Sunday, August 30, 2020

GLOG Class: Barbarian

art by 宋 跃然

A barbarian is someone from a very different civilization to the one that the story takes place in, regardless of the customs or attainments of that civilization. You are a warrior from some different place. This is a class about working with disadvantages. This is also a class about learning to overcome those disadvantages, but if you don't enjoy them on their own it is probably not the class for you.

Starting equipment: A medium weapon in a shape unheard of in this land, medium armor made from a substance that no one in this land would use to make armor,  3 rations only you can eat, the symbol of a faith or social structure, a bottle of signature alcohol.
Starting ken: gesture

A: Technique, Cultural Context
B: Outsider
C: Symbols of Home OR lose 1 drawback
D: Best of Them OR lose 2 drawbacks

Technique: When using a weapon familiar to you, deal an additional 1d4 damage. When using armor familiar to you, reduce damage from attacks targeting your DODGE by 1d4. You start with familiarity of your starting equipment and similar items, and can gain familiarity by either training with a new weapon for a week or getting taught by an expert for a day.

Cultural Context: you find yourself in a society with wildly different expectations than normal. As such, you seem miraculous to others in some ways and foolish in others. Roll five times on each table below and choose four of the results for each. Remember, all of these are relative to the world you find yourself in now. If you are ignorant of laws, it may be because your home has no legal system, because it has outgrown the need for laws, or has laws so different as to provide unhelpful assumptions for this legal system. Drawbacks can be unlearned, but never easily.

d20 Advantages
  1. You can speak to (horses or trees or unconscious people)
  2. You understand alchemy
  3. You are hypernumerate
  4. You can fight perfectly in darkness, read lips, and sign
  5. You can always tell that someone is lying
  6. You can tell someone's HD by seeing them fight
  7. You are a master (economist or political scientist)
  8. You can always predict the weather
  9. You know the layout of Heaven like it's the next city over
  10. You charm and are charmed by (farmers or merchants or nobles)
  11. You can always navigate urban environments
  12. You walk on water
  13. You can change your gender presentation at will
  14. You leave no tracks and have no scent
  15. You can see perfectly in starlight
  16. You are immune to most madnesses
  17. You can sleep comfortably in all circumstances
  18. You can identify social pecking order at a glance
  19. You can tell what someone was thinking when you read their words
  20. At the most convenient moment, the DM will announce that an NPC thinks you are their soulmate.
d20 Drawbacks
  1. You cannot understand (lawyers or nobles or drunks)
  2. You don't understand politeness
  3. You don't understand sexual reproduction
  4. You cannot introspect
  5. You don't understand art
  6. You are faceblind
  7. You don't understand war
  8. You cannot fathom theology
  9. You cannot understand law
  10. You are sworn against (merchants or nobles or vagrants)
  11. You are lost in the forest
  12. You will drown in sand.
  13. You are sworn against leather, fur, and bowstrings
  14. Betrayal is a beneath your dignity to consider
  15. (birds or hounds or rivers) hate you
  16. Hatred is infectious to you
  17. You must sleep unobserved
  18. You are afraid of those in positions of social authority
  19. You consider it untoward to believe someone guilty of something that was not witnessed
  20. At the worst possible moment, the DM will tell you that an NPC is your soulmate.

It's obvious to everyone who sees you that you are not from around here. You can always find someone to explain what's happening, find people looking for disposable assistance, and find people interested in foreign cultures.

Symbols of Home: Designate three different items, such as "pipe, dagger, keycard" or "bridle, beard, ring." These items have always been significant to you, but they take on greater meaning as you remain far from home as long as you carry them. The first gives +2 HP. The second gives +2 BLOCK when not wearing heavy armor. The third gives +2 DEXTERITY to evading dangers. If you lose one of these items, it can be replaced with a different item of the same type.

Best of Them: When you explain to someone why they exemplify the best aspects of their civilization, test your CHARISMA. If you succeed, they are charmed by you and must act to live up to these aspects. You can only pull this trick once per person per week.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Okucenza Generators

In the style of previous generators, these are primarily for my own use in ongoing Vain the Sword games. They all owe a tremendous amount to myriad writers. The encounter generators are not as filled-in as with previous attempts, because the region of Okucenza is large enough to have different encounter tables in different sections. Each day's travel not only has the potential for an encounter event, but also has an "aignment" that colors the action of the hex, to give the impression that things are constantly changing and that cetrifugal and centripedal forces are acting without the player's intervention.

Edit: now with personalities inspired by Matt Halton's list of NPCs
Edit: now with encounter rolls differentiated by region. If you want inspiration for a random spirit, choose a random spirit card from MTG.
Edit: now with 100 mundane fictional animals.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Basics for Play in Hell

"We've dug a million trenches and have cleared ten miles of ground.
and a meaner place this side of Hell I know has ne'er been found.
We've drilled in dust and scorching sun, in mud and driving rain
'till our eyes and ears and legs and arms were yelling loud with pain
but there's one more consolation, gather closely while I tell.
When we die, we're bound for Heaven, for we've done out hitch in Hell."
-From Frank Bernard Camp, "Our Hitch in Hell

Previously, we sought to imagine a setting in which the profession of dungeoncrawling was seen through the lens of gold-rushes, and extrapolated that setting to the apex of greed and danger, Hell. Ultimately, playing in such a setting would require robust journeying rules as the party competes with rival prospectors to arrive quickly at the palaces of Hell to stake their claim.
art by Wayne Barlowe

My current thinking is that the desired resource of the Hell Gold Rush should be literal gold. It just has so much thematic resonance. As for Hell's layout, I think the concentric circles model is appropriate, and that each circle should have one great city of demons that is basically suicide to enter. The deeper circles are natural more dangerous. Beyond those, there would be boomtowns, encampments, and caravans made by the non-demon residents. Scattered everywhere would be ruins of demons betrayed, damned souls scattered, natural mines, forgotten stockpiles from the war with Heaven, and the like.

PCs will have the option of heading to established sites, with names like "Hannibal's Find" or "Camp Busywork", and get reliable wages dungeoncrawling. The more lucrative, but risky, choice is true prospecting, heading into ruins and hoping there will be gold. Once you hit the motherlode, you'll have to fight hard to keep it. Many a prospector has struck it big, only to have their find stolen out from under them.

d6 ways a route to Hell was discovered
  1. Adventurers found an endless staircase down on the third level of a dungeon.
  2. Local bishop noticed a gentleman using a brimstone paperweight. Investigation showed a route starting a mile on.
  3. Old Scratch himself led an army into the heart of a nation. After they were rebuffed, the fleeing army was followed into Hell.
  4. A long expedition through the dinosaur-infested jungle under the surface world.
  5. After a failed coup, a drow noble house ruptured a seal against Hell to spite its enemies.
  6. Dwarfs dug too deep.
d6 Boomtowns
  1. Sacred, which has very fervent but very ineffective means of warding off demons.
  2. New Nidhgon, founded by nouveau riche xenophobically bullying anyone from outside their very specific corner of the world.
  3. Brimstone, which was briefly the wealthiest square mile in all Hell.
  4. Planted Flag, founded by slavers disguised as priests.
  5. Canoe, so named for the thousands of abandoned boats left here from a rush down the river Styx.
  6. Jale's Mill, which absolutely ruined the livelihood of the original residents.
d6 Places to Strike Gold
  1. Leadenheart, the site of a failed attempt by an alchemist to escape Hell with her great science.
  2. Hypocrite's Gulch, just off the road to Hell, where the good intentions are thin and virgin soil lies unplumbed underneath.
  3. Anomoly 7DS, a moleman's crashed spelljammer.
  4. Acererak's Nightmare, a dungeon designed as a punishment for a vanquished lich.
  5. Holy Shade, the section of Hell directly under the fantasy pope's palace. Where demons fear to tread.
  6. The Midas Wastes, the microsystem surrounding the punished King Midas.
art by Wayne Barlowe

By definition, Hell is full of all kinds of sinners. This includes the people who are supposed to be there as well as the prospectors who invade Hell to get gold. As such, there are hundreds of races, ancestries, and folk, but only three that gold-rushers frequently distinguish:
  • Surface folk. People who came to Hell by some wilderness trek. Acquainted with amenities that are foreign here, like sunlight and kindness.
  • The damned. People who died and went to Hell the old-fashioned way. Unable to ever fully hide themselves from the demons dedicated to punishing them.
  • Salamanders. The native folk of Hell who lived here before the first demon fell, called by the rushers Salamandrine Men. Possessed by a wrath that threatens to ruin the hard work of their lives.
In game terms, each of these fates is defined mostly by their drawback, which will be severe. But maybe you get some minor freeform ability to distinguish surface elves from surface halflings, or damned noble pagans from damned heresiarchs, or the Salamander of a given nation from the Salamander of an unrelated tribe. As for classes currently I'm imagining a collection that's a bit more complex than I usually do. Perhaps something like Baal's bone freaks or the Mighty Man.
art by Wayne Barlowe

Idol Punk (start with a holy book, grappling hook, a bronze idol, a betting pool on how you will die, and light armor.)
  • A: +1 Idol Dice. Spend dice to summon [sum] minor celestials (who seek to destroy all sinners, including you) or to cause malfunctions.
  • B: +1 Idol Dice. Spend dice to summon a [sum] HD major celestial (who seeks to destroy all sinners, including you) or dispel defenses.
  • C: +1 Idol Dice. Once a month, spend dice to summon a catastrophe.
  • D: +1 Idol Dice. You are invisible to celestial forces.
d12 Idol Punk Dead Pool (contribute 500 XP to next character if you die in this way)
  1. By water
  2. By fire
  3. By sword
  4. By beast
  5. By upheaval
  6. By plague
  7. By strangling
  8. By stoning
  9. In a lonely slip
  10. By barbiturate
  11. For your greed
  12. For your hunger
Mounted Salamandrine. Art by Wayne Barlowe

Salamandrine Guide (start with a hickory walking stick, dark garments that would fit over armor, 2d4 rations only a salamander would eat, and a charm)
  • A: When an ally hits a flanked foe, deal 1d6 damage. You get forewarning of random encounters. When wronged, test charisma or demonstrate your anger.
  • B: When sneaking outdoors, you are effectively invisible past 15 feet.
  • C: Through gesture and intuition, you can communicate basic concepts with any living being.
  • D: You may enter a Sulking state, in which you automatically perceive all encounters, traps, and obstacles and gain 1 fatigue for each perceived.

I imagine equipment costing a variable amount, to represent the amazing fluctuations of a rush-based economy. Notable absences: Martial weapons. I think I will eschew things like swords and spears, creating a gap between dual-function weapons like picks and amazing artifact swords recovered from dungeons.
  • Bloodstone 1d6 (create up to five gallons a day)
  • Dahlbusch Bomb 4d8 coins
  • Demonblade and chariot 3d6 coins per circle of Hell per week
  • Noble Pagan tutor 2d6 coins per Circle of Hell per week
  • Sled, hell-hound 3d10 coins
  • Steel toothed-shovel 1d6 coins
  • Velf's Gold-Dowse (essentially a metal detector) 5d12 coins

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Trophy City

The Caliphs of Noual know how to maintain a cultural myth. A couple days' travel downriver from a range of ancient mountains is Zheijaali, the Trophy City. Whenever the imperial army wins a war-- as it always does-- it seizes artisans, epics, tapestries, nobilities, and idols and hauls all of them to the city, a monument to the appropriate of wonders and artifacts from people deemed lesser.

A party of PCs may arrive in Zheijaali for a variety of reasons, but they should be foreigners. This scenario features only one magical item, but it's very powerful and has the ability to greatly shift ongoing games.

Potential Hooks:

  1. Sent by an oathkeeper of Mesomergos to recover the Tarnhelm, an important cultural artifact lost 20 years ago. (recommended)
  2. Enticed by a letter from a mountain partisan offering magical powers in exchange for help
  3. The promise of well-paying service in the Zheijaali expeditionary force.
  4. Hired to to steal a cultural artifact.
art by Benedick Bana

The Journey

Assuming the party is approaching the trophy city from Mesomergos, they will have to depart east down the river at Lischon. The long journey might be mostly uneventful-- those accustomed to the cursed chaos of Mesomergos will notice Noual is stable. Feel free to throw in as many encounters and diversions as you wish, but try to establish a tone that this empire is more "settled" than Mesomergos.

After travelling eight days on the river, they will come to the city of Fisochwei. This first city is a good place to introduce them to the norms and mores of Noual. The people here speak Tengor, and generally spurn the learning of other languages. Mesomergan currency is not accepted, but you can trade it in at exchanges for a fee. This conversion is one-way. Finally, while the worship of both Noryawes and Fisochol are accepted in Mesomergos, the split between the two is the utmost partisan issue of Noual. Each city has a policy for which is enshrined and which is repressed. 

The next major location on the way to Zheijaali is Soyang the Gate. This is a city on the coast of a great sea, boasting a great lighthouse and fortified seafront. If the party are Mesomergos natives, this will be the first time they will have seen the ocean. The aristocracy of Soyang will take a polite interest in the party if it is known that they have any status in Mesomergos. It is likely a well-off aristocrat will invite them to stay in their villa.
art by Benedick Bana

It is likely this is where the villain of our piece will first learn of the party's presence. This is a person who wears many identities, but for the sake of brevity we shall call him Wu. This is the individual who possess the amazingly powerful Tarnhelm, allowing him to change shape and become invisible. Read more about him in the section Wu the Bandit below. His default plan to take advantage of irregulars heading to the Trophy City is to gain their trust. He will frame them for the murder of their aristocrat host, then come to them as a female barrister named Tharmas. She will then share her suspicion that a rival aristocrat, Lord Zaldo, killed their host and framed them, confidant that if challenged he would succeed in a trial. (Soyang follows the Brynthic principle of justice, using trials by combat, modulated based on various factors).

Tharmas offers the party two forms of help. She can either advocate for them at court to have them merely exiled, or help them file a challenge against Zaldo. In truth, Zaldo is a cruel but innocent man, likely to pose a challenge to even a strong fighter. Tharmas is hoping either to indebt the party to her or to eliminate a rival.

If the party asks after her motives or if they are able to leave Soyang, she will tell them she has a friend outside Zheijan and suggest they find him. Giving the party a small charm in the shape of an owlbear, she says that it is a symbol that will win them the aid of her friend, Wu the Bandit. She will then leave the city, turn into a feathered serpent, and fly to Zheijaali before they arrive.

The last city they encounter before the Trophy City is called Agarabara, at the mouth of the Tan River that leads to Zheijaali. Maybe give the players a bit of a break here? Like the real power behind the throne is the heaps and heaps of cats found throughout the city, or the sultan wants them to listen to his story before they go, or competing restaurants vie for the endorsement of travelers.

art by Benedick Bana

In Zheijaali

The city is built to inspire awe in foreigners, with decadent facades and endless plazas displaying idols of conquered people. All of this orbits one long mall. If one of the city's bureaucracy learns of the PCs, they will send along wine and small gifts in the queen's name.

d6 rumors
  1. Wu the bandit hides in a cave that cannot be found, save by those who know where it is.
  2. The mountain people have a magic spring whose water can brainwash you-- that's why some disloyal officials want to call off expeditions to pacify the mountains.
  3. With all the idols in the city, the sin of bestiality will provoke immediate divine punishment and you'll be turned into an animal yourself.
  4. The queen of Zheijaali is a bastard of the last caliph and distrusted by the current caliph.
  5. Swear in front of a tourist, and the soldiers will pick you up and take you to the palace.
  6. The expeditionary force is having discipline problems they're covering up-- wantonness, havoc, and disorder.
d6 random NPCs who speak Meso
  1. Yanoi, a eulogy expat from the wastelands north of Uzay. Bemused by the pageantry of the city.
  2. Ahgan, an archaeologist uncomfortable with the city's approach to history.
  3. Vilas, leader of a street gang that would be cracked down on if they ever targeted tourists.
  4. Atim, a sheltered noble who yearns for adventure.
  5. Im, a dreamer with a ferocious dignity and no concept of the world beyond military politics.
  6. Faulee, who was trapped in the body of a peacock and is not having it.
art by Benedick Bana

The Queen

Queen Zetian Afaf is politically, not personally powerful. For the most part, have her presence felt from on-screen. She is keen to use outsiders for her own ends-- apprehending Wu and oppressing the Mountain People. The leader of her expeditionary force, Captain Buku, is on board with all of this, and secretly suspects she wishes to secede from the empire at some point. Buku is kind of all about this.

art by Benedick Bana

Wu the Bandit

Wu the Bandit, it is said, performed a mystic ritual to make his body impenetrable to all weapons. He is seven feet tall, oiled, and covered spiked armor, since now all he has to fear are dogs. (Remember, he can secretly change shape and turn invisible. Essentially, a huge problem to deal with.) He claims to be the tutor of the queen's stepbrother, a young man named  Boufu, carrying on his banditry to restore justice to the throne. In truth, he is Boufu's mother and wishes to control Zheijaali himself. His bandit crew consists of about 30 mortals including Abjad, the treasurer, and Jafara, their wizard.

His current plan is to convince the mountain people to give him knowledge of the Animating Name, turn all the stolen idols of the city into vengeful golems, then seize power amidst the chaos.

art by Benedick Bana

The Mountain People

A society outside of the Trophy City, no less complicated or advanced, but difficult to integrate into the Imperial Way, and dedicated to its own customs. The local leader is Qedar Sheik, a eulogy respected for his judgement and respect for tradition. He is very old, and has shaking palsy (Parkinson's). He knows the animating name but will not share with untrustworthy people like Wu. His student, Nisba, can translate for the party.

Nisba belongs to a partisan movement among the younger Mountain People, that advocates for a more direct response to the predations of the expeditionary force. They know they cannot overpower Zheijaali, and do not love violence, but believe that freedom for the mountain won't be won on the mountain-- it will be won in the mall of the Trophy City.

art by Benedick Bana

Things Proceed

If Wu is somehow killed, the queen will offer either a hefty reward, officership, or a favor for those responsible. Eventually the mountain people will be pushed back to a final redoubt, then commence a battle that will kill and scar many, effectively wiping out the cultural memory of those people. If PCs are part of the expeditionary force, this battle would be a fitting end to the adventure in the Trophy City, though not a triumphant one.

If Wu can use the Animating Name to create idol golems, they will tear apart the city before scattering to return to their nations of origin. Unless the PCs stop her, the queen will escape to Agarabara and request a relief army from the caliph. In either case, Wu will likely manage to install Boufu as king.

If PCs continue looking for the Tarnhelm or inquire too much into his identity and intentions, Wu will try to dispose of them. He will tip them off to a potential source of information for whatever they're looking for-- the Proscribed Oasis, in the middle of a desert a month's travel away from the Trophy City. He will provision them and send them along with four porters, secretly instructing the porters to steal the provisions and leave them in the desert in the middle of the night.

The desert is old, and occasionally the bleached bones of giants can be seen. The porters will leave the party halfway between the start of the desert and the oasis, which is a silent convent dedicated to raising children to speak the antediluvian language whom all people speak who are never taught a language of earth.

Defeating Wu is very difficult, due to his miraculous abilities. He wears the Tarnhelm at all times, changing its shape when he needs to. If it is removed Wu will return to his original form, resembling that of Tharmad, but with massive sores that will soon kill him.

The Tarnhelm is one of the three dolorous regalia, which when brought together are said to be able to bring peace to Mesomergos. Another one, the Rat-Year Guan, is said to belong to the oathkeeper of Lione. The last, Mimung, was said to be taken to Fianyu, west of Mesomergos. Rumors say it found its way into the hands of a noble interested in magical curiosities, including his immortal wife, the Box of Gavrok, and a book describing expeditions into the "Gardens of Ynn," which he has grown more and more interested in.

The Last Who The Face Had Played

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling...

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the chardun ringswords, but the ground was keener than they;
And an oiled masked sinner blustered, "Let us slide down this pile of dust
to the writer of unreal numbers-- or no realer than they must."

They went in heretical colours, and continued the terrible slog,
To look for the benefactor who had jotted them down in his blog;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the thief guild list they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last who The Face had played.

The old zouave was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote rules for our expedition. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the face of hell;
For we're all of us fresh from the climbin', an' we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want chimps, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A dungeon on flat-ground, well-lit please, or some kind of cakewalk of a fight?
We think that someone has fumbled, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we had nothing once, sir. Please, write in a fatted sow."

The poor little party departed, limping and lean from their trek.
And the HRTS of the benefactor grew hot with the love of SNEK
And he wrote for them wonderful dungeons that swept the GLOG like fire
Till the wretched souls of the gretchlings were scourged with the thing called desire.

They played in forgiving dungeons that were set in an Irish bog;
They healed from fatal ailments; they housed the really good dog;
And they sent (you may call me a liar), when builder and beast were paid,
A cheque, for enough to level, to the last who the Face had played.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Dungeon: Wild Man's Grave

Discord user "Great Job!" once facetiously suggested an adventure scenario: "Julius Caesar battling it out with Odysseus and Achilles over Enkidu's grave goods." Taking inspiration from that idea, this scenario is a simple dungeon with time pressure, putting the players in the role of adventurers seeking to loot the grave goods of an ancient hero before it can be pilfered by one of two other forces. To keep things generic, I will use names like Caesar and Achilles, but you should adapt them to your setting.

This dungeon is fairly linear and features no wandering monsters. The focus is more on simple problem-solving and the recontextualization of the space as soldiers begin forcing their way into the dungeon after you.
Rebecca Yanovskaya

Before Play

The party can either be self-interested tomb robbers, or actually hired by the authorities to remove the grave goods of Enkidu for safekeeping. In addition to their cultural significance, there are goods known to possess magical power. Have each player roll once on the table below to see which item they have heard of in myth or song, rerolling duplicates. Optionally, sage-types with knowledge of legend can roll an additional time.

d8 Objects of Power

  1. Ox-Tail girdle: makes you intangible.
  2. Immaculate Drum: summons and commands a zodiac creature.
  3. Golden Rod and Ring: tap together to issue up to three brief commands.
  4. Sissoo wood siege: if you sit on it, you cannot stand from it until the magic word is spoken.
  5. carnelian bowl filled with honey: antidote to all harm.
  6. lapis lazuli bowl filled with butter: deadly poison.
  7. Bull head lyre: makes projectiles fail.
  8. Statue of gold with a chest of lapis lazuli: comes to life and attacks any who touch it.
The party starts play outside the door of the tomb with reasonable tomb-breaking gear-- perhaps some torches, thirty feet of rope, iron crows, and the service of a couple porters. They know that the armies of Rome and Mycenae are not far behind.

 The Tomb of Enkidu

The entrance of the tomb is a cyclopean edifice built into a hillside. Engraved on the stone doors is the phrase "Ye men of Ur's lands passing by, the one who raised your walls was I. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones." Opening the heavy doors requires the combined strength of three people, and as soon as the doors move a hiss and faint odor escapes from the tomb.

The first room is a shrine to a nature god. Entering the tomb without waiting for time to pass risks damage from accumulated gas (test con or take 1d4 damage). In time, this danger dissipates as long as the doors remain open. The center of the room is filled by a stone statue of a plum tree, its fruit carved censers and its roots fed by carved warriors. One warrior clutches Lerato's Plucking Iklwa.

Through a doorway, the next room can be seen as soon as one walks around the tree statue. It is filled by a 10 foot moat full of rusted spikes, with a 2 foot ledge around either side. Both of these ledges have several pressure plates disguised as the unworked blocks in the floor. Stepping on one triggers one of three traps:

1. A stone in the wall at shoulder-height shoots out to push you into the spikes. (1d6 falling damage, 1d6 impaling damage)
2. A rod near the floor sweeps your legs out from under you, pushing you into the spikes. (1d6 falling damage, 1d6 impaling damage)
3. A spike in the pit swings up to impale you. (1d6 impaling damage)

The next doorway leads to a rocky slope that goes about 60 feet down before coming to an underground stream. The water is clear and cool, originating from small cracks in the ground. It continues down a 6-foot-high corridor, coming up to the 4.5 foot mark. This continues about 200 feet.

After such distance, the corridor opens to a large cavern with a thin strip of sandy land around its perimeter. Torchlight can just barely make out that there is an island in the center of the cavern with a stone construction. Most of the cavern remains shallow, but there is a stretch about 20 feet wide that gets as deep as ten feet. Swimming in this cavern is an ancient alligator. It may be hostile but will avoid anything that could seriously endanger it. If a PC dies, this alligator could be a fitting replacement character.
Rebecca Yanovskaya

The isle mausoleum has a front door, barred from the other side. It also has four windows around the near side of the cavern. Within the building are a group of scorpion men in a group equal to the number of PCs plus one. If alerted to the party's presence, such as by torchlight, they will hide by the windows, assuming the PCs will attempt to enter through them. They have arsenical copper swords (1d6 damage, shatter on a fumble) and chitin which acts as chain armor. The scorpion men also have stingers, which have reach like a polearm and deal 1d4 damage. Those afflicted must save or suffer the Sigyn Curse: their sweat shall hereafter be poisonous. This deals 1 damage to them whenever they get fatigue, but that poison can be collected and coated onto weapons.

Within the mausoleum entrance is a large lapis-breasted golden statue of a hairy man with a club. His off hand has been removed, and is on a pedestal in several pieces, stained with blood. If anyone touches the statue or his hand, he animates and attacks them. This statue is remarkably strong and resistant to most forms of damage. The room also contains a set of double doors, which have been crudely shut by a wrapping of copper wire which was later melted. Finally, the room has an open doorway into a side room.

The side room contains a carving of a man wrestling a bull on the wall facing the room the double doors open to. On the opposite wall have been lined several mummies of Enkidu's lovers, as well as the mummy of a dog. Among them is jewelry worth 200 coins. They are all staring at the bull's head in the carving. Pressing on this spot opens a secret door into the grave site.
Rebecca Yanovskaya

Behind the double doors is the grave site. An embalmed figure lays on a pedestal, accoutred in bronze and orichalcum arms and armor. All around is coins and simple artifacts worth 400 gold (600 to state authorities or antiquarians). These surround the greater prizes:
  • A girdle made from an ox tail. When you put it on, all other items fall away from you. As long as you wear it, you and the girdle are intangible.
  • A painted drum: Banging on it summons a random creature representing the zodiac. (Whether that's the astrological signs, the chinese zodiac, or one of your own invention is up to you.) It serves you as long as you bang on the drum or until it dies. The creature summoned is the same for the rest of the day, and shifts the next day.
  • A golden rod beside a golden ring. When these are tapped together you can issue a simple command to someone that would take only a few seconds to do, and they will do it. Can only every be used against someone three times in their life.
  • A reddish-brown throne. if you sit on it, you cannot stand from it. There was once a magic word to release you from this fate is written on the bottom of the chair.
  • carnelian bowl filled with honey: Taking a sip heals you 1d6 hp or an injury. Contains five sips. If you drink it all at once it definitely heals all injuries, no matter how many.
  • lapis lazuli bowl filled with butter: Taking a sip causes you to save versus death. Contains five sips.
  • A lyre whose body is carved to resemble a bull: While playing this lyre, all missiles automatically miss you and anyone within ten feet. This includes arrows, stones, and javelins.
This is is end of the dungeon, but likely not the end of the scenario.
Rebecca Yanovskaya

The Armies

If the party spends time waiting for the tomb gas to clear, they will see both the Roman Legion and the Greeks arriving. Unless something truly unexpected happens, both sides will attempt to gain control of the tomb, and this will follow a certain progression. Whenever time passes, such that you would normally roll for a random encounter or mark off an hour, progress the siege track by one:

Siege Track
  1. Rival armies arrive and form a perimeter. 80% of it is Roman, 20% Greek. 
  2. Light skirmishes between armies as Rome entrenches.
  3. More light skirmishes
  4. One of the armies (50% either) takes the entrance and shrine, beginning to test the spike moat.
  5. The first army is beaten back into the river, the second taking the entrance through to the moat.
For each passage of time past that, both advance 1 room. This will almost certainly put the party in a dangerous position, where they will have to use cunning and either their new loot or diplomatic know-how to escape from Enkidu's tomb with their lives.

The Roman army is led by Julius Caesar (acolyte 2), who will delegate the room-by-room fighting to his colleague Brutus (warrior 1) and Marcus Antonius (thief 1). The Legion moves methodically, its perimeter bolstered by earthwork and stake fortifications. Caesar values acquiring the grave goods, aggrandizing his ambition, and getting an on-paper victory.

The Greek army is led by Odysseus (thief 2), nominally. The vanguard is led by Achilles (warrior 3), who cannot be killed except by injuring a specific part of his body, which you should probably change from the traditional ankle. He is accompanied by Patroclus (warrior 1). The Greeks fight in a passionate dueling style more like the Iliad than true history. Odysseus values acquiring the grave goods and getting back to his distant home. Achilles values glory and the well-being of Patroclus.