Friday, 28 April 2017

The Blitz Spear

This artefact is a relic of Altantis’s war on the Sky which ultimately resulted in its sinking.

Large (9’) and made of a metallic blue metal (from blueish-white at the point to a dark violet at the butt of the haft) it is heavy, weighing 5lbs and requires a strength of 12 to use it in melee and 16 to hurl it properly.

Its normal combat bonus is +3, and each strike does a base 1d8 physical damage to which this bonus and any strength bonus are added as normal.

Additionally, a strike from the spear does 2d8 electrical damage to targets which are vulnerable to this.
Since metallic armour is of little defense against this, the to-hit roll gains an extra +4 against such armour.

For example: the spear is thrown at a target wearing magical plate and a total AC of -2, requiring a roll of 14 to-hit. If the roll is successful then 3d8+3+strength bonus damage will be done. If the roll comes up with 10 to 13 then just the 2d8 electrical damage will be done.

This effect is at the 11th level for the purposes of MR.

Once per day the spear can be used to control weather as per the druid version, although the weather must be moved towards cloudy and storm. If this produces the necessary conditions (or they are pre-existing), the spear can then be used to call lightning (1/day again) as if cast by a 23rd level caster.
Anyone grasping the spear shaft is granted 100% magic resistance to any magic electrical effect and absolute immunity to any natural electrical effect.

When hurled, despite its heaviness and the strength requirement to use it fully, the spear has a range of 1“ per strength point (exceptional is ignored) and trails a lightning bolt behind it doing 8d6 electrical damage to everything other than who or whatever threw it. That person is instead transported to where the spear is, appearing with a grip on the shaft and ready for combat (no save, no choice).

The thrown spear does the following structural damage:
Wood Earth Soft Stone Hard Rock
6 2 3 2
The spear has a special purpose of overthrowing Law and when held aloft or used in combat causes a fear effect on all lawful beings within 18“ for 1-4 rounds.

Finally, the spear acts as a wand of lightning with 25 charges. Hence, the electrical damage done on a successful melee strike can be increased by 1d10 by the use of a charge, or 2 charges can be used to project a lightning bolt without throwing the spear.

Each die (or 5 pts) of electrical damage the spear protects its owner from adds one charge (spells may be cast directly on the spear if wished). There is no special effect from running out of charges and they may never exceed 25.

Mental powers

The spear has an intelligence of 18 and an ego of 18. It has speech and telepathic powers. Communication with its wielder will always be telepathic and has no language boundaries.

It can speak Xag-ya, Air Elemental, Blue Dragon, and the lost tongue of Altanis. It can read the latter language through the eyes of anyone holding it.

Its alignment is CN and any non-chaotic grasping the spear will suffer 18 points of damage.

Its personality score of 36 and general bent means that it will expect to be used by at least a name-level character but even so, the character will need decent scores in INT and CHA to be able to overrule the spear which will be noticeably reluctant to flee any combat encounter, especially one with lawful opponents.

To those that can understand it, it will sound like a demon talking over an old analogue telephone line with interference.

Side effects

A minor effect of the spear is that anyone who uses it in combat can be smelt quite easily as they give off a “just after a storm” ozone smell. Creatures which use electricity or come from the elemental Plane of Air or the quasi-elemental Plane of lightning can smell this at a considerable distance even from the Ethereal Plane.

As the Blitz Spear is used over a long period, it has a slower and more dangerous cumulative effect on its owner as each time the owner loses a personality clash with the spear, their charisma reduces by one point.

This change continues until a charisma of zero is reached, at which point the character transforms into a quasi-elemental form and departs the PMP (and the game) for the plane of lightning.

The in-game process is one of the character gradually becoming more and more alien in outlook, speech and appearance, so that eventually others shun him or her. This loss of charisma does not require characters to become assassins if it reaches 5, and it can be restored by abandoning the spear. Note, however, that personality scores for PCs are based on charisma and the spear will not take lightly to attempts to discard it or remove it from its owner. Each month during which the spear is not handled will restore one point of charisma.

Fickleness

It may be hard to discard the spear, but if it is aware of a suitable being of greater power than its user it may well attempt to force the current user to give it away.

Value

As an item of artefact level power, the Blitz Spear brings no experience point value. If potential purchasers are prepared to bargain rather than capture, it would fetch about 50,000gp.

Such items can only really be sold at the largest cities in a campaign, however, not in border towns or similar locales where trying to get a fair price will result only in various agents becoming aware of the item’s presence.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Magic Item: Cloak of the Berserker

How many friends have I killed today?
This appears to be a normal bear-skin cloak with a gold broach at the neck. It will fit any half elf, human, or half-orc and while worn it reduces movement penalties for terrain by one step. It will also keep the wearer comfortably warm down to -10°C (14°F) and prevent frostbite down to -40°.

If the wearer is struck for damage (other than falling damage), the magic of the cloak will cause it to become unremoveable and in addition each point of damage gives a 1 in 10 chance (non-cumulative from hit to hit) of causing the wearer to transform into a large and very angry bear - specifically the one that donated its hide to make the cloak. The bear will act pretty well as a bear and fight anything nearby, starting with anything associated with the damage that set the transformation off. After that it will simply turn on the nearest animate creature or object in reach/sight. The bear can only be struck magical or silver weapons and can continue to fight after 0hp in the same way as a true bear.

This process will continue until ten combat rounds have passed without the bear being hit for damage or doing any damage. At this point the transformation will wear off and the owner of the cloak will be found standing in it, probably otherwise naked and with their possessions scattered around the area (consult the lycanthropy rules on DMG p23 for effects of wearing armour during the change).

If the wearer is struck for damage but does not eventually transform, the enchantment on the clasp will allow the cloak to be removed after a similar ten rounds wherein no damage is suffered or dealt.

The specific bear form is one of the following:

1-12 Brown
13-15 Black
16-18 Cave
19-20 Polar

When the cloak is placed or found, the DM should roll the hit points of one of these bear types and retain these. Damage done to the bear comes off these and heal at a rate of three per day if the bear does not manifest or just one point if it has done so within the previous 24hrs.

If the bear is killed in combat the cloak will not activate again for a full month, at which point the bear will be at its full hit points again.

On returning to normal form the owner will have lost half as many hit points as the bear did, and may therefore be dead.

The magic of the cloak will detect as alteration and necromancy.

xp: 200+100/HD (ignore +'s)
gp: 600+500/HD

Monday, 24 April 2017

Magic Item: Ring of Truth

Based on simple-looking white-gold bands, 8 of these rings were created centuries ago for the use in the higher courts of a long forgotten empire. Their enchantment is simple: the wearer can not lie while wearing such a ring. It is possible to refuse to answer or to be evasive, but nothing the wearer knows to be false can be conveyed either by word or deed (e.g., shaking of the head; winking etc.).

Any of the rings can be removed at any time; they are not cursed although some would count them as such.

A character under the influence of an undetectable lie spell must make a roll against the rings' magic resistance of 50%, based on the level of the caster of the spell once when the ring is donned. So a spell from a 7th level caster has only a 10% chance of defeating the ring. This roll applies for the duration of the spell even if the ring is removed and put back on and the wearer has no way of knowing whether it has worked until they first attempt to lie.

Monks of 9th level and above have a chance to defeat the rings as if they were charm spells.

Finally, the rings can be automatically defeated by a Wisdom score of 23 or higher.

xp: 350
gp: 8000

The high gp sale value reflects the desirability of these rings to governments and rulers.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Magic Items: The Wolf Banes

The Wolf Banes

The Wolf Banes are a set of enchanted weapons and armour specifically for combating wolves: a spear, a shield, a scimitar, and a shortbow make up the full set:

Skinner

A scimitar +1, +2 Vs wolves. Does double damage (i.e., (1d8 x2)+2) against all wolf types and in addition, if wielded by a fighting class, allows one attack per level as if the wolves were <1HD.
xp: 800
gp: 5000

Pricker

A 7' spear +1, +2 Vs wolves; includes a cross-bar like a boar-spear. Does double damage against all wolf types and in addition, if maximum damage is rolled against a wolf, the creature must make a save Vs death or expire instantly. May be set against a charge, possibly resulting in an additional doubling of damage so that against a warg or winter-wolf it would do (1d8 x4)+2 damage.
xp: 750
gp: 4000

Comet

A shortbow +1, +2 Vs wolves. Does double damage against all wolf types and in addition, if wielded by a fighter, each arrow acts (if wished) as a flame arrow doing an additional +1 damage on striking. Unless the struck wolf makes a save at 16+ (cloth Vs magical fire), it will catch fire for 1d4 rounds, doing 1d4 damage each round (1d4+1 for winter-wolves). The wolf struck must make a morale check at -50%, and all wolves within 1" must make normal checks.
xp: 750
gp: 4500

Door

A medium shield +1, +3 Vs wolves. Causes attempts by wolves to overbear the user to fail automatically. Additionally, winter-wolf breath attack damage is halved or totally negated if the save is made, unless the user is surprised.
xp: 800
gp: 3500

Notes

The Wolf Banes set will attract a sale bonus of +10% per item over the first, so a complete set will have a sale value of 22100. However, the items are unique and derive from an ancient tribal hero who fought wolves. That tribe may still exist and may track down the current owner of any of these items. What happens then is up to the DM.

For these items, Yeth Hounds are not wolves, however werewolves are, even in human form.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Women (Amazons)


Amazons

Frequency Rare
No Appearing 20-120
AC By Armour
Move 12"
Hit Dice 4-7hp
% in Lair 80%
TT Individuals K; I, Y
No of Attacks 1, 2, or 4
Damage/Attack by Weapon
Special Attacks Leaders
Special Defenses Leaders
MR Standard
Intelligence Low to Exceptional
Alignment Chaotic (N or G)
Size S to M
Psionic Ability See Below
Attack/defense modes See Below
Amazons are human women who have abandoned their native patriarchal societies and banded together to live on their own terms.

Amazons are found in remote areas away from any male-dominated cultures: forest, jungle, and mountains are most likely, with other terrains only if very isolated indeed, for example on an island or aboard a ship.

Encounters in other terrains being with raiding parties of 10 to 60% of the lair number (so roll 2d6x10 for the lair, which is somewhere in the general region, if possible, and another 1d6 for the size of the encountered party).

Amazons are highly adept with missile weapons and a group will be armed as follows (in addition to a dagger):
d10 Weapons
1-6 Short comp. bow + spear
7-8 Spear + large shield
9 Javelin + large shield
10 Long comp. bow + javelin

All amazons are proficient with all these weapons; these are simply what a group will be armed with during a random encounter.

Due to their constant practise the amazons will attack at +2 to-hit with whichever missile weapon they possess (spears used as melee weapons receive no bonus). If fighting a group which is led by or mostly made up of human males, the amazons will attack with a berserk fury and receive double the normal number of attacks with the weapon (including bows).

They will never check morale against such a group, although leaders may call for a tactical withdrawal and if that is not possible, they will fight to the last man on the opposing side, or the last woman on their own.

Stats

If needed, an amazon’s individual stats are rolled as per DMG pp 11 and 100, “mercenaries”, thus strength runs from 7 to 16 and constitution from 9 to 18, with a minimum 4hp; other scores run from 6 to 15 and base hp is 1d3. Leader types should be rolled with 4d6 (discard lowest) in order with low scores being boosted to class minimums.

The bonus to missile fire is in addition to any dexterity bonuses and, like them, is reliant on having no encumbering weight or armour, so normal amazons dress simply in practical clothing for the terrain they are found in, although if arrayed for war 20% will wear leather armour if they have nothing better (i.e., magical armour). Shields are worn on the back while combat is at range, negating the penalty for the bulk of the large shields they prefer, and adding 1 to AC from the rear only.

All amazons, including leaders carry main weapons designed for their specific strength and these will be at half range and do only d4 damage if used by anyone of lesser strength.
8th level (superhero) amazon leader

Leaders

Amazon leaders are fighters if warriors (d6: 1-4), and clerical (5-6) of various female deities otherwise. Clerical amazons are proficient with and able to use the same weapons as above.

For every 10 amazons encountered, one will be a 1st level leader, for every 20 a 2nd level leader, for every 30 a 3rd level leader, and for every 40 a 4th level leader.

Each lair will include a warrior (tribal) queen of 5th (if less than 70 amazons encountered), 6th (if up to 90), 7th (if up to 110), or 8th (if 120 amazons are rolled).

A lair will sometimes (5%) include a magic user of 6-11th level who does not normally venture forth with the normal patrols or raiding parties.

Leaders of the 4th level upwards will have 1-3 assistants of 1-3 levels lower and of the same class (so a 4th level cleric amazon who has one assistant will have a single 3rd level cleric assistant; if she has 3 assistant they will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level). These assistants frequently carry their mistresses’ extra gear such as spare arrows and spears.

All leader types have normal chances for psionic abilities and disciplines. Leader types do not receive followers apart from the other amazons.

Companion Animals

Amazon lairs will contain 1HD of companion animal per 5 Amazons (including leaders).
Each band of amazons will have a single type of animal as rolled below:
d100 Animal
1-50 War dog
51-70 Owl, giant
71-80 Wolf
81-85 Eagle, giant
86-90 Hippogriff
91-97 Gryphon
98-99 Pegasus
00 Snake, giant poisonous
These animals will be trained to a high degree and even the snakes (a holy animal for these tribes) will be able to respond to being called by name and the queen of a specific tribe will be able to speak to animals of that type, even if they are not from the lair.

In the case of giant animals, the lair or its surrounding area will contain large numbers of the natural animal too.

If the terrain of their lair makes it reasonable, amazons will also use normal horses for mounts.

The Amazon Queen

It is rumoured that there is a Queen of the Amazons somewhere, a 12th level warrior (i.e., fighter) whose treasure includes a magical girdle that gives her the attacking bonuses of a fire giant, but not the carrying or throwing capacity. The Queen’s recurved composite bow was reputedly given to her by her goddess and requires a strength of 22 to draw it properly and 18/50 to use at all. The Queen leads a group of 300 amazons and has six assistants of levels 6-11.

Treasure

Leaders will have the normal chance of having magical items as given under “Men” in the Monster Manual but each leader has an additional 5% chance per level of having a set of bracers of defense (1-5) or of archery (6). These will be enchanted and sized for the exclusive use of females (not necessarily humans). All bow-using amazons will have at least normal non-magical bracers.

As amazons eschew the sword, they will not have any and instead will be armed with a high-quality but brittle non-magical obsidian blade with acts as a +1 dagger but will lose this bonus on any natural '1' on the attack roll.

Finally, any roll for miscellaneous weapons will be a weapon matching their main weapon (short-bow, spear, javelin, or long bow as rolled above):
d2d6 Bonus
2-7 +1
8-10 +2
11 Roll normally
12 +3
“Roll normally” - Roll as per DMG/UA and any rolled miscellaneous weapon which is of the correct type is retained; anything else indicates no magical weapon.

Magical shields will be of any size but each amazon will carry a large shield for use in the phalanx.

Girdle of the Queen G.P sale value: 5,000 Xp value: 400
Great Bow of the Queen G.P sale value: 7500 xp value: 600
The bow carries a curse for any man who owns it (it need not be carried). He will fail any saving throw against a female opponent and his female opponents will always succeed in theirs against him. This can be removed by a remove curse acting against a 50% magic resistance or by becoming a woman.

Unless the curse is lifted, amazon clerics will feel a desire to single the man out in any combat and will always give a hostile reaction.

The Phalanx

Three or more amazons can link their large shields and form a fighting phalanx. The right-hand amazon (from their point of view) gains no advantage, but the others gain the benefit of 50% cover (i.e., +4 to AC). The phalanx can advance at a maximum rate of 9" (or the slowest member), however it can charge.

A dozen or more amazons can form a circle, eliminating the single “weak point” at the right-hand end. However, movement rate for the circle is but 1". Note that the circle can face outwards or inwards.

Typically, amazons will try to have multiple rows in the phalanx so that opponents can be attacked by massed spears and an amazon lair will normally have enough long spears/pikes to enable the entire band to attack in at least two ranks and up to 5, depending on the number of amazons. The spears carried by raiding parties are not long enough to allow more than three rows to engage and the pikes stored in lairs will not be used for individual or melee combat.

All spears not in the front two rows are classed as pikes for the purposes of weapon speed.

Culture

Non-hostile men will be tolerated for a time and may be used for breeding purposes, however male children will disposed of before adulthood. Good leaders will arrange adoption, neutrals will probably sell the children to those who need or want them.

Leadership roles are by merit based on a vote. Warrior roles, however, may be decided instead by combat if the loser of a vote believes that she is the superior leader. Nevertheless, it is possible to find normal 0-level amazons in important positions within a particular group.

Amazons are defined at least partly by what they oppose - the rule of men - and as such they are not necessarily united by anything else. This can make their societies fractious, rather like Brexit voters who can only agree about one thing and don't actually get on very well outside of that.

Amazons in Greek and Roman art are almost never shown with one breast; probably they would have used a simple leather archery guard over their chests, similar in principle to the wrist bracers.

Lairs are usually abandoned settlements in the wilderness somewhere, with native architecture of any sort mixed with more classical-styled buildings that the women may have constructed mixed in.

Dwarves

Optionally, 1% of individual amazons may be female dwarves (possibly with beards).

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Magic Item: The Wand of Death

The Wand of Death is one of the fabled Artefacts of Evil. It is the simplest of these devices created by some unknown god or gods in the lost past of the universe. The user simply points the wand and states the correct trigger word and a black bolt of negative energy springs forth, draining the life from everything it strikes, to a maximum of 12" (treat the beam as ½" wide).

The trigger word is chosen from among 20 combinations of syllables and each combination drains a different amount of energy from along the line, from 1 to 20 d6. This number is rolled immediately and applied to every living thing along the deadly ray's path starting with those things nearest the user. Each possible unsurprised target gets a saving throw, with those further than 1" away getting the benefit of any DEX bonus. Beyond 6", victims get +2 to their save and beyond 9" +5.

Trigger syllables will not be easily determined and the twisted black hawthorn wand may remain a mystery until Legend Lore or a sage are consulted. Even then, such work will only reveal one syllable at a time. Of course, alert characters may hear trigger words being used by whoever owned it before them.

As each victim is drained of hp, the total remaining in the ray is likewise reduced until it is completely used up or the maximum range is reached.

Any victim drained to 0 or less hit points is disintegrated.

The hit points of those creatures struck only by magical weapons are augmented such that "+1 or better to hit" are drained at a ratio of 1:2, "+3 or better to hit" at 1:4 and so on. Thus a 50 point beam which struck a solar would drain it of only 8hp.

When found the wand will have 1-100 charges and each d6 damage done will drain 1 charge. There is no way short of a wish for a mortal to determine the number of charges remaining. Any evil creature struck only by magical weapons will be able to read the number of charges by holding the wand by the handle end and concentrating for a round.

Unliving things such as walls do not block the path of the beam, although a globe of invulnerability or anti-magic sphere will. A wall of force will not.

If operation of the wand would reduce the number of charges to less than 1, the extra charges so needed are removed from the operator's levels. Thus, a 7th level cleric who summoned 10 dice of damage from the wand while it had 4 charges remaining would be reduced to a 1st level cleric, leaving the wand with 1 charge - the minimum possible.

If the operator is reduced to less than 0-level by the wand they become a formless mist (treat as invisible) which will reform in 1d6 days as a wraith.

The wand's effect on the undead is somewhat different. If an undead creature is struck by the beam then it is drained of hit points as normal, but every 4 hit points adds a charge to the wand. The remaining damage in the beam is still reduced as normal.

For example, a beam of 14 damage strikes a zombie with 9hp. The zombie is destroyed, 2 charges are restored to the wand, and 5 points of damage remain in the beam.

Although using the wand is not itself an evil act (it is an excellent weapon against the undead, for example), it is indiscriminate and accidental killing of innocents and allies is easy, leading to possible alignment drift.

Use of the wand additionally causes fear (save applies) in any being under 4th level within its range who sees it, no matter whether they are allied with the user or not.

The wand operates at 18th level (9th level spell) for the purposes of magic resistance.

The wand is an artefact and thus not subject to normal destruction; the DM should determine the single method of destroying the wand using the list on DMG p164 as inspiration.

Sale Value: 20000gp
Experience point value: 8,000xp

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Monster: Stone Trolls

Stone Trolls

Frequency Uncommon
No. Appearing 2-12
Armour Class 3
Move 12"
Hit Dice 4
% in lair 70%
Treasure type Qx2,X
No. of attacks 1
Damage/attack 1d8+2, or by weapon
Special Attacks None
Special Defenses See below
Magic Resistance 5%
Intelligence Low
Alignment CN(E)
Size L (8' tall)
Psionic Ability Nil
Psionic Attack/defense modes Nil
Level V
XP 175+6/hp

General

Stone trolls are large, unpleasant humanoids. Not exactly evil, they do tend to be violent and are xenophobic to an extreme degree. They like meat and will cause mayhem in farming areas but rarely resort to eating the farmers themselves. They will react very aggressively to any attempt by another race (such as humans) to punish them for breaking "stupid laws".

Stone trolls normally wield large tree branches or smaller stone clubs and axes doing 1d8+2 damage. If they use other weapons such as discarded bastard or two-handed swords or polearms then they do normal damage with +2 for their strength and mass.

They are very hardy and resist magic, heat, and cold. The first is represented by 5% magic resistance against wizard-level magic, and against heat and cold they automatically take half damage, with a save indicating no damage at all. They can survive in any environment where stone is solid, but they dislike ice and will avoid walking on it if possible.

Weapon Vs Armour, Speed

The trolls' skin should be treated as field plate -1 (ie, AT 2-1) if using UA tables (or my own), and as platemail/AT 2 if using the PHB tables.

Their own weapons use the modifiers for a footman's mace, but are somewhat faster with a speed factor of 5.

Lifestyle

Appearance

They are grey and their skin resembles schist or flaky slate. Blunt weapons do half damage against them but cutting and piercing ones do normal damage. However, non-magical, non-blunt weapons which strike a stone troll must make a saving throw against crushing blow or break.

Dress is basic "caveman" style and barefooted.

Lair

In lair will be twice as many females, which fight as 2HD monsters and will generally use improvised weapons such as thrown stones (treat as sling bullets with range of 1"/2"/4") or pots and pans (clubs, successful strike breaks item on a 1-4/d6).

Young will number half the adults -1d4. They will reluctantly fight as 1-1HD monsters AC6, using improvised weapons and grappling.

Lairs are invariably underground and reached from cave entrances or sinkholes. Stone trolls are excellent climbers and are capable of hunting mountain goats.

Society

Society is "Big Man" based, with the largest male running the show. Each lair represents one extended family and when the Big Man's eldest son reaches maturity he is expected to go and capture a mate from some other cave-dwelling family and head off into the wilds to start a new family along with any of his brothers, sisters etc. who will join them.

The only really civil relationship stone trolls have is with stone giants whom they revere as demi-gods. The giant's taciturn lack of appreciation for this respect only seems to make the trolls more fervent.

A child is considered an adult when they can light a fire from tinder by clicking their fingers, indicating that their skin has hardened.