Sunday, December 31, 2023

2024 Planning: Emirikol

One of the things I want to do in 2024 is organize and re-upload my notes for my D&D 3rd Edition campaign Emirikol, the Chaotic City.  Originally intended to run for 1 year/up to level 6, that game ran from 2007 to 2009, some 100 hours of play, with the PCs going from 1st to 9th level, and was only interrupted when I had to move too far away from the rest of the players.

The things I want to focus on as a potential instruction for other DMs are:

·       How to take a pile of published adventures and turn them into a low-work campaign with decent OSR (as in ‘situations, not stories’) potential. The urban/political environment of Emirikol is, well, chaotic, with lots of things for the players to choose to get involved in, or not. The city and its environs are also riddled with small dungeons for the PCs to explore, or not.

·       How I made use of the now maligned 3E rules to capture the unique swashbuckling world. This involves the creation of campaign specific prestige classes, the emphasizing of skills in combat and feat selection to capture fencing styles, etc. The 3E rules are not really in the OSR mindset, but they do their job well.

·       Why you should do write ups of your game sessions as memory aids.

I expect to do one of these posts every week for 2024, marking the 15-year anniversary of the game’s ending. (I would love to somehow come back to this, but one of the players has since died….) If you find any of this interesting, please comment as I go along.

The origins of the game were simple: after the birth of my daughter in 2006 I realized that complex, built from the ground up games were too much work for my sleep deprived brain. Instead, I went with using only published adventures and using a system I currently had downloaded in my brain, which in 2006 was 3rd Edition D&D. I also ruled we were just using 3E (not 3.5, because I never bought 3.5 and I disagreed with a lot of the engine changes), and just core books. Per the 3.0 DMG I would be building campaign-specific prestige classes and I absolutely didn’t want to deal with too many rules.

One of the players (Jim) said that he had never played in a swashbuckler themed game that got off the ground, and my last attempt at one in 1993/1994 had surrendered to subplot kudzu, so this seemed like a good time to revisit the idea. The published AD&D adventures I had from the mid 80’s on fit well for this, as most of the published adventures at that point had a strong ‘out of the dungeon’ component that made them easy to mesh into an urban politics campaign.

As an aside, I have never understood the contemporary 3E hate: it is a great system. Play for levels 1-6 are wonderful, levels 7-12 are solid, and if it gets creaky after that it’s because in every edition players had made it clear they would run away from the 0-2nd edition endgame of being landed nobility. Yes, there are a lot of other changes from earlier editions that, based on market research, were what players generally prefer. I described it at the time as someone buying a visually sound but structurally decaying manor house and gutting it, leaving the façade intact and replacing the interior with state-of-the-art engineering. Later OSR bought the same house and lovingly restored the interior with as close to original engineering as possible, but lets not pretend restoration wasn’t needed. 3E bought me back to D&D after a half decade away, and if anyone says it’s too complicated, take a look at Earthdawn…. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Lost Galmagia Write Up Session 2.4

Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]

The still woozy Aethra sits to go through the ogre’s possessions – turning up a large pouch containing 500 GP in mixed imperial coin! – while Brömm and Oland go through the crates. Two of them, full of tea and paper, were both too damaged by elements and time to have any value. The other 4 hold woven rugs, salt blocks, teak boards, and packed jars of dyes and pigments, any of which could have real value in Amethyst Spire! But it’s all so big! Under Aethra’s direction the chest of paper is emptied and refilled by one or two examples of each chest, and then with a gesture the magic-User calls on her remaining spell to lift the crate in the air. 

Abandoning cautious movement over the path they just took the adventurers move as quickly as Aethra’s wounds allow to the Customs House ballroom (stopping to make a prayer gesture at the arch, just in case). They reach camp just as both the floating disk enchantment and Aethra’s stamina give out. It’s still before noon and if they hurry they can make Amethyst Spire before gate-close. The mule is loaded with their newfound trade goods and everyone moves at their best speed back along the road towards the town. The plan is to take the same circuitous route back to keep their entry into Lost Galmagia a secret. 

Without losing speed they keep eyes peeled for any evidence of where a wagon or two might have gone astray… say, a caravan of goldsmith’s guild vault contents. To their shock Ayleton does locate something! The cat’s keen senses (and high Divine Favor!) reveal some overgrown ruts that might have been a side road a quarter century ago. Their need to get home overrides their desire to pursue this lead so they mark the spot and keep moving. 

Arriving at Amethyst Spire’s ‘Gate Ward’ just at sunset the garrulous Richard Stockton wheedles their way in, sharing stories of a visit to Turnip Hill to the north to explain their crate of mixed trade goods.  The group decamp to the Axe and Thistle, where Stockton is part owner and arranged for the party’s goods to be stored in their basement. As a first proof of concept the delve was a remarkable success! No one died! Bags of Gold! Perhaps not enough to retire on but certainly enough to fund a return trip. 

Over the next five weeks the adventurers heal up, divide their treasure (with Brömm and Aethra holding the Ogres bag of coin as an emergency reserve), purchase equipment, and line up possible buyers for the crates of goods based on the samples they returned with. Brömm estimates the crates in total will fetch around 500GP (the rugs fetching the least at 50 GP, then the wood at 100, the salt at 150 and the dyes at 200), if they can get them back here. Mules? Multiple trips with Aethra’s magic? Hiring porters? 

Aethra spends her time looking for other methods past the Amber but finds nothing else: she needs to locate either a Hold Portal spell and gain enough experience to reverse it, or find the even more complicated Knock spell. Her efforts turn to finding someone she can learn those from, while she copies the Protection from Evil spell into her spellbook. 

Ayleton sneaks into the undercity of Amethyst Spire several times to listen in on the scholarly salons there, learning more about Goblins – that they were evicted from the Unseelie Court for not being cruel enough, but are altogether too capricious for the Seelie to tolerate, with their markets and trades in human foibles – and passes that along to Aethra. 

Brömm tried to dig into the history of Robert the Chief Custom’s Clerk, but with no success. 

Oland asks around concerning the private rituals of the matriarchy and confirms that none of them correspond to the outfit worn by the ogre-murdered man; it’s equally unlikely that it was the guard of a Brotherhood of the Stars cult. If the man was practicing a religion, it doesn’t correspond to one Oland can identify.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Rogues and Initiative

I designed Rogue’s combat abilities to be distinct from fighters. While fighters (and by extension elves and dwarves) use the natural die roll to determine if their special abilities activate, Rogues have options that open up based on surprise or whether their side of the combat has initiative. So far it's working, but we'll see how well this works. 

Surprise Rounds

            When it’s time to roll for surprise, the rogue rolls individually, applying their Sharp Senses bonus both to the group roll and their individual roll. The rogue uses the better roll, which means they may avoid surprise, or surprise opponents, even if the rest of the party does not.

            When the rogue has Surprise, they can ‘backstab’ a target, gaining +4 to hit and doing extra damage.

Without Initiative

            The rogue can try to ‘seize the initiative’ with a risky attack. They act before the side that won initiative but must attack the most dangerous foe/obvious leader. If they hit, they do normal damage and their side regains the initiative. If they miss, they are at –4 AC for the round and a prime target.

            If the rogue doesn’t have initiative, they can skip their attack on the back half of the round this round and reposition themselves to set up a backstab attack on their next round (regardless of which side wins initiative).

            If the rogue’s side doesn’t have initiative, they can announce they are skipping their attack in the back half of this round to gain +4 AC for the front half of the round.

With Initiative

            The rogue may apply their dexterity modifier to their attacks rather than their strength modifier.

            If the rogue’s total attack bonus (Class + dexterity modifier) is +2 or greater, they can make two attacks, each at half the bonus (round down), for one die code lower damage (so d4 rather than d6 for a regular short sword). This also applies during a surprise round and can be combined with backstabbing if the rogue has initiative or surprise.

            The rogue can press an opponent, where a successful attack does not do damage, but reduces the targets AC by 3 for the round, and any attacks allies land on that target do +2 damage.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Lost Galmagia Write Up Session 2.3

Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]

The Ogre has nearly caught up with Oland when Aethra makes a gesture and a missile of magical energy silently streaks from her a strikes the creature square in the shoulder. Against a man, that would have blown its arm clean off. The ogre is slowed, but just enough for Brömm to clear the distance and interpose himself between the ogre and Oland. Brömm’s armor takes the first blow, and the dwarf responds with a counter-stroke that fails to connect but plants the battle here. Ayleton shifts to cheetah form and prepares to leap but Aethra warns him off – whatever parasites are under that ogre’s skin might be communicable to the cat via its bite – and then the mage lights a torch off the lantern to better illuminate the battle.

There are several tense seconds of attack and counter-attack between the dwarf and ogre before Brömm manages to set the ogre up for one of Oland’s sling stones, and then follow up almost immediately with brutal strike that should have laid the creature low. Alas those carrying the gift of Growth Eternal are hard to kill, and Ogres are past the age of boundless rage and are canny fighters. Aethra steps ahead and to the side and lobs the torch at the ogre, who bats it contemptuously away, where it lands in the oil. Unable to get past the dwarfs guard the Ogre slams its club down onto the ground, sending shrapnel from the floor up to cut the dwarf’s face and hands. It then leaps to the side and lays out Aethra with a single blow. Ayleton leaps forward and drags his mistress to safety confirming she’s badly  bruised and stunned but their familiar bond is keeping her alive. Brömm gets inside the ogres guard and wrong foots it, keeping it from dodging Olands sling. The stone strikes it square and it staggers back several paces before falling into the fire.

[If you’re wondering, this is Players win initiative, Brömm rolls under a 7 for tactical insight, Aethra uses her Magic Missile for 6 damage, Ogre misses Oland(chromed as because of the magic missile). Ogre wins initiative but misses Brömm, Brömm misses back with a roll low enough to “aid” Oland’s attack, Oland misses with sling, Aethra grabs torch; Players win initiative, both hitting for a combined 8+3=11 damage, Aethra lights torch, Ogre misses, but with a high enough roll that it doesn’t fail a morale check for being under half HP. Players win initiative, but all miss again, including with the thrown torch even with Brömm’s Aid for Aethra, and the ogre misses poorly enough to activate its ‘save or take shrapnel damage’ attack. Ogre wins initiative, hits Aethra, Ayleton makes a stabilize check with a roll of 19, confirming Aethra will survive if she’s not hit again, Brömm rolls poorly enough again to give Oland a +2 to hit, which just puts the rogue over the hit threshold, doing the last HP of damage needed on the 18 HP Ogre. 5 tense rounds of combat in under 20 minutes play time.]

Everyone gives a heavy sigh of relief, and are amazed when two glowing snakes rise out from the ogre’s skin, turn to the adventurers, nod, and fade away into mist. Oland, conscious of the role snakes play in human religion even if he’s generally agnostic, takes a moment to bow his head back at whatever hold forces were weakening the ogre into something they could defeat. Aethra staggers to her feat and everyone heads into the space between the crates to hide and recover. They will have to return to the surface soon; Aethra cannot manage another battle, and indeed needs time in a truly safe space to recover from that injury.

To their surprise they find the corpse of the man they had been following, his skull smashed by an ogre’s club. The figure is powerfully built but even of limb, with a beetle brow, jutting jaw and craggy features that somehow still convey nobility. They find his mask, amorpha and a sliver-chased club that must have been under his cloak tossed atop the ogre’s possessions, and Ayleton insists to his mistress that they give him as proper last rites as they can manage, with the cat dragging the mask back onto the fellows face. The others generally agree its best to be in the gods’ good graces, even at the cost of the silver-plated mask.

That done Ayleton takes a watch position on the ramp, spotting a trio of enormous rats approaching. A cat vs. rat stand-off leads the rats to accept the less threatening meal of slow roasted ogre.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 14: The Lair of the Lagomorphs

The retinue of the Elf mercenaries The Green Sword Company lived in rooms 4.1 and 4.2 with the more martial members of the order and when the Giants Shadow fell not all of them attempted to get away from the city, perhaps not realizing its doom was approaching. Once it was obvious there was no escape the 10 of them (Hazel, Holly, Strawberry, Silver, Cowslip, Bluebell, Dandelion, Acorn, Buckthorn, Daffodil, Woundwart, Campion) activated the trap on 4.2's door and transformed into rabbits to hide when the orcs raided the lower levels. But that raid never came. Being elves (and rabbits) their time sense isn't the best and they have no idea how long they've been here, and since they volunteered for the transformation it doesn't have the 24 hour time limit - they are rabbits until they decide to stop being rabbits. In addition, time spent in 4.1a doesn't count to the 24 hour time limit, but if the PCs are polite the whole place counts as a Place of Safety, where they can completely heal and recover spells. 

They have no fear of "Bigeyes", the Owlbear, as they can command it in Elvish. (yes they can speak, as can the PCs in rabbit form. Their children, of which there are dozens, are just normal rabbits and cannot; the curse is weird, as are elves, who don't give them a lot of thought.) 

The elves have recreated a mini-court here in their warren, the king and queen titles passing from one couple to the next over time - it's currently Acorn and Dandelion - who are the most formal and chivalrous of the set. If the PCs are transformed into Rabbits the Knights of the Court (Hazel and Holly) will rescue them from Bigeyes (assuming the PCs didn't already antagonize room 4.1a) and invite them in. They will tell the PCs that yes, they can restore the PCs to humanity, but only if they become knights of the court, which will require a quest. 

The PCs will be outfitted with tabards making them squires William o' the Kit,  

4.3 The Entrance
This boomerang shaped chamber at the top of the warren allows entry in or out of room 4.1, and is guarded by Strawberry and Silver, two very diplomatic rabbits who will see to the PCs immediate needs. Suspicious PCs (anyone who asks) will sense the two are sizing the PCs up somehow, but this i just to have tabards made in their sizes. If Hazel and Holly aren't here, Strawberry will call them to "take our guests down below..."

4.4 The Big Room
Sliding down out of the entrance leads to a room full of normal rabbits, doing normal rabbit things. While Hazel and Holly take the PCs through this space, as Silver leaps off ahead to 2.8 (again, tabards must be made). None of the other rabbits will speak to the PCs because they are normal rabbits. 

4.5 The Enchantment Room
Here is where the elf rabbits can still work magic - the room is festooned with runes carved into the roots of the great tree overhead. Any of the elf rabbits can do things here, but Cowslip and Bluebell have the most proficiency with it: creating and transforming objects. Any conventional rabbit sized materials (that are not iron) can be created here. The runes have made the tree overhead magical, so if the PC pick any of the 6 fruits from it, those will act as Quall's Feather Tokens, becoming useful one use magic items. 

4.6 The Storage Area
This space is used to store things that were of value to the rabbits before they transformed. There are books here, scrolls, jewelry, etc. that the elves have no use for now but know they will want when they change back. 

4.7 The Court
Here is where Acorn and Dandelion hold court. If the PCs are presented here they will explain all that has transpired, and be somewhat reticent to believe the PCs stories of it being safe to exit. They will also explain how they can lift the rabbit shape but only if the PCs become members of the court (this is classic Seelie Court BS hazing, and anyone with experience with the elves will know this, and know they have to go through it anyway). The PCs can request either trial by arms (in which case they must face Woundwart and Campion in non-lethal combat) or accept a quest (see 4.9). Succeed and the elf-rabbits will deem that they have proved themselves, provide them with tabards marking them as knights of the order of William O'Kitt and the Golden Rabbit, and have a big party with lots of lovely fruits and vegetables and petals of elvish wine. Fail and they will be asked to join the other normal rabbits, trying again for the next court in 2 days. Its assumed the PC rabbits get at most 2d6 hours outside the warren each day, so it will be 2 days at least before the 24 hours or up and the transformation ends. or maybe longer....

4.8 The sleeping room
The PCs will be invited into the sleeping room overnight, either joining in the communal sleeping in this room or having their own private chamber in 4.8a. Anyone in 4.8 proper will be assumed to be joining in a rabbit orgy - postcoital conversation is the best time to convince them to return to their normal forms and head back to Deepwater. In any event, the PCs will be told to exit the warren and the elf-rabbits will restore their forms (or the 24 hours will wear off). 

4.9: Masquerade 
if the PCs accept a quest they will be sent back out to the world above to find a gem-encrusted golden hare broach, buried in the far wall "where the green sword has furthest reach" i.e. the spot where sundown of the artificial sun causes the swordpoint of the statue atop 4.2 to fall at sundown. The PCs will have to figure out that riddle, and then evade the Owlbear to get to that spot. That spot is also home to a foxes den - another dragon sized threat to the rabbits - but since the elf-rabbits are following along and hiding they will keep the Owlbear from killing them, and sic it on the fox. The real puzzle is finding the jewelry's hiding place and then figuring out how to get it out from behind a stone in the wall as a rabbit....

Friday, April 7, 2023

Lost Galmagia: What are Goblins part 3

1)      Sprites, Pixies, and Nixies: These are other remnants of the Unseelie court that followed the goblins here. Much more Fae in nature than the goblins are they have settled in pockets around Lost Galmagia, and since they can all ‘blink’ short distances the Amber doesn’t hinder their passage. As such they have the safety of the Mages Ward, but can appear anywhere. They cannot blink through lead, and the Neanderthals know this. All of them are aligned, more or less, with Queen Mab, and others aligned with that kindly one can treat with them.

a.       The Sprites are mostly benign, doling out curses when they think it would be funny, but also helping people when they think that might be more fun. They aren’t really a threat as level 0 monsters, and the Goblins tolerate them with good grace. The Neanderthals/Galmagian Noble Families hunt them (the sprites in particular) for use as material components in their own curse magic, trapping them in lead lined casks. The Brotherhood has learned how to buy them off with flowers (brotherhood members will carry wildflower batches for this purpose) rather than waste time fighting them.

b.       The Pixies are chaotic and malicious little twerps, but not actually killers. They’re more than happy to mess with people, lead them to monsters or monsters to them, or knife them to sow distrust or fear in the party, but are too vulnerable to want to engage in real combat. If the PCs engage with them openly and offer presents they are more focused than the Sprites and can offer real help.

c.       Nixies are water spirits that now live on the 3rd floor waterways and in the canal nearby, charming people to come down and serve them for a day that is a year and a day on the surface. They can also manipulate water to an extent, or more precisely water acts ‘strangely’ when they’re around.

d.       One basic purpose of them, narratively, is to “funhouse dungeon” up the Mages Ward. They appear in other places but they do their weirdest stuff in the already magic high environments of the Mages Ward.

2)      Kobolds: this is an interesting question. I had not considered using them because they clutter up the landscape Dwarves, Orcs, Ogres, and Giants form one clear lineage. Elves, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Bugbears, Sprites, Pixies and Nixies form another in the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Kobolds are odd creatures out. Their main shticks of fast breeding trap makers are either co-opted by the Hobgoblins or not something I want to emphasize in the OSR style game where hidden traps slow things down. But if I have Sprites with their curses be fire fey, nixies as water fey, pixies as air fey, maybe we get back to kobolds as knockers/earth fey? Something to consider for a different dungeon. There’s not space for them in Galmagia.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Lost Galmagia Session Write Ups 2.2

Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]

The quartet discuss the various advantages of the customs house stairs vs. the sward ward gate, ultimately deciding to retrace their steps. Returning to the ballroom they find the doo they had spiked shut to the east had been hammered open from the other side, restoring passage into and out of these rooms. Oland pocketed the spikes and they moved east. The space contains a dozen or so fire beetles who immediately scatter – some running in circles, some back past the adventurers, some to through the open door and then turning west. As expected from the clerk’s journal this was the Ramp Room, dominated with a circular ramp that would lead to the surface were it not for the rubble up top. A closed door lies to the south, an open one to the north, but no passage further east to the hoped for East Storage Room that is supposed to have the lift down to the vault.

A cautious 10 minutes allows Brömm to confirm that the ramp and room are solid, for Ayleton to listen and sniff at the south door and hear nothing but smell canal water, and for Oland and Aethra to explore north, where the room past contains broken-to-destroyed crates, two archways leading west (behind the ballroom) and east (to parts unknown) and the door to the room holds anti-water wards. Before the pair can explore further Oland hears something large approaching from the west and the group hunkers down in the ramp room with their lantern closed.

A large male figure, stoop shouldered but with a powerful build in a hooded cloak covering a silver facemask, holding an amorpha in one hand and an oil-bowl lamp the other, enters the room of broken crates, drops to one knee before the east archway, places his amorpha on the ground and raise that hand over his head in a curved shape. That done he picks up the amorpha and passes through the arch. The adventurers mark a hundred count and then check out the room with as little light as possible. Aethra finds two runes in the keystone – ‘pray’ and ‘enter’ – and Ayleton points out the curved shape is a crude crescent moon. The figure left a scent of soap and incense. Perhaps this is one of the pilgrims they’ve been hypothesizing about. Oland notes that none of the fire beetles went east. The group opts to follow the figure, all repeating the prayer motion (save for the cat), before entering. They feel energy wash over them but nothing happens. Aethra checks the far side of the arch and sees no runes; she hopes this means if they have to flee back through that direction of passage is safe.

The passage turns out to be the Customs House Road, and spending an hour moving at a cautious pace to cover what should have been 20 minutes of walking before they hit a bend in the road – at the edges of their light it turns to the northeast while a ramp runs to the southeast off the passage. The light glistens off some sort of puddles, one coppery red and one shiny. “Is that blood?” Brömm asks. “Maybe he performed a ritual? Was the amorpha full of blood?” Aethra speculates. At 20 feet removed Brömm and Aethra hunker down in the dark and wait while Oland and Ayleton approach with the bullseye lantern giving a sliver of light. “That’s blood,” Ayleton’s nose confirms, “and oil.” Oland is able to make out two shapes on the floor further up – one a hemispherical bulge, the other a small pile of goo.

“What the hell happened here?” Brömm wonders. The cat treads around the puddle to explore the goo pile while Oland sweeps the light across the ramp, finding a trail of blood up it into a space full of crates – some sort of rest and storage space on the customs house road. Is this the east storage room? That doesn’t seem likely. Did the stooped figure perform the ritual and then climb the ramp? Ayleton reaches the goo to find it a pile of brains and skull bits knocked some distance away from the pool by something…. Oland spots a figure looming in the crates and flips the lantern aperture wide, temporarily blinding the ogre in the shadows preparing to leap at them from the cover of the crates!

Ayleton runs back to his master with all speed while Oland backpedals furiously, trying to keep the light on the ogre to both slow it and make it a clear target for his allies. Brömm prepares to throw his hand axe but never sees a clear shot; in the moment he is struck with the relative slowness of the ogre, and the writhing shapes moving under the beast’s skin. It should have easily outmatched Olands backpedaling speed, but it hasn’t yet caught up. Something is weakening the beast, which might be their only chance at survival….

Monday, April 3, 2023

Lost Galmagia: The Sword Ward Vaults

The Goblin King has an array of 10 ‘leaders’ in his court, 8 of which are warriors. The court members don’t have family clusters like other goblins, but are instead their own cluster (albeit without kids and non-combatants, obviously). While all the goblins are polyamorous with no societal sexual roles, but the warriors in the court and the goblin king are even more so.

3.27: War Leaders Room 1
The three Goblin War-Leaders that live here are most often out and about so there is only a 2 in 6 chance of them being present. The path into this room from the Park Ward requires going through a passage reduced to 4’ in height by the sinkhole in 2.12. Dwarves will see that this is inferior but acceptable construction given the constraints they’re working under. Inside the room are bedding for several goblins, a fountain/pool of fresh water coming through the ceiling from the sinkhole, and an arch of shiny but valueless rocks embedded in copper-covered stone (if you melt everything down it’s about 1,000CP) over the door to the throne room

3.28 War Leaders Room 2
This space is home to three more of the war leaders, and is similar in many ways to 3.27 (including the only 2 in 6 chance that the goblins will be present). The big difference is that the arch over the exit door here is carved wood of exquisite elvish design. If the heavy wood could be moved without damaging it, it would fetch 500 GP, but magic is required.

3.29 The Goblin Kings Room
This space can be entered from 3.27 or directly from above in 2.10, though doing so will draw the attention of the elemental spirts that power the machinery in the room. The whole space has a steampunk feel as the clockwork that drive the great reflecting mirror of the watchtower is still and functional. Either entrance to the room is outside the curtains that block of the walls and that space is designed to reflect the grandeur of the Goblin King. The curtains are grand tapestries of Galmagian families stolen from the noble manors and glamored to replace the human scenes with goblin ones (if pulled down and moved they can be sold for 500 GP or returned to the Galmagian families for considerable good will). There’s a 2 in 6 chance the Giblin King and 2 of his warriors are here, and he has glamored them so they fight for him. The spirits will mess with the PCs perceptions and once a round a random PC has to save vs. traps or stumble into the clockworks and take 1d6 damage. (if not in fight but the PCs entered from above, everyone saves every turn they are in the room without the goblin king). If a fight breaks out here each round there’s a 2 in 6 chance of more goblins arriving.

3.30 Stairs to the Gate
This room is home to 3 warriors and 2 war-leaders (except at night there’s a 1 in 6 chance that 3 of those are out hunting), as well as leather armor, shields, spears, slings, and other hunting accoutrement. There are steel bars around the stairs, blocking the stairs except for 5’ at the exit. The stairs are steel as well, and have been trapped to collapse and snap back up if anything more than one goblin weight is on them (there’s a switch on floor near the stair exit that shuts that off). The trigger is one third of the way down the 20’ stairwell, so 1d6 damage is taken as you fall into the circular wedge of a cage. The Goblins will then question the PCs and possibly attack them depending on circumstances.

3.31 The Blocked Silver Stairs
The door to this space is barred from the hallway, and locked. Past that is a constructed pile of stones that any dwarf can see is designed to be taken down and rebuilt. Past that are stairs down into the silver vein that is deeply contested Nobleman/Goblin territory. At the moment the Nobles are in control and the Goblins have it blocked off. The Goblin King wants it back, but has to focus his attention on the Hobgoblin threat.

4.1 The Elf Wood
Beyond the wooden arch is an unnatural vast space, half actual woodland, half glamour, with a false sky overhead that mirrors the real one above, that was the home of the Green Sword Company of Deepwater before they gave their lives defending the city. The place is very comfortable to Seelie and very uncomfortable to Unseelie, so the goblins never enter. That’s good for them because an Owlbear stalks the place, hunting anyone who is not of Seelie blood (hairfoot halflings qualify, which is good for them). Because of the magics on the place, anyone not a elf or hairfoot halfling has their movement rates effectively halved by the illusionary woods. Oddly, the Owlbear is immune to this. The Owlbear will stalk, attack, fall back and harass the party, taking them out one by one, unless it is distracted by a rabbit or commanded in Elvish to stand down.

4.1 a: The Warren
This space is home to a warren of fey rabbits who will help the PCs if they help them in return. Possible 7 room dungeon.

4.2 The Green Sword Meditation Room
This stone structure inside the glamoured woods has a stout oaken door and no other means of access. The door has rune traps that force a Polymorph save or turn those in 5’ of the door into rabbits for 24 perilous hours. Inside the room are several spellbooks full of Elvish spells of levels 1-4, The Manual of Seelie Blade Puissance (read to get +1 to attack with swords, the book vanishes after that for non-elves) two elfcraft bows, 100 elfcraft arrows, one enchanted sword with special powers, and a bag with 100 electrum pieces of the sort used in Deepwater.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Lost Galmagia: What are Goblins part 2

1)      Classic Hobgoblins: these are goblins who have accepted the Giant’s Gift of growth eternal. They quickly attained man size and considerable fecundity. Their skins have darkened, moving to reddish-brown to grey-black while their faces remain bright orange to red. They favor bright, bloody colors and black leather. Since they have accepted the Giant’s Gift they no longer reincarnate, but they are also very hard to kill: unless a coup-de-grace is performed on any Hobgoblin they will heal given enough time (usually a full month or more; this is not combat regeneration). Their community population is 4-24 combatants (not counting the kings court), 150% that in non-combatants and 300% (!) that in youths. The largest Hobgoblin tribes so far are 160 individuals; give them time.

a.       For all goblins their night vision is very sharp, but no longer suffer from daylight penalties. At human size they no longer have the Goblin advantages and disadvantages from stature, and they have forsaken the last of their Unseelie heritage. They do revive from serious wounds unless deliberately killed, and recover (as per the Cure Wounds act of faith) in one month of their wounding. They are solely warriors.

b.       Their ‘non-combatants’ are 1 level with a Typical morale. There aren’t really Hobgoblin non-combatants, just those not big enough or healed enough to fight at the moment. Given their healing abilities they practice combat constantly, so much of their force is too wounded to act. Given a month they convert all of non-combatants to full Hobgoblin warrior stats. Their youth are as powerful as goblin warriors.

c.       Among their combatants, all are warriors. Level 2 foes (AC 14, HP 7, 6 damage) with a Good morale, Excellent if their King is still alive. If the Hobgoblin’s attack roll is 1-3, they left themselves open to an attack, target must save vs. Wands or do 2 damage to the Hobgoblin and lose their weapon as the creature falls back with it embedded in its body. On an 18+ their blow will shatter an opponents shield (if they have one) or damage their non-magical weapon (-1 damage until repaired).

d.       The Hobgoblin King has a ‘court’ of 1d4 bodyguards, Level 3 (AC 14, HP 11, +2 to hit, they wield huge weapons that can either be one swing for 9 or a swing and backswing for 6 and 4). They have the same special abilities as warrior Hogoblins, just with more chances with their extra attacks.  

e.       The Hobgoblin King, like the goblin king, has a magic sword (but the sword actively hates him for abandoning his Fey Nature and therefore refuses to activate its special abilities). He is Level 5 (AC 14, HP 23, +3 to hit or +4 with their magic sword, making 3 attacks at 4/4/8 (5/5/9 with their sword) and Excellent morale. They have the same special abilities as a Warrior, but again, more chances to use it.

f.        Hobgoblins have no pets. Animals shun them, and will make noise and kick up a fuss if approached.

2)      Bugbears: These are Hobgoblins who have grown in twisted ways, with their pumpkin heads, dull yellow skin and tannish brown to brick red fur, expecting their head-fur, which is deep orange. Like Hobgoblins they have accepted the gift of eternal growth with similar powers, but are even larger (7’ high) and stronger, even as the rage and brute cunning that comes with their growth has made them less savvy fighters.

a.       Like hobgoblins they fight equally well in low light and daylight, and recover from near mortal wounds.

b.       They don’t have non-combatants, or a society. All are level 3 foes, with cobbled together armor and thick fur giving AC 14, 11 HP, making one attack a round at +2 for 9 damage, Good morale. On a roll of 1-3 they appear to retreat but are just setting up another ambush. They always carry 2 large weapons and a couple stone hand axes. They can throw their large weapon for full damage at no penalty, and on a roll of 18+ they do 4 damage to another target with a thrown axe.

c.       Animals fear them so much they fall silent at their approach, but the Bugbear itself is so stealthy that it gives a -2 penalty to opponent surprise rolls.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Lost Galmagia Session Write-Up 2.1

 Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf] NPCs Dungar [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Treasure Hunter]; Azric [Rogue 1 – Assassin / leatherworker]; Richard Stockworth [Hairfoot Halfling 1 – Satyr / Tavernkeeper & Cook]

After recovering from their wounds the adventurers spend another 10 minutes exploring their general vicinity – Ayleton, Aethra and Brömm stay with Dungar at the door for Ayleton to listen at it while Oland leads Richard and Azric up the North passage to see what’s there. Ayleton’s cat-ears confirm that the bugs have calmed down at least some, and that group plots an exit back the way they came. Aside from the heavily armored dwarves everyone should be able to get across the quicksand at a run without getting mired. Some plans involve one of Aethra’s precious spells, but ultimately the ideas if have Ayleton (whose cat form is still as strong as a strong man) carry the grappling hook and rope over the quicksand to the far wall and set it; then if need be the dwarves can be hauled across. 

Oland’s team, using a single fire beetle glad inside a belt pouch for minimal light, discover a crack in the wall that’s clearly a secret door that closed improperly – quick study shows a broken lever inside circular arrays – and is firmly set  enough to not give way to the crowbar. During this the rogues hear something trying to move quietly further up the passage – perhaps other tomb robbers? Pilgrims that got lost below? – and decide trying to progress here is just too dangerous. They fall back and join the others in the escape. 

Said escape goes as planned, more or less: the lightly armored members of the party get past the again docile bugs, which are now crowding in the quicksand room away from the smoke, and prepare to pull the dwarves across. The highly wounded Dungar goes first, and while he’s crossing several creatures race down the custom’s house road towards Brömm, ineffectually using their slings on his sturdy armor. The creatures stand a yard tall with broad pointed ears, carrying spears with glowing red lights at their ends. Seeing no advantage to this battle Brömm flees, being yanked across the room. Whatever the creatures are – Ayleton refers to them as Angry Goblinos – they close the door Brömm passed through. 

Another 10 minutes are spent making sure that nothing has disturbed the rooms they passed through, resetting the spikes on the west door, and exiting before the bugs get riled up again. The exhausted adventurers then limp their way back to camp to find their mule has survived their absence. None can believe they were underground but 2 hours. 

Camp security is boosted as people lay in to rest and recover. The next two nights pass quickly. During the first Ayleton perched on watch in a window of the stone lean-tos hear metal scraping on metal, and then scream that the cat knows came from a rabbit: something is coming through the gated door in the sword ward to hunt. The party continues to adopt a live and let live attitude. Ayleton and Aethra recall stories the cat overheard in the elven city of Deepwater of the history of the North Vale – Goblins, outcasts from both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, have probably returned there – which would explain the figures underground. 

One day was spent traveling from Amethyst Spire, one for the initial delve, and one to rest; they each have a week’s rations, plus one extra week to split between the seven for an emergency day. Today marks the halfway point of their expedition. So far they have confirmed no simple entry to Aethra and Dungar’s goals in the Mage’s Ward, the answer to the nighttime lights in the Trade Ward, and the presence of some other creatures (likely goblins) below. Leaving their more wounded members to guard the mule and treasure found (so far two ornate gold candlesticks that would fetch 25 GP each, a bracelet with 100 coin weight in silver and a 25 GP stone, a pouch of 50 GP and one of 400 SP. 175 GP total). Plus the sash, key, and plaque/script from the clerk’s room. 

The biggest find is likely the chief clerk’s journal, which hints at so many things: the path to and entry mechanism for the vaults. That one of the vaults contains valuable artwork. The existence of sub-vaults. The existence of something called the Final Door under the vaults, the contents of which disillusioned the ever-faithful chief customs clerk. That the goldsmith’s guild caravanned their vault contents out before they end but they never made Amethyst Spire, just a day away. So many possible treasures and mysteries just in this ward. 

Monday, March 27, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 12: The Park Ward Vaults West

This is the western half of the park ward vault level, accessed from the two sets of stairs in 1.20, and via a secret passage from the Sword Ward Vaults. It represents the bulk of the goblin community space.

3.20 Entry to the Farm
Stairs down from 1.20, this floor is covered with a thin later of dirt and grey dust coming from the west door, with goblin  tracks and trails like something had been dragged through here to the door. Stacked up by the door are goblin-sized backpacks with poles holding a dented metal canopy that is counter-weighted to always stay up..

3.21 The Fungal and Piercer Farm
This large room – it stretches up to an otherwise inaccessible basement that was between 1.20 and 1.21 – is covered with a layer of dirt, decayed/decaying plant matter, and mushrooms, all running up the wall; the distant, dark ceiling obviously has other shapes on it. There are large animal skeletons here, including a centaur that was killed the last day of winter (which will determine the state of the body) that has braided into its main 100 Platinum Pieces from the old Seelie Court – the goblins won’t touch them, Elves will recognize them, Magic-Users might – and a leather bracer with markings on it that are the command phrases for the magical saddlebags in 3.26. On the ceiling are 15 piercers, only 5 of which are hungry enough to drop. The goblins feed the piercers the herd animals, then harvest their nutrient rich flesh.

3.22 The stairs up
This room is the Goblin’s main passage up to level 1, and the door is barred from the hallway side – quick examination of the door will reveal a sliding peephole at 3’ in height and another at 6’, and that the door is split so the top and bottom halves can open separately. In a secret space under the stairs there’s a locked chest with 200 GP worth of herbs and ointments used for preparing bodies in room 1.22. There’s a magical trap on the lock that, unless the rune is detected and removed, the opener saves vs. spells turns bright green and glows faintly for a season (or until magic is dispelled).

3.23a Guards
The passage between 3.23b and 3.22 is a guard space, with two goblin veterans and a giant ferret on a bored watch (unless circumstances have obviously changed), playing a dice game over the same pile of 20 coppers and feeding rats to their ferret, in a space lit by treated fire beetle glands. How they react depends on the state of things with he PCs – they will slide the wood (but not the mesh) parts of the lower peephole open, but if the PCs get obviously violent or snarky they will unleash the ferret through the lower door, then fire centipede venom blowgun darts through the upper one.

3.23 b: Insect Reverence Room:
This space holds at least one goblin adept (20% chance of 2) who is either treating fire beetle glands for light or to compress them for holy symbols, and a terrarium filled with giant centipedes. There’s a wooden chest here filled with 10,000 CP into which the centipedes are deposited and their paths are read for divination. (Their venom is also collected for hunting). If pressed the adpt will smash the terrarium, unleashing 2d6 giant centipedes into the room.

3.24 Goblin Families
This room is normally home to three goblin families (the veterans, not the adepts who are in 3.18 and 3.19) and while their accoutrements are here, they are not, all being out and about.

3.25 Goblin Families 2
Like 3.24, this holds the families of the military goblins (3 veterans, 2 non-combatants, 3 kids) and their pet giant ferrets. Each family has 1/3rd of the space but nothing of real value. They will respond quickly and as a unit to protect the non-combatants and unleash the ferrets in face of an attack.

3.26 Goblin Families 3
This is identical to 3.25, save that the center unit has in their possession the apparently empty saddlebags of the centaur whose skeleton is in 3.21. If the PCs have the bracer with the command words (or the time to suss them out), the saddlebags will be revealed to hold 2 weeks of rations (1 week for a centaur sized being), an adventurer’s kit worth of rope and other gear, and 2000 copper, 700 silver and 10 gold coins of imperial vintage.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Goblins

We have now established that Goblins are the scattered remnants of the Unseelie Courts, who are creeping back into the North Vale that used to be a center of Unseelie power. We also know that they see insects as being key parts of of their religion, and we know that while the human mind is unable to capture the shape of a deity, giving them mammal or bird heads/features but never insect ones. I quite like the idea that in the absence of the Elvish gods the Goblins have taken up the worship of a singular insect-affiliated deity in the shape of a comet that is at distance to the world. Therefore Goblin acts of faith have been deeply limited – causing a schism in the goblin community with some falling prey to the Giants’ Gods’ gifts (Hobgoblins, Bugbears), while others have stated true to the insect faith.

This moves them away from the Tolkien Goblins imagery of Basic D&D, but I think makes them more interesting. It also means that we have several different types of Goblins to play with:

1)      Classic Goblins: these are small, incredibly ugly humanoids of yellow through dull orange through brick red in skin tone and their eyes reflect red in dim light; their soldiers wear dark brown leather and muted colors for utilitarian and strategic reasons, while their civilians run a panoply of shades and designs. Unlike elves, goblins are mortal, living some 50 years or so, but like elves they reincarnate freely so death is not the end. Their community population is 6-60 combatants (not counting the King’s court), 60% more in non-combatant adults, and 100% more in young. The largest tribes have 190 individuals.

a.       For all goblins their night vision is very sharp, but they are at -1  to attacks in full daylight. With their reduced stature Goblins have a +3 AC vs. foes larger then they are (so halflings, familiars, or Reduced people strike as normal) and a 20’ move. They all have some weird unseelie fae abilities they can draw on, and gain experience as either Warrior or Acolyte of the Green Star.

b.       Their non-combatants are 0 level with a Poor morale. If they are attacked they will defend themselves, but most importantly on a roll of 1-7 they mirror the face of their attacker (Morale check for NPCs). Non-Combatant goblins are able to Make Trades once a month (often during the faerie market), happily handing over things the PCs consider valuable (and _are_ valuable) for impossible things like the color of their eyes, the memory of their first love, and so on. Making the trade also marks the PC – they now show up on a Detect Evil spell, and at the start of Winter must save vs. Death or waste away in 3 months unless extraordinary efforts are taken. (Thank you, Christina Rosetti.)

c.       Among their combatants, 80% are warriors. Level 1 foes (AC 11, HP 4, 3 damage) with a Typical morale, Good if leader present. On 18+ their wounds carry an icy chill that reduces foe movement by 10’ for next round. On a 1-3 they close their eyes and slip into shadow for a second (only matters when it’s a morale loss, in which case they just vanish).

d.       20% are acolytes of The Green Star. Level 1 (AC 8, HP 5, 3 damage) with Typical morale, Good if leader present. When appropriate they can Turn Undead (levels 1-3 fall back); cast Abey/Enhance Curse, or cast Protection from Evil. On an 18+ they do no damage but target instead saves vs. Polymorph suffer the following for the fight (1d4) 1) weapon in hand turns to bugs, 2) armor (or shield, if worn) turns to bugs, 3) mouth disappears (no spellcasting/talking), 4) target swaps faces with foe (NPC Morale check ).  

e.       The Goblin King will have a court of 2d6 leaders, with the same 80/20 fighter/acolyte percentage.

                                                               i.      Warrior Leaders are Level 2 (AC 11, HP 9, +1 to hit, 6 damage) their chill wound lasts all fight. They fade into shadows on a roll of 1-7.

                                                             ii.      Acolyte Leaders are level 2 (AC 11, FP 9, +1 to hit, 6 damage), and can also cast an Summon Swarm erudition spell, and Remove Fear. Their 18+ effect is unchanged, but on 1-3 they now vomit up either a single big bug or a lot of little ones that menace their foes but don’t attack.

f.        The Goblin King has unlocked much more of their Unseelie power thanks to their magic sword (there is one such sword per goblin kingdom). They are Level 3 (AC 11, 14 HP, +2 to hit or +3 with their magic sword, making 3 attacks at 3/3/5 (4/4/6 with their sword) and Good morale. They have the same special abilities as a Warrior, but can also at will Glamour to look like a human or elf (normally a beautiful version of that race, but it can be someone in particular). A Goblin King’s Short Sword is Intelligence 10, Speaks Goblin and Faespeak, can Detect Magic and Evil, and create an Illusion 3 times a day.

g.       Goblins live in and amongst Fire Beetles, whom they view as symbolic psychopomps – their preferred disposal of corpses is being eaten by insects – and the use fire beetles to light in their communities (and to grow their crops!). While Acolytes will preserve the lights of dead beetles they do so with reverence; anyone just hacking apart beetles to steal their lights earn considerable enmity.

h.       Goblins in Lost Galmagia have no wolves, instead having trained giant ferrets as guards against white apes and rat hunters. These are Level 2, AC 11, HP 9, 50’ move, 1 attack at +1 for 6 damage, Good Loyalty but on a roll of 1-3 they have turned and bitten their trainer for 3 pts. Ferrets aren’t trustworthy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Lost Galmagia Write Up Session 1.4

Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Dungar [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Treasure Hunter]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]; Azric [Rogue 1 – Assassin / leatherworker]; Richard Stockworth [Hairfoot Halfling 1 – Satyr / Tavernkeeper & Cook]

The crew takes a 10-minute rest, eating rations and using the convenient garderobe, as Azric flips through the journal. The owner, Jon Thompskin, is a customs house clerk working on his ‘flourish hand” every lunch break. 20 pages in we learn that he achieved his goal of becoming chief steward of the Customs House, and he marries his beloved Victoria. He now escorts people to the private vaults (to the first-class waiting room via a lift the eastern storage area). He lays out the roughs of roughs of how one accesses the vaults, but the group opts to keep moving and explore more later.

It's been impossible to track the beetles but their helpful light is shining in the next room, into which flows the stream on the dirt floor. There’s a low archway in the east wall… another drainage grate? There are things sticking out of the floor that they can’t clearly see as the beetles’ lights point up not down. Brömm, Aethra and Dungar approach and find parts of halfling-sized skeletons each with silver circlets, torques, bracelets and anklets. Concerned with Disquiet Dead they start breaking the skulls and scattering the bones, only to find themselves sinking into the wet mud. Brömm, the furthest in, glances madly, spotting another 3’ of door concealed in the mud to their west and surges towards it.

This is when the adventurers learn the fire beetles attack hindered targets. The four in the room deploy mandibles on the slowed adventurers; while Aethra can ward off one with her athame she gets a nasty bite on her other arm. The dwarves are for the moment safe due to their heavy armor, but that plus their short stature may doom them in the mud. Oland beats surprise to leap across the scriveners’ room to spike the door to the ballroom shut, blocking 4 beetles.

The beetles still have the initiative, despite Oland and Azric’s attempts to seize it with risky attacks – if the beetles were interested in anyone outside the mud the rogues would be in trouble – but the beetles only manage a strike on Brömm due to Aethra’s luck and Dungar’s heavy armor. The hearty dwarf ignores the small cut and gives back better, killing one with an axe blow as he reaches the door. Everyone save Aethra is surprised when her familiar leaps from her hood, transforming mid-flight to a cheetah that batters away one of the bugs menacing its master.  Dungar considers making a run for the drainage ditch but pulls his hemp rope free and lobs it loosely to Richard. Aethra grabs the slack of the rope and is pulled free by the doughty satyr’s strength. The rogues’ attacks are frustrated by the beetles’ carapaces.

The adventurers win initiative, and Brömm shatters the concealed door’s latch, shlorking out to a corridor with mud, half of the glowing beetle, and some skeletal remains. Richard yanks Dungar free, and, seeing the bugs still attracted to Aethra’s blood, the dwarf staggers to his feet and hurls the magic-user onto one of the tables to get her clear. Aethra desperately binds her wound to hopefully calm the beetles. Azric hurls her grappling hook and rope across the mud room to latch into Brömm’s open doorway to give them a path. Olands dagger and Ayleton’s claws find no purchase.

This is when the beetles all sphincter their light-glands shut, and the room goes dark. The only light remaining is in the mud room from Brömm’s bisected beetle, and in those feeble shadows the adventurers see the beetles go mad, feel the bugs skittering over them, hear the chittering from the beetles trying to get in from the ballroom, and the blossoming of blood and pain as bite after bite lands as the adventurers are unable to recover the initiative and the horror continues.

“Marines, we are lea-ving!” Aethra yells. Dungar, severely bloodied despite his armor, snags the rope from Richard and vows to be the last to leave. Fearing their light might die Oland yanks open one of the paperwork filled drawers and lights it with flint & steel, throwing light as others scramble across the surface of the mud with the rope for support, as Brömm keeps watch to make sure they’re not ambushed from a different direction. Within seconds the scriveners’ room contains just Oland and Dungar, and the they lose the initiative. They should die here save that Oland seizes it back with a risky attack, wounding one of the beetles as he breaks for the door and across the mud. Dungar finishes the bug, finally getting a clean strike that impales the bug on his axe. He drags it behind him as he runs for the door. He wouldn’t have made the distance before the mud took him save for Brömm yanking the rope and pulling his dwarvish ally to safety. Richard and the now-cheetah Ayleton shove the concealed door closed and Oland spikes it shut. End of session 1.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 11: The Park Ward Vaults East

This is the interconnection of spaces under the eastern space of the Park Ward Vaults accessed from 1.17b and 1.20

This is the interconnection of spaces under the eastern space of the Park Ward Vaults accessed from 1.17b and 1.20 above, as well as from 3.10

3.13 The Goldsmith Guilds Vaults
This room, accessible through the shared stairwell from 1.17b, is the goldsmiths’ guild’s locked vault. The vault is locked and requires Thieves’ Tools to open, but none of the traps are enabled. There is nothing inside because the guild got everything out before the city fell. (but they never made it out of the Giant’s Shadow and are in the New Forest).

3.14 The Jewelers Guild Vaults
This room, also accessible through the shared stairwell, is the circular vault of jeweler’s guild. The vault is locked and requires Thieves’ Tools to open, but none of the traps are enabled. Inside the vault there is evidence of a hasty departure but nothing of value. There’s an elaborate citrine circle filled with rubies – reminiscent of a fruit pie – which is simply paste – it’s a training tool for the apprentice setters. Maximum resale value to a nostalgic guildsman is 2 GP.

3.15 The Elevator Shaft
This room is the space where the shaft from 1.20 descends through. Unless the PCs have moved it the lift is jammed midway between floors, but not has not yet cleared the space between floors, so the ‘ceiling’ of the lift area is 1’ higher and the center of the room is an open shaft surrounded by a 5’ walkway. There are controls in the room that will manage the lift (It’s run on hydraulics, so if the Pcs break room 3.8 there are repercussions here. Passage here to 3.10

3.16 The Goblin Market
This room will appear empty when the PCs first enter, then it will go black, have a bang of light and sound, and be full of the non-combatant goblins who are quick to trade their wares. This is technically an illegal gathering, and if the PCs linger two things will happen: 1) the merchants will realize their queen is missing and send someone to 3.11 to find her and 2) guards will show up to break things up and respond to the PCs based on current state of goblin relations.

3.17 The Treasure Vault
This room is managed by the Goblin Religious Caste, and the PCs will encounter their High Priest here, as he oversees preparation of the ritual grave goods from the silver and gems here. There are also several acolytes, four warriors and an officer here acting or guarding, though the guard detail might be reduced if the Goblin Market forms. There’s considerable treasure inside the room in the form of precious silver, gemstones, and jewelry, as well as stacks of salvaged Tarmalanian gold coins which the Goblins find worthless but they could use to trade with the outside world.

3.18 Goblin Families 1
This room is home to two distinct Goblin Families, separated by a pull curtain across the room, similar to 3.9 and 3.10, but these are higher status families with, ya’know, a floor and stuff. Each family is 3 combatants, 2 non-combatants and 3 children. They don’t have anything of value from the PCs perspective here. These numbers might change if there’s a Goblin Market running and the non-combatants disappear to go hawk their wares. If the PCs make a thorough inventory they’ll calculate that the Goblin families are really twice this size, but half of them are out and about.

These are solid, dependable goblin citizens, loyal the Green Star and the Goblin King, and potential allies (as long as you don’t trade with them and become corrupted with the Unseelie).

3.19 Goblin Families 2
This is identical to the layout of 3.19, except inverted, and has the same population with the same general reaction. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Clerical Acts of Faith 2

Third level of Devotion: Stillness

The cleric is able to enter a space of stillness in their faith, or expand that stillness to others. This can have some surprising effects in the world, and now the cleric is able to use faith to demonstrably change the natural world.

3rd level effect: Sanctuary

The cleric can eschew attacks during a combat to remove themselves from the combat. For each success on the roll, the caster can make force an opponent to make a save to be able to attack them. The first time an opponent attack the cleric they must make a save vs. spells or lose track of the cleric completely; this lasts 10 minutes, and opponents are effected in the order they attack the cleric. If the opponents have no other viable targets, the fight ends and the cleric can make a reaction roll; if this opens things to communication the cleric may do so, or they can exit the scene. 

4th level effect: Silence

The cleric can negate noise for 1 turn in a radius of 5’ per success on the roll, with a range of up to 10’ per success on the roll. The cleric can’t take other faith based actions while maintaining the silence, and Erudition-based on spellcasting can’t occur inside the space of silence. The maximum duration of the silence is 1 turn, or until the cleric tries some other faith-based effect.

5th level effect: Hold Person

The cleric can force stillness on other people, paralyzing them for the spells duration if they fail a save vs. spells. The hold person spell will affect any human, demi-human, or human-like creature but not undead or creatures larger than an ogre. Each success on the roll means the cleric can add another target to the hold person.

6th level effect: Haruspex

The cleric can sacrifice an animal and read the entrails to gather information when not in a Place of Safety. As with Snake Charm the caster can enter the rumor phase while on a delve, gathering one piece of information on a particular topic per success on the die. The answers may well be cryptic or incomplete, but they will give valid information. This can only be performed once a day.

Forth Level of Devotion: Healing

At this level, the cleric is able to physically close wounds, remove the effects of disease and poison, or even bring back the dead, based on faith alone.

4th level effect: Cure Disease

In one round this devotion will cure the creature it is cast on of any disease, such as lycanthropy and mummy rot, though magical diseases may require multiple successes. Cure disease will also kill green slime.

5th level effect: Neutralize Poison

This devotion will cancel the effects of poison and revive a poisoned character if cast within one turn per success. It can also be cast on a poison or a poisoned item to make it harmless. It acts only on poison present at the time it is cast.

6th level effect: Cure Wounds

This devotion will restore anyone who has taken a serious enough wound to be removed from combat (i.e. reduced to 0 HP) to functionality with a single success – the target is restored to their 1st level HP. For each success part the first, the cleric can restore another sorely wounded person to functionality. Alternately an number of successes can be used to restore one levels worth of HP to any allies within the clerics reach.

7th level effect: Raise Dead

By means of this devotion the cleric can raise any human, dwarf, halfling, or elf from the dead. With one success the cleric can raise a body up to four days dead. For each level of success past that four days are added to this time. A raised character has a stabilized 0 hit point and cannot fight, cast spells, use abilities, carry heavy loads, or move more than half speed, and heals normally. A raise dead cast against one undead creature will slay it unless it makes its saving throw vs. Spells.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Lost Galmagia Write Up Session 1.3

Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Dungar [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Treasure Hunter]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]; Azric [Rogue 1 – Assassin / leatherworker]; Richard Stockworth [Hairfoot Halfling 1 – Satyr / Tavernkeeper & Cook]

After Brömm and Dungar take a few steps down so their cavesense can confirm a hundred square foot room at the base of the stairs. The explorers send Ayleton with his cat-senses down, hoping the familiar can avoid danger. There he finds a quartet of yard long beetles, each with three glowing red glands on their head and tail. The beetles ignore him, and he scampers back upstairs to tell Aetha, who tells the rest of the group. They head down en masse and, seeing no aggression from the four fire beetles, close and spike the double doors to the east and west to control their environment. Some exploration reveals the room was once a grand ballroom, but some storm in the past had shoved its contents up against the south, canal-side wall. The stairs terminate about 10’ from the north wall, with a passage behind them to hold serving staff materials. A stream of water runs down the stair wall, the stairs, is blocked by some debris in the room’s center and runs out the east doorway. The dwarves are able to sense a slight incline in the room, and the group quickly conclude that the debris against the south wall indicates a drainage ditch down there.

Digging through the debris reveals this to be correct, and also uncovers two gold candlesticks that the dwarves value at 25 GP each. Not bad for a first morning! Oland explores the drainage gate – some 2.5’ high and 3’ wide – and with a little oil greases it so it won’t shriek when opened, Dungar sticks his head in to learn that the passage slopes down a little to another space, short, with a shifting, uneven floor. Ayleton sniffs to confirm suspicions that it’s canal water. No one wants to slide down the drainage tunnel to see what’s there. Instead they open the westward double door and press on in the direction of the small stream.

That room has a floor covered with a thumb thick layer of dirt and debris, with discoloration on the wall showing the water never reached more than a yard high, holding a half dozen, pace high by three step long stone double desks and two equally large tables, along with a passage to the south through which the stream continues its journey. The north west corner is boxed off with a door, exploration of which reveals it as a garderobe, and hanging on the north wall is a royal blue sash with gold embroidery showing the Customs House seal. Richard Stockton immediately grabs it and proclaims himself mayor.

“What are the desks for?” Oland asks. “If this was a customs house they’d have no end of paperwork,” Azric replies, and the group start pillaging the desks for information by the light of the fire beetles, now five in number, who are crawling between this room and the next. No, wait, seven… and they are moving between the room ahead and the room behind. “Are we sure these things are benign?” Dungar asks. “They’re bugs,” Azric responds. “If they were gonna bite us they would have done it by now.”

The desks turn out to be a treasure trove: two account ledgers (one for gold, one for silver) and the sacks that were the banks for each yielding 50 GP and 400 SP; a personal journal which Azric pockets for later, a pouch holding a key and a thin stone card reading (in the Tarmalnaian dialect), “hello, my name is/I am an agent of ______ and I am accessing vault ________” (Dungar and Brömm “she said the magic word… VAULT!”), and a slender volume whose oilskin cover reads “Open in case of emergency”. Richard starts to pocket that when Aethra says “Open it.” “But it’s not an emergency yet?” “It will be for you if you don’t open it now.”

The front page reads “Given the possibility of either the water wards or the undeath wards failing and disquiet dead entering from the canal, it’s important to keep this…” “Hold it hold it hold it,” Dungar asks “What type of dead? I’m disquieted by the idea of disquiet dead.” Aethra shushes him and has Richard read on “volume nearby to ensure the staff cleric is prepared for the eventuality.” Under that are some icons showing a stick figure with Richards new sash getting this book from a drawer and then handing it to someone holding a caduceus.

“I’m feeling less safe than I was before,” Oland says as Aethra reviews the book with her Read Magic spell – protection from undead and protection from evil – the latter of which is calling on powers she can access and add to her spellbook.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Lost Galmagia Week 10: Acolytes Ward "Vault"

This is the space accessed by the pit in 1.14C. The pit descends all the way to 5.8, so the PCs have to step off onto this level from the descended rope (the players could also enter 3.10 from 3.13, the 2nd level of the woodcutters/stonecutters lift. The real backstory here is that the difficult to access woodcutters guild space was gifted to the self-styled Queen of the Goblin Market and her followers; with the threat of the Hobgoblins her trying to independently court the Brotherhood made her too much of a loose cannon. One treasure she’d carried for decades was an dragon egg. It hatched. Horror movie scenes ensued. The woodcutter’s guild basement is lair to a red wyrmling.

3.6 a and b: The Flanking Rooms
These rooms held slickers and ear protection for the waterworks; now useful for how they pass between levels. 3.6a has a hole overhead that leads to 1.14c, and one directly under it that leads to 5.8. Room 3.6b is charred, with a layer of collapsed ashy ceiling paneling hiding the collapsing state of the wood floor’s center – Save vs. Traps or 20’ drop (2d6) to the minotaur lair below. The northwest corner is strewn with contents of the Queen’s rucksack deemed worthless. This includes a Philter of Love (“your first heartbreak”), a potion of longevity (“your twilight years”), and a stone with a hole in it that, if strung on a cord and worn, gives you +1 in 6 on all gambling related rolls.

3.7: The Waterworks
This room is dominated by the wall of canal water falling down the south wall – parts of it diverted immediately to pipes and parts running through water wheels, that have thick leather straps connected to them running across the room to pass through 3.8. Anyone in the room is soaked within 2 rounds, can’t hear over the water, and must save vs. Death or be deafened for one turn after they leave.

3.8: The Control Room
This cramped room has two pipes on the east and west walls that hide the leather straps passing through to rooms 5.1 and 5.2, below. The North Wall is a complex clockworks that control not just the speed and activity of the stonecutters and woodcutters machines, but also all the waterflow throughout Lost Galmagia. It will take clockwork manipulation and repair skill to unjam things from their current settings, but if they do they have considerable power over the rest of the dungeon, and a rough map of level 3 from the waterflows.

3.9: The Stoncutter’s Guild Scaffolding South
This ‘room’, like the others, are series of scaffolding around the machinery below and through this space. It’s home to several goblin families (3 combatants, 2 non-combatants, 3 young) who don’t have anything by way of valuables. If a fight breaks out there’s chances to fall into the machinery or through it. This does 1d8 damage, save vs. traps for half.

3.10: The Stonecutters Guild Scaffolding North
The way between 3.9 and 3.10 are two rope bridges built for goblin weight, each bisected by a privacy shroud. There are the same number of goblins here, and the conditions of a fight are much the same.

3.11: The Woodcutters Guild Scaffolding South
This room is scaffolded much like 3.9 and 3.10, but this machinery is ropes on sliding pullies hanging down that were once used to move the logs, while there are SPINNING SAW BLADES down there. If you fall in it’s save vs. traps to avoid 2d6+3 damage (save means you grabbed a rope). This area is charred in places, smokey, smells of burned flesh, and it’s clear something bad happened here.

3.12: The Woodcutters Guild Scaffolding North
More scaffolded and charred space, and but the machines below just move and stack the wood, so damage is 1d4 if you miss a save (Plenty of ropes to swing from). The threat lies at the end of the blocked passage north, the current home of Egnistwerh, the Red Dragon wyrmling that killed and ate everyone here. He’s gorged on goblin and sleeping, but still very deadly if woken up. His treasure pile is everything he deemed valuable from the followers of the Queen of the Goblin Market, but he has a dragon’s discerning eye. This includes 3000 SP in various forms, nine pieces of carved quartz and obsidian that value at 10GP each, 10 GP worth of scrimshaw, and complete bronze chess set with 4 extra pieces, each piece valued at 22 SP, the whole set together sells for 100GP. Egnistweh was born talking and playing chess.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Lost Galmagia: Clerical Acts of Faith 1

Clerics are also able to perform miraculous feats outside of the ken of pure erudition. There are no rituals to be followed, just the direct appeal from the cleric to their god. Acts of faith are not predictable or automatic the way “spells” are. They may fail, and that failure may shake the cleric’s faith, making it harder to perform the next. Or their success may strengthen that faith, making the cleric more likely to succeed on the next.

The mechanic is simple: Clerics start a delve with Faith Pool of 1d10 at levels 1-4, 2d10 at levels 5-8 and 3d10 at 9+. Their number of faith dice is modified by their Divine Favor attribute modifier, but the Cleric will always roll at least 1 die.

When attempting an Act of Faith, the cleric rolls their Faith Pool with a target number based on the difficulty of the act attempted. As long as at least 1 die in the pool equals or exceeds that number, the act succeeds. If ALL the dice rolled equal or exceed that number, the act succeeds, and the cleric adds another die to the Faith Pool (you do not roll for automatic effects, those count all dice in pool as successes). If no dice rolled equal/exceed that number, the act fails, and the cleric loses one die from their pool. If that leaves no dice in the pool, the cleric cannot perform acts of faith until they have reached a Place of Safety and spent time in prayer and recovery.

Act of faith level


Act of Faith Level


3 lower than character


1 level higher than character


1-2 levels lower than character


2 levels higher than character


At character level




First Level of Devotion: Exorcism

Clerics gain access to this devotion at first level. The cleric can use faith to drive away the Unnatural: the undead and summoned or created entities (q.v. protection from evil). If the roll is successful, each die that succeeded “turns” (drives off) 4 levels of foes (at least one foe is turned, regardless of its level). If the exorcism is automatic monsters are not turned: they are destroyed, turned to dust, for summoned foes, sent back to whence they came.

Soul echoes, poltergeists, and other weak incorporeal undead are level 0 monsters. Skeletons are level 1; zombies and ghosts are level 2, ghouls (carrion eaters who enjoy making you carrion with their paralyzing touch) are level 3; wights (ghosts possessing corpses that drain life with a touch) are level 4. There are more powerful undead past that…

Second Level of Devotion: Courage

Clerics gain access to this devotion at second level. The cleric can use faith to bolster their courage (or the courage of their allies), or to undermine the courage of the opposition. Unlike Exorcism’s calculation based on the opposition, Courage’s difficulty depends on what the cleric is attempting. All the effects last for one turn (at  least is one combat….)

2nd level effect: Remove Fear

This effects one target for each successful die. An NPC will succeed on their next morale check; or any PC or NPC gains a +3 on saves vs. magically generated fear; or any PC or NPC under magically generated fear is released from it.

3rd level effect: Aid

The cleric may add HP to anyone who has suffered damage but has not yet succumbed to their wounds (i.e. fallen to 0 HP). Each level of success adds 3x Target’s level HP to the target. These temporary HP last 1 turn, but any damage taken during that round come from the temporary HP first.

4th level effect: Bless

This must be used before melee starts and within a 20x20 foot area. Within that space all of the cleric’s allies have a +1 on all morale rolls, a +1 to hit and a +1 on damage. If the targets are in a melee that lasts longer than 10 minutes (a larger scale battle), the blessing lasts 1 turn per success die, but it always ends once the primary melee ends.

5th level effect: Cause Fear

One target is stricken with fear, or at the very least a deep doubt as to the viability or righteousness of their cause. If the cleric’s level + number of successes is equal to or less than the target level, the target must make a morale check. If that total is more than the clerics level, the target must save vs. spells or flee in blind panic.