Runequest Thursday #156 - - 1d20 Things to find in The Big Rubble!

Clint Staples

Since my Brightwater Campaign is currently in the Big Rubble and likely to stay there for a little while, I decided to write up some odd happenings that they might encounter. Many of these refer in some way to the classic Runequest publication: Pavis and the Big Rubble. If you like Runequest and don't own that, you probably should. You can use these encounters even if you don't own it. In fact, they work pretty well as Ruin Encounters generally.

The image is of the city of Pavis, with the Big Rubble stretching out into the distance.


Things to Encounter in the Big Rubble: Just roll a d20 and you are good to go. Of course, you culd always roll 2d20 and combine the results, but that would lead to Chaos!

1. The lone remaining member of a Lunar patrol, wounded, mad, and raving about a trollish attack that captured the rest of his squad.

2. A large doorway consisting of two uprights and a lintel, built of local limestone. The Rune for Mastery is concealed in a repeating lock/key pattern engraving that frames the opening. If the entry is crossed precisely at Dawn on any night of Sacred Time, the doorway leads to a random place in the Godrealm. If it is passed through exactly at Midnight during any night of Sacred Time, the doorway leads to a random location in the Underworld.

3. A riverfolk vessel with no crew, filled with trading supplies, mostly metal domestic utensils, trade knives, tools, and beads and other items of interest to the nomads of Prax. The entire bottom of the boat is awash with blood.

4. A scorpionman, pinned to the ground by a massive shard of obsidian, but still clinging to life. If approached, he will beg for his life, claiming that “The Devil” staked him here because he tried to leave the cult of Bagog after having been forced through one of their horrible, transformative, initiation rites. He offers to serve whoever will rescue him, even lead them to the cult stronghold, or help them track “the Devil”. If given the opportunity, he would happily return to his former human state. There is a 40% chance he is lying.

5. A circle is laid out by a ring of low stones, with a single stone at the center. It is otherwise free of the ubiquitous rubble of the Rubble, is seared and scorched by with full light of Yelm. Anyone with a Fire/Sky rune connection who enter instantly recover 1d10 points of POWer Points or Hit Points and are affected by the Fanaticism spell for the next 1d4 Hours. Anyone with a Darkness rune connection that enters the area are blinded and take Fire Damage equivalent to Disruption 3. If a vampire were somehow convinced to enter the area, it bursts into flame immediately, suffering 1d10 POW and HP damage per turn.

6. A whirlwind rages within the confines of a reasonably intact building among the ruins, sending a plume of sand, dust and debris skyward. An angry spirit of storm has been trapped here by a potent set of wards. In its rage, it will attack any who enter, but would reward a friend who released it form its imprisonment with a single use of Telekinesis 3.

7. A temporary Night Market has been set up by an enterprising Argan Argar troll merchant, in an open square amidst the Rubble. If encountered during the hours of darkness, he is offering rare viands of “meat” and other produce from giant insects. If “discovered” during the day (Hide In Cover at 70%), his trollkin watchmen shriek and begin to throw stones, begging the “umani” to return at a civilized hour. There is a 60% chance that a band of Zorak Zoran trolls have camped within earshot, also waiting for nightfall.

8. A stone pillar, topped with the fresh and bloody head of a Bison Bullock. There is a 30% chance that the tortured spirit of the bullock is bound to the head.

9. A large “walking fish”, looking much like a sturgeon, but with sturdy and elongated “fins” with which it can move about on land, is waddling through the dust and ruins, heading in the direction of Puzzle Canal.

10. A small obelisk of black stone roughly carved with a trollish head and tusks, is the focus of a potent ward against Humans. Perhaps this remains from the time of Gerak Kag’s sealing of the Rubble, or perhaps it is a more recent item indicative of a troll claim to the region.

11. A dust-shrouded but colorful bead about the size of a human head, on a large loop of time-worn and hardened leather. Indecipherable symbols can almost be made out on the leather’s surface. There is a 25% chance that magic still clings to the giant bauble, and affects anyone within 1d10 yards with a POW 25 Befuddle spell. If this is so, one or more sets of remains (possibly skeletal, or more recent) attest to the strength and duration of the spell.

12. A bluish stone taller than a man thrusts like a roughly pointed pillar from the ruins, its base seems wider, and is mostly obscured by the rubble and bones in which its rests. This is a lost Toothstone from the Ancient Faceless Statue that Pavis befriended and led to the location that would become his city. If fighting occurs in its vicinity, the Toothstone animates as a rough-hewn quadruped of blue stone with gaping jaws. It will attack whichever combatants it judges to be more of a danger to the City (Luck Checks are appropriate here). If the fighting stops, it will transform into its former state wherever it happens to be at the time.

13. A large and powerful zebra stallion, its normally black stripes red, defends an ancient throne and its long dead occupant, a Praxian warlord with a sword of stone. The stallion, and his khan, are not hostile, unless there are any Sable Riders nearby, in which case both will go Berserk and attack them.

14. A scattering of coins glitter in the dust. Most are clacks, but among them are a pair of tokens for a free drink at Gimpy’s Tavern.

15. A scroll case containing a Lunar Chart, detailing the phases of the Red Moon, as well as several scribbled notes (in Pelorian) describing rebel bases to be attacked in the near future.

16. A broken idol of a powerfully built winged man with bestial fangs and horns. If the body is replaced on the stumps of the legs, the joins seal and the statue animates as a powerful servant of Cacodaemon.

17. A knife of obsidian glass, extremely sharp (+1 damage), but somewhat fragile (-2 Armor Points). Any dragonewt encountered is 50% likely to attack to regain the item, or gather others of its kind to do so in strength.

18. A block of salt approximately four feet on a side. It is stained with blood in several places, but some of the salt is still salvageable. There is a 25% chance that the blood is highly chaotic.  

19. A rather sickly looking cavetroll approaches, holding out a handful of silver and lead coins. It cannot speak, but if it is followed back to its lair, a badly wounded trollkin is found lying on a crude bed.

20. A large and impressive gargoyle perches atop a high point nearby, clearly surveying the area below. Less impulsive and savage than many of its kind, this gargoyle has established a range and acquired something of a chivalric mindset after encountering a heroquesting Humakti Runesword. Wielding the blade it was given by the Runesword, it will challenge the most martial seeming member of any band that enters its territory to single combat to first blood. If bested, it will offer to serve as a mercenary under the command of the one who bested it, at a cost of 1d4 Wheels per day.