Author: mgarcia

Battle on the Beach

Editor’s note: Gamemaster Michael Garcia runs two groups in the same Northumbria campaign on different nights. The Editor has no idea how he keeps things straight in his head. This narrative returns to the Winchester family, last seen in “Screams in Store.”


Background:

Sir Garrett of House Winchester and his retinue were on Wycliffe Island in the middle of Blackwater Lake.  Having come to the island at the behest of the local Guild to investigate a dry dock facility, they had found it overrun and burned, most of its personnel dead.  Having already rescued four surviving guildsmen from a pack of wild worgs, the retinue began tracking a band of robber knights in an attempt to save a fifth surviving guildsman, named Marcel of St.-Martin.  With the four guildsmen guiding them, the retinue was racing through the forest, atop the rocky plateau that runs the length of the island.  Their hope was to reach the western ridge, descend the steep slope, and find the robber knights’ boat before they could leave the island with their hostage.

Bone-tired, Sir Garrett and his retinue knew that they had little fight left, yet Sir Garrett would not abandon the captive to an uncertain fate, nor allow the robber knights to go unpunished.  The group pushed on, though they knew that they were racing against the sunset.  It had been overcast for much of the day, and gray clouds still covered the sky like a leaden sheet.  Even under the canopy of trees, though, the retinue could tell that the sun was setting.  Everything was beginning to take on shades of gray.

In its hasty flight, the retinue had already stumbled upon a band of goblyns which gave chase.  In a running battle, the retinue fought off the leading element.  The party, while continuing to barrel through the forest, had then spotted the robber knights in the distance across a ravine. The knights had not seen them.  Rounding a bend in the rocky terrain, they ran into another element of the goblyn war band and fought them off in another desperate, running battle.  The retinue had just come to the western ridge, where the rocky slopes begin their descent to the beach, far below.  The many trees obscured their sight so they could not spot the robber knights again.  Hearing wolves and goblyn horns behind them, the group began a hasty descent, while trying not to tumble headlong some eight hundred feet down the slope.

From the DM:

Another session that almost ended in a TPK, this one was not due to player foolishness. Each PC played his role well, but the group had very few hit points left. The encounter did give the group a bitter foe for future sessions.

Cast of Characters:

Sir Garrett of Winchester: Paladin, Head of House Winchester
Lady Alinachka: Magic user, Garrett’s widowed sister-in-law
Brother Rolf: Cleric of St. Cuthbert, Garrett’s younger brother
Cousin Modrak: Thief, Garrett’s distant cousin
Odo: Fighter, Garrett’s friend, ward of the Winchester family
Maggie: Fighter, Odo’s sister, ward of the Winchester family
Master Magnus: Illusionist, Garrett’s butler/steward
Yeoman Guilliman: Ranger, longtime-servant of the family
Master Gimlet: Fighter, dwarven friend to Sir Garrett
Hugh the Porter: NPC, hireling to the party
Miles the Minstrel: NPC, bard who is seeking stories to tell

Narrative:

Despite a few slips and frightful slides, Sir Garrett and his retinue made the descent safely.  Cousin Modrak reached the bottom first, as he was lightly clad and relatively unharmed.  Upon reaching level ground, he noticed that the thick forest began to thin as it neared the sea.  A stretch of rocky ground, about 50 feet in length and littered with smaller trees, lay between the foot of the slope and the pebble beach.  Moving forward to the end of the tree line, cautiously but quickly, he spotted the beach, measuring only about 30 feet between the trees and the lake.  Small waves of black water gently washed over the rocks and some gray driftwood.  To his left, Modrak heard voices, though he saw nothing from where he sat crouched behind a tree.  Creeping to his left, moving parallel to the shoreline, he soon spotted a large object of curious shape.  He realized it to be a small boat, perhaps 30 feet long, covered with a pile of tree branches.  The voices came from a short distance beyond it.

Signaling up to the rest of the group, which had almost reached the bottom of the slope, Modrak pushed through the low vegetation, trying to stay out of sight.  The lapping sound of the waves helped to mask his movements, but the thinning trees hindered his ability to hide.  He made for the boat.  There was no one there, and it seemed intact. Seeing a gap in the pile of cut branches that covered the craft, Modrak slid his bow and quiver inside and then pulled himself over the side.  Meanwhile, Yeoman Guilliman had seen Modrak’s signal and broke to the left, staying inside a belt of wide, silver maple trees.  From his vantage point, he spotted the quarry.  A second boat, maybe 30 yards to the left of the first, lay uncovered on the pebbles at the edge of the surf.  About a dozen men in various forms of armor, bearing mainly longbows, halberds, and spears, surrounded the craft.  A few looked to be readying it for sailing.  Two of the men wore full plate harnesses.  His mind raced:  They have two boats.  At that moment, five of the other men-at-arms began to walk away from the rest, moving slowly to the right, toward Modrak and the concealed boat, bantering to each other about something.  The cool wind off the lake, carrying a strong odor of humidity with it, made their comments inaudible.  Looking up the slope at his companions, Guilliman whistled sharply and gesticulated rapidly before grasping his axe.

Hearing the whistle and stumbling down the rocky slope, Master Gimlet muttered under his breath, “Great.  We run, then we fight, then we run while fighting, then we fight while running, then we stumble down a hill, now we fight some more.  What’s next, swimming?”  Maggie, Odo, and Sir Garrett, already crouching behind the concealed boat, silently slid their swords from their scabbards.  A second group came straight down the slope, finding themselves to the right of the concealed boat and somewhat out of harm’s way.  In this group, Brother Rolf, Hugh Redoak, and Miles the minstrel helped along the four, wounded guildsmen, Lady Alinachka, and the exhausted Master Magnus.  Hearing voices drawing nearer, this group ducked into a shoulder high thicket of butterfly weed, bristling with small orange blossoms.

Four of the five armed men reached the edge of the concealed boat, oblivious to any danger, but the fifth, carrying a spear, stopped abruptly and looked up to his right. Yeoman Guilliman cursed under his breath, seeing that they had only seconds.  As he jumped to his feet and charged down the slope, all hell broke loose.

From behind the boat, sprang Sir Garrett, Odo, Maggie, and Master Gimlet.  With a single deadly stroke, each crushed or cut the life from one of the four men-at-arms.  Two crumpled almost soundlessly, gurgling as blood erupted into their throats, but two others screamed as they fell, mortally wounded.  The spearman in the rear turned and bolted immediately.  Sir Garrett led a charge across the pebble beach, shouting, “To the boats!”  Emerging suddenly from the thicket of butterfly weed, some twenty yards behind, Brother Rolf also charged headlong to support his older brother, flail raised high.  Meanwhile, bow in hand and arrow already nocked, Modrak stood upright in the bow of the concealed boat, knocking aside many tree branches.  He proceeded to loose a steady stream of arrows toward the robber knights’ other boat.  Charging down the slope on a diagonal, knocking aside branches and trampling the underbrush, came Yeoman Guilliman, battleaxe raised high.

The sudden flurry of activity, along with shouts, screams, and the staccato clanking of armor, produced an instant reaction among the robber knights.  One man in full harness barked orders and grabbed for his longsword, though the blustery wind off the water drowned out most of his words.  A taller man in a plate harness casually let his battleaxe fall to the pebbles at his feet, opened a pouch on his belt, and drank from a small vial.  He then picked his great helm off the ground and placed it on his head.  Meanwhile, half of the men-at-arms, mainly archers, jumped aboard the small boat and pushed it into the lapping surf, grabbing for oars once inside.  The other half, mainly spearmen and halberdiers, lowered their weapons to stop the charge that bore down on them.

The clash was sudden and violent.  Yeoman Guilliman, rushing down toward the beach on an angle, bypassed the waiting spear points and thundered right into the knee-high surf.  In one graceful move, he swept aside a man’s longbow with his battleaxe and threw himself over the side of the boat, landing on his side with a thud and causing a host of screams from those inside the boat.  Following right behind him was Maggie, who leaped into the boat with surprising agility, landing squarely on top of a surprised man-at-arms.  Both lost their footing and toppled to the algae-lined floor of the boat.  As for Sir Garrett, Master Gimlet, and Odo, they smashed into the waiting line of spearmen, driving through them and scattering them.  Their victory evaporated immediately, for a knight in plate harness, wielding a longsword and heater shield, unleashed a violent series of attacks against both Odo and Master Gimlet.  The other taller knight squared off with Sir Garrett, and the two made numerous passes at each other.  The tall knight’s battleaxe bit deeply into Sir Garrett’s shield, sending splinters of wood flying and slicing off part of the leather edging.  The Lord of House Winchester returned the blow with fury, not once, but twice.  Yet, twice did the tall knight deflect the blow.  Just to Sir Garrett’s right, Odo and Gimlet were reeling under the attacks of the shorter knight. However, Brother Rolf finally arrived at a full charge, throwing himself into the mix and pushing the knight back onto his heels.  Screams, shouts, and grunts mingled with the splashing surf, clashing steel, and the loud rustle of the wind off the water.

Some thirty yards down the beach, Hugh Redoak led the other non-combatants in uncovering the concealed boat.  From all sides, branches flew off the weather-beaten, algae-stained boat.  Modrak continued to loose arrows from its bow, until the others yelled for him to get off.  He leaped down with agility and continued to let arrows fly.  Two archers in the distant boat already had his goose-feather shafts protruding from their torsos.  With the branches finally cleared off, Hugh and the others began pushing the boat toward the shore.  They were about 20 yards away when they heard a horrible sound from the rocky slopes above.  A triple blast of a throaty signal horn carried on the wind above the beach.  Hugh and the others looked up in despair to see a wave of goblyns descending the dark slope like an avalanche coming through the trees.  There had to be dozens of them, if not scores.  Mingled with the rustling of the bushes was an odd clicking or scuttling noise, almost like that made by insects.  Master Magnus, exhausted and ready to faint, found a new source of strength—fear.  He screamed, “Push!  The whole damn lot of you!  Get this thing in the water!”  Crude arrows with wicked, blackened, iron heads began to pepper the area around the boat.  Four shafts sank into the bow, some skipped off the pebbles by Hugh’s feet, one pierced Alinachka’s leather backpack, and another two struck a pair of guildsmen.

Inside the robber knights’ lead boat, Maggie tried to get to her feet, surrounded by shouting enemies.  Two men rained blows on her, but she blocked them all with the forte of her longsword.  Unfortunately, she lost her footing and again dropped to the floor of the boat.  At the bow, Yeoman Guilliman went for the captive guildsman, who was trussed up with ropes behind his back.  A longbowman stepped directly into his path with an arrow nocked at pointblank range.  Without thinking, the ranger instinctively dropped to a knee as the man let the arrow fly.  Like a lightning bolt, the shaft whistled past his scalp and sank into the shoulder of a spearman in the rear of the boat.  Without hesitation, Guilliman threw his weight against the surprised archer, hurling him over the side and into the surf.  Maggie got to her feet again, only to have a halberdier try to hurl her from the boat.  She dropped to her knees and covered up as best she could, and instead of throwing her overboard, the halberdier almost went head over heels.  Only by wrapping his left arm around her neck did her stay in the boat.  They continued to grapple.  Unable to throw Maggie from the boat, the frustrated halberdier settled for smashing her head against the rail.  With the coppery taste of blood filling her mouth, Maggie hauled back and punched him in the neck with her mailed fist.  Coughing and gurgling, his hands shot to his throat, releasing her.  With all of her strength, she continued to punch.

The robber knights fought with disturbing poise.  Sir Garrett and the taller knight were locked up, elbow to elbow, with their weapons above their heads.  Seeing the goblyns streaming down the slopes, Sir Garrett made one logical plea to his adversary, “We have to get off this beach now, or we shall all surely die!”  Unmoved, the taller knight gave Lord Winchester only a look of disgust before trying again to brain him.  Garrett then saw his opening.  Drawing back with all of his strength, he feinted and then delivered a terrible stroke to his enemy’s great helm.  The sword struck with tremendous force, cutting deep into the temple of the helm and twisting it on the man’s head.  Lord Winchester was certain that his enemy would crumple, for never had he hit an opponent harder or more cleanly.  To his horror, the tall knight merely jerked his neck, causing the helm to spin back into place.  He was unmoved and seemingly unfazed.  That clarified things for the Winchester knight.  He shouted to his companions, “Get out of here! Get to the other boat! Move! This is fruitless!”

Sensing that they had momentum, both robber knights pushed forward to finish their enemies.  The shorter knight seemed to attack Odo, Brother Rolf, and Gimlet at once.  Though they almost surrounded him, they fell back under the weight of his attack.  He saw only a blur of dark fur out of the corner of his eye before a large growling hulk leaped upon him and brought him violently to the ground.  Alinachka had unleashed Booj, who seemed twice his normal size as he tore at the knight’s throat.  The knight’s aventail fell aside as he landed, and the hound ripped and tore the flesh beneath it.  The man flailed, writhed, and groaned, as crimson splattered and stained the pebble beach.  Lord Winchester, still yelling for his companions to withdraw, did his best to tie up the taller knight.

Hugh and the non-combatants, using their last ounces of strength, managed to get their boat to the waterline, but it seemed that they were too late.  Hugh was shot twice, and both arrows protruded grotesquely from his back.  Magnus fell face-first into the boat.  Two guildsmen managed to get in and were fumbling with the oars, but another two were shot a second time by goblyn arrows.  One tumbled face-first into the surf.  Miles the minstrel, of all people, wide-eyed and manic, grabbed the downed guildsman by the tunic and lifted him like a sack of turnips over the side of the boat.  A goblyn arrow then sliced his arm, leaving a red gash.  Alinachka, her gray robe drenched from the surf and heavy, threw herself into the boat and fumbled for an oar.  It was then that the first goblyns reached the boat.  Hugh swung an oar in a wild arc, striking the foul creature in the temple and knocking it loose.  He struck another as he screamed, “Row!  For the love of St. Cuthbert, row!”

On the robber knights’ boat, time seemed to slow for Guilliman.  He was exhausted and growing weary. He knew that unconsciousness was not far off.  Though only feet from the captive guildsman, he now had three men-at-arms closing on him.  He also heard Lord Garrett yelling for everyone to withdraw.  His mind raced.  If I get the captive, everything changes. Yet, I cannot get him out of the boat and untied before they hit me at least once.  One hit and I am dead.  If he is still tied, he drowns.  I can do no good here.  At that moment, his eyes gazed down the beach and spotted a horde of goblyns closing on the other boat, containing his friends.  A primal anger swelled in him.  A fraction of a second later, Maggie also realized that the situation was lost, and she threw herself overboard before an angry halberdier could cut her throat with his drawn dagger.  Yeoman Guilliman then leaped into the knee-high surf, scrambling back toward his friends.  A longbowman grabbed for his bow to finish the badly wounded ranger, but his companion screamed at him, “Row, you fool.  He’s dead anyway!”

Sir Garrett saw his friends falling back.  He waited for a few seconds, blocking another deadly blow of the knight’s battleaxe, until he saw Maggie’s head pop up out of the surf.  She too was on her way towards the other boat.  Lord Winchester then withdrew, cursing under his breath.  The tall knight, clad in black, lowered his axe for a second and glanced at the now-motionless body of his fellow knight.  The surf began to lap at the fallen man’s legs, but the large pool of crimson around his head remained.  His neck looked like entrails at a butcher shop.  For a second, Sir Garrett groaned and thought:  Where is Booj?  However, he spotted the hound in the surf, headed towards the boat containing Alinachka.  He then noted that they were still in dire trouble.

Hugh Redoak upended another of the foul creatures that had climbed over the side of the boat.  Two more arrows now protruded from Alinachka’s leather backpack, making a total of three.  The stern of the small craft was riddled with arrow shafts.  Modrak screamed in distress as three goblyns, up to their waists in the surf, latched on to the rear of the boat and were trying to pull it back to shore.  Then Yeoman Guilliman arrived, swinging his battleaxe with wild abandon.  He cleaved one from head to hip, sending a geyser of black ichor into the air.  The smell of raw sewage wafted over him and made him gag, but he battered another creature with the haft of his axe, smashing out its pointed teeth and causing it to slip beneath the waves.  He turned to the third, only to see a scimitar descending towards his face.  He knew that he could never block or move in time.  The blow never landed.  Instead, a goose-feather shaft seemed to sprout from the creature’s neck, and it toppled backwards into the dark surf.  Modrak, bow in hand once again, shouted, “Get in!  Get in!”  Now on his knees in the back of the boat, Hugh hung his right arm over the stern and grabbed the bloodied ranger.  With difficulty, he hauled him over the rail.

In the dying light, it became difficult see to see any detail.  The whole lake area—water, surf, shore, and forest—seemed to be a blurred mosaic of gray.  Moreover, a light haze or mist seemed to settle on the water.  Alinachka, largely unharmed, directed the rowers to veer left, parallel to the shore.  As arrows continued to whistle overhead, her companions finally saw three figures through the gloom.  The sight caused shouts of distress from everyone.  Sir Garrett was waist-deep in his plate harness, wading out to the boat.  Floating face down was Odo, who had three arrows embedded in his chain hauberk.  Just reaching his side was Master Gimlet, whose head was barely above water.  Then the companions in the boat saw a fourth figure.  Brother Rolf appeared behind the dwarf, lifting him up and into the boat.  Arrows ricocheting off Lord Winchester’s harness sounded like raindrops pelting a window.  Together, the two Winchester brothers lifted Odo’s motionless form into the boat.  At that point, Maggie reached the front of the boat and climbed in with great difficulty.  Brother Rolf fell into the boat with all the grace of an anvil, but he immediately went to work, tending to Odo.  Lord Winchester, up to his chest in the black water and now unable to see the trees on the shore or the robber knights’ boat, counted heads.  Only when he saw everyone did he throw his longsword and shield into the boat and allow himself to be hauled in.

The arrows continued for another minute or two, but they grew less frequent.  Everyone was breathing hard, and many were coughing up water and phlegm.  Brother Rolf, exhausted, continued to tend to Odo, who finally coughed up a tankard-full of lake water.  Maggie was spitting blood, and Guilliman finally collapsed.  Magnus, though his eyes were alert, lacked the strength to sit up.  Miles, the minstrel, still wide-eyed and manic, was paddling strenuously with his oar.  Hugh, arrows still protruding from his hauberk, had to yell for him to stop, as all others had stopped rowing once the boat seemed far enough away from the shore, and Miles’ paddling was just sending the boat in circles.  In the gloom, the retinue could not see the robber knights’ boat, but faint hints of splashing water in the distance did give away its general direction.  Modrak was the first to speak, “Cousin, if we are to overtake them, we need to start rowing now, but it think it safe to say that we are less than combat effective.”  As if to punctuate the statement, Odo vomited in the back of the boat.  Gazing off into the gloom, Master Gimlet said matter-of-factly, “I saw this day going differently.”

Cultures of Northumbria: The Frangians

In this series of articles, Michael Garcia shares various custom rules and handouts related to his worldbuilding for his ongoing Northumbria campaign. 


The Frangii are relative newcomers to Northumbria, hailing from lands to the northeast, across the great sea. Centuries ago, the Frangii were a divided people, with their petty kings fighting fratricidal wars for hegemony. In recent centuries, they united and expanded, absorbing a few neighboring cultures and forming the mighty Kingdom of Frangia, one of the most powerful kingdoms ever seen across the sea.  Fierce competition between Frangia and its neighboring kingdoms led to a wave of exploration and the discovery of the new world.

The Frangii quickly established many settlements in that new world, focusing on a fertile coastal region that they dubbed Southumbria. Despite frequent frontier wars with natives and other colonizing powers, Frangian power continued to grow there. The Frangian Crown then turned its attention to the vast region to the north of Southumbria, a region that they logically dubbed Northumbria. Read more

Ants in the Darkness

Another memorable play session from Michael Garcia, this one from his more recent Northumbria campaign. Mike is running two groups in the same campaign. “Screams in Store” followed the Winchester family; this story is about the Becketts. 


Background:

The session began with the PCs in a narrow tunnel, which is part of a series of natural limestone caverns that run throughout Wycliffe Island, located in Blackwater Lake. The party had stumbled upon a secret door inside an unmarked crypt on the island, and they started to explore the tunnel beneath it. The group is rather large and the tunnel very tight so they were in a long line, strung out.

From the DM:

Sometimes your players do innovative and bold things at the table, reflecting years of gaming experience. Other times, they shock you by doing silly things or NOT doing the obvious. The following game session began with a casual moment of stupidity that almost killed the entire party, but there were some heroics too. The monsters were not terribly interesting, but stock monsters can sometimes prove surprisingly tough when one small detail escapes your notice at first. In this case, the party (second level on average) ended up slugging it out with over sixty-three HD2 monsters that effectively had platemail! When I realized their plight, just before the battle began, I gave them a short piece of advice: “It’s time to get creative and pull out the heavy artillery or become food!” Read more

Cultures of Northumbria: Zeelanders

In this series of articles, Michael Garcia shares various custom rules and handouts related to his worldbuilding for his ongoing Northumbria campaign. 


The Zeelanders hail from lands to the northeast, across the great sea. Centuries ago, Zeelanders (called Frislanders in older texts) established several coastal city-states. A few centuries ago, one city crowned a king and conquered the rest. However, the cities soon revolted against the king’s designs on power. After a few years of war, they agreed to retain a king, whose power was limited.

The king at the time realized that his only chance of maintaining his throne was to channel his people’s energies outward. He therefore initiated a wave of seaborne exploration and expansion. This brought the Zeelanders into fierce competition with their distant kinsmen and neighbors in the powerful Kingdom of Frangia. The Zeelanders maintained the upper hand at sea and grew rich through trade, keeping pace with their Frangian rivals. However, the discovery of the new world changed the balance of power. The Frangii quickly established many settlements in a fertile coastal region that they dubbed Southumbria. Despite frequent frontier wars, Frangian power continued to grow there. When the Frangian Crown turned its attention to the vast region that lies north of Southumbria, a region called Northumbria, the Zeelanders resolved to deny it to them. Read more

Screams in Store

BACKGROUND:

Sir Garrett and his retinue have traveled through the northern wilderness called Northumbria, seeking the Winchester family estate that was lost a few generations earlier. After a brief stop at the tiny village of Lakesend and nearby Blackwater Keep, Sir Garrett offered his services to Lord Blackwater. Blackwater Keep was preparing for a goblyn siege so the garrison could not spare any men when the local guildsmen needed aid. It seems that they just lost all contact with the staff of their dry dock facility, located on a large island in Blackwater Lake. The PCs rowed to Wycliffe Island, crossed the island on foot, and finally came to the dry dock facility, which seemed abandoned. After some searching, they found many charred corpses and many tiny tracks of some kind. The PCs had never faced goblyns before, and their knowledge was limited to rumors (such as you might find in the Monster Manual). While looking around the dry dock compound, the PC thief slipped into one of the warehouse to investigate. The rest then heard screams from that direction. The following session began with everyone running toward the warehouse door. Read more

The Whip of Andrei Korsky

The Editor noticed that a certain magical whip has been instrumental in several battles during Mike’s Isenwald campaign, so I asked him to give us a write-up of the whip and its origin. He couldn’t remember much of the details about the session, but he did have this character profile for Andrei Korsky, which includes a description and stats for the whip. Enjoy!

—Bryan


Andrei “the Scourge” Korsky, Yepiskop’s Henchman

Portrait of Ivan Kalita from GURPS: Russia.

The Yepiskop of Ariangrad has numerous agents to do his bidding, but Andrei Korsky is one of his most brutal deputies. Though the Yepiskop ultimately trusts no one, he trusted Andrei enough to bestow upon him a special gift—an enchanted knout. (A knout is a whip designed specifically for punishment.) He wields this in battle with good effect, enough to earn him the nickname “the Scourge”. He has killed more than one man with a single blow of the knout. Read more

Grimvaling Ambush

Background

Early in the campaign, the PCs traveled north on behalf of their employer, Master Krueger, to settle a dispute with a somewhat wild group called the Grimvalings. Kinsmen of Master Grimvalt and his bride Bricta, they lived in a large dacha just beyond the northern borders of Strakannian land. Grimvalt despises foreigners and intruders, and the meeting turned bloody. Diego himself struck the head from Grimvalt’s hulking shoulders. Many weeks passed without word from the Grimvalings. Unbeknownst to the PCs, Bricta used her pagan druidic magic on Samhain to revive the body of her dead husband, whose head she had sewn back on. She then ordered her henchmen to start leaving diseased animals near the walls of Arianport, threatening contagion unless the murderer, Master Krueger, was slain or turned over. The threats caused a near riot in the panicked town so the PCs volunteered to visit the dacha again to somehow resolve the dispute. Using her magic, Bricta saw them coming and led the Grimvalings south to ambush the party on the road. With her is her pet brown bear.

FROM THE DM

I designed this encounter to be a simple warm-up, but a series of critical hits and critical misses made the battle memorable. The Grimvalings proved to be dangerous in the wilderness, but Bricta broke off the ambush early, for she planned to kill the PCs at the dacha. Read more

Deliver Us From Evil — Rules for an Exorcism Ritual

Deliver Us From Evil

Optional Rules for the Ritual of Exorcism

“And they cried, ‘Dominus, in Thy name, even wicked spirits are under our dominion!’ And He replied, ‘I saw the Enemy hurled from Heaven like a thunderbolt. You know I granted you power over all the powers of wickedness… Nevertheless, take not pride in this fact, but rather in that you belong to the Almighty. Thy Heavenly Father hath granted me all power.’”
—Fragmentary Book of Disciples III, Dominite Scripture

PREPARATION FOR THE RITUAL

Careful preparation for an exorcism may reduce bodily harm to the possessed and the all participants, while poor preparation can be deadly. While there is no absolute standard for the number of participants, the type of participants, the rules for participants, or the materials needed, there are suggested norms. These are presented below.

Participants

The exorcist (usually a cleric) is the only essential participant, but most theologians and religious authorities consider it wise to have assistance. Typically, one lesser cleric will be assigned to aid the exorcist spiritually. Two to four additional lay assistants are suggested to restrain the possessed, to care for the wounded, and to run errands. All clerics and laymen should be hardened to blood, vomit, excretion, disgusting sights and smells, and foul language. All should be devout believers with no sins on their consciences during the ritual. Lay assistants must be strong to hold down the possessed.

If any of these participants are NPCs, the DM should create some important background information for them. Better yet, each player may develop an NPC. The success of the players’ NPCs will be tested by fire as the DM tries to crack each of the participants during the ritual. Each NPC should have at least one flaw, be it a vice or a fear. These should not be announced, but written down secretly and handed to the DM. Only during the ritual would the characters (and players) learn of these secrets. The DM may wish to make basic stats for these NPCs, as they may be affected during the ritual. Alternatively, the DM may simply assume their roles and have them react however he wishes.

Rules for Assistants

There are three time-honored rules that exorcists will demand of all participants:

  • First, obey the exorcist immediately and without question
  • Second, take no personal initiative
  • Third, do not address the evil spirit or the possessed

Needed Materials

The exorcist must have his holy symbol and holy water. In addition, two white candles and silver dust worth 25 gold pieces are traditionally recommended, but other materials may be suggested as well. The DM may determine the effect, if any, that these have.

The Site

The location of the exorcism should be a place familiar to the possessed. The area should contain a bed or comfortable surface upon which the possessed may rest. The area should be easily accessible to the exorcist and his assistants, and they should also have a safe area nearby in which they can rest and eat. Remember that the ritual can go on for some time, so long-term preparations should be made for food and other necessities. The room or area where the possessed will remain should be stripped bare of all items save anything necessary for the ritual. All loose items, especially heavy or sharp objects, should be removed, lest the demon use them against the possessed or the participants. Should the exorcist fail to make these important preparations, the DM should not hesitate to take full advantage of this grave mistake.

ROLE-PLAYING THE RITUAL

The rite of exorcism can be role-played for maximum dramatic effect as long as all players are comfortable with this. Certain DMs and players may opt to use appropriate scriptural quotes to provide atmosphere, while others may refrain from doing so. This is a matter of taste.

The Rules of the Game

The DM must decide the rules by which the demon will play during the exorcism ritual. He creates the cosmology of his world, so he sets the rules for how evil forces will act. Yet, it is commonly believed that the demon will not reveal itself or openly wield its powers unless provoked. It is also commonly believed that the exorcist is safe from direct physical attack, but only as long as he purports himself as a servant of his deity, acting on his master’s behalf. However, the instant the foolish exorcist oversteps his bounds and confronts the demon directly in his own name, the demon has full discretion to assail the exorcist with all its power.

Game Mechanics

Exorcisms usually go through the following stages: Presence, Pretense, Breakpoint, Clash, and Expulsion. There is no fixed duration for any of these, and the exorcism will not generally finish in one session. Exorcisms generally last from 10 hours to several weeks. Though the participants will usually require rest and breaks, the exorcism proceeds until it succeeds or fails. After each day of exorcism, the exorcist must make Fortitude save (DC 15) or temporarily lose one Constitution point. No restoration is possible until the exorcism ends in success or failure.

For each stage, the chart below provides concrete things that the exorcist must do, as well as attacks that the evil spirit will make. It is important to realize that the chart lists only what the exorcist MUST do to complete that particular stage of the exorcism, not the many things that he should do to protect himself or the host. The DM can always add to this template, for it is just a guide.

STAGE OF EXORCISM THE EXORCIST MUST… AND THE EVIL SPIRIT…
Stage I. The Presence

Everyone in the room or within a 20’ area becomes aware of an alien presence. It can be felt, but not with the senses. Sometimes it feels singular, and other times plural. Characters can not physically locate the presence.

  • Cast Consecrate (2) on the room or place of exorcism
  • Cast Detect Evil (1) on the possessed
  • Cast Aid (2) on the possessed
  • Will exude its presence as soon as the exorcist casts Detect Evil, thereby forcing everyone within 20’ to make a Will save versus horror (DC 15). Failure means that the character will suffer a –2 penalty on all future Will saves that day. A roll of 1 means that the character must make a Will save versus fear (DC 30) or flee.
Stage II. The Pretence

During this phase, the evil spirit hides behind the identity of the possessed. Breaking this pretence is the exorcist’s first task.

  • Get the evil spirit to reveal itself, or the exorcism can go no further. He can do this by channeling positive energy and making the evil spirit uncomfortable (using a series of successful Turn Undead checks). One check can be made every 10 rounds, after appropriate prayers and rites have been read. The strength of the evil spirit will determine the number of checks required. After the last successful check, the evil spirit will again let slip a hint of its supernatural nature, but will not necessarily identify itself.
  • May, while masquerading as the possessed, be silent. Alternatively, it may beg and plead for the exorcist to stop his badgering of the “innocent” victim. The evil spirit will attempt to make the exorcist look like the villain. This forces the exorcist to make a Wisdom check (DC 20). Failure indicates uncertainty, but success means that he get the feeling that the alien presence is very cunning, but at times also capable of crass stupidity. He must not expect stupidity, however, lest he fall into a deadly trap.
  • Becomes violent as the pretence breaks down, attempting to drive the exorcist “from the field”. It will use telekinesis to hurl objects at the exorcist to disrupt him (use Concentration checks to continue). The evil spirit may also attack the possessed, or cause the possessed to attack the exorcist. When the violence begins, all characters must make a Will save against fear (DC 15) or suffer –2 to future saves this day. This is cumulative with previous modifiers.
  • Once the evil spirit lets slip his alien nature, it will verbally reveal the exorcist’s deepest sins. Any hint of self-righteousness, justification, personal anger, or personal challenge will open a door for deadly assaults on the body and mind, using the demon’s normal powers. Role-play this or do opposed Charisma checks to see if the exorcist avoids these pitfalls.
  • May make melee attacks on the exorcist, but only if the exorcist opened the door by somehow challenging the demon on his own authority. If melee ensues, neither the exorcist nor any witnesses will see an opponent. Yet the wounds from such combat will be real, gashes and cuts appearing fantastically on the exorcist’s body as if inflicted by an invisible monster.
Stage III. The Breakpoint

This stage occurs when the exorcist is on the verge of getting the evil spirit to reveal a name to which it will answer. It may last only seconds, but it always precedes the Clash.

  • Force the evil spirit to identify itself by name. He can do this by additional Turn Undead checks. The same rules apply as in the previous stage. After the last successful check, the evil spirit will provide a name that it will obey, but usually not its true name.
  • Strikes back with confusion of some sort. All senses are distorted by powerful illusions (Will saves to negate). The exorcist is attacked more so than the others.
  • Now uses its own voice for the first time. It is alien and full of malice. All must make a Will save against horror (DC 15).
  • Will eventually attack with the Voice—a supernatural effect that will drive the exorcist mad if he can not overcome it. He must make a Will save or suffer penalties each round. He must also get it to stop somehow. Concentration checks apply if he is trying to cast spells.
Stage IV. The Clash

This is a battle of will between the evil spirit and the exorcist. The exorcist must invite this clash, but it can be deadly. During this clash, the exorcist must get as much information as possible from the evil spirit—its true name, superiors, mission, tactics, etc.

  • Make one successful Turn Undead check, which can only be attempted after surviving one battery of the evil spirit’s attacks (described at right). Failure on this check means that the evil spirit gets another battery of similar attacks before the exorcist may try again. If the attempt is successful, the evil spirit will yield a piece of accurate information that the exorcist demanded. More information, however, requires an additional turn undead check, made only after another battery of attacks.
  • Will first threaten to kill the host unless the exorcist submits and leaves it alone. The possessed may now endure extreme punishment and strain.
  • Then assaults the mind of the exorcist, casting doubt on everything that he believes. He must make a Will save to maintain his faith. Failure means that he will suffer –2 on subsequent Turning Undead attempts.
  • Will attack his body with overwhelming fatigue. He must make a Fortitude save (DC 15—adjust for the evil spirit) or temporarily lose 1d4 Constitution points.
  • Will also attack the exorcist with horrible smells, requiring more Will saves (DC 15). Failure indicates that the exorcist is nauseated. Nauseated characters are unable to attack, cast spells, or do anything requiring attention. Only a move action or move-equivalent action is permitted.
Stage V. Expulsion

Having withstood the Clash, the exorcist now attempts to complete the rites that will expel the evil spirit.

  • Cast Dismissal (4). Success means a successful exorcism; failure means that the evil spirit may continue its attacks on the exorcist.
More of the previous battery of attacks.

 

AFTERMATH

The effects of exorcism are felt years after the event itself. If successful, the possessed may go on to live a normal and healthy life. Often the encounter restores or otherwise rejuvenates the faith of the possessed, and the bond to the exorcist remains strong afterwards. For the exorcist, a successful exorcism may bring joy and satisfaction, but the encounter never leaves him without scars—emotional, spiritual, and sometimes physical. A failed exorcism may leave deep scars or it may push the exorcist to insanity or suicide.

Rewards for the Exorcist and his Assistants

If the exorcism is successful, meaning that the evil spirit has been driven from the possessed host, the exorcist gains full experience points for defeating the demon, as if he had done it single-handedly. The participants may also receive experience points, totaling one half of that normally gained for defeating the demon. This does not detract from the full award granted to the exorcist. For example, if a 9th level cleric banishes a demon with a challenge rating of 13, he gains the full award of 10,800 experience points. His five PC-assistants (one cleric and four laymen) would divide half of 10,800 experience points as their portion. This strange division reflects the extraordinary dangers to and consequences for the exorcist, without neglecting the role of his assistants.

Consequences for the Exorcist

A failed exorcism should have drastic consequences for the exorcist. Even a successful one should have mild consequences. Use the following tables to determine the consequences to the exorcist after the exorcism:

Consequences for an Exorcist after a Successful Exorcism

Roll 1d00 and consult the following table.

Table 1. Consequences for a Successful Exorcism
01-30 Nightmares plague the exorcist; once per month he is fatigued from lack of sleep as per a Nightmare spell
31-40 Physical appearance is slightly altered—the exorcist’s hair turns gray from stress
41-50 Physical appearance is slightly altered—the exorcist’s hands are chilled to the touch
51-60 The exorcist appears drawn and gaunt; he suffers a permanent -1 penalty to Fortitude saves
61-70 The exorcist appears drawn and gaunt; he suffers a permanent drain of 1 Constitution point
71-80 The exorcist has a new appreciation and fear of the supernatural; he suffers a permanent -1 penalty to Will saves against supernatural effects
81-90 The exorcist becomes more withdrawn and distant; he suffers a permanent drain of 1 Charisma point
91-93 The exorcist takes on one escapist vice to purge his memories (alcoholism, herbal addiction)
94-96 Mild insanity (nervous disorder, phobia)
97-99 Roll twice on this table, ignoring results of 95 or higher
00 Roll three times on this table, ignoring results of 95 or higher

Consequences for an Exorcist after an Unsuccessful Exorcism

Nightmares plague the exorcist; once per month he is fatigued from lack of sleep as per a Nightmare spell.
In addition, roll 1d00 and consult the following table.

Table 2. Consequences for a Failed Exorcism
01-10 Physical appearance is slightly altered—the exorcist’s hair turns gray from stress and his hands are chilled to the touch
11-20 The exorcist appears drawn and gaunt; he suffers a permanent -2 penalty to Fortitude saves
21-30 The exorcist appears drawn and gaunt; he suffers a permanent drain of 2 Constitution points
31-40 The exorcist has a new appreciation and fear of the supernatural; he suffers a permanent -2 penalty to Will saves against supernatural effects
41-50 The exorcist becomes more withdrawn and distant; he suffers a permanent drain of 2 Charisma points
51-60 The exorcist takes on one escapist vice to purge his memories (alcoholism, herbal addiction)
61-80 Mild insanity (nervous disorder, phobia)
81-90 Severe insanity (paranoia, mania, schizophrenia)
91-94 Roll twice on this table, ignoring results of 95 or higher
95-97 Roll three times on this table, ignoring results of 95 or higher
98-99 Roll four times on this table, ignoring results of 95 or higher
00 Roll five times on this table, ignoring results of 95 or higher


The exorcism ritual is easily adaptable to any system, but the following creature is designed to Dungeons & Dragons rules and may require extensive revision to make it compatible with other systems.

The Demon

In its natural form, the demon is invisible and intangible. It can appear as a humanoid with infernal features like night-black skin, horns, bat-like wings, long tails, animal traits, etc. It can also appear as a wraith-like shadow. It can also appear as a dark silhouette or featureless man. Finally, it can appear as an old and wrinkled man. This wild spirit is unable to truly live and thrive unless it has a corporeal host, hence its urgent and almost desperate desire to inhabit a human body.

The demon is drawn to sin. In its non-physical form, it is limited to non-physical attacks and communication. Most of its time will be spent preparing its next host for possession, though this sometimes takes years. Once it actually possesses a host, its powers change slightly. It is able to use the host’s body to move, communicate and attack, though it will be careful not to draw too much attention to itself. When it desires, it can augment most of the host’s natural abilities (reflected in the adjusted modifiers below). It also retains its non-physical powers.

Possession is not an ability that it can use on an unwilling target, so it is not considered an attack. The process often takes a long time, and the details are not important here.

Medium-Sized Outsider

(Chaotic, Evil, Incorporeal)

HD: 10 HP: 132
Initiative: +2 AC: 15
Speed: 30’, 30’ fly in natural form (perfect)
Base Attack Bonus/Grapple: +10 / +14

Attack:
Claw +17 melee (1d8+4)
Targets of this attack are often treated as AC 10 because they cannot see it coming. Consequently, the chance of critical hit is also higher. Moreover, the attack does not hamper the demon’s invisibility in any way. Finally, this attack also ignores DR from armor. Despite the lethality of the attack, the demon often chooses to wound and to inspire terror rather than to kill.

Full Attack:
Two claws +17/+12 melee (1d8+4)

Space / Reach: 5 feet x 5 feet
Special Attacks: Fear Aura, Stench, Telekinesis, Unnerving Gaze
Special Qualities: Acid Resistance 10, Cold Resistance 10, Damage Reduction 5/Blessed, Darkvision to 60’, Electricity Resistance 10, Fire Resistance 10, Invisible, Incorporeal, Poison Immunity, Spell-Like Abilities, Spell Resistance 19, Telepathy 100’, Turned
Saves: Fortitude (+13), Reflex (+11), Will (+13)

Skills: 8 +5 =13 x 10 = 130
The following stats use the modified physical stats of the host. Where non-physical skills are concerned, the demon uses either its own score or that of the host, whichever score is higher:

Appraise +5, *Balance +2, *Climb +5, Concentration (15, +17), Craft +5, Decipher Script +NA, Disable Device +NA, Disguise +4, *Escape Artist +2, Forgery (13, +18), Handle Animal +NA, Heal +2, *Hide +2, *Jump +5, Knowledge of Amannah Mythos (13, +18), Knowledge of Arcana (13, +18), Knowledge of Architecture and Engineering +NA, Knowledge of Dungeoneering +NA, Knowledge of Geography (13, +18), Knowledge of History (13, +18), Knowledge of Local (13, +18), Knowledge of Nature (13, +18), Knowledge of Nobility and Royalty (13, +18), Knowledge of Religion (13, +18), Listen +2, *Move Silently +2, Open Lock +NA, Perform +4, Profession +NA, Ride +2, *Sleight of Hand +2, Speak Other Language +NA, Spellcraft (13, +18), Survival +3, *Swim +10, *Tumble +NA, Use Rope +3

Feats: Weapon Focus, Flyby Attack, Greater Weapon Focus, Improved Natural Attack

Host’s Natural Ability Modifiers:
STR: 14, +2 CON: 16, +3 DEX: 14, +2; INT: 12, +1 WIS: 11, +0 CHA: 10, +00

Possessed Host’s Ability Modifiers:
STR: 20, +5 CON: 20, +5 DEX: 14, +2; INT: 21, +5 WIS: 14, +2 CHA: 19, +4

Challenge Rating: 15

Darkvision to 60’ (Special Quality)
The demon can see perfectly in complete darkness.

Fear Aura (Special Attack)
The demon can radiate a five-foot radius fear aura as a free action. A creature in that radius must make a DC23 Will save or be afflicted as if by a Fear spell. One that saves is not susceptible again for 24 hours. Those affected become panicked. If cornered, it will cower. If the save succeeds, the target is shaken for one round.

Flyby Attack (Feat)
It can take a move action (including a dive) and another standard action at any point during the move. It cannot take another move action that round.

Improved Natural Attack
Claw damage is 1d8, instead of 1d6.

Incorporeal (Special Quality)
The demon is vulnerable only to incorporeal creatures, +1 or better weapons, or magic. Furthermore, it has a 50% chance to ignore damage from a corporeal source. If it does take damage from a corporeal source, its DR still applies. The demon has no need to breathe, eat, or sleep.

Invisible (Special Quality)
The demon is invisible to the naked eye. Even spells like True Seeing reveals it to be vague and shadowy figure. Only the spell See the Hidden will reveal its true form.

Poison Immunity (Special Quality)
The demon can neutralize any poison in the host body at will.

Spell-Like Abilities (Special Quality)
The Caster Level for all of the following is 13:

At will—Comprehend Languages, Darkness, Detect Evil, Detect Good, Dispel Magic, See Invisibility, Tongues
3/day—Chaos Hammer (DC 18), Confusion, Nightmare, Suggestion
1/day— Desecrate, Hold Person, Summon Swarm, Undetectable Alignment

Chaos Hammer
Range: 100 feet
Area: 20-foot radius burst
Duration: Instantaneous (1d6 rounds)
Save: Will partial
Deals 5d8 in damage to lawful creatures and slows them for 1d6 rounds. A successful DC Will save halves the damage and eliminates the slow effect. Non-lawful creatures receive half damage (or a quarter if they save) and are not slowed.

Confusion
Range: 100 feet
Area: 15-foot radius burst
Duration: 1 round per level
Save: Will negates
Targets cannot think straight. Roll % to see what each the target does.
01-10 Attack host (does not need to use
lethal force)
11-20 Act normally
21-50 Do nothing but hold ears and groan
51-70 Flee from host at top speed
71-00 Thrash about wildly for one round
(one attack at half damage) and
then flee

A confused character that cannot carry out his intended action will crumple into a ball and groan. A confused creature that is attacked will automatically attack the attacker on its next turn (believing it to be a shadowy monster), as long as it is still confused when its turn comes.

Desecrate
Range: 40 feet
Area: 20-foot radius emanation
Duration: 2 hours per level
Save: None
This imbues the area with negative energy. Turn checks receive a -3 penalty. If the area contains an altar or shrine or other permanent fixture dedicated to your deity, the effect is doubled. This counters consecrate.

Hold Person
Range: 100 feet
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round per level
Save: Will negates
The subject becomes paralyzed and freezes in place. It is aware and breathes normally but cannot take any actions, even speech. Each round, on its turn, it may attempt a new saving throw to end the effect (this is a full round action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity).

Nightmare
Range: Unlimited
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Save: Will negates (-10 on saves)
It sends horrible dreams that prevent restful sleep, causing 1d10 in damage and fatigue (so spell casters have only half of their manna pool).

Suggestion
Range: 40 feet
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 hour per level or completion
Save: Will negates
This implants an almost irresistible suggestion in the target’s mind. A very reasonable suggestion provides a -1 or -2 penalty to the save.

Summon Swarm
Range: 40 feet
Effect: One swarm of bats, rats, or spiders
Duration: Concentration + 2 rounds
Save: None
This summons a swarm that attacks all in its area. Once it arrives, the swarm is not controlled by the demon.

Swarm of Bats
HP: 13 Initiative +2
Speed 40’ fly AC: 16
Special Attacks: Distraction
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +3
Blindsense 20’, Immunity to Weapons,
Low-light vision

Swarm of Rats
HP: 18 Initiative +2
Speed 15’, Climb 15’ AC: 14
Special Attacks: Disease, Distraction
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +2
Low-light vision, half damage from
slashing and piercing weapons, scent

Swarm of Spiders
HP: 09 Initiative +3
Speed 20’, Climb 20’ AC: 17
Special Attacks: Distraction
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +0
Darkvision 60’, Immunity to Weapons,
Tremorsense 30’

Distraction: Make a DC11 (spiders or bats) or DC12 (Rats) Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. Casting requires a Concentration check (DC 20 + spell level). Using skills that involve patience requires a DC20 Concentration check.
Disease: In this case, there is a 10% chance of contracting a disease per rat injury. If so, consult the disease table.

Spell Resistance (Special Quality)
A caster must score a 19 or above on a caster check (roll 1d20+caster level) to affect the demon with spells or spell-like abilities.

Stench (Special Attack)
It creates a foul smelling stench that forces creatures within 10’ to make a DC24 Fortitude save or be nauseated for as long as it remains in the area and for 1d4 rounds afterwards (they cannot attack, cast spells, or concentrate; they can only take one move action per turn). Those that save will not be nauseated for 24 hours, but they are sickened for as long as they remain in the area (they suffer -2 to attacks, saves, skill checks, and ability checks).

Telepathy (Special Quality)
It may communicate telepathically, regardless of language, with any creature within 100’. It often uses this ability to taunt a victim, creating “invisible voices” in the victim’s head.

Telekinesis (Special Attack)
Six times per day, the demon can either provide a gentle sustained force or a single short violent thrust. If a sustained force is desired, it can move a creature or object weighing 300 pounds up to 20 feet per round. A creature can negate this effect against itself or against an object that it is holding with a successful Will save (DC 14). This action can persist for up to 12 rounds. An object can be telekinetically manipulated as if by one hand. If a violent thrust is desired, the effect lasts only for a single round. It can hurl objects or creatures together. It must succeed on an attack roll for each creature attacked, using +15 (base attack bonus + intelligence modifier). Hurled objects do 1 point per 25 pounds (for less dangerous items, like a barrel) to 1d6 points per 25 pounds (for heavier items, like a boulder).

Turned (Special Quality)
A cleric can turn the demon and the possessed person. It is HD 15. The demon cannot physically harm someone protected by a Protection from Evil spell, unless that person commits a sinful act, thereby allowing the demon to make an opposed Will save against the target. If the demon wins, he can enter.

Unnerving Gaze (Special Attack)
The demon can make its face resemble one of an opponent’s departed loved ones or bitter enemies. Those that fail their saves take a -2 penalty on attacks for 1d4 rounds. A successful DC 18 Will save negates. Range is 30’.

A Winter Night’s Duel

BACKGROUND:

The PCs just learned that their archenemies, the Black Hammers, had been in Arianport for weeks or more and had been behind a local smuggling ring to earn a steady income in this northern land. Though the PCs broke up that smuggling ring, the Hammers’ leader escaped, while other Hammers almost killed some PCs by immolation, first in a rowboat and later by setting the smuggling HQ aflame while the PCs were in the basement. Later, the PCs returned to find that the Hammers had also poisoned most of their hirelings and set their hunting lodge and stables on fire, resulting in six deaths and many casualties. One PC, Sir Tomo, rode to the Old Parish Church to get the aid of their friend and ally, Father Johann.

FROM THE DM:

This encounter was the culmination of some building tension between a PC knight and a local duelist, whom the Black Hammers hired to harass the PCs. He finally managed to get Sir Tomo alone. I did not arrange this battle in the snow to be a duel to the death, but the player surprised me in demanding that it be so. He was overconfident until a few rounds into the combat. By then it was too late. Yet, we played with house rules in which armor counts provides damage reduction so this fight was a classic of speed versus power. At the end, each combatant had about three hit points. Everyone at the table was holding their breath during the duel. Any textboxes contain text that I read during the game.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Diego de Vargas: Fighter and party leader
Simi Longblade: Fighter, Diego’s right-hand man
Sir Tomo Daegun: Fighter, Diego’s noble friend
Gabriel Lucien: Thief, Diego’s spymaster
Darocles Soterion: Magic User, Diego’s salvage master
Ogedai: Ranger, Diego’s Illuk (think Mongol) ally
Master Holgrim: Duelist Read more

Maritime Salvage

Much of this material was created for use in my personal D&D campaign, so there are many references to places or states, but the rules themselves are generic enough to fit fantasy or historical games of any era from classical to Renaissance. Feel free to adapt this for your own uses by changing names and such. Following the process described below is an account sheet for a wealthy salvage master named Darocles. He happens to be a PC in my campaign, but feel free to change the name and use him in your own world.


STEP 1. DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF WRECKS

The number of wrecks depends on the region and the season. In general, there is much greater trade during the warmer seasons, so the chances for a wreck increase simply due to volume. However, colder seasons, especially in the north, are more dangerous for the few ships that dare to trade. In general, Imperial waters are much calmer. Using Table 1 below, roll first for Isenwalder waters and then roll again for Imperial waters. Read more