View Full Version : Land of Crypts (d20 Settingish Thing) [LONG]

That Lanky Bugger
2005-12-09, 11:33 PM
Land of Crypts(Working Title)

Update Notes (Dec 13/05)

-Added notes on Undeath and the Twisted


The Land of Crypts is a land without hope. A single continent on a desolate world, it’s inhabitants struggling for survival against foes they’ve known for their entire lives. The Undead. In the day, Humans, Elves and Sauroids scratch out a meager existence as they toil in their fields, ever watchful for the Undead menace. During the evening they retreat to their fortresses, where defenders mount every wall in a nervous defense.

Being out in the night is suicide for all but a special few. The Hunters. Those who assault the Undead Lords who rest in their Crypts as they direct their armies. They are a breed apart from the rest of the few living people in this world, and the world’s first line of defense against the Undead.

The Hunters

Known simply as the Hunters, they are not actually an organization. One band of Hunters will vastly differ from another. Generally they only share a mutual, if uneasy trust. In one purpose they are united, however. All seek to destroy the Undead, for personal gain or in common defense of their species and right to survive.

The general populace has a wary respect for the Hunters. Some fear them, while others despise them. Few if any people are willing to confront them over anything but major hassles.

The Undead

Silent and deadly predators which feed on the souls of the living. They do not tire. They will never rest. They will fight until the last under the direction of their Undead Lord, until the destruction of everything living has been consummated. Many question why The Undead have not already swarmed the few free lands under in a mountain of rotting corpses and foul evil.

Some speculate that the Undead Lords refuse to work together. Others suspect that the Undead themselves are vulnerable to sunlight, and cannot maintain themselves in the daylight long enough to mount an effective enough assault to swarm their enemies under. The majority of the populace think the Undead Lords keep the living around only for a source of food.

Magic and Corruption

Magic corrupts. It is the source of the Undead, and to touch it is to become tainted in and of oneself. Spellcasters are reviled among the general populace, for they often succumb to the effects of the Corruption and become Undead Lords. Even Hunters are watched with wariness, for those among them that use the foul magic of the Undead may often be turned themselves.

Corruption Checks: For every day a character possesses even ONE magical item or has Overchanneled, make a Will Save versus the following DC:

For Weapons or Armor: 20 + Effective Enhancement Bonus
For Other Items: 10 + Effective Cost / 1000

Merely being in close proximity to a magical item (carried in a bag, sack, etc) is enough to cause a Corruption check.

If a character voluntarily fails a save for any reason, they must make an immediate Corruption check instead, with a Save DC equal to the Save DC for the spell.

If the character fails the Corruption check, they gain a Corruption point. When their Corruption points exceed their Constitution, the character begins to take a point of Constitution damage per day. When their Constitution reaches 0, they become Undead, and are Zombies with an HD equal to their current Character Level.

Magic Users

There is no limit to what a spellcaster can use, but magic works by channeling the power of the Undead into a force the caster can warp to their own will. As such, using magic is extremely hazardous to a spellcaster’s health.

When a spellcaster uses magic, they take 1d4 SPECIAL Subdual Damage (called Channeling Damage) per spell level of the spell they are attempting to use. This special damage is tracked separately from any normal Subdual Damage they may take. This damage heals at the same rate as Subdual Damage.

If the character’s Channeling Damage would normally knock the character unconscious, this is known as Overchannelling. They must immediately take a Corruption Check. If they fail, they immediately gain a Corruption point. Further Overchannelling will inspire more Corruption Checks.

When Overchannelling, the Save DC is equal to 12+Relevant Ability Score Modifier+Highest Spell Level Available.

Important: Only a spellcaster’s HD gained AS a spellcaster contribute to the ability to take Channeling Damage. If a character has more than one Class, those classes do not count towards their total HP when determing if the character would have been knocked out!

Undeath and the Twisted

The Twisted are a special exception to the normal rules for death via Corruption. While a Ranger only becomes a Zombie because his spellcasting is weak, this is not so for the Twisted. A Twisted becomes a special type of Lich (called an Undead Lord) with the following properties:

Hit Dice: d10
AC: +5 Natural Armour Bonus (if the Twisted had a Natural Armour Bonus, this stacks with it)
Ability Scores: The Undead Lord immediately gains +4 INT, +4 WIS, and +4 CHA. His CON drops to 0.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Damage Reduction: 10/Bludgeoning and Magic
CR: An Undead Lord's CR is equal to his Character Level+3
Special Abilities:

Corrupting Touch: A number of times per day equal to his Charisma bonus, a Undead Lord can make a Corrupting Touch as a standard attack. The Undead Lord reaches out and touches the character, channelling the raw, corrupting magic through the target. The target must make a Will save versus DC 10+Undead Lord's Spellcasting Level+Undead Lord's Charisma Bonus or immediately gain a Corruption point. This is a Spell-like ability.

Mastery of the Undead: An Undead Lord may take control of any nonintelligent Undead within line of sight merely by making willing it. If his combined Charisma bonus and Spell Levels are higher than the Undead's HD, he gains control.

In addition to this, the Undead Lord may concentrate his consciousness into any Undead vessel within Long Range. By doing this, he can cast spells through the Undead vessel as a Twisted 6 levels lower as well do anything else he normally could in his own body, provided the Undead is equipped to do so. A Zombie with no arms couldn't cast spells with Somatic Components, and a Skeleton couldn't speak or cast spells with Verbal Components... and unless the Undead has the components on it, it cannot cast spells with Material Components.

Expanded Spell Knowledge: Because the Undead Lord is now tapped into the primal forces of the Corruption, he has access to more spells. He may cast ANY spell on the Bard's spell list, as well as having the spells of the Cleric's Death, Destruction, and Evil domains added to his normal spell list, at the levels listed. All Cure spells become Cause spells, dealing negative energy damage and healing the Undead as opposed to healing the living and harming the Undead.

Destructive Casting: Unlike mortal spellcasters, Undead Lords do NOT gain temporary Corruption damage. Instead, an Undead Lord causes 1 point of normal damage per level of the spell they are casting to the VESSEL they occupy. So, if the Undead Lord is in a body not his own, he deals damage to THAT body. This damage must be recovered naturally, and may not be healed with the Undead Lord's magic.

Minor Fast Healing: This works as the Extraordinary Ability Fast Healing, but at a rate of 1 HP every minute.

Fear the Light: If natural sunlight strikes an Undead Lord, he loses his Minor Fast Healing for 1d4+1 days. Continual exposure to the sunlight will cause damage at a rate of 1 damage for every minute the Undead Lord spends in the sun, as well as removing the Undead Lord's ability to use spells while in direct sunlight.

Character Races


In ages past, the Sauroids once warred with humans and elves. Neither side remembered what the war was about though even to this day, hundreds of years later, they remember the bitterness of the war. It was at the height of this war that the Undead first appeared. They drove the Sauroids from their homelands and into the human and elven lands and the war ended without resolution, the Sauroids scrambling for survival as a species. These days the Sauroids are as common in any village as a human, although the species cannot mate with humans or elves.

Sauroids posses the following traits:

• +2 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom
• Medium Size
• Base Land Speed 30ft
• +2 Natural Armour Bonus
• Natural Weapons: Claws 1d4, Bite 1d4
• Automatic Languages: Common, Sauroid Bonus: Elven, Orc, Draconic
• Weapon Familiarity: Sauroids may treat Whips as Martial Weapons, not Exotic Weapons.
• Favoured Class: Fighter


Special: An Elf's favoured class is Ranger, not Wizard.

Character Classes

Player Characters may play as the following classes: Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Rogue, and Twisted.


Special: The Ranger’s HP is halved for determining Channeling Damage, and they only count HP gained when they gain their spellcasting.


Special: Only the first 2d6 points of damage applies towards the Massive Damage threshold, unless a Feat grants this ability otherwise.


Alignment: Any non-Lawful
Hit Die: d6
Skill Points at first level: 4+Int Bonus x 4
Skill Points at each additional level: 4+Int Bonus

Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Undead) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (None), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

BAB: As Bard
Saves: Fort/Ref Poor, Will Good
Spells Known: As Bard

Spell List:

Level 0- Daze, Detect Magic, Detect Undead*, Flare, Know Direction, Light, Lullaby, Mage Hand, Mending, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic
*As Detect Magic, but detects the Undead instead of Magic. When determing Aura strength, use the Aura Power and replace with the Undead's CR.

Level 1- Alarm, Cause Fear, Comprehend Languages, Lesser Confusion, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Secret Doors, Feather Fall, Hypnotism, Magic Aura, Remove Fear, Sleep, Unseen Servant, Disrupt Undead,

Level 2- Blindness/Deafness, Blur, Cat's Grace, Cure Moderate Wounds, Darkness, Daze Monster, Delay Poison, Eagle's Splendor, Fox's Cunning, Glitterdust, Heroism, Hold Person, Invisibility, Locate Object, Pyrotechnics, Rage, Scare, Shatter, Silence, Sound Burst, Tongues, Ray of Enfeeblement

Level 3- Blink, Confusion, Cure Serious Wounds, Daylight, Displacement, Fear, Good Hope, Haste, Invisibility Sphere, Locate Undead*, See Invisibility, Slow, Continual Flame**, Protection from Undead***
*As Locate Creature, but applies only to the Undead.
**The Caster must make an immediate Will Save versus DC 13 or take a Corruption Point
***As Protection from Evil, but versus the Undead

Level 4- Remove Curse*, Cure Critical Wounds, Dispel Magic, Freedom of Movement, Hold Monster, Greater Invisibility, Neutralize Poison, Repel Vermin, Repel Undead**, Zone of Silence, Halt Undead
*The caster must make a Save versus Corruption, with a DC equal to the DC of the effect which caused the curse. Failure gains the spellcaster a Corruption point.
**As Repel Vermin, but applies to the Undead and only repels those 1/4 or less your HD

Level 5- Mass Cure Light Wounds, Greater Heroism, Mind Fog, Mislead, Nightmare, Shadow Walk

Level 6- Animate Objects, Mass Cat's Grace, Mass Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass Eagle's Splendor, Eyebite, Find the Path, Death Ward,

New Feats

Internal Faith
Benefit: A character’s Corruption Points are reduced by 3. This can take their Corruption Points into the negatives.
Special: A character may take this feat more than once. It's effects stack.

Undead Hunter
Requirements: BAB +2, Knowledge (Undead) 4 Ranks
Benefit: You gain a Sneak Attack of +1d6 versus Undead and Constructs, so long as the normal conditions for a Sneak Attack apply.

Greater Undead Hunter
Requirements: BAB+7, Knowledge (Undead) 10 Ranks, Skill Focus Knowledge (Undead), Undead Hunter feat
Benefit: You gain a Sneak Attack of +1d6 versus Undead and Constructs, so long as the normal conditions for a Sneak Attack apply. This stacks with the Undead Hunter feat.

Undead Sense
Requirements: Knowledge (Undead) 5 Ranks, Alertness feat
Benefit: If you pass within 30 feet of any Undead which are hidden or moving silently, you gain an additional Spot or Listen check if your first check to notice them fails.

Improved Undead Sense
Requirements: Knowledge (Undead) 8 Ranks, Alertness feat, Undead Sense feat
Benefit: You may Detect Undead as per the Detect Undead spell (though not through solid objects), but you may only concentrate for one round. This is an Extraordinary Ability.

Greater Undead Sense
Requirements: Knowledge (Undead) 13 Ranks, Alertness feat, Undead Sense feat, Improved Undead Sense feat
Benefit: You may Detect Undead as per the Detect Undead spell (though not through solid objects). You also gain Blindsense of 20 feet versus the Undead. This is an Extraordinary ability.

Brew Alchemy
Requirements: Craft (Alchemy) 5 Ranks
Benefit: You may make any of the items defined in the Alchemy section of this document.

Nose for Alchemy
Requirements: Craft (Alchemy) 8 Ranks, Skill Focus (Alchemy)
Benefit: You may use the Cleric, Wizard, and Druid column when determining the cost to brew any Alchemy and your ability to make Alchemical items.
Normal: You use the Bard column when determing the cost to brew Alchemy and your ability to make Alchemical items.


In the absence of magic, the living of the world turned to Alchemists to solve their problems. As such, the following items are available (and do not cause Corruption checks):

Potions/Oils of: Hide from Undead, Endure Elements, Remove Feat, Remove Paralysis, Haste, Rage, Resistance, Purify Food and Drink, Bless Water

In addition to the above, vials have been created which simulate the effects of some minor magic, using a ranged touch attack versus the target (Range Increment: 10 feet). Failure to hit means the vial does not break and rolls away from the target in a random direction.

Vials of: Daze, Flare, Grease, Sleep, Obscuring Mist, Fairie Fire, Fog Cloud, Flaming Sphere (does not move, is instantaneous).

Crafting these Potions and Vials does not require spellcasting levels. Instead characters must possess the Brew Alchemy feat and must have 1 Rank in Craft (Alchemy) for every 50 GP in the base price (as a Bard) according to Table: Potion Base Prices (By Brewer's Class).

Massive Damage

Any time a character takes damage from a single hit that exceeds the character's massive damage threshold, that damage is considered massive damage. A character's massive damage threshold is equal to the character's current Constitution score plus armour bonuses (see below). When a character takes massive damage that doesn't reduce his or her hit points to 0 or lower, the character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15). If the character fails the save, the character's hit point total is immediately reduced to -1. If the save succeeds, the character suffers no ill effect beyond the loss of hit points.

Armour: A character's Armour Bonus and Shield Bonus (as well as any magical bonuses to the character's AC) increase the character's effective Massive Damage threshold according to the AC Bonus they grant. For example, a character with a Constitution Score of 13 wearing Full Plate and wielding a Heavy Steel Shield would have an effective Massive Damage Threshold of 23.

Creatures immune to critical hits are also immune to the effects of massive damage.

Diminished HD

Beyond 10th level, characters do not gain additional HP according to their HD. Instead, they receive additional HP according to the following:

D6: +1
D8: +2
D10/D12: +3

If a character multiclasses beyond 10th level into a class with a higher HD, they gain the half of the difference between HDs to their HP. For example, a Twisted (d6 HD) multiclassing into Fighter (d10 HD) would gain +2 HP.

In addition to this, a characters Saving Throws max out at +10, barring Feats or Magical Items.

The idea here is to create a grim and gritty system for playing a low-level magic game. This is a setting I've written up for a low-power campaign and I'd like some feedback, please.


2005-12-12, 01:22 PM
I'm surprised noone else has commented on this yet.. Personally I think it sounds marvelous. :) Low-power, low-magic undead campaign - count me in! ;) I've considered fleshing out something similar myself, actually. I think I even ranted about it in a thread somewhere on the forums a few months back..

That Lanky Bugger
2005-12-12, 11:09 PM
I'm kinda surprised myself!

Anyways, yeah. I like the Undead, but they don't really make fearsome opponents to your standard D&D hero, just because he's generally so powerful. My goal with this project is to create an environment where even the most common group of Undead causes fear in the PCs, and where even the mention of a Vampire causes panic and chaos.

Any comments and criticism are welcome, MMad.

2005-12-13, 12:27 AM
Your corruption rules seem similar to the variant taint rules at a glance.

Taint (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/taint.htm)

Nice way of making it not so much low magic, but... dangerous magic.

That Lanky Bugger
2005-12-13, 12:52 AM
Those Taint rules are pretty interesting, but not quite the flavour I'm going for.

In the Land of Crypts (or whatever I wind up calling this thing), magic is definitely evil. All around evil. Any magic, no matter the intent behind it, is like a tar that clings to your soul. You can resist it, but you can't escape it. Eventually exposure to this magic leads to your own Undeath, leading you to become the very things you hunted. No matter how good and kind and benevolent you were in the use of your magic, you will eventually become a monstrosity that works against everything you once stood for.

Makes things nice and grim.

Edit: Ack, spelling.

2005-12-13, 01:44 AM
This is a wonderful concept. Undead, actually a challenge?! This is neat.

DM: "Okay, that's your final day, constitution bye bye!"

Player: "Yes! Now I'll become a vampire and slaughter my former comrades!"

DM: "Actually, replace 'vampire' with 'pathetic zombie', and 'slaughter' with 'die by the hand of'.

Player: *sniffle*

I like.

That Lanky Bugger
2005-12-13, 08:50 PM

PCs don't want anything to do with Corruption. The rules are the way they are because I want the players to constantly sit in fear of the possibility of associating with ANY magic. Even Healing Spells and Buffing Spells are to be used only when absolutely necessary for the survival of the group.

Also, I think keeping track of the Corruption points (as well as how close a Spellcaster is to Overchannelling) is the domain of the DM only. Magic in this game is no exact science, and so alternatives should be sought at any opportunity.