The Origins Gæa

Gæa is our groups home grown world. The name is hardly original, but it works. Gæa started out as a continent which one of our players (Carol) drew up when our RQ group got back together after a long role playing drought. Using Coral Draw, she took the outline of Germany, reversed the image and transposed mountains, rivers, borders, country names and the like onto it. It was a bit of a rush job, but Carol is very talented, so even her rush job looked great and had a nice fantasy feel to it.

Some of the country names were straight out of novels (Drasnia – The Belgeraid, by David Eddings) and real life places. (Faerie Glen is actually a suburb of Pretoria, South Africa – really cool name for a fantasy place as well). It was a lovely setting and we quickly notched up numerous adventures there. As time went by, we replaced plagiarized names – Drasnia became Dalatia etc. Many unnamed features were fleshed out, the huge mountain range in the North became the Northice Mountains and we even found a place far to the south to situate Elderad, The Lost City (A RuneQuest module).

I am never content with what is available. I needed a place for my favorite creatures, Lizard Men. So some more continents and islands sprung up, Araktor, Vasniss, The Misty Isles, The Tinn Isles, Illium Cromia to mention but a few.

Gæa retained its name but we needed to name the world, so we ended up with a continent of Gaia on the world of Gæa. Maps were drawn and re drawn (by hand, with MS Paint, Campaign Cartographer (free demo) and eventually Autorealm, a shareware package which is written in Delphi).

The original Coral Draw map of Gaia was lost during a PC rebuild, but we still have the paper printout. Histories were written, gods dreamed up and this process still continues.

As existing material is rehashed to make sure its fits and new material is written, it will be published here. The maps will be redone again before they are published as some basic rules of geography and cartography were broken and need to be remedied. (E.G.: There are way too many jungle areas at latitudes which should not warrant that sort of vegetation.)

As always, criticisms and comments are welcome. Even if you pick up something like a name or concept which appears to be the work of someone else, let us know. We have read so many books and played so many games that sometimes ideas and names which we consider original are far from it! As such, we would hate to be thought of as pinching other peoples ideas and/or work.

This article was last updated XIX August MMII

Maps from the Archives

Not THE original map, more like a version 1.1

Bazzats Battle Brew

Also encountered as Bazzats Best Bezzle, Bazzats Bilious Beer, Bazzats Berserk Barrel, and Bazzats Bitter Bevvy

POT 2d12 (per barrel)

History: Bazzat was an infamous orcish brew master. It is reasonable common knowledge that orcish beer can make guzzlers do some strange things. Most orcish beer differs greatly from barrel to barrel, depending what ingredients were available to the brewer at the time of brewing. Bazzat was an orc of exceptional intelligence. While experimenting on new brews, he stumbled across a recipe, which contained certain herbs known to have magical properties, which was to become his masterpiece. A beer that would make the drinker invincible. He committed this recipe to memory.

Unfortunately, orcish brewing techniques being what they are, the recipe was not always duplicated exactly, resulting in some interesting side effects. The net results was that Bazzat was beaten to death by an enraged chieftain, after his army of veterans was forced to join battle sick from one of Bazzats kegs and were subsequently slaughtered. The recipe supposedly dies with him although his apprentices often tired to duplicate it. Kegs of Bazzats original brews are still to be found and drunk, if one dares.

Description: Imbibers of Bazzats Battle Brew must resist their CON vs. the brews POT, per mug quaffed. (The brew being active). A successful resist will allow the drinker to roll on the success table below. A critical success (01) will result in the imbiber going berserk. (The original brew resulted in an immediate berserk rage, but the process was never duplicated). A failure to resist will allow imbiber to roll on the failure table below. A critical fumble (00) will result in the imbiber dropping dead on the spot. (Subject to standard divine intervention rules, nyar nyar snigger.)

Note: Imbibers should resist once for every mug quaffed and roll on one of the below tables for every mug, bar for critical successes or fumbles. The brew takes up to an hour before any effects are felt.

Success Table

Critical (01)Berserk rage. *
02 – 10Attack fury, +10 to primary weapon attack %, -5 to primary weapon/shield parry %. Effect lasts for 1 hour.
11 – 18Thick skin, +3 to AP in all areas, -2 to MR. Effect lasts for 1 hour.
19 – 27Feel great but still drunk, +5 to global HP, -5% to dodge. HP bonus stays, Effect to dodge wears off in 2 hours.
28 – 40Alert, +10 to current fatigue. Will sleep for 5 hours once effects wear off (1d4 hours).
41 – 55Projectile vomit, enemies within melee range must dodge or take 1d4 damage from acid vomit. Unable to use weapons while vomiting. Will vomit 1d6 times.
56 – 70Clever tongue, able to throw the best insults and demoralise opponents. (Use current fast talk +35%) Demoralised foes will only attack once every second round – effects not cumulative. A fumbled roll will demoralise the imbibers comrades. Brews effects last 1 hour.
71 – 85Animal instincts, weapon attacks are forgotten. Attack with fists, feet, head and claws and teeth. All natural attacks at +20%. No shield or weapon parry. Effects last 1 hour.
86 – 90Fast man, brew lends super speed. Moves at twice normal MR and attacks at twice normal attack %. Damage is halved. (Divide damage by 2). Effects last ½ hour.
91 – 95Blind rage, lash out blindly at friend or foe. Double his primary weapon attack and double normal damage.
96 – 99Strong man, become super strong. All damage is doubled, but actions slowed. Attack, move and parry at ½ normal rate.
00Uncontrollable drunkenness, this confused state will have the imbiber stumbling around in battle. All rolls to be made at ¼ normal %. A hit, which draws blood, will shake the imbiber from his stupor. Re roll on table if this happens. 04 – 02 Sleepy, must resist CON vs. Brews POT every turn or fall into a deep sleep for 1d6 hours.

Failure Table

Fumble (00)Instant death.
99 – 80Too sick to fight, all rolls at ½ normal %.
79 – 70Really sick, vomit over self. Take 1d4 points damage per area vomited on (missile hit location table), vomit 1d6 times.
69 – 60Dodgy aphrodisiac, really attracted to nearest orc (or human if drinker is orc).
59 – 45Poisoned, lose 1d8 global hit points.
44-35Feet will not respond to commands, imbiber can only move by shuffling around on knees and must fight from that position (use standard rules for fighting from the ground).
34 – 25Unbearably weak, loose 1d12 fatigue points and STR halved. Check STR limits to weapon use. Effect wears off in 1 hour.
24 – 20Vision blurred, cannot see to attack or parry properly. All attack/parry rolls at – 10 and 50% chance of attacking comrades.
19 – 1519 – 15 Clumsy, continually drop items of equipment/trip over own feet.
14 – 10Battle master, imbiber thinks he/she is the greatest warrior ever. Will insult comrades and try to direct the battle. Good chance of being stuck in the back by an offended comrade.
09 – 05Endo parasite, something was living in the mug you just quaffed. This parasite will slowly whittle away at its victims health, eating him from inside. Loose 2 global HP immediately and 1 per day thereafter. Also loose 1 point of CON per week or part thereof until victim dies or parasite removed.
04 – 02Sleepy, must resist CON vs. Brews POT every turn or fall into a deep sleep for 1d6 hours.
01Battle lust, all attacks at +20 no parry allowed. Drinker will be stuck in a battle rage and will attack anything moving, friend or foe until effect wears off (1 hour) or he is subdued and calmed down by his comrades (Rolled in snow, water thrown over him etc).

GMs Note: Please modify this table as it suits you. It is designed specifically for orc and human drinkers, so feel free to make changes for other species.

Guarantee: Bazzats Battle Brew is guaranteed to make the imbiber drunk and result in a raging hangover.

Caution: Beware of imitations, such and Danukz Deadly Dram and Gurdoks Grotesque Grog. Be specifically weary of Nimgos Nefarious Nectar – even cave trolls have thought twice before guzzling this baleful booze. Quaffers of Bazzats beer should also be aware of the healing properties of Brodoc Brothers Bottled Black Bull ™.

This article was originally published on XII August XXII

Razor Shell(Ensis arcuatus incognitus)

Not quite your regular tasty shellfish.

These are not your regular razor shells that are often fished for in the sea bed and make a tasty shellfish treat, but a rather more sinister variety.

In the desolate wastes of a dried up sea bed lurk the razor shells. These are close descendants of the more mundane razor shells found under the seas sands, but have been forced to evolve as their habitat dried up.

The shells still eke out an existence beneath the harsh wastelands of the dry seabed and have managed to do so via some remarkable adaptations. Their original cylindrical, cut throat razor, shaped bodies have grown longer. The bottom most section which is deepest in the sand sports long barbs, which help anchor it in place, but still allow it to burrow forward (downwards). A denser and harder shell protects the organism from heat and water loss, allowing it to go for long periods without water, while also providing internal pockets wherein moisture can be stored in times of rain.

Its most remarkable and devious adaptation however is the means whereby the shell is able to sustain itself. Where its ancestor filtered the water for tiny organisms, no such contemporary nourishment now exists. Instead the shell has had to become a devious ambush predator. The upward facing portion of its body has developed a barbed harpoon tongue of razor sharp hard mother of pearl. This harpoon is held inside the shell waiting for pressure from above, the Razor Shell having positioned its top end just below the ground level. When sufficient pressure is applied, coiled muscles shoot the harpoon upward. This action is similar to that employed in the nematocyst of the hydra polyp or jellyfishes stingers.

The razor is not as subtle in subduing its prey as a jellyfish however as it has no poison. Instead it relies on the devastating damage its harpoon does as it pierces its preys flesh. This is where the Razors length and anchoring barbs, as well as its extremely strong muscles, play their role.

The part of the shells body that is attached to the harpoon can stretch to double its normal length. With the harpoon anchored in place, its prey is unable to escape and eventually succumbs to exhaustion, blood loss and shock. This does not mean that the Razor Shell waits for its prey to die; indeed thin feeding tubes extend through a small hollow at the tip of the harpoon and start to dissolve and devour the preys living flesh moments after the harpoon strikes.

While Razor Shells can grow up to a meter long and project harpoons that could be lethal to larger animals, their primary prey is smaller animals. However they do not appear to be able to distinguish potential preys SIZ and often cause a nuisance as they lacerate feet or damage horses inner hooves and cause lameness. Most shells encountered are a more manageable size of roughly thirty centimetres, although there are always travellers’ tales of monstrously sized shells that have skewered horses from beneath the ground.

Razor Shell

STR2D6(6D6)*Move 1
CON2D6 7-10Hit Points 10
SIZ1D6 + 2 5-6Fatigue 19
POW1D6 + 48-9
Hit LocationMelee (D20)Missile (D20)Points
Lower Shell01-0501-026/4
Upper Shell06-1803-196/4
Harpoon Tongue19-20206/5
WeaponSRAttack %Damage
Harpoon175+101D4 + 2 (1D4)#

Note: The shell lies in wait just below ground level and will shoot its harpoon directly upwards as soon as it perceives pressure from above. As such it has a very high probability to hit. Due to its position in the ground it will only be able to strike the lower limbs of large prey, whereas small prey can be struck in most logical hit locations.

# Damage is always impale damage. Treat as a regular impale but also note an additional 1D4 damage per round that the harpoon remains in the wound where the Razor Shell still lives and starts digesting its prey.

* The higher STR score is to represent the shell anchoring itself in the ground should its victim try to match STR on the resistance table in order to pull the shell from its burrow.

Skills: Hide 100%
Armour: 6 point shell armour.

Salgrin’s Transmuting Snakes

Very powerful artifacts which can be interesting and deadly.
Very rare.
POT 14, Charges 1D4

History: Salgrin was a powerful alchemist whose enchanted artefacts became legendary in his own time. Perhaps some of the most bizarre items he created were his transmuting snakes. Due to their dangerous nature, not many were demanded and all record of how many he actually created has long since been lost in the mists of time.

Description: The snakes appear as a highly ornate golden arm torque, made of two snakes loosely intertwined so that a head appears at each end. The torque is about 15 centimetres in length and gives the appearance of the snakes coiling around the upper arm. The snakes are relatively lose, allowing the torque to be bent to fit anything form a SIZ 5 to a SIZ 18 arm. When properly fitted, the fangs of each head will push against the skin near the elbow and shoulder. The eyes in each head can be of ruby, emerald or sapphire – they will not be mixed, i.e. if one head has ruby eyes, so will the other. (See below). Snakes with other kind of gems as eyes have been rumoured to exist, but whether these rumours are true and what effect the snake has is unknown.

Usage: The snakes are a combination of the fine craft, alchemy and powerful enchantments. Normally they appear as an item of exquisite jewellery, but when worn, they quickly change. To be activated, the torque must be worn in such a manner that most of its inner side is in contact with skin, the fangs must specifically be touching flesh. Wearing the torque over armour or in such a manner that it is not tight against the flesh will not activate it

When donned, the torque will remain inactive for up to an hour, after which the snakes will appear to come alive. The first sign of their activation will be that they constrict the arm coiling so tight that the wearer will be unable to remove them. Once this has occurred, causing the veins to rise under the skin, needles protrude from the fangs, easily penetrating the skin and injecting the alchemist’s toxin into the bloodstream. Once this process complete, the needles will retract and the snakes will loosen their grip, returning to their inanimate state.

The toxin has a POT of 14 and must be resisted like a poison. Should the wearer fail his or her resistance roll, the toxin will poison them as per the Rune Quest poison rules. (I.E. 14 points of damage to global hit points). Should the character successfully resist the following effects will occur, depending on what type of snake “bit” them.

Ruby Eyes: STR enhanced by 1D3. Side Effect: As the alchemists brew burns its way through their veins, the character convulses and is overtaken by an unbearable pain and nausea. They may pass out and or vomit as the potent brew warps their muscles. Resist vs. POT again and if roll fails, loose 1 CON point. The character will also have his/her fatigue points reduced to 1 and must rest up o recover from the ordeal. (Remember to adjust stats to reflect new STR). This process is instantaneous.

Emerald Eyes: Shapechange into a Lizard Man. (Use Shapechange Sorcery Rules). Side Effect: As the alchemists brew burns its way through their veins, the character convulses and is overtaken by an unbearable pain and nausea. They may pass out and or vomit as the potent brew warps their very being and scales push through their skin. Resist vs. POT again and if roll fails, loose 1 CON point. The character will also have his/her fatigue points reduced to 1 and must rest up o recover from the ordeal. (Remember to adjust stats to reflect new STR). this process may take a few hours to run its course. Note: One of the strongest rumours evidencing other types of snake revolves around one with jade eyes that turned someone into a dragon or ogre, depending on who tells the story.

Sapphire Eyes: Stone skin. Increase characters hit points in each hit location by 1 point. Global hit points do not change. The characters skin becomes leathery to form a type of natural armour. This process takes up to a week to complete. Side Effects: As the effect of this snake is more gradual, most of the severe side effects associated with the other two snakes are avoided. Characters may feel nausea and temporarily loose up to 1D6 Hit Points. Once the process is complete however, the characters Fatigue pints will be reduced by 1D4 to reflect the extra weight they now carry around. Any tight fitting clothes and armour would also have to be replaced or adjusted.

Note: Other snakes may well exist, their effects beneficial or deadly, on GM’s discretion. No one has been able to replicate Salgrin’s potent brews although many have tried, with sometimes disastrous results. Thus, when the charges on a snake are finished, they are finished for good. What is left is a nice piece of ornamental jewellers which occasionally “bites” the wearer. A critical success Devise roll will allow an appraiser to access the cavity in which the potions were kept.

This article was first published on XIII July MMII

The Mystery Bowls of Azun ka Nut

Religious talismans from the cult of the vulture god – Azun ka Nut.

Rarity: Very rare.

History: The mystery bowls of Azun ka Nut were used for religious ceremonies. Azun is a benevolent vulture god, but also a bit of a deceiver. All is never what it seams with Azun.

Description: These two ancient bowls are ceramic, set into a beaten tin outer shell. The lips of each bowl are purely of tin and thicker on the inside, so as to hold the ceramic portion in place. Each lip is inlaid with copper hieroglyphs on the inside and outside. The ceramic of one bowl is stained red with ochre while the other is stained blue with lapis lazuli. They are both 7 centimetres in height, the tin lip being 2 centimetres wide and have a top diameter of 15 centimetres. (Base diameter is 7 centimetres).

The bowls are of ancient origin and, for their age, are well crafted. What is more interesting is what they do. When placed outdoors over night, they will gradually fill with liquid until the whole ceramic portion is filled to the tin hieroglyph inlaid lip. This process will take the whole night.

The red bowl looks to be filled with blood, the blue bowl with water. The nasty bit is that these are illusions, and the reverse is true. Drinkers from the red bowl will only taste cool refreshing water, while the liquid in the blue bowl, when tasted, will be warm blood, which is quite refreshing to certain creatures, but not most adventurers choice of drink.

This article was originally published on XIII August MMII