Monday, March 23, 2020

The Sword Wife - Nightsky Encounter 15

This Nighsky entry is really just an excuse to post the artwork.

Up until now, I had have in mind that the Nightsky setting would be intended for old school-type rules, but I had resisted actually reference any rules directly in the entries. For, uh, reasons, I guess...

I would probably use it with The Nightmares Underneath but I decided to stat it up using Old School Essentials (OSE) because it would be more braodly useful, if anyone ever actual read this blog. Plus, the conversion to TNU is pretty easy and converting the other way would be marginally more difficult.

This encounter might make it easy for players to acquire some powerful weapons, if they are sneaky, but it would make them kinda a-holes to go around carrying about people who got turned into swords and I'm s
ure you can find a way to make it work in your game. Whatever, I'm not your dad.



The Sword Wife by, uh, me

The player characters come upon a marshy area of the Nightsky, lit by a glowing yellow patch of fungus, reminiscent of a sickly full moon. A crumbling tower is visible in the marshlands, surrounded by swords that jut from the marsh like grave markers.

Wandering around the base of the tower is what, initially, appears to be a woman in the black garb of a religious order, cradling a greatsword in her arms. If the player characters stop to observe her without being noticed, they may see the woman hold the greatsword close--as if whispering to it. If they observe longer, they may see her stoop to bring herself face-to-hilt with one of the swords protruding from the soil and linger a moment in conversation.

Seen from close up, a skull peers out from the shadows of the Sword Wife’s cowl, underneath a golden crown. The skull has no eyes, but the left socket glows with a bright red light, trailing red mould-sweet smoke into the stale air of the marshland. The Sword Wife has no lower jaw, and cannot speak in the conventional sense. She is, however, able to communicate empathically with anyone who gazes into her brilliant red eye. 

If the PCs approach her, the Sword Wife holds out a beckoning hand. Any PC looking into the Sword Wife’s eye will understand that she is making them an offer of marriage. Any PC who takes the Sword Wife’s hand and accepts the offer of marriage is almost instantaneously transmogrified into a sword of exceptional beauty and craftsmanship. The character is now a sentient magical sword, with properties determined by the GM as appropriate to the transformed player character. The Sword Wife will plant her new sword-spouse into the ground of the marsh, and return to moving about the area attending to her partners. 

The player characters may attempt to take a transformed PC, or any other sword in the marsh--they will slide easily from the grip of the wet earth. All of the swords are magical and intelligent. If the PCs attempt to take a sword, other than a transmogrified player character, roll on the table below to find out the identity of the sword.

  1. Jokkel the Wanderer: +2 Short Sword, Int 12, Neutral, Ego 7, Teleportation, Locate Secret Doors, Quirk: Wanderlust.
  2. Iriana the Pyromancer: +1 Flaming Sword, Int 9, Chaotic, Ego 1, Detect Magic, Locate Secret Doors, See Invisible Objects, Quirk: Attraction to open flames. 
  3. Lonely Rom: +1 Short Sword, Int 9, Neutral, Ego 11, Locate Secret Doors, Detect Shifting Architecture, Quirk: Wants to return to his wife who he loves dearly. 
  4. Krogax the Destroyer: +2 Two-handed Sword, Int 7, Chaotic, Ego 6, Extra Damage, Quirk: A thirst for conquest.
  5. Princess Gwyneva: +1 Sword, Int 10, Lawful, Ego 12, Detect Evil or Good, Healing, Target: Chaotic creatures, Quirk: A sense of righteous entitlement.   
  6. Baldyr the Iron Saint: +1 Broken Sword (as a Dagger), Int 7, Neutral, Ego 7, Extra Damage [2], Quirk: A broken spirit, longing to be whole once more.
  7. Duristan Nightraker: +2 Sword, Into 11, Chaotic, Ego 12, Detect Traps, Target: Demonic creatures, Quirk: An unquenchable thirst for slaughter.
  8. Athalan Goblinking: +3 Sword, Int 7, Chaotic, Ego 12, Target: Dwarves and Orcs.

If the Sword Wife catches anyone trying to abscond with one of her lovers she will attack immediately. If no PC accepts her offer of marriage, the Sword Wife will become hostile and will attack at the slightest provocation.

The Sword Wife 

Armour Class     4 [15]
Hit Dice      4* (18hp)
Attacks      1 × touch (transmogrify) or 1 x Two-handed sword (1d10 +2)
THAC0      15 [+4]
Movement      90’ (30’)
Saving Throws   D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (4)
Morale     12
Alignment     Neutral 
XP 125

Undead: Make no noise, until they attack. Immune to effects that affect living creatures (e.g. poison). Immune to mind-affecting or mind-reading spells (e.g. charm, hold, sleep).

Mundane weapon immunity: Only harmed by silver weapons or magic.

Transmogrify: A successfully hit target permanently loses one experience level (or Hit Die). This incurs a loss of one Hit Die of hit points, as well as all other benefits due to the drained level (e.g. spells, saving throws, etc.). A character’s XP is reduced to halfway between the former and new levels. A person drained of all levels becomes a sword of exceptional beauty and craftsmanship. The character is now a sentient magical sword, with properties determined by the GM as appropriate to the transformed player character. 

On death: If the Sword Wife is slain, the spirits of all of her sword-spouses are freed, and their sword forms revert to mundane swords. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ancient Monarchs - Nightsky Encounter 14

Further to my last post, I present another possible encounter on the Nightsky River.

Eagle-eyed readers, with extremely good taste in semi-obscure adventure gaming, may have realised that the Nightsky River and some of its features were inspired by Act IV of Kentucky Route Zero and its supplemental, uh, experience(?) Here And There Along The Echo.

Anyways, the following encounter has pretty much nothing to do with that and is instead inspired by playing a lot of Dark Souls. I mean, its not very much like Dark Souls but it does have ancient kings and queens who are giants, which feels kinda Souls-like to me.



Reaching an area of deep waters, in the distance the PCs spy what at first appears to be an enormous piece of statuary--a gigantic bust of some sleeping regal figure--protruding from the waters of the river. It may appear serenely beautiful or savagely terrifying, or--by turns--both.

On closer inspection, it is no statute at all but rather the head and shoulders of some living creature. The steady, but agonizingly slow, rise and fall of the chest and shoulders gives away that the creature is still breathing. Experienced travellers of the Nightsky, or a PC sufficiently versed in history, may recognise the creature as one of the ancient monarchs of the Old Kingdoms, come to mediate in the soothing waters of the Nightsky River.

Minstrels, bards and story-tellers recount that the Old Kingdoms were the home of a race of scholarly giants, most of whom perished in some terrible cataclysm or other that befell the world in its younger days. Only the giant monarchs, and then only a handful, survived by hiding deep beneath the earth in secured chambers under their gilded fortresses.

Sages and loremasters posit, instead, that the people of the Old Kingdoms were essentially the same in form as those that inhabit the world today, but that their monarchs--ancient sorcerer kings and queens worshipped as gods--grew giant and bloated from feeding on both the adulation and toil of their subjects.

Whatever the truth, the monarchs of the Old Kingdoms were nigh ageless and learned in all manner of lore and esotery. If the PCs are able to wake the monarch they may be able to seek answers to a variety of ancient mysteries. This process will not be simple, however, as the ancient giants experience the passage of time very differently than most of the creatures of the world. Hours passing for the PCs are but fleeting moments for one such as this monarch.

While the monarch will have no difficulty comprehending and communicating in whatever language the PCs choose to attempt, the PCs will have to find a way to make their own rapid chittering words slow enough to make sense to the giant. Likewise, the PCs will need to find a way to make sense of the long, drawn-out, sighs that constitute the aching syllables of the monarch’s speech.

While the majority of the monarch’s accoutrement is a mystery hidden below the deeper waters of the Nightsky, they are visibly bedecked in fabulous jewelry of superb craftsmanship. The jewellery that is accessible above the water (e.g. ear and nose rings, neck rings and necklaces) is worth 2d4 x 500gp if recovered. The jewelry is, unsurprisingly, extremely large and very heavy. It might be easiest to sell if the precious metals are melted down and the large gems cut into smaller stones--the jewelry is, afterall, rather old-fashioned and gauche by the standards of modern giant fashion.