Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ending a big week in my personal RPG acquisitions

Back when I had a subscription to Paizo's Pathfinder miniatures (and the discretionary income to support such a habit), a big week in acquisitions would have been the arrival of a giant box of minis, carried to me by a smiling blue (purple?) golem.  Those days may be gone forever, but this past week of Free RPG and Support your FLGS acquisitions were also joined by a larger than usual Paizo delivery and the coincidental delivery of a Kickstarter.  So...feast your eyes on more show-n-tell (that's what we called it in the old days, before everything became "porn") below!

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!?

A Fantastic Story of Emotional Dread

I have a story recommendation to make for people who like stories about magic-users (in this case, "witches"), atmospheric stories set in fantastical versions of England, and -- well, I'm not sure how much of the most important thing about the story for me is my own personal reaction to it.  I found K. M. Ferebee's "Seven Spells to Sever the Heart" to be effective story-telling, and above all deeply affecting.  Few are the stories I've read or heard that after captivating me, filled me with emotional dread in the way that Ferebee's short tale of Samuel Crewe (5020 words in just under 39 minutes). I with I had a better phrase than "emotional dread" to describe my reaction. The transformation of the character was heart-gripping. The audio narrator chosen by Fantasy Magazine (podcast version still available on iTunes) is also first rate. I wish I could find out who he was.

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

Frightful Fridays! Unecrocorn

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
XP 2,400
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)
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
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.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Bewildebeest

Welcome back to another edition of Frightful Fridays! I'd also like to extend a happy welcome to Theodric, and I imagine you will see more regular posts from him. I've been trying to keep the seat warm, as it were.

I apologize for last week's absence, but I plan to make that up to you with two monsters this week. The first monster is the bewildebeest, for which I've used an illustration that appeared once before in this feature. This particular monster had been brewing in the back of my head for a year and a half, and I finally got to a design that I liked. This is another monster that has a fey origin (maybe) and ties to the fey (its Starlight Summons feat makes it fairly dangerous to fey, at least). I seem to be on a bit of a fey kick of late, and I hope you don't mind. The monster making its appearance later today will definitely not be a fey creature, though.

I'll be back in a little bit with the second of today's monsters. Thanks for reading!

This creature is a bizarre collection of different insects and animals.
Bewildebeest CR 9
XP 6,400
CN Large fey
Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +25

AC 23, touch 13, flat-footed 19 (+4 Dex, +10 natural, –1 size)
hp 127 (15d6+75)
Fort +10, Ref +13, Will +12
DR 10/cold iron; Resist cold 10, electricity 10; SR 20

Speed 40 ft., burrow 20 ft., fly 60 ft. (average), swim 40 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d6+5 plus contagion or poison), 2 claws +11 (1d4+5), gore +11 (2d4+5), 2 hooves +6 (1d4+2), 2 talons +11 (1d3+5)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks subsume animal or vermin
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +15, +19 when casting defensively)
At will—summon nature's ally III (animals and vermin only)
3/day—quickened contagion (DC 13), quickened poison (DC 13), summon nature's ally VI (animals and vermin only)
1/day—creeping doom (DC 18)

Str 20, Dex 18, Con 21, Int 12, Wis 17, Cha 11
Base Atk +7; CMB +13; CMD 28 (32 vs. trip)
Feats Acrobatic, Alertness, Augment Summoning, Combat Casting, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (contagion), Quicken Spell-Like Ability (poison), Spell Focus (conjuration), Starlight Summons
Skills Acrobatics +26 (+30 when jumping), Fly +19, Knowledge (nature) +19, Perception +25, Sense Motive +20, Stealth +18, Survival +18, Swim +26
Languages Common, Sylvan; speak with animals
SQ ablative summons

Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, or collective (3–8)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Ablative Summons (Su) When a bewildebeest uses one of its summon spell-like abilities or creeping doom, it loses a number of hit points equal to the spell's level.
Subsume Animal or Vermin (Su) A bewildebeest that makes a successful touch attack against an animal or vermin pulls that creature into its collective form, unless the victim succeeds at a DC 17 Will save. If the victim fails, the bewildebeest heals a number of hit points equal to the victim's HD. Animals and vermin absorbed in this fashion are released if the bewildebeest is slain within 1 hour of absorbing them. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Not even the fey know the bewildebeests' origins, rumors of which range from an enemy to the fey creating them, to a fey lord creating them as a weapon against other fey lords, through to the implausible notion they hail from a land existing prior to the primal lands the fey call home. Whatever the circumstances of the bewildebeests' creation, they pose a menace to fey and non-fey alike.

Bewildebeests are solitary creatures that search unspoiled forests for creatures to add to their collective form, either for the creatures' ability to defend itself or for the bewildebeests' strange sense of aesthetics. When bewildebeests absorb animals or vermin, they must wait to fully assimilate the absorbed creatures, which drives the bewildebeests to hunt in secluded areas. They usually stay far away from humanoid settlements, but the occasional bewildebeest becomes intrigued by the idea of including a trained animal in its aggregate and succumbs to the temptation of absorbing such an animal. When two or more bewildebeests meet, they either engage in an amiable swap of their component creatures, or attack each other to take what they want by force. A baffling scene comprised of mismatched animal and insect limbs strewn about a clearing may be evidence of a bewildebeest battle for supremacy.

Additional rumors speak of ancient bewildebeests that exist as pure consciousness. These creatures do not truly die when their amalgamated shell perishes. As long as some component animal or insect can sneak away, the consciousness lives on to build a new shell around the core of the escaping creature.


Support Your Friendly Local Game Store

My old game store (such as it was) when I lived in the Metroplex was Lone Star Comics & Games.  The one nearest me was not big, but it was something: a store crammed with stock for its tiny size, with a friendly and fairly knowledgeable staff.  It was a welcoming, clean place and even had a free miniatures painting night that I always planned to join (but never did).  Today, Lone Star has no physical stores -- it's a web store.  I've also been in plenty of stores that were less than friendly, so I sympathize with those who have no store, or have a store that provides unpleasant experiences or poor selection.

With a quality store like Dragon's Lair in my area, providing me with Free RPG Day goodness, I'm aware of how important it is to keep a healthy physical store in my area.  Not only does it give out those lovely freebies, but it provides a community center for gamers and local services in a way that an online store cannot match.  Yes, we can almost always find a way to get our materials cheaper, but the place of the store for things like these must be supported.

So after I picked up what I blogged about yesterday, I went on to make some purchases.  Find them below.

Above are two copies of Pathfinder: City of Secrets #2, a pack of Reign of Winter minis, and some new purple dice to go with my new Crown Regal bag.

What have you, esteemed ramblers, picked up lately at your store?  Or do you have further thoughts on keeping the FLGS healthy?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hurray for Free RPG Day 2014!

Slowly, slowy, I aim to return to regular blogging.  I feel like I've said this before, but my life has not been conducive to blogging on a schedule like I used to the last two years -- and the past year in particular. Early or late, reliable or in starts, in time to do so.

And though it's past four days ago, where better to start?  I'm still in the after glow of the loot showered upon me by the archons of gaming.  Thanks, to the organizers and thanks to everyone who supported it with goodies and all the stores who made it happen.  I've lived without a FLGS of the brick-and-mortar variety, where I've had to drive a more considerable distance to enjoy it, and I am fortunate to live not too far away from the branch of Dragon's Lair in San Antonio.  Both my store and the one in Austin are good, friendly stores full of good, helpful staff.  I've expected to find better stores in Houston, but so far, all those I've visited fall way short of Dragon's Lair in terms of RPG stock.  (And don't even get me started on how DFW has become a game store wasteland.)

Dragon's Lair is a generous store, unlike those "one item per customer" stores.  Go' bless 'em!  So I picked up four lovely items from the goods on offer: Paizo's Risen from the Sands, LotFP's The Doom-Cave of the Crystal Children, and Cosmic Patrol's yearly quick-start rules with mini-adventure.  Check them out in the photo below:

And not just adventures.  What's gaming without fancy dice?  A Q-workshop freebie:

So, here are my thoughts, though nothing like reviews.

  • I've never played FATE, but even if I never try it, I can use the die for 1-3 rolls.  It's solid, pretty, and easy-to-read.  (Props for my favorite color, too.)
  • I've got the main Cosmic Patrol rulebook and I've collected the yearly QS booklets with mini-adventures.  I'd like to try it some day and get out my Planet Stories/planetary romance needs.  It looks simple and promising.
  • The Pathfinder adventure looks good and introduces new classes I've given no thought to.  More and more I wonder when I'd ever have time to GM a system as complicated and sprawling as PF is becoming, but I'd love to be a player in a group where the GM can sustain it.  One certainly can create a unique character suited to one's vision with all those options.
  • The Doom-Cave: It's weird and Raggi wants to piss someone off or freak someone out.  He lies abed in the eternal Finnish nights and dreams of it and cackles to himself, until his wife elbows him.  I need to keep in touch with the weird so I can inject it into my game when called for.  It's not my natural forte, and The Doom-Cave is inspirational reading.  Thanks, Jim.  One of these days, I'm going to do a Weird Restoration London game with LotFP.  And a weird Georgian London game.  And a weird Victorian London game.  One of these days.
Next time on MPR: when you get free stuff, spend some money!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Blitzwolf Creature

Hello and welcome back to another installment of Frightful Fridays! Today's monster is courtesy of an image my friend Paris Crenshaw discovered and pointed out to me. I imagine some mad scientist type (most likely a Pathfinder RPG™ alchemist) created this harness that changes shape with the werewolf to which it is fitted. While the werewolf is in human form, there's no evidence of anything unusual, except perhaps the smell of ozone and an unusual amount of static electricity arcing from the creature.
This marks the first template to grace this feature. I figured the process could apply to all were-creatures, and, in keeping with the wonky naming convention for were-creatures in Pathfinder, the template has a parallel moniker of "blitzwolf." Therefore, one could make a blitzwolf wererat or other blitzwolf "lycanthrope." I figure most were-creatures would shorten the name to "blitz" or add it to their animal type ("blitzrat" for the aforementioned wererat).
Krüger embraces his bestial nature and became an antipaladin, seeking to destroy or convert innocent humanoids. Krüger's not a nice guy at all, and the new feat, Demoralizing Sunder, along with his ability to strip weapons of their silver plating should give characters who meet him even more reason to hate him. At any rate, I hope you find him and the blitzwolf template interesting, and I'll see you next week. Thanks for reading!

Blitzwolf Creature Template
Blitzwolf creatures are born of nascent alchemical experiments whereby electricity bonds with the creatures. To date, only were-creatures have successfully completed the procedure, which has the beneficial side effect of allowing the affected creatures to separate silver from silver-bonded weapons. Many non-wolf were-creatures shorten the name to "blitz" when referring to themselves.

Creating a Blitzwolf Creature
"Blitzwolf creature" is an acquired template that can be added to any lycanthrope (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A blitzwolf creature retains all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

CR: Same as base creature +1.
Defenses/Qualities: A blitzwolf creature gains electricity resistance 10 (if HD 11 or less) or electricity resistance 20 (if HD 12 or more).
Speed: A blitzwolf creature's base speed increases by 10 ft.
Special Abilities: A blitzwolf creature retains all the special attacks of the base and gains the following.
Discharge Electricity (Su): When in hybrid or animal form, a blitzwolf creature imbues its melee and natural weapons with electricity, which deals 1d6 damage on a successful hit. Additionally, an opponent grappling the blitz creature takes 1d6 electricity damage each round the opponent does so.
Silver Electrolysis (Su): When in hybrid or animal form, a blitzwolf creature who strikes a foe wielding a silver weapon or a blitz creature struck by a silver weapon potentially separates the silver from the weapon. The wielder must succeed at a Reflex save (DC equal to 10 + 1/2 blitzwolf creature's total Hit Dice + Con modifier) or the weapon loses its silver property. A blitzwolf creature can also target an unattended weapon with this ability. This weapon receives a saving throw only if it is magical.
Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +4, Dex +4, Con +4.


Krüger (Human Form) CR 8
XP 3,200
Human blitzwolf natural werewolf antipaladin 7 (augmented humanoid)
CE Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +1
Aura cowardice (10 ft.)

AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 19 (+8 armor, +1 deflection, +1 Dex)
hp 78 (7d10+35)
Fort +12, Ref +7, Will +8
Immune disease; Resist electricity 10

Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 bastard sword +13/+8 (1d10+7/19-20)
Special Attacks channel negative energy 2/day (DC 15, 4d6), smite good 3/day (+2 attack and AC, +7 damage)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +9)
At will—detect good
Antipaladin Spells Prepared (CL 4th; concentration +6):
2nd—bull's strength
1st—bane (DC 13), death knell (DC 13)

Str 19, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +7; CMB +11 (+13 sunder); CMD 25 (27 vs. sunder)
Feats Demoralizing Sunder, Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Intimidate), Weapon Focus (bastard sword)
Skills Handle Animal +12, Intimidate +15, Stealth +8
Languages Common
SQ aura of evil, change shape (human, hybrid, and wolf; polymorph), channel negative energy, cruelties (diseased, sickened), fiendish boon (weapon +1, 1/day), lycanthropic empathy (wolves and dire wolves), touch of corruption, unholy resilience
Gear +1 banded mail, +1 bastard sword, headband of alluring charisma +2, ring of protection +1, 65 gp


Krüger (Hybrid Form)
CE Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +1
Aura cowardice (10 ft.)

AC 24, touch 12, flat-footed 23 (+8 armor, +1 deflection, +1 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 85 (7d10+42)
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +8
DR 10/silver; Immune disease; Resist electricity 10

Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 bastard sword +14/+9 (1d10+7/19-20 plus 1d6 electricity), bite +7 (1d6+2 plus 1d6 electricity and trip and curse of lycanthropy)
Special Attacks channel negative energy 2/day (DC 15, 4d6), electrical discharge, silver electrolysis (DC 19), smite good 3/day (+2 attack and AC, +7 damage)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +9)
At will—detect good
Antipaladin Spells Prepared (CL 4th; concentration +6)
2nd—bull's strength
1st—bane (DC 13), death knell (DC 13)

Str 21, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +7; CMB +11 (+13 sunder); CMD 27 (29 vs. sunder)
Feats Demoralizing Sunder, Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Intimidate), Weapon Focus (bastard sword)
Skills Handle Animal +12, Intimidate +15, Stealth +9
Languages Common
SQ aura of evil, change shape (human, hybrid, and wolf; polymorph), channel negative energy, cruelties (diseased, sickened), fiendish boon (weapon +1, 1/day), lycanthropic empathy (wolves and dire wolves), touch of corruption, unholy resilience
Gear +1 banded mail, +1 bastard sword, headband of alluring charisma +2, ring of protection +1, 65 gp


New Feat

Demoralizing Sunder
When you break your opponent's equipment, you instill fear in that foe.
Prerequisites: Str 13, Improved Sunder, Power Attack, base attack bonus +5.
Benefit: Whenever you destroy a weapon, shield, or suit of armor with a sunder attempt, you can use a free action to make an Intimidate check to demoralize the foe equipped with the destroyed item. You gain a bonus on this check equal to the amount by which your damage exceeds the item's hit points.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Fractal Monarch

Welcome back for this week's second monster! I think I said "24 hours or so" in the last post, and the delay gave the intellect spirit a little more time in the spotlight. I'm sticking with those excuses for the delay. Tonight's monster is courtesy of Paizo friend, Kruelaid, who asked if I took requests, which of course I do. He then presented me with an awesome idea that I hope my stat block did justice. The fractal monarch was an ordinary butterfly mutated by fey teleportation energy to become a living plane shift spell, with a random destination for all but the most powerful fey and outsiders. The creature is normally peaceful, so as long as characters don't decide to attack it for no good reason (riiiight), then they won't have to worry about ending up in the Abyss or something worse.

I hope you enjoy the fractal monarch, and I'll see you next week with a new monster. Thanks for reading!

I liked this image for the fractal monarch. You can find the original here.

At rest, this creature looks like an enormous monarch butterfly. When it flies, though, a panoply of images—ordinary and strange vistas, demons and angels, and indescribable visions—cascades across the creature's wings.
Fractal Monarch CR 12
XP 19,200
CN Large magical beast
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +16
Aura confusion (10 ft., DC 24)

AC 27, touch 27, flat-footed 21 (+12 deflection, +5 Dex, +1 dodge, –1 size)
hp 152 (16d10+64)
Fort +14, Ref +15, Will +6
Immune mind-affecting effects, teleportation; SR 23

Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee 2 wings +20 (2d6 plus fractal travel)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks curse of broken travel, fractal travel
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th; concentration +22)
At will—dimension door (self only)

Str 10, Dex 21, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 23
Base Atk +16; CMB +17; CMD 45 (53 vs. trip)
Feats Acrobatic, Dimensional Agility, Dimensional Assault, Dimensional Dervish, Dodge, Hover, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Knowledge [planes])(B), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +24, Fly +26, Knowledge (planes) +27, Perception +16, Stealth +16
Languages Common, Sylvan (can't speak)
SQ improved evasion, planar awareness

Environment temperate and warm forests
Organization solitary, pair, or colony (3–50)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Aura of Confusion (Su) A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by that fractal monarch's aura of confusion for one day.
Curse of Broken Travel (Su) A creature that kills a fractal monarch must succeed at a DC 24 Will save or gain spell resistance equal to the fractal monarch's against spells and effects of the conjuration (teleportation) subschool. Any spell or effect with a chance to arrive off target that bypasses the spell resistance has its "on target" chance halved, with the remaining percentile shifted to "off target;" additionally, double the distance rolled for "off target" results. This curse can only be removed by remove curse, break enchantment, or more powerful magic. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Fractal Travel (Su) As part of its wing attack or as a touch attack that deals no damage, a fractal monarch targets its opponent with an effect similar to plane shift (DC 23 Will save negates), except the opponent does not have to be a willing creature. The fractal monarch transports the foe to a random plane. If an opponent successfully grapples a fractal monarch, it must succeed at a Will save as if the monarch had struck the opponent.
A fey creature or outsider struck by a fractal monarch's wing (or one that succeeds at a touch attack on the monarch) can attempt an opposed Charisma check to force the monarch to send the fey or outsider to a plane of its choosing. A creature who wins the Charisma check against the monarch can also task the monarch to transport itself along with the creature.
Planar Awareness (Ex) A fractal monarch's omnidimensional ties give it a unique understanding of the planes. It treats Knowledge (planes) as a class skill, and it gains Skill Focus (Knowledge [planes]) as a bonus feat.

Fractal monarchs originated in fey realms as a colony of ordinary butterflies that absorbed magical energy from powerful fey portal to other dimensions. The butterflies grew to extraordinary size and gained sentience as a result of their exposure to an incredible cross-section of planes and alternate dimensions. The first interactions between the fractal monarchs and fey proved disastrous for the fey, as the butterflies shunted the fey to random planes where they perished alone.

Powerful fey nobles who could withstand the forced planar shifting managed to drive most of the fractal monarchs away. The fey nobles figured out how to communicate with the remaining few monarchs and reached an accord with the creatures. These allied butterflies act as portable, living portals for the fey, who usually take one with them when they travel to potentially hostile dimensions. As the monarchs have become stranded in various planes, outsiders have taken notice of the creatures, and the most powerful have learned to assert the will over them.

"Wild" fractal monarchs collect near points where the borders between dimensions are thin, such as faerie crossroads or destroyed planar gates. They feed off esoteric energy generated at these borders and otherwise mind their own business. Fractal monarchs hardly ever attack other creatures unprovoked, but they have no compunctions about defending themselves from attacks, usually by sending their attackers away to parts unknown. The monarchs also inflict a curse that bars their killers from teleporting or randomizes teleportation. Rumors tell of a rare few fractal monarchs that can fold in on themselves to create a permanent gate, killing the monarch that created the gate and pulling everything within a 500-foot radius into the gate.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Intellect Spirit

Hello, and welcome back to another Frightful Fridays! The first monster for today is not my creation. Instead Paizo friends Orthos (aka Brian Ratcliff) and Scintillae created this neat spirit similar to Bob from the Dresden Files series. I wanted to share this with you, and it also gives me a chance to highlight Orthos's blog, which details his campaign world and his thoughts on various roleplaying elements. This handy link will take you to his blog. Check it out!

Thanks for stopping by for the intellect spirit, which I hope you will enjoy! I'll be back in roughly 24 hours with a new monster.

A sparkling cloud of lights hovers in the air. A few sparks coalesce into points of light positioned almost like eyes, then the mass swirls away, diving into a wax-covered skull on the mantle, whose eye sockets suddenly glimmer with light of the exact same shade.

Intellect Spirit CR 5

XP 1,600
N Tiny fey (incorporeal)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10

AC 19, touch 19, flat-footed 16 (+3 Dex, +4 deflection, +2 size)
hp 33 (6d6+6)
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +5
SR 17
Weakness vulnerability to sunlight

Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee touch +8 (1d4 electricity plus brain drain [DC 19])
Special Attacks brain drain
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +10)
Constant—comprehend languages, detect magic, read magic
At will—dancing lights, identify, invisibility
5/day—color spray (DC 15), haunting mists (DC 16)
3/day—arcane sight, detect scrying, divination, scrying (DC 18), legend lore
1/day—commune, tongues

Str —, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +1; CMD 14
Feats Ability Focus (brain drain), Alertness, Magical Aptitude, Weapon Finesse (B)
Skills Appraise +10, Craft (alchemy) +11, Fly +22, Knowledge (arcana) +16, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +16, Knowledge (engineering) +16, Knowledge (geography) +16, Knowledge (history) +16, Knowledge (nature) +16, Knowledge (nobility) +16, Knowledge (local) +16, Knowledge (planes) +16, Knowledge (religion) +16, Linguistics +14, Perception +10, Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +10; Racial Modifiers +6 Knowledge (all)
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnomish, Sylvan
SQ exceptional knowledge, partnership, possession

Brain Drain (Su) An Intellect Spirit can violently probe the mind of a single intelligent enemy when it makes a touch attack. The target receives a Will save to negate the effect. Those who fail this save are wracked with pain, taking 6d4 points of damage. After successfully attacking with this ability, the Intellect Spirit may, as a free action, sort through the jumble of stolen thoughts and memories to make a single Knowledge check using the victim’s skill bonus as a bonus to its own score. The randomly stolen thoughts remain in the Spirit’s mind for a number of rounds equal to its Intelligence modifier. Treat the knowledge gained as if it had used detect thoughts. This is a mind-affecting effect.
Exceptional Knowledge (Ex) An Intellect Spirit is a vast repository of information, usually crafted from the cooperation of a powerful mortal spellcaster and a fey or outsider of immense intellect and knowledge. It treats Appraise, all Knowledge skills, Linguistics, and Spellcraft as class skills, and gains a racial bonus equal to its hit dice on all Knowledge skills. It uses Intelligence to determine the DC of its spell-like and supernatural abilities, as well as its deflection bonus to AC gained from the Incorporeal subtype.
Partnership (Ex) Quite often, an Intellect Spirit enters an agreement with a mortal, offering their expansive knowledge, experience, and intellect in exchange for shelter, company, and payment. This is usually determined by the partner providing an inanimate object to serve as the Spirit’s host, often something that will give the Spirit a corporeal shape with the ability to visibly speak, such as a skull, a music box, or such like. Once the Spirit has taken the object as its own, the Partnership can be transferred to a new partner simply by the object changing ownership.
While engaged in a Partnership, an Intellect Spirit’s personality is strongly shaped and influenced by that of its partner. A Spirit partnered to a kindly old priest will be friendly, gentle, and comforting; one partnered to a reclusive, scholarly wizard will be curt, professional, and bookish; and one partnered to a wicked necromancer will become cold, vicious, and destructive. These "personalities" are hidden away while the Spirit is not partnered with the partner who initiated them; however, they can be summoned forth again if the partner requests or if the Spirit wishes them to be. The Spirit retains vague memories of its personality when with other partners, but retains most or all of the knowledge it acquired in that time.
In exchange for its service and its loyalty, the Spirit usually requests shelter and protection from its partner as well as a regular payment of a peculiar sort. Intellect Spirits have little need for money, gems, food, or even magical items; being fey, their requests are usually more bizarre or abstract. Examples include particular stones, a specific scent of incense, a certain genre of books, objects from a specific location of interest, feathers from a certain type of bird, and such like.
Possession (Su) An Intellect Spirit can possess an inanimate object, a willing or helpless intelligent creature (a creature with Intelligence 6 or higher), or any creature with an Intelligence below 6. While possessing something, the Spirit is invulnerable to all attacks, including its vulnerability to sunlight, until it ends the possession or its host is destroyed or killed. A Spirit may leave a small sign of its presence - glowing eyes, a halo of sparks, or other markings - on its host object or creature, but it may also choose not to leave these marks; showing or hiding the mark is a free action.
While possessed, a living creature gains the Possessed quality:

Possessed (Su) A creature is inhabited by a specific Intellect Spirit. The spirit can neither control the possessed creature nor read its mind, and it perceives only what the possessed creature does. The Spirit is in constant telepathic communication with the possessed creature, imparting its thoughts and desires regardless of language. To gain the possessed creature’s cooperation, the demon usually offers telepathic suggestions that it thinks its host might find appealing. While possessing another creature, the demon does not have access to any of its spell-like abilities. It cannot cast spells or take purely mental actions beyond thinking and using Intelligence-, Wisdom-, and Charisma-based skills. It cannot be targeted by any spell or effect, but it can be detected normally by divination spells. Damage that harms the possessed creature does not harm the possessing Spirit. If the possessed creature dies, the Spirit appears in its square. The Spirit can exit the possessed creature at any time as a standard action. When it does so, it appears in the nearest available open space.

Vulnerability to Sunlight (Su) An Intellect Spirit is harmed when exposed to direct sunlight, taking 1d6 points of damage every round it is exposed. Most Intellect Spirits avoid harm from the sun by remaining indoors or in safe locations during the day, possessing an animal, or possessing an object and leaving it in the care of a trusted carrier.