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.

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

20 April 2015

[A to Z April] Q is for Quimby's Pet Emporium (map)

Quimby's Pet Emporium is a landmark in Coldtreath, at least to wizards and animal lovers. Quimby, a grizzled, one-legged veteran of numerous wars, now stocks and sells animals of all kinds, from the plain to exotic, commonplace to rare.

His shop is plain, a thick rock exterior for protection, the inner walls are wooden, but magically-treated to be soundproof and calming to the animals (and to his customers). The walls are filled with pictures of his more exotic wares, as well as aquariums and small cages. Several racks of cages hold his larger small animals for display on the showroom floor. The floor is made of a single slab of stone for ease in cleaning.

  1. Showroom Floor: The general customer area, floored with stone. Various pictures and parchments line the walls with images of various rare animals.
  2. Counter Area: The wooden stomach-high (to Quimby) counter top zig-zags across the customer area. The north wall is lined with shelves, used for housing aquariums, bowls, and cages for the aquatic and more delicate of creatures. Quimby keeps a variety of magic wands behind the counter to deal with the more difficult customers.
  3. Cages, Regular: Those animals who do not require special needs or isolation are housed here in a variety of cage sizes.
  4. Cages, Special: The specialized, extremely rare, and valuable creatures are kept here, behind a locked door, both for their protection and the customer’s. These cages are likely to be protected by magic.
  5. Pens: Large animals, when they are in stock, are housed here. Each pen has a drain system allowing for the rapid cleaning and washing of the pens. Due to the nature of these animals, these pens are usually locked and protected by magic.
  6. Quimby’s Room: Quimby’s living quarters are here, through a locked secret door, and sparsely decorated with a bed, chest, and a desk. Quimby also keeps his valuable items on a series of shelves in the northeast corner of the room. His room is the only room floored with wood. He keeps a secret stash of gold under the flooring beneath his bed.
  7. Garden: Quimby keeps a walled garden area here, covered over with a fine wire mesh. He exercises the birds and cleans cages in this area. Quimby’s outhouse is on the south end of this walled-off area, and empties into the same drain system as the large pens.
Previous "Q"s: 
2014: Q is for Quick, Somebody Teach Me To Play 
2013: Q is for Quickvale (locale) 
2012: Q is for Quickdeath (monster) 
2011: Q is for Quaint Folk

19 April 2015

[A to Z April] P is for Papa Quimby (npc)

The man known to Coldtreath as ‘Papa Quimby’ is a calm man, not given to violence. This was not always the case.

Quimby was the third son of a minor noble family. As such, he had little choice but to go into military service. The military suited him quite well; he learned rapidly all the skills necessary for survival as a soldier. He is a grizzled veteran of the Teandrocan Wars, the War against the Frustra, and the Chitri Campaigns. Few others can claim those distinctions. He has spilled more blood in his day than any other man in Coldtreath.

Today, however, he eschews conflict and violence. Most believe it was the loss of his left leg that took away his spirit. Others believe that he’d simply reached his limit. Neither case fully reaches the mark.

On a particularly bad day during his final days in the Chitri Forest, Quimby found himself huddled in the hollow formed by the massive roots of an ancient tree. He was being hunted by a squad of Chitri; he was badly wounded with a tourniquet tied around his left leg. The Chitri hunted, in part, by tracking strong emotion. Quimby was highly emotional and, knowing the Chitri, understood that he was going to die.

That was when he felt fur under his hands, fur layered over strong, lithe muscles. Hardly daring to move, Quimby glanced down to find an odd cat laying under his hands, purring at his touch. The cat had six legs, something Quimby had never seen before. He nearly recoiled at the sight, but the animal’s purr was calming him; the feel of its fur beneath his touch relaxing. It felt like the finest silk. To this day, Quimby has no clear recollection of how long he laid there, curled around this animal, petting it and holding it. At some point he knows several squads of Chitri passed his hiding space; becalmed by the cat, they overlooked him. He was found by his men and carried to safety with the odd cat curled on the stretcher next to him, refusing to leave his side.

Today, Quimby is motivated largely by greed and avarice. He has learned much about animals and his cat is still at his side. However, his human relationships are non-existent, and he has filled that part of his lonely life with gold and silver, of which his animal finds bring in sufficient to make him comfortable.

His inability to make connections with any other humanoid keeps him wary towards others, even towards his customers, and especially towards outsiders and strangers. This wariness causes him to make snap judgments based on appearance, first impressions, and so forth. He could probably be persuaded to change his attitude, but it is unlikely that he would ever consider another two-legged being a true or close friend. But even in the worst of conditions, he is unlikely to act on his feelings . . . unless someone were to push him too far. If someone did, they would find he was still extremely competent at his craft.

Quimby is not physically imposing in any way and never has been. Bronze eyes look out from a craggy face topped with black hair. Average height and weight, he’s not overly attractive to the opposite sex, unless it were for his coin purse.

Quimby trusts no one but himself and the cat, which he calls, The Cat, clearly enough that a total stranger can hear the capital letters. He is a sucker for animals of all kinds, except for other humans (particularly female). During quiet times he still feels discontent at where he is in life and who he is, but he tries to drown those feelings with his work.

XP 4,800
CN Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +2
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +4 armor)
hp 66
Spell Resistance 13 (armor)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +4
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Sword, Short MW +19/14/9 (1d6+3/19-20)
Full Attack Sword, Short MW +19/14/9 (1d6+3/19-20), brass knuckles +12 (1d3+1), or net +17 (1d2) range 10
Attack Options Sneak Attack 1d6

Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Str 16, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 14+2=16
Base Atk +14; Grapple +17
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy, Light, Medium), Mounted Combat, Shield Proficiency, Skill Focus (Bluff), Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Tower Shield Proficiency, Trample, Weapon Focus (Net), Weapon Focus, (Sword, short), Weapon Proficiency (Exotic, Martial, Simple)
Skills: Bluff 9, Climb 3, Diplomacy 9, Disguise 3, Handle Animal 17, Heal 0, Hide 1, Intimidate 5, Jump 3, Listen 2, Move Silently 1, Ride 16, Sense Motive 0, Spot 0, Swim 3
Languages Common
Special Abilities Trapfinding 

+2 leather armor, Cloak of Charisma, Potion of delay poison, Short sword MW, Brass knuckles MW, Net MW

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 "P"s:
2014: P is for Plans and Passenger: the Story of a Consular Ship

   2013: P is for Pond Stalker (creature)
2012: P is for Pyramid of Swords
2011: P is for Poushif Bonereader

17 April 2015

[A to Z April] O is for Obelisk of Ras (locale)

The Obelisk of Ras stands alone amidst the Great Salt Desert. The Obelisk appears to be a single seamless stone somehow shaped into an obelisk roughly 333 feet tall. There are no signs of tooling out other carving methods on the stone, itself unknown. There does not seem to be any entrance to the Obelisk; neither is there any visible window or break in the stone from the base to the peak. The four sides of the Obelisk are completely smooth, although not necessarily level or even, merely nearly so.

While there does appear to be a balcony or ledge just below the peak of the Obelisk, it has so far defied any efforts to be examined; flying creatures find their view of the balcony obscured by mists or salt storms that arise suddenly and unexpectedly. Creatures attempting to climb the side of the Obelisk eventually reach a section of stone that defies any manner of adhesion and they fall, usually to their deaths. Creatures attempting to scry the ledge are driven mad; temporarily if they are lucky. Those who attempt to scry within the Obelisk itself die quickly and horribly.

Rumors abound as to the origin of the Obelisk, ranging from sorcerers to gods, creatures of earth and creatures from other stars. All of these beings are labeled with the appellation "Ras"--a word which has no meaning to any of the cultures in and around the Salt Desert. It is a completely unknown phrase, and not even the eldest of the Desert Tribes know from whence the name comes. They simply know that it has been known as "The Obelisk of Ras" since the time they were children, and their fathers, their fathers' fathers, and so on, until the memory of the Tribes "runneth not to the contrary."

When the winds blow, passers-by and travelers have reported hearing a moaning or low whistling sound, which leads scholars to believe that the inside is hollow, at least in some respect. So far as it is known, there have been no successful attempts to breach the surface of the Obelisk to learn what--if anything--is to be found beneath within. Legend would have you believe that a map exists, somewhere, of the Obelisk's interior. The contents of that map and its whereabouts have eluded scholarly searches for centuries. Many adventurers, thieves, and scholars have perished in the search for the map.

The mystery of the Obelisk of Ras, however, continues to tempt and trap people across the continent and beyond.

Previous "O"s:
2014: O is for Oh My Gosh, What Have I Done?
2013: O is for Omen Wine (beverage)
2012: O is for Oath of Righteous Magic
2011: O is for Opening Doors

16 April 2015

[A to Z April] N is for Nightshine Spectral Malt (potion)

This potion comes in a small vial sewn from treated canvas with a cork stopper. The vial holds a single dose of the potion. The vial typically has a maker’s label sewn into one seam.

The fluid itself is a sparkling brown color which bears a very strong smell of dust. The taste, however, is of a mild vinegar. The potion takes effect in 2d4 rounds and grants the imbiber the ability to see in the dark, as darkvision with a 60-foot range. To creatures who already have the darkvision ability, it grants an additional 30-foot range. While the darkvision is in effect, the imbiber’s facial muscles twitch randomly and uncontrollably.

Each dose costs 250 gp and lasts one hour.

Previous "N"s:
2014: N is for Nestspirit Caverns (map)
2013: N is for Nalicon's Plague (spell)
2012: N is for Noises in the Dark (table)
2011: N is for Nano-dice

15 April 2015

[A to Z April] M is for Molehill (spell)

Deand and Flakim stood and watched the battlefield, their heads nodding up and down slowly. "Kreaz is really enjoying himself far too much," Deand said. In the distance a green-clad dwarf cast spells, one after another.

Flakim murmured his agreement with the halfling's comment. "We should really put a stop to this. He's not playing fair."

Their heads bobbed up and down: up as yet another orc flew into the air, launched by an erupting nodule of earth that quickly subsided; down as the orc fell from over one hundred feet in the air to land with a wet sound on the ground, never to move again.

"Yes," Deand said. "Unfair. Truly. It almost makes you feel sorry for those disgusting creatures, doesn't it?" Another orc shouted as it--briefly--experienced the sensation of flight.

"As you say, Deand. Almost."



Transmutation [earth]
Level: Druid 4
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area of Effect: 5-ft. square
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex partial
Spell Resistance: No

Molehill causes a 5-ft. square area of ground to erupt suddenly beneath a target’s feet. The earth erupts 30 feet into the air, launching the target creature 30 feet into the air, plus 5 feet per caster level (maximum 130 feet). The earth then immediately subsides, thereby allowing the target creature to fall back to the original ground level. The target creature may make a Reflex save (DC 15) to convert the first 1d6 of falling damage to nonlethal damage. A successful Tumble Check (DC 15) allows the creature to ignore the first 1d6 of falling damage and instead converts the second 1d6 of falling damage to nonlethal damage.

Previous "M"s:
2014: M is for Marsh Blade (item)
2013: M is for Middlemurk Church (map)
2012: M is for Myth Voice (feat)
2011: M is for Maerl Dardar (npc)

14 April 2015

[A to Z April] L is for Leprous Ghoul (creature)

The term “Leprous Ghoul” is really a double misnomer: the creature is more closely akin to a ghast than a ghoul, and the disease it carries and transmits is not true leprosy. The creature appears to be a ghoul, or ghast, but in a greatly advanced state of decomposition. The typical leprous ghoul will be missing toes, fingers, ears, and nose, and likely has gaping, seeping wounds variously around its body.

The leprous ghoul covers itself in torn wrappings and ragged cloth in a mockery of life and in an attempt to hide the hideous scabs and wounds. The cloth is stained with indescribable fluids. This, plus the ghoul's usual diet add to a sickening stench which affects all those who come near to the creature.

The leprous ghoul is fast, vicious, and cunning. They live only to eat and spread their namesake disease, leprousy (so spelled to distinguish it from the traditional disease, leprosy, with which it shares little true similarity.)

While the leprous ghoul does not transmit ghoul fever, it uses both its bite and claw attacks to transmit its leprousy, which advances quickly after infection. After infection, a creature will rapidly lose parts of its body: fingers, toes, nose, ears, hair, etc., continuing to lose parts and develop gaping, weeping sores until finally succumbing to the disease and dying. Any creature that dies as a result of leprousy becomes a leprous ghoul and rises within 24 hours after death.

Leprous GhoulCR6
XP 2400
CE Medium humanoid
Init +4 Senses Darkvision 60'; Listen +4; Spot +11
Aura Stench DC(16)
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+4 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 42 (6d12+3)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +7
Turn Resistance 4
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Bite +7 (1d8+4)
Full Attack Bite +7 (1d8+4) and 2 claws +5 (1d4+2 plus paralysis and leprousy)
Special Attacks Leprousy, paralysis, stench
Special Qualities Darkvision 60', undead traits, +4 turn resistance
Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Str 19, Dex 19, Con 0, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 16
Base Atk 3; Grapple 7
Feats: Alertness, Great Fortitude, Multiattack, Toughness
Skills: Balance 8, Climb 9, Hide 9, Listen 4, Move Silently 9, Spot 11
Languages Same as base creature (usually Common)
Environment Any
Organization Solitary, gang (2-4), or pack (4-10)
Treasure Standard
Advancement 9-12 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment --

Stench: as Ghoul stench
Paralysis: as Ghoul paralysis
Leprousy: as Mummy Rot, with the following changes: damage is 1d3 Con and 1d3 Cha after 1 minute incubation, and once every hour afterwards until healed or creature dies.

Previous "L"s:
2014: L is for Lell (npc)

2013: L is for Ladder, Nature's (spell)
2012: L is for Lung Leech Swarm (creature)
2011: L is for Lehman Caves

13 April 2015

[A to Z April] K is for Kay Cynyrsson, Sir (npc)

Sir Kay Cynyrsson was born as the bastard brother to the King, as his mother was assaulted by the previous king, known as Nayrum the Sinner. He was never officially recognized as king-spawn and took after his mother’s family in appearance, although all in the kingdom know who he is. The current king, his half-brother, has privately recognized the kinship with Sir Kay, knighted him, and even takes care of Kay’s mother in her dotage. Kay now uses an altered version of the previous king’s nickname as his surname; he serves with no complaint from the King (although many members of the court are scandalized by the effrontery).

At Kay’s birth, a seer prophesied that Kay would forever be emotionally cold and withdrawn. It was also said that he would be without peer in his stubbornness. The prophecy continued that he would be nearly impervious to harm throughout his life, especially from fire or magic, that he could cast fire from his hands, that he would need little sleep, and that he would grow as tall as the trees. It was also said that Kay’s sword would be deadly, and any man merely wounded by a blow from Kay’s sword would find the wound impossible to heal.

Grown now, many of the prophecies have been found to be at least partially true (if even only by ownership of magical items). Kay is over 7-and-a-half feet tall with the rest of him in proportion to his height; he is a truly massive man. Others find him extraordinarily attractive, although his near-constant irritability and pride are off-putting to most. He has a flawless complexion; any wound he suffers does not scar.With hazel eyes and red hair along with his size, he is the center of attention in any crowd.

Sir Kay is deeply religious, recognizing several gods’ authority, but serves no one but the King. He is extremely efficient and dangerous in battle, annoyed by sycophants, fools, and those he perceives to lack honor.

Sir Kay Cynyrsson, Human Paladin 18CR18
XP 153,600
LG Medium humanoid
Init +5
AC 24, touch 11, flat-footed 23 (+1 Dex, +13 armor)
hp 121
Spell Resistance 13 (armor)
Fort +16, Ref +11, Will +11
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +2 holy flaming greatsword +25 (2d6+8/17-20) holy, +1d6 fire
Full Attack +2 holy flaming greatsword +25/20/15/10 (2d6+8/17-20) holy, +1d6 fire
Attack Options Smite evil; turn undead
Special Actions Aura of courage; Aura of Good; Detect evil; Divine grace; Divine health; Lay on hands; Remove disease; Special mount
Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Str 16 (+2)=18, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 19
Base Atk +18; Grapple +22
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light, Medium, Heavy), Blindfight, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Leadership, Power Attack, Quick Draw, Shield Proficiency, Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Weapon Proficiency (Simple, Martial)
Skills: Concentration 1, Diplomacy 11, Handle Animal 11, Heal 1, Jump 4, Knowledge (nobility) 4, Knowledge (religion) 6, Ride 23, Sense Motive 22
Languages Common
3rd-- (DC 14) cure moderate wounds; dispel magic
2nd-- (DC 13) bulls strength; delay poison, resist energy
1st-- (DC 12) detect undead; protection from evil (x2); restoration, lesser
+2 holy flaming greatsword, +5 spell resistance full plate, Gauntlets of Ogre power, Boots of Striding and Springing

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 Biroscanerd for the image.

Previous "K"s:
2014: K is for Kell's Force Tonic (beverage)

   2013: K is for Kith, Sin (creature)
2012: K is for Kel, Scokin
2011: K is for Key, Undead Skeleton

11 April 2015

[A to Z April] J is for Jewel, Fuddle (item)

The dwarf moaned and stirred. His eyes opened, bleary, to see his friend, Seandi, sitting next to him washing her hands with one of her cleansing salves.

"What happened, Seandi?" The dwarf tried to roll over to stand, then sucked air loudly through his teeth. He winced and fell back to the floor at the pains in his hip and in his head. "I've a powerful headache. And what's wrong with my leg?"

"What's the last thing you remember, Alakin?" The woman placed a cool, soothing hand on his head.

The dwarf shook his head. "The last thing I remember is Deand, looking through that new magic gem of hers at that chest we found. 'Trying to learn if it's trapped,' she said. Then nothing until I saw you here." Alakin reached up and took her hand away from his brow and held it tightly. "I assume from the salve that you just finished healing me. From the pain I would guess it was my head and leg?

Seandi smiled. "Your hip, actually, Alakin. The other way around, too: your hip and then your head." She reached down with her free hand and resumed stroking his forehead. "And I'm truly sorry for whatever pain you still feel. It's been a long day; I'm tired and could muster little more strength than this for prayers tonight. A night's rest will help you--will help us both--then I will try a little more in the morning. I've already laid out your blankets for you." Alakin nodded and the woman continued.
"Deand gazed into her gem, then went still. Far too still and unnaturally so. I should have realized something was wrong. All you did was place a hand on her shoulder; she screamed, drew her mace, and laid one solid blow across your side. Shattered your hip. It was an ugly wound--dropped you right to the ground. Then she came back around on the backswing and caught you on the top of your head."

"Good thing I was wearing my helm, then."

Seandi smirked down at the dwarf. "'Helm' nothing. It was simply that hard head of yours that saved you. Deand clearly wasn't in her right mind or she'd never have tried to kill you in such an impossible way."

The dwarf smiled up, ruefully, and then chuckled. "Hah. 'Hard headed dwarf.' That's original. But that's what knocked me out?" Seandi nodded again.

"You were out cold. She turned and started toward me. Alakin, She had murder in her eyes. If it wasn't for Flakim and his quick hands, I'm sure I would have joined you witless on the floor. We'd both be there still."

"Where is Deand now?" the dwarf asked. Seandi gestured over Alakin, to the far side of the room. Groaning at the pain, the dwarf rolled slightly to look where Seandi pointed. There was Deand, a halfling, face down and trussed, bound, and gagged. Alakin thought Deand looked like nothing so much as a pig on the day before a Nameday feast. As he watched, the halfling shook and rolled, screaming around the gag in her mouth, as she tested her bonds and tried to free herself. Sitting against the wall at Deand's side was Flakim, the massive seven-foot-tall human, his feet propped on Deand's back.

"Flakim looks much too pleased with himself," Alakin said, gently rolling back onto his back, grunting as he did so.

"He should be," answered Seandi. "It has been far too long, he says, since he was able to practice his hog-wrangling and -tying skills. But Deand isn't hurt and, were I to guess, will be back to sanity in the morning."

"By the Stones, he'll be insufferable for a week or more. Come, Seandi, help me crawl to my bedroll. I think I'm going to need all my strength to put up with him."

Fuddle jewel

This palm-sized gem is a clear crystal, that seems to change colors deep inside as it moves in the light. It is mounted in a pendant on a chain. At first blush it appears and identifies as a gem of seeing. Indeed, most of the time its magic operates as such. However, each round it is used there is a 10% chance that, instead, it casts confusion on the wielder. Each consecutive round it is used, the 10% chance is cumulative.
Magic Item Gem of Seeing

Previous "J"s:
2014: J is for Jade Temple (map)

2013: J is for Jade Skull (item)
2012: J is for Jalbion's Liquid Jewel (spell)
2011: J is for Juniper Ale

10 April 2015

[A to Z April] I is for Imp, Split (item)

A rare breed of infernal creature, the split imp is diabolical and deadly to the innocent and uninformed adventurer. To the uninitiated, the imp appears exactly as a normal imp. Upon the first successful attack upon the split imp, however, the difference becomes all too clear.

Upon the first successful attack--whether melee, ranged, or magical--the split imp divides itself into several identical beings, each of whom immediately attack the creature who wounded the original split imp. The duplication occurs prior to the assessment of any damage from the attack; damage is assessed only to the original split imp, not to the copies. Only the original split imp can call forth the multiple duplicates.


Split ImpCR 4

Use the statistics of a normal imp, except for the following changes:
  1. The split imp loses both the "alternate form" and commune abilities in favor of the Split ability.
  2. Split: 3x per day, a split imp, upon taking damage from a successful attack, essentially summons forth 1d8 duplicates of itself, prior to any damage being taken by the original. Said damage is only taken by the original, and only after the duplicates appear. The duplicates (not the original) immediately surround and attack the creature that wounded the original. After the initial vengeful strike, the duplicates assume the same initiative as the original. Should the original be killed, the duplicates are neither destroyed or banished, needing to be individually destroyed or banished. Only one set of duplicates can exist at any one time.
  3. The Challenge Level of the split imp changes from 2 to 4.
**"D&DImp" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:D%26DImp.JPG#/media/File:D%26DImp.JPG

Previous "I"s:
2014: I is for Island, Oraoss (map)
2013: I is for Ice Quartz Caverns (map)
2012: I is for Iron Hide Zombie (monster)
2011: I is for Inkeeper

09 April 2015

[A to Z April] H is for Helzak, Darthen (npc)

Darthen Helzak is named for the wasteland, his hearthland, translated roughtly into the Common tongue as “God’s Anvil” (known to most as the Ashwaste). They believe that the hardships imposed by the wasteland upon their people is a refining forge, the anvil upon which their God beats and shapes their souls into a divine form.

He was born in the Wasteland, in God’s Anvil. His grandfather, Huragram, was a water miner who discovered a subterranean river, becoming a wealthy individual and a powerful leader of the tribes of God’s Anvil. Huragram wielded a khopesh which he named “Beldorida” meaning, roughly, “Breath of the First Gem.” The sword is graceful and slender, crafted of steel, ivory, and gold. Sapphires and rubies are set in her hilt. First impressions leave the impression of a noble’s showpiece, something made for looks and attention rather than for utility. Those who have met Beldorida’s edge and tested the wielder’s mettle quickly learn that she is perfectly balanced and eminently deadly. Her grip is wrapped in copper and silver wire, providing a perfect grip even when the wielder’s hand is slick.

Darthen now wields the khopesh of his forefathers. The source of the blade is unknown, although she is rumored to have come from one of the great mythical cities in the east full of powerful magic. Huragram found the blade while on a personal vision quest out in the barren lands of God’s Anvil. She was entombed within a nodule of stone found deep within the sands; the nodule also contained a portal to the Plane of Earth. He took the discovery of Beldorida as a sign and returned to the stronghold, although he was weak, weary, and near death. He kept an unbreakable grip on Beldorida during the entire time of his recovery. Upon returning to health, he carved out for himself a powerful position among the tribes. He ruled the tribes of the Anvil for nearly a century; when he died of natural causes, his skaalds buried Beldorida with him.

After a century of ruling over chaos and hardship, Darthen’s father disinterred Beldorida after seers told him that the powers of the buried weapon of Fire and Air were being suppressed by the powers of Earth. He recovered Beldorida and wielded the blade with power as he strove to link the Anvil’s dwar together again. He was not as successful as Huragram at the task, and never as powerful. Darthen was raised on stories of Beldorida, a blade that practically thrummed with power, as if the steel was scarcely able to contain the sorceries placed upon it. Darthen’s father was never able to learn the secrets of the blade.

Darthen’s father and his seers feared that the spirits of Earth and Stone had, in fact, subsumed Beldorida’s power. Darthen has been entrusted with the blade and exiled from the Wastelands. Where Beldorida was once meant to be his hearth’s last line of defense, Darthen is now her only protection.

Darthen stands somewhat taller and leaner than a normal dwarf. His hair and beard are braided and matted, resembling dreadlocks. He wears simple leathers and cotton garments, his undertunic spun from subterranean spider silk, with his armored shirt composed of long bones tied together with plaited leather. Leather gauntlets protect his hands from the sand and sun; they double as weapons, with small metal spikes set above each knuckle.

Darthen Helzak, Ashwaste dwarf barbarian 3CR 3
XP 19, 200
CG Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Darkvision 60, Perception +7
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +3 armor)
hp 47
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3
Immune Fire
Damage Reduction 1/bludgeoning or slashing (spidersilk undertunic)
Weakness Acid
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 khopesh +9 (1d8+7/19-20/x2) or Dagger +6 (1d3+5) or Gauntlet, spiked +6 (1d4+3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Str 17, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 13
Base Atk +3; Grapple +6
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy, Light, Medium), Cleave, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Power Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency
Skills: Climb +9, Intimidate +7, Jump +9, Knowledge (History) +3, Knowledge (Nature) +4, Perception +7, Survival +7
Languages Common, Dwarven, Goblin
Bonesplint Armor, Gauntlets, spiked, +1 khopesh, Dagger, Belt pouch, Sun Goggles, Acid, flask (1), Waterskin

Note:  As an Ashwaste Dwarf, Darthen does not receive a bonus to Appraise checks on metal-, gem- or stonework. Darthen also does not have the Stonecunning ability.

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 "H"s:
2014: H is for Heart Filth (poison)

2013: H is for Heth's Jeacky Fleter (beverage)
2012: H is for Happy Birthday!
2011: H is for Hargrim, the Soulhammer
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