The Esoteric Order of Eldritch and Superlative Sorceries

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This is an AD&D1E game run by The Wyzard, as part of the We Belong to the Night project. Sessions are conducted via google chat on evenings and weekends. The PCs are powerful and influential magicians in a polyapocalyptic world currently having a phase of decadent civilization. There are strong science fantasy elements, and hypertech coexists alongside magic without a clear dividing line. The campaign is set on the same planetary sphere as my previous play-by-post campaign, but in a different region and historical era.

Buh wizard fantasy.jpg

Character Creation Rules[edit]

  • Characters begin as Magic Users of the Fifth level of experience. They start out with substantial assets and benefits befitting their elevated station in the world, and are assumed to have several notable accomplishments in their biography.
  • This is a human-only campaign. The normal demihuman races of dwarf, elf, halfling, orc, etc. do not exist. Antagonists will be either human or monstrous.
  • Names should include a suitably impressive sobriquet. Manos becomes Manos the Masterful, Delilah becomes Delilah of the Seven Secrets. It is very important that your name portend great advantages for your allies and ignominious defeat for your enemies! All must know that they deal with persons of pride and puissance upon hearing of you.
  • Each new PCs rolls three sets of six attributes, attributes being determined by rolling four six-sided dice and totaling the highest three. The player then selects one of the three sets, and arranges them to taste. Intelligence is the prime requisite for magic users. The highly social nature of this campaign makes Charisma more important than it might usually be.
  • Weapon and non-weapon proficiencies are not used. The PCs are presumed to have studied all scholarly and technical fields extensively, or to have manuals of such available in their libraries. They are not omniscient, but obscure lore is their meat and drink. NPCs use whatever weapons are appropriate to their wealth and profession; PCs are proficient with dagger, staff, dart, and any general class of weapon they may have studied the use of, if they have elected to do so. If you have learned swordplay or the use of bows or similar, note it under Specialties on your character sheet.
  • Alignment will not be used in this campaign. The powers of law and chaos are weak in this era, and good and evil are arbitrary human inventions, more often used to rationalize behavior than as its original impetus. If you have any spell that would normally detect a given alignment, it may instead be used to detect any general class of living creature, subject to the same range, duration, etc. as a spell detecting evil or good or what-have-you.
  • All hit dice are re-rolled at each level, the player character keeping the previous total or taking the new one, whichever is better.
  • Each PC will receive the following spells, randomly rolled: six first level, four second level, two third level. They may also pick one spell of each level, which should be a spell possessed by no other player character.
  • The Cleric class does not exist in this setting, and so no clerical henchmen should be created. To make up for this lack, all clerical spells are converted to magic-user spells. Each PC may select one clerical spell of levels 1-3, and any found on scrolls or in spellbooks may be learned normally. Any clerical spells which already exist in identical form on the Magic User list will be considered the level that they appear at for Magic Users.
  • Each PC begins the game with two henchmen of apparent loyalty. They should generally be of the fighter or thief class, although those with exceptional attributes might be members of other classes. Paladins, Druids and Clerics do not exist in the setting. Their attributes are generated by rolling 3d6 in order (For purposes of this game we will be listing attributes in the order: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma.) The player may select one attribute of the six to reroll, taking the better result. Their hit points will begin at the maximum at first level, with each level thereafter being rolled and added to the total.
  • The player should select any mundane equipment they like for themselves and their henchmen. Such matters as non-magical weaponry and traveling supplies are beneath their notice, and even such extravagances as a pair of warhorses, good plate armor for their bodyguards, and a well-appointed carriage will not bankrupt them.
  • The characters are persons of wealth and substance. They enter the game with a large estate, consisting of a townhouse or country manor, probably several other holdings, and investments or active schemes of extortion enabling them to survive in comfort with no visible means of support. They have many material comforts and luxuries, in addition to full larders and extensive wine cellars, gardens, solariums, etc. etc. You may assume their house has approximately ten thousand square feet of space, and contains a library and laboratory appropriate for the work of a magician.
  • Because objects of nearly-forgotten science are within the characters purview as well as magic, they likely have many mundane conveniences such as artificial lighting, an electrified fence, hot and cold running water, and wireless communications devices enabling them to send each other video and audio messages without the need to leave the bathtub. These items, of a non-adventuring character, should be listed in the description of your estate if they are likely to ever matter.
  • The estates also support up to a handful of servants if you like, generally being butlers, maids, cooks, dogsbodies, or automatons of a single hit die and no combat ability.
  • Each character also begins the game with two potions rolled randomly, and a pair of likewise random wondrous items.
  • Each character has [1d4+6] x 1000 GP in ready cash, which may be constituted by whatever denominations of coin and gem they feel appropriate. This should probably be kept in some kind of well-secured chest or small vault in their home. Typical expenses such as staying at an inn or purchasing arrows or lockpicks or what-have-you will not be tracked, although PCs are encouraged to grumble at the expense of treating their fellows to feasting and drinking at their own table.

Further House Rules[edit]

The following should help to create the sense of the world as I'm trying to portray it.

  • Wizardly Robes are items of great expense and ostentatiousness. They provide an AC of 9 and do not count as armor. All PCs are assumed to have a set or three.
  • We're going to be using some of the cleaned up combat rules from 2nd Edition AD&D, such as the rules for THAC0 and parts of initiative. Others may be added as time goes on.
  • There are no material components, but expensive foci and so forth may be required as normal.
  • XP will not be awarded for normal enemies defeated in combat. Only special or exceptional enemies will grant XP if defeated in combat; those foes are worth double if defeated without resort to direct violence. Human opponents do not grant XP for being defeated in combat, but do grant their normal XP value if defeated in some other way.
  • Experience awards for coins and lesser gems and artwork are halved. Experience awards for art objects and gems or jewelry of at least one thousand GP value are the same. XP awards for magical items are doubled.
  • Use of spells to solve substantial difficulties facing the character are worth 100XP per level of the spell. The DM is the arbiter of what constitutes a substantial difficulty.
  • Experience awards for the creation of magical items, the researching of spells, and other similar pursuits are doubled.
  • The weight of coinage is 1/5 of that listed in the book. Therefore, actual gold or silver pieces are 50 to a pound. This does lead to the contradiction that five metallic coins account for one Coin of encumbrance. While counterintuitive, I think we'll manage. For purposes of clarity, use the abbreviation CN when referring to amounts of encumbrance and the word coin when referring to currency.
  • Scrolls and typical Potions can be created with relatively fungible arcane materials that can be purchased at the normal prices. The more exceptional potions, and all more substantial magical items, will invariably require various special materials and arcane components.
  • A character may not memorize the same spell more than once, but a spell slot may be used to memorize a lower level spell. So, a fifth-level character who had only knowledge of first level spells could in fact fill all of his spells known per day with them, but could memorize each one only a single time. This perforce requires the characters to use flexibility of thought and to display adaptability in the face of obstacles.
  • For important combats, we will be using the weapon v. armor type modifiers from AD&D 2E. You may wish to consider this in equipping your henchmen.
  • Initiative in a round proceeds in segments. Each initiative number is the segment on which that action occurs. A magician PC must declare that he is casting a spell before initiative is rolled, in which case he rolls a D4 rather than a D10. The number he rolls is when he may begin casting; the casting time of the spell is how many segments it requires to cast. Only if he is struck during a segment that he is actually casting will the spell be disrupted.

The Game World & Conventions[edit]

  • The PCs live in and about the small city of Strangetree, which straddles the Dirtwater river and flows through a valley. Counter-intuitively in view of its name, the Dirtwater is remarkably clean.
  • The world has undergone several major calamities within the past few centuries. While civilization has been largely maintained, the human population has undergone drastic decreases and has not yet replenished itself. Therefore, human communities tend to be somewhat scattered and disconnected from one another, and there are plentiful ruins about for those with more greed than caution.
  • Actually killing other humans is considered to be in extremely poor taste, and is strongly discouraged.
  • That said, cheating and swindling other humans is almost a pastime, and so the cunning must be ever on their guard. This is a world of venal and grasping people, even if the backstabbing is generally metaphorical.
  • Humanity is furthermore cynical, debauched, and as slothful as their fortunes will admit in large part.
  • Also due to the limited density of human populations, many strange monsters and weird creatures roam the wilds. They can be highly dangerous, and wayfarers are encouraged to travel armed. Or, better yet, to simply stay at home.
  • There are no deities as such. While there are many extradimensional beings of astonishing power, they are generally disinterested in humanity, and humanity is too cynical to "worship" anything.
  • Verbosity and flowery language are signatures of the setting. If you don't drop at least a few words that would leave the typical high school student agape, you aren't getting into the swing of things.
  • The real powers in the world are magicians, who fortunately do not generally show great interest in temporal affairs. Wizard-kings are rare, in that a wizard strong enough to declare himself king did not get that way by mucking about with politics, and probably has little interest in the day-to-day business of ruling. It looks suspiciously like work, and also like being constantly bothered by underlings. The call of sorcerous research and arcane artifice is much stronger!
  • Magicians are, in fact, generally fairly rare. The PCs are exceptional, and their organization represents a remarkable density of magicians in a given place.
  • The nearby city of Tizr is a hub for the region, and there are seasonal conclaves there for all the recognized magicians in the regional confederation. This totals perhaps fifty persons, wherein the PCs would represent a not-entirely-insignificant power-bloc if they cast their votes in unison.

The Magicians[edit]

This is where the character sheets for the PCs may be found.

Major NPCs[edit]

  • Miel Ravnast, the Baron of Strangetree, is a mid-level fighting man who is on the long down-slope from middle age. He commands perhaps fifty men under arms, most of whom are shiftless layabouts. He is fond of hunting, and insists that the people of Strangetree and its environs make at least a show of celebrating any weird beasts that he slays. He is largely ineffective at governing the valley, and the people are happy enough to go about their own business. He has not the ambition or the wit to press his tax collectors into diligent service, and when he does prod them into producing an income they steal large portions of it.
  • Gorto Windham is the Chair of the Order, and conducts the meetings in Tizr four (or for practical purposes three) times per year. She is a mage of extensive power and sardonic wit. She expects the position of Chair as her due for her magical accomplishment, yet disdains the work it entails. The meetings are therefore conducted quickly, without any great attention paid to the niceties.
  • Trib is the desultory and pouting proprietor of the Ten Squid Jig, a huge and rambling structure at the center of Strangetree that serves as inn, tavern, pawn shop, dance-hall, stables, brewery, dry goods store, and bordello, in no particular order. It was constructed by purchasing adjacent buildings and knocking doors in between each new acquisition to allow communication in between, with crude modifications and additions built on besides that. It is now a rat's warren and maze of businesses with at least a half dozen distinct storefronts. It is also the center of much criminal activity, to most of which Trib is privy.


The local area is relatively well-known to the PCs, although it is not entirely without danger.


To the west are tall sea-cliffs, and a hazardous coastline. From the cliff-tops the land slopes gently downward into a river valley, through which flows the dirtwater. In the center of that map is the town of Strangetree, which exists on both sides of the river and is populated by around ten thousand people. The baron is a weak ruler with only a few dozen men at arms, but his fortified manor house is slightly north of the city. There are a few other villages dotted about the landscape, usually with only one or two hundred people, along with isolated farmsteads throughout the valley. Players should indicate to me what hex number their household is in. The hexes each represent an area of approximately one mile across. The city of Tizr is approximately one hundred miles away.

  • The center of the town of Strangetree is a great circular plaza surrounding a five foot raised retaining wall. The wall encircles and supports a hillock fifty feet across, from the center of which grows the great Strange Tree. The tree has bark of impenetrable hardness and iridescent leaves in all the colors of the rainbow. It eats small birds but is otherwise harmless, and the gaffers of the village are occasionally able to predict the prevailing weather of the coming year with astonishing accuracy by observing the color-patterns on its spring leaves.

Preliminary Spell Selection[edit]

This section catalogs the spells known by the PCs.

Level One
Index Spell Name Players
1 Affect Normal Fires Feste, Julius Sleazer
2 Alarm Banshee, Dreamsing
3 Armor Celeste, Banshee
4 Burning Hands
5 Charm Person [Julius Sleazer's 1st Level Unique]
6 Comprehend Languages
7 Dancing Lights
8 Detect Magic Feste, Banshee, JFR
9 Enlarge JFR
10 Erase
11 Feather Fall
12 Find Familiar
13 Firewater Dreamsing, Julius Sleazer
14 Friends
15 Grease
16 Hold Portal Celeste, Julius Sleazer
17 Identify Celeste
18 Jump JFR
19 Light Celeste, Banshee, JFR
20 Magic Missile [Celeste's 1st Level Unique]
21 Melt Julius Sleazer
22 Mending Feste
23 Message Banshee
24 Mount
25 Nystul's Magic Aura Dreamsing
26 Precipitation Feste
27 Protection from Evil
28 Push Celeste, Dreamsing
29 Read Magic
30 Run
31 Shield Julius Sleazer
32 Shocking Grasp
33 Sleep Dreamsing, JFR
34 Spider Climb Feste
35 Taunt [Dreamsing's 1st Level Unique]
36 Tenser's Floating Disc Feste
37 Unseen Servant Celeste
38 Ventriloquism
39 Wizard Mark
40 Write JFR, Julius Sleazer
Level Two
Index Spell Name Players
1 Audible Glamer
2 Bind JFR
3 Continual Light JFR
4 Darkness 15' Radius
5 Deeppockets Banshee
6 Detect Evil Banshee
7 Detect Invisibility
8 ESP Celeste, Julius Sleazer
9 Flaming Sphere
10 Fools Gold Julius Sleazer
11 Forget JFR, Julius Sleazer
12 Invisibility [Julius Sleazer's 2nd Level Unique]
13 Irritation Feste, Celeste, JFR
14 Knock
15 Know Alignment Feste
16 Leomund's Trap Dreamsing
17 Levitate [Celeste's 2nd Level Unique]
18 Locate Object
19 Magic Mouth
20 Melf's Acid Arrow Banshee, Julius Sleazer
21 Mirror Image Celeste
22 Preserve
23 Protection from Cantrips Dreamsing
24 Pyrotechnics
25 Ray of Enfeeblement
26 Rope Trick
27 Scare
28 Shatter Dreamsing
29 Stinking Cloud Celeste, Dreamsing
30 Strength
31 Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter Feste
32 Vocalize Feste
33 Web
34 Whip Banshee
35 Wizard Lock
36 Zephyr
Level Three
Index Spell Name Players
1 Blink Dreamsing, Banshee
2 Clairaudience Julius Sleazer
3 Clairvoyance Feste, Celeste
4 Cloudburst JFR
5 Detect Illusion
6 Dispel Magic [Celeste's 3rd Level Unique]
7 Explosive Runes
8 Feign Death
9 Fireball
10 Flame Arrow
11 Fly
12 Gust of Wind
13 Haste [Julius Sleazer's 3rd Level Unique]
14 Hold Person Dreamsing, Banshee
15 Infravision
16 Invisibility 10' Radius Celeste
17 Item
18 Leomund's Tiny Hut
19 Lightning Bolt
20 Material Julius Sleazer
21 Melf's Minute Meteor Banshee
22 Monster Summoning I
23 Phantasmal Force
24 Protection from Evil 10' Radius
25 Protection from Normal Missiles
26 Secret Page Banshee
27 Sepia Snake Sigil
28 Slow Feste
29 Suggestion JFR
30 Tongues
31 Water Breathing
32 Wind Wall

Blank Character Sheets[edit]

Because I expect people's spellbooks to be tracked on other areas of the wiki, I'm going to use a simplified character sheet. Please keep backgrounds below two hundred words or so at the start. You will find it most convenient to go ahead and track the various modifiers and statistics associated with your ability scores next to them, rather than attempting to reference them in play. If you are unfamiliar with AD&D, don't worry about items with which you are not familiar. We can work out the details together. Copy the following, paste it in the correct alphabetical order under Magicians, above, and then fill in the details. Don't delete or adulterate the original!


  • Level:
  • Current XP:
  • XP to next Level:
  • HP
  • AC
  • THAC0
  • Saving Throws:


  • Strength:
  • Dexterity:
  • Constitution:
  • Intelligence:
  • Wisdom:
  • Charisma:

Estate: (Describe your characters household and surroundings here, in at least vague terms.)
Treasury: (list wealth and valuables stored there; this includes treasure obtained in the game, coinage, magical items, etc.)
Equipment & Money Carried: (List here those things your character has in their immediate possession.)
Spells Currently Memorized: (Self-explanatory)
Weapons: (if the character has a weapon, list its pertinent combat statistics here.)
Specialties: (I will occasionally grant your character a specialty, some thing they are recognizably better at than the norm defined by their peers.)