The World of Tel-Avi

Time
Scholarly Research Articles

The Celestial Spheres

The Axis Mundi

The Unterzee

The Argument for Infinite Planes


Time in the world is tracked according to the rotation of the Three Suns around the Plane of Earth, as they make their yearly trek through the celestial spheres.

The rising and setting of the Three Suns mark off the days. With each day being broken down into fourty-two hours, according to the Great Number, as laid out by the Cyfandiri Astrologer, Pietro Van Hubletel.

To those people unable to afford expensive time-pieces, the days are more often broken out into ten watches. Each watch consists of a span of approximately 4 hours as the astrologers recon time, and are as follows:

Watch Description
False Dawn from the first appearance of Coprenius on the Southern horizon until the rising of the Twin Suns
First Dawn from the rising of the Twin Suns to the rising of Coprenius
High Dawn from the rising of Coprenius until the Twin Suns reach their conjoined zenith
Zenith from the Twin Suns reaching zenith, until Coprenius reaches its zenith
The Burning from Coprenius zenith, until Alero begins it’s recession in the east
The Separation from the beginning of Alero‘s recession to the beginning of Remi’s recession in the west
The Cooling from the beginning of the division of the Twin Suns, until Alero sets in the east
First Dusk from Alero‘s setting in the east, until Remi’s setting in the west
True Dusk from the setting of the Twin Suns, until Coprenius once again disappears below the southern horizon
The Dark Night from the setting to the rising of Coprenius

Most people operate according to the Cyfandiri Caldendar, for the astrologers of Gaeldoch are seen as the greatest in the world. The Cyfandiri Calendar recognizes 28224 days in an Age. With each Age consisting of 42 years of 672 days each, subdivided into 42 months, according to the Great Number, with each month subdivided into 4 weeks, each 4 days long.

It is not uncommon for a person to be asked their “Age”, to which it is appropriate to respond by eighths. That is to say, a child between 0 years and 5 years and 42 weeks of growth would say they are one-eighth of an Age, while a man of 84 years would say they are two Ages.


Conversion

Because of the extended length of the days and the long passage of years in Tel-Avi, visitors from Earth (if such ever occurred) are often confused. For earthlings, the simplest, though not necessarily accurate, calculation is to figure that one Tel-Avi year equals three and one third Earth years. Note that the ages of characters in the world are calculated in Tel-Avi years, meaning that the humans of Tel-Avi live, on average, three times as long as humans elsewhere.

Despite other differences in time calculation in Tel-Avi, similarities in time-keeping technology result in Earth and Tel-Avi hours being almost identical in length.

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Champions of Talingarde Session 2
The Lion's a witch (in a wardrobe?)

Aidan screamed. The bard swung helplessly at the flesh-eating insects, trying to keep them off of Tristram’s body, but they were too small, too numerous. Stomp as he might, he could never hope to kill the millions of creatures that assailed him. As the creatures began to crawl up his legs, biting and stinging, he balked. He ran…or tried to run. Overcome by nausea from the pain, he stumbled out of the swarm, dropping his sword, and leaving the creatures to devour Tristram.

Within moments Tristram’s body was gone.

Sir Robert grabbed Aidan by the arm and drew him away from the churning mass of bugs. “There’s nothing you could have done. We have to get out of here, call in reinforcements…” The two ran for the gatehouse to seek cover, Aidan casting spells of curing over them as they went.

Above them on the walls, the rain of arrows seemed unceasing. Sir Fallon was the first up the tower, kicking open the door and taking the stairs two at a time. As he reached the top, his axe burst into flames. With one blow he took the head from the nearest skeletal archer.

Brother Justice stopped at the first landing. Looking out an arrow slit he said a brief prayer to Mitra, pronouncing his judgement upon the foul undead creatures that assailed them, and fired his crossbow, catching one of the skeletons on the opposing tower full in the face with the blessed quarrel.

Sir Willem dashed through the tower, pushing open the far door and continuing to run on. “Finish here, I’m taking the next one!” he called to the others. As he ran he called out to Mitra for might, growing to twice his size and swelling with courage. The arrows continued to fall as he charged. He caught two on his shield, but a third took him in the leg. He stumbled through the door to the second tower and paused to draw out the projectile and heal himself.

Behind him, Brother Justice’s second bolt also struck true, clearing the archers from the far tower. Sir Fallon swung wildly at the second archer near him, missing on his first swing, but knocking the creature from the battlements with a quick reversal, sending it to shatter on the cobblestones below. He turned and withdrew back into the tower, taking two arrows from one of the other towers.

He and Brother Justice regrouped with Aidan and Robert at the base of the tower.
“Tristram is dead,” Robert told them matter-of-factly. “Aidan and I have both exhausted our capacity for healing, and he is without a weapon.”

Brother Justice shook his head and handed Aidan his sword, “Here take this, I’ll cover you all with my bow. I still have power left. We’ve cleared two towers, which leaves only four left, but its a long dash in the open to the others.” Just then they heard a roar of victory from Sir Willem and the clatter of bones in the courtyard. “Make that three towers left…”

Brother Justice cast a blessing over the party and resumed his position at the arrow slit. The others ran on to the second tower, joining up with Sir Willem just as he reached the bottom. Regrouped, they ran for the third tower. Then they heard a deafening roar behind them, followed by Brother Justice’s screaming…

Brother Justice turned away from the arrow slit to reload, just in time to see 500 pounds of angry cat charging up the stairs at him. He reached for his sword, but found it missing. Then the beast was on him and passed him, two claws raking his face and leaving horrible scars. It stopped at the next landing and pivoted, turning for another charge. He managed to load his crossbow and plant a single bolt in the creature as it plowed into him, grabbing his arm in its massive jaws. He barely had time to scream before the creature ripped out his throat.

The others rushed back, but were too late. As they neared the first tower they saw the lion, perched atop the tower, dangling Brother Justice off the edge by its jaws. They watched in horror as the beast dropped his body to splatter on the walls at their feet. Then it leaped…

The party readied themselves, expecting the beast to crash into them, but strangely, it seemed to pause in mid-air, unleashing a laugh-like roar…and then there were five of them. The party scattered as the pride of lions came crashing down onto to the wall, only Sir Robert holding his ground to strike at the creatures as they landed.

The first one he struck vanished without a sound. “More illusions!” The others looked closer and saw that only one lion was real, the others looking like ghostly outlines. The one lion though, went strait for Sir Fallon, unleashing a roar that sounded disturbingly like his name. The lion landed a single claw on the knight as it sped by, but the one wound seemed to blossom, opening a horrible gash in his side and immediately necrotizing the flesh around it.

Sir Fallon sniffed the air as the thing went past and his face went white, “The lion’s a witch!”

Aidan began singing an inspiring song and the friends charged the monstrosity. Sir Fallon and Sir Willem each landed blows on the thing, but it leaped off the battlement, landing easily in the courtyard below and ran into the keep. “Sh*t!!!” Sir Fallon exclaimed.

The arrows kept coming.

The party grabbed what was left of Brother Justice and ran into the tower, slamming the doors behind them…

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Champions of Talingarde Session 1
I smell a witch...

“…and what do you burn apart from witches?”

As if rehearsed Aidan the Herald shouted his reply to Brother Justice, “More Witches!” The others in their party burst out laughing at the jest. It had been only a few hours since the six companions had left the town of Varyston and the rest of their company behind, but already they had returned to the easy companionship of the road. These men were the vanguard, the chosen elite of the royal army which had been dispatched to retrieve the various vile criminals being held in Branderscar Prison for execution.

“Do you believe what the old man in town said?” Sir Willem asked the others.
“Oh, I never take such warnings lightly.” Sir Fallon Nightly said sniffing the air. “I don’t doubt that he heard a commotion at the prison last night. I’m sure…”

Just then a deafening roar broke in on their thoughts, followed by a large, tawny-maned lion leaping from the undergrowth on the side of the Old Road, startling their horses and speeding away. Before Aidan could say “What the?!” A giant toad leaped out behind the lion, but quickly turned its attention to the fresh horse-flesh. Brother Justice fired a quarrel after the retreating lion, but the beast vanished back into the forest.

Sir Robert couched his lance and charged the toad, skewering it mightily, but the beast still lived and locked its massive jaws around the throat of Robert’s horse, pulling the creature to the ground and unhorsing Robert. Sir Fallon rushed to his aid, cleaving the beast’s head off with a single blow from his mighty axe.

Sir Willem knelt beside the horse and examined the wound, “The bite was poisoned, there’s nothing I can do for him.” Sir Robert nodded gravely and put the poor animal out of its misery. Lord Tristram (called “The Lion”) pulled Robert up behind him on his horse and they continued on to the prison.

As they approached the gates of the prison their faces fell. “What the?!” cried Aidan, calling upon his familiar catch-phrase. Before them stood a ruin; towers collapsed, gates broken open, and smoke rising from the burned-out husk of the keep.

Brother Justice made to ride closer, but Sir Robert held up his hand, “Hold Brother. I sense great evil here.”
“No sh*t?!” Tristram rolled his eyes at the paladin and pointed to the square beyond the gates, where they could just make out several bodies, arrayed in the form of a pentagram around a smashed statue of St. Dothan the Just.
“Blasphemy!” cried Sir Willem, who charged into the gate and vanished, both the knight and his horse falling, with a great cry, through the ground under the gatehouse. The others approached cautiously, still able to hear their friend’s cries of alarm and pain, but seeing no sign of him or the pit where he had fallen. Sir Fallon dismounted and examined the ground. “An illusion,” he told the others, and proceeded to strike the ground, dispelling the sorcery.

Beneath the illusion they saw a great pit, filling the entire area between the gates and perhaps 20 feet deep. Sir Willem’s horse was dead, impaled on a number of sharpened wooden stakes embedded in ground. Sir Willem himself was mostly unharmed, but was helpless to climb out of the pit in his armor. The party dismounted and Aidan through a rope down to Sir Willem, while Sir Fallon sniffed around. “There were witches here, and recently. We must assume that the prisoners have escaped, but its possible that the witches that made this trap are still inside…”

After a quick vote, the party decided to climb down and traverse the pit to investigate the rest of the prison. Tristram went down first and crossed to secure a rope on the far side. Sir Willem came next, followed closely by the others, and just as Tristram was helping Sir Willem back out of the pit a horrible hissing sound was heard, and a torrent of boiling oil spilled down upon the party from the ruins of the gatehouse. All were badly burned, and as they scrambled to climb out a rain of heavy stones came down upon them, knocking Aidan the Herald unconcious and sending him tumbling back into the pit.

Sir Robert jumped into the pit and healed Aidan. Meanwhile up top, a rain of arrows began to fall on the party, seemingly out of nowhere. The party dove for cover behind some nearby rubble as Sir Fallon charged the nearest wall, punching it with a cry of rage. Immediately the walls of the keep shimmered, wavering like a mirage, and revealed the keep to be whole, intact, and manned by a small army of bloody, animate corpses.

“This way!” Sir Willem called, dropping a fog cloud over the courtyard and rushing into the gatehouse and up the stairs. Sir Fallon and Brother Justice bolted after him and Tristram threw another rope into the pit to aid Robert and the Herald. On the second level of the gatehouse the three knights encountered an equal number of skeletons manning the murder-holes, each covered in flames. Brother Justice waved the others towards the stairs up to the walls and called upon the power of Mitra, instantly turning the three undead creatures to dust.

Bursting onto the roof of the gatehouse, Sir Willem encountered a pair of blood-soaked skeletons armed with longbows. He lowered a shoulder and charged, knocking one off the battlement, but taking an arrow in the shoulder from the other. Sir Fallon, close on his heals came up and planted his axe squarely into the ribcage of the other. Sadly, the beast was not felled, and began to claw at Sir Fallon’s face with its bony hands.

Brother Justice came up behind the others and dispatched the remaining skeleton with a disrupting bolt of positive energy. “Careful,” he called to the others, “these ones heal.” Sir Willem cast a communal protection over the three of them and they ran for the nearest tower, carefully dodging the continuing rain of arrows.

Below Sir Robert and the two bards carefully approached the pentagram of bodies in the courtyard, convinced that the unholy symbol must be powering their undead assailants. Aidan looked at the corpses and raised a hand to stop the others, “Wait. Those are clearly more zombies.” Sir Robert nodded and presented his holy symbol, burning the foul creatures with the holy light of Mitra.

Just then a half-dozen slavering, undead dogs burst from the nearby kennel and charged the three on the ground. Sir Robert reacted quickly and stepped in front of Aidan, taking a defensive stance. One of the dogs lashed at Sir Robert with an impossibly long tongue, snaking around his shield to latch onto his face, draining his blood and weakening him greatly. Two others charged Aidan, biting and clawing, but unable to get past Sir Robert’s defenses.

The other three charged Tristram, striking him several times with bites, tongues, and their powerful paws. One grabbed Tristram by the leg and dragged him to the ground. channeling his magic into his sword and striking it mightily, and causing a swarm of hungry, flesh-eating cockroaches to spill out. Tristram screamed as the bugs and the dogs tore into him. One dog finally grabbing his throat and tearing it out just as Sir Robert expended the last of his divine power to burn them all to dust.

Aidan conjured a small earthquake to destroy the remnants of the unholy icon on the ground and charged into the ever-growing swarm of biting insects to recover Tristram’s body.


Cast of Characters:
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  • His Justice Commeth and That Right Quickly (“Brother Justice”): A monk of the Order of St. Macarius.
    • LG, human male, Inquisitor 2nd / Cleric 1st / Justiciar 2nd
  • Sir Fallon Nightly: A Knight of Alerion and famed hunter of witches.
    • LG, human male, Witchhunter 5th
  • Sir Willem the Prophet: A Knight of the the order of the Knights of Alerion and Oracle of Mitra.
    • LG, human male, Oracle of Battle 5th
  • Aidan the Herald: A Knight of the Sacred Brotherhood of the Gryphon and herald of the royal army.
    • LN, human male, Bard 3rd / Cavalier 2nd
  • Tristram the Lion: A swashbuckling nobleman, famed throughout Talingarde.
    • NG, human male, Bard 3rd / Rogue 2nd
  • Sir Robert the Valorous: A Paladin of the Knights of Alerion.
    • LG, human male, Paladin 5th
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Campaign Knowledge: Monkeys
With thanks to T.H.White

919045897new 1They are called MONKEYS (Simia) in the latin language because people notice a great similitude to human reason in them. Wise in the lore of the elements, these creatures grow merry at the time of the new moon. At half and full moon they are depressed. Such is the nature of a monkey that, when she gives birth to twins, she esteems one of them highly but scorns the other. Hence, if it ever happens that she gets chased by a sportsman she clasps the one she likes in her arms in front of her, and carries the one she detests with its arms round her neck, pickaback. But for this very reason, when she is exhausted by running on her hind legs, she has to throw away the one she loves, and carries the one she hates, willy-nilly.

A monkey has no tail (cauda). The Devil resembles these beasts; for he has a head, but no scripture (caudex).

Admitting that the whole of a monkey is disgraceful, yet their bottoms really are excessively disgraceful and horrible. In the same way, the Devil had a foundation when he was among the angels of heaven, but he was hypocritical and cunning inside himself, and so he lost his cauda-caudex as a sign that all of him would perish in the end. As the Apostle says: ‘Whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth’.

‘Simia’ is a Greek word, meaning ‘with squashed nostrils’. Hence we call monkeys this, because they have turned-up noses and a hideous countenance, with wrinkles lewdly puffing like bellows. It is also said to be a characteristic of goats to have a turned-up nose.

Cercopitheci1 do have tails. These are the only ones to be discreet, among those previously mentioned.

Cynocephali2 are also numbered among monkeys. They are very common in Ethiopia. They are violent in leaping and fierce in biting. They never get tame enough not to be rather ferocious.

Sphinxes’ also are reckoned as monkeys. They are shaggy, defenceless, and docilely ready to forget their wild freedom. According to Gesner, the sphinx is a real monkey, and the Sphinx of art, woman in front and lion behind, is merely an imaginary representation of it made by painters and sculptors. Perhaps he is not so wrong in this as he seems.

At any rate, the Guinea Baboon is called a sphinx to this day.


1. Aidrovandus says that the English is ‘marmuset’.

2. The Baboon, the dog-headed ape, possibly the Egyptian god Anubis.

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Way of the Wicked: Session 1

Branderscar Prison is not considered the best (or worst if you are a criminal) prison in the world for its security, but rather for its efficiency in dealing with prisoners. No one is held in Branderscar for long. It has few cells and when those are full, the executioner comes, and a sentence to Branderscar Prison is a sentence of death.

Only the worst of the worst criminals end up in Branderscar…

To many, Lydia tops that list. At her trial this young girl, only 15 years old at the time, was convicted not of one murder, but of tens of thousands of murders. Even her prosecutor barely believed the tales of this child calling meteors, earthquakes, and colossal beasts from beyond space and time to crush entire cities. However, when her defense was eaten by a giant snake while trying to prove how little power she actually had, everyone was convinced.

Lydia, in addition to being the worst mass murderer in the history of Branderscar Prison, was also an exception. Two years have ticked by since her trial. Two years of sitting chained hand and foot to a wall. Two years of sitting in a pool of her own filth, as the terrified guards refused to approach her to clean her. Two years of getting a single spoon-full of gruel a day (the typical meal for a prisoner in Branderscar), and then only when a particularly brave or kindhearted guard was on duty. Two years of sitting in absolute darkness with no-one to speak with…

Except the rats…

Branderscar Prison had been filling slowly over those two years, but, with the purges of the previous decade, heretics, murderers, and witches were becoming ever harder to find in the fair land of Talingarde. While the prisoners trickled in over the two years, Lydia sat, and sat, and inevitably the rats came. They crawled on her while she slept. They nibbled at her fingers and toes. They talked to her…and she understood…

One rat, calling himself Asmodeus, made her a deal. All she had to do was escape and they would both have their vengeance. She never asked what the rat wanted vengeance for. She didn’t care. After two years she could still feel the searing pain in her arm from where they had branded her. As long as she had her vengeance, she didn’t care what the rat wanted…

Two years passed and Lydia found herself with a new cell-mate. Another girl her own age, red-eyed, dark of hair, and calling herself Talia. Talia talked a lot. She talked to Lydia, she talked to the roaches crawling on their cell floor, she talked to the flies buzzing around the heaps of feces left by Lydia, she talked to the fleas infesting them both…but she didn’t talk to the rats. She did know the name Asmodeus though, and when Lydia began singing the songs that the rat had taught her Talia joined in.

Talia spoke about her family. How they worshiped an ancient god called Asmodeus. How the people of Talingarde turned from Asmodeus to the worship of Mitra. How the Mitrans hunted her family and other worshipers of Asmodeus, driving them underground or killing them outright, purging them from the land. Talia and her family were the last cell of the ancient religion left, she claimed. And, she claimed, they had been caught. The last remnants of her ancient religion and the last survivors of her family, herself included, were going to be burned publicly in a fortnight.

A few days after Talia arrived the two were joined by another girl, slightly older and strangely pale. No mass-murderer or heretic, the new girl, called Heather, was a pretty thing, quick and subtle. She claimed to be “in the slammer” for having seduced the son of a mayor, though the official charge was sedition and inciting riots. Regardless of the reason for her incarceration, the three girls hit it off surprisingly well, given their conditions. When a fourth cell-mate, a goblin said to have been caught eating a baby, joined them, they paid him little mind.

In four days the executioner would come. That is what the guards told Heather and the others when she was thrown in. Four days.

That night Lydia wept. She wept and she sang the song the rat had taught her. Talia joined in the singing. Heather joined as well…and rather than a prison cell, they found themselves chained to trees. Clean. Naked. Alone in a wooded grove with the light of the moon pouring down on them as they sang praises to Asmodeus. Three girls, three witches, a coven joined together…and their power was great.

When the singing stopped, the girls were back in their cell, but with a new understanding. Alone they were prisoners. Together, they would burn the world. But first they needed to escape…

The next day the guards came for Lydia. A dozen guards entered the cell and took the girl. For the first time in two years, Lydia saw the outside of her cell, though only briefly as she was led to an interrogation chamber. Within was an attractive middle-aged woman with the same platinum-blonde hair as Lydia, her features so similar that she could easily have been mistaken for Lydia’s mother, her eyes red and wet from weeping. The guard captain bowed and deferred to the woman, who clearly had some power over him, and allowed her to be alone with Lydia.

With the guards gone the woman dropped all pretense of grief. “Call me Tiadora,” she said. “We possess a mutual friend who would like to meet you and your fellow cell-mates. Unfortunately, our friend is unwilling to visit you in your present rather shabby accommodations so it seems you must escape. If you manage that, cross the moors on the outskirts of town. On the old Moor Road you’ll see a manor house with a single lantern burning in the second story. There our mutual friend waits. He did want me to give you this.”

The guards returned and Lydia was led back to her cell with no answers given, though she clutched a lacy, white veil in her hand. Back amidst the rats and her chains, she examined the veil and found it to be enchanted, containing many useful items work in fine embroidery upon it.

This was their chance.

Mustering her strength, Talia worked a spell to coat Heather in slippery grease, allowing Heather to slip free of her manacles. Within the veil Heather found a set of lock picks, which she quickly used to free the others. Talia took another patch from the veil and created a window-like opening into an adjacent cell, this one housing a large, powerful ogre by the name of Grumblejack. Lydia healed the ogre while Heather went to work on the lock of his cell door.

But they were seen…

Spotted in her act of sabotage by a pair of guards, Heather stepped aside and allowed Grumblejack to pry the bars of the cell open as four more guards rounded the corner into the cell block, trumpeting an alarm. Talis attempted to stop the guards with a spell, but the strange magical emanations around Branderscar prison caused her magic to summon a rain of overripe fruit down around the heads of the prisoners. Lydia stepped forward and summoned a blast of chaotic force, knocking the guards down and entangling them in their own weapons, as Heather and Grumblejack pelted them with fruit.

Gyxx, their goblin cell mate, charged towards the guards but was met at the cell door by a pack of guard dogs and had his throat torn out. With his last wheezing breath the goblin pronounced a dying curse upon the dogs, melting the flesh from their bones and sending the guards fleeing, terrified.

Now free of their cell, the girls and the ogre worked quickly to free the other prisoners, snatching up keys dropped by the guards in the chaos or simply bashing down the doors of the other cells. As the prisoners shook off the aches of long days in shackles, the guards returned with reinforcements. Freed, the prisoners proved quite effective at once again routing the guards. Talia ignited the steps from the upper level in bursts of lightning and summoned boulders for the ogre to throw. Another prisoner called fire from the guards’ lanterns, setting the corridor between them ablaze. Another grew to be of a size with the ogre and tore a prison door from its hinges to serve as a shield. Within moments twenty prisoners were free, armed with the leavings from the defeated guards, and considering how to proceed…

Then the fire came…

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How to Make a Villain

Introduction

Guilty. You are a lawbreaker – the worst of the worst. Too dangerous to live amongst the good people of Talingarde, they dragged you in chains before a magistrate and condemned you. They sent you to the worst prison in the land and there they forever marked you. They held you down and branded you with a runic F. You are forsaken. You won’t be at Branderscar Prison for long. Branderscar is only a holding pen. In three days – justice comes. In three days – everything ends.

What a pity. If only there was a way out of this stinking rat-hole. If only there was a way to escape. If only…

No. No one has ever escaped from Branderscar Prison. This is where your story ends.

What is Talingarde?

Talingarde is the most virtuous, peaceful, noble nation in the world today. This land is ruled by
King Markadian V called the Brave of House Darius. He has only one heir, the beautiful princess Bellinda. This benevolent monarchy is heavily intertwined with the Church of Mitra, the Shining Lord. You are from Talingarde. This is your home. You have lived here your entire life. And if they gave you half a chance, you would have your revenge on all of them.

Who is Mitra?

Mitra, the so-called Shining Lord, is the god of the sun, bravery, honor, justice, charity and other such pusillanimous rubbish. The Church of Mitra is the preeminent religion of Talingarde these days. The Knights of the Alerion, the elite warriors of Talingarde, are a Mitran order. The monks of St. Macarius, who travel the land healing the sick and the helping the needy, are also a Mitran order. The House of Darius, the royal family of Talingarde, are devout followers of Mitra.

It wasn’t always this way. Before the Darians took over, Talingarde worshipped an entire pantheon of deities. Preeminent among those deities was Asmodeus, Prince of Hell, Lord of Ambition and Order, God of the Talireans. Now it is forbidden to worship Asmodeus. To do so is to be condemned. The Mitrans destroyed all the Asmodean temples and burned his books and priests. There are no followers of Asmodeus anymore in Talingarde, at least none you know of. Devout Mitrans will not say the name Asmodeus. He is simply “The Fallen” or “The Enemy”.

How did they catch me?

You tell us. You must pick a crime that you were condemned for. They are only two requirements, you got caught and you really did it.

It’s not surprising that the Talireans (the people of Talingarde) caught you, though. Talingarde is a fiercely lawful and good society. Crime (especially heinous crime like yours) is not tolerated.

Character Creation

Step 1: Determine Ability Scores
Focus and Foible

  1. Choose a Focus, an ability score at which you excel. You receive an 18 in that score.
  2. Choose a Foible, an ability score that is your weakness. You receive an 8 in that score.
  3. The other four, roll 2d6+6 four times in order (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha). There are no rerolls or moving of ability scores. Those are your other four scores.

Step 2: Pick a Race

Step 3: Pick a Class

  • See Classes
    • Note that for this particular campaign the “Paladin” class is not allowed. Anti-Paladins are allowed, and may be of any Evil alignment (not just Chaotic Evil).

Step 4: Pick Skills, Traits, and Feats

  • For this campaign all characters receive 2 additional skill points per level. The PCs will be on their own for much of the campaign and will have difficulty finding aid from outside their group. Besides, villains should more competent than the average man.
  • Traits are unchanged, but all characters receive 1 additional Crime Trait on top of the 2 traits you would normally receive.
  • You receive the normal number of Feats. All New Feats and Vow Feats found on this site are allowed.

Step 5: DON’T Buy Equipment

The characters begin with nothing. They have no money, no weapons or armor, no gear, no animal companions of any sort and no material possessions besides tattered, dirty prison clothes. Equipment will be acquired in game.

Alchemists begin without their formulae book, extracts, bombs or mutagens. They must have access to an alchemical lab or chemicals to have any of these abilities restored.

Bards begin without their instruments.

Cavaliers have lost their mount. Presumably their mount was slain or given to another during their capture. It can be presumed that their week of mourning is already in the past.

Clerics begin having chosen all their spells for the day. They do not have their holy symbol or any material components however.

Druids also begin having chosen all their spells for the day. They do not, however, have their animal companion with them. Presumably such a companion was slain during their capture or escaped and awaits them outside. Regardless, such beasts would never be allowed inside the prison. Only if they escape from Branderscar prison will they have a chance to reunite with their companion or conduct the ceremony to acquire another.

Inquisitors and Oracles lack their holy symbol if they need one.

Summoners begin the game with their Eidolon unsummoned. They begin the game shackled so they are unable to perform the necessary ritual until they are free.

Witches, Wizards and Magi do not have their spell books, material components, familiars or bonded objects. They do however begin with a full selection of memorized spells from before their incarceration.

Step 6: Finishing Details

As normal except that good alignments are not allowed. Every character should be lawful neutral, lawful evil, neutral or neutral evil.

Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Evil characters are allowed, but discouraged. This is not the campaign for chaotic loners or free-spirited vagabonds. Those campaigns exist in abundance and if they are what you are looking for, perhaps you are in the wrong place. This is a campaign about joining an evil organization with a wicked agenda. Eventually, you may even come to control that evil organization. You will play a burgeoning dark lord, someone who will rise from imprisonment and destitution to become one of the greatest villains of this age. At first, you will be a minion in service to a sinister plot. But eventually, you will be a minion no longer. You, if you can survive, will become the master.

Further, every character must choose a crime that landed in them in Branderscar. They were not wrongly imprisoned, they are guilty of their charge.

There is a further requirement and it is something of an intangible quality. At some point in this adventure path every character is going to have the chance to join an evil organization and swear allegiance to the master of that organization and its patron, the lawful evil god
Asmodeus. The adventure assumes you say yes to this chance. Therefore, you should make a character who can say yes.

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Campaign Theory: Hygiene
Why the cities and people of Tel-Avi are filthy...

With special thanks to Bill Bryson

Bathing

Europeans, historically, were always curiously ill at ease with cleanliness and early on developed an odd tradition of equating holiness with dirtiness. When St Thomas à Becket died in 1170, those who laid him out noted approvingly that his undergarments were ‘seething with lice’. Throughout the medieval period, an almost sure-fire way to earn lasting honour was to take a vow not to wash. Many people walked from England to the Holy Land, but when a monk named Godric did it without getting wet even once he became, all but inevitably, St Godric.

Then in the Middle Ages the spread of plague made people consider more closely their attitude to hygiene and what they might do to modify their own susceptibility to outbreaks. Unfortunately, people everywhere came to exactly the wrong conclusion. All the best minds agreed that bathing opened the epidermal pores and encouraged deathly vapours to invade the body. The best policy was to plug the pores with dirt. For the next six hundred years (until the mid 19th century) most people didn’t wash, or even get wet, if they could help it – and in consequence they paid an uncomfortable price. Infections became part of everyday life. Boils grew commonplace. Rashes and blotches were routine. Nearly everyone itched nearly all the time. Discomfort was constant, serious illness accepted with resignation.

Devastating diseases arose, killed millions and then, often, mysteriously vanished. The most notorious was plague, but there were many others. The English sweating sickness, a disease about which we still know almost nothing, had epidemics in 1485, 1508, 1517 and 1528, killing thousands as it went, before disappearing, never to return (or at least not yet). It was followed in the 1550s by another strange fever, “the new sickness”, which “raged horribly throughout the realm and killed an exceeding great number of all sorts of men, but especially gentlemen and men of great wealth”, as one contemporary noted. In between and sometimes alongside were outbreaks of ergotism, which came from a fungal infection of rye grain. People who ingested poisoned grain suffered delirium, seizures, fever, loss of consciousness and eventually, in many cases, death. A curious aspect of ergotism is that it came with a cough very like a dog’s bark, which is thought to be the source of the expression ‘barking mad’.

Clearly not all of these dreadful maladies were directly related to washing, but people didn’t necessarily know that or even care. Although everyone knew that syphilis was spread through sexual contact, which could of course take place anywhere, it became indelibly associated with bathhouses. Prostitutes generally were banned from coming within a hundred paces of a bathhouse and eventually Europe’s bathhouses were closed altogether. With the bathhouses gone, most people got out of the habit of washing – not that many of them were entirely in it to begin with. Washing wasn’t unknown, just a little selective. “Wash your hands often, your feet seldom, and your head never” was a common English proverb. Queen Elizabeth, in a much-cited quote, faithfully bathed once a month “whether she needs it or no”. In 1653, John Evelyn, the diarist, noted a tentative decision to wash his hair annually. Robert Hooke, the scientist, washed his feet often (because he found it soothing), but appears not to have spent much time damp above the ankles. Samuel Pepys mentions his wife’s bathing only once in the diary he kept for nine and a half years. In France, King Louis XIII went unbathed until almost his seventh birthday, in 1608.

By the time Europeans began to visit the New World in large numbers they had grown so habitually malodorous that the Indians nearly always remarked at how bad they smelled. Nothing, however, bemused the Indians more than the European habit of blowing their noses into a fine handkerchief, folding it carefully and placing it back in their pockets as if it were a treasured memento.

There is no doubt that some standards of cleanliness were expected. When an observer of the court of King James I noted that the king never went near water except to daub his fingertips with a moist napkin, he was writing in a tone of disgust. And it is notable that people who were really grubby were generally famous for it, among whom we might include the eleventh Duke of Norfolk, who was so violently opposed to soap and water that his servants had to wait till he was dead drunk to scrub him clean; Thomas Paine, the pamphleteer, whose surface was an uninterrupted accretion of dirt; and even the refined James Boswell, whose body odour was a wonder to many in an age when that was assuredly saying something. But even Boswell was left in awe by his contemporary the Marquis d’Argens, who wore the same undershirt for so many years that when at last he was persuaded to take it off, it had so fixed itself upon him ‘that pieces of his skin came away with it’. For some, however, filthiness became a kind of boast. The aristocratic Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who was one of the first great female travellers, was so grubby that after shaking her hand a new acquaintance blurted out in amazement how dirty. ‘What would you say if you saw my feet?’ Lady Mary responded brightly. Many people grew so unused to being exposed to water in quantity that the very prospect of it left them genuinely fearful. When Henry Drinker, a prominent Philadelphian, installed a shower in his garden as late as 1798, his wife Elizabeth put off trying it out for over a year, “not having been wett all over at once, for 28 years past”, she explained.

By the eighteenth century the most reliable way to get a bath was to be insane. Then they could hardly soak you enough. In 1701 Sir John Floyer began to make a case for cold bathing as a cure for any number of maladies. His theory was that plunging a body into chilly water produced a sensation of ‘Terror and Surprize’ which invigorated dulled and jaded senses.

Benjamin Franklin tried another tack. During his years in London, he developed the custom of taking “air baths”, basking naked in front of an open upstairs window. This can’t have got him any cleaner, but it seems to have done him no harm and it must at least have given the neighbours something to talk about. Also strangely popular was “dry washing” – rubbing oneself with a brush to open the pores and possibly dislodge lice. Many people believed that linen had special qualities that absorbed dirt from the skin. As Katherine Ashenburg has put it, “they ‘washed’ by changing their shirts”. Most, however, fought dirt and odour by either covering it with cosmetics and perfumes or just ignoring it. Where everyone stinks no one stinks.

What really got the Victorians to turn to bathing, however, was the realization that it could be gloriously punishing. The Victorians had a kind of instinct for self-torment, and water became a perfect way to make that manifest. Many diaries record how people had to break the ice in their washbasins in order to ablute in the morning, and the Reverend Francis Kilvert noted with pleasure how jagged ice clung to the side of his bath and pricked his skin as he merrily bathed on Christmas morning in 1870. Showers, too, offered great scope for punishment, and were often designed to be as powerful as possible. One early type of shower was so ferocious that users had to don protective headgear before stepping in lest they be beaten senseless by their own plumbing.

Assuming that most fantasy games are set in the equivalent of the Pre-Victorian era (since Victorian is usually associated with “Steam Punk”), it should be assumed that standards of cleanliness similar to those above were followed. Asking for a “Hot Bath” to be drawn when staying at an inn should be a completely alien concept to most characters (indeed very few homes, let alone an inn should have anything resembling bathing facilities). PCs that insist on dousing or submerging themselves in water on a regular basis are likely viewed as insane by their neighbors and should be treated as such.


Toilets

The English for a long time were particularly noted for their unconcern about lavatorial privacy. Giacomo Casanova, the Italian adventurer, remarked on a visit to London how frequently he saw someone “ease his sluices” in full public view along roadsides or against buildings. Pepys notes in his diary how his wife squatted in the road “to do her business”.

‘Water closet’ dates from 1755 and originally signified the place where royal enemas were administered. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson installed three indoor privies, probably the first in America. which incorporated air vents to take the odour away. By Jeffersonian standards (or actually any standards) they weren’t technologically advanced: the waste simply fell into a collecting pot, which was emptied by slaves. However, at the White House Jefferson in 1801 in stalled three of the first flushing toilets in the world. They were powered by rain-water cisterns installed in the attic.

Most people continued to use chamber pots which they kept in a cupboard in their bedrooms or closet, and which were known (for entirely obscure reasons) as “jordans”. Foreign visitors were frequently appalled by the English habit of keeping chamber pots in cupboards or sideboards in the dining room, which the men would pull out and use as soon as the women had withdrawn. Some rooms came supplied with a “necessary chair” in the corner as well. A French visitor to Philadelphia, Moreau de Saint-Méry, noted with astonishment how one man removed the flowers from a vase and peed in it. Another French visitor at about the same time reported asking for a chamber pot for his bedroom and being told “just to go out the window like everyone else”. When he insisted upon being provided with something in which to do his business, his bemused host brought him a kettle, but firmly reminded him that she would need it back in the morning in time for breakfast.

The most notable feature about anecdotes involving toilet practices is that they always involve people from one country being appalled by the habits of those from another. There were as many complaints about the lavatorial customs of the French as the French made of others. One that had been around for centuries was that in France there was “much pissing in chimnies” there. The French were also commonly accused of relieving themselves on staircases, ‘a practice which was still to be found at Versailles in the eighteenth century’, writes Mark Girouard in Life in the French Country House. It was the boast of Versailles that it had one hundred bathrooms and three hundred commodes, but they were oddly underused, and in 1715 an edict reassured residents and visitors that henceforth the corridors would be cleared of faeces weekly.

Most sewage went into cesspits, but these were commonly neglected and the contents often seeped into neighbouring water supplies. In the worst cases they overflowed. Samuel Pepys recorded one such occasion in his diary: “Going down into my cellar…I put my foot into a great heap of turds…by which I found that Mr Turner’s house of office is full and comes into my cellar, which doth trouble me.”

The people who cleaned cesspits were known as nightsoil men, and if there has ever been a less enviable way to make a living I believe it has yet to be described. They worked in teams of three or four. One man, the most junior, was lowered into the pit itself to scoop waste into buckets. A second stood by the pit to raise and lower the buckets, and the third and fourth carried the buckets to a waiting cart. Nightsoil work was dangerous as well as disagreeable. Workers ran the risk of asphyxiation and even of explosions since they worked by the light of a lantern in powerfully gaseous environments. The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1753 related the case of one nightsoil man who went into a privy vault in a London tavern and was overcome almost at once by the foul air. “He call’d out for help, and immediately fell down on his face,” one witness reported. A colleague who rushed to the man’s aid was similarly overcome. Two more men went to the vault, but could not get in because of the foul air, though they did manage to open the door a little, releasing the worst of the gases. By the time rescuers were able to haul the two men out, one was dead and the other was beyond help.

Because nightsoil men charged hefty fees, cesspits in poorer districts were seldom emptied and frequently overflowed, not surprisingly given the pressures put on the average inner-city cesspit. Crowding in many London districts was almost unimaginable. In 1851 in St Giles, the worst of London’s rookeries, 54,000 people were crowded into just a few streets. By one count, eleven hundred people lived in twenty-seven houses along one alley; that is more than forty people per dwelling. In Spitalfields, further east, inspectors found sixty-three people living in a single house. The house had nine beds, one for every seven occupants.

Such masses of humanity naturally produced enormous volumes of waste, far more than any system of cesspits could cope with. In one fairly typical report an inspector recorded visiting two houses in St Giles where the cellars were filled with human waste to a depth of three feet. Outside, the inspector continued, the yard was six inches deep in excrement. Bricks had been stacked like stepping stones to let the occupants cross the yard.

At Leeds in the 1830s, a survey of the poorer districts found that many streets were “floating with sewage”; one street, housing 176 families, had not been cleaned for fifteen years. In Liverpool, as many as one-sixth of the populace lived in dark cellars, where wastes could all too easily seep in. And of course human waste was only a small part of the enormous heaps of filth that were generated in the crowded and rapidly industrializing cities. In London, the Thames absorbed anything that wasn’t wanted: condemned meat, offal, dead cats and dogs, food waste, industrial waste, human faeces and much more. Animals were marched daily to Smithfield Market to be turned into beefsteaks and mutton chops; they deposited 40,000 tons of dung en route in a typical year. That was, of course, on top of all the waste of dogs, horses, geese, ducks, chickens and rutting pigs that were kept domestically. Gluemakers, tanners, dyers, tallow chandlers, chemical enterprises of all sorts, all added their by-products to the sea of daily sludge. Much of this rotting detritus ultimately found its way into the Thames, where the hope was that the tide would carry it out to sea. But of course tides run in both directions, and the tide that carried waste out towards the sea brought a good deal of it back when it turned. The river was a perpetual “flood of liquid manure”, as one observer put it. Smollett said that “human excrement is the least offensive part”, for the river also contained “all the drugs, minerals and poisons, used in mechanics and manufacture, enriched with the putrefying carcases of beasts and men; and mixed with the scourings of all the wash-tubs, kennels, and common sewers”. The Thames grew so noxious that when a tunnel being dug at Rotherhithe sprang a leak the first matter through the breach was not river water but concentrated gases, which were ignited by the miners’ lamps, putting them in the absurdly desperate position of trying to outrun incoming waters and clouds of burning air.

Into this morass came something that proved, unexpectedly, to be a disaster: the flush toilet. Flush toilets of a type had been around for some time. Early toilets often didn’t work well. Sometimes they backfired, filling the room with even more of what the horrified owner had very much hoped to be rid of. Until the development of the U-bend (in 1880) and water trap every toilet bowl acted as a conduit to the smells of cesspit and sewer. The backwaft of odours, particularly in hot weather, could be unbearable.

The bigger problem was that London’s sewers were designed only to drain off rainwater and couldn’t cope with a steady deluge of solid waste. The sewers filled up with a dense, gloopy sludge that wouldn’t wash away. People known as “flushermen” were employed to find blockages and clear them. Other sewery professions included “toshers” and “mudlarks” who delved through muck, in sewers and along fetid riverbanks, for lost jewellery or the odd silver spoon. Toshers made a good living, all things considered, but it was dangerous. The air in the sewers could be lethal. Since the sewer network was vast and unrecorded, there were many reports of toshers getting lost and failing to find their way out. Many were at least rumoured to have been attacked and devoured by rats.

Keep in mind that most of the documented cases below (including ones of people shitting on the floor of their own homes) are from the 18th century or later…it took a long time for people to start caring about disposing of waste. Even in a “Steampunk” game (perhaps especially in such settings), a general sense of horrifically poor hygiene should be conveyed (see above statements about “floods of liquid manure” in 19th century London).

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Mysteries of Jzadirune Campaign Intro

Mysteries of Jzadirune, is a campaign that will start players out as 3rd level characters and progress them to somewhere between 12th to 15th level. The campaign will be focused on solving mysteries. It is a primarily city-based campaign, but the characters will occasionally travel outside of the city via train or airship. Most of those adventures will take place on the train or airship. Dungeon-crawling will be less prevalent, but characters will be exploring the buildings, streets and catacombs of Jzadirune.

As a mystery campaign, the adventures will revolve around solving crimes. Instead of a normal party-based campaign, each player will choose a background trait that describes how it is they’re in the business of solving crimes in the city. The players will then be thrown together on the same cases, possibly in opposition to each other as everyone tries to solve the same crime.
Combat will happen, but the introduction of guns and the scarcity of healing magic will make combat more dangerous than a typical campaign. Keep in mind that mouthing off to street thug with a gun may get you killed.

DM: Doug Noel
Player Characters:

  • Mr. Holmes (Kevin Radloff): A consulting detective skilled at fisticuffs.
  • Mr. Raske (JC Huber): Mr. Holmes’ partner and a collector of talented pets.
  • Lenny (Ethan Noel): A necromancer and purveyor of discount undead creatures.
  • Irini (Darcy Quick): A femme fatale and small-time thief, who has been arrested by Holmes and Raske more than once in the past. Now in the employ of the local constabulary.
  • Trom (Myers Carpenter): An antiquated iron automaton.
  • Cindry (Mike Pruet): A dwarven slave in the service of Cathcalen, an Amnish merchant.
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Mysteries of Jzadirune Session 1

It was a slow day at the offices of Inspectors Holmes and Raske, it felt like weeks since any leggy dames had come through their door complaining of a dead-beat husband or missing heirloom. D.I. Asgeirr Raske handed a date to the golden-furred monkey perched on the edge of his desk and examined the note it proffered him.

He looked over the paper at Holmes, “Looks like the Golden Galleon needs some errand boys…something about additional security for a shipment. Why are we even looking at this stuff, we should be out chasing Crimson or some other villain.” Holmes grunted an unintelligible response, tapped out his pipe, and headed for the door.
“It’ll pay the bills…you coming, Raske?” Lenny, their assistant and discount bone-merchant, quietly followed Holmes out the door. Raske burned down one more cigarette before grabbing his coat and hat to follow them, the monkey, a black-scaled adder, and a large gyrfalcon trailing along behind.

Holmes and Raske, met up with Mosin Zahad, the paymaster for the Galeon to procure the shipment in question, a crate of vanilla ordered by an up-town bakery. Raske argued rather considerably over the price before settling on 50gp, while Lenny set to work preparing their “security”…a quintet of animated and none-too-fresh-smelling zombies and a fake papers identifying the crate as a “parts” shipment from the Legion of Evil’s necromancers.

Hiking up the Promenade from the docks to the Wafts, the district selling fine-smelling specialty goods, was long, but uneventful. Raske stopped several times to admire the ladies, all of whom seemed oblivious not only to his presence but also to the small squad of undead following him, and to examine the days broadsheets. “Look at this Holmes!” he said, pointing to a headline with a jovial flourish. “That fool Saint-Demain has failed to catch Crimson again! I promise you, it won’t be long before the crown calls us in, and then we’ll show that puffed-up windbag how real detectives do it!”

They reached the bakery and Lenny stepped in to complete the delivery. Outside Raske’s hawk, Orm, noticed a number of winged, simian creatures in sailor’s outfits perched on the roofs nearby. Orm screeched a warning as the creatures dove en masse into a nearby alley, brandishing knives. Raske raced around the corner, drawing his dragon pistol, to see the winged sailors descending upon a tattooed and mustachioed dwarven slave standing guard over a richly-dressed merchant. Firing a warning shot at the creatures, Raske rushed to the heroic defense of the two men.

Lenny sent their undead minions charging into the fray as a pair of the creatures broke off from the main group to intercept Raske. The first was dispatched easily, tricked by Raske’s magic into handcuffing itself and summarily fleeing when it had realized its folly, while Holmes stepped in to engage in fisticuffs with the second. Just as the fight was turning their way, a massive, lumbering, rust-bucket of an ironborn careened off of the roof, crushing one of the monkey-sailors under its great weight and destroying a crate, sending a thick cloud of baker’s flour into the air, obscuring the melee.

When the cloud subsided, Holmes and Raske found themselves facing the ancient iron behemoth, three unconscious sailors bloodied at its feet, and a swarm of Peacekeepers rushing into the alley behind them. At the sight of the cops the construct burst through a side-door into the bakery, overturning and wrecking several cases of donuts and pastries, much to the dismay of the cops, in its rush for the front exit. This was to no avail, as the thing tripped over one of the Peacekeepers just beyond the door and sprawled helpless on the pavement.

After Holmes and Raske had sorted out the whos and whys of the situation for the leader of the Peacekeeper force, a shifty-looking lady by the name of Irini, and paid the baker for the damage to their shop and inventory (and indirectly claimed ownership of the construct in the process), the merchant, one Cathcalen by name, offered to hire the two. It seemed that one of his servants, a journeyman by the of Galead, had gone missing while on some errands the day prior, and, more distressing to the merchant, many of Cathcalen’s contracts had been lost with him. Raske and Holmes, along with Lenny, the construct, and the Peacekeeper Irini, agreed to search for the missing boy for the price of 300 gold sovereigns per day, plus expenses, with the added promise of hazard pay to the sum of 150 gold pieces per day should any fighting be required.

As the Peacekeepers took custody of the sailors, Raske and Irini interrogated the one that seemed to be in charge of the group, learning that they had been hired by a Minotaur down by the docks to steal several jars of Royal Jelly from the merchant. Once they had this information, Raske retrieved his manacles from the chained one, and they all headed off to meet their new employer at the Roasted Grouse Inn, but not before Holmes and Raske had taken a smoke break.

At the Inn the party learned what they could from the merchant about his missing journeyman and collected their initial retainer-fee of 150 gold. The monkey, Pansen, made a rather indecipherable sketch of the missing man, but the key details, his thick black beard, white Amnian-style robes, and dark hair were recorded at least somewhat faithfully…at least enough that Raske was able to correct it later.

Taking Cathcalen’s dwarf slave, Cindry by name, with them, the group took the train down to the docks to see if Galead had met with the people of the Golden Galeon Trading Company as he had been ordered. At the Galeon, they found an auction of vanilla beans going on, with individual beans going for such ludicrous prices as 5 gold a bean, if not more. Pansen procured a hefty purse from one of the nobles in the crowd. Meanwhile, Raske and Cindry met again with Mosin Zahad, learning that he had met Galead the day before, but that the boy had not appeared for their follow-up appointment that morning. The party thanked him and decided to go ask Madame Phaedre, mistress of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers (Holmes’s favorite brothel), if her girls had seen anything of Galead.

On their way out Raske was accosted by an old gypsy woman telling fortunes on the street-corner. Not wanting to be impolite, he paid her one silver fee and listened to her rather bad performance. On their way out, his snake, the adder that is, not the one in his pants, deprived the old gypsy of her purse, netting the group 19 gold coins and a pair of magical scrolls (sleep and hypnotic pattern).

Before they had walked not more than ten paces more, Cindry caught upon an idea and asked Pansen to break into the Golden Galeon offices and procure their half of Cathcalen’s contract. Pansen was quite excited at this idea, and dashed into the building, a whirring blur of nigh-invisible fur. A monkey monk. A skill monkey. A ninja. The monkey slipped into the office unobserved, picked the lock on the drawer where the contracts were kept, and absconded with the document before anyone could see him. All witnesses that might have been died, but since there were no witnesses no murders had to occur. Or so Pansen ensured Raske when he delivered the document.

Tucking the contract safely away, the party headed for the Street of Silk Flowers and the Court of Night-blooming Flowers to speak with the madame. Raske got rather distracted along the way, turning over the fat purse that Pansen had acquired to a pale-skinned maiden, no maid really but she played the part well. Raske, Pansen, the courtesan, and the snake adjourned to an upper room to do what a man, a woman, a monkey, and a snake do.

Roughly an hour later, or so it must have been according to Raske’s reckoning, the man and his familiars regrouped with the party, who explained that they had learned much concerning Galead. That he had been often to the Street of Silk Flowers to meet with one girl who was a particular favorite, that he had a friend, Gil by name, who made arrangements for their rendezvous, and that Galead had last been seen going off with Gil and the girl for a tryst in a garden somewhere.


Treasure:

  1. 209gp (after taking out 50gp paid for whores)
  2. 2 scrolls (sleep and hypnotic pattern)
  3. 1/3 Contract between the Golden Galeon and Master Cathcalen for a very good price on vanilla beans
  4. 1 Contract between Holmes and Raske LLC and Master Cathcalen:
    • Terms:
      • 50gp per day for Holmes, Raske, Lenny, and Trom (the golem)
      • 100gp per day for Miss Irini
      • 150gp per day hazard pay
      • Room, Board, and Expenses

Leads:

  • Jazasaurus Alasty, a perfumer in the Waft, was the other person Galead was supposed to meet
  • A public notary witnessed the contract between Cathcalen and the Golden Galeon
  • One third of the contract must be taken to the bank and compared to the notarized version to redeem the terms.
  • Galead is probably with the Gil character…
  • Check the docks for the minotaur…
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Campaign Knowledge: Demons
Making the infinite planes more infinite...

One thing that has always bothered me in D&D is the disconnect between the idea of the Abyss having “infinite layers” each of “infinite size” and yet there being a limited range of demonic opponents for PCs to face. If you have a plane that encompasses a space of infinity times infinity, it makes very little sense for the lifeforms of that plane to conform to a finite number of shapes, sizes, and power levels.

In addition, Demons (and/or Devils) are the classic material for conjurers throughout literature and history. The idea of “summoning” an angelic being to do your bidding was completely outside of the realm of possibility for much traditional medieval thought. Even “good” (or at least religiously supported) sorceries still focused on summoning and binding devils (see The Key of Solomon for example), the servants of god are beyond mortal ken. While summoning in D&D is not automatically considered an evil act, the idea that only evil servitor beings can be bound to a human’s will (and will try to subvert that will) is too ingrained in the literary roots of the magic to do away with.

So we come to a few mechanical points for this campaign:

  1. Demons are extremely varied in form and function. In general no two demons look alike and their powers are unpredictable. When a demon is summoned or encountered, they should be generated using these random tables.
  2. The Summon Monster spell allows the caster to call a random demon to serve them. The spell summons a demon of appropriate level (i.e. Summon Monster I calls a “level 1 demon”), and the caster can choose the base form that the demon takes (aquatic, avian, serpentine, quadruped, or humanoid), but all other factors are random.
  3. A summoned demon has a chance to escape the summoner’s control. Each round the summoner must make a concentration check (DC equal to the demon’s spell resistance) as a free action to maintain control of the demon. If this check fails, the demon becomes free willed (and will most likely attack the caster). Regardless of whether or not control is maintained, the demon will return from whence it came at the end of the spell’s duration.
  4. The duration of all Conjuration (summoning) spells is increased to the next larger time increment (i.e. 1 round per level becomes 1 minute per level, 1 minute becomes 10 minutes, 10 minutes becomes 1 hour, etc).
  5. Conjuration [calling] spells allow the caster to summon a specific named demon with known abilities. In this case the caster may choose any outsider normally allowed by their spell or a demon of the appropriate level. If a demon is chosen, the caster can choose the specific abilities that demon possesses instead of rolling randomly. Any “roll again twice” options on the tables should be ignored.

† Note: Because of the added risks and reduced control over what is summoned, the duration of summoning spells may be extended.


Sample Level 1 Demon

Notes: Quadruped base form, Darkness Theme
Appearance: Attractive Humanoid Face, Prehensile Tongue, Centaur-like (human upper body, horse lower body), Hooved Feat, Horse-like tail, Carapace

Overall Appearance: Looks like a 2-ft. tall centaur, with an attractive humanoid upper body and the lower body of a tiny horse. Its torso and hindquarters are covered with tough bony ridges and a long prehensile tongue extends from its mouth. Its fur, hair, and tail are midnight black and wisps of dark mist rise up from its feet as it walks.

CE Tiny Outsider [chaotic, evil, extraplanar, demon]

  • Init: +0
  • Speed: 40 ft.
  • Senses: Darkvision 60-ft.
  • Space: 2.5 ft.
  • Reach: 0 ft.

Defenses:

  • Wound Points: 8 (Wound Threshold: 16)
  • Vitality Points: 5 (1d10)
  • AC: 16 (2 size, 4 natural)
    • Touch: 12
    • Flat-footed: 14
    • CMD: 8
  • Saves:
    • Fort: +1
    • Reflex: +4
    • Will: +0
  • Spell Resistance: 12
  • Immunities:
  • Resistances: Cold Resistance 10, Acid and Sonic Resistance 5
  • Damage Reduction:
  • Weaknesses: Fire Vulnerability
  • Attacks:
    • BAB: +1
    • CMB: -3
      • Melee: Bite or Weapon
        • Bite: +5
          • Damage: 1d3-2
        • Tiny Rapier: +5
          • Damage: 1d3-2 (18-20 Crit)
      • Ranged: Divine Ray
        • Divine Ray: +5
          • Damage: 1d6
    • Special Attacks: Divine Ray (20-ft. ranged touch attack), Touch of Darkness, Trample (1d2 damage, DC 11)
    • Spell-like Abilities: Caster level 1st (DC 11 + spell level)
      • At will: Detect Poison, Feather Fall
      • 1/day: Obscuring Mist

Abilities:

  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 8
  • Int: 7
  • Wis: 10
  • Cha: 13

Feats: Weapon Finesse, Blind-Fight [B]

Skills:

  • Acrobatics: +6
  • Bluff: +5
  • Perception: +4
  • Stealth: +6

Touch of Darkness (Sp): As a melee touch attack, you can cause a creature’s vision to be fraught with shadows and darkness. The creature touched treats all other creatures as if they had concealment, suffering a 20% miss chance on all attack rolls. This effect lasts for 1 round. You can use this ability 3/day.

Prehensile Tongue (Ex): Can use its tongue to wield weapons (in lieu of a bite attack).

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