Friday, July 24, 2020

Ten Fearsome Pit Fighters of the Grand Arena

There are many fighting pits in the city, but none of them compare to the Grand Arena in terms of prestige, showmanship, and skill of the fighters. The fights generally end if one of the fighters is unconscious or too severely injured to continue, but rarely end in death. It is far more likely that a bland or unexciting fighter will simply be asked to retire if he can't rouse the spectators and get the crowd behind him. The most successful fighters are well paid and cared for.

1. The Living Legend
Human Fighter IX, AC as studded leather +2, steel longsword +1 (generally used with both hands)
STR 13 DEX 10 CON 16 INT 9 WIS 16 CHA 19
The Legend is a grizzled veteran, who fought in innumerous bouts and mastered both the flashy arena fighting style, as well as the backstage politics. He is known to personally train promising youngbloods and is rumored to own at least part of the pit fighting business in the city.
Special Maneuver: The Murderstrike – The Legend quickly changes the grip on his longsword to one-handed, grapples his opponent with his free hand and knees him in the face. Then he grabs his longsword with both hands by the blade and hits his opponent in the head with the pommel (if he feels charitable) or the crossguard (if not).

2. The Blademaster
Half-elf Fighter VIII, AC as brigandine and buckler, meteoritic iron pata (gauntlet sword) +2
STR 14 DEX 17 CON 16 INT 12 WIS 11 CHA 17
The Blademaster was trained in faraway lands and came to the city relatively recently. He climbed the arena ladder astonishingly quickly and thanks to his exotic weapon, raw charisma and lightning-fast reflexes, managed to win the championship from the Living Legend in a beautiful and bloody bout. It is rumored that the Legend is furious about this development and quietly plots revenge.
Special Maneuver: Ten Thousand Dragons – The Blademaster throws his buckler at his opponent to distract him, then quickly closes the distance, grabs his opponent's hand and – by applying a wristlock – maneuvers his opponent's body to a vulnerable position to deliver a lightning-fast flurry of thrusts with his gauntlet sword.

3. The Crimson Charger
Dwarf Barbarian VII, AC as unarmored, rusty great flail
STR 16 DEX 9 CON 18 INT 7 WIS 17 CHA 10
The Charger is a scar-covered, unhinged lunatic and an outsider to the Arena fighting elite. He lacks the skill and showmanship normally associated with the profession but managed to get some fans behind him because of his relentless, foolhardy fighting style. Recently he accomplished an impressive winning streak which grants him an opportunity to challenge the Blademaster for the championship.
Special Maneuver: Red Rage – After the Charger is successfully attacked and wounded by his opponent, he lets out a frightening battle cry, runs at his opponent and delivers three (high, low, high) mighty blows with his rusty great flail knocking him prone. At this point, he might either celebrate with the crowd or deliver one final blow to his downed opponent.

4. The Tower
Orc Fighter VI, AC as leather, greatsword +1
STR 17 DEX 7 CON 18 INT 8 WIS 11 CHA 9
The Tower is one of the promising journeymen, that caught the attention of the Legend to be personally trained by him and elevated to a higher status. The Tower is a huge, imposing fighter that lacks subtlety or grace. He rarely speaks or changes his facial expression and has trouble getting the crowd to his side. He is fiercely loyal to the Legend as sometimes acts as his enforcer and bodyguard.
Special Maneuver: Stone Swat – The Tower successfully sidesteps his opponent's attack and suddenly changes his stoic demeanor by smiling viciously. He clobbers his opponent's head with a pommel of his greatsword, sweeps the opponent's leg, and delivers a mighty strike to the falling enemy, sending him flying.

5. The Blackguard
Human Fighter VI, AC as scale mail, halberd
STR 13 DEX 12 CON 14 INT 15 WIS 18 CHA 9
The Blackguard is a disgraced temple guard, who started fighting in the Arena out of sheer economic necessity. The nature of his transgression towards the temple remains unclear. Many fantastic rumors about the circumstances that lead to his dishonor are flying around the city. He very recently managed to defeat the Dirty Dastard during one of the Grand Arena's big events and is now looking to establish himself as one of the top fighters.
Special Maneuver: Cry of the Cursed – In one swift motion, the Blackguard disarms his opponent with the hook of his halberd, trips him, and knocks him prone. When the opponent tries to stand up, the Blackguard delivers an executioner-style cut to the kneeling opponent's neck.

6. The Dirty Dastard
Human Fighter IV Thief II, AC as breastplate and buckler, broadsword
STR 12 DEX 12 CON 18 INT 16 WIS 12 CHA 10
The Dastard is known as the dirtiest fighting man in the Arena. He's the pit fighter that the Arena spectators simply love to hate. His fighting style is characterized by frequent use of low blows, eye rakes, and throwing sand into his opponent's eyes, among other numerous dirty tricks in his arsenal. Nobody sees him as a future champion material, but he established a niche for himself as a sort of a gatekeeper, a man to defeat to reach the higher echelons of the Grand Arena fame.
Special Maneuver: Betrayer's Blow – The Dastard feigns a high cut and when the opponent attempts to block it, the Dastard puts his broadsword between his opponent's legs, delivers a draw cut to his opponent's inner thigh and immediately disengages. While his opponent bleeds out trying to stay upright, the Dastard celebrates and taunts the crowd. When the opponent inevitably collapses, the Dastard might humiliate his opponent with kicks, spitting and verbal abuse or simply deliver a coup de grâce.

7. The Fearless
Elf Thief V, AC as unarmored, double daggers +2
STR 9 DEX 17 CON 16 INT 10 WIS 12 CHA 18
Nobody would mistake the Fearless for a great warrior at first glance. He's a short, lean man with the face of a boy. His fighting style is the epitome of high-risk, high-reward. He often leaves himself open for enemy counterattacks. Because of that he rarely wins his bouts but is beloved by the Arena crowd.
Special Maneuver: Deadly Leap – When his opponent attacks, the Fearless drops his daggers, jumps high in the air and lands feet-first on his opponent, after performing a perfect somersault.

8. The Carousal Prince
Tiefling Fighter II Thief II Wizard I, AC as unarmored, falchion
STR 10 DEX 11 CON 15 INT 16 WIS 8 CHA 17
The Prince has gained quite a reputation as a patron of various banquets, bacchanals, and orgies across the city. He's always laid back and gives off an aura of confidence and coolness. He's beloved among the city's more hedonistic aristocrats who cheer for him and hope to party with him after his latest victory.
Special Maneuver: Golden Debauchery – The Prince parries his opponent's blow, closes the distance, and headbutts the other fighter. At this point, he delivers a powerful cleave to his stunned opponent's hamstring and quickly runs closer to the spectator's seats to be able to catch and douse the many bottles of liquor, that his fans are throwing at him from the tribunes. Once satisfied, he faces his opponent and charges at him once more to deliver a wild cut preceded by a dance-like pirouette.

9. The Pouncing Puma
Human Fighter I Thief III, AC as unarmored, shortsword and dagger
STR 12 DEX 19 CON 16 INT 8 WIS 13 CHA 16
Puma is one of the journeyman pit fighters of the Grand Arena that caught the eye of the Living Legend and gained his tutelage and protection. Just as the Tower, he often acts as a backup for the Legend. The Puma is a master acrobat and his fighting style is full of flips, twirls, and showy flourishes. Though not entirely humorless – as he likes to toy with his opponents by leveraging his speed advantage – the Puma is a merciless warrior who looks to use any of his opponent's weaknesses for his advantage.
Special Maneuver: Daredevil Dodge – The Puma stands still and waits till the very last moment to dodge his opponent's strike and – by using his opponent's momentum – trips him and sends his enemy flying. His enemy will most likely lose his balance and fall to the ground at this point and that's when the Puma will leap into the air and sink both of his weapons into his opponent's body.

10. The Wellborn Warrior
Tiefling Fighter IV, AC as studded leather +1, rapier and swordbreaker
STR 17 DEX 12 CON 17 INT 16 WIS 8 CHA 14
The Wellborn Warrior is a scion of a well-known aristocratic family. He's an arrogant, cocky fighter that isn't above using dirty tricks when losing a fight. He's got a certain swagger and a lordly demeanor but he often shows himself to be a coward when it looks like he's about to lose a bout. And even if he loses, he claims that the fight was close and exaggerates his accomplishments to belittle his opponent's skill. He's almost universally reviled by the Arena's patrons, though recently – by using underhanded tactics – he picked up quite a winning streak and is looking to break into the Arena's elite.
Special Maneuver: Superior Strike – The Wellborn feigns fear, drops his rapier, and runs away from his opponent. When given chase, he catches the other fighter's weapon with his swordbreaker, disarms and grapples him, and delivers a powerful suplex dropping his opponent on the crown of his head. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Knights and their Towers

Knight's towers were fortified self-standing buildings, several-stories high, most often erected on a plan similar to a square. They contained both living and utility spaces. They were also a way to bypass a law. In the Middle Ages, special permission of the sovereign was needed for the construction of a castle. Clever people got around this ban by building so-called knights' towers.

A fortified residence was needed not only to defend a knight's family. It stressed the feudal power over his subjects. To live in a magnificent citadel, towering over the area, was emphasizing the knight's social status and clearly distinguished him – not only from the peasants – but also the minor knighthood. Stone walls, earth embankments or even a wooden palisade forming a closed circuit around the building, marked a sacred and inviolable place of residence of a noble (or not) knight.

Who were the inhabitants of the knights' towers? Most famous were the men who had the reputation of Raubritters, knight-robbers, adventurers, and tyrants. Hence, it is no coincidence that they often chose for their headquarters a place located near a busy trade route, or right next to a convenient river crossing...

Tower Fortifications

1. wooden palisade
2. wooden palisade and earthen ramparts
3. stone wall
4. stone wall, moat, watchtowers
5. internal and curtain walls, moat
6. internal and curtain walls topped with crenellations, pincer gates, a moat with a drawbridge

State of the Tower

1. ruined
2. half-ruined
3. half-ruined, half rebuilt using low-quality materials
4. well-kept 
5. pristine
6. well fortified, recently expanded using high-quality materials

Each tower is ruled by a knight, usually a self-styled baron. 
Each knight has a number of lieutenants and many unarmed servants. 

What's your deal, Knight?

1. Knight Diplomat forged numerous alliances with his neighbors. If he's threatened, a small army (3d6 lieutenants) will arrive in 2d4 days to defend him. 
2. Drunken Knight's tower houses a famous brewery and a popular inn. There are large transports of booze coming out of the tower weekly in various directions.  
3. Knight Torturer is a vampire who rides a giant bat into battle. His men are mindless thralls who always succeed their morale checks. The dungeon under his tower is filled with captured victims and their corpses. 
4. Zealot Knight is a paladin and his lieutenants are clerics. His tower houses a cathedral, under which there's an ancient crypt. The knight believes the crypt's lowest level houses the Ordained Vessel he's destined to recover for his church. 
5. Sage Knight is a wizard, each of his lieutenants has a 50% chance of being a magic user as well. He's also a skilled diviner and will be able to predict in advance whether someone threatens his tower. The tower itself houses a voluminous library, however, the knight diligently guards it and gives access to it only to those he trusts. 
6. Barbarian Knight comes from a faraway land. His sheer heroic deeds inspired brave warriors to follow him. He's armed with a vorpal greatsword and seeks glory above all else. 
7. Rat Knight is a wererat as are all his lieutenants and soldiers. This particular wererat variant is more like Thundarr's groundlings mixed with Warhammer's skaven, than the shapeshifting D&D wererats. One day Rat Knight and his minions emerged from a secret underground passage and devoured the previous inhabitants of the tower. Nowadays it's known as the infamous Rat Tower and is rumored to be protected by a multitude of deadly traps, as well as housing a subterranean temple dedicated to Vexarus. 
8. Necromancer Knight's lieutenants are all undead and his military units consist of zombies and skeletons. His ultimate goal is lichdom. All living things deserted his lands a long time ago. He ambushes travelers passing through his territory to grow his army and his power. 
9. Knight Robber is either (1-2) a folk hero who robs nobles and gives to the poor, (3-4) a bloodthirsty ruffian, or (5-6) a revolutionary working to destabilize the region for the gain of another political entity. Peasants and other low-born denizens of his domain are fiercely loyal to this knight either out of love, fear, or promises of a move up the social ladder and an improvement in the standard of living. They will hide the knight, lie about his whereabouts and generally protect him. 
10. Bedeviled Knight was cursed by a witch to turn into a mindless monster (1. mongrelman, 2. eywing, 3. feyr, 4. troll, 5. hook horror, 6. wight) if he ever removed his armor. Half of his lieutenants share this affliction. He seeks a cure for this condition with grim determination and regularly pays small fortunes to various magicians and charlatans brought from faraway lands. To be able to afford this, he imposed unusually high tolls on rivers and roads passing through his territory. At night he and his soldiers rob merchants and other travelers — seizing their money and cargo, sometimes even kidnapping minor nobles for ransom. Unbeknownst to the knight, the only way to lift the curse is for him to forswear the tower and simply leave it behind. 

Knight Power

1. insignificant, 3 HD/level, 2 lieutenants
2. weak, 4 HD/level, 3 lieutenants
3. fair, 5 HD/level, 5 lieutenants
4. strong, 6 HD/level, 7 lieutenants
5. dangerous, 7 HD/level, 9 lieutenants
6. scary, 9 HD/level, 12 lieutenants

Each lieutenant is two levels below his baron (but no lower than 2nd level) and commands a unit of 10 soldiers (unless stated otherwise in the table below), who are 2 levels below the lieutenant (but not less than 1st level, obviously). 

Lieutenant's Military Unit

1-2. light infantry
1. light armor, helmet, shortsword, shield
2. no armor, two-handed sword
3. light armor, helmet, shortbow, dagger
4. light armor, helmet, three javelins, spear, shield
5. no armor, sling, shortspear
6. light armor, halberd, helmet, dagger
7. light armor, helmet, shield, battle axe, dagger
8. no armor, helmet, longbow, mace
3-4. heavy infantry
1. chainmail, helmet, longbow, club, shield
2. chainmail, helmet, battle axe, shield
3. chainmail, helmet, pike
4. plate, helmet, flail, shield
5. plate, helmet, maul
6. plate, helmet, heavy crossbow, tower shield, military pick
5-6. light cavalry
1. fast horse, light armor, shortbow, scimitar
2. warhorse, light armor, helmet, spear, shield
3. fast horse, no armor, five javelins, shield, shortsword 
4. warhorse, light armor, helmet, lance, mace, shield
7-8. heavy cavalry
1. warhorse, scale mail, helmet, lance, horseman's pick
2. armored warhorse, chainmail, helmet, lance, mace
3. armored warhorse, plate, helmet, lance, warhammer, shield 
4. two armored elephants, a rider (chainmail, helmet, polearm) and an archer (chainmail, helmet, shortbow) on each
9. siege engine
1. catapult + five crewmen (ring mail, helmet, longsword)
2. trebuchet + ten crewmen (no, armor, helmet, dagger)
3. battering ram + four crewmen (chainmail, helmet, morningstar, shield)
4. ballista + two crewmen (no armor, falchion)
10. special
1. ninjas, no armor, shortsword, four throwing stars, caltrops, poison vial, smokebomb
2. trained monster (1. wyvern, 2. ettin, 3. giant scorpion, 4. giant slug, 5. cockatrice, 6. katoblepas) + d4+1 tamers (no armor, whip)
3. berzerkers, rage as barbarian, no armor, great axe, dagger
4. golem (1. flesh, 2. clay, 3. stone, 4. iron, 5. necrophidius, 6. scarecrow) + keeper (magic user) 
5. two ogres, hide armor, cudgel 
6. six bugbears, ring mail, heavy flail 
7. halfling wolf riders, light armor, spear, shortsword, shield, longbow
8. 5d6 goblins, no armor, shortsword, shield

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Spirits of the Selk'nam

Photograph taken by Martín Gusinde in Tierra del Fuego (Chile) in 1920 of the Selk'nam in the Hain ritual

Selk'nam male initiation ceremonies, the passage to adulthood, were called Hain. Young males were called to a dark hut. There they would be attacked by "spirits", who were people dressed as supernatural beings. The children were taught to believe in and fear these spirits at childhood and were threatened by them in case they misbehaved. Their task in this rite of passage was to unmask the spirits; when the boys saw that the spirits were human, they were told a story of world creation related to the sun and moon. In a related story, they were told that in the past women used to be disguised as spirits to control men. When the men discovered the masquerade, they, in turn, would threaten women as spirits. According to the men, the women never learned that the masked males were not truly spirits, but the males found out at the initiation rite.

Before the European encounter, the various rites of the Hain lasted a very long time, perhaps even a year on occasion. It would end with the last fight against the "worst" spirit. Usually, Hains were started when there was enough food (for example a whale was washed onto the coast), a time when all the Selk'nam from all the bands used to gather at one place, in male and female camps. "Spirits" sometimes went to female encampments to scare them, as well as moving around and acting out in ways that related to their characters.

The last Hain was held in one of the missions in the early 20th century and was photographed by missionary Martin Gusinde. It was a shorter and smaller ceremony than they used to hold. The photos show the "spirit" costumes they created and wore.

Friday, July 19, 2019

d100 Curious Treasures

Whenever my players find treasure and I feel it should be at least a little bit interesting, but I didn't have anything specific prepared, I roll on this table. I generally keep it on my dm screen and cross out entries they already rolled. During downtime, I replace the crossed-out items with other wacky ideas. Stuff ranges from mundane items, which players can still use in creative ways, to completely bonkers shit, which can potentially be plot hooks galore or even powerful magic items. I didn't include concrete values, because it will vary system to system, setting to setting, merchant to merchant. Some of this crap is worthless, some of it priceless. 

1. amber-studded, red silk dress embroidered with golden thread
2. jug of exquisite, white, sparkling wine
3. bottle of orange liqueur
4. malachite vase with engravings depicting titans battling giant toads
5. large jade vase decorated with triton erotic scenes
6. tiny, black porcelain bottle of musky perfume
7. small bronze statue of a lioness
8. golden candlestick
9. tiny bag of pearls
10. leopard skin
11. leather pouch filled with small, polished, blue jade beads
12. tin jar filled with green tea leaves
13. small agate box containing a bezoar
14. adamantine longsword with a broken blade
15. porcelain box filled with dried rosemary
16. jug of plum brandy
17. amphora full of olive oil, the intricately decorated container is far more valuable than the contents
18. bag of colorful, glass beads
19. iron lockbox containing powdered snake bones
20. bag of duck or goose feathers
21. 6d6 flacons of snake oil
22. small lockbox containing an assortment of glass eyes
23. long glass pipe
24. a cloak made of bone-white silk
25. 6 wooden stakes in a pewter box
26. d30 gilded arrowheads in a wyvern skin pouch
27. hourglass filled with tiny white spiders
28. wooden statue of a one-eyed owl
29. ancient, elven helmet with mask visor, decorated with horns of a greater yugoloth guardian
30. bag of extra strong pipeweed and a clay pipe
31. sack of turtle eggs
32. 2d6 silver throwing stars
33. enormous, cockatrice feathered headdress
34. huge, steel bear trap
35. bottle of ambergris, sealed with white wax
36. artificial chrysanthemum made of gold foil
37. ebony box filled with golden needles
38. spider silk gloves
39. small, worn book of centaur poetry
40. barrel of varnish
41. large brass key
42. spear with green dragon tooth head
43. small silver knife
44. heavy golden chain
45. a small vial of blue dragon blood
46. large, bronze coinbox with a couple old copper coins inside
47. dragonhide skullcap
48. rich, red velvet cape, embroidered with a symbol of Tiamat
49. cyclops skull
50. basket of hop cones
51. crystal ball filled with mercury
52. jar of mutagenic ooze
53. bejeweled estoc
54. a set of 8 different potions in a cedar wood case
55. small glass vial of clear, odorless, flavorless poison
56. ancient, ceremonial, stone axe
57. massive, golden ring with a hidden compartment, currently filled with black diamond powder
58. sack of beaver tails
59. barrel of salted herring 
60. golden axe
61. small sundial made of solid platinum 
62. amulet of Lolth with etched niello spiders on adamantine plate
63. a shofar made from a minotaur horn
64. sacrificial dagger, blade made of cobalt-colored glass
65. medallion made out of a single ancient gith electrum coin
66. bronze crown decorated with obsidian spearheads
67. mask made out of delicate, silvered chains
68. vargouille skull in a small, worn-out coin pouch
69. demijohn full of human blood 
70. gold dragon scale in a tiny, adamantine lockbox 
71. masterwork sycamore crwth
72. unholy symbol of the demon lord of beastmen carved out of a baby skull
73. spool of thin, copper wire
74. ancient locathah trident carved out of leviathan bone, decorated with aragonites and nacre
75. bronze greaves decorated with a mask of Beltar with opened fangs poised to bite
76. brass scepter crowned with a chalcedony sphere
77. auricupride armband decorated with an aurumvorax ornament
78. large, bronze war horn shaped in an image of a coiled behir
79. flaying knife with red gold inlays shaped like blood drops
80. iron figurine of a six-armed humanoid wearing armor clad with skulls and wielding a weapon in each hand: a spiked flail, a battle axe, a battle pick, a longsword, a mace, and a falchion
81. flint axe blade inscribed with an ancient illithid curse
82. a set of five lead weights of different sizes, shaped like beholders
83. silver carrion crawler-shaped armband
84. smilodon's head helmet made of orichalcum 
85. a shield fashioned out of a trilobite exoskeleton
86. a lantern made of an ancient lich lord's severed head
87. silver bracelets in the form of catoblepas inlaid with turquoise, lapis lazuli, and carnelians
88. amphora of hippocras
89. golden gauntlet in the form of a grasping hand holding a broken coin 
90. skeletal remains of an infant lamia frozen in translucent ichor
91. incense burner in the form of a shedu made of human bone
92. nephrite box containing a mummified head of a slaad
93. ornate shield carved from a head of a galeb duhr 
94. a small vial of unicorn horn powder
95. bottle of vodka
96. crystal necklace containing a single drop of blood of an elder god
97. fossilized petty god heart
98. wooden box containing 12 bottles of spiced black rum
99. small velvet-lined casket with a piece of meteorite inside
100. a small bag full of amber, one chunk has a little sprite frozen in it

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Madame Merkia’s Myriad Murderous Mouths

Madame Merkia’s Myriad Murderous Mouths
is a rare spell, known only to the most conniving magic users. 
Wizard/Warlock/Witch/Summoner 3, range 10'/level, instantaneous 

Random extraplanar entity emerges from a portal, attacks the target and jumps into another exit portal – in one fluid motion.

roll d12
1 • Portal of Steel • a masterless Saint of Blades delivers a +5 cut for 3d6+3 damage with his great sabre, save negates, triple damage on a crit 2 • Portal of Law • a Justiciar of the 11th Tower of Elim – using the knowledge of the target’s True Name – banishes the target to another Plane 3 • Cat Portal • Sabre-Tooth Duelist claws (+8 for 2d6) and bites (+8 for 2d8) the target 4 • Timeless Portal • a Twice Murdered King throws a diamond dust storm at the target dealing 4d4 damage and blinding it for d6 turns, this attack leaves 2d12 x 10 gp worth of diamond dust in the vicinity of the target 5 • Mycoworld Portal • bioluminescent spores land on the target making it easier to hit (roll twice and use a better result), the spores have a 1 in 6 chance of overloading the target’s brain and temporarily giving it a +2 bonus on attack & damage rolls and causing it to charge directly into combat with the nearest creature for d10 turns 6 • Prophesied Portal • a Burning Spoke of the Many-Eyed Wheel turns undead like a third level Cleric, target counts as undead 7 • Portal of the Envenomed • High Sting of the kim’Waa makes the target weep poison for d6 turns, giving it -6 penalty on all rolls, anyone in physical contact with the tears is also affected, save ends 8 • Gate to the Stars • the light of faraway stars gives the target a random insanity, save negates 9 • Portal to the Mutarealm • radiation from the portal makes the target swell grotesquely, doubling its height and multiplying its weight by 8, has a 2 in 6 chance of being permanent, otherwise lasts a minute 10 • Punch Dimension Portal • a disembodied fist punches the target in its solar plexus, suffocating it for d6 damage for 2d6 turns, save negates 11 • Portal of Khag Æsar • creates a 30’ sphere of magical darkness and silence for 2d6 turns, temperature drops to -20°C for the duration 12 • roll twice and use both results, cumulative

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Map of the Twins

Click to enlarge!
Made with Medieval Fantasy City Generator by watabou and touched up in Photoshop a little bit. 

When I posted this map on G+ about a year ago, the Twins were a prosperous metropolis, but as of right now, the city is torn by a brutal civil war. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Isometric Map of an Early Medieval Palace

Potentially D&D-able. This is a visualization of an early medieval palatium/palace/Pfalz of Mieszko I (10th century ruler of Poland) located on Lednica Holm. Just found it on Polish Press Agency page, accompanying news about new archaeological excavations planned in the area. Such a building would typically contain a throne room, the ruler's chambers and a castle chapel. Not really what comes to mind when you think "palace", but quite common in early medieval period.