Rules and Setting Overview
This setting sprang from my IRL group’s desire to play a game with the following qualities:
- Be more based on fulfilling contracts and hunting monsters, rather than direct Gold for XP
- Have a higher power level than the average OSR style game
- Lot’s of room for political and city intrigue.
My players are generally good sports, and have played a few mudcore games at my behest, so I figured I would throw them a bone. The game is being run with AOSE, using race and class. Stats are being determine via rolling 6 sets of 4d6, dropping the lowest and then assigning. With a 7th roll of comeliness. The following races are available
The following classes are also available:
Elves retain their ability to wield all weapons.
Home-brew Half-celestial race.
Gold still XP, however gold gained from dungeons does not. Only gold obtained in the following two ways:
- Selling monster parts may grant XP equal to the amount it sells for (value determine as Gems for now); the monster must have Hit Dice equal to or greater than the PC for this to be granted. This stacks with the initial XP for killing monsters
- Bounty XP is given to ALL PC’s equal, retainers receive 1/2 as usual (Example, a 1000 GP bounty will grant 1000 XP to all party members, 500 to a retainer).
- Magic users have a chance of detecting magic when entering into it’s presence (test of intelligence)
- The range of acceptable actions for a paladin are slightly widened, due the world’s general decline. They may adventure with neutral and chaotic party members, but still may not commit any chaotic acts themselves.
Cylene is a primordial world, created when even the god’s were young. In the time before written history, demons and godlings alike cavorted with the created beings upon Cylene, leading to a much higher density of mortals with the markers of this coupling than would be expect elsewhere. Though in time, as planar beings are wont to do, most abandoned this lonely world, to seek newer, cleaner bastions of creation. Only the Lord of the Moon, Lunaris and the God of Fire, Forge and Earth, Vulcan, have remained; and even they are but distant spectators in most cases.
The Kingdom of Tomespire (so named for the Onyx Spire of it’s royal mages, located near the Greenstone palace) is an ancient kingdom. It’s royal city, also named Tomespire, is home to the formidable Greenstone Palace; a massive fortress carved of jade and green bloodstone. From it’s mouldering depths, the Unnamed King rules the land with an iron fist. 50 years ago, the King decreed that all Tombs, Dungeons, and other such spots were royal land, and thus could only be plundered to fill the treasury. To effect this, he created the Mercenary Charters, documents which grant a band the right to plunder, so long as they pay the king his due. Four of this bands operate directly out of the city of Tomespire: The Shining Companions, the oldest band, once renowned they are now called derisively “tabards” for the garish purple articles their members wear. The Falcons, the newest band, only five years since it’s founding. They are the most professional band, and only work the most dangerous of delves. The Brotherhood of the Split Fingers. More of a cult than a band, many unsavory tales are whispered in dark taverns and quiet alleys about them. And finally, The Grey Blades. Founded shortly after the Companions, this band was chartered on the belief that adventure should be open to anyone, though their detractors point to their cavernous apprentice death toll and claim this belief is merely a cover for free labor.
The game begins (finally)
- Nemyt: Half-Celestial Bard
- Vexis: Elven Magic User
- Elbmes: Human Paladin
The three met right upon entering the outskirts of Tomespire (slums being a more accurate word). After brief introductions, they all agreed that they were about the same purpose, to seek out the mercenary outpost of the Grey Blades and join. For Vexis, it was to gain knowledge of powerful magics, long forgotten. For Elbmes, it was to help people by slaying monsters and bringing out riches for the church. For Nemyt, it was to compose songs of new hero and villains, instead of the ones already known. But they shared not their reasons, and merely conceded to walk into town together. After navigating the dirty, muddy streets of the slums, trying to make their way to the city’s outer wall, the new group came upon an unusual sight: A small knot of people, clad in bright purple tabards, where talking in hushed voices to a shirtless human man seated upon a splintered chair on his hovel’s ramshackle porch. Upon the group’s approach, the purple clad group took notice and took flight. Vexis opened her mouth to address the man and inquire of the fuss. However, before she could speak Nemyt began playing a haunting melody upon her violin and the man’s jaw grew slack. Not being unable to rouse him from his stupor, Vexis instead cast her gaze across the squalid streets, and saw a group of street urchins. These held poorly concealed crude weapons and were watching the proceedings closely. Seeing nothing to be gained from the entranced man, Vexis eased over to the urchins and offered them 2 gold pieces out of her dwindling purse for information. In shock at such a sum, the Urchins explained that the man was “Papa Dragamir” and that the was known to do some shady dealings with adventurer types. They also gave an ominous warning about avoiding the main thoroughfare in the slums, gripping their weapons a little tighter while doing so. Vexis thanked the children and stalked back over to the paladin, who was still watching the entranced Dragamir idly.
“Let’s go into his house and see what he’s got hidden there; clearly he isn’t coming out of that trance any time soon.”
“Uh I don’t know about that, it seems wrong.”
“Those kids told me he was into some shady stuff, I bet it’s all stolen.”
So the two walked in. The hovel at first appeared untidy and not of any note, however the elf detected a node of magic centered around a knot of wood on the dilapidated fireplace mantle. When a some prying from her dagger, and a mighty blow from the paladin’s war hammer failed to yield and damage, they decided to regroup.
Outside, the bard’s lullaby reached a haunting crescendo and stopped suddenly. Dragamir then suddenly broke into a wide smile and greeted them as friends. When asked about his magical hiding spot, he said it was a secret but such trusted companions could be let in on it. Once inside, he cast Knock releasing the illusion to reveal an extremely ornate room, complete with wood flooring. He subsequently pulled up one of the floor boards up, revealing a cavernous dark space with a pile of coins and gems stones inside.
“Sees, I let my friends uh deposit goods here. Course I take me cut, but it’s far less than the merc guilds take.” He gave a rough laugh, “Course I am risking my neck, if they found me stealing from the king like this, I’d hang.”
A few quick (because the bard was making impatient hurrying motions) questions about how one who was not his friend could be cut in, and why he provided this service, and the group made their way along the longer eastern route to the main gate.
Once through the gate, which oddly had no gate at all, rather a simple jade threshold and arch with the words “Beware, Thieves. Tomespire sees all that passes within.” With a shudder, the elf realized crossing the threshold brought them into the clutches of an extremely high powered warding spell.
Finding the mercenary hall was easy, though it was not what they expected. The building was a squat stone structure, with the crossed swords of the Grey Blades emblazoned on the stout oaken door. Entering, they were met with mostly empty tables and a bored halfling female, who had them sign their names of the band roster, guaranteeing that 90% of all gold obtained would be given away to the guild. Once done, they were directed to the master of apprentices, Vislav. Vislav was a stout dwarf cleric, with the bald head to match. With a gruff introduction, they were off on their introductory contract, locating the incandescent grotto and killing the “Boss Trog” within. This would be worth 1000 GP for the group, and they could accomplish it however they wanted. No time limit.
Determining that their best course of action was to find a nearby tavern and search for rumors about the place, they headed back into the mercantile district. The first tavern the found was the Silver Mare Inn and Tavern. Entering it, they were greeting by a roaring crowd, being served by some attractive human bar wenches. The bar keep was another sight. He was a small halfling with mutton chops, walking on stilts so he could reach the top most shelves. Sitting down at the bar, Elbmes fired off a barrage of questions, too which the bar-keep responded,
“Just going to ask for information and not even order a drink? Typical of you sell sword types.”
Reproached, the paladin ordered a mead. Only for the bard to butt in and demand the strongest drink in the house. After some convincing, the halfling brought out a mead and a black ichor like substances which issues smoked. Dubbing the drink a “Black Dragon” the halfling grinned evilly. Perturbed, the bard convinced Elbmes to switch drinks. The paladin for his point, downed the drink and only became mildly drunk. Afterwards, the barkeep, who introduced himself as “Gerri” was much more amicable to the paladin. He told them the Incandescent Grotto was well known, and purposefully stocked by all the bands to test new apprentices. He also gave them clear directions to it, and relayed a rumor about an unusually high number of oozes in the dungeon. After this, they purchased poor lodgings in a dormitory room with the last of their gold, but managed to pass the night without incident.
The next day was all hiking, tiring but uneventful until they reached the mouth of the Grotto, which was an underground waterfall with steep but wide stairs next to it. They descended these into a bright sinkhole, with a large pool at the base of the waterfall. There was a group of red monkey’s taking a leisurely swim, but the simians ignored them and the group ignored them in return. Following the narrow silty beach south, they travelled down a tunnel covered in glowing crystals and orange or purple moss. The Elf took some for later study. They felt eerily as though they were being watched but nothing attacked them. The tunnel opened into a large room, from which they could see a spherical statue to the east. Approaching the statue, the paladin read the words “The Most Elevated One” on the plinth, and briefly glimpsed his face within the carving of twisted limbs.
Falling back to the large room, the Paladin lit a torch and headed north to a small room containing another blasphemous statue, this one of skulls, five of which have dark onyxes for eyes. Behind it was scrawled something in a language none could read. He became to search the statue for a way to pry the gems out, but upon touching it was struck with a burning pain across his entire body. In shock, he managed to rip the gemstone from the eye, but declined to touch the statue again.
Moving north again, they came across yet another statue, this one of eyes melted together. It was labeled “The Honored Servant.” Also in the room were numerous stone figurines, 1 inch tall in in pristine condition. While examining them, three more melted up from the ground in the likeness of the party. Realizing what this meant, the elf noted the likeness of several and then grabbed as many as she and the paladin could carry, Hoping to sell them for cash later. They noted two identical women amongst the figurines.
Moving north a final time, The entered a larger room dimly lit by milky crystals. In this room was a woman who bore the likeness of the women in the figurine room exactly. She was examining the eastern most door. Upon entering, she greeting them and said that she was a traveler looking for her lost companion Meg. In another flash of brilliance, the Elf barked a question in the language of Doppelgangers, which the stunned woman almost instinctively responded too, revealing the ruse. A few round of tense negotiations later, and Doppelganger has agreed to join them for the price of any magic’s they come across.
— Session End —
— My Players, read no further! Lest I be forced to change things —
Behind the screen (No Players Please)
So far the party is in good shape. Smart play and lucky reaction rolls avoided a very nasty encounter with the doppelganger in the early part of the Incandescent Grottoes dungeon. I also have not rolled lower than a 4 on a single encounter roll, both wilderness, city, and dungeon; so wandering encounters have been a bust. However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses, the watching presence they felt previously was a kobold spy, who has been leading a gang of his fellows stealthily in their footsteps, waiting on them to take a rest. Which will be soon. The Doppelganger, of course can not be trusted, even if she is being cordial for now. Finally, the most concerning event is Dragamir, who may chose not to offer them his “banking” service, now that the bard’s charm has worn off. He doesn’t take to being charmed well. They also have went in extremely light on information, which may or more not be an issue. Either way a decent first session, even if the power level is a little higher than I would normally like. So for goodbye for now!