Art by Kanesha Bryant
Adventure Calendar is a series of 25 winter-themed random tables that mesh together to build an evolving setting and campaign for your favourite fantasy RPG, whatever that might be. You can learn more about the project and find the full list of published tables here.
1: THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAIN. Which is also the heart of the First and Final God, set on an ancient stone plinth in a chamber of volcanic rock. It beats once a year in midwinter, normally – now, it beats once a day at midnight, stacking up successive winters atop one another. If you can time it right (you really don’t want to be standing next to it when it beats) then you could potentially stop the First and Final God by stabbing it with a powerful enough weapon. Or: just freeze to death as urfrost leaks out of the puncture wound.
2: DWARVEN GODKILLER BOMB. A handful of these devices were built in bygone times by a well-funded sect of radical gnostic dwarves. Not content with simply maligning and badmouthing the gods in their incendiary books of secular philosophy, they also took to actively seeking out and killing them as revenge for previous crimes against dwarfkind – and the most popular method of doing so was the so-called Godkiller bomb, specially designed to detonate in this and as many neighbouring dimensions as possible. Unfortunately you can’t just order one; you’ll need to break into the abandoned dwarven vaults (which are beneath the occupied dwarven vaults, full of nasty pro-religion dwarves self-shackled to a blind idiot god), bypass whatever twisted clockwork guardians they left in place to guard the bombs, and lug the tremendously heavy and unstable device out of there and into the path of the First and Final God. (And then make sure you aren’t caught in the pan-dimensional shockwave once it detonates.)
3: BLACKIRON SPIKE. The First and Final God was betrayed by its ungrateful divine children in a manner familiar to gods everywhere and, unkillable and primordial as it was, it was pinned in place beneath the mountain Svartfjell with the Blackiron Spike – a massive pitted pin the size of a full-grown man’s leg, impossibly heavy and ancient, the first metal tool ever created. About three months ago, the cult of the Pinned God [link] pulled it out and things have been going steadily downhill since then.
Here’s the thing: you can’t hope to destroy the Blackiron Spike, as it’s made from the bones of the First and Final God itself. The cultists that pulled it out (the ones that survived, anyway) have been transporting it as far away from the writhing body as they can – they’ve managed to get it halfway across the Bone Steppes, en route to a major port on the other side where they can hand it off to allies in the south. Presumably someone could put it back in, if they were quick enough. [Teleportation magic or any spells that increase movement speed don’t work in the presence of the Blackiron Spike – it’s just too heavy, spiritually, to be affected. You can lug it about with a successful Hard Strength check though, or put it on a cart, just fine.]
4: THE DEVIL’S HOT ROD. Let’s not mince words here: this is a car. This is a big fat open-topped car with plush sinner-skin leather interior, a speedometer with goetic runes instead of numbers, an exhaust that roars like a lion who smokes two packs a day and a sawn-off shotgun in the glove compartment [2D8+Dex damage; you can’t reload it but there’s a new one in there every time you open it]. It runs on the souls of the damned and is powerful enough to chew through anything that the First and Final God can try to slow it down with. You could probably use it as a ramming weapon too [3D10 damage at speed, ignoring magical protections] but the Devil would be awful upset if you damaged the paint job (he got Michelangelo in special to do it).
5: THE FIRST AND FINAL AXE. This is the hand-axe of the god of the same name – lost during its original fight against the upstart deities (or peacefully relinquished as the god went into torpor, depending on which version of the legend you go by) and transformed into the mountain Svartfjell itself. If you know the right words, and have power enough to speak them aloud, you can summon it to your hand. Thankfully, it appears at a regular axe-size for you.
[If it’s thematically appropriate, Svartfjell disappears when you summon the axe. If not, assume that the mountain is a pale imitation of the axe, and sticks around for now – especially useful if you want to have a climactic fight atop it.]
The stone-bladed axe is designed to fell World-Trees and behead gods, so it’s really not designed for mortal hands. You probably have enough divinity inherent in you to make two or three swings before your blood catches fire or you’re utterly hollowed out from the strain, so use them wisely. [+6 handaxe. If you hit, you inflict 5D20+6 damage, but you take an equal amount of damage yourself. Don’t try to get clever with this in regards to DR or feats or anything like that – you take the damage. If you take more damage than you have hit points remaining, you explode and inflict 2D10 damage on everyone around you.]
6: THE GREAT STONE CALENDAR. In one of the lesser-known monasteries of Dovescopp, the acolytes worship a stone calendar that predicts the end of the world. (Or rather: it stops, right about now-ish, and it’s been eerily accurate for the last thousand years or so.) Their sacred books (also in stone, but slightly smaller) say that their god of divisions, measuring and boundaries created and bestowed it upon them. How can something carved in stone a thousand years ago be accurate in terms of seasonal variations, dates and times? Easy: it isn’t describing the world. The world’s describing it. The Great Stone Calendar is calling the shots. So theoretically if you can get hold of some truly epic stoneworking tools, you can extend it – and there’s the corpse of more than one creator god rotting on the foothills of Svartfjell at present, so presumably you can rifle through their celestial pockets in search of something suitable.
Make sure you get it right, though. You don’t want to end up trapped in a time-loop forever because your chisel hand slipped. Or accidentally scrub out the last four hundred years of mortal civilisation before you die.
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