Wednesday 28 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 8


T5. Servants Quarters/Storage.

This room has seen various uses during its long history, though now it acts as a temporary prison cell/holding area for anyone unfortunate enough to be held captive by the current occupants (largely due to the fact that it has the only lockable door in the whole keep).

This area is likely to be one of the focuses of the adventure itself - with one or two captives being held here, or perhaps some item of importance. However, the exact contents/occupants will largely depend upon the type of adventure that the GM is running, and should be tailored to that adventure/storyline accordingly.

T6. Library.
The remnants of tall bookcases lean clumsily against the walls of this room - some moss covered and dotted with old mould, others home to large birds nests. Overhead, several large holes in the ceiling give a clear view to the clouds/stars* up above, and also serve to illuminate the room with vivid/pale* streaks of sunlight/moonlight*
*delete as applicable

This room was once a great library - containing many books of lore and wisdom. Now though it has become a roost for several darkwings (a large black carrion bird - similar in appearance to oversized crows).

  • During the night there will usually be 1d8+4 darkwings at rest here, whereas there will only be around half that number (i.e. 1d4+2) during the daylight hours.
  • If left alone the birds will ignore anyone in and around the doorway of this chamber - though they will caw loudly at anyone that ventures inside (possibly arousing the suspicion of anyone else in the upper levels of the keep). However, this may be avoided with a successful Deception test or Nature Lore* test.
  • If disturbed (i.e. any PC attempts to 'shoo' them away, or starts rummaging through the shelves) the birds will each make a single attack (cawing as the do so) before fleeing out of the holes in the roof (definitely arousing the suspicion of anyone else in the upper levels of the keep). Once again, this may be avoided with a successful Nature Lore* test.
  • Anyone prepared to rummage through the nests and bookshelves will find a few shiny baubles (worth no more than 25BV), and if they also succeed in a perception test then they will discover a page from an old book that is still in a reasonable condition. This page can then be treated as a single use item which will allow the user to cast the innate spell Protection II.
  • Additionally, anyone who succeeds a difficult (-25%) perception test will find an intact secret compartment in one of the rotting bookshelves that contains a number of old scrolls of elvish lore (written in high-elvish). Anyone who has access to these scrolls gains a +25% bonus to their Culture (elf) skill pertaining to matters of ancient elvish history (though only if they can actually read the scrolls, and have time to study them before making the relevant test).
*assuming the PC has at least 50% in the Nature Lore skill

Monday 26 September 2011

Website Update

I've given the CSP website a bit of an update today, and dragged it (kicking and screaming) into the 21st century ...well almost ;)

I've also added a few images to the 'small scale maps' pages (that I found lying around on my hard drive - from a previous online game I ran), that can be found on the bottom of THIS page and THIS page.

I'm pretty sure everything is working correctly, however, if you spot any broken links etc. drop me a line and I'll do my best to fix it ASAP.

Map-a-Monday (week 39)

Here's the final dungeon map for September:

...and a simple pdf battlemat version can be found HERE

Sunday 25 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 7


T1. Gallery.

This small room was once home to several portraits and fine tapestries, though now it stands bare except for a simple stool and (usually) a lone beastling guard (who has a 25% chance not actually being here and instead wandering through areas T2 and T7).

The stairs leading up from here are blocked with rubble - though they once led up to the roof (about which a narrow parapet ran).

T2. Antechamber.

Three doors remain intact here - those leading to areas T5, T6, and T7 (though the lock only works on the door to area T5).

The guard that is usually found in area T1 possesses the only key to area T5 - however characters may attempt a normal Mechanisms test to pick the lock, or an Athletics test to force the door open (also note that should anyone try to damage the door, it has 25HP/AP2).

T3. Bedchamber.
The roof of this empty chamber has started to collapse in a few places - the debris from which has added to the general rubble and dirt scattered about the floor.

This is a long abandoned room that the beastlings have a natural dislike for - due to a small amount of residual 'elvish magic' that lingers here (see notes). In addition, anyone searching through the rubble (or alternately anyone who succeeds a perception test) will notice that there was once a decorative pattern upon the floor of this chamber in the shape of a rayed star (thought now it's extremely worn and badly damaged)

- how the pattern may have once looked -

Before its ruin, anyone who whispered the elvish word for starlight (i.e. telgalil) in this chamber would have caused the whole room to be filled with a soft and pleasant light. Now though, the magic has faded greatly, so that only a slight hint of light can be seen around the edges of the floor pattern if the word is spoken.

As such, anyone who studies the pattern and makes a successful innate magic test will be aware of the residual magic here (as will the innate spell Second Sight), though a successful Culture (elf) test will also be required to learn the activation word. If activated, everyone in the room (be they man, dwarf or elf) will also gain +1 temporary hit point (treat as a diminished version of the vigour spell on p42 of the rulebook).

X. Garderobe. The old privy is blocked and useless.

T4. Bedchamber.

As entry T3, except that the pattern of the floor is barely perceptible and so damaged that no magic remains.

Friday 23 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 6


M3. Guest Quarters.
A rather crude looking table (made up of various pieces of old wood) is pushed up against one wall of this room, and is littered with bits of bone and a few crude knives. The air itself has a noticeable coppery taste to it, and a small blackened cook-pot is suspended over the embers of a meagre fire.

The room itself is only occupied around 25% of the time* - but when it is in use, one or two of the smaller beastlings can be found here (who have been bullied into the role of 'cook').

However, since the 'cooks' are not the best of combatants, they will usually flee and attempt to get help if they encounter intruders within the keep.

If captured or are somehow convinced to talk, they will eagerly sell out the rest of their band (telling the PCs of the rough layout of the keep and where the other beastlings/wildlings are most likely to be found), in exchange for their pitiful lives.

  • Both doors to this room are still relatively intact (though they creak somewhat when opened or closed - i.e. anyone else on this level or in the hall below should be allowed a perception test to hear one being used).
  • The room itself is currently being used as a makeshift kitchen, though it is usually unoccupied (see above), as the only cooking the beastlings go for is a kind of weak stew made up of 'leftovers' from a recent kill (which does not usually amount to much), or things that have started to go bad.
  • Anyone taking the time to examine the fireplace will discover the remnants of a weak (and not very pleasant smelling) stew in the bottom of the cook-pot.
  • Examining the table will reveal that it is stained near black with blood, and that the knives are of various sizes and shapes (treat as daggers). Beneath the table is a large box with an ill-fitting hinged lid and a small open-topped barrel of water. Inside the box is a boars head, two stale loaves, half a dozen wooden bowls, and a couple of small wooden logs (a successful perception test will also reveal a few live maggots).

*GMs should feel free to alter this % as they see fit.

†One of the 'cooks' is currently planning the murder of one of the wildlings (with whom he is at odds) with the aid of this particularly nasty poison:
Name: Gut-rot poison
Type: Ingested
Delay: 1d3 hours
Potency: 90
Full Effect: 1d6 CON damage per day and extreme nausea & stomach cramps (treat all tasks as hard)
Duration: 1d4 days
Note that if this poison is mixed in with a fresh batch of stew (rather than being applied to a single bowl) its effects will be drastically reduced as follows:
Name: Gut-rot poison (diluted)
Type: Ingested
Delay: 1d3 hours
Potency: 60
Full Effect: 1 CON damage per day and nausea (treat all tasks as difficult)
Duration: 1d3 days

Thursday 22 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 5


M1. Balcony.

The balcony looks out over half of the hall below (towards the fireplace) where great feasts and merrymaking once took place. Now though the wooden handrail is more than a little unsafe - and anyone applying any pressure to the rail will cause it to break. Note that if someone leans on the rail or is forced into it they will be required to make a dodge/athletics* test to avoid losing their balance and falling down into the hall below (which causes 1d6 damage that bypasses all armour).

*as the situation dictates

  • An easy perception test here (+50%) reveals a feint smell - not too dissimilar to that of unwashed bodies and damp fur.
  • The wooden steps leading down to the ground level have been crudely repaired and are rather ramshackle in their appearance. As such, anyone attempting to move quietly up or down these stairs will be required to make a difficult (-25%) deception test in order to do so.
  • If any beastlings are present in area M3 (see the notes associated with that entry), the GM should allow the party to make simple (+25%) perception tests to hear their clamour.

M2. Guest Quarters.
A small fireplace adorns this small chamber, and little else apart from a thick layer of dirt, dust, and the occasional pottery shard.
  • The door to this chamber has long since vanished, and (because of its lack of windows) it is always a little dark (-25% to vision based perception tests).
  • Any character that attempts a perception test in this room (or attempts to find tracks with a Nature Lore test) will notice that there has been some movement in here recently - between the door and fireplace. This is due to one of the wildlings secreting away a delicate silver necklace and matching bracelet (in a small wooded box) on a narrow ledge inside the chimney flue. Normally a perception test would be used to find these items, but any character actively searching inside the fireplace will automatically find them unless he/she fumbles their roll. An Elvish Culture test identifies the jewellery to be of elvish design and worth around 250BV.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Age of Shadow ...Now on lulu

Here's a quick look at what arrived in the post this week:

The AoS Role-playing Game is an 80 page (black and white, perfect-bound) softcover book available for £5.99 (LULU LINK)

The AoS Campaign Guide is a 28 page (full colour, saddle-stitched) softcover book available for £7.99 (LULU LINK)

...and now back to work on Mathgar ruins.

Monday 19 September 2011

Map-a-Monday (week 38)

Time to take a short break from Mathgar Ruins to bring you this week's dungeon geomorph:

...and always, a simple pdf battlemat version can be found HERE

Sunday 18 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 4


G1. The Great Hall.
This spacious hall must have once been a sight to behold - with many fine tapestries and ornate carvings upon the walls and pillars. Now though the whole chamber is strewn with dirt and debris, and what little is left of the tapestries hang in tatters.
This room is usually unoccupied apart from two wildlings that are tasked with guarding the door.

Once an elegant hall, this large room is now all but empty - seemingly long since plundered of anything of worth. However, it will soon become apparent to anyone who ventures further into this room that far end of the hall is overlooked by a balcony on the level above (indicated by the dashed line).

A. Main Entrance. The main door to the keep is rather large and has a habit of sticking - requiring a simple (+25%) athletics test to open. In addition, whatever locking mechanism it might have once possesed is long since gone - but the door may still be barred from the inside making it near impossible to force open without the aid of siege equipment.

However, the door is not usually barred (unless the current occupants are expecting trouble), and anyone who knocks upon the door twice and then three times (after a short pause between) will usually have the door opened for them (assuming they are expected).

B. Grand Fireplace. A large fireplace of carven stone dominates the whole of the far wall, though the delicate figures and scenes engraved upon it are all but unrecognisable. Anyone spending any time examining the fireplace will see that it has clearly been marred by cruel hands.

Additionally, anyone who takes the time to examine the fireplace in greater detail should be allowed a perception test to discover a secret compartment that still holds an ornate gem-studded brooch (worth around 1000BV) that also functions as a magic point store (1 point - though it is currently empty).

However, due to the damage that the fireplace has sustained, a successful mechanisms test will be required to open the compartment (alternately, if brute force is used, a difficult (-25%) athletics test may be attempted).

Saturday 17 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 3


(a more detailed map of each level will accompany the forthcoming blog entries)

Friday 16 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 2


All of the beastlings and wildlings that appear in 'Mathgar Ruins' use the standard statistics found in the main Age of Shadow rulebook - with the only exception being the equipment they carry. As such only a very brief statblock will be accompanying the relevant room descriptions, along with the details for any weapon(s) and armour that they might use.

In addition, unless it is otherwise noted, there is a chance that any beastling/wildling may possess one of the following items in addition to its personal effects:

  1. Potion of Treat Wounds (heals 2 HP)
  2. Dried meats (1 day's worth)
  3. Waterskin (water)
  4. Waterskin (wine)
  5. Stale loaf
  6. Grappling hook
  7. Rope (10m)
  8. Crowbar
  9. Slingbag (with a cup, small knife, etc.)
  10. A crude, but functional, first aid kit

The suggested chance is 25% for lesser creatures, 50% for common creatures, and 100% for greater creatures (rolling a d10 on the list above to determine the actual item). Alternately the GM may simply use his/her discretion and equip any of the beastlings/wildlings as he/she sees fit.

Finally, should an occasion ever arise where the name of a particular beastling/wildling would be useful to know, then listed below are several suitable examples:

  • Kongris
  • Bartas
  • Paflok
  • Mauzur
  • Zaugal
  • Kalsak
  • Fotak
  • Hungrog
  • Shakop
  • Bukol

  • Bren
  • Drast
  • Erthar
  • Uron
  • Kirmot

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - Part 1


Somewhere within the northern eaves of the Bleakwood (or Eradaur to give that wood its elvish name of old) lie the ruins of Garad Mathgar - an ancient stone fortress that once stood watch upon the borders of the elven lands.

In these latter days, nought but a few crumbling stones remain of its towers and thick curtain wall, for it was largely destroyed in the great wars of the North many centuries ago - when the forces of the enemy overrun much of what is now the Northern Kingdom.

Indeed, that which still stands has long been ravaged by the passage of time, so that few could discern its whereabouts were it not for the old keep that still stands atop the hill about which the fortress was built.

Yet few have ventured within its moss-covered walls, for the keep has an ill name in these latter days - its halls rumoured to be filled with the restless spirits of the fallen warriors that once served upon the walls of the old fortress.


The forest about the hill (upon which the keep stands) has crept closer over the years - though the hill itself remains relatively free, with no more than long grass and brambles to impede ones ascent.

The keep itself is in the form of an elongated hexagonal shape with many slotted windows and a single fire-blackened door. About its broken roof runs a crumbling parapet (though both have seen better days), and only the vaguest hints remain of the decorative stonework that once adorned its outer walls.


Throughout its years of abandonment, Mathgar ruins has (on several occasions) been the secret abode of various emissaries of the enemy. It is not surprising then, that many of the dark rumours associated with the place can probably be attributed (at least in part) to the activities of these passing agents.

At the current time the keep is being used as a lair/hideout for a band of beastlings & wildlings - who have gathered here after many leagues of secret travel. What task they have been set by their cruel masters is largely left to the GMs discretion (though doubtless it includes banditry, gathering information, and bloody murder), though remaining undetected will be of utmost importance.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that access to the keep may also be gained via a secret tunnel that leads into the lowest level of the structure - though the location of its entrance is a highly guarded secret (but it is plausible that a captured beastling/wildling scout might divulge this information in exchange for their pitiful life).

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Mathgar Ruins - An Adventure Location

Over the coming weeks I plan on writing up a little adventure location for the Age of Shadow RPG. I don't intend for it to be anything other than a typical encounter site (so please don't expect anything revolutionary), as my only real aim here is to put something together that shows the rules in action (so to speak).

However, the way I plan on doing it is a little different to anything I've done before, as I'll be Blogging the entries/areas one at a time (i.e. as I finish them), and perhaps answer any questions (rules related or otherwise) that arise as I go along.

Admittedly I've already got a rough outline planned, a few notes to hand, and a basic map drawn out (so that it doesn't turn out to be a complete random mess), but I'm hoping that other folks might also add to the stuff I write via the comments section (perhaps giving a particular monster/NPC a bit of a backstory, adding a particularly devious trap, expanding on room/item descriptions, writing possible adventure hooks, and so on), to make things a little more interesting.

As I say, I'll be keeping things fairly straightforward for my own part, as my main aim is to show how the rules can be applied to various situations so that new GMs have an example 'dungeon' (for want of a better word) to use as reference (though having a back-up adventure location is a useful addition to any GMs folder).

With any luck I'll have the first instalment posted tomorrow - though that'll probably just be a little bit of background information to get the ball rolling.

Monday 12 September 2011

Map-a-Monday (week 37)

Here's the second map for September:

...and as usual, a simple pdf battlemat version can be found HERE

Saturday 10 September 2011

The Age Of Shadow in print!

Look at what arrived in the post yesterday...

...this is the proof copy for The Age Of Shadow RPG, and I have to say that it looks rather nice.

As you can probably see, I've gone for a black and white interior for the book (as the artwork within is minimal to say the least - so the added expense of a full colour product seemed a little unnecessary). The printed version also contains two additional pages of tables at the back of the book for easy reference during play.

So if you enjoyed the free pdf version of the book, and would like a hard copy for the gaming table, then you can pick one up for $11.99 (around £7.50 / €8.75) over at RPGNow or DriveThruRPG.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

More works in progress...

Since I posted a few WIP/prototypes for a possible Colony 19 expansion set the other day (see THIS post), I thought I would also post a brief update regarding a few other things that I'm currently working on...

One thing I've neglected to mention thus far is that Purple Duck Games are in the process of designing a mega-dungeon for the Pathfinder system (that they intend to release one level at a time - roughly once a month) ...and I'm pleased to say that I'll be drawing the dungeon maps for the project. These maps will be in the same style as the ones found in the 'Little Book of Dungeons' and I'll also be blowing them up to 'battle-map' scale (for miniatures) to accompany the PDG adventure.

And while I'm (kind of) on the subject of The Little Book of Dungeons, I also hope to have Volume III of tLBoD out by the end of the year (or possibly early 2012).

Something else I've got coming up (that's also in a similar vein to the dungeon books - though still very much in the development stage as of yet) are map packs that expand on the Age Of Shadow world (while also being generic enough to be used with other fantasy settings).

As I say, this project is still in its infancy, but I can show you roughly what I have in mind with this first example:

...which shows the kind of thing/look I'm aiming for.

There are a couple of other things floating around at the moment (like a set of board-game rules (with RPG elements) to go with the Colony 19 tiles, an adventure location posted in weekly instalments on the blog for the Age of Shadow), and hopefully something I might be able to announce by the end of the week (if all goes well) - but that's pretty much it for now.

Hopefully that gives you all something to look forward to in the coming months!

Monday 5 September 2011

Map-a-Monday (week 36)

Here's the first map for September:

...and as usual, a simple pdf battlemat version can be found HERE

Sunday 4 September 2011

What's next for Colony 19?

With last week's release of the 'Colony 19 : infestation set' I've accomplished most of what I set out to do with the C19 range for this year (i.e. 3 sets of tiles that included a base set, a large room set, and some kind of 'alien infestation' set), and I'm pretty happy with the way they have turned out.

However, during that time I've also been experimenting with a few other things (that I might add to the range in the future) ...including some kind of medlab or R&D style tiles (with a more sterile appearance) ...examples of which can be seen in the pictures below:

I'm not sure yet whether tiles of this style would warrant an entire set of their own (or perhaps a mini-set), or whether it would be better to group a bunch of different styles together into one large 'miscellaneous' set if anyone has any opinions on the matter it would be great to get some feedback (or indeed ideas of what you would like to see next).

(please feel free to post your ideas below, on the forum,
or leave comments on the twitter or facebook page)

Thursday 1 September 2011

September Update

First of all, I would like to double check that everyone (that was eligible) who chose a free product during the blogger give-away got the coupon code for the pdf that they requested.

* * *

Secondly, the next set of Colony 19 tiles are now available from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG...

...and since there is some duplication in this set (i.e. certain tiles shown in their 'normal' and 'infested' states), I've upped the page count to twelve pages of tiles (rather than the usual nine) to compensate.

* * *

In addition, the Age of Shadow Campaign Guide has got its first in-depth review over on the aforementioned sites.

I'll be honest and say that I was a little wary about putting the campaign guide online as a commercial product - as I wasn't sure if anyone would find my writing style (or lack thereof) appealing. However, the review is a good one, and I'm overjoyed to get such a positive response (though no doubt there might be others in the future that are less flattering).

HERE's a link to the review in full.

* * *

And lastly, I've finally set up a facebook & twitter account for CSP (as it was probably about time) ...though I'm still figuring it all out at the moment (see the links bar opposite).