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28

Help me come up with d100 Hidden, Folk, or Traditional Magic Spells

A crosspost from the /r/DnD subreddit

I'm coming up with a d100 table of Folk Magic and "Useless" spells, magic that would be part of a village or region tradition, or passed from hedge wizard to hedge wizard. They may actually prove useful in adventuring, but are mostly thought of as small magics that particular villages or regions found useful once upon a time and never let go.

The main inspiration for this idea was Frieren, which is a fantastic anime that's currently airing. The show basically follows the premise of "what does the Elven Mage do after the lvl 20 party defeats the BBEG" and is a fascinating deconstruction of heroic fantasy tropes, has amazing world building, and is a great contemplative piece that eschews the usual action-adventure heroics for something a lot more chill and meditative (But there is still some top tier peak action). But the main character's hobby is to collect small little folk spells, like a spell that lets you see through clothes or another that is specifically designed to catch birds and other small animals. It's such a charming idea that I want to include it in my games, with villages offering their weird but mostly useless magic as rewards alongside handfuls of gold and such.

Feel free to be as vague or detailed as you want. If the spell requires a spell slot, it probably comparably weaker to "effective" adventuring spells of the same level, but with a larger effect than a cantrip.

Some examples of my own:

Blossom

  • V,S,M (a handful of assorted flower petals)
  • Casting Time: 1 minute
  • Range: Self
  • Spell Level: 1
  • All flowers in a 10' radius around the caster suddenly bloom
  • At higher levels: extend the range by another 10'
  • A folk magic, made popular by an ancient but forgotten elven hero.

Sweet to Sour

  • V,S
  • Casting Time: 1 Action (Can be cast as Ritual)
  • Range: Touch
  • Spell Level: 1
  • One food or drink becomes particularly sour. Despite the name, the food or drink does not have to be sweet to begin with, although more sweetness does tend to result in a more sour end result.
  • A folk magic used by farmers and crafstmen that was discovered and popularized by the Guild of Pickling. Is now commonly practiced as a form of Wizard Prank in many arcane universities.

Woodsplitter

  • S
  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range, 10'
  • Spell Level: Cantrip
  • Target must make a DEX save, or takes 1d4 slashing damage on fail.
  • A small folk magic developed in northern regions by elder hermit wizards to help with strenuous physical tasks, namely splitting logs.
14 Comments
2024/02/03
19:56 UTC

26

The Second Tarokka Reading: a Ravenloft campaign supplement as a sequel to Curse of Strahd

Hi folks. I've just published my first DMsGuild resource: The Second Tarokka Reading! https://www.dmsguild.com/product/469210/The-Second-Tarokka-Reading--A-Ravenloft-Campaign-Supplement?affiliate_id=2672868

This supplement helps to give direction and purpose to a Ravenloft "domain-hopping" campaign, encouraging your players to willingly explore the lands amidst the Mists...

Just like how Madam Eva gives the characters a tarokka reading during the events of Curse of Strahd, which leads them to magic items and a fated ally scattered throughout Barovia, this second tarokka reading leads them to magic items and an ally scattered throughout all the Domains of Dread.

With three options to choose from for every card, there's a total of 120 possible locations to be pointed to (covering all 39 domains listed in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft), plus 42 possible fated ally choices, including a few homages to older Ravenloft lore and novels.

Although intended as a sequel to Curse of Strahd and for Tier 3 (Levels 11–16) play, it’s completely customizable - so you can fit it into your campaign however you like.

This supplement offers:

  • A hook (and even a pre-hook - a hook for the hook!) for seamlessly introducing the tarokka reading into your campaign
  • 120 possible locations for the characters to be pointed toward (covering all 39 domains listed in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft), avoiding the chance of repetition with which clues/domains/locations are drawn
  • 42 possible fated ally choices - most of whom are good-aligned (one or two of them maaay be a little bit evil though...)
  • Advice on how to customize the reading to best suit your party, as well as some examples of possible magic items tailored to different classes
  • Advice on how to tie this tarokka reading into the overarching story and lore of your campaign
  • Advice on how to help the players decipher the magic item and ally location clues if they’re struggling to figure them out
  • In the appendix, there’s ‘cheat-sheet one-pagers’ with all the cards, clues, locations, and page numbers listed in one place for each card type, intended as either at-a-glance study, or for helping you find the information you need within the supplement
  • And even if you don’t plan to run a second tarokka reading, there’s plenty of information, guidance, and inspiration in there to help you with your Ravenloft campaign

So... break out that tarokka deck, give it a shuffle, lay down five cards - and let fate take care of the rest...

Download it Pay-What-You-Want here: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/469210/The-Second-Tarokka-Reading--A-Ravenloft-Campaign-Supplement?affiliate_id=2672868

2 Comments
2024/02/02
09:27 UTC

28

The Four Winds Puzzle

Here is an easy use puzzle I devised by which the players can access two exits from the Puzzle Room, either the grate in the floor, or the exit on the opposite side of the entrance. Feel free to adapt to your own campaigns! DIAGRAMS OF PUZZLE SOLUTIONS ON LINK: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Hnmfq8z7ExdXNpYTI4pX1SSfP5yOK10Z/view?usp=drivesdk

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A strange ritual chamber which worships the Four Winds. The grate in the center can be used to access secret location.

Structure to Worship the Wind

This ancient temple has writings on the walls which imply it worships the Primordial Spirits of wind and air. They note, in Giant, that those spirits are often appeased by the extinguishing of a flame, or offended by its lighting. Four statues of air spirits, one for the South, North, East and West, stand on each corresponding wall of the room.

Two Exits

The party enters on the south side of the chamber, but can exit by either the north side or by a grate in the middle of the floor. The grate is locked DC 15, and all four winds must be blowing for a party member to have a chance to open it or rip it open. This gate leads to secret location.

The Wind Puzzle

"You enter a room with a soft yellow glow emanating from the floor. A harsh wind blows from each of the mouths of the four statues in the North, South, East and West of the room. The statues are of wind spirits. There are also small lanterns containing golden flames, shrouded from the wind by glass. The South statue has two lanterns, one labeled east and one labeled west. The North statue has no lanterns. The west statue has a lantern labeled north. The east statue has no lanterns. The south east corner of the room has lanterns labeled south and north. The north east corner of the room has a lantern labeled west. The northwest corner of the room has a lantern labeled north and west. The southwest corner of the room has a lantern labeled south."

The wind is deafening, and materially injures those who stand in the room. Each turn the party spends in the room, they must succeed a DC 16 Constitution save or take 2d6 thunder damage. Each lantern can be lit or unlit with an action if the party member is adjacent to it. The glass is heavy and reinforced with brass, with an AC of 22, but can be shattered, which would cause a lantern to go out. The party cannot resist the winds except with a DC 25 Strength, and they are pushed into the corner or wall corresponding to which winds are blowing.

15 Comments
2024/01/30
18:37 UTC

33

Desires of Emberfeld: A One Shot Adventure

Designed for a party of five level 3 characters, but with instructions on how to change this.

Embark on an unforgettable journey in Desires of Emberfeld, a riveting one-shot D&D adventure. The town of Emberfeld has been thrown into disarray, and its citizens are succumbing to bizarre behaviours. As an intrepid band of adventurers, you must unravel the mystery shrouding the town and thwart whatever is causing the chaos. Will you uncover the sinister plot behind the disturbances, or will Emberfeld be forever ensnared in the grip of an unknown darkness? The answers await those who dare to face the Desires of Emberfeld.

Desires of Emberfeld is available as a pay-what-you-want (PWYW) title. It features a 30 page PDF, 8 unique magic items, 3 battle maps, 1 town map, and additional high-resolution artwork.

Get it on DMsGuild (PWYW)

Synopsis

This piece of work started with a simple idea: I wanted to create an ordinary non-magical human who performs as a magician in a world filled with magic. Enter Magnus Whistlethorn, Illusionist (a.k.a. Magicless Mag); the character who begins our story.

After a rather chaotic introduction, the remainder of this one shot draws heavily from Needful Things by Stephen King. At the centre of the story is a collection of cursed magic items. Each is tied to a specific character: fulfilling their desires but also providing unwelcome side effects.

Two months prior to the events of this story, the untimely death of the Lord of Emberfeld, Adorus Barrington, has left a power vacuum. His son and sole heir, Dinorus Barrington, the new Lord of Emberfeld, is quiet and reserved, and would rarely visit the town. Effective leadership of the town has fallen to Seraphina Ironcrest, captain of the town guard, and Earthwarden Ambrose, head of the town's Temple to Chauntea.

Recently, people in the town have begun acting strangely and out of character. This has somewhat destabilised the town: the new Lord Barrington is causing trouble in the tavern, some people are keeping to themselves in their shops and houses, and others are tired beyond measure. Further compounding the problems are increased gnoll raids from the Sunset Mountains.

Behind all of these issues plaguing the town is Earthwarden Ambrose, who is a secret follower of Talona, the goddess of poison and disease. He is funding the gnoll attacks and has been subtly cursing town members' belongings. He aims to assert control of the town by removing (in one way or another) those who oppose him.

The party effectively assume the role of detectives who need to piece together various clues about who is behind the attacks and finally confront the Earthwarden to prevent his rise to power and release the town members from their curses.

7 Comments
2024/01/30
01:46 UTC

47

The Goblins of Grim Hollow

The Goblins of Grim Hollow

There have always been Goblins in Grim Hollow. And they have always been a problem for the locals. The Grim Hollow Clan grows, causes trouble, and is then chased from the area by the local militia, only to return some time later. It's been the same cycle for decades. That is until recently. Something has changed. This time the Goblins put up a fierce defense and many locals were wounded. And so the towns have turned to Adventurers.

ADVENTURE MECHANICS

ADVENTURE BRIEFING

Story Flow There have always been Goblins in Grim Hollow. And they have always been a problem for the locals. The Grim Hollow Clan grows, causes trouble, and is then chased from the area by the local militia, only to return some time later. It's been the same cycle for decades. That is until recently. Something has changed. This time the Goblins put up a fierce defense and many locals were wounded. And so the towns have turned to Adventurers. They have turned to you.

The players witness a town meeting out in the square. The local villagers are angry. The Goblins are becoming a real problem. There are a lot of threats lobbed at the elders and magistrates. They want something done and they want it done now. The players are called upon to take up this challenge and put an end to the threat. They will be well compensated. However, once they’re neck deep in goblins they’re going to find out the problem is a bit more complicated.

There is a Nilbog in charge of the clan now, and as anyone who has dealt with one of these creatures knows, the Nilbog does not die easily. They’ll have to corner it, capture it, and take it someplace else. Why? Well, because every time it dies, the spirit possessing it simply leaps into another nearby Goblin. The only way to end it is to remove it from the area, and hopefully end it with no other Goblins in the area.

GAME OPENING AND HOOKS This adventure shouldn't be difficult to get the players into. They're low level and usually don't get too far off books this early in a campaign.

  • Just Arriving to Town: The players are traveling and arrive to town just as the Town Meeting starts up.
  • Road Ambush: The players are attacked on the road by a Goblin ambush. They'll certainly want to deal with the problem afterward.
  • Job Board: The locals have put up fliers for the job to deal withe the goblins and for the Town Meeting.

LOCATIONS

  • Forest Village: There isn't much need for an elaborate location for this adventure. A large village or small town will do nicely. It should be just big enough to have basic shops and maybe one kind of "specialty" business.

NPCs

  • Mayor Figure: The adventure we will need a town leader. Call them whatever you want - Mayor, Magister, Elder, Etc... The leader should be worried about the situation, but more worried about how the locals are dealing with it. They're concerned about the Goblins, but even more concerned with their position and keeping the status-quo.
  • Town Rabble Rouser: Another figure you may want to consider is the individual who started the protest. An angry farmer or a local merchant would do nicely. Maybe someone who wants to be the next Mayor.
  • Militia Captain Seeing as how the Militia has attempted already to deal with the problem, and it didn't go so well. The players may want to find them and get some information about the Goblins before heading out.

OPENING CUT-SCENE

The Goblins dance around the fire, screeching, and howling with madness and glee. A charring humanoid corpse cooks over the flames. They won a battle, took captives, and are eating man flesh! Their shaman comes forward and shakes a skull full of small stones. The others immediately quiet. "Magubliet's Chosen has led us to victory!" The Goblins cheer again. She lets them have a moment and then shakes the skull. A small vicious looking Goblin steps forward, a predatory smile on its lips. The Shaman steps aside and the others cower in reverence. "Grim Hollow prepare yourselves. I am yours and you are mine. Given to us by our god! And soon all will know our wrath!" He raises a bloody sword above his head and the Goblins burst into a frenzy tearing into the cooking meat and even into one another. There is madness here, even for goblins, and the Chose loves every moment of it.

ACT 1: Town Meeting

A local farmer came to town complaining about the Grim Hollow Goblins raiding livestock from his farm and has gathered a crowd. This is not the first raid recently. In fact, the Goblins are a long running problem, one that the towns in the area usually deal with, but something has been different this time. The raids have become really frequent, and been far more organized than those of the past. And the people are very upset. The local Militia members have been unsuccessful in dislodging the Goblins. So the towns call upon the Adventurers to help them deal with the threat.

You’ll need a “Mayor” figure, and a couple of local farmers who have been attacked recently in the crowd. The Militia Captain makes sense as well. The meeting is on the verge of becoming a riot. This makes a great opening skill challenge or two. They can make checks to see things like... Emotions on the verge of boiling over. A young man picks up a rock. Whispers in the crowd of rushing the mayor. Picking up and the general anger of the people present.

A lot of different checks can cover these type of things. The Mayor is also seeing this. Just before, or maybe just after, things go poorly; they will make an effort to hire the Adventurers to deal with the problem and offer a substantial reward for doing so. They should get some Healing Potions and at least 1 scroll of Lesser Fireball (Same size but does 2d6 Fire Damage) to help them clear out any large Goblin Groups.

ACT 2: Grim Hollow

Once they’ve accepted the job the local officials will point them in the direction of an area known as Grim Hollow. This is a large valley deep in the forest that has long been the home to the Grim Hollow Goblins. The trip there shouldn’t be overly difficult, I suggest even having a river for them to follow right to Grim Hollow. I would place it far enough away that they’ll need to camp once during the trip. This creates a great opportunity for a Random Encounter with a forest creature. Maybe a bear or some wolves.

Grim Hollow itself should reflect the residents. A dark gnarled forest with large thickets and painful briar patches. There should also be Goblin made border markers and warning totems covered in blood, animal skulls, and even some humanoid remains. The ground is rocky and uneven bordering on it being Difficult Terrain rules wise. There should be ample cover for small creatures as well. Large fallen tree trunks and tumbled boulders are common. There even may be some old ruins or an abandoned homestead that could be hiding dangers.

The environment becomes the perfect place for a Goblin ambush, and you should carry one out here. Your players won’t want the Goblins knowing that they are coming, so an ambush creates a panic point for them. Do their enemies already know? Or was this a chance encounter and they must eliminate the threat to keep things quiet? They’ll ask all these questions during combat. It creates a lot of opportunity for you as a DM to work them over.

EVENT: Goblin Ambush

Goblins aren’t complicated. They like to be sneaky, and they run once they’ve lost the upper hand. Now, I recommend using Goblin Minions (1hp low AC and damage monsters) to add a lot of enemies to the field without upping the danger level too much. Also, players love slicing through enemies. Description The only clue you have to the danger you find yourselves in is the ominous lack of sound in the area. The arrows come zinging in as the war cries rise up all around you. The Goblins have come. Combat Encounter: I recommend 2 Goblins for each player. 1 Standard Goblin and 1 Minion.

ACT 3: Goblin Hole

Eventually they’ll find the Goblin’s cavern. The cavern is a three-chamber location with a small network of passages. The goblins will use these passages to subvert, flank, and flee from the Adventurers. Now depending on what they’ve already done, the Goblins may or may not be ready for them. That detail will frame a lot of how the rest of this goes. Either way there should be guards and lookouts at the entrance of the cavern. They will also meet for the first time the Nilbog, who will mock and taunt them, claiming to have “ascended” to become The Chosen of Magubliet! Soon after, whether the players start it or the Goblins do, a fight will break out. The Nilbog should be killed during this confrontation, but it doesn’t mind. The nature of this kind of creature is that it simply jumps to another available Goblin in range.

Description There is a foul odor coming from this cavern. It smells of rotting meat, wet animal, and filth. Bones and totems adorn the entrance. A clear warning to trespassers that danger waits inside for you. There is also a strange feel to the air, as if something is "wrong" here.

EVENT: Goblin Guards The gates are guarded by the Nilbog, some minions, and typical goblins, maybe even a Goblin Captain. The players should be somewhat surrounded here, but near the mouth of the cavern so they could retreat for some cover if they need to. Description As you approach the entrance, a small wicked looking Goblin walks out of the darkness. "You're tough, I'll give you that. But you are not welcome here. This is Grim Hollow territory. Turn back or die. I won't give you another chance."

Likely Player Actions

  • Attack: Always the strongest possibility.
  • Talk it Out: The Nilbog is only interested in talking if the players are willing to uphold its claim to all of Grim Hollow and nearby areas. It will also taunt the players.
  • Leave: I suppose it could happen... it wont. If they do the Goblins will track them and ambush them at a good opportunity and throw everything they have at them! This would replace the "end" fight.

Combat Encounter: This shouldn't be a hard fight. The Nilbog actually wants them to kill it. That way it can jump into another Goblin and freak them out. I would use maybe 4 Goblins and the Nilbog.

EVENT: Didn't We Kill You? Soon after entering the cavern they’ll encounter a much larger group of Goblins, many of whom are hiding out of sight. Here they’ll meet the Nilbog again! It should make it abundantly clear that it is the same entity. This fight should be a bit tougher than the other fight.

Description You begin to get that feeling of being watched again. Rocks skitter nearby. You know the Goblins are close and preparing to attack. It is then you hear a whisper from the darkness. "I told you I wouldn't give you another chance to leave. But oh no you had to go try and kill me. Now it's my turn."

Combat Encounter: While this isn't the final encounter with the Nilbog and the Goblins, this should be a tougher one. I would run this in waves with a lot of minions. If you're using the provided maps you want this to ideally take place at the Wolf Pens and let them loose during the fight as well. During this fight the Nilbog should be killed and jump to another Goblin still nearby. Have them "see" the Nilbog Spirit actually do this. The newly possessed Nilbog will then flee the battlefield deeper into the cavern. You may have to do this more than once depending on initiative order.

ACT 4: Nilbog

Now begins their chase through the tunnels. If they missed it during the last fight, we will have to clue the players in to what is actually happening. Perhaps they catch it alone and have the Nilbog tell them as it kills itself to jump again. Maybe another fight? Or maybe some crude cave paintings detailing the story of the Grim Hollow Goblins somehow releasing the Nilbog from some sort of prison. A Jar, Box, Magic Lamp. Just about anything really. Once they’re aware of what’s happening, they’ll have to figure out how to best end the problem. Eliminate every Goblin in the area? Or capture the Nilbog and take it someplace it can’t cause problems? This is one of those player moments where they may come up with something really bonkers. Whatever they decide they’re now headed toward the final encounter.

They will eventually find their way into the main chamber of the Grim Hollow Clan. The Nilbog should at this point have possessed yet another Goblin. And it is also becoming agitated with how things are going. So rather than possess a tougher goblin, let’s have it possess a Goblin Booyagh! A little one, Booyagh’s can be really dangerous, and our fairly fresh adventurers won’t be ready for that. What I love about Booyagh’s is that every time they cast a spell a Wild Magic surge happens. Which can be an absolute blast… literally.

EVENT: Can We Talk? Once here have the Nilbog offer them a "fair" fight. It and his best warriors against the players. If the players win it surrenders. The Nilbog has no intention of fighting fair. Once a fight starts all the Goblins will attack.

Description: As you enter into the chamber you find goblins cowering in fear before you. The Chosen One stands up on a ledge flanked by torches. "Wait! We will kill you, but not before many more of my people die. I propose this instead. Our champions fight you to the death. If you win I will surrender.

Likely Player Actions

  • Kill Them All: This is what they almost certainly do.
  • Negotiate: This could help them as the Goblin Champions will all gather in the same spot and not be spread out.
  • Turn the Tables: They may try and do a fake out. Agree and then launch a "surprise" attack. Let them roll this out.

Combat Encounter: The encounter concept here is a large mob of enemies surging down on them. They should be surrounded by minions with both ranged and melee attacks. The Nilbog will use its magic without regard for the other goblins' lives. Hopefully they saved their scrolls.

  • Use as many minions as you need here.
  • As for the Champions: 1 Lesser Booyah (Nilbog), 2 Bugbears, 1 Goblin Boss.

CLOSING

Once they’ve killed the Nilbog or captured the Nilbog’s last host, they can head home. Now there area a few scenarios we should discuss. First let’s talk about capture. I rarely hit my players with a random encounter at the close of the adventure, but if I was going to this may be the spot. Why? Because if the players get into a tussle while transporting a captive, that prisoner is likely going to attempt to escape. And that can lead to more adventures and mayhem.

If that Nilbog gets away (and it should) you can bet your bottom dollar that it will return later to cause them trouble. The same goes with our other option, they killed it. This wily little creature surely had a back up host waiting somewhere nearby, which means no matter how they resolved the fight, this is far from over. And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing. For now though, no matter how they ended it, they get to go home and collect the promised reward.

REWARDS Your players were promised a reward, now I don't know what you have planned, but I like non traditional rewards. Of course I give my players "gold" and "treasures" but I also like to toss in some things that add some "local flavor" to the mix. In this case, since we're dealing with farming villages, I think a cow, a small flock of sheep or a herd of chickens would do quite nicely. What will your players do with such a mighty gift? Who knows but it always fun for you as the DM to watch them figure things like that out.

And I would also probably give them something useful as well. They're probably pretty interested in those Lesser Fireball scrolls. Which aren't produced locally, but maybe they get a voucher to go get more? Or maybe a locally made cart or vardo to have the new cow pull? They'll love that! It's like having their own camper!

THE END

Thanks for Playing

And that thanks is absolutely sincere. It means a lot to us as creators when people use and love our creations. If you enjoyed it please leave me some comments on wherever you found this adventure.

Looking to Support the work? Everything we produce is free to the community. If you’re interested in supporting our work contact us or give AMPLUS ORDO GAMES a quick search on the Ole World Wide Web. Almost all donations go to running games for an After School Group and a Retirement Community Group. Some go to pizza.

6 Comments
2024/01/27
14:59 UTC

47

The Trickster's Toolkit and the Conqueror's Arsenal - Two themed sets of magic items from Uncommon to Legendary rarity, with ready-to-print cards !

Hi there ! I'm Axel, aka BigDud from The Dud Workshop, a passionate DM who produces all kinds of third party content for your enjoyment.

Today, I bring you magic items from two legendary figures : the Trickster, a master of deception and subterfuge, and the Conqueror, an unstoppable commander intent on total domination.

The Trickster's Toolkit and the Conqueror's Arsenal are two sets of 5 themed magic items, from Uncommon to Legendary rarity. Reward your players with these relics from the long-dead legendary figures, or have them encounter the Trickster and Conqueror directly, and take these boons from them !

The set includes the following items from the Trickster's Toolkit :

- The Liar's Gleamer
- The Cards of Fate
- The Lock'In Key
- The Imposter's Canvas
- The Treads of the Echo

And the following items from the Conqueror's Arsenal :

- The Dread Banner
- The Gauntlets of Subjugation
- The Chains of Interrogation
- The Warden's Lament
- The Mark of Conquest

Print the cards, stick them together, and you're ready to go.

Get the whole package at once on my website, with the link below.

The Trickster's Toolkit

The Conqueror's Arsenal

or alternatively use these Imgur albums

The Trickster's Toolkit - IMGUR

The Conqueror's Arsenal - IMGUR


Card Dimensions : 63 x 88 mm (euro poker size) + 3 mm bleeds. I recommend printing on thicker paper -- e. g cardstock -- and in full color for the best visual result and comfort of use.

All art was made by BigDud using Krita, Midjourney and Photoshop.


If you liked the cards, check out my website at thedudworkshop.com, and some of my recent posts :

Scorcher and his buddies - 3 Hot and Single Elementals in your area

Claims from the Planes - 15 planar-inspired magic items

Thank you and keep your eyes out for more content like this !


The Trickster's Toolkit

The Liar's Gleamer

Wondrous item (coin), uncommon

A coin, but much more than a coin as well. Originally minted as part of Kuchari's first batch of gold coins, and intended to fund the purchase of ships to protect their waters, this coin was stolen by the kobold Qirk before it reached the public. After passing through a hundred hands, it made its way to "the Trickster", who enchanted it for unlawful purposes.

Adaptable. When pressed against another gold coin, the Gleamer takes its appearance. It returns to its normal form when its owner says its chosen command word.

Trickster's Luck. When flipping the Gleammer, its owner can mentally choose which side it will land on. The coin's sides imperceptibly shift to accommodate the chosen result. Creatures observing the coin flip can make a DC 20 Perception check to notice this enchantment.

Minor Animation. The owner of the Gleamer can spend ten minutes attuning it to another coin, turning the latter into a magical object. While a coin is enchanted in this way, it becomes a Tiny construct, indistinguishable from a normal coin until activated.

As an action, the construct's creator can command it to activate, causing it to grow small arms and legs, and gaining the ability to see through the sides of the animated coin by looking through the Gleamer's sides. The construct obeys its owner's mental commands, and is able to accomplish simple tasks like opening a pouch, sliding under a door, or hitting something to make noise. Once activated, the construct remains active for 10 minutes, after which its arms and legs disappear, and it returns to being just a coin.

Only one coin can be turned into a construct at the same time. Once this feature has been used, it cannot be used again the Gleamer has spent a night in a pouch full of gold coins.

"It's your lucky gold ! Don't put this one in your pocket, or it'll get mixed with the others and become just a coin. Which it is." - The Trickster to a confused patron (946 p. C)

The Cards of Fate

Wondrous item (cards), consumable, rare

Three cards from this deck are part of an enchanted set, long lost to time and spread across decks in the entire world.

As an action, you can tear a card in half, triggering its effect. Each card has two different effects that respectively activate if the card is torn while facing up or while reversed. Face-up effects target the carrier of the cards, while reversed effects target other creatures.

Unless specified otherwise, once a card has been activated, it disappears, taking the place of the same card in another tarot deck, somewhere else in the world.

###The Hermit :

Insight (Facing up). You can mentally ask up to three questions about a creature, location, or item you can see. The DM offers a truthful, yet cryptic reply, which might be a short poem, a saying, or an omen.

Isolation (Reversed). A creature of your choice within 60 ft must succeed on a DC 20 Charisma saving throw or be teleported to an empty pocket dimension for the next minute. While in the pocket dimension, the creature cannot be harmed nor affected by spells or other magical effects, but are incapacitated. At the end of the duration, the creature reappears in the closest unoccupied space to where it was before it was teleported.

###The Chariot :

Determination (Facing up). You are cleansed of all conditions and magical effects affecting you, positive or negative. If an effect would render you unable to take actions while you hold the card in your hand, the card activates automatically at the start of your turn, cleansing the effect.

Confusion (Reversed). A creature of your choice within 60 ft must succeed on a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw or become confused for the next minute, as if it was affected by the Confusion spell. The target doesn't remember being affected by this effect.

###The World :

Guidance. You learn of the safest path leading to a location or creature of your choice on your current plane of existence, that you know the name of. For the next year, as long as you remain within the same plane of existence as the destination, the path appears visually in front of you, guiding you towards the destination, although no other creatures can see it. If reaching the destination would require acquiring an artifact or the help of another creature or entity, you learn of their whereabouts, and the path leading to them. Once you reach the destination, the effect ends.

Homebound Curse: A creature of your choice within 60 ft becomes cursed by the card. The creature becomes bound to the area in which the effect was created. This area is at least a square mile in size, and is generally defined by having its own name. It can be a specific plain, a mountain range, a forest, the surroundings of a lake, a large city, or even a particularly massive estate.

While bound in this way, the creature cannot leave the area without facing struggle, such as suffering terrible weather, having their possessions break down, being hunted by beasts in the night, or constantly getting lost. The further they go from their bound location, and the longer they stay out of it, the worse the struggle gets, until they are eventually slain one way or another.

This card does not disappear into the world when used. Instead, it disappears to reform somewhere within the binding area, in a location of import, which can be a noble's safe, an ancient tomb, the hoard of a dragon, or a similar location. Until found by the cursed creature, the card remains inert, appearing as a normal tarot card to all but the cursed creature. The cursed creature can remove the curse affecting them by finding the card and touching it, which dispels its effects. When they do so, they are magically informed of the previous carrier's name, appearance, and location.

“In life, one must accept the cards they’re dealt. At least, most people have to. Personally, I prefer to cheat.” - The Trickster, hopping out a window after a successful game of cards.

The Lock'in Key

Wondrous item (key), rare (requires attunement)

The Lock'In Key can be used to create magical locks, or open magical doorways. Each of the key's functions can be used once, after which it must be recharged by leaving the key within a mundane lock overnight.

Lock In. As an action, the key can be pressed to any opening or container, which can be a door, a window, a gate, a chest, or another similar object, locking it with arcane power. It becomes impassable, unopenable, and cannot be destroyed until the effect is dispelled.

Only one opening or container can be locked at a time. Attempting to lock a second opening or container while one is already locked in this way causes the former effect to be dispelled.

The effect can be removed by forcing the lock open (DC 30 Strength check) or by dispelling its magic (DC 25 Arcana or Dispel Magic check).

Skeleton Key. As an action, the key can be inserted into any surface and turned, opening a phantasmal door and creating a magical hallway behind it. The hallway traverses that surface in a straight line until it reaches the nearest empty space, where it stops. The hallway is large enough for a Medium creature to move through unimpeded, and a Large creature to crawl through.

Removing the key from the surface it was inserted in makes the hallway disappear, pushing all creatures still within it to the nearest unoccupied space.

"The right words can open doors for you, or turn them into walls. Choose them carefully… or just use the window." - The Trickster to his apprentice (959 p. C)

The Imposter's Canvas

Wondrous item (canvas), uncommon

A simple, inconspicuous and unframed canvas, slightly smaller than the ones used by imperial painters. Its surface exudes an otherworldly sheen, like a reflective pool, that captures the essence of creatures painted upon it. While not in use, shifting images ripple across its surface like distant echoes of forgotten faces. A powerful tool, dangerous in any hands, especially talented ones.

While holding this canvas, you can make a Deception check and spend one minute observing another creature, and reproducing its traits upon the fabric. If you spend one hour making the portrait instead, you have advantage on this check. Creatures proficient with painter's tools gain a +5 bonus to this check. Once you've attempted this check, you cannot target the same creature with this ability again for the next 24 hours.

When the portrait is complete, the creature's image animates upon the canvas. As an action, you and any number of other creatures can then touch the canvas to infuse yourself with the observed creature's essence, changing your appearance and physicality to match it. You take the creature's appearance, matching its size, visual features, smell, and voice, but retain all your other characteristics. The more successful the Deception check to paint the target's image, the more accurate the disguise appears.

On a 20 or higher, you perfectly copy the target's appearance, and appear undistinguishable to the naked eye.

On a 15 to 19, discreet changes are visible to those familiar with the target, such as slightly misplaced scars, one too many teeth, or other easily overlooked mistakes.

On a 10 to 14, moderate changes are visible to all, such as missing or additional fingers, miscolored hair, a wrongly pitched voice, or other relatively apparent features.

On a 9 or less, the disguise is highly inaccurate, and looks immediately recognizable from the original target.

After touching the canvas, you remain disguised for one hour, after which the image disappears from the canvas, and all creatures having taken the target's appearance return to their original appearance.

"In the grand theater of deceit, observation becomes your backstage pass. Look carefully, my friend, and act quickly, for the best performers leave the audience with more questions than answers." - The Trickster to his apprentice, before the Heist of the Second Act (963 p. C)

Treads of the Echo

Wondrous item (boots), requires attunement, rare

Cloud of Mirrors. As an action, you can choose a point within 30 ft, creating a 10-foot wide illusory cloud at both the chosen location and your current location. As part of this action, you may swap your position with one Large or smaller creature within 10 ft of the chosen location.

The clouds last for one minute, lightly obscure vision, and hide the identity of all creatures within them, making them appear as shifting shapes that cycle to match the appearance of each creature. When activating this ability, you can choose any number of creatures, which are immune to the effect and see through the illusion.

Creatures attempting to target another creature within a cloud with attacks, spells or abilities, must make a DC 20 Perception or Investigation check. On a success, they recognize which creature is which, and can choose their target normally. On a failure, they must choose their target randomly between all creatures inside a cloud.

This ability can be used once, regaining its charge on a short or long rest.

Doppelwalk. As a bonus action, you can activate the boot's enchantment, creating an illusory double of yourself in a location of your choice within 5 ft of you. The double is indistinguishable from you, but cannot take actions other than moving, and is destroyed when you or it takes any damage, or when you attack or cast a spell. While the double is active, it automatically mirrors your movement and voice, going the opposite way as you at all times, as long as there is a clear path for it to do so. The double cannot move through objects or creatures.

Creatures attempting to target you with attacks, spells or abilities must make a DC 20 Perception or Investigation check. On a success, they recognize you from the double, and can choose their target normally. On a failure, they must choose their target randomly between you and the double.

The double lasts until the end of your next turn. While it is active, you can use a bonus action to swap your position with the double, destroying it.

This ability can be used twice, regaining its charge on a short or long rest.

"Every stride a riddle, every misstep a dance with the unknown. The fool may leave footprints, but the master leaves only echoes." - The Trickster's Musings (981 p. C)

The Conqueror's Arsenal

The Dread Banner

Wondrous item (war banner), rare (requires attunement)

Emboldening Presence. When rolling initiative, other creatures allied with the wielder and within 30 ft of the banner can add the wielder's proficiency bonus to their initiative rolls. In addition, their speed is increased by 10 ft until the start of their second turn in combat.

Aura of Dominion. As a bonus action, the wielder can plant the banner in the ground, releasing a wave of commanding energy which enhances the morale of allies and strikes fear into the hearts of enemies.

For the next minute, allies of the wielder starting their turn within 30 ft of the banner gain temporary hit points equal to the wielder's proficiency bonus, and have advantage on saving throws against being frightened until the start of their next turn.

Additionally, enemies of the wielder starting their turn within 30 ft of the banner have disadvantage on the next attack roll, ability check or saving throw they make.

This ability can be used once, regaining its use after a long rest.

Destructible. The banner has 15 AC and 30 hit points. If it reaches 0 hit points, it becomes inert, disabling its Emboldening presence and Aura of Dominion. The banner automatically reforms after a long rest.

"Let the quake of our step warn them of our relentless advance. Let them run, and hide, or stand and fight. No matter : they will bend before us, or they will break." - The Conqueror, to his troops, before the annexation of Girao (1051 p. C).

Gauntlets of Subjugation

Armor (plate gauntlets), requires attunement, very rare

Aura of Dominance. While wearing these gauntlets, you have advantage on Intimidation checks.

Dominating Grasp. As an action while wearing these gauntlets, you can attempt to grapple a Large or smaller creature within 5 ft of you. On a success, the target takes 4d6 psychic damage, and becomes dominated by you until the end of your next turn. The dominated creature regards you as a trusted superior during this time, and obeys verbal commands you give it to the best of its ability. The creature does not obey commands that are directly harmful to it without purpose, such as "jump off this cliff", or "swim through this lava", but will accomplish dangerous tasks with a purpose such as "fight this enemy" or "cause a distraction". After the effect ends, the creature becomes hostile again.

You can use this ability once, regaining its use on a long rest.

If a creature dies from the psychic damage of this ability, their corpse remains active for one round, behaving as if they were still alive, but under your control as if they were dominated by you. You also immediately regain a use of this ability.

Heave. As a bonus action while wearing these gauntlets, you can make a contested Strength (Athletics) check to attempt to heave a Large or smaller creature or object within 5 ft of you towards a direction of your choosing. On a success, the creature is tossed 30 ft in that direction, stopping if it encounters a creature or object of the same size or larger, and taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage for each 5 ft of distance remaining.

You can use this ability twice, regaining spent uses on a short rest. If you kill a creature with Dominating Grasp or Heave directly, you immediately regain all spent charges of this ability.

"One needs no diplomacy when strength alone can command obedience. When in your hands lies the power to shape destinies and forge empires, all you have to do is clench." - The Conqueror, after the sacking of Thurissos (1063 p. C)

Chains of Interrogation

Weapon (whip), heavy, two-handed, requires attunement, rare

Reach. These enchanted chains have a reach of 15 feet.

Scorching Metal. Attacks with these chains deal 1d4 + your Strength modifier bludgeoning damage and 1d6 fire damage.

Binding Chains. You can use these chains to attempt grappling a creature within 15 ft of you, and creatures grappled in this way have disadvantage on Strength (Athletics) checks to attempt breaking the grapple. You can only grapple one creature at a time with these chains.

Demand Truth. As an action while grappling a creature with these chains, you can activate their enchantments, searing the mind of the creature to force them to answer your questions. The creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw of DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier or become charmed by you for as long as it remains grappled. While charmed in this way, the creature cannot move, and must answer your next three questions truthfully, answering with a short phrase or at least a pertinent word.

Once you've used this ability on a creature, whether or not it succeeded on its saving throw, it becomes immune to the effect for the next 24 hours. Creatures that succeed on their saving throw by 5 or more become immune to this effect indefinitely.

"Like a conquered city, in my grip, truth is laid bare. Speak, soldier… your fortress of secrets is breached." - The Conqueror to a prisoner of war, during the siege of Pyrias (1078 p. C)

The Warden's Lament

Armor (plate armor), requires attunement, very Rare

Enchanted Armor. You gain a +1 bonus to armor class and saving throws when wearing this armor.

One Man Army. While wearing this armor, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical attacks when at least three hostile creatures are within 5 ft of you.

Additionally, when a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to attempt disarming them and gaining control of their weapon. Make a contested Strength (Athletics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check. On a success, you choose to drop their weapon at your feet, to toss it to an unoccupied space within 30 ft of you, or to equip it if you have hands free to do so.

Onslaught. As an action, you can activate the armor's properties, becoming an unstoppable force for the next minute. While this ability is active, you gain the following benefits :

  • Relentless Advance. You can move through other creatures' spaces without spending extra movement. If you've moved at least 15 ft during your turn, when you enter the space of a creature at most one size larger than you, it must make a Strength saving throw of DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier. On a failure, it is pushed 15 ft back in the opposite direction of the direction you moved into its space from.
  • Overwhelming Force. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack or a melee spell attack and deal more than half its hit points in damage, the creature is knocked prone.
  • Ruthless Execution. When you hit a prone, paralyzed, stunned, or unconscious creature with a melee weapon attack or a melee spell attack, you can roll the damage dice twice and take the higher result.

You can use this ability once, regaining its use on a long rest, or after having claimed a location of importance as your conquered land. This can be a small city, a fortress, a mountain pass, or another economically, strategically, religiously or culturally significant and named location.

"Rejoice, denizens of this conquered realm, for you are not prisoners but pioneers. The Conqueror's Dominion awaits your undying loyalty, but in return, together we shall weave the fabric of the greatest empire known to history." - The Conqueror's Herald, on the grand plaza of the capital of Ariath (1081 p. C)

The Mark of Conquest

Wondrous item (crest), requires attunement, legendary

The arcane art of land-marking is an esoteric practice, shrouded in mystery and mostly only wielded by entities of great natural power, such as hags or celestials. Able to subtly or drastically alter the nature of a region, transforming landscapes and altering the lives of its inhabitants, this form of magic is shunned amongst arcane practitioners ; misuse is frequent, and often leaves scars in the land that never truly heal.

Yet, to this day, the origin of the Conqueror's Crest remains a mystery. Unlike its more visible counterparts, the crest only minimally alters the physical landscape on which it is placed ; it's impact on its inhabitants, however, is profound.

Leave a Mark. As an action, while near an important landmark of a conquered area, such as a city hall, the peak of a mountain, or another similar location of significance, you can activate this crest to leave a Mark of Conquest. The Mark appears as a magical symbol of your faction, and provides you with influence over the conquered area, marking it as yours, granting you authority over it, and protecting it against your enemies.

Ward of Supremacy. The mark is protected by a magical barrier from those who would attempt breaking it. The barrier has 20 AC, 50 hit points, and is immune to fire and cold damage, as well as bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical attacks. If the mark is destroyed, a devastating shockwave of magical force radiates from it, dealing 25 (10d4) damage to all creatures within 300 feet.

Eversight. As an action, you can focus on any mark you've laid, allowing you to see and hear as if you were physically present at its location.

Tyrant's Resilience. You gain additional maximum hit points for each area conquered and marked with this crest. These benefits stack with each other, but only the first ten conquered locations of each type grant benefits to you.

Village : 1 maximum hit point (maximum of 10)

City : 1d4 hit points (maximum of 10d4)

Region : 1d8 hit points (maximum of 10d8)

Country : 2d8 hit points (maximum of 20d8)

Continent : 50 hit points (no maximum)

In addition to these abilities, the mark also affects the area in which it was placed.

Demoralizing Aura. Whenever a creature that is hostile to you and has an intelligence of 6 or more finishes a long rest within an area affected by the mark, they must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of you until the end of their next long rest, or until this effect is removed with a Dispel Magic spell or a similar ability. While frightened in this way, the creature cannot approach within 1000 ft of the mark's location.

Edict of Command. As an action, you can issue a shared and compelling command to all creatures of your choice within the marked area. Each creature must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failure, they must obey your command for the next 8 hours to the best of their ability, as long as the command cannot directly result in significant harm to themselves. For example, asking for creatures to work at a sawmill, despite the likeliness that some will suffer minor injuries, is acceptable ; asking for commoners to hunt a dragon, or other extremely dangerous tasks, causes the effect to end.

Eternal Conquest. If you would die while inside a marked area, or outside such an area but within 10 miles of its borders, you are instead teleported to the closest mark's location, where you appear with hit points equal to half your hit dice. The mark then shatters, breaking the influence of the crest over the area, and the crest becomes inert for the next month. Other marks placed in other locations as well as their Ward of Supremacy and Demoralizing Aura remain functional, but the crest cannot be used to lay new marks, or trigger Eversight, Edict of Command or Eternal Conquest until it becomes active again.

12 Comments
2024/01/18
10:51 UTC

69

The Archmage Laboratory (A one-page dungeon theft adventure for 3-4 lvl4 characters)

I made a new one-page dungeon adventure.

Here is the download file: https://sahaakgames.itch.io/the-archmage-laboratory

It includes a dungeon map, enemies info, rewards and a separated file for the puzzles.

As it's a one-page info is very compressed and DMs will need to fill the gaps, using this pamphlet as a base to develop their adventure.

Thanks for reading me!

ADVENTURE STARTS HERE

The laboratory of the famous archmage Belachor*, who lived more than two millennia ago, is a place filled with power and mysteries. There, the mighty wizard dedicated his life to researching and perfecting the arcane arts. It is believed that inside, numerous powerful magical artifacts are found, but no one has been able to venture inside because its doors are closed, protected by an enigmatic puzzle.*

D4 RANDOM TRAPS

  1. Arrow trap DC 15; DMG: 1d6

  2. Acid trap DC 15; DMG: 1d8

  3. Falling spiders DC 15; DMG: 1d4 + poisoned

  4. Spike pit DC 15; DMG: 2d6

D12 RANDOM TREASURE

  1. 3d10 gold coins

  2. Great healing potion

  3. Fine craft clothing

  4. Empty scrolls

  5. Arcane dust pile

  6. Glowing dust

  7. Fireball scroll (DMG 3d6)

  8. Magic missile scroll (lvl 5)

  9. High quality incense

  10. A bag of small gems

  11. Mandrake root

  12. Alchemy utensils

FINAL REWARD

Belachor cape: It adds an extra damage point to all magic missiles that the user cast.

Enemies

ANIMATED SWORD
Flying with the power of magic, this sword will attack as soon as it detects someone close.
(HP:20; AC:17; SP:50’; XP:50)
(STR:12; DEX:15; CON:11; INT:1; WIS:5; CHA:1)
(ATT: Longsword: +3 | 1d8+1)

TORPID BEHOLDER
A terrifying being, still somewhat dazed by its long magical sleep. Each eye can cast a ray spell
(HP:180; AC:18; SP:20’; XP:1000)
(STR:10; DEX:14; CON:18; INT:17; WIS:15; CHA:17)
(ATT: Scimitar: +6 | 1d6+3)

Flying creature: It hovers and try to avoid melee attacks by staying high enough.
Dark vision: Every eye can see in the dark at 120’
Antimagic cone: Beholder’s central eye creates an area of antimagic, as in the antimagic field spell, in a 150-foot cone.

The beholder shoots three of the following magical eye rays at random each turn:
Fear ray: targeted creature must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute.
Telekinetic ray: If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or the beholder moves it up to 30 feet in any direction.
Petrification Ray: Targeted creature must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature begins to turn to stone and is restrained.
Disintegration Ray: If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d8 force damage.
Death Ray: The targeted creature must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d10 necrotic damage.

The Laboratory

1. Players enter this big round room, filled with gold and copper pipelines. At the center there is a big gyroscope surrounded by eight orb stands. Five of them already has it’s orb, but three are missing and players must place them in order to teleport to room 6.

2. In this room, there are two bronze statues representing ancient archmages. On one side, there is a trapped chest containing a levitation scroll. In the center, there are four stone slabs with symbols from PUZZLE 1. If players align them correctly, the door to room 4 will open.

3. This spacious chamber is filled with large iron-plated cabinets, completely closed. At the back, there is a switch separated from the rest of the room by a deep chasm. If the players activate it, either with mage hand, an arrow, or by using a rope, the cabinets will open, revealing various random loot and one of the magical orbs.

4. This is the armory, although it is dusty, and the wooden furniture is decayed, there are still plenty of basic weapons in good condition and one of the magical orbs next to a weapon display. However, when the heroes attempt to examine it, three swords will come to life, attacking the players. They must make a DC 18 DEX saving throw for each sword to dodge the surprise attack or take 1d8 damage for each hit.

5. A ruined room filled with debris. Upon thorough search, players can find a magic orb and the symbol guide.

6. A rectangular room completely empty except for four chests with random loot, two of them trapped.

7. A large central platform dominates this room. At the corners are the PUZZLE 2 slabs, when aligned, the system will activate, allowing the switch next to the platform to be activated, transporting the entire platform to room 8.

8. A small room with just enough space for the magic platform. A warning about the traps in the next hallway can be read.

9. A long hallway filled with random traps. The middle section contains net traps that will catch the players and activate the statues, which will attack everything within a 10’ radius without moving, causing 1d10 damage.

FINAL FIGHT

Upon entering the enormous and luxurious laboratory, a creaky iron trapdoor will swing open. The Beholder awakens from its long slumber and attacks the players as soon as it sees them.

PUZZLES

For puzzles you need to download the files (for free), as there is a guide to provide the players with hints as well as the solutions for the DM.

7 Comments
2024/01/17
11:43 UTC

35

Some fun grappling rules I made, designed to give the fighters of the party something to do other than attack again and again. I would love it if I could get some feedback and other ideas.

As an action, a creature can attempt a normal grapple if they have at least one free hand. This is a ‘simple grapple’. The creature can maintain the grapple for free and can continue to take other actions while holding a simple grapple, and as per usual can move while dragging the creature.

As an action, a creature can turn a simple grapple into a special grapple. A creature can immediately begin a special grapple if the target is prone, restrained, paralyzed, charmed by the grappler or one of their allies, stunned, or blinded. All special grapples have the following changes:

  • It takes an Action to maintain the grapple.
  • The grappler cannot take any action other than maintaining the grapple, except for spells that do not require somatic components. The victim can perform all actions except Dodge and somatic casting .
  • If the grappler can move, they only do so as if in unnatural difficult terrain.

The special grapples are;

Choke

The grappler begins strangling the target. While in a choke hold, a creature cannot make noise until it is free. If a creature fails to escape the grapple three times in a row, they are knocked unconscious. If the grapple is maintained for a fourth round, the creature suffocates and dies. A choke has no effect against undead or constructs. A creature that can hold their breath for an increased time, such as lizardfolk, are affected in the same way, as a choke hold also restricts blood flow to the brain (which even lizardfolk need).

Subdue

The grappler pins the target against the ground or a wall. A subdued creature has disadvantage on their attempts to break the grapple. While a subdue grapple is maintained, the grappler/victim are effected by the following:

  • The creature is considered prone.
  • The speed of the creature is reduced to 0ft.

It takes three actions spread out across any number of turns to restrain a subdued creature using a rope, chain, or similar tool. This can be done either by a third creature, or by the grappler. However, if the grappler does it the victim will no longer have disadvantage on attempts to escape.

Hostage

The grappler uses the target as a human shield. While a creature is in a hostage grapple, they provide three quarters cover for the grappler, in a direction decided by the grappler. If a ranged attack misses the grappler, the attack instead hits the victim.

Whenever the victim makes an attempt to break the grapple, the grappler can make an opportunity attack against the victim with advantage, regardless of whether the victim succeeds or not.

Carry

The grappler hoists the target over his or her shoulder. The target cannot be a size larger than the grappler. While carrying a target, the grappler no longer is considered in difficult terrain, can take all actions and no longer must use an action to maintain the grapple. The victim has advantage on attempts to escape unless they are a size smaller than the grappler.

The grappler can end the carry as an action, dropping the victim prone in an unoccupied space 5ft away. When this happens, a final grapple contest is rolled. Whoever wins decides the location of where the target is dropped.

Changing Grapple Type

The grappler can use their action to change the kind of special grapple they are using, or even revert it back to a simple grapple. This can be part of the action used to maintain the grapple.

Grappling from Concealment

If a creature is concealed, they can execute a special grapple immediately, and for the first initial grapple contest the grappler has advantage. In addition, they may substitute any Athletics check with Acrobatics during the grapple. A creature who is blinded will have disadvantage to escape a grapple from concealment.

13 Comments
2024/01/17
07:51 UTC

158

Red Mask Inn: a scalable horror one-shot (levels 1-10)

[PWYW] Red Mask Inn: a scalable horror one-shot (levels 1-10)

This is my favorite thing I've written so far. My players who play-tested the adventure had a blast so I hope you all will enjoy it as well.


Upon entering a seemingly innocuous tavern, players quickly realize it’s not the refuge they expected. The innkeeper and his ‘daughter,’ the serving girl, are not what they seem. Beneath their facades lie malevolent beings with a taste for their guests. Facing both mental and physical trials, the players must outwit these monsters before they become the evening’s special.

The players will start their ordeal facing terrifying nightmares. Upon awakening, they must navigate a series of horror-themed rooms intended to weaken them before the ultimate showdown with the “hosts.” Victory over them will not be the end, as they must then escape the crumbling pocket dimension in which they’re trapped.

This module can serve as a standalone one-shot adventure or seamlessly integrate into an ongoing campaign. It’s adaptable to any location or setting and offers scalability for various levels. While the default tone leans toward the darker side, feel free to adjust it to suit your campaign’s ambiance.

This adventure may last between 3 to 6 hours, varying based on the extent to which you utilize the module’s content and your players’ decisions.

Includes:

  • 10 nightmares for your PCs
  • 10 horrifying rooms
  • An epic showdown with an action-oriented final boss Red Mask as well as The Hunger.
  • Instructions for scaling the adventure.
  • Helpful DM tips that will make prep and running a breeze
  • 3 battle maps
  • Custom Monster stat blocks and tokens

Art attribution: DALL·E 3 Created in homebrewery


Previous Work:


Preview of what I could fit into this post - had to cut some info to fit into the limit:

NPCs

  • Redd Traskin - At first glance: The welcoming face behind the bar, always ready with a drink and a story about his culinary adventures. Lurking beneath is a creature known as Red Mask: a malevolent being who ensnares victims with harrowing dreams, rendering them helpless before he claims and cooks them.

  • Nara Traskin - On the surface a seemingly aloof barmaid, introduced as Redd's "daughter", with a penchant for keeping to herself and often notably reserved. But beneath that exterior she is The Hunger, a fearsome entity with a singular, overpowering mission: to satiate her eternal appetite.

  • (Optional) Other guests - a young couple with a child

    • Brent Haskill (26) - Husband of the young couple, blacksmith, friendly, introverted
    • Raida Haskill (25) - Wife of the young couple, leatherworker, gregarious, warm
    • Breeni Haskill (7) - Daughter

Scaling the Adventure

Effect & Trap Damage

LevelLight DamageMedium DamageSerious Damage
11d4+1 (3)1d6+2 (5)1d10+2 (7)
21d6+2 (5)1d8+3 (7)2d6+3 (10)
31d8+2 (6)2d6+3 (10)2d8+4 (13)
41d10+2 (7)2d8+3 (12)3d6+5 (16)
51d10+3 (8)2d10+3 (14)3d8+5 (19)
62d6+3 (10)3d6+4 (17)4d6+6 (20)
72d6+4 (11)3d8+4 (18)4d8+6 (24)
82d8+4 (13)3d10+4 (20)5d6+7 (27)
92d10+4 (15)4d6+5 (19)5d8+7 (31)
103d6+5 (16)4d8+5 (23)6d8+8 (35)

DCs

LevelEasyMediumHard
1-3101418
4-6121620
7-10141822

The Inn at the Cross Roads

At the crossroads, a quaint inn catches your eye. Its simple two-story structure, with walls of weathered wood and a stone base, exudes a rustic charm. A single horse is tethered to a wagon nearby, hinting at the presence of other travelers.

A wooden sign, hand-carved and swinging in the evening breeze, reads "Red Mask Inn" in neatly scrolled letters. Below the name are two theatrical masks, the smiling Comedy and crying Tragedy.

DM Notes

For a one-shot adventure, consider giving the one-shot a different name than "Red Mask Inn" to serve as a red herring. Whether you're running a campaign or a one-shot, you can utilize the classic trope of the characters either meeting at the inn or using it as a place to rest and gather information.

Describe the inn as an unassuming, typical roadside establishment, creating an atmosphere of a routine stop for the travelers. In a campaign, it's ideal to introduce this inn after the group has already faced some encounters in the days before. This timing helps to set the stage for what follows, making the inn seem like a normal, much-needed, resting point in their journey.

Inside the inn

As you push open the creaky door of the Red Mask Inn, you're greeted by the comforting warmth of a crackling fireplace and the rich aroma of hearty stew. The inn's interior is cozy, with wooden beams and a few round tables scattered across the room.

Behind the bar stands Redd Traskin, the owner and bartender of the inn. He's a robust man with a warm smile, busy polishing glasses but always ready to strike up a conversation. As you approach, he greets you with a jovial voice, "Welcome, travelers! You must be famished. Our stew today is particularly good, made with fresh herbs from the garden!"

Moving between the tables with a tray in hand is Nara, Redd’s daughter. She seems to be in her own world, efficiently serving patrons but with a distant look in her eyes. If players attempt to interact with her, she responds politely but briefly, maintaining a professional distance.

Seated at a corner table is a young couple with their child. The man, Brent Haskill, has the sturdy build of a blacksmith, while his wife, Raida, radiates warmth and friendliness. Their daughter, Breeni, is a bundle of energy, her eyes wide with curiosity as she looks around the inn. Breeni seems particularly interested in the adventurers, especially if there's a female-presenting member or someone who looks like a seasoned adventurer in the group. This presents a great opportunity for roleplaying and helps to engage the players with these NPCs.

Going to bed

Each room costs 3 sp per night. If your players are cautious, they may decide to set a watch. Ask for the watch order. For the first person on watch: if they ate or drank at the inn, they must make a CON saving throw against the HARD DC ___. Failure results in them falling asleep during their watch.

After some time if a player is not asleep because they (1) did not eat or drink at the inn, (2) succeeded on their Constitution saving throw, or (3) are immune to magical sleep (e.g. due to a feature like Fey Ancestry), they notice something peculiar. The lights in the tavern, if any were lit, suddenly dim, and the normal nighttime sounds from outside the tavern abruptly stop.

This player may try to help wake up the other players as they have their nightmares (see next section). This gives the players advantage on their saving throws.

Dreadful Reveries

Party members who fall asleep will experience nightmares. You can create unique nightmares (plumb your player's back stories or campaign events for ideas) or use the provided list for inspiration. Each dream culminates in a save attempt, allowing players to choose between a WIS, INT, or CHA saving throw, depending on their character's mental strengths. End each nightmare description with "Roll a mental save using your preferred stat." If they fail to wake up, they suffer LIGHT, or MEDIUM if they fail the check by more than 5, non-lethal psychic damage. If they roll a Natural 1 on their save, they gain one level of exhaustion. Either way on a failed save they slip into another dream. The initial save DC is set at HARD and should decrease by one level for each subsequent attempt. It is recommended to do not more than 3 nightmares. If another character is attempting to wake them or if they have abilities that aid in resisting mental effects, they may make the save with advantage.

Nightmares

  1. It's night. You are running through the woods. Brambles and thorns rip at your skin. Something is chasing you, and it's gaining. You hear it coming closer and closer. You stumble, fall, and it's on your back, ready to strike…
  2. You are on a ledge of a narrow cliff. The wind howls, and the rain buffets you. Lightning briefly illuminates the world, revealing jagged rocks hundreds of feet below. Your foot slips, your fingers lose their grip. You begin to fall…
  3. [Not for characters with water breathing] You are underwater. Seaweed tangles around your legs and feet as you try to orient yourself. There is no up, no down. Your lungs burn, and when you can no longer hold your breath, brackish, dirty water rushes down your throat…
  4. You are in a coffin. You don't know how long you've been here. You push up on the lid but the weight of the dirt above renders your effort futile. Your fingers bleed as you scratch through the wood, trying to reach the freshly dug earth. The air grows heavier, and you feel yourself slipping away…
  5. The stars above are beautiful. You try to keep fear at bay, hoping your ship will return. But deep down, you know they won't find you in the vast, uncaring ocean. As you hear a splash to your right, you turn to glimpse a notched fin that was heading in your direction submerge under the water...
  6. The reflection in the mirror isn't you. You chant this mantra, yet the creature in the glass tilts its head mockingly and whispers, “No, not you. Not yet!” Its gnarled hands creep forward, attempting to breach the barrier of the silvered glass...
  7. The cave-in is a minor setback. You've found an exit after an hour. A set of hand-holds lead up towards the surface. In your haste, you squeeze through a narrow ledge. Suddenly, you're stuck, the pressure on your chest blurring your vision and clouding your mind, fresh air just out of reach…
  8. You walk through city streets, unnoticed by the teeming crowd. A growing sense of wrongness intensifies as the figures turn toward you. You only have a moment to dread as you see their faceless heads, when they all then converge on you as one…
  9. After leaving the warm tent, the cold seemed bearable. But a stinging wind and swirling snow soon disorient you. It feels warmer; you shed layers, mistaking deadly cold for heat. You stumble into the soft snow, deciding to rest, just for a minute…
  10. It's twilight in the woods. A dead tree in a clearing, covered in birds, crows or ravens, hard to tell. More cawing, flapping wings, and suddenly, the birds take flight, sharp beaks and claws going for your eyes…

Players Awaken

Once all the players awaken, they will likely attempt to figure out their situation. Should they look out the window, they will see the outside world; however, this view is merely an illusion. Efforts to break through walls, floors, and ceilings will prove futile. Furthermore, utilizing teleportation magic, such as dimension door and plane shift, appears ineffective, except for local effects like misty step or dimension door to a visible location.

Upon opening the door, the players will discover themselves in a long corridor, extending hundreds of feet. The only doors in this corridor are those leading to the PCs' rooms, the room of a young couple, and a black door at the far end of the hallway. Horrified moans and screams emanate from the young couple’s room. If the players choose to intervene and break in, they will find the couple and their daughter inside, all of whom are also experiencing nightmares and can be awakened by the players.

As the PCs make their way down the hallway, they come across a collection of strikingly realistic portraits. Each one captures a different being - humans, dragonborn, gnomes, and more - from a wide spectrum of ages, genders, and races. The subjects are dressed in everything from opulent clothes to plain rags, and some are even armored, weapons in hand. But there's one unsettling similarity across all these portraits: every face is frozen in an expression of sheer terror.

At the end of the hallway, they find the black door, which is unlocked.

Rooms

Upon entering, the PCs have a series of rooms you will guide them through. You can either craft your own rooms or use those included in this adventure. Players might attempt to take a Short Rest in some rooms, and it's up to you whether to allow it or not. You want the PCs battered, but not spent for the final confrontation. If you choose to deny them the rest, narrate psychic pressure to move out of the room - leading to psychic damage on refusal.

The Library

As the party steps into a dimly lit room, they're surrounded by towering bookshelves. The books around them seem to be whispering secrets of forbidden knowledge. Each player needs to make a MEDIUM WIS saving throw to avoid taking MEDIUM non-lethal psychic damage from the eldritch knowledge trying to worm into their brain, with the damage halved if they succeed. Those players naturally drawn to knowledge, like Wizards and Bards, will find this more challenging and must make the throw at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, those less inclined towards books, like Barbarians or Fighters, will have advantage. It's up to you as the DM to decide these advantages and disadvantages based on your characters' proclivities.

DM Notes
  • Use this section as a chance to weave in some of your world's lore. It's a perfect opportunity for players to uncover hidden aspects of your campaign's universe.
  • While the books in this room can be physically taken, to avoid players hoarding countless volumes, consider describing how some books disintegrate into ash as soon as they're opened.
The Memory Gallery

In this sparsely furnished room, the walls are adorned with striking paintings of landscapes, ranging from mountain vistas to sunsets over the ocean, and serene forest clearings. As the PCs explore these paintings, focus on one PC and bring a distressing memory from their backstory to life, using the painting they are viewing as the backdrop. This scene then animates before the players. The PC at the center of this memory is faced with a HARD WIS saving throw, with the risk of taking SERIOUS non-lethal psychic damage upon failure, or half the damage if they succeed. Meanwhile, other PCs witnessing this scene must make an EASY WIS save to avoid LIGHT non-lethal psychic damage, suffering no damage on a successful save. Breeni’s past interactions with the affected PC could play a role here. Breeni may hug the PC, granting them advantage on their saving throw.

The Mirror Chamber

In the mirror chamber, walls lined with ornate, grimy mirrors reflect distorted and grotesque images of the adventurers. The air is thick, filled with the unsettling scent of iron and decay. Suddenly, their reflections lunge out of the glass, materializing into tangible, malevolent doppelgängers that attack, forcing the party to confront twisted versions of themselves.

Choose a character's favorite or iconic attack or spell and use it against each player. A single hit on the mirror version or the mirror itself is enough to destroy it.

The Dining Hall

The long wooden table is laden with rotting food: fruit covered in mold, meat moving with maggots, and bread so stale it looks fossilized, all set among goblets filled with a murky, clotting liquid that might have once been wine. Nearby, a platter holds what appears to be a human hand, its skin cooked to a crisp and its fingernails garnished with sprigs of wilted herbs. The foul stench of decay and spoiled meat permeates the room, mingling with the unsettling, almost palpable aura of dread. Players must make a MEDIUM CON saving throw. On a failure, gain the poisoned condition, lasting for 1d4 rooms.

The Hospital Room

Several linen-covered beds on the far side of the room are splattered with dried blood. Bone saws with jagged teeth and other cruel implements are neatly arranged on a side table, gleaming ominously in the torchlight. Drawers with various medical supplies are left half-closed. Several vials labeled as "Healing Potions" sit on a nearby shelf. A MEDIUM Arcana or Medicine check will determine these are actually poison (1d4+1 poison damage). The party may choose to remain here and use some of the supplies to heal up - can be used as a Short Rest opportunity.

The Bathroom

A decrepit wooden bathtub sits in the corner, filled with a stagnant, dark liquid that occasionally bubbles as if something lurks beneath the surface. Next to the bathtub, a stone toilet fixture stands as if hewn directly from the chamber's walls, its bowl filled with an unidentifiable, viscous substance that seems to churn of its own accord. Faint, grotesque sketches are etched into the stone around the toilet, depicting unsettling scenes that make you question the sanity of previous occupants. Blood spatters mar the cracked tiles, leading to a cracked tarnished mirror that reflects a distorted image of anyone who dares to look.

If anyone gets within 5 ft of the bathtub, tentacles will try to grapple them (MEDIUM Escape DC). The tentacles will also deal MEDIUM amount of bludgeoning damage on a successful grapple. Any damage to the tentacles (AC 12) will release the PC.

The Greenhouse

The greenhouse is a labyrinth of overgrown, twisted plants, their leaves unnaturally dark and thorns menacingly sharp. A misty, almost phosphorescent fog hangs low, casting a sickly green glow over everything, and making it hard to see what lurks in the corners. Amongst the flora, the party can spot several cages containing withered remains of animals and, disturbingly, a few humanoid shapes — all twisted in expressions of agony, as if the plants themselves had consumed them.

Monster encounter, balance for your party:

Level RangeMonster
1-3Twig Blight (MM 32)
Needle Blight (MM 32)
Vine Blight (MM 32)
4-6Shambling Mound (MM 270)
Wood Woad (VGtM 198)
Yellow Musk Creeper (TftYP 248)
Animated Tree (VGtM 207)
Assassin Vine (MM 22)
7-10Corpse Flower (MToF 127)
Tree Blight (CoS 230)

To make things more diffcult for the players, you can also add an additional MEDIUM CON saving throw against the fog's effects, with the players taking LIGHT poison damage on failure. Altering the number of monsters is another effective method for adjusting the challenge level. Additionally, if you're looking to incorporate different types of monsters, don't hesitate to use homebrew or reflavored monsters.

The Dollmaker’s Studio

This encounter is crafted to be a psychological challenge, focusing on engaging the players' imaginations more than offering a physical fight or puzzle. Let the players' minds race, watching as their paranoia intensifies, thereby adding depth and tension to the gameplay.

The Dollmaker's Studio is a cluttered space, filled with shelves of dolls ranging from eerily lifelike to grotesquely misshapen. A workbench sits at the center, covered with doll parts, spools of thread, and oversized needles that appear too large for regular doll-making. The air in the studio is thick with the scent of varnish and aged fabric. As the party navigate the room, there's an unnerving feeling that the glass eyes of the dolls are tracking your movements.

At a key moment, make it known that one of the dolls bears a striking resemblance to a member of the party. As the exploration continues, the group will find more dolls that resemble other party members. For an extra twist of unease, consider choosing a player that doesn't have a doll counterpart, introducing an intriguing element to the scenario.

The Bar

The barroom is dimly lit by tarnished chandeliers that cast ghostly flickers across worn wooden floorboards. A long, decaying bar counter dominates one side of the room. Its surface is stained and pockmarked, lined with bottles containing strange, discolored liquids. The stools around the bar are unsteady, emitting ominous creaks under the slightest pressure. Notably, one stool bears an unsettling stain, reminiscent of dried blood.

If players choose to consume any of the bottles, roll on the table below to determine the effects. Generally, it's not recommended to allow more than one potion per player (drinking more than one results in vomiting). If an effect doesn't apply to a character, or another player already drank the potion rolled, roll again. The effects last until the end of the adventure. A MEDIUM DC Alchemist Tools, Herbalist Kit or Arcana Check will reveal the properties of the potions. An EASY DC check may reveal partial properties.

#NameLiquid DescriptionEffect Description
1Reckless FuryA swirling red potion with fiery sparks.[Primary Melee Classes] Every melee attack is treated as reckless (attack is rolled with Advantage, but any attack against the player is rolled with Advantage as well until their turn).
2Luck be a lady tonightA two-layered liquid, gold over silver.Grants inspiration to the player, and GM gets to force disadvantage at a time of their choosing.
3Unstable TeleportA misty, shifting blue and gray potion.Gain the ability to cast the Misty Step spell at will. Roll 1d20 for uncertain destination, appearing in a location of DM's choice on 1-10.
4Size ShiftA violet fluid with bubbles.Changes creature size from Medium to Small. No effect on Small creatures.
5Spell RejuvenationA glowing, pulsating emerald drink.[Primary Spellcaster Classes] Restores one highest level spent spell slot but causes causes one level of exhaustion.
6Speed SurgeA quicksilver potion with streaks of lightning.Doubles speed but causes jitteriness, disadvantage on Dexterity checks and saves.
7Painful RetaliationA dark crimson liquid with a thorny vine motif.As a bonus action you can choose to harm a creature at will, causing MEDIUM psychic damage, but take half the damage yourself.
8Statue DefenseA solid gray potion with flecks of stone.As a reaction to taking damage, you can choose to become an invulnerable statue to negate the triggering damage. You are invulnerable and petrified until the end of your next turn.
9Charge of the BullA red potion with a swirling vortex.Gain a powerful charge attack: If you can move at least 10ft in a straight line, you can make an attack. If the attack hits, it is treated as a critical hit, and the target is knocked prone. If the attack misses, the player takes MEDIUM bludgeoning damage, is knocked prone, and lands 10 feet past the target.
10Clumsy MightA creamy potion with bubbles.Advantage on Strength checks and saves but disadvantage on Dexterity-based tasks.
The Stalking Statues

The room is a vast, dimly-lit chamber with four stone statues positioned in various states of distress; their faces contorted in silent screams or buried in their hands as if weeping. The flickering light from a dying chandelier dances across their features, casting ominous shadows that seem to move. Describe the chandelier as flickering in and out. In the darkness, the statues seem to move closer and closer.

You can treat this room narratively to unsettle the players, or turn it into an encounter. For an encounter, roll initiative (the statues always act at the end of the initiative order, and only on rounds when the lights are out). Every other round, either cover the map if playing in person, switch to a blank map on a VTT, or, if using theater of the mind, simply narrate the lights going out. The statues can only move in darkness, which is magical. Some players may have the ability to see through magical darkness. In such cases, the movement of the statues is visible to those players. Players who cannot see in the darkness can move but must declare their directions and distances. The door at the end of the room is unlocked when all statues are destroyed or by using the Knock spell.

Stalking Statues

Medium Construct, neutral evil


Armor Class :: 18 (natural armor) Hit Points :: 3 MEDIUM hits Speed :: 20 ft (can move only in darkness)


STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
14 (+2)11 (+0)13 (+1)1 (-5)3 (-4)1 (-5)
___
Damage Immunities :: poison, psychic
Condition Immunities :: blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses :: Blindsight 60 ft.
Languages :: None

Antimagic Susceptibility. The statue is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the statue must succeed on a CON saving throw against the caster's spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute. : False Appearance. While the statue remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal statue. : Dark Step. The statue can only move in darkness. It moves silently. It may not take the dash action. All attacks automatically hit.

Actions

Multiattack. The statue makes two melee attacks if the APL is 4+, and three melee attacks if the APL is 7+. : Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: automatically hits, reach 5ft., one target. Hit MEDIUM bludgeoning damage. : Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: automatically hits, reach 5ft., one target. Hit MEDIUM piercing damage. : Grapple. Roll Contested Athletics vs Atheltics or Acrobatics. The statue rolls with Advantage. Reach 5ft., one target. MEDIUM escape DC to break free.

Final Confrontation

Suggested flavor text - read in your own voice / tone: : You walk through the door to find yourself in a vast, open kitchen. The air is heavy with the scent of pots boiling over low flames, their contents a mystery. Shadows flicker and stretch across the walls, animated by the dim firelight.

Above, cured meats hang from hooks, swaying slightly in the draft. The countertops are littered with a variety of sinister-looking knives and butchery tools, their edges catching the light with an ominous glint.

At the center of this daunting scene stand Redd and Nara. Redd greets you with a malicious smile. “Now that you’ve been properly tenderized, it’s time for the main course!” he says. In a chilling display, he reaches for his face and peels it away as if it were a mask, revealing the ghastly sight of raw muscles, pulsing veins, and exposed nerves.

Next to him, Nara stands with an unsettling calm. Her hands begin to unnaturally stretch and contort, transforming into deadly claws. As she grins, her mouth widens unnervingly, unveiling a row of sharp, predatory teeth.

Monstrous Hosts

Redd Traskin, also known as Red Mask, and Nara Traskin, known as The Hunger, have hidden their monstrous nature for years by disguising themselves as the friendly innkeepers of the Red Mask Inn. They lure travelers with warmth and hospitality, only to ensnare them in a nightmarish trap. Through their powers of perception and emotion manipulation, they torment their victims in an alternate dimension, relishing the fear and suffering they create. All the while, they maintain their facade as ordinary innkeepers, continuing their sinister feast on unsuspecting guests.

Lair Actions


Initiative :: At initiative order 20, use one of the lair action options


Scalding Water: Boiling water erupts from pots in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a MEDIUM DEX saving throw, taking MEDIUM fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. : Slippery Floors: The floor becomes slick with oil and grease. For the next round, any creature moving across the floor must make a MEDIUM DEX saving throw or fall prone. You can avoid this by moving at half speed, but you must declare this before moving. : Whirling Blades: Blades whirl in a line 50 feet long and 5 feet wide. Each creature in the line must make a MEDIUM DEX saving throw, taking MEDIUM piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. : Flour Explosion: A cloud of flour ignites in a 30-foot radius centered on a point within the lair. Each creature in that area must make a MEDIUM DEX saving throw, taking MEDIUM fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

DM Notes

HP: The HP listed in the stat blocks are simply a guideline. Balance to your party, making sure that the combat lasts some time, but doesn't drag on too long. : Villain Actions: Red Mask utilizes villain actions. This is an action he can take at any point after a PCs action, but limited to one per round.

Red Mask

Medium monstrosity, chaotic evil


APLACHP
1-31430±10
4-61660±10
7-101890±10

Speed :: 30 ft


APLSTRDEXCONINTWISCHA
1-312 (+1)14 (+2)13 (+1)10 (+0)12 (+1)10 (+0)
4-614 (+2)16 (+3)15 (+2)12 (+1)14 (+2)10 (+0)
7-1016 (+3)18 (+4)17 (+3)14 (+2)16 (+3)10 (+0)
___
Condition Immunities :: frightened, charmed
Damage Resistances :: fire, acid, poison, necrotic
Senses :: darkvision 60 ft.
Languages :: Common, Deep Speech
___
Terrifying Unmasking. When the mask comes off, each creature within sight must make a WIS or CHA saving throw against an EASY DC. On a failed save, the creature becomes frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
:
Magic Resistance. Red Mask has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
:

Reactions

I think not! (3/day) As a reaction, Red Mask can choose to succeed on a failed check. However, this requires mental fortitude, so he takes MEDIUM non-lethal psychic damage to do so.

Actions

Multiattack. The Red Mask makes two melee attacks if the APL is 4+, and three melee attacks if the APL is 7+. : Misty Step. Red Mask can cast Misty Step at will as a bonus action. : Butcher’s Knife. Melee Weapon Attack: reach 5ft., one target.

APLto hit bonusdamage
1-3+4LIGHT
4-6+6MEDIUM
7-10+8MEDIUM

Villain Actions

How's My Cooking? Any creature that ate food in the tavern must make a MEDIUM CON saving throw or be incapacitated with retching as rotten, maggoty food comes back up. The effect lasts until the end of the affected creature's turn. : Time to Eat! Nara can move up to her speed towards a target and make a bite attack as part of the same action. : See What Awaits You! Red Mask unleashes a wave of mental horror, showing the victims horrific images of previous guests being butchered and eaten. Each creature within sight must succeed on an EASY WIS saving throw or take MEDIUM non-lethal psychic damage.

Tactics

The Hunger prefers hit-and-run tactics, targeting the least armored or most injured characters. If the characters try to focus fire on Red Mask, narrate The Hunger turning it's attention to the Haskill family.

She will try to Bite as at least one of her attacks to keep regenerating hit points.

Nara, The Hunger

Medium monstrosity, chaotic evil


APLACHP
1-31430±10
4-61660±10
7-101890±10

Speed :: 50 ft


APLSTRDEXCONINTWISCHA
1-312 (+1)14 (+2)13 (+1)10 (+0)12 (+1)10 (+0)
4-614 (+2)16 (+3)15 (+2)12 (+1)14 (+2)10 (+0)
7-1016 (+3)18 (+4)17 (+3)14 (+2)16 (+3)10 (+0)
___
Condition Immunities :: frightened, charmed
Damage Resistances :: necrotic, piercing, bludgeoning, slashing
Senses :: darkvision 60 ft.
Languages :: Common, Deep Speech
___
Voracious Perception. Once The Hunger has tasted the flesh of a creature, it can track the creature by smell, effectively gaining blindsight with a range 30 feet for that creature.
:
Wall Crawler. With spider-like agility, The Hunger adheres to terrain, crawling along walls and ceilings to approach its victims.
:
Fleet-footed The Hunger's rapid movements give it a speed of 50 feet, and enemies trying to make opportunity attacks do so with a disadvantage.

Reactions

Bloodthirsty Pursuit. If a creature within 30 feet of The Hunger uses a teleportation ability or spell to escape, The Hunger can use its reaction to immediately teleport to a space adjacent to the escaping creature.

Actions

Multiattack. The The Hunger makes two melee attacks if the APL is 4+, and three melee attacks if the APL is 7+. : Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: reach 10ft., one target. If target not armored, or on a critical hit, add bleed damage for 1d3 rounds. This damage does not stack on multiple hits, instead use the highest rolled value for damage and rounds rolled. This effect can only be removed by magical healing. : Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: reach 5ft., one target. On a successful hit, deal damage as normal, and The Hunger regenerates half of the damage dealt as hit points.

APLto hit bonusdamagebleed from claws
1-3+4LIGHT1d2
4-6+6MEDIUM1d4
7-10+8MEDIUM1d6

The Collapse

With the death of its hosts, the reality of this pocket dimension begins to unravel. This is a perfect time to deploy a Skill Challenge. Choose any of the following room descriptions, and let the players decide which skills they want to employ to navigate through the room. The focus here is on the Rule of Cool.

Ideally, these should be rooms the party have already encountered, but you can also introduce new rooms they haven't seen yet. The players can to select any Skill for their roll, as long as it fits the narrative context. Set the DC based on what they're attempting to achieve and its level of feasibility. Spells and other actions taken by the players should also have an impact, provided they logically align with the situation at hand.

Achieving one or two successful outcomes should be sufficient to pass through a room. In case of failure, introduce a complication, such as a character sustaining an injury, acquiring a level of exhaustion, or suffering a temporary condition like being frightened, poisoned, or even blinded. In such scenarios, other party members may need to assist the affected player.

DM Notes

Here you should aim to instill a sense of urgency and desperation. Monitor your players closely. As they approach their limits, consider making that room the final challenge. Remember, they don't need to complete every room you've planned.

Time to Run

Suggested flavor text - read in your own voice / tone:

As you land the final blow, a momentary stillness ensues, briefly allowing you to reflect on your victory. But there's no time for celebration. A low hum begins to resonate through the space, growing louder with each passing second. Around you, the walls and ceiling start to crack and splinter. Suddenly, a wall in front of you collapses, revealing one of the rooms you passed through earlier. Behind you, the ceiling is collapsing. The way forward is through...

[Note, I had to cut the descriptions of rooms on the way back to fit into char limit.]

Conclusion

As you burst through the door, you're back in the long corridor you first encountered as you woke up. At the far end, you glimpse the outside world. You sprint towards freedom as the corridor crumbles behind you, the destruction nipping at your heels. In a desperate leap at the last possible moment, you escape... and the sudden tranquility of the night envelops you. The quiet, so starkly contrasted with the preceding chaos, strikes you with its intensity. Surrounded by the serene sounds of the forest, the peace feels almost otherworldly, a surreal end to your harrowing journey.

You stand at a crossroads, where an old structure looms, clearly long abandoned. It leans precariously, a silhouette against the night sky. Moonlight filters through its collapsed roof, casting ghostly shadows across the crumbling walls. The scene, bathed in a silver glow, is both haunting and strangely serene.

Loot

Tucked away behind the inn, the adventurers might notice something peculiar about the compost heap — it seems to occasionally sparkle with the glint of metal and the shimmer of gemstones. Upon closer inspection and a bit of rummaging, they'll discover that this isn't just any old pile of refuse; it's a resting place for treasures that once belonged to the inn's unfortunate previous visitors.

You can use the rules for Treasure Hoard Tables from DMG p133 to see what the players can find.

26 Comments
2024/01/14
02:44 UTC

67

Gyålmavord - a Bridge of Many Crossings - a strange & fantastical location ready to drag & drop into your Game.

Introduction

For several miles have the Party meandered these high-grassed riverbanks, with naught to spy of a ford.
T'il there, at last! The scout spies glistening keystones ancient 'pon yonder crossing bridge, so strange; six sections that heave and grind o'er multitudinous arcane rotations.
Between each pier washed tidal stack a world is rendered, fully - freshly plucked from the many stars to consume the progress of any who should here cross.
What dreams unfold upon each span? What stray wonders and terrors turn above those tumultuous waters?
For none yet have crossed to tell the tale, nor souls depart to its farthest banks, as the stones toil everlasting ‘pon this Bridge of Gyålmavord.

What is Gyålmavord?

A large stone bridge comprising six individual sections rotating upon an axis; some clockwise, others counter, completing their cycles again and again, endlessly, for all time.
Each section of the bridge contains a single unique reality; ecospheres entirely separate and uninformed by that which surrounds it.
The bridge's sections may defy all logic of gravity, space, and time.
To cross, one must be prepared to transit the Gyålmavord's many iterations, and to move across a multitude of possibilities and planar realities.
Whatever differences, deviations, or changes occur, they cannot be discerned from the river or its banks; it is only once upon the bridge that the many realities unravel and present themselves to those attempting to cross.
Gyålmavord exists in all places, for all time, leading the Traveller upon a merry dance of death, disorientation, and dimensionality.

Note to the GM

This strange & fantastical location works a little differently to my previous offerings, as it is up to you to create each section with the aid of the many roll tables below.
Each one of the bridge's six individual sections can be randomised by rolling beneath each header, or you can simply choose whatever inspires you from each of the tables, be inspired to conjure your own option(s), or introduce your Players to some of the many Planar Dimensions popular in TTRPGs.

Remember : Gyålmavord is a dangerous and deadly crossing. Each of the bridge's rotating sections should confuse, confound, and challenge your Party of Adventurers, who might reasonably expect their Characters to expire.

Sights, Sounds, & Smells

Use this section as a quick reference during play, or at the start of a Session to refresh your GM senses!

Roll 1d6 for the sight, sound, & smell of each individual section of the Bridge.
Sights
1 - sparkling showers of pink and yellow light cascade in the sky, creating bright, brief fires
2 - dark, shimmering gases belch from foaming rocks
3 - all things in motion appear in reverse, and seven suns vibrate in the sky
4 - great mountains erupt and collapse, throwing ash and fine dirt into the air
5 - large, transparent, razor-sharp crystals float through the air, like snowflakes on a gentle breeze
6 - bright blue and red foliage occasionally explode, spraying yellow viscous liquid several hundred feet into the purple air

Sounds
1 - whispering, distant and close to the ear, in a tongue that is both alluring and threatening, but a language ill-understood
2 - wails, clicks, and trills of unusual creatures heard but not seen
3 - heavy rain, though none falls
4 - laughter, distant bells, and a low drone - like something passing overhead.
5 - faint music, in reverse, that often seems to play in the stomach and the throat of any who hear it
6 - deep rumbling from under the ground

Smells
1 - sickly, over-ripe fruits
2 - sulphur and sea-weed
3 - charcoal and fire
4 - phantosmian sensations; each Party member smelling a completely different, non-existent thing.
5 - sewer water and stagnant ponds
6 - freshly baked bread

Local Economy

Roll 1d8 on the table below for each bridge section’s local economy
1 - Thievery, treachery, and banditry.
2 - Leave an item upon leaf, turn your back, and it shall be traded like-for-like.
3 - Whisper that which you want, and it shall arrive. The letters you use fall away from your tongue thereafter.
4 - All things to be paid in coin, equal to the item's weight measured against said coin.
5 - Shiny. Dull. Clear. Opaque. Glistening. Unpolished. These things are not equal.
6 - An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
7 - Blood. Fossilised, fresh, in buckets or as stains; it matters not.
8 - Souls. Unborn being the most desired, or those having taken the lives of others.

Imports

Roll 1d10 on the table below for each bridge section’s imports
1 - Spice
2 - Timber
3 - Tobacco
4 - Clouds
5 - Milk & Oyster Pearls
6 - Internal Organs
7 - Teeth & Bone
8 - Uncut Marble
9 - Sea-shells
10 - Liquid crystal

Exports

Roll 1d10 on the table below for each bridge section’s exports
1 - Souls of the dead
2 - Furs, leathers, & various hides
3 - Minerals
4 - Water, Air & Lightning
5 - Colour
6 - Light from the Sun & Moon
7 - Precious Jewels
8 - Glass
9 - Medicines
10 - Forbidden Literature & Ancient Knowledge

Lodgings & Shelter

Roll 1d12 on the table below for the lodgings & shelter available to travellers in each of the bridge’s sections
1 - within large cocoon-like structures that hang high in the trees.
2 - enormous skeletons overgrown with roots, vines, and huge leaves.
3 - small tunnels dug into the earth, and padded with palm fronds.
4 - luxuriant pagodas littered with comfortable cushions and linens.
5 - round, squat abodes, with a fire-pit dug into the centre.
6 - hammocks strung between great tusks jutting from the earth.
7 - resplendent palaces with a maze of corridors and bedrooms rich with comforts.
8 - large tents made of animal hides, the floors covered with woven rugs.
9 - caves cut into cliff-faces, accessible only by climbing vine-ladders.
10 - narrow canoes tied in neat rows, and covered with heavy sack-cloth.
11 - hollow logs lined with thick mosses.
12 - ice-huts lined with rich furs.

Hierarchy & Political Structure

Roll 1d10 on the table below for the hierarchy & political structure of the bridge’s sections
1 - Endless debate, constant meetings, agreements undone by disagreements; bureaucracy incarnate.
2 - A divine ruler, answerable to none but the great deity itself, and questioned by no-one.
3 - A noble gathering of warriors, sworn to protect all.
4 - A scattering of mages, suspicious of one another, and unsure which of them is real, or merely an illusion created by another.
5 - Roots, shrubs, & vines, each reaching out in the darkness to find ... something.
6 - Several argumentative giant-toads, perched upon lavish thrones of liquid silver and gold.
7 - Tiny creatures whose ever changing rule is decided by whichever among them can glow the brightest, or shriek the loudest.
8 - Hunters, with a taste for blood. The most brutal among them rules them all.
9 - One large family, where all the children rule.
10 - The priests speak the word of god, but each one a different word. They are in need of someone to make a sentence of it all.

Culture

Roll 1d10 for the culture of each section of the bridge
1 - Death and despair abounds; worshipped and exalted upon unholy alters that contort and writhe with bloody anguish. A hostile welcome is assured. The Party are regarded as aggressors come to loot and steal, or as terrifying interlopers, alien inform and mannerisms, to be vanquished at all costs.
2 - The residents appear learned, and spend much time in studious conversation regarding the stars, flora, and fauna of their world. The Adventurers are allowed to pass unmolested, and are rarely regarded as anything other than a slight curiosity.
3 - Residents encountered here are in a fearful panic. Much is awry with their lands, and they warn of a great many perils loom and lurk in the shadows. They are desperate for aid, and offer untold riches in return for assistance.
4 - A state of divine adoration bathes all; love and compassion abound, and freedom is expressed in all things. The Party are regarded as divine expressions of this universal truth.
5 - Hoarding and desperation, each greedily desiring more. Adventurers may find themselves pursued, harassed, or goaded into giving up their possessions.
6 - Strange superstitions and bewildering folk rituals abound. The Party may fall foul of bizarre rites that confuse, confound, or threaten their very lives.
7 - A sense of complete liberty pervades, with no possessions, no desire, and no need of sustenance - either for the body of the soul. All pain, all longing, and all temptation is shed. The Party may be tempted to partake in the overwhelming serenity exuded here; but at what cost?
8 - The fearful presence of vengeful gods passes over all things. Divine rage is expressed upon the land, and no pity nor quarter is shown. Temples mock the common-folk, and priests barter with blood. Adventurers may find their own gods consumed in the mire.
9 - An inebriated whimsy abounds, with much feasting and cavorting enjoyed by many. Others sleep in drunken stupor, others delight in music and strange hallucination.
10 - Spirits wander in a daze, in and out thick, grey mists, a sense of great distress, confusion, and amnesia pervades all. All carry with them a message of dread; of something coming; of something here in the mists with them.

Some Adventure Hook Ideas

This list is by no means exhaustive, and is intended simply to stir the pot of your own imagination.
Use what follows as starting-points, or ignore them entirely in favour of your own Adventure Hooks!
Roll 1d6, or choose from the Table below :
1 - The Party simply needs to cross Gyålmavord, and reach the other side. The waters are treacherous, the river too wide, and no other crossing has presented itself for days upon days.
2 - Upon setting foot upon the first aspect of the Bridge of Gyålmavord, a great bell chimes, and a barely audible ticking begins to sound. A small metallic bird flutters into view, informing the Party that they have 1d6 hours/days to cross the Bridge, or be forever lost in its endless iterations.
3 - A Mage has cursed the Party, and only a single trinket brought to them from each of the 6 sections of Gyålmavord can lift this perilous arcane affliction.
4 - Legends speak of how the Keystone of each bridge-section can be formed into a single stone. Within this single stone is rumoured to be contained an item of limitless power.
5 - A friend or foe of some meaning to the Party has made their way onto the Bridge. There is nothing to be done but to pursue them, or lose them forever.
6 - An almost unimaginably vast trove of coin, precious gemstones, noble-titles, and swathes of land have been promised to any who might cross Gyålmavord. The rewards must surely outstrip the challenges, making it a worthy quest for any band of capable Adventurers!

Trinket Roll-Table

Roll 1d20 for a Gyålmavord Trinket
1 - A small wooden stick with a wasp's nest bound with twine to one end that rattles when shaken.
2 - A small wooden box housing a feather from a Celestial’s wing, and a horn from a Demon’s brow.
3 - A silver ring that radiates an unusual smell.
4 - A spell scroll written in coded language.
5 - A glass jar housing small grains of stone that float of their own accord.
6 - A flask of fey-tears.
7 - A glowing rod that emits unsettling sparks when brought near metal.
8 - A small buckler-shield fashioned from hardened fish-scales.
9 - A bundle of letters; they appear extremely old, and are bound together by a cording of unusual leather.
10 - A gnarled wooden stick that whistles violently when swung through the air.
11 - A coarse rag that smells of strong perfume.
12 - A pebble that occasionally sprouts legs and runs towards fresh water.
13 - A section of an insect wing that renders anyone behind it almost invisible.
14 - A vessel fashioned from animal bone, hollowed and housing the spirit of an ancient monarch.
15 - A rare tome that speaks of forbidden decoctions.
16 - An extremely angry crab recently gifted the ability to speak.
17 - A sack of charred twigs that sprout sweet or sour fruits when stuck into the dirt.
18 - A small doll that walks unaided.
19 - A broken spear shaft that whispers the name of its prey.
20 - A stone key.

Random Encounters

Roll 1d6 or choose from the table below :
1 - A carpet of snails blocks the way ahead, as high pitched screams fill the air.
2 - A dishevelled individual wandering aimlessly, their eyes full of strange fire, their clothes tattered, muttering arcane prophecies and warnings.
3 - A rowing boat that floats upon the air, its hull coated in glowing barnacles, its crew in an unusual slumber.
4 - A large beast that shimmers in and out of view, devouring time and space about the Adventurers.
5 - The sky brightens, and several stars seem to plummet downwards, filling the air with shimmering light, heat, and violent explosions.
6 - The ground stuffers and quakes, more violent as the Party progress, splitting the ground and swallowing large sections of the Bridge - and anyone upon it.

Residents of Note:

For each of the Bridge’s Six Sections, roll 1d12, or choose from those shown below :

1 - Spirits. Of the dead? Or of the living? They carry ancient artefacts that glow, hum, and - occasionally - explode.

2 - Naught but plant life, but wholly sentient and with free-will, able to sprout and grow wherever they see fit.

3 - Mirror images of the Party, themselves, but at every stage of their life from childhood, to old age.

4 - Elemental-creatures; of fire, earth, air, and water, each contained in orbs of various sizes that drift at will.

5 - Grains of sand that whisper and murmur, occasionally forming into humanoid shapes that sing in rapturous choirs of incredible beauty.

6 - Fish-folk, humanoid in size, their tail-fins evolved to enable their perambulation.

7 - Metallic beings with glass-like faces that shimmer with bright lights. These lights seem to communicate a message.

8 - Colossal, insectoid giants who tower over the Party by a multitude of feet.

9 - Humanoids who roam in unsettling synchronicity, finishing one another's sentences, and knowing one another's minds.

10 - A lone knight of ages past, utterly obsessed with slaying the many-headed beasts that stalks their land.

11 - Celestials & Demons, embroiled in apocalyptic conflict.

12 - Fey creatures who delight in bemusing and bewildering the Party with all manner of distractions.

Albyon’s Final Notes for the GM -

Pull apart this location so fantastically strange,
toss aside all that irks to better rearrange
the unspooling of inspirations, the pearls of this trade,
to stitch anew an Adventure, and a Quest freshly made,
t’wards a tale of your Party's own Gyålmavord!

Discover & explore this, and 25 other Strange & Fantastical Locations, with easy to use drop-down menus for each section, over on Albyon Absey's wondrous website.

5 Comments
2024/01/09
11:45 UTC

58

Another set of Forest Encounters. The Northern Wilds.

This is for all those low level forest adventures, maybe a place they need to explore or maybe just a location they are traveling through. A large number of these are not combat oriented but some of them are. If your party is above level three I would change the combat encounters as you see fit, either including an increased number of enemies or implanting a monster of your own!

  1. Hunter becomes the Hunted.

For the last few miles the player with the highest perception can't shake the feeling they are being followed. It might have their scent, it might be following their tracks but they can feel goosebumps on their arms that the creature is getting closer, ready to pounce. At night when the moon is at its highest the attack occurs. Before the attack whomever is on watch begins to see animals darting just at the edge of their vision. If they look around with a DC 10 perception check they see the moonlight glinting off the bushes and trees around their camp, slowly coalescing into thousands of glowing eyes, and then an instant later mouths. A round later shadows burst out of the darkness attacking the awake players or if everyone is awake, the furthest from the rest of the party.

  1. A Place to Rest

While the players travel the forest they find a small rock outcrop looking down on a pond. Atop the rock outcrop is a stone bench, with a solid back and a engraving they can read if they get close. The bench is worn from the passage of time, thick with moss and beginning to crack in places. The engraving on the bench has a memorial message starting with one of the players names, and a date in the near future “May your spirit roam free, leaving tales of valor in realms unknown”

  1. Creek

The players find themselves at a creek, the water level low but the rocks still slick with scum from its previous depth. A large turtle the size of a dinner plate looks at them lazily upon their arrival and ducks into a shallow pool. With a DC 10 perception check the players see a glint of metal coming from another such pool. Inside they find a collection of coins mostly buried in the mud, gold and silver from a far off land.

  1. Inukshuk

The first thing that is noticed is a vast blackberry patch, some paths throughout used by wild game. With any amount of time spent in the patch, gathering food, resting or otherwise the players notice a tall stack of rocks just peeking out from a dense bush of brambles. If the players manage to clear their way to the Inukshuk they find a number of the stones carved with symbols in Druidic. Many of the symbols are destroyed with age, too worn to read but from what anyone who is fluent could gather there are many such structures in the forest all are part of some ritual empowering the connection to the feywild in the region. The Inukshuk also is a guardian to an item to be used in a time of need, other ones they find in the region would contain the rest of the items

-ring of swimming

-boots of striding and springing

-cloak of elven kind

-a pair of sending stones

  1. Chu’Si’s Crossing

The players first hear the rushing of water and then as they break through the tree line, a wide river is before them. The water is rough bashing against rocks and logs underneath its waters. There is a small wooden building, with a bell and sign “Ring for Service'' hanging off the side. A rope hangs high from the building to a stone pillar on the other side. If the players ring the bell a figure emerges from the crashing waves, the ghost of Chu’Si the ferrier. A half orc woman once but now a Banshee, who immediately uses their horrifying visage and screams out in rage. The Banshee is more than willing to just scare the players away, what they truly want is the one who killed them to be thrown into the waves. If the players attempt to cross the river however, the Banshee attacks.

  1. Stampede

A sudden crashing, as bears, and deer, rabbits and mice charge through the forest running through the players. Let each of the players describe what they are doing and roll a skill check DC 12. Each player that fails gains a level of exhaustion.

  1. Tower of Curses

The uniform masonry of sleek blackstone spire stands out unmissable against the trunks of trees. It's immediately obvious even from a distance that the tower doesn't belong here; it was shifted here somehow, with a dc 15 arcana check from someone proficient they would see the signs that it had been flung here by powerful magic. Inside the spire are a dozen Crow-men all wearing long black robes, except one wearing a white. They are guardians of this place. The first floor is a dorm room and kitchen, and each higher floor is filled with locked rooms, each one containing a potent cursed item. As an example, in one of the highest floors you can hear a baby crying muffled from outside the locked metal door. Inside is a baby's crib, if anyone sees the crib they must make a DC 15 WIS save or become compelled to look into the crib, once they do so they will see a crying baby inside they may then make another DC 15 WIS save or again be compelled, this time to crawl into the crib themselves. If any player crawls into the crib they in a span of mere moments find themselves regressing in age until they are that of a child, the baby already inside can then step out, free as the adult they were before they went in themselves.

  1. Familiar Found

The players stumble upon an equally surprised Weasel, with brilliant blue eyes standing atop a skull. It seemed to be cleaning the skull off when the players arrived. The weasel's name is Inkwell, he is the familiar of an unfortunately deceased wizard who was killed by bandits. He knows where the bandits have buried his master's spellbook and other gear (encounter 10). Whatever player that makes friends with him the best gains him as a Familiar as per the Find Familiar spell. However Inkwell is in this of his own will and can decide to break the bond and find a new master.

  1. Mushroom Ring

The players come across a vibrant ring of purple and brown mushrooms, in a clearing barely big enough for the ring. Inside the circle invisible is Aurora, a pixie. If she reveals herself she is a mere 4 inches tall, with delicate wings as wide as her tiny frame. She is wearing a flowing blue dress that ripples as if blowing in the wind even when the air is still. She has a near childlike way of speaking and demanding what she wants as if she was a more imposing figure than she is. She thinks the players are bandits or hunters and scolds them. If they make friends with her she wants help removing some of the bandits in the area and will tell them where something they want to find is in the forest in exchange.

  1. Gnarled Tree

Up top a small hill is a single, lightning struck leafless tree. The tree is shaped like a claw, scraping at the sky above. There are no trees around the hill for a half mile. Underneath the tree there is a hidden cache of goods stolen by an enterprising bandit who doesn't want to give the Bloodstone Baron his cut. This can be found with a DC 15 perception check or automatically if you know it is here. Buried in the cache in the twisted roots of the tree is a heavy cloak wrapped around a Rod with 4 uses of burning hands, a silver ring worth 75g marked with the sigil of the nearest wizard school, and the two big prizes. A Bracer of Flying Daggers, and the nearly ruined spell book of the wizard. The spell book has only 1d6 readable 1st level spells, 1d4 readable 2nd level spells, and 1d4-1 readable 3rd level spells.

  1. Salias Fruit Patch

The forest here is thick with the fruit of the spring, a dense patch of Salias Fruit. Salias Fruit are known for their alchemical properties being one of the key components for the simplest potions. The only thing stopping the players from filling their bags and bellies is a horde of kobolds lying on their backs, weapons in the dirt, bellies full and drunk off the rotten fruits they have gorged on.

  1. Trapper, Trapped

The first sign is a series of uselessly sprung or destroyed hunters traps. If the traps are inspected it seems obvious they were sabotaged, ropes cut with knives and in some cases more intentionally damaging ways so the traps can not be reset. If the players continue looking through the area they will come across an older human hunter caught in a trap, seemingly set off in the same way as the other destroyed ones. A kobold Architect (encounter 13), and master of traps has destroyed the hunters traps and tricked him into getting caught in one of his own traps.

  1. Testing Grounds

The players find themselves corralled into a specific path because of thick sections of brush and cliff faces. They can notice before it's too late if anyone has a passive perception of 15, the DC is reduced by 4 if they have already been involved with Encounter 12. If they fail the encounter begins with a Kobold Artificer using his beehive trap smashing into their midst, if they succeed they notice in time and can roll initiative as the player points out the kobold ready to pull a rope and activate his trap.

  1. Alchemists Hut

The players find a well kept single room hut, a small garden surrounding it filled with herbs. If your players are the suspicious type play up the possibility of a hag inside. Hanging garlic in the windows, a soft erratic whistling. If the players loiter outside or otherwise if they try to enter the hut they quickly meet the Alchemist. A male Ratfolk goes by the name Koben. He is friendly and nervous, his voice is high and clipped. He is willing to brew potions for the players and is willing to give a 25% discount if they bring him Salias Fruit (encounter 11)

  1. White Stag

The players come across a majestic celestial White Stag, its antlers as long as a spear and made of a glowing white ivory. It speaks voice clear with impeccable grammar, each player hearing its voice in the voice of one of their loved ones. The Stag wishes for Suneater (encounter XX) to be found and brought to them to be destroyed and offers a minor blessing in exchange.

  1. Unlikely Gravekeeper

Jutting haphazardly from among the bushes and trees is hundreds or maybe even thousands of gravestones. Some are toppled, some are standing up properly, others are nearly consumed by the trunks of trees. It spans over an acre with pale stones peaking out anywhere you look. A Fey Dragon (Usually invisible and a friend of the pixie Aurora) is the gravekeeper here, the graves he considers his horde. They are protective of the graves but otherwise harmless. If you spend time cleaning graves or leaving flowers or other offerings the dragon will pay with gemstones they have collected over the years. If you disrupt the graves in some way then the dragon will try to disrupt your travels chasing you for miles, bringing predators and other dangers into your path.

  1. Trapdoor

Skeletons, mostly of animals but you also see the unmistakable bones of a few humanoid creatures are strewn about in a huge radius. If this area is explored the players may make a dc 15 perception or survival check. On a failure they are surprised as they walk directly next to a Giant Spiders trapdoor. It pops out and strikes, preferring to attack a straggler if possible after they pass it by and pulling them down into its pit. Inside the spider's pit is a deep hole, the sides and lid thick with web. At the bottom of the pit are numerous bones, an amulet with a red gemstone (bloodstone), 10g in random coinage, a shortsword and most importantly a pair of boots with a folded rough map inside to the tree in area 10.

  1. Bandit Camp

A simple campsite sits here in a clearing. Three tents, logs around the fire to sit. The sounds of some bandits, all wearing their amulets with red gemstones showing. Around the campsite are 4 trees with hidden lookout spots, at any time day or night half of them are filled with watchers, however at nighttime there is a 50% chance any given watcher is asleep at their post.

  1. Grizzlemaw's Den

Here is another simple discovery. The players likely come across it while looking for a place to rest or foraging for food and water. A small trickling stream passes by a cliffside cave, berry bushes are thick around it. Inside the cave is Grizzlemaw, a local legend among the hunters in the area. An old, gray muzzled grizzly bear. Tho aged, has a strong taste from humans and is fast, charging at the players with no hesitation.

  1. Theresa’s Shrine

If they near this location they will find their way here even if they don't search the area. There is a statue of a woman, it seems rather simple at first but the closer it is inspected the more obvious the strangeness becomes. The woman's hair slowly becomes more the shape of branches then hair, her dress more leaves and bush than cloth, and even her skin rough as if made of soft earth. This is a shrine to Theresa, a nature spirit and anyone who chooses to rest here is safe, even from pursuers who are following their tracks with ill intent.

Personally I use custom versions of all the monsters mentioned here that could be included if there is interest. As well many of the locations mentioned or hinted at such as the Tower of Curses, or the kobold architect have larger areas that could be their own posts.

11 Comments
2024/01/05
09:43 UTC

38

Claims from the Planes - a Card Deck of 15 magic items from all around the planes !

Hi there ! I'm Axel, aka BigDud, a passionate DM who produces all kinds of third party content for your enjoyment.

Today, I bring you magic items from all around the world, in this custom card set made just for you.

Claims from the Planes is a set of 15 planar-inspired magic items, from Uncommon to Legendary rarity. Reward your players for their interplanar expeditions with thematic weapons, tools and artifacts designed to provide unique and flavorful abilities that for once, they won't forget to use !

The set includes the following items :

- Bag of Hobbling
- The Brush of the Cloudweaver
- The Burden of the Mountain
- Eye of the Rift
- Netherflame Beacon
- Scalpel
- Souvenir Lockstone
- The Spire of the Deep
- Stumping Heart Locket
- The Feystep F'Luth
- The Nexus
- The Suncaller Talisman
- Trailblazers
- Umbral Satchel
- Whispers of Havoc

Print the cards, stick them together, and you're ready to go.

Get the whole package at once on my website, with the link below.

CLAIMS FROM THE PLANES

or alternatively use this Imgur album

CLAIMS FROM THE PLANES - IMGUR


Card Dimensions : 63 x 88 mm (euro poker size) + 3 mm bleeds. I recommend printing on thicker paper -- e. g cardstock -- and in full color for the best visual result and comfort of use.

All art was made by BigDud using Krita, Midjourney and Photoshop.


If you liked the cards, check out my website at thedudworkshop.com, and my most recent post, featuring some hot elementals !

Scorcher and his buddies

Thank you and keep your eyes out for more content like this !


Claims from the Planes

###The Stumping Heart Locket : Wondrous item, uncommon

A beautifully crafted, intricate locket made of polished tree bark and thin golden wire. A faint, regular thumping can be heard from the inside.

While wearing this locket, you can use your action to transform into an awakened tree for the next hour. Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the tree, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies.

When you transform, you assume the treant’s hit points and Hit Dice. When you revert to your normal form, you return to the number of hit points you had before you transformed. However, if you revert as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to your normal form. As long as the excess damage doesn’t reduce your normal form to 0 hit points, you aren’t knocked unconscious.

Once you've used this feature, you cannot use it again until your next long rest.

###The Feystep F'Luth : Wondrous item, rare

A strange instrument made from tree bark, leaves, and the hair of a particularly odorant satyr. At first glance, it looks like a long cylindrical flute, but when caressing the exterior of the wood, a gentle sound can be heard as if strings were strummed. Wielded by a talented musician, it allows them to play both the flute and the luth at the same time.

While wielding the flute, you can add your proficiency bonus an additional time to any Performance checks made to play music.

As an action, you can play a soft lullaby on the flute, casting the Sleep spell as if it had been upcast to third level. You can use this feature three times, regaining all spent uses on a long rest.

In addition, as an action, you can attempt to play a jaunty jig, entrancing a target of your choice within 60 ft. Make a DC 20 Charisma (Performance) check.

On a failure, the melody is too weak, and the target suffers no ill effects.

On a success, you pull the target into an irresistible dance. For the next minute, they are incapacitated, have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, and must use all of their movement on their turn to dance at their current location.

A creature taken into such a dance can make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell saving throw DC at the end of each their turns to regain control of themselves.

###The Suncaller's Talisman : Wondrous item, very rare, requires attunement

A beautifully crafted rectangular medallion of polished silver, which contains an amber at its center. Intricate relief designs of plants and grass surround the outer edge of the object, which slowly dance in the wind. This talisman was previously owned by Solstice, former Queen of Summer ; after her death, it was kept safe by her sister Cirith, who waited for the right successor.

While you wear this talisman, the weather around you in a 2 mile radius is altered to clear skies and a bright noon sunshine, no matter what the natural weather of the region would be, or what time of day or night it is.

This change takes 10 minutes to take full effect, and lasts for 10 minutes after the talisman is removed. While the weather around you is affected by the talisman, other creatures intending to use spells or magical effects to change the weather must make a DC 15 ability check using their spellcasting ability to successfully do so.

You must have clear view of the sky for this change to take effect.

"Golden rays fly through the sky

Its warmth, love, and life anew

Nature's blossom high and spry

The Suncaller sees it through

The sister of Solstice, Cirith so fair

Sadness consumes her, unyielding despair

She calls to the wild, ignoring her plight

She looks for a sign in each beam of light

But then she recalls, the symbol of love

Remembers the laughter, of magic above

And though her sister may be gone from her sight

The sun shines on, and it seems it's all right." - Extract from "The Suncaller's Lullaby" by Versan Solaris (657 p. C)

###Souvenir Lockstone : Wondrous item, very rare, consumable, optional attunement (multiple creatures)

A round, polished stone with a grainy visual texture and painted arcanic motifs. This Lockstone was part of a series of similar projects by curious fey intending to replicate the magic of the Tree of Names. The enchantment process had a heavy cost for its creators : as their last touches were finished, the stones were placed in secure locations. What they didn't realize is that they immediately forgot where those secure locations were, and any written notes they had kept seemed to disappear. Since their disappearance, these stones appear from time to time across the Fey Lands, falling into the hands of individuals touched by fate.

Slippery Memory. This Lockstone is quickly forgotten by all but those who have attuned to it. After every long rest, any creature unattuned to the Lockstone must make a DC 20 Intelligence check or start forgetting about it. Creatures affected by the Lockstone's magic in such a way will lose their memories of the stone ever existing, and only be reminded of its existence while it is in their sight. If they have it in their possession, they will give the stone way or lose it as soon as possible, the interaction fading from their mind immediately.

Fated Net. While attuned to this Lockstone, you can use an action to touch another creature within 5 ft of you with it, attempting to catch them in the stone's net. Make a DC 20 Charisma (Arcana) check.

On a success, you catch the memories of all others about the creature, locking them within the stone. Until they are released, the memory of the creature's existence disappears as if they had never existed. All creatures not attuned to the stone, even their friends and family, forget about their birth, as well as anyone having ever met them. Any reference to them such as texts written in books or songs about them now seem confusing and illogical to those who read or hear them, and traces of their presence such as their belongings are quickly rationalized as having been abandoned or received from someone else.

The creature's body and thoughts are unaffected by the stone's effects, but they lose the ability to interact with any other creatures, who ignore them and rationalize any changes they make in their environment as if they were made by someone else.

Creatures with familiarity with curses or the ability to remove them inherently feel that something is off when in presence of a creature affected by a Lockstone in such a way, and can attempt a DC 20 Charisma (Arcana) check or Intelligence (Arcana) check to acknowledge their curse. When a spell or effect such as Remove Curse is used on a victim of the Lockstone's effect, the effect is removed for 1 hour, during which the memory of that creature's existence returns to the minds of every creature who had forgotten it.

On a failure, the stone shatters and becomes inert, having no effect.

On a failure by more than 10, memories of you are caught in the Lockstone instead of your target. You suffer from the effects of the Lockstone as if you had been its target, and become unable to release the Lockstone's memories or destroy the Lockstone yourself.

At any point after memories have been caught within it, any attuned creature can release the contents of the stone by using their action to press the designs on its front. The memories return to the world as if they were never gone. All creatures who had forgotten about the contained memories suddenly remember them, and are aware of the effect that was placed on them. The stone then shatters and becomes inert.

"Hmmm ? A what Lockstone ? I have no idea what you're talking about." - Someone, somewhere.

###Scalpel : Rare, weapon (longswords)

One of six hiltless adamantine longswords crafted in the depths of the Abyss by the demon known as the Doctor. Originally used to fight his way out of the Fleshforges, these blades became a staple of the operating tools of the Doctor ; in combination with his own tools, they allowed him to instantly perform simple surgeries, and heavily accelerate the inscription of blood runes which became his specialty.

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

Adamantine. Attacks with these weapons against objects are always critical hits.

Operating Tools. While wielding the blades, you can make Medicine checks as a bonus action rather than an action. In addition, you gain advantage on rolls to stabilize other creatures. If you roll a 15 or higher on a Medicine check to stabilize a creature, they regain 1 hit point instead.

Stance of the Marilith. While you wield one of the scalpel swords, spectral arms appear around you to hold the blades until you have a total of six. You cannot be disarmed while wielding the scalpel swords.

Flurry. As an action, you can attack with all six blades at once in a flurry of slashes, dealing heavy damage to a target of your choosing within 5 ft. Make six attack rolls against your target, using the scalpel swords. You deal 1d8 + 1 + your Strength or Dexterity modifier slashing damage per attack that hits the target ; if at least three attacks hit, the target becomes sundered until the end of your next turn, causing all attacks rolls to become critical hits on an 18 or higher rather than a 20.

You can use this feature twice. You regain one spent use of this feature on a short rest, and all spent uses on a long rest.

Netherflame Beacon

Wondrous item (candle), rare

A candle of an eerie shade of purple, with a very short, jagged wick. Despite looking like it was never lit, its exterior is encased in wax that resembles stretched tendons of its same color, as if the candle itself was carved from the body of a terrible creature. When at the edge of one's vision, the wax appears to shift ever so slowly as the candle expands and contracts… like a beating heart, waiting for a breath.

Created in the heart of the Abyss, the Netherflame Beacon can save your players' hides, or put them in even greater danger than they were. With the possibility to create a safe haven full of valuables anywhere, it can change how they approach a dungeon, a stealth mission or a dangerous overland journey, but it must be used carefully : if left untouched, this sanctuary quickly turns into a terrible burden upon the region in which it was created.

As an action, a character holding the candle can light its wick, which starts burning with a purple flame. For one round, a magical darkness spreads around it in a 100-foot sphere, obscuring everything within.

At the start of the carrier's next round, the candle's flame intensifies, dispelling the darkness as it coalesces and tears through the barriers between planes. A demonic shrine is created, containing a permanent portal to the Abyss.

The demonic shrine appears in the space around the carrier and each creature of their choice within 30 ft, which are teleported to the center of the shrine. Other creatures in the area are pushed to the nearest unoccupied space on the outside of the shrine.

The shrine is a 40-foot by 40-foot, 30-foot tall building with four solid stone walls and a large door. Each wall has 20 AC and 50 hit points, while the door has 15 AC and 30 hit points.

Two chests lie within the shrine, one containing 2d4 x 100 gold, the other containing 1d4 of each of the following gems, each worth 50 gold : sapphire, ruby, emerald, topaz, amethyst, diamond.

On the side of the shrine opposite to the door, a set of stairs descends into a 5-foot deep pool of blood. Creatures entering the pool can choose to drink the blood, regenerating up to a total of 100 hit points, which can be split across any number of creatures. Once 100 hit points have been regenerated in this way, the pool is empty.

When the shrine is created, a permanent portal to the Abyss is created within it. The portal is inactive for one day, after which it opens and allows the passage of demons from the Abyss to the place where the portal is located.

Once the portal is open, lesser demons start passing through it at sunrise and sundown, starting with dretches and quasits in small numbers. After one month, lesser demons of CR 3 and less start passing through the portal. After one year, the portal is fully open, and demons of CR 6 or lower start passing through the portal.

The portal remains open indefinitely until it's sealed by a Dispel Magic spell or similar effect (DC 25), or until the candle is snuffed. When the candle is snuffed, the portal rapidly disappears but the candle is destroyed, releasing the powerful demon contained within (CR 7 or higher).

Umbral Satchel

Wondrous Item (satchel), Very Rare

Umbral Concealment. Objects placed within the satchel disappear in a puff of smoke, becoming weightless, invisible and incorporeal. While they remain inside, they cannot be located by Divination spells of 5th level or lower.

An object placed inside the satchel can only be retrieved by the creature who placed it within, or by turning the satchel inside-out, which returns all contained items to their original form.

The satchel can contain up to 20 Small objects, and an unlimited number of Tiny objects.

Shadowmeld. As an action, a creature can enter the Umbral Satchel, turning its body and everything it is wearing and carrying into a puff of smoke. While in this ethereal state, the creature's size becomes Tiny, it gains a +10 to Stealth checks, and its only method of movement becomes a flying speed of 10 feet. It can pass through small holes, narrow openings, and even mere cracks, but treats liquids as solid surfaces. Additionally, It can't talk, manipulate objects, attack or cast spells.

A creature affected by Shadowmeld is bound to the satchel and cannot move further than 120 feet from it, but can revert to its original form by entering the satchel again. Alternatively, a creature can also choose to revert to its physical form at a distance from the satchel. Doing so causes the satchel's shadows to remain temporarily tethered to the creature's soul, dealing 14 (4d6) necrotic damage to them and imposing disadvantage on Wisdom saving throws for the next hour.

###Whispers of Havoc Armor (plate), requires attunement, very rare

The wearer gains resistance to fire damage, and they cannot be set on fire. The wearer gains an additional reaction every round, which can only be used for attacks of opportunity or to manipulate the effects of the armor.

Entropic Resurgence. After the wearer takes 15 damage from a single attack, spell or effect, the armor triggers a random entropic effect from the list below. Once this effect has triggered, the armor cannot trigger another random effect until the start of the wearer's next turn. If an attack, spell or effect would cause the armor to trigger, but its effect has already been used, the wearer can spend a reaction to allow the armor to trigger an additional time.

Alternatively, whenever the armor triggers, the wearer can spend a reaction to cancel the effect, and stop the armor from triggering until the start of their next turn.

The same entropic effect can occur multiple times during the same round.

Entropic Effects (1d4) :

- Chaotic Reprisal:

Send a bolt of chaotic energy towards the source of the damage, dealing 14 (4d6) force damage, and moving them 20 ft in a random direction if they are a creature (roll a d8 for the direction). Huge and gargantuan creatures are only moved 10 feet. If there is no space for the creature to move there, they arrive in the closest unoccupied space.

- Mantle of Embers :

The armor ignites, setting itself and its wearer on fire. Until the start of the wearer's next turn, creatures attacking the wearer take 11 (2d10) fire damage, and flammable objects that aren't being worn or carried within 10 ft of the wearer are set on fire. If this effect is triggered multiple times in the same round, attackers take an extra 11 (2d10) fire damage for each additional trigger past the first one.

- Chaotic Multiplicity:

A wave of entropy passes over the wearer, creating 2 illusory duplicates of the wearer. Creatures attacking the wearer must roll a d20 when attacking them ; on a 10 or lower, they hit one of the duplicates instead of the wearer, causing the duplicate to explode, disappearing, and dealing 7 (2d6) force damage to the attacker. If this effect is triggered multiple times in the same round, an additional two duplicates are created for each trigger past the first one.

- Reality Shift:

The armor's magic bends reality, teleporting the wearer 30 ft in a random direction. If there is no space for the wearer to appear, they appear in the closest unoccupied space.

Eye of the Rift

Wondrous item (gemstone), consumable, rare

This rounded gemstone of polished onyx is adorned with intricate rune carvings representing the ascent of a draconic creature into a rift. Powerfully magical, and only ever offered to those having gained the favor of a Riftdrake, this artifact allows the carrier to be transported between planes. Such a journey is quick and usually safe, but has a cost : the Riftdrake's hunger must be sated, or it will turn against those who called it.

Riftdrakes are formidable dragons native to the tumultuous depths of the Abyss. These enigmatic creatures are known for their nomadic nature and insatiable appetite for gemstones, which they find around its various layers, whether naturally occurring or born from the fractured souls scattered throughout their realm. Possessing a profound sense of territorial pride, Riftdrakes fiercely guard their feeding grounds, often forming alliances with mortals to repel demonic intruders encroaching upon what they deem as their rightful domains.

Mortals who earn the favor of a Riftdrake may be bestowed with an Eye of the Rift, a polished Onyx gem attuned to the specific drake they aided. This enchanted gem allows the possessor to summon their ally, creating a bond between mortal and dragon that can grow very useful to adventurers seeking to explore outside the Material Plane.

Eyes of the Rift are broken during use, and each Riftdrake usually only ever offers one to a group of mortals for a task accomplished. However, there have been occurrences of Rift drakes giving multiple to the same party if they're satisfied with their offerings ; some stories even mention a variant to the Eye of a Rift, which does not break on use, but is only given to those the drake is truly indebted to.

Summon Riftdrake. As an action, the carrier of the Eye can destroy the gemstone, revealing the rift within and calling its bonded Riftdrake. The drake arrives within one hour of the gemstone being broken ; the speed at which it arrives depends on the party's relationship with the drake, the urgency of the situation, and the quality of the offering the party has prepared.

Once the drake has arrived, it transports the party to their destination of choice, then devours its offering and returns to the Abyss. A Riftdrake that is not satisfied with the offering made to it usually becomes hostile to the group who disrespected it, either attacking them or taking compensation by force.

Plane Shift. The Riftdrake can transport up to 10 creatures to the destination chosen by the carrier of its Eye of the Rift. Transportation to different locations requires a suitable offering, usually related to the essence of the destination. The following list is not exhaustive, but presents examples of suitable offerings for each destination. Depending on the Riftdrake's personality, different offerings might be preferred, although their value should remain similar.

I. Elemental Planes:

Elemental Plane of Water:
    Material: Sapphire or Aquamarine
    Form: A gem-encrusted sphere of glass encasing purified sea water.

Elemental Plane of Fire:
    Material: Ruby or Fire Opal
    Form: A steel-encased gem, ideally still warm from the melting of metal.

Elemental Plane of Earth:
    Material: Topaz or Emerald
    Form: A solid marble cube on which the gems are placed.

Elemental Plane of Air:
    Material: Diamond or Zircon
    Form: A gelified gas cloud, within which the gems are left to float.

II. Outer Planes:

Plane of Positive Energy:
    Material: Sunstone or Citrine
    Form: A sun-shaped golden medallion encrusted with the gems.

Plane of Negative Energy:
    Material: Amethyst or Black Pearl
    Form: A hollow crystal skull containing the gems.

Fey Lands:
    Material: Feymoon Pearl or Moonstone
    Form: A silver mirror through which the gems can be seen.

Shadow Lands:
    Material: Umbrastone or Black Sapphire
    Form: A shard of glass, wet from a tear of pain caused by the gems.

III. Other

Material Plane:
    Material: Quartz or Calcite
    Form: A jar of dirt containing the gems. 

Burden of the Mountain

Weapon (greatsword), requires attunement, requires 18 Strength, very rare

Once wielded by the Mountain King of the Elemental Plane of Earth, this powerful (and blunt) greatsword is made of dense stone, limiting its use to those of extraordinary strength. In the hands of the stone giant ruler, it's said that the sword took down a granite dragon, sending the gargantuan beast crashing down into a deep valley where it was finally slain. It has long since been abandoned, its owner nowhere to be found, its people missing. Did they leave of their own volition, or did the bowels of the earth devour their own kin ?

The stories say this sword was carved from the entrails of the deepest mountain of the Elemental Plane of Earth by a young stone giant, who would eventually become their king. Along its hilt and toward the blade, intricate carvings wind their way, growing thinner until they fade into the stone. Battle-worn and cracked, the blade has suffered many conflicts ; yet, it retains its heft and passion, ready to send flying even the largest of foes.

Unreasonably Heavy. Attacks with this weapon deal an additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage, and deal double damage to structures and objects. This weapon requires 18 Strength to be wielded.

Might of the Giant. Once per turn, as a free action, you can activate the sword's magic, empowering your next strike with incredible force. The next time you hit a creature with the weapon, it must succeed on a Strength saving throw of DC = 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus or be pushed 20 feet away. If the target is pushed into an obstacle, it takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for each 5 feet it was not pushed. Huge and larger creatures have disadvantage on this saving throw, and flying creatures that fail it are knocked prone.

You have a number of charges for this ability equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain 2 charges on a short rest and all charges on a long rest. If you roll initiative without any charges, you immediately regain 1 charge.

Earthshatter. As an action, you can plant the Burden of the Mountain into the ground, creating intense vibrations within a 30-foot radius around you. Until the start of your next turn, this area becomes difficult terrain, and creatures entering for the first time or starting their turn within must make a DC 15 Strength saving throw or fall prone.

At the start of your next turn, an earthquake shatters the ground in the area. Creatures on the ground must make a DC 18 Strength saving throw. On a failure, they take 35 (10d6) bludgeoning damage and fall prone. On a success, they take half damage and are not knocked prone. Huge and larger creatures have disadvantage on this saving throw.

You can use this feature once, regaining its charge on a long rest.

Brush of the Cloudweaver

Wondrous item (paintbrush), rare

Crafted from the finest wood from the floating trees of the Elemental Plane of Air, this whimsical brush once belonged to Rob Gloss, an aarakocra painter of great renown. It was given to him by Zephyr himself after he lost his wings, as a means to access the skies he could no longer fly to. At the top of the brush, a bundle of clouds floats in the winds, attached like cotton balls to the artifact. At the bottom, traditional bristles allow for the blending and smudging of one's creation.

"In our world, we can create anything we imagine. So today, let's imagine a little cloud family. There's Papa Cumulus, Mama Stratus, and their fluffy little Cloudlet. Happy clouds in a happy sky." - Rob Gloss

Cloudweaving. The Brush of the Cloudweaver has 3 charges. As an action, the wielder can expend a charge to create a stationary cloud up to 30 feet in diameter within their line of sight. Clouds can take any shape or form, are opaque, and persists for 1 hour. They have 10 AC, 15 hit points, and act as solid, immovable objects, although soft and bouncy. Falling on a cloud reduces fall damage to 0.

Additionally a creature can use a cloud to extend their movement. When jumping on a cloud, a creature can continue moving up to the length of its jump without expending movement.

The wielder of the brush can use a reaction to remove one or multiple clouds they created, smudging them out of existence.

The brush regains expended charges after a long rest or by spending an hour cloud watching.

Dreamy Repose. As an action, the wielder of the brush can use its power to create an bed of clouds, allowing their allies to rest exceptionally comfortably. The bed can accommodate up to 10 creatures. Whenever a creature rests on the bed during a long rest, they gain additional temporary hit points equal to the maximum of one of their hit dice.

Trailblazers

Wondrous Item (boots), uncommon

The metal soles of the Trailblazers were cobbled from the few metals that make their way to the Elemental Plane of Fire, and their leather was taken from the body of a fire drake who was accidentally stomped on during a running competition between two fire giants. Somehow still light despite their build, they're always warm to the touch, and ready to leave everyone but their wearer in the dust.

"Some say I run too fast. I say the world's just slow. The only I'm running away from is boredom, and I'm leaving that far behind." - Blaze Emberfoot

Run The Line. As a bonus action, the wearer can activate the Trailblazers, granting them increased speed and creating a fiery path behind them. Until the start of their next turn, their speed is increased by 30 ft, they gain the ability to walk on liquids as if they were solids, and they leave a trail of fire on any ground they traverse. The trail of fire is 5 ft wide and 10 ft tall, opaque, and any creatures starting their turn within it or entering it for the first time in a turn take 10 (3d6) fire damage. The trail can be extinguished by pouring large quantities of water on it, such as by using the Tidal Wave spell or similar effects.

This effect can be used twice, regaining spent uses on a long rest.

Bag of Hobbling

Wondrous Item (bag), requires attunement, rare

This enchanted bag, akin to a standard bag of holding, has a mind of its own. Tiny, mischievous hands and feet adorn its exterior, and when attuned to a creature, it gains a peculiar ability to move of its own accord. Such items are particularly coveted in the treacherous alleys of the Nassirian capital , where they keep the belongings of their owners safe while leaving their hands free to hold weapons. ** Dimensional Space.** Bags of Hobbling, just like Bags of Holding, contain dimensional spaces that are larger on the inside than the outside, and can hold heavier weights than their make should allow.

Depending on their size, Bags of Hobbling have varied weights, and can hold varied amounts of objects. Their weight and capacity are the following : - Tiny (weighs 3 pounds) : 100 pounds, not exceeding 15 cubic feet. - Small (weighs 15 pounds) : 500 pounds, not exceeding 64 cubic feet. - Medium (weighs 45 pounds) : 1500 pounds, not exceeding 150 cubic feet. - Large (weighs 150 pounds) : 5000 pounds, not exceeding 500 cubic feet.

If the bag is significantly overloaded, pierced, or torn, it ruptures and is destroyed, and its contents are scattered in the Astral Plane. If the bag is turned inside out, its contents spill forth, unharmed, but the bag must be put right before it can be used again. Breathing creatures inside the bag can survive up to a number of minutes equal to 10 divided by the number of creatures (minimum 1 minute), after which time they begin to suffocate.

Placing a Bag of Hobbling inside an extradimensional space created by a handy haversack, portable hole, or similar item, instantly causes the Bag of Hobbling to devour the extradimensional item it was placed in, destroying it.

Dimensional Hobbler. While attuned, the Bag of Hobbling gains a speed of 20 ft, and can perform simple commands like following its attuned creature, moving to a designated location, hiding, or emptying itself. Retrieving an item from the bag or giving it an order requires an action, although the bag can find an item inside of itself and retrieve it for its owner if it was given a prior order.

While attuned, the Bag of Hobbling must be fed every week to maintain its ability to move. The Bag only eats other bags, growing slightly each time it devours one. Bags of Hobbling are particularly interested in other magical bags, although it's recommended to avoid letting them feed in this way. Bags of Hobbling who have been fed magical bags tend to change unpredictably : their interiors grow or shrink, becoming very hot, very cold, acidic, electric, or taking on many other strange properties.

Bags of Hobbling are generally sold in their youth, right after they are created. In that form, they are Tiny creatures. After a week, they grow to become Small, then Medium after a month, and finally Large after a year. There are stories of bags growing to even larger sizes, though they are rare, shrouded in misinformation and rumors, and the behavior of Bags of Hobbling suggests they might become dangerous for their users once they do.

The Nexus

Wondrous item (amulet), legendary (requires attunement)

An intricate, round amulet holding gems of ever-changing colors. At the center, a clockwork contraption shifts with utmost precision, rotating magical glyphs to activate the stone's enchantments.

Originally built by the legendary Astral Sage, the amulet represents his curiosity -- turned obsession -- with the connection between the planes, which eventually caused his disappearance before he could even complete his project. When attuned to by a competent user, the amulet can extend a field of magic towards a plane, shifting its abilities to ones related to that plane. Under the right hands or wrong hands, it can be both a potent and versatile tool, or a dangerous and unpredictable weapon.

Planar Exposure. The Cosmic Nexus provides its wearer with different boons depending on which plane it's attuned to : a passive effect, and an active effect that can be triggered by the wearer. In its neutral state, the amulet is attuned to the Material Plane, granting its related properties.

As a bonus action, the wearer can extend the amulet's magical field towards a plane of their choosing. The amulet loses its current properties, gaining new properties based on the chosen plane. It retains these properties until another plane is chosen, or the amulet is returned to its neutral state.

Changing the amulet to attune to another plane, including returning it to its neutral state, causes the previously used plane's passive and active abilities to become inert until the wearer's next long rest. In the same way, using a plane's active ability causes both it and the plane's passive abilities to become inert until the wearer's next long rest. Other planes' active and passive abilities remain active until their respective active ability is used, and the amulet's neutral state's passive ability always remains active if the amulet is in its neutral state.

The amulet's ability DCs are equal the wearer's spellcasting DC, or 8 + proficiency bonus + charisma modifier if the wearer doesn't have the Spellcasting feature.

The following list presents the benefits granted by attunement to each plane.

- Material Plane:

Neutrality. The wearer gains advantage on saving throws against magical spells and effects.

Dome of Mundanity. As an action, the wearer can create a 30 ft wide and 30 ft tall dome around their current location, lasting until the start of their next turn. The dome moves with the wearer and disables all magic within as if it was under the effects of an Antimagic Field. Once this ability has been used, it cannot be used again until the wearer's next long rest.

- Elemental Plane of Fire:

Intensity. The wearer's attacks, spells, and other damaging effects requiring an attack roll or a saving throw deal an additional 1d6 fire damage, and the wearer's critical hit range is increased by 1 (they land a critical hit on a 19 or a 20, stacking with other similar effects).

Immolate. As an action, the wearer can target a creature within 60 ft, scaling them with intense flame that suddenly appears around them. They must make a Constitution saving throw against the amulet's DC. On a failure, they take 12d6 fire damage and are set on fire, taking an additional 2d6 fire damage at the start of their turn until the fire is doused, or they or another creature spend an action to dispel it. On a success, they take half damage and are not set on fire.

- Elemental Plane of Air:

Like the Wind. The wearer gains advantage on Dexterity checks and saving throws, as well as a flying speed equal to half their speed, and can hover.

Stormwind. As an action, the wearer can send a powerful wave of wind in a 60 ft wide, 60 ft long line emerging from their position. Each creature and object that isn't being worn or carried in the area must make a Strength saving throw against the amulet's DC. On a failure, they are pushed along the line to its end, landing prone. On a success, they are pushed 15 ft instead, and do not fall prone. Creatures and objects colliding with objects, structures, or unmoving creatures take 1d6 bludgeoning damage for each 5 ft of remaining forced movement.

- Elemental Plane of Water:

Calm. The wearer cannot be frightened, charmed, or forced asleep. At the end of their turn, they are cleansed of all magical effects that would render them blinded, deafened, incapacitated, paralyzed, poisoned, or stunned.

Torrential Rain. As an action, the wearer can summon a torrential rain in a 1 mile wide area centered on a point they can see. The rain lasts for one hour, or until overwritten by a Control Weather spell or a similar effect. The rain renders the area lightly obscured, turns all natural terrain into difficult terrain, and extinguishes any open flames. Flying creatures have their movement halved while within the area.

- Elemental Plane of Earth:

Natural Shell. The wearer gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical attacks. Moreover, creatures attempting to move them forcefully must make an Athletics check against the amulet's DC. On a failure, they are unable to move the wearer.

Harden. As a bonus action, the wearer can temporarily cover their body in hardened rock, making them extremely resilient. They become immune to all damage, and their movement is reduced to 0. At the start of their next turn, the shell explodes, dealing 4d6 bludgeoning damage to all creatures within 15 ft, and ending the effect.

- Shadow Lands:

Shadowcrawler. The wearer gains advantage on Stealth checks, and becomes invisible while in dim light. As an action, they can teleport to any area of total darkness within 60 ft of them.

Ethereal Jaunt. As a bonus action, the wearer can become entirely ethereal for the next minute, becoming invisible and allowing them to move through solid objects and even other creatures. While ethereal in this way, the wearer gains truesight for 120 ft. The wearer can end the effect at any time, returning to their physical form at their location. If the space they would return in is occupied by a creature or object, they instead return in the closest unoccupied space.

- Fey Lands:

Magnetic Charm. The wearer gains advantage on Performance, Persuasion and Deception checks. In addition, humanoids, beasts, monstrosities and elementals in a 60 ft radius around the wearer become calm and peaceful, suppressing effects that would make them charmed or frightened, and making them indifferent towards creatures of your choice they would be hostile to. This indifference ends if a creature is attacked or harmed by a spell or if it witnesses any of its friends being harmed.

Enchanting Melody. As an action, the wearer can channel the Fey's magic into their voice, singing an alluring song that affects all creatures of their choice within 30 ft. They must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against the amulet's DC or become charmed by the wearer for the next minute. While charmed in this way, creatures are incapacitated and have a speed of 0. Creatures affected by the song can repeat the saving throw at the end of their turn, ending the effect on a success. Creatures affected by the song do not realize they were magically affected when the spell ends, or if they succeed on their saving throw.

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2024/01/04
20:45 UTC

69

Mini-Dungeons Part 3: Urban Areas

For previous installments see:

Part 1: Caverns and Underground Areas

Part 2: Underwater and Coastal Areas

One of my favorite things in D&D are the eponymous dungeons. They are places full of danger and wonder. And the vast variety of creatures available allows for endless interesting ecologies.

One thing I like to do and will show examples of here, is to roll on encounter tables (usually ~5-8 times) to see what random combination I end up with (and in which amounts) and then trying to think up how these different species would interact. These ideas can then be adapted and dropped in at any time.

I would like to make a few suggestions and side-notes however. First of all, always adapt things to your party. Make sure they can use their strengths sometimes, and are confronted with their weakness on other times. Also, depending on how strategically smart and well-equipped they are you may have to tune things in terms of difficulty. Make use of class abilities, or use statblocks that can be used for any humanoid (e.g. a Hobgoblin Archer with Martial Advantage added). A major factor of difficulty also lies in terrain. Large open rooms are boring and not very challenging, instead use the dungeon's natural characteristics to the monster's advantages. For example, have some Guard Drakes buried beneath the ground, ready to start an ambush with Kobolds just around the corner. Or have enemies that can easily disengage retreat into winding tunnels to split the party up, with enemies waiting for them. And sometimes, terrain should be dangerous to traverse or impose some disadvantage, even without enemies present.

Also one very important note: large groups of creatures spread around. Just because there is a tribe of 40 Yuan-Ti, doesn't mean you should have your party fight 40 regular Yuan-Ti in a large cave. In fact, you definitely shouldn't. Divide it into multiple fights with interesting terrain or situations.

Now, I personally believe that almost anything can be a dungeon. As my world is more industrial, I'll go over one of my favorites now: Urban Areas. The ravenous expansion of civilization means that many creatures are pushed out of their own habitats and forced to adapt to the new urbanization. Those who are most successful at this adaptation may find themselves thriving under these new circumstances. Additionally, there are many humanoid threats in these areas, ranging from gangs of thugs to assassins for hire and much more. There is never a dull moment in the life of a city, where everything vies for a space of their own.

(Generated semi-randomly; References to names are specific to my world, adapt as needed)

Viper's Nest

(For levels 2-3)

Harbor districts of large trade cities like Corasonne see a lot of goods moved about, not all of them obtained legally. There's a pair of warehouses located on the eastern edge, close to the water owned by a particular group. One of them is actively used, while the other is seemingly left in disrepair and boarded up. In reality, they are connected, and while the main one houses their legal goods, the other is used for the more clandestine business. It is connected to an underground waterway where they store their smuggled goods, mostly jewelry and disapproved alchemical goods.

Pirates (8): This crew consists of 5 Bandits, First Mate Darío, Mariano the Deck Wizard, and of course the Captain Lorenzo Corello. They have set up their smuggling operation here, pushing out some of the former inhabitants of the abandoned warehouse. With recent events they are losing ground however, and considering to pull out from this location. They keep the place well-lit to combat the Meazels.

Crocodile (1): The crew captured this one as a youngling after killing its parent, and have tamed it. It helps them guard the waterway entrance and their stolen goods, though when it is scared or enraged, only Mariano can calm it down with magic.

Meazels (3): This trio used to have this warehouse all by themselves and kept a distance from each other. They were chased out by the smugglers however, and now have to deal with misery of each other's company. They have retreated to the rafters where they hide out and annoy the smugglers. Since they can easily teleport between the two warehouses, they are nigh-impossible for them to catch. As a result, the smugglers no longer go up there and are not aware of for example the boarded-up holes in the roof of the dilapidated warehouse, which could allow someone to sneak in (if they make it past the Meazels at least).

Ghouls (3): Ghouls commonly lurk in the sewers and waterways running below the city, and they have found the entrance here as well. The smugglers try to hold them off with alchemical traps, but that will only work for so long.

Water Weird (1): In ages past there used to be a sacred pool here, before the city was built. Runoff from the factories has polluted the water and woken up its guardian, who now finds himself in a contained waterway filled with garbage. It is weakened, angry and aggressive, but it also desperately wants to see its location purified.

Other Notable Locations: The longshoremen frequently protest in the mooring area closeby, which could serve as a potential hindrance or distraction.

Sewer Madness

(For levels 3-4)

The sewers below a large, industrial city are full of life. Often tainted or deformed life, sure, but life nonetheless. And where there is life, there is conflict of course. So it is here as well. The kobolds who have been ordained by the city to take care of the sewers trash, have come into conflict with the troglodytes who were here before, and in the meantime other scavengers lurk about picking off prey on both sides. The sewers are structured in a circular fashion, with six rows of tunnels bending around a large central reservoir. Sewer pipes jut from the side and flush their waste into the larger tunnels which flow out of the city into the bay.

Kobolds (37): These junk-drakes have come down here to manage the sewage system, and in exchange they are allowed to take apart anything that comes down here for useful parts. They have taken up much space and pushed the other residents back, and then they placed traps all around to ensure their own safety. They have about 28 able-bodied kobolds among them that can fight, and they are led by a single sorcerer. Their junkheap 'town' is located in the western part of the sewer, but their scavenging area and traps reach nearly all the way to the central reservoir.

Ettin (1): How a two-headed giant ends up in a sewer is a mystery, but that's besides the point. It lived here calmly until it stumbled into one of the newly-made traps of the kobolds, which maimed one of its heads and left it blind on that side. Now it is scared and angry, with its left head constantly having to reassure its right. It tells it tales of the beautiful lands they move through, while in reality picking through the sewage for food.

Troglodytes (11): The troglodytes have been significantly reduced in number by their first conflict with the kobolds, but their Champion is still alive. Under his leadership they have started to wage guerilla warfare against the kobolds, hoping to slowly push them back and regain some of their former territory. They are currently stuck in three of the eastern rooms, usually split up in two groups: one on raiding duty, the other resting and guarding their home. They have found a variety of metal tools and bars among the trash that they use as Greatclubs, while the Champion wields a magical, spiked Quarterstaff of Warning.

Giant Lizards (2): The troglodytes have tamed this pair of giant lizards to be part of their fighting force. They used to have more and they raised them for food as well, but now they can no longer afford to eat these last few.

Ghouls (4): Of course with so many dead on both sides, predators are soon to arrive. This small pack of ghouls roams the northern sewer tunnels, occasionally striking out to pick apart small groups of kobolds or troglodytes. Their paralytic poison is effective against both, and they are not too bothered by the troglodytes' smell. They make good use of the boarded-up tunnels and other hiding spots to launch surprise attacks. The large amount of casualties in the first encounter between the Kobolds and Trogs left so much food that one Ghoul got elevated to a Ghast even.

Otyugh (1): In the central reservoir, where the first battle between the kobolds and troglodytes took place, this otyugh has settled to feast upon the offal and waste. It is wounded and keeps a low profile, but when a single straggler passes by it will quickly gobble them up. Among its pile of dirt also lie the remains of an unfortunate half-orc inspector who had been sent down by the city. Returning his city-issued badge and weapon would be sure to earn a reward. An opportunistic explorer may want to keep his Ghost Lantern for themselves however.

Other Notable Locations: In the south-eastern tunnels near the exit, a particular criminal group has stored the goods they use in their smuggling operation behind a fake wooden wall. The crates contain several firebombs, and many doses of Reverie, a hallucinogenic drug made of dried, black fungus.

Conjurer's Tower

(For levels 5-7)

The wizard's tower is a classic for a reason. People often make the mistake in thinking that powerful spellcasters are always serious and maximally efficient, in truth you need to experiment a lot to reach power. Creative applications of magic allow for a deeper understanding and better on-the-fly thinking when it's needed...also it can be fun to mess with any cheeky intruders. Of course, it does require some defenses on the outside, so the lower floors are not just bypassed.

Conjurer Wizard (1): With a slight sadistic streak, and a penchant for earth-molding magic, he has filled his tower with a myriad of dangers. He also likes to experiment on magical creatures and test their properties, so there are many rooms full of examination tables, jars of body parts and other gruesome things. He is extremely cautious and if he believes a confrontation is imminent is likely to cast Flying magic on himself, and obscure himself using his Staff of Swarming Insects. He favors Earth Elementals as summons, as the top floor is protected with Glyphs of Transmute Rock that turn the ground to quicksand if an intruder were to step on it. He is rarely caught off-guard due to the ritual Dagger of Warning he carries with him.

Magma Mephits (8): The 'treasure room' is actually a clever illusion to lure hapless intruders in. As soon as they enter, the door will close with an Arcane Lock and the room will begin to fill with sand. There is of course a safety mechanism, in the form of a metal sphere hidden beneath the sands that needs to be placed on the central pedestal. The Mephits however are annoying little buggers and will cast Heat Metal on anyone carrying the sphere so they'll drop it and have to search again.

Carrion Crawlers (4): On the lower floors the conjurer keeps a few Carrion Crawlers to deal with clean-up of corpses and other leftover parts. There is also a defense mechanism however, in the shape of Glyphs of Wall of Stone that will create a maze-like structure for any intruders to cross that will likely split them up when activated. The Crawlers are good climbers and can get over the walls with ease, opportunely attacking the softest-looking prey.

Basilisks (3): This room's trap can be remotely activated or when anyone steps on the pressure plate at the entrance. The back wall (from the side from which they entered) will begin to close in, but there is a way out. On the opposite end, inside the wall are 3 narrow tunnels. At the end of each is a pressure plate. All 3 need to be activated to stop the trap, but each is guarded by a Basilisk forcing any intruder to run straight towards the petrifying creature. Wait too long and you may end up trapped in the tunnels.

Animated Objects (4 Animated Armors, 4 Animated Halbers, 1 Smothering Rug): The central hall on the top level leading to the conjurer's main laboratory is more richly decorated, including a few sets of armor. Anyone who crosses over the rug in the center will find themselves smothered however, and they would also find the sets of ornamental armor quite...murderous.

Giant Wasps (10): A bit of outside protection is nice as well of course. The conjurer keeps these insects on the outside of the tower, to ward off aerial invasion, but more importantly to warn him off it so he can prepare or shoot any foolish flier down himself before they get too close.

Other Notable Locations: His library and storage room kind of grew much larger than expected and the top shelves became tough to reach. So he invented the levitating ladder, a short rolling ladder with a lever that allows for the ladder to levitate a certain distance. The range of heights is quite wide though, and finely adjusting it is hard.

Other Notable Locations: Next to the library is the bestiarium, a room full of containment cells with different magical creatures to be used for later experimentation. The room is full of notes and books describing the creatures, their properties and how they may be harvested.

House of the Hunter

(For levels 8-10)

Being hunted is never a pleasant experience, especially when your stalker can easily turn invisible and even return from defeat. Sometimes, you'll want to deal with them in their own home to really send the message...home. This devil has worked on the Prime Plane while masquerading as a half-ogre bounty hunter for so long, he even has a pretty spacious permanent residence with a planar portal connecting to his home lair. It is however also full of dangers, ranging from captured creatures to traps incorporating Tanglefoot goo. Chasing an experienced hunter through his own home is certainly not going to be an easy feat. Because any hunter knows that what matters is who's left standing at the end, even if that means employing a hit and run style.

Orthon (1): This devil has found an affinity (or greed, really) for material wealth and spends a lot of his time on the Prime, where he will hunt people and creatures of all kinds, dead or alive. He has learned to work some magic like Alter Self, Nystul's Magical Aura and Nondetection. He still frequently works for other devils, as they can pay him souls.

Blue Guard Drakes (4): The Orthon bought and raised these to aid him in the hunt. He specifically chose Blue Drakes for their burrowing capability, to aid in tracking and hunting down subterranean targets. When they are not out for the hunt, they loyally guard the devil, his home and his hoard.

Phase Spiders (3): The Orthon found a clutch of eggs during one of his hunts, and has trained these creatures to help him track down creatures that can travel through the Ethereal. They stalk the halls of his mansion, and will opportunistically jump on anything edible.

Star Spawn Manglers (2): These two were captured alive as part of a request, and they are locked in a large cage in the eastern wing. The room is dark and they tend to climb and hide on the ceiling, hoping someone will be foolish enough to open their cage and let them out.

Venom Troll (1): The request for this creature only asked for it to be removed, so when he captured it, the Orthon kept this creature for himself and locked him up in the mansion's basement. Here he experimented on it with Rot Grubs which slowly poisoned the troll, but never killed it due to its regeneration. Eventually it grew a kind of sickly resistance to it, becoming a Venom Troll that is now a breeding ground for the horrible little grubs.

Rot Grub Swarm (1): There is a swarm of these things crawling both over and in the troll, feeding on its regenerating flesh. Anything that touches the troll will end up infected as well, making for a potentially devastating biological weapon that the Orthon can release at any time. (The Venom Troll's attacks and Poison Splash feature also force a DC 10 Constitution saving throw to avoid being infected by Rot Grubs as well (p.237)).

Other Notable Locations: In the basement there is also a wine cellar with types of wine specifically made for devils. These spiced wines are incredibly strong, and poisonous to any non-devils. They also cause a physical burning sensation that can root out any infection.

Other Notable Locations: Next to the portal room is the devil's planning room, containing maps, scrolls and a variety of tools and weapons. There is also a Scrying Eye here that it can use to locate its target more easily, but only once a day.

Murderer's Mansion

(For levels 12-16)

At the edge of town, near the graveyard sits an abandoned mansion that many people believe to be cursed. Few people go near it even if it is mostly considered superstition. Good thing for them, because something far worse than they realize lurks here.

Nabassu (1): The dour graveyard worker Angelo Gonzaga has been acting even stranger than usual lately. What most people do not know, is that he is a demon in disguise (For my world all demons have a human form, but you can just add the Shapechanger ability to achieve this.). The demon has grown past the stage of ravenous hunger and into intelligence. It now uses its disguise to scout out the city and talk with people, then goes out at night to hunt. The watch has had trouble tracking down the prolific serial killer due to the Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location that it has obtained.

Ghouls (8): The demon often takes his victims back home with him if he can so they can rise from their death to become Ghouls or Ghasts. They inhabit the mansion and guard it from any curious intruders that get too nosy.

Deathlocks (3): The demon has realized the value of pawns and made some pacts here or there. It has also realized that they are a lot easier to control if they end up in 'accidents' and rise from undeath. Two of them have completely lost their mind and risen as Deathlock Wights, but one was able to retain its mind and became a Deathlock Mastermind. The Mastermind serves as an advisor to the demon, but it bears some resentment towards it master, which would likely be far worse if it found out about the conditions of its death. The Deathlocks are the only servants that can magically disguise themselves as well, so they sometimes join the demon for its scouting during the day, though the Wights can barely talk and the sunlight bothers them greatly. The Mastermind is also responsible for setting up the magical defenses of the mansion like an Alarm spell or a Magical Lock on the main door. It carries a Rod of the Pactkeeper that it was given by its master.

Wraiths (4): The dark aura of the demon and its murders has drawn in several Wraiths who serve the demon as its servants. The demon has put them under strict commands to not go outside unless it is to the graveyard, but they hunger for fresh victims too. Sometimes the demon brings back a live victim for them to play with, but it is mostly too greedy to do so.

Swarm of Spiders (4): The basement is full of spiders who can live here without being bothered by anyone. They live and travel between here and the nearby graveyard, using a hidden subterranean tunnel that goes there. Neither the demon nor anyone else is aware of the presence of the tunnel.

Swarm of Wasps (1): Below the roof hangs a wasp nest. Since the building is abandoned they are not bothered by anyone. Any activity from them may alert the mansion's undead to potential intruders from above.

10 Comments
2024/01/03
17:28 UTC

39

Azaruuk's Ultimate Battle Royale

Hello! I've written and published a player versus player battle arena module, and I thought I'd share here in case anyone finds it useful.

In Azaruuk's Ultimate Battle Royale the players find themselves whisked away to Sigil, the city in the center of the multiverse, where the must face off against each other in Azaruuk's arena. In this arena they will fight Azaruuk's Homunculi and dodge devious hazards all while trying to defeat the others to become the Ultimate Champion!

There is no need for a dedicated Dungeon Master when running this module. Everyone can have their own character and responsibilities of the Dungeon Master can be shared between everyone. The module is intended for two or more level 10 players, however it can be run for players of any level with only a little tweaking required.

It's worth noting that, as the classes in D&D are not balanced with Player vs Player combat in mind, this module is not a serious attempt at balanced competition. Instead it focuses on creating a fun experience that is not intended to be taken too seriously. That said, there are several features provided which aim to curtail some of the worst imbalances.

A PDF of the module is available on DMs Guild at the link below. It's play-what-you-want but the recommended price is free!

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/465886/Azaruuks-Ultimate-Battle-Royale

Here's the full module, please let me know what you think!

Background

In this module the players face off against each other in Azaruuk’s Arena in the city of Sigil.

Sigil

Sigil, also known as the City of Doors, is a floating city often claimed to sit at the center of the multiverse. Within Sigil, portals can be found to every known plane in the multiverse, making it a hub for interplanar travel.

The city is ruled by the Lady of Pain, however she is uninterested in the day to day running of the city, instead allowing it to run itself. As a result the city is one that is both prosperous and also rife with crime. Its markets contain almost anything that could be conceived of from across the multiverse but by browsing them, individuals are taking their safety into their own hands.

Azaruuk

Azaruuk is a githzerai who has used his psionic abilities and business acumen to build an empire within Sigil. He was once an adventurer, surviving some of the most dangerous places in existence, and in doing so earned himself a small fortune. He used this to set up his business in Sigil, turning it into a massive fortune.

He is known for his cutthroat business practices, the quality of the products he provides and competitive prices. He achieves this by forcing any meaningful competition out of business–sometimes even resorting to having his people run them out of town.

His latest pursuit is one of his more honest ventures: a battle arena.

Azaruuk’s Arena

Azaruuk has long had an interest in battle and in his heyday he considered himself among the best. Those days are now long past however, and recently he has been yearning to experience the thrill of battle once again.

Knowing that returning to battle himself wouldn’t be practical, he has invested in the creation of Sigil’s largest and greatest arena for combat sports.

To ensure an exciting battle, Azaruuk has arranged for mighty adventurers to be pulled from across the multiverse to battle it out in his Ultimate Battle Royale.

Each of these adventurers is found and drawn to the Arena by a Sponsor–a wealthy patron of the Arena who seeks to have their competitor become the Champion.

Running This Module

The module was written with level 10 player characters in mind, however it can be run for players of any level with only a little tweaking required.

There is no need for a dedicated Dungeon Master when running this module. Everyone should have their own character and responsibilities of the Dungeon Master are shared between them. The Dungeon Master section below provides guidelines on how to run this fairly.

All players should be familiar with this document so that no-one is at an advantage.

The classes in D&D are not balanced with Player vs Player combat in mind and therefore this module is not a serious attempt at balanced competition. Instead this focuses on creating a fun experience that is not intended to be taken too seriously. That said, there are several features provided which aim to curtail some of the worst imbalances.

Paragraphs in italics are intended to be read or paraphrased to the players.

Creating a Character

Characters should be created following the process described in the Player’s Handbook and should be level 10. For the sake of fairness, it is recommended that you:

  • Use the Variant: Customizing Ability Scores rule, often called “Point Buy”
  • Calculate HP using the fixed value shown in your class entry, which is the average of your hit die (rounded up), instead of rolling

It is recommended that players avoid characters with high survivability but low damage capabilities as this will draw the fight out for far too long. Equally however, characters with too little survivability may find themselves at risk of being defeated in a single hit, so a balance between damage capabilities and survivability needs to be found for an entertaining fight.

Optional: Extra Tough

If the players have created characters who are lacking in survivability, it might be a good idea to allow everyone to take the Tough feat for free.

Equipment

Prior to entering the arena, characters may acquire equipment which will aid them in the battle.

A character is able to stock up on any non-magical gear and equipment they want, up to 3 of each item. A stack of 20 arrows, bolts, bullets or similar counts as one item. Potions of healing are considered magical items and therefore not applicable for this, nor are spell components worth over 100 gp.

Each character has 5 Equipment Points (EP) which can be spent on magical gear and equipment. The following table describes the available items.

  • 1 EP: Weapon, +1
  • 1 EP: Stone of Goodluck
  • 2 EP: +1 Armor (any type)
  • 2 EP: +1 Shield
  • 2 EP: Bracers of Archery
  • 2 EP: Boots of Speed
  • 2 EP: Cloak of Elvenkind
  • 2 EP: Cloak of Protection
  • 2 EP: Gloves of Missile Snaring
  • 2 EP: Ring of Evasion
  • 2 EP: Slippers of Spider Climbing
  • 3 EP: All-Purpose Tool (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Amulet of the Devout (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Arcane Grimoire (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Bloodwell Vial (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Dragon’s Wrath Weapon (Stirring)
  • 3 EP: Moon Sickle (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Periapt of Proof Against Poison
  • 3 EP: Ring of Warmth
  • 3 EP: Ring of Free Action
  • 3 EP: Ring of Fire Resistance
  • 3 EP: Ring of Lightning Resistance
  • 3 EP: Rhythm-Maker’s Drum (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Rod of the Pact Keeper (Uncommon)
  • 3 EP: Wraps of Unarmed Prowess (Rare)

In addition to this, everyone has an insignia of ba'sha (see Appendix B).

Characters with the Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature can stock up on any material component with a cost of 100gp or less, up to three of each. Material components with a cost higher than 100 gp can be acquired for 1 EP per 3 items.

Artificers are able to create and equip any of their infusions up to their maximum number of infused items prior to the battle.

Characters may attune to any of their items prior to the battle.

Dungeon Master

In this module there is no dedicated Dungeon Master. Instead one player takes on the role for a single round before passing it onto another for the next.

The DM’s duties are primarily to control monsters and to process Arena Actions and other Hazards. These are all described in their respective sections below.

Rulings should generally be made as a group. However, whenever a consensus cannot be met then the current DM’s ruling is final.

Before starting everyone should roll a d20. Whoever rolls highest (re-rolling ties) takes on DMing duty for the first round. At the start of each subsequent round, DMing duty passes on clockwise to the next player. Players who have been defeated may take over DMing duty.

Preparation

Prior to entering the arena players are able to use spells and abilities with a duration of 8 hours or greater. These are used immediately before entering the arena, leaving no time for a short rest or any other feature which would return spent resources from these abilities. Players must enter the arena alone unless a class or subclass feature grants them a companion, such as the Ranger’s Companion feature available to Beast Master Rangers.

Azaruuk’s Arena

Introduction

You find yourself off-stage, just out of sight of the audience beyond who have come to watch you fight. You stand with your Sponsor, the person who brought you here with promises of glory and wealth, as they repeat some last minute advice.

A spotlight appears on stage illuminating a portly githzerai man in his 60s as the audience erupts into cheers. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Azaruuk, and welcome to my Ultimate Battle Royale!”.

He waits for the cheers to die down before continuing: “Today we are all here to watch mighty warriors and talented spellcrafters battle it out to find out who among them is our Champion, who will be awarded the 25,000 gp prize! Shall we meet our competitors?”

You each step out onto the stage before an audience of tens of thousands who erupt into a chorus of cheering.

The players are given a moment to each introduce and describe their characters. If the players wish, they may do so in character as their Sponsor, introducing them in a similar manner to a boxing announcer.

A circle of runes appears on the ground before each of you as Azaruuk continues “Stepping on these runes will teleport you into the arena. Let the battle begin!”

You each step forward into the runes and feel your stomach lurch. Within a blink of an eye, you find yourself in the arena. You can no longer see the audience but you can faintly hear them beyond the arena’s walls.

The Arena

Azaruuk’s Arena consists of nine interconnected chambers. These chambers have a 20 foot high ceiling and contain hazards which may affect the players in them.

Arena battle map image: https://d1vzi28wh99zvq.cloudfront.net/images/8957/_product_images/465886/ArenaMap_19x19.jpg

The following is a brief description of each of these chambers.

1) Lava pit

A chamber which consists of a metal walkway 30 feet above a pit of roiling lava.

2) Ritual chamber

A chamber which contains remnants of ritual gone awry. Part of the floor has fallen away under the ritual site, revealing a rift in space-time below.

3) Icy path

A chamber which contains a frozen path through a pool of icy water.

4) Foul sewers

A chamber which consists of sewage pipes and drainage which leak a foul odor.

5) Victor’s hall

A chamber free of hazards in which previous victors are celebrated. Although safer than the other chambers, the hall is quite exposed.

6) Crypt

A chamber containing the final resting place of the dead.

7) Spider cave

A dingy cave filled with spider webs.

8) Laboratory

A chamber filled with a mad scientist’s tools and equipment.

9) Garden

Seemingly a peaceful retreat from the chaos elsewhere, filled with trees and other plant-life.

The Battle Begins

The battle starts with everyone rolling initiative.

The players then choose their starting position on the battle map depending on the order of initiative. This weakens the advantage that a high initiative roll affords, allowing those who rolled lower to gain more favorable positioning.

Players cannot begin in the Lava Pit, Icy Path, Spider Cave or Garden chambers.

Once everyone is in position, the battle begins!

Variant: Round Initiative

To create a more unpredictable fight, you may wish to use the Round Initiative variant rule.

When using this rule, initiative is re-rolled at the start of each round. This reduces the advantage afforded by rolling a high initiative at the start of the fight. A player who looks to be on the ropes may claw back victory from defeat with a lucky initiative roll at the start of a round.

The downside to this rule is that it can make a fight more swingy. A player who rolled a low initiative one round and then high the next may end up getting two turns before another player gets one, potentially leading to the other player taking very high damage before they’re able to react.

Hazards

There are a number of hazards on the map for the players to avoid. The following describes the effects of these in each chamber.

Lava pit

This area is uncomfortably hot. A creature entering this area for the first time on a turn or starting its turn there must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or gain one point of exhaustion.

Additionally, a creature that falls into the lava must make a DC 22 Constitution saving throw. It takes 18d10 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Ritual chamber

A creature which enters the rift in space-time ages by 1d100 years. It is then teleported at random to one of the other eight chambers. It chooses the specific location in the chamber.

Icy path

A creature moving onto the ice for the first time on a turn must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall prone. If it falls prone, it slides 5 feet in a random direction.

A creature entering the icy water for the first time on a turn or starting its turn there must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or gain one point of exhaustion.

Spider cave

A creature entering the webbed area for the first time on its turn or starting its turn there must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or become restrained by the webs. While restrained, the creature may break free from the webs as an action.

Additionally, a player entering this area for the first time on a turn causes a spider homunculus to appear within the spider webs at a location chosen by the DM.

A spider homunculus has the statistics of an azaruuk’s homunculus except it also has the Spider Climb trait (See the giant spider stat block) and has no fly speed. It will act in the same manner as the other homunculi as described in the Monster section below with the following difference: it will only ever target the player who caused it to spawn and it will die when that player has been defeated.

Laboratory

A creature moving into the lightning for the first time on a turn or starting its turn there must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 lightning damage.

Garden

A creature touching the ground or any of the foliage in this area for the first time on its turn or starting its turn while touching these must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be restrained by vines. If the creature fails this save while already restrained by these vines, then it is petrified. While restrained, the creature may repeat the saving throw to break free (without risking being petrified) as an action.

Arena Actions

Once per round the arena will take its turn. On initiative 20 (losing any ties) the effects in two of the following chambers are chosen at random: Ritual Chamber, Foul Sewers, Crypt, and Laboratory. The following describes what happens when each of these chambers activate.

Ritual chamber

A ripple in time passes across the chamber. Each creature in the chamber must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or fall under the effect of the slow spell until the beginning of the next Arena Action.

A creature who passes the save by 10 or more, instead has the effects of the haste spell until the beginning of the next Arena Action. The lethargy effect of the haste spell does not occur when this ends.

Foul sewers

The vents pump noxious gas into the chamber. Each creature in the chamber must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned until the beginning of the next Arena Action. This affects creatures even if they cover their mouths or do not need to breathe.

Crypt

A wave of necrotic energy passes over the crypt. Each creature in this chamber must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be unable to gain hit points or temporary hit points until the end of the next Arena Action.

Laboratory

Lightning crackles across the chamber. Each creature in this chamber must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 lightning damage.

Monsters

In the Ritual Chamber, Foul Sewers, Crypt, and Laboratory there is a one-way portal which allows monsters to enter the arena.

On initiative 10 (losing ties), one of these portals is chosen at random and 1d2 azaruuk’s homunculi (See Appendix A: Monsters) enter through it.

These homunculi are created by Azaruuk who directs them from the sidelines. He controls the monsters using well defined rules to avoid favoring any of the competitors.

The Homunculi are immune to most of the hazards and other effects of the arena. Those which they are not immune to, they have the ability to easily avoid by, for instance, using flight. This, combined with their simple stat block, means that the monster turn should be quick, keeping the focus of the action on the players.

Controlling Monsters

When controlling monsters, the DM should follow these rules:

  • At the start of its turn a monster must pick a character to target
    • The monster does not need to be able to see their target
    • If there is a character within range then the monster must target them
    • If there are no characters in range, then the target must be the character for whom the monster would have to move the least to get into range to attack
    • If there are multiple characters who fulfill these requirements, then the DM chooses which it will target
  • If a monster is not currently within range to attack its target, it will move as much as is required to be in range, and no more
  • If a monster is already in range to attack a character, it will not move
  • A monster must attack its target on its turn, if able
  • A monster must always take an opportunity attack when it is able to
  • A monster must avoid hazards that will guarantee a negative result. For instance a monster will not walk into lava but it may walk on ice as its possible for it to roll well enough to have no negative result

As long as the DM is following these rules, they are able to use monsters to their advantage. For instance if their character and another are both in range of a monster, they can have the monster attack their opponent.

Treasure

Four chambers contain a treasure chest: Lava Pit, Icy Path, Spider Cave and the Garden. Each contains a single tonic of exceptional healing.

These chests are unlocked and may be opened and looted using the one free object interaction on a turn without needing to expend an action.

Defeat

A player is defeated if they drop to zero hit points and fall unconscious.

They are also defeated if afflicted by a permanent effect which prevents them from taking actions and which they are unable to remove. For instance if a player is petrified after having used their insignia of ba’sha, then they are defeated.

Victory Rush

When a player defeats another they have advantage on all saving throws until the end of their next turn, and regain 20 hit points.

This triggers when a player’s actions directly lead to the other player’s defeat. This includes reducing their HP to 0, shoving them off a ledge into lava or other direct means to defeat a player. This will not trigger if the defeat is caused indirectly, for instance, if a player causes another to be swarmed by monsters who kill them.

The Winner

When all other players have been defeated, the last player standing is declared the winner.

Appendix A: Monsters

Azaruuk's Homunculus

Medium Construct, Neutral

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)

Hit Points 13 (2d8 + 6)

Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft.

STR 18 (+4) DEX 18 (+4) CON 14 (+2) INT 8 (-1) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)

Damage Immunities Lightning, Poison, Psychic

Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned

Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 10

Languages Understands the languages of its creator but can't speak

Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Proficiency Bonus +2

Telepathic Bond. While the homunculus is on the same plane of existence as its master, it can magically convey what it senses to its master, and the two can communicate telepathically.

Actions

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Appendix B: Items

Insignia of Ba'sha

Wondrous Item, very rare (requires attunement)

A small golden medallion engraved with a Sergeant's insignia from a long forgotten battle.

As an action, you may undo all debilitating effects currently afflicting you. If the trigger for an effect is still present–for instance the area of effect created by the spell hypnotic pattern–then you are immune to the effect until the start of your next turn.

You may take this action even if you are currently affected by a condition or effect which would normally prevent you from doing so. For example, you can trigger this even if you are incapacitated.

Once this property is used, it can't be used again until the next dawn.

Tonic of Exceptional Healing

Wondrous Item, rare

A tiny vial of red liquid, containing no more than a single gulp.

This tonic can be consumed as a bonus action. You regain 6d4 + 6 hit points when you drink this tonic.

3 Comments
2024/01/02
17:12 UTC

53

The Hat of many Hats

A fun albeit slightly silly DnD hat. I can imagine this being a good find for the more chaotic player style.

**THE HAT OF MANY HATS (Legendary)**The enchanting green and golden magic hat adorned by the Merchant Lord and wizard Benharion the Splendid was no ordinary accessory. Woven with mystical threads, it bore the essence of Benharion's expertise in trickery and sudden chaos, making it a symbol of unpredictability its magical allure hinted at the subtle manipulations and surprises that awaited those who crossed paths with him.
The hat you pull out has a single charge and unravels after being used.

First roll 1xD10 for Style:

  1. Coif: Close-fitting cap often worn under a helmet.
  2. Crown: Worn by royalty, typically adorned with jewels
  3. Bycocket: Hat with a turned-up brim on both sides.
  4. Tudor Bonnet: Soft cap with a rounded crown.
  5. Fillet: Narrow band worn across the forehead.
  6. Tall Hat with Feathers: Often worn by nobility.
  7. Biretta: Square cap with three or four peaks.
  8. Hennin: Cone-shaped headdress, often with a veil.
  9. Pilgrim's Hat: Wide-brimmed hat with a buckle.
  10. Chapel Cap: Simple cap, often worn by women.

Second, roll 1xD6 for Color.:

  1. Red 2. Blue 3. Gold 4. Black 5. Pink 6. White (change the colors as you please)

Third roll 1xD10 for the main EFFECT (Effect starts when the hat touches the head):

  1. Good but not enough: The wearers next 3 attacks rolls are auto hits, but damage is always 5
  2. Illusions of a Man: An identical replica of the wearer appears 15ft in front of the wearer for the next 2h unless the illusion is the target of an attack roll, it will then disappear.
  3. Dream: Next creature you interact with, as your weapons/bodies touch or you start speaking too, will transport you and the person your talking to to a cloud temple in the sky for the duration of the conversation or battle., then drop you back in place. While in effect, your physical body is transported to this pocket dimension.
  4. Blind sight: Lose your vision but gain 10ft Blind Sight for 10min
  5. Power Stun: overwhelm the mind of one creature you can see within range, leaving it dumbfounded. If the target has 150 hit points or fewer, it is stunned. Otherwise, the spell has no effect. The stunned target must make a CON saving throw at the end of each of its turns DC15. On a successful save, this stunning effect ends.
  6. Lure: 20ft behind the wearer a Glabrezu is summoned. The creature is hostile to all non demonic creatures. After 1h the Glabrezu vanishes.
  7. Indiana's Insight: Once the hat is on the wearer’s head, the wearer can pinpoint the location of a single item that they are somewhat familiar with, within 1mile from them or if further away, the general direction it is in.
  8. Truth: When the wearer puts the hat on, the spell "Zone of truth" is cast as described.
  9. Prison: The wearer can choose a target in sight and place a magical bubble around them, the bubble is unbreakable and it is impossible for anything to physically travel through it. It floats upwards with a speed of 5ft per turn. The bubble pops after 1min or when it is 30ft above ground.
  10. Shrinkage: The wearers head shrinks to about 25% of its size (not possible to disguise with illusions or shapeshifting), and their INT is reduced to 5 for 1h.

Fouth, AFTER the player has chosen a target for the effect, roll a 1xD10 for the Modification:

  1. Enduring: Doubles the duration of the magical effect, for effects like Dream, it would be the "next two creatures..."
  2. Penetrating: Ignores resistances or immunities to specific damage types, if applicable.
  3. Echoing: The magical effect will additionally target the creature closest to the left of the wearer.
  4. Siphoning: Converts 50% of damage dealt in the next turn, into temporary hit points for the caster, if applicable.
  5. Warding: Grants the affected creature advantage on saving throws against dispelling or countering attempts.
  6. Normal: The magical effect works as written.
  7. Spread: Every creature in a 20ft square around the wearer is affected by the hats effect just like if they wore it, on their next turn. If out of combat all creature in the zone are affected simultaneously.
  8. Empathic Resonance: Forces the caster to target the party member 2nd closest to them.
  9. Delayed Reaction: Imposes a one-round delay before the magical effect takes effect.
  10. Contagious: Allows the wearer to target a second nearby creature IF the new target fails a DEX saving throw of DC13. If applicable.

edit: layout

5 Comments
2023/12/31
17:47 UTC

64

Legendarium of the Lesser Giants: The stuff Bigby's left out about fomorians, oni, cyclops, and ettins.

I like Bigby's Glory of the Giants, but my WaserWifle and I were disappointed that a few of our favourite giants were left out to focus on those who are part of the ordning. So we did what any normal person would do and wrote our own guide on the four giants mentioned.

View/download a PDF here.

Due to the size of the PDF, I can't put it all in text here, but the mods have assured me that a summary is ok, so here it is:

The main chapters - The bulk of the text with all the personality roll tables, roleplay and customisation advice, along with the minions they'd have and the masters they'd serve.

We've stuck only with the lore present in published 5e books, but with logical extrapolations that brings out their full potential. Ever wondered how fomorians treat their dead, cyclopses interact with their neighbors? How does an ettin decide what weapons to use, or how to sneak an oni into your game? That's what we've set out here.

The environments, few one-page unique places that these giants could live that brings out their characteristics to the fullest, with adventure hooks and fun features.

And lastly 8 stat blocks, two for each giant. We have everything from the fomorian monarch, a mythic boss monster as relentless as he is ugly, a cyclops ranger, an undead oni, and my personal favourite, an ettin gunslinger.

Also I want to thank u/WaserWifle for his contribution, most notably all the fomorian bits (that man's really into fomorians).

15 Comments
2023/12/30
17:03 UTC

69

Mini-Dungeons Part 2: Underwater and Coastal Areas

For previous installments see:

Part 1: Caverns and Underground Areas

One of my favorite things in D&D are the eponymous dungeons. They are places full of danger and wonder. And the vast variety of creatures available allows for endless interesting ecologies.

One thing I like to do and will show examples of here, is to roll on encounter tables (usually ~5-8 times) to see what random combination I end up with (and in which amounts) and then trying to think up how these different species would interact. These ideas can then be adapted and dropped in at any time.

I would like to make a few suggestions and side-notes however. First of all, always adapt things to your party. Make sure they can use their strengths sometimes, and are confronted with their weakness on other times. Also, depending on how strategically smart and well-equipped they are you may have to tune things in terms of difficulty. Make use of class abilities, or use statblocks that can be used for any humanoid (e.g. a Dwarven Knight). A major factor of difficulty also lies in terrain. Large open rooms are boring and not very challenging, instead use the dungeon's natural characteristics to the monster's advantages. For example, have some Bugbears lurk on an overhang from where they can spot and ambush intruders, or have Goblin archers lure adventurers into the spike traps they have placed. And sometimes, terrain should be dangerous to traverse or impose some disadvantage, even without enemies present.

Also one very important note: large groups of creatures spread around. Just because there is a tribe of 40 odd Goblins, doesn't mean you should have your party fight 40 regular Goblins in a large cave. In fact, you definitely shouldn't. Divide it into multiple fights with interesting terrain or situations.

Now, I personally believe that almost anything can be a dungeon. In this installment, I'll go over some ideas for Underwater and Coastal Areas. Water is both enchanting, and terrifying. The dark waves can hide a myriad of unknown threats, and entering it is not without risk. But there is also wonder, and it can be a great place to hide treasure. Below are some example water-themed areas.

(Generated semi-randomly; References to names are specific to my world, adapt as needed)


--Raider's Cavern--

(For levels 2-3)

The deep is a great hiding place for those who like to prey on fishermen and coastal settlements. A group of sahuagin raiders hid out in an underwater cavern nearby, until they were intruded upon by a malevolent merrow. The merrow now bosses them around, forcing them to bring back loot and trophies that it stows in its lair. The entrance to the cavern lies near the coast but almost 50 meters deep, near a ship that the sahuagin have recently sunk. The entrance and several of the cavern rooms are home to hydrothermal vents that make it tricky to enter and leave if you aren't quick.

Giant Octopus (1): A giant octopus has made its home in the sunken ship next to the cavern. It is not aligned with the sahuagin or merrow at all, but it is always on the look-out for a quick and simple snack. It has gathered some treasure in the ship's hull, including an Alchemy Jug that it tends to play around with.

Steam Mephits (3): The hydrothermal vents have drawn in a group of steam mephits that lurk around. They hide in the steam while playing tricks on the sahuagin and anyone else who may enter. They are not interested in picking a deathly fight, but they may harass others if a fight breaks out. When people try to get past the steam vents, they will harass them with their breath to mess up their timing.

Sahuagin (10): The sahuagin lurk in the deeper caverns where they divide the loot that the merrow lets them have, and feast upon the catch of the day. Usually a couple can be found in a small cavern where they store food wrapped in algae, while a larger group of five or so is in the main cavern where they play games, prepare for the next raid or tell stories. Two others attend the merrow in the deepest cavern.

Merrow (1): The merrow lurks in the deepest cavern which is also its treasure room. The left side is lined with hydrothermal vents, while the right side is partially flooded which it prefers. If the merrow notices an assault on the cavern happening, it may lurk below the water to ambush any intruders while they are picking through the loot. The merrow wears a coral Luckstone around its neck, which it pilfered from a ship captain.

Other Notable Locations: Across from the storage room, next to the main cavern lies a room that the sahuagin use for their rituals. There are the remains of a fire, some algae, and a few psychoactive herbs.


--Misty Delta--

(For levels 3-4)

Some coasts are home to large towns, others are unexplored for a myriad of reasons. The presence of Fae is often such a reason, as it makes it treacherous to get a foothold in the region. This misty river delta is home to a dense forest where the barrier between the Faewylde and the Principal World is particularly thin. The Fae make copious use of illusions, which combined with the natural heavy mist in the area makes it difficult to traverse these forests without getting lost. In ancient times there have been numerous incursions and as a result, the land is home to only few humanoid inhabitants.

Sea Hag (1), Meenlock (1): Where the delta converges resides one of the oldest inhabitants in the area, a hag who has been driven away from society for her abhorrence. She despises the wondrous lands around it and the Fair Folk that make it so, particularly the Naiad sisters at the river's mouth. She has made many a treacherous deal with desperate fisherman to gather the crystallized essence of their fear and used it to summon a Meenlock to help her fight the sisters.

Naiads (2): A pair of twin sisters who reside at the mouth of the river delta. They try to protect their beautiful home desperately by using illusions to waylay intruders, but the sheer number of Sahuagin means that they have not been able to stop every incursion.

Harpies (3): A little further east is a cliff face overlooking a rounding where ships often pass by. Here live a trio of Harpy sisters who use their beautiful voices to lure sailors and fishermen to their watery doom. For larger groups, the Harpies bring their victims to the crocodiles that live here to soften their prey, because they know the crocodiles won't eat everything so there's plenty left.

Crocodiles (2): A pair of crocodiles have migrated here from a more contested nearby coast in search of food as they are trying to produce young. The Harpies' endeavors have given them plenty, though the Sahuagin incursion of the region means they have to stay on their toes.

Blood Hawks (10): The hawks are vicious creatures, but here they find themselves contested in the air by the Harpies. Occasionally they strike out, but rarely do the confrontations go in their favor, so their population has remained limited.

Sahuagin (18): This Sahuagin band has broken off from their tribe in search of new lands, but they have found themselves stymied here by the Fae and their treacherous illusions. The Naiads in particular have proven to be a significant hindrance when it comes to their progress into the river delta. They usually wander around in strike squads of 6 each, one of which is led by a Priestess. The Priestess has obtained a Wand of Magic Detection from a nearby wreckage, allowing her to avoid some of the Fae's illusionary tricks.

Blue Dragon Wyrmling (1): This young little tyrant was left here by its parent in a hurry as it was being hunted. Recently it's grown large enough to confidently strike out and start hunting the local wildlife, and it is causing havoc to the ecosystem. If it continues to grow, it will dominate these lands in the future.

Other Notable Locations: At the mouth of an estuary stands an eroded watch tower. In ancient times it was assaulted and overrun by malevolent Fae. At low tide, the entrance is accessible. The inside is full of a choking black smoke released by an Eversmoking Bottle.


--The Lurker's Temple--

(For levels 5-6)

Here, far below the waves yet close to the coast, resides a temple to The Lurker Below. It is an ancient and dilapidated building, with many fallen columns and collapsed roofs that can be dangerous to traverse. Entombed within is a powerful Wastrilith demon subservient to the Lurker who was sealed away in a foul idol long ago. Even in its imprisoned state it can still influence the nearby world however, and any humanoid that comes near it becomes potentially subject to a wracking transformation.

Deep Scions (3): Those who accept the demon's transformation to save their live are turned into merciless Deep Scions. These have been infiltrating nearby coastal towns to bring back new sacrifices to offer to their idol. Those who survive the transformation may turn into new Scions or Spawn, and those who don't serve as fine sacrifices. They usually act individually, but when faced with invasion from a powerful foe may work together or call upon their Sea Spawn servants.

Sea Spawn (9): Aquatic humanoids, or those who did not accept the idol's offer and were transformed more forcefully instead may turn into Sea Spawn. All their previous emotions are overwritten, and now they only seek to serve their new master and his chosen representatives: the scions. They bring the more material offerings to the idol, which is now surrounded by a motley combination of actual treasure and colorful coral and such. Most of them have taken over some of the Wastrilith's toxic nature and gained Poisonous Quills.

Hulking Crab (1): This creature is not intelligent enough to even be aware of the local conflict going on, but it feels naturally drawn to the temple's strange idol and tends to roam just outside the temple. The Scions leave it alone and even occasionally feed it because it serves as efficient protection from intruders.

Giant Crabs (4): These not-so-little guys tend to stick around with their much larger relative for protection, eating the scraps of what it leaves behind. It provides them with a safer existence, as the Koalinth otherwise try to capture them sometimes.

Koalinth (33): These war-like Goblinoid Fae live in a coral forest near the temple. They hate the Scions and the idol's corrupting influence, but they cannot safely approach it without being transformed. They are too numerous for the Scions to assault them directly, but occasional stragglers are picked off. On the opposite end, the Koalinth try to set up ambushes to catch the Scions sometimes as well. Their underwater village is protected by frequent patrols, as well as traps such as spear guns, snare traps and treated bladder sacs that can be punctured to release a caustic poison. They have about 25 capable fighters, while most hunting parties consist of around 5-8 Koalinth, usually led by a Sergeant and a Priest. Their leader is a tough Veteran wielding a Trident of Lightning.

Giant Lighting Eel (2): This pair was caught by the Koalinth and trained to be incorporated into their raiding parties.

Other Notable Locations: To the west of the temple, in a small ravine rests the skeleton of a giant sea turtle hidden under a forest of kelp. Inside lie the remains of a Sea Elf envoy who was devoured, with only his Helmet of Comprehending Languages having survived the passage of time.


--Eerie Lakes--

(For levels 6-8)

It is said that somewhere along this tropical coast, a native sorceress buried a powerful artifact shortly before her people were raided by invaders. The invaders were never able to find the stone anywhere among the multiple deep lakes. A group of bandits that operate in this region has also been looking for the stone however and they seem to somehow have obtained information that the answer is in the waters.

Bandits (1 Bandit Captain, 1 Tortle Druid, 1 Berserker, 9 Bandits): Captain Driga and his crew are searching for the treasure. They hired a druid to calm some of the dangerous wildlife in this place and allow them safe passage. The Berserker possesses the Wolf Totem Rage, while Captain Driga is an experienced Fighter with the abilities Action Surge, Second Wind (1d10+3) and the Maneuvers (1/Turn) Quick Toss and Disarming Strike (DC 13).

Giant Sharks (2): Somewhere in the bay lies an eerie statue with tentacles sprouting from its face, deep underwater. It holds the key to opening the way towards the treasure. If a person performs the task mentioned on its plaque correctly, they will find an orb of water coalesce in their hand. This orb will glow when near the artifact, and allow them to attempt the test associated with it. Unfortunately the statue is guarded by a pair of giant sharks that circle it. They are compelled by the statue's magic to do so, but the pull of the statue has grown weak after decades. They can be magically charmed, scared off, or perhaps even distracted.

Giant Constrictor Snakes (4): To reach the lakes, one must move further inland through the jungle. There are many dangers lurking here, from small mosquitos to these giant constrictor snakes. They are always looking for some tasty prey, but they scare easily and won't risk their life if the tides turn.

Banshee (1), Water Elementals (2): To be able to access the artifact, one must first pass the test. But before one can attempt the test they will have to deal with the guardians. The spirit of the sorceress still roams here as a banshee, and before her death she animated elementals to guard the place. She has long lost her mind and is difficult to reason with, but not impossible. The artifact is an obsidian Ring of Spell Storing that contains the Insect Plague spell when found. It is buried along with a treasure of gold jewelry.

Other Notable Locations: Halfway towards the lakes, there is a smaller path somewhat hidden by the brushes that veers left. It leads towards an old shrine of a nature spirit that the people here used to revere. On the stone lies one of the last offerings, a magical Macuahuitl offered by one of the last surviving warriors, because he felt he was no longer worthy after failing to protect his people.


--Hidden Fort of the Scourge--

(For levels 11-14)

In the arctic Odaav Ocean, at the edge of an underwater sea shelf, lies a fortress inhabited by a single Giant who has become a serious menace. It has captured a Skyswimmer allowing it to venture out to extort, raid or pillage nearby towns before diving back into the deep. The stone fortress is an absolute pain to reach, as the Giant's prayers to its malevolent master have been answered and the fortress is surrounded by a whirlwind of silt and debris that both obscures its locations and makes it hazardous to enter. There is a trick to it however that its aqueous servants also make use of, which is that there are larger rocks dragged around in the whirlpool, and in the wake of which one can safely enter to be protected from the debris. But the inside is no less dangerous, protected by both predators and traps. There are large arctic sea anemones surrounding the castle that will happily gobble up any prey that wanders too close, and inside there are Glyphs of Water Walking that will shunt any unfortunate soul up into the stalactites on the ceiling.

Frost Giant of Evil Water (1): This Giant has taken up worship of the evil Elemental Prince Bagyvnod, the Lure of the Deep. Thanks to its aquatic blessings, it has been able to make its home underwater, from where it strikes out to extort and raid local regions. It offers some of this wealth to its evil master, but greed has meant that it's acquired a sizeable hoard for itself as well. Its patron has granted it a Ring of Water Elemental Command, which it charged by slaughtering one of its four elementals.

Skyswimmer (1): This creature was harpooned and dragged down by the Giant, before being bound into servitude using a magical rune. Atop the back of the giant creature, the Giant can raid regions from the sky. When it is not out raiding, the Skyswimmer is curled around the castle, serving as protection. It is an unwilling servant however, and if freed from the rune, it will immediately set out for the skies again.

Sea Lions (4): These predators have been tamed by the giant, sometimes accompanying it on its raids against coastal towns. Usually they rest and play together in one of the anterooms of the castle.

Shell Sharks (8): These opportunistic predators were a gift from Bagyvnod as well, and they move in and around the castle. They will not attack anything larger or seemingly stronger than themselves, but will opportunistically join in on fights and often take the leftovers from the Sea Lions.

Water Elemental Myrmidons (3): The Giant has summoned these to guard its hoard. There used to be four, but one was slain to charge the Giant's magical ring.

Other Notable Locations: East of the castle lies a shipwreck from which oily black bubbles rise. These bubbles are actually devil's blood, for within the hold of the wreck lies a powerful but trapped devil. It is bound by a magic circle and impaled by a blade which does not allow for the wound to heal, but due to its regeneration it won't die from blood loss either. It is completely trapped, desperate and too weak to fight. It will offer anything to be freed, but in typical devil fashion it will word things such that it can be twisted to its advantage.

Other Notable Locations: In the center of the Giant's castle lies a lake of dark brine, which is often a holy site for those who worship Elemental Water. At its bottom rest the remains of the Giant's former partner, who died before he turned to worship of Bagyvnod. Buried with her are her treasures and mementos of their former lives. Notable among these are several Potions of Superior Healing, and a Cape of the Mountebank.


--Cradle of Disaster--

(For levels 15-20)

Down along the arctic coast of Mésbanya lies this secluded but enormous fjord. The cliff walls are incredibly steep and unnaturally icy, and the glacier cliffs are home to many labyrinthine caves of dazzling height that are full of ice shelves and shattered ice stalactites. At the base of the fjord the water darkens and bubbles, as it leads to an expansive underground cavern system that is speared through by innumerable columns of pale stone creating hollows and tunnels that are difficult to navigate through. The region is experiencing abnormal weather conditions, with heavy torrential downpours, driving hails and strange whirlpools dragging down any who comes near. Something is brewing, something is growing, and it is likely to make everything far, far worse.

Juvenile Kraken (1): This little one came here to find a more secluded place where it could grow without the other predators and dangers of the open seas. It has made its lair in the deepest parts of the underwater cavern, out of reach of the dragon. The only risk it has to take however, is to occasionally strike out to feed.

Storm Herald (1): This Storm Giant had been here for a long time, avoiding attention from the surface and resting in deep meditation. Its enlightenment was disturbed however by the kraken youngling, whose telepathic probing invaded its mind and corrupted it into something new. Now it serves as its faithful guardian and steward, never straying from its side, never breaking its vigil. It has used its ability to control the weather to cause heavy downpours.

Hydroloths (4): The Hydroloths are hired to protect the young kraken until its coming of age by its parent. They use their ability to turn invisible to scout out the surrounding areas and warn their young ward of potential danger, or to provide it with visions of the outside world from stolen memories. They use their ability to control water to create whirlpools and sink unfortunate victims for the kraken to feast upon, or to add wealth to its hoard.

Adult White Dragon (1): In the labyrinthine ice caverns settled in the cliff walls, this apex predator lurks. Even though it isn't able to dive all the way to the depths of the underwater caverns, the intrusion on what it considers its territory still stings. White Dragons are normally considered the more base and savage, but this one is more keen than usual and quite magically proficient. It already knew how to manipulate heat and cold, and how to change weather conditions, now it is learning how to venture into the deeps so it can hunt that pesky little squid. If only the Giant weren't in the way...

Goliath Werebears (7): This tribe of lycanthropes has lived here for a long time. They have always been proud hunters who survive off of what they can kill, so naturally they respected the Dragon's strength greatly. They have been consumed by the beast and try to imitate the White's savagery. Their eldest is a tad calmer though and has become a confidant of the Dragon, even learning some druidic magic from it. For its service, it was granted a spike from the Dragon's back imbued with the powers of a Staff of Frost.

White Guard Drakes (10): The Dragon has given some of its scales to his right-hand man (bear?), who has used them to summon these Guard Drakes. The Werebears use them for protection of their young and to aid in the hunt. The drakes are good burrowers, and can set up traps and ambushes for the Werebears' prospective prey.

Other Notable Locations: One of the eastern underwater cavern hollows is home to a group of arcane, luminescent jellyfish that explode when toyed with, but return to life just as easily. The kraken sometimes toys with them for fun, but not even it knows the secrets they guard. They are capable of telepathy, and if a suitable candidate were to approach them, they may confer upon it their ancient knowledge, as well as the legendary weapon they guard.

4 Comments
2023/12/28
15:48 UTC

77

Mini-Dungeons Part 1: Caverns and Underground Areas

One of my favorite things in D&D are the eponymous dungeons. They are places full of danger and wonder. And the vast variety of creatures available allows for endless interesting ecologies.

One thing I like to do and will show examples of here, is to roll on encounter tables to see what random combination I end up with (and in which amounts) and then trying to think up how these different species would interact. These ideas can then be adapted and dropped in at any time.

I would like to make a few suggestions and side-notes however. First of all, always adapt things to your party. Make sure they can use their strengths sometimes, and are confronted with their weakness on other times. Also, depending on how strategically smart and well-equipped they are you may have to tune things in terms of difficulty. Make use of class abilities, or use statblocks that can be used for any humanoid (e.g. a Yuan-Ti Gladiator). A major factor of difficulty also lies in terrain. Large open rooms are boring and not very challenging, instead use the dungeon's natural characteristics to the monster's advantages. For example, have some Bugbears lurk on an overhang from where they can spot and ambush intruders, or have Goblin archers lure adventurers into the spike traps they have placed. And sometimes, terrain should be dangerous to traverse or impose some disadvantage, even without enemies present.

Also one very important note: large groups of creatures spread around. Just because there is a tribe of 40 odd Kobolds, doesn't mean you should have your party fight 40 regular Kobolds in a large cave. In fact, you definitely shouldn't. Divide it into multiple fights with interesting terrain or situations. I have given one example of how to divide things up with the Kobolds in the Dragon's Morass further down.

Now, I believe pretty much anything can be dungeons, but for the first installment I will stay with the classics: Caverns and Underground Areas.

(Generated semi-randomly; References to names are specific to my world, adapt as needed)


--Sunken Ruins--

(For levels 2-3)

Here lies a cavern entrance that due to subsidence has lowered into the water. To access these caverns one would need to go underwater and swim through the entrance, where they could then come up into air in one of the topmost layers. It is only a small distance, so most should be able to make the swim with minimal equipment (e.g. no metal armors).

This was once the location of a temple complex where a religious conflict was fought, which is located in some of the lower caverns and partially sunken.

Myconids (21): In the damp upper part, a colony of myconid has spread out over five of the upper cavern rooms. This includes the entrance, because they draw water from the pool of the half-sunken entrance cavern. The eight or so young sprouts are safely kept in the back cavern. They have cultivated Shriekers that can warn them of unwanted interlopers, though they will rarely respond with aggression.

Rust Monsters (2): A pair of docile rust monsters, pacified by the myconid's spores. The myconids walk them to the ruins to consume rust on the ancient weapons, and in exchange the rust monsters provide protection from the darkmantles, allowing the Myconids to scavenge the battlefield.

Darkmantles (4): A group of darkmantles lurk in the tunnels between the ruins and the myconid colony, hoping to pick off individual stragglers for food. The tunnels are quite narrow, allowing them to easily fill them with darkness.

Giant Rats (10): These little bastards run rampant throughout the ruins, though they avoid the Shadows. They are too small to be interesting to the Darkmantles, which means they can easily pass between the ruins and the upper caverns to try and nibble away at the fungus and moss that the myconids grow for their compost heaps. They are considered such a nuisance that the myconids have started to cultivate Shriekers to scare them off.

Shadows (3): Battlefields are places of resentment, and doubly so when it comes to religious conflict. Among the ruins shadows stalk the land, preying on anyone foolish enough to come near. They are unaffected by the myconids' spores and the myconids have long since left the deeper part of the ruins alone. They lurk in the dark waters near the sunken back half of the ruins, guarding the treasure and holy symbols of the temple that lie submerged there under the waters. They avoid the deepest part of the shrine however, as they abhor the light emitted by the Moontouched Scimitar that still rests there.

Other Notable Locations: Of the two tunnels that go in deeper one leads to the ruins, and the other eventually bends down and goes straight down into the water. At the far bottom lies the remains of a foolish explorer whose Ring of Water Breathing slipped off his fingers.


--Salt Sponge--

(For levels 3-4)

In Sabara, in the Eastern Dominion of Azu'Raq, lies among the salt flats several tunnels leading down from a salt dome into a peculiar cave structure. It spans an enormous area with dozens of rooms large and small, and it is also an absolute maze with many of the naturally formed tunnels going straight up or down into the salt caverns. There are also many halite deposits, and due to a trading agreement, there is a mining settlement of Dwarves from Furan that have settled here in the largest central chamber.

Dwarves (37): They've come here to mine salt as part of the agreement, but as a settlement on foreign soil they also have a small military contingent. This consists of mostly Soldiers and Frontline Medics who are well-armed and -armored. They are outnumbered, but their resistance to poison and proper equipment has served them well. Their leader is an experienced Knight known for his fiery temper, but thanks to his keen intellect and the Sentinel Shield he owns, he is rarely caught off-guard.

Deep Rothé (7): The Dwarves have brought these loyal cattle with them to aid in their mining operations. They are used to clear rubble, crack open new areas and move material. They are treated and fed well due to their importance to the mining operations. This is also why they have been a target of the Drow.

Drow (32): The Drow (or 'Kurodaka' as they are called) are native to this place and this particular clan used to live well off the salt trade. The trade agreement has thrown a wrench into that however, and their resentment of the foreign Dwarves has led them to corruption. They have turned to the Elemental Prince Rusiabur, who has blessed them with dark gifts. Most are relatively untrained Cultists led by a few more devout Fanatics, but a few used to be swords for hire and have had military training as well as experience with poisons. A handful have gained powers as Warlocks, led by a Stonemelder called Ishiha. They hide in the labyrinthine tunnels and launch raids on the Dwarves' mining operations under the cover of darkness both natural and magical.

Rust Monsters (5): The elves bought a breeding pair of these creatures from a traveling merchant, and now that they have some young they have put them into action to deal with the Dwarves' superior equipment. As they are raised from young, they are quite obedient if a bit stupid.

Zombies (20): In this expansive system a warlock of the outer powers once settled to deliberate over a foul tome he had found, and to grow his power. The warlock is dead, but the corrupting power of the tome lingers and causes the dead to rise. It has even animated a group of Ogres who fled here from slavers and died. The conflict between the Drow and Dwarves has led to an increase in zombies, who are becoming more than a nuisance.

Spectator (1): The warlock had tried to summon a greater power to aid him in his goals, but only managed to summon this small Spectator, which killed him anyway. It still lurks near the tome, guarding it with the aid of the zombies who are naturally drawn to protect the object sustaining them.

Other Notable Locations: In one of the easterns sections is an incredibly narrow tunnel that goes straight down. A halfling adventurer once tripped and fell into this to his death. If anyone is able to get in and back out somehow, they might be able to loot the only piece of his equipment that survived: a Dagger of Venom.

Other Notable Locations: In a collapsed tunnel in one of the lower sections, hidden behind the rubble, are some ruins from a previous civilization. Mostly everything has collapsed or decayed, except one wall which is a adorned by a crudely carved humanoid head. It is inhabited by a spirit that speaks in Primordial tongue and promises the power to mold the earth, but it is starving for attention and may use that same power to trap people in to keep him company unless convinced otherwise.


--Desert Sinkhole--

(For levels 5-7)

Here below the desert sands lies a portal to the Elemental Earth of the Chaos Wastes. Its influence has attracted several creatures from there, but it has also created a large sinkhole. Entering this place means braving that steep drop and without any magical assistance, it likely means death on impact. The inside is no less dangerous and almost maze-like with many dead ends or tunnels that move straight up or down. A necromancer who had obtained a an object of great power, an orb containing occult magic, fled down this sinkhole to continue his research. He died to the aberrant powers but his undead servants still live on thanks to the orb. It has however also attracted the attention of other outsiders, strange creatures of alien anatomy.

Dust Mephits (6): These little tricksters hang around near the sinkhole, often annoying travelers with their dust breath before retreating into the sinkhole. Down in the cavern system they will poke their nose into any ongoing fighting, trying to annoy both sides from a safe distance.

Grell (15): The upper levels are filled with these strange creatures, which have been attracted by the orb's power. They are however held at bay by some of the undead, but while they have lost many, so have the undead which are now few in number. They usually roam in packs of 4 to 6.

Xorn (2): These two creatures came here from the Elemental Earth to feast on any gemstones they could find. But with the orb there is now a gemstone above all gemstones, a delicacy. They have been trying to get to it, trying to sneak past aberrations and undead by gliding through the earth, and fighting them off where needed.

Sword Wraiths (5): What was once a powerful legion of undead has now been vastly reduced in size. They lurk in the lowest cavern chamber to which the necromancer had retreated, forming a circle of defense around the orb which still sustains them. As they are few in number though, it is a matter of time before they are defeated. The leader of the wraiths still wields the Staff of Withering that once belonged to his master.

Gargoyles (6): Just a single level above the bottom chamber, there is a tunnel going eastwards that seems to hit a dead end. Upon closer inspection however there is a small passage cutting behind it, which leads to a cavern room containing a dilapidated shrine with a portal to the Elemental Earth. A group of gargoyles guard the shrine, but even they move out occasionally to see if they can pick at the orb.

Other Notable Locations: In the eastern part, on a steep cliff wall rests a ledge that leads into a very narrow tunnel which a person could only crawl through. But at the end of the path is a small geode where the elemental energy has coalesced into a pair of yellow diamonds.


--Dragon's Morass--

(For levels 7-9)

In this swampy cavern, a dragon has decided to make its lair, a good bit away from civilization but close enough to go on a raid if necessary. Its entrance lies in the open center of a bog, but a group of civilization-hating druids that serve the dragon have hidden it under an illusion of a swamp lake. Inside rocky caverns are alternated by mire and murky waters. It is home to many (partially) submerged rooms and tunnels, and a myriad of dead ends. Its hoard is located on a small island at the center of a subterranean lake at the far back.

Young Black Dragon (1): This young dragon has managed to steal a decently sized hoard of wealth from nearby settlements and now fiercely guards it at the lowest cavern. Surrounding its little island is a large subterranean lake in which it has stored more of its wealth. As an amphibious creature it also likes to rest underwater and bathe itself there. It has also learned some nature magic from the druids.

Kobolds (46): A large clan of kobolds is spread all the way from the anterior rooms and the entrance they guard, to the rooms near the dragon itself. They have placed most of the tunnels full of basic traps, such as poisoned spikes, that would catch anyone not watching their step, but the dragon can simply fly over. In addition, they have also built many wooden barricades that they can hide behind while they pepper any intruders stuck in their traps with arrows and sling stones. Besides the traps, they have also carved many small tunnels which a large creature could not traverse. These allow them to move quickly and escape the hook horrors. They even made a sort of sluice that blocks one of the lakes, which they can collapse to sweep out intruders. They have about 35 adults capable of fighting in some capacity, including several Dragonshields and a Sorcerer. An example encounter distribution is listed below:

  • The tunnel leading into the cavern system opens up into a large room. There is a tripwire connected to a bell close to the room's entrance that will warn the Kobolds of any intruders. Above the tunnel entrance is wooden scaffolding where the tribe's 6 Winged Kobolds rest. If warned they will ambush any intruders from above using their Light Crossbows, while one of them will bang the drum to warn the rest of the cavern. Next to this large entrance room is a smaller cave hollow where the tribe's alchemists prepare their flask of acid and alchemist's fire. If alerted by the bell, drum or sounds of fighting, the 4 Kobold Inventors will storm in to assist their winged brethren.
  • The wider tunnel connecting the entrance room to the rest of the cavern system is home to a streaming river ending in a waterfall leading to an underground lake. The Kobolds have built a sluice here to control the water level, but there is a hiding spot behind a walled segment of the wooden platform where there is a lever. If pulled, it can open the sluice to sweep intruders away towards the lower lake where a Black Pudding resides, functioning as waste disposal. Generally about 6 Kobolds are at work here, but some may be hidden in narrow, hidden side tunnels that run around this place if the cavern was alerted.
  • In the eastern wing is a room where the tribe's insect tamers and exterminators work with their little friends. If alert, the 4 Inventors will throw down their swarms near any intruders and then retreat into the winding tunnels that run behind them, each taking a different one to split up intruders. Around some of the corners and bends in this maze-like structure, 4 of the tribe's Tinkerers are hidden, ready to unleash fire on any who charge in pursuit.
  • The long central hall is well-fortified, with spiked barricades on each flank that can accomodate 2 Kobolds each from where they can fire their Light Crossbows. The central path seems open but actually contains a pit trap with a Black Pudding to ambush overeager intruders. There are tripwires in front of the barricades which trigger logs to swing down from the ceiling and slam intruders into the spikes.
  • The anteroom before the dragon's lair is full of totems with Draconic markings, and it is where the Sorcerer prepares offerings for the Dragon. It is also where the 6 Dragonshields will make their last stand if forced to. They have one advantage though, there are hidden spike traps around the totems with the wrong markings. The Kobolds will recognize these, but intruders not familiar with Draconic may not recognize the pattern in time.

Black Pudding (2): These two oozes were native to this place, but the kobolds have found a good way to make use of them by incorporating them into some of their traps. This helps the kobolds defend the place from intruders, while making it easier for the oozes to obtain food so both are content.

Hook Horrors (6): Before the dragon came here there was a large clan of these horrors. They lost a few in the initial conflict and have since retreated to the edges of the underground where they opportunistically hunt the kobolds for food, but they stay well clear of the black dragon. Since food is scarce they often split into groups of three to cover a larger area. They usually cling to the walls and ceilings, both to ambush unsuspecting prey and to avoid the Kobolds' traps.

Other Notable Locations: In the eastern part lies a cavern that is covered in brown mold. At its center lies the corpse of a large brown bear, but from its corpse grows a gravebane plant that has perfectly preserved the corpse. Its petals can be harvested and ground into a mixture that has the same effect.


--War-Torn Abyss of Duval--

(For levels 11-17)

At the deepest edges of the territory of the Commonwealth of Furan, lies the largely Gnomish outpost of Duval. It was established to mine the rare electrically charged crystals that grow here. Unfortunately these crystals also attract Behirs. They can manage to fend the creatures off using magic, but now a group of Yuan-Ti has invaded from the Lu'Quan Jungles of the south and they have started worshiping one of the beasts. Together these two form a force that actually threatens the position of the Gnomes, who are tenaciously holding on while the chameleonic Snakekin raid their caravans and prod at the outpost.

Behir (1): In these subterranean reaches, Behir are apex predators of the ecosystem. However civilized outposts like Duval give it issues, in particular the mages and their illusions and other tricks. Part of why it was so eager to accept the worship and service of the Yuan-Ti was to wage war on the Gnomes. When it is not out hunting it resides in the center of thet temple that the Snakekin built for it, coiled around a giant lodestone that was hung up in chains. Its climbing capabilities allow it to easily move across the walls and ceilings of the labyrinthine temple.

Yuan-Ti (42): The Stormcaller Tribe is a clan of Snakekin renowned for their chameleon-like skin who came here from the coastal part just south of the Obsidian Peaks. They took to worshiping the Behir and have even built a maze-like temple in honor of the creature. To keep it appeased and stop it from continuously eating its servants, the Pit Masters decided to have a small coliseum built where Gladiators fight for its amusement and to prove themselves. The tribe is led by the Abomination Elthsu, a powerful Storm Herald wielding the relic of their tribe: a gnarled Staff of Thunder and Lightning. He acts as the Behir's right hand, but secretly wishes for the conflict to result in the death of both the Behir and the Gnomes so it can use that as a blood sacrifice to elevate itself to an Anathema.

Myconids (27): The Myconid are tenacious survivors that try to stay out of the conflicts going on down here. They scavenge the scenes of battles to gather spore servants so they can protect themselves. Sometimes they trade with the Gnomes, exchanging rare mushrooms and plants for more refined technology that they cannot produce themselves. They have scouted out the Chuul and have an inkling as to what they are guarding, but no desire to make a move on it.

Chuul (6): The Chuul are a neutral party in all this. They reside at the bottom of a subterranean lake here where they guard a sunken ruin from ancient times. It was once a glorious temple to Hadar, but when the hungry Elder Titan needed power it summoned up a Sphere of Annihilation to draw in all that was near as a sacrifice. This caused severely damaged the temple's fundation and caused it to sink, so now all its treasures rest on the lake floor. The Sphere has stabilized and the Chuul still guard it, throwing anyone who draws near into the Sphere as a sacrifice.

Deep Gnomes (34): This off-shoot from Furan has been here for a long time, mining and refining the valuable crystals that are found in these deeper reaches. Due to the difficulty of survival, not many live here except those who live off the crystals, military and researchers. They have a decently sized alchemist quadrant that study and make use of the unique ingredients fount down here. One of their greatest military assets are their powerful mages, particularly the Diviners and Illusionists as is usual amongst Gnomes. The Ebonhall Company are also based in this region. They are an elite contract-based mercenary company of spellswords Knights who use Invisibility and mobility spells like Spider Climb to navigate dangerous areas. The outpost is led by a War Priest called Tovyn Crystallight, known for his pragmatic and utilitarian attitude.

Hill Giant (2): These poor brothers got severely lost, having ran desperately after losing a battle with a jungle beast down south. When they arrived here, they thought they could boss the people of Duval around, but they were quickly fooled by their illusion magic and captured. Now they are forced to fight in the employ of the Gnomes against the Snakekin.

Other Notable Locations: One of the eastern tunnels is filled with poisonous gases, but if one were to venture in it they would see an even stranger sight. Ghosts of dwarven miners who died here are cursed to mine endlessly even though they aren't making progress, still trying to find the magical gemstone that they were looking for in life. Any attempts to stop them will be met with agression and if they are destroyed, they rejuvenate in a day. The only way to put them to rest is to find what they were looking for.

5 Comments
2023/12/26
11:12 UTC

170

Non-Combat Encounters to include to make travel a little more fun

I’ve made these specifically vague so they can fit into any campaign. But, I did include some examples of ways some could be run! Any feedback is appreciated

The Weeping Willow Inn

Read to Players:

Concealed within the ancient embrace of the Weeping Willow's sprawling boughs, an ethereal inn extends an invitation as you step into an enchanting realm. The air is permeated with the captivating fragrance of dishes not of this world. The innkeeper, welcomes you to a menu adorned with symbols and arcane script, promising more than just a meal – it's an odyssey into the tapestry of dreams.

Each dish, once savored, becomes a key to a dreamscape—an ethereal landscape adorned with cryptic visions and mysterious figures. In this realm of the subconscious, you tread paths woven with symbolic events and prophetic whispers. Returning to the material plane, the echoes of these dreams linger, endowing you with temporary benefits or profound insights that may mold the course of your destiny.

Mechanics for DM:

Players select a dish from the menu, each promising a unique dream sequence.

Each dream bestows a temporary boon, ranging from inspiration to enhanced abilities or unique knowledge.

Dreams may subtly weave clues or foreshadowing related to the overarching campaign plot.

E.g.

  1. Celestial Stew

Read to Players:

As you savor the ethereal flavors of the Celestial Stew, you find yourself standing on floating islands amidst a sea of clouds. Above, benevolent spirits offer guidance, filling your mind with celestial wisdom. You return to the material plane with inspiration, feeling a celestial presence guiding your actions.

Mechanics for DM:

Temporary Boon: Inspiration

Subtle Foreshadowing: An ethereal figure hints at a celestial event tied to an upcoming challenge in the campaign.

  1. Chrono-Spiced Curry

Read to Players:

The Chrono-Spiced Curry transports you to a dreamscape where time dances to the rhythm of exotic spices. As you navigate temporal shifts, you gain glimpses of future events. Returning, you find yourself more attuned to the ebb and flow of time, enhancing your reflexes.

Mechanics for DM:

Temporary Boon: Enhanced Dexterity (advantage on dexterity saving throws until the next dawn)

Subtle Foreshadowing: An elusive figure in the dream speaks of a time-sensitive quest or impending danger.

Enigma Soufflé

Read to Players:

The Enigma Soufflé whisks you away to a realm of perplexing puzzles and enigmatic landscapes. As you solve mental conundrums, your mind expands, granting you unique insights upon waking. The world seems clearer, and you gain temporary proficiency in solving puzzles or riddles.

Mechanics for DM:

Temporary Boon: Proficiency for all rolls solving puzzles or riddles until the next dawn

Subtle Foreshadowing: Cryptic symbols in the dream hint at the location of a mysterious artifact.

  1. Phantasmal Feast

Read to Players:

Indulging in the Phantasmal Feast, you find yourself in a dreamscape where illusions come to life. As you navigate the surreal landscape, your senses sharpen, granting you enhanced perception upon your return. Shadows whisper of hidden illusions and potential traps in your path.

Mechanics for DM:

Temporary Boon: Enhanced Wisdom (Perception) (advantage on rolls until the next dawn)

Subtle Foreshadowing: Illusory creatures in the dream allude to the presence of a master illusionist in the campaign.

  1. Dragonfire Delicacy

Read to Players:

The Dragonfire Delicacy leads you to a dreamscape of roaring flames and draconic vistas. As you face trials against illusory dragons, you gain a fiery resilience. Returning, your body radiates a subtle warmth, granting temporary resistance to fire damage.

Mechanics for DM:
Temporary Boon: Resistance to Fire Damage until the next dawn

Subtle Foreshadowing: A dragon in the dream hints at an ancient draconic presence or a fiery challenge ahead in the campaign.

The Silent Bard

Read to Players:

Below the sprawling branches of an ancient oak, a lone bard, surrounded by an otherworldly melody, invites you to a realm beyond mortal comprehension. The music, absent of lyrics, crafts a tapestry of tales—whispers of ancient lore and local legends echoing through the very fabric of the region.

As you listen, the silent bard's music unravels hidden truths and subtle hints about the secrets enshrouding the land. Each note resonates with mystical vibrations, urging you to interpret cryptic melodies and glean insights into the mysteries weaving your path.

Mechanics for DM:

Players receive a bardic inspiration die, a lingering echo of the silent bard's music.

The bardic inspiration die enhances ability checks, saving throws, or attack rolls within the next 24 hours.

The bard's music subtly hints at or foreshadows upcoming events, encouraging players to stay vigilant.

Whispers on the Wind

Read to Players:

A gentle breeze carries ethereal whispers, reaching directly into your soul. Mysterious voices share prophecies, secrets, and fragments of ancient knowledge in the soft rustling of leaves.

Embracing the mystical currents, you hear words revealing hidden truths or suggesting untrodden paths. Whispers may predict encounters, unveil motivations of key figures, or disclose hidden artifacts, urging you to heed the counsel carried by the wind.

Mechanics for DM:

One player is chosen to receive whispered guidance, providing campaign-relevant information.

Encourage the player to share or interpret the whispers with the party, fostering collaboration.

Mystical Travelling Merchant

Read to Players:

Along the winding path emerges a colorful caravan adorned with mystical symbols. The eccentric merchant within beckons with magical wares, each bearing unpredictable enchantments. Arcane energy crackles as you peruse fantastical items on display.

The merchant offers curious artifacts, each with potential benefits and challenges. As you barter, the outcomes of your choices shape the items you acquire, injecting uncertainty into magical transactions.

Mechanics for DM:

Present magical items with both positive and potentially challenging effects.

Allow players to haggle or negotiate for lower prices, additional information, or alternative items.

Enchantments on items may dynamically affect encounters, adding unpredictability to the journey.

E.g.

Celestial Aegis

Wondrous item, Shield, rare

Celestial Ward - Once per short rest, when hit in combat, roll a d20. On an odd roll, reflect the attack back at the attacker; on an even roll, take half damage.

Price: 1,500 gp

Haggled Price: 1,200 gp

Whisperer's Ring

Wondrous item, ring, rare (requires attunement)

Echoes of Insight - Gain advantage on Perception checks. Mysterious whispers occasionally provide insightful information, guided by the ring's magic.

Price: 800 gp

Haggled Price: 650

Luminous Lantern

Wondrous Item (lantern), uncommon

When lit, illuminates a 40-foot radius> Shadow's Bane - Once per long rest, the lantern can create illusions, providing advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks and enabling communication through illusions.

Price: 1,200 gp

Haggled Price 950 gp

Cloak of Eternal Fortune

Wonderous item (cloak), rare (requires attunement)

Grants the wearer +2 AC. Fortune's Grace - Grants advantage on Dexterity saving throws. The cloak occasionally provides good luck, allowing the reroll of one failed saving throw per long rest.

Price: 1,300 gold

Haggled Price: 1,050 gold

Dancing Lights in the Forest

Read to Players:

Within the woods just off the path, mystical lights flicker in an enchanting dance. Ethereal figures, guardians of nature, invite you to join their mesmerizing ballet.

Stepping into the illuminated glade, forest spirits unveil secrets of local flora, fauna, and potential quests. The spirits convey information through graceful movements, offering insights into the environment. As you partake in the ethereal dance, alliances may form, influencing interactions with nature-aligned creatures.

Mechanics for DM:

Provide valuable information about the environment, hazards, or upcoming challenges.

Allow players to form alliances with forest spirits, unlocking assistance or unique benefits.

The dance's mystical mark may shape interactions with nature-aligned creatures in future encounters.

E.g.

Alliances with Forest Spirits:

  1. Luminescent Sprite Companions: Players form alliances with luminescent sprites during the dance. These sprites accompany the party, providing ambient light in dark environments and alerting them to hidden dangers within the forest.

  2. Verdant Growth Empowerment: The dance connects the players with ancient tree spirits. As an alliance forms, the characters gain a temporary boon—enhanced vitality. In the next encounter, they benefit from increased resistance to natural hazards and poisons.

Mystical Mark's Influence on Future Encounters:

  1. Nature's Emissary: The mystical mark endears the party to local fauna. In future interactions, animals become friendly and may offer subtle assistance, like leading the way through the woods or alerting the party to approaching threats.

  2. Feywild Harmonics: The mystical mark resonates with the Feywild. When dealing with nature-aligned creatures from the Feywild, the players sense impending magical disturbances, gaining an advantage in avoiding or countering fey-related effects.

The Reflecting Pool

Read to Players:

Amidst a tranquil glade, a pristine reflecting pool mirrors the canopy above. Gazing reveals visions of future events—a pool of clarity providing insights into the twists of your journey.

As you peer in, scenes unfold—images of potential allies, looming threats, or key decisions. The reflecting pool becomes a conduit to fate's threads, offering glimpses of the tapestry yet to be woven.

Mechanics for DM:

Use the reflecting pool to show visions or foreshadowing linked to the party's overarching quest.

Limit the pool's uses, making revelations significant and pivotal moments.

Encourage players to interpret visions, strategizing based on insights and building engagement.

The Lost Satchel

Read to Players:

Beneath a gnarled tree, a weathered satchel awaits discovery. As you explore its contents, cryptic notes and drawn maps reveal clues about a local mystery.

The satchel beckons, guiding you toward hidden secrets or the aid of a distressed NPC. The satchel's contents become a key to unraveling a compelling mystery, introducing unforeseen challenges and opportunities.

Mechanics for DM:

Present a mystery or quest inspired by the satchel's contents, leading to new locations or encounters.

Introduce NPCs, allies, or recurring elements through the satchel, weaving it into the overarching plot.

The satchel's contents may catalyze future developments, urging players to follow the trail it unveils.

E.g.

As you examine the weathered satchel beneath the gnarled tree, you discover a series of cryptic notes and a finely drawn map. The notes hint at an ancient relic buried deep within the Whispering Woods, said to hold the key to unlocking an otherworldly gateway. The map marks the location of the relic but also reveals a network of hidden passages and forgotten shrines.

As your party delves into the mystery outlined by the satchel's contents, you encounter a distressed NPC named Elyra, a scholar seeking the same relic for academic pursuits. Her knowledge proves invaluable in deciphering the cryptic clues, and together, you navigate the intricate labyrinth of the Whispering Woods.

The satchel's contents lead you to an otherworldly portal guarded by ethereal sentinels. Through a series of challenges and alliances forged along the way, the party unveils the relic's power—an artifact capable of revealing hidden truths across dimensions. As the satchel's mystery unfolds, the party gains both newfound allies and unforeseen adversaries, setting the stage for a larger, interdimensional conflict that echoes through the campaign.

A Tricky Bridge Guardian

Read to Players:

Arched over a narrow gorge, an ancient stone bridge stands guarded by a mischievous spirit. Adorned in playful attire, the ethereal guardian demands tolls in riddles or puzzles.

Solve these enigmatic challenges for safe passage.

Mechanics for DM:

Present a series of riddles or puzzles for the players to solve, ensuring varied difficulties.

Successful solutions allow unhindered passage, while failure may result in minor setbacks.

Depending on interactions, the spirit may become a recurring guide, imparting insights into the mystical aspects of the world.

Riddle 1:

Guardian: "I speak without a mouth and hear without ears. I have no body, but I come alive with the wind. What am I?"

Party Answer: "An echo."

Result: The guardian applauds the party's wisdom. They gain safe passage and receive a small, echoing stone. When whispered into, it magically amplifies the message, allowing communication at a distance.

Riddle 2:

Guardian: "The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?"

Party Answer: "Footsteps."

Result: The guardian grins, acknowledging the correct answer. Safe passage is granted, and the party finds a pair of enchanted boots nearby. These boots leave no trace of footsteps, granting advantage on Stealth checks for the next hour.

Riddle 3:

Guardian: "The more you take, the more you leave behind. Speak my name, and I shall vanish. What am I?"

Party Answer: "Silence."

Result: The guardian nods approvingly. Safe passage is granted, and the party discovers a small, enchanted amulet. When activated, it creates a zone of magical silence, muffling sound for a minute. Once used it cannot be used again until the next dawn.

Riddle 4:

Guardian: "I have cities but no houses, mountains but no trees, and water but no fish. What am I?"

Party Answer: "A map."

Result: The guardian smiles at the correct answer. Safe passage is granted, and the party uncovers a rolled-up map nearby. This magical map reveals hidden paths and locations in the surrounding area, aiding in navigation, resulting in advantage for all Survival checks within a 5 mile radius of the current location.

6 Comments
2023/12/23
21:59 UTC

42

Fun and Quirky Homebrew Magic Items

My players and I got bored of just having useful magic items that make you more epic, so here’s a list of some I made that add some fun to game play whilst also being useful! It has made for some very…unique uses

Quill of Endless Doodles

Wondrous Item, common

This feathered quill, with vibrant colors and a magical aura, requires no ink. To use its feature, you make a Dexterity check (DC 12) to control the quill and guide its doodles. On a successful check, the quill creates charming and intricate drawings. On a failure, the drawings might be messy or not convey the intended message, adding an element of unpredictability to the quill’s artistic endeavors.

Ring of Unseen Companionship

Ring, rare (requires attunement)

To summon the unseen companion, you speak a command word and roll a d20. On a result of 12 or higher, the ethereal companion appears, providing its company. If the roll is 11 or lower, the bond with the companion doesn’t establish, and the ring’s power is expended for the day. The unseen companion can perform simple tasks, and the success or failure of these tasks might depend on the player’s Charisma checks or the DM’s discretion. Ring of Unseen Companionship

Harmonious Harmonica

Wondrous Item, uncommon

This small harmonica creates enchanting melodies when played. Roll a d4 before playing. On a result of 2–4, the harmonica produces beautiful tunes, granting advantage on Charisma-based checks involving communication or entertainment. On a roll of 1, the tunes might sound discordant or off-key, imposing disadvantage on the same checks. It adds a whimsical touch to the bardic arts.

Enigmatic Puzzle

Wondrous Item, very rare

This mysterious puzzle cube contains shifting symbols and runes. To unlock its potential, roll a d12. On a result of 9–12, the cube reveals a hidden compartment containing a useful trinket or minor magical item. On a roll of 1–8, the cube remains sealed, requiring a new attempt on the following day.

Mirthful Mask of Amusing Expressions

Wondrous Item, uncommon

This mask grants the wearer the ability to change their facial expressions at will, creating comical and amusing visages. While the expressions may not always suit the situation, the mask never fails to bring a smile. It adds a touch of humor and lightness to interactions, making it a delightful accessory for any adventurer. The wearer gains advantage on Charisma (Performance) checks when using the mask to entertain or amuse others.

Chuckling Coin of Endless Entertainment

Wondrous Item, rare

This enchanted coin produces a series of amusing and light-hearted jokes whenever it is flipped. The jokes never repeat, ensuring a constant source of entertainment. The coin radiates an aura of mirth, making it a delightful addition to any party’s loot. It brings laughter even in the most serious of situations. Once per day, the coin can be flipped to cast “Tasha’s Hideous Laughter” on a target of the player’s choice within 30 feet.

Perpetual Popcorn Pouch

Wondrous Item, rare

This small pouch always contains freshly popped and warm popcorn. The popcorn is magically replenished, ensuring there’s a perpetual snack for the party. The enchantment adds a sense of comfort and delight during moments of rest or celebration, making it a beloved item for any adventurer with a fondness for this classic treat. Eating the popcorn grants temporary hit points equal to the character’s level

5 Comments
2023/12/22
21:29 UTC

21

Luminara, the Eternal Luminescence

https://www.reddit.com/r/DnDBehindTheScreen/comments/9p0ln3/new\_subreddit\_project\_codex\_of\_the\_gods/?utm\_source=share&utm\_medium=web2x&context=3

Deity Name: Luminara, the Eternal Luminescence

Domains: Light, Knowledge, Ethereal

Dogma:

The revealed truths of Luminara form the guiding principles that illuminate the path of the faithful. Central to the dogma is the fervent emphasis on the illumination of knowledge, a sacred beacon that pierces the cosmic darkness. Followers are encouraged to embark on a perpetual quest for enlightenment, to delve into the depths of understanding, and to unravel the mysteries woven into the fabric of the cosmos.

The pursuit of cosmic enlightenment is not merely an intellectual endeavor but a spiritual journey that transcends mortal comprehension. Luminara's dogma teaches that true enlightenment is achieved through a harmonious balance between the material and ethereal planes. It is the delicate dance between tangible reality and the ethereal realms that unveils the profound truths hidden in the cosmic tapestry.

Devotees of Luminara are urged to be seekers of wisdom, to thirst for knowledge as one would thirst for water in a desert. The sacred duty of the faithful is to explore the boundless expanse of the cosmos, to chart the celestial map of existence, and to share the acquired wisdom with others. In this way, the followers become beacons of enlightenment, spreading the radiant glow of Luminara's grace to all who seek the light.

Maintaining a radiant inner light is not only a metaphorical concept but a tangible manifestation of divine grace. It involves cultivating virtues such as compassion, empathy, and humility. The luminous inner light becomes a reflection of the divine spark within each follower, a manifestation of the eternal luminescence bestowed by Luminara. By embodying these virtues, followers not only illuminate their own spiritual path but also become guiding lights for others navigating the cosmic labyrinth of existence.

Tenets:

Pursuit of Knowledge*:* Seek the vast expanse of cosmic understanding, for within the tapestry of knowledge lies the brilliance of Luminara's divine wisdom.

The Pursuit of Knowledge is not a mere scholarly endeavor but a sacred calling for the followers of Luminara. It beckons them to explore the depths of cosmic understanding, to unravel the mysteries woven into the very fabric of reality. Devotees are encouraged to delve into the realms of science, magic, philosophy, and the arcane, recognizing that each discovery is a thread in the vast tapestry of knowledge that reflects the brilliance of Luminara's divine wisdom.

As seekers, the faithful are urged to embrace a holistic approach to knowledge. They study not only the tangible aspects of the material world but also the ethereal and metaphysical dimensions. The Pursuit of Knowledge is a perpetual journey, a commitment to continuous learning and a recognition that the cosmic tapestry is ever-evolving. Through scholarly endeavors, meditation, and communion with celestial entities, followers strive to deepen their understanding of the divine truths that permeate the cosmos.

Balance in Radiance: Embrace the harmonious interplay between the material and ethereal realms, fostering unity and balance in all aspects of existence.

Balance in Radiance is a foundational tenet that underscores the interconnectedness of all things. Followers are called to recognize and appreciate the delicate dance between the material and ethereal planes, understanding that both realms contribute to the cosmic harmony envisioned by Luminara. This tenet emphasizes that true enlightenment arises from acknowledging and maintaining equilibrium in the multifaceted aspects of existence.

In practice, this involves fostering unity within oneself, the community, and the broader cosmos. Devotees are encouraged to cultivate a harmonious balance between their physical and spiritual selves, recognizing the intrinsic link between the tangible and the transcendent. The faithful engage in rituals that symbolize this balance, celebrating the interconnectedness of life, the ethereal forces, and the radiant grace of Luminara.

Illumination of Self: Cultivate the inner light that mirrors the eternal luminescence of Luminara. Let this radiant essence guide your actions and illuminate the path of others.

The Illumination of Self is a transformative process that calls followers to cultivate an inner radiance reflecting the eternal luminescence of Luminara. This tenet is a spiritual journey wherein devotees strive to embody the virtues of compassion, empathy, and divine grace. It involves recognizing the innate divine spark within and allowing it to radiate as a guiding light, both for the individual and those around them.

Followers engage in practices such as meditation, self-reflection, and acts of kindness to nurture their inner light. The goal is not just personal enlightenment but the illumination of the path for others. The radiant essence within each devotee becomes a beacon, shining forth Luminara's divine grace in the everyday interactions of life. By embodying this tenet, followers aspire to inspire, uplift, and bring about positive transformation in the lives of those they encounter on their journey through the cosmic expanse.

Allies of Faith

The faithful of Luminara discover allies among those who share a profound reverence for knowledge, champions dedicated to cosmic harmony, and luminous beings such as benevolent celestial entities.

Scholars and sages, delving into the mysteries of the arcane and divine, often find a kindred spirit in the teachings of Luminara. Wizards, warlocks, and knowledge domain clerics are drawn to the faith, seeking the radiant wisdom that the Eternal Luminescence offers.

Druids attuned to the delicate balance of nature and clerics devoted to cosmic harmony align seamlessly with the principles of Luminara's faith. The tenets emphasizing the interconnectedness of the material and ethereal planes resonate with these champions of balance, creating a natural alliance.

Beings of light, such as celestial entities, readily become allies to the followers of Luminara. Angels, archons, and other benevolent beings from the Upper Planes find common ground in the pursuit of radiant grace and the preservation of cosmic equilibrium. Aasimar, blessed with celestial heritage, often feel a special affinity for the luminous teachings of Luminara.

In the rich tapestry of the world, where the multiverse teems with diverse entities and cosmic forces, these allies embody the varied manifestations of Luminara's influence. Whether it's the wizard studying ancient scrolls, the druid tending to the intricate balance of the natural world, or the celestial being radiating benevolent light, each ally contributes to the vibrant weave of Luminara's cosmic legacy.

Enemies of the Faith:

Adversaries to the faithful of Luminara manifest as entities steeped in darkness, disruptors of cosmic balance, and those who wield knowledge for malevolent purposes. Creatures tainted by the Shadowfell, such as undead and creatures of the night, stand as embodiments of darkness that oppose the radiant teachings of Luminara. Vampires, wraiths, and other creatures that thrive in shadowy realms become natural adversaries to the followers of the Eternal Luminescence.

Seekers of chaos and agents of cosmic imbalance, like entities from the Far Realm or creatures driven by chaotic alignments, find themselves at odds with the principles of Luminara's faith. Their unpredictable and destabilizing nature goes against the harmonious balance advocated by the followers of the celestial deity.

Arcane spellcasters who hoard knowledge for nefarious purposes or manipulate cosmic energies for personal gain become enemies of the faith. Warlocks who delve into dark pacts, liches who seek forbidden arcane secrets, and other practitioners of forbidden magic stand diametrically opposed to the enlightened pursuit of wisdom encouraged by Luminara.

Within the intricate tapestry of the, these adversaries represent the antithesis of Luminara's radiant grace. Whether they emerge from shadowy realms, disrupt cosmic harmony, or misuse knowledge for selfish ends, these enemies symbolize the challenges that the followers of Luminara must confront in their quest for enlightenment and balance.

Clergy and Temples:

The clergy dedicated to Luminara, known as the Keepers of Radiant Lore, don attire that serves as a testament to their ethereal connection with the divine. Adorning themselves in robes embellished with celestial symbols, the Keepers reflect the transcendent nature of their deity. These symbols intricately woven into the fabric of their garments carry profound meanings, representing the cosmic truths and radiant grace bestowed by Luminara.

Temples dedicated to the Eternal Luminescence are not mere structures; they are crystalline sanctuaries suspended within the boundless expanse of the ethereal plane. Accessible through mystical gateways known as Luminous Gateways, these sanctuaries serve as conduits between the material and ethereal realms. Their ethereal nature mirrors the cosmic interconnectedness championed by Luminara, and they stand as beacons of divine presence within the vast cosmic tapestry.

Within these sanctuaries, colors play a crucial role in conveying sacred symbolism. White and celestial blue dominate the palette, chosen for their profound significance. White symbolizes purity—an aspiration for clarity and unblemished understanding in the pursuit of knowledge. Celestial blue represents the divine radiance of Luminara, signifying the ethereal connection between the material and celestial planes. The interplay of these colors within the sacred spaces mirrors the cosmic balance and illuminates the path for the Keepers and devotees who gather in these crystalline havens.

Holidays and Festivals:

Luminous Convergence:

Luminous Convergence, a festival of celestial significance, unfolds during rare alignments of cosmic energies. As the celestial bodies align in a dance of radiant brilliance, followers come together to honor this auspicious occasion. The festival becomes a nexus of shared wisdom, where devotees exchange knowledge, engage in ethereal meditation to attune themselves to the cosmic energies, and partake in radiant feasts that symbolize the abundance and grace bestowed by Luminara. The convergence becomes a time of heightened connection with the divine, fostering unity among the faithful as they collectively bask in the luminous energies that envelop them.

Ethereal Revelry:

Ethereal Revelry marks an annual celebration where Luminari communities join in joyous festivities, embodying the symbiotic unity between the ethereal and material realms. This celebration transcends the boundaries between planes, symbolizing the harmonious interplay championed by Luminara. Festivities include ethereal dances, radiant performances, and communal rituals that reinforce the interconnectedness of all existence. Ethereal Revelry serves as a joyous reminder that, as Luminari, their existence is a dance between the tangible and the transcendent, and that unity and celebration are key aspects of the cosmic balance they strive to embody.

Champions and Avatars:

In the celestial annals of Luminara's faith, mortal heroes who have embodied the virtues and grace of the Eternal Luminescence are revered as champions and avatars. Among these luminous figures, two stand out as beacons of inspiration for the followers.

Ethereal Seer Aeliana is celebrated for her profound visions, glimpses into the cosmic tapestry that have guided the faithful on their spiritual journeys. Aeliana's connection with the ethereal plane transcends the ordinary, allowing her to perceive truths hidden from mundane eyes. Her wisdom and insights have become guiding lights for those navigating the complexities of the material and ethereal realms. Devotees seek solace in Aeliana's teachings, finding inspiration in her ability to illuminate the path forward in times of uncertainty.

Lightbearer Theron, a celestial paladin of unwavering devotion, stands as a radiant embodiment of Luminara's grace. Known for his tireless efforts in championing justice, compassion, and the harmonious balance between realms, Theron has become a paragon for those who strive to emulate the divine virtues. His presence on the material plane is a testament to the potential of mortals to radiate the luminous essence of Luminara, embodying the principles of light and balance in their every action.

These mortal champions and avatars serve as living testament to the transformative power of Luminara's faith, inspiring the followers to emulate their virtues and contribute to the radiant legacy of the Eternal Luminescence.

Known Sects/Cults:

Within the sacred tapestry of Luminara's faith, certain sects and cults have emerged, each weaving their own interpretation of the divine truths. These groups, while divergent in their approaches, provide insight into the multifaceted nature of Luminara's influence on mortal perceptions.

The Seekers of Astral Secrets, a sect dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of the ethereal plane, delve into the cosmic unknown with a fervor that borders on reverence. These seekers, often skilled in the arts of divination and astral projection, believe that understanding the ethereal realm is paramount to unlocking the deepest secrets of Luminara's wisdom. While their pursuits are generally aligned with the tenets of cosmic enlightenment, the fervor with which they approach the ethereal mysteries sometimes leads them to tread perilously close to forbidden realms.

In stark contrast, the Shadowed Keepers represent a deviant cult that twists and distorts Luminara's teachings for selfish gain. This cult, shrouded in secrecy and deception, exploits the faith's emphasis on balance and enlightenment for personal power and nefarious ends. Instead of embodying the harmonious interplay between realms, they manipulate cosmic forces for their own agendas, sowing discord and imbalance. The Shadowed Keepers' actions stand as a dark perversion of Luminara's divine grace, a stark reminder of the potential for corruption when cosmic truths are manipulated for selfish purposes.

These sects and cults serve as cautionary tales within the faith, prompting followers to navigate the complexities of cosmic understanding with discernment and dedication to the true tenets of Luminara's teachings.

Sacred Armaments and Attire:

Adherents of Luminara are known to favor radiant weapons and armor, crafted to reflect the divine luminescence of their deity. Blades adorned with celestial motifs and armor gleaming with ethereal energies serve as both symbolic representations and practical instruments for followers committed to cosmic balance.

Moonstones as Sacred Gems:

Within the faith, moonstones hold a special significance as sacred gems. These luminous stones, resembling ethereal fragments of the moon itself, are revered for their connection to the celestial realms. Devotees incorporate moonstones into their attire, weapons, and sacred artifacts, believing these gems to amplify their connection to Luminara's radiant grace.

Divine Boons for Devotees:

Devotees of Luminara may receive divine boons that enhance their spiritual and practical capabilities. These boons often manifest as enhanced vision in low-light conditions, allowing followers to navigate the ethereal mysteries with clarity. Additionally, during ethereal meditation, devout individuals may find themselves capable of communing with celestial entities, gaining insights and guidance from the higher planes.

Prohibition of Destructive Knowledge:

A foundational principle within the faith is the prohibition of knowledge for destructive purposes. Followers of Luminara are bound by a sacred duty to ensure that the cosmic insights they uncover are utilized for the betterment of existence. The pursuit of knowledge is encouraged, but the faithful must remain vigilant against the temptation to wield their wisdom in ways that disrupt cosmic harmony.

Emphasis on Shared Wisdom:

Discouraging the hoarding of wisdom without sharing it with others is a fundamental tenet of Luminara's teachings. Devotees understand that true enlightenment comes not only from personal understanding but also from the collective knowledge of the community. The faith promotes an ethos of sharing insights, fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual growth among its followers.

2 Comments
2023/12/22
22:30 UTC

33

Advent's Amazing Advice: The Night Before Wintermas, A Holiday One-Shot fully prepped and ready to go!

I hope everyone is having a Fantastic December! With the Holidays in full swing, I wanted to give everyone here a present, by doing all the prep work for a fantastic Holiday One-Shot for you! Then, in turn, you can gift that experience to your players! And what better gift is there for players who have been so good, than an opportunity to let loose and be evil for a change! Yes, that's right, The Night before Wintermas is specifically designed for Level 5 Evil/Neutral aligned players.

Thanks to the creative mind of jmanc, you'll bring your players to The Town of Frosthold and join a morally bankrupt Toy and Tabacco company to put an end to Santa's charitable operations by Infiltrating his workshop and dealing with the problem for good!

Experience holiday music to fit every scene, face your favorite Christmas Characters...in a battle to the death, earn unique magic items to help you take on the fat man, and live vicariously through your newly evil characters! This is a One-Shot you won't want to miss!

Without further ado:

  • Google Docs Notes for The Night Before Wintermas: DM Notes

If you see something you think I can improve, add, change, etc. please let me know. I want this to be an amazing resource for all DMs and plan to keep it constantly updated!

Cheers,

Advent

The formatting is wonky on Reddit since it only lets you tab so much, for full-color coding and proper formatting check the Google doc!

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The Night Before Wintermas
A Level 5 Evil/Neutral One-Shot

Play Snowy Ambiance

  • It’s the night before Wintermas. You’re huddled in the large stone archway of a tall and narrow 5-storey tower. The wind howls past and thick snow obscures your view beyond a few meters. A discrete brass sign on the door advertises…Happy Joy Toy and Tobacco Company, Northern Region Headquarters, Frosthold.
  • Your interview is in 5 minutes time, and it appears from the small crowd gathered that you’re not the only one who’s been selected for this job.
    • Why don’t you introduce yourselves to the other applicants?
  • As you finish your introductions the doors in front of you open.
    • A human woman with glasses and dark black hair, pulled into a ponytail disinterestedly looks you all up and down.
      • Are you all here for the interview?

Play Corporate Ambiance

  • Great, can I please get your Name and specialty? (Class)
    • She scribbles down some info on a slate tablet with chalk and then hands out stickers to each of you. Taking a look at the stickers it says. Hi my name is...with each of your names written down.
  • Follow me please.
    • The receptionist leads you to a lift and says,
      • Keep your hands and legs inside the lift at all times, We are not responsible for any maiming or dismemberment that may occur during your time here.
      • You watch as she closes the latch and several gnomes on either side begin pulling and making strange sounds as you continue upwards.
      • Taking a bit longer than expected your eyes wander around and you catch a strange advertisement on the wall for a Teddy Bear that actually smokes.
  • After several more moments you finally reach your floor and peer into a gigantic room. A large painted portrait of a smiling man in a purple suit holding a bunch of colorful balloons takes up most of the right wall, a small plaque underneath it reads... Quentin Happyjoy Senior, Founder, Happyjoy Family Toy Co. (Play Office Ambiance)
  • The far wall of the room is entirely taken up by a large window through which you can only see snow blowing past. The only item of furniture is a dark mahogany desk holding a neat stack of parchment, a magical Newton’s Cradle and a slate tablet. In front of you is the greyest man you have ever seen.
  • Ah so you’ve finally made it, on time I see too, that's a great sign, we here at Happyjoy Family Toy Co. appreciate punctuality. Now what makes you think you’re the perfect fit for this job?
  • See, not long ago, toys, sweets and cookies started appearing in every house across the area, all labelled ‘from Santa’. Every…Wintermas…morning, without fail. Now there’s a problem with this, it’s getting in the way of our profits you see. How can we make money, when people are getting toys for free, we’re a god damn toy company and this WILL NOT BE TOLERATED…I apologize for my temper, I truly love toys…and money. Which is why you’re here.
  • See, we’ve sent scouts to Santa's home at the North Pole, but none have returned and we’ve only received the briefest of notes by sending stone. So far we know that the entrance lies in a glacial crevasse, there are patrolling flying creatures, enchanted holly barbed wire and candy mines along the top, also something unclear about no man’s land. This fat bastard seems to be heavily fortified. Now if you can take care of this problem, reach our designated KPI’s Key Performance Indicators for the layman. I'd be more than happy to pay you 1000gp each, 250 up front and 750 upon success.
    • If players ask about KPI
      • Well that’s quite simple, you ensure that we won’t have to worry about any future competition and your job’s complete.
  • Now if you try to run off with the money I’ll kill you…I’m just kidding I’ll put a bounty on your head for 750gp and have someone do it for me.
  • Now I can give you 1 hour to go down to the town and pick up anything you need, once you’re done meet back here. I’ll have our Quentin's Corporate Mages teleport you to the North Pole.

When players return (Play Office Ambiance)

  • You’re greeted once more by the receptionist who points over to a large set of doors.
    • Make your way inside and Quentin’s Corporate Mages will have you on your way, oh and don’t forget this, it’s an enchanted snow globe, crack it open and you’ll create a portal to return here. Don’t lose it, we’re not coming to rescue you.
  • You enter a large circular room with runes inscribed all across the marbled floor. Several men in suits surround you and begin chanting. The runes below you start to glow brighter and brighter, you’re then blinded by a light and feel your body being pulled in all different directions.

Play Snowy Ambiance

  • In yet another flash of light you land in a puff of snow, standing up, your first view is of a wide expanse of snow and ice. As you look up an icy plain stretches out in front of you, a bitter wind is howling, it's dark but your way is lit by the stars, the full moon, and an incredible aurora above. About a kilometer in front of you, a huge cliff of ice stretches hundreds of meters into the air. A wide, jagged crevasse cuts into its face. You can see many figures in the distance in front of the opening, but none appear to be moving.
    • DC 12 Perception
      • You’re able to make out 50 or so figures in the distance. However, the three closest to the crevasse entrance appear to be more distinct.
    • DC 20 Sneak or
      • You see the largest of the figures begin to shift as you approach, it turns to face you and you see it has coal eyes, a carrot nose, three blue gems in a line down its chest and two wooden arms carved along its sides. It appears to smile widely.

Play Frosty Ambiance

  • Well what do we have here? Greetings to all and a very merry wintermas cheer. I can tell just by looking at you, you’re excited for presents, but Wintermas is tomorrow, you’ll have to wait till then! Don’t you worry though, you curl up into those nice warm beds of yours and it’ll be here before you know it. You wouldn’t want to ruin the magic of Wintermas now would you?
    • DC 18 Perception to notice other Animated Snowmen among the decoys
    • If Players don’t leave.
      • Now I must apologize, but I can’t allow you in any further, you’ve really left me no choice, no choice at all.
    • Enemies
      • 1 x Frosty the Snowman
      • 2 x Animated Snowman
  • With the snowmen nothing more than flakes on the ground, you continue your way through, entering deeper into the jagged crevasse. Whilst it’s mostly dark; floating, ethereal Wintermas Lanterns illuminate patches of the path. Taking a step forward, the sound of the howling wind becomes muffled. It’s replaced by a far more ominous sound, god-awful screaming from behind. You look back to see shadowy shapes flying into the ice cavern toward you shrieking. As they come more into focus, you can make out the source of these disgusting sounds. Monstrous looking reindeer creatures that seem intent on all of you. However, that's not the only sound you can hear. A deep, low rumbling. You see the walls of the ice cave start to move inwards toward you as icicles and frozen shards fall from the ceiling. Off in the distance, you see light emerging from the end of the ice cave. You think to yourselves for a moment that not much time remains before this cavern closes entirely.

Play Escape/Battle Music

  • Roll for initiative, this is a chase/skill encounter. You can Dash, Attack or cast a spell.
    • Roll D20 at end of turn
      • Refer to Chase Encounter Table (Available in the AAA Collection)
  • As you reach the end of the cavern, the walls begin to crash into themselves. The Paindeer do their best to escape, some getting crushed between the walls. Silence overtakes and you can now see where the glow is coming from. Through a crack in the ice a gentle light shines and you can see snow falling slowly beyond. It would seem you've found the entrance to Santa's Grotto.
    • Crack is about 10 ft wide and 20 ft tall

Play Happy Santa’s Grotto Ambiance

  • As you step through the wall, the scene changes immediately. You’re now in a beautiful cavern lit with a warm golden light, gently falling magical snow sprinkles down from somewhere high up above you.
  • Snow tipped stalactites and stalagmites rise from the floor and descend from the ceiling, not necessarily in that order. Striped candy cane picket fences line a stone path which leads forwards to a small central square dominated by a giant Wintermas tree, before splitting into four. The air smells like peppermint and cinnamon.
  • Above you, a green banner with silver lettering hangs between two stalactites.
    • If a player speaks gnomish.
      • It reads: He knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.
  • At the end of the four short paths, you see three gingerbread houses, and set in the center of the far wall, a tall stone archway within which the air has a shimmering water-like quality. They each have tiny signs next to them, which appear to be made from chocolate, with iced [gnomish] writing on them.
  • There doesn't appear to be any movement from any of the buildings…for now.
    • What would you like to do?
  • If Players choose to rest, allow a long rest
    • You all go for a rest and lay down on your chest. Your eyes do flutter, but eventually melt like butter. The wind is a tad breezy and your rest turns uneasy. Dreams of pure dread, flashes of a sled, but upon finally waking, your head is a shaking, but no memories remain of the stain on your brain.
  • If Players look under the trees
    • Taking a look under most of the trees you find typical presents, like toy soldiers, and Bees. Wooden trains and clockwork planes are littered about; however one item stands further out. The wrapping seems to glow, the tassels do flow. A present unlike any other, perhaps for someone’s mother. You certainly don’t know for who, but what is it that you would like to do?
      • The Gift of Many Things
  • If players check candy Cane Fence
    • DC 12 History Check
      • You remember as a child that you used to have fun taking Candy Canes and keeping them in your mouth till they gained a super sharp point and poking people with it. You wonder how effective that could be with an even larger one
  • If players ask for a general investigation check
    • It’s strange, something feels off about this area, a sense of something sinister emanates throughout the area. The 3 gingerbread houses around you seem fine at first, but as you get closer you notice slight mold creeping up. The whole area, which looks beautiful at a glance, seems to be subtly and slowly falling apart.

Santa’s Grotto (Play Creepy Ambiance)

  1. Santa’s Cookie Lab
    1. This seems to be where the delicious smells are coming from. Strange machinery lines the walls of this small gingerbread house. Bags of sugar, cinnamon and unknown magical dusts are piled in boxes and shelves. Seven silver plates lie in a row on a bench fixed to the far end of the room. Each plate has a small pile of cookies on it, each with a different iced design.
      1. Hand out cookie sheet (But not riddle)
    2. DC 18 Investigation check
      1. Something isn’t right about these ingredients, you’re able to find in the cabinets Brain Stem Fluid and Infused Essence of Consciousness;
  2. Ho Ho Holding Cells
    1. The door to this building is locked, and there are candy cane bars on the gingerbread window holes. Peering inside you can see a single cage taking up half of the room, it contains a wild-eyed gnome with bright green hair.
      1. Dave Grinch:
  3. Santa’s Workshop Portal
    1. A pale blue light emanates from this stone archway. The air within it shimmers like a gently disturbed pool.
      1. Investigation Check
      2. Must have eaten Moon cookie for portal to activate
    2. When correct cookie is eaten and players walk through
      1. A familiar sensation takes over your body, the same as when you were teleported to the North pole by those corporate mages
  4. Paindeer Stables
    1. You can smell hay and a strange sort of chocolate aroma coming through the doorway of this squat building with wide, open doors. Inside you can hear snoring.
      1. Investigation check
    2. Enemies (Battle Music)
      1. 3 x Paindeer
    3. Rewards
      1. Statue of Rudolf the Paindeer

Santa’s Workshop (Play Creepy Ambiance)

  • This room is massive. Unbelievably massive. A giant stone dome, almost half a mile in diameter. From halfway up the dome, the roof appears to be enchanted to show stars and the aurora above. The same gentle golden light illuminates rows and rows of small stone altars, all pointed to a circular plinth which is raised up from the center of the room.
  • At each altar, a gnome sits with a frozen smile on their face, staring blank-eyed towards the center. A wide aisle cuts a path through the endless concentric circles, leading from the portal behind you straight towards the center. A large silhouette is visible upon the plinth, its back to you, it appears to be a very fat, very tall man, wearing a crown and large, bulky robes.
    • What would you like to do?
      • If players move closer
  • Santa Clause
    • I really must apologize now, but you’re on my naughty list. Santa locks eyes with you, you feel an intrusive presence in your mind. Something isn't right. You hear screams as reality lurches. Your very sanity is being attacked.
      • DC 15 Charisma Save
    • Enemies (Boss Music)
      • 1 x Santa
  • Santa falls to the ground, unconscious, and his crown falls off. The gnomes surrounding suddenly stop, their eyes no longer blank, and a cheer goes up around the room. They begin to rush towards you all in excitement; however they don’t get very far. A ringing, shrieking, metallic sound echoes from the spot where Santa fell. It almost deafens you, it's the sound of a giant suit of plate armor being torn in half by a hundred pairs of metal claws. The air seems to twist and shatter in front of you. The gnomes look panicked and begin running to the far walls. A ripple of shouts and conversation passes rapidly between them. You catch three words over the noise. ‘He is coming’.
  • A writhing monstrosity unravels itself from the fallen crown, its form is hard to distinguish, all black smoke and boiling flesh. It bends space and light as you look at it, shifting in and out of focus like an optical illusion, at one moment it appears to be made of tentacles, then a screaming face, then a grotesque cluster of eyes and sinew. It’s somehow all around you whilst occupying a space in front of you. It is utterly terrifying. Its voice sounds like a raspy whisper in your ear, but hurts as if it were shouting.
    • You have interrupted the plan. We prepare for my arrival in this world. I see your thoughts. We are not so different. Join me and I will spare you. Wear the crown. Wield power over all minds.
      • The monstrosity shifts and appears closer to you. What would you like to do?
  • If players refuse
    • You simply fight the inevitable, your actions are futile, your lives forfeit.
      • Roll for Initiative!
    • Enemies
      • 1 x Old One’s Avatar (Play Boss Music 2)
    • As you lay your final strike into this eldritch being, you can see its form begin to warp, the room fills with countless eyes. Tentacles whip out from every direction until the being begins to collapse upon itself. The eyes stare at you not in fear, but absolute contempt, and a knowledge that this won’t be the last you see of it. All that’s left of this being is the crown that once sat atop Santa’s head. The silence is palpable, not a single gnome dare breathe…waiting to see what it is that you do next.
  • Endings (Most of these are open ended and will depend on your players crazy actions!)
    • Wear the Crown after killing the avatar (Play Evil Ending Music)
      • You place the crown atop your head and feel untold knowledge surge through your mind. You feel the ability to peer into the minds of all those around you. You see strings, simple strings, oh so very easy to pull and control. Something doesn’t feel right though, it’s as though your very life force is very slowly being sucked into the crown when you try to use it.
    • Accept the Avatars offer and wear the crown
      • You place the crown atop your head and feel untold knowledge surge through your mind. You feel the ability to peer into the minds of all those around you. You see strings, simple strings, oh so very easy to pull and control. Something doesn’t feel right though. Whispers, nothing but whispers, they scream loud into your mind. KILL SANTA. You feel yourself being pulled back into your mind, nothing more than a spectator to your bodies’ actions as you plunge your weapon into the unconscious Santa that lays on the ground. That last bit of breath escaping into the air.
    • Let Santa Live and Kill the Avatar (Play Good Ending Music) (Can be used as boss music)
      • Santa will be grateful, his intention will be to destroy the crown and the thrall cookies that he has been setting up to send, instead he'll persuade the gnomes to make normal toys and sweets, as equals, not slaves. Wintermas has been saved!
    • Kill Santa and Return proof to Grinch (Play Grinch Ending Music)
      • Finally that fat bastard got what he deserves! I’ve been seeing many from my village escaping through the portal as well. I am truly grateful for what you have done. I’m a gnome of my word, so name anything you desire and I will be able to create it.
    • Fulfill Bounty and Return to HappyJoy
      • You crack open the enchanted Snowglobe and a portal opens before your eyes. Upon entering a familiar feeling washes over you and a few startled corporate mages jump at your arrival. They instantly recover the dead look in their eyes and bring you to Quentin’s office.
      • Well would you look at that, I must say I’m quite impressed. Linda, you can take down our ad for more adventurers. I’m a business man of my word so here’s your payment of 750gp each. You should consider sticking around this town for a bit. I’ve been having some trouble with a bunny and you might just be exactly who I’m looking for.

And with that we will end tonight’s session. Merry Christmas to you all and to all a good night!

4 Comments
2023/12/22
17:44 UTC

22

Light of Luminar: Encounter in the Ethereal Plane

Encounter I made for my players in the Etheral Plane. Worldbuilding involves a city with encounters and magic items. Link at the bottom for full encounter (it was like 10k words so couldn’t fit it all, includes new race, fun magic and non-magic items, and new God). My party is 6 17th level, so everything reflects that, but can easily fit whatever you need :)

The Crystal Spires

The Crystal Spires, a celestial haven within the Ethereal Plane, stand as an otherworldly metropolis where the divine and ethereal coalesce in harmonious beauty. Floating amid the radiant energies of the plane, the spires glisten with translucent luminescence, each structure a testament to the celestial artistry of the Luminari people.

General Description: A city suspended in the radiant ether, the Crystal Spires defy gravity, their crystalline towers ascending to impossible heights. The architecture seamlessly blends with the ethereal surroundings, the spires appearing as if they were grown rather than constructed. Walkways of iridescent energy connect the floating structures, creating a mesmerizing network that shimmers in hues of celestial blue and gold.The ambient glow of the Ethereal Plane bathes the city in perpetual twilight, accentuating the crystalline brilliance. The air is thick with the scent of celestial energies, carrying whispers of divine incense that linger through the open plazas and ethereal gardens. Luminous flora, unseen in the material realms, adorns the cityscape, radiating soft light and perfuming the air with otherworldly fragrances.

Key Locations:

The Crystal Sanctum: A celestial sanctum at the heart of the city, the Crystal Sanctum serves as a direct conduit to the presence of Luminara. The structure itself seems to be a living entity, pulsating with radiant energy. The inner chambers, accessible only to the Keepers of Radiant Lore, house the Astral Pool—a shimmering pool of liquid light where the Keepers commune with their deity.

Luminous Archive:Adjacent to the Crystal Sanctum, the Luminous Archive is a sacred library containing the accumulated wisdom and teachings of Luminara. Vast shelves of ethereal tomes line the crystalline walls, and floating platforms allow Luminari scholars to access the celestial knowledge within. The library's central spire holds the most revered texts, protected by radiant sentinels.

Ethereal Bazaar:A bustling marketplace where vibrant stalls float amid the crystal walkways. Luminari traders offer ethereal goods imbued with celestial magic, while radiant crystals, rare herbs, and other mystical artifacts beckon explorers from across the planes. The air resonates with the melodic chimes of enchanted wind chimes that hang from the market stalls.

Key Figures:

High Exaltaris: The ruler and spiritual guide of the Luminari, the High Exaltaris resides in the uppermost spire of the Crystal Sanctum. Adorned in celestial regalia, they are a beacon of divine authority, overseeing the balance between the Ethereal Plane and the Material Plane.

Astralseer Selenea: The venerable Astralseer is a keeper of cosmic insights, known for her ability to read the celestial tapestry. Often found in the Luminous Archive, Selenea guides Luminari seekers through the astral visions, providing glimpses of potential futures and cosmic truths.

Quintessence Artisan Arion: A skilled artificer and keeper of the Ethereal Bazaar, Arion crafts ethereal artifacts that bridge the gap between planes. Their stall is a haven for adventurers seeking magical items infused with the essence of the celestial realms.The Crystal Spires stand as a testament to the harmonious union of ethereal magic and divine grace, a celestial bastion where the Luminari thrive in the pursuit of enlightenment and the preservation of cosmic balance.

The Crystal Sanctum:

Nestled at the very heart of the Luminari city, the Crystal Sanctum stands as a testament to the divine connection between the Luminari people and their celestial deity, Luminara. The sanctum is a marvel of ethereal architecture, a radiant beacon pulsating with the very essence of the divine.

Exterior: The exterior of the Crystal Sanctum is a breathtaking display of luminous crystals seamlessly fused into a structure that seems to transcend the earthly plane. The crystals, each refracting a spectrum of celestial hues, give the impression of a living entity. They pulse with radiant energy, casting a gentle, enchanting glow that bathes the surroundings in ethereal light.

Entrance:As one approaches the sanctum, a grand entrance adorned with intricate carvings depicting celestial motifs welcomes visitors. The threshold seems to shimmer with a faint, protective aura, inviting only those who are attuned to the divine energies within.

Inner Chambers: Upon entering the sanctum, the inner chambers unfold in a symphony of celestial beauty. Glowing archways adorned with runes of celestial languages lead to various halls and chambers. The air is infused with a soothing, otherworldly fragrance, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and reverence.

Astral Pool: At the centre the sanctum lies the Astral Pool—a mesmerizing pool of liquid light that appears as if it holds the very essence of the stars. The pool emits a gentle hum, resonating with the cosmic energies that flow through it. The surface of the pool ripples with ethereal patterns, reflecting the ever-changing dance of celestial bodies.

Keepers' Chambers: Accessible only to the esteemed Keepers of Radiant Lore, the chambers are adorned with celestial tapestries and divine symbols. Each Keeper's personal space is a blend of ethereal aesthetics and practical functionality, providing a serene environment for communion with Luminara.

Divine Atmosphere: The entire sanctum exudes a divine atmosphere that transcends the material realm. Visitors often describe a heightened sense of clarity and connection to the celestial when within its hallowed halls. The walls seem to whisper with the wisdom of the cosmos, and the very air resonates with the harmonies of the ethereal plane.The Crystal Sanctum stands not just as a physical structure but as a living embodiment of the divine presence it houses—a sacred haven where the mortal and celestial realms intertwine in a dance of radiant energies.

Divine Disturbance: As the you step into the sanctum, you find yourself enveloped in a serene aura. The Luminous Gateway, with its grand arch of crystalline brilliance, welcomes them with an ethereal dance of iridescent light. The very air carries whispers of cosmic wisdom, guiding toward the inner sanctum.Moving through the Ethereal Gardens, they encounter vibrant blossoms that defy the conventional spectrum of colors. The fragrance, otherworldly and enchanting, enhances the tranquil atmosphere. Floating islands of crystal offer resting points, allowing people to absorb the celestial beauty surrounding them.Entering the Halls of Ethereal Whispers, the murals come to life, depicting celestial beings and significant moments in Luminari history. The ethereal murmurs reveal insights into the people's journey, fostering a connection between the adventurers and the cosmic threads that weave the universe.Finally, approaching the Radiant Oculus, the you witnesses the awe-inspiring relic suspended within an intricate ethereal framework. As they attune to its magic, visions of the cosmic tapestry and insights into the balance of magical forces unfold. The Oculus becomes a beacon of divine guidance, resonating with the intentions of the party.The Sentinels of Ethereal Purity, graceful celestial guardians, acknowledge the party's presence with luminous gazes. Initiating trials of ethereal resonance, the Sentinels guide the adventurers through harmonic challenges, ensuring their commitment to the harmonious balance embodied by Luminara.Navigating the Whispering Abyss becomes a test of the party's attunement to ethereal whispers, revealing illusionary paths and cosmic insights. As you brave the ethereal maze, the abyss offers glimpses of possible futures and alternative realities.

Ethereal Gardens: Surrounding the Luminous Gateway, the Ethereal Gardens unfold in a breathtaking display of otherworldly flora, each blossom a testament to the magic that permeates the sanctum. The gardens exist in a state of perpetual bloom, with radiant blossoms that defy conventional colors, shifting between hues not found in the mortal realm. The fragrance is ethereal, an intoxicating blend of celestial perfumes that heighten the senses.As one meanders through the gardens, the very air shimmers with the energy of the Ethereal Plane, offering a harmonious ambiance conducive to meditation and introspection. Floating islands of crystal serve as resting points, allowing visitors to bask in the celestial glow and contemplate the mysteries of Luminara. Occasionally, the delicate flutter of ethereal butterflies adds to the enchantment, their wings reflecting the ever-changing hues of the blooming flora.In the Ethereal Gardens, the flora is not just botanical; it is a manifestation of divine artistry. The radiant blossoms resonate with the very essence of Luminara, and those who linger here find themselves rejuvenated, their spirits lifted by the celestial energy that infuses every petal and leaf

The Luminous Gateway: The Luminous Gateway, standing as the fulcrum of the Crystal Sanctum, beckons travelers with its grandeur and radiant allure. A colossal arch of crystalline brilliance, it pulses with the rhythmic energies that connect the Ethereal Plane to the divine presence of Luminara. The gateway, ethereal and resplendent, channels a cascade of iridescent light, creating a mesmerizing dance that captivates all who approach.Approaching the Luminous Gateway reveals intricate engravings, each telling a story of celestial beings and their harmonious coexistence. The crystal arch seems almost sentient, responding to the intentions and energies of those who seek communion. As one steps through the gateway, a profound sense of serenity envelops them, as if stepping into the very heart of divine radiance. Ethereal wisps trail behind, leaving a trail of luminescence that seems to echo the footsteps of those who tread the sacred path.The air within the gateway carries whispers of cosmic wisdom, a symphony of celestial voices that offer glimpses into the secrets of the Ethereal Plane. Every inch of the Luminous Gateway radiates an aura of peace, a testament to the sanctity of this celestial junction.

Halls of Ethereal Whispers: Within the sanctum, the Halls of Ethereal Whispers unfold as vast chambers, their walls adorned with images that transcend the boundaries of time and space. The ethereal whispers within these halls echo the divine insights and prophecies that have been conveyed to the Keepers of Radiant Lore. The air is charged with the wisdom of the cosmos, creating an atmosphere that is both contemplative and enlightening.Celestial murals dance along the walls, depicting pivotal moments in the history of the Luminari. The ethereal images capture the cosmic tapestry of the people's journey, from ancient prophecies to pivotal celestial events. As one navigates through these halls, the whispers become a chorus, revealing secrets encoded within the luminous threads of existence.The Halls of Ethereal Whispers serve as a repository of sacred knowledge, and those who tread within experience a communion with the very essence of Luminara. The ethereal murmurs guide seekers toward greater understanding, fostering a connection between the mortal realm and the celestial forces that weave the fabric of the universe.

The Radiant Oculus: Deep within the inner sanctum of the Crystal Sanctum, the Radiant Oculus commands attention as an awe-inspiring testament to divine craftsmanship. Suspended within an intricate framework of ethereal energy, the crystalline sphere holds a fragment of Luminara's divine consciousness. The Oculus emanates a soft, pulsating glow that illuminates the chamber, creating an ethereal dance of light that reflects the very essence of the Eternal Luminescence.As one approaches the Radiant Oculus, a sensation of profound connection envelops them, as if the relic itself acknowledges the purity of their intentions. The intricate framework surrounding the sphere seems to respond to the energy of those in its presence, creating a dynamic display of radiant patterns that resonate with the divine.The properties of the Radiant Oculus come to life as its wielder attunes to its magic. Visions of the cosmic tapestry and profound insights into the balance of magical forces become accessible. The ethereal communion with Luminara deepens the seeker's understanding, providing a bridge between the mortal mind and the divine consciousness encapsulated within the Radiant Oculus.The Oculus becomes a beacon of celestial guidance, its radiant ward offering protection against malevolent ethereal forces. The wielder of the Radiant Oculus becomes a conduit for divine energy, embodying the harmonious balance and wisdom of Luminara herself.

Sentinels of Ethereal Purity: Celestial guardians, known as the Sentinels of Ethereal Purity, traverse the sanctum with grace and vigilance. These beings, manifestations of celestial light, embody the purity of purpose required to approach the Radiant Oculus. They greet visitors with luminous gazes, their ethereal wings casting gentle shadows against the radiant surroundings.As seekers approach the Oculus, the Sentinels initiate trials of ethereal resonance, testing the mettle of those who seek communion. The trials, a blend of ethereal puzzles and harmonic challenges, reflect the commitment of the individuals to the harmonious balance embodied by Luminara. Successful navigation through these trials is met with the approving glow of the Sentinels, opening the path toward the Radiant Oculus.The Sentinels of Ethereal Purity, though formidable in their celestial presence, emanate an aura of compassion and understanding. Their purpose is not to obstruct but to guide and ensure that those who tread the sanctum are in alignment with the divine harmony that Luminara represents.

The Whispering Abyss: The Whispering Abyss, a mystical chasm within the sanctum, beckons with an enigmatic allure. As one approaches, the abyss seems to shimmer with ethereal whispers, cryptic messages, and echoes of forgotten prophecies. The very air around the chasm is charged with ethereal energy, creating an atmosphere of suspense and curiosity.Navigating the Whispering Abyss requires an attunement to the ethereal whispers, as illusionary paths conceal hidden routes. The chasm becomes a canvas of cosmic artistry, revealing glimpses of possible futures and alternative realities. Adventurers who traverse this ethereal maze are granted insights into the ever-shifting threads of fate that weave the celestial tapestry.The Whispering Abyss is a bridge between the present and the ethereal echoes of destiny. Those who brave its depths may uncover fragments of ancient prophecies, unlocking a deeper understanding of the cosmic forces at play within the sanctum.

Chamber of Celestial Welcome: As the party progresses deeper into the Crystal Sanctum, they find themselves standing before the imposing yet ethereal entrance to the Chamber of Celestial Welcome. This chamber is a testament to the divine craftsmanship and cosmic aesthetics that define the sanctum. The entrance shimmers with a gentle, radiant glow, inviting the party into the inner sanctum where the High Exaltaris, the esteemed leader of the Luminari, awaits their arrival.Upon entering, the party steps onto a floor of crystalline tiles that seem to respond to their presence with subtle, radiant pulses. The walls of the chamber are adorned with intricate tapestries woven from threads of celestial light, depicting the celestial history of the Luminari people and their connection to the divine. The air is scented with a delicate fragrance, reminiscent of celestial blossoms, creating an atmosphere of both tranquility and anticipation.At the heart of the chamber stands an elevated platform, where an ethereal throne crafted from luminescent crystal awaits the High Exaltaris. The throne is adorned with celestial symbols and motifs, symbolizing the divine authority bestowed upon the leader. Flanking the throne are pillars of radiant energy, casting a soft, ambient light that bathes the entire chamber in a celestial glow.As the party approaches, they notice a ceremonial altar set with offerings of celestial fruits and iridescent flowers. The room resonates with a harmonious hum, as if the very stones are attuned to the cosmic forces that surround them. Soft, celestial music, seemingly emanating from the very air itself, fills the chamber, creating an otherworldly ambiance.The High Exaltaris, adorned in resplendent regalia that mirrors the celestial radiance of the Crystal Sanctum, stands to greet the party. Their presence exudes an aura of wisdom, authority, and benevolence. The leader extends a hand in a gesture of welcome, inviting the party to approach the throne. Behind the High Exaltaris, a massive, translucent tapestry hangs, depicting the Luminari people in harmonious communion with the divine.The Chamber of Celestial Welcome serves not only as a place of greeting but also as a symbolic threshold between the mortal realm and the divine sanctum. The room embodies the principles of cosmic balance and celestial beauty that define the Luminari culture, offering the party a glimpse into the majesty of the Crystal Sanctum and the wisdom of their esteemed leader.

Luminous Archive:

Nestled adjacent to the transcendent beauty of the Crystal Sanctum, the Luminous Archive unfolds as a celestial repository of boundless knowledge and the sacred teachings bestowed by Luminara. This sacred library stands as a testament to the Luminari's devotion to the pursuit of wisdom and enlightenment, a haven where ethereal tomes and celestial scrolls illuminate the crystalline walls with the radiant glow of cosmic understanding.Upon entering the Luminous Archive, the party is greeted by the soft luminescence emanating from countless shelves that stretch to the towering heights of the crystalline vault. The architecture seamlessly blends with the sanctum's aesthetic, evoking a sense of harmonious union between the celestial and the intellectual. Elaborate chandeliers crafted from ethereal materials illuminate the space, casting a gentle radiance upon the floating platforms that hover around the library, allowing Luminari scholars to access the ethereal knowledge contained within the tomes.The central spire of the archive, a pinnacle of crystalline brilliance, houses the most revered texts and sacred manuscripts. Here, radiant sentinels, ethereal guardians of knowledge, stand vigil, ensuring the sanctity of the cherished teachings. The tomes within resonate with celestial energy, their pages adorned with intricate illustrations and cosmic runes that dance with the brilliance of Luminara's divine light.As the party explores, they may glimpse Luminari scholars engaged in studious pursuits, deciphering celestial scripts, or engaged in spirited discussions about the cosmic mysteries. The air is filled with the hushed whispers of knowledge seekers and the occasional harmonious hum, creating an atmosphere of serene contemplation.The Luminous Archive offers a sacred space for the party to delve into the accumulated wisdom of the Luminari, providing insights into the cosmic tapestry, divine revelations, and the profound teachings that guide the Luminari people in their quest for enlightenment. Each step within this ethereal sanctuary is a journey through the boundless realms of celestial knowledge, echoing the harmony that defines the very essence of the Luminari culture.

The Ethereal Bazaar:

As the party steps into the heart of the Crystal Spires, the Ethereal Bazaar unfolds before them in a mesmerizing display of radiant wonders. Floating in the luminous glow of the Ethereal Plane, the bazaar is a vibrant tapestry of celestial energy, its crystalline walkways suspended between radiant spires.The air is infused with the sweet scent of ethereal flowers, their delicate blooms hovering gracefully in mid-air. Luminescent fauna adorns the market stalls, creating a living kaleidoscope of colors that dance in harmony with the ambient energies. Each step resonates with a soft, melodious hum—a symphony of unseen celestial forces.

Market Stalls: Stalls crafted from radiant crystal float in mid-air, displaying an array of ethereal goods. Luminari traders, adorned in celestial robes, beckon adventurers with smiles as they showcase enchanted items. Quintessence Artisan Arion's booth stands out, adorned with swirling patterns of ethereal light, where magical artifacts are meticulously arranged.

Celestial Canopies: Gossamer canopies woven from ethereal threads hover above the market, casting gentle shadows that playfully dance on the crystalline walkways. The canopies are adorned with tiny, twinkling lights that resemble stars, creating an illusion of a celestial night sky even in the perpetual twilight.

Astral Aromas: A symphony of celestial aromas wafts through the air, emanating from exotic herbs and enchanted spices. The scents are reminiscent of celestial gardens, invoking feelings of tranquility and otherworldly beauty.

Ethereal Echoes: Whispers of ethereal echoes ripple through the bazaar, carrying tales of distant realms and celestial wonders. Luminari scholars engage in animated conversations, their voices blending with the soft melodies of unseen ethereal instruments.

Celestial Peddlers: Luminari merchants float gracefully between stalls, their radiant garments billowing like ethereal sails. Each merchant bears a small ethereal blossom, a symbol of the bazaar's harmonious energy. Some merchants offer ethereal refreshments, such as ambrosial nectar and shimmering elixirs that sparkle with celestial light.The Ethereal Bazaar is not merely a marketplace; it's a living manifestation of the Luminari's connection to the celestial realms. It beckons adventurers to explore its ethereal wonders and partake in the harmonious dance of cosmic energies.

Encounter: Quintessence Artisan Arion's Enchanted EmporiumAs the party approaches Quintessence Artisan Arion's booth in the Ethereal Bazaar, they find themselves surrounded by an ethereal ambiance. Arion, a Luminari artisan draped in celestial robes, greets them with a warm smile.*Quintessence Artisan Arion:*Arion is a tall figure with silver hair that seems to reflect the glow of the Ethereal Plane. Their eyes shimmer with cosmic wisdom, and every movement is deliberate, as if choreographed by celestial forces.

.Random Encounters in The Crystal Spires

Ethereal Serenade: As the party strolls through the luminescent avenues of the Ethereal Bazaar, they encounter a group of Luminari musicians performing otherworldly melodies. The ethereal instruments emit harmonic vibrations that resonate with the magical essence of the surroundings. Mesmerized, the party is invited to join a celestial dance, accompanied by radiant glows and subtle ethereal mists that weave around them. This enchanting encounter provides an opportunity for the party to forge bonds with the locals and perhaps learn a few ethereal dance steps or celestial tunes.

The Whimsical Artisan's Stall: Approaching a seemingly ordinary stall, the party discovers Quintessence Artisan Arion's enchanting booth in the Ethereal Bazaar. Arion, a whimsical artisan, showcases a collection of magically imbued trinkets and art pieces. The party is drawn into a display of ethereal paintings that shift and change with the viewer's emotions. Arion engages the party with playful banter, offering insights into the creation of these captivating artworks. This encounter provides an opportunity for the party to acquire unique, non-magical items and engage in the delightful eccentricities of Arion's craftsmanship.

Ephemeral Pet Parade: Amidst the radiant streets, the party encounters a procession of Luminari citizens walking their ethereal pets. These fantastical creatures, resembling luminous butterflies, ethereal foxes, and celestial companions, parade through the city in a joyous display. The party has the chance to interact with these charming creatures, each possessing unique ethereal qualities. The Luminari owners gladly share stories of their ethereal pets and may even offer guidance on navigating the magical intricacies of the city.

Celestial Harmonics: The party stumbles upon an impromptu gathering of Luminari engaging in ethereal harmonic meditation. Situated in a radiant garden, the Luminari form a circle and create celestial resonances by channeling their ethereal energies. The party is invited to participate, enhancing the harmonic vibrations with their presence. This encounter offers a chance for the party to gain temporary boons, such as heightened awareness or a serene state of mind, through their participation in the celestial harmonics

Whispering Statues of Celestial Wisdom: While wandering through the city's quieter corners, the party encounters statues sculpted from ethereal crystal. These statues, imbued with the wisdom of Luminara, possess the ability to communicate through ethereal whispers. The party can choose to seek guidance or ask questions of cosmic significance. The statues respond with cryptic yet insightful messages, providing hints or foreshadowing events related to their current quest or challenges ahead. This encounter serves as a mysterious yet enlightening moment of divine interaction within the city.

Luminous Puppet Theater: A whimsical puppet theater comes to life as the party stumbles upon a lively performance by ethereal puppets. Each puppet is intricately crafted to represent celestial beings and cosmic entities. The puppeteers, skilled Luminari artists, invite the party to join the audience. The ethereal puppets enact captivating tales, weaving together stories of cosmic adventures and moral lessons. The party may find clues or hidden meanings within the puppetry, providing insights into the city's lore or guiding them towards celestial truths.

Ethereal Wisdom Exchange: In a tranquil courtyard, the party encounters a gathering of Luminari engaged in an ethereal wisdom exchange. Participants share celestial insights, arcane knowledge, and personal experiences. The party is invited to contribute their own wisdom or ask questions, fostering a harmonious exchange of ideas. This encounter allows the party to learn about the city's lore, uncover hidden truths, or gain valuable information that might aid them on their journey.

Luminous Symbiosis Garden: Within a radiant garden, the party discovers a unique space where Luminari artisans and ethereal flora engage in a symbiotic dance. The ethereal plants respond to the emotions and intentions of the artists, creating a vibrant, living tapestry of colors and scents. The party can partake in this harmonious collaboration, contributing to the garden's ethereal symphony. This encounter offers a moment of serene beauty and the potential for the party to receive blessings from the symbiotic energies.

Celestial Culinary Delights: A bustling ethereal marketplace reveals an array of celestial food stalls, each offering dishes infused with divine flavors and magical ingredients. The party can sample ethereal delicacies that evoke sensations of joy, tranquility, or inspiration. Culinary artisans share stories behind their creations, linking the flavors to celestial themes. This encounter not only provides a unique gastronomic experience but may also grant temporary magical enhancements or insights into the city's culinary traditions.

Astral Storytelling Circle: Encountering a gathering of Luminari storytellers in a moonlit courtyard, the party is invited to join an astral storytelling circle. Each participant weaves tales of celestial wonders, cosmic adventures, and moral parables. As the stories unfold, the party may find hidden messages, foreshadowing, or clues related to their quest. This ethereal encounter combines entertainment with a potential source of valuable information, as the party immerses themselves in the celestial narratives shared by the Luminari storytellers.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/170l-YcrVF3-Uo5gBhNZCnqfxEd1XIlAs/view?usp=drivesdk

3 Comments
2023/12/22
03:28 UTC

24

Holiday Gift Pack - Exotic Weapons & Gadgets Ltd. Packs 1-3

A huge bundle of exciting inter-dimensional weapons for your 5e game.

Print-ready-cards ranging from Heavy Magnetic Rippers to Steam Propelled Smart Grenades – all easily upgradable. –Cheers, Drake Koboldson

Exotic Weapons & Gadgets Ltd. Packs 1-3:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dJH4gsurZf1P0sWTlR-bUAvIdHfJ_ORI/view?usp=share_link

3 Comments
2023/12/19
19:11 UTC

53

Scorcher and his Buddies - 3 hot and single elementals in your area (with lore, tactics, rewards, and even printable cards !)

Hey there ! I'm Axel, aka BigDud from the Dud Workshop, a passionate DM for the last seven years, and an independent content creator for DnD 5th Edition.

You might have seen a few of my adventures or other creations around here, such as :


A few months ago, I was building an encounter for my ongoing campaign and I found myself at an impasse. You see, the encounter was going to be a battle against the guardian of a volcano. I took a look at the elementals I could use for it, and quickly realized none of them would provide the challenge nor the wow factor that I wanted.

Fire Elemental ? It's got a fire aura, that's about it. Fire Myrmidon ? Basically a less interesting Fire Elemental. The next creature I could find was the Phoenix, and even that's pretty basic. You get the point : they're too simple, and too much of the same… so I went on to make my own !

In fact, I made a whole 67 page book containing 25 (technically 31) of them ! You all have been a great community to be a part of, so I wanted to share three with you today : the one I made for the volcano encounter, as well as two more that would fit in there as well. I'll post more in the future, and if you like them, go check out the book, I'm sure you'll enjoy them !

Without further ado, here are the Blaze Marshal, a commander of explosive wisps ; the Molten Guardian, a stance-changing brawler ; and the Scorcher, a long-range artillery with dangerous but telegraphed attacks.

As a bonus, I've included the ready-to-print cards for each of them, just in case you want to have them ready on the go.

####Here's an album with the PDFs only : Imgur album

###Or download the PDF, art and tokens here : Scorcher and his buddies

I'll post more content like this here, and on my website, The Dud Workshop, so keep your eyes out ! For now, enjoy !

All art used in the PDFs and on the cards was made by BigDud using Midjourney, Krita and Adobe Photoshop.


#Scorcher and his buddies

Molten Guardians (Skirmisher)

Molten guardians are fearsome creatures born naturally from the molten depths of the earth, or summoned to defend particular sites of interest. Standing at approximately six feet tall, humanoid in shape, their body's exterior is craggy and irregular when they're inactive ; however, when they feel danger, they awaken, the rock melting to form rivers of magma flowing on their body.

Molten guardians have two arms, although they only use one for combat : indeed, when they are awakened, they use their second arm as a transforming tool ; it becomes either a shield to protect them, or a sword to attack. The fiery elementals' body shifts between cool and hot rapidly, becoming sturdy and solid when cool, or quick and supple when hot.

In their defense mode, they wield a sturdy shield made of their own cold rock, using it to deflect attacks and push enemies away. When they switch to attack mode, the guardians discard their shield and form a powerful two-handed sword instead, ready to strike with devastating force.

History DC 15: Molten guardians are elemental creatures born from the fiery heart of volcanic regions, emerging when the raw power of magma and intense heat converges. They are also a common target for elemental binding by mages with something to protect.

History DC 20: Legends speak of ancient civilizations harnessing the Molten guardians' molten essence to forge extremely durable weapons and armor. Their heart must be collected quickly after their death, before it cools down, to do so.

Arcana DC 15: Molten guardians draw their power from the elemental plane of fire, and they possess the ability to manipulate and control magma. They use it to maintain their bodies at specific temperatures : indeed, becoming too hot or too cold can severely hinder their abilities.

Arcana DC 20: Certain ancient rituals and offerings can establish a temporary bond with molten guardians, granting individuals the ability to withstand extreme heat. Those were used by Planewalkers to traverse the Elemental Plane of Fire and other dangerous regions of the Hells.

Molten Guardian

Medium Elemental, neutral


  • Armor Class 18 (defense mode), 14 (attack mode)
  • Hit Points 42 (5d10 + 15)
  • Speed 20 ft. (30 ft. in attack mode)
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
16 (+3)14 (+2)16 (+3)8 (-1)12 (+1)10 (+0)
___
  • Saving Throws Dex +4
  • Damage Immunities fire (takes no damage but is still affected)
  • Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
  • Senses passive Perception 11
  • Languages Ignan
  • Challenge 2 (450 XP)
  • Proficiency Bonus +2

Cooled Rock (Defense Mode only). While in defense mode, the molten guardian's AC is increased by 4 and its speed is reduced by 10 ft. It also gains access to its Shield Bash attack. Each time the molten guardian takes 5 or more cold damage while in defense mode, its speed is reduced by 10 ft. until the end of its next turn.

Molten Magma (Attack Mode only). While in attack mode, the molten guardian gains access to the Multiattack action, and deals 1d4 fire damage to creatures that start their turn within 5 ft of it. If the molten guardian would take 10 or more fire damage (before immunity) while in attack mode, it has disadvantage on its attacks until the end of its next turn.

Stance Shifter. The molten guardian's default stance is defense mode. At the beginning of its turn, the molten guardian shifts to attack mode if it's in defense mode, or to defense mode if it's in attack mode. In each form, it gains different abilities. Upon switching to attack mode, the molten guardian can immediately leap up to 15 ft high and 20 ft away without spending movement.

Actions

Punch. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

Shield Bash (Defense Mode only). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) bludgeoning damage and the target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be pushed 10 ft away from the molten guardian and knocked prone.

Multiattack (Attack Mode only). The molten guardian makes two Molten Sword attacks.

Molten Sword (Attack Mode only). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) slashing damage and 7 (2d6) fire damage.

Tactics

Molten guardians are skirmishers who focus on changing their behavior turn to turn to force their enemies to adapt to them. Unless already in a combat scenario, molten guardians stay in defense mode, in which they are the most protected against attacks. As such, their first turn in combat is almost always in attack mode.

When engaging in combat, molten guardians first leap into battle as they switch into attack mode, then move if necessary and make their attacks against the most isolated target.

On their second round, they switch to defense mode, making a Shield Bash attack against the most dangerous creature in melee to create distance, then moving in the best cover possible. If they notice creatures having dealt cold damage during the encounter, they'll prioritize moving closer to them to setup for their next turn. Afterwards, the molten guardian repeats those tactics until their opponents are taken out !

Rewards

Molten guardians usually defend places of importance that can contain valuables, ancient magics, magical items, and much more.

In addition, the molten guardians themselves can be used for magical purposes : their bodies can be used to create durable weapons and armor that aren't affected by even the strongest of acids. Moreover, the stone they're made of naturally emanates primordial energy, and in large quantities, could be used to create enchantments of a molten nature.

Finally, a vainquished -- but not slain -- molten guardian can be used as a part of a ritual of elemental bonding, protecting the bonded being against fire and extreme heat for a short amount of time.

Encounter ideas

  • Trial by Lava: A secretive sect seeks to test the party's worthiness to wield the power of the molten element. The party must prove their strength and courage by facing a Molten Guardian in a trial by combat within an ever-shifting volcanic arena.

  • Dousing the Embers: A fire wizard once lived in a towering lair above an extinct volcano. The wizard perished long ago, but his magical experiments were never quite sealed. Over time, the essence of fire he was using for his experiments seeped out of the lair, and reawakened the volcano. The party must face several Molten Guardians as they explore the lair and attempt to disable its wild magics.

  • Like Moths to a Flame: An ally of the party recently got their hands on a very valuable and powerful artifact of fire magic. Despite their care, it seems the artifact attracts elemental energies towards them, and has brought an army of elementals to chase them down ! The party will need to find ways to hide the artifact, or fight the legion of Molten Guardians and other elementals.


Scorcher (Artillery)

Scorchers are elemental creatures born from the flaming craters left behind by falling comets. Rare due to the particular circumstances of their birth, they however are well-known due to the influence of their existence on the landscape around them.

Scorchers are highly aggressive and territorial creatures. They patrol the skies in search of sources of nourishment ; for these fiery elementals, both creatures and plants can work, as long as they are set aflame while being devoured. Through their energy, the Scorch Bombardiers fuel their fiery abilities.

While not inherently an evil or hostile creature, the nature of Scorchers make them a destructive force for most environments. Their hunting methods often drastically alter the ecosystem around them, causing massive fires that turn forests and grasslands into charred wastelands.

For that reason, they are often hunted by settlers to protect their homes and their beasts. Unfortunately, Scorchers are naturally adept at combat tactics, and their unorthodox fighting style has left many of their opponents merely as calcinated bodies that are never recovered by their families.

History DC 15: Scorchers are not stealthy creatures, as their burning bodies can be seen from miles away, flying in the skies at night ; usually, seeing one means you're too close. To find their nest is another affair. They often hide amidst large hills or mountains, where all vegetation was turned to ash, and where the charred bones of their prey remain littering the ground.

History DC 20: Scorchers are the offspring of comets that fall from the heavens, striking the earth with force and fire. Ancient texts speak of rituals performed by some cultures to entice these comets, believing that the resulting elementals could serve as both guardians and harbingers of change. Those who find and decipher these ancient rituals might have the power to summon a Scorcher, though doing so requires great caution.

Arcana DC 15: Despite the intense magic flowing through them, Scorcher are relatively weak to spells that can summon other elements than fire. Their nature requires their bodies to be light and quick, causing them to be fragile creatures. While melee warriors might struggle to catch up with them, long-range attacks can make short work of one.

Arcana DC 20: Scorchers have a particular affinity to certain materials, which attract their attention. Crafters who understand elemental fire magic can fashion specialized lures using materials that resonate with the Scorchers' nature, using catalysts like powdered sunstone and the oil from plants growing in volcanic regions. Such lures, when set on fire, can bait a Scorcher into thinking a mate is nearby, causing them to shower an area of land with their fire attacks to create a nest, until it eventually lands to find its partner. These lures can be used to an adventurer's advantage, possibly giving them an advantage over enemies, or making them able to capture a Scorcher.

Scorcher

Medium Elemental / Dragon, neutral


  • Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
  • Hit Points 27 (5d8 + 5)
  • Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft.
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
6 (-2)16 (+3)12 (+1)6 (-2)12 (+1)10 (+0)
  • Saving Throws Dex +5
  • Skills Perception +3
  • Damage Resistances poison
  • Damage Immunities fire
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
  • Languages
  • Challenge 3 (700 XP)
  • Proficiency Bonus +2

Evasive. Attacks of opportunity made against the scorch bombardier have disadvantage.

Set Up (Artillery). The scorcher always has disadvantage on initiative rolls. When it rolls initiative, it can immediately move up to half its speed.

Special

Liquid Fire (Artillery). At initiative 30 each round, the scorcher designates three 10-foot-radius areas within 90 ft of it. On its turn, it fires globs of liquid fire down from above in those areas. Each creature in the designated areas must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, they take 14 (4d6) fire damage and are set on fire. On a success, they take half damage and are not set on fire. Creatures set on fire by this ability take 5 (2d4) fire damage at the beginning of their turn until the fire is extinguished with an action or doused in another way.

Tactics

Scorchers are very simple to run.

They start their combat by setting up and moving into a position of safety, telegraphing the location of their attacks. On their turn, they release the attacks. If a creature is clearly immobilized, they'll target them first, but they are not intelligent enough to understand complex battlefield tactics.

Between its attacks, the Scorchers move to stay out of melee range from enemies, and will risk attacks of opportunity to get away from them.

Rewards

Scorcher bodies are intensely warm, still connected to the essence of fire until rain falls upon them and melts them. However, with the right ritual, an adventurer could attempt to transform a slain Scorcher's remains into a small, portable furnace. This magical furnace could generate intense heat, allowing for blacksmithing and metalworking of powerful materials. Additionally, it might offer a source of renewable fire magic for spellcasters, though harnessing its power would require caution due to its volatile nature.

Scorchers, although predatory, can also be temporarily pacified by a sufficiently talented and prepared adventurer. While they can't be used as mounts due to their body temperature, they can provide great opportunities for scouting, as well as air support in difficult situations. However, maintaining the creature's loyalty and preventing it from returning to its wild and aggressive nature can require continuous effort, and any mistake could end in tragedy.

Finally, the liquid fire spat by Scorchers can be harvested if gotten to quick enough. Alchemists can merge it with various other materials to form elixirs and potions of fire resistance and fire breath, allowing their drinker to wield some of the power of the Scorcher.

Encounter ideas

  • The Meteor: After a meteor shower, the party is tasked with investigating the source of an elemental disturbance near a settlement. As they approach the region in question, they realize that a large meteor left a significant crater, which is likely the point of origin of the elementals. Elemental creatures of various kinds have emerged from the meteor's impact zone, causing havoc in the surrounding area ; amongst them are several Scorchers, who threaten to set fire to the landscape around them. The party must navigate the battlefield, engaging in combat with the elementals while avoiding the deadly bombardier's attacks, until they reach the crater's center, where the lingering energies of the fallen meteor still fuel the elemental emergence.

  • Heart of a Phoenix: The party encounters a talented sorcerer whose companion is an aged and weakened Scorcher. The sorcerer reveals that the elemental was once a fearsome protector and ally but has reached the end of its natural lifespan. To restore its vitality and return it to a youthful state, the Scorcher needs to consume the heart of a meteor that fell from the skies while it's still burning. Thankfully, the sorcerer has already tracked a fallen star's trajectory and believes it landed deep within a treacherous and distant wilderness. The party must accompany the sorcerer and their elemental companion on a perilous journey to retrieve the heart of the meteor.

  • The Celestial Pyre Festival: A small village located near a known meteor impact site is preparing for a traditional Celestial Pyre Festival, where they celebrate the falling stars and the blessings they bring. This year, however, a Scorcher has taken up residence near the impact site...


Blaze Marshal (Commander)

Born in the hottest of fires, Blaze Marshals are powerful commanding elementals who fight alongside a small army of explosive wisps. These imposing beings often manifest in the depths of the Underdark, where they engage in fierce battles alongside fire giants, or near volcanic regions on the surface, where they heed the commands of powerful efreeti or other dominant fire elementals.

Blaze Marshals possess an innate authority over flames, capable of summoning and controlling firewisps to aid them in battle. They wield blazing blades infused with scorching heat, dealing devastating slashes and searing fire damage to their opponents.

Firewisps, the loyal minions summoned by Blaze Marshals, are ephemeral elemental spirits that detonate in a burst of flames upon their demise. They serve as living bombs, attaching themselves to targets before sacrificing their own existence to unleash a devastating explosion.

History DC 15: Most Blaze Marshals are found in the service of more dominant elemental beings or under the command of skilled mages. However, there are instances when a Blaze Marshal seeks independence and freedom. To break free from servitude, a Blaze Marshal must find a place that resonates with its fiery nature, such as a volcanic sanctuary. These self-sustaining locations provide the perfect environment for a Blaze Marshal to establish its own dominion. In rare cases, they may even create such a place, constructing a city adorned with massive pyres ; independent Marshals are generally much more prideful and dangerous than controlled ones.

History DC 20: Maintaining and harnessing the power of a Blaze Marshal is no easy feat. Only those who possess large amounts of resources or a far reaching influence can afford to maintain the "allegiance" of a Blaze Marshal. The hidden treasures guarded by these elemental commanders often include artifacts of great value, ancient relics, or even secret vaults protecting coveted riches. Crossing paths with a Blaze Marshal hints at the presence of something truly significant and worth safeguarding.

Arcana DC 15: Blaze Marshals possess the ability to summon explosive wisps, which are formidable in their own right. However, when combined with the Marshal's unique power to strip a creature's resistance to fire, they become an even more significant threat. Even beings naturally resistant to fire, such as descendants of the hells or fire-aligned creatures, can have their innate resistances nullified in the presence of a Blaze Marshal, making them prone to a violent death at the hands of its army of wisps.

Arcana DC 20: Skilled artificers and mages seek to tap into the elemental energy of a Blaze Marshal, channeling it to fuel enchanted mechanisms by taking advantage of its ever-spawning firewisps. However, the fiery temperament of a Blaze Marshal, much like its essence is inherently volatile : those who imprison Marshals in such a way rarely survive the eventual escape of the elemental.

Blaze Marshal

Large Elemental, neutral


  • Armor Class 16
  • Hit Points 225 (18d12 + 108)
  • Speed 40 ft.
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
20 (+5)16 (+3)22 (+6)14 (+2)16 (+3)18 (+4)
  • Saving Throws Dex +7, Cha +8
  • Skills Intimidation +12, Perception +7
  • Damage Immunities fire
  • Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 17
  • Languages Ignan
  • Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)
  • Proficiency Bonus +4

Commander of Fire. At the start of combat, the blaze marshal summons four firewisps to locations of its choosing within 60 ft. Additionally, as long as firewisps are within 15 ft of the marshal, creatures they target with Focused Detonation have disadvantage on their saving throw.

Regeneration. The blaze marshal regains 20 hit points if it starts its turn inside a space that's on fire.

Water Susceptibility. For every 5 feet the blaze marshal moves in water, or for every gallon of water splashed on it, it takes 1 cold damage. It cannot take more than 50 damage in a single turn in this way.

Actions

Multiattack. The blaze marshal makes two Fire Blade attacks, then makes an Immolate attack.

Fire Blade. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) slashing damage and 7 (2d6) fire damage, and a firewisp appears in the closest unoccupied space to the target.

Immolate. Ranged Attack: +9 to hit, range 30 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d10) fire damage and the target is marked. Until the start of the blaze marshal's next turn, the marked creature loses resistance to fire damage if it has it, or become vulnerable to fire damage if it doesn't.

Bonus Actions

Blazing Rush. The blaze marshal moves up to its speed in a straight line. When it reaches its destination, a burst of searing flames erupts from its position, coating the space it occupies as well as all adjacent spaces within 5 feet. Creatures moving through these spaces take 5 (1d10) fire damage per 5 ft moved.


Firewisp

Small Elemental, neutral


  • Armor Class 15
  • Hit Points 1 (1d6 - 2)
  • Speed 30 ft.
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
6 (-2)12 (+1)6 (-2)3 (-4)10 (+0)5 (-3)
___
  • Damage Immunities fire
  • Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained
  • Senses passive Perception 10
  • Languages
  • Challenge

Explosive Demise. When the firewisp dies, it explodes in a burst of flames, dealing 7 (2d6) fire damage to all creatures within 5 ft of it.

Actions

Focused Detonation. The firewisp attaches to a target within 5 ft of it before detonating itself, dying in the process. The chosen creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 21 (6d6) fire damage.

Tactics

At the start of battle, the marshal summons firewisps as close as possible to the enemy, putting them if cover it it doesn't detract from their ability to reach the enemy.

The blazing marshal fights in melee directly, going into the fray. It moves, then dashes to arrive near someone and set its own space on fire (to activate its regeneration) and nearby spaces on fire (making it more difficult to maneuver around it. Each round, it uses its multiattack to deal damage and potentially spawn an additional two firewisps. It then uses Immolate on the target closest to the most firewisps, to reduce its resistance.

On the firewisps's turn, they all rush towards the immolated target, or the closest target if they can't reach them, and use their focused detonation, dealing heavy damage.

Fights against blaze marshals are destructive, violent and volatile ; a creature surrounded by firewisps and affected by immolate can easily be downed in a single turn. Over time, the whole battlefield will also become covered in flames from Blazing Rush, forcing the Marshals' enemies to douse it or have to race against its regeneration.

Rewards

Defeating a Blaze Marshal presents a bountiful array of rewards for our intrepid adventurers. From the remains of the fallen elemental, they may discover rare and valuable materials infused with the essence of fire, such as crystals and gems, that can be used in the creation of potent enchanted items. For example, gathering rubies enchanted with such magic allows a skilled crafstman to create Flametongue weapons.

Once the Marshal is defeated, the sanctuaries it guarded are now ripe for the picking ; these protected locations often hold powerful relics, ancient scrolls containing forgotten fire spells, or even dormant creatures of great might, imprisoned within for centuries.

Capturing a Marshal alive may also prove incredibly valuable. Due to their ever-regenerating possy of Firewisps, Blaze Marshals can be used as a source of energy, their heat and the constant explosions of the Firewisps able to power enchantments and spells.

In rare instances, adventurers may find themselves forming an unlikely alliance with a Blaze Marshal. By earning the trust and respect of these formidable elemental commanders, they can learn about fire magic, fighting techniques and the history of the elemental planes. In dire circumstances, an alliance with a Blaze Marshal may also grant adventurers the ability to call upon the elemental forces, summoning firewisps to aid them in battle when all hope is lost.

No matter what, encounters with Blaze Marshals are sure to leave an impression, shaping the destiny of adventurers in one way or another.

Encounter Ideas

  • Where there is smoke... : For the last three weeks, the party's homeland has been blanketed by terrible, boiling rains that have damaged harvests and burned many a villager. Investigating the source of those rains, the party stumbles upon a series of massive pyres, forming a mysterious path leading into a section of land turned into desolate wasteland. Following the trail, the party finds a Blaze Marshal at the center of a scorched plateau, who's been creating these pyres to increase its influence and grow its army. The party must deal with the threat if they want their homeland to survive.
  • Fight fire with fire: A Blaze Marshal has established its dominion in a remote region of the Underdark, where it clashes with a powerful fire giant clan. Both factions quickly reach out to the party for their aid in "mediating" the other faction's surrender. The party must navigate through the tense negotiations, deciding whether to support one side, play both, or neither. Their choice will determine the fate of the region and the potential rewards or consequences they will receive from the faction they assist.
8 Comments
2023/12/19
13:28 UTC

18

Rumble of Rime Spear, AOG's 2023 Holiday Adventure

Rumble on Rime Spear

An AOG Holiday Adventure

Very few tales and legends pass through all lands, but one that persists is the eternal struggles between the forces of Naughty and Nice during the season of the Winter Solstice. Once again the vile forces of Naughty led by Jakob Rimecaster and The Voice of Winter plan to destroy Juliensen and Yessika Stonecutter and their Holiday Niceties. Should this come to pass the world will be forever cast down into a frozen nightmare of heartless naughty dark things! Rise to the occasion and save the Holidays!

ADVENTURE MECHANICS

  • Target Party: 4 Level 5 Adventures
  • Difficulty: Standard
  • Expected Playtime: 3 Hours
  • Tone: Holiday Heroics

You can grab the Free PDF complete with Maps and a bit more info here https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/GpjojzPGa7rD

SETUP INFORMATION

The Adventure was designed as a “Christmas” Holiday Adventure and therefore has strong Western Cultural notes. It also is pretty on the nose with references and analogues to pop culture and more traditional themes. As far as things you actually need to set up the game? Well, other than knowing who Santa is, not really a whole lot. There is no need for any specific location information as it could be literally any temperate climate location with a nearby mountain. So it drags and drops easily into just about any campaign world. I am going to include a little information about how my cast of Holiday NPCs work.

Story Flow

Our adventure opens, as so many do this time of year, in a small town beleaguered by an unnaturally ferocious snowstorm. The local inn is packed with villagers seeking shelter and reassurance from their fears. Rumors have spread that Jakob Rimecaster has once again returned and begun to turn the world to ice. Every year it’s the same. Snow comes and people whisper of Rimecaster and the Voice.
Only this time it is true. This time Rimecaster has come and captured one of the Stonecutters, taking them up the mountain to the ice covered peak. There they intend to offer their captive in a ritual sacrifice that will bring about the end of warmth and encase the world in an eternal icy tomb.

The Party will be approached by the captured Stonecutter's Spouse and asked to lend their aid. The plan is to scale the mountain and conduct a counter ritual. If they are successful they will be able to weaken the magic holding Stonecutter enough for them to break free, but there is now precious little time to save The Season. It will take a day or so for Rimecaster and The Voice to drain Stonecutter of their power and ultimately sacrifice them. That gives our adventurers a narrow window. Hopefully that is all they will need.

Game Opening and Hooks

As this is a holiday One Shot the players wont need much of a hook to get them involved.

  • As Intended: After the Goblin attack, the Adventurers are dirrectly asked for help from the Stonecutters.
  • Alternative One: The Townsfolk know what has happened and need someone to go and free Stonecutter before it is too late! While planning to go the Goblins attack the town!
  • Alternative Two: The party is out in the wild looking for shelter when they stumble into the Goblin Raiding party.

LOCATIONS

Rigochald This is the country in my world that the adventure will be set in. As I mentioned before, Location isn't really all that important. Any temperate climate village with a nearby mountain will do. Rigochald is where my Scottish/Viking-esq folks live. They're a land of Warriors and Druids who, foor good and ill, are deeply connected to the Fey Wild.

Rime Spear Peak A mountain in the range surrounding Loch Forbund. It stands out in many ways. It rises much higher than others nearby and is unusually steep in comparison. Its oddest feature is the ice that covers it year round, while the taller mountains in the North are not! This feature has giver rise to a number of legends. From rumors of a White Dragon, to Gateways to the Elemental Plane of Cold, to paths leading to the Winter Courts of the Feywild. None are ignored, but most are treated as Lore and Legend. However, one of tale persists with strength. It is said that the Rime Spear is the birthplace of the Frost Giant Jakob Rimecaster.

NPCs

Juliensen and Yessika Stonecutte The Stonecutters are fairly obvious analogues for Mr and Mrs Clause, Santa being a title not a name. They are a Dwarf / Elf couple and their magic works in tandem with one another. Each one is powerful on their own, to be sure, but together they are a near unstoppable force of goodness and cheer. The Stonecutters also keep a team of lycanthropic gnomish reindeer that pull their sleigh and craft the presents given to good girls and boys.

Jakob Rimecaster & the Voice of Winter The Voice of Winter is a Dragonborn Bard of near unparalleled talent and Rimecaster is a Frost Giant of legendary power, paired together long ago by a wish gone wrong. Along with their minions the Winter Tide Goblins, and the foul Green Yeti “The Grank”, they have since sought to usurp the power of the Stonecutters and upend the balance of the Winter Season forever.

OPENING CUT-SCENE

Cold Plans: The icy white scaled hand plucks at a frozen lute. The sound is discordant and beautiful. The Dragonborn sits un the shoulder of a large Frost Giant Shaman. "Is everything ready?" The Dragonborn asks his companion. "It is old friend." The Frost Giant answers. "This time... This time the Stonecutters will not prevail. The world will be ours, encased in a tomb of ice and snow for all eternity.

ACT 1:Twas the Night Before

Our Adventure opens with a packed tavern a day or so before the yearly Holiday Celebration. (Nativitas in my world). It has been snowing for days and in the past few hours the blizzard has increased to “Storm of the Century” level strength. Many locals are taking refuge together in common places to avoid being stranded alone. We find our players in one of the places, likely the local Tavern or Inn. This is an opportunity for Character introductions and some NPC interactions. We’re going to task them with gathering some wood from just outside the inn to help with the fire.

EVENT: Wintertide Goblin Attack

When they get to the wood pile there will be no wood… only dozens of tracks in the snow. The Blizzard is quickly filling in the tracks. We want them staying at the Inn so that’s when the attack comes. The Winter Tide Goblins are here to raid the town and steal the locals’ supplies. Our Heroes will have to help defend it.

Description: The storm is ferocious. The wind is howling and the snow is so heavy that you can barely see out ahead of you. Nearly a foot of snow has fallen in the past half hour.

Likely Player Actions:

  • Examine the Tracks: A Very Hard Skill Check can be made to identify the tracks as Goblin.
  • Head in or Look Around: They’ll likely look around but use the storm to encourage them to head back in.

Hazard

  • The Snowstorm: It is bitter cold. They could take damage if they stay out too long. The area is heavily obscured past 15' and is difficult terrain.

Combat Encounter The Goblins will surround the Inn, attacking anyone outside and breaking inside within a round. They should not be overly dangerous to the players, but a serious threat to commoners inside.

ACT 2: The Stonecutters

As the town is on the verge of being overwhelmed, one of the Stonecutters show up. Pick either or, whatever works for your storytelling. I’m going to go with Mrs Stonecutter but they’re completely interchangeable. She will show up with a Polar Bear-Folk Artic Circle Druid, Osia Snow-Claw and will use their powerful magic to put out fires and thwart the Goblin attacks. This will drain much of Stonecutter’s power leaving her weakened. Together they will convey the direness of the situation.

Juliensen has been captured by Jakob Rimecaster and the Voice of Winter. They are planning on draining his power and covering the world in a permanent winter. The storm is evidence that the process has already begun. He is being held high up on the Rime Spear, a nearby mountain. Osia will travel with them to help traverse the hostile environment. Yessika, is in too vulnerable a state to battle Rimecaster and the Voice. She will however aid them with some “Christmas Gifts”. These can be anything you think your players will need. I recommend Potions of Cold Resistance and Healing. Maybe a Magic Item or two that will play well with their classes or the encounters ahead. She and Osia will also use their magic to weaken the storm some.

EVENT: Preparing to Head Out

The players will likely do a few other things to prepare before heading out. With the storm weakend some of the towns folk will be more willing to help them.

Hazard

  • Difficult Terrain: The storm is gone but the ground is still frozen and snow covered. Unless they do something to counteract it, like cleets on their boots, the Difficult Terrain hazard will be constant during the adventure.

Likely Player Actions

  • Supplies: They may want to shop for heavier clothes and cold weather gear.
  • Secure the Town: The locals did just get attacked, there is a good chance they will fear another may come while they are gone. Have a few locals available to act as Militia and let them take other precautions if they worry about this.
  • Press Stonecutter and Osia for Info: A lot of players have a need to Know everything. Information is a powerful weapon, and they like swinging it. Be prepared to answer some questions about the Stonecutters and their enemies.

Optional Idea: Build an Ice Skiff

  • The Inn Map I provided sits on a massive frozen lake. They could cobble together an "Ice Skiff" to skim across the ice. Appropriate checks should be made to build and sail one. I would also consider moving the later Ice Mephit attack to the lake if you do.

ACT 3: Up the Mountain

Once they’re ready to leave town they’ll have to travel to the mountain and make the dangerous climb up. Along the way they'll face Traveling Skill Challenges. Depending on the time you have for the evening you can throw in a random encounter. However you carry on here, be sure to make travel feel difficult.

EVENT: To the Mountain

The Mountain should be several hours away, resulting in at least one Travel Based Skill Challenge.

Description Rime Spear looms in the distance. Clouds unnaturally swirl around its frozen cliffs. Even from this distance it feel ominous.

Skill Challenge: Get to the Mountain The players must use their skills and resources to have 3 Successful Checks before 3 Failure.

  • Through the Forest: They will likely travel through the forest and requires the appropriate checks. Failures should result in Easy Con Saving Throws against Exhaustion.
  • Across the Lake: Crossing the Lake is faster but colder and less forgiving. Failing checks here will result in Hard Con Saving Throws against Exhaustion, or perhaps something dangerous like the ice breaking underneath them.

Hazards

  • The Cold: This should be a problem if they are unprepared.

Possible Combat Encounter

  • Depending on how things progress you may want to have them face a random threat. Wolves or Bears in the woods, some sort of creature bursting through the ice, or maybe more agents of Rimecaster.

EVENT: Climb the Mountain

Once they reach the base of the mountain there is nowhere else to go but up! It shouldn’t be too hard... yet.

Description The mountain rises up before you. The Rime Spear. THis peak has a nasty reputation and there are many tales of tragic endings here. Let us hope you are not one of them.

Skill Challenge: Up The Mountain The players must use their skills and resources to have 3 Successful Checks before 3 Failure.

  • Following the Trails: There are trails up the first half of the mountain. However finding them will be a trick. If they fail to do so they'll have to start climbing.

Hazards

  • The Cold: This should be a problem if they are unprepared.
  • Slippery Stone: The lower mountain is covered in snow and ice. It is slippery and faild challenges can and should result in falls and possible rock slides.

Possible Combat Encounter

  • A Goblin ambush might be interesting or perhaps some large bird of prey.

EVENT: To the Summit

The end of Act 3 will be the second half of their climb. It's already been a hard trip, but things are about to get harder.

Description: There is only another two hundred feet to the summit, but the trails and ledges you've used thus far have all but disappeared. Ice covers every handhold and the wind threatens to rip you from the cliffside. You can hear a discordant voice on the wind singing an cold tune. There isn't much time left.

Skill Challenge: The Final Climb The players must use their skills and resources to have 5 Successful Checks before 3 Failure. Here are some ideas for narrating this part of the climb.

  • Avoid Slipping, Resist the Wind, Finding Proper Handholds, Locating a Ledge, Remaining Undetected, Finding the frozen bodies of previous climbers

Hazard

  • The Cold: The Cold is getting far worse. This should be at least a minor problem even if they are prepared.
  • Slippery Stone: The lower mountain is covered in snow and ice. It is slippery and failed challenges can and should result in falls and possible rock slides.
  • The Wind: The wind will threaten to blow them off the side of the mountain.
  • The Climb: The Climb itself should be hazardous. Even doing well can have consequences.

Possible Combat Encounter

  • I wouldn't put an encounter here. Who am I kidding I probably would if they're doing awful on their Skill Challenge. Now we wouldn't want anything too tough, but definately something to trouble them. Some of Rimecaster's Scouts spotting them from a nearby ledge or hollow in the ice would provide a challenge and some respite. Maybe a couple of Frozen Skeletons left behind from former climbers. Perhaps an Ice Spider nestled under a rock outcropping. Something they can kill quickly, but also could cause major problems.

ACT 4: Rime Spear Rumble

Once they’re at the top of the mountain they’ll see Stonecutter trapped in a Magic Circle surrounded by Druidic Standing Stones. The Voice will be nearby conducting the ritual and protected by a magical barrier. He will note the arrival of the players but continue singing. Osia will challenge the Voice’s Ritual. This will spark the final confrontation. The players will have to protect Osia through waves of enemies. Eventually Rimecaster will appear and have to be dealt with.

EVENT: Stop the Ritual

As they move to stop The Voice, the Wintertide Goblins will approach them from behind and attack. This will be the first in a series of enemy waves that will ultimately end with Jakob Rimecaster showing up to stop the players himself.

Description: Cold music fills the air as you arrive at the Rime Spear Summit. Just ahead you see a circle of standing stone, obviously druidic in nature, and there trapped in a Magic Circle is Stonecutter. They look weakened and diminished. The Voice floats just beyond the stones. surrounded by a crystalline sphere. He glares as you approach, but does not stop singing the words of his icy ritual. Osia begins a chant of her own causing the snow around her to billow and swirl. Suddenly the sound of a Warhorn breaks through the two songs. The WIntertide have arrived in force. Osia calls for your protection while she completes the counter chant. The Voice simply smiles.

**Hazards

  • The Cold: The Cold is now extreme.
  • Ice Covered Ground: The Area is Difficult Terrain

Combat Encounter

  • Wave 1: Wintertide Goblins, use a mix of Melee and Archers here put them around the back edges of the map. Maybe throw in a Booyha or Shaman to round it out.
  • Wave 2: Goblins and the Grank, Reinforcements arrive and bring with them the Ferocious Green Yeti!
  • Wave 3: Mephits and a White Dragon, Flying down from the sky are a flock of Mephits and a White Dragon, probably young. This should be a real "Uh Oh" moment.
  • Wave 4: Thankfully a Wave in their favor! Osia will free Stonecutter and will then lend her full strength to keeping the players up and fighting.
  • Wave 5: Rimecaster, The Voice, and Goblins

Note: Osia is the Target

Remember, Osia is the target of these attacks, they players need draw the enemy's attention from her to them. That means you can do a little hand waiving and give her some extra plot armor. Not too much, mind you, or the players will see it for what it is. Still, if things become too much for them have Osia aid them in other ways during the fight. Grasping Vines to slow down enemies. Ice Wall to redirect them. That sort of thing. Adjust the waves if needs be. Again, I highly recommend using “minions” for many of the combatants to speed things along and decrease some of the danger.

CLOSING

They have defeated Rimecaster and the Voice’s plan, but the danger is not over yet. Their defeat has torn open an Icy Portal that is pulling everything nearby into it. Once they escape the Portal they will fly off with the Stonecutters and will have saved the Holiday Season!

EVENT: The Icey Portal

Once Rimecaster and the Voice are defeated a portal into the Elemental Plane of Ice opens and pulls the villains inside. It also begins to radiate extreme cold and pull the players in as well. Osia will do her best to keep anyone from being pulled in. She will sacrifice herself to keep them out if needs be.

Description: Rimecaster take a final blow and stumbles backward into the standing stones breaking the Magic Circle, just as Osia finishes her Ritual. He attempts to stand again, but as he does a vortex like tear opens in the spaces between the Planes. Through it you can see a land of Ice and darkness. The air shifts as everything nearby begins being pulled into the tear. Rimecaster bellows a echoing and booming “NO” as he begins sliding toward it. The Voice collapses, his protective barrier gone. He attempts to cast another spell but it is too late. He and his Frost Giant companion are pulled screaming into the rift. Osia too collapses, exhausted from channeling the counter ritual. She looks at you sadly as she begins sliding across the ice toward the portal.

Skill Challenge: Attempt to Escape

They can do their best to escape but the checks should be very hard. It is intended for them to fail, but not immediately. These checks should be designed to cause narrative tension.

Stonecutter to the Rescue The minute one of them fails a check solidly enough to be pulled into the portal Mr Stonecutter will reach out and save them, but himself begin being drawn in. Once things look truly hopeless Mrs Stonecutter will arrive with the Sleigh and Reindeer and rescue them all. After that they will travel together back to the town and celebrate the defeat of Rimecaster and The Voice before heading off to fulfill their Holiday Business! And maybe plan on how to save Osia!

And then our tale comes to a close. At least for this year, for the foes of Joy and Cheer are ever restless, and will return again. However you ended this escapade. I hope it is something you and your players love.

Ending Cut-scene

That same white scaled hand plucks the strings of its icy instrument. "Once again we were thwarted. Once again the Stonecutters were rescued by a rabble of do-gooders." More plucking. "Perhaps next year the Do-Gooders are the target. Perhaps next year there should be no people left to spread joy to. Muhahaha!

THE END...



THANKS FOR PLAYING

**I do want to take one last moment to sincerely thank you for playing an AOG Adventure. It means a lot to me as a creator. If you enjoyed it please leave me some comments on wherever you found this adventure. You can support more content like this by following us. You can get a bit more info on that below.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • To the Long History of Open Gaming that allows our adventures to be written system neutral.
  • The folks at WotC, Paizo, Kobold Press, and others publishing with Creative Commons and Open Licenses.
  • Original story written by Amplus Ordo Games
  • All Maps and Handouts were done by Designers at AOG using Inkarnate
  • PDF Formatting done using The Homebrewery

PLAYING A.O.G. ADVENTURES

AOG adventures are written and designed to be system neutral to avoid Copyright and IP conflicts or issues. They will lean toward a d20 system, particularly D&D, but language referencing specific creature types, treasures, and environments may be more generic or cast in my Homebrew World. All of which should be easily imported into any system of your choosing. I also write and do a lot of things in my own style. There is a simple breakdown of these things at the end, and this link leads to an Appendices of notes and my thoughts on mechanics to help GMs and Players understand what I may mean by certain phrases and ideas, as well as helpful links to our own source materials.

What is The AOG?

It started 40ish years ago. I still remember the day my cousin brought out this thin blue book with a white sketched dragon on its cover and a pile of strange dice. He told eight year old me that we were going to play a game where I could be anything I wanted (as long as it was an elf, dwarf, human, or halfling). I immediately developed that love of bringing people along on journey after journey,

Now, my son and I run Amplus Ordo Games as armchair content creators who donate our work to the hobby at large. We host a Patreon which runs like a D&D Magazine, posting mostly Maps and Full Adventures. We do dabble into other areas like stories, and thoughts on the game. My son helps write our “Year One” series which are adventures designed for entry level DMs and players, and we use that content to run an after school Jr High Group.

Any donations are used to fund that afterschool Club, our own hobbies, and of course pizza. If you would like to make some requests or support the work you can shoot me a message! We've got year's worth of work and there are no paywalls. 50+ Adventures, Hundreds of maps, and a lot of support content. On the purely Social Media side. We're active on Reddit Subs and our Discord, where we host games, fulfil requests for our supporters, and a smidge of commission work. I coach many of our subscribers regularly on DMing and fantasy cartography.

Contact us Out of respect for this wonderful sub's rules regarding Advertising we've removed links to our pages, if you'd like to follow or support us please leave me a note in the post or shoot me a message! We have a lot of free content we'd like to share with interested parties!

3 Comments
2023/12/18
16:00 UTC

66

Potion Brewing and Ingredient Gathering - End of 2023 update

Ever felt that the RAW rules for potion brewing are a bit boring and wanted a bit more depth to it? Well, so do I. So, in late 2020, I made a guide for it.The guide offers:

- 43 Alchemic potions to craft; 15 of which homebrew, such as Thor's might and potion of Mana

- 40 Herblore potions to craft; 24 of which homebrew, such as Life's Liquor or Brew of Babel

- 42 Poisons to brew; 22 of which homebrew, such as Liquid Paranoia and Water of Death

- 44 minor potions to mass produce for profit, flavour and minor uses, such as Cough Stop Drops, Teleportation Disorder Elixir and Gentleman's Aid.

- A large variety of ingredients to collect: 39 plants and fungi, 2 inorganic items and 21 animal-based ingredients.

- A system to gather ingredients, both plant and animal-based, from different environments.

- A system to improve your potion-making skill, allowing you to brew more powerful potions in future.

- An excel spreadsheet to keep track of your ingredient stockpile, your current project and your skill at making potions.

Due to the book I’m currently reading (Joel Levy’s Poison, it’s great I can recommend it!), I had a bunch of inspiration to make new homebrew products and ingredients for people to play around with. Due to this, the main focus of this update is of course poisons, but I’ve also added 1 few herbalist potions (because most poisons can be beneficial if given in tiny doses). I have also focused on making things alphabetical again, added a lot more images to make the guide look nicer and many more minor fixes.

I hope you’ll enjoy it!

All this, and maybe more, can be found here: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-MNG6P6I8-1tJM3aroaV

10 Comments
2023/12/17
15:44 UTC

127

Cue Cards: How I Frontload Direction and Exposition

You want to give your players as much information as possible at the start of the session so that they have meaningful choices off the bat: but how do you do that without doing a classroom lecture?

Make a number of cue cards, on one side show a very simple blurb (like "Opportunity", "Knights", "Magic Ring", "I know a guy", "Pet Raven", "Someone Special", "Daydreamer"....), and on the back of them provide a piece of knowledge their character comes into the session with.

Let your players pick between the cue cards based on the blurb, and now you've just given exposition in a way where the players can present it instead of you.

Here's three examples, all relating to a broader session about Sahuagin attacks:

"Money to be Made"

You know that a merchant ship carrying a purple silk shipment was due to arrive yesterday, but it hasn't. If the rumours are true that shark-folk are attacking ships, there's a good shot there's bundles of silk lying out on the coast.

While maybe dangerous to go on the beaches with killer shark-folk around, a case of silk is worth enough gold to change someone's life...

"Ritual Sacrifice"

A small fishing village to the east, named "Asaldy", has a disturbing rumour that every third-born son is ritually drowned in the ocean when they turn 12. More strange is that an inquisitor (Bohemud) sent by the church to investigate two months ago has not returned.

Let me know if you would like your character to know Bohemud prior to the session, and if you want to roll for or decide your relationship with him.

"To Walk on Water"

A local legend is that there is a alligator walking on the ocean waves, as it wears a necklace that lets it walk on water. When it needs to eat, it dives in the ocean wherever it chooses, and surfaces on top of the waves whenever it seeks to nap.

While it's often dismissed as a tall tale, you know it's true. Because you know a merchant (Dale) who's life was ruined by that "alligator". Something about a gargantuan creature running towards his crew, ripping the hull of his boat in half, and ruby jewels choking it's neck....

You can find Dale at...

I may also add a card about secretly being in contact with the Sahuagin, or a card that lets the player who picked the card learn the spell "Freeze Water" if they do something in session, or a 'Monster Hunter' card that explains what Sahuagin are like and their advantage when they smell blood.

In quite short order, I've given the players enough information and clear direction to pursue one of the hooks that they prefer. Now, the players get to plan and discuss the hooks with each other instead of constantly jostling to wring information out of my NPCs.

It also makes dead ends avoided more quickly. The party might not be interested in any of those hooks at all, and just want to go out and hunt down that gargantuan alligator. Instead of spending the first hour of the session finding out about that then, we can skip straight to hunting down that alligator.

I'd love feedback and ideas. Of my DMing tricks this is maybe my favourite to use, and it'd be great if others can use it as well and enjoy it.

15 Comments
2023/12/17
16:37 UTC

47

Esoteric Inks: a reason to stay up in the library

Hey all—recently ran a spooky oneshot for some friends set in an abandoned, seaside library, and thought I’d socialize a class of treasures that I feel worked really well: the esoteric inks.

The players had a fun time finding and stressing about how best to use these, so posting in case other DMs and their parties enjoy slightly crunchy loot mechanics. These would be easy to slot into a campaign, though they're definitely powerful—this was a standalone one shot. Of course, details should be tweaked as appropriate for your table, e.g. the spells were specifically ones that were useful to have in this story.

Esoteric Inks snippet.

The design goals for the inks were to:

  • Be a versatile prize that any class would be happy to find in a punishing module
  • Tempt the players to sink their time in a high-opportunity cost environment (in this oneshot, the secondary “bruiser” antagonist attacked the party every hour)
  • Emphasize Intelligence as a valuable stat to have in a library where “knowledge is power”—a theme of the oneshot

————————————————————————

##Esoteric Inks

Formally cataloged by Dorian Harrow, these Inks were among the most powerful tools of the Librarians in their strange studies. Unless otherwise stated, assume Inks are found in pots containing 200 gp of Ink.

Each Ink will ease the scribing of at least one spell school. Players using an Ink to encode a spell from one of its corresponding schools into their spellbook may quadruple the gp value of the Ink and complete the exercise in half an hour.

Inks may allow players of any class to permanently gain class abilities or cast spells without expending spell slots:

  • Ability gain can be completed using the denoted value of corresponding Ink, a DC 15 check Intelligence (Nature, Arcana, Athletics, or as appropriate), and writing material. This calligraphic exercise can be completed in half an hour.
  • Spellcasting can be completed using the denoted value of corresponding Ink, a DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check, and writing material. This calligraphic exercise can be completed in the spell’s normal casting time.

Failure expends resources.

Ebrate (Ink)

Serifs written in Ebrate come out sharp, upstrokes glint and rattle like arrows in the quiver.

Ebrate eases Abjuration scribing, or 100 gp of the Ink can be used to derive a Battlemaster Maneuver after witnessing falling leaves, animals at hunt, or the like (player gains 1d8 superiority die; recharges on a short or long rest).

Farrowing (Ink)

In deep hinterwood dells, the very wise or unwise mix this umber ink under the tutelage of inhuman eyes.

Farrowing eases Transmutation scribing, or can be used to cast Darkness (100 gp) or Comprehend Languages (50 gp) without expending a spell slot.

Koptite (Ink)

“When the mute girl mixed the paint, the dogs went quiet. When she laid the first letter, they set upon the slaver.”

Koptite eases Divination and Transmutation scribing, or 100 gp of the Ink can be used to derive Sorcerer Metamagic Options from a crashing wave, a roaring wildfire, or the like (player gains 1 Sorcery Point; recharges on a short or long rest).

Orchidsly (Ink)

Can only be brewed from the pigment of flowers that have yet to burst from bud.

Orchidsly eases Enchantment and Illusion spell scribing, or 200 gp of the Ink can be used to derive a Druid Wildshape Form from animal images or remains (player gains 1 use; recharges on a short or long rest).

Rosenvos (Ink)

The secret recipe for Rosenvos is said to have been conceived by the Fourth Librarian in the midst of a verminous nightmare.

Rosenvos eases Enchantment scribing, or can be used to cast Animate Dead (200 gp) or Symbol (300 gp) without expending a spell slot.

Yeen (Ink)

Firelight seems reluctant to illuminate Yeen. Best read by noon, moon, or magelight.

Yeen eases Necromancy and Abjuration scribing, or 200 gp of the Ink can be used to derive a Warlock Invocation from constellations, spilt entrails, or the like.

————————————————————————

Cheers! Let me know if you have thoughts. Might write up the oneshot over the holiday.

7 Comments
2023/12/16
18:40 UTC

59

Jingle Bell Roc - A Festive Encounter For Party Levels 4-7

Summary

Players must protect a village’s surrounding farms from a young (and very hungry) roc that keeps swooping down and snatching up livestock. The party can choose to destroy the roc if they’re feeling prepared for a tough fight, or they can resort to a more stealthy approach: sneakily chaining large jingle bells to the roc’s talons so it always gives warning when it’s drawing near.

Hook

The party sees a large shadow quickly pass over them. Looking up, they might catch sight of a feathery silhouette or a flapping wing before the creature disappears into cloud cover. Have a player roll a d20. If it’s a d6 or above, then the roc swoops down and snags a very unsuspecting sheep in its talons before carrying it away. If it’s a d5 or lower, then it’s one of the players that the roc attempts to divebomb and pluck from the ground…

Regardless of how this plays out, a panicked shepherd/farmhand will come running out from his hiding spot, complaining “not again!” before ushering the players inside to explain his ongoing dilemma.

NPCs

Hank Garland – A shepherd who is frustrated with the village’s livestock being stolen, especially as the town braces for a particularly long and cold winter.

Robert Helms – A stocky dwarf who works as village blacksmith; he creates the large iron sleighbells and chains needed to put their bizarre (yet festive) plan into action.

Roc the Night Away

Once the party is somewhere safe from any (more) surprise divebombs, Hank opens up about the situation.

“I think it has to do with this persistent chill we’ve been experiencing,” he says, rubbing his hands to keep them warm. “It’s probably impacted that monster’s food supply, and now he’s flying down over here for some easy pickings. Sure, I feel a little bad for the creature. I love animals of all sizes and dietary preferences. But if we don’t do something soon, our village won’t have what it needs to make it through winter.”

Hank goes on to say that the village refers to this particular young roc as “Dawain.”

If the players agree to help with the situation, Hank will walk them into town and introduce them to a cranky dwarf working at a forge. The stranger lifts a visor as the group approaches and gives a large toothy smile.

“Are these the ones for Operation: Jingle Bell?” he asks, wiping sweat from his brow.

Hank nods. The dwarf smiles approvingly as he appraise the party, shaking their hands and introduced himself as the local blacksmith, Robert “Bobby” Helms.

Next, he removes his smithing apron and gloves before stepping into a side room. A few moments later, the dwarf rolls out four large metal sleigh bells, each with an iron chain and lock attached. They appear fairly heavy, even for the muscular dwarf, and they make a baritone jingly sound as they travel across the uneven cobblestone floor.

“Take these up to ol’ Dawain’s nest tonight.” Robert says. “He’s roosting up the mountainside in some ruined watchtower of sorts. If you can sneak in there without waking the monster, you can get these jingle bells strapped to him in a jiffy and be out before he’s the wiser.”

DM Note: You can increase the likelihood of a successful stealth mission by having Hank suggest gathering herbs for a sleeping potion. This potion could be administered (through vaporization, maybe?) once the players arrive at the roc’s nest, OR they could do something more elaborate like dousing a decoy sheep in the stuff and luring the roc out to snatch up/consume the “prey.”

While traveling, players will need to carry the massive sleigh bells. Strong characters can opt to strap them to their bodies or carry them in their arms (although this means they can be caught off guard without a weapon drawn if suddenly attacked). Physically weaker characters might opt to strap them to horses/mounts or roll them around/drag them behind them.

Upon reaching the ruined building, players observe how the sun has already set, and stars fill the sky. Dawain the Roc is, as expected, nestled comfortably in his nest, asleep. In order to successfully tie a jingle bell (2 are needed per leg), players must roll a stealth check on their approach to avoid waking the bird (DC 12) and then roll a Dexterity/Sleight of Hand check (DC 12) to determine if the chain is fastened securely.

If a roll in the chaining process fails, that player may try again, but consider having the roc begin to wake up, thereby triggering a battle. If the roc does wake up, it will be very unhappy with its new unwanted Christmas accessories and begin to thrash at the players.

If you want to really challenge your players, you can use the full Roc stat block for a scary CR 11 monster. However, we suggest making the challenge a bit more approachable by using our provided “adolescent” roc stat block below.

Reward

Once Dawain has been properly taken care of through completing “Operation: Jingle Bell”, slaying him completely, or taming him/befriending him (if you have that kind of party), the village will reward the players with gold as well as offer Robert Helms’s blacksmithing services at little to no cost.

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Dawain Stat Block Here

8 Comments
2023/12/14
13:59 UTC

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