Fear and Darkness
- 1 Introduction
- 2 The Player Characters
- 3 The Encumbrance Ape
- 4 Dead, Inactive or Lost in the Dark
- 5 Henchman and Hirelings
- 6 Mounts and Beasts of Burden
- 7 Party Standards
- 8 Plot Hooks
- 9 Maps
- 10 Languages
- 11 The Style Guide
- 12 Current House Rules
- 13 Setting Essays
- 14 Campaign Spells
- 15 Items of Historical Interest
- 16 Links to the game-related threads
A Wyzard World (tm) Production
The Player Characters
- Abelard Trollslayer, Fighter 12/12 HP
- Bagrat the grumpy, Fighter 16/16HP
- Joto the Iceman, Fighter
- Klavier the Clever, Magic User, 7/7 HP
- Micah Just Micah, Fighter 15/15 HP
- Posel Shield-Reader, Fighter, 7/7 HP
- Shandor the Peddlar, Magic-User 6/6 HP
- Wakeem Al'Tzulcha, Magic User, 3/3 HP
- Blank OD&D Character Sheet
The Encumbrance Ape
- Abelard Trollslayer
- Kit(carried): 6 stone
- Treasure (carried):
- Total encumbrance: 6 stone
- Movement: 9"
- Bagrat the grumpy:
- Gear 8 1/3
- Current Encumbrance: 8 1/3
- Movement 9"
- Joto the Iceman, Fighter:
- Gear: 6 Stones
- Treasure: 1 (one) silver piece
- Current Encumbrance: 6 Stones
- Movement: 9" (6" with backpack)
- Klavier the Clever
- Carried Gear: 4 2/3 Stone
- Treasure (carried):
- Total Encumbrance: 4 2/3 Stone
- Movement: 9"
- Micah Just Micah
- Gear: 3 1/3 Stones
- Treasure: You're kidding, right?
- Current Encumbrance: 9 Stones
- Movement: 6"
- Posel Shield-Reader:
- Gear: 6 Stones
- Treasure (Carried):
- Current Encumbrance: 6
- Movement: 9"
- Shandor the Peddlar
- Carried Gear: 3 Stone
- Treasure (carried):
- Total Encumbrance: 3 Stone
- Movement: 12"
- Wakeem Al'Tzulcha
- Carried Gear: 3 2/3 Stones
- Treasure (carried): Sadly none
- Current Encumbrance: 3 2/3 Stone
- Movement: 12"
Dead, Inactive or Lost in the Dark
Henchman and Hirelings
Mounts and Beasts of Burden
- Biscuit, Klavier's Mule (3 1/3 Stone)
- Saddle Bag (1sp, 1/3 Stone)
- 10 days of preserved rations (5gp, 1 1/3 Stone)
- 50 ft. Hemp Rope (1gp, 1/3 Stone)
- 2 pints wine (2gp 2/3 Stone)
- 10-foot pole (2sp, 2 Stone)
- Samuel the Uncloven, Joto's Draft Horse (5 2/3 Stones)
- Saddle 1
- 4 days' feed 2/3
- 8 torches 1
- Dagger 1/3
- 3 days' trail rations 1/3
- Winter blanket 1/3
- Bedroll 1/3
- 50' hemp rope w/grappling hook 2/3
- Shovel 1
- Flint & steel
- Sarah, Abelard's mule
- 9 days trail rations (2/3 stone)
- 100' rope (2/3 stone)
- 2 waterskins (2/3 stone)
- Uva, Shandor's donkey (7 stone total)
- Saddle bag 1/3 stone
- Wine (common pint) 1/3 stone
- Rations, preserved (8 days) 1 stone
- 10 ft pole 1 stone
- 4 Torches 4/3 stone
- Bedroll 1 stone
- Winter blanket 1 stone
- 3 Oil flasks 1 stone
- Bagrat and Micah
- Abelard and Wakeem ( lantern)
- Klavier (lantern) and Shandor (lantern)
- Posel and Joto
- Bagrat (1st)
- Micah (2nd)
- Abelard (3rd)
- Posel (4th)
- Joto (5th)
- Shandor (6th)
The Duke and Duchy of Karnak
The Duke was in his youth a man of rare distinction on the battlefield. A rake-hell and adventurer in the classic mold, he came to Karnak as the fourth son of some unknown nobleman in a distant land. He carved the duchy out of wilderness and lawlessness by his own hand, and united the many scattered towns into a single polity. There are many tales of his prowess and fulsome enjoyment of all life's pleasures. A Veyan prince once insulted his manners over dinner, and he glassed the man with such swift viciousness that his nose was floating in the soup before any knew what had happened. He fought three separate duels over the incident in the next week, and won every one handily.
As he became older, though, he was less active and just as prone to feasting. He is now said to have expanded to such enormous size that he rarely leaves his bedchamber. Nonetheless, the people love him and fondly remember his more active and younger days. The older folk of the duchy, especially, will hear not a single bad word said against him, as they remember the days when horrors stalked the land unchecked.
It is uncertain why he has declared himself Duke only and not King, as the Duchy is larger than many kingdoms and he owes fealty to no one.
The taxes are reasonable enough. Each township has its own burgermeister who oversees the town's business, with the advice and consent of an elected council. They have some discretion to set local tax policy. Several times per year the tax collector comes through, reviews their income and activities, and takes the chests of coin away. The primary taxes are on land owned, businesses, import and export, value added taxes, estate taxes, and so forth. The Duke has refused all entreaties to institute birth or marriage taxes as other lands have done, as he does not wish to discourage those things.
Werewolves on the planet of Terminus were at one time believed to be bound by the Lunar cycles, but modern knowledge precludes this possibility. The three moons that orbit equidistant would produce a very technical dynamic for any thus afflicted, and trilunar interference would reduce the morphogenic field into chaos. No, those cursed by werewolfery suffer from a spontaneously arising sympathetic link to the Wolf that Will End the World, a being of figuratively (but probably not literally) lupine nature that is chained at the planet's core. His wrathful struggles produce earthquakes and, sometimes, lycanthropy, as all educated folk are well aware. Eventually he will shatter his bonds and immediately afterward the planet's crust, but sages estimate that unhappy day will be at least one thousand years distant, and probably ten thousand. The lack of immediate danger inclines most people to procrastinate indefinitely in addressing the hazard.
The Werewolf of Karnak
- Appears to be mobile, striking in different places from week to week.
- Kills all of its victims - none has survived an attack.
- Eyewitnesses have said it has "the rough shape of a man but the features and physical prowess of a wolf".
- Definitely nocturnal.
- The Duke has offered a "great reward" for whoever can kill the beast and prove it, but he has so far refused to disclose what the reward might be. The feeling among the populace is that there really is a great reward, rather than a disappointing one.
The Woods Around Karnak
- Weird lights have been seen in the forest to the south of town, and noises have been heard at night.
- The Duchy is not particularly religious in character, but there is known to be a dark presence in the woods.
- This sinister force takes the place of a local deity, and there are those folk who claim to be able to propitiate it and thus ward against its predations.
- There is almost nothing in the way of priests, but the wood-wise may be either charlatans, lesser sorcerors, or sages of some kind.
- The greatest is a woman who lives in the northern part of the Duchy, several days travel distant.
- The one that the locals speak most highly of is Spurgus. He lives to the west of Murkstone, several miles away, and from descriptions is probably mad.
- Joto was unable to determine whether his madness coexists with any special insight without seeing the man himself.
- Most farmhouses and other residences outside the confines of settlements have some manner of sign or other claptrap which the dwellers suppose to be efficacious.
- A number of disappearances have occurred in the vicinity of the graveyard.
- The graveyard is an enormous, apparently squarish, area enclosed by a crumbling stone wall that varies from six feet high to a pile of rubble on the ground. There are a huge variety of monuments and so forth scattered more or less randomly about the area. The Graveyard is not even particularly flat or uniform, encompassing a sizeable creek, several hills and grottoes, incursions by the forest, massive tangles of vines and brambles, etc. It is a disordered mess, but at least the peasants make some feeble gestures towards mowing the grass.
- There is an old unused ossuary in the graveyard, with extensive catacombs.
- There are no caretakers or priests near the graveyard, but a few farmsteads are near or adjacent to it. The upkeep is considered an obligation of the community, and some peasants elect to spend a few days per year engaged in caretaking in lieu of paying some portion of their taxes.
- A door into a mausoleum shows signs of passage by a clawed creature(s).
- The claw marks were likely made by something with a hand similar in size and number of digits to a human hand. However, being as they are faint markings made by a multitude of strokes, it is difficult to be completely sure of this assessment. They are spread in height from about Joto's waist to his knees if he stands adjacent to the door.
- There is no exterior handle of any kind and Joto believes it might require a crowbar to open the door properly.
- Joto found no sign of traps.
- There is no scat or refuse; there is the faint sign of a path to and from the door, but no recent footprints. Something comes in and out with sufficient regularity to wear a faint track, at least.
- A partially-submerged tunnel is hidden behind a small waterfall.
- The mud around the pond does not show signs of disturbance. There are no signs of use by animal life; in fact there is a paucity of wildlife or its signs anywhere in the graveyard.
- Occasionally a raven calls out from a treetop.
- Joto's explorations amongst the pond turned up the skeleton of a man with a number of bricks chained to his torso; he would estimate the body to be several years submerged.
- A crypt has collapsed into a sinkhole, revealing a partially-worked tunnel (that seems to resemble a mine).
- Something has crawled in and out of the aperture, but not in the last few days and the prints are not clear. There is a faint unwholesome odor coming from the hole.
- The tunnel is at least half worked. It's an earthen tunnel reinforced with logs and wood planking that looks mostly scavenged and partially rotted.
- Joto found no particular indication that someone from the passage was tunneling up to the crypt, but the collapse of so much earth might well have hidden it.
- Looking at the bottom of the crypt, half-buried and collapsed as it is, would be a substantial undertaking and probably require ropes, shovels, block and tackle, etc.
- There are large stone monuments everywhere; anchoring a rope would present no difficulty.
From time to time, the players may map wilderness or dungeon areas. Links to maps and descriptions of those areas should be placed here.
Every PC knows the common tongue as their native language. Below I will list some possible languages; ask if you have other nominations.
- Goblin (Works with any of the goblinoid races)
- Fey (For fairy and forest type creatures)
- Draconic (The tongue of dragons.)
- Old Amaranthian (Dead language, was spoken in a widespread sorcerous empire)
- Thracian (Originally Spoken by a widely-traveled group of seafaring kingdoms. Still spoken in some isolated colonies.)
- Primalingua (Spoken most frequently by powerful spirits. Useful in incantations, ambitious players may use Latin to indicate it in IC posts.)
- Void Speech (A language common to travelers in the infinite black gulfs of the cosmos)
- Elemental (the various elemental types speak slightly different dialects, but this will allow communication - the PC should pick which dialect they have greatest familiarity with)
- Reptilian (Language of the degenerate lizardfolk. They had an advanced and powerful civilization in the mists of history, but the tribes still living can no longer even read the writing on the walls of the great ziggurats their ancestors raised. The written form is incomprehensible to humans.)
- Necrosian, being the common language of the dead. Not considered a dead language.
The Style Guide
The Campaign's Style Guide is a page subject to further modification and clarification. I absolutely encourage players to bring up any issue related to the game's style either in the OOC thread, or with me personally via PM. These guidelines are designed to make the game fun, comfortable for the players, dramatic, and fast-moving. If the game is failing in any of those respects, I encourage you to bring it to my attention. Obviously, we've all been playing the game together long enough that we should all be on roughly the same page. This is more a codification of things I've already been encouraging rather than a completely new creation.
Current House Rules
- Wiki Participation is Mandatory. This is as much a baseline assumption of the game as it is a house rule. This game is largely "about" what characters have with them, how much light they have, and how fast they can move. I expect people to keep their inventories and encumbrance updated. I reserve the right to declare you don't have things if they aren't recorded on the wiki.
- Encumbrance & Treasure: Think as though there were two categories of 'stuff' that your character can have. The first category is personal gear. This is your armor, weapons, spellbooks, your personal coin pouch, etc. This goes on your sheet. You total up the amount and reach some figure or another, and only that total is on the front page. The second category of stuff is treasure that you pick up in the dungeon, and will later sell and/or divide up for XP. This is only listed on the front page, not on your personal sheet. The Encumbrance Ape front page is where this gets added together Personal Gear (Just a number) + Treasure Carred (detailed list) = Total Encumbrance. Run your current movement rate off that last number. This will become very intuitive after you do it a few times.
- How Much Does My Shit Weigh? House rules for stone weights to follow.
- 4 Stone: Plate Mail.
- 2 Stone: Chain Mail, most two-handed weapons, longbows & crossbows, 10 foot pole
- 1 Stone: Leather Armor, Shields, Most one-handed weapons, shortbows, quarterstaves, 1 week rations, up to 1000 coins in treasure, lanterns.
- 1/3 stone: Helmet, small weapons like daggers or saps, waterskin, quiver of 20 arrows or bolts, up to two days rations, single torch, flask of oil for a lantern, 50' good rope, 12 iron spikes, small hammer, bedroll, thieve's tools, almost any small but non-trivial piece of non-combat equipment.
- Too trivial to count as encumbrance unless you have lots: Small candle, chalk, keyring, whistle, fishing hook, tinderbox, etc.
- Character Creation: There is a lot of stuff here, so I'm going to list it all at once.
- Starting Characters are generated 3d6 down the line, with one reroll taking the best result. PCs start out with 4400XP +/- a prime requisite adjustment. They receive 4d6x10gp for starting gold.
- Strength determines XP Adjustments for fighters and the amount of encumbrance you can carry. Intelligence determines XP adjustments for spellcasters, and number of languages spoken. Characters of normal intelligence speak Common and one language of choice. Characters of 15+ intelligence speak an additional language of choice, characters of 6- intelligence speak Common only. Intelligence also controls a spellcaster's ability to learn new spells from spellbooks or other sources.
- Wisdom provides a saving throw adjustment of +/-1 for exceptional scores. Dexterity provides a +/-1 adjustment to ranged attacks and AC for exceptional scores. Constitution provides a +/-1 adjustment to each hit die for exceptional scores. Charisma acts per the book.
- The only two legal character classes are Fighter and Magic User. Both gain the use of the thief abilities of a thief of equal level. This includes backstab! Prison shankings are a thing in this game.
- Fighters may make a number of attacks per round equal to the factor by which their HD exceeds the opponent's HD, those attacks being distributed randomly after the first. If a fighter is fighting a mixed group, they should specify which type of enemies they are attacking if the enemies have different HD amounts.
- Magic Users may learn and cast spells. They may not wear armor. They may use any weapon.
- Hit Dice are all rerolled each level, the new result is taken if it is higher.
- Character Spells: All clerical spells will be rolled into the arcane spell list. Almost all damage-dealing spells are removed from the game. There will be a separate section of the wiki detailing what spells are available and their game effects, since the spell list from this game will be largely custom. No character may memorize the same spell more than once per day. Clerical spells are precisely like magic user spells in terms of research and acquisition, they must be recorded in spellbooks the same way, they are not sourced from deific entities, etc.
- Weapons: Weapons are broken up into three classifications with only a few deviations.
- Small hand weapons are things like daggers, saps, etc. They deal 2d6 drop highest damage for any character. They weigh 1/3 of a stone.
- Normal hand weapons are things like swords, maces, axes, etc. They deal 1d6 damage for Fighters and 2d6 drop highest for Magic users. They weigh one stone.
- Two-handed weapons are things like two-handed swords, pikes, poleaxes, etc. They deal 1d6 damage for MUs or 2d6 drop lowest damage for fighters. They weigh two stone.
- Shortbows are like hand weapons and weigh one stone. Longbows weigh two stone like a two-handed weapon, but deal damage like a one-handed weapon anyway. Their advantage is superior range. Crossbows deal damage like a two-handed weapon and weigh one stone, but may only be fired after a full round spent reloading.
- Quarterstaves are two-handed weapons that deal 1d6 damage for either fighters or magic users. They only weigh one stone, and may be easily carried in one hand when not being used as a weapon.
- Longspears weigh two stone and only deal 1d6 damage, but may attack from the second rank.
- I do not use critical hits or misses. However, if you fire through your own front rank, you may hit your allies on very low die results. You cannot fire from more than one rank back.
- Turns: The game moves by turns, which represent ten minutes of time, or thereabouts.
- Fights are rounded up to one turn if they take less than that. The additional time covers searching enemy corpses, repairing one's own equipment, bandages, etc.
- An individual can move their movement rate in one turn. The party moves at the rate of the slowest member. This includes mapping and so forth.
- Searching an area for traps or hidden doors takes one turn. A character can search a 10x10 area during this period of time. If the party splits up to search multiple areas, they will obviously work much faster but will then be out of marching order.
- I check for wandering monsters approximately every other turn, or any time the party causes a disturbance.
- The party has to rest every sixth turn.
- Torches or Lanterns both provide dim illumination in a 30 foot radius. They can be damaged or put out by falls, water, the bearer being struck in combat, etc.
- Torches last for one hour apiece, a lantern burns for 4 hours on one flask of oil.
- Bullseye Lanterns follow the same rules as other lanterns, but illuminate out to 60 feet in a 30 degree arc. They aren't much good for lighting up a room, but may be used to look further down a corridor.
- Light spells have a 60' radius and provide excellent lighting. They give bonuses to find secret doors or traps.
- Spacing and so forth in combat: I generally want to know who is in front, who is in the middle, and who is in back. Other than that, there is a bit of randomness in who gets hit or doesn't. Melee is wild and chaotic, things get crazy. Sometimes bad guys break through the line, sometimes you get a lucky shot in at the leader. PCs should feel free to try various maneuvers and stratagems. I don't usually track precise positions. For reference, though, I assume human-sized characters take up about a 5' space, so two abreast in a normal corridor. If the PCs spread out to search a room or squeeze through a pipe or whatever, I'll usually place them by fiat colored with what seems like typical good sense.
- While a precise marching order is not necessary, I do require an approximate one. The marching order should include an indication of who is bearing a light source, and what it is! I will be figuring what the PCs can see by what light sources are available. If the only torch is in the third rank back, that means the front line can only see twenty feet ahead of them. This may modify surprise rolls.
- Initiative: I decide what monsters are going to do, ask PCs for intentions, and roll 1d6 for each side. Lower acts first. Spellcasters who get struck before they can cast will lose their spells. Simultaneous actions means that I roll out attacks and damage for everyone and then apply it. It is possible for people to kill each other simultaneously.
- Morale is vital. You will want to break enemies if you can rather than kill them, usually.
- Morale for enemies will almost always be checked when: The first enemy is killed, half the enemies are killed, the enemy leader (if there is one) is killed.
- Morale for enemies will often be checked when: The enemies are attacked with magic, the enemy is attacked by surprise or while they are disordered, the PCs do anything particularly intimidating.
- Mercenaries and Henchmen: These are two different things.
- Mercenaries are normal toughs or soldiers for hire. They are cheap, but you have to pay for their food and so forth. They don't like to be in groups of less than five or so (Five mercenaries, that is, not five total characters.) They will not enter dungeons. They are fairly likely to flee in the face of serious opposition or supernormal threats.
- Henchmen are sub-characters following the lead of an individual PC. They gain experience like a normal character. Their hire must be negotiated, and they will want a partial share of treasure. A player whose character dies may be allowed to take over playing a henchman.
- Law and Chaos: These are cosmic forces wrestling over reality and the multiverse. Victory for either one would spell the end of the world as we know it.
- Character Alignment: In the real world, every human being who has ever lived would be unaligned. The vast majority of PCs should be as well. To be Aligned with law or chaos indicates a special status. It is not entirely a choice or even the result of one's choices; it's a state of being, like being radioactive. If a character has an alignment by the choice of the player, it is giving me permission to screw around with them in creative and interesting ways. Conan was unaligned. Elric was Chaotic.
Here will be posted the occasional essay that I write about the setting. If it seems piecemeal, that's intentional. I don't want to define too much.
Because I am heavily modifying the list of spells available, and because not every player who wishes to play a magic user has access to the books, I will be listing spells here. Spell descriptions are intentionally somewhat vague, as I intend their application to be slightly flexible.
- First Level Spells:
- Detect Magic: This lasts a turn and has a range of 3" at best. It allows a Magic user to examine an area for any item that has had some enchantment laid on it. If the Magic user can move freely, they can search a fairly large area with the use of this spell. If they are undisturbed and can concentrate, they can determine the school of magic used to enchant a thing.
- Hold Portal: This spell has a range of 3" and a duration of 2d6 turns. It will cause a door, gate, etc. to slam shut and seal itself. Dispel Magic can remove this spell, Knock will open it temporarily, and some powerful monstrous creatures might be able to break the door down in any case.
- Read Magic: This spell lasts for a short duration, enough to read one or two magical incantations. It is necessary for understanding the magi:cal notation of other magic users, if they are not present to instruct the reader. A magic user must also typically use this spell to understand the contents of a scroll; although after that first reading the magician will be able to use the scroll at any time. Any magic user can attempt to prepare this spell without the benefit of a spellbook. It is unique in that regard.
- Read Languages: Similar to Read magic, but allows the comprehension of mundane writings in natural language. Often useful for treasure maps.
- Protection from Evil: This spell hedges the conjuror round with a magic circle to keep out attacks from enchanted monsters. It also acts as a kind of armor from various kinds of evil attacks, giving a +1 to all saving throws and a -1 to the hit dice (for purposes of the to-hit matrices) from enchanted monsters. Lasts for six turns. At most two other characters may huddle in the circle. It might also be used to block a hallway, and prevents possession of any kind.
- Light: This spell, cast on an object, creates a bright light, equal to a magnesium flare or other excellent modern artificial light. It provides this lighting in a 6" radius, and lasts for 6 turns + the levels of the user. It may not be used to blind creatures. However, it cannot be extinguished by water or any other means, and provides a +1 to find secret doors and a +15% to find traps.
- Charm Person: This spell works on living and substantially humanoid creatures of up to a bit larger than man-sized. It will cause the Charmed person to believe the caster is their greatest friend, ally, advisor, etc. It lasts until somehow dispelled or broken by the most egregious and shocking conduct toward the Charmee. The victim will realize they have been Charmed when the spell breaks. Use of this spell on any citizen in a civilized land carries severe punishment.
- Sleep: This spell affects 2d8 hit dice worth of enemies, putting them into an enchanted slumber. No creature of above 4+1 hit dice can be affected, and then only a single one (presuming the die roll gives at least a result of '5.') If not cast on a single entity, it affects enemies from the lowest hit die to the highest. It has a range of 8" and may be fired blind.
- Magic Missile: Fires one missile for every two levels of the caster, rounding up. Missiles can be directed towards multiple different targets. Each missile deals 1d6+1 damage. Range: 10".
- Cure Light Wounds: This spell cures 1d6+1 damage. It takes one full turn to take effect, and any exertion or combat will prevent the spell from working.
- Purify Food & Water: Will make spoiled or poisoned food and water usable. Will work on a quantity of food and water sufficient for up to a dozen people.
- Detect Evil: Will detect supernatural evils and give some idea of their nature, number, power, etc. Scans in a 12" radius irrespective of normal barriers, lasts for one turn per level.
- Shield: Gives all enemies attacking from a single approximate direction -4 to hit, will also give a +4 bonus on certain saving throws, and blocks Magic Missiles. Touch Range. Duration of two turns.
- Ventriloquism: Can make any kind of noise, even very loud noise, within a range of 8". Line of sight is helpful but not absolutely necessary. Two turn duration.
- Turn Undead: Allows a single Turn Undead attempt, as per the rules that a Cleric would normally use to Turn Undead. The caster is treated as being two levels higher. 2d6 Undead of whatever type are turned. If used against a mixed group of undead, the caster should choose which type they are targeting. Extra numbers of undead turned will be applied against lower-HD types of undead than those targeted, but not vice versa. The ability has a range of 6". Undead who are cornered will cower ineffectually, but the effect will be broken if they are attacked in melee.
- Floating Disk: Creates a floating disk that takes up the same approximate 5' space that a character would. This will follow the caster around, remaining adjacent. The Disk can carry up to 500 lbs. or so of weight, and lasts for 12 turns plus one per level.
Items of Historical Interest
Here are maintained an archive of material from the earlier incarnation of the game, when it was being run under OD&D rules.
- Here can be found the original character sheets: The Wyzard Runs OD&D: The Slayers
- Missing, Retired, or Dead PCs
- Campaign Miscellanea
- OD&D Rules Material
- A collection of oddments and citations from the various game threads: The Wyzardly Encyclopedia