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~ The Manacles ~
A Runesword Tome

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12/7 - The Manacles  is a tome I'm working on. So far I've got a few ideas not put on paper. At this point the nucleus of The Temple of Dagon, the forth part of the series, is completed. I've started fooling around with some initial area maps, but I need to get things organized before I start any significant work.


Treatment/Intro:
 

 I've decided, after completing the Temple of Dagon, that the Manacles campaign is going to be split into about 5 separate tomes. It will encompass all five of the plot points in the Valley of Lemuria. The Valley is set on the Northwest coast of Xal. I'm working on a write-up of Xal (see the Encyclopedia Eternica - Politics/Xal) to get some background and setting info.

Source of inspiration / ruleset used:
 

Inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft at al.

Brief story summary:
 

Off the coast of a small village lies a reef formation called The Manacles. Legend has it that this large, claw-shaped outcrop is the petrified remains of the ruler of Hell, frozen in place for eternity by the gods of light as punishment for attempting to steal the soul of a young boy. The players will be drawn into the legend while working as guards of a Xalian imports caravan. The caravan stops at a small village in the Valley of Lemuira and the party is asked to escort the caravan leader to see an old aquaintance - old man Silas, a recluse living on the edge of town. When they arrives at Silas' cottage, they find that it has been ransacked and old man Silas killed in a most gruesome way. The players are asked to investigate by the caravan leader, who was one of the old man's few friends. Their investigations take them through the ruins of an old church used for occult worship, a hamlet infested with a growing cult, that cult's hidden temple, and on finally to a great temple of evil beings attempting to free an ancient evil's spawn.

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:
 

1) Death of a Wizard - The party is dawn into a murder investigation while serving as caravan guards. He explains that, while he would like to old recluse, Old Man Silas, located in the small village of Loesmouth. Once there, they discover that he has been murdered in a most grotesque way. The caravan le next day. He ehobic lot, and the old man's reputed research into Occult dader, one of Silas' few friends, asks the party to investigate what happened. He is unable to do so himslef as the caravan is due at Port Cityhave an escort for his carvan, he is close to his destination and is afraid that the locals will not ask too many questions about his friend's death. It seems that Xalians are a xenophey escort the caravan leader to the home of an theealings has earned him a foul reputation in the village.

*This is now being worked on as The Manacles, Part 1: A Box of Hell.

 

2) Seeds of Evil - Leads uncovered in Loesmouth suggest that Silas had dealings with inhuman creatures taking shelter in the Old Stone Church - ruins of an ancient cathedral to the North of Loesmouth said to be haunted.  The Church itself still shows evidence of its one-time perversion by occult worshippers.  The large cemetary behind it, and the catacombs/burrows beneath, are the domain of a band of ghouls in league with forces from Darceath Moor. It seems these forces made some sort of deal with cultists from Darceath Moor to murder old man Silas.

 

3) Darcheath Moor - The discoveries at the Old Stone Church lead the party to Darceath Moor, a small hamlet on the opposite coast of the bay from Loesmouth. It seems there are whispers of an ancient cult of devil worshippers operating within the town. It seems there have been several mysterious disappearances lately and the townsfolk are demanding that the mayor investigate the sewers beneath the town. The rumors include tales of a temple to dark gods hidden beneath the town and people assume this is the source of the dissappearances.

 

4) The strange cliff-side carvings - Carvings near an inaccessible section of the beach are the entrance to the underground Temple of Dagon. The entrance most easily accessible by the party is via the sewers under Darceath Moor. These sewers are rumored throughout the region to have been built upon the ruins of an old heathen(?) temple.  Those brave enough to have entered there tell of giant rats and the usual foulness you'd expect in sewers, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Entering the sewers, the party first the living dead remenants of a group that once, long ago, destroyed a cult who had operated a temple to their dark gods beneath the sewers themselves. Venturing further, the party discovers the ruins of this temple, which leads them to an actively occupied temple hidden beneath that. Once inside the Temple of Dagon, it's exits are sealed and unimaginable monstrosities are suddenly loosed upon the cultists. The party is forced to venture further into the bowels of the cliff-side caverns only to discover that the cultists were in fact the dupes of an inhuman breed of aquatic creatures. These creatures, the Deep Ones* , used the cult leader to construct an object they needed in order to free their god from it's eternal, deathless slumber. This Dark God is entombed in the Manacles.

 

5) The Manacles - The formation is the tomb of one of the greater minions of Cthulhu*. At this point I'm thinking of modeling this portion after the classic AD&D adventure The Temple of Elemental Evil, modified to use four Mythos-related groups instead of elemental worshipers.

Ambience/Attitude/Overall Style:
 

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 spells.

Setting, including time scale:
 

Set in the current age of Eternia, somewhere along a little traveled coastline of the land.

Game creation timeline, including development milestones:
 
  • tileset and map creation
    creature image selection and editing.
    creature, item, and spell generation
    build maps, encounters 
    further plot developmnent and ties between modules
    NPCs and monsters

  • chapter by chapter development
    a. the town of Loesmouth
    b. the Olde Stone Church
    c. Darcheath Moor
    d. Temple of Dagon
    e. The Manacles

Major NPC antagonists:
 

1) Old Man Silas
2) Ghoul lord of the Olde Church cemetary
3) Human high priest of Dagon

Minor NPCs - supporting protagonists:
Areas for play (as many as is applicable):
 

Name: trade route
Story relationship:
Setting:
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 here.)

--------------------------

Name: path down into the valley
Story relationship:
Setting:
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: Watch the terrain become more bleak. Character comments.

--------------------------

Name: Loesmouth and surrounding area
Story relationship:
Setting:
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: Village has main drag with businesses, farms on the inland side, docks on the shore. Businesses: general store, blacksmith (small inventory, items made to order given some time), seed and feed store (has a few herbal items), tavern and inn (combined due to infrequent visitors). Mayor's house.

--------------------------

Name: path to the Church
Story relationship:
Setting:
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: wandering monsters, increasingly bleak scenery

--------------------------

Name: The Old Stone Church
Story relationship:
Setting: Ruins of an old church and the abandoned necropolis behind it. Sevearal centuries ago this was a flurishing Temple to a now forgotten harvest god. About 100 years ago it was taken over by a cult worshipping Yog-Sothoth, a fertility god/goddess often connected to the most vile depredations and debauchery. It seems the worship spread through the congregation and eventually they murdered the Temple's priests in a legendarily guesom fashion. After many years of mysterious dissappearances and going-on in the area, the local population rose up and destroyed the temple, scattering its adherants. The temple of sealed and it and the graveyard associated with it have been avoided ever since.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: Present the area around the church, necropolis to the rear, ruins of church itself, ghoul catacombs. The players learn about an acient cult in the area and find the ghoul tribe living under the necropolis. They learn that Silas was murdered by the ghouls at the behest of members of a secret group of citizens within Darceath Moor.

--------------------------

Name: the road to Darceath Moor
Story relationship:
Setting: Coastal area between the Old Stone Church and Darceath Moor.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): An old hermit can be found in a hidden cave. This hermit has several occult books along with several rumors of the cult's existance in Darceath Moor.

--------------------------

Name: Darcheath Moor and surrounding area
Story relationship:
Setting: The beach entrance to the Temple is mentioned above. It should be here. Prior to entering the Temple, its beach entrance should be blocked.
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): Mayor - prior to entering the Temple the mayor talks about the disappearances and local unrest. After the Temple, the party confronts mayor, the mayor reveals cult's plot and town's breeding with Deep Ones. Town idiot - Before the Temple, he is seen as lunatic telling wild stories of amphibious humanoid monstrosities. After Temple he will take party to a boat and over to the Manicles.
Goal of area: Tell party legends of old cult (operated in Old Stone church and moved into sewers after they were found out) and the Manicles.

 

--------------------------

Name: The Temple of Dagon
Story relationship: 
Setting: Underground temple that riddles the hillside beneath Darceath Moor and has an exit on the cliffs by the ocean... Carvings near an inaccessible section of the beach are the entrance to the underground Temple of Dagon. The main entrance would be via the sewers under Loesmouth, a deslate and shunned village to the North of Darceath Moor. These sewers are rumored throughout the region to have been built upon the ruins of an old heathen(?) temple.  Those brave enough to have entered there tell of giant rats and the usual foulness you'd expect in sewers, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The beach entrance to the Temple is mentioned above -should it exist on a map, this map or no map?
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.): Old Man Silas and his brother, Enoch  
Goal of area:  The goal here is to present the party with the target of their search for the source of the evil activities on the rise in the area.  Also, as they delve deeper into the Temple complex and discover the connections with the Deep Ones they are drawn into a deeper evil whose plot lines point to the next "area" - the Manacles themselves.
--------------------------

Name: The Manacles
Story relationship:
Setting:
Interaction with PCs (puzzles, NPCs, etc.):
Goal of area: Will need a multi-level dungeon ending with a great cavern sealed with Star Stones.

 

NPCs & Monsters:
 

Friendly:  Not too many.  A few locals in Darceath Moor

Neutral: Most of the locals of Darceath Moor and some in Loesmouth.

Enemy: giant rats, ghouls, most of the people in Loesmouth
 

Unique Items & Relationship to story (if any):
 

Star Stone of Mnar (aka Star Stone) - protection against Mythos creatures.

 

Forbbiden Knowledge Spell skill - Characters find books of occult knowledge that, while offering spell powers, drive the user mad over time. The Deep Ones are feeding Enoch these books in order to get him to make an instrument with which to destroy the Star Stones blocking thier way into the Manacles.




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I see you

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn.

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