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Vial of Galadriel

The gathering of the White Council

Moon letters are discovered by Elrond

A Catholic Perpective
Welcome to !
What inspired me to create this webpage?
I suppose it's partly due to the fact that as I have visited many different online communities devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien's work, I have discovered how passionate people are about protecting the true spirit of Tolkien's labours; especially with the current release of the cinematic versions of the Lord of the Rings and the new readers the movies are bringing into the fold.
In my travels through cyberspace, I have encountered many different views on the themes behind the Lord of the Rings [and Middle-earth in general] and Tolkien's motivation for writing this epic; and while I have read articles and books referring to certain Christian theme in the Lord of the Rings, I have never found online, a website that deals with the subject in a complete, in-depth and satisfying manner.

Not only that, I have not found online, a well expressed Catholic viewpoint on the Lord of the Rings.

Therefore, after some reading and research, I will try to discuss to a reasonable level why I believe Tolkien's faith played an important part in his life's work.

As for me, I am no Tolkien scholar, nor expert. And this is just an amateur webpage, not a book or biography. This is not an exhaustive text, but rather a discussion that will try to highlight the key components of Catholicism in Tolkien's work.
And of course I love the book. Why else would I do this?

Obviously I am Catholic; I have spent some time in monastic life in France in the heart of the Church and, of course I have read the Lord of the Rings multiple times, including the Silmarillion,Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earththe History of Middle-earth [HoME] and an assortment of Tolkien's letters.

Bear in mind that this is not trying to make the Lord of the Rings into a fifth Gospel or make it some spiritual work that one must read, but rather point out some beautiful parallels and symbolism in a popular fictional story written by a Catholic. It is also not trying to imply that theonly driving forces behind the story are Catholic or Christian. There are obviously many others.

You don't have to be Catholic or Christian to follow this discussion but you probably do need to have read the Lord of the Rings.

The references and quotes for this discussion have come from a variety of sources but most predominately from:
Tolkien: Man and Myth, - Joseph Pearce
Tolkien: A Celebration, - Joseph Pearce
Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, - edited by Humphrey Carpenter & Christopher Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien: A biography, - Humphrey Carpenter
The History of Middle-earth, - edited by Christopher Tolkien
Lord of the Rings, - J.R.R. Tolkien
To buy these great books, go to and search under their names. Another book worth buying is "The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings"by philosopher Peter Kreeft: it can be purchased here

It's worth reading this website in sequential order as it's been written that way [except for the latest updates], but be warned this is a reasonably long discussion....!!

If you would like to contact me please use this address:

Now, if you're still here, alors commençons...


Student of Caiphon - Paragon Path

The Dream Whisperer pays more attention to the world than any other of its ilk. It might have a plan and a part to play in the world final destiny.

Prerequisites: Warlock class, star pact

You studied the limitless abysses and the bright points of enigmatic light that hang between them. You listened to the baffling disordered sounds that emerged from the simple astronomical lenses you used for your study. You learned the stars were not the innocent lamps above the world that most assumed. Despite this unsettling knowledge, you continued your study, eventually narrowing your concentration to just one star star named Caiphon. That when the dreams began.

You dreamed of a fitful star of purple fire. You walked in its light to the edge of a slime-lined pit that pulsed and heaved like a living maw, eager to consume. You hurled yourself into the cavity as the purple star flared. You fell into an amoebic sea, where you were digested over the course of a thousand years, or perhaps just one night.

When you woke, your eyes were opalescent purple orbs, and Caiphon began whispering-whispering- into your ear. Even though you could hear only the merest fragments of Caiphon never-ending instructions and insights, a knowing smile stitched itself across your face.

Student of Caiphon Path Features

Star Bright (11th level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action, if you use your action to make an attack that hits, that hit deals ongoing 5 radiant damage (save ends). Such powers are considered to have the radiant keyword.

Caiphon Guidance (11th level): You can score critical hits with fear and radiant powers on a roll of 18-20

Caiphon Intercession (16th level): You can choose to use Caiphon Intercession in place of your Fate of the Void pact boon when an enemy under your Warlock Curse drops to 0 hit points or fewer. One ally of your choice within 10 squares of you can make an immediate melee basic attack against a target you choose; if the attack hits, it deals ongoing 5 radiant damage (save ends) in addition to normal damage. If your ally makes the attack, Caiphon takes its due and deals 5 damage to your ally. If your ally refuses to accept Caiphon Intercession, you take 5 damage (despite the fact no attack was made); in such an instance, you regain the use of Fate of the Void pact boon for the dropped target.

Ritually Speaking

At your command, walls of earth rise around your position and offer protection.

In Dungeons & Dragons, rituals provide some of the most flexible options for your heroes. They represent all the magic that isn't designed for combat, from cleansing your clothes to moving an entire village hundreds of miles across the continent. Rituals cost nothing to learn (though they might be expensive to find), so a ritual caster should learn as many as possible. Acquire all the rituals you can and accrue an enormous body of mystic literature describing the many strange things you can accomplish through ritual.

The Player's Handbook covers the basics of ritual casting. The assortment of travel rituals and exploration rituals there will keep you busy for a while. But when your ritual caster starts to feel the pinch, gets the urge to have more options hidden under the cover of that expensive ritual book, take a look here. Some of these rituals expand on the ideas in the Player's Handbook, pushing the boundaries of teleportation or interpolating lesser wards, and others break new ground - literally, in the case of Excavation.

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Traps More Fun

10. Reward the PCs with treasure. Perhaps the last victim’s skeleton
is still impaled on the spear trap, including his belt pouch.
9. Reveal a world detail. Perhaps the falling block from the ceiling
reveals the ghoulish carving that represents the true deity of the
8. Have an encounter with the trap keeper. The PCs can discover
information about later traps (assuming the clever trap keeper
doesn’t figure out a way to deceive them).
7. Give an adventure tip. The iron portcullis that drops down to seal
the PCs in the hall of spinning blades has a representation of the
dungeon complex in the pattern of its iron bars. It’s a map!
6. Give the players something to learn. If removing the green gem
set off the statue’s trap, stepping on the green mosaic in the floor
sounded the alarm, and turning the green-handled crank made the
bridge turn sideways, the PCs might think twice about opening that
giant green door.
5. Reveal a new section of the dungeon. The spiked pit might have
an access tunnel so that bodies and valuables can be retrieved without
a risky climb into the pit.
4. Team it with other traps. The trapped chest is a bit more interesting
when it sits on the lap of a fire-breathing statue in a room where
poison darts shoot from the wall.
3. Give the PCs control. The PCs reset the trap and trick their foe
into stepping into it.
2. Provide ways for every PC to contribute. Maybe the wizard
can make an Arcana check to reveal a panel hidden by an illusion.
Perhaps the fighter can try to hold the trap open with a Strength
1. Combine it with combat. The room with pit traps is a lot more
interesting if the PCs can push monsters in the pits.
For more advice about how to use traps, check out this article:
Although its traps are designed for the third edition of the game,
much of the advice in the article remains useful.

Demon Princes Among Us

Red and black skin, wings and sharp teeth. Heated breath and flames emanating from the creature before you. That's the idealized description of a demon from the pits of the Abyss, and what this month's set of adventure ideas is all about: Demons. Of course, they don't all look like that. Some are made of weird tentacles and fungus parts, some are oozy, some are stunningly beautiful. But they all mean harm to mortals for one reason or another. Even evil mortals should beware dealing with them, for unlike devils they have no conception of keeping their word. This month, we look at a trio of very different adventure ideas in which demon lords play important roles.
Where Are My Musicians? -- Forgotten Realms
Some matters are settled with combat while others can be settled in more peaceful ways... such is the case in a dispute between halflings and grigs about which is the better fiddler. Though the halfling homeland is south in Luiren, there are halflings living all across Faerûn. A troupe of halfling bards settled in Essembra, the most populous city in Battledale, where they quickly gained a reputation for their music, especially their playing of fiddles. The local grigs became jealous, or bored (it's hard to say which with a grig), and challenged the halfling troupe to a contest to determine the best fiddlers of the dale. The grigs and halflings would meet in the central square of Essembra and play for the people, and the people would choose.
However, with everyone waiting and the grigs getting restless, the halflings have failed to show up. The grigs claim that they knew they would be beaten, but there are others in town who know that the Halflings would never choose to miss a musical contest. The bards' biggest fan, retired Purple Dragon Knight Kisthin Amadals, asks the heroes to find out what happened to the halflings. He had booked them to play at a party at his mansion the following evening, and hopes the heroes can find them in time.
So what did happen to them? Fame could be said to be the root of their current predicament. The ancient city of Myth Drannor is somewhat close to Essembra, a city rife with drow and demons and what have you. Recently, an aspect of Graz'zt was sent to work with the surface drow as a sign of a an apparent (if temporary) alliance with Lolth. In truth, Graz'zt seeks to turn the drow to his own service, or at least make good use of them. The aspect found conditions intolerable, and set about making himself comfortable in his new home. Comfort -- for an aspect of Graz'zt -- includes every kind of decadence, with music naturally being one excess that must be plumbed to its depths. The aspect heard about the halfling bards, and had them abducted just before the competition. They are now trapped somewhere close to Myth Drannor, forced to do things with music that it is best not to talk about.
Campaign Adaptation
Here are some suggestions for different campaign worlds. You'll want to get a copy of Fiendish Codex I to flesh out the demons you'll use, especially since it includes the statistics for Graz'zt. Any of the Myth Drannor publications should help too, as well as Races of the Wild for the elves that live in the vicinity.
Forgotten Realms: Set around Myth Drannor, as written.
Eberron: Set this adventure in the Eldeen Reaches. The Twilight Demesne would serve as home for the grigs, and the Gloaming could be where the aspect of Graz'zt is based.
Generic: You can really set this adventure anywhere there might be grigs living in your campaign world.
d20 Modern: There are probably only grigs in England, Wales, Ireland, or Scotland, if there are any at all. But you could make the sides into two opposing rock bands and have the adventure in Australia or the United States. The aspects convert easily to Modern Earth.
d100 Motivations
01-50 Kisthin Amadals really is concerned, though he expects he has to find another group for his party. However, he feels some obligation to have the bards tracked down, in case they are in trouble.
51-70 Kisthin Amadals is not a Purple Dragon Knight at all, but a slaver working for Thayans. He had planned to sell the bards into slavery, and used the party as an excuse to get them to his mansion so that they could be caught.
71-00 The grigs, who are being blamed by a large number of townsfolk ("You can't trust them damned faeries!"), also seek out the heroes for help, to clear their names and possibly avoid sudden vigilante-style justice.
d100 Complications
01-30 Myth Drannor offers its own complications, ranging from drow to demons to other nasty monsters. The adventures should have great difficulty operating within a few miles of the place. Maps of the great dungeon might be available to help them, and they could use the maps later for additional adventures.
31-50 Aspects of Graz'zt are as seductive as succubi, and would try to ensnare the heroes in a web of sensuality that diverts them from their real intentions.
51-75 Drow unhappy with the presence of the aspect of Graz'zt might be willing to help the adventurers... for a price.
76-00 A fearsome half-fiend green dragon has also made its home in the area, and likes to snack on halflings. Indeed, one of the bards was already lost to it. Dragon parts are always valuable, even if halflings are not.
Gnomelantis -- Eberron
Long before the Kingdom of Galifar arose on Khorvaire, the other kingdoms of the continent had grown and faded. The gnomes of Zilargo had, in the past, advanced their borders northward into what is now Breland by establishing a city called Yerosin on an island in the middle of Lake Brey. There, the Zil could better watch what other nations were doing, and there their wizards studied advanced magic away from the general population.
That all came to an end when the island and the city of Yerosin disappeared. In one night, the island was gone and the city along with it. No warning came, and it was some time before the loss was discovered because no one could get a communication out before the devastation hit. For millennia people have wondered what happened to Yerosin, but the city was forgotten by all but the gnomes who keep the records of their history in Zilargo.
A week or two ago, a small ship carrying valuable cargo was sailing across Lake Brey when it capsized and sank. Two of the sailors, who had water breathing magic, went down with the ship so that they could report its location. They returned with a story of a fantastic city of glowing lights and ghostly gnomish forms at the bottom of Lake Brey. Yerosin had been found at last.
Such a find attracts attention from treasure hunters and scholars alike, and the scholars of Morgrave University knew they had to get a jump on everyone, or else valuable clues to the fate of the city could be lost. They quickly hired adventurers to go to the site and find answers.
Campaign Adaptation
Here are some suggestions for different campaign worlds. Stormwrack will be useful for fleshing out the underwater aspects of this scenario and handling underwater combat. The aspects of Dagon and Juiblex are presented in the Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss web enhancement on the Wizards website, and the demon princes themselves are presented in Fiendish Codex I.
Forgotten Realms: Set the lost gnome city in the Sea of Fallen Stars, in the south near Turmish. Make sure it is far enough from any sahuagin or aquatic elf settlements that it would not have been discovered.
Eberron: Set this adventure as written in Lake Brey. It is the closest huge lake to the gnome nation of Zilargo.
Generic: Set this adventure at the bottom of a deep lake or sea, where it might eventually be discovered but is not likely to be.
d20 Modern: This adventure is suited for Atlantis-themed campaigns or areas, and you actually could use the island of Atlantis and extraterrestrial wizards or psionic aliens. Converting the demons should be easy enough.
Yerosin suffered a great magical calamity that resulted in the island sinking to the depths of the lake, weirdly preserving everyone in a kind of stasis. Gnomes stand as if they frozen in time while walking the streets; in fact, in the midst of all activities. Active spells are frozen too, creating very unusual perpetual illusions. Some spells have taken on life of their own and become living spells, though a living major image wanders around without hurting anyone. Many of the treasures of the gnomes have been looted by underwater creatures over the centuries, but many other treasures remain in hidden places.
The city has not been left idle in all these centuries. Different lake creatures have laired near it from time to time, and even a lich called it home for a time during the early years of the Last War. Now it's the home of a group of sea hags, aquatic demons and aquatic ogres that worship the ancient demon prince Dagon.
This area can be a suitable for a small adventure, or can open up a whole mini-campaign as the adventurers explore the city, fight the monsters there, and eventually try to raise it to the surface. It could even turn out that the original sinking of Yerosin was due to some pact with Dagon that must be undone.
d100 Motivations
01-50 Morgrave University is serious about its aims, though it would really like any recovered artifacts as well.
51-70 Scholars from the Library at Korranberg would also like to know about the lost city, and will pay the adventurers for a copy of whatever information they find. This would violate their contract with Morgrave University, but will make them very rich.
71-00 The gnomes of Zilargo are very interested in their lost city as well, but don't want any humans poking around there without responsible gnomes as guides.
d100 Complications
01-35 Other creatures live in the lake, and they are hungry.
36-55 An aspect of Dagon has recently appeared among the sea hags, in response to the discovery of the city by the surface folk. Its goal is to protect Dagon's worshippers.
56-70 An aspect of the Faceless Lord, Juiblex, has appeared here as well, to oppose the efforts of the aspect of Dagon and claim the underwater world and its treasures for its dread master.
71-00 The magic that brought down the city could be undone, and that would cause the city to rise and everything in it to return to life. The rising of the island would cause flooding in any towns surrounding Lake Brey.
Death and Burning Blood -- Forgotten Realms
Campaign Adaptation
Here are some suggestions for different campaign worlds. Frostburn should help you with the cold setting, and Silver Marches would be useful for the setting information if you are in the Forgotten Realms. The aspect of Kostchtchie is detailed in the Fiendish Codex I:
Hordes of the Abyss
web enhancement on the Wizards website, and Kostchtchie himself is presented in Fiendish Codex I.
Forgotten Realms: Set just south of the Spine of the World, as written.
Eberron: If you don't want to set this adventure on the Frostfell continent, you could have frost giant barbarians led by the aspect of Kostchtchie sail to the northern parts of Khorvaire and attack villages and towns there.
Generic: Barbarian hordes can crop up just about anywhere, but frost giant hordes require cold high peaks. Set this adventure somewhere in the cold north.
d20 Modern: Barbarian hordes are a thing of the past on Modern Earth (at least the real earth), but you might introduce some in Mongolia or Siberia. Giants would exist in a small enclave in an Urban Arcana campaign, and in that case the Alps and France or Spain might be an interesting setting.
The Sword Coast North is a harsh land of cold and mountains and almost constant conflict. Monsters from the Spine of the World threaten anyone who settles too close to the mountain range, and orc hordes sweep from the mountains to decimate the towns. In these lands, people either live in the large cities (which essentially function like islands), or in small groups on their own pursuing a living from the land. Rarely do these two "worlds" meet.
In Silverymoon lives a wizard called Nostar. He is developing a special cold-based spell to use against ice devils, and he needs some frost giant components (including a large patch of unmarked skin). In return for some adventurers going and getting what he needs, he is willing to offer one or more treasure maps that have come into his collection. He would want 10% of whatever is recovered, but he has maps to treasures in ancient Gauntlgtrym (see Lost Empires of Faerûn, page 143), Old Illusk (Lost Empires of Faerûn page 144), and a lost Netherese city in the edges of the Anauroch. Nostar can also tell them about the general area and where frost giants are most likely to be found.
Once on the way, the adventurers run into a small town that has been decimated by something quite large. Every person in town has been killed, all buildings destroyed, and blood covers everything. The people here were killed horribly, and tracks lead back toward the Lands Against the Wall.
Kostchtchie, demon lord of frost giants, has sent an aspect to a newly converted tribe of frost giants to lead them in bloody conquest of the lands around them. The aspect leads his giants against human settlements as well as other giant settlements -- even other frost giant settlements.
d100 Complications
01-40 Once the adventurers have the frost giant parts and have dealt with the raging tribe, they will attract the attention of other frost giants.
41-75 There are a lot of other monsters to worry about in the Spine of the World. The trip should be a constant battle, or series of battles, against a lot of frosty opponents.
76-00 The weather will complicate things as well, especially as the adventures get higher into the mountains.
About the Author
Robert Wiese entered the gaming hobby through the Boy Scouts and progressed from green recruit to head of the most powerful gaming fan organization in the world. He served as head of the RPGA Network for almost seven years, overseeing the creation of the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns, among other achievements. Eventually, he returned to private life in Reno, Nevada, where he spends as much time as possible with his wife, new son Owen, and many pets.
He is still involved in writing, organizing conventions, and playing, and he models proteins for the Biochemistry Department of the University of Nevada, Reno.

Ravaging Monsters

It seems sometimes that the natural purpose of D&D characters is to fight monsters; and this month, with Monster Manual V out, it's natural to turn our eyes toward more fights. So, let's do that, but not stop there. Use the hooks presented below to draw your players (and characters) beyond the fighting and into a more complex adventure. I give you the fight, or the excuse to get the PCs into the neighborhood, and the rest is up to you.
I love feedback. If you use the ideas in this column, email me at and tell me which ones and how they went. That helps me know what appeals and what doesn't, so that I can make more that are useful for you.
Keep Your Roots Away from Me -- Greyhawk
The arable land of Furyondy stretches for miles in every direction from where you stand, and though some of it has been torn up by war, the nation can still produce vast amounts of food. You are on the road from Littleberg, which you left yesterday, and are working your way northward toward Chendl on some business. The morning passes pleasantly on this sunny day, and as midday advances you anticipate reaching Chendl tomorrow. In the distance, maybe 100 feet away, you see some kind of a disturbance in the field, like something tearing up the ground from below. It moves toward you with surprising speed, and then a number of large roots launch themselves from under the topsoil at you.
The root creatures are burrow roots, a new creature from Monster Manual V. It you don't have this book, then you can replace the burrow roots with bulettes.
d100 Motivations
With an opening like this one, the PCs provide the motivation. However, as they investigate they find a number of people who want this problem solved and are genuine in their desires.
d100 Complications
00-40 The burrow roots are a new colony in the area that an evil druid planted to drive the farmers away and return the land to a wilder state.
41-75 The burrow roots were planted here by minions of Iuz, as a means of destabilizing the populace through fear. Hundreds of them are maturing in different "nests" within the region, and they will cause a mass panic if no one does anything. Finding the people (or whatever) behind them could be more difficult.
76-85 The burrow roots have broken free of whoever was controlling them and are now on a rampage of their own.
86-00 The roots have been around for months now, and several villages in the region are preparing to "root" them out and destroy them. However, the burrow roots are elusive and retreat before being destroyed. The frustration is increasing as farmers lose crops and livestock and cannot do anything about it.
Campaign Adaptation
Burrow roots could probably go anywhere. Using them this way is just one idea. They make good creatures that are controlled by some more powerful enemy.
Eberron: Anywhere in central Breland is a good place for this adventure. Placing it near a border allows you to tie them to some unresolved conflict from the Last War.
Forgotten Realms: Set this adventure in the Dalelands, somewhere where Zhentarim can be blamed for their presence. On the other hand, the Zhentarim don't have to be behind the infestation; drow are possible, and the Dales have a lot of enemies. They could even be tied to Sembian nobles or merchants.
Generic: This adventure goes in a rural area where some power, group, or person has a vested interest in terrorizing the populace. A small town nearby would help, or several villages. The mastermind should, ideally, be someone local.
Bring Back That Shepherd! -- Forgotten Realms
Tethyr is a beautiful country, with mountains and forests and rivers throughout. The greatest concentration of people is in the west near the sea, but Saradush and (newly) Riatavin are sizable communities in the east. The PCs are traveling north along the small road (seeing more and more use in recent years) from Saradush to Riatavin. Perhaps they recently sorted out the mess of "The Three Hagstekeers". Perhaps not. Whatever the reason, they find themselves on this small road. They have not seen anyone for a couple hours when they see, off to the east, a small flying dragon about half a mile away. It appears to those with good Spot check results to be carrying a sheep in one claw, and something small in the other. Really good Listen check results at this range allow them to hear cries for help. The creature, a wyvern, flies close toward them so that they can determine that the creature is carrying a human as well as the sheep, before veering off toward the nearby Omlarandin Mountains.
This may not be enough to get them interested, but Riatavin is still more than a day's travel away. This region is plentiful with farms and ranches, any of which could provide a place to stay. From the people there, the PCs learn that wyverns are flying out of the Omlarandins and snatching up farmers and shepherds in the plains north of the Omlarandins and south of Riatavin. Normally the creatures come out only to grab sheep for their meals, and the people around the Omlarandins have become accustomed to a small loss of livestock. The taking of shepherds and farmers is new, and everyone knows that the wyverns don't hunt such small creatures as humans for food. Since the frequency of attacks is rising, the people are worried, and any offers of help would be gratefully received.
If they don't stop with anyone for the night, then the following day the road passes close to a large field of sheep. The sheep are about 600 feet away from the road, attended by three shepherds (a brother and two sisters). As the PCs pass, two wyverns streak down from the sky and make attacks at sheep and shepherd alike. Once one grabs one of the shepherds, it flies off without even taking a sheep. The second takes a sheep, and grabs one of the women that was defending the sheep, and then flies off. The surviving family member begs the PCs to help rescue his or her siblings.
Note: This adventure works equally well with blackwings (a new creature in Monster Manual V). Change the mind flayers to mind flayer necromancers, and you're good to go.
d100 Motivations
While the motivations on the villain end may be varied, all the people here are simple folk who really need help from flying monsters. No one is capable of harnessing wyverns and throwing them at his or her friends.
d100 Complications
00-40 A pack of wyverns that lives in the Omlarandins has been dominated by a group of mind flayers that reached the surface from the Underdark in the mountain range. They are using the wyverns to collect slaves and food, since wyvern brain is not nearly as good as humanoid brain.
41-65 One survivor of a wyvern attack is in a village just north of the mountains. This woman, Zeradu Eldmina, remembers very little of her experience other than being snatched by a wyvern and dropped in the mountains. She barely survived by crawling into a place of hiding and then making her way out of the mountains days later. What really happened was that mind flayers dominated her and modified her memory, and she is now a plant among the humans and delivers information to the mind flayers without remembering doing so.
66-90 The wyverns are working on their own. There is a half-fiend wyvern leading and organizing the creatures for some fiendish purpose.
91-00 The creatures making the attacks on humans are not wyverns at all, but some kind of shapechanged creatures. The PCs can slay wyverns to their hearts' content without solving the problem. They have to dig deeper.
Campaign Adaptation
You can probably work some wyverns into your campaign and, with them, this adventure idea. Lords of Madness would help with the mind flayers, assuming you go that route, and Fiendish Codex IandFiendish Codex II would help if you decide on shapechanged fiends instead.
Eberron: Though Droaam no doubt has wyverns and mind flayers, it's kind of short on humanoids working farms. Try Karrnath instead, where this could be a welcome change from undead.
Generic: Takes some farms, add some wyverns and some mind flayers perhaps (for spice), stir well and heat until boiling, then simmer a few hours.
Greyhawk: The Theocracy of the Pale works, or perhaps the Duchy of Tenh with the wyverns coming from a forest nearby. Ahlissa, especially in the south, is also a good location.
That's a Big Bug -- Eberron
During the Last War, the nations of Khorvaire were using just about every kind of creature or ally they could (which is great for DMs since it allows you to tailor your campaign with new creatures as needed or desired). This was especially true of the last years of the war, when resources were running very low. And Cyre was the most desperate of nations. Situated in the middle, it was attacked on all sides throughout the Last War. The leaders of Cyre used both House Cannith devices and creatures from other planes. When the Day of Mourning came, these creatures were left behind to survive as best as they could.
Valenar is a land of warlike elves that continues to make raids on its neighbors (not the Mournland, but Karrnath and the Talenta Plains). But some elves engage in more peaceful lifestyles, and many small communities exist in the northern part of the country near the Blade Desert and the Mournland. The PCs are visiting one of the major cities of Valenar when they hear rumors of destruction in the north. The rumors are crazy and varied, running from "it's nothing" to "a whole village was destroyed by demon beetles!"
House Lyrandar has land in the northern part of the country, and a lesser member of this house named Zeradu sends a note to the PCs asking them to meet him at his favorite tavern. He explains that the rumors are probably nothing, but they talk of events that have happened very close to House Lyrandar land and the senior members of the house are concerned. He offers the PCs either gold or an exchange of services (depending on what will motivate them) to go north, see what is going on, and make sure that whatever it is doesn't affect House Lyrandar.
d100 Motivations
00-45 Zeradu hopes that his swift action in this "crisis" will bring him to the notice of senior house members and lead to a promotion. He hopes there is something horribly wrong, and that the PCs can take care of it so that he can claim credit for as much as possible.
46-75 Zeradu hates this assignment and wants out of this elf-infested country. He hopes that by solving this problem he can come to the notice of house officials elsewhere and get a transfer. His hatred of his current situation is poorly hidden in his attitude, and he would not mind at all if some elves died so that he could be transferred.
76-00 Zeradu is being manipulated into what someone thinks is a fool's errand. The manipulator knows of Zeradu's ambition (see first option) but thinks that there is nothing to the rumors. By taking a lot of effort over nothing, Zeradu can be made to look like a fool and a waster of house resources, and the manipulator can remove him from the house. Perhaps the two are vying for the same woman?
d100 Complications
00-75 There are destroyed villages and even a small town. Siege beetles (see Monster Manual V) from the plane of Shavarath were called into Cyre during the Last War, and they remain still. They have wandered over the border and through the Blade Desert looking for food, since they have cleaned out the corpses in the southern part of the Mournland. They are mindless but hungry vermin who avoid armed traveling groups but attack settlements.
76-90 Siege beetles are involved, but only two. Karrnathi war groups that are tired of the Valaes Tairn raids use them. They seek to lure a raiding group into a trap and are using the beetles to create havoc in the hope of tricking the elves into preparing for the wrong foes.
91-00 A demon prince of Shavarath sent the siege beetles to exact revenge on the elves because a group of Valaes Tairn invaded the demon prince's fortress and disrupted a major offensive against a devil lord's forces. The siege beetles might be half-fiends as well, and other demons may be waiting to tear apart vulnerable elven flesh. The PCs would simply be in the way of the demon prince's goal of obliterating Valenar a little at a time.
Campaign Adaptation
Because siege beetles appear near fields of carnage, or are used there by spellcasters, this adventure idea doesn't fit just anywhere. But, once you find a good spot for the beetles, all you need is your core books and Monster Manual V to run it.
Forgotten Realms: The area around the High Moor is very good for this adventure, since the High Moor is the blasted graveyard of the destroyed Miyeritar elven kingdom. Siege beetles could have come from Acheron to clean an area of the Moor so that someone else could establish a fortification.
Generic: The siege beetles should come from a battlefield area, preferably in the wilderness, because they eat corpses.
Greyhawk: Ancient battlefields are not plentiful, but you could set this adventure in the Shield Lands where they meet with the Lands of Iuz. A lot of battles take place there, and it would be natural for siege beetles to be called to the area.
About the Author
Robert Wiese has been playing D&D since 1978 after he watched a game played in the car on the way home from a Boy Scouts meeting. He was fascinated, and delved into this strange world of dragons and magic and sourcebooks. Years later, he was hired to edit tournaments for the RPGA Network, and from there progressed to running the network after his boss was assassinated in the great Christmas purge of 1996. Times were tough, but he persevered and brought the RPGA into a shining new era. Eventually he met a girl who liked to play D&D too, and he left Renton for the warmth and casinos of Reno, Nevada. Now, he works in the Pharmacology department of UNR studying mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda and son Owen.

Devilish Doings

When devils get involved with a scheme, the complexity of it all spirals almost beyond mortal imagining. And this is not surprising, as hell is perhaps the greatest bureaucracy in all of existence. All the devils plan and plot and try to outplot each other without being, in turn, outplotted. This month, the new Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of Hell comes out, and boy is it cool. It contains a whole lot on devils, including a section on playing devils and some information about the deviousness of devilish plots. Thus, this month's hooks all involve devils in some way. So enjoy, and we may see you again next year. Unless the devils get us, that is.
Devils from the Sea -- Forgotten Realms
Ravens Bluff has been called the City of Adventurers, because almost nowhere else on all of Faerûn will you find so many in one place. The Vast is a dangerous place, and something always happens that requires a hero. This night is no exception. The PCs are walking the docks of the city, perhaps looking to spend the evening at the unique underwater bar called Sharkey's. The sea, however, comes to them as dark shapes rise from the waters and move into the pools of light created by the street lamps. They also swarm the ships tied to the docks, and start killing everything that walks on land. The creatures, sahuagin, seem driven to recklessness and their attack has a ferocity not normally reported for sahuagin attacks.
Once the PCs have helped drive the devils of the sea back beneath the waves, they are approached by Corwin Stark, a representative of the Merchant's Guild. Stark invites them into a tavern, and in true Ravens Bluff style seeks their help in preventing further attacks. This is the second, he reports, in the last month. He has wealth to offer, but he also knows that the sahuagin probably have wealth too, and the less he can offer the PCs the better.
Campaign Adaptation
Sahuagin raids are pretty common in any campaign world in which the creatures exist. Here are some suggestions for other campaigns. You may find Stormwrack very useful for the underwater part of the adventure, and Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of Hell can help with the general tactics of devils. If you actually use Ravens Bluff as the setting, you might want to get your hands on LC4: Port of Ravens Bluff (a very old TSR publication) for information about the dockside businesses. Cityscape could also be useful in this regard.
Eberron: Sahuagin are prominent underneath the main water approach to Xen'drik, so that might be a good place for this adventure.
Generic: A coast near a sahuagin settlement is all you need. It doesn't even have to be a coast, since the sahuagin could be raiding ships or floating cities or small island communities. Having some aquatic elves nearby could add some complications.
d20 Modern: I can picture sahuagin living in the Ring of Fire area of the Pacific, so perhaps Japan would be a good site for this adventure. Or Australia.
d100 Motivations
01-40 The merchants are sincere; they really want the attacks prevented.
41-65 One merchant has made an alliance with the sahuagin and is using them against his or her rivals.
66-85 The Merchant's Guild senior members really want to enslave the sahuagin, and think they can do so. They want the PCs to find the sahuagin and report their location.
86-00 Some demons led by an aspect of Demogorgon, along with some ixitachitl, are working against the sahuagin, but don't want interference from the PCs either.
d100 Complications
01-50 The sahuagin raids, which have happened all along the coast of the Vast as well as in Sembia, are motivated by the presence of an aspect of Sekolah (watch for the web enhancement for Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of Hell on the Wizards website), the sharklike god of the sahuagin. He is driving the creatures to show greater devotion to their devilish god.
51-75 The raids have been undertaken by different clans of sahuagin. Each of the clans involved is raiding the surface for weapons and wealth to use in the conflict in which the clans are involved. If not stopped, the conflict could devastate cities along the Sea of Fallen Stars.
76-90 Groups of aquatic ghouls are following the sahuagin and using the chaos of the attacks to claim weakened victims to eat.
91-00 A blue dragon is stirring up conflict among the sahuagin, and then picking them off slowly as they return from their raids with loot. Thus, the dragon increases its treasure hoard. [You might want the blue dragon to be Gargantuan, so you can use the new D&D Icons Gargantuan blue dragon mini coming out in January.]
Heartfelt Devotion -- Eberron
Walking the bridges that make up the "streets" of Sharn can be dangerous. Things can happen to you at any time -- especially at night when fog obscures the way on the upper walkway levels. This particular night, the PCs are on their way through the fog to somewhere when they hear a muffled scream and then a thunk. Running to the scene, they find either nothing at all or track marks of someone being dragged away, or maybe even a couple people dragging someone away.
They later find that a number of people have disappeared in the last few months in different ways. It's hard to determine exactly how many are connected because lots of people disappear in Sharn, but they eventually find a common link with enough of the victims to see that there is something going on.
If the PCs are not interested in looking into the one incident they (almost) witnessed, then a day or so after telling someone about it they are approached by the wife of a merchant who disappeared two months ago. She wants to hire them to find out what happened to her husband, and she hopes that there is some connection between her husband's disappearance and what the PCs told that they saw.
Campaign Adaptation
Cityscape would probably be quite useful for much of this adventure, though you could make the city part smaller and move the action to the wilderness. In that case, Races of the Wild or one of the environment-series books might be useful to you. And, of course, the two Fiendish Codex books should help if you play up the demon/devilish aspects.
Forgotten Realms: Any large city with a diverse religious panorama is suitable. Waterdeep may seem the best, but Selgaunt in Sembia is equally good.
Generic: Any large city with a diverse religious panorama is suitable. I just said that, didn't I?
d20 Modern: Any large . . . okay, okay. Try London, or Rome, or Cairo, or even Shanghai.
d100 Motivations
01-30 The merchant's wife, if she comes into it, is sincere.
31-60 The merchant's wife is a devil in disguise (or a demon, depending on who is behind the kidnappings). This creature does want the PCs to solve the disappearances, because that weakens the other side's current plan without any effort on the outsider's part.
61-75 Law enforcement officers don't want the PCs involved, and they hinder the PCs as much as is reasonably possible. One of the victims is a high-profile NPC and this person (or someone else close to the NPC) doesn't want certain details to come out.
76-00 The merchant's wife is a cultist who hires the PCs. Then the cult kidnaps anyone the PCs talk to, so that all the disappearances can be blamed on the PCs.
d100 Complications
01-40 Glasya, recently made an archdevil, seeks more power to use in the manipulative games that archdevils play. She hopes to open a large portal from Shavarath to Eberron and pull a whole city into the plane of endless conflict. This she would add to her realm. She needs a lot of hearts to be sacrificed to complete the spell, and her cult in Sharn has been collecting them. Over sixty people are imprisoned in the abandoned levels at the bottom of one of the oldest towers.
41-55 In addition to the above, a demon lord has learned of the plan and wishes to co-opt the whole endeavor at the last minute and steal the city out of Glaysa's grasp.
56-65 A cult that thinks it is following a devil is actually enslaved to a rakshasa. This creature is trying to free one of the greater rakshasas from its imprisonment in Khyber, and it needs living victims to do so.
66-85 Whoever is behind the kidnappings, the PCs are the final planned sacrifices. They are being drawn into the adventure by false information so that they come to false conclusions. At the "final" battle, if they are slain because they have miscalculated the opposition, whatever ritual the DM has chosen is completed.
86-00 The Blood of Vol is stealing the victims from the kidnappers and making them into vampire servants of Vol.
Beauty and the Ogres -- Forgotten Realms
Triel, south of the Western Heartlands, is a bustling but small town on the road between Waterdeep and Scornubel. A lot of trade passes through the town, but since it is not an endpoint, the merchants there do not see as much wealth as they might in Scornubel. The town has a direct road to Elturel, so folk can make some money by means other than service industries.
The Lord Mayor of Triel constantly schemes to bring more money into the city and more prestige to himself. Aside from a lot of raw talent, he is blessed (sort of) with a beautiful daughter named Melomine, who has a reputation for hanging with a lower class of crowd than her father would want. She also has a certain reputation among the young men. One evening, just after the PCs arrive in town, she returns from a party to her father's house and disappears. Tracks at the scene show that her coach stopped and a number of ogres surrounded it. No human tracks leave the area, but two of the ogres were carrying something heavy. A few drops of blood fell between the tracks as they led out town.
The following morning, the lord mayor's chamberlain finds the PCs where they are staying and hires them to find the missing girl. He offers either money or a part interest in a business venture that the lord mayor has just started.
Campaign Adaptation
Kidnappings are, unfortunately, oft-heard news stories, plus they aren't unusual in most published campaign settings. Thus, most campaign worlds can support this adventure. This adventure makes heavy use of material from Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss and Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of Hell. You might also want the new Cityscape supplement to flesh out your town environment.
Eberron: For variety, set this in Dragonroost in Zilargo, and make everyone gnomes. Or to be even crazier, set it in Grellreach in Darguun and make everyone into hobgoblins.
Generic: A town with a lord mayor that the PCs have never been to is what you need. If they have been there, then you have to explain how the mayor's daughter's disposition changed.
d20 Modern: Las Vegas, baby. It has to be. You can use humans, or bring in some shadow creatures and have the story unfold in a small, segregated community of weird creatures.
d100 Motivations
01-40 The lord mayor is sincere in wanting his daughter back, and the chamberlain does not lie to the PCs.
41-60 The lord mayor sold his daughter, who was too loose for his reputation to bear, to the ogres to pay off a debt.
61-80 Merchants in Elturel are responsible for the kidnapping, and they plan to use the girl as leverage to acquire controlling interest in the lord mayor's newest venture.
81-00 The lord mayor is sincere, but he is afraid that a political rival is behind the kidnapping. He doesn't want to be forced into an awkward situation and will sacrifice the girl, but he wants to try to find her first.
d100 Complications
01-35 Melomine is actually a pleasure devil (see Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of Hell) and has been for some time. The real Melomine was killed over a year ago, and the pleasure devil has been using her identity to corrupt the local priests and law officials. That is why Melomine is known to be somewhat loose with her affections. She wants to move on, so she set up this escape from Triel.
36-50 While the PCs are looking for Melomine, the lord mayor receives an ultimatum and must release some dangerous criminals to buy time. The PCs have to track them down too.
51-65 If Melomine dies (the PCs fail), she returns as a ghost and haunts the PCs and her father until put to rest.
66-90 While the PCs are searching, some spawns of Tiamat or cultists of Malcanthet (see Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss) grab Melomine from the ogres and leave few clues behind. The PCs have to contend with this new factor.
91-00 Melomine is actually a succubus servitor of Malcanthet, and an erinyes or a pleasure devil becomes allied with the PCs in a dubious way against the common demonic threat. The rewards from devils for success could be very interesting, including access to feats in Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of Hell.
About the Author
Robert Wiese entered the gaming hobby through the Boy Scouts and progressed from green recruit to head of the most powerful gaming fan organization in the world. He served as head of the RPGA Network for almost seven years, overseeing the creation of the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns, among other achievements. Eventually, he returned to private life in Reno, Nevada, where he spends as much time as possible with his wife, new son Owen, and many pets.
He is still involved in writing, organizing conventions, and playing, and he models proteins for the Biochemistry Department of the University of Nevada, Reno.