Friday, April 22, 2011

Lost Heroes

If we operate under the assumption that the underworld, or specifically your campaign's megadungeon, has been attracting adventurers for a lengthy period of time, it is not a stretch of the imagination to realize that there are more than likely going to be a number of delvers assumed dead that are in fact trapped in limbo in the dark confines below.

In your standard campaign such a form of stasis could occur through your run of the mill flesh to stone attack. Characters with a CON of 13 or more will automatically survive such an ordeal, and are quite literally waiting for the right Magic User to come along and rescue them. In the Bleak Beyond other such means of imprisonment include being turned to glass, turned to a scarecrow, time-locked, frozen solid and gem-prisoned.

Any unfortunate character missing his save against such a threat must make a survival roll based on his or her CON score. Those succeeding are still often “lost to the underworld” even though they are not quite dead yet. Thus the Bleak Beyond includes a category of magic items called Lost Heroes. Perhaps the most potent of all magic items in my dungeon as of this writing since I have yet to flesh out any relics or artifacts, these Lost Heroes will pledge loyalty and serve their rescuers for a time and could even become player characters as the campaign unfolds.

Although you might not handle flesh to stone in the same fashion, the concept of Lost Heroes as magic items can still be used in your games by adding a few new features to your dungeon.

This is an example of the many Bleak Beyond tidbits I plan to assemble and include in the final megadungeon project. Along with the PDF's I've shared this year; Monster Business, Random Monster Tables, d6 Dungeon Rooms, 100 NPC Types and Dungeon Treasure Maps (I have a BB-centric version), these supplemental pieces will eventually work together to form the framework upon which the megadungeon will operate.

The d00 Stairways table was one I planned to rework and include, BUT I've come to the design decision that I will henceforth be treating stairways as rooms unto themselves, in other words each will be numbered and keyed. Duh. That's something I should have been doing all along. Something so obvious!

So while this particular document is Bleak Beyond material and written as such, you still might get some use or inspiration out of it. You will find it in the expanding SHAM'S OD&D STUFF section to the right.

Here's a copy and paste of the 24 known Lost Heroes in case you don't wanna down load the PDF.

Lost Heroes of the Bleak Beyond
Roll d24 if you want a random Lost Hero (d12+d6, odd on d6 add 0 to the d12, even on d6 add 12). Lost Heroes are never found on a dungeon level with a value less than their experience level.

1. Wigwaite FM 4, Male, L, S: 15, C: 16, Spear +1. Turned to Stone.
2. Dianedrio Elf FM 4, Male, L, S: 15, C: 13, Displacer Cloak. Morphed to Scarecrow.
3. Big Sal Hobbit 4, Male, S: 14, C: 15, Plate +1. Gem-Prisoned.
4. Cheburov Dvergar 4, Male, N, S: 17, C: 14, Sword +1. Turned to Stone.
5. Tillanaith FM 5, Female, N, S: 14, C: 13, Magic Bow. Time-Locked.
6. Hibu Dae MU 5, Male, N, I: 15, C: 14, Wand of Cold. Morphed to Scarecrow.
7. Janolare C 5, Female, L, W: 17, C: 13, Staff of Healing. Turned to Stone.
8. Thump LeBump Dwarf 5, Male, L, S: 13, C: 17, Axe +1. Turned to Stone.
9. Fendryal Aelfar MU 5, Male, N, I: 14, C: 13, Wand of Paralization. Time-Locked.
10. Glipnart Doende 5, Female, N, S: 14, C: 15, Ring of Protection. Turned to Glass.
11. Kippy Bitz Irkling 5, Male, N, W: 16, C: 14, Snake Staff. Gem-Prisoned.
12. Kimbobol Dwarf 6, Female, L, S: 16, C: 14, War Hammer +1. Gem-Prisoned.
13. Oxblatt Dwarf 6, Male, L, S: 14, C: 15, Ring of Protection. Time-Locked.
14. Kucharel Aelfar FM 6, Female, N, S: 16, C: 13, Spear +2. Frozen Solid.
15. Haxlo Dvergar 6, Male, N, S: 16, C: 17, Mace +2. Morphed to Scarecrow.
16. Rugmeister Doende 6, Male, N, S: 13, C: 16, Elven Cloak and Boots. Frozen Solid.
17. Qonklakoo Irkling 6, Female, N, W: 15, C: 16, Staff of Withering. Turned to Stone.
18. Wheelhouse Witt FM 7, Male, L, S: 13, C: 15, Sword +2. Frozen Solid.
19. Timarina MU 7, Female, L, I: 16, C: 13, Ring of Invisibility. Turned to Glass.
20. Sticky Nobs C 8, Male, L, W: 16, C: 14, Mace +2. Morphed to Scarecrow.
21. Binblaith Elf MU 8, Female, L, I: 14, C: 13, Wand of Fear. Turned to Glass.
22. Zinzaa FM 9, Female, L, S: 16, C: 14, War Hammer +2. Gem-Prisoned.
23. Legendary Ralph MU 10, Male, L, I: 17, C: 15, Staff of Power. Time-Locked.
24. Sister Tilda C 10, Female, L, W: 16, C: 15, Staff of Striking. Frozen Solid.

And with this post I have officially surpassed my 2010 total number of posts! I can't believe I have any followers at all with just 29 posts in the past 16 months. I love you guys, man.



James said...

I can believe it! Every time your blog pops to the top of my roll, I'm like "Cool! Sham posted something!" Because I know it's gonna be gold! :)

Derek said...

Now that's just cool.

This type of post makes me wonder how I can adapt this into whatever I end up running again some day.

Although I wonder what the heck a scarecrow really does.

Will Douglas said...

It's not the quantity of the posts, it's the quality.

That's what keeps us coming back.

Welcome to Dungeon! said...

I have always liked the idea of "recoverable" NPCs lost in the dungeon. I am also reminded of how Raise Dead would return undead mummies to life, presumably due to superior preservation.

Sham aka Dave said...

James and Will: Thanks!

Derek: Think of Scarecrow as a rebranded flesh to stone in my game. The Wirry-Cow is in the BB Bestiary and its touch turns targets to scarecrows.

WttD: Good point. Yes normally Raise Dead has a time limit, but your notion of this limit being extended for something like Mummies is feasible.

-C said...

Your posts possess a rarefied air.

Derek said...

Ahh... that makes sense. Thanks for explaining.

What I started visualizing was an undying talking corpse clad in the remains of what it wore in life nailed to a door or a wall to scare/warn trespassers away. Nothing that would attack, but that would (loudly) scream warnings and threats of what to come. Normally nailed up by a shaman or tribal caster of some sort that lives in the dungeon.

Aaron E. Steele said...


Zanazaz said...

Very cool idea!

Sham aka Dave said...

Derek: That's the type of creativity I try to encourage with a minimum of information within the dungeon's descriptions. It leaves plenty of room for adding what you'd like to see and allows you to take what's written and interpret it in order to make your games unique.

Alexey said...

Geez...with all this "B is for Boring as hell..." stuff going on in the blogosphere, I almost stopped reading blogs this month. Glad I pulled my head outta the sand long enough to see this! Love it.

Jim said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Keith Sloan said...

Good stuff!

My megadungeon campaign is set up such that adventurers have only (legally) been visitng the dungeon for a few years. When I started, I developed a roster of adventurers who were MIA. Then, as I began mapping and keying, I've begun to account for many of them - dead, turned to stone, charmed and held by some denizen, prisoner, etc. Of course, many will never be accounted for - lost forever. It's been quite entertaining for me to come up with the ultimate fate of all these previous adventurers.

Anonymous said...

I love the lost heroes concept, because I always figured many are dead, lost or somehow trapped waiting to be released, but I have rarely named any of the missing ones. Very cool!

Anonymous said...

I like this idea. I can think of several literary characters who were introduced to their stories through sometime like this method. It seems like, in addition to introducing NPCs, this could be a way to bring a new PC into the party quickly.

- N

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