Dinotopia’s fantastic locations

I think James Gurney’s Dinotopia is just crazy good. Invaluable inspiration for a Lost World rpg campaign!

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Batiri Tribes from NW Chult

Okay, back to Chult. Here’s a few jungle goblins tribes that I’ve created for my campaign.

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Art: Raph Lomotan

Canopy Drummers

Live on tree platforms, at least 100′ above ground. They have an alliance with the Dwarves of the Pick & Axe co.

Steeds/Pets: Giant Spiders, Spider Swarms,

Favorite tricks: poisoned javlins, spider riders, spider swarm descending from trees, poisoned arrows, velociraptor ambush, snares, pits

Black Stripes (Tasloï)

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Live in underground lairs. Have recently started to worship a jungle spirit: the Sting of Decay.

Steeds & Pets: Giant Wasps

Favorite tricks: poisoned javlins, waspriders, pits

Wandering Tremors

Live on top of large dinosaurs. No fixed territory. Constant warfare with other tribes which they bully for tribute.

Steeds & Pets: all kind of dinosaurs

Favorite tricks: triceratop charger, brontosaur “fortress” with 20 batiri on it

Mystic Creepers (Kuro)

Live in round wood and hay huts. Have a long and strong tradition of shamanism. Learned magic long ago from a wizard with his soul trapped in a gem.

Steeds & Pets: Giant Centipedes, Giant Ants

Favorite tricks: entangle spell, ensnaring strike spell, shoot immobilized foes from distance, spore bombs

Egg Stealers

Live in temporary huts. Far ranging hunter-gatherers. Even more adept than other batiri at stealth.

Steeds & Pets: troodon mounts

Favorite tricks: jagged arrows, ambushed archers, hit & run troodon lancer

Spelljammer – If I did it

My Ruins of Chult campaign has been sputtering for a while (curst ye thrice gloomhaven) and now is on hold with summer finally upon us (time for garden luv). I say there’s nothing more pathetic in life than a campaignless DM. Alone. Adrift. Aimless.

And so:

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Hey, that’s out of the blue, isn’t it?

Well, not totally (for me, at least) as I read Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun a few months ago and it struck a swordsspaceships chord I didn’t know I had.

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Anyway, loosely based on something mentioned on this book (it’s so packed with amazing ideas, it’s incredible!):

  • there’s only one spaceship, of unknown origin and it’s absolutely gigantic
  • it sometimes encounters other spaceships
  • they’re, in fact, alternate, and sometimes very weird, versions of the one spaceship
  • because the spaceship can go beyond the speed of light, as a result, SPACE AND TIME ARE BADLY FUCK*D UP AND WEIRD SHIT HAPPENS (I mean, who cares)

The main idea is that the PCs (humans, elves, dwarves and whatnot) awaken, pandorum-like, aboard the eternal spaceship and, you know, proceed to explore, or die trying. Once in a while, the spaceship temporarily halts its mysterious course, as it crosses the path of an alternate, different (subtly or not) version, and, well, things get interesting…

The best thing? All the weird monsters I never use (looking at you intellect devourer)? You bet they’d be there!

Clockwork Cove, Oozing Grove,Vermling Nest, Payment Due

Four random side scenarios in a row. I’ll make it short & sweet as it’s been several weeks and I’m going on hazy memory now.

Oh, and:

The Rat is Back, Baby!

Scenario 66

Goal: Activate pressure plate e

Team: Brute (lvl 6), Elementalist (lvl 6),  Mindthief (lvl 5) Soothsinger (lvl 6)

Set difficulty: 3

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We’ve cleared the oozes without much sweat but the ancient artilleries in next room are another matter. The mindthief takes control of the Elite and make it move in the first room just as we release the pressure plate, trapping it behind the door! Nicely done!

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Next, we had to manoeuver uncomfortably between stone golems, oozes and artilleries. Add to this living spirits, once we got to open two more rooms (with treasures!). The Elementalist stood ready to step on the last pressure plate as we’re finishing a last xp & gold grab.

Scenario 72

Goal: Destroy all trees

Team: Brute (lvl 6), Elementalist (lvl 6),  Mindthief (lvl 5) Soothsinger (lvl 6)

Set difficulty: 3

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Our first encounter with forest imps and aren’t they lil’ motherfuckers?! Ranged attacks that do curses? Annoying. Anyway, with the first few rounds that seemed like we weren’t doing anything useful, we managed to cut down the tree in the central area. I then split off to get to the tree to the right, as the Elementalist had mostly cleared the way for me, while the rest of the group went for the tree to the left.

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Borborygm, joyfully swinging his axe at the oozing tree

Scenario 94

Goal: Kill all monsters

Team: Brute (lvl 6), Elementalist (lvl 6),  Mindthief (lvl 5) Soothsinger (lvl 6)

Set difficulty: 3

Hey, we’ve unlocked a scenario with vermlings, at last!

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The hounds facilitate our job by getting all bunched together
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Elementalist: I’ll leave the rats for you, I swear! *Kill 2 vermlings” Mindthief: “GrrrRRRrr”
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Brute: “Hey, I need some back up!” 6 attacks later with a grand total of 4 damage “Oh, nevermind.”

Scenario 95

Goal: Kill the Prime Lieutnant

Team: Brute (lvl 6), Elementalist (lvl 7),  Scoundrel (lvl 5) Soothsinger (lvl 7)

Set difficulty: 4

The completion of Vermling Nest unlocked Payment Due. We have to find tokens dissiminated in two areas, one with damaging difficult terrain, and the other full of obstacles and deep terrors. Meanwhile, flame and earth demons keep popping up in the hallway so, no fooling around…

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Scoundrel: “I’m melting!”

Our new member, the fast-moving scoundrel, takes on her to get the 3 tokens in the acid-filled room.

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Brute: “What the hell are those things?!”

Deep terrors are brutal monsters. They’ve got range, annoying effects, and have retaliate to boot. The large room is difficult to navigate: rocks, columns, puddles, traps… The Cragheart would have done marvels, ahhh… The nimble Soothsinger gets the 2 tokens in the back while I get the other, not without taking many hits. Damn those tentacles!

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Scoundrel: “Huh, guys?”

Once we got the tokens, we could open the hallway’s door and fight the Prime Lieutnant. This fight was a pushover, really. He wasn’t even a true Boss, c’mon! It’s not even deserving of a pic (my phone’s battery died just before the final fight, oops)!

 

Isaac’s adventures VI

We’ve defeated the third Evil Ninja Boss in an epic mecha fight. The ENB used a giant serpent-robot that threathened to crush us in its coils but we had the perfect counter, with our patented hedgehog defense!

The next ENB can be found in a hotel (I think Isaac has only a vague idea of what is an hotel ha! ha!) and has a peculiar “power”, his left arm is mechanical and he can remove his thumb, which is in fact a mini-bomb, so that he can throw it and blast his enemies!

It’s a NUCLEAR THUMB!!!

But NukeThumb-Guy, after we’ve killed all his minions, doesn’t go nuclear on us but choose instead to parley.

How about One million dollars to let him live?

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My son: “One million dollars and two diamonds. Two big diamonds!”

Not too bad for a day’s work, my corruptible son, not too bad…

 

Papua New Guinea arrows (for D&D)

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Papuan traditionnal hunters use a variety of arrows, each specialized to hunt specific preys (birds, wild pigs, etc.). And then there are arrows for warfare, for humans…

Those are serrated, barbed, jagged, lined with porcupine quills, so that they do gruesome damage when they’re removed. And there’s more: orchid fiber is laced on the arrows, bits stay inside the wound leading to infection.

Papuans are badasses

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Jagged Arrows for D&D

  • typically used with a short bow
  • range 10′ less
  • 1d4 damage
  • 1 damage each round until removed (per arrow), unless victim is prone
  • to remove:  Wisdom (medicine)  DC 13 (as an action)
  • advantage on check with expanditure of 1 use of healer kit
  • success: 1d4 damage and arrow is removed
  • failure: 1d4 damage and arrow still stuck

 

  • orchid fiber causes 1 level of exhaustion next dawn unless medicine check was succeeded by +5 or more (note that another try could be attempted IF someone has any idea what’s going on)

 

Session 15c – Zotzilaha’s Guardians

The PCs doing the HSoT in “reverse” (from top to bottom) meant, in my mind, that the final scene would be with Zotzilaha himself. Accordingly, I wanted the last few encounters before the finale to have a more otherworldly feel. Also, the PCs had the choice to fight Zotzilaha, or not…

Characters:

  • Shin (level 5), Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
  • Phileas (level 4), Half-Elf Bard (College of Swords), Archeologist; “it’s not tomb-robbing if you do it respectfully”
  • Kalohan (level 3>>4), High Elf Wizard (Evoker), Inheritor; noble Elf, ill-suited for adventuring life
  • Flyzus (level 6), Wood Elf Ranger (hunter), Outlander; sole survivor of his tribe after an orc invasion
  • Rufb (level 6), Half-Orc Barbarian (berserker), Mercenary Veteran; captured by pterafolks, his fellow mercenaries killed, seeks riches and glory
  • Vorn, Shield Guardian, found masterless by the party, beside a gaping hole in the ground

I’m no botanist but I don’t think it’s a tree

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In a water-filled basin stood a twisted, unnatural-looking tree. Phileas approached to read the bronze plaque at the base of the basin. This triggered a reaction from the “tree” as it threw a tendril-branch to grab the Half-Elf. Phileas cut the tendril with one deft move of his rapier and his companions jumped into action. Rufb, knee-deep into the turpid water, hacked at the tree-thing with his greataxe while the others kept their distance, trying to evade the numerous flailing tendrils. They vanquished the creature and found some valuables as they searched the basin (2).

Drowning Kiss

The PCs then went to the deepest level of the hidden shrine, finally ready to enter Zotzilaha’s acrid sanctuary. Turning right, in a flooded passage, they heard  cries for help. In a vast cavern (3), with the nearest two-third also flooded, a woman was seemingly drowning. Without a thought, Phileas swam frantically to get to her, albeit his companions tried to dissuade him. Surely something was amiss! He reached for the distressed, strikingly beautiful woman and she thanked him with a kiss.

Phileas started suffocating, his lungs suddenly filled with acidic water. His dismayed companions went into the water but were assaulted by a giant electric eel while the woman, who was in fact a water-spirit nereid, laughed an evil laugh (4).

The adventurers killed the eel, but they couldn’t save Phileas in time. The nereid proved an elusive foe and she almost got Flyzus too before she was slain. She dissolved into water, only her silky shawl remained.

The Lord Snail was a Pervert

After the nereid’s cave, the PCs got into another area where the ground was muddy and  uneven. There were many bowls littering the place too but most unusual, in front of them stood a strange hunched old man with a large snail shell on his back. He welcomed the adventurers, first in olman and then in common language, and presented himself as Zotzilaha’s seneschal.

“The Great Zoztzilaha, after being neglected for so long, is in dire need of offerings!” he said, as several giant crabs popped out of the ground, approaching the adventurers with threathening pincers.

The PCs determined that crab meat would have to do as an offering and proceeded to massacre the crustaceans. In the heat of the battle, wand-waiving Kalohan sent a lightning bolt directly at the Lord Snail. This angered greatly the seneschal and he transformed into a Humongous Snail! The viscous creature spat a stream of acid at the levitating Elf Wizard, sending her crashing to the ground, nearly dead. A shadow arrow from Shin softened the beast as Rufb, Flyzus and Vorn got in melee to finish the job.

The snail’s body disappeared, leaving behind it’s shell. Inside was a few of the seneschal personnal items, amongst them a lot of erotic drawings of the aforementionned nereid

Zotzilaha’s Offer

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As the PCs placed (5) crab meat in the offering bowls, the surrounding acrid mist coalesced into a fearsome presence: Zotzilaha! (6) Its initial shape rapidly shrinked, reflecting the fact that it was worship-starved. Notwithstanding his somewhat vulnerable, weakened state, Zotzilaha was still frightful to behold. As he spoke, voicelessly, Zotzilaha explained that he had lost control over his subordinate spirits, three of whom the PCs had defeated in battle (the Cyclop, the Nereid and Lord Snail) and the fourth had left the Hidden Shrine not that long ago. If the adventurers would so endeavor to slay the treacherous Sting of Decay, Zotziloha would be grateful and reward them accordingly. As an act of good faith, they could have one artefact for now: the Axe of the Cyclop (7). 

Surprised by this turn event, the PCs accepted the offer, at least for now…

DM’s notes:

  1. Phileas’ player was in rather reckless mood this session.
  2. And a  wand of lighning bolt for my power-crazed sister…
  3. I’ve enlarged the original room a lot.
  4. A nereid, played with her strengths, can be a surprisingly tough encounter, I discovered.
  5. Nothing forced them to do so at that point ^^
  6. Zotzilaha makes no appearance in the original module, is barely mentionned in fact, I thought it strange.
  7. The berzerk axe, an ambivalent item, powerful but cursed, fittingly I think.