Monthly Archives: February, 2015

My Books, Let Me Sell You Them

Currently-available Echelon Game Design products.

Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons cover

Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons

Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons

The gods create the world… and you create the gods.

Whether you need only a small pantheon with a few deities, or a larger pantheon with dozens of deities, Polyhedral Pantheons gives you tools to make pantheon creation easy. This book also contains three pantheons and over seventy deities as examples you can use in your game.

  • The Shu-shi Pantheon, venerated by Chinese halflings who seek a life of peace and serenity.
  • The Goblin Pantheon, propitiated by goblins who live hard lives defined by isolation, destruction, and madness.
  • The Elemental Tetratheon, shared by a four nations and divided by element.

This product includes Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons Worksheets as a second PDF.

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters cover

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters (PRD-only)

This is the *ahem* “Rough And Fast” version. Classes and other game elements are present, but the additional features such as the full feat diagrams — which will be many, these books each contain hundreds of combat feats, 484 in the PRD-only book and 587 in the 3pp+PRD book — are not yet done. As such, the books are currently offered at a 50% discount (which will become a 25% discount as work is completed, and no discount when done… the intermediate and final documents will be added to the products as and when they are done).

Big thanks to Craig Brasco for the cover image. I find his sketches can be good enough for use on covers, you can see more of his work at craigbrasco.com.

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues cover

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues (PRD-only)

This is also an RAF (“Rough And Fast”) release. Classes (rogue and ninja), archetypes, class feature, feats, and so on, but diagrams are not yet done. Half-price for now, with the updated versions added to the product as they are completed.

Echelon Reference Series: Sorcerers cover

Echelon Reference Series: Sorcerers

Echelon Reference Series: Sorcerers (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Barbarians (PRD-only)

Echelon Reference Series: Barbarians

Echelon Reference Series: Barbarians

Echelon Reference Series: Barbarians (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Barbarians (PRD-only)

Echelon Reference Series: Clerics

Echelon Reference Series: Clerics

Echelon Reference Series: Clerics (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Clerics (PRD-only)

An Account of the Gadolim: Page 7 (The Pyramid)

Dolmar's Pyramid, level A

(click to embiggen)

Entrance

The approach to the pyramid of Dolmar is flanked by two rows of inscribed obelisks, which I already described previously. The entrance itself is up a flight of steps, and is barred by enormous double stone doors. Pushing them open is easy thanks to a delicate counterweight, but doing so triggers a spear trap to spring up in the porch. A grid of holes is visible in the stone floor of the porch, through which the spears will emerge.

Clues: Obelisk engravings SelectShow

A1: Corridor

Along the corridor, the stone floor slabs are cracked and dented in one spot. Above, the ceiling tiles are interrupted by a single large block of granite. Stepping on the slab immediately before the cracked section triggers the falling-block trap after a second’s delay. The trap resets itself automatically.

Just before the entrance into the Scarab Chamber, the corridor is flanked by two pairs of muscular statues, each holding a greatsword upright. A gauzy veil in front of each pair of statues hides the tripwire which activates the trap, bringing the statues’ greatswords down violently on the hapless victim.

A2: Scarab Chamber

The Scarab Chamber is shaped like the beetle for which it is named. Rows of carved columns mark the edge lines of its carapace, with a very wide central column where the lines meet. This central column is of brick. Six side passages branch off like legs, leading to various side chambers. At the head end of the chamber is a great door, made from a single colossal block of granite rigged to a clever mechanism. Above the lintel of the doorway, a column of six circular sockets is edged in brass.

Written on the great door is the following:

Text: Great Door Inscription SelectShow

The door can be opened by placing the stone tokens in the correct order in the sockets (from the top: pendant, book, crown, river, dagger, jewel).

A3: Model Room

In the first side-room is a model of the city, carved from stone. The pyramid and the temple are clearly visible, as is a dry channel depicting the river.
If the river channel is filled with water, the pyramid model will split open to reveal a circular stone token marked with a river symbol.

A4: Astronomical Room

In the second room, a thin shaft brings a beam of bright sunlight inside, where it strikes a brass mirror on a turntable. The ceiling is decorated with images of the constellations, the moon, and the sun. The mirror is faded with the years, but with some polishing it will soon give a bright reflection again. The mirror is currently oriented to reflect the light towards the ceiling image of the moon. Pointing it at the sun instead will cause the turntable to rise up, revealing a cavity containing a stone token marked with a crown symbol.

A5: Choice Room

In the third room, the floor has several circular holes the approximate width of a human arm. Peering inside the hole, one can see a lever which can be pulled to activate something. On the floor around each hole are decorations. One hole is painted around with golden coins and jewels. Another is decorated with skulls, wicked blades, broken bones, and drops of blood. A third hole has images of idyllic scenery and relaxing figures. A fourth hole is surrounded by depictions of succulent fruit of every kind. The fifth hole depicts attractive couples fawning over each other and presenting gifts. The sixth and final hole shows crowns, sceptres, and thrones. Pulling the lever in the second hole (skulls, blood, etc) causes a pedestal to rise from the centre of the floor bearing a stone token with a dagger symbol. Activating any other hole will trigger spring-loaded blades inside the hole itself.

A6: Double Maze

The fourth room appears to contain a waist-high maze of low walls, at the other end of which is a chest. In fact, the walls are illusory and can be walked through. The real maze is composed of invisible walls (see map below), and these span from the ceiling to the floor. The chest, once opened, appears to be empty. Its contents are actually merely concealed by illusion: within is a stone token with a jewel symbol.

Map: Real maze SelectShow

A7: Grandiose Room

The fifth room has a glorious throne decorated in gold and gems, two imposing muscular statues, grandiosely-carved walls, and inscriptions just above head height. The inscriptions are various prideful and self-congratulatory messages; see examples below.

Text: Prideful messages SelectShow

Low down, partway along the base of one wall and cunningly integrated into the carvings, is a low entrance into room A7b. The entrance is easily missed if one is looking only at the inscriptions.

A7b: Humble Room

This plain undecorated chamber contains only a small plinth holding a stone token with the symbol of a pendant.

A8: Alphabet Room

The third room’s floor consists of a grid of tiles, each marked with a letter. On the wall are painted depictions of every kind of precious gem and piece of jewellery. If you spell the name of the king, Dolmar, by pressing firmly on the tiles, one of the gem pictures will swing open to reveal a stone token marked with a book symbol.

A9: Stairs up

Beyond the great door of the Scarab Chamber, a staircase curves upwards.

An Account of the Gadolim: Page 7 (The City)

On the sands near the great river Daiphrit stands the imposing pyramid-tomb of the ancient king Dolmar, a beloved ruler of the kingdom who was killed by a villainous minister. The tomb’s construction took many years, and necessitated the existence of a temporary town to support all the labourers and artisans. After the tomb was completed, many of these people elected to stay in the town to be close to the resting-place of their king. Over time, others joined them, and the town grew into a small city. But, one by one, the king’s loyal subjects grew old and died, and were themselves buried in the city’s districts. In modern times, the city of Dolmar’s Rest lies silent and empty, home only to the dead.

But it is silent no longer. A strange corona of red and gold light surrounds the pyramid, and those loyal to the ancient king have woken from their graves. Slowly the skeletal citizens are rebuilding their ruined city, restoring it to its former glory. A few brave scouts have visited the city and returned unmolested, reporting the undead populace to be generally peaceful and industrious. But King Dolmar himself has returned, and the city recognises him alone as the rightful ruler of the entire kingdom.

Rumours are spreading through the capital like wildfire. Many expect this is some trick: the dead may indeed walk, but surely the good king Dolmar of legend would have no part in such necromancy? Others wonder if perhaps the old legends have been subject to whitewashing, or just suffer from a rose-tinted view of history. Alternatively, maybe the whole thing is just an illusion thrown up as cover for an invasion by the Blueskins.

The Queen and her advisers need hard information about what’s really going on. A team of courageous adventurers might be able to enter the city and collect intelligence to determine if there is an immediate threat, and to track down the source of this strange magic. That’s where the characters come in.

Map: Dolmar's Rest SelectShow

The citizens are skeletal in nature, with red-and-gold pinpoints of light burning in their eye-sockets. Generally, the populace is busy working day and night to rebuild the various structures and create new equipment to replace items worn down over the centuries. Despite their condition, the citizens still feel the need to eat, drink, and sleep, so much of the infrastructure of a normal city is needed. The outlying farms have, of course, gone to wilderness over the centuries, leading to some difficulty with food supplies. None of the citizens are completely comfortable to meet a living human; it’s an unpleasant reminder of their own undead status. They try to remain polite, however.

The citizens don’t know the source of their condition, or what the king’s long-term plans are, although plenty of the more egotistical ones will be happy to make assumptions or to pretend to know important secrets. The nobles are particularly prone to such theorising. King Dolmar hasn’t been seen since a single public appearance after the great awakening, preferring to keep himself shut up in the pyramid. Only the royal guard are allowed in, and then only by direct order. The priests manage the everyday aspects of authority in the meantime. The royal guard sometimes receive telepathic orders from the king, and many citizens have started to grow wary of them.

Drop a die on the below tables to generate random encounters. Each district has its own table (in outline shaped like the district itself), which you can combine to get a whole-city table. For entries marked with “[*]”, the encountered person is interacting with a third party: drop a die on the whole-city table to find out who!

Encounters: Temple District SelectShow
Encounters: Commercial District SelectShow
Encounters: Artisans' District SelectShow
Encounters: Nobles' District SelectShow

The sacred pendant, symbol of the king’s authority, is a big topic of discussion amongst the skeletons. The king wasn’t wearing it at his public appearance, and its whereabouts are unknown. Some speculate that this is a sign the king is an imposter, while others wonder if it was stolen by tomb raiders during the city’s long sleep. The royal guard quash discussion of the subject if they should hear any.

The avenues leading to the temple and the pyramid are bordered by obelisks: both sets of obelisks are identical, six in number and inscribed with the following lines of text:

Clues: Obelisk engravings SelectShow

The high priestess prefers to stay in the temple. She knows the pendant was hidden in the temple by one of her predecessors, but doesn’t know exactly where. She has received a telepathic instruction from the king to deliver the pendant to the pyramid, but is unsure if he is the real king or not. If the delivery is to be made, having the artefact carried in the hands of armed adventurers might seem like a prudent move. The king’s instruction mentioned the pendant being “hidden in the heavens”, although since it was secured after his death he doesn’t know the specifics.

Stats: High Priestess Vernat SelectShow
Map: Temple SelectShow

Sitting atop a dais, the altar of the temple is a table covered with a fine silk cloth that almost reaches the ground. On the floor underneath the altar, one of the floor tiles is marked with a miniature pendant symbol; it’s quite visible if kneeling in front of the altar. Pressing this tile causes the entire dais to swiftly rise up on a stone column, ascending into the interior of the temple spire. From here one can easily reach a stone casket on a ledge at the tip of the spire, within which glows the pure light of the sacred pendant.

Artefact: Pendant of Divine Light SelectShow

If the characters don’t go out of their way to conceal the pendant, news of its discovery will spread swiftly. Some of the populace will want it delivered to the pyramid immediately, while others think the king is an imposter and that it should be kept away. Some citizens may consider it borderline blasphemous for the characters to be carrying around the king’s symbol, particularly if they are wearing it. These high tensions are stoked by the fact that none of the skeletons can touch the holy pendant directly without being burned, so the various groups must try to convince the characters of the “correct” course of action.

If the royal guard hear the news, they will be instructed by the king to try and seize it from the adventurers. Those citizens who don’t trust the royal guard may help the characters escape or hide if needs be.