Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Vampire of Dolmenwood

I've decided to have an antagonist for my party to contend with in the coming campaign, a schemer who seeks to break the Summerstones (as in Wormskin 3) and return to the service of his dread master. Most of this was conjured up because I realized there was a lack of a solid antagonist for that sort of Summerstone campaign aside from agents of the Cold Prince, so I decided to make a named agent.

A few parts Sauron, a few parts Strahd, with a healthy dose of The Master. This is the Vampire of Dolmenwood.

The Vampire of Dolmenwood
HD: 11.
Alignment: Chaotic.
AC: 4.
Intelligence: Machiavellian.
Attacks: 1 (Touch, Weapon), or Spells.
Size: Medium (7’ Height).
Move: 120’ (40’) on foot. 180’ (60’) flight.
XP: 7,300.
Morale: 13.
Possessions: See Below.
No. Appearing: 1.
Hoard: XVII.

The Vampire of the Dolmenwood is an archaic threat from the time of the reign of the Cold Prince. Originally a kinslayer from Norfludd, he was crucified to a thunderstruck pine on a winter solstice, left for dead. Death did not find him, but the Elfs of Frigia did. They ripped him down from the wood and thought to take him as a man to carve for the joy of their master, the Cold Prince, but the kinslayer made a dark bargain with the Elfs instead.

They wrapped the kinslayer in winter’s cold and got him drunk on the white worm milk of a sunless Elfland Kingdom. For this boon he led them to his village on the eve of the solstice, and when the moon reached its apex the Elfs butchered the wosemen and stole away their children. From infant to waifish youth, they were chained through their ears and dragged weeping through the bitter wind to Frigia. The kinslayer whipped them as they marched, cruelly laughing and entertaining the Elfs with his bitterness.

The milk of the white worm changed the kinslayer, it stole from him his humanity. His eyes ran white with the larval spawn of the worm and his mind was overwhelmed with their song of the sunless Elfland Kingdom they originated in. The bitter winter winds ripped the hair from his head and gave him the unnatural pallor of a winter blizzard. In the company of the Cold Prince his fingers were carved into claws and his teeth to fangs. He served as a torturer, a butcher and cannibal of his fellow men, unkillable by mortal means so long as the worm’s milk ran through his bitter blackened heart. He reigned immortal in the frozen embassy of the Cold Prince, drunk on man’s flesh and the blood of waifish hearts.

And then the Alliance of Tolmenwode threw everything into chaos. The Vampire fought for his master against the Brackenwolders, the Church and the Drune; but in the end he watched as the realm of Frigia was cut off from the world. He was branded with liturgic banishments by the Church, carved with sigils for his crimes by the Drune, and chained to a dolmen stone that was toppled into the nearby fens of the River Hameth (Hex. 303).

Crushed beneath unbearable weight, drowned in mud, never to die or blight the world again. He would be a forgotten footnote of history, a ghost story of little remark in this modern era, if not for the fact that worm’s milk has leaked from his chained and battered body. And through a most unfortunate series of events, has lead to his return.

A burrowing winter frog ate a white little worm, and that frog was devoured in spring by a frog gigger in need of food. That frog gigger began to hear the whispers of the ancient kinslayer, and he was offered power and glory in exchange for his obedience. The frog gigger performed profane rituals, he buried his daughters in that muddy fen and they became riddled with white little worms. They gained new strength, devoured their father, and excavated the sunken stone. They broke the Vampire from his bondage and he absconded with them in the night.

In the shadow of the northern Dolmenwood he learns of what has transpired in his abscense. He plots against the Brackenwolders, the Drune, and the Church. He seeks to return the Cold Prince to the world, and for all to be cold and perfect again.

Art by Per Sjogren, used without permission.
But pretty much exactly how I see the Vampire.
The Vampire’s Character and Plots
The Vampire is patient, insane, and cruel. Over the generations he’s spent beneath the mud he has grown to be depressed and malaised by his own existence. If not for a lone frog that burrowed too deeply, he would have succumb to bestial madness and ego death; a fact he is very aware of and brings him no comfort.

He is scorned by the sun in all seasons but winter, and he has secret doubts concerning his master whom he fears may have sent him to die as though he were a worthless pawn rather than a worthwhile asset. He seeks to prove his worth by destroying the Summerstones (see The Summerstones and the Witching Ring in Wormskin 3 for more information on this plot), and in doing so earn his rightful place as chief torturer once again.

The Vampire has forgotten much of who he once was beyond his sins. He is haunted by visions and dreams brought about by the white worms which have devoured his memories over the thousand years he spent beneath the earth. He knows not why he sees these events, but they frighten him as he believes them to be grim portents of things to come rather than visions of the past. As such, his schemes are often erratic.

He employs mortal vagabonds and feeds the white worm to servants he requires the true loyalty of. He knows the danger of his mission and thus seeks to disrupt the already fragile alliance of the factions in Dolmenwood.

Supernatural Abilities
Spellcasting: The Vampire can cast spells as an 8th level magic-user, specializing primarily in vivimancy spells he learned under the tutelage of elf flesh-molders while serving as a torturer for the Cold Prince.  Twice per day he may cast Animate Undead as an 8th level spell caster, choosing primarily to animate zombies if at all possible.

Immunities: Technically not undead but in a prolonged horrible immortality, the Vampire is immune to charm and sleep spells, but not hold spells. The singing and whispers of the white worms in his mind prevent him from being charmed or sleeping.

Infest Wounds: If the Vampire has struck his enemy with a weapon, he will next attempt to infest their wounds with the white worms. This requires a Save vs Death roll by the victim, with a failure forcing them to take 1d10 points of damage and suffer the loss of attack abilities and saves as though the victim had lost two levels. If a victim dies to an Infested Wound they rise in the next round as a worm-infested puppet of the Vampire, functionally equivalent to the dead character before the level drain.

Fog of the Fens: The Vampire can vanish into the fog or mists of the swamp lands that imprisoned him, functionally enjoying the benefits of gaseous form and invisibility. The Vampire can sense every living thing walking through fog or mists in the northern fens around the stone that once bound him, though he cannot glean more than basic details. He cannot sense those who bear blessed items of the One True God’s faith.

Worms of the Earth: The Vampire can choose to bleed himself and spill worms into the ground, dealing at least 1d6 damage to himself. If he chooses to do this he can summon 1d10x10 frogs or rats when in the fens, or 3d6 wolves or 2d4 dire wolves when near the forest proper. These creatures will arrive in 2d6 rounds, possessed and filled by the white worms. Those killed by these infected beasts arise as zombies when the Vampire is present.

Strange Weaknesses
Daylight: The Vampire is scorned by the sunlight of all seasons but Winter, taking 1d6 damage per round directly exposed to sunlight. The Vampire cannot die due to sunlight exposure but rather enters into a state of torpor wherein he looks like a bog mummy with bulging veins of winding worms.

Holy Symbols: The liturgic branding upon the Vampire has made him weak to holy magics and blessed things. He cannot be Turned or Destroyed as an Undead, but he cannot approach any figure attempting to do this to him. Blessed waters or chanting the liturgic written upon his flesh inflict 1d6+1 hit points of damage to him.

Haunted Memories: The Vampire is filled with dread memories it takes as visions of things to come which will lead him down a path of further ruin. When struck by a spell or a holy weapon there is a 1-in-6 chance it will trigger a Haunted Memory which he will loudly scream about for 1d4 rounds rather than attempting to deal with any combatants. The Vampire may cast spells or swing wildly towards these memories, but there is only a 1-in-4 chance the memory will manifest in the same direction or melee distance as a combatant. The visions are made manifest in the effects of spells cast upon the Vampire, be it shapes in fire, or reflections in acid.

For specific Haunted Memories which may help spell out how to defeat the Vampire for good, see below.

Cold Iron and Silver Sickness: Due to being infested with creatures from the Elfland Kingdoms, the Vampire suffers from a weakness to damage by cold iron as well as suffering from silver sickness. The usual penalties for these weaknesses only apply when such items are stabbing or slashing the Vampire, as his flesh is still very mortal. The Vampire, as a torturer, is very proficient at using cold iron and silver weapons to torment his former quarry and he will brandish such weapons if confronted by fey in order to prevent them from discerning this weakness.

The Vampire’s Magical Items
The magical items of the Vampire were originally created by the Cold Prince and his retainers, primarily for use in the torture of other fey and the flaying of men. The Vampire does not have them all on his possession, many were scattered in the hundreds of years since his imprisonment, but he has already begun sending servants to retrieve them. The Vampire begins with the Drune Chain, after which he will search for the Nails of a Woseman’s Crucifixion, the Chillrazor, and then the Lash of Child’s Hair.

Man-flaying razors are not unknown to the people of Dolmenwood, though they have fallen from a place of fear into merely being instruments of torture in old ghost stories on the cruelty of Elfs. The chillrazor was the favored tool of the Vampire when he served as torturer for the Cold Prince. It is a 1d6 damage-dealing short sword that steals warmth from its target. A critical strike with the chillrazor begin to suffer hypothermia and must make a Save vs Death or fall to the ground in freezing agony for 1d4 rounds, effectively stunned.

Nails of a Woseman’s Crucifixion
These two 8 inch nails of cold iron have stayed the test of time, and the Vampire wears them upon his neck as totems on a necklace. When these nails pierce the flesh of a living being they must make a Save vs Charms or being to proclaim their foulest desires and most murderous lusts for 1d6 hours as they froth at the mouth and act like savage animals.

Lash of Child’s Hair
A long whip made of ancient matted hairs of blond, red and brown that have been woven into a vicious scourge. A whip from this lash leaves a bleeding gash that is coated with frost at the edges, dealing only 1d4 damage but also reducing the age of any mortal struck with it by 1d6 years. Age reduction is a painful process as bones twist and buckle to be smaller and skin sloughs off allowing a raw-face to heal youthfully. If a character is reduced from an adult to a child they take 1d6 damage to their Dexterity, Constitution, and Strength attributes. The same damage is done if a child is reduced to an infant. If a score reaches 0 or an infant is struck with the lash, they die horribly and are unmade into ovum, sperm, and a puddle of blood.

The Drune Chain
The long chain that bound the Vampire to the fallen stone was forged by the Audrune, braiding together the torcs of powerful warlocks and Drune who had fallen to the Vampire’s predations. This chain acts as a Foe-Bound weapon against the Drune, dealing 1d6 damage when lashed or 2d4 damage per turn a Drune is strangulated with the chain.

Haunted Memories
Haunted Memory
Slaying his kin over a petty squabble. His brother clutches at his robe, his sister screams at him from ten feet away. Children sob.
The Vampire mutters “No. I wouldn’t. I’d never… I love you. You’re meant for me.”
An old man looks at him and demands he answer for his actions. He is called a rapist, a kinslayer, and a monster in the flesh of a man.
The Vampire begs “Teach me then why I am this way! I have never been any other!”
Elfs carve at his wrists and pour worms down his throat. He gags. A voice begs for mercy, to be killed, to stop the singing of these wretched worms.
The Vampire falls to his knees and begins vomiting worms, as Worms of the Earth.
Children scream in agony, elf songs are heard on the wind. They cry for their uncle, their thane, they are terrified and stolen away from the scent of a feast. A winter wind blows fiercely.
The Vampire lashes out violently, casting spells or whipping madly with the Lash if he has it.
The screams of elves and men, the horrible stench of blood permeates the air. Pleading for mercy, crying traitor and monster. Chill coats the ears of all listeners as a harsh voice speaks in Elfish that this is “Fate.”
The Vampire begins slashing wildly in a random direction, demanding “All worship the Cold! All praise his glory!”
Chains clang, Drunic mutter is heard, Liturgic prayer is chanted, flesh sizzles, the stench of mud fills the area. The buzzing of flies and the croak of toads are heard.
The Vampire flees in fear, screaming “Not the chain! Bastards, blaggards, witchmen and rogues!”

Traits: Roll 1d6 when encountering the Vampire, as his status is often in flux.
  1. The Vampire wears a frost-hardened robe of Woseman’s make, though the style if highly antiquated. His face is hidden beneath a heavy hood, but the rattle of chains can be heard as he moves with unnatural stiffness.
  2. The Vampire hovers a few inches above the ground, his pale flesh drip heavy mud. Leeches and maggots fall from his flesh, unable to pierce below it. He moves with disturbing grace.
  3. The long clawed hands of the Vampire are coated with blood and his mouth is red as though it had sucked down a jar of red jelly. Man’s flesh in blubbery gib chunks are held in a small frog-hide purse, and it feasts on them noisily; hunched over.
  4. Dressed in fey finery befitting an elf knight of Frigia, though its style is notably antiquated even for elf garbs. Frost clings to his flesh and he moves with swift but stiff movements, like a thawed corpse with unnatural speed.
  5. With an open wound that is bubbling over with finger-long white worms. He sings a woseman lullaby to them to coax them back inside his flesh. His expression is notably tired and sad, as though aware this is not what he was meant to be.
  6. Hulking in posture, like a northern barbarian, his flesh tight over the muscle and worms notably rippling and squirming against the underside of the taut skin. His teeth seem almost extended, as though his jaw is trying to escape his skull.
  1. In the reliquary or library of an abandoned structure, a tall figure lingers at a rotting bookshelf. He will make quiet conversation in a thick northern accent, asking for information and news on the state of the world; but unwilling to speak of himself. He will flee if attacked, unaccustomed to the barbarism of common strangers.
  2. In the shade, the Vampire is accosting a scrabey with a cold iron pipe, demanding information on the location of one of his magical items. He will describe the item only in broad terms and if the party does not try to stop him, he will offer them good money (2d4x5 gp) in exchange for any information they might have on such items.
  3. In a roadside inn with 2d4 pale waifish maidens with muddy red hair. The maidens move with strange stiffness and the Vampire seems bothered by them, having them go lay with strangers or bring him things when they get too handsy with him. He is seeking knowledge on the state of the church and will ask anyone who speaks with him what they think of the Drune and the One True Faith, reacting only with violence if spoken to in Liturgic.
  4. Smoking a pipe and sitting on a stump at the edge of the road, hood up to withstand any sunlight. He will ask for information on the Goatmen in the south, as he thought they were allies of the Drune. He will be grateful for any information on gifts or enemies the Goatmen possess.

The Vampire has not yet learned the embassy to the Cold Prince still exists, and as such he has become something of a vagant and begun setting up lairs across the Dolmenwood as he searches for his items, information on the world as it is now, and seeks to cause strife between the factions.
  1. A collapsed old barn with an extensive root cellar. During the day his worm-thralled maidens (2d4 red-haired pale-fleshed maidens) work the fields and collect mushrooms, they will attempt to lure lone travellers to the cellar to be devoured by their master. The Vampire sits in the cellar trying to piece together why the Cold Prince has yet to return. He can be overheard asking his thralled maidens as to what they know about the Cold Prince, but none of them know anything and this fills him with rage and sorrow.
  2. The ruins of an old watch tower, half-sunken into the fens. The Vampire practices his vivimancy on frogs, frog giggers, and fish; occasionally worm-thralling the ones that scream too much. He seems bored but all too aware of what is going on around him. There is a 1-in-6 chance he will have a woodgrue or grimalkin as prisoner whom he is torturing to death just to see if he still has it in him.
  3. An ancient forgotten ossuary of the Drune, the Vampire and his maidens examine skulls and occasionally the Vampire raises them as skeletal servants simply so he might mock them or choke them with his Drune Chain. There is a 1-in-6 chance that he will be able to force a spirit to inform him of what has occured in the past few hundred years, which will grant him ambition enough to begin his campaign against the Summerstones.
  4. A fallen manse on the edge of the fens, the family which once inhabited it now raised in undeath as zombies and disguised by his worm-thralled maidens to look still alive. The maidens wander the nearby wilds inviting folk to dine at the manner, meanwhile the Vampire performs profane ritual tortures in an attempt to contact the Elfland Kingdoms and former allies of the Cold Prince. There is a 5% chance that any given night he might succeed and have his efforts to release his lord redoubled, either to put an Elf he considers a traitor to his master in its place, or because he has become aware of and disgusted by the change in the balance of power within the Otherwold.

How to Kill the Vampire?
I'd let you know, but my players might read it here. It involves all the magical items he seeks to collect, a child, a yearly event, and getting the Church and the Drune to cooperate for five friggin' minutes to deal with him once you have all those things.

Dashing Clothing of Dolmenwood

While doing more prep work for my soon to arrive Dolmenwood game down in Brooklyn, I opted to check out The City of Iron blog and mine the resources I could there for my own malevolent ends.

As a result, I've added 60 more materials, clothing items, and embellishments. I've also added an additional 100 items in a motif/embroidery/design column, which also caused embellishments to shift a bit.

Materials are as expected, Clothing being what you're getting. Motif and Embroideries determine a pattern on the clothing, whereas Embellishments are things like buttons, trim, or accessories that come with it.

A bit rough, but it has room for potential use and really has that quality of "I got drunk and hit the fashion district" to it.

The original blog-post source is cited within the pdf, but for good coverage it is also linked here.

Working on a usability edit of my Dogs of Dolmenwood, as well as some random encounter stuff to go along with my Wanderlust system. I have the following month mostly to myself for productive purposes.

Also I'm going to be in Wormskin 7, having helped create some flavorful character/hireling random table generators.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hex Kit Released: I'm happy.

Hex Kit released, and after a pretty rough day of work I spend all of five minutes to put together a little map that is in theme of Chromatic Soup 2's Americana Frontier, though in my mind I've been referring to all my contributions to as an Autumnal Wilderness. A place of wide fields, sweeping tick-brushed hills, potter's fields and shallow graves, woods caught in eternal red-orange-yellow Fall, and hobos and chain-gangers aplenty trying to find their way.
Click For a Full Size of a few minute's effort.
Where little men will drink you away for forty years in the wild wood, treasure might always be buried somewhere under your nose, and civilization is as much your haven as it is your hell; as only man is cruel enough to string someone up and give them a long neck job. 

I look forward to, eventually, running a polite little hex crawl in that assumed setting. An Over the Garden Wall meets O Brother Where Art Thou? with all the strangeness of folklore, tall tell tale, and Swing You Sinners.

As for Hex Kit itself, I like it. It works for what it is, is rather intuitive, and the hexes themselves look as good as they did when I first bought the kit back when it released. It is one of those few kickstarters I am grateful I backed; the other one really only being Roll20.

If you didn't back Hex Kit, buy it. It is a solid tool, and the art is stellar. I fear it will become over-saturated, but then again it does cost money and it isn't up for commercial use.

Currently: I'm working on a series of randomizers for a project. I have 240 out of 960 written out. My goal is to burn through these this weekend and see how it turns out.

Next: Still more travel work. I move at the end of May, and June is essentially a month off without games or work---hopefully a lot of game writing will happen then.

Edit 4/29/2017: Added links to the site to buy it at the top and bottom, kept one link as a link to the faq. None of these things are of the sort I can make money off of anyway and are meant purely for utility purposes and ease of access.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dogs of Dolmenwood (Part 2 of 2) - More Unofficial Homebrew Canine Companions & What Makes Them Unique

Further Dogs of the Dolmenwood I appreciated the positive feedback and warm reception on the first part, and since my shoulder feels better (though I accidentally got icy-hot goop in my eye) I was able to finish Dogs of Dolmenwood for today. What follows are the remaining four breeds, with what makes them useful indicated in bold on their final paragraph. The parenthetical next to their name is what you should visualize in your head. Also attached are a few charts to help spice up what sort of hot mess your pooch is, most of it coming from my own experiences dog-sitting in a living nightmare and half-remembering horror stories my friends have told me of their pets.

7. Boardog (Bull Dog + Pinscher, pronounced snout and underbite fangs a la pig’s tusks)
As is common in rural communities throughout the world, the Boardog is a constant companion of the farmer and field-worker of the northern wold. Boardogs for the uninitiated, are a squat medium breed of reliable guard dogs for livestock and home. They have a wiry haired coat that rises nearly in bristles down its back, and their name comes certainly from both this and their unusual dental structure. Boardogs possess a set of malocclusioned fangs that emerge from their bottom jaw like the tusks of a woodland boar. Their eyes are commonly a mustard yellow in color, though those with a better diet often have eyes of pale green.

Boardogs are useful for guarding swine, as well as for their ability to digest nearly anything regardless of its state of decay which sometimes sees boarhounds eating out of a pig sty latrine with their porcine wards. They will happily consume human waste, though it appears they enjoy eating anything with a soupish or gravy-like consistency. Boardogs are remarkably resilient to disease, though they can carry an infectious bite if this is the bulk of their diet.

The Boardog is a Medium Breed (d4 HD) that is a loyal guard dog to small children and livestock, it will attack anything that threatens small creatures it has been charged to protect on a 5-in-6, regardless of what is attacking. They are remarkably resilient to disease and can eat things regardless of the state of decay, which makes it a good companion on the road as it can eat any carrion that is come across without complaint or getting sick. Boardogs resist disease on a 5-in-6 if the disease is not supernatural in origin. A Boardog that feasts primarily on carrion or filth has a noxious infecting bite which can transfer disease on to the victim (On critical, does d4 CON damage for the next d6 days until the victim dies or makes a CON save or receives proper medical attention).

8. The Warty Addler (Saluki Body + Chinese Crested Hound in fur distribution and warts)
Folktale says that The Hag, Old Crust-Breath herself, was once a beautiful maiden or perhaps she just once stuck to a bewitching form. In such a guise she seduced a noble who was searching the wood for a powerful herb which might save his king. She promised him herbs in exchange for his love, and the bargin was struck to the displeasure of both parties. He received herbs for his king at the cost of his humanity, and she received his love, which in the culture of that foreign noble was said to be something which only lasts “a dog’s age.” And thus was born this strange breed of the sluggish trickle of Lake Longmere, the Warty Addler.

As a dog it looks emaciated, its body is long and either a dim blue-grey or a corpse-flesh white. Stringy strands of hair run down its head, tail and paws, but nowhere else. Its eyes are black globes that always seem to be lit by lights in the dark, making it seem eternally curious and lurking. They have a black tongue that forks at the end in two tiny nubs, and around their paws and genitals are tiny white warts. The Warty Addler enjoys swimming, salt, eating leeches, and crooning out sad lullabyes when you ought to be sleeping. It would not be tolerated by those along the lake if not for how The Hag seems to look upon them favorably.

Moreso, it is held in woodsmen myth that The Hag can transmogrify herself into a Warty Addler whenever she deems fit and that she could easily be any, one, or all the Warty Addlers in existence. She sups herself on the love a pet owner gives to their Warty Addler, getting a little hook into that which she was denied in her ancient bargin; true love. But even then, it only lasts for a dog’s age, and Warty Addlers are a breed that live only thirteen years on the dot.

The Warty Addler is a Medium Breed (d4 HD) and any one of them might be The Hag (or at least most woodsmen believe this). They are timid and not prone to combat. The Warty Addler are excellent swimmers and the denizens of the Hag’s Addle are unlikely to attack them for fear of it being The Hag. A Warty Addler that has high morale and treated nicely increases your chance of finding good herbs when in the Hag’s Addle due to potentially ancient pacts with The Hag. These dogs eat leeches and other blood-sucking parasites with glee, provided they also have some salt on the side. Their eyes always shine, which can be disorienting and frightening at night to creatures with less than 2HD.

God, this pug is cute.

9. The Rectory Pug aka The Saint’s Snorker (Toy Sharpei-Pug mix)
Many a young acolyte who has fallen to temptation and vice has seen their expulsion from the order spelled out by an Abbot’s Rectory Pug. Bred originally in the Dolmenwood and deemed unpopular in Loom (due to the more hedonistic heresies of the nobility), the Rectory Pug was born of a Saint’s desire to see that those serving under him were not tempted to sins of the flesh. Which Saint it was has been lost to history, though young men and women who desire a bit of levity curse his unknown name in their thoughts.

The Rectory Pug, or Saint’s Snorker as Abbots are known to call them, is a fat little bean of a dog. Its face droops low with heavy jowls and its paws are little more than blubbery stumps. Its eyes are often covered by folds of fat which shift and shake as it moves. Bred into them over generations is a tonsure-like fold of fat around their skull that is generally a different color of fur than the rest of them. To be honest, the only part of this breed that isn’t stumpy of pudgy is its nose; which is pronounced, profound, and powerful.

Rectory Pugs use their powerful noses to identify a few specific scents; namely those of wine, sexual fluids, arousal, and tainted materials. When a Rectory Pug gains such a scent upon its nostrils it will waddle with haste to the item of its ire and bark at it until spoken a command word (generally “Silence” in Liturgic or something each Abbot uses for this one purpose). If the item is moved or the person in question tries to flee, the Rectory Pug will spray urine on whatever has aroused its anger as quickly as possible, in the hopes that it might be able to alert its master later when the sinner is cleaning a very pungent stain.

Rectory Pugs are a Small Breed (d4/2 HD) that are found mostly in the care of anchorites, abbots, and high ranking clergymen who often have to deal with the young and sinful. They are utterly useless in a fight, possessing no desire to engage in violence as their master will certainly handle the sinful. They have a powerful nose, which will smell wine, recent sexual activity (within 1d4 days, halved if subjects bathed/washed clothes), arousal, or magical corruption at a rate of 5-in-6 times. They can smell these things from a distance of 300 feet away and are not distracted by other pungent smells like trash, corpses, or food--such are concerns for their master. Rectory Pugs have a loud yipping burp of a bark which is easily heard and they will not stop commanded to stop or if they are harmed, at which point they are smart enough to flee and fetch their master to go after any fleeing enemy. If someone tries to flee without attacking them or remove an item of its anger, a Rectory Pug will spray a quick spritz of pungent and terrible urine (DEX save to avoid) which can be easily smelled by mortal nostrils on a 3-in-6 when within 20 feet.

10. Hameth’s Otterhound (Martin +lil'Maned Wolf)
Found only along the River Hameth are the Otterhounds, a strange and small breed of fisher dogs that are cunning beyond compare to other breeds and wilier than many of their would-be masters. The Otterhounds are compact animals who act as ambush predators towards frogs, eels, and fish that dwell along the coasts of the river. Their forepaws have sharp claws built for gripping and perhaps for climbing (though no one has seen them climb a tree or clifface) and their skulls possess a thick bony knob which they use sometimes to crack open oysters and mussels so that they might sup upon the sweet meats.

Otterhounds are used by clever fishermen to delve the deeps of the river. Using long leashes of thick rope, packs of Otterhound can be unleashed from a boat to swim and dive, catch fish, and line the stocks of a boat with them. So long as the Otterhound gets to eat the biggest fish that it caught, it doesn’t seem to mind being used. An Otterhound who is mistreated or witnesses others within its pack being mistreated will often wait until their master is desperate before slashing the leashes to bits under water and swimming away without offering their master any touch of a bounty.

An Otterhound has a body about a foot-and-a-half long with agile legs and a long fluffy tail. It has three different coats of fur which keep it warm in winter, dry from water, and impermeable to leeches and hagfish. They have black eyes that shine like greedy pearls. Their fur runs a variety of colors, from yellow, to black, to brown to white and occasionally red. With the changing of the seasons they will shed their fur and in winter they are nearly always white. They have long claws and webbed toes.

Hameth’s Otterhound are a Small Breed (d4/2 HD), that are reliable swimmers with only a 10% chance to drown when unconscious, as they will naturally float on their backs when harmed in water. They have razor sharp claws (2d3-1 Damage, Double on Critical) which when in a fight they will use with reckless abandon. They are smart and clever able to figure out balance puzzles, pulley systems, and tumblers if given enough time and incentive to do so at a rate of 4-in-6 chance. They are amazing fishers who will catch fish at a rate of 4-in-6 if for anyone other than themselves, with a failure meaning it likely caught a fish and has a reason not to share it with its master. They are resistant to leeches and hagfish or other bloodsucking creatures, as though their AC were 5 greater when being targeted by bite attacks by such creatures.

Morale or Loyalty
Dogs possess a Loyalty or Morale stat that operates differently than those held by common hirelings. This statistic is determined by rolling 3d6, and this number can be improved anytime a player and his dog have downtime with which to train, spoil, and pamper his pooch, gaining an additional d4 Loyalty. Depending on their personality there are situations where they will lose d4 Loyalty if they are not indulged.

To determine this stat, roll on the Personality table below.

Dog Personality - d30
Will lose Loyalty if...
Master doesn’t follow its lead, as it is stubborn and hardheaded.
Master forces it into the center of attention, though it may do this on its own.
Master reigns it in from doing something on its own.
Master acts cowardly or runs from a danger it thinks it could beat.
Master acts in a bold, loud, or frightening way.
Master acts recklessly or messily and it effects the dog.
Master asks the dog to face something scary or dangerous.
Master acts violently around the dog.
Master wantonly tramples, destroys or breaks things around the dog.
Master cannot keep up with the dog while travelling.
Master makes the dog slow down, sit, or stay when it wants to run.
Master prevents the dog from attacking, hunting or mauling.
Master chides the dog for being a little rascal or scamp.
Master refuses to give it positive attention.
Master demands more of the dog than the dog wants to give.
Master tries too hard to bond with the dog.
Master tries to prevent the dog from doing something foolish.
Master scolds the dog for doing something it shouldn’t have done.
Master is loud, lacking in subtlety, or just being clumsy.
Master tries to correct its quirks.
Master tries to curb its attitude.
Master causes it to panic, suffers from Fear effects.
Master doesn’t respond positively to its perfect attitude.
Master acts foolishly or it is forced to relax rather than work.
Master refuses to lavish the dog with attention.
Master demands the dog rise to action or attack.
Master or his actions get the dog dirty and it isn’t immediately cleaned.
Master won’t give the dog some attention, just a little really.
Dog is lavished with undo attention, as this will also make it act guilty as well.
Master does not also act heroically

Dog Physical Quirks (d30, roll twice)
Physical Traits are things your dog does, or is.
Physical Quirk
Has one buggy eye that likes to wander around, other one is fine.
Constant, unending, terrible dog breath.
Unceasing drool, even when dehydrated.
Farts leak from its bum constantly, they smell like the gates of Hell.
Extra toe on one foot.
Three-legged dog.
Only has one ear.
Notched tail.
Saggy large nipples.
Lolling tongue always hangs out the side of its mouth.
Missing most of its teeth.
Scrotum/Vagina splays out on ground when sitting, is distracting and gross.
Constantly snotty nose.
Croaks before it barks.
Scars around its chest.
Drinks by shoving its entire head in the water.
Makes farting noises with its jowls.
Constantly shedding, never stops shedding. Dandruff too.
Always itching behind its ear.
Loudly licks its crotch before it goes to sleep.
Will chase its own tail when bored, to the point of puking.
Drags its anus across any carpet it sits on.
Limps to gain attention when feeling ignored.
Likes to bop sleeping people with its paws.
Must sleep with its head on someone’s belly.
Always rubs its back on never encountered before terrain.
Mis-colored eyes.
Spastic colon, no one can predict when it will go off.

Dog Mental Quirks (d30, roll twice)
Mental Quirks are weird things your dog thinks, or believes because it has poo brains.
Mental Quirks
Touches all food to its chin before it eats it.
Dances when upset.
Dances when it knows it will have diarrhea.
Sneezes when it gets it's favorite food.
Loves to eat poop. If Boardog, hates to eat poop.
Must lick every gloved hand that isn’t holding anything when people talk.
Whines for attention than farts and dances when not given attention.
Floods urine when not given what it wants and will glare at you the whole time.
Cries loudly anytime you move away from it.
When tired, it must lay down between your legs. It will knock you down to do this.
Hates a specific race. Barks at them, glares at them, doesn’t attack without provocation.
Must sniff every chicken, fowl, or bird it sees.
Must smack every chicken, fowl, or bird it sees.
Must lick the butt of every dog it sees.
Must lick the butt of every person it meets.
Yodels when it chews its food.
Always humping and pumping whenever it can.
Enjoys humping the legs of people who are not dressed for such bestial nonsense.
Must sneeze on anything they’re going to eat.
Must sleep with a piece of your dirty smelly clothes or it’ll feel lonely.
Has a “baby” doll that it will go berserk if it goes missing or isn’t replaced. Will hoard babies.
Will lick its paws red and raw and then act like it is your fault.
Can never sleep at night, acts narcoleptically during the day.
Seizes up in weird poses when frightened, bored, or hears a loud noise (even if it causes the noise)
Licks up drool, spilled beverages, whatever liquid is spilling off or out of people with glee.
Always looks sadly at you, but appears beautiful, valiant, and cute to everyone else.
Loudly complains anytime it gets wet, but will go out of its way to get wet so it can complain.
Poops in a bedpan or a hole like a normal person. Will be sad if you watch.
Brings you dead animals as a gift, expects this to always be appreciated and rewarded.
Likes to shove its tongue in ears and armpits and up noses. Is a gross dog.
A nag hound if ever there was one.

Dog Husbandry

For breeding purposes, assign the Breed Size and one of its major traits as the B and one of its other traits (picked at random) as its b. Dog husbandry can make you some money but several breeds have people who are concerned about pedigrees and will be angry at you for interbreeding such companions together.

Punnett Square Example:
Paternal Traits

It takes three generations to cement in a b trait into a B trait, which isn’t really how science works but it is useful for making sure this isn’t made into a full on bio class. I’ll actually get a science friend of mine to figure this crud out proper if it is really of interest.

Next up: Back to writing travelling rules for my own malign purposes.

The Vampire of Dolmenwood

I've decided to have an antagonist for my party to contend with in the coming campaign, a schemer who seeks to break the Summerstones (...