Monday, December 21, 2015

Offline until 2016

I'm going to be essentially offline until the new year. Will be back with bells on come January 1st.

Keep an eye on my new blog, the Grymdark Lands. That's where I'll mostly be posting going forward until I have completed the 64-Page Campaign Setting Challenge. The blog will detail the development of the Grymdark Lands, and at the end of the process, I hope to have published my first print, full-color cover, fully-illustrated, 64-page book...

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2015

[Castle Adlerstein] Adlerstein Gazetteer Material

Here's some introductory material that was written for the Castle Adlerstein Gazetteer that would go with the Castle Adlerstein and Environs Map Pack. Maybe someday I'll get back to that...

This booklet is the first in a series that will provide sandbox campaign level detail for individual 25-Mile Hexes of the Olden Lands campaign setting. Each such booklet provides details on the history, society, people, religion, politics, flora, fauna, monsters, geography, domains, settlements, castles, forts, towers, ruins, and special sites found within the 25-Mile Hex.

The map breaks down each 25-Mile Hex into a map 25 1-Mile Hexes across, containing a total of 625 1-Mile Hexes in area, also gridded off into 25 5-Mile Hexes in area. 19 of the full 5-Mile Hexes are subsequently detailed at a further level of scale, down to the 1/5th-Mile Hex level; one such hex and its details are included in this product, while the other 18 hexes will be made available separately as supplements.

Each 25-Mile Hex product is intended as a sandbox for the Judge to use as a campaign setting. There is enough material presented in each 25-Mile Hex product to provide years of adventure in and out of game.

The Adlerbergen Mountains have always been possessed of a dark and fearsome history. Time out of mind, from the Dawn Ages, the land was associated with the Accursed Titan Moerdreth, He Who Passed Into The Abyss Yet Returned, the Dungeon God. For here it was that he built his fastness, the First Castle, in defense of his taking up the cause of Chaos against the other Elder Titans.

The very mountains were his walls, the valleys his gates. Torn down and reduced to slag were his battlements at the end of the War of the Titans; reduced to the state of near beasts were his goblin and elven minions; nearly extirpated were his priests and sorcerers. And yet still, ages later, the mountains echo his cries of hatred, bear scars of ancient wars, and harbor Chaos at their hearts.

Settled by barbarian Gotha after the centuries of strife that followed the Doom of Elysion, the region has, save for a brief glorious moment, remained a backwater; and that brief, shining moment was born in sorcery and birthed a darkness not seen since the Dawn Ages. For here it was two centuries ago that the first Gottic Emperor, Ernst I “The Archmage” had built his great fortress and sepulcher, Castle Adlerstein, the Eldritch Keep. The mountainside an altar bathed in the blood of the monsters of Chaos, the stones and bricks mortared with the ichor of demons, its donjons were designed to hold devils and demi-gods, and its debaucheries and decadence became legend.

Since the disappearance of the Emperor Emeritus 100 years ago, the castle has stood forlorn and empty, abandoned and in ruins, a haunt fit for ghosts, outlaws, and babe’s bed-time tales. The fall of the Gottic Empire and the chaos and tumult since had caused the ruin, far off the beaten path and guardian of no mortal avenues of invasion, to be all but forgotten. Until, five years ago, when the distant descendant of The Archmage, Fuerst Axel III Oereik von Adlerstadt, Prince of that realm, decided to transform the ruin of his childhood tales into a summer palace…

The local region is home to the Gotha peoples, of the distinct cultural division known as the Gyrazisch, the Gotha of Gyrax. Before the Doom of Elysion a thousand years ago, the region was part of the Northern Provinces of the Empire of Elysion. The mountains, hills, and moors of the area were generally avoided, even by the Elysians, as they were home to vicious goblins and monstrous creatures. Thus, it became a haven for Guidhel outlaws and others who sought freedom from Elysian tyranny.

When the Doom came to Elysion, the goblins of the area debouched forth from the Underworld of the mountains in numbers unheard of since the Wars of Chaos. They, together with wandering tribes of Gotha, Guidhel, and others, virtually extirpated the native Guidhel-Elysian peoples and then set to exterminating each other. By the time the Golden Kingdom re-established some sort of civilization in the region, in was virtually depopulated, and that realm made little effort to settle the area, having few enough resources as it was.

Following the collapse of the Golden Kingdom, migrating bands of Gotha made their way into the region from the East. Most of these settled in the far more fertile lands to the south or along the rivers of the interior. It was not until the last of the tribes of Gotha, the stragglers who had remained in the Starcrags the longest, made their way west that the valleys of the Adlerbergen were finally settled once again by humans. The bands and clans that settled this area were not united at first, and had no real group identity, though they shared a common dialect, religion, and broad cultural beliefs.

Thus, while the Gotha of the river lands, especially along the Great Heart River and the interior riverine valleys, were of more mixed sort, having absorbed the few survivors of the Guidhel-Elysian and Guidhel tribes, the Gotha of these highlands remained fairly unmixed with other cultures. Today, though their dialect is distinct and there are several differences in material culture developed since the migration, the Gotha of the Adlerbergen are remarkably like those of the Starcrags, and thus not unlike the northern, or Nordgottisch peoples of the far-away Thundigoth Isles.

Unlike their eastern cousins, however, the local Gotha are more civilized; even the most rustic backwoods dweller of the Adlerbergen is far more civilized than the savages of the Thundigoth, though is probably comparable in civilized manners to the average Gotha of the Starcrags. This is due to two factors; first, the uniting of the local peoples during the Itlanian Empire, and second, the strong civilizing influence of the Gregorian Church.

During the rule of the Itlanian Empire, when the crusading clerics of the Gregorian Church first arrived in the Pagan North, as the region was then known, the local bands were still divided. It was then, when their religion and even their Gottic identity was in danger of being wiped out that the locals united. In the late 16th Century the chieftains and people came together, united through mighty oaths under their highest totemic deity, the Immortal Eagle, Iolarh, and called themselves the Adlerslaegt, or “Eagle Kindred.” While the Empire eventually conquered the region anyway, the Adlerslaegt were able to retain their identity and religion, thanks to their coherence and the local retreat of the Empire a mere generation after their conquest in the early-17th Century.

The Adlerslaegt grew great in numbers thanks to the peace that followed their conquest, as the clans no longer feuded with one another. Following the chaos after the local withdrawal of the Itlanian Empire, the burgeoning tribe migrated out of the mountain valleys south and east, to the broad rich plains of the Great Heart River. There they conquered and held the rich towns and villages, their chieftains becoming barons and counts, the chief of these the lord of the town of Heartbridge, today known as the city of Adlerstadt.

That chieftain’s son, who united the disparate domains of the Adlerslaegt of the plains, married an Itlanian Princess. Their son, the first Prince of Adlerstadt, went on to conquer Moorgaard and much of northern Gyrax, then a divisive and debatable land. His son married into the royal family of the Itlanian Kingdom of Gyrax, which dominated the southern lands of Gyrax, and later declared and won the independence of Gyrax from Itlania during the War of Succession. It was his great-grandson, High King Ernst V of Gyrax who, by marrying the daughter of the King of Aurlandia-Gregorius, united Gyrax with that realm and founded the Gottic Empire, with Adlerstadt at its heart.

It is thus ironic that the Gregorian Church, under the authority of that self-same Gottic Emperor and the Patriarch of Gregorius, razed the Pagan temples and forcefully “civilized” the then far-more backward local Adlerslaegt rustics of the Adlerbergen during the early days of the Gottic Crusades in the 18th Century. Part of this was the effort to unite all the Vestgottisch or West Gottish of Gyrax under one religious and cultural banner; another part of the effort was to eliminate the strong taint of Chaos that had emerged among the Pagan faithful of the Adlerbergen in the previous century. Some say he was jealous of the power of the Cult of Iolarh then strong in the Adlerbergen, a counterpoise to his power over the Order of the Golden Eagle of Adlerstadt.

His fame, or perhaps, infamy would have been great enough merely because of the deeds he performed in his quest to attain the uttermost skill in the arcane arts that earned him the epithet, “The Archmage.” But he went further than that, and had raised the great and terrible pile of stone and brick known as Castle Adlerstein. Castle Adlerstein is perhaps the most storied of all ruins in the Olden Lands, or at least certainly, in the Middle Lands. While other castle ruin/dungeon complexes have been longer known and much better explored, few possess the sheer depth of history as Adlerstein. For the complex is not merely that of an old Gottic emperor’s castle and its cellars; no, it is much more.

While Ernst I “The Archmage” built his palace-fortress atop the ruins of a much older castle, he knew not (perhaps) that that ruin had been built upon the ruins of a more ancient castle, which itself had been built upon a ruin, and so on, back through the ages, all the way to the oldest ruined castle – the ruins of the Great Keep of the veritable First Castle, Geádhyfreann, the Hell Gate of Moerdreth, built by the Accursed Titan to defend himself against his brethren in the Dawn Wars and the War of the Titans.

Legends speak of the days when, 200 years ago, the knights and apprentices of the Archmage had to fight terrible foes in those ancient ruins, ere the foundations could be laid for the new palace. Many of the tales of these battles live down to today as fables and stories told to children at bedtime, reduced to mere bedtime stories. And so, five years ago, when the workers who were to restore the palace for their current lord, Fuerst Axel III Oereik von Adlerstadt, went to the old ruins, they went laughing merrily at each other’s childhood fears.

They weren’t laughing after they broke through a wall in the lowest of the known sub-cellars. Then they were screaming, gibbering, and crying out for mercy. Few survived to flee; only one of the guards, who went down into the depths of the newly-opened tunnel to find survivors, lived to tell his tale… a tale of wonder and horror, adventure and tragedy. And a tale of riches, great riches, for when he returned from below, in addition to scars physical and mental, he returned with a bag of jewels and gold, a prince’s ransom in wealth.

The Gyrazisch peoples are said to be an orderly and ordered people. While this is true of the Adlerisch (as the lowlands Adlerslaegt are today known), the rustic peoples of the hills and mountains are rather more laid-back and happy-go-lucky. This often clashes with the preferences of their lords, who are more often than not, descended from or at least fostered in Adlerisch families.

PEASANT: At the basic level of local society is the peasant; while there are villeins and serfs elsewhere in Gyrax, such has never been the tradition locally, and attempts to establish serfdom, or even a state much like it, have always been met with violent uprisings. Thus, the local common folk, or bauernschaft, are free, as much so as any such common folk are free, and much moreso than most. The average peasant is a farmer and herder, a tender of field and garden and keeper of sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs; his father was a farmer and herdsman, his grandfather was a farmer and herdsman, and as far as he believes, his ancestors back to the Dawn were all farmers and herdsmen. Most local peasants are happy to remain farmers and herdsmen; being native to the Adlerbergen, far too often adventure comes to them, so few seek to go off and adventure. It is enough of an adventure every day to ensure a good enough crop and herd to have enough to eat and still pay the lord’s taxes, fees, and fines, and the tithes of the church, thank you very much.

Clothing is of woolens, usually in bright solid or checked colors, mostly blues, blacks, yellows, and reds. Men are usually clean-shaven and wear their hair short and covered with a wide-brimmed hat, while women wear their hair long in braids. Eagle patterns are popular, and men wear eagle feathers in the band of their hats; to wear them honorably, one must have collected the feather personally from an eagle’s nest. Typical peasant entertainments are ancient traditions tied to the basic lifestyle of mountain-dwelling farmer-herdsmen, some dating to pre-migration days in the Starcrags. These include yodeling, playing the great-horn, wrestling, and stone-throwing, a sport which is said to date to the Dawn Times when their ancestors lived among stone giants in the Starcrags.

The vast majority of people encountered in the Adlerbergen are peasants. Most are merely normal men and women, perhaps a bit hardier than the average peasant of the lowland plains, and certainly more experienced with dagger, bill/hook/pitchfork, and shield. One in four men, the most experienced members of the militia, are equivalent to men-at-arms and are armed with dagger, short sword, and wolf spear, and when danger rises wear studded leather armor and carry a heater shield. Local peasant leaders are usually equivalent to a 1st level Fighter, are armed as per their militia members, and wear scale mail or perhaps even a mail shirt and heater shield. Attempts to introduce the pikes and formations so successfully popular among the Starcrag cities have invariably failed. Peasant women are typically armed with daggers. Men and women often carry metal-shod walking staffs, equivalent to a quarterstaff, for use in crossing hills, climbing mountain trails, and testing snow-covered ice.

BURGHERS: Socially and economically above the large peasantry is a moderate-sized middle class of burghers – the urban artisans, craftsmen, merchants, and other middle-men that conduct trade between the local villages and the outside world. Locally, there are rarely more than one such of each kind of trade in a village, there not being enough custom for much competition, and each paying his lord well for the right to hold the monopoly; Hoch Adlerdorf being the exception, it being a large village verging on a small town. The burghers are usually wealthier than the peasants, though locally none approach the wealth of the guildsmen of the cities and towns of the plains. Most work closely with the servants of the local lord, as it is the lord’s laws and licenses that allow the burghers to operate… for a fee, of course. The local lords have, to date, succeeded in keeping the guilds out of local business, though with the growth of the Principality of Adlerstadt, a firm guild ally, changes are happening in the recently-conquered domains.

Burghers generally wear the same kinds of clothing the peasants do, but of finer materials and richer cut. Some wear imported clothing, the current style being that of the hose and doublet in rich silks from Elysion, tunics of imported wool from the Septarchy, and fanciful, often farcical high and sumptuous headdresses for both men and women. Another trend imported from Elysion is the use of the litter, or palanquin; while slaves carry such in Elysion, it is considered a sign of wealth and power to have hired men carrying one about town or even between settlements; as there are no good roads in the area, it is perhaps the easiest and most comfortable way for one of wealth to travel in the highlands.

It is a matter of honor (and loot) for even the lowliest artisan or craftsman to be a member of their lord’s militia. Thus most burghers have the best weapons and armor they can afford, and often arm and equip their apprentices and servants well, too. Most apprentices and servants are armed with long spears or halberds and wear studded leather or Cuir Bouilli. Burgers themselves are usually armed with broad sword, battle axe, or mace and wear banded mail and carry a heater shield. The wealthiest hire mercenaries, both as personal guards and to provide to their lords in their petty wars, for a further portion of the spoils; these can be from just about anywhere, though most are Gyrazisch from elsewhere in Gyrax, and usually include crossbowmen and a few zweihaenders (wielders of the two-handed great sword). Only in the domains bordering the plains states, such as Adlerburg, Talstadt, and Horstburg are cavalry found in any numbers, such being worse than useless in the hilly country of the Adlerbergen.

CLERGY: The clergy of the Gregorian Church exist in a state somewhere between that of the burgher and that of the noble. Many come from noble families, being the second or third or later sons, while many burgher families also send their second or third sons to join the Church. The vast majority of the clergy serve in simple positions, the novitiate, assisting parish priests, wandering as a mendicant, or joining a monastery. Only a few of the clergy are actually capable of fully working the miracles granted by Theus; these advance either as the wandering clergy armigerous, or crusading clerics, of which there are but a small number compared to the more common religious servants, the cloistered clergy.

The typical cleric that most peasants will encounter is the pastor, who serves either as a priest of a mid- or large-sized village or travels between several smaller villages to perform the needful rites and services for his flock. A large village or small or medium-size town might have a full priest with several pastors as assistants. A large town or small city will have an archpriest and several priests, plus numerous pastors and assistants, and a monastery or nunnery; the archpriest is usually also the chief hierarchy in a county. Medium size and larger cities may well be the seat of a bishop and the home of a house of the curia armigerous, the umbrella organization that oversees the various chapters and sects of the clergy armigerous, led by a curate; the bishop is the chief hierarch in his home county, and the archpriests in the nearby counties answer to him. Usually the largest city in a duchy or similar-sized agglomeration of domains will be the home to the local archbishop. The largest city in a region or kingdom will be home for the regional primate. For historical and political reasons some regions and large kingdoms are divided into two or more primacies, such as Gyrax, which has four primates, though Aurlandia has but the one.

The local regional primate, the Primate of Eastern Gyrax, is based in Adlerstadt. By old Gottic rights he is the Premier Primate of Gyrax, and is supposed to be accorded appropriate honors by the other three Gyrazisch primates, but such has not occurred since the fall of the Gottic Empire. In the local region, most villages have but a simple priest, with perhaps a pastor or three as assistants, one of which handles the duties in the smaller thorps and dorfs of the local domain. Each of the local grafschaften (counties) has, at its capital (whether a large village or small town) an archpriest.

Speckdorf is the home see of the Bishop of Adlertal; all the archpriests of the former Duchy are supposed to answer to him, but they are as divisive a bunch, with their own loyalties, as the nobles of that shattered realm.

Adlerburg is the home see of the Bishop of Adlerburg, which includes all the north-western non-riverine domains of the Fuerstentum of Adlerstadt.

The Grand Priest of Hoch Adlerdorf is a special see, carved out of the Bishopric of Adlerburg during the early days of the Gottic Empire. Old Ernst I felt it not meet that he should be served by a “mere” archpriest yet didn’t want to appoint the local archpriest as a bishop with all the rights appertaining thereto. Thus he created, with the approval of the Patriarch, the position of Grand Priest, which he and later emperors used to entitle specific archpriests with additional rights and privileges short of those of a bishop. The Grand Priest still must provide honors to his bishop, but is superior in rank to other regional archpriests. In other areas with Grand Priests this has developed, like the Prince-Bishops, into a situation where there are Grand Priest-Freigrafs, enfeoffed with both secular and church lands.

The vestments of a typical parish pastor or village or town priest, when at services or performing rites, are a simple black ankle-length robe over which he wears an ankle-length white tunic. The tunic is held together by a wide girdle and partially covered by a wide stole. The Gregorian Cross is worn on a chain or necklace, prominently displayed on the chest above the robe and tunic. The colors of the girdle and stole can vary depending on the specific rite, service, or season. In addition, archpriests also wear skull caps and bishops wear miters.

Rank     Social Equivalent
Tonsured Religious/Oblate     Peasant
Novice – Porter     Peasant
Novice – Lector     Peasant
Novice – Baptist     Peasant
Novice – Friar/Brother/Sister     Peasant
Acolyte/Monk/Nun     Burgher
Subdeacon/Canon     Burgher
Deacon/Prioress     Burgher
Pastor/Prior/Abbess*     Noble
Priest/Abbot*/Presbyter**     Lord
Archpriest*/Monsignor**     Baron
Bishop*/Curate**     Count
Archbishop*/Prelate**     Duke
Primate*/Cardinal**     Prince or King
Patriarch     Emperor

* Depending on the lands that they hold in the name of the church, these are the lowest social equivalents for these ranks in the hierarchy.

** These are the members of the clergy armigerous, the wandering crusading clerics of the faith.

The Gregorian Church only ordains men beyond the level of Pastor; though an Abbess is equivalent to a Pastor in honors, she is below him in the hierarchy, regardless of the extent and wealth her nunnery might hold in the name of the Church. All those of Priest rank and above, as well as all those who enter a monastic order, must take a vow of Celibacy (including a vow of Chastity). Those entering a monastery or friary must also usually take vows of Poverty and Obedience.

10% of Oblates are 1st level clerics; in the novitiate, this increases to 15% at Porter, 20% at Lector, 25% at Baptist, and 50% at Brother/Friar/Sister. 100% of all Acolytes, Monks, and Nuns are at least 1st level. Subdeacons are at least 1st or 2nd level, Deacons 2nd or 3rd level, Pastors 3rd level, Priests 4th level, Archpriests 5th level, Bishops 6th level, Archbishops 7th level, Primates 8th level, and the Patriarch is at least 9th level. Note that though a cleric might attain great spiritual power, represented by his attaining 10th or greater level, he might never advance higher than a mere pastor in the hierarchy of the church.

NOBLES: Finally, a small number, perhaps one in 50, of the peoples of the Adlerbergen are counted among the nobility, or edlen, ranging from the landless adeligen, or aristocrats, who merely have the right to claim descent from noble lines, to the rich, powerful, grasping, and petty Freigrafs (Grand Counts) of Talstadt, Radlerburg, Heideburg, Hochstein, Grosstal, and Vesttal. Most edlen are of highly-mixed type, due to intermarriage with distant noble families. Thus the edlen are often quite distinct in appearance, if not culture, from their local subjects.

What was stated about the burghers with the wealth and ostentatious nature of their consumption also goes for the nobility, though this is tempered by the need of the nobles to maintain their knights, men-at-arms, militias, and fortresses. By tradition remaining from old Gottic Law, the Hermelinrechte, only nobles may wear ermine cloaks, non-sovereign nobles limited to a cape, while the untitled nobles may wear only ermine cuffs and collars. Similarly, only nobles may wear federmanteln (feather coats), while burghers may wear feather capes, and commoners only individual or bunches of feathers; one of the laws promulgated by Ernst I long ago. Finally, also by tradition dating to the Gottic Empire, only nobles may wear Royal Blue; other blues are allowed, but only nobles may wear that color known as Royal Blue, and then they are limited in how much they can wear by their rank and title. Only the Gottic Emperor could wear all Royal Blue.

Nobles are also entitled to wear a circlet of gold; those of Freiritter status and higher may wear a circlet; those of Freigraf and higher may wear a coronet; and those of grand duke and better a full crown. Locally, the preferred decoration for these forms of headgear are egg-shaped orbs, of gold and silver, the more in number and the greater in value the higher the title (or claim). Lesser sovereigns may wear a jeweled eagle head, while royalty may wear a full eagle complete with wings. Local favored gems are pearls, sapphires, and amethysts; pearls and sapphires are favored, blue being the color of the Gottic Throne, while rubies and emeralds are right out, being the colors of the Itlanian and Elysian Thrones, respectively. Many of the more ostentatious nobles have iron crowns, in the style of their regnal crown, done in relief upon their helms, sometimes complete with gems.

Nobles wear the best armor they can afford; usually this is plate mail, though some have full plate. Knights are always armed with long sword, mace, and lance, while those not sworn to the arts martial have a much wider variety of weapons to choose from. Few are the nobles who dare lead their men from behind, so most nobles are well-acquainted with weaponry; if they are not knights, they are usually fighters, usually of 3rd to 5th level.

Common     Gyrazisch
Noble     Edler
Knight     Ritter
Lord     Herr
Free Knight     Freiritter*
Baron     Baron
Arch Baron     Freiherr*
Viscount     Burggraf
Count     Graf
Grand Count     Freigraf*
Marquis     Markgraf
Duke     Herzog
Grand Duke     Grossherzog**
Prince     Fuerst**
King     Koenig**
Emperor     Kaiser***

Titles indicated are the masculine versions; add the suffix –in to transform the title to a feminine title. Thus, edler becomes edlerin, herr becomes herrin, and graf becomes grafin, etc. The exceptions to this rule are ritter which becomes walkuere and baron which becomes baronessin. The wife of a ruling noble holds the same title as her husband, while the husband of a female ruling noble holds whatever lesser title his wife may give him; if he has no other, he is known merely as the prinzgemahl, or prince consort, the only time the term prince is applied in a non-royal situation.

* These titles indicate sovereignty from the rule of another greater lord.

** These titles are considered sovereign and royal titles; though other titles may indicate sovereignty, they are not considered royalty. A ruler of a principality is a fuerst (or fuerstin); an heir to a royal throne is a prinz (or prinzessin). A young noble non-royal heir or even an adult noble who does not stand directly in line to inherit is referred to as a junker (or junkfrau), or “young lord.”

*** The Imperial Throne of the Gottic Empire has been vacant since 1953. The title of high king (hochkoenig) has remained vacant since the ascension of Hochkoenig Ernst V of Gyrax to Emperor Ernst I of the Gottic Realm.

Type     Coin
CP     Pfennig, Penny (Moorgaard)
SP     Schilling, Guilder (Adlerstadt)
EP     Thaler, Half-Crown (Moorgaard)
GP     Mark, Crown (Moorgaard)
PP     Adler (Adlerstadt only)

Typical exports of the area include wool, cow hides, cattle on the hoof, cheese (each valley having its own style), and beer (ditto). Most of the grain and hay raised is for local consumption, and only cheese and beer are produced in enough quantities for export.

Other minor but notable exports are mentioned in the locales from which they originate. Of late, of course, the vast treasures acquired beneath Castle Adlerstein and other nearby dungeons and caverns of the Underworld have flowed through the region, especially Hoch Adlerdorf, which has experienced boomtown resurgence (and inflation). All legal adventures into the depths beneath Adlerstein, of course, require the writ of the Fuerst of Adlerstadt, especially as his men hold the partially restored castle above. However, every nook, crevasse, crack, and cranny of the region that might, by myth, legend, or rumor wend its way into the dungeons is also in the process of being explored…

Gotha have pale pink to ruddy skin tones; they tend to freckle rather than tan. Eye color is green, blue, indigo, or violet. Hair color ranges from tawny brown and sandy blonde to gold and platinum white and is straight to curly. The Gotha peoples of the Adlerbergen, like their distant cousins in the Thundigoth Isles, are very hirsute. Height is medium to tall, with a medium to muscular build. Skeletal structure is heavy, with pronounced brow ridges, cheeks, and jutting jaw, though not remotely as severe as that among the goblinoids.

The Adlerslaegt of the Adlerbergen remain true to the classic type, though the Adlerisch of the lowland plains are much more mixed. Other Gyrazisch are heavily mixed with the old Guidhel/Elysian base, moreso among the southern Gyrazisch across the Lesser Heart River from the Septarchy and less so among the Gottish on the plains of Gyrax. Those from the west are mixed with the Bagaudians, while those from the north and northeast are mixed with Mhoriedhel and the Aurlandish, respectively.

Names are German in form, though Old English and even modern English names are common among the lowland plains peoples, while slightly more Nordic names are found among the Adlerslaegt and Adlerisch. Most peasants have but the one name, though some families use an old clan name based on an honored ancestor. Individuals are differentiated with an epithet, usually based on some physical or personality characteristic, or based on their home using the particle af, or of, as in Jorgen af Hochstein.

Burgher families often have family names based on their craft, trade, or an honored ancestor; those with a famous family hall might be known as being of that hall, as per peasants, above, though no burgher would ever be named as being of their village or town, let they are confused for a peasant or mistaken for a noble.

Noble houses usually have a family name based on an ancestor, but are also known by their domain name, using the nobiliary particle von for their place of origin; thus, Ralf, Baron of Obersee is also Ralf von Obersee. Similarly used particles include zu (sometimes used in the construct von und zu, or from and of). Nobles of houses that claim descent from ancient Gotha heroes of the migration era or before use the particle ur, rather than von or zu; there are no such noble families in the region.

MALE NAMES: Abbo, Albrecht, Alf, Andreas, Arnd, Arno,  Ari, Aric, Arnulf, Axel, Bard, Beorn, Bernd, Berthold, Bodo, Botho, Brand, Bruno, Dagobert, Dagur, Den, Dierk, Dieter, Dietrich, Dolf, Egil, Egon, Einar, Eirik, Elmar, Elvis, Emil, Erhard, Ernst, Erwin, Ewald, Fabian, Falko, Felix, Ferdinand, Florian, Franz, Friedrich, Fritz, Gandalf, Geir, Gerhard, Guenther, Gustav, Hagen, Haldor, Halfdan, Halvar, Hans, Hansel, Harald, Hartmut, Hartwig, Heiner, Heinrich, Heinz, Helmut, Herbert, Holger, Horst, Hrafn, Hugo, Iarl, Ivar, Jens, Jorgen, Kai, Karl, Keld, Klaus, Knud, Konrad, Kurt, Kurt, Lars, Lenz, Leon, Leopold, Leuk, Lothar, Ludwig, Lukas, Luther, Lutz, Magnor, Manfred, Martin, Max, Maximilian, Meinhard, Nils, Norbert, Odd, Odo, Olaf, Ole, Olof, Orvar, Otto, Ragnar, Raimund, Rainer, Ralf, Randolf, Reinhard, Reinhold, Rikard, Roald, Rudolf, Ruediger, Rupert, Siegfried, Sigismund, Stenn, Stigg, Sven, Sverr, Tarben, Till, Tobias, Torsten, Udo, Uffe, Ulf, Ulrich, Urs, Uwe, Vidar, Viggo, Viktor, Volker, Wendel, Wenzel, Werner, Wilfried, Wolf.

FEMALE NAMES: Alheid, Alva, Ana, Anka, Asa, Asdis, Asla, Asta, Astrid, Berta, Birga, Bodila, Brinia, Britta, Brunhild, Dagmar, Dagny, Daniela, Dora, Ebba, Edda, Eidis, Eira, Eirika, Elfriede, Elka, Elsa, Elva, Embla, Emma, Erla, Erna, Frieda, Garda, Geira, Gertrud, Gida, Gisela, Gitta, Gretl, Groa, Gudrun, Gulla, Gunna, Hedda, Hedwig, Heide, Heidi, Heike, Helga, Helma, Herta, Hilda, Hiordis, Hulda, Ida, Idun, Ilka, Ilsa, Ilva, Inga, Iorun, Irma, Jana, Jutta, Karin, Karla, Katia, Katrin, Klara, Laila, Lara, Lea, Lena, Lenora, Letta, Linda, Lotta, Ludwiga, Magna, Maxine, Meina, Mila, Mina, Monika, Ottila, Ragna, Renate, Ritta, Rosa, Runa, Sabine, Sabrina, Saga, Sandra, Sassa, Sieghild, Sieglind, Signa, Sigrid, Sigrun, Silke, Silvi, Solveig, Tania, Theda, Ulla, Ulrika, Unner, Ursula, Uta, Vigdis, Walburga, Walpurga, Wendelin, Wilfrieda, Wilhelmina, Wilma, Winfried.

Dwarves are native to the Starcrag Peaks. Known as Drunglor (plural, singular Drunglo) in the Dwarvish tongue, dwarves have slate gray skin, gray or black eyes, and curly or wavy black hair. They are very hirsute, with some males approaching the description of “furry.” Males and females alike wear long beards, leading to the myth that there are no female dwarves. Dwarves stand 4’ tall on average and weigh 150 pounds. They can live to be more than 400 years old.

Dwarves are masters of mining, stonework, jewelry making, smithing, and warfare. Goblins are their especial enemies, as they seek the same mines that the dwarves claim for themselves. Drunglor have settled the lesser mountains and more pertinent hills of the Middle Lands, and can be found in the cities, towns, and even villages of the Middle Lands, where they work as masons, smiths, and jewelers. The local clans, known as the Drunglospitze Clans, rule the domains of Drunglostein, Drunglodorf, and Drungburg, while individuals and small family groups can be found in the larger villages of the Adlerbergen.

Drunglor are capable of interbreeding with humans, elves, gnomes, and halflings. The child of a dwarf and an elf or a dwarf and a gnome results in the birth of a gnome, while a cross with a human or halfling results in a halfling of the Stout variety.

Once upon a time the elves ruled the Olden Lands, from the Twilight Peaks to the Sea of Storms, and from the Vahendhath to the Serene Sea. Today they are a much-reduced people, keeping mostly to their kingdom of Avalandia in the Verdhulann Forest. Known as Avalanté (plural, singular Avalantí) in the Elvish tongue, elves have pale, almost shimmering snow white skin, large piercing ice-blue or emerald-green eyes with very large pupils, and straight or wavy golden hair. They have no body hair other than eyebrows. Their ears have no lobes, are twice as long as those of men, and pointed. Elves stand 6’ tall on average and weigh in at 150 pounds; their build has a fey, angular, inhuman grace. They can live to be more than 1,200 years of age; some are said to be truly immortal.

Elves are masters of woodworking, weaving, smithing, and magic. Orcs are their especial enemies, for it is said that orcs are descended from fallen elves. Avalanté settlements can be found throughout the forests of the Middle Lands and Western Lands, though few approach the size and glory of the elf-towns of the Verdhulann. There are two such settlements in the region – Birkenturm on the eastern slopes of the Central Adlerbergen and Albenhoehe in the southern hills. Most “elves” encountered in the villages of the region are actually half-elves, a result of the isolated incidents when elves find agreeable human mates – for a time.

Elves are capable of interbreeding with humans, dwarves, giantings, gnomes, and halflings. The crossing of human and elf results in a half-elf; half-elves are actually slightly shorter than humans, with a more human-like build, and can have skin, hair, and eye color like that of their human parent, but otherwise similar to their elven parent. They usually live for up to 400 years, though some have the lifespan of their elven heritage. Half-elves as such are a stable sub-race, as the half-elven type is always dominant, and when half-elves cross with humans or elves or half-elves, the result is always another half-elf. Other crossings of a half-elf are as per a human.

The crossing of an elf with a dwarf or an elf with a gnome results in a gnome. The cross of an elf with a halfling results in a halfling of the Tallfellow variety (aka, a wood elf).

Gnomes are native to the Hills of Hugelin in the Middle Lands, east of Mhoriedh and north of Aurlandia. Known as Hugelôr (plural, singular Hugelo) in the Gnomish tongue, gnomes have light gray skin, blue, gray, green, or hazel eyes, and curly or wavy sandy blond, brown, or black hair. Males usually wear short beards; some females are capable of growing beards, or at least extensive sideburns. Their ears are elven, though rather than standing tall and firm they flop and droop a bit, and they have large, bulbous noses. Gnomes stand 3’6” on average and weigh 80 pounds. Gnomes can live to be more than 600 years old. Gnomes are not only an independent, stable race; they also result from the cross between a dwarf and an elf. Most gnomes welcome these cousins with open arms.

Gnomes tend to small gardens and trade their gems, jewelry, and worked wood and metal items for needed grains and other foods. Gnomes prefer to use illusion magic, the better to shield their communities from the depredations of men and humanoids alike. Hugelôr settlements are rare, save in Hugelheim, their native homeland. Elsewhere they live in the cities and towns of the big folk, safely behind stout walls. Gnomes are very rare in the area, due to the local enmity between the Drunglospitze Dwarves and the Elves of Albenhoehe. Most of the gnomes native to the region fled for other lands following the start of the feud during the Twelve Years War; a few remain in Hoch Adlerdorf, where they are agents for their cousins who trade along the Great Heart River.

Gnomes can interbreed with humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings. The cross between a dwarf and gnome or an elf and gnome is always a gnome; the cross between a gnome and a human or halfling results in a halfling of the Hairfoot variety.

Halflings are native to the meadows and plains of the Middle Lands, particularly their own domain known as Thornshire. Known as Fhraloidheen (plural, singular Fhraloidh) in the Halfling tongue, halflings have light tan skin, brown, green, or blue eyes, and blonde, brown, or black curly hair. Males of the Stouts (Ghearoidheen) regularly grow beards; beards are less common among the Hairfeet (Gruaigoidheen), and all but unknown among the Tallfellows (Aihroidheen). Ears are elf-like, most prominently so among the Tallfellows, less so among the Hairfeet, and least among the Stouts. All halflings have large feet covered with curly hair; this is most pronounced among the Hairfeet (naturally), less so with Stouts, and least among the Tallfellows. Stouts stand 2’9” tall, Hairfeet 3’, and Tallfellows 3’6” tall, while all varieties weigh in at about 60 pounds. Hairfeet can live to about 100 years, Stouts 150 years, and Tallfellows 200 years.

Fhraloidheen live in green meadows, fertile vales, rolling hills, and fair forests. Most Hairfeet live in well-build artificial subterranean dwellings; Stouts prefer natural caves and Tallfellows prefer fine wooden houses or treehouses (those living in the trees often being misnamed as “wood elves”). Halflings are mostly concerned with the rustic needs of farm and field, garden and orchard, brewery, home, and hearth. Few are martial in nature, and far fewer are adventurers. They are unlikely to wield magic or pray to the gods, believing that the simpler life has no need of such complexities… though they do enjoy a good pyrotechnic show! They have no particular enemies among the humanoids or any other race, though bugbears are the featured boogey-men of their bedtime tales, due to their stealth and propensity to eat a small halfling in one bite.

Fhraloidheen settlements are scattered throughout the Middle Lands. While they prefer to hold their own lands, some have no problem living with the “big folk,” as they call humans, dwarves, and elves. Stouts generally live near dwarves, Tallfellows near elves, and Hairfeet near humans. Thornshire is their great independent homeland, to which all other halfling settlements defer in issues of culture and legal precedence. Though not all that distant from the Thornshire, locally most halflings are of the half-breed variety; halflings are quite rare in the area. Being raised among their human, dwarf, or elven family means that they know little of the Fhraloidheen culture, not even so much as the language.

While halflings are a stable race, they can also result from interbreeding between other races. The child of a human and a halfling or gnome and halfling is always a Hairfoot halfling. The child of a dwarf and halfling is a Stout halfling. The child of an elf and a halfling is a Tallfellow halfling. Stouts, Hairfeet, and Tallfellows are stable within their own varieties, but any cross between two varieties results in a Hairfoot.

The primary faith of the human populace is that of the Gregorian Church, also known as the Temple of Law. Founded 1000 years ago by the First Prophet of Law, Gregorius the Law-Giver, it is dedicated to the God of Law, Theus, said to be the Father and Maker of the Titans. The faith rejects all other gods as being merely imposters; though it acknowledges that they are powerful beings, they are at best subservient to Theus, and at worst in opposition to Theus and His Ordained Way of Law. Though the Church is dedicated to Law and Good, for the most part the hierarchy concentrates more on Order than the common Weal, often a point of contention between the wandering Poor Brothers and the local Parish Priests.

The three Great Enemies of the Church are the Dungeon God, the King of Hell, and the Crimson God, all powerful beings dedicated to the ways of Chaos. The Church of course opposes all Chaos Gods, naming them, naturally, as merely Demons and not Gods, but these are the Big Three. The clergy are well-armed in their battles against these, possessing the ability to turn or even destroy their primary servants, the undead, devils, and demons, respectively. The innate power of the Gregorian Cross, the Theus-Rune and symbol of the Four Pillars of the Faith, is such that it can hold creatures of such ilk at bay, even if held in the hands of a non-religious.

Locally, the Dungeon God is the primary fiend in the harangues of the clerics and the witch-takers, as the Adlerbergen remains near and dear to his heart, having been his primary hold during his first life as the Accursed Titan Moerdreth. The goblins of the mountains are his servants, and the Underworld of the region is said to be his own private domain. Less important is the King of Hell, a Western gold-eyed devil, though with the arrival of his worshipers, the Paynim Kartaghans, with their invasion and extirpation of the Grand Duchy of Moorgaard to the north, more of their foul priests have been encountered of late. The Demon of the South, the Crimson God, also known as the Old Serpent, is little known locally, of interest only to sages and those interested in the Gottic Crusades in the South.

Of the Pagan Gods, most are not directly opposed to the Gregorian Church; most merely seek to stay out of the way of its clergy. Some have been allied with the cause of Law from the first, acknowledging the superiority of Theus; these cults are trusted, more or less, by the clergy and enjoy special status where the Gregorian Church is supreme.

Locally, the most important of these is the Cult of the Immortal Eagle, Iolarh. God, father, and king of the giant eagles, his worship has been kept by the barbarian Guidhel and the Gotha since time immemorial. He is a god of the hunt, a god of war, and a god of kings. Though personally neutral with respect to the battles between Law and Chaos, Iolarh and his followers struggle for the common Good, within the understanding that, in the natural world, there are always predators and prey – in the terms of men, lords and servants. Adlerstadt and the House of Adlerstein are major supporters of the civilized cult of Iolarh, which recognizes the supremacy of Theus. The Royal Knights of the Golden Eagle of Adlerstadt are all cult members.

Locally, in the Southern Adlerbergen the independent worship of other Pagan Gods has been all but extinguished, though there remain plenty of old shrines that the rural populace tend to now and again, as a hidden undercurrent of Druidism remains strong among the rural peasantry of the region. The local Druidic faith swept up and absorbed the remnants of other Pagan cults during the local Gottic Crusades that razed the Pagan temples of the region in the late 18th Century. The Druids, locally quite solitary and usually reclusive hermits, primarily maintain the old rites of Mother Earth, the Sky King, the Lord of the Forest, the Lady of Flowers, Old Tree, and even the Reaper. Regardless of the warnings of the Gregorian sermons, they have no truck with the bloodier rituals more popular among the Druidic Circles of the Northern Wilds.

The local Druids answer to the High Druid of the Adlerbergen, who holds his Circle in the Northern Adlerbergen, where Paganism in general and Druidism in particular are much stronger and more open. Recently the High Druid has sought to expand the influence of the faith in the Southern Adlerbergen, concerned at the resurgence of Chaos at Castle Adlerstein, seeking to bring things back to a proper balance ere a terrible war breaks out between Law and Chaos. This is in opposition to the wait-and-see policy preferred by the Archdruid of Gyrax, resident in Pfeilburg to the west (where Druidism is the state religion, and seems far less threatened). The local Druids are split between the two factions of action and inaction.

The local dwarves revere the Lord of Stone and Mother Earth, whom they consider to be their creators, and adhere to ancestral sects within the greater Dwarf Temple. Dwarf smiths also honor the Iron God, while warriors follow the Storm Lord as a patron of battle. The elves follow their classic trinity of Lord of the Forest, Lady of Flowers, and the strange and the mysterious Laughing God; some also revere the Hidden God, for his power over magic and hidden wisdom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

[Now Available] Monstrous Miscellany #01

Monstrous Miscellany #01 contains four monsters for use with Labyrinth Lord:

Abnokh, 3 HD Chaotic Evil Demon-Kin that trouble the Material Plane, seeking out victims for their terrible rites and rituals...

Greethaw, 13 HD Chaotic Evil giants steeped in demonolatry and sorcery, seeking that which has been lost and forgotten... and slaughtering all who get in their way...

Notoros, 1 HD Chaotic Evil goat-headed fey who use the bones of their victims to frighten foes, can transform their prey into goats, and seek to enslave elves, pixies, and sprites for vile purposes...

Styram, 5 HD Lawful Good angels of retribution, summoned to the Material Plane to avenge the desecration of Lawful holy sites...

Each creature is fully described and detailed for use with Labyrinth Lord, easily converted to any other old-school RPG system.

Four pages of content, $0.99, JMG00751

Saturday, October 24, 2015

[Ghosts] The Black Cat of Kingsbury

Computer was down for most of the last two days, so the fourth installment in the series supporting Ghosts -- The Incorporeal Undead is a wee bit late. Fifth installment will be up sometime this weekend.

No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic (Neutral)
Movement: N/A
   Fly: 240’ (80’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4*******
Hit Points: 24
Attacks: 2 Claws, 1 Bite
Damage: 1d6/1d4/1d8 plus Drain 1 Level
Save: F4
Morale: 11
Intelligence: 11
XP: 465

Centuries ago, King Humbert, “The Kind,” King of All the Gelts, died suddenly when his son, also Humbert, was merely three years old. Thus, elder Humbert’s younger brother, Philbert, became regent, as at that time Geltamic law did not allow for women to rule or to hold regencies. Philbert, as it turned out, was evil to the core, and had slain his brother using poison in order to gain power over the throne.

His first act was to have all of his brother’s cats put to death. Humbert had a large number of cats, for he loved them so, and treated them like they were his own children. Philbert, who hated cats passionately, had them all killed in the most painful ways imaginable – through slow drowning, drawn-and-quartered, roasted alive over hot coals, and strangled – the last he did personally and with great perverse pleasure.

After dealing with his brother’s cats, Philbert began a reign of terror, seeking to eliminate all opposition, real or imagined, to his rise to power. His nephew he kept locked away in a high tower protected by many guards. Soon, however, he would wish that he himself was the one protected in a high tower… for some terrible magic began to kill his followers, picking them off one by one.

First the newly-made Baron of Bywater, formerly the scullery boy who gave Philbert access to the king’s cup –woke up one morning dead, with a look on his face as of the most horrid fear, skin white as a sheet, and eyes bugging out in terror… with a tiny black paw mark upon his breast. And from there on up the ranks, through trusted captains and assassins, favored courtesans and courtiers, all the way through to his personal guardsmen – all awoke dead in the morning, with faces frozen in horror, a black paw mark upon their breast. And most disconcertingly, that paw mark kept getting bigger and bigger…

For the souls of one of the slain cats – a simple kitten it had been, when it was brutally murdered personally by Philbert – had returned, thirsting for vengeance. Born of suffering, pain, anger, and tragedy, the soul of the kitten returned as a wraith, a sending in the Old Tongue, a kind of undead that would enter the homes of its victims at night and cause them to die of their own deepest nightmares. And so it slew, and grew in power with every killing, until the tiny kitten had grown to the size of a panther…

Finally, a year to the night that Philbert had slain all the cats, the Black Cat of Kingsbury, as the wraith had come to be known, visited Philbert in his bedchambers. No one knows what became of him – for even his few remaining guards had abandoned him by that point, knowing him to be accursed – and his body was never found. But young Humbert, who had been brought from his high tower to his uncle’s chambers, the better to use him as a shield against his supernatural enemy, or so Philbert had thought, was awakened by his uncle’s last terrible cry of horror and anguish.

The young lad opened the door of the closet where he had been sleeping and peeked out. All he saw was the large form of the black cat, which padded over to him, bowed, and then reached up and placed its right paw upon the boy’s shoulder. There, a silvery-black mark appeared in the shape of a paw, for upon gaining its vengeance, the cat-wraith – which remembered playing with the young boy when a kitten – vowed to guard the new king and his descendents, the true-born of which would ever be marked with a silvery-black paw mark upon their shoulder. The silver-black paw is to this day the personal badge of the Humbertings.

And so it has, ever since, wandering the streets of Kingsbury, the capital of the realm, protecting all true-born kings, queens, princes, and princesses ever since, of the Humberting line or otherwise. In gratitude young Humbert – later to become known as “The Great” – in his first act when order was restored, made all cats sacred within the city walls. Thus to this day it is death or worse to harm a cat in Kingsbury, and if the king’s guards don’t capture such villains by day, the Black Cat of Kingsbury is sure to get his revenge by night…

ORGANIZATION: The Black Cat of Kingsbury generally works alone, even though the ancient city is replete with other ghosts. All living cats know of him, and revere him as a sort of demi-god, as he is their protector. Thus, living cats rally to him if ever he is in need, and if none are near, he can call them with his summoning ability.

TREASURE: The Black Cat of Kingsbury has no need of or care for treasure. Many peddlers and no few proper artisans of the city produce carvings, statuary, paintings, cameos, masks, and other bits and bobs of art in the form of the Black Cat, for sale to loyalists and to tourists alike.

RANGE: The Black Cat of Kingsbury prowls the rooftops, alleys, and sewers of the city every night. Sometimes he can be seen upon the walls, but he has never been spotted outside the walls of the city. Unlike most other ghosts, the Black Cat does not fear holy ground, and can enter churches, shrines, and other holy sanctuaries without harm, provided he is performing his guardian duties.

COMBAT: The Black Cat of Kingsbury attacks much as does a normal panther, with a claw/claw/bite routine, the bite attack being the attack with which he drains life levels. Of course, most of his targets never even see him, save in their dying nightmares, as he prefers to slay his victims using his Nightmare ability. However, he is not above a good, old-fashion bit of claw-to-blade action. If greatly outnumbered, he can summon the remnants of the other cats murdered by Philbert, though in spirit form they are quite large, large as lynxes; unlike regular remnants, these have 4 hit points, and can attack, with a claw/claw/bite routine, dealing 1d2/1d2/1d4 points of damage.

ANIMAL GHOST (**): This ghost is either the ghost of an animal, in which case it can only take on the form of an animal, or a humanoid ghost that can take on animal form, in which case it can take on humanoid, animal, and hybrid form. In animal and hybrid form the ghost has the attack forms of the animal type, dealing the animal’s damage on each attack (if it is greater than the ghost’s touch damage), with the most damaging attack (usually the bite) also dealing the fear or life drain effect of the ghost. The ghost can also summon 1d4 hit dice per hit die of living creatures of the animal type (and monstrous relatives) once per day (minimum one animal per summoning); thus a 10 HD dire wolf geist can summon 10d4 hit dice of wolves or dire wolves each day.

CREATE REMNANTS (*): Remnants are the reflected memories of ghosts that once were, or of souls that left an impression upon death but were not strong enough of will, anger, or hatred to draw in enough negative energy from the Negative Energy Plane to exist as ghosts. Often, when people die en masse, one or more ghosts remain, with many, many remnants associated with those ghosts.

This ghost can call upon and evoke the remnants that were formed at the time of its death, by the destruction of its ghostly brethren, or by the subsequent death of its victims that did not rise again as ghosts. A ghost with this ability can manifest 1d4 remnants per hit die at a time. These remnants must remain within a 20’ diameter circle per hit die of the ghost, and the ghost can travel no further than 20’ distant from the outer edge of that circle, or the remnants vanish. If the ghost is an Environmental Ghost, the remnants can manifest anywhere within that ghost’s environment, regardless of distance from the manifestation of the ghost.

A remnant has no will of its own, has no ability to attack, has an Armor Class of 9, only 1 hit point, and otherwise operates much like a weak unseen servant. It takes on the form of the being it is based upon when it died, though the ghost that manifests the remnant can alter its appearance to suit its needs, within a narrow band of alteration from the original form. For example, remnants of royal guards can look like healthy, mortal royal guards; take on the form of the royal guard at death, with wounds and burns; take on the form of empty suits of armor; and so forth. Remnants act as though they were programmed illusions, with a little leeway based on the possibilities inherent in their type.

Any remnants that are destroyed cannot be created again for 24 hours; the ghost can otherwise dismiss and re-create them at will.

If the ghost is within the boundaries of the area of remnant manifestation, it can instantly switch places with any one of the remnants through a limited form of teleportation. Anyone viewing the sudden shift from remnant to ghost must make a saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates the viewer is stunned with surprise for 1d4 rounds, and cannot act. Having seen the ghost pull that stunt before, any other viewer gets a +2 bonus to save against the same effect by the same ghost.

GUARDIAN GHOST (L): This ghost is cursed to act as the guardian of a person, place, or thing. The ghost must use all its abilities to protect the thing it guards, and cannot ever harm it, or cause it to be harmed. There may be other limitations and requirements, depending on the nature of the charge.

For example, the ghost of a cleric who defiled an enemy shrine might be cursed to guard the shrine from other defilers, but must allow all rightful worshipers to worship unmolested. The ghost of a wizard who stole scrolls from a library might be cursed to guard the library from all comers, or might be required to allow those with the proper password through. The ghost of a black knight who angered a powerful wizard might be cursed to guard a certain bridge, ensuring that none shall pass. And so forth…

As this is a curse, the curse may be lifted by the casting of a remove curse spell upon the ghost, though it will resist this with all its abilities, as this is considered harming its charge. If the ghost makes a saving throw versus Spells, the curse is lifted permanently; otherwise the curse remains.

Note that if the Guardian Ghost is also a Friendly Ghost, it might not be cursed, but act as a guardian out of the kindness of its heart. If the ghost is a Ghost Lover, it might not be cursed, but merely guarding the life of its erstwhile lover. Such things are up to the Labyrinth Lord.

INCORPOREAL (*): All incorporeal undead share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Bodiless, Ectoplasm, Flight, Powerless in Sunlight, and Weapon Immunity (see below for specifics for the wraith).

Weapon Immunity: Wraiths are unharmed by non-magical weapons and they take only half damage from silver weapons.

LIFE DRAINING TOUCH (*): When a wraith touches a victim it inflicts 1d6 hit points of cold damage and drains one level.

Spawn Ghost: A creature slain by losing all levels to the life draining touch of a wraith rises again 24 hours later as a presence (0th or 1st level) or apparition (2nd level or higher) under the control of its slayer.

NIGHTMARE GHOST (*): This ghost has a special preferred method of attack: it waits until its victim is asleep and then sits on his chest. At that point the victim must make a saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates that he cannot awaken during any of the attack! If the initial save succeeds, then each round thereafter that the attack continues the victim gets a saving throw versus Spells; success indicates that the victim awakens at the end of that round, after suffering the damage dealt by the ghost. The ghost automatically deals its damage each round the victim remains asleep; each round the victim suffers damage, he suffers terrible nightmares.

Anyone in the same room as the victim cannot awaken normally; they too must make a saving throw versus Spells each round to awaken. While they sleep, they too share the same horrific nightmares. On the round they waken, they must make another saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates that they must stare in horror at the spectral form sitting on the chest of the victim for 1d4 rounds before being able to act. Otherwise they can act the next round.

If the ghost flees or otherwise leaves before his victim wakens, the victim must make a saving throw versus Death; failure indicates that he remains in a coma for 1d6 days per hit die of the ghost. During this time he suffers further nightmares; these nightmares often give some clue into the origin and nature, as well as the weaknesses of, the Nightmare Ghost.

UNDEAD (*): All undead creatures share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Infravision, Mindless, Poison Immunity, Silent as the Grave, and Susceptible to Turning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

[Ghosts] Chlodwig the Friendly Ghost and the Uncles Three

The third installment in our Ghosts -- The Incorporeal Undead series is dedicated to Lost Souls, the most powerful of the Lesser Ghosts. In this instance, you get four ghosts for the price of one -- Chlodwig the Friendly Ghost and his guardians, the Uncles Three. A No-Prize to the first reader who recognizes the characters these ghosts are designed to emulate...

No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic (Good)
Movement: N/A
   Fly: 240’ (80’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 3********
Hit Points: 20
Attacks: 1 Touch
Damage: 1d6 plus Fear
Save: F3
Morale: 10
Intelligence: 12
XP: 170

Chlodwig is a lost soul, one of a number of such that wander the world, footloose and fancy-free, to pursue their hobbies – in Chlodwig’s case, to seek a normal childhood and family life. For during his childhood, Chlodwig was denied such by dint of being born a prince in a kingdom ruled by too many kings. The realm was divided by all the adult male descendants of the kingdom’s founder, and by their descendants, and so on, thus leading to much intrigue among the various petty princes and kings. Chlodwig’s father was the senior king of the day, and so the young prince was carefully kept hidden away from the dangers of court… until three of his uncles got wind of where he was hidden.

The uncles three – younger brothers of the senior king, from the same father but from a different mother – conspired against the young prince, and had a small army of assassins sent to the hidden chateau on a cold winter’s night. A loyal retainer fled with the boy, but became lost, and he and his young charge died of exposure, frozen on a mountainside. While the loyal retainer’s soul went on to his just reward, the soul of the young boy, never baptized and never having committed evil in his short, lonely life, was thereafter stuck in a ghostly limbo.

Upon discovering his son’s death and his brothers’ perfidy, the senior king had his brothers put to death in gruesome ways. A damnatio memoriae was pronounced upon them, and they were cursed to guard the soul of their nephew, wherever he might be (thought to be in Hell, as he had not been baptized). And the power of that curse, which damned the trio to walk the earth as ghosts to protect their nephew, also captured the soul of the boy, who is also now damned to walk the earth… until the father and his son are reunited again. As the father thought he would be reunited with his son in Hell – rightly believing he damned himself through fratricide – unfortunately for the boy, he now remains trapped in ghostly limbo on earth… perhaps forever.

Chlodwig appears much like a normal, if pale and wan 12-year old boy when he first arrives in an area. This is because he seeks to fit in with the local children. Unfortunately, as he becomes more comfortable, he forgets to keep up the façade, and slowly transforms into his more usual form, that of a ghostly, misty humanoid figure; unlike most such ghosts, Chlodwig has legs, in both his human form and his ghostly form.

ORGANIZATION: Chlodwig usually likes to get away from his uncles and have fun, seeking out children to play with, as he never got to play with other children in his lifetime. As he is a Friendly Ghost, a Daywalker, and a Lifelike Ghost, it is often easy to find children to play with, but then, when something goes wrong (as it inevitably does) and his true nature is revealed, things often get ugly – even when the children are not concerned about their new friend’s origin, their parents and local clergy often are.

On occasion, when he finds a likely set of adults, he tries to ingratiate himself to them so that he can “adopt” them as surrogate parents – knowing full well that his uncles are not the best parental figures. This usually goes as well as his attempts to set up friendships with other children. Being a Friendly Ghost, he is much easier going on those who deny him friendship and guardianship, though through his eagerness to try to prove his worthiness through his clumsy attempts to be helpful might cause them even more grief than a good, quick fright…

And invariably, successful in his endeavors or not, usually around nightfall a day or three into his new adventure, his uncles show up to ruin everything, and Chlodwig has to move on to seek new friends elsewhere, causing the whole cycle to begin again…

Now and again for extended periods of time Chlodwig and his uncles set up house in an old, run-down manor, perhaps with a handful of other ghosts, seeking companionship in like-kinds. Often under such circumstances Chlodwig is joined by a goodly young-looking hag and a friendly fallible fiend, old allies gained during the many misadventures he has had over the centuries.

TREASURE: Chlodwig has little care for gold or other treasures; he has a few small belongings, such as scraps of clothes, hats, dolls, toys, and other things that children have given him over the years, decades, and centuries... these and the good memories they bring he values more than any gold or valuable treasure.

RANGE: Chlodwig can be found just about anywhere – usually he seeks friends and surrogate parents in small villages and towns, but he is not afraid to go into bigger cities. Ruined manors, however, are usually found in the borderlands and wilds, though a few such pre-haunted homes in cities are not unknown, and residents thereof would often welcome the young child-ghost, if be more reticent to welcome his uncles…

COMBAT: Chlodwig abhors violence – having known only peace and kindness in his living days, and seen too much violence in his afterlife. He generally flees into the Ethereal whenever anyone threatens him with violence. But if anyone threatens his new friends or family, he uses all the power and wits at his disposal – including the regrettable calling-in of his uncles, if need be – to protect them. Usually, after which, he must leave, once again, to go on his lonely eternal road…

CHILD GHOST (*): This ghost is the ghost of a child; note that while all ghosts with the Child Ghost special ability were children at the time of their death, not all children who become ghosts have the Child Ghost special ability, which is both a limitation of sorts as well as a special power.

This ghost upon first encounter usually seems quite normal and completely un-ghost-like; to all normal appearances, the Child Ghost looks like a young child age three to 12. The Child Ghost is always looking for a parent or guardian; mother or father, or perhaps an aunt or uncle, sometimes an older brother or sister. The child always asks if the encountered person is said parent, i.e., “Are you my mommy?” even if the gender and race of the one questioned is completely wrong. Answering affirmatively is the best possible answer; equivocal responses are usually OK; answering negatively and derogatorily is always bad…

If the answer is a forceful negative, the Child Ghost then reveals itself in horrible fashion, transforming from an innocent young child to a horrible, hideous ghostly thing in an instant. Viewers must make a saving throw versus Spells with a penalty equal to the hit dice of the ghost; failure indicates that they are affected with fear, as per the cause fear spell (use the Fear Effects Table, above). Thereafter the Child Ghost attacks with unbridled fury, gaining a +2 bonus to hit and damage. When the Child Ghost thereafter is first struck and suffers damage, it must make a Morale check; if it fails, it flees, transforming into the child form again and weeping uncontrollably. Otherwise it continues to attack.

If the answer is equivocal and/or a kindly negative (“I am not your mommy, but maybe I can help you?”), the Child Ghost continues its line of questioning with others present, each in turn, until it gets a negative answer or positive answer. If all are questioned with no unequivocal answer, it must make a reaction check. A positive reaction indicates that it wishes to play with those it questioned; a negative indicates an attack as above; neutral means it skips away humming a wordless tune, and will leave those it questioned alone.

A positive answer, even if apparently impossible, means the Child Ghost latches onto the answerer as firmly as any child who has lost a parent possibly can. Provided the answerer acts in all ways as the parent or guardian, and follows the ghost’s advice about what the ghost knows, the ghost remains happy; the ghost will even act to protect the new guardian, if the guardian was protecting the Child Ghost and is grossly endangered when doing so, provided the Child Ghost makes a Morale check. If defending its new guardian, the Child Ghost gets a +2 bonus to hit and to damage with its attacks. The Child Ghost also uses its abilities to help and impress its guardian, often to the guardian’s detriment, embarrassment, or danger…

Acknowledging that the Child Ghost is dead and a ghost causes the Child Ghost no grief; being a child, it simply assumes this is the way of things. It even knows that it “sleeps” by day and fades away in daylight (it always expects stories and kisses when it is time to “sleep”). However, if at any time the new guardian ever lets on that he is not truly the proper guardian, then the Child Ghost must make a Morale check; failure indicates it realizes the ruse, and its own self deception, and immediately attacks its erstwhile guardian.

DAMNED TO WALK THE EARTH (*): This ghost is particularly difficult to destroy, as its mortal sins not only deny its soul refuge in the Celestial Realms, it is also accursed by the Netherworld, and is rejected by the Hells whenever it is returned by being destroyed on the Material Plane.

Whenever this ghost is destroyed, is simply rises again the next night, at full hit points and with full power. There is only one way to permanently destroy this ghost; each ghost has a unique prophecy, legend, or myth surrounding its one means of destruction. This information might be commonly known, even among the local peasantry, or it might be all-but-lost information, locked away in some half-rotting scroll in a moldering, ruined library.

The means of allowing the ghost’s destruction are not impossible, merely often extremely difficult, or vaguely worded and thus readily misinterpreted. It might require the use of a specific weapon; it might require the last blow be delivered by the blood of the ghost’s original killer; it might require that the ghost be “slain by the hand of no man born of woman,” etc. If the means of destroying the ghost are fulfilled, then the ghost can be destroyed; sometimes the actions themselves destroy it, sometimes the actions merely allow it to be destroyed.

DAYWALKER (*): This ghost is equally at home in light and darkness, and does not fade into the Ethereal Plane in sunlight; it can move, act, attack, and use all its special abilities in daylight; and is otherwise unharmed by any form of light.

FEAR ATTACK (*): Any being struck by a lost soul must make a saving throw versus Spells or be affected as by the fear spell.

Spawn Ghost: If a lost soul slays a creature while that creature is under the effect of its fear ability, the slain creature must make a saving throw versus Death or rise again 24 hours later as a presence (0th or 1st level), apparition (2nd level), or lost soul (3rd level or higher).

FRIENDLY GHOST (*): Though Chaotic, this ghost is not Evil, and does not seek to slay and scare the living; rather, it is Good, and seeks to befriend the living and try to live a normal life. Friendly Ghosts died a tragic and sometimes violent death, though during their lifetime they were not Evil, and quite Good, and though empowered by the Negative Energy Plane, have (as yet) resisted the eldritch Evil of that power.

The souls of Friendly Ghosts are, in fact, impressed upon by both the Negative Energy Plane and the Positive Energy Plane, placing their ethereal existence in a state of flux.

Lesser ghosts can choose to cause fear or remove fear with their touch; greater ghosts can choose to drain life or restore life, as per the restoration spell, with their touch. Or they can choose to do neither, and merely deal normal enervating/cold damage with their touch. Similarly, all of their Evil/death-oriented special abilities are balanced out by the reverse, a Good/life-oriented special ability (at the adjudication of the Labyrinth Lord)

Friendly Ghosts can sometimes be even more troublesome than normal, Evil ghosts, as they seek to engage in a normal life in a world that cannot accept their existence. Living folk who make a friend of a Friendly Ghost tend to have dangerous and often deadly adventures…

INCORPOREAL (*): All incorporeal undead share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Bodiless, Ectoplasm, Flight, Powerless in Sunlight, and Weapon Immunity (see below for specifics for the lost soul).

Weapon Immunity: Lost souls are unharmed by non-magical weapons, though they take full damage from silver and magical weapons.

LIFELIKE GHOST (*): This ghost does not at first or even second glance look much like a ghost; it seems to be quite living and solid, if pale and wan, and though its clothing seems out of date, it otherwise appears much as it did in life… and thus, can surprise the heck out of those not expecting to see a ghost! It may even act like it was alive, for a while, as long as those whom it has fooled are giving it something it wants…

Once the ghost does something decidedly non-life-like, such as taking off its head, walking through a wall, or transforming into a more terrifyingly ghost-like form and attacking, all viewers must make a saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates that they are so shocked by the revelation that they are surprised, and unable to act for 1d4 rounds, in addition to any other effects of the action.

UNDEAD (*): All undead creatures share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Infravision, Mindless, Poison Immunity, Silent as the Grave, and Susceptible to Turning.

No. Enc.: 1d3* (1d3*)
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
Movement: N/A
   Fly: 240’ (80’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 3*******
Hit Points: 16 each
Attacks: 1 Touch
Damage: 1d6 plus Fear
Save: F3
Morale: 10
Intelligence: Frankie 13, Siggy 9, Lot 7
XP: 155 each

* Roll a d6; on a result of 3 or greater, all three uncles are encountered together.

Francoman, Sigobert, and Lothair – also known as Fat Frankie, Stinky Siggy, and Lot Long-Neck – are the ghostly uncles of Chlodwig, who damned themselves by forcing him out of his castle to die of exposure on a cold winter’s night. When captured by their half-brother, Chlodwig’s father, he had them killed in ironically horrible ways – Francoman, a notable glutton, known for passing out and drooling on himself in his cups, died after having large quantities of food stuffed down his throat; Sigobert, a drunken lout known for spending his days in a pipeweed stupor, was drowned in a vat of wine; and Lothair the Short, a popinjay who used fear to keep his men in line, and was always berating others for being “too damn tall,” died by being stretched on the rack. Their souls were then cursed to “forever protect their nephew, wherever he may be,” for it was thought that they would join him in Hell…

They ended up instead as ghosts, damned to walk the earth, and forever watch over their nephew, who had returned as a ghost.

All three ghosts appear in the classic “ghostly fashion,” that of a misty, somewhat ill-defined humanoid form. The only hint of clothing is the wispy liripipe-style fool’s caps their brother forced them to wear as they died; these seem as much a part of their body as anything. Fat Frankie is tall and wide and tinged slightly green; Stinky Siggy is of average, albeit fuzzy, height and build and is tinged slightly blue; and Lot Long-Neck is tall and very thin, and tinged slightly red (he turns a deeper crimson when he becomes Frightening). Unlike Chlodwig, the uncles do not have legs, their torsos ending in ill-defined tails almost as long as legs would be.

ORGANIZATION: The uncles three never liked one another much in life, and continue to argue and fight as brothers do in undeath. However, having grown up with an “us against the world” philosophy, they work together well enough when threatened by outside forces. They treat their burden to watch over their nephew like the curse it is, but have long since learned that to try to avoid it or somehow get around it causes them far more pain and grief than they ever imagined. And so they work together especially well when it comes to keeping their nephew out of danger… though they let him get into plenty of trouble, hoping he will learn to leave the mortals alone, but he never does.

TREASURE: Whenever the uncles three set up house in a ruined manor, they set up their rooms to best support their hobbies. Fat Frankie sets up in the kitchen and dining area, often kidnapping a local to cook meals for him; Stinky Siggy makes the salon and study his lair, surrounded by (usually empty) bottles of alcohol and wallets of pipeweed; and Lot Long-Neck sets up in the torture chamber (or some other subterranean locale), where he lines the walls with mirrors, the better to appreciate and practice his frightening looks.

RANGE: By necessity, the uncles three must follow Chlodwig wherever he goes, though they are often behind him by a day or three, giving him enough distance to get into trouble without getting into too much danger. They know that he cannot truly ever be harmed, as the conditions for putting him and themselves to rest – the father and the son being reunited in the afterlife – can now never come to pass. But the curse requires that they be there to extract him when his plans go most awry, and so they do, but never gladly, and often causing even more mayhem, destruction, and even death.

COMBAT: All three of the ghosts are Damned to Walk the Earth and have the Possess the Living ghostly ability and the Guardian Ghost limitation. Each of the uncles has additional special abilities and/or limitations: Frankie is a Hungry Ghost with the powers of Ectoplasmic Blast and Ectoplasmic Touch; Siggy is a Drunken Ghost and Pipeweed Ghost; and Lot is a Frightening Ghost and Keening Ghost.

DAMNED TO WALK THE EARTH (*): This ghost is particularly difficult to destroy, as its mortal sins not only deny its soul refuge in the Celestial Realms, it is also accursed by the Netherworld, and is rejected by the Hells whenever it is returned by being destroyed on the Material Plane.

Whenever this ghost is destroyed, is simply rises again the next night, at full hit points and with full power. There is only one way to permanently destroy this ghost; each ghost has a unique prophecy, legend, or myth surrounding its one means of destruction. This information might be commonly known, even among the local peasantry, or it might be all-but-lost information, locked away in some half-rotting scroll in a moldering, ruined library.

The means of allowing the ghost’s destruction are not impossible, merely often extremely difficult, or vaguely worded and thus readily misinterpreted. It might require the use of a specific weapon; it might require the last blow be delivered by the blood of the ghost’s original killer; it might require that the ghost be “slain by the hand of no man born of woman,” etc. If the means of destroying the ghost are fulfilled, then the ghost can be destroyed; sometimes the actions themselves destroy it, sometimes the actions merely allow it to be destroyed.

DRUNKEN GHOST (*): This ghost died due to excessive drinking of alcohol, died while he was drunk, died by drowning in alcohol, or died while wishing he had one more drink of alcohol.

A Drunken Ghost leaves behind trails and pools of skunked beer, vinegary wine, or expired spirits wherever it goes; usually of a single type, the last type it drank, or the favorite type it had in life.

A Drunken Ghost starts out the night sober, a terrible place for a dead man to be, and always seeks out the nearest alcohol; the Drunken Ghost can sense the nearest alcohol within a number of miles equal to its hit dice. If needs be it will kill to get it, but as even Chaotic (Evil) Drunken Ghosts often prefer to drink in company, it will be happy if its victims merely “share the wealth.”

The Drunken Ghost can “touch” a mug of beer, a jack of wine, or a shot of spirits; most prefer to lift the glass, tip it back, and seem to “drink” it when doing so, with the fluid merely passing through its body and splashing onto the floor. By doing this it strips the fluid of its alcohol and its taste and cures itself of 1 point of damage, or, if already at its personal maximum hit points, temporarily gains 1 hit point.

It also becomes drunker for every such drink it thus “consumes” above its personal hit point maximum. When the ghost reaches a point where each drink makes its hit points rise to a certain point above its normal hit point limit, it begins to get drunk:

At 1 hit point per hit die above the norm, it is Tipsy, and gets a +1 bonus to Morale.

At 2 hit points per hit die above the norm, it is Moderately Drunk, and gains a +2 bonus to Morale and a -1 penalty to hit in combat

At 3 hit points per hit die above the norm, it is Severely Drunk, and gains a +3 bonus to Morale and suffers a -3 penalty to hit in combat.

At 4 hit points per hit die above the norm, it “passes out” drunk, and “falls asleep,” gliding off to some corner to snore until sunrise.

ECTOPLASMIC BLAST (*): This ghost can shoot a line of slimy, sticky ectoplasm; sometimes the line is from the hands, often it is vomited forth from the mouth. Range is 10’ plus 5’ per hit die in a line 5’ wide. All those caught within the line must make a saving throw versus Breath Attacks; failure indicates that they are struck by the line of ectoplasm and covered in the sticky slime.

Those covered in the sticky, slimy ectoplasm are effectively paralyzed for 1d6 rounds per hit die of the ghost; all they can do is writhe around and try to scrape the slime off. It is a form of mental compulsion, as the mind of the victim rebels at the unnatural stuff stuck to him. The time is halved for each companion who helps to scrape the slime off of the victim.

Ectoplasm created by an Ectoplasmic Blast is a lesser form of ectoplasm, not useful for magical purposes.

ECTOPLASMIC TOUCH (*): This ghost’s touch attack, in addition to hit point damage and fear or drain life, also covers the victim in ectoplasm, as per the Ectoplasmic Blast, above. A target struck by an Ectoplasmic Touch must make a saving throw versus Breath Attack; failure indicates that they must spend 1d6 rounds per hit die of the ghost effectively paralyzed, as per Ectoplasmic Blast.

FEAR ATTACK (*): Any being struck by a lost soul must make a saving throw versus Spells or be affected as by the fear spell.

Spawn Ghost: If a lost soul slays a creature while that creature is under the effect of its fear ability, the slain creature must make a saving throw versus Death or rise again 24 hours later as a presence (0th or 1st level), apparition (2nd level), or lost soul (3rd level or higher).

FRIGHTENING GHOST (*): While all ghosts are scary, and lesser ghosts have innate fear attacks, a Frightening Ghost goes out of his way to try to frighten the living. They can quickly take on horrifying visages, make loud terrifying noises, and in general, cause fearful mayhem.

When a Frightening Ghost de-lurks from the Ethereal Plane and surprises a victim, the victim must make a saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates the victim is subjected to cause fear, with the appropriate results, in addition to the normal surprise.

When a Frightening Ghost transforms from its mundane form to its horrific ghostly form, the transformation is so sudden and horrific that viewers must make a saving throw versus Spells; failure indicates that they suffer from cause fear, as per cause fear (use the Fear Effects Table, above).

Touch attacks of greater ghosts who are Frightening Ghosts also have a chance to cause fear, as per the spell, in addition to its normal level drain effects.

A Frightening Ghost is also able to create a cone of fear, as per the magic-user spell, once per day per hit die, through keening, shrieking, moaning, groaning, or sepulcherous laughter.

The victims of any of the Frightening Ghost’s cause fear and cone of fear attacks suffer a penalty to their saving throw equal to the hit dice of the ghost; powerful Frightening Ghosts can literally scare their targets to death! If the Frightening Ghost is also a Keening Ghost, this modifier does not apply to the save against the Keening attack.

Fear effects from a Frightening Ghost’s fear abilities last for one hour per hit die of the ghost (hardcore) or one turn per hit die of the ghost (casual).

GUARDIAN GHOST (L): This ghost is cursed to act as the guardian of a person, place, or thing. The ghost must use all its abilities to protect the thing it guards, and cannot ever harm it, or cause it to be harmed. There may be other limitations and requirements, depending on the nature of the charge.

For example, the ghost of a cleric who defiled an enemy shrine might be cursed to guard the shrine from other defilers, but must allow all rightful worshipers to worship unmolested. The ghost of a wizard who stole scrolls from a library might be cursed to guard the library from all comers, or might be required to allow those with the proper password through. The ghost of a black knight who angered a powerful wizard might be cursed to guard a certain bridge, ensuring that none shall pass. And so forth…

As this is a curse, the curse may be lifted by the casting of a remove curse spell upon the ghost, though it will resist this with all its abilities, as this is considered harming its charge. If the ghost makes a saving throw versus Spells, the curse is lifted permanently; otherwise the curse remains.

Note that if the Guardian Ghost is also a Friendly Ghost, it might not be cursed, but act as a guardian out of the kindness of its heart. If the ghost is a Ghost Lover, it might not be cursed, but merely guarding the life of its erstwhile lover. Such things are up to the Labyrinth Lord.

HUNGRY GHOST (L): This ghost is the soul of someone who died of hunger; or who was wealthy and caused others to die of hunger through their actions; or ironically, was both wealthy and caused others to suffer hunger, then died of hunger themselves. Other forms of greed and even gluttony might cause a ghost to rise as a Hungry Ghost.

As a ghost, the Hungry Ghost seeks to eat food, and always tries to gorge itself whenever food is present. It has the ability to lift food with its ghostly hands, and place it in its ghostly mouth, where the ghost tries to eat it, but there the ability to manipulate the food ends, as the food, un-masticated by the ghostly manifestation, simply falls through its pseudo-material body, and falls onto the floor covered in ectoplasm (one ounce of ectoplasm per pound of food).

When food is not available, a Hungry Ghost might seek to turn “cannibal,” slaying the living to try to eat their flesh and drink their blood… while this does not sate them, their manifestation form can become covered in the blood of the recently living, and the flesh and bones of the recently living that pass through their pseudo-material form will exhibit have tooth and bite marks, but no flesh will have been eaten.

Hungry Ghosts remain hungry throughout eternity. Even the life energy they drain gives their hunger no surcease, as they gain nothing from it. This is a curse, but it is a powerful curse that no mortal magic short of a wish could lift.

INCORPOREAL (*): All incorporeal undead share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Bodiless, Ectoplasm, Flight, Powerless in Sunlight, and Weapon Immunity (see below for specifics for the lost soul).

Weapon Immunity: Lost souls are unharmed by non-magical weapons, though they take full damage from silver and magical weapons.

KEENING GHOST (*): This ghost can keen, shriek, scream, moan, groan, laugh, or make some other appropriate horrible vocal noise.

Any living being within 30’ when the ghost keens must save versus Spells; failure indicates the victim dies instantly from fright.

Any being that is slain through the ghost’s keen ability rises again 24 hours later as a ghost of hit dice equal to its level, up to half the hit dice of the ghost who slew it.

The ghost may keen once per night.

PIPEWEED GHOST (*): This ghost died from smoking too much pipeweed (such as via pipelung), or died from the secondary effects of a magical form of pipeweed, or simply died while smoking pipeweed and his last thoughts were, “I wish I could have smoked more pipeweed…”

Whatever type of ghost this ghost might be, it always has a wispy, smoky, fuzzy quality to its appearance, much like one might imagine a ghost made of pipeweed smoke might look like. It is always accompanied by the scent of pipeweed, of whatever quality and type it was smoking when it died, or of its favorite types.

A Pipeweed Ghost can pipe stride; that is, it can pop into one pipe and pop out at any other pipe the next round, provided the target pipe is within 600 feet (and the target pipe is not in daylight). This also applies to cigars, cigarettes, hookahs, bongs, and all other smoking apparatus.

A Pipeweed Ghost has a special attack; once per day per hit die it can breathe out a cloud of smoke. This cloud not only smells like rotten pipeweed of the lowest quality, it also conforms in most respects to the cloudkill spell, cast as though by a magic-user of a level equal to the hit dice of the ghost. The instant kill effect is limited to beings of half the ghost’s hit dice, rounded up, and the overall effect lasts for one turn per hit dice of the ghost.

POSSESS THE LIVING (*): This ghost can possess the body of a living being, controlling it while the soul of the owner of the body is stuck within watching in horror the things the ghost does with their body. This operates much like the magic jar spell, except the range is 10’ per hit die of the ghost. The ghost can attempt to take possession of a living being a number of times per day equal to its hit dice.

When the ghost attempts to take over a body, the target gets a saving throw versus Spells; if the save fails, the ghost possesses the victim’s body, and the victim’s soul is trapped in his body, powerless to act but seeing, hearing, and feeling everything done by his body. The possession continues as long as the ghost desires; the only way to force the ghost out of the body is to exorcize it.

When the possessed body is slain (having the hit points of the original owner), the ghost must flee the body. If the body of a possessed victim is slain while possessed, the victim must make a saving throw versus Death; a failed save indicates that the victim rises again 24 hours later as a ghost of hit dice equal to his level, though no greater than the hit dice of the possessing ghost.

Normally a ghost cannot walk out into sunlight, but sunlight has no effect on a ghost possessing a body. While possessed by a ghost, a body has no need to eat, drink, sleep, or even breathe air, and lack of these things does not harm the body.

UNDEAD (*): All undead creatures share the following abilities, immunities, and weaknesses: Infravision, Mindless, Poison Immunity, Silent as the Grave, and Susceptible to Turning.