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7/05/2014 5:18 pm  #1


The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Or, how to adapt GP Adventures' modules to Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. 

THREAD CONTENTS

Introduction, placing the dungeon and modules
The Marmoreal Tomb part one: background
The Marmoreal Tomb part two: wilderness
The Marmoreal Tomb part three: map key, level 1

INTRODUCTION

I am Benoist Poiré, founder with Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. of GP Adventures, LLC. I am the co-designer, developer and cartographer on the Hobby Shop Dungeon project (HSD for short). The HSD is one of the surviving dungeons that were created in the Lake Geneva, WI area in the 70s. Created by Ernest, inspired by the games he played with his dad, it is a traditional adventure setting that is very classic in its conception and very effective for campaign play because of it. 

GP Adventures started introducing people to the world of the Hobby Shop Dungeon through a module published in Gygax Magazine Issue 3 (available here in print and here in PDF format). It is entitled The Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul, and presents an old abandoned dwarven settlement that the players' characters can explore to their hearts' content. It will be published in its entirety for the first time soon by GP Adventures, and will include a number of pointers, additional encounters, one additional level and more to the material that was published by Gygax Magazine.  This will become DU1 Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul.

The Marmoreal Tomb is the first of a series of modules that will introduce and later complement the dungeon itself, a dungeon which we plan to publish some time at the beginning of next year. Other modules will be published in the meantime, including DU2 Haunted Halls of the Beggar King, a completely autonomous chunk of which is already available on our website and GB1 Murder at Sandermire, authored by Simon Todd, a long-time friend and illustrator of the Hobby Shop Dungeon, who also did the art on Sammi-Zowa Versus The Dueling Dragons.

All this (and more besides) will be unveiled during the next few months. 

One of the particularities of the Hobby Shop Dungeon world, the Duinnsmere, is that the idea of it being declined in a number of different ways at different people's game tables, building different planes and variants of this world and running them as one's own, is part of the setting's fabric by design. One possibility in order to use Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea with the Hobby Shop Dungeon is to assume either: (1) that the Eurth is actually the Old Earth referenced by the AS&SH game, or a variant/parallel dimension thereof, (2) that the Eurth is linked geographically with Hyperborea within the same plane of existence, (3) that the North Wind carries sailors and travellers to another dimension where Hyperborea is isolated/located, or (4) any combination thereof. 

I'm going to come back to this particular approach of linking the Duinnsmere with Hyperborea later on, within its own thread, hopefully.

Here, I am going to instead talk about the direct adaptation of HSD material to AS&SH itself, i.e. of using the modules and dungeon as part of Hyperborea itself. Why? For three main reasons. First, it allows me to demonstrate just how to adapt the material to a different setting. Second, I'm a fan of AS&SH, and can't miss an occasion to talk more about the game. Third, I'm spreading knowledge about what the HSD is and what the modules are about, and that's as good an advertisement as I'm ever going to get. 

Thanks to Jeffrey Talanian for inviting me to do this here. I'm thankful, and happy to be able to talk about AS&SH and HSD together. They are both very dear to me.

DISCLAIMER: the following notes assume that we all have some knowledge of AS&SH, the HSD world, the dungeon and modules around it. The Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul as published in Gygax Magazine Issue 3 will be the base of our example of a campaign. This will be expanded with notes pertaining to DU1 Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul (Complete Module), DU2 Haunted Halls of the Beggar King, GB1 Murder at Sandermire and other GP offerings later on, up to the dungeon itself. 

FINDING A PLACE FOR THE DUNGEON

The first step for us to use GP Adventures' game materials with AS&SH is to find a good location for the dungeon and the other modules around. I want to find the most straightforward location and do as little changes as possible to the basic structure and location of the HSD itself. The dungeon in its default setting is located on the eastern shore of some vast expanse of water, either a lake, or a sea. In Hyperborea, this could mean the dungeon is located on the western coast of the main continent, somewhere on the Skarag Coast, for instance. 

Now the Marmoral Tomb of Garn Pat'uul mentions that Caer Caeladon, Nester's Folly, aka the Hobby Shop Dungeon, is "at the edge of the Wild", which happens to be a swampy area infused with the substance of Chaos. We also know that the Marmoreal Tomb is located somewhere along "The Bitter Peaks", and isn't that far away from the dungeon itself. Likewise, the Haunted Halls are in the vicinity, and we know from the preview that by default, the Beggar King's hideout is found under "an old lighthouse north of the Wild, by the coast of the Duinnsmere."

One area fits these criteria rather well: it is this region of swamps surrounding the village of Wold Phellora. 

I want to have a village of primitive folks that could serve as a base of operations for the players' characters. Instead of going with Wold Phellora itself (I prefer to treat it as an adventure location and to keep the horror of its ways in store for later in the game), I insert the village of Crom Caemloch instead, which I populate with Half-Blood Picts. I actually have some plans for the Picts, whom I think are inhabiting the forests around Orcust as well. This will be useful later on in the campaign as well, because a conflict opposing the primal ways of the Half-Bloods versus the ways of the Orc might actually replicate other elements of a campaign taking place around the Duinnsmere. 

As of this moment, the worshippers of Kthulhu in Wold Phellora serve our purposes well. Their use of the brown mould to fuel their dreamquests (see AS&SH vol. 6, page 215 of the Referee's Manual) mixes very well the Chaos-imbued nature of the swamps around the dungeon.

I summarize all this information on a sample map section I put together with photoshop. This is the result (remember that one hex is 24 miles, which is actually quite a distance to cover, especially in difficult terrain): 

http://enrill.net/images/ASnSH/Marmoreal-ASSH.jpg


I am now ready to move on with our first module: the Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul (next post).

Last edited by Benoist (4/09/2015 7:06 pm)


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
 

7/05/2014 5:47 pm  #2


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

That's awful close to orc country.

I can really see a warband coming down from Orcust to claim the treasures of the Tomb for themselves.

 

7/05/2014 5:54 pm  #3


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

This is where our Half-Blood Picts of the woods around serve as a buffer. Basically the idea here is that Orcust itself is orc country, and that the orcs are ravaging the forest around, but also contained by the Half-Blood Picts who are defending it as well as their primeval ways against all odds. So there's internal strife within Orcust itself (cf. AS&SH vol. 6), there's conflict between Orcust and the shadowy Picts around hiding in the forests, and there is 100 miles of rugged terrain that separates the orcs from the mountains first, and then 75 miles of Chaotic swamps beyond, swamps haunted by various manners of creatures, some of which are not of this world, and both Half-Bloods and worshippers of Kthulhu going at each others' throats. 

Good luck, orcs.

All that said, it is very possible that the orcs did try before, but did not come back...

Last edited by Benoist (7/05/2014 6:08 pm)


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/05/2014 6:32 pm  #4


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Benoist wrote:

This is where our Half-Blood Picts of the woods around serve as a buffer. Basically the idea here is that Orcust itself is orc country, and that the orcs are ravaging the forest around, but also contained by the Half-Blood Picts who are defending it as well as their primeval ways against all odds. So there's internal strife within Orcust itself (cf. AS&SH vol. 6), there's conflict between Orcust and the shadowy Picts around hiding in the forests, and there is 100 miles of rugged terrain that separates the orcs from the mountains first, and then 75 miles of Chaotic swamps beyond, swamps haunted by various manners of creatures, some of which are not of this world, and both Half-Bloods and worshippers of Kthulhu going at each others' throats. 

Good luck, orcs.

All that said, it is very possible that the orcs did try before, but did not come back...

Without doubt the mighty Mag Nor Demon Pict without equal and devourer of his enemy's flesh could make it happen!!!

Morgan
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

7/05/2014 6:37 pm  #5


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

mabon5127 wrote:

Without doubt the mighty Mag Nor Demon Pict without equal and devourer of his enemy's flesh could make it happen!!!

Morgan
 

Sounds like a campaign event waiting to happen, to me! The campaign could become real epic, real fast!


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/05/2014 7:11 pm  #6


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Very cool, Ben. Thanks for posting!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

7/05/2014 7:19 pm  #7


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Fantastic thread, Benoist. I'm delighted to read about your work with Ernie, and how it can conceivably mesh with a Hyperborea campaign. This is an absolute pleasure.


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

7/05/2014 7:45 pm  #8


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Thanks, Ben! This is great.

I have not bought any Gygax mags yet only because my FLGS can't seem to get them in. Do you have any plans to distribute to the Compleat Strategist in NYC? It's been fighting the good fight in the shadow of the Empire State Building for more than thirty years. I've talked to them, and they would love to carry the magazine.

 

7/05/2014 8:23 pm  #9


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Chainsaw wrote:

Very cool, Ben. Thanks for posting!

Ghul wrote:

Fantastic thread, Benoist. I'm delighted to read about your work with Ernie, and how it can conceivably mesh with a Hyperborea campaign. This is an absolute pleasure.

Thanks guys! It is my pleasure also! Hold on, more to come.

Handy Haversack wrote:

Thanks, Ben! This is great.

I have not bought any Gygax mags yet only because my FLGS can't seem to get them in. Do you have any plans to distribute to the Compleat Strategist in NYC? It's been fighting the good fight in the shadow of the Empire State Building for more than thirty years. I've talked to them, and they would love to carry the magazine.

Thanks mate! I'm not a representative of TSR, who publishes Gygax Magazine, Ernest and my venture, GP Adventures, being a separate publishing entity. That said, I think I can point you in the right direction for Gygax Mag enquiries. Will PM you in a moment.


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/07/2014 12:40 am  #10


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

THE MARMOREAL TOMB OF GARN PAT'UUL

BACKGROUND


The first step in order to translate the Marmoreal Tomb to AS&SH is to work on its backstory, and make it fit the Hyperborean setting. 

The Marmoreal Tomb is designed to be a smooth introduction to the Classic roots of the game (whether we are talking about Basic, Original or Advanced rules, though with a more straightforward equivalence with the latter): to explore a dungeon with a non-linear design, empower the players' characters to choose their own pace and tactics facing the different challenges the place represents. 

In order to successfully introduce new players to the Hobby Shop Dungeon campaign, the Marmoreal Tomb plays on the shared experience of the world's most popular role-playing game. It features a newly-established clan of dwarves, the Stone-cutter Dwarves, who settled in this place after working on the construction of Caer Caeladon (the HSD) with Nester the Arch-mage. 

They know the place was once special to the stone giants, and at first avoid venturing too far, using their stone cunning and resources to dig around the remnants of the stone giants settlement, harvesting the celadon marble that makes this place so rich in opportunities for them. Greed ultimately overcomes their leader, however, as he orders his people to get to the Tomb of Garn Pat'uul and seize whatever treasure lies within. This will trigger the invasion of other, modern stone giants, led by a Cambion known as Young Krassus. These giants and their servants were magically called to this place when the Tomb was been breached, for reasons expended upon in the module itself. 

The settlement is the site of an epic battle between the dwarves and the stone giants' forces. The dwarves are ultimately decimated, and the rest, as they say, is history. The module's backstory goes into more detail about these events and their consequences. Suffice to say that the players' characters discover in some way, by means of a map or rumours circulating around them, the location of the Tomb. They explore it some ten years after the disaster happened. 

Now let's switch the assumptions from the Classic roots of the game, to the Hyperborean game setting. We need to reinterpret this history of the Tomb in the context of the AS&SH game. 

AS&SH does not use elves, halflings, gnomes and dwarves (at least not the in the way dwarves are declined in the Classic iterations of the game). It doesn't have stone giants either, not per se. I feel that the best way to make correlations between what any specific group would stand for in a Classic campaign and what it becomes in AS&SH is on a case by case basis, using the sources of the AS&SH game themselves, in order to recreate a similar, yet specific picture that fits the whole, rather than make blanket equivalences to the effect that “all elves are Hyperboreans” and the like, which would invariably run into multiple problems of continuity and dissonance in game play. 

AS&SH only has fire and frost giants. Hill giants in the game are fomorians, who are brutish creature wearing thick mammoth pelts speaking a proto-Keltic and/or Common tongue. The creature's entry very interestingly indicates that "[i]n Hyperborea, the Kelts regard fomorians as their enemies of old, notorious for raiding and pillaging their communities for slaves and livestock." 

Now that is VERY interesting. What we could have in this case is an Elder Fomorian, the actual enemies of old, be in essence stone giants: these fomorians were the forefathers of the current fomorian race, greater giants with the strength to destroy Keltic communities and face its folk heroes to leave a long lasting trace in the Keltic culture as a whole. Fundamentally, the difference between a hill giant and a stone giant is one of degree, and this is this same degree of difference we will apply between the fomorians and their forebearers. 

This means that in our Hyperborean Tomb, Garn Pat'uul was one of those, an Elder Fomorian of great power, who was buried there in ages past. To keep the natural opposition that exist in the Classic experience of the game between giants and dwarves, we could make the Stone-cutters of the Marmoreal Tomb men, Kimmeri-Kelt men, to be precise, for the Kimmerian ancestry of these folks might actually mix well with the Picts and Half-Bloods living in the area, in an indirect, obscure way akin to the relations between the Picts, the Cimmerians and the Celts of R.E. Howard's Hyborian world. 

Our Kimmeri-Kelts are outsiders to the societies of men around the Skarag Coast, including the twisted men of Wold Phellora, and those Half-Blood Picts who desperately try to cling to their roots against the corruption of the orcs. This absolutely fits the vibe of the original module, in which the Stone-cutter dwarves were outsiders, nomads who had wandered for aeons before they found Nester and could rise above their humble origins to become a full clan of their own. 

Nester himself I will not talk about right now. He is beyond the scope of the Marmoreal Tomb. Let's just assume for the moment that he is a very powerful Magician who might actually have come from beyond the North Wind in search for something that prompted the construction of Caer Caeladon and the enlistment of those Kimmeri-Kelts who were strangers to the Skarag Coast. After many years of work for the Magician, these Kimmeri-Kelts were revealed the location of the Marmoreal Tomb in order to establish themselves as a new clan of men in the Castle's vicinity.

Now this gives us a better idea where we are going with our Hyperborean Tomb: the Elder Fomorians that inhabited the mountains in time past, the horrible rites they might have led in honour of some horrifying, otherworldly masters best forgotten in the present day, the Kimmeri-Kelt who aided Nester build his castle and upper dungeons, and the greed that overcame their leader when they opened the tomb of Garn Pat'uul. 

I am reminded of the Picts of Robert E. Howard, and in particular how the author's ideas regarding their origins and rule over Britain prior to and after the days of Bran Mak Morn changed over time. 

At first, Robert E. Howard associated the decline of the Picts, a race with a long, long history stretching all the way back to the days of Atlantis and ancient Valusia, with the legends of the little people living under the hills, below the dolmens and menhirs of Britain. This view evolved over time, in part due to exchanges with HP Lovecraft which led to the notion that the Picts were not the Little People of legend, but some predecessor race, presumably of mongoloid (sic) ancestry, which was pushed away and back below the ground by the ancient Picts who came from the Mediterranean and ruled Britain prior to all others. This ultimately led to one particular story of Robert E. Howard which I know is very dear to our host: The Worms of the Earth, featuring Bran Mak Morn for the very last time during Robert E. Howard's life. 

I am going to take huge inspiration from this, and going to assume that the conflict between Tlinglit Picts and orcs did not end up with the end of the race on the Skarag Coast. In this version of the Skarag Coast, the Half-Blood Picts live on, isolated deep in the forests, high on the hills of the region, hiding away from the orcs concentrating in and around Orcust. Some of these Picts are still in tune with their ancestral ways, much like their brothers and sisters of the Savage Boreal Coast. Others, however, have traded a surrender to the pig daemons of yore for more obscure, soul-shattering rites which initially helped them survive, but ultimately forced them to recede deep in the dark places of the world, deep below the surface, far away from the light and the world of men. 

http://enrill.net/images/ASnSH/Bran-Mak-Morn.jpg


These Picts have embraced the ways of the ancient fomorians who walked the surface of the continent long before the first spires of Khromarium were raised by the Hyperboreans. They listened to the forbidden secrets hinted at by the ancient mossy stones raised in the forlorn fens of the world. They discovered the Black Stone and were welcomed by the essence of Gol-goroth who dwells in places where darkness is so thick and sharp it can cut through the eyes of those trying to pierce it. 

Krassus the Cambion learned from them. He is no Pict, oh no, for he spent a long time getting used to Hyperborea, building up his forces in hopes to challenge those who oppose him. He was not always strong, however. He thought he was, as one of the major commandants of the Ninth Legion, but he did not really know what he was doing. Adventuring beyond the Wall was folly, he knew it then, but had he known his fate on that day, he might have deserted instead of walking further north. It would have been fine for a strong youthful Roman commander to die in the service of the Senate of Rome, but to be exiled, victim of some Pictish sorcery, to become lost and wander up to the point he emerged from the dark swamps of Hyperborea on this cursed Skarag Coast, he could not abide. 

Even when he fell victim to the Picts, when his camp collapsed, eaten from the inside, sucked into the ground by devilish forces well beyond this world, he could not tell what was going to happen then. They let him live, you see. They shook him and restrained him and took him away... but they kept him alive. In the dark. Rocked by a multitude of degenerated beings in the bowels of the earth. Listening to the terrible, impossibly deep songs within. 

He emerged some time later. He survived, but he was changed. He was now on a mission for a power beyond the reach of man that spoke to him, and told him where to go. The power altered his body, his mind, his very identity, changing him into a Cambion, a soul-partner to the Great Old Ones. He came back into contact with some of the other Roman exiles, shared his secrets with them, and delivered the fomorian touch that had wretched his own very being. Together, they walk as the new emissaries of Gol-goroth, building their strength, growing an army to rain destruction upon their enemies. It is said they seek the Black Stone to reunite with the essence of the dark, and that their attack upon the Kimmeri-Kelts who once served Nester was but a first act in a grand tragedy that is yet to unfold. 

In the meantime, the Tomb lays silent. Its location has been found, and it is up to you to find whatever you can, whether it be treasure, maps leading to Nester's Folly, or more. 

Last edited by Benoist (7/11/2014 12:46 pm)


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/07/2014 8:45 am  #11


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Fascinating post. What if the "Stone-Cutters" were actually Kimmerians, of the sort that build subterranean cities, like those of Krimmea? They would be catacomb people, as it were. Just a thought...

One of my favorite developments in literature these past 10 years has been the authentic issue of Robert E. Howard's stories, unsullied by the hands of De Camp and Carter. The end notes of each these volumes contain essays about REH, and among the more fascinating treatments has been the Picts in Howard's fiction. As Benoist alludes to above, Howard had an evolving viewpoint of this culture, based in part on history and myth. In some tales we see a sort of mystical "little people" that might be more akin to fey folk, and as the author's thought process evolved, so too did the Picts "devolve" to a more primitive and savage state -- like the kind we see more famously in Beyond the Black River. They do take on a more Native American feel.

I digress. I love what you're doing here, Ben, and it really provides strong insights on as to how your work can port to a Hyperborea campaign.
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

7/07/2014 9:03 am  #12


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

i am monitoring this thread...http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cool.png

 

7/07/2014 11:40 am  #13


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Ghul wrote:

Fascinating post. What if the "Stone-Cutters" were actually Kimmerians, of the sort that build subterranean cities, like those of Krimmea? They would be catacomb people, as it were. Just a thought...

That's a possibility, for sure. I went the other way, started with thinking about making them full Kelts to replicate the opposition between giants and dwarves in the Classic game, and drifted to Kimmeri-Kelt thinking of Howard's Cimmerians and how that would mix well with the wandering roots of the Stone-cutters and their crafting gifts. It could be that this specific strain of Kimmeri-Kelts descends from those troglodytic Krimmeans who built catacombs and underground settlements in ages past?

Ghul wrote:

One of my favorite developments in literature these past 10 years has been the authentic issue of Robert E. Howard's stories, unsullied by the hands of De Camp and Carter. The end notes of each these volumes contain essays about REH, and among the more fascinating treatments has been the Picts in Howard's fiction. As Benoist alludes to above, Howard had an evolving viewpoint of this culture, based in part on history and myth. In some tales we see a sort of mystical "little people" that might be more akin to fey folk, and as the author's thought process evolved, so too did the Picts "devolve" to a more primitive and savage state -- like the kind we see more famously in Beyond the Black River. They do take on a more Native American feel.

I like the different aspects of the fictional Picts Howard pieced together over the years. It is something I really intend to take full advantage of, as a source of inspiration, for this series of advice and example of conversion to AS&SH. Around this Skarag Coast we have now the orcs long descended from those Tlinglit Picts who were subsumed by the Sons of Kusu (to allude to another work of mine), the pig daemons that spawned the race of the orc. We have those half-blood Picts who resisted and now hide on top of the mountains and in the forest around Orcust, all the way down to the swamps surrounding Caer Caeladon. Lastly, we have those Picts who listen to the deep songs of the earth and came to serve Gol-goroth. This is going to be useful later on.

Ghul wrote:

I digress. I love what you're doing here, Ben, and it really provides strong insights on as to how your work can port to a Hyperborea campaign. 

My pleasure. 


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/07/2014 1:51 pm  #14


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Love this thread! Thank you!

 

7/07/2014 2:56 pm  #15


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Icetower wrote:

Love this thread! Thank you!

Thank you for popping up on the board! Glad you like the stuff!


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/08/2014 7:58 am  #16


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

This is really great, Ben. Thanks! Now, of course, I just need to lay hands on THE MARMOREAL TOMB OF GARN PAT'UUL ...

 

7/11/2014 12:44 pm  #17


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

WILDERNESS AROUND THE TOMB

The Marmoreal Tomb as it appeared in Gygax Magazine #3 can be found here in Print, and here in Digital format. It describes a full level of the complex, with the possibility to expand it further, up to and including a full megadungeon complex apart of the Hobby Shop Dungeon, if the referee is so inclined. 

Module DU1 Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul which is to be published by GP Adventures will include in the information appearing in Gygax Magazine, along with new art, an additional level underneath the ruined dwarven settlement, information pertaining to what is around the ruined settlement, and more. You can catch a glimpse of the maps of the full module on this photo taken some time ago by friend of the HSD Alex Kammer: 

http://enrill.net/images/ASnSH/Marmoreal2.jpg


Now we come to the description of the Tomb itself. Before we get down to business on that part of the adventure, I'd like to talk a little bit about the wilderness around it. It is assumed that the Tomb is at the foot of a mountain range known around the Duinnsmere as the Bitter Peaks. In the context of the AS&SH game, this is the mountain range stretching in between the swamps around Wold Phellora to the south and Orcust to the north.

The area around the mountain range is scarcely inhabited. It is known that the mountains themselves are not safe to travel: many people have lost their lives trying to make it through the many passes winding narrowly between the peaks, not to mention the various tribes of men, near-men, animals and worse known to inhabit them.  

Encounters around the Marmoreal Tomb should be checked every 6 turns, and follow the procedure indicated in The Encounter section of AS&SH vol. 3 (page 203; Player's Manual). Not every encounter should result in an outright bloodbath – this is actually contrary to the players' agency that is sought by using such random methods. It is advised to check for Reactions as well when encounters do occur, and the party is inclined to parley. 

When an encounter occurs, roll 2d8 on the following table: 

2) Cyclops on the Hunt or Choose Mountain Encounter per AS&SH (vol 4, page 115)
3) Cave Men from the Marmoreal Tomb
4) Bear (Black or Brown)
5) Wolves
6) Cave Men Not from the Marmoreal Tomb
7) Bandits (Men)
8) Ape Men (with Alpha, 30% chance)
9) Half-Blood Picts
10) Orc Party
11) Giant Ticks
12) Lizard Men Party
13) Albino Ape (Four-armed) 
14) Harpies
15) Bird-Men from the Marmoreal Tomb
16) Undead risen from the Devilish influence of the Tomb or Choose Hills Encounter per AS&SH (vol. 4, page 113)

If an encounter indicated by the dice already occurred, the referee may choose this is a different animal, party, or determine a completely different encounter instead, choosing from the Hills and Mountains tables in AS&SH itself, or rolling again on this table. Unless the number encountered is indicated (as in the single individuals like the Cyclops or Albino Ape), it is assumed they reflect the defaults indicated in vol. 4 of the AS&SH game (when a choice in number is offered, generally between a small wandering party and a fully populated lair, choose the former, not the latter). Use your common sense at all times.

The Cyclops on the Hunt is particularly blind, and actually wears a large translucent kite shield as a bizarre monocle. The shield is Atlantean, and magical (+2). If encountered, the Cyclops will be pursuing some kind of prey (most likely a bear or similar large wild animal big enough for him to sink a few rotten teeth into). His blindness will prevent him from spotting the party, unless they engage in some deliberate action to draw his attention. This would be particularly dangerous, assuming the party's relative inexperience. 

The Cave-Men from the Marmoreal Tomb serve Grosh the Great. We will talk about them more later on, with the key itself. 

The various parties of intelligent creatures and men are left to the referee's improvisation. The Half-Blood Picts might be bargained with and might know something of the Tomb's ill reputation (it is considered cursed and to be avoided at all costs); the orc party might or might not come from Orcust, and might or might not hunt or be hunted by something or someone else; the Bandits might or might not be in the employ of the fabled Beggar King who manages a network of spies and smugglers along the Skarag Coast (whose lair will be described in GP Adventures module DU2 Haunted Halls of the Beggar King, a large chunk of which can already be purchased here). The name of the game is role-playing: interpret whatever result you get on the go, and improvise to the best effect. You never know where this might lead the game, and this in itself is a fun thing.

The Undead risen from the Devilish influence of the Tomb assumes that evil spread forth from the Tomb after Krassus attacked it and slaughtered everyone inside. This is not the default scenario assumed by the original module, but this is one that mixes well with a translation of the Tomb to an AS&SH context, a twist on the contents of the dungeon that will be elaborated on in DU1 as well. 

The creatures encountered in the wilderness around the Tomb generally have lairs of their own. These are not described, and left to the referee's imagination to detail. Isolated caves, holes in the ground, ruins of ancient watchtowers (perhaps of orcish origins, perhaps not) are always possibilities, as are shipwrecks perched on the mountains for no apparent reason, as are weirder locations, including crashed saucers built of meteoric metal and the like. Who knows what strange things came out of the ground, or fell from the skies in aeons past? 

The referee may or may not decide that Bandits or Picts or other men have some type of settlement in the Tomb's vicinity. This would greatly help the party but would skip on part of the fun and danger of having to travel back and forth, to and from the Tomb to replenish supplies, hire more men, or whatever else the adventurers might fancy in-between delves. 

The module assumes it is pretty hard to leave the Tomb in order to concentrate on the exploration part of the game and serve as an introduction to concepts like dungeon mapping and the like. It is an introduction module which, in its most basic form, off the page, involves encounters that are spaced out in order to leave breathing room and tactical choices open to the party. It would not be hard to add another layer of zones of interests, traps and inhabitants to the place, and this is done on purpose, for the referee to play with at his own leisure. 

For the sake of this example, we will make very little actual changes to the tomb. We will switch types of protagonists and creatures encounters, where they can be found perhaps in some occasion, but keep the actual structure of the module intact. This will be the subject of our next post, as we explore the possibilities offered by the map's key for our AS&SH game. 

Last edited by Benoist (7/11/2014 12:47 pm)


Author, Hyperborean Laboratories, AFS Magazine Issue 3
Co-owner, partner at GP Adventures
The Hobby Shop Dungeon
     Thread Starter
 

7/12/2014 9:55 am  #18


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Another great installment, Benoist. The maps, as usual, are astounding. The spirit of the adventure reflects well the free-wheeling yet devious and imaginative intent of the designers, adaptable to the Hyperborea setting with just a handful of shifts. Bravo!

 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

7/12/2014 1:17 pm  #19


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Benoist, this is a great read. Your work is always imaginative and inspiring! Thank you for sharing!


ravengodgames.blogspot.com ~ cartography, writing, game design
Author, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
 

7/24/2014 12:46 pm  #20


Re: The Hyperborean Hobby Shop Dungeon

Can't wait for more, really digging this.

 

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