprise).
The other cats in the room are very friendly, and are evidently cared for by some number of Unseen Servants, feeding and cleaning up after the animals.
The party checks the room for useful/undamaged texts while Adam plays with cats. They recover 10 volumes, at 5 lbs each. Titles include Hitchman’s Guide to Nature, Ellington’s Fabulous tome of sequins and accouterments, Monkey Vol 2, Playa’s Handbook, the Guide to Halflings and lesser species, a script for a Play called Avatar, and the like. The party evaluates their worth at 500gp each (failed appraisal).
The cats refuse to leave the room.
A doorway sits in the middle of the east and west walls.
To the west is a 10’ hall, ending in a pit, filled with rusting iron.
To the east is a 40’ hall, and smells strongly of feces and spoiled meat. It junctions at the end of the 40’ length, going North and South. At the junction is another pit, clearly the source of the smell. It looks like this is where the Unseen Servants dispose of the cat waste.
North from this junction, the door opens into an L Shaped Room. The walls are filled with shelves, with wands of every color, shape and condition laid out. A large work area dominates one wall. The passage continues to the north after the room.
Sebastian detects a Fire Trap in the center of the room, and urges caution.
15 additional hands scutter from the shadows, threatening more directly.
The party dispatches all 20 hands eventually, and claim the identified wands as below:
Magic Missile (15c) – Krispy
Wand of Illumination (10c) – Al
Wand of Paralyzation (14c) – Colin
Wand of Detect Magic (21c) – Krispy
Wand of Slow (7c) – Al
Krispy also finds a wand unused by the hands, marked as a Wand of Fire (20c).
Adam collects a few useable hand tools (pliers, dented bell, and 6’ of light chain).
Until the next adventure…
When we last left our brave adventurers;
Inside the wizards tower, they approached the Hall of Fire. A eastern stone corridor opens to lava stone, and continues for 30’ before opening to a 30’ circular chamber with passages leading to the North, SE, and SW.
A 6’ wide pool sits in the middle of the chamber. A flame burns constantly on the surface, never seeming to diminish the volume of the liquid. An earthenware bottle floats directly in the middle of the pool. Fearing a trap, Al summons an Unseen Servant, who safely retrieves the bottle.
The party hears grumbling drifting from the SW room, in common. A male voice complains of food quality and temperature, and the tea.
Colin stealthily creeps ahead of the party to investigate. The corridor is only 10’ long, and opens into another 30’ circular chamber, all decorated in red. It’s very elegant, heavily lacquered furniture, hung with deep red curtains around the perimeter. A man sits along a chaise by a samovar of tea, and has a large spread of food laid out before him on a short table. He reclines wearing a belted robe, but chainmail is visible underneath, and he has a sword belted at his hip. A tall spear rests nearby.
Splayed out on the floor in front and the right of the man lay 3 figures. The two larger humans appear to be deceased, though probably recently (one male cleric?, one female ?). The third figure is a robed gnome, clearly breathing, but unconscious and bound at wrist and ankle.
Colin uses the curtains to circumnavigate the room, ending behind the chaise. With a careful lunge, he strikes for a backstab. Unfortunately, right as he stabs, the man leans forward to grab a bite from the table, and the strike glances from the chainmail harmlessly.
Colin shouts to the party as the man rises, angered, and still unharmed. Al reacts quickly, and orders the Unseen Servant to draw the man’s sword, and retreat with it into the other room. The servant obeys, dragging it away from the battle. As the rest of the party enters the room, one of the platters on the table flips of its own accord, spilling a brown pudding to the floor, which begins oozing toward the party.
Greg bravely battles the ooze, as Colin stands off against the man, who’s now holding the spear. Sebastian attacks away with his magic mustache, and Adam cures, bark skins, heat metal’s the chainmail and samovar in the backfield. Al drags the unconscious Gnome from the room into the hall, and releases his bonds.
As the battle continues, the man eventually falls to the combined forces, but not before the curtains and ooze are set afire in an attempt to attack the two foes. Greg battles on, while Colin tears down curtains to stamp down the blaze, and Adam attempts to recover the food and tea.
After the ooze is finally dispatched, the party heals a little more, and then journeys on.
Back in the main room, the SE passage leads to another 30’ round room, with a large starburst pattern overhead. Two hands hold up high (what? I don’t even remember what I was writing here). Lots of beakers (???)
The party decides to not mess with any of that right now, and heads back, and then into the North passage. Again, a round 30’ space, this time with a 10’ wide pit of burning flames in the center, and 8 braziers spaced around the room. A large scaled fire elemental sits within the pit, and threatens the party, surging forward.
Greg quickly casts hold person, and Al and Adam bind it with some hemp rope. The skin of the creature begins burning the rope, so they know they’ll be unable to restrain it. They offer a quick coup de grace, and Adam sets about butchering the creature, looking for an amulet within.
Foiled, the party turns to the braziers, which seem to spawn pairs of smaller elementals when approached.
Finally, with a careful measurement, and some deliberation, Adam creates a disc of water, saturating the pit. The Amulet of Fire is then exposed within, that Adam recovers.
Still not certain what to do with the initial earthenware bottle, and fearing a trap, the party sends the unseen servant into the SW room, and tells it to open the vial. It explodes, destroying the servant, the remainder of the room, and validating the party’s concern.