|Wheel of Fortune|
Pompeii Mosaic from Naples National Archaeological Museum
Friday, July 25, 2014
Aw! It's a cute little kitten. Wait...does it have a vertical mouth? Does it have more than two eyes? Must have been a trick of the light...
Kitteye Tyrant CR 12
CE Tiny aberration
Init +14; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +22
AC 27, touch 27, flat-footed 17 (+5 deflection, +10 Dex, +2 size)
hp 161 (17d8+85)
Fort +10, Ref +15, Will +12
Defensive Abilities spell absorption; Resist acid 20, cold 20, electricity 20, fire 20, sonic 10; SR 23
Weaknesses vulnerability to dispel magic and dead magic
Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft.
Melee 2 claws +10 (1d2-4)
Ranged eye ray +23 (variable, see special ability below)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks eyes of su-maru
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th; concentration +21)
At will—dimension door
3/day—quickened dimension door
Str 2, Dex 31, Con 20, Int 21, Wis 15, Cha 18
Base Atk +12; CMB +20; CMD 31 (35 vs. trip)
Feats Acrobatic[B], Combat Casting, Dimensional Agility, Improved Initiative, Point-Blank Shot, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (dimension door), Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana]), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Penetration, Weapon Focus (ray)
Skills Acrobatics +18, Climb +14, Disguise +21 (+29 to appear as an ordinary kitten), Escape Artist +30, Fly +22, Knowledge (arcana) +31, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +22, Knowledge (planes) +22, Linguistics +19, Perception +22, Spellcraft +31, Stealth +28; Racial Modifiers +8 Disguise to appear as an ordinary kitten
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Aquan, Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Ignan, Infernal, Orc, Sphinx, Sylvan, Terran, Undercommon; telepathy 120 ft.
Eyes of Su-Maru (Su) A kitteye tyrant possesses six eyes, each of which fires a unique ray; the kitteye tyrant can fire all six rays during its turn. If it succeeds at a ranged touch attack, it affects the target per one of the listed spells. Its "normal" eyes affect targets with either baleful polymorph or dominate person, while the other four eyes fire rays with effects similar to contagious flame (one ray to start, and four rays shoot from the original target), greater contagion, prismatic spray (one ray chosen randomly that affects one creature), and suffocation. If a kitteye tyrant uses rays other than those from its "normal" pair of eyes, it must make another Disguise check (at a –20 penalty) to continue its ruse as a typical kitten. If a spell effect allows a saving throw, it has a DC of 22, regardless of spell level. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Spell Absorption (Su) Any spell targeting a kitteye tyrant or including the creature in its area of effect that fails to overcome the kitteye tyrant's spell resistance heals the tyrant a number of hit points equal to the spell level.
Vulnerability to Dispel Magic and Dead Magic (Su) A kitteye tyrant targeted by dispel magic, greater dispel magic, or mage's disjunction must succeed at a Will save per the spell level and caster's spellcasting ability bonus (these spells automatically bypass the kitteye tyrant's spell resistance). If it fails the saving throw, it takes damage equal to the spell level, and it cannot use its spell-like abilities or rays for a number of rounds equal to the spell level. A kitteye tyrant starting its turn in an antimagic field must make a Will save to avoid the same effects. Finally, in a dead magic zone, a kitteye tyrant takes 1d6 points of Constitution damage every round it spends in that zone.
Kitteye tyrants are long-ago escapees from another realm that have made this plane their home. Remorseless killers, kitteye tyrants enjoy watching the disastrous effects caused by their eye rays, while taking on the guise of an unassuming kitten. They typically dominate novice wizards and assume the superficial role of familiar. As long as they keep a low enough profile, blame for any destruction falls on the wizard puppets, necessitating a change in "owner" for the kitteye tyrants. While kitteye tyrants carry out their deceptions, they eschew the use of their innate fly ability, since that would be a dead giveaway. When kitteye tyrants let loose, though, they target obvious spellcasters, since those casters may have dispel magic or similar spells at their disposal. They are not especially brave combatants in the face of stiff competition, so they make copious use of quickened dimension door and Stealth to make their escapes. Those who manage to drive away kitteye tyrants face the possibility of eventual retribution. Confident in their superiority over all creatures, kitteye tyrants only fear the arrival of powerful denizens from its former home. If a kitteye tyrant has foreknowledge of such an event, it will seek out adventurers (perhaps those it has previously vexed) for protection, usually presenting the event as one of apocalyptic proportions.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
|The Four Symbols for the Elements are shown below the Alchemical Figures above, from Johann Daniel Mylius’ Philosophia reformata (1622).|
This is telling for me in two ways: first, the physical world is more aligned with Chaos than it is with Law. Moreover, the element closest to humanity (humus-human or earth-men) is Law. Hence, humans, (and for that matter, dwarves) are usually tied more closely to Law in RPG materials because they are tied to, and perhaps even primarily composed of, earth. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). If they are primarily of the element which stands in contrast to the rest of the elements alignment-wise, this is a source of conflict. There is a problem, however, when it comes to these four elements being enough to comprise the cosmos. Air-atmosphere is one thing, but what about those heavenly or spiritual substances that are not material or physical? Those that are literally no-thing? If the atmosphere and its winds are chaotic, are not the heavenly orderly? Don't the heavenly bodies provide the regular movements by which we may measure the terrestrial bodies below? Is not the King of Heaven a deity of Law, the Law-giver himself?
These considerations bring us to face-to-face with the fact that many, if not most, many versions of the classical elements total five rather than four. Consider the refinement below, which will use the letter Q to stand for the fifth, derived from Aristotle's quintessence.
This schema might seem like just a Western variant, or perhaps even too Christian, but comparison to Indian, Japanese, and Tibetan systems reveal that it is not uniquely Aristotlean or Judeo-Christian. (NB. I find the sections on Buddhism and China most inadequate and even confused/confusing and advise you to look further afield rather than make too many assumptions based on that portion of the Wikipedia entry.) The system of five elements is dealing with questions and problems of thought that the fourfold system was insufficient to deal with. Air needed to be split up to account for the kinds of questions above and beliefs about the realm above the dome of the sky. You may call Q as best fits with your mythopoesis, but note the terms used for it in the past: Void, Heaven, Space, Aether, Spirit. As we have moved from ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, we found a need to distinguish what was once a single word: wind/breath/spirit. While the winds of the air blow where they will, the heavenly spirits proceed in the stately movement of their spheres -- precise and predictable. And note that, even in the world of Avatar, the story can't leave well enough (supposedly, four) alone. The avatar (incarnate in a particular element-bender) can achieve an Avatar-state, and in addition to the standard four there is energy bending.
Next time: Using this general conception of world building with gaming particulars.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
This eyeless toad seems to find its way around in spite of its missing organs; the creature opens its mouth to reveal two glowing orbs.
Adaptoad CR 8
N Small magical beast
Init +7; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +3
AC 21, touch 15, flat-footed 17 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural, +1 size)
hp 95 (10d10+40); fast healing 3
Fort +11, Ref +10, Will +8
Defensive Abilities evasion; Resist variable resistance
Speed 50 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +12 (1d8+1)
Special Attacks explosive eyeballs
Str 13, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 7, Wis 16, Cha 10
Base Atk +10; CMB +10; CMD 24
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Acrobatics), Wind Stance
Skills Acrobatics +22, Swim +9
Explosive Eyeball (Su) An adaptoad begins combat with two marble-like eyeballs in its mouth. As a standard action it can spit one or both eyeballs out to a range of 60 feet. Each eyeball explodes in a 20-foot radius, dealing 5d6 damage of a chosen energy type—acid, cold, electricity, or fire—to all creatures caught in the explosion (DC 19 Reflex for half). If the frog spits both eyeballs simultaneously, it can choose to deal 5d6 sonic or force damage instead (the Reflex save DC is unchanged). An adaptoad requires 1d6 rounds to replace an eyeball. The save DCs are Constitution-based.
Variable Resistance (Su) For each eyeball currently in an adaptoad's mouth, it has energy resistance 10 against the type of energy damage the eyeball deals. If the adaptoad has two of the same type of eyeball, its energy resistance increases to 20.
Thanks to their amphibian genetics, toad familiars are likely to absorb the magic abilities of their wizard or witch masters. An adaptoad is an extreme example of such a creature, exchanging physical sight for the ability to grow eyeballs in its mouth that it can spit at opponents to deal elemental damage. Its eyeballs also grant a measure of protection against the energy represented by each eyeball. An adaptoad can sense the effectiveness of each explosion and switch to a different energy type if necessary. As it waits for eyeballs to regrow, it hops around in a haphazard fashion in an attempt to avoid retaliation.
If an adaptoad has any eyeballs remaining in its mouth when it dies, each eyeball can be used like a bead from a necklace of fireballs (5d6 points of fire damage), regardless of the energy type chosen by the adaptoad.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
For me, PaizoCon 2014 was really more about people, this year. As I said, I’ve been to four of these conventions, and each one was a little different. For the first two I was more focused on learning how to navigate a convention, soaking up lessons about writing and getting published, and getting information about all the cool stuff that would be coming out in the following year. I was also still awestruck by the ability to hang out and talk with Paizo people and folks from other publishers. I didn’t know many people by face or even name, in some cases. It was all new to me.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
A shifting pattern of blue, purple, and green dances across this massive frog's skin; the light green horn looks like it could easily skewer an opponent.
Riding Frog CR 3
N Medium magical beast
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural)
hp 30 (4d10+8)
Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2
Defensive Abilities devotion; Resist acid 5
Weakness riderless despondence
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +7 (1d4+3), gore +7 (1d6+3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +4)
3/day—daze (DC 10)
Str 16, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 21 (25 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack[B]
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+23 when jumping), Perception +7; Racial Modifiers +8 when jumping
Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, team (1 riding frog and rider), or squad (3–12 riding frogs and riders)
Devotion (Su) A riding frog gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves while carrying a rider.
Riderless Despondence (Su) A riding frog loses the use of Spring Attack and gains the shaken condition while it has no rider.
Bred by fey lords to not only accept a rider, but also be dependent on the rider, riding frogs make up the bulk of the mounts for a fey cavalry. A riding frog can carry a Tiny or Small rider without problem, and its horns usually combined with its rider's ranged attacks make them a formidable pair of adversaries. When a riding frog loses its rider, it becomes lethargic. Those who have studied these frogs are unsure whether the fey lords intentionally bred this behavior into the frogs as a means of keeping them docile without riders, or whether this was a peculiar side effect of the breeding process.
While a riding frog, as a magical beast, may not be taken as an animal companion, an appropriately sized cavalier can take one as a mount.
Sir Nigel, Defender of the Pond CR 4
Nixie cavalier 4
N Small fey (aquatic)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 39 (4d10+2d6+10)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +6
DR 5/cold iron; SR 12
Speed 20 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee lance +4 (1d6-2/×3) or shortsword +9 (1d4-2/19-20)
Ranged +1 light crossbow +10 (1d6+1/19-20)
Special Attacks cavalier's charge, challenge
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +10)
3/day—charm person (DC 15)
Str 7, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18
Base Atk +5; CMB +2; CMD 15
Feats Escape Route, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +9, Craft (bows) +3, Escape Artist +11, Handle Animal +13, Knowledge (nobility) +5, Perception +10, Perform (sing) +10, Ride +11, Sense Motive +6, Stealth +11, Swim +9
Languages Aquan, Sylvan
SQ amphibious, expert trainer, lion's call, order (order of the lion), tactician, wild empathy +12
Combat Gear blue whinnis (1 dose); Other Gear studded leather, +1 light crossbow, arrows (20), lance, shortsword, 4 gp
Wild Empathy (Ex) This ability works like the druid ability of the same name. The nixie's total includes a +8 racial bonus on wild empathy checks.
Sir Nigel, a decorated veteran of the Pond Wars, during which he and his trusty riding frog, Kreeegan, turned back a dozen boggards attempting to take over their pond. As his fame grew, other nixies have taken up his cause to preserve the pond for their sovereign lord, and they have begun working with riding frogs of their own.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
We are talking about D&D Clue, right? Well, 2013 is still pretty new. This licensed product was given to me by She-who-has-never-rolepayed-and-to-whom-the-whole-idea-was-utterly-new-and-had-to-be-explained. She loved Clue from her childhood, and was very excited to find this bridge between our loves. Get a good look at the board after our two-person play-test.
After we played it together, we then had a four-person game with the friends we are staying with ( a couple, also non-RPGers). The report on this game is a solid A- for fun. The only criticism I can make of something that disappointed me is that I wish the pewter figures had been good enough quality to paint and use as gaming minis. The features just aren't good enough. An innovation I really like is the option to fight monsters on the squares with claw marks. Drawing from the monster deck results in a roll against the monster. Win and you get to move again at a higher speed. Lose and you go to the central maze, which can also be helpful.
If you like Clue and D&D, I recommend this game. Non-D&D people will have some trouble with the names, but open-minded folks will enjoy the weirdness of it, even so. How friends certainly did. By the way, Lidda did it both times. Never trust the rogue.
How interesting that they went with the 3.x iconic characters and trade dress for this game that was released after the passing of 4e. This image in particular I found hilarious:
|You'll pry 3rd edition from Nebin's cold dead fingers!|
Thursday, July 3, 2014
This creature, a brightly colored, eight-legged wasp, flies with a purpose, its six baleful eyes seeking out prey.
Wespenspinne CR 7
NE Tiny magical beast
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +10
AC 20, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural, +2 size)
hp 85 (9d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +5
Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee bite +16 (1d4+5 plus immobilization poison), sting +16 (1d6+5 plus wespenspinne implantation)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks agile strikes
Str 4, Dex 21, Con 18, Int 5, Wis 15, Cha 10
Base Atk +9; CMB +12; CMD 20 (28 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +17, Perception +11, Stealth +18
Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, or hive (3–20)
Agile Strikes (Ex) A wespenspinne adds its Dexterity modifier to damage from its natural weapons rather than its Strength modifier.
Immobilization Poison (Ex) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 18; frequency 1/round for 8 rounds; effect 1d6 Dex—for every 2 Dex damage dealt, the victim's base speed decreases 5 ft.; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Wespenspinne Implantation (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fort DC 18; onset 1 day, frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 damage to random ability and 2d6 hp; cure 2 consecutive saves. When a wespenspinne implantation's victim takes damage from the disease, a full-grown wespenspinne emerges from the wound; it uses the same stats, but its sting does not inflict disease. A victim killed by the disease (either through loss of hit points or the reduction of any ability score to 0) releases 2d4 wespenspinne, 1d2 of which can implant opponents with its sting attack. The save DC is Constitution-based.
No creature has claimed responsibility for the creation of the wespenspinne, leaving scholars to speculate that a spider-killing wasp implanted its eggs in a spider while in an area of wild magic. The resulting creature gained a baleful intelligence and seeks to infest others with its progeny. A wespenspinne possesses both a spider's poisonous bite and the spider-killing wasp's ovipositor, a combination it employs to implant wespenspinne larvae into new hosts. Since the larvae need a living host, a wespenspinne breaks off its attack after it has a chance to sting multiple victims (or the same victim multiple times).
In an inexplicable gestation cycle, new wespenspinne erupt from their host one at a time on a daily basis until the victim succumbs to all the damage inflicted by the exiting creatures or manages to fight off the larval infestation. Each newly birthed wespenspinne bursts from a random location on the victim's body and may immediately attack its former host in its confusion. Once the new wespenspinne realizes the victim hosts a new queen, it discontinues the attack and follows the victim. While the victim still suffers from the implantation, the emerged wespenspinne "protect" him, providing the victim with unexpected allies against opponents, but also preventing others from touching him in an attempt to cure the infestation. The body of a victim that succumbs to the disease bursts open, releasing several wespenspinne, including at least one new queen who starts the process again.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Who the hell does he think he is? Guest blogger? Really? After over 100 posts? Since October 2012? And your're still here? Even blogging when I disappear into life and can't come up for air?
Time to kick Mike, Guest blogger to the curb!
And help me welcome Mike, Master of Monsters, Keeper of the Flame, Senior Writer. It's about damn time. Thanks for everything, Mike. Now, save that label for some new folks, and maybe we will get some real guests.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
From the top: Reign of Winter Monster Encounter Pack, #4 of the Mummy's Mask AP, City of Secrets #1, The Crusader Road, and Analog Games' Deck of Many Things. A really nice haul, making for an inspiring week for future gaming! I'm planning on reviewing recent items in future posts. Also, have you noticed how much nicer my recent photographs are!?
As you can see, the story is not new, but I just ran across it and though Ferebee has plenty of credits to her name, she's still new to me, and might be to some my fellow ramblers as well.
Check her out -- especially this dark gem. I'l be returning to it for entertainment and for inspiration in creating atmosphere, emotional dread, and how to portray magic-users. After reading the story, you might also enjoy this interview.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Hello again! As promised, here is today's second monster, an undead unicorn, courtesy of Gregg Bender. I tried hard not to make this an exact mirror image of the unicorn, but there were some aspects that made sense to keep around (inflict vs. cure spell-like abilities, for example). The unecrocorn has an amazing array of methods to create undead creatures, and, hopefully, GMs will find ways to turn the characters' former allies against them.
I hope the unecrocorn is suitably terrifying. I will be back next week with a new monster. Thanks for reading!
In the gloom this creature looks like a unicorn, but a closer look reveals its half rotted body, leering skull, and blood-tipped horn.
Unecrocorn CR 6
CE Large undead
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see in darkness; Perception +15
Aura unnatural aura (30 ft.)
AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural, –1 size)
hp 76 (9d8+36)
Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +9
DR 5/good; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10
Speed 60 ft.
Melee gore +11 (2d6+6 plus energy drain/19-20), 2 hooves +9 (1d4+3 plus 1d4 Strength drain)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks create spawn, energy drain, powerful charge (gore, 4d6+12)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +13)
3/day—inflict moderate wounds (DC 16)
1/day—animate dead, deeper darkness, inflict serious wounds (DC 17)
Str 22, Dex 16, Con —, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Atk +6; CMB +13; CMD 27 (31 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Critical (gore)[B], Intimidating Prowess, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Multiattack
Skills Acrobatics +12 (+24 when jumping), Intimidate +22, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Perception +15, Spellcraft +14, Stealth +11
Languages Abyssal, Common, Infernal
Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, or dirge (3–6)
Create Spawn (Su) A victim reduced to 0 Strength from a unecrocorn's Strength damage dies and rises as a shadow under the unecrocorn's control in 1d4 rounds. A victim that dies as a result of the unecrocorn's energy drain rises as a wight under the unecrocorn's control in 1d4 rounds.
Energy Drain (Su) If a unecrocorn inflicts a critical hit with its gore attack or gores an opponent during its powerful charge, the attack bestows 2 negative levels (4 if the unecrocorn inflicts a critical hit during a powerful charge) to the opponent. The victim must make a DC 18 Fortitude save to remove each negative level.
When a unicorn succumbs to an undead creature's draining attacks, the purity at the core of the unicorn burns to ashes. If the unicorn in pursuit of a noble goal falls to an undead creature before it can achieve that goal, the bitterness of the defeat corrupts the unicorn into an undead mockery known as a unecrocorn. The newly created monster seeks to snuff out all life. It roams its former forest home seeking to blight everything within and to raise an undead army from the forest's residents. It uses its vague similarity to a living unicorn to draw simple-minded creatures close where it can murder them and use one of its many means to turn the foolish victims into undead followers.
Unicorns gather in blessings to hunt and kill known unecrocorns. They also enlist paladins and other good humanoids to eliminate the blasphemous creatures. For unknown reasons, nightmares also hate unecrocorns and will attack them on sight.
Unecrocorns will take any intelligent undead creature as a rider and frequently partner with vampires, graveknights, and the rare lich that likes to wade into battle. Only the most depraved of living beings can dare to ride a unecrocorn.