"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Monday, April 25, 2011

U - Unearthed, Underworld, Ulcers, Umbra

Unearthed Arcana was released in what I would call the silver age of roleplaying. Not in that it was the second best but using the age rankings from the comic world. I personally think that the 1e products were the best products that TSR ever released. Unearthed Arcana which came out near the tail end of the 1e is probably the weakest of these. Even the Wilderness and Dungeoneers Survival Guides were probably better. The spells and magic items in the UA are not overly bad. I think it was the character classes that did it in....that and comeliness. Still it is worth picking up if you can find a copy that hasn't fallen apart...I forgot to mention that there were binding issues didn't I. Most people may not know because it didn't get opened that much.


Underworld is not the modern era vampire movie as they have come to be though it has parts of it. The pros of the movie would be Kate Beckinsale, political intrigue amongst the vampires, a war with the lycans, a new spin on the genre where lycans were created to serve the vampires, the gothic nature of the vampires and did I mention Kate Beckinsale in a leather cat suit. On the downside the entire romance angle is overplayed and the vampire villains are not as good as the lycan villains. The followup was not all that great either though the third installment was somewhat better than the second. I would say watch the first one and leave it at that. This could serve as inspiration for a World of Darkness or Vampire game setting or perhaps something along the line of Chill or even a side adventure in a CoC campaign.  So over all and you again Kate Beckinsale in a leather cat suit wielding killer weapons!


Ulcers have begun appearing on the land near the outskirts of the local village. They appear at random and go down farther than anyone has been able to safely explore. When they first open there is a release of gas that kills anything nearby. There has never been anything like this and there are no other physical manifestations of what would suggest natural phenomenon. The ulcers go down anywhere between 900 and 1600 feet and are treacherous to navigate. Getting to the bottom of one will allow the players to discover a previously unknown mega cavern system to explore. The reason for the ulcers is still not readily discernible. Is is a naturally occurring event such as escaping seismic gases or is something more sinister such as breaks into the Prime Material from an elemental or quasi elemental   plane. Or is it the natural inhabitants opening cracks so that they can receive fresh air where theirs is becoming lethal....


Umbra Dust is a magical item that will be of limited use to an adventuring party but of great use to anyone with a keep, established residence or business. Umbra Dust when used will create an area of complete and utter darkness that no light source can penetrate or exist in. The person using the dust though can see in it as they normally would with available light sources they carry or are in the area. The darkness once created is permanent unless dispelled by a Wish, Limited Wish or Dispel Magic where the latter needs to be cast by caster of no less than 18th level. Anyone entering into the areas of darkness will have a -8 applied to all rolls for anything they attempt to do and anything based on sight will fail. When found, unless the DM feels otherwise, there will be enough dust to mark out a 50' x 50' area. The darkness will extend as high and as far down as the average of all sides used to create the area of darkness and is stopped by walls and the like. Umbra Dust is made with materials of the Negative Material Plane, The Demi-Plane of Shadow and Limbo. Light absorbed by the darkness serves to feed creatures on those planes and they will linger near the points of contact. Should the darkness ever be canceled there is a 50% chance that a creature from one of those planes can make it through as a result.


Anonymous said...

Good post!
I like UA, but I also hardly used it. Maybe it gets a bad rap, but there isn't much in it that made ooh and ahh. The Dungeoneers book was the last of the cool ones. Even the Wilderness book was a little weak.

Wymarc said...

Thanks for the comment on the post. Not sure if anyone reads them or not. I would agree with that. The classes hurt the UA. It was very munchkinesque to me. The DSG was better than the WSG. The DSG made me want to create an entirely underground campaign.

Anonymous said...

The DSG was the best of the the 3 last supplemental books, most definitely!

You could buy old RPG material until you went broke or save loot and mine the heck outta that book!

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