Monday, October 20, 2008

The Sixth Table part I

Here‘s a slice of gaming history, dripping with old school homebrew protoplasmic ooze. It is one of the surviving bits of Mr. Rob Kuntz’s notes from his work on the never published Supplement V for D&D (OD&D) titled Kalibruhn. I enjoy the direct connect to the early gaming roots that fragments such as this produce. Furthermore, I can't resist the evocative names of the artifacts contained on this page. The names alone are unquestioningly inspirational:

Sand Cubes of Nomilmon, The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz, The Green Wand and The Stone Servant of Kalib, The Pillar of Sa-Hazruul.

I love this sort of stuff. What I particularly appreciate is that this list is just that, a list. No actual descriptions are provided. I’m not sure how fleshed out these artifacts would have been in Supplement V: Kalibruhn, or whether the same items have appeared in subsequent works by Rob Kuntz (many available at Pied Piper Publishing), but I’m happy to take this list and play around with it, fleshing out the history and powers of some of these mysterious relics of gaming past.

I can’t quite make out all of the names, but that’s fine…I find it adds to the charm of the original that some of the words are therefore open to my interpretation. For example 02-06 Amulet of the Abhorred (?) Destiny. Or 54-60 The Fruits of Zhethap (?). And even 72-75 The Bemalize (?) Wand. I assume 71 is The Brass Ring of Opening. I’ll just fake it until said item looks or sounds right.

I’ll homebrew a few of these to get the theme going. If I stick with it I will continue with more and eventually detail all three dozen Artifacts.

I know some of the item names upon this list must be anagrams, or other wordplay devices. 16-18 Crown of Ecilam and 25-27 3 Golden Globes of Ecilam are the most obvious and rudimentary examples. Ecilam is simply Malice backwards. A brief overview of the list doesn’t produce any other immediate recognition in the way of reference or inference for me, but perhaps others will chime in with their own observations.

There are likely some campaign inspired items that should have a shared history, with common themes, such as 13-15 Saphire of The Sorcerer Demons and 61 Fire Spear of The Sorcerer Demons. I’ve absolutely no idea what the real history or influence or even original design was for any of these Artifacts, so I will apologize to Rob Kuntz in advance for any rough or unfair treatment of his personal creations found on Table 6 Supreme Artifacts.

Rather than take these on in the order presented, I will pick and choose a few before I commit to all 36, starting with 53 The Unknown Weapon of Nodah. The only possible wordplay device I see here is that Nodah could be unscrambled to form Honda. I don’t see any reason for such a reference, so I’ll ignore that possible anagram. Nodah apparently might mean ‘known’ according to some brief internet research. Perhaps The Unknown Weapon of Known was a bit of wordplay, but any significance that might hold is lost upon me. One particular link led me to a page that included a blurb about The Maharal of Prague, and the legend of his Golem, Yossele. Now properly inspired, here’s the first entry for The Sixth Table.

The Unknown Weapon of Nodah

Disclaimer: The entire series of ‘Supreme Artifacts’ is based upon handwritten notes by Rob Kuntz. I take no credit for the table, title or names of any of these ‘Supreme Artifacts’. Mr. Kuntz’s creation, Table 6 Supreme Artifacts, serves as inspirational material and nothing more. The theme is indeed 'Supreme Artifacts', but individual Referees should feel free to adjust the relative power of any of the items presented here to fit their own campaign's needs.

This secret weapon was constructed and employed by a High Cabal of Ven Vorheesh Priests to oust the conquering Mag’hiim from their lands. A living, walking manlike automaton of clay, this Golem was infused with the wrath of Nodah, the Ven Vorheesh deity. Hidden and protected during the day, and unleashed to wreak havoc during the night, the Unknown Weapon of Nodah proved to be a dangerous means of defense, as it eventually turned upon it’s creators and toppled both temple and shrine in it’s uncontrollable frenzies. Finally deactivated and hidden away, the Golem and its legend was forgotten. The Ven Vorheesh and the Mag’hiim are now but faded writings in the history of man, and the Unknown Weapon of Nodah remains a mystery today.

The Golem can be found in either a deactivated or activated state, at the Referee’s discretion. The Golem is a hardened, solid as stone, fired clay construct in the shape of a man some seven feet tall. When activated it’s eyes open to reveal dimly blue glowing sapphires, and it’s mouth can open or close with a locking, lower hinged jaw fashioned of old bronze, revealing a small recessed niche behind. The entire form of the Golem is chipped and pocked, and covered with black scorch marks. The Golem weighs nearly 2,000 pounds, being a massive, formidable slab of ancient earth. The Golem will, at all times, have one of two ancient Ven Vorheesh words scrawled upon it’s large forehead, Life or Death. The former activates the Golem, and the latter deactivates it. If a small calfskin scroll, containing the master’s name written in blood, is placed within the Golem’s mouth, it will follow very basic commands from that individual. If activated with no such scroll, or by anyone other than it's master, the Golem will enter a destructive rampage until it has successfully slain a random number (1d6 or more) of nonbelievers before deactivating itself once more.

Nodah’s Golem: AC 5, Hit Dice 10, Hit Points 47, Move 6”. Only damaged by +1 or higher magic weapons, and physical attacks always cause minimum damage. Immune to mind influencing magic, fire, electricity, poison, acid and cold. If possible, the Golem automatically rolls successfully when saving versus any magical spell or attack. The Golem attacks once each round causing 3d6 damage. While in combat, the Golem emanates a powerful aura of magic. All living beings within a 40’ radius of the Golem are subjected to a Slow spell. If faced with more than 5 foes, it can unleash gouts of flame from vents in the palms of its 'hands' every third round in lieu of physical attacks. The flames engulf an area in a 10’ radius around the Golem, and burn for 10d6 initially, and one half that on the following round (save vs. Dragon Breath for half damage and no damage on the following round). If the Golem is in melee with the same foe for four consecutive rounds, it will attack that target with a magic gaze beam emanating from it’s glowing sapphire eyes. The target must save vs. Spell at -2 or become Paralyzed for 12 turns.

The Golem, when activated, will only allow its master to approach close enough to open its jaw or write upon its forehead. How this is otherwise accomplished during play is up to the Referee. When deactivated, the Golem will slowly regenerate damage at a rate of 1 Hit Point per day. The Unknown Weapon of Nodah will deactivate whenever it is reduced to 10 or fewer Hit Points, and will not activate once more until it has regenerated at least 30 points of damage (30 days). If the Golem is reduced to zero Hit Points, it will be forever destroyed.

The Unknown Weapon of Nodah obeys it’s commands quite literally, never discerning between friend or foe. Furthermore, there is a chance each turn while it is active that the Golem will enter a frenzied state of destructive vengeance upon all nonbelievers (including its own master). If The Unknown Weapon of Nodah’s master is slain, the Golem will deactivate wherever it stands. The chance for such a rampaging state is left for the Referee to determine, but it is suggested that it begin after a predetermined time of activity (1d6 turns or more), and increase with each subsequent turn of activity. For example, perhaps a cumulative 1% chance per turn beginning after 3 turns. The Golem’s rampages include destruction of inanimate objects and anything that moves until it has slain a random number of nonbelievers and deactivates itself once more. There is also a chance that it will only deactivate once it has slain its blasphemous master. Such an unfortunate turn of events has a chance to occur as determined by the Referee, which should ultimately be increased or decreased based upon the actions of the master.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


Jonathan said...

thanks for sharing this Sham... nice read...

but what's with all the blue text?

Sham aka Dave said...

The blue text is intended to denote actual gaming content, rather than my incessant blog blathering. I've used italics in the past, but maybe it would look better if I just 'block quoted' the gaming content? Dunno...I'm not too swift with all the composition tools, unfortunately.

Jonathan said...

Ahhhh.. i c. It works. Something like using a quote tag with style=color:lightgrey; or something would also work. Bahh... its all good.

belst8 said...

where did you get this?

(I think the blue works fine.)

Sham aka Dave said...

I saved a copy of a pic from the excellent Tome of Treasures forum. I'm not sure who owns or took the pic, but here's the address: