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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Multiversal Trading Company, Space Aliens, and Dimensional Beings.


The following is a (very) brief listing of the members of the MTC and, where applicable, their chief interests in Arduin. White Star Galaxy Edition and its supplements, Star Drive Alternity, Humanspace Empires, and Star Frontiers are some of the sources for those listed below.

Pleiadians – Paragons or The Organizers of the MTC and by and far, the leaders of policy, immigration and registration. Beware their power.

Greys – Zeta Reticulians have a keen interest in Arduin and trade various technologies for gene sampling rights. Beware, they lie.

Draconians – These Shape-shifting Reptilians, sometimes call Crocodylians or Ickes seek underground mineral rights and above all else, power. Beware, they hunger.

Atlantean – Progenitors of and Representatives of the Humans of Arduin. Beware, they manipulate.

Summer Court of Tír na nÓg
– Represent the interests of The Fey of Arduin. Just beware, the whims of the Fey.

Star Knights – Enforcers of Peace.

Sisters of the Aquarian Order – Diplomats and Negotiators of Peace

League of Non Aligned Races – Each four year cycle a new representative for The League is elected to speak for all others in matters of Trade, Immigration, and Registration. In No Particular Order:

Frall

Sesheyan

Mechalus

Cromags

T’sa

Weren

Viridians

Neanderthals

Men of Leng

Kzinti

Pé Chói

Mi-Go

Scro

Dralasites

Ahoggyá

EDIT: Some of the above Aliens are further detailed HERE


Races of the Planes

Represented by Sigilan Faction The Fated or "Takers" or "The Heartless," believe that those with power and ability have the right to own what they control and to take what they can from those who are unable to keep it, and that it is their right to exploit any situation to their advantage, regardless of how it affects anyone else. In No Particular Order:

Modrons

Gith

Slaadi

Eladren

Rilmani

Daemons

Demons

Devils

Gaurdinals

Genies

Gehreleth

Aasimon

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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Arcane Magic in Arduin


Arcanist, Mages, and otherwise Magic Users, are handled just a little differently than the default Hargrave method. The following is still in effect::

Total MANA Score
- Take the Mage’s Intelligence and multiply it by his level, then divide by 4 (if his Intelligence is 8 or less) , 3 (if Intelligence is 9 to 12) , or 2 (if Intelligence is 13 or greater). Therefore, a 7th level Mage with an Intelligence of 16 would multiply 16 by 7 to get 112, then divide 112 by 2 for a final total of 56 Mana points that the Mage will generate per 12 hour period of rest or 24 hour period of activity. Of course, this is also the Mage’s maximum score.

Schools of Magic are handled via The Magus Divlantia, available for download here at this site/Blog.

There is even a Divine School of Magic, which enables Mages to cast Cleric-like Spells.

Spellcasting through The Magus Divlantia is very much like default Arduin, with Mana point costs for various spells and at various levels. Mages may also supercharge their spells to be cast at a higher level by spending more Mana. Nothing much changes here and the system is quite compatible to point buy magic systems. Mages must still select their readied spells and memorize them as in default S&W, but with the spell point method.

As Hargrave states,"To memorize a spell, a Mage has to sit down and concentrate on his book of spells undisturbed. The base for memorization is 1 hour per spell divided by the number of spells that the Mage may memorize of that level. 

"For example, a fifth level Mage may memorize 4 first level, 2 second level, and 1 third level spell. When he sits down to memorize his spells, it takes 1 full hour for the third level spell, 30 minutes each for the second level ones, and 15 minutes each for the first level ones: a grand total of 3 hours.
 

"During combat, a Mage may “fire” a spell he has memorized every melee turn for as long as he has spells memorized. The same Mage that took those 3 hours to memorize his spells would be able to use a spell every melee turn for 7 turns, whereupon he would have no more spells to use, until he memorized more."

A Mage is also capable of increasing his Mana Score in many ways, including various crystal and incenses available in the afore-mentioned tome. Doing so risks Spellburn. The Mage with the increased Mana Score will save vs. Intelligence upon spellcasting. A failed save means a failed casting (which may have other affects besides physical damage ...), a loss of an Intelligence point and 1d6 damage per level of the spell. Obviously, only the desperate or mad dabble in this practice. Mages using the above method to replenish spent points may do so without fear of Spellburn, unless the accumulated points exceed their Maximum Mana Score.

Spellbooks are considered books of many scrolls, as magic may be read straight from them. This, however, consumes the spell - leaving a blank page in your spellbook.

Cantrips are detailed in the The Magus Divlantia and initially cost ½ a mana point.

Some Spells may be cast as Rituals, which will not erase the spell from your book, nor does the spell need to be memorized. The only costs of Ritual casting is 10gp (in a silver based economy, such as Arduin, this is more expensive than it seems at first glance.) worth of components for the ritual and the time – 10 minutes per level of the spell – to cast it.

Divine Magic of Arduin


Clerics and other priestly magic user do not need to study spells but must spendtime in prayer to receive them. Their Deities supply them with the Mana and formula and act as a sort of buffer to protect them from being harmed by spellburn – the effects of too much Mana within the human/demihuman mind.

Put simply, Priestly characters that wield divine magic operate as they always have in Swords & Wizardry, with a couple exceptions:

Priestly Characters need not be restrained by Turn Undead, which is to say they may select the type of creature they may Turn, usually as dictated by their faith. For instance, a Cleric of Thor of the Norse Pantheon might turn Giants or Trolls. This is determined by the number of hit dice the monster has; just supplement Monster Type for Undead Hit Dice.

Divine Healing: whether it be Lay on Hands or a Cure Light Wounds, the receiver of such healing must be of the same alignment as the deity giving the healing. Followers of the same Deity responsible for the healing shall receive bonus healing at the rate of +1hp/level of the healed character.

Some Spells may be cast as Rituals, which does not need to be memorized. The only costs of Ritual casting is 10gp (in a silver based economy, such as Arduin, this is more expensive than it seems at first glance.) worth of components for the ritual and the time – 10 minutes per level of the spell – to cast it.

Arduinian Pantheon

Tiamat the Destroyer……………………. CE

Tarong the Timekeeper……………….... NE

Eru the Whole…………………………...… CG

Marbonas The Laughing One…………… CG

Xuanth The Hand of Fate…………….….. CG

Tanabras. Lord of the Dead……..……... LE

Boreas, Lord of Wind………………..…….CN

Saren, the Sun God…………………..…….LG

Megalon the Soul of War…………...…... LE

Amarydion the Earth Mother…………….LG

Mordakk the Doom Fire………….……….CE

The Star Dragons…………………..……...NG

Borsala, King of the Sea………….………NG

Vanaan. The Eternal Flame………………LG

Ta-Taru, the All Fire………………….…....CG

The Guardians, The Ones Who Wait..….CE

Our Lady of the Silver Moon…………….LG

Skirin, The Night Lord…………………....NG

Shagrath, The Moon Spider………...…...CE


The Black Pantheon - Cthulhu Mythos


Earth Religions

Norse Pantheon

Greek Pantheon

Egyptian Pantheon

People of the Book (Middle Eastern Sects – Muslim, Christianity, Judaism)

Pax Romana

Vedic Mysteries

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Custom Character Conversion


Swords & Wizardry 1st Edition Conversions of Custom Character Classes

Class                     Hit Dice               BHB                  Saving Throw
Courtesan            As Magic User         As Magic User      As Magic User
Forrester             As Fighter                As Fighter             As Fighter
Martial Artist      As Fighter                As Monk                As Monk
Medicine Man     As Druid                   As Barbarian        As Druid
Outlaw                As Fighter                As Fighter             As Thief
Psychic               As Magic User          As Magic User      As Magic User
Rune Singer        As Magic User         As Bard                 As Bard
Rune Weaver      As Magic User          As Magic User      As Magic User
Sage                   As Magic User          As Magic User      As Magic User
Saint                    As Cleric                   As Cleric               As Cleric
Slaver                  As Fighter                 As Thief                As Fighter
SP Mage              As Magic User          As Magic User     As Magic User
Techno                 As Cleric                   As Magic User     As Magic User
Trader                  As Thief                     As Fighter            As Magic User
True Paladin        As Fighter                 As Cleric              As Magic User
Witch Hunter       As Cleric                   As Fighter            As Cleric


    • All classes use their original XP Advancement Tables and Abilities/Class.
    • The Supplement White Box Heroes is used with this table.

    • Special Ability Charts, Social Status, and Character Legacies as found in The Arduin Trilogy may be used during Character Creation.
       
    • Apologies for the crooked table ... Blogger and I have our limitations ...

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 ...


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Arduin, Bloody Arduin ...

This blog, much like my Traveller Blog - Tales of the Wizard Nebula, is a sort of thinking out loud project I am conducting to get an Arduin Campaign rolling. This is a particularly daunting task, as Arduin setting information is scarce, inconsistent, or just plain unavailable. I shall, however, flex some creative muscles to get a great campaign going.

Google Fu has reviled a few Arduin Maps, none of which have any consistency and a few I think were homebrew by other than David Hargrave. That's okay, I'll just make an amalgamation of a few of these and viola ... a campaign map is born!



 I tried to combine the most recognizable locations within closeness to one another, but in some cases this was just a guessing game. For the purposes of my Homebrew Arduin, this shall suffice.