Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Caves Beneath Otbara

What are you doing down here? It's dangerous under the city!
  1. I wanted to get down to the port without paying taxes or having my luggage searched.
  2. I wanted to find the Rewarding College.
  3. I wanted to see if it were true that the weight of the city was going to crumble the cliffs one day and tumble everything into the sea.
  4. I heard you can get into the palace through these caves.
  5. I just followed one of those hooded creatures you see deliberately pacing the streets of the city, the ones with all the legal protections -Peaceful Monks. I mapped their progress and discovered their paths were drawing intricate city-wide pentagrams. Then I decided to follow them.
  6. I heard there was a series of shrines down here that, if visited in the correct order and with the correct rituals, can supercharge magic items.


The caves sprawl for a very long way - going beyond the borders of the city and down all the way to the water. I suppose it could be a megadungeon but maybe not.

It is possible to turn a corner and suddenly find yourself looking out of a cave in the cliff face, across the sea. It is also possible to climb these cliffs, but the government sends regular patrols of Übermensch to discourage this.

There are large pillars and braces everywhere. They prop up the caves against the weight of the city. They are maintained by a team of heavily armoured engineers.

There is no sewer network for the city. People dump their shit in the caves instead. Certain cave sections are unbelievably toxic. That's where the alligator-men come from.

If players eat the glowing blue fungi that grows on the walls down here then jump from one of the tall tall towers in the city above, then the Invisibles offer those characters that jump membership. Run the rest of your campaign using "The Invisibles" by Grant Morison as a source book.


The moment they see you they start screaming like riot police. They hate that they have to be down here, and they are afraid. They assume that everyone is a wizard and is trying to kill them. This is a wise assumption.


They are heavily armed and armoured.


The shrines are all incredibly creepy. Visitors report a feeling of being "squeezed." They are littered with animal skeletons and pieces of broken equipment. The shrines, not the visitors. Never mind.

Things that are blessed at these shrines are broken, their psychic projections all scrambled up. This is not immediately obvious, but it will quickly become apparent that something has changed when the any blessed item is used for any amount of time.

A magic item that has been blessed at the shrines now has a 1/6 chance every turn of use that a random, nearby individual or item (as appropriate) will also suffer the effects of the item. Rings of invisibility will slowly turn a whole roomful of people invisible, flaming swords will cause other nearby swords to spark and burst into flame. These effects end when the main user stops or moves out of range.

If a mundane tool is blessed at the shrine then it will slowly and permanently turn nearby items into a copy of that tool as it is used. 1/6 chance per round used. It will start with items that are most similar to it, and then progress through every other item in the vicinity before it starts turning random proximate creatures and people (if its use is not interrupted before then.)

Animals blessed at the shrine have a 1/6 chance every round to turn a random nearby creature or person into that animal, permanently. The animal also feels terrible, like it's going to die.

Anything blessed at the shrine will be destroyed in a deadly explosion of broken metal and/or bone at the next seriously inconvenient moment, or d100 days, whichever comes first.


Wizards. The whole place is lousy with them. They're all here trying to find, guard, or poach from the Rewarding College, which is down here somewhere, but it's difficult to find and even more difficult to infiltrate.

Wizards are always foreigners. They are hard to understand, and their motives are unclear and (to your perception) ethically dubious.

Random wizards can be generated from this awesome thing at Swamp of monsters.

Here are some more, more specific wizards. Roll d30:
  1. The Cleaning Lady - Knows one spell - Animate Household Objects. Murderer. Chokes her victims to death with a flock of feather dusters, beats them with brooms.
  2. Beatrice - Pretty girl in a blue frock. Compulsively casts flower creating and minor illusion cantrips. Is actually a harmless level 1 lich, rotting underneath her illusion magic. Her phylactery is buried in the middle of a field somewhere near her house.
  3. Blixa Weaver - Blixa is is a greasy little man that knows Charm Person.
  4. Bogdan - Bogdan is a weak and timid wizard with a shovel instead of a staff. He knows the LotFP Summon Spell but his terrified of the things he summons. He chants religious incantations for his protection with closed eyes whenever he casts the spell. He chants loud to try to block out the screams. The things he summons are pleased by his terror, and slightly less likely to turn against him because of it. He has never seen the things he summons.
  5. Schoolmistress Kensho - A strict, matronly woman in a crisp, clean uniform. Accompanied by her two favourite students (level 1). They are constantly competing for her recognition and praise. If one does a thing then the other will repeat it immediately after, trying to do better. They both know the same random level one spell. If Kensho ever casts this spell they will stop and applaud.
  6. Granny Foggerty - Decrepit and wheelchair bound. Attended at all times by at least one of her three beautiful granddaughters. All can regain health immediately from consuming frogs, toads, or alligator eggs. They are immune to the touch of flame while their feet are immersed in water. Granny has a bucketful on her wheelchair.
  7. Madame Zlabya - Rides around on the back of a baboon. Making a deal of any kind with Zlabya charms the deal maker. Zlabya cannot be killed by anyone who has not made a deal with her. She may be the devil.
  8. The Scaled Botanist - The Scaled Botanist is a small, wiry man holding a empty window frame. The window frame is square and two feet wide. Whoever steps through the frame is transported to a bare and depressing garden. The garden is full of weeds and gigantic pots, seemingly empty. The pots house oversized trapdoor spiders.
  9. Dressed as a knight. Will challenge fighty looking individuals to single combat. Has a spell that will "ensure a fair fight". Spell ensures that no-one but the stated combatants may fight and that the winner must be granted their due. Great doom befalls those that break these rules. Once in combat will drop all pretence and blast the shit out of whoever he's fighting with deadly array of combat spells.
  10. Esmerelda - Lives in a great stone ziggurat where nothing grows. Controls dozens of enslaved townspeople she has turned into combat fetishes. Not actually evil.
  11. Renee d'Suza - Veiled and hooded in order to hide the strange brands cover her body. The brands burn her whenever she uses her magic. Howls in pain with every spell cast. Instead of disrupting the spells, as was their intention, this appears to energise them to new heights of arcane devastation. Could potentially be incapacitated by casting Light on her or whatever.
  12. Bradwick Carbuncle - Is not invincible but hasn't been killed yet. Is followed everywhere by a burrowing demon that will save him from almost any peril. Demon is basically a large and terrifying Ivysaur that erupts out of the ground beneath Bradwick when he is at 1/4 health.
  13. Oxytocin Golem - A large metal man full of bubbling liquids that imbue it with FEELINGS. FEELINGS and ARCANE POWER. Feels intense emotional attachment to everyone and everything that it meets. Very intelligent. Cries love potion tears as it commits ghastly murders.
  14. Esvald Vanata - Always found staring at the ceiling. Glad of any companionship - allows him to indulge in long, rambling discussions of form and space in architecture. Will quickly devolve into a polemic about the statuesque merits of his conversation partners. Conversation invariably ends with enforced miniaturisation of all nearby. Will set up battle-terrain in accordance with a rigid Brutalist aesthetic and force them to fight one another under his strict instruction.
  15. Susana Broadcliff - Prepares spells in morning ritual where she dons one of many specially prepare masks. Each mask is a different spell. She can only cast that spell for the day. Is shocked and appalled that anyone would think to use magic any other way. Spells are just so unsafe if you embed them in your brain instead of a mask.
  16. Jasper - Rich and powerful wizard. Collects demons. Constantly on the lookout for precocious young street urchins. He aims to fool them into making deals with devils in order to save himself. Has incredibly poor memory and like 100 evil brothers.
  17. A Cleric of Arcanatrix, the God of magic - Arcanatrix's clerics are all completely insane. They despise clerical magic, refuse to help the sick and the unfortunate, and have the most ridiculous uniform of any religious order. Their doctrine teaches them to become as powerful as they possibly can, kill Arcanatrix and become the new god of magic. Every single one of them is constantly scheming to bring this about. Their plots usually involve the murder of 10d30 innocents and most of the rest of their order.
  18. A sexy, androgynous, spry old woman. Has been alive for 1,000 years - she drank from the fountain of youth - but is slowly beginning to die. She recently took up magic in order to aid her in her search to find the fountain of youth again. She has taken to magic easily, like everything else in her long life, but can't seem to stop those affected by her magic seeing glimpses of her memories. Her memories are vivid and extensive, extending back eighteen lives, and feature places and cultures that no longer exist.
  19. Wataba Wanataba - Can only survive on land in a space suit full of water. Looking for his daughter who, unbeknownst to him, was evaporated and is now a cloud, trapped up in the sky. If he ever discovers this then he will declare war on the sun.
  20. Feels great rolling waves of physical pleasure when turned into a liquid. Will spend as much time in this form as he can manage. When others come into skin contact with him in this form they too are liquidised, although they don't get the orgasmic enjoyment, just the disorientation.
  21. Grand Archmage Argoss - This is not really Grand Archmage Argoss. The Archmage is currently in hiding. He is in hiding because one of his clones awoke from the vats ahead of time with a sentience all of its own. It then woke all the others. The archmage intended the clones to be mindless bodies that he could transfer his consciousness into upon the event of his death. He was quite concerned about dying, and made a lot of clones. He is even more concerned now.
  22. Agents of the Empire - Wizard Subjugation Division
  23. Sleeves are full of wasps and scorpions. They will sting her to death if she talks about the plan.
  24. Ker'aooc - Weather Wizard. Back on his home island he and he alone controls the clouds and the waves. While he's away the island has no weather at all - the seasons don't even change. Enemies of a beast called the Tralu. The Tralu will kidnap Ker'aooc, torture him for a bit, then the wizard will get free. Then the wizard will curse the beaver and his cliff-side home with the worst weather he can muster. Rinse, repeat. Ker'aooc is searching for a way to get rid of the Tralu.
  25. The Stargazer - Often encountered at the end of a long fall out of the sky. After a moment of groaning, will pick himself up, dust himself down and be ready for conversation. He is obsessed with getting into space, but will always be pulled back to earth (or whatever) no matter how far he manages to get. Has many theories about this.
  26. Can turn into a gigantic owl. Intelligent, but has the mind and drives of a gigantic owl. Mimics the mannerisms and speech of a human, but all other humanoids are big pink mice to her. Will turn into an owl and consume lone, weakened individuals.
  27. Wakes up as a different age every day. TIME WIZARD!
  28. An huge man searching for a tiny bride. Has potions of shrinking and gender-reassignment, just in case he should find himself fancying someone that doesn't match his physical ideal.
  29. Wants to be a druid but is going about it all wrong. Has hidden her vast library in the trunks of trees. Mind control animals. Has a wand of debilitating barkskin.
  30. That Toad thing from Warhammer - Eats, breaths and shits magic. If you agree to feed it all of your magic items, wizards and elves it may let you live.

Every wizard is known for something. Whenever you meet or discuss a new wizard roll d12 and consult the following table. It is important to note that in each of these instances the wizard invented nothing, merely stole an idea from another plane of existence and imported it into the world whole.

Wizard is known for, roll d12:
  1. Discovering Lycanthropy.
  2. Discovering an animal. Roll dwhatever on the normal creatures section of your monster manual or wikipedia.
  3. Re-arranging the stars so that astrology makes sense.
  4. Discovering Flight. Not magical flying, all flight. Before that everything just crawled around on the ground and there was a lot of wasted space.
  5. Discovering buttons and wheels.
  6. Discovering Science. Is hated by all other wizards.
  7. Improved the weather. No-one knows how, exactly, but everyone agrees it is better now.
  8. Discovering (and introducing into the world) a new kind of demon.
  9. Discovering umbrellas.
  10. Discovering a disease.
  11. Discovering money.
  12. Discovering a philosophy.


Full of wizards, as above.

Guarded by brittle dancer-golems with wicked scimitar claws. Will let any pass who can produce a letter of invitation from the college (or, truth be told, anyone who is brave enough to hold up any old piece of paper and say it's an invitation from the college. The golems can't read.)

Entrance can also be gained through secret routes by following the Peaceful Monks.

Inside there's all the usual Harry Potter bullshit going on, as well as, hidden deep within the College:

The Lonely Door.

This door stands in the middle of an otherwise empty room, facing an interview desk. Every once in a while an angel will be sent through the door to see why none of this world's souls are continuing on their journey through the chain of worlds. It's not hard, all that people need to do is step through the Lonely Door into the next, and more exalted, plane of existence.

The angels are thanked for coming, delicately probed for information, and then offered access to great magical power in order to help them fight the corruption that is keeping people from progressing to the next world.

There is no corruption keeping souls from ascending, other than the College itself, of course. But all the angels are naive, and they accept. The wizards warp their bodies and their minds with their magic and them send them to police the city above as terrible, flying Übermensch.

The Peaceful Monks
Students of wizardry, angels and Übermensch that defied the college. They had their minds erased and are used as puppets for great sorcerous rituals that require constant attention, such as keeping the lonely door closed until the wizards want a new angel. Stopping enough Peaceful Monks from performing their duties will bring down a devastating rain of bile and fire which nothing can survive.

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