Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Flailing and Uploading Files --

Circumstances beyond my control (*glaring mightily at the contractors on-site*) have me rather scattered at the moment.

I shall do my best to catch up, and within a day or two will hopefully have new download links for the Little Treasures and Final Fantasy Hack files, which have gone down since I first posted them --

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Historical settings: What elements?

When in the market for a historical setting -- for any rpg, really, though since I'm writing for Classic D&D on this blog one can take that as a starting-point -- what do you look for?

More to the point, what sort of information and details do you expect to find, and want to find, in a historical setting? New critters, magic, class tweaks or descriptions of how classes fit in? An overview of the history and culture in question? Location descriptions? New fiddly systems ...?

How much historical accuracy is too much, or too little? Should the "fantastic" elements fit the culture, the general theme, or does it matter?

I'd love to hear your opinions ~!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Magic Item: Mindara's Drop

Mindara's Drop: First created by the now-legendary Mindara, spellwielding sub-captain of the Revolution of Thorns, the small ornaments now known as Mindara's Drops continue to be a boon for secretive magic-users. Unfortunately the design of the Drops contains Mindara's curse of flaws in execution. Whether a ruby hung from a delicate golden chain, a rough stoneware pendant on a peasant's woven wristlet or simple one shimmering glass bead among many, Mindara's Drop requires two things: that it not be perfectly spherical, and that it must be red.

When commanded, Mindara's Drop transforms into a small, hand-sized book bound in red velvet and silver, capable of containing up to five spells as a normal spellbook. A second command returns the Drop to its ornamental form. By sacrificing a bit of energy to the Drop -- equivalent to one hit point, which may not be healed unless the bond is voluntarily given up or the owner of the Drop died -- it may be bonded to a single owner, permitting no other to change its form or alter its spells unless the enchanted bond is broken.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monster: Ladanna

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+5
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: 1 bite or 1 gore, + 2 hooves
Damage: 1-6 or 1-8 + 1-4/1-4
No. Appearing: 2-8
Save As: F2
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 25

Ladanna have the basic appearance of deer: the same size, body shape and speed. However, complementing their rusty-tan pelt a ladanna's upper body, from muzzle to tail, is cloaked in articulated blue-green scales. Ladanna have scythe-like horns instead of antlers, and a pair of tusk-like fangs jut from their muzzle. Carnivorous and savage, ladanna both attack mundane deer and breed freely with them; the offspring resemble normal deer but possess the ladanna's fangs and taste for blood.

In combat a ladanna strikes with its dewclaw-armed forehooves, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage each. Against weaker or impaired targets a ladanna will also gore for 1-8 hit points of damage; others are bitten first, the bite inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage and bleeding freely from the wound because of the rending fangs. Bite wounds continue to lose 1-2 hit points per round until treated.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Red Box thoughts

You know you've been trundling along with something too long when you entertain thoughts of how you would like to rewrite it, if you could.

Recently I've been mulling over the idea of what I would put in a "Red Box" of levels 1-3 D&D. What critters, what sort of items; would I add or remove classes, or make alterations to the classes in the Mentzer box (my preferred Red Box) ... Could I condense an itty bitty gazetteer of sorts, give a starting-point for an adventure or two?

This, predictably, soon attracted the question of "Could I make this self-contained?". Hyper-low-level gaming is hardly everyone's cup of tea, but we've gotten a goodly fair bit of mileage from it. A self-contained Red Box may require other adjustments in and of itself; something else to ponder over.

If nothing else, it's turning into an entertaining mental exercise. I may post further ramblings on the subject.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Magic Item: Sira'she, the White Ghost Mask

Sira'she, the White Ghost Mask: None can attribute this full-face mask, of impossibly thin ivory carved with sweeping lines into idealized, almost stylized features, to any single enchanter. Perhaps the very nature of the White Ghost Mask prevents such a thing. What is confirmed is the existence of copies of Sira'she alongside the original, also of ivory but bearing a tiny gem in the brow, or one in each cheek; what altered or additional powers the copies may possess is unknown.

Placing Sira'she against the face causes it to adhere there without the need for physical ties or straps. The enchantment of the mask permits sight, speech, breath and even eating and drinking while the mask is worn. Its true purpose, however, is not merely concealment of the face but complete obfuscation of identity; while Sira'she is worn, the individual wearing it is completely unrecognizable by unique physical traits, sex or species, appearing as an androgynous and nondescript humanoid of no particular type. Further, the White Ghost Mask influences those that see it being worn such that its wearer's appearance does not seem unusual or disturbing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monster: Oojeni

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3+2*
Move: 90' (30')
climb 90' (30')
Attacks: 4 tentacles
No. Appearing: 1 (1-6)
Save As: F3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: D
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 75

Mottled in blues and green and dull reds, oojeni are land-dwelling octopi with a distinct bent towards domination and control -- preferably of humans and similar creatures. They are also more than capable of obtaining that control, as often as not -- in isolated or unwary areas entire villages may come under the sway of an oojeni, or, rarely, a clutch of them. Oojeni have golden eyes, and surprisingly small, chalky white beaks.

In combat an oojeni strikes with as many as four of its tentacles, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage with each successful strike. If the oojeni wishes, a successful attack results in the tentacle's tip breaking off in the wound and quickly burrowing out of sight; the victim must save vs. paralysis or be controlled by the oojeni, as if charmed. If this charm is not broken -- or the tentacle dug out of the flesh, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage -- within 24 hours the oojeni's control becomes complete, allowing it to telepathically command the victim or simply control their actions directly. A tentacle grows back its lost tip in 2-5 days, and there is no limit to the number of creatures an oojeni may control.

occasionally an oojeni is accompanied by 1-4 spawn. These pale green creatures possess a single Hit Die and inflict only 1 hit point of damage with their tentacles; they cannot charm or control, instead causing disorientation (-2 to all rolls) for 2-7 turns if a save vs. paralyzation is failed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monster: Taurowanax

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4**
Move: 180' (60')
Attacks: 1 gore + 1 trample
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: C6
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Lawful or Neutral
XP Value: 175

The taurowanax, king of bulls, is a massive creature that stands head and shoulders above a common ox and displays a frightening amount of intelligence. Most commonly encountered leading a herd of wild cattle, a taurowanax often raids outlying farms and ranches to ransack crops or add a farmer's cattle to his followers. Most taurowanax have a pure white hide, though some few are skewbald in white and tawny red; all bear long, curving and wickedly sharp golden horns. In some locales the horns and hide of a taurowanax fetch high prices -- in others, owning them is a death sentence.

In combat a taurowanax gores with his horns, inflicting 1-10 hit points of damage, and tramples for an additional 2-12 hit points. Once every four rounds a taurowanax may invoke an earthshaker, pounding the ground beneath his hooves; all within a 50' radius are tossed to the ground and take 2-24 hit points of damage.

A taurowanax receives a +3 bonus to saving throws against all spells and is immune to nonmagical weapons. Tales speak of taurowanax of 10 Hit Dice, with the ability to summon true earthquakes once a week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Magic Item: Dashifen's Glass

Dashifen's Glass: A thick plate of an unidentifiable crystal-clear material, shaped like a broad teardrop, faceted along its edges and as large as a grown man's head, Dashifen's Glass is trimmed with delicately etched scrollwork and mounted in a slim frame of gold and burnished blue steel.

When laid against any magical inscription, such as an enchanted rune, a spell scroll, or a warding glyph, Dashifen's Glass will take the enchantment into itself. This absorption leaves the object the Glass was laid against uninscribed and unenchanted, while the Glass carries the glyph or text within etching across its surface. While so etched the enchantment is dormant; placing the Glass against a blank surface of any suitable kind will transfer the magic once more.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Magic Item: Kingfisher Chimes

Kingfisher Chimes: Named for the stone they are carved from -- translucent green jade, tinged with deep blue and shot through with delicate white veins -- the Kingfisher Chimes are strings of round bells no larger than the last joint of the fourth finger, their bead-like clappers carved from the same stone as the body of the bell. The Chimes are strung on lengths of pure white cords, and may number from five to twenty.

When hung around an area to be enclosed, no more than twenty feet in diameter, the Kingfisher Chimes ward away inimical forces. All hostile creatures of three Hit Dice or less must succeed in a save vs. charm or be hedged away; should the creature succeed, the magic of the Chimes forces a -2 penalty to all actions for the duration of the encounter.

Every time the Kingfisher Chimes are overcome, a single bell shatters into shimmering dust.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magic Item: Shining King's Bulwark

Shining King's Bulwark: Of unknown origin, this large shield is composed of a single massive scale, as if from a titanic dragon or similar reptilian beast. Greyish-blue and nacreous, almost opalescent, the scale is unworked; the addition of grips and strapping in steel and woven silver -- somehow smoothly bonded to the scale's interior -- is the only noticeable alteration to its original form.

Scraps of epics and legendry speak of similar shields, and in one notable example -- the Cycle of the Silver Knight -- of a suit of shimmering armour. More often than not, the items in question are described as being borne by a grizzled elder knight with silvered grey hair and armed with a spear or lance.

The Shining King's Bulwark is a shield +2. When faced with apparently insurmountable odds, the bearer of the Bulwark may draw on strength of will and the enchantments of the shield, allowing a Wisdom check to either add a +4 to the next dice roll or to force a reroll, taking the better result. This decision must be made before the dice are actually rolled. Alternately, a Wisdom check may be made in order to permit the reflection of a single spell back onto its caster. Drawing on the Bulwark may only be performed once a day, regardless of the form chosen.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Monster: Golden Jelly

Golden Jelly
Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 1-1
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: 1
No. Appearing: 1-3
Save As: C1
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 5

Strange little creatures even for jellykind, golden jellies are semi-fluid masses of glistening, translucent metallic gold roughly a foot and a half in diameter. Though dangerous, like any jelly, golden jellies do have their usefulness and many tribes of kobolds and goblins have made use of their properties.

In combat, a golden jelly attacks with a pseudopod for 1-6 hit points of damage. If it successfully attacks a target twice, it has adhered and attempts to liquify and ooze into available orifices or even though the skin; if a save vs. poison is failed, the jelly absorbs into the target within 1-3 rounds. This process may be halted by apply the jelly's hit points in cold damage.

Once so absorbed, the golden jelly merges into the "host" and bestows a +1 bonus to saving throws and +1 to Armour Class in return for inflicting 1-2 hit points of damage daily. Killing the host frees the jelly, which will immediately attack the nearest likely target.

Golden jellies take double damage from cold-based attacks. Flame will cause them to fission into two jellies, each with half the hit points of the "parent"; such minor jellies cannot provide benefits to a host.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Monster: Thief-of-Hues

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4
Move: 120' (40')
swim 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 bite
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: M4
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 100

The thief-of-hues -- also known as a nijiara or chromatic python -- is a huge serpent that most closely resembles a constrictor in shape, with scales of a dull pearly grey, milky white eyes, and virtually silent movement. A thief-of-hues may be found in virtually any environment; some believe them to be of some elemental strain, or the result of a magic-user's tampering.

In combat a thief-of-hues bites for 2-5 hit points of damage, sinking in hook-like fangs. Instead of venom it drains colour from its victim; if a save vs. poison is failed, roll on the following chart to determine the colour -- and emotion -- that is lost by the victim:

1. red -- anger
2. orange -- courage
3. yellow -- fear
4. green -- happiness
5. blue -- sadness
6. violet -- curiosity
7. indigo -- calmness
8. two colours -- roll twice more, ignoring results of 8

Lost colours may be regained by the intervention of a powerful cleric, or by consuming the ichor of a thief-of-hues -- which may not be the serpent that drained the colour from the victim.

A thief-of-hues bleeds in rivulets containing streams of colour from the entire spectrum. Its ichor is valued by alchemists and sages, even beyond its purpose in restoring lost colours.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Magic Item: Chrysaor, the Sunlit Edge

Chrysaor, the Sunlit Edge: A weapon of relatively recent history, Chrysaor was forged as one component of a Dawn Knight's consecrated regalia. Unfortunately for Dawn's Korvun, he lost his life in battle with a knot of wraiths and the sword was lost; it has subsequently changed hands from one adventuring band and sapient monster to another, all so far unaware of the blade's origin -- or the rewards offered by the House of the Dawn for its safe return.

Finely balanced and sharpened along both edges of the blade, Chrysaor is forged, blade and hilt both, of milky white steel. Chrysaor's grip is wrapped with plaited rough linen and amber-scaled hide; its quillions are simple and recurved, its pommel an unadorned sphere. Most strikingly, both flats of the pale blade are inlaid with flames and vines of delicate golden wire. When wielded, Chrysaor is engulfed in light like warm sunlight.

Chrysaor is a sword +1. When wielded against the undead, its wirework burns brightly golden and the sword inflicts an extra 1-3 hit points of damage. Chrysaor's bearer also gains a +1 to saving throws, when applicable, against attacks from undead creatures.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monster: K'kithil

Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1-1
Move: 90' (30')
climb 90' (30')
burrow 90' (30')
Attacks: 2 liv or 1 bite
1-3/1-3 or 2-5
No. Appearing: 2-12 (20-200)
Save As: Normal Man
Morale: 9 (12)
Treasure Type: F
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 5

Sapient, industrious scarabs some two feet long, k'kithil congregate in massive labyrinthine burrows and dense scalloped towers, building up and filling in space with an orange-gold, translucent resin. Their tools are likewise fashioned of resin, nearly as hard as steel and half the weight. K'kithil chitin is white and black and set off with copper markings that match their eyes; their mandibles are ornately shaped and serrated, and their foremost pair of legs are capable of manipulating objects -- which may be carried concealed beneath their wingcases.

In combat k'kithil bite if pressed, inflicting 2-5 hit points of damage, or rear back on their hind two pairs of legs to allow the throwing of two liv, narrow resin blades, as far as 15' for 1-3 hit points of damage each.

For every ten k'kithil there is one warrior of 1+3 Hit Dice. Warriors attack as 2 Hit Die monsters and inflict 2-8 hit points of damage with their sharpened mandibles. A colony of k'kithil is led by 2-8 fertile Lords and Ladies, who possess 2+2 Hit Dice, an Armour Class of 2, and brilliant jewel-coloured markings. K'kithil fighting to defend their Lords and Ladies possess a morale of 12 rather than 9.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm not dead!

.. Just distracted ;3 And with a newish philosophy that I shouldn't push myself to post when something else is on my mind.

Don't worry, I'm not gone forever ;3

Friday, November 6, 2009

Magic Item: Green Fire Wraith

Green Fire Wraith: A marvel of magitech, the Green Fire Wraith is a construct of steel and brass and glittering green glass as hard as adamant, of smooth bulbous glassy panels and magnificent clockwork limbs. The Wraith is a monstrous beautiful wasp; and it carries its passengers and cargo within it as it flies on wings of slim golden veining and films of pure arcane energies.

The Wraith is a unique clockwork airship large enough to carry up to six human-sized passengers in its thorax and abdomen in relative comfort. Its limbs are jointed and hooked like those of the insect it is modeled after, capable of landing on most any surface and clinging there stubbornly; the Wraith may also venture underwater, though its ability to function there is poor. The Wraith can achieve a land speed of 210' (70') and a stunning maximum flight speed of 450' (150'), but its submerged movement is only 120' (40').

The Wraith is armed with adamant-lined steel mandibles that can inflict 5-50 hit points of damage per bite; but its ability to bite man-sized targets is small, inflicting a -6 penalty to the to-hit roll of the controlling individual. More efficient is the Wraith's sting, a massive needle-like vane of brass and crystal that can cast an 8-Hit Dice lightning bolt every five rounds. The Wraith functions as if possessing 20 Hit Dice and an Armour Class of -4.

Wars and revolutions have been fought over the Wraith, petty kingdoms rising like shoots and falling like leaves in its wake. More fearsome still are the rumours that tell of a series of such constructs -- some with other forms of armaments, or mesmerizing patterns cast by their scintillating wings -- that rest within a mountain rebout waiting to be found.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Magic Item: Scribe's Whisper

Scribe's Whisper: A crystal inkpen a foot and better in length, the Scribe's Whisper is gently sculpted in smooth lines and subtle swellings to accomodate the miniscule golden gears, tiny coral clockworks and pearly mageries that twist in constant motion within its shaft. The nib of the Scribe's Whisper is of frosted steel etched in cinnabar; the thumb- and finger-rests directly above the nib are of gold and cinnabar, smooth to the casual touch but unfolding tiny metallic claspers to cradle the fingers and gently adhere the skin. While in use, the mageries within Scribe's Whisper tint a soft pink.

Attuned to the writer by the connection-point and fueled by magic and the writer's intent, Scribe's Whisper need only be drawn across any surface suitable for inscription and the inkpen will do so in a distinctive red-black script. The Whisper draws the words directly from the writer's mind; it will inscribe in any language the writer knows, switching between languages as required or needed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Magic Item: Hyuu's Eyes

Hyuu's Eyes: This collection of painstakingly polished lenses -- of crystal, amber and other more rarified things, mounted in thin rings of cinnabar and orichalcum -- is commonly found in one of two forms. Both versions of Hyuu's Eyes mount the bevy of lenses on delicate articulated arms, to be swung before the wearer's eye as needed; but one carries them on reinforced brass and cinnabar spectacles, where the other mounts the arms and their lenses to a smooth metal ovoid that attaches to the owner's temple with the sacrifice of a drop of blood.

The various combinations of lenses in Hyuu's Eyes produce different unworldly enhancements to vision. Most versions have 2-6 different functions, each usable once per day, though arcanesmiths do love to customize; for skinmounted arrays, for example, further functions may sometimes be fueled by the sacrifice of hit points.

Some possible functions include:

1. Detect magic, as the spell
2. Read magic, as the spell
3. Sense the weakness: gain a +1 to to-hit rolls after studying a target for 1 round
4. Detect alignment of single target
5. Identify substance after 1-4 rounds of study
6. Fatal flaw: gain a +2 bonus to damage against a construct or object after studying for 1 round
8. Sharpened awareness: gain a +1 to rolls for finding secret or hidden doors for 1-10 turns

Hyuu's Eyes are named for the secretive young magic-user Hyuu Thunderwing, who was the first to create such an artifact. There is a certain amount of gentle irony in the fact that, even years after Thunderwing's disappearance in the Splintered Peaks, tales circulate that he never required the Eyes to begin with and may not have even been mortal.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monster: Brassbound

Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 5***
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2 or special
1-8/1-8 or special
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: C6
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: F
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 550

Sometimes an arcanesmith pushes their work just a little too far. The magic frays and snaps; the wire coils like a mad serpent, the metals flow, the clockworks spring out of array. And sometimes all of the above comes down on the hapless creator's head and burns their life away until they become something else. A brassbound is the undead aftermath of such a misfire, a charred and corroded corpse shot through with the wires and clockworks, metal plates and crystal lenses of their living craft. Some continue on, some lash out -- most do both.

In combat a brassbound attacks either by striking with ragged gears pulled from the body or lashing out at range -- up to 20' -- with coils of razor-sharp wire. In either case the attack inflicts 1-8 hit points of damage. If faced with multiple attackers or surrounded (or simply because) a brassbound will release a scalding mist of necrotic, burning acid, causing 2-12 hit points of damage for two rounds to all caught within a 25' radius; though this cloud of filth may only be produced once a day, it forces a save vs. poison or the victim's physical attributes are halved for 1-4 days. This condition may be alleviated by the brassbound -- if the creature is permitted to perform the required magitech procedures on the victim.

Brassbound are immune to non-magical weapons and to fire. All possess the abilities of a magic-user, generally varying between levels 2-16. Maddeningly enough, one half of brassbound are especially vulnerable to electricity, taking half-damage; the other half are healed by it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Magic Item: Brri'ku

Brri'ku (Scarlet Centipede): A bizarre combination of personal defense and personal offense, a brri'ku -- commonly so named after the pet-name given to the first of its type by the eccentic noblewoman who commissioned it -- is a construct of delicate golden gears and wireworks, cinnabar clockworks and finely jointed copper legs.

Made up of anywhere from ten to a hundred bright scarlet-enamelled segments, a brri'ku crawls and roams freely about the body of its owner; or perhaps coils about the throat like an elaborate necklace, attuned by a drop of blood. Any daring to physically strike an individual "wearing" a brii'ku will be struck at by the centipede which seeks to sink its cinnabar fangs into the aggressor. This bite is poisonous, causing a loss of 1 point of Constitution and paralysis for 2-8 turns if a save vs. poison is failed.

Alternately the wearer of the brii'ku may pull free a scarlet segment and throw it as if a dagger; upon contact the segment explodes into razor-sharp shards and clinging, burning fluid, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage on the first round and 1-4 hit points on the second. Segments may be crafted to replace those lost; but if a scarlet centipede loses all segments, reduced to clockwork frame, the enchantment is lost.

Scarlet Centipede: [AC 1, HD 1+2, hp 10, move 60'(30'), Att: 1 bite, Dam: 0 + poison, Sv F2, Mrl 12]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Magic Item: Keshti, the Brazen Wings

Keshti, the Brazen Wings: A wonder of deceptively delicate craftsmanship, Keshti at rest or in default is a clockwork eagle with wingspan of eight feet or better. Feathered in copper and brass and intricately detailed, the Brazen Wings boasts eyes of rosy pearl, claws of crystal, a beak of cinnabar-stained ivory and internal workings of gold and glass and silvered steel.

Attuned by a drop of its owner's blood, the Brazen Wings may function as an enchanted mechanical [AC 2, HD 3, hp 24, move 60'(30') fly 180'(60'), Att: 2 claws + 1 bite, Dam: 1-4/1-4/1-6, Sv F3, Mrl 12] clever enough to carry messages or objects to specified individuals or to act as a scout.

When commanded, however, Keshti's clockwork and plates shift configuration; attaching to its owner's shoulders and flanks with claws and beak (causing 1-8 hit points of damage that cannot be healed until Keshti is removed), the Brazen Wings molds to the torso and extend those selfsame wings -- now under the direct control of Keshti's owner, who may fly as if born with the ability.

In either shape the Brazen Wings may only be active for six hours out of twenty-four.

Originally a creation of the Lapis Vizirs, Keshti has travelled far from its desert home in the Shining Sands over the intervening centuries; the legends of the shining bird are exceeded only by the tales of brazen-winged heroes and killers who -- despite their shining trademark -- all seem to disappear without a trace.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monster: Skurkhi

Skurkhi (Goblin Mummy)
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 2+4*
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2 claws
1-4/1-4 + infect
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: C3
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: B
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 35

Eerily supple shamblers, skurkhi are the dessicated remains of the most fervent of goblin witchdoctors. Unlike a human mummy which is wrapped in linens, a skurkhi is stripped bare and left to dry in smoke and heat; only after the process begins is the body treated with mud laced with the spores of preservative fungi. A completed skurkhi is shrivelled flesh over bone, daubed with black stains and phosphorescent spores and wearing the charms and bone trophies gained during life. Despite their leathery flesh skurkhi are surprisingly quick compared to living goblins; like their living kin, they possess 90' infravision.

In combat a skurkhi attacks with its sharp bony claws, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage with each attack. If a save vs. death ray is failed the skurkhi has infected the victim with a life-draining sporal death-rot; 1 point of Strength and 1 point of Constitution is lost for twelve hours, with a 2-in-6 chance of the loss of another point of Strength six hours later. Victims completely drained of Strength or Constitution become zombies under the skurkhi's control.

A silver or magical weapon is required to harm a skurkhi. Half of all skurkhi are capable of casting a single first-level clerical spell per day.

Monster: Ki'da

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 6+2**
Move: 150' (50') / 180' (60')
Attacks: 2 claws or 2 claws + 1 bite
1-6/1-6 or 1-8/1-8/1-10
No. Appearing: 1-4
Save As: F7
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: F
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 950

Lean yet muscular, a ki'da could almost pass as mortal; they look essentially human, with dark coppery flesh, white hair and eyes the colour of blue fire. A closer inspection, however, reveals the telling details: their hair flickers like flames, their ears resemble those of a great cat, and their hands bear ember-like talons -- and are often wreathed in scarlet flames. Short-tempered and territorial, ki'da desire to spread the infuence of fire and are often in direct conflict with the icy aeshna. they disdain keeping "lesser" elemental creatures as the aeshna do, considering it a sign of weakness. Ki'da dress in the dark-scaled leather of fire-resistant beasts and fabrics woven of miniscule links of black iron.

If not feeling pressed a ki'da attacks with fiery claws, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage per strike. Greater threats prompt a ki'da to shift forms into a feline predator of crimson fires, lashing out with paws and fangs for 1-8 and 1-10 hit points of damage respectively.

In beastform a ki'da may only be harmed by spells and the magical pluses of enchanted weapons; in both shapes, a ki'da is immune to nonmagical weapons and to attacks based on fire and wind. A few ki'da cast spells as magic-users of half their Hit Dice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Theme Week: Magitech

Starting on Saturday night, I do believe it's time for me to get down to work with another theme week!

This time around is magitech; enough clockworks, gears, magiscience and random things to attach to a PC's body to make a party happy -- or disturbed -- for at least a few adventures ;3 I'm aiming for both critters and items, but we'll see how that turns out ~

Monster: The Thousand Wings

The Thousand Wings
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 2+2**
Move: fly 270' (90')
Attacks: 1
2-8 + special
No. Appearing: 1-4
Save As: F3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 45

Close cousins to the least spirits of air, the creatures known as the thousand wings predictably appear as fluttering, beating masses of translucent wings -- feathery avian wings, dark batlike wings, glittering insectile wings, even the scaled clawed wings of dragons and stranger beasts -- that are yet somehow hazy, as if one's eyes cannot quite focus on them. A capricious creature driven almost entirely by instinct, a thousand wings is concerned only with its quest for emotion and the desire to travel on the winds.

Though a thousand wings is insubstantial, the edges of its multitude of pinions are as keen as the wind. In combat a thousand wings seeks to engulf a target, inflicting 2-8 hit points of damage from the buffeting and the wing's sharp edges. However this damage is a side-effect of the creature's true attack -- once a target is engulfed, the thousand wings feeds on the victim's emotion and reason. If a save vs. spell is failed, the thousand wings siphons away 1-3 points of Wisdom; if a victim's Wisdom score is entirely depleted, their body dissolves and they are transmuted into a pulsing core of elemental force that becomes a thousand wings in 1-4 rounds.

The thousand wings is harmed only by magical weapons and spells. If a thousand wings is killed it dissolved into mist, leaving behind a few iridescent folded pinions of solid air. These baubles may be worth 20-80gp each, or even more in the right circles.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Magic Item: Terror's Fury

Lost in darkness, body and mind both lost to corruption; in such a state, what is there left untouched?

Staring calmly into the void, Jie Chue saw at once;
and, carving those tainted parts of his self free, forged his final contemplation of the fallen state.

The last to fall to corruption is the spirit.

Terror's Fury: Possessing all the length of a typical two-handed sword, Terror's Fury is single-edged and slightly curved, with a curving sharpened spur at the root of the blade. The blade's blued surface is ragged with streaks of cinnabar like strikes of lightning; the quillions and pommel-nut are simple bronze, the grip wrapped in the hide of a tiger.

Terror's Fury is a two handed sword +2. With every successful attack the sword inflicts an additional 1-4 hit points of damage from its electrified edge and immediately forces a morale check with a -2 penalty or the victim flees in mindless fright. By sacrificing a point of Charisma and Constitution for a day, the bearer of Terror's Fury may invoke a deathfrenzy in another -- or in themselves -- causing all damage to be increased by half again and granting +3 to initiative and to-hit rolls, -2 penalty to Armour Class, and +2 to saves vs. paralyzation, poison or death. However, the subject of a deathfrenzy may not stop attacking until all viable targets, including allies, are off the field of battle or slaughtered. If the deathfrenzy is invoked on a subject that is not the bearer of Terror's Fury, the sword's bearer loses one hit point permanently.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Magic Item: Silken Deception

The darkness and the flesh are corruption's easy meat; the first is its birthing, the second feeds it.

But other facets called themselves to Jie Chue's mind as he swept bone-ashes from the forge. Little under heaven and in earth is content with flesh alone.

The answer came in a faint grey whisper as he beheld the shattered mourners --
The second influence was of the corruption of the mind.

Silken Deception: A slender sword and graceful, Silken Deception is a smaller weapon than its fellows though no less deadly. The blade is sharpened along both edges and its tip is reinforced for piercing; a delicate abstract pattern of blackened arabesques and webwork traces its way down the blade's rib. Though Silken Deception's quillions and pommel-nut are of unornamented, bluish steel, the grip is wrapped in braided grey silks that trail free of the hilt like hazy scarves.

Silken Deception is a short sword +2. With each successful strike, the blade taints the victim's mind with a drugged haze, causing a charm effect that lasts until the victim makes a successful saving throw, allowed once every two rounds. By sacrificing a point of Wisdom for a day, the bearer of Silken Deception may create a mindwraith that draws out the victim's psyche and turns it against them. This mindwraith is semi-tangible, has all the statistics and equipment of the victim and attacks mercilessly; it may only be harmed by the victim.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Magic Item: Withering Bite

Through meditation upon corruption, the smith had forged an edge of frozen darkness.

But on this unhallowed subject Jie Chue sought to discern a finer point; in what means could corruption's touch be brought to bear upon the world.

The answer came in a darkling flash as he beheld a shattered grave --
The first influence was of the corruption of the body.

Withering Bite: This single-edged, curved and deep-bellied weapon is mottled with a patchy pattern of corroded copper along both sides of the blade; though the sickly green causes the sword to look almost diseased, it has no effect on the weapon's integrity. The smooth brassy quillions curve forward like paired fangs and the pommel tapers to a simple cinnabar bulb, while the grip is wrapped tightly in an unidentifiable reptilian hide.

Withering Bite is a sword +2. With each successful attack, Withering Bite's corroded blade leaves silvers of flesh-eating vitriol in the wound, dissolving flesh, blood and bone at a rate of 2 hit points per round until the injury is treated by magic. By sacrificing a point of Strength for a day, the wielder of Withering Bite may inflict a bonemelt on a single target, causing the victim's bones to splinter into osseous clots and their Armour Class to immediately worsen by six as their movement rate is dropped to one-third.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Magic Item: Midnight's Claw

As the year turned and the skies grew dark, Jie Chue meditated on corruption.

A worthy subject, as he deemed it; one does not understand a thing without touching it at the core. Very well, so should it be. A month and a day did he consider this.

In the darkest nights of winter, the smith returned to the forge and brought forth a blackened talon.

This, he mused upon; then gifted the blade to a wandering swordsman whose heart was blackened and whose way was lost.

Midnight's Claw: With blade and hilt forged of one solid length of pitch-black steel, Midnight's Claw is a massive and yet surprisingly maneuverable weapon. Simply ornamented, the sword's hilt is wrapped in white wolfskin, the pommel a heavy ring; down the blade runs a series of etchings that resemble a lacework of frost.

Midnight's Claw is a two-handed sword +2. With every successful strike, the blade freezes the victim's flesh, inflicting an additional 1-6 hit points of damage unless the victim makes a save vs. death ray; the wielder may choose instead to envelop the victim in darkness, rendering them permanently blind. By sacrificing a point of Constitution for a day, the wielder of Midnight's Claw may invoke a netherbolt of roiling, clinging black "lightning" that inflicts 3-18 hit points of damage -- healing the undead, and inflicting half again the damage to Lawful creatures -- and paralyzes for 2-7 rounds.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Odd Jobs: Rhen Giska

Rhen Giska
Magic-User 1

AC / Hit Points: 8 / 3
Alignment: Neutral

Str 9
Int 16
Wis 9
Dex 14
Con 8
Cha 10

Equipment: backpack (spellbook, iron rations, two small sacks, scrollcase with parchment, quills and ink), two flasks of oil, lantern, lantern staff, four daggers, heavy cloak

Money and Unusual Belongings: lesser fire sigil, slender blackened iron torc, 4 gold pieces, 13 silver pieces

Spells in Spellbook: detect magic, read magic

Notes: Rhen is a would-be sage and fascinated with physical enchantments in general and the manifestation of elemental sigils in particular; since acquiring the rough crystal flame, he's been drawn to find others. This in turn pulled Rhen away from his studies and into the adventuring life. He will attempt to conceal the thumb-sized sigil unless he trusts his fellow adventurers; if hired as a retainer, he will most certainly do so.

With his spells, however, Rhen had best rely on throwing daggers, lit oil and anything else he can manage until he scavenges up something better. His knowledge and cunning can also serve his party well -- and detect magic will help scour a suspicious or cluttered dungeon room for magic items (and traps).

At least until he dies or almost dies, Rhen will seem more insanely-curious thief than magic-user. This is bolstered by his preference for "normal" clothing instead of wizardly robes, though his all-enveloping cloak leaves him draped regardless.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Dozen Strange Little Critters

... and maybe a plant or fungus or two, also ;3

These little oddities are mainly for campaign flavour and/or humour. Find a colony in a dungeon, a few invade the party's camp at night, maybe the PCs are actually hired to go gather a certain number (in a suitably hazardous place, of course!) -- anything goes.

1. A mouse with fur of scorched black and bright scarlet. Attracted to sweet foods and alcohol -- and, if startled, bursts into flame.

2. Dense, semi-spherical fungi that bear an uncanny resemblance to tiny human skulls. Rumours whisper that an elixir to feign death can be made from them, but most people consider them cursed.

3. A breed of viper with completely transparent skin and muscle. Its internal organs are pearly and translucent, hard to see, but its skeleton is a dense cinnabar red.

4. Crawfish-like land crustaceans with pale, bluish-white shells and an icy disposition to match. they like to crawl into warm places, and they like to hang on with their pincer-sharp claws ...

5. An invasion of frogs. Chrome-skinned, black eyed, indestructible frogs. No matter what the party does to the little hoppers, they just don't die.

6. Delicate purplish-red violets that will softly press their flowers against skin and draw blood. No hit point damage and no pain, but a frightening bloody welt when the flower lifts away.

7. Opalescent, jelly-like slime mold. Spreads fast -- including over objects and sleeping adventurers -- and periodically sends up rafts of golden spore capsules. Contact numbs skin.

8. Sleek brown and white mottled rats with tool-using capability -- and a stench like troglodytes swimming in an open sewer. Occasionally, giant ones.

9. Teleporting, metal-chewing ferrets with fur of dark grey mixed with blue. The bane of dwarves everywhere, to say nothing of loot-hoarding adventurers.

10. Bright emerald green, two-foot-long earthworms that burrow through stone with the same ease as through earth. (Alternately, neon orange.)

11. Grey and black mussels that can leap from the water, open up and flutter away like small birds. The mussels will clamp onto any surface that impedes their flight.

12. Golden-coloured centipedes that periodically hibernate; curled up and legs tucked close, they look uncannily like sculpted gold finger-rings.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Magic Item: Dipteron's Panacea

Dipteron's Panacea: Much to the surprise of any who happen to open this palm-sized copper apple, its spongelike halves contain not an enchanted ointment or potion but instead a multitude of miniscule clockwork flies. Each tiny insect -- delicately crafted of golden filaments and ivory glass, with eye of tiny rubies -- is no more than a mote, the size of a grain of barley perhaps. And once the Panacea is opened the flies flit towards the closest living being and set to work.

The tiny flies are drawn towards the orifices of the body, preferring the nose, mouth and eyes. They do no damage but can be excessively irritating -- and disconcerting! -- to those not accustomed to their invasion. So long as the flies may freely access their host, said host is granted immunity to all disease and a second chance at all saving throws vs. poison. The flies may be active for up to four hours before they must return to their apple and "rest" for a day.

Scattered records indicate a similar concatenation of amber and ebony bees, which -- if permitted to crawl across and cling to their host, who occasionally would suffer a lancing from silver stings -- would absorb damage inflicted from fire, lightning and ice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monster: Raintiger

Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 12***
Move: 180' (60')
Attacks: 2 claws + 1 bite
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: C12
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: F
Alignment: Lawful
XP Value: 3500

Prowling with equal ease through the planes of Water and the warm lands of the mortal world, the raintiger is lord of all it surveys and bends mortals and its own elemental kin equally to its will as it feels the situation requires. A sleekly massive creature some 20' from nose to rump, a raintiger resembles the flesh and blood beast at a casual glance; but beneath its silver-blue, teal-striped pelt lie bones of coral and muscles of currents, and its fangs and claws shine like pearl. The eyes of a raintiger are a brilliant, bottomless sea green.

In mundane combat a raintiger uses its claws and fangs, inflicting 1-10 hit points of damage with a claw and 2-16 hit points of damage with its bite. At will a raintiger may evoke a storm of any power with a 20 mile range; once a week the storm may be of hurricane force, but the primary use of this stormcall is to evoke a 6 Hit Die lightning bolt once every three rounds. Once a day a raintiger may beckon up to its Hit Dice in other elemental creatures of water, which serve the tiger to the best of their ability for a day or until it surrenders its command.

Raintigers are immune to water-based attacks, ice and lightning. They take only half-damage from magical weapons, and have a +2 bonus to their saving throws.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monster: Heartbriar

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4*
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: F4
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 125

Looking superficially like a crude -- or oddly baroque -- rosewood golem, a heartbriar is a creature of tangled, thorn-laced fibrous vines and chunks of flexible wood of a distinctly rose-rust colour. Roughly human in size and shape, a heartbriar is rooted in place during the cold seasons or in similar conditions inside a dungeon but otherwise roams freely in search of warm-blooded prey.

In combat a heartbriar attacks with its "fists" or with free-swinging coils of briar, inflicting 1-8 hit points of damage per strike. Each attack sinks thorned tendrils into the victim, draining 1-6 hit points via blood loss per round until the tendrils are severed or the victim is otherwise removed. The more blood absorbed, the deeper a tinge of bloody crimson colours the heartbriar.

If a human or similar sapient creature is killed by blood drain the heartbriar releases the corpse, its woody core taking on a more defined humanoid shape as the plant stiffens and roots itself. Within 1-4 hours the wood crumbles and flakes away and the briars wither, releasing a new-formed "briar-born" with no prior memory. The briar-born resembles a human with hair of rose-rust (rarely other shades) and deep green eyes tinged with blood red.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two Spells of Scribing

Fleeting Glyphs
Range: 0
Duration: Until triggered, or 1 day per level
Effect: Infuses missive with destructive energy

Casting this spell upon a message or other document of no more than a single sheet of paper or parchment in length infuses it with a hidden, self-devouring magical energy. Once the inscription on the message is read, the missive is promptly destroyed: dissolves to dust, rusts away, is immolated in golden flames, or whatever form the magic-user desires.

Level: M2
Range: 50'
Duration: Permanent
Effect: Inscribes a subject with a magical mark

Casting this spell on a living or at least animate target "burns" a glyph of the magic-user's choice into the subject's self, to be revealed under specific conditions (detect magic, detect evil, certain types of illumination, a time of day ...). This glyph may be on the subject's person or may hover above their head, and cannot be seen by the subject. The soulbrand may be removed by the same methods that remove curses.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Shout-Out and Heads-Up

Tis the halfway-point for submissions for the Halloween One-Shot Adventure Contest over on Tankards and Broadswords. Get those creative juices flowing, everyone!

And yes, Badelaire, ye may expect my own submission this evening or within decent hours of it, once I locate the bloody file so I can send it ;3

A Handful of NPCs

A few possible hirelings, retainers, or just odd folks for your low-level PC party to deal with -- and just the basics, so as to make tailoring the details all the simpler ...

Name: Bay
Class (or lack thereof): Normal Man (porter)
Armour and Armour Class: none -- AC 9
Hit Points: 4
Weapon(s): reinforced carry-pole (treat as staff)
Belongings of Note: lock of curly hair tied with red ribbon; pouch of various herbs
Alignment: Neutral
Notes: Methodical, diligent, and a little nosy. Will try to defend weakened PCs, especially if PC is young (lost a child in the recent past). Will work for half-pay if hired for an expedition against goblins. +1 to hit and damage rolls.

Name: Sevar
Class (or lack thereof): F1
Armour and Armour Class: chain mail -- AC 5
Hit Points: 7
Weapon(s): dagger, sword, shortbow
Belongings of Note: silver signet ring, horse
Alignment: Neutral
Notes: Aloof. Brittle-tempered, but quickly appreciates good leadership. Youngest son of a minor (and prolific) noble, expensive to hire but can make good commendations later.

Name: Myrnn
Class (or lack thereof): Normal Man (porter and mule tender)
Armour and Armour Class: none -- AC 9
Hit Points: 5
Weapon(s): dagger, handaxe
Belongings of Note: serpentine sacrificial knife (concealed)
Alignment: Chaotic
Notes: Quiet, deferential, and exceptionally attentive to the needs of his charges. Secretly a member of a chaotic nature-cult and will attack a sleeping (or otherwise vulnerable) PC if the opportunity presents itself.

Name: Rinan
Class (or lack thereof): MU1 (acting as lantern boy)
Armour and Armour Class: none -- AC 9
Hit Points: 3
Weapon(s): dagger
Belongings of Note: lantern staff, concealed leather packet with folded spellbook pages (read magic, magic missile)
Alignment: Lawful
Notes: Curious, chatty, but secretive. Nervous, having fled master, and trying to conceal magical ability -- but may reveal himself if party is in dire straits.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monster: Verdant Jelly

Verdant Jelly
Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 90' (30') / none
Attacks: 1
No. Appearing: 1 (special)
Save As: F2
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 20

Seeping amoeboid masses of deep emerald green protoplasm tinted with gold, verdant jellies are the bane of dungeons and wilderness terrain alike. This reputation is less for any especial fearsomeness as for the jelly's unique metamorphosis -- once it has absorbed enough nutrients it transforms into a lush climbing or trailing vine, eventually studded with enticing mottled green "melons", all of which contain a tiny jelly-spawn.

In combat a verdant jelly strikes for 1-6 hit points of damage. The jelly also secretes a clinging, corrosive fluid that causes an additional 1-4 hit points of damage the following round as flesh dissolves and liquifies. Verdant jellies are immune to acid and cold, but take double damage from fire. A verdant jelly vine has no attacks, but bears 2-20 melons -- all of which can and will split to release a 1/2 Hit Dice jelly that otherwise attacks like the parent.

It is not advisable to attempt to consume a melon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Magic Item: The Scarlet Rose

The Scarlet Rose: A more delicately deceptive weapon than the Verdant Rose, the weapon often believed to be its twin, the Scarlet Rose nonetheless carries its own sting in its tail for those prideful enough to bear it.

Like its supposed twin blade, the Scarlet rose is a slim and single-edged sword of exotic and presumably foreign design; the metal of its blade reflects light like moonlight off water, and on either side, close to the blade's root, is etched a single blood-red petal. Like Verdant Rose, the hand-guard is small, oval and golden. The Scarlet Rose's hilt is, however, wrapped in braids of white silk that bear small marks like tiny bloodstains, and the smooth simple finial that tips its pommel is golden.

The Scarlet Rose is a sword +1, +2 vs. black knights and creatures of darkness. The bearer of the Scarlet Rose is treated as if their Charisma were two points higher when negotiating with hirelings and other such followers, and once a day may pierce the future to determine the most suitable -- or at least, the least dangerous -- course of action. If the Scarlet Rose is stood point-down in the courtyard or flanking the gate of a keep or borderland fortress it will rouse the lord should danger threaten; but the blade loses all power for a year and a day following.

However, such influence comes at a price. The bearer of the Scarlet Rose seems indefininably touched by a hint of the same darkness the blade seeks to combat; in any given moment of tension, the Scarlet Rose's bearer may be compelled to secretively betray their fellows by some small action, or to lie despite their glowing reputation.

Monster: Guileu

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+3*
Move: 90' (30')
swim 120' (40')
climb 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 spit
Damage: 1-6 + poison
No. Appearing: 2-12
Save As: M3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: L
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 35

Slow of motion and placid of nature, guileu are frog-shaped creatures of perfectly clear water; long-limbed like a tree frog, a guileu has eyes like transparent black pearls and, when, motionless, is betrayed only by the ripple of light on its "skin". Guileu are inoffensive creatures, preferring to gather bits of wisdom and pearls and occasionally lurk amongst mortal creatures to dispense healing in return for reverence.

Guileu do not like combat and avoid it whenever possible, preferring to negotiate or retreat from the field of battle. If violence appears to be inevitable, a guileu will climb the nearest vantage-point and spit toxic waters at its antagonists; this "bolt" has a range of 50' and inflicts 1-6 hit points of damage, plus and additional 2-8 hit points and 1 point of Constitution (regainable with a day of rest) if a save vs. poison is failed. A guileu may choose to concentrate all of its toxin for a day's span to make a single bolt that kills the victim outright if the save is failed, but may then create no further bolts for 24 hours. Due to their shimmering transparency, all to-hit rolls take a -4 penalty against a guileu.

Guileu may cure poisoning and disease at will, using the fluids of their own bodies. They take double damage from wind and fire, but no damage from water, earth or acid; submerged in a body of water, they regenerate 3 hit points per round.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Few Bits of Hedge Magic

Tinker's Cloth: Whether an unassuming leather wipe-cloth or a handkerchief of mottled colours, this small cloth, when wiped or rubbed vigorously on an object, will mend small imperfections and breaks, smooth out scuffs, and generally enact minor repairs. The number of times a tinker's cloth will work is variable.

Undead Ward: A mixture of salt and powered roses, usually kept in small stoneware jars or packets of waxed parchment. When strewn across a threshold, the mixture will force any undead creature attempting to cross said threshold to make a save vs. spell or be unable to do so. The ward, unless renewed, holds for one night.

Moon Charm: Also called -- predictably -- a werecharm, this small object is most commonly a small ornament of silver or silvered copper containing a few small bits of preserved aconite and wormwood. If one wearing a moon charm contracts lycanthropy, there is a 40% chance that the curse will not take. The charm then tarnishes, its enchantment spent.

Soupstone: Despite being an almost-alarming blue-green and shimmering like a peacock's plume, when submerged in heated water a soupstone will be consumed and transforms the water into enough broth to sustain four individuals for a meal. The larger the soupstone, the greater the number of people -- or the stone may be fished out to be used again.

Alicorn Balm: Sometimes a thin syrupy liquid to be drunk, but more commonly an ointment whose pearled ivory colour does indeed suggest that which graces a unicorn's brow, alicorn balm will heal a single hit point per injury per application. The balm is stored in small wooden boxes lined with wax.

Sundrop: Not true amber, despite its appearance, nor from the sun, a sundrop nonetheless shares the sun's warmth. Once rubbed vigorously this palm-sized mass of golden resin warms rapidly and -- wrapped in a cloth, most likely -- may be tucked within clothing or bedclothes to stave off the cold. A sundrop retains its warming properties for two to eight hours.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Monster: Myrcuri

Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 2**
Move: 120' (40')
burrow 120' (40')
climb 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 bite or sting
Damage: 1-6 + dissolve or 1-6 + paralysis
No. Appearing: 6-24 (20-200)
Save As: F2
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: D
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 30

Shimmering and eerily iridescent, myrcuri -- or quicksilver ants -- measure some two to two and a half feet long. The chitin of a myrcuri resembles mirror-bright, almost liquid-looking silvery metal, and its eyes are faintly luminous white orbs; the creature looks almost translucent. Myrcuri are armed with both chewing and puncturing branches on their mandibles, and their abdomens sport a needlelike stinger. They are said to hoard metals to spin into filaments as fine and flexible as silk to line their warrens, and some few quicksilver ants "sacrifice" themselves as repletes for the storage of the colony's food.

In combat a myrcuri will either bite or sting. The bite of a quicksilver ant inflicts 1-6 hit points of damage and allows the ant the chance to inject its metallic, toxic bile; a failed save vs. poison indicates that the victim takes a further 1-3 hit points of damage per round for four rounds as the flesh first reddens and then begins to dissolve. Likewise the sting of a myrcuri inflicts 1-6 hit points of damage, paralyzing the victim for 2-8 turns if a save is failed. Paralyzed victims are often dragged away, receiving further stings as required to return to the nest.

For every six myrcuri there will be a soldier of 4 Hit Dice, capable of inflicting 1-10 hit points of damage with its bite. The colony is led by a queen of 6 Hit Dice; her bite and sting are useless but she may mesmerize opponents by shivering her iridescent -- if useless -- wings, charming victims into servitude or becoming the nest's next meal.

Myrcuri replete "honey" is a fine -- if sweetly musky -- source of sustenance, but one must be willing to ingest it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Monster: Cricipter

Inspired by notions of flying hamster aviaries at yon Tower of the Archmage, as noted by Trollsmyth:


Armour Class: 9
Hit Dice: 1 hit point
Move: 60' (20')
fly 120' (40')
burrow / climb 60' (20')
Attacks: 1
Damage: None (special; see below)
No. Appearing: 1-12 (3-30)
Save As: Normal Man
Morale: 4
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 5

Cricipters are flying hamsters. Flying hamsters with plush golden coats (often with a faintly rainbow undertone) and white bellies, and wings supported on long fingers like a bat's though coated in featherlike fuzzy growths. Cricipters are more gregarious than normal hamsters, and flocks of them can quickly decimate small groves of nuts or fruit -- especially as they breed with nearly the rapidity of the mundane breed.

The bite of a cricipter is painful and distracting (-1 to all rolls for ten turns), but normally does no hit point damage. Strange strains crop up in the breed from time to time, however, some of which are a little more impressive; the DM may occasionally choose to roll on the following table or make up their own strain:

1. Rare coat colour (silvery, colourpoint, black -- ooh, sell this one!)
2. Razortooth (1 hit point damage bite)
3. Tough as nails (AC 6)
4. Breath weapon (breath weapon?! 1-3 hit points damage, type could be almost anything)
5. Intelligence
6. Magic resistant (+2-5 on saves vs. spells)
7. Musky (ewww ... -2 on all actions of humanoids in a 15' radius after cricipter is startled)
8. Magisensor (glows faintly in the presence of magic)

Monster: Living Blood

Living Blood
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 4+3**
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-8 + energy drain
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: F5
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 275

"Living blood" is a misnomer for this abomination of a creature; it is not a living thing. The less-common name of blood ooze is equally inaccurate, as it is no ooze. Rather, a living blood is an unnatural, undead mass of festering, writhing blood and congealed gore, a blight upon every living thing that may come across it.

In combat living blood attacks with waves of its own substance, seeking to immerse its victims in its own putrid mass. This attack inflicts 1-8 hit points of damage; on a 19 or 20 on the to-hit roll, the living blood has engulfed its victim and inflicts automatic damage every round. A living blood may not attack another target while engulfing. The initial attack of a living blood will cause the victim to lose one experience level due to energy drain.

Victims slain by energy drain or by the engulfing attack of the living blood dissolve into a putrid mass, returning as a living blood within twenty-four hours. Living blood are immune to non-magical weapons.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Little Treasures

As soon as I think of a viable alternative to Orbitfiles, I shall expand this list and post another download link --

1. A heavy lacy ruff, woven of filaments from a phoenix's plumes

2. A puzzle-ring of gold and black iron composed of four intertwining serpents

3. A palm-sized ivory coffer, filled with undyed silk floss; at the centre of the floss is nestled a starpearl nearly an inch in diameter

4. Twenty blue squirrel pelts, trimmed with white velvet tassels and silver thread.

5. A pair of elbow-length gloves of cloth-of-gold, tapestry woven and embriodered in scarlet with a pattern of scales

6. An assassin's claw-ring in silver and frosted steel, the claw resembling an eagle's talon

7. A crudely made and sealed pottery amphora, 1 1/2' tall; it contains 13 finger-sized bars of silver, a handful of twisted coils of gold, and a tiny golden statuette of a vulture-headed human

8. A ceremonial shield, wooden and faced with white-and-black blotched oxhide; the edges of the shield are trimmed in gold and copper, and a central golden boss rests in a panel of green dragonhide

9. A pair of skewer-like hairpins of pearly steel tipped with seed-pearl tassels; sharpened, they may function as needle-sharp daggers

10. Three worn volumes of ancient Mafdet desert-cat poetry, bound in serpentskin with touches of gilding

11. A nose-ring of electrum, mounted with a central jewel of blue jade and granulated gold

12. A double-edged, finely balanced dagger of pale steel; the central rib of the blade is a thin glowing vein of cinnabar, and the grip of plaited silver wire

13. A thick-walled, heavy basin or crucible of obsidian, its walls carved with standing feathers in high relief; the interior holds a bloodstain, as if from three hearts

14. A snugly-fitting cap of tiny sapphire beads, with brow-band of silver

15. An ornate robe composed of countless brilliant butterfly wings

16. A necklace or girdle of six twisted ropes of pink seed pearls, the strands periodically broken by beads of gold and red coral shaped like fangs

17. A black iron ring, heavy and rounded of surface, and bearing a signet of entwined briars picked out in garnet and fine gold wire

18. A smooth teardrop-shaped pendant of white-flecked green jade; secretly a locket, if pressure is applied in the right places it reveals a hollow filled with ashes and tiny bone fragments

19. Four copper torcs with brightly enamelled bosses at their terminals, wrapped in a courier's packet of tough red leather

20. A statuette in fire agate and rough garnet depicting a red dragon diving through waves of flame

21. Six delicate golden vials chased with arabesques and capped with crystal, each containing an ounce of rare musk

22. A slim silver diadem, its brow-point ornamented with an aquamarine flanked by two black pearls

23. A cavalry sabre from the Glittering Sands; of watered steel and etched with stylized wind-scrolls, it is hilted in cloisonne-work of lapis and jade and sheathed in a bronzewood scabbard edged with lion-fur tassels

24. Five oval cabochons of rose quartz, tucked within a small pouch of thich brownish-black wool

25. A full set of acupuncturist's needles and blades in black iron mounted in rosewood, stored in a rosewood case inlaid with carefully-proportioned glass glyphs of red and gold

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monster: Shade Spirit, Least

Least Shade Spirit
Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 1+1**
Move: 150' (50')
burrow 210' (70')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-6 + body dissolution
No. Appearing: 1-3
Save As: C2
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: T
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 23

The least and oft-overlooked of the spirits of darkness, the spies and couriers and tiny advisors, the least shade spirits are delicate creeping membranes of sooty black lace, or masses of velvet-soft darkness that coil and climb. At other times a least shade spirit may resemble a tangle of slender night-dark serpents with blue-black eyes, or a burrowing coal-black moth with folded and crumpled wings. The "treasure" of a least shade spirit is the velvet shreds, darkness made tangible, that it sometimes leaves behind.

Least shade spirits attack for 1-6 hit points of damage; their deceptively soft touch dissolves the physical form, causing a -2 penalty to Armour Class for two rounds and a one-hour loss of 1 point of Constitution if a save vs. spell is failed. They are immune to non-magical weapons, take one extra hit point of damage from all elemental sources save for darkness, and will regenerate one hit point per round as long as they remain within a dark -- or at least notably dim -- environment.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monster: Spectrum

Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 7 hp
Move: fly 210' (70')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-4 (see below)
No. Appearing: 2-7
Save As: F1
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 7

A spectrum is a strange little creature of prismatic light; seven small softly-glowing orbs that orbit around each other or float about in an orderly string of bobbing lights. An uninjured spectrum displays all seven colours of the rainbow, one to each orb, and as damage is taken the glowing spheres wink out one by one in sequential order.

Ordinarily a spectrum will attack with bursts of focused light, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage. However, each hit point of damage taken destroys an orb -- and as the spectrum loses orbs, its offensive abilities change as follows:

Red orb: light burst, 1-4 damage
Orange orb: fire damage, 1-6 damage
Yellow orb: acid damage, 1-4 damage for two rounds
Green orb: lightning damage, 1-8 damage to two targets
Blue orb: cold damage, 1-8 damage in a 10' radius
Violet orb: spirit burn, 2-12 damage, requires twice the magical healing to remedy
Indigo orb: spirit crush, save vs. spell or die

On rare occasions, the destruction of a spectrum's orbs causes one or more glimmering pearl-like jewels to be left behind, as richly-coloured as the orb it was condensed from.

There are rumours of enchanted weaponry which can emulate one or more of the spectrum's cascading offensive powers; one frequently mentioned is a blade sometimes spoken of as Death of Regeneration.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Magic Item: Scarlet Pearl Whisper

Scarlet Pearl Whisper: The Scarlet Pearl Whisper is a ovoid conch pearl the size of the thumb's first joint, of a deep and brilliant blood-scarlet hue. Unlike many similar pearls its colour has never faded; likewise, the flames that flicker across its surface are unusually brilliant. Famed for both its enchantment and its physical qualities, Scarlet Pearl Whisper may be traced through centuries if not longer, nearly always in the hand of a warrior-poet or master-diplomat. Its last known appearance was five decades ago; at that time the gem was said to be grasped in a mesh of delicate clockworks of gold and orichalcum, set in the form of an elaborate gorget.

When Scarlet Pearl Whisper is slicked with blood, the donor may call a pearl messenger from the depths of the gem. This wisp of fluid energy may take any physical shape, but always has the appearance of nacreous blood; regardless of form, it may move -- even fly -- at a rate of 270' (90'). The pearl messenger will bear a message of no greater than a two minute span of speech, and will carry that message without fail until it finds the chosen recipient. Only planar boundaries will foil it.

It is said by some that if Scarlet Pearl Messenger were to be implanted as the brow-gem of a nakharia, the ivory knight would become flesh and blood. Neither the source nor the intent of such a tale has ever been divined.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Magic Item: Shariya, the Saint

Shariya, the Saint: Sometimes this ornament is a simple smooth finger ring. At other times it has been recorded to be a teardrop-shaped pendant without a necklace of its own; still others, a slender torc terminating in simple drops. Regardless of its chimerical forms, Shariya the Saint is always composed of snowy white quartz shot through with delicate veins of pale rose.

Shariya grants its bearer a measure of enlightened grace. To any but a warrior, the ability to wield a single type of weapon with which they have no familiarity; to a warrior, the ability to cast a single first-level spell twice a day, whether from the cleric or magic-user list. Access to weapons or spells, however, is something Shariya's bearer must gain for themselves. All bearers receive a +2 to saves vs. spells.

The more subtle of Shariya's powers is the subtle pressure of emotion -- or, on occasion, a faint voice whispered in the mind -- that hints at a wiser or at least more benign course of action. This guiding power may be heeded or not as the bearer wishes; but Shariya is a sentient bauble, and tales hint of its ability to abandon or even take full control of the one who bears it.

Shariya ka'Tjen, the Taloned Dove, was a warrior-saint of the ancient kingdom of Irfanri in the Painted Desert. In certain reaches of the southlands tales of his mercy and miraculous exploits still circulate -- as do tales of the sacrifice of his own heart's-blood to enchant a series of quartz-borne springs for the survivors of the Seven Nights Curse.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Familial Goblinoid invasion! Please send help

Or in other words, my family has descended upon my hapless hamsterish head.

(they're more tenacious than even kobolds.)

Posting shall resume in a few days! X3

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Monster: Stone Roses

Stone Roses
Armour Class: 2
Hit Dice: 3+3*
Move: Nil
Attacks: 4
Damage: 1-4/1-4/1-4/1-4 + special
No. Appearing: 1-6
Save As: F3
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 75

With stems of granite, thorns of obsidian, and blossoms of grey crystal and shining marble, a stone rose is no more nor less than its name suggests -- a bush, or rarely a vine, of living stone. Stone roses are dimly intelligent creatures of the plane of Earth, and though they cannot move they know when they have potential prey within reach.

Stone roses are surrounded by an emotional field generated by the plantlike elemental. Any living being approaching within 20' of a stone rose must save vs. spell or be overcome by a steadily-growing tide of gentle sadness; this growing lassitude causes a cumulative -1-per-round penalty to initiative, to-hit and damage rolls, and saving throws as long as the subject remains within range. If a save vs. charm is also failed, the victim will remain lingering within the aura of sorrow until dragged away or injury allows another save to throw off the dull-mindedness.

Against all targets -- affected or no -- a stone rose lashes out with thorned coils, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage with each of four coils and absorbing the spilled blood as readily as it does sorrow.

The oversized, greystone hips of a stone rose sometimes produce 1-4 snowcrosses instead of seed.

Magic Item: Snowcross

Snowcross: These strange crystalline gems, also known as white crosses, are aberrant growths found in the hips of stone roses; pure white and translucent, they are composed of four prisms of crystal joined in the shape of an equal-armed cross. As a prepared charm a snowcross is carefully and delicately bound with silken threads, gold wire or thin leather thongs and hung about the neck to rest over the heart. A white cross must be so worn for twelve hours before it will function.

When touched with a tear or a drop of blood from the one bearing it, a snowcross will protect against a single instance of poison, charm or magical death effect that occurs within the next day. However, a single cross may only confer this protection 1-4 times before crumbling into a fine white dust.

Many describe experiencing a subtle, almost indefinable sadness or sense of dark fate while carrying a snowcross; most attribute this to the charm's origin, other believe the crystals to be cursed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monster: Vuuriia

Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 5***
Move: 90' (30')
swim 240' (80')
fly 150' (50')
Attacks: 1 engulf
Damage: 1-8
No. Appearing: 1-6
Save As: F5
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 550

A vuuriia is a whirling, constantly moving mass of dense, shimmering droplets and orbs of blue-golden water. Equally capable of moving over solid surfaces, through liquids or even through the air itself, there is little that will halt a vuuriia in its erratic and eternal wanderings. Vuuriia are unpredictable and oft maddening creatures, distrusted even by their fellow creatures of water for their tendency to bewitch and overwhelm.

Vuuriia attack simply by engulfing a victim within their mass, where the dense, slightly acidic orbs of their bodies batter and etch away at the victim for 1-8 hit points of damage per round. If a vuuriia chooses, it may instead whirl its orbs in a shimmering, hypnotic pattern; once a round, a victim may be so charmed by this display, though an engulfed target may not subsequently be charmed. A charmed victim may then be engulfed, but this action promptly allows a second saving throw.

Due to its ever-shifting nature, a vuuriia is immune to all nonmagical attacks and enchanted weapons inflict damage on only a 2-in-6 chance. Vuuriia take full damage from magic regardless of source, however; and double damage from flame of all kinds, magical or no.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monster: Chrysomeli

Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+5*
Move: 60' (20')
fly 180' (60')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-6 + poison
No. Appearing: 1-4 (2-12)
Save As: F2
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 19

Chrysomeli are glittering gold and silver bumblebees the size of housecats. Their wings glimmer like pale opal, and their eyes are a rainbow of colours -- and their sting is a perfect shaft of brilliant light. Equally likely to tuck their hives in secluded crannies of the mortal world as they are to nest in the kaleidoscopic plane of Light, chrysomeli savagely defend their nest and brood from all despoilers.

In combat a chrysomeli stings, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage from its burning, laser-like stinger. A chrysomeli's sting bypasses all defense that is not granted by Dexterity ot magic, lacing through mundane armour; it is also venomous, causing blindness if a save vs. poison is failed.

The shimmering golden honey produced by chrysomeli may grant special properties if applied to inanimate objects. For example, if applied to a weapon (or ten projectiles), said weapon will deal double damage to creatures of darkness -- or half again as much damage to creatures of earth or water -- for five successful strikes. There is enough honey in a given nest to anoint one weapon or equivalent for every two bees in the nest.

Spellbooks of Nathan Serpentarius: the Least Book

[Though there are believed to be many such texts, widely varied in power and content, this slender volume is by far the most widely known of Serpentarius' works of celestial magic. Small enough to be stitched into a girdle-binding and showing faint marks of such, the text is carefully scribed onto black-dyed vellum in silver ink. The leaves are bound in a cover composed of the silver-white scales of some unknown beast, and bear upon the front Serpentarius' sigil of a serpent biting its own tail in blue and jade enamel. Scattered throughout the pages, intermixed with the texts of the spells, are charts and star diagrams in silver ink picked out in azure.]

Pale Astral Barbs
Level: M1
Range: 20'
Duration: 2 rounds
Effect: Infuses one or more projectiles with energy

Casting this spell causes up to four arrows or other projectile weapons to glow internally, as if a tiny blue-white star burned within each of them. Each weapon so enchanted gains the ability to injure creatures immune to non-magical weapons and half again as much range.

Falling Star Ghost
Level: M1
Range: 100'
Duration: 1 round
Effect: Creates a magical bolt that injures and dazes

Casting this spell conjures a single "star ghost" -- a tiny silvery sphere that trails pale multicoloured flames -- which flies unerringly towards a target designated by the magic-user. The star ghost inflicts 1-4 hit points of damage and stuns the target for one round.

Concordance of Heaven
Level: M1
Range: 0
Duration: 1 round
Effect: Reads the workings of the heavens momentarily

The casting of this spell attunes the magic-user, however briefly, to the celestial underpinnings of time and fate. The magic-user has a 50% chance, plus 1% per level, to divine whether a single action would be favorable or unfavorable. Concordance may reach no more than a few hours into the future.

Vox Astra
Level: M2
Range: 50'
Duration: 1 turn
Effect: Evokes a favorable astral harmony for a target

With the casting of this spell and a single sung note, the magic-user calls upon favorable stellar harmonies to affect the fortune of a single target. The chosen individual gains +2 to saving throws and to-hit rolls, and a +1 bonus to Armour Class, for the duration of the spell.

Blade of the Stars
Level: M2
Range: 10'
Duration: 1 turn
Effect: Creates a blade of starlight

Casting Blade of the Stars creates a shining blue-white blade of of solid starlight which is wielded as a weapon. Whether as small as a dagger or as massive as a two-handed sword, the damage the "starsword" inflicts remains the same: 2-12 hit points per strike. Individuals injured by the blade suffer a -2 penalty to all rolls for the following round as the blade's strike disrupts their connection to their own fate.

Fires From Heaven
Level: M3
Range: 150'
Duration: 1 round (see below)
Effect: A wedge of icy stellar flame

Fires From Heaven calls the pale, icy iridescence of starfire to the hands of the magic-user, who may then direct the flames in a cone of icy fires measuring 5'x15'x25'. All caught within the blast take 1-4 hit points of damage per level of the magic-user and are left reeling, at a -4 to all rolls, for 2-8 rounds.

Touch of the Heavens
Level: M3
Range: 0 or touch
Duration: 4 rounds or until used
Effect: Stores celestial energy within a target for their next attack

Touch of the Heavens infuses a recipient chosen by the magic-user with the forces of the heavens, causing a faint blue-white inner glow. The recipent's next attack -- whether physical or magical -- is augmented by these celestial fires, inflicting an additional 5-30 hit points of damage and stunning the target for two rounds.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Monster: Oalai

Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 3+2
Move: 60' (20')
fly 150' (50')
Attacks: 2 tentacles
Damage: 1-6/1-6
No. Appearing: 2-8 (4-32)
Save As: M3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: A
Alignment: Lawful or neutral
XP Value: 63

At first glance one might expect an oalai to be a creature of elemental water; with a coiled shell of glittering sapphire and ten long and delicate tentacles, this white-fleshed, silver-eyed beast resembles nothing so much as an exotic ammonite larger than a burly human's torso. Yet the oalai is a creature of the air, and flies continuously on its own winds and the elemental buoyancy it infuses into its shining shell. Intelligent and inquisitive creatures, oalai gather in small communities and produce objects of startling -- if alien -- beauty.

Though they manipulate small objects and tools, an oalai's tentacles are not suitable for wielding weapons. Instead an oalai attacks with its largest pair of tentacles, which are armed with sapphire-toothed rasps and inflict 1-6 hit points of damage each. Four oalai working together may summon a burst of wind in a 20' diameter sphere, concussing victims caught within it for 1-4 rounds. Oalai take no damage from wind or electricity.

A shoal of oalai is led by an elder mystic of 5 Hit Dice. This individual may cast spells as a 2nd level cleric and magic-user both, and has an Armour Class of 0.