Driving the Uncanny Highway – U.S. Route 28

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Officially, of course, there is no U.S. Route 28. Don’t try to locate it on any map or road atlas – you will not find it. Yet it exist, and sections of it seems to wind improbably through every state of the continental U.S. Just as strangely, its meandering path somehow avoids every major city. Exits for U.S. Route 28 can be found along every Interstate, yet a person can drive their entire life and never see one.

The missing, the lost, and the desperate haunt Route 28. They inhabit its odd motels, staff its bizarre roadside museums, and drink in its shadowy bars. Most who pass along the road continue on to their destinations in blissful ignorance. But an unlucky few learn the full extent of the horrors that lurk amid its truck-stops and diners.

These tables are the beginning of a “road-trip” setting for Groovy Ghastly Affair, but anyone gaming in a Weird Americana environment could use them. Naturally, they assume a time-frame of the Swinging Sixties and Groovy Seventies, when one would still encounter hitchhikers, and before the highways of America were completely consumed by the corporate chains that dominate them today.

GENERAL PROCEDURE

1) Every 10 minutes, roll 1d10 times on Table 1: NEARBY VEHICLES.

2) For every 10 minutes of travel in-game, roll on Table 2a: ORDINARY HIGHWAY FEATURE, or table 2b: Table 2b: ORDINARY BACK ROAD FEATURE.

3) For every 30 minutes of travel in-game, roll on Table 3: NOTABLE ROADSIDE ATTRACTION.

4) For every hour of travel in-game, roll on Table 4: CHALLENGING ROAD EVENT.

5) If players turn on the radio, roll on Table 5: RADIO STATIONS OF THE UNCANNY HIGHWAY.

 

Table 1: NEARBY VEHICLES (roll 1d10 times)

d12

The nearby vehicle is a…

1

pickup truck,

2

station wagon,

3

two-door coupe,

4

convertible coupe,

5

four-door sedan,

6

sports car,

7

compact car,

8

motorcycle,

9

delivery truck, or utility vehicle,

10

van,

11

luxury car,

12

“Bug”,

d20

…painted…

1 – 2

black.

3 – 4

white.

5 – 6

dark blue.

7 – 8

metallic gray.

9

cherry red.

10

burgundy

11

brown.

12

sky blue.

13

blue-green.

14

bright yellow.

15

mustard yellow.

16

orange.

17

forest green.

18

lime green

19

pink.

20

purple.

Roll a d20 to determine the age of the car.

Encounters with Buses, Tractor Trailers, Classic Cars, and Hot Rods are considered potentially challenging Road Events, whose occurrence is determined on Table 4.

Table 2a: ORDINARY HIGHWAY FEATURE (roll every 10 minutes on a highway)

d20

Ahead, there is…

1 – 4

apparently just this same stretch of highway.

5

a curve in the road

6

a train trestle overhead (5% chance something falls or is thrown from the trestle)

7

a 3-way intersection

8

a 4-way intersection.

9

a cloverleaf.

10

a u-turn junction.

11

an elevated section.

12 – 13

a split in the road.

13

a truck weigh station (with no other facilities).

14 – 15

an exit for a two-lane Back Road.

16 – 18

an exit for a small town. (population d100 x 100)

19

an exit for a college town. (population 2d20 x 1000)

20

an exit for a small city. (population 3d20 x 1000)

 

Table 2b: ORDINARY BACK ROAD FEATURE (roll every 10 minutes on a back road)

d12

Ahead, there is…

1

apparently just this same stretch of road.

2

a curve in the road

3

a bridge over a stream (or dry river bed)

4

a railroad crossing

5

a split in the road.

6

a foot path leading from the road into the countryside.

7

a crossroads.

8

a state park.

9

a national park.

10 – 11

a small town. (population d100 x 100)

12

an exit back onto the Highway.

 

Table 3: NOTABLE ROADSIDE ATTRACTION (roll every ½ Hour)

d20

On the side of the road you see a…

1

Hitchhiker.

2

Animal.

3

Farm Stand.

4

Abandoned Vehicle.

5

Odd Billboard.

6

Strange House.

7

Quirky Eatery.

8

Bar / Roadhouse.

9

Gas Station.

10

Mysterious, Unmarked Road Exit.

11

Truck Stop (Gas, Weigh Station, Showers, Restaurant).

12

Motel.

13

Souvenir Shop.

14

Monument / Shrine.

15

Amusement/Theme Park.

16

Roadside Museum.

17

Trailer Park.

18

Drive-In Theater.

19

Church.

20

“Mystery Spot” or “Gravity Hill”.

 

Table 4: CHALLENGING ROAD EVENT (roll every Hour)

d12+d8

Suddenly…

2

a person in back seat of nearby car appears to be calling for help.

3

your car blows a tire.

4

a bird flies into your windshield, or a gun is fired at your car.

5

road garbage flies at your windshield.

6

a flirty (or exhibitionist) driver pulls up next to you.

7

you encounter a rough patch of road.

8

you see a distracting custom car, or hot rod (50% chance owner wants to race).

9

you see a distractingly decorated “hippie van”. (d8. Occupants are 1 = “deadheads”, 2 = a marijuana smuggling operation, 3 = drug-crazed murderers, 4 = sex cultists, 5 = neo-pagan witches, 6 = ordinary college students, 7 = actually government agents, 8 = “meddling kids” out to solve mysteries.)

10

you encounter a gang of 2d12 biker(s) traveling together.

11

you see loaded tractor-trailer ahead.

12

a driver ahead is going far too slow.

13

an aggressive driver cuts you off.

14

there’s a speed trap (with waiting Police car.)

15

you see a bus (d4: 1 = travelers, 2 = nuns, 3 = musicians on tour, 4 = prisoner transport).

16

a drunk driver starts crossing lanes.

17

an animal or person runs into road. (Person has a 50% chance each of being: a) nude, b) blood-spattered, c) incoherent, d) on the run from a psycho-killer; e) a kidnapping victim fleeing their captor.)

18

objects fall from the bed of a truck ahead of you.

19

a nearby driver loses control of their car.

20

the road becomes impassible. (d4 1 = car crash, 2 = tree (or utility pole) fallen across road, 3 = flooded road, 4 = sinkhole.)

Challenging road Events will generally require some kind of Ability Check to avoid trouble, or an accident.

Table 5: RADIO STATIONS OF THE UNCANNY HIGHWAY (1d6 stations for every 1 hour stretch driving on highway or road)

d20

Searching the dial, you find a station broadcasting…

1 – 2

Rock n’ Roll,

3 – 4

News,

5 – 6

Country Music,

7

Soul.

8

Jazz,

9

Blues,

10

Easy Listening,

11

Oldies, (Rockabilly, Doo-Wop, 50s Rock n’ Roll)

12

Big Band Swing,

13

Polka,

14

an interview with a local celebrity,

15

Public Radio educational shows,

16

Christian music,

17

a bizarre sermon, (Roll on Table 6a.)

18

an insane conspiracy theory, (Roll on Table 6b.)

19

songs that seems to be soundtrack for your current day,

20

music in an unknown language,

d20

and the DJ / announcer sounds…

1

bored.

2

drunk.

3

giddy.

4

drunk.

5

stoned.

6

frenetic.

7

monotone.

8

enthusiastic.

9

dimwitted.

10

incoherent.

11

insane.

12

halting.

13

smooth.

14

sleazy.

15

foreign.

16

snobby.

17

very young.

18

elderly.

19

lisping.

20

familiar – you know that voice.

Note: The call signs of American Radio stations are four-letter codes. A call-sign for a station west of the Mississippi River has “K” as the first letter in its sign, while one east of the Mississippi begins with “W”.

Table 6a: BIZARRE SERMONS ON THE RADIO

d20

The apparent topic of this preacher’s sermon is…

1

Jesus wants you to send me your money.

2

Vietnam is/was a Holy War to save Christianity.

3

The richer you are, the more Jesus loves you.

4

The Lava Lamp – an idol of Satan!

5

Tithing is more important than eating.

6

The End Times are here now.

7

All true modern science is foreshadowed in the Bible.

8

Evolution is a lie.

9

Jesus, the investor.

10

Meditation is Devil Worship.

11

Elections are pointless, because God selects our leaders.

12

Richard Nixon – God’s Chosen One!

13

The U.F.Os are demons in disguise.

14

The Pope is the Antichrist.

15

God is an American, and always has been.

16

Football is God’s favorite sport.

17

All Rock n’ Roll songs are written by Satan.

18

Christians should only use “Biblical” medicine.

19

The Barbie Doll is the Whore of Babylon.

20

American Christians are the true Israelites.

 

Table 6b: BIZARRE CONSPIRACY THEORIES ON THE RADIO

d20

As much as you can make sense of it, this person is ranting about…

1

the Rothschild family.

2

the “Trilateral Commission”.

3

Feminists trying to destroy the American family.

4

the “Campus Communists”.

5

the “Eastern Bankers”.

6

the “Bilderbergers”.

7

the Illuminati conspiring with Space Aliens to impose Communism on America.

8

the “Liberal Media”.

9

the United Nations, and their plan to occupy America.

10

the coming Ice Age.

11

the British Royal Family.

12

the “International Satanic Conspiracy”.

13

how Satanists control local government.

14

the “Homosexual Agenda”.

15

the Communists in Hollywood.

16

C.I.A. mind control.

17

Soviet Agents in Congress.

18

how the Jesuits created Communism.

19

the “Bohemian Grove”.

20

fluoridated water being a Communist plot.


Coming up: Tables for determining characteristics of hitchhikers, quirky eateries, strange amusement parks, and more.

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Doctor Polidori – A Historical NPC for Ghastly Affair

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John PolidoriPresenting the Father of the Modern Vampire, Doctor John Polidori. Although eclipsed in fame by the great authors and poets with whom he associated, it was nonetheless Doctor Polidori who was responsible for establishing the image of the vampire as a dashing, sexually irresistible aristocrat. Of course, Polidori’s bloodsucking “Lord Ruthven” was meant as a satire of the Doctor’s infamous employer, Lord Byron!

 

Doctor Polidori (June 16, 1816)

Lord Byron’s personal physician, and future author of “The Vampyre”

Full Name: Doctor John William Polidori
Aliases: John Polidori, Dr. Polidori
Class: Everyman
Level: 4
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: A handsome young man of Mediterranean mien. He seems to be favoring one leg when he walks.
Age: 20

Charisma: 10 Intelligence: 16 Wisdom: 13
Strength: 9 Dexterity: 9 Constitution: 8
Perversity: 10
Assets: Handsome, Fast Learner, Natural Artistic Talent (drawing)
Afflictions: Sprained Ankle (temporary), Hot-tempered, Prone to Sickness, Compulsive Gambler

Speed: 9
Hit Points: 26
Attacks: 1 pistol, or caustic chemical splash.
Damage Bonus: +1

Special Abilities: Profession (+1): Physician | Avocation (+1): Writer | Affection (+1): Art | Academic Credentials (as the Mad Scientist Special Ability, instead of an Inheritance) | Social Contacts: Lord Byron (poet, employer); Mary Shelley (aspiring writer, recent acquaintance); Percy Shelley (poet, recent acquaintance); Claire Clairmont (Mary Shelley’s stepsister, recent acquaintance); John Murray (Byron’s publisher); Sir Henry Halford (King George III’s Physician-in-Ordinary); Gaetano Polidori (father); Frances Polidori (sister); John Soane (son of no-classical architect Sir John Soane).
Weaknesses: Phobia: Being Overlooked (Athazagoraphobia) | Prejudice: Homely People

Typical Equipment Carried: Stylish clothes, leather physician’s satchel (with vials of various chemicals), notebook, 1000p in local currency (55 Swiss francs).
Residence: The Villa Diodati, Lord’ Byron’s’ rented Villa on the shore of Lake Geneva.

Background:

  • September 7, 1795: John William Polidori was born in London. His father was the Italian author and translator Gaetano Polidori. His English mother Anna Maria had been a governess.
  • 1804: John began school at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire. The school, run by Benedictine Monks, eventually became one of the premiere institutions educating the British Catholic elite.
  • 1810: Child prodigy John Polidori entered the University of Edinburgh to study medicine at the age of 15.
  • 1814: John graduated from Edinburgh University, writing his thesis on somnambulism (sleep-walking). At 19, John was the youngest person to ever to graduate from the school with a medical degree.
  • April, 1816: Lord Byron hired Polidori to be his personal physician and traveling companion, on the recommendation of Sir Henry Halford. Shortly thereafter John is contracted by Lord Byron’s publisher John Murray to keep a diary of his travels with Byron, for £500.
  • April 25, 1816: Doctor Polidori and Lord Byron sailed from Dover towards Ostend, accompanied by three servants.
  • April 26, 1816: Doctor Polidori and Lord Byron arrived in Ostend, and took lodgings. John immediately witnessed Lord Byron’s sexually predatory behavior, writing “As soon as he reached his room, Lord Byron fell like a thunderbolt upon the chambermaid.” The pair set out with their servants for Switzerland the next morning. Lord Byron’s elegant carriage, brought over from England and overburdened with his possessions, broke down almost constantly along the way.
  • May 24, 1816: At Morat, John and Lord Byron stole bones from a ruined ossuary holding the remains of 15th century Burgundian soldiers.
  • May 26, 1816: Doctor Polidori and Lord Byron reached the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland around midnight. They took lodgings in the Hôtel de l’Anglerre, popular with traveling Englishmen.
  • May 27, 1816: After boating with Lord Byron on Lake Geneva, Doctor Polidori met Mary Godwin, Claire Clairmont, and Percy Shelley, who by Claire’s connivance had been waiting on the shore. Mary and Percy initially mistook John for Lord Byron. Byron was not pleased to see Claire, but nonetheless invited her, Percy, and Mary to dinner that night.
  • June 2, 1816: John began giving Mary Godwin lessons in Italian (the Tuscan dialect), and took her son William to be vaccinated against smallpox.
  • June 10, 1816: John moved into the Villa Diodati with Lord Byron. Percy Shelly and Lord Byron became increasingly abusive towards Doctor Polidori, referring to him as “PollyDolly”, mocking his affection for a local girl, disparaging his writings, and otherwise goading him into angry outbursts whenever possible.
  • June 15, 1816: John severely sprained his ankle after being cajoled by Lord Byron into leaping from a wall in order to escort Mary Godwin up a slippery, rain-slicked path. That night, he had a conversation with Percy Shelly about the principles of life, and whether human life should be considered as a mechanical or spiritual process – “whether man was to be thought merely an instrument”.
  • June 16, 1816: Lord Byron challenges the group, forced inside by the inclement weather, to write ghost stories. Several days later Doctor Polidori will begin work on a ghost story, but not “The Vampyre”.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes:

Doctor Polidori is hung-strung, and quick to take offense. Consequently, he is always being goaded and needled by the sadistic Lord Byron. He loves art, but has strong opinions on aesthetics, and can be extremely judgmental of peoples’ appearances. Doctor Polidori is immensely proud of his academic achievements, and often annoyed by the way others seem to fawn over his employer. Polidori will quick to point out he is a physician, not a surgeon (which is a much lower status position in the early 19th century). He has a great fear of being ignored, and will do foolish things in order to be noticed and thought well of. He has a passionately romantic nature, and is developing an infatuation with Mary Godwin.

Doctor Polidori currently has a sprained ankle, from impetuously leaping to escort Mary Shelley up a wet path. He therefore walks with a limp – which Lord Byron may point out as evidence that the doctor is trying to imitate the poet in all ways! Doctor Polidori wants to be taken seriously as a writer, but Byron makes a point of disparaging anything he writes (and encouraging others to do the same). Nonetheless, Doctor Polidori is currently being paid by Byron’s publisher to keep journal of his experiences with the poet, and so will be keen to insert himself into any social interactions at the Villa Diodati.

Doctor Polidori in Your Game:

Anyone visiting the Villa Diodati in the summer of 1816 is going to encounter Doctor Polidori. If the PCs aren’t there to meet Lord Byron, may be trying to meet the former child prodigy, in order to seek his advice on some bizarre medical problem. Perhaps one of the PCs (or one of their loved ones) is a sleepwalker, experiencing horrible nightmares, or prone to fall into debilitating trances – all of which are Polidori’s specialty. In any event, Doctor Polidori will try to turn any conversation towards those topics – so he can feel like the smartest person in the room!

Another possibility is that the PCs are agents of Lord Byron’s publisher John Murray, sent to make sure Doctor Polidori is actually keeping his diary – and not just indulging in orgies with Byron.

John Polidori committed suicide by drinking poison in 1821 (although the death was officially recorded as being from natural causes). The Presenter could explore the possibility that in 1816 Polidori was already in communication with an actual Vampyre, who later made John one himself.

In 1800 John’s sister Frances married the Italian poet Gabriele Rossetti, and eventually gave birth to four children destined for fame – author and nun Maria Francesca Rossetti (who wrote a biography of Dante), painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood), literary critic William Michael Rossetti, and the poet Christina Rossetti (author of the classic “Goblin Market”). The Presenter could explore the possibility that Doctor Polidori’s family was haunted by fairies, and the John never died, but was actually whisked away to the Otherworld – with an illusory “stock” made of wood, leaves and moss left in his place. Perhaps Doctor Polidori was never really an ordinary human being at all, but a Fairy Changeling unaware of his own true nature until 1821 (when he chose to escape the Mundane World altogether).

Marquis de Sade – A Historical NPC for Ghastly Affair

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Marquis de sade

And now for a villain who perhaps needs no introduction, but a warning. Far from being merely a misunderstood rascal, Sade almost certainly deserved even more time in prison than he actually experienced. Here then is the man who has lent his very name to the term “Sadism”.

Marquis de Sade (October, 1767)

Soldier, Dramatist, and Depravity Personified.

Full Name: Donatien-Alphonse-François, Comte de Sade
Aliases: Captain de Sade (of the Burgundy Cavalry), Count de Mazan
Class: Libertine (Aristocrat)
Level: 6
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: An impeccably dressed man with a roundish face, high forehead, and deep-set blue eyes that stare intensely. His natural hair under his wig is blond.
Age: 27

Charisma: 16 Intelligence: 16 Wisdom: 11
Strength: 9 Dexterity: 13 Constitution: 9
Perversity: 18
Assets: Aristocratic Skills, Talented Writer, Actor, Military Training
Afflictions: Notorious, Obsessed with Numbers, Powerful Enemy (Madame de Montreuil, his mother-in-law), Powerful Enemy (Inspector Marais of the Paris police)

Speed: 9
Hit Points: 36
Attacks: 1 (pistol, sword, knife, rod, or whip)
Damage Bonus: +2

Special Abilities: Disguise (+1) | Dueling (+1/+3) | Fraud (+1) | Sneak (+1) | Seduction (+1)
Weaknesses: Faithless Lover | Fascinated By Innocence

Typical Equipment Carried: Fashionable clothing of gray silk. A muff of white fur. A fine walking stick. A powdered wig. A dress sword (epee). High-heeled shoes. A small case with anise-flavored “pastilles de Richelieu” (candy pellets made with “Spanish Fly”, or powdered blister beetles).
Residence: His maison de plaisance in Arcueil, just south of Paris. The Château de Lacoste in Provence.

Background:

  • June 2, 1740: Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade was born in Paris. His father was Jean-Baptiste-Joseph-Francois, Comte (Count) de Sade. His mother, Marie-Eléonore, Comtesse (Countess) de Sade, was the Princesse de Conde’s lady-in-waiting. The family had persistent money problems, made worse by the Comte’s compulsive gambling.
  • 1750: Sade begins his education at the Jesuit-run Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. He was frequently beaten and whipped while there.
  • 1752: Sade’s parents separated, and his mother retired to a Carmelite convent.
  • 1755: Sade was enrolled in the Régiment du Roi (King’s Regiment) as a sub-lieutenant. His position is unpaid and informal.
  • May 17, 1756: Great Britain declared war on France, formally beginning the Seven Years War.
  • January 1757: Sade was promoted to the official rank of “Cornet”, with the duty of bearing his infantry regiment’s standard.
  • June 23 1758: Sade narrowly escaped being killed at the Battle of Krefeld.
  • April 21, 1759: As was standard practice at the time, Sade’s father purchased for his son his own cavalry company, and the rank of Capitaine (Captain). The young Captain de Sade quickly developed a reputation for libertinage that was extreme even by the standards of the French aristocracy.
  • March 15, 1763: Sade is discharged from his regiment, due to the end of the Seven Years War.
  • May 17, 1763: Sade married Renée-Pélagie de Montreuil, eldest daughter of a wealthy – but only recently ennobled – family.
  • October 29, 1763: Sade is imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes, for attempting to induce a prostitute to engage in “sodomy”, mutual flagellation, and the desecration of religious objects.
  • November 13, 1763: Sade is freed from prison by order of the King, but confined to the Château d’Echauffour, owned by his wife’s family. The ban on his travel will be lifted in November of 1764.
  • July 1764: Sade’s first child with his wife was born, but died shortly thereafter.
  • December 1764: Sade was back in Paris, with Inspector Marais keeping track of his activities.
  • February 1765: Sade takes the voluptuous actress and dancer Mademoiselle Beauvoisin as a mistress, promising her a stipend of 20 Louis d’Ors a month. She already has at least two other lovers. Sade’s mother in-law quickly learned of the affair, and began conspiring to separate the couple.
  • May 9, 1765: Sade took the pregnant Mademoiselle Beauvoisin to his family’s château of Lacoste, arriving by June. He tells people along the way that she is his wife.
  • August 20, 1765: Sade and Mademoiselle Beauvoisin returned to Paris.
  • January 1766: Sade ended his affair with Mademoiselle Beauvoisin, who immediately rejoined the theater and took new lovers.
  • June 1766: Sade visits Château de Lacoste to supervise renovations, including the construction of a theater.
  • November 4, 1766: Sade began renting his maison de plaisance (pleasure house) in Arcueil. He became known around the town for bringing young men and women back to the maison for sex and whippings.
  • January 24, 1767: Sade’s father died, making him the Comte de Sade. In accordance with the custom among French nobility of the time, Donatien-Alphonse-François assumed the grander-sounding title of “Marquis de Sade”.
  • August 27, 1767: Sade’s wife gaves birth to his first surviving legitimate son, Louis-Marie.
  • October 1767: Sade resumed residence at Arcueil, and returned to his preferred pastimes.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes

Sade affects a refined and sophisticated demeanor, but he is quick to violence if he feels insulted, or even slightly annoyed. He is an atheist and an iconoclast, yet demands all the privileges of his title. His tastes in food is gourmet, to the point of snobbishness. He requires extreme amounts of stimulation to feel any sexual satisfaction, and is in constant search for the ultimate erotic experience. He enjoys both whipping others, and being whipped himself. He finds the idea of desecration very arousing, and will often incorporate some manner of sacrilege into his sexual escapades. Besides perverse sex, Sade’s other great passion is for the theater – both as as an author, and an actor. He often combine the two pursuits, and the scenes of his sexual crimes are often carefully arranged by him for dramatic effect. The oddest part of his personality, however, is his obsession with numbers. He will inexplicably insist on acts being repeated a specific number of times, or objects being presented to him in specific amounts, without any rational reason ever given.

Marquis de Sade Your Game

Sade is here depicted well before he has written the books that will make him (in)famous across Europe. He is already notorious among the police and prostitutes of Paris, but next year he will land in serious trouble for the imprisonment and torture of an unemployed cloth spinner named Rose Keller at his maison de plaisance.

Player Characters encountering Sade might be policemen working for Inspector Marais, or be private investigators working for the Marquis’ mother-in-law. They could be invited to one of his elaborate dinner parties, particularly if they are also nobility (or part of the Parisian demimonde). Perhaps they have been employed by the family of a young woman who barely survived one of Sade’s depraved soirées. Sade might possess an infamous book detailing the outer limits of pleasure and pain, which the PCs want to either read or steal. Or, maybe Sade seeks such a book, and commissions the PCs to find it. In a less scandalous vein, Player Characters could even be actors hired for a play the Marquis has written.

The Presenter could make Sade an actual member of the “Sodality of the Friends of Crime” (as described in his novel “Juliette”). In that case, the PCs might be either accidentally learn of the group’s existence, or have been actually sent by the Church to neutralize it. However, the PCs might instead be working for a rival group of hedonists who also wish to destroy the dangerous Sodality.

Sade makes a good recurring villain for Sagas that encompass decades. He will be in and out of trouble with the law for all the remaining years of his life – imprisoned for the entire period from from 1777 to 1790, becoming a politician during the Revolutionary period, and being imprisoned again from 1801 to his death in 1814. Sade’s influence could easily extend beyond his prison walls, particularly if the Presenter chooses to include the “Sodality of the Friends of Crime” as a real group.

Deacon Brodie – The Real-life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is one of the classics of Gothic literature, adapted and re-imagined in countless ways since its writing. Stevenson’s good doctor had a likely model, however – a man named William Brodie. By day, Brodie was the Deacon of the Wrights and a respected Town Councillor of Edinburgh, but by night he was a dissolute gambler and house-breaker! Here he is, statted for use with the Ghastly Affair rpg.

Deacon Brodie (January, 1788)

The real-life inspiration for “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

Full Name: William Brodie
Aliases: Deacon Brodie, Sir Lluyd (to be pronounced “lewd” – used when attending the Cape Club)
Class: Libertine
Level: 9
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: A short, dark complexioned man of slender build, with large bushy eyebrows and sideburns. His eyes are deep-set, and dark brown. He is is very well-dressed, and walks with an arrogant swagger. If encountered during the day, he wears a white-powdered wig.
Age: 46

Charisma: 12 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 11 Dexterity: 18 Constitution: 9
Perversity: 14
Assets: Profession: Wright (fine carpenter, cabinet-maker, and builder). Good Reputation.
Afflictions: Obsessive Gambler. Short.

Speed: 9
Hit Points: 54
Attacks: 1 pistol, walking stick, or pry-bar (+1 Bonus if fighting unaided, +3 if a desired lover is watching)
Damage Bonus: +3

Special Abilities: Disguise (+1) | Dueling (+1/+3) | Fraud (+1) | Sneak (+1) | Seduction (+1)
Weaknesses: Faithless Lover | Fascinated By Innocence

Typical Equipment Carried: A set of fine clothes (white during the day, but black at night). A fine-quality walking stick. A pair of small and concealable “muff” pistols. A pair of loaded dice. A mask of black crepe. A set of lockpicks. A small wooden case filled with putty, for taking impressions of keys. A small ivory whistle. A “dark” lantern, with a hood to obscure the light.
Residence: The mansion at Brodie’s Close, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Background:

  • Monday, September 28, 1741: William Brodie was born in Edinburgh. His father was a prosperous wright (fine carpenter and cabinet-maker) and Burgess (recognized property-owning citizen, with the right to vote and freely conduct business).
  • February 9th, 1763: William became a Guild Brother of Edinburgh, and was made a Burgess.
  • August, 1768: Brodie committed his first major crime – the theft of £800 from the counting-house of Johnston & Smith. He entered the premises by means of a duplicate key, which he made after being employed to do repairs to the building. Two night later, he anonymously returned £225 of the money. William will continue the practice of duplicating his customer’s house keys for the remainder of his life.
  • February 25th, 1775: William was admitted as a member of the “Cape Club”, a fun-loving gentleman’s society that met at James Mann’s tavern in Craig’s Close. All member of the club assumed a comical (or ribald) pseudonym at meetings, and William was known as “Sir Lluyd”. Among his fellow Club members was inventor James Watt. William also played dice obsessively at James Clark’s tavern at Fleshmarket Close, and frequented the cock-fighting pits of the city – particularly the one at Michael Henderson’s inn in the Grassmarket.
  • 1776: William’s mistress Anne Grant bore him a daughter named Cecil (named for his mother). Anne will eventually give birth to two more of William’s children. Throughout that time Anne remained ignorant of William’s other mistress, Jean Watt – who became mother to another two of his children.
  • September, 1781: As newly elected “Deacon” (presiding head) of the Incorporation of Wrights, William also became a member of the Town Council of Edinburgh. He will be a Town Councillor for all his remaining years, except for 1785. The other Councillors employed his services as a wright, and William made duplicate keys of their properties whenever possible.
  • June 1, 1782: William’s father Francis died. William inherited the mansion in Brodie’s Close, £10,000, a second house in Old Bank Close, a tenement in Horse Wynd, another tenement in World’s End Close, and a third tenement at Netherbow.
  • July 1786: While attending the cockfights at Michael Henderson’s inn, Deacon Brodie met a locksmith named George Smith, a shoemaker named Andrew Ainslie, and John Brown (a convicted thief on the run). The four decided to become buglers together, as soon as Smith recovered from the illness currently afflicting him.
  • October 9, 1786: The shop of a Goldsmith near the Council Chambers was burgled by Deacon Brodie, and the now healthy George Smith.
  • Winter 1786 – 1787: Poet Robert “Bobbie” Burns moved into lodgings across the street from Deacon Brodie’s home. The two became acquaintances. By this point, rumors were already circulating that Deacon Brodie had somehow helped a local murderer escape from justice. Likewise, William had been seen at least twice by people unable to believe – and convinced they would not be believed – that the bugler in their home was none other than the respected Deacon of the Wrights!
  • November 1786: Using duplicate keys, Deacon Brodie and George Smith burgled Davidson McKain’s hardware shop in Bridge Street. They did not obtain much except a finely-bound notebook, which William subsequently gave to Michael Henderson’s daughter.
  • December 24, 1786 (Christmas Eve): Around 4 AM, George Smith broke into the jeweler’s shop of John & Andrew Bruce, on Bridge Street. The job had originally been Deacon Brodie’s idea, but William refused to stop playing dice at James Clark’s tavern long enough to join in the crime. George nonetheless carried away a rich haul of watches and jewelry. The next morning, George allowed William to select some stolen items to keep for himself.
  • August 16, 1787: Deacon Brodie, George Smith, and Andrew Ainslie robbed the grocery shop of John Carnegie in the port of Leith, making off with a large quantity of tea.
  • October 29, 1787: Deacon Brodie, George Smith, Andrew Ainslie, and John Brown broke into the University of Edinburgh, and stole the institution’s ceremonial silver mace.
  • Christmastime, 1787: John Brown stole the house key of a shopkeeper named John Tapp, which had been left hanging in the man’s shop. Deacon Brodie made a duplicate, and the original was surreptitiously returned. Brown later revisited John Tapp in his shop, and plied him with a bottle of liquor. While the shopkeeper was distracted, Deacon Brodie and the remainder of his gang used the duplicate key to burgle John Tapp’s home above the shop. Among the times they stole was a miniature portrait secretly kept by John’s Tapp’s wife, evidently of her gentleman lover.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes: Deacon Brodie’s obsessive, thrill-seeking nature is belied by his slow and deliberate manner of speaking. He is a “macaroni” – extremely fashion conscious and vain. Heir to a considerable amount of money and property, he commits crimes to fund his gambling, and for the perverse thrill of being a secret criminal. Above all, Deacon Brodie is a shameless liar who enjoys fooling and manipulating everyone in his life. He maintains two separate households of illegitimate children, with two women who know nothing of each other. By day he is a “pillar of the community”, but spends his nights indulging his sordid whims. He cannot resist a chance to gamble or take a pointless risk – a fact that can be used against him by clever adversaries. He also likes to dupe people into becoming unwitting accomplices, by presenting them with stolen gifts.

Deacon Brodie in Your Game: Deacon Brodie is presented at the point just before he and his gang will commit their disastrous break-in of the General Excise Office for Scotland, in March of 1788 – the crime for which he and George Smith eventually be caught and executed. His secret life reflects the dual nature of Edinburgh itself – simultaneously the rising “Athens of the North”, and an overcrowded criminal playground of thieves and prostitutes. The medical students of Edinburgh demand a steady supply of fresh corpses for dissection, readily supplied by Grave Robbers. The city itself is split into the medieval warren of the Old Town, and the rising New Town of neoclassical buildings. An Affair featuring Deacon Brodie could focus on exploring the motifs of secret identities, duality, hypocrisy, and the disconnect between the ideal and actual.

Player Characters can be drawn into Deacon Brodie’s sphere in many ways. Bandit, Grave Robber, and Libertine PCs might simply find themselves recruited to take part in a crime unrecorded by official history. A Demon Hunter stalking his quarry in the night might run into William and his gang. A True Innocent might be publicly courted by the respectable William Brodie, and thereby be the unwitting recipient of stolen jewelry. If any PCs are property owners in Edinburgh, their houses could be targeted by Deacon Brodie – especially if they also know him socially as a Town Councillor. One of the male PCs may even be Mrs Tapp’s lover, implored by her to find the miniature portrait of himself that was stolen from her home ! In two weeks Deacon Brodie is going to be gambling in James Clark’s tavern at Fleshmarket Close, where an outraged victim of the Deacon’s loaded dice will leave William with a noticeable scar under his right eye. The PCs may be there, and witness the event.

There were sightings of Deacon Brodie after his supposed execution on October 1, 1788. If your Saga is set after that date, the Presenter can explore the possibility that Deacon Brodie wore a steel collar to his hanging, and bribed his would be-executioner to ignore it – or that the Deacon’s dead body was reanimated through Mad Science by that fiendishly cunning Frenchman, Doctor Pierre Degravers! Deacon Brodie had fled Scotland before his trial, and was supposedly caught in Amsterdam. Perhaps the man sent back to Scotland to die wasn’t actually Deacon Brodie at all, but a hapless victim of William’s ultimate scam.

Ghastly Affair Location Catalogues Now Available on DriveThruRPG

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I just wanted to let you all know that I’ve made a bunch of modular PDF fill-out forms for use with “A Ghastly Companion to Castles, Mansions, & Estates. They’re called Ghastly Affair Location Catalogues , and will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating imaginary Grand Houses for games set in the late 18th to early 19th century era. After you’ve created a house, the Location Catalogue becomes a systematic record that can be later referenced during game play. Whether you work with an existing map, or create a map from the Catalogue, the forms allow you to define practically everything about the house and its inhabitants – including any restless ghosts!

There are three main sets, which are all available on a Pay-What-You-Want basis:

TheGhastly Affair Location Catalogue – Castle will help you create a Concentric, Compact, or Courtyard Castle – or a Fortified House.

The Ghastly Affair Location Catalogue – Mansion will help you create a grand urban dwelling, such as an English Townhouse, Italian Palazzo, or French Hôtel Particulier.

The Ghastly Affair Location Catalogue – Estate House will help you create an English Country House, Italian Villa, French Château, or a similar aristocratic home in the countryside.

And if you want to define your house in extreme detail, I’ve made three supplemental forms to be used as needed:

The Ghastly Affair Location Catalogue – Interior Room has lines for recording almost every possible characteristic of an important area inside your house.

TheGhastly Affair Location Catalogue – Garden Features lets you define and work out the relative locations of individual features in each garden area of your house’s parkland.

TheGhastly Affair Location Catalogue – Tower Interior defines the rooms inside stand-alone towers, of the type that might be found along the outer defensive walls of a medieval Concentric Castle.

The Summerland Dragons, Part IV – The Rosy Dragon

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We finish the series on the magical Summerland Dragons with the mightiest of their number – the mysterious Rosy Dragon.

See the first post in this series to learn more about these unique creatures.

The Rosy Dragon

Number Appearing: 1 (and 2 Quercic Dragon Consorts)
Size: Large (40’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: Maximum
Intelligence: 25
Move: Walk 2 x human speed.
Fly 4 x human speed.
Armor Class: 15 better than unarmored.
Hit Dice: 20 (160hp)
Attacks & Damage (front):
Bite 3d12, or Transporting Breath
Claw 1d12
Claw 1d12
Attacks & Damage (sides and back):
Wing Buffet (right) 1d6
Wing Buffet (left) 1d6
Tail Lash 1d10
Special:
* Transporting Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon are transported to an environment of symbolic challenges (No Save, but a target can only be affected once per day). See below.
* Polymorph Self at will.
* Regenerates 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Casts Spells as a 20th Level Magic User, with access to every spell on all spell lists (including Cleric and Druid).
Saves: As Cleric 20
Treasure: A hoard of art objects, gems, crystals, coins, and jewelry worth 1,000,000 gp, plus 10 Magic Items.
Challenge: Four 20th Level Characters

There is only one Rosy Dragon, and all the Dragons of Summerland pay homage to it. It appearance it vaguely resembles a Red Dragon of Panzoasia, its body being covered with scales that resemble the petals of deep-red roses. A closer look reveals a number of differences, however. The tail of the Rosy Dragon shades into green, and is covered with thorn-like spines. Its horns are like thorny spikes, glittering gold in color. Its large eyes are like pools of molten gold, and its claws are also golden. Its ears are long and pointed. Long, thin frills of red frame its face, and similar filaments form a beard-like growth under its chin. A green ridge with a saw-tooth edge runs along the Dragon’s back, from nose to tail. The Rosy Dragon appears in many other forms, however, as it can Polymorph itself at will. Among its favored alternate forms is that of a red-haired Human or Elf woman with brilliant green eyes, clad in golden robes, and crowned with roses. It also enjoys appearing as a golden swan or lioness. While it usually prefers to assume a female body, it will become male if it feels the situation warrants it.

The Rosy Dragon embodies the philosophy of “there is a time for all things”. It treats every situation individually – sometimes striving for peace, sometimes promoting war. It motivations can thus seem completely inscrutable to most other beings. It is never without its two Consorts – a (currently) male and female pair of Quercic Dragons with maximum Hit Points. It is also known to associate with the the similarly mysterious Wizard-Druid known as The Traveler, and the equally strange Green One, both of whom are similarly committed to maintaining the balance of Nature throughout time and space.

The Rosy Dragon only keeps its treasure on the Isle of Dragons in the Summerland. There it dwells in a palace made of colored glass as strong as granite, amid a field of ever-blooming roses. It rarely chooses to visit Panzoasaia, and then only for brief periods.

Fighting the Rosy Dragon
The Breath Weapon of the Rosy Dragon is unique, even among the Summerland Dragons. Rather than inflict damage, or even immobilize victims, its targets are enveloped in a red mist that physically transports them to a Realm of Testing. There they will be faced with a series of challenges that symbolize their various prejudices and shortcomings.

Before introducing the Rosy Dragon the DM should prepare a short dungeon adventure (or small island hex-crawl) tailored to the PCs, where they must solve problems in ways completely contrary to their usual methods. For example, a party used to hacking their way through adventures will be faced with continually regenerating creatures who can only be defeated through lateral thinking. Or, a party completely reliant on magic items will be transported to a place that temporarily disenchants their equipment. Members of the same adventuring party will be transported to the same Realm of Testing to join their compatriots, even if they had been affected by separate blasts of the Dragon’s breath.

Once all affected PCs arrive in the Realm of Testing, they will see an image of the Rosy Dragon standing before them in Human or Elven form. It will tell them the place they must reach, and give them a clue (in the form of a riddle) as to what action they must perform once they get there. The image of the Dragon is only a phantom, of course, and cannot be attacked. If the PCs survive the challenges of the place, and perform the correct action in the right place (which will always in some way symbolize the harmonious union of opposites), they will find themselves back in front of the Rosy Dragon, 10 minutes after being first transported. Regardless of how much time seemed to pass in the Realm of Testing, exactly 10 minutes (1 Turn) will have passed in the “real world”. The bodies of those who die in the Realm of Testing will remain there.

Upon the return of transported PCs, the Rosy Dragon (who will be have been waiting for them) will ask them if they are still committed to their murderous intentions. If so, the Dragon will attack them with its most powerful magic – and it can cast all known Magic User, Cleric, and Druid spells, as a 20th Level Magic User. Creeping Doom is a favorite effect. If forced into hand-hand-combat the Dragon will furiously bite, claw, buffet with its wings, and lash with its thorny tail. Meanwhile, combatants will also have to deal with the Rosy Dragon’s two consorts – unless they have already been neutralized by other means.

A Logo for Panzoasia

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So, I decided to make a logo for my Panzoasia Campaign. I settled on a fun, “black-light poster” look – an aesthetic which I may carry through for the artwork in any future published version of the setting. In any event, here it is:

I wanted something I could see hanging on a wood paneled wall in 1979 – or as an iron-on patch for a denim jacket! Or, maybe as a sticker on a notebook, with “Black Sabbath”, “Blue Oyster Cult” and “Led Zepplin” written around it!

 

The Summerland Dragons, Part III – Quercic and Corylic

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Here are two more of the magical Summerland Dragons – the mighty Quercic, and the mysterious Corylic.

See the first post in this series to learn more about these unique creatures.

Quercic Dragon

Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large (35’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: High
Intelligence: 16
Move: Walk 1.5 x human speed
Fly 4 x human speed
Armor Class: 10 better than unarmored (+ bonus of magical armor when in Human or Elf form. See below.)
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks & Damage (Dragon form):
Bite 3d8, or Fascinating Breath
Gore 3d6
Claw 1d8
Claw 1d8
Attacks & Damage (Human or Elf form):
Weapon (By weapon type, + magical bonus from weapon. See below.)
Special:
* Fascinating Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon must Save versus Breath Weapon or become unable to do anything but stand in awe of the Dragon for 2d4 minutes.
* Can assume the form of a Human, Elf, Eagle, Deer, or Oak Tree.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Regenerates 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Casts Spells as a 10h Level Druid.
Saves: As Cleric 10
Treasure: Art objects, gems, crystals, and rare plants worth approximately 30,000gp, plus 1 Magic Weapon, 1 Magical Armor, and 1d2 additional Magic Items.
Challenge: Four 10th Level Characters

The natural form of a Quercic Dragon is a regal being with scales that resemble the tips of oak leaves. In the spring and summer the scales are green, but turn brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. In either case, the underbelly is reddish-brown – and in the winter the Quercic Dragon turns that color completely. The creature has human-like eyes that can be brown, blue, green, or gray. The branched horns atop their stag-like heads are glittering ivory, as are their claws. Unlike other types of Summerland Dragons, the sharp tips of the horns point forward. Two long fangs also extend downwards from the creature’s mouth when it is closed. Under its chin is a beard of golden hair. The Dragon’s ears are long and pointed. In all seasons, the creature’s wings are spotted with metallic gold. The Dragon’s legs are stag-like, and always a lighter shade than the body. Quercic Dragons also take the forms of armor-clad Humans and Elves, wearing red cloaks, and crowned with oak leaves and acorns. Their two other usual forms are that of a golden eagle, or a majestic stag (or doe).

Quercic Dragons are generally honest and direct in their speech. They expect to be treated with due respect, but will return courtesy with courtesy. Above all, they will not abide lies and deception. Their natural homes are the deep forests of the Summerland, but they sometimes come to Panzoasia to protect the balance of Nature, and those aligned with the forces of harmonious Neutrality. The thus freely associate with Druids, those sylvan creatures descended from the Fairies of the Summerland, and all manner of natural beasts. They will tolerate the company of any Panzoasian Dragon that does not despoil their environment, but have antipathy for the deliberately deceptive Corylic Dragons of the Summerland.

In the Summerland, Quercic Dragons nest in bowers formed from enormous trees whose trunks have been trained to grow together into vaulted canopies. In Panzoasia, however, they will lair and keep their treasure in castles, where they spend most of their time in Human or Elven form. Such castles will always be built to blend harmoniously with the landscape. Their hoard always include a magical weapon, and some kind of magical armor – both of which they will wear and employ. The Dragons grow rare and valuable medical plants in their castle gardens, which they use to heal local animals, and Neutrally-aligned people living in harmony with the forest. Note that Quercic Dragons are Neutral, not Good – they care only about the welfare of Nature, and those devoted to Nature. Quercic Dragons do not consider themselves bound to help starving urban children, for example. Nor will they stop a predator from killing what they need to eat.

Fighting the Quercic Dragon
Quercic Dragons only attack first if they see someone despoiling Nature, or engaged in unwarranted aggression towards a Neutrally-aligned being. They prefer to fight in a shape appropriate to their opponents – Human or Elf form for humanoid foes, stag or eagle form if they must cull a mad beast, or full draconic form when they are forced to fight a monster. As previously noted, in Human or Elf form they will always use a magical weapon of some kind, and wear Magical Armor. When they dressed in such protection, their Armor Class is improved only by the “plus” rating of the item. For example, a Quercic Dragon fighting in Chainmail +3 has an Armor Class 13 points better than Unarmored, rather than 10.

Corylic Dragon

Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large (30’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: High
Intelligence: 17
Move: Walk 1.5 x human speed
Fly 4 x human speed
Armor Class: 9 better than unarmored.
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks & Damage (in front):
Bite 3d8, or Oneiric Breath
Claw 1d8
Claw 1d8
Attacks & Damage (sides and behind):
Tail Whip 1d6
Special:
* Oneiric Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon must Save versus Breath Weapon or mentally re-experience a previous night’s dream, becoming unable to effectively deal with the real world for 2d4 minutes.
* Can assume the form of a Human, Elf, Nightingale, Toad, or Hazel Tree at will.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Regenerates 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Casts Spells as a 9h Level Magic User.
Saves: As Magic User 9
Treasure: Coins, art objects, books, and jewels worth approximately 30,000gp, plus 1d6 potions and 1 Magic Wand.
Challenge: Four 11th Level Characters

Corylic Dragons in their natural form are sinewy creatures about 30 feet long, with scales that resemble the leaves of a hazel tree. Their snouts are distinctly wedge-like, coming to a sharp point. Their extremely flexible tails are long, thin, and often contorted into odd corkscrew shapes. Their wings have peculiar, feathery edges that resemble the husk around a hazelnut. Like hazel foliage, Corylic Dragons are usually green, but their scales turn yellow in autumnal environments. Some have dark purple scales instead – but all Corylic Dragons turn brown in winter. The eyes of a Corylic Dragon change colors in the light, alternating from green to brown. The creature’s forked horns are pale, glittery yellow, as are its claws. In addition to their natural form, Corylic Dragons often assume the shape of black-robed Humans and Elves, crowned with Corylic leaves and catkins. Their other possible forms include nightingales, toads, and hazel trees.

Corylic Dragons delight in mystification. They will never directly state what they can instead imply, and fill their speech with poetic allusions. They are collectors of secrets, and are willing to pay to learn some bit of otherwise unknown information. Those who try to learn secrets from a Corylic Dragon, however, must be prepared to piece together the truth from numerous hints, insinuations, and metaphors.

Corylic Dragons naturally live in the forests of the Summerland, but sometimes visit Panzoasia in search of new secrets. There they will freely associate with witches, sorcerers, and Druids of dark inclination. They actually get along well with the Green Dragons native to Panzoasia. They do not like the blunt honestly of the Summerland’s Quercic Dragons, however.

Corylic Dragons love silver, and stones which are opalescent or mottled in color. They will usually have a library in their lair, filled with strange and obscure works. Additionally, a Corylic Dragon always possesses a magic wand of some kind, which they are fond of using. They keep their treasures in underground vaults, the entrances to which are often disguised by cottages of the type that might be inhabited by rural hedge witches.

Fighting the Corylic Dragon
A Corylic Dragon will always begin a fight with either a magic spell, or the effect from its wand. Secondarily, they will use the yellow fumes of their Oneiric Breath to incapacitate attackers. Physical attacks are used only when necessary. Corylic Dragons are almost never wantonly destructive, but they show aggressors no mercy.

The Summerland Dragons, Part II – Lotosic and Orchidic

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Presenting two more examples of the Summerland Dragons. These time we feature rival breeds that both prefer the warmer climes of Panzoasia‘s Ultimate South and East.

See the first post in this series to learn more about these unique creatures.

Lotosic Dragon

Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large (40’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: Average
Intelligence: 18
Move: Walk 1.5 x human speed
Fly 3.5 x human speed
Swim 1.5 x human speed
Armor Class: 8 better than unarmored.
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks & Damage:
Bite 3d6, or Soporific Breath
Claw 1d6
Claw 1d6
Special:
* Soporific Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon must Save versus Breath Weapon or fall asleep for 2d4 minutes.
* Can assume the form of a Human, Elf, Frog, Dragonfly, or Lotus Plant.
* Breath Water or Air.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Regenerate 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Casts Spells as an 8h Level Cleric.
Saves: As Cleric 8
Treasure: Art objects, rare books, gems, crystals, and exotic plants worth approximately 20,000gp, plus 1d6 Magic Scrolls and 1d4 other Magic Items (1 of which will be intended for Clerical use).
Challenge: Four 10th Level Characters

A Lotosic Dragon’s natural form is a thin, serpentine creature about 40 feet long, with a body covered in purple-edged pink scales that resemble the petals of a lotus flower. The legs, however, are bluish-green. Their wings are dark purple, resemble the fins of a betta fish, and are also used for swimming. Several drooping, tendril-like whiskers hang from their catfish-like face, and their eyes resemble sapphires. Their antler-like horns resemble green brass, as do their claws and teeth. They also take the shape of white-haired Humans or Elves, dressed in pink robes, and crowned with lotus flowers. They can disguise themselves as frogs and dragonflies as well.

Lotosic Dragons are philosophical and learned creatures, possessing Wisdom Scores of 18 in Human terms. Lotosic Dragons collect philosophies as much as any other treasure. A visitor willing to debate the Dragon will earn their respect – one who can actually win a philosophical debate will be treated as an honored guest in the Dragon’s lair from then on. Lotosic Dragons often leave their homes in the swamps and waterways of the Summerland, and travel to the warmer areas of Panzoasia in search of new perspectives on reality. There they freely associate with Nagas, Mystics, sages, scholars, and open-minded Clerics willing to freely exchange ideas. While Lotosic Dragons enjoy the company of Panzoasian Gold Dragons, they have antipathy for the hedonistic Orchidic Dragons of their homeland.

Lotosic Dragons love to swim and spend time underwater, but they always maintain dry, temple-like lairs for their treasures. They love statues, especially ones depicting creature of the water. They will always have a store of scrolls – some inscribed with exotic philosophical treatises, and others with magic spells. Every Lotosic Dragon also owns some kind of magic item of a Clerical nature, such as a Snake Staff, which they will employ in their own defense.

Fighting the Lotosic Dragon
A Lotosic Dragon does not like to fight, and will always seek to end hostilities if possible. If forced into combat, however, it will first try to use the pink vapors of its Soporific Breath. If its would-be opponents have all been put to sleep, the Dragon will change into human form and bind the aggressors. Combatants so bound will be treated to a thorough lecture on the absurdity of pointless violence, and imprisoned for a month in the Dragon’s lair – every day of which they must listen to another extremely long monologue on the value of living in harmony with one’s fellow creatures. Combatants who foil the Dragon’s plan for their enlightenment will be subjected primarily to magical attacks, unless the creature is forced into close quarters where it must bite and claw.

Orchidic Dragon

Number Appearing: 1 (In Panzoasia , an Orchidic Dragon has a 75% chance of being accompanied by 2d6 enthralled people and humanoids, and a 50% chance of being served by 6d6 Lizard Man worshipers.)
Size: Large (30’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: Average
Intelligence: 17
Move: Walk 1.5 x human speed
Fly 3.5 x human speed
Armor Class: 8 better than unarmored.
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks & Damage:
Bite 3d6, or Intoxicating Breath
Claw 1d6
Claw 1d6
Special:
* Intoxicating Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon must Save versus Breath Weapon or become so overcome with the intoxicating smell that they are unable to attack, defend, or otherwise think clearly for 2d4 minutes.
* Can assume the form of a Human, Elf, Cobra, Butterfly, or Orchid.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Regenerates 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Cast Spells as a 9th Level Magic User.
Saves: As Magic User 9
Treasure: Art objects, gems, crystals, and rare plants worth approximately 30,000gp, plus 1d6 Magic Items.
Challenge: Four 11th Level Characters

An Orchidic Dragon in its natural form is strikingly beautiful, and emits a wonderful perfume that can be detected from 300 feet away. The scales on its serpentine body resemble the petals of a jungle orchid, darkest purple shading to almost pink at the edges. The underbelly is intense blue-green. The wings seem to flow out of the body, and are mottled purple and white. Intricate, petal-like frills frame the face. The thin, turquoise horns resemble curling tendrils, and glitter in the light. The Dragon’s eyes are emerald green. The inside of its mouth is magenta, and the creature’s bright pink tongue is long and serpent-like. A soft dorsal fin of purplish-red runs along the back, from the creature’s head, to midway along the tail. The tail itself flattens into similar purple-red fins, oriented laterally. Flower-like fins of dark purple project from the Dragon’s legs and forearms. In addition to its draconic form, the creature can appear as a Human or Elf dressed in purple, and crowned with orchids. It can also assume the shape of a cobra, or large and colorful butterfly.

Orchidic Dragons are selfishly hedonistic beings, who conceive of no higher goal than their own pleasure. They will preach their philosophy of pure self-indulgence to all who will listen – and those who don’t are apt to be dosed with the creature’s Intoxicating Breath! They inhabit the colorful jungles of the Summerland, but often come to Panzoasia ins search of new experiences. There they tend to attract small cults of people (and humanoids) addicted to the effects of the Dragon’s breath. Such cultists are also magically Charmed as a safeguard to maintain their compliance. Often, Orchidic Dragons are also served by tribes of Lizard Men, who voluntarily worship the creature as a god. It is possible for the same Orchidic Dragon to both have addicted cultists, and Lizard Man worshipers, living as a joined community. Of course, Orchidic Dragons give not a single thought to questions of Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, or anything besides their own amusement. They are far too selfish to tolerate the company of any other Dragon type, and especially despise the philosophical Lotosic Dragons.

In the Summerland, Orchidic Dragons store their treasure in glittering caverns, but in Panzoasia they prefer to make their lairs in abandoned jungle ruins. They love art of all kinds – especially if it depicts themselves! They have a particular fascination with sculptures carved from large gemstones. They also collect rare plants, especially those which have intoxicating qualities. Additionally, every Orchidic Dragon hoard will include at least one magic item, that the creature always carries when in human form.

Fighting the Orchidic Dragon
An Orchidic Dragon’s first attack is always its Intoxicating Breath, since the creature enjoys watching the effect the purple fumes have on other beings. Next, it usually attempt to magically Charm would-be combatants, so it may add them to its cult of attendants. Cultists and Lizard Man worshipers already in the Dragon’s thrall will then be sent to fight any remaining belligerents. Only if attackers make their way through its followers will the Orchidic Dragon itself physically attack – but once it does so, it luxuriates in the sight and taste of its enemies’ blood. The Dragon will eat its fill of any slain, and thereafter give the remaining meat to its surviving cult members to consume.

Orchidic Dragon Cults
Roll 2d6 times on the following table to find the composition of the Dragon’s cult. Note that the cult can be composed of species normally hostile to each other – a fact that the Dragon will cynically point to as evidence that it alone can bring true peace and harmony to the world!

d20 This cultist is a
1 – 5 Human
6 – 9 Elf
10 Gnome
11 Dwarf
12 – 13 Halfling
14 Goblin
15 Kobold
16 Hobgoblin
17 Orc
18 Gnoll
19 Ogre
20 Troll

Any Lizard Man worshipers of an Orchidic Dragon will themselves be of the brilliantly colored variety– it does not accept the service of those who are simply drab green or brown.

The Summerland Dragons, Part I – Trefolic and Urtician

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Like all Dragons inhabiting Panzoasia and the Corners of the Earth (besides the primordial Fire-Breathing and Serpentine breeds), those of the Summerland are descended from the uplifted Dragon of the Terrestrial Paradise. In the case of the Summerland Dragons, their ancestors were female Fairies who mated with the Dragon after its expulsion from Paradise. Their offspring were permitted to dwell in the Summerland by the Lord and Lady of Life, who bore no ill-will towards the Dragon for having been the agent of the First Person’s division into the Five Peoples.

The Summerland Dragon notably share characteristics with certain plants and trees. Although they are often smaller than other kinds of Dragon, they are powerfully magical beings. Each can speak, read, and write every language in existence, and every one is an accomplished spellcaster of some kind. All have several alternate forms that they can assume at will. As natives of the Summerland, they are all true Neutral in Alignment, but while some embody Nature’s harmony, others tend to evidence its darker side of violence and predation.

Summerland Dragons do not pass through all the age categories of other dragons. They are effectively immortal unless killed, and each is born a fully formed adult. Like all Dragons they are sequentially hermaphroditic (passing through alternately male and female phases), but they don’t ordinarily reproduce in the expected way. If one is slain through misadventure, a plant of the appropriate type will spring up overnight on the site where the dragon died. Over the course of a week the plant will transform into a new adult Dragon of the same type. The new Dragon will not remember anything of its previous life, however. The total population of Summerland Dragon thus remains constant. Summerland Dragons who mate with other beings, however, (which they often do when in their alternate forms) can either father, or become pregnant with, half-draconic offspring (according to the Dragon’s current gender).

Many of the Summerland Dragons change colors with the seasons. Notably, most of the Isles of the Summerland experience a single perpetual season (which is generally – but not always – summer), and thus the Dragons who live there remain a single hue. However, certain breeds who choose to live in Panzoasia (particularly the Quercic and Corylic Dragons) will show different colors throughout the year.

The Breath Weapons of Summerland Dragons are also unique. Rather than damage their victims, each incapacitates them in some way instead. Whether an affected person should consider this a blessing, or an especially cruel curse, however, varies from breed to breed. Significantly, Summerland Dragons are immune both to each other’s Breath Weapons, and those of Panzoasian Dragons – who are in turn cannot be incapacitated by a Summerland Dragon.

All Summerland Dragon know how to travel the secret Fairy Paths. They can walk, fly, or swim back to the Summerland from Panzoasia, or any Corner of the Earth (Shadowland, the Chthon, etc.), in 10 minutes. Likewise, from the Summerland they can reach any other Corner of the Earth by traveling for 10 minutes. Travel within Panozaosia (or a a Corner of the Earth) is accomplished normally – unless the Dragon chooses to travel back to the Summerland, and from there to someplace else.

Like other Dragons, Summerland Dragons can consume anything organic, but can also live on dirt or mud if need be. Their connection with the world of growing things allows them to regenerate 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.

Trefolic Dragon

Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large (15’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: Low
Intelligence: 12
Move: Walk 1.5 x human speed
Fly 3 x human speed
Armor Class: 6 better than unarmored.
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks & Damage:
Bite 3d4, or Indolent Breath
Claw 1d4
Claw 1d4
Special:
* Indolent Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon must Save versus Breath Weapon or completely lose interest in attacking, defending, or pursuing any useful activity for 2d4 minutes.
* Can assume the form of a Human, Elf, Bee, Rabbit, or a 10’ x 10’ Clover Patch at will.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Regenerates 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Casts Spells as a 6th Level Cleric.
Saves: As Cleric 6
Treasure: Rare minerals, nuggets of precious metal, uncut gems, crystals, wood-carvings, and finely-crafted toys worth approximately 8,000gp, plus 1d6 potions, and 1 random Magic Item.
Challenge: Four 7th Level Characters

In their natural forms, Trefolic Dragons are small, pot-bellied dragons about 15 feet long, with scales that are similar to leaves of green clover. The snouts of their dog-like heads are rounded, and relatively short for Dragons. Their large eyes are milky white, and there are arcs of white coloration in the webbing of their wings. Their short, bud-like horns are glittery white. In the winter, a Trefolic Dragon’s scales turn brown. These creatures are also fond of appearing as Human or Elven children, dressed in green clothes, and crowned with blooming clover. In addition, they can assume the shapes of bees, rabbits, or even clover patches!

Trefolic Dragons are the most playful and good-natured of the Summerland Dragons, but greatly resent any attempt to draw them away from their frolicking. Their natural habitats are the rolling fields of the Summerland Isles, but they are known to make their way to Panzoasia from time to time, for no purpose beyond the sheer enjoyment of travel. Besides Fairy Folk, they love the company of Fool Hares, humorous Gnomes, and the various animals of the open meadow. They do not get along, however, with the Urtician Dragons of the Summerland.

Trefolic Dragons are especial collectors of toys, and visitors who bring the creatures new, interesting, or especially well-crafted toys will earn their favor. They otherwise prefer natural, uncut gems and minerals, as well as rustic carvings of rare woods. They keep their treasures well-hidden in natural caves and burrows.

Fighting the Trefolic Dragon
Trefolic Dragons fight to kill only when attacked first. Their first defense is always to release the fumes of their Indolent Breath, a 30 foot cloud of green vapors. If all the targets become stupefied, the Trefolic Dragon will usually try to flee the scene. Those who annoy the Dragon by interrupting its playtime will be treated similarly. If cornered or otherwise forced to engage in combat, the Dragon will rely on its magic first, resorting to bite and claw attacks only as a last resort. Generally, the Trefolic Dragon avoids killing and violence whenever possible, and will ask attackers to “please stop”. However, it has no qualms about eating the bodies of those who persisted – and lost!

Urtician Dragon

Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large (15’ long)
Alignment: Neutral
Morale: High
Intelligence: 12
Move: Walk 1.5 x human speed
Fly 3 x human speed
Armor Class: 7 better than unarmored.
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks & Damage (front):
Bite 3d4, or Agonizing Breath
Claw 1d4
Claw 1d4
Attacks & Damage (back and sides):
Wing slash (on right) 1d4
Wing slash (on left) 1d4
Tail Slap 1d4 (+ Save versus Dexterity, or suffer effects of Stinging Spines. See below.)
Special:
* Agonizing Breath (3 x per day): All within a 30’ x 30’ cloud in front of the Dragon must Save versus Breath Weapon or experience a burning pain that fully incapacitates them for 2d4 minutes.
* Stinging Spines: Unarmed attacks on the Dragon cause the attacker to Save versus Paralysis or suffer 1d4 points of temporary Dexterity damage, which heals back the next morning.
* Can assume the form of a Human, Elf, Wasp, Viper, or Nettle Plant at will.
* Speaks and reads all languages.
* Regenerates 1 hp per Round when in contact with soil or water.
* Immune to Dragon Breath of all kinds.
* Can travel to and from the Summerland in 10 minutes.
* Casts Spells as a 7th Level Magic User.
Saves: As Magic User 7
Treasure: Rare minerals, torture instruments, nuggets of precious metal, uncut gems, and crystals worth approximately 12,000gp, plus 1d4 potions, and 1 magical weapon.
Challenge: Four 9th Level Characters

The natural form of the Urtician Dragon is slender and sharp-featured. The creature’s scales resemble the leaves of a stinging nettle, and are covered with similar spiny hairs. The creature’s eyes are red. Its horns are straight and spine-like, as are its teeth. A saw-like ridge runs down the Dragon’s back, to the tip of its spiny tail. The “fingers” of the creature’s wings end in long, sharp points, and the webbing between them is purple. In winter, the Dragon’s hide turns completely gray. The inside of its mouth is always dark purple, however, as is its tongue.

Urtician Dragons are louts that see themselves as the embodiments of Nature’s callousnesss – and act appropriately. They are fond of insulting and provoking other beings, just to see what will happen. While their behavior thus tends towards malevolence, they also see their own actions in terms of a harmonious totality of being that includes the counterbalance of mercy – just, not from themselves. They have even been known to remind people being eaten alive that “its nothing personal”! When in Panzoasia, they freely associate with bandits, outlaws, assassins, and most other draconic beings. However, they despise the happy-go-lucky Trefolic Dragons from their Summerland home.

Whether in the Summerland or Panzoasia, Urtician Dragons fill their lairs with traps and snares. They prefer to dwell in ruins, especially those that were destroyed by fire. They collect instruments of torture, particularly if such have been artistically wrought. Their hoards also always include at least one magical weapon – kept as a curiosity, since they prefer to attack in in their natural draconic form.

Fighting the Urtician Dragon
Urtician Dragons attack mercilessly, and often without provocation. They will begin combats by breathing out the green fumes of their Agonizing Breath. Next they will savage their opponents with every physical attack they have. If the fight turns against them, then they will seek to retreat and use magic spells (such as Lightning Bolt) from a distance.