Posts Tagged ‘ place of power ’

G Is for Godforsaken

godforsaken: (adj.) lacking any merit or attraction; dismal

At the end of the last age, the armies of two warring kingdoms met on the fertile plains of Chumvitupa. The opposing commanders were both grand clerics, one serving Veshah, the other paying homage to Cro*. The latter cleric, Sjarel the Seven-Fingered, agreed to parley with Lus-Neske, Grand Cantrix of Veshah, one last time before the two armies clashed.

Sjarel delivered an impressive string of expletives and threats so grotesque and imaginative that several of Lus-Neske’s aides turned pale and trembled. Lus-Neske herself remained calm, even bemused. After Sjarel had vented his spleen, the Grand Cantrix smiled.

And then she sang a transcendentally beautiful ode that smote even Sjarel’s twisted heart, shaking Cro’s champion to the very core of his being. In tears, so overwhelmed with emotion that he could barely speak, Sjarel surrendered, falling to Lus-Neske’s feet and abasing himself before the Grand Cantrix.

Cro was so amused by this turn of events that he sent a howling wind that drove a flood of scorpions before it. This chittering, stinging tide of poison swept across Chumvitupa, scattering both armies. Sjarel the Seven-Fingered screamed until stinging things clogged his throat. Days later, when the flood of scorpions dispersed and skittered away, the fertile plains of Chumvitupa had been transfomed into a godforsaken expanse of dust and bizarre formations.

Today, nothing native to Chumvitupa isn’t deadly. Scorpions, spiders, spitting cobras, and beaded lizards abound. Chumvitupa’s sparse plant life is inedible. What water can be found collected into hollows turns sour quickly, even should it fall during one of the region’s rare, violent downpours. Salts and noxious substances seep from the ground, quickly turning fresh water into a toxic soup.

Cleric and druid spells are also affected by Cro’s curse on Chumvitupa. Anyone who casts a cleric or druid spell, including spells cast from magic items such as scrolls, must roll 2d6 and consult the following table:

2-3: The caster suffers 1d6 points of damage per level of the spell. The spell is wasted.
4: Another one of the caster’s spells takes effect instead.
5: The spell takes effect, but targets the caster.
6-8: The spell is wasted. It has no effect.
9: The spell takes effect, but against a random target.
10: The spell takes effect, but at 50% its normal strength, range, duration, et cetera.
11-12: The spell takes effect as normal.

* Veshah, the Goddess of Good, Archery, and Music. Veshah represents the good things in life. She defends her commmunity with her bow and arrows, and she enriches the spirit with her music. Complex exhibitions of orchestral archery are part of Veshah’s high rites.

Cro, the God of Truth, Chaos, and Opposites. Cro always speaks the truth. Cro always lies. Cro stands firm against what is evil. Cro revels in evil, his hands stained with innocent blood. Cro is all things, and all things are Cro.

April 8th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

Rantz’s Fair Multitude at DriveThruRPG

Welcome to Rantz’s Fair Multitude! This Old-School game supplement offers 30 pages of ideas to challenge and reward your players. Among the multitude, you’ll find the following:

* Nine new magic items, including Demon Cymbals and Nails of Prynn
* More than 25 new monsters (with plot hooks), including the book golem, hungry ghosts, and the Seekers of the Eternal Flame
* Six special places you can drop into your campaign, including the Bridge of the Damned and Stadgaar Manor
* Eight new spells, including Arcasparv’s Doomful Gullet and Valfoxell’s Adventitious Pretense
* Brief descriptions for a 12 deity pantheon, including Cro, the God of Truth, Chaos, and Opposites

Rantz’s Fair Multitude can be purchased for $1.50 at DriveThruRPG with special discount.

November 26th, 2013  in RPG, Spes Magna News No Comments »

Elimungazi in Busara

The great city Busara, long a center of culture and learning, gleams like a precious jewel on the western shore of Donao, that vast salt lake of unfathomable depths. Centuries ago, Busara was little more than a fortified library built by the warrior-monks of Zazic*, the goddess of knowledge. Today, that library has grown to become a vertiable city within a city. Thousands of Zazic’s faithful investigate every field of human knowledge, and scholars from across the world make pilgrimages to Busara for a chance to study and learn.

Of course, mere mortal reason cannot sufficiently grasp all that there is to know. If Knowledge is a tower, then mortal efforts are a ladder that cannot reach the top. In her mercy, Zazic does not leave her faithful trapped by the limits of their own intellects. The scientist-prophet Isaija Paskal received a series of architectural visions from Zazic. He also received a compulsion to transform these visions into reality. Thus, Elimungazi was built.

Workers excavated an enormous pit in Busara’s eastern park adjacent to the ancient library, and builders contructed a series of walkways and stairs running from the porticos above to the cobblestone floor below. When confronted with ineffable questions, Zazic’s faithful may receive permission from the hierarchy to meditate, ascending and descending the stairs according to Zazic’s prompts. Only the most spiritually attentive seekers can “hear” all of Zazic’s instructions during this meditative stair-walk. Success unlocks great secrets, and even failure may still yield partial knowledge.

*Zazic collects and collates everything that can be known. She reveals the patterns within disciplines and the relationships between fields of knowledge.

November 14th, 2013  in RPG No Comments »

Paying Respects at the Heretic’s Grave

The faithful of Renceth* have long shuddered at tales of the arch-heretic Galen Polegoas, who had been a well-respected and holy cleric instrumental in several saintly actions against the forces of chaos. Galen’s had a well-deserved reputation for erudition, generosity, and piety. Unknown to most, however, was the fact that gnawing doubts troubled Galen. Galen’s faith in Renceth’s providence was weakening, especially in light of myriad little sufferings people sought his advice about.

In face of so much disappointment, Galen could no longer accept the doctrines that explain how Renceth provides the faithful with what they need, but that the faithful must be alert and discerning enough to recognize these provisions. Instead of proper orthodoxy, Galen perceived Renceth’s conditional providence as being akin to the Tronsosian** commandment to take what they need.

And so Galen consolidated his power base and from the safety of his fortress-cathedral began to preach that Renceth and Tronsos were one and the same. Galen taught that it was true that Renceth provided his faithful with opportunities for success and happiness, and that often those opportunities belonged to other people and were kept behind locked doors. Is not Renceth the God of Keys? Are not keys to be used to open locks? Can one be truly happy without the experience of beauty?

“Those who selfishly hoard what Renceth wills to be yours for your happiness seek to thwart Renceth’s will,” taught Galen. “Therefore, Renceth, Opener of Ways, authorizes you to take what he wills to be yours. And, since it is yours not the other’s, taking it cannot be unlawful. No man can be condemned for taking what it is his by divine will, for protecting what is his by divine will.”

And so the forces of chaos gained a powerful ally, and Galen’s city plunged into violence. A council of bishops convened and demanded Galen appear before them to answer charges of heresy. Galen refused, denying the council had any true authority. Armies were gathered, and Renceth’s faithful marched on Galen’s city. The seige lasted for years. Great was the suffering, and many on both sides died. Eventually, right order prevailed. A loyal remnant within the city opened the gates, and the crusaders surged within, putting many heretics to the sword before Galen was captured.

As justice demanded, Galen was given a chance to defend his actions. He persisted in his errors, and the tribunal passed sentence. Galen was beheaded in the public square, and his body was burnt in a purifying fire. As required by canon law, the charred remains were placed on display as a stark reminder of heresy’s consequences. When the sun rose the day after Galen’s execution, his blackened bones had vanished.

Agents of Tronsos stole those bones, regarding them as sacred relics. These agents interred Galen’s bones in a secret location in a desolate region several miles outside the city. Thieves and murderers devoted to Tronsos guard the site to this day, jealously preventing trespassers from approaching Galen’s grave.

Any cleric of 5th-level or higher who manages to safely approach Galen’s grave and offers appropriate sacrifices of objets d’art (worth at least 3,000 gold pieces) can call forth Galen, who will rise from his grave veiled in fire. The visiting cleric may interrogate Galen, who will answer questions as if the cleric had cast Contact Other Plane. The visiting cleric decides the maximum number of questions and suffers any negative effects that would result.

*Renceth is the God of Prophecy, Friendship, and Keys. Renceth knows the future, but he does not freely share that knowledge. Instead, he puts into the paths of his faithful the people and the resources necessary to open the doors that will be encountered. Those who ignore Renceth’s gifts find their paths full of obstacles whereas the observant find their paths full of opportunities.

**Tronsos is the God of Thieves and Beauty. Tronsos doesn’t reward his faithful. Instead, his faithful take their rewards from those unable to keep them from being taken. Of all rewards, beauty is the most prized, and beauty must be possessed and hidden away, safe from covetous eyes.

November 2nd, 2013  in RPG No Comments »

The Bridge of the Damned

The waters of Lake Mauti churn eternally black even under the bluest of skies, and they remain icy even under the hottest of summer suns. Mauti’s dark chill seems to have infected the rugged hill around the lake as well. What few plants grow in the area are sickly and twisted, and the only fauna are reptiles, serpents, disease-carrying insects, and scavenging birds. As for the lake itself, nothing living calls its waters home.

The gnoll clans that prowl the plains, rocky hills, and canyons avoid Mauti and its surrounding territory. They call Mauti “demon-haunted” in their harsh, yapping language, and the gnolls refuse to pursue even their most hated enemies to within sight of the lake.

Every 19 years, when the new moon falls on the same night as the winter solstice, a terrifying event changes Mauti. From the depths rises a horrible bridge made from the intertwined bodies of screaming, squirming damned ones from some fearsome hell. This bridge of the damned spans the lake from shore to shore, a distance of about six miles, remaining until the first rays of the sun spill across the western horizon. Then, it goes shrieking back to whence it came.

Crossing the bridge is no easy feat. The hellspawned terrors that form the bridge object being walked upon. They grab and claw and bite. Each of the damned can be destroyed by spell, undead turning, or magical weapons, but to no real purpose. There are plenty more of the damned ready to take the place of any part of the bridge destroyed by those who attempt to cross it.

But, you wonder, why would anyone want to walk across the bridge?

Legends give several reasons. Any, all, or none of them may be true. Some say the bridge leads to the underworld. Those that manage to cross over can gain audiences with the evilest sorcerers and the unholiest priests who’ve ever lived, bartering for lost knowledge with these scions of hell. Other legends say the bridge leads to the gates into a palace long abandoned by one hell’s dukes. What manner of riches may await in such a place?

Then there are those tales that claim the bridge has two destinations. Those who seek only their own betterment find themselves plunged into a pit of black fire, wherein they are destroyed and reborn as part of the bridge itself. Those, however, with pure hearts discover themselves in a verdant field beneath a starry sky in the company of angelic beings whose blessings cannot be obtained any other way.

October 8th, 2013  in RPG No Comments »