Medieval Evil Upheaval

Hey gamers, I want to talk to you a little bit about evil campaigns today.

Why? Well mainly because I went through a bit of a row with my gamers this weekend and I want you to be able to learn from my mistakes.

Campaigns with evil PCs can be fun, but they put a lot of extra weight onto the DM because my number one thing when it comes to my games is I make the world realistic. Not “there is no magic” realistic but “actions have consequences” realistic – and this is true of my good campaigns too. If you neglect the NPCs they aren’t going to help you. Fail to warn the peasants about the incoming orcs? Dead peasants. Steal from a crime boss, there’s going to be an assassin around one of the next corners, or maybe the next two if you upset him enough.

The same should be said of evil campaigns, sure you can push limits, but expect the limits to push back.

First, I recommend only trying this with a group of experienced role-players. It can be very difficult to correctly articulate the thoughts and feelings of people who would normally be considered criminally insane, and as such I think experience is important in this matter. Even most normal campaigns have a twinge of evil in them if you consider the morality of the adventurer profession.

Second, make sure you have an established reward/consequence system. I don’t mean “kill the thing get the other thing” I mean, if you raise a bunch of undead in a nearby cemetery and the town guard finds out, they’re probably going to try and stop you. They might even call in reinforcements in the form of a paladin or two.  This can be the bane of a “good” aligned group as well, especially one that happens to get a little over zealous going after corrupted officials or dispensing vigilante justice – local lords don’t take kindly to people upsetting the natural order of their serfdom. A dynamic and responsive world is the heart of table top RPGing. If you just wanted to kill one thing to get better loot, there’s dozens of videogames which are going to be a much better use of your time than sitting around the table with your friends.

If you’re planning on running these sorts of evil games, you need to decide on how you’re going to structure the story. Evil, for evil’s sake, is not a story and will get boring quickly. Look to the lawful evil communities which have become powerful antagonists for your do gooding heroes. The Drow Matriarchy, the Cheliaxians, The Great Efreeti society and the City of Brass, The Red Wizards of Thay – they may be evil, but they follow their own laws and woe to those who break them. This can actually be a perfect way to fit evil characters into a ‘do gooding’ campaign. Drow are constantly besieged by their enemies, other Drow included. The Red Wizards struggle to maintain their dominance and Devil’s are persnickety allies at best.

Then you need to decide how you want the game to progress. Are they evil overlords pulling all the strings? Are they lieutenants to something bigger, or are they dramatic personae who are the Byronic antiheros just looking for someone who understands their need for revenge and perverted justice?

All of this is stuff that needs to be worked out ahead of time otherwise its going to lead to headaches further down the line. Trust me.

There’s one last thing you need to be aware of in evil campaigns. Evil things can happen. Those distasteful things which are only allude to in anything rated PG-13. I usually run my games somewhere between PG-13 and R rated, unless there are extenuating circumstances or I’m building a scene. My non-fantasy genre games tend to run a little darker, especially the Call of the Cthulhu, but you need to decide for yourself where the limits of what you’re running are going to be. Pushing these limits can be fun, but you need to understand that some things will make people uncomfortable and that shouldn’t be your end goal. If it is, please just go back to being an internet troll. I recommend handling these sorts of scenarios like Hollywood. Where two people go into the bedroom, and then it cuts to the next morning, we all know what happened, but it can go unsaid. I find this the best way to handle the most distasteful acts.

Anyway thanks for letting me get that off my chest and goodluck if you ever try a similar endeavor.

As always,

Game on.

Monsters of Porphyra (DCC)

Chorion Hag by Jaraq Paul

Chorion hag: Init -3; Atk bite +5 melee (1d4 plus poison) or claw +7 melee (1d4); AC 19; HD 8d8+16; MV 10’; Act 3d20; SP infravision 60’, birth-clones, poison, spells; SV Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +8; AL C.

Corpulent creatures with undulous squirming forms, the vaguely female chorion hags hide in the bowels of the world, secretly amassing power and wealth. With their birth-cloned servitors they are able to insinuate themselves into the more civilized parts of the world while managing to keep their monstrous natures and aberrant schemes undetected. The hags themselves are hideous to behold, like something brought up from deep beneath the sea melted into the same loathsome creature as two or more demonic ogresses.

A chorion hag writhes with half-formed monstrosities within its dark corrupted womb. When the hag has consumed the tissue of a living creature (often through a bite attack), she can gestate a birth-clone of that being over a period of 1d3 to 1d5 weeks. Smaller creatures take less time to birth, and the largest creature a chorion hag can create in this way is roughly the size of a large human. The cloned creature possesses all the abilities and knowledge of the original creature at the time of consumption but is fervently devoted to the chorion hag in all ways.

A chorion hag may never have more than one birth-clone of a particular creature at one time, and the birth-clones may never be more than 8 miles from their chorion hag mother.  If taken farther than this, the creature dies within 1d8 rounds, reduced to a mass of indistinct protoplasm. The same happens to all birth-clones who die, and the hag cannot recreate them without another flesh sample. For this reason, chorion hags may keep some victims imprisoned for long years rather than slay and devour them. The hag may have up to 24 Hit Dice or levels worth of birth-clones.

The hag’s bite is poisonous, causing 1d4 temporary Strength damage (DC 17 Fort save, or 1 point is permanent).

All chorion hags know 2d6 spells from the following list, and can use an Action Die to cast one each round. They have a +8 bonus to the spell check, and can suffer both spell failure and corruption as does a wizard. When casting a cleric spell, the hag suffers a 50% chance of major corruption or misfire, rolling on the generic tables as appropriate, for any natural “1”. Corruption on such a being is seldom noticeable, however, and often fades into their overall foulness over time.

Use the following table to determine spells known:


1d12 Spell
1 Animate dead
2 Chill touch
3 Choking cloud
4 Curse
5 Darkness
6 Dispel magic
7 Haste
8 Invisible companion
9 Lotus stare
10 Paralysis
11 Ray of enfeeblement
12 Slow

Chorion hags work to weaken and spread dissent within communities prior to the march of Mâl’s endless armies.

Astral Adventures – Part III

You find yourselves standing in a large chamber, a single door on each wall. In the center of the room stands a pedestal with four distinct holes where an item can be placed. Suspended in the air by those same silvery strands of aether is a large crystal, light blue in color – or is green? Purple maybe? It changes as you shift your eyes. There is little else of interest in this room.

There are four doors out of this room, each one leading to a chamber containing one of four crystals necessary to activate the pylon. Feel free to present these rooms in whichever order you would like, or to continue with the randomness of the astral plane, roll a D4 to see which room they enter first. If the party attempts to discern the magical nature of the room, both the pedestal and the crystal and wrapped in a great deal of magic, as well as a dweomer making it very difficult to discern its true nature.

Chamber of Order: After proceeding down a hall you find yourself looking at another door with that strange magical writing circling it. As you enter the chamber you find yourself face to face with a most horrifying carrion-fed insect looking withered cadaver. Around its neck, like a collar, a swirling blue light prevents the creature from flying.

This chamber contains a Bone Devil, who is incapable of flight and cannot summon another of its kind. A radiant crystal sits discarded in the corner, obviously of little interest to the demon. The demon is kept here as an additional guard.

Chamber of Howling: The chamber off of this hallway has a pair of strong double doors. The sound of panting can be heard within. An inscription sits above the door, which reveals itself in your native tongue. Anchor’s Away.

This chamber contains one Cerberi plus one for each PC. They have been starved and attack the PCs on sight. There is a small pond in the far end of the chamber, and with sits a golden anchor, 50ft down. Inside the anchor sits a magical crystal which fits into the pedestal. The golden anchor, while functionally useless, is worth 5000gp and weighs 500 pounds.

Chamber of Color: Each wall of this room, the ceiling, and the floor are a different color. The east wall is red, the north wall is green, the west wall is black and the ceiling is white. The floor consists of large blue tiles. The south wall is gray and a small ledge has a sealed multihued stone chest set upon a sill. Around the door are painted five creatures – two on the left, two on the right and one above the door. Each creature has a single empty eye socket, about 1” in diameter. One the ceiling is the following inscription, which appears in your native tongue. Black does not look up to Red. White rests not on the right. Red lies not on the left. Red and Blue reside higher than Green. Black resides near, but not at the top. Five colored gems rest in slots near the chest one blue, one black, one red, one green, and one white.

The chest is immune to magic and brute force.

The Answer: · Top, Kraken, Blue · Manticore, upper left, Black · Dragon, upper right, red  · Wolf, lower left, white · Basilisk, lower right, green

If each gem is correctly socketed nothing bad happens and when all five are placed the chest opens revealing another gem for the main rooms pedestal. If the incorrect gem is socketed the follow effects occur:

  • Kraken: Resolve the spell Black Tentacles at CL9
  • Manticore: 2d6 Spikes shoot out of the wall, each dealing 1d6+5. Assign targets randomly
  • Dragon: The room fills with fire dealing 5d6 fire damage, Ref save for half, DC 17
  • Wolf: The room fills with ice dealing 5d6 cold damage, Ref save for half, DC 17
  • Basilisk: Resolve the spell Poisonous Cloud at CL7

After the treasure chest opens the gems may be recovered and each is worth 2500gp.

Chamber of Salvation: This chamber is smaller than all the rest and contains two pedestals. One holds a familiar looking magic bowl, the other a chest which seems as though it cannot be opened by any other means. The back wall has the following words inscribed in magical script which appears to you in your native tongue; Suffer as you have made others suffer. Feel what they feel.

This vessel functions much as the previous only this one is fueled by constitution damage. The basin accepts blood and can only be sated once d4+1 per PC is sacrificed to it. When this is done the chest opens revealing the final crystal necessary to operate the pedestal.

When each of the four crystals are placed into the pedestal a vast arcane burst occurs, focused on the crystal in the top of the chamber, the crystal resonates with potent energies and suddenly it shatters. In a brilliant flash of light a creature resembling a tengu, save for its eyes’ golden glow appears, its immaculate white robes contrast starkly with its black feathers, and its willow staff sheds a pale light. Only the golden eyes quickly turn red, black twisted veins pulsing with darkness. As suddenly as it appeared it attacks. The pedestal is now glowing with a soft blue light.

This is Harahel the Fallen, a Preceptor Archon who has been locked away in this prison for millennia, until a group of unwitting heroes let it free. He has gone mad in isolation, his dark powers no less potent. Treat him as any archon only he is no longer good, and as such replace all good descriptors with evil.

Harahel wants nothing more than to escape, but unfortunately the way out is not clear yet. This room is affected by dimensional anchor. Every two rounds one of the crystals should no longer glow, and after eight rounds a portal to the prime material plane should appear (Conveniently to wherever the PCs need to go). If you would like to extend this into a longer adventure allowing Harahel to escape is an excellent way to generate a future Big Bad Evil Guy.

If the heroes slay Harahel or look around after he flees, they can claim the four crystals in the pedestal, each one worth 2500 gp.


I hope you enjoyed this foray into the Astral Plane, and as always,

Game On!


Playtest: Broken Chains

The Porphyra Roleplaying Game is coming along. The current document v.4 is sitting at 129 unedited pages. You can pick up v.3 for free over at Rpgnow and then wander over to my patreon to get in on the ongoing discussions.

Our current Pathfinder campaign has reached level 6. We have just finished the Trail of the Apprentice by Legendary Games and things went generally really when until the final battle. Our party has suffered some looses and now needs to regroup.

Gnoll by Gary Dupuis

To continue our campaign, I am going to be adapting Broken Chains by Tim Hitchcook. Due to work commitments we will likely not be playing until at least the weekend of the 21st so I have time to work on my conversion notes. I’ll be posting my statblock conversions based upon v.4 of the rules over on the porphyra wiki. All the new conversions will be tagged with broken chains (bc) and porphyra roleplaying game (prg) if you want to search for the content by tags.

There should be enough in v.4 to let me test some of the ideas I have been bouncing around to playtest some of the things on the GM’s side of the screen.  I will post campaign updates the weeks we game to let you know how things are going.

Astral Adventures II

The Antechamber: As you make your way down into the hall you find yourself having difficulty walking. As you finally enter the chamber you begin to float awkwardly in the air, but before you are able to get your bearings you notice a pair of pillars in the middle of the room.

This room is 50 feet tall and under the effects of an antigravity field and the PCs will find themselves slowly falling towards the ceiling. The force is strongest in the center of the room, where the field is generated. There is a crystal jutting out of the center of the ceiling, Hardness 5; 5 HP, which is emanating the field, if it is destroyed the crystal stops generating the field, and regular gravity takes over – instantly.

There are two Bulettes using this room as a den, one on the ceiling and one on the floor. The one on the floor has anchored itself to the ground.

NOTE: This seems like as good a place to mention this as anywhere. This module, and in fact the entire Astral plane should seem like a place of contradictions and trouble. If you prefer your games to be run like a clockwork, relying on the rules in books to get you by instead of intuition, this may not be the kind of adventure you want to run, but it might give you ideas or a framework to build from – so please read on!


The Locked Chamber: Finally getting your feet back on the ground you make your way down the only hallway you haven’t already explored. It turns sharply and then abruptly stops with a stone wall with a single large door. There are various strange carvings radiating a faint blue glow around the door, and the silver threads which seem almost common place throughout this place weave in and out of the dark wooden door.

Inspection of the warding reveals that it is an unknown language which radiates very powerful Abjuration magic. – Similar to a circle of protection.

As you enter the room you notice that there are inscriptions on the ceiling, walls, and floor which are like those on the door. A pedestal rests in the center of the room overtop a large glowing rune however, you can’t help but focus on the rooms only occupant, a large thickly furred humanoid with the head of a lioness moving towards you with a deadly yet brutal grace.

This chamber has a Shira, a type of Div, trapped inside. The inscription on the door and in the chamber have kept her locked inside for an unknowable amount of time but she is feral and attacks immediately. Her Spell-Like Abilities are dampened by the magical warding and cannot be used, unless the warding has been disturbed by the PCs. If the PCs have disabled the magical warding and she is reduced to 25% or less HP, she will flee to freedom attempting to return to the outer planes.

There are no doors out of this room only the mysterious pillar in the center of the room.

The pedestal stands four feet tall with a basin imbued with runes. The runes glow with an eerie light. The runes fade out of existence then relight in your native tongue. This journey will be one of discovery and you’ll learn the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but it will take more than strength to carry you there. The device before you is one of sacrifice. Let your essence flow into the basin, and it will open the way forward.

If inspected the runes have an aura of abjuration, conjuration, and necromantic energies.

This device when powered will teleport the PCs to the next location, which is found 250 feet below their current location.

To power the device PCs must sacrifice their intelligence – or the essence of their being. The fountain will drain the intelligence of any sentient being from the prime material plane with character levels. A total amount of intelligence drain must equal 2+2/PCs. It may be equally divided however the PCs decide. As they make their donations read the following:

As you stand before the basin your eyes begin to redden as a searing pain wracks your mind like a migraine combined with a hangover. The misty redness spills from your eyes, nose, and mouth as it fills the basin. You feel yourself succumbing to lack of understanding. When the vampiric vessel is finally sated, a brilliant flash of blue light fills the room, and a portal opens which illumes another room much like the one you are in. When you step through you are teleported to another dark stone room, this one has even more of the silver webbing in it, almost as though treacherous ethereal spiders filled this room, lost and forgotten in a sea of nothingness.

That’s it for this weeks installment, and I hope you’re enjoying all the oddities here in the Astral Plane!

As always, Game On.

Ghost of the Hunt (DCC)

Ghost of the Hunt by Rick Hershey

Ghost of the Hunt: Init +2; Atk incorporeal touch +2 melee (1d6) or paralyzing howl or trumpet of doom; AC 13; HD 3d8+9; MV fly 30’; Act 2d20; SP infravision 60’, sense hunters, un-dead traits, non-corporeal , fear aura, paralyzing howl, trumpet of doom, fear of reflections;  SV Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4; AL N.

Appearing as the bones and entrails of a slaughtered animal, flying on wings of tattered skin, a ghost of the hunt is the un-dead spirit of an animal hunted for sport or abject savagery, whose bones have been left to rot. Such a being always knows the direction to those that slaughtered it, and can recognize them without fail. Although not a malicious spirit, the ghost of the hunt will attack any creature it sees despoiling the natural world. Otherwise, its nights are spent tracking down those that slaughtered it in the first place. When they are killed, the ghost of the hunt is automatically laid to rest, and disappears in peace. Otherwise, even if defeated, a ghost of the hunt may eventually reform if the judge so determines.

Any creature that gets within 60’ of a ghost of the hunt must succeed in a DC 14 Will save or be frozen with fear, unable to act, for 1d5 rounds. Likewise, once per day, the ghost can unleash a terrifying howl that affects all humanoids within 100’ in the same way, unless a DC 16 Will save is successful. A creature succeeding once is forever immune to these particular effects of the ghost.

Once per day, the ghost can also keen a final mournful lament (the “trumpet of doom”) that may bring death to any creatures within 100’ that is affected by either of the ghost’s fear effects. Each potentially affected creature takes 1d6+3 damage and must succeed in a DC 14 Fort save or take an additional 3d10+10 points of damage.

Because they are non-corporeal, ghosts of the hunt are immune to non-magical weapon damage, and damage from physical sources. They are affected by force effects normally. They are also horrified by their own visage, and must succeed in a DC 15 Will save if shown their own reflection. A ghost of the hunt which fails this save flees in panic and does not return for 1d3 hours. If the sun rises before this time elapses, the ghost is not seen until the next evening (or later).

Many tribal communities have hunting rituals that offer prayers to the gods, and which honor the animals they hunt. A ghost of the hunt never arises from hunts that honor the dead, or which are motivated by hunger or survival.

On Porphyra

Sarenites have great sorrow for the ghost of the hunt, as no living creature should suffer torture or slaughter for sport. When a Sarenite first encounters a ghost of the hunt, she will attempt to aid the ghost in extracting revenge upon those that killed it before putting the ghost to its final rest.

Porphyra Roleplaying Game (v.2)


If you have been following along on my facebook account, my patreon or spotted new blue covers at Rpgnow, you will know that we have launched development on the Porphyra Roleplaying Game.

The Porphyra Roleplaying Game is based on the Pathfinder System Reference Document but will likely include a number of revisions or tweaks. It will be a long process to revise the document and I am hoping to receive lots of feedback on it at, on the blog, or at my patreon.

If you have looked at v2 of the document yet, please do so as soon as you can and send me email with your thoughts. Currently we are looking for what races and classes to include in the primary rules.