Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Once more into the Void Session 20

I try to move cautiously and quietly at the same time. So far I seem to be managing without breaking my neck. I keep one hand gripped on the back of Thyrell's wolf to steady me.

We are right under the walls of the old keep now. I glance up nervously but I cannot see anything except the outline of the walls far above us against the sky.

I follow the wolf as we round a corner of the path toward the old gatehouse. There is a dim flickering light ahead. I can just make out... Movement! On the path head it looks like two goblins. Thyrell and Talrek exchange hand signals and I can see Thyrell notching an arrow.

Wait.  I have just the spell for this!

I wave my hands above my head, concentrate and speak the weave of magic.

"Dormis" I whisper. First one goblin and then the second slump to the ground.

Once more into the Void Session 20

It was a short session this week. We are back from the holidays but people are still busy or fighting colds.

When last we left off the heroes had traveled under the mountains fighting spiders every step of the way before emerging on a ledge on the mountainside. There is a ruined keep about a half mile away slightly further up the mountainside.

The heroes decide to observe the Keep for a few hours but at the distance of half a mile all they can discern is that there is some movement. Given the blanket of snow on the ground the opinion is that we cannot approach without being spotted. Then Thyrell offers to use his Ring of Minor Invisibility.

Thyrell puts the ring on, disappears, much to the worry of his companion wolf Tinda, and he travels up the path to the keep. Getting closer he can see that the workmanship is similar to the old ruined tower in Winterton. The keep is old, basically a ruin but there are signs of recent crude repairs. As Thyrell gets up close to the keep on the path he knocks a rock lose that goes clattering down the mountainside. Some goblins peer down in his direction. But seeing nothing, they lose interest and pop back out of sight. Thyrell decides that caution is more important and he turns back before approaching the entrance to the keep and returns.

Thyrell returns and tells his friends what he was able to see. There are several suggestions on how to proceed. Oto suggests casting jump on everyone and leaping over the walls of the keep. Talrek suggests sneaking up during the night when possibly the guards will be less active. The suggestion carries the day once Alcor augments the plan with his Shadow Arts ability. Once Alcor focuses and brings about the ability the group heads for the keep. Now there noise is muffled and they are harder to see.

Talrek had been worried that Oto, the lone human in the group, would fall down the side of the mountain in the dark but everyone, Oto included make it to the keep undetected (as far as they can tell). Approaching the entrance to the keep they make out that it is guarded by two goblins but it is just an open archway with no door or barrier. Oto casts sleep and both goblins fall unconscious. Talrek and Mukah dispatch the two sleeping goblins. Quietly the group enters the keep.

Otrivush Oto casts Sleep on the Goblin guards

Just inside the keep are two more goblins standing near a pair of fires. One of the guards spots Talrek but mistakes him for a guard. He angrily tells Talrek to get back to his post in goblin. Talrek pretends to be a goblin guard looking for a meal. The goblin is fooled by Talrek's mastery of goblin but still tells him to get back to his post. Talrek sneaks back into the dark. Oto casts sleep again and both of the goblin guards fall to the ground. Yelling in goblin erupts from one of the towers. Talrek hears, "Get up you lazy dogs!" Alcor and Talrek run up and kill the two sleeping goblins. Almost immediately the alarm is raised. A gong rings throughout the keep and a lot of yelling is heard.

Three more goblins and a pair of worgs enter the keep courtyard from the north rushing toward Alcor and Talrek. Alcor spears one of the worgs then spins and snaps its neck with his fist. Talrek attacks the other worg but misses. Oto decides to cast jump on himself and he leaps up onto the battlements in a single bound. Unfortunately, this appears to be unwise as he is immediately confronted by a host of goblins archers on the battlements. One archer hits Oto with an arrow wounding him gravely. Seeing the danger to Oto, Thyrell leaps up and grabs the battlement ledge and pulls himself up to face down the goblins. In the final action of the opening melee of the battle, Tinda lunges at the worg and bites it in the flank.

We had to stop mid-battle because of the late time. Oto is badly injured and surrounded by archers but Thyrell is now nearby to help. Talrek, Alcor and Mukah appear poised to clear out the goblins in the courtyard but they face the danger of archers on the battlements behind cover.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Lowpoint Starport

I have not managed to post so far in the new year. Not that I have not been working on things. After a flurry of activity on the Bomar domed city I decided I wanted to go back and finish off my Lowpoint Starport I have been working on for months. Armed with more ability in Blender now it did not take all that long to finish off the 50 buildings of the starport.  Given that Bomar has 500+ buildings I will need to use more general methods to complete it or I will never get it done.

I have attached a bunch of images taken in the Lowpoint render.

Distance shot from out at sea

Lowpoint is located at the end of the Logaolos Point. A desolate, rocky point of land more than 100 kilometers from the Newalter, the capital city of Tusa. The original starports for Tusa were on the continent of Atsox. After the scream there was an accident at one of the starports and the entire continent became uninhabitable. Tusa was re-discovered by starships from Kaitos in 3072. At first ships landed on concrete landing pads wherever they could be built. Eventually, it was decided Tusa needed a starport. Heeding the lessons learned by the Atsox catastrophe it was decided to place the starport on a desolate peninsula.

The Overlook Hotel
Once the landing pads were in place, offices and warehouses were built, then bars and hotels for travelers drawn to Tusa for big-game hunting. Eventually, Logaolos Point Star Port or "Lowpoint"  grew to a few dozen buildings and a population of around 25,000.

The most popular Hotel is the Overlook. Perched on the edge of a cliff. The hotel has its own landing pad for air cars to take wealthy guests hunting on the continent of Moneaux. It also has elevators down to a building at water's edge where guests can charter a deep sea fishing boat.

The Piazza
Lowpoint is built around a central, open square dedicated to growing grass, plants and trees. I stayed true to my original map in most cases. Some items look fine on a map but out of scale in reality. Once I put down the buildings I realized the square was far too big. But I decided not to change it.

Khamid Tower
The most popular spacer bar is located in Khamid Tower residences on the piazza. The "Landing Pad" is located mid-way up the tower. It is recognizable from large hologram of an overweight spacer sitting on a rocket.

The Landing Pad does a brisk business late into the night

The bar/entertainment zone that draws in the locals from Newalter and beyond is Morley's Bar. Licensed gambling on just about anything. Large holo-screens and a good location right next to the Hyper-Loop terminus.

Morley's Bar
Wealthier travelers and spacers with their own air cars usually fly to Newalter and other cities and locations on Tusa. The locals who work in Lowpoint and live in Newalter come by Hyper Loop. A much cheaper way to travel. For a few credits you can get in a capsule and zip into Newalter in just 20 minutes.

The Hyper Loop Line
The hyper loop line comes into Lowpoint right beside the twin towers of the Frontier Alliance office. FA has a major office on Tusa at Lowpoint and it has a reputation of calling in debts on star ships and impounding them at the Lowpoint Impound pads. Some spacers with bad credit make a point of not landing on Tusa because of this.

The Montegue Hotel
Moving away from the piazza are the few areas of danger in Lowpoint. Muggings and car-jacking do occur in these areas. Lowpoint does not have much of a police force. Customs officers are the only police in Lowpoint and they are more interested in checking for smuggled goods.

Low Rent shops
Smaller shops offering financing and credit advances, lawyers, weapons shops are common in the back alleys of Lowpoint. Late night pedestrians are warned to keep alert.

Landing Pad X2
Two landing pads are set aside for a government run service shuttling passengers and cargo down from Tusa Highpoint space station. Moving goods from ships not configured for atmospheric travel. From the landing pads, passengers are moved by bus and cargo goes through customs inspection. Enormous tanks of hydrogen fuel are located not far from the starport terminal.

Viewing Lowpoint from the surrounding hills. A local farm boy is warned
of the dangers of Lowpoint by his Uncle Ben.

One last image taken from the hills outside Lowpoint. To provide scale I tossed in an air car and a few locals.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

New Year

This is my first post of 2018.

In 2017 I managed to post 159 times. Which I think is really good, more than I had hoped to manage. However, if you look at my posts month to month you can see that I started on fire almost posting every day. For the last 6 months I have been posting more like 1 per week or 5-6 times per month.

Part of the problem is that I felt the need to make more and more content filled posts as the year went on. Posts that took a lot more effort to create and often had map or art added to them. 

Coming soon in 2018 I hope to finally post a Stars without Number adventure. No really. I actually got it plotted out and wrote the introduction and background over the holidays. 

Here’s a picture of a Halfling wizard so that this post is not totally filler.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Herculon Dome on Bomar

Over the holidays I was visiting family and I brought an old laptop that can manage to run Blender. While watching a lot of hockey on television I doodled in Blender working on a project I have thought about for some time. A model of one of the domed cities on Bomar first discussed in a Stars without Number post back in early March of this year.

What's that Agribot doing out here?

To cut down on the render time I did all of the work in Blender Render rather than Cycles. I actually learned a lot about the Blender Render in the process. It does have some advantages over Cycles. For one, the images produced are a lot clearer.

Rendered using Blender Render

Once I got back to my regular computer I switched the render engine over to Cycles. Below are some images showing the results. I have a lot of work to do to detail all of the buildings and add people and vehicles.  I also plan to add agricultural domes linked to the city dome and I need to add the covered water canal. Herculon is supplied by a canal that brings water all the way from the north pole of Bomar.

I like the end result but I may have to up the population for the planet. I had set the population at 500,000 in the earlier post.There are around 500 buildings in the model I created and on average these buildings have 15-20 floors. If we assume some of these buildings are offices, factories, warehouses it still makes the population of Herculon quite high. Maybe there are 350,000 people in Herculon and not many more in other sites on Bomar. The other domes could be quite small.

Street View Near the Concert Hall
Flying Cars, Trucks and a Floating Advertisement
Herculon - Domed Living on Bomar

Lots of work yet to be done.

Monday, 25 December 2017

A Mid-Winter Tale

Presented here is a single session adventure for the holidays. I know many similar adventures have been published in the past but I wanted to do my own. Once I created an image of a snow cave in the mountains I had to either write an adventure for it or do a take on Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

A Mid-Winter Tale

An OSR Adventure for levels 3-5.

“Twas the night before Mid-Winter, when all thro’ the valley
Not a creature was stirring, not even a goblin;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hope that Father Yule soon would be there.”

This is a low level adventure suitable for any OSR style rules set in a fantasy setting. I have used the village of Stillwater from my own Stillwater Valley setting but any remote village in a fantasy setting will do. The time of year is mid-winter and the area has just experienced a large snowfall. I have used Swords & Wizardry Continual Light rules to detail the adventure.

For the past 20-25 years, a kindly dwarf living in the foothills around Gloomy Top mountain has built amazing wooden toys and delivered them to the children of the village of Stillwater. Many years ago Yulgrunnar Icetoe was rescued by Chony Gysby from being swept away in the rapids at Stillwater ford. To show his gratitude Yul made toys for Chony’s children and delivered them at Mid-Winter. Yul enjoyed the reaction of the children so much he made an annual tradition of it and began bringing bags of toys for all the children of the village. A small mid-winter festival sprung up around the event and it brings in some inhabitants from other villages in the valley and travellers. Father Yule, as the children call him, arrives Mid-winter night and fills stockings at the Toppled Tankard Inn with toys. Bags of toys are put around a Yule tree for visitors.

This year there was a fierce snowstorm one day before the Mid-Winter festival and villagers were worried for Yul who always arrives in his sleigh pulled by two goats. On Mid-winter night Yul did not show up. A local traveller passing through offered to go check on the trail to his workshop and he also has not returned. It is now the day of the mid-winter festival and the local children and young adults are anxiously asking their parents to go look for Father Yule.

If only some brave travellers were to arrive and offer assistance.

Introduction for the Players
The players can either be regular visitors to Stillwater village or just passing through. They will see all the decorations up at the local inn, The Toppled Tankard, but the locals seem to be in a poor mood. Soon the innkeeper Walde will approach the players asking for their help.

Yul’s workshop is in a cave in the foothills of Gloomy Top mountain to the east of Stillwater. It is a mile by the main road and then another mile overland on a poorly marked trail. The overland trail to the hill is marked by a barely discernible line of tracks in the 2 foot deep snow. The tracks were made by the traveller who was asked to check on Yul.

Approaching the Workshop
From a distance of half a mile the hill above the workshop is visible. A thin stream of white smoke rises from behind the hill. About a five hundred feet from the hill the trail enters a valley. The tracks disappear, covered by drifting snow. About 200 feet from the hill there is a lump in the snow the shape of a body with a spear plunged into the snow beside it. The lump is the frozen corpse of a human traveller. His abdomen has been sliced into by large claws. The leather armor on the corpse is frozen solid to the body. There is a dagger at his hip and the spear is functional but covered in ice.

The entrance to the workshop is a large cave mouth (10 feet wide by 10 feet tall). The roof of the cave mouth is blocked by icicles that descend 6 feet making the entrance only 4 feet high. Just before the entrance a sign post sticks out of the snow. If the players approach it they will see Dwarven and Common characters saying “Father Yul’s Workshop”.

There is a 1 in 6 chance that an icicle will become dislodged and crash to the ground doing 1-6 points of damage. This chance increases to 2 in 6 if a character does not state he is avoiding the icicles.

Game Masters Map of the Workshop

Workshop Key

(1). Natural Tunnel
The cave mouth leads down (10 feet) a natural tunnel to an intersection. An orange glow comes from the west and it gets steadily warmer as you move to the west. It is actually hot at the door to area 2. To the east the tunnel is cold and dark. It actually gets colder as you near the door to area 6.

(2). The Forge
The door to this chamber is barred from the inside. This chamber is dominated by a blazing forge in the center of the room. The forge is putting out a huge amount of heat. Yul has stacked it high with charcoal. He is almost out. Some of the wooden stalls in area 3 have been dismantled and tossed into the fire. Yul is busy dismantling the doors to areas 4 and 5 for firewood.

Yulgrunnar Icetoe (Dwarf Fighter)
Str 14 Int 13 Wis 9 Con 8 Dex 7 Chr 17. HD 2 HP 6(10) AC 8 (11) Attack: 1 club (1-6) Move 9
Special Abilities
+1 find and remove traps, +1 to hit goblinoids, +1 save vs magic, death and poison
Yul is a big (round) dwarf with a long white beard. He is wearing his red fur coat with white fur trim belted at the waist with a large black belt. He normally has 10 hit points but he was attacked and only barely made it to the heat of the forge where he has been safe.

(3). Stable
Double doors lead into the stables. Two, large, unhappy goats are in the two stalls in the stable. They have been kept inside for more than a day and on top of that can smell the snowbeasts. A large pile of hay rests in the northeastern corner. There is a pair of pitchforks on the wall.

(4). Workshop
This is the woodworking shop where Yul makes his toys. A large red sack rests on the floor full of wooden and metal tools. All recently built and painted. Wood and woodworking tools line the walls.

(5). Bunker
This room is normally full of charcoal for the forge. But only a few shovels of charcoal remain.

(6). Living Quarters
The door to this area is ajar. An unpleasant, musky scent grows as the players move up the tunnel toward the door. Once in the room it becomes overwhelming. This area is Yul’s living quarters. There was a kitchen, comfortable chairs about the table, a corner with a bed, bookshelves full of books and a cozy fireplace. Now the entire room is a mess. The bed is flipped on its side, the bookshelves emptied of books and the fireplace is cold. The room is uncomfortably cold. Hiding behind the overturned bed are six snowbeasts. Observant players will see tufts of fur along the edges of the bed.

Snowbeasts (6) AC 5 (14) HD 3 HP 20, 19, 19, 17, 17, 16 Attack 2 claws (1d6/1d6) Move 9. The creatures will move to attack immediately.

(7). Storeroom
This room was full of neatly stacked crates on the north wall and shelves full of cans and boxes on the south wall. Now it has all been torn apart and flung on the floor. There are 2 more snowbeasts in this room. They will move to area 6 in two rounds.

Snowbeasts (2) AC 5 (14) HD 3 HP 20, 16 Attack 2 claws (1d6/1d6) Move 9. The creatures will move to attack immediately.

(8). Latrine
This area has a his and hers latrine separated by a wooden partition. Behind the partition are two more snowbeasts.

Snowbeasts (2) AC 5 (14) HD 3 HP 18, 17 Attack 2 claws (1d6/1d6) Move 9. The creatures will move to attack immediately.

New Creature Details

Snowbeast (Snow Goblin)
AC 5 (14) HD 3 Attack: 2 claws (1d6/1d6) Move 9
The snowbeast is a distant cousin of goblins. They are thought to have been breed by the Ogre Lords in the distant past. They are covered with matted, dirty fur that is brown in the summer and white in the winter. They radiate cold and cause all attacking them to do so at -1 if they are within melee range. They surprise on 1-2 on 1d6 in the wilderness. However, they do have a distinctive smell that can give away their presence, especially underground or indoors (negate surprise chance). The snowbeast is uncomfortable in the presence of heat (-1 to hit).

If the players can rescue Yul and drive away the snowbeasts he will thank them profusely and ask their help in delivering the toys to Stillwater. Unfortunately, he burned the sleigh already but the toys can be parcelled out into a number of backpacks and hauled to Stillwater. There are enough toys to fill four backpacks. Yul will promise a special toy for each of the players regardless. After the Mid-Winter festival is over Yul will invite the players back to his workshop and present each of them with a single low level magic item. These items were hidden in a secret compartment in his living quarters.

Suggested Gifts

Sword +1, Shield +1, Ring of Protection +1, Ring of Fire Immunity, Endless Torch, Boots of Silence.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Once More Into the Void - Session 19

“You guys scout out the area, I’ll check out this door!”

Talrek silently edged up to the wooden door set in the wall of the cave. A flickering light was shining around the edges of the door. Reaching out he was surprised to find the surface of the door was a little wet and sticky.

Something must be dripping from the ceiling he mused.

Pressing his ear to the door, Talrek listened intently. Nothing to hear. In the distance he could hear Mukah scouting the rest of the cave.

“Talrek, Let’s scout down this tunnel”.

Talrek could hear Mukah calling for him in the distance. Pressing his ear against the door Talrek listened carefully, once more. Nothing. Oh well, time to move on.

As he went to move his ear stuck firmly to the surface of the door. Looking quickly at the door Talrek stared incredulously into an eye forming in the surface of the door and staring directly at him.

Once more into the Void - Session 19. When is a door not a door?

Previously, in the last session, the heroes again fought off the attacks of the ettercaps and their spiders. After fighting the ettercaps to a standstill they moved back to a safer location.

The heroes moved north again, passing quickly through the caves where they fought their previous battles with the ettercaps. Moving down a side passage they find another cocooned corpse. This corpse appears to be a Dwarven merchant. Talrek checks the body and finds a pouch with some gold and some copper coins. Moving along the main passage, the cautious delvers note more holes in the tunnel ceiling, like those the ettercaps attacked them from earlier.

Coming to a choke point in the passage, which Otrivush is not certain he can squeeze through, Talrek gets out his mining gear and deftly smashes a stalagmite blocking the passage. A few steps into the new tunnel Mukah is unlucky enough to trigger yet another poison dart trap. The dart hits him squarely in the arm. Moments later giant spiders led by one ettercap appear from the webs and attack.

Almost immediately, Talrek and Alcor are bitten by the spiders. Alcor is poisoned and paralyzed but manages to utter his Hellish Rebuke on a spider. Then Alcor falls to the ground unconscious. Talrek incinerates one of the spiders with Guiding Bolt and his Spiritual Hammer crushes in the head of the ettercap. The last spider retreats into the webs and through a hole in the ceiling.

Talrek manages to revive Alcor with Lesser Restoration and the heroes pause for a short rest to catch their breath.

Continuing to walk to the north, the heroes are thrilled to finally leave the web-choked caves behind. They enter a large cave marked by a crude sign in goblin that helpfully warns “Spiders”. The cave has seen the passage of many booted feet, there are some broken wooden benches lying on the floor and to the south there are two wooden doors set into the cave wall. A flickering, dim light can be seen around the edges of the doors. Talrek stations himself at one door and listens intently but hears nothing.

Mukah moves further into the large cavern followed by Thyrell and Tinda scouting ahead. Otrivush moves to a raised ledge that gives him a good view of the cave. During his scouting, Mukah finds a natural dias with a broken wooden throne upon it. He finds the corpses of three goblins hidden behind the throne. The goblins appear to have been pummeled to death. The corpses look to have been here for a few months.

Finding a passage continuing to the north, Mukah calls for Talrek to leave his post listening at the door. Talrek attempts to move, but finds his ear is firmly stuck to the door! Talrek sees the door transform into the teeth and eyes of a Mimic. A pseudopod extrudes from the “door” and strikes Talrek in the head.

That's not a Door!

Alcor is the closest to Talrek, he realizes Talrek is in trouble and runs back but is blocked by a second Mimic disguised as the second door. His spear and then his foot become stuck to this second mimic. Alcor falls and gets tangled up with the mimic stuck to it upside down as it lurches toward Talrek and the first mimic. After some desperate pulling, Talrek manages to pull his ear off of the first mimic and move away from it.

By now everyone has become aware that Talrek and Alcor are under attack. Otrivush cast Magic Missile striking the mimic holding Alcor. Mukah runs to the scene and hurls his javelin, missing completely, bouncing it off the cave wall. Thyrell fires arrows at the mimic. Tinda manages to bite a Mimic and gets stuck to the creature. The wolf is stuck at the shoulder and head. Alcor struggles and gets one hand free which he promptly punches the creature with and gets stuck again. Alcor kills the first Mimic with Guiding Bolt, the creature splits open and a vile, sticky liquids pours onto the cave floor. Mukah strikes the creature holding Tinda and Alcor with his longsword and immediately lets go of it, knowing it will get stuck. Tinda yelps and manages to break free losing a lot of fur, but a pseudopod extrudes from the creature and grabs Tinda again. Throwing caution to the wind, Thryell charges and stabs the creature with both his short swords, both of which become stuck. Finally, Talrek hits the creature with Guiding Bolt, burning a hole completely through it and the creature deflates into a sticky puddle on the cave floor. The mimics are done.

The heroes pick up and clean their weapons. Mukah scouts the cave beyond the two “doors” which were actually mimics. The cave looks to be a former campsite or rest area. There is an illusion of a fire pit in the center of the cave, some broken chairs and debris. A narrow tunnel leads to a cave in. Mukah finds a goblin crushed beneath the stone. Leaving the cave by a tunnel to the north, the heroes emerge into the sunlight on the side of mountain. A path leads from a ledge and forks into two paths. One path leads down the mountainside. The other path leads to a plateau on the side of the mountain. A ruined castle sits on the plateau.

The heroes move back into the caves and set up camp to prepare for entering the ruins of the castle. Could this be the lair of the Necromancer?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

reMarkable Map

I posted the Dungeon of Malice adventure yesterday along with the 3D map I decided
to use as the GM Map. Maybe not entirely practical but I enjoyed creating it. My favorite
maps are probably in the style of the classic blue maps.

The original map of the Dungeon of Malice was sketched out on my reMarkable tablet.
Which is a sort of art tablet. Quite useful for putting down your ideas and hand scrawling
a map.