Part-Time Booty Goon
- Jan 9, 2019
- Reaction score
Check out that Michael Whelan cover!
Silverlion as Midnight Cloudbite, Fairy Wizard
Stan as Sally Stonewall, Dwarf Warrior
Dumarest as Bravo Holesquatter, Hobbit Connoisseur
Bunch, as Rublehead the Unwise, Human Warrior
Tulpa Girl, as Bera Ashegart, Dwarven Warrior
Zala Whitfoot, Hobbit Rogue
BACKGROUND OF ZIND AND THE ISLE
The Isle of Darksmoke lies in the T&T world known as Zind. Zind is a marvelous, colorful
world, many many thousands of years old. The main continent of Zind is called Hylax and, as
continents go, it is a small place. Hylax is surrounded by many islands, the remnants of what
were once other continents, now long vanished in a series of world-razing cataclysms. There is
another land mass large enough to be considered a continent, but it is spoken of as a fearsome
place - a land of monsters and multiple forms of agonizing death to which no sane being would
wish to travel. This baneful continent is known by many names, but its chief appellation is ''The
Wicked Shores." Zindian parents often tell their children that they will be sent to the Wicked
Shores if they are not good little tykes.
Zind, as worlds go, is a pleasant enough place, having settled more of its mundane
problems some centuries ago. There is an occasional rattle of sabers for war, and a warrior
tradition is maintained. However, it is adventuring that is the most popular avocation of bold
Zindians, both male and female. incidentally, females on Zind are equal to males in all respects.
The differences that do crop up are differences of social training and deity-given gifts:
intelligence and dexterity and charisma and the like. The quivering princess of fantasy fiction
may appear on Zind, but in like measure you will find the bold female pirate, the sword-swinging
lady samurai and the cunning rogue miss, all as adept as any of their masculine counterparts.
Like any good fantasy world, Zind has its fair share of elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, etc.
These not-quite-human races mingle fairly freely with their human brethren, and race prejudice
is reserved for the likes of ore, troll, and goblin - usually with fairly good reason.
The governmental system of Zind is fairly loose, a kind of laissez-faire feudalism that very
seldom disturbs the normal routine of the folk that inhabit Zind. The most powerful ruler of Zind
is Lord Hongon AxBrow, Master of the City of Beal, the largest city of Zind; Beal is located in the
center of Hylax. Lord AxBrow's chief rival (and all-around thorn-in-the-side) is Captain-Lady
Crystal, formerly a pirate-queen, who now rules the port city of Meltabar on the GhoulFinger
Peninsula in the southern area of Hylax. The Captain-Lady hasn't the armies to match AxBrow's
on land, but her fleets control the seas. Since so much of Zind's economic stability rests on trade
between Hylax and the outlying islands, Crystal has a good foundation from which to thumb her
nose at the grim Lord Hongon (something she does at every opportunity). Numerous other
Lords, Ladies, Pashas, Margraves, Duchesses, Princes, Princesses, Barons, Chieftains, Counts, etc.
inhabit Zind, wielding power in small, fief-like areas.
Technologically, Zind is somewhat backward for a world so old, mainly because the world
is magically rich, and magic is better than machinery any day of the week. This does not mean
that some measure of technology does not exist in isolated pockets - it simply means that, on
the whole, Zind is a sword-wielding, magic-oriented world where even a flintlock pistol would
be something of a wondrous find.
Zind has its share of wizard guilds, secret societies of rogues and assassins, fighting
brotherhoods, and the like. Religion, on the other hand, is a take-it-or-leave-it kind of commodity,
and most Zindians prefer to put their faith in what they can see and hear and hack away at with a
yard of good Typhanian steel. .Gods, devils, demons, and the like do exist, but the common citizen of
Zind is content to let them do so without letting it concern them overmuch. This fact of Zindian
existence tends to make moral codes between the kindreds somewhat relative: what is "sin" to a
Dwarf of the Mewling Hills might very well be a virtue to the Elves of Forlan Mak Evra.
Where the lore and legend of Zind is concerned, the name of the warrior-wizard
Darksmoke is definitely high on the scroll. As his name implies, almost everything about him is
darkly mysterious, and in truth, very few can make certain, certifiable statements about his
existence. Indeed, it is a moot point whether Darksmoke actually does exist as a physical entity,
since legends have mentioned him for somewhat more than 600 years. It is known that agents of
Darksmoke appear frequently all across the world of Zind and that his hand touches many an
intrigue of power and strife. Visitors to his perilous Isle are frequent, and their reasons for doing
so are widely varied. The most luckless of such visitors are the bold adventurers of Zind who
seek to uncover the mysteries of the Tunnels in the Mountain, under the great Dome. Most of
these never return; those who do are often worse for the experience. Now and then some
particularly enterprising group does survive, but even such as these continue to speak the name
of Darksmoke with trembling respect.
The location of the Isle of Darksmoke is no secret. It is on the charts and quite accessible, as
long as those who approach it do so without war-like intent. (The last such expedition, a small
warfleet of Captain-Lady Crystal's bent on taking the Island for their mistress, now sails the far
reaches of the Crushing Sea as a ghost fleet). The Island is surrounded by an encircling reef which
permits a vessel entry at only one place.
SPECIAL RULES AND STANDARDS
For the GM running the Isle of Darksmoke, there are some specialized rules for use by the
GM and the players. The special rules follow.
1) Rogues: Rogues may pick locks on doors, chests, etc. by making a saving roll on Dexterity at
the level of the lock itself. [NOTE: also applies to "Connoisseurs"] [NOTE 2: GM may or may not disclose the level of saving roll needed - you may just be instructed to "chuck dice"]
A rogue gets one try at making the Dexterity saving roll to pick a lock. If he fails, he fails for
good - he simply cannot pick that particular lock, although a different rogue could try and
succeed. Any lock a rogue picks once he can automatically pick thereafter.
7) Cold-Conking: Occasionally a party will feel it necessary to knock someone unconscious
without seriously harming them, such as when a party member goes berserk.
To make a knock-out, the person doing the bashing (with sword hilt or axe haft) must first
be in a position to do so - usually behind the person to be conked. Also, a very short character
shouldn't try to knock out a very tall one. The victim must make a Saving Roll on Constitution at
the attacker's level, i.e. a 3rd level fighter tries to knock out a panicking 2nd level rogue ... the
rogue must try for a 3rd level roll on CON. If the victim makes the saving roll, the cold-conk fails.
If the victim misses the roll, he or she is stunned and unconscious for 1d6 combat turns.
A rogue who is attempting to bash someone causes the victim to make the roll a one level
higher than the rogue's level (since rogues are adept at such things).
[There are, of course, more, but only these seemed appropriate to share]
AND SO WE BEGIN ...
For three weeks, you six adventurers have traveled by ship from Meltabar. Three long weeks. The passage, though cramped and uncomfortable (and the vessel itself of dubious seaworthiness) has cost 21 gold pieces for each member of your party (even the Fairy, if you can believe it). Plus 3 more for each horse. But at last, the ship has reached the solitary dock on the Isle of Darksmoke.
Darksmoke! The name has been careening around in your brains since you first heard the tales. Those who told them were drunk, or mad, or perhaps just superstitious. And, while none of them had been there, you figured that every rumor must hold some kernel of truth. Surely there was something of value on Darksmoke. Trade ships came and went, emissaries brought tribute and took gifts (and perhaps even orders), adventurers sought gold and glory - but that last type seldom, if ever, returned.
No matter. Pickings had been slim in Meltabar of late, and the competition for jobs had become fierce. A buyer's market does not a happy seller make. If there are riches to be had on Darksmoke, why should you not have them?
From the sea, you could see the strangely domed, low mountain. Darksmoke! At least this much of the legend was true. Perhaps, even more...
You collect your adventuring gear and disembark, as the crew begins offloading goods, perhaps for trade or sale. The dock, though large and sturdy, is obviously quite old. There are no buildings nearby. The rocky sand ahead gives way to overgrown sand reed, through which the well-travelled scar of a dirt road runs. It stretches before you, beckoning you further from the sea, and closer to the ever-present dome. A crude wooden sign nailed to a shoulder-high (for a man) board bears the messily painted words: "Village 6 Miles".
The late morning sun is very warm, but the misty sea breeze makes the temperature bearable, if somewhat sticky.
Not far away, there are two wagons, pulled by oxen. The drivers appear to be waiting for passengers, and one looks inquiringly at you. He is a brown skinned, lanky man, wearing light, comfortable-looking clothes and a broad-brimmed hat of woven fronds. The other driver, an elderly fat man in a light robe, begins chattering back and forth with the boatsmen in a language you've not heard before.