Showing posts with label Runu & Urnu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Runu & Urnu. Show all posts

Friday, June 30, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 6, Room 30

Runu and Urnu lead the characters from room 27, to another room behind the statue of Orcus to where there is another statue of the Vampire Queen.

The Vampire Queen

Here she appears in her human guise. The statue is 20ft tall. 

Her hands are damaged, and on closer inspection, it appears that there were once rings on her fingers that have been chipped away.  One ring on her left hand still has a place for a setting, but no stone.

Runu and Urnu will say that by placing the Eye of Orcus into the setting the secret door to the next level will open. It symbolizes the "marriage" of the Vampire Queen to the Demon Lord.  Runu will state that "they were lovers, you see." in a dreamy way that makes you doubt her sanity.

Climbing up to place the Eye into her ring should not be difficult for a thief but a climb walls roll can be used. Grant them a +15% to success. 

Once the stone is placed in the ring an opening at the feet of the statue will open and a gust of hot fetid air will rush out.  If the gem is removed, the opening closes. Anything used to prop it open with be crushed. The closing doors themselves are heavy and weighted. Anyone caught in the doors when the close will take 5d12+25 hp of damage. The weights can be countered but only on the other side of the door on level 7.  Tying a rope around the gem to pull it in afterwards will not work.

Runu and Urnu want the gem. They are willing to fight for it but not die for it. They will mention a rumor of a secret exit on the Vampire Queen's tomb that would allow her to ascend to the surface without dealing with everything in between.

If worst comes to worst Runu and Urnu can kill the PCs, but they don't want too. Whoever is killed while in possession of the Eye of Orcus will haunt the killers.  So if the PC killed Urnu or Runu not only will the survivor try to kill them, they will also be haunted by the dead shadow elves.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Wasted Lands Playtest: Runu & Urnu

 One of the features of The Wasted Lands is the inclusion of the O.R.C.S. games system that first appeared in Spellcraft & Swordplay.  While the Wasted Lands uses the advanced O.G.R.E.S. for rules, it does include a chapter on using the O.R.C.S. as well. This gives the Wasted Lands a solid Old-School background and indeed a good OSR one with one of the very first clones ever made. 

I have been talking about Shadow Elves all month long, I thought it might be good to bring two of my Shadow Elf, or Dökkálfar characters to life.  I also want to compare them to their Spellcraft & Swordplay counterparts.

Runu & Urnu

Runu and Urnu are reoccurring characters in my various game. They were "born" while I was walking to the Daley Plaza "El" station (which is actually underground at that point). From here I imagined two evil drow elves, exiled from their society not because they were good, but because of their perversions in necromancy. As children, they were raised by my Necromancer Magnus and became devotees of Orcus.  They became two of my first playtest characters for Eldritch Witchery

They are twins, already a bad sign among the drow, with Runu being slightly older than her brother Urnu. I further make their "inversions" complete by making Runu a warlock and Urnu a witch.

These are not misunderstood drow. They are evil. They are the type that reasons that if someone doesn't do what they want, they can always kill them and get their corpse to do it. 

In my playtests for Monster Mash for OSE they became Shadow Elves with Runu as a Profane Necromancer, and Urnu as a Gothic Witch. 

In the Wasted Lands, they are a Necromancer and Sorcerer, respectively. 


Class: Necromancer
Level: 10
Species: Dökkálfar

Alignment: Dark Evil


Strength: 11 (0)
Agility: 12 (0)
Toughness: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 17 (+2) N
Wits: 15 (+1) N
Persona: 17 (+2) A

Fate Points: 10
Defense Value: 8
Vitality: 35 (10d6)

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +5/+3/+2
Melee Bonus: +2
Ranged Bonus: +2
Saves: +5 to Persona based

Special Abilities and Spell-Like Abilities

Channel the Dead
See Dead People
Summon the Dead
Command (Spirits)
Protection from Undead
Turn Undead 
Taste The Grave
Death Knell
Vampiric Touch
Charm Spirit
Life Drain
Slay Unliving
Call the Reaper

Divine Notes: Death

Background: Outsider


Leather armor: DV 8
Dagger: 1d4


Class: Sorcerer (Wits Aspect)
Level: 10
Species: Dökkálfar

Alignment: Dark Evil


Strength: 12 (0)
Agility: 11 (0)
Toughness: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 15 (+1) N
Wits: 17 (+2) A
Persona: 17 (+2)  N

Fate Points: 10
Defense Value: 8
Vitality: 30 (10d4)

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +5/+3/+2
Melee Bonus: +2
Ranged Bonus: +2
Saves: +5 to Magic based

Special Abilities

Arcana, Arcane Powers


1st: Bane, Black Flames, Phantom Lights, Sleep

2nd: Defile, Find Traps, Invisibility, Vampiric Augmentation

3rd: Fly, Globe of Darkness, Zone of Protection vs. Good

4th: Black Tentacles, Kiss of the Succubus, Life Drain

5th: Commune w/ Deeper Dark, Shadow Armor

Arcane Powers

1st: Arcane Bond: Runu (and spell of "self" also affect her)

4th: Exorcist

7th: Incubus

10th: Shadow Walking

Divine Notes: Death, Witchcraft,

Background: Outsider

Urnu and Runu

Neither have divine touchstones since this is not their destiny.

Like this The Wasted Lands can be played as a gritty Swords & Sorcery game. 

Don't forget to check out the Kickstarter happening right now.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Wasted Lands Playtest: The Dark Elves of the Wasted Lands

 The Wasted Lands Kickstarter is up and moving along nicely.  As you can imagine from my posts here, I do have a campaign in mind and potentially my own setting. BUT that is far off and in no way official yet.

But I can play around with ideas. One thing I need to overcome first is this:

How do I get my D&D 5e players away from D&D and into the Wasted Lands?

Wasted Lands > D&D 5

Look. I love D&D, I do. But in the last six months, I have been turned off and looking for other options. I have presented some of those options here and I do have more. One today is can I use the Wasted Lands as a Dungeons & Dragons replacement?

Jason has touched on this topic on his blog; Will Wasted Lands Be a Retroclone? But I want to go a step deeper. And in particular, can I use the various races/species that my D&D 5 players are wanting to play? Again, Jason touches on this, Races (Species) in Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age, but while his rationale is to move WL away from D&D (and a good rationale it is too) I am using the same logic to give my players a D&D experience with better rules.

To do this I want to start out with something on my mind a lot this month, my Shadow Elves.

The Wasted Lands has al sorts of human-like species running around and to be clear these humans are not the humans like you and I. They operate in and occupy the same ecological niche as do humans and maybe, just maybe, they pass on something (DNA, Collection Unconsciousness, the Akashic Records) down the millennia to us. This is why we remember them as gods. Though not all characters will become gods, as I pointed out yesterday

So to kill a few birds with one stone, I want to talk about the Dökkálfar of the Wasted Lands today.

The Dökkálfar, or the Dark Elves, are not to be confused with the D&D Drow, though obviously, there are connections. Since elves, the fae and other near-immortal creatures have drifted into myth and legend there is no reason not to assume that they once lived during the Dreaming Age.

Appendix 1 of the Wasted Lands Core Rules gives us examples of how to make other species. This might change a bit, but here is how I'd implement a Dark Elf, or more to the point, one of my Shadow Elves.


Size: Medium (5 feet tall)
Vitality Die: As class.
Saves: Dökkálfar gain +1 to Persona saves, +1 to Agility saves, and +2 to save against spells and effects that read or transmit thoughts or emotions.
Move: 30 ft.
Senses: Dökkálfar have darksight, enabling them to see in near-absolute dark for up to 60 feet. This sight functions in all but the most absolute darkness; so long as there is any ambient light, they can see, albeit fine details may be difficult to discern in the darkest caverns.
Weapons and Armor: Dökkálfar are proficient with all bows and swords. They can wear armor up to chain mail.
XP Cost: 1,750

Urnu and Runu

All other details are, in a sense, cosplay.

Do they have pointy ears? What color is their skin, hair, eyes? What sort of society do they have?

None of that needs to be handled by the rules. It can be determined at your table. The rules are "old school," but the spirit is "new school."  Want to play Dragonborn? Aarocka? goblins? orcs? SURE! come on in. The rules are not going to stop you.

Are these Dökkálfar the Chaotic Evil Drow that everyone loves? Maybe. Are they my Lawful Evil Drow? Could be. Are they my Shadow Elves? Again, it could be. It will depend on the campaign at hand. 

Likely I will make them similar enough to my Shadow Elves so that when I finally get done with my Tomb of the Vampire Queen adventure, I can use these Dökkálfar in place of the Shadow Elves.

Tomorrow I'll put this into practice and convert some Spellcraft & Swordplay characters to Wasted Lands.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Spellcraft & Swordplay

Spellcraft & Swordplay cover
Spellcraft & Swordplay was one of the very first retro-clones or near-clones on the market.  In my mind, it was always much closer to original D&D than say Swords & Wizardry was mostly because the core mechanic of S&S was a 2d6 like the original combat of Chainmail.  It was the "Alternate Combat" method in OD&D that gave us the d20.  I enjoyed the game so much in playtesting that I had to do a witch class for it. I also did a warlock, one of my first ever.

The Game: Spellcraft & Swordplay

Spellcraft & Swordplay was released in 2009 and it became one of my favorite games. Super easy to learn, and very fast to play it captured that "Oldest school D&D" feel better for me better than some of the clones on the market at the time.  S&S is powered by O.R.C.S. (Optimized Roleplaying Core System) which is the forerunner to the O.G.R.E.S. (Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System) we use in NIGHT SHIFT. There is something like 90% compatibility between the two, but that 10% is a bit different. 

After I played the game I went to Jason and asked to do a witch book for it.  The result was Eldritch Witchery, which presented the witch and warlock as "Elite Paths" to the Cleric and Wizard respectively.

It remains one of my favorite books.

Spellcraft & Swordplay book

The Characters: Runu and Urnu

Runu and Urnu are characters in my game with a bit of history.  They began as drow elves, then shadow elves, and then Shadar-kai elves.  They are twins and I modeled them to be the "evil Wonder Twins."  In 3e they had drow working with my big bad necromancer Magnus.  I know they killed their parents and they are/were pariahs in drow society.  They might be half-drow, half-shadow elf or something.  In any case they are fairly evil and are steeped in the darkest necromancies.

For Spellcraft & Swordplay, they are elite paths. Runu is a warlock (wizard) and Urnu is the witch (cleric). In an inversion of drow norms, Runu is the warlock/wizard and her brother Urnu is the witch/cleric.   Since Spellcraft & Swordplay features a native Necromancer class (wizard elite path) in the core rules, S&S has a good number of Necromancer spells to choose from.

ePic character by Overhead Games
Female Dark Elf 1st level Warlock (Wizard), Fraternity of Bones Lodge
Alignment: Evil

S: 11
D: 12
C: 13
I: 17
W: 15
Ch: 17

HP: 4
AC: 7 (leather)
Attacks: 1

Familiar: Bat

Powers: Hexes, Arcane Blast, Occult Powers

1st: Bane

Runu considers herself the oldest, though the two twins were born so close together that no one knows for sure who was first. Since they caused their mother's death in childbirth no one can ask her.

Runu, like her brother, invert the norms of their society, so she is a warlock (wizard).  Her coven is small, only her, her brother, and their leader.

ePic character by Overhead Games
Male Dark Elf 1st level Witch (Cleric), Demonic Tradition
Alignment: Evil

S: 12
D: 11
C: 13
I: 15
W: 17
Ch: 17

HP: 5
AC: 7 (leather)
Attacks: 1

Familiar: Rat

Powers: Read Magic, Occult Powers, Coven Spells, Herbal Healing

1st: Ghostly Slashing

Urnu follows his twin sister, and like her, considers her the oldest.  He is a witch (cleric) dedicated to the Demon Lord of the Undead.  This makes them doubly rejected by their people.  Their devotion to undeath also makes them outcasts among other witches.

He is part of a small coven dedicated to the Demon Prince Orcus.  They dedicate kills to him and when they are higher level they will also create undead for him. 

Since S&S has a good number of necromancer spells I allow them to dip into those as well.

I like the way she turned out to be honest.  It's a shame that I think she might be dead! 

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.