Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Looking Ahead to 2024: It's Always Sunny in Baldur's Gate

Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik
I have yet to talk much about my plans for 2024; it is a big year for D&D. It is the 50th Anniversary, a new edition (well...5.x or 5R) is coming out, and there should be a lot of nostalgia and navel-gazing.

Incidentally, 2024 is also the Year of the Dragon.

Tentatively, I am looking at the following "theme months."

January will be part of TardisCaptain's New Year New Character challenge. Mine though will be delving into some of my favorite characters since I started playing D&D.

April is the A to Z Challenge, where I will write about D&D and its history.

May is Sci-Fi month and I'll do a deep dive into Gamma World, Star Frontiers, and the d20 Star Wars. I'll also looking into games with a solid D&D connection with me. 

June has typically been Basic-era month where I focus a lot on B/X, BECMI, and OSE/LL. I really want to be sure I do that this year.

August is Dave Chapman's RPGaDAY month. I pretty much do this one as is. But I might focus on D&D more than other games. 

October is "horror" month for me. I want to focus on Ravenloft. All my horror movies will also all be connected to D&D in some way. Either movies from Appendix N authors or horror movies that mention D&D or fantasy/horror. I'll start putting together my list soon.

Additionally, I have something else fun planned throughout the year that I am keeping close to my chest for now.

But the big thing for me next year is going to be my year-long exploration of the Forgotten Realms. 

New Forgotten Realms

The Forgotten Realms and Me

I was never a Forgotten Realms fan. I dismissed it in the 1980s as an "upstart," ignored it in the early 90s, and actively disliked it in the late 90s. But it seems my ire was misplaced. Around the time the 3rd Edition Realms book came out I was beginning to soften my stance. By the 4th Ed era I was considering moving a campaign to the Realms. In the 5th Ed era I made it official, more or less.

Honestly, my coverage of Ed Greenwood's work in the pages of Dragon magazine changed my mind. 

These past few months, I have been playing the hell out of Baldur's Gate 3, and my desire to play in the Realms has only grown. 

To this end, I have amassed a small collection of Forgotten Realms books. Nothing special, just ones that I have come by easily either at game auctions, Half-Price Books, or as in the books pictured above, Print on Demand from DriveThruRPG. So I will go over them in detail throughout the editions.

I'd like to run a Realms-based game someday, but I am still figuring out what edition to use. Part of me thinks I need to do it in AD&D 2nd Edition since that was the edition that was the most "Realms" to me. 

The Forgotten Realms to me was always viewed through the eyes of a character, whether that was Elminster or Drizzt or whomever. Likewise, I am going to look into the Realms through the eyes of a new character. Presently I am leaning toward my half-elf sorceress Sinéad. I know I want use someone that has magic, and someone that I can tie to the rich lore of elves in this world. She is also one of two characters I had specifically created for the Realms in all my years of gaming. I think I owe it to myself to actually give her a spin someday.  However, my wife reminded me the other night that Keller the Silent Monk might also be fun.

In any case, 2024 is going to be a busy year of posting here and I am looking forward to it.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 28

 Encounter area 28 is another portal. Out hops (yes) is a white rabbit dressed as an adventurer.

Room 28

This is Sir Fluffles. He is a Neutral Good 7th-level Ranger. His favored enemies are dragons. He is about the size of a halfling. He will join the party if asked, he is actually quite brave. He has a short sword +1, +3 vs dragons. He knows nothing about Vampire Queen but thinks she sounds positively horrible. He asks if you know anything about the Dragon King. 

If the party encounters a dragon he will quite literally hop at the chance to fight it.


Sir Fluffles is not a bad character and would be fun with the right group. He comes from a world where all the main lifeforms are anthropomorphic animals. Think D&D meets Bunnies & Burrows

We were playing with the bunnies tonight.

Sir Fluffles

Monday, November 27, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: D&DGII Ulmenfrau

Ok. Back it! We had some measurable snow here in Chicagoland, and I thought a snow monster might be nice for today. But while working on it, it morphed into something else.  So I might bring those original ideas back later, but for today let do the monster that came out of this process. The Ulmenfrau.


The Ulmenfrau, or "Elm Wives" are what my Roman-Germanic/Norse Pagans call the tree spirits of the Black Forest Mythos. They are related to the Norse Askafroa of the Ash Trees.  They also fold in elements of the Nisse of the Scandinavian countries, the Greek Pteleai (Elm Dryads), and the nymph Chione.  There are some elements of the Norse myth of Ask and Embla here as well.

Ulmenfrau are tree nymphs, so they most like dryads but can move further away from their trees. It is believed that Ulmenfrau are actually tied to a grove of elm trees rather than a specific singular tree.  It is said they are the daughters of the North Wind and can be encountered most frequently after the first snowfall.

They are closely associated with the European White Elm ("Ulmus laevis").

NO. APPEARING: 1 (2-12)
MOVE: 90"
HIT DICE: 5+10 (32 hp)
% IN LAIR: 100%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 club or spell
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to charm, hold, sleep, and other mind-affecting spells. Immune to Cold attacks, vulnerable to fire and iron.
ALIGNMENT: Neutral (Good)
SIZE: M (under 5')

The Ulmenfrau, or Elm Woman or Elm Wife, is a type of woodland faerie creature similar to nymphs and dryads. Indeed, she may be a type of dryad and shows many similarities to the Askafroa found in ash tree groves. The Ulmenfrau as the name suggests, is the spirit of the Elm tree, though this fae is not tied to any specific tree, but rather the grove at large. A grove of 100 trees can support a dozen or so ulmenfraus. Larger groves can support more but often no more than a dozen will ever be spotted. When dealing with mortals they typically agree on a single ulmenfrau to interact.

Ulmenfraus are not combative as a rule. They can attack with a club when needed, but they mostly will attack and defend with magical spells, typically that of a 4th-level Druid or Witch. They will avoid using fire-based magic.  If their need is dire then a group or three or more ulmenfrau can cast Control Weather as if they were a druid circle or a coven of witches. They will use this to blanket their grove in deep snow and sub-freezing temperatures. 

All ulmenfraus are immune to mind-affecting and altering magics. They can not be charmed, held, or put to sleep. They are also immune to the effects of cold, either magical or mundane, and thus do not take damage from cold-based magic. Like many fae creatures, they take extra damage (+3 to damage per hit) weapons made of cold iron. Cold iron weapons are those that lack carbon to make them steel. They are hard and heavy weapons that break easily. Also, they take double the damage from any fire-based attacks.

Ulmenfrau are hard to find in summer months, where they are busy making sure their grove is growing, they can be spoted in their humanoid form most often in the winter. Here, they appear as slight (only 5' tall) elven women light grayish brown skin that gets lighter as they age with white hair. Like many dryads their hair changes with the seasons, but green-haired and red-haired ulmenfrau are harder to find. They are thought to venture out in winter to explore and potentially find mates. Though unlike other dryads the ulmenfrau have no magical ability to charm. 

It is believed that the ulmenfrau are the offspring of the North Wind and the Wood Maidens.


#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 27

 Encounter area 27 is quite bright. For 100' feet in either direction (East-West) of 27 is filled with glowing mushrooms. There is a mushroom every 5'. 

Room 27

As the party moves through there is a 1 in 6 chance that they will set off one of the mushrooms. 

The mushrooms, if touched, will explode. If it explodes there is a 1 in 4 chance that the next one will explode as well. This will keep going for the 200 total feet.

Area 27

Each explosion deals 4d6 hp of damage, save for half. Drop a d6 for every 10' the mushroom is from the victim. 

Sunday, November 26, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 26

 A portal in Area 26 is similar to the one found in Area 25. From this one, a horse-headed demon comes out.

Room 26

This is a Mezu Demon, a type of Yokai demon.

Mezu Demon (Yokai)

Armor Class -1 [20]
Hit Dice 8* (36 hp)
Attacks 2 claws (1d8+6, 1d8+6), 1 bite (1d10+6)
Special Magic resistance (45%), darkness, immune to poison.
THAC0 12 [+7]
Movement 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 8 (8)
Morale 12
Alignment Chaotic
XP 1,750
Number Appearing 1 (1)
Treasure Type C

Mezu demons are low-level, but powerful horse-headed demons that have two purposes, keep people out of hell nad keep those in from coming out. 

They are very strong (22 strength). They can use weapons but prefer to use their claws and bite. Their heads are horse-like, but filled with sharp teeth. 

They can gate in 1d4 Mezu Demons or 1d4 Jigoku Demons (similar stats, but with Ox heads). Gating them in comes with an obligation of future service, so the Mezu will not gate them in unless the Hóu Yaoguai is with the party.

If the party has the Hóu Yaoguai demon with them they will attack each other. The Yaoguai and the Yokai are ancient enemies. This is true is the Mezu is with the party when encountering the Hóu.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 25

 Area 25 is the home to a portal to another world. Like all the portals on this level is it one way. When the party gets within 15' of it a humanoid monkey-like creature steps through.

Room 25

The creature is a Hóu Yaoguai. It is evil, it is angry, but it is also intelligent.  If the party explains their are not the reason it is here it will not attack them, yet.  The Hóu Yaoguai will attempt to discover all it can about his world and attempt to recruit the PC to its side by claiming it will aid them in their quest to find the Vampire Queen. 

This is all true, but the demon still plans on betraying them the first chance it gets.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Doctor Who RPG: The Lost Children of Time

 A couple of weeks back, I took a bit of a break to talk about some SciFi ideas I had.  Well, it must have nestled into my brain and laid eggs that hatched because I now have a bunch more ideas. Or maybe because Doctor Who has been on my mind a lot lately since yesterday was the 60th Anniversary of the show and tomorrow is the premier of the 60th Anniversary special.  One of those ideas was something I was calling "The Lost Children of Time."  The idea was half-baked, at best, but that ended today.


Doctor Who RPG: The Lost Children of Time

Now to be fair this doesn't have to be used with the Doctor Who RPG. But I think the feel of the 2nd Edition game might fit this the best. Plus I think I would run this as a one-shot.  So who are the characters? The eponymous Lost Children of Time?  Well, they are the reason I put this together to start with so let us see who they are.

  • Jonas Kahnwald (Dark) - Age 20, he ceases to exist when his world timeline is destroyed.
  • Martha Nielsen (Dark) - Age 20, from a parallel world/timeline. Her timeline is also destroyed when Jonas' is to make room for a third (or original) timeline where they do not exist.
  • Cal Stone (Manifest) - Age 22. The older version of the Cal Stone that was temporarily displaced on Flight 828. When the time was reset Cal was returned as age 11. This is 22-year-old Cal.
  • DC Iris Maplewood (Bodies) - Age ??. From an alternate future (2053) where England is under near fascist rule. She is sent back in time to 1890, 1941, and 2023.  For reasons unknown, her 2023 counterpart survives the collapse of her timeline.

The characters all bring something to the table. Jonas is our everyday guy. Martha is already used to fighting and dealing with strange things. Cal has a sixth sense and visions (Callings), and Iris is a cop. All have time-travel experience. 

But who is it they are after? Well, that came to me today.

They are fighting a time and space displaced Jack the Ripper.

How is that possible? Easy. Let's take another time travel movie, Time After Time from 1979. It features Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells and David Warner as Jack the Ripper. Both who have solid sci-fi credits to their name including parts in various Star Trek movies and series.   In this movie H.G. Wells builds a working time machine, but it is stolen by his friend Stevenson, aka Jack the Ripper. He travels to 1979 where he picks up his killings anew. Wells follows him when his time machine returns.  While in 1979 Jack attempts to escape but Wells removes the "vaporizing equalizer" from the machine. This causes the time machine to remain, but send Jack to "oblivion" according to Wells. We assume he is dead.

But if he wasn't?

Que the Second Season Star Trek episode "Wolf in the Fold."  In this episode (note: it really doesn't hold up well despite being a good horror episode written by Robert Bloch) we meet Redjac, a non-corporeal entity that murders women to feed on their fear. Spock's reasoning aside I am going to go back on to my tried true explanation of psychic ability is a sex-linked trait on the X chromosome. People with XX chromosomes are more likely to have psychic abilities than people with XY. This is what Redjac feeds on. Everyone feels fear, but people with greater psychic potential are a better meal to it.

Redjac in the episode is believed to have been the cause of Jack the Ripper. But what if it was the other way around? What if H.G. Wells sending Stevenson/Jack to "oblivion" only freed it from its corporeal form and sent out into Time and Space to hunt anew?

I would need to figure out how this group comes together. How they find the clues and then how they solve the mystery of the Ripper-like murders of women in 2023.

Easiest of course would be to have Jonas and Martha in London where they get into Iris' cab/Uber. Cal is easy, he has a vision and goes there.  There is my plot twist too. Redjac normally only murders women because of their greater psychic potential, but Cal with his callings is a much tastier target. 

How do they defeat the Ripper/Redjac? 

No idea yet. But it will involve some time travel to be sure. 

The key here was David Warner. He was amazing as Stevenson/Jack the Ripper in "Time After Time." He has played no less than three separate characters in Star Trek and a character in Doctor Who. He was also in an Outer Limits episode about Jack the Ripper that uses a similar idea. 

Also is Redjac/Jack content to travel in time or does he have a greater purpose? 

It sounds like a lot of fun and I can't wait to try it out.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 24

 Entering Encounter Area 24 the characters hear growling and the squawking of birds.

Room 24

Here are two Type I demons, Vrocks, fighting over a dead elf.

Vrock Demon: HD 8; AC 0 [19]; Atk 1 beak (1d6), 2 foreclaws (1d8), 2 rear claws (1d6); Move 12 (Fly 18); Save 8; AL C; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Magic resistance (50%), darkness, immune to fire.

Type I Demon (Vrock)

Armor Class 0 [19]
Hit Dice 8* (36 hp)
Attacks 2 foreclaws (1d8), 2 rear claws (1d6), 1 beak (1d6)
Special Magic resistance (50%), darkness, immune to fire.
THAC0 12 [+7]
Movement 120’ (40’)
  Fly 180' (60')
Saving Throws D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 8 (8)
Morale 10
Alignment Chaotic
XP 1,750
Number Appearing 1 (1)
Treasure Type A

These demons are vulture-headed, with feathered but humanoid bodies, and huge dark-feathered wings. All can create darkness in a radius of 5-ft. and are immune to fire. They use their wings to allow both their arms and legs to be brought into combat, along with their beaked bite. Vrock demons are quite stupid, though like most demons they consider themselves to be tremendously intelligent. A Vrock has a 10% chance to gate another first-category demon to its assistance. (S&W SRD).


Here are a couple of Turkey Demons, Happy Thanksgiving from The Other Side!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 23

 Encounter area 23 is the strangest one yet.

When the characters enter the area they hear a loud metallic grating sound. A blue box, about 8 ft tall and 4ft by 4ft on base appears out of nowhere. A light shines on the top of the box.

A man in strange garb pokes his head out and looks around. He says "Oh. Hello. Sorry, but stupid question, is this Earth? I am supposed to meet someone, about a thing. Well. Two things." 

He looks around for a moment, then says "Right. Have to be off." 

He goes back into the box and it makes the same grating and groaning noise and disappears.


Happy 60th Anniversary Doctor Who!

Please feel free to use any version of the Doctor you like.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 22

Encounter area 22 has another Gate. This one swirls and out stomps a giant demon. 

Room 22

This demon is an Utukku, his name is Zaidu, the Hunter and he is bound to the Vampire Queen to hunt her enemies.  Which is currently the PCs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 21

 Encounter area 21 is a cul-de-sac with a flight of stairs down to a collection of books in a small library.

Room 21

There are scores of books. Most are mundane but there are 30 books detailing monsters enough to grant readers an additional 500 xp.

There are also five spell books with random spells.

First level: 1d10+3
Second level: 1d8+4
Third level: 1d6+2
Fourth level: 1d6+1
Fifth level: 1d4+1

Monday, November 20, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: References

O. Von Corven "The Great Library of Alexandria" Artistic Rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some archaeological evidence.
The end is nigh! I have one more set of gods I want to do for this project, and then I'll see if I can put together a PDF for everyone.  

I said I was not going to treat this as an academic work. Especially since I blatantly ignored things like real archeology, anthropology, and ethnographic studies. But I thought others might be interested in some of the legwork I did to get where I am on this today.

This is not a comprehensive bibliography, not even a targeted one. It is a catch-as-catch-can one based on the books I was reading when I started having these ideas.


Daileader, P. (2013). The Early Middle Ages. The Teaching Company.

Drake, J. (2020). Viking Mythology: 2 Books In 1 – The Complete Guide to Norse Mythology and Celtic Mythology Including Legends, Beliefs, Norse Folklore, Norse Gods, and Celtic Myths. Josh Drake.

D’Aulaire, I., & D’Aulaire, E. P. (1962, 1992). Book of greek myths. Doubleday Books for Young Readers.

Gaiman, N. (2018). Norse mythology. Bloomsbury.

Gosden, C. (2021). Magic: A history: From alchemy to witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the present. Picador.

Hale, J. R. (2013). Exploring the Roots of Religion. The Teaching Company.

Harl , K. W. (2011). The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity. The Teaching Company.

Harl, K. W. (2005). The Vikings. The Teaching Company.

Higginbotham, J., & Higginbotham, R. (2018). Paganism: An introduction to earth-centered religions. Llewellyn Publications.

Lecouteux, C. (2016). Encyclopedia of norse and germanic folklore, mythology, and magic. Inner Traditions.

Lewis, S. (2018). Mythology mega collection: Classic stories from the Greek, Celtic, Norse, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology. Scott Lewis.

Line, P. (2015). The Vikings and their enemies: Warfare in Northern Europe, 750-1100. Skyhorse Publishing.

O’Donnell, J. J. (2016). Pagans: The end of traditional religion and the rise of Christianity. ECCO an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

River, C. (Ed.). (2018). The Ancient World’s Most Mysterious Religious Cults: The History of the Cult of the Apis Bull, the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the Mysteries of Mithras. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Voth, G. L. (2013). Myth in Human History. The Teaching Company.

Waggoner, B. (2009). The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok. The Troth.

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 20

 The creature in Encounter Area 20 looks like some sort of glowing ball floating in mid-air. In truth it is the glowing heart of an Infernal Gelatinous Cube.

Room 20

An Infernal Gelatinous Cube is a larger cousin to the common Gelatinous Cube

In addition to greater HD (10) and enhanced hp, this monstrosity has an infernal intelligence. 

It has an aura of heat that causes 1d8 hp of damage to all within 5' of it. It is also immune to fire and flame attacks. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 19

 Characters can hear a loud droning sound coming from encounter area 19 long before they see it.

Room 19

The monster is a Mezzalorn (a Wasp Demon).

Mezzalorn Demon (Wasp Demon)

Armor Class -3 [22]
Hit Dice 12* (54 hp)
Attacks 2 claws (1d6), 1 sting (2d6 + poison)
Special Magic resistance (10%), immune to poison
THAC0 11 [+8]
Movement 120’ (40’)
  Fly 120' (40')
Saving Throws D6 W7 P8 B9 S10 (12)
Morale 10
Alignment Chaotic
XP 3,400
Number Appearing 1 (1)
Treasure Type A

A mezzalorn looks like a hellish giant wasp with the head and torso of a man. When reduced to half its hit points it releases a pheromone that gives it and all other mezzalorns a +1 to-hit bonus. The poison injected by a mezzalorn’s stinger is lethal if the victim fails a saving throw.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 18

 Encounter area 18 has a hidden pit trap.

Room 17

The 15' by 15' trap is hidden. The floor gives way and the party falls 20' for 2d6 hp of damage. The walls are smooth and offer no footholds. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 17

 Encounter area 17 is the normal haunt of a favorite creature of the Vampire Queen. A creature she had brought in from beyond reality.

Room 17

She called the creature the Labyrinthine Lurker. 

The Labyrinthine Lurker is a creature of stealth and shadow, resembling a sleek, upright, serpentine being with iridescent scales that blend seamlessly with the darkness of the maze. Its eyes glow with an eerie, hypnotic light, and it moves with a sinuous grace that allows it to navigate the labyrinthine corridors with ease.

It has something akin to arms and hands, but these are manifestations of shadows it can use to manipulate items. 

Labyrinthine Lurker
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 11+22 (72 hp)
Move: 15" (Can phase through solid objects for 1 round)
Attacks: 1 bite or special
Damage: 2d6 or special
THAC0: 11 [+8]
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: D6 W7 P8 B9 S10 (11)
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 1300
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Nil

The Lurker takes advantage of the strange magical energies of this maze.

It's attack is a bite. It drains a little bit of blood each time. It tries reducing a victim to 0 hp so it can feed on the dying energies of the victims.

It has the following Special Abilities.

Shadow Cloak: The Labyrinthine Lurker can blend into the shadows, becoming nearly invisible to the naked eye. It uses this ability to lie in wait for unsuspecting adventurers, striking with precision when they least expect it.

Echo Step: The creature can move without making a sound, allowing it to stalk its prey silently. It leaves behind illusory echoes, confusing adventurers about its actual location within the maze.

Dimensional Phasing: The Labyrinthine Lurker has the power to phase through solid objects within the maze temporarily. This ability enables it to ambush adventurers by emerging from walls or the floor, making it a formidable opponent.

Labyrinth's Embrace: When the Labyrinthine Lurker closes in on its target, it can envelop them in a temporary pocket dimension. Inside this dimension, time seems to slow down for the trapped adventurer, giving the Lurker an advantage (+2 to hit) in combat.

Killing the Lurker will cause it to dissolve into a caustic pool of black goo. Anyone within 5' of it, when it reaches 0 hp, will be splashed with the black acidic blood and take 1d6 hp of damage per round until the goo is removed. Water is good, any form of alcohol is better. 


I am sitting in a parking lot waiting for my wife to wrap up a work thing. Hopefully, the formating is fine.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Schmied, the Craftsman, Smtihs, and God of Fire

 One of the last major gods of this Pantheon is Schmied, the god of craftsmen, ironworking, fire, and dwarves. He is often depicted as a dwarf.


Schmied is a syncretic god who combines aspects of the Greek Hephaestus, the Roman Vulcan, the Norse Sons of Ivaldi and the myth of Weyland the Smith and thus Goibhnie of the Celts. All of these figures are related and likely all trace their origin back to a Proto-Indo European Smith God. Given the book I am reading now on PIE language reconstruction this could have been the God credited with giving humanity the wheel.

Schied here has a bit of all these gods as seen through the idea of the grumpy dwarf. I opted to take this somewhat stereotypical route because I figure he is the source of this archetype. I wanted him dour, grumpy, and largely unlikable. This comes, I admit, more from my readings of Goidhnie (Gowan) of the Celts. Though Vulcan and the Sons of Ivaldi were not going to win any popularity contests. Which interestingly enough, gets me to the first myth of the god.

Both Hephaestus and Vulcan are married off to their myths respective Goddess of Love. Here is where I wanted to differ. I honestly can't see Liebhaberin getting married at all. She is too busy cultivating young (and thus pre-married) love. But I did want to have a myth where Schmied got married to a beautiful woman, largely by trickery. Like I said he is an unpleasant god.

Schmied and Skalda

Skalda (note: not exactly Skaldi) was the beautiful goddess of Song and Poetry, in particular epic poetry. She decided one day she needed a husband. So she sought out the Gods to find a suitable candidate. Skalda wanted to find a husband among the greatest of Gods so she announced her attention. Her eye was set on Jäger and she began to openly court the God. His sister Jägerin, would not have it seeing Skalda as trying to improve her own standing among the gods. So she convinced Schmied, who she knew desperately desired Skalda, to begin to send her gifts.  Schmied fashioned a lute of pure gold that would play itself if commanded to Skalda. He sent her a breastplate of gold. A spear fashioned out of the rays of the sun. And automaton handmaidens carved out of pure ivory and inlaid with gold that were indistinguishable from living nymphs. 

Skalda, who believed that it was Jäger who sent her all these gifts swore before the Gods that she would only marry the God who had sent her such wonderful treasures. Expecting Jäger to step forward she was shocked and disgusted to see it was not the Bright God of the Sun, but the twisted God of Smiths.  But an oath before the Gods is an oath unbreakable. 

They did produce a son, Künstler, the God of fine art. But she has refused his bed ever since. 

SCHMIED (God of Smithing, Crafting, Fire and Dwarves)

Intermediate God

MOVE: 9" 
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  1d10+5, 1d10+5
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +1 or better to hit

SIZE: M (4' 1")
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All, smiths, craftsmen, dwarves
SYMBOL: A large hammer
PLANE: Erde (Prime Material)

CLERIC/DRUID: 10th level Cleric
FIGHTER: 5th level Fighter
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 10th level Magic-user
S: 23 I: 12 W: 20 D: 16 C: 24 CH: 8

Schmied is the god of craftsmen, smiths, fire (in its creation aspect), as well as dwarves and kobolds. He appears as a heavily muscled dwarf covered in soot and grime from working in the forge. 

Schmied has very little to say to others. He prefers to spend his time in the forge working with his brothers (who have demigod status) creating items of great art. It is said that his forge can create anything and the magic items the gods wield were all created here.

In combat, he swings a giant hammer for 1d10+5 points of damage twice per round. He has the spell-casting ability of a 10th-level magic-user and a 10th-level cleric. He is quick to anger and will use his hammer attack first and his six brothers will join in (1d8+4 for their attacks).

He is also the god of the dwarves and kobolds, or knockers

Animal: Ox
Rainment: (Head) bare (Body) none
Color(s): Red, Black
Holy Days: The three days prior to the Summer Soltice and the three days after. 
Sacrifices: An ox or bull, sacrificed and cooked in a large fire. 
Place of Worship: Forges and Cave mouths. 

He is married to Skalda, the beautiful goddess of epic poetry and song, but she wants nothing to do with him.

He maintains a large home for them both in Himmel, but he stays on Erde in a cave where he toils over the forges with his brothers and their kobold assistants.


Skalda is the beautiful but haughty and arrogant goddess of epic poetry and music. While her skill unmatched, she is jealous of the other goddess and always wants more. Though when she is sitting with her lute and creating new poems, few can match her charm and eloquence. 

Skalda, the Goddess of Epic Poetry and Music

SKALDA (Demi-Goddess of Epic Poetry and Music)

MOVE: 12"
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Charming voice
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Inspiring aura

SIZE: M (6' 2")
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
PLANE: Erde (Prime Material)

CLERIC/DRUID: 9th Level Cleric
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 5th level Illusionist
MONK/BARD: 15th level Bard
S: 13 I:12 W: 16 D: 18 C: 14 CH: 21

Skalda is the demigoddess of epic poetry and music. She is beautiful, eloquent, and utterly vain. She knows that her gift is required by the gods to remain in mortals' minds. The apples of Ôstara may keep the gods young and immortal, but it is Skalda's songs keep them in their hearts.

This goddess appears as a very tall (6' 2") warrior goddess. She wears a golden breastplate that only fits her, granting her very low armor class. She wields a spear that when thrown, will return to her hand and her golden lute. Once she sets the lute to play it will play independently of her. 

Her voice has a constant Charm Person effect that is effective against all save for dwarves. Failing to save vs. spells means the victim is charmed and will do no harm to the goddess. She can also use her voice to inspire, granting all that hear it an additional 1d8 roll to use as needed: to attack, damage, saves or any other roll. This can be granted three times per day. 

She does not have many worshipers of her own, but all Bards pay her homage. 


#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 16

 When the characters enter Encounter Area 16 they are met with a Night Hag.

Room 16

The Night Hag is angry, but not at the characters (yet). She was trapped here by the same magic that draws others into this Labyrinth. Talking to the Hag will let them know more about the magic that grabbed her. She was not in the lower planes, but rather on the Prime Material in a different part of the PC's world.

The Hag will claim she only needs the power from one soul to be able to Gate them all out, the PCs just need to choose.  

If they don't then she will try to kill one PC and then just gate herself out once she has the soul. 

In addition to her normal treasure she has five (5) soul coins. These coins contain the souls of one person. They can be used as currency in the Lower Planes or be given to a cleric of 18th level who can use them to raise the person whose soul was taken.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Vater Meeren

 Working through the remaining Gods for my D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos. Today I have the God of the Sea.

Vater Meeren

Vater Meeren

Vater Meeren is an odd one for this group of gods. He is powerful and is a greater god since he controls the Oceans and the Sea, something that was very important to both groups these myths come from. But he is also a remote and distant god to these Pagans since at the time these myths would have been created, say the 6th and 7th Centuries CE, they are a little removed, geographically, from the sea. I also have this group as being fairly insular so their myths can grow with out the "contamination" of what is going on around them; ie the Christian conversion of Europe.

Vater Meeren himself combines aspects of Neptune/Poseidon along with other aspects of Odin (Odin had so many aspects his DNA is in every god) and Thor when he was a maritime God.  I also wanted to give him aspects of Ullr who had been a more important god. Thus Vater Meeren is the God of the Sea, Oceans, Death as a process (a Psychopomp), and Winter.

He is the brother of Unser Vater and Hüter, much like their Roman counterparts, but also refers to Odin's two brothers Vili and Vé in their role as Gods of Creation.

Like Neptune/Poseidon and Odin this god is also fond of horses.

VATER MEEREN (God of the Sea and Oceans)

Greater God

MOVE: 12" // Swim 48" // Horse: 36"
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  1d10+5, 1d10+5, wave
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Wave, control weather
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +3 or better to hit

SIZE: M (6' 1")
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
SYMBOL: A wave
PLANE: Erde 

CLERIC/DRUID: 20rd level Druid
FIGHTER: 15th level Ranger
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 10th level Magic-user
MONK/BARD: 10th level Bard
S: 23 I: 15 W: 22 D: 18 C: 20 CH: 17

Vater Meeren is the God of the Oceans and the Sea. He lives under the waves and everything that is not land or sky is his. He had once been more powerful, equal to his brother Unser Vater, but his power has waned, though he is believed to have another ascendence soon.

Vater Meeren appears as a heavily muscled man in his prime with a full head of red hair and beard with bright blue eyes. These eyes turn gray and cloudy when he is angry, which is often. 

When he attacks he uses a giant spear made from the horn of a titanic narwhal. He can also attack with a giant wave of water, doing 6d6 hp of damage (save for half). Additionally, he can control the weather around any body of water, summon up to 100 HD worth of sea creatures three times per day, as well cast spells as if he were a 20th level druid, 10th level magic-user, and a 10th level bard.

One of his roles is to make sure the dead are sent to their proper afterlife, either in Himmel or in Hölle. So in this respect, he works hand in hand with his brothers. 

Vater Meeren is not allowed to set foot on dry land. So if he has business he needs to attend to he will travel by horse. His horse for these tasks is Schnelläufer and he can run on water, land, or air with equal ease. Since neither Vater Meeren nor Schnelläufer need to rest, eat or sleep, they can run for days to complete whatever task they need and be back in the sea as they need too. 

Animal: Horse, Narwhal
Rainment: (Head) crown of coral (Body) none
Color(s): Blue, Red
Holy Days: Nights of the Full moon
Sacrifices: Gold, weapons offered to the sea. 
Place of Worship: Sea shores, near lakes or any body of water.

Vater Meeren took the Celtic-Roman Epona as a wife (one of many) and it is believed this is the origin of the Nøkk.


#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 15

 Encounter area 15 is in an odd little cul-de-sac. There is a group of monsters like goblins, trolls, and even a couple of minotaurs. They are all sitting around an ethereal woman playing a cello. 

Room 15

The cellist plays and the monsters are entranced. As long as she plays the monsters here will stay entranced. She will not attack, nor get the monsters to do so. If she is attacked she will entice them to attack back.

The monsters are: 

The cellist herself is a Faerie Lord who has the stats of a 10th-level elf. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Verwildert, the God of Wild Nature and Wood Maidens

 Today's god leans a bit more into the Greek/Roman side of the equation, though there are still bits from the Norse and even Norse-Celtic influences.  Introducing Verwildert, the God of Wild Nature and the Protector of animals, grains, and other parts of nature.



This god combines aspects of Pan/Fanus as well as Bacchus/Dionysus.  From the Norse side, we get wilder aspects of Odin and Freyr, especially in Freyr's roles in fertility and fecundity. Many of Æsir gods of the Norse pantheon have more in common with Pan than the other Greek/Roman gods. 

My group of Pagans here are living very close to nature (and Nature). Not, out some sort of neo-pagan ideal dreamed up by 20th Century writers (and 21st Century game writers), but because that was their reality. This group was a bad winter away from total barbarism and they knew that. A God like Verdwildert was the manifestation of that. The god that gave them grains and crops they could cultivate, the wolf that ate their sheep, and the storms that destroyed their farms and homes.  

Nature is always just a few steps removed from madness.

VERWILDERT (God of Wild Nature)

Intermediate God

MOVE: 36"
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  1d8+3, 1d8+3
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Inspire Madness, Druid magic
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +2 or better to hit

SIZE: M (5' 9")
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: All, Farmers, Druids
PLANE: Erde 

CLERIC/DRUID: 23rd level Druid
FIGHTER: 10th level Ranger
MONK/BARD: 20th level Bard
S: 18 I: 15 W: 22 D: 18 C: 20 CH: 23

Verwildert is the God of and the Protector of Wild Nature. He first taught humans how to cultivate land, not to tame nature, but to learn how to work with it. He is not an agricultural god, per se, but he is the patron of all growing things. He is also the god of the storm and flood that destroys, the wolf that kills, and secrets hidden it dark places. 

This god appears as a grizzled old wild man of the woods, with the antlers of a stag as headdress. He is hairy and bearded. Often, his idols feature an enormous phallus, which some claim is true for the god himself. Verwildert has little time for humans, though he is not overtly hostile to them at first. Like all nature, he is dangerous and can destroy.  Even he fears the raw power of Nature herself in the form of Mutter Natur, who is his own mother. Despite this human worshippers usually find Verwildert to be more approachable than Mutter Natur.

Verwildert can attack with two great fists or cast spells as a 23rd-level Druid. Three times per day, he can Inspire Madness, which will cause those who fail to save to drop their weapons (or whatever they are holding) and attack anyone close to them. Spellcasters are unable to cast spells. 

Animal: All, but the Wolf is a favorite
Rainment: (Head) horns of a stag (Body) none
Color(s): Red, Green
Holy Days: Nights of the New and Full moon; Also May 1st
Sacrifices: Everything is sacred to Nature, the weakest animals culled so the pack may survive
Place of Worship: Any natural setting. 

Verwildert has two groups of followers/worshipers he is associated with. The Wild Hunt and Wood Maidens.

The Wild Hunt

This band of hunters is known across the continent. In the times when Verwildert leads them, they ride and run across the land on the nights of the New Moon. These hunters are a mixed lot. Supernatural hunting dogs (like Hell hounds), undead hunters (wights), ghosts of hunters who died while hunting, and warriors not allowed into Himmel. 

Wood Maidens

Wood Maidens are a type of demi-goddesses, or semi-goddesses, that are the personification of wild nature. They appear as nymphs, but are more akin to the Maenads of Greek/Roman myth. These goddess represent nature run wild. They are the goddesses of wine, ecstasy, and fertility. It is said that they are active to still the blood of men and women.

They are the face of Nature that humans try to tame but ultimately cannot. 

Wood Maidens

WOOD MAIDENS (Demi-Goddess of Wild Nature, Ecstasy, and Fertility)


MOVE: 36"
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d6+1/1d6+1 (claws)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Inspire ecstasy

SIZE: M (5'2")
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
SYMBOL: Maiden's face
PLANE: Erde (Prime Material)

CLERIC/DRUID: 4th level Druid
WITCH/WARLOCK: 5th level Witch
S: 13 I: 14 W: 16 D: 15 C: 18 CH: 24

Wood Maidens are demi-goddesses representing wild nature and the power to renew life. They are also the demigoddess of wine, ecstasy, and fertility. They claim they are the offspring of Verwildert and Liebhaberin or even Verwildert and Ôstara. Possibly both are true. 

They can be found roaming the lands, inspiring ecstasy to renew life where they can. But they also represent nature running wild; they create life and they also can destroy it. The same ecstasy that bring lovers together can also drive them apart, or drive people to jealousy. This aura extends 60' from their person. This is increased by an additional 30' for each Wood Maiden in a group. There can be as many as dozen in a single group. This will produce an aura up to 400'.

They appear as wild women. Often running through the wilderness wearing simple clothing and often barefoot even in the deepest of winters. When they run they often have wolves accompanying them leading to the belief they are werewolves (they are not).

Wood Maidens are the chaotic counterpart to the Ides.

May 1st, May Day

On the First of May, the Wood Maiden gather in large numbers of a score or more. They can be seen running across the land, where their wild aura can extend even further. At this time they are chased by the Wild Hunt. Overtly it is so the Wild hunt can run them down in an etiological myth of Man vs. Nature. Often the Wood Maidens are captured by members of the Hunt. Just as often the Maidens kill the Huntsmen. In the case where a Maiden is captured and she doesn't kill the Huntsman, the Maiden becomes a normal human; often as a high priestess of Verwildert. The moral here is that Humankind can't tame nature, much less conquer it. 

This is symbolically celebrated in a fertility rite where the young women of the community run through the woods in an attempt to be captured by the young men. The women wear flowers in their hair which they can give to whomever finds them. This is considered akin to a marriage proposal. It is said that any child conceived in these rites is blessed by the gods. 


Of all the myths I have written, this is the one most likely to have survived to modern times to feature in NIGHT SHIFT. It is a Folk Horror sort of tale. Think "Midsommer" and "The Wickerman."

A good hook is something from Norse/Germanic myths. The PCs are on some sort of hiking trip, and they come across a nearly naked young woman running through the woods chased by something.  The PCs naturally try to help her, only to discover that she is part of an ancient rite.  Is she innocent? Is she the monster? Likely it will be more complicated than that. 

I'll need to develop these more.


#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 14

 Encounter area 14 features a true horror.

Room 14

This is an Eye Tyrant / Eye of Terror / Beholder (depending on the game you are using).

It will attack as soon as it can. It is guarding double the amount of treasure listed.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: D&DGII Doppelsauger

 Trying to wrap-up my entries for my Deities & Demigods II: The Black Forest Mythos this week. Here is a monster I have always wanted to include somewhere. A particularly horrific little monster.



The Doppelsauger, or "double sucker," was a creature I ran into very early in my vampire research. Back when I was known more as "the vampire guy" than "the witch guy."  It appealed to me then because the name is so evocative and descriptive of what it was; a creature that sucks twice. The first time when nursing milk from its mother and then again with blood.

MOVE: 6"
HIT DICE: 4+8 (26 hp)
% IN LAIR: 60%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 bite
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d4 + Blood (Con) Drain
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Vampire traits
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: S (under 2')

The Doppelsauger, or "twice sucker" is the vampire revenant of a child that had been weaned, but had gone back to the breast later on. It would have died sometime after this point. Some claim that the death of the child needs to be intentional, such as leaving it out to die of exposure or via disease. In either case, the undead creature returns to feed on the blood of its mother and other close family members. 

The doppelsauger needs to find a way into the home of its victims. This must be their former home, and their victims can only be family members. It won't feed on non-family members.

Like the common vampire, this creature can charm its victims. The charm is similar to the spell of the same name and the vampire ability. Family members save at a penalty of -2 and its own mother at a penalty of -4. The doppelsauger can turn into mist like a common vampire and can summon 2d10 rats. It takes damage from sunlight, holy items, and holy water, as do other vampires. It can't enter another home, but its home is always open to it. It said that it must enter via the same way it left their home. If this entryway is blocked, the doppelsauger cannot enter.  Garlic flowers, wolvesbane, and holy items will keep it at bay. They are turned as Shadows (Type 4).

Their attacks are weak, causing only 1d4 hp per attack, but its greatest attack is its ability to drain 1 point of Constitution via blood loss. The doppelsauger prefers to feed off of their mothers first, then other family members. One of the ways to know a family is being attacked by a doppelsauger is if they all start showing signs of anemia and losing weight. 

To stop (or prevent) a doppelsauger a board with a semi-circle cut-out must be fitted over the neck of the creature and hammered into its coffin. One can also be stopped via a stake in the heart and then removing their head with a sharpened shovel. 


#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 13

 Entering encounter area 13 the party sees what appears to be a giant dwarf.

room 13

This "dwarf" is 16 ft. tall, and is in truth a powerful Earth Elemental

This Elemental was summoned by the dwarven geomancers, but corrupted by the magics of the Vampire Queen.