Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
G.M. Notes for Russia
High Level Summary of Russia in 110 P.A.
Rifts Russia, like other areas of the world after the apocalypse, is wild and untamed and brutal! It is a wild, unconquered land where anything goes. Russia is overrun with demonic beings and the peasants and villages and destitute D-Bee common-folk are bearing the brunt of the casualties.
Western Russia covers well over 1.5m square miles. The tundra region is roughly another 1.5m and the Steppe is an additional 1m. Russia is one of the largest land masses in the world. Before the coming of the rifts a lot of deforestation had occurred dude to lumber mills, mining, and kolkhoz (vast collective farms) but in the ensuing 300 years after the cataclysm the land has become completely regrown with lush forests open plains, marshes, and pastoral woodlands. Humans still cling to areas of it but they must wage a constant struggle against inhuman creatures and supernatural forces that also lay claim to the land…and often the people on it. Western Russia is the most densely populated with approximately 32.7m humans scattered throughout the expansive region compared to nearly 1b before the Great Cataclysm.
Most roads, as we think of them, are non-existent. All that’s out there are dirt and gravel roads, cart paths, foot paths, and animal trails that cut a thin swath through parts of the wilderness. They are foot-worn paths most commonly traveled by the local villagers or War Camps from one place to another. Roads of any kind are most common in and around villages, towns, cities, and farms. Most are packed earth connecting one village to the next or to someplace important like a well, stream, favorite fishing spot, etc. Only the biggest cities have “paved” roads but even the Sovietski only has about 40% of its roads paved or made of cobblestone or macadam; most other cities have half as many. Locals sometimes mark stones or erect totem pole-like carvings made of wood to identify a road, nearby village or particular direction. In the winter, however, such markers may get buried or covered in snow.
The great wilderness that is the Russian Frontier is as dangerous as any on Rifts Earth and most would say more so. It is more dangerous than the American West and is haunted by ghosts, inhabited by D-Bee nomads, gypsies, huntsmen, and bandits, as well as plagued by demons and monsters. Remember that while the War Camps and Knights of the Realm “patrol” their Spheres of Influence and try to rid the land of monsters the forested wilderness is about one and a half times the size of the United States and that does not include the lowland steppe, arctic forests, and frozen tundra which are roughly comparable in size. Roughly four-times the size of the old American Empire.
Most pre-Rifts villages and cities have crumbled to nothing and been swallowed by the forces of nature or alien life forms. The land has reverted to a virgin wilderness cut by the occasional newly established house, hut, farm, village, or tribe. These places of human habitation are what the Warlords strive to protect. Even within the Warlords’ Spheres of Influence, villages will be cut off by the deep snows and storms during the winter and may fall under siege by monstrous forces. Even cyborgs and patrols on hovercycles and power armor must make their way slowly through the vast woodlands especially if they are on the lookout for trouble. It’s easy for monsters, bandits, and many demons to hide in the woods.
The dense, lush forests of the Ukraine and western and northern Russia have always been dangerous places. These vast tracts of wilderness have few roads or trails, and even during daylight hours those unfamiliar with the wilderness are likely to get lost. At night the forests take on a sinister appearance and travelers will get lost VERY easily or worse — fall into a ravine, swamp, or bog. They are also home to the grey wolf (movie: The Grey with Liam Neeson), tiger, bear, and other predators (including human ones like bandits, cultists, necromancers, and witches). There are ancient woodland spirits and monsters like the shaggy, size-changing Leshii, the mischievous Domovoy, the mournful seductresses known as the Rusalka, as well as Vikhor, vampires, shape-changers, faeries, ghosts, gods, and dragons. Few common folk will enter the forests at night and most avoid traveling too deeply during the day.
To people who don’t know better the light and wonder of the ley lines may seem alluring but in Russia they represent the light of magic, nightmares, and monsters. Entities, ghosts, and demons are attracted to the shimmering blue light as are the necromancers and witches and other practitioners of dark magic and worshippers of evil. Ghosts, demons, and monsters frequently meet and congregate at the ley lines where they are said to be most numerous between the hours of midnight and one in the morning. However, some start to awaken and move on the prowl with the setting of the sun. These creatures of the night gather at the lines of energy to plot their evil work, to draw on the energy provided by the blue light, to trade goods and information, or just for the company of their own kind. Wary travelers careful to be quiet and not get too close are likely to chance upon a group of hellish creatures laughing, squabbling, brawling, drinking (alcohol, human blood, or foul elixirs, etc.), trading goods (from human heads and bones to weapons, gems, and magic), swapping stories, exchanging information, or engaging in torture and / or other depravity. Meanwhile, others simply hover about with seemingly dispassionate eyes and distant thoughts. These gatherings and meetings can involve as few as two to as many as fifty.
The forests are so dense and landscape so rugged that most motorcycles, hover-bikes, hover-cycles, and cyborgs must travel at half speed or slower. Rain, fog, mist, and snow can force travelers to reduce their speed to a crawl and in some cases make any type of travel IMPOSSIBLE. If one cannot see where he is going there is a constant danger of tripping over rocks and branches, banging into trees, falling into holes or crevasses or ravines, sloshing through swamps, and stumbling blindly into dangerous animals, monsters, and spirits. On top of that these incidents make noise and attract the very creatures one hopes to avoid. Night travel is pitch black except for the light of the stars and the moon. This alone necessitates speeds 50%-60% below max. Rugged terrain, dense trees, shrubs, fog, and other obstacles, and a practical speed means 75%-80% below normal. This is below normal. This is true even of those traveling on foot. Roll for each bold category:
01-70% likelihood of getting lost.
01-60% likelihood of creating a noticeable disturbance (noise, startled animals scurrying away, birds taking to air, etc.) that will alert pursuers or make nearby creatures and travelers aware of one’s presence and general location within 500yards.
01-50% chance of tripping and falling; no damage other than a bump or scrapes, but the character loses two melee actions, may drop something, and makes noise in the crashing fall.
01-40% chance of running headlong into a tree, rock, tangle of vines, animal trap, or hole, and fall and hurt oneself. Roll percentile dice to determine damage:
- 01-20 Banged head and stunned for 1d4 melee rounds. Until head clears the character has only 2 actions per melee round, no initiative, no combat bonuses, -6 on all combat maneuvers, and can barely sit up straight let alone walk. -90% to speed and skill performance, other than a headache he functions at 80% once he recovers.
- 21-40 Banged head and is out for 2d4 minutes. Helpless, but at least is quiet and more difficult to locate by pursuers.
- 41-60 Banged and bruised even if wearing M.D.C. armor. Takes 3d6 damage.
- 61-80 Twisted, sprained, or pulled an ankle or leg muscle even if wearing M.D.C. armor. Pain prevents max speed and movement. Reduce speed by 1d6x10%, -3 initiative, -3 to dodge or roll, -1 action. A splint, rest, and medical treatment will reduce recovery time by half otherwise it’ll take 1d4 + 3 weeks to heal. All penalties apply to the first half of the healing period. Reduce penalties by half for the last half.
- 81-00 Takes 3d6 damage even if wearing M.D.C. armor and gets stuck in a tangle of vine, a pit, a ravine, a bog, swamp, animal trap, flash flood, or under a rock or mud slide, fallen tree, for at least 1d4 + 2 minutes and may need help to get free.
01-10% chance of running headlong into an animal or monster (double the chance at night). Battle ensues as the startled creature reacts.
Plus the characters will have little hope (01-05%) of retracing their path or recognizing landmarks if he should need to do so.
Pre-Rifts City Ruins – possible artifacts, Matryoshka Doll, Chernobyl reactor pieces, books (“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak, “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy, “Demons” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky).
Blissed on Blue! A Ley Line!
Ruins of Cult of Dragonwright Temple – this very old religion was started on Palladium, for these four dragon gods fought in the war against the Old Ones and were elevated from dragons to gods. There are rumors that they also participated in the transformation of the Yin Sloth Jungles. This religion is making a comeback on Palladium, as many ready for war. Most priests are warrior priests, and fanatical. There are really 3 churches, or religions, of Dragonwright. One holds all four dragon gods, oftentimes called True Dragonwright. The second is only Styphon, and is called the Cult of Dragonwright, or evil Dragonwright. The last holds the remaining 3 dragon gods, and is referred to as good Dragonwright. There is a “modern” equivalent on the continent of Atlantis in the city of Dragcona at the Cathedral of Dragonwright – a religion Styphathal is trying to revive in the name of the first dragon, Styphon.
Waylaid by Warlord Reavers!
Swamp! – 1d10 Kladovik Guardians – p.29 mystic Russia, PS-3d6 + 24, PP-2d6 + 12, PE-2d6 + 12, Spd-3d6 + 30 (min 33), MDC-PE + 2d4x10 + 50, HF-13, 8-9ft tall, 300-400lbs, can fight w/o exhaustion for 12hrs, leap up to 20ft high and lengthwise, does not breathe air, climb 95/90%, prowl 60%, swim 90%, track by blood scent up to two miles away @ 72%, Nightvision 1000ft, see invisible, dimensionally teleport 30% ( + 15% @ nexus), regen 3d6MD / melee, knows all languages @ 90%, illiterate, Limited Metamorphosis: can transform into pale gray long-legged spider the size of a man’s fist, only at night and only twice / night, Limited invulnerability: impervious to poison, disease, cold, heat (magic cold / heat do full damage), SDC weapons unless silver or wood (any type), MillTree x2 damage, MD weapons, fire, electricity, magic weapons, spells, and psionics do normal damage, light of day is glaring and harsh, bite – 3d6MD, punch/jab/kick – SNPS, stabbing / scissor like cutting strikes SNPS + 2d6, APM-7, + 4init, + 5s, + 6p, + 3d, + 5disarm, + 1 roll, impervious to HF, in addition to attribute bonuses, Magic: death trance, fear, shatter, magic shield, fists of fury
Cultists Orgy Blue Light Special!!! Blood Priests, Blood Druids, and Chemognostic Chaos-Worshippers! Calling for Elemental Chaos — a last elusive element needed to unlock the mysteries of the Megaverse! They dance naked under a pale, full moon beside the ley line, fucking and sucking and screwing each other and sacrificing the shit out of young virgins and goats and babies, etc. Use your imagination…
Farm Rescue — Game of Thrones Craster — Craster is a wildling who lives north of the Wall. He lives in a fortified homestead, rather grandly called Craster’s Keep, along with his daughters and wives. When his daughters get old enough he marries them, and then incestuously fathers new children with them.
Abandoned Mine Shaft – 2d10 The Unclean – PS – 2d6 + 12 SN, MDC – 2d4x10 + 8 + 50% at night or in darkness, Spd-2d6 + 18 (min 22), HF-9 for 1 or 12 for pack of 4 or more, 4-5ft tall, look like demonic standing goats / rams dark gray or black and very cold, sharp canine fangs, p. 19 mystic Russia, PPE-3d4x10 + PE, can run without pause for 1d4hrs, leap 15ft high / lengthwise, climb 80/70%, swim 90%, hold its breath for 2 + 1d6mins, survive depths of 500ft, prowl 50% ( + 15% in animal form), track humanoids using sense of smell and vision 60% ( + 10% in animal form), 40% track animals, dimensional teleport 55%, regen 1d6MD / min, understands and speaks all languages 90% but cannot read. Limited Flight: can ride the wind of a storm including tornados and hurricanes and ley line storms. Limited Metamorphosis: can turn into a black cat, black or dark mottled pig, mangy dark gray or black wolf, black rat 3x / night for as long as the entire night, no metamorphosis during day, globe of daylight or flash of lightning (natural or magical) will force an instant transformation back into its true demonic form. Limited Invuln: impervious to SDC weapons unless made of silver or juniper or birch, impervious to disease, cold, and heat, man-made MD weapons do 50% damage, MD fire, magic weapons, spells, and psionics do full damage, Millenium Tree Weapons do full damage, lightning does double damage, APM-4, + 3 init, + 3s, + 2p, + 1 d, + 4 pull, + 3 roll, + 2 vs HF, all in addition to attribute bonuses. Magic: Fool’s Gold, Multiple Image (7) – 1 min / lvl, -4 to save, mage is + 2d, + 2init, + 1s, Levitate, Mask of Deceit, Repel Animals, Compulsion, Spoil, Sickness, Shadow Meld (10) – 2 min / lvl, shadow must be at least 5ft tall or long to be effective, totally invisible even to “see the invisible,” attackers are -5s, infra / thermo are only way to see caster, Cloak of Darkness (6) – self + 5ft radius, 4min / lvl, invisible but can be seen by infra, thermo, heat, motion detect, -3 to strike all range unless thermo and then -1 strike, melee unaffected, @ 3rd level
Loot: 1d6x10 pounds of uranium ore, 1d4x100 pounds of each of the following aluminum, iron, nickel, titanium, and vanadium
At the bottom of the shaft (nearly 2 miles deep into the earth’s core / crust) – 1d6 Stone Demons P. 35 Mystic Russia – PS-2d6 + 40 (half in water / air), PP-2d6 + 10, PE-2d6 + 18, MDC-2d4x10 + 200, HF-11, 6-16ft tall, 1-10tons, PPE-3d4x10 + 60, swim 30%, does not breathe air, can survive depths up to 2 miles, nightvision 1 mile, dimensional teleport 30%, regen 4d6MD / round (as long as it is touching the earth), if reduced to 20% or less of its MDC the demon is weakened and needs to hibernate to regen, u and s all lang @ 90%, recognize / identify any mineral on sight @ 88%, sense and identify seismic disturbances within 50mi, sense dangers in earth or rock such as loose dirt / rocks, mud slides, quicksand, land mines, and creatures in burrows @ 88%, sense and predict coming of earthquake / volcanic eruption / or other natural disturbance in the earth’s crust @ 66%, Limited Metamorphosis: if the physical body is destroyed there is a 65% chance that the Stone Demon will be automatically cast back to the otherworldly dimension from which it originates, 66 or greater means it remains here on Rifts Earth but is so weakened it cannot take physical form again for 3d6 months, to avoid being sent back the demon can shed its physical body (counts as 2apm), and seek refuge in a piece of earth that it normally inhabits, this is the demon’s true link to the Earth and bonds it to this dimension, destroy or exorcise that particular part of the earth and the Stone Demons are sent back to his native dimension and cannot return to Rifts Earth for 2d6x10yrs, any such attempt to rid the cursed earth of the evil force that lives within it will result in the physical manifestation and a battle to the death! Limited Invulnerability: impervious to all SDC attacks including silver / wood, half damage from all kinetic attacks (MD punches, kicks, sword strikes, bullets, rail guns, explosions, rock slides, and falls, lightning does half damage, impervious to disease, poison, toxins, gases, and normal cold / heat, other man-made MD weapons, magic wapons, spells, and psionics inflict their normal damage, Bonuses: + 2init, + 3s, + 2p, + 1d, + 4 pull, + 3 roll, + 4 vs HF, in addition to attribute bonuses Magic: Chameleon, Fool’s Gold, Repel Animals, Spoil, Sickness, Negate Poison, Stone to Flesh, Manipulate Objects, Shatter, Throwing Stones, Create Wood, Ironwood, Mend the Broken, Fortify Against Disease, Mystic Fulcrum, Influence the Beast, Tame Beast, Lifeblast, Bottomless Pit (100) – 50ft range, hole is 4ft diam / lvl, 2min / lvl, no save only dodge, uses minor dimensional on ground, can be left as a trap and covered with twigs / concealed with darkness, 17 or better to dodge / grab hold of something before he falls, pit can be moved for 1apm, no way to escape except Dimensional Teleport or Dimensional Portal, stuck for duration, ability to fly doesn’t help, pit exists in another dimension, once someone has fallen in the pit CANNOT be moved, will swallow ANYTHING that comes into contact with it, tanks, dragons, etc. except buildings and parts of the landscape, victims are completely removed from the environment, no attacks, influence, etc., is completely unaware of events transpiring in the home dimension, Warlock: all level 1 / 2 plus Mend Stone, Crumble Stone, Earth Rumble (10) – 30ft area, 50ft away / lvl, 1 melee / lvl, no save, HF-14, fail lose 1apm, lose initiative, 60% chance flee the area, 80% chance animals flee, Wall of Stone (15) – 60ft away, 4min / lvl, 8×8×4 / lvl (32×32×16), 50 M.D.C. / lvl, dropping wall on top of someone does 1d6x10, need combined PS of 60 to lift wall, Wall of Thorns (15) – 20ft area + 10ft / lvl (60), 10min / lvl, thick thorns and brambles fill a 20×20 area, no passage without damage 5d6 SDC, pushing / chopping through req 20MDC / 20ft, Quicksand (15) – 5ft radius / lvl, range 100ft away, 10min / lvl, covered by leaves / water puddle, no save, 97% undetectable in swampy areas, 79% outdoors, 30% indoors, Sand Storm (15) – 120ft + 20ft / lvl, 20ft area, 1min / lvl, no save, vision impaired to 5ft, no initiative, -2apm, -5s,p,d, Spd -75%, talking without covering the mouth is impossible, hearing reduced by half, LEVEL 6-10: River of Lava (50) – 120ft away, 1min / lvl, no save, 30×5×5 / lvl (120×20×20), can be created directly under victims, SDC is completely destroyed, MDC takes 2d6x10 / melee, sticky, gooey, travel is slow 5ft / melee max, can be pulled out by cables, chains, ropes, telekinesis, magic, or levitation, Earthquake (50) – 120ft + 20ft / lvl, no save, Dispel Magic Barriers can remove the quake in 1d4 melees, lasts 1 melee / lvl (4), earth tears open, shockwave / fissure, those at the epicenter suffer 2d6x100 MD, within 100ft on either side 2d4x10 MD, reduce skill, Spd, combat bonuses, APM by half, fissure 60ft long / lvl (240), warlock can control the exact L x W of quake, Travel through Walls, Travel through Stone, Petrification (40) – 40ft + 5ft / lvl, failed save person has 100 M.D.C. and permanently stoned, successful save nothing happens all @4th lvl
Loot: RARE ORE NEEDED FOR RUNE ARTIFACT CONSTRUCTION (Soulstuff – Japan, Korallyte – Underseas) in 2d4x10lbs quantities, also 1d4x100lbs of Kisentite (naturally RIDICULOUSLY heavy, like lead x 100)
Abandoned lumber mill – 1d10 Demon Claw p.21 Mystic Russia – SNPS – 5d6 + 23, PP-2d6 + 12, PE-2d6 + 12, Spd-2d6 + 28, M.D.C.-main body PEx3 + 160 (200avg) + 50% on a ley line, looks like a giant scaly crab centaur with a humanoid torso, HF-14, 7-8ft tall, 7ft long, 12ft wide, 1200lbs, PPE-2d4x10 + PE, leap 15ft high or across, climb 70/60%, swim 98%, run on top of water, float, breathe underwater, survive depths of 3000ft, prowl 45%, track humanoids using smell and vision 75%, 30% to track animals, nightvision 2000ft, dimensional teleport 25%, regen 2d6 / melee, understands and speaks all languages @90%, Ride the Waves: demon can ride the waves without injury, walk and run on the surface of the water at normal speed, Limited invulnerability: impervious to cold, drowning, disease, and normal SDC weapon unless made of silver or wood of juniper, ash, or birch, MillTree weapons do full damage, man-made MD weapons do normal damage as well as most types of magic weapons, spells, and psionics, Magic fire does 50% more damage, lighting does 50% less, APM-6, punch / leg-strike / kick / head-butt – MD per SNPS, stabbing / slicing – SNPS + 3d6 MD, + 3 init, + 3s, + 5 parry, + 2 dodge, + 2 pull, + 2 roll, + 10 vs HF, all in addition to attribute bonuses, Magic: Float in Air, Levitate, Chameleon, Fear, Fire Bolt, Fire Ball, Agony, and Spoil @2nd lvl
Loot: 1d8 assorted credit chips each with 3d6x1000 credits on it
Plot Encounters / Random Encounters
Ivan the Terrible / Crazy Ivan — known for his terrible treatment of nobility, for sacking Novgorod, and for supporting the arts and trade and conquering Siberia and other territories.
Catherine the Great – Centaurs, Horses, Kelpies, Nightmares, Melech, look up in monsters and animals / conversion books. Buried treasure. Longma a fabled winged horse with dragon scales in Chinese mythology, Hippogriff, the Nuckelavee resembles a centaur whose legs are part fin; he has an enormous gaping mouth and a single giant eye, which burns with a red flame, Pegasus, Sleipnir is Odin’s steed, 8 legs, is the child of Loki and Svaðilfari, In Hindu mythology, Uchchaihshravas,is a seven-headed flying horse, that was obtained during the churning of the milk ocean, Unicorn, etc.
Riddle: A horse is tied to a 15ft length of rope. A bale of hay is 25ft away and yet the horse is still able to eat from it. How is this possible?
Riddle: A gypsy and his horse leave the gypsy camp on Friday. He arrives at Moscow 5-days later on Friday. How is this possible?
Riddle: I am a horse that will not run,
And in the dark I won’t be fun,
I cause a stir, perhaps a scream,
To have me you will not be keen,
You’d like to keep me on a tether,
But you won’t escape my appearance forever.
Q: What is as big as a horse but doesn’t weigh anything?
A: A horse’s shadow.
Q: What do you get when you cross a horse with the house next door?
A: A nei-ei-ghbor!
Q: You have 25 horses. When they race, each horse runs at a different, constant pace. A horse will always run at the same pace no matter how many times it races. You want to figure out which are your 3 fastest horses. You are allowed to race at most 5 horses against each other at a time. You don’t have a stopwatch so all you can learn from each race is which order the horses finish in. What is the least number of races you can conduct to figure out which 3 horses are fastest?
A: You need to conduct 7 races.
Werewolves – gypsy community / lycanthropes — Hook, Line, Sinker?? Porphyria, Photosensitivity, Psychosis, lycanthropy, suckling on breasts which produce blood instead of milk, gypsies infiltrated by other lycanthrope / vampire
Indrik-Beast a fabulous beast, the king of all animals, who lives on a mountain known as “The Holy Mountain” where no other foot may tread. When it stirs, the Earth trembles. Indrik is described as a gigantic bull with legs of a deer, the head of a horse and an enormous horn in its snout, making it vaguely similar to a rhinoceros. The Russian folklore creature gives its name to Indricotherium, the biggest land mammal ever to live.
German Warrior-Bishop, Saint Otto – Hexenhammer / Malleus Maleficarum,
The Malleus Maleficarum asserts that three elements are necessary for witchcraft: the evil-intentioned witch, the help of the Devil, and the Permission of God. The treatise is divided up into three sections. The first section tries to refute critics who deny the reality of witchcraft, thereby hindering its prosecution. The second section describes the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies. The third section is to assist judges confronting and combating witchcraft. However, each of these three sections has the prevailing themes of what is witchcraft and who is a witch. The treatise describes how women and men become inclined for witchcraft. The authors argue that women were more susceptible to demonic temptations through the manifold weaknesses of their gender. It was believed that they were weaker in faith and more carnal than men. The Malleus Maleficarum accuses male and female witches of infanticide, cannibalism and casting evil spells to harm their enemies as well as having the power to steal penises. It goes on to give accounts of witches committing these crimes.
- Section I argues that because the Devil exists and has the power to do astounding things, witches exist to help, if done through the aid of the Devil and with the permission of God. The Devil’s power is greatest where human sexuality is concerned, for it was believed that women were more sexual than men. Libidinous women had sex with the Devil, thus paving their way to become witches. According to the Malleus “all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable.” The first section mentions using a cruentation to find a witch or sorcerer.
- In Section II matters of practice and actual cases are discussed, and the powers of witches and their recruitment strategies that states that it is mostly witches, as opposed to the Devil, who do the recruiting, by making something go wrong in the life of a respectable matron that makes her consult the knowledge of a witch, or by introducing young maidens to tempting young devils. It details how witches cast spells, and remedies that can be taken to prevent witchcraft, or help those that have been affected by it.
- Section III is the legal part of the Malleus that describes how to prosecute a witch. The arguments are clearly laid for the lay magistrates prosecuting witches. Institoris and Sprenger offer a step-by-step guide to the conduct of a witch trial, from the method of initiating the process and assembling accusations, to the interrogation (including torture) of witnesses, and the formal charging of the accused. Those who did not cry during their trial were automatically believed to be witches.
HEXENHAMMER – Der Hexenhammer is a holy rune weapon and relic that is the living embodiment of Saint Otto in Orthodox Catholicism. Saint Otto, himself, sacrificed his life to imbue the weapon with its anointed, holy power. In life, while Otto wielded der Hexenhammer, the war hammer was a bludgeoning instrument of death. It was normal-sized for a war hammer wielded by a human and intended for close-quarters combat — and could be used in conjunction with a shield. It had a spike on one side of the head used for puncturing armor, gripping flesh, and being more versatile.
Now that Saint Otto has sacrificed himself to be implanted into the weapon he has imbued it with tremendous holy power and a choir of angelic glory. The shaft / handle has extended like a maul or sledgehammer – in burnished black and russet; the hammer-head has disappeared and in its place, mounted by Divine Providence, is the holy tome of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Catholic Bible) with its pages flung wide open and petrified. On the opposite side is mounted the holy book of the Qur’an with its pages open as well. The two books are mounted, back-to-back, and petrified with a glittering veneer of gold. The ancient words of the texts appear in Aramaic, memorialized in solid gold indentation. The holy books appear to be held in place by a brace of two skulls – one sitting astride each open book – and humanoid in nature. Each skull sheds real tears of blood constantly (the blood is very real in look, touch, smell, and taste – it magically evaporates after a few minutes from whatever surface it has stained).
Der Hexenhammer sings (the skulls mouths move and emit audible prayers, hymns, psalms, and holy praises in an ancient language – spoken as extinct Semitic Akkadian – when it is swung in adjudication of the profane and unholy — amongst its foes, it is recognizable on site as (full name) Der Hexenhammer, The Gavel of Adjudication from the Hand of God and the Advent of Your Salvation (also known as the “Gavel of Judgment” or just “Salvation”), and has a Horror Factor of 17 to Witches, Cultists, Necromancers, and all beings of Supernatural Evil — including Night Lords, Gods, and Creatures of Magic.
This weapon may only be used by beings of Good – with an alignment of either Principled, Scrupulous, or Aberrant. A wielder of Principled or Scrupulous alignment will, over time, gradually slide toward Aberrant (and, consequently, no longer able to hold Hexenhammer) due to the telepathic link to Saint Otto. In 2d4 months the alignment will slide one-degree toward aberrant but skipping all selfish and miscreant alignments. After one year the alignment of its wielder will slip one more degree toward Aberrant if it hadn’t already become so on the first slide. The code of honor is as follows:
- Mercy shall be granted to Repentant Sinners who submit to the Judgement of The Gavel of Adjudication from the Hand of God and the Advent of Your Salvation.
- The good man may stand alone but others will follow; he leads by example.
- There can be no greater truth than to be true to that which is right and good.
- Trust thy heart and let the Hand of God guide thee.
- Love and compassion are good.
- Wickedness is weakness and tolerance is weaker still.
- Forget not these things for from them springs the clarity of truth, the strength to be merciful and kind, and the courage to do what needs to be done.
It has all the normal abilities of a Greatest Rune Weapon. Indestructible. Alignment: Aberrant. IQ: 17. Damage: 2d4x10 M.D. x3 to beings of supernatural evil and creatures of magic, x5 to demon lords, evil gods, alien intelligences, and Nightlords.
Repentance: Der Hexenhammer has the power to compel repentance from his target (cannot be used on demon lords, Nightlords, or gods). Range: 10ft. Usable only once per target – the wielder must announce to all his Judgement of the target. The victim gets a save versus mind control with M.E. bonuses – 16 vs. humans, d-bees, mortals, lesser demons and sub-demons, 13 vs. greater supernatural creatures and creatures of magic. If the victim repents in earnest then forgiveness is granted and life is spared. Each target gets only one chance to repent and may do so during the initial action when Horror Factor is rolled. If save vs. HF fails the victims are -3 to save vs. Repentance. Depending on the saving throws the target who repents must be publicly denounced, his Judgement pronounced, and Absolution granted.
The wielder of the Gavel of Judgement will take no further action against the repented foe and will command all to respect and obey his Judgement. A repentant enemy will have a “change of heart” and will not press the attack – only defend itself and / or attempt to flee from the sight of the Gavel. It will not even come to the defense of its evil brethren and monstrous cohorts – feeling distant from the evil and aggressive nature of its former allies. Those who defy the Judgement of Der Hexenhammer even if they are friends of the wielder risk his righteous indignation and pious fury.
The powers of Repentance are temporary for they cannot change a being from its true nature forever. Within 1d4 days the old feelings of evil and aggression begin to return and within 1d4 weeks, if the creature is still alive it will completely revert back to its former self. However, as is often the case with deserters and turncoats, they are seen by their former allies as in league with the enemy or outcasts. These repentant “converts” are usually hunted down and killed on sight for their weakness and betrayal.
Winged Flight: Similar to the spell, the wielder of this holy sledgehammer may sprout giant, angelic, white, feathered wings 1x per day at 12th level power. The wings glow with light and gold and can be formed through body armor with no damage to the recipient. Flying speed = P.S. x5 in miles per hour.
Aura of Power: Similar to the spell, the wielder of this holy sledgehammer may use this ability 1x per day at 12th level power. Effectively makes the characters seem 3 levels higher, 50% stronger, and an M.A. + 1d4 + 2, lasts for 12 minutes.
Sense Evil: Similar to the spell, the wielder may use this ability 1x per day. Range: 1000ft, for approximately 25 minutes. Feel or sense the presence of evil, especially supernatural evil, how many (one, a few (2-6), several (7-14), many (more than 15)), pinpoint general location of the source(s) to a particular room(s), object, person, or distance (close, near, far).
Beat Insurmountable Odds: Similar to the spell, the wielder may use this ability 1x per day. Duration: 1 specific action / a few seconds. Warps the probability of one specific event or action in the favor of the wielder. One in a thousand (or less) odds (8 or higher on an unmodified strike roll) – strike / parry rolls ( + 4 for half melee), dodge (automatic and successful and may dodge as many as 3 opponents simultaneously), skill rolls, physical feats / actions, etc. It can also be used against MC, poisons, possessions, and disease but NOT versus magic and other psionic attacks. Can grant + 40% to save vs coma/death. One in a million odds (15 or higher on an unmodified strike roll).
Following: As a side effect of wielding Der Hexenhammer one will accumulate a following. The Mythos of Saint Otto will live on and the wielder will be the new face of the Holy Avenger. After each month the wielder gains some notoriety in circles of followers and the fearful. Religious worshippers will begin to speak and spread rumors until, after a year, the Sect of Saint Otto is fully revived and reinstated. The wielder may encounter followers during his travels and form a congregation if he desires. The innocents are ignorant and uneducated and they tend to fall easy prey to the mythos of the Saint and Der Hexenhammer. Should they begin to follow the wielder as a religious icon it could become difficult to keep them out of harm’s way.
Serapis – Graeco-Egyptian god. Serapis was devised during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The god was depicted as Greek in appearance, but with Egyptian trappings, and combined iconography from a great many cults, signifying both abundance and resurrection. Serapis has a temple in Ancient Babylon that the group may have visited wink.
Necrom the Undying – in the Temple of Serapis there are several glowing weapon handles scattered throughout the chamber. Each is aglow with magic and calling out to each one of the party, saying things like: “Take me, I will serve you well.” “I am your only hope.” “Quickly, grab me or you will die.” “Brave warrior, together we will smite this evil.” “Do not hesitate. Without my help, you — and your friends — will perish. But with me…” These are the Great Dwarven Demon Blades, also known as God Slayers. One particular blade is called Necrom the Undying, Bringer of War. One of the weapons calls out to someone and says, “I am great, but I alone have no chance of defeating Necrom.” This Temple to Serapis is where Necrom makes his home. He says to the players, “You dare?! This is the power I wield. The power of the gods. The power of those who sleep, but whose presence is still felt. Now I will make you suffer!”
Anybody who touches the Necrom Demon Blade after battle will be likewise instantly transformed and the conflict renewed, thus it should be left where it falls. Necrom remembers all of his lives and will crave revenge for his recent defeat at their hands. Necrom starts at full power at the beginning of each new incarnation.
The famous Dwarven Demon Blades were swords created toward the end of the Elf – Dwarf War when the Dwarves began to use demonic forces to help them win. Ultimately, this horrible alliance with the demonic would result in the end of Dwarven Civilization and deal the Elves a blow from which they could never recover. Like all greater and greatest rune weapons, the Demon Blades possessed powers and abilities not intended by their creators, and were often beyond the control of those who made or used them. The Demon Swords were the most powerful, evil, and uncontrollable of them all. Necrom is one such weapon. The sword was designed to transform its wielder into an unstoppable juggernaut; a super warrior. Little did the ancient Dwarven runesmith responsible realize that he was tapping into the evil of the Old One known as Tarm-kin-toe, symbol of hatred, treachery, vengeance, and pain. The Dwarven Demon Blades are things of legend and reputed to be the most powerful of all rune weapons. No Demon Blade has ever been seen since the last days of the Elf – Dwarf Wars over 5,000 years ago.
Elven history that chronicles the Great War speaks often of the atrocities of the Dwarven “Demon Warrior,” Necrom the Undying. Legend says that though Necrom died a hundred deaths he would rise again, like the Phoenix, to extract his vengeance against Elves and all things living. There are several passages that describe atrocities that made his Dwarven masters weep and beg for mercy on the behalf of their Elven enemies. There are even accounts of three separate occasions when Dwarven warrior allegedly battled against Necrom to stop him from extracting vengeance too terrible for even the most hardened warrior to allow. Then, one day, Necrom died and did not return. The Elves assumed that they had at last destroyed the fiend. A few decades later, the war ended. How the hell-spawned sword fell into the possession of the Blood Priest who now makes the Serapis temple his home is a mystery. But now Necrom is back…and ready to fulfill the mission he was created for — to destroy Elvenkind and all things living — and any who stand in his way.
Weapon type: Flamberge. Damage: 2d6x10 (triple to angels, gods of light, supernatural creatures and creatures of magic of scrupulous or principled alignment.
Powers: Other than those common to all rune weapons, Necrom only has one power and that is to instantly and permanently transform its user into a gigantic, supernatural version of his former self — automatically has the WP to wield the sword. The transformed victim is the flesh and blood extension of the rune sword intself. Thus, Necrom, who is both sword and giant will only strike using its fists or blade. If Necrom drops the sword (almost impossible) he still remains Necrom but will make every effort to regain to and become “whole” again. Anyone who touches the sword while the embodiment of Necrom exists suffers burning pain and 1d6x10 damage and the giant will feel itself being violated. The sword CANNOT be read by psionics.
Anyone who touches this rune sword is instantly transformed into Necrom. THERE IS NO SAVING THROW! The deominc blade will always first address its potential new owner, beckoning him or her with promises of power. A feeling of evil and dread accompanies this little telepathic conversation, alluding to the evil nature of the weapon. This will usually limit the sword’s victims to fellow evil beings, the greedy, and the foolish. The transformation turns the victim into a gigantic, demonic version of himself. His flesh becomes red and leathery, losing all body hair, gains massive bulging muscles, and grows to 20ft in height. All of the stats and features below supersede those of the victim. In the even the character has a statistic higher than Necrom’s then Necrom’s stats are ADDED to the victim’s.
Adventure Sourcebook Wolfen Empire p.115
Race: Demonic Giant!
Attributes: IQ-8, MA-16, ME-16, PS-75 (Supernatural), PP-30, PE-28, PB-4, Spd-25
Horror Factor: 18
Height: 20ft, Weight: 3000lbs
Age: Ageless. Those transformed into Necrom no longer age. They have become the Undying, an immortal machine of war, destruction, and demonic torment.
Abilities: Nightvision 120ft, see invisible (even superior), bio-regen 1d4x10 / melee, climb 98%, swim 98%, Track humanoids 50%, Land Nav 75%, Basic Math 98%, speaks all languages 98% and is literate in Elven / Dragonese.
Attacks Per Melee: 12
Damage: FSP – 3d6x10, Power Punch – 5d6x10. Any attacks with the rune sword Necrom inflicts damage on top of whatever supernatural strength damage the giant inflicts. Because Necrom is a creature of magic even a punch or kick is considered to be an attack by a magic weapon.
Bonuses: + 7 initiative, + 10s,p,d, + 12s with rune sword, + 8 vs magic, psionic, and poison, impervious to horror factor, possession, and disease.
Psionics: all sensitive psi-powers except astral projection, sixth sense, and total recall, all performed at 12th lvl proficiency
Magic: Impervious to spells, wards, and circles of imprisonment, including Immobilize, Carpet of Adhesion, Magic Net, and even Petrification. (no effect whatsoever, just walks right through it). He can also Dispel Magic Barriers 4x daily and perform each of the following two times a day: Negate Magic, Levitate Self, Part Waters, Walk the Waves, Calm Storms, Extinguish Fires, Ignite Fire, Energy Bolt, Stone to Flesh, and Close Fissures. All magic is at 12th lvl proficiency.
Purpose: To destroy all Elves. Consequently, any Elves in the group are his first targets.
Nestor the Chronicler – Nestor was a monk of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev from 1073. The only other detail of his life that is reliably known is that he was commissioned with two other monks to find the relics of St. Theodosius of Kiev, a mission which he succeeded in fulfilling a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a touchable or tangible memorial.
Svarog is there identified with Hephaestus, the god of the blacksmith in ancient Greek religion, and as the father of Dažbog, a Slavic solar deity. On the basis of this text, some researchers conclude that Svarog is the Slavic god of celestial fire and of blacksmithing.
Radegast was proclaimed as the Slavic god of hospitality and as such entered the hypothetical, reconstructed Slavic pantheon of modern days Radagast the Brown is one of the wizards and lives among animals.
Kladenets is a fabulous magic sword in some Old Russian fairy tales. In the “Tale about the City of Babylon” the sword is called “Asp The Serpent.”
The Death of Koschei the Deathless – Koschei is an evil, immortal man who menaces young women with his magic. Koschei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul (or death) is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest (sometimes the chest is crystal and/or gold), which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away; if it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Koschei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick, and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the egg or needle is broken (in some tales, this must be done by specifically breaking it against Koschei’s forehead), Koschei will die.
Bannik is the bathhouse spirit in Slavic mythology Slavic bathhouses resemble saunas, with an inner steaming room and an outer changing room. A place where women gave birth and practiced divinations, the bathhouse was strongly endowed with vital forces.
Baba Yaga is a supernatural being (or one of a trio of sisters of the same name) who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking woman. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter or seek her out and may play a maternal role and has associations with forest wildlife. Totemic matriarchal ancestress, female initiator, phallic mother, or archetypal image — eats small children. Witch.
Tween Titans / Superheroes – “progeny” of Rasputin – tied to Chaos through Heroes Unlimited Earth. The Tween Titans are anomalies in the Superhero universe – super rare and born with ultra / mega powers, not unlike the Nightbane Megalomaniacs or the Splicers Chaos Legion. They are called ULTRAHeroes (better than super by a long shot!) and they will provide more foreshadowing and clues as to what is going on behind the scenes.
Hatch Mirror / Underground Vault – an abandoned Sovietski laboratory where can be found techno-wizardry items, not unlike those found in the vault outside of Coalition territory. An Iron Juggernaut can be found lying on an operating table – just like the Coalition vault – along with assorted other techno-wizard goodies and items.
Nuclear Missile Silos – old abandoned Russian nuclear missile silos are often uninhabited but the mine shafts, adits, and adjoining tunnels can be explored to find more rare ores, crystals, minerals, and rocks.
Rasputin on the Mongolian Border
Russia shares a border with Mongolia near the present day Khovsgol Lake. The Russian Roving Faerie Circus Carnival lets the group out near this lake in the middle of nowhere. The terrain is rocky, mountainous, and difficult to traverse. The weather is chilly but not as cold as it was traveling through Russia. On the shores of the lake the air is somewhat temperate but the breeze in the morning can shiver to the bones. In the middle of the air, out over the lake, suspended and hovering there is an enormous, gaping tear in reality. A swirling vortex of dimensional energy is roiling and writhing and swirling like a kaleidoscopic cotton-candy cone. Like electric-blue spokes on a circus bicycle ley lines feed into this ley line ULTRA nexus from everywhere…stretching as far as the eye can see in EVERY DIRECTION. Anyone who has the ability to sense the opening and closing of dimensional anomalies is OVERLOADED with the sensations.
In the surrounding area there is mayhem. Skirmishes erupting everywhere, battles being fought, lost, and won…just starting…ending…DYING…demons mercifully expunged and allowed to return home to reincarnate in a flash of light, a blaze of glory, or a wisp of smoke. Groups of 2 and 3 fighting, combating each other in little pockets around the lake. Larger groups of 6-10 dot the landscape. And even massive pitched battles with hundreds of nameless faceless supernatural evil spilling FUCKLOADS of demonic black blood! Explosions and screams both monstrously inhuman and human alike can be heard everywhere. There is commotion from every direction an angle. It’s utter chaos — like the scene at the St. Louis gate or the Windsor gate. It’s difficult to tell who is winning and losing because both sides take heavy casualties but the bodies INSTANTLY disappear when they are slain. Deevils appear to be embroiled in battles with Deevils, Deevils with Chaos Demons, and even Deevils with Demons! Demons appear to be the least concentrated group and they have holed up and fortified a beachhead where they are regrouping. Chaos Demons are running amok everywhere and the stray super-hero / villain can be seen fighting haphazardly in the pandemonium. After a prolonged reconnaissance there appears to be many more Chaos Demons than any other faction. In fact they appear to be overrunning the other factions with sheer numbers.
A giant cathedral-like castle fortress overlooks the lake the the entire scene of mayhem and destruction. Rasputin’s Fortress is beautifully crafted of Russian Spires and parapets like St. Basil’s cathedral.
Inside, the castle is gigantic and mostly empty. There are a few odd demons and the occasional D-bee functioning as servants or household staff but, for the most part, the massive structure is quiet and empty. At some point a lazy, ugly butler-type servant will approach the PCs half-heartedly and query as to the party’s intentions. They will be offered an “audience” with the ancient godling in his study. If they accept they will be ushered there straight-away and without detour with only the occasional odd look from a resident as if seeing something out of place. The group will be left to their own devices if they turn down the meeting with Rasputin and they’ll have the opportunity to explore the castle. Through labyrinthine twists and turns they can happen upon any of the other CRAZY AND FUCKED UP THINGS I’VE POPULATED THIS INSANE ASYLUM WITH THAT PEOPLE WOULD NEVER IN THEIR WILDEST IMAGINATION EXPECT IN 50 YEARS OF BEING A PLAYER…
In the basement Uncle Lester-Chester the Child Molester is working in his laboratory on some crazy cockamamie experiment. He appears to have strung up and wired the bodies of dead children to a tesla coil lightning rod / electric chair for electrocution. He is quite mad. He claims to be able to breathe life into dead things so that he may molest and eventually kill them again. Eeeew!
In the attic a young girl named Thursday has tied up her brother Bugsy and is attempting to practice her acupuncture needle therapy. She inserts these long needles into Bugsy’s legs and arms and chest and even his face and neck and he just seems to sit there, smiling and relatively inert…and eating an ice cream cone. If asked he appears to be blissfully ignorant of his sister’s ministrations and the potentially fatal consequences they may have. Thursday shows the group a voodoo doll she was given from a very kind woman who stopped to visit here not long ago. The woman claimed to have collected the voodoo doll in New Orleans and that it was imbued with Voodoo Magic from the Voodoo Glow Skulls. If the group asks about the woman Thursday will describe her as tall, athletic, beautiful, and…very polite.
In the kitchen Morticia can be seen as a pale, buxom, raven-haired beauty. She has the mesmerizing gaze of a vampire and she is clad only in an open-backed apron…leaving very little to the imagination. She is hard at work cooking up a delicious meal for her family. Conveniently macabre there is blood splattered all over the floor, the walls, the cupboard, the pantry, and even the refrigerator (an old-style looking fridge that doesn’t appear to run on electricity). She has blood smeared across her lips and on her cheeks though her mannerisms are those of a Food Network cooking hostess like Rachel Ray or Giada. She will graciously invite all of the party to sit at the table and to make themselves at home while she prepares the meal. The appetizers, she promises, will be ready shortly. She has a little help in the kitchen — a grave ghoul and some kind of animated skeleton that is prone to dropping things.
In all cases, if the group takes any aggressive or hostile actions against any member of the household or the staff they will be attacked furiously by all active and available members of the family and the remaining servants. Basically everyone except Rasputin.
Meanwhile, in the study, an archaic looking library chamber filled with EMPTY bookshelves. Rasputin is sitting at a table, staring quite madly at a chess board that appears to be in media res, and muttering to himself while absently moving pieces in random locations. The room is lit up by floating skull sconces that line the walls and little creatures dart to and fro that look like animated hands like Thing from the Addam’s Family. In this light, Rasputin looks tall, dark, and dashingly handsome like Gomez. When approached or confronted he will finally look up from his concentration and acknowledge the group for the first time. Until then, however, they will be flatly ignored.
Rasputin appears to be in his mid ’40s but he has a youthful glow to his visage. He mutters to himself, has a nervous twitch, and always appears to be distracted as if seeing something else that is far away on another plane. He gets a glazed-over distant look in his eyes and zones out..often.
He says things like, “Yes, but WHY are the ley lines important? I’ve looked over every inch of this map and I don’t see where they go. What is there purpose? Do they travel out into space?”
“My lord Primus the Agent has visited me and he is a fool. Each of us does your work but we are fragmented…forced to work independently and some times at odds. I am a splinter cell. And I no longer wish to be.”
“But why are the Deevils attacking ME? They are supposed to be fighting the Demons! They can’t ruin my plans no matter how hard they try. No matter how well they think things are going in South America.”
“It is as Mummuu predicted, isn’t it? Yes, I thought so. It is time for us to leave this place. Our work here is done and the Thundercloud awaits. That is where I am needed. Rynncryth will never know what hit him and Drellcryth is on the ropes…right where we want him.”
Clearly this man sees and hears things that are not there. He can even be overheard whispering, “I can’t have a plan? Check. What do you mean I can’t have a plan? How dare I? How dare you! Check. This can still be Chaos if there is a plan. Oh no? Hmm…I see your point. Check…and I believe that’s mate. No. Well of course I do. Damn you! Let’s go again, shall we?”
Rasputin will tell the group that he has already parted with the greatest rune artifact. He explains that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and that it was basically useless. A nice woman stopped by looking rather professional and knowing an awful lot about Rasputin. She generously traded him this fabulous-looking black silk robe with gold runes embossed on the hem — it moved and flowed like liquid inky black darkness and settled in pools at his feet when he moved. Rasputin was thoroughly taken by the robe…and entranced.
Of course, he hasn’t given away the REAL Rune Artifact. The players may implicate the Pandemonium “Charade” as the woman seeking the artifact and they will be told that she left only a few days ago muttering bitterly about how freaking huge the Russian continent is. Rasputin lied to her even now as he’s telling half-truths to the players. He still has the real Rune Artifact but he DOES believe that it is useless! He can’t seem to get it to work or open up or create a portal…or even to talk to him. What it DOES do is slice things in half like a motherfucker! However, if the group presses him about this he will continue to lie. If they get aggressive he will respond by calling his henchman, the super-villains. If they are verbally combative or attempting to be manipulative he’ll invite them for a game of chess. As a last ditche effort he’ll invite a member of the group to play an ancient card game he discovered in North America from back in the late 20th century. He hands the player a deck of Magic cards and says that they’ll play a duel of the Planeswalkers. The winner gets to walk out of here with his life…and the real ancient Rune Artifact. The loser is escorted off the premises unceremoniously and can never again enter…upon pain of death. He agrees to his own terms and appears to be honorable.
The artifact sword is hidden in a secret compartment behind the false-front of an empty bookcase. It is warded with invisible wards / runes and is also TRAPPED with a deadly P.P.E. Dweomer Magic.
There is nothing else of value in the castle. Period.