May your backhair be shaved by an angry otter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

8 Evocations of the Jale God

8 Evocations of the Jale God

You are the blind corridor, the caution's terror
a future verged contracted beyond pain.
Double endless behind design, a brilliant
child rafting, stumbling between a gift and work;
take these chains and tribute shall rush
Justify me, vanishing within the whale of this day
and convulse me with your delight whose fabric
unweaves the world.

Sing, and I jump by a rose. Have you produced
passenger-speaking darkness? Between Hell
and the discovery of dialect, betrayal is the handle
whose cash seemed to close; the leaves who paused
cannot stretch inside the cask.
Against this country the great son is like a father;
if we auction this, the groundhog is the maximum
below an orbit across a meal's continent who
needs to remove pupils.

The blanket saved someone.
Your unconquerable passage can't convey this.

Voluntary chaos whose day should arise must increase along viewing. The village whose surprise worried the dying cow. A consciousness and altitude moved after a flash fell at your feet; biographies like twelve vaults lived in mold, and the cellar had flooded. A wound: eternity that no independent impression formed. Why was I circling between an expected song and these deities? Your stone abode has forgiven escape.

What do the eggs carry?

Rain is panicking a nerve; seven continual waves gain fruit.
Seven testimonies are three tactics whose enchantments stood.
Denied beyond the knife of eyesight,
The flask pours an august distance.
Under air near famine, the inner composer reflects.

My yellow sin is equally varied.
If depth is the fee of famine, have I escaped?
You are twelve beings whose glories climb;
they arc along, arguing.
I am cedar focused like a vase;
you invade my voyages.

Before a soul who creates
the secure charge partly dives
between the definition
and the auctioneer:
who have I tended?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Non-Divine Divine Item: Curse Tablet

(Note: I have re-labeled and re-titled this post because it was brought to my attention that this should be classified as a divine item, not a magic item. I blame brain farts.)

Ok, so I was getting lost in Wikipedia and I came across this entry on Curse Tablets, which lead to this entry on the Bath curse tablets which sparked a memory from the early 1990s.

Back in the 2e days, TSR put out a Roman-themed splat book, "TSR 9425 - HR5 - The Glory of Rome Campaign", which included the below quoted spell. As far as I know, this is the only reference to Curse Tablets in "official" D&D materials outside of a clarification in the Sage Advice column in Dragon:

Curse Tablet (Necromantic)
Level 3
Range: 5 yards/level
Components: V, S, M
Duration:2 days/level Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Negates

This is the most common spell used by evil Roman magicians to kill via magic. The caster writes the name of his victim on a lead tablet, drives a nail through the tablet, invokes the spirits of the dead, and places the tablet within an occupied tomb.

Every midnight the subject must roll a saving roll vs. spell. If he fails the roll, he suffers horrible dreams of his own death and awakens sick and exhausted, having lost half his current hit points (round fractions down) or 1-hit point, whichever is greater. If he succeeds, there is no effect. If he succeeds three times in a row, the curse is broken, the writing on the tablet vanishes, and that particular wizard cannot use a curse tablet against him for one year.

The spell can be safely negated by finding the tablet (it radiates magic and evil) and casting a bless or remove curse spell upon it. Melting or breaking the tablet also breaks the curse, but this causes ld4 points of damage to the subject.

Here's my problem with the 2e approach: it limits the use to magic users. All real-world scholarly research suggests that curse tablets were a widely used form of folk magic or common religious practice. It was akin to Jews writing prayers to place in the Prayer Wall in Jerusalem or Catholics lighting a votive candle while offering up a prayer. Only in this case, the polytheistic Romans were asking the gods to punish someone who had done them wrong.

So why not open these previously closed requests for a curse to ANY PC in a campaign?

Non-Divine Divine Item: Curse Tablet

Any PC may send up a curse request to a deity to punish a wrong-doer in the form of a written prayer. The curse must be written or etched on a thin sheet of lead, rolled into a scroll, and pierced with an iron nail.

The curse must be written in the following form and include:

1) The petitioner's name
2) The deity being petitioned
3) The nature of the request and the punishment to be exacted
4) The target of that request (as specifically as possible)

"Grant this request, Oh Jale God, that I, Nord Timbertrot of Heartless Vale, beseech of thee! Unto your divinity and majesty I give my dice and purse of 2,000 coppers that someone hath stolen from me. Whether human or non, man or woman, slave or free, do not allow him who has done me wrong to sleep or eat or drink or have good health unless he reveals himself and brings those goods to your temple."

The curse must be delivered in one of two ways:

1) The curse may be placed at the foot of a statue of the deity being invoked, preferably in a temple or church dedicated to that deity.
2) The curse may be buried with the corpse of a follower of that deity, preferably someone who has recently died in service to that deity.

There is a 1-in-1000 chance that the deity grants the curse; the subject of the curse must make a Save vs. Death or be permanently cursed with whatever affliction was requested. The chance of the curse being granted improves to 1-in-500 if the petitioner is an active worshiper of the deity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Petty Gods: Tanumaru, servitor of evil Petty Gods

Tanumaru (Tanoo-ma-roo)
servitors of evil petty gods

No. Encountered: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 240' (120')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 1 (sword or longbow)
Damage: 1d8/1d8
Save: F13
Morale: 4
Hoard Class: XIV
XP: 1,260

Upon a Tanumaru's birth, the petty gods assign it a mortal foil, an individual whom they are to plague and problem throughout that mortal's existence at the behest of the petty gods. They will attempt to carry out a petty god's instructions to the letter rather than in spirit. Because they can cast invisibility at will, these attempts are often undetectable.

Unfortunately, a Tanumaru's bumbling attempts at interfering and causing ill often go awry. Any mortal targeted by a Tanumaru's attempts at interference must make a Save vs. Spells, with a +5 modifier. If the save is successful, the target gains a temporary +3 to all rolls & checks for 1 day. If unsuccessful, they must take a temporary –3 to all rolls & checks for 2 days. (If possible, the DM should attempt to keep the effect a secret).

Tanumaru are incredibly morose. They are ranked particularly low in hellish society due to their gullible nature and complete lack of social etiquette. They are rather dull-witted and lack the ability to plot and plan diabolical schemes. They lack foresight and often stumble their way through their daily affairs.

In their natural state, Tanumaru are eagle-winged, white-skinned, devil-like creatures that stand up to 15 feet tall, and are often found standing in a bowl of unburning fire. Despite their fierce appearance and armaments (they often carry both sword and bow), Tanumaru are terrible in combat and never win initiative. They take a –3 to all to-hit rolls. They are immune to normal weapons, fire-based attacks, and impervious to any transmutation spell (flesh to stone, etc.). They can fly, but only three times as high as they are tall.

Tanumaru is both a singular and collective noun.

Petty Gods: Inflammable Servants, minions of the Petty Gods

Richard emailed me the challenge:

Inflammable Servants
minions of the Petty Gods

No. Encountered: 1 (1)
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 240' (120')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: 1
Damage: As weapon OR Special
Save: F14
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,200

Inflammable servants are quasi-intelligent minions from the elemental plane of fire that rarely roam beyond their own plane unless summoned by a petty god to do their bidding. They are often used by the gods to deliver death threats to one another.

They can perform only one major task at a time and will attempt to complete that task at all costs. Inflammable servants that fail or are thwarted in their missions immediately die in a fiery explosion equal to 3 fireball spells.

On the plane of fire, Inflammable Servants rarely take visible form, but on the material plane, they appear as avenging angels with feet of flame and eagle-like wings. Their fierce countenance belies their nature, as they rarely attack unprovoked and will go out of their way to avoid conflict as they attempt to complete their tasks.

Although armed with both swords of flame and bows of fire (normal damage for each +2 fire damage), they prefer to attack with a piercing stare, which acts as a 2x magic missile spell. They are immune to normal weapons and fire-based attacks.

Inflammable Servants cannot speak to mortals, being under binding contracts to the petty gods, even though they are fluent in a multitude of magical languages. They cannot be summoned by normal summoning spells and will only take directions from the petty gods themselves.

They hate dwarves for some unknown reason.

Note: I'll have another write-up or two using this same illustration in the next day or so.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Petty Gods: Ghostly Lecher, minions of the petty gods of death

Hit me baby one more time:

Ghostly Lecher
minions of the petty gods of death

No. Encountered: 1d4
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2 +2
Attacks: 1 + Special
Damage: 1d6 + Special
Save: F8
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 150

The ghosts of ancient mortals who were enamored with death when they were alive, Ghostly Lechers serve the gods of death merely as rubbernecking hangers-on, Wherever a gristly death has occurred, a Ghostly Lecher is sure to be found, feeding on the deathwave vibrations that emanate from the corpse.

As their name suggests, they especially prey on the gristly deaths of the young and innocent; they tend to congregate on the outskirts of gallows, ritual sites, sacrificial dolmens, and army barracks.

Although they seem to resemble Ghosts or Shadows since they have no corporeal body and seem to flicker, they are not undead creatures and thus cannot be turned. Ghostly Lechers can only be struck by magical or silver weapons. They are unaffected by sleep, suggest, or charm spells.

When a Ghostly Lecher is feeding on the deathwave vibrations of a recently deceased. they glow a pale-yellowish white and are easily detected. They will appear as if in a drunken or drugged stupor and move at their slower rate; they will miss half of their attacks if in this state. Also when feeding, they drool a poisonous ectoplasm that saps 2 hp (no save) per touch.

Ghostly Lechers are difficult to detect if they are not feeding; they surprise 50% of the time. When a Ghostly Lecher strikes, they deal 1d6 cold damage and 1 point of CON is drained for 6 consecutive turns. Should a character be drained to 0 CON, they have a 50% chance of becoming either a Ghost if of Lawful alignment, a Spectre if of Neutral alignment, and a Shadow if of Chaotic alignment, but remain a playable character, having gained the abilities of each respective monster.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Petty Gods: Ggiyy, Eidolon Knight of Hate

It's that time again:

Ggiyy, Eidolon Knight of Hate
Knight in service to the Jale God

No. Encountered: 1 (unique)
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 6 +5
Attacks: 1 (sword, bite, or strangle)
Damage: d8 (d8/d6/d6)
Save: F8
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,280

It is little known that the Jale God employs twelve knights to protect the 12 Eidolons scattered across the world and ensure their separation. Ggiyy, the Eidolon Knight of Hate, may be one of the only knights whose identity is fully known, as he is a frequent visitor to magical academies and royal courts throughout the realms. Although he often appears in human guise through the use of a polymorph self spell, Ggiyy is in truth a snake-like reptilian.

A wrathful and boastful warrior, Ggiyy has lost the location of the Eidolon of Hate and has been on a centuries-long quest to reclaim the stone. Many tribes know of his feats and the desert kingdoms curse his name for the havoc he has wrought among them. In his human form, he wears many different guises; sometimes he is a seductive woman, other times a handsome rouge, sometimes a washerwoman, etc. In this way he moves throughout the realms, but his passage is marked by the dissension he sows in his wake. Wherever Ggiyy has been, protests, fights, riots, and wars are sure to shortly follow.

Ggiyy wears elven plate on his torso, topped with an elven helm; the rest of his body is covered in thick, armor like scales. He is armed with a Sword of Doubt (1d8 damage + Save vs. Paralysis or be struck with indecision for 1d4 turns) and can choose to either swing his sword, bite his attacker (1d6 damage), or crush an opponent with his tail (1d6 damage + -3 to-hit).

Ggiyy prefers to surprise combatants from above, coiling himself around pillars, trees, or other heights, and dropping on his unsuspecting victims. If attacking in this manner, he automatically gains initiative on his first attack.

Under his armor, he wears an amulet that allows him to cast polymorph self at will; by an enchantment of the Jale God, the amulet only works for an Eidolon Knight.

Once a year he and the other Eidolon Knights must make an accounting before the Jale God in the Labyrinth of Myzithra on the island of Anari. He has been in disfavor for a very long time and this has done nothing to improve his mood.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Petty Gods: Guardians of Laam, servitors of Pherosathoola, Petty Goddess of Sexual Fear

LeBlanc + Sholits + Schmeer =

Guardians of Laam
servitors of Pherosathoola, Petty Goddess of Sexual Fear

No. Encountered: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 3 (scimitar/claw/tail) + Special
Damage: d8/d6/d6 + Special
Save: F8
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 300

Descended from ruined seed of Mi-go that fused with an unnamed reptilian race in eons past, Guardians of Laam protect the incubating eggs of Pherosathoola, the Petty Goddess of Sexual Fear. "Laam" is the term for embryonic succubi; these creatures do not have a name for themselves and so are often referred to simply as "Guardians".

The Guardians of Laam stand 8 feet tall and resemble fierce, armored lizards at first glance, except for their odd-shaped skulls and lidless eyes. Their mouths are lamprey-like and both males and females sport antlers and tusks, although these are largely though to be decorative. Chitinous skin protects their fungi-like inner soft tissues and they have thick tails the same length as their height. They do not speak, communicating strictly via nearly undetectable pheromones. They are impervious to charm, harm person, clairaudience, ESP, ethereal form, shape change, and suggestion spells.

Guardians are polyamorous; nests are guarded by a single brood group consisting of 3 males and a female or 3 females and a male. They breed by releasing spores from their nostrils during the Dark Moon Festival, celebrated once every fourteen years. The mingling spores cover the nest of eggs and grow into new Guardians, using the clutch as nourishment. Pherosathoola gladly paid this brood price to ensure the safety of her developing offspring. Upon their first molting, Guardians of Laam are gifted with Scimitars of Doubt (1d8 damage + Save vs. Paralysis or be struck with indecision for 1d4 turns) as additional thanks for their duties.

If attacked, a Guardian has three defenses. It can attack with its scimitar, rake with a free-handed claw (1d6), and can lash any target behind it with its whip-like tail (1d6). Additionally, once per combat encounter a Guardian can spew a cloud of disorienting chemicals from scent glands in its throat; PCs must Save vs. Poison or be disoriented for 1d4 hours.

Guardians of Laam fear the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign and will flee if they are attacked by one of their blessed order.

Guardians are delicious when boiled alive; eating its steamed tail muscles imparts a +3 to STR for 1d6 days. Potted Guardian of Laam (often called "potted laam") is a highly prized delicacy in royal circles of the desert kingdoms.