Thursday 10 March 2016

Hells Plague Lands 1

I had been wanting to do this and this dude beat me to it cold

Plague based apocalypse is something I like allot (Dragon did a good article on this 70-120 ish). I read a UK children's book about kid finding remains of plague abandoned village in forest. I guess here is lots of great UK kids horror fiction drawing on history and supernatural. Many often not much happens but suspense is built well with a supernatural pow at the end before normalcy is returned and kids holiday is over.

So idea of post plague apocalypse buried among woods has been in my campaign as the bone forest for a while, A whole country wiped out by plague then rapidly grown over by the forest (yes elves did it). Now full of haunted houses, graves, monster trees, ogres, and notably the bone elves and the bone goblins. They don't fit into either bright or dark elves and those elves are not even sure if bone elves exist. One party met underland elves that seemed related to the bone elves. It's still a mystery.

I have several posts in the wings for a break - something on witches and something on horrible new elves. d100 magic animals I might have to restart to be more like my d100 petty undead. Some more gothic NPC types like my hermits. I'm also trying to kill some of my old projects sitting in my draft box like mutant class with mutations arranged in levels and other half of my robot spells.

Currently I'm working on a new collab project with Alasdair Cunningham - a literary/art inspired hell pointcrawl sandbox setting/adventure. Which could be run so randomly you could play it again and again, possibly solo and on the fly with equally unsure as to outcome experience for the DM. Possibly a huge project. In some ways like my Dungeon Zones.

So anyway Plague Lands is a terrain type for hells base on the above painting and medieval art subject. It is of course panel painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted c. 1562 probably best fantasy artist ever. It is a constant parade of death and horror.

Encounters, Wonders and Hazards tables for each terrain will provide events and a kind of portrait of the lands character. The hell is a pocket dimension unrelated to other hells, it's overlords unrelated to outside entities. The world is a series of lands destroyed by apocalypse and trapped in eternal torment.

Devils serve the authority of hell and belong to strict types and hierarchies. They don't have to like job but they act with certainty that they act with righteousness. Their victims deserve torment. Demons are more individuals, acting as bandits, criminals, exiles, freaks, mercenaries and freelance sadists. Devils will claim authority of heaven to torment, Demons you just don't know, they don't need a reason to be jerks.

I will probably stat up a generic devil and demon that can be of any HD and can be reskinned for every type of hell. It is important to not this spiralling pit hell is not connected to or part of the outer plains and entities with same names can exist in outer plains. The devils and demons here are independent and even in denial of outer world. Thy are prisoners also and only special cases or missions are sent out and they generally don't go far. A few generic beasts like cats, dogs and horses will be handy with custom hell type features to create local types.

The people in hell are mostly evil or at least did evil things. Even those trapped here have been led into wickedness such as cowardice, fighting over scraps of food, killing others to get to safetey and other damning actions. They either join the legions of dead or become demons or devils or are reborn as human or worse. You don't need to help the damned but making their lot worse might just earn your place with them. If rescued they generally go own way or worse hang around and demonstrate greed, cruelty, betrayal, lust etc.

In the plague lands there are undead aplenty but many demons have undead forms and may look skeletal. They may also have wings, scorpion tails and tools or hats that give them away. Many undead are after all have a form of demon or devil as the motivating force and is also why making undead lets evil into the world.

The plague lands are more home to undead than standard demons or devils, although mindless skeletons may be directed by skeletal devils. In some ways death is more neutral than evil but in Hell the gloves are off for mortals. Plague lands are just not wastelands of death. The breakdown of order from plague and death means without workers there is famine, with finite resources comes war.

Each Type of Hell will have four kinds of events

Dressings are mostly visual props and colour
Wonders are spectacles and mysteries to amaze
Hazards are non combat obstacles and difficulties
Encounters with mostly hostile beings with potential for combat

d100 Hell Plague Lands Dressings
01 A great pit of animal bones
02 A great pit of human bones
03 A great pit of animal rotting bodies
04 A great pit of human rotting bodies
05 Mounds of animal bones
06 Mounds of  human bones
07 Mounds of animal rotting corpses
08 Mounds of human rotting corpses
09 Pile of human skulls
10 Crucified skeletons and rotting corpses

11 Heaped up bonfire
12 Pit of burning corpses

13 Mound of ash with burned human remains
14 Eternal burning buildings or whole village or farm
15 Distant water body with burning hulks and shipwrecks
16 Burning distant towers
17 Quadrant of sky filled with smoke
18 Distant fire just over horizon making the sky glow red
19 Clouds of ash possibly followed by black rain
20 Cinders and sparks drift in breeze
21 Pond or river with floating corpses
22 Great cracks in the earth leaking stinking vapours
23 Yellow cloud of stinking vapour
24 Grey fog clouds roll across land
25 Marshy boggy soil with bits of semi visible rotting corpses
26 Burned tree stumps of former forest
27 Lone bare tree with broken limbs 1in6 with corpse
28 Body of water with great demon fish gobbling corpses peacefully
29 Plain of open graves some with bundled bodies
30 Eroded cliffs, hills and gullies
31 Sounds of screaming and begging in distance
32 Sounds of moaning and wailing in distance
33 Sounds of battle can be heard in distance
34 Sounds of funeral bells in distance
35 Sounds of funeral chant
36 Sounds of galloping horses or waggons
37 Sounds of distant explosions
38 Sounds blazing fire
39 Sounds of buzzing insects, almost to loud to speak over
40 Drums and trumpets of a military or funeral band heard
41 Barrels and chests of copper coins discarded by someone on run
42 Piles of broken an rusty weapons
43 A single coffin 1in6 open and body laying near by
44 Pile of coffins in a disorganised heap
45 Bodies strapped to waggon wheels on tall poles 
46 Gibbets or cages suspended from poles with corpses 1in6 chance of living prisoner
47 Staked corpses rotting on impaling poles
48 Gallows with 1in6 of having corpses
49 Assemblage of torture apparatus 1in6 with a corpse
50 Shrine or altar to a saint or religion of any possible alignment
51 Pits of maggots an huge worms gnawing on corpses
52 Swarms of flies or locusts darken sky
53 Stray skinless dogs fighting over a dying person
54 Waggon drawn by undead oxen or horses laden with corpses or bones
55 Burning horses or cattle or pigs screaming and running in terror
56 Stray scrawny dogs digging up a grave
57 Crows or ravens picking eyes from skulls
58 Undead vultures follow travellers from affar
59 Undead dogs follow from a distance 
60 Raven follows repeating a phraze or a name
61 Trenches with sharpened spikes and dead soldiers
62 Broken fortifications made from waggons, barrels and junk
63 Crumbling wall with battlements
64 Remains of siege weapons
65 Remains of a battlefield with corpses and weapons scattered
66 Executioners block
67 Crumbling tower, possible with dead trees and dirt on top
68 Dungeon door in a clip or mound of rocks
69 Crumbling remains of ill kept graveyard
70 Old tomb, crypt or mausoleum
71 Fresh corpse of rich person grasping at some petty treasure
72 Table of well dressed persons fighting over scraps at a feast table
73 Several village idiots fighting over something useless
74 Gamblers hurrying to finish game when they know doom is coming
75 Armed nobleman demands travellers assist and guard him
76 Drunken mercenaries looting corpses and laughing
77 Fleeing common serfs carrying children and meager possessions
78 Mad dwarf jester wants to tell jokes and make merry
79 Group of priests and soldiers burning a witch
80 Men hiding in hole or under broken waggon in terror
81 Skeleton fishing 
82 Skeleton dragging a corpse
83 Skeleton slitting wounded or plague carriers throat
84 Naked dead fresh corpse headless or back stabbed
85 Skeletons gathering skulls in baskets like farmers picking fruit
86 Skeletons chasing a crying woman
87 Skeleton executing man with axe, greatsword or scythe
88 Skeleton drowning a corpse
89 Skeleton pulling corpse from water filled pit with hooked pole arm
90 Skeleton dangling screaming man from cliff or tower
91 Man trying to offer undead money
92 Person struggling being groped by undead
93 Undead reaches from pit and drags someone down
94 Robed undead flagellants marching and chanting
95 Robed undead sitting on pole or dead tree preying
96 Undead busy robbing graves
97 Palenquin with undead nobility or clergy with lesser undead bearers
98 Undead cultists engaged in sacrifice
99 Skeletal devil with scythe driving undead horses on funeral wagon
100 Undead dancing in celebration with bone instrument band

d100 Hell Plague Lands Wonders
 A marching army of skeletons in the distance
02 A skeletal army battling losing human mercenaries in trenches
03 A skeleton army burning a village and rounding up prisoners
04 A giant coffin erupts from earth and skeleton troops march out
05 Skeleton cavalry chasing screaming humans
06 A procession of undead horse carts and ox wagons full of coffins and bones
07 A skeletal bishop calling skeletons to arise from earth and form ranks
08 Skeletons tormenting a king or bishop or rich merchants
09 Skeletons at a feast table devouring bound humans
10 A carnival of undead merrily dancing, drinking blood and singing horribly

11 A great bone juggernaut led by skeletons to a siege
12 A filthy 
weeping giant sitting while skeletons begin to hack him up
13 A field of humans buried up to necks while skeletal reapers harvest them
14 Skeletons splashing about and frolicking in a pool of blood
15 A distant blazing town, the fire forms a great laughing flaming devil 
16 A great seige with skeletons and bone siege engines attack a juman castle
17 A huge pit with diseased bandaged humans trying to climb over each other to escape
18 A military field hospital where inept skeleton doctors torment plague patients
19 Plague doctors with long beaked masks and hoods marching
20 A great hill of ruined trees with wailing humans trapped inside
21 A giant skeleton eating smaller fleeing skeletons
22 A force of skeletons with prisoners hurling them off bridge into flaming pit
23 A black ever burning castle
24 Skeletons riding broomsticks fly over head cackling and leaving foul odour
25 Hoard of undead trying to climb up a tree with a crying person on highest branch
26 A great pit of idiotic human headed maggots crying, being tormented by skeletons
27 A giant skull, inside is a tavern with drunken mercenaries served by skeletons
28 A great skeletal orgy 
29 A skeletal angel silently flies overhead looking down on travellers
30 Burning skeletal cavalry pursuing lone person
31 Skinless pack of dogs chasing a skeleton
32 A huge siege tower of woven bones being dragged by skeletons
33 A huge rotting giant being hacked up and parts loaded into carts by skeletons
34 A dragon flies in distance pausing to burn a building
35 A great living hellmouth guarded be demons releasing fresh humans into hell 
36 A ruined cathedral holding a mass for hundreds of preying skeletons
37 A forest of hundreds of gibbets or cages on poles with corpses and wailing near dead
38 A forest of impaled rotting corpses 1in6 are writhing undead
39 A forest of corpses tied to wheels on top of poles
40 A forest of gallows some with fresh twitching corpses
41 A living hellmouth in hill with skeletons throwing people inside mouth
42 A ruined castle of charred skulls
43 A bridge built of skeletons holding each other into structure like ants
44 A black tower with no doors where skeletons hurl screaming humans to death
45 A ruined temple with intact altar, could be of any possible alignment
46 A giant skeleton reaching inside buildings then eating handfuls of screaming humans
47 Skeletons army flailing skin off hundreds of victims and nailing hides to wall
48 A great dead tree with dozens of nooses or gibbets with corpses being picked by crows 
49 A giant corpse being picked by hundreds of crows
50 Open air court where devils serve as jury and guards to skeletal judge over humans
51 Skeletons playing ball with severed complaining head with screaming human fans
52 A great dead tree with cage door over stuffed with human prisoners
53 Devils rounding up outlaw demons in iron chains
54 Skeletons building a huge ruined fort or church
55 Buildings of village growing from soil of ash and bone meal before your eyes
56 Tower with ladders to top, people or skeletons fighting to get up getting nowhere
57 Huge pits of lime with hundreds of cloth bound corpses being hurled in by skeletons
58 Skeleton farmers planting skulls in ground with undead plough ox or horse
59 Dozens of blind people being herded by skeletons with shepherd crooks into pits
60 Hundreds of lamenting chained humans being herded by skeleton soldiers
61 Giant devil dog eating skeletons while growling, skeletons trying to hide among rocks
62 Humans being made to toil building ruins by skeletons with whips
63 A massive volcano erupting in distance fills sky with red light and ash clouds
64 A great flaming canyon with skeletons driving people over cliff
65 A hermit writing graffiti prayers in own blood on ruined walls or cliffs
66 Giant bound in pit being tormented by devils
67 Huge pit of snapping toads or snakes with tormented humans trying to escape
68 Skeletons tending cauldrons boiling human prisoners
69 Skeletons operating many large torture apparatus with wailing prisoners
70 Hundreds of diseased beggars in bandages follow travellers
71 Giant flies or vultures carrying people to some fresh torment
72 Skeletons horde force feeding dozens of victims vile food or coins
73 Skeletons forcing sobbing rotting victims to see selves in ornate mirror
74 Skeleton gang groping and stripping and abusing dozens of prisoners
75 Skeletons building huge unstable scaffolding structure from bones and sinew
76 Open air schcool where humans with dunce hats are forced to toil for skeletal masters
77 Giant with plague sores and filthy bandages begs to die
78 Skeletal midwives aid victims male and female endlessly give birth to huge evil toads
79 A rich merchant shitting coins into bucket then being force fed same coins by skeletons
80 Crucifixion forest where skeletons torment wailing victims with pitchforks
81 A giant head in pit with skeletons hurling victims into mouth
82 Mummy driving chariot leading skeleton troops to battlefield
83 Skeletons hurling victims into pit of excrement then forcing them under with poles
84 Skeleton wagon train taking cargo of human headed worms in cages to market
85 A skeletal market selling slaves, torture tools, weapons, blasphemous books and more
86 Skeletons climbing up bone scaffolding to empty funeral urns on huge ash mountain
87 Ancient armies of skeletal hoplites batting over worm eaten female corpse in coffin
88 Human mercenaries digging trenches, planting sharpened stakes and tending wounded
89 Village of skeletons living as normal humans but humans used as farm animals
90 A tattered windmill with skeletons jumping in to make bone meal for ogre miller 
91 Skeletal fishermen with rods and nets dredging rancid lake of corpses
92 Temple where skeletal bishop revives the dead who then beg for death
93 Skeleton winery where grape press crushes humans and skeletons drink blood wine
94 Huge wall made from rotting human corpses and garbage
95 A great lake of vomit and bile with skeletons forcing humans to eat it
96 Great smog clouds form skeletal or devilish faces
97 Colossus made of hundreds of corpses marches over wastes followed by necromancers 
98 A spectacular court of regal skeletons and soldiers listening to humans begging
99 A spectacular fountain of blood with beautiful sculptures of skeletons and nudes
100 Bone ziggurat with skeleton priests who tear out peoples hearts and throw bodies down stairs

Hazards an Encounters and a bit about skeletal and undead looking devils and demons


  1. Evocative. I'm going to say it again but using just a few of your tables it would be possible to keep a campaign going for years in a host of game systems.

    1. cheers - you are one of my three fave table makers and im looking fwd to getting up to your book shortly on my must read list

      Our hell project is a pretty big one...

  2. This could be a whole lot of fun. Would be interesting to run a party of paladin-types through here to see how long they survive. Like a holy Sherman's March to the Sea.

    1. Yes do they try to save the damned or people of the village or do they accept it is too late for them? would be a fun con game with lots of jerk paladins debating ethics - the GM doesnt have to le on if it works


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