Friday, April 25, 2014

Knights of Ash - Premise

Premise: Brave knights enter the burnt ruins of a dead city. They naively believe good will triumph over evil. Slowly they become jaded and succumb to despair. There is no glory here; only death.

Fifty years ago a mighty dragon swooped down into the city. It was the day of the princesses' wedding. The streets were packed with celebrating city folk. The dragon killed a thousand people in mere moments. As the city burned the dragon gorged itself and then, finally satiated, it tunnelled into the palace ruins and built a nest.

The dragon still sleeps to this day, periodically giving birth to monstrous offspring as it slumbers. The dragon's horrible spawn are lesser but still ferocious monsters: drakes, wyverns, manticores and chimera. These loathsome beasts have spread throughout the ruins and made their own lairs.

In places fire still burns. Dragon fire is magical, stone that is bathed in it may burn eternally. A huge cloud of ash hangs over the city and the sun has not been seen there at all for half a century. Periodically flashes of lightning arc through the clouds and deluges of oily black rain pour from the sky.

Ash coats every surface, staining everything grey and black. Great drifts of ash accumulate in alleyways and dark corners. Adventures cannot help but to breathe the ash into their lungs, causing a painful wracking cough. The ash gets into eyes, eventually causing blindness.

Knights and Heroes come from far and wide, each believing naively that they will be the one to finally slay the dragon and retake the kingdom. Their romantic dreams of heroism are crushed and their souls are tainted black, even as their bright heraldry is stained black by the falling ash.

Taste: Oily smoke on the air. A lungful of choking black ash. Tainted water. Stringy mouthful of crow meat.

Sound: Metal on stone. Swords clashing. Echoes of the past. Moans of despair. Chains clinking. Eerie stillness. The bellow of a monstrous beast. Rumble of far off thunder. Ash falling like snow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Trolls have always been one of my favourite monsters. They were the first creature I wrote up in my own "heartbreaker" bestiary.

I picture them a lot like they are depicted here, except mine are lanky and less chunky. Green warty hides, tall and lanky, big tusks. They live in huge Trollhalls that are tunnelled into hillsides. They are skilled at working iron, often serving as the armorers for nearby humanoid tribes. Trolls are cunning and cruel but are not unreasonable and they enjoy talking to their prey. Adventurers can often stall by simply striking up a conversation, and may even be able to convince the Troll to let them go, if it would benefit the troll. Trolls use huge iron clubs in combat, they strike at a victim's legs and pelvis, trying to cripple their prey. It is said that trolls eat their prey slowly, trying to keep their victims able to speak as long as possible.

A large gangly creature with a hoary scaled hide and a mouth full of tusks. Trolls love to eat prey live and thus try to cripple their enemies to consume at their leisure. Trolls are brutal and cruel but they are also fairly intelligent. They will often talk to smaller folk before deciding to eat them and may be convinced to spare travellers if they can offer a good enough reason to do so. Trolls fear flame and will bargain for their lives if they start suffering wounds which do not immediately begin healing.

AC: 16, MV: 30, HD: 4 , HP: 42,

Ability Score Modifier

Regeneration:d6 ( At the start of its turn, the troll regains d6 hit points. When it takes acid or fire damage, the troll’s hit point maximum is reduced by the same amount for 24 hours. A troll can be killed if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0 or if it takes acid or fire damage while at 0 hit points or less).

Tusked bite: +4 to hit, 1d8+3 slashing dmg,
Rock hard talons: (2) +4 to hit, 1d6+2 slashing dmg,
Iron Greatclub: +5 to hit, 1d10+4 blunt dmg (on a crit cripples target instead of double dmg),

Iron Greatclub (ENR 5),
Sack with d6x10 gold coins and d6x10 iron trollish coins (each worth 1/2 a gold each),
Side of roast mutton,
Iron chain 25ft,
1d6 sets of iron manacles (human sized),

Monday, April 21, 2014

Knights of Ash

After nearly a full year of not posting I'd like to get pack into it. We will see if I can stick with it though.

The Royal wedding.
The city celebrates.
The Princess beloved by all.
Her Prince dashing and true.
Gleaming knights stood at attention.
The crowd cheers

Suddenly something blocks the sun.

An errant cloud?
The blue sky is clear.
People turn.
The band falters.
A scream.
The quickest knights try to draw their blades.
An avalanche of molten fire rains onto the crowd.

The Princess and her Prince.
The loyal knights.
The cheering crowd.
All scorched to cinders in a singles breath.

The Dragon lands and begins to feed.
Gorging on the dying city.
Screams drowned out by crackling flames and crunching bones.

The Dragon tunnelled into the ruins of the palace and there made a nest.
It sleeps away the decades,
periodically giving birth to monstrous offspring.
In places fires still burn.

Knights come from far and wide, 
to challenge the Serpent and retake the kingdom.
All are buried under shifting tides of black ash.
Bones and steel.
Ash and rust. 

From a new project I'm working on - "Knights of Ash".