Saturday, April 16, 2016

Commentary On The S'rulyan Vault Kickstarter by Venger Satanis For Your Old School Campaigns

 So we've gotten a great map from Monkey Blood Design for the The S'rulyan Vault map, pdf, and more. Little by little from the dim echoes of the mysterious history of the vaults we see more is being revealed.


So over the past week or so I've been playing catch up with work, repairs, and some of the Kickstarter goals and what not of Venger Satanis's The S'rulyan Vault. What are the Vaults? The The S'rulyan Vault are an O5R "blue map" dungeon from the early days of fantasy roleplaying games; high-rez files for 34" x 44" printing. But this isn't an ordinary dungeon there's a whole back story here;"

For as long as anyone living can remember, the world was full of men and the darker, stranger forms of life remained at the farthest edges of it. But the scrolls contained within the many temples of Tyr’Urden tell us that this was not always so.   
Demonic things came in the night to feed upon mortal souls, ripping and tearing at humanity’s soft, exposed belly. Our people lived in fear. Like children, man was afraid of the dark and what lay beyond the walls of his cities.
Then, one day, a champion came. He slayed many of the evil ones, the creatures who looked like walking serpents. Eventually, his mighty deeds became so numerous that thousands followed him into battle against the forces of evil. Man had both the numbers and the will to push back against these malevolent beings until his cities and forests were relatively free of hell-spawn.
Snake-men were the most powerful humanoid creatures, as they knew the secrets of blackest sorcery, having made a pact with the Demon Lord known as S’rul. Under his satanic tutelage, the snake-men became powerful enough to slaughter the armies of mankind. Before long, the entire race of snake-men were known as the Sect of S’rulyan… (S’rulyan meaning the great and terrible wisdom of S’rul).
At the height of their serpentine reign, a subterranean domain was constructed on the outskirts of the human realm. It became an outpost from where the snake-men continually raided – taking weapons, gold, slaves, and sorcerous objects from man’s cities. This vault was the crowning glory of S’rul and his loathsome worshipers.
Just as the Sect of S’rulyan could see the extermination of man in sight, a large band of adventurers retrieved a lost relic - the Helm of Power, an artifact that siphons the magical energy from everything surrounding it… and gives that magic to the wearer. The Helm of Power protected the adventurers as they waded into the darkness of S’rul’s foul dungeon.
Only three heroes emerged from the S’rulyan Vault, victorious over the evil ones with their spiked armor covered in gore and shreds of serpent flesh. Alas, the Helm of Power was destroyed in the final battle against S’rul. Yet, the Demon Lord was also destroyed, and so the people rejoiced!
The three surviving heroes, Artello, Urden, and D’meskus, established themselves as Kings of the central territories. For decades they ruled and now their children’s children are crowned Kings and Queens of Razira.
One such present-day ruler is Queen Zinnia, an alluring but jealous and ill-advised woman. She reigns over the smallest realm with the greatest ambition for power. Queen Zinnia forced her royal wizard to search deep within the magical abyss where hideous horrors frolic and feed. Upon her instructions, the wizard awakened an entity strong enough to shatter her siblings’ kingdoms – the Demon Lord S’rul.
S’rul’s first order of business was to revive his slumbering legion of snake-men far below the S’rulyan Vault. Brought back to life, the walking serpents felt their sorcery invigorated as never before and concocted a spell that would mean sickness and death for thousands of men, women, and children.
Almost three-quarters of a century after S’rul’s original defeat, nary a snake-man has been seen upon the surface of Razira. Today is the 74th anniversary of the assault upon the S’rulyan Vault. The entire realm celebrates the snake-men’s defeat with feasting, dancing, and merriment. Unfortunately, such revelry was not to last.
At mid-day, the celebration ended with black skies, a broken blood-red moon, and some mysterious plague that immediately killed off a fifth of those living in Tyr’Urden, the largest kingdom and closest to the S’rulyan Vault.
King Urdenson’s seers know that S’rul and his snake-men slumber no more. The King decreed this a time of war, and those who return from the S’rulyan Vault with the Demon Lord’s severed head in hand shall share in the reward: one million pieces of gold… a King’s ransom, to be sure!"
 So the vaults have a background, history, and a reasonably legendary connection with Venger's variation of the Cthulhu Mythos. Alright that works for me because of the tie in with the treasure of the place. What really kinda got me thinking was this little bit here about the humanoids of the vaults when Venger did this update today;"Today I came up with a d20 table for what a group of humanoids might be doing when encountered.  Personally, I think it gives humanoid encounters an extra dimension.  Because room after room of dudes just waiting for the party to barge in and start brawling seems less than believable. "
What would I add into the The S'rulyan Vault if I was adding it into a campaign as an adventure location? What sorts of tables would add a bit more of a dimension to the table top? One of the things that you want to back tie into an adventure location and weave it into your own home campaign. One of the easy ways of doing this is a simple random table and in the case of an adventure location such as The S'rulyan Vault, this is a place with secrets. Dark and dangerous secrets that you as the DM can tie back into your version of the Vault. Here then are 1d20 dark and dangerous random secrets of the The S'rulyan Vault to taunt your adventurers with.

1d20 Random Dark
& Dangerous Secrets Table of The The S'rulyan Vault

  1. The lowest points of the vault might still contain he eggs of the serpent kings waiting for the right alignments of the damn stars to unleash their foul taint upon the world once more.
  2. There is a Lovecraftian demon bound into one of the statues of the place should it awaken it will spell doom for the world. 
  3. A king's ransom was taken by the serpent men raiders back in the days of yore and it might still be in one of the hidden ante chambers of some secret and hidden room. 
  4. Several human tribes were collaborators with the demonic serpent folk and they carry the ancient taint in their blood lines. These mages might be able to read some of the powerful magics that are still contained in the vault's treasure chambers. 
  5. Human skulls with jeweled eyes are rumored to have been secreted in the vault, these objects of cosmic and damned power could read men's minds, alter the courses of mighty rivers, and change the nature of reality itself. They are also said to  contain the souls of ancient damned serpent kings. 
  6. There are said to be ancient cults of humanoids who gather at certain times in the vaults to pay homage to dead kings, they bring with them ancient treasures and powerful magicks. 
  7. There are several bound creatures of myth and legend who are tied by powerful black magicks to the vaults themselves . These things bring fortune and ruin in equal measure to those who find them in their hidden secret chambers. 
  8. There are several ancient inhuman books of power hidden in the vaults bound in man flesh, writ with the black blood of the Earth and human souls. These things gibber with power and sheer horror. 
  9. Warriors of ancient hate wander the halls damned never to rest and slay anyone they come across. This is the fate of ancient warriors and heroes who came to the vaults to slay the serpent priests. 
  10. There is a cup of gold that has been bathed in the serpent flesh of the most ancient black mages and wizards. The cup grants a sort of eternal life or damnation, this cup is hidden in a special alter in the vaults but it has been lost to antiquity. 
  11. Twelve priceless jewels show the alignments of the stars of the damned in one of the rooms in the vaults they have been bathed in the blood of countless sacrifices. These gems are worth a king's ransom. 
  12. Thirteen ancient crones have been buried in this ancient ruin. They mark the passage of time by the rot that eats their flesh. These crones are quite mad but they are very prophetic and they whisper ancient hates and secrets to their admirers. Mages and wizards seek their chamber below the Earth.
  13. There is a pool that shows your successes and greatest soul crushing defeat, it also shows you how to avoid the potential doom that awaits you. 
  14. There are a series of candles made from the fingers of the damned that can show the true nature of all realities. This also makes getting and avoiding certain alternative futures very easy. 
  15. Ancient weapons of power have been hidden in the vault, they will be found by their chosen champion. Could that be a member of your party. 
  16. The vaults are the buffer zone between this reality and the gathering threat from the other dark Lovecraftian dimensions where things wait to burst into our home dimension. 
  17. There is a key to the world engine hidden within the vaults and the serpent men lost it. The thing might be unto another dimension having been cast their in the womb by an ancient hero. 
  18. Five thousand gold piece  reward has been hidden inside the body of a zombie that wanders the halls and rooms but no one has seen it in years. 
  19. A champion of horror and chaos wanders the halls slaying anyone it runs across. There is a hidden room where all of its trophies have been kept. The slaying continues. 
  20. The spawn of an ancient demon dragon cult is said to have been trapped down in the vaults doomed to slay anyone it comes across.

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