Who knows what the future holds?

In Northport, practically nobody.  Several years ago (or just over 2 weeks game time) a band of evil cultists murdered everyone with any type of oracular or divinatory ability in order to cloak their planned summonings and actions.

Among the casualties were the Oracle of Eos, a nymph upon whom one not cast one’s eyes or you would be unable to ask a question, slain by cultists who had put their eyes out just to perform this act of infernal devotion, and the one Sahudese who had a copy of the Classic of Changes. Dozens of divination devices were captured and destroyed, a whole expedition was mounted to reclaim one of them, that involved the slaying of a summoned demon and subsequent sale of its gear.

So who does this leave?

Ludlow has recently acquired a functional pack of tarot cards, and has learned cartomancy, but it has led to Christine Bjorn, a mountain elf fire wizard with a golem (bought with points for cash, not as an ally) heading south to learn Pyromancy from the members of a dragon cult. Christine was one of the earlier PC’s in my game, and had a number of oddball disadvantages, including coitophobia and Evil Twin. The Evil Twin turned out to be a Bard named Marie who left a scattering of blue haired half elves known as the Sons of Marie, who were looking for their mother… Recently one of the two survivors of her massacre of trolls by her, an archer, took out Marie… looks like Christine will need to change Evil Twin to Enemy!

Meanwhile, available now on drivethru are these two collections of stock art:

Goblinoids can be got for $4.99

and Evil Things for half that amount.

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Ludlow and Razakeel: Apprentices at large

For over a year, players in Northport have been rounding out their groups with a collection of NPC’s built out of Peter Dell’Orto‘s excellent DF 15:Henchmen. Two of these are Ludlow the Munificent, an overdressed and somewhat hazardous apprentice wizard, and Razakeel Shadowcloak, Goblin apprentice necromancer.  Ludlow introduces himself as a jourtneyman wizard, of modest talents.  Razakeel’s name, and indeed most of my goblin naming conventions after one player introduced the now NPC Zeelzeel Shadowspear, courageous priest of the hunt.  Their images will be be appearing along with several other characters in another bundle of stock art I will be selling on Drivethrurpg; it should be there in a few days. (Edit: it is there now!)

The primary feature of Ludlow is a variant 3e spell that aspired to replicate a wand of wonder in its effects. The spell of Whimsy and its misuse was a major plot point when I first ran Northport back in 2002. Several competing teams of random players were making proficiency runs in the proving grounds of the Adventurer’s guild.  One character had been accidentally teleported into an Admin only area, and was stuck in a pit trap.  At the same time, the kobold servants of the guild had gone all Tucker, sort of like Doby’s revolt of the house elves in Harry Potter, and had started killing the guild Admins, who were there to score the players as they worked through puzzles and got hit with padded clubs wielded by hired orcs, and swatted by pendulum pillow traps.  The kobolds had spiked the traps and torn off the Mystic Mark laden guild badges that allowed them to be tracked by Rigo Bleak, the Guildmaster (He is a knight+treasure hunter+ knight/thief lens and about 150 points worth of equipment, guild rank and allies) using a knockoff of the Marauder’s map (I had it worked as an enchantment that used seeker, know position, scribe and was limited to the mystic marks made to be worn by all guild members and employees by its enchanter, another ranking guild member).

That game had lasted several months and I have kept most of the original players on as NPCS. They were originally all 100 pt characters, and some translated directly into 125point henchman grade characters, Like Dagon the necromancer with his two mummy allies (As they had disturbing speech, I would right their responses without vowels) while others were more complicated, Like Monorith the katana wielding, martial artist were lion, who is essentially a skirmisher with  the were lion template I originally had ifrom Witchworld, as I was a big Andre Norton Fan.

Here are Ludlow and Razakeel. you may note that they both have Weirdness magnet…

Ludlow the Munificent:

Att:90 AD: 36 DQ 55 Sk 25 Sp 31 total 127

ST: 10 DX: 11 IQ: 14 HT: 10
HP: 10 Will: 13 PER: 14 FP: 13
B/S: 5.0 MV: 5 D: 8 Bl: 20
T/S: 1d-2/1d+1

 25 Magery 2
  9 Extra Reserve +3
  1 ADVG member
Cultural Familiarities:
  Aralaise Native/native 0
  Eldrich  none/broken   1
   -5 overconfident
   -5  will -1
  -10 impulsive
  -15 Absentminded
  -15 Wierdness magnet
  -flamboyant costume and spell effects
  -pipe smoker
  -astrology minded
  Thaumatology IQ/V 2 14
  Weird Magic  IQ/V 2 14
  Hazmat: Magic IQ/A 1 13
  Alchemy IQ/V  2 12
  Occult IQ/A 2 14
  Speed Reading IQ/E 1 14
  Research IQ/A 1 13
  Teaching IQ/A 1 13
  Cartography IQ/A 1 13
  Astrology IQ/H 1 12
  Enigmas IQ/H 1 12
  Fortune Telling IQ/A 2 14
  Carousing HT/E 1 9
  Knife DX/E 1 11
  Staff DX/A 2 11
  Innate Attack: projectile DX/E 4 13


Sense Foes IQ/H 1 14
Sense Life IQ/H 1 14
Simple Illusion IQ/H 1 14
Light IQ/H 1 14
CTL Light IQ/H 1 14
Itch IQ/H 1 14
Spasm IQ/H 1 14
Seek Food IQ/H 1 14
Ignite Fire IQ/H 1 14
Create Fire IQ/H 1 14
Shape Fire IQ/H 1 14
Fireball IQ/H 1 14
Seek Earth IQ/H 1 14
Seeker IQ/H 1 14
Detect Magic IQ/H 1 14
Aura IQ/H 1 14
Mage Sight IQ/H 1 14
Find Weakness IQ/H 1 14
Mend IQ/H 1 14
Magelock IQ/H 1 14
Lend Energy IQ/H 1 14
Recover Energy IQ/H 2 15
Whimsy IQ/V 8 16
  cost 3 effects (3d, 1d)
         3-5 Really Impressive Positive
         6-7 Positive Effect
         8-9 Barely positive effect
         10-11 neutral, pointless effect
         12-13 barely negative effect
         14-15 negative effect
         16-18 Really Nasty Negative
           1 immediate environment
           2 something shows up
           3 something goes away
           4-5 something is altered
           6 everything or everybody nearby is altered
  $530 magestaff (fine, balanced, bejeweled, good for 8 fp)
  Fancy robes $360 (DR1)
  embroidered cloak $80
  shoes $40
  fancy hat $80
  cheap dagger $10
  pouch $10
  basics $5
  Pipe $15
   Pipeweed in smaller pouch, $10
  vial of blue paut $135

Ludlow had made use of a dye-comb aquired through use of whimsy, so his beard, 
hair and eyebrows are white rooted and dark brown tipped.

Razakeel Shadowcloak
Goblin necromantic apprentice

ST 10 DX 11 IQ 13 HT 12
Dam 1d-2/1d bl 20
HP11 will 14 per 13 fp 12
Bs 5.25 m 5 d 8 parry 9 block 9

Goblin: sharp teeth, infravision. Rapid healing
        Resist metabolic hazards+3, ugly, cowardice, savage
Deathliness 2

Aralaise accented/accented
Goblin native/native
Dark one broken/broken

Curious, annoying phantom voices, skinny, wierdness magnet, struggling

Occultism 13 hidden lore: undead 13, spirits 13, secret writings 13
Hazmat:magical 12 Thanatology 11 exorcism 12 physiology:undead 11
Research 12 speed reading 12
Shortsword 12 shield 12 throwing 11
Scrounging 13 cartography 12 search 12 stealth 10

Death vision 1 13
Detect magic 1 13
Final rest 1 13
Lend energy 1 13
Recover energy 1 13
Lend vitality 1 13
Sense spirit 1 13
Summon spirit 1 13
Turn spirit 1 13
Turn zombie 1 13
Zombie 1 13

Cheap shortsword $80
Shield $80
Leather torso armor $100
Boots $80
Black cloak $80
Cloth armor elsewhere $60


Gang Agley

The best laid plans of a GM are often befuddled by die rolls, player agency and the preponderance of spellcasters with Weirdness Magnet in the party.

Four of my juniors have it; Jareth Mooncalled, a weird sage (with a Clarence Montague, a torchbearer and Charlene LePoire, guardswoman. Yes, henchmen with henchmen. love me some DF15); Razakeel Shadowcloak, a goblin apprentice necromancer; Jocelyn Lemru, apprentice wizard;and Ludlow the Munificent, another apprentice wizard. A (normal) dungeon crawl became something more when affected by the reality warping influence of this crew.  Ostensibly, the gang consisting of Grimbo the goblin killer and jugger player, Mario Crowfoot the archer, Nodwin Zideqick the initiate of Vejovis and the leftover hirelings of a player who left,( Jocelyn Lemru, Brodak the orc brute, and Mellarill the psychotic elf archer), had stopped by for the guild with their License to excavate (bought from an endangered Acolyte of Hades who lost at gambling) to recruit a guide or spellcaster as backup.  I offered both Razakeel and Ludlow as respondents, and they accepted both.

The group was originally aimed at dealing with the social unrest created by tensions between goblin and orc jugger teams created by the goblin quick running off with an orcish cheerleader, but they ignored that hook, and ended up trying to use their license for the purpose intended; hunting members of the Saturnine cult which two other groups had already tangled.

Jocelyn and Mellaril had been part of a large expedition into a ruined and desecrated temple where cultists led by an infernal halfbreed summoned a demon of old, a succubus and squads of doomchildren.  The assorted cultists had spent time with the succubus, also sacrificing their little toes to her, which led to an unpleasant box of treasure, and the group had also fought a demon from between the stars, and sold off the demon’s chain to one of the juggers.  The main thing they were hunting, was a stolen puzzle cabinet that served as an oracular tool for the temple of Minerva in another country. The cultists actually had quite a bit of divination equipment, most of it spoiled, and all of it stashed in a mana free zone, in addition to killing the local oracle, a nymph dedicated to Eos.  As of yet, none of the players have bothered to ask what the cult might be trying to prevent the divination of…

Ludlow, meanwhile, had been making excessive uses of a piece of chaos magic, the spell Whimsy, something that had been a plot staple in Northport when I first ran the game back in 2002 over on Playbyweb. Back then, a 100pt mage had cast it during a proficiency run in the proving grounds, and accidentally teleported herself out of her designated play area into an admin corridor in another area being run through by a different group.  The spell was also the primary weapon in the arsenal of my character Greely, whose story I hope to publish at some point.

Most of the characters from that game on playbyweb found their way into being NPC’s in the current iteration of the game.  Ludlow’s group had faced cultists that reanimated the inhabitants of a tenement street after slitting their throats, and had doomchildren and lesser demons with them.  They had been in the middle of a summoning ritual that was supposed to convert a captive child with wild talent into a demonologist, and Ludlow tried to stop the ceremony, but blew the roll, creating a gate into the nether realms that sucked in the remaining cultists and collapsed the street, after the party rescued the talented child and escaped.


Desirous of some interaction with cultists, the new crew entered the back way that Ludlow had escaped through, although he hadn’t been too specific about what exactly he had done in relation to the street collapse.  Not all of his castings had had negative effects; some exploding alchemist’s fire was dealt with by the spell summoning a water infused being with water jet at will. (He was called HoseA). Once they did realize what he had done they felt a lot more uncomfortable about the spell being used, and about Ludlow in general.

After creeping through an opening in a wall created by the street collapse, they fought off some ghouls, and a Ghast, both of which were incidentally nerfing the ridiculous firepower of Mellarill and Mario by virtue of being unliving, the presence of four weirdness magnets began to affect the plot of my dungeon.  My ghouls all are jumpers, with the limitation that they can only leap to and from the Vale of Pnath into or out of piles of bones (at least three bones from different sources) and have been variously walled up near mass graves on the upper levels of Northport’s undercity. Ghasts as I run them (think ogre sized with bad smell and a stench attack, iron hooves, teeth and claws that remain after the body dissolves when killed) aren’t jumpers. I find myself agreeing with Needles of Swords & Stitchery about undead.

So in the next room they party found a recently activated gate.  Some fairly foolish experimentation lead to the discovery that the gate lead to the underworld of the dreamlands, in addition to noticing that both necromatic and standard mana levels were elevated near it.. Now remember Ludlow’s accidental  hellgate opening? Someone else showed an interest:

Ymid and Yr-go0001

Yep, a Ymid, from +JGarrison‘s adventure Clatterdelve over on Hereticwerks, along with another of James’ creations, the Yr-go and my earlier post on them.

I was completely ready for combat, had a nice selection of spells laid out for it (Acid jet, Frostbite, Sickness) and some cool gear laid out… and the very curious Ymid rolled a 15 for reaction, and let them hold his tablet while he investigated a magic item belonging to Jareth (Jareth incidentally has no magery, but may end up working toward a mentalist lens after this mess).  Secret rolls a plenty went down as three weirdness magnets looked at the thing,  with its glowing orange notes written in Dark one shorthand (Eldrich in Northport) hovering over it’s purple glass screen.  it is kind of a TL7+2 technomagical device, and the Ymid was kind enough to advise them not to press the red button, which would have discharged built up electrostatic energy from the device’s dynamic battery… damn good thing none of them had unluckiness or klutz.

As it was, they were lucky, activating a Windows 93 pipeworks screensaver, and accidentally opening an email from a Dark One minister of finance in need of a bit of help embezzling ingots of trade metal in exchange for some stable currency… Thankfully, I din’t roll for an accidental opening of some elder thing nudes. That would have led to a few failed Fright Checks… and probably someone hitting the red button.

They ended up having to allow Ludlow to demonstrate Whimsy (effectively teaching the spell to the Ymid… sure that is a safe idea), but I let the party vote on what he was attempting… and he got a box with a comb containing hair dye for men.  The Ymid asked for the hair product after Ludlow used it to dye his once white hair and beard (resulting in a change of avatar in my little pbp game) and then left them to continue investigating other Elder thing events.  It also left the dreamlands gate open.

Naturally, I have been scrambling through mythos wiki’s and illustrating friendly encounters for them (see this post) and plotting what sort of thing I would implement to depict the Tower of Koth. Naturally, the players intend to  destroy the gate and investigate other areas. Thankfully, I always have a backup plan for dealing with new areas of what’s under the streets of Northport.