Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Caarth Observation Colony (Part I)

Caarth Chamber of Repose (#19/31; #78/365)

"This large room is a sleeping chamber of some sort, and reeks with a weird bitter acrid smell. Half of the room is given over to strange bowl-shaped pods, lined with green leaves, and the other half features a weapon rack, a practice dummy that has been hacked apart and much repaired, and a bench with seats, featuring piles of small rectangular stone tablets."

Roll a die. On a 1-2:

"Sleeping in the leaf-lined bowls are half a dozen Caarth snake people. At least you think they are asleep; their eyes are wide open but they remain completely unmoving. Their weapons and armour are dumped on the floor next to each bowl."

On a 3-6:

"Practicing duels with scimitars and spears are several Caarth snake people, while several others sit at the bench, holding and looking at some of the stone tablets."

Contents: A small colony of Caarth have established themselves as an observation post in the second level of the Tombs; their leader having researched the same legends as Espereth (see #29) concerning the artefact known as the Hammer of Bisu, and wishes to acquire it for the Caarth. The Caarth can communicate in their own language, Desert Nomad, and broken Allansian, but cannot be bribed, and will attack if the Heroes are hostile or attempt to move beyond this room.

All Caarth are members of various competing religious orders however, and a canny scholar may exploit the differences between the cults and sects to foment strife among the Caarth, though this will take excellent Caarth language skills and probably some use of magic. For more information on the Caarth, see Out of the Pit (p. 24) and Titan (pp. 86-89).

If the Caarth are sleeping, the Heroes may attempt to sneak through the chamber, but attempting to murder the Caarth in their sleep will wake all of them up, who will grab their weapons and defend themselves.

Stats:

3-8 CAARTH WARRIORS: SKILL 10, STAMINA 11, Scimitar, Longbow and Quiver full of Arrows, Medium Armour (lightweight metal and leather cuirass)

The Caarth's weapons are poisoned with contact venom; they add +1 to the Damage Roll.

The Caarth have 1d6 GP each on them. See #2/#61 for determining individual cult allegiances.

The weapon rack contains 3 scimitars and 2 spears (all unpoisoned); the tablets are a series of standard Caarth myths and religious works in the twisted script of the Caarth and worth 10-60GP to a collector.

Shrine of the Serpent Gods (#20/31; #79/365)

"This low-ceiling chamber has a long stone bench adorned with brass statues and burning candles. In front of the statues are various clay bowls of offerings. In the ceiling of the chamber is an enormous hole, perhaps leading to a cave of some sort." 

Contents: This is the temple of the Caarth and features brass statues of their seven major gods. Each statue is around half a metre high and is worth 10-60GP to a collector of Caarth artefacts. The statues of the gods are (successful Religion Lore to identify):

  • Sith: Snake Demon Lord of all Caarth. Idol: Serpent-headed giant woman with six arms and the body and tail of a snake.
  • Vermistra: The Snake Goddess. Idol: An immense viper, coiled to strike.
  • H'ssghkull: Mother Goddess of the Caarth. Idol: Viper-headed human female.
  • S'hghkull: Father God of the Caarth. Idol: Cobra-headed human male with four arms.
  • Sussussurr: Prince of snakes, son of Vermistra. Idol: A huge python, coiled to strike. 
  • Xiarga: Horned Serpent of Chaos. Idol: A horned, winged serpent, belching flames. 
  • Trabaten: Dark Lord of Torture and Exenteration. Idol: A tall man with scaly skin and a bloody knife.
The offering bowls contain blood and bit and pieces of various desert animals (lizards, beetles, rats, mice, jerboa, foxes), sacrificed to the serpent gods. Anyone interfering with the bowls or the idols invokes the curse of the shrine's guardian, an immense two-headed serpent with spiked yellow and black scales, who lives in the hole above the shrine, and will slither down and attack all desecrators. Anyone investigating the serpent's lair will cause it to attack also.

Stats:

GREAT SERPENT, Temple Guardian: SKILL 9, STAMINA 13, Attacks 2, Very Large Bite, Medium Armour (see Beyond the Pit, p. 117). The Great Serpent is a mutant, and has two heads and is covered in horns and spikes.

In the serpent's lair are several crushed skeletal corpses. Searching these yields 5SP, a dried serpent skin, a throwing dagger, a small shield, and a small Black Pearl (worth 10GP).

Snake Pit! (#21/31; #80/365)

"This small chamber is devoid of decoration and contents. A single exit leads away from the wall opposite you."

Contents: The floor is trapped; anyone walking across it causes it collapse on hinges into a shallow pit full of a colony of yellow-orange Sand Vipers - this requires a Test for Luck to avoid for everyone in the room. After one hour, the floor resets itself; sealing anything in the pit until the trap is triggered again. The Caarth regularly feed the Sand Vipers with small desert rodents.

Stats:

6 SAND VIPERS, SKILL 5, STAMINA 12, Attacks: 6, Venomous Bite (does 4 STAMINA damage), Light Armour. (See Out of the Pit, pp. 106-107). Each successful hit of 2 STAMINA damage kills 1 Sand Viper, reducing the Attack score by 1.

Scattered across the floor are numerous rodent skeletons, several human skeletons, 2-12 SP, and a rusty iron mace.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Lair of the Sand Stalkers (part II)

Preparation Chamber (#16/31; #75/365)

"You have entered some sort of plant-harvesting chamber. A large crack in the ceiling illuminates a vast array of potted desert cacti of various types, being tended to carefully by a Sand Stalker with a watering can, who moves slowly among the plants, allocating steady drips of aquatic sustenance. They look up at your entrance and emit a guttural bark: 'Who in all the Pits are you?'"

Contents: This room is used by the Sand Stalkers to grow various kinds of cacti for food and venom to smear on their weapons. The gardener will not attack if treated politely, and may sell cacti to the Heroes at the prices listed below. However, if attacked, the Sand Stalker will utter a yodelling cry, summoning 2-4 of its kin from the Dozing Chamber (see above).

The cacti (and their potential prices) comprise the following:

  • 2 Hurscht cacti (see The Titan Herbal, pp. 40-41) 10GP per cacti
  • 7 Barbthorn cacti (see The Titan Herbal, p. 21) 1GP per cacti (Sand Stalkers are immune to its poison)
  • 9 Green Spikeball cacti (see The Titan Herbal, p. 38) 2 GP per cacti
  • 6 Xhoss cacti: This is a large segmented, lobe-shaped cacti with pink or purple flowers. The Sand Stalkers extract fluid from this cacti to create the sleeping venom for their weapons. Anyone who eats a Xhoss cacti must Test their Luck or fall asleep for 1-6 hours. Not for sale.
  • 1 Spiked Flesh-Eating Kakti (see The Titan Herbal, p. 63). Currently dormant, but if the Sand Stalker gardener is slain, it will begin creating illusions in the hope of trapping victims on its long spines. Not for sale.
Next to the cacti is a workbench upon which are various gardening implements (trowels, spades, forks, watering cans, etc), piles of soil, and 3 vials containing Xhoss extract (see below for effects).

Stats:

1 SAND STALKER: SKILL 8, STAMINA 7, Sword, Light Armour (leather scraps)

The Sand Stalker has 1-6GP, a tin watering can, and a vial of Xhoss poison. This is made from a type of upland desert cacti, and can be smeared onto a bladed or pointed weapon. Anyone wounded by such a weapon must immediately Test their LUCK or be rendered unconscious for 10-60 minutes. It lasts for one battle only.

Shrine to the Sand God (II) (#17/31; #76/365)

"The floor of this small chamber is covered in sand; coarse, orange, and heaped here and there in ripples and miniature dunes. At the far end of the chamber is what looks like a simple altar; a plinth of stone upon which rests a bare alabaster goblet. The walls are covered in scrawled charcoal graffiti, depicting camel-headed creatures supplicating whirlwinds by making various offerings."

Contents: This is a simple shrine to Assamarra, the Djaratian God of the Desert, who is also highly revered by the Sand Stalkers. Anyone who places a pinch of sand into the goblet on the altar and murmurs the appropriate words of religious respect will be blessed by Assamarra; the next time they venture into the desert they may ignore the first major hardship they face (this could range from heatstroke, sunstroke, or a lack of water, to a major sandstorm or the attack of a Giant Sandworm). 

Anyone foolish enough to touch or take the goblet will summon the shrine's guardian, a SAND DEVIL, which will attack immediately, unless one of the Heroes is a Desert Elf or Nomad Sufi and can placate it accordingly.

Stats:

1 SAND DEVIL, SKILL 10, STAMINA 7, Attacks: 1, Sandstorm (as per Large Claw), All hits only cause the Sand Devil 1 STAMINA damage, but water splashed on it will kill it instantly. (see Out of the Pit, p. 99-100)

The alabaster goblet is worth 20GP.

Sand Stalker Leader's Lair (#18/31; #77/365)

"This chamber appears to be a combination of storeroom and living chamber. Piles of weapons, armour and other objects are heaped along the walls, while one area has a simple straw pallet and a large chest next to it. At a table in the centre of the chamber sits a very large camel-faced Sand Stalker, attaching arrowheads to heaps of sorted arrow-shafts. They look up at your approach, and growl 'Yes?' in a deep voice."

Contents: This is the lair of Q'sar Quickbolt, the herd-chief of the band of Sand Stalkers. Q'sar is a surprisingly conscientious leader who is currently recycling arrowheads onto new shafts for the herd's next raid (he has around 100 arrows, of which half have been finished). He will attack if attacked or treated rudely, yodelling loudly to summon any Sand Stalkers who are nearby (including 1-3 as wandering monsters), but is also happy to trade for information and items if the price is right.

Scattered around the room are various things taken from captured adventurers, travellers, and the like, including:

  • 2 leather cuirasses
  • 1 leather hauberk
  • 1 chainmail hauberk
  • 3 small shields
  • 1 large shield
  • 4 swords
  • 2 spears
  • 1 polearm
  • 3 backpacks
  • 4 waterskins
  • 1 lantern
  • 1 coil of rope
Q'sar is happy to sell this to polite Heroes at half the regular prices listed for a village settlement.

The chest is the warchest for the entire Sand Stalker band. It is locked and trapped; Q'sar's key opens the chest but does not disarm the trap, which is an electric shock trap (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 36). Inside the chest is:

Stats:

Q'sar Quickbolt, SAND STALKER herd-chief: SKILL 10, STAMINA 12, Longbow or Spear (Poison-tipped: Test your LUCK or unconscious for 10-60 minutes), Light Armour (leather scraps). 

Has 3-18GP in change, a key for the Sand-Stalker warchest, a Brass Scorpion Brooch (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 122), and a vial of Xhoss poison. This is made from a type of upland desert cacti, and can be smeared onto a bladed or pointed weapon. Anyone wounded by such a weapon must immediately Test their LUCK or be rendered unconscious for 10-60 minutes. It lasts for one battle only.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Lair of the Sand Stalkers

Sand Stalker Sentry Post (#13/31; #72/365)

"This musty chamber is full of rubble and debris. In the centre of the room, a tall, scrawny creature looking like a humanoid camel is busily sharpening a sword on a grindstone. It looks up at your entrance and spits in the dust. 'Prepare to die!' it snorts at you, and advances bearing a razor-sharp sword."

Contents: The creature is a Sand Stalker, which is a type of new monster resembling a scrawny, camel-headed humanoid, and they originally appeared in The Demon Spider, by Ian Livingstone. 

This one is guarding the entrance to the main Sand Stalker lair and despite its aggressive intentions, can be bribed to leave the Heroes alone for 1GP, or for 2GP will let them use the grindstone. It will take them to the Sand Stalker leader, assuming the Heroes have a convincing reason, for 5GP. The Sand Stalker is also bored and happy to gossip about the rest of level 1 or 2 of the Found Tombs of Arvakaten - use the rumours table in the various Tavern sections. 

If there is a fight and the battle is going badly, the Sand Stalker will utter a yodelling cry, summoning 2-4 of its kin from the Dozing Chamber (see below).

Anyone using the grindstone can add +1 to the Damage Roll for their next battle. This only applies if the grindstone remains here and is maintained by the Sand Stalkers using secret processes involving various cacti and different types of sand and dust. Moving it, or removing the Sand Stalkers, will cause it to lose this ability.

Stats:

1 SAND STALKER: SKILL 8, STAMINA 7, Sword (+1 to Damage Roll), Light Armour (leather scraps)

The Sand Stalker has 1-6GP and a vial of Xhoss poison. This is made from a type of upland desert cacti, and can be smeared onto a bladed or pointed weapon. Anyone wounded by such a weapon must immediately Test their LUCK or be rendered unconscious for 10-60 minutes. It lasts for one battle only.

 Shooting Gallery (#14/31; #73/365)

"This is a long chamber lit by flickering torches. At the far end, a straw bale studded with arrows, hangs from the ceiling on a rusty chain. At this end, several scrawny camel creatures were taking pot-shots at the target with bows and untipped arrows, but at your entrance, turn to face you, arrows nocked in bows. 'What do you lot want then?' they snarl as one."

Contents: This makeshift shooting range is currently being used by 2-4 Sand Stalkers for target practice. This means they are using untipped (and unpoisoned) arrows (-1 to the Damage Roll) to save on arrowheads.

They can be bribed to leave the Heroes alone for 1GP. If bribed, they may suggest a wager on who is the best shot in the shooting gallery; all shooters must contribut 2GP to the pot, and take shots in turn until only 1 archer is left; the winner will take the pot.

They will take Heroes to the Sand Stalker leader, assuming the Heroes have a convincing reason, for 5GP. The Sand Stalkers are also bored and happy to gossip about the rest of level 1 or 2 of the Found Tombs of Arvakaten - use the rumours table in the various Tavern sections. 

If there is a fight and the battle is going badly, the Sand Stalkers will utter yodelling cries, summoning 2-4 of their kin from the Dozing Chamber (see below).

Stats:

2-4 SAND STALKERS: SKILL 8, STAMINA 7, Long Bow and untipped Arrows (-1 to Damage Roll), Sword, Light Armour (leather scraps).

Each Sand Stalker has 1-6GP and a vial of Xhoss poison. This is made from a type of upland desert cacti, and can be smeared onto a bladed or pointed weapon. Anyone wounded by such a weapon must immediately Test their LUCK or be rendered unconscious for 10-60 minutes. It lasts for one battle only.

 Dozing Chamber (#15/31; #74/365)

"This large room is a living quarters of some sort, and reeks with the musty stench of large hairy animals. Half of the room is given over to numerous pallets and bundles of dried straw, the other half has a rectangular table, and a couple of benches."

Roll a die. On a 1-2:

"Sleeping on the straw pallets are half a dozen cameloid Sand Stalkers, snoring their heads off and dead to the world. Their weapons and armour are dumped on the floor next to each pallet."

On a 3-6:

"Seated at the table are half a dozen cameloid Sand Stalkers, drinking from shot glasses and playing a game of dice. They look up bleary-eyed at your approach."

Contents:  

These Sand Stalkers are all tribal warriors from the herd that lairs on this level of the Found Tombs, using their down time to either sleep off a grog-inspired hangover, or gamble on a game of Orc-Eye (see the Tenth Anniversary Yearbook, pp. 111-112).

If the Heroes are being escorted to see the herd-chief, they will be jeered on the way there, and invited to play a game of Orc-Eye on the way back. The stake is 1GP per game.

If the Heroes are obviously hostile intruders, the Sand Stalkers will attack, but more polite Heroes, may be able to bargain for passage with a hefty bribe or a game of Orc-Eye or two.

If the Sand Stalkers are sleeping, the Heroes may attempt to sneak through the chamber, but attempting to murder the Sand Stalkers in their sleep will wake at least one of them up, who will raise the alarm.

Stats:

2-7 SAND STALKERS: SKILL 7, STAMINA 7, Sword or Spear, Light Armour (leather scraps). (all Sand Stalkers are drunk and have had their SKILL reduced by 1)

Each Sand Stalker has 1-6GP and a vial of Xhoss poison. This is made from a type of upland desert cacti, and can be smeared onto a bladed or pointed weapon. Anyone wounded by such a weapon must immediately Test their LUCK or be rendered unconscious for 10-60 minutes. It lasts for one battle only.

On the table are a pile of 23GP, a pair of bone dice, 3 Green Spikeball cacti (can also be used as thrown grenades; see The Titan Herbal, p. 38), and a bottle of Seaman's Grog (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 59), with 8 clay shot glasses. 

The pallets are empty but anyone searching through them has a 4 in 6 chance of contracting fleas (-1 SKILL due to itchy bites until they next take a full bath).

Monday, March 13, 2023

Sleeping Quarters for Various Inhabitants

Sleeping Quarters (Tavern - Tan-Kha and Len-Tor) (#9/31; #68/365)

"These is a simple chamber, adorned only with a large crude wooden bed, some drawers and a closet, and a lone sputtering torch."

Contents: This is the sleeping quarters of the tavernkeeper Tan-Kha and his wife Len-Tor. The drawers and closet contain a selection of basic clothes. One of the drawers has a hidden bottom, containing a small locked box with Len-Tor's jewellery (she has the key to this box on her possession). The box is not trapped, and inside are:

  • a Silver Necklace (20GP)
  • a Electrum Ring with a Sapphire gem (30GP)

Hidden under a blanket under the bed is a locked, trapped strongbox containing Tan-Kha's savings from the tavern. Tan-Kha has the key, which also disarms the trap (blade trap, see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 35). Inside the strongbox are:

Sleeping Quarters (Tavern - Har-Tan and Al-Tan) (#10/31; #69/365)

"This is a simple chamber, adorned only with two crude wooden beds, at the foot of each is a chest, and a lone sputtering torch."

Contents: This is the sleeping quarters of the tavernkeeper Tan-Kha's daughters Har-Tan and Al-Tan. The chests contain a selection of basic clothes. At the bottom of one chest is Al-Tan's collection of scripts from various plays: Orcs and Orcability, Halfhand - Prince of Lendle, The Isle of Quor, Enter Pirates, etc. etc. She wishes to run away (preferrably with Iknab) and join a theatre in a big city or a travelling group of players.

Har-Tan's chest contains her collection of semi-precious stones, bartered from wanderers or found out in the wilderness, including (labelled) chunks of Chalcedony, Agate, Jade, Jasper, Garnet and Malachite (each worth 2-12GP). Also in the chest is a small rock hammer and chisel, and an eyepiece and a set of simple jeweller's tools - Har-Tan has designs on becoming an exploring jeweller.

Tan-Kha and Len-Tor tolerate their daughters' hobbies for now; but will not them leave the tavern unless they can find replacements.

Sleeping Quarters (Fighting Pit - Azgrul) (#11/31; #70/365)

"This is a simple chamber, adorned only with a crude wooden bed, and a lone sputtering torch. On a bloodstained workbench in the corner are piled all manner of warlike things - broken weapons and bits of armour mainly, while several trophies - the head of a Manticore, the horns of a Minotaur - line the walls."

Contents: This is the sleeping quarters of Azgrul the Pitmaster. The workbench is mainly covered with broken swords and dented armour, but among the debris can be found:

The trophies on the wall are unremarkable, but may be worth 2-12GP to a collector (or more to a purveyor of magical components; e.g. see (Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 68, for the Manticore (skull) and Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 91, for the Minotaur horns).

Sleeping Quarters (Fighting Pit - Vizgrim) (#12/31; #71/365)

"This is a simple chamber, adorned only with a crude wooden bed, a lone sputtering torch, and a large chest at the foot of the bed."

Contents: This is the sleeping quarters of Vizgrim the Bookie. The chest is locked and trapped - Vizgrim has the key. The key unlocks the chest and disarms the trap. Anyone setting off the trap causes an explosion of Fungi spores (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, pp. 35-36) that affects everyone in the room.

Inside the chest are a selection of robes, plus the following:
  • a sack containing 237GP (Vizgrim and Azgrul's current winnings from the Fighting Pit)
  • Vizgrim's journal, containing long lists of bookie odds and bets placed, as well as contact details and locations for bookies, trappers, and monster part buyers in Pellod and Dust Town.
  • a smaller untrapped box, with a folded Cloth-of-Gold robe worth 100GP of Vatosian origin,  and a Ring of Warrior-Summoning (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p.131, has 3 charges left).

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Ancillary Chambers to the Tavern and the Fighting Pit

Stables (#6/31; #65/365)

"This large sun-lit cavern has several exits, all signposted with 'Tan-Kha's Tavern', and a sandy floor. There is a musty smell in the air, and much of the cavern has been subdivided into wooden-walled pens; from at least one comes the snorts and motion of a large animal. A Goblin is dozing on a low stool, next to one of the stalls, snoring loudly and oblivious to the world at large."

Contents: These are the stables for Tan-Kha's Tavern, overseen by the Goblin stable-boy Iknab. For 1GP Iknab (if woken up gently), will stable and feed any riding steeds or beasts that the Heroes have. Iknab is also lonely and has lots of problems. He is currently madly in love with one of Tan-Kha's daughters (Har-Tan), who doesn't know; the other daughter (Al-Tan) is madly in love with him (and is teaching him how to read via a written copy of the play 'Orcs and Orcability'). Tan-Kha and his wife Len-Tor both know, and are taking Iknab on their next visit to Dust Town to apprentice him to a Goblin warsmith or ironsmith, and find a new stable-boy.

Iknab has a straw-filled nook next to one of the stable pens where he sleeps, there is nothing here other than some clothes and a leather bag with 2-12SP, and a copper tin containing a single strand of hair.

To determine the creatures currently stabled here, the Director could either decide based on the tavern's current patrons, or roll several times on the table below.

1. Giant Lizard (Caarth only; usually 2-7 kept stabled here)

2-3. Camel (Desert Nomads and Sand Stalkers; usually 2-7 are here)

4-5. Horse (Trappers, Desert Nomads and Desert Elves; usually 2-7 are here, plus 1-6 accompanying Mules)

6. Desert Bison (as per Water Buffalo; always 1, which belongs to Tan-Kha and his family (and is named 'Dessie'); another 2-7 may belong to Black Elf wayfarers or Dwarf and Goblin prospectors)

Stats:

Iknab, GOBLIN stable-boy. SKILL 6, STAMINA 6, Whip and Shortsword, Leather Cuirass. Has 1-6GP in tips, and, stuffed into his backpocket, is a battered copy-script of the play Orcs and Orcability, with many pages heavily underlined, annotated, and dog-eared.

Kitchen (#7/31; #66/365)

"This small cramped poorly-ventilated chamber is abuz with activity. Fires burn under spit-roasting meat and several cooking pots containing bubbling stews, there is a steady drip from a couple of large barrels of liquor, and flies buzz everywhere among the clouds of steam and smoke. A small spindly humanoid in a bloodstained apron with a white hat on a a large head stares at you with wild eyes. 'Well, what do you lot want here? Can't you see I'm busy! it yells."

Contents: This is the kitchen for Tan-Kha's Tavern, and the cook is a CHERVAH known as Skraybar Dooong Zubiel. Skraybar is grossly overworked, but just happy to have a place to stay and hide-out, as they are fleeing creditors from the city of Pellod. Skraybar has addictions to both gambling and smoking Purple Lotus, and the Rogues' Guild of Pellod would very much like to know of his whereabouts. Hence, he generally stays in the kitchen, away from the customers and anyone that may recognize him, and sleeps under a table whenever business is quieter.

The kitchen also contains much in the way of drink and foodstuffs, including:

  • 1 lead-lined barrel of Orc Ale
  • 1 barrel of Pellod's Pride Ale
  • 1 barrel of Holdgut's Special Blue (half-full)
  • 1-6 bottles  of Grundel's Speshul Ree-zerv
  • 2-12 bottles of Seaman's Grog
  • 1-6 jars of Lizard Eyeballs
  • 1-6 jars of Dung Beetles (non-pickled)
  • 2-12 clay pots of rats' gizzards
  • 1-6 jars of cooking mushrooms
  • 1 dead Aardwolf, barbecueing on a spit (worth 2-7 provisions)
  • 1 dead Rock Grub, barbecueing on a spit (worth 2-7 provisions)
  • 1 tightly-sealed water tank containing 3-18 juvenile BLOODWORMS (SKILL 4, STAMINA 3-18, Attacks 3-18). These form the 'redworm' lattice for one of the tavern's signature dishes, and will attack anyone opening the tank.

Stats:

Skraybar Dooong Zubiel, CHERVAH cook (see Return to the Pit, pp. 44-45). SKILL 5, STAMINA 5, Cleaver or Throwing Dagger, No armour. Skraybar has 1-6GP, a smoking pipe and a pouch containing one last bunch of dried Purple Lotus flowers (see The Titan Herbal, p. 54).  

Latrine (#8/31; #67/365)

"This is a small room of near indescribable stench and filth. There is a hole in the floor from which the smell appears to be emanating, while the walls are covered in crude graffiti in at least five languages. A ratskin is nailed to the wall, next to the hole."

Contents: This is the latrine for the Tavern, the Fighting Pit and any monster in the immediate vicinity. Anyone searching this room, or touching the ratskin on the wall, automatically catches the disease Baddu-Belly (see Citadel of Chaos, p. 25), otherwise anyone spending any time in here has a 1-in-6 chance of catching Baddu-Belly every five minutes.

Anyone fighting here, perhaps because they have encountered a Wandering Monster, must do so at a -2 penalty to their Attack Strength due to the smell, unless they are wearing nose plugs or nose filters.

Orcs, Gnolls and Goblins are immune to all the effects of this room.  

On a roll of 1 on 1d6, the latrine is in use. Roll for who:

1-4. Patron of the Tavern or the Fighting Pit (roll on the patron table above).

5. Sand Stalker guard

6. Caarth guard

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

The Fighting Pit of Azgrul

The Fighting Pit of Azgrul (#5/31; #64/365)

The following description of the Fighting Pit assumes that both it and the Tavern (above) are currently open.

"This large circular chamber is crowded with all kinds of creatures on raised stone seats, all facing down to a central pit, whose rim is surrounded by savage downwards pointing spikes, and from which comes a horrible snarling sound. There is a sudden scream, abruptly cut off, and then all the creatures start cheering and waving coins about, attempting to collect their winnings from a harassed-looking Black Elf in dark robes, standing next to a slate on which are chalked various odds. There is a horrible tearing sound, and a bloody object comes sailing out from the pit to land at your feet, splattering gore everywhere. It is the head of a Goblin, face frozen in a rictus of fear. A Cyclops in spiked armour with a whip tucked at their belt, starts bellowing out: 'Right, that's the last of the fighting bait! Who wants to take on the Beast from the Pit then? How about one of you lot?' He is pointing in your direction..."

Contents: The Fighting Pit of Azgrul is a gambling arena in which patrons can bet on unfortunates (the 'bait') fighting the Beast (a GRETCH). Or, fortified by liquor (supplied by Tan-Kha's Tavern), patrons may attempt the fight themselves. The winner's purse is 100GP for anyone who lasts a turn of the hourglass against the Gretch (seven Attack Rounds).

Rules of the Fighting Pit:

  • No magic or firepowder weapons
  • Any armour or melee weapons can be used, as long as they are not magic
  • Use of magic will forfeit the winner's purse.
  • There is a weapon rack by the door, if a weapon is needed (usually by 'the bait'), containing a polearm, a handaxe, a sword, a mace, a spear and a warhammer 
  • The winner must be alive and conscious at the end of seven Attack Rounds to claim the prize

If a Hero accepts the challenger, Azgrul will lower them into the pit on a bamboo platform (the pit is 5 metres deep). When the platform reaches the bottom, the contestant must step off it, at which point the platform is raised again, and the Gretch will attack! The pit itself is sandy-floored and strewn with bones and the decapitated body of the last of the Goblin 'bait'. There is one large cell for the beast, and five smaller cells for 'bait' arranged around the side of the pit and covered with crude iron portcullises (all are currently empty of 'bait').

Should the Hero still be standing after seven rounds, Azgrul will lower himself into the pit, drive off the Gretch into its cell and lock it, and then raise the Hero back to the main area where they can claim their winnings; a bag of 100GP (Vizgrim the bookie is scrupulously honest). If the Gretch is badly wounded, Azgrul will declare the pit closed, to allow the beast to heal; patrons must return to the Tavern.

Should a Hero be captured and sold to Azgrul as 'bait' then they will end up in one of the pit's cells, destined to fight the beast using just a weapon from the rack above. Winning the fight earns their freedom and the weapon as a memento.

Vizgrim takes bets on everything from the fight outcome to things like 'first hit', 'first blood', 'first critical (i.e. decapitation or evisceration), etc. Odds are fair but weighted slightly towards the house (so an obviously powerful hero may be rated as 3:2 to beat the Gretch, but Vizgrim will offer 1:3 for a Gretch victory). The bet limit is 10GP, anyone offering larger sums may be looked upon with interest by the patrons as a target to 'rough up' in the long dark corridor between the Fighting Pit and the Tavern.

Stats: 

Azgrul, CYCLOPS Pitmaster: SKILL 11, STAMINA 14, Whip, Battleaxe, Breastplate, +2 to Damage Roll. Has 3-18GP in change, keys for the Fighting Pit and all the cells and their private chamber, and a Potion of Wound Protection (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 118).

Vizgrim, BLACK ELF Bookie: SKILL 9, STAMINA 12, Scimitar, Leather cuirass (under robes). Has a locked casket (with key) containing a bag of 100GP for the winner of a bout, 87GP in change (for bets), a key to their private chamber, and a Potion of Invisibility (see Advanced Fighting Fantasy, p. 144).

Patrons of the Fighting Pit. Roll 4-6 (1d3+3) times on the tavern drinkers table above.

The Beast from the Pit: a GRETCH: SKILL 10, STAMINA 13, Claws do 3 STAMINA damage per hit, Medium Armour (Scales). (See Out of the Pit, p. 63)

If the Gretch is slain, roll a die for the next monster to be placed in the Fighting Pit (this process may take up to a week as Azgrul and Vizgrim source a new beast from the trappers' market of Dust Town):

1. BLACK LION: SKILL 11, STAMINA 11, (see Out of the Pit, p. 21)

2. SHAUCA: SKILL 9, STAMINA 14, Attacks 2, (see Return to the Pit, pp. 166-167)

3. XOROA: SKILL 10, STAMINA 11,  (see Out of the Pit, p. 123)

4. TARATOR: SKILL 8, STAMINA 13, (see Out of the Pit, pp. 112-113)

5. NANDIBEAR: SKILL 9, STAMINA 11, Attacks 2 (see Out of the Pit, pp. 86-87)

6. CLAWBEAST: SKILL 9, STAMINA 14, Attacks 2 (see Out of the Pit, pp. 28-29)

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Tavern of Tan-Kha

The Tavern of Tan-Kha (#4/31; #63/365)

The following description of the Tavern assumes that it is currently open.

"A torch-lit corridor leads to a noisy, open, pillared hall full of creatures of all kinds carousing, drinking, gambling and laughing. A sign above the entrance reads 'The Tavern of Tan-Kha - No Fighting!' in several languages including Allansian. Below that is another sign that reads 'AS FEATURED IN URGUN'S GOOD RAT GUIDE!'. Several Man-Orcs are shuffling among the tables, dispensing gourds of beverages and platters of bizarre food. At the entrance is an enormous Ogre with a studded club, who looks you over and nods, allowing you to pass. As you do so, he barks 'Keep your weapons sheathed!' and resumes scratching his hirsute hide while drinking from a tankard of ale.

Contents: The Tavern of Tan-Kha is infamous in these parts as both a meeting point on the dusty trails of the western deserts, and a place of neutral ground, where all manner of people may meet but not fight. As a result its clientele comprises almost every sentient race from this region of Allansia.

The Tavern is run by the MAN-ORC Tan-Kha (wrinkled, sensible), his wife Len-Tor (stocky, cheerful), and his two daughters Har-Tan (beautiful, youthful) and Al-Tan (long-haired, happy). If the Heroes enter, they will be directed to an empty table and asked to order from the bill of fare. Keeping the peace are two OGRES, Khel and Khem, with one stationed at each entrance; at the first sign of trouble these Ogres will attempt to knock-out whoever is fighting (treat their clubs as Blackjacks (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 45), strip them of possessions and valuables (which they split with Tan-Kha and his family), and sell the victim(s) to the Fighting Pit of Azgrul (see below).

"Delicacies" served by the Tavern of Tan-Kha include:

Drinks:

Orc Ale, 5SP per pint, see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1 (pp. 57-58)

Grundel's Speshul Ree-Zerv, 1GP a shot, see Citadel of Chaos (p. 24)

Pellod's Pride Ale, 1GP per pint, After four pints, an imbiber will be drunk, with -1 to their SKILL rolls, until they sober up after 1-3 hours. Further pints do not have cumulative penalties.

Seaman's Grog, 1GP a shot, see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1 (p. 59)

Holdgut's Special Blue, 6GP per pint, ("fell off the back of camel, didn't it?"), see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1 (p. 59)

Food:

Roast Aardwolf Joint, 2GP, restores 1-3 STAMINA

Rat Gizzard Soup, 1GP, -1-3 STAMINA to any Humans, Elves or Dwarves

Spiced Mushrooms, 4GP, see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1 (p. 60)

Roast Grub in Redworm Lattice, 8GP, feeds four, restores 1-3 STAMINA

Lizard Eyeball Pate, 1GP, see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1 (p. 56)

Pickled Dung Beetles, 1SP per beetle, see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1 (p. 58)

Gambling games being played by the creatures seated at various tables include Pinfinger, Ten-Ten, High-Low and Orc-Eye, as well as drinking and eating bets on how much or many food and drinks can be consumed. All bets are expected to be honoured; welshers will be dealt with as above by the Ogre bouncers.

The Tavern of Tan-Kha is legendary for being open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. However, the kitchen stops serving food after 10'o'clock at night. Occasionally the tavern may be closed for Orcish religious holidays, or when supplies are low and Tan-Kha needs to go to Dust Town to re-order more stock.

The Rumour Table: Gossip and scuttlebutt from Tan-Kha's Tavern. Spend 1GP on drinks per roll. Roll 1d6:

1. All Sand Stalker weapons are poisoned!

2. Be extra-careful or you will be bait for the Fighting Pit!

3. There's an entrance to level three of the Found Tombs in the Maze of Pnar.

4. Mummies from the tombs can be destroyed by fire.

5. There is a shrine to the Monkey God somewhere in the tombs, but beware the guardians!

6. The Caarth are here searching for something but no-one knows what.

Stats: 

Tan-Kha. MAN-ORC Tavernkeeper, (see Out of the Pit, p. 78).

SKILL: 9

STAMINA: 12

Attacks: 1

Weapon: Cleaver, Throwing Dagger

Armour: Leather Cuirass

Notes: Tan-Kha is carrying 3-18GP in change for tavern transactions. He also has a Bottle of Fog (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 110) that he will use in the event of a brawl, to evacuate his family to their lockable personal chambers (and he has a ring of keys for all these rooms plus the tavern and the stable).

Tan-Kha's Family: Len-Tor (wife), Har-Tan (daughter), Al-Tan (daughter). All three are "Man"-Orcs: SKILL 8, STAMINA 6, Cleaver, No armour. All are carrying 3-18GP in change for tavern transactions, and have 1-3 Throwing Daggers.

Khem and Khel. 2 OGRE Bouncers: SKILL 8, STAMINA 10, Attacks 2, Spiked Club (treat their clubs as Blackjacks (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 45)), Light Armour, +1 to Damage Roll. Both have 2-12GP in donations. Khem has a bag of teeth he has 'collected' from patrons (including 7 from Goblins); Khel has a pet DESERT SCORPION (see Return to the Pit, p. 195).

Patrons of the Tavern: Roll 3-9 times (1d3X3) on the table below to determine who is at the tavern.

First Roll: 1-3

Second Roll:

1. HAMAKEI, 1 lone sage, has a Hamakei Staff (see Encyclopedia Arcana: Volume 1, p. 135) and knows a bunch of useful spells, including Command, Sleep, Restrain, and Force Bolt. Visiting the tavern for a few drinks and some company before venturing back to their lonely tower in the desert. Staff and robe, no armour.

2. RAT MEN, 2-7 scavenging exiles from the Lost City of Vatos, forced out of that city by the rise of new cults under the High Priestess Leesha. Shortswords, light armour (leather scraps).

3. ORCS, 2-7 mercenaries, off-duty from the Bronze Serpent Mercenary Company on level one of the Found Tombs of Arvakaten. Swords, light armour (leather scraps).

4. BLACK ELVES, 2-4 wayfarers, on their way north to visit the Dungeon of Justice, to witness the trial of a legendary adventurer. Scimitars, light armour (leather scraps).

5. HUMANS, 2-7 trappers, about to head into the wilderness to capture some monsters for resale in the Dust Town markets. Swords, whips or nets, leather cuirass.

6. CAARTH, 1-3 guards, off-duty from the Caarth colony on this level of the Found Tombs of Arvakaten. Scimitars, Medium Armour (lightweight metal and leather cuirass).

First Roll: 4-6

Second Roll:

1. SAND STALKERS, 1-3 guards, off-duty from the Sand Stalker herd on this level of the Found Tombs of Arvakaten. Poison-tipped swords, light armour (leather scraps).

2. DESERT NOMADS, 2-7 wanderers, having a quiet drink and doing some freelance gawping and rubber-necking at so-called 'civilized' folk, before heading back into the depths of the Desert to find their tribe and join the annual Giant Sandworm hunt. Scimitars, leather cuirass

3. GOBLINS, 2-7 prospectors, heading north into the coastal mountains, looking for gems and precious metals. Shortswords, light armour (leather scraps).

4. DWARFS, 1-6 prospectors, venturing south to the mining settlement of Sapphire City, to sell their findings. Warhammers, chainmail cuirass.

5. GNOLLS, 2-7 savages, having a quiet drink before returning to their tribe, the Tusk-Gnashers, on level one of the Found Tombs of Arvakaten. Clubs, light armour (leather scraps).

6. DESERT ELVES, 1-3 scouts, apparently having a quiet drink but actually on reconnaissance, trying to collect information about Caarth in the area. Swords, leather hauberk.