Blog Archive

Monday, 26 August 2013

Old WotC Monster Books

Was looking for another gaming book, and found the M.M. V book in a box, forgot how much I loved / loathed it. I mean the entries are two pages to a monster is pushing it, and they stretch some of the monster variants out. They do have some nice beasties in this one though: Arcadian Avenger, Adaru, Remmanon, Illurien, & Force Golem to name a few. (Won't go into some of the others.)

I cherish these monster books, so many great ideas and the pics, are so fun to make your brain just explode with energy and fear!

Now I have to update some of my monster listing for the regions again...

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Game Summary Write-Up (Aug 13)

The group waits a few more days for their compatriots, as they hope will find their way back to town. At the same they realize many other adventuring teams are returning into the spire; some large contingents, with powerful steeds or walking golem-horses. They all seem to find a home for a few days, some of the smallest in an alleyway, hotel or tavern. Large military units, many with hundreds of volunteers that spend most of their days on the back roads, set up camps just outside the town.

Each of the units seem to designate a few of their members to go to the Fountain, some to sing or make a silent prayer or just stand in honoring someone who once walked. These units, drop something, coins, alcohol or other momento to represent something to their units. If you were to watch here just that early morning, one would be tricked that the offerings would drown the water even if for a few seconds. The water subsides and as it does the piles of coins sink low, so too with the men, as they did what they must and moved on.

Most of the party watches the goings on. None realized the mass of travelers and professional warriors that would be here...the sleepy spire town wasn't just alone here in the desert, though it felt like it earlier on in the week. Each party member did as they always did; the psionicist in meditation, the rogue skulking to watch over her party, the paladin with an eye on the fountain and speaking with youth, Galdahad in flight among her avian kin, Maza the Halfling ranger with a small group of city beasts and Arun, retreated to the Sphinx library, with another burning research subject in his mind.

Arlel with her small contingent made the first steps back in to town long before she had originally planned, hoping that her friends truly did make it here. The sight of the Phaetox flying high in the marketplace was a relief, she was always the first and easiest to spot. They connect, and bring together the rest of the team. Dassadar walks slowly over, making no attempt to hide his detect evil casting on Arlel and the rest of her group, and finding no hint of malice. The young cleric certainly recognizes his actions but says nothing, as a swarm of introductions to old and new comrades commence.

One of Arlel's newest allies is the tall, high pitched voiced, incredibly well dressed figure with an effusively charismatic personality, carrying many musical instruments at his beck and even more surprisingly an actual halo on his shining round his angelic head. Zelos tells them they have much to discuss, not just in one mission but one of their colleagues, Arun who is cursed or quite possibly his primary bond is not what it seems to be.

They go straightaway to Arlel's apartment to lay down the known details. They are all a little surprised, the rooms are clean, except for her two mirrors, completely splinterered. Unsure of what this means, they search the rooms and area before they continue sharing information.

Arlel elaborates on what she found not just in the library but in the streets and taverns, legends of powerful items hidden in the pyramids. The local tales speak in particular of an elaborate sarcopogus built for a Raja, able to rebuild & restore both people and objects, if they are adored. Her research shows its most likely resting spot, undisturbed because each team was unclear on its final location. She believes this group, is strong enough to return this artifact to civilization. The fountain portal will lead them there, but the gateway she opened will only last another six hours or they need to find another way back to the pyramid.

So too, Zelos bears legends, but not of an item lost in the sands, but of grief. A genie or otherworldly demon he believes was inadvertently summoned and leaving a wake of destruction. He explains that while Arun summons the memory of a warrior it is another being that is coming through, and he is not the only one who reaches into the midst. Others, far nefarious, are using Gorth for their own darker purposes, and theirs is a trail of blood, murder of heroes in their sleep or younglings in their home, he didn't meet their kin, he didn't need to. The story is the one that Zelos is determined to stop.

The group wonders if it is Gorth which was why their teleport did not enable them to go to the Duo-Diyalla Pyramid. Dassadar expresses some incredulity at Zelos's story, but Zelos begins telling a story of his incredible exploits, the team loses the effort to argue with him. Convincing them but at the same time Zelos believes he best not try their patience or trust too often; Dassadar especially (DM's hint: spells or other tricks on other party members work in moderation, at a certain point PCs will gain immunity.)

They concoct a loose plan of trying to get their friend to summon his servant though not capturing him in a way that could limit him until they determine how exactly they can fully deal with him. Wanting to meet Arun outside of town, they call him, but the scholars in the library reveal he is no longer around. The group does a search they find no sign, and nobody remember where he exactly went to. They find the old lore books he was studying, stories told of great past rogues and scoundrels who went on both desert and Sea of Stones quests. The last book he was reading, left open to the picture of "Raibasghi" a well known desert scoundrel long renowned for coming back from the desert wastes with treasure and magical trinkets; this was one of Arlel's heroes she was delving into. The party wonders if Arun left to go hunting, or, if somehow Gorth was able to take control. They rush out out to look for their ally.

Using his mind-scanning, Hervandos is able to track down Arun, finding him in a tavern, surrounded by dangerous looking rogues. He decides not to reveal their preys location to his comrades as he doesn't want them to be sidetracked as they came to the desert to complete the mission and prefers not to lose the quick way to the pyramids.

Realizing their wasted efforts, the heroes refocus on their original mission, scoping the dungeon & retrieving the sarcopogus. Zelos is torn though, committed to both completing this task and of stopping the killer Gorth, he wonders if he is doing the best thing.

At the fountain, Arlel speaks her command word and they step into the water, then through... into a huge stone room, high ceilings, and the first site of Arlel's volunteers struggling to close an outside door where a huge sandstorm rages. Each steps out into this large rectory, the fountain they emerge from though grandiose in size is far from its peak, as it has seen deterioration and even worse, barely a trickle of water inside the grand central fountain.

As Fesselin the rogue and Maza the druid step past each is given a momentary flash, Fessy works up a defense, as she tries to concentrate in her home and many positive thoughts. Maza fails and is shocked by memories but not her own, of an eerily positive flashes of many people here in this building in another era. The haunting images cascade imaged laughing, playing in the midst of a bygone era when humans, dwarves, Tenders and even elves are in this same place, filled with water, pets,and plants. Lasting a few seconds, Maza regains control of herself...she shares with the rest of the party, unsure of what really happened. Arlel admits none of her soldiers experienced this previously but again this was two Tenderfeet, she wonders if this could be a specific trap.

The group sees the many small statues and frescoes littered in the upper sections of the room, mementos of religious and standard pilgrims. They could tell it was once an eight door church rectory, but now only the main twenty foot tall master-door was in use. A domed roof shows a wondrous scene of angels, devils and aqua dragons flying in a cloudy sky, other details less conspicuous are lost in the dust from far below on the vantage point on the ground.

A kilometer each way, two opposing pyramid complexes reign tall, one to the left the Pyramid of Darkness; Pyramid of Righteousness to the right, Arlel's team discovered with the help of Zelos, three hidden passageways hidden under the sands. Two reach out in the direction of the Pyramids and the last one opposite the entrance doorway. Over the last five days they excavated, and found the entranceways riddled with writings that warn of unauthorized entry and curses for theft. The dark pyramid entrance brings shudders of cold, pain & misery; the one of righteousness brings happy near bucolic thoughts even to the point of mindless euphoria, both are avoided by the soldiers.

They light their torches, choose lots and enter the passageway...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Leaf-Kin, Children of the Forest (Playable Race)

I have long loved to run adventures in the forest, where players defeat hidden enemies or overcome threats. This race was a way to add to these scenarios, I have been using the Leaf-Kin as something always present in druidic groves, but never actually getting involved, as they were too small, too weak and too playful. Eventually when running a session, the druids were in desperate state, and higher level leaf-kin got involved, much to everyone's (including my one) surprise. Have been working on these ever since.

One of the biggest questions that I wrestled with is should these be playable as druids; while it does fit, that's much the problem. I want these to be a strong ally or companion to druids, not an over powerful example.

Like all of my racial classes, you generally need to complete their full racial levels until you take another non-racial class.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Leaf Kin

CR 2 N Humanoid
Init +0; Perception +2

Leaf-Kin are children of the forest, mobile plant-like beings that seek to find a balance between the needs of animals, intelligent creatures and the plants in the forest. They are often seen as something pet-like, playful or even innocently child-like, and while true, it is not their side. As they age and gain in wisdom and power, they are more likely to get directly involved when something threatens their kin, their allies or their territory. They resemble halfling humanoids, with brown wood-like skin, branches for hair ending in small leaves that change colour by season. They grow as they age, from small saplings, to large mature oaklings.

AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 natural AC)
hp 11 (2d8+4)
Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +1

Speed 30 ft.
Melee Wooden Short sword +2 (1d6)

Leaf-Kin are quiet, reclusive people that attempt to watch foes, make allies with common cause and wait for an ideal time to strike. At lower levels they often provide aid, but higher level individuals can literally make a entire forest come alive to defeat a common foe.

Morale 11 (Skittish, they are easy to break ranks and run for cover)

Str 8, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 11
Base Atk +1; CMB +1 CMD 13
Feats Skills Perception +4, Craft (Wooden Armor or Weapons) +2, Acrobatics +2, Survival +4
Languages Faerie, Elven, Common
SQ Absorb 1 Poison

By Racial Levels

Photosynthesis (Regenerate 1 hp / hour in bright sunlight)
+2 Con, +2 Wis, - 2 Dex 
+2 to survival, +2 to Perception, +2 Craft Wooden Armor and Weapons
+2 natural AC
Both plant & humanoid features
Plantspeak (Speak 1 / HD + Wis or Cha bonus for five rounds)
Absorb 1 poison / two HD or levels (survival check vs DC to extract), 
Small Sized

3 HD Entangle (1 / HD), Invisibility to Animals at will, Immune to Polymorph (change back to leaf-kin after one hour if they have failed a saving)

4 HD Barkskin (1 / HD), Thorne skin (+1d6 dmg if touched or grappled); +2 to any 2 abilities

5 HD Speak with Animals, Invisible to Magical Animals (at will); Grow to Medium Sized

6 HD Secrete Poisons (Sleep, Attract, Drain, DC 10 + Survival), Goodberry or Plant Growth (2/HD)

7 HD Command Plant, +2 to any 2 abilities; Gain 1 Feat;

8 HD Wall of Thorns, Wood Immunity; SR: 8 +1 / HD or level gained

9 HD Animate Plant; Secrete Greater Poisons (DC15+level)

10 HD +2 to any 2 abilities ; Gain 1 Feat; Gain +4 natural AC, Grow to Large Size (3/day, lasts for up to one hour each time or until dismissed)

11 HD Change to True Plant; Regenerate 1 +con bonus hp / rnd in sunlight

12 HD Tree Walk & Commune with Nature (1 mile max; 1 / day)

+1 HD or Level: Gain +1 on SR by HD or level

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Gain attack bonus, saving throws as a cleric by level.

Skills: craft wooden weapons or armor, diplomacy, disable device (+4 if device is made with wood), escape artist, heal, knowledge (nature, geography, religion), perception,sense motive, stealth, survival

Secrete Lesser Poisons: (Sleep, Attract, Drain) DC 10 + Survival Bonus; use this once per day per two levels

Secrete Greater Poison: Immobilize, turn metal to wood, change to animal (DC 15 + level); use this once per day per three levels 

Preferred Class: Ranger, Rogue Bard, or Sorcerer

Banned Class: Druid, Cleric  

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Non-Gaming Session - In the Desert Town

Varchan nodded, “She was here several times, in a manner very similar to yours. She wandered here, and whether she received respite or guidance she didn’t reveal, that’s not important.”
”Not important?" the Phaetox asks loudly then tries to deliberately lower her voice, this hut doesn’t seem to be a practical spot for loud discussion, nor Varchan someone deserving of it.
He shook his head and smiled, and somehow that was enough to cool her down. “Her coming here was her own, just as yours is. If she was comforted, she did not say, but that is the past, you are here now.”
“If you could share, it could help us find her it would be…incredibly helpful…”
Again he shakes his head, “That’s not how this works, I am a running stream, thoughts go through where I am, I may sip, but mine is not to imbibe. Tomorrow or next week I may not remember the textured details of this conversation, all that I will remember, is you.”
One of the images he used, remarkable for a Spire dweller, “Running stream?”
Varchan holds out his hand and waves it horizontally, then flowed it, to stop holding upright, “Young lady, all Phastian born, rear and die in the desert, it’s not my fate. This is my other life. I was not born to this. Priest, servant to the Holy Sand, with hundreds of soldiers and thousands of handmaidens…” Galdahad looks at him taking a deep drink, “This was my second death, and I needed a place to be, and this place needed, well, someone. We all dream here, I help to reveal the message…”
“We need for you to try to remember some details about Arlel…” (5 questions to pose to Varchan before the next game)
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On her second night in the small town, Fesselin quickly realizes she doesn’t like it here, it was a quaint little burg, but there was little for her to do. There were taverns, serving drinks but she was never comfortable around big folks, except for her own coterie. These folks as welcoming as they were, would always be big folk, strange ones at that. Most of these people are stuck with their heads in the spires, unconcerned about politics or neighbors, it may be safer but they were always inwardly concerned.
Making her way to the back alleyways, she took it all in, the wide open spaces, the buildings the animals…and suddenly she saw two of her kind, Tenderfeet approaching her. They looked at her and smiled, a hand out to greet her, “Trasolin” the older woman said, and pointing to a younger man in combat leathers, “Rasak.” Fessy introduced herself. “There are others?” Trasolin nods, “We keep ourselves hidden, until we can determine who the stranger in our midst is." She takes a swig from a jug, then hands it to Fesselin who does the same.
“We are tree-ing; care to bob along?” Unsure of what it means but happy to be among kin, she agrees. They come to a fairly large house and climb up, revealing a building whose lower floor is false, as the building covers a hole hundreds of feet deep, and a huge vine plant inside, being carefully pruned and picked by a small group of tenderfeet, plus small sized lizardith and similar sized humanoid frogs. Her newfound companions are waved in, Fessy notices her legs and arms are starting to grow slow and heavy. Almost sensing what Fesselin is about to say, Trasolin nods, “The poison will almost be in full effect.”
Fessy grabs her weapons, while the other two Tenderfeet take a step back. “Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you or steal your equipment…we need to find out about you and your friends, and we have no time for games.”
Despite her protests, they wait for the poison to take control of her, then sit her down in the Greenhouse. With spells, they ask her questions about her group, their intent and some of their history; their questions are careful not to reveal personal or tactical data, but certainly she reveals why they are in the town. In the space of twenty minutes, they are finished, then put a cloth over her head. She wakes up in a small pub, empty glasses around her smelling badly of ale. Her equipment and wealth still with her, plus a basket of exquisitely tasting blue and yellow fruit.
She heads back to the big house, and sure enough. a small group of workers still prune it, but her two comrades are nowhere to be seen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
One of the few benefits of being imprisoned for over nine months was the insistence of quiet meditation. Most of the other prisoners took the time to cause any disturbance to force the guards to use noise or force to end the meditation exercises. As a Thellan, Hervandos had memories of many encouraged sessions, but this was different and quite powerful, as it to brought him back “home”, to refocus in his psionic gifts and foster their growth. It was ironic beyond belief that it were these near ignorant Wastelanders would be the one to help him with this.
Even since before his release, he made an effort to daily meditate on his focus. Normally coming to a new town would be difficult, but spread throughout the village were buffers, psionic tools to disperse hindrances. While not tremendously obvious, there were other psions here. Instead of a difficulty, it was almost a continious state, able to slip into focus at-will. On the third night there, he entered a full dream state, able to travel in purely mental form in a way similar to a physical body.
On the first night, he saw others like himself here. He slowly approached but as he does, a hound with tentacles unlike he’s ever seen notices him and started braying… frightened he removes himself, immediately coming out of his purely mental state, and finds himself back in his hotel room in a lotus concentration position.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Arun on this night like all the others had spent much of the time in concentration; this town like many others was never his goal. His magic or his familiar allies had always been his prime concern, but now something was wrong with Gorth, his primary bond. It had been many years since he found the entity and he had come to rely on him, for his brute power force, in a fight, his was the muscle that he came back to…now there was something that felt wrong. Many previous times even when not calling for him into the midst, the between, his presence was noted, just waiting, eager to be released. But that eagerness was gone. He no longer lurked, never hungry. He came and served out of obedience but the Summoner wondered if this would always be the case. He heard of other familiar and summoned servants who refused to come or even worse, turned on their master. His bond had always been strong, that he never worried before, now was very different.
Slipping into his concentration, then into the chainless lair in the midst of his void, he remained perfectly calm, silent as memory. For the first time, in too many years, he didn’t come to bond, or seek out a new servant-ally, but to carefully watch his bonded ally. This time, he wanted to see if his ally would come to him. Just as he feared his bond, his ally was not here. He didn’t call out, not this time…this creature was still an ally, if he called and the creature didn’t come, then what. Could he put the bonded ally on the spot?
He exited the midst, and sat motionless for awhile, then left his room. He went well to a quiet alleyway and mulled over calling his companion…
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
The trip to the Spire-Edge had shown him little, perhaps most of all other defined the space they were in and what was around them. The nearest pyramids were probably around 25 to 30 days, on foot if they were not intercepted or attacked by the Raja’s forces, especially the undead ones. If this was where Arlel was, he and his companions would go find her.
As he headed into town the sounds of two young boys struggling with a beast, verging off from one
of the the larger side streets. Dassadar headed in, as he saw two Phastian teenagers struggling to get a winged horse, into a stable. Without hesitation, he jumped the fence and held up his hand. Both the kids and Pegasi seemed surprised, as he calmly came towards them, he held out up a hand speaking. The Phastian tattoo was controlling the words coming out of his mouth, as he soothed the well groomed beast.
The side door flew open, as a middle aged Phastian Lady with two much younger children, younger than the lads working the winged steed. Their presence startled the steed, as it bucked, without thinking, Dassadar jumped on it and started giving it much harsher commands, the mother kept the two little girls away, as the two young teen boys tried to grabs the ropes. Their full teamwork was enough to allow Dassadar to capture the Pegasi, and hold him still enough for the creature to calm down.
The little girls had stopped screaming, and the boys puffed out their chests, as they lead the creature into the stable. The attractive woman whispered orders to the young girls, who slunk into the doorway. The lads came out to thank him, but he stood at attention, the same as he was taught when he was living in the North. It hit him that their customs were not the same, the boys came out and stood at attention with their hands crossed with their heads down.
“Thank you for helping with the steed.” She smiled with a controlled demurred look, “My boys needed to clean the stable…” She hesitated as her two young girls reappeared with a pitcher and glasses. “My girls would like to invite you in for a glass of water, as a way to thank you…” The kind mother smiled as her children were very excited to have him come inside.
“Doing a good deed is my reward.” He hesitates for a moment and reconsiders everything going on here. No ill intent, the children are happy to see a stranger, “Your husband is returning soon?”
“Two days, most likely, on Fountain Day.”
Dassadar looked at both the excited girls and the proud young boys, and couldn’t help but smiling himself, “Happy to join you for water…”