Into the Dungeon of Graves

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Persimmon
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Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by Persimmon »

Well, after buying it a couple years ago, we're finally going to run Rappan Athuk using our homebrewed mashup of Swords & Wizardry and Advanced Labyrinth Lord. What's especially cool about the group of PCs assembled is that several of them have already survived the following megadungeons (or, more accurately adventured in them, as they completed none):

Operation Unfathomable
Barrowmaze
Highfell
Forbidden Carverns of Archaia
Tegel Manor

So they've acquired a number of powerful magic items, henchmen, and new party members in the course of all this. Rappan Athuk will be the conclusion of the campaign and they intend to go as far as possible. The original group has 4 of the 8 characters left, but the replacements have worked well and I've been able to integrate them into the campaign arc, as from the start we posited a link between Barrowmaze and Rappan Athuk. And in fact, the hook to get them to Rappan Athuk was to wipe out the Cloister of the Frog God after their harrowing adventures against the Tsathogga cultists around Tegel Manor. That adventure saw one of the party's clerics convert to the worship of Frigga after he acquired the Golden Mace of Frigga's Influence in her despoiled temple. Since they lost a couple fellow adventurers in there, they want revenge on the frog cult.

If there's interest, I'll post campaign reports here, starting with notes on our intrepid party.
"Behind closed eyes, realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult

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merias
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by merias »

Welcome, Persimmon. That sounds like an amazing campaign! I'd like to hear more, including details on your rules mashup.

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Persimmon
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by Persimmon »

Hey again,

Attaching my fairly brief house rules for our Swords & Wizardry game. Had to copy and paste because apparently you can't attach pdfs.

As should be obvious, it's pretty much an OSR mashup, with stuff cribbed from a variety of games and editions. I recently picked up DCC and we're doing a campaign in that RAW, but I've added a couple elements of that in here, namely, two-weapon fighting options and the dice chain concept, in part because I like using the extra funky dice. I may eventually incorporate their critical tables, but my group has liked our super streamlined yet lethal crit rules a lot, so I've kept them so far. The hit point kicker at 1st level comes from Hackmaster 4e, as do the fey race options. Only one player has ever played a pixie, but it's there as an option.

We still try to keep rules light while offering lots of options.

Characters & Character Creation
¬ All standard Swords & Wizardry classes & races can be used, plus those from 1e, Labyrinth Lord, OSE, AS&SH, and Hackmaster 4e if approved by DM
¬ Use S&W versions of paladin, ranger, monk, though rangers can choose druidic or clerical spells but must announce which at character creation
¬ In addition, classes from Oriental Adventures are in play
¬ For other 1e-style classes like bards & knights, use the OSE versions
¬ For race class & level limits see below
¬ All characters get a 20 HP “kicker” upon character creation
¬ Hit dice are standard 1e AD&D; so clerics get d8; thieves d6, etc.
¬ For stats, roll 4d6 in order, drop the lowest, add racial modifiers
¬ Only the basic 3 alignments are in play
¬ All characters have base 1% chance to be ambidextrous; 5% for half-elves and 10% for elves; this means they can fight with two weapons without penalty
¬ Martial characters with dexterity of 16 or higher may choose two-weapon fighting at character creation, but off-hand weapon uses d14 to hit if Dex is 16-17; d16 if Dex is 18
¬ Labyrinth Lord, AD&D 1e or OSE spells may be selected, though S&W spells should be first
¬ Magic-users & clerics gain bonus spell levels per day equivalent to their Int or Wis bonus; thus a score of 16 means 2 bonus spell levels that can be used as desired so two 1st or one 2nd level spell per day extra
¬ Standard B/X ability score bonuses apply for all classes
¬ Monks get AC and hit and damage bonuses as normal in accordance with their ability scores; in addition at character creation a monk can choose a single weapon that can be used in conjunction with their specialty martial arts style; thus weapon damage bonuses could stack with martial arts damage
¬ Use S&W XP charts unless class only exists in LL, etc.
¬ XP bonuses follow standard S&W rules with respect to prime requisites, charisma, etc.
¬ Only demi-humans can multi-class but multi-classed characters cannot earn xp bonuses

Combat & Death
¬ Initiative is determined by d20 but sequence after is in accordance with S&W Alternate Combat Sequence 1 (p. 36)
¬ Use S&W to hit charts & saving throws
¬ Character is unconscious at 0 hp; must save every round thereafter as they lose 1 hp/round or die.
¬ Character is otherwise dead when they reach their level in negative hp; hence a 6th level PC is dead at -6 hp.
¬ Must make a check to survive resurrection; permanently lose 1 point of constitution each time they are resurrected
¬ Any time a PC loses 50 hp or more from a single attack, like dragon breath, they must make a resurrection/trauma check
¬ Criticals are inflicted on a natural 20; roll a second d20:
o 1-15: x2 damage
o 16-17: x3 damage
o 18-19: x4 damage
o 20: x5 damage
¬ Then roll hit location die and describe your critical!
¬ A natural 1 is a fumble; automatically lose initiative the next round and lose any additional attacks that round
¬ If a PC or foe rolls a natural 1 on a save vs. a damage causing spell, they take a critical as outlined above
¬ “Of Slaying” weapons do an additional d30 damage versus specified creature type(s); on a crit the creature is slain

Demi-human Class & Level Limits (May exceed by 2 if single-classed)

Dwarfs
Assassin: 12th
Cleric: 10th
Fighter: 15th
Runegraver: 12th
Thief: Unlimited

Elves
Assassin: 10th
Cleric: 10th (Drow: Unlimited, but Drow are not available as PCs)
Cryomancer: 10th
Druid: Unlimited
Fighter: 14th
Knight: 11th
Magic-user: 16th
Pyromancer: 10th
Ranger: 14th
Thief: Unlimited

Gnomes
Assassin: 8th
Cleric: 7th
Fighter: 11th
Illusionist: 13th
Thief: Unlimited

Half-Elves
Assassin: 11th
Bard: 12th
Cleric: 5th
Cryomancer: 10th
Fighter: 12th
Knight: 12th
Magic-user: 10th
Pirate: 9th
Pyromancer: 10th
Ranger: 14th
Samurai: 12th
Thief: Unlimited

Halflings
Cleric: 8th
Druid: 6th
Fighter: 9th
Pirate: 8th
Thief: Unlimited

Half-Orcs*
Assassin: Unlimited
Cleric: 4th
Fighter: 12th
Necromancer: 6th
Shaman: 8th
Thief: 10th
Witch: 5th

Half-Ogres
Assassin: 7th
Barbarian: Unlimited
Cleric: 5th
Fighter: Unlimited
Shaman: 6th
Thief: 7th

Pixies, Faeries, Leprechauns & Brownies
Cleric: 9th
Fighter: 8th
Illusionist: Unlimited
Knight: 9th
Magic-user: 14th
Shaman: 10th
Thief: 12th

*Half-orcs need not be half-human; they could be half-dwarf, etc.
"Behind closed eyes, realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult

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merias
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by merias »

Thanks for letting me know about the PDF attachments - I've updated the board settings to allow the most common document types.

Very interesting house rules - the survival at low levels is greatly increased with the 20hp kicker. Am I right in assuming that the goal with the level limits was to run a fairly high-level campaign? I have not run RA but I know parts of it are pretty hardcore. Also I like the use of S&W as a base and then adding to it with spells & classes from other games - especially AS&SH, that game has so many neat subclasses.

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Persimmon
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by Persimmon »

Yeah, we cap at level 20, but a lot of the stuff I write myself is for levels 8 and above. I have a couple campaigns set in the Infernus and two more in the Underdark. So I'll often use published stuff to get parties leveled up then switch to my material. The thing with the HP kicker is that it really does help characters make it through the low levels, but assuming they are rolling normally, by the mid levels, with the exception of mages, the hit point totals usually aren't beyond what one might be able to get normally with high rolls and Con bonuses. So it doesn't really "break" anything and the crit system keeps things pretty lethal, as even high level PCs die fairly often.
"Behind closed eyes, realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult

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Persimmon
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by Persimmon »

And here is the intrepid party of adventurers, who call themselves "The Shadow Dancers:"

Kyung-Ri--8th level Half-elven Fighter (Samurai)
Unique item: Megistsune, a +3 katana with a jade hilt carved in the shape of a fox, inherited from her samurai father
Noteworthy: Her father was a scholarly member of the military caste from distant Parhae. After a brief but torrid affair with a kitsune, he traveled to the Mistsparkle Woods to study history and magic among the elves. He fell in love with an elven ranger there and Kyung-Ri was their child. She was raised among the elves and stayed with them after her father's death. She followed her friend, the mage Ar-Feniel, along the path of adventure. Though Ar-Fenial died in the Barrowmaze, Kyung-Ri stayed with the party, becoming its leader after Rumi the Dervish perished in an avalanche in the Forbidden Caverns of Archaia.

Huang Long--8th level Human Monk of the Golden Cloud Temple
Unique Item: Staff of Law: +3 Iron staff; rings on the end shake when within 50' of evil spirits or undead; also functions as a staff of healing, curing 2-7 HP of damage per person per day
Noteworthy: A native of the Mysterious Celestial Empire of Leng. Chosen by the abbot of the Golden Cloud Temple to investigate and combat rising Chaos in the world predicted by the turning of the Karmic Wheel. He was entrusted with the temple's Staff of Law to aid him in his mission. His Golden Cloud gongfu incorporates the iron staff along with a wide variety of kicks and jumps.

Thorkrinn Firebeard--8th/10th level Dwarven Fighter/Thief
Unique Item: Grabthar's Hammer, a +6 Dwarven Thrower that does double damage when hurled; triple to giantkind, and always returns to the wielder's hand. Found in the Forbidden Caverns of Archaia.
Noteworthy: A native of the citadel of Earthfast. Was a member of an elite commando organization known as the Infiltrators before becoming a full-time adventurer. This group conducts raids on humanoid strongholds and protects the dwarfs from their enemies in the Underdark. He is close friends with Aengus the gnome.

Aengus Cloverfield--8th level Gnome Illusionist
Unique Items: Gnome Tarot of Sichen: Also known as "the littlest tarot in the world," this tiny deck of tarot cards is stored in a fine mithril box. It confers extra spell casting powers upon gnome illusionists (1 extra spell of levels 1-3 per day) and allows them to exceed normal level maximums (to level 15). Also includes unique spells. Aengus and his companions found this item in the Barrowmaze.
The Cup of Wonder: A magic pewter goblet, encrusted with rubies. Once per day it fills randomly with one of the following liquids: 1) Ale; 2)Mead; 3)Heals 2-5 HP; 4)Random Potion. Discovered in the ruined gnome stronghold of House Indigo.
Noteworthy: Lives inside a hollowed out beech tree north of the clockwork city of Sturbrin. As such Aengus is an accomplished clockwork artificer himself. He lost his badger companion Bucky in the Barrowmaze.

Ser Uleas du Wolfe, aka Ser 1025--7th level Human Paladin
Unique Item: Grimrazor, a +6 zweihander of dismemberment; inflicts criticals on 18-20; on a 19-20 a random extremity is severed
Noteworthy: Ser Uleas was born centuries ago, the fourth son of a baron. He became a knight and devoted himself to upholding the law and battling dark magicians. In one epic battle he was slain, but his companions saved his soul and managed to transfer it into a suit of armor. Thus he became Ser 1025, the clockwork paladin. He continued his battle against evil for some years after this until an evil mage defeated him and placed him into stasis in the drifting dungeon of Highfell. After existing in stasis fir centuries, he was freed by the Shadow Dancers and joined them. As they left Highfell, he healed a wounded griffon, Silverwing, who agreed to become his mount. Later, in Tegel Manor Ser 1025 was petrified by the gaze of a medusa. Thorkrinn pushed him into his portable hole and when the party returned to Axpoint, they hired a wizard to turn him back to flesh, thereby restoring his humanity.

Durag Mountainhome-- 7th/7th level Dwarf Fighter/Cleric
Unique Item: Golden Mace of Frigga's Influence, a +3 mace, +5 vs. undead; has a 50% chance to destroy undead on any hit (save avoids). Undead of levels 1-3 are automatically destroyed. Also casts restoration once per week.
Noteworthy: Was rescued from the dungeon of a minotaur tribe in the Forbidden Caverns of Archaia. Outside Tegel Manor he aided the party in cleansing a temple of Frigga that had been corrupted by followers of Tsathogga. He found a golden mace dedicated to the goddess therein and converted to her worship on the spot as her spiritual power infused him. He is now her champion and an inveterate foe of Tsathogga and his minions.

Akenaton--7th level Human Cleric
Unique Item: Questing for the Amulet of Thoth, which is reputed to lie somewhere in Rappan Athuk. This item reputedly grants knowledge about magical items and empowers the bearer against Set and his minions.
Noteworthy: Guided by Thoth, his deity, he originally joined a band of adventurers in the southeast of Krysonia. Together they survived the perils of Grimmsgate, recovered the Eye of the Serpent, and uncovered the mystery of a fallen star for a band of monks. But an ill-fated expedition into the Ghost Tower of Inverness went awry and Akenaton emerged as the sole survivor of that ill-fated mission. Dream guidance from Thoth led him to Zelkor's Ferry, where he met the others.

Ragnar Steelshank--11th level Gnomish Doom Lord (Fighter)*
Unique Item: Hammer of Flandal Steelskin, a +5 warhammer that can only be used by the Gnomish Doom Lord. It does base 2d8 damage, flames on command, and is "Of Slaying Chaos."
Noteworthy: In each generation a Gnomish Doom Lord is born as a champion of the race, assigned to critical missions, and gifted with a sacred weapon from one of the gnomish deities. In this case, it was determined that a long simmering evil was gaining strength and the resultant chaos must be nipped in the bud, lest it grow stronger. Auguries, confirmed by a reading of the Sacred Tarot of Sichen, suggested that Orcus himself, Prince of the Undead, might be seeking to break through into Krysonia and that Rappan Athuk was the chosen site of entry. Thus was Ragnar instructed to go to Zelkor's Ferry and seek out Aengus Cloverfield, current Keeper of the Tarot.

*The Gnomish Doom Lord comes from Hackmaster's Hacklopedia of Beasts. I've long wanted an excuse to bring one into my campaign world so I did so for this quest.

Note that all place names come from my homebrew campaign setting. I tried to upload maps here, but the files are apparently too large. If anyone is interested in seeing them, I can send via private email attachment.
"Behind closed eyes, realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult

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merias
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by merias »

Persimmon wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:29 am
I tried to upload maps here, but the files are apparently too large. If anyone is interested in seeing them, I can send via private email attachment.
How big are the images? I can tweak the size limits if they are not huge, also you could scale down or export the images to jpeg to get a smaller size. You could also link to an external image sharing service like imgur, which is what I do - external images get shown inline when you link to them in the post.

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badams30
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by badams30 »

Cool stuff, keep posting! Can't wait to see the maps.

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Persimmon
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by Persimmon »

See if this link works:
https://monkeyblooddesign.co.uk/2020/10 ... ommission/

If not, you can find them on the Monkeyblood design website from October 25 of last year.
"Behind closed eyes, realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult

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merias
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Re: Into the Dungeon of Graves

Post by merias »

Those are amazing! What a good idea to commission the maps.

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