Fiendish Friday: Queen of the Serpents

From the upcoming Crypts & Things Remastered, one of the Nemesis’ of the dying world of Zarth, from the Scourges of a Dying World chapter. Note this is an unproofed work in progress which may change before publication.

Siligra Queen of the Serpent People

While the Serpent Lords sleep, their concubine and Queen Siligra controls one of the remnants of Serpent society from the lost City of Tilcoa deep within the Jagmani Jungles. There she prepares for the day when the Serpent Lords awaken to retake what is theirs.

This ruined city full of columns and white stoned buildings, was once the capital of a human civilisation in ancient times, before a disguised Siligra and her followers arrived. Using all her charm and seductive abilities she quickly sowed descent amongst the various factions within the city, which led to a bloody civil war. After the dust settled she took control of the weakened survivors, who descendants over the years became a tribe of degenerate primitives who worship the Siligra as their blond and white skinned Goddess, knowing her only as “She who Should be Obeyed!”.

Siligra Queen of the Serpent People

Armour Class:0 Hit Dice:10 Hit Points:50 Attacks: Bite 1d8+Venom, 2 Claws 1d6, Tail 1d10 Special Rules:  Venomous bite (Test vs Luck or take 2d20 damage), Assume Human Form + Spells CR15 / XP 2900.

Silgra can cast the following spells once a day:

1st Level: Charm Person, Magic Missile, Hide Magic, Hex, Oppression,

2nd Level: Invisibility, Snake Charm, Web.

3rd Level: Dispel Magic, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Suggestion.

4th Level: Cauldron of Blood, Charm Monster, Fear, Sticks to Snakes.

5th Level: Commune with Greater Others.

Modus Operandi:

Both Silgra and her Serpent Men followers appear as humans of a fair and noble countenance who rule the savage tribesmen that shelter in the shattered city.  They will initially seem friendly and sympathetic lulling the characters into a false sense of security. Then they will either be imprisoned by force, or be fall foul of Siligra’s charm Person spells.Only powerful magic can strip away Silgra’s Human form and reveal her true Serpent Nature.

Outside of the city Silgra maintains a network of agents both human and serpentine, who gather information and seek to control the human cities.

Servants:

  • Personal body guard of 10 Serpent Warriors who are never more than fifty foot away from her.
  • A cadre of 5 Serpent Priests.
  • At least 5 Serpent Scouts (the feared Black Assassins who strike down those who disobey).
  • A group of human cultists who worship the Serpent Queen, no less than 30 strong.
  • A tribe of primitives, degenerate descendants of the original inhabitants of Ticoa.

To top it off here’s preiview of David M.Wright’s Serpent Folk picture that will appear in the new rule book.

serpent-man-preview-dmwright

Fiendish Friday: New stretch goals for C&T Remastered

We are currently 65% towards the Stretch Goal of More Fiends on the Crypts and Things Remastered Kickstarter.

As promised here are some of the stretch goals if the Kickstarter continues to go up and up 🙂

NEW! Stretch Goal 2: The Haunted Lands (£5000)
Visit the mysterious village of Wimble on the edge of the Haunted Lands, then explore this small section of Weirdlands, inhabited by scheming witches, undead horrors and other sinister fiends best left alone. What is the secret of Windy Mildark’s Windmill? What happens if you touch the Black Stone Monolith that stands on the edge of Wimble? Are those White Pyramids I can see in the distance and who was Ef and why does he get a statue? All this awaits you in this example Weirdlands crawl.

If we reach this stretch goal I will write up this short Weirdlands adventure to show how you can run adventures beyond the crypt.

NEW! Stretch Goal 3: Port Blackmire (£5500)
“This is an ancient and vile city, ruled by the Pirate King Xanos. Corruption is rife, murder is common, and only Xanos’ blood chilling pacts with Demons keep the numerous gangs under his total control. It is surrounded by “The Black Mire”. This vast and festering swamp is choked with the ruins of a civilisation that predates even that of Myrindor. It is said the gods choked it with its own bile for some slight against them. It is home to pirates and gangs of cutthroats, who use the swamps to mount raids against the rest of the Free Territories.”

Every Swords and Sorcery setting needs a city, where adventurers can rest easy and squander their ill begotten gains between adventures, or perhaps get  dragged into unexpected capers in their home town. If we reach this goal, I will detail and map a living city that can be used for city based adventures and as somewhere for the adventurers to call home.

Fiendish Friday: Stretch Goals and Add-ons for the Kickstarter

OK here it is the final FF before the Crypts and Things Kickstarter opens this Sunday March 1st.

Last time out I said that I would talk about the stretch goals.

Stretch 1. More Fiends
About 40 or so, depending how excited I get. This really was my favourite bit of the book last time round, so I’m revving my self up to do this 🙂 I’m looking to add a few more subtle horrors as well.  Things that once the players rush in to fight them, they wish they hadn’t afterwards.

Stretch 2. Spells and Magic items
I’ll still be keeping the familiar vanilla spells in there, since it’s a big design goal that if you are familiar with Old School D&D (or any D&D for that matter) you can easily pick up and play C&T. However there is room and scope to add more spells that really bring White and Black Magic into high-definition, without sacrificing this familiarity. I’ve also 25 or so magic items that didn’t make it into the final cut last time out. They aren’t bad by any means but I had run out of development time. So if we hit this Stretch goal I’ll finish this off. I also want to do intelligent weapons, the right way ! So we are talking Demon Swords and the like, the siblings of Stormbringer.

Stretch 3. Greater Others and their Cultists
These are the big bads of Zarth. These will be presented as a write-up of the warped and twisted religions that follow them, which if relevant will give stats not only of the Greater Other itself, but also the creatures and Cultists that follow it, and associated Magics that come from it.

Stretch 4. Zarth Revealed
I purposely kept the setting, Zarth, light in the original release. Its flavoursome enough to give enough inspiration, but I got a lot of feedback asking for more detail. If we reach this goal, I’ll add a layer of details, such as adventure seeds, important NPCS in a nice Gazeeter.

Addons
As well as the existing Adventures (Blood of the Dragon and Tomb of the Necromancers) I’m also offering up a conversion of the existing OpenQuest adventure Life and Death as an add-on in both pdf and print. This is a four-part epic where the adventurer’s actions decide the very fate of the world. It’s a bit more of a story driven experience than a standard Dungeon Crawl, but there’s lot in-built into the structure to prevent this from being a railroading experience.  Also its much bigger than the previous C&T adventures releases clocking in at just over 100 pages.

So that’s it until the Kickstarter starts this Sunday….

Oh except these two character pieces by David M. Wright, the Fighter and Barbarian respectively 🙂

C&TBarbFighter

Previous posts about Crypts & Things Remastered

Test Your Luck – A preview of a new mechanic that should be familiar to fans of Fighting Fantasy 🙂

Art Preview – I show off some of the awesome art already done for the new game by David Micheal Wright.

Why Crypts and Things Remastered?  –  a bit of the history of the game’s intial development and why I’m redoing it, the scope of the redevelopment and what’s going to be in the stretch goals.

Crypts and Things Remastered Kick Starter opens March 1st The cover in all its glory.

The Sorcerer The revised Magician class (because one of the biggest bits of feedback I got was that I should change the name to the Sorcerer). Look close and you’ll see some of the system changes in the class description.

Magicians of Zarth. Other types of magic users in the setting. Note these are non-player character types, and will be written up as monsters.

Fiendish Friday: Test your Luck!

Ok so it’s not actually Friday, but I’ve asked the Sorcerer to bend time and space so we can have another preview of Crypts and Things Remastered, this time of a new ruling: LUCK.

One thing that began to fall flat with me after a while was having a single Saving Throw Number (as per Swords & Wizardry which C&T is based off). When I was doing my ‘literature review’ for C&T remastered I reread some of the early Fighting Fantasy books, I suddenly remembered Testing Your Luck and how it was a very British way of doing Saving Throws. It also fits nicely with the whole Swords and Sorcery genre. So here’s my expanded version which also allows for Class Based Luck Tests, which gives yet another layer of things that the classes can do.

Note this is a prototype that is going through playtesting with external playtesters at the moment. While feedback so far is overwhelmingly positive, it may get tweaked for the final version.

LUCK
This is a measure of the character’s innate quality to avoid trouble, stumble across useful items and have just the right thing happen at the right time. It is tested over the course of the adventure and decreases as the character gets fatigued and tired. Eventually even the most Lucky character will run out of Luck. To generate Luck roll 1D6 and add six (giving starting range of a range of 7-12). Every three levels add one point of Luck.

TESTING LUCK
During an adventure a character may be asked to “Test their Luck” by the Referee by rolling a 2D6 and getting lower or equal than their current Luck score. If they do so they get Lucky, deduct 1 point from their Luck. If they fail their roll they suffer the consequences of being Unlucky, but do not lose any Luck.
Example situations for Testing Luck

  • Avoiding or reducing the effects of a spell.
  • Dodging falling masonry, sweeping blades and other traps.
  • Avoiding suffering the effects of Poisons or Disease.
  • Just happening to have an item that the character could reasonably have on their person due to wealth, class and skills.
  • Slipping away unnoticed from a fight involving multiple combatants unnoticed until the fight ends.

Luck can also be tested to avoid the adverse effects of a failed skill roll.

For example a character fails a Skill check while jumping a deep ravine. If they succeed a Luck Test they narrowly catch a nearby ledge. Or a Thief misses their Hide roll and is potentially spotted by a passing guard, but on a successful Luck Test the Guard grunts dismissively and moves on.

CLASS BASED LUCK TESTS
Each class has unique ways of using Luck. Unlike usual Luck tests if the character is Unlucky they do not suffer any consequences.

FIGHTER
Cleave. When a fighter kills an opponent in combat, they can attack an adjacent foe on a successful Luck Test the Fighter has hit the next target. The Fighter can carry on Testing Luck until they fail or run out of adjacent opponents.
Maximum Damage. On a successful hit and the Fighter may Test their Luck. If successful then they do Maximum possible damage with their weapon.

THIEF
Thieves are renowned for their lucky nature and they have a very powerful luck that can almost magically bend reality.
Improve their situation. Luck can be tested to improve the situation that the Thief is currently in. For example a Thief finds himself manacled in a dismal dungeon cell. On a successful Luck test the Thief finds that the jailer has accidentally forgotten to lock the manacles properly. A Thief can continue to test their luck to improve their situation until they fail.
Friends in low places. On a successful Luck test one of the Thieves contacts, either from previous jobs or the communities they work in, appears on the scene to help the Thief out.

SORCERER
Retain Spell. The character may test their Luck immediately after casting a Spell. If they are lucky then the character does not forget the spell.
Lucky Knowledge. Sorcerers are so steeped in learning lore from dusty old books and obscure sources, that on a successful Luck Test they just knows a fact pertinent to the current situation or can speak an unknown language with just enough linguistic phrases to quickly converse with a creature or decode a piece of writing.

BARBARIAN
Blood Rage. When a Barbarian takes damage they may Test their Luck. If succeed gain +1 to hit and damage. This bonus adds to other modifiers and can be taken more than once (I.e. each time the Barbarian gets hit they may Test their Luck and a get an additional +1). This means that if they are consistently Lucky a wounded Barbarian can quickly get a large bonus and become quite deadly when hurt.
One with the Wilderness. Barbarians are most at home when they are in the wilderness. If they successfully test their Luck they find their way (i.e. stop being lost) and find enough food and water to sustain themselves.

REGAINING LUCK
Luck potions/magical effects. Certain magics can restore Luck when activated.
For example: A Potion of Luck (a pale blue liquid in a small glass vial) restores 1D6 Luck when drunk. The Amulet of Skarlos the Slippery (an ancient bronze medallion that only works when worn over a bare chest) can be called to restore 1D4 Luck twice a day.

Through resting. Each full hour fully rested without any interruption restores 1 Luck Point.

After the end of the adventure, all Luck points are restored in time for the next hazardous exploration.

More next Friday…when I preview some of the stretch goal material.

Previous posts about Crypts & Things Remastered

Art Preview – I show off some of the awesome art already done for the new game by David Micheal Wright.

Why Crypts and Things Remastered?  –  a bit of the history of the game’s intial development and why I’m redoing it, the scope of the redevelopment and what’s going to be in the stretch goals.

Crypts and Things Remastered Kick Starter opens March 1st The cover in all its glory.

The Sorcerer The revised Magician class (because one of the biggest bits of feedback I got was that I should change the name to the Sorcerer). Look close and you’ll see some of the system changes in the class description.

Magicians of Zarth. Other types of magic users in the setting. Note these are non-player character types, and will be written up as monsters.

Fiendish Friday: Art preview

So its week 2 of 4 of the Crypts and Things Remastered previews and here’s a sneak peak of the art.

First off here’s two flavors of Sorcerers (the revised Magician class)

Grey Sorcerer by D.M.Wright

Grey Sorcerer by D.M.Wright

Sorcerer by David Micheal Wright

Sorcerer by David Micheal Wright

These typical of the black and white pieces that will be the majority of the internal art.

But every once in a while there’s going to be a full page grey scale scene, like this…

crypts-and-things-scrolls-Web

Section page for Player’s Section of Crypts and Things by David M. Wright

More next week…

Previous posts about Crypts & Things Remastered
Why Crypts and Things Remastered?  –  a bit of the history of the game’s intial development and why I’m redoing it, the scope of the redevelopment and what’s going to be in the stretch goals.

Crypts and Things Remastered Kick Starter opens March 1st The cover in all its glory.

The Sorcerer The revised Magician class (because one of the biggest bits of feedback I got was that I should change the name to the Sorcerer). Look close and you’ll see some of the system changes in the class description.

Magicians of Zarth. Other types of magic users in the setting. Note these are non-player character types, and will be written up as monsters.

Fiendish Friday: The Sorcerer

A rough draft (warning there may be typos) of something that will be revealed soon 😉

Sorcerer

Grey Sorcerer by D.M.Wright

Grey Sorcerer by D.M.Wright

Sorcerers are characters who use Magic to bend reality to their will. They cast spells, memorised from dusty tomes, to perform such wondrous feats as summoning demons, healing wounds through the words of the kindly ones, fly through the air and throw fireballs from their hands at their foes. Normal people shun and fear them, even if they practice only kindly White Magic, because of their ability to weave magic which is misunderstood and much maligned.

They’ve seen the Other Side, what lies beyond what their mentor calls the Shroud. They’ve seen the unnatural things that would tear into this reality and suck out its life force. They’ve dabbled in the dark arts, summoning these things for your Master’s ‘profit’ and gain. They’ve played the Dark Game either willingly or through force. Finally they escaped their Master’s suffocating influence, and found Freedom. Sorcerers express this freedom by being able to learn a wide variety of spells that fall into three colour categories: White, Black and Grey.

Continue reading

Fiendish Friday: The Tale of Ged the Mother

“Once upon a time the land was flowing with beauty and love. Ged was its Smiling Goddess, and she bore all things edible for her people the Hu Pi. Her animals and plants fed and clothed the people in great abundance.

One day the Serpent King arrived in the land, and presented her with a present. A Green Scaly Egg. He said “Ged sit upon this egg and warm it with your womanly hips. For I am cold and can not breathe life into it. If you do this thing you will birth a God like yourself and he will bring you great joy!”.  So Ged who was loney sat sat upon the scaley egg that the Serpent King had presented. She sat a long time.

Then suddenly one dawn the egg cracked open and out jumped Nar-Garum! Ged was amazed! Then she was amazed a second time as Nar-Garum jumped up and bit her womanly parts, causing warm blood to pour into the land. The Serpent King did a swirling dance and mixed the mud of the land with the blood of wounded goddess and turned it into poison. In her pain her smile turned to a grimace as she saw how the Serpent King had used her own spawn against her to poison her land. Worse was to come as she started to birth grey mewling spawn. “What is these weak and pathetic things” she cried in disgust. “Why mother they are the product of our painful incest. I will take these Cruns into the dark and teach them such pain that they will plague the land!” And Nar-Garum so he did, and the Cruns and the other poisonous things that the land now begat meant that Ged and the land of Honey were truly befouled. “

Ged is a fertility goddess from the time of the Hu-Pi (see Blood of the Dragons for more details). Pre-Serpent War she was known as the Bounteous Smiling Goddess. The locals of Gont still worship her although these days she requires blood sacrifices to ensure her Bounty, as a replacement for the blood she lost from Nar-Garum’s birth.

The Cruns

A  sub-human group who originate from Serpent Men experiments in crossing Humans with lizards in ancient times. They appear as semi-naked humans covered in hard grey scales. They are usually feeble of intellect and of average strength and their only way to improve themselves is through worship of their Father-God Nar-Garum the Pain Giver.  They  live in small communities on the stink rivers, treated as vermin by all that encounter them, but occasionally one of their number will return from the Other World as a Pain Giver and they become are a plague upon the Stink River pouring out from their lairs..

Crun Ac 7[18] (Scaley skin) HD1-1 HP 4 ATT 1 Dam 1 Stone Club (1d6) of Claws (1d4) SR Immune to Poison Save 19 CR/XP B/10

Fiendish Friday: The Bone Collector

The Tale of the Bone Collector
“You see Ulmak just had to collect them all. Tall ones, short ones, skinny ones and just plain odd ones. Skeletons of all shapes and sizes. Said it helped him in his healing. See Ulmak was a ‘kind’ sort, wouldn’t hurt a fly and gave healing to anyone who came to his hut. That was his undoing. You see one day those bad Bonedancers came, with their wounded leader. Wasn’t Ulmak’s fault that mad dog died right there and then. Even the Kindly Ones have their limits. So the remaining Bonedancers, tie him up, torture him some, and send him just plum crazy. Then bad things start to happen. He made his bones ‘dance’ and turned them Bone Dancers into that sack he carries with him. Then he left Bone Guard, and started stalking the bone fields building up a collection. Some say he’s building an army, but I reckon he’s a shadow of a man whose just following his habit.”

A Sorcerer in a dark black robe, who is busy collecting the bones of the dead, which he places in a bulging sack made of human skin which he carries over his shoulder. Occasionally the bag stirs as if there is a live animal within. He prefers complete undamaged skeletons and will pay handsomely, at 10 GP a complete set of bones. This deranged and insane individual is collecting the bones to make the ultimate skeleton army. He has 3d6 Skeletons in his sack, which is magic and animates the bones of any complete skeleton placed within. The only drawback of this bag of bones is that the skeletons are not under the control of the owner and attack any living thing once released from the bag. The Bone Collector usually tosses the opened bag at any one who physically threatens him

The Bone Collector
Crazy Magician

AC 7 [13] HD 5 HP 20 Attacks: 1 Dam: Bone Wand Dam 1d10 + Save  or suffer Necrosis (additional 1d10 damage from flesh death). Special Rules: Knows Raise Dead, Can animate any skeleton, 1d6 per round, also Cure Moderate Wounds (old healing power that uses if character can touch his buried humanity)   CR/XP 7/600

Fiendish Friday: Five of the Worst

The latest in my occasional Friday column for Crypts and Things, I present five adventure seeds revolving round five conflicted non-player characters.

The Hunted & The Damned
“Help us, help us please. They are after us.”

Situation: Pale and ghost like a brother and sister couple plead that the characters help them escape a hunting beast that is on their tail.

Twist: The pair are powerful sorcerers from the Other Worlds, and the beast is retribution for them killing an entire world.

Waiting to Wake Up
“I no longer know my name”

Situation: The characters find a sleeping barbarian who if woken up thanks them for waking him from a magical sleep and then pledges to serve them.

Twist: The barbarian is actually a pretender of the throne of some ramshackle Northern kingdom, cursed by a rival’s sorcerer and dumped far away from home. Initially he doesn’t remember and is happy to dumbly follow the characters. Each dawn make a Saving Throw for him. if he makes it  he fully remembers his past, and suddenly demands that the characters follow him as his minions to retake his birth right!

Soul Sucker
“Its so good that you’ll be my friend”
Situation: The characters meet an  defenceless ancient man on some abandoned pathway, each day without fail he gives them each 10 Gold Pieces for them to protect him as they take him somewhere “safe”.

Twist: The man, who can no longer remember his name, was a court sorcerer for one of the Ancient Emperors which he half remembers and babbles on about. In this past he summoned an Other World parasite, a worm like creature that lives within him. It is like a Maggot Master, identical in stats, but with the additional special ability that any character within twenty feet of it looses 1d6 Sanity every hour on a failed Saving Throw. The sanity loss feels like a depression, with thick black clouds coming over the character’s mood. The old man dithers and wants to be stay with his new friends.

Fearless Doomed Hero
“We go Kill Vampire Lord now!”
Situation: An angry young youth, armed and armoured to the teeth, crosses the character’s path and wants them to join his one-man crusade against the evil Vampire Lords!

Twist: The young man is actually a pawn of the Vampires, sent to find new victims by eliciting sympathy for his cause. The youth is completely unaware of this, due to an evil enchantment cast on him when the vampire’s captured him as he tried to rescue his older sister – who may or may not be a Vampire by now.

Dead, Dead and Dead again.
“I’m Igmorogil the Indestructible!”

Situation: A wild eyed berserker, called Igmorogil, runs out of nowhere, attacks the characters and If they kill him he raises from the dead after one to six hours, even if the characters burn his body.

Twist: This tribesman was cursed by a Witch to die a painful bloody death THREE times. On the third time he dies for good. Each time he dies, he comes back a bit more insane and crazed.

Fiendish Friday: Zarth Wars!

A small idea for a Convention game next year at the Seven Hills Convention (in Sheffield weekend after Easter weekend) which has a Sci-Fi RPG gaming theme. Here’s how I blend Planetary Romance, Spell Jammer with the magnificent evil that is Crypts and Things:

Few of those who crawl in the dust of ancient empires that litters the dying World of Zarth even suspect of the mayhem that rages in the skies above their heads. Of the wars fought between the evil Uzil and the insane Yikirk. The clashes between the Space Gypsy Skyships and the foul luminous floating discs of Olz. The insane gravity of the Topaz moon or the ominous silence of the Dark Star.
But the Grand Astronomer of the Crystal Moon summons you the appointed heroes from your Zarth bound life, to rise up into space to rescue the Princess Zarisula from the clutches of the Fiend who would be Emperor of known space.

So grab your flame lance, don your crystal armour, prime your needle gun and set sail on Rocket Ship Zargaz to the Obos, the moon of Infinite Doom!

Planetary Romance meets Swords & Sorcery using the OSR D&D rules of Crypts of Things.