Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Stuff

Following the general theme of listing one's well-earned holiday loot, here is what I got "under the tree," so to speak, though this year we did not put up a tree, not having the space for it in our new, smaller digs...

The Simpsons Season 14 DVD
The Three Stooges Collection Volume One: 1934-1936
Doctor Who Complete Series Five (admitedly, I bought this for my wife, but as I will enjoy it too, I guess it counts)

I Am A Barbarian by E.R. Burroughs
The Lost Continent by E.R. Burroughs
The Goths in Spain by E.A Thompson
Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio, Greek by Gyula Moravcsik, English by Romilly J.H. Jenkins
Charlemagne: Emperor of the Western World by Russell Chamberlin
A pile of 7 issue of The Simpsons, 6 issues of Bart Simpson, and one issue of SpongeBob Squarepants comic books (yes, I like SpongeBob, at least, the first three seasons... and the comic book is very well done)

The Simpsons 2012 Daily Desk Calendar
Antique Maps 2012 (another sign that one of these days I need to whip up a campaign based on the mythical island of Frisland

Plus, I'm going to buy myself something from DriveThuRPG... the Wishlist is getting long, and there are a LOT of good things that have come out recently... I'm torn between:

Isle of the Unknown
LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Grindhouse Edition
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
Weird Adventures

The new edition of Carcosa would be on the list, save that I already have the original Carcosa, so I want to go for something new and different first... any suggestions? Or perhaps, suggestions of something cool that I have missed otherwise?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

[Archduchy of Adventure] Characters as of the 15th of Thaumont 1000 AC

Lazarus von Schwarzenherz, Lord
Lugosi (NE male Glantrian [Thyatian/Alphatian] 2nd level Magic-user) is a distant cousin of Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels and former student of Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany. An expatriate petty lord of Glantri, exiled for some unnamed but doubtless severe courtly faux pas, he is also the newly-appointed Lord of Lugos, a petty domain in Transylvania (the region between Achelos and the Radlebb Forest). Sent to Karameikos, the Glantrian ambassadress, Doña Marianita Lucia de Leon y Valdez, was able to use her influence to get him appointed as Lord of Lugos. Lugos had remained without a lord for several years due to political infighting; as the expat was party to none of the factions and undesired by pretty much all, the Archduke felt that he was a fair choice (the favors he gained thereby from the ambassadress more than balanced out any potential troubles). His first act as new lord of the territory was to root out the growing faction led by Father Martin, the local self-appointed domain priest of the Church of Karameikos. He is served by an Ochalean manservant, Kato, and an imp he summoned from Hell, Myxlplyx, and possesses an unusual “wand of magic missiles” his father recovered from an ancient ruin while on expedition with his cousin, Prinz Jaggar. [Hans]

Lurka (N female Vyalia Elf 2nd level Assassin) is descended from Vyalian royalty on her father’s side (a usurper, actually, whose descendents have formed a clan of assassins to seek to regain their power) and a long line of jewelers on her mother’s side. Due to exposure of her cell she was forced to flee the realm and made her way into Karameikos, where she took up with a pair of sisters of less-than-subtle evil in Specularum. The trio slowly made their way west to Luln, and thence to Lugos, where they became entangled in the destruction of the Church of Karameikos faction led by Father Martin. After turning on her erstwhile companions and slitting their throats as they slept, she is now happily the mercenary “invisible hand” of Lord Lugosi. Formerly of rather more chaotic and evil alignment, she suffered a spiritual enlightening when she tried to loot a cross off the altar of the Lugos church; her evil was so great, however, that even the divine grace that sought to purify her soul was unable to drag her into law and good, but simply thrust her into the nebulous realms of neutrality. Her latest victim: Severus “Fatty” Stolnik, the erstwhile seneschal of Lugos; though he could not prove that he was stealing from the coffers during his tenure as steward of the domain, Lord Lugosi felt it most expedient to have it appear as though Fatty died during an orc attack while his party was en route to Luln. [Zell]

Lazarus and Lurka are now en route to Luln, seeking to hire on more guards, an armorer, and a smith, find a new (and tractable) priest for the local parish of the Church of Karameikos, and purchase needful equipment unavailable in the rustic domain. They also hope to recruit more like-minded adventuring types to provide assistance in “overseeing” the peoples and combating the dangers of Lugos. They have also taken advantage of an orc attack to eliminate a troublesome pest; while their guards were dealing with the remaining orcs, Lurka assassinated the erstwhile seneschal of Lugos, Severus “Fatty” Stolnik, and pinned it on a stray orc arrow (that somehow stuck him in his prodigious gut twice). At the end of the last session, the lord and his entourage were approaching the gates of Luln after a three day journey…


Magnus Magnusson, aka “Mongo the Destroyer” (LE male Norse 1st level Fighter) is a Norse pit-fighter and circus performer. At a young age he discovered he loved hitting things with his axes… targets, trolls, people, you name it, he loved hitting it. Sadly, though he was quite proficient with his axes, his fellow Ostland Vikings were not quite as proficient, and on their first raid into Ylaruam, were nearly extirpated. Mongo was among the few survivors who fled into the hills; he eventually made his way south to Tel Akbir, in Thyatis, where to make some quick money he joined a travelling circus as a strong man and axe-thrower. He found he liked the circus life, and remained with them for some years throughout Thyatis. When the circus moved west into Karameikos, he met Elenor Grayleaf in Rugalov, where she joined them and they became fast friends. He saved her from the unwanted advances of her mentor, Boris, and the two became more than friends. Shortly after the circus reached Luln, Mongo disappeared; he had been kidnapped by slavers from the Black Eagle Barony, where he was sold to a pit-fighting establishment, his docility ensured through judicious application of charm person spells. Elenor was able to rescue him from duress vile, her presence breaking the charm, and the two fled back to Luln. There they sadly discovered that the owner of the circus had actually sold Mongo out to the slavers, and thus they had no safe place to hide. Hiding in a tenement in Orctown, the two are trying to figure a safe way out of Luln to a place where they can hide out from the slavers and their erstwhile employer… [Robbie]

Elenor Grayleaf (NE female Vyalia Elf 1st level Magic-user/1st level Thief) is a Vyalian expatriate of wealthy and influential if non-noble family; she fled her forest home when she refused to submit to being used as a bargaining chip by marrying her into a noble home to improve her family’s lot. She joined a travelling circus, first as a prestidigitator, then later as a knife-thrower, a talent (among others) that she learned from Boris Gudenov, the (now previous) knife-thrower. Unfortunately, for his training, Boris sought more than Elenor was willing to give, and when her screams attracted Mongo to her wagon, he thoroughly beat Boris to within an inch of his life. For the rest of her history, refer to Mongo, above… [Robbie]

Robert “Brother Bob” “The Red” Sorrel (LG male Kerendan 1st level Cleric of the Church of Karameikos) is a young acolyte freshly ordained in Luln. An orphan, he was raised in the Abbey of Saint Gnaeus and Saint Lucius just south of Luln, Bob knows little about the outside world. Being unassuming and apolitical, upon ordination he was sent forth into the world as a mendicant priest, to heal and console the peoples in the streets. He joined Aldaré, Gosgorgenos, and Talon on a brief excursion into the ruins of Koriszegy Castle (aka the Haunted Keep) to find the lost scion of a noble family at the behest of the Vicar of Luln, Vitale Fonzarelle. Though they discovered plenty monsters, they were unsuccessful in finding their lost charge, and got little in the way of treasure for their efforts. As the other adventurers saw little to be gained by following Brother Bob back into the dungeon, they left him in the streets of Luln, seeking new companions for his quixotic quest. [Robbie]

Aldaré Quellisar (NE female Vyalia Elf 1st level Houri [Courtesan/Assassin]) yet another expatriate elf from the eastern realm of Vyalia, little is known of Aldaré at this time, though she was a member of the party that explored the first level of the Haunted Keep (see Robert Sorrel, above, for details). [Brooke]

Gosgorgenos the Mighty (N male Luludjan 1st level Fighter) is a native of Luln. Scion of a politically influential family of moderate means, he has taken up adventuring to fill his purse with gold. He was a member of the party that explored the first level of the Haunted Keep (see Robert Sorrel, above, for details). [Zell]

Thorn the Gypsy (N male Darine 1st level Ranger) is a member of the wandering Darine peoples, the gypsy folk of the Known World and beyond. When he was a child his band was captured by slavers operating out of the Black Eagle Barony, and he was worked mercilessly for several years on the plantations of the Baron. He managed to affect his escape four years ago, and has since wandered the forests and hills of Luludja, taking vengeance on the foul humanoid servants of the Black Eagle Baron as opportunity permitted. He was a member of the party that explored the first level of the Haunted Keep (see Robert Sorrel, above, for details). [Jason]


Father Martin Teague (LG male Kerendan Cleric of the Church of Karameikos) sought to bring the Light of the Redeemer unto the benighted lands of Transylvania, and set up his church in Lugos, a petty domain at the heart of the region. After three years of proselytizing the native peoples, he had gained a sizeable following among the downtrodden Luludjans and Volagans, earning him the enmity of the Volszegy old guard and the resolutely pagan Voldavians. Things came to a head when he captured Zofiya, the Black Witch of Lugos, and a brace of anti-paladins sought to free her at the same time the newly appointed Lord of Lugos, an atheistic magician from Glantri, arrived in his new domain. Caught between the two vile forces – his brave acolytes slain by foul sorcery, he himself grievously wounded by blade and spell – Father Martin called upon the Source of All Things and was miraculously transported back to the church where he was first ordained, far away in Kerendas. He has in the last week recovered from his wounds and is gathering allies for a crusade against the rise of foul Chaos in the lands he had sought to convert… a fact that has been surmised by Lazarus, Lord of Lugosi, through communing with the foul masters of his imp familiar, Myxlplyx.

Béla Blaskó (male Volszegy) is the Hetman and Mayor of Lugos. He is the leader of the Volszegy and Volagan faction that opposed the rise of Father Martin in the vacuum left by the absence of a true noble lord of the domain.

István Szabó (male Volszegy) is the smith of the village of Lugos. Cousin of Béla Blaskó, a member of the Volszegy/Voldavian faction.

Werner Messerman (male Halagan) is the proprietor of the Dacoit Trading Company, the only general and import store in Lugos.

Zofiya, the Black Witch of Lugos (female Volszegy)

Baba Magda (female Voldavian) is the proprietress of the Shady Dragon Inn, the only inn and tavern outside the “walls” of the town of Luln. She assisted Lurka, Borsha, and Demonica in their kidnapping of Matilda Bronisen, and intimated to the anti-paladins that she was a fellow cultist.

Igor (male Voldavian) is the hunchbacked and wall-eyed stable-hand at the Shady Dragon Inn.


Borsha (CE female Thyatian 1st level Anti-Paladin) and her sister Demonica (CE female Thyatian 1st level Anti-Paladin) were first generation Thyatians of Specularum. Little was known about their background, save that they came from a moderately wealthy and, quite likely, indulgent or overly-strict family. They cut a swath of destruction and evil across western Karameikos, on the battlefield and in the boudoir, en route from Specularum to Luln. There they participated in the ritual slaying of several ne’er do-wells, urchins, and shepherds in the name of their patron, Glasya Queen of Hell. They also slew their former lover, Friedrich the Bastard, the Sergeant of Orctown in the Red Sashes, and participated in the kidnapping of Matilda Bronisen, the only daughter of a prominent Darokinian businessman in Luln.

Thereafter they, together with Lurka, went to Lugos, where they were tasked by their patron with the rescue of Zofiya, the Black Witch of Lugos, who had been captured by Father Martin and was to be burnt at the stake on the night of the full moon. When they arrived they quickly seduced the Hetman of the village, Béla Blaskó, and his cousin, the influential town smith, István Szabó. They planned on turning the forces of Béla’s faction (mostly Pagan or Church of Traladara Volszegy, including the bulk of the militia) against Father Martin and his followers (mostly Luludjan converts to the Church of Karameikos). Their plans were cut short by the arrival of the new Lord of Lugos; when Béla and Father Martin and most of the village went to the manor at Black Pool to greet the new lord, the three decided to push up their timetable and scout out the church. They slew three praying babushkas and otherwise desecrated/profaned the church in terrible ways. They then went into the catacombs, where Béla had told them that Father Martin was holding the witch. There they found eight halfling warriors, followers of Martin, and slew them. They also discovered that the witch was held in stasis within a divine field of power; there appeared to be three keys to open the field. They found two, one on the lead halfling’s body, the other guarded by an animated suit of armor. During the assault, the new Lord of Lugos sent Father Martin and his followers packing (being Glantrian he despised the church, and had no place for the unofficial and unapproved power gained by the priest). Lazarus secretly followed the priest and his acolytes back to the church, where all discovered the horrible desecration. Martin and the acolytes were eventually caught between the wizard and the anti-paladins; the acolytes were slain in the battle, while Martin called upon the Source of All Things to have mercy upon him as he was about to be slain… and he disappeared. Unsure of who was up to what, the victorious evil-doers ended up in a Chinese Standoff, as Lazarus had found the third key hidden in Martin’s hidden treasury. Being both untrusting and psychotic, the sisters decided to attack… and were easily bested by a sleep spell. Lurka, being far more open to negotiations (also having been converted from Chaotic Evil to Neutral through un-judicious touching of holy objects), Lazarus cut her a deal, and she slit the sister’s throats. Shortly thereafter, “awakening” on the shadowy Astral Plane, the pair were horrified to view the True Visage of their patron, in her most wrathful aspect at their failure, being promised an eternity of horrible torments… [Robbie and Jason]

Friedrich the Bastard (male Halagan) was the corrupt Sergeant of the Constabulary (the infamous “Red Sashes”), in charge of the Thieves’ Quarter. He was slain out of hand early in the morning of the 3rd of Thaumont by his lovers, Borsha and Demonica, when he failed to wake them in time for them to join Lurka during the kidnapping of Matilda Bronisen. His body was desecrated and defiled, and it and his flat were burned to cinders (though fortunately, the fire did not spread any further, otherwise half of the Thieves’ Quarter might be in ashes today)

Severus “Fatty” Stolnik (male Thyatian/Voldavian) was the Seneschal of Lugos, a fat and thieving fellow who cooked his books well. Unable to legally deal with him, Lord Lugosi dragged him along on the journey to Luln “to assist in the hiring of new guards and retainers.” He was assassinated by Lurka during an attack by orcs while en route. [NPC]

Thursday, December 8, 2011

[Archduchy of Adventure] Main Map

For those who have been wondering the map is for my Archduchy of Adventure campaign, a Labyrinth Lord campaign set in the world of Mystara.

I've changed the scale of the map somewhat. The original maps were 24 miles per hex, with each Gazetteer map broken down to 8 mile hexes. I've taken the 8 mile hexes from the Gazetteers and changed the scale to 15 miles per hex, then broken those down for this map to 5 miles per hex, as used in the classic Grand Tactical Scale from Judges Guild.

Here's the reference map I am using, an adaptation of the original by Thorfinn Tait; the section that has been blown up in the previous map is outlined in a black box...