Sparrow’s Heart, a Mörk Borg misadventure (I)

[go to Part II | go to Part III]

Writes: Vagabundork
City map: Watabou’s Medieval City Generator
Inspiration sounds: Christian Death’s American Inquisition, Emperor’s IX Equilibrium, Opera IX’s The Call of the Wood
Disclaimer: There is no god.

“In my sweet revenge I made a pact with the devil”.
(Christian Death, “Stop Bleeding On Me”)

Purple prose fragments: stuff your players don’t immediately know, maybe never.

Why are you in Murk Burg?

Choose one or roll one or multiple results, whatever works for your players.

  1. You were being chased by a troll, lost your way and somehow got here.
  2. A man working for Anthelia told you the Countess will pay good silver to anyone who brings her the blood of Sparrow’s Heart, that can be found somewhere in Murk Burg.
  3. A Bishop of Galgenbeck offered you amnesty in exchange for killing Prince Bernardus.
  4. In your childhood dreams you used to see a flying snake devouring a bald eagle. Your tribal shaman told you to “find the black tower”, but she never explained the relation between the two. There’s no relation, she was nuts.
  5. You were heading somewhere else, on the way someone gave you wrong directions.
  6. You’ve heard rumors about a new god who has rebelled against HE. Could this deity be the key to avoiding the end? According to that beggar, the cult resides in a black tower, South of Sarkash. This is a dead end.
  7. A sinister tower? In the middle of a ghost town? Must be some treasure there.
  8. Surprise! You have a daughter, Turquoise, and she is very sick. The loathsome rat people sell almost any remedy; get it and you’re free from any responsibility towards the child, “but, please save her”. Rat people usually live in shanty towns, among humans. And here we are. She’ll die in 5 days without the medicine.

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Murk Burg

This gloomy burg to the south of Sarkash was built around the Sparrow Tower, which in the past served the same function as a castle, “that was long before the ashen fog descended upon us”. Known as Murk Burg because of the ashen fog that eternally covers its streets, it’s divided into three areas: burg, parish and shanty town. At the center rises the Sparrow Tower.

Prince Bernardus was the rightful heir to duchy, but when his younger brother tried to assassinate him, he decided that politics was not a good reason to die for, and he exiled himself, followed by his loyal entourage. That was twenty years ago. Today no one remembers where he was a prince from (a duchy linked to Galgenbeck), nor do they remember if the ashen fog was already here when they arrived or if it came later.

They tried to live a simple life, but when it was clear the end was nigh, many joined one apocalyptic cult or another. One of these, the cult of Icon E, whose members are called Forever Mourners, established in the parish, but also hold reunions and black masses in the black tower.

Old Burg

Here lives Prince Bernardus, and his wife, the witch Misandria. Wooden houses, simple and old but sturdy. Most windows and curtains are closed, streets are empty but you can feel, rather than see, people or something always slipping out of the corner of your eye.

The old bourgeoisie Present these NPCs to your players as you need, or randomly roll d6.

  1. Misandria became full of hatred against men when her mother was crucified on the oak tree in her hometown, accused of witchcraft by them. She shows her despise of males and her support to women. The woman was innocent, the real witch was her daughter. She cursed all the men in the village with what they feared most: demonblight, an infection that turns them into demons.
  2. Lydia, beggar. In a good reaction roll she tells you a secret: “Don’t trust Misandria. She says someone abducted the princeling… yeah, the prince, her husband… but I believe she killed him herself”.
  3. A dead child, probably the son of a nobleman. Has a gold locket, but it’s empty (worth 1 silver, it’s fake gold).
  4. Torvald, corpse-paint teenage. Wants to join the cult of Icon E, only one more task to be accepted: murder a man.
  5. A human skull. Cast Whispers Pass the Gates and it won’t answer three questions, but will give one piece of advice: “Whatever you do, do not release the prince”, and immediately shatters to dust.
  6. Anastasia, a noblewoman. She hires you to find and kill a goblin who transmitted her the curse. She saw him enter the black tower. It wears white trousers.

Old Parish

Here are the ruins of the church of the false religion of the past. What little is known about this religion is that the faithful captured their god and nailed him to a post and put a crown of thorns on him, keeping him captive, suffering and bleeding, unable to die.

The church remained standing long after the extinction of the cult, but some years ago it was destroyed by the Forever Mourners, who set it on fire, as a way to symbolize the occupation of the parish and the dominion of the new god, Icon E.

Old parishioners Mattyas Manic street heretic, claiming the end of the world is a scam, no one takes him seriously. He will ask for a coin. Give him a coin and he will give you a die carved from a tooth. Roll the tooth-die once in the morning (and roll a real d6) and in a 1, you can re-roll one and any die before going to sleep, but in a 6, you won’t be able to recover hp until you roll 5 or less. HP 1 Morale 6 No armor Wooden plank d4-1. Ermengarde the Holy Whore She has been planning to kill Faustyr, “It’s disgusting. His smell is impregnated in me and I can’t get rid of it”. HP 2 Morale 7 No armor Kitchen knife d4.

The Kennel

Shanty town, cardboard houses, now dilapidated. Some people still live here, usually temporarily.

Upon entering the area, there’s a 1-in-6 chance d2+2 Scums are encountered and they want your possessions, no matter if they have to kill you to get them. Loot: One of them hides the Book of Illuminazi, also known as The Tar Black Book. It contains 1d4 random scrolls, either unclean or sacred or both.

If the slum is explored, the PCs will eventually find Yaal, a crazy homeless that proclaims the angels talk of the greater healer, but ignore him, it’s the drugs talking. HP 1 Morale 4 No armor Femur d4. In a good reaction roll, he will offer to sell you a special parchment (only 200 silver). It’s the unclean scroll Narcissus Metamorphosis.

They will also meet Ziggurd Rat, an anarchist rat person/healer (sells Remedy for 100 silver). HP 4 Morale 9 Buff coat -2 Rolling pin d4-1 Bite d4+Black poison.

Sparrow Tower aka Black Tower

In the center of the dreary village rises the black tower.

A black granite tower, in the shape of an inverted T. No one knows who built it or for what purpose. It’s known as Sparrow Tower because of the sorcerer who occupied it decades ago, or as Black Tower for obvious reasons.
Currently used by the sect of followers of Icon E, known as the Forever Mourners.

Part II | Part III

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Tools, supplements

  • Here’s some New Weird Magic Spells following the rules in both Vaginas are Magic! and Eldritch Cock.
  • The Magic Laboratory, house rules for creating magic-user labs and research new spells and other magic-related activities.
  • Here’s A Tome of Weird Artifacts, a collection of black metal bands and magick masks and weapons fot your OSR games. It’s free but you can tip me if you want, but please don’t feel you have to. I’m not here for the money, I’m here for blood and souls.
  • ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous Guideline to Character Creation, both a blog entry and a PDF for your convenience.
  • Random Enemies Table. If you need some bandits, city guards, werewolves or squid cultists for your players to kill and rob, this table will help you assigning their main stats and some quirks.
  • Referee Table. This table will allow you to track many elements of the game, specially in a dungeon crawl. Every 3 turns, make a random encounters check; mark a circle each turn; 6 turns make an hour; 8 hours make a watch; lanterns light for 24 turns, candles for 12 and torches for 6. All that is in the table and more.
  • Running (and basically understanding) Silent Titans is not easy task! Here’s how you run the mini-game “Mouse Box”.
  • Another Fool For Your Adventures! A supplement for Into the Odd. This book is a collection of Replacement Adventurers, for those times when a Player Characters dies and you need a quick replacement but don’t have the time to think about a concept.
  • This is how Sneak Attacks works in LotFP.
  • Simple grappling rules. Grappling is a nightmare, but these rules turn the nightmare in a fun tavern brawl. Enjoy throwing peasants against tables and holding a city guard while your friends kick his ass.
  • Bushcraft in the dungeon. Some tables to find food in a dungeon, the effects it has to eat them and the effects food deprivations has on the characters. It includes “The store of the underworlds”, and a spider from Mars.