Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gygaxian Democracy #13: The Hornersberg

Pick a part and give us some notes on it...


  1. The Cess Pit

    A rank stench wafts up from this pit, which the servants try to mask with soil and grit. Most people, naturally enough, avoid it, but what they don't know is that the pit is where lot of lost treasure and interesting items end up; all as a result of things falling out of pockets, jealous wives throwing things away, and the odd corpse chucked in the pit.

    Roll 1d30 every time someone spends a turn or more searching the pit (which may have a chance, say 5%, of catching some disease):

    1) Loose coins (1d100 copper, 1d20 silver, 1d12 gold);
    2) The rotting corpse of a halfling, naked and stabbed to death;
    3) An intact egg of an owlbear;
    4) A beautiful (once cleaned) jewelled codpiece, with diamonds and emeralds (worth 250 gold);
    5) A pocket bible of the teachings of St Aldwyn the Chaste;
    6) Rats. A whole nest of rats. Hungry, clever rats who want to eat your eyes;
    7) An ornate mask of ceramic and glass: anyone wearing it is protected against petrification attacks;
    8) A small glass vial of rose-scented perfume;
    9) An hour glass, with a crack and no sand;
    10) A diamond sex toy of the DMs choice and design;
    11) A teddy bear, covered in blood;
    12) 2d12 glass eyes;
    13) 2d4 sets of false teeth;
    14) 2d6 kidney stones;
    15) 1d3 dead (strangled) kittens;
    16) A jar of strawberry jam, unopened, still fresh and edible;
    17) The skeleton of a man, the skull crushed;
    18) A bone scroll case with a treasure map inside;
    19) Beads of many colours, tied together with string;
    20) Three glass jars, each containing a random potion;
    21) A dead snake. When read, is found to be a 'book' on toilet humour;
    22) Rotten fruit;
    23) Five gold rings (each worth 10 gold);
    24) A small apple tree, growing strong in the compost of the pit;
    25) 1d4 small pigeon eggs, intact;
    26) A baby otyugh (3 HD);
    27) A baby boy, 2 months old, recently dumped. Has a birthmark of a hawk on his right should, heir to some throne;
    28) Toy soldiers, made of brass and iron, 2d12 in all;
    29) Loads of teeth, some broken, some rotten, some freshly pulled;
    30) Crap, lots and lots of crap.


  2. The Forge

    It is run by an atypical dwarf, Durzig. He sees the forge as his own little kingdom, rules with a fair hand. Though, there is something that keeps him up at night. Cleanliness. His forge is spotless. Any smudge of grime or soot that is not taken care of sends him into a rage. There was one day when a noble, wits twisted by the smoking of black lotus, brought a goose into Durzig's forge after cramming the fowl's gullet with bread. Two hours later, the castle guard was called in to stop Durzig's rampage. The noble was found, babbling and never able to use either hand or enjoy his lady wife or mistress ever again.

    Durzig was a miner in the dwarven stronghold of Thurinhall. He was a young dwarf then, and went into the deepest pits, dealing kobold vermin when he had to, or the rare orc or goblin. It changes one day in the deep winter when a small raiding party of drow appeared. Durzig and his fellow miners were able to get to a trapped beam that brought down most fo the tunnel. Durzig and his friend and brother Orzig were on the wrong side when the roof collapsed. Durzig was thrown into a small opening, wearing the remnants of his brother...for three days. When he was found, he was catatonic. Durzig was cleaned and clerics of Moradin tried to help him through the difficult time. It helped, to a point. When Durzig gets dirty however, he loses his mind and goes into a berserker fury.


    This was a character that a friend played.

  3. This is just the sort of thing I was talking about, in referring to Dungeon Workbooks. Keep smashing through the conventions of adventure design, Zak.

  4. The Brewery: Here a strange brew is concocted by an invisible brewer(s). The wings of pixies and other magical creatures are ground into a coarse dust. This is malted by steeping it in the tears of a virgin and drying in kiln made from bricks of river-mud. Natural, airborne yeasts found only in The Hornersberg provide natural fermentation. Each batch of the brew is flavored with the well wishes of a burgher, the cries of a newborn lamb and an egg kissed by a gnome.

    The draught is sweet and refreshing. Roll d8 for further effect, effects last 3d10 turns:

    1. Love. Charmed with first person you see
    2. Hate. Antipathy toward first person you see
    3. Unable to use fingers or toes
    4. Healing: 2d4 HP restored
    5. Tongue swells to large size, unintelligible speech
    6. The world appears rose-tinted and beautiful
    7. Philanthropy: Save vs. Paralysis or give away your personal possessions
    8. Invulnerable. Not really invulnerable, but the increased confidence provides a +1 to all rolls

    One mug of the brew may be purchased for 5 GP. A 50 gallon keg of the brew would be 1,500 GP.




  6. Spice Store.

    The spice store is one of the more valuable sections of the castle, if one knows what they are looking for. Along side more mundane salts & mustards are exotic goods from far away lands. If looting the spice store, have the player make an appropriate knowledge check modified by any reasonable skills (cooking, herbalism, merchant, whatever)-- on a success, treat the room as containing gems appropriate to the character's level.

  7. Sacristy

    The castle sacristy holds the chapel vestments and religious implements, including a gold bowl with a mother of pearl interior (worth 100 gp) and several crosses of various sizes and formations, most of them made of silver. A high shelf over the door holds three leather-bound tomes. Two are chapel registries of births, deaths, tithing and fines in the castle and parish. The other is thicker and is closed with a rusty lock (-10% to pick). It contains the memoirs of the former chaplain, considered blasphemous by the local bishop but too valuable to destroy. The chaplain in question disappeared 60 years ago.

    The room is maintained by Vido the Sacrist, possibly the most boring man on planet earth. Interacting with Vido for more than 10 minutes drains one's will to live, forcing folks to pass a saving throw or suffer 1d4 points of damage to their wisdom. At wisdom of 1, the victim of his tediousness throws up his hands and walks away into the wilderness to live with the squirrels.

  8. Hermit's Cell:

    Unlike most monastic cells, this one is an actual, prison-type cell. This is necessary because the hermit has attained gnosis: he knows everything, he speaks nothing but the truth, and never speaks except to tell a secret. This has understandably put the fear into the inhabitants of the Hörnersburg, who only visit him in the direst exigencies, ever since he told some of the Lady's secrets in the presence of herself and the Lord. He threw her off the battlements and bricked the hermit in, leaving a gap for speaking, and for his deaf jailer to pass him food and drink, through.

    The hermit, like Tzinacán, could easily break out of his cell, crush the lord who imprisoned him, smash the castle into gravel — but why should he? He is no longer a man.

  9. Cistern

    A Water Elemental lives in the cistern, keeping the water clean and fresh. It was put there by a wizard long ago, and has been all but forgotten.

    The elemental, calling itself Bubbles, is a friendly and lonely element, longing to see and experience the world outside; but as it can only travel in water (otherwise it dies) it suspects it will never see such sights.

    Instead, given half a chance, it will appear in bathrooms and kitchens, wanting to hear tales of the outside world. It knows a few things about the castle, and will gladly share what it knows in exchange for a good story.

  10. Castle Court:

    A remarkably sparse room with hanging tapestries well take care of but hard to move due to size (worth 1d12 gold a piece) a large dais in the center with a regal, velvet covered stone throne. Stone sentinals stand throughout the room, pained a dark, almost black, red and carry no weapons. Sentinals are stone golems with levels of monk scalable to the party but with slightly reduced HD due to age. They will logically protect the king and activate upon command word from the king or on threat to his body. There is a flaw, however, since they protect logically, they can be tricked by such things as someone placing the crown on their head and sitting on the throne.

  11. Pardon the poor formatting, these were posted from my phone.

  12. While the Dumbwaiter might seem to be an ordinary conveyance, Detect Magic will reveal an aura of moderate Conjuration. With the door of the Dumbwaiter closed, speaking one command word will Dimension Door the speaker to the stables, while speaking another command word will instead transport the speaker to the Great Chamber's Wardrobe. Speaking that command room in the wardrobe will transport the speaker back to the Dumbwaiter. In addition, a DC25 Search check will reveal a secret compartment containing 8d10 gold pieces, a Hat of Disguise, and a +1 dagger.


    I have got to start being more succinct...

  14. The churns in the buttery are oracular, being built fifty years ago from a dryad-inhabited wode. They whisper to Matteo the Buttercount, who weeps as he churns for fear he is going mad. There is no such thing as unsalted butter in this kingdom. Her Majesty enters the buttery with the winter solstice and asks a single question of each churn, and they answer as she churns. This queen-churned butter can dull any pain or cause any confection containing it to turn out PERfectly.

  15. The Groat Chamber:

    This room contains approximately 50,000 G.P. in very small copper coins, pulled from under the cushions of an antique Couch of Holding. The coins are worth 1/100th of a G.P. each.