Thursday, October 29, 2020

Urheim: Lower Gatehouse

Today is my birthday, but I'm going to give my readers a gift by presenting the first entry describing the ruined monastery of St. Gaxyg-at-Urheim. My plan is to reveal a new area of the ruins each week, building it up slowly over time. Other posts relating to Urheim, such as new monsters and character classes, may appear more often.

Since this is the start of the series, I'm still getting a handle on the best way to present each section. Constructive criticism of the format I've adopted is appreciated, as are comments about pertinent details I might have left out of the entries below. My goal is to present an interesting, fun, and usable adventure locale for use with Old School Essentials and similar games over the course of the weeks and months to come.
Map by FrDave

Lower Gatehouse

LG.1 Barbican

Doors: Metal reinforced oak.
  • Neither door is locked or barred.
  • However, opening either requires a cumulative STR bonus of 2+.
  • Any attempt to open either door alerts the guards within, who ready themselves for an attack.
Light: Lit by by 6 torches.
  • Smoke from the torches visibly escapes from vents in walls.
7 Mercenaries
  • Company of the Quarrel mercenaries, now turned to brigandage.
  • Under orders to keep watch for intruders approaching the monastery ruins from the south.
  • If they break morale, they will flee to LG.2 to alert their comrades.
  • If captured and interrogated, they know little beyond their orders, the inhabitants of LG.2, and the name (Captain Foulque) and location (the Upper Temple) of the company's leader.
  • Each bandit carries 13sp.
AC 6 [13], HD 1 (2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 6, 7hp), Att 1 × sword (1d8), THAC0 19 [0], MV 120' (40'), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (F1), ML 8, AL Neutral, XP 10.

LG.2 Guardroom

Approach: If approached from the south, the 3 mercenaries (see below) attack with crossbows through arrow slits.

Door: Metal reinforced oak.
  • Door is not locked or barred.
  • Opening the door requires a cumulative STR bonus of 2+.
  • Any attempt to open the door alerts the guards within, who ready themselves for an attack.
Light: Lit by 8 torches
  • Smoke from the torches visibly escape from wall vents and arrow slits.
Smell: Unpleasant odor suffuses the room and can be detected even outside the room.

3 Mercenaries
  • Company of the Quarrel mercenaries exactly like those in LG.1 (see above), except for increased morale.
  • Part of an elite detail to assist Sergeant Gralam (see below).
  • Each bandit carries 24sp and 1 gem (worth 10gp) – hazard pay.
AC 6 [13], HD 1 (6, 6, 8hp), Att 1 × sword (1d8) or 1 × crossbow (1d6), THAC0 19 [0], MV 120' (40'), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (F1), ML 10, AL Neutral, XP 10.

Sergeant Gralam
  • Duty commander of detail to keep and handle the wyvern (see below).
  • If he and his men are outnumbered, Gralam will release the wyvern to attack them. Otherwise, they will leave it chained in the center of the room.
  • If captured and interrogated, will not willingly reveal anything about the Company of the Quarrel or their present activities.
  • Carries 2 gems (worth 10 gp each) and jewel-inlaid dagger worth 500 gp, as well as key to unlock the wyvern's chain.
AC 5 [14], HD 3 (18hp), Att 1 × sword (1d8) or 1 × dagger (1d4), THAC0 19 [0], MV 120' (40'), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (F3), ML 11, AL Neutral, XP 35.

1 Wyvern
  • Young specimen caught and trained by Captain Foulque while on campaign in the Murklands.
  • Poison is weaker than adult (saving throws at +2).
  • On short (10') chain in center of room.
  • Poorly treated and will turn on Gralam and the mercenaries if its or their morale breaks.
AC 5 [14], HD 4 (20hp), Att 1 × bite (1d8), 1 × sting (1d4 + poison), THAC0 16 [+3], MV 90' (30') / 240' (80') flying, SV D10 W11 P12 B13 S14, ML 9, AL Neutral, XP 125.

Ruined Buildings

R.1 Tithe Barn

Debris: Shallow heap of splintered wood.

R.2 Stables

Debris: Jumble of stonework and decaying beams of heavy wood.
  • A successful search for secret doors reveals a battered leather bag, inside of which a magical bridle that, when placed on a horse, grants +1 morale.

R.3 Barracks

Rubble: Sprawling pile of stones mixed with shattered wood.
  • Spending 1 turn searching through the rubble turns up a silver holy symbol of St Gaxyg (worth 50 gp).


  1. Happy Birthday! Today is also my wife's birthday.

    The grey-shaded areas are cellars or...?

  2. Nevermind...I didn't scroll far enough.

    1. No worries! I don't use jump breaks often, so I can completely understand the confusion.

  3. Happy Birthday!
    And thank you for all the inspiration you provide through this blog!

  4. Happy birthday to you!

    Glad to know I'm not the only person who had a Saint Gygax in their games. :)

  5. Happy birthday!

    Maybe you need a keyed item for outside, else the note about "they will fire out the arrow slits" might not be noticed until the party is already entering that room, at which its too late for the DM to make use of it.

  6. Happy Birthday! What level range do you anticipate the location to be for?

    1. I had a vague notion of its being low to mid-range (1–5) for the surface locations, while the underworld levels below would be for higher levels. However, I'm currently constructing it in a vaguely naturalistic fashion, so I'm not thinking of level ranges so much as what makes sense. I may change my thinking as time goes on.

  7. Happy Birthday!

    As for your map, you do need an outdoor scale as well as the interior. Not sure what software you used but if it has layers I would make a outdoor grid just below the interior grid layer and the floor layer.

    Make it a different shade of gray as the background you use for the outside is different than the interior so you will need a different shade to make it visible. However by doing so you will still keep the visual distinction between what inside and what outside.

    1. That's very helpful. Thank you.

      The maps were made for me by someone else long ago and I am considering having them redone for clarity's sake. We shall see if it's worth it, depending on how far along I get in this project.

      But your suggestions are very useful. Thanks again.

    2. Happy birthday! Many years, as we Orthodox say. I am pretty sure I still have those files. The graph was a masked layer, so it would be very easy to flip a switch and have it appear on the whole map.

    3. Thank you for the birthday wishes. As for the map, we can talk about that, if you'd like. Right now, there's still much work to be done on my end, so it's not a huge priority.

  8. I like the magic item - it feels slightly useful, but also slightly different. Though I always wish there were good mounted combat rules in D&D...

    1. Thanks!

      Agreed on the mounted combat rules. It's actually something I've been noodling around with, so I may have some to share in the weeks to come.

  9. This is great! Like the idea of the wyvern turning on the mercenaries. Excited to see the direction it takes.

  10. Happy Birthday!!

    Which way is North?

    1. It's oriented toward the north, but that should probably be noted in the final maps. Thanks for pointing that out.