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Friday, July 31, 2009

Dwarf Fist

This somewhat under-sized but heavy war hammer is clearly designed for a Dwarf's shorter stature and reach. The entire item has been shaped from a single piece of bright, silvery metal. The thick, stubby handle has a tight pattern of diamond-shaped grooves cut into it, assuring a firm grip. The pommel has been shaped into a spiked globe. Atop the plain, polished shaft, the hammerhead has been carved to resemble a gauntlet-clad fist, with the 'forearm' thinning to form a rearward facing spike.

If tested for magical properties, Dwarf Fist reveals a veritable kitchen sink of enchantments, including combat, divination, evocation, and charm magic, all of Good quality. A Good test of divination magic is required to reveal each power contained within Dwarf Fist:
  • As expected of a Dwarf weapon, Dwarf Fist has Good bonuses to damage and accuracy. These bonuses rise to Great when facing goblinoid foes.
  • Eye of the Dwarf - When held, Dwarf Fist allows its owner to divine the quality and value of precious objects, including gems, jewelry, and other works of art. This power can be invoked at will, requiring a full round of concentration to allow a Good divination of an item's value.
  • Thunderous Blow - Thrice per day the wielder can call forth a great thunderclap from the weapon. This power will knock back anyone within a ten foot radius of the wielder, and inflict Fair structural damage on nearby construction. This is usually sufficient to blast apart a normal door or gate.
  • Prospector's Point - When invoked this power causes the pointed end of the hammerhead to point toward the nearest treasure within ten miles of the wielder. With concentration the general type and quantity of treasure can be determined (i.e. a vast horde of gold or a small cache of gems). This power can be invoked thrice per day.
  • Fearsome Aspect - Once per day the wielder can invoke this power to gain a fierce, overbearing appearance for ten rounds. During this time, the wielder gains a Good bonus to all tests of intimidation and hostiles facing the wielder suffer a similar penalty to morale tests.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Horn of the Swarm

When first discovered, this item appears to be nothing more than a hollow mass of some chitinous substance, a foot in length, half that in breadth. The Horn's surface is shiny and black, with irregular spines and whorls protruding, seemingly at random. With careful study it will become apparent that the object is some sort of bizarre musical instrument, having a mouthpiece at one end and a narrow conical horn at the other. Three finger holes in the object's twisted and shiny surface control the pitch of the sound produced when the horn is blown upon.

Testing the item for magical properties will reveal Superb summoning and charm magic at work. A Great test of divination magic will reveal the powers of the device. The Horn can be sounded five times per day. One of six notes can be played each time the instrument is used.
  • Call of the Worm - This note summons forth a vast swarm of earthworms, which can be commanded by the Horn's user to burrow through the earth. The swarm of worms is capable of digging through a ten foot cubic area of soil per round. The swarm lasts for ten rounds.
  • The Hornet's Buzz - This reverberant note summons forth a swarm of six to eight giant hornets, who can be commanded to attack any nearby target. Each hornet has Average toughness, Good flight ability, and Good bite and sting attacks. Stings inject Good paralytic poison. The hornets remain for up to ten rounds, vanishing when slain.
  • Mosquito's Whine - This irritating, high-pitched note seems to hang in the air after it is played. It's lingering sound drives away all manner of insects, mundane or magical, keeping them one hundred feet away from the place the Horn was sounded.
  • The Moth's Whisper - This note, so soft it can barely be heard, summons a large moth to the Horn's user. The summoner can whisper a brief message and a person's name to the moth, which will seek out the named individual and delivery the message. The moth has Great stealth ability and flies at Good speed. It can fly up to twenty miles before it expires.
  • The Swarm's Call - A reverberant note that hangs in the air, summoning all manner of biting and stinging insects to the Horn's owner. These creatures form a 20 foot radius cloud around the summoner, inflicting Fair damage on anyone that enters the cloud other than their master. This swarm lasts ten rounds and can only be harmed by area of effect attacks.
  • Locust Song - This high-pitched note summons forth a horde of locusts who form a mile wide swarm around the summoner. This swarm can be set in motion by the summoner and once moving, it will consume all plant life in its path. The swarm moves five miles per day and lasts seven days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hands of the Alchemist

This item consists of a pair of long gloves sewn from overlapping panels of orange and white silk. The cuffs extend well up the wearer's forearms, and seem to cling like a second skin when the gloves are donned. A spidery mesh of silvery wire is sewn into the palm side of the gloves, extending from fingertips to wrist. The backs of the gloves are decorated with a series of alchemical symbols arranged in a seemingly random pattern. If tested for magical properties the Hands radiate Superb divination and protection magic. A Good test of divination magic will reveal their exact nature. The gloves have the following characteristics:
  • The gloves provide Legendary protection from poisons, acids, magical energies or chemical effects for the covered areas. The wearer could, for example dip their hands into lava, safely handle contact poison, or pour acid over their hand with no ill effects. They do not provide protection from physical force however, so a strong blow can still cause harm to the wearer.
  • The wearer can use the Hands to sense the nature of mundane and magical substances and effects. When this power is invoked the silvery wires glow with violet light and any item handled by the wearer has its nature revealed as if a Superb divination test were accomplished. This divination is limited in that it reveals the nature of an item, substance or magical effect, but not the means of using it. Command words or other means of invoking powers contained within an item are beyond the powers of this divination. This power can be invoked thrice per day.
  • Once per day the wearer can neutralize a mundane or magical substance. This power neutralizes poisons or acids, removes excess energies from charged materials, and destroys the magical properties of potions or salves. What remains is a dull gray powder that is completely inert. This power affects up to a cubic foot of material per invocation. Note that this power does not affect enchanted items. A magical sword would be unaffected for example, but items such as Molder's Clay, Luma, or Dark Wood would be affected.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Legend says this bow was created from the heart of a fallen star, which, given its unusual appearance, may be true. This longbow measures about six feet from tip to tip. The grip is made from a single stone, an unknown black mineral shot through with a radiating pattern of bluish crystals that shine with an inner glow under the light of the moon. Each arm of the bow is formed from a seemingly delicate spire of this same blue crystal that seems to grow naturally from the grip. The bow is strung with a delicate wire of silvery metal that appears to sprout directly from the bow itself.

If examined for magical properties Starfall radiates Epic evocation magic and Great combat magic. A Superb test of divination magic will reveal its magical characteristics:
  • Starfall has Legendary toughness and should be considered unbreakable for most purposes.
  • The weapon acts as a Great quality longbow in terms of accuracy and damage.
  • Starshot - When the appropriate command word is spoken and an arrow is shot skyward, it will explode with a loud report leaving a brilliant, glowing star hovering in the sky above. This light provides dusk-like illumination in a quarter-mile radius for up to one hour, and can be extinguished with a word by the owner. This power can be used thrice per day. The arrow used is consumed in the process.
  • Meteor - Using this power causes the next arrow fired from the bow to transform itself into a fist-sized globule of dense, bluish crystal that streaks to the target at great speed, leaving a trail of glowing vapors behind it. On impact the crystal explodes with Superb force, harming all within a ten foot radius of the point of impact. It also leaves behind a cloud of noxious fumes in the same area, causing all within to choke and be partially blinded for three rounds (Good test of resistance to avoid these effects). This power can be invoked thrice per day. It consumes the arrow used.
  • Glitterswarm - When this power is invoked the next arrow fired from the bow strikes as a normal attack. Upon impact a cloud of brilliant blue sparks burst from the arrow, swarming over everything within a 20 foot radius of the impact point. These sparks emit dazzling light (Good resistance check or be blinded), and burn anything they touch, inflicting Average fire damage and lighting flammable materials in the area of effect. The sparks last five rounds. This power can be invoked thrice per day. The arrow used is not consumed by this power.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grim Monday: Mudmen

These degenerate elemental creatures inhabit swamps, mud flats, marshes and sewers, anywhere there are large areas of mud and a steady source of water to maintain their elemental form. They are vaguely humanoid in form though capable of changing shape when in their native element. They move with easy through muddy terrain, passing through wet earth as if it were air.

Though elemental in nature Mudmen require regular infusions of life energy from living creatures to survive. Those that do not feed regularly eventually revert to the water and soil that gives them form. Mudmen can manipulate earth and water and use this ability to create solid seeming causeways leading to quicksand pools or open water channels that vanish behind travelers, leaving them stranded in a gooey pools. They also possess the ability to use Fair illusion magic, which allows them to create obscuring mists and phantasmal lights, luring the unwary to their demise. Indeed many reports of willow-wisps may be nothing more than lures created by Mudmen seeking new victims.

Mudmen avoid direct physical combat, preferring to snare their victims without hope of escape and feed upon their fading life force. If forced to do battle they can attack with Fair bludgeoning attacks, but their favorite tactic is to lure their foe into a muddy area, then alter the earth beneath them to quicksand and drag them beneath the surface.

Mudmen characteristics:
  • Fair toughness and bludgeoning attack.
  • Fair illusion magic used to lure victims and obscure traps.
  • Good elemental magic, able to control earth and water.
  • Good snaring / trapping skills using earth and water based traps.
  • Superb immunity to earth and water based attacks.
  • Poor resistance to fire based attacks.

And yes, I do know there are Mud-men in the AD&D Monster Manual II.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dragonmaw Axe

Calling this heavy weapon an axe is a bit of a stretch, but so it was named. The Dragonmaw, or Serpent's Bite, is a massive two-handed weapon, its haft shaped from the black bones of an ancient dragon, the lower two-thirds covered in fine red dragon scales, forming a pebbled grip. The axe-head is fashioned to resemble the gaping jaws of a dragon. The thick blade is made from a dark metal that glows with a faint reddish light -- sages claim it was quenched in dragon's blood. Set into the cutting edge of the blade are twin rows of dragon's teeth, polished to an ivory sheen and capped with wicked mithril points. The poll of the blade is fitted with a row of dragon's claws creating a straight serrated edge. The Dragonmaw radiates Epic combat, alteration and animation magic, and a Superb test of divination magic will reveal the item's powers and the rite required to bond it to a new owner.

Dragonmaw has the following powers and attributes:
  • Requires Great strength and axe skill to use properly.
  • Superb damage and accuracy bonus.
  • Legendary toughness, making the weapon almost unbreakable.
  • Flesh of the Dragon - When this power is invoked the scales on the weapon's haft slither off and cover the bearer's body, multiplying and spreading to provide Great protection from physical harm, at the same time the weapon becomes welded to the bearer's grasp until the power ends. This power can be invoked thrice per day and lasts 10 rounds per invocation.
  • Blood of the Dragon - The bearer is prone to aggressive behavior, and must make a Fair test of resolve to carry out a passive action when a more aggressive course is available. In battle they are pitiless, refusing to grant mercy if their foe asks for it.
  • Dragon's Bite - The bearer can invoke this power upon any successful melee hit. The weapon's blade animates and bites the target, inflicting Great gaping wounds in addition to normal damage. These wounds bleed for Good damage each round until tended. This power can be invoked six times per day.

To attune the Dragonmaw Axe the owner must bathe in the blood of a newly killed dragon with the axe in hand, and eat a portion of the beast's heart raw.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cloud Scribe

Cloud Scribe is a twisted and gnarled oak branch about a foot long. The butt end is wrapped in white-dyed leather, while the tip is set with a small iron meteorite held in place with fine silvery wire. Faint wisps of fog constantly stream from this meteorite. If examined for magical properties the device radiates Superb alteration magic. A Superb test of divination magic will reveal the device's control words.

Cloud Scribe has the following powers:
  • Cloud Call - With this command word the user calls forth masses of dense gray clouds from Cloud Scribe. These clouds pour from the wand, covering a twenty foot diameter sphere the first round, thirty foot diameter the second, forty the third, and so forth. These clouds continue to pour forth so long as concentration is maintained. They completely obscure vision and muffle sound within the area of effect. Vision beyond five feet is difficult, beyond ten feet impossible. Sounds become directionless, and even shouts become whispers at twenty feet. This power can be invoked three times per day.
  • Cloud Scribble - When this power is invoked Cloud Scribe can be used to 'drawn' cloudy, stationary solid shapes in the air. These shapes solidify into tough, porous and resilient objects in one round. Only crude shapes can be formed and the process is too slow to snare a moving creature, but walls, platforms or steps can be constructed. All created objects last one hour and have Superb toughness, though they are very susceptible to electrical damage (Poor resistance). This power can be invoked three times per day, and lasts five rounds. Approximately one object up to ten feet in diameter can be drawn each round.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grim Monday: Muck Worm

Inhabiting dank, muddy areas, Muck Worms are predator adept at ambushing prey without warning. These creatures range in size from tiny inch long wigglers up to massive 15 or 20 foot long adults. The worms all have soft, flat, segmented bodies, with each segment featuring two pairs of sharp hook-like spines on either side. The creature's head has a round gaping mouth containing a long, sharp proboscis. Muck Worms dwell in damp areas and will become dessicated and die if moisture is unavailable.

Muck Worms feed on any living creature they can ambush and slay. They typical ambush prey from muddy pools or swampy areas. They are able to contract their bodies, then lash out with great force, driving their sharp proboscis into their victim and injecting an acidic poison into the wound, then wrapping their body around the target and piercing it with their hook-like spines. If their initial attack fails or the worm is sorely wounded, it can eject a cloud of noxious waste matter in a 10' radius cloud, causing anyone within the area of effect to gag and choke while within its area of effect.

  • Poor defense - Muck Worms are rather squishy.
  • Good toughness - Though easy to damage, the Worm's primitive form makes them tough to kill.
  • Good healing - Worms heal from any wound very quickly.
  • Great camouflage - When in their native environment.
  • Superb impale attack - If successful this attack injects the victim with Great damage acidic poison and allows the Worm to wrap the victim in clawing coils, doing Good damage each subsequent round.
  • Noxious cloud - 10' radius cloud of choking, gagging vapors. Superb resist test or be blinded and helpless for four to six rounds.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mask of Flame

This unusual looking mask is made from pitted and rusty iron. The face of the mask is somewhat featureless, with crude gashes cut for eyes and mouth. Each hole is surrounded by a tube-like projection that gives the mask-wearer a disturbing, somewhat mechanical look. The back of the mask is lined with padded leather, and stiff black leather straps hold it in place when worn. When the mask is donned the 'sockets' around the mouth and eyes glow with a faint reddish light, giving the mask a somewhat frightening appearance. Testing the object for magical properties reveal Great protection magic and Superb evocation magic. A Superb test of divination magic will reveal the mask's properties.

When worn the mask conveys the following upon the wearer:
  • Great protection from fire and electrical attack. Attacks that manage to get past this protection have their effectiveness reduced by 50%.
  • Good bonus to fire and electrical based magics. This power does not grant specific powers, but any abilities the wearer has are enhanced.
  • Fiery nimbus - Upon command a nimbus of jagged, reddish lightning will being to play around the mask and its wearer. This field extends 5' in all directions, inflicting Fair electrical and fire damage upon anyone it touches. This power can be invoked thrice per day and lasts ten rounds.
  • Flame Shot - The wearer can cause gouts of burning energy to shoot forth from the eyes and mouth of the mask, creating a searing column of energized flame sixty feet long. Anyone caught within this conflagration takes Great fire and electrical damage. This power can be invoked three times per day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Roadside Meetings

"You can't get there from here." -- unknown roadside sage

Adventurers often do quite a bit of traveling, and roads make perfect locations for encounters, both mundane and unusual. The presence of a road indicates someone or something travels the route regularly, yet as a GM we often fail to consider exactly who these travelers are. A few minutes work can turn a boring, empty road into an interesting trip. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help bring your road to life:

Where does it go?

Roads connect things. Knowing what a road connects will greatly influence who or what uses it. It pays to consider not only local connections, but the bigger picture. To the locals a road might just be a way to get between two villages, but it could also be part of a byway that avoids an unfriendly tax collector or a shortcut that's only passable part of the year. Road connect not only destinations, but other roads. A villager might believe the road to the next village ends there, but a tinker or trader knows better.

The road's endpoints will help determine its course. Roads will tend to follow the easiest path between locations. Geography will play a great part in this, especially on major roads. Moving goods with draft animals or marching troops to their destination is easier on flat, open ground. Natural obstacles like rivers, ravines or mountains need to be crossed or avoided. Safety will play a role as well. A longer route through a well-patrolled area will be used more often than a shortcut through dangerous territory.

Who built it and how is it maintained?

In today's modern age, road construction is big business. In the typical fantasy campaign things may be less clear cut, but the origins of a road can add color to the scene. Was it a game trail that grew into a cart path? A significant trade route connecting cities? A road designed to move military forces along an unstable border? A bypass to avoid a hostile area? Once you know where it came from you can determine how it's maintained. Does a local government clear the verges? Is it overgrown and potentially blocked by fallen trees or rock? Is the route marked with blazes or mileposts? Are there bridges, tunnels or fords? Are they guarded? Are there tolls? Is the road patrolled?

Who uses it?

The meat of the matter, who travels this stretch of highway? The answers to the previous questions should provide some ready answers. A trade route will feature caravans, merchants and traders. A local cart path will have locals going to market, tinkers or farmers moving their harvest. A detour or bypass might have shady characters intent on avoiding authorities. Well patrolled and maintained roads will have a military presence and work crews in evidence.

Who supports the travelers?

Once you know who uses the road, you can figure out what services they might need and where they can be found. A trade route might be dotted with inns built to accommodate entire caravans. Free-wheeling mercenaries might frequent the area looking for work. On less traveled roads, accommodations might be less common, but a trading post, a farmer willing to rent a field for camping, or a traveling merchant might be more common. Busy routes will be more likely to have dedicated locals working to support the traffic, whereas on less frequented roads, travelers might be viewed with suspicion. There's also the matter of taxes, tariffs and tolls, all requiring some official presence along the route.

Who preys on the travelers?

Lastly, travelers will draw those looking for an easy mark. Highwaymen, corrupt officials, scamming innkeepers, card sharks and shady 'guides' will all appear if there is traffic to support their trade. Intelligent monsters might view the road as a good source of treasure and food. Not only will PCs traveling have to watch their backs, but they may garner suspicion from other travelers, who might view the typical adventuring party with some trepidation.

So there you have it, a few simple questions that should help develop the humble roadway into something a bit more interesting. Using these simple questions as a guide coming up with a few encounters for any roadway should be pretty easy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Storm Swallows

This magical construct consists of a bird's nest woven from gold and platinum wire and lined with black and green silk. The nest rests upon a blackened and twisted branch from a lightning struck tree. Contained within the nest are three delicate crystal figurines, each depicting a swallow at rest. Each figurine is clear crystal shot through with flecks of some faintly glowing golden metal. If examined for magical properties the construct radiates Epic alteration, divination, and evocation magic. A Superb test of divination will reveal the device's uses and command word.

Each day the device's owner can command one of the figurines to take wing and seek out a target. The target can either be a specific geographic location, or a known person or object. The swallow construct will then fly at Great speed toward the target, using Superb location ability to set its course. Once the swallow reaches its destination it will circle the target, causing a massive thunderhead to form over the area. After ten minutes this storm cloud will lash the area within one mile of the target with an Epic strength storm, featuring hurricane force winds, fist-sized hail, and massive lightning strikes. The storm lasts one hour, and the swallow circles the area for the duration. If the swallow is destroyed the storm dissipates within five minutes. The swallow has Superb toughness and evasiveness. Any electrical or cold damage inflicted is passed harmlessly into the storm raised by the bird. When the storm expires the swallow returns to the nest. Note that once a swallow has been dispatched its target cannot be altered. Their flight range is, for most purposes, infinite.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gold Digger

This item can be either a pest or a boon. Gold Digger is a shallow, twelve inch wide bowl carved from onyx and polished to a smooth, glossy finish. The edge of the bowl is gilded with an ornate, web-like pattern. at the bottom of a bowl a shallow coin-sized depression has been cut into the onyx. Gold Digger radiates Superb illusion, alteration and enchantment magic. A Superb test of divination magic will reveal the command words required to activate the device's magic.

To activate Gold Digger, a coin must be placed in the depression in the bottom of the bowl. Once a command word is spoken the coin becomes enchanted with a Superb illusion spell hiding its true nature. When a coin so enchanted is placed with other coins it will consume one to six coins per day, transporting them to the bowl that spawned it. This process continues so long as other coins are within ten feet of the enchanted one and the destination bowl is not full (it holds approximately 200 coins). The transport range to the bowl is unlimited. If no coins can be transported, the enchanted coin collapses into dust after 24 hours. The owner of the bowl can also destroy the coin with a command word.

An enchanted coin will reveal Superb illusion magic if examined for magical properties, and a Superb divination test will reveal the illusion to be obscuring the coin's true nature. Epic divination magic might reveal the coin's linkage to another object or its underlying nature. Attempts to dispel the coin's illusionary protection will cause the coin to collapse into dust.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Grim Monday: Fateful Hourglass

I was browsing craigslist this morning when several bits of general household stuff caught my eye, among them an hourglass decorated with skulls. Someone was clearly a little too dark and spooky for their own good, but it did inspire today's post.

The Fateful Hourglass consists of two parts, the first is a twelve inch tall hourglass formed from delicate, blown glass contained within a frame of carved bones. The sand within the glass is a dark reddish color, reminiscent of dried blood. Secreted away within small hidden compartments in either end of the stand (Good observation check to notice) are a pair of golden amulets, one bearing a demonic visage, the other an eldritch symbol that a Superb test of lore might reveal as a symbol of confinement. All components of the Hourglass radiate Epic necromancy and enchantment magic and an evil aura. A Superb test of divination will reveal the purpose of the devices.

The Hourglass forms a necromantic bond between the wearers of the two amulets. The demon-headed amulet is the controlling element of the pair, allowing the wearer to drain the life energies of whomever is forced to wear the other amulet with a turn of the hourglass. The confining amulet is enchanted so it cannot be broken or removed (a Legendary success at dispel magic is required to break this enchantment), save by the wearer of the demonic amulet.

Once both amulets are worn, each turn of the hourglass transfers one rank of life energy from the victim to the controller, causing Great harm to the victim and providing Great healing to the controller. This process takes place over the course of one hour, the duration of the hourglass's sand. The transference is not limited by distance. This process can be repeated as often as desired, though the victim will quickly perish if the process is carried out too often. The victim can recover the life energy drained naturally over the course of one week. A victim slain by this process is irrevocably destroyed, their life force completely consumed by the draining process.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cloak of Wings

A cloak made entirely from the wings of many birds, large and small. It appears to be quite cumbersome and heavy, yet is surprisingly light when worn. If closely examined there appears to be nothing holding the many brilliantly colored wings together, though a narrow band of black silk provides a sort of closure at the neck. If examined for magical properties the cloak radiates Superb alteration magic. A Superb test of divination magic will reveal the cloak's powers:
  • The wearer can speak with and understand all manner of avian creatures, from mundane sparrows and swallows, to magical winged beasts. This is a passive power, active so long as the cloak is worn.
  • The wearer can command the cloak to life, causing the myriad wings to bear them aloft with Superb flying skill. The cloak loses its shape, becoming a cloud of frantically flapping wings that surround the wearer, each magically connected to the garment's black silk tie. This power can be invoked at will, and lasts up to one hour. At the end of each period of flight the cloak must recharge for three hours before this power can be used again.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Scale of the Lizard God

This item is a three inch long, oval scale carved from the spinal bone of an enormous lizard. The surface of the Scale has been carefully enameled with bright orange and yellow bands while the underside is a smooth, polished black, with two barbed silver hooks protruding from the center. It radiates Legendary protection and alteration magic, and a Legendary test of divination magic will reveal the item is closely associated with a long-forgotten reptilian deity, but little other information.

If the silver hooks on the back of the Scale touch living flesh, the immediately shoot forth, fastening the Scale in place. If the target is of less than human intelligence, the Scale will cause a Fair wound, then drop away from the target. If the victim has at least human intelligence the Scale will remain attached and slowly slither across the creature's body until it is affixed to the center of their chest. There it will begin its transformational work.

The Scale is a work of elder sorcery, enchanted by the lizard god to permit his return to the material world in physical form. Once it finds a suitable host it will gradually alter them to become a suitable host. The Scale has the following effects over time:
Weeks 1-6:
  • Removing the Scale during this time requires a Superb test of dispel magic.
  • The victim's skin will slowly harden into a scaly surface, providing protection versus mundane attack (beginning at Fair, ending at Great).
  • The victim's finger- and toe-nails will become thicker and tougher, allowing them to be used as Average weapons.
Weeks 7-12:
  • Removing the Scale during this time requires an Epic test of dispel magic.
  • The victim's eyes gain slitted pupils as their head and jaws begin to lengthen to accommodate the new, sharp teeth that begin to sprout in their mouth, pushing out their old set one by one.
  • The victim loses all taste for any food other than uncooked meat.
  • The victim's strength and flexibility increase, and their previously acquired claws allow them to climb with ease.
Weeks 13-24:
  • Removing the Scale during this time requires a Legendary test of dispel magic.
  • The victim begins to grow a tail as the rest of their body becomes more and more reptilian.
  • The victim's strength and flexibility continue to increase, allowing them to perform Superb feats of athletic prowess.
  • The victim gains the ability to regenerate (starting at Average, ending at Great).
  • The victim's bite becomes venomous (starting at Average, ending at Superb toxicity).
  • The victim can only eat newly slain meat. An overwhelming desire to hunt their own prey takes root in their mind.
  • The victim's thought processes regress to a more primitive, bestial state. Each week they must make a Great resolve roll or lose control of themselves, attacking any living creature nearby as if it were prey.
Week 25:
  • The Scale has fully manifested its changes, leaving the victim a hulking half-lizard, half-humanoid being. The victim must make a Superb resolve test each day to retain what little sanity remains. Once they fail this test they will be fully possessed by the Scale, essentially becoming an NPC seeking to restore the lizard god's spirit to his newly created avatar.
Should the Scale be successfully removed from a partially transformed being, any changes to the victim become permanent. Reversing the effects of the Scale is a Legendary test of alteration magic.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Minor maintenance

I'm going to be going back and adding some labels to older posts over the next few days. Hopefully I won't be spamming anyone's feed as I do this, apologies in advance if I do.

Living Drapes

Putting decor to good use.

Living Drapes are a set of beautiful burgundy-colored velvet curtains, suitable decor for the finest household. They are sized to hang ceiling to floor, and are wide enough to cover a very large window or doorway. The panels themselves are heavy velvet, the vertical edges feature a finely embroidered pattern done in darker lace, while the trailing edge is heavily fringed with similarly colored tassels. The overall appearance is attractive, if a bit somber. If the Drapes are examined for magical properties they radiate Great alteration and animation magic. A Superb test of divination magic will reveal their characteristics and the command words required to activate them:
  • The Drapes show no signs of wear or staining, automatically cleaning themselves within an hour of becoming soiled. They have Superb toughness, making them nearly impossible to cut or tear.
  • Upon command the Drapes will hang themselves at any window or doorway, automatically positioning themselves in an aesthetically pleasing way. Once in position they will manifest an iron rod that will magically attach itself to the wall. This process can be reversed with a second command word.
  • The Drapes can be opened or closed with a command word. When open they manifest tasseled tiebacks that match their fringe and trim.
  • Lastly the Drapes can be commanded to protect the opening they hang in front of. Any animate, material being up to ogre-sized passing through the opening is instantly grasped and entangled in heavy folds of crushing velvet. When ordered to protect, the Drapes can be commanded to hold or slay whatever they grasp. Held creatures are wrapped up and kept imprisoned until a command word is spoken (Superb strength to break free). When ordered to slay the Drapes inflict Great constricting damage each round.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spirit Chaser

Spirit Chaser is a long hunting spear, eight feet in length. The spear's shaft is made of ashwood, bleached to a pale white color. A fine checkerboard pattern has been etched into the wood's surface, providing a sure grip. Some dark material (blood perhaps) has leached into the grooves of this pattern, creating an irregular hatchmark pattern along the shaft. The spear's head is a narrow, leaf-shaped point made from a silvery metal. Several bands of the same metal affix this point to the shaft. Three large white feathers hang from the point end of the shaft, connected by wire-thin black cord to the base of the blade. The weapon is well balanced for throwing, and stout enough to be used in melee. If examined for magical properties Great enhancement, alteration and divination magic can be detected. A Great test of divination magic will reveal the item's properties:
  • Spirit Chaser has a Great bonus to melee and thrown accuracy, and a Good bonus to damage.
  • Winged Strike - When this power is invoked Spirit Chaser can be thrown at any target within a quarter-mile, striking with unerring accuracy for double normal damage, then returning to the wielder's hand. The target must be visible when the spear is thrown. This power can be invoked thrice per day.
  • Spirit Seeking - The weapon can be attuned to a specific target by exposing it to a personal item owned by the target (clothing, a favorite object) for one day. Once attuned Spirit Chaser's owner can determine the direction and approximate distance to the attuned target by closing their eyes and concentrating for one round with the spear in hand. This power can be invoked at will. Only one target can be attuned at a time.
  • An attuned target takes double damage from any attacks carried out using Spirit Chaser.
  • Once per day Spirit Chaser can strip an attuned target of any covering illusion or concealing magic, revealing their true nature. The target must be within 100 yards of the wielder when this power is invoked.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Grim Monday: Random Jungle Stuff

I spent the morning picking blueberries (Mmmmm blueberries), so I'm not in much of a Grim Monday mood today. Here's a list of random events I wrote up for a jungle trip in an old campaign instead:
  • Snake bite – One party member will be bitten by a snake as they move through the jungle. The snake will be: 1-4 non-poisonous, 5-6 Average poison, 7-8 Good poison
  • Insect Swarm – Group stumbles into a swarm of fierce biting flies. Each member takes Poor damage each round while in the swarm. Running will escape the swarm in 1d8 rounds. Animals will be driven mad by the bites and stings. Each person stung has a 10% chance of being stricken with a disease.
  • Antelope herd – Group of 2d12 antelope. Party can hunt for food.
  • Predator – Encounter with large predator. 1 Tiger, 2 Jaguar, 3 Leopard, 4 Serpent, 5 Crocodile, 6 Carnivorous Apes. Most carnivores will avoid party, but will fight if cornered/pursued.
  • Large enraged herbivore – The party has surprised a large herbivore that will attack blindly. 1 Elephant (1-3) 2 Water buffalo (1-6) 3 Great Ape (3-12) 4 Hippo (2-8). Creatures attack until destroyed.
  • Ape troupe – The party will be pursued by a group of tree dwelling moneys/apes (10-40) who will throw sticks and branches at the group, scream and generally make the party miserable. Clever parties can probably scare them off. The apes will follow the party for 2d8 hours. Party will always be surprised if being followed.
  • Quicksand – Someone has stumbled into quicksand. They will sink in 2d4 rounds (-2 rounds if in metal armor). Must have help to be pulled free.
  • Deep stream crossing – The party must carefully work any pack animals across the stream and swim themselves. Any animal panics on a roll of 1 on a D6. Uncontrolled animals lose one carried item per round uncontrolled.
  • Dense vines and creepers – The party must hack a way through. Double the party’s normal chance of surprise.
  • Large bog – The party encounters a large boggy area. They will take 2d4 hours to travel through it. Each hour of travel there is a 50% chance someone will fall into quicksand.
  • Heavy downpour – Party is drenched by rain. Can refill all water skins if desired. There is a 10% chance per person that a random item will be water damaged.
  • Deep chasm – A deep crevice crosses the party’s path, impassable to pack animals. It is 60% likely the lair of a predator that will be very aggressive if the party enters. A detour will take 1d4 hours.
  • Cliff – A stone face that is impassable to pack animals. Detour will take 1d4 hours. The cliff can be climbed by characters (Climb walls +30%)
  • Snare/Deadfall Trap – 1-3 light snare, 4-5 medium snare, 6 heavy snare. Trap will catch a party member. Light snares do no damage, medium snares do 1d3 damage, heavy snares do 1d8 damage.
  • Pit Trap – A party member will stumble into a pit trap. Take 1d4 damage from the fall. There is a 30% chance of a large enraged herbivore in the trap, 20% chance of a predator.
  • Tribal Marker – The party encounters a tribal marker appropriate to the area.
  • Trail – The party discovers a trail paralleling the nearest watercourse. The trail will be 2d4 miles long before petering out.
  • Corpse – The party discovers a corpse that is 1-3 animal 4-5 human 6-7 unidentifiable 8 Yuan-ti. The corpse will be picked over and bare.
  • Ruin/foundation – The party finds a wood or stone ruin. A search might turn up some remnants of tools or gear. 30% of the found ruins will be dragon statues (Yuan-ti).
  • Campsite – The party finds a recently used tribal campsite. Remains of a fire, markings from sleeping pallets and food scraps are evident. 1-4 human, 5 Orc, 6 Yuan-ti.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Gloomwall is a tower shield of black iron, fitted with three columns of twelve small silver bosses. An abstract pattern of swirling clouds is visible on the shield's face, while the back of the shield is painted gray. The edges of the shield are wrapped in silver wire. The heavy arm straps are fashioned from black leather trimmed with silver wire. Gloomwall radiates Superb protective, weather and enchantment magic. A Great test of divination magic will reveal its attributes:
  • Gloomwall provides the bearer with a Great defensive bonus versus melee attack and an Epic defensive bonus versus missile weapons.
  • When carried into battle, the bearer and all allies within a 100' radius are surrounded by an obscuring black mist shot through with silvery flickers of light. Any foe facing those so enchanted suffers an Good morale penalty.
  • Thrice per day the bearer can summon a vast cloud of obscuring mist, 100 yards in diameter, effectively hiding anyone within from mundane sight. Anyone entering the mist with hostile intent has a Great chance of losing their direction and becoming lost. The bearer's allies are unaffected by the mist.
  • Once per day the bearer can cause Gloomwall to darken the skies in a 1 mile radius. Low black clouds roar in from all directions, forming a rapidly swirling wall overhead in three rounds. This wall obscures the sun and blocks all mundane vision. Once the wall is in place the bearer can call down a vortex of swirling winds upon a chosen target within the covered area doing Great damage to all within a 10' radius. This power lasts 12 rounds once established, and a new vortex can be summoned each round.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Molder's Clay

This substance can be created from the dust that remains when Clay of Perfection dries out and crumbles to dust. It appears as a grayish, malleable solid with a slick, greasy surface. Much like its source, Molder's Clay radiates alteration magic, though its potency is only Great. Unlike Clay of Perfection, Molder's Clay does not dry out and requires no special handling to use. Creating this substance is a Superb test of artifice, and requires a quantity of dried out Clay of Perfection, a tiny amount of Lagra, and mundane clay.

Molder's Clay can be used to create temporary objects. Any non-animate object can be shaped from the clay, and when a command word is spoken the object assumes the characteristics of the modeled object. The quality and duration of the object created depends upon the creator's artistic skill. An Average or Fair artist will create a mundane object with normal characteristics. Good or Great artistry will produce an enhanced item, and so forth. A shaped object lasts one to six hours, again depending on the artist's skill. When an object expires it reverts to Molder's Clay and can be used to shape a new object. If an object shaped from the clay is destroyed, the clay used to shape it is destroyed as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Thorn is a stabbing dagger shaped from a single massive thorn from some gigantic bramble. The broad base of the original thorn has been cut down to form a needle-sharp, slightly curved blade, a flared oval guard inscribed with a pattern of vines and flowers, and a slim textured hilt. If Thorn is tested for magical properties it radiates Great combat magic and Good necromantic magic. A Great test of divination magic will reveal its powers:
  • Thorn's blade is a sharp as a fine steel needle and almost unbreakable. It has a Great accuracy bonus, and easily finds its way past the toughest armor (ignoring armor bonuses).
  • The wounds inflicted by Thorn bleed for Average damage each round until treated or cured.
  • Entangling Strike - Any successful melee attack made by Thorn while this power is active causes strong, thorn-covered brambles to spring from the wound, completely enveloping the target in one round. These brambles cause Average damage each round and affect the target with a Good penalty on all actions for the duration. Flame applied to the original wound causes the brambles to wither and die. This power can be invoked thrice per day and lasts six rounds. Created brambles last six rounds.
  • Wall of Thorns - Once per day the wielder can inscribe a line upon the ground, causing a wall of dense brambles, ten feet high and wide, to spring forth. The wall can be up to 60 feet long and in any arrangement the wielder desired. Inscribing the line takes one round per 20 feet of length.