Wednesday, November 30, 2011

[ICONS] Secret Undersaea Base (map)

Well anway, NaNiWriMo ate my month (I made the goal). My ICONS game is going splendidly and next month, we'll be kicking off a brand new Metal Earth playtest campaign- which I'll be participating in as a player; how cool is that? I'm going to play a human that looks like a tatted up Jason Statham.

Anyway here's a novel excerpt for you:

As one, the warworms rose up and pounced on Ash. For a moment his world contracted down to cold wriggling flesh, clenching, sucking mouthparts and an unimaginably foul stink. He spent desperate struggling seconds dodging gnashing, snapping teeth before he got his sword arm free from the slimy press. The creatures tangled around each other as much as they did him. He lopped the head off one and then another. A third clamped its mouth down on his sword arm, swallowing it up to the elbow- sword and all. Ash drove the fist of his free hand through its eye mound; it did not release. Screaming in rage and pain, he whipped the thing around, smashing it into another worm, sending this one end over end into the boiling pool. It released an unsettling, infant-like scream as it died.
The last of the warworms bunched up on itself and backed away from him, hissing. Ash used the respite to pry its compatriot from his arm. Once loose, the arm bled freely; his blood spattered and sizzled on the rocks.
He raised his sword and took a step towards the hissing monstrosity before him. It roared and feinted, lunging forward, its mouth spread into a wide gory spectacle. Suddenly, it reared back, twisted itself around in a seemingly impossible fashion, and ran away.
Ash lowered his head and dropped his arms to his sides. His chest rose and fell like a bellows and the breath burned in his lungs. He wagged his head like a dog, looked at the record of destruction strewn all around him, and laughed.
Catching his breath, he tossed his head back and started to run. He came out of the canyon, and scanned the landscape. He caught sight of the boneman almost immediately. About 20 chains from where Ash stood, the undead creature had managed to marshal the fleeing warworm, and now attempted to climb into its saddle.
Howling, sword over his head, blood streaming from his arms and trailing in the air behind him, Ash sprinted.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halls of the Hidden Prince Level Two, Murder Holes, Introduction and Areas 1-2.

Note: The map is on the left.

Level Two: The Murder Holes


Level two is contested territory. Once long ago the Lizardmen fought a terrible battle against Trox the Robolich and his minions; evidence suggests the lizardmen lost, but for whatever reasons, Trox currently the ruler of the lower levels, did not see fit to invest any of his energy in holding this level. For the last century the Insectress (see below) has ruled here; however, not long ago, a small and well-armed scientific expedition led by Dr Maxis, a yeti scientist, and backed up by a band of mercenary Sharkmen, has begun to create instability in the area. So far the Robolich has remained aloof.

This level is considerably more lethal than the first. Player characters who do not exercise caution here will surely die. Hard.

The Insectress:

She is an elemental creature/insect demon queen, drawn to The Metal Earth by the unholy energies released by the Robolich during the course of his necromantic investigations.

Sounds, random and otherwise:

The noise of running water can be heard throughout this level.. The volume of this noise varies with proximity/acess to the river. Furthermore, there is a good deal of ghostly activity on this level as well as some other freaky shit. Sometimes, it’s noisy.

Random noise table:

Roll every now and again, at the referee’s discretion

  1. Loud heavy noise like the slamming of a door
  2. A woman’s maniacal laughter
  3. Screaming, goes on for 1d4 minutes
  4. Rattling chains
  5. Many drunken voices singing a tavern song. This noise waivers in and out
  6. The clang of steal against steal
  7. Monkeys or apes screeching
  8. Many voices, chanting. This noise seems to come from everywhere at once and will last for 1d4 rounds

Any attempt to follow any of these noises to their source should lead to frustration at the very least, but very possibly calamity. Furthermore, the more attention that is paid to the ghost of this level, the more likely they are to manifest in a visual or physical way. The exact ramifications of this are left up to the referee and should probably be improvised to fit the situation at hand. Anyway, if the PCs go looking for ghosts, they should find them and it should probably suck.

Area Descriptions:

1. The Stairs and the Main Lobby.

Illumination: None. It is very dark and very quiet here. Due to some unknown force, perhaps an unholy residue of the horrible things that went on in the chamber during the great battle, no light source will create more than a 10’ sphere of illumination. A draft blows through this chamber from west to east, torches have a 1 in 4 chance of sputtering out each turn (minute). The intense darkness should make exploring the room slow going.

The lower reaches of the stairwell are covered in dust; ropey cobwebs hang down from above; the shattered remains of a makeshift barricade partially block the bottom of the stair. A careful search through this wreckage will yield a sack containing four bullets that will fit the revolver located on level 1 in room 18. Three of these bullets are normal, but one has a bright red casing and will function as a fireball spell as executed by an 8th level caster.

Secret doors: As stated above it is unnaturally dark in this area, so finding secret doors is going to be difficult. Secret door will be located on a roll of 1-2 on a d12. However, if the characters specifically search the floor for signs of traffic double the chance to 1-4 on a d12.

As the characters penetrate further into this chamber, it will become increasingly apparent that a great battle was once fought here. Strewn about the floor in various states, are the bodies of six lizardmen (some prone, others kneeling, one impaled on a sword blade, which can actually be drawn out as combat action on a successful to hit roll [+1/+2 vs. undead* renders user immune to petrify effect, see below] another with a caved in skull and another with a missing arm) all of who appear to have been turned to stone. These are in fact undead creatures. They will attack 1d4+1 rounds after the party passes the barricade.

Extra creepy option: Combine their initial rising up off the floor with option 8 from the random noise table above. In this fashion you can guarantee a general freak out every time this noise comes up later.

Stone Dead

AC: 4 [15], HD 2+2, Attacks: Strike, Move: 10, XP 100, Special: Petrify:

These undead creatures are usually dormant; they become active only when the area in which they reside is disturbed. They will generally awaken with a terrible scream 1d4+1 rounds after such a disturbance occurs. Each and every body movement of a stone dead generates a noise not unlike the snapping of bones. Their eyes glow with a baleful blue light and they never stop screaming. Stone dead are notoriously relentless and they will never cease in their efforts to slay or infect an enemy.

Petrify: if hit character must make a saving throw or become infected with the stone sickness. Once the sickness sets in it will spread from the point of contact across the victim’s body in 2d4 days. The victim’s skin will turn to slowly transform into stone, and if the infection is allowed to run its course the character will at the end of the gestation period become one of the stone dead. The effect can be counteracted by a cure disease or remove curse spell or something determined by the referee to be equivalent of either. Characters can only be infected once, and if they survive the ordeal they are forever immune. *Characters utilizing magical weapons or armor specifically designed to combat the undead are also immune. Characters who die after being infected will transform at the same rate as the living.


Illumination: None

Smell: Dead rat

This rough hewn passage leads several hundred feet to the north arriving at last at the dumbwaiter cabinet for this level. See Level One Area 8 for more details.

2. The Hall of Laughing Minotaurs

Illumination: Bright and cheery light emanating from glowing crystals on the ceiling 5 meters above.

Smell: Clean and fresh.

The wooden door is locked and decorated with a knocker carved in the shape of a smiling minotaur head.

The smooth walls of this passage are covered with perfectly rendered, larger than life pictures of minotaurs pointing outward (at the viewer it seems) and laughing. After the party turns the first corner a huge stone slab weighing some twenty tons will slam down, blocking the doorway. There is no way out. The noise of rushing water is especially loud at the end of the corridor and industrious characters may dig their way out and into Area 24 in 6 days (-1 day for each additional laborer with a minimum of 3 days).The door will automatically reset itself after 30 days.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halls of the Hidden Prince areas 15-20

I'll probably add to all these descriptions when I do the final version, so please consider this a draft. I encourage you to make comments and suggestions below. Furthermore, feel free to make use of the map[s] in your home campaign without saddling yourself with the burden of my substandard key. As usual, I'm not sure what I'll be posting next. And lets face it, I'm batting near zero with such predictions anyway.

For those of you that are interested, I'm on track with the novel- or rather I will be if I finish today's entry. I'd link you, but really, I don't dislike any of you nearly enough to point you in the direction of my first draft fiction.

Reminder: the map for this level is on the left and the tag at the bottom of the post will bring up the other entries in this series.

Carry on-

15. Wide Corridor

Illumination: Glow Strip Gold (Mellow, but very bright).

The floors are made of polished marble. Both double doors are of the same stuff, and ornately carved with the visages of serious looking minotaurs. The floor is cracked and fractured. The cracks radiate off a pair of large divets that appear to have been made by the impact of giant fists. Three desiccated bodies are pinned to the west wall with spears, about five feet above the floor. Once again everything herein is covered in dust and cobwebs.

16. The Garden

Illumination: Artificial Sun Yellow

Smell: Green growing things.

A crackling ball of orange energy hangs about 10 meters in the air above the center of the floor. The walls are covered in vegetation and the ceiling is lost in the mist above. A gentle rain drizzles down from overhead.

There are no animals in this room, and the only noise is that of dripping water and the sputtering artificial sun.

Although the room appears to be a healthy garden comprised of many different sorts of plant- there is actually only one plant: the huge, aggressive, and semi-sentient club moss.

Club moss.

AC 10[9] HD: 6 Move:0 [but can reach anywhere within the room]. Attack: Bash 1d6 (3 X round) XP: 600

The club moss will attack 1d6 rounds after the characters enter the room or when they reach an area far from the door- whichever occurs first. It takes ½ damage from fire.

If the characters decide to probe the artificial sun, any object (e.g. sword, pole) that touches it is instantly consumed and the wielder must make a saving throw or take 2d6 damage. Any living being that touches the artificial sun is instantly consumed.

17. The Processional

Illumination: none

Smell: Dust and mildew

It appears the walls in this room were once covered with tapestries. These have long since decayed and fallen to the floor, as evinced by the several piles of ragged remnants. Two of these piles are actually Raglings, and will reconfigure themselves into giant mummy like creatures 3 rounds after the room has been entered. AC 4 [16] HD 2+2 Move:12

18. Library.

Illumination: Ever burning fire in the room’s center

Smell: Moldering books

The books in this room have mostly fallen to dust. A loaded (4 chamber) revolver and spell book [contents referee’s discretion] lay on a writing desk in the NW corner of the room A wheelbarrow loaded with a pile moldering foodstuffs, four bottles of fine wine and a moth eaten sack containing 200gp rests beside the table.

19. Stairs down to level 3.

Illumination: Dull green glowstrip to the end of the corridor, the stairs are dark

Smell: Hot metal and excrement

There are fresh bloodstains smeared along the floor, ceiling and walls of corridor and trailing on down the stairs. The noise of dripping water can be heard faintly, coming up from far below.

20. Stairs to level 2.

Illumination: Spill over from area 15, which fades away to darkness near the bottom.

Smell: A rank, but unidentifiable odor.

The staircase is a wide affair of polished limestone, cut from the living rock. There is no noise or motion.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halls of the Hidden Prince Area 11-14

Just a little warm up as I begin today's novel plod. I've put a direct link to the map on the left, just click on the image and it will expand and shit. Furthermore, the tag at the bottom of this post should take you to the other entries.

I'm thinking of doing a new drawing for the header, if anyone has any ideas please share them in the comments.

11. The Coat Room.

Illumination: Glow Strip Yellow.

Scuff marks on the floor lead to both secret doors. They can be found in 1d6 rounds each of searching.

12. Narrow passage of natural stone.

Illumination: None.

13. Jail.

Illumination: none.

Rats and small lizards scurry away at the first sign of light. There is nothing to see here but the skeletal remains of several unfortunates.

14. Main Dining Room

Illumination: Magical torches (6)

Smell: Dust and Carnivore droppings

Despite the cheery torchlight, this room is as dusty and unused as the others. Here too, there is evidence of a struggle. Chairs and tables are overturned. Dark stains, visible even beneath the thick coat of dust, mar the walls and floor. Faded murals of Minotaurs engaged in all manner of activities, ranging from feasting to copulating, adorn the walls.

Anyone who bothers to look can see many paw prints of a medium sized quadruped trail through the dust, on the floor and up the walls.

The door in the west wall leads only to a wall of natural stone.

Three ceiling sloth live in the ornate chandelier. They have acid for blood and live in near continual state of pain. As a result they hate everything that lives.

AC: 6 [13] HD: 1+1 Move: 6 (can walk on walls and ceiling at same rate) Attack: Tail stinger 1d6 Special: on a hit from the tail stinger ST or paralyzed for 20 rounds – Constitution score. XP 100. The ceiling sloth’s preferred tactic is to drop down on individuals from above as they cross the center of the room. They will however, attack within 1d4 rounds after the room is entered.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Dead Earth. The first sentence of my NaNoWriMo novel

The Dead Earth
Book One: The Stolen Sun
Chapter One: The City at Twilight

Sometimes, when the dust thinned and the light of the faded silver sun came up, priests of Idoran’s dying ab-god, Marl, would leave the temple and raid the city for food.

I've written quite a bit of fiction in the past (I've even brushed up against publication on a couple of occasions) and i know that the clunker above, if not the entire beginning I'm writing now, will almost certainly be replaced before I'm done, but I thought I'd share it anyway.
Good luck to everyone else who's giving this a shot. As for me I have Robert Britan's excellent punctuation guide; a handful of grammar books; and a bunch of random text books in which to dig for inspiration. Surely, if Moorcock can do it in three days, we can do it in thirty.
I'm at 600 words, right now. Wish me luck.