This particular game is a published mega-dungeon called “Rappan Athuk” by Frog God Games, I’ve placed the setting in Nirmathas. I will make changes to the published material as I see fit. I will toughen up, or lessen, the encounters based on the party strengths and weaknesses. I don’t realistically expect to get through the entire dungeon and surrounding area but we can see how a few levels turn out. This is not a fair dungeon so expect the worse.
Some believe the world changed in 4606 with the death of Aroden, others know there is evil lurking below the surface seeking vengeance, and the god’s death was a precursor to the dawn of a resurrection. Far below the surface in Nirmathas, a long forgotten legend lays waiting exploration.
Many hundreds of years ago, the forces of good allied to destroy the main Temple of Orcus in the ancient, and now lost, city of Tsar. With their temple in ruins, the surviving high priests of this accursed demongod fled the city with an army of enemies on their trail—an army of heroic fighters, clerics and paladins—led by Zelkor, a powerful wizard. The exact fate of these evil priests was then unknown, for not only did the remnants of the followers of Orcus disappear from all human reckoning, but so did the army of light that followed after them disappear as well. Some said that in the eternal scales the loss of so many good men was a fair price to pay to rid the world of so much evil.
The evil cult, however, had not been destroyed. The surviving priests and their followers instead settled on a hill near the Forest of Hope, a sylvan woodland near the Coast Road. There they found a vast underground complex of caverns and mazes, carving out a volcanic intrusion beneath the hill. There, the priests of Orcus found the perfect lair to continue their vile rituals. For many years, they carried on in secret, hidden from the light and from the knowledge of men.
Many years later, their underground delving completed, the evil priests erected a hideous mausoleum and a sunken graveyard atop the hill. It is believed that these graves are in fact the final resting place of the pursuing army of heroes that had been destroyed to a man. Soon after the mausoleum was erected the peaceful creatures of the wood began to disappear. Though many rangers and druids investigated these happenings, the cause of the creatures’ disappearance was not immediately determined. Some years later a powerful group of adventurers, led by Bofred, a high priest of Thyr, investigated the evil happenings and found the sunken graveyard leading to a labyrinthine complex. Bofred and his companions found great hordes of evil creatures in the complex. Though some of his companions returned from their expedition, telling tales of fantastic treasure and ferocious monsters, Bofred was never seen again—lost in the catacombs beneath the cursed mausoleum. For the last one hundred years, ranks of adventurers have ventured to the newfound dungeon. Many fell prey to bandits and monsters in the surrounding wilderness. Rumors suggest that of those who survived to reach the mausoleum and sunken graveyard, most were slain by guardians of green stone or perished on the very first level. Those rare few who return from deeper treks speak of horrible undead and creatures that cannot be slain. All who have explored Rappan Athuk offer this one universal piece of advice: “Don’t go down the Well.”
As reminder to those players that have been here since the very beginning and as notice to the newbies, this published dungeon is wicked hard and simply not fair at times. There are times when running is the only real option for survival. Additionally, there are many exceptionally powerful items within the dungeon and other areas, that have devastating effects if touched by the wrong person, as the DM I feel compelled to forewarn everyone.
1. This should be a reasonably fast paced game, so it’s important to check in and post. I would like at least 2 posts per day, per player more posting is welcomed. I tend to post quite a bit. It will not be unusual to get 40-60, (sometimes more) in a day (especially if there is battle going on.). If this seems daunting and you can't keep up, please tell me now because this may not be the game for you.
2. If you have not checked in, I will DMPC your character to move the story forward. This is especially true given the pace that I like to keep with the game. If you can't post for awhile, let me know, so I can DMPC you. I understand that real life happens but communication is important. If we begin battle check in more often, we don’t wait long. I like players to take their own actions, and if possible, I will skip over the player and permit them to post when they get on, or if need be I will DMPC the action. Again, we don’t wait long.
3. GM rolls initiative.
4. I will link a map at the beginning of each round and often an updated map towards the middle of the round. Please tell me the map coordinates for your movement. Otherwise, you run the risk of me moving you and if there is a chance of an AoO, I will take it. Example: Move E17>E16>E15>F14.
5. I, generally, post mid-round updates and end of round summaries.
6. I will fill in some gaps in the story or action when need be. These tend to be for flow of the game.
7. This particular game is a published dungeon called “Rappan Athuk” by Fog God Games, I will make changes to the published material as I see fit. I will toughen up, or lessen, the encounters based on the party strengths and weaknesses.
8. Combat- This particular game is combat heavy and the roleplay is really intra-party. This is different from most games that I run, which I tend to have heavy roleplay and character development. I wanted to run a meat grinder for a change of pace.
9. I don't mind if you post out of turn, especially if you won't be online. I will do my best to fit the action in, or I will fill the gap in a semi-logical manner. With a large group waiting to take an action can bog down the game.
10. I do not use delay/ready actions to switch/swap initiative orders, as that becomes problematic for me, the DM, to track on the boards. I do permit you to hold your action especially if you are waiting some tactical action.
12. Even though there will be a lot of combat, try to be descriptive in your text rather than posting a bunch of dice rolls. A list of dice rolls is mundane and boring to read. Your only limitation is your imagination.
13. Put your melee and range attack and damage dice on your character sheet, this makes it easy to cut and paste into the game thread, if I need to DMPC the character. It is beneficial, if you post 1-3 typical groupings of actions, that your character would normally do, such as: which buff, which attack, power attack and so forth. This is in case it becomes necessary to DMPC your character.
14. Put your vital stats: AC, saves, Init., Perception, Current HP/Total HP, CMB/CMD next to your avatar. This, generally, makes my job easier.
15. Although the players can't use 3PP material in character creation, the GM does not have that same restriction. Be forewarned that I, liberally, use monsters from the Tome of Horrors Complete and my favorite 3PP publishers, Rite Publishing and Raging Swan Publishing. Expect some unusual monster templates.
15. I've been playing for years, mostly GMing, I know the rules but I do make mistakes especially with all the Pathfinder's tweaks. I follow the written rules but I'm not hardcore especially if it moves the story along. If I make an error made please point it out and provide a book and page reference or link to the PFSRD.
16. Have Fun!
1. I do not retcon actions. This game is designed to move quickly. It potentially becomes problematic for me to redo actions and consequences. Sorry.
2. A natural "1" on an attack roll is a possible fumble. The player makes a DC10 DEX check, including any ability modifier in the roll. A number below a 10 means you have either dropped your melee weapon or snapped your bow/crossbow string or your thrown weapon was dropped.
3. Roll HPs each level, reroll 1’s.
4. I will occasionally dip into the sanity/madness rules if the situation arises.
5. Just because an item appears in a book, or there is a rule set for an item, does not make it automatically available in the game setting.
I reserve the right to add or modify House rules.
Settlement and Establishments:
Fentonville - Small Town, Population 727, base value 3,000*, Purchase limit 14,000*. *Although it's a small town on the coast road, with access to Lake Encarthan. It hosts numerous caravans and has increase wealth due to it's strategic position. It sits on some rolling hills near the border of Lastwall. This is DM created settlement. **There is a probability that speciality items can be acquired or made with ample notice.
There are several areas outside of the Dungeon.
From West to East in direction and location.
1. The Forest of Hope - Thick and overgrown, the Forest of Hope provides shelter from winter storms that batter the coast. Named for a local princess by her father, this forest is better known by its original name: the Forest of Horrors. Game and fresh water are plentiful. The patrols avoid the forest unless they are in pursuit of some villain.
2. The Dragonmarsh Lowlands - This area, dotted with copses of trees, serves as a perfect hiding place for the bandits and outlaws that prey on the unwary. The drier portion of the lowlands contains numerous limestone caves and box canyons. Bandits frequently use these natural terrain features to set traps for the unwary. Several marshy areas exist in the lowlands. One of these (known as the “Troll Fens”) is well known and avoided by those not seeking death. It is said that the quicksand and venomous snakes make this area unsafe even without the monsters. Thick clouds of mosquitoes make any travel here unpleasant at best.
3. The Lake/Sea Coast Road- This area serves as the primary trade route for commerce along the coast. Coastal patrols from nearby cities attempt to keep bandits and other malicious creatures clear of the road by day; by night is a different matter. Certainly the safest of the wilderness areas, this road is still plagued with bandits and other robber creatures, eager to prey on the daring merchants traveling the road.
4. The Foothills -In these hills, which lie east of the Coast Road, can be found the dungeon of Rappan Athuk. The hills provide a buffer zone between the Beach and the Forest of Hope. The hills themselves are sparsely forested and rather idyllic in appearance. Berries grow in abundance and cool, clear streams flow to the sea. Some of the most beautiful sunsets can be seen from their tops. Their beauty, of course, is but a mask hiding the foul corruption that lies beneath their verdant slopes, as the Foothills also house some of the nastiest denizens in any portion of the world. Only the very foolish or very brave reside here longer than absolutely necessary. Many small, natural caves and caverns can be found riddling the foothills, and quite a few of these have been used in the past or presently by outlaws, brigands, animals, and other fell creatures as lairs.
5. The beach - although the beach itself is safer than the hills, but is too removed from the road to be patrolled. Food supplies are abundant here, and the beach can be a great source of survival for the lost. This food supply also attracts others, however. Pirates frequent this beach, as the intervening wilderness prevents assault by soldiers from nearby cities. The waters contain shoals and reefs, as well as an abundance of sharks, which prevents most mariners from approaching the shores. Numerous ships have wrecked in the area, and treasure diving could be profitable for anyone brave enough to deal with the sharks.
You have also heard the following consensus, "Rappan Athuk? Bah! No one ever gets out of that place alive!"
You've heard that a powerful adventuring party called the Dancing Blades were slain in the dungeon. Their restless spirits now wander its halls, attacking anyone they come in contact with, with their phantom weapons.
Near the smithy you heard that deep within the hill lies a pool of lava guarded by demonic lizards. If one can defeat them.ure gold can be distilled from the liquid rock.
A patron at the sly wink tells you that a new from of troll, a "swimmer" was seen to aid goblin miners in a deep cavern complex.
You heard at broom maker tell that a benevolent old wizard lives near the temple of Orcus. He reportedly offers refuge to those who kill the servants of the evil one.
Her husband adds many back entrances to the most famous of dungeons are said to lie in the wilderness, but the hills are so riddled with caves that finding these entrances is all but impossible if one knows not where to look.
The lost army of Zeldor is still in thr Forest of Hope,somewhere, seeking to return.
Pirates sometimes hazard the reefs along the coast to land at secret inlets and bays and stash great treasure; woe betide the adventurer caught spying n them"
There is a monster immune to everything on the first level. It is amorphous, and smells terrible. A wise man flees from it.
Three old crones are said to live along the coast, and for a price of gold and blood, they can let you see into the past and future.
Some of the tunnels dug by giant rats lead to interesting places.
A wise man uses the rivers to travel in this place. They are dangerous though. Many men who did not know the correct paths have drowned.
From Tiny the Tinker
Aragnak, d'red dragon, that lives south of 'ere and off the coast. He hunts unsuspecting folks and steals their treasures
A brother of me buddy's cousin's sister-in law, is a guide and he sez that in the lush greenery of the foothills lies a large sunken
graveyard laid out in the shape of a cross, that's 'da main entrance."
He picks up his tankards and smiles, "Much 'preciated."
"Course now there are other ways in, if ye foll'r 'da goblins searching fer game. Seen them meself once when travelin' with a caravan, they forage and raid then go in their cave. The guards tracked 'em back ta a cave."
From Caravan Guards and Wagoners
As the great mage Speigle said, “Beware of purple worms.” A wise man heeds his advice.
Some of the tunnels dug by the giant rats of the complex lead to interesting places. Some lead nowhere.
Many a doom has befell the fella wearing heavy armor.
Some passages are so tight ye need to strip down to ye skivvies to get through.
One hot, sticky summer a score of years ago, a terrible beast came out of the wilderness and fell upon the surrounding lands, razing towns and ravaging farms. It killed many of the finest warriors and baffled the most potent wizardries before finally being slain by the adventurer Mailliw Catspar and his comrades. Triumphant, these brave souls tracked it back to the Dungeon of Graves—and were never seen again.
What Malcolm heard
- Zelkor, the good wizard of old, is now an evil lich living i the upper levels protecting the evil temple and descent into it.
- A great city of goblins lies deep in the complex, and they are followers of Orcus.
- There is an insane blackguard named Ian the All-Seeing who collects the eyes of all he meets. he is said to have thousands of eyeballs in his collection now. He can control them, make them move about, and see things for him.
What Sheyan has heard.
-A wise man uses the rivers to travel in the dungeon. They are dangerous, though. Many men who did not know the correct path have drowned.
-"Rappan Athuk? Bah! No one ever gets out alive!"
-"The swamp is filled with horrors that rival that dungeon but watch your back with that cloister of the froggy god. Dat ain't right what happens in those cellars....heard it's a route to the Rappan Athuk, if you can make it that far."
What Grimm has heard
-A potent artifact called the Seal of Power was carried into the dungeon long ago by the mage-priest Donov. He hoped to use it to seal away the evil, restless spiritsof the dungeon.
-"Rappan Athuk" Bah! No one ever gets out of that place alive!
-Though some brigands attack caravans that pass through the area, others specialize in taking on adventurers exiting the dungeon and lairs, who are weakened but fat with loot.
-A shrine to a foul demon or god is said to lie beneath the hills; its corridors are a gauntlet of terror and gruesome death.
1. There is a vast underground cavern system populated by
hideous beasts under the Forest of Hope called “The
2. A druid is said to live within the Forest of Hope, and she is
hostile to any who invade its bowers uninvited.
3. The entrance to Hell lies deep in a maze complex. It can be
found only by swimming through a pool of water.
4. A powerful adventuring group called the Dancing Blades
were slain in the dungeon. Their restless spirits now wander
its halls, attacking anyone they come across with their
5. A great wizard tried to build a tomb in the wilderness,
but couldn’t manage the effort.
6. The great demon lord, Orcus resides deep within the dungeon.
7. Even greater teleportation magics have been known to fail it's user.
8. Some summoning/calling spells have unintended consequences.
This seems to come up frequently, so I'll post it here for reference.
Critical hits: Paizo narrowed the list of creatures that can not be hit with critical. I think the list of uncritical is pretty narrow now: The list is:
The list may be bigger but this comes to mind.
Basically anything that is made of all one contiguous material with no discernible different between part A and part B.
13 diamond chips worth 11 GP each
3 topaz @ 25 each
1 pearl @50 GP
two msw heavy crossbows (33 bolts)
10 serated daggers
1 +1 dagger
1 +1 falcion
7 msw falchions
Rappan Athuk Entrances:
Putting together facts and rumors have figured out a few methods into the dungeon proper:
- You learned there is a long tunnel form the cloister's but you did not find it's exact location.
- You've a goblin map, which is under the Wilderness Area Spoiler on the campaign tab, which you found at the goblin cave you cleared out. This is where Sheyan and Malcolm were rescued. This is consistent with one of the rumors you heard originally about the foothills are riddled with caves.
- You know there is a graveyard that contains the supposed main entrance (From Tiny the Tinker, Vilis and the farmers), along with the rat tunnels you've heard about from the farmer above and from a caravan guard under the rumors spoiler.
- From Turrand, the dwarf merchant. Mouth of Doom and that passage into the Dungeon of Graves. Its a huge, stone demon face, the visage of Orcus, carved into the hillside. Can't miss it!
Of course, there may be other entrances you could learn about back in Fentonville or while exploring.
Tunnels and Passages:
Types of Passageways
As an approximate characterization, passageways in the Cyclopean
Deeps are divided into 3 categories for the purposes of wandering monster checks and other events. These categories are: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Primary passages are normally 30 ft. wide and have ceilings about 20 ft. high (although the ceilings will appear lower due to the large number of stalactites).
Secondary passages are generally 20 ft. wide, and will have ceilings 1d10+4 ft. in height.
Tertiary passages are approximately 10 ft. in width and are 1d8+3 ft. high.