Monday, February 27, 2023

Derelict Armies: Rose Army of Dzorum

 So I've been playing Elden Ring and I like the idea of all these dysfunctional armies scattered all over the place.  Soldiers without a war.  Beaten, diseased, scattered.

The City of Roses

The city of Dzorum was destroyed by the Apocalypse Maggot.  In their darkest hours, no one came to their aid.  Only the fey offered to help (although many say it was demons, not fey).  

The terms of this assistance are not known.  Dzorum was still destroyed, most of its people were still eaten, and their walls were still toppled.

But now the city sits in the Crawling Bog.  It has new walls now, made from thorns.  And at night there are new lights burning in new towers.  No one knows what is inside the fallen city, or who the its new masters are.

The remnants of the army wages a ragged war, attempting to claim their old forts and establish a new border.  Everyone wars against them, since they are widely agreed to be demon-tainted.  And they war against everyone else, revenge for abandoning them in their hour of need.  (Although they do not war with the alabaster paladins.)

by Narandel

Why Are These Guys So Ragged?

1. These are deserters, hunted by their own kin.

2. Recently fought the Lon Barago Militia.  1d6-4 (min 0) prisoners.

3. Recently fought orcs. 

4. Recently fought Fire Cult Remnants.  1d6-4 (min 0) prisoners.

Any prisoners have a 50% chance to be someone the players know from that faction, as long as it seems both reasonable and interesting.

What Are They Doing Here?

1. Securing a nearby location.  (50% chance that it's the same one that the PCs are going towards, as long as it seems both reasonable and interesting.)

2. Gathering information.  (PCs will be questioned and scrutinized.)

3. Waiting for something.  Hungry.  (Will attempt to buy food or take it by force, depending on reaction roll.)

4. Burying their dead and/or tending to their wounded.  (Easily ambushed.)

Forces (Roll a d6)

Use the stuff in the left (Encounter) column.  If you want to generate an entirely new enemy group, use the right (Generic) column.

1Knight Squad
4 Militia1d6+1 Militia
2 Knights (Mirek)1d3 Knights
2Priest Squad
5 Militia1d6+1 Militia
1 Knight1d2 Knights
1 Priest (Rowan)1 Priest
3Priest Platoon
8 Militia2d6 Militia
2 Knights1d3 Knights
2 Priests1d3 Priests
Ormo the Attentive1 Lieutenant (Lvl 3)
4Sprite Platoon
7 Militia2d6 Militia
2 Knights1d3 Knights
3 Sprites1d4 Sprites
Captain Lack1 Lieutenant (Lvl 3)
5Cypress Platoon
6 Militia2d6 Militia
2 Knights1d3 Knights
1 Hunting Cypress1 Hunting Cypress
Satherine Rosehip1 Lieutenant (Lvl 3)
12 Militia2d6+5 Militia
4 Knights1d4+1 Knights
1 Priest1d3 Priests
6 Sprites2d6 Sprites
1 Hunting Cypress1 Hunting Cypress
Bontlebrak1 Captain (Lvl 4)

Rose Militia
Lvl Def leather  Spear 1d6
Speed human  Int human  Dis cult

Rootbelly - When killed by a piercing or slashing weapon, vegetable growth traps the killing weapon.  It can be removed with a successful Str check, or 5 points of slashing damage.  Begin turning into a rosebush immediately after death--this process takes 1 minute.

Tactics - Interpose yourself.  Protect the Priests and Knights.

Rose Priest
Lvl 2  Def leather Mace 1d6
Speed human  Int human  Dis cult

Spells - entangle, blood rose

Rootbelly - When killed by a piercing or slashing weapon, vegetable growth traps the killing weapon.  It can be removed with a successful Str check, or 5 points of slashing damage.  Begin turning into a rosebush immediately after death--this process takes 1 minute.

Tactics - Use blood rose against dangerous targets with low armor.  Use entangle to control dangerous opponents and trap fleeing ones.

Rose Knight
Lvl 2  Def plate  Greatsword 1d8  Arrow 1d6 
Speed on horseback  Int human  Dis cult

Bloodseeking Arrows - Can shoot around corners.  Ignore cover.  +4 to hit wounded targets.

Rootbelly - When killed by a piercing or slashing weapon, vegetable growth traps the killing weapon.  It can be removed with a successful Str check, or 5 points of slashing damage.  Begin turning into a rosebush immediately after death--this process takes 1 minute.

Tactics - Hang back and shoot arrows.  Use your horse to stay out of range.

Lvl 3 (HP 1)  Def plate+4  Razor 1d6
Fly dragonfly  Dex high  Int human  Dis loyal

Team Attack - When sprites attack the same target simultaneously, they each get +1 to hit and +1 to damage.  Up to 3 sprites can attack the same target simultaneously.

Tendon Attack - Whenever a sprite does 6 or more damage with their razor, they damage a tendon, rendering a random limb useless (as Injury) until it heals.

Tactics - Sprites are normally hidden up in a tree prior to the start of combat.  They swarm the biggest threats (think Attack on Titan).

Hunting Cypress
Lvl Def leather  Slam 2d6
Fly slow  Str high  Dis loyal

Crush - After ending one turn in the air above a battle, they can drop down on the next turn, attacking a target with a crush attack (2d8).  

Pin - After landing on an opponent with a crush attack, they can remain there, pinning them and suffocating them.  A pinned target gets one (and only one) attempt to escape (Str or Dex check) on the turn after being hit by a crush attack.

Wooden - immune to crushing, half damage from piercing, full damage from slashing.

Tactics - Crush an opponent, then just stand there, slamming everyone who comes close.

Mirek is a rose knight in charge of leading his squad.  He has a mouse as a squire (a gift from an faerie princess).  He wants a bath.

Rowan is a rose priestess in charge of leading her squad.  She can cause any plant to generate a rose by touching it.  She wants tobacco and sex.

Ormo the Attentive 
Lvl Def plate  Sword 1d6 - Impossible to Surprise, Rootbelly
Ormo is a huge man with two dozen ears nailed to his tower shield.  Cruel, bitter, patriotic.  He wants to buy a good dog and train it to be mean.  Desperate for news of his estranged son (now working on a fishing ship in 

Captain Lack
Lvl 3  Def plate  Sword 1d6  Arrow 1d6 - Horseback,  Bloodseeking Arrows, Rootbelly
Captain Lack is a small woman who carries a flute.  She wants money, and is looking for a good opportunity to abandon her post.  (Her soldiers are loyal to Dzorum, not her.)  Hates orcs.

Satherine Rosehip
Lvl Def chain  Staff 1d6  Spells  (charm, lightning bolt, speak with dead)
Satherine is a woman who wears a fox mask and a dark purple robe.  Roses peek out from beneath (she is wearing a rose bodysuit-thing).  She hates Ormo.  She loves clothing and silks.  She has a secret boyfriend in Lon Barago.

Bontlebrak the Unquenched
Lvl Def chain  Greatsword 1d10 - Burrow (20' per round)  Rage (as barbarian)
In battle: a lunatic who rides the hunting cypress into the fray.  He only uses his rage ability when he is sure he can win--he doesn't want to lose too much control.  Out of combat: a canny old soldier with a bad back, desperate to bring back the kingdom that he failed to save.


R: 50'  T: objects  D: 1 min
A target who fails their Str check is immobilized and gets -4 to attacks.  They can attempt to break free (Str check) once per turn as a free action.  Prone targets get no initial save.  This spell cannot be used in locations where there is no plant growth.  In areas of high plant growth, the initial save is Difficult.  Splittable. 

Blood Rose
R: 50'  T: creature  D: 10 min
Whenever the target takes lethal damage, roses bloom from their wound, charming them.  Until the roses are plucked, they cannot take hostile actions against the person who harmed them, nor can they willingly remove the roses.  If restrained, the roses can be plucked in 2 rounds (1 round with a successful Dex check).


Rosewater - Breathing through a rosewater-scented handkerchief gives you +4 to save against contracting diseases.  If drank, it gives you the same bonus against ongoing diseases.

Treasure Map - Leads to a tree filled with exquisite wine.  Worth 1000s and counts as a Treasure.

Sprite Instruments - Tiny drums, flutes, tamborines, and a guqin.

Tiny Scroll - Entitles the bearer to one favor from the fey.  It is signed by "Lord Reiff".

Dancing Bug - Knows 25 dances.  Worth 200s.

Beautiful Wound - Never heals.  Absolutely beautiful to gaze upon.  It doesn't matter if you hate gore--everyone thinks this wound is beautiful, without exception.  Can be transferred to a willing bearer by skin-to-skin contact.  The Wound will also willingly leave a corpse.  Worth 500s.


  1. Dude, Bontlebrak's ability to *burrow* is a damn fine fletching. Canny old wart indeed. I had Rosehip's boyfriend in her shackles if rolled properly.

    This is a complete thing. I haven't been around long enough to know if sarcasm is an important thing to use in comments so I'm leaving it out in favor of something like honesty. This post could spawn some stunning, rich sessions, and each would come out different with a few rolls. That's some power in that left hand, Mr. Kemp.

    Too, I read it after a multi-player session with my brother on Elden Ring. The despondency or exhausted foes, drawn up only by their uniform; so rare and so story-filled without requiring a lick of dialogue.

    So many slumped bodies, still alive, but for what.

    1. I'd also be curious to hear how you interpret the Evergaols. Monastic, powerful prisoners dotting the land.

      As a system it seems potentially rich.

  2. "They swarm 1" extra letter there you forgot to delete