Another tale in the saga of the Beckett Family’s adventures in Northumbria! These events follow Trial by Combat.
The session began with the PCs at the foot of Heinrich’s Horn, a steep and rocky hill about two leagues east of Blackwater Lake. Lord Balin Blackwater had just awarded the Beckett family the whole of Hickory Mountain, a rugged wilderness area of roughly a hundred square miles! Heinrich’s Horn sits at the southeast corner of that mountain. Lord Balin’s first command to his Beckett vassals was to clear the Horn of a band of wicked robber knights, who had recently established a camp there. They were to bring the brigands, especially the two leaders, Sir Raynald of Setmoor and Sir Aglovale of Kolkirk, back to Blackwater Keep, dead or alive. Two days ago, Lord Roger Beckett led a force of fifteen kinsmen and friends, bolstered by eight mercenaries, to the foot of the Horn. The winding path up the side of the hill—the only approach available to most—was treacherous, but they had a plan. Read more
Part two of the Compendium of Lands Around Blackwater Lake, the gazetteer for the Northumbria campaign.
Strategic Location of the Keep
The Keep is a large stone fortress—one of the largest in Northumbria. Situated on the shores of Blackwater Lake, it commands the Narrows at the southern tip of the lake, as well as the wide stream called the Norbeck, which flows down from the hills and spills northwards into the Narrows and southwards into the Blackwater River. This means that the garrison at the Keep can control river traffic flowing between former Varangian lands in the north to the Frangian port of Yarrvik. Any power that wishes to control Northumbria needs to control the river traffic and thus the keep. At present, no single known state is in a position to do so. Thus, the Baron of Blackwater remains independent and highly desirable as an ally. Read more
Part three of the Compendium of Lands Around Blackwater Lake, the gazetteer for the Northumbria campaign. These are being published out of order because the next Beckett family adventure takes place in the village. Part two, describing the keep, is coming later this month.
Agents of the Frangian Crown supposedly founded the village of Lakesend about the same time that they laid the foundations of the nearby keep, about one century ago. From a military standpoint, the sites seem odd in that they are located over one mile apart. Considered separately though, each site makes sense. The keep sits on the shore of the Blackwater Lake to control the Narrows, a narrow body of water at the southern tip of the lake. Ships going northwards or southwards any significant distance must pass through the Narrows, and a garrison there can control the river trade. Meanwhile, the village sits astride a small river that comes down from the hills and then splits, one part running northward into the Narrows and the other part running southwards to form the headwaters of the mighty Blackwater River. Considering the distance between the two settlements, one can see a weakness in the arrangement, for an enemy can isolate both settlements rather easily.
Why is this a problem? On the outskirts of the village are fertile fields, now the site of several small farms. It seems that the village provides most of the Keep’s agricultural stores. Though the Keep sits on the shore of the lake, its garrison may have difficulty feeding itself on fish alone, especially in times of war. In addition, flocks of sheep and goats graze on the nearby hills, providing additional food stores for the Keep in times of war. Loss of the village could be catastrophic to the Keep. Baron Blackwater should remedy this strategic weakness before an enemy army attacks either settlement. Read more
The House of Beyan, along with the other three houses that deal with the classical elements, are numerous compared to other houses and have more mundane purposes. The House of Beyan, while associated strongly with earth, more accurate deals with all physical materials. Another way to look at it is that they have affinity and understanding of things in the solid state. They are farmers, gardeners and arborists but also stone masons, machinists and architects. Eapon is a hard planet to live on, and people seek out Beyans to build their homes, establish their orchards and quarry precious metals. Their temples and churches are found in every setting and of every manner. More often than not, they are a form of regulatory authority and labor agency, particularly if an area lacks other forms of government. On a spiritual level they tend towards family-like atmospheres, supplementing and supporting existing communities rather than forming a core. They number second only to the House of Keen.
Granted Power: Beyan’s ignore terrain penalties to movement while on foot and once per game session can double the damage dealt to anything they sunder.
- Shillelagh: Cudgel or quarterstaff becomes +1 weapon and deals damage as if two sizes larger.
- Soften Earth and Stone: Turns stone to clay or dirt to sand or mud.
- Stone Shape: Sculpts stone into any shape.
- Spike Stones: Creatures in area take 1d8 damage, may be lowed.
- Wall of Stone: Creates a stone wall that can be shaped.
- Stoneskin: Ignore 10 points of damage per attack.
- Earthquake: Intense tremor shakes 80-ft.-radius.
- Repel Metal or Stone: Pushes away metal and stone.
- Iron Body: Your body becomes living iron.
The House of Arocon is concerned with the preservation of knowledge from the past age and cataloguing the present age. Unsurprising their temples and building often serve as a type of library, while many who are part of the House run actual libraries or deal in information. While some may view them as purely academic,there are a significant numbers who scour all the globe in search of lost knowledge or to discover new knowledge. As would be expected a large number of Wardens belong to the House of Arocon.
Granted Power: Autodidact: Once per game session the player may substitute their levels in the House for a bonus to ANY skill roll, even if they do not have ranks in a trained skill.
- Detect Secret Doors: Reveals hidden doors within 60 ft.
- Detect Thoughts: Allows “listening” to surface thoughts.
- Clairaudience/Clairvoyance: Hear or see at a distance for 1 min./level.
- Divination : Provides useful advice for specific proposed actions.
- True Seeing : Lets you see all things as they really are.
- Find the Path: Shows most direct way to a location.
- Legend Lore : Lets you learn tales about a person, place, or thing.
- Discern Location: Reveals exact location of creature or object.
- Foresight: “Sixth sense” warns of impending danger.
The House of Holma is the branch tasked with healing. Despite what would be expected, Holma is one of the most highly criticized Houses. Naturally, their abilities are in high demand which has often made them the targets of extortion, kidnapping and bribery. Due to those realities they are secretive and mostly nomadic. Their own temples are unmarked, located in difficult to reach areas or out of sight in dark alleys. These serve as reprieves and safe houses for them. Everywhere they go they are in high demand if their GIFT is discovered. Instead, they work with the other Houses and travel to where they are needed for a few days before moving onto the next.
GM Note: Holma is intended to be a difficult House to play. If the PC’s identity is discovered they will be pursued. Sometimes the need is legitimate and sometimes it is born out of greed. The player should feel cautious any time they reveal their GIFT
Granted Power: Once per game session the character can use any talent they have without fuel or tokens.
- Cure Light Wounds: Cures 1d8 damage +1/level (max +5).
- Neutralize Poison: Immunizes subject against poison, detoxifies venom in or on subject.
- Cure Moderate Wounds: Cures 2d8 damage +1/level (max +10).
- Remove Blindness/Deafness: Cures normal or magical conditions.
- Cure Serious Wounds: Cures 3d8 damage +1/level (max +15).
- Remove Disease: Cures all diseases affecting subject.
- Cure Light Wounds, Mass: Cures 1d8 damage +1/level (max +25) for many creatures.
- Heal: Cures 10 points/level of damage, all diseases and mental conditions.
- Regenerate: Subject’s severed limbs grow back, cures 4d8 damage +1/level (max +35).
Guild member R.C. Brooks returns with more Lands in the Clouds, a home-brewed OGL setting and system.
The House of Ascen, or simply Ascen, is the sect devoted to that which is good. More specifically, good is that which edifies. It heals the soul. In the world they are often the shelter for those dealing with grief and loss. Mechanically they are the House that deals with SPIRIT damage and combating evil entities. The House of Holma may heal the body, but SPIRIT wounds are more dangerous and can fester.
Typical temples are humble buildings often in poor or otherwise troubled areas as that is where they are needed most. Almost all carry low level tokens.
Once per game session, a character of the House of Ascen may use his SPIRIT score as an attack, defense or damage reduction vs SPIRIT opponents/damage.
- Protection from Evil: +2 to AC and saves, counter mind control, hedge out elementals and outsiders.
- Aid: +1 on attack rolls, +1 on saves against fear, 1d8 temporary SPIRIT +1/level (max +10).
- Shelter (Magic Circle against Evil): As Protection from Evil, but 10-ft. radius and 10 min./level.
- Holy Smite: Damages and blinds evil creatures.
- Dispel Evil: +4 bonus against attacks by evil creatures.
- Heroes’ Feast: Food for one creature/level cures and grants combat bonuses.
- Holy Word: Kills, paralyzes, slows, or deafens non-good subjects.
- Holy Aura: +4 to AC, +4 resistance, and SR 25 against evil spells.
- Grace: Removes all STRESS points for any willing up to 1 character/lvl in the House.
Modern Ops / Sci-fi using D&D 5e??
I thought to myself, sure, let’s go for it. I love modern ops, sci-fi, and D&D. Why not run D&D in space? So, first, I start with how firearms and modern weapons are covered in the DMG pages 267-268 and these two articles from WOTCs website:
My New D20 Modern Campaign
Modern Magic | Unearthed Arcana
Then I added my own flare for what you need in your personal setting, going with the D&D 5th Edition rule of “specific trumps general”. I also created two commonly used “paths” for the Rogue class, extrapolating from the long out-of-print “DragonStar” d20 setting. Read more
In ages past, when the Harbingers made landfall at Cloudhead, they brought the GIFTS with them. Since that day, people in the solar system have discovered special abilities given to them. The GIFTS were to help the people thrive together and to fight against the evils which had implanted themselves into the solar system. People bearing similar GIFTS gathered together and formed what now are referred to as Houses. These Houses are not geographical distinctions, but rather talent distinctions. There are 12 Great Houses representing the most prominent GIFTS. There are unrepresented GIFTS, but they are exceedingly rare.
The Houses function like churches. The Houses are most like religious organizations and all share the same faith but pursue the tenets through the GIFTS they have. There are different sects within each House but they largely share the same principles and work towards the same goals. Read more
SPIRIT is a new stat in LitC. Spirit reflects a character’s growth and presence in the spirit world. SPIRIT works much like CONSTITUTION except it applies to SPIRIT damage, which adds STRESS to a character. SPIRIT attacks seek to break a character (see FLIPPED OUT under STRESS). At that point the character is susceptible to manipulation and/or compulsion. A functional spiritual entity may be content enough to drive a character away. Malevolences will often seek to possess or consume a compromised character. A character with a high SPIRIT score has a hardness versus SPIRIT damage according to their bonus.
Similarly a character adds a bonus to SPIRIT damage dealt to spiritual entities.
Losing SPIRIT can happen through inaction in adventures. A critical event that a character chooses to avoid, most often having moral or ethical implications, will cause a loss of 1 point of SPIRIT. Much like an alignment shift in other games, it should be made clear to the player that a loss of SPIRIT will occur if they choose inaction in an important moment.