Use Silent Death with ranged weapons. Targeted Strike. The Bard is a student of legendry, song, lore, and the human heart. Also, a fine musician. You know secret signs and lost languages, riddles and rhymes and stories and legends, myths and monsters and treasures and historiesa lesser persons head would burst with all the esoteric lore crammed in it. You automatically know one thing about any legendary, odd, treasure-related, historical, or monstrous question.
With further thought and an Awareness test you may be able to recall more. You are also proficient with dead languages, old codes, and other esoteric trivia. Your order travels the land among the buskers and minstrels, but your deeper knowledge makes people suspicious of your hidden agenda.
They should be. You do not always smile at your friends and frown at your enemies. Your motives follow contours of myth below history, no longer visible to the politician or the warrior. Once per level, you can create a song or poem about an event or an exploit. Crafting and sharing the work of art with other musicians in a process that takes at least 1 week. In a situation where fame would make a difference, the DM can call for a roll on a 1d10, modified only by the DMs sense of context.
On a success, people have heard of those immortalized in song and verse. Only one song can be created for each adventure arc, but characters in multiple arcs can witness their legends growth. Counter Influence. Focus action. Make music that is counter to the influential effect acting on those in the same and adjacent arenas. Magnetic Charm. You can spend a few minutes with a person and make that person feel like the most important thing in the world.
Make a Charm test resisted by the targets Commitment. If the target does not roll higher than you do, then the target believes you are a good friend. The target will risk unemployment, hazard, embarrassment, and discomfort to please you.
However, your newfound friend will be jealous, and the weird compulsion seldom leaves targets neutral towards you when it eventually ends a day or a week later. The DM can warp the effect of the charm and give you Awesome Points for the inconvenience. Once per level, you can deliver a rhetorical, musical, or otherwise artistic presentation that delivers a devastating nickname or slur on someones reputation.
The target suffers -2 to all social interaction among those who have heard this mockery. People hum the catchy tune, let the nick-name slip, or wonder if the target could be so deviant. This cannot be undone, and it takes on a life of its own. If you do not use your Mockery, it is cumulative, not lost. Suggestive Inspiration. Make appropriate music for at least 10 minutes, then suggest your listeners prepare to fight, sleep, or celebrate. Those listening must test Commitment difficulty 10 to resist the suggestion.
Anger management is hitting what you aim at. Enter a rage, either as a focus action or as a free action after taking a Wound. You become immune to mind control, horror, or fear. You ignore the first Wound inflicted by any attack unless you are wearing metal armor. When the rage is over, lose 1 Wound from the strain. You can stay enraged as long as you need to up to a few minutes.
You can fly into rage as often as you want. While enraged you cannot use any talent requiring clear thinking, analysis, patience, articulate speech, or teamwork. You arent fun to be around. You are not trustworthy in relationships. After you experience the bitter intensity of fury, normal life seems deadly dull. Depressions dark waters always lap around you as you struggle to go through the motions.
Starting Coin: 3d10 copper. Gruesome Kill. If you inflict at least 1 more Wound than you need to for defeating your foe, you can messily destroy your once-living target. Your allies face 1d10 Horror. Minions and toughs will flee from you unless something scarier compels them to stay; if in doubt, roll 2d If you roll higher than the number of Wounds arrayed against you, they flee. Battle Presence. If you can look an attacking foe in the eye, you can take one die from the foes attack.
A foe with a hand weapon would roll 2d10 instead of 3d10 to hit. This works against one foe per use, maximum once per round. A minion or tough will automatically run unless the DM splits Awesome Points between you and the Bowl. Vicious Attack. While in a rage, you can spend 1 Awesome Point per Brawn to boost your damage; every 2 points boost your damage by 1. When you are done raging, those extra Wounds go away and you may die.
If you are at negative Wounds, take the damage as a critical hit, modifying the roll to see how badly you are dropped. The Duelists finely honed sensitivity to questions of honor has led to lethal skill with a blade. Add your attribute to rolls to hit when using paired dueling blades.
This bonus is -2 per level of armor you wear. In your culture, you answer insults with a challenge to duel, either on the spot or at an appointed time. Whether you win or lose, death is in the air. You have learned the hard way that even the most unpleasant people have someone, somewhere, who cares about them enough to mourn or avenge them.
Driving Attack. Attack up to all others in the same arena. Each attack after the first costs 1 Awesome Point. Fancy Footwork. If someone impedes you, and you successfully strike during the Move phase, you can automatically push the target out of the arena instead of inflicting damage, and also move unimpeded.
Net of Steel. You can use your parrying weapon once per round per level. Paired Weapons. You are not minus one die when fighting with paired weapons. Salute a foe who fights like a tough or a monster, as a free action. The Fighter is skilled at weapons, armor, tactics, brutality, and their application to achieve success. Nobody hits like you do. You can spend Awesome Points to gain up to your level as a bonus to hit. To someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
It is not always easy to look for non-violent solutions when violence is a matter of such expertise. Awesome decorated helmet. You can act twice in a row to move and attack. To use the talent again, spend 1 Awesome Point or move to another arena first. Combat Toughened. Expert Parry. As a free action before the opponent rolls to hit, reduce an incoming melee or unarmed attack by 1 die rolled to hit. This can be done a maximum of once per round.
Upgrade this to use it after your attacker has rolled to hit, choosing 1d10 of your choice. Fight Dirty. Any time you roll a 1 on the Face Die, you have pulled a dirty trick on your target. Maybe you hit them somewhere sensitive besides the face, or threw sand in the eyes, etc.
You may choose not to use this talent if in a fair fight because it violates whatever code applies. Weapon of Choice. As long as you are wielding a specific weapon, all your attack dice are Face Dice. If you take up a new weapon, a week of training will switch this talent advantage to the new weapon. Used with Fight Dirty this talent allows use of a ten and a one result, but not more than one of either. This can be a ranged weapon. If you have a talent that allows your unarmed attacks to imitate a weapon type, you can choose that unarmed style as your weapon of choice.
The Gambler understands that you take your chances if you want to get paid, and you dont play your cardsyou play the other players. Any time you roll, you can discard a single roll and reroll it by spending 1 Awesome Point that does not count towards leveling.
You must live with the second result. You can get a bitcarried away. Lean on those lucky streaks. And when they vanish, you fall hard. When you are lying or bluffing, roll Cunning and Charm and keep the better result.
To detect a bluff, roll Cunning and Awareness and keep the better result. You can lay odds, take bets, hold money, and pay out. You can work the crowd and keep track of the chaotic tumble of shifting bets during a fight, race, or whatever. When it is over, your management gets you a share equal to your Cunning x 1d10 in copper, silver, or gold as appropriate.
You can place your own bets too, of course. You know how to celebrate in a way that includes everyone nearby. You start rousing songs, make all jokes funny whether they are or not, and show people a genuinely good time. Easy come, easy go. You can buy 1 Awesome Point per 10 silver and create a low-risk environment where others can do the same.
You can allow others or yourself to spend up to 1 Awesome Point per your level as part of the celebration by showing off, bragging, telling stories of humor and heroism, and so on to help level. This takes at least 6 hours. You know sleight of hand, dice gripping techniques, and counting cards. If you want to cheat, add Cunning to your roll. If Cunning is already part of the game, double it. Others detect the cheat on a Cunning or Awareness test difficulty Double-Dog Dare.
You know how to use subtle or blunt techniques to question another persons courage, honor, and financial security in ways that motivate them to wager even when the wager is unwise. If you win an opposed roll with your Cunning against their Commitment or Cunning target gets the higher , they place a bet or you get an Awesome Point from the Stack.
The softer side of this talent is used to set up cons, losing until it gets interesting and then winning decisively. The Gladiator knows clashes are bloodsportsupposed to be entertaining and suspenseful, not just gory. Years of hard living and constant combat toughened you. As your Brawn increases, increase your extra Wounds too. If you add a Wound as a talent upon leveling, you do not also lose the attribute slot.
Popularity is just as important as combat skill in an arena culture. Succeeding in the shadows is worthless. People must know. There must be glory. Wooden sword with arena name and your name on it. If you successfully Push your target, you can disarm your opponent instead of moving your opponent. This can work against up to 1 target per your Cunning at once, or you can take a single targets weapon for yourself.
If you lose the attempt, the target gets a free attack as though you were impeding the target. If trying to disarm multiple non-minions, they all get an attack. Roll simultaneously with someone in melee or unarmed combat with you. Activate this talent to trade rolls with one of them. Upgrade to gain the ability to trade only one die roll with them, instead of the total result. Make It Look Good. Strike to disable instead of kill. Instead of doing Wounds, substitute a penalty of -2 on the targets to-hit and attribute rolls for each Wound you would have inflicted.
This goes away at the rate of -1 per 30 minutes. Roll With It. Spend 3 Awesome Points to reduce 2 Wounds as they are inflicted. Show Off. Strut around and flex, working the crowd; there must be an appropriate audience if no one cheers or quakes with fear, this wont work. Either heal 1 Wound or gain 2 Awesome Points. The Hunter has a gift for making living beings into corpses, then harvesting their skin and meat.
You can find food just about anywhere. You can spend 1 hour looking for food and automatically find enough servings for [1 meal per Awareness bonus]. You can also test Awareness, and if successful, find an additional serving. You can also use Awareness to identify what is edible and what is not in animal corpses, mushrooms, berries, clouded water, etc. People sure like to pack in tight with each other.
Then the vermin move in. All the noise, the body odor, sewage in the streets, crime, oppression, laws, taxes Every time you go to town you cant wait to do your business and get out, back to the wilds where things make some sense. Breathless Shot. You dont often get a second shot at prey, so you are trained to aim for the heart or throat. Shooting at an unaware or unmoving target in the same arena or an adjacent arena as a focus action, do an extra 1d5 Wounds on a successful hit.
Small animals can make 2 servings of meat and 3 silver of hide. Medium animals half human size can make 6 servings of meat and 10 silver of hide. Big animals human size can make 20 servings of meat and 50 silver of hide. Huge animals can make 60 servings of meat and silver of hide. It takes about 5 minutes to extract a serving of meat from a corpse, and 5 minutes per silver piece to prepare the hide. Special elements like ivory, venom, and delicacies can be identified and removed.
Adjust these guidelines as needed. Canny Prey. You know how to set them, where they should be, and how they work. Silent Step. Your stealth is practiced to surprise animals, but it works more generally too. Double the bonus in the wilds. Identify who or what was present, and where they went. Add difficulty for elapsed time, rain, difficult terrain, and so on.
Can test Awareness to know one important fact about what happened or the state of those making the tracks. Can be opposed with Cunning. The Knight is part of a feudal system trading freedom for protection in a grand, violent pyramid scheme. You got the best combat training and experience available. For tricks in combat, you gain the ability to spend a single Awesome Point to raise a single combat roll by 2 once per arena after rolling. You are meshed in a net of family alliances, feudal trades of services and funds for lands, and requirements that you protect those who generate your livelihood, the ones below you in the feudal structure.
You cannot operate independently and have honor in the eyes of your peers, family, and culture. Armor Skill. Armor counts as 1 load lighter minimum 0 loads. You understand that wars may be affected by valor and strength, but they are won with supply lines, equipment, and efficient travel.
On a personal level, you can pack your gear to reduce it by 1 load effectively. This works on carried armor, not worn armor. You can see past the immediate consequences to the long-term implications of political and military decisions. You speak the special code of politics, understand and offer veiled threats and promises, and think one thing while saying another. Shield Skill. You are not -1d10 when fighting with a shield.
Your title opens doors for you. When purchasing backgrounds, get 2 instead of 1 each time you buy connections with nobility, military, or scholarly groups. If you gain wealth through an appointment or marry into family, double the advantage there also unless the specific circumstances are already determined.
You cannot use this untrained. The Mechanic has an uncanny gift for working with moving parts, schematics, and machines. You can see how it works. A structure or a machine anything constructed with moving parts tells you how it is operated and repaired, somehow.
A focus action for normal machines or structures, and a minute or an hour for more complex structures or puzzles. Either you just know, or if in doubt, test Awareness to understand how a machine or structure is built and used. People are machines too, in a way; cooling systems, joints that hinge, bone scaffolding and levers.
But whats in the skullwell, thats a pile of squishy meat no one could be expected to figure out. Starting Coin: 3d10 silver x5. You can see load-bearing points and weaknesses in structures and machines. Test Awareness to make a plan to bolster or collapse the structure or machine. You may not be able to bolster or collapse it, but you know how to. This talent allows you to create or use explosives, siege engines, or forceful water. Every time you level, you can spend a week making a new and unique invention.
You can make 1 invention per level; you dont have to make the invention immediately. If the user rolls doubles while using the device, it breaks until you fix it. You can test Cunning to figure out how an unknown device works. To work out the bugs so the device can be duplicated in numbers, spend an attribute slot for it upon leveling. The DM is the final word in using this flexible talent. Locks have a complexity between 1 and Each focus can be upgraded to move action you spend on the lock reduces its complexity by 1.
The base difficulty is 5. Lock and tool quality affect the difficulty. You can fix it. Whether it is the great stone wheel that operates the ancient gate, or the broken serpentine on a pistol, or a mast snapped off a ship, or a wall fallen to sappers, you have the know-how to direct a work crew, delegating as needed. Scale determines time frame; a sailing ship or wall, 1 day per task. A gate or room, 12 hours.
Wagon or door, 6 hours. Hinges or wheel hubs, 1 hour. Anything smaller, 30 minutes. Halve times with ideal conditions. Confronted with an unknown device, test Cunning to figure out how it works. You can disarm them with a successful Cunning test. The difficulty is based on the quality of the trap, from 3 to 15, in increments of 3. You can also create, repair, or activate traps. The Monks detachment from desire has honed an ability to detach foes from their health.
You have a fighting style to copy light, hand, reach, and heavy weapon types unarmed. Using or switching combat styles is a free action once a round on your turn. Your unarmed attacks gain arena bonuses and do damage as that weapon type. You cannot own more than you carry, and you like to travel light. Starting Coin: None. Chi Block. The DM may feed the Bowl to add difficulty for especially dangerous attacks. Physical punishment and discipline have toughened your body.
Koan Discipline. Your mind is trained to engage riddles, ideas, and obstacles in a variety of ways. As you use non-linear thought, association, intuition, and re-framing, you see the world differently. The DM may charge you Awesome Points up to 3 if you request insight, or agree to accept it. The DM can give you a fact that you could only know through intuition or a flash of wisdom. Also, mental attacks are at -2 against you, or you ignore their effects with a Commitment test, whichever is most appropriate.
You can meditate for an hour and overcome a disadvantage. An hour of meditation counts as 2 hours of bed rest for healing purposes. If disadvantaged with poison that will not kill you in an hour or some other impediment, whether magical or psychological, you can purge one of those. Meditation can be used to reset the Wounds to heal daily.
This does not work against curses. Zen Focus. You can substitute your Commitment for any other attribute for one roll. Some monsters look like people, some are the size of buildings. The bigger they are, the more important it is to know exactly how to stop them. Monsters follow different rules. You know those rules, and how to find the weaknesses of the things you face. You have a background in monster types, strengths, and weaknesses. You also know how to interrogate people and dig through old records, sifting fact from rumor and finding patterns.
Every session of appropriate research or interrogation, or every informative encounter with a target monster, gain either 1 useful fact or 2 Awesome Points from the Stack. You hunt monsters. That ends sad, or bloody. If your muscles dont give out, your sanity will. Or maybe your liver. Better make peace with that now. Your mentors journal, with room for your entries.
Insanely Stubborn. When resisting persuasion, intimidation, fear, terror, horror, or supernatural influence, combine Commitment and Daring. Monster Lore. You know the rules and habits for common monster types, and may remember some obscure monster trivia with an Awareness test.
You may recognize a monsters tells on a successful Awareness test even if it pretends to be something else. Scholarly Familiarity. You have studied a lot of language roots, and ancient forms. You cant read clearly, but you can pick lore out of books, even if they are in dead or foreign languages. This takes 4 times as long as normal.
You can also read rituals and incantations with enough accuracy, even if you dont understand all youre saying. A tattoo over your heart, combined with some quick incantations you can silently recite in the back of your mind even while doing other things, renders you safe from supernatural possession.
No demon can possess you unless it has more Wounds than you have Commitment. Spellcasters must have twice as many levels as you do for their magic to possess you. To survive, you must occasionally be capable of succeeding in a difficult task against all odds. Once per level, you can add your level as a bonus to a to-hit roll or an attribute test. If you do not use this ability in a level, it is saved until you do use it.
When you use the stunt, you get a bonus equal to your current level so it is useful to save them if you can. This talent cannot be used untrained, and as soon as it is taken you can use it once per level gained so far. The Noble was born to rule, educated to refinement, and prepared to lead. Hence, quite dangerous. You also know the basics of the intricacies of politics among the rulers of your context usually broader than a single nation , and can check Awareness to recall the finer points of heraldry, bloodlines and genealogy, or gossip among the noble set.
This sort of thing has been the background chatter of your whole life. You grew up with certain expectations of comfort, education, and respect; when you dont get them, or half of them, or company that would even understand what youre talking about its hard. You know quality. Whether it is real estate, food, furniture, art, gems, or horseflesh, you can quickly assess its base value and determine the best market for it.
Difficult cases or subtleties, or detecting forgeries, may require an Awareness test. Sometimes more. Classical Education. You can know one important fact about a region, a person, a legend, or some other appropriate subject that may have been covered in your extensive education. If it is sufficiently obscure, or there is a backup question, test Awareness. Your family has developed networks and friendships and enemies in a surprisingly broad context.
Your signet ring and name may open doors for you. You may ask the DM for a sympathetic family ally in an appropriate situation. The DM should then prepare a family enemy for a future encounter. You instinctively sense what they want to hear, and you have no trouble suppressing your gag reflex and saying it to them. Managing the help and your peers requires a grasp of the subtleties of how to properly threaten them; violence is mundane.
Threatening their freedom or reputation or comfort gets their attention more than offering to punch them in the face. You can even smile while doing it. Double the Charm bonus to intimidate. The Nomads only standard of freedom left to exceed is the wind; when your horse is at full gallop, thats as close as mortals get. You and your horse are symbiotic. When you are mounted or leading your horse, as a focus action once between periods of rest you can both heal 1 Wound.
You are bow-legged, you smell like horses and greasy campfires, and you have little in the way of civilization and table manners. Counter-attacks are at -4 to hit either of you. Horse Whisperer. Befriend the horse as a focus action upgrades to Move action. You can get the horse to do anything you ask.
If the horse is unruly, the DM must give you 2 Awesome Points, and another round of soothing gets the horse under control again. Mounted Combat. You can fight normally while your horse undertakes a Protect action, or vice versa. You can shoot from horseback without penalty. Mounted Symbiosis. You can spend Awesome Points for your mount to succeed at difficult tasks, as long as you are in the same arena.
This can involve getting around obstacles jumping fences or chasms , and increasing or reducing Wounds inflicted. Stunt Rider. As a free action, move around on horseback to face any direction, hang down on the side, dismount, stand up, transfer horses, or whatever. If unhorsed, take 1 less Wound from falling. From desperate and sick guttersnipes to politically powerful and wealthy courtesans, some people make a living by exchanging physical pleasures for coin. You are skilled in offering physical and psychological inducements that lead others to forget their duties, vows, and better judgment.
Even customers tend to hold you in contempt, an objectified resource. It is easy to convince them to pay for your favors, but it is always difficult to convince them to take you seriously. Code of Transaction. You know how to identify and approach potential clients and negotiate the conversation to minimize awkwardness. Per Charm, you can get 5 silver for something simple, 10 for a standard exchange, and 20 for something strange.
Usually takes 1 hour. You know how to hurt someone who is trying to hinder your movement. This talent does not stack with use of a shield or parrying weapon. Your attackers must succeed in a Commitment or Charm test vs. This can stack with Seduction, if relevant. Sensitive Spots. You know how to advertise and handle rapid sexual transactions. Every 3 points on a Charm test including Seduction are 5 silver. This generally takes minutes per customer.
The Scholar is interested in the lore side of lootand can use it to get the shiny variety. You know all the alphabets of the World Between. You get Awareness x2 starting languages, plus one for your default language. For difficult, dead, or unknown spoken or written language, a few minutes and an Awareness test may be able to communicate basic information.
A few days with a new language is usually enough to learn basic communication with it even if you are not fluent. Half-mad to go into dangerous situations for academic motivations, you are more interested in answers than in safety. This can sometimes cause problems. You can accurately read and make maps. Upon studying a map, can draw one useful conclusion from it that others would miss. Widely read, you can engage just about anyone in conversation on something that interests them.
Educated Poise. Scholar of Note. It takes about a month with the proper resources to create a scholarly work. Sketch Artist. You can draw glyphs, portraits, statues, etc. Skilled enough for the accurate work to be useful.
Somebody must risk being outnumbered, trapped, and murdered just so others know whats ahead. As a focus action, you can automatically get a rough count of everything you see. Also, you have a sense of the logistical consumption rate of individuals, armies, and communities, and travel time expectations. Its hard not to start feeling expendable when they keep sending you out up front all alone. You can imitate the calls of various local and exotic birds. These calls are generally used to communicate basic information and orders with a minimal risk of detectionthose who are proficient detect the bird calls with an Awareness test difficulty 5, others with difficulty 10, and even then they dont understand it.
If you can get out of line of sight long enough, you disappear. Pursuers without special means like scent ability or magic tracking cannot detect you; they only get a roll if the DM feeds the bowl and gives you half.
Read Signs. You can connect rising flocks of birds with movement of foes, estimate forces based on dust columns from marching armies, and predict the weather for the next 12 hours. Test Awareness to gain a fact from signs in your surroundings. You can shrug off 1 Wound can be used with Sprinter. If the result is 0 or less, you still have 1 Wound.
You are the premier expert at taking other peoples stuff. Youll practice, sweat, and focus as hard as you must to make sure you never have to work for a living. You live for the involuntary transfer of wealth to your pockets. Every time you steal from an unwitting or warned and hostile target, you get 1 Awesome Point from the Stack.
If you score big, every silver equivalent you take from a protected environment as someone elses property once safely outside the range of the defenses gets you 1 Awesome Point from the Stack. If you are working with a group and split the take, you get Awesome Points for your share. The DM interprets this as needed.
You steal things. Other people have things they want to keep. Having you around is a risk. Three empty sacks, hooded lantern, grapple hook. You strap blades to your arms, legs, ribs, small of your back; you can carry as many knives as you want, and they do not count as weapons carried for encumbrance. If you carry enough knives to count as light armor, they count as 1 load.
This attack only works with light weapons, hand weapons, or ranged weapons in the same arena. Attack an opponent who is not focused on you. Upgrades to Combat action. If you are wielding a blunt weapon, you can knock a target unconscious. If you hit, do damage if you choose to not required , then test Cunning. The DM can feed the bowl to increase the difficulty, or to make a target immune. You get half of those Awesome Points.
Lift something from a target in melee range. Test Cunning against the targets Awareness to take the object without the target noticing. If you want the object and dont care if the target knows or not, add Cunning and Daring together. If the target is aware of your attempt, the target can resist with Daring or Cunning instead of Awareness. Difficulty may be increased by the object being tied in place, held, secured in layered clothing, etc. In combat, the attempt happens during the Shoot phase, and you may also Move.
Super Cunning. Any time you test Cunning, roll 2d10 and keep the higher result. The Tumbler is a supple and charming entertainer; a juggler, acrobat, joke teller, and adventurer. Juggling, singing, and tumbling are good, but showmanship is what gets the laughsand the coins.
Those nearby the entertaining tumbler are 2 on Awareness tests to look at their surroundings. Oh, everyone laughs, some toss coins. But no one trusts you to behave yourself around money, important people, or clean furniture. Colorful outfit, extra hat for tips, tambourine.
When hit with a melee attack roll 1d Take -1 from the roll for every load carried and every level of armor. Flexible Truth. Years on the margins of society have gifted you with a talent for reframing a story or generating one from scratch in a very convincing way. This talent is countered by the targets Awareness.
You automatically keep your story straight. Hey Rube! You can ask the DM to create a sympathetic busker street entertainer or Vistani NPC in a city environment or on a well-traveled route who may be able to help out somehow or offer shelter or supplies. However, the DM should also prepare a law enforcer, respectable citizen, or vagabond your character crossed in the past.
You can juggle objects equal to your Daring x2 without needing to roll. Jugging between more than one person, the group keeps a number of objects in the air equal to the lowest capacity juggler. How Characters Level Characters gain a level when their players spend 12 Awesome Points through them. The character can level in the middle of combat, or in a peaceful moment later when the player has the time to figure out what benefits to add.
Spent Awesome Points and earned Awesome Points are recorded at the end of the session, the character gets those Awesome Points to start the next session and benefits from points spent already towards leveling. Benefits of Gaining a Level Characters gain a new Talent when they gain a new level. Half their Talents must be from their base template. They do not need teachers to take Talents from their base template. They do need teachers to gain a Talent from another template.
There is no time limit on this waitingif they wait three levels, then at some point they can train to get three new Talents. The DM does not have to do this, but may choose to. Open talents cost 3, restricted talents cost 5. You can speak a language you know, but you must know both the language and the alphabet it is based upon to be literate in that language. When you spend your attribute point, you can gain either the language or an alphabet. They may choose to learn to play a musical instrument proficiently, or be skilled in another artistic expression, instead.
If the player decides to wait to gain a new talent, the player can still raise one of the characters Attributes by one. Gaining a Wound. The player can give up both the talent and the attribute point to add 1 Wound to the characters capacity, writing Tougher as a constant ability Talent. Add an asterisk to the talent for each additional purchase. If Brawn goes up from increasing Attributes, then the capacity to gain Tougher multiple times increases too.
These extra Wounds stack with Wounds granted by talents or Inherent Abilities. Talents are abilities the character can use. Difficulty to Learn. How widely available is the talent? Base Template Talents. You can gain talents from your base template without further training.
Open Talents. Training for open talents is easily located, or spend 3 Awesome Points that do not count towards leveling to automatically figure it out somehow with DM permission. Training generally takes 24 hours of instruction. Restricted Talents. Exclusive Talents. The DM can make an exception for extraordinary circumstances, but isnt required to. Training generally takes 24 hours of instruction minimum. Master Talents. You can only get a Master Talent if the attribute base for the talent is 5 or higher.
Occupational Talents. These professions ideally take at least 6 months of training, but can be mastered in about 2 if the DM is generous. If connecting to the characters background, it may be no further down-time training is needed. They cost 1 talent slot AND 1 attribute slot.
Frequency of Use. How often can the character use the talent? The character can always use this talent, it is available any time its use is appropriate. The character can use this talent once per arena. If the talent involves moving between arenas, the talent is reset when it enters a new arena. The talent is only exhausted in the arena if its use is successful.
The talent can be recharged in the same arena by spending 1 Awesome Point as a free action. The talent automatically recharges when you move out of the arena where you used it. The character can use this talent successfully once between periods of rest and nourishment. The talent can be recharged between periods of rest by spending 2 Awesome Points outside combat, or 3 points during combat. Generally, rest is about 6 hours of sleep and a meal. Time to Use. Different talents take different amounts of time to use.
Free action. This takes no time. If in doubt about when it activates, it is used on the characters turn. This counts as a ranged attack action, move action, combat action, etc. This starts in phase 3 and activates in phase 6 of the round if the character is not injured in that time. The talent is only exhausted if it is successful. If you are hit while doing a focus action, but not injured, you are not interrupted. Some talents specify they take a minute, or an hour, or some other time increment.
If the character had an unusual upbringing that the player wants to emphasize, then the player may ask the DM for access to a restricted talent from another template at first level, to get the foot in the door and show how the character had access to unusual training.
Adding a restricted talent from another template at first level is a nod to the years of life the character had before first being played. Instead of taking a new talent upon gaining a level, a player character can improve a talent the character already has. Here are the available improvements. Areas that can be improved are underlined in the talent description.
Upgrade one time framerested to arena, arena to constant. Reduce Awesome Point cost by 1. Speedchange a focus action to a shorter action type default to move if not explained. Here are some specific guidelines for upgrading talents. A talent may be upgraded more than once, but only one of each upgrade type may be applied to a talent. Players must get DM approval before improving a talent, to make sure the interpretation works for the DMs game and preferred play style.
Spell talents may be improved. Every talent is not subject to improvement, and thats fine. Improving a base template talent counts as taking a base template talent, when counting talents towards the cross-template requirement that half a characters talents must be from the base template.
Improving talents generally cannot allow these possibilities. Adding a penalty to an opponents Attribute or combat test. Reduce incoming damage. Grant Awesome Points to the character through its use automatically without player or DM involvement.
Increase a player characters wounds, or improve healing. If you see this makes a talent more powerful and cooler, and worry about balance, remember that the player character gave up a whole other talent to improve this one. And there are some really neat talents out there. Civilization has division of labor. People have different jobs, and all contribute towards the well-being of the community.
Most people the characters encounter will have 1 Wound and 1 talent and not be interested in adventuring; this list helps flesh out some of those occupational talents. Characters can get an occupational talent with the DMs permission. An occupational talent costs 1 talent slot and 1 attribute slot upon leveling.
These templates allow a character to automatically do basic tasks related to the profession, and do more difficult tasks with an attribute test. Animal Trainer. Learn animal behavior, offer rewards and discouragements, teach commands. Floyd, Virginia car insure ce car ins in Solon, OH. Hudson, New York automobile insurance compare auto insurance premiums in Arlington affirdable car insuracne in Maryland.
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I take great pleasure in offering you this fusion. Kirin Robinson made a magnificent gonzo off-the-cuff system, Old School Hack. Jack Shear sketched out an inspirational Gothic fantasy setting in the World Between. I combined the two, fleshing both out to match my personal style. I believe the resulting game offers a version of Jack Shears world with detail and depth, and proof of the stylistic flexibility of Kirin Robinsons game system, while showcasing my own creative talents.
Now the game comes to you. I hope you concoct a delicious game using these ingredients and recipes. Bon appetite. A DM and at least 2 players for best results though solo play is possible. Everyone needs at least d10, one of which looks different.
The Bowl. Where everyone can reach it. Awesome Points. These can be poker chips, d6s, or other tokens. At least 15 per player. Have a copy of all available templates if starting fresh or all players should have a template for their existing characters. Character Sheets. Everyone gets one.
Maybe have some extras on hand. Quick Reference. Everyone should be able to refer to the order of combat and basic rules. Dry Erase Board and marker and eraser. Its a quick and simple way to sketch out arenas and keep track of where people and objects are, as well as tracking where characters are in the combat round and other details the DM may wish to note.
Fictive Hack is designed to be low-prep, improvisational, reactive, cinematic, and fast-paced. Character advancement is based on the kind of game the players and DM want, and how they reward each other for playing in that style. The game can be silly and over-the-top, focused on tactics, serious with emphasis on character development, etc.
Decide what is awesome, and that decision drives the game. A few interlocked systems Awesome Point economy, weapons and arenas, armor, inherent abilities and talents express a wide variety of action. This game is built on a permissive, bonus-over-balance, easily improvised mindset. It is fun. Preparation can be very fast, even improvisational. A few flexible rule sets accommodate a wide variety of cinematic and exciting action scenes and social interactions.
Allies, foes, and monsters can be swiftly developed and dropped into play. Skills, feats, magic, and special abilities all combine under the talent umbrella to create a consistent but flexible system, tightly integrated with the Awesome Point economy. The Awesome Point economy points awarded from the DM and also shared among players encourages camaraderie and fun. It substitutes for many complex mini-systems by charging Awesome Points to adjust outcomes. A simple codification of weapon types combines with the concept of an arena as an area in a fight to create simple tactical variety that encourages movement and swashbuckling.
Characters can access abilities they have not earned, within limits, and multi-classing or taking abilities from other areas is easy. Characters advance quickly and are extremely customizable. Character advancement is tied into the Awesome Point economy, and players choose the speed of their advancement. Sometimes the rules call for 1d5.
To get that result, roll 1d10 and divide by 2, rounding up. To get a result between 1 and 20, roll 2d The first d10 is the 10s place; is 0, is 1. A roll of 2 10 results is The second d10 is the 1s place. So, a roll of 4 and 6 would be Character Generation Choose a Template. You get the inherent ability on the template for your character. Limitations can help you understand the character, but most dont have penalties.
Details for Awesome Points. Randomize or choose an adventuring motive simple list on page 17, detailed list on page , a dark secret page , appearance and relationship page , distinctive gear page and alignment page These details help connect your new character to a personality, and to the game world. Either now or later, your character will need a name. Assign Attributes. You have 5 points to put into attributes. You can put all of them in a single attribute, or spread them out.
You can take an attribute to -1 for 1 more point to spend on another attribute. You can take up to 4 negative points, no more than 2 in any attribute. Maximum 8 in an attribute. Positive attributes give the character advantages. Negative has no effect. Languages are on page Positive Brawn means the character knows how to swim.
Encumbrance is on page Charm, Cunning, Daring. Add the total together for these three. Any positive number can be used to get backgrounds page Any bonus allows an optional code of honor page Starting languages. Carry heavy objects, wear armor. Persuasion, intimidation, leadership.
Strength of will. Stealth, deception, lock picking. Reflexive dodging, boldness. Assign benefits. Where your attributes give you extra advantages, choose what you want. Languages page 11 , musical skill, arts, backgrounds page 12 , and code of honor page can be selected.
Choose a starting talent. You get one of the talents listed on your starting template at first level. You can get a new talent each time you gain a level. Occupational Talent. You can take an occupational talent as your first talent instead of a talent from your template.
This costs you 1 of your starting attribute points. Page Master Talent. If you have an attribute at 5 or higher, you can take a master talent for it instead of a talent from your template. Unusual Upbringing. If you have a character who had an unusual upbringing, with DM permission you can take an open or restricted talent from another template as your first.
The template has one or more signature items and randomized starting money. Then pick weapon, armor, and backpack page Some of the supernatural templates dont have a signature item or starting cash. In that case, start with 3d10 silver and the normal starting equipment process. Your starting character only has 1 Wound. You can raise this as you level, or by taking a starting talent that grants more Wounds.
You start with one language in common with the other characters for free. Being literate requires you to take one language spot for "Literate in: " and an alphabet. One alphabet may support literacy for multiple languages.
You can be literate in some of your languages and not others. Example: If you had an Awareness of 2, you could take Harrovian free with the Cyronic alphabet literate, 1 slot and Baroque Logos spoken but not literate, as it is the Draxive alphabet. Based on the Lady of the White Ways script. Founded in fey symbols.
Symbols of Neutrality and Balance. Based on dwarf runes. Tradespeak, the most common language, is spread by Caligarian merchants. Cuneiform of the Hundred Death Gods. Code Languages These languages have a specific purpose.
They are not used for everyday speech, but they have specific niches for communication. Taking the language includes literacy where possible and speaking if applicable. Phranatian Battle Tongue. Written conventions are terms of art for texts on war strategy and tactics.
Phrases suggest pre-determined tactical plans, allowing rapid communication in the heat of battle. Scouts use written signs to give warnings and updates to armies that follow them. Sly Patter. This adapts to any other language, as it moves ideas and terms of art around. It is used by criminals and those who participate in criminal culture.
Each organized group of criminals will develop a dialect based on their shared experience and stories and context, but general ideas travel across dialect barriers. Coded hand signals and simple symbols also get meaning across. Vermillion Scrawl.
The Language of Chaos, or the Vile Tongue. It is the language of arcane magic. Wizards, mages, illusionists, and necromancers must put enough points in Awareness to start with this language. One language slot covers speaking and writing, as they are essentially the same Vistroi. This spoken language has no true written form, but ideas from it can be written in any alphabet. It is the code-language of the Vistani. At generation, add together Charm, Cunning, and Daring.
If you have a positive number, those are your Background points. You can spend them to get advantages from the beginning. The DM can limit or expand these lists. You can take some of these more than once; like Celebrity 1 for several famous people, or Contacts for different spheres of influence.
Status 0. Unemployed or dead end job. Access to authority or power, respectable. In an authority position. Generates enough for a comfortable lifestyle, about silver a month per rating. Family 0. Maybe some extended family elsewhere, basically alone. Strong love in a nuclear family. Wealthy relatives, good relationships. Very influential relatives, good relationships. Contacts Randomize or choose factions. Next page 0. No connections. Personally know the movers and shakers for the city or nation.
Contacts can be raised upon leveling instead of taking an Attribute Point. Celebrity Unknown. Related to, or good friends with, a celebrity. Locally known in your circle of influence. Possessions 0. No unusual possessions. Familiar with buyers and sellers of supernatural objects, start with 1 for free. Known in the market, start with 2 for free, can find or fence things others cant. Wealth How much can you spend on short notice? Only income from employment.
Some extra, can live frugally. Can live well, spend 3d10x10 silver. Property owner, can spend 3d10x silver. Independently wealthy. Own a mansion. Contacts Details Contacts may be able to provide henchmen, equipment, transportation, shelter, and an introduction to meet someone shy or connected.
Here are the basic difficulties to get help from Contacts, based on what the character wants. The DM can feed the bowl to increase the difficulty based on other circumstances. Failure can mean inability to get in touch, or inability to get cooperation, interpreted by the DM. No risk. Common knowledge. Basic equipment and transportation.
Overnight shelter for a small group. Moderate risk. Protected information. Could get someones life ruined. Specialty equipment. Transportation through secured areas. Longer term or better accommodations. Harboring a person of interest.
Costly information that could get someone killed. Rare equipment. Smuggling through high security prison break. Harboring a fugitive. Sharing this information will cause the contact to lose power and face danger. Too hot. Even talking to the character is life-threatening. Sample Backgrounds If your DM has a list of factions in the city or region, then you can use that list of factions as options for contacts.
Here are some examples. You can also randomize. If you randomize something and dont know what it is, ask the DM, who will either explain it and work it in, call for a re-roll, or suggest an alternative. All contacts are subject to DM approval. They represent a connecting point between the character and the world, so they are best managed by the player and DM cooperating. Common Contacts 1d10 City Watch.
Guilders leadership of guilds. Monster Hunters. Ruling Regime. Status 1: Sample Positions Castellan. Leader of a merchant company. Minor nobility. Practicing Spellcaster, Known. Officer in the military. Officer in the Watch. Respected scholar. Status 2: Sample Positions Leader of a church. Court spellcaster. Head of an academy or scholarly order. Specific Groups for Contacts 3d10 Brotherhood of the Yew. Caligari Trade Guild. Church of the Lady. Frostreave traders. Ghael Isles nobility.
Ghael Isles shamen. Iron Principalities ruler. Killane cult. Merrihel cult. Midish Friars of the Lady. Mordish subculture Ghael Isles. Mordish subculture Midian. Morgath cult, penangalan. Orxham Academy Fall House.
Orxham Academy Spring House. Orxham Academy Summer House. Orxham Academy Winter House. Power Behind the Throne local. Samhat monastics. Stormwatch Church. Father and Family Thanalia cult. Vampire lords of Harrowfaust. Most templates list a signature item the character starts with. If not, thats fine. Starting Coins. Everyone gets 3d10 coins, the template notes type and possibly multiplier.
Start with a light, hand, reach, heavy, range, or very heavy weapon. Describe it. A light weapon may be a wizards wand, or a very heavy weapon could be an enormous tree branch. Feel free to be creative with handto-hand weaponry, or not; a sword could fit in any of the categories knife to claymore. These weapons are small, like daggers, gaff hooks, and broken bottles. Normal one-handed weaponry. Lots of sword types, maces, battle axes.
One or two hands, long. Staff, chain mace, spear. Hand-and-a-half or two handed. Bastard sword, heavy mace, claymore. Very Heavy. Enormous, needs two hands. Huge club, armored foes body. Ranged bow weapons whether they are longbows, crossbows, etc. A quiver counts as a weapon for calculating encumbrance. A quiver holds Ranged thrown weapons have 2 types: weapons that can be light or ranged, or weapons so small they can only be ranged.
Throwing axes, knives Ranged only: Less than 20 dont count for encumbrance, a group of 20 count as load. Shuriken, throwing blades, sling stones Firearms can be blunderbusses, pistols, or muskets. They start with 20 shots in a powder bag that counts as load. Reloads cost 10 silver per shot. Encumbrance Rule on Weapons: What equals 1 load? Also quiver, short bow, crossbow, and pistol.
Start with light or medium armor if desired, free of charge. Take a shield if you want. Medium armor counts as 1 load. A shield counts as load. A heavy shield counts as a load. Backpack or Home. Characters may start with a stocked backpack if they wish, or a living space with some extra equipment in it.
Carrying all this counts as a load, so it affects encumbrance. However, it has in it the normal sorts of supplies characters would want. If they want other objects, they can spend 1 Awesome Point to have it conveniently in the backpack during play. If it is bulky or not something that makes sense, 2 or more Awesome Points. The DM may deny a request to have an object handy. Unarmed 1d10 to hit, add an attribute to the roll, do 0 Wounds, only KO target. AP for damage. Light 1 1d10 to hit, add an attribute to the roll, do 1 Wound.
Tight Hand 1 To hit, roll 3d10 instead of 2d10, ignore the lowest. Reach 1 2d10 to hit. Hazardous Ranged 1 Attack earlier, and adjacent arenas also. Big, so they do more damage. Dense Very Heavy 3 2d10 to hit. Huge, no shield, ignore the first Wound armor soaks.
Roll 1d10 to hit. Add an attribute to the roll. Max range is adjacent arena. Axe, light crossbow, shortbow, javelin. Longbow, spear. Heavy crossbow, musket, pistol. Cone effect; those in the way test Daring or get hit. Shooters arena cone to an adjacent arena inclusive.
Focus action reload. All ranged weapons can attack in the same arena or an adjacent arena. Shooting as a focus action, a bow can shoot targets 1 arena away per Brawn. A musket not a pistol can hit a target 1 arena away per Awareness. Shortbows have a maximum range of 4 arenas away, muskets a maximum range of 6 arenas away, and longbows a maximum of 8 arenas away. Move and Shoot. Spend 1 Awesome Point to do a ranged attack while moving. This works with thrown weapons, guns, and crossbows, not with bows.
Hand to Hand. Generally ranged weapons count as hand weapons in combat. A heavy crossbow and a musket may be heavy weapons. A longbow can be a reach weapon. Gunpowder Criticals. A hit to the face with a blackpowder shot does 6 Wounds. Blackpowder Misfire.
Rolling doubles when firing a blackpowder weapon results in a misfire. Spend an Awesome Point to have the gun jam, needing repair until it fires again. Otherwise it blows up and does 3 Wounds to its shooter. Interrupted Blackpowder Reload.
If the powder is wet or a reload action is interrupted, you must spend a focus action clearing the weapon before loading it again. Fighting with a shield, you roll 1 fewer d10 to hit. However, once a round you can block 1 Wound. A light shield counts as load, for encumbrance. You count as armored in combat when using a shield, so do not get 2 Awesome Points for surviving the fight. Shield-Sacrificing Protection.
A light shield can reduce a single attack to 1 Wound, breaking the shield. A heavy shield can act as a light shield twice before breaking. A shield can be used as a hand weapon or heavy weapon, for a heavy shield by itself, or with a hand weapon, a heavy weapon, or a reach weapon.
Shield Cover. Using Defend the shield reduces attackers to-hit rolls by 2 stacking with the -2 for defending, total This works against ranged attacks. Also, can use the shield against each incoming attack instead of just one. A parrying weapon must be light or a hand weapon, and it can be used with a light, hand, or heavy weapon in the other hand.
When using a parrying weapon, you are -1d10 on your attack roll so you roll 1d10 to hit with a heavy weapon and 2d10 with a hand weapon. It can be used for one of these three things, once a round. Doesnt stop ranged attacks.
Cannot be used with a shield. Armor Reduces Damage. The [-X Wounds] on the table represents the number of Wounds that the armor deflects away from the character inside. This is damage reduction. The higher the roll to hit, the less effective armor is. Fighting Without Armor. Characters who are in danger of being hit, who enter a fight without armor and survive, get 2 Awesome Points from the Stack after the fight.
Brawn is the number of heavy things loads you can carry without penalty. Medium armor is 1 load, heavy armor is 2 loads, very heavy armor is 3 loads. Dragging something over normal ground halves its encumbrance.
More than one person can share the weight, splitting the loads between them. Your character needs a reason to go out into danger! Roll 2d10, pick one, or make one up. The motive should propel your character out into the world and give you something to do, either short-term or longterm. The DM will give you 3 Awesome Points for your adventuring motive, and may choose an overarching motive for the group.
Your whole life, grandpa told you stories of a legendary treasure he never found. Find it for him. If you can get 1, silver, you can put your masterpiece before the critics and gain fame and fortune. Your lover has a wasting disease, the doctors are helpless.
Can you find a supernatural cure? Your older sister, who is better at everything, killed a forest drake. Kill something bigger, display it. Youve heard of an oracle that will answer one question truthfully. Dare you ask who your father is?
Your comfortable life was over when your father remarriedan evil stepmother. Find a new home. Kidnappers sold your child to slavers, and they went this way. Find them, get your child back. Thieves were unable to fence their stolen art, so they used it to frame you instead.
Clear your name. Your nephew disappeared a week ago, you are the only one brave enough to look for him. If you can get the tail-fat of a gillcuddy squirrel, Doc Albrecht will make a love potion for your crush. Your mother was a famous adventurer. You are ready to go search for her at her last known location. The necromancer that raided your home took half your family as shambling dead.
Lay them to rest. The House of Idris formerly ruled your area in peaceful times. Find their heir, and restore their rule. You were pressed into service for the military, but you escaped. Dont get hanged as a deserter. You have always wanted to browse the bookmarkets of Lizport. Can you travel that far and find them? You had a whole life where everything went wrong. Now you want to be famous for being awesome.
Raised religious, youve always wondered how real and active the gods are. Go and find out. Your ailing parents did everything for you in your youth; earn enough so they can retire comfortably. Bandits wiped out your village. They think they can get away with anything.
Show them they cant. The Archer has a lifetime of developing eye-hand coordination to strike with tools that magnify strength and collapse distance. Choose Brawn, Cunning, or Daring as a trick shooting style with a bow and crossbow. If you are not shooting to injure, shoot as an attribute test insteadso you can spend Awesome Points to boost the roll.
If you choose Brawn, you can add your Brawn to the 2d10 roll to hit, and also add Awesome Points to boost the roll if needed. This kind of shooting can intimidate. Shooting to disarm has 12 difficulty, adjusted by the DM as needed. This does not work with ranged weapons that are not bows or crossbows. Seems like people want to take you into places with low ceilings, twisting corridors, forest canopy, deep water, and other inconvenient features.
And they want to go when it is dark or foggy or raining or snowing. Also, they tend to assume you cant take care of yourself in hand to hand. Starting Coin: 3d10 silver. Reduce penalties to hit due to distraction, environment, or trick shooting by 1 per your level. This stacks with Multiple Arrows and Rapid Shooting.
Custom Fletching. Each use of this talent works on up to 20 arrows, given the time and equipment. Long Shot. Multiple Arrows. Roll once to hit, at -1 per additional arrow fired. That roll counts against all targets. The arrow targets must be in an area no more than 5 feet across. Multiple arrows hitting one target each count as a separate attack to the target.
Rapid Shooting. You can fire a bow not a crossbow more than once in the round. This takes a lot of strength. Spend 1 Awesome Point for the second attack, 2 for the third attack, and 3 for the fourth attack maximum. Upgrade to reduce the Awesome Point cost for each extra attack by 1. The Assassin makes a living by assuring that the target does not. Otherwise, the target is not injured, and is now aware of you.
Awesome Points cannot be spent on this roll. Take a focus action to use this in combat. You strike at others through their attachments. You dont want to be as vulnerable as they are. Starting Coin: 3d10 silver x Low Profile. Any thug can kill. You can get to the target, unsuspected. Poison and Venom. Can identify, harvest, handle, appraise, and brew dangerous substances for ingestion, skin contact, inhalation, or other unpleasant entry vectors.
You can put venom or poison on one or more weapons. This takes a full minute, or a focus action for a single dose in a rush. You do not risk poisoning yourself. Reach Target. If you successfully Push those defending a target, instead of moving them you get a free attack on the target instead.
Swift Kill. Use Silent Death with ranged weapons. Targeted Strike. The Bard is a student of legendry, song, lore, and the human heart. Also, a fine musician. You know secret signs and lost languages, riddles and rhymes and stories and legends, myths and monsters and treasures and historiesa lesser persons head would burst with all the esoteric lore crammed in it.
You automatically know one thing about any legendary, odd, treasure-related, historical, or monstrous question. With further thought and an Awareness test you may be able to recall more. You are also proficient with dead languages, old codes, and other esoteric trivia. Your order travels the land among the buskers and minstrels, but your deeper knowledge makes people suspicious of your hidden agenda.
They should be. You do not always smile at your friends and frown at your enemies. Your motives follow contours of myth below history, no longer visible to the politician or the warrior. Once per level, you can create a song or poem about an event or an exploit.
Crafting and sharing the work of art with other musicians in a process that takes at least 1 week. In a situation where fame would make a difference, the DM can call for a roll on a 1d10, modified only by the DMs sense of context. On a success, people have heard of those immortalized in song and verse. Only one song can be created for each adventure arc, but characters in multiple arcs can witness their legends growth.
Counter Influence. Focus action. Make music that is counter to the influential effect acting on those in the same and adjacent arenas. Magnetic Charm. You can spend a few minutes with a person and make that person feel like the most important thing in the world. Make a Charm test resisted by the targets Commitment.
If the target does not roll higher than you do, then the target believes you are a good friend. The target will risk unemployment, hazard, embarrassment, and discomfort to please you. However, your newfound friend will be jealous, and the weird compulsion seldom leaves targets neutral towards you when it eventually ends a day or a week later. The DM can warp the effect of the charm and give you Awesome Points for the inconvenience.
Once per level, you can deliver a rhetorical, musical, or otherwise artistic presentation that delivers a devastating nickname or slur on someones reputation. The target suffers -2 to all social interaction among those who have heard this mockery. People hum the catchy tune, let the nick-name slip, or wonder if the target could be so deviant. This cannot be undone, and it takes on a life of its own. If you do not use your Mockery, it is cumulative, not lost. Suggestive Inspiration. Make appropriate music for at least 10 minutes, then suggest your listeners prepare to fight, sleep, or celebrate.
Those listening must test Commitment difficulty 10 to resist the suggestion. Anger management is hitting what you aim at. Enter a rage, either as a focus action or as a free action after taking a Wound. You become immune to mind control, horror, or fear. You ignore the first Wound inflicted by any attack unless you are wearing metal armor. When the rage is over, lose 1 Wound from the strain. You can stay enraged as long as you need to up to a few minutes.
You can fly into rage as often as you want. While enraged you cannot use any talent requiring clear thinking, analysis, patience, articulate speech, or teamwork. You arent fun to be around. You are not trustworthy in relationships. After you experience the bitter intensity of fury, normal life seems deadly dull. Depressions dark waters always lap around you as you struggle to go through the motions.
Starting Coin: 3d10 copper. Gruesome Kill. If you inflict at least 1 more Wound than you need to for defeating your foe, you can messily destroy your once-living target. Your allies face 1d10 Horror. Minions and toughs will flee from you unless something scarier compels them to stay; if in doubt, roll 2d If you roll higher than the number of Wounds arrayed against you, they flee. Battle Presence. If you can look an attacking foe in the eye, you can take one die from the foes attack.
A foe with a hand weapon would roll 2d10 instead of 3d10 to hit. This works against one foe per use, maximum once per round. A minion or tough will automatically run unless the DM splits Awesome Points between you and the Bowl. Vicious Attack. While in a rage, you can spend 1 Awesome Point per Brawn to boost your damage; every 2 points boost your damage by 1. When you are done raging, those extra Wounds go away and you may die. If you are at negative Wounds, take the damage as a critical hit, modifying the roll to see how badly you are dropped.
The Duelists finely honed sensitivity to questions of honor has led to lethal skill with a blade. Add your attribute to rolls to hit when using paired dueling blades. This bonus is -2 per level of armor you wear. In your culture, you answer insults with a challenge to duel, either on the spot or at an appointed time. Whether you win or lose, death is in the air.
You have learned the hard way that even the most unpleasant people have someone, somewhere, who cares about them enough to mourn or avenge them. Driving Attack. Attack up to all others in the same arena. Each attack after the first costs 1 Awesome Point. Fancy Footwork. If someone impedes you, and you successfully strike during the Move phase, you can automatically push the target out of the arena instead of inflicting damage, and also move unimpeded. Net of Steel. You can use your parrying weapon once per round per level.
Paired Weapons. You are not minus one die when fighting with paired weapons. Salute a foe who fights like a tough or a monster, as a free action. The Fighter is skilled at weapons, armor, tactics, brutality, and their application to achieve success. Nobody hits like you do. You can spend Awesome Points to gain up to your level as a bonus to hit. To someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It is not always easy to look for non-violent solutions when violence is a matter of such expertise.
Awesome decorated helmet. You can act twice in a row to move and attack. To use the talent again, spend 1 Awesome Point or move to another arena first. Combat Toughened. Expert Parry. As a free action before the opponent rolls to hit, reduce an incoming melee or unarmed attack by 1 die rolled to hit. The sta- bles behind the inn proper is the only place where the PCs can find straw nearby.
Captain Coby: "Dockside" is a dead give- away, and Coby immediately suggests they check out Dockside Avenue. He can provide no more help until he is actually standing on the street looking at tlie row of taverns. After 5 minutes of real time, he points out the mer- maid bowsprit if tire PCs don't see it first. Encounters: Twenty large cargo ships are docked nearby. Over three hundred sailors have descended on the bars like locusts and are consuming as much beer and food as they can during their brief shore leave.
If the PCs intend to search any of the tav- erns, they have to clear everyone out first. The crowds are so drunk and disorderly that this 20 Issue No. Clearing out a building takes 30 minutes of real time, less 1 minute for every soldier up to twenty. Tire taverns have a large main room, a kitchen, a storeroom, ldlO rooms to rent, ld4 rooms where the owners live, and a stable.
Once a building is emptied, it takes 5 minutes to search a room. The irony here is that if the PCs correctly interpret the clue, they don't have to clear out the tavern or waste time searching the whole building. The stable is a separate building and is empty except for a few horses.
Down to the Wire: Fifteen minutes of real time before the blast, the heat from the crystal causes the straw to smolder; a thin stream of smoke can be seen rising from the stables. Consequences: The real danger is not from the explosion, but the resulting fire. The blast destroys the stables and sets fire to the Moxy Maiden. Within a few rounds, the fire spreads to five of the other nine taverns. The blaze claims a total of twenty-two lives and bums the five taverns to the ground.
Clue 7: Trick or Treat area 26 The Clue: "Middle of town" is a fairly obvious hint referring to City Centre Square, which lies in the middle of the city. City Centre Square is surrounded on all four sides by fairly upscale stores.
One of them is an antique store with a large, tarnished silver mirror in the display window. If the PCs keep in mind the clue "seek a reflection" as they look around the square, they notice the mirror in short order. There are no pools of water or any other reflective objects on display in any of the stores.
The mirror is coated with grime, except for the bottom corner, which has been deliber- ately polished clean. A bakery across the street is reflected in the clean area. We specialize in halfling candies. Unfortunately, there are no "square doors" in the basement or any- where else in the bakery; however, for more details, see below. Encounters: Todd's Bakery is an expensive place, catering to the city's wealthier resi- dents.
Todd is a tall, chunky fellow of mid- dling years and pleasant demeanor. He is the only baker in the city who has mastered the delicate art of halfling baking, and he has cor- nered this small but lucrative market. He just returned to work after a long holiday, during which time Gecko broke in and planted the fire crystal. Todd blanches when told of the fire crystal and immediately evacuates his family. If not This impaled skeleton could be the key to the heroes' survival.
He then returns to his bakery, grabs his strongbox, and runs for his life. He freely gives the PCs permission to search his shop and living quarters. If the PCs can get him to stay long enough, he can interpret the remainder of the clue. There is an old sub-basement in the building that used to be a wine cellar, but it was flooded by a water leak years ago and Todd abandoned it. The trapdoor, which is square, is underneath a pile of flour sacks in his base- ment.
He shows the PCs where it is and then quickly runs off. If they miss Todd or don't bother to ask him for help, it takes 30 minutes of real time to find the trapdoor, less 2 minutes for each per- son searching. If the search includes the entire building, the time is tripled.
The room is bare except for empty wine racks lining ail four walls. The stairs from the basement rotted away long ago, so the PCs must lower themselves down 15 feet. Water pours into the room through a generous crack in the north wall, flows swiftly across the floor, and then drains through a hole in the southeast comer where the floor has collapsed.
Tire water is leaking from the city sewer and has a mildly acidic smell. As soon as the PCs open the trapdoor, they see a flickering orange crystal jammed into the crack in the north wall. While the blast inflicts only ld4 points of damage in a 5' radius a successful saving throw vs. Everyone in the wine cellar is swept off his or her feet and washed down the drain hole in the southeast comer within seconds.
PCs can avoid this fate only if they took precautions to anchor them- selves to something solid beforehand, or if they have some extraordinary magic at their disposal such as a fly or levitate spell. PCs caught by the trap are unceremoni- ously dumped into a sewer line and swept away. To these PCs, read or paraphrase the following: A wall of water knocks you to the ground and tosses you about mercilessly.
For sev- eral seconds you are dragged along like a reed in a stream. Abruptly you hear a series of loud metallic crashes like the sound of heavy gates falling, and then you are spit into a large chamber. You come to an abrupt halt in a damp, square chamber. Embedded in the middle of each wall is a sturdy iron portcullis. The floor is flooded with a foot of water. A pulsing fire crystal sits atop a stone pedestal in the center of the room. It seems to be coming from every direction at once.
This crystal will explode in a few moments, and when it does you will be roasted alive — that is, unless you can some- how solve the puzzle of the gates and escape this chamber. Should you fail to get the crystal out of here in time, the entire building will collapse. The DM should give the party 15 minutes of real time to escape the room before the crystal explodes.
The PCs can- not escape the blast from the crystal by throw- ing it down one of the side passages beyond the gates. The blast radius is large enough to come roaring back into the chamber. Unless the party escapes through the south gate, the blast brings down the ceiling and crushes everyone. The East Gate: The floor descends three shallow steps before reaching the gate, and the water is 3 feet deep around the portcullis.
On the other side of the bars the PCs can see a grimy skeleton impaled to tire wall with a long spear. Beyond the skeleton, the tunnel has collapsed. The fallen rocks completely block the passage, so this is not a possible exit. If they desire, the PCs can retrieve the spear, which is nonmagical and has a 9'-long wooden shaft. On the far wall is a rusted metal wheel. On the west wall 10 feet inside the gate is a lever in the upward position.
The gate is locked in place. To unlock it, a PC must push down the lever with something at least 8 feet long; the spear behind the east gate would serve nicely. Once unlocked, the gate lifts eas- ily. Turning the metal wheel on the far wall opens the west gate. The West Gate: This is the chute that dumped the party into the room. Beyond the gate, the passage slopes steeply upward at a degree angle, and water runs swiftly down.
Beyond the first gate, the party can see three others. Dangling in front of the second gate and out of reach from the main chamber is a shining steel key hanging from the ceiling by a wire. If they open the first gate by turning the wheel behind the north gate, they can scramble up the slope to retrieve tire key. The three gates beyond do not open. The South Gate: Beyond the gate, steps climb above the level of the water, and the passage beyond turns sharply east. The PCs can just see daylight from around the comer.
The key is behind the west gate. Clinging to the ceiling beyond the south gate is a small patch of green slime that falls on the first person to walk underneath it. Past the slime, the tunnel leads to a deserted alley behind the children's hospital. Atop the miscellaneous junk piled behind the building is a sturdy lead coffin used to transport diseased bodies to the city' morgue. If the cnjsta I is closed inside the coffin, it con- tains the blast and no damage is done to the surroundings.
Of course, the lead coffin is destroyed in the process. Consequences: If not removed, the exploding crystal shatters the foundation of the children's hospital and the entire building collapses. Twenty-two children are killed along with seven doctors and three nurses. Evelyn Evelyn follows the PCs invisibly throughout the entire affair.
Once they recover three crys- tals, she observes them from the end of the street and casts ventriloquism to initiate a con- versation. Without preamble she waits until the PCs stop speaking and says the following: After the pain of the blozv is gone, I am the mark that Ungers on.
What am I? She listens to the PCs answers using her dairaudience spell. If they answer "a bruise," she responds, "That is correct. That is the first word. If they do not solve her riddle, she does not commu- nicate with them again. If the PCs solve the first riddle and then collect a fourth crystal, she addresses the party again using the same spells. I'm the place in the house where none will stay, but everyone walks through when they're on their way.
That is the second word. Guess again. If they do not solve her rid- dle, she does not communicate with them again. The two words together are "bruise hall- way," a variation of Bruce Holloway. Time's Up! When the three hours are up, the fire crystals explode simultaneously. The DM must ad-lib a suitably calamitous description depending on how many crystals were retrieved and how the PCs disposed of them. The DM must also describe the effects of any that were missed, and what the PCs see depends on where they are in the city'.
The loss of life and property, if any, should be described to the PCs in detail. Gecko has planted an eighth bomb at the city prison, set to explode at the same time as all of the others. He expects it will go unno- ticed in all of the ensuing chaos. Whether or not the PCs notice depends on how well they did running Gecko's gauntlet. If the PCs retrieved all of the crystals: After detonation, everyone notices another explosion at the south end of the city.
It takes Captain Coby only an instant to figure out from the location of the blast that someone is attempting a prison break. The PCs can move there at their normal movement speed. Evelyn's clues reveal the connection between the bombs and Bruiser Holloway.
If the PCs catch the hint and discuss it with Captain Coby, he offers the following: Coby eyes grow wide and his face falls. My guards are spread out all over this city and there's barely a handful left guarding the prison. This whole ordeal was a distraction for a jailbreak! Jail Break area 6 If the PCs arrive at the prison before the explo- sion, they can pursue whatever strategy they like.
They might hide around the prison and wait for the prison break. They might move Bruiser from his cell to a more secure location. They might even disguise a PC as Bruiser and leave him as bait. If Gecko does not see them, he does not change his plans. He is watching the prison from the roof of a small warehouse near the west wall where the fire crystal is planted. The prison entrance is on the east wall, so Gecko might not observe the PCs if they are subtle.
If he spots them, he abandons his rescue attempt and flees the scene. The PCs might arrive at the jail right after the explosion or long after Bruiser and Gecko have made their escape. Various magical wards protect the maxi- mum-security wing of the prison, courtesy of the city's court wizard.
While these wards completely foil spells cast inside the building, Gecko bribed a city official into revealing that weakly charged magical items like a wand with a single charge are not negated. This same official also provided a detailed floor- plan of the building and the exact location of Bruiser's cell.
Gecko then acquired a number of nearly spent magical trinkets to help release his boss. Unfortunately, he acquired them with the help of his sister Evelyn. She took pains to ensure that the magical items were, in fact, very strongly charged.
The moment he sets foot inside the building, the wards sap the items of their power, leaving Gecko with nothing but a battery of useless junk and his wits. The fire crystal is planted against the west- ern corner of the prison wall, adjacent to the maximum-security wing. When it explodes, it blows a hole in the heavy stone. Gecko plans to race inside, run to the guard room, and quickly dispatch them with his magical tools.
He then intends steal the keys, release Bruiser, and escape. As added insurance, he arranged for one of his men to park a horse-drawn car- riage outside the west wall of the prison 5 rounds after detonation. Just this morn- ing he was moved to the westernmost cell, directly opposite the exploding wall. He throws Bruiser some weapons and, over the next 15 rounds, the two men manage to hold off the guards long enough to extricate them- selves from the wreckage.
When the PCs arrive on the scene, the DM must once again ad-lib the situation depend- ing on what the two criminals are doing. If at all possible, Gecko and Bruiser try to avoid combat. If forced into melee, they fight only until an opportunity to escape presents itself. Gecko fights to the death and is willing to give his life if it will ensure Bruiser's escape. Bruiser, on the other hand, is interested only in saving his own skin. He freely abandons his second-in-command to get away.
If reduced to 5 or fewer hit points, he drops to his knees and begs for mercy. Note that Gecko's magical items function normally once he's outside the prison walls. He abandoned the other items he brought with him when they wouldn't function. For every 2 rounds spent fighting in or around the prison, one prison guard joins the fight on the party's side. As the time for Bruiser's release draws near, Evelyn heads to the prison to watch the entire charade invisibly.
She does not interfere until either Bruiser is dead or captured or Gecko is about to be killed. She then runs into the fray, hoping to pull Gecko away from combat in the ensuing con- fusion. She then casts invisibility on her brother, and the two flee. She saves her charm person spell for any particularly resilient or persistent PCs. After ld6 rounds of combat. Gecko's escape carriage finally arrives. The driver is panicked at being so late and rounds the cor- ner in such a hurry that he drives right into the group.
Everyone, including Gecko and Bruiser, must make a successful Dexterity check to avoid being run down for ld6 points of damage. Those PCs who do manage to throw themselves out of the way must make a successful saving throw vs. Those run down receive no saving throw. If both Bruiser and Gecko avoid being run down, they hop aboard without delay and speed away at a movement rate of If Gecko makes his Dexterity check and Bruiser does not, he spends a round hauling his boss onto the carriage before they can make their escape.
If Bruiser makes it and Gecko fails. Bruiser hops on the carriage and abandons his sec- ond-in-command. If both Bruiser and Gecko fail their Dexterity checks, they both spend a round regaining their feet and then must win initiative the next combat round before they can mount the carriage and get away. PCs who are still regaining their feet can- not catch the fleeing carriage. They must either overtake the vehicle or take a short cut and cut it off.
The coach starts at the western edge of the prison, turns north, and heads east onto the main road, past the South Barracks area 7 and toward the South Gate. Although the West Gate is closer to the prison, the guards stationed there probably saw or heard 24 Issue No. The crystals resemble orange gemstones that flicker like candles in a stiff breeze.
As the stasis field degrades, the crystal warms until it becomes searing hot in the last few minutes before detonation. When the stasis field around the crystal expires, the fireball spell detonates, inflicting 6d6 points of damage to anyone in the 20 - radius area of effect. A successful saving throw halves the damage. Locking the crystal in a box cannot stop the explosion; it simply destroys the container when it explodes. Burying it has little effect. If several crystals are in the same area when they detonate, the area of effect is not increased, but the dam- age is cumulative.
For low-level parties, the only means for dealing with the crystals is to safely dispose of them. Throwing them into the bay is a good solution, as long as no bridges or boats are nearby. Another option is to leave a crys- tal in a known area and then evacuate the residents. This at least minimizes the loss of life. Dropping a crystal into the sewer also alleviates damage to the citizens, although the explosion collapses some of the sewer tunnels.
In truly desperate circumstances, the PCs can try to throw a crystal into the air at the moment of detonation, hoping they can hurl it higher than the radius of the explosion. The timing requires a successful Intelligence check. Casting dispel magic on the crystal brings down the stasis field and detonates it imme- diately. Dropping a crystal into a bag of hold- ing or any other extra-dimensional space contains the explosion but destroys the item in the process.
A horn of blasting, shatter spell, or 10 points of blunt weapon damage col- lapses the stasis field and triggers the fireball explosion. Besides, Bruiser and Gecko have a secret hideout east of the city. If the PCs run directly east from the prison to the main road they intercept the carriage and have 1 round to take action before it passes them.
PCs could try to leap onto tine carriage, attack the driver, destroy the carriage, stop the horses, or simply give chase. Leaping onto the carriage while it is motion requires a success- ful Dexterity check on 5d6 thieves roll 4d6. Failure indicates a rough fall and ld2 points of damage. If a character successfully boards the carriage. Bruiser and Gecko climb onto the top of the carriage to try and knock the PC off.
Any action other than simply "holding on for dear life" requires a successful Dexterity check on 4d6 to avoid falling off the coach for ld4 points of damage. Actions requiring two hands overbearing, wielding a two-handed sword require a successful Dexterity check on 5d6, with failure resulting in a tumble from the carriage.
Anyone atop the carriage when it stops must make a successful Dexterity check on 4d6 or be hurled to the street for ld6 points of dam- age. Those clinging to the side of the carriage by one hand must also make a roll, but the damage is only ld4— 1 points.
The carriage provides partial cover against ranged attacks, improving the driver's AC. The driver defends himself only if forced into melee. He must check morale after every attack whether he is actually hit or not; if he fails his Morale check, he abandons the car- riage and runs away into the city to hide. If the driver is removed by whatever means. Gecko or Bruiser, if Gecko is unable grabs the reins and takes over after 1 round.
This could take the chase north along the main road or elsewhere. Attacking the carriage directly is likely to succeed only if the party has some powerful magic at their disposal. The vehicle is AC 2 and can withstand 45 points of damage before falling apart. A cleverly cast web spell could clog the wheels, blind the dri- ver, and so forth. PCs can also direct spells or actions at the horses. The animals are susceptible to sleep, spook, grease, phantasmal force, darkness 15' radius, scare, and animal friendship spells.
A simple cantrip can untie the horses from the vehicle, causing the carriage to roll until it strikes something! Overturning the carriage causes ld6 points to anyone clinging to the outside and ld4 points of damage to anyone within, if the horses are released and the carriage rims into something, everyone on or inside the carriage suffers ld4 points of damage and is jostled and unable to act for 1 round. The carriage and its occupants move at top speed MV 14 for the South Gate.
Unless held up by the PCs, the criminals force their way through and escape to the countryside. Tying Up Loose Ends There are several possible endings to this adventure. Regardless of where the PCs are, when it comes time to conclude, the duke of Red Fern tracks them down. If the PCs missed three or more crystals, even if they prevented the jail break, read or paraphrase the following; The Duke of Red Fern runs, huffing and puffing, around the comer.
Following him is a motley group of councillors and city guards. The duke sees you and Captain Coby and stops in his tracks, gritting his teeth. After a moment's pause he stomps toward you, arms flailing wildly. Faced with a crisis of this magni- tude, you turned to these sell-swords, and look what happened!
The former captain looks down at the ground, ashamed. We have a disaster to deal with. Coby follows silently. Each character receives 50 XP for each fire crystal successfully neutralized. This is the end of their adventure, and they will have no fur- ther contact with the duke or Coby. They are neither persecuted nor lauded for anything they did. If the party missed only one or two crys- tals, the duke is grateful for their help, but still disappointed with the captain and says as much.
He rewards the party with a bag of gp for their troubles, and each PC receives XP for each crystal neutralized. If the PCs recovered all of the crystals, read or paraphrase the following: The Duke of Red Fern runs, huffing and puffing, around the comer. The duke sees you and stops in his tracks, grinning broadly. After a moment's pause he walks toward you. You and your brave friends have saved the lives of my citizens! Many of those old warehouses still stand, now belonging to powerful and wealthy families, namely the Gherrens, the Maneras, and the Fedoruks.
These are the three founding merchant families of Red Fern. Many prominent businesses have since established themselves here, including Riddle's Tobacco Factory maker of the king's favorite cigars. Red Fern boasts four dwar- ven master-smiths, who have stubbornly set up their busi- nesses on different corners of the same intersection in a fiercely competitive rivalry. Smith's Comer is an excellent place to purchase metal-goods. The city's only human smith wisely located his business far away from Smith's Corner.
But Red Fern is not merely a place of commerce. The city is well regarded for its thirteen colleges and universi- - ties. College Town, as it is locally known, is a small walled compound where the city's houses of higher learning are located.
The walls, designed by the mage and engineer Sullius Crassius who maintains a tower in the city , are more decorative than practical in any defensive sense. They are nevertheless true architectural wonders — a fusion of magic and stonework. The majority of the city's student popu- lation also lives here in rooming houses. The city is also home to many learned sages, who ply their trade along Sages' Way, which runs from the main road to the War Tower.
The street is lined with all manner of erudite and scholarly men and women. It is said that if a question cannot be answered on Sages' Way, then it has no answer. She firmly believes that such a commer cial atmosphere corrupts true learning. There are two full barracks in Red Fern and a large complement of soldiers. It is said that no prisoner. The seat of the city's government is, of course. Government Center, which lies on the north side of the river at the end of Sages' Way.
Directly across the river is Temple Street, where the city's main churches are located. Visitors can find many amusements in Red Fern. The famous Dockside Avenue is home to the nine most bois- terous taverns in the duchy. The party here begins at sup- per and lasts well past sunset. Many famous bards,. The city also enjoys public parklands inside the city walls for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors.
The Whispering Vale is said to be inhabited by water nixies who will grant a wish if one throws a copper piece into the. From Fedoruk Park, one can take a trail up the hill- side to Overlook Point and its spectacular vista, as seen from the shores of Red Fern Reservoir.
One must be care- ful, however, not to take the wrong path and stray into the private vineyards of the Warren family. Because of a recent spate of vandalism on the grape crop, they are heavily patrolled and trespassers are not tolerated. The public is, - however, quite welcome to visit the winery where excel- lent vintages are for sale. Visitors interested in purchasing the varied wares of ' Red Fern's shopkeepers are directed to the Gold District. Also on every seventh day, the marketplace around the city well abounds with all manner of goods.
Wizards of the Coast, Inc. If the PCs uncovered the jail break but Bruiser escaped, the duke is annoyed but not outraged. He casts a withering glance of dis- approval at the captain, but nothing further comes of it. If the party managed to re-capture Bruiser or prevent his escape, the duke gushes with praise. He offers no further monetary rewards but does invite them to dine with him at the City Offices in two nights' time.
At the ban- quet he introduces the PCs to a number of prominent people in Red Fern. If Gecko escapes, he seeks revenge against the PCs, especially if Bruiser is still in custody. He might even attempt another jail break although much less elaborate.
He might also weave an intricate assassination plot where he implicates the PCs in the murder of the duke. Whether or not Evelyn survives has little bear- ing on his plans. If Gecko is captured, PCs can learn that he obtained the fire crystals from a wizard who lives in a remote tower. The wizard, exiled from Red Fern years ago, has his own reasons to despise the local authorities. In exchange for his and Bruiser's freedom.
Gecko is willing to share what he knows about this wizard. If Evelyn survives, she continues to thwart her brother's attempts to break Bruiser out of prison. If Gecko was killed and Evelyn per- ceives the PCs as being responsible, she con- tinues to trouble them in future adventures. Her reVenge might not be as elaborate, but she is just as persistent as her brother. I look forward to springing this adventure on my unsuspecting players.
It will be a welcome diversion from the ho-hum ores and goblins found so often in lower-level adventures. I've been so busy with my life that I no longer have the time to create my own adventures, but if I can keep finding sur- prising and fun adventures like "Bad Seeds" to run, I think I'll be able to stick with it. Kudos to Mr. Carter and the always superb Diesel for the detailed maps! Also, thanks for pointing out possible continuing adventures at the end of the module. I'll hunt those issues down and will probably have my next few Saturdays taken care of!
Yes, I know I am a late starter. Although on many occasions my brother and 1 we alternate the role of DM in our group have discussed the attributes of our ideal module, I have never actually taken time to express my opinion to the people with any influence. This letter seeks to rectify this blatant apathy. Our group of players, all of whom have been playing for 15 to 20 years, are most definitely the "old school.
Of course, a strong plotline with opportunities to roleplay is essential to a good adventure. However, overly com- plex or convoluted plots where PCs are channeled down a strict course of action to make the plot fit are not suitable for Dungeon Adventures. Let individual DMs design their own if they want them in their campaign.
What I want from Dungeon Adventures and Wizards of the Coast in general are good quality, well thought out generic adventures that can fit into most campaign worlds. All of my top ten Dungeon Adventures modules possess these qualities. Both adventures have "corny" plots retrieving an artifact or rescuing an NPC yet are still first-rate scenarios that I would have been proud to write.
They are both useable with little or no addi- tional work but can be expanded if nec- essary. Now the down side. Please can we have no more adventures for other gam- ing systems for example, "Deepstrike" in Issue Personally, I feel cheated if one is included.
I also agree with readers who find some of your low-level modules "quirky. Quirkiness is all right for one encounter, not a whole module. A few comments on Issue "Keep for Sale" - Good. A low-level adventure in the mould outlined above. A module that the players would be involved in before they even realized it. A simple hook "Something is polluting our skies" , but an imagina- tive plot that is easy to follow, good vil- lains, and a well thought out location plus a short lesson in smelting.
Top notch. Yes, I know it's a Side Trek adventure, but that does not mean quality has to suffer. Regular features will reveal cam- paign developments, highlight impor- tant campaign locations, update classic monsters and villains to 3rd Edition formats, and explore new realms and peoples of Oerth.
Mona edited sev- eral issues of the Oerth Journal, a pop- ular online Greyhawk fanzine, and contributed to the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, a forthcoming sourcebook from Wizards of the Coast that serves as the creative backbone of the Living Greyhawk campaign.
Submission queries are currently being accepted. It juxtaposes the standard dungeon crawl with an unusual adventuring environment inhab- ited by denizens that should surprise even the most seasoned players. The characters are sent on a sub- terranean raid to stop a menacing beholder.
Circumstances become complicated, however, with the discovery of an illithid stronghold inhabited by an ulitharid noble mind flayer with a split personality. The lllithiad supple- ment provides useful background informa- tion on mind flayers but is not needed to run the adventure. For the Dungeon Master The beholder Akwest Babasak is currently expanding his lair, using his disintegrate eye to create new passages. Recently, Akwest unearthed a huge underground cavern, in the center of which floated a citadel of faintly glowing crystal.
Intrigued, he approached the citadel, eager to claim whatever treasure it might hold or subjugate any who would dwell within. The beholder was forced to withdraw, however, for as he neared the citadel his levitation power failed. Temporarily frustrated, Akwest returned to his lair and devised a plan to lure a party of surface-dwelling adventurers to investigate the citadel.
Despite his natural prejudice toward other life forms, he realized that adventurers from above should be resourceful enough to accomplish what he wants. The nearby town of Ammath is a small but prosperous community of just over inhab- itants. One evening, Akwest ventured to the surface and proceeded to Ammath, where he created mayhem with his disintegrate, fear, and telekinesis eyes. During the "assault," Akwest was careful not to cause too much destruction or slay any inhabitants.
His goal was to create a stir, not bring down the town or too heavy a vengeance upon himself. The attack com- pleted, he then returned to his lair to wait for the inevitable "heroic adventurers" to be called in. Akwest made provisions to lure adventurers to the crystal citadel, where he intends to make his appearance and offer them a bargain. He plans to give his word not to bother Ammath any more if the PCs agree to explore the floating citadel and find out who or what built it and what is inside.
The crystal citadel is, in fact, an ancient illithid sanctuary. It was constructed hun- dreds of years ago by Shannotsuul, an ulitharid whose personality was attacked by a human mind due to short-circuited psionic seals. See The lllithiad supplement or the "Psionic Seals" sidebar for information on psionic seals and 28 Issue No.
The personality that has surfaced and dominated the ulitharid mind is Shannon Canteel, a former human wizard and adven- turer. Shannon remembers her capture and ceremorphosis at the hands of the illithids and bears no end of malice toward them, yet she is permanently trapped within the body of her enemy. Shannotsuul has one goal: revenge against the illithids. She seeks to harm the illithid cause whenever and wherever she can.
The crystal citadel, built with the help of rene- gade alhoon servants, has served as a secure headquarters from which she ventures forth to fight the illithids in the Underdark. To com- plicate matters, the ulitharid mind named Redatsuul is not entirely quiescent. This pro- duces a strange mix of illithid and human behavior. While Shannon's goals do not sit well with the illithid portion of her mind, the Shannon personality remains in charge and works toward the downfall of illithids with single-minded determination.
To extend her life beyond the normal ulitharid span and to keep the ulitharid's true personality at bay, Shannotsuul regularly ingests a special fluid produced by fungal growths melded with neural tissues from strange subterranean crea- tures. She avoids total darkness, which is unusual for illithids. While the illithid eye is not made to operate well in bright light, Shannotsuul is uncomfortable in total dark- ness and lives in a citadel that radiates contin- ual soft light.
She endures the dark only on missions against the illithids. Her eyes are unique for illithids a physiological side effect of the psionic seals and operate equally well in light or darkness. Attempts by Shannon to return to her former human state have met with failure — the Redatsuul personality is too intimately entwined with Shannon's to allow such change. The shame Shannotsuul feels at her form shows in the heavy veil she normally wears, removing it only to eat and to infiltrate illithid lairs.
Tire citadel itself is enclosed in a shield that repels magic and psionics, which is why Akwest's levitation failed. Getting in should not prove too difficult for resourceful charac- ters. Shannotsuul, if approached correctly, might not be ill-disposed toward adventurers visiting the citadel. PCs who charge in with spells and swords blazing, however, are in for a serious fight. This could be as simple as seeing a posting on a wall outside of an inn or hearing a rumor from a traveler who just passed through Ammath.
The PCs might also have just arrived in Ammath, hoping for a quiet night or two between adventures. Conversely, Ammath might be the hometown of one of the PCs, and he or she is returning home for a long-awaited reunion. A personal plea for help from members of the PC's family or Granny Wexton see below might add a note of urgency to the expedition. Justin Aldefer, the mayor, and Dorothea Wexton, the oldest inhabitant of Ammath, act as spokespeople for the town.
Justin is a slight man in his fifties with a fringe of red hair and an analytical, shrewd mind. Granny Wexton seems to be nothing more than a diminutive village nanny. She is years old and gets about with the help of a cane.
She lives in a small cottage that always smells of baked bread. She often uses the endearments "butterpat," "breadcrumb," or "biscuit" when speaking to people. The town has scraped together a reward amounting to 1, gp per PC, along with sev- eral magical potions donated by a local alchemist potions of whatever type the DM determines could best suit the party.
The town provides any standard supplies the PCs need free of charge. PCs are put up at a local inn or in a PC's old home if appropriate to the adventure. PCs learn that the beholder came from the eastern forest just after nightfall. They can trace the path the beholder took through town, observing damage to many structures caused by disintegrate rays. Locals testify that the beholder sent droves of people screaming in panic.
Several people were wounded in the riot to escape the beholder, but nobody per- ished. Astute PCs might find this puzzling. People in town know that the eastern woods are home to fell creatures, but except for an attack by a huge reptilian beast a behir about eight years ago, all has been quiet. The citizens have been keeping a nightly vigil since the attack, but so far they have spotted nothing.
There are rumors of caves existing somewhere in the forest, but nobody from town has been foolish enough to search for them. Overstaying Their Welcome If PCs choose to remain in town for more than a few days, Akwest grows frustrated that no one has come looking for him. After three days, Akwest sends a pair of charmed manti- cores to assault the town. They approach from the east by air and attack anyone outside with several volleys of tail spikes, then land in the town square.
Akwest would have sent three manticores, but one was unaffected by the charm and the beholder was forced to slay it. If PCs are on the move by the third day, they meet the manticores in the forest and no town attack occurs. See "Into the Woods" below. Psionic Seals Psionic seals are analogous to tattoos in form and receptacles in purpose. The psionic discipline Imprint Psionic Circuitry allows illithids to brand objects with psionic seals designed to contain psionic power.
It is possible to brand a living being with a psionic seal, allowing the individual so marked to call upon the power stored within the seal. The ulitharid Redatsuul became enam- ored of psionic seals and had several placed upon his person. The seals' circuitry acci- dentally crossed, however.
The seals not only shorted out but also revived the human personality that the ulitharid sup- posedly obliterated when he underwent ceremorphosis. See The lllithiad for details. Into the Woods The forest lies less than a mile east of town and is a mix of old and young growth. It is rela- tively safe at the outskirts, and townsfolk rou- tinely cut wood and pick berries and nuts there. Only a few little-used trails venture deep into the woods. As the PCs approach the forest, they spot an arrow made of stones pointing east, Tire arrow, left near a trail, was made by Akwest to lead adventurers to his lair.
At two miles and four miles into the woods are more arrows, also pointing east along the trail, PCs know few villagers travel this deeply into the forest, so the presence of the arrows might make them wonder. The entrance to Akwest's caverns lies six miles down the trail, at the base of a rocky hill covered in pines. Along the trail there is an encounter with the manticores. They are out hunting and do not hesitate to attack humans or demihumans.
If Akwest has already sent two manticores to town, PCs instead encounter the petrified and shattered remains of the third manticore. The manticores with 35 and 31 hp are the same ones encountered in "Overstaying Their Welcome" above. The entrance is set into the base of a rocky hill covered in pine trees. The caverns are natural limestone and vary from 7 feet to 30 feet high.
The walls are rough but slick with moisture. In areas Akwest has recently excavated see area 15 , the walls are smooth and dr '. In the natural areas, patches of harmless fluorescent fungus grow, shed- ding an eerie light. Akwest spends most of his time touring the tunnels, on the lookout for possible prey or intruders.
Ever ' monster in the cave com- plex knows of Akwest and acknowledges his overlordship. None of them would willingly fight the beholder. If charmed to attack the beholder, the monster receives a saving throw to break the charm, and if successful, flees. If it fails, it suffers a -3 penalty to attack rolls due to fear. Akwest is greedy, arrogant, quick to anger, and intelligent.
He has lived in these caves for over eighteen years and considers them his own and all within his slaves, servants, or next meal. Akwest always seeks to deal from a position of power, hence the initial attack on Ammath. He speaks Common and Under- common, and he can communicate at least in rudimentary form with every intelligent mon- ster in the caves. During the adventure, Akwest keeps with him a potion of invisibility that he carries via his telekinesis eye. Any noise or commotion PCs make in the tunnels has a l-in-3 chance of alerting Akwest of their pres- ence.
He quaffs the potion once he knows PCs are in the caves, then finds and quietly follows them at a distance of feet. If he is detected at any time, see the "Let's Make a Deal" section below. Ahead of you looms a tall hill covered in fir trees. At the base of the hill is a rock-strewn cave mouth about 12 feet wide and 20 feet tall. It angles rather steeply down into the hill until a gradual bend obscures your sight.
A cool breeze issues from the cave, smelling of dampness. On the ground is another arrow made of stones. It points directly into the cave mouth. Like the arrows found in the woods, this arrow is meant to point the PCs in the right direction. PCs who shout down the cave mouth do not receive any kind of response. Trapper Menace. This section of the corri- dor is home to a trapper.
It stretches from wall to wall and is 20 feet long. The beast attempts to engulf the first two PCs who walk over it. Note that it will not release victims until it is reduced to 1 hp or killed. Hidden underneath the trapper is a pile of bones, a suit of chain- mail sized for a dwarf, a warhammer, a metal tube containing a priest scroll cure blindness and air walk written at 10th level , and a neck- lace of silver set with a garnet worth gp.
Dismantled Arrow. Several small piles of stones sit in the center of this three-way intersection. They have been arranged into simple geometric shapes and appear to have been moved recently. The stones are the remains of another arrow placed by Akwest. The arrow was moved less than an hour ago by the quaggoth in area 9. Arrow Pointing the Way. Another arrow of small stones points south. Guardians of the Spring. This area is inhabited by cloakers. Akwest allows them to lair here so they can act as guards for the heal- ing spring in area 6.
The cloakers rarely ven- ture out except to hunt in the corridors or surrounding woods by night. The cloakers are continually emitting their first level of sub- sonic moan, their equivalent of a cat's purr of contentment since they have just digested a meal of quaggoth from area 9.
Note that while in the corridors, the subsonic moan is too weak to cause the full effects as described in the Monstrous Manual" tome, but the moan can cause general unease. Once PCs enter the cave, read or paraphrase the following: You enter a round cave filled with large boulders and stalagmites. Three other tun- nel mouths wind away into darkness. You hear the faint trickle and splash of water nearby. A sudden movement in the cave catches your eye, and you hear a flapping noise.
There it is again! One of the three cloakers in the cave per- sists in the first level of moan, causing unease and a -2 penalty to attack and damage rolls, while the other two attempt to maneuver to attack the party from opposite flanks. They require 1 round to maneuver into position before attacking.
After 2 rounds, the third cloaker begins to emit the third level of moan, attempting to catch as many PCs as possible in the effect. If one is slain or if their morale breaks, any remaining cloakers emit either the fear or Itald person moans, then flee under cover of their manipulate shadows ability, creating mirror images to confuse characters.
Healing Spring. A clear, cold spring trickles from the south wall and forms a small pool. The spring radiates Necromantic magic. The first PC drinking from the spring heals 2d6 points of damage immediately and heals any remaining wounds at five times the normal rate for the next week.
After one PC drinks, the spring loses its potency for a week. If the first drink of water is carried away from the spring, it loses its potency within 1 hour. This spring is the reason Akwest originally chose these caves for his lair. With a sip from the spring, he can replace lost eye stalks rapidly. Growing at the dead end of the passage is a patch of blue fluorescent fungus. The fungus is harmless but can be scraped off and col- lected as a portable light source.
The radius of the fluorescent light is 15 feet. Black Pudding. A black pudding has wan- dered up from deeper levels of the Underdark and has attached to the ceiling at this intersec- tion. Any movement below causes it to drop. The tunnel heading east off the map contin- ues for several hundred feet before reaching the quaggoth lair and could be developed by the DM as an extension of tire adventure. Otherwise, the passage can be considered a dead end. The pudding has no treasure. Quaggoth Lookout.
A lone quaggoth squats by the western wall of this intersection. He is on lookout for the raiding party in area 9. If he sees movement or light heading Iris way, he yells loudly, summoning all of the nearby quaggoths in ld4 rounds. He wields a stone ax Dmg ld6 and has a necklace made of bone beads worth 5 gp. Quaggoth Encampment. A quaggoth hunt- ing party is camped here.
The quaggoths have collected eight giant toad carcasses and recently lost three scouts to the cloakers in area 5. They are currently dining on megalo- centipedes before heading for the tunnel home in area 7. If the lookout in area 8 sounds the alarm, the quaggoths hastily prepare for combat. If caught by surprise, they are hunched over partially devoured centipedes.
Most of them wield stone axes or clubs ld6 points of dam- age. One quaggoth uses a spear smeared with megalocentipede venom. The first successful attack with it causes an additional 3d6 points of damage. A successful saving throw vs.
The jald's ax head is made of smoky quartz and is worth 50 gp. The jald wears durable leather armor made from toad hides. Petrified Behir. Out of the darkness a lithe serpentine form appears. It is unmoving and glistens with condensed moisture. Upon closer inspec- tion you can see tine large, multi-legged rep- tilian beast is fashioned of stone.
Several of its legs are missing, and nasty gashes have been opened on its flanks. The whole statue is twisted and contorted, apparently cap- tured in a moment of agony. This is the remains of a behir that dueled with Akwest for possession of the caverns several years ago. The behir wanted the cav- erns as a home to prey on Ammath, but Akwest was reluctant to give up his abode. Both were badly injured in the fight. The behir suffered serious wounds and lost four legs to disintegration, finally succumbing to the beholder's petrifying eye.
The petrified behir radiates Alteration magic. If it is successfully turned back to flesh, it immediately roars, retreats from the PCs, and attempts to escape from the caverns.
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