A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

28 May 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Possibly the Worst Part of the Process

Update time for Issue #2:

Personal life has set me back a bit: Mom's been in the hospital. This, allied with some ailments of my own, mean that #2 has been pushed down the calendar just a bit.

The good news? I think I finally have everything: art, articles, stat-blocks...the works.

The bad news? Now the formatting begins. In truth, I had everything nearly perfect, then decided to add the infamous, dreaded "Just One More Thing" to the issue. Now that has me editing, changing, and just plain cutting text in an effort to make everything fit. (I'm sure I'll have a couple people when the issue comes out tell me freely that there was one or two select pages that could have been spared publication.)

So...wish me luck as I go and ready my red pen. I'm going back in.

18 May 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine] The Countdown Begins to #2

That's right, boys and girls. I'm officially starting the countdown to Issue #2 of The Stronghold 'Zine. I'm just waiting on one more piece of artwork and one more bit of info to finish up an article, then it's Foreword and Table of Contents time.

After that, it's a trip to the office supply store for a new color of cardstock for the cover.

Then the fun begins anew.

What's in store? Well, let's see.... Where's my draft ToC?

O.K. First, we've got some stats for three new critters; one of these is friendly, one can be friendly, and one is...erm...not so much.

There's a new locale, with a new map. Two of the critters are also associated with the locale, as is the new NPC I've included. In addition to the statted critters, there are nearly a dozen-and-a-half new and system neutral critters described. There's another installment of system-neutral random treasure tables included; these can be used with the locale as well as your own setting.

NOT associated with the locale are a series of new wondrous magic items; these are fairly system-neutral as well. And finally, even though the random nose-picking article was not a big hit with some readers last issue, my philosophy is that every game needs a little bit of humor. Accordingly, and due to the joint fault of +Tim Shorts and +Jason Zavoda, there's another useful (I think) set of random tables to add a little bit of humor and ...erm... flavor to your game.

Keep watching for the roll-out announcement and purchase links to be coming soon!

12 May 2015

[review] The Manor #8

I can't tell you how much I enjoy mail-call here at The Stronghold when I see the "GM Games" logo on an envelope. Well, that happened yesterday: Issue #8 of The Manor appeared!

The usual disclaimer applies: I am one of Tim's proof-readers, so...there's that. That doesn't color my perception or review; all it means is that I get to see the good stuff in advance. Even still, there's nothing like holding the final version in my hands and giggling reading the good stuff. So...without further ado...let's look inside Issue #8!

John Larrey's cover art sets the tone for the issue. Who among us has not been in the shoes of that fighter, facing down a slavering troll, with naught but our shield between us and certain death?

In point of fact, all of the artwork in Issue #8 (as usual) is top-notch and fits perfectly in its assigned place, setting the scene for the article.

The grappling article by Cole and Dell'Orto, while written for S&W, is going to be stolen for my 3.x house rule file, at least for my kids' game. It's just so neat and elegant, especially when you compare it to the cluster that is Wizard's attempt at explaining a grappling system. (Honestly, 3.5's grappling rule is one of the things cited by a player who left our group as one of the things driving him away from the hobby.) This system seems like it would resolve grappling quickly, neatly, and easily.

There's only one thing I would change, and that's an addition. Now, I will admit to knowing very little about the S&W rule set. I know, I know...go ahead, get the gallows started. But as far as using this grappling rule in 3.x, there are times when a creature can substitute a DEX modifier for a STR modifier. I think that this should be one of those instances, at least for certain classes or Prestige classes (the "Brawler" or the "Swashbuckler" for example). I don't think this would violate the spirit of this easier rule; instead, I think it fits right in to the very spirit this rule change is designed to promote. Additionally, it adds a bit more flavor to the rule. As an illustration, remember back to The Princess Bride.

[Aside: I'm referring here to the BOOK version of the story, as it's the version I prefer. However, for purposes of this example, I suppose one could refer to the movie version as well. It fits my purposes just as well. Just this once, though. End aside.] 

So...The Princess Bride. Fezzik lies in wait for the Man in Black (MIB), waiting to crush his head with a stone. When the MIB appears, Fezzik agrees instead to best him in a Feat of Strength --mano a giant-- instead. They begin to grapple wrestle and it quickly becomes apparent that Fezzik's STR modifier is MUCH higher than that of the MIB. However, after a few initial grappling attempts attempted holds, it also becomes apparent that the MIB's DEX modifier was equally higher than Fezzik's.

SPOILERS: The MIB's DEX wins the day and Fezzik succumbs to the grapple, the MIB successfully (essentially) pins Fezzik and renders him helpless. The MIB then runs off after Vizzini for a Battle of Wits for the Princess' life.

As for the other articles, they're also just as useful as the Grappling article. I just purchased a copy of Trey Causey's Strange Stars RPG. I'm looking forward to getting my print copy and sitting down to absorb a great-looking Sci-Fi setting (and then trying to convince my group to play it, but that's another story).

Tim's hirelings, torches, and Torchbearer class all made me ask the same question: Why isn't our 3.x party using hirelings?!? It's a proposal I'm prepping in my head already to present to members of my group. Definitely some good stuff here.

My recommendation? Get yourself a copy. Even if you've never picked up a copy of The Manor before, get this one. 5 out of 5 stars. Yeah, it's that good.

09 May 2015

[The Stronghold 'Zine]The Rallying Cry Goes Forth!

Issue #2 of The Stronghold is in the works. But I want need art. Don't get me wrong; I love +Jim Magnusson's work and am extremely grateful for his generosity, help, aid, and talent. I've got a great line-up of his work just waiting for content.

But I don't want to kill him with over-work, either.

So, if there are any artists out there that would like a chance to appear in an upcoming issue of The Stronghold 'Zine, please...contact me. Or, if you know of an artist that might be interested, pass my contact info along to him/her. I can't promise much in the way of recompense, save a gratis physical copy of the issue. That and my undying gratitude and respect, of course. I've got some ideas for Issue #2 that would benefit from some artwork, or we can discuss ideas for later issues.

My artistic abilities are incredibly limited, especially when it comes to drawings, sketches, etc. Therefore, I rely on the kindness of strange artists. Wait, let me rephrase that. I rely on the strange kindness of artists. OK, third time's a charm: I rely on the kindness of artistic strangers. I'd like to rely on you.

Yeah, you. Right there. You.

07 May 2015

[review] Pounded By This Pound Of Dice

You all know how much I love dice, right? You all know that I believe that there's no such thing as too many dice, right?

Well, I may have to eat those words. I've been mulling this over for a while and finally need to post it to get it out of my craw. My review may not be startling news to anyone but myself. I freely admit that I could in fact be late to the party. [Aside1: I'm reminded of the News Radio episode (Season 3, entitled "Rap") in which Bill McNeal discovers that his beloved rap music has lyrics and wants to run an expose to proclaim his outrage at the "disgusting" lyrics. The station manager tells him in response: "Put aside the editorial, invent a time machine, travel back to the year 1988, and you might actually be one of the first thousand journalists to break this story." Yeah, this post may be like that. End aside.]

So, I watch and read with great interest reviews concerning "pounds of dice" (or "PoD")from the various dice companies. There's the ubiquitous Chessex "Pound-o-dice" of course; I hear tell there's another company on eBay that's even cheaper, and (depending on the review you read) has similar quality of dice. The reviews ALWAYS state (and often show) that one can pick out several complete 7-die sets from each of these massive bags. Even given my earlier-stated opinion, I prefer full and complete 7-die RPG die sets.

Heaven knows that I have a bag-load of loose singles (especially d6) from my years of gaming.

Well, I've looked at them as they've crossed my awareness, but I've never been really "in the market" for a PoD until now. But now, my eldest son has decided to pick up the DM screen for his buddies and I thought a PoD would be a cheap way to get him a bunch of dice to let his players use.

Unfortunately, when I was first looking for it, I couldn't fine a PoD at ANY of the local game and game-related stores. So I put it off.

So, imagine my glee when I went to my FLGS and, although they had only the d6 version of the Chessex PoD, I learned that Crystal Caste had started selling their own version of the PoD. I was excited that I wouldn't have to mail-order myself a PoD...plus it was at least $10 than the Chessex PoD (and it came in one of Crystal Caste's nifty "skull" bags. Now, as I said, I haven't seriously looked for a PoD for purchase until now, so this may not be a new thing.

Apparently they're calling their PoD, Skull Bag: Skull + Bones. At least, that's what the tag on the dice bag says. Perhaps it's just referring to the bag, I'm not sure. I'm guessing it's the PoD name; one of the selling points was that each bag contains one of Crystal Caste's awesome Dwarven Stones dice. At any rate, let's open it up and see what's inside, shall we?

So I got home and cracked it open. This is what I found. At first glance, there seems to be a heckuva lot of d6...NOT my favorite die. (I don't often play wizards or other characters with massive d6 attacks, after all.)

So I spread them out, grouping them by type. Hmm.... I'm starting to worry at this point.

Not nerve-shattering, teeth-rattling concern, mind you. Just a mild sense of unease. The FATE dice didn't help me feel much better, as I don't play any FATE-driven games. And I've already got a handful of +/- dice as it is.

Then I spread them back out and sorted them out to collect my 7-piece set(s) before turning the singles over to the boy. And THAT looked like THIS:


[Aside 2: OK, technically I suppose you could say I have a couple complete sets...if you're counting d6 sets. I don't. End aside 2.]

Not one. The closest I got was one matching set of 4 out of 7. There were several that had 4 (or in one case 5) matching dice...but they were 3 or 4 of the same die, with 1 different die. There were a couple 3 out of 7, but nothing close to 7 out of 7. Not a single complete set. I mean, look at the yellow ones in the upper left, for crying out loud: 1 d6 and 4 d%. No joke.

Oh, and right below the yellow dice, do you see that little "L"-shaped bit? That was another bonus: a piece of sprue.

So, I did what any anal-retentive nerd would do. I started counting. Here's what I found, out of 162 total dice.

Percent (Decimal)
(Percentages are rounded up.)

As you can tell from the picture, a few of these dice are from Crystal Caste's "Crystal" range. (Specifically, and just for the record: 1 d4; 3 d6s; 2 d8s; 7 d10s.)

[Aside 3: a d1000 for Pete's sake? Not only did I not know Crystal Caste made such a thing, I already have one, made by Koplow. I mean, I'm a dice freak, but really...how many d1000s does a person need? How often am I going to need a second d1000? End aside 3.]

I suppose if you're looking for a cheap bag of dice to let your players (or kids) play with, without regard to matching dice or complete sets, this is the deal for you. If you're looking for a good source of a cheap stack of d6 mixed with a few other polyhedrals, then this is the deal for you.

If you're looking for some random complete sets + loose dice, however, at a cheap price, I'd try the following:

  1. Chessex Pound-O-Dice ($24.95 on Amazon, MSRP $35.00)
  2. Easy Roller Dice Co. -- 105 Polyhedral Dice (15 Complete Sets), plus a velvet dice bag ($24.95 on Amazon, MSRP $39.00)
  3. Wiz Dice -- 100+ dice (guaranteed at least one matching set in a velvet dice bag; also guaranteed 6 different colors) ($19.99 on Amazon)
And that's just from a quick search. Now, I WILL confess that the Dwarven Stone included in this set kinda makes up for some of the other disappointment: it's a mini d20; I haven't been able to identify which stone range it's from, but it's a pretty li'l thing. It also contained the largest d6 in my collection; that will be good for hucking at inattentive players. As for the rest of the set? YMMV.

02 May 2015

Awww, Crap. Missing Game Stuff.

OK, I;m a bit frantic, I have to confess. I like knowing were my gaming stuff is, all of it. I'm a bit anal retentive that way.

I just went searching for a few things and realized I have some conspicuous absences in my collection. One hole I was able to fill: I was missing a dice pouch with my "DM Dice"--a collection of random dice useful in DM-ing: 30-sided alphabet die, critical hit location dice, direction dice (for random mapping), NPC attitude dice, etc. I panicked when I realized that was missing. Took me an hour or so to remember where I'd had and used them last. Actually, it took me 1:20--twenty minutes was trying to remember what dice pouch I had used.

I found them, but in so doing I realized that I was missing three more things. I put these out there just to shout at myself. Feel free to yell at me too.
  1. A Kickstarter package from way back when containing three -- I said THREE -- full sets of the ORIGINAL Dungeonmorph dice by +Joe Wetzel  and +Inkwell Ideas . A full set of each of the patterns. Plus all the extras. Yeah, Joe. Feel free to yell at me about this one.
  2. My X-Plorer Boxed Set from +Brave Halfling Publishing . Both #1 and #2 were received at about the same time, and in the same place (last that I remember). And now? Not.
  3. A set of 7 dice purchased at FantasyCon last year. Specifically, the "Silver Volcano (speckled)" set; I laid my hands right on the "Purple-Teal/Gold (gemini)" set purchased at the same time. Both of these sets were in the same place when I saw them last. And now? Not.
Hey...I'm sure I'm not alone. Someone out there has the same OCD I do about my gaming stuff, right? Please tell me I'm right. And throw some karma my way, so that I can put my hands on these three items and rest easy this weekend.

Because you know I'm going to lay awake wondering where they are...especially my dice....

I've  just now realized I'm missing a couple other things:
  1.  My XDM d2 by Howard Tayler. (Funny...also from FantasyCon.)
  2. My Kickstarter package containing the original Scenes of Chance card deck.

[From the Mailbag] Simon Forster Surprise

OK. If you've ever wondered, here's proof. The USPS is either violent, incompetent, or careless.

The postman brought a surprise from +Simon Forster  today, and just look! Dog-eared corners, dang it!

But another gorgeous little locale. I can endure a little damage, I suppose.

If you want to get little tid-bits like this from Simon, make sure to visit his Patreon page!

01 May 2015

Throwing in the April Towel--A to Z Reflections

That's it. I'm done.

I have three blog entries sitting here on my desktop: X, Y, and Z. Maybe someday soon they'll appear on the blog.

Some serious life issues popped up during April. Every week that went by the weight seemed to get heavier and the quantity increasing. Imagine trying to catch random drips of acid in a teaspoon. On a windy night. In the dark.

Yeah, kinda like that.

This isn't blogpression. This isn't a call for a hiatus. I just can't finish up April right now. I want to focus on my own game. I want to finish up a miniature painting project. I want to focus on helping my 14-year-old who's starting his first campaign as a DM (proud of him for that, btw). I want to focus on Stronghold #2.

Besides which, I noticed an interesting phenomenon this April. My page reads have actually decreased throughout April. I know that many readers go dark for April for a dislike of A to Z April posts. But every other year I've actually seen an increase in traffic, even if only a slight one.

Not this year.

To be honest, I rarely go to other A to Z sites simply because I don't want to risk unconscious plagiarism.  I've always found my own posts to be a creative spark, a spur to actually produce something.

Not this year.

Gives me something to consider in the coming 11 months. I put a lot of thought, time, and energy into each post every year; maybe too much time? Maybe there's just too many blogs involved? The topic tags are a good idea, but I don't think that everyone is using them. Maybe it's just the gaming readers don't want to deal with A-to-Z posts. Maybe, maybe, maybe. There's a lot of maybes. I don't know. In the past I've never been too concerned about the readership, partly because my blog is largely for me alone, but partly because traffic has always been steady. Plus, I have to admit that the freakin' Challenge Logo was just HUGE; it took up a lot of space. Maybe I'm just feeling like I let myself down; I'm the only one that was policing my work, after all.

I'm sharpening my pencil and getting back to real work. Thanks for sticking by me.

27 April 2015

[A to Z April] W is for Wombripper, Thokk

Thokk Wombripper is a young, ambitious warrior. His orc mother died in childbirth and he was raised by his father until age 13, as she did not want her child raised by her evil, violent tribe. At puberty his father attacked him in a drunken rage. Thokk killed him in self-defense and was cast out of his village. He was taken in by his mother's tribe and given an orc-name "Wombripper." Several years of living with the tribe instilled a hatred in him for his human side, but did not turn him to their evil ways; he never fully accepted their gods for his own, choosing instead to continue worshiping Adys, a human goddess of strength and war.

At 23 years old, Thokk is still growing; he is already 6'1" tall and a muscular 255 pounds. He keeps his black hair trimmed short and his brown eyes filled with hatred for humankind. He is handsome for an orc, but that obviously does not translate to human terms. Despite his feelings towards humans, Thokk is generally cheerful; he lives under what he perceives as the guidance of both Fate and Envy. The only thing he loves more than his orcish greatsword is a good story.
Thokk Wombripper, half-orc FighterCR1
XP 400
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60'; Listen +3; Spot +3
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor)
hp 9
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +5
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Greatsword +4 (2d6+3/19-20) or Dagger +4 (1d4+4/19-20)

Special Attacks Turn Undeadtack 1d6
Attack Options Enhancement bonus to Strength equal to Cleric level; 1 round, 1/day
Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Str 17, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 8
Base Atk +0; Grapple +3
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy, Light, Medium), Power Attack, Shield Proficiency, Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Weapon Proficiency (Martial, Simple)
Skills: Concentration 3, Diplomacy -1, Heal 7, Knowledge (Religion) 2, Listen 2, Sense Motive 3, Spot 3
Languages Common, Orc
Domains: Strength, War

1st-- (DC 14) bane, detect evil   Domain: enlarge person or magic weapon
0th-- (DC 13) detect magic (x2); light

Chain shirt, Greatsword, Dagger
Backpack: caltrops; rope (50'); bedroll; trail rations (7); waterskin; torch; sack
Belt pouch (small): flint & steel
Belt pouch (large): candle; fishing line (6'); fish hooks (3); vial; chalk

Please note: All my NPCs are free for you to use. Please, feel free to use them. All I ask is a note to let me know if, where, when, and how it was used.

**Many thanks to WotC's "PC Portraits" Archive for the image.

Previous "W"s:
2014: W is for Weak Essence of Alcoholic Retreat (beverage)

2013: W is for Wild Drip Crater (locale)
2012: W is for Wyrm, Slimeclaw (monster)
2011: W is for Waulker

26 April 2015

[A to Z April] V is for V is for Vile Portal (item)

The Vile Portal is a legendary relic of a former time, and an evil religion. Also known as the Portal of Jiranah, this relic, like other portals, transport all those who enter its boundaries to another place. Jiranah, the God of Sorrow and the Blinding One, is inconstant and vindictive. The portal bearing her name is equally inconstant and vindictive.

It is rarely found in the same location twice, and if there is a pattern to where the portal sends its users, no one has discovered the secret. Once through the portal, the user must either use normal, physical means to return to their original location (or normal magical means) or the user must call forth the powers of Jiranah, calling out her name and performing an act of worship. If Jiranah is appeased, the creature will be returned to the starting point.

In addition, unless the user is of Chaotic Evil alignment, traveling through the portal will cause a shift in alignment one degree toward Chaotic Evil. The shift is cumulative; the return trip--if any--adds an additional degree shift. This is the price Jiranah exacts for the use--or abuse--of her power. The only way a creature can counter that shift is through an atonement spell and performing a ritual or quest for their personal deity.

Legend has it that there exist relics of Jiranah that control the portal; some are said to be able to locate the portal and others are said to summon the portal to their location. bel: a stylized bat surrounded by runes from various languages, all meaning "bat." Some barkeeps will remove the label--which is easily done--in order to hide the beverage from all but the most discerning, knowledgeable customers.

Previous "V"s:
2014: V is for Vaena Shieldbadger (npc)
2013: V is for Varra Turnskull (npc)
2012: V is for Vapor Dwindle (spell)
2011: V is for Vesseth

25 April 2015

[A to Z April] U is for Unlight Beetle (creature)

The Unlight Beetle does not seem, at first glance, to be a formidable opponent, despite its size. It is typically slow, almost lumbering. Once the creature is disturbed or frightened, however, its true nature is revealed. Not only does it have unexpected speed, it also has developed a remarkable defense mechanism: the creation of a zone of utter darkness, similar to the casting of a wizard's darkness spell. (It is rumored that there exist a rarer version of the unlight beetle, whose ability is akin to a master wizard's deeper darkness spell. Of course, this "greater" version of the unlight beetle is also rumored to be venomous and extremely aggressive; such advanced and dangerous characteristics are highly unlikely in an insect of this type, of course. Others have theorized that the larger, venomous versions of these vermin are, in fact, rare male specimens of the species, as the common "lesser" versions are usually found guarding nests or young.)

An unlight beetle is typically about 10 feet long, with massive jaws it uses to bite and tear meals from carrion it finds and drags back to its nest. (It subsists primarily on carrion, although in extreme, desperate circumstances, they have been known to stalk and attack weaker creatures.) It has also developed the heightened senses necessary to travel, live, and attack under the effects of its natural darkness. Normally docile, the creature will attack if it is provoked and sufficiently threatened, especially if defending its young or its nest. The unlight beetle attacks using its massive jaws to bite and rend its foe or potential prey. Many an adventurer or unwitting animal has startled an unlight beetle, only to find itself surrounded in complete darkness and fending off the powerful, razor sharp mandibles of this giant vermin.

Unlight BeetleCR 4
XP 1,200
CE Large vermin
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60'; Blindsight; Listen +0; Spot +0
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+8 natural)
hp 42 (5d8+4)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +2
Immune mind-affecting effects
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Bite +7 (1d8+4)
Special Attacks Darkness
Special Qualities Darkvision 60', vermin traits
Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Str 19, Dex 10, Con 19, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk 3; Grapple 11
Feats: Blindsight, Improved Grab
Skills: --
Languages --
Environment Any
Organization Solitary or nest (2-6)
Treasure None
Advancement --
Level Adjustment --

Darkness: as the spell

Previous "U"s:
2014: U is for Undyrglade (item)

2013: U is for Ulah of Kaitus (npc)
2012: U is for the Upper Snarl (locale)
2011: U is for Urosh, Temple of

24 April 2015

[A to Z April] T is for Twilight Bile (beverage)

This interesting libation is rare, but can be found throughout the Realm at finer establishments. Only one brewer knows exactly what goes into each pint of Twilight Bile, and he is not talking. Every bottle is identical, no matter the area of the Realm in which it is found. Based on its initial cost and its rarity, tavern owners and restauranteurs are understandably loathe to part with even a single shot of Twilight Bile, even at the expected egregious markup in price they demand. They're especially reticent if they have something to hide.

Twilight Bile is marketed in a spherical crystal decanter, tightly sealed with a cork. Each decanter comes with a pint of the drink: 16 shots. The decanter itself bears a simple label: a stylized bat surrounded by runes from various languages, all meaning "bat." Some barkeeps will remove the label--which is easily done--in order to hide the beverage from all but the most discerning, knowledgeable customers.

The drink itself is an acquired taste. The liquid is black and watery, and smells faintly of wet dog. In contrast, it bears a strong initial taste of menthol, with a sulphurous aftertaste that lingers. Within 2 rounds of drinking a single shot of Twilight Bile, the imbiber's eyes become incredibly bloodshot. In addition, the Bile grants a +20 to all listen checks for the next 1d4 hours. However, there is also a 10% chance of the imbiber also losing the sense of sight for the same period of time. The aftertaste also wears off as the effects fade.

Most individuals cannot stomach more than a single shot of Twilight Bile at a time; indeed, most pocketbooks cannot stomach multiple shots either. Additional shots occasionally seem to extend the period of enhanced hearing, but the 10% chance of blindness (as well as the duration of this effect) is also cumulative.

Previous "T"s:
2014: T is for Tantive IV
2013: T is for Tombstone Blossom (creature)
2012: T is for Thord's Gore Reach (spell)
2011: T is for Thoklin Oroxel

23 April 2015

Long Live The King! (Flayed Though He May Be....)

My friend, +Tim Shorts from The Manor and GM Games has released a new nugget of S&W happiness.

The Flayed King is his latest offering. It's a 'zine/adventure that's once again up to Tim's normal EXCELLENT standards. It's  also sufficiently gruesome fun, even if you happen to be one that judges a booklet by its cover, that is. (A cover, I might add, that was birthed from the talented hands and warped magnificent mind of the great +Jim Magnusson. You could drop this into any ongoing campaign as a side quest or run it as a one-shot.

It's on sale and (at least for now) it's FREE! FREE! FREE! Head on over here and pick yourself up a copy.

22 April 2015

[A to Z April] S is for Stumble Soul (potion)

Stumble Soul
Aura faint abjuration; CL 4th
Slot none; Price 500 gp; Weight --


Occasionally it is useful to hide one’s alignment from others discernment, but dangerous to have one’s alignment concealed. It may also be occasionally useful to appear as a different alignment for purposes of infiltration or concealment.

A single dose of this potion temporarily changes the alignment of the imbiber. The user’s alignment will shift to its opposite; a neutral alignment may choose which direction the shift may take. For example, a Lawful Good creature will temporarily become Chaotic Evil. A Chaotic Neutral creature will become Lawful, and may choose whether to become Good or Evil for the duration of the potion. 

Only one dose of the potion may be taken at one time; a second dose will have no effect on the user’s alignment, but will sicken the imbiber for the duration of the second dose. The alignment shift will have a negative effect on any creature’s alignment-based abilities, powers, or skills for the duration of the potion.

The potion must use absinthe as a base and must be contained in a crafted glass bottle or decanter, shaped to resemble a humanoid skull. The glass stopper is hollow, and will measure out one dose. The effects of one dose will last for 1 hour per two caster levels. The effects can be overcome or negated by dispel magic or any degree of restoration spell. Atonement, hallow, or unhallow may also negate the effects of the spell. Those who typically carry such a potion with them will also carry a potion or scroll with a negating spell, just in case.

Brew Potion, absinthe, skull-shaped decanter, undetectable alignment, Cost to create 200 gp

Previous "P"s:
2014: S is for Spark, Primordial (spell)

2013: S is for Suffocation, Immediate (spell)
2012: S is for Snake, Howler
2011: S is for Sheriff

21 April 2015

[A to Z April] R is for Razor, Hell's (item>

Hell’s Razor+3 dwarven waraxe
Aura moderate necromancy; CL 13
Slot none Price22,330 gp Weight 8lbs
Hell’s Razor is a massive dwarven waraxe forged by the Duergar Forgemage Murghol Spiritkiller. The haft is made of walnut with knotted red leather forming the grip. The blades are a black steel inlaid with brass outlining archaic runes. The weapon feels cold to the touch regardless of the environment.

Hell’s Razor was the apex of Murghol’s art, the masterpiece of his life. Knowing he would never craft anything greater, he imbued the axe with his very soul, granting evil sentience to the weapon. It is most comfortable in the hands of a duergar or dwarf, particularly one who is of lawful evil alignment. This +3 dwarven waraxe may communicate with its wielder through speech; it speaks Common, Abyssal, and Undercommon, as Murghol did in life. Any lawful evil wielder may summon forth the axe’s darkness casting and deathwatch powers. For any other wielder it is simply a +3 weapon with intelligence.

If Hell’s Razor gains control of its wielder, it will force the commission of various acts that would have a serious negative impact on a non-evil wielder’s alignment.
AL LE Int 15, Wis 11, Cha 17, Ego 10
Senses 30 ft.; Communication speech
Powers: deathwatch continually active; darkness 3/day

Previous "R"s:
2014: R is for Read This Book!

2013: R is for Rest
2012: R is for Rage Hawk (monster)
2011: R is for Real Life
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