Post by blackadder23 on Apr 1, 2020 16:14:36 GMT -6
I think I've mentioned a few times that I'm a librarian. We have a major programming push this year (although this is somewhat hampered by current circumstances, of course) and I pretty much have carte blanche concerning what programming happens at my library. What could be more natural than a 1e AD&D program - run by me? Originally I had hoped to start the program on June 1st, because the summer reading theme this year is "Imagine Your Story" (and to tie in to the new season of Stranger Things). With the current public health crisis, it's hard to say whether that will actually happen or not. However, sooner or later I will be starting a weekly 1e AD&D campaign at my library (because some of the librarians are running 5e and Pathfinder at the main library, and that will not stand). I'm planning 2.5 hours a week, or around 10 hours a month. That's really not as much time as I would like to spend playing in a month, but it's probably as much as I can fit into the schedule.
I'm dusting off a campaign setting I created back in 2015 and never used: the Red-Hand Barony. This is the westernmost province of a large kingdom known only as "the Realm" (which I have no intention of developing unless actually needed in the game). I created a new map (themed to resemble something a cartographer in the setting would actually create):
In the next post, I will include a mini-gazetteer of the setting (which is all the players are going to get - I doubt they're interested in reading a Silmarillion, and I know I'm not interested in writing one).
Map looks like a lot of fun. A few settlements, some places of interest. Very much a sandbox.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
Post by blackadder23 on Apr 2, 2020 12:36:28 GMT -6
Yeah, I am probably going to place them in an "adventure" situation initially (especially if I get mostly inexperienced players), but after that I'm going to feed them hooks and let them decide where to go.
Post by blackadder23 on Apr 4, 2020 11:02:58 GMT -6
TRAVELER’S TALES OF THE RED-HAND BARONY
Austral Mountains: “These jagged peaks are said to shelter cavemen and insane hermits. Somewhere beyond the Australs are jungles filled with gold and ivory, but also dinosaurs and burning volcanoes.”
The Beast-Wood: “The trees here are of unnatural size for this region, their leaves blotting out the sun. Beasts of every kind are found in great profusion, and the northern reaches near the Boreal Mountains are said to teem with prehistoric creatures such as mammoths and saber-tooth tigers.”
Boreal Mountains: “Snow caps the peaks of the northern mountains, which are said to contain a great brazen door leading to the kingdom of the dwarves. Far beyond the mountains are rumored to lie frozen wastes inhabited by frost giants, winter wolves, and less describable things.”
Brigand Forest: “Unruly and uncouth men congregate here, raiding the caravan traffic from the Farther Realm to Zennox. Their lives are forfeit on the spot if captured by the Baron’s men.”
Castle Dolorous: “Here dwells the Baron’s cousin Lord Pettys, in a castle reared at his own expense. Many evil tales are whispered about Lord Pettys: that his castle is filled with the victims of his sadistic cruelty, that he plots to make himself the legal heir of the childless Baron and then do away with him, that he is smuggling some of the black sapphires that are mined in the nearby hills under his protection. But the Baron desperately needs the support of his kinsmen and will hear no ill rumors about him.”
Coldwater River: “In the winter chunks of ice drift down this slow-moving river from the unknown lands beyond the Boreal Mountains, sometimes bearing odd corpses which are hastily burned by the appalled folk who find them.”
Dawnhold: This fortified mission belongs to the Church of the Invincible Sun, which seeks to impose the orthodox religion of the Realm on the unruly Barony. Dawnhold also protects (and provides miners for) the orange ruby mines, a consideration that weighs heavily in the counsels of the Baron. The pagans and druids of the Barony greatly resent the presence of the Church here.”
Dark Mire: “This bog is dank and reeking, the home of lizardmen and gibbering gnolls who crave anthropophagic cuisine. Near its center is said to rise a strange monolith whose origin is unguessed.”
East Henge: “It is said the stone rings were built long ago by the Old Men, about whom little is known. Those who slumber here on moonless nights may dream strange dreams.”
The Elf-Downs: “These rolling lands are deemed the province of the elves and their fairy kin, who have been known to play occasionally deadly pranks on interlopers. The ancient burial mounds rising among the hills are said to hold undreamed riches, but also wights that crawl about ceaselessly in their chambers beneath the earth.”
Goblin Wood: “The orcs and goblin-kin that once beleaguered the Old Keep have infiltrated these woods, and now make raids on the New Keep and Castle Dolorous, and occasionally as far as Rohomannos.”
Haunted Hills: “An uncanny blue mist never completely lifts from these mournful mounds, and the dead sleep uneasily here. It is rumored that a tomb on the edge of the Unnatural Swamp holds the loveliest vampire in all Creation.”
Henbane: “How this remote village survives on the verge of the Goblin Wood is a mystery. Most believe the people to be covertly leagued with the forces of Evil, and to have some sinister connection with the West Henge.”
Lair of the Great Wyrm: “The great dragon that destroyed the Old Keep is said to dwell among fuming hills deep with the Goblin Wood. This is a sure place for the foolhardy to meet Death.”
Lake Morag: “Stretching far to the south and east, Lake Morag carries the bulk of trade with the Farther Realm. As well, it is often plied by silk-sailed ships of the elaborately polite folk who dwell in the perfumed jungle cities of the south.”
Marshton: “The dour residents of this isolated hamlet offer scant welcome to visitors. Rare outsiders have noted a certain resemblance between these benighted folk and lizards, a fact which has become the subject of coarse jests and disgusting insinuations.”
New Keep: “High atop a bluff rises this mighty fortress, and five hundred picked men guard the approaches. It is a frequent destination for traders, explorers, and adventurers desperate enough to dare the terrors of the west. A faint track still runs from this redoubt to the late lamented Old Keep.”
Old Wood: “This fairy realm, haunt of sprites and centaurs, stretches for an unknown distance beyond the Boreal Mountains. The Lady of the Wood dwells in the deeps of the forest – spinning her spells from within a colossal hollow tree, or so they say – and she does not relish mortal intrusion.”
Port of Rothgar: “The largest settlement west of the Sunshield Mountains, this busy trading port has a near-monopoly of the lucrative gem trade. It is always a good place to find a backroom deal or a barroom knife-fight.”
Rohomannos: “This walled town, paid for by the great wealth of the gem trade, sprawls on both sides of the Sanguine River and controls the only crossing. Baron Arryk Red-Hand is gouty and profane, bitter at his lack of an heir, grasping when it comes to taxes and caravan tolls; yet he is also the sole champion of true Law this far to the west.”
Ruins of Old Keep: “This far western outpost held firm for years against the forces of Evil, only to be destroyed by the Great Wyrm that now dwells in the Goblin Wood. Now it is the lair of vile creatures – some say bandits, some say goblins, some say wererats, some say all of these and worse.”
Sanguine River: “The name is derived from the murky red color of the water – stained by iron oxides leeched from the Boreal Mountains – and also from the untold amount of blood spilled in the early years to turn back the forces of Evil.”
Sylvania: “This prosperous village exists untouched on the edge of the Brigand Forest. Its apparent immunity from armed robbery prompts many observers to suspect complicity in that unsavory trade.”
Unnatural Swamp: “The name of this grim morass is no metaphor, for this was apparently once a great irrigation network of the Old Men. When the irrigation ditches overflowed, the region sank into the desolate troll-haunted marsh that exists today.”
West Henge: “These ancient megaliths mark the southwestern edge of the Barony’s claimed border. Goblins and orcs are wont to leave gruesome trophies and obscene graffiti here to spite the Baron’s pretensions.”
Zennox: “This town has grown wealthy from its monopoly on caravan trade with the Farther Realm. For years it has attempted to wrest control of the gem trade from Rothgar, and the Lord Mayor of Rothgar has openly accused the Zennoxians of supporting lake piracy and sabotage of Rothgarian barges. In return the Merchant Prince of Zennox has accused the Rothgarians of subsidizing the bandits in the Brigand Forest. It is known that both towns have hired more mercenaries of late, and the situation may yet erupt into open warfare despite the Baron’s sporadic attempts to mediate.”
Post by blackadder23 on Apr 19, 2020 18:36:02 GMT -6
I have always liked the elaborate cosmology that EGG devised for AD&D, but in the end I thought it was extraneous to what I want to accomplish with this campaign, so I opted for an arrangement of just three extra-planar spaces (although it’s always possible more could open up as the campaign proceeds) and a handful of deities inhabiting them.
The Celestial Throne: This is said to be a place of pure white fire high in the sky where the Invincible Sun dwells. It is believed that Lawful creatures will be reconciled here and dwell in peace after death. The Dark Wood: This vast star-lit forest is said to exist alongside our own world. The pagan gods reside here, along with elves and other such fey creatures, beasts of pagan folklore such as centaurs, and those pagan dead who are not banished to the Glooms for their evil. The Glooms: These pitch black caves deep in the earth are the destination of selfishly evil souls after death, severed forever from light and good cheer. Some of the more evil pagan gods may also visit there (learned opinion varies on this point).
Pagan Gods of Chaos: These beings represent the oldest known religion of the Realm, widely worshipped until two centuries ago. Their Chaotic nature kept the Realm disunited and squabbling until the rise of the Cult of the Invincible Sun brought unity at last. The pagan religion is persecuted throughout most of the Realm, but the first Baron Arryk (father of the current Baron) was a pagan and made a haven for them in his Barony. These beings are uniformly Chaotic Neutral, though many have a tendency toward Good or Evil as well. Purely CN divinities also have N/NE/NG followers, those with Good tendencies have N and NG followers, and those with Evil tendencies have N and NE followers. No Lawful worshippers are welcomed by any of these cults. There were once at least a hundred pagan gods, but barely a dozen are believed to still be worshipped anywhere in the Realm:
Arsh Ayyum, God of the Oceans and Seas, CN Bleached Bones, God of Death, CN(E) Bloody Vulvek, God of Slaughter and War, CN(E) Corralla, Goddess of the Harvest, CN(G) Ho Mo No the Trickster Monkey, God of Pranks and Learning Through Suffering, CN(G) Jezreel, Goddess of Prosperity, Thieves, and the City Streets, CN(G) Monas the Hand of Fate, God of Randomness and Luck, CN Sprigga, Goddess of Lakes, Rivers, and Wells, CN(G) Szylea the Shrouded Lady, Goddess of Divination and Sorcery, CN The Forbidden Name, God of Secrets and Things Best Left Unknown, CN(E) Tiktok, God of Travelers, CN(G) Torgo the Rat King, God of Pestilence and Plague and Lord of the Wererats, CN(E) Vulnavia, Goddess of Plots, Stratagems, and Unseemly Ambition, CN(E) Xonaka the Cat Mistress, Goddess of Luxury, Hedonism, and Sensual Pleasure, CN(G)
Cult of the Invincible Sun*: This religion arose in the eastern part of the Realm some two centuries ago and swept the land, bringing order and unity in its wake. The Cult holds the Sun to be the highest, if not the only, divinity. Emphasis is placed on obedience to authority (especially the ruler of the Realm), human worth, and the overriding virtue of honesty. A sacred white flame burns eternally in the heart of every Sun Temple, and no other image of the divine is permitted. All Lawful beings are aligned with the Invincible Sun, and no other alignments are allowed communion. Even some fey beings that once dwelt in the Dark Wood (such as dwarves and halflings) now dwell in this world and offer allegiance to the Invincible Sun. The Cult is hostile to the pagan gods, and has succeeded in largely extinguishing their worship in most of the Realm. The “new” religion of druidism, found only in the Barony, is considered even more unacceptable. Thus far, Baron Arryk has declined to enforce religious uniformity in the Barony, and Queen Jusmeena has not forced the matter.
The Moon Woman: Upon entering the lands of the Barony some seventy years ago, the people of the Realm first came into contact with the ruins of the mysterious Old Men who dwelt there thousands of years before. Shortly thereafter, some were contacted in their dreams by an entity calling itself the Moon Woman, which appeared as a vast shadowy female form. This being claimed to be the goddess of the Old Men, in whose honor the henges (and certain other puzzling ruins in the Barony) were originally raised. Some of those contacted by the Moon Woman offered their allegiance, forming a secretive order of druids that soon found adherents among the common folk of the Barony. The Moon Woman and her druids appear to have vast power over nature, and greater sorcerous might in general than the clerics of other divinities. The Moon Woman is known to be hostile to the Invincible Sun, calling it "the Usurper”, and this hostility is reciprocated by the Cult. Just where the Moon Woman dwells is unclear, though many believe her home to be the surface of the Moon itself.
* - Changed from "Church" because I decided to make it more like Fantasy Zoroastrianism than Fantasy Catholicism.