Saturday, May 30, 2015

D&D 5E Saturday Creature Factory: Korozonti (Lightning Men)

Korozonti (Lighting Men)
CR 8 (3,900 XP)
LN medium celestial outsider
Initiative +9 (improved)
AC 19 (natural armor plus dexterity)
HP 77 (14D8+14)
Resistance: thunder, acid
Immunity: lighting, fire
Special: cold damage heals krozonti and doubles their movement for one round
Speed 30 feet, 60 feet flying
Multiattack Korozonti are literally lightning quick. They may strike three times with any combination of fist, weapon or lightning strike attacks each round.
Melee Attack – Fist +9 to hit (reach 5 ft, one target), 1D8+5 bludgeoning damage and 3D8 lighting damage
Melee Attack – Lighting Whip +9 to hit (15 foot reach, one target), 2D4+5 slashing damage and 3D8 lighting damage plus target is knocked prone if it fails a DC 17 Dexterity Save.
Ranged Attack – Lighting Blast (Recharge 5, 6) (120 foot range, all targets in line of effect) targets in line of effect must make a save vs. Dexterity DC 17 or take 12D8 lightning damage; success means ½ damage.
Reaction – Lightning Shield (Recharge 6); Korozonti can evoke a wall of lightning and force that grants resistance against the attack that prompted the reaction.
STR 14 (+2), DEX 20 (+5), CON 12 (+1), INT 18 (+4), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 12 (+1)
Languages: common, primordial, Korozonti
Senses: blindsight, Perception +6 (passive 16)
Skills: Arcana +8, Insight +6
Lighting Magic: Korozonti are often encountered with levels of storm sorcerer, and korozont wizards and druids favor storm and lighting magic.
Superconductive: cold damage actually heals a Korozont and doubles their movement until the end of their next round in which the cold damage is dealt.  They become “hyperconductive.”
Blindsight: Korozont can actually “see” in other spectra of light and as such invisible creatures are plainly visible to them, due to infrared radiation and other waves of light the body works in. This gives them functional “sight distance” blindsight.

Korozonti are a race of lighting elemental humanoids that migrate through the planes. Though they are identifiably native to the Elemental Chaos, they have been found far and wide, usually in the service of lawful, neutral and good deities and their servants. A large enclave exists in the Outlands in a dominion called Peace, where it is said the demiurge of peace (known as an obscure primordial called Saedra’hadal in the Anansic language) exists. This demiurge is allegedly a benevolent being of light and purity, served by a host of dedicated seraphim, the city of Kamaskos in which the Korozonti reside, and other celestial beings.

Korozonti physically look like men of glass and mirror surrounded by lighting. They usually wear cloaks and robes to disguise the bulk of their form. Merely touching a korozont can cause 3D8 lighting damage unless they will themselves “harmless” so the need for thick robes and gloves when moving in crowds is evident. Korozont robes are distinct, in that they seem to negate static charge, creating an insulating effect; normally a korozont in regular clothes will rapidly build up a charge and accidentally release a lighting blast within 1D10 minutes of moving about, half that in a dry and arid environment.

Korozonti are dedicated to philosophical pursuits of truth and knowledge. They are prone to following whatever power they meet in the planes that promises this, and are known to occasionally be duped into following evil beings.

Optional Trait: Lightning Movement
Some korozonti are so proficient at their form of lightning that they can move with near instantaneous speed from one location to another. This ability may be used once per day, and allow them to arrive literally "like a bolt from the blue" at another location within 1,000 miles. This arrival is impossible to disguise, with a thunderclap and lighting strike. In the event a target is standing at ground zero (by accident or design) he or she must make a DC DC 17 Dexterity save or take 4D8 thunder and 4D8 lighting damage and be knocked prone adjacent to the point the korozont arrives.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Demiurges of Chirak: Milina, Daughter of the Betrayer

Doing lots of work on the 2nd edition Realms of Chirak when I'm not being distracted by my S&W retool of Sarvaelen. Here's a write-up on the demigoddess Milina....for those of you not familiar with Chirak's divinities, the short version is: the pantheon of gods died in an apocalypse, and the only "divine" figures in the world of Chirak today are aspiring mortals who have found one of the surviving Zodiac Stones that contain the divine essence of the fallen gods, and seek to unlock the secrets within which will grant them true godhood. 

Milina is the daughter of Minhauros, and she at once loved and hated him. Milina holds a shard of the Taurus Stone which carries her down the path of the demiurge, and she is now the sole keeper of the essence of the stone (the remainder is kept on the Isle Outside of Time). She was always opposed to Minhauros, yet was his unwitting pawn on more than one occasion, including leading Mardieur Mardieux to Minhauros' rotting corpse where he was ambushed and murdered (long story), and Minhauros’s cultists then imbued the vestige spirit of the dead god into Mardieur’s body with the power of the Taurus Stone. It was with this action that Minhauros returned, the first true god to walk the lands of Chirak in twenty-six hundred years, and once again began his bid for world domination and resurrection.

Milina was discharged of whatever unknown pact she held with her father after his resurrection, and after his subsequent death three years later during the Siege of Barcen she disappeared. Milina now wanders the Realms of Chirak seeking enlightenment and the means to heal the corruption Minhauros wrought through the essence of the Taurus Stone. She has discovered that this is an onerous task, for she seems to be cursed with a taint of chaos due to her father’s nature; she finds it difficult to do good without also sewing discord in her wake.

Though Milina seeks to heal the corruption of the Taurus Stone as its avatar, she wrestles constantly with the evil that she inherited from her father. This perpetual struggle has manifested on more than one occasion as she is compelled to do great harm, then work to make amends.

Milina’s cult is small, and her following does not seek many followers due to the reluctance of the goddess to grow her own cult. Her priests who have met directly with her realize that she fears that the curse she labors under with the stone will also transform her cultists, but the wisest priests of her flock point out that this may be a necessary process; that her destiny may be to carry an aspect of both order and chaos within her, perhaps for a very long time until the spiritual taint of Minhauros is at last lifted from the Taurus Stone.

Milina’s shrines and temples can be found in secretive locations throughout the Kaldinian Isles where the lawless descendents of the Sea Kings find her quite popular. She has also found popularity along the western shores of Grelmaine and even in the murky lands of Xaxican; she is regarded as one of the 113 demon gods by the Xoxtocharit, which irritates her to no end, especially when a Xoxtocharit priest uses a summoning ritual on her; Milina’s demon taint from her father is enough for her to feel the compulsion of the summoning.

Milina’s three largest temples can be found in Westgate, the Freeport nominally allied with Espanea, where a fierce band of expatriates continue to worship her and some even still worship Minhauros. Another temple is said to be found deep in the mountainous lands of Masiria, and a final great temple is said to lurk somewhere in the far east, where the Skeledani Nomads rule. That temple is said to have once belonged to Minhauros, but a prominent gnoll shaman had a vision of the god’s demise and quickly converted his entire flock to the worship of Milina.

Milina’s Cult in Dungeons & Dragons 5E:
Followers: Milina’s doomed nature as a demiurge of chaos who tries to become a lord of order attracts the attention of those with a torn or dualistic nature, perhaps those who have a desire for authority but a tendency toward anarchy. She is especially prone to gaining the attention of hermits and madmen who for some reason, often trying to commune with her. Her total cult following among humanoids is believed to be somewhere around 2,000 strong, but it is more than ten times that when you factor in monstrous denizens such as gnolls, ogres and minotaurs.
Profile: Milina’s cultists gain access to the trickery domain.
Alignment: Milina’s actual alignment is chaotic neutral with good tendencies. Milina’s outward conduct confuses many as she appears to be neutral good (and any detection spells will indicate such). The reason for her strange alignment issues is that the Taurus Stone itself is still heavily corrupted by Minhauros’s use and radiates a chaotic evil effect on her spirit and those around her.
Cultist Alignments: Milina’s cult tends toward chaotic neutral to evil in the east, neutral evil to neutral good in the Kaldinian Isles and is all over the place in the west, though the cultists in Westgate fall firmly on the neutral evil side. She has a handful of clerics who have embraced her duality and who are actually neutral good or chaotic good. These clerics and followers tend to be the ones who have the greatest empathy for her plight of nature.
Armament of the Demigoddess: clerics of the demigoddess favor short blades (shortsword, dagger) and shortbows as these are seen as iconic of the goddess.

Current Location:
Milina travels the planes easily, and has even been spotted in the City of Doors itself. Since divine powers are not ostensibly allowed in the City of Doors there is some suspicion that she actually parts with her zodiac stone, leaving it hidden in the mortal plane of Chirak for a time.

Milina was last sighted in the region of Shaddizhar, near Arenjun, and it is believed she was investigating the enigma of the “forgotten god” cult that manifested in that region. That was four years ago. There is a rumor that she may currently be somewhere in the region of Xaxican, traveling with a Preservationist named Ascalar who has been writing a biography on her life. This rumor comes from a Grelmanic captain named Esvaradio who claims to have carried them northward on his ship, the Unfettered Pennance just a few months prior.


Milina, Daugher of Minhauros
CR 25 (75,000 XP)
NE medium demigod (planetouched immortal)
Initiative +11
AC 20 (dexterity plus permanent mage armor)
HP 600 (70D8+280)
Resistance: cold, thunder, lightning, psychic, poison and necrotic (and normal piercing, bludgeoning and slashing weapon attacks if stoneskin is active)
Immunity: fire, disease, fatigue and all damage from slashing, piercing and bludgeoning weapons of a non-magical source
Special: Magic Resistance, rolls advantage on Consitution Saves
Speed 30 feet
Multiattack Milina may make six shortsword attacks per round or up to six short bow attacks per round.
Melee Attack – shortsword (enchanted +3 Flaming) +16 to hit (reach 5 ft vs. one target), 1D6+10 slashing damage and 4D12 fire damage per strike. Milina deals an additional 2D6 slashing damage against targets she has advantage against.
Ranged Attack – Shortbow (enchanted +3 fiery) +16 to hit (60/120 range vs. one target), 1D6+10 piercing damage and 4D12 fire damage per arrow.
Reaction – Planestep (recharge 5-6); as a reaction Milina may planestep as a teleport reaction up to 60 feet in any direction.  
STR 14 (+2), DEX 24 (+7), CON 18 (+4), INT 20 (+5), WIS 22 (+6), CHA 24 (+7)
Saves: strength +8, Dexterity +13, Constitution +10, Intelligence +11, Wisdom +12, Charisma +13
Languages: Espanean (common), Old Mythric, primordial, abyssal, infernal, elvish, Nithiadian, Mercurian, Syrgian, Grelmanic, Xaxicani, Xoxtocharit, Sabiri, gnomish, dwarvish, ignan
Senses: darkvision
Skills: Arcana +11, History +11, Insight +12, Religion +11, Stealth +13, Deception +13, Intimidation +13
Master Evoker: Milina is a 20th level Evoker and has access to all spells from levels 1 through 9. Milina’s spellcasting ability is at +13 attack and Save DC 21; she has access to empowered evocation and overcharge. Her memorized array of spells typically include:
Cantrips: blade ward, fire bolt, mage hand, mending, true strike
1st:  (4/day) burning hands, magic missile, protection from evil and good, Tasha’s hideous laughter, unseen servant
2nd: (3/day) alter self, charm person, blur, cloud of dagger, detect thoughts, scorching ray
3rd: (3/day) bestow curse, counterspell, fireball, fly, tongues
4th: (3/day) fire shield, greater invisibility, stone shape, wall of fire
5th: (3/day) creation, scrying, wall of stone
6th: (2/day) eyebite, flesh to stone, move earth
7th: (2/day) delayed blast fireball, plane shift, teleport
8th: (1/day) demiplane, incendiary cloud
9th: (1/day) meteor swarm

Cautious Demiurge: Milina has cast the clone spell to insure her longevity, restoring her in a grotto on a remote Kaldinian island. She will seek out her slayers with a vengeance, and to restore her ownership of the Taurus Stone shard.

Bond of the Taurus Stone: Milina has held possession of the Taurus Stone shard for centuries now, possibly much longer (her age as well as whether she is a direct daughter of Minhauros is sometimes called into question). She can sense the presence of the stone, either her own shard if it is taken or any other shard of the Taurus Stone’s precise direction/location so long as it is on the material plane.

Shard of the Taurus Stone (unique, requires attunement): this divine artifact grants Milina the following traits. The stone is embedded in her chest and can only be removed by force when she is reduced to zero hit points or otherwise rendered helpless. Each of the  following powers becomes unusable if the stone is taken from Milina, but only those with a * after the title are initially available to a newly attuned user. The stone’s powers include:
Demiurge Saving Throw Bonus:* the Taurus stone lets Milina roll advantage on all Constitution saves. She gains her proficiency score on all attribute saves.
Magic Resistance: Milina rolls with advantage on all magic saves.
Stoneskin:* the bearer of the Taurus Stone may invoke stoneskin; this ability is restored with a short rest.
Ageless:* while bearing the stone the user does not age.
Fire Immunity: the bearer of the stone gains immunity to fire damage.
Spell Restoration:* once per day the bearer of the stone may recover one spell slot as a bonus action. If the bearer does not have any spellcasting ability then the bearer gains the ability to cast burning hands that may be cast once at his or her level of ability with intelligence as the magic attribute.
Legendary Spell Mastery of the Demiurge (recharge 5-6): at the end of a target’s turn the stone-bearer may invoke one of the following spells as a legendary action at 20th level of effect (+13 attack, DC 21): flesh to stone, wall of stone, wall of fire, fireball, disintegrate, meteor swarm, shapechange, incendiary cloud.

Equipment: +3 enchanted fiery shortbow, +3 flaming shortsword, Taurus Stone shard, additional random treasure, usually some cash (250 PP and  a pouch of 3D6 gems worth 1D10X50 GP each), component pouch, a traveling spell book.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tales from the Watchers of the Sullen Vigil: The Mountain City of Asvinar

I'm working on a new scenario, which takes place in and near the following city...

Population: 3,000 humans, 350 halflings, 485 brunendar dwarves, plus roughly 2,500 seasonal workerss
Ruler: Baron Anton Feredath
Notable Personalities: High Priest Tunin of the Temple of Nevereth, Sheriff Goster Sotherlon, Warden Taelen Doar, Watcher Trevor Kathin, Lady Tartessa Vindrese, Cult Lord Galadacho, dwarf clan lord Vaken Durnagor
Key Locations: The Mountain Quarter (gambling and brothels), Gostimer Keep, The Watch Tower, Temple of Nevereth, The River Quarter (shipping, river docks, refinery), the dwarven quarter (home to clan Brunendar)

Asvinar is located 175 miles southeast of Aelghast along the banks of the Senderan River valley where it emerges from the Southern Droamspire Mountains (nick named the Claw Mountains locally).

Asvinar is a modest city which thrives on the mining operations in the mountains as well as brisk trade with the coastal port and capitol of the kingdom of Aeronost, Aramen. Most of the raw iron ore in Aeronost comes from this region, and it has made many merchants and prospectors wealthy men. Less common but much coveted are the mines which tap upon precious metals such as gold and silver.

Asvinar has a friendly connection to three local nonhuman tribes. First of these relations are the Brunendar dwarves, a clan of dwarves who dug up from the depths of the underlands a little over a century ago and after a brief period of tense relations forged a friendly alliance with the ruling baron of Asvinar at that time, Lord Trenton Gostimer.

Second of the nonhuman tribes are the silt halflings of the coast, who dwell in dozens of prosperous villages and minor sea ports at the river delta where the Senderan River pours out into the Pavain Sea. The silt halflings call themselves the Senderathi, after the river, and pride themselves on their great familiarity with the region. The Senderan River is only 150 miles in length, but without this river much of Aeronost would be without arable land; the silt halflings are responsible for much of Aeronost’s agriculture.

The third of the nonhuman tribes in this area is the Fallindreth elves. These mountain elves are an exiled tribe descended from the Ilmarain elves of the Summer Court. Little is known of them; they have been in the mountains for at least four centuries, and regularly engage in trade and commerce with certain mountain villages while harboring a deep suspicion of the merchants, soldiers and miners out of Asvinar. The recent presence of the Brunendar dwarves only made things worse, for unknown reasons.

Asvinar is home to about four thousand citizens (mostly human, with some halflings and dwarves), and a seasonal population of migrant workers for terraced farmland. A larger year-round population of miners brings in many strangers, but the Aeronost merchants who prosper from their operations don’t care; they need whatever labor they can afford, and hired blades to protect them from bandits and monsters. The city in turn responds by profiting from the stray coin these laborers will spend when on leave from the mines. Though the priests of the goddess Nevereth speak poorly of the gambling halls and dens of sin which have sprung up in what is called “the mountain quarter” of the city, Baron Feredath chooses to take no action, for his family quietly profits from several such establishments, even as he runs six of the two dozen-odd mines in The Claw.

Terrain in the region is arid and desert-like, with scrubby trees in the mountains. The highest mountains in The Claw are around 12-13,000 feet in height, far short of the high mountains in south western Atlenar. Like much of Aeronost the region is rife with succulents, mostly in the form of large-barrel bodied cactus. Overland travel without roads is tough going. Roads out of Asvinar lead north along The Claw into northern Aeronost and the banks of Lake Vunares, and east along the river to the coast and the capitol. One forlorn road, well-kept but poorly traveled winds out to Aelghast.

Key Locations in Asvinar:

The Mountain Quarter: this is actually a stretch of civilization running along the roads that lead up into the mountains, and eventually branch to head out to Aelghast or Lake Vunares. About a mile of road is occupied by numerous taverns, bars, gambling dens and brothels. The business stays outside of Asvinar’s city limits but it’s reputation is well known and despised among the locals. One notable personality here is Warden Taelen Doar, who acts as an ostensible “peace keeper” hired by the Baron to make sure the quarter is peaceful. He relies on a group of two dozen of hired mercenaries to do the job.

Gostimer Keep: the sea of power in Asvinar and center of power for the mountain province. Baron Anton Feredath is overlord of the land, and also a stakeholder, having six successful mines in operation. He keeps a standing garrison of two hundred soldiers that is a mix of local men and hired mercenaries out of Aramen or Catalone.

The Watch Tower: The Watchers of the Sullen Vigil maintain a tower at the highest peak overlooking the western passage out of the mountains. The Watch Tower is sometimes called Hawk’s Rest as it is often the favored perch of local hawks. A lone member of the Sullen Vigil named Trevor Kathin maintains the tower, which serves as a restpoint for knights of his order as well as a trading post. The tower affords a view of the west, including the passage all the way to distant Aelghast.

Temple of Nevereth: located along one of the terraced levels of the city in the river valley where Asvinar rests, the temple of Nevereth is a beautiful cathedral-like structure noted for its impressive stained-glass windows which some claim were saved from an older Camrinal temple long ago. The high priest of the temple is Elder Tunin, a man who in his youth was part of the crusades of Aeronost some forty years ago to exterminate the remnants of the cults of the old gods in Thaerinal to the south and (less successfully) among Mandrelavas. As an older man he is troubled by the sinful behavior that the mines bring to Asvinar but his spirit is no longer what it was. He does have a contingent of paladins in his service, who identify themselves as the Knights of Nevereth’s Tears in reference to a reliquary in her temple, place in the center of the holy symbol of her order in which is believed to be tears shed by the goddess herself at the destruction of Camrinal. These paladins spend much of their time seeking out evil cults in the mountains, but mostly only succeed in fighting an occasional monster of bandit group. The lead paladin is Traina Evenmore, a blond woman of thirty years who secretly delights in combat despite the pacifistic directive of her faith.

The River Quarter: located at the base of the valley along the river, this quarter of the city is dominated by mercantile trade, shipping centers, the river docks, and a cluster of local halflings who have acclimated to life amongst humans. A refinery for ore is also located here just down river, as is a lumber mill. The woman in charge here is Lady Tartessa Vindrese, a half-elven woman (exceedingly rare) of the Vindrese lineage out of the capitol. Her father Golan Vindrese placed her in charge of his mining operations, and to get her out of the Capitol where she was causing much trouble. Vindrese continues to be a problem locally, as she secretly runs many of the operations in the Mountain Quarter as well as the thieves’ guild locally which has an ongoing quietly run protection racket amongst the shipping guilds and barge owners.

The Dwarven Quarter: home to clan Brunendor, this is where about five hundred dwarves live in a section of the upper valley that they have turned into a deeply carved catacomb of homes, businesses, refineries and smithies. Vaken Durnagor is current clan lord, the clan itself named after the legendary hero of their ancestors, Brunendor the Axe. Durnagor is a typically burly, dour dwarf of middle years with three wives and four children to his name.

The clan puts a certain measure of effort into excavating the depths of the earth and finding the connections and passages to the underlands in this region. They were driven out of the depths of the earth a century ago, but have spoken little of what it was they fled from….or continue to watch out for. The clan maintains a standing militia of its own, 100 strong, which regularly forges into the depths to slaughter humanoids such as orcs and goblins and keep the old dwarven roads clear.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monsters of Sarvaelen: Creatures encountered by the Sullen Watch

Since I'm riding a wave of interest in turning Sarvaelen into a S&W setting, here are stats for some of the unique monsters of the world of the Watchers of the Sullen Vigil...

Ghuls of Camrinal
Hit Dice: 3          
Attacks:  two claws (+3 to hit, 1D6 damage each) and bite (+3 to hit, 1D4 damage plus ghul fever)             
Armor Class: 7 [12]         
Saving Throw: 15
Special: ghul fever, cannibals, half-dead, fear immunity, disease immunity, +2 turn resistance
Movement: 9
Alignment: any, but inevitably gravitate toward chaos
No. Encountered: solitary or in small groups (2-12)
CL/XP: 4/120
Ghul Fever: once bitten by a ghul, the target must make a saving throw vs. the poison of the bite or suffer from a debilitating fever. The principle effect is 1D6 minutes long and induces nausea and severe cramping, causing the target to suffer a -4 penalty to attacks, saves and any other physical prowess checks the GM deems appropriate.
Cannibals: Ghuls are known cannibals. The ghuls of Aelghast restrain themselves, and feed only on their own (so far as anyone knows) and the dead (suspected but not proven; they are very careful to avoid being caught). Any ghul that feeds off of living kindred flesh may immediately recover 1D6 hit points.
Half-Dead Immortals: Ghuls don’t age. They look like zombies, with rotting skin and bones visible, clearly not being quite “alive” yet not dead, either. However they do breathe and effects which affect the living usually also harm them (except for diseases). Ghuls are susceptible to turn undead effects, but with a +2 bonus to the saving roll. They “appear” as undead on spells that detect such conditions, but with an eerie aura of half-life suggesting something unusual about them.
Seen Too Much: Ghuls have already experienced some amazing horrors in their time. Ghuls are immune to fear effects.
Disease Immunity: Ghuls are immune to the effects of all disease.

The ghuls are a survivor race, mutated descendants of a handful of Camrinal citizens that survived the apocalypse and kept their wits about them. Even hideously changed into half-dead beings the ghuls prosper, though in time it seems the madness inevitably creeps over them.

The ancient empire of Camrinal was a vast, dominant power that subjugated the old kingdoms to its rule about two hundred years ago. Camrinal not only ruled by force of arms but by force of magic as well, for it indulged the aristocracy of its era with a culture of free experimentation and arcane dabbling that eventually led to a magiocracy in which only those who demonstrated sorcerous talent were allowed to hold the reigns of power, ownership of property or positions of strength in the Empire. Magic had, in this now lost era two centuries gone, become ubiquitous.

When the fires of destruction rained down upon Camrinal in the Final Conflict, the vast majority of the old empire was wiped out, but many of its lesser citizens and a few elites survived. Today these survivors are mostly found as changed beings among the population known as the ghuls, but in some odd corners of the world there still exist untainted purebloods, though they often do not realize their own lineage.

As ghuls age they gradually begin to lose their mental faculties, and slowly go insane. When this happens they become feral creatures, driven purely by a desire to devour flesh. When a ghul dies or is slain, it returns within 1D4 days as an actual undead ghoul.

Hit Dice: 6          
Attacks:  two, by weapon (+6     attack, 1D8 cleaver or pick plus special, below)  
Armor Class:      3 (17)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: slayer of mirth (deals double damage to surprised target that was laughing/happy); silver or +1 or better weapons required to hit; magic
Movement: 9
Alignment: chaos
No. Encountered: usually solitary but 10% chance of 1D4 working in a group
CL/XP: 800
Slayer of Mirth: the feyril despise the happy, friendly or optimistic. A strike against an unsuspecting target that is in such a state deals double damage due to the sheer venom of the feyril attack.
Skin of the Goddess: The rugged skin of the feyril can only be harmed by magical or silvered weapons.
Magic Skill: feyril are usually (60% chance) magic users of INT 13-15 on average. They typically know the following spells as a wizard of 6th level experience, but will choose any spells that help hunt prey:
Level 1 (4/day): sleep, charm person, read magic, magic missile
Level 2 (2/day): Invisibility, Strength
Level 3 (2/day): Hold Person Slow

Feyril are short, dwarf-like men who have developed a superstitious reputation thanks to the folklore which precedes them. The stories speak of how feyril are not really men at all, but a curious sort of creature born from the turbulent, bubbling dreams of the mad goddess Matrigias, said to have been the first of the Old Gods, and that she was accosted in terrible ways by the male gods who were unable to control themselves. From this horrific union she became pregnant, bloated from one horizon to the next with the spawn of the world, and when she at last broke water she was destined to give birth to all of the animals of the world. The stories say that Matrigias was driven mad by the endless spawn of animals which crawled from her womb to populate the world, and that she shed unbearable tears of blood and water at the endless pain. From these tears grew the feyril, squat and toad-like little men that were described by some as almost like infants in appearance, but horribly wise to the world due to the suffering of their mother. The feyril crawled forth, to extinguish any joy or revelry where they found it. Such was it that when mankind was at last born into the world he could know joy, for the feyril had stolen all of the pain and suffering of their mother by then. It was only later that humanity came to fear the feyril, for they found the joy and merriment of men to be offensive, and sought to extinguish it by means of murder and fright.

Naga (of Nagapuram)
Hit Dice: 6+4
Attacks:  one weapon (+6 attack, polearm 1D8+1 damage) and bite (+6 attacl, 1D4 damage plus venom below); or one bite or weapon and constriction (+6 attack, 1D8+2 damage) 
Armor Class: 3 (17) or by armor
Saving Throw: 11
Special: constriction, naga venom
Movement: 9 (land) or 15 (swimming)
Alignment: chaotic
No. Encountered: 1D4 or 2D12
CL/XP: 8/800
Naga Venom: if bitten by a naga, the target makes a saving throw against poison at -2 due the potent nature of the venom. If failed the target is paralyzed for 1D6X10 minutes. Naga can only perform this bite once every 2D4 hours, as it requires time to regenerate.
Magical Talent: naga are naturally skilled mages and clerics. Any given naga has a 10% chance of being a magic user or a 14% chance of being a cleric of 1D6 levels of skill. In any community of naga there is a 50% chance of a magic-user or cleric of at least 6+1D6 levels of the give class.

Naga in Sarvaelen are an ancient race, cursed long ago with the serpentine traits that mark their lineage. Once, or so the story goes, the Naga were among the greatest of the old ones, the races that predate modern men long ago. A series of ancient tomes, most of which are now lost to history called the “Yavandreth Manuscripts” tell a bit of the ancient tale of the naga. A mostly complete  set of the four surviving tomes can be found at the Library of the Sun in the port city of Aramen, Aeronost’s southern port and capital of the so-called Stormsinger Coast province. There the lone monk Procosius maintains these books and remains the land’s foremost authority on Naga lore.

As legend goes, naga were once men, albeit of a breed of old that was naturally inclined to sorcery and spoke directly to the Old Gods but were changed in some forgotten time to the half men, half serpents they now are. The naga ruled all of Sammar in the south and were allied with Camrinal, but were cast down during the Great War two centuries ago. Their ancient king was the sorcerer Kaliya, a powerful necromancer and priest of the old gods revered by his people. These four gods they worshipped were said to grant great strength to the naga.

According to the Yavandreth Manuscripts, Kaliya did something to anger his gods. There are conflicting tales. One says he was to sacrifice his eldest child in honor of the gods and as a payment for his great necromantic talent, but he refrained from doing so and brought down a great curse upon his people. Another tale suggests something similar, but that it was his wife, Padmavati, could not bear to lose her child and so spirited him away before Kaliya could sacrifice the infant. Yet another tale says nothing of this curse induced by loss of sacrifice and instead suggests that the naga were formed when they sought to make a dark pact with the elder god called Dev Yama’Dragoth. Yama’Dragoth granted the naga their wish, giving them supreme power and immortality as sorcerers, but in exchange he took their humanity, leaving only the twisted, serpentine forms naga are known for today.

Whatever their origin, naga appear to be half men and half serpent, often with strongly reptilian facial features and sometimes the wide, decorative “hoods” of a cobra enveloping their head and neck. Naga are fearsome to behold. Naga are known for their poisonous bite, also a shared feature with the cobra, and they are exceptional swimmers, albeit not aquatic, a common misconception among humans since the only known kingdom of the naga is to be found on the Isle of Stoneblight, where the naga city of Nagapuramcan be found.

Nagapuram is an impressive, ancient city located on an expansive island about two hundred miles off the Stormsinger Coast in the Pavain Sea. The naga call the island Manak’tagar, and defend it vigorously from outsiders; one must seek a benefactor to vouch for a foreigner who seeks to visit the island and its amazing city of ancient monuments. Stories of travelers, diplomats and merchants indicate that there are ten thousand naga within the city and probably three times as many slaves, usually of humans from the south eastern kingdom of Sammar, which does not normally disturb the citizens of Aeronost who have frequently had to deal with hostile pirates from that distant land.

The island itself is ruled by the so called Living Goddess who goes by the name of Padmavati, the mythical first queen of the naga. Whether she styles herself a descendent or a reincarnation of this first naga queen is unknown, but she does believe she is a demigoddess, imbued with the powers of the current naga patron deity, Manasa.

The naga are a potent force locally, and the diplomats of Aeronost have sought to keep them as allies rather than enemies. Still, the naga are so feared that the often do as they will, and treat much of the Stormsinger Coast as their own domain. This has often led to unfortunate bloody conflicts between the soldiers and naval forces charged with protecting the dominion of the Pavain Sea and the forces of Nagapuram.

In the region of Aelghast, there is a small community of about one hundred naga who have taken up residence in the subterranean caverns around a sacred hot spring that they call Uk’halat. The hot spring has been turned into a shrine dedicated to the seven-headed serpent god called Agharda, said to have devoured the original four naga gods of old and absorbed their essence. It is believed by this remote group of exiles that the seven heads of Agharda represent the seven kingdoms of the naga, spread throughout the world, and that worshipping this deity will reunite the naga into a powerful force that will resume the mantle of rule again.

This worship of the seven-headed god is regarded as heresy by the Living Goddess Padmavati, as it was only a century ago that the cult of Agharda was embraced by her people. This period led to a vicious war with the distant eastern empire of Kadatha, and nearly led to the destruction of the naga kingdom. As a result of this conflict Agharda’s worshippers were forced into exile lest they be hung for heresy. This branch near Aeronost follows the fanatical priest Yazzad Sydaris, and calls their unique sect the “Sons of Sydaris” or simply Sydarites. They believe that Sydaris has a unique ability to channel the thoughts and speech of Agharda.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

D&D 5E Saturday Creature Factory: The Living Godflesh of Umbras

After a hiatus it is back! Saturday Creature Factory returns. This time with a 5E edition of something I used in a published module...

Living Godflesh of Umbras
CR 6 (2,300 XP)
CN Large Monstrosity (though some would call it an aberration)
Initiative +2
AC 12
HP 152 (15D10+70)
Resistance: psychic, cold, acid and radiant
Immunity: necrotic, poison, disease, prone condition (unless in risen form), frightened
Vulnerable: fire 
Speed 10 feet
Multiattack special, see below.
Melee Attack – Sucking Maws +7 attack (melee, each target adjacent to or occupying the same area as the living godflesh), 1D6+4 bludgeoning/crushing damage to each target.
Melee Attack  - Flesh Absorbption +7 attack (melee, target must be occupying same area as living godflesh), 4D6 acid damage and living godflesh gains damage dealt in additional hit points. If a target is reduced to zero hit points the living godflesh gains one divine spark. When it gains 10 divine sparks the living godflesh gains 18 intelligence, 18 wisdom and polymorphs into a medium humanoid form for one day.
STR 18 (+4), DEX 14 (+2), CON 18 (+4), INT 6 (-2), WIS 10 (0), CHA 10 (0)
Languages: none (but in risen godflesh form it gains common and either abyssal or primordial)
Senses: Superior Darkvision, tremorsense
Absorbing Mass: when the living godflesh moves into an area occupied by another creature, the target must make a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be grabbed by the living godflesh. It subsequently gains advantage on all attacks against that target and may initiate the flesh absorption attack.

Stories tell of a shadow god called Umbras who was slain by rival demiurges that took his place. The story says he was trapped in a planar gate that simultaneously opened…and then closed…on ten thousand locations, each one severing a piece of flesh from Umbras. The living godflesh might be the remains of this deity, now trapped in infinite planes of existence trying to pull itself together.

The living godflesh seeks to attain 10 divine sparks, which allows it to attain a moment’s clarity of mind for a day, and seek out a way to find other pieces like itself. Unfortunately each piece of godflesh is a dim shadow of the being it once was, with no magic ability to manifest in other planes and reassemble it’s lost form.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Is D&D 5E Good for the OSR Economy?

I have a theory (that lacks support beyond the usual anecdotes) that the ease with which D&D 5E allows one to adapt older edition modules and content to the current rules system may in fact be promoting more expansion and growth among OSR games, as well as more sales. When you can pick up any number of OSR tomes and use them with minimal effort in D&D 5E, the absence of a robust product release schedule...or even an OGL....for D&D 5E is not so troubling.

For those gamers who find D&D 5E to be a bit simple in design, that is certainly not the case....but I think there are more of "us" out there buying OSR books these days then there are of the other variety, who reserve their attention for all things Pathfinder and the now dead but still voluminously covered 4th edition rules. I didn't use to think that.....and I don't mean to suggest that total Pathfinder players aren't far in excess of OSR players (they most certainly are), but among those who actually buy stuff....the RPG whales...I think there are a significant number of us these days buying OSR books or D&D 5E stuff that we then perhaps use with OSR content as well (or at least a growing number of the latter).

Most Pathfinder players I know never buy anything....Paizo is lucky if they even pay for the $10 PDF of the core rules over pirating it or using online OGL resources...suggesting that all the buying is being done by the GMs for Pathfinder. Even then I wonder just how many there really are; it's a hard thing to gauge, since the fact is, most visible Pathfinder content out there today comes in the form of 3PP PDFs with price tags, and I don't really find that many blogs that do things creatively with the game.* Certainly not blogs like you find in the OSR, which with few exceptions are all usually quite involved in the hobby in a very creative way (notable exception: cool blogs like The Daily Bestiary for Pathfinder).

Then again, I could just not be looking in the right circles...and right now most of my circles are giant "Os" at the start of OSR....but to get to my question in the header: maybe it is, but maybe its more like a complimentary sort of arrangement; people who might not have used an OSR product by itself can now do so because there is a contemporary system that is at least OSR friendly....and often times that's all it really takes.

*My theory is that stat block and design for Pathfinder/3.5 is considered onerous, unpleasant work by most, such that paying for content is preferred over just making it...and those who take the time to make for it realize that it is hard work, and want to be paid for the time and effort. Unlike OSR bloggers and 5E bloggers who are riding a sometimes decades' old sense of visceral joy at their hobby's creative expression and love giving things away, sometimes even very classy things for free or at cost.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Formal work on the Realms of Chirak, 2nd Edition has begun

I am ready to tackle it. I feel my familiarity with 5E rules is reaching a comfortable point, and the ease with which one can design monster and NPC stat blocks is greatly appreciated. Realms of Chirak 2nd edition will be designed initially for use with D&D 5E and I will use the same publishing scheme I used previously to publish it (as an OGL resource), similar to the method used by Frog God Games and Goodman Games....unless WotC manages to produce an OGL of some sort before I am finished, anyway.

I'll post some rules stuff on the blog as I go to try and vett ideas to the general crowd. I've done a bit of this already....some 5E designs on Chirak races are already up here and if anyone wants to provide some feedback I would welcome it. Players in my group will likely already offer feedback; my next planned Chirak campaign in 5E will be a "one year later" revisit to the fabled Espanean city of Corlione, a locale which the prior adventuring crew all but trashed in their rise from level 1-15 in Pathfinder, before sailing south to the remote lands of U'al for some serious high level gaming.

So yes, their level one 5E characters will get to roam a city still rebuilding from the destructive wake left behind by the prior adventurers. That same campaign even had a grand plot involving time travel using a legendary "Pillar of Eternity" (no relation) which when united with a planetary convergence that happens only once every 2500 years allows for those with the know-how to slide up and down the time stream, to reappear at the exact point in the past --or future-- that the last or next convergence takes place. That campaign witnessed the birth of the Final War and the death of all Chirak at the hands of the cosmic fiend Molabal. It also destroyed Molabal, presumably changing the future history they witnessed.

Anyway....the new Realms of Chirak book is going to focus more tightly on the Sea of Chirak region to start (plus a couple key locales such as Sabiri, Xoxtocharit and Kasdalan), and then I'll work on expansions that focus on the other regions of the setting, since each one alone would merit a book in its own right. I figure this will keep me motivated for some time.

I was considering a Swords & Wizardry Complete editon as well. This requires both more and less work: 5E philosophy of design is much leaner and easier to work with than prior recent editions, and closer in spirit to the classic 0E retroclone, but in terms of "what you need" to run S&W it's still more detail than the original game demands. As such, it would be a matter of refining and paring down that which is not needed and replacing those rules and stat blocks with the slimmer and more frugal classic 0E design. But worth it; both games have a lot in common, and being intensely fun to run and play is top on the list. *

I wish I had the energy to work on a Pathfinder version of Chirak...I certainly have the detritus of such lying around to assemble something. Alas, much like the reason a D20 3.X era version of the game never came to light (despite my personal guide to such used from 2000-2008) the simple fact is that the raw mechanical rigor of that iteration of D&D is just not fun for me to mess with. There are many who love that rigorous approach to the game....I am not one of them. You'd literally have to pay me, quite a bit, to do it, because it feels like a job, not fun to mess with 3.X era stat blocks. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I ever Kickstart this (a possibility once I have a finished manuscript in layout and edited, if only to secure money for decent art) then a Pathfinder version could be a stretch goal or something. Or maybe not, I'm really not much of a masochist....

*On the other hand....I have this idea for doing (yet another) revision to a different setting, one with a grim old school thematic that I think might fit really well with S&W....Sarvaelen, the one I developed on this blog a while back, first for T&T and then later for a medley of BRP/MW/Legend. I only ran one campaign with it so far (in Magic World) but for various reasons I felt like the world wasn't quite "clicking." In my original T&T edition, initially done for the fun of it, I still presumed a world with elves and dwarves and hobbits/halflings...but with the darkness of a Howard/Lovecraft sword & sorcery feel. I later questioned the need to include Tolkienesque tropes in the world, which oddly was both liberating and the sense that focusing on humans only helped develop the world as a more grounded and realistic locale, but it also carved out a lot of what at the core of a D&D world makes it D&D for many people (the fantastical elements are permitted for players as well, at least in so far as elves and dwarves are still fantastical, sort of). So now I'm debating the idea of going back to my original conceptualization, and reintroducing more elves and dwarves and such, albeit perhaps in new and darker forms...more mysterious and remote, ancient races withdrawn from the world which only recently saw fit to re-emerge when the empire of Camrinal destroyed itself. Orcs and goblins may surface as well, as a malfeasance boiling out of the damaged earth in the wake of Camrinal's fall, forcing the dwarves to interact with surface dwellers again. We'll see....there's a lot of room in this world for all of these races, as is fit for any good D&D world.

More to come on this, but once I started thinking about how S&W would fit Sarvaelen and the Watchers of the Sullen Vigil thematically it was like that setting finally "popped" for me....I think it's the final piece of the world-puzzle that that setting needed. More to come on that, probably soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Who Knew??? GURPS Mars Attacks is a thing!!!!

It's one of those things you'd never imagine was possible but, once presented, seems hard to fathom how we went so long without it. GURPS is getting a new sourcebook, and it's actually going to be a print product: GURPS Mars Attacks, based on the Topps cards of the same name. Check out the cover:

According to "PK" it's going to be derived from the card game (as opposed to that old movie from Tim Burton) and set in a default modern era setting. Here's some gloriously weird old card art to give you an idea of what to expect:

Interestingly the Mars Attacks trading cards apparently came out in 1962, which last I checked put them past the McCarthyism era of the 50's that prompted the rise of the comics code authority (and also these were trading cards as opposed to comics, so there is that). Many of the original cards from this series are downright gruesome in an EC comics sort of fashion.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Petty Gods are waiting for you

If you aren't familiar with Petty Gods its a New Big Dragon Games collaborative project (out of the ORC...Old School Roleplaying Community) outlining over 300 deities for your sandbox campaigns. I couldn't help but notice that the PDF version is currently free right here and the print version is up at Lulu for a very attractive price as well. I've got my physical copy ordered, and the PDF is tantalizing. You should check it out.

For those of you with a score card, New Big Dragon Games is where the OSR Creature Compendium, D30 DM Companion and D30 Sandbox Companion come from. Everything I've gotten from NBD has been pure gold and is being used at my game table (and with D&D 5E no less, although plans are in the works for S&W too).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Atakans and Vumaskans in Swords & Wizardry Complete

Continuing my efforts to dual-stat Pergerron for Swords & Wizardry as well as D&D 5E, I offer up some stat blocks for vumaskans and atakans in S&W Complete:

Atakan (jackal-men)
Hit Dice: 2+1
Armor Class: 3 (17) (plate mail and shield)
Attacks: bite (1D4) or by weapon: longsword (1D8) or javelin (1D6)
Movement 9
Alignment: law
Challenge Level/XP: 2/30
Scent: Atakans have a keen sense of smell which grants them advantage to detect the nature and approximate location of any target within 60 feet that could emit an odor (including invisible creatures or objects).
Hardy Desert Dwellers: Atakans are used to roughing it in harsh desert climates.. Atakans can go for up to one week without water before experiencing dehydration effects.
Character Racial Options: Atakans gain both of the above abilities (scent and hardy desert dweller) plus the bite attack (1D4, Strength based). Atakans may advance without limits as fighters, thieves and magic-users. They may advance to level 9 as clerics. Atakans may multiclass as fighter/thieves.

Atakans are tall jackal-headed men who have the bodies of humans but the heads of jackals. They are not related to jackalweres, which are a cursed race infected with abyssal taint….the atakans are an ancient race which claims to predate human and elvenkind’s existence in the mortal realm. In Pergerron atakans dwell mostly in the wastelands outside of the human city-states of Anansis, and many atakans dwell in the vumaskan lands to the east. They are suitable as a player-character racial option.

A typical atakan mercenary group will contain 3D12 atakans with 2 hit dice and the above stats. For every 15 atakans their will be a 4 hit die leader. There is a 50% chance that an atakan mercenary group is working for and escorting 1D3 atakan magic users of 1D6+1 levels of experience, or 1D4 vumaskan merchants (each of which has a 25% chance of having 1D8 levels of magic user or cleric).

Hit Dice: 2
Armor Class: 7 (13) (leather armor)
Attacks: by weapon, usually longswords (1D8) and long bows (1D6)
Movement 10
Alignment: law
Challenge Level/XP: 2/30
Shrewd Negotiators: vumaskans can sell a funeral plot to a lich. When negotiating with a vumaskan, the opposition must make a saving throw to avoid buying up whatever bridge the vumaskan is selling.

Vumaskans are tall (6 ½ to 7 feet) human-looking men with six digits on each limb (an extra thumb) and skin colors in a hue of greens and blues with occasionally more exotic tints. Vumaskans don’t travel in large groups, but usually are accompanied by atakan mercenary companies for protection. Any given vumaskan has a 25% chance of being gifted in 1D8 levels as a magic-user (1-3) or a cleric (4-6).