Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gygaxian Democracy #5: The Tower

You know the drill...

This Is The Tower
(click to enlarge)

(feel free to fill in more than one, there's like 60-some things on there)


  1. 65) Recently the workers in this area discovered a statue hidden deep in the ancient foundations here. The statue is marble, a nude of a beautiful woman with a cruel smile. So far they’ve managed to keep their discovery a secret, each ostensively agreeing to a plan to sneak the statue out under the cover of night and finding a rich buyer. But secretly the workers have grown more and more obsessed with the statue. She is in fact an ancient sorceress who was long ago turned to stone by a rival. Somehow, though of her terrible will and presence, she can exert influence over those who gaze upon her, nudging them with the seed of the idea that she needs to be somehow needs to be freed/brought to life.

  2. 6. This magic carpet is broken/cursed and while it will not fly, it can float on any liquid. Its owners -- a set of identical triplets called Surtmedi, Hylisi and Sivaces -- try very hard to talk it up as a wondrous item, rather than a broken magic item they got on the cheap from a shady wizard.

    24. This balcony features an extensive pear orchard. If the pears are brewed into cider, each flagon has one of the following effects (2d6):
    2: Cures one disease or affliction.
    3-4: Bestows a one-time-only ability to cast one first-level druid (or wizard if you don't have druids) spell.
    5: +1 Wisdom until the next sundown.
    6-8: Heals all hit point damage.
    9: +1 Charisma until the next sundown.
    10-11: Grants the ability to see invisible things until the next sundown.
    12: Grants fluency in one previously-unknown language.

  3. 60) This aqueduct is a source of contaminated water; anyone who drinks from it becomes maniacally obsessed with the construction project, and will rearrange his/her life as necessary to remain on-site and continue to help building the tower higher.

  4. 60) (continued - sorry!) Effects persist until the afflicted has spent D10 days not drinking the wonky water.

  5. 22. Flying Saucer landing creche; FTL quantum radio equipment, inoperable due to missing resonator crystal.

    28. Two upright sarcophogi contain twin hill-giant sized gargoyles; plate armored; breath fire 3 times per day as a red dragon; can be summoned by the tower master/s.

  6. 55: The Tower of Markin Lerm. It contains abominations (see enclosed table), with each level having a specific theme.

    First Level:

    1. Blood-ghast
    2. Night-dove
    3. Rhemoraz Shadow
    4. Gnothnio*
    5. Ragtag Leucrotta
    6. Informative Ithilid (Mind Flayer)
    7. Depilated Minotaur
    8. Bugbear/Lizard-man hybrid
    9. Winged Morkoth
    10. Randomized Mimic
    11. Frostbitten Frost Giant
    12. Gibbering Gargoyle
    13. Inside-out Ixitxachitl
    14. Xorn/Umber hulk crossbreed, with infusions of Lemure blood
    15. Limbless Locathah
    16. Neo-Otyugh/Unicorn
    17. Pustulent Purple Worm
    20. Qualifying Quasit
    21. Reptilian Beholder
    22. Handwalking Half-orc
    23. Night-ghast
    24. Blood Dove
    25. Blind Agnes

    *Stats unknown. It is a combination of a Lamia, a Pertyon, and a Celestial Dog. It is lawful good. The rest of the tower (29 levels, plus the remaining three quarters of this table), is to be completed by Gygaxian Democracy.

    23: The Ekaitzak Etxea contains a powerful storm elemental, along with a storm giant enclave.

  7. Oops.

    37: The Inn of Racality: A haven for rogues and other less than well lit people. Has a Stormsoul Genasi, and a Slaad, as bartenders.

    10: A flooded temple containing the lost "Homilies of Jorth the Foolish" (High charisma, low wisdom. paladin). If read the players must save or lose three points of wisdom. If they make the save however they gain four points of charisma, due to their having learned new argumentative techniques.

    41: Rocking the House: A Xorn bar. It serves magma for drinks, and cut gems and metals for food.

  8. 13 – Sewer Grate/Back Door – Along the banks of the River Serene, this sewer grate empties effluent. Removing the grate provides access to the only “back door” to the ziggurat, some three miles away. The city’s sewer system is somewhat involved, and not more than a little chaotic. Observant parties will notice a faded purple chalk line along the wall; following this will bring the party to the sub-basement of the ziggurat. A dozen spot checks will be required due to intersections, crumbled sections of walls and such to keep the trail of the purple chalk.

    Every 2 turns, 1 in 6 chance of encounter. On a d12: 1-3 = 2d6 normal rats, 4-5 = d4 giant rats, 5-6 = d4 skaven, 7 = d4 skaven with d4 giant rats, 8 = corpse (nothing of value on person), 9 = corpse (treasure, valuables or plot-relevant clue), 10 = methane pocket, 11 = swamp octopus, 12 = omnivorous aquatic amoeboid.

    12 – Throttlington (some sources cite original name as Compton-on-Hudson) – This is the one city in the region which is comprised mainly of mixed race persons. Half-elves and half-orcs being the most common, with the “three-quarterling” being the fastest growing group. Formerly an island penal colony, Throttlington enjoys a great amount of freedom. Having few natural resources on the island itself and its treacherous coast discouraging intensive settlement, no other power really wants to lay claim to it. Known to possess a remarkably open-minded approach to the rights of citizens and government, it is viewed with suspicion among the rest of the region.

  9. 61. The long haired, drunken bum of this area is tolerated as an occasionally amusing, harmless eccentric by the upper level guards of the tower. His antics often include gesturing to the town below, bottle in hand, delivering various invectives. In truth, he is the once and future king.

  10. 19 – Appears to be guard of King Leominster, who everyone assumes to be #3. Actually IS King Leominster.

    5 – Orias, polymorphed Chief Architect of the City. King Leo has him observe the activities around the ziggurat, reporting on which crews are diligent and which are slack. Has become addicted to catnip and will “stay that way” (i.e. addicted to catnip and remain in cat form) the next time he fails a Con roll.

    3 – Bartleby – A one-time scrivener who preferred not follow his old line of work, he now spends his days masquerading as the King. He is prone to bouts of melancholy and outbursts of erratic behavior. King Leo sees his unpredictable personality as an opportunity to examine others’ responses to the false King’s actions.

  11. 12- Island of Parlax. A dormant volcano has become active. A Fire elemantal of gigantic size has taken up residence. A group of adventures must be hired to stop the elemental before the volcano blows up and takes the city with it!

  12. 17: The Baso Ilunak. It is inhabited by the Itzal Jauna, an intelligent manifestation of shadows. It will create twisted versions of the PCs, and those that they have befriended, while forcing them to fight alongside old foes. Also has a large amount of Deathwatch mimics (these take the form of whatever the player last killed, but in a sympathetic version, and attempts to make them believe that they killed them wrongly/did not actually kill them.)

  13. By the way, did you know that TheCramp said "if he wants to have a magic bloody hammer that drives men insane, he's welcome to"? Sounds similar to The Hammer of Exorcism, so he may have been indirectly responsible for Gygaxian Democracy.

    12: Mountains of the Surpharr. These are the site of the Ice Toad City Zak mentioned back in his series of alphabetical monsters.

  14. 2: The Mysterious Elder Broi-Ghul

    Elder Broi-Ghul is reputed to be an artisan, philanthropist and folk-hero originating from the old slums that were razed during the construction of the Tower. Impoverished families have had debts paid off by monies from his accounts and he is responsible for solely maintaining three of the city’s largest orphanages.

    He is also credited with the ongoing campaign of unflattering caricatures of the King, drawn on the Tower and city walls or on dried cow-pats in the surrounding fields.

    He has become a symbol of resistance to the peasantry displaced and impoverished by the King’s decision to build the Tower. Songs may be heard sung of his daring deeds and pranks in some of the pubs and halls of the poorer parts of town.

    Not much is known of the Elder Broi-Ghul. He may be many persons, or just one, but his outrages and détournements are growing in size and frequency, much to the King’s chagrin…

    7: The Dread Carrack of Elder Broi-Ghul

    This imposing three-masted ship gives off emanations of powerful magics. Famed for it's decisive role in thwarting the blockade of the Tower by the Pirate Armada almost single-handed, this ship still remains a mystery to most of the Tower's inhabitants.
    The pennant, with the symbol of Elder Broi-Ghul, flown from the topsail of the mainmast, is the only sign of a recognizable political affiliation.

    It appears to be able to sail silently, under it's own power, and without any signs of a crew.

    (Dael Marlinspike, a local ship chandler, claims to have regularly delivered dainty pastries and casks of the Tower’s finest brandy to the Dread Carrack on several occasions. Payment for these transactions is reputed to have come from one of the many bank accounts of Elder Broi-Ghul. However, this has only been said while Dael was well into his cups… He will deny any truth to his tale when sober.)

    18. The House of Aunt Wavy

    This one-room, dilapidated cottage is the home to one of the oldest inhabitants in the Kingdom, a wizened little woman called ‘Aunt Wavy’. She was given this name by the local children due to her uncanny ability to wave back to anyone who waved at, or in, her general direction, sometimes from several miles away.

    Her house was originally slated for demolition during the Tower’s construction, but strange portents and warnings of irreparable doom appeared all over the countryside, some attributed to the Elder Broi-Ghul, some to the will of the gods, proclaiming the Tower would not stand if the house of Aunt Wavy were to fall. Tower labourers lay down their tools and refused to participate in displacing this old woman many of their grandparents remembered as a “lovely old woman”. Civic planners made some zoning changes, citing the particularly hard rock formation that the house was built on as ”unsuitable for their needs”.

    Aunt Wavy is very old and quite deaf, but very knowledgeable about any local news regarding births, weddings and funerals. She enjoys tea and pastries as well as the occasional pint of brandy.

  15. 45- A strange flying ship has docked high up on the city. With no crew, and no sign on how this ship fly's, the city is in a panic.

  16. 11 - Developed by the dark wizard, Z'ellak Mal'dra, the Transmogrocannon has defended the tower from seaborne threats for over a century.

  17. 56 - Denizens of the city are amazed by this naval ship crewed by a party of mortal sailors, which moves by clever application of the wind against a series of cloth sails angled in ingenious ways (apparently the only ship in the harbor to do so).

    The ship carries 30 cannons purchased from the Dwarven Kingdoms to the northwest. The captain's staff of command is actually a rod of fire quenching, making the vessel invulnerable to such attacks.

  18. 30 - Old woman operates a zipline from here to 42. It costs 2gp and has no insurance.

    31 - The Dockers and Navvies guild HQ. Half a dozen fat, bearded men sit up here and take turns coming out to yell at people. They secretly have people bashed/killed at the behest of the city council, taking care of the business that the city can not be seen to be involved in.

    32 - Entrance to Market - The Babel Supreme Thane of Itinerant Trading lives in the first door. He orchestrates and manages the market, deciding who is allowed to set up stalls etc. He takes a lot of bribes.

    33 - The Transphysical Terrace - This terrace is constantly changing phase/colour/whatever. A minor mud elemental lives in the ground near here and is upset about all this construction and runing of the perfect earth he had. The elemental flaunts his crappy earth powers by randonly shifting things in this part of the building. Mages consider using water elementals to destroy him so they can fix this part (and the areas below). His name is Col.

    34 - Currently unassiged, but being utilised by mages and stonemasons tasked with maintaining and thwarting Cols (see 33) schemes. They sit up here and grumble and cast spells and fix crap, since Col is so terrible at ruining their building. They will accept any help from outside, since bureaucracy prevents them from getting much of anything done.

  19. Dammit. You really need to make it so that you can post a comment without having to go through that content warning if you went straight to the page. I just lost an entire table of Tranmogrocannon effects, plus another one I'd made for one of them.

    Well, I'll take a shot at reconstructing the list.

    1. Normal cannonball, metal
    2. Cannonball, metal, huge
    3. Those near the impact point randomly change race.
    4. 2d6 11HD (impact substance, including fire) elementals appear around the struck area. They persist until killed and cannot be banished or otherwise dispelled.
    5. The cannonball is explosive but otherwise normal.
    6. The cannonball is transformed into one or more (DM's choice) of the following monsters:
    1. Dragon (roll again for type, ignoring results of Chromatic, Platinum, or Axiomatic)
    2. Air elemental.
    3. Gargoyle
    4. Air Weird (See: Water Weird, change stats as needed)
    5. Cloud Giant, with castle
    6. Beholder
    7. Roc
    8. Manticore
    9. Pertyon
    10. Pegasus
    11. Swarm of creatures. Roll or choose type
    12. Dire Eagle (Roll or choose fiendish/celestial if desired.)
    7. Alignment of those near the struck area alters randomly.
    8. If the point of impact is in the water, a cloud of superheated steam explodes outward from it, as a maximized fire spell. Fire resistance is considered to be halved for purposes of damage reduction.
    9. 1d4 gates to the elemental (roll or choose which elemental plane), ethereal, astral, and shadow planes open in 3d6 feet form the impact point.
    10. All creatures and buildings in the area are permanently polymorphed to a random form, although it can be dispelled normally.
    11. The cannonball has gone astray. Roll again and apply the results to a random area of the city.
    12. Sex of those near the impact point changes randomly. A successful Con save, without a Will save as well changes the sexual orientation of the target.

    Well I was able to add some things because of that so it worked out in the end, I suppose.

  20. @Delta: "a rod of fire quenching"


  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Oops, sorry - replaced my greater-than/less-thans with actual parentheses. Curse you, blogger!

    1- Freedom Fighte-I MEAN FUCKING TERRORISTS. "Oh please my liege!! I am poor and all of my children suffer from either Palsy or Polio and if you could just spare me A POUND (stab) OF FLESH YOU (stab) PLUTOCRATIC SWINE!!! (poisoned dagger to the thigh).

    4- Francois Arsene Le Beouf, the gentleman in the yellow dress and calf-length Tony Bianco leather boots is all like 'I'm at the tail end of the Renaissance, so you know what? I'm gonna rock this shit while I still can'. The senseless vagrant to his right thought to question him on this, to which he replied "yeah, its a yellow dress, swine. Perhaps if you had (BACKHAND!!) half AN OUNCE of FUCKING CLASS you would HAVE ONE. FORSOOTH!!. GOONS!!? Deal with this filth. What on earth do I pay you for...." (cue #59)

    57- Albert Cutler here is wracking his demolished mind trying to decide which tiny stick would be best to start carving unknowable runes onto these awkward stones (The Angles Are All Wrong). It's just, you know, If i use the one of the left, then theres going to be one in the middle and one on the right still sitting there and I haven't been told but I have a feeling that that's what it WANTS to happen and I don't want what it wants i just want it to be here so I can push it off this cliff. I'm hungry. It's taken me such a long time to drag these stones here from the bottom of the pacific and I just couldn't live with myself if I screwed up now... O! The King is here, why isn't he worried about the angles... THE AnGl3s!!! THE @n63ls.... Oh dear. I fear I shan't sleep properly tonight. O my, if it werent for that fateful night in fiji... that fateful, incomprehensible night when the gibbous moon lifted the waves into the sky and revealed the chanting, gibbering hordes... why were they gibbering!? O my memory is so (vomit) its so sketchy nowadays.. That shapeless thing that bound them and penetrated them. O my (vomit blood)... Sir, may I please have a sip of water? Perhaps just an.... Oh. O dear. Ummm.. Actually no water no water plese no no wateaaaAAAAAAAH GET IT AAWYAAAA>>>>!...!! (runs back through crowd, leaving his three sticks behind)

    58- Freedom Fight-I MEAN FUCKING TERR-No wait he's actually just a real beggar. Nice cover, terrorists. He is squamous with disease and both of his children have Palsy and/or Polio. He is probably going to be put to death as a conspirator, despite being a veteran of both the 5th and 6th succession wars and the dispute of the Comey Isles. His wife bakes the loveliest danishes and makes hats in her spare time.

    59- Hired Goons. A husband and wife couple, paid an hourly rate of 2 coppers and a scrap of truffle crepes or some such to follow Francois Le Beouf beating people he slaps with sticks until he is beyond their sight. Currently engaged beating a man who has low wisdom and has swooned onto the non-euclidean geometry nearby.

  23. 20 – Charcoal Burner’s House – The masons building the ziggurat arrive at noon on Tuesdays to receive divination from their oracle, Wasko Krusinski. His charcoal is ordinary in every way except for purposes of the weekly divination. A thief has taken residence in the attic. He is in possession of a key which will unlock the vault in #22.

    29 – 16th Ward. Geomancers’, Geologists’, Dwarves’ and Gnomes’ Districts. Shrine to Xl-Xrn-qq, patron of earth, consumption and calculations. Vaults of bauxite, electrum, peridots, and moonstone guarded by iron golems, gorgons, and gargoyles. Portal to the Mineral Plane on the adamantine and diamond square glyph in the center of the Main Hall, opens only with the fresh blood of a 16HD earth elemental.

    37 – Cryptoscribes’ Guild – Currently deciphering tablets found in Unapproachable Leng, which is dictating the architecture of the ziggurat through the sacred geometry contained therein. Suspended from the ceiling, a demon is encased in crystalline while a rotating team of sorcerers pore through every scrap of arcane material available to extract ley line nexi and the formula for the Philosopher’s Stone. A tome titled, “Grey Linger the Fated, Desolation” is stuffed behind a tapestry in the Head Cryptoscribe’s office. Anyone able to read Medusian will discover that the book outlines a centuries old plan of enslaving the surface world, which claims the present age to be the middle stage of such plan.

  24. 63 - workers claim this small clearing is cursed. after 3 men disappeared here, no one is willing to move the stones away, in fear they too will "be taken".

    What is really happening is that one of the trees is actually an old ent who has been slumbering for several decades until the construction workers disturbed him. He has the personality of Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.

  25. 6: A medusa-lich. Responsible for petrifying GrayPumpkin's sorceress. Is remorseful about this and wishes to make amends. If the statue is brought before her, she will set to work de-calcifying it. This will take 6d6 days longer than the players have been led to believe.

  26. 3: King Nimrod of Babylon -- 2157-1942 B.C.(also called Nemrod, Nimrud, Amraphel, Hammurabi, Ninus, Eannus)[nimrod = 'rebellion']
    He is a nephilim or gibbor (Gibborim), a giant decended from fallen Watcher angels. He is a "a mighty hunter before the Lord" “a mighty one in the earth”. In Babylon, the trinity was Nimrod (the sun), Semiramis (the moon), and Tammuz (the morning star).

    Nimrod wields a great bow and has a massive army at his command. He is surrounded by 20 giant body guards. The animals too cower before him. He is the first hunter. He is the first to introduce the eating of meat by man. He is also the first to make war on other peoples.

    Animal Coat:
    When animals see the wearer clad in these coats of skin, they crouch before the wearer.
    This makes hunting and herding easy. God made these animal skins for Adam and Eve. Noah eventually inherited the coats. Noah used it to control the animals on the ark. The coats were stolen by Ham, son of Noah, who gave it to his son Cush, who gave them to Nimrod. Nimrod used it to hunt many animals. The people thought that these hunting feats were due to his great strength, so that they made him their king.

    Nimrod wasn't always bad.
    As a young man, Nimrod sacrificed animals he hunted to YHWH. In 2139 BC, war breaks out between the Hamites and the Japhethites when Nimrod is 18 years old. The Japhethites were at first victorious, but Nimrod, at the head of a small army of Cushites, attacks and defeats them, after which he is made king over all the people on earth. Nimrod is blessed by God and wins all the wars he fights. He builds (or rebuilds) the cities of Babel, Erech, and Accad.

    But then Nimrod became disobedient to God. God ordered him to live in Africa with the other nations of Ham. Nimrod disobeys and settled in the ruins of Babylon. He studied inscriptions from before the flood. Nimrod builds the city of Shinar and rules from there. During the next 45 years, his empire flourished. He built Niveveh, Calah and Resen.
    These three cities form a vast trading area, a "greater Nineveh", the center of trade of the ancient world. Nimrod wants to conquer and unite the world. Nimrod with Chedorlaomer and the other kings laid waste to all of Syria and subdued the offspring of the giants. Nimrod wants revenge on God for destroying his forefathers. He turned the government into a tyranny and set up 12 gods of wood after the 12 months of the year (or after the Zodiac), commanding everyone to worship one monthly.

    Nimrod declared war on God!
    Now, in his pride, Nimrod wants to conquer Heaven! He builds the Tower of Babel so that his army can climb it to Heaven and invade! "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole Earth" (Gen. 11:4).

    Players/adventurers can try to kill him or halt his construction to prevent his invasion of Heaven.
    If players lose the fight, he will enslave the survivors and force them to build.
    The tower and surrounding area is crawling with his troops and builders.
    The troops encourage the builders to work.
    Players might wait until he is mostly alone before attacking him, such as while he is hunting,
    otherwise they will have to face his entire army!

  27. 21: Sanctuary at ground level
    One of two sanctuaries in the Tower.
    After the Flood, people began worshipping idols and became deeply involved in astrology.
    The people build the ziggurat temple of Babel to gather for these activities.
    The purpose of ziggurats is worship of gods.
    This is the sin of the Babel tower builders.
    Worshippers believe that their pagan god sometimes appears here.

    22: Sanctuary of Marduk at the summit
    One of two sanctuaries in the Tower.
    Worshippers believe that their pagan god sometimes appears here too.
    Marduk is 5% likely to be here per day.
    Some say that Nimrod's son Mardon is later worshiped as Marduk.
    At the summit, is a portal to Heaven.
    This is the portal that Nimrod's army will walk thru when they invade Heaven.

    Trivia: The tower and its occupants are Babylonian themed, not Hebrew themed.
    Trivia: The traditional Tower of Babel is located at Borsippa (Barsip & Til-Barsip, Birs Nimrud),
    10 miles southwest of the center of Babylon.
    Trivia: Archaeologists believe the real tower was the center of Babylon,
    in the tower ruins in which G. Smith found an ancient tablet.
    ".... is now an immense hole 330 feet square, which has been used
    as a quarry from which to take bricks."