Monday, January 27, 2020

The Holy Empire of Norenlund and the Carnomagocracy of Arcturon

I recently developed a set of 10 worldbuilding questions for settled regions in your campaign world, and have been working on answering them for various locations in my home campaign setting (which I have recently named Visterra). Below are the questions, and then below that are the answers for two nations.

  1. What is the government like here?
  2. What are the people like here?
  3. What religious beliefs do people follow here?
  4. What are some notable cities/settlements?
  5. What are some noteworthy people who live here?
  6. What goods are available to purchase here?
  7. What unusual laws are there which PCs should be aware of?
  8. What kind of adventures can be had here?
  9. What is the environment like?
  10. What is a brief history of this place?

The Holy Empire of Norenlund

  1. It is a theocratic monarchy. The church and the state are one and the same, and it is known as the Imperial Orthodoxy. There is an emperor who is ostensibly in control, and some whispered rumors have it that he is the original emperor of Norenlund and has ruled for nearly 1000 years.
  2. The Norish people are highly superstitious and distrustful of outsiders. Norenlund is a primarily human nation, and so demi-humans are viewed with suspicion.
  3. The only religion that is permitted in Norenlund is Syngianism, a faith rooted in the belief that it is sin that causes suffering, and therefore sinners must be punished. Syngianites believe in one God, and that Godfried of the Norens, the original emperor of Norenlund, was chosen by this deity to rule the land. There are a few scattered pagans throughout the land however, and they are often accused of witchcraft.
  4. A couple notable settlements of Norenlund are Faithhold, Ealdport, Raven Hill, and Motleyville. Faithhold is the imperial capital, a massive walled city with an inner wall separating the economic classes. Ealdport is a large bustling port city, where trade is conducted with other nations. Raven Hill is a ghost town, where people’s guilt is manifested physically to torment them. Motleyville is a magically hidden village for dissidents of the Norish regime.
  5. The emperor himself is extremely important, but rarely seen, save on the Unification day parade where he is clad in golden armor from head to toe. Generally, cardinals like the cruel and conniving Cardinal Winthrope are more visible to the public. In addition, there are Molly and Caroline Lanchester, the wives that formed Motleyville to escape persecution by the church.
  6. Religious items are often available for purchase in Norenlund, as are simple foods. Magic items are outlawed, but black powder weapons such as muskets and pistols are fairly common.
  7. All religions other than Syngianism are banned by the Imperial Orthodoxy, and anyone practicing them may be sentenced to death. In addition, all forms of magic are illegal, seen as sinful and unholy.
  8. Adventurers can help the small, but growing, resistance movement against the Orthodoxy, or wander around the countryside exploring old ruins. In addition, demonic cults tend to spring up from time to time.
  9. Norenlund is a land of rolling hills, dark forests, and foul marshes. The climate is cold and wet.
  10. Norenlund was formed 1000 years ago when Godfried of the Norens conquered the various tribes of the region and united them under the religion of Syngianism.
Image result for witch hunter
(A Witch Hunter from Warhammer Fantasy, a good idea of what the Imperial Orthodoxy's Inquisitors might look like)

The Carnomagocracy of Arcturon

  1. Arcturon is ruled by the Meat Wizards, a caste of sorcerers who sculpt flesh like clay for their own amusement. They provide food, water, shelter, and healthcare for the people of Arcturon, in exchange for which they receive fresh subjects for their vile experiments.
  2. The people of Arcturon are strangely passive and content. Centuries of rule by the Meat Wizards and plenty of food means that the population accepts their lot in life. Despite the excellent health of the Arcturonites, there are few old folk, as most people tend to be taken away by the Meat Wizards at the prime of their lives.
  3. The Meat Wizards don’t particularly care what gods their subjects do or don’t worship, so long as the religion doesn’t interfere with their experiments. As a result, a variety of faiths exist here, albeit monitored by the Meat Wizards to prevent dissidence. In addition, some Arcturonites worship the Meat Wizards as living gods.
  4. Skullspire, a city made from magically grown bones and flesh, is the capital of Arcturon. From here, the Meat Wizards govern their kingdom. Most other settlements are relatively mundane, however, there is also Gibton, a town populated by the escaped experiments of the Meat Wizards. The horrific mutants here plot the downfall of the Meat Wizards.
  5. Phlebulous Glotterspit is the current chancellor of the Meat Wizards, known for both his hideously enlarged head and his grotesque sense of humor, making visual puns out of human flesh. The leader of the Gibton rebels is named Arianna, she has been reduced to a brain in a jar piloting a mountain of muscles and sinew, communicating through sign language.
  6. Biotechnology is highly advanced in Arcturon, thanks to the Meat Wizards inhuman experiments. Flesh based magical weapons, potions, and other assorted items are commonly available, being discarded by the Meat Wizards after they’re done with them.
  7. Anyone and everyone entering Arcturon may be taken away for experimentation at any time, without warning or reason. Anyone who tries to stop this will be taken as well.
  8. The escaped monstrosities of the Meat Wizards wander the countryside, and a hefty bounty is often placed on them if the creature is brought back to Skullspire, dead or alive. One could also aid the resistance and attempt to assassinate prominent Meat Wizards to try to loosen their grip on Arcturon.
  9. Arcturon is a strange place, it was once a barren waste, but after centuries of terraforming by the Meat Wizards, it is now lush and plentiful. However, the “plants” and animals which dwell here are all extremely magically mutated, and the so called flora often bleeds when cut, and may track movement with unblinking eyes.
  10. For centuries, Arcturon was a wasteland, populated by a few wandering tribes who struggled to eke out a living on the scant resources. Then came the Meat Wizards, flying in on an airship made from bones and inflated sacs of flesh. They provided food and water to the people of Arcturon, in exchange only for a favor, to be specified at an unknown time. After decades of plying the natives with care and goods, ensuring their obedience both culturally and through the drugs put into the food, the Meat Wizards began their experimentation.

Image result for the thing
(This toy of the Norris-Thing from The Thing is a good idea of what a Meat Wizard or their experiments look like)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Help A Friend Out

Hey y'all, one of my buddies is in a bit of a tight spot.

If any of you have some money to spare, please try to donate some if you can. Thank you very much!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

An Incomplete Dungeon

So a while back I decided to give solo dungeoneering a go, and also attempted to make a megadungeon by delving through it and generating the dungeon as I went. This eventually petered out, but I still got a good 21 decently developed rooms out of it. I'm planning on attempting to make a dungeon using this method again, but perhaps setting my sights a little lower, perhaps a 1-2 level dungeon instead. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this first, incomplete level of...

The Tomb of Unrelenting Hatred

Originally built over 2000 years ago by the pre-Imperial kingdom of Moskaj, this subterranean complex was built to house the corpses of the kingdom’s warriors who were slain in battle. 1500 years ago, Moskaj warred with the nearby kingdom of Segik, a country ruled by the necromancer Sigbind Gnarlwood. Segik was conquered, its undead armies destroyed, and the peasants who toiled under Gnarwood’s reign were free. However, with his last breath, Sigbind cursed Moskaj, saying that their dead would never rest, and that they are doomed to suffer eternally after death. After this proclamation, the countless dead of Moskaj rose as vile abominations to slaughter and maim. The survivors of the initial massacre pushed back the creatures into the tomb, where they still wander to this very day. Any who die in this unholy place cannot rest, for Sigbind’s curse still lingers in these ruins, turning the dead into monsters.

Floor 1 Monsters
Floor 2 Monsters
Floor 3 Monsters
Floor 4 Monsters
1d6 animated skeletons

1d3 zombies

1 ghoul

1d3 bloater zombies

1d3 ecorche zombies

2d6 giant rats

Floor 1 Key
1. Special with 100 coins
  • A stone sarcophagus against the western wall, with a jewel embedded in it worth 100 coins
  • Inside the sarcophagus is a perfectly preserved corpse of an old woman, but it will rot rapidly into nothingness if taken out
2. Empty with 600 coins
  • A small chamber, mostly filled with clay pots and urns
  • Small chest in corner containing 600 ancient coins, each stamped with a skull symbol
3. Combat with 400 coins
  • A ravenous ghoul (HD 2, HP 12, AC light (12), ATK 2 claws, DMG 1d6+save or 1d6 rounds paralysis) wearing a golden deer-like mask worth 400 coins, crouching among moldering bones
4. Combat
  • A zombie (HD 2, HP 4, AC unarmored (10), ATK 1, DMG 1d6) and 2 skeletons (HD 1, HP 4,1, AC light (12), ATK 1 sword, DMG 1d6) lie on the ground, disguised as long-dead corpses, but will attack when anyone gets close enough
5. Combat
  • A horde of 8 giant rats (HD ½, HP 1x3,2x4,3x1, AC unarmored (10), ATK 1 bite, DMG 1d6-1) and many non-combatant normal rats, lurking among piles of bones.
6. Combat
  • A single regenerator zombie (HD 2, HP 8, AC light (12), ATK 1 punch, DMG 1d6) stands in the center of the room, staring blankly. The room is dusty and unused, and it seems like this creature has been standing her for a long time.
  • Regenerators regain 1d3 HP each round, even if reduced to 0 HP. Each time the Regenerator regains HP, roll a d6 and apply the mutation from the table below:
    1-2. New Limb: Gains an additional attack that deals 1d6 damage. 3. Carapace: The Regenerator's AC goes up by one category (light -> light with shield, light with shield -> medium, etc.) 4. Cancerous Mass: The Regenerator's maximum HP is increased by 1d6. 5-6. Poisonous Gas: Anyone near the Regenerator as it regenerates this round must make a saving throw or take 1d6 damage.
  • Regenerators can only be killed/damaged without regenerating by burning them or dissolving them in acid.
7. NPC with 200 coins worth of treasure
  • An old man who calls himself Graham Pillghast crouches in the corner, surrounded by shredded canvases and splattered paint. On the far wall is a beautiful yet terrible painting of dancing corpses, worth 200 coins if taken to the right market.
  • He is desperate for friendship, being so alone in this horrific dungeon. Unknown to him, he is actually dead, his spirit bound to the dungeon, and that is why the undead don’t hurt him. His bones lay under a pile of refuse and rags beneath the painting.
8. Special with magic item as treasure
  • Room is full of a glowing green light, emanating from a one eyed skull on a pedestal in the center of the room. The one eyed skull is a Lantern of Ghost Seeing, and will reveal any spirits within its light.
  • If Graham Pillghast from Room 7 enters the room, he will turn translucent and glow green, revealing he is a ghost (albeit a weak one). When this happens, he will fly into a horrified rage and attack the party. His stats are (HD 2, HP 12, AC light+shield (13), ATK 2 ghostly claws, DMG 1d6+1). Pillghast cannot be harmed by ordinary means, and is only affected by enchanted weapons, holy water, and spells.
9. Empty
  • Room is bare save for the rotten pieces of an old coffin lying in the corner, empty.
10. Empty with 300 coins worth of treasure
  • Empty grave niches in walls.
  • A corpse with its skull smashed in lays on the floor, it has a gold necklace worth 300 coins around its neck.
11. Trap
  • Room mostly empty, save for a rug with imagery of skulls and bones and an empty coffin.
  • Pit trap covered by rug, anyone who steps on the rug falls and takes 1d6 damage. A saving throw can be made to avoid falling down.
12. Empty
  • Shattered remains of old urns, ashes scattered about the room.
13. Special with 200 coins worth of treasure
  • Strange archway in center of room. Anyone who walks through it must make a saving throw or briefly become possessed by the ghost of an ancient warrior. While possessed, the character will be unable to speak the common tongue, act incredibly confused and frightened, and may attack if provoked.
  • A small chest in the corner contains 150 coins and a jeweled brooch worth 50 coins.
14. Combat encounter
  • 4 skeletons, 2 are armed with bows, the other 2 are armed with spears. (HD 1, HP 2x1, 4x3, AC light (12), ATK 1 spear or bow, DMG 1d6+1)
  • There is a coffin that has been overturned and will be used as cover by the skeletal archers.
15. Combat with 1000 coins worth of treasure
  • A toddler-sized golden statue with emeralds for eyes, worth 1000 coins, rests on a pedestal on far wall. It depicts a woman in battle armor wielding a greatsword.
  • 4 ecorche zombies prostrate themselves before the statue, but will get up and attempt to rip to shreds anyone who enters the room. (HD 1, HP 2x1, 3x3, AC unarmored (10), ATK 2 claws, DMG 1d6-1 each, they can move twice as far each round as normal humans can)
16. Combat with 1000 coins worth of treasure
  • 3 bloated zombies (HD 1, HP 4, 3, 6, AC light+shield (13), ATK 1 punch, DMG 1d6) standing in a puddle of fetid water
  • Anyone near the zombie when it dies must make a saving throw or take 2d6 damage from its explosive acidic innards
  • There is a sack nearby, filled with 1000 coins
17. Combat with 300 coins
  • 2 animated skeletons with plate armor and greatswords (HD 1, HP 4,5, AC heavy (16), ATK 1 greatsword, DMG 1d6+2)
  • Some chairs and a lectern, a golden holy symbol worth 300 coins sits on the lectern
18. Trap with magic item as treasure
  • At the end of the room is an altar, atop which sits a Vampire Knife
  • There is a pressure plate in front of the altar, if stepped on a trapdoor opens, leading to a pit with envenomed spikes on the bottom requiring a saving throw to avoid, dealing 1d6 damage. Survivors of this fall must make an additional saving throw to resist the poison on the spikes to avoid taking 3d6 more damage
  • The Vampire Knife is a wickedly curved knife (light melee weapon, 1d6-1 damage) was made from the bones of an elder vampire. Once per day, anyone who deals damage with this knife may choose to regain HP equal to the damage they dealt.
19. Empty
  • The walls are covered with strange graffiti that appears to have been drawn in blood, along with scratch marks
20. Empty
  • A human skeleton with a bashed in skull lies against the wall, clutching a sword in one hand and a shield in the other
21. Trap with 100 coins
  • The room is filled with poisonous gas emitted by fungi, visible as greenish fog
  • Anyone who enters the room must make a saving throw each round while in the room or fall unconscious for 1d6 hours
  • The corpses of several giant rats who succumbed to the sleep litter the floor
  • There is an amulet worth 100 coins lying on the floor
22. Empty
23. NPC with magic item as treasure
24. Empty
25. NPC with 1000 coins of treasure
26. Empty
27. NPC
28. Combat
29. Empty with 1000 coins
30. Combat with 1000 coins