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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Maedar - Male Medusae

Maedar

Type Medium Monstrous Humanoid
NE Medium Aberration
Init +2 Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +4

 DEFENSE
AC 14 touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 11 hp (2d8+2 con)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3

 OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee One-Handed Weapon +3 (1d6+1) or Fist +2 (1d6+1)
Ranged Weapon +3 (Heavy Crossbow 1d6)

 STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +1 CMB +2 CMD 14
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills +2 Disguise, +3 Perception , +4 Stealth , +4 Survival

 ECOLOGY
Environment      Mountainous or Deep Caverns 
Organization      Solitary or Duo or Trio
Treasure Value  Half

Male medusa, often referred to as maedar, happens when a medusa mates with a male of another species. Dark spidery skin, highly muscular, but they are unable to grow hair anywhere on their body. Most have tattoos on their arms and upper body to denote who owns these lesser medusa.

They are lower status beings in the medusa clans, as the matriarchs rule their familial groups. There are fewer who survive their young years as many are killed due to their mistresses rage. They are trained in a specialized function such as soldier, servant or spy. Because of their status, many maedar look for opportunities to escape the clan. Those that find their way out, are often quite successful in both legal or nefarious skills, but few will speak of their time with the medusa clans.

When maedar mate with medusa, they give birth to large sized intelligent snakes. When they mate with human or elf females, half the time the mother's give birth to female members of their mother's species or a medusa, otherwise their children are maedar.

What is little recognized by members of the medusa clans is that while maedar are born weaker, as they age they grow in power and eventually have more powers than their female kin. Few clans realize this, as many maedar are killed by kin well before they show any status or signs of power.

Abilities by HD
3 HD Shatterstone (1/day); +5 skill points; Gain new feat
4 HD Gain + 2 to any Ability Score; Fist 1d8; +1 to AC; +5 skill points
5 HD Shatterstone (3/day);+5 skill points; Gain new feat
6 HD Speak with Stone (2/day);+1 to AC; +5 skill points; Gain new feat
7 HD Gain + 2 to any Ability Score; Fist 1d10; +5 skill points; Gain new feat
8 HD Summon Lesser Elemental Earth Form (1/day); +1 to AC; +5 skill points
9 HD Liquefy Earth by touch (at will); Gain Immunity to Petrification; +5 skill points
10 HD Shatterstone (1/hour); +1 to AC; +5 skill points; Gain new feat
11 HD Gain + 2 to any 3 Ability Scores; Fist 2d8; +5 skill points; Gain new feat
12 HD Restore Stone to Flesh by touch; +3 to AC; +12 skill points

Maedar do not need to advance up this listed level chart. They can gain non-Maedar levels at any time, however, if they ever gain non-Maedar HD they are unable to further advance in their natural Maedar class levels again.

Fist: A maedar learns to harden their fist into stone for a few moments in battle, this is why this simple attack can become so deadly at higher levels.

Shatterstone: By touching stone, they can create a hole in a large area, just enough for a medium sized creature to pass thru. At 3 HD, this can be five feet in height and distance; length at 5 HD this can be twenty feet in distance length; at 10 HD it can be 100 feet in distance length

Speak with Stone: Able to get visual images of creatures who passed near the stone within a 24 hour period at 6 HD, a month at 8 HD, and a year at 10 HD.

Summon Lesser Elemental Earth Form - As per Medium Sized Elemental. Will either engage in combat or stay and serve in other capacity for 12 hours.

Liquefy Earth: Create an area on stone that a medium sized creature can walk through. Can be roughly twice the size of the hole created via shatterstone. It is very difficult to discover (Perception DC 30) as it appears identical to normal stone and lasts for ten minutes.If inside the bolt-hole when it collapses, they are shunted out in the direction they came from.

Restore Stone to Flesh: Able to restore creatures turned to stone as long as their full body is still apart of the statue, if organs or appendages are missing, the restoration will not work. It takes one full minute per year that the creature was petrified of uninterrupted touch.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Bish - Nation in the Southlands

Bish

Everyone on Nyssa has heard the ancient tales of Hembria - the infamous wizard nation that most people believe started the great winter. Virtually all peoples of the domain fell under their shadows long ago... but not all. A few outpost nations remained free of the tyranny and out of these renegades, and out of these, only one still stands, Bishollo - the people of the falls live on.

West of the old south, southeast of the Ferrensil Forest stands this ancient land. Starting at the Great Bish Falls - it's temperate forest and gentle surging rivers expand and cross the whole sub-continent. Dire animals are the greatest threats spoken of here, and no dragon or other great beast stalks the land, even Rowena’s minions are rare in this realm, the standard undead types are found but none of the powerful ice variety. There is only one city Vromel, and civilized territories owe fealty to the ruling Prince.

How and why these people are protected from the cold is the basis of their culture and way of life, the Codex. From the onset of civilization people all over Nyssa have argued over who the gods were and how best to represent them. The obelisk is a universal Nyssian symbol of faith. In all other locations each religion has their own obelisk a free standing monument to the one ideal, usually to a specific divinity. Not so in Bishollo, here the gods are not seen as distinct but always a unity. The idea of many obelisks is foreign to these people, just all gods sit at one heavenly table people worship at the one obelisk, and this is the mile high Codex. This is the core of all Bish peoples and races, their faith, and their protection from the cold.

The Bish share most of the views on the magical frequency but here they call it the Surge. Anywhere else on Nyssa, the frequency emerges somewhat randomly, spreading out like mild ripples of energy and colours without form. In Bish, because mana emanates outward from the one obelisk, there is a continual gush, as a bright colourful wave, repeating several well-known patterns, dispersing mana to the mortal world. Near the Codex the strongest known magical energies in the domain exists, and at certain times spells can be cast with spectacular results. This ever-circling aura is so overpowering that many clerics spend their entire lives in Vromel, at one of the many temples that reside around the Codex.

Proximity to the surge has many other consequences, because the surge comes from the gods, anyone of piety with enough worship, prayer, sacrifice or devotion, can cast a spell at least once in their lifetime. These free magic’s are a thing of wonder and many people await their whole lives before approaching the codex and asking for a "favor" or spell. But just because one asks, doesn't necessarily mean that the favor asked is the one requested, nor even if one may be given at that time. Often those who just lost a parent or lover will come asking for fates to be reversed, only to find no deity is listening to their prayer. Others have their wish granted, not just once, but many times, who or how these spells are granted are beyond a mortal to decipher.

Another affect of the Codex is the closeness of the faiths. All of the gods have open, non-walled temples, facing the obelisk and in the path of the surge. This means that they can all cast enhanced spells at their temples, but because their traditional enemies can as well, magic is not seen as a destructive force, merely one that gives aid and succor. The light and dark here are more of competitors, and few priests dare use force or violence in their contests with the other followers of the gods. This unity has created a great upheaval in the political power the clerics wield. They control Vromel's army, bureaucracy, major guilds, educational facilities and most importantly the monarchy. They manage the city and do so to benefit themselves, the ruling theocracy. Openly, it does not matter which god you worship, as long as you are able to summon priestly might. Secretly, however, wars of favor are still played out by some "holy" and "unholy" men for positions of prestige.

In all of their secretive campaigns, one foe remains true, wizards remain anathema - enemies of the state, purged, at all costs. No spell tower (the traditional Nyssian method if wizardly education) has arisen in Bishollo in over three thousand years, and public executions are still permitted when one is caught casting an arcane spell. The reason for their mistrust is the same as everywhere else - the Great Winter. It came here, catching everyone unaware, and plunging the land into a long deadly winter, but here the ice retreated back past the mountains, never to re-appear. However, their mistrust has not abated, these people view arcane magic as perverted magic and sinful, and if they do not try to destroy wizards outright, they will certainly thumb their noses at the individual, or alert the Standing Knights. Wizards from the outside world are usually arrested upon arrival, thrown in jail and subjected to torture.

Sorcerers do not fall prey to the same mistrust, for while wizards must deliberately choose the arcane arts, sometimes individuals are blessed with a natural aptitude and this is not to be shunned, rather it's to be celebrated. There is always some hesitation at first, did the individual seek out the magic or otherwise attempt to steal it from the gods, spell casters must go through an arduous process if they wish to reveal their unique abilities as sorcerous. The most celebrated sorcerers are who manifested their powers as infants and teens because they are too young to have studies the magical arts, it is always assumed that these individuals are authentic and are not subject to the same scrutiny as their elderly compatriots. There are many folk tales of sorcerer-heroes, given their power from the gods, come to save the people during great crisis. Most often the hero has red hair and from a barbarian tribe.

The priests may control the city, but warriors maintain peace in the hinterlands. Rangers, paladins and even barbarians are tremendously important in the regions and towns, and except for a wondering monk, few preacher-like types are rarely seen. In fact, there is little magic outside of Vromel, and few divine spellcasters ever bother to go adventuring. This creates a huge problem for the outlanders, for while powerful magics can be cast in the city; outside they are left defenseless to creatures that cast spells. It is due to the loyalty of the people that they work together to end these threats.

None of the “popular” races are enemies with each other, but some like or dislike each other more than the others, and of course, there are always those who are hated even by their own kind. Humans, who call themselves the Bishine, are the most dominant divine spell-casters and merchants, and they rule their six provinces from the capital, Vromel. Conflicts between the provinces are outlawed, but flare-ups sometimes occur for lucrative property (especially mines and the rune forests) between local Lords. Officially, all owe fealty and their taxes to the Prince of the City – but most Princes do not attempt to enforce taxes on any province except for Pron – the Prime. Four other confederate nations exist on the Bish peninsula; all are organized along racial lines. While all of them are considered allied nations, each of them (non-officially at least) realize that Vromel rules all, and go out of their way not to antagonize the military masters of the realm, as the humans have invaded the smaller nations to eliminate a perceived threat.

And, for all their "unity" there is a great deal of threats to Bishollo. While dire animals are the worst known to the commoner there are far greater secrets known to the royal hunters and knights. The bleak-lands, the northern-most region, has for thousands of years been covered gray-black stone is emerging from the bowels of the earth, which destroys all plant-life. The Bish have lived their entire history near the aside this barren land, as it acted just as much as a protector as a threat. Recently, the bleak-lands have begun to expand, and many strange chaotic beasts capable of performing terrible spells or brute acts of force are appearing. It has taken the army some time to determine what they have known now, and the theocracy knows nothing of the approaching danger. While some of the citizens are aware of what is happening, few consider it a threat as the Knights and the Codex have long protected them, and most feel confidently that they will continue to do so.



Animals: Boars, Shard-Birds, Shard-Bullettes, Kazurn hounds,
Steeds: Horses, Hederaks, Griffons
Races: Human, Jivine Elf, Ubine Dwarves, Tenderfeet (Halflings), Gnoll, Quillian, Kinzarri (Phaeton), and Lizardith
Enemies: Ogres, Shard-beasts, Prism, Cult of the Vine, Cult of the Gorgon, Gobbers, Kenku, Hand of the Shadows

Ubine: The Bish Dwarves reside in the south, throughout the Thunderlands and the Therrik Mantle. They are a rich race with connections to many other races and groups in the peninsula. They have a healthy mercantile tradition, and readily use the cat-kin and Oromian merchants that come to them for trade. In times past, the dwarves were more ready to take to the caravan, but this has steadily decreased over the last hundred years.

The noble families, Axe, Shield, Stone & Barrel speak, and vote as a single voice, and this block is one of the first the Imperial League attempt to sway in military matters. They usually double the numbers required by the Treaty for the Border Patrols. The Shield family which is the strongest block does not elect non-Shield representatives to the speaker position, Other clans can beseech this dominant one, and is tradition for the Shield to respect the requests by the other dwarves.

Jivine: The Bish elves are perhaps the longest continuing inhabitants of the Bish peninsula, as their monuments from the past dot the landscape. However, out of all the major races, they are rarely away from the Jesh, their forest homeland in the northwest. While some sages claim that their numbers have dropped in the last two hundred years, the elves do not divulge the truth. They show their loyalty to the Senatas in the means dictated by the Treaty, but they steadfastly refuse to allow anyone inside the forest. Bish Elves are wild elves, which have druid, ranger, rogue and sorcerer as their preferred classes. Their Vilne emeralds are considered the best spell-gems in the world, and they equip their heroes and sell them to their allies. They do not send representatives to the Senatas, unless requested for a specific vote, but they never raise objections either as long as their territory is respected. Once they tried to change attitudes on magic, but they don't speak up about it anymore. Their noble families are called Root, Fey and Vilne (green emerald).

Kinzarri: Are land bound, city dwelling phaetox, clustered to the Bish penisula. There are a few small cloud isles in the Bish, so they never developed a separate culture and distinction that their Phaeton cousins developed elsewhere. Heavily religious, they still follow the Phoenix, but they also have faith in other gods and powers. Most are loyal citizens who work in many types of craft businesses. The non warriors fly but usually only do so at sunrise or sunset, as they are unable to alight their flame wings for very long. The warrior caste has more authority, but those who have reached Status are rarely in the city, as they are busy on missions for the nation.They are very strict adherents of the culture they live within, the very last to upset their neighbours. The flame and wing are the two noble families.

Lizardith: An outsider culture and race that has not fully integrated with others, and while they are mistrusted they have proven their value over and over again. They have a culture, education and belief system is very different, Found in a few underground caverns, they are keen in studying peoples, faiths and magic. Many temples in Vromel have a few lizardith acolytes studying there. Monk, Cleric, Ranger and Rogue are their preferred classes, but for many of the tribal brutes, they only want to gain levels as barbarians. They do not recognize nobility, they select their four members by electing counselors to vote on political matters.

Terminology

Annash: Gardens that spontaneously arise whose harvest is magically enhanced, similar to potions
Battery: places, usually caves, where Iron-hearted are located until called upon to serve in battle
Bish: The subcontinent; anything from here is Bishollo
Bleaklands: dead lands, that are a border to the outside world and a home to many evil creatures
Blessing: Ability to cast a spell or a wish granted by the surge when at the Codex
Circle: Druidic cult that attempts to create nature sanctuaries and protect animals
Code: The list of laws and traditions that knights follow
Codex: Mile high obelisk located in Vromel
Cult of the Vine: cults that cause wild drunken orgies that sometimes cause great destruction.
Curse: Lycanthropy, it is punishable by death; sometimes known as Curse of the Moon
Dral: Good aligned, black-skinned elves, tremendously respected by the Bish
Fentorrik: An Iron-Hearted warrior that once commanded an army that destroyed Vromel
Ferric: Iron Mines in the eastern province well infested with gobbers
Gray: creatures that come from the bleaklands
Gromwell: Canyon homeland of the gnomes, this individual believed to be a legend
Hands: Members of the faithful
Handmaidens: term for priestesses of Quanna
Hunters: Rangers given permission by the crown to hunt in the preserves
Iron Hearted: War forged, created for war. Hundreds sleep ready to be awakened for service.
Jesh: The “Sleeping Forest” of the Jivine elves in the north
Knights: Well-respected cavaliers that serve various groups, some are Paladins
Legion: Elite warriors that continually patrol the bleak borderlands
Mandorrian: Waring nation across the eastern sea, often act as mercenaries
Muse: a fey being that inhabits the body for a brief time for an artistic performance. “Calling for a muse” is a dangerous thing, as the results are unpredictable at best.
Oasis of Thought: Little known monasteries that promote unarmed combat
Order: the title of the noble families that rule Bish, Order of the Green, Order of the Feather, etc
Oromians: Bearded merchants across the eastern sea that also control jammers (flying ships)
Patriarch: Leader of the council of churches; only the Prince holds more political power
Rage: A drug that causes bloodthirsty madness
Red Haired: Spellcaster or more specifically a sorcerer
Rez’l: titanspawn, a powerful lich hundreds of years ago that seized control of the iron forged
Rowena: Goddess of the undead, colloquially known as the Ice Bitch
Rune Forests: forests that contain magically enhanced wood used, spontaneously develop
Scarlet: Knights that directly serve the Prince of Vromel
Senatas: The ruling body, where the noble families meet to rule
Shadowy Hand: Group of cultists that kill good aligned clerics and paladins
Shard Mage: Outcasts sorcerers who travel to the bleaklands to gain power at a tremendous cost
Silver Claws: Group of good aligned gnolls that help to protect roadside shrines
Standing Knight: Knights who help protect the nation from wizards and outsiders
Surge: Magical energy, sometimes known as mana or the frequency
Thunderlands: Volcanic territory controlled by the Ubine Dwarves
Titan: heretics that actively attempt to destroy obelisks and kill anyone that serves the gods
Titanspawn: created creatures that serve the Titans, or, mortal followers of the Titans
Teeth or Tooth: Slang for rouges and thieves.
Treaty: The agreement that forged Vromel as the capital, it sees each province and neighbouring nation pay tax as well as soldiers to help keep the border peace
Trueborn: creatures born without a hint of stain or impurity
Vilne: Emerald spell-stones
Vromel: The capital city near the center of the nation

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Iron Salamander

My gaming home world is one of various styles: high magic, high technology, social interaction, divine interactions, etc but one of the few sticky points is the unending threat of the cold. Large swathes of the land are still covered in the Icy Death, and getting around this is a significant challenge especially at lower levels. 

While I have lots of unique creatures but there are a few classic ones that I shouldn't use as they violate the spirit of the themes. The Iron Salamander is one of those alternates to let me use the creature adjusted to fit my campaign world. So instead of the fiery salamander, this is the one I use, representing iron strength and metal sharpness.

Iron Salamander
CR 6
LE. Medium Outsider
Init + 1. Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Perception

AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +7 natural)
HP 76    (8d10+32)
Fort +10 Ref +7 Will +6

DR 10 / Magic Immune Silver or 1st level Spells
Speed 30 

Str 16, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 13
Base Atk +8; CMB +11 (+15 grapple); CMD 22 (can't be tripped)
Melee. +11 / +6 Spear (d8+4 plus metal spray +1d6)
Constrict. 2d6+4 
Feats Cleave, Iron Will, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Crafting)
Skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Intimidate, Perception, Sense Motive +5, Craft (Weapon), Knowledge (Planes), Knowledge (Religion or Magic) +8

Environment: Plane of Iron
Organization: Hunting Party (11-20) or Tribe (100-400)
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: Standard

Tail Metal Spray: Their tail is a continuous swirling slag of metal. Normally when they attack, their tail flails in the same direction, throwing spikes, doing damage as listed. They can have their ten foot long tail to attack another distinct direction, except they must make separate attack rolls in this circumstance.

Tracking Penalty: Iron Salamanders continuously shed small iron shavings, giving opponents tracking them gain a +4 on their attempts. These shavings usually disintegrate after 12 hours on prime worlds.

Metal Weakness: Iron Salamanders suffer a -2 to sonic saving throws

The Iron Salamander is an intelligent foe from another plane, that comes to many prime worlds to raid for resources and slaves. They are well known in many locations on Nyssa because they have long used portals to make lightning quick attacks to take what they need. Their standard routine is to take over a defensible short-term lair, gather their items and then depart.

They appear bright and shiny in their youth as their silver metal scales cover their serpentine body. As they age, their metal sharpens but the metal fades into an iron like rigidity and colour. Most of these Iron Salamanders work on sharpening their tails, both for decoration and for battle functionality. While they have expertly made weapons such as spears and war hammers, they relish using their tails in battle with weaker creatures.

They are similar to a military society where every citizen understands their role and may be called upon to help in a raid. They usually follow orders when it comes to raids or defense, but they are given flexibility otherwise. Most towns will raid once every two or three years, when their supplies start to run low. Communities are independent of one another but will typically help an allied community if they are not in the midst of planning or executing a raid.

Iron Salamanders are a non specific gender, they go through periods where they change their gender, usually a female in their earlier years and a male in their later ones. Most Iron Salamanders hatched during specific periods will share their role and gender with every other salamander during that same six to nine month period. Gender roles are not recognized, unless the female is pregnant, then it takes priority for the community and they have a five year refrain from taking part in raids.

The listed example is a base Iron Salamander, they can gain levels in fighter, ranger, rogue or sorcerer. Leaders are from all all classes, as they move upward in their society ranking for success in their missions - Salamanders respect cunning and strength above all else.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Disenchanter Beast (multi-tiered template)

I have used these creatures a lot in my dungeons to explain why magic items can be rare. These creatures seek it out and feed on it, not evil creatures but natural ones who are following their instincts. They affect enchanted magic items only, so in my world that means created items. Many simple items are natural and these cannot be enhanced nor drained. These creatures are often raised by non-magic using species to temper the threat of spell-casters.

Disenchanter Beast (3 template bases - Lesser, Greater, Master)

Size and type: does not change
Hit Dice Adjustment: +2 HD or +6 HD or +10 HD
Speed: As original creature

Armor Class: +3 deflection bonus for Lesser, +6 bonus for Greater; +12 bonus for Master
Attack: As per the original creature plus HD bonus
Full Attack: As per the original creature
Spell resistance: SR 15 / SR 20 / SR 25
Special Abilities: Drain Magic, Sense Magic: Anti-Magic Aura, Awakened Ferocity
Special Qualities: Dmg Reduction 3/5/10

Abilities: As base creature plus  +2 / +4 / +8 on any three ability scores
Skills: +5 on perception checks and sense motive; +3 to skill checks for every additional HD attained

Environment: Remote locations
Organization: Solitary
Treasure: None
Alignment: Usually Neutral

Drain Magic: Magic items that touches a disenchanter beast must save vs Will DC 25 / 30 / 35 or be nullified. Items with charges lose all charges, if it is a permanent magic item, the lose it's magic properties for 1d12 hours / 1d3 days / 2d4 days.

Sense Magic: Can sense the presence of any magic (spells or items) in the radius of 500 feet.

Anti-Magic Aura: Magic has a hard time working in a disenchanters presence. Casters must make a concentration check DC 20/25 /30 to be able to cast spells within 50 ft of a disenchanter beast. Items with charges lose three times / five / ten the required charge every time they are used in the 50 ft radius.

Awakened Ferocity: Disenchanters gain a +5 morale bonus if disturbed from their sleep; this bonus applies to all saves, attacks and skills.

Reduced Stealth: When their scales flare due to the presence of magic, they suffer a -5 / -10 / -15 to their stealth checks as their blue scales flare brightly

These creatures were originally breed by the Society of  Contemplation - a neutral aligned cult dedicated to creating magic free areas but they eventually escaped to breed wild and true. Now they usually exist as wild creatures inhabiting herds of their base animal. Most common known herds include:snakes, gorillas, bears, wolves, ferrets and eagles

They are similar in size and shape with their base creature, except they always have light blue skin with dark electric blue triangles spot their body. When in the presence of magic their skin flares to dark blue. These creatures feed on magic items, which they can naturally sense up to 500 feet away.

Disenchanters are passive creatures, attacking only when other beings approach them. It is difficult for adventurers to approach them, as the presence of magic aggravates them to the point of aggression. Items left within 50 feet of the snake’s presence for more than 24 hours; permanently loses their dweomer without a saving throw. For this reason, adventurers avoid disenchanters whenever possible. If they snatch powerful items, they retreat to their lair, curl around it and sleep. In this hibernation, they are actually more aware of their surroundings then when awake as per their ferocity ability.

These creatures often run in the same packs that their base creature come from, with one or two members being of the disenchanter variety and the rest being standard beasts. They are fully compatible with non-magic versions of themselves but their offspring is 90% likely to have disenchanter abilities. Disenchanters, regardless of their type never attack other spell-draining creatures; few are able to communicate with each other but they inherently understand that they share a goal. Most of the oldest varieties haunt lonely tombs, spires and abandoned lairs.

There are a few places that successfully use these creatures to curb the presence of magic. Most fail as they cannot preserve the creatures ferocity with their need to control them. The best, such as the spire city of Lecenna, have wild disenchanter monkeys roaming around, stopping magical threats but limiting their own spell-casters capacities.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Ferrasil - Forest Minotaur

My standard forest Minotaur, a creature often found lurking around abandoned temples or other sites. Unlike their labyrinth kin, they are less likely to attack strangers or even get involved, they would rather stay in the background.   

Ferrasil - Forest Minotaur

N Medium Humanoid
Init +0 Senses Perception +5

AC 15 touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+2 natural)
hp 11 hp (2d8+2 con)
Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +0

Speed 30 ft.
Melee Heavy Axe +5 (1d8+5) or Horns +4 (1d4+3)
Special Attack: Horn Charge +6 (2d4+3 or double base horn damage) usable with a 20 ft dash
Abilities: Scent

Str 16, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2 CMB +4 CMD 14
Feats  Improved Charge (Double damage with horns)
Skills +3 Climb, +4 Handle Animal , +4 Survival, +5 Perception

Environment: Any forest
Organization: Solitary or pair of cluster (4-8)
Challenge Rating: 2

Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: By character class

Kin of the standard Minotaur, these neutral aligned hermits inhabit dark corners of great forests. These broad humanoids are comparable in size and build to an orc warrior in their youth with bull ears, short horns, and neatly combed green fur that covers their entire body except for their face, hands and hooves. They grow in size and brute strength as they age, especially their horns which eventually grow to be more than four feet high. Like all Nyssian Minotaurs, Ferrasil is a male species, with no female Minotaurs they must mate with other species to birth their young. Male offspring are Minotaurs 90% of the time, females are always of the mother's species.

Some believe the Ferrasil are less intelligent than their standard kin, this is untrue as they just prefer to observe opponents over confrontation until absolutely necessary. Their preferred companions are druids, followed by rangers or faerie. Although they can speak Minotaur, their usual response to any question is a snort; fortunately friends usually learn what any given snort means: yes, no, or leave me alone. They learn Elven, Faerie or Phaetox languages in that order.

Ferrasil are neutral on their interactions with many other races, caring little what other creatures do unless it directly interferes with the forest. They don't share territory with the labyrinth delving kind or other horn-kin, so they leave well enough alone. They generally don't get along with elves or small, talkative races, but as long as they keep their hands and voices to themselves, the Ferrasil won't do anything to them. They actively dislike dwarves, but they also rarely interact. For most others, it depends on why they are in the forest and if they intend to harm the land or its inhabitants.

Combat
Ferrasil usually fight with great axes, maces or spears but only if there is no other alternative, They usually charge with their horns as their primary gambit, then bash the foe down.

Character Adjustments
+2 constitution; +2 Strength
+2 racial bonus to Survival and Perception checks

Racial Hit Dice: 2d8; Attack Bonus, skill points and saving throws as Fighter for NPCs

Natural Attack: Horns 1d4+2 dmg 1st - 2nd level
Horns 1d6+4 dmg 3rd - 5th level
Horns 1d8+5 dmg 6th - 9th level, Large Size, +2 on strength and constitution scores
Horns 1d10+6 dmg 10th- 14th level
Horns 1d12+8 dmg 15th + level
Horn Charge inflicts double base horn damage when charging

The additional strength damage is inflicted regardless of their actual strength score. It is not further affected if they are given enhancing or weakening magic.

Preferred Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue

Monday, 30 November 2015

Ogre (Nyssian Racial HD Advancement)

Ogres are brutes that use their strength and toughness to force their way among allies and enemies alike as they have little else to resolve issues.  Most are evil as their hunger or other appetites lead them to commit vile actions, and once they begin to act they are committed regardless of consequences. Despite their low intelligence and charm, they are often accepted into any army as their brute strength and size offers useful skills. Magic or intimidation are the two ways ogres are usually led - they understand little else.

The very few non-evil ogres are individuals that were somehow separated, whether by choice or accident, and found allies that encouraged a non-violent expression of their hunger and other tendencies. Fey in particular will sometimes capture an ogre and charm it for several weeks trying to show it another way, before releasing it and hoping their efforts have subtlety influenced it to become a willing ally.


Ogre
NE Large humanoid (giant)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 8, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, –1 Dex, +5 natural, –1 size)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +6, Ref +0, Will +3

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. base)
Melee: Greatclub +7 (2d8+7)
Ranged: Javelin +1 (1d8+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

STATISTICS
Str 21, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 18
Feats Iron Will, Toughness
Skills Climb +7, Perception +5, Knowledge (local)+2 , Profession +2, (Any One); Survival +2
Languages Giant

ECOLOGY

Environment temperate, cold hills or forests
Organization solitary, pair, gang (3–4), or family (5–16)
Treasure standard (hide armor, greatclub, 4 javelins, other treasure)

Advancement
5 HD   +2 Str or Con; +3 in skills; 1 Dmg Reduction, Lesser Feat, Rage
6  HD Increased Natural Weapon Damage (1d8 Claws); +1 in Natural AC, Lesser Feat; +3 in skills
7 HD +2 Str or Con; +3 in skills; 2 Dmg Reduction,  Lesser Feat; +1 in Natural AC
8 HD Increased Natural Weapon Damage  (1d10 Claws / 1d4 Bite); Roar, Lesser Feat, +3 in skills
9 HD +2 Str or Con; +3 in skills;  4 Dmg Reduction, Advanced Feat
10 HD +2 Str or Con; +2 in Natural AC; Leader's Fury, Advanced Feat, +3 in skills
11 HD +3 in skills; Increase Natural weapon Threat Range (18-20), 6 Dmg Reduction, Adv Feat
12 HD +4 Str & Con;Increased Natural Weapon Damage  (2d8 Claws / 1d10 Bite); +7 in skills; +3 in Natural AC, Advanced Feat

Rage - As per Barbarian's Rage ability; (1+ Constitution Bonus / day)
Roar - Instill Rage in other creatures that can hear their screams (2 / day)
Leader's Fury - Lesser allies will be influenced by the ogre's rage by being in his presence and witnessing his fury (2 + Charisma Bonus / day)

Typical Skills: Climb, Perception, Knowledge (Local, Geography, Nature, Tribal), Handle Animal, Profession, Survival

Lesser Feats: Power Attack, Power Swing, Natural Armor (+2), Improved Initiative, Frenzy Rage, Rage

Advanced Feats (Higher than 8 HD) Imp Natural armor (+4), Improve: Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma by +2, Speak other Language (local), Increase Critical, Stunning Head-Butt,

Few Ogres advance in HD or levels above 12 HD.  Those that do typically advance as barbarian or fighter class. Ogres cannot take non-racial levels until they complete the listed HD.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Heeler (Healing Snake)

In my desert locale, there are many more warrior and rogue types in comparison to spell casters due to the many mystical locations that do wonky things with magic. One way to compensate for lack of clerics is through the raising of magical creatures Heelers, that are used as communal healing animals.

Heeler (Healing Snake)

Init +7 Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7
AC 16 touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 84 hp (8d10+40 con)
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +5
Special Elemental resistance 10, SR 17, PR 17

Speed 30 ft' Swim 40 ft
Melee Bite +9 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks Poison DC 17, 1d4 dexterity/Paralyze for 1d4 minutes

Str 13, Dex 17, Con 21, Int 6, Wis 17, Cha 13
Base Atk +8 CMB +9 CMD 22
Feats 4 total feats from HD, Improved Initiative
Skills +7 Perception , +7 Stealth , +12 Swim; Bonus of +10 to stealth checks if submerged in five or more feet of water.

Environment: Phastia or Sea of Stones
Organization: Solitary or Mated Pair
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: None or Incidental
Alignment: Usually Neutral (tends toward Neutral Good)
Advancement: 7-12 Large

These magical creatures appear to be slender, eight foot long snakes with bright blue scales. Their embrace heals most non-fatal wounds.

A snake native to the Phastian desert, long been used by the Azzana tribes for their healing properties. Bright blue scales outside of the water; they are virtually invisible when in five or more feet of water (+10 to stealth check). Most are kept as pets within Zalian fountains - some are in remote locations others within highly populated cities. Those who require healing drop an appendage into the water, as the snakes gently coil around them. For other tasks, the guardians indicate to the Heeling Snake that something besides a basic heal is required.

Many towns or tribes will charge fees to use the town, usually in the range of 10 to 200 gold pieces per heal. While unusual, sometimes the heeler refuses to heal individuals if they do not trust a person. In rare cases, they may also heal some individuals more than once, sacrificing their abilities for the rest of the day. Those who harm a heeler are marked for a slow and painful death as many communities depend on the snake's healing talents.

A heeler does not have to fight to protect itself. Most are pampered pets, adored for their unique healing talents. They are valued at more than 5,000 gold pieces per adult specimen. There are legends that larger and more powerful heelers exist, some able to raise the dead - the value of a creature would be astronomical. While mated pairs will lay a clutch of eggs twice a year, the offspring are rarely if ever seen - some of their handlers believe the heelers will open a portal or gate to remove their kin when the children are old enough to survive on their own.


Abilities:
2d8 healing if touched; If patient is submerged in water, subject heals 3d8 dmg
Can heal any subject once per day as long as they can be physically touched
+10 on a poison save, if they are not healed damage.
Gives subject water breathing ability for one hour if they are submerged
Restoration (3 ability points or 1 experience level). However, the heeler loses the capacity to heal for the rest of the day.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Night of Masks (My Halloween Game this year)

This was my Halloween Game this year, played at a local Meet-Up event. It was a fun but rushed game. I tried to put enough of the story down here, and some broad notes that you could potentially use some of the ideas here.

The basic idea is an evil spell-caster is attempting to usurp a yearly sacrifice to regain his power - he has kidnapped the intended sacrifice for this years event. The PCs should be strangers to the town, as all local law enforcement can't seem to find the young woman. But once they start, it's all downhill from there, and pretty straightforward to complete. Some of what I found when I ran it, I added between asterisks. *

Night of Masks or My 2015 Halloween Game

A. Background & Contact
B. Golden Hounds
C. Tower and Minor Golem
D. Evil Gargoyle Watchers
E. Lawful Dwarf Guards
F. Stairs
G. Small Room
H. Manacle Room
I. Chain Devil 
J. Locked Door
K. Trap Passageway
L. Rape-y Statue
M. Prisoner, Petitioner and Gug (Big Bad Monster)
N. Mask Party and Resolution with Mastermind
O. End

Background: Night of Masks is a Halloween like holiday, in which the participants dress up and are free to break all vows, it has a dark history. Each of the local village towns in the farming Flatlands provide the names of the willing young ladies, one of them chosen during the harvest fest and after a year of living in luxury they are hung to appease the dark spirits. If the dark spirits are not appeased, legend has it that dark monsters will be freed, and will cause chaos and destruction. Something has gone wrong this year, as six days ago the young lady was kidnapped - the town needs to find their sacrifice as there is only three more nights until the Night of Masks.

Contacted by town agents, Nurther (9th level Knight) and Lady Bazznika (12th level Cleric) who have asked the party to meet them privately at a bar. Both are dressed up in fancy party regalia, and ask the party to help find a missing young lady, the annual blood sacrifice. They don't know who could be responsible, as everyone in town could potentially be victims if the spirits are unhappy and their pact is broken. The only thing they know that is different are the golden hounds (blink dogs), a beloved dog that has helped the region in the past is now here in large numbers. (Wildlife DC Low). This town is infamous for their crypt of Lord Volonez, an insane wizard who could summon unworldly creatures. Lord Nurther commands the guards at and near the secret grave all year, he highly doubts it could be him. 

Just outside the pub is a group of small-sized, sleek white dogs with golden streaks called Golden Hounds. They are well known but they rarely stay in town for long. If approached will be peaceful, will bark answers to yes, growl for no. Will not lead them to the Tower during the daytime. One dog accompanies the party.

Large tower, on the edge of town overlooking a few boarding houses and some bad taverns. Once the lair of an infamous wizard, Lord Volonez, now it's little used but always watched. Local rumors tell of winged figures haunting the place at night, it's significance is unknown.

If the players approach the Tower windows (50 & 125 ft), they will be attacked by four gargoyles. If PCs are not using magic devices, they will do significantly less damage.

Next stage depends on if they enter thru the top (Gargoyles) or the bottom windows (Golem.) The main doors are locked, they need to knock loudly and request entry, possibly making a diplomacy check. If they come in any other way, they will quickly be attacked by the Golem who will throw blood globs at them. 

The upper areas of the town are demolished, doors broken and every piece of art, destroyed. Slogans about various warlords are spread large across the walls. Small campsites in disarray, destroyed weapons. Freshly killed impaled bodies...which is extremely unusual, probably against the law, especially given the elaborate funeral rituals that happens to ensure undead do not arise. **not used**

A small contingent of 8 Dwarves are stationed near the main stairs, sitting around a table, drinking and playing cards. One of them stands, giving an official greeting, the SR officer is old, sleeping, passed out. They refuse to accept the story about gargoyles in town and say nothing else is here at the station or post. They tell the group they can search the upstairs to see if there's anything around. If they go down the circular stairs, they are warned there are creepies down there but nothing that comes to the surface.

The next level is around 1000 feet down, the stairs are well built, every 12th stone has a slight glow, just enough to see the steps. Lanterns can be lit with a light spell but all of them would be for 300 ft. (Note the stairs only go down - going back up reveals the stairs don't go back up to the top.) **One of the players made a risky choice of sliding down, very fun scene!**

They come to a small room, ten feet around, with a doorway and signs of a door bust through. A short passageway leads to a large heavy door. Locked, (Difficult to open) but with a peering window reveal a much larger room, filled with a dozen manacles on the walls...two of the chains have people.

If they go in, they see more manacles and five people in total, two ladders going up on the opposite wall, and a large double set of doors locked by chains. Looking up, they will see large windows on the ceiling but it shows cavernous walls outside. One ladder goes to a set of locked doors, sealed by a holy glyph the other to an area previously locked, that opens to a room filled with bodies of beasts hanging upside down, covered with glowing runes. In the primary holding room, around 200 hundred feet around, only one of the prisoners was male. The only one still barely alive though is a middle aged woman, badly bruised, unconscious. After they approach the fourth body, a grey circular light flashes, then 3 to 5 gray skinned humanoids appear, with chains dangling from their bodies. A smack down should ensue. (Use medium level outer planar monsters, such as Kyton.)

If they use magic to work awaken the girl, she tells her tale. Her name is Fanara, who works at a tavern, well outside of town. She was kidnapped by gnolls during a raid and she believes she was sold to a vile necromancer, who wore a hood and commanded a bunch of silver winged undead. She remembers awakening here with two dozen others, lots of screaming and tears...individuals taken, experimented on. Slowly the others died, she knows little else. If asked what did they do to her, it was drink poisons...they were always so much vomiting. Those who died, had their arms explode in vermin.

The characters can try to go back but the stairs apparently don't go up to the top, they are a few hundred feet shy. They are forced to go forward, the double doors are next. Not locked directly, but a heavy chain wrapped around the doors. If the characters touch the chain they will be shocked (3d6 Low Level Save) save for half. A character must willingly grab the chain to remove it. If the players use any means to disengage the chain, save again for 10d6 damage (Medium Level Save). 
  **took dmg then defused it**

There are heavy tracks, lots of rope, much of it chewed on. Going forward the floor drops, anyone falling takes 7d10 dmg (half if low acrobatics DC is made). Once the floor drops it is stable for 2d6 minutes. If anyone drops, they are in a area made of the bones of the dead, snakes are coming towards them. They need to put a weight down, then if a rope is lowered they can climb up or just wait until the floor drops again. **reworded this scene that game night, monster tentacles grabbed from below. The party took cultist cowls to go through. The scene took too long, should have stuck with what I had written.**

Going forward they come to an oddly decorated room, with the decor of naked people fornication with demonic beasts being bitten with blood spraying out. In one corner a small group of piously dressed but blindfolded humans walking thru the scene, there. A huge statue of a demon with robes and many hands, but seems to be decorated with blood. Anyone with religion / religious leanings must make a will save as they have images of gratification against the statue and those failing will have dreaming delusions of fornication with the statue. **one of the players got right into it, she had fun. Good scene.**

A cleric detects evil from the entire room. The players should realize the bleeding person in the montage is offering their blood, this scene shows someone must provide a blood sacrifice, inflicting 25 unholy damage. If a religious check is made they will know that this damage can't be healed by clerical spells or magic. The statue takes no damage from spells or weapons. They need to follow the instructions, with someone willing to submit to the beast, with the rest of the party blindfolding or looking away. The characters will hear her tears, her screams and a demonic laughter and the louder pitch. She is drained 25 HP but only 5 of that is unholy damage.

Once the blood is given, another passageway will appear, they will go down further and see an arena with even more walled manacles and a center hole, around it are 9 dark robed individuals chanting. One hooded masked figure on a large raised dais, a figure dressed in green chained beside him...is the victim they are trying to save. **Party took the time to plan, very good planned actions for them.**

The chanting cultists turn to face the heroes but as they do a huge gray arm comes out from the hole. As the bestial form emerges, their chanting increases, what does the party want to do? Large, furry monster, head opens its maw on the top of its head their elbows split, two arms on both sides. When enough of the handlers are taken out, the BLBG will emerge. If the party approaches the dais, Volonez will go out a back door.

They must face the BLBG beast who tries to demolish them, battle should be heroic as the beast uses awesome blow to beat them down. When completed, they should be exhausted. They approach the chained victim, unable to get her out of the chains. She is pleading with them to get her free. They know that they cannot cut her out, she must be whole before the ceremony. They cannot pick the locks or break them...The only chance is to find the Lord Volonez, who has the keys. **two party members chase after Volonez, I dumped the fight making it much easier..warrior and cleric took him on and the rogue tried to free the enslaved woman.**

When they go after him, they lead up first into a proper dungeon, then a well lit area, then into a huge wine cellar, from there to another set of stairs, until finally a huge formal dining area inhabited by four hundred or more masked party goers, all enjoying the Night of Masks fete. As soon as they enter, immediately healed then given buffing spells, contacted in their minds by Lady Bazznik ...she will ask them: Why are they here at the Gala? What do they need? They see her in the same dress, with her knight very close by. There are dozens of other soldiers in the room, you know they are loyal to the lady that will assist when needed. Did the players pay attention? (Perception roll to see if they remembered.)

Lord Volonez pays close attention to the goings-on, back to the wall. He has some allies here but he knows he is heavily outnumbered. He has knowledge but is unable to cast spells in his current state which is why he needs to spoil the sacrifice to begin his rebuilding of power. If not spotted, will use a distraction to escape. During the distraction only if players are paying attention do they get a chance to foil his escape and confront him. They can stop him in an alleyway and attack to kill him where he reveals what he is - can they get the keys?  If they are able to kill him, he breaks apart into a colony of thousands of bugs and insects, it is only his pure malevolence that binds this creature together. 

**My plan was ruined, as the rogue was a few steps behind Volonez...pointed him out at the party. The spell-casters blasted...him down. We were running out of time anyway, and since I didn't note that the door Volonez was running through should be locked, I wouldn't have felt right about changing it. **

Ending

If they are unable to capture Volonez, describe them going back into the dungeon, still being unable to break or open the locks holding the victim. Lady Bazznik then gets the PCs to help guard the victim until the Night, when two sacrifices are done, the public one solemnly witnessed that happens for the crowd. and a private one, in the sewers, done with a crying, desperate pained sacrifice. She has a tattoo that heals her, so the rope breaks until a chin is used, all the time crying out in despair and pain. This is intended to be an horrific scene that you may want to just rush through.

Regardless of what happens, the PCs should have made a few decent allies that can potentially lead to more missions.


Monster Listing

Gargoyle = Low Level Flying CR
Blink Dog = CR 2
Low Level Golem CR 4 – 6
Medium Level Bad Guy = Kyton CR 4
High Level Bad Guy = Gug or a 12 HD evil outer planar
Mastermind Bad Guy = Volonez, a Worm that Walks, stats below.

Worm That Walks: AC High, Saves as a 10th lev Wizard; Immune to critical attacks, Dmg Reduction 15/-,Physical Attack: Insect Engulf 3d6 dmg; HP 90; One magical Atk Bolt of shadows +10 to hit / 3d6 evil dmg - he can cast once a round.

Volonez was a high level evil wizard but was killed while committing his crimes. He needs to ruin the purity of this sacrifice, to grow in power, perhaps enough to reclaim his body. His spirit infected a pile of insects to carry his soul, but will only have his full spell-power once he reclaims his body. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Jackalla - servants of Anubis, the Agyptian Lord of death (Undead Hunter Racial Class)

This is one of my favorite and most often utilized races in my games over the years. Jackalla are usually polite tea drinking urban sophisticates yet they are also obsessed with slaying undead, My game world outside of cities is a big mess of mostly cold or desert wastes, filled with huge swaths of barbarians and the ever present undead, that arise anytime a creature is left unburied. These slayers, turn bloody violent over the presence of undead and those who dare create or summon them.


Jackalla

Most known in Nyssa for presiding over funeral services in cities, most often at the Tower of Sorrow, the near ubiquitous internment sites. They are also infamous for being at the sites of disaster in advance, seeing a single Jackalla without reason is worrisome, as most assume death is on its way. Adventurers know that anytime you see more than three Jackalla at a time - they are most likely on a undead slaying crusade.

These humanoids are the children and loyal servants of Anubis, the Agyptian God of death, seen as the living embodiment of death rituals by non-followers. They care little for wealth, fame, or conquering territories; they live to serve their patron and to quietly perform their divine duties. Their former homeland is the scarred land of Agypt, within the Phastian desert one of many former realms lost to the sands.

Personality
: They are firm believers in law and discipline. While not stern to outsiders, they are both polite and fiercely focused on their pursuits of slaying undead. Some may judge them to be cold and uncaring but nobody questions their dedication. They never argue about tradition or process, in fact they care little about others' reasons, they simply do what they must.

Physical Description
: These humanoids appear as jackal-headed humanoids with short fur and small well manicured but sharp claws. Prefer to use falchion, mace, spear or crossbow over their natural weaponry, They may run on their four paws, if they are not wearing armor, but most like the protection of armor to increased speed.

Relations
: Jackalla get along well with anyone who shares their devotion to order, though what they believe is secondary to their actions. They tend to fit into society, causing little commotion, dedicated to their causes.

Alignment
: They tend towards both law and neutrality. They are usually quiet, reserved and respectful of others unless there are undead nearby which brings out their holy rage.

Lands
: Having no homeland, they reside in other races’ communities often acting as embalmers, gravediggers and professional mourners. Most live near a cities place of internment, alternating between their professional and personal pursuits.

Religion
: Their patron is Anubis, the Agyptian god of the dead. A few adventuring Jackalla have dual faiths, either with Zalia, Japeth, Quanna or Casna – all gods with strong lawful tendencies. They do not raise obelisks, which is the typical religious meeting grounds within cities, so they often wear a small symbol indicating their religious faith.

Language
: They speak their own language Jackalla & Pharonic or the equivalent human common tongue of the region they are in.

Adventurers:
 Jackalla live devoted to their cause of protecting the dead and their internment sites, apart of this belief dictates they must hunt down and destroy undead. This is their primary motivation for adventure, as Jackalla travel to the loneliest and most dangerous areas of the world to look for signs for both undead and any who would dare create or summon them.

Jackalla Racial Traits

Natural Weaponry: +2 Attack Bonus on Claw 1d4 damage
+2 Survival (desert), +2 Craft (Embalming), +2 Stealth
+2 Wisdom; -2 Strength
Bonus Feat: Alertness (Keen Smell)
Darkness 60 ft and Lowlight Vision

Racial Hit Dice: 2d8; Attack Bonus, Fort Save, Reflex Save and Will Save as Cleric

Base 12 skill points, more if they have exceptional intelligence, to be used on core skills only

Core Racial Skills: Climb, Craft (Embalming and death rituals), Diplomacy, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (geography, history, magic, religion), Perception, Move Silently, Sense Motive, Survival

Level Adjustment: +1 CR

Preferred Classes: Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Psion, Rogue, Sorcerer, Abjurer

 Racial Levels
Add +6 on skills points for every additional HD gained

2 HD Natural Claw (1d3) & Bite (1d4), +2 Wis, -2 Con, + 2 Dex, +2 natural armor, +2 on stealth and Sense Motive, Add Cha bonus on saves vs necromancy and undead effects
3 HD Bone Reading, Scent, +2 Wis or + 2 Dex; Gain 1 Feat; +1 on AC
4 HD Speak with Spirits or undead 3/day; Gain 1 Feat
5 HD Pact of Peace (Canines) & SR 10; +1 on AC
6 HD Howl of Request; Furious Rage; Gain 1 Feat
7 HD Sweet Embrace, +2 Wis or + 2 Dex; Gain 1 Feat; +1 on AC
8 HD Pact of peace (Lawful Creatures, death figures and religions); +1 on AC
9 HD Ward Against Death, (Abilitiy or Energy Drain & Death affects)
10 HD SR 15 + HD, +2 Wis or + 2 Dex; Gain 1 Feat; +1 on AC
11 HD Rest in Peace; Gain 1 Feat; +1 on AC
12 HD Howl of Summoning (Monster Summoning VI), +2 Wis or + 2 Dex;; +3 on AC
+1 HD or Level: Gain +1 on SR by HD or level **

**Jackalla gain these advanced abilities in replacement of class levels. They may stop advancing in these natural racial skills and gain a class level at any time, but once they do they are unable to gain new racial levels.
 
Bone Reading: If able to touch the remains, can determine general identity, age, race, class (if any), time of death, method of death and any lingering emotions. Sometimes they are also able to see the last few moments of the creatures life through the dead creature's eyes when they roll a 15 or higher on the check.

Pact of Peace (canines): If they do not initiate combat, have an immediate pact of non-aggression with canines (or canine like creatures as defined by the DM.) They may not necessarily be friendly, but they will not attack the Jackalla unless provoked. If any member of the Jackalla party attacks, the truce is broken and it can never be restarted at any time to that individual. Gain a +4 on reaction rolls.

Howl of Request: With a summoning howl, can summon other canine like creatures to serve the Jackalla for one hour per HD or level. If intelligent they can be reasoned with for a fair price or favor. The creatures must be on the same prime world as the Jackalla and need to hear the howl.

Furious rage: gain +4 on attacks, saves when attacking an undead or necromancer. Must be declared before combat begins and lasts for ten rounds but it is a free action.

Sweet Embrace: Undead that are in torment and did not choose to turn to become undead, can be put to rest with a word from a Jackalla. This can only affect undead creatures of the Jackalla`s HD or less. This is a full round action.

Pact of peace (death figures): If they do not initiate combat or taking action directly against, a jackala and their party meet death figures with an immediate neutral or non-aggressive stance.

Ward Against Death Effects: Any necromantic magical affect that would kill or drain a Jackalla, they gain a +8 on their save to avoid the affect. 

Rest in Peace: Any undead that a jackalla helps kill or in the presence of when they are killed (50 ft radius with line of sight) are instantly destroyed, even if the being would normally start to regenerate. This affects undead of 7 HD or less, and effect an additional HD for every additional level they have.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cadaver - base undead

Cadaver (Nyssian Zombies)

This is the base undead found on Nyssa. Cadavers appear the same as zombies at lower levels - slow speed, flesh hanging off them with rotting organs always eager to devour living flesh. As they age, they lose all of their flesh and organs, becoming skeletal in appearance. Just as significant, most of them gain in intelligence and charisma, so they become a very different type of threat at higher levels.

At the start, they are low intelligence beings whose only purpose seems to be hunt and devour living creatures. While believed to be ruthlessly evil this is not entirely true, at their youthful stages and HD they seek to feed on the flesh of living beings. Those that advance often become neutrally aligned, as higher HD wish for solace, and will only feed only on living beings who disturb their slumber. Some believe it is their transition to undeath which causes the hunger for flesh, as there have been good aligned Cadavers, while incredibly rare, who are not inflicted with these pangs.

At higher level HD, a Cadaver is incredibly influential and charismatic to other undead, in fact this is how many undead hordes converge. Some of these undead are destroyed by their Cadaver Lord if they do not comply with their commanders orders to control where and when they feed.

Cadaver CR 2
XP 600
NE (N)                                           Medium undead
Init +2                                            Senses darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 5 (1d8)
Fort +0; Ref -1; Will +3
DR 2/slashing; Resist cold 20, undead traits

OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee Weapon +2 (1d6+1)
SQ Regeneration

STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 7, Con -, Int 5, Wis 10, Cha 5
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 13
Skills: Climb +5, Perception +5, Stealth +5, Knowledge (Religion) +5
Feats Improved Initiative

 ECOLOGY
Environment       Any
Organization       Team (3-6)
Treasure Value    Quarter Standard (Usually worn clothing, jewelry or weapons)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Regeneration (Su) When reduced to 0 hit points or less, a cadaver is not destroyed; rather it falls inert and begins the process of reanimating.  Hit points lost to magical weapons or spells are regained at the rate of one per day, those lost from non-magical weapons are regained 1 every hour. When the creature reaches its full hit point total, it stands up, ready to fight again.  They are permanently destroyed if interned on a holy site or if a holy weapon is used to inflict the damage.

HD Advancement

Gain +2 skill points only in skill options (not just their base skills) 
Gain +2 in charisma reaction for other undead creatures
Gain +1 in natural AC every HD

2 HD Pact of Peace (Other Low Level Undead); SR 5; Gain 1 Feat
3 HD Bone Reading,  +2 to any three ability scores; Dmg Reduction 4/bludgeoning or magic
4 HD Speak with Living (1/day) Gain 1 Feat; Move 30 ft
5 HD Pact of Peace (Animals); SR 10;  Dmg Reduction 6/bludgeoning or magic
6 HD Pact of Peace (Faeries & Good Aligned Outsiders) , +2 to any four ability scores, Move 40 ft
7 HD Gain 1 Feat; Speak with Living (3/day); SR 15; Dmg Reduction 8/bludgeoning or magic
8 HD Pact of peace (Lawful Creatures, Death Figures and Religious); No Scent; Gain 1 Feat
9 HD Immunity to Ward Against Death, +2 to any three ability scores; SR 20; Dmg Reduction                          10/magic, Move 50 ft 

Bone Reading: Touching a piece of bone will reveal the name, race and class of who the bone belonged to. Usable 3 / day

Speak with Living: Undead have no workable body parts, so this spell enables them to communicate with the living. It can enable communication for up to five minutes.

Pacts of Peace: Cadavers emit a non-threatening aura for the creatures listed, unless the undead takes violent action, those listed just ignore the undead as non-threats. It is the intent not the actions, if undead are even considering breaking the peace, the creatures will not recognize the peace pact. Their pacts of peace are for NPCs only, not PCs or their companions.

No Scent: At this point, cadavers emit no scent and cannot be tracked in a standard manner

Immunity to Ward Against Death: Spells or effects that normally affect undead have no affect on Cadavers (this includes clerical turning). This only works if the Cadaver is in their home base. Once a Cadaver leaves their home, they can be affected normally.

Feats Options:
Quick Strikes (Ex): With this feat, a zombie can make one additional attack at its highest base attack bonus.

Death Burst (Ex): When a zombie dies with this feat, it explodes in a burst of decay. All creatures adjacent to the plague zombie are exposed to its plague as if struck by a slam attack and must make a Fortitude save or contract zombie rot.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Sameel's Sugar Shack

Someone was running a mini-contest on one of the boards about magical locations. I remember starting this and couldn't hack down all the details I wanted at the time...but here it is.

Sameel's Sugar Shack

An infamous sugar shop well known for sweets and a unique tasting experience has recently come back on the market. Plain looking store in a rough area of any city. It is always busy as its customer base is very loyal and protective of their favored sweet shop.

Exquisite furnaces and cold-boxes, all custom made for this shop, as well as a sitting area for up to twelve patrons at a time.  There are larger room upstairs but they are not available for rental anymore. The current workers are unsure but some older patrons say that these rooms were rented out in other worlds, and when they would enter the rooms they would then be able to come to this location.  It is not known if these still work, if these legends are true, or if one could visit other worlds through it any longer. **

Scattered through-out every foot in the interior of the building are stones and quasi-precious gemstones from many differing worlds.  They are arranged so they appear to be candies in various decorative patterns such as a child riding a tricycle, teddy-bear, carousel, etc along the wall in configuration with the stones.  The rumored sugar faeries are real and entertain the little ones and protect the shop. Anyone that even appears to threaten the shop finds themselves outside, hung over and usually tied up within three rounds - the sugar faeries protect this shop as their own.

Anytime food or drink is imbibed in this room (even if not prepared at the shop), there is a 2% chance that they are filled with an overpowering and magical taste. There is a 20% chance if the food is prepared and eaten at the shop. It was said that the original owner Sameel could make the number rise to 50%, and pre-determine the taste. The current owner, named Sameel as well is the third or fourth generation of his family that runs the sugar shack.

Most patrons come for the lovely candies and experiencing the sugar faeries that are rumored to lair in the building. The price is 2 nobles (silver pieces), and both the child and adult get their pick. Children get any ten pieces and adults get two non-special flavored pieces.

For those willingly to pay more 150 crowns (gold pieces), they can pick out some special flavors and roll 2d10. They can have only two picks. If they pay 500 crowns, they can chose one piece from selection 3-12 and get a bucket flavoured candy piece.

Customers can only come to the Sugar Shack once every 50 days or once a month, if they try to come back they are unable to purchase the sweetest types.  Only those who purchase the sweet magic can use them.

Roll 2d10 - Sweetest Flavor Types

2 - 3. Desert's Dry Sand: taste of sand fills ones mouth; +7 on exhaustion or dehydration checks for the next 48 hours

3. Sour: filled with vinegar, your teeth feel like they are about to fall out; +5 on poison saving throws

4. Salty: you begin to feel the power of the salty ocean, you can breathe underwater for 2-12 rounds

5. Metalic: your mouth feels and tastes like its filling with cold metallic coins; 50% chance to avoid critical hits for the next 24 hours

6. Bitter: sharp bitter stinging; +4 on saving throws on charm spells and effects, always get a second save the following round if you fail the first but no bonus

7. Cheesy: strong bad ale; you feel `happy drunk` for an hour, but smell really bad for the next twenty-four hours; +6 on charm saving throws for 24 hours

8. Disgusting: taste of ooze fills the nose; +5 on perception checks to notice items in dungeons or other dark places for the next six hours

9. Deathly: taste of sand from a crypt; +3 on all necromancy saving throws for the next 24 hours

10.super tangy drops:  sharp sour taste, 2 invisible sugar faeries come and tease you, taking things away in jest - they stay with you for 12 hours. They will make you invisible if any threats appear.

11. Sticky Cloudiness: cotton candy - 85% you start to float a foot or more, 15% you are completely weightless, strong winds will carry you away

12. Heavenly: divine taste of euphoria; +5 on the first saving throw made in the twenty-four hours, +2 to any others in the same period

13  - 19: Bucket taste, almost metallic but it is a long lasting flavor; adds 1d3 temporary hit points for the next 24 hours

20 Roll 2d6 - they get two pieces lumped together for the price of one, the duration of that type is doubled.


** The legend is true, visitors from other worlds used to come when Sameel's father ran the shop. They would come not for the sweets but the cages that could hold any beast which is the lower defunct areas. These cages would remove the magic from any large-sized creature or smaller if they were imprisoned for 1000 days.  The cages no longer work, and nobody is quite sure of what happened.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

District - Sea of Stones

One of my districts that I have used in many games.

Sea of Stones

An area in the South East naturally protected from the cold, containing the only known large body of unfrozen water. A tropical temperature dominates with jungle environments found on many small islands that dot the region. It is also the last living vestige of the Hembrian Empire, the people blamed for bringing the Great Winter to the land. Those who live here best exemplify the ancient traditions, both good and bad, of the lost people.

Two main nations exist, Tharon & Lazell, each represent an extreme opposite outlook. Lazell is ruled by a mix of clerics and knights, voted into power by all of the citizenry. Isolated to one island, they represent an ideal as they are the only known location that has a compliant dragon population to help keep them safe. They do not accept an influx of refugees or visitors, only those of noble heritage or those of extreme wealth are permitted to reside here, outside of their citizens. 

The strongest nation, certainly in terms of size and population is Tharon, a human empire ruled by wizards, according to the ancient Hembrian customs. Everyone in Tharon society belongs to a caste; wizards are on top, followed by knights, priests, nobility, soldiers, guild-men and serfs. Each has a distinct set of responsibilities, but only the male wizards truly have power. Most bureaucracies in Tharon are determined by local counsel, and controlled by a family clan or house. Both the clan and bureaucrats keep these lucrative positions for as long as they prove successful.

The eldest male wizard has complete control of their noble house if they can manage it. If they cannot, family members may kill them without political or criminal consequence. Family issues are considered an in-house problem, and only failure of duty brings official prosecution. In fact, the eldest son is required by tradition to kill their fathers to grab the ring of power. The fathers do not resent them for trying, only for failing to do so. It is a weird power game that most non-Tharons fail to grasp. Fratricide is common, as positions within the family are also fought for as is the political connections for specific bureaucracies. Women, as a general rule are outside the political arena, thus, they are not prey to the same kind of machinations. However, once women throw their hat into the ring, they are fair game. Most women do not however play these games, many prefer to work behind the scenes to get wealthy rather than for pure power. Others try to gain power by getting involved in the church of Keran.

Beyond this, while other Tharon nobles cannot directly use force to gain new positions, there is much bloodshed and sponsored violence to eliminate other threats and failures. Those playing this game must be careful, for while murder in the family is ignored, between houses it is not; and failure is punished on both the individual and the house.

On a wider scale, there are seventeen districts each ruled by a Lord, and each has complete authority in their region. While district competition is rife violence is frowned upon the High Counsel. Each Lord has the requirement to attend the High Counsel at least three times a year where regional disputes are settled. They elect a High Lord, who essentially acts as a judge between the regions, and has direct taxation powers. The High Lord has, in theory, complete authority but there have been times when these kings have been silently replaced if they fail to act in the best interest of the Tharon people. Of course, those who try with a coup must make sure they are successful, as those who fail lose more than their power.

Knights fall under the auspices of the local houses, while not officially the power-arm of the nobility they are often treated as such. There are three kinds of knights; lesser nobles who fail magical training, guild-sponsored knights who serve a specific purpose for a special group, and lastly, military knights who arose from successful service in the military to be awarded their positions. All three types are in a given bureaucracy and serve their masters with great autonomy. Violence between knights is forbidden. The only way to grow beyond this position is through valuable service.

Priests are next on the line of power, but they serve a very limited function of succor, aid and advice. While in previous times, the priesthood could also serve as nobles, this was taken away as too many Keranic priests used their position to serve the church before the needs of the nation. With this being said, most family members do try to sponsor a few clerics in addition to their wizards, as it is useful for the house armies to access the healing and prophecy capacities. Most families tend to worship two or three of the powers, and make sure that some of their family members are in the hierarchies of these groups. Women, in particular are asked to serve and almost 65 % of all clerics are priestess. Often the youngest sisters of powerful older brothers in line for the knife…or ready to backstab the father are asked to serve. Sometimes, however, these priestess’ realize the futility of the entire Tharon power structure, and turn away from their family and their role, which is an utter disgrace to the house. Another role the priests serve, especially the lawful ones of Casna, Zalia, and Keran is to act as judges between houses in times when the local lord does not have to get involved.

Next are the noblemen and women - most serve charities or non-military functions. This is probably the most ignored and safest positions, as there is very little violence for those who don't seek power. Left alone, they help guide the nation in their quiet ways. They are always encouraging trade and communication between both the island districts and various races. They are one of the few groups that can hire independent soldiers, body guards and bounty hunters as long as things are recorded in the bureaucratic towers. They are one of the few groups to have strong non-family connections, so knight, wizard, priest and guild-man all have a few nobles as comrades, ready to bribe to sway things their way.

Soldiers and guild-men are next, and these form the bulk of the lower classes. They do every role except for farmer, which is usually reserved for tenderfoot slaves. Guild-men in particular while having no significant rights do have great chance for wealth if they are cunning or just lucky. Commerce is open in Tharon, and while they can not compete with a Noble House directly, what often happens is that two or three Houses tear each other apart (either literally or just in business) while the lower guild-men come up through the middle, having a fine business in dealing with the non-nobleman. Business is cut-throat and many guilders like it this way, as Nobles are just as busy with politics to realize what is going on. An even more so, due to the strict Tharon laws, many items are expensive and there are vast amounts of crowns (gold coins) to be made with smuggling.

Soldiers serve either in a bureaucracy or serve as part of a house’s standing army. Their lot is cruel; they get paid little and asked to risk their life constantly. Many flee, and willing to risk their lives among the pirates and monsters of the seas as sailors, than serve in a death march. For those who survive, the chance of becoming a knight with a lower house and all the privileges awaits.

At the bottom of the soldiers are two forms of scum: sailors and slaves. Sailors are treated as miscreants in Tharon, there to serve on the waters and be tucked away in the worst areas of the cities. They risk their lives every time they go to sea. Their pay is significant, but then again it has to be to get anyone in the open water. When they are on land, they live to drink and whore and waste their lives with jube and crake…and then when out of coin, to go back to the sea. This is actually the only half way decent life an elf can make officially in Tharon; usually they are killed when coming into the Common. But this is also a great way for criminals and escaped slaves to make a living.

Below even sailors, are slaves, or better put anyone other than human, dwarf or Minotaur. Tharon are slavers and do not give these non-humans full rights. Tenderfeet have an open bounty for capture. Elves are usually killed on sight, unless they are under a sea captain. Anyone else, they are usually captured, imprisoned and if they are not found to have a useful skill, are put to work in the fields. This is their life, unless they can escape.

Dwarves are the only race to have full rights within Tharon, and one of the reasons is that Tharon need the political and commerce connections that many Dwarven nations can provide. They are seen as guilders without guild, and do not need papers to walk freely in the cities. Many cities in fact have Dwarven ghettos, or the largest, actual embassies. Dwarven knights and mercenaries, while having no place under Tharon law, flourish for the same reason as guildmen - they can be trusted to do their job, and not betray their employer for wealth or prestige.. 

Minotaurs were the only significant threat the Tharon Empire ever faced. (Lazell is a political & philosophical enemy, while they may have fought skirmishes, they have never been at war.) However, more than five hundred years ago, after a millennium of war the Tharons finally won. They respected the Minotaurs for their strength and battle prowess, and rather than reducing them to mere slaves, they created a place for these hulks in their society. As spell-less creatures, Minotaurs serve a unique role for the nobles, body guards, without the usual fear of magical reprisals. Those who grow to maturity serve the nobles directly for significant pay. 

Laws
Taxes: Paid once a ten-day, depending upon role. Reasonable rates; most pay with service not coin
Prostitution: Officially sanctioned; much cheaper and non-reported in port areas
Weapons: Soldiers and knights only. Sell-swords only with a mark of standing.
Jube and other drugs: officially banned, but readily available in port areas
Magic Items: officially banned, many are readily available
Necromancy: banned, ruthlessly enforced by Jackalla who also hunt undead
Slavery: Any non-Tharon human or dwarf; without a Mark of Freedom, can be seized for service 
Thievery: Imprisonment or loss of rights.
Psionics: Banned and imprisoned/killed on sight
Wizard Spells: Rigidly controlled. Non-Tharon Nobles will be arrested on sight.
Clerical Spells: Taxed 300% at any obelisk or Temple
Sorcerer Spells: Treated the same as clerical spells
Gambling: Open; but no official guilds
Duels: Only soldiers, knights, men of standing and nobles. Note it is illegal for a non-noble to duel a noble unless it is sanctioned during Sword Day. This is the only way to legally kill a noble.

Style: The Sea of Stones is reminiscent of the Greek islands during the days when their city states ruled the Mediterranean. In terms of the military, nothing comes close to threatening their rule; while the green elves, giants, and lizardith harass the fringes, they are insignificant challenges to Tharon dominance of the region.

The greatest danger nobleman face is internal, as the rich and powerful outwit each other for wealth and favor. While there are many laws that prevent virtually any danger or vice, corruption is rampant, many cities have marketplaces set up to cater to the needs and whims of the criminal element. Assassins, poison, black magic, and even marks of authority or nobility are available without too much effort. Nobody acknowledges what lurks beneath the veneer of Tharon society.

Officially, adventurers exist to protect the borders, but many make their living by facing each other in the alleyways at night, sneaking into their rival houses, sabotaging trade or even planting evidence of betrayal. For those that can play the game, there is much profit to be made. The two side activities are pirating and adventuring in the desert Pharonic lands where there seems to be an endless supply of riches to find. Nobles lead in both of these activities, sometimes publicly but most often quietly. Virtually every noble house has at least one pirate ship, and they attack their rivals, especially traders in other districts. As long as cities are safe, and are not invaded, the royal houses allow the petty nobles to play their games.

Coin is not the most important tenet of Tharon society, but it is critical. Nobility understand that wealth is a means of showing and acquiring power. Territorial gain is exceedingly limited, as to the south the phastian desert lies, to the north and east – the wasteland, and to the west, the Endless Sea itself. So, those who provide tribute, are the ones who keep the favor of the royalty.