One question I’m frequently asked concerns how characters discover traditions and learn spells. So, let’s dive in and look. Read more
A rail caravan from Devil’s Breach to Darksville has failed to show up for three days running, and no one in Devil’s Breach can figure out why. It’s up to the player characters to investigate what’s keeping the trains from running on time as they ride what may well be the last train to Darksville.
Last Train to Darksville is an adventure designed for master characters. Lower-level characters had best not apply.
Devil’s Breach is a dark little town on the edge of an empty land, somewhere on the continent of Rûl. The people there don’t have much to offer the world other than the geographic location of their home, which makes it an excellent stopping point for travelers making their way to far-flung locations. Wagon trains used to stop at the town for supplies on their way in and out of the wastes, and the new railroad that goes through town follows the long tradition. Devil’s Breach is a dark little town on the edge of an empty land, somewhere on the continent of Rûl. The people there don’t have much to offer the world other than the geographic location of their home, which makes it an excellent stopping point for travelers making their way to far-flung locations. Wagon trains used to stop at the town for supplies on their way in and out of the wastes, and the new railroad that goes through town follows the long tradition.
While the wagon train managed to slip through the wastes without drawing too much attention, the loud steam engines belching soot into the sky are another matter entirely and have recently roused a dragon from his slumber in the nearby badlands. The monster makes regular ventures from his lair to prey upon the iron machine, its precious cargo, and its ill-fated passengers. So far, the dragon has taken out two trains along this desolate stretch of track. The Darksville Railway only has three trains in total. The third leaves from Devil’s Breach tomorrow at dawn.
Members of the Esoteric Order of Kyth need capable individuals to transport a relic sacred to their order, the Puzzle Box of Saint Barbatross, along Umbra’s Path to Oblivion’s Edge, an ancient monastery standing on the edge of reality. The relic plays a key part in completing a decade-long ritual performed to drive back the darkness of the Void from where it intrudes into the mortal world.
Adventurers undertaking the expedition face terrible danger as they pick their way across a blighted countryside and contend with the minions of a fragmented demon. If they reach their destination, they have a chance to aid the monks in their efforts to combat the spreading shadow, and if they succeed, they will strike a terrific blow against the doom blighting the world. If they fail, the end of all things will truly begin.
Oblivion’s Edge is an adventure for master characters willing to brave the horrors of a porous and treacherous reality. Although it works well at any point in a group’s master story, it works best as the capstone for your campaign. This adventure was one of the stretch goals for Rob Schwalb’s very metal and fantastic Kickstarter for Shadow of the Demon Lord, cum superiorum privilego veniaque.
In the dimly remembered past, a ruthless group of pirates commanded a length of river for decades. They became so good at fleecing travelers and at being a law unto themselves that they eventually raised a castle on an island at the center of the river and ruled over the surrounding lands as tyrants. Over the generations, their descendants forgot their origins and came to believe they were worthy souls, born of noble blood.
The last of them was Baron Afton Stocesa. He, more than any other before him, was convinced that his aristocratic blood warranted the status and comforts his family had bestowed on him. Afton cared little for anything except hunting. He enjoyed the chase and the kill, and he especially loved witnessing the terror his quarry felt as it desperately tried to escape.
One autumn day Afton and his hounds were on the hunt when a group of brigands ambushed him. They hoped to capture him and hold him for ransom. Afton slew most of his attackers and sent the survivors fleeing, but not before he received a mortal wound. His companions returned him to his castle, where he died within a day.
Afton inspired fear in his subjects but had little talent for instilling loyalty. So after his death, his retainers stripped the castle of everything they could carry and then abandoned the place, leaving the corpse in the bed and only a few of the baron’s most savage hounds
to guard the makeshift grave.
Afton’s frustration over his abbreviated hunt and anger at his servants stayed with him even in death, preventing his spirit from moving on. The baron remains in the world as a phantom, and a particularly nasty one at that. For decades, the spirit has plagued the river and now ranges farther and farther from the castle to antagonize the travelers on the river and the people living nearby.
The Huntsman’s Isle is a challenging adventure for novice characters. The characters complete the mission when they destroy the baron.
In a few weeks, I’m releasing Shadow of the Demon Lord’s first setting expansion: Tombs of the Desolation. To give you the vapors and make you pine for mint juleps, you’ll find tasty, tantalizing morsels here over the the weeks leading up to its release.
The last chapter of the Demon Lord Companion scoops up some additional tools for Game Masters to use when creating adventures in their games, offering new mechanics for magical places, trinkets, new relics, and a small selection of creatures. For this last preview, here a couple of goodies from the book.
In Gateway, the oldest city in the Northern Reach, a dead pirate’s vengeful curse has seized a poor neighborhood in a fearful grip. The people of Bilgewater have been beset by many ills, including mysterious thefts and unexplained occurrences. The recent destruction of a school by a rogue wave, including the loss of its students and teacher, was a devastating blow to the neighborhood. Worse still, folk have been torn apart in broad daylight before screaming witnesses, their bodies devoured in bloody chunks by invisible demons.
Beware the Tides of Karshoon is an adventure for expert characters called on to deal with the curse. The characters must uncover the source of the troubles plaguing Gateway and put a stop to them—but all is not as it seems…
If you know me at all, you know I have a great love of metal. Even as a guy wandering around, blinking in wonder at the horrors of being 40+, I refuse to give up my music and I will listen to growls, screeches, blistering guitars, and thundering drums until Father Death comes to fetch my soul to the Underworld. A few weeks ago, I assembled a list of inspirational books, and had a few requests for my musical inspirations. I am, if anything, accommodating. The following list is metal only—death, doom, black, technical, heavy, whatever. I enjoy other music too (really, I do), but the focus here is on the hard stuff and stuff that influences me when thinking about the game. I’m only highlighting one album per artist, so if you like, explore the music. And, for Pete’s sake, support the artists.
Marrow of the Spirit by Agalloch
Tales from the Thousand Lakes by Amorphis
Slaughter the Soul by At the Gates
Bathory by Bathory
The Satanist by Behemoth
Heavy Breathing by Black Breath
Heaven & Hell by Black Sabbath
Grand Morbid Funeral by Bloodbath
Sect(s) 777 by Blut Aus Nord
Those Once Loyal by Bolt Thrower
Gin by Cobalt
Ylem by Dark Fortress
A Blaze in the Northern Sky by Darkthrone
Sunbather by Deafheaven
Human by Death
One by Demiricous
Tyranny of Souls by Bruce Dickinson
Monotheist by Celtic Frost
Last in Line by Dio
Indecent & Obscene by Dismember
Black Masses by Electric Wizard
Mafia by Fleshgod Apocalypse
Carving Out the Eyes of God by Goatwhore
Colored Sand by Gorguts
The Word, The Flesh, The Devil by In Solitude
The Infernal Storm by Incantation
Majesty and Decay by Immolation
The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden
Das Seelenbrechen by Isahn
Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest
Them by King Diamond
Violent Revolution by Kreator
Southern Storm by Krisiun
The Ruiner by Made out of Babies
Wormwood by Marduk
Blood Mountain by Mastodon
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas by Mayhem
Don’t Break the Oath by Mercyful Fate
Obzen by Meshuggah
Spine of God by Monster Magnet
Blessed are the Sick by Morbid Angel
Buried in Time by Mortuary Drap
The Light at the End of the World by My Dying Bride
Monumentomb by Nominon
Cause of Death by Obituary
Cosmogenesis by Obscura
Watershed by Opeth
The Plague Within by Paradise Lost
Rage for Order by Queensrÿche
Theogonia by Rotting Christ
Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite by The Ruins of Beverast
Irreversible Decay by Saille
Passage by Samael
Einsamkeit by Semen Datura
Chaos A.D. by Sepultura
Skandinavisk Misantropi by Skitliv
South of Heaven by Slayer
Epitome of Torture by Sodom
Dark Ages by Soulfly
Monoliths & Dimensions by Sun 0)))
Apocryphon by the Sword
Blissfucker by Trap Them
Likferd by Windir
Celestial Lineage by Wolves in the Throne Rom
The Beast by Vader
A Fragile Kin by Vallenfyre
The Wild Hunt by Watain
Witchkrieg by Witchery
The Great Cessation by Yob