The chief Unicorn (me) went to snowy Lake Geneva last weekend to play games with friends old and new.
The big project was DOUBLE SIZED DIVINE RIGHT, a larger version of the rare fantasy board game of yore. I love playing the game, but the original version is too small for my aging eyes and trembling fingers at this point. So I decided to make a larger copy both for home use and for traveling with. One of the fans on the forums suggested printing it on vinyl, and in spite of my aversion to plastics I did so. My local print shop did an awesome job scanning the board and printing a vibrant, durable, and portable copy.
For the chits and cards I used the .pdf files on the CD-ROM that came with the 25th anniversary edition. The same local print shop printed them on cardstock, which I glued down to matte boards with archival glue. Once they were dry I started to cut them out with scissors and art knives, but only got about halfway through when I ran out of time and hand strength. That matte board is tough stuff, but playing with the bigger chits was worth the work. Back to the local print shop which did a decent job cutting the remaining chits out.
Playing with the larger version on Thursday was great fun. I had two other players in the game, which threw off my plans. I had hoped to have 4 to 6 players, and I was going to play the Black Hand and mostly stay out of it. But with only three players that didn’t make as much sense to me. So we drew kingdoms at random and I got Pon. Ethan got the Trolls, and John got the elves of Neuth. I ended up getting good rolls and activating Suchhasum, then Mivior, then the Goblins, then the Black Hand. The others did not do as well on their diplomacy rolls. Once my armies were organized, I sacked the blue city in the south, then the Black Knights Keep, and then headed north to face the elven, troll, and dwarf forces attacking my cities. Upon the banks of the Loudwater River my combined army defeated the elves and their king was slain. Meanwhile the goblins had sacked Immer’s capital and captured their monarch. At the end of the day I had a tremendous number of victory points. But a couple lucky diplomacy rolls is all it really takes to give a player a big edge. Everyone showed great fortitude by playing all 20 rounds over the course of 11 hours (with breaks for meals and to see the wedding).
Now that I have all the chits organized, I’d like this to be a convention game that I run frequently.
Sending The Black Hand to break the siege of The Pits.
Besieging the dwarven capital.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Black Hand constructed The Colossus. None would dare approach The Pits again. Pon and the eastern powers had crushed their enemies.
Posted in Board Game, convention, Fantasy, Lore / Worldbuilding by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The Unicorns have been hard at work on a special project for this year’s Gary Con, and now it can be revealed!
DOUBLE SIZED DIVINE RIGHT
Everyone loves to play Divine Right, but the original printings are rare, expensive, and have tiny pieces that are hard to play with or keep track of.
So we made a bigger version! We had the game board printed on vinyl for easy viewing, transportation, and cleaning, and have printed up larger cards and game pieces for easier play!
Come see it at 2PM on Thursday March 24th at GaryCon in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posted in Board Game, convention, Fantasy by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
This fantasy role-playing game scenario is the lair of the Wyrm of Etiniga, the draconic creature from the adventure: The Suitor’s Challenge. I also used a shorter, modified version of this dungeon for the medieval age dungeon in season 2 of Class of 198x. This map could also serve as basically any dragonlike creature’s lair in your home game.
As the person running the game, select a number and type of creatures for the below encounters according to what seems appropriate to the characters attempting to delve the dungeon. The scenario probably entails navigating three to five encounters, so a gamut of medium and hard encounters is probably appropriate, based on Player Character number and level (consult your Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide or equivalent books for more guidelines on this topic). My advice: make it hard, but not impossible. Don’t be afraid to throw in a couple of reinforcements (on either side) when appropriate, but overall try to present a difficult but achievable scenario.
Situated in a large natural cavern hidden in the ravine past the hills north of Vistola, the lair of the cursed Wyrm of Etiniga’s maw stands open. A cavern in the side of a ravine, twenty feet wide and receding into the yawning darkness of a larger chamber ahead. Close examination of the gravely ground reveals clawed footprints of a variety of sizes, among dry old bloodstains.
1) Gruesome Display
A pile of broken animals, people, and weapons have been arranged into a sort of horrid meat-drying scaffolding in this chamber. The corpses are in varying stages of decay and bear jagged bite marks on whatever is left of them. Broad natural stone passages lead to the left and to the right.
Loud noises in this chamber will alert the kobolds and lizardfolk to the right in areas 3 and 4.
This passage is bisected by a twenty foot deep crack in the stone, at the base of which a shallow underground stream flows. The walls bear black moss and faintly glowing white lichen.
Climbing up or down is a difficult task (DC 20) due to the moisture and the slick growths on the walls.
The warband of lizardfolk who have come to the caves to worship the Wyrm and raid the countryside live in this cavern, eating from the corpses in area 1 and otherwise being served by the kobolds. Among them is a war shaman who will aid them with magic against intruders. The lizardfolk warband spends its time eating, resting, and raiding the surrounding countryside, dragging back both shepard and sheep upon which to feast.
They will lead the attack against intruders, backed up by the kobolds and the shaman as their leader.
Numerous kobolds already lived in nearby caves when the Wyrm arrived, and have come here to join in the worship and feasting. They mainly live in this cavern, and perform most of their domestic tasks here from cooking over small firepits to coppersmithing spear heads and knives.
They will join the lizardfolk in defense of the caverns, taking advantage of the narrow passages that connect areas 4, 5 and 7 to flank and sneak up on intruders. Medium sized creatures must squeeze through the narrow passages at half speed, and are at disadvantage to attacking foes and defending themselves.
The kobolds and lizardfolk have built a shrine here to the Wyrm: a stone block with a silver-and-gold gilded idol of the serpentine Wyrm with eyes of garnet. Piled up at the base of the altar is the wealth of the tribe, including several boxes of sandalwood incense, one hundred gold coins, twice as many pieces of silver coin, and a pot of healing balm which will heal 2d4+3 hit points when applied to wounds.
The shaman will make their last stand here against intruders and will fight to the death to protect the shrine.
The idol itself is is worth 200 gold, but it is also warded with a curse, and the first non-lizardfolk to touch it will take 3d8 points of acid damage, unless they make a Constitution save for half damage.
6) Fungi and Slime
Putrid-smelling green slime drips from the ceiling of this shallow bowl of a cavern. Below, grayish gunk stirs slightly among shards of bone and dark smelly spoor.
Creatures entering the cavern will be dripped upon by the green slime on the ceiling, and attacked by the gray ooze on the ground. Unless they succeed on stealth checks, those who pass by this cavern are likely to be pursued by at least one gray ooze.
For lower level parties, consider using Blue Oozes instead of gray oozes.
This large cavern is split by a 30 foot deep crack in the stone ground.
The chasm is difficult to climb up and down, but the Wyrm can arch across it without difficulty.
Loud noises in this cavern will attract the ire of the Wyrm.
The Wyrm of Etrigia lies here, a gleaming shiny black mass of coils and claws, making gruesome noises.
If using the True Love plot twist version of this adventure, medium difficulty (DC 15) Sense Motive skill checks will reveal the beast appears to be in pain, and is writhing and scratching at itself, biting its tail, all without piercing its scaly hide. With successful Perception checks, of if the princess has accompanied the party she will recognize the silver necklace around the serpentine creature’s neck as the one she gave to her true love. If she can kiss the willing beast, the curse will be broken and the Wyrm will revert to their former self.
Otherwise the Wyrm will attack, kill, and then eat any who intrude, or those making loud noises in the adjacent cavern (area 7, above).
The Wyrm‘s hide is invulnerable to non-magical slashing and piercing damage, and will make a grand prize for any who can collect it. If the Wyrm is slain its scales can be made into hide armor that grants the wearer resistance to slashing and piercing damage. This legendary magic item requires attunement.
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, rules agnostic by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
For the 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons players out there, here’s a magic item from our unpublished adventure For Love of Evil. Dan and I wrote this adventure to run at GenCon in 2009 – it’s a scenario where the 30th level Player Characters are trying to release the ultimate god of evil to unmake the universe.
Lvl 28 +5 2,125,000 gp
Armor: hide, chain, scale, plate
Enhancement: AC, Dexterity & Strength
Property: The player does not keep track of their own hit points while wearing the armor, instead the DM does. In addition, whenever the player wishes to use a healing surge, they must make a saving throw. Success indicates that they can, failure indicates that they instead attack the nearest enemy (via charge etc.) In addition, while bloodied, the wearer of this armor gains +2 to speed and +2 to athletics checks.
Cursed: Removing the armor from a living creature requires a Remove Affliction ritual with a penalty to the Heal check equal to the armor’s level.
Posted in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Magic Item and tagged #Berserk by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
I came up with this dungeon when my players wandered into hex C2-20 in the classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, a great old adventure which encourages DMs to fill inthe blank encounter areas with dungeons of one’s own design.
One of the players was playing a Warlock with the Far Ones pact, and I wanted to introduce a re-occurring Mind Flayer antagonist who would be a contact for the Warlock for their pact. The result was a nasty little dungeon filled with traps and horrors. When the Mind Flayer within contacted the warlock telepathically to offer magical secrets the Player Characters followed them right in.
The evil architects of this stronghold forced their slaves to build it as a spiraling trap, with a raised, hidden central area from which they could use their psychic powers on hapless intruders. As their prey make their way through the outer areas, encountering the mind-controlled slaves who dwell there, the Mind Flayers will lurk, peering through hidden peep-holes to use mind blasts and charm powers on their victims. If discovered, the Mind Flayers will retreat up 20 foot vertical shafts to the central passages and behind further secret doors.
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, rules agnostic, Trap and tagged Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In case you missed it, the second season of our actual-play Dungeons & Dragons show Class of 198X is available here!
See the comedians of Cow Chop play teenagers from the 1980’s and bumble their way through time and space in this incredible adventure, fighting adversaries (and each other) every step of the way.
If you’d like to play the adventure from season one of the show, it’s right here!
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, announcement, D20 Modern, Fantasy, Science-Fiction and tagged Class of 198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
After 12 years and 799 articles detailing new magic items, monsters, spells, characters, encounters, locations, and adventures, Unicorn Rampant Publishing and Claw Claw Bite Magazine are thrilled to present you with this free adventure for Dungeons & Dragons or other fantasy role-playing games.
Thanks for coming with us on this amazing journey of the imagination, and look for this and so much more in the next issue of Claw Claw Bite!
In the land of Findor, where the Hadevar River meets the Soral Sea, the gray city of Grimsport broods. Dark stone buildings with slate roofs cluster around the main square, a short walk up the cobblestone road from the docks. There are found the homes of the ruling Captains’ families. Stone walls separate the inner city from the wooden homes of the tradespeople and serfs. Farms dot the banks of the river further inland.
It is from this city that the region gets it’s moniker “The Pirate Kingdoms.” Grimsport is the largest city in the region and the closest thing to a capital, and the primary source of the raiders that plague the Soral Sea. But in Findor no one rules an area larger than a stronghold or city, save the goblins of the northern wastes.
The Town of Grimsport
The boat-owning worthies who make their homes in the city center form the Captains’ Council, the closest thing to a government in this violent port town. They own most of the farmland and assign it to serfs. They serve as the bankers and trade in many goods. Some families have small fleets. Others have but one ship to their names.
The most important Capitans’ families are as follows:
- VonWaldemar – The wealthiest and oldest of the families, with the largest home on the central square. Said to be the descendants of some of the first humans to come to this wild, cold land many generations ago. Old man VonWlademar hasn’t been seen in public in years, and people sometimes whisper about pale, ghostly figures peering out of the heavily curtained mansion windows at night.
- Thyra Askrdottir – Daughter of Askr Vulfethson, Thyra’s exploits as captain of her father’s ship have earned her a reputation as a skilled and ruthless pirate.
- Addis Rígson – Addis owns two ships, which are captained by his two eldest sons Victor and Ricus. His youngest son Sigurd wanders the land seeking his fortune and could be a NPC or hierling met here or elsewhere.
- Soljev – Captain Soljev sails the Drunken Siren.
- Ragnhild – Captain of the Kraken’s Maw and the Burning Spear.
- Kromulf – The new captain of the Black Hydra, an infamous pirate ship that Kromulf wrested from its previous captain.
- Gunnar Smithson – Owns a small fleet of fishing vessels, sailed by his extended family, and the ship Silver Wave.
- Malte One-Hand – An old captain, now mostly retired due to his ship being in poor repair.
- Gull Erland – His ship is in drydock for repairs which he cannot afford.
- Eberhard the Bloody – Has one small ship and a reputation as a unpredictable and violent man.
- Bjarke Littlebear – Sails a large fishing boat with his five sons.
- The Wailing Wench – This rowdy tavern sits on the road between the main square and the docks, and is always full of sailors. Thieving, fighting, kidnapping and every other type of crime are regular occurrences here. A fenced pen and stables are attached to the back for travelers animals.
- Church of the Sky Father and Sea Mother – attended by a priest and priestess, with smaller shrines to other local dieties such as Krom, etc.
- Smithy – Worked by a smith and a team of apprentices and journeymen, with a good assortment of tools, weapons, and armor, used or ready-made.
- Shipwright – Currently building a 20 foot wooden currach.
- Hanging Tree & Godswood
- Ruined Watchtower – built long ago by the Captain’s council, no repairs have ever been made to the watchtower. Over the decades it has fallen into ruin, and the whole north wall of the two-story tower has collapsed. None know about the small cache of treasure buried there.
Adventures and Encounters in Grimsport
- Thieves in the Swamps – A band of thieves operates out of the swamps to the west. They secretly use Malte One-Hand’s ship as storage for their stolen goods.
- Pressed into Service – Press gangs round up drunks and force them to crew the captains’ ships. While the Player Characters are crewing the ship any sort of mishap or adventure could befall them. The ship could sink in bad weather, throwing the heroes upon some unknown shore. Perhaps they are forced to scout a fortress the Captain wishes to raid, or perhaps the PCs are forced to be the first wave of the attack. The Lilend at the Stormking Rocks might lure them to her isle and send them after the Rune of Life in the shadowlands at the edge of the Land of the Dead.
- Pickpockets and Muggers – The rough rogues of Grimsport will take any opportunity to enrich themselves if they see people not paying attention to their purses, or who they think are weak enough to rob (preferably one character who they follow until they outnumber their victim).
- Dueling in the Streets – Disputes in Grimsport are often settled personally, and duels are a common form of conflict resolution, weather to first blood or to the death. In such a place the Player Characters could easily become embroiled in a dangerous situation. Mistaken identity, false accusations, or just disrespecting someone or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could result in a duel.
- Escaped Slaves – Some slaves captured in a raid have escaped and a reward is offered for their return.
- Beggars – Old crippled fisherman and seamen beg for alms in the square and by the docks.
- Grave Robbers – Graves dug on the hill behind the church are always found empty a week or so after burying. No one in town really seems to care, as this has been going on for as long as anyone can remember. Under cover of night, the ghouls who crew the VonWaldemar’s ships and attend them in their mansion are digging up the graves to feast upon the rotten bodies. Investigation after the next burial (a common occurrence) will lead the Player Characters to the basement door of the VonWaldemar mansion.
- Land Dispute – One of the Captains wants some land currently owned by another Captain and the Player Characters are asked to undertake some skulduggery. Burn the crops, poison the well, kill the farmers, or whatever is needed to get the current tenants off and new tenants on.
- Missing Servant Girls – Player characters who spend much time in town will hear that servant girls sometimes go missing. Investigation leads to the ghouls in the basement of the Von Waldemar mansion (see map).
VonWaldemar Mansion Areas
- The stone exterior, high windows, and peaked slate roofs of this mansion site like a dark and gothic castle on the town square. A fence surrounds the front and sides of the windowless bottom floor, and a stair in the back leads down to the basement entrance. The front door will not be answered unless it is being battered down, and then by ghoul butlers and Matrok, an armored wight who will demand to know what business interrupts the VonWaldemar’s rest.
- The ground floor has several mostly-empty halls, a decorative armory, and a small library of dusty common books. An undead shadow, the restless spirit of one of the long-dead Von Waldemars, haunts these halls and will warn Gunnar of any intruders.
- The basements are overseen by a ghoul named Harod and a flesh golem doorman named Pip. Peasant servants prepare food while ghoul footmen serve the vampires upstairs. The locked vault contains a large amount of plateware, iron ingots, and other loot pillaged from around the Soral Sea, along with several chests of gold, silver and copper coins, and two empty caskets where the vampires will flee if defeated.
- The sub-basement holds cells, a half-flooded chamber where corpses float in briny water, and their horrible feeding area. VonWaldemar, the vampire master of the house, is sometimes found here feeding with the ghouls among the cracked bones of countless people. A secret passage leads to a small, rough-hewn passage which leads to the town well, and is guarded by a gargoyle.
- The VonWaldemar family quarters are upstairs, as are the quarters of their wight guards and ghoul servants. Gunnar VonWaldemar and his daughter Helde are centuries-old vampires, and the only remaining members of the family. They are attended by several ghoul servants. Their quarters contain much finery, and any victims that they are feeding from. The windows in the vampires’ quarters have the shutters nailed closed and reinforced so that no sunlight can enter. Gunnar is a 7th level wizard, and his chambers contain his spellbook, many magic scrolls, and correspondence with someone who signs with a unique snowflake-like rune (the evil lich White Eye), and who has asked Gunnar to use an enclosed scroll of glacial onslaught to draw the oncoming unnatural summer ice south, down the river. If necessary, the VonWaldemar vampires will become bats or rats and use the ratholes, which crisscross the entire mansion with a network of rat-tunnels, to escape.
VonWaldemar Mansion Sub-Basement
Background image by Nikolai Rerikh, Guests from Overseas, 1901, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (public domain)
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, Location, rules agnostic and tagged Soralia by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The History: This ancient blade’s full history is known only to the most studious Dwarven sages of the Dunheng Kingdoms, where it was forged to slay giants and dragons. In the centuries since, it has appeared in the hands of many heroes, only to be lost again with their passing. Most recently it was wielded by Jak, a King of the Fridon people who in tales is called the Giant Slayer. He was a king of the Fridon many years ago, when his people were attacked by the giants from the Danor Mountains. He fought them wearing the hide of a dragon and wielding Jäällätaudin, and drove them back to their burning peaks.
Below are statistics for Jäällätaudin using 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. To customize it add some of the magic item quirks from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Or alter these stats or add abilities to make it fit into your campaign.
Weapon (greatsword), very rare (requires attunement)
This thick-bladed, angular greatsword is a masterpiece of dwarven artistry. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Against creatures with Damage Immunity to fire, the bonus is instead +3.
Jäällätaudin is sentient, and is only interested in slaying dragons, and giants, or other fire-type creatures (salamanders, fire elementals, etc.). It will communicate its history through nightly dreams (telepathy), where the wielder lives through the many battles that the sword’s previous owners fought. If its wielder does not actively peruse the killing of its foes, a deep chill comes over the wielder and they must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or become fatigued and vulnerable to cold damage until the sword is convinced the wielder will do as it wishes.
Many times in the past, this compulsion has driven the sword’s wielders to their doom, for no warrior survives every fight. Other times stubborn warriors resisted the sword’s commands, discarding it in an icy ravine or mountain lake. Twice those who could not leave the sword behind died from the cold, buried under a slowly-growing ice.
This sword’s driving purpose and blood-soaked past have coalesced into a curse – no one, once attuned, may voluntarily discard the blade unless they succeed on a DC 20 Charisma saving throw.
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Magic Item, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In the Chillgrove Woods north of Allenwood a settlement of wild wood elves hides, well secured within a vast mountain grove. Their hunters deter the ice kobolds from the north and the humans from the south from encroaching on their territory, and any who could sneak past them face an enchantment that protects the settlement.
For where the mountain stream becomes a river, the water splits and forms an island, where their dwellings nestle among the towering trees. The water around this island is enchanted such that only elves may cross to the island. Any other who tries will find themselves crossing all the way to the other side of the split in the river, magically bypassing the island completely. This ward may only be bypassed by use of the password, or the spells knock, dispel magic, etc.
Within, their settlement is a pristine embodiment of wood elf culture in the Pirate Kingdoms. Their fierce hunters protect the territory of the animals they hunt from other hunters. Gatherers and cultivators of informal gardens of edible plants, they feast on the wood’s mushrooms, berries, acorns, honey, rabbit, and deer. Patient makers of fine tools, garments, and art, mainly without the use of metal. Good friends with the druids of the region, and host to a grand old druid.
Their homes are mainly built up in the trees, such that one might not notice them if not for the rope ladders hanging down here and there, and the stairs built up around the largest tree in the center of the island. In that tree lives the town’s eldest druid and their family.
They follow the creed of the wood elves, which is that everyone must be free to do as they wish, as long as they harm none. A handful of humans, half-elves, haflings, gnomes, and other forest fey live here in this peaceful haven. When something of import presents itself to the town, a meeting is called, and the people decide as they will, by consensus or vote. Occasionally they must mobilize themselves against the ice kobolds, goblins, and humans who surround them, but their overwhelming advantage in their home woods has led to a fearsome reputation as “the Death Elves of Chillgrove Woods” among their periodic foes.
Posted in Fantasy, Location, Region, Uncategorized and tagged ProphecyoftheSummerFrost by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
These ghostly snakes are the remnants of magic users who befell disaster while traveling through the astral realms. Their bodies are empty husks, but the souls of some remain, thirsty for magical energy.
At first glance they look like faintly glowing transparent snakes or eels who swim through the air, winking in and out of sight and passing through objects. As they move and attack it becomes clear that they are actually little ghostly skulls with vertebra trailing behind, surrounded by an odd glow of magical energy.
Small undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 7
Hit Points 3 (1d6)
Speed fly 30 ft.
STR 11 (+0) DEX 14 (+2) CON 10 (+0) INT 12 (+1 WIS 8 (-1) CHA 6 (-2)
Senses passive Perception 9
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
Arcane Absorption. If a ghost snake is reduced to 0 HP with a magical spell it is not destroyed, but instead disappears until its next turn, when it re-incorporates at full health and 3 temporary hit points (for a total of 6 HP) and +1 to attack and damage.
Incorporeal Movement. Ghost snakes can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. A ghost snake takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.
Bite. Melee Spell Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 3 (1d6 force damage) and if the target is a spellcaster the ghost snake gains temporary hit points equal to the damage done.
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Creature, Fantasy by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.