Sunday, May 31, 2009

Magic Item: The Stone of the Sun

The Stone of the Sun: A single translucent ruby the size of a child's fist, the Stone of the Sun is a deep blood red tinged with a gleam of fire, another relic from a previous era. Resembling an orb of delicate flames nestled in a cradle of petals -- perhaps a rose -- and curved claws, the Stone has passed from hand to hand countless times over the millenia; claimed by emperors and paupers both, it shows no favorites and casts no judgement that mortals may discern.

At all times the Stone casts a faintly glowing light, as if an ember were banked deep in its heart. At will, the current possessor of the Stone may call a greater light forth; though tinged with bloody fire, this light source otherwise resembles a casting of continual light in strength and radius. Its radiance may not be dimmed by a spell of darkness.

Possession of the Stone wards its bearer from the shedding of blood. All physical wounds deal one less hit point per die, unless that wound were inflicted by the undead; in that case, subtract two hit points from each die of damage dealt. The Stone also grants a touch of noble bearing, no matter the class or stature of its bearer. Those the bearer of the Stone meet are more courteous, more willing to offer aid or join the bearer in their travels -- and also more inclined to share their woes and pain, hoping for aid in return.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Monster: Skitterbone

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3+4**
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: 2 bonewhips
Damage: 1-6/1-6
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: F4
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 100

A bane to adventurers who leave heaps of dead monsters and shattered skeletons behind them, a skitterbone is an amorphous, ever-malleable heap of antlers, horns and twisted bone. Held together loosely by necrotic energies -- and, sometimes, tiny scraps of necrotic flesh or sticky black blood -- a skitterbone continuously scrabbles and oozes its way through dark passageways in the hunt for creatures it may shred and add its to its bonemass.

In combat a skitterbone will lash out with two limbs or "tentacles" made up of bits of bone -- often vertebrae -- and sharp horns or toothy jaws, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage with each strike. If both lashes damage the same target, the skitterbone will dig into the victim and pull its tendrils in opposite directions, rending flesh for an additional 2-8 hit points of damage. The constant movement and randomly-projecting parts of a skitterbone make it difficult to predict its movements in combat; each round any individual in melee with a skitterbone must make a save vs. paralyzation or be knocked prone for that round.

Skitterbones are turned as if possessing six hit dice. They take double damage from silver weapons of all kinds, and no damage from normal piercing weapons.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Monster: Tikra

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 1+4*
Move: 150' (50')
fly 120' (40')
Attacks: 2 slashes
Damage: 1-6/1-6
No. Appearing: 1-4 (2-12)
Save As: F3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: G (U)
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 20

Insectile humanoids with an affinity for music, tikra resemble thin and graceful mantids, standing some seven feet tall on four slender legs tipped with two curving claws. A third pair of limbs serve as their arms; they normally keep the sharp, spined "sickle" of their forelimbs flexed back along their forearms, using three grasping fingers at the wrist joint as their hands. The abdomen of a tikra is narrow, relatively short compared to an actual mantid, and covered with tightly-folded wings as bright as any butterfly's. Their chitin is a bright deep gold, sometimes marked with rust, and their eyes are crimson.

Some tikra affect jewelry, gemstones mounted into their chitin, and humanoid accutrements such as belts, girdles, and shirts. These individuals are usually those tikra more accustomed to dealing with other sapient races.

Given the choice, a tikra would prefer to avoid physical combat. When forced to do so, tikra use their forelimbs to puncture and slash, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage per successful strike; their hands, though capable of delicate manipulation, are unsuited for most weapons. A few tikra may tip their forearm spines with silver or similar such substances. Twice a day, a tikra may unleash a shrill, nerve-wracking shriek of discordant tones that is so violent it may actually cause injury -- any in a 5x20x30 cone in front of the tikra takes 2-12 hit points of damage. Alternately, the singer may choose to disorient, instead causing those caught in the "breath weapon" to lose their ability to act for two rounds. Either effect may be mitigated by a save vs. breath weapon.

I give! I give --! :D

Seriously, folks -- the upswelling of encouragement to put together a book/pdf, and offers of help thereof, have made my week :3 It's been getting a little rough lately, you have no idea how much this made me feel better.

Yes, Jeff, this means I forgive the sudden broadsiding of being drafted ;3 Thank you!

So, I've decided I shall give it a try. I still have a few weeks of rockiness ahead, including being exiledon vacation for the first week of June, but I shall work on assembling the entries here into a document and then converting the stats to Labyrinth Lord as necessary. (don't need WotC hunting for me, after all!)

I will assuredly need to ask for aid, though, because my layout skills are not the best and artistic ability is worse these days *sheepish grin*

I will keep things updated, and thank you all again for the show of support. It means a lot to me. :3

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monster: K'sshri

K'sshri (Nightmist)
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 2+4**
Move: fly 120' (40')
Attacks: 3
Damage: 1-6/1-6/1-6
No. Appearing: 2-8
Save As: F3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 45

Strange and inexplicable, k'sshri resemble nothing so much as coiling, twisting clouds of dense pearly-grey mists almost thick enough to touch. Tendrils of mist may uncurl to dissipate over or otherwise explore the nightmist's environment, then withdraw back into the main mass for the digestion of the information gained; pale grey-white motes of light occasionally flicker through a k'sshri, for some unfathomable reason. They do not explain their actions; they feel no need to.

Nightmists attack suddenly and without warning. Long needle-sharp lances of a jet-black, vaguely crystalline substance condense within the k'sshri's mists before flying towards a victim or victims, piercing for 1-6 hit points of damage each; each such attack has an effective range of 60'. The k'sshri will attempt to reabsorb these lances, given the chance, and feed from the emotional shock and pain of the wounds caused by them.

A k'sshri has a 1-in-6 chance of attacking with a colourless lance; if this attack succeeds, the lance breaks off in the victim's body, implanting an embryonic nightmist which will kill the victim within 2-8 days if not somehow removed. If the removal is successful the embryo -- which resembles a curled-up tadpole of black pearl the size of one's thumb -- is valued at 2-800gp.

Silver weapons are required to harm a nightmist.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monster: Griph

Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3+3*
Move: 150' (50')
burrow 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 1-10
No. Appearing: 1-2 (2-8)
Save As: F3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: B
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 75

Odd creatures of the badlands and dry steppes, griphs stand a hair over two feet at the shoulder; somewhat incongruously they combine compact muscular torsos with relatively long hind legs, shorter and stronger forelegs, and a long flicking tail. With the exception of a "mane" of degenerate feathering from the base of the skull to the tip of the tail, a griph is otherwise covered in a mosiac of rusty-brown scales. All four feet are raptorial, the forefeet broader and the claws too blunt for effective combat; and the head is large and deep, with a hooked beak capable of cracking bone and an extensive bony frill extending from the back of the skull.

Despite being well built for running, griphs are accomplished burrowers; they also are renowned for hoarding gold, oddly enough, and will both dig for it and attack those bearing it.

In combat a griph brings its massive beak to bear, biting for 1-10 hit points of damage. Though it will not normally use its claws to fight, if a griph succeeds in its bite attack with a to hit result of 18-20, it will maintain its bite in the next round and begin to pummel its opponent with its claws, inflicting 2-8 hit points of damage as well as its bite damage.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Old School": Oh what a feeling

JoeTheLawyer made a lengthy -- and very pertinent -- post on his blog earlier today about the OSR, feelings, and why we're all playing the games we're playing.

Take a look; there's good stuff there.

A Score of Sundry Rings

[Tucked in a dim and lightless dungeon, a small casket of aloeswood is opened -- and handfuls of rings tumble free. Magical? Cursed? Or simply small objects of wonder ...?]

1. A broad ivory band etched with hundreds of tiny runes picked out in cinnabar

2. Two “ropes” of silver and gold wire, twisted together and tied into a square knot; the silver rope tipped in gold, the gold in silver

3. A heavy signet carved from a single piece of carnelian, its bezel etched with the device of a long-extinct noble line – a crane with a rose in its beak

4. A braided band of hair from a dragon's mane, bound with thin black iron rings

5. A plain gold band inlaid with twinned clusters of grapes, mosaic style, of amethyst and green tourmaline

6. A thin and flickering “band” of brilliant scarlet flame, magically bound together; pleasantly warm, it does not actually burn

7. Two conjoined rings of electrum, meant to be worn on adjacent fingers; atop the join is set a cluster of dog's-tooth pearls in the shape of a rosette

8. A smooth, weighty band of highly polished black iron; the inside surfaced is etched in silver with arcane runes that read “Yours Ever”

9. A smooth, iridescent naga's scale, shaped and bent into the form of a ring and trimmed with delicate gold wire

10. A band of tortoiseshell, inlaid in electrum with a repeating and esoteric symbol resembling a predator's fang

11. A ring of smooth-polished bloodwood, unadorned; a tiny hidden compartment contains three seeds

12. Three golden rings – one for each joint of the finger – linked by delicate golden chains; the least ring is mounted with a long, curved spur or claw of white coral that arcs over the fingertip

13. Endlessly-looping miniscule clockworks of brass and crystal, held in a frame of mirror-bright steel

14. Twenty round beads of emerald and sapphire, threaded on a heavy golden wire

15. Seven motes of brilliantly-coloured light orbiting in a tiny circle

16. A malachite serpent with tiny golden eyes, biting its own golden-plumed tail

17. A tiny, perfect, and ever-living rose vine, its blossoms deep velvety black

18. A pair of intertwined bands of greenstone, cradling a sphere of transparent golden amber

19. A circlet of fresh blood, held intact within a magical field

20. A plain silver band, cool to the touch and perpetually coated in frost

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Few Examples of Egyptian Arms and Armour

Mace, pear-headed and Mace, disc: These weapons have the same statistics and price as that of a standard mace. What is notable is the construction of these weapons -- both pear-headed and disc maces have their striking heads carved from dense and highly-polished stone. A pear-headed mace resembles (predictably) a pear in shape, with a bulbous head tapering towards the haft; a disc mace has a flanged disk of hard stone for a head slipped ring-like onto the haft, designed for bluntly cleaving flesh and bone rather than crushing.

Dagger: The Egyptian dagger comes in two basic forms. The older design possesses a broad, oxtongue-style blade and a half-moon pommel, intended for stabbing; later versions come to resemble more modern daggers, with a rounded or papyrus-umbel pommel nut and a blade suitable for slashing as well as stabbing.

Throwstick: More commonly a hunting weapon associated with the nobility, the throwstick was occasionally produced in a heavier, weighted form suitable for combat. Long with a slight S-curve (which made the throwstick resemble a snake; some were tipped with stylized snake heads), the throwstick was made in returning and non-returning versions.
Weight: 10 cn; Damage: 1-6; Price: 2gp; Range: 15/30/45

Khepesh: Also rendered as khopesh and occasionally khepresh, this sword averaged twenty to twenty-four inches long (though smaller examples are known) and features a curved edge mounted to a straighter blade-haft. Though many khepeshes were intended for slashing, some larger examples were better designed for cleaving; the larger example in the photo in fact has an unsharpened blade, and was used as a crushing, blunt-trauma weapon.
Weight: 20 - 30cn; Damage: 1-6 or 1-8 (larger); Price: 8gp

Other weapons commonly known: bows, long and short; handaxes; spear; javelin; sling.

Corselet: A closely-fitting sheath of scales -- leather or, rarely, metal -- that covered the upper body to the level of the armpits and was supported by broad shoulder straps. Corselets were supplemented by shields. Many metal corselets were designed for ceremonial use only.
Weight: 150cn (leather) / 250cn (metal); AC 8 (leather)/7 (metal); Price: 20gp (leather) / 40gp (metal)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Of Magic-Users and Clerics: O mighty spellcaster --

Skimming through my copy of the Rules Cyclopedia recently (I forget what it was I was actually looking for; probably the different sorts of landed-gentry high level characters become so I can work on my esper class again), I happened to notice something that struck me as interesting. Making a quick comparison with Labyrinth Lord, I found something even more interesting.

Clerics can be argued to get more spellpower than magic-users, if one looks at the number of spells per level and not just the number of levels of power available.

Now before the torches and pitchforks come after me, let me just say that yes, I know that the 7th-level spell cap for clerics and the 9th level cap for magic-users arguably makes a difference. It's the number of lower-level spell-slots that caught my eye, though, and I can't help but be amused ... all the moreso because the cleric starts off a level behind, with no spells at first level.

The break seems to come between 9th and 10th levels:


CL - 3/3/3/2 (11)
MU - 3/3/3/2/1 (12)


CL - 4/4/3/2/1 (14)
MU - 3/3/3/3/2 (14, different spread ...)

... where the MU keeps adding higher-level spells, but the cleric keeps on adding more slots for lower level spells.

Later on, a few more examples:


CL - 6/5/5/3/3/3 (25)
MU - 5/4/4/4/3/2/1 (23)


CL - 7/6/5/4/4/4/3 (33)
MU - 6/5/5/5/4/4/3/2 (34)

.... where it's trying to even out again, but not quite making it even though the MU has gained a level ahead. The distrubution is still a little weird. (Note that because of BEMCI's 36-level progression, a 20th level MU still doesn't have 9th level spells yet. That's next level.)

Whether or not this is actually of any concern, of course, is the great quality-vs-quantity argument I suppose; whether the gaining of the highest two levels of spells is worth the lessening of spell slots further down the line in the "lesser" levels. I admit I'm mostly commenting on it out of amused curiosity.

Where it gets really amusing is when a comparison is made with Labyrinth Lord. Due to LL's shifting of the cleric progression table to allow for spellcasting at first level, and adjustments for the twenty-level scale instead of thirty-six, the cleric pulls even further ahead -- and surprisingly early!


CL - 3/2 (5)
MU - 2/2 (4)


CL - 3/2/1 (6)
MU - 2/2/1 (5)


CL - 5/4/3/3/2 (17)
MU - 3/3/3/3/2 (14)


CL - 7/6/5/4/4/3/1 (30)
MU - 5/4/4/4/4/3/2/1 (27)

And then we have


CL - 9/8/7/6/5/5/3 (43)
MU - 6/6/5/5/5/5/4/4/4 (44)

... where again the MU pulls ahead in overall numbers, but the balance is sorely lacking. And in the lower levels of the classes, in LL the cleric quite simply has the numerical advantage from early on. Again, whether this is a problem or not depends on one's opinion of means of balance and the quality-vs-quantity debate.

I have to say, though -- as someone whose highest level game ever run was in the vicinity of 9th or 10th before players asked for a reset, I think I'll be sticking with the BEMCI progression lest the magic-users lynch me ;3

One Page Dungeon: Chantry of the Earthflame

After a bit of musing (and a wee bit of reluctance over the idea, I admit), I figure I'll throw my submission for the One Page Dungeon contest up here for people to have a look at.

For me, by far the best part of the exercise was discovering that yes, I can actually draw a dungeon that has more than five to ten rooms in it! *grins* Not that Earthflame is especially huge, but I consider it something of an achievement nonetheless ~

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Magic Item: Rain Tiger's Claw

Rain Tiger's Claw: Carefully tanned and tailored, Rain Tiger's Claw is a leather pouch created from the front paw of a rain tiger; still possessing the silvery-blue, teal-striped pelt and pearly claws of its original owner, the pouch is secured with a drawstring of twisted blue silk cords tipped with knots and electrum beads. Easily suspended from a belt or hung from a staff, Rain Tiger's Claw appears empty when inspected, though it weighs as if containing liquid of some kind.

Twice a day Rain Tiger's Claw may be used to summon a thick, clinging fog that obscures the vision and clouds the minds of all within 60' of the pouch's bearer, who is not affected (nor are any in contact with the bearer); all individuals attempting to attack within the fog find themselves penalized by -4 to all attack rolls, and spells cast receive a +4 bonus to saving throws. The fog persists for four rounds. Once a week, the pouch may be used to summon an 8HD water elemental in the shape of a tiger.

Rumours abound that one out of three replicas of the original Rain Tiger's Claw are in fact cursed, though the description of the curse varies. Some are said to cause the pouch's owner to take twice normal damage from flames, others to draw poisons and toxic creatures into the owner's path, and yet others to gradually transform the owner into a strange amphibious creature dependent on a liquid environment to survive.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monster: Living Statue, Brass

Living Statue, Brass
Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 5**
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2
Damage: 1-8/1-8
No. Appearing: 1 (see below)
Save As: F5
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Lawful
XP Value: 425

A brass living statue is a magical construct, often of greater than human proportion, cast from alchemically strengthened brass and ornamented with elaborate punched-out traceries that reveal brilliant crimson fires within. Whether humanoid, bestial or other, more exotic shapes, brass statues are inevitably shaped with sharp, ornate "flames" or blades projecting from their bodies. Brass statues carry no weaponry; their flames are weapons enough.

A brass statue attacks by rushing at an opponent or striking with one or more limbs, slashing or impaling its victim for 1-8 hit points of damage per successful attack; if the statue has enough space to charge it will do so, inflicting double damage upon a single target. Fumbling an attack against a brass statue results in 1-6 hit points of damage as the attacker blunders against the statue's flame-blades.

The internal energies of a brass statue flicker and dance, creating rippling crimson patterns that disorient those who view them -- if a save vs. spell is failed, any attackers take a -2 penalty to their to hit rolls. Twice a day a brass statue may expend the lion's share of these energies to create a sphere of injurious magical power 10' in radius around it; this energy causes 1-8 hit points of damage to everything within range, but shuts down the statue's disorientation ability for four rounds.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Magic Item: The Cats of Day and Night

The Cats of Day and Night: Neu-created enchanted clockworks, the Cats are exactly that -- a pair of mechanical cats the size of dogs. Both Cats are crafted of gold and crystal and purified black iron, and their intricate insides are occasionally revealed at their joints when they move; they each have their ear-tips and tearlines picked out in gold, eyes of brilliant clear topaz, and a brilliant red carbuncle set into the forehead. The outer shell of the Cat of Day is shaped from ivory, whereas the Cat of Night is sheathed in ebony.

Each cat is directed by the owner's will, but is capable of following commands that are not extremely complex and may act independently -- for example, to serve as a scout or (small) beast of burden. Mastery is determined by the ownership and wearing of the Cats' Ring, a delicate finger-ring of ebony, ivory and gold crafted to resemble two stylized, intertwined felines.

In combat, the Cat of Night may attack freely as directed by its master, and is capable of wreathing its claws and teeth in black energies twice a day that cause an additional 1-6 hit points of damage. The Cat of Day may not attack, but instead defends its master -- the Cat's interference with physical attacks and magical countering of spells confer a +2 bonus to the master's Armour Class and saving throws against offensive magics. The Cat of Day may also wreathe its claws or teeth in white energies and "attack" its master, or another as its master directs, healing the amount of damage inflicted that day by the Cat of Night's ebonfire.

The Cats of Day and Night have the following statistics: AC4; HD 2+2; hp 15, 15; Mv 180' (60'); Att 2 claws + 1 bite [Night]; Dam 1-3/1-3/1-6 [Night]; Sv F3; Mr 12; immune to fire, cold.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monster: Emberwings

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4*
Move: fly 120' (40')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-8
No. Appearing: 1 (see below)
Save As: F3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 200

Swarm and singular creature at the same time, emberwings resemble a flock of butterflies of burning fire-coloured crystal, glowing like the embers they are named for. Fluttering aimlessly -- or so they appear -- the emberwings will "attack" anything that seems like a likely target, seeking to share their warmth. Though not inherently hostile, an emberwings can be deadly to anything around it simply by existing.

The razor-sharp, burning blades of the swarm's wings inflict 1-8 hit points of damage per attack, as the emberwings swarm engulfs a body. Every three rounds, once agitated, it may focus a blast of glittering flame through the wings of its swarm, creating a bolt of flame that extends for 20' and inflicts 2-12 hit points of damage. Should it be attacked with cold, an emberwings will counter with a pyretic burst, inflicting the damage of its firebolt on all within 20' of the emberwings -- but it may only do so once.

Emberwings are immune to fire and take only half damage from lightning. Cold causes an emberwings double damage, as do bludgeoning weapons.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Monster: Death Tapioca

You probably don't want to know the conversation that was the inspiration for this one ~

Death Tapioca
Armour Class: 2
Hit Dice: 6+6**
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-12 or 2-20
No. Appearing: 1-3
Save As: C7
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Lawful
XP Value: 950

Horrid creatures of the deep dungeon, death tapiocas have been so named by adventurers with a sense of the ridiculous. Amorphous slime creatures nearly eight feet in diameter, death tapiocas are a terrible mass of shining black gelatin studded with smooth spherical organelles resembling polished iron orbs -- or tapioca pearls. The overall effect is that of a quivering, undulating mass of polished black iron tapioca, relentlessly advancing. Worse yet, some report that the death tapioca seems to be sentient and perhaps even sapient.

The death tapioca's basic attack is to strike with a pseudopod or a rippling wave of its main mass, inflicting 1-12 hit points of damage. More dangerous, and gruesome, is the eruption it can produce every six rounds -- a dozen or more orbs open up and unleash a torrent of sticky, corrosive, immobilizing slime. This attack affects a 15' radius around the tapioca and inflicts 2-20 hit points of damage in the first round, 1-8 hit points after round afterwards for three additional rounds. To add insult to injury, the sticky mass impedes movement, cutting movement rates in half and causing a -3 to all rolls until the slime hardens and cracks away in four rounds.

Death tapiocas take no damage from fire or lightning. Cold damage causes them to fission into two 4HD tapiocas. They are immune to nonmagical weapons, but take damage from holy water as if undead.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Monster: Lurru

Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 1/3*
Move: 60' (20')
fly 180' (60')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1 (see below)
No. Appearing: 4-40
Save As: Normal Man
Morale: 6
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 4

Lurru are locust-like creatures, four to six inches in length, of a distinctive iridescent golden-green. Their wings are filmy and opalescent, and their eyes are a bright gold. Lurru have sharp, precise nipping mandibles and curved hooks tipping their feet which enable them to cling to their chosen prey more readily. These insects are seldom encountered in flights of less than three or four, and swarms of two dozen or more are not unknown. A swarm will concentrate on a single target at a time before moving on to the next, even if more than one potential prey has become insensible.

Lurru prefer to immobilize their prey via their mesmerizing displays before moving in to dine. The shimmering carapace and wings of a lurru disorient and confuse those who see them; a save vs. spells is required, else the victim is entranced by the displays of colour and stands in place, unable to act for 2-8 rounds. Once they have alighted onto a confused or immobile victim, they begin to feed until sated, killed or pried off, inflicting one hit point of damage per round in which they are attached.

Though they do not possess treaure in the normal sense, lurru are themselves somewhat valuable. Their gleaming carapaces may be sold for 1-4gp each; and two lurru -- if reasonably intact -- will feed an adult for a day. Lurru taste rather like custard, with an earthy, cinnamon-like bite.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Monster: Hejari

Air Spirit, Hejari
Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 6+3****
Move: 180' (60')
fly 210' (70')
Attacks: 2 claws or by weapon
Damage: 1-8/1-8 or by weapon +1
No. Appearing: 1 (1-2)
Save As: F6
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: O
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 1550

Warrior-scholars of the Courts of Air, hejari are lean humanoids with strong, taloned feet and bestial legs, and the heads of fey, white-coated gazelles. From their pale shoulders sprout "wings" of ever-shifting white mist; their talons are tinted sapphire, and their blue-gold eyes shine like lightning. Their manes vary in shades of pale gold, soft grey and platinum, and their long spiralling horns are the pale translucent white-gold of a lightning strike. Contemplative creatures, hejari refrain from throwing themselves into combat unless absolutely necessary and prefer instead to broker pacts that serve themselves and their Court.

When combat is inevitable, hejari attack with slashing kicks of their talons, inflicting 1-8 hit points of damage per successful strike, or else with weaponry, preferring javelins and bows. Far more commonly the hejari will use its mistcage to entrap 1-4 targets in lacy constructs of misty force. These mistcages may be created every three rounds and exist until dismissed by the hejari or the entrapped victim makes a successful Strength check at a -6 penalty; for every round trapped in the cage, a victim takes 1-2 hit points of damage, temporarily loses a point of Dexterity, or receives no impairment as the hejari wills.

Hejari have the spellcasting ability of 5th-level magic users. A magical weapon is required to harm them, and they regenerate 2 hit points per round when in contact with active winds or lightning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Magic Item: Heaven's Glass

Heaven's Glass: Ancient literally beyond reckoning, Heaven's Glass is a roughly circular slab of obsidian an inch thick, or thereabouts, and just the right size to be cradled comfortably in one's palms. Roughly shaped around its circumference, though one broad side is simply stone-pecked to a slightly convex, pitted surface the other has been polished to such a high degree that the surface is unblemished as still water. Perfectly smooth, the polished side can act as a fine -- if dark -- mirror.

Those who peer into the silky smooth reflective face of Heaven's Glass long enough, however, see floating within the midnight depths a rendition of the starry skies in smoky points of light. Focused on the zodiacal constellations, these tiny dark "stars" change with the day and the seasons in perfect step with those in the sky above.

Concentrating on Heaven's Glass will produce a specific effect once a day, depending on the nature of the individual holding the disc. Those without connection to a greater power or principle may receive a single clerical spell of 3rd-level or lower as they wish. Those who serve a force greater than they (i.e. a cleric) may instead ask any one question and have the answer -- though often obscure, or riddling -- whispered into their minds. Heaven's Glass will serve in this manner ten times before requiring a ritual of exposure to starlight and terebinth incense to be performed every night for a stellar month.

Though no name or discrete legendry remains attached to Heaven's Glass to suggest a connection to the primordial forces, its sheer antiquity combined with the failure of even the greatest of seers to divine its origin suggests just such a connection with all the due caution such a thing entails. One question Heaven's Glass will never answer is any such thing that will reveal its origin or creator.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monster: Citipati

Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 210' (70')
Attacks: 2 claws + 1 bite
Damage: 1-8/1-8 + 1-6
No. Appearing: 2-8 (4-16)
Save As: F3
Morale: 7
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 20

A strange avian beast, the citipati is long-necked and sports a respectable long, bony tail. Nine feet long and better, it is more heavily muscled than ostriches or even axebeaks; its head is large-eyed and roundly compact, with a deep beak like that of a parrot and two strange, conical teeth in the centre-line of its upper jaw. A citipati's wings are much too short to fly or even flutter, but the limbs bear three long, strong and supple fingers tipped with large curved claws and full feathering used for display. Many citipati develop a tall, narrow crest along the midline of their skulls which is sheathed in horn like their beak. Preferring dry grasslands and near-desert environments, its thick coat of feathers tend towards dappled dusty shades, with the males bearing markings in rust and metallic red along their cheeks and throughout the feathers of their wings.

In combat a citipati lashes out with its large claws and chopping beak, inflicting 1-8 and 1-6 hit points of damage respectively. Given enough maneuvering room it may also charge or trample, inflicting double damage from the claws on its feet and a few stray swipes of its wing-claws. If defending young citipati or a nest of eggs, an adult will have a morale of 10 and fight with a +2 bonus to hit and damage rolls.

It is possible to train citipati. A citipati may carry 1000cn, or 2000cn at half movement; though they cannot efficiently bear most riders, they are effective cart animals -- as efficient as mules in that capacity -- or pack animals.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A serious writing project? Seriously?

In the last few days I've found myself pondering working on a document packed full of how I intend to handle elemental magic (or, at least elemental spells), the elemental planes themselves, and all that fun stuff. I dare say I could fill a decent handful of pages with:

- planar description for all six elements
- an explanation of how Courts work and few examples for each plane
- elemental cysts and what one can do with those nifty shinies, including the hybrid cysts
- crossovers between the elemental planes and the mortal world
- calling elementals and elemental spirits
- and of course a goodly measure of critters, magical items and spells

I could even work up a Labyrinth Lord version. With luck, this notion will take root over the next few weeks and something might come of it -- I need to encourage myself more! (Or at least stop getting distracted by everything else that comes along.)

But here's the big kicker of a question, because I have to admit the temptation is dangling: would it be worthwhile to actually make this project -- if it flies -- into something I could put on Lulu?
Better question: how could I manage that, with the artistic and layout skills of a dead wombat? *grins*

Well, better to see what I can write first I suppose. That week in exilevacation in the first week of June might come in handy, too ...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Monster: Heqren

Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 1/2***
Move: 270' (90')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1 + special
No. Appearing: 2-20 (50-50)
Save As: M2
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 8

Gelatinous and almost transparent, heqren resemble small flying manta rays. Measuring little more than a foot across the breadth of their wings, they are strange little creatures seemingly composed entirely of stiff opalescent jelly. To the average individual a heqren is little threat, and a flight troublesome but avoidable -- but to a spellcaster, or any who make use of magic, the jelly mantas are a miserable bane.

Heqren attack by colliding with a target. This attack inflicts a single hit point of damage; however, this is not the major source of "damage". A heqren will drain magic from the victim's possession with every successful attack: a charged magical item loses a charge, temporary items are drained altogether, a permanent item becomes nullified for one hour, or spellcasters lose one memorized spell. If multiple options present themselves in a single target, heqren prioritize in the above order.

If a heqren absorbs magic a number of times equal to its hit points, it promptly fissions into two identical heqren. Heqren are effectively immune to magic. They take double damage from fire.

Magic Item: Snowember

Snowember: A battle-axe of massive construction, Snowember is of unmistakable enchantment. Though its haft may be of polished steel engraved with running spirals, its grip wrapped in golden scales with tassels of beaded white horsehair dangling from the suspension-loop in its butt; none of this compares to the broad, flaring blades of the axe.

Wickedly sharp, the flared wedges of Snowember's head are fashioned of a frosted, snowy crystalline substance -- eternal ice, or impossibly translucent blue-white embers. A corona of roiling white flames dances endlessly across the blades, warming and cooling all at once, though Snowember deals no damage from its fires unless so desired by its owner.

Though capable of wounding creatures requiring an enchanted weapon to be struck, Snowember has no innate bonuses to hit or damage. Instead, it inflicts an additional 1-8 hit points of fire damage to any target struck by its blades -- and against fiery creatures, its white flames inflict 2-16 hit points of damage and force an immediate morale check as the victim is faced with its own element somehow turned against it.

The origin of Snowember is unknown; though its ornamentation suggests a connection to the western Horseclans, the wind-riders were not known to favour axes. The offering up -- or the destruction -- of the great axe could allow one to curry great favour with any number of the Courts of Fire. By the same token, unraveling the means of its enchantment would prove an excellent weapon against those same Courts.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monster: Alistrath

Alistrath (Wildfiend)
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 5+5***
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2 claws + 1 bite or by weapon
Damage: 1-6/1-6 + 1-4 or by weapon +3
No. Appearing: 1-4
Save As: F6
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: D (U)
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 750

Alistrath are the magically (one hopes!) created offspring of the mingling of ogres, lycanthropes and -- it is suspected -- spirits from one or more of the Elemental Courts. Though they stand a good eight feet tall, alistrath have more human proportions than their ogrish ancestors; but their faces, though humanlike, are narrow and feral with a hint of a muzzle. Their hair is long, thick, and wild, their eyes animalistic, and they bear long hooked claws and rending fangs; some few have distinctly elemental-looking physical traits. When enraged an alistrath is enveloped in an aura of elemental energy.

Given the chance, alistrath often will take control of humanoid tribes by killing the chieftains before leading their ever-growing hordes onsprees of conquest and assimilation.

Many alistrath will wade into combat with oversized weapons, inflicting damage as per that weapon type +3 additional hit points of damage. If disarmed, or in a fury, attacks switch to claws and fangs, dishing out 1-6 and 1-4 hit points respectively; this is in addition to aura damage, which most any alistrath will be actively causing by the time fighting with claws has begun.

The alistrath's aura effect is an enveloping field of elemental energies -- sometimes pure, sometimes mingled, with two effects being common and three combined elemental forces not unknown. This energy extends one to two feet from the alistrath, and inflicts 1-6 hit points damage on living creatures that it touches.

Alistrath are immune to one form of elemental damage (usually fire), and require silver weapons or spells to be injured. They regenerate one hit point per round.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dragons and Spawning and pesky Adventurers

Earlier today, Chgowiz posted on uber critters and how they could overrun a campaign world. His finishing paragraph mentioned dragons specifically, and he asks how others deal with the uber monster problem.

I'd started typing a response; then decided it was entirely too long for a comment and moved it over here *grins*

For dragons at least, they have the twin stumbling-blocks of reproduction and adventurers --

My dragons reproduce semi-regularly, and spawn many offspring at a time; but those offspring are weak and puny for a long period and are picked off with impunity by many other creatures, because the adult dragons are indifferent to the fates of all but a selected handful of "best of breed" youngsters. The remainder are turned loose on the countryside, but in a world of many critters (and people!) happy to pick off even a tiny dragon, their odds of survival are low in the extreme.

(Granted, any that do survive are canny and powerful blighters in their own right by the sheer dint of having defeated the odds stacked against them ... so the habit still serve the draconic species tolerably well, in a way.)

Those offspring that a dragon retains aren't exactly exempt from fatalities, either. Even ignoring the possibility of being picked off by adventurers -- and more on that subject shortly -- the dragonets may be killed by a displeased parent, or even their own siblings. Competition can be fierce and deadly for the lion's share of parental attention.

The oldest and strongest dragons -- those who by rights would be the most capable of dealing with the largest numbers of selected offspring -- are no longer properly fertile. Males cannot reproduce without magical assistance, and the females, instead of proper offspring, begin to produce eggs that hatch out into various subdraconic "servitor" humanoids.

Adventurers are the other side of the coin for "dragon control". Every lout who swings a sword or casts a cantrip dreams of the day that they can go after a dragon. Dragons are the Big Game, awesome enough to add immensely to one's reputation but quite utterly predictable in many ways and therefore easier to deal with than, say, major elementals. They hoard treasure, are a source of dragon-stones (for even more treasure), and even the carcases are valuable. Dragon hunting more than justifies the risks involved in the eyes of many, and even the more powerful breeds are not completely immune to the hunt -- they simply attract the more powerful adventurers.

And if a dragon survives all of this, if it lives to many Hit Dice and a hoard of magic it can use, swarms of minions and a vast territory?

Now not only does it have the chance of adventurers arriving on the doorstep of its lair, its now the potential target of other elder dragons eager to get its slice of the resource-and-reputation pie ...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monster: Shining Dragon

Shining Dragon
Armour Class: -2
Hit Dice: 12**
Move: 90' (30')
fly 240' (80')
Attacks: 2 claws / 1 bite
Damage: 1-8 / 1-8 / 3-24
No. Appearing: 1-4 (1-4)
Save As: F12
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: H
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 3000

Trim and muscular, with broad wings and twin arcs of hornlets adorning the head, shining dragons are scaled in brilliant amber and piercingly pure white; many possess scales edged in translucent topaz, and seem to give off a soft golden light. Their eyes are the colour of sunfire. Shining dragons prefer to lair in deserts and dry mesas, on bare stony plateaus, and essentially anywhere they may bask in as much light as possible. Quixotic and unpredictable creatures in the eyes of non-dragons, shining dragons are sphinxlike in their strange and indirect, riddling talk.

A shining dragon's breath weapon is a line of bubbling, foaming, burning light, 10'x100'. If a second save vs. Breath is failed, a character loses 2 points from Strength, Dexterity and Constitution until a remove curse is administered. Shining dragons have a 100% chance of talking, a 5% chance of being asleep, and may cast four first-level, four second-level and four third level Magic-User spells per day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dungeon get!

I finally completed my entry for the One Page Dungeon Contest!

(I am a very wordy person. This was tricky to say the least ~)

But! The entry has more than a half-dozen rooms! I'm so proud of me ;3

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Monster: Shade Dragon

Shade Dragon
Armour Class: -3
Hit Dice: 12**
Move: 90' (30')
fly 240' (80')
Attacks: 2 claws / 1 bite
Damage: 1-10 / 1-10 / 3-36
No. Appearing: 1-4 (1-4)
Save As: F12
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: H
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 3000

Long, lean and slender, with narrow wings, wicked talons and short thin horns, shade dragons are cloaked in tiny, adamantine-hard scales of a deep, velvety black; some few among them possess shining highlights on the tips of some scales, like smoky stars, and their eyes are an inky blue-black. Shade dragons prefer to lair within the deepest and most lightless of dungeons, or -- strangely enough -- in cavern-riddled mountain peaks, from which they emerge only at night. They are cryptic, inscrutable and nearly unfathomable beasts.

A shade dragon's breath weapon is a cloud of clinging, effervescent, roiling darkness, 50' x 50'. If a second save vs. Breath is failed, a character is blinded until a remove curse is administered. Shade dragons have a 100% chance of talking, a 5% chance of being asleep, and may cast five first-level, four second-level and four third level Magic-User spells per day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Monster: Kharui

Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 5*
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: (2 claws +) 4 tentacles
Damage: (1-6/1-6 +) 1-8/1-8/1-8/1-8 + special
No. Appearing: 1 (1-4)
Save As: F5
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: B
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 300

Quadrupedal, reptilian predators, kharui have long, low builds like that of a hunting cat, whip-like tails and long necks. Their heads are adorned with low crests of hornlets and a long, curved and surprisingly delicate ivory beak, their bodies covered with fine golden-green scales -- but their most distinctive feature would be the four long, thin tentacles that sprout from their shoulders. Each tentacle is tipped with a wickedly curved, crystalline talon, hollow like a syringe.

In combat a kharui will use its claws if pressed or overwhelmed, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage. However, its primary weapons -- and primary source of sustenance -- are its claw-tipped tentacles, each one of which strikes for 1-8 hit points of damage. If a tentacle causes more than 4 hit points of damage with a single strike the claw has imbedded and remains attached, draining blood and causing the victim to lose 1 point of Constitution every two rounds. Tentacles can be severed, which ends the blood drain, and lost Constitution can be regained with a day of rest per point lost.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Things being pondered ...

- Converting at least some of the content of Al-Qadim over to BEMCI. Classes and magic, at least, should be doable ... the sha'ir would require some thought, though ...

- Maybe some more FF critters. Maybe some critters and whatnot from another game (Luminous Arc would be interesting magic-wise).

- Flesh out and possibly tweak my psionic class.

- Why am I tempted to write stats for critters from Pern? *facepalms*