Posted tagged ‘undead’

Crunch: Old bones, new uses

July 23, 2009

Today I present to you… a few necromancy spells that gives new and added flavor to the well-known spell… unseen servant, now with bones! I imagine that the necromancers of the Shadow Tower makes frequent use of these two spells.

Bone Servant

School necromancy; Level bard 1, cleric 1, sorcerer/wizard 1

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (a small bone)

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Effect one mindless skeletal servant

Duration 10 min./level (D)

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell is simliar to unseen servant, except that the servant can’t run and that it can be attacked (see below). The bone servant gives the caster 1d10 temporary hit points, and when these are expended, the bone servant cease to function.

 

Greater Bone Servant

School necromancy; Level cleric 3, sorcerer/wizard 3

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (a large bone weighing at least 3 lb)

Range Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Effect one mindless skeletal servant

Duration permanent (D); see special

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell works like bone servant, except that it gives the caster temporary hit points equal to 1d10 + 1 per caster level (maximum +15). The bone servant is permanent until destroyed.

 

Designer’s Notes: These spells actually combine two spells, unseen servant (as previously mentioned) and false life, two of my favorite spells. The duration is severely lowered on bone servant, as opposed to unseen servant, which will hopefully still make unseen servant a very useful spell.

Thoughts and oppinions are welcome!

Advertisements

Barrowdelve map

April 5, 2009
The first level of the Barrowdelve

The first level of the Barrowdelve

I’ve been playing around with the Barrowdelve map for days, trying to find a cool and interesting design.

I’m one of those people who likes that a dungeon “makes sense”, that it has a story behind it, and that it makes sense that there is a nest of bats inside a locked 10×10 room.

As a DM I want to know who created the corridors, who built the mighty halls, traps and who decided that it would be a good idea with iron-fortified doors instead of its simpler wooden cousin.

The Barrowdelve is going to make sense, but that certainly doesn’t mean that its going to be a boring place… no, its going to be a place of magic, history, undead and with a connection to something far older than Mor Aldenn, something hidden deep within the earth. Something related to the Trelmyrean Archwizards…

It’s been hinted before, that there was something on the island before the city of mages…

Anyways, I’ll get back to that at a later time.

Adventure!

March 29, 2009
A Wraith in the Barrowdelve

A Wraith in the Barrowdelve

Without adventure, a setting is nothing. Players make adventurers and heroes, and these need places to explore, monsters to fight and mysteries to solve.

So what places, monsters and mysteries does Mor Aldenn offer a group of adventurers?

 

The Curse of the Night Hag 

Low to high-level characters

Something is making the dead walk the streets of Mor Aldenn. Moraldenns have named this new threat the Curse of the Night Hag, but its really not a curse at all, but a powerful artifact that is making the dead restless. It is, however, the night hag who is behind the artifact.

Low-level PCs may find themselves invited to the Mage Guild where they are hired to patrol the streets at night. The Barrowdelve Gate has been magically sealed, but some undead still find their way into the streets at night, a mystery the mages have yet to solve.

Mid-level PCs are hired to enter the Barrowdelve and retrieve certain items. The moraldenns fear that the undead will destroy their memories hidden within the Barrowdelve and seek the PCs to retrieve them before this happens. The mages will open the gate during the day, but from there on the PCs will be on their own.

High-level PCs will be asked to find the source of the curse. They are asked to go to deep into the Barrowdelve, where they will fight very powerful undead. When they find the artifact, they will need to destroy it (quickly) or become undead themselves.

 

The Night Hag

Low to high-level characters

The night hag of the Spindlewood Marshes has risen again. Her coven has regained its strength and she is amassing a great army to the west of Mor Aldenn.

Among her army is lizardfolk, kobolds, giants, human brigands and, of course, other hags (mostly green hags). They are not all found in the marshes, but patrol the surrounding forest, striking out against travellers, merchants and the small villages.

Low-level PCs are hired as guards or even guides. A merchant needs to travel to a small village to the west and fears brigands and kobolds. A rich innkeeper must visit his dying mother and needs guards to keep him safe. Maybe the Mage Guild hires them to kill kobolds and lizardfolk, or perhaps a mage hires them to capture an ettercap.

Mid-level PCs are hired to kill hill giants, especially the infamous tribe that terrorizes the forest east of Mor Aldenn, making the road to Ossindil dangerous. They may also be hired to find the night hag’s spies (see Nolly Ravenheart).

High-level PCs are strong enough to make the journey into the dreadful Spindlewood Marshes where they must fight the night hag herself. Elven mages are also interested in finding an ancient (now lost) elven city within the marsh, and perhaps they hire the PCs to seek it out and retrieve some of its many secrets.

 

The Demon Tower

Mid to high-level characters

 The Fallen Tower has been abandoned for decades and the mages have tried to kill the demon many times, failing each time. Perhaps the PCs will succeed, retrieving ancient secrets of summoning and conjuration. The Mage Guild will pay them greatly if they succeed.

Art by Gary Dupuis (www.gdupuis.com)

A small history lesson…

March 13, 2009

The Marsh War began long ago, before there was even fragments of a settlement on the banks of the converging rivers. A group of elven wizards from distant Ossindil (the great elven city of Ossindrillond) travelled west towards the great human empires and on their way back, lost their way in the Spindlewood Marshes. It was here, that they found an ancient enemy. A creature of the night, a creature with a hate unlike anything the elves had previously seen. It was a night hag, one of the vilest creatures imaginable.

The group managed to escape the clutches of the night hag, but not before losing a few of their friends. They left behind them a trail of blood, and henceforth the Spindlewood Marshes was also known as the Crimson Lands. They did, however, manage to wound their adversary and according to legends, blinded the night hag on her left eye. A wound that marks her to this day!

Since that first fatal meeting, the night hag have hated the elves of Ossindrillon. An elven message was sent to Calathia, the human realm of the south, a message begging the humans for help. The respons was quick to arrive in the form of a large band of human wizards. The war continued, forcing the alliance to make a stand on the island where now Mor Aldenn lies. They succeeded at dealing the night hag yet another lethal blow, killing six green hags from her coven. This time the night hag retreated far into the Spindlewood Marshes where she hid for many decades. She now knew the strength of her adversary and would never again underestimate him.

Current events
The night hag has brought down a curse on Mor Aldenn, bringing the city of the dead, also called Barrowdelve, to life, or rather, to unlife. Barrowdelve is hidden deep within the hill (also called Tower Hill) that rises on the main island, a city (or rather a dungeon) where Mor Aldenn have buried their dead for hundreds of years. Now, as the curse spreads, the dead is awoken to life. The wizards have managed to lock the gates with their magic, but not before skeletons, ghouls and zombies created havoc in the streets, killing lots of innocents. However, there are some undead that a magically locked gate will not keep out, like shadows and ghosts. Fortunately for the citizens of Mor Aldenn, the undead only appear at night and the wizards have hired adventurers to patrol the nocturnal streets.

The Barrowdelve

March 10, 2009

Ghouls in the streets

Ghouls in the streets

Yes, the gates into the Barrowdelve used to be open to all, but these days, the ancestral halls may be the least safe place to be, especially at night! They say that the vile night hag of the Spindlewood Marshes has cast a deadly curse upon Mor Aldenn, waking the undead at night… but if you ask me, its those necromancers of the Shadow Tower causing all this nightly chaos!

 

– Caldrim, fisherman on the Tassalin river.

A long time ago, the inhabitants of Mor Aldenn decided that they would use the mound in the middle of the isle as a sort of necropolis. The first chambers were dug almost 300 years ago, but since then it has grown a little each year. The moraldenns are very proud of this dungeon, which they name their ancestral halls, and see it as a monument to their history and especially, to their ancestors. The wealthy have entire sections of the necroplois devoted to them. bought and paid for of course, while most others have their bones or ashes displayed in the impressive Hall of Bones.

The heroes of Mor Aldenn is an entirely different matter, as are the mages vaults. Heroes are often mummified and displayed in sarcophaguses in the Inner Sanctuary, while lesser known adventurers have their bones gilded and displayed in the hallways, along with the recollections of their valorous deeds.

The mages vault is perhaps the most secure part of the Barrowdelve, sealed behind arcane wards and doors, protected by magical guardians. The vault is not only home of the dead, but also a place where the mages store some of their worst secrets. Also, its not all mages that have their remains locked away in the vault, in fact, if you are allowed to sleep your eternal rest in the Vaults is up to the masters of the Mage Guild.

Recently, the dead have risen, causing havoc in the streets, killing innocents and mages. The mages were quick to react, especially the necromancers of the Shadow Tower. The gates were sealed using powerful magic, and now, only the mages can open them. You would think that this removed the threat to Mor Aldenn, but alas, it did not. There are still shadows, ghosts and other undead that care little for stone and magic. The strange thing is, the undead only arrive in the night.

The mages have their studies to tend to, which means that they have hired adventurers to watch the streets at night. The commoners mark their doors with sacred runes, lock their doors and hope for the best, but while the threat has not been removed, it has diminished, at least for now!

Art by Gary Dupuis (www.gdupuis.com)