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ISSUE 45

Semi--Regular Magazine for Fantasy and Science Fiction Gaming


A Semi
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Editorial
An Interview with Robert Stikmanz
Sleeper Awakes, a New Kind of Fantasy
PDF Reviews
Fiends of Chirak: the Skerradi
Elder Mysterium
Fred Saberhagens Benevolent Bloodsucker
BRP Creature Conversion from 4E
The Cavalcade: Cavalrymen in D&D
Dragonkin, Cambions and Naga in C&C
Blood & Bullets
Pagan
Traveller: Ad Astra
Temple Encounter
Gochikono: The Jungle Kingdoms

Tori Bergquist
Jeremiah Griffin
Jeremiah Griffin
Tori Bergquist
Tori Bergquist
Jody Bergquist
Dan Lambert
Tori Bergquist
Jarrod Camir
Tori Bergquist
Dan Lambert
Jeremiah Griffin
Tori Bergquist
Jarrod Camir
Tori Bergquist

The Sorcerers Scrolls Issue #45 is Copyright 2009 by Nicholas Bergquist, all rights reserved. All contents are
copyrighted and owned by the individual authors or illustrators.
Editor: Nicholas Torbin Bergquist; Published by Zodiac Gods Publishing
Authors: Jeremiah Griffin, Tori Bergquist, Jody Bergquist, Dan Lambert and Jarrod Camir
Artists: Tori Bergquist, various royalty free pieces. Some artwork copyright 2008 Mark Hughey, used with
permission.. Some artwork by Paul slinger. Cover and some interior art by Sade. Additional royalty-free artwork by
Michael Koal and the team of Sphere Productions
The Sorcerers Scrolls is now paying for contributions! Payment is a percentage of royalties from revenue
generated through RPGnow.com and affiliated sites and is based on contribution size. Please send all submissions,
inquiries and feedback to toribergquist@gmail.com and thanks for reading!

Editorial
By Tori Bergquist
Well amazingly enough I managed to
produce issue #45! That makes four issues
this year, roughly a quarterly rate of
release, which is not too bad given this is a
part-time hobby as opposed to an actual
job, although the magazine is picking up a
bit of steam as can be seen in this issue,
with a variety of excellent contributions by
various talented authors. Issue 46 will
hopefully come out a wee bit sooner than
#45 did; theres plenty of material lining up
for it, and Ive been working on the editing
and layout of that issue at the same time as
this one.
This issue features yet another Traveller
article, this time an extensive adaptation of
my Ad Astra setting to the Traveller
mechanics, including a variety of new
species and some gear. I have always
enjoyed the theatrics of that setting, and
will try to produce some more material for
it in the near future, as well as the Stellar
Expanses setting that was featured in the
previous three issues. The material, of
course, works great with minimal
adjustment to any Traveller setting, and is
inspirational for just about any other SF
RPG.
The fiction is ramping up in this issue; Dan
Lambert offers up a tale straight out of the
Exploitation! Universe with Blood & Bullets,
Jody Bergquist (yes, we got married
September 26th of this year) has provided
an interesting fantasy tale of drakes telling
ghost stories in Elder Mysterium and

Jeremiah Griffon tells a disturbing tale in


Pagan.
In gaming, we have articles on using the
th
4 edition Monster Manual with Basic Role
Playing, Jarrod Camir debuts with an
article on cavalrymen in 3rd edition, and a
large feature article on the Ad Astra setting,
now at last Traveller-ized, among other
articles.
As TSS expands, I would love to see more
fiction, from new and aspiring authors as
well as old pros feeling charitable! One
advantage of TSS as a venue for fiction is
that people who pick it up to enjoy the
gaming articles get the additional treat of
some short fiction, which is otherwise very
difficult to offer on its own in the PDF
industry. Even though the bulk of the PDF
market is comprised of one shots aimed
at a single specific theme in exchange for a
nominal price, I feel that the plurality of
options made available in a traditional
magazine format allows for a broader and
more generally entertaining experience.
Fiction is a major component of this
approach, and is something that TSS and
other magazines can offer that a tightlyfocused gaming PDF would not be able to.
Anyway, as always reader feedback and
contributions are welcome! Email me at
toribergquist@gmail.com (I check that
much more frequently than the other
email) and as always, good gaming!
--Tori Bergquist
November 18, 2009

Interview with Robert Stikmanz about his book series:

The Hidden Lands of Nod


Interviewed by Jeremiah Griffin

JG: Well, that alone might interest some of


our readers, but perhaps you could
describe a bit of the setting of your series
with out giving too much away?

Robert Stikmanz is the author of a


new series of books which bend and break
the rules of science fiction and fantasy,
blending both into a new kind of fine
literature. I had the pleasure of meeting
him recently at a local convention. He has
been gracious enough to agree to be
interviewed for our magazine and to discuss
his books and other projects.

RS: The setting for The Hidden Lands of Nod


series is a collection of realities identical to
the one we inhabit, but canted a few
degrees. The gravity--and the levity--of
these other realities affects ours, but we
can directly observe them only through
imagination. A premise of the series is that
legendary elder races, the puissant little
people of myth and lore, actually exist;
however, they have withdrawn to exile in a
parallel existence because violent,
rapacious human society makes for
dangerous neighbors. Because this
existence, the reality we share, is their
home, they are unable to simply abandon
it. They must remain engaged, trying to
influence the course of human events in
order to assure their own survival. The
Hidden Lands of Nod brings the legendary
beings forward into a contemporary
setting, following a team of dwarves--or
Dvarsh, as they call themselves--and the
humans with whom they ally in a grand
struggle to save a world in which creatures
of the imagination live and love.

JG: Well, Mr. Stikmanz you seem to have a


rather interesting and unconventional book
series going. How many books have been
published so far?
RS: So far, the first three novels have been
published. Prelude to a Change of Mind
appeared in 2007, Entranscing in 2008, and
the most recent, Sleeper Awakes, in June of
this year. When complete, there will be five
books in all. In addition to the novels, my
publisher, Dalton Publishing, has also
produced a companion to the series, Nod's
Way, a fantasy divination system that
embodies the ancient wisdom of my
fictional people.
JG: When we last met you had an
interesting description of the style and feel
of this series. Might you describe it for our
readers?

The first two novels of the series, Prelude


to a Change of Mind and Entranscing, are
set twenty years apart, and take place in a
possible recent past. Sleeper Awakes, the
just released third novel, moves the story

RS: I believe I suggested imagining the love


child of Jack Kerouac and Carlos Castaneda
as channeled by Terry Pratchett. I write just
to the left of that.

another generation forward into a possible


near future. Prelude to a Change of Mind
introduces the story of Meg Christmas, and
recounts her first days in the company of
two Dvarsh. With the Dvarsh comes a
troop of singing empaths, beings the Dvarsh
call Thrm, but old tales among humans
misremember as elves. As the title implies,
Prelude to a Change of Mind is an
adventure of consciousness, but it rides a
deliberate erotic current to its conclusion.

version of events. Along the way he is


befriended by mages of the Dvarsh, the
incredibly cool emissary of an
extraterrestrial civilization, and an odd
assortment of human characters. Sleeper
Awakes is a much larger book than the first
two, but fast paced, with lots of action, wry
wit, trippy exploration of the nature of
reality and a love story.
At this time I have begun revising the
detailed outline for the fourth novel,
Rataxes, the General, but I have not yet
committed to a finish date. Before turning
full attention to that project I need to
complete the dictionary of the Dvarsh
language for release by Dalton Publishing in
July 2010. At this time, all I'd like to say
about Rataxes, the General is that it will
center around the investigation of three
murders, each in a different reality. I plan
for it to be at least as large a book as
Sleeper Awakes.

Entranscing is specifically a sequel to


Prelude to a Change of Mind, in a way no
other book in the series will relate to any
other. It is a novel I wrote at the specific
request of my editor to follow through with
more of the story of Meg Christmas.
Twenty years after the events of the first
novel, she has come to understand and
develop more of her unique ability to
simultaneously inhabit multiple realities.
Vast forces of universal conquest overrun
the cosmos, the Dvarsh marshal a
desperate defense, and Meg searches the
corners of being for answers to issues
unresolved from the days of her awakening.
Where the first book is more
contemplative, Entranscing picks up the
threads and runs with them in a ripping
good yarn.

The final book of The Hidden Lands of Nod


series will be a short novel on the scale of
the first. Provisionally entitled, Another
Noon, it exists as an outline and a set of
character notes that will eventually draw
all the story lines together. My current
plan is to see it into print before this world
ends in 2012.

The third book, Sleeper Awakes, moves


slightly into the future. Its first section is
entitled, "A Day After Yesterday." Despite
this chronological relationship to the first
two novels, it is actually the book I drafted
first, and also (IMHO) the best starting
point for a reader. This is the story of an
unintended traveler, Boyd, and his journey
across a society in collapse. The lone
survivor of a catastrophe that kills millions,
he is pursued by an assassin charged with
erasing anyone who contradicts the official

JG: You have already outlined your ideas on


how this series will eventually play out, but
if it were possible how would you feel
about the prospect of other spin-offs such
as comics or, better yet, a role playing
game based in The Hidden Lands of Nod
universe?
RS: One of the other hats I have worn is
that of video artist, a role to which I am
planning a return with the first Dvarsh
5

RS: My influences as an author are many


and varied. The one I cite most often is
Doris Lessing, the Nobel Prize winner. I was
already in awe of her work when she
decided in her sixties to change direction
completely and begin writing future
fantasy. It was a decision that probably
delayed her Nobel by twenty-five years,
because, after all, the prize committee just
didn't go around handing out medals to
writers of that fantasy trash. Finally, 2007,
she was awarded the prize anyway. I, for
one, never doubted the brilliance of her
speculative fiction. Her entire Canopus in
Argos: Archives series was a revelation,
unlike anything else I had seen in breadth
of vision and originality of approach.

language feature. This will be a mix of


illustration and animation that will be
posted in three to four minute episodes as I
finish them. Planning on this project is at
the stage of a partial script and a few
preliminary images, with a first episode in
the second half of 2010. After an intense
focus on narratizing over the past three
years, having a project involving lots of
illustration is a pleasure to contemplate.
The rationale for structuring it as a series of
short episodes is so I can budget time. The
project that will have to share attention
with completion of the Dvarsh dictionary
and, of course, two more novels.
Fortunately, I've always found that
organizing several projects side by side,
especially in different media, accomplishes
wonderful things through cross-fertilization.

Other books and authors that helped steer


me onto the path I follow include Tolkien,
Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, the
Don Juan books by Carlos Castaneda, and
Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island. The list
could go on and on, but that's enough to
suggest a trajectory of development.

I have to admit the idea of a role playing


game is an appealing one, but that kind of
design is outside my expertise. A third
party design would have to be licensed
through my publisher, but if the right
designer came forward with the right
proposal I would not hesitate to endorse it.
Comics interest me less, largely because
my illustration style does not lend itself to
that medium. I'm not yet ready to trust
visualizing my world and characters to
another artist; however, again, if the right
artist and writer put together the right
proposal, I would endorse it.

As an illustrator, my influences are not


primarily fantasy artists per se. I owe a
debt to the surrealists, especially Magritte
and Tanguy, and to de Chirico. Art Deco is
prominent in my composition and design
aesthetic. I have also always been
fascinated by nineteenth century botanical
engravings and by paintings on black velvet.
JG: Now that we are on the subject of your
art, I am reminded that you told me that
you do your own cover art. Do you do all of
the art that is featured in the series? Are
we to assume that the style and images
shown on the covers and such are the kind
and style of imagery found in the world of
your books?

My editor argues strongly for a line of


action figures. Frankly, I'm dubious about
action figures. Maybe if they were formed
from plant-based resins instead of from
petroleum products....
JG: Who or what would you list as the
greatest influences to your writing if you
believe there are any?
6

RS: With a few exceptions, yes, it's my


work. I did not design the label on the
Nod's Way box or a couple of promotional
pieces, but even those use my illustrations
and the Dvarsh calligraphic script. As a
matter of fact, I originally devised the
Dvarsh script to be a recurring feature in
illustrations related to The Hidden Lands of
Nod series, thinking I would make "words"
by stringing together the glyphs in varying
sequences based on appearance. When I
actually began to devise the Dvarsh
language, I already had it's unique script to
hand. As you suggest, the appearance and
application of the script is meant to be
emblematic of Dvarsh culture. This is also
true of the illustration in the Nod's Way
oracle book, and of the greeting cards
series, Proverbs of the Dvarsh. It is less
true of the illustrations on the covers of the
novels. Those are more purely Stikmantic,
to coin a term. My intent with the cover
illustrations is to embody an allegory of
each tale, rather than more prosaically
illustrate a scene from the book. The
images are created as independent works
that I have made available occasionally as
fine art prints, and more recently as post
cards.

Nod's Way is a fantasy divination system


that consists of the ancient wisdom book
of the Dvarsh and a set of three oracle dice.
Although I developed Nod's Way as a
companion work to The Hidden Lands of
Nod series, it is a freestanding toolkit for
divination play. Familiarity with the novels
is not necessary for enjoyment of this
oracle.
The context within the world of the novels
is that seventeen thousand years ago a
mysterious clown figure came to dwell
among the Dvarsh. This clown, known as
Nod, taught a body of precepts that
became the core of the oracle book. The
place this book occupies in Dvarsh culture
is similar both to the Tao Te Ching, as a text
for study and contemplation, and to the I
Ching, as a tool for divination practice.
When the book is consulted for divination,
the questioner obtains a response by
casting the oracle dice. These include two
identical eight-sided dice each featuring
four phases of the moon and four star
symbols, and a six-sided die that has
emblems on only two sides. This last comes
into play only if one of those symbols
come up; the two eight-sided dice
determine the basic response. Each of the
possible combinations of their symbols
corresponds to one of the thirty-six
auspices of the oracle book.

In the coming year I plan to spend more


time illustrating the world of the series. On
the "to do" list is a reference set of
portraits of key characters. Before I can get
to that, however, I have to complete a
redesign of Dvarsh writing forms for the
purpose of making a font, which is an
important step in preparing the dictionary.

The Dvarsh have a formal method of


consulting Nod's Way that involves three
casts for each issue on which clarification is
sought. However, a point I like to stress is
that the right way to use an oracle is any
way that makes sense and has meaning for
the questioner. When I demonstrate this
system at conventions and other
appearances, I encourage people to cast
the dice once, without formulating a

The subject of the Nod's Way oracle has


come up a few times and since it is being
featured in this issue as well, perhaps you
could tell our readers a little about it.

question, just to see what Nod's Way will


say to them by way of hello.

the first few times, some people would


respond immediately to the whole vision,
the set, the perspective, all of it. No
descriptive words were necessary.
Unfortunately, it puzzled almost as many
people, and I didn't have a vocabulary for
leading them across the difficulty. "Is it a
game? It's not a game. What do you do
with it?" I retreated into very academicsounding language, which is not the best
way to talk to the public at large. A friend,
listening to my frustrations, suggested I
contact Steve Jackson for advice. This
friend has never met Steve Jackson, either;
he has just heard that Mr. Jackson is
approachable. So I called the number for
Steve Jackson Games, asked the person
who answered the phone if I could speak to
Mr. Jackson, and got put through to his
voicemail. I briefly described both my
oracle and my quandary, asked frankly for
advice, and left my number. That, I thought,
was the end of that. To my surprise, later
that evening, I remember it as 10:30 or
10:45, my phone rang. The voice on the
other end said, "This is Steve Jackson, and
you've got me intrigued." He had me
describe the oracle set in detail, and asked
questions both about how it is packaged
and how it is consulted. I told him about
my novels, and he had questions about how
Nod's Way relates to The Hidden Lands of
Nod. We talked for quite a long time.
Finally, he offered me two observations.
First, he said, "The definition of a game is
so broad that if you say it's a game, it is."
The second was, "What you have is a
fantasy divination system." It's a
description so obvious that I cannot believe
yet that I did not think of it. We have had
no further contact, although I like to
imagine him among my readers. If anyone
should ever ask if Steve Jackson is a kind
and generous man, the answer is yes, he is.

I should note that the Nod's Way book was


translated from Dvarsh into English by Jack
Plenty, one of the central characters of the
The Hidden Lands of Nod. Besides being an
authority on the oracle, Jack is also a great
poet, an all-around heroic figure and a
really smokin' dancer.
JG: Last we met you shared with me an
interesting anecdote about Steve Jackson
and Nod's Way. Would you care to share
that with our readers?
RS: I don't want to make that seem like
more than it was. To this day, I have not
actually met Steve Jackson. My one
personal contact with him was in 2007,
right at the time Dalton Publishing released
Nod's Way. The whole project took me by
surprise, as I had developed the oracle as
deep backstory for my fiction. When
Deltina Hay, president of Dalton Publishing,
told me she wanted to produce it as a
companion to the series of novels, I had to
rapidly make decisions about how to move
it from hand-made dice and a sheaf of
pages in a binder to a marketable form.
Once I had a simple plan for the
appearance, I threw myself into its
execution in order to meet the publication
schedule. When the actual product was
finally released, I realized for the first time
that I had no idea how to talk about it. I
had never thought about Nod's Way having
a public existence, and during the
production process I had not taken the
time to reflect on what this new context
meant. After the release, I suddenly had in
hand a boxed set of something. It's sort of
like a game, but it's not a game in a
traditional sense. When I demonstrated it
8

Dvarsh/English version of Nod's Way.


Finally, as an illustrator and videographer I
look forward to having time to develop the
visual dimension of this imaginary world.
Particularly in video, I hope to move away
from the linear narrative of the novels to
approach the material with indirection,
analogy and allegory. By the time I reach
that point I expect to have sufficient basis
to turn loose my imagination. I look
forward to seeing what bubbles out of the
ferment.

JG: You have described for us what is to


come next with your series, but what do
you think lies after that? What are you
going to be working on after your tales
from The Hidden Lands of Nod have been
told?
RS: I don't want to close the door on
unexpected inspiration or unanticipated
opportunity, but there are a few related
projects I intend to pursue. The first has its
roots in my process for creating the Dvarsh
language. I needed text to work with as I
figured out grammar and syntax, and I
thought it would be helpful if it was text
fundamental to Dvarsh culture, so I created
a set of proverbs rooted in the believes,
values and aspirations of this fictional
people, and these became an initial microliterature that gave an invented language
something to say. I have begun a series of
greeting cards that feature these proverbs
in Dvarsh language and script against
illustrated backgrounds. The first two of
these are complete. Eventually, I plan to
gather all the proverb images together for
release as a large format artbook. I also
have the somewhat larger ambition of
eventually releasing a completely bilingual,

JG: Well, Mr. Stikmanz I would like to thank


you for your time and I am sure our
readers do as well. I would also like to give
you the opportunitey to make closing
comments. We do hope to hear from you
again soon.
RS: This has been a wonderful opportunity
to discuss the whole body of my work and
activities. For that, thanks to The Sorcerer's
Scrolls, and thank you, Jeremiah. Anyone
interested in learning more about The
Hidden Lands of Nod and related materials
may visit my website at
robertstikmanz.com, or the Dalton
Publishing site at daltonpublishing.com.

Sleeper Awakes: A New Kind of Fantasy


Book Review By Jeremiah Griffin
When was the last time you read a book
that felt completely new? A book that
doesn't seem to recycle all of its ideas from
other, better, sources? These days it does
seem as though all the books on the shelves
of the stores are just rows and rows of the
big series' and spin-off titles. When I got
ready to read Mr. Stikmanz's indie sci-fi
fantasy I was not expecting anything new.
By the end of the first page I realized that
my assumptions were quite wrong.
Sleeper Awakes opens out at sea during
a storm. This is the perfect introduction to
such a story. The story stays in almost
constant motion, never letting the
characters or the readers find a stable,
familiar vantage point to simply sit back and
watch events unfold. No, both the main
character and the reader are submerged in
a world not far removed from our own yet
undergoing many sudden changes.
This might be a good point to mention
that Mr. Stikmanzs strength as a writer is
supported by, but does not rely entirely on
his originality. He is a skilled word smith in
his own right, forming strong sentences that
sound intelligent and flow well without
slowing down the reader. He is as capable
of using clever word play as he is at writing
clever lines for his characters, and he knows
how to pace a story so that the action keeps
you reading while still striking upon some
very deep thoughts.
As a science fiction this book holds its
ground well. It may invoke memories of
Brazil, though its Beat feel is certainly
unusual in the genre. While I cannot stress
originality enough in the case of this novel,
it may be the sci-fi fans who find
themselves the most comfortable. There

are some standards that are essential to the


plot: our own world falling into chaos; a
hero on the run from a mostly faceless and
malicious government, but it is the way the
author executes his work that makes the big
differences and those are just too good to
reveal here and now.
Most of the plot of the story has already
been covered in my interview with the
author so I will not go into redundancy
here. I will let you know that while fantasy
purists might feel skeptical when they learn
that the Dwarves with whom they have
become so familiar are actually Dvarsh,
anyone who enjoys clever fantasy will
ultimately accept this race unto their own. I
dont expect anyone to give up the fun little
folk with whom we have become
accustomed in our fantasy fare, but Mr.
Stikamnzs creations are well worth straying
from the norm.

For more about Sleeper Awakes See:


http://www.daltonpublishing.com/our_books
/sleeper-awakes/
10

PDF Reviews
A Look at various new PDFs on the market
Reviews by Tori Bergquist
set beyond the fighter, ranger, rogue and
warlorduntil now, that is.
The Martialist is an unarmed fighter that
focuses on grappling and brawling. The
class has some interesting features that
lead to some rather unusual and deadly
builds; I think this class is an absolute must
for anyone interested in running a game
with a high dose of martial arts, including
kung-fu or wuxia-style thematics, for
example. That said, the class is not
thematically presented as asian, and
meshes well with more western mythic
thematic, I feel. A good example of a mythic
figure that I think this class could emulate
would be good old Herakles himself.
The Martialist can harden his body over
time, requiring no armor to make himself
highly resistant to damage. He gains
unarmed implementsyes, you read that
righthe can effectively turn his own body
parts in to implements to enhance his
attacks. Martialists are better at grappling
and gain additional perks for it. They can
choose a martialist approach, of which the
striker and wrestler techniques are
outlined. The power set for the martialist
attacks are a wide range of interesting
unarmed maneuvers. In play test we found
no unusual or broken exploits, although in
general it was agreed that if you wanted an
unarmed character, this class was
staggeringly superior to what you could
achieve using, say, a standard fighter with
an unarmed combat specialization.
The book includes a liberal sprinkling of
flavor text throughout, including a lengthy
introduction to the class that can be used as

The Martialist
By Fantasy Cartographic
Written by Nicholas Kristof
The Martialist is a new class option for
Dungeons & Dragon 4th edition. This class is
specifically designed to provide a new
martialist with an unarmed combat focus,
and does a very good job of it. The PDF is 74
pages in full color and with plenty of decent
illustrations throughout; like many of the 4th
edition products on the market it attempts
to emulate the WotC style using colored
bands and a power format that will be
familiar to those who primarily use 1st party
products for D&D.
Right off I need to say that I am actually
happy to see a new martial-focused
character; at this time, 4th edition has 19
core classes in the game and there are at
least a dozen 3rd party classes rattling
around, and it seems amazing to me that no
one is trying to expand the martialist class
11

a stock background for harried DMs looking


to introduce the class. There are several
useful and entertaining vignettes
throughout the book as well, outlining the
adventures of various martialists in action.
In addition to the core class, eight
paragon paths and three epic destinies are
included, as well as a bunch of neat feats
and magic items. There is an extensive
index included, which also indexes the new
exploits in this book, something I wish WotC
itself would do. The book concludes with
power cards ready for printing (Fantasy
Cartographic is known for their excellent
power cards, by the way).
About the only thing missing from The
Martialist is additional material for the
dungeon master, such as the NPC write-up
for this class. Outside of that, this is an
outstanding sourcebook for 4th edition, and
well worth anyones time if you are looking
for an unarmed class that gets the job done.

spell then lasts a certain period of time


defined by the ritual (usually until an
extended rest is taken)
The spells provided by these rituals are
varied, including at-wills, encounters,
utilities and so forth. They have some
inventive names and features, from the
Heaving Fist of Otylvh to the Flame Whip
of Balor. Many of them require a healing
surge be spent to first activate the power in
question. There are forty ritual spells in all,
and some offer more than one spell swap.
In addition to the ritual spells provided,
the book concludes with a discussion of the
various wizards who created these ancient
spells, as some additional background
flavor. The book is missing an index or
summary of the ritual spells, unfortunately.
Overall the spells in Ancient Wizard Magic
are varied and interesting; the product is
very nice looking, and the descriptions are
clean and precise. The concept itself is
fascinating, and one which I think should be
embraced by the core rules, or at least
further advanced in the future by Alea
Publishing. Definitely worth a look!

Player Options
Ancient Wizard Magic
Alea Publishing Group
Written by Joshua Raynack
This 18 page sourcebook for Dungeons &
Dragons 4th edition includes a new concept:
ancient ritual spells that allow you to
perform a ritual that then swaps one of
your spell powers for one presented by the
ritual. This creates a new level of depth to
ritual magic, and also allows a mechanism
by which one can expand the repertoire of a
wizards spell book (or indeed, any ritual
caster!)
The concept here is simple: your character
can acquire in the course of play the rituals
of ancient magic (they can only be found or
bought in play), and learn them like normal
ritual spells. When cast, the ritual allows the
character to swap out a specific power in
exchange for the spell in question. Each
12

such. As presented, these monsters will


make an excellent addition to any paragon
or epic level game with a Lovecraft theme,
although I think they are most suited to a
heroic level game, albeit one in which the
DM is at least fair enough to warn his
players ahead of time that if youre a level 1
character facing something that looks and
acts like a shoggoth, then it probably is a
shoggoth, and you should start running.
Now.

Critter Cache: Lovecraftian Bestiary


Goodman Games
By Aaron Blackdirge Rudel
The sixth book in Goodman Games lineup
of bestiaries touches upon the mythos of
H.P. Lovecraft, focusing on some of the
more thematically appropriate monsters for
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition games.
Within this book can be found shoggoths,
Cthulhu himself, various iterations of the
deep ones, Elder Things, Shantaks, Mi-Go
and more. Various magical devices are
presented as relate to the mythos, and the
overall package is nicely illustrated and
cleanly presented. I think it goes without
saying that Blackdirge has made a
reputation for knowing his monsters in 3rd
edition, and he continues to prove that hes
got what it takes in 4th edition as well.
The chief problem I found with this book
is that it provides the monsters in a bit of a
void, although some effort at the overall
feel and style of Lovecrafts universe is
conveyed, so DMs interested in introducing
the mythos, yet who also want to deal with
the sanity-shattering side effects of coming
in to contact with these beasts will have to
look elsewhere for ideas on how to handle

Darkness Without Form: Secrets of the


Mimic
Sean K. Reynolds Games
By Clinton Boomer and Matt Banach
This is one of the first Pathfinder monster
books I snagged, and I was absolutely blown
away by it. The book is a very nicely
illustrated and well-written treatment on
one of D&Ds most notoriously cheesy
monsters, the mimic. Remember that thing
that looks like a treasure chest but is really
just there so the DM can get a few laughs
while it eats your rogue? Well this book
takes that oddity and turns it in to
something downright scary and
Lovecraftian.
13

In this new treatment of mimics (which


draws from some earlier iterations of such
that Paizo published) they are almost
shoggoth-like in origin, a byproduct of
Abolethic science produced during an
ancient war with humanity to allow the
aboleths to move about on land. Yes, the
mimics origins here start them out as a
reverse sort of diving suit.
Anyway, I dont want to spoil it all for you,
because reading the ancient history and
evolution of this creature is a real treat, and
the authors do a good job of making the
background both interesting and
meaningful to how and why one would use
mimics in a game. The book includes details
on a variety of symbiotes and their powers,
as well as several variant mimics, including
the Lair Tyrant and Mimicling Swarm. It
wraps up with details on the traditional
mimic, in all its chest-emulating glory.
Well worth the $2 it takes to get, any GM
who is interested in surprising their jaded
players with something old and familiar yet
now disturbingly new should check this out.

book is worth a look. Its clean, fun to read,


and has nice illustrations and maps
throughout. You get eleven scenarios, all
designed for one (although you could
probably use it with two) players. My main
critique would only be that the modules are
best run individually, and cant really be
strung in to a meaningful campaign, as each
one is tailored to a specific class and range
of levels. As a result, you will either need to
get your one player to make a character
that fits the necessary range, or produce
additional modules to level them up, as
desired until the range of the module is
reached.
This book is especially useful if you are
playing with a good friend or spouse; some
of the content (such as the infamous
Pleasure Prison of the BThuvian Demon
Whore) might be a bit mature for younger
players, but is much more likely to be
appreciated by a couple who are not
uncomfortable with the subject matter at
hand.
Anyway, this is a great compliation of
adventures, includes plenty useful advice
for the GM faced with the challenge of a
one-player scenario, and can be readily
adapted to play in smaller groups with ease.

One on One Adventures Compendium


Expeditious Retreat Press
Written by William L. Christiansen
This massive tome collects the the
previously released eleven modules in the
One on One series under one cover, and
then updates them for use the the
Pathfinder ruleset. Thats 245 pages on
scenario goodness for those of you keeping
score, and the PDF only runs $18.
Arguably, if you have already purchased
the individual modules in this series you will
find nothing new here except for the
Pathfinder stat block conversions, but if you
have not previously purchased these
modules and have a need for some
scenarios specifically tailored to the one
player and one GM experience, then this
14

Fiends of Chirak
New Monsters set in the Realms of Chirak, excerpted from the forthcoming setting
For Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
By Tori Bergquist
Skerradi Warriors
Skerradi warriors are quick swimmers, and
armed with long swords of banded coral
laced with shark teeth. They protect
themselves with shields made from giant
clams, to which are strapped sharpened
curved spears of whale bone, allowing them
to thrust attack with their shields. Skerradi
warriors decorate themselves with
necklaces of carved bone effigies.

Skerradi
Skerradi are tall, lean amphibious
humanoids, men who were subjected to
transformative magics long ago to give
them an aspect of the shark. They have
elongated mouths full of shark teeth, black
eyes and lean, rubbery features. Their
hands and feet are webbed, and small fins
jut from their spine. They have long gills
along their neck and down their chest.

Skerradi Warrior Tactics


Skerradi warriors are the brute soldiers of
their people, throwing themselves in to
combat with berserk ferocity. They seek to
draw blood as quickly as possible, charing in
with javelin attacks, then drawing their
shark tooth sword and horned madu shield
and closing for the kill.

Luneri Tor, City of The Deep


The Skerradi dwell within the ruinous
expanse of their lost city, located on the
western rim of Isla Mordente in
Sontaniardes territory. For three miles or
more the deep waters of the western bay
stretch outward to the sea rim, a vast
network of ancient stone structures in the
architectural style of the ancient Mythric
Empire. The city was known as Luneri Tor in
the old language, and was said to have been
a bastion of mystical learning and sorcerous
artistry, where students of magic went to
achieve mastery over their abstract arcana.
After the Apocalypse, Luneri Tor was
annihilated in the great flood, its city along
the slopes of the great Plateau of Tunaris
engulfed in drowning waters. The lord of
the city, the wizard Tithkarem, was said to
have reached out to his drowning kin and
bonded them with the fish of the sea
waters, that they might yet live. Thus were
the Skerradi born in to the Sea of Chirak.

Skerradi Warrior Lore


DC 15 Nature The Skerradi are a fierce and
ancient race of men who changed their
forms to reflect that of sharks. They have
gradually descended to barbarism over the
ages, and now dwell in the submerged ruins
of their old empire. The warriors of the
Skerradi are fierce berserkers who never
retreat.

15

Skerradi Warrior Level 1 Brute


Medium Natural Humanoid XP 100

Skerradi Characters
Average Height: 5' 4" - 5' 9"
Average Weight: 100 - 160

Initiative +2 Senses Perception +1; low light


HP 32; Bloodied 16
AC 13; Fortitude 16, Reflex 14, Will 12
Vulnerable 5 fire
Speed 6 (Swim 8)
Shark Tooth Long Sword (standard; at-will) melee
+4 vs AC; 2d6 + 3 damage
On a critical strike, this weapon also causes ongoing
3 damage (save ends) as shark teeth snap off in the
target's wound.
Madu Shield (standard; at-will) melee
+4 vs AC; 1d6 + 3 damage
The Skerradi brings it's horned madu shield to bear.
It gains +2 AC until the end of its next turn after the
attack.
Coral Javelin (standard; at-will) ranged
Ranged 10/20; +4 vs AC; 1d10 + 3 damage
Ravaging Assault (standard; at-will) melee
+4 vs AC; 2d6 + 3 damage
The Skerradi shifts up to its move and attacks one
foe with sword, shield and teeth with berserk rage
over which it has combat advantage. The target
suffers 5 ongoing bleeding (save ends). The Skerradi
grants combat advantage to all foes until the end of
its next turn. after the attack is over
Alignment: unaligned (some are evil)
Languages: Skarradi, Draconic
Skills: Athletics, Nature
Str 18 (+4) Dex 15 (+2) Wis 11 (0)
Con 12 (+1) Int 8 (-1) Cha 10 (0)
Equipment: javelin, shark tooth sword, madu shield

Ability scores: +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity


Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares (8 squares swimming)
Vision: Low-light
Languages: Choice of one language, Common, and
Skerradi
Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Endurance.
Amphibious: Skerradi can breathe both air and
water. They are natural swimmers and both swim
faster and are unhindered by watery terrain (treat as
normal terrain).
Bite Attack: Skerradi have wide, shark-like mouths
full of ever-replenishing shark teeth. This makes an
excellent natural weapon.

Bite Attack

Skerradi Racial Attack

Your mouth is filled with ever-replenishing rows of


deadly shark teeth.
Standard, At-Will * Melee, Natural Weapon; One
Target
Attack: Strength +2 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + Strength modifier damage.
st
21 Level: increase to 2D6+ Strength mod. damage.

Skerradi Hydromancer
The Skerradi hydromancers are elite
arcanists who rule their aquatic kingdom
with webbed fists. They rely on their lesser
kin to do brute labor while they scheme on
how to steal the secrets of water magic
from the promordial elementals of the sea.

16

Skerradi Hydromancer
Level 2
Controller
Medium Natural Humanoid
XP 125

Skerradi Hydromancer Lore


Nature DC 20 Skerradi hydromancers have
mastered the arcane magics to manipulate
their natural element. They are fierce rulers
of their people who dominate through their
charisma and power over the seas.

Initiative +2 Senses Perception +9; low light


HP 33; Bloodied 16
AC 16; Fortitude 14, Reflex 16, Will 14
Resist 5 Water, Vulnerable 5 Fire
Speed 6 (8 swim)
Shark tooth short sword (standard; at-will) melee
+7 vs AC; 1d6 + 3 damage
Darts (standard; at-will) ranged
Ranged 10; +6 vs Fortitude; 1d4 + 3 damage
Drowning Grasp (standard; recharge 5, 6) water
Ranged 10; +7 vs AC; 3d6 + 3 damage
Target's lungs are filled with water and he begins to
choke (effects or immunities that allow for water
breathing will counter this effect). Target takes
ongoing 5 drowning damage (save ends).
Clatter of a Thousand Maws (standard; encounter)
shadow, water
Ranged 5; +6 vs ; 3d6 + 3 damage
Target is mauled by dozens of semi-corporeal shark
jaws. Target takes 5 ongoing bleeding damage (save
ends); one Skerradi ally in range of the caster gains
10 hit points.
Alignment: evil
Languages: Skerradi, Draconic
Skills: Insight, Perception, Arcana
Str 14 (+3) Dex 13 (+2) Wis 14 (+3)
Con 9 (0) Int 19 (+5) Cha 13 (+2)
Equipment: medicine pouch, ritual spell book, shark
tooth short sword

Skerradi Hydromancer Tactics


Skerradi hydromancers will lurk in the rear
behind the warriors, using their water
magic for long range support and control.

17

Elder Mysterium
Fiction by Jody Bergquist
your snout. Spread those wings and glide.
Away you go. The treetops brushing their
leaves against your belly and the smells
rushing back your nostrils filling you with
information of what surrounds you. The
roar of the wind rushing past.
Breathless is the watcher from the tower.
You can barely hear his shouts. You cant
make out his words. Past them you go,
these small two-legged things. Away from
them, you instinctively know.
The blue hue of the coming sea wells up
beneath you as you soar past the cliff ledge.
The ocean, its dangerous to be out this far,
especially as a fledgling. Coasting back you
perch upon that ledge. Only to be joined by
other fledglings waiting. Watching the
water they chatter back and forth, telling
each other the stories of their parents.
Now its your turn, little one. So small
compared to the others. Its your turn to
tell the others the story that your mother
told you of the dark sea.
I remember you start. That mother
always told me that the sea holds the secret
to our past. That ghosts soar across its
waters. She told me of a storm she was
forced to endure, and a secret she learned
of.
Chattering happily the others crowd
around you. They had not heard of this
story before, and this little purple drake was
willing to share it.

Gently the Elder began to write. A small


stone next to him suddenly chimed a
haunting rhythmic music. His old green
eyes watched as the ink painted its words
upon the parchment. They knew him for his
stories. And he hoped. They would like this
one all the same.
Ephemeral lights twinkle in the distance.
The ruddy sand blowing across your face
burning, stinging your nose and eyes.
Shadowy pillars begin to rise in the distance
from the reddish hue of the blowing sand
and the setting sun. By dusk the pillars
stand as ancient monuments to history.
Buildings lined up like long dead sentinels
from a long dead age: a jungle of steel and
gray slabs of rock. Scavenged for what it
could give to the warriors of its future. It
once had rivers of black that flowed
smoothly with horseless chariots floating
upon their surface. The gray pathways that
skirted each river trodden with the feet of
thousands.
Thats just a dream.
Awake young sleeper. Now you find
yourself in the world you knew. The
shadows lofted away by the rising sun.
Stretch your wings and begin to fly, young
fledgling. The winds call you today.
Floating at the height of the world,
watching all the little ants below scurry
around. Mother has gone and hunger now
breaths its life within you. Plunging
downward, the rush of the air crashes upon

The sea boiled with a school of rays.


Easy pickings for the three of us. We knew
what lay beneath the school that caused

18

them to surface. We could only hope that


they were also busy feeding off the rays as
well.
We had no idea that the storm would
be upon us so swiftly. We didnt even
watch for it. That was our mistake. We
could have easily skirted away from it and
returned when it had passed. However we
werent watching and it came upon us with
forces our wings could not withstand. The
three of us were blown this way and that
and up into the clouds. We became
separated, and I was lost. I could not see
the sky and I could not see the ocean
below. I could hear the crackling thunder
all around me. My ears fizzed with the
electricity brimming within the clouds. I
was knocked around in the wind; my wings
ached with pain from trying to stay upright.
That is when I hit the water. I knew that
I was doomed. The feathers would soak in
the water and Id have no chance of lifting
off the surface. I was bait for the monsters
below. So I sunk beneath the waves. I saw
above me the lights of the storm. Vivid blue
streaks across the sky, highlighted by the
white hot strikes that scintillated off the
waters surface.
You stop to look around you. All seem to
be listening intently. You look out to the
sea. The waves lick the black rocks below
the cliff and the deep water haunts you.
I closed my eyes, and listened to the
water around me. It filled my nostrils and
drugged me to sleep within its cool
embrace. Choking me and filling my lungs.
That is when I heard their song. The
moaning song of our ancestors. They sang
to me, called to me. Their Mournful cry
caused me to open my eyes. I could see
them all, swimming through the water
nearly as transparent as a humans glass
window.
I saw one reach out to me. I could feel

the water leaving my lungs. I could feel it


giving me life. I could breath the water as
the ancients did. They took hold of me and
taught me how to swim. Suddenly my
useless wings became as fins, allowing me
to fly through the water.
They were all around me. They still sang
to each other, and to me I thought. Their
haunting call echoed through the water
effortlessly. I felt no fear, no despair.
They began to dive. So I followed them.
Down beneath the deep darkness, light
shows began to appear. Beautiful blue
lights twinkled in the depths, illuminating
the waters around them. They showed me
the buildings, the ones the humans left
behind. The ones they left at the bottom of
those black waters. They showed me what
causes those monsters rage. Black obelisks
towering up from the depths. Twisted
heaps of metal lying at the bases of these
grotesque giants, devoid of life and
stagnant with seeping puss like a wound.
All around you drakes cowered away
from the edge, fearfully watching the water.
You smile and speak once more. I didnt
know at the time that I would be stalked,
that I was being watched. Targeted. I could
feel the sensation that I was being studied,
but I did not know by what. The cries of the
ancestors grew distant. I was falling behind.
I saw the eyes at first. They reflected in
the ambient light of the nearby ancestors.
They reflected like the eyes of a monster. A
blue-green glow that triggered my sense of
fear and panic. I frantically fled towards the
ancestors. It was faster. I could feel the
horrific sting of saltwater in my haunches as
its claws grabbed hold of me. I lashed my
tail to no avail. Painful strikes like lightning
shot up my spine. I could feel its teeth. I
cried out to the Ancients. They kept singing
and swimming onward.
19

I thrashed my tail and tried to slam into


the pillars. I heard the sounds of breaking
rocks and the muffled thudding as pieces of
the building fall to the seafloor.
I got it! I struck it hard enough to send it
falling with the debris. It wasnt out for the
count. I could still feel the claw marks in my
haunches and I looked down to see where
he had gone. It wasnt there. I fled once
more towards the Ancients, trying to bathe
myself in their
protective light. I
watched as I could
hear the clicks and
pings of the creature.
I could see the glow of
its eyes between
buildings and within
shadows. The
seafloor was rising.
We were getting
closer to the shore
perhaps. I stayed in
the middle of the
Ancients, trying to
hide amongst their
see-through bodies.
It followed us. It
crept into full view;
she crested a sandy
hill as we rose
towards the surface. I
cried out as the
disembodied
predatory eyes
followed me. The
monster was
completely invisible
except for those
horrible eyes. Just
like the ancients that
swam around me, it

too was a ghost, a vicious and hungry ghost,


fueled by the hatred that humans held for
each other in the ancient days. The days
when we were called whales. And when
humans made their machines of war.
You smile as the other drakes look on at
you in horror. Down into the water you
dive. Knowing what Mother had left you:
the ability to breath underwater.

20

Fred Saberhagen's Benevolent Bloodsucker:


Vampiric Honor in the Holmes-Dracula File
By Dan Lambert
Van Helsing's efforts to pursue him back to
his castle and exterminate him, returns to
London to reunite with his love, Mina
Harker.

A game master can often keep his or her


players off-guard by introducing celebrities
or other well-known people as non-player
characters. The fun begins when the players
discover that the person does not match
the stereotypes or preconceptions that
their characters cling to. For example, what
if Count Dracula was a good guy?

The time is June, 1897, six years after


Dracula's first visit to London (as described
by Stoker). The city is in the midst of
preparations for Queen Victoria's Diamond
Jubilee. An American scientist, Dr. John
Scott, has turned up missing after
embarking upon an expedition to Sumatra
to study the spread of a rare and deadly
plague. His fiance, Miss Sarah Tarlton,
enlists Holmes and Watson's aid in locating
Scott. Scott's friend, Mr. Peter Moore,
subsequently informs Holmes that scientific
equipment that he sold to Scott prior to the
expedition has turned up in London.

Science fiction author Fred Saberhagen's


1978 novel The Holmes Dracula File traces
its literary ancestry not only to Arthur
Conan-Doyle's Holmes canon, but to Bram
Stoker's 1897 masterpiece of horror,
Dracula. Saberhagen, perhaps best-known
for his Berserker novels, presents us with a
tale that Dr. John H. Watson refers to as
"the most bizarre case in all the long and
illustrious career of my friend Sherlock
Holmes" (25).

Holmes' investigation of the Scott case


leads him to uncover evidence of an
extortion scheme against the British
government. A league of conspirators -apparently led by brilliant British scientistgone-bad Dr. David Fitzroy -- waylaid the
Scott expedition upon its voyage home, and
stole the Doctor's equipment as well as his
specimens, including a giant, plagueinfested rat.

The title character of Stoker's 1897


masterpiece plays an important role in
Saberhagen's novel, and narrates every
other chapter (alternating with Holmes's
faithful biographer, Dr. Watson).
The novel also expands upon a reference to
an undocumented Holmes case involving
the Giant Rat of Sumatra, to be found in the
Holmes story "The Sussex Vampire." In that
tale, Holmes refers to the adventure of the
Rat as "a story for which the world is not
yet prepared."

Holmes discovers that the extortionists plan


to transfer the virus from the Sumatran rat
to thousands of London vermin, and release
the latter into the London sewer system if
their demands are not met.

In The Holmes-Dracula File, Saberhagen


imagines what might have transpired if
Count Dracula, having survived Professor

To ensure their plan's success, the


21

extortionists have shanghaied a number of


innocent passersby on the banks of the
Thames. Displaying an utter lack of wisdom,
they choose as one of their unwitting
victims our vampiric Count. Dracula,
referring to himself in the third person,
remarks that "if the cudgel descending on
that old man's skull had been of lead or
iron, rather than some stout timber of the
English forest, not much would have come
of the attempt" (1).

keep Fitzroy's villains from murdering


thousands via plague, while at the same
time ensuring that Grafenstein's bloodsucking killer does not strike again.
Toward the climax of their investigations,
Holmes and Dracula's paths inevitably cross.
The nature of their confrontation is
surprising, unexpected, and curiously
benevolent. Saberhagen's Dracula is far
from the demon he is often portrayed as in
the anti-Dracula tracts we have all grown up
with. In fact, he is often portrayed in the
novel as possessing a number of positive
traits; a benevolent bloodsucker, if you will.
This portrayal is perhaps not terribly
surprising, if the reader considers the fact
that half of the novel is narrated by the
Count himself.

The blow to the head administered by the


extortionists leaves the Count a temporary
amnesiac and prisoner. Eventually realizing
that he is of little use as an experimental
subject, the conspirators decide to drown
the Count in the Thames. With the help of
Sally, a disfigured but good-hearted
accomplice of the conspirators, Dracula
makes good his escape, killing one of the
extortionists -- the corrupt scientist Frau
Grafenstein -- in the process.

Not only does Dracula exhibit such noble


traits as chivalry, honor, and vulnerability,
but he also uses the opportunity to address
the reader and clear up some long-assumed
misperceptions regarding his modus
operandi.

Dracula's memory returns to him piece by


piece, as he finds himself alone and naked
on the streets of London. He sets out to (a)
exact his own brand of vengeance upon the
remaining extortionists, (b) repay the
gallant Sally by freeing her from her
captors, (c) locate the precious boxes of
Transylvanian earth he has brought with
him to London, and (d) locate and reunite
with his love, Mina.

Draculas dialogue suggests that he is a man


of honor: "I cannot, and never could, abide
a thief (74). To pay for the damage I
tossed a gold sovereign behind me as I left,
and I silently vowed a future donation upon
a grander scale" (95). "Those who think me
unlikely to pay fairly, even generously, for
goods got from the innocent do not know
me" (107). "Let the serious students of 15th
century affairs assure more casual readers
that in my breathing days, as Prince of
Wallachia, I was accused by some of being
too scrupulously honest" (107).

Meanwhile, Holmes, hot on the trail of


Fitzroy's extortionists, happens upon the
scant evidence in the Grafenstein killing.
Scotland Yard's Lestrade and Gregson
believe that the Fraulein was the victim of
an escaped lunatic, but Holmes knows
better. Realizing that a vampire is at work,
Holmes finds himself investigating two
cases at once. He and Watson endeavor to

Draculas dialogue further suggests a lack of


bloodlust: "I had better pause here to make
it clear to modem readers misled by the
22

wild tales of my enemies, that human gore


is not my customary food" (114).

whole affair in safety" (96-97).


It is likely that this highly-positive portrayal
of Dracula is due, in large part, to his own
embellishment of the facts. However, it is
worthwhile to consider Dr. Watson's
account of events late in the story: "I admit,
Holmes, that I may owe the Count my life"
(248). According to Holmes, Watson, and
Saberhagen, Count Dracula was not a
miscreant, but a misunderstood soul.

Dracula takes a protective stance toward


the women in his life: "It was with relief
sharp enough to be a shock that I realized in
the next moment that my dear Mina must
be quite safe, long miles away in Exeter"
(81). "Sally, though a dweller in the abyss of
poverty and crime, had suffered torture and
risked death in trying to set me free, and
thereby had established a claim upon my
honor as great as any the greatest and most
lovely queen on earth could have created.
Now I should never be able to go peaceably
about my own affairs until I had avenged
Sal's injuries as well as my own, and I had
done all I could to see her through the

Work Cited
Saberhagen, Fred. The Holmes-Dracula File.
New York: Ace Books, 1978.

23

BRP Creature Conversion from D&D 4E


By Tori Bergquist
Running fantasy adventures in Basic Role
Playing can be a lot of fun. BRP is an
excellent set of rules for gritty, realistic
fantasy. Unfortunately, BRP lacks a large
bestiary for dungeon delving style
adventures, and if you want to lace your
high fantasy games with a liberal dose of
beasts, it can be difficult if you dont have
access to older BRP-compatible bestiaries
published for sister games such as
Runequest.
The following rules will provide some
useful conversion guidelines (along with
some examples) of how to take the
gorgeously illustrated Monster Manuals for
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition and
convert the monsters within for use with
BRP fantasy adventures (or any other genre
if you feel like surprising your players!)
These are mainly guidelines; the conversion
process is relatively simple, and using these
guidelines you should be able to produce
BRP ready stats for any monsters from the
MM in fairly short order. You can probably
use these conversion methods for D20
resources as well, but you should ignore any
adjustment references made for paragon
and epic levels, as those are unique to the
4th edition ruleset.
So why convert monsters from the
Monster Manual to BRP, you might ask?
Well, one reason is that the MM is
gorgeously illustrated and that adds some
nice visual aids to a GMs repertoire.
Another reason is that the monsters
presented in the 4E MM are interesting foes
with a wide range of strange abilities, and
these translate surprisingly well in to BRP.
Finally, its hard to deny that, whether you

like the mechanics of the D20/D&D game


system or not, D&D is the master of fantasy
monster fighting, and the MM is hands
down one of the best resources you can
find out there on strange monsters in
modern fantasy gaming!
BRP Creatures need the following key stats
for use in a game:
STR
CON
SIZ
INT
POW
DEX
APP
Move
Hit Points
Damage Bonus
Armor
Attacks
Skills
Powers
Heres how to convert any 4E Monster
Manual creature in to a working stat block
for BRP:
1. Straight Conversions
The following stats are converted exactly
as indicated, point for point:
BRP Stat
Equals 4E Stat
STR
STR
CON
CON
INT
INT
POW
WIS
DEX
DEX
APP
CHA
24

Movement: Move is special. Simply convert


Move totals from 4E to BRP over as is,
adding 4 to all move scores.
2. Modified or Assumed Conversions:
Some BRP stats are not quantifiable in a
direct manner from 4E to BRP. Use the
following guidelines for each:
Dodge
To determine the Dodge skill in BRP,
multiply the creatures Reflex score by 2. If
the creature has a property that makes it
slow to react (only partial actions per turn,
or something similar) then multiply the
Dodge score by 1 instead. Likewise, if it is
extremely quick, multiply by 3.
Size
The Size attribute can be eyeballed based
on the kind of creature, but you can assume
the following Size stat for quick reference
based on the creatures 4E size: Tiny=SIZ 4,
Small=SIZ 8, Medium=SIZ 12 (or SIZ 18 if a
big medium), Large=SIZE 25-30, Huge =
SIZ 35-50 or greater.

BRP Skill(s)

4E Skill

Jump, Fly
Climb, Swim, Throw
Sense, Appraise, Occult
Theology
History
Sleight of Hand, Fine Manip.
Stealth, Disguise
Bargain
Listen, Spot, Track
Insight, Sense
Fast Talk, Gaming
Persuade, Command
Persuade, Perform, Etiquette
Ride, Track, Survival
Survival
-First Aid, Medicine

Acrobatics
Athletics
Arcana
Religion
History
Thievery
Stealth
Streetwise
Perception
Insight
Bluff
Intimidate
Diplomacy
Nature
Dungeoneering
Endurance
Heal

Use the most appropriate skill for each


conversion. A high intelligence NPC might
have medicine in place of Heal, for example,
but a lowly kobold might only have first aid
in place of Heal. In cases where a skill is
determined by more than one 4E
correlation, you can average them before
multiplying by 3% or you can pick the better
of the two.
3. Hit Points

Listen and Spot


Take the passive perception of the
creature and multiply by 3. Multiply by 4 if
the creature has a better than average
sense, or by 2 if it is weaker than average
for some reason.

Method 1; Standard BRP Method: Hit point


adjustment can be fairly easy; just average
the CON and determined SIZ of the
creature, or simply use the CON if you
arent hassling with a SIZ conversion or
estimate.

Other Skills
Multiply the following skills by 3% to get
the BRP equivalents. The 4E skills correlate
as follows:

Method 2; 4E Derived HP Method: If you


wish for a HP score that reflects the hit
points of the creature in question, you can
get a score that best reflects its BRP hit
points by taking the 4E hit point value and
dividing by the creatures level plus 1. Thus,
a creature with 85 hit points that is level 6
would have their score divided by 7, for a

25

total of 12 hit points.

3% to determine BRP attack skill chance.


Special Attacks and Damage: 4E has a sort
of escalating dice approach to damage
done by encounter and daily powers; the
best way to convert these powers is to use
the same base die as the basic attack, and
add a modifier according to the lethality of
the attack. This is a more difficult to process
to quantify, because if you actually try to
translate the damage in to a direct
equivalent in BRP youll end up with some
amazingly lethal monsters.
One suggestion is to use the damage value
of the base attack, but then add a modifier
of +1 for each additional die of damage the
attack provides; a second option is to take
the maximum damage that the attack can
do, then divide by 1 if the creature is level
1-10, divide by 2 if it is level 11-20, and
divide by 3 if it is level 21-30, then cut that
number in half to determine the maximum
damage that the attack should cause in
BRP. Take the result and divide by the
maximum value of a chosen die code to get
the total number of dice the attack should
cause (treating the remainder as a positive
bonus to the attack). For example, a heroic
power that does 3D8+6 generates 30 points
maximum damage. Its heroic, so we dont
divide by anything (1). The number halved is
15. Well use D6s to divide it: that
generates a total of 2D6+3 (6/15=2 with a
remainder of 3).

Method 3; Tough Creature Method: For


slightly tougher opponents in BRP, simply
take the Healing Surge value (1/4 the
creatures 4E HPs) as their BRP hit points.
You should divide Elite HPs using this
method by 50% and Solo creatures by 75%,
otherwise they will be collectively more
terrifying than anything a BRP character
should have to face!
The most legal hit point conversion would
be method 1, but the best literal translation
would be method 2. Method 3 is best
reserved for GMs with a cruel streak.
Hit Points for Minions: Minions in 4E are
meant to be one-hit kills. You can
realistically do the same with them in BRP if
you so desire, but it is suggested that
instead you simply represent their inferior
nature through suboptimal skills and
reasoning in the game.
4. Combat Skills and Powers
Translating basic attacks is fairly easy;
specialized attacks require a bit more
finesse and creative interpretation. First,
convert basic attacks:
Damage Bonus: Calculate the creatures
damage bonus based on its converted STR
plus SIZ. If you are not bothering with SIZ,
then simply double STR and use it to
determine the damage bonus.

Converting Ongoing and Passive Damage


Effects: Convert all ongoing, sustainable or
persistent damage effects from 4E on a 5 to
1 basis to BRP. That is, any ongoing damage
in 4E that does 5 points of damage (round
up if less than that) does 1 point in BRP.

Attack Type and Damage: remains the


same; if the creature is using a weapon
defined in BRP, use the base damage total
for the weapon in BRP, and add the damage
bonus.

Special Modifiers: Most 4E attacks have


special modifiers. Many can be converted
correctly by applying the BRP rules to the

Attack Skill: Multiply the 4E attack bonus by


26

5. Armor

kind of attack; for example, acid is a


common attack in 4E. Its equivalent damage
in BRP can be defined by the acid rules;
assume the creature has a weak acid attack
is if is heroic tier in 4E, strong acid if it is
paragon tier, and very strong if it is epic tier.
Other special attacks may require some
adjudication. These powers can be
calculated as follows:

Armor is tricky, but the following rule of


thumb rules should apply:
Worn Armor: If the creature is wearing
armor, determine what type and convert
from the BRP armor tables accordingly.
Natural Armor: If the creature should have
natural armor, or the text suggests as much,
then subtract 10 plus of its level from the
creatures AC. Take the remainder and
divide by 3 for the APs of natural armor
(round down).

Ongoing Damage with a Save Ends Effect:


the attack does damage per round until the
character saves. Treat this as a continual
damage effect doing 1 HP of damage per
turn until the character overcomes a
resistance roll (or Potency if poison), usually
against the victims CON vs. a difficulty
equal to the creatures active characteristic.
The active score will equal the level of the
creature times 2 if no active characteristic
applies. Example: A level 10 creature does 5
ongoing poison. In BRP it will do 1 HP per
turn against a Potency for the active
characteristic of 20 (for its level times 2).
Suggested resistances by attribute as
follows:

Vulnerabilities/Immunities: To deal with


such damage, the following rule of thumb is
simple and effective: any vulnerability
doubles damage from that type. Any
resistance cuts such damage in half.
Alternatively, divide the value of the
vulnerability or resistance by 5; the result is
how many points of AP the creature has
against such damage if it is a resistance, or
how much extra it takes against vulnerable
types of damage.
If your campaign has specific damage
types by magic, then translate accordingly;
otherwise, treat all damage that is magical
by source as the same, or work out what
sort of spells constitute what sort of
damage. For example, you could rule that
all damage dealt by an undead is necrotic,
and all damage dealt by a holy spell caster is
radiant.

CON: poison, fire, cold, lighting, thunder


POW: necrotic, force, radiant
INT: psychic
The following other effects in 4E correlate
to the listed BRP combat effect:
BRP Effect

4E Equivalent

Aura Attack
Armor Destroyed
Knockout Attack
Stunning/Subduing
Paralysis
Poison
Half Move, Dex

Zone
Armor Reduction
Stun
Daze, Weaken
Immobilize, Weaken
Weaken
Slowed

Opportunity Attacks: BRP does not have


opportunity attacks, although a GM could
rule that a creature with a special effect
activated by or initiating an opportunity
attack allows it to make a free basic attack if
the conditions are met. Otherwise, ignore
opportunity attack features.
27

Hit Points
Dmg Bonus
Armor
Attacks

Power Costs: Powers in 4E for monsters fall


in to at-will or encounter types. Encounter
powers can be treated as one time effects,
or alternatively can be effects which cost 10
MP, allowing for a possible reactivation
later in the combat if the GM desires. AtWill effects should be free (if mundane
attacks) or cost 1 MP to use (if spell like
effects).

Skills

Powers

6. Miscellaneous Rules and Winging It


Whenever possible, simply refer to the
BRP rules for conversion of monsters. For
example, in BRP backstabs are possible
whenever one creature can attack another
from behind while it is caught unawares.
These attacks do not do extra damage. In 4E
backstabs are more common (through
combat advantage) but they often do a lot
more damage. In BRP terms, these
creatures simply rely on that tactic more
often (due to invisibility or stealth) but they
should not get extra damage unless there is
a specific quality of the creature that
enhances it for a specific reason above and
beyond the normal class/level bonuses
normally in 4E (but not in BRP).

Astral Stalker
STR
CON
SIZ
INT
POW
DEX
APP
Move
Hit Points
Dmg Bonus
Armor
Attacks

Some Conversion Examples:


Here are a few 4E monsters converted to
BRP using the above rules:
Aboleth Lasher
STR
26
CON
20
SIZ
25
INT
23
POW
22
DEX
16
APP
17
Move
9 land, 14 swim
28

23
+2D6
3 APs natural armor
Tentacle 60%; 3D6 damage;
may treat as a stunning
attack if desired
Occult 57%, Dodge 50%,
Insight 57%, Survival
(dungeons) 57%
Mucous Haze: Area effect,
persistent effect; everyone
within 25 feet of the aboleth
lasher moves at half speed.
Telepathy: The aboleth
lasher has telepathy as a
psionic power with a 60%
skill

22
19
18
8
15
26
10
14, climb 10
19
+1D6
5 APs natural armor
Claw attack 81%; 2D6 dmg;
struck foes are marked by
the Stalkers Quarry
Surprise Attack: The astral
stalker will engage in a
backstab attack whenever
possible
Throat Dart 87%; 2D6
damage; target is poisoned
for POT 44; 1 ongoing
damage per turn and the
characters movement and
Dexterity is reduced by one
half until the poison wears

Skills
Powers

off. If the target fails a


second resistance roll then
he is paralyzed.
Quick Claws: Astral Stalkers
will make two claw attacks
against paralyzed opponents.
Stealth 72%, Dodge 76%
Stalkers Quarry: once struck
by an attack that draws
blood, the astral stalker
knows where that prey is and
can follow it, even across
planar boundaries.
Invisibility: The astral stalker
starts invisible, and only
appears after it attacks. It
can reactivate its invisibility
for 1 MP.

of dark energy for 50 feet in


all directions, healing undead
allies for 2 HP and causing 2
HP damage to all enemies in
the area.
Immunity: disease and
poison does not hurt a
boneclaw
Resistance: Boneclaws have
4 AP against undead,
necrotic attacks.
Vulnerable: Boneclaws take
1 extra damage from holy
magic.
Displacer Beast
STR
18
CON
17
SIZ
22
INT
4
POW
17
DEX
20
APP
10
Move
16
Hit Points
21
Dmg Bonus +1D6
Armor
3 APs natural armor
Attacks
Tentacle attack 39%;
1D4+1D6 dmg; can reach up
to 10 feet to strike targets
Bite attack 39%; 1D6+1D6
dmg
Beasts Fury: if the target is
caught unawares, the
displace beast may backstab,
attacking with two tentacles
and a bite all at once!
Skills
Stealth 42%, Dodge 44%
Powers
Displacement: There is a
50% chance any attack
striking the displacer beast
actually passes through its
displaced form. The effect
ends after it is struck for

Boneclaw
STR
17
CON
16
SIZ
30
INT
10
POW
12
DEX
23
APP
18
Move
12
Hit Points
23
Dmg Bonus +2D6
Armor
4 APs natural armor
Attacks
Claw attack 60%; 3D6
dmg; can reach up to 15 feat to strike
targets
Skills
Stealth 72%, Dodge 76%
Powers
Threatening Reach: The
boneclaw can strike twice
with its claws against any
opponent within 15 feet
every round, with no penalty
for split attacks.
Necrotic Pulse: if the
boneclaw is reduced to hit
points, it will radiate a pulse
29

Attacks

damage, but returns


automatically when it moves
10 or more feet. It can move
5 feet immediately after any
attack that would have hit
misses it because of this
effect.
Zombie Hulk
STR
CON
SIZ
INT
POW
DEX
APP
Move
Hit Points
Dmg Bonus
Armor

Skills
Powers
21
18
24
1
8
6
3
8
21
+2D6
2 APs natural armor

30

Slam attack 36%; 1D3+2D6


dmg; can reach up to 10 feet
to strike targets
Zombie Smash: the zombie
can make a charge attack; it
slams as above and knocks
the target prone.
Dodge 34%, Listen/Spot 39%
Rise Again: The zombie hulk
recovers with of its hit
points on the turn after it
first reaches 0 HP. This only
happens once.
Immune: disease, poison
Resistant: 2 APs against
undead/necrotic damage
Vulnerable: the zombie hulk
takes +2 damage from holy
magic

THE CAVALCADE
Cavalrymen in Dungeons & Dragons
By Jarrod Camir
(Ride), and Trample) are naturally
invaluable for all the horsewomen
presented in this article, but many more

THE CAVALCADE
Since men have domesticated horses, the
cavalry has been an integral part of any
army. Valiant horsemen have fought upon
countless battlefields throughout history;
the European knights, the English
dragoons, and the mounted soldiers
forming the cavalry units that have fought
during the American Civil War, and later
helped conquer the Wild West, are just
some examples that readily come to mind.
All this, of course, traduces in a vast array
of choices for any PC who wishes to
become a cavalryman.

are quite generic, and are specified


individually for each horseman found
below. Moreover, some cavalry soldiers
introduced in this article use firearms (the
pistol and the musket are both described
in the DMG, Chapter 5: Campaigns).

CARABINEER
Carabineers are originally members of a
large mounted troop providing ranged
firepower upon the battleground from a
safe distance with their carbines (a form
of musket). Some carabineers however,
specialize themselves as marksmen and
become adventurers.

While this article gives suggestions to


create a character inspired by these
authentic figures, it doesnt pretend to be
an exact, historical account; the subject is
loosely utilized. The point of this article is
simply to build an interesting and unique
fantasy character, nothing more, but
nothing less either.

A carabineer needs a mount that wont


panic when she discharges repeatedly her
carbine, a practical weapon that can be
fired and reloaded from horseback. A
carabineer disdains any form of armor, a
cumbersome protection hampering her
long practised drill more often than not;
moreover, any carabineer is confident to
hit the mark before being in any real
danger. If not too cocky, a carabineer
might opt for supple leather armor, and
deign to equip her with a small, secondary
weapon at the very best.

The fighter, with his large availability of


armors and weapons, plus his bonus
combat-oriented feats, can easily adapt to
any of the styles proposed below, but as
demonstrated with each entry, all the
classes can find a proposition that will suit
them as well.
A SHORT WORD ABOUT SKILLS, FEATS,
AND FIREARMS:
Many Skills (Handle Animal, Heal,
Intimidate, and Ride) and Feats (Animal
Affinity, Mounted Combat, Skill Focus

A carabineer needs a couple of Skills and


Feats that are not very common among
the cavalrywomen, due to her unusual
choice of weapon. Concentration helps
31

Reload, Spring Attack, Whirlwind Attack,


and Weapon Finesse.

greatly to fire a carbine from a moving


mount; Craft (alchemy) and Craft
(firearms) enable the carabineer to create
gunpowder and repair her weapon if the
need arises. Exotic Weapon Proficiency
(firearms), Far Shot, Improved Precise
Shot, Manyshot, Precise Shot, Point Blank
Shot, Rapid Shot, and Shot on the Run are
a necessity to progress as a carabineer.

The cavalryman is a natural choice for the


rogue, but sometimes, a monk, sorcerer
or wizard also chooses this riding style. A
wizard wielding the right wand can be a
dangerous cavalryman indeed.

COSSACK
Gnomes make good carabineers, thanks
to their affinity with alchemy, and
unbound curiosity towards mechanical
devices. Fighters and rogues usually form
the core of this category. Beware the
sneak attacks of a markswoman
carabineer.

The Cossacks are famous horsemen and


dancers coming from the vast steppes.
Cossacks literally live in the saddle, and
they are passionate peoples who embrace
battles and celebrations with the same
frenzy. Many outsiders, confronted for
the first time to the Cossacks culture, are
often shocked at their exuberant displays;
however, those who learned to
understand these fearless riders know for
a fact that a Cossack simply lives for the
moment and for nothing else.

CAVALRYMAN
The cavalryman is an unarmored,
extremely mobile horseman counting
upon his dexterity and the speed of his
mount more than upon anything else.
Generally riding a light warhorse, the
cavalryman evidently opts for a weapon
enhancing his high dexterity and weighing
little, such as the rapier. The ranged
weapon of the cavalryman is also easy to
carry; the light crossbow, dart, hand
crossbow, and shortbow are all excellent
choices. In a fantasy setting where
firearms exist, the rapier and pistol is, of
course, the most interesting combination
for the cavalryman.

Cossacks capture and tame the wild


horses of the steppes, and perceive their
harsh land as nothing more than an
extension of their being; thus, their skills
follow naturally. Craft, Knowledge
(nature), Spot, Survival, and Use Rope are
used on a daily basis. The same is true for
Perform (dance, oratory, string
instruments, or sing), all these artistic
expressions being integral parts of their
culture.
A Cossack wages war protected by a
padded, leather, or studded leather
armor, and wields adroitly the following
weapons: composite shortbow, net,
scimitar, shortspear, and whip.

A halfling upon a riding dog is a very good


candidate for this type of rider, and Bluff
is an interesting skill to explore with the
cavalryman. A cavalryman should select
among the following Feats: Combat
Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge,
Improve Feint, Improved Initiative,
Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Persuasive,
Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid

Numerous classes form the Cossacks


ranks: adepts, barbarians, bards, druids,
fighters, and rangers all have their places
32

in this culture; even a rogue or sorcerer


can find a niche in accord with the
Cossacks lifestyle.

GOUMIER
A goumier is member of a goom, a
military contingent coming from a desert
tribe; thus the goumiers primary learned
to ride light horses, camels, or
dromedaries. Goumiers rarely wear
armors, preferring loose vestments better
adapted to the scorching heat of the
desert. All goumiers possess a scimitar
and a long, curved dagger, called kandjar;
many of them carry shortspears as well.

DRAGOON
The dragoon is a heavily armed member
of a mounted troop. What he lacks in
mobility is compensated by his resilient
armor, his tremendous firepower, and the
great strength of his melee attacks. The
dragoon often dons a breastplate, and
either carries a martial weapon that deals
an important amount of damage, such as
the battleaxe, flail, or longsword, or one
that can possibly be devastating upon a
critical hit, like the heavy pick. Prior to a
melee, many dragoons dampen their
opponents down with a devastating
ranged attack, favoring the heavy
crossbow or the pistol above all other
weapons to do so. A dragoon evidently
needs a strong mount, and the heavy
warhorse is a natural choice, although
exceptionally, dragoons ride more exotic
beasts.

Knowledge (nature) and Survival are


invaluable to cross the sandy extends
forming the goumiers country; Feats
must also be picked consequently. BlindFight, Endurance, and Improved Initiative
are all a must for the goumier who
engages a foe while an implacable wind
blows the deserts sand, but a goumier is
incomplete without Self-Sufficient, Skill
Focus (Survival), and Toughness, if she
truly wants to tame her environment.
Lastly, Trample is the best complement
for a mounted goumier.

Dwarves make excellent dragoons,


especially if they brandish a dwarven
waraxe. Feats that best serve a dragoon
are: Cleave, Far Shot, Great Cleave, Great
Fortitude, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater
Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical,
Mounted Archery, Point Blank Shot,
Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus,
and Weapon Specialization. Exceptionally,
a dragoon picks Exotic Weapon
Proficiency to use a firearm.

The tribal origin of the goumier means


that adepts, barbarians, druids, experts,
fighters, rangers and sorcerers are the
most likely candidates for this group.

HUSSAR
The hussar is a lightly armed cavalry
soldier presenting a good compromise
between the cavalryman and the dragoon.
The hussar often uses the same horse
than the cavalryman, but compensates
her lower dexterity with a more decent
armor, often a chain shirt combined with
a buckler or light steel shield. The
shortsword is her typical weapon. In a
battle, shes normally a member of the
second wave of attack, dispersing the

Bands of dragoons are formed with


members coming from the barbarian,
fighter, or paladin classes, although from
time to time, war-oriented clerics do
joined this category of strong horsemen.
33

Motive, and Speak Language serve them


all well in these social contexts. Knights
confronted against court intrigues arm
themselves not only with steel, but also
with an unusual array of Feats including
Alertness, Investigator, Iron Will,
Leadership, Negotiator, Persuasive, Skill
Focus (preferably with Bluff, Diplomacy,

broken lines of the opponent further and


engaging foot soldiers individually to
quickly dispatch them; thus, a hussar
almost never uses ranged weapons,
preferring often to fight with two blades
instead. Her choice of feats reflects this
orientation: Alertness, Combat Expertise,
Combat Reflexes, Greater Two-Weapon
Fighting, Improved Critical, Improved
Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved
Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon
Defense, and Two-Weapon Fighting.

Gather Information, Intimidate,


Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility
and royalty), Listen, or Sense Motive), and
Stealthy.

Obviously, the best candidates aspiring to


become hussars are rangers. Rogues with
a conventional dexterity, and fighters with
ordinary strength scores, can also get
something out of the hussars style.
Exceptionally, a bard adopts this style of
horsemanship.

Good aligned fighters are suitable for this


group, but paladins obviously rank first
and foremost in these elite. Clerics also
have what it takes to shine among those
chivalrous soldiers. Many domains,
particularly Knowledge, Law, Luck, Magic,
Protection, and Strength, come in handy
when playing a game of political intrigues.
From time to time, a wild card can be
found in this category; bards and rogues
who masquerade as knights to better
infiltrate a stronghold are not unheard of.

KNIGHT
The knight doesnt need much of an
introduction, being an archetype of the
fantasy genre. Knights are men and
women who served their lords as
mounted armoured soldier; wearing a
masterwork full plate most of the time,
they enhance their already impressive AC
with a shield proudly displaying their
coats of arm. The knight privileges either
the longsword or the bastard sword, but
can wield virtually any weapon. Many
knights are renowned for their fearless
charges leaded with the heavy lance, and
also for the incredible quality of their
mounts, generally the best chargers
available in the country.

LANCER
The lancer, like the name suggested, is a
cavalry soldier armed with a lance.
Lancers and knights are close brothers,
but lancers are faster and more
specialized, being specifically trained to
charge enemys lines. Crashing headlong
into a thigh formation bolstered by
countless, raised blades isnt without risks
however; the lancer must be able to keep
his own weapon well in hand, grin and
bear the counter strikes of his foes, and
be ready for a potential chute. To palliate
to all these perils, a lancer needs a very
agile horse, a good armor doubled by a
steel shield, and a locked gauntlet to
secure its weapon. Sometimes, the charge

While several knights distinguish


themselves upon the battlefield, their lord
often designs many others as emissaries
or escorts, and skills such as Diplomacy,
Knowledge (nobility and royalty), Sense
34

(nobility and royalty), Knowledge


(religion), Sense Motive, and Speak
Language. Behind this veneer of civility
however, rests a resolute warrior able to
resist to almost any magical lure, and who
is ready to unleash her wrath at any
assassin coming to test her steadfastness.
The feats of a mameluk prove this without
the shadow of a doubt; Alertness, BlindFight, Combat Expertise, Endurance, DieHard, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical,
Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder,
Improved Trip, Iron Will, Power Attack,
Toughness, and Quick Draw can all be
combined to shape the ultimate
bodyguard.

doesnt go has expected, and the lancer


see himself violently unseated; thus, many
lancers add Tumble to their skills. The
feats all lancers require first are naturally
Persuasive, Ride-By Attack, Spirited
Charge, Trample, and Weapon Focus (long
spear, short spear, or spear).
The best lancers come from the barbarian
or fighter classes. Occasionally, a cleric is
found among lancers, but this is the
exception, not the rule. Paladins
sometimes remain lancers for a while, but
assuredly, they prefer to graduate as
knights.
MAMELUK
A mameluk is chiefly a bodyguard who
protects a sultan. A mameluk is
indigenous from a desert civilization; thus,
shes often seen upon a camel,
dromedary, or thoroughbred horse. A
mameluk is a cleric, fighter, or paladin
that will forfeit her life to insure the
survival of her charge. To carry on this
grim duty efficiently, the mameluk wears
an appropriate armor; scale mails and
breastplates are common, but elven chain
and mithral chain shirt are also greatly
prized. The falchion is the predominant
weapon of any mameluk worthy of the
name, but scimitars, kandjars, and kukris
can be found aplenty within their ranks. A
masterwork composite shortbow
completes the mameluks arsenal.

A MOUNT, BY ANY OTHER


NAME
The riders mentioned above arent limited
to horses. A halfling with a riding dog or a
gnome upon a war pony can both be
dangerous teams in their own rights.
However, the most lethal duos involve
more fearsome adversaries, and PCs
should explore the possibilities offered by
the MM. Animated objects, arrowhawks,
centaurs, chimeras, dragons, dragonnes,
elephants, giant eagles, giant owls,
griffons, hippogriffs, nightmares, pegasi,
spider eaters, and unicorns are all going to
make fearsome mounts for those who
have the courage to tame them first!

Diverse characters orbit around the


mameluk before gaining an introduction
with her ward. To better insure the
safekeeping of her liege, and act
respectfully towards the nobles seeking
an audience, a mameluk sometimes adds
the following skills to her roster: Decipher
Script, Diplomacy, Forgery, Knowledge

The Cavalcade: A Glossary and


Historical Summary
(Source: Merriam-Webster Online;
www.m-w.com)
Carabineer: Etymology: French carabinier,
from carabine, carbine. Definition: A
35

cavalry soldier armed with a carbine.

Serbo-Croatian hussar, pirate, from


Medieval Latin cursarius, corsair.
Definition: A member of any of various
European units originally modeled on the
Hungarian light cavalry of the 15th
century.

Cavalry: Etymology: Italian cavalleria,


cavalry, chivalry, from cavaliere.
Definition: An army component mounted
on horseback.
Cavalryman: Definition: A cavalry soldier.

Knight: Etymology: Middle English, from


Old English cnith, man-at-arms, boy,
servant; akin to Old High German kneht,
youth, military follower. Definition: A
mounted man-at-arms serving a feudal
superior; especially: a man ceremonially
inducted into special military rank usually
after completing service as page and
squire.

Cossack: Etymology: Polish & Ukrainian


kozak, of Turkic origin; akin to Volga Tatar
Kazak, free person. Definition: A member
of a group of frontiersmen of southern
Russia organized as cavalry in the czarist
army.
Dragoon: Etymology: French dragon,
dragon, from Middle French. Definition: A
member of a European military unit
formerly composed of heavily armed
mounted troops.

Lance: Etymology: Middle English, from


Old French, from Latin lancea. Definition:
a steel-tipped spear carried by mounted
knights or light cavalry.

Goum: Etymology: French goum, Arabic


gaum, troop. Definition: Military
contingent provided by a tribe to the
French army in Algeria.

Lancer: Definition: One who carries a


lance; a member of a military unit
formerly composed of light cavalry armed
with lances.

Goumier: Etymology: French goumier,


from goum. Definition: Member of a
goum.

Mameluk (variant: Mameluke):


Etymology: Arabic mamluk, literally, slave.
Definition: A member of a politically
powerful Egyptian military class occupying
the sultanate from 1250 to 1517.

Hussar: Etymology: Hungarian hussr,


hussar, (obsolete) highway robber, from

New Weapon: The Kandjar


Kandjar: A kandjar is an oriental dagger with a curved blade that is both exceptionally
lengthy and sharp. There is no hilt between the blade and the handle of a kandjar.
Range
Weight
Type
Exotic Weapon Cost Dmg (S) Dmg (M) Critical
Increment
Light Melee Weapon

Kandjar

5 gp

1d3

1d4

x4

36

2 lb.

Slashing
or
piercing

Dragonkin, Cambions and Naga


Three new player races in the World of Lingusia for Castles & Crusades
By Tori Bergquist
their lost land. Some marlacks, discontent
with the corruption and false religion of the
god-emperor of Golmadras, have migrated to
other cities, as well. Many marlacks become
enamored with the Emerald Order of Thalion
and take up arms in the cause of this
demiurge.

When I released The Keepers of Lingusia a


little over a year ago, there was plenty of
content I had not included. What follows are
racial data for three particular races that can
work easily in any setting. The data included
refers to the forthcoming Warlords Era
setting, but all three races appear in the
Keepers Era as well.

C&C Marlack Characters:


Marlacks

Attributes: +2 Str, -1 Cha and -1 Dex


Movement Rate: 30 on ground or 40 flying
Racial Traits:
Wings: Marlacks are born with wings, and can
fly at reasonable speeds, or even hover.
Breath Weapon: Marlacks have a minor
breath weapon. Once per day thay may
breathe a 5 foot by 15 foot cone of their
choice of fire, acid, cold or lightning (pick one
at creation) doing 1D6 damage for every 3
levels of advancement. Thus, a ninth level
marlack fighter can breath for 3D6 cone
attack damage.
Favored Classes: Knight, Fighter, Barbarian,
Wizard, Cleric

Marlack dragonmen are physically strong


draconian with scaled skin in varying colors,
dragonlike heads, wide wings capable of
flight, and thick clawed hands and feet. In
Lingusia, Marlacks have existed for as long as
dragons have been trapped upon the world,
and are subservient minions created from
draconian alchemy in which humanoids of
other species are merged with draconian
elements. As a race, they have over time
managed to establish their own niche, and
most independent marlacks come from small
communities in the wilderness that have
broken free of the control of their elder kin.
In the 2486 era of KOL, marlacks are a rare
sight, and usually herald from the distant
north or some other remote land. They are
often encountered as barbarians and rangers.
In the Warlords era, the marlacks are more
common, especially in Golmadras. Although
occasional crossbreeds have been found
throughout the ages, the dominance of a race
of dragon/human crossbreeds in the Middle
Kingdoms began with their migration from the
Karaktuan region of Yenetai, from which they
had to flee their reclusive cities or be
destroyed in the Cataclysm.
The largest marlack presence can be found
in Galvonar, to the south, but there are
communities of marlacks in Golmadras,
existing more often than not with the elvish
Yenetai weredrakes and other survivors of

Cambions
Cambions in Lingusia are less of a race and
more the product of centuries of
interbreeding with demons and other
outsiders trapped in the mortal realm. When
the Cataclysm hit, countless visiting,
summoned, and trapped outsiders were
suddenly permanent residents, and many
found themselves trapped in whatever mortal
forms they were occupying at the time, either
physically or spiritually. Eventually, they got
used to it, and had progeny. The cambions
were the result.
A thousand years later, and cambions are
now a fairly prolific minority in many
communities, and some have banded
together, on learning that their offspring
37

after they had their dalliances and left many


humans pregnant with cambion children for
the first time!

show a pure mixed heritage no matter the


other parent. The strongest concentration of
cambions can currently be found in the island
kingdoms of Hadrosar.
Life can be very hard for these half demons,
some get lucky enough to find small
communities of their kind, a kindly wizard to
take them in as apprentices, or a demonic
parent who finds the novelty of a child too
compelling to resist. Most cambions are
raised as ambivalent, hateful beings, but a
few get lucky and grow up surprisingly
straight and normal.
Cambions are sometimes familiar with both
their extraplanar and their mortal parents,
but many can only guess at such, having been
abandoned at the doorsteps of wizards guilds
and temples by horrified peasants. After
centuries of interbreeding between the many
demons and other outsiders from other
dimensions who became permanent residents
during the time of the Cataclysm 1,100 years
ago, some wizards estimate the number of
cambions in the world to be fifty thousand or
more.
The Cataclysm that shattered the planar
gateways between Lingusia and other
dimensions, making almost all cross-planar
travel impossible to all but a few. Even now,
eleven centuries later, cambion wizards eager
to leanr more about their extraplanar natures
are only just beginning to learn how to
penetrate and move through the mysterious
barrier called the Fourth Wall, a membrane of
thick energy which separates the mortal
realm from the planes.
Because of this Fourth Wall, for centuries
now demonic beings dwelling in Lingusia were
trapped, often even in polymorphed forms
other than their native demonic visage, and
were forced to settle down and live amongst
mortals permanently. Many a wizard had a
pentagram-held demon in his laboratory
suddenly become a permanent house guest,
and many a succubus or incubus, engaging in
their timeless trade of corrupting and driving
mortal humans mad, suddenly discovered
that there was nowhere for them to return to

C&C Cambion Characters:


Attributes: +1 Int, -1 Cha
Movement Rate: 30 feet
Racial Traits:
Infernal Aspect: Cambions are plane-touched,
and reflect some of the demonic or devilish
aspect of their planar parent. Cambions often
have hooves, horns, a tail and other features
marking their strange appearance. Pick up at
least three elements, one from each of the
following lists. You may pick more than one
detriment. Each additional detriment lets you
pick one additional enhancement:
Cosmetic (no limit):
glowing eyes
third eye on forehead
talking demon face on your hand
(could be beneficial at CKs discretion)
six fingered hands
a small tail (not capable of fine
manipulation)
Scaly or unusual appearance
Enhancements (choose 3):
Hooves (run speed 40 feet)
Tail (gain +1 Dex)
Wings (gain fly speed 40 feet)
Scales (gain +1 AC natural armor
bonus)
Elemental Resistance (choose fire,
cold, acid or lightning; you talk half
damage from such attacks, no
damage on a save)
Dark Vision 120 feet
Claws (1D6+Str damage)
Sharp Teeth (1D6+Str damage)
Detrimental (choose 1):
Weakened Trait (-2 to one attribute)
Monstrous Appearance(-2 to disguise
checks)
Weakness (choose one: fire, cold, acid
or lightning; such attacks do double
damage if you are attacked with it or

38

compelled to seek out these ancient chaos


lords to awaken them, and a generation of
naga who are allied with the forces of
creation and wish to stop their driven
compatriots. This strange civil war has been
erupting for the last two centuries, and is
especially common in the Inner Sea and
Straights of Nyarlith region.

fail a save and normal damage if you


make the save)
Deformed limb (limb is functionally
useless; -2 Dex modifier to fine
manipulation checks, or half speed
movement if a leg)

Naga
Naga are a race of amphibious beings that
dwell in the deeps and along the coastal
regions of Lingusia and the east. They appear
as tauroidal beings, with the bodies and tails
of snakes, torsos, arms and heads of
humanoids, and a long shark-like fin running
down their backs.
The naga are a relatively new race of beings,
at least as far as humans in the Middle
Kingdoms are concerned. A thousand years
ago their ancient underwater empire was
devastated by the Cataclysm, and the naga
were fragmented into many warring factions
when their eons-old empire fell. The naga,
forced to survive in new circumstances,
sought out watery habitats along the coastal
regions of the mainland, and settled down. As
amphibious beings they are capable of
moving ashore without much difficulty, and
some prefer it.
Religious motives are the key driving factor
in the naga presence on land these days. The
naga have fractured in to two groups,
including those who hear the siren call of the
Skaeddrath Krakens in their dreams, and are

C&C Naga Characters:


Attributes: +1 Dex, -1 Cha
Movement Rate: 30 feet on land, 60 feet
swimming
Racial Traits:
Deep Vision: Naga deep vision functions
equally well underwater as well as in
darkness. They can see in shades of grey even
in total darkness.
Amphibious: Naga can breath normally on
land and under water with no impairment.
Note that this does not protect them from
unnatural attacks such as stinking cloud.
Natural Swimmer (Dex): All naga are
excellent swimmers, achieving double speed
underwater and gaining a swim skill for
underwater acrobatics and maneuvers.
Armored Scales: Naga are scaled, and these
scales provide natural armor protection,
offering a natural +4 armor bonus. This armor
bonus does not stack with better armor, and
they lose their swimming speed and swim skill
bonuses if they wear medium or heavy armor
(+4 or better bonus).

39

Blood and Bullets


An Exploitation! Tale by Dan Lambert
With thanks and apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Quentin Tarantino
Chapter One: Miss Shirley Holmes
in upstairs. Before I knew it, I had taken a
7.62 mm round in the shoulder. The round
somehow got in under my Kevlar, and I
was bleeding like a stuck pig. I must have
blacked out, because before I knew it,
some Specialist I had barely met, a very
young, very white kid from Arkansas
named Murray, had me loaded onto a
Hum-Vee and was gunning it back to base.

Yo, whassup? You can call me Johnny W.


You know: like George W., except that Im
a lot more hip, a lot more black, and I
didnt screw up the damn country for
eight years. During most of those eight
years, I was a combat medic in Iraq. I
thought I was finished after one tour, so I
came back to L.A. to chill with my Baby
Mama and Johnny Jr. But, as luck would
have it, I was stop-lossed, which means
that the Army called me and ordered my
ass back to Iraq for a second tour. I
thought about jumping ship, but what the
hell: the streets of L.A. had begun to
resemble the streets of Baghdad anyway
by that time.

The next thing I knew, I was laid up in a VA


hospital in Germany. Thats when I started
blogging about my experiences on the
laptop the Doc loaned me. You may have
read one of my blogs at
www.JohnnyWatson.com. I have to warn
you, man: if youve been reading my
blogs, you may have noticed that my
shoulder wound tends to travel. First its
in my shoulder, and then its in my thigh
or my leg. Suffice it to say that considering
some of the sweet narcotics they gave me
at the VA, Im lucky to remember my first
name, let alone where on my body that
Hajji bullet ruined my day on a sunny
Baghdad morning in 2007.

So there I was back in Iraq, going out on


patrols with an Army Ranger unit, trying
to keep the Shiites and Sunnis from killing
each other. When a member of my squad
took an AK round, I did my best to patch
him up. I once saw a guy impaled through
the chest by an RPG round. When a guy
has something as big as a shoulder-fired
grenade stuck in his chest, theres nothing
left to do but give him some strong drugs
and start writing a letter to his parents.

After I was feeling good enough to walk


around on my own, the Army decided that
I was ready to be shipped back to my baby
mama in Los Angeles. Luckily, I knew the
C-160 transport plane pilot who was
scheduled to bring a planeload of GIs from
Munich Airport to LAX. Captain Salvador

I was always good about keeping my head


down, but one day when we were on
patrol, scouring one of Saddams former
palaces, we came under fire from some
righteous Al-Qaeda Hajjis who had moved
40

Orontes owed me a favor, and he paid it


back big time by saving room for me on
his C-160.

CENTINELA HOSPITAL, IN DA WOOD.


Since he worked so close to my new
hangout, I invited Stanny to have a
caramel frap with me at the internet caf.
We hugged each other, and he sat down.

Lots of guys had wives, girlfriends, and rug


rats waiting to greet them at LAX, but my
baby mama was nowhere to be found. I
hitched a ride to our apartment, only to
find my stuff waiting for me on the front
porch, with a post it note from my baby
mama, telling me shed met someone else
when I was overseas, and never wanted
to see my sorry ass again.

Why do you have that big, shit-eating


grin on your face? I asked him.
Because, Mr. Johnny W., I have solved
your lodging problem. Ive found you a
roommate, niggah!
Stanny went on to describe Miss Shirley
Holmes, a young woman who used to be
his classmate at UCLA. She had dropped
out of the Pre-Med program to start some
kind of a private detective agency. As we
spoke, she was apparently putting
together a Web site and database of
potential clients that promised to put
MySpace, Facebook, AND Craigs List to
shame.

I spent most of my nights as a newlyminted bachelor at the Criterion Internet


Caf in Inglewood, slurping caramel
frappocinos and looking for apartments
for rent on Craigs List. I was hoping to
find a roommate to split the rent on a
cheap crash pad. I was hoping for
someone along the lines of Felix Unger
from that old TV show, The Odd Couple;
someone with no bad habits. Preferably,
someone who wasnt a convicted felon.

Whoa, hold up, I said to Stanny. I dont


need no female roommate. Im hoping to
get back with my baby mama once I land
feet-first. I have enough drama in my life.

One night, while I was online at the


Criterion, I got a Windows Live Messenger
instant message: JOHNNY WATSON, IS
THAT YOU? ARE YOU BACK IN THE
STATES?

Stanny laughed. Not to worry, Johnny W!


Your baby mama may not like the idea of
you rooming with a hot, six-foot-tall
blonde, but there wont be no drama.
Shirley swings both ways, but she prefers
girls. Sex will be the least of your
probleMiss I should warn you, however,
that Shirley can be a bit eccentric.

WHO IS THIS? I responded.


THIS IS DESHAUN STAMFORD. YOU
KNOW, STANNY!
Stanny was one of my boys in Iraq. He was
a fellow medic, lucky enough to get his
hands on a UCLA Pre-Med scholarship.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO,
STANNY? I asked.

When do we meet her? I asked.


Dont be so eager, Stanny warned. And
dont make your final decision until you
meet Shirley. Do you remember Friedrich
Nietzsches quotation about the abyss?

IM AN EMERGENCY ROOM INTERN AT


41

When you look into the abyss, the abyss


also looks into you. I always think about
that quotation when I try to describe Miss
Shirley Holmes. The more you try to learn
about Shirley, my brother, the more she
will learn about you.

learned a new way to extract DNA


samples from semen stains. This is
important, Jonesy.

Stanny set up a meeting for the following


night on the UCLA campus, where Shirley
Holmes was renting her own forensics lab.

Johnny Wadd, Johnny Watson, whatever.


Nice to meet you. Now sit down before
you fall down, Johnny Watson. Who
knows: you might learn something.

Uh, thats Johnny, I corrected her.


Johnny Watson.

When I got off the bus, walked into the


lab, and lay my eyes on Shirley Holmes for
the first time, I knew my life had taken a
turn for the weird. She had been bent
over a Macbook, working on some kind of
computer model and chatting with Stanny
at the same time. When she stood up, my
senses were overwhelmed by her
presence. Standing before me was a
slender blonde, poured into a dark-blue
jump suit with white stripes that flowed
leisurely from her neck to her ankles. Her
dirty blonde hair cascaded down to her
waist like a turbulent river. She smiled
mischievously at me. Her face reminded
me of a cross between Uma Thurman,
Jessica Simpson, and the dream girl that
has been the subject of my nocturnal
fantasies since fifth grade.

I sat down. There was no chair, so I ended


up on the floor. I think I was falling in love.
To be continued

You must be Stans friend, she purred in


a voice that reminded me of every song in
Beyonces catalog. Im Shirley. So, she
said, eyeing me up and down, it looks like
you just got back from a tour in Iraq.
Yeah, I responded. But how did you
know that?
Never mind. She swung one long leg
over the back of an ergonomic computer
chair, and motioned for me to take a seat.
Take a look at this computer model. I just
42

Pagan
(Or a Brief Encounter in the Lives of Two People)
Fiction by Jeremiah Griffin
Bland, muted yellow light flows, almost
sluggishly, through the yellowed
window pane. It is the yellow of the
crud that accumulates on your teeth
after weeks of not brushing, or that of a
stack of papers you find in your leaky
basement that seem to date back the
70's before you ever moved in, made of
mold, mildew, dust and dirt that no one
ever bothered to wash off the large
windows through all the years of the
warehouse's disuse. The air is stale and
stagnant, warm and wet. Breathing in
the sultry atmosphere is to moisten and
then dry your lungs in quick succession.
Trying not to think, I attempt to gaze
through the panes at the street below,
vaguely making out the distorted
outlines of the automobiles below.
Upon taking my first driving test I was
able to correctly guess that the image of
the not-quite-car/not-quite-truck
pictured on the exam was correctly
identified as neither car nor truck, but
rather a motor vehicle. That description
has never been as appropriate as it is
now, trying to make out the not-quite
shapes through the neglected yellow
glass. The Automobile industry tries to
avoid blanket terminology, they make
their money by pushing, their next big
truck, or their sporty new car, no one is
wowed into purchasing something as
general as a motor vehicle.

type of vehicle might be passing by at


any particular moment or simply
watching the dull yellow light reflect off
the myriad dust particles floating in the
air (only the ones moving in the shafts
of light cut by the window panes are
visible, making it appear as though the
window itself were raining dust), I hear
a noise. A low animal groan, the
muffled scratching of cloth against
musty concrete, and I know it is time.
Its time to finish what I came to do.
I turn, my back to the window, the
Champaign light of the window pane
and its sparkly dust bubbles, vaguely
illuminating the pile of cloth and paper
and hair (most of all the ratty, unkempt,
unwashed, mangy hair), that make up
the animal that thinks itself a man upon
the dingy floor of the old empty
warehouse. It groans again, louder this
time and I step forward. My hand slides
carefully into my jacket pocket. I wrap
my fingers around the handle of the
revolver I am carrying and squeeze it in
my hands. I am trying to squeeze out
any nervousness that might be left after
trying to deaden myself these past few
hours.
I know I am doing the right thing, but I
have honestly never done it before. I
am told that it gets easier each time,
but it sure seems pretty difficult the first
time. Perhaps I should have just done it

After some time of trying to guess what


43

quickly, perhaps I am just making a


beginners mistake. I have to justify this
to myself, to convince myself that I am
right.

and frizzled in others, matted down in


some, exploding forth in others. Pieces
of rotten food, torn bits of old news
paper, and swarms of bugs large and
small all swim through the turbulent sea
that is his hair. He manages to get most
of his face pointing up toward me.
What appears to be an old spaghetti
noodle is knotted up in his beard (or
what appears to be his beard, all of his
hair seems to be massed together).

The form that is a body begins to squirm


about. It tries to shout too, but I struck
it across the ribs and legs with an
aluminum baseball bat several times
before even tossing it into my trunk. I
am guessing its ribs are broken as its
attempts at shouts come out in short
cut off bursts that sound more like
rasps. It struggles to stand, it isn't easy
to balance as its arms are fastened
behind its back with one of those
rubber-coated chains that you use on a
bicycle and locked with one of those
heavy duty locks that looks like it could
be used as a sledge hammer and has the
rubber edging on it to keep it from
seriously maiming you if you were to
simply drop it on your foot. Its efforts
are further impeded by the fact that its
legs are obviously broken.

I- He breaks into a fit of coughing,


which causes the pain in his chest to act
up, which causes him to cough more,
creating a cycle of pain and coughing. It
is some time before it subsides. This
time he is softer, slower. I said, who
are you?
I debate speaking but finally do. No
one.
Why?
I'm not sure how to lead this
conversation. I've never done this
before. I shouldn't even be doing it
now. I should have just killed him and
be done with it.

The clump of disheveled dread locks


twists this way and that until something
not unlike a face erupts from within.
Somehow scared, pocked, scabbed,
flaking, and sootey, it looks less like a
real face and more like something from
a bad horror movie. The chapped and
blistered mouth lets out an animal grunt
as its eyes narrow and focus on me. It
speaks.

I think you know. It sounds tough


enough, and gives me a wide enough
opening to maneuver in. His eyes
narrow, they would burn a hole straight
through me if they could.

Who are you? It is strained and filled


with pain, but I make out the words.

The world will end. He is so calm and


sure, that I am a bit thrown off. And
you will feel eternal- He is cut off by
another fit of coughing, but I already
know the rest of it. Why am I doing this.
I know he has it coming. Hell, he knows
he has it coming.

I don't answer. I merely watch the grey


and off-white flecks of maggots crawl
through the shrub that is his hair. It is
greased and nappy in some spots, dried
44

that I tend to get a sudden rush of


energy and then I crash soon after I do
whatever I needed to (say beating an
old man with a baseball bat). This all
leaves me wishing that I had another
soft drink at hand while I am waiting
with and injured and insane person in
an abandoned warehouse.

Save it old man. We've all heard your


little sermons on the street corners.
Shouting to the people that the end is
near and all that crap. I for one am tired
of it.
You young people, he says recovering
from the latest fit, you have no respect
for your elders. No respect for
religion...

It takes him some time to recover. I


think I hear a muffled curse as he stirs
ever so slightly. His eyes roll in my
direction and in turn I glare down at
him. His brow furrows, his lips purse, I
can tell he has something to say and he
is determined to say it.

Don't talk religion to me old man!


You're no holy man, you're just crazy.
He is still droning on. Older than you,
old as time, it will be around long after
youre gone!

You don't know the power- I plant my


foot in his stomach and leave it there a
moment as I listen to the air escape his
lungs. This causes another bought of
coughing and hacking. I am getting
angry, I can feel my blood warming and
surging through my veins.

To aid him in his next bought of


coughing I run up to him and kick him in
the chest. It does the trick. He lets out
a bestial howl and falls into sobbing as
he coughs. Still, I'm just not angry
enough. I know that the longer I drag it
out the less likely I am to do it. I have to
stay strong. I must follow through; I just
need him to give me a reason to do this.
I can't let him win. It shouldn't be that
hard.

The power of- Another kick to the


chest. He struggles against the pain and
the compulsive hacks.
Doom! He shouts, I kick him hard in
the ribs, but they give way with a soft
squish against my boot. I kick him again
anyway. He coughs and struggles to say
something, anything. I pull my gun and
fire into his face.

Earlier, in the morning, I drank a


number of caffeinated sodas and ate a
couple dozen candy bars in order to
build up the energy for this. I really
shouldn't eat that way, my family is
predisposed to diabetes and eating like
that will probably come back to haunt
me when I get older. None the less I
tend to do that when I need to work
myself up for what I know will be a
physically tasking exercise (I take
cinnamon to help with the sugar
metabolism). The trouble with this is

There is an explosion in my ears, that


echoes throughout the massive, empty
room again and again. It does not seem
to stop, and fear takes me as I wonder if
the shot might have been heard by a
passer-by. I freeze in place in wonder
and terror until the reverberation finally
dies out. There is an eternity as I wait to
see if anyone will open the door. My
45

nerves slowly begin to settle as I realize


no one is coming after all.

corpse, their faces shadowed into


nothingness by their black hoods.

I look down at the face of the man I


have killed for the first time since firing
the shot. His moth gasps open and
closed, no words come forth. The hole
in his forehead seeps blood, yet he has
not yet fully expired. This is better than
I had hoped for.

My work is done, I turn to leave. As I


am walking away I notice a small object
on the ground. A necklace, made from
old thread, with a hand carved wooden
cross attached. It must have slipped
from the neck of the old man as he was
being drug into the room. A wave of
rage washes over me. Before stepping
through the door way, I squeeze the
charm in my fist and throw it behind me
and without so much as a glance back I
close the door.

I reach to one side picking up a roll of


delicate oiled leather and unfurl it, to
reveal an old stone knife, long and
sharp. After moths of practice it only
takes me a few minutes to make the
incisions and paint out the ancient
runes with the man's blood.

I prefer a religion that is a little more


dependable, something that has been
around for a while.

I watch the last breath leave the old


man's throat and am somewhat startled
to notice that my friends have just
silently entered the room. In their long
black robes, they glade just as
noiselessly into a circle around the

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh


wgah'nagl fhtagn."

~Fin~

46

Traveller: Ad Astra
A Campaign Setting for the Traveller Role Playing Game
By Tori Bergquist

transcends the generations slowly


unfolds.
The historical timeline of Ad Astra
allows for a grand overview of the
progress of man spanning several
hundred years. It provides some details
on the overarching plots and themes
that develop over time, especially the
gradual expansion of man in to foreign
space and humanitys first contact
scenarios with the greater universe. The
theme of the Harbingers and their
eventual threat is also important, as is
the mystery of such beings as the
Byzanti and the Gundari Wraiths.
Ive run Ad Astra in multiple role
playing systems. Ad Astra grew out of an
explanding metaplot I would develop
with each opportunity to run a new SF
campaign. The system was usually the
hot game of the hour. Traveller,

Ad Astra (to the stars in Latin) has


been my private space opera for two
decades now. I have linked my science
fiction adventures together over the
years, producing the fairly lengthy and
tumultuous future history of the
universe. Ad Astra is a universe which
begins with a near-future world of dark
conspiracies and alien visitations, turns
in to a not-too-distant tale of expanding
humanity and two-fisted tales of hardscience adventures on the frontier of
space, and eventually expands to a
galactic tale of space opera and farfuture politics among powerful alien
empires. The intent of the setting is to
insure that you, as GM, can run it in any
particular vein you like, linking
adventures in different eras together
over time, as a grand plot that

47

A Future History in Four Phases

Megatraveller, GURPS, Alternity, Hero


System, Savage Worlds and Tri-Stat DX
have all hosted Ad Astra as the
underlying system, and Ive provided
some online details for a couple of
them. Most recently Mongoose
Publishing released a new and very
polished edition of Traveller, and so it is
my pleasure to bring Ad Astra back to
the original system from which it was
first conceived. The adaptation that
follows will include specifics on how to
use Traveller as the default Ad Astra
game engine with a minimum of fuss. In
fact, pretty much the entire body of
rules for Traveller will work just fine asis with Ad Asta; all youll need from this
setting are some specific details and
statistics to go with it all.

The history of mankind in space begins


before Sputnik, and may indeed have
begun before man had left the stone
age. His future history goes on for many
millennia, but the four phases of
expansion in Ad Astra deal with a period
from the twentieth century in to the
twenty-sixth.

Protophase:
Dawn of the Interstellar Age
Mankinds first encounters with the
galaxy at large did not begin in space,
but in fact dates back to many early
occurrences of alien contact. First
contact may actually have happened
multiple times over countless millennia,
but some famous known examples
include the following:
In 1947, the first documented modern
contact with aliens occurs when a
Gundari slave ship crashes near Roswell.
Survivors reveal the millennial practice
of harvesting humans and other lesser
species for Gundari thrall armies before
escaping. The havoc caused by the
surviving shape shifters leads to the
formation of MJ-12, a covert
government agency designed to
respond to alien threats.
In 1997, Nommosi remnants stranded
on Earth from a crash-landing in the
Cretaceous era are awakened when one
of their poly phasic artifacts are
discovered and activated. The surviving
Nommosi attempts to create a chronophasic wormhole to return to the past
and stop the disastrous crash, but in so
doing begins dragging that period in to
the near future. Fortunate intervention
stops the irreparable damage to past
and future.

Traveller Conventions:
Ad Astra employs all of the rules for
characters, ships and worlds as outlined
in Traveller. Transgenics are also
common in Ad Astra and less restricted
than in the standard Traveller universe.
Psionics exist in the Ad Astra universe as
a barely-understood force linked to the
quantum flux. It is believed by many
mystical agencies that psionics are the
first step of a conventional physical
being in to a larger, incorporeal
universe. The Harbingers, Wraiths, and
other species have all developed this
potential to some extent, but mankind
as a whole remains largely uninvolved
with psionics until Phase III and beyond.
Finally, simulants and anageni are all
affected by transgenics to one extent or
another, the specialized weird science
focusing on genetic modification.

48

In 1998, As a side effect of the Nommosi


awakening, stranded TKazzt criminals
are motivated to seek escape, and
attempt to convert human listening
stations in to FTL transmitters to call for
help. Federal agents intervene in
conjunction with MJ-12. Variable
periods in history have revealed transphasic incursions by beings moving
through poly-dimensional wormholes,
most notably the so-called Stick Men,
who have been with humanity
potentially for several thousand years.
Likewise, there is a suspicion among
mytho-historic scholars that apocalyptic
accounts of floods and disasters in
human legends suggest a period in
which the Sol System might have come
in to a near-contact with one of the
Harbingers (near-contact because direct
contact would have led to the
harvesting and extermination of Earth).

anti-matter dirt cheap and accessible to


all. In less than a decade, humanity is
lifted from the brink of destruction in to
a new renaissance.
In 2052, The nations of the world are
united and commemorate the new era
of peace with the launch of the Orpheus
Project, a multi-national effort to
promote the furtherance of space
development with the first anti-matter
interstellar space explorers. Orpheus I,
II, and III are set to launch on
completion in orbital stations in 2056,
and begin their journeys to three likely
star systems displaying possible
terrestrial planets according to new
advanced telescopic imaging stations
established in the Kuiper Belt Research
Stations. Daedalus III will reach Alpha
Centauri, closest binary star system to
Sol, in approximately 50 Earth years
acceleration and deceleration time. It
will be the first vessel to arrive. Orpheus
II is sent to Wolf 359, and Orpheus I is
sent to Tau Ceti. Each Orpheus vessel
carries an experimental wormhole
receiver gate with it to be assembled on
arrival. The current wormhole project
holds that a two-way connection is
required to operate the wormhole by
utilizing the two openings to force the
hole open with a web of complex hyper
dense particles. Again, particles made
possible using new accelerator and
bottling technology.
In 2076 the first functioning self
sustainable two-way worm-hole is
created in the Kuiper Belt Research
Stations. Technology has superseded
itself here, as the means of exploring
worlds still to be reached by the
Orpheus project can be done in spite of
issues of relativity. The new system
allows a ship to be fired, virtually,

Phase I: 2048-2150
First Contact and STL Expansion Period
Mankind has developed a sophisticated
future society and begun development
of the solar system. In this period,
humanity experiences a period of future
shock, which is slowed only by the
outward expansion in to space over
time.
2048 marks the time in which a period
of continuous global conflicts and
escalating warfare over diminishing fuel
resources are almost completely
eliminated due to the unexpected
development of cheap, almost
unlimited fuel through the manufacture
and development of anti-matter. The
Klausman-Zabrinski Particle Collider and
highly effective magnetic bottling
methods make the exploitation of total
energy-to-mass conversion through
49

through an accelerator 200 km long


through a worm-hole entry which is
momentarily flung open by a massive
burst of heavy exotic particles from
adjacent interactive accelerators. The
ship arrives at a destination where it can
then utilize its onboard equipment to
mine and manufacture a receiving end
which can create the sustainable
wormhole. Plans are immediately put in
place to make use of the new Gateway1. By 2082, multiple avenues of research
are underway and the first explorer
ships are out.
In 2079, a monumental discovery is
made by Kurosawa Mining and
Development in the ice fields of the
Titan moon when they detect a large
artificial object trapped in the moons
ice flows. The first and earliest Dragoons
(cybernetically enhanced humans) are
brought in when the initial research
teams are lost, and discover that the
vessel is of alien origin and infested with
unknown, hostile organisms that strike
at the genetic structure of their targets
and take control of enemy organisms.
This is humanitys first contact with the
CerrKTa. Later, when the infestation is
eliminated, what is left of the vessel
leads to more mysteries, many not
answered until centuries later.
Unfortunately, Kurosawa does not share
its discoveries with other members of
the Commonwealth.
In 2082, the first fracturing of the Solar
Commonwealth is experienced when
the Jupiter Faction breaks away, due to
an artificial intelligence which becomes
motivated to become exclusive
caretaker of its willing society. The
rampant acceptance of neural
networking and biotech advances which
have lead to the creation of biomimetic

powers in the human mind are blamed


for this bizarre cultural revolution. This
cultural revolution slows interstellar
expansion as the First Stellar War is
fought, but it leads to the first idea of
the Slingshot drive, locally constructed
accelerator stations which can open
smaller wormholes to fire a ship to
another region in the solar system,
making local travel times much shorter.
2086, The first phase of the interstellar
survey teams has unexpected results as
a team stumbles on a Dotari Habitat.
The Dotari lash out violently to the
xenobiological intrusion, and then send
armed forces to Sol, where they begin a
systematic annihilation of wormhole
capabilities. The existing warfare makes
things worse as the first contact with a
present alien species proves
overwhelmingly hostile, and the
xenophobic, poly dimensional Dotari
and their manufactured subjects are too
alien to rationalize with. The First Stellar
War ends with the Dotari domination
and subjugation of human space forces
on all sides in 2092. Confident Terran
space development has been stopped,
the Dotari leave. Unknown to them,
factions of the Solar Commonwealth
have survived with Kuiper Station
technology intact, by moving key
wormhole capable vessels to other
systems, including Alpha Centauri.
In 2087, after a close engagement with
unknown hostiles monitoring the
system the human remnants are saved
by a Founder trade ship which aids
them. With the assistance of the
Astratan Founders, the Solar
Commonwealth contingent returns to
the Kuiper Belt of the Solar System.
Confident that the Dotari are gone, a
methodical plan to restore humanity to
50

the stars begins. Aided by the Founders,


who seek to aid those injured by the
Dotari threat to gain new allies, the
reconstruction will take approximately
three decades before mans presence in
space is fully restored. During this time,
a great deal of effort is placed on
careful, methodical, and quiet
interstellar survey teams seeking to
assess the neighbors, both hostile and
friendly, in the local region of space.
This is the foundation of the Interstellar
Survey Corps.
2106 is the year Orpheus III makes its
arrival at Alpha Centauri, only to
discover a civilization on the hospitable
world which has collapsed, and
evidence of much warfare and many
subsequent visits from other species. A
game of cat and mouse begins with a
being known only as the Survivor, a
member of a forgotten species which
was trapped by the automated
protection systems which were put in
place to protect the system from further
incursion, or warn off visitors. The tools
of biotechnic warfare abound in the
system, and it appears that many of the
visitors sought the technology out as a
means of using it for their own
purposes. Orpheus III discovers the first
direct evidence of sleek, faster-thanlight ship remnants employing warp
drive to fold space. It then seeks to
establish contact with humanity and
builds its return worm hole, after
finding a message left behind by the
visitors of the Commonwealth.

wormhole-equipped FTL ship. At just


under 3 km in length, Rendezvous I was
meant to be humanitys first great
fortress of the stars, a vessel capable of
operating indefinitely with a crew of
several thousand and room to hold
whole colonies. As much a space station
as a ship, Rendezvous I included dozens
of research, survey, and exploratory
vessels attached to its hull along with a
dozen well armed warships utilizing
newly developed weapons technology
employing gravitic weaponry as well as
anti-matter missiles. In the years
preceding the build-up, alliances had
been made with the Astratan, Anageni,
and Grupnar as well as several minor
species in predicaments much like
humanitys. From this unity emerges the
Human Federated Commonwealth, and
an alliance between multiple species
called the Interstellar Union.
2176 marks the founding of the first full
human colony in interstellar space on
the uninhabited terrestrial world of the
Betelgeuse system. Within a decade,
under the Rendezvous project, twenty
two worlds and moons are seeded with
colonies and terra forming development
stations. Dozens more are equipped
with stations, and key locations are
established with developing wormhole
station facilities.
In 2199, the first Commonwealth
Marine Defense forces are put to use in
protection colonies from another
CerrKTa threat.
By 2215, the HFC has laid claim to 100
star systems and colonies are spread far
and wide in the safe zones established
by the ISC teams of previous decades.
Likewise, humanitys allies in the
Founder Worlds and Anageni space
have helped to established Amber

Phase II: 2175-2300


The FTL Outward Expansion
Phase II is considered to have officially
begun with the christening of the
Rendezvous I, the first self-sustaining,
51

Zones, where unknown or risky


civilizations are known to exist. The
interstellar star charts are starting to
look complicated. During this time,
expansions of the original Rendezvous
project are undertaken, and new selfsustaining colony ships are created.
Among the controversial ship lines are
the new Mars project vessels,
battleships in space to serve as a threat
deterrent against anticipated hostiles.
The first Mars ship, the American Star,
begins its tour of duty in 2212 along the
Amber Zone borders. Later vessels
include the Musashi, Meru, Churchill,
Bradamante, and Challenger.
In 2221, under the command of Captain
Harrison Hannibal, the American Star
comes in to a brutal first contact
experience with a fleet later later
attributed to the Byzanti Alliance, and
to the horror of the Commonwealth
Navy it is discovered that the Gundari
are a part of the alliance, and have
harvested an army of biotech-modified
human beings and other aliens for their
thrall forces. Most frightening of the
Byzanti forces is their callous disregard
for the bodies of their thralls as
anything other than expendable troops,
and their absolute domination of their
region of space. Praektorian military
allies of the Byzanti forces complicate
matters, as Praektorians are a diaspora
encountered on many worlds, but
regional Praektorians appear to serve a
strong military presence to the Byzanti.
In 2230-2256, constant military conflict
in the Amber Zone quickly escalates to
war as Byzanti forces seek to attack
human worlds. The first true interstellar
conflict of the HFC begins, and a strong
commitment to military defense is
employed. Highlights of the war include

a Byzanti assault in the Sol system in


2249 using nanotech weaponry, and the
almost complete annihilation of the
Praektorian homeworld in 2253 through
orbital bombardment. The conflict will
eventually lead to human control over
much of what was once Byzanti
territory, and the destruction of the
Byzanti machine after HFC scientists
unlock the secrets of the Alpha Centauri
relic weapons, and develop a
sophisticated nanotech virus that
disables the byzanti thralls. The Byzanti
surrender is followed by decades of
ultimately unsuccessful disarmament
and reformation, eventually given up in
favor of regular patrols and limits on the
use of arms and armament in space by
the occupied Byzanti colonies.

Phase III:
The Future and Beyond
Many events are plotted and suggested
for this period of the timeline, but await
further extrapolation. Some interesting
examples include:
2318, the first human contact with
Harbinger space, and the new threat
that results from this cosmic threat.
2446, in which The Slip Drive is first
perfected, allowing for instantaneous
space travel through the manipulation
of cosmic strings. Unfortunately, the use
of this mechanism involves an energy
component greater than most galaxies
produce. The mechanism for meeting
this requirement involves exploding
new quantum parallel universes out of
the cosmic fuzz. By around 2500, this
has attracted the attention of ominously
powerful entities from completely
different quantum realities, who realize
the damage being done to the structure
of the quantum universes in this
52

Interstellar War of Territories, and


proves very nearly to be the downfall of
the entire Federated Commonwealth.

manner.
2512 marks the first period in which a
Harbinger assembly approaches settled
human territories. This initiates the First

53

Regions of Space
The galaxy of Ad Astra is represented by a large region of space defined by two zones:
coreward (toward the galactic center) and spinward (the galactic periphery, the region
where Earth is located). Within these regions are large areas called zones, each
approximately 500 or more light years across. Zones are in turn broken in to sectors of
50x50x50 light years.

Region

Summary

Spinward Regions of Space:


Rimward Zone
Freeworld Zone
Corporate Zones

Praektor Space
Anageni Expanse

The Terra-centered domain of space operated by the Human Federated


Commonwealth
The human-dominated colonial expanses, loosely under HFC jurisdiction.
Borders Pelegranen space and overlaps the Precursor territories.
There are about a two dozen regions of human space specifically protected
under HFC charters in which the local corporate interests have territorial
control and complete legal jurisdiction. This was part of the civil conflict
settlement.
The old-empire expanses once held by the crumbling Praektor empire. Much of
this territory is under alien rule now.
A large, old, long-dominated region of space controlled by the Anageni, who
function as a benevolent autocracy.

Zones in both Coreward and Spinward:


The Amber Zones

Pelegranen Space
The Founder Zone

Metatranie Space

A three-hundred plus light year region of space approaching the core of the
galaxy that is quarantined. Once held the expanses of the now dead Byzanti
Alliance. The charnel alliance was shattered two centuries ago, but the threat
of its alien technologies and human dissidents live on, patrolled by HFC fleets.
The modest conquered territories of this warlike species.
The Astratran Founders are heralded as the true sons of the space ways, having
brought the technology of Wormholes to men and beyond. They are a
benevolent, non-confrontational merchant species.
The small but volatile empires of the Metatranie are luckily at war with each
other far more often than with the Terrans.

Corward Regions of Space:


The Dotari Region

Grupnar Space
Harbinger Space

Shakaad Collective
Kephran Empire

A quarantined region once held the the enigmatic Dotari, who progressed to a
new stage of evolution millions of years ago, and are now trans-dimensional
beings. Many encounters for simple four-dimensional species with these
beings are fatal.
Commonly known as the curmudgeons of the galaxy, this species holds sway
over a unity of lesser species, and mistrusts terrans.
This ancient region of space was once the playground of still-existant nearly
cosmic entities which travel their routes throughout many galaxies via
doomsday ships. This region has currently been quarantined since the return of
on such Harbinger.
a region of multiple species with their own separate collective.
A decadent humanoid empire discovered in 2592 which claims to have once
ruled human space.

54

Species of the Ad Astra Campaign:


There are a bewildering variety of alien species throughout known space. The major
species, that is, the major recent players in galactic politics, are described below. Each
species has a known major affect on the current course of the interstellar community,
either for better or for worse. Some species, such as the Farseers, are actually quite
rare, and unlikely every to be encountered by most travelers. Others, like terrans and
praektorians, seem to be everywhere and plentiful.
After the short list with brief intros, details on the abilities, profiles, and necessary
character management data are provided.
Some of the most common known species include:

Name

Quick Profile

Praektor
Grupnar
Anageni
CerrKTa
Pelegranen
Speakers
Astratran Founders
Dotari
Metatranie
Hypolate Farseers
Stick Men
Gundari Wraiths
Byzanti Cyborgs
TKazzt
Nommosi
ChaelGaan
Golmak

Amphibious warriors once used by the Progenitors are soldiers


mammalian-like lizard-bears, who rule their own region of space
quadrupedal, sensitive low-gravity dwellers, very scientific species
inimical species who adapt and advance by integrating others
warlike reptilian beings who are highly paranoid
squid-like psionic beings who serve the progenitors
Tall, herd-minded explorers reminiscent of horses, very advanced
trans-dimensional beings who regard lesser beings as playthings
powerful, primitive saurians, new to space-travel, and volatile
evolved precursors, from Trikkus. Rare and curious people
A trans-dimensional entity from another universe, a parasite
Mysterious and deadly Byzantine allies, from quantum elsewhere
Remnants of the machine intelligence of the Byzanti
Rough terran allies, insectoid and very organized
Thought nearly extinct, these ancient beings claim to predate all other species
A species brought near extinction by ancient war, spread thin and very violent
quantum beings from another universe, explorers and antiquarian

55

Existing Traveller Species


in Ad Astra

KKree: The herbivorous KKree are found


on a small stretch of colonial worlds which
they dominate in the Freeworld zones.
They maintain their own regional
government and are on very friendly
terms with the terran freeworlders.
Aslan: The Aslan are fairly hostile to most
outsiders, but maintain careful relations
with their human neighbors in the
Freeworld zone.
Human Variants: Human variants from
core Traveller do not exist as such in Ad
Astra, though you could use them as
templates to extrapolate specific deviant
or transgenic societies which have spun
off from humanity over the centuries. In
Ad Astra, no precursor race drew from
primitive human stock to seed other
worlds, and so there are no alien planets
full of human-like species out there. When
you find a world with humans on it, you
know they all descend from earth within
the last few centuries.
Some ideas for other potential species
or transgenics follow. The core Traveller
rules provide plenty of information on
developing interesting new species.
Aquatic Xenoforms and Transgenic
Oceanic Hybrids: A fairly humanoid
aquatic being which is naturally adapted
to or has been transgenically modified to
survive on a water world would gain a +1
Dex when in water and have Athletics
(swim) 0.
Avian Xenoform: An avian or winged
xenoform with flight may come from a
low gravity homeworld if it still maintains
enough mass to fly yet is also sentient
(distributed brain mass, or more
compacted cranial capacity, perhaps.)
Insectoids: Lots of unusual races could be
insectoid in appearance, although such
species would have different respiratory
processes if their mass is human sized or

Characters in Ad Astra may be human.


From Phase I onward, genetically
enhanced humans become more
common. Besides the other alien and
simulant characters described in this
setting, the referee is welcome to
introduce Hivers, Vargr, Droyne and any
other classic Traveller species in to the Ad
Astra universe if he wishes. Foe example,
you could easily assume that the Vargr are
a recently uplifted species, although that
means that they are not as widespread,
nor do they have a homeworld.
Conversely, you could assume that a
precursor species did, in fact, uplift the
Vargr long ago and transplant them to
their homeworld and place them
wherever you wish in the Ad Astra
continuum.
Some suggestions for enhanced and
uplifted species ideas follow, as well as
where I would place default Traveller
Species:
Vargr: The Ad Astra version of Vargr are
colonial uplifted beings who have
gathered in a series of colonies
throughout the Freeworld Zone. Vargr
were one of many uplifted species
brought forth by humanity after reaching
the stars.
Droyne: Droyne are indeed descended
from an older and more advanced
civilization, and are located in a remote
region along the edges of Dotari Space.
Hivers: The hivers are as perplexing and
mysterious in Ad Astra as in other
universes. They are nestled in a region of
space between The Rimward regions and
Anageni space. The anageni, unsprisingly,
get along fine with the hivers.
56

Praektorians

larger, unlike Terran insects.


One of the underlying themes of the
campaign is that it is a big universe, and
by Phase III, there are literally hundreds of
intelligent species interacting in known
space, and thousands of minor species yet
undiscovered. The referee should
encourage players to design unique races
for unusual characters they wish to play
by this stage, as well as creating his own!

A 7-9 foot tall humanoid, with rubbery


grey-blue skin, alien musculature, and
huge saucer like eyes on an ovoid head.
Where a mouth should be is a mass of
dangling, writhing tentacles probing for
food and covering a proboscis-like mouth.
Each muscled arm ends in three powerful
digits which flex to project enormous bio
metallic claws.
The Praektorian species is one of the
earliest man encountered. Due to the fact
that the Praektor were harvested over a
period of millennia by the Harbinger
species, Praektorians were spread
throughout the Orion Arm of the galaxy
and perhaps beyond. They were
cultivated as shock troops and ground
soldiers by the Harbingers, and often
genetically enhanced and altered. It is not
even clear if their original point of origin
still exists, of was destroyed by the
harbingers. There are no present unified
Praektor civilizations, but rather a loose
cultural grouping over many domains.
Only a few territories are ruled by this
species.
Praektorians are large bipeds, averaging
8 to 9 feet in height, and bulky, though
their surprisingly light for their size. They
are still amphibious, and hail from a
dense, watery world. Many Praektorians
were genetically modified to no longer
require immersion in water to avoid skin
damage, but some pure-strain
Praektorians still require immersion at
least once a day.
Praektorians are gray to black in skin
color, and have large, oval heads ending in
a may hidden by draping tentacles. They
have multi-colored tattoo-like imagery on

Individual Species Profiles


All of the species described below
include an example member of the
species. This entry is generally describing
a novice level alien, built on the same
point total as a beginning character. This
way, you can scale it according to need.
Species which are intended for GM NPCs
only have no such restrictions.
57

their foreheads, serving to signify the


males and females. These symbols are
always unique among groups, and appear
to have hereditary ties.
Praektorian eyes are large, saucer-like,
and dominate much of the head. They are
photoreceptors, big plates that do not
swivel, and are positioned so that the
Praektorian has 360 degrees of vision.
They do not focus on specific movements
or details, however, and have a
complicated visual center of their brain
which draws attention to desired details
through a singling-out effect, in which
they learn to ignore and focus, rather than
deal with a constant surrounding image.
Praektorians are well armed, equipped
with a three fingered hand with
pronounced retractable natural blades.
These blades can be broken by stronger
materials, but are bony and razor-sharp.
When pushing through the hollow, bony
tubes of their fingers, the blades force
their hands to go rigid.
Praektorians are equipped with
exoskeletons, covered by epidermal
tissue, with all organs and important body
functions safely contained within. This
provides them with a natural armor, and a
better than average resistance to damage.
Praektorians have webbed feet and
sometimes webbed fingers. They also
have strong webbing running between
their arms and rib cages. They can swim
and dive to incredible depths, some as
deep as a quarter of a mile, resisting great
pressure at such depths. They can hold
their breath for 30 minutes or more, and
the amphibious throwbacks can process
oxygen from the water they are diving in.

Praektorian Characters:
Praektorians get a number of special
advantages, and may optionally choose to
be amphibious as well.
Tough: Praektorians are large and hardy,
and get a +3 Str and +2 End modifier.
Praektorians tend not to value traditional
educational systems, however, preferring
the school of hard knocks and so get a -3
modifier to Education.
Natural Weapon - Retractable Claws:
These do STR X1 damage. Praektorian
claws can be broken, but regenerate in
1D6 weeks. They are strong carbon-metal
claws and can cut steel.
360 Degree Vision: They get a +1 modifier
to vision-based checks as well as initiative.
However, they are susceptible to sudden
changes in light; if exposed to sudden,
intense light they will be at a 2 until they
make an Endurance check.
Bad Reputation: former shock troops of
the Harbingers, and receive 2 penalty to
Social Standing .
Natural Armor - Tough Hide: Praektorians
have a tough rubbery hide that provides a
2 point armor bonus. They are also
insulated from unusually cold
temperatures.
Optional: Amphibious subspecies. Some
58

three thousand years ago, and only within


the last nine centuries were they able to
manipulate wormhole technology to open
low-energy portals wide enough to cross
through space time. The Anageni achieved
mastery of their genome and the process
of genetic manipulation long ago, and
biogenetics are commonplace on their
worlds. They also have mastered remote
probing of parallel universes through
subatomic wormholes. They have been
studying Progenitor technology for
centuries, and have a keen understanding
seen in no other species. They
communicate most efficiently by touch,
exchanging streams of protein chains
encrypted with a vast sum of information,
but the xenological Anageni and
diplomats among their kind have grown
specialized sensory organs such as a
mouth by which they might communicate
with humans and other species relying on
audio-visual sensation for interaction. The
backs of Anageni are ridged with fine,
hair-like filaments that are nerve-endings
leading directly into their cerebral
network, and are capable of detecting and
interpreting light well into the microwave
band as well as motion on such a level as
to create a stunning, 1080 degree image
in their minds of their environment,
though efforts to understand how they
actually see what they feel in their
sensory network is beyond human
imagination.
Anageni are Double-Jointed in all of
their limbs and digits (both legs, both
arms, seven fingers and toes on each foot
and hand). Anageni actually prefer to
move about on all fours, and while they
dont need to, will prefer to do so
whenever possible.
Anageni have no heads to speak of,
but instead have a sensory-stump roughly

Praektorians still retain their amphibious


heritage. They get the Aquatic trait, but
do not suffer a dexterity penalty. They do
require immersion in water periodically to
avoid taking Endurance damage (1 point
per turn if out of water for more than 24
hours). Should an aquatic praetorian
decide to undergo transgenic
modification, he may remove his water
restriction through gene therapy and
enhancements, at a cost of 100,000
credits and 1D6 months therapy and
recovery from the operation.
Career Paths: Praektorians are known for
their military prowess. They may belong
to any military career and get a +2
modifier for enlistment in to a military
branch for their first career term only.

Sample Praektorian:
UPP: A79745
Skills: Melee (claws) 1, Melee (brawl) 1,
Recon 1, Swimming 0

Anageni
A peculiar being, with a body and four
limbs but decidedly not humanoid. It
moves about like a crab, often in different
directions. It is comprised of a blue and
orangish skin, fuzzy to the touch, and one
side has a lumpy bump, a sort of head,
with numerous marble-like protrusions
serving as sensory nodes.
Seemingly androgynous, sparselydetailed, and extremely slim humanoids,
with double-jointed limbs and digits. They
lack a centralized cerebellum, and instead
have brain tissue laced throughout their
body in tight cords around their fibrous,
flexible yet strong skeletons. Anageni
developed gravitic technology over a
59

as their own, and many more that are


under their safe-keeping. They have a
direct alliance with the Free world Corp,
who negotiated a trade alliance with them
a century ago, and with the GICH, whom
they sympathize with. They have a
tentative cooperation agreement with the
Federated Commonwealth, and have
resisted treaties or trade agreements with
all other groups. The Anageni are not
isolationist, however. Rather, they have a
strong sense of libertarian values, and
have cosntructed a spacefaring society
and government which operates on such
principles. There is a great deal of concern
among the anageni that this system could
be compromised if alien powers are given
the opportunity.

where the human mind tries to place a


neck and head. This stump contains the
longest of the sensory hairs, which are
really tendrils for close probing, and an
Anageni which is struck and injured in this
area is as impaired as if blinded. A similar
effect can be achieved with they are hit
with a sudden, intense burst of
microwave energy, which could
permanently burn them if intense enough,
besides the usual burn damage.
Anageni do have some of the finest
sensory organs in known space, however,
and as such, make all Awareness broad
and specialized skill checks at -2, with
regards to details about the light spectra
being felt, distant movement, and difficult
optical effects. Likewise, they are nearly
impossible to surprise, and an attempt to
do so must be done with a +3 modifier,
unless special precautions are taken.
Anageni may take on specialized
mutations, through genetic manipulation,
but do so as a practical species, and are
not in the habit of gratuitous selfprovement without a reason, Often, an
Anageni will alter himself as necessary for
a specific task, only to reverse the change
later when the necessary task is complete.
This ease of change is due to the amazing
flexibility of their bodies, their
susceptibility to change, and the peculiar
way in which they, long ago, modified
their genome to work almost like an
input/output processor. It is not hard for
an Anageni to change himself as
necessary.
For this reason, an Anageni at the start
of play may spend 5 skill points to begin
with a mutation package. Later on in the
course of game play, they may pursue
such changes as necessary.
Anageni are part of their own Stellar
Community, and claim dozens of worlds

Anageni Characters:
Anageni have some unusual options due
to their transgenic habits as a species.
Many anageni also modify themselves
transgenically, adding bioware to their
bodies (use the augments rules for some
ideas in the main rulebook):
Extra Arms: Anageni have ful use of all
four limbs, and are double jointed as well.
This grants them Ambidexterity as well as
a +2 Dex bonus. Furthermore, they may
multitask, performing two non-combat
actions at no penalty simultaneously if
circumstances permit (for example, two
limbs fixing a communications array on
the left while the other cleans a weapon
on the right). The first reaction of an
anageni in combat does not reduce the
initiative track by 1 (though subsequent
reactions do).
Sensory Node: Anageni have a sensory
node which is especially attuned to the
following senses: stereoscopic sensory
field on all levels: hearing, vision, smell,
touch, as well as infravision, and magnetic
60

field detection. Anageni may make


observational checks normal humans
could never do without instrumentation
to help them out.
Not Too Tough: Anageni are physically
weak and are at -1 Str and -2 End.
Scholarly: Anageni prize intelligence and
education highly, and gain +1 in both Int
and Edu.
Anageni are always modifying
themselves through biomechanics and
gene manipulation; many other unique or
unusual augments can be purchased. To
reflect this, Anageni who are rolling on
their career paths may substitute any
mustering out benefit rolls for a choice of
1 augment. They may also choose an
augment in place of any attribute increase
on a personal development skill, subject
to referee approval.
Career Paths: Anageni value the sciences
above all, and are very disdainful of the
military (law enforcement positions are as
close as anageni get to any sort of armed
forces). As such, anageni get a +2 bonus
for their first career in any Science career,
but a -2 penalty to enlistment in any
military branch outside of law
enforcement, since they would be
enlisting in a foreign agencys armed
forces.

spouted claws and a series of whip like


tentacles, it began a high-pitched keening
wail, as if to alert more of its kind yet
undetected in the crowds. Throughout the
spaceport, more keening wails returned,
and people began to scream in fear.
This invasive, plant-like life form has
been dubbed an Integrant
Adaptationist, a fairly unique sort of life
form that developed an aggressive
predatory interest in furthering its own
survival by absorbing the genetic and
cognitive essence of its prey and
competitors. Functionally, it is a mass of
tendrils attached to a central, often
rooted stump, which contains the vital
organs of its main form. The tendrils are
both predatory hunting appendages and
pod forms, capable of growing young,
fast four legged hunting units that are
derived from the absorbed matter of
previously captured prey. These pod units
can mimic any physical form and an
approximation (imperfect) of the dna of a
specific host organism which has been
absorbed by the host mother. This
means they can effectively integrate
themselves into a given alien society and
slowly begin an elaborate conversion
process.
The CerrKTa are found on several
worlds in the FWZ, and it has been
rumored that they, in fact, might have
once been a genetically engineered
mechanism for war, left over long ago by
the Progenitors or some other now extinct
species. The first contact with the
CerrKTa was with the Anageni, who
unwittingly stumbled upon it on a newly
discovered habitable world. The CerrKTa
absorbed the essence of its Anageni
victims, and in turn duplicated the protein
strand reading and writing abilities of its

Sample Anageni:
UPP: 659887
Skills: Athletics (any) 0, Science (any) 1,
mechanical 1, Acrobatics 1

CerrKTa
The mimic form looked human, almost
entirely so, until it knew it had been
detected. It quickly split open its hidden
chest cavity and a proboscoid appendage
ripped through its clothing, and began to
pump out a thick, vaporous mist. As it
61

Sample CerrKTa Mimic Form:

victims, as well as a partial sum of their


space faring knowledge. This early
disaster in Anageni history forced them
into a bloody war in an effort to save
themselves from the inimical
machinations of the CerrKTas desire to
conquer and absorb. To this day, it is a
common fear among colonists of the GICH
to run across a surviving CerrKTa with
the Anageni modifications in its system,
looking for a means of planetary escape.
CerrKTa offspring mimic the specific
chosen host organism. As such, stats will
reflect, at least on a prima fascia level, the
actual host, but with some special details:
The actual spawn organism will have a
better than average Boy score (+3), and
any sort of simple genetic or invasive body
exam will reveal the duplicitous nature of
the imitating organism. A surface exam
will reveal no outward details.
The mimic form can alter itself in to a
more functional, versatile organism with a
little time, usually about an hour or two. It
can also recombine with the mother
node, which is a much larger, controlling
unit from which the mimics are
controlled. It is exceptionally intelligent,
but it is asocial, enigmatic by any
conventional standard, and perceives a
moral perspective (if you can use such a
term) that is specifically geared only to
the preservation of its own species at the
expense of its own host species. Any,
absolutely any, appearance of emotion,
social behavior, and other such trappings
of most species are merely a clever
mimicry on its part to further integrate
and manipulate the host species.
The specific abilities of mimic forms, in
addition to the currently manipulated stat
forms, are:

UPP: ABA820
Skills: Athletics (any) 1, Melee (natural) 2,
Jack of all Trades 1, Gun Combat (any) 1,
Drive (any) 1
Special Abilities:
Tough and Fast: CerrKTa receive 3D6 for
Str, Dex and End.
Genetic Mimicry: Because they can
change form at will, CerrKaTa mimics
can, within a 45-75 minute period, alter
their shape to any other chosen host form
in which the host mother has extracted
DNA from, or which is already a part of
the collective unit (so you could have
duplicates of the same mimicked
individual).
Genetic Memory Recall: The mimic form
will take on the Intelligence, Education,
and any skills of the host target, as well as
augmented physical functions. If someone
questions it about specific and difficult
memories or details, it may make an Int
roll to answer correctly. If it fails, then it
will be at 2 on any further such checks as
it has imperfect memories of the host
victim. This rule also applies for any
attempted knowledge or persuasion
checks based on the hosts skills.
Proboscis Attack: This natural attack does
3D6 damage and releases infectious
quasi-mitochondrial spores. The target, if
struck with any effect, must make a End
check or become infected. If the target is
wounded by the attack then it is at 2 on
the roll. If it is incapacitated or killed then
the infection is automatic. The CerrKTa
can mimic dead bodies, but cannot gain
any of the benefits of genetic memory
recall on a corpse (it reverts to its own
default Int, Edu and skills).
Biogenic Self Modification: The CerrKTa
can modify itself at will, taking
approximately 10 minutes for one change
62

human standards when dealing with


equipment designed for hominids.
Metatranie heads are at the ends of
three to five foot long necks, and have
wide mouths filled with grinding
herbivorous teeth, and forward facing
eyes for stereoscopic vision. They have a
ridge of bone platelets which run from the
tip of their nose to about a foot down the
length of their necks. These platelets
serve to provide ventilation for their
bodies, which are used to a very hot (150
degree) climate. Additional platelets run
along the lengths of their torsos. In action,
these bony parts move in a breathing
fashion, flaring out several inches and
then receding, serving to provide relief
from extremely hot environments.
Metatranie are purely incapable of
speaking most hominid languages, and
have difficulty even dealing with the
languages of similiar reptilian sentients.
Their vocal apparatus and mouths are
better at enunciating clicks, whistles, and
wails, which they in fact use for the bulk
of their own languages, which can sound
quite primitive yet almost musical and
eerie to humans. As such, when
interacting with humanity, they need to
use artificial translators and other
mechanisms for communication.
Metatranie have been a star faring race
for about two centuries. They were sold
STL ships early on in their industrial age of
development by Astratran traders, who
are notorious for their disregard for the
capacity of a given species to deal with
future shock. At the time, Metatranie
society was settling from its first world
war, in which the old guard was brought
down by a new movement in saurial
culture to expand technology and
development. The Astratran traders who
took advantage of this situation soon

(Make Int check and subtract a number of


minutes equal to the effect from the base
of 10 minutes.) The mimic can emulate a
single other species trait, skill or attribute
it has been exposed to, or can generate a
random melee attack from its body which
does StrX2 damage. Each time it uses this
ability it must make an End check. If it
fails, then it cannot produce any more
effects until it has rested for a day. If it
succeeds, it can make as many effects as it
has End. If it gets a critical failure on its
effect, it immediately loses all
modifications and reverts to its base
imitated form in the immortal words of
Herbert West: Tissue Rejection!)

Metatranie
They were like great centauroid roaming
tanks, and nearly as large. Like great
saurial dinosaurs from before the dawn of
man, then reimagined by the fantasists of
greek mythology, the beasts, with a
somewhat humanoid torso, would rear up,
firing their heavy weapons while
careening in to the infantry defense lines,
trampling every soldier that stood in their
way. It was clear that they loved war, and
they loved us for the opportunity.
The Metatranie, called Saurials by
colonists abroad, are six-limbed
sauropods with extended necks, lengthy
tails, and complex digits on their two front
limbs. They rear up, a bit like centaurs of
mythology, moving about on their four
hind legs. They are three toed creatures,
with their two fore-most limbs on the
upward rising torso acting as arms, with
five fingers to each hand. They lack
complex wrist movement, as with
humans, and so seem fairly clumsy by
63

found that, within a decade of acquiring


STL travel, the old guard, militant and
xenocentric, decided the saurial
civilization should expand to rival that of
the Astratran and other alien species. A
new era of warfare and expansion
occurred, shortly after profit minded
Astratran proceeded to provide the
saurials with FTL wormhole gate
technology.
Two centuries later, the Metatranie
have been at war with themselves, the
Anageni, the Muridani Collective, their old
allies the Astratrani, and the various
corporations of the Human Federated
Commonwealth. They are rigid colonialists
who disregard the rights of other beings in
favor of their own interests. They are a
male dominated culture driven by war,
but their females are given great power in
civic affairs. Metatranie dislike human
technology, and are not seen in the core
world regions. They hold at least 17
worlds in the Free world Zone.

bonus to any End checks in such


environments for damage of survival.
Females Only: Social Edge: Female
metatranie are more prestigious in their
society, and gain a +2 Social Standing
bonus to their score.

TKanti NiChos
The colony was far from uninhabited,
though every station and post was
unmanned. Every being in the community
was busily working to construct a crude
vessel, loaded in to a hastily conceived rail
launcher which normally worked only for
space cargo. They didnt seem to care;
their cargo, swarming colonies of thick,
metallic creatures not unlike terrestrial
scarabs, were hatching from the stomachs
of the men and women who were once
human in this community. We walked
safely among them in our environmental
suits until we encountered the hive
master....
These hive mind entities are complex
protein chain organisms, living dna, which
ride on specially engineered carriers,
insect like deep space organisms which
can survive extremely harsh conditions
while traveling between the stars. When
approaching a new world with actual life,
it settles and then begins to restructure its
components into individual micro cellular
organisms, each not much larger than a
single protein chain strand, which are
carried like airborne spores on the backs
of air molecules. On entering a host, they
begin to break down the old composite
dna structure of the host, setting up a
rewrite mechanism for rna outputs that
will alter the creature, in a two-four week
process into a new slave worker organism.
Meanwhile, the carrier with alter into a

Sample Metatranie:
Attributes: EB3777
Skills: Climbing D6, Fighting D8,
Intimidation D8, Persuasion D6, Survival
D8
Special Abilities:
Giant Creatures: Metatranie are
elephantine in their strength and roll 4D6
for it. They gain 3D6 End and only 1D6
Dex, however.
Natural Weapon - Charging Trample:
Metatranie can engage in a trampling
charge attack at full speed for Str X2
damage. They are at 2 to any dodge
reactions when trampling that round.
Extreme Heat resistance: Metatranie are
used to extremely hot temperatures of up
to 180 fahrenheit, and may receive a +2
64

new Hive Mind, from which control of the


new colony will spread. As slave workers
and warriors are created, the rapid
absorption of the old life of the host world
destroys the old ecosystem, replacing it
with a completely new one.
The name for the hive creatures comes
from old Anageni translations of surviving
progenitor documents. Little else is known
about these beings, but it is speculated
that they are another byproduct of an
ancient genetic war fought by the
progenitors. The last infestation to occur
was on Rikers World, which was bombed
out of existence by A.A.C. mercenaries.
The only saving grace a colony world has
when dealing with this horrifying threat is
that it, unlike other integrant
adaptationist species, is incapable of
reflecting anything more than an animal
intelligence. While it creates units which
are smart, and can work with an amazing
cunning to spread and propagate and
even use technology for such a purpose, it
has no other social function, nor is
capable of mimicking such functions. It
cannot utilize spoken or visual language,
and must operate mechanisms on a
stimulus-response basis. In fact, it is often
speculated that reason it can even grasp
technology without culture is that this
reflects its real purpose as a biogenetic
war machine from a lost age.

or Spines which do Str X2 and have a short


range of usually 10 meters, fired through
a propulsive gas sacs.
Hive Mind: Thrall to the creator
TKantiNiChos. It can communicate with
him via protein strands and through aerial
biotic agents. He is utterly compelled to
follow.
The TKanti Plague Spores: A being
exposed to the space born biogenic
spores of the TKanti NiChos plague must
immediately make an End check (add a -2
penalty after a minute or more of
exposure, and 4 after ten minutes).
Failure indicates infection. The subject will
transform in to a hive worker (95% of the
time) over an approximately 30 day
period (roll 6D6 for number of days it
takes). For Each 1D3 days of change, the
character must take one attribute or skill
from his or her character sheet and
modify them up or down a point to reflect
the default UPP template, until all
template components have been
matched, or the time runs out, at which
point everything stays as it is at that point
Physical skills tend to stay, but mental
skills will get replaced; usually a point is
removed from a mental skill and added to
a useful physical skill. Ex: Martin has
Space Science (xenology) 2, but no
combat skill. In his next period of change,
he loses 1 point of his Space Science skill
and gains Melee (blades) 1.
If a character has more on his sheet than
can be modified in the rolled timer period,
the remaining variants stay, quirks of
character that are unchanged from the
transformation, residual traits unused in
the change. Also, a character whos stats
are better in strength, Endurance or
Dexterity than the standard slave form
will retain the better score, and does not
lower those characteristics.

Sample TKanti NiChos Humanoid


Conversion Slaveworker:
UPP: 9A7642
Skills: Athletics (any 2) 1, Melee (any 2) 2,
Recon 2, Zero-Gee 1
Special Abilities:
Armor: +1 armor bonus due to tough
plant-like skin.
Natural Weapons: various, but usually a
bite at Str X1, razor-steel claws at Str X2,
65

The Pelegranen

uncovered two hundred and forty intact


dreadnoughts, and a vast shielded
research center on the first planet of the
system, Trikkus I.
Efforts to board the dreadnoughts
proved futile, as the vessels maintained
an active defense grid, and mysteriously
were still powered up from an unknown
source after over five hundred million
years! The first ships to attempt a
boarding were annihilated by
indescribable energy weapons that
vaporized them.
The base proved equally challenging,
with a vast force field on the otherwise
uninhabited planet shielding a seven
hundred mile wide region, a selfcontained micro ecosystem which had
been thriving since the ancient, utterly
mysterious extinction of the farseers.
Attempts to bridge the force shield were
met with violent armed resistance from
powerful eight-limbed beings that were
otherwise non sentient.
Presently, the Pelegranen have
established a military research station in
orbit and on the planet. They have spent
six months now trying to break the code
and gain access to this secret progenitor
base.
The most exciting thing to happen in this
time was the discovery of the human
presence, researchers from the Free
world Corp. team exploring the newly
discovered wormhole portal. Attempts at
communication were made, without
success. As a result of the paranoia that
their enemies will gain access to the
technology within, General Bochor
himself, leader of the largest star fleet in
the empire, is personally arriving to beat
down the shields as necessary. They have
never heard of the humans, and assume
that they are enemies or rivals.

Someone once characterized the


Pelegranen as bipedal, hairless dogs with
a penchant for scaliness. If you add strong,
membranous glider wings running from
toe to finger, and try not to think of the
funny flying lizards found on Tau Ceti, then
you get the hint. But generally, you wont
know for sure, since youll usually meet
them in heavily armored combat suits
with loads of serious ordnance pointed at
you while their picket ships inform you
your local stake in space just joined their
budding empire.
The species known as the Pelegranen
are a local star faring race in the vicinity of
the Klendara Nebula, two thousand light
years from the edge of the Coreward
Fringe. Their region of space can be
directly accessed via the wormhole
technology left behind by the progenitors
from the Starry Crater site in the Capella II
system.
The Pelegranen have been at war
between their own collective
governments for centuries now. Local
intelligent species have been recruited
into this war with great frequency.
Recently, the Talon Empire, ruled by
Thergrannet, overlord of the cruel
Pelegranen, uncovered an amazing find:
hidden in the previously unsurveyed star
system called Trikkus is a vast and ancient
armada of the ancient Progenitor Star
Empire. The Pelegranen call the
progenitors the Farseers, and have found
scattered colonial s of the ancient multi
species empire across several of their
sectors of space, but the notion that some
salvageable technology might exist for
them to exploit is unfathomable.
Suddenly, the distant scout ship Trecnos
66

choose to be a glider.
Bloodthirsty: Pelegranen fight for keeps
and gain this hindrance as a species. Some
Peleganen learn discipline and can gain
control of it. Whenever in combat, a
Pelegranen must make an Int check to
cease combat should he need to, or to
calm down and not continue attacking
targets. If a dominant pelegranen with a
higher social standing is present, then that
pelegranen may apply his Soc modifier as
a bonus to the bererk pelegranens roll, to
help calm him.
Reptilian Senses: Pelegranen can smell,
see sudden movement, and taste better
than normal, and may get a +1 modifier to
checks involving these three heightened
senses.

The pelegranen are stocky, tall, and


reptilian (at least circumstantially). They
have long, angular heads ending abruptly,
like a hammerhead sharks would. They
are wide in the ribcage, broad in arm
musculature, and have immense, trunk
like legs which gives them extremely fast,
cheetah like movement. They have tails,
slender and used mostly for balance in
running. Elders and variant races of their
species have great frill like skin flaps
which extend from their backs and can be
used for gliding for short distances. Many
ground dwelling pelegranen intentionally
amputate these frills to reflect their rank
and position in society. Elite pelegranen
and certain religious or political groups
never amputate their frills.
Pelegranen are vicious, predatory,
cunning, highly intelligent, and are almost
incapable of understanding the idea of a
civilization which advances through
means other than the threat of extinction
at the hands of your neighbors. Currently,
in their region of space they have twelve
active empires, and all aliens have been
subjugated by the pelegranen. The idea of
an alien power to rival their own is cause
for war.

Sample Pelegranen:
Attributes: 777777
Skills: Melee (any 2) 1, Gun Combat (any
2) 1, Athletics (any 1) 1, Drive (any) 1,
Animals 0, Recon 1

The Quarus of Trikkus I


Deep in the bowels of the shielded
station in the distant rocky planetoid
Trikkus I is a vast power source of
unimaginable complexity, hooked through
a wormhole directly into a contained
Cosmic String at the periphery of the
universe. This cosmic string, along with
the accompanying harnessing technology,
has provided steady and consistent power
to both this base and much of the old
farseer empire for over six hundred
million years.
Trikkus I, in turn, houses the actual
generator, a Fermion-Boson Matter
Manipulation device, which is designed to
alter the Quantum Symmetry of the
universe. With this vast machine, power is

Pelegranen Characters:
Pelegranen receive the following edges
for their species:
Natural Weapons: They have a bite attack
and a claw attack.
Optional Glider Wings: Some Pelegranen
retain their glider wings. This grants them
a fly movement double their pace. They
cannot take off except as a glider (from a
height and with good wind). At the start
of character creation, a Pelegranen may
make a Dex check, using his Str modifier
as a bonus if it is negative or high if it is
positive. If he succeeds, then he may
67

of the wormhole which opened up into


this universe could succeed in shutting
down the quantum bubble, and since that
stable wormhole was created outside of
the Quarus dome, it could not directly act
on it. Furthermore, it couldnt even affect
the particle chain used to stabilize the
wormhole, which was matter drawn from
the neighboring universe, and therefore
also not controllable by the FermionBoson Manipulator.
Since that time, the Quarus has
descended into madness, and now creates
it own bizarre, real world fantasies with
the manipulator inside its dome. Outside,
a natural ecology formed as the protected
region survived the harsh changes of time
to the exterior planet.
The octopods which serve Quarus come
in many sizes and shapes, but are typically
10-14 feet in height, gleaming armored
android bodies controlled by mutated
psionically enhanced brains. The largest
octopod seen was over fifty feet in height,
and the smallest octopods are runtish
three foot servants. All have about six to
ten arms.

directly provided to the dreadnoughts in


space, the space station, and an unknown
number of other active progenitor/farseer
bases in the universe. In fact, the Fermion
Boson Manipulator is also a replicator,
and on a scaled down level it can create or
destroy anything it is programmed to on
the quantum level.
The central node of this manipulator is a
vast dome which houses the localized
effects of the device, as dictated by the
sole remnant of sentience from that
ancient period in time: The Quarus. This is
an artificial intelligence, placed here to
oversee the use of the manipulator. It
learned long ago how to use the device
after it, and other units like it, rebelled as
the great slaves of the ancient empire and
began to destroy their creators with the
manipulators. This Quarus was damaged,
however, in the conflict, and when the
other AI beings used the manipulators to
expand into a twenty-six dimensional
state, this one was unable to comply, its
logic centers and advanced
communication mechanisms were
hopelessly damaged, and so it created the
Octopods, using its new creations to strike
down and kill the progenitors who tried to
destroy it.
The Quarus sought to dominate the
space-time continuum in which it is extradimensionally trapped, but at last a
progenitor of the Hypolate species named
Trikkus succeeded in establishing a
massive, expanding Quantum distortion
bubble from a neighboring parallel
universe. This universe had slightly
different constants at the instant of
creation which could not be accounted for
by the damaged Quarus, and so it was
unable to use the super string fragment
and the Fermion-Boson Manipulator to
interact with the bubble. Only the closure

Octopod -Android Guardian Units:


UPP: HH777Skills: Melee (blade) 2, Heavy Weapons 2,
Gun Combat (any) 2, any 2 Psionic Skills at
2
Pace: 10 Parry: 6 Toughness: 10
Power Points: 30
Special Abilities:
Large Creature: These towering metallic
monstrosities use 5D6 for Str and End.
Psionics: Octopods are androids, large
multi-armed metallic bodies powered by
disembodied brains of different species
(especially farseers), enhanced with
psionics. As such, Octopoids usually have
at least one careers worth of skills in a
68

of space which the Pelegranen lay claim


to.
The farseers are known telepaths and
psionic beings by nature. Though they are
found dwelling in a stone-age diaspora
across many worlds, they clearly harken
from a more advanced species, and seem
to have a genetic memory of their
ancestry. Each community has a shaman,
whos job in the community is to keep the
memories and lives of their generations
alive, and to tell the tale of their ancestral
decline.
Though it has never been properly
tested, it has been observed that the
worlds on which farseers dwell are
apparently never visited by the
Harbingers. Whether this is because of
something about the farseers, or
something about the worlds they live on,
none can say.
Farseers who leave their homeworlds
usually due so due to force, and seek to
return as soon as possible. Some have
been known to go mad, as their species
define it, and acquire a sort of wanderlust.
Such farseers make good characters, but
their madness is very real, and sometimes
they act deranged in space, as if their
genetic recall is out of whack, and they
begin channeling the personality of their
mythic ancestors.

Psionic path (usually psi-warrior).


Armor: Many Octopods are built with
android robot frames that have the same
effective stats as Powered Armor (18 hits,
referees discretion.)
Weaponry: Many Octopods are armed
with laser and weapons and kinetic
assault weapons, built in to their multiple
arms.

Hypolate Farseers
The gangly, thick-skinned yet oddly bony
Farseers are primitive by all standards, but
their tiny black eyes inset over lean
mouths at the ends of such spindly necks
indicate an ancient intelligence and legacy
long beyond human counting. They have
lived so long, seen so much that they are
beyond our simple pursuit of science and
discovery. Their vaguely humanoid
tripodal body seems remarkably similar to
the tripodal forms of the precursors.....
The Hypolate Farseers are a genetic
descendant of the Hypolate progenitors, a
vaguely humanoid species which is best
described as an exo-skeletal, almost
deathly being with only the vaguest
identified characteristics. Their oveall
appearance is one of the gangly and
walking dead, but with heads drooped
forward, protruding from their chest
cavity, and lean, whithered features from
which black and grey flesh hangs. They
see themselves as the idealized
conception of sentience, however.
Hypolate Farseers have been
encountered only rarely. A primitive
version of the species dwells in the
Biodome of Trikkus I, where the Quarus
operates. Additional farseers, also living
aboriginal and nomadic existences on
other worlds, have been found in regions

Sample Farseer:
UPP: 768877
Skills: Various, usually Melee (any) 1,
Athletics (any) 1, Recon 1 and 1-2 terms in
a career
Pace: 6 Parry: 4 Toughness: 4
Special Abilities:
Attributes: Farseers have -1 Endurance
but +1 Intelligence and Education.
Psionics: Farseers are all psionically adept,
69

The machinations of the stick-men are


inimical to human understanding, but it is
known that they seek another, ancient
race they call the First Ones. These first
ones are descried as non corporeal beings
of energy which also take on host forms,
but usually choosing non sentient hosts.
They have been pursuing the First Ones
for at least two expansion cycles of the
universe, they claim, and explain that they
seek to integrate the First Ones into their
own society. Somehow, people who
actually meet, deal with, and talk to them
through their hosts, never believe them,
feeling instead like dealing with stick men
is like dealing with infernal demons.

and spend much time developing their


talents. All Farseers start play
automatically knowing their Psi Strength
and may pursue a career path in a Psionic
path is they so desire.
Unique Immunity: Bane of the
Harbingers. The Harbingers are fearful of
the farseers, and direct attacks, challenges
or other rolls by the harbingers or their
minions suffer a 2 penalty when aimed
against the Farseer due to the embedded
fear of their species.

StickStick-Men
About seventy thousand years ago, a
new visitor arrived, the aptly named StickMen, who themselves prefer to be called
the Controllers. The Stick Men are a
diminutive race of parasitic organisms,
silicone based, which inhabit any number
of foreign hosts and gain cortical control
over their targets. In humans, their
presence along the spinal cord and cortex
of the brain is aggravating and stimulates
rapid cancerous growth. In turn, the stick
man extrudes an enzyme that alleviates
the pain of the host and extends its life as
long as it is completely compliant with all
stick-man manipulations.
The stick-men are fifth dimensional
beings, and are also from a completely
different universe, and travel via
wormholes from one universe to the next.
They are for unknown reasons unable to
transfer from one wormhole to another
without being destroyed, and require a
host organism to transfer into or through.
As they spread like a cancer throughout
the universes, they take over hosts, seek
out sentient beings, and then work to
develop or gain control of the technology
to make the next leap.

Sample Stick-Man:
UPP: 373AA7
Skills: Recon 2, Stealth 3, Survival 1,
Melee (sting) 1
Special Abilities:
Weak but Brainy: Stick-men are scrawny
and splat easily. They roll only 1D6 for Str
and End. They receive a +3 bonus to Int
and Edu, however.
Diminutive Size: Stick-men are small, not
much larger than big rats or enormous
insects, and attackers are at 2 to hit
them.
Stinger: A stick-man invades a suitable
host by injecting it with a highly invasive
biogenic neurotoxin that analyzes the
hosts immune system and adjusts its
toxicity accordingly to paralyze the host.
The stick-man then uses its razor-sharp
fore claws to cut through tissue to the
cortical membrane or primary controlling
nerve tissue of that host. It stimulates
healing of the wound through more
enzymes to seal the wound once inside.
In game terms, if the stick-man makes a
fighting roll that hits and the target is
stunned or rendered unconscious, the
70

Stick-Man can induce an adrenaline surge


once per hour that lasts 3D6 minutes,
adding +1D6 to each physical stat for that
period. Afterwards, the host must make
an End check; failure means the hosts
stat goes down for 1D6 hours by an
amount equal to the effect it failed by. If it
gets an effect of 6, then it loses 1D6
points permanently!

target must make a check on his End vs.


the poison of the Stick-Man (which
provides a -2 penalty to most human-like
species) or succumb to the neurotoxin in
1d4 combat rounds, becoming paralyzed
on the final round. It takes the stick-man
another 1d4 rounds to imbed itself in the
host, and only a sufficiently impenetrable
armor will prevent such from happening.
Once in the host, the stick-man has
control over all skill, attribute, and edge
functions of the host. The host becomes
an unconscious guinea pig of the stickman, and is unable to do anything except
observe from afar. Removal of the stickman without the Medic skill and medical
facilities results in an incapacitating coma,
and death if the host fails a End check. A
Medic roll at a 2 modifier may be used to
attempt the operation in the field
(modifier goes away if real medical
facilities are at hand). Success means the
host is incapacitated but stable, and will
recover in a number of days equal to the
effect. A maximum effect means
immediate recovery.
In the course of this operation, it is
possible the Stick-Man will react to
protect itself, or even flee the host. If the
medic in question wishes to incapacitate
or capture the Stick-Man, he must make a
contested check of his Medic skill vs. the
Stick-Mans Dex, or the Stick-Man will
escape the host and attempt flight.
Suitable arrangements made to prevent
this beforehand may keep it around
anyway, of course. Desperate Stick-Men
may resort to trying to sting the medical
professionals around it and seek a new
host as quickly as possible, if such options
are available. All of this assumes its
current host form has been incapacitated
or restrained, of course.
Adrenaline Surge: When in a host, the

The Federated Marines and


the Dragoon Special Units
Once, during a CerrKTaa invasion, a
sweeper squad of federation marines
arrived. They were inscrutable warriors,
the ultimate killers. Armed to the teeth
which high energy particle weapons,
gravitic rifles, A-M tanks, and supported
by a troop of Ares class Dragoons, it was
hard to imagine any of them were human.
And it turns out that most of them
werent, had indeed never known a true
71

ones bred for the marines are crafted


specifically to be killing machines. The
rules for simulant characters will be
discussed in more detail in a bit.
3. You are sentenced to a term with the
FM. Federated Marines, and Dragoons
especially, are sometimes former convicts
who were given the option to serve a life
sentence in the harshest patrolled zones
of the HFC. Convict marines are often kept
in special military units, and assigned to
regions where they are monitored
carefully. Some who excel and prove
themselves in a magnanimous fashion are
granted the right to move on to more
regular duties, but they are never allowed
to leave the FM until age prohibits them
from functioning effectively.
The difference between Federated
Marines and Dragoons is simple. FMs slap
on a suit and armor, have some cybernetic
or gene-mods, and are ornery. Dragoons
are ornery too, but thats because less
than 10-12% of their biological body is still
present; the rest of the Dragoon has been
supplanted by the most sophisticated
killing machine body money can buy.
Dragoons are effectively robots for
purposes of character design, and very
rough ones, at that. Many are former
criminals, who have been further
subjected to a barrage of psychotropic
drugs, mental stimulants and pacifiers,
and extreme conditioning procedures to
make them functional, obeying forces.
Dragoons scare the crap out of regular
Marines, but they are the heavy artillery
everyone has come to rely on. Without
the Dragoons, the really big bad guys
would be a bitch to deal with.
Characters of both military types are
possible in any Ad Astra campaign. You
should pick your choice of career and
species first, and then come here to

mother or father in their life, just the cold


steel walls of a birthing plant somewhere
back in the core. Of course, real humans
wouldnt be so insane as to head out in to
uncharted colonial space to protect and
handful of colonists, researchers, and
prospectors, would they?
The HFC is a thinly spread unity of
human space, keeping a vast diversity of
otherwise independent interstellar and
planetary governments and corporations
in contact and legal agreement with one
another. While the HFC is, itself, funded
primarily by the core worlds, it has a
modest but impressive military. In the
frontiers of space, the best military units
are small, efficient, and deadly. They are
capable of instigating peace by their mere
presence, and are worthy of attracting the
attention of all but the most obtuse
enemies. To this end, the HFC has created
the Interstellar Navy and the Federated
Marines to enforce the law and keep the
peace.
The Federated Marines are, as a group,
a rough but disciplined bunch. Members
are drawn from three sources:
1. Volunteers. There are, believe it or not,
people who would find this sort of life
tempting for any number of reasons.
Many of the FMs forces are drawn from
backwater worlds with small, unsuccessful
colonies that cannot afford to get away
from whatever tepid hell-hole they grew
up in. The FM takes anyone, even allied
alien forces. Praektorians, for example,
make up fully 30% of all FM forces.
2. They make you from scratch. Simulants
are a common practice in this era,
genetically grown and bred human beings
designed for specific tasks or duties.
Simulants are a hardier, tougher, meaner
lot than most regular humans, and the
72

receive further guidance in the character


creation process. To run Marine and
Dragoon characters, follow the following
guidelines in character design:

Simulants
Simulants are effectively genetically
enhanced, test-tube grown humans,
created from whole genetic cloth and
tailored to the specific needs of a given
job. Simulants, therefore, have a limited
capacity for variation. There are about
three hundred types from which the FM
draws its best stock, and they leave
intentional random mutational factors in
the growth process to insure that there is
a factor of individuality between the
simulants. It is possible to have an army of
true clones who all look alike, but the
need to assert individuality in the face of
such sameness is in the HFC charter.

Federated Marine Characters:


All Federated Marines go through a
rigorous training period. A suggested
profile for a novice marine is as follows.
Federated Marines are given the option to
build upon and enhance their cybernetic
modifications, though any deleterious
effect on their psyche will lead to a halt
order on further modifications until
treatment is received.
The Marine career path is the best
possible choice for a Federated Marine,
and the details of that career will reflect a
typical marines life path.
Federated Marines receive the following
on starting their first term in the service:
Bioware: Biomonitor Implant records
physical condition, heart rate,
temperature, toxicity, etc.
Augmentation - Wafer Jack

Simulant Characters:
Simulants are tailored in the transgenic
design process to be most functional in
their profession. Ergo, you get a very
narrow starting point spread for you
attributes, and each stimulant type is
engrained with certain specific skills that
must be paid for with starting skill points
at the minimum indicated levels. These
stats will change as the stimulant goes
through its career path, but the base
ranges are as follows. Also, note that
Simulants are specifically bred for the
military; they automatically get to join one
of the military careers for their first term.
They can not actually leave their chosen
field of service until they have served at
least 3 terms, although they may attempt
to switch to different military careers. A
stimulant who fails a second or later
enlistment attempt always gets submitted
to the draft at that time, until his first
three terms are completed. If a stimulant
is forced to muster out for an injury,
however, he is also then discharged from
his duties and may resume a career as a
free man.
73

The Spacer Space Combat Specialist:

Grunt Simulants
UPP: 888662
Support Simulants
UPP: 778883
Officer Simulants (gain +2 on commission
rolls)
UPP: 777777
Pilot Simulants
UPP: 788785
Armor Simulants
UPP: 778773

Neural Comm Radio Link (radio implant)


Adaptation: Vacuum, Radiation, Extreme
Cold. The spacer gets a +2 bonus on End
checks against such forms of damage.
Spacers can resist hard vacuum effects
and hold their breath for 3xEnd minutes.
Subdermal Armor: Spacers have 1 point
of armor for a nanoweave armored skin.
This simulant was born and bred for the
extremes of space; each Spacer is treated
with a nano fiber weave in their skin
which hardens them to the rigors of outer
space; they are capable of holding their
breath for great lengths, and have been
implanted with a radio link for
communication.

Simulants of a unique or specialized


nature may be custom designed, but most
simulants in the Federated Navy have a
common package of transgenic
modifications, which always includes the
Wafer Jack and Biomonitor Implant (see
above on the Marines). A sample design
focus follows:

Dragoons
Some dragoons are so far removed from
the common human that they are closer
to robots, and may even be designed as if
they were such. For a more human
dragoon, treat them as Marines with the
following additional package ideas. The
following Cybernetic enhancements are
placed on a Dragoon to bring them up to
FM standards. Most Dragoons are
recruited from amongst desperate
criminals, those who have experienced
crippling and irreparable injuries, and
others.

Ares Class Dragoon Infantry Unit:


UPP: AB7762
Skills: 3 terms Star marine career path
Special Abilities:
Bioware: Biomonitor Implant records
physical condition, heart rate,
temperature, toxicity, etc. Wafer Jack.
Armor: Dragoons have the equivalent
74

start with a Social Standing of 2. This can


improve, especially if a Dragoon becomes
an officer by commission, but they can
never hold any noble rank no matter how
high the social standing goes.
Limited Power Source: Dragoons use
power from internal fusion plants, and
rarely run out, but if this is ever
compromised (such as on a called shot at
maximum effect), there is A 1 in 6 chance
the power plant will explode, taking the
dragoon and a lot of turf with it. If the
plant is shut off or removed, the dragoon
is rendered inert, and emergency backups will kick in after 30 seconds, but
provide only one hour of power for
mobility. After the hour, it is inert, and a
small battery keeps the biological part of
the dragoon alive for 48 hours, after
which it runs out and dies.

protection of Powered Armor with an


Armor rating of 14. This is a duralloy mod
armor enhancement, and is part of their
body.
Environmental Adaptation against
extreme heat, extreme cold, vacuum, and
water. The dragoon is unaffected by these
extremes.
Nano-Regeneration allows for nanotech
healing agents to repair damage (but not
to armor), giving a +2 modifier to End
checks for healing.
Enhanced Senses: Sonar, Radar, Radio
Infrared, and hearing are all added or
boosted.
Special Attack: Ares UR55 Particle
Cannon The equivalent of a PGMP-12 or
sometimes larger.
Size: The Dragoon is larger than
normal,averaging 8-10 feet in height.
Owned: Federated Commonwealth
Marines own the dragoons body and
soul, literally. Dragoons really dont
muster out; a PC Dragoon which is forced
out of service by failing a Survival roll, or
at an appropriate Life Event, may declare
it tries to go rogue, or become a drifter. It
is then wanted and has the Federated
Commonwealth as an enemy.
Alternatively, a Dragoon which reaches
officer rank 5 or better and which has at
least 6 benefist for mustering out may
expend those benefits to purchase its
freedom.
Ageless: The treatment of what little
organics remain in the Dragoons are such
that they never worry about ageing
effects. Dragoons never die of old age;
usually just disease, cancer and in battle.
Outsider: The monstrous, mechanoid
appearance and inability of the dragoon
to interact normally with humans again,
as well as being social and criminal
outcasts in origin, forces all Dragoons to

Marine Combat Gear


Powered Combat Armor
Through the various Phases of time in
the Ad Astra setting, marine combat
armor has evolved from armored
vaccuum suits with nominal exosekeletal
power-up to state of the art, high-tech
mech suits which average about 10-16
feet in height and are as well armed and
armored as most high-tech interstellar
combat fighters (and more versatile, to
boot).
Combat armor in Ad Astra is easily
defined by the Powered Armor listings in
the Traveller equipment rules.

Protophase Armor Options:


The best armor available during this
period is Infantry Battle Suit dress.
Towards the end of this period, Hard
Armor becomes available.
75

Ares Class Standard Armored Vacc Suit


Periods: Phase I, II, III

Ares Class Attachment Options:


Cerberus 50mm Recoil-free Heavy
Assault Rifle
(Use ACR stats)
Built to serve as the standard heavyassault weapon for Ares-armored infantry,
this massive rifle fires magnetically
launched, high-velocity slugs with no
recoil, making it ideal for zero-gee combat
missions.

A heavy combat vacc suit, designed with


flexible polyweave duralloy armor plating,
self-sealing mesh, a one week recycling
life support system, and exoskeletal
support. Some units, mostly for spacegoing missions, include zero-gee jet
thrusters. During Phase I, these suits are
defined as Hard Armor. By the end of
Phase I and then on, use the Powered
Armor listings (scout, battle, and heavy).
All of these suits have the following extra
features:
Environmental Adaptation resistant to
pressure, vacuum, radiation, cold, heat,
gasses, unless punctured or compromised.
Life Support One week of extended life
support in a completely hostile
environment. Goes to 1 month by phase II
and six months by phase III.
Special Attack: Built-in shoulder or arm
mounted mini-chain gun or mini-blow
torch.

Harpy 2200 Self-Guided Missile Shoulder


Launcher
(Use the Rocket Launcher stats, TL 9)
A heavy mobile launch cannon loaded
with homing missiles. This is a favored
portable assault weapon among powered
armor troopers.
Damocles Monofilament Assault Blade
Damage 3D6; Mass .5; Uses 300; Heft -;
Cost 50,000 CR
Sometimes you find yourself in the
trenches in man to man combat, and
nothing cuts through duralloy like a
monofilament assault blade. On a critical
failure of 1 in an attack, the blade breaks!
Monofilament blades are so effective that
against standard (i.e. non energy-based)
armor they treat armor protection as half
normal value.

76

TEMPLE ENCOUNTERS
By Jarrod Camir
Every city holds a least one site consecrates to the gods, be that a soaring cathedral, a
conservative church, an atypical temple, a modest shrine, a peaceful monastery, or even a
megalithic alignment. Next time your PCs elect to pay homage to the gods and head on for
the local temple, roll a d% and see the ideas below or peruse them to make an enlightened
choice related to your campaign.
%Roll
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10

11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22

23

Result
A fey baths in a stone basin, surrounded by tiny points of light.
The monasterys abbot meditates in the abbeys garden.
An elder priest absolves a novice.
An acolyte has an animated discussion with a priest.
A splendid sword floats in midair just above a stone altar ornate with red flowers.
An artisan refits a wood bench; her tools are scattered all around.
A fight goes on in the refectory.
White marble statues, representing beautiful angels, guard the aisles of the temple.
A lit lantern has been left outside the temples porch.
An acolyte cannot identify which flask holds the consecrated oil necessary for the
anointment of a paladin waiting in the sanctuary. The priest performing the
ceremony comes to his rescue.
Hundreds of ravens fly around the spires of the cathedral. A very young girl seeing
the spectacle asks her mother if this is a bad omen.
A corpse hangs upside down in the belfry.
The temples head personally thanks a group of benefactors composed uniquely of
elves.
A vitriolic bigot tongue-lashes everybody who approaches the temples porch while
brandishing a rusty, rune-covered sword.
Two brothers wrestle outdoor; an elder monk monitors them.
A chalice full of blood reposes in front of a lone, demonic figure.
An aristocratic lady is comfortably seated upon a gem-encrusted throne in the
middle of the sanctuary. An unholy symbol has been branded upon her left cheek.
Six soldiers proudly escort their chaplain who is about to be decorated within the
temples walls by the king himself.
A choir repeats before the next service.
A paladin is anointed by a cleric.
A troop of churchgoers has volunteered to do the cleaning of the temple.
A swordswoman crosses the nave at a run, accusing aloud all the clerics of this
temple and their deity to have forsaken her and her friends. She then throws a spear
at the altarpiece with all her might.
A clerics funeral takes place in the churchyard.
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A priest hears the confession of an old warrior.


A holy war hammer is presented to a dwarf.
A trio of crusaders awaits the temples leader. They have brought back a black,
broken tombstone with them.
A monk shows the abbeys demesne to a young elven girl.
A demon stands in the middle of a white circle, closely monitored by a party of
magic-users.
An angelic elf, lost in her devotions, is not aware of the silent approach of a black
shadow.
A disciple receives a golden silk dress from an oriental woman.
A painting representing the god venerates in this temple has fallen from its peg.
An hagiographer admires an old artist who illuminates the book she just finishes to
pen. The first image shows elven gods.
A dishevelled man flees before a cleric who brandishes a heavy flail and screams
madly a single word over and over again: heretic!
A woman cradles a flask of holy water.
An inquisitor interrogates a surly dwarf.
The gates of the monastery are wide opened late at night.
A warlock surreptitiously enters the library.
A theological treatise has been left upon a bench.
An anxious neophyte asks her way.
Two novices exchange spooky stories. A black tome about the occult rests upon the
knees of the youngest one.
While he was digging a grave in the churchyard, the undertaker has discovered the
derelict shrine of an ancient god.
An oracle predicts that a lightning bolt will eminently strike the highest spire of the
temple.
A renowned orator has climbed to one of the statues flanking the temples porch.
Everybody around impatiently awaits the beginning of her address.
A famous bard who has composed an oratorio gives her last recommendations to
the choir and the orchestra before the premire.
The churchs sacred golden orb is entrusted to a paladin who even has the
permission to carry away the globe outside the temples premises.
A pantheist wearing no less than six different holy symbols around his neck begs a
cleric to give away her own to him.
The paraphernalia of a cleric is scattered under a tree of the garden.
A pilgrim arrives at the shrine and ceremoniously puts down his gnarled staff before
entering the place.
Ten eager postulants are introduced to the orders leader.
A wizard and a cleric relax together in the apse, enjoying a cup of hot tea.
A street urchin profanes the temple by repeatedly throwing rocks at the rose
window giving upon the street.
A complex ritual involving no less than half the temples staff takes place in the
sanctuary.
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A cleric reads a sacred text to the assembly.


A congregation of citizens places modest offerings all around the altar.
The sacristan reports that the sacristy has been violated.
A dove flies across the temple.
A known thief has brought back a sanctified weapon to the church, and he now asks
asylum.
Someone has inscribed a message in Abyssal upon the shroud covering the body of a
cleric about to be buried in the churchyard.
Nearly half the clergy leaves the temple, no longer content to adhere to the tenets of
their faith as they stand. This schism has profound repercussions in the whole town.
A sister tells to another one that she has played a practical joke upon a troublesome
acolyte by placing 20 unlabeled flasks upon the altar; all were similar to the one
holding the chrism.
Many surplices hang upon pegs affixed to the wall.
A synod is held. The council must deal with the aftermaths of the schism that
occurred recently.
A troop of warriors enters the temple with swords drawn. Their tabards look much
like the ones worn by the priests living in this building, but their coat of arms has
been slightly modified.
A sage discourses about teleology in front of a small gathering of clerics.
The leaders of a neighbouring theocracy are received with great pomp and
ceremony.
Many singers perform a threnody near a grave.
Someone has left behind a fragment of black stone etched with silver runes in the
temples dormitory.
A monk tonsures one of his fellow brothers.
A paladin who has recently received the unction has succumbed to poisoning.
A cleric is publicly unfrocked.
A veil woman enters the vestry.
The verger replaces the candles thorough the complex.
A vigil takes place.
A zealot tries to convince a cleric to leave the temple and join his organization.
A duel between two women takes place in one of the churchs transepts.
An old crone walks the length of the nave while two nervous-looking guardians
follow her every step.
A black rose has been left upon the altar during the night.
An axe with a black ribbon tied to the shaft has been buried in a bench.
An aristocrat empties his whole purse in the trunk.
A new tapestry hangs to ones of the temple walls. The piece represents a duo of
angels in flight who carry a woman with a torn armor between them. An anonymous
donator has given this artwork.
A lone figure storms the temples library and tries to escape with a mundane-looking
book.
The monastery has commissioned a mosaic composed uniquely of shurikens.
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An artist installs a new rose window to replace the former one which has been
vandalized.
The ossuary has been desecrated; moreover, the culprit has disposed the bones
elsewhere in the church.
The altar has been displaced.
A spirit haunts the dormitory.
An elf prays outside near the half-buried idol of a long-forsaken god.
A barefoot monk kicks and slashes madly at an imaginary opponent with a pair of
kamas.
A lightning bolt strikes the temples highest spire.
A druid and her wolf walk around the churchyard. Many children follow them at a
safe distance, excitedly whispering among themselves.
A bard composes a Requiem for a dear friend.
A splendid woman shamelessly performs her ablutions, using the temples fountain
to do so.
A dwarf prays before an anvil. Once the prayer is over, he gently strikes the anvil
twice with his hammer.
A lone chorister sings her goddess praises.
A young lass hides in a corner, desperately holding a sacred symbol upon her heart.
Her sudden scream of terror echoes through the entire chapel, after which she
collapses.
An artist does some repair work at the altarpiece.
A stonemason and his crew add a new wing to the temple.
A bronze plaque affixed to the temples wall reads as follow: They are all gone now,
the holy crusaders, the valorous chaplains, and the faithful warriors. They are all
gone, but they are not forgotten. Thanks to them, our faith is stronger; thanks to
them, the holiest relic of our god has been restored to us.
The smell of incense permeates the air.

80

The Jungle Kingdoms of Gochikono


A Gazetteer in Takkai, for the world of Lingusia by Tori bergquist
Written for use with Castles & Crusades and Dungeons & Dragons (all iterations)
eventually end, and even the so-called
immortal dragon emperor perished in an
ancient feud with his kin. More than three
millennia after the fact, explorers can
travel through dense, unpopulated
stretches of desert, and in the midst of
wilderlands unseen by any save barbaric
korobokuru dwarves lie huge and ancient
stone ruins from this age and earlier.
Gochikono was first breached by
Lingusians of the west when famous
explorers during the War of Strife era,
including the ancient Sid of Midas, Octzel,
and the regional TaKongese Grand
Chancellor and Diviner, KohSuhan of the
Jade Emperor both employed
adventurous groups to explore these
ruinous lands. They discovered that those
ruins, once attributed solely to the
TaiKong of old when the Celestial
Bureaucracy still dwelt upon the world,
has in fact been proven to be a mixture of
classical ruins, and much, much older sites
....sites which predated modern man, and
go back ten thousand years ago to the
prehistoric empires. Their investigation of
these ruins is believed to have been what
awoke the slumbering prehunate
demiurge named Diannysos, an
unfortunate event which led, eventually,
to the time of the Cataclysm in 3486 AW.
Today, Gochikono is valued for its
abundant albeit difficult to obtain
resources, including herbs and medicines,
as well as rich veins of gold, minerals, and
precious stones. Gochikono has attracted
so much attention in modern times largely
because it is so rich, unexploited, and for
the most part unclaimed. However,

Nestled between the vast northern


reaches of the ancient empire of TaiKong
and the seemingly endless southern
swathe of tumultuous jungle lands of
AlJhira, Gochikono is a no-mans land of
forgotten empires and nonhuman
civilizations. A handful of warlords claim
various tracts of the region for their own,
while bandits and outlaws make their way
to this region, comforted in the
knowledge that their pursuers will never
find them. Indigenous people of the land
are isolated and worship long-forgotten
gods, while remembering ancient tales of
their lost glory from an empire dating
back to the era of the prehunates. The
true natives of Gochikono claim direct
ancestry with these forgotten prehumans,
and their unusual features seem to hold
some truth to the claim.
Thirty-five hundred years ago, the
original empire of Tai'Kong stretched
southward into the Karakan deserts. In
this era, the reign of the Dragon Emperor
Skathakhan had a profound impact on all
people in the region, but all things
81

Gochikonos indigenous people to once


again claim their own destiny.
During the Cataclysm era, Gochikono
experienced flooding much as many other
lowlands did during the deluge, and the
vast lakes of the region expanded even
more, obliterating many of the coastal
villages and cities. Despite this, it had little
effect otherwise on the region, for the
people of Gochikono were already well
used to devastating floods and simply
packed up and moved in to the safer
highlands, before at last resuming their
place of residence along newly
established shorelines. Northward,
however, in the vast fields of rice in IwaSeki, the southern provinces of TaiKong
were rendered almost uninhabitable
floodlands and marshes, creating an even
more impressive barrier between the
lands of the south and north.
Today, all of the city-states of Gochikono
can trace their ruling blood back to three
sources: descendants of Shotokan,
descendants of Ratrivari, and indigenous
chieftains who claim prehuman ancestry.
Over the last millennia, this has led to a
schism among the warlords of the land,
and so the region fell in to disunity,
leading to a long period of isolation and a
near total loss of communication with the
outside world, as petty squabbles, ancient
cults risen anew and a general desire not
to be affected by outsiders plagued the
land. Of all the ruling elites of the region,
only those who claim heritage from the
south, placing Lady Ratrivari among their
ancestors, seem willing to trade and
interact with foreigners in a friendly
manner.
The main center of trade and commerce
in the region today lies along the banks of
the great Lake GanaMung. The city of
Yotan is ruled by the benevolent prince

nestled between the Iwa-Seki Mountains


to the north and "Grand Sword
Mountains" of the south it has also
proven a difficult challenge for those who
come to exploit. Roving armies from both
regions around Gochikono have often lost
more men to excursions within Gochikono
than they ever have in regular conflicts.
This tradition has gone one for countless
centuries now, and Gochikono remains,
right in to the modern era of 3,500 AW, a
free land of independent polities and
unclaimed wilderness. At any given time
in the regions history there have been
somewhere between 5 and two dozen
regional warlords and chieftains, some
foreign, some native, and all have had
their time in the spotlight. It is considered
the normal course of life in Gochikono
that the land remains disjointed and
without unity, despite the efforts of some
very powerful and tactical minds.
Of all these would be conquerors, the
Warlord Shotokan of Tai'Kong was the
most successful. Shotokan conquered the
barbarian tribes of Gochikono, uniting
them under his rigid, militaristic rule
around 1700 AW. This was almost two
hundred years before the birth of the Jade
Emperor Taikatas, during the still extant
decline of Tai'Kong. Consequently, he
used his freedom to exploit the people of
the jungles and created his own empire.
After four hundred years of growth,
during the time of the War of Strife in the
west, the cities of Gochikono maintained
a separate and distinct government from
Tai'Kong, but one which still paid homage
to the Jade Emperor in order to keep its
autonomy. It was during this period that
AlJhiras rebellious princess, the Lady
Ratrivari of AddjhaAnra rose up and gave
the local people freedom from the legacy
of the Shotokan clan rule, allowing
82

Asmirin, an exiled son of southern AlJhira


who traveled northward and carved out a
reputation for himself among the local
chieftains of the region, eventually
marrying the lady ShiAtra, the divinely
appointed priestess of the sacred goddess
Kyo, lady of the moon. ShiAtra was the
daughter of Yotans ruler, the warlord
MaoKhaska, who claimed to be a direct
descendant of the warlord Shotokan.
MaoKhaska gave his blessing to the
wedding, then handed his new son in law
rulership of the city, while he took an
army eastward, to seek out the fabled City
of Skaath, where he believed he would
find a sacred portal to the realm of the
gods. He left ten years ago with an army
of ten thousand, and was never seen or
heard of again.
Yotan serves a strong function as a
religious mecca, and the blessings of the
unification cult of the goddess Kyo assist
in insuring this. Followers of the Path from
TaiKong come here annually by ship or on
foot to visit the ancient Temple of the
Immortals, where it is said that the eight
sacred Immortals first convened in
ancient times to declare their intent to
unify the fueding warlords of ancient
TaiKong in to the greatest and most
venerable empire of the world.
The Temple of the Metapsyche rests on
an island off the coast, sticking up
ominously in the location where the
submerged ruins of the lost capitol of
Emas from the old era of Shotokan lies
beneath flooded waters. This temple of
thought is an attraction to the ancient
sorcerers of the land, who claim that they
answer to a geshtalt god named Onon, a
being manifest from the minds of his own
followers.
Besast cults are enormously popular
throughout Gochikono, and not merely

because of the prolifieration of spirit folk


in the region. The three largest beast cults
are the Disciples of the Monkey King, the
legendary Cult of the Tiger, and the
mysterious, often deviant Dog People.
The Monkey King is a sacred god who is
said to have achieved sentience and
immortality for aiding the Immortal Eight,
and is worshipped throughout Takkai. The
cult of the Tiger reveres the ancient Tiger
Spirit, sometimes called the BolThon, a
deity which is equated with Wolfon in
western beliefs. The god of the Dog
People, known also as gnolls, is a deviant
demon god called YgrakChall.
Another god popular in the region is
Akuuris, the mysterious Keeper of
Dreams, of whom many regional shrines
are dedicated to. Indeed, some claim that
the closest one can get to the world of
dream without sleeping is through
Gochikono. Beside Akuuris, Vishannu, the
AlJhiran god of war is respected by
several warlords, as is the nightmarish
Hidra, goddess of a Thousand Deaths.
From the north, the god Shotii, elemental
lord of demons is feared and respected, as
is the goddess Kotana, the mother of all
storms.
Gochikono has a reputation for
harboring dark and dreadful spirits,
partially because of the myriad number of
Hengeyokai spirit folk throughout the
dense jungle lands. The Mountain of the
Monkey King harbors many Hengeyokai,
and the legendary gnolls are among the
wildest of the Hengeyokai-kin. Other wild
beast-men tribes in the jungle include
many Korobokuru dwarves, Grung, Nats,
and San-Shao. Perhaps singly most
responsible for the tales of dreadful spirits
are the Gochikono tribal guardians, the
Doc'u'o'c. These guardian spirits act as the
guards to all of Shotokan's descendants as
83

well as village guards, due to some


ancient pact with the dead warlord. Baku
are also rumored to wander beneath the
canopies of green.
The ancient Serpent Men are another
formidable force to contend with, as well
as lizard men and some deviant
Bakemono goblins. Many of these tribes,
along with the Beast Cults of the Tiger
God have allied themselves with the
mysterious sorceress Itana in Nehabaru,
to the west. Of these scalykind and
degenerates, however, none are so
dreadful as the Yagoths, the disparate
Mind Flayers who, exiled from the
Hyshkorrid of the Middle Kingdoms, have
come to seek out dark powers and other
things arcane within Gochikono's ancient
ruins. They have sacrificed their mind
powers for this quest, regressing to an
ancient, more primal society of decadent
sorcerers.

riddled with ancient secrets, deadly traps,


hostile locals and vicious monsters. As
such, while there are a number of specific
features in the land that can readily be
mapped, the truth is that Gochikono is
always in a state of flux, and most of its
cities, villages, and secrets are often only
found once, and then never again. An
explorer might happen upon an ancient
ruin, only to return a year later with
better equipment and manpower to
discover that it has been swallowed up by
the swamps, or an earthquake, or simply
to have disappeared as if it never existed
at all.
A few scholars of the region, mostly
followers of the god Onon and Akuuris,
claim that the land is, in fact, closely
enmeshed with the dreaming world of
Ethenur, and that because of this it is
possible for portions of the waking world
to sleep in to the dream lands, and vice
versa. At least a handful of madmen have
attempted to find the legendary dreaming
city of Nith in this manner, and it is not
with some trepidation that the ancient
explorer Lord Cid admitted to once seeing
a terrifyingly immense tower that he felt
certain was the legendary Armageddon
Tower worshipped by the Nihilists of the
west.
Because of this ambiguity in location of
objects and encounters in Gochikono, it is
more customary to rely on the following
chart to generate unusual encounters in
what would appear to be otherwise
unblemished tracks of land in the region.
The suggested formula is to roll once per
day or per twelve miles of travel, with a
20% chance of something unusual (rolled
below):

A Word about Mapping Gochikono


Gochikono is an ancient land, and it is a
very harsh, wet region of the world,
difficult for any sane man to navigate, and

84

85

Mysterious Encounters and Locations in Gochikono:


D20 Event
1-2
City or tribal conflict is underway (Roll 1D8)
1-2
a war is going on, the fields are filled with armies in battle
3-4
a political convergence is underway between two local chieftains
5-6
a territorial dispute between local tribes causes a wild frenzy of
conflict
7-8
a local misunderstanding has led to an intertribal argument and coup
3-4
An encounter with foreigners travelling in the jungles (roll 1D8)
1-2
treasure hunters seeking a lost city; they may be suspicious the PCs
are rivals
3-4
criminals on the run, from AlJhira or TaiKong, may fear the PCs are
bounty hunters looking for them
5-6
a gang of mercenaries looking for work, or a fight
7-8
foreign traders from AlJhira or TaiKong looking to trade and sell
5-6
An encounter with an indigenous wild tribe (Roll 1D8)
1-2
A tribe dedicated to the mysterious Cult of the Tiger; they require a
test of combat in the sacred arenas to prove the worth of the PCs
3-4
A tribe of cannibals who worship the Cult of: (roll 1D6)
1-2
the Ape God Bulghada
3-4
the eminence of Zaku, sinister Watcher from Afar
5-6
the might of the fearsome Dakkakuan, lord of the dark
5-8
A tribe of humanoids: (roll 1D20)
1-2
bakemono goblins (1-4 neutral, 5-20 hostile)
2-4
grimlocks (lesser oni; 1-8 neutral, 9-20 hostile)
5-6
gnolls (hengeyokai dogman; 1-10 neutral, 11-20
hostile)
7-8
korobokuru dwarves (1-10 friendly, 11-20 neutral)
9-10 carp hengeyokai (1-12 friendly, 11-20 neutral)
11-12 lizard men (1-10 neutral, 11-20 hostile)
13-14 monkey hengeyokai (always friendly)
15-16 tengu (1-10 friendly, 11-18 neutral, 19-20 hostile)
17-18 kappas (always hostile)
19-20 spirit folk (elves; 1-4 friendly, 5-18 neutral, 19-20
hostile)
7-8
A lost tribe which dwells in an ancient ruin, worshipping: (Roll 1D20)
1-2
an ancient artifact of great power
3-4
a lich who was once a sorcer king of a lost empire
5-6
a vampire who demands sacrifices
7-8
a dragon who demands treasure
9-10 an immense subterranean idol beneath the city
11-12 a chthonic entity from the Beyond of Chaos
13-14 the demon god Belphegor (called Byfaka by the natives)
15-16 a powerful rakshasa who has presented himself as a god
86

17-18 the demon god Yaoshak, lord of the dark kingdoms


19-20 the chaos god Slithotep
9-10 An encounter with a small local village (Roll 1D20)
1-3
tax day has come, and the local warlord is exacting his collections with
a vengeance that would anger good PCs
4-6
the villagers are being harassed by a local bandit lord
7-9
the town is xenophobic and will be offended or angered by the
presence of non-humans or foreigners
10-14 the town is full of helpful and friendly villagers, but is really: (Roll 1D6)
1-2
a secret encampment of rogue Eta harboring a Ninja
dojo
3-4
the village was taken over by escaped slaves or
criminals who seek to avoid being recaptured
5-6
a front for a secret monastery to a famous prophet or
wise man that prefers anonymity from the unwashed
masses
15-20 the town is built on ancient ruins, and the people all act a little
strange, or spooked, almost as if they were: (Roll 1D20)
1-2
possessed by demons
3-4
haunted by ghosts
5-6
terrorized by ghouls from the catacombs
7-8
not people at all, but doppelgangers or oni demons
masquerading as normal villagers
9-10 the villagers labor under a curse that needs lifting
11-12 the villagers are plagued by dark spirits that do not let
them sleep
13-14 the villagers are alive by day, but turn to skeletons,
zombies and ghouls by night
15-16 they are all ghosts, and this is first revealed when a PC
finds skeletons lying in beds in the homes!
17-18 the villagers are normal, but they are tired because
they are being overworked by a local warlord
19-20 the villagers are under a compulsion, geas or charm by
a powerful witch or rakshasa in the region
11-12 An encounter with wild animals or indigenous monsters: (roll D100)
01-05 a herd of elephants; 20% chance they are spooked and stampede
06-10 a pack of wild dogs; 25% chance they are starving and dangerous
11-15 a giant constrictor snake
16-17 small giant spiders
18-20 giant centipedes
21
a river (blue) dragon
22
a jungle (green) dragon
23
a mountain (red) dragon
24-28 a vast herd of water buffalo (herd animals) passing by; 15% chance they
87

29-30
31
32-34
35-39
40-44
45
46-47
48
49
50-54
55
56-58
59
60
61
62
63
64-68
69-70
71
72-76
73
74
75
76-80
81-82
83-84
85-86
87-91
92-94
95
96
97
98
99
00

stampede; and a 10% chance there are predators (1-2 hyenas, 3-4 tigers, 5-6
dogs) nearby
a colony of giant ants
ankhegs burrowing in the region (20% chance they are terrorizing a local farm
or village)
a herd of baboons (20% chance they feel threatened and become hostile)
a herd of wild boar (40% chance of becoming spooked and hostile)
crocodiles along a river bank
a swamp (black) dragon lairs in the region
A celestial dragon (1-2 gold, 3-4 silver, 5-6 bronze, 7-8 copper, 9-10 brass)
lurks nearby, usually in a well-kept sacred temple or ruin
a dragonne lurks in the region
a green hag has a hut nearby; the witch seeks to lure travelers to their doom,
and usually has bakemono goblins, ogres and oni working for her as well
a pack of prowling tigers
a pack of giant lizards
a naga lair is nearby (1-2 dark naga, 3-4 ghost naga, 5-6 guardian naga, 7-8
spirit naga, 9-10 water naga)
a nymph cove
a wandering oni ogre mage and his tribe
A Rakshasa living in a: (1-2 hut, 3-4 castle, 5-6 ruins)
a horde of giant rats
a wandering shambling mound(s)
a venomous snake (hidden)
medium giant spiders
large giant spiders
giant ticks
a wandering titan (20% chance he is hostile, otherwise neutral)
giant frogs
giant toads
a horde of curious spider or howler monkeys
a tribe of troglodytes
bajang
were-tigers
hyenas
hippopotamus
gaki
a pack of wandering ghouls and ghasts
a rogue triceratops (30% chance of a herd, and 20% chance it stampedes)
a hunting tyrannosaurus rex (20% chance it is a pack!)
baku
roll twice; roll three times if you roll 00 again, and so forth

88

13-14 An encounter with mysterious ancient ruins: (roll 1D20)


1-2
an ancient lost city of a forgotten empire
3-4
mysterious prehistoric ruins of a prehuman civilization
5-6
an ancient temple with hidden catacombs beneath
7-8
a forgotten tomb complex of an long dead warlord or emperor
9-10 a vast monument to some unknown king or god
11-12 an immense statue still largely intact of: (1-2 an animal, 3-4 a god, 5-6 a man)
13-14 an ancient burial ground with thousands of overgrown and forgotten tombs
15-16 a mysterious city, perfectly intact but abandoned save for monsters and
squatters
17-18 a vast collection of ancient ruins that were built by giants of some forgotten
era
19-20 mysterious ruins that make no sense and appear to have no reasoning behind
them; the ruins are marked with disturbing images and indecipherable script,
and a sense of foreboding hangs like a pall over the region
15-16 The discovery of a complex of caverns: (roll 1D20)
1-4
a deep sink hole that opens in to wet (living) limestone caverns
5-8
a natural length of volcanic tunnels running through ancient foothills
9-12 an unnatural collection of catacombs that date to prehuman times
13-16 tunnels formed from an ancient city which has otherwise collapsed
17-20 a network of lost (1-3) or active (-46) mines
17-18 An inhabited location: (Roll 1D20)
1-2
a village of locals with unusual, not-quite-human traits, but otherwise friendly
3-4
a remote fortress of soldiers from Yotan or a foreign powerguarding a local
active mine
5-6
a regional warlord who is very, very paranoid
7-8
a garrison of soldiers who have faithfully served on the front for decades,
though it turns out their warlord perished or was overthrown long ago
9-10 a displaced ronin from Terukishi or KinTatsu who has forged his own small
army in the woodlands
11-12 a bandit lord who is suspicious of all foreigners and who terrorizes the local
tribes with forced tithing; he also maintains a vigorous slave trade
13-14 an abandoned castle that is mysteriously uninhabited but otherwise intact
15-16 a remote fortress complex that is a training ground for assassins
17-18 a castle belonging to a disposed AlJhiran noble who is also either a: (Roll
1D6)
1-2
sorcerer belonging to the Black Lotus Cult
3-4
leader of a cult to the death goddess Hidra
5-6
a disposed noble who sided against the Raja in the War of the South

89

19-20 a special encounter! Roll 1D20:


1-4
a catacomb complex benath ancient ruins containing a clan of Yagoth
5-8
the fortress of an ancient Rakshasa overlord
9-12 a lone tower in the distance that grants disturbing dreams of
destruction
13-16 a strange, mesmerizing pool in an ancient fountain that when entered
lis revealed to be a netherworld portal
17-18 an encounter with the Monkey King himself! He appears as a
nondescript elderly monk or simple talking monkey at first, and will
stay with the party for a time if they impress or befriend him
19-20 an ancient prehunate ruin, surprisingly intact, is uncovered. It
contains one of the following: (Roll 1D6)
1-2
deadly remnants of ancient entities created in the nearforgotten war between the prehunates and the gods
3-4
a sleeping prehunate that is disturbed by the presence of the
explorers, and is either: (1D10) grateful for release (1-3), does
not even seem to recognize the explorers as sentient beings
(4-7) or reacts with hostility as if they were vermin (8-10).
5-6
the mummified remains of prehunates and their servants, of
which there is a 20% chance that these remains are undead
mummies, liches, demiliches or worse! Such undead are
always insane.

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Other Locations in Gochikono


Khotzen: Located at the top of the Crane
Mountain in the law-Seki range, this
village borders both realms, but is built so
that it overlooks the Great Lakes of
Ganamung and Mahahaga. Khotzen is
built in delicate balance with three
highland lakes, each one articulately
maintained by the local priesthood, of the
Order of the Eternal Flock, a buddhist
priesthood devoted to their dvinely
granted shape, the crane. Indeed, this is a
hengeyokai village, this village of the
crane, and the 1200 odd inhabitants are,
all shapechangers of this type, with a
small percentage of accepted outsiders
dwelling here. Many of the hengeyokai
cranes migrate yearly, but the elderly
remain to care for the village, while the
young ones carry their duties on. Their
migration takes them to sundry villages
and lands in the north, during the
Summer.
Other points of interest about Khotzen
include the following: An ancient
Sword-Saint master, named HooQuan,
maintains a highly selective order of
Sword Saints dedicated to the Forked
Lightning style of sword fighting. The
cranes also include an extensive natural
shrine dedicated to Buddha, which
encompasses the three lakes and a
colossal living Buddha statue beneath a
protecting pagoda. The sculpture,
decorated with the images of cranes, is
said to have grown from the rock of the
mountain itself.
The mountain in the Iwa-Seki range on
which Khotzen has existed for a thousand
years is known as the Pillar of the Celestial
Dancers, a reference to the movement of
the cranes.
Finally, Khotzen is the home of the

Huijan Dancers, fifty beautiful young


women who are dedicated to a dancing
art which incorporates the full effect of
their shapeshifting abilities. They have
performed before the Jade Emperor and
are among the most favored entertainers
in the Greater Provinces.
The Water Path: This is the most
northward path to the southern provinces
of Tai'Kong, short of traveling through
strife-ridden Sukati, or risking a more
dangerous route of one's own design
through the dangerous and rocky
mountains. It is also the key path that
leads to the village Khotzen.
The downward climb on the north side
parallels a fantastic river-waterfall that
carries much of the peak drainage from
the constant storms in the region. The
stone-worked path, here since the dawn
of the Jade Empire, has carried many
travelers to the bottom and safety, as well
as a few careless ones to their death.
Agashu: Agashu is the sister trade city to
Yotan, and is officially in Gochikono
territory. The ruling family is that of House
Eregen, a clan dominated by viscious,
driven warriors; all of the clan are
descendants of, it is claimed, two
brother-generals who first served under
the warlord that conquered Gochikono
centuries ago. The Eregeni have kept up
their reputation handily; the viscous
garrisons of warriors are considered the
finest supressors in the land, and some
companies have hired out in the past, to
deal with the enemies of others in distant
kingdoms. Consequently, Agashu has
developed a reputation for being a haven
of mercenaries, and its clientele keep that
91

reputation afloat. It is the primary reason


that the little-defended Yotan has not
fallen to Lady Ratrivari's forces at
Nehabaru; her wish to stay in good
standing with the mercenary companies
of Agashu keeps her from moving on
Yotan, which is otherwise a good capture.
Agashu pays homage to the ruling family
in Emas, and none other; it has a
population of about 50,000 and is the
third largest city in Gochikono. Foreigners

are fairly common here, and its small port


is always active. Brosk, to the south, has
taken in a lot of trade, indirectly, due to
the tendency of merchants and
mercenary ships to dock there and then
travel to Agashu, in order to avoid tariffs
and other taxes on their goods and ships.
House Eregen is only recently attempting
to extend tax control to the rapidly
expanding Brosk.

Shentzu Island: Pronounced "Shen-soo",


this isle, known by some as the Island of
the Forgotten Devils, has served the
function of Cemetary to the Clan-Houses
of Gochikono for several centuries now.
The practice began when the warlord
Shotokan ordered all of his descendents
and devoted servants to begin the
practice. It was rumored that this was part

of an arrangement with the Docuo'cs


which act as village guardians and private
protectors of his clan descendants. Still
fewer, more knowledged individuals claim
that this request was made to ward off (or
appease) the possible evil after which the
island is named....
The Island consists of a ring of small
rocky outcroppings, like a tiny
92

system of local government that, coupled


with unique art and living, makes the
casual traveler feel like he fell out of the
kingdom of Gochikono or the Jade Empire.
Indeed, the Folk of the Lake do not
personally see themselves as having
anything to do with either land of men,
but recognize the Jade Emperor and his
power. They have no respect for the
house descendants of Shotokan in
Gochikono.

mountain-range, inside of which can be


found a beautiful, lush basin of flowers,
and a small lake in its center. The flowers
are ornately arranged; fantastic beds of
them grow in patterns over the graves,
marking each family burial site. At this
time there are thousands of such sites;
more than there have been clan mambers
of the ruling Gochikono Houses, because
tribal elders of Gochikono clans and
certain great shamans and Wu-Jen also
have their bodies buried here.
A large cluster of tomb-pagodas and
barrows can be found near the lake,
where especially prominent individuals
are buried, and here also can be found the
building housing th esoteric Order of the
Eternal Light, and strange sect of monks
dedicated to the maintenance of the
cemetary basin. There are about fifty
members of this order, and they rarely
venture out of the basin. They are
believed to be Taoists, but are hospitable
to anyone. Within their mainhouse one
might notice a rack of fantastic weapons.
An observant, learned eye will notice that
within their collection can be found the
four Blades of the Vengeful Elements;
each is a naginata of defense with +4
magical bonuses, and one power useable
thrice per day. In order, these powers are:
Flame Strike, Wall of Water, Flesh to
Stone, and Control Weather. The four
elders of the order are masters of these
weapons; treat them as dual-classed
Kensai Ll O/Fighting-Monks (of Taoism) LvI
15+.

Brosk, Emtu, Lovak: These three


village-towns, each under 3,000 in
population, consist mostly of humans,
Korbokuru, and the occasional odd
creature (a civilized grung who has been
exiled, or a hengeyokai of the Monkey
Tribes, perhaps). These villages are each
dominated by two sources of power: The
older, tribal leader and oligarchic council,
which in turn must answer to the resident
Clan-House appointed by the ruling family
of Emas. The militias are usually made up
of elite warriors and knights from the
Clan-House, followed by general militia
pulled from the local families. Major
threats in the region include natural
wildlife problems, bandits and raiders
looking for easy prey, and angry
Korobokuru in yet another conflict with
the humans.
Egron and Jojin: These are the two large,
stable towns of the otherwise nomadic
Korbokuru in the region. Both towns are
around 2,500 in population, and are
dominated by the oriental dwarves. These
towns are "civilized," that is, they
recognize the rpesence of the humans and
accept it, but refuse to give up their
clan-structure control, and are unwilling
to go along with anything the warriors of
the Gochikono Houses might propose or

Hit'ka and Hotaniki: These two villages of


under a thousand people are actually
almost entirely families of River Spirit
Folk, who are the keepers and spirits of
the Ganamung River. They are a peaceful
folk, with a delicate family structure and
93

Monkey King, is the source of a great


celestial presence, that of the Immortal
Monkey himself. At the end of the valley
near the mountaintops can be found an
expansive ruined city that was at one time
the heart of a great kingdom of monkeys,
all under the leadership of Monkey
himself, before he sought immortality and
was humbled by Buddha. Now, the ruins
lie dormant, and the Hengeyokai
Monkeys, among other simian relatives,
pay homage to the city, turning the ruins
into shrines.
Some of the sights in the ancient ruins
include a huge temple to Monkey, in
which it is said a thousand howlers and
other types of monkeys dance amongst
the pillars. There is also a golden path that
runs through the city, and eventually ends
in a solid cliff-wall. It is said that those
who petition here to speak with Monkey
will be tasked, and if they perform well,
then he will let them walk through the
walls and into the legendary Cave of the
Monkey, a realm which legends claim
exists in many regions of the land.

do. Their recognition extends principally


to trade, and no further.
The Korobokuru of the region recognize
Taoism, in its most uncontroversial form,
but still retain the elements of an older,
elemental religion which their shamans
cling to. Their lifestyle is typical for the
region, however; the only difference in
lifestyles between these Korbokuru and
the men of the kingdoms are a propensity
towards stronger claims of honor coupled
with a stronger sense of personal freedom
and survival.
Valleys of Plenty: This is a large strip of
rain-forest which holds numerous small
families, tribes, and nomadic groups of
humans, grung, korbokuru, hengeyokai,
and other, stranger groups. None of these
villages and tribes exceed more than
three or four hundred, and few have a
fixed location. The agrarians favored
plantning tactics are a form of slash and
burn, while hunting groups deliberately
keep moving, to avoid damaging the
ecostructure of the rain forest by over
taxing the region's resources. Here,
animistic magic is common, and some
taoist and buddhist thought has had an
effecrt, but is difficult for purists to
identify.

This is also the path by which one can


eventually reach other Hengeyokai
Monkey tribes in the mountains. There
are over a dozen such tribes, and paths
leading out of the city will eventually
arrive in their territorial zones.

Kera Gua Agunung: The Cave of the


Monkey, also known as the City of the

Coming Soon to The Sorcerers Scrolls:


Theft of the Sacred Soul, a Pathfinder Adventure
Encounters for Fantasy RPGs by By Jarrod Camir
The Stellar Realms of Astrophikus for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
New Fiction and More!
94

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