Sanctum of Hyperborea!

“The hyperboreans are an ancient, antediluvian race, who ruled the world back when
the earliest men were still but mewling apes.

Their civilization was brought low by a dimension-spanning curse, a creeping doom from beyond the lurid veils of reality. For the hyperboreans were wizard-kings, molding reality with forgotten magics, and consorting with all manner of daemons, elder entities and starbeasts from the Great Nether.”

Collaboration with the Sanctum Secorum podcast continues, this time with a description of the ancient hyperboreans, complete with rules to generate hyperborean characters.

I had a lot of fun writing this article, as it was based on an adventure seed born of storytelling collaboration last winter. But please, read the details in the zine, and as always, check out the podcast!

Cheers,

AMP

DriveThruRPG link: Sanctum Secorum – Episode Companion #32

Podcast link: Sanctum Secorum #32 – Attack from Atlantis

 

Cillamar City, then and now.

“Yes, I’ve known Cillamar. The green jewel of the north, its high spires and low ditches, the Tower looming above all. What a loss it is, to see it lost beyond a wall of magick, merely because of the fickle wars of the gods.”

So this week, I was enticed to join up on a blog carnival event hosted by Daemons & Deathrays. The topic is simply “Time marches on”, which made me instantly think about the City of Cillamar.

The City ended up as part of my sandbox campaign world mostly because I was planning on possibly running one of the Castle Whiterock modules from Goodman Games. I picked out names for locations mentioned in the modules, and riffed the rest as we went along.

From those humble beginnings, with a great deal of grandiose and unplanned improvisation, came Cillamar City. And in the last crescendo of last winter’s campaign, it was cast into turmoil, and lost within an impenetrable shield of magic. I’m actually working on making it into a megadungeon/adventure setting of its own, since I know that the players want to return to their old haunts eventually.

In the document below, the notes on current Cillamar described what happened to the City because of player’s actions and choices.

I meant to include a short single-player freestyle adventure as part of this post, but things started expanding out of hand. I’ll probably post that later once I finish it: it’s a nailbiter of a story, set in the last days of Cillamar City before the Battle at Wormwood Square.

Cheers,

AMP

Location description of Cillamar City: DCC_CillamarCityMap_AMP

Map of Cillamar City (colorized): DCC_CillamarCityMap_AMP

Hit Location System for DCC/d20

I have long enjoyed the hit location mechanics in games such as RuneQuest and Warhammer, as I feel they add a nice element of further excitement and deadliness (discouraging murderhoboism) to combat and other perilous situations. Additionally, e.g. missing limbs can provide nice conversation pieces in-game and otherwise enhance roleplaying.

Most of the burden of book-keeping falls on the players, for a change. Probably counts as a plus as well…

Being unsatisfied with the d20 stuff I found online on the matter at hand, I came up with my own system, which you can find as the linked PDF below. Most of the (few) game-dependant mechanics are for DCC RPG, but I have mentioned some alternatives for various editions of D&D as well. In any case, converting this system between most d20 games should present little difficulty.

It is naturally up to the Judge/DM/GM how completely they want to adopt the system into their games. For every creature in the world? Just for the PCs, major NPCs and epic opponents? Other:_______________?

Happy dismemberment: Hit Location System

-MM

The Stinkgoblins!

“Yeh, we kept losing kids for a while. They went to take out the slops to the midden, or popped out to the outhouse late at night. We never saw ’em again!

Then, a really weird chap walked into town. ‘E smelled like roses, and spritzed everyone with a good smelling thing.

I think ‘e were one of them elves or summin’, but what do I know… Queer, that’s what ‘e was. Or she. Cannae ever tell from them pointies.

Any’ow, after ‘e sold a buncha that good smellin’ water all over the town, an’ no kids ‘ave gone lost since! Ain’t that weird!”

As I’ve (slowly) worked the editorial through the old articles, I came across a mention of stinkgoblins. Just an off hand remark, in the flavour text of one of the first articles (namely Equipment, improved).

So I figured that they’d be a light enough thing to write up during the review process. It’ll take me a while to get through all of my old stuff, let alone tweak the rest of the blog and process to toot out good content consistently (you can keep an eye on the reviews at Review Week!, I’ll update it as I go along).

Anyhow, read up on the stinkgoblins below.

Cheers,

AMP

Monster stats for stinkgoblins: DCC_Monster_Stinkgoblin_AMP

 

 

Spell – Phandaal’s Gyrator

“From his mouth gushed the syllables of Phandaal’s Gyrator Spell. The Deodand was jerked off his feet and flung high in the air, where he hung whirling, high and low, faster and slower, up to the tree-tops, low to the ground.” – Mazirian The Magician

Another DCC-fied Vancian spell of mine, this time from The Dying Earth. I made it a 3rd level Wizard spell, with a fumble range based on that, following the optional casting rule outlined in Liber Arcanum. Obviously, if you do not wish to use the mechanic, simply treat only ‘1’ as a fumble.

Astute players may also find non-violent uses for the spell, e.g. as a lift when cast on an ally.

Go aloft: Phandaal’s Gyrator

-MM

Arcane Patron: Hidden Lord, God of Secrets

“Wizards, sorcerers and witches have an unending thirst for hidden knowledge. It is thus no surprise that the God of Secrets is willing to deal with them, offering patronage and power to those who dare to step closer to his hooded form.

Supplicants would serve well to be wary though, as Hidden Lord is himself a secret, his origins and true form a mystery to even the most knowledgeable scholars.”

In my table, only a few gods with established cults deign to offer patronage to arcane casters. Hidden Lord, God of Secrets is one of these deities.

One of my players is running an aspiring wizard with a focus towards shadows and subterfuge, and requested the rules of Hidden Lords patronage, so here they are!

Cheers,

AMP

Patron details – Hidden Lord: DCC_Patron_HiddenLord_AMP

 

Spell – Forlorn Encystment

“I have decided to apply the Charm of Forlorn Encystment, which constricts the subject in a pore some forty-five miles below the surface of the earth.” – Jack Vance

Probably needless to say, I have lifted this spell directly from Vance’s novel The Eyes of the Overworld. I made it a 4th level Wizard spell, with a fumble range based on that fact, following the optional casting rule outlined in Liber Arcanum. Obviously, if you do not wish to use the mechanic, simply have ‘1’ as the fumble and ‘2-11’ as the “Lost. Failure.” result.

Some matters not discussed in the spell description itself: targets sunk fully awake due to misfire may easily be subject to suffocation, depending on e.g. geological factors and Judge decision. Likewise, they may be able to escape their predicament via burrowing, divine/patron aid, other magic, etc., but not by the reversal of the spell. Those unfortunates who are able to breathe underground, but not escape, will likely perish from thirst & hunger and/or go insane…

Take the plunge: Forlorn Encystment

MM