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Year of the Titan, Month of the Shark, Day of the Hare

We join our band of intrepid adventurers for the very first time in the Year of the Titan, Month of the Shark, Day of the Hare.

Swinging LanternThey are banded together solely through the common thread as tenets of the Swinging Lantern, a down on it’s luck Bordello just off Nun Street, where the Madam rents unused rooms to the desperate, penniless, and  wanderers of the realm.

Expected to be “out of way” during operating hours, the four occupy a dingy booth in the Salted Mutton, a tavern which inexplicably only serves seafood.  After discussing several opportunities for gainful (if not ethical or legal) employ, another patron of the tavern offers some short term employment, with minimal risk, and fair pay for the weekend.

He goes on to explain that he’s Porbell, a pawnshop owner who lives over his shop, just a block and a half from this establishment.  He’s made a special deal for some new merchandise, and needs to meet the buyer about a days ride up river to make the exchange.  If the heroes will watch his shop for the weekend, he’ll pay them 50 Gold Rilks, plus a 50% commission on all sales made.

With some hemming and hawing, the adventurers accept, and Porbell hands over a small sack with mixed coinage, and a small ring with two brass keys.  Relieved, he thanks the party, and tells them he’d hope they’d open shop by 9 the next morning.

Giving him a few minutes to get farther away, the party them heads directly the Pawn Shop, interested in the state of their new venture, and perhaps interested in what they might find within.

The building itself is wooden, with large post beams, and a heavy ironwood banded door at the front, with no keyhole.  Circling, the party finds a smaller alley door, which the first key opens.  The small space there leads to the stairs up, and a doorway leads to a small, unremarkable kitchen.

The kitchen opens into a small storage room, with some poor quality shelving, mostly empty.  A dented, and pitted bastard sword leans against one shelf, and a quantity of low quality frayed rope lies on another.  The door from here opens into the shop proper, which is disappointingly sparse.

scaleA few paper cone hats, an off balance scale, and other cheap trinkets sit on the few shelves not completely empty.  A large counter near the rear of the store was clearly made to store more valuable objects.  The second brass key opened these cabinets, revealing that they were completely empty.

Confused and irritated, the party quickly searched the upstairs to find it also quite barren, with dust marks where furniture had been, as well as a very small lumpy bed, and curtains missing from the windows.

Back downstairs, a small closet under the stairs revealed a mop, and an obviously discolored set of floor boards.  Prying the panel up, the party is faced with a locked safe.  Neither key they have opens the lock.  Colin sets upon the lock with a set of picks, while the others retreat to give him space.

With a loud crack, and the smell of burning flesh, Colin flies back from the lock, unconscious.

Quickly revived by Gary, and frazzled but determined, Colin confirmed the trap has been full discharged, and returns to the lock tumbler.  This time he’s able to open the door, which shows a solid stone cavity, completely empty.

With the investigation complete, Greg decides to try and dig up some dirt.  Across the street lies another shop, with apartment above.  The occupant, a lazy knife sharpener named Sal shares some details of his neighbor over a dagger sharpening exchange, punctuated with constant spitting.

It turns out that Porbell’s quite heavily in debt, and hasn’t had good traffic in the shop for months.  Sal’s amazed that he’d be willing to pay anybody to help with the shop, especially to pay them for the service.  He mentions that the largest debt is owned to the Red Scarves, a street gang that “owns” this region of the city, including providing security for the bordello the party lives in.

CorbinWith that in mind, and the evening hours slipping away, the party heads back to the Swinging Lantern, and approaches Corbin, the large bald Red Scarf that seems to be “in charge” there.  After a quick explanation of the situation as the party sees it, Corbin thanks them for the info, and says he’ll pass it “up the chain”, and let them know what’s up in the morning.

<to be continued>

Nehwon – Core World Details

Currency

Iron Tik (1cp) Square, Stalk of Grain
Bronze Agol (1sp) Square, gate of Lankhmar
Silver Smerduk (1ep) Triangle, Overlord/Sailing ship
Gold Rilk (1gp) Triangle, Aarth/Sea Serpent
Glulditch (100p) Round, Diamond in Amber
Money changers charge 10%, Lenders are 10% for a week, 25-50% for a year.

Calendar

Years Months Days
Feathered Death
Basilisk
Horde
Leviathan
Roc
Dragon
Behemoth
Ogre
Gorgon
Lamia
Sea Serpent
Titan
Burning Mountain
White Angel
Jan – Wolf
Feb – Horse
Mar – Hedgehog
Apr – Crocodile
May – Deer
Jun – Serpent
Jul – Lion
Aug – Shark
Sep – Weasel
Oct – Owl
Nov – Goat
Dec – Boar
1 Hare
2 Minnow
3 Turtle
4 Newt
5 Raven
6 Spider
7 Scorpion
8 Lizard
9 Gnat
10 Hornet
11 Parrot
12 Dove
13 Hawk
14 Dog
15 Raccoon
16 Skunk
17 Worm
18 Butterfly
19 Mouse
20 Toad
21 Cat
22 Swan
23 Mole
24 Shrew
25 Bat
26 Squirrel
27 Rat
28 Fox
29 Beaver
30 Crab
31 Leech

Gods of Nehwon

In addition to the standard gods mentioned in the Legends and Lore, we’ve created some additional deities for the campaign listed below:

UrsusUrsus (the great bear, swallower of the moon)

lesser god

Ursus is a rural human god, followed by the tribes and communities that surround the great forest, especially to it’s North.  In their Mythology, the end times will begin when Ursus rises up, and swallows Nehwon’s moon.  His priests favor dagger like claws strapped to their hands, and often wear hide or leather armors.  His colors are pelt brown, and forest green.

Ursus has less power in the city, and farther from natural bear habitats.  He’s also weaker during Hibernation cycles (Nov-March, or Goat-Hedgehog in Nehwon months).  He’s active (Hyperphagia stage) May-Sep (Deer-Weasel), and consumes food at a great rate.

In Game effects for Priests

To reflect this, his priests gain 1 additional spell slot at their highest accessible level from Deer-Weasel, and also consume food at 1.5 times the normal rate.  They gain a +1 bonus/level (max +4) to any endurance tests.  In the hibernation months (Goat-Hedgehog), the priests lose 1 spell slot of their highest level (to a min of 1), and eat food at .5 times normal, and are generally quite lethargic, and inactive (-1/level to endurance tests).  The two transition months the priests act as normal.

sheneneShenene (the Protective Mother, the clean vessel)

lesser god

Shenene is the Nehwon Goddess of Pottery and Prostitutes.  As a goddess overseeing a major occupation within the city of sevenscore thousand smokes, she is quite powerful, if not acknowledged as openly.  Her colors are rich velvety red, and silk white.  Her priestesses and priests favor daggers, knives, clubs, and crossbows.

Her priests are often madams, or retired prostitutes, and help maintain the “oldest profession” as a disease free, healthy environment.

In Game effects for Priests

SilfSilf (the Patron, the Flipping Coin. Severer of Nooses, Sermon in Shadows)

lesser god

Silf is a god dedicated to thieves and slayers.  His patrons pray for intervention and protection in their contracts, and speak to his Priests at meetings of their order or brotherhood, instead of at a traditional service or temple.

In Game effects for Priests

Priests of Silf are almost always dual or multi-classed as thieves or fighters, and members of the relevant guild, where they draw their power.  They can take any weapon and wear armor as per their other class with no restrictions from Silf.  As long as they are paid, spells cast on behalf of other Guild members gain +1 to effect, or saving throw tests for every 3 levels of priest.

ZagygZagyg (Humor, Eccentricity, Occult Lore, and Unpredictability)

lesser god

Zagyg is a god of many realms, not just Nehwon, and celebrates randomness.  His colors are blue and silver, and he continually searches for odd bits of arcane knowledge and occult lore, and his followers do the same. He frequently changes his habits, believing that predictability is the bane of creativity and wit.  He’s quite commonly actively involved in the activities of the world, and takes physical presence more often that other lesser gods.  His priests are fairly limited however, as his influence is slight.

In Game effects for Priests

For every 3 full levels of Priesthood, priests can either cast a random effect from the Wand of Wonder, or Identify (without a required material component) once per day.  All levels of Priests can Read Magic at 10% chance per level.  Zagyg also enjoys changing the requested output / target / duration of a prayer, where it amuses him.

Classes of Nehwon

As mentioned in the Races section, Nehwon is a very multi classed / dual classed environment.  To reflect this, all races are eligible to do both, and experience points can even be applied to the various classes at the player’s discretion.
 
i.e. Bill, a City Folk Urban Mage / Thief earns 1000 xp for tonight’s adventure.  He decides that he was very “thiefy” tonight, scaling a bunch of walls, and bypassing guards,  while only casting a minor spell.  He decides in that spirit to apply 800xp to his Thief Class, and 200xp to his Mage class.
 
Classes can even be added throughout the course of the campaign.  Players can dedicate 1000xp to a new class, and then join it at level 1.

Warrior

Fighter
No changes from the Players Handbook, save that players do not need to build a stronghold to have followers.
Ranger
No changes from the Players Handbook.  Ranger’s followers will be determined by the environment.
Barbarian
Barbarians level up as per the Ranger’s XP Track, but gain a D12 hit die, and double bonuses to their constitution and dexterity when wearing leather or lighter armors.
They do not specialize weapons, or gain followers as per fighters, but do gain the ability to hit creatures that require +1 weapons at level 4, and require +2 at lvl 6, 8th +3, 10th +4, 12th +5. (No to hit modifier actually applies, they just ignore this ruling.)
Barbarians track as per Rangers.
Barbarians naturally distrust wizards (not mages or priests).  If a Wizard is casting in their presence, a barbarian can detect this at 25% chance, but has no idea of what is being cast.  This ability increases by 5% per level, but cannot go above 90%.  The DM may expand this sense range by the level or complexity of spell cast.
A barbarian cannot dual class or multi class as a White Wizard or Black Wizard.

Priest

No changes per the Players Handbook, save that I don’t require priest classes to memorize spells.  Prayers are specific to the scenario at hand, not “pre-earned and saved”.
Cleric
Clerics are advocates of a particular god.  Nehwon has a VERY large pantheon, and shifts it’s favor from god to god quite frequently.  Most priesthoods will focus heavily on active pursuit of parishioners, and income gathering.  I’ll work with Players to establish their religion, and it’s tenets and restrictions.
Druid
No changes to the Players Handbook.
Paladin
I’m moving Paladin under Priest intentionally, as these Holy Warriors have more to do with this class than fighters in Nehwon.  Because of the very active shifting of favor among the deities, Paladins are there to protect their Priests, Temples, and parishioners directly.  Each Paladin will be assigned to a temple, and directed by it’s priests.  All they do is directed by that temple, and all they earn / own is Temple property.
Paladins will continue to cast priest spells at the levels noted in the Players Handbook.
Paladins gain none of the other benefits / restrictions listed in the Players Handbook.  They will level up as per a priest, but receive D10 hit dice as per fighters, and can specialize, and draw followers as per a fighter.
Paladins may receive benefits and restrictions particular to their deity, as per the Cleric above.  These powers may also wax and wane as their deity’s favor does.

Rogue

Thief
Thieves Guilds are VERY active in Nehwon, and carry many restrictions and rules.  Players need to decide if they are guild members or freelancers at time of creation.  At least in Lankhmar, women are forbidden from being guild thieves.  A Thief PC can also decide to be a member of the Slayers Guild, Whores Guild, or Beggars Guild, if those better suit their skills.
I’m going to cut the read languages thief skill, and the use scrolls benefit at level 10.
Followers will only be available to Guild Thieves.
Bard
No changes from the Players Handbook.  Bards will learn spells like Mages, not Wizards.

Wizard

Wizards and Illusionists behave much like the wizards in the Players Handbook,  in that they learn from other wizards, have spell books to study, etc.
Wizards are not restricted from wearing armor or using certain weapons.
They’ll also know a maximum # of spells at twice the normal Intelligence rate (but cannot memorize more per day).
Nehwon is also heavy with ritualistic magic.  Some spells may be altered to increase their casting time, or may become more potent with ritual or sacrifice.  I’ll deal with those spell by spell, in the campaign.
White Wizard
White Wizards are a very rare breed in Nehwon, and in low demand.  Their value of life and aversion to ritualistic sacrifice limits their power and influence.  They often have very limited contact with the outside world.
White Wizards must be of good alignment.  They have access to Wizard Spells, and Druid Spells (but learned, stored in books, and memorized, just like wizard spells).  The DM will limit access to some spells, as well as the ability to reverse spells as appropriate.
Black Wizard
While not numerous by any means, the vast majority of wizards in Nehwon are Black Wizards.  Their ritualistic magic powers power thrones, guilds, and powerful families.  Some elder black wizards are not even of terrestrial origin, and share their terrible dark secrets with the denizens of Nehwon, but at great price.
Black Wizards have access to all Wizard Spells, and can extend many spells (duration, power, or both) through the use of ritual and sacrifice.  They must not be Good Aligned.  After level 4, Black Wizards can only be an Evil Alignment.
For this infernal power, Black Wizards pay great price.  Many are disfigured, otherworldly, or crippled by their eldritch energies.  This will be explained to Black Wizard PCs in greater detail during their character creation.
Illusionist
An Illusionist is a White Wizard / Thief hybrid.  They can learn spells as per an equivalent leveled wizard in the players handbook, but only from the illusion/phantasm schools.
Additionally, they gain thieves skills as per a level 1 thief, and then gain 1/2 as many points to apply each level there after.
Because of the split focus, they only know spells as per the standard intelligence rate, not doubled, like other wizard classes.
Illusionists get D6 Hit Die, while still leveling XP as a wizard.

Mage

In this campaign Mages are distinctly different than Wizards, as they have learned magic abilities, instead of spells.  Many are shamanistic members of their tribe or culture, similar to a druid.
Mages get the standard Intelligence limit of known spell points.  They don’t need to allocate/memorize to a particular spell ability, but use them more like Clerics.
Mages also have no armor or weapon limitations.
Mages level as per wizards, but gain D6 hit die.
Ice/Water/Air/Fire/Earth/Urban Mage
These elemental Mage types are limited in their use by their element, and their spell effects match their training.  They still must learn new spells from another Mage of higher level in the same element.  In many cases, advancing past level 3 as an Elemental Mage will require travel to remote or dangerous locations to find a suitable mentor.
Ice Mages can only use spells in the North, or during Winter.  Water/Fire need to draw from a body of water/fire to use.  Air magic can only be cast outside. Earth Mages require both feet in firm contact directly with the ground.  Urban magic only works in cities.
Air Mages are especially difficult to find at any level above 3.  Air magic effects are always invisible, and advanced practitioners also become invisible through the use of their craft.
Wild Mage
As opposed to the mentored Mages above, Wild Mages get their “gift” by accident, and cannot be trained.  They also cannot always control when their gift is used.
On the plus side, they have no limit to the number of times they can use it in a day (no learned spell limit).
Because of this randomness, Wild Mages can never be single classed.
Wild Mages cannot gain levels above level 3 in this class.

Races of Nehwon

Humans are very prevalent.  Many racial traits are exhibited by various regions.
  • 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.
Elves occupy the dark reaches of the great forest, and are generally not friendly to humans.  Outcasts and runaways could be PCs, but would be very rare / exotic (less than 1% population). +1W,-1I. Woodland Survival Proficiency. Air Mage, Illusionist, Fighter, Ranger, Druid, Cleric, Thief classes.
  • Players can also be half elves, following the elf stats above, but with limited save resistance as per normal.
Orcs occupy the city of No-Ombrulsk, and are trading partners with humanity.  They are a hardy breed of seafaring and warlike folk.  Some long ships still plunder and collect slaves.  +1 Co,-1 Ch. Barbarian, Black Wizard, White Wizard, Bard, Fighter, Cleric classes.
Dwarves occupy Ool Hrusp, and are seen as a decadent and sometimes twisted race.  They are known for the pursuit of exotic entertainments.  +1Ch, -1W. Choose 1 Prof: Etiquette, Astrology, Ancient Language, Ancient History, Gaming.  Black Wizard, Urban Mage, Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Thief classes.
  • 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.
Goblins are called Land Mingols (or often just Mingols, as people don’t often differentiate the two races). Nomadic horse riders from the east.  +1D,-1S.  Riding Land based, or short bow proficiency. Fire Mage, Fighter, Ranger, Cleric, Druid, Thief.
A Sea Mingol

A Sea Mingol

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.

Other Racial Rules Changes
No races posses infra vision, or any form of extra vision, grade detection, but do retain their save bonuses vs spells and saving throws.  No secret door benefits.
All Races may dual class or multi class.  Mixed skill sets are very prevalent in Nehwon.
Class minimum ability scores can be ignored.  You’re welcome to be as incompetent as you’d like at your chosen profession.

Ill Met in Nehwon

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!

Nehwon

A map of Nehwon, featuring 6 of the 8 great cities.

D&D 2e Campaign: 2014-10-16 Part 2: Genocide

Continued from Here.

lvl2With the handless maidens rescued, the party quickly starts going downhill.

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.

angry-catThe other cats, outside the blast cone, surge toward the balcony.  Colin waits until they near, then blows the horn again, destroying the remainder of the cats.

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…

 

 

 

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