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The Dungeon of the Dori

Percolating Ideas

The Dungeon of Dori is an idea percolating in my head for a Dungeons & Dragons session (could be used for any RPG, really). This is the initial sketch of the dungeon/castle/place-to-cause-mayhem including hidden doors and a huge slime monster … or maybe a water feature … who knows?!

I picture a drab, gray stone castle with odd nooks on the outside, leading visitors to think they’ve found an entrance only to find it’s an architectural feature of the insane Dori. There are a couple of exterior doors, which are hidden … naturally (the squiggly lines are hidden doors). Even the interior is full of hidden doors, which make for quicker movement for those who are familiar with the interior.

The inside is dark and cold, with a constant echo of dripping water. I also like the idea that the filled in areas area actually pillars hiding secrets inside of them.

And Traps? Oh yes. How could the insane Dori not have wicked traps?!

Trap Resources

Speaking of traps, Roll 20 has a nice summary on traps and some sample traps in the D&D 5th Edition Compendium here.

And  covers some traps and hazard examples in the article A Collection of Traps & Hazards (D&D 5E)

I also found the Power Score’s  Dungeons & Dragons – Traps in 5th Edition had a nice gathering of information on dealing with traps and trap examples.

DungeonOfDori

#12 – Going to the Farm – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 12 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

Nothing to see here. Move along!


Tasks for Heroes

Mayor Cobblekeep stays with the relative safety of the party (hopefully he survived) until morning. The mayor heads back into town to organize the rest of the protectors into cleaning the riff-raff out off his town, repairing the damage, and dealing with the dead. He also needs to gather the council together to discuss their next course of action.

There are two tasks the mayor asks of the party:

  1. The most pressing task is escorting the Council Members who live on farms outside the city walls back to Berlstrum, Amagoste and Hammond. The mayor informs the party that, “There are patrols along the top of the city wall. Since the gates are down, signal one of the patrols and they’ll lower the rope ladder for you to leave.” (If they discovered the secret doors in the champions’ manor, the mayor will emphasize how important it is not to reveal the locations of the secret doors to anyone!)
  2. He also requests that the players to find the champions and bring them back or try to figure out what happened to the champions. Once they have all the council gathered, the group can let the council know what they’ve learned.

Heading to the Farms

Amagoste’s Farm House

Amagoste's Farm with Ogre's and Orcs
Amagoste’s Farm with invading Ogre’s and Orcs

The path to the Amagoste Farm is several hours through the forest. As you get closer to the farmhouse, the trees becoming more sparse and spread out. Behind the house is the open pole barn and flat farmland usually filled growing crops. There are several orcs on guard outside the farmhouse. (See image above. Feel free to adjust orc numbers based on the level of challenge appropriate for the party.)

The faded tan farmhouse has a large porch spreading 60 feet across the entire front of the house, overhung by a sloping roof. The porch has wooden railings and 3 steps up. A smaller 15 ft x  8 ft porch with steeper steps leads to the backdoor.

Inside the house two ogres are loudly arguing in the living room. They are blaming each other for not finding the people that live here. They were told these people are important to the town and they’d know where the treasure was. Orcs are rifling through the other rooms, looking for loot and trying on the clothes.

The players can choose to fight the orcs and ogres or stealth around to try to find the Amagoste family.

4 ORCS outside, and inside the house 4 more ORCS & 2 OGRES (See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 246 for general orc stats and 237 for ogres)

Finding the Amagoste’s

The pole barn contains several piles of hay, the largest pile in the upper left corner. No animals are currently inside. A successful search [Investigation 15] will find the trap door hidden under the hay. Opening the hatch reveals a small underground bunker with the two Amagoste tiefling adults and their 2 small children. Agosta Amagoste (one of the council members you’ve been sent to escort back) will not leave the safety of the bunker with her children and husband until the invaders are no longer a threat.

Ogre in a Bottle
Not wanting to spend money buying figures for the game, I printed out the image of the ogre and taped it to a pill bottle that took up 2×2 square space.

Onto Gwantomo’s Farm

As the group approaches through the woods, they can hear the sounds of battle coming from Gwantomo’s home. It is unlikely that anyone will notice them in the trees since everyone is in the midst of fighting (don’t roll a 1 on stealth).

The group spots Tomo (Gwantomo) and Hammond (the other 2 Council members that need escorted back to town) are on the roof of the farmhouse, fending off ogres, orcs, and thugs. They look exhausted and barely keeping the attackers at bay. They are suffering severe exhaustion and will take a break from fighting as soon as the attackers focus their energy on someone else, ie the players.

There are many dead bodies around the house, friends and foe alike. Behind the farmhouse, the barn (closed walls, unlike the pole barn at Amagoste’s place) is on fire. Same layout at Amagoste’s Farm.

Note:

For this encounter, the number of Orcs, Ogres, and Thugs still standing really depends on the game masters perception of what the party can handle at this point. If the party needs some extra muscle, the info for the dwarf fighter, Moregore, is below. As a suggestion, the encounter might have:

  • 1 Ogres

  • 3 Orcs

  • 2 Thugs

If the party survives the encounter, there is a potentially a lot of great (starter) loot to be found amidst all the dead. Loot for this encounter is in the next installment.

Tomo (Gwantomo) – is forest druid who’s primary occupation is farming. He’s a 1/2 Elf male and a member of the Berlsturm city council. He has a wolf companion named Oscar. When the group arrives Oscar is trapped in the (burning) barn.

Hammond, a human male, is a farmer and a retired fighter. He sometimes mentors protectors in training interested in becoming fighters. He is serves as a stand-in council member.

Moregore, dwarf fighter [optional NPC melee fighter; originally mentioned as an NPC at the beginning of Guard Tower duty, but can be used here instead or in addition to] – Moregore was heading to Berlstrum to visit his cousin, Caemtar-the Tanner (included on NPC list) when he spotted the group of Ogres and Orcs heading towards the farmhouse. He followed them to find out what they were up to. Saw the ogres and orcs join their buddies in battle against Tomo and Hammond and decided to jumped in to help.

Minis on battlegrid for Amagoste Farmhouse battle
Battle at Amagoste’s Farmhome – To save money, I use whatever cheap toys I have available to represent the monsters, like figures from the Zombies!!! and pirate actions figures.

MOREGORE GRAYFIST IRONBREAKER

Moregore grew up in  and has a large, extended family in Berlstrum. Morgorn and Mortengort are his cousins and also good fighters who would go looking for Moregore if he disappeared.

FIGHTER 2 ♦ Dwarf, Medium humanoid (mountain dwarf), neutral

STR 20 (+5) ♦ DEX 18 (+4) ♦ CON 16 (+3) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 10 (+0) ♦ CHA 8 (-1)

Armor Class 17
Hit Points 24
Speed 25 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +4

Languages Common, Dwarvish, Orc

Proficiencies Saving Throws Str +7, Dex +4, Con +5
Skills Acrobatics +6, Athletics +7, Perception +2, Survival +2
Darkvision 60 ft, Resistance poison

ACTIONS

Battleaxe: +7 to hit, 1d8+5 slashing, versatile (1d10)

Longbow: +6 range to hit, range 150/600, 1d8+4 piercing, ammunition, heavy, two-handed

FIGHTER TRAITS
Fighting Style (Protection), Action Surge (One Use)


Up next: Loot from the farm houses #13 – Loot from Gwantomo’s & from Amagoste’s Farms

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A Doodle for the Worms

Doodle doodle doodle

This is definitely more doodle than maze or map for Dungeons & Dragons. If this was an underground labyrinth of tunnels, it would take FOREVER to get through it. Unless you had some clever way to cut through it. One of my favorite things to do with these silly doodles is to image how I would use them in a D&D game.

Worms. Big Worms.

In my mind I see this as underground tunnels burrowed by huge worms with no particular direction except to keep moving and eating. Do they sense food moving nearby? A new tunnel is created as the worm dives for it’s food! Yum. Adventurers are tasty.

Why would anyone want to go down into these crazy, constantly changing tunnels? What prize could possibly hope to find?! Perhaps the skins shed by these beasts is used to create the most exquisite material far superior to even that of elven-make that is used to make the most visually stunning, supple and strong of armor. Even a monk could wear armor made from this cloth an gain an Armor Class bonus without taking penalties or disadvantages. Probably worth a pretty penny to the right buyer!

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#11 – Bugs & Thugs – Plague Day 1 (Dreadstorms Lost)

The following blog post is Part 11 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

All right. I hear the cries of suffering and agony. “Give us some stuff to kill! More bad guys, less talk.”

We begin this next bit assuming that the party has gotten a long rest. It is the next morning after the initial influx of scumbags attacking the town. Players are assumed to be 2nd level. Adjust challenges as needed.


At Dawn they Don’t Cometh

Kazel has set up and begun casting the ritual spell, Will of Orcus, several hours before sunrise.

First plague wave!

At dawn, those awake feel an odd moment of fatigue (*Life Drain). It quickly passes. Everyone needs to save vs the Life Drain, awake or asleep.

*Life Drain [Day 1]: CON save 5

-1 to Max HP on a failed save. If HP reduced to 0 by fatigue wave, target dies and rises as zombie 12 hrs later. Otherwise, a LONG REST restores max HP.

Note: You can only have one long rest ever 24 hours.

Dead Bugs

The first wave is fairly week and mostly effects insects: flies, caterpillars, small spiders, grasshoppers, moths, bees, and the like.

On a Perception of 16, an especially observant character will notice that there are no bugs buzzing/crawling/creeping about inside the town. There are dead bugs everywhere once a person starts looking. No live bugs within the wave radius area.

The wave has a radius effect centered around Kazel. His hidden lair underneath Berlstrum is roughly located under building #96 on the town map. This initial radius encompasses the Champions’ manor and a large portion of the town center. (See map below.)

Map of Berlstrum with plague area effect
Area of effect of the first wave of the Will of Orcus Plague in Berlstrum

If the players rested in the 2nd floor or tower of the champions’ manor, they will be safe from random bandit attacks.

Tasks for Heroes

Mayor Cobblekeep stayed with the relative safety of the party (hopefully he survived) until morning. The mayor heads back into town to organize the rest of the protectors into cleaning the low-lives out off his town and repairing the damage and dealing with the dead. He also needs to gather the council together to discuss their next course of action.

There are two tasks the mayor asks of the party:

  1. The most pressing task is escorting the two Council Members who live on farms outside the city walls back to Berlstrum, Amagoste and Hammond. The mayor informs the party that, “There are patrols along the top of the city wall. Since the gates are down, signal one of the patrols and they’ll lower the rope ladder for you to leave.” (If they discovered the secret doors in the champions’ manor, the mayor will emphasize how important it is not to reveal the locations of the secret doors to anyone!)
  2. He also requests that the players try to figure out what happened to the champions and hopefully find them and bring them back. Once they have all the council gathered, the group can let the council know what they’ve learned.

Thugs

Before the group can head out on their missions, they find Captain Scallion and his two henchmen waiting for our crew to emerge Captain Scallion is frustrated at their inability to search the tower and wants inside NOW! Which due to the protection spell on the tower, isn’t going to happen.

Captain Scallion is a Bandit Captain with 3 melee attacks and the Parry Reaction:+2 AC on one attack.  (See 5th Edition Monster Manual pg 344 for stats)

His two henchmen use the Tribal Warrior template on page 350 of the 5th Edition Monster Manual. 

At Dusk they Cometh

Anywhere near the radius of the plague wave that occurred 12 hours earlier (at dawn), will see swarms of insects gathering and attacking.  The dead bugs rise in swarms and attack the nearest source of “meat” in immediate area.

insect-bee-swarm.pngZombie Bug Swarm

AC 10 
Hit Points 32
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 4 (-4), DEX 7 (-2), CON 12 (+1), INT 1 (-5), WIS 3 (-4), CHA 1 (-5)

Damage Immunities poison
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned

Senses blindsight 10 ft,  darkvision 60ft, passive Perception 8


ACTIONS
Bites Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit (swarm moves into target’s space) Hit: 4d4 HP piercing + Life Drain (DC7 Con or -1 to Hit Point Max ), or 2d4 + Life Drain if only half the swarm remains


SPECIAL

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a tiny insect. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Life Drain. DC 7 CON or lose 1 hit point to maximum hit point total. If HP reduced to 0 by infected, target rises as zombie the following dusk; if not dead, LONG REST recovers lost max HP

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie swarm to 0 hit points, it must make a CON saving throw with a DC of 5 + damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.


Up Next: It’s off to the farm to gather the stray Council Members! #12 – Going to the Farm – Dreadstorms Lost

#10 – The Gratimortus – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 10 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

Behind the scenes

Sometimes I get carried away a bit. For the partial spell book hidden in Clemens’ bedroom, I created a small spell book that I printed out for my players to to read and get clues on the coming plague. Having a physical thing to hold and pass around was a fun change for them. (At least I think it was a fun change. Maybe they were just humoring their crazy GM. Who knows?!)  

The text in the “book” is intentionally crowded and hard to read, reminiscent of the ancient hand-drawn manuscripts. It is full of bizarre, ominous imagery, indecipherable notations, and sketches of ingredients. “Iredeemevle” is an intentional misspelling. 

The tone of the book is intended to sound stilted and old fashion; more a scholars’ journal that a real spellbook. As though this was more a curious discovery for the writer and not something that any mage would ever consider casting. 


 

Why do we care about the Gratimortus?

The Gratimortus is the planted spell book that Kazel discovered after finding his dead wife and was desperately trying to find a way to revive her  [#9 – The Mystery of the Missing Champions]

Pages from the book:

What does the book say?

If the players are able to find the piece of the Gratimortus hidden in Clemens’ bedroom [#8 – Champions’ Manor – Dreadstorms Lost], the following is the text and pages of the book.

[Note: This book is a scholar’s speculation and does not have had ALL the details on what the spells was really accomplishing, or the final result.]

Gratimortus

Book of the Iredeemevle

[description]

Among the spells most vile and destructive to life is the

Will of Orcus Plague

To the foolish this most grievous of magics promotes a means to  return the dead to a new and vigorous life.

Indeed it resurrects but by bringing forth abominations of the most heinous of intent. It is through the casting that the plague is wrought and through the abominations that the plague persists and can eventually destroy entire worlds.

It is known that with this one ritual many peoples can return to the world of the living without the blessing of the divine ones. Instead the punishing god of the underworld sends back the dead twisted and fouled with his evil.

By channeling stolen life force into the dead flesh directed by this spell, the caster is turned into a conduit for Orcus. The caster’s life force slowly leaches out as the spell powers up.

The pulse of energy that drains life occurs immediately before the first rays of sun each day. The caster pulls life energy from nearby animals, weakening and killing them. Affects the smallest of animals first and works its way up the food chain.

Creatures killed by the life drain rise as undead as the last rays of sun leave the day. The undead are compelled to eat larger prey en mass to further advance the plague.

The area of influence increase each day the ritual continues. To become infected by the plague one must be killed by a plague bearer or to die from the life drain pulse at dawn.

Once the ritual is complete, the spell caster dies and becomes an Orcus’ undead plague bearer, with the additional curse of continuing to pulse the life draining force at it’s final strength wherever they roam.

The original targets for resurrection also become undead plague carriers, though much stronger and deadlier than those simply caught in the wave or killed by other plague bearers. It is said that even the breath of these abominations is toxic.

[Elements for the Spell]

The Will of Orcus Plague requires two elements. One, the Will of Orcus Gem and two, the Ritual of Purifications.  The Will of Orcus is an iridescent gem the size of an acorn. The color of the gem is constantly changing and in itself can be hypnotic to look upon.

The mindless undead and those of weak mind or disposition can easily be controled by one who masters the gem.

The last know location of the Will of Orcus was in the possession of a demon called The Grand Inquisitor of Mortals. As long as it remains on the infernal plane with the Grand Inquisitor, this plague has no chance of every coming to pass in our world.

The Ritual Cleansing and Activation Components

  • Fresh Hemlock Thorn, 1 thorn every hour to pierce tongue
  • 13 leaves from a branch of Mistletoe each day, swallowed whole
  • Thimble, oil of verbanium at start and finish of ritual, rubbed on brow, sternum and palms
  • Fist full, powdered nutmeg added before sundown each day
  • 5 Wolfsbane petals, swallowed whole before sunrise each day
  • Oil of Nightshade applied to eyes, once per day at noon
  • 1 dash of cassava root every hour for 4 hours
  • Ground dragon tooth
  • Salamander liver
  • grick beak
  • 1 bucket troll blood

Up Next:  Where did the bugs go?! And why are these thugs demanding to be let into the tower? #11 – Bugs & Thugs – Dreadstorms Lost


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#9 – The Mystery of the Missing Champions – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 9 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

Behind the scenes

There are two goals for the Dreadstorms Lost campaign. 1) Find the champions and 2) stop the undead plague (which begins the dawn after the bandits swarm the town and the gates are closed). More on the plague in another post! To follow is what has happened that lead to the current events and what is happening behind the scenes while our adventurers deal with their bandits, thugs, and the like.

As a Game Master, I find that players will always think of an angle of investigation or make assumptions that never occurred to me.  I find this a delightful part of the collaborative storytelling process that is role playing games (RPGs). 

It is with that in mind that I’m providing MORE backstory. So as a game master you can have a loose notion of what’s going on and build the story from there. Certain encounters are rather pivotal to the story, but otherwise nothing is written in stone. I’ll admit that some of the logic of the characters’ actions are a bit sketchy, and if you have suggestions on improving the motivations and actions, I’d welcome them.


Deals with a Demon

Many years ago, a group of adventurers known as the Deadly Omega 6 snuck onto the Abyssal plain to free their friend from a warlock pact with the Demon-lord, Orcus. The warlock, Samora, had never met her fiendish master, only his lieutenant Zerk. Unlike Orcus, Zerk had the ability to travel between plains.

The Deadly Omega 6 group circumvented Zerk’s security and stole a fell artifact called the Eye of Orcus. They hid the Eye in a Null Box that blocked its malignant, manipulative emanations. Knowing that Orcus’ would never tolerate such gross failure from his lieutenant, the group was able to negotiate with Zerk for Samora’s release from the warlock pact.

At the time of their negotiations, Zerk had bigger, deadlier enemies to worry about than those pesky mortal adventurers. He let them leave thinking that they had bested him. He reasoned that having them “guard” the eye for him was a good thing. None of his enemies would think he would recruit fragile mortals to keep it safe. And taking the long view, he knew the Eye would eventually corrupt them and he could orchestrate revenge at his leisure.

Retirement

In time the Deadly Omega 6 members went their separate ways. Kazel and Foreshot were awarded the position of Champions for the city of Berlstrum and made themselves a home within the castle (provided as a perk of the job). With the help of Ames, his cleric buddy, they created permanent wards of protection from evil on the tower and the upper floors of their home. Kazel hid the Null box containing the Eye of Orcus inside his wizard tower, snug within the wall by his desk. (Stone Shape was/is a favorite spell of Kazel’s.)

Years past. The town prospered. Kazel and Foreshot created the Protector Mentor program as a way to spread out the more mundane guarding tasks and ensure that the town would be safe if they had to leave for short trips. The program was surprisingly successful. While Kazel was more the face of the program, Foreshot did the organization and coordinating.

Being a champion and a store owner who made potions and scrolls and other magic stuffs was all well and good, but Kazel missed the adventuring life. So Kazel created himself a hidden lair (yes, he called it a lair even in his mind) in the tunnels below the city. He took many of the powerful magic items and cursed items that Omega 6 collected in their journeys and placed those in safe place within the tunnels as well. And being of the adventuring mindset, he went a step further and decided to create his own dungeon. With traps and monsters and all the goodies! Once in a while some of the old gang would visit, especially Gorshuk and Bit. They would help Kazel smuggle creatures into the labyrinth and the 3 would relive glory days sneaking around and attacking the monsters and getting the rush of battle.

Unbeknownst to Kazel, the Eye of Orcus had manage to gain a tiny crack in the null box and had been subtly influencing him. “Don’t you miss the excitement of the quest? Of defeating mighty foes?” it would whisper into his mind. It quietly suggested that Kazel create a private space away from Foreshot to do dangerous experiments. “She might not understand your experiments. She might stop you. You need a secret space!” it whispered. “Down below would do nicely.” It dropped the idea of making the tunnels around his lair a deadly dungeon full of wicked traps and horrific monsters … especially undead. That would show those fools lusting for their treasure!

The Ambush

And so it went. With Kazel becoming a little less in control of his actions by tiny increments over the years. [What did the Eye of Orcus want? To provide a immortal body for Orcus. Then Orcus could enjoy the material plane whenever he chose.]

Now the demon Zerk had been quietly observing Kazel’s slow decline. He felt Kazel needed the right push to completely fall under the Eye’s control. So Zerk took his favorite form, that of the dapper noble gentleman, and befriended the boy staying with them. The boy’s name was Clemens and he was being mentored in the ways of the ranger by Foreshot. Zerk questioned Clemens about the goings on in the manor, waiting for the right moment. He was in no rush. And then Clemens let him in on a secret. Foreshot was pregnant. Kazel was frantic with worry that something would happen to her or the baby during this vulnerable time. He put out the call for more protectors.

And with great delight Zerk had found the push.

Zerk convinced Clemens that the child Foreshot carried would cause the death and despair to thousands upon thousands of lives. It had to be destroyed before it was too late! But Foreshot was an experienced fighter and ranger. Killing her would be no easy feat.

Zerk gave Clemens the Book of Gratimortus, which contained the spell the Eye of Orcus would need to make a body immortal and grant Orcus control of the vessel. (Fortunately for Zerk, reading wasn’t one of Clemens’ skills.) Zerk instructed him to place the book where Kazel would easily find it, to as he explained it to Clemens, “help Kazel deal with his grief. But really, it’s these last few pages that will help him the most. Perhaps the rest you should give him a later time.” Thus instructed, Clemens tore the back half from the book and left it on Kazel’s desk in the tower. The rest of the book he hid in his hidey-hole in his room.

They set up an ambush, with Zerk providing a dozen Torken raiders. They hid in the forest and waited for Clemens’ signal. Clemens made sure to be extra noisy and talkative as he and Foreshot traveled through the wilderness. It wasn’t too difficult, since he was terrified and nervous. They came to the spot, and while Foreshot was answering some inane question, Clemens stabbed her in the back. Right in the kidney’s where Zerk had showed him. The raiders jumped into action and finished off Foreshot, but not before she took some of them down with her. They helped Clemens load her bloody corpse on the horse and on his way. Before leaving, several raiders knifed Clemens in several spots. Clemens reached the edge of the forest by the manor, staggered out of the forest, blood dripping from his many wounds, pulling the two horses behind him. Clemens’ approached the secret stable doors. At that moment Kazel rushed out, having spotted them leaving the forest.

Grief

The world stopped for Kazel. Foreshot. Hanging limp and bloody over the skittish horse. He pulled her from the horse and carried her body into the house, not even noticing that Clemens had collapsed unconscious on the grass. Kazel carried her through the office and the library and into his tower. Somehow he knew if he could get her into the sanctuary of the tower, she’d be okay. He lowered her body to the floor and ran up the stairs. He grabbed his healing potions and scrolls. Not even aware of his actions, he also grabbed the pages of the Gratimortus.

He tried to feed her the potions. It did no good. She was well beyond the help of potions and scrolls. She was dead. The baby inside her was dead. He stared blindly at the useless scrolls at his feet and saw the Gratimortus. “Why had he grabbed that?” he wondered to himself.

Skimming through the, he realized it contained some sort of crazy resurrection that didn’t require divine magic. The spell used the Eye of Orcus artifact instead of divine energy. “So strange that he had the Eye all this time, but hadn’t read this book before.” In his madness and grief, his mind was easy for the Eye to control. Easy for the Eye to whisper, “Yes. Yes. This is the answer. This spell will bring back your family. Use the Eye.” He skimmed the pages. The list of ingredients was long and bizarre, but between his store and his many caches, he would only need to hunt down a couple of them. A glimmer of sanity tried to assert itself, “No. This is crazy. Surely the church can bring her back. Her body is still warm.”

And the Eye pushed back, “The clergy can’t help you now. They’ll deny you. How did this happen? How did she die? You want to know, yes?”

“Yes. Yes. Of course I want to know,” he muttered to himself. “Clemens was there, right? Clemens. Yes. Clemens. CLEEEMENNNNNNNNSSS!” he bellowed. He tucked the pages into his pocket and rushed back outside. Clemens had dragged himself over to the base of a tree.  Kazel realized he wasn’t going to get anything out of Clemens in his current state and sloshed a bottle of healing down his throat.

And Clemens told the tale of them being ambushed by a gang of thugs. Of Foreshot trying to protect him and eventually chasing off the attackers. “They were both pretty beat up, you see? He hadn’t realized how wounded she was when they got on their horses to head back. She must have bled out on the ride here. He had tried to save her, but it was too late.”

And while he told Kazel his tale, Kazel noticed that the blood from Clemens’ wounds were fresher than Foreshot’s. What a wimp Clemens was with his puny teenage arms. How did he get Foreshot’s body over the horse’s back? That cry of pain had been close. He said the rode back, but he was leading the horses out on foot when he left the forest.

Suspicions aroused, Kazel cast Charm on Clemens and pulled the truth from him. Hearing of Clemens’ betrayal, that it had all been planned, that he wanted his unborn child dead … Kazel lost himself in a haze of rage. He magic missiled at point blank into Clemens’ chest until there was nothing but a huge gaping hole.

Then he turned around, walked into the manor, closed the doors, and started gathering ingredients for the spell, including the Eye of Orcus. He had no real sense of time. Just kept moving. Looking at the instructions. Getting what was needed.

Will of Orcus Plague

He made sure she was comfortable inside his lair. His lair that a person could only get through with a spell like Stone Shape. He had to make sure everything would be perfect for her and the baby. He laid her down inside the casting circle. She loved watching him move the stone around. Why had he never brought her down her before? She looked so sweet there. So perfect, if a little messy. But Foreshot loved a good fight and getting a little messy.

A couple of the odder ingredients cause couple of days delay, but eventually he had everything ready. Everything would be just fine, his unhinged mind assured himself. And he proceeded to pierce his tongue with the hemlock thorn, swallow the mistletoe leaves, apply the nightshade to his eyes, rub the verbanium on his brow, and calmly shove the Eye of Orcus fully into his eye socket. Then the chanting began.

Spreading the Word

Meanwhile, Zerk had been observing Kazel and was pleased to this plan moving along nicely. To keep things entertaining, Zerk teleported to several towns within a day or two’s ride and let all the low-life scum know that Berlstrum was ripe for the picking.

His demon lord, Orcus, would be most pleased.

Summary – Important points

  1. Foreshot was betrayed by her trainee, Clemens, who set up the ambush that killed her and the child.
  2. The Eye of Orcus is a powerful artifact that has been manipulating Kazel
  3. Kazel is casting the Will of Orcus spell in his hidden layer beneath Berlstrum in hopes of bringing back his dead wife and child.
  4. Zerk, a lieutenant to the Demon Prince Orcus, set the whole thing in motion as revenge for the Deadly Omega 6 stealing the Eye of Orcus from him long ago

Up Next: The book created as a prop for the players, with text and images! #10 – The Gratimortus – Dreadstorms Lost

#In-Game Cursing

Sometimes a character or NPC just needs to add some colorful words in their dialogue. For fun. For emphasis. For character flavor. Below are a few curses and insults my NPCs have used. Do you have any interesting D&D phrases you like to use?

Insult

  • All the charm of a hag at sunrise
  • Gelatinous goo is smarter
  • Goblin garbage!
  • Gnoll chew toy
  • I heard shriekers sing better than that one
  • I’d rather look at a basilisk [gorgon] than …
  • Mind flayer leftovers, is that one!
  • More foul than a mountain troll’s asscrack
  • Ogre bait
  • Ooze leavings
  • Quasit kisser
  • Slime eating goat mauler
  • St Cuthbert be praised! Finally a word of sense.
  • Two-headed vermin dung
  • Undead foot fungus
  • Useless piece of Bhaal toejam!
  • Your father was a kobold and your mother a rust monster!
  • Yer nut’tin but a Palor puppet (to a paladin/cleric of)

Upset/Excitement

  • Bloody balor
  • Balor’s balls!
  • Dragon snot!
  • Festering dire rat penis
  • Flatulent fairy dust
  • Fairy farts!
  • Fiends’ farts! This place stinks!
  • Goblins’ sweaty gonads
  • Kobold crap!
  • Kobold’s crusty crap!
  • Ogre’s belching breath!
  • Soggy steaming troll turds!
  • Tiamat’s titties!
  • Troll stinky turd
  • Vampire spit! [troll spit, kobold spit, goblin spit, … etc.]

Curses upon you

  • Abyss take you!
  • Boiling spit upon yer house!
  • Lick a dracolich’s bony arse for all I care
  • May a rust monster eat your blade!
  • To the Nine Hells with you and your devilish words