Monday, January 14, 2019

Ruins of Arduin Compleat

 As the title says, the pdf is basically finished, though there has been no editing beyond my own eyes, so feedback is welcomed. As stated before, this is not an exact copy of Hargrave's Arduin, but it is the one I want to run and some of what I thought were the sillier monsters and spells were overlooked - apologies if your favorites have been excluded from this text. (If it really gets under your skin, I could make the authoring file available upon request so you could edit it to your heart's content ...) This system is not completely compatible with standard Swords & Wizardry, but much like the original Arduin material, it is fairly modular and easily edited.

 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Swords & Wizardry: Ruins of Arduin Update

Work continues on this personal project at a steady pace. The pdf will be sectioned into three parts, which I initially thought would be 3 pdfs - but I changed my mind. Those three parts are titled as Part One: Characters & Combat, Part Two: Magic Spells, and Part Three: Dungeons, Monsters, & Treasure. Not too differently than S&WCL. Parts One and Two are complete as of this post.

I think this is going to play out as a very different flavor of Swords & Wizardry than you might be used to, even though the basic mechanics of the game are relatively unchanged. I have pulled from various S&W incarnations as well as various Arduin materials and I worry that, even though some of which is used without permission, that all such pieces are properly credited. I am not so much writing this as much as I am compiling and converting it.

Again, the finished project will be available for download at no cost or profit to myself.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Meanderings and Musings ...

The project I mentioned  few days ago is based heavily on the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light format, but in order to give it more the 'Arduin' feel, I am expanding it a bit. It ought to be somewhere between SW: Whitebox and SWCL in scope.

I don't know if it'll be to anyone else's taste, but it fits mine. If you've read any of my previous posts, it's obvious that The Ruins of Arduin is not exactly Dave Hargrave's Arduin. I am also adding a few house rules of my own for a more personalized feel, which aren't particularly world shattering, but might set off purists.

Here's an example. Take the Elf:


Elf - Classes: Fighting Man, Magic-User, Thief Bonuses: +1 to Hide in Shadows, Pass Without Trace, Detect Secret/Hidden Doors, Hear Noises & Move Silently. +1 to-hit vs. goblins, orcs, and undead. Immune to Paralysis, Sleep, and Disease. +2 save vs. magic.  Elf ‘Magic-Users’ use their own Spell List. As immortal beings, Elves may not be Raised from the Dead.


Not particularly revolutionary, but this description fits my particular view of what Elves should always have been. The other races, including Humans, are treated similarly.

One decision I made that isn't particularly 'Hargravian' is the omission of Deodanths as player characters. Much like the Drow in other settings, I think they make way better monsters than characters. Of course, if YOU want PC Deodanths, you could always DIY ... I wouldn't mind a bit - it's your game.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Renewed Vigor

It's been a little while, but I assure you, there are things going on behind the curtain. The resolution for the new year is streamlining. Many of my previous posts just seem a bit bloaty for the Arduin I'd like to run as a referee. Future posts will reflect that and I will attempt to 'herd the cats' that are this remarkable setting.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Last Ride of Orik Bloodletter

Orik had gotten careless.

The first rule of assassination is to kill the assassin, or so the saying goes. That's why one deals with The Guild. They offer some degree of anonymity while trying to make a living. But after a few celebratory libations in Sixcarts, it hadn't taken the Elvish Star Knight long to track him down.

Which leads us to the second damnable rule of assassination, never ask why your target deserves to die. Who knew that Sir Runic Rump's assassination would call down a damn Star Knight? Apparently, he was better connected in Talismonde than Orik had figured.

Orik knew the Elf by her reputation as man-hunter, and she was one of the best in all of Arduin; Dajina Thistlewood and her dreaded Starsword. She had used her mind powers to track him, trap him and damn near kill him The Kobbit's Foot Tavern in Sixcarts. He'd managed to slow her down some with a poisoned crossbow bolt - a lucky shot - and a darkbomb he'd bought from a travelling Alchemist.

Now Orik was riding hard and fast over the sun blasted plains, so hard his horse was sweating profusely and wheezing. Still he could see her in the distance behind him, running her horse as hard as he did his. The air was dry and hot and up ahead, it looked like Wizard Weather judging by the dark maroon clouds and hellish lightning. Orik thought only a damned fool would chase him into that kind of storm into The Creep ... only a damned fool would consider riding into The Creep under the sunniest of weather; but Orik would not be brought in to hang over a man named Rump, nor at a Star Knight's hand.
 
The Tanglebrush growing in scattered clumps was the first sigh of reaching The Creep. He spurred his horse onward ... just a little more to draw the Elf in. He had a scroll rolled up in his pack that he'd been looking to trade, but it just might buy him the time he'd need to make a grand escape. Sooner than he expected, she was in the Tanglebrush.

He dismounted and quickly fumbled through his pack, his heart pounding in his dry throat. He could hear her Starsword ignite like the hum of a long forgotten dirge, but with the scroll in hand, he dove under his horse for cover as the energy blade sliced the air just above his head.

Dajina reared her horse back for another pass at the assassin, focusing her meditations into her blade. Orik read the scroll aloud, against the growing winds, and Tanglebrush began entwining about Dajina's mount's legs, inching it's bloodthirsty thorns up the saddle for Elvish dessert.

Orik laughed out loud as he mounted his horse and made his escape deeper into the dust clouds that were forming under the maroon clouds and hellish lightning. With luck, he'd avoid the mutated Deathclaws that hunted these lands. With luck, he might make Watchtown before nightfall. With luck, the Wizard Weather wouldn't suffocate his horse with clouds of irradiated dust ...

But Orik was out of luck by now and he felt the burning sting in his eyes ...

Though they looked harmless enough, one of the primary residents of The Creep had claimed another victim. Orik fell off his horse into the blowing dust storm as the Triffids gathered around their prey.

Yes, Orik had gotten careless and it cost him his life.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Major Tribes of Arduin and the Frontier


The majority of modern day Arduinian humans can, with some effort - as many records were lost in some great cataclysm long ago; trace their bloodlines to the Nexus and are of Atlantean stock, culture, and traditions. Amazon Bloodlines are also traced to the Nexus. Very few bloodlines can be traced to True Arduinian Human Stock, and those that can are usually of noble birth.

Elves, on the other hand, are Ancient Arduin natives, as are Dwarves, Gnomes, Fey and such. They have a deeper connection to the land and its magical and sometimes chaotic ways.

Other Arduin Natives exist along the frontier in considerable numbers and cannot and should not be ignored. Listed below are some of the largest groups and tribes that populate Arduin and the Frontier:

Roo-Anai – The Throon, large blue-black skinned, four armed men, are primarily found at the Mountains of Madness. They are quite savage and have been known to devour their captives. They are not particularly expansionists, but they are very territorial. It is thought that the subtle mind altering affects of the mountains that they call home, which are themselves a mystery, keeps them within their territory but also adds to their primal fury in combat.

Uruk Hai – This Orc Tribe is probably the most feared of all. Physically speaking, The Uruk Hai are paragons of Orcdom. They hate nearly everything that does not derive from Orcish Blood and will go out of their way to punish or destroy that which is not Orcish.

Phraints – Not exactly a barbaric people, the Phraints, however, are not above raiding parties, if such actions have logic to them and their continued survival. As a culture, they are stoic and unwavering, considering all things Phaintish to be superior to all others. Phraints do deal with other cultures, such as Humans, and view them as inferior little makers of wondrous things.

Hawkmen – Various tribes of Hawkmen may be found in the mountains of all of Arduin. Generally, they are concerned in their own matters and only hunt or raid other settlements, if you could call it a raid, in search of prey. They are a secretive people, but have been known to venture forth with Adventuring Parties in need of mountainous guides.

Blue Barbarians – Of all the Tribes listed here, with the possible exception of The Uruk Hai, The Blue Barbarians are the biggest threat to the Kingdom, raiding frontier towns on a regular basis. There hasn’t been a Hoard gathered in many years, but they are due to gather in great numbers again, should a charismatic leader come forth.

Saurigs – Of the two types of Saurig, the Desert Saurig are the most plentiful in the wastelands of Arduin, such as the King’s Plain and The Creep – both of which this sage shall detail in a latter day post. The Clans of the Claw are a loose collective of tribes throughout the Kingdom, all of which prize prowess in battle above all other skills. This warlike attitude has brought them into conflicts with The Kingdom’s Knights, but these skirmishes never last long.

Centaurs – Populating various woodland and grassland areas, and in not so rare occasions, the Wastelands; the various races of Centaurs are generally a nomadic people, never settling anywhere for more than a season. They are fierce and deadly warriors in battle, but are generally a benevolent people, trading with various tribes throughout Arduin.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Great Ruins of Arduin


In the distant past, when ancient records of the land were lost in a terrible cataclysm, the capital of Arduin met a similar fate. The fallen cities about and around The Lake of Mist or The Misty Sea, depending on which sage you speak with, are collectively called The Great Ruins. Expeditions to the Ruins have rarely been met with success, as these lost civilizations boast a new populous of beast men and monsters. Unnatural thick heavy fogs from the Lake of Mists hang about the broken towers of these Ruins, making even those with gifted sight half blind, Yet Adventurers come to test their mettle and hope to find wealth and glory in this graveyard of Millennia past.

Individual sites are known and include:

  • Old Talismonde – Still beautiful in it’s crumbling decay, great riches are said to be gleaned from it’s mouldering bones, but at a high price … danger is everywhere due to an unregulated and still functioning Nexus.
  • Dragon Keep – Rumored to be the nest of a Clan of Dragons …
  • Wizardwood – An extremely dangerous place overrun by wights, ghouls, and ghosts.
  • House of the Mist Rose – Still a bit of a mystery, but Adventuring Companies active in The Ruins claim it as a safehave.
  • Khurahaen – Second only to Talismonde in its withering architectural splendor, it is said that the underground complexes below the ruined city are as breathtakingly beautiful as the corpse of the city above. It is also said daemons run amuck here.
  • Misthaven – Smaller than the above ruins, this decaying suburb of Khurahaen has fallen to Uruk Hai.
  • Spyder Isle – It is this sage’s opinion that even the mightiest among you need not trifle with the telepathic sorcerers of an arachnid origin. Just don’t.
  • Fort Solstice – Once a grand fortress that apparently could call upon many knights and cavaliers to defend the capital city-states, if the moldering tapestries uncovered in this ruin are interpreted correctly. A small Clan of Dwarves, The Clan Barazinbar to be precise, have taken up these ruins as their territory and generally despise Adventurers.
  • Rumbletown - Run by Deodanth Mercenaries, known as the Bloody Seven, these ruins serve as a gladiatorial/hunting grounds. The Mercenaries offer great rewards for those warriors who can survive the trials of the 'games.'

There have been several reports of a wandering threat throughout the Great Ruin, one that is of keen interest to the Techno League. A great robotic Sentinel patrols the ruins for some unknown power, destroying all sentient life in it’s path. The construct is known to fly and levitate when the need for such arises and its eyes harbor death in the form of some powerful energy. Its armor is no less than Adamantium, for few weapons have scratched it’s silvery form. It is silent and relentless in it’s mission to destroy – you’ve been warned young Adventurers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Arduin 8 mile Hex Map - Expanded

Again, I'm not much of a map maker, but here displayed is the frontier of my Arduin Campaign.



A fully detailed actual size map may be Downloaded HERE.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Talismonde - A Brief Review


Modern day Talismonde is the City of Kings and the city that almost wasn’t. Contrary to contemporary belief, the location of this grand city may have originally been in the far east of the country of Arduin. Sages have uncovered texts that seem to describe a great catastrophe that triggered a mass exodus of beings to the western coastline. These same sages surmise that the Grand Ruins of Arduin may include the remains of the original Talismonde as well as other settlements.

Whatever the hypothetical ancient history, modern day Talismonde is a bustling hub of activity with every manner of enterprise imaginable. The King and Queen of Arduin, His Majesty Olinthar and Her Grace Cassidia, rule their Kingdom with wisdom and benevolence. Many Guilds conduct and regulate free trade in the city among its many craftsmen, and no place flourishes more than the Grand Bazaar. The City Watch does its best to uphold the Law of the Land, and this is no small task, for a city of this size also attracts darker elements, most notoriously, The Brotherhood of the Rope – a powerful faction of organized crime.

Complicating the matter greatly for the City Watch is The Nexus. This Gateway to the Multiverse brings in anyone from everywhere imaginable. The Nexus is constantly guarded by the watch and regulated through The Multiversal Trading Company – to bring orderly passage to and from Arduin as a whole. The MTC also regulates what goods brought through the portal are considered safe and what goods are considered contraband.

The Nexus is not entirely unique in Arduin, in that there are several documented multiversal gateways spread throughout the land; however the location of these doorways are a State secret and not divulged to the general populace. One popularly rumored location is atop the Plateau of Forever, which looms over the city like a sleeping giant; however no such gate has been discovered there.

Assisting the City Watch in areas of illegal spellcasting and all things arcane is The Hermetic Order of Wizardry, the most powerful Guild of Spellcasters in the Kingdom. The Guildhouse for this enigmatic Order floats nearby the Royal Castle and is popularly known as Mageholm. The Order is thought to keep a smaller Nexus within its walls that the Magi use for academic purposes, but the Hermetic Order swears its members to secrecy concerning what goes on in Mageholm. Wizard business is strictly for Guild Magi.

Talismonde has no standing army, but supports a sizeable militia which may be called upon in times of crisis.

Several Noble houses are present in Talismonde, each with their own luxurious Manor Houses and/or Keeps within the City. Most notable are The Archom’s, The Alabaanth’s, The Mar-Galen’s, The Naskillion’s, The Pyrosa’s, The Rokkanon’s, The Varlusian’s, and The Wandering’s. Each of these families boast several Knight Protectors of the City, and when not questing, can be called upon to lead the Militia.

Of keen interest to Adventuring Companies are the many Taverns and Inns boasted by the City. Two of the most popular sites include The Black Pearl, located Dockside, and the Benevolent Basilisk, located near the West Gate. Both have bountiful menus of both food and drink, and hold some of the finest minstrels and bards on Sarmaht and Qwain evenings.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A letter from Our Lady of the Silver Moon

My good friend and compatriot, Huron, Forester of The Mistwoods;

 I hope this letter has found you in good health and good standings. My messenger was more than a little reluctant to begin questing your forested homelands in search of you, but I promised him gems, jewellery, and not but a few sale of indulgences. He has agreed to assist you under any reasonable terms or conditions you set, and I have found him a quite valuable and hard working slave.

I know it has been several years since we journeyed together, but a dark season is upon us and I need your special skills and your bow and Elvish blades maybe now more than ever.

Our Patriarch, Archbishop Varrne, has come up missing. Rumours swirl about the Abbey - everything from the Shadow of Mephistopheles is stalking our grounds to a plot enacted by our rival sect, The Congregation of the Blue Nighthawk. This is the stuff of nonsense, as I have acquired the Archbishop's Journal, in which several rational clues rise to the surface. For one, his devotion to Our Lady of Silver is not in question, in fact it is fanatic. Secondly, He speaks of an old tradition of our mysteries, one that fell out of fashion many winters ago; That of the Maiden's Kiss. This, I fear, could bring the stain of bloodshed upon our Faith.

The Maiden's Kiss is an eclectic ceremony that is supposed to draw down the Goddess or one of her Handmaidens; the text is obscure. With the seal of a divine kiss, the priest conducting the ritual is supposed to gain supernatural power that make him more beast than man. Huron, I fear the Archbishop has taken several acolytes into the mountains not only to perform this ritual, but to do so at the fabled Tower of the Beast.

I beg of you to find Archbishop Varrne and stop this ancient rite from being performed. Your tracking skills are second to none by my measure and if need be, none are as skilled in drawing blood as are your blades. Should he receive the Maiden's Kiss, he shall be excommunicated from our faith, providing my influence is enough to persuade the elders, and should such be the case, you must slay what he will have become or innocent blood will wash the lands.

I thank you in advance and pray for your success.

Talona, Curate of Our Lady of the Silver Moon, Talismonde

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Welcome to Arduin ... Again.

"I greet you with the heartiest and most welcoming salutations, good traveller! I surmise by the wagon out in front of this esteemed establishment - The White Roc Inn - you are here on your way to Mickleby to ply your wares at the bazaar. Well now, pull up a stool, order up whatever libation shall whet thy palette, and we shall trade stories about the goings on here in our fair country of Arduin.

"Oh, come now, you know that was a jest. Evil has always lurked the wastelands since before either of us were sired ... yet these are dark days, are they not? If the nomadic Skorpoons tribes don't get you in the King's Plain, the Manticore Lords of the mountains will carry away your horses as you ride them! To think that my granddad worried about Uruk-Hai and Dragons - HA! Those were the days, eh?

"I don't expect you have much to say about Oxhaven; pleasant little town. Not much ever happens there ... Oh? You say the summer rain storms are flooding the fields with a reddish hue? Yes, the weather has been strange this season, but not as strange as from where I hail ... Green clouds that belch fire - not lightning, mindest thou, but streams of fire in the early mornings. That's what folks in Talismonde have for breakfast! HA!

"Some greybeards mutter that it all steams from the Plateau of Forever that looms over the city like a snoring giant ... that some otherworldly gate there has been left open ... but then, that's been said for every strange happenstance about the land. That legend has been tossed around for quite some time, but there's never been any proof of a hellish gate of blackened stone anywhere near the Plateau. I should know, I've been there.

"It all comes down to the meddlers in magic, shouldest thou ask me. Too many of them frolicking here and lo across these lands. More Black Grimiores have been unearthed in tombs and cities best left lost to the world than a Gnome can pilfer a lockbox full of gems. Some magic is okay, like that which warmed your coffee this morning; but when you have as much of it hurled willy-nilly by so many young fools these days ... as if it were the only means for them to feel useful ... it's bad for the planet, knowest thou?"

I finished my whisky and decided to leave the old timers to gossip. Old Exador of Talismonde was well known in these parts as a spreader of rumors - otherwise known as a Bard of some renowned. Trouble was, he was often as right as he was wrong. I grabbed my swords from the barkeep and headed for the door, but overheard one last thing ...

"... And Elves from the Mistwoods are warning all travellers to pay heed or blood, that demons are loose in the forest. Damnable Elves probably set them loose on purpose ..."

Damn. It just might be a long journey to the Hidden Mountain from here ...