Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Necromancer: A New OSRIC Class. Part I

The Necromancer Character class depicted here is adapted from the version published in White Dwarf number 35. While the flavour text has changed considerably, there are very few mechanical changes to the class as invisioned by it's creator, Lew Pulphiser. Those changes relate mostly to making the Necromancer specifically a Magic-User sub-class rather than the cleric derivative it was originally intended to be.

Necromancers are a very specialised form of magic-user, ones with an unholy interest in the workings of undeath and a morbid desire to prolong their own life through the study and animation of corpses. The "typical" Necromancer (if there is such a thing) is a loner who vastly prefers the company of the undead to living beings, who serve to remind him of his own mortality. Such sinister figures rarely submit their will to anyone save themselves, or their master in the dark art's they pursue. Humanoids rarely enter the service of such a being, lest they wind up serving their masters whim as experimental subjects as well as guards. Even animals tend to avoid a Necromancer, warned away by the all-pervasive stench of death and decay that surrounds them.

As a Necromancer ages in his craft, they become more and more repulsive to other, living beings, loosing what little grasp of their own humanity they once possessed. Desperate to maintain their unholy lifestyle, they must frequently sacrifice intelligent beings in dark rituals to maintain their power, absorbing the life force of the prey to maintain their sinister powers. As they lose more and more of their humanity, they gain a greater affinity with the negative energy of the undead, no longer able to heal themselves naturally or through cure spells, instead requiring the sacrifice of a living being in a long drawn out ritual culminating in the consumption of the victims flesh and blood.

Loathed and hated by all around them, Necromancers face persecution from all sensible folk, yet in certain lands they have found welcome and even high status, though such lands are dark and benighted places indeed.

The Necromancer Character:

Minimum Scores: Int 12+, Con 14+ and Wis no more than 12. Cha is also important, as explained below.
Hit Die Type and Number: D4 (max 9) - Please note this does not match the figure given in the advancement table below. Substitute a D4 instead.
Alignment: Any evil
Experience Bonus: none
Armour/Shield Permitted: none
Weapons Permitted: Dagger, Staff, Sickle, Scythe, Flaming Oil
Weapon Proficiencies: Pick 1 +1 every four levels.
Non-Proficiency Attack Penalty: -4
Saving Throws & Attacks: As Magic User of the same level.

Necromancer Class Abilities:

Magic Items: The necromancer may use potions, rings, rods, staves, wands and misc. magical items. He may not use Cleric, Magic User or Illusionist scrolls. Nor may he use any magical armour. He may only use magical weapons with which he is proficient.

Spell Casting: The necromancer may cast a certain number of Necromancer spells per day depending on his character level. See the Necromancer Advancement Table for details.

Control Undead: The necromancer automatically controls any undead that are of his creation up to his maximum limit of Hit Dice (see below). He may also Rebuke and Control Undead as per an evil cleric of the same level (though this does not require a magical item or any other prop, simply an authoritative command that they obey him). Once he has successfully used his Control Undead ability on an undead creature, that creature remains under his control until one of the following conditions occur:
  • The undead creature moves more than 20ft x the Necromancer's level away from him (unless left with specific orders to remain in place and guard a given location).
  • A "D" result by a good cleric on the Undead Turning Matrix (a subsequent D result is required to destroy the creature).
  • The Undead creature is affected by a Dispel Evil spell.
These conditions also apply to any undead created by the Necromancer. The maximum Hit Dice of undead under the Necromancers control at any one time is equal to his Character level x2. However, undead left in place with orders to guard a specific location do NOT count towards this total. Therefore, even a relatively weak necromancer can "command" a mighty horde indeed.

A Necromancer gains full xp from any kills made by undead creatures under his control while he is present and in line of sight. He receives no experience from their kills otherwise.

I Am Your Master: Any cleric attempting to turn an undead creature under the Necromancers control in the presence of the necromancer subtracts one from their check result on the Undead Turning Matrix for every two levels of the necromancer.

Undead Resistance: A Necromancer is immune to the special attacks and special powers of any undead creature with fewer Hit Dice than the Necromancer has character levels. A third level Necromancer, for example, is immune to the paralysis induced by ghouls.

Death Holds no Secrets from Me: The necromancers dark knowledge grants him a certain immunity to the fear of death. As such, he gains a +2 bonus to any saving throws against fear where fear of death is a factor. He also receives a +2 bonus to all saves death magic.

The Blood is Life, the Blood is Unlife: Necromancers do not heal wounds naturally or by use of cure spells. Instead they must conduct an hour long ritual in which an intelligent being is sacrificed in order to heal themselves of any wounds or disease. The ritual requires special equipment including an alter and sacrificial knife. The Necromancer heals himself of damage equal to a total of half the victims hit points at the time the ritual began. Otherwise, a Necromancer can only be healed by the fifth level Necromancer spell, Drain Health. Even reversed cure spells have no effect.

Appease the Dark Ones: A Necromancer must periodically make a special sacrifice to the forces of evil and undeath or else lose his powers. The frequency of sacrifice and the rarity of the victim increase with the Necromancers level in accordance with the table below. If the Necromancer misses a ritual, he loses all his non-spellcasting class abilities until such time as he has "caught up" with the missed sacrifices. Even then there is a cumulative1-in-6 chance per missed sacrifice that a demon or powerful undead entity arrives to claim the necromancers soul instead of accepting the sacrifice.The Power of Undeath Compels Me: As a necromancer rises in level, he becomes more and more like an undead being himself. His appearance becomes more and more cadaverous as he begins to lose touch with his own humanity. Each time the Necromancer gains a level in the Necromancer class he must permanently lose a point of Charisma. At second level his eyesight fades, becoming more accustomed to dusty crypts than the world of the living, and the Necromancer gains infravision out to sixty feet. He also gains the ability to see into the Underworld even in his waking hours, granting him a %5 + 1% per level of seeing an invisible creature.

You Cannot Kill What Does Not Live: Necromancers who are slain by any means will always arise again as an undead being on midnight of the 13th day after death. This occurs even if the body has been completely destroyed. the necromancer will rise as a form of undead with hit Dice equal to his Necromancer levels when alive. necromancers of 9th - 14th level always return as vampires. Those of fifteenth level will return as a lich.

Temple of Bone: At tenth level the Necromancer may create a special Stronghold type known as a Temple of Bone. A Necromancer can possess only one such temple at a time, but may create another should his existing temple be destroyed. The temple must be constructed of human, humanoid and demi-human bones, using the blood of those slain to produce the bones as mortar.

Construction requires living beings (undead lack sufficient dexterity) and takes 10 man hours and costs 10gp for every cubic foot of walls, floor and ceiling in the Temple. Every ten cubic feet requires the bones of fifty man size creatures and the blood of five. The Bone Walls of the temple are supernaturally strong - treat as the strongest type of stone for causing damage. While in his Temple, the Necromancer is at his most powerful. All saves against his spells are at -2 and all attempts to turn undead are at an additional -2 (cumulative with other modifiers such as the presence of the Necromancer). While in his Temple the Necromancer radiates damage at a rate of 1/hp per turn. he may also call additional skeleton troops from the walls - up to one skeleton per ten cubic foot of wall per day. These skeletons do not count towards the maximum number of Skeletons the Necromancer may control at any given time. No matter how many skeletons are destroyed, the Necromancer can always summon as many again the next day, unless the temple has since been completely destroyed.

Phylactery: At fifteenth level the Necromancer learns the secrets of becoming a Lich. He can become a Lich at any time by spending 10,000gp on a phylactory and performing a night long ritual. Should he die after reaching fifteenth level but before performing this rite he will rise again as a lich. However, if destroyed again before completing a Phylactery and undergoing this ritual, he will be destroyed permanently. After fifteenth level, the Necromancer can also bestow lichdom on any other willing evil Cleric, Necromancer or Magic-User character of 12th level or greater. Again this requires a Phylactery and an hour long ritual. However, unlike the Necromancer, the participating character must succeed at a system shock roll or else the soul will be forever lost (not even divine intervention, a wish or a True Resurrection spell will restore the character to life or lichdom).

Monday, 29 November 2010

Digging the Sandbox: Against the Slave Lords.

I'll be liberally spreading adventure hooks throughout the sandpit for the next series of modules: A1-4 Against the Slave Lords. A classic module set originally designed as tournament modules, the A series could have been purpose designed for Hyborian gaming, were it not for the overwhelming presence of humanoids. It even has carnivorous apes and insect-men, all of which are very Howard-esque in and of themselves. All the A serie modules have been reviewed to death in the past, so I'll concentrate (briefly) on what makes them so apt for my campaign.

The first module presents a Slaver base in a Ruined Temple within a city, meaning that in my sand-box the Temple (and it's sewer level) will be located in Tortage. The module is extremely well written, with a number of challenging traps and encounters. It features a new race of insect men, the Aspis, whom I happen to like very much and will liberally sprinkle throughout other modules (along with lizardmen) to break the monotony of Picts and Pirates. The A-2 Module, Secret of the Slaver's Stockade, is my favourite of the four. Set in a hill-fort, it represents a place where the slavers store their “stock” prior to taking it to market. The module features a number of excellent “Saturday Night Specials” including fun with mirrors, a nice little encounter with the restless dead and a much more memorable encounter with an NPC who could teach big Arnie's character in Predator a thing or two about guerilla warfare. Finally, even the main villains have character – including a Blind Swordsman and great-sword wielding ogre (a huge Cimmerian in my campaign) who knows a few nasty (very nasty) manoeuvres.

As far as conversion goes, both modules are relatively easy to place. A-1 will happen in (and below) Tortage. A-2 will be sited in a Hill fort on one of the islands. All of the modules have a number of humanoid encounters which I'll simply replace with correspondingly dangerous humans. Even the undead encounters have suitably Hyborian themes. All this means I expect the Slavers to feature prominently as the main mid-level campaign villains, especially given that the PC's (as escaped slaves themselves) are very likely to hold a grudge against their captors.

Unfortunately, A2 is where the Slavers mini-campaign must come to an end for my Hyborian players. As much as they are excellent modules, the third module relies on the players visiting a "hidden city" and the fourth involve escaping from the clutches of their slaver captors. I've always hated deux ex machina style railroading, and module three requires that the characters lose a battle to ensure the lead in to the excellent fourth module in the series. I suppose it's entirely possible to take the players out of the Barachan Isles to a city in a foreign land, but in my experience once the players leave your sandbox it can be damned hard to get them back in it. Alas, therefore, A3 and A4 are consigned to the "no" box.

Even discounting the later two modules of the series, A1 and A2 add two new locations to the campaign. One location added to the Tortage Map, and another added to the wilderness map. Namely the Ruined Temple (which I'll be calling "Slaver House") and the Hill Fort stockade itself.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Dungeon Tiles

For the last few days, I've been busily chasing away the Xmas Shopping blues with a little bit of judicious terrain construction. I'm blessed with a multitude of pdf versions of various dungeon tiles produced by a good half dozen companies or so. Pdf's which have been gathering dust, unused, in my archives for several years. So I used the opportunity afforded by Christmas errands to by myself some art materials. I've been busily making dungeon terrain ever since.

One of my main issues has been the cost of printing dungeon tiles. My printer cartridges can only manage a dozen or so sheets of photo quality tiles before they need replacing, meaning it's actually cheaper for me to simply go out and buy the sets (or have them printed professionally) than it is to produce my own. Given this, I've decided to concentrate more on 3D terrain features -bookcases, torture tables, beds and the like- since my dungeon tile collection from commercial products is fairly large anyway.

I've also found that simply selecting the "text and graphics" option when using semi-gloss photo paper produces pretty damn good results as it is, without having to use up more ink with the "photo quality" printer options. Which will hopefully make this little side-project of mine a lot more affordable.

Finally, also to cut down on costs, I'm using ordinary poster card rather than thicker, modellers card, to assemble the 3D models. I've sandwiched two layers together for strength, which still saves on the pennies, before glueing the photopaper on top after printing. I've also been using plenty of scrap card to butress the models from the inside, just for extra strength. I remain a bit worried about storage, so I plan on seeing how durable this first batch is before I go making any more

No pictures yet, because my other half (the photographer in the family) is out and about and I personally haven't a clue to go about taking a decent photo of what is, essentially, a 3D photo. I'll include them in a forthcoming post about what miniatures I'll be using (and have painted) in my Hyborian game - finding miniatures with the right "feel" for the setting can be something of a challenge after all. I'm also planning (finally) on getting those two posts on the Necromancer class for OSRIC finished as well as picking out a few more modules for my Hybrorian campaign.

Until then.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Digging the Sandbox: Pictish Tribes

One of the problems of converting a humanocentric world such as the Hyborian Age to the OSIC system is the general lack of traditional Old School opponents. Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs and the like just don't fit in the Hyborian Age, except as the very occasional (and geographically very isolated) experiments of a deranged wizard such as Thoth-Amon or the Hyperboreans. Fortunately, given that the Barachan Isles are just to the South of the Pictish Wilderness, I don't need to look too far for a solution.

Traditionally, Hyborian Picts fill the “bogeyman” or “savage monster” role occupied by orcs and other humanoids in most fantasy settings. Given that some of the Picitish tribes idolise and have chosen certain sea or coast-dwelling creatures for the totem animals, it's not hard to justify the presence of sea-going Picts on the Barachans.

To give me plenty of lee-way for establishing multiple power-blocs (and a rationale for why the Picts haven't swept away all opposition on the Isles, including the city of Tortage) it becomes necessary to go beyond the relatively few canon (or near canon) Pictish tribes of a nautical nature and create a few of my own. I've also adapted a few of the Pictish tribes with jungle-animal totems to my needs. All of these tribes are far smaller in number than their counterparts in the Pictish Wilderness. In part due to the relative scarcity of land and fresh water. Mostly due to contstant internecine tribal warfare.

Once I have my modules picked out, and have a better idea of what my sandbox map is going to look like, I'll be able to establish geographical territories to each tribe. But for the time being, the Pictish tribes of Baracha are as follows:

Bat Tribe: Lifted from the Age of Conan MMO, the Bat Picts train dire-bats and giant bats as guard-beasts, hunting animals and even mounts. Like their name-sake, they are commonly most active at night, their preferred time to hunt or attack. Their lifestyle means they have above average (but not supernatural) night vision but, due to a penchant for sleeping in caves during the day, can be adversely affected by bright light.

Crab Tribe: One of the rare few Pictish tribes that wear any form of armour, the Crab tribe have taken to hunting Crab-Men to strip them of the shells, which Crab Picts thereafter wear into battle. This sacred hunt has taken on overtones or a rite-of-passage for the younger men of the tribe. Crab tribe warriors fight with two weapons at once, usually a serrated club in either hand, though some will wear a small shield (made of Crab-man Pincers) as well.

Crocodile Tribe: The Crocodile tribe wear the hides of their totem animal into battle, often stretching the hides with sturdy sticks to make functional and effective shields. There favoured weapons are clubs, spears or javelins studded with crocodile teeth. They are adept at ambush and, like their name-sake, adept sprinters over short distances. A favoured trick of Crocodile Picts is to lurk just beneath the water, breathing through a hollow reed, before leaping to the attack.

Lobster Tribe: Much like the Crab, the Lobster tribes elite warriors gird themselves for battle in the shell's of giant lobsters, many slain generations ago and patched with clay. They paint themselves with a red dye made of boiled lobster shells. Traditionally, they sacrifice their victims by boiling them alive inside a giant lobster shell. The Lobster and Crab tribes have so many traditions and rites in common that local sages have postulated that one might be an off-shot of the other.

Shark Tribe: The Shark Tribe clad themselves in supple shark skin, which assists them to swim at great speed underwater. Their weapons often feature shark teeth or serrated designs. Warriors emulate their shark totem with near ceaseless motion, never remaining still during their waking hours. When a Shark warrior is incapacitated by wounds, his brothers fall upon him in a frenzy of teeth, daggers and nails, consuming him raw as an offering to the Shark Spirit.

Panther Tribe: Panther tribe warriors paint themselves black and excel in stealthy movement (many are thieves or assassins). They favour a pair of knives or fighting claws as weapons and many file their teeth into sharp points for biting. Their battle cry mimics the hiss-roar of an angry panther with uncanny accuracy.

Spider Tribe: The Spider tribe often coat their knives, spears and darts in spider venom, using different varieties depending on whether they wish to capture or kill their prey. They attack and hunt in packs of eight, often springing from the trees or leaping up from under camouflaged maps to assault their foe. Every year, their chief mates with their Shaman, who is always female, in an orgiastic rite that culminates with the Shaman gnawing the head from the shoulders of the still-living previous chief before mating with the new. It is said that when the semen of the slain chief falls upon the ground, a deranged half-spider, a half-man spider creature is summoned. Such creatures are often kept to lead the tribe in battle, or else form a protective curtain of scouts around the encampment. They are one of the smallest tribes on the islands, yet also among the most feared, even by other Pict tribes.

Dolphin Tribe: Warriors of the Dolhin tribe often enter the city of Tortage to trade for weapons of bronze, iron or steel. No woman is safe around them. The warriors of the Dolphin tribe take no permanent mate, preferring to gang-rape any women of the tribe (or any other tribe) at whim. They sometimes choose to forget that this behaviour is illegal even in a cess-pit like Tortage. They consider any woman they choose to be fair game, as the warriors “right”. His foul reward for a successful “hunt”. Men (and woman) go quiet whenever a Dolphin warrior enters a Tortage inn. Patrols of Skull Guard follow them everywhere. Alas, most dolphin warriors seem to regard their unsubtle escorts as little more than another obstacle on their “hunt”.

Serpent Tribe: Like the Spider Tribe, the serpent tribe often coat their weapons in poison. They prefer to strike from a distance before fleeing, allowing the poison to do its work, before returning to finish off a weakened or dying foe with knives. They keep many snakes, particularly of the poisonous variety, as pets and guard animals.

Tortoise Tribe: Another of the more “friendly” tribes, the Tortoise carry heavy shields and wear plate armour formed from Tortoise shell into battle. Slow to act, slow to anger and slow to move, the implacable tread of the Tortoise warriors strikes fear into the heart of any Pict who hears it. They are a small tribe, but militarily one of the most powerful. The exist in a near-constant state of war with the Shark, Spider and Dolphin tribes and rarely display any form of emotion.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Digging the Sandbox: Pirate Ships of Tortage

I've Been thinking a little more on Tortage. On the grounds that it might be very atmospheric to see the same pirates ships returning to Port time and again I've decided to come up with a few "stand-out" ships that the players are likely to take notice of with each visit. Some of them serve as adventure hooks and plot devices. Others will just be scenery.

All five (with the exception of "Ravager of Sorrows") will be in the harbour when the PC's arrive. Ravager will arrive behind soon after. Each day, each ship has a cumulative 5% chance of leaving port for 1D4+1 weeks. The exception being "The Black Ship" which shall leave port to return in 1d4+1 days. Another 1d4 ships will be in dock at any given time. These may (or may not) be detailed later.

"The Black Ship": A 120 oar Stygian galley, with three banks or oars and a fully enclosed top deck. No one ever admits to seeing any of the ships crew on deck, let alone anyone entering or leaving. Whenever this ship docks, a very palpable pall settles on the city, even the fiercest of pirates keep their roistering toned down to a near sepulchral degree when the Black Ship has docked. Never coming into port alone, a swarm of smaller Dhow's perpetually sail alongside, maintaining a perimeter and slaying all who come near. Even Lord Azzur, Pirate prince of Tortage, must await permission -and presumably an invitation- before boarding.

DM Notes: This ship carries a Stygian Sorcerer of the Black Ring, his retinue, his undead servants and anywhere up to around 250 living crew and marines. The ship and it's crew will be a constant foil for the adventuring party -every time they turn up at an old ruin, the Stygians have been there, are there, or are likely to be on their way. Many of the Sorcerers they encounter throughout the Isles have connections with this ship. Just what is it that this ship and it's mysterious captain are up to?

The Ravager of Sorrows:
This will be the pirate galley - crew approx 100- that the characters first meet in the opening adventure of the campaign. While most of the crew are likely to be killed during the course of events, some will survive to steer the ship back to port. How great a role it plays it the remainder of the campaign is up to the players. Black sail with a weeping skull motif.

"The Son's of Crom": Not so much the name of a ship as the name of it's crew. A captured merchant galley with a crew of about 30-40. All Cimmerian. The captain will accept only his fellow hillmen among the crew, so despite their recent success as coastal raiders, the groups numbers remain fairly constant. One sudden reversal however, might be enough to reduce the Son's to a mere handful. Always badly handled and in poor condition.

The Woeful Tide: A slave ship belonging to the Slave Lords, it carries a relatively small crew and can squeeze a great many slaves, all lying flat on their backs, into the hold. The ship reeks. The locals swear they can smell it coming a full day before it appears at the docks. Red sails.

The Face of Chaos: The personal galley of Pirate Prince and Lord of Tortage, Varek Azzur. All know that when this ship is no longer in port, neither is it's captain. At such times, the brother of Prinze Azzur, the self-proclaimed Sultan Mehmet, "rules" Tortage. Crueler and far more sadisitic even that his brother, whose cruelty at least always has a purpose, all know that when Mehmet rules, punishments become all the more harsher and the "laws" of Tortage all the more unpredictable. Black sail with a demonic, leering green face.

A Final Thought on Sailing in the Hyborian Age:

It occurs to me that Hyborian Age ships are coasters at best and most often simple galleys. Historically, galleys had to be beached at night, mostly because the ships weren't really capable of riding out bad weather by day let alone at night. So would there only be one or two settlements in the Barachan Isles? Perhaps I should have a few more coastal villages in sheltered bays, whose economy relies on providing services to beached crews, much as there was in the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. However, the Mediterranean didn't have an infestation of Picts? Perhaps the ships do still beach at night -but put out a party of armed guards and light torches for protection against Pict raids. Something to ponder.

Hyperborian Age Magic: Weapons and Armour

As I'm sure anyone who knows the setting will agree, the Hyborian Age is not so much "magic-poor" as "magic-rare" ( a term I learned from Evan over at Hugely Ruined Pile). Demons, Curses, Magic and Enchanted Items abound in the setting, but not to the same extent as in other fantasy settings, but when they are found, they tend to be far more powerful (on average) than in other campaign worlds.

To reflect this, I'm going to rule that magical items that come with a "+" or a "-" (but nothing else) aren't actually magical items at all. They're just particularly well made, but otherwise non-magical, crafted items - particularly those made of steel, bronze that's be carbonated in bird-shit, especially pure iron and so forth. Such weapons will retain their ability to harm demons and other creatures immune to "non-magical items", which helps stay true to the spirit of the Age as well. Conan, after all, was particularly adept at putting down demons and other magical beasts without the aid of magical weapons.

I'm thinking that a "Sword +3, Protection from Evil" would be magical because it protected the bearer from evil. Not because of the +3. In this case, the enchantment just happens to have been applied to an especially well-made sword of, say, Cimmerian Blue Steel.

As I ponder the matter further, I'll probably come up with more magic-item house rules that retain the flavour of the Hyborian Age. I'm very conscious of the fact that Old School gaming tends to assume that characters of a given play level possess a certain quantity of magical items. So I'll attempt to find a way to balance the "magic-rare" qualities of the Hyborian Age with the "magic-item debt" of the OSRIC rules.

Digging the Sandbox: Two OSRIC Modules.

Once again, I've read and reviewed another pair of modules with an eye to including them in my Hyborian Age Sandbox campaign. This time I look at two modules designed specifically for OSRIC. Here are the results:

Misty Ridge is a module designed specifically for OSRIC. It features the traditional “help the hapless villagers” trope and introduces both a new monster race and a new player race . At 18 pages it's about the standard size for a newer module, but the problem is, other than the new race and the new monster, there is very little to make it stand out.

From my Hyborian Age campaign-conversion perspective, the fact that it centres on a relatively normal village atop a sea-cliff is, perhaps surprisingly, problematic. The Barachan Isle's are pirate isles after all, so I want as few permanent settlements as possible. Apart from the odd Pirate Cove, I already have a Slave Village, the Village of Women and Tortage. Now, the Island chain is about 200 miles long and features 13 islands, but even so, given I have to find room for all the Pictish tribes and ruined sites, I don't have much space for villages which, in all honestly, probably would not last five minutes in a region ruled by Pirates. As much as I plan to have a (small) part of the Mainland as well as some Argossan and Zingarran settlements (naval bases, more or less, in modern terms) on the campaign map I can't justify filling a slot with an unexceptional village like Mistyridge for the sake of an average module. True, I can probably get away with running multiple modules out of one village -but how many problems can one little village have? At least, without driving the residents away.

So, I'm afraid Misty Ridge becomes the first module in the “No” pile. It's decent enough as modules go, but too vanilla to make the final cut.

The Sarcophagus Legion, on the other hand, seems to have much better prospects. Although designed for a Middle Eastern type setting, with endless deserts and featuring dervishes as the foe, it includes some very Sword & Sorcery-esque backstabbing and betrayal. The Sultan's intended is missing, captured by those dastardly Dervishes, and the party have to rescue her. In true Hyborian style however, things are never that simple where a pretty face or rich women is concerned.

It's a well written, gritty little module with plenty of twists and turns and -best of all- doesn't require the addition of a village to the map. Why not? Because the Sultan in question is the younger brother of Tortage's Pirate Prince. I'll just replace the dervishes with a daring crew of Pirates or Slavers and away we go. I'm going to base the climate and terrain of the Barachan Isles on the Canary Isles, so there will be plenty of volcanic, sandy landscape on the southernmost islands for the wilderness part of the module. Thus, the module is relatively painlessly converted. Oh, I nearly forgot, the Dark Dwarf sorcerer: he becomes a rather short and hunchbacked magic user. All done.

So, the Legion makes the cut, bringing the following locations to the sandbox: A desert-like stretch of terrain on one of the main southern islands. The Black Plume Mine and a Ruined Temple.

Next instalment: Against the Slave Lords.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Digging the Sandbox: B1 In Search of Treasure

This module has been reviewed in detail a great many times before, so this post will be (unusually) brief and succinct for a change.

The premise of the module is that a cavern complex once used as a base by a pair of adventurers has recently been rediscovered and is now ripe for exploration. The two dungeon levels included are well described with a few nice "specials" including an interesting magic-mouth routine, to keep the players guessing.

The real gem of the module however, is the way it's written expressly for both New Players and New GM's, with an extensive section offering advice on how to play (and run) the game for beginners. It's this well written section which is probably the source of it's persistently high praise by just about every Old School type who has ever reviewed or played it. I'm sure somebody, somewhere, didn't like it (and not just because they've played through it umpteen times by now) but I've never met him.

Now the main area of concern for me is, once again, how easily can I adapt this to the Hyborian Age? The beauty of this module is that it doesn't actually assign either monsters or treasure to individual room keys. Instead, the DM is supposed to pick a dozen or so of each from a list of thrity or so and place them around the dungeon prior to play beginning. Coincidentally (hardly) giving the module a fairly high replay value, since it'll never be the same treasure or monsters in the same room twice. This design methods works especially well for me, as it means I can ignore the lists and simply put whatever I like there. Now, once again, Picts are the first thing that spring to mind. However, I'm already all-Picted out (as I imagine my players will be by this point) so I have to think of something else. Perhaps the crew of a mysterious Stygian galley that's been lurking in the Tortage Harbour for a considerable period of time? If so, what are they looking for?

This question could be answered by the next point. If two adventurous types are going to build a fortress, I imagine they would build it near an adventure site of some kind -so why not place it near the Acheronian Ruins, the sand-box Mega Dungeon. This means that the inhabitants (whomsoever they might eventually be) could be using it as a convenient base for their own exploration of the ruins. Que rival adventurers anyone?

B1 is an excellent module, well deserving of it's sterling reputation and well-thumbed place on the shelves of any Old School Gamer. Yes, it's been played to death by many gamers, but fortunately, my group will be almost certainly delving it for the first time, with the possible exception of Andy, the only other veteran gamer in the group I'll be running the campaign for; making over-exposure a non-issue in this case. Fantastic. This is one dungeon I never get bored of running. I just wish someone else would DM it so I can actually get to play through it for once. You know, just to say I've done it.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Digging the Sandbox: The Jade Hare, Temple of the Ape and Idol of the Orcs.

J-1 The Jade Hare is a fairly standard “rescue/retrieve” module for low level characters. In the module itself, the Idol has been stolen by a wizard and his goblin followers, taken from a small village. At just ten pages long it's a short module, with a small dungeon that a typical low level party might manage on a single trip, and otherwise sparse on setting details, making it easy enough to Transplant into any campaign. The character and location names have an eastern feel, but this is easy enough to change on the fly.

Which leads us to the issue of how easily the module can be converted to the Hyborian Age. There aren't many settlements in the Barachan Isles outside of Tortage, with the exception of Pictish Villages. However, in the Age of Conan game it appears that while slaves are (obviously) not illegal in Tortage, escaped slaves are. In fact, escaped slaves are simply not allowed into the city and must face exile. I imagine that these former slaves are themselves, in fact, something of a target for slavers. So I shall rule that a small band of ex-slaves have long since banded together to form a small village not far from Tortage, deeper into the mountains and protected by stout stone walls for protection. They may even trade with the city itself from time to time, providing it with some essential local items such as meat, furs, hides and so on.

We shall rule that the Jade Hare was stolen from here. I'll also use the village as the base location for other, similar adventures in the same vein. By which I mean modules that require that the party assist a village. The villain of the peace is an easy one: he'll become a Stygian sorcerer, perhaps either in service to another, more powerful sorcerer on the island or else a runaway apprentice out to make a name for himself. Once again, the goblin servants will become a bunch of Picts and pirates, change the desert setting to a desert island and we're ready to roll.

So this module gives me two locations to add to the Sandbox: the Slave tribe village and the Dungeon of the Mad Warlock. I'll leave off a decision on where to put these just yet. Chances are they will go on the main island, but lets see what we get from the other modules first.

This leads us to the Temple of the Ape Module by RC Pinnell. At 15 pages long it's also a nice, short module which any given party should easily manage in a short session. However the first 6 pages serve as an introduction to Old School gaming and rules. The Premise that the party encounters an island village of beautiful women, with no men. These woman are refugees from ancient times (in my campaign, I'll say they are descended from Atlantis or the Acheronian Empire) and are protected by wise-women and man-apes. Yet the villagers have heard little from either in some time and now the head-hunting local hobgoblins (Picts again, in my campaign) are starting to encroach on the villagers traditional territory. Que a quest to find out whats happened to the man-apes and wise-women.

It's a nice enough little module, but presents an awful lot of unanswered questions. One off-hand sentence notes: “there are no men in the village (anymore).” Anymore? What sort of explanation is that? True, a variety of possibilities for how the woman breed (and what with) are hinted at in the module text, but there is nothing at all to say what happened to all the men? Frankly, the module relies on innuendo, never quite wanting to come out and say exactly what's going on. The author explicitly states he is aware of the lack of concrete answers, but demures by saying he wanted to emulate the style of certain Old School modules by allowing the DM to decide what's happening on his own. Personally, I hated those particular old school modules. I like to know what the module writer was thinking when her wrote the module. Hell, if I don't like it, I'll change it anyway. But the chance exists that the author's explanation could have been far more interesting (and make more sense) than mine. After all, what's the use of a “mystery” module if the mystery isn't resolved by the end of it? DM's enjoy finding out the answers to mystery's as well, after all. It's one of the reasons I actually buy modules rather than just making my own. The main one, of course, being that building a sandbox takes long enough without having to write everything in it.

Regardless of it's many flaws, Temple of the Ape has a great deal of Hyborian flavour to it. It's this fact, rather than the writing, that will win it a place in my Hyrborian Age sandbox. Even so, I just can't shake the slightly disappointed feeling that with a little more work on the part of the author, this could have been a right little gem of a module.

Temple of the Ape requires an island setting. But to justify why these women haven't gotten themselves kidnapped by slavers, it'll need to be quite out of the way. The module suggests a large island, but in this case I'll have to make it quite a small one. If only to explain why a colony of nubile females all on their lonesome in the middle of a Pirate Stronghold hasn't already come to a bad end.

So, three more more locations for the sandbox from this module. The village of women. The Temple of the Ape and Pictish Head-Hunters Village.

Finally, we have the Idol of the Orcs. Another small dungeon, just to continue the theme, though with a delightful twist and extremely well written. However, in this case I think I will exchange the Orcs for a band of pirates or brigands down on their luck (perhaps even the survivors from the Pirate's in Treasure Hunt). I'll either make it a sea cave on one of the smaller islands or place it in the wilderness around Tortage. Rather than Orcus as the idol, I reckon I'll make it some ancient, evil Acheronian demon-god. The module won't so much be an adventure with a lead in as a wilderness location the party might some day stumble upon.

So that adds one more location to the sandbox, for a total of six locations from 3 modules. So far, from 4 modules reviewed, all four have earned a place in the sandbox. I hope I can start paring the numbers down soon, or else I'll end up with an adventure site in every damn hex!.

Monday, 15 November 2010

New OSRIC Class: The Houri (Part II)

Part II of this article provides game rules for the Spell-like abilities of the Houri character class.

Please note: Normally Kiss spells require that both parties (caster and recipient) are willing, representing an actual Kiss. However, a Houri can also use a Kiss ability on a helpless, restrained or unconscious foe.

Level 1:

Charm Person: As per magic user spell.
Ventriloquism: As per magic-user spell.
Detect Charm: Enables the Houri to ascertain whether an individual or creature is under the influence of any kind of charm or hold spell, including geas, suggestion, charm person, charm animal, charm monster, etc. Ranged 30ft. Duration 2 turns.
Fascination: Affects a single individual attracted to the Houri who thereafter is unable to perform any activity save follow the Houri wherever she goes, unable to take his or her eyes off the Houri. If attacked they will try to beat off any opponents, including his own comrades, in order to continue following the Houri. Range: 60 ft. Duration 20 turns.
SilverTongue: Enables the Houri to lie so convincingly that the recipient will believe anything she says (unless his sense tell him otherwise. He will not believe that there is no-one else present when he can clearly see another characters foot sticking out from un
der the curtain). Affects 1D6 HD worth of individuals. Duration 6 turns.
Impotence: The recipient (who must be male) becomes impotent for 24 hours. During this period he will attack at -2 and make all morale checks and saving throws at -2. The character will feel downright miserable and inadequate throughout.
Kiss of Healing: Requires a Kiss. No saving throw. Restores 2-7 hp of damage to an injured character. requires a kiss. Note that this kiss does not magically re-seal wounds or staunch bleeding. Rather, it provides a "Zoweeee" factor that gets the wounded individual back on his feet and back into the battle.
Kiss of Sleeping: Requires a Kiss. No save. The recipient falls into a deep coma for 1d10 turns plus the Houri's level and cannot be awakened by normal means.
Kiss of Waking: The reverse of the above spell. Will also negate a sleep spell or any other form of magical slumber such as a curse.
Read Languages: As per magic-user spell. Huori are well educated in order to please their partners with conversation as well as by more physical means.

Level 2:
Charm Nor
mal Animals: Affects any normal animals (but not giant animals or monsters) in the order of 1-20 small insects, 1-8 small animals (rats, ferrets), 1-4 medium sized animals (dogs, badgers) or a single large animals (such as a lion, rhino or elephant). It dos not provide the Houri with a means of communicating with the animal. Range: 60ft. Duration: 6 turns plus the level of the Houri.
Influence: A variation on charm person. The recipient will remain completely unaware that he is charmed, even after the effect wears off. He behaves normally in all respects save that he must obey any command (or request) mad
e by the Houri (with the exception of orders to commit suicide, he'll simply assume these are a joke). He will obey these orders cheerfully, believing he does so because he wants to. This effect is non-magical and so subtle that it can be detected only by a Houri of a higher character level that the "caster". Range and Duration as Charm Person. "Casting" time 1 hour.
Transfer Charm: Transfers control over a charmed individual to the Houri herself. In essence, the Houri frees the character of the charm by her own wiles, effectively charming the recipient herself in the process. Range: 60 ft, Duration as per the original charm spell.
Jealousy: Affects 1D6HD of humanoids who are attracted to the Houri's race and gender, causing them to become jealous of one another to the extent that they will ignore the Houri and any others dangers present for 2D4 turns. There is a 20% that this might lead to blows. If it does, there is an additional 20% chance that the resulting fight will be to the death. If not to the death, the combatants will be freed from the effects of the spell-like ability when hit.
Ecstasy: Affects 1d8HD of humanoids who are attracted to the Houri's race and gender. The targets are affected in order of Hit Dice, with the lowest hit dice characters being affected prior to the higher hit dice targets. Victims so affected sit down and stare at the Houri helplessly so long as she continues to hold their attention whether by dancing, singing or other means. They offe
r no resistance to anything she does short of actually killing one of them. Partially affected characters are allowed a saving throw vs spells. Fully affected characters are not. Range: 20ft. Duration: 1D6 turns plus the Houri's level or until she stops her performance (whichever comes first).
Dispel Charm: Removes any sort of charm effect as if it were a dispel magic spell cast by a Magic User of the Houri's level. Range: 10ft.
Kiss of Strength: No saving throw. Requires a kiss. The recipient of the Houri's kiss is invigorated by her passion and high regard. Works as per the Strength spell.
Kiss of Weakness: No saving throw. The Houri's kiss leaves the recipient weak at the knees. As per the weakness spell. Requires a kiss.
Communicate: Enables the Houri to communicate with any intelligent creature in a pidgin version of it's own language. Duration equals the level of the Houri.

Level 3:
Hold Person: As per the cleric spell.
Love Spell: The spell requires some items belonging to the intended victim, these much be of a personal nature. Unlike most Houri spelll-like abilities, this is an actual spell. The words of the ritual are chanted over the item, causing the character they belong to to either fall in love with the next person t
hey see, a person of the Houri's choice or with the Houri herself. Duration as per Charm Person. The casting time is one hour and must be cast outdoors, in the light of the full moon, while naked.
Resist Charm: This hedges the Houri with a protective aura which makes her immune to any kind of charm or hold spell, including geas, suggestion, charm, quest and so on.
Disguise: Similar to the change self spell, but relying entirely on clothing and cosmetics. Any creature or NPC of a given named species or culture viewing the Houri must save vs spell or believe her to be an especially attractive member of the same species, culture or ethnicity. It enables the houri to use her special abilities against any creature attracted to her apparent gender which fails the save.
Suggestion: As per the magic-user spell
Charm Giant Animals: As per Charm Normal Animals, save that it works on giant and enchanted animals.
Bodyguard: This affects all 1-3 HD creatures within 30ft of the Houri who are attracted to her race and gender. Any who fail a save vs spells will immediately disregard any previous orders or alliances and leap to the Houri's side, forming a protective cordon around her. They will fight to protect her from any and all assailants, even their own comrades. After successfully defending the Houri for one combat, they will collapse to their knees for 1-4 turns in horror at their actions, becoming all but catatonic. Range: 30ft.
Kiss of Slavery: Requires a Kiss. Counts as a Charm Person spell with no saving throw. Checks to break the charm affect are made only after twice the normal duration. A victim of this spell will obey any order (even suicidal ones) without question.

Level 4
Charm Monster: As per magic user spell.
Resist Charm 10ft radius: As resists charm save that it protects all persons or creatures within a 10ft radius of the Houri. Duration: 6 turns plus one turn per level of the Houri.
Lovesickness: Affects a single target attracted to the Houri's race and gender. The victim becomes so madly in love with the Houri that as soon as he loses sight of her he begins to waste away. He foes off his food, turns to drink and becomes an emotional and physical wreck, fighting at -7. He will die or malnutrition and alcohol poisoning in a number of days equal to his Con score plus 4. There is also a 10% cha
nce per day of the character committing suicide. Whats more, he is compelled to obey any instruction the Houri gives him, including orders to leave her presence and never return. Wears off as a charm person spell, but otherwise must be treated by the Dispel Charm ability of another (higher level) Houri, a Remove Curse or a love spell which will make him fall in love with someone else.
Confusion: As per the magic user spell.

Hate Spell: Works like the Love spell, but in reverse. Must be performed in the full light of day, under a blazing sun, while fully clothed.
Enchant Male/Female: Must be used in conjunction with a special ability that would normally only affect creatures or persons attracted to the characters race and gender. Allows the ability to affect those who would not normally be attracted to her gender. The affected individual creature must still find itself attracted to the Houri's race however otherwise both Special abilities fail and their uses lost for the day. Must be followed by another spell-like ability with the same target next round.
Kiss of Paralysis: Requires a Kiss. No save. Affects last 1D4 game days or until the Houri removes it with a second application of the poison. Whichever comes first.
Kiss of Linking: Requires a Kiss. Links the mind of the Houri with that of the recipient for 2D4 game hours. During this time the two will think and act as one person. The Houri will be able to speak though the mouth of the other character and control their actions. If the Houri can cast spells she can cast them through the body of the other person, but she cannot use her special Houri abilities. There is a 10% that her mind will end up in the wrong body once this spell wears off. Should one of the mind linked characters die then both minds will end up permanently inhabiting the body of the survivor.

Level 5:
Change Sex: Unlike most Houri abilities, this is an actual spell. It alters the sex of any one humanoid creature who must be present throughout the casting process. Unless the victim has submitted to the change willingly he or she will automatically suffer the effects of the confusion spell for 1D10 turns after spell completion. Additionally, the change is so traumatic that the creature must make a system shock roll or die. Range:10ft. Casting Time: 12 hours. Material Components: a Full length silver mirror worth at least 1000gp. Duration: Permanent unless reversed.
Hold Monster: As per magic user spell.
Kiss of Disfigurement: Requires a Kiss. No saving throw.Permanently reduces the charisma of the victim by 1d4. Requires a kiss, during which the Houri bites of a chunk of the victims face such as a nose or ear.
Kiss of Death: Saving Throw vs Death. Victims making a successful save lose half their current hit points.
Kiss of Polymorph: Requires a Kiss. Requires access to a Polymorph potion. No Save Allowed. Works as per the Polymorph Other spell. One dose of Polymorph potion contains enough magic to prepare 1D6 such applications.
Stop: The Houri performs an outrageous action (such as suddenly removing all clothing) which causes all activity by living beings within a 30ft radius to stop for 1D4 rounds. Any creature touched or distracted by a loud noise or attacked during this period immediately breaks free of the effect. There is no saving throw against this spell. Even spells or magical items that protect against hold effects or paralysing are ineffective.

Level 6:
Heartbreaker: A spell-like ability that induces a sudden heart attack in the target if a save vs death is failed. If the recipient survives, he or she will be totally incapacitated for 6 + 1D6 game weeks and will permanently lose one point each from strength and constitution. Range: 30ft.
Mass Charm: As per magic user spell.
Blown Kiss: Enable the Houri to use any Kiss spell-like ability of levels 1-5 without actual physical contact with the recipient. Must be used in conjunction with a Kiss spell next round. Range:60ft.
Kiss of Regression: Causes the victim to regress mentally into an infant. Permanent unless dispelled. Counteracts the effects of aging magic or magical items, returning the victim to his natural age, both mentally and physically.
Geas: As per magic user spell
Kiss of life: As per the clerical Raise Dead Spell. Requires that the recipient make a system shock roll to be raised successfully.

Houri and Magical items:
May use any potions and items of magical jewellery, including those normally only permitted for a specific character class. May use magical weapons and armour in which they are proficient. May not use any wands, staves, rods or scrolls unless they are concerned specifically (and solely) with charm effects or lovemaking.

Machiavellian Monday: Realpolitik in Old School Gaming. Chapter I

Today sees the birth of a new, semi-regular feature I like to think of as "Machiavellian Monday". Every Monday I'll be looking a Chapter from Niccolo Machiavelli's seminal work, "The Prince" and applying it to Old School gaming techniques.

So lets kick things off with Chapter 1: How Many Kinds of Principality There are and the Ways in Which They Are Acquired.

"All the states, all the dominions under whose authority men have lived in the past and live now are have been or either are principalities or republics. Principalities are hereditary, with the Prince's family as long-established rulers or they are new. The new are completely new, as was Milan to Franscesco Sforza, or they are like limbs joined to the hereditary state of the Prince who acquires them, as with the Kingdom of Naples in relation to the King of Spain. Domains so acquired are accustomed to be under a Prince , or used to freedom; a prince wins them either with the arms of others or with his own, either by fortune or by prowess.

Thus we have just read the entirety of the first chapter. At first glance, there's not a great deal there that can be properly applied to gaming. However, on deeper thought, there is more than you might think.

If we view the state as an adventuring party, we know then that the leader(s) are either born to the position (such as in the case of a noble leading his retinue on adventure) or else elected. The style of leadership in the party is an important aspect to consider in and of itself. Not all "republic" model parties actually elect a leader. Many determine major group actions through a cast of votes; though, hopefully, they have the sense to elect a "battle leader" to prevent debate mid-combat. Additionally, the party leader (or battle leader) might change from expedition to expedition, much as the leader of a Republic might change from year to year.

In any adventuring party, especially an Old School, dungeon-venturing one, it is important to have a clear cut chain of command. Particularly in combat. It is vital to know whose instructions the party should be following in a scrap, if only to avoid a situation where half the party charges while the other half runs away.

Finally, there should be clearly established rules for how a leader is chosen. Is it by social rank? Character level? Or by election? If by election, when is it appropriate to select a new leader if one is required? How (and under what circumstances) can a leader be deposed and a new leader selected? Who shall rise in his place if the leader should fall in battle? And who shall replace the new leader? And so on and so forth.

If all these questions are answered prior to the groups entry to a dungeon, the groups chances of surviving to exit it again are certainly magnified. If the group has not determined who is in charge before the first blow is struck, then it is already too late. Confusion, and thereafter bloody carnage, is sure to follow.

New OSRIC Class: The Houri (Part I)

Please take note: While the flavor of these rules has changed somewhat, mechanically there are very few differences from the original version of this class as written by Brian Asbury and originally published in White Dwarf issue number 13.

The class is not in the least politically correct (thank god) but does allow players interested in portraying the temptress style character (or, for that matter, a "
charmer" such as James Bond) the chance to do so. Although the class was originally envisioned as an NPC class in the White Dwarf article, as recent entertainment trends have shown, the Houri makes for an effective (and interesting) player character as well. The Annora and Saffron characters from Firefly are prime examples of Houri in modern media.


Houris, or Nymphs of Paradise, as they are commonly known, are a very specialized class of Rogue, combining elements of the magic user and the cleric in terms of their party role and special abilities. Trained and educated from a very young age in diverse means of pleasuring both themselves and others, often by a Temple or faith-sponsored brothel, Houri wield power over t
he manifold desires and lusts in the heart's of others. Their powers, while spell-like in effect, derive from their long years of training and, while having in-game effects that greatly resemble certain spells, are entirely natural in origin.
Although Houri are rarely found in the midst of common prostitutes, some few do leave the confines of their temples and Harems to establish themselves as especially desirable an expensive prostitutes. These in turn may go on to found brothels or even "training houses" of their own, in which they very best girls often become Houri themselves. They may also be found outside the temple in the company of especially rich and powerful men, either as a treasured wife, concubine or particularly favored slave. In either case, a wily or intelligent Houri may very quickly rise to find herself an effective force in local politics and an invariably powerful woman.

In Harn, Houri are most often found in the service o
f the Temple of Halea or (more rarely) as unusually talented members of the Courtesan's' Guild. A few rare women might even have stumbled upon such abilities of their own accord. In Harn, such a woman could rise to a position of very great power indeed, perhaps as the wife or mistress of a mighty nobleman or even a King. Houri are considerably more common in the world of Hyboria, where they are found in great numbers in the Harems of rich Easterners and the Temple's of those Goddesses of a more sensual nature, such as Ishtar, the Ivory Goddess and even those of the Snake-God, Set. Finally, certain slavers have made s speciality out of capturing, tormenting, training and (finally) selling slave girls of unusual beauty and grace. The very best of these undoubtedly qualify as Houri themselves.

Most (but by no means all) Houri are female.

The Houri Character Class:

Minimum Ability Scores:
Cha 15, Dex 10, Int 10
Hit Dice Type: D4 (max 11)
Alignment: Any
Experience Bonus: Dex and Cha both 15+

Armour/Shield Permitted: Leather Armour and Small shield (which often features in certain erotic dances) only. Generally speaking, the wiles of a Houri are more effective with less (and scantier) clothing. As such, a Houri will often e found very nearly naked, even when adventuring. Several of her class features and spell-like abilities function less effectively when the character is wearing bulky clothing or armor.
Permitted Races: Human, Elf, Half-Elf
Weapons Permitted: Dagger, Concealed Pin, Flaming Oil, Scimitar (again, all used in certain performances)
Weapon Proficiencies: 1 + 1 every four levels.
Penalty to hit for Non-Proficiency: -4.

Saving Throws and Attacks: As per thief of same level

Houri Class Abilities:

Pick Pocket: As a thief of the same level.

Seduction: Seduction is an ability that can be used (and maintained) against one individual target at a time. it is usable once per day per level of the Houri. The class ability can only be used against members of the opposite sex or individuals interested in same-sex relationships). It cannot be used in combat. Chances of success are based on the seduction value of the attempt. Calculate the seduction value as follows:

10 -  Houri's level/Victims level +/- modifiers.

The seduction succeeds if the Houri rolls higher than the seduction value on a D20. The victim receives no saving throw. If the seduction attempt fails, the Houri may not attempt to seduce that same target for at least 24 hours. Witnesses to an unsuccessful seduction attempt count as having a seduction value 3 points higher than normal for every such failed attempt witnessed in a 24 hour period.

Seduction Modifiers:

Class of Victim: Fighter/Barbarian/Bard/Thief (+0), Magic User/Illusionist (+2), Cleric/Demonologist/Druid/Assassin (+4), Necromancer/Paladin/Ranger/Houri (+7)
Alignment of Victim: Lawful (+1), Each Neutral element (+0), Chaotic (-1), Good (+1), Evil (-3)
Situational Modifiers: (examples only) Immediately after Combat in which Houri and Victim fought on same side (-3), Immediately after Combat on Opposite Sides (+3), In setting conducive to seduction including taverns, bordellos, moonlight etc (-1 to -7)
Houri is: Dressed in Bulky clothing (+1), Normal Clothing (+0), Scantily Clad (-1), Semi-Naked (-3), Naked (-5)

A seduced victim will drop any weapons held in hand, lose awareness of his surroundings and attempt to embrace the Houri in a passionate clench. The victim counts as being charmed thereafter. In such a state he is extremely vulnerable to any of the Houri's Kiss Spell-like abilities. However, any attempt by the Houri to use one of these kiss abilities (or otherwise use a special ability on the victim) allows the victim a saving throw versus death magic to realise he is being taking advantage of, breaking the seduction effect. He cannot be seduced again immediately thereafter. However, he may still fall victim to the spell like effect regardless....

Seduction lasts for a number of turns equal to the Houri's level plus 5. Aside from the means discussed above, it can also be broken by the following effects:

  • Victim is attacked by Houri
  • Allies attacked within line of sight by Houri or Hour's know companions
  • The Victim is allowed a saving throw vs spell to break seduction each time his advances are refused or spurned by the Houri.
  • The victim is the subject of an unsuccessful spell attack from any source.
  • Victim see's Houri attempt to seduce someone else (or engage in sexual acts with someone else, even a simple kiss might be enough depending on the tolerance levels of the victim). In this case, the effect is not automatically broken but the victim receives a saving throw vs death magic to break the seduction.
  • The victim is alarmed by the Houri's use of a Kiss of spell like ability and passes a saving throw vs death (as discussed above).
Spell-Like Abilities:
All the following abilities are treated, mechanically, as spells with verbal and somatic components (words and seductive gestures), components (oils, lotions, potions, scents and so forth) and savings throws as outlined in the description of the spell-like ability. However, they are NOT magic effects and cannot be overcome with Dispel Magic, Mordenkainen's disjunction  and the like. Like the Magic User, Houri keep a coded Journal, known by a variety of names (such as the Book of Manifold Pleasures or the Ninety Small Deaths) in which the Houri keeps a record of all her seductive secrets such as perfumes, poisons, oils, lotions, potions, massage techniques and recipes for incense and aphrodisiacs of all kinds. She gains spell like abilities at the same rate (and by the same means) as a Magic User gains spells. Like a magic user preparing spells, the Houri must prepare her like spell-like abilities in advance. This preparation period requires eight hours of uninterrupted rest
("beauty sleep") followed by preparation time equal to that of a magic-user memorizing his or her spells. In the case of the Houri however, this preparation period represents time spent applying make-up, hair-styling, bathing, applying various lotions and perfumes to the skin, limbering up (yoga), prayer, meditation and the brewing of poisons and aphrodisiacs.

Spell-Like Abilities by Level:

Level One:
1 Charm Person
2 Ventriloquism

3 Detect Charm
4 Fascination
5 Silver Tongue
6 Impotence
7 Kiss of Healing

8 Kiss of Sleeping
9 Kiss of Waking
10 Read Languages

Level Two:

1 Charm Normal Animal
2 Influence
3 Transfer Charm
4 Jealousy

5 Ecstasy
6 Dispel Charm
7 Kiss of Strength
8 Kiss of Weakness
9 Kiss of Wounding
10 Communicate

Level Three:
1 Hold Person
2 Love Spell
3 Resist Charm
4 Suggestion
5 Charm Giant Animals
6 Bodyguard
7 Kiss of Slavery
8 Disguise

Level Four:
1 Charm Monster
2 Resist Charm 10' radius
3 Love-sickness
4 Confusion
5 Hate Spell
6 Enchant Female (or Male)
7 Kiss of Paralysis
8 Kiss of Linking

Level Five:
1 Change Sex
2 Hold Monster
3 Kiss of Disfigurement
4 Kiss of Death
5 Kiss of Change
6 Stop! Spell

Level Six:
1 Heartbreaker
2 Mass Charm
3 Blown Kiss
4 Kiss of Regression
5 Geas
6 Kiss of Life

Note that the Kiss spells allow no saving throw, save that to break the state of seduction and then oly if the victim has previously been seduced using the Houri's seduction power.

OSRIC rules for all the above spell-like abilities will appear in part Two.

Continued Here: Link