Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Hidden Ziggurat Dažbog

Strangely Carved Obelisks(illustrative)
Legends abound of people discovering the Dazbog while exploring the labyrinth of caves under the craggy Beskdy mountains.  While the details vary, all accounts invariably describe the subjects entering a modestly sized cave, the sides covered with primitive hieroglyphs.  The center of the cave is dominated by a square of stone tiles with  four strange obelisks at the corners.  In the center of the tiled floor is a square hole, through which a man could be lowered by a rope, leading down deeper into the ground.

The legends describe the explorers descending into the hole and finding themselves at the top of a vast Ziggurat.  There they encounter inhuman wonders and otherworldly horrors, though the nature of these varies with each account.

Regardless of whether the legends are true or not, the area surrounding Dazbog is inhospitable in it's own right.  The hill people are of a degenerate type and dislike strangers, though they are happy enough to help them part with their coin, whether by selling them supplies or serving as porters. Additionally, the Beskdy mountains and the caves below are full of wild animals and have a reputation for occasionally producing unwholesome creatures, this generally being attributed to Dazbog's influence by the superstitious natives.

The most recent account of Dazbog, is by last century's well-known monk/historian Bartholam.  He records a quest of the Knight Gniewosz of Klostyn who rode out in the Spring with 100 men and the renowned blacksmith Zyndram to find and seal-off the entrance to the unholy Ziggurat with iron bands as thick as a man's wrist.  He returned in mid-Autumn with most of his men, reporting a successful quest.  He also described how him and his men searched the maze of caves for other entrances to Dazbog to seal, but to no avail.  In fact, coming to a point just below the entrance cave, they found no sign of the Ziggurat, leading Gniewosz to conclude that Dazbog exists not in this world but in Hell itself, and the entrance is some sort of unholy gateway.

Monday 29 October 2012

Roving Cultist Thugs

3d4 Thugs
1d2 priests
1d10 zombies(when appropriate)

Thugs are fanatical and will fight-on despite serious injury as long as they are in the presence of a Priest.  In this case, they get a +5 to all Cool/Stun checks.

  • Pistol 8
  • Brawling 4
  • Dodge 4
  • Awareness/Notice 4
  • Disguise 3
  • Occult Knowledge 3
  • German 5
  • Slightly archaic Germanic villager clothes
  • M1879 Reichsrevolver or Mauser 1910(25ACP)
  • 1d10 archaic coins
  • crimson rider tattoo


  • Pistol 3
  • Occult Knowledge 7
  • Cultist Rituals 7 
  • German 6
  • Control Zombies 8(roll of 20 on 1d10+EMP+8 controls 1d10 zombies)
  • Hooded robe with crimson tassel.
  • Silver Crimson Rider necklace
  • M1879 Reichsrevolver or Mauser 1910(25ACP)
  • 5d10 archaic coins
  • crimson rider tattoo 

Monday 22 October 2012

The Order of Four and Eight

Among the Dominican Monks of Sandomierz, is a secret order of 12 monks.  This secret society was formed after the killing of Sadok and the 48 martyrs by the Mongols in 1260.  They are sworn to protect the monastery and it's interests.  Whenever a member of the order dies, a new one is enlisted from within the monks of the Monastery.

It is rumored that the Order still exists to this day, and that they know the location of the Coronam Mortis, since they were sworn by Jan Brozek himself to keep it safe.

The Four

  • Garotte 9
  • Dodge 4
  • Hide/Evade 8
  • Awareness/Notice 7
  • Stealth 8
  • Tracking 5
  • Disguise 5
  • Habit
  • Prayer Beads Garotte(1d6+1+BODY dmg bonus choking per round until dead)
  • Pocket Bible
  • Chain Mail Vest(SP 10 on torso)
  • Nagant M1895 revolver w/ 7 holy silver bullets

The Eight

  • Pistol 8
  • Dodge 4
  • Awareness/Notice 4
  • Stealth 4
  • Intimidate 8
  • Endurance 5
  • Swimming 4
  • Brawling 3
  • Habit
  • Prayer Beads
  • Pocket Bible
  • Chain Mail Vest(SP 10 on torso)
  • Nagant M1895 revolver w/ 7 holy silver bullets

Sunday 21 October 2012

The Twin Crowns of the Shrine of Blessed Sadok

Coronam Vitae
Local historians may be familiar with the rather curious 17th Century account by the well-known Roman Catholic Cleric-Scientist Jan Brozek, during his visit to the Dominican Monastery in the town of Sandomierz, just prior to the Fire of 1603.  In it, he mentions a pair of ancient crowns, different from one another as night and day, yet mystically related.


Coronam Mortis
The first crown, which Brozek refers to as Coronam Vitae, is similar in description to the Berliner Goldhut.  Near it's base, Brozek describes what appears to be a Norse Leben-Rune.

The second crown, referred to as Coronam Mortis, is a simple iron-band-type crown, rust-eaten and bent, similar in style to the Deal Warrior Crown.  On it's base is apparently a Norse Toten-Rune.

Legend holds that they were possessed by a cult of pre-Druidic sorcerers, who used them to attain eternal, yet infernal, life.  The details of the repellant ritual are forgotten among civilized men, but with it's completion, the sorcerer, wearing the Gold crown, would force his mind into the body of a younger person, wearing the Iron crown.  The sorcerers old body would then be killed, along with the young victim's mind residing in it. In this way, the sorcerers would leap from body to body, generation after generation.  Legends even detail sorcerers using this method to inhabit the bodies of animals and there are even hints to more exotic types of victims.


Brozek relates the history of the crowns as the Dominicans reported to him.  The Order had originally acquired the crowns, for a very reasonable price, from a Jewish moneylender in the 14th century.  The moneylender had himself only recently collected them from the estate of the unfortunate, and rather disreputable Duke Frederick of the House of Metzengerstein, after the abrupt passing of the Duke and all his known kin.

It is unclear, how the crowns came into the Duke's possession, but judging by his families evil reputation for dabbling(and more than dabbling) in the occult, it is not surprising that such an artifact would end up in his collection.  In fact, before their untimely demise, the House of Metzengerstein had quite an extravagant reputation for queerness, and the local peasantry would whisper that they were to blame for the occasional disappearance of their children.

Given the evil reputation of the crowns and their former owner, the Dominicans were happy to acquire the artifacts, thus ridding the world of their unholy influence.  They first attempted to melt them down, but they were protected by powerful pagan magicks.  As such, the Order was content to shut them away safely in the monastery's vaults.

Jan's Dillema

The crowns remained safely forgotten until the early 17th century, when a self-proclaimed heir to House Metzengerstein appeared with his servants at the doors of the monastery, requesting to buy-back the crowns in an attempt to repurchase his family's lost heirlooms.  His appeals were rejected by the stalwart monks, but he later returned with a Royal Directive to allow him to repurchase the crowns for a fair price.

Not wanting to release this ancient evil again upon the world, the monks called for advice from the renowned Jan Brozek from the Krakow Academy.  Jan relates his plan, that the a replica quickly be commissioned of the Coronam Mortis. The replica, as well as the original Coronam Vitae, which could not be so easily duplicated, were sold to the heir of Metzengerstein.  The original Coronam Mortis, was secreted away to a more secure location, in case the forgery should be discovered and a royal order be made to search the monastery.  Brozek doesn't recount where the crown was moved to, but he assures the reader that:

"I was accompanied by a dozen stout-hearted monks on the most harrowing journey of my life.  It took all of our faith and courage to survive the ordeal, though ten of our number truly did not survive in body.  The thing is surely safe now, beyond the realm of mortal man, and their petty, sinful aspirations.  Indeed, it's new protectors know no fear of man, and bow to no Human liege."

However scholars suspect that this record is a screen to set searchers for the crown on the wrong track.  Rather, they suspect that the crown is still hidden in the vicinity of the Old Town of Sandomierz. This is supported by the records showing that Brozek could only have been in Sandomierz for a few days, and by his party having been waylaid and searched in vain by the Metzengersteiners upon leaving the town, by his own account.

Monday 15 October 2012

A DM's Dilemma

So in the recent Polish Resistance Session 7 I encountered the following dilemma:

The players had been arrested and brought to the police station.  Andre knocked out the police inspector, then set-upon a convoluted plan for trying to shift the blame to the innkeeper who had originally had them arrested.  My assumption was that in the time it would take them to secure the innkeeper, the unconscious inspector would already be found and they players would be met by pistol-wheeling policemen upon their return to the station.

Not liking the plan, but wanting to enable the players, I hung the issue on a LUCK roll which the players succeeded in making.

Now, in retrospect, I think the Andre's player may have wanted the gun-battle with the police.  There wasn't much action during Session 7, a point about which he had complained about earlier in the session.  So maybe I should have just had the players walk in-on a station full of pissed-off police officers!

Anyway, I'm bringing-up this episode because it gave me insight into my DMing style.  On one hand I think that one of the DM's roles is to enable the players to make and implement awesome plans, and not just shoot-down their ideas as "implausible".  On the other hand, a DM can fall into the trap where they twist reality to help players succeed in everything they attempt.  The game ultimately suffers from this type of DMing since players lose the sense of danger and immersion/agency.

So in the example above, my compromise was to put it down to a LUCK roll.  Another alternative would have been to just ask the player about the weaknesses in his plan.  He would then have to either argue why his plan WAS plausible, or formulate a better one.

In any case I don't think it would be fair to just let him go ahead with the unrealistic plan and then have it fail by DM fiat.  Players rely on the DM to help them understand what is possible in the game-world so I think the DM has a responsibility to give that information even when not explicitly asked.  Also, these discussions about plausibility help to make the Campaign World a real living setting for the players.

Captain Dmitri Cherevichenko

The son of Siberian peasants, Dmitri rose in the ranks due to his loyalty to the cause, his natural toughness and his innate cunning.  As a Squad Commander he led his troops quite successfully, always ambushing, outmaneuvering, our outwitting the enemy.  He was promoted to Platoon Commander, but was less successful in directing larger numbers of troop.  With the invasion of Poland, he was reassigned to be the Liaison of Foreign Partisans in the Sandomierz area.

His current duties are to be in touch with Polish Resistance members in the area, coordinating their activities with Russian troops and even assigning them specific missions when the need arises.

Friday 12 October 2012

Madame Ling's House of 1000 Shadows

Madame Ling runs an Opium den out of a shambling campus of interconnected, run-down buildings/apartments, buried in a local slum.  Her customers include, soldiers, civilians, and even public figures intent on keeping their patronage secret.

Special Services

Madame ling is a mysterious personality with much insight into human nature.  In addition to her normal services, she is willing to offer special concoctions to customers with the need and means to pay for them.

For the type of concoction, use these tables, based on noisms' wonderful tables here, but modified for a modern CP2020 setting.


Roll a d8 to determine the poppy's color: 

1 - Blue
2 - Red
3 - Purple
4 - Yellow
5 - Brown
6 - Green
7 - Black
8 - White


Roll a d4 to determine the type of drug which the poppy can be used to produce:

1 - The poppy is a Depressant, i.e. one which diminishes sensation.
2 - The poppy is a Stimulant, i.e. one which increases alertness or awareness.
3 - The poppy is a Hallucinogen, i.e. one which causes hallucinations.
4 - The poppy is a Nootropic, i.e. one which enhances the functioning of the brain.

Means of Ingestion

Roll a d6 to determine the primary means of ingestion:

1 - The poppy is crushed and then made into tea.
2 - The poppy is crushed and then smoked in a pipe.
3 - The poppy is crumbled, wrapped in paper, and smoked like a cigarette.
4 - The poppy is crushed and snorted.
5 - The poppy is crushed, mixed with the blood of an animal, made into tablets, and swallowed.
6 - The poppy is crushed, mixed with the blood of an animal, then injected with a syringe.


Roll a d4 to determine the specific effects:

For Depressants:

1 - The poppy deadens fear. The character gains immunity to all forms of fear, spook and similar for 1d12 hours.
2 - The poppy deadens pain. The character need not make stun checks when injured.  They must still make checks for death for mortal wounds.
3 - The poppy deadens the mind, and prevents the effects of illusions and other mind-affecting magic for 1d12 hours.
4 -  The poppy lowers the blood flow and slows the spread of poison. Equivalent to a slow poison spell. Lasts for 1d12 hours.

For Stimulants:

1 - The poppy prevents sleep. The character can stay awake for one night and the next day without suffering ill-effects, but must make a resist poison check of difficulty 20 the following night or collapse from exhaustion for 12 hours.
2 - The poppy stimulates the senses. The character can make a skill check for awareness/notice etc. at a +5 for d12 hours.
3 - The poppy boosts energy. The character gains +2 to body for d6 hours.
4 - The poppy boosts the body's natural healing. Wounds are healed at and additional 1 point/day for the next 4 days.

For Hallucinogens: 
1 - The smoker's consciousness leaves his body, and his spirit may travel through the spirit world to spy on goings-on elsewhere. Equivalent to the wizard spell clairvoyance.
2 - The smoker's consciousness leaves his body and he gains the ability to communicate with the Elephant God. He may ask three questions of the deity, which it is said will tell the truth five times out of ten, tell a lie four times out of ten, and refuse to answer once. Once all three questions have been asked the smoker enters a fugue state for the remaining duration.
3 - The smoker forgets the last 1d10 hours completely
4 - The smoker trains with the originator of an obscure martial art in the spirit realm.  Now has a skill level of 8 in it.

For Nootropics:

1 - The poppy boosts memory. All knowledge-based skill-levels are doubled for one day. 
2 - The poppy boosts human perception checks by +5 for d6 hours.
3 - The poppy boosts judgement. The character has a 25% of automatically detecting lies for d6 hours.
4 - The poppy improves concentration. Dodge/Evade checks are +5 for next d12 hours.


Addictiveness is a function of potency. Roll a d20 to determine potency. There is a flat 20% of addiction on first taking a dose of a poppy, + potency score. (Thus, there is a 34% chance of becoming addicted to a poppies with a potency of 14.) On a successful Resist Poison of difficulty 20, this is halved. The second time a dose of the poppy is taken 10% is added to the chance of addiction, and for every additional dose thereafter. 

An addicted character must have a dose of the poppy every day from that point on, or suffer -1 to all stats that day, and -1 cumulatively for each day thereafter. If any stat reaches 0, the character dies. After 2d6 days, if the character is still alive, the addiction breaks.


Cost per dosage is generally 10 units of currency per point of potency.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Inspector Konrad Czacki

A skilled police detective, Inspector Czacki is a veritable bloodhound of the Sandomierz Police Force.  He appears in civilian clothes except at official police functions.  His skills are well reputed among the police force and he has access to considerable resources, though he prefers to use his own intelligence over brute force.


  • Find clue 10
  • Detection/Deduction 10
  • Locate Suspect 10
  • Interrogation 9
  • Follow Unnoticed 8
  • Streetwise 7
  • Pistol 6
  • Fencing 8
  • Boxing 6
  • Dodge 7
  • Hide/Evade 6
Usual Equipment:
  • Trenchcoat
  • VIS Pistol(45 ACP 3d6+2)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Police Badge 
Sometimes the inspector's vanity gets the better of him.  On a natural 1 or 2 on a Deduction check, the inspector will make a deduction that is patently, even absurdly false.  He will be unpersuadable that he made a mistake unless presented with direct evidence to the contrary.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Old Town Resistance

Lubomir and his gang have been around.  They resisted the Nazi occupiers quite effectively, but they had already honed their skills previously on outsiders poking their nose into the business of the Old Town.

At a spry 41 years of age, he is the group's leader.  He is a master planner and strategist.  He always carries around the MP40 he took off the body of a Nazi officer, concealing it under his jacket.
  • SMG 6
  • Melee 7
  • Dodge 6
  • Carpentry 8
Usual Equipment:
  • Highly Polished Oak Table leg(Club 1d6)
  • MP 40(32 bullets)
  • Heavy Leather Jacket(SP 4)

He is the youngest member of the gang, at 36 years of age.  He is a master boxer and wrestler, but he is especially deadly with his brass knuckles.
  • Boxing 9
  • Wrestling 8
  • Dodge 8
Usual Equipment:
  • Brass Knuckles(1d6+2)

A hunting enthusiast, he is the oldest member of the group at the age of 56.  He is a crack-shot with his crossbow and deadly with his hunting knife, besides.
  • Archery 9
  • Melee 8
  • Dodge 5
  • Tracking 8
  • Taxidermy 6
Usual Equipment:
  • Crossbow(12 bolts 3d6)
  • Hunting Knife(1d6)
  • Heavy Leather Jacket(SP 4)

The group may drum-up a mob of 2d6 other Old Towners for their activities.  Their standard stats are:

Standard Mob Member
  • Melee 5
  • Dodge 3
Usual Equipment:
  • Torch
  • Axe(2d6+3)
  • OR Sledgehammer(4d6)
  • OR Club(1d6)
  • OR Pitchfork(1d6)

    Saturday 6 October 2012

    Polish Resistance: Session 7

    Session 7 was a very investigative session, not much combat.  Mostly the players interacted with various factions in the city and started to learn about some of the politics and intrigue going on.  Shmengy had his own business to attend to(his player had twins yesterday!) so it was just Andre and Leora, making friends and enemies in the city of Sandomierz. 

    Going into the session I had no idea which way it would go.  Would the party start doing missions for the Russian Army?  Would they keep working independently, capturing more war equipment to sell to the Russians?  Would they look into the strange happenings in the Old Town? Would they get caught-up in some randomly-generated hook?

    Session Summary

    Session 7 started where Session 6 left off in the afternoon of August 31, 1944: with the party talking to Chief Quartermaster Yuri Leonov, who had just given them a civilian car as a reward for the captured armor they brought-in.  They planned to meet with Field Marshal Vladimir Yurlovich in the morning, so they decided to seek out an inn in the Old Town near where they would need to meet the Field Marshal.  They also wanted to check at the local telegram office in the morning to see if Andre's cousin might have managed to get a message through to there.

    In the inn, they quickly found out that the Old Towners were wary of outsiders(but willing to take their money).  They managed to learn that outsiders occasionally disappear in the Old Town.

    This gave them cold feet about the inn and they decided to seek out Waldemar Lubomir in the newer part of town.  Waldemar was heartbroken to hear that his fiance was dead, but he did his best to support his fellow resistance members.  He put them up for the night and gave them information:
    • The party should tell someone in the Russian High Command about what they know about the zombie origins(he could recommend them to the Russian Liaison for Partisan Activities)
    • Just before the Russians conquered the city, a group of German troops was escorting a couple strange robed figures around the Old Town.  The party's description of a robed figure creating the zombies reminded him of this.

    In the morning, the party returned to the Inn for breakfast and information.  They learned that the Old Towners have strange burial traditions and don't like outsiders asking about their basements.  The tavern wench Ludmilla agreed to show them her basement(with it's special burial crypt) for money during her afternoon break.

    They then went to the Town Hall to meet the Russian commander.  They were shown to a waiting room full of Russian officers and Polish officials waiting for appointments with the Field Marshall.  After two hours of waiting and being unable to get the Aide to admit them(though he assured them they need only wait a little longer) the party left to meet Ludmilla.  She:
    • showed them the stone coffin-like crypt in her basement
    • told them about the local customs for burial and All-Hallows Eve
    • confided to them that the spirits are real and must be appeased and that no Old Towner will go into their basement at night
    • advised them not to investigate further as other outsiders like them have disappeared after investigating too much about the spirits
    • admitted that the Nazis had brought robed men who wanted to investigate people's basements, but that the Old Towners had given them the run-around, showing them only basements where the spirits were less active.
    The party searched for funeral notices at the local churches and found two.  They decided to break into those house's basements tonight.

    They returned to the inn to rest, but the owner told them he didn't have rooms for curious outsiders anymore.  Andre refused to leave, so the police were summoned and arrested them.  A sergeant warned the party that they mustn't incite the Old Towners and that if he caught them doing so again he would throw them in Jail.  He wasn't an Old-Towner himself, but apparently the police have a de facto agreement with the Old Towners that outsiders are not permitted to investigate their rituals.  He also said that if the Russian Command gave them a letter giving them permission to go-on with their investigations, then the police would have no choice but to respect it.

    Andre was getting fed-up with all the different factions in the city giving him the run-around, and decided to try and solve things with his fists.  He knocked-out the sergeant, returned to the Inn in uniform, claiming to have been deputized, arrested the Innkeeper, brought him back to the interrogation room, knocked him out too, and then dressed him in the Sergeant's uniform!  The party then returned to the Inn, entering without anyone seeing, and slept undisturbed until nightfall.

    When the party left at nightfall, the innkeeper was being tended on a couch, apparently by his wife.  He was surprised to see them there and cursed them as they were leaving.

    The party broke into one of the basements of the houses for which a death notice was posted.  They spent an uneventful night there, finding nothing unusual in the basement or with the recently deceased body.  The session ended there, on the morning of Sept 1, 1944.

    They planned that next session they will spend another night in another basement, in the hope of finding a more interesting one.  But first they wanted to try speaking to the Russian Field Marshall.

    Wednesday 3 October 2012

    CP2020 Rat Swarm

    I recently watched a couple of Jeff Rients' videos about his "Broodmother Skyfortress" adventure he is developing.  He makes some interesting comments about the Giants not working according to standard monster mechanics.  The justification he gives for this is that the Giants are just too big for your characters' puny weapons to effect them in most cases.  This intrigued me.  For one, it makes the giants much scarier for the players, and it also sounds interesting in that it will force players to think out-of-the-box in dealing with them.  Anyway, here's my own humble monster along those lines.

    The Rat Swarm

    The characters see more and more rats and finally find themselves in the midst of an obscenely large lair of malvolent rats.  The rats will eventually get up the confidence to swarm the party.  They will generally try to surround and cut-off the party.  They can run as fast as a person, but will not follow the party outside of their territory.

    Swarm Advancement

    Each round the swarm advances.  Assuming the rats are only coming from one direction, they will begin with the first rank of characters and will not advance to the inner ranks until they have killed-off the first rank.  The steps of advancement are:
    1. Legs Covered
    2. Torso Covered
    3. Arms Covered
    4. Head Covered
     A character can spend their turn knocking the swarm off a particular limb of their own or of a party member.

    Swarm Damage

    If the swarm covers a body area, they will have the following effect:
    • Bare skin or thin cloth: 1d6 bite damage to limb.
    • Soft armor(leather, cloth, kevlar): 1d6 bite damage to limb.  Any damage blocked by armor SP is permanently subtracted from armor's SP due to chewing through the armor.
    • Hard Armor(metal, stone): no effect.

    Scaring the Swarm

    The party can keep the swarm from advancing during a particular round by scaring them.  They will have to make a cool check which, if they fail, means that they do not advance on their next turn.  The check is rolled as a 5+1d10.  For example:
    • character shoots 1 or 2 bullets into the swarm.  Cool check requires 5 or higher.
    • character shoots full-auto into the swarm.  Cool check requires 10 or higher.
    • character throws grenade into swarm.  Cool check requires 15 or higher.
    If the swarm critically misses this check(roll of natural 1) they will withdraw, shadowing the party and waiting for their chance to renew their attack.

    Swarm Treasure

    If the party does manage to defeat the swarm, either by coming in full-metal armor(by coming with a flamethrower and lots of fuel, etc.) they will find the metal/stone possessions of 2d20 other victims.  They will also find the source of the freakish rat-swarm(pick one):
    • Radioactive waste
    • Dimentional portal
    • Ancient pagan altar
    • The Broodmother
    • Strange glowing metiorite
    • Remains of genetic lab
    • ...