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5/08/2018 2:17 am  #1


Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

It has been weeks at sea since you and a group of friends set out from Port Zangerios to Dagon Bay. There, near a region called the Forest of Hope, you and your companions intend to claim Castle Calaelen, the deed to which you have recently inherited.

All you know of the property is that it was built centuries ago by an eccentric Hyperborean noble named Orlinde Calaelen. Lady Maybeth, a descendant of hers, was the last of the Calaelen line to occupy the castle before she sold it to finance an expedition into one of the subterranean ruins about the region.

The deed, which also names you "Lord (or Lady) of The Forest of Hope and its surrounds" went through various hands before finding its way into your family's possession. As near as you are aware, you alone amongst your family have shown interest in claiming the title, and the property that goes with it. Not knowing what to expect in this, your first sojourn to the mainland, you gathered together a few adventuresome souls from amongst your extended acquaintances, to aid in surveying your new property.

You and your fellows packed your belongings and booked passage from the rough-and-tumble "City of Masks" (Zangeiros) aboard the trading vessel Red Gull, with eyes toward carving from the frontier a kingdom of your own, and ears full of tales—legends of wealth won from the crypts and catacombs of civilizations that fell even before the Green Death. Certainly, you could do no worse in that city of cutthroats, slavers, and whores you so recently inhabited.

And just now, hours away from your destination, you have had your first taste of adventure in the form of a puzzle to consider. The Captain, a swart and homely half-Amazon named Antigone, has informed you that the crew refuses to sail closer to the mainland, but she'll put you on a jolly to Zelkor’s Ferry. When asked what was the meaning behind this blatant breach of the terms you'd  negotiated with her back in Zangeiros was all about, the Captain spat in disgust. Collecting herself, she sighed and continued with a tone of apology.

"Aye, agree we did, which is why I'm putting you on the jolly, and calling us square on the bill." Captain Antigone was referring to the partial fee you still owed, to be paid upon safely reaching your destination.

"But these superstitious dogs won't sail no further into Dagon Bay, if yonder coast be your destination. And I don't intend to make them, not if I want to keep me head, much less the Gull."

"Why?" someone in the party asked, innocently.

"I suspect it has something to do with the real reason you folks is come here," whispered the half-Amazon. When it appeared to the the old salt you hadn't the foggiest idea what she was on about, Antigone let out a cackle that could have put a wince in the Kraken's eye.

"Apollo's laurels! Are you serious? Never a-heard ye of… Rappan Athuk?"

Gauging interest, and hopefully recruiting, for a campaign dropping Frog God Games' "Granddaddy of All Dungeons" in Hyperborea. Online, Roll20, 50/50 roll- and role-play. Schedule to be determined. PM if interested, and let me know your availability. Cheers!
 

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (5/08/2018 11:50 am)


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
 

5/08/2018 5:38 am  #2


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Sounds interesting and I would like to try a Roll20 game to learn the tech for when I run my own game online, but I am so swamped at work it’s not even funny. Good luck man!


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

5/08/2018 9:42 pm  #3


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Let me know if your schedule opens up. I don't doubt that the turnover for this meat grinder might skew a little high.


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

5/09/2018 11:18 pm  #4


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Hi Jimm, here are some character ideas. Lemme know if they are appropriate for your vision of Hyperborea. All of them but the magician have a death wish in some form another. I felt that was fitting for someone voluntarily entering the Dungeon of Graves. 

The Berserker
Concept: Brute
Background: Bred to die for the entertainment of others in the fighting pits of Khromarium, the fact that you're up and about doesn't bode well for your former owners. You are utterly fearless in the face of danger but wary and superstitious around sorcery. Being illiterate and homeless, adventuring is your best path to staying free, warm, and fed. Your fighting madness, hard drinking, and love of gambling promise an interesting life. 
Appearance: A scarred hulk with fists like lunchpails, hard grey eyes, square jaw, and a shaggy mane of straight black hair.
Race: Kimmeri-Kelt
Gear: Greatsword, hand axe, cæstuses, mammoth hide loincloth and boots, helmet, bottle of rotgut whiskey, knucklebones

The Warlock
Concept: Brooding Anti-Hero
Background: You are a Hyperborean, a descendant of the ancient race of gaunt, pale-skinned sorcerer-kings and witch-queens who ruled the world in millennia past. Born the last scion of a decaying branch of a great noble family, House Vheez, your mother died in childbirth and your father blamed you for her death. While lacking love and companionship, your childhood was a time of sorcerous education and martial training. Ousted from your ancestral home and made a pariah by your cousin in a stunning betrayal after your father's death, you have neither lands nor wealth to your name. You wander the world offering your services as adventurer and mercenary to support yourself while seeking peace for the angst you bear.
Appearance: Like most of his race, exceedingly tall (nearly 7'), gaunt, and pale with straight golden hair. His dour countenance is punctuated with brooding violet eyes and a piercing stare.
Race: Hyperborean
Gear: Rune-etched longsword, ancestral scale mail, voluminous cowl, signet ring, spell book, ink & quill

The Fighter
Concept: Thrill-seeker
Background: You were born to a single mother in one of the countless seaside towns under the shadow of Khromarium. Your mother claims you were fathered by Apollo. You didn’t fear the ocean as the other children did, rowing out daily into the cold, shark-infested bay to claim the sea's bounty. As an adolescent you served in the town's militia with bravery and distinction, defending against horrors from the swamp and sea. When the opportunity arrived to join a ship's crew and travel the world you took it. Adventuring satisfies your insatiable desire for thrills and carousing
Appearance: Brawny with a strong, clean-shaven jaw and pale blue eyes. His tawny blonde hair is cropped short in the manner of an athlete or soldier.
Race: Common
Gear: Longsword, javelins x 4, cæstuses, scale mail, aspis shield, Corinthian helm

The Magician
Concept: Journeyman magus
Background: Your parents offered you to the Magicians' Guild at the age of ten in exchange for cash and goods. Eight years of long hours, constant work, and rote memorization is barely enough time to turn a child into a wizard and not enough time for kindness. You endured the brutal weeding process while doing the Master's unending bidding. As a newly minted journeyman you are expected to go out into the world for 2 years and a day, recovering arcana from across Hyperborea for the good of the Guild. 
Appearance: Average looking and unobtrusive, the young magus is pale and stooped from a life spent indoors poring over books and toiling in alchemical labs. 
Race: Common
Gear: Robe and pointy hat, calabash pipe, quarterstaff, sling, spell book, ink & quill, black Manx cat familiar

Last edited by Brock Savage (5/09/2018 11:21 pm)

 

5/10/2018 12:52 pm  #5


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

This is getting good and I'm both flattered and bolstered by your enthusiasm Brock!


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

5/10/2018 1:40 pm  #6


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Here are some maps for the campaign. I didn't strictly make these, just futzed and butchered existing material, so I hope they are okay to share.

This shows the coastline where I located Rappan Athuk in Hyperborea. To make it gel with the maps in the module, I needed a mostly straight coastline of approximately 150 miles (just over 6 hexes on the Hyperborea map). I was about to give up until I noticed the strand I finally located... interestingly oriented left to right on the Hyperborea map. I had been looking at up-down coastlines because that is the orientation used for the module's wilderness maps. What's great about it is that I'd forgotten that "North" on the Hyperborea map points to the pole, which, if you locate the Rappan Athuk coast on that peninsula, keeps the north pointing compass on the module maps correct.

https://i.imgur.com/ScCOwGy.png


Here is a the zoomed in map of what I anticipate the extent of the sandbox. I expect that Rappan Athuk, while central to the campaign, won't be the only thing the player characters want to do. There will be lots of side operations in neighboring lands, especially if they want to establish a stronghold.

https://i.imgur.com/7OUwSPv.png


Finally, here is the player map. Straight from the module, but I had to remove some areas of the wilderness further back from the coast to place it on that particular peninsula in Hyperborea. In this, I was also fortunate, because it turned out there weren't many particular "adventure sites" placed by the modules in those areas. It did require me to put a town there unmentioned in the module, lest the "coast road" just lead inexplicably into the ocean.

https://i.imgur.com/S7z2e7I.png


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

5/11/2018 7:46 pm  #7


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Wow, that filled up quickly! Got my first six (maybe 8) players... I'll probably post the play by play here, if anyone is interested.


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

5/11/2018 8:14 pm  #8


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Excellent! I look forward to hearing more about how it goes!


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

5/12/2018 11:24 pm  #9


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I'll probably post the play by play here, if anyone is interested.

Definitely!

Allan.
 

 

5/13/2018 6:40 am  #10


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

Wow, that filled up quickly! Got my first six (maybe 8) players...

Congrats!

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I'll probably post the play by play here, if anyone is interested.

Absolutely, please do.


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

5/14/2018 9:05 am  #11


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Looking forward to reading the session reports!

 

5/14/2018 1:02 pm  #12


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

And I'm looking very forward to running this thing! There will, ideally, be adventures happening outside of the dungeon as well. Places to stretch the legs. Most of these will be drawn from other classic modules with some alterations. For example, there on the map is Siltmire, an ersatz coastal community that has a sinister secret involving a strange high house in the mist.

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (5/14/2018 1:02 pm)


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

5/17/2018 5:30 pm  #13


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Players are currently developing their first victims, er, characters. I'm imagining that the region I've chosen to slot Rappan Athuk in Hyperborea is similar in climate to the Chesapeake Bay region of the US, bordering on the subtropical. I'm choosing to start the campaign during early-mid Summer, monsoon season, so I'm imagining a choppy sea, hot and humid forests, sodden swamps, lots of mosquitoes and rain, but cool and slushy further inland (north).


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

5/17/2018 10:06 pm  #14


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Looking forward to reading their progress and let me know if reinforcements need to be sent in.

 

5/26/2018 10:23 pm  #15


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

I'd love to hear how it goes.  I just finished reading Rappan Athuk and I hope to run it someday, but just don't have as much time or as many people to game these days.  Usually we can only squeeze in shorter adventures, though I have all kinds of sketched out campaign plans and ideas.  In fact I envision Rappan Athuk to be a sequel of sorts to Barrowmaze, though even for the latter, I'd start parties at around 4th level.  I think it's way too lethal for 1st or 2nd level PCs.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

5/26/2018 11:56 pm  #16


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

Spider of Leng wrote:

  In fact I envision Rappan Athuk to be a sequel of sorts to Barrowmaze, though even for the latter, I'd start parties at around 4th level.  I think it's way too lethal for 1st or 2nd level PCs.

Barrowmaze is the foundation of my sandbox campaign. I agree that the dungeon will eat up 1st and 2nd level characters unless the players are seasoned players (even then, it's deadly). I feel the optimal approach to Barrowmaze is to start by cracking open barrows. Compared to the dungeon, the barrows up top are low hanging fruit and the wandering monster table is much less punishing. That said, in my campaign the barrows are a finite resource and there are multiple adventuring parties going to the site once a week or so. If players wait too long the easy ones are going to be plundered...

I dunno about Rappan Athuk other than it has a fearsome reputation as being Tomb of Horrors-tier deadly. I'm already planning my next few characters. 

Last edited by Brock Savage (5/26/2018 11:57 pm)

 

6/12/2018 6:43 pm  #17


Re: Dungeon of Graves, Party of Six

If anyone is interested, we are still looking for another player or two. I can accommodate up to 8, but would prefer at least 4 dedicated regulars, We've had a rocky start getting this thing going.


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
     Thread Starter
 

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