Friday, August 30, 2019

Arabella Traitor of Mars Review

Here's my review of the latest novel of the Arabella franchise.


  • I enjoyed the ship-to-ship combat scenes in this novel more than either of the previous novels.
  • What is more, it's fun to read a series of novels that develop interesting characters from one book to the next.
  • The gravitas of the big confrontation at the end carried more weight than either of its predecessors, too.

  • Once again it took me a little while to get into this book, with the action being somewhat slow to develop.
  • Early in the novel the main character, Arabella, made a decision that made me ask, “Would she do that?” At first I was more troubled by that question, but after a while it made more and more sense to me.

Additional Notes
  • The end of this story presents some huge questions about what will happen next, and only time will tell the answer.
  • There is still the lingering question of Aadim and his sentience.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Spirits of the Void

Here's a band of pirates for use in space fantasy campaigns.


Spirits of the Void
While there are more than a few pirates who ply the vast open spaces of the Void, none is more feared than those known as the Spirits of the Void. They have a reputation for appearing as if out of nowhere, fighting with quarter neither asked nor given, taking what they want, and leaving few if any survivors.

Note: The oni image used in the flag was created by Delapouite.

The Crew
All of the vessel's crew are detailed as follows.
  • The captain, Lord Kyodaina, is an oni (refer to page 221 of the Bestiary for details).
  • His marines are ogres, sixteen in number (refer to page 220 of the Bestiary for details).
  • There are thirty human crew members who man the rigging (see below for details).
  • The navigator is Mr. Osoroshi, a half-ogre diviner (see below for details).
  • Lord Kyodaina's companion is an enchanter, Lady Hasu (see below for details).
  • She has bonded with a spirit oni as her familiar (refer to page 209 of Bestiary 3 for details).

The Ship
Use the deck plan for a junk, which can be found at the following link.

Each of the private cabins (area 2) provides quarters for a pair of ogres. The captain's cabin (area 3) is home, of course, to Lord Kyodaina. Lady Hasu has a private cabin (area 5) to herself. The cargo hold (area 7) is filled with both piles of contraband and hammocks for the ordinary sailors, along with Mr. Osoroshi.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Structure of Aetherships

Note: This article establishes a distinct change from content previously presented for Aetherial Adventures. It is made for aesthetic reasons.

The Structure of Aetherships
The following details regarding the structure and operation of aetherships are hereby changed, as detailed below.
  • The orb of control is no longer needed to operate an aethership; instead, it can be steered using the rudder that is already part of the vessel.
  • This reduces the prices of these ships to following sums: longboat, 5000 gp; dhow, 50,000 gp; bark, 100,000 gp; junk, 150,000 gp; merchantman, 200,000 gp; galleon, 250,000 gp.
  • The cost for constructing each of the vessels, then, is reduced to half of the purchase price.
  • For each vessel, the Driving Device changes to aerial rigging, and the Driving Space changes to the square or squares at the front of the whipstaff or tiller.
  • An aethership that has its rigging shot to pieces—that is, reduced to the wrecked condition—its movement is reduced to 30 feet per round. In effect, it can still hover while the hull is yet intact.
  • When the hull is reduced to the wrecked condition, it loses the ability to hover and begins breaking up, meaning that it has no more movement. If it is the presence of a gravity source, it is then drawn toward that body.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Return to Freeport Campaign Notes

This post should be the first of many with notes from my current Pathfinder campaign, Return to Freeport.


Return to Freeport Campaign Notes

The PCs:
  • Al—Leonard Melachion, human male inquisitor
  • Aric—Kenton Fuso, human male fighter
  • Brent—Birgir, human male fighter
  • Geof—Templeton, human male rogue
  • Michael—Hector Nicolai, half-elf male sorcerer
  • Todd—Abinacki of Ibstock, human male cleric of the Sea God

Session 1—Curse of the Brine Witch—20 August 2019
(We took the first part of this session for creating characters.)

While the PCs were passing through the Fool's Market, Gamey Rind reacted to Hector, spewing information about “the biting eye,” “the crone's red claw,” “the black blood of the poisoned earth,” and “too many missing and not enough dead.” When the passersby started to crowd the PCs, Templeton (more subtly) and Birgir (less so) managed to back them down.

Shortly thereafter they met Little Nell, who led them to Scurvytown for a meeting with Lady Jane at the Torchlight Academy. They heard her story, mostly via Nell, and decided to help. The PCs set up watches to keep an eye on Lady Jane, while Templeton patrolled the street outside the Academy.

During the night Hector had a nightmare about a ship crewed by damned souls, disembodied arms reaching out at him from the fog, and a fleet of ships flying Mazin flags. Kenton woke him up from it. While on watch, Birgir fell asleep, but Leonard was awake when a ghostly hand appeared and struck Lady Jane with some kind of curse. It caused her considerable harm, but Leonard raised the alarm and Hector hit it with a magic missile to dispel it. The PCs decided to continue their investigation in the morning.

Session 2—Curse of the Brine Witch—27 August 2019
The next morning the PCs started investigating. Hector took the black powder to the Wizards' Guild, but they couldn't identify it. Abinack went to the Temple of Procan, but had similar results. Templeton did some asking around the Eastern District and Scurvytown, and met some people who'd suffered various afflictions. There was also talk of strange disappearances. Eventually the party ran into some pirates who were attacking a woman they said was cursed; the PCs defeated them and saved her. At another time they found a man who was being attacked by a sand-blighted swarm of rats, which they managed to slay. 

From there they picked up a trail of black sand and followed it to the Chambers Asylum, which had been boarded up. The PCs forced open the door and entered. They were ambushed by a trio of azhar buccaneers, but turned the tide against them. After some more exploring they found three more buccaneers, led by First Mate Nejhira; they outfought the pirates and captured her.

Session 3—Curse of the Brine Witch—3 September 2019
Continuing their exploration of the Chambers Asylum, the PCs set off a trap in the kitchen, and then found a krenshar in the pantry. Its howl brought more of the creatures, and the PCs fought them off with a brave stand in the common room. Abinack stood over the uncounscious First Mate Nejhira to ensure that she was unharmed. After confirming that the ground-floor dormitories were unoccupied, they headed upstairs.

Templeton tried to sneak up on the cultists, but failed; Birgir attempted to vault their barricade, but crashed into it instead. Even so, Hector put to of the cultists to sleep, and the rest of the part slew the other one. From there they met and talked with Clement Moore, and decide to bind him with shackles and bring him with them. They also found three more cultists in the treatment rooms and defeated them, too.

Finding the stairway that led to the underground level, they headed downward. After examining the high-security cells, Kenton found the secret door to the hidden laboratory. Zabreen the Magnificent, protected by a shield spell and moving on the ceiling because he could spider climb, caused the party considerable harm with his burning hands. Abinack kept the PCs on their feet by channeling positive energy, however, and using a combination of ranged attacks, spells, and creative melee efforts (such as rolling a large barrel under their foe, or having one character boost another—they won the day.

Session 4—Curse of the Brine Witch—10 September 2019
Following their business in the Chambers Asylum, the PCs kept First Mate Nejhira with them; they decided to let Clement Moore go after questioning him. The next morning they headed to the Docks to visit the Scalded Man, which they found occupied by a half dozen crew members. After some consideration, they decided to leave Nejhira there, with the possibility of doing business in the future.

Heading back into town, they were ambushed by Eyebiter, Constance and a pair of snipers with crossbows; they won the fight using weapons, spells and pursuit up to the rooftops to outflank their foes. They were also attacked by a doru, which they defeated. Arriving at Kafe Ilkin, they learned more about the divs and what they might be doing in Freeport.

Session 5—Curse of the Brine Witch—17 September 2019
After their visit to Kafe Ilkin, the PCs were taunted by another doru, who told them Little Nell was in danger. They went to check on her, and arrived just as she was stricken down by the Brine Witch. Another doru taunted them again, this time mentioning Arzu from Cafe Ilkin. Rushing back there, they discovered that the azhar alchemist was missing, but did manage to find a potion of see invisibility. Using that they tracked yet another doru back to the Brine Witch's lair, which they stormed, and managed to slay their foe.

Session 6—The Abyssinial Chain—24 September 2019
During their downtime the PCs have been staying at the Torchlight Academy; they have taken to calling themselves the Torchlight Crew. In the interim, Lady Jane, Little Nell and Arzu have recovered. 

When approached by Maldemer Drum, all but Kenton agreed to be interviewed. Hector told about his encounter with Gamey Rind; Templeton mentioned the black sand and the Chambers Asylum; others told of the Scalded Man and its crew, the assassins and Arzu; tracking the Brine Witch to the abandoned house, and the final battle. Somebody boasted, “As long as we're around, Freeport is safe.” Templeton might have said something about freedom, justice and honor. 

The next day, after the story ran, Abigayle Wynt found them at the Academy, and Abinack asked for the story. After hearing her tale, the PCs agreed to look for her brother at her asking price. They headed to Krom's throat on her tip, where Templeton spread around some gold, said the right things, and learned that Jakob had also frequented the Chickenscratch. The PCs went there, posing as spectators for the cockfights, cased the joint, and then attacked—and defeated—the guards in the hope of gaining access to the place's back room. 

Session 7—The Abyssinial Chain—1 October 2019
The PCs continued their rampage through the Chickenscratch, defeating the cockerels and their handlers. They ransacked the storage area and entered the bunkroom, where Kenzing fled to the office to unleash the cockatrice. The PCs defeated them with melee attacks, arrows and spells.
Having heard cries from the arena to summon the Redblades, the PCs set fire to some of the rooms and escaped through an exit that Kenton had made. They evaded pursuit through the streets and alleyways following Templeton's lead, and Birgir carried out the unconscious Kenzing. 

During some downtime at the Torchlight Academy, the PCs read through Sackerson's papers and questioned Kenzing. They decided then to split the party; some asked questions around the Docks, which cast suspicion on the Mollycoddles, while others posted falsified messages saying that Kenzing had taken over running the Cockspurs and wished to deliver another batch of slaves. They were directed via other posters to go to the Docks. There, leading a strange parade of humanity recruited to act the part of prisoners, they were attacked by some mermaids, and managed to defeat all but one of them.

Session 8—The Abyssinial Chain—8 October 2019
The PCs wove a trinket into the hair of an unconscious mermaid and let her free; Abinack used locate object to find her out in the harbor. Then they plunged into the water on the offensive. Leonard was grappled by one of the crabs but liberated himself. Abinack was grappled, too, but the others killed it before it could eat him. The Mollycoddles came streaming out of the sunken ship to defend their lair. Hector weakened some of them with a color spray, and the other PCs used lots of movements, flanking attacks and a good deal of healing to win the fray. After defeating the mermaids, the PCs rescued their prisoners and learned the sewer exit into which other captives had been delivered.

Session 9—The Abyssinial Chain—15 October 2019
After some preparations, the PCs headed into the sewers beneath Freeport. At one intersection they were attacked by an otyugh, but Kenton shot it in the mouth with an arrow before Birgir finished it off with a swing of his axe. Later a cloaked dropped from the ceiling, enveloped Birgir, and panicked all but Kenton with its moan; the archer slew it with a pair of arrows. At another intersection Mr. Licorice and his choker children ambushed the party. Leonard, Abinack and Birgir were all grappled, but the prior liberated himself while the latter two had their foes killed. Approaching the Hotel Recherche, they tripped the alarm, and thus fought a ready Brazajer, two thugs, and the amorous choker and mermaid, Panterri and Gondalyn—but the PCs won the day.

Session 10—The Abyssinial Chain—22 October 2019
Moving up from the hotel's cistern and basement, the PCs explored the ground floor. Two of the chairs around a long table were actually mimics, and attacked them! Leonard became stuck to one, but again liberated himself. The other PCs managed to dispatch the shapeshifters. On the next level Templeton was stealthy and began exploring, but Abinack was not so quiet and alerted Godmother Gold. Thinking quickly, Templeton used a dagger throw to knock some smoldering embers onto the ground, hoping to smoke the ratfolk out of the counting room. Kenton and Hector began sniping into through the barred window, before while Birgir and Leonard positioned themselves outside the door. The PCs once again were victorious. One floor higher, they ran afoul of hobgoblins, chain gangers, an alchemist and a leopard, the latter of which pounced on and badly wounded Leonard—but Abinack healed him. Again the PCs won the day, and now there is only one more floor left in the hotel.

Session 11—The Abyssinial Chain/Storming the Razor Caves—29 October 2019
Heading into the top floor of the hotel, the PCs heard Miss Vee's offer to work for her; they played along a little bit in order to approach her, but then rejected it out of hand and defeated her and her chain ganger bodyguards in combat. In the aftermath they learned about her efforts to recruit more gangs as part of the Abyssinial Chain, and that she has an influential patron in Freeport known only as G. 

They also found evidence that Jakob Wynt and other slaves had been taken to a place called Hangnail, which some investigation revealed to be an island to the south of Freeport. They tracked down a besotted captain, Flynx, paid some of his debts and convinced him to lead them to Hangnail. Together they steered the ship through a tricky passage in an area of dark water known as Midnight's Ichor, fighting off some attacking wraiths along the way, and reached their destination.

Session 12—Storming the Razor Caves—5 November 2019
Arriving at Hangnail, the PCs were confronted by Klinx Thickskull; they decided to give up her estranged father, Captain Flynx. Heading into town, they ran into a group of Ameer toughs who were coming out of the tavern, but the PCs dispatched them. They then met some of the surviving locals, who called them into tavern and told of the situation on the island—including the facts that the slavers had taken their chattel deeper into the caves of the island, and that the slaving business had recently been disrupted. The PCs managed to access the old warehouse, where they found a stash of jugs that contained alchemist's fire. From there they attacked the old meeting hall, facing and defeating more of the slavers.

Session 13—Storming the Razor Caves—12 November 2019
Moving on from the Congress of Captains meeting hall, the PCs dispatched the guards by the door that leads back into the Razor Caves and then broke it open. They fought off the guards from the barracks, managing to hold against the villains' efforts to attack from both sides. Some of the Ameer warriors in the secret harbor noticed the party's incursion, however, and sounded the alarm. The PCs defeated a slave master and more warriors, and began spreading out into the rest of the compound. They now find themselves in the thick of things, with numerous enemies still surrounding them.

Session 14—Storming the Razor Caves/The Freebooter's City—19 November 2019

Moving further into the compound, the PCs dispatched another Ameer warrior and a priest. Bosun Gelgooth, a winged ape-like creature, attacked from aboard the Eth Abaddon, which was riding at anchor in the secret harbor. There was much climbing across the line being used for moving cargo to the ship, and Hector swam across to it in an impressively aquatic manner. Kenton sniped with his bow while others engaged, and they defeated the bosun. 

Yusynaat, the pairaka div, used a summoned swarm to weaken the PCs, and managed to charm Birgir to turn him against the others. She tried to dimension door aboard the Eth Abaddon and escape, but they caught up to and slew her. After exploring the facility and finding what they could, the PCs set sail from Hangnail aboard their newly acquired ship. In Midnight's Ichor they overtook the Precocious Imp, which was drifting, with only Captain Flynx left aboard. When Black Jules attacked, they struck a deal with him, and then continued on toward Freeport.

Session 15—The Freebooter's City—10 December 2019
Upon arrival in Freeport, the PCs were met by a ship of the city's navy and told to receiver boarders, including soldiers, Councilor Nathan Grymes and High Wizard Tarmon. The latter two decided to confiscate the Eth Abaddon temporarily for inspection, but did pay the PCs 200 gp each and invite them to that evening's council meeting. Abigayle Wynt also paid them the promised 1000 gp each.

After some shopping, the PCs went to the meeting, where they argued for rallying the Freeport Navy against the Mazin threat, but the councilors voted against doing so. Jacob Lydon met them at a tavern afterward, however, and proposed recruiting a flotilla of pirates, and the PCs agreed to do so. They found Katspur Zee at the Irate Pirate tavern and convinced her to join; after that they found Mean Wallace at Krom's Throat, beat him and his orc crew in a fight, and thus won his cooperation, too.

Session 16—The Freebooter's City—7 January 2020
Continuing their recruiting, the PCs asked around town and learned about Edward Cooper's interest in the late Dolly Jasmine, a victim of the Brine Witch's curse; Lady Jane told them about Dolly's business with Bryleth Hayes, a cartographer at the Freeport Institute. For some compensation, he agreed to draw a copy of the map that had been tattooed on Dolly, and they used it to win Cooper to the cause.

Next they trekked across A'Val to Cabbage Crack—being attacked by and defeating a pair of shambling mounds along the way—and met Christopher Bailey at his farmhouse. By appealing to his honor, they convinced him to join as well. Back in Freeport, they learned that Sabiha Carrington was seeking a letter of marque, and they had Jacob Lydon write one for her.

Finally, following up on rumors that Sarinda Rogers was still alive and dwelling in the sewers beneath the city, they ventured underground—fighting off a blacking pudding as they did so—found Rogers, heard her story, and agreed to help her find the amulet eternal.

Session 17—The Freebooter's City—14 January 2020
Abinack used a locate object spell to find the resting place of the amulet eternal; the PCs drank potions of water breathing and took the plunge. Entering the coral dungeon, they handily dispatched the dire prawns—and saved the carcasses for later use. The giant moray eels gave them a tougher time, but they still won the day—and again saved the carcasses. In their battle against the mermedusa and her sahuagin servants, none succumbed to her petrifying gaze, and they were victorious. With the amulet returned to her, Sarinda Rogers agreed to join their fleet for one last voyage.
Once all were assembled, multiple captains threw in their names to lead the flotilla, including Hector! For that reason, Maldemer Drum arranged a competition. The PCs won the deck-swabbing contest when Abinack called upon the Sea God to create water for doing so. He won the climbing race, too, by using his dimension step ability. Finally, Birgir won the drinking contest, and Hector was named Commodore of the fleet.

Session 18—A Storm of Sails—21 January 2020
After she blew obsidian sand in Hector's face, the PCs chased the mysterious red-robed woman; Templeton caught her, but she dissipated before telling them anything more. Hector has a vision, however, in which he met Ad Avish. The party hired seven artillerists to operate the ship's ballistas, and then they set sail. En route to Hangnail they fought off a slithering sargasso, a wing of kapoacinths, and a gang of wights led by a spectre. Just before reaching Hangnail, they spied two ships in the distance that tried to turn about and make a run for it...

Session 19—A Storm of Sails—28 January 2020
The PCs captured another elemental baghlah, a scout for the Mazini fleet; they fought their way through a deck full of enemies and a stinking cloud to do so. They gave Christopher Bailey command of it. The other one was sunk by the other ships in their flotilla.

Sessions 20 and 21—A Storm of Sails and Traitor's End—4 and 11 February 2020
Knowing that the Mazini fleet is approaching, the PCs decided to let those ships reach the main Hangnail harbor, and then use their own flotilla to pin them into place; they would then sneak around from the secret harbor and attack from behind. The Mazini spotted them, however, and pressed for a direct engagement. It was a hard-fought battle, and Ad Avish proved particularly tough. The PCs one the day, but Abinac was killed in the fight. He was reincarnated as a goblin. 

Among Ad Avish's possessions the PCs found evidence revealing the identity of the traitor, G; they returned to Freeport as the Drac's Fall festival was beginning. After some investigation around town, they headed to the Helkerna shipyard to confront Captain Cecelia Mawkins and her pirates, whom they defeated. They learned that she'd been making deliveries to Drusilla's Drafts, an alchemy shop in the Merchant District.

Session 22—Traitor's End—18 February 2020
Upon arriving at Drusilla's Draughts, the PCs conversed with her for a bit before pushing their way into the backroom, where they found the secret entrance to a stairway leading below. At the bottom of the stairs she tried to lead them into the pit trap, but she failed. The chemical golem caused the party some trouble, as did the Ophidian alchemists and Zesshessn, but the PCs won the day.

Session 23—Traitor's End—25 February 2020
From the Ophidian alchemists the PCs learned about the production of ebon blight, a poision made from the black sand, and Grymes's plot to poison the rum intended for the Drac's Fall celebrations. For that reason they visited the Dirty Molasses distillery, only to find that their rum had been moved to Warehouse 44 for distribution. Arriving there, Leonard used a dimensional hop to bypass the front door, taking Birgir with him; they unbarred the front doors, found the blood stains and tracked them into the office. They found the bodies of the slain supervisor and guard, then headed further inward. Eventually the faced off against three rogues from the Vultures gang and defeated them, before facing and defeating Grim Caldwell, his phantom, and two more rogues. 

After that they visited the Three Spears distillery, too, where they ran into the bugbear brawler Bruiser Beegore and more Vultures thugs. The PCs won that first battle and survived a cone of cold trap before encountering and defeating Mercy Wintoris and more of the Vultures thugs. From Mercy they took a note, which led them to research the poetry of Opal Shelby.

Session 24—Traitor's End—3 March 2020
The PCs read the poem; Hector recognized he clue in it, and they set out for Grimarch Alley. Following the secret directions, they navigated its labyrinthine course. Upon reaching the quicksand, Abinack moved himself, Birgir and Hector over it, while Templeton and Leonard made running leaps. That was when the Guardian struck, trying to push them back into the mirk. He proved a challenging foe, but the party's numbers carried them to victory. They made relatively short work of the giant squid at the base of the Spire, and then were harassed by the nasu divs while making the climb over numerous derelict ships. (Kenton was forced to wield a spear. A spear!) 

At the top they found the div-touched Nathan Grymes, who pushed the PCs to their limits; only through a combination of spells, healing, knife slashes, rapier stabs, axe blows and arrow strikes were they able to win the day.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Steamship

Here are deck plans for a steamship, for use with adventures and campaigns in The Sixth Gun setting for the Savage Worlds RPG.


The Steamship
Refer to the deck plans below for the following location descriptions. 

1. Forward Deck
At the front of the ship is this open space. It has two separate hatches for loading cargo into the hold below (area 5), and the ship's foremast juts up through the deck between them. Two walkways lead aft, and stairways provide access to the lower deck. When the ship is carrying a large amount of cargo, some of it is often stored here, covered by tarpaulins and tied down to the deck.

2. Main Hall
This broad hallway is lined with four big tables surrounded by eight chairs each. Tucked in among them are two smokestacks, a spiral staircase leading up to the pilot house (area 12), and the jutting mainmast.

3. Passenger Cabins
A dozen cabins line the walls of the main hall. Each of them is furnished with two bunk beds, two sea chests and a table and chair. Two additional rooms provide showers and toilets for the passengers.

4. Aft Deck
This area is very similar to the forward deck, except that it has only one hatch and no mast or stairways. Excess cargo is stored here, too.

5. Forward Hold
The most important—and valuable—cargo that the ship carries is stored here.

6. Boiler Room
A large, complex mechanism dominates this room. It is the boiler that provides steam for turning the two ship's wheels, via pistons connected to it and axles that extend out through the sides of the vessel. There are also coal bins located along the walls for keeping it stoked.

7. Galley
Fueled by the heat from the boiler furnace is a large stove, suitable for keeping the ship's passengers and crew fed. To that end there is also a preparation table in the middle of the room, cabinets that contain cooking implements, and barrels of water. Two additional rooms extend off of this kitchen, one for cold storage and the other for dry goods.

8. Mess Hall
Two long tables, each with a pair of benches for seating, fill this room. It is, of course, where the ship's crew members take their meals.

9. Crew Cabins
Each of these rooms is furnished with two bunks, a sea chest, and a desk and chair. There are also rooms containing showers and toilets for the crew members.

10. Aft Hold
While the forward hold is used for transported cargo, this area usually stores supplies for the ship itself.

11. Paddle Wheels
Positioned along both sides of the ship are these wheels, which propel the vessel, powered by the steam in the boiler.

12. Pilot House
A spiral staircase from the main hall (area 2) leads up to this room. From here, the captain can steer the ship and, as needed, shout orders to the boiler room (area 6) to provide more or less steam. Windows around the surrounding walls provide a clear field of view in all directions.

Captain and Crew
Provided below are stats for the captain and crew of one steamship, the Intrepid II, which sails out of Galveston, Texas.

Captain Edward Danielson
Captain Danielson is a daring soul, willing to take anyone anywhere—if the price is right. He has a sense of adventure, too, but is not willing to risk his ship or his crew without there being a suitable profit to turn. To those who win his respect he is a true friend.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Athletics d6, Boating d8, Fighting d4, Notice d4, Shooting d4, Survival d4
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 4, Toughness: 5
Edges: Brave
Hindrances: Poverty
Gear: Functional clothes, Colt Navy Pistol (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1), folding knife (Damage Str + d4, Parry -1, -2 to be Noticed if hidden).

These hands are a little rough around the edges, but they know their jobs. They aren't much for social niceties like conversation, but they know how to keep a vessel in good order and have the experience to handle most crises.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Athletics d6, Boating d6, Fighting d6, Notice d6, Shooting d4
Charisma: -2, Pace: 6”, Parry: 5, Toughness: 7
Edges: Brawny
Hindrances: Mean
Gear: Clothing, folding knife (Damage Str + d4, Parry -1, -2 to be Noticed if hidden), flask of rum.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Still More Fey Creatures

This post presents two more fey creatures, the salamander and the clurichaun, along with plot hooks for using them and a link to a PDF compilation of all six.


This creature resembles a rather small lizard, with colors ranging from yellow, orange and red to black. It is often smudged with soot, given the conditions in which it lives, and puffs of smoke even erupt from its mouth periodically.
Salamanders are creatures of elemental fire, and therefore are closely linked to the practices of alchemy and other types of magic. Their innate abilities make them useful for stoking fires, of course, but it is also believed that certain of their inherent qualities can be harnessed for the brewing of potions and perhaps even the forging of weapons and armor.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d4, Notice d6, Occult d10, Spellcasting d8
Pace: 4, Parry: 4, Toughness: 6
Edges: Alertness, Arcane Resistance
Hindrances: Cautious
Special Abilities
  • Claws: Str + d4
  • Size -1
  • Fiery Breath: Small cone; 2d4 damage
  • Power Points: 10 ; Power: Elemental manipulation
Gear: None.

This creature resembles a small person with an over-sized head, and wearing rustic garb. While it seems almost wizened due to the condition of its skin and hair, the mischievous gleam in its eyes betrays its inner nature.
Clurichauns are spirits that live close to the earth. They are skilled craftspeople and capable of performing astonishing amounts of work when motivated to do so, but would much rather enjoy the comforts of a warm fire, hardy food and strong beer or wine. In fact, their tendency toward heavy drinking is what sometimes leads them to play scary and even dangerous pranks on victims who have somehow earned their ire.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d4, Strength d4, Vigor d8
Skills: Common Knowledge d6, Fighting d4, Notice d6, Repair d8, Stealth d8, Thievery d6
Pace: 4, Parry: 4, Toughness: 6
Edges: Dodge, Luck, Scavenger
Hindrances: Greedy, Habit (Major)
Special Abilities
  • Size: -1
  • Infravision
Gear: Shillelagh (Damage Str + d4), various small tools, other items provided by the Scavenger ability.

Plot Hooks
These creatures can become involved in adventures and campaigns for any or all of the following reasons.
  • When the vodyanoi disapprove of a land-dweller building project—especially a mill or a dam—they take action.
  • If these creatures found some valuables aboard a shipwreck, then they would possess a bargaining chip for use with others.
  • A murderer might drown a victim and then leave evidence to make it look like the vodyanoi are responsible, leading to conflict.
  • Given their capricious natures, sylphs could be annoying distractions during important business, and might even steal a valuable item.
  • Characters who develop power over sylphs can then use them for delivering messages and parcels, as well as spying on foes.
  • Dryads are likely to find conflict with loggers who attempt to cut down the connected trees to which they are bonded.
  • One could offer aid to adventurers who are lost in the wilderness—in return form some kind of favor in return, of course.
  • Treasure hunters delving into an old burial mound should not be surprised to run afoul of a banshee.
  • Anyone who gained control of a banshee would thus command a potent and fearsome weapon for use against enemies.
  • As mentioned above, salamanders are prized for use in alchemy and the creation of magical items, and so occultists have been known to capture them and press them into service.
  • When angered, these fiery creatures present an especially terrible danger to modern towns with their closely packed wooden buildings. The London fire of 1666 is an example of one such tragedy, and some suspect that the Chicago fire of 1871 is another.
  • Clurichauns can often be a nuisance, stealing various small but valuable items, especially when they've been drinking.
  • Their tendency to hoard treasures can make them a source of unusual items—as long as one is able to catch them, that is.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Crossing Revisited

Here's an update of the town formerly known as Smith's Crossing, one that makes changes based on the events of the "Manifested Destinies" campaign and adds the development of a railroad.


The little town now known as “The Crossing” has gone through many changes in its relatively short history. Over the past year it saw a corrupt doctor and his wife—who was a practitioner of Voodoo—try to take control of the populace by creating poppets that depicted notable locals. That plot, along with the release of a virulent plague, was discovered by a band of adventurers, who tracked the responsible parties out to nearby Fort Arneson, where Mrs. Smith tried to summon a crossroads demon and open a path into the Winding Way. That effort, too, was foiled by the adventurers, but not without having to settle a battle between the native people and the soldiers of the U.S. Army. Indeed, that was only the start of things, because members of the Knights of Solomon then tried to access the Winding Way in order to find and unleash a trapped but powerful spirit, Marinette of the Dry Arms, but once again were foiled by the aforementioned heroes. 

In the aftermath of these developments, those who survived them formed a town council that would govern the settlement. They consisted of Mama Celeste, an original founder of the settlement; Godfrey Werner, who operates the warehouse and general store; Elizabeth Grey, keeper of the saloon; and Reverend Malachi Smith, the minister. Their first legal decision was to change the name of the settlement to The Crossing, followed by another that authorized the hiring of a sheriff in order to keep the peace. At the same time, western expansion throughout the United States brought the construction of a railroad to the area, something that has created all kinds of complications in its own right.

More Information
To learn more about the history of The Crossing, please refer to the scenarios and supplements that form the “Manifested Destinies” campaign, which is linked below.

H. Boarding Houses

A number of entrepreneurs have built houses in which they can house visitors to the settlement, especially the higher-ups in the railroad construction business. Each of these buildings has a wide-open entryway inside the front entrance (1), with stairs to the upper level as well as doors leading to the parlor (2) and dining room (3). A door from the latter leads into the kitchen (4), which itself connects to the pantry (5), the house's backyard, and the cook's quarters (6). On the upper floor there are rooms for guests (7) along with master bedrooms for those who run these lodgings (8). 

I. Sheriff's Office
This building boasts a reinforced front door, although the walls are still made of wood. Inside is a receiving area (1) with tables and chairs. Beyond that there is an office for the deputies (2) with desks. Each of three cells (3) has a cage-style door and a bed.

J. Livery
This establishment offers horses for rent. The house has a common room (1) and two bedrooms (2 and 3). The stable itself has ten stalls (4) and there is an outhouse in the back (5). It is run by the widow Nora Clayton and her two children. 

K. Laborers' Tents
Each of these canvas enclosures is nearly twenty feet wide and almost forty feet long; they have cots for eight workers. 

L. Mess Tent
This huge tent, some forty by sixty feet, has two big cast iron stoves in the middle of each wall, and nine long tables for feeding hungry workers.

M. Supply Tent
While it has the same dimensions as the mess tent, this shelter is filled with crates, barrels and sacks instead of tables. This is where all of the foodstuffs, tools, materials and other supplies are stored, and so two guards are stationed here at all times.

N. Railroad Tracks
These mark the progress that the construction crew has made so far. What is more, once they are longer, the railroad company will put a train on the tracks, to provide quarters for the overseers and owner, when he visits, as well as to move deliveries of supplies further on down the line.

O. Second Pier
In addition to the pier at the Landing, the railroad company has added this one in order to receive their own deliveries.

Recent Developments
As mentioned previously, this supplement assumes that The Crossing has changed from when it was first presented in “Bad Medicine,” including the following possibilities.
  • It is likely that Dr. Mordechai Smith and his wife, Angelica, are dead, as fallout from the events of “Hell to Pay.”
  • Meghan Evans, their housekeeper, might also be dead, and the proprietor of the warehouse and general store, Godfrey Werner, might be disgraced.
  • Wishing to have a little more control over developments in the town, some of the locals—notably Big Jean, Elizabeth Grey and Reverend Malachi Smith—form a town council to make those decisions.
  • One of their first resolutions is to hire a sheriff and a few deputies in order to help keep the peace around these parts.
  • That decision becomes even more important when the railroad company arrives and begins building tracks, since the workers are a rowdy bunch who sometimes drink too much and then seek boisterous entertainments.