Notes on RPG elements
~ The Manacles ~
runesword, rpg, role playing
game, dungeons & dragons, dungeons and dragons, fantasy, warhammer, WebRPG,
webrpg, GURP, games, science fiction, cyberpunk, convention, GM, gm, DM,
dm, D&D, AD&D, card games, BattleTech, StarWars, dragon, hobby, hobbies,
store,TSR, Hero, Palladium, CCG, FASA, White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast,
adventure, Runesword, runesowrd, rune, sword, runesword
Part 1: A Box of Hell
A Box of Hell, part 1 of the Manacles
series I have planned, is a large tome set in the Valley of Lemuria
on the coast of Xal. The player quickly finds himself immersed in a
mystery surrounding the death of an old recluse. What follows are my
design notes. This is a living document - I will update as I make more
notes. Note that it may contain spoilers for the players out there.
It is presented here in order to garner comments, questions and critiques
as well as be of help to Creators out there who are looking for ideas
or help getting things organized.
This is the first installment of the series. It is a murder mystery
in the H. P. Lovecraft tradition.
| Source of inspiration / ruleset used:
Inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos of H.
P. Lovecraft at al. I may use information from whatever gaming resources
I can find, as well - such as Call of Cthulhu, AD&D, various
GURPS resources, etc. Wherever my imagination takes me.
| Brief story summary:
The party is drawn into a murder investigation while serving as
caravan guards. The caravan leader explains that he needs a package
delivered to an old recluse, Old Man Silas, located in the small
village of Loesmouth. Once there, they party discovers that he has
been murdered in a most grotesque way. With the cavan having already
moved on the party is left to fend for themselves. Locals are divided
in thier opinions. Many believe it was the PCs who killed Silas,
others believe the death is due to Silas' researching things that
should be left alone. The party is left to either clear thier name
or face an angry mob.
|Player character(s) and their limitations:
This Tome will allow the player to bring up to 5 (10 levels total)
of their own characters into the adventure.
|Team members and their jobs:
It's just me. I would certainly love some help in the
artwork department. That's not only taking me forever, but
I have very little artistic talent so things never turn out as nice
as I'd like. Cathedral tiles anyone...?
|Estimated Completion Date:
Cthulhu only knows.
|Story Outline (Spoiler):
Investigations reveal that Silas and his brother Enoch have been
researching the location of a rumored tome of knowledge called Culte
De Ghoul. Enoch believed he had found it but disappeared soon after.
Silas continued the search. The last few journal notes indicate
that Silas was worried about "them" finding where he lived. He had
found the entrance to the tomb of the ancient scorcer Zant-ha. He
believed that Enoch had entered it without him and was killed by
Enoch had acutally found the entrance to the tomb long before
Silas knew about it. Therein he discovered signs pointing to a secret
library Zant-hu hid in his tomb guarded by labryinths of "horrors
better hidden from the human mind". He investigated and was
saved by a pack of ghouls looking for a contact in Loesmouth. They
wanted to get acess to the eastern end of the Valley but need help
in getting across the chasm to the west of town as well as needing
information and accomplices. He agreed to help them in exchange
for the location of Zant-hu's secret library. The two sides exchanged
secrets and Enoch soon realized that he would need their help to
get through the tomb. Greed soon overcame Enoch and he decided to
keep the secret books of Forbidden Knowledge to himself. He offered
the life of his brother, Silas, in exchange for the ghouls taking
him directly there through their own safe tunnels. By the time the
party arrives Silas has just been killed by the ghouls. Over the
next few weeks there will be mysterious disappearances in the town
of Loesmouth as the ghouls search for fresh victims. Their plan
is to kill people and take their freshly interred bodies from the
graveyard in order to ensure a new supply of food. Meanwhile, the
townspeople are increasingly suspicious of the PCs. They may end
up having to bring Enoch to justice in order to save themselves
from the town mob.
Keeping the Mythos and Gothic Horror overtones to this tome will
be difficult with the heroic adventure setting of Runesword. In
a setting more fully developed for Mythos gaming (Runesword by Gaslight?)
a more strictly Lovecraftian tone could run through. As it is, though,
expect dark gothic environments and many "hellspawn" enemies and
|Setting, including time scale:
Set in the current age of Eternia, somewhere along a little traveled
coastline of the land. There, there is a place called the Valley
of Lemuria. Walled off from the rest of Xal by high natural cliffs,
this small area has been insolated form most of Eternia's history,
being settled early on but mingling little with the greater population
except in trade for its marine and mineral resources.
|Game creation timeline, including development
- creature graphics
- creature creation
- item creation
- map creation
- creating encounters
- applying narrative, conversatinal, and plot-developing dialogs
- combat backgrounds
In reality I mix these steps a bit - tilesets are often created
as I begin and develop a map, creatures and items get created to
fit encounter ideas, etc. This is more a list of the overall picture.
|Major NPC antagonists:
- Old Man Silas - briefly encountered, he is a figure to be seen
again in the Temple of Dagon discovered in a later tome.
- Silas - Enochs brother, he plays only a posthumous part.
merchants - armor blacksmith, weapons blacksmit, general store,
potion and herb merchant, rare antiquities merchant.
- Ghouls - met in the chasm as a foreshadowing of the next tome.
|Minor NPCs - supporting protagonists:
|Areas for play (as many as is applicable):
Story relationship: Bridge between intro and begining of
Setting: Road between Port City and the Xalian interior.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: This map contains a branch of the Skytos Guild.
This adds to the area being along a major trade route and gives
the characters a chance for skill development and merchant access.
There's also an old hermit who can offer information and FK spells.
-Need to customize the Guild hall. Change names and dialogs. (There's
a good component trigger for racial reaction to be cannibalized
path down into the valley
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: Watch the terrain become more bleak. Character
comments. Graveyard for Loesmouth adds atmosphere and foreshadows
Old Stone Church
This is accessed by a cave entrance in the "Path down to the Valley"
map. It represents a side quest and may hold a secret research area
Silas used hinted at in Silas' journal.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): This small dungeon
will feature puzzles and traps over combat.
a) central chamber - crown-shaped magic helm, star gem, scroll of
fireball- large bas-relief on the wall showing warrior wizards in
the process of forcing vaugely humanoid amphibians back into the
sea. In the background is a bizzarely-shaped rock formation. The
formation resembles a hand or claw reaching up from the depths.
The party will notice that there is a small hole at the top of one
of the warrior's helm, as if something is missing. There are 3 sarcoghi
in the room. Placing the gem from casket 2 in the bas-relief will
open the hidden door on the south wall. One casket contains a Shade.
The second has goodies, and the third will release the Lich Lord
(who wears the Crown of the Lich Lord).
b) "The Weapons Room" - The door to this chamber can only be unlocked
by using the Box given to the party at the beginning of the Tome
(how?). This large room contains several pedistals. Above each,
suspended in shafts of an unsettlingly green-colored light, is a
powerfull magic weapon. When one is taken the party is teleported
away. The Weapons Room will be forever locked - the party gets only
Old man Silas' house
Story relationship: Central to plot development.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): Clues found in journals
and occult texts. Very few, if any, creature encounters.
Goal of area: Finding Silas' body, investigating his death.
Secondarily, finding new items.
Notes: for the journals and such to be found, see the style of writing
Story relationship: Villagers will blame the "strangers"
for the death of Silas.
interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
1. blacksmith - buy basic weapons and armor. Can order better items
with waiting period. NPC's: blacksmith and assistant. It would be
cool if I could work a blacksmith like in Throne of Darkness - you
give him weapons and he could re-work them into better things.
2. general store - hard tack (dried food that will last), clothing
(minimal armor), unique set of high-end magic items on request.
Gotta have a place sell the party's treasures.
3. inn - Rumors and legends from various locals. Buy food and drink
(heals slightly, spoils after 3 days). Rent a room to rest (1 in
20 chance of being robbed, check if party wakes).
4. town square - Rumors and legends from various locals. At night,
the party may encounter ghouls. If not, locals will talk about someone
who disappeared or graves that have been disturbed.
5. Residential areas - mostly people annoyed at the intrusion. Should
be some conseqence for attacking people 6. A couple of empty houses
on the west end of town- to reward exploration.
6. potion and herbalist - herbs and potions from an old hag.
Story relationship: This is the area that the ghouls have
been using to travel into the eastern Valley. It will be the finalie
as well as offering access to the caverns of the cthonians (below).
Setting: A deep chasm to the west of Loesmouth stretching
from the northern cliff wall down to the sea. It closes access between
the eastern end of the Valley of Lemuria and and western end.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): Meeting
with the ghouls party.
Goal of area:
Caverns of the Cthonians
Story relationship: small enclave of Cthonian-style creatures.
Setting: a small set of caverns using my Darcrealms
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): random
lovecraftian creatures and items. There are some other exits in
the eastern Valley's cliff wall.
Goal of area: just for hack-and-slash fun. foreshadowing
and early development of the Darcrealms.
|NPCs & Monsters:
Friendly: Not too many. A few locals in Darceath
Neutral: Most of the locals of Darceath Moor and some in Loesmouth.
Minor: Crypt Thing: undead scavengers found in crypts and such.
Shade. Giant rats, ghouls.
|Unique Items & Relationship to story
- Star Stone of Mnar (aka Star Stone) - protection against Mythos
- Crown of the Lich Lord: found in a crypt side-quest. Party
finds clues in Silas' library about secret research area set-up
in a room found in the tomb of a fallen scorcerer.
- The Box: The package the party is given to deliver at the beginning
of the Tome is a small metallic puzzle box (looking much like
the infamous Hellraiser box). It will initially appear solid and
seamless. Notes found in Silas' house reveal that the box is actually
an elaborate key to be used in a certain lock found in Zant-hu's
tomb. In fact, it is the key to the "weapons room".
- new scrolls that allow a person to either use it to cast the
spell if in combat or learn it if not. Learning it would be based
on Arcane Knowledge and Forbidden Knowledge skills. In addition,
if the scroll's spell is of the same type as a character's spell
skill (ie, a character reading a Betrayal scroll who has the Greedspell
skill) the PC gets a bonus. If the PC already knows the scroll's
spell it cannot be learned.
- Library of book items for use in Silas' library, the secret
room in Zan-Tu's tomb ana Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Look up The
Net Book of Books as well as catalogs of occult and new age bookstores.
Most should be worth $50-100 with a few being like a Book of Skill,
etc. Need more volumes of the 666 Essays of the Damned as well.
runesword, rpg, role playing game,
dungeons & dragons, dungeons and dragons, fantasy, warhammer, WebRPG,
webrpg, GURP, games, science fiction, cyberpunk, convention, GM, gm,
DM, dm, D&D, AD&D, card games, BattleTech, StarWars, dragon, hobby,
hobbies, store,TSR, Hero, Palladium, CCG, FASA, White Wolf, Wizards
of the Coast, adventure, Runesword, runesowrd, rune, sword, runesword
mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn.
runesword, rpg, role playing game, dungeons
& dragons, dungeons and dragons, fantasy, warhammer, WebRPG, webrpg, GURP,
games, science fiction, cyberpunk, convention, GM, gm, DM, dm, D&D, AD&D,
card games, BattleTech, StarWars, dragon, hobby, hobbies, store,TSR, Hero,
Palladium, CCG, FASA, White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast, adventure, Runesword,
runesowrd, rune, sword, runesword