Sunday, November 3, 2019

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

[Now Available] Marilith-Kin and Nalfeshnee-Kin Racial Classes for Labyrinth Lord

Just in time for Halloween, we are pleased to present you with the Marilith-Kin Racial Class and Nalfeshnee-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord!

The Marilith-kin are cousins of the Marilith Demons of great infamy. They have many of the same powers, but no two Marilith-kin are alike, as is befitting their Chaotic Demonic origins!

Marilith-kin have the following abilities:
  • Armored Skin
  • Creatures of Infernal Darkness
  • Creatures of Magic
  • Movement
  • Multi-Armed Warriors
  • Natural Magicians (can use spell-like powers of 1st to 4th level).
  • Serpent Form

The Marilith-kin racial-class has 8 levels, each more fiendishly powerful than the last.

Click here to buy the Marilith-Kin Racial Class on DriveThruRPG

The Nalfeshnee-kin are cousins of the Nalfeshnee Demons of great infamy. They have many of the same powers, but no two Nalfeshnee-kin are alike, as is befitting their Chaotic Demonic origins!

Nalfeshnee-kin have the following abilities:
  • Armored Skin
  • Creatures of Infernal Darkness
  • Creatures of Magic
  • Movement
  • Natural Attacks
  • Natural Magicians (can use spell-like powers of 1st to 4th level).
  • Tough

The Nalfeshnee-kin racial-class has 10 levels, each more fiendishly powerful than the last.

This Halloween, get ready to get your demon on!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

[Now Available from JMG] Balor-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord

Balor-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord

Just in time for Halloween, we are pleased to present you with the Balor-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord!

This is your chance to finally play a “young balor,” as has often been described in early gaming!

The balor-kin are cousins of the Balor Demons of great infamy. They have many of the same powers, but no two balor-kin are alike, as is befitting their Chaotic Demonic origins!

Balor-kin have the following abilities:
  • Armored Skin
  • Creatures of Fire and Shadow
  • Creatures of Magic
  • Dual Wield Warriors
  • Immolation
  • Inhuman Stature
  • Movement
  • Natural Magicians (can use spell-like powers of 1st to 4th level).

The balor-kin racial-class has 10 levels, each more fiendishly powerful than the last.

This Halloween, get ready to get your demon on!

Monday, September 9, 2019

[Mystara] More on Tepeshy Religion

The Tepeshy immortals can be separated into two factions, that of Burza and that of Vadok. This division goes way back to the days of Taymor, when Nyx and Thanatos fought over the souls of that realm.

Following the destruction of Taymor, they decided that, in the matter of the surviving mountain Taymorans, they would hold a truce and work together to keep the Taymorans a going concern. Thus, while the Tepeshy view them as a married couple, they are viewed as a feuding married couple on a level that make Zeus and Hera seem positively like lovebirds. But as always, even with the feud between them, they and their “family” work together to defend the Tepeshy as a whole.

Even though most of the other Tepeshy immortals owe their immortality to Thanatos, as things go, they are no more or less loyal to the Grim Reaper than they are to any other Immortals, and so the Tepeshy immortals play each other off one another for immortal favor and for further power on the mortal plane.

In Tepeshy religion, all the immortals are viewed in human form; like the Tepeshy, with humanoid characteristics.

I should note here that most Tepeshy look almost perfectly human; most have only a slightly odd cast to their features. Others are less human in appearance, and more monstrous. The best way to understand the Tepeshy physical type is to consider the Addams Family extended family as seen during the party scene in the original movie. Most are slightly off-human norm, some more so, and others quite inhuman… and then imagine what the Addams Family extended family was like in medieval times. That’s the Tepeshy…

Unlike their Traladaran cousins, the Tepeshy do not revere their immortals in a single, overarching faith; each has their own temple hierarchy and they generally remain aloof from one another. Temples are not found in the settlements; they are at a distance, though each settlement has a couple of shrines and the major settlements have shrines to most of the immortals. Low-level clergy (3rd level and under) tend to the shrines, while higher-level clergy pass through to perform more important rites at the settlement shrines during certain unholy days. Most Tepeshy need nothing more than the local village priest can provide; if they do need more, they must go on a quest to the nearest temple of the appropriate immortal or seek out the high temple of the immortal if they require truly miraculous assistance.

The Tepeshy immortals (and more importantly, their clergy) work on a quid-pro-quo basis, requiring sacrifices and payments for their services. The village clergy require low-level sacrifices, such as foodstuffs, animals, and various useful goods (for themselves) and coin and other valuable treasures for their immortals (kept in the shrine or temple treasury, considered the treasure of the immortal, literally). Higher-level clergy require more personal sacrifice, of one’s own blood, a quest, or even the capture and sacrifice of an enemy or specific monster (usually of Lawful sort). These are often personalized to the nature of the immortal.

All the Tepeshy immortals are served by ranks of demons; these demons, regardless of type, all conform to some aspect of the immortal they serve. Thus, a Type IV demon serving Burza would be more wolf and human like than boar and ape-like, while a Type IV serving Strigz would have two faces and be armed and armored.

Each immortal has their own “divine reward” on this world or in another, for their followers. Those whose worship is simply “good enough” end up with their souls stuck for eternity in the Underworld overseen by Rumgoth. Those who displease or fail their patron immortal are cast into the Abyss to be eternally torn apart by demons.

Burza, Mother of Night, Queen of Wolves (Nyx) appears as a matronly woman of indeterminate age; she has pale skin, blood-red lips, long raven-dark hair, and deep, hypnotic eyes, and wears a plain black dress as dark as night. She is never depicted as a wolf herself; the wolves are her children, and she is their queen. She is often depicted with a wolf or pack of wolves. Her symbol is a stylized wolf’s head. Her colors are black and white; wolf pelts are often used for cloaks or other décor. Her greatest servants are rewarded with transformation into a werewolf; her more powerful servants also gain dire wolves as steeds. Her followers often keep wolves or wolf-hounds as pets and guardians. Her clerics can speak with wolves. Her following is strongest among those who live mostly by the hunt or live in the heavily-forested highlands of the mountains. Her faithful can count on being reincarnated as wolves. Note that it is not against her faith to kill wolves; after all, it is a “wolf-eat-wolf” world. However, it is blasphemy to hunt a wolf with magic or any other “unnatural” methods. Wolves who comport themselves well in their death may be reincarnated as wolves or even werewolves; those who die poorly are reincarnated as humans.

Burguul, Lord of Shadows and Lies, Messenger of Burza (Masauwu) appears as a faceless shadow of a horned man with the wings of a bat; it is said that bats are his messengers, and thus also the messengers of his patron, Burza. His symbol is a stylized bat. His colors are black and brown. His greatest servants are transformed into werebats; some of his more powerful servants also gain giant bats as steeds. His followers often keep bats and giant bats as pets and guardians. His clerics can speak with bats. Those who displease him, or his mistress, are sent nightgaunts as punishment. His faithful can count on being reincarnated as bats; those who displease him are cast into the Abyss to be eternally torn apart by demons.

Vadok, Father of Death, King of Vampires (Thanatos) appears as a pale-skinned man of monstrous countenance, with great fangs and glowing red eyes, always dressed in regal finery tainted by the grave. His symbol is a human skull, sometimes surmounted by a golden crown with blood-red rubies. His colors are black and red (in all the colors of blood). His followers seek to placate him, for his canon claims their only way to avoid being cast into the Abyss to be tormented by demons for eternity is to serve him eternally in death, as skeletons, zombies, wights, or some other form of corporeal undead (in this guise Thanatos has nothing to do with incorporeal undead, nor in general ghouls, ghasts, mummies, or liches). His most powerful and worthy servants are transformed into vampires. These are often served by rats, giant rats, and wererats. He is served by Death Demons and Lesser Reapers.

Zhurm, Patron of Sorcerers, Messenger of Vadok (Alphaks) appears much like his master, Vadok, but is much more human in appearance, taller, almost suave, with much nicer finery. However, when he angers, he gets even more hideous and monstrous than his master. He is usually accompanied by two or three beautiful women (succubi), who act as his chorus. He also appears as a red mist within which are seen red glowing orbs for eyes. His symbol is a blood red winged ouroboros. His colors are black and red. In addition to his role as the messenger of Vadok, he is also the patron of Tepeshy sorcerers; those who rise high enough in their power are taught how to summon demons by Zhurm himself. Like his master, he is served by Death Demons and Lesser Reapers, as well as succubi; unlike his master, he is also served by ghouls and ghasts, and at times, red dragons.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

[Mystara] Tepeshiya Map WIP Mk. I

Here's a preview of the map of Tepeshiya; it is a work in progress and subject to change.

I'm drawing on a lot of the resources available at the Vaults of Pandius, though still distinctly making this part of my Mystara, so not everything out there in the Fanon will make it in (and much of what does will be altered).

A complete list of what came from where will be included down the road.

As usual, click to embiggen...

Monday, September 2, 2019

[Mystara] Altan Tepes and the Tepeshy

The Altan Tepes mountain region on the border between Karameikos, Darokin, Ylaruam, and Thyatis is a huge area that is effectively independent. Karameikos is the only state that even attempts to maintain a garrison presence, and even this is recent, with Duke’s Road Keep and Castellan Keep being built certainly no earlier than 30 years ago, likely much less.

The area on the map within the blue border totals 9,625 square miles. For perspective, here are some real-world measurements:

Albania = 10,578 sq. mi.
Haiti = 10,640 sq. mi.
North Macedonia = 9,820 sq. mi.
Israel = 7,850 sq. mi.

So that is a HUGE territory into which just about anything can be placed.

Based on the known history of the Known World, this can include:
  • Ancient Azcan and Oltec ruins (perhaps with some long-lost Azcan/Oltec tribes);
  • Ancient Blackmoorian ruins (perhaps with robots and androids);
  • Ancient Taymoran ruins (perhaps with vampires and undead and lost tribes of Taymorans);
  • Ancient Nithian ruins ca. 1500 to 500 BC (perhaps with mummies and with lost tribes of Nithians);
  • Ancient Traldar and/or Hutaaka ruins, ca. 1400 to 500 BC (as in the Lost Valley of Hutaaka);
  • Ancient Gnoll ruins ca. 1000 BC and onward;
  • Ancient Dwarf ruins ca. 900 to 491 BC (as in Thunderdelve, and perhaps a surviving dwarven delve or three);
  • Lost Tribes of Thyatians, Kerendans, Hattians, etc., ca. 600 to 400 BC;
  • Early Traladaran ruins ca. 500 BC to 500 AC;
  • Plenty of Humanoid tribes and lairs from 491 BC (Battle of Sardal Pass) onward;
  • Displaced Alasiyan tribes from the Thyatian colonization ca. 150 to 250 AC;
  • Lairs of lycanthropes from 400 AC onward;
  • Primitive Traladaran hill and forest folk pushed out by the growing power of the city-states ca. 500 AC and onward;
  • Settlement of Darokin refugees from the internecine warfare in the fallen kingdom ca. 723 to 927 AC;
  • Settlements of Alasiyans either allied to Thyatians or not willing to convert to the Eternal Truth ca. 825 to 860 AC;
  • Settlements of angry Traladarans pushed here by Thyatians and later by Stefan ca. 900 and 970s;
  • Settlements of Darokin noble refugees from the Great Merger, fleeing the rule of the Merchant Kings ca. 927 to 949 AC;
  • Displaced hordes of Humanoids from Stefan’s crusade to push through the Duke’s Road ca. 970s and onward;
We also know that there are at least two major dragon lairs in the region (one centered in the region, the other nearer Duke’s Road Keep), based on Bruce’s article from Dragon #170, though their types, ages, and names are unknown.

So with that, here are some developments for the region:

There are the following minor remnant “Lost Tribes” in the region, usually a single small tribe and a handful of clans controlling a valley or highland region: Azcan, Oltec, Taymoran, Nithian, Traldar, Thyatian, and Alasiyan. Like the Traldar of the Lost Valley of Hutaaka, these Lost Tribes are rather inbred, highly xenophobic, and suffer from some cultural quirk based on their native culture.

There is also a single surviving dwarven delve, which also is home to a clan of gnomes; it is still producing large quantities of silver and gold, as well as high-quality gemstones. This, together with the vast wealth to be found in the Humanoid-haunted ruined delves, is the reason for the road (trail, really), that passes through the Keep on the Borderlands.

There are small settlements of Traladarans and Darokinians on the verge of the region, both descended from refugees from their respective invasion and revolution. Both group’s settlements are centered on a noble family that fled from the conquest/revolution, and thus they are insular and xenophobic.

All these groups are insignificant compared to two tribal groups, the Humanoids and the Tepeshy, which compete for dominance in the region. The Humanoids have greater numbers, but the Tepeshy are better organized (not much, but more than enough). The Humanoids live primarily in the old dwarven delves and other natural caves in the high mountains, while the Tepeshy live in the terraced valleys. The Tepeshy are semi-nomadic, moving every couple of years to other valleys to allow their terraced farms to lay fallow and allow local fauna and flora to recover from hunting and gathering.

The Tepeshy (singular Tepesh) are primarily descended from a mix of Taymorans and Traladarans native to the mountains, with long ages of intermixing with the Lost Tribes and the Humanoids of the region. The Tepeshy are for all intents and purposes a race of demi-orcs, and no few are full half-orcs (though their bloodlines actually include everything from kobolds to ogres and all in between), due to wife-stealing on both sides. They have the pale skin of their Taymoran and Traladaran ancestors (sometimes with a  light tinge of other color from the Humanoid side), with various eye, ear, nose, mouth, and other physical elements from their Humanoid ancestors (to a greater or lesser extent).

Tepeshy are organized into tribes and clans, all of which engage in internecine feuds and vendettas, though they readily unite against Humanoids or other invaders. Like their Humanoid cousins, they prefer to live underground, in the dwarven delves dug lower in the valleys; if such dwellings are not available, they build dugout pit-houses using stone walls and sod roofs, for themselves and their animals. They keep small gardens and maintain larger terrace farms for grains (some of the terraces date back to the time of the Oltecs). They also herd mountain sheep, mountain goats, and small wooly long-horn highlands cattle; some clans have giant sheep or giant goats that they use as steeds. They supplement their diet by hunting (mostly boar, deer, and bear), gathering, fishing, and raiding. Some tribes and clans keep mastiff hounds as pets and guards; others keep and train brown bears or grey wolves. They also keep hawks for hunting and sport, and homing pigeons to send messages between major tribal settlements.

Tepeshy dress in colorful woolens, leathers, and furs, and their technology is such that they can make leather armor, fur armor, scale mail, and wooden or hide shields and bone helmets; they wield spears, long and short swords, battle and hand axes, slings, and short bows. If you use the barbarian class in your campaign, they can take the barbarian class (they are a mountain/hill people).

Culturally, otherwise, they are mostly similar to Traladarans, though even more superstitious. They have the avarice and wildness of their Humanoid heritage; the tendency to engage in internecine feuds of their Azcan and Oltec heritage; the will to conquest of their Traldar and Thyatian heritage; and a fear and reverence for the Immortals of their Taymoran, Nithian, and Alasiyani heritage. Their language is originally derived from Taymoran with many Humanoid and other borrowings and is not mutually intelligible with any other language. They have a unique writing system, maintained by their priests and sorcerers/witches, also descended in a long line from Taymoran.

The Tepeshy do not worship the same immortals as the Traladarans or the Humanoids; they worship a pantheon of generally dark and dreadful Immortals and Demons:

  • Burza, Mother of Night, Queen of Wolves (Nyx)&;
  • Vadok, Father of Death, King of Vampires (Thanatos)*
  • Burguul, Lord of Shadows and Lies, Messenger of Burza (Masauwu)&;
  • Opasha, Lady of Lust and Debauchery (Talitha)*
  • Rumgoth, Lord of the Underworld and Undeath (Orcus)*&;
  • Strigz, Lord of War (Demogorgon)*
  • Zahovara, Mother of Mountains and Jewels, Protector of Lairs (Pearl)&;
  • Zhurm, Patron of Sorcerers, Messenger of Vadok (Alphaks)*

Especial enemy immortals include:

  • Akul-Gurz, Lord of Icy Doom, Father of Giants (Thrym)
  • Gajarpan, the Dread Serpent (Atzanteotl)
  • Magath, the Hammer (Kagyar)
  • Timorsham, Lord of the Burning Sun (Ixion)
  • Zajar-Bal, Lord of Fire and Destruction (Rathanos)
  • All the Humanoid immortals (Hel, Bartziluth, Jammudaru, Karaash, Ranivorus, The Shining One, Wogar, and Yagrai)
  • The Traladaran immortals (Halav, Petra, Zirchev)
Vampires and lycanthropes (werewolves, wereboars, and werebats) have a special place in Tepeshy society. Vampirism and lycanthropy are considered rewards for long service to the tribe and faith; the gift is not given out willy-nilly, and especially not to mere strangers! Heroes of the people, as well as high-level clergy and magic-users of the faith, can be granted vampirism (*) or lycanthropy (&) (depending on their patron god or goddess). Followers of Burza and Burguul are granted lycanthropy (werewolf or werebat); followers of Vadok, Opasha, Strigz, and Zhurm are granted vampirism; followers of Zahovara are granted lycanthropy (were-drakes); and followers of Rumgoth are granted either lycanthropy (wereboar) or vampirism. These “Lords of the Tribes” are respected by all, and usually have their own temple, fortress, or manor apart from the settlements, to retire in some lonely high valley or in some important mountain pass to protect the tribes.

“Altan Tepes” means “Golden Spires” in Traladaran and “Red Dawn Peaks” in Tepeshyan; Tepeshyan legends speak of their immortals impaling enemy immortals on these very peaks at the dawn of time. The Altan Tepes in Tepeshiya are very tall and steep, giving the appearance of narrow cones or spikes, though most peaks are atop long, winding ridges, like some sort of giant stone labyrinth. The Altan Tepes are a karst formation, meaning that they are riddled with natural caverns and tunnels. They combine elements of the Carpathian Alps and the Dolomite Alps, with the valleys heavily terraced as in the Andes (though not all terraces are actively farmed, some are lost and crumbling amidst forest and bracken).

The valleys are often filled with fog and mist, the result of much of the rain that would be taken to the Alasiyani Desert or the Darokin Plain falling in the mountains in addition to the natural level of rainfall. This makes the forested portion of the mountains effectively a temperate rainforest. In summer the mountains are cool, the valleys warm, both hidden and shadowed by mists. In the winter much snow falls due to the magical influence of the glacier, Akuliima (“Ice Throne”), and then the raids of the frost giants reach deep into the lowlands.

The southern and northwestern foothills are covered in oak, hornbeam, holly, rowan, ash, maple, hemlock, dogwood, and lime, among other deciduous trees; the northwestern foothills are barren wastelands. The mid-range mountains, ridges, and valleys are home to beech, fir, spruce, and sycamore; conifers such as the fir and spruce predominate the higher one goes. Above the timberline among the alpine meadows are found thickets of mountain pine, juniper, and alder shrubs. Many tall, nigh vertical ridges, peaks, and cones are barren save for tangles of shrubs and vines and the odd trees growing out of cracks. Oddly, motile and carnivorous plants and fungi are not found in the region, for reasons unknown to myth or legend (these kinds of lifeforms are found in the Underworld of the Humanoids, however, as are many animate molds, jellies, and slimes).

The mountains are home to the following normal animals, among others: bats (normal and giant), bears (black and grizzly), beavers (normal and giant), boars (normal and giant), bobcats, cattle (highland longhorns), chipmunks, deer (red, roe, and white-tailed), dogs (wild), dormice, eagles (normal and giant), ermine, ferrets (normal and giant), foxes, goats (normal and giant), grouse, hawks (normal and giant), jackals, lizards (normal and giant), martens, minks, moles, mountain lions, owls (normal and giant), porcupines, rabbits, raccoons, rats (normal and giant), ravens (normal and giant), salamanders (normal and giant), sheep (normal and giant), skunks (normal and giant), snakes (normal and giant), squirrels, trout, turkeys, weasels (normal and giant), wildcats, and wolves (normal and dire). There are many other species of birds (notably the death-warbler, which has a black and white skull pattern on its wings and back) and countless insects, though especially bees, beetles, butterflies, centipedes, flies, mantises, moths, spiders, stick-bugs, ticks, and wasps (normal and giant-sized).

The mountains are also home to at least the following monsters, among others [NE refers to the northeastern mountains and hills facing the Alasiyani Desert, GL refers to the glacial and alpine region of the frost giants]: apes (snow, GL), baboons (normal and higher, NE), bugbears, chimeras, devil swine, djinni (NE), dragons (white (GL), green, red), dragonnes (NE), dwarves (duergar), efreet (NE), elves (deep), ghasts (NE), ghosts, ghouls (NE), giants (hill, frost (GL)), gnolls, goblins, griffons, hell hounds (NE), hobgoblins, jackalweres, kobolds, lamias (NE), Lammasu (NE), lizardfolk, lycanthropes (werebats, werebears, wereboars, werewolves), manticores (NE), minotaurs (eastern reaches), morlocks (Blackmoorian ruins), mummies (Azcan, Oltec, and Nithian ruins), nymphs (eastern foothills), ogres, orcs, owlbears, pseudo-dragons (and their less intelligent cousins, the drakes) remorhaz (GL), rocs (small and large), salamanders (frost, GL), satyrs (eastern foothills), scorpions (giant, NE), shadows (Taymoran ruins), skeletons, spectres, sphinxes (NE), vampires, wights, winter wolves (GL), wraiths, wyverns, yeti (GL), and zombies. Notably absent are any sorts of surface-dwelling elves, fairy-folk, and many of the sylvan folk (though there are some in the eastern reaches); the Tepeshy are inimical to all such creatures to due ancient feuds (dating from the settling of Traladara by the Vyalia ages ago).

Note that though their realm is on a smaller scale, the variety of monstrous inhabitants of the phantasmagorical Underworld of the Humanoids is on par with that of the Broken Lands and the Shadow Elves.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

[Mystara] B2 and Altan Tepes Ideas

Just hanging this here for now...

According to the Five Shires gazetteer, dwarves were all over the Altan Tepes digging mines and strongholds in ancient days (ca. 900s BC). 

So the dwarves who settled the region in the 900s (and the exiles from the Shires after the fall of Loktal's Realm) were exterminated by humanoids, the same hordes pushed back at Sardal Pass in 491 BC (check out the migrations map in Orcs of Thar).

The monster- and humanoid-haunted delves are still filled with the treasures of the old dwarves, their lands inaccessible due to intervening tribes until the arrival of Duke Stefan, whose army pushed through the Duke's Road 20 years ago (and sent the surviving forest and hill humanoids into the Altan Tepes to settle among their mountain cousins... with a burning hatred for humans and a desire to reclaim their lost lands).

Perhaps some remnant petty dwarven stronghold still exists in that region, south of the Frost Giants, and they are the reason for all the trade in gems and jewelry... them and the adventurers now looting the lairs of the humanoids in the old dwarven delves.

Not to mention, of course, frost-giant haunted mountains are a great reason to have a castle, humanoid tribes or no...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

[Now Available] Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets

Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets
By James Mishler
10 pages, PDF, $1.00

Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets provide players and Labyrinth Lords with useful forms and information to use and keep track of individual adventure sessions.

This pack contains the following:

A 2-page Party Adventure Record Sheet, which is used to keep track of the party members, locations explored, NPCs encountered, information learned, monsters killed, treasures won, henchmen & hirelings, divisions of the spoils and XP, and mysteries & loose ends of an adventure session.

A 2-page Character Adventure Record Sheet, which is used during ad adventure to keep track of the character’s combat stats, special abilities and skills, and spells, and is used to keep track of locations explored, NPCs encountered, information learned, monsters killed, treasures won, and secrets kept from other party members during an adventure session.

A 4-page Labyrinth Lord Adventure Log includes two pages dedicated to information needful for running labyrinth and wilderness adventures, including rules for time & movement; light & darkness; listen & spot checks; doors in the labyrinth; traps & trap detection; climbing, stealth, & swimming; and foraging & hunting rules. Also included are a page for keeping track of details of player characters and henchmen, plus a page for keeping track of marching order (by tactics), light sources, monsters and treasures, and notable events.

Permission is granted to print these record sheets for personal use.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

[Now Available] New Advanced Labyrinth Lord Character Record Sheet -- UPDATED!

Now available -- my new Advanced Labyrinth Lord Character Record Sheet.

Pay what you want (something would be nice, $1 suggested)...

UPDATE 11/9/19: This product now has two character sheets -- a 4-page full record, and a more classic 2-page quick record. Still Pay-What-You-Want! Cheap!

Two and Four pages, PDF.

Here's the first page:

And here is the full two-page character sheet:

Thursday, June 6, 2019

[Now Available] Quick Start Character Race & Class Sheets: By-the-Book

For use with Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord
James Mishler Games
By James Mishler
32-pages, $2.99 – Introductory Price of $1.99!

The QUICK START CHARACTER RACE & CLASS SHEETS BY-THE-BOOK are designed to enable a group of players, new or experienced, to quickly create 1st level characters of the various races, classes, and racial classes available in Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord. Each race, class, and racial class is detailed on a single sheet with all the information needed to begin play with that class, including requirements, class abilities, a description of basic 1st level spells (as needed), and a list of starting equipment that makes the most difficult and tedious character-creation element – choosing equipment – relatively fast and simple!

Also included are appendices dealing with Rolling Up Advanced Characters, Rolling Up Basic Characters, Equipment Lists, Fast Packs, and Secondary Skills.

Note that the Quick Start sheets do not usually include any information about advancement, abilities, or spells available after 1st level, other than Experience Points required to attain 2nd level. For all such information, consult the Labyrinth Lord, Advanced Edition Companion, or Advanced Labyrinth Lord tomes.

Permission is granted to print these sheets for personal use only; in fact, such is essential to use the product as intended!

Quick Start Race Sheets
Dwarf Race.....3
Elf Race.....4
Gnome Race.....5
Halfling Race.....6
Half-Elf Race.....7
Half-Orc Race.....8
Human Race.....9

Quick Start Class Sheets
Assassin Class.....10
Cleric Class.....11
Druid Class.....12
Dwarf Racial Class.....13
Elf Racial Class.....14
Fighter Class.....15
Halfling Racial Class.....16
Illusionist Class.....17
Magic-User Class.....18
Monk Class.....19
Paladin Class.....20
Ranger Class.....21
Thief Class.....22

Appendix A: Rolling Up Advanced Characters.....23
Appendix B: Rolling Up Basic Characters.....24
Appendix E: Equipment Lists.....25-27
Appendix F: Fast Packs.....28-29
Appendix S: Secondary Skills.....30
Open Gaming License.....31-32

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Death by Infravision!

So for the first time ever in almost 38 years of play, I have witnessed the first Death by Infravision (playing Labyrinth Lord, BTW).

The party -- human thief, human cleric, halfling, dwarf cleric, and elf -- burst into a room and found some goblins. They slaughter all but one, who ran down a stair screaming for backup.

The party starts to hear rumblings of many feet, howling and gibbering and thumping, and start to freak out; they are already down hit points, and not ready to deal with a whole swarm of goblins. 

So they start pouring every flask of oil they have 15 feet down the stair, over the side of the short wall beside the stair.

They say they are going to wait until the goblins reach the oil, then hit it with fire. So far, so good...

Knowing the only fire they had at the time was the thief's lantern, I ask, "So what are you going to throw down there?"

"Oh," they say, "we'll use our flint and steel."

"Flint and steel? 15 feet down a stairwell?"

"Oh... um, somebody light a torch!" they scream, as I describe how the mass of goblins is now swarming up the stair...

I tell them they have a 2 in 6 chance of lighting a torch in time.

"No time!" shouts the thief, down to 2 hit points... who then throws his lantern down the stair, which shattered amongst the oil and the front rank of goblins.

The party shouts in joy as the first two ranks go up in flames! Then the fire dies down after two rounds... casting everything into darkness.

A few moments pass as both sides take stock, and the goblins once more start rushing up the stair. The elf and the dwarf, the only ones who can see, loose arrow and stone down the stair at the goblins, with the dwarf acting as a shield in front of the elf. The goblins can't hit, as both are heavily armored and swift...

And then the humans, desperate for light, fire up their other light sources, blinding the elf and the dwarf for 1d3 rounds!

Dwarf, unable to use shield and dexterity, becomes much easier to hit, immediately takes an arrow, dies, and falls down the stairs (and rolling into a goblin, killing the poor 1-hit point creature)... and so, Death By Infravision!

The previous session an elf got taken out with Death By Acid. The party encountered some new creatures -- I call them Screaming Mimis -- greenish balls the size of a beach ball with eyes on stalks and big feet that let them jump far and high. When killed by slicing or piercing weapons they explode, and anyone within 5 feet has to make a saving throw versus Breath Weapon or take 1d8 points of acid damage. The gnome's dog killed one with its terrible bite, and the elf failed her saving throw with a "Natural 1," and rolling maximum damage, melting off her face, and killing her...

At least they were able to bring her body out of the dungeon. When they fled the goblins they never got a chance to recover the dwarf's body... but I am sure they will encounter it again... mwahahaha!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Origin and Life Cycle of the Elves

The following thoughts were inspired by the posts on From the Sorcerer's Skull here and here.

NOTE: this information is known by all elves but is never revealed to other races. Other races, over long centuries, have gained hints and rumors of the elven life-cycle; whenever the truth is fully discovered, the elves ensure that the information, and those who know of it, are wiped out.

The basic truth of elves is that elves are not native to the mortal world. When the ancient elves first arrived in the mortal world from elsewhere (where has been lost even to elven knowledge) they were spiritual, non-corporeal entities made of pure energy.

The ancestors of the elves arrived when humanity was still in its infancy, only recently evolved from the proto-human, near-simian man-apes that preceded true humans.

The energy beings encountered these creatures and possessed them, becoming the first elves.

As the world then was covered in primeval forest, and the elves embraced the life-energy of the forest, they adapted their bodies to become best adapted to the forest. In all the long millennia since, the elves have never lost this connection to nature and the living world, not even the aloof gray elves nor the corrupted dark elves.

Over time, the first elves slowly molded the bodies they had possessed to what they considered a superior form, what is today known as that of the “sylvan elf” or “wood elf.” This form is smaller than modern humans, as humans of that long-passed age were smaller than modern humans (the sylvan elves were taller and more muscular than the humans of the day).

The elf-spirits did not like the hairy bodies of the humans, and so rid themselves of all hair save for that on their head and their eyebrows. Eyes were made larger, the better to enable darkvision and improved eyesight; similarly, ears were made larger and pointed, to improve hearing. The elves could also change their hair, skin, and eye color at will, the better to express their individuality.

Not wishing to limit themselves to either the male or female form, the elves made themselves capable of remolding the sexual form of their bodies, and thus they may become male or female, neither (neuter) or both (hermaphroditic) as they wish (a change that requires several days to go from male to either neither or both, then to female, and vice-versa). As a result, all elves are physically androgynous in appearance, even those who prefer the biological male or female sexual form to any others.

This sexual polymorphism was due to seeking out differing pleasurable experiences with the physical body; due to religious and cultural reasons, the idea of childbearing was anathema to the first elves (this is no longer true of elves in general, see below). The first elves would never use their own bodies for such distasteful activities (essentially, childbearing was considered equivalent to hosting a parasitical growth).

For long centuries the superior form and technology of the first elves (for the first elves quickly developed advanced technology and civilization from long-buried racial memories of their pre-energy life form) kept the elves alive and in good health. Then the first elves experienced the first physical death among their kind.

They sadly discovered that the spirit of the deceased had become too tied to the body it had long inhabited, and so could not possess another adult body. However, after some experimentation they discovered that the spirit could inhabit the newly-conceived fetus of a human child. The child grew to term, and then after its birth, they retrieved the child by exchanging the newborn with a wolf cub they had polymorphed into a human child. This was the first changeling (and also the origin of lycanthropy, as that human child became the first werewolf).

And so, the issue of the rebirth of existing elves was dealt with when the circumstances first required it. This sparked the issue of the population growth of the elven race, for the human population was growing even as human civilization was quickly advancing (by elven standards). 

In all too short a time elves would be grossly outnumbered and perhaps brought to extinction.

However, as the bodies they had taken and improved upon were still, for all intents and purposes, human, they believed they could reproduce with humans.

After some experimentation it was discovered that elves could, indeed, reproduce with humans. And not only physically; in half of all cases the child bore an elf-spirit, while in the other half of all cases the child bore a human soul.

Those of elf-spirit could, when taught properly, mold their bodies as did the original elves, and their spirits lived on to reincarnate as did the other elven spirits. Those of human-soul, however, could not mold their bodies, nor live on to reincarnate, for they did not have an elf-spirit, but instead had a human soul.

And so over long millennia, the first elves grew their numbers by mating with humans and then taking the elf-spirit children who would grow into proper elves (usually leaving a changeling in its place in payment). In most cases, the half-elf children were left to their own devices, though in some cases there might be some interaction, either with the parent or with the community, depending on the community of the elves.

Then came two schisms among the elves at the same time.

First, many elves noticed that humans had physically improved over the long age; they had grown taller and stronger, more intelligent and capable, and had taken to domesticating animals, growing gardens and grains, and settling in small hamlets and villages. Some of this they had learned from the elves, other things (such as primitive metallurgy) they had learned from the dwarves. And some of the elves were worried that as a people, they were being left behind.

A great number of elves, though not the majority of elves, decided that the elven people needed to evolve.

Against the advice of most of the first elves (who at this point were mostly in their fifth to seventh incarnations), many of the younger, third and fourth generation of elves morphed their bodies en masse, to something similar to or even superior to that of humans. These elves, the high elves, were also the first elves to abandon the strict forest lifestyle of their ancestors.

They then did humans one better and, using their advanced technologies and ancient ancestral memories, built towns and cities when humans had built hamlets and villages. They moved out of the forests and into the meadowlands. There they built vast fields to grow the grains needed to support an advanced civilization. Some humans they adopted like pets, others they enslaved to do their bidding. And so, the first great elven civilizations arose. They allied with the dwarves against the giants and the dragons, and created a time of peace and plenty, which even in human lore is remembered as a golden age.

The first elves who still led the sylvan elves watched all this in horror. Some of them even went mad when they discovered that the high elves had taken to procreating among themselves! Most of the first elves met in conclave and decided that they had to come up with a way to strengthen the sylvan elves against their erstwhile cousins. Of two minds – sane and mad – one group decide that they needed to outdo the high elves and transform themselves into the most potent elven form possible; the other group decided that it were best to call upon the life-force of the forest and to meld with it, to protect the sylvan elves and the forests from the expected depredations of the high elves, who they felt had become too human.

Then from the first elves (all but a few) were born the fairies – the gray elves, the ultimate form of elf (at least, in their own minds) known as faerie elves, and the fairy races, such as pixies, sprites, nixies, and others, born of the merger of the first elves and the life force of the forests. Which faction was sane, and which was mad, none today knows, not even amongst themselves.

In the case of the gray elves, they decided to remain aloof from both high and sylvan elves, seeking to live their lives as an example to their cousins. They moved to hidden mountain valleys and other isolated locales, there to further develop the ancient magic that was inherent in the elven form and to study the very nature of the cosmos and existence. Eventually, over time, these became their obsessions, and they mostly lost their way, though some gray elf peoples continue their self-imposed guardianship of all elven peoples.

The fairy folk, whatever their original ideals and plans, quickly fell into the eternal reverie and merrymaking that is the fairy way. They remain staunch allies of sylvan elves and guard the forests, though now more for their own purposes rather than for all of elf kind. Though they were born from the first elves, the process of unifying with the life force of the forest shattered the spirits of the first elves, and their memories, such that there are few among them today who recall their origins, and even fewer who retain any complete memories of one of the first elves, so jumbled have the spirits of the first elves become.

Over time, without the direct influence of the first elves, the sylvan elves and fairy folk turned to procreation within their own kind. However, many sylvan elves and fairy folk, and even some high elves, continue the ancient tradition of the changeling, the better to bring in new blood to improve the ancient bloodlines. But today, most reincarnation of elven spirits occurs with an elven mother, rather than a human host.

The gray elves have developed an intermediate form of procreation, having developed a form of parthenogenesis. Whenever one of their number dies, a friend, with whom arrangements were made previously, takes on the female sex (most grey elves prefer to remain biologically neither male nor female) and becomes host to the reincarnated spirit of the deceased, the host for the spirit forming via parthenogenesis.

The origin of the dark elves is intertwined with the arrival of the forces of Law and Chaos in the mortal world at the end of the golden age of the elves and dwarves. When Chaos was brought into the world through the civil war between the hosts of the gods of men, it sought power among all the peoples, not merely humans. Some high elves found the whispered promises of Chaos much to their liking, and so began a war of elf versus elf for the first time in all of elven history. In the end the elves aligned with Chaos lost the war and fled underground, where the survivors became the ancestors of the dark elves, held in thrall by the dark lords of Chaos.

Elves self-reincarnate; that is, when an elf dies, its spirit separates from the body and seeks a new host body. Most elves have made previous arrangements with friends to host their spirit prior to death. Unfortunately, elven spirits can travel no faster in incorporeal form than they did in physical form (though they fly, and terrain is not an issue), and until they find a host, their cohesion and memory slowly degrade over time.

Some elf spirits never make it back to a host, and they either fade away or end up being pulled into some other direction. Some are found by demons, devils, ghosts, and other spirits, and are lost. So not all elves reincarnate, and even those that do have usually lost a significant amount of memory.

Some elf spirits, weak and fearing being lost forever, reincarnate in beings other than elves. If an elf spirit reincarnates in a child born to a human, it will be reborn as an elf, though will seem to be a fey human until it attains puberty, upon which most of its remaining memories will return to it (unless it is found by elves and raised among them, in which case its memories start manifesting shortly after infancy).

If an elf spirit reincarnates in a child born to a dwarf or gnome, the child is a gnome, and always remains a gnome; memories manifest at puberty, but the gnome remains a gnome. If an elf spirit reincarnates in a child born to a halfling, the child is a tallfellow halfling; memories manifest at puberty, but the halfling remains a halfling. In these cases, the gnome or halfling cannot be raised from the dead, and when it dies the elf-spirit is free again to seek an elven host.

Considering that most elves have been reincarnated many times, and each time memory degrades somewhat to nearly entirely, an elf has only glimpses of its past lives available. Only the first elves had near total recall from previous lives; these are now very few, most of them being gray elves, a few remain among the high elves and sylvan elves, and sadly, the memories of even the first elves among the fairy folk have been highly dis-articulated, disbursed into the life force of the forest and reintegrated in bits and pieces among the various fairies.

There are also odd cases where elves are reincarnated into non-human and non-demi-human forms. Some elf spirits, lost and weakened beyond consciousness, take shelter in the bodies of animals, and are born into animal form. In most cases these creatures manifest as highly intelligent animals that can speak Elvish (and perhaps other languages the elf-spirit knew).

In more exotic cases an animal born with an elf spirit morphs into a semi-humanoid form, becoming a most unique creature indeed! As this kind of thing has happened no few times over long, long millennia, there are forested regions where elves once live, but were wiped out, where strange animals reside in numbers. These creatures are usually allied with the fairy folk of the region. Some sages say this is the origin of dryads, treants, satyrs, bear-folk, harpies, and other sylvan creatures of semi-humanoid and/or high-intelligence. The elves themselves, of course, do not speak of such things…

Friday, April 26, 2019

G+, Bloggery, Legendaria, Campaigns, Labyrinth Lord, and Stuff

So lately folks have been reminiscing about G+, and if they miss it, or don't. For me, the loss of G+ was mostly a negative; I liked being able to read other's posts that were more than a Twitter and not yet a full Blog post. G+ was just right for that kind of activity without being a chat room or Discordia or whatever passes for such these days. I will miss it; I already do, but its Golden Age was long since passed, anyway.

I intended, after the closure of G+, to blog more (to get back to blogging regularly, as I was with Legendaria). But Real Life has been busy lately. I hope to be able to get blogging regularly again soon, maybe next week, more likely the week after that.

Legendaria is on the back burner and will likely stay that way for a while. I definitely want to return to it and make something out of it, but right now I am running one Labyrinth Lord game (the Western Realm Campaign) and playing in another. Both were intended to be Dungeon Expedition style, a la Rythlondar, but in both cases the party has been stuck in the dungeon between sessions. 

I think the major issue here is that due to time constraints we are only able to play three to five hours per session, which is really not enough to get as much done as one might think. Each campaign alternates every week, so meeting only twice a month does not help, either. Hopefully once the groups get a bit more cohesion each session will run faster and smoother.

I am still working on the Character Race and Class Quick Sheets, but for the initial release I am going to make them By The Book, rather than include any significant house-rules or new races or classes. I hope to have that finished in the next week or two.

After that I've got a couple of things I want to work on. Sadly, my Alien Summoner Wizard Lair Dungeon grew way the hell too much, too fast, and I dunno what to do with it now. It, too, goes on the back burner.

I may publish the adventure I am running now. So far it is working out nicely for a low-level adventure. Simple, with some goblins and undead, but with a few twists here and there to make it fresh. We'll see how the game goes; I already got a nice reaction from the players when they unexpectedly encountered a zombie bear; I haven't had that many players scream from surprise with an encounter in a while. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

[Advanced Labyrinth Lord] Rationalized Reaction Roll House Rules

One thing that has always bugged me about reaction rolls has been that they have never followed the basic curve that is presented with most ability scores. In BX and Labyrinth Lord, they are rolled on a 2d6 table, and so the Charisma modifiers are all on the 2d6 curve (as opposed to the 3d6 curve for all other ability scores); and AD&D had a d00 table which did not follow any curve.
And so, I have come up with the following new tables:
Note that Morale remains on a 2d6 scale, as I feel that works plenty well as it is.
The Charisma bonus of the party spokesperson affects how the encountered creatures react; if the character with the 18 Charisma stands at the back of the party and does not interact, their bonus is worthless; only one bonus counts, that of the spokesperson. If multiple party members try to speak all at once, any bonus is lost, but any penalty still applies; in such cases, there is an additional -2 penalty when dealing with Lawful groups.
Note that there are certain cases where a reaction roll is not needed. For example, certain humanoids always react with hostility and immediately attack certain demi-human races (and parties containing members of such races): kobolds always attack gnomes; goblins always attack dwarves; and orcs always attack elves. All humanoids otherwise react with a -2 penalty to any party whose members are of any demi-human race (such as orcs reacting to a party with dwarves, but no elves).
Chaotic creatures of extra-planar sort have a 5 in 6 chance of immediately attacking extra-planar Lawful creatures, and vice-versa, regardless of the reaction roll (as do Champions of Law or Champions of Chaos). Similarly, any group of obvious Chaotic nature that encounters a group of obvious Lawful nature has a 4 in 6 chance of attacking without even rolling reaction; Lawfuls encountering Chaotics have a 2 in 6 chance of immediately attacking (Orcs encountering the King’s Rangers; Crusaders of Law encountering members of the Cult of Chaos, etc.).
Other examples also include any party found in a creature’s lair, most especially if the party has already slain members of the creature’s clan or tribe or looted their treasury. In such cases, they will be immediately hostile and attack. They might, if patient and cunning, seek to trap the intruders in such a way that they gain advantage on their attacks and/or can eliminate the party without a fight (cf. The Hobbit, ex: Smaug and Barrel-Rider).
Otherwise, except in cases of immediate attack or immediate helpfulness, after the initial contact what thereafter occurs is up to how the party interacts with the creatures. If the party acts or the spokesperson speaks in a belligerent manner, add 2 to the chance of attacking and subtract 2 from the chance of helping. If they act in a friendly manner add 1 to the chance of helping and subtract 1 from the chance of attacking; if they act in a friendly manner and offer gifts, the modifier is 2 instead of 1.
Of course, all this is predicated on the fact that they can parley in a mutually intelligible language; if this is not possible, and they are trying to sign or use mummery to negotiate, add 2 to the chance to attack and subtract 1 from the chance to help.
If the party decides to attack suddenly, the chance of gaining surprise on an Indifferent, Friendly, or Cordial group is equal to the chance that they would have helped (2 in 6, 4 in 6, and 6 in 6); surprise only lasts for one round, regardless of the roll. A party that suddenly attacks cannot gain surprise on a Neutral, Uncertain, or Unfriendly group.
In the case of a Neutral and Uninterested group, there is a base chance of attack of 1 in 6 and a base chance to help of 1 in 6. After the first interaction, apply all modifiers and then check to see if the creatures attack or help.
If Lawful, first check the chance to help; if that fails, then check the chance to attack. If Chaotic, first check the chance to attack; if that fails, then check the chance to help. If Neutral, first check the higher chance, then the lower chance; if both chances are equal, then roll 50/50 to see which chance is checked first. If the creatures do not attack or help, continue the parley…

Saturday, March 23, 2019

[Known Realms] Map of the Northlands for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Back in early 2018 I started working on a campaign for the Known Realms of Aereth, the campaign setting for the original 3E Dungeon Crawl Classics line. Being me, of course, the first thing I had to do was set up a Hexographer map of the Northlands; nine maps, each hex 25 miles across, covering pretty much the entire Northlands except for the northernmost wastelands and Punjar (which really is part of the Lostlands, anyway).
As is normal with my life, other things got in the way of completion, and I moved on to other campaigns. However, the maps have still been sitting there, not complete but mostly complete, and now and again I've been thinking of them and what I can do with them.
Would anyone be interested in seeing these maps completed? Along with a Wilderlands-style run-down of major cities, towns, castles, citadels, ruins, islands, and lairs? Each of the nine maps would be sold separately with a gazetteer (under license from Goodman Games, of course).
Below is a small, stitched-together version of the first draft of the nine maps. Each of the nine has since been worked over more, with more details and corrections between the stitching areas, so this is merely a rough draft.
Let me know what you think...

Click to embiggen

Saturday, March 16, 2019

[Advanced Labyrinth Lord] Ransoming Player Characters

One factor in adventuring that has long been forgotten in Dungeons & Dragons, even through to Labyrinth Lord, is the possibility of ransoming captured characters. While the idea of ransoming captives is an old one in gaming, likely originated in and used to this day in RuneQuest, it was apparently only mentioned briefly by Gary Gygax in D&D in the module B2: The Keep on the Borderlands. There, he mentioned that, “Organized  tribes can optionally be allowed to take player characters prisoner, freeing one to return to the KEEP to bring a ransom back to free the captives. Set the sums low – 10 to 100 gold pieces (or a magic item which the ransoming monsters would find useful) per prisoner.”

Ransoms are actually part of the original DNA of the game. In OD&D, brigands, bandits, nomads, pirates, and buccaneers all kept prisoners for ransom (or to sell as slaves). Historically, ransoms were actually the way many such groups – as well as nobles – got cold, hard cash to add to their treasuries. And so, ransoms – or at least, the potential for them – are going to be added back into campaign. This enables player characters to have a third “out,” so that combat does not always end in death or retreat.

Of course, not all creatures are willing or even able to take on prisoners with the hope of gaining a ransom. Most humanoids have long come to the understanding that in exchange for taking a pass at a fine dinner of man-flesh they may earn themselves a significant treasure – but not all have learned this, nor do all care. Under no circumstances will a humanoid or monster take prisoners for ransom if the player characters have slaughtered their young or elderly, defaced their places of worship, or otherwise caused such pain and consternation that the treasure gained would never outweigh the desire for revenge. Also, humanoids never take their ancient racial enemies prisoner for anything less than torture and sacrifice – goblins never give quarter to dwarves, nor orcs to elves, nor kobolds to gnomes, except as  ruse to capture them for torment and worse.

Human scum – bandits brigands, nomads, pirates, and buccaneers especially – are always interested in taking prisoners for ransom. They have no desire to battle to the death, and they find it a very lucrative trade. Nobles usually only take other nobles or wealthy merchants for ransom; others are enslaved or killed out of hand. Slavers are more likely to take prisoners to sell, unless the captive is very wealthy, while berserkers and cavemen take captives only to torture and/or eat. Pilgrims generally turn dangerous adventurers over to local authorities (if Lawful) or keep them to sacrifice at their unholy shrines (if Chaotic). Druids keep interlopers prisoner until it is time to light the Wicker Man; dervishes release their enemies back into the desert, though without equipment or even clothing, to let the wastelands be judge, jury, and if needful, executioner.

Other monsters and monstrous races may take prisoners to keep for ransom if they are intelligent, capable and willing to work with two-leg creatures, and greedy for treasure. Vampires, medusae, manticores, dragons, lycanthropes, satyrs, and centaurs are all likely to take prisoners for ransom. Most other monsters are either too inimical to humans and demi-humans, too hungry, too disorganized, or just too stupid to recognize the possibilities to taking prisoners for ransom (these others are more likely to take prisoners for their larder or for torment).

Creatures of lesser intelligence and non-discerning temperament such as humanoids will usually ransom anyone for 10 to 100 gp, regardless of social class or station (they will keep all equipment and treasure found on the character, of course). But be sure that the messenger they send back to civilization hurries – they are not known for their patience, and sometimes their lust for entertainment or hunger will get the better of them!

Humans and intelligent monsters are more likely to try to suss out their prisoners and find out just how much they are worth – a noble is obviously worth more than a mere peasant, a 5th level son of a duke is worth far more than a 5th level mercenary, and magic-users and clerics are often worth as much as a noble to their guild or temple! In such cases they will usually set the ransom at 100 gp per level of the character, more if of noble family or wealthy connections, less if of poor or modest means.

Failure to pay the ransom in the demanded amount of time ensures the wrath of the captor. Humanoids and monsters either eat or enslave the offenders, while humans are more likely to kill or sell their captives into slavery. And of course, in the case of captors of thoroughly Chaotic sort, there is no guarantee they will honor the deal even if they are paid the ransom!

On the player character’s part, in order to even take advantage of the opportunity for ransom, they must set up a ransom with someone back in civilization – someone close and readily accessible, someone that they can trust to pay the ransom when demanded. Player characters with families can usually count on them to pay a ransom if it is within their means, or even if they have to borrow heavily to do so – provided the character is on good terms with their family. Black sheep need not apply.

Characters who belong to guilds or similar organizations – temples, mercenary guilds, wizard guilds, thieves’ guilds, and the like – can count on these organizations to come to their aid, again, provided their fees are up to date and they are in good standing. Ion any case, the character, unless he has the fund on deposit, will be required to pay back the ransom paid, with interest, and is beholden to the family or organization even moreso until it is paid.

So, as players, please remember this third option! Not all battles need to be to the death. You now have the option of living to fight another day – and seeking revenge on those who captured you and ransomed you!