This Codex is a collection of projects in work that have for various reasons have died, but I can’t bring myself to dump their cold remains into deletion.
Additional Ideas (10)
The Horror of Sheepshead Hollow
Spelsautium is a medium island kingdom located a short distance from the mainland of the continent. Travel to and from the island can be accomplished in a matter of two days travel with good winds. The island is mostly rocky highland, but is host to a moderate sized population that exists around a predominantly ranching culture, which in turn is based on sheep. A largely green and pristine island, Spelsautium is known for producing large amounts of raw wool, Spelsaur, a very salty and buttery soft cheese, and Ovis Stout, a dark lager beer with a sour taste.
Once a year, the bulk of Spelsautium's population gathers at one of the kingdom's three major ports. At this time of year, the vast herds of sheep are brought to the port stockyards where they are sheered. This often bleeds over into sheering races, demonstrations of sheepdog training, as well as the general commerce that always occurs when large numbers of people gather at regular intervals. At this time, merchants from the continent arrive at the ports with their ships ready to be packed down with as many bails of wool that can be packed into the holds.
Sheepshead Hollow, and the associated township of the same name occupy a medium sized valley that is characterized by steep sides, a singe sloping defile that serves as the sole land path in or out of the valley. Much of the surrounding land is dominated by sheep ranching and small scale agriculture. Locals refer to the valley in general as the Hollow, and the township as Sheepshead. Around 2000 people make their permanent residence in the township, mostly devoted to the labor intensive and time consuming processing of raw wool into usable woolen textiles.
During the annual Shearing Festival, the number of people in Sheepshead can increase tenfold. Roughly 80% of the outlying farmers and ranchers bring their flocks into the Hollow for the week long festival that is characterized by feasts of mutton, sheep shearing contests, heavy drinking, dancing and singing. All festivities aside, the Festival is an economic event as wool merchants arrive to assess the quality of the year's shearings as well as purchasing large amounts of wool textiles, finished wool goods, and the like.
Once Upon a Time
Once Clochardshire was not a dank and old city mouldering on the shoulder of the ocean. Once it was considered a bright jewel, a sentinel among the members of the nascent League of Cities. Her location was prime, sitting on a large bay protected by several low barrier islands, but not being hindered by shallows or sandbars. The fishing off of the coast was superb with the heavy flesh of cold water fish being common on household plates. Facing inland were vast alluvial floodplains, the sort that are well suited to heavy farming and broad pastures. But good fishing and fertile soil do not a metropolis make.
The Cisner Trade route turned Clochardshire from a backwater fishing village into what would for a time become the mercantile powerhouse of the League of Cities. Ships crossing the eastern ocean from distant shores (insert suitable continent) unloaded at the port and selling their wares to land based merchants. The merchants would then move these imported goods to points west, while other merchants would sell their own goods to the merchants so that their ships sat low in the water.
The Golden Age
As the League of Cities entered it's summertime, Clochardshire was already at the height of it's power, growing to command nearly 100,000 souls. As the other cities of the League expanded their endeavors, Clochardshire remained steadfast to it's single minded economy of trade, with those not involved in trading bending their backs in the fields or at the swinging looms of bulk textiles. This focus helped Clochardshire rise in power but would eventually prove to be her achillies heel.
The League War
The cause of the League wars is still largely a matter of debate between scholars and historians. The effects of the war are much more concrete as the League of Cities was decimated by the conflict, the Cisner trade route was officially closed as the oceanic merchants shifted their voyages south to warmer and more friendly ports. This left Clochardshire with a large and now unemployed populace, war debts to be paid to mercenaries and her own soldiers, and a once prosperpous countryside riddled with bandits and brigands, robber barons and would-be warlords.
(Forthcoming submissions from Ria Hawk will elaborate on the actuall cause of the League War)
The Rixion Scions
The noble house of Rixious emerged as the dominant power over Clochardshire following the end of the League War. Formerly a minor house of a strong martial tradition, the Rixions were stewards to one of the greater houses that was all but eradicated in the final days of the conflict. According to what records do remain from the chaotic war, the final battle was fought in Clochardshire, and the resultant damage left half of the city as ash and the other half splintered, but such post-war writings have a tendancy for hyperbole.
Lord Eunastacion Rixious assumed the mantle of Lord of Clochardshire and started a tradition of inheritied rule, were previously the leaders of Clochardshire were elected, and the noble houses just happened to be elected more consistantly than the more plebian members of society. This mantle would be passed from Scion to Scion, always passing to the eldest living Rixion of the next generation, be it a son or a daughter.
Like the red shirt ensigns in Star Trek, cultists are their black robed counterparts, the minions and lackeys of the villains who exist only as fodder for PCs to fight, interrogate, and ultimately overcome in their quest for greater XP and loot. But cultists can be as varigated as the villainous organizations that they join, and have deep and angst riddled psyches to confound and befuddle players with. Come along with me on a voyage of self-loathing, spiritual fraud, and social leprosy.
Lets go join a cult!
1. The Disciple
The Disciple is a very important member of any cult, he knows all of the chants, holds his candle in the perfect gesture, and believes the liturgy of the cult to the core of his being. While many could claim to be disciples, in truth few ever reach the true disciple's level of zealotry. Disciples tend to become lieutenants over cells of cultists and are the Cult Leader's go-to guys. Should the Cult Leader be unvealed as a fraud, the Disciple will likely either become a catatonic wreck, or enter a berzerk frenzy and attempt to kill said leader. The disciple burns with piety, and everyone knows about playing with fire.
2. The Deviant
The deviant would be a cult leader themselves if they had the charisma or confidence, or means to. Since they dont, these counter-culture folk join the cult for shock value, and display their affiliation with pride and perversity. The values of the cult often hold little true meaning for the deviant, they are only interested in being part of something that is contrary to the popular social/religious culture. When things get ugly, deviants are quick to leave, and start looking for the next cult or movement to join.
3. The Hungry Man
Not hungry in the sense of wanting a sandwich, the hungry man is in the process of a spiritual journey and the firest step is leaving the established orthodox faith. Unfortunately for the hungry man, his spiritual journey has fallen into a doldrum or quicksand after he found and joined the cult seeking greater inner knowledge. The hungry man is lean and questioning, looking for answers and greater meaning to life. The hungry man is a middle rank cultist, he wants to find something to believe in, and at the moment, the cult holds the possibility of answers.
4. The Downtrodden
Many Cult Leaders are often just looking for warm bodies to fill the ranks of their cult, and vagrants, homeless, and the like can wear a black robe just like anyone else. Downtrodden come for the warm meal and clean robe, and end up staying for the sermons and propaganda. They tend to become strong supporters of the cult as they have everything to loose if the cult fails.
5. The Senator
The Senator is a person of power, wealth, and influence and has since joined the cult to expand their already impressive portfolios. The Senator, be virtue of providing support to the cult, often in the form of money, holdings and whatnot, hold positions of power within the cult, but always subservient to the Cult Leader. The Senator will be present in meetings and rituals, but will flee at the first sign of trouble, they have their image and position to consider. Most Senators will have several cultists who are their bodyguards or attaches who have also joined the cult, but primarily are present to protect the Senator.
6. Doing it for the Ritual Sex
A common theme in cults are tenets of ritual sex, access to a cult harem, or general dehumanization of females. This cultist has had no success with women, and has joined the cult out of his desire to prove himself superior to women, degrading them during sex. Initially a superficial member, this cultist adopted the creed quickly and is now a solid supporter of the cult and the cult leader.
7. The Insider
Outwardly a common and faceless member of the cult, the Insider is a mole and reports to another power all the details of the cult. While nominally a participant, the insider will flee from combat and attempt to return to his base of operations rather than fall with the rest of the black robed cultists.
8. The Revolutionary
It is common for cults to run against popular institutions, and the Revolutionary has joined as an act of rebellion. This cultist would like to see the cult become a focal point for his political revolution, and as long as the revolutionary brings more warm bodies into the fold, the leader allows him to talk among the others. As soon as the revolutionary starts to gather a following, or his actions interfere with the cult, the Cult Leader will cull the revolutionary, either as a sacrifice or an example even if it means made-up accusations.
9. The Heretic
Following a radical interpretation of the standing scriptures, the Heretic has joined the cult as he feels it is a safe place to practice his variation of the faith. The rites and rituals of the cult closely mirrors the basic tenets and forms of the faith, but without the liturgical elements. The heretic is considered expendable by the leader.
10. In Too Deep
Formerly an Insider, In Too Deep has forsaken his real masters to fully join the cult. He still feeds information back to his superiors but this information is corrupted in favor of the cult and he is now seeking to uncover other insiders and recruit from within his parent organization. The Cult Leader is encouraging this cultist in his careful recruitment, as he knows that the man has turned to him and can bring him more people of power and influence.
Similar to the downtrodden, this powerful person was successful until he was betrayed by those he trusted. The cult to advantage of his brokenness and now he is one of the most ardent members, using his power to further its goals.
In the days gone of the Old World, when magic was a much more common thing, something that was known and easily accepted by the populace, wizards and magi kept archives and libraries that were open to the public. The great libraries of the ancient world were all grown around a nucleus of spellbooks, grimoires, and tomes of magic. After the tragedy and horror of the Nightmare War, and the untold suffering that followed the collapse of the old world and it's wonders there was a backlash against magic and all things magical. Those archives and depositories that were not already destroyed were put to the torch and a fearful population put centuries of magical knowledge and research to the torch in a matter of months.
This dungeon was originally the city of Unson, which was buried during the Nightmare War and later forgotten. There are three things that a group of Adventurers-upon-Return will have to overcome to gain the possibly priceless treasures of Unson Genizah. The first is that the dungeon is obscure, references to the city of Unson are uncommon at best and further knowledge of the city being a center of magical research, and host to the Temple of the Illuminated Word, an arcane library, is even more rare. Having been buried during the seven day long Nightmare War, Unson was spared the torches and hatred of the survivors of the war. This means that logically the arcane library and it's priceless collection of spellbooks could still be intact. A buried old world city would also be rich with artifacts, magical relics, and gold for the taking.
Reaching Unson Genizah is another matter. While it was previously a very important city on the east to west Esterband Trade route, it is now thirty feet underground, and more than 200 miles inside the boundaries of the Wastelands. The nearest permanent settlement is a small trade fort roughly two days travel from the Wasteland boundary. After dealing with Bordermarch nomads and bandits, an intrepid band of Adventurers-upon-Return have to face the challenges and terrors of the middlemarch region of the Wastelands. Here the blistering sand and windblown grit give way to biting cold. Temperatures scarcely rise above freezing, even on the hottest summer day, and at night it plummets to sub-zero in a matter of an hour. Access to the city, once found is a matter of rejoicing as the dark hole in the earth is a respite from the constant winds and brittle cold.
The third obstacle is are the ruins of the city itself, buried and lightless, forgotten for the passage of a millenium.
fluff text about finding Unson Genizah, hardship blah blah
The Pattenweck Chamber
Most of the entraces to Unson Genizah lead to the vast Pattenweck Chamber, named after Pattenweck Market, the largest of Unson's six marketplaces.
As name implies.
Ruins of towers can be seen above the surface as almost skeletal remains jutting from the dead earth. Entrace can be gained through the core of such a tower, but requires special equipment to rappel down.
Don't head that way traveler. The goblin foundry is down that way, teeming with goblins, stinks of hell's crotch, and death itself answers to the foreman
The thick piled bricks were cool to the touch, but it would take two days for the heat inside to grow high enough to warm the outer shell of kiln-fired brick. The goblin scuttled along quickly, hands reaching for the secondary access port into the kiln-box. Already several hundred pounds of firerock had been dumped into the box, and the metal had to be poured by Senneck's Eve. The goblin opened his ember-keeper, spilling sparks and flame into a pile of tinder and firerock dust. The black stone sizzled and burst forth into flame. The goblin watched, mesmerized by the dancing flame. It spread, gobbling up more of the dust and igniting the smaller pieces of firerock. Sweat dripped from his wrinkled green brow as the firerock burned hotter and hotter, his gaze only torn away when a hand pulled on his foot, dragging him out of the kiln-box. The others were ready to close the hatch to the kiln-box, the goblin was silently relieved that the others liked him enough to close to door after he was out instead of leaving him in fire-felsk
Goblins and Fire
Working in a foundry has always been and likely will always be a hard and dangerous occupation.
Native to cooler arboreal climates, the Leyyk are unique in that during the spring and summer they grow antlers. Male antlers can grow to be almost a foot long and have as many as five sets of prongs, while females tend to be at most half that size and have two sets of prongs. They are efficient hunters and gatherers, and their species has a much higher rate of fertility than normal humans. Grappling and wrestling are the most common sports of the Leyyk, who happen to find normal humans to be incredibly unappealing, since they lack any sort of antlers.
There are many sub-races of humanity that have been spawned by dalliances with beings that are not native to the material realm. The ölzern were spawned from the regular unions of humans, generally rangers and druids, with the spirits of the tree, dryads. The resultant offspring took naturally to woodcraft and such, but their appearance and nature puts them much at odds with most rest of humanity. ölzern skin is the color of tree bark, and their hair is host to chlorophyll, giving it a green color in the spring and summer, which flashes to reds and yellows in the fall, and a ghostly white or very dark green in winter. They are especially vulnerable to the seasons, often sleeping for days or even weeks at a time in the winter with no ill effect, and staying awake and active for equal amounts of time in the summer. Knowing their weakness, the ölzern have largely avoided humanity and keep to the quietude of the resource poor (gold and such) barrens. They have a strong oral tradition of epic poetry, bards, and a love for wine and beer of any sort.
Few races cause such fear and nausea among humans quite like the Leiche, it is a shame that most humans have no idea how many Leiche there are, and how close they live to them. The Leiche have almost chalky complexions, with highly elastic skin and hair that ranges from blonde to snow white. Cunning Leiche know how to dye their hair and wear make-up to cover their pale complexions, or live in places where pale make-up is popular. They are predators through and through, complete with teeth solely for ripping flesh and almost none for grinding or chewing. This is more disturbing when their primary foodsource happens to be human flesh. An ancient offshoot of man, the Leiche have lifespans that average five centuries and have a very low fertility. As such, their numbers are low, and aside from retaining a vestigial language, most exist completely within their host cultures.
The cleverest one of the gang, he is living proof that not all bikers are dumb knuckle-dragging caveman types. He is the gangs public relations man who tries to persuade the public that those he rides with are friendly people-yes, they have got into a few fights and engaged in a bit or horseplay but they are certainly not the ruthless, money-hungry gangsters on two wheels that the police make them out to be.
He comes up with various ideas from the perfectly legal to the downright illegal for the gang members to vote on in their secret meetings. It was he who came up with the idea that every Christmas Eve, he and his fellow bikers should ride out on a toy run to deliver presents to sick children in hospital. He is an expert in money laundering as well and the gangs's treasurer.
When not out riding with the gang this muscular member works as a bouncer at clubs and pubs and generally does a good job at it. Once faced with ruthless ultra violence, few troublesome patrons, once they come to, will come back to fight again. Of course, he lets his fellow gang members in without paying, and also takes fees from certain drug dealers to let them sell drugs in the venues he protects, whilst keeping their competitors outside.
When one of those that the gang extorts from refuses to pay up, he is often sent to teach the person a lesson. He carries a knuckle-duster, as he feels that if he was to carry a knife or a gun he might murder someone and end up serving a very long sentence, whilst if he is convicted of breaking someones jaw the sentence will be much shorter.
Doc used to be a genuine doctor before he joined the gang. He is an expert at setting broken bones and treating gunshot wounds. Gang members who cannot go to hospital because of fear of arrest have had their lives and limbs saved by his treatment. He is also good at knowing what effect any pill, both legal and illegal, will do to the human body and never takes any drug before knowing exactly what it will do to his body. If he gets into a fight, he knows where on somebodys body will seriously hurt them if hit.
He carries one, an illegal flick-knife, and he is happy to use it. He hungers for fights, be they with the law, with ordinary people or with other biker gangsters, no matter how dangerous they are and how well armed they are. Even his fellow bikers generally tread warily about him. Unknown to them, his father is dying slowly of cancer and Knife had a very good relationship with his father and feels that he has very little to live for without him, and so has no fear of getting killed.
Mech is a thin wiry man, and not a good fighter. Unlike the majority of his buddies he doesnt take drugs or engage in their more serious crimes, but nobody minds. He makes up for it by being an expert in fixing motorbikes. He can take a bike that is falling apart and have it fully fit for the road again within hours. His skills are also very useful for taking stolen motorbikes apart and reassembling them as new bikes so that they cannot be recognized as stolen. He is a much-liked member of the gang.
The newest recruit to the gang, the others treat him as a lowly gofer to fetch their beer and drugs for them, fix their motorbikes and stay on guard duty. Occasionally they put him through cruel tests designed to let them he how dedicated he is to the gang. He consoles himself with the thought that all the rest of the gang members once went through the same lengthy admissions process before gaining their full patch that marks them out as a member.
A stickler for one percenter protocol, Protocol has a low tolerance for anybody who he feels does not treat him with enough respect, no matter who they are, and is more then ready to forcibly educate them with his fists and feet. He is the kind of biker who will break his cue stick across the head of anybody who makes the mistake of touching the sacred colours on his back. His fellow bikers try and keep him away from civilians as it is not in the gangs interests to be in fights all the time with people who might call the police. Unprovoked fights also risk wrecking Brains public relations campaign.
An undercover policeman, he has infiltrated the gang with great
This was supposed to be a 30 Bikers subbmission but I just could not think of that many biker types.
Ardarun is a large an imposing man, six foot three inches tall and every bit of 18 stone in weight. He has broad shoulders and is heavily muscled, and while not a graceful man, he is sure of himself and relentless in motion. He has a head of short cropped brown hair, hazel eyes, and an air of command and authority that most find hard to resist or defy. As a martial lord, Ardarun is regularly associated with his weapons of choice, a pair of vicious axes, both of which are magical. As he does not use a shield in combat or fight from horseback, he favors heavy armor. When not in the field, he favors plain cloths of good make, and both fur and leather are much more common than linen or silk.
His device is a red field with crossed diagonal white bars behind a blue and black Boar. The shield is supported on either side by a pair of crenellated towers with arrows protuding from the top as if the structures were quivers.
Ardarun is the first son of the first son, born to a line of wealthy, influential, and powerful nobles. As such he has spent his life training to be a warrior, a judge, a leader, and if the need arises, a hero. Where once the noble family was a shining paragon of grace and genteel enlightenment, they are currently a hold-out of the old style of nobility. As such, Ardarun has inherited a duchy that rather than support the nobles, resent them for their backwards and holdfast ways. The coffers are still deep, but the wealth there is old and has been gathering dust from hoarding and not from income.
When Ardarun's father finally passed away, still gripping the ducal scepter as he died, there was a forced period of mourning. The people did not mourn, or even rejoice for the death of the tyrant, and they all knew that Ardarun was cut from the same cloth. Not to dissappoint, the warrior took up his father's ways.