Friday, February 17, 2017

Haunted Valley: The Curse and The Tower



The Valley was cursed many years ago.  

The Cursed Tower
The East Wood, many centuries past.
An ancient road ran through the forest in those days and was guarded by a tower, the home of two brothers, knights. The older brother was a prideful man, a powerful warrior. The younger was also a skilled warrior but was kind and merciful. They argued as brothers are wont to do. For years they guarded the road from bandits, protecting travelers and keeping law and order in the land. The elder brother grew ill, sick and half mad. How this occurred is lost to time, later tales were unclear. In the end it drove him to madness and he attacked his brother, slaying him in a fevered rage before he took his own life. But fate was not done with the mad knight. For his actions he was cursed to rise as a Death Knight. He soon began to haunt the road despoiling and killing those he had been charged to protect.

A companion of the brothers, a priest, returned to his home from a pilgrimage and learned of the attacks from the tower. He entered the tower with his own key of silver, given freely by his former companions in trust, to discover what had befallen his allies. Soon he found his friend the younger, a pile of moldering bones and, to his horror, the heart of the noble brother, intact and still beating. Alerted to the priest's presence the older brother, the cursed Death Knight, came forth from his upper chambers. In a fright the priest fled, barely escaping the dread knight. Leaping through the door he turned and locked it with his silver key and layed a powerful curse on the Death Knight, locking it into the tower for eternity.

The priest bound the knight, the knight's actions and presence infected the tower, the tower's presence slowly cursed the valley over the centuries with darkness and evil, drawing madness and fell creatures to the valley. Until the Death Knight is destroyed the valley remains under the sway of evil.

The priest, wracked with guilt over his failure to completely cleanse the evil and physically broken by the laying of the binding curse, stayed to watch over the valley and the village which had sprung up in the years since. He slowly wasted away and died, unable to bring himself to enter the tower and freeing is friend's souls for fear of releasing the creature trapped within. To keep the Death Knight bound and protect the valley's residents he instructed the village priest to bury him in a secret grave with the silver key to the tower.

The tale survives all these centuries later as bits and pieces of legend and folktale. Most of the details were intentionally hidden by the old priests and ancestors of the villagers. Forgotten and buried away.

The location of the tower has been lost to the ages. The evil seeping from it twisted the Darken Wood around the tower aiding in hiding it from those who enter the Eastern Woods. The tower itself fades out of reality, only visible and accessible on the night's of the full moon and the anniversary of the locking of the tower. Eventually the curse grew strong enough that those who did stumble upon it (such as Old Svalovich) forget the location soon after seeing it (1d6 hours). They do often dream of an old tower in the woods but cannot comprehend why upon waking. Another insidious property of the curse is that those who dwell in the valley for one full month (full cycle of the moon) must make a Saving throw. If they fail they will be compelled to dwell within the valley, trapping them in the curse with no desire to return to their true homes. Those who are born in the valley automatically fail this Saving throw when they come of age. They are trapped in misery.

  • To lift the curse the lore of the tower must be discovered. 
  • The location of the tower and the secret grave of the priest with the silver key must be found through the lore and clues. 
  • The key must be used to open the tower, the eternally beating heart of the noble brother must be staked to release his soul, and the Death Knight must be destroyed. 
  • Once this is done the pall which hangs over the valley will be lifted and the evil creatures in it will soon leave or fade away. 

Life will become normal for its inhabitants. They will be free to stay or leave.

Information Sources
Here are several possible sources of information for the DM to dole out to his players to solve the mystery of the Tower and Valley. I've kept it vague in many areas for you to rearrange and place clues as needed.

This will probably be reorganized and edited as I go. We shall see.

Tavern: 
Rumors and half truth information about the broken witch coven, ghosts, sightings. Lots of speculation and red herrings here. One juicy find would be the mention of a few people having similar dreams, especially some older hunters over the years, of a lost tower in a forest.

Church records: 
Letters, journals, records about ghosts, demons, and goblins in the valley. Enough to seed a few missions into the forests and lead to encounters with entities.
A few letters about bad dreams and tower sightings.
An ancient broken stained glass window in the cellar showing two knights in a forest tower with a key and a heart between them..

Lore twisted over time, Children's Rhymes:
(passed down, bits come may come in dream to sleepers, may be carved on trees, stonewalls, etc)

The Curse has been laid upon our good Town
The Witch and Wolves and Ogres gather round
Surrounded by Darkness, alone in our Town
We wait for te Evil to swallow us down

The Knight in his Tower
He broods all alone
for a Brother he lost
Long long ago

Find the Key, lift the Spell
Find the Heart of the Brother who fell

Mad Gaston;
Witches, Ogre, The Black Rider, Old Svalovich creeping, the journal. He has seen them.
Old Svalovich's Journal: Location of Lost Tower. In his madness Gaston believes that he must keep the tower a secret. He will not reveal what he knows short of charming spells, extreme torture, etc. If the journal can be found in his hovel it is written in legible French and Latin.

Mother Toad:
Information on remedies, superstitions, charms. Basic information on the witch coven, leaders, meeting place, etc. Knows of many who dream of a lost tower somewhere in the valley. Believes Gaston may know more but he won't tell. She may have the knowledge to show the investigators how to summon a ghost via the creation of ghost chimes or spirit candles. 

The Midnight Cat:
The witch coven, location of the alter hiding place, ghosts, information on the Guard Captain. He may know where the investigators can find more information. For a price.

'The Hanged Ghost:
Ghosts of past executions may know of Tower lore possibly even location. Names of the (legally) executed are kept in the church records.

Gypsies: 
Ghosts, sightings, the Hanged Ghost.
Location of the priest's hidden grave (the silver key). This will be a VERY costly secret.










Haunted Valley. NPC statistics.


Statistics for the villagers and other inhabitants of the Haunted Valley of Wolves described here.


Baker
Eurys the Mouse, 37
HD: 1
HP: 4
AC: 8/11, quilted jerkin
Damage: 1d4, knife
Save: 17/F1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral (insane)
Eurys is skilled at attacking from behind. He has a backstab bonus of +4 hit/x2 damage .

When the urge to kill again takes him and he does the deed, Eurys is transformed into a Boogeyman. He appears normal but gains a number of dark gifts to aide in his murder.

Eurys the Bogeyman
HD: 4
HP: 22
AC: 6/13, supernatural resistance
Damage: 1d4+2, knife. two attacks per round.
Save: 14/F4
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaotic (insane)
As a Bogeyman Eurys is stronger, receiving a +2 to hit/damage from strength. He can attack twice per round. If he gets the drop on an opponent he can backstab for a +4  to hit/x3 damage bonus.

His unnatural state allows him to regenerate two hit points per round until he is at zero hit points or below.
He can also shadow-walk three times per day: as a full round action he can step into any shadow and appear out of another shadow within his line of sight.

Blacksmith
Rolf Muller, 48
HD: 2
HP: 9
AC: 7/12, leather apron
Damage:  1d4+1, hammer
Save: 16/F2
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
Rolf is strong and receives a +1 to hit/damage from is strength bonus. As a former member of the witch coven he learned a few ritual magic spells: Detect evil, Protection from evil, and Snake charm.

Candlemaker
Etaine, 33
HD: 2
HP:  7
AC: 8/11, dexterity bonus
Damage:  1d4, knife. 1d8, wheellock pistol.
Save: 14/Th2
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
Etaine is a 2nd level Thief with all of the abilities of such. He has exceptional dexterity and receives a +1 to AC/ranged to hit.

Clergy (Franciscan)
Father Olwyn, 52
HD: 1
HP: 4
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d2, fist
Save: 17/Cl1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Lawful

Friar Martin, 24
HD: 1
HP: 5
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d2, fist
Save: 17/F1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Lawful

Friar Eric, 25
HD: 1
HP: 6
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d4, knife.
Save: 17/Th1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
Eric has experience with thievery to feed his mother before becoming a friar. He has the abilities of hide in shadows, move silently, and climb walls as a first level Thief.

Grave Digger
Pippin the Lame, 34
HD:  1
HP: 6
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d4+1, spade
Save: 17/F1
Move:90/30, club foot
Alignment: Chaotic
Pippin is strong and receives a +1 to hit/damage from is strength bonus. He is also a natural bushwacker and can backstab with a bonus of  +4 hit/x2 damage.

Guard Barracks
Captain Julian, 41
 HD: 6
HP:  28
AC: 4/15, studded leather and dexterity bonus
Damage: 1d8+1, sword. 1d4+1, dagger. 1d8, 2 wheellock pistols.
Save: 12/F6
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaotic
Julian is strong receiving a +1 to hit/damage from is strength bonus as well as fast, receiving a a +2 to AC/ranged to hit from his dexterity bonus. He is adept at two-weapon fighting and receives a 0 penalty to his primary (right) hand and a -2 penalty to his off (left) hand.

Sergeant, Andres
HD:  3
HP:  18
AC: AC: 5/14, chain shirt
Damage:  1d8+1, sword. 1d2, 10' range, whip. 1d8, 2 wheellock pistols.
Save: 14/F3
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaotic
Andres is strong brute, receiving a +1 to hit/damage from is strength bonus.

Guardsmen
HD: 1
HP:  7
AC: 7/12, leather
Damage:  1d8, sword. 1d4, dagger. 1d8, wheellock pistol.  2d8, matchlock musket.
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral

Merchant
Reynauld Aubrie, 43
Special: see here

Physician
Dr. Elloi Reno, 62
HD: 1
HP:  5
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d3, walking stick. 1d6, pocket pistol. 1d4, surgeon's knife.
Save: 17/Cl1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Lawful
Dr. Reno has the abilities of a 1st level Physician found here. He is also a good source of anatomical and medical knowledge and coud be consulted, despite the relatively crude methods and theories of the time. He serves as the local coroner for official documentation.

Tanner
Benoist, 31
HD: 1
HP: 5
AC: 9/10, 8/11 when dressed in skins.
Damage: 1d4, hook knife
Save: 17/Th1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
Benoist is skilled at skulking and has the same chance to move quietly and hide in shadows as a third level Thief.

Tavern, "The Fatted Calf"
Jean and Hilda Babineau, 30's
HD: 1
HP: 8
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d4, knife. 1d6, cleaver. 1d4 club. 1 hp, lash.
Save: 17/F1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaotic

Etta and Sabine, 20's
HD: 1
HP: 5
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d3, stiletto.
Save: 17/F1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral

Roche, 41, the barkeep.
HD: 2
HP: 12
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d4, club or knife. 1d3, two fists.
Special Abilities:
Save: 17/F2
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
Roche is quick with his fists getting two attacks per round and doing 1d3 damage per fist.

Trader
Lazlo, 53
HD: 2
HP: 8
AC: 8/11, quilted vest
Damage: 1d4, knife. 1d6, pocket pistol. 1d6, crossbow.
Save: 16/F2
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaotic
Lazlo is an accomplished gambler and cheat. He gains a +2 on gambling checks. He can also pick pockets as a second level Thief.

The Mad Hermit
Gaston, 67
HD: 1
HP: 4
AC: 9/10
Damage: 1d3, stick. 1d4, knife.
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral

The Wise Woman
Mother Toad, 89
HD: 1
HP: 3
AC: 10/9, crippled from age
Damage: 1d4-1, knife.
Save: 17/Cl1
Move: 60/20
Alignment: Lawful
Mother Toad's physical condition has been going down hill due to her advanced years. Melee and ranged hit bonuses, melee damage , and AC are all at a -1 penalty due to her reduced strength and dexterity. She has also lost a few hit points over the years due to reduced constitution.

She has learned how to make a number of low level healing potions (heal 1d3 hit points), can treat or cure a number of diseases, and has a variety useful knowledge, the extent of which is up to the DM. She is a source of healing, information, and should be useful to the PC's once discovered.

Outsiders
Coachman
HD: 1
HP:  7
AC: 8/11, buff coat
Damage:  1d6, hatchet. 1d4, dagger. 1d10, wheellock horse pistol. 3d6, blunderbuss.*
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
* A blunderbuss makes an attack roll against everyone in a cone extending out from the muzzle. The width of the cone is  5’ at the muzzle and extends to a maximum width of 15' within the first range increment. There are five range increments of twenty feet each. Bonuses/penaties to hit are: +2 to Hit  at range increments one and two, -2 at increment three, -4 at increment four,  -6 at increment five.
Damage inflicted is 3d6 damage to targets struck in the first two range increments, 2d6 to targets in the third and fourth range increments, and 1d6 to targets in the fifth range increment.

Assistant Coachman
HD: 1
HP:  6
AC: 8/11, buff coat
Damage:  1d4, club. 1d4, dagger. 2d8 matchlock caliver.
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral

Gypsy
HD: 1
HP:  5
AC: 8/11, leather vests
Damage:  1d4, dagger. 1d6, long knife. 1d12, matchlock musket.
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral
Gypsies are notorious for trickery. Individiuls may have thieving abilities at the DM's discretion.

Mercenary/Bandit
HD: 1
HP:  7
AC: 7/12, leather
Damage:  1d8, sword. 1d4, dagger. 1d8, wheellock pistol. 2d8, matchlock musket.
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Neutral



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Haunted Valley: The Infernal Emissary

One of the  most prominent citizens of the Valley of Wolves Reynauld Aubrie is secretly an Infernal Emissary and the Devil's primary agent in collecting the uncorrupted souls still left in the valley. 

Merchant
Reynauld Aubrie, 43
HD: 8
HP:  41
AC: 7/12,
Damage: 1d8, sword. 1d8 wheellock pistol.  
Save: 8/Cl 1
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Lawful
As an Infernal Emissary, Aubrie has many powers at his dark command.
He is protected from most harm and is only hit with weapons of silver or magic. His marked hand, when used to strike a foe, paralyzes his enemy as a ghoul's attack would (Saving throw allowed). He can also animate the dead three times per day with the hand's power. His eyes are hypnotic allowing him to cast Charm person through them three times daily.

He has the ability to partially control the wolf pack and batswarm. He can attempt to do is once per night. If he makes a successful Saving throw they will follow his command. Each new command requires a new Saving throw and failure means he cannot try until the next night.

In addition to these abilities he also has the power of an eighth level witch.
He knows the following spells (he can cast two of each level per day):
Level One: Detect magic, Read magic, Sleep.
Level Two: Detect evil, ESP, Hold person, Locate object.
Level Three: Dispel magic, Fly, Speak with dead.
Level Four: Confusion, Dimension door, Protection from evil 10'.
Level Five: Commune, Finger of death, Teleport.

He can also brew poison (2d6), and create potions, salves, and charms as a witch.

Along with his mundane weapons and wealth he has access to a number of items. Among them is a human hand of glory made from Jaques Savoy, a head of revelations, a brand of subjugation, and 6 zombie coins. He has a various number of potions, salves, and charms at the ready.

Purpose
Aubrie's purpose in the valley is to corrupt the souls of those not already damned and deliver them unto his master Satan. He is slowly growing in power and influence; he is a careful manipulator and will stay in the shadows as long as possible. He is gathering minions and knowledge to use to his advantage. He will use every trick he can to corrupt those around him: blackmail, promises of power, diabolic magic, murder, mind games, and anything else that will turn them to bargain their souls away. He plans to eventually control the entire valley, turning the inhabitants into a cult, and spreading his influence outward.

Aubrie is carefully building a network of minions to serve him. He has recruited Etaine the candlemaker and Pippin the gravedigger to assist him. They do not know who he is as he remains hooded and masked but they have felt his power and are willing to serve him. Soon he will demand that they sign their souls to his master in exchange for favors.

He is also considering trying to recruit Rolf the blacksmith and the Guard Captain Julian. He does not believe either will sell their souls and willingly serve but the power of the brand of subjugation will bring them in line. Aubrie can also use the brand on a Player Character to spy on the PC's Party when they begin to complicate things.

Often going cloaked at night to observe and plot his diabolic plans, he has learned many secrets since returning to the valley and is considering ways to use them to his own purposes.

  • He has knowledge of the witch's coven and knows that the blacksmith Rolf Muller was a secret member. He will try to use this knowledge to persuade then blackmail Rolf. 
  • He has seen the Midnight Cat and knows it was the witch Yolanda's familiar. He is aware that the cat is plotting something but the creature is sly and keeps clear of Aubrie.
  • He has seen the Little Girl's Ghost but she fled from him, sensing his evil. 
  • He has observed the Black Rider and his hounds taking a soul on the East Trade Road.
  • He is aware of Old Svalovich and the Ogre but considers them minor nuisances for now. 
  • He feels a vast dark power in the East Woods (the hidden Tower) but cannot locate it. He has been warned off of investigating this mystery when communing with his master. Unknown to him his master will use him to protect the cursed tower from those who would discover it and lift the curse. This will ultimately bring him into direct conflict with the players.


Lovecraftian Racial Classes Part II. OSR

More Mythos inspired Race Class.
The original post is Here.

Apeman
Requirements: STR 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: 12
Advance: Dwarf
Attack: As Dwarf
Saves: As Dwarf
Apemen are primitive with brutal features, long arms, and twisted muscular bodies covered in hair ranging from white to rusty red to brown and black. They are remnants of ancient and degenerated forgotten cities. They may be captured by hunters or scientists and brought back to civilizations as curiosities, scientific specimens, or even minions. The Apemen are intelligent with knowledge of fire, weaponry, tactics, etc. Their bestial appearance and manner halves their Charisma when dealing with normal folk.

They speak their own primitive language but can be taught to roughly speak other languages. 

They greatly prefer attacks with clubs, axes, and other melee weaponry. They rarely wear armor heavier than leather as it interferes with their ability to climb.

The Apeman is stronger than a human. To reflect this he gains a +2  (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all  melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +2 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks. Their bulky frames give them a +2 to AC from fur and muscle.

If angered or attacked  the Apeman must make a saving throw or go into a violent rage attacking the source of his distress with a +2 bonus to hit/damage with melee weapons, a -2 penalty with ranged weapons, and a -2 penalty to AC. Once combat is over (the irritation is dead or has successfully fled) the Apeman must make another saving throw to calm down and not attack his allies in his frenzy. He makes this saving throw check each round til he comes out of the rage.

The Apeman's body is adapted to climbing as a Thief of the same level.

Their primitive origins give them a few disadvantages. They have an ingrained fear of the unknown and receive a  -2 to Saving Throws versus magic. They also receive a -2 /10 percent penalty to rolls using modern technology such as firearms, vehicles, electronics, etc.


Mythos Spawn (Yes it's a Wilbur Whately Class)
Requirements: STR 9, INT 9
Prime Requisite: INT
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 10
Advance: Elf
Attack: As Elf
Saves: As Dwarf
Half human, half Mythos entity. These creatures are the result of the mating of a cultist, or innocent victim, with the powerful god-like entities of the Mythos. They are taller than an average human and tend to have heavy, bestial features. They can pass, barely, as a deformed member of their human parent's race with heavy clothing and other disguises. When unclothed they are a horrific sight: strange odd colored inhuman skin, rough, thick, or scaled. Their feet are often pads or hooves. Various growths such as eyes and small useless limbs, tails, or tentacles are present. 

The Mythos Spawn can speak any language a normal man would.

Mythos Spawn can use any weapon but  avoid armor as it is uncomfortable on their bodies and interfere with their ritual casting. 

Due to their strangeness their effective Charisma is half of their normal score and when  their true nature is discovered Charisma drops to 0 for those who have seen. Animals also react negatively to their presence. If a Mythos Spawn comes within 30' of an animal that is aware of its presence the animal will become agitated, barking and making other warnings to keep the Mythos Spawn at bay. If it comes within 10' the animal must make a Saving throw or go berserk and attacking with a ferocity giving the animal a +2 to hit. The animal will attack until the Mythos Spawn moves out of the 10' range. Guard animals, predators and other animals which would normally attack still receive the Saving throw to gain the +2 attack bonus.

Their heritage gives them a number of advantages physically. They receive an AC bonus of +2 due to their nature and can see perfectly in the dark up to 60'. They regenerate one hit point per round until they are brought to zero hit points or lower.

The Mythos Spawn can cast Detect Magic and Read Magic as an innate ability.  Other than normal movement the effort takes up their entire round. They can use these as desired, there is no limit per day.

Their magic is not like the mundane spell-casters, the Spawn is innately adept at casting ritual magic. They gain a +4 to their casting roll as per these rules. They can cast any spell of any level they have discovered as a ritual. The limit on spells cast this way is equal to their Hit Dice +. Thus a 6HD Mythos Spawn could cast 7 ritual spells per day (this is less than the average Magic User but the Spawn's advantage is its ability to better cast higher level spells as rituals.)
Wilbur Whately by Ivan Berov
https://dribbble.com/shots/1646937-Wilbur-Whateley

Servant Slime
Requirements: DEX 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: CON
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 10
Advance: Magic User
Attack: As Dwarf
Saves: As Dwarf
Servant Slimes are man-sized mounds of pseudo-flesh slime which can manipulate their forms for movement, manipulation, and attacks. They are often compelled or serve willingly dark priests and sorcerers. A few are actually created by their masters. A rare few have remained independent, freed or out of work when their master was destroyed. They will often attempt to join up with other creatures due to curiosity or a longing for company after years of servitude. If rejected they will often stalk their would-be companions.  Because of their physical nature they do not require food, air, or water although, because of the pseudo-flesh nature of their bodies, they can be affected by disease and poisons. They can easily use tools and weaponry but cannot wear armor. Magic rings of protection will function if kept embedded in it's main mass.

They understand languages but cannot speak them. They will communicate via writing or signing with pseud-pods.

A Servant Slime can stretch and manipulate its shape. It can become a thin puddle to ooze between cracks, under doors, and climb up walls. It gains a +4 AC bonus and acts as if under a Spider climb spell. Its senses are functionally the same as a normal human although they do have the ability to see in darkness up to 60'.

It's body regenerates 2 hit points per round unless the damage is from magic, acid, cold, or fire. It will heal normally from these. Regeneration ceases when brought to zero hit points or lower. The Slime receives a +2 Saving throw vs disease and poison and a -4 penalty to Saving throws versus cold attacks.

Although it can attack with weaponry it also has the ability to extrude acid from its body or from parts of its body at will. This acid is a touch attack and does 1d6 damage per round of contact.
The Slime Monster by Know-Kname
http://know-kname.deviantart.com/art/the-slime-monster-382401546

Subhuman
Requirements: DEX 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: DEX
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 12
Advance: Halfling
Attack: As Halfling
Saves: As Halfling
Small, often hairy, pale, degenerate creatures they are descendants of men which have devolved into underground dwellers. They are cannibalistic and deformed, less than four feet tall and apish in form and manner. Their maximum Intelligence and Wisdom scores are limited to 12. Their ghastly appearance, odious habits, and violent tendencies are horrific to behold. 

They speak their own language and sometime Ghoulish. They are capable of learning and understanding human languages but their vocalizations are guttural and hard to understand at times.. 

Subhumans  can use small weapons and rarely used ranged. The prefer their vicious bite which does 1d4 damage. The use of armor is rare, mostly scraps of leather and other materials for a +2 armor class bonus. 

Like Ghouls they are excellent at hiding and stealth ability to disappear into the shadows when underground, in both natural and man-made structures, with 90% ability. They can also hide in shadows or behind other forms of cover in wilderness or urban settings on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6, but they must be silent and motionless. Their underground life has given them the ability to see in the dark up to 60'. 

Being opportunistic hunters they can backstab as a Thief of equal level. 

Worm-Thing
Requirements: DEX 9, CON 9
Prime Requisite: DEX
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: 10
Advance: Dwarf
Attack: As Dwarf
Saves: As Dwarf
Cold, mutated worm-men from the depths beneath the earth,  born perhaps naturally or due to some magical or man-made accident, and have come above ground to walk among us. They appear much like  humanoid segmented earthworms black eyes and a large fanged maw. Their motives are unknown and may be sinister or merely curiosity. They favor using their consume likeness ability to infiltrate and enjoy the comforts of society. Once discovered their true form is hideous to normal men.

They are quite intelligent and, besides their own putrid speech, pick up language and customs quickly. 

They can use any weapon or armor. 

The squishy worm-flesh take minimum damage from piercing weapons and regenerate one hit point per round until they reach zero hit points or less. They cannot regenerate damage from cold, fire, salt, or magic and Save against cold with a -2 penalty.  Contact with pure salt damages their bodies at a rate of 1d6 hit points per round of contact. Their mucousy bodies allow climbing as per the Spider climb spell and a Worm-Thing can see perfectly in the dark out to 60'. 

Although they can use weapons the Worm-Thing has formidable natural attacks: their toothy bite does 1d4 damage and can spit acid three times per day for 2d6 damage. The effective range of this attack is 10'. 

The most insidious power of the Worm-Thing is their ability to consume the likeness of others. It can swallow a human-sized corpse taking three rounds to do so. After 1d6+6 minutes of bloated digesting the outer form of the Worm-Thing splits open and the tissue below assumes the form of the now absorbed corpse. This appearance will last as long as the Worm-Thing desires unless it is wounded or rendered unconscious. When either occurs it must make a Saving Throw to retain the form otherwise its assumed form splits open, the skin sloughs off and, wrapped in mucous, the true form of the Worm-Thing is revealed. 




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A few more necromantic items. OSR

To go with these.
The DM may consider allowing his players the chance to find or actually create a few of these items with the proper ingredients, time, and rituals.

Bone Flute
A hollow thighbone of a ghoul with finger holes and sigils carved into it. When played the flute summons 1d6 ghouls to the location of the flutist. The location must be somewhere that ghouls congregate, such as a cemetery or necropolis, and the flute must be played until the ghouls arrive. The time of arrival is at the DM's discretion; if no ghouls are near the flutist may play to exhaustion without success.

Once the ghouls are drawn to the flutist he can bargain, threaten, etc for their services. They are not bound to serve, the flute only draw them, it does not bind them.

Brand of Subjugation
This black iron brand is used to control unwilling victims. When heated and pressed to the flesh of a human, demihuman, or humanoid the brand scars the victim doing one point of damage and forces the victim to make a Saving throw. If failed the victim must obey any commands to the best of his or her ability. This control lasts until the brand is removed. The branded cannot remove it themselves and removing it causes 1d2 points of damage. If the Saving throw is made the victim still takes damage and is branded but is not compelled to obey.

The brand is usually placed on a part of the body easily covered by clothing allowing the subjugated to blend in with those around him or her.

Coffin of the Sainted Lazarus
A coffin of ancient wood and rusted iron bands. It is a powerful healing relic. Living beings locked inside the coffin heal 1d6 hit points per hour in the coffin or regain a level which has been drained if they spend a full eight hours in the coffin. The effect is cumulative. Twenty-four hours in the coffin rejuvenates three drained levels, etc.

Cylinder of Summoning
A red wax cylinder played upon a gramophone or Victrola device. The recording is of a deep chanting voice reciting a spell to summon a dark spirit, a banshee. After five rounds of play the banshee appears near the device and launches a contest of wills on the person who started the recording: each must roll a Saving throw, modified by Wisdom bonus or penalty. The winner is the one who makes their Saving throw and rolls highest. Ties are re-rolled. If it wins the banshee will attempt to kill everyone present, beginning with the person who started the device, then destroy the cylinder and free itself. If the banshee loses it will follow the instructions of its new master. The creature will remain in the world as long as the cylinder continues to play. If it is shut off or destroyed the banshee immediately fades away. If the banshee is brought to zero or less hit points the cylinder cracks and crumbles into uselessness.

Ghost Chimes
Summons a specific ghost whose bones are used for the chime. When chimed at midnight of the deceased's death anniversary  the ghost appears within 1d6 rounds and will remain for 1d4+2 rounds, answering one question per round. The ghost only has the knowledge it had in life. When the effect ends the ghost fades away and cannot be summoned this way again.

Ghoul Salve
A bottle of  thick makeup paste, created from various herbs and ahes and fluids of the dead. Once applied it will allow the appearance of being undead for one hour. Allows the user to move among low or non-intelligent undead. The bottle will contain 1d4 doses.

Slave Coin
A large silver coin with the image of an eye on both sides amid decorative print of chains. The coin, when flourished in front of a human, demihuman, or humanoid, will hypnotize a target unless a Saving throw is made. The target will follow all commands given. The effect lasts for one hour. The victim will not remember what has happened to them if commanded to forget and they fail a Saving throw. Harmful commands such as murdering a friend or killing themselves will warrant another Saving throw to avoid the attempt. If it is made they will not carry out the order even if given to them again, no Saving throw is required this time. They will still be under the influence of the coin but will be confused until another command is given to them.

Spirit Candles
Summons a specific ghost whose fat, ash, or dust are mixed into the wax of the candle. Functions exactly as Ghost Chimes. The candle burns rapidly and is completely melted at the end of the effect.

Violin of Summoning
A battered violin of unremarkable appearance. When played for 2d6 minutes of uninterrupted play the violin summons a demon n a whiff of sulphur and crackle of electricity. The demon can only be summoned once every three days and remains as long as the violin is played or the demon is dropped to zero or less hit points. While summoned the demon is linked to the violinist and will know what his master desires and will carry this out to the best of its ability. This link also allows the violinist to know when the demon has been defeated.

After the first hour of frantic playing the violinist must roll a Constitution check to keep the tune. This must be re-rolled every ten minutes (turn) after the first roll. Once failed the violinist collapses and the demon is sent back from whence it came.

The Demon of the Violin
A man-sized, cancerous looking toad-thing with massive fangs, frog legs, and a body full of muscular tentacles with a ten foot reach. It is often used for assassination or thievery. 
HD: 6
HP: 35
AC: 5/14
Damage: 1d6 bite, 1d4 four tentacles, possible constriction
Special Abilities: constrict, immunities, spell like abilities
Save: 12/F6
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaos
The demon's primary attacks are its vicious bite and four tentacle attacks per round. The tentacles can attack four different targets and if two hit the same target they wrap around the victim, constricting for an automatic 2d4 damage per round until a Saving throw is successful. The victim can take no other action in the rounds he or she  is trying to break free.

Due to its otherworldly nature the demon only takes half damage from attacks other than iron, magic, electricity, or cold. It is immune to fire. The demon can see in the dark up to 90' and has a number of spell-like abilities (dimension door, invisibility, spider climb) which it can use at will with the spells' normal restrictions. 

Zombie Coins
The coins are of aged bronze with a death's head on the face and a pair of crossed scythes on the flip side. When found they come in a set of 1d6+2. The coins allow a living being to control zombies. By placing one coin under the controller's tongue and one under each zombie's tongue the controller can command them. The controller cannot move more than a walk and can only concentrate on controlling the zombies. He cannot attack, defend, or cast spells. The magic of the coin allows the controller to see and hear through the zombies and he can control them all at once. Once a zombie is destroyed the coin can be reclaimed and reused.

A Note on Dust and Powders...
Dust and powder have a rich tradition in folklore. Voodoo zombie powder, hoodoo goofer dust, witch powder, etc.
These can be simulated in a variety of effects in game with necromantic flavor.

The magical treasure section of most old school rule books contain the Dust of Appearance and Dust of Disappearance.
Here are a few more ideas:

Barrier Powder
When poured on the ground it creates and undead barrier. Undead of five HD or less cannot cross. Those of six or higher must make a Saving throw to do so.

Dust of the Black Lotus
When ingested acts as a Confusion spell.

Dust of Harm
When flung at incorporeal creatures, living and dead, it does 2d6 damage per dose.

Powder of Reanimation
When poured into the mouth of a corpse no more than three days dead it creates a servant zombie.




Friday, February 10, 2017

Haunted Valley: Entities and Threats of the Valley


The Ogre
This nameless ogre was born the runt of his mother's litter in the interiour of the Pyrenees mountians. He was driven out by his brothers and has slowly made his way into the north surviving by hiding in deep forest groves, caves, and underground routes unknown to most men. He has taken up residence in the Valley of Wolves in the forgotten ruined temple. He has grown quite fond of man-flesh and his attacks are becoming more frequent, ultimately leading to a raid on an isolated cabin or farmhouse. His gluttony will be his doom as the residents of the Valley will have no choice but to find a way to end him once absolute proof of his existence is shown.

Stats as a standard Ogre.

The Rider and the Hounds
The Rider is a demonic spirit that rides the East Trade Road seeking the souls of the living. The Rider only appears at random intervals, often months apart. A shadowy figure radiating cold it rides a nightmare and is accompanied by a pack of three hellhounds. They chase down their prey, leaving their victim to be found the next morning torn and trampled and covered with hellish burns. The souls of those freshly killed by the RIder are dragged behind the nightmare on ghostly chains for the rest of the night and, as the spirit and his retinue fade in the light of dawn, are drawn down to Hell with them.
HD: 7
HP: 30
AC: 3/16
Damage: 1d8+1, sword
Special Abilities: level drain
Save: 11/F7
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaos

A black rider with fiery eyes beneath a ragged cloak and hood. The Rider is mounted on a large black charger with flaming mouth, eyes, and hooves. They are followed by three huge black hounds, drooling liquid fire. They are a terrifying sight. Those who witness their passing must make a Saving throw or flee in terror.

The Rider is semi-material, only taking damage from magical weapons and is immune to charm, hold, and sleep spells. When it has to engage in melee it attacks with a ghostly sword. A successful hit does 1d8+1 damage and drains two levels from the victim.

The hellhounds usually drag down the prey and begin to tear into the victim. The nightmare joins in, stomping and biting the the corpse. The soul of the victim rises from the mangled body and takes its place behind the nightmare, wrapped by spirit chains to the saddle and drug along silently screaming until the light of dawn takes them away.

If the Rider is destroyed the nightmare and hellhounds are dragged into a fiery crevice which opens beneath their feet and the victims it has claimed over the years are freed from Hell, unless their deeds in life have earned them a place in the pits.

The Hanged Ghost
Thieves, murderers, heretics. All have been hung by this ancient oak over the centuries. A rotted length of rope still dangles from a branch, swaying in the breeze. The souls of those executed are tied to this tree and at midnight of the new moon can be summoned with the proper ritual and the name of the one that is saught for questioning.

 Six months ago a gypsy, a young man caught with the daughter of one of the local farmers, was hung. The young man's mother is a member of the gypsy band camped across the River and wants to lay her son's soul to rest and to seek revenge on the farmers who killed him. To do both the farmers must be identified and killed. The Captain of the gypsy camp has forbidden action to be taken, unwilling to risk the rest of the camp for revenge of a foolish boy, as he fears killing the farmers will curse his band. The mother is undeterred and is secretly seeking outsiders to help her in her revenge. She will offer them anything in her power and will lead them to the hanging tree to summon her son and find the names of his killers.

There is no stats for a Hanged Ghost. They cannot attack, only answer (1d4+2) questions before disappearing. If attacked they immediately fade away.

The Midnight Cat
Albraxius, a demonic cat summoned as a familiar for the witch Yolanda. Faithful to his mistress even unto her death. He seeks revenge on her killer, Captain Julian, but is unwilling to risk his own life. Having failed with several schemes, such as trying to kill the Captain in his sleep and charming one of the servant girls to poison his food, Albraxius has grown desperate. He watches and waits, searching for pawns he can manipulate into killing his foe. Once this is done he will seek ways to resurrect Yolanda.
HD: 2
HP: 8
AC: 4/15
Damage: 1d2/1d2 claws,  rake 1d2/1d2
Special Abilities: magic resistance, spells
Save: 14/F2
Move: 180/60
Alignment: Chaos

The demonic spirit Albraxius is bound in this form. He is a large (but not supernaturally so) jet black cat. If closely examined his luminous green eyes are without pupils. He can see perfectly in the dark.
Albraxius is capable of speech and can speak any language of man, demonic, and cats.

Albraxius fights with his front claws for 1d2 points of damage each and if both hit he automatically rakes with his back claws for an extra 1d2 points of damage each. He surprised foes on a 1-4 on a 1d6 (1-5 at night or in darkness.) He is only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6. He has a 99% chance of moving silently and an 85% chance of hiding in shadows. He is an excellent climber with his claws and can move at half normal movement without requiring a roll. He can make a standing jump of ten feet and leap up to twenty feet with a running start.

Due to his unearthly nature Albraxius has a flat magic resistance of twenty-five percent. This is rolled before any Saving throw vs magic is required. Success negates the magical effect or attack.  He can cast the following spells once per day and does not require the use of material components. However he cannot cast rituals: Charm Person, Dispel Magic, ESP, Mirror Image, Sleep.


Old Man Svalovich
Svalovich rose at midnight one night and clawed his way out of the shallow grave he was chucked into outside of the cemetery proper. He is a pale shadow of his former self having lost knowledge of all rituals and spells he once knew as well as most of the details of his former life. This includes knowledge of the valley, the lost tower, and his journal. He is cursed to wander the village at night, seeking the blood of the living. He has been seen peeking in windows and has climbed into a few bedrooms at night slowly draining the blood of the unwary. One of his victims has finally died and roams the forest at night.
HD: 4
HP: 20
AC: 6/13
Damage: 1d4 strike
Special Abilities: blood drain, weaknesses
Save: 14/F4
Move: 120/40
Alignment: Chaos

Svalovich appears more bloated than he did in life. His eyes are dull, his teeth rotted, and he as a ruddy complexion. Blood leaks from his mouth and other orifices. He is wrapped in a dirty burial shroud. He is a revenant (known as vampyr in his native land.) He casts no shadow or reflection.

Svalovich is a opportunist predator. He prefers stealth, creeping around after dark and climbing through windows to suck the blood of the ill and infirm. He has a 1-4 on a 1d6 chance of surprise. His bite does 1 hit point in damage per minute of feeding. Those drained to death by his bite will rise as a vampyr with 1d4 weeks. Fortunately usually he has enough awareness and self control to stop before a victim is drained to death.

If cornered he strikes with his fist for 1d4 damage. He has no weapon immunities but can regain one hit point for every point of blood he drains. His curse makes him vulnerable to holy items and water and he takes 1d6 damage from contact. Portals draped with garlic or warded by a holy item requires him to make a Saving throw to enter. He cannot cross running water and if immersed takes 1d6 damage per round. If reduced to 0 hit points he appears dead, a bloated bloody corpse. Unless a stake is driven through is heart, his head removed, or his body burnt he awakes at midnight with one hit point.

The Wolves
Due to the Curse the wolves of the Valley are unusually aggressive and intelligent, hunting in packs with unusually clever tactics. Even if game is plenty they will attack humans. Children are especially vulnerable to their depredations and the wolves are extremely clever when it comes to breaking into locked barns, hen houses, and even poorly maintained homes. The superstitious inhabitants of the Valley often blame devils or werewolves for their activities.

The Batswarm
An unusual number of bats swarm at night in the Valley. They are aggressive and will sometimes attack travelers in the forest, especially if there is no firelight to deter them. The swarm is of unusual size, covering a large area and making one attack  per round against each victim within its boundaries.

To simulate the effect of killing bats and whittling the size down in combat implement the following:
The batswarm starts out at five HD. For every six hit points of damage done to the swarm it drops by one HD. As the numbers drop the swarm does less damage to those caught within it, it's Saving Throws worsen, it hits less often, but its becomes harder to hit as the bats thing out.

HD: 5
HP: 6
AC: 10
Hit: +5
Damage: 1d6
Save: 13
Move: 180/50 flying
Area: 30x30'

HD: 4
HP: 6
AC: 11
Hit: +4
Damage: 1d4
Save: 14
Move: 180/50 flying
Area: 25x25'

HD: 3
HP: 6
AC: 12
Hit: +3
Damage: 1d3
Save: 15
Move: 180/50 flying
Area: 20x20'

HD: 2
HP: 6
AC: 13
Hit: +2
Damage: 1d2
Save: 16
Move: 180/50 flying
Area: 15x15'

HD: 1
HP: 6
AC: 14
Hit: +1
Damage: 1 hp
Save: 17
Move: 180/50 flying
Area: 10x10'


Haunted Valley: A few Mysteries and Town Rumors/Legends

A Few Mysteries
the Witch coven: still active? who is left
Dark secrets of the villagers
the Girl's Ghost: what is she trying to say? who killed her
Emissary: who is manipulating? why? who is he/she
Tower: is it real? where is it? how to find
the Curse: collecting clues. how to stop it
Who murdered the Gravedigger? why
Ruins
Ogre

Town Rumors and Legends
My mother's brother's wife's cousin said.....

Fears: Revenants, ghosts, demons, werewolves, goblins, elves, witches, wolves, Satan, etc....
1. The Devil rides the roads on certain nights with a pack of hell hounds chopping heads and stealing souls. (Trueish. Demon.)
2. Mother Toad knows secrets and can heal wounds, get rid of disease, and .... other things. (True)
3. The Mad Hermit Gaston lives in the Eastern Woods somewhere near town. He creeps around the village listening and watching. (True) He knows magic and dances with elves. (False)
4. Gypsies camp on the other side of the River. They sometimes trade with farmers and read fortunes. They will cheat at gambling. (True)
5. Bandits lurk near the Trade Roads. The Guard Captain does not pursue them with much vigor. (True)
6. Father Olwyn rarely leaves th church grounds and looks as if he's gone half mad. (True)
7. Chanting was heard in the hills near Devyll's Mound by travelers on the West Trade Road. It hasn't been heard since the witch Yolanda was burned in the town square a year past. (True)
8. The Wolves in the valley are unusually large and aggressive. (True) They are cursed and serve witches and devil's which visit the valley at night. (False)
9. Jaques Savoy was a werewolf (False) and was hung for his crimes. (True) His spirit leads the wolves on nights of the full moon. (False)
10. Woodsmen and hunters have heard a loud roar in the Old Woods. (True) It is a devil haunting the valley. (False)
11. A Ghost of a small girl haunts the cemetery on some nights. (True)
12. Old Svalich, dead for months since the raid on Devyll's Mound, was seen creeping in the village a fortnight ago in the dead of night. (True)
13. Ruins in the marsh contain an unlooted tomb. (False) Over th years several children have disappeared into the Marsh and drowned seeking it. (True)

Haunted Valley: Locales and Villagers of Geron

Geron, France
1627 AD

Population:
Geron, 136 souls.
Surrounding farms and valley, roughly 230 souls.
Fishers, farmers, hunters, wood cutters/charcoal men, traders, merchants.

The village is isolated and has a dark reputation with neighboring communities outside of the valley. Few travelling merchants and traders will come to the village and only hastily travel through the area when necessary. Those from the valley who go outside to trade are unwelcome and held in suspicion. They are given the lowest prices when they sell their goods and are overcharged when they buy. A passenger coach runs through north/south trade roads but rarely stops for more than a two hour rest. Travelers are rare.

Villagers of Note
Baker
Eurys the Mouse, 37
Appears friendly and meek, with apron and hat covered with flower.
He is the one who killed the Ghost in the cemetery years ago when he was a young man. He keeps a torn out lock of her hair as  trophy. He was seen by the gravedigger Pippin while burying her body in a freshly dug grave recently filled. Pippin has blackmailed him for years. The stress of this and the influence of the cursed valley over the years has slowly eroded his sanity and has  begun to transform him into a Boogeyman. Soon he will complete the transformation and have to kill again. He has already begun to follow one of the tavern maids at night. He is also dreaming of killing Pippin.

Blacksmith
Rolf Muller, 48
German by birth he has fled the wars which plague his homeland. Large, bearded, sweaty. He is gruff but professional. He was a member of the witch coven, drawn in by the advances of the witch Yolanda. He is terrified that someone will find out about his involvement and is desperate to keep it a secret. He will kill to do this.

Candlemaker
Etaine, 33
A long fingered and pale man. He is secretly in the employ of the Infernal Emissary though he does not know his identity. When the "werewolf" Jaques Savoy was hanged Etaine removed the corpse's left hand to make a hand of glory for his master. Unknown to him the Friar Eric was the illegitimate son of Jaques and has secretly vowed to find and kill the man who took his father's hand.

Clergy (Franciscan)
Father Olwyn, 52
Frail, disheveled, rarely leaves the church. Olwyn has been tainted by the valley curse causing him to give into his temptations by having an affair with one of the villager's wife and to be tormented with visions of Hell in his dreams. The stress is driving him slowly mad. He has begun to hear voices in his waking hours urging him to commit vile acts. He is served by and sometimes cared for by his Friars Martin and Eric.

Friar Martin, 24
A quiet and mostly faithful servant of God he has begun to worry about Father Olwyn whom he is devoted to as much as the church. He is superstitious and afraid of most things outside the church walls.

Friar Eric, 25
The illegitimate and secret son of the hanged "werewolf" Jaques Savoy. His mother made him aware of his father and his fate. Eric has begun dreaming of his father in Hell, holding a bleeding stump and calling his name. He has become obsessed with finding the man who mutilated his father's corpse. He will then savagely try to murder the culprit.

Grave Digger
Pippin the Lame, 34
A tall, thin gruesome man with a club foot and a limp. He has been in charge of digging and maintaining graves in Geron for many years. He hates those around him, especially those who tortured and mocked him for his deformity as a child, and has readily turned to evil and depravity sometimes playing with the corpses before burial. He is blackmailing the baker Eurys after witnessing the man bury the body of the little girl's ghosts many years ago and sometimes steals skin in exchange for coins from Benoist the tanner. He has seen the Little Girl's Ghost over the years but ignores her.

Guard Barracks
Captain Julian, 41
A disgraced officer full of bitterness and cruelty he was demoted as punishment for scarring the son of a senior officer in a duel. He ended up in backwater Geron. After hearing rumors he discovered the coven at Devyll's Mound and, after trailing her from the site,  tried to strike a deal with the witch Yolanda wanting her to ally with him and use her magics to regain his rank and social standing. She instead betrayed him and tried to enslave him. He broke free of her power and with the help of the garrison attacked the coven at one of their sabbaths, killing and unmasking Old Svalovich, and capturing Yolanda, burning her at the stake in the Town Square and refusing to allow any to bury her bones. They still lie at the base of the burned stake. He is aware that members of the coven are still in the area but as long as they do not cause disturbances he will not seek them out. They are of no use to him. He is currently occupied with thoughts of revenge for his situation and collecting a percentage of the loot by the mercenaries/bandits robbing travelers. He allows them to operate in the valley for his split and under the condition that no citizens of Geron and the valley are robbed or molested.

Captain Julian is served by a number of soldiers (four to five  per PC) of questionable hygiene and morality. His Sergeant, Andres, is a hulking brute of a man who enjoys violence, gambling, and drinking. He is frequently found in the tavern engaged in a game of cards or dice with the trader Lazlo.

Merchant
Reynauld Aubrie, 43
An sickly but average looking man of means. He is always dressed in fine clothing and wears a glove on his left hand, crippled in a fire years earlier in Paris. Aubrie was born in Geron but spent his youth in Paris with his uncle after his parents diet in an outbreak of plague. He returned to Geron years later and reopened his father's mercantile. He is a successful merchant dealing in wine, spices, wool, cloth, oil, and all manner of small goods. He has his supplies shipped in from outside the valley every few months via traders on the roads. He has made many friends in the tavern and has become a prominent citizen. His word carries much weight with the villagers and Captain Julian.

Reynauld Aubrie is secretly an Infernal Emissary. He was inducted into a satanic coven in his youth by his Parisian uncle and rapidly rose in the ranks, eventually killing his own uncle to take control of the coven and serving as his master's servant on Earth. His left hand is twisted and blackened marking his devotion to the Devil. Leaving the Parisian coven he returned to Geron, drawn by the valley's evil. He has been carefully watching the goings on in the valley with his magics and is aware of most of the supernatural creatures and events in the valley. He is unaware of the tower or the curse over the valley and seeks to find out what happened. He is thoroughly diabolic, seeking to manipulate the inhabitants of the valley further down the road of corruption and evil and to sell their souls to his master for favors. When he finds those hidden members of the coven which still reside in the valley he will force them to serve him.

Physician
Dr. Elloi Reno, 62
Old, thin with wild white hair, and walks with a cane. Dr. Reno is retired having in his youth and serving as a military surgeon in the wars. Financially well off he treats any serious local injuries and ailments for very little, often a chicken or loaf of bread. He has seen many strange things in his years of retirement in Geron and keeps curiosities from unusual cases he has treated. A number of deformed babies are pickled in jars in his study along with other anatomy specimins and records in his journals.

Tanner
Benoist, 31
A rotund bald man Benoist is a master leather worker and a decent taxidermist. He provides much of the leather clothing, belts, saddles, satchels, quivers, sheaths, and other items for the village. Benoist has a dark obsession, the tanning of human flesh. He will pay Pippin the gravedigger for specimens of perfect skin, usually from young girls or women whom have died from  the village or the nearby farms. Benoist will tan them and sew them into clothing which he stores in special chests in his cellar. On nights of the full moon he will sometimes sneak off to the Moon Pool and put on his special clothes, drink a bottle of wine, and dream about meeting fairies while gazing at the moon.

If Pippin is murdered by Eurys for blackmailing him, Benoist will become desperate and will have to find a way to obtain fresh pretty skin on is own. He will have no choice, his obsession will drive him to this.

Tavern, "The Fatted Calf"
Jean and Hilda Babineau, 30's
A friendly coupe they are the owners of the only tavern in Geron. Their home-brewed wine and beer is excellent and Hilda is a wonderful cook. They are careful around the town guardsmen who drink here as they fear the drunken louts will become violent. They are suspicious of strangers but have a few rooms for rent upstairs for the rare traveler to stay the night. When the tavern closes for business and the guests are tucked away in their rooms Jean and Hilda's true natures come out. The are masochists and, in the privacy of the tavern's large cellar will strip and whip the servant girls savagely for the slightest fault in their service during the day. They will often lick the girl's wounds and cut each other as well. If they have whipped the girls too much they will allow them to heal, buying a small animal from a local hunter, usually a cat or rabbit or the rare dog, and torture it to death. The neighbors sometimes hear the muffled cries from the cellar but mind their own business. Occasionally a foolish traveler who stays at the tavern goes missing from the the Fatted Calf never to be seen again and his coins hidden in Jean's in a hidey hole he has behind one of the cellar's wall. The victim's flesh secretly ends up in the stew, the offal is thrown in the forest for the wolves or in a convenient pig pen, and the bones end up in an abandoned well not far from the Hanging Tree.

Etta and Sabine, 20's
Slightly above average local women they work at the tavern as serving girls. They have lived a hard life working at the tavern and will make the occasional coin by bedding the lonely locals and guardsmen. Their backs are scarred from the whippings given by Jean and Hilda. They manage to hide their despair during their work but sometimes slip and are punished for it with the whip. They are terrified of the Babineau's and fear they will be killed by them if they reveal their secrets. They share a room in the back of the tavern.

Roche the Barkeep, 41
A former sailor who murdered a mate in Marseilles and fled north ending up in Geron. He is an excellent brewer and serves as the barkeep. He despises the locals, enjoying busting the heads of local drunks, the wine is good and he enjoys a liaison with some of the women in the village now and again. He has heard the noise from the cellar and has seen the sobbing girls but as long as he is left alone he feels it is not his concern. He lives in a small room next to the girls.

Town Square
A large open are in the center of the village. The cobblestone square contains a horse trough filled with water, a large stone-lined well, a pair of stout wooden stocks, and a burned wooden stake with the witch Yolanda's blackened bones and skull at its base. Traders and merchants set up wares here selling firewood, charcoal, furs, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat among other goods.

Trader
Lazlo, 53
Tall, bulky, and swarthy Lazlo is a half-gypsy kicked out of his mother's tribe for attacking and robbing a fellow gypsy. He traveled for years working for a travelling merchant and eventually poisoned the old man and taking his business. He ended up in Geron several years ago, drawn to the area, and set up shop as a trader. He specializes in furs, gold, gems, firearms, shot, and powder. Lazlo enjoys drinking and gambling with the Guard Sergeant Andres and has a tendency to cheat. He gets mean when he drinks.

Those Who Live Nearby
The Mad Hermit
Gaston, 67
A thin, ragged, dirty, old man with a wild hair and beard. Gaston was the child of a farmer whose family died in a fire. Gaston was taken in by an abusive aunt. He fled his new home shortly after and began living in the Eastern Woods. He has lived there for almost 60 years sometimes begging and sometimes creeping around the village watching people. In that time he has seen and learned many things about the valley and its residents. He has seen the Ogre stalking at night. He has seen the Dark Rider and its hounds on its midnight ride. He spied on the witch coven when they danced on the Devyll's Mound. It was here that he saw the leaders of the coven, Yolanda and Old Svalovich, now a revenant in the town cemetery. It was at the Mound that he found Old Svalovich's journal and learned of the hidden Tower in the Eastern Woods. Gaston is a friend of Mother Toad and frequent visitor to her abode.

The Old Crone
Mother Toad, 89
An ancient toad-like crone living in a decrepit house on the edge of the Marsh. Mother is rumored to be a witch but this is not true. She is a healer and wise woman and for a bit of coin, a favor, or food she will help those in need with a charm, a potion, or other treatment that Doctor Reno cannot or will not help with. The Marsh behind her home is filled the bones of animals and unwanted babies. Living in the pond and around her home are  thousands of frogs and toads who will defend her if she is attacked, attempting to smother and drown her attacker(s). She knows many secrets of the valley and is a friend of the mad hermit Gaston.

The Deceased Whom Still Leave Their Mark
Old Svalovich and Yolanda
A refugee from the land of Serbia Svalovich was cast out from his native land as a heretic and devil worshiper. He came to Geron a decade ago, drawn to the valley's darkness. He set up shop as a cobbler and began to quietly recruit members of a new witch coven among the lost and disillusioned residents of the valley. One of his first converts was the midwife Yolanda. She soon grew in power and  lead the coven with the old man as secret lover. The coven grew over the years and they held their rites up on Devyll's Mound dancing with demons and sacrificing souls to their dark lord and master. Members were carefully masked, even from each other, and none could say who was a witch and who was not. Rumors of devil worship and hidden rites spread throughout the valley and beyond but none could be identified and the inhabitants were too fearful to try. This all came crashinig down with the arrival of Captain Julian. His betrayal at the hands of Yolanda prompted the destruction of the coven as Svalovich was killed on the Mound and Yolanda dragged to the Town Square and burned alive.

Svalovich rose as a revenant (vampyr) a month later and has been haunting the village since, greatly reduced from what he was in life. Yolanda remains dead but her familiar was a Midnight Cat, Albraxius,  and it seeks revenge on the Captain, trying to find a way and manipulate others in this task. PC's who acquire and cast a Speak with Dead spell on her bones can speak with her. She knows a few of the secrets of the valley (DM's discretion.) She does know that Svalovich kept a journal and spoke of a ghostly tower he had seen in the valley. (The curse of the tower causes them to forget its location. Svalovich did write in his journal before he forgot.)

The Little Girl's Ghost in the Graveyard
The young victim of Eurys the Mouse all those years past. He kidnapped the young farmgirl, torturing and killing her before burying her in a freshly filled grave, just above the grave's occupant. He took a lock of her hair as a trophy.

She has been seen by a number of villagers and the Gravedigger Pippin. She can only appear on certain nights, phasing in and out of sight, confined to the cemetery. She has no voice to speak and can only communicate with frantic gestures for a short time but phases out of reality before her message can be conveyed. Those with an item such as dust of appearance or a head of revelation can see her long enough for her to lead them to the grave and plead with gestures to dig it up. Her withered corpse is clearly missing a lock of hair and it can be used to track down her killer, especially if Eurys loses control before this and kills another girl and takes her hair as well.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Haunted Valley. An OSR setting.

The Haunted Valley
What is this:
This is a supernatural and mystery setting inspired primarily by Clark Ashton Smith's Auveroigne,  Hammer Horror films of the fifties, sixties, and seventies, the film Brotherhood of the Wolf, and probably a bit of Dark Shadows as well.

The setting itself is a small haunted French valley in the year 1627 AD. Originally I had intended to make the valley generic in descriptions of year and trappings so that it could be set anywhere from dark ages to the 1800's but I set that aside as I found setting in a specific year and location gave me more focus. It can easily be set in other times and places with simple name and equipment changes.

I will be adding posts to this as I go. First up is the valley itself followed by the village of Geron. I will be adding in lists of creatures, NPC's, mysteries to explore (including the ultimate mystery of how the valley was cursed and what can be done to end it) and NPC's. I'll also include a few ideas on how and why the PC's would be sent to or be interested in exploring Geron.


The Valley (Known colloquially as the Valley of Wolves)
Forests, marsh, hills, river.
Roads, ruins, farms, fields.
Village of Geron

The Valley is divided into Six sections:
The West Wood
A thick hilly forest. Bordered by the West Trade Road, the South Trade Road, and the River on the south. A large area near Geron has been leveled and turned into fields by the local farmers.

Devyll's Mound
Former meeting place of the now defunct witch coven. Stone pillars on the tall hill were used for diabolic rituals, sabbaths, and sacrifices. The stone alter is hollow with a sliding stone top to hide the coven's long forgotten ritual items. Few have the nerve to go to the mound.

The Moon Pool
A clear pool of water fed by an underground spring. Said to be haunted by elves and other fairies on moonlit nights.  A Celtic cross, worn with age and partially covered with moss and weeds, stands at the edge of the forest just south of the pool. This marks an ancient battle site with the Romans. Ancient corpses are buried in the ground near the marker. Buried with them is an unrusted gladius, a +1 Roman short sword of some long dead Roman officer.

The Tomb
This hill is the burial mound of a long forgotten noble. A mudside revealed the brick and timbers of the tomb's opening in the side of the hill.

The Wolf Wood
Thick woodland bordered on the north by the West Trade Road and on the south by the River.

Ruins
A few half standing stone walls and rubble of an unknown people and time. Crude cavings of wolves and human-like figures with wolf heads decorate the walls. Many wolf trails cut through the forest here.

Wolf Lair
The largest wolf pack lairs in a man-made stone grotto beneath a low hill. The cave is of the same construction as the ruins. Chewed bones of men and animals lie strewn around the mossy ground and grotto. No man who has back trailed to the cave have ever left alive.

The Old Forest
Heavily mossy forest bordered by the North Trade Road, The East Trade Road, and the mountains to the north.  A series of large hills lies to the north of the East Trade Road. Large portion has been cleared for fields near the village. Scarecrows dot the road running past the fields.

Ogre Lair
An ogre lairs in a ruined stone temple overgrown by the forest in the trade road hills. The ancient temple is little more than a knocked over pile of stone walls and rubble with a large pit covered by the fractured masonry.  Part of the pit is filled with rank green water from the frequent rainfall. The ogre came down from the mountains in search of food and discovering the ruined temple decided it would remain. It usually only comes out at night and, other than the occasional massive footprint and other spoor,  has managed to keep its presence hidden. It survives by preying on wild boor, deer, sheep, and the occasional traveler on the trade roads.

The Eastern Wood
The trees in this wood are large and seem to have an air of menace, little sunlight gets through the canopy and mists often drift through the forest from the large Marsh. Bordered by the East Trade Road to the north and the River to the south.

The Hanging Tree
This ancient gnarled tree sits less than a hundred feet off of the South Trade Road. It has been used for generations to execute highwaymen and other criminals in the village and surrounding farms. It is rumored that on certain nights the ghost of one of the condemned appears in its noose and can be compelled to answer questions not known by living men.

The Hermit's Lair
A crumbling mossy hut of the mad hermit Gaston. The hut is hidden away in a dense stand of bushes and protected by thorns. All manner of junk, rags, bone, and other trash is stuffed in the small squalid shack. Gaston is mostly here at night or during severe weather. He spends most of his times wandering and watching.

The Darken Woods
A dense grove of enormous trees which is shrouded in perpetual darkness from the thick canopy of leaves. Only wolves dare enter the grove. This is the location of the hidden cursed tower which has infected the valley. (More later.)

The Marsh
A fetid stretch of water and rotting vegetation overhung by the trees. The water is rarely more than knee-deep but ravel on foot is slow due to the mud and muck. The are is overrun with frogs, snakes, turtles, and insects. Two raised hills form a dry island in the center. A ruined and long abandoned monastery and above ground tomb sits on the island.

Mother Toad's Home
On the western edge of the Marsh sits a small cabin made of moss covered logs, mud, stone, and cured hides. This is the abode of the ancient crone known in the village as Mother Toad. Thousands of frogs and toads swarm the waters behind her home.

The Southern Wood, beyond the River
This sparse lightly-wooded area is divided by the South Trade Road. The forest is noticeably less dense and many remark that is is less 'sinister' than those across the River.

Gypsy Camp
Not far from the River bridge is a semi-permanent camp site for the wanderers. There is a permanent stone fire circle and clearing cut from the trees. The Gypsies rarely cross the River towards Geron for goods and trade.

The Village of Geron
Detailed in the next post.

Example of Encounters in the Valley
Day time Travel, 1-2 on a 1d6. Check every hour.
1. Lone wolf watching the party. He will keep an eye on the party from afar, scouting for his pack. After an hour he will lead his mates to ambush the party.
2. Animal (see below)
3. Animal (see below)
4. Men (see below)
5. Men (see below)
6. Men (see below)
7. Broken wagon off of the trail (see below)
8. Corpse. 1-5 animal, 6 human (see below)
9. Abandoned campsite. Old fire pit, rusty pants, etc. A short way into the woods there are chewed human bones  scattered around a ragged blanket. A wolf pack vicim.
10. Old Ogre tracks. A trampled pile of crushed bones, rags, etc amid huge footprints.

Men:
1. Merchant. A travelling merchant with a cart and pony. He has basic goods but no weapons or armor.
2. Monks/Friars. Travelling either to or from a distant monastery for or from a visit. (1d6 encountered)
3. Woodcutter/Charcoal-man. Native to the valley. Will be helpful but eager to get home before dark. Not  fan of the village.
4. Hunter. Watching from the forest. Friendly but cautious. Warns that he village is an unpleasant place filled with strange and wicked people.
5. Town Guard. Arrogant and refusing to give way on the road. Dicks. (1d6 encountered)
6. Farmer. Cautious and superstitious. Would rather avoid the party.
7. Bandits. Jump out from the woods. Demand payment to pass. Will flee after taking a few licks. (1d6 encountered)
8. Vagabond. A poor beggar travelling farm to farm, town to town. Will eagerly help the party with tasks and act as a guide for a few pennies.
9. Entertainers. A group of jongleurs: clowns, jugglers, story tellers, puppeteers, etc. They have never been to the village before and would appreciate travelling with the party. (1d6 encountered)
10. Gypsies. On their way to Geron to trade for medicine for a sick boy. They will also buy or trade for wine. Will happily engage in games of chance. (1d6 encountered)

Animal:
1. Snake. The viper has a 1-4 chance to surprise a party member. If struck and a Saving throw is failed the character has 1d4 hours to find help (either magically or a anti-venom brew from Mother Toad) or die.
2. Hawk. The hawk curiously swirls around the party. Any small pets or other animals are fair game to the hawk.
3. Boar. The swine bursts from the forest surprising on a 1-3 and attacks the party as it defends its territory.
4. Deer. A possible meal, watching from the forest.
5. Bear. It will threaten but not attack unless the party does.
6. Skunk. The party stumbles into the skunks path and freaks him out. One random PC gets sprayed. He will smell horribly and cannot surprise any foe until the smell is removed. This takes 1d4 days of staying bathed. If using tomato juice it takes only 1d2 days.

Broken Wagon:
1-4 looted. 5-6 not looted (1d6 gold pieces, 1d8 silver pieces, possible special item placed by DM). No bodies, blood, etc.

Corpse, human:
1-4 looted. 5-6 not looted (1d6 gold pieces, 1d8 silver pieces, possible armor, weapons, or special item placed by DM.)

Night time Travel, 1-3 on a 1d6. Check every 2 hours.
1. Batswarm. Fly in low and attack for three rounds and then flee into the night.
2. Hungry wolf pack. The pack will circle seeking to take down one person to drag off into the woods for a meal.
3. Animal (see above)
4. Men (see above)
5. Fearful animal (see above)
6. Human corpse hanging in a tree (see above)
7. Corpse: 1-5 animal, 6 human (see above)
8. Witchfire in the trees. Dancing through the tree tops in the forest. The party must each make a Saving throw or be at a -2/10 percent penalty to rolls til dawn.
9. Bloody white horse. He has lost 1d6 hit points from a wolf attack. The animal comes up to the party seeking aide and will let them saddle and ride him.
10. Special (see below)

Night time Camping, 1-2 on a 1d6. Check every 2 hours.
1. Batswarm. Fly in low and attack those in camp for three rounds and then flee into the night.
2. Hungry wolf pack. The pack will circle the camp seeking to take down one person to drag off into the woods for a meal.
3. Men (bandits). The bandits will sneak up and look for an opportune time to surprise and attack the party. They are masked and only with to take the party's wealth not kill all of them.
4. Fearful animal (see above). A loud crashing in the trees is the herald of a frightened animal which blunders into the camp. If the party gets in its way or attacks it it will fight for three rounds and then try to flee.
5. Witchfire in the trees. Dancing through the tree tops in the forest. The party must each make a Saving throw or be at a -2/10 percent penalty to rolls til dawn.
6. A slight rain begins and fog moves in reducing visibility to 30' until dawn. The odds of surprise for anyone or anything coming into camp are now 1-3 on a 1d6.
7. The campfire sputters and sparks as if it going to go out. It then burns with and intense green fire. Unless put out it draws an encounter from
8. Something big in the treetops flies away waking sleeping party members as a chill descends from the tree tops.
9. Fell chanting on the wind. Each party member must make a Saving throw or be struck with a Sleep spell. They can be shaken awake by party members unaffected.
10. Special (see below)

Special:
Procession of ghosts moving through the trees before disappearing. If asked a question or bothered in any way all stop, stare and then point towards the direction of the Devyll's Mound. They were sacrificial  victims of the witch coven.
Graveyard Revenant hunting for blood. One of Old Svalovich's victims that has recently clawed out of its grave for a midnight snack. It will try to drink the blood of a sleeping party member.
The Midnight Cat watching the party. The Cat is sizing the party up, figuring a way to use them for revenge against the Guard Captain for his deceased mistress. He will let them see him before disappearing.
The Rider and Hellhounds. The wind rises and the sound of baying and horse hooves pound through the forest. The Rider is coming for the PC's souls.
The Mad Hermit. Mad Gaston hails the party and asks for food and wine. If they are kind to him he is willng to lend them assistance in the future.
A pack of ghouls prowling the woods. They seek to surprise the party, convert them to corpses, and let them rot for a later meal.

The Valley