Monday, April 30, 2012

Akoth-Skae - Locations of Note Part 2

The Forest of Illsu: The largest forest on the island, Illsu is a semi-tropical dry forest that supplies Akoth-Skae with most of its lumber. Ruins and tombs also lie within the forest's shadowy confines.

Shorrani Savannah: These grasslands lie between the Illsu Forest to the south and the Akoth Highlands to the north. Shorrani is home to antelope, bush pigs, hyenas, lions, gnolls and zoanthropes.

Lion and cheetah hunting is a popular pastime for the nobility of Akoth-Shaln. Nobles hunt the big cats from chariots, using compound bows and hurled lion-spears to make their kills. Lion and cheetah-skin cloaks are highly valued marks of status within the city.

Maentor's Rise: A small, lonely hill some thirty miles south-east of Akoth-Shaln, Maentor's Rise overlooks the lush Rezuliea Oasis. On the Rise's summit is an odd religious site known as the Shrine of Humility. Traditionally neglected due to the island's decadent and evil culture, it has recently acquired a caretaker – a foreigner named Elthar Bassius. Once a knight, Bassius has forsworn the traditions of chivalry and the fields of honor to become a humble anchorite devoted to meditation and self-examination. Since his arrival the Shrine of Humility has started to attract the curious and the occasional sincere pilgrim.

A dungeon lies beneath Maentor's Rise, a place of evil magic that serves as a dark mirror to the Shrine of Humility's tranquility. This dungeon – called alternately the Pits of Pride and Sinbleak – is host to both devils and dangerous sorcerous phenomena. Rich treasures have occasionally been wrested from it in the past, but the wealth has often brought nothing but grief to its finders.

Cliffs of Caphus: The north-east coast of Akoth-Skae is a range of sea-cliffs running some thirty miles in length. A great ruin, the Villa of Caphus, overlooks the Cliffs. Legend says that the Villa was once a leisure estate for the Ultimate Tyrant, Typhon, who perished centuries ago during the cataclysm that created the Shattered Coast.

The grasslands and forests around the Cliffs are home to large, dangerous birds such as axebeaks, swordbeaks, and arrowhawks.

Akoth Highlands: These stark hills rise up north-west of Akoth-Shaln. The south-eastern portion of the hills are controled by the city and hold much copper, iron and granite. The rest of the hills are quite dangerous, being home to ogres, cyclopskin and hags.

The Harsh Coast: The northern coast of Akoth-Skae is a bleak waste of rocky coves and salt-marshes. Several tribes of orcs lead precarious lives on the Harsh Coast. Sullen and insular, these orcs are preyed upon by slavers form Akoth-Shaln and by ogrekind from the Akoth Highlands.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Akoth-Skae - Locations of Note Part 1

Akoth -Shaln: The largest community on the island, Akoth-Shaln is the hub around which life on Akoth-Skae revolves. Though it is an important trade-center for the surrounding islands, the southern districts of the city are abandoned, crumbling ruins, while some of the inhabited wards are in little better shape.

Along with typical trade goods, Akoth-Shaln deals extensively in slaves. Humans and demi-humans are brought east from Tartorgus, while orcs from the northern Harsh Coast are regularly captured or trader for by baronial-sanctioned slavers. These unfortunate wretches are put up for sale in Harken Square, where purchasers from all over the Shattered Coast (and even far beyond it) come to procure. The most notorious slave-buyers to patronize Akoth-Shaln are the terrible moonbeasts; once a season they descend from the sky in their void-vessels and buy slaves in large quantities, preferring human chattel above all others.

Akoth-Shaln is ruled by a hereditary baron, who is aided by a hand-picked coterie of nobles. The current ruler is Baroness Azulia Shaln, a beautiful young woman who is very clever and completely ruthless. Rumor has it she poisoned her parents when she learned of their plans to marry her to a noble thirty years her senior. Baroness Azulia rules Akoth-Shaln with an iron hand, backed by her formidable arcane knowledge, carefully chosen allies, and her trolghern – a breed of artificially spawned beastmen completely loyal to the family of Shaln.

Tartorgus: The largest town on Akoth-Skae's western coast, Tartorgus is home to the Brotherhood of the Red Hand, a bloodthirsty alliance of pirates led by the notorious Red Jenny Boney. The Red Hand ranges all throughout the waters of the Shattered Coast, preying on merchant traffic and sacking coastal villages. Besides trade cargo and treasure, these pirates also carry off hapless prisoners on a regular basis. A few are held for ransom, but most are sent off to Akoth-Shaln to be sold as slaves. The Red Hand has a treaty with the barons of Akoth-Shaln, in which the pirates refrain from molesting the islands coastal communities or attacking any ship flying a special banner. In exchange, Akoth-Shaln ignores the Red Hand's activities and purchases their stolen booty with no questions asked.

Mistknell: Akoth-Skae's largest port, Mistknell lies to the south on the Cape of Silent Mists. The town owes fealty to Akoth-Shaln and is ruled by an appointed noble known as the Mist Warden.

Croixstone: The largest town on the island's eastern coast, Croixstone is located south of the Cliffs of Caphus. Primarily a fishing community, the town is named after a nearby geological formation – a large outcropping of stone shaped roughly in the form of a cross.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Denizens of the Shattered Coast: Archer Bush

Archer Bush

Carnivorous Mobile Plant Life

No Encountered: 1-8

Size: Small

HD: 1d8

AC: 13

Attack: 1 Thorn Spray (1-4)

Special: Darkvision 60 Ft

Saves: P

Int: None

Alignment: Neutral

Type: Plant

Treasure: Nil

XP: 5+1

Archer bushes look like stunted, sickly looking trees standing a little less than two feet tall, growing dark-brown leaves and sprouting several whip-thin thorny branches. Due to its mobile nature, the archer bush can not efficiently draw nutrients from the soil, and must supplement their diet with meat, bringing down prey by flinging volleys of sharp, inch-long thorns. It typically feeds on small birds, monkeys and smaller mammals, but has been known to attack unwary travelers and adventurers as well.

Combat: Hungry archer bushes will attack any creature coming within twenty feet of it. Their thorn sprays have a range increment of twenty feet. Once one kills a target, it crawls over to its victim and devours it with a thorn-filled maw. An archer bush can throw six sprays of thorns a day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Denizens of the Shattered Coast - Zoanthrope


The Beast That Wears the Shape of Man

No. Encountered: 2-12, 10-40

Size: Medium

HD: 1d10

Move: 30 Ft

AC: 11

Attacks: 1 Great Club (2d4) or 1 Javelin (1d4) or 1 Thrown Rock (1d3)

Special: Immune to Fear Effects, +2 To Saves vs Disease, Poison, Fire and Cold

Saves: P

Int: Inferior

Type: Humanoid

Treasure: 10% Chance For 1

XP: 9+1

Zoanthropes are humans with intellects little greater than those of beasts. While smart enough to use crude weapons and very simple tools, they do not know how to chip stone nor kindle fire, and do not understand the concept of clothing. Zoanthropes tend to be tall and raw-boned, their skin darkened and burnt by constant exposure to the sun, and are thin almost to the point of emaciation. Zoanthropes are instinctively hostile to normal men and demi-humans, considering them their natural prey.

Zoanthropes are rarely found alone, preferring to congregate in small bands. For every seven zoanthropes encountered, there will be one superior type, having 2d10 Hit Dice, 12 AC, and enjoying 1 +1 bonus to damage rolls. A band of at least thirty are led by an alpha zoanthrope of 3d10 Hit Dice, 13 AC, and adding +3 to damage.

Combat: Zoanthropes are fearless in combat, ferociously throwing stones or crude javelins before rushing in to brain their opponents with two-handed clubs. While not suicidal (they will flee if losing a combat or are obviously outmatched), they are immune to all fear effects, whether magical or other, such as a barbarian's Intimidate ability.

Zoanthropes are also physically hardy; they add +2 to all saves against disease, poison, nausea, heat, fire and cold.

Akoth-Skae - A Brief Overview

Akoth-Skae is one of the larger islands of the Shattered Coast, located at the south-eastern edge of the archipelago, several hundred miles from the Eastern Almerion Coast. Akoth-Skae is a lush isle of fertile grasslands and sub-tropical forests. Humans are the dominant race, dwelling mostly in small towns and steadings. The largest population of humans live in the half-ruined city of Akoth-Shaln, led by the Baroness Azulia Shaln, who is also the nominal ruler of Akoth-Skae. Orcs, gnolls and ogrekind can also be found on the island.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who Am I and What Is This Blog About?

As it says over on the right of the screen, my name is Jeremy Harper, and I've been interested in role-playing games and fantastic literature for most of my life. As I suspect is the case for many science fiction and fantasy fans of my age, I was introduced to genre fiction through Dungeons & Dragons, and I've remained a fan of RPGs and genre fiction ever since.

Tales of the Shattered Coast is both a creative exercise and a way to give back to the hobby that has entertained me for decades, in however small of a fashion. Over the course of the coming days, I plan to publish as blog posts materials that a gamemaster can use for his or her campaign. These materials will, for the most part, consist of locales and site-based adventures, along with NPCs, updated or new monsters, and the occasion miscellaneous item. Don't expect very many editorials or reviews – I don't really consider myself an insightful commentator. I do like to think I'm a pretty good GM and adventure writer, but whether that belief is justified I'll leave for you to decide.

As the title of this blog indicates, the adventures to be published here are set in The Shattered Coast, a fantasy setting influenced in part by The Dying Earth, The Book of the New Sun, and Nifft The Lean, along with a plethora of other fantasies, weird fiction, and gaming settings I've read over the years. While I hope the Shattered Coast has its own unique feel, the adventures and write-ups posted here should be universal enough to be inserted into a fantasy campaign with only a little effort on a GM's part. For a system and statistics I'll be using Castles & Crusades, the game my friends and I now use for Dungeons & Dragons-style role-playing. C&C is a system I enjoy a great deal, and it is sufficiently similar to pre-4th edition D&D and its various retro-clones that conversions to your game of choice should be simple.

My next post will be an overview of Akoth-Skae, one of the largest islands of the Shattered Coast – a haven for pirates, slavers and strange constructs and home to some particular ruins and shrines.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What Is The Shattered Coast?

The Shattered Coast is the name given to the east coast of the continent of Almerion. Some thousand years ago, eastern Almerion suffered a great cataclysm, the origin of which is still being debated by scholars and historians. This geological upheaval sundered a great portion of the continent from the mainland, forming a vast archipelago. The islands of the Shattered Coast range in size from mere spurs of rock barely breaking the surface of the ocean to a handful of great islands measuring a few hundred miles in diameter. Many of the islands are inhabited by creatures both malevolent and benign – humans, elves, goblinkind, orcs, and even stranger beings have all founded civilizations of varying sophistication in the archipelago. Many ruins and dungeons also can be found on the islands. Some of these are pre-cataclysmic, while others are the remnants of failed post-Shattering cultures. Finally, the Almerion Coast proper is home to many city-states and holdings, the most prominent of which are the human-dominated Sardonyx and the dwarven theocracy of Godforge.