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History | Geography | The 5 Kingdoms | Character Classes & Races | Magic | Creatures | Deities & Religion

The Usherwood Adventures Setting

Glossary          Plot Hooks

Contents

Chapter 1; History: this section is designed to provide GM and player alike with a broad overview of the events that have shaped the setting, its politics, geography, races, creatures, and religions as they now appear in the context of the game. GM's will find many plothooks within this section that may serve as the gensis for new diversions, adventures, or campaigns for their players.

Chapter 2; Geography: this section details the geographic features of the Verméan landscape, and also introduces the continents beyond Vermé.

Chapter 3; The 5 Kingdoms: the island-continent of Vermé is dominated by five ancient kingdoms. Given the small size of the landmass, the kingdoms have a rich and violent history with each other. This section details those relationships, and those areas that struggle to maintain their independence from the ruling families.

Chapter 4; Character Classes & Races: this section introduces campaign-inspired character classes and races, as well as discusses campaign-specific considerations for standard OSRIC classes and races.

Chapter 5; Magic: this section details new magical items, and optional rules systems to govern the casting of spells. It also introduces setting-inspired historical personages to provide depth and color to the magical sciences.

Chapter 6; Creatures: the Usherwood Adventures campaign setting is full of new creatures, providing your players with a new bullpen of challenging foes and helpful allies.

Chapter 7; Deities & Religion: the Usherwood Adventures campaign setting has a rich and diverse pantheon of gods, goddesses, demi-gods, and eternal heroes. This section details those personalities, as well as the inner and outer planes of existance.

Appendix A; Glossary: a definition of terms used throughout the Sourceweb.

Appendix B; Plothooks: a growing treasure trove of setting-inspired plothooks around which to design new adventures, campaigns, or as distractions to divert your players' attentions from their true path.

About the Usherwood Adventures Sourceweb

Contributors:
Created and Designed by; James D. Kramer
Play testers; Rog Leroux, Steve Vincent, Ian Brooks, Rob Steele, Bill Bullis, Bob Colwell, Dan Meyers
Website and map design; James D. Kramer
Featured artists; Peter Szmer, Hugh Vogt

Some artwork used is from Darkroom Productions and is © 2005 Darkroom Productions and Cutter's Guild Games. All rights reserved.
Some artwork copyright Paul Daly, used with permission.

Published and distributed by Usherwood Publishing, DBA James D. Kramer design services. All text and trade dress in this publication, other than the Open Gaming License (OGL), is Copyright © James D. Kramer design services. All rights reserved. Usherwood Adventures, the Usherwood Adventures logo, Usherwood Publishing, the Usherwood Publishing logo, and ll associated works are copyright © James D. Kramer design services. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication not designated as Open Game Content (OGC) may be reproduced or electronically transmitted, either in part or in whole, by any means, without the express written permission of the Copyright holder. To obtain permission to reproduce or electronically transmit content not expressly defined as OGC, contact the Copyright holder at jim.kramer@jdkds.com.com, or write to, James D. Kramer design services, 8615 3rd Dr. SE, Everett, WA 98208.

This product uses the OSRIC™ System (Oldschool System Reference and Index Compilation™). The OSRIC™ system text may be found at http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric. The OSRIC™ text is copyright of Stuart Marshall. "OSRIC™ " and "Oldschool System Reference and Index Compilation™" are trademarks of Stuart Marshall and Matthew Finch and may be used only in accordance with the OSRIC™ license. This product is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

 

Dedicated to anyone anywhere who ever enjoyed
the thrill of adventure; real or imagined.
— Kramer, Usherwood DM

 

"We don't cease to play because we grow old.
We grow old because we cease to play."
— George Bernard Shaw

 

Preface

This began its earliest manifestations in the pizza and soda-stained, scribbled-upon, red three-ring binder which served as my game folder almost 30 years ago as of this writing.

And who am I? I am a husband, father of four, freelance graphic designer, and hopeless gamer. In 1978 when I first discovered First Edition fantasy roleplaying games, I was 13-years old. The game was introduced to me by a pair of friends. That summer would find me playing every weekend. However, by the time I graduated from high school in 1982, time and companions with which to game virtually vanished from my life. All my books, notes, and painted lead miniatures would remain hidden in boxes until a summer day in 1996 and 1,500 miles from where I learned to play The Game; while cleaning out my home office, I happened across an old box, barely held together with bits of dried-out packaging tape.

Opening the box and finding those books, notes, and miniatures, I was hooked again. It was that simple.

At that time it began simply as a desire to clean-up and digitize those old manuscripts I wrote as a teenager for the fun and amusement of my friends online. The scope of the project quickly gained momentum as my old home-grown modules quickly grew into what would become The Bone-Hilt Sword campaign; a series of five modules.

But in order to accomplish that task, I needed a world in which to set the modules. From this realization came the Usherwood Adventures, and the campaign setting of Vermé.

What the Usherwood Adventures Soureweb is

Usherwood Adventures Soureweb is a detailed outline of a classic, high-fantasy role-playing campaign setting, and harkens back to those by-gone days in the latter 1970's, when table-top roleplaying was only just in its infancy as a mainstream source of social entertainment.

Every effort has been made to provide sufficient information required for the GM to run and create adventuring scenarios based in the lands of mythical Vermé, and set upon the world of Besh. The GM should use what components of the work fits their game and serves their players, incorporate their own rules and creations within the whole, and chuck the rest.

It is here important to note that I have not worked to provide a complete picture of the campaign setting. I have though worked to create a canvas upon which individual game masters may take the whole or parts thereof, and use this as the basis for their own campaign adventures. This work may be taken as it exists, and used wholly as your source for high adventure, else, use just those bits and pieces that meet your gaming preferences. It should be noted that though individual Usherwood Adventures modules and campaigns may be used outside the scope of this work, they were however written expressly to be played within this setting.

What the Usherwood Adventures Soureweb is not

Usherwood Adventures Soureweb is not intended to relate in excruciating detail every single object, creature, encounter, plant, animal, city, village, hamlet, etc. that might be encountered within the campaign setting. I have worked hard to provide sufficient information and detail for individual GM's to apply the setting (or pieces of the setting) to their own uses and game needs. Usherwood Adventures Soureweb can be used as the framework for your First Edition or OSRIC game, or may be dissected, using only those elements which satisfy the needs of the GM's creativity.

Usherwood Adventures Soureweb is not an inflexible rules-tome designed to make you play in the manner and with the sensibilities that this author does. You are fully encouraged to take the bits and pieces you like, incorporate them into your own game, and ignore the rest.

Usherwood Adventures Soureweb is not a replacement for the existing texts required to play the original First Edition and OSRIC fantasy roleplaying game system. In addition to this Sourceweb, you will also require access to the Players Handbook, the Monster Manuals, and the Dungeon Masters Guide of the First Edition game system published by TSR between 1978 and 1982. (Note: this author does not encourage nor condone the 'sharing' of these original, out of print texts through photocopying, file sharing, or through any other method. Please respect the lawful trademark holder's rights to this intellectual property by obtaining your materials through officially licensed providers, or re-sellers of used products. Careful shopping will even find nearly pristine original printings for approximately their original cover price (this shopper even found a PHB autographed by The Man himself—Gary Gygax—at a local Half Priced Book Store).

Otherwise, this campaign setting is compatible with the OSRIC SRD game rules, by downloading the compilation of rules for Old-School-style fantasy gaming http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/index.html.

Past editions of Dragon Magazine, circa 1978 through 1982 may also prove quite useful in some adventuring circumstances.

A Few Final Words Before You Begin

Finally, and most importantly, I address you, my fellow gamers. I regret to announce that, no, I did not build these materials for you. Nay my friends, this effort was guided from the beginning for one purpose, and one purpose only; my love of gaming, and my need for a creative outlet.

I can only hope you enjoy the work you now peruse, as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

 

May your worlds of fantasy and high-adventure
never leave your imagination.

 

Good Gaming!
Kramer
Everett, WA

Using the Usherwood Adventures Sourceweb

The following abbreviations will be used throughout the text to denote specific kinds of information;

AC: armor class; the measure of a character's/monster's defensive abilities in combative situations, and situations to avoid physical contact.

CHA: charisma; the measure of a character's physical attractiveness, leadership ability, and personal magnetism.

CON: constitution; the measure of a character's general state of health and stamina.

d# or #d#: dice; a lowercase 'd' followed by a number (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, %) indicates a specific die that is used for random number determination. Where preceded by a number indicates the number of times to roll the indicated die (i.e., 3d6 indicates a required roll of three six-sided die, producing a random number between 3 and 18).

DAM or Dmg: damage; the measure of damage inflicted by a given type of attack.

DDG: Deities & Demigods; refers to either the First Edition or Third Edition rules systems by the same names, a selection of divine beings and pantheons both fantastic and mythical.

DEX: dexterity; the measure of a character's agility, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and balance.

DMG: Dungeon Masters Guide; refers to the First Edition rules system, provides detailed information to a GM regarding many aspects of conducting a successful game.

GM: dungeon/game master; the individual running a game through which a combination of players are adventuring.

EXP: experience; the measure of a character's skill within her class (also an award of points due a character for the accomplishment of a specific task).

FEADAD or First Edition: refers to First Edition fantasy-based roleplaying game system texts originally published by TSR, Inc., c.1978-82.

FF: Fiend Folio; refers to the First Edition rules system, a collection of creatures most baleful.

HD: hit die; the number of die to be rolled to determine hit points (see below). Also, may be used to indicate the relative strength or toughness of a monster.

HP: hit points; the measure of the amount of physical damage a character/monster can sustain before unconsciousness or death will result.

INT: intelligence; the measure of a character's reasoning power (also, I.Q.).

MM or MM2: Monster Manual, and Monster Manual II; refers to the First Edition rules system, a collection of creatures, baleful and benign, arranged in two volumes.

OGC: Open Game Content; that portion of this work which may be used by publishers of content covered by the OGL (see below)

OGL: Open Game License; developed and distributed by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., allows for distribution of third-party content under these rules as allowed by compliance restrictions.

OSRIC: Old-School Reference and Index Compilation; a compilation of rules based the First Edition fantasy-based roleplaying game rules system into a free, open license.

PC: player character; the persona adopted by players within a game.

PHB: Players Handbook; refers to the First Edition rules system, describing the process for players to develop personalities to use in the game.

STR: strength; the measure of a character's muscle and physical brawn.

TH: "to hit"; die score require to strike an opponent in order to do damage.

WIS: wisdom; the measure of a character's insight, willpower, commonsense, intuition.

Save vs. Attribute

Certain circumstances may require a Save vs. Attribute roll by the player. The method assumed by this text is as follows; the player rolls 3d6 vs. the indicated attribute (STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, or CHA). A result equal to or less than the character's attribute score indicates a successful save. A result greater than the character's attribute score indicates a failed save, and the character suffers the appropriate penalty described in the encounter text. The required save may be adjusted to address a specific situation described in the encounter. A result of '18' will always indicate a failed Save vs. Attribute.

Multiple Save vs. Attribute rolls may be required in extraordinary circumstances.

About the Chapters

Each of the seven chapters presented here to describe the campaign setting are in a constant state of being updated, re-writing, editing, and proofreading. New material is added, and old irrelevant material is removed. Therefore, while some sections may seem fully developed, others may seem but partially completed. GM's should feel free to fill any gaps themselves, or shoot me an email if you have questions regarding something that isn't otherwise discussed herein

Please be sure to check back frequently, as revised materials will be noted throughout the sourceweb.

Open Game Content

Unless otherwise noted, all content contained within this product is to be considered Product Identity, and may not be used in any form without the expressed written permission of James D. Kramer design services. That content which is denoted as Open Game Content may be used in accordance with the Open Gaming License (copyright Wizards of the Coast, Inc.), and/or the OSRIC license (copyright Stuart Marshall and Matthew Finch) where applicable.

Open Gaming Content (OGC) can be identified in text as serif'd and green, and will be accompaied by the logo seen here to the right of the text column.

In Conclusion...

Welcome to the lands of Usherwood Adventures Soureweb: Volume 1 — Vermé; a campaign setting designed for First Edition and OSRIC fantasy roleplaying game systems. The Sourceweb you now browse is a labor of love, created through 30+ years of gaming by its creator. Pieced together using game materials originally created during the period of the late 1970's and early 1980's, these materials first came to public attention through the Usherwood Adventures PBeM (play-by-email) group in the mid 1990's. By design, this is not a campaign designed by committee. Nor is this the result of an exhaustive search for the most commercially viable product. Simply, it is the compiled works of its creator, brought together into a (hopefully) cohesive land of adventure.

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