Friday, March 30, 2007

Naahaogo: the mountain goat people

Beast Men (Na'ah-aogo): Known as beast-men by their human neighbors, but calling themselves the Naahaogo, these creatures dwell in the barrier mountains north at the headwaters of the river that flows through the wild woods separating the gnomes and humans in the lands on the north shore of the Soral Sea. They are thought of as dangerous savages by the humans south of them, and have fought settlers and raiders from the human kingdoms.

They are organized into small family units and are primarily nomadic gatherers. They have the aspect of men with the head and hind legs of a goat, with a good pelt of fur across their entire bodies, giving them a hardy resistance to cold weather.

They receive a +4 racial bonus to jump, climb and balance checks and are well suited to the mountain terrain in which they live.

They recieve a +1 racial adjustment to dex and con and a -2 adjustment to intelegence and -1 to charisma.

Their favored class is ranger, but druids and barbarians are common among them.

Their society tends to be neutral and slightly chaotic as do individual members of the race. They fight with longbows and spears, though their warriors favor many weapons such as greataxes, greatswords and longspears.

Thursday, March 29, 2007



Level: Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: See text

You gain temporary protection against the next attack that targets you. You gain a +20 insight bonus against the next single attack roll made against you (if it is made before the beginning of your next turn). You must be aware of the attacker for this bonus to have an effect.

Focus: A small silver shield worth 5 gold.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Deep Purse

This enchanted purse can carry much more wealth than would physically fit inside it, due to enchantments. In many ways similar to a bag of holding, it cannot be used to store anything larger than an inch or two in diameter. In addition, the wearer of this purse can retrieve desired items from it quickly without having to rummage through it. As a move action the wearer can simply pull out the desired coins or gem.

The purse can carry up to 200 pounds of coin and gems, or approximately 10,000 individual coins. No matter how much coin is in it it always appears to weigh 5 pounds, unless it is empty.

This enchantment is often combined with other purse enchantments, such as the Serpentward Purse.

Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, secret chest; Price 2,000 gold.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Melangell Blackwing, Wizard

This wizard is the result of a nocturnal encounter between a half-elven weaver and an incubus who was terrorizing a small village's women. Melangell and her mother were forced to flee their home almost as soon as she was born, as a mob was gathering to put an end to the life of this bastard deamon child. They escaped and eventually found sanctuary at a temple to Wee Jas. The child was raised with much help from the priestesses of the temple, who knew that this child would come to ill, or cause it if not carefully tended to.

As a young girl, Melangell took to magery like a swan to water. Some of the presitesses were reluctant to teach her, but she was always the brightest and quickest student, and quite charming when she wanted to get her way.

At the age of thirteen, chafing under the sternly watchful eyes of the temple mothers, she left to find her own way in the world. Stubborn and headstrong, only her keen wits and her strong magic allowed her to survive her adolescence. Many villages through which she wandered still curse her name. A few in those villages thank the gods she came to them.

Eventually she was lured to the remote tower of Vegarin the Drake-master for his own nefarious purposes. After many contests she eventually defeated him in a wizard's duel. His petrified form still stands in her foyer, captured in the midst of casting a spell, covered in cloaks and hats. She still uses his abode as a home, with it's well-stocked library and alchemical laboratories, though her wanderlust means she is rarely there.

Grown to full womanhood, Melangell has matured somewhat. She is still known to make snap decisions, and can be very cruel when she feels slighted, but has finally arrived at a place in her life where she feels that she has adequate control over her own destiny, which allows her to relax slightly.

A darkly beautiful woman with fine clear features, dark, straight hair, and a slight frame, Melangell's deamonic heritage is betrayed by her red eyes and small horns, and by her thin spade-tipped tail, which she carefully conceals beneath her dresses and cloaks.

Melangell Blackwing CR 13
female tiefling wizard 13
CN (with good tendencies) Size Medium humanoid
Init: +1 Senses: Darkvision 60 ft. Listen +2, Spot +2
Languages: common, abyssal

AC: 15 (+4 armor, +1 dex) touch 11, flatfooted 14
HP: 60 (HD 13d4+26) rolls - 4,2,3,1,3,3,3,3,4,1,3,1,3 + 26
Resist: cold 5, electricity 5, and fire 5
Fort: +4+4+1 = +9 Ref: +4+4+1 = +9 Will: +8+4+2 = +14

MV: 30 ft.
Attack: +8 ranged touch
Full Attack: weapon +? (damage / crit range)
Space / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Base Attack: +6 Grapple: +5

Abilities Str 8 (-1) Dex 12 (+1) Con 12 (+1) / 14 (+2) Int 21 (+5) / 25 (+7) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 13 (+1)
SQ: teifling qualities
SA: teifling abilities, Scry on familiar
Feats: 5+2 + Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus Evocation, Spell Focus Transmutation, Spell Penetration, Craft Wand, Spell Mastery (dispel magic, magic missile, gaseous form), Improved Familiar (pseudodragon), Spell Focus Enchantment, Alertness (from familiar)
Skills: 101 +7 skill points: Bluff 7+1, Concentration +12+2, Craft (jewelery / art objects) +3+7, Craft (woodworking) +2+7, Decipher Script +3+7, Gather Information +7+1, Knowledge (arcana) +13+7, Knowledge (dung.) +5+7, Knowledge (history) +5+7, Knowledge (geography) +5+7, Knowledge (religion) +5+7, Knowledge (the planes) +5+7, Hide +2+1, Spellcraft +14+7, languages: common, abyssal, undercommon, auran, elven, draconic, celestial

Spells Available: (DC 17 + spell level)
0th: 4 / day: prestidigitation, detect magic
1st: 6 / day: shield, magic missile, burning hands, ray of enfeeblement, charm person, reduce person, alarm, identify, mage armor, protection from evil, comprehend languages, feather fall
2nd: 6 / day: glitterdust, alter self, invisibility, scorching ray, knock, detect thoughts, resist energy, mirror image, arcane lock, earthbind *, locate object, see invisibility, rope trick
3rd: 6 / day: gaseous form, slow, fly, dispel magic, protection from energy, suggestion, lightning bolt, major image, fireball, arcane sight
4th: 5 / day: minor creation, polymorph, enervation, fire shield, stoneskin, scrying, bestow curse, greater invisibility, dragonskin *, sending
5th: 4 / day: cone of cold, teleport, hold monster, break enchantment, fabricate, baleful polymorph, telekenisis
6th: 3 / day: analyze dweomer, disintigrate, greater dispel magic, chain lightning, repulsion
7th: 2 / day: insanity, mage's sword, grasping hand, forcecage

* Draconomican

Spell-Like Abilities: Summon Familiar
Spellbook: see above
Posessions: (110,000 gp - 105,375 -322) masterwork silver dagger 322gp, wand of scorching ray (11th) 8250 gp, wand of lightning bolt (10th) 11250 gp , wand of magic missile (9th level) 3,375 gp, wand of enervation 10,500 gp, cloak of resistance +4 16k, headband of intelect +4 16k, amulet of health +2 4k, bracers of armor +4 16k gp, boots of flying 16k gp, Deep Purse 2k, Handy Haversack 2k, spell components, 4,303 gp in coins and gems

Vorel Kethend, pseudodragon familliar:
NG Male Tiny Dragon
Init: +2 Senses: blindsense
Listen +9 Spot +9

AC: 25 (+2 size, +2 Dex, +11 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 23
HP: 15 (HD 2d12+2) - 25 HP (HD 13)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4

MV: 15 ft. (3 squares), fly 60 ft. (good)
Attack: Sting +6 melee (1d3-2 plus poison)
Full Attack: Sting +6 melee (1d3-2 plus poison) and bite +1 melee (1)
Space / Reach: 2½ ft./0 ft. (5 ft. with tail)
Base Attack: +2 Grp: -8

Abilities: Str 6, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 10
Feats: Alertness, Weapon FinesseB
Skills: Diplomacy +2, Hide +20*, Listen +9, Search +6, Sense Motive +7, Spot +9, Survival +1 (+3 following tracks)

SA: Poison, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, Deliver touch spells, Speak with master, Speak with animals of its kind, Spell resistance,
SQ: Blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., immunity to sleep and paralysis, low-light vision, spell resistance 19, telepathy 60 ft.

Poison (Ex) Injury, Fortitude DC 14, initial damage sleep for 1 minute, secondary damage sleep for 1d3 hours. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +2 racial bonus.

Blindsense (Ex) A pseudodragon can locate creatures within 60 feet by nonvisual means (mostly hearing and scent, but also by noticing vibration and other environmental clues). Opponents the pseudodragon can’t actually see still have total concealment against the pseudodragon.

Telepathy (Su) Pseudodragons can communicate telepathically with creatures that speak Common or Sylvan, provided they are within 60 feet.

Detailed Special Ability or Attacks (Su): darkness 1/day as 13th level caster.

XP: 750,000 - 2670 for wand crafting - 790,000

Tiefling characters possess the following racial traits.

* +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma.
* Medium size.
* A tiefling’s base land speed is 30 feet.
* Darkvision out to 60 feet.
* Racial Skills: Tieflings have a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Hide checks.
* Racial Feats: A tiefling gains feats according to its class levels.
* Special Attacks (see above): Darkness.
* Special Qualities (see above): Resistance to cold 5, electricity 5, and fire 5.
* Automatic Languages: Common, Infernal. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Orc.
* Favored Class: Rogue.
* Level adjustment +1.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Time Out of Mind

Time Out of Mind
Level: Protection 8, Sor/Wiz 8
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 hour
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

A lossy version of Mind Blank over a specified period of time, an no one is aware of the blanking. This time literally becomes time out of mind; everyone, including the caster forget about the actions of one person for a specified hour of their lives. This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects for the hour specified. Time Out of Mind even foils limited wish, miracle, and wish spells when they are used in such a way as to gain information about the subject over the specified period of time. Scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at the subject do not work at all.

The material components are an ounce of sand from an hourglass that has been used by the caster for at least 24 hours and a sapphire worth at least 500gp. Both are consumed with the spell.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mpa-Mda Mba-Mta (Pada Bata)

A slave brought to Sassarine from the inlands, his name means "fight person, burn death." After years as under these conditions, he broke his bonds, escaped, and is now an outlaw. Mpa-Mda survives as a swordsman and swashbucker, his towering physique providing an amazing reach for his rapier. A fugitive, he must hide his face in public with his hood. Another reason for hiding his face in the city is that he has some nasty scarring on both sides of his face and down his back from years of being beaten.

He lives in a small camp on Parrot Island (off the Shadowshore) and rides the tides at night on his makeshift raft, living off fish and what he collects along the shore. He has befriended a cadre of homeless kids from Shadowshore who bring him information and small goods in exchage for warrior training and occasional protection.

There are those who call him Death itself. When he finally hunts down Captain Adelard and his men, he will indeed bring about their deaths. This is his number one goal.

Recently Pada had a run-in with the slaver that originally brought him to the area and sold him to Captain Adelard. After helping some other slaves to escape, Pada ended up with a new friend: a grig who calls herself Flitaround Jumpkins. Flit now lives with Pada in his cave on Parrot Island.

Mpa-Mda Mba-Mta (Pada Bata, as most people don't pronounce the leading m)
Medium-size Male Human
Fighter 2
Hit Dice: (2d10)+5
Hit Points: 25
Initiative: +2
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 14 (flatfooted 12, touch 12)
Attacks: *Rapier +0; Base attack +3;
Damage: *Rapier 1d6+3; ;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities:
Saves: Fortitude: +4, Reflex: +2, Will: +0
Abilities: STR 16 (+3), DEX 15 (+2), CON 13 (+1), INT 11 (+0), WIS 11 (+0), CHA 8 (-1)
Skills: Appraise 0; Balance 2; Bluff -1; Climb 7; Concentration 1; Craft (Untrained) 0; Diplomacy -1; Disguise -1; Escape Artist 2; Forgery 0; Gather Information -1; Handle Animal 0; Heal 2; Hide 3; Intimidate 0; Jump 5; Listen 0; Move Silently 2; Ride 2; Search 0; Sense Motive 0; Spot 1; Survival 1; Swim 5;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Combat Reflexes, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Toughness, Tower Shield Proficiency, Two-Weapon Fighting, (one other)
Challenge Rating: 2
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Possessions: Chalk (4 pieces), Crocodile Tooth Necklace, Hooded Robe, Leather Armor, Leather Belt, Pouch (Belt), Dual Rusty Rapiers, Sandals, Whetstone, Dagger w/boot sheath, Semi-ornate sheath (empty), healing potion, (better) healing potion, potion with wavy lines, brown earth elemental gem

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Issue 6 Released

After a long journey, issue #6 of Claw / Claw / Bite ! has been released!

Collecting the best of Claw / Claw / Bite ! from the months of February and March, CCB #6 weigh in with 1 location, 5 encounters, 3 characters, 4 unique gargoyles, a new race, a new spell, and 11 new magic items.

Download and print it up today here!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Shaana Vandra

Shaana Vandra is the youngest and only daughter of the eleven progeny of King Vandor.

Shaana cast off her royal heritage when she met up with four other women who studied the occult. They fancy themselves goddesses, often referring to themselves as such.

Before departing her spoiled life, she forged royal documents, converting some of the kingdom's wealth into her own, setting herself and her coven friends up nicely with a hefty fortune. Now she wanders the woods in search of the appropriate revenge plot to enact upon her ten elder brothers, the rulers of the fragmented Ten Princedoms.

Shaana Vandra
Medium-size Female Human
Sorcerer5 Druid2
Hit Dice: (5d4)+(2d8)+14
Hit Points: 41
Initiative: +2
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 15 (flatfooted 13, touch 12)
Attacks: *Sling of Outrageous Fortune +2 (Seeking) +7; ;
Damage: *Sling of Outrageous Fortune +2 (Seeking) 1d4+3; ;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Animal Companion (Ex), Nature Sense (Ex), Summon Familiar, Wild Empathy (Ex) +6, Woodland Stride (Ex)
Saves: Fortitude: +6, Reflex: +3, Will: +9
Abilities: STR 12 (+1), DEX 15 (+2), CON 14 (+2), INT 18 (+4), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 14 (+2)
Skills: Appraise 4; Balance 2; Bluff 7; Climb 1; Concentration 11; Craft (Untrained) 4; Diplomacy 11; Disguise 4; Escape Artist 2; Forgery 8; Gather Information 2; Handle Animal 11; Heal 2; Hide 2; Intimidate 4; Jump 1; Knowledge (Arcana) 10; Knowledge (Nature) 7; Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 6; Knowledge (Religion) 7; Listen 2; Move Silently 2; Ride 4; Search 4; Sense Motive 2; Speak Language(Abyssal) 1; Spellcraft 15; Spot 2; Survival 6; Swim 1;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Deceitful, Eschew Materials, Improved Counterspell, Plant Defiance, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency
Challenge Rating: 7
Alignment: Neutral Evil

Possessions: Bracers of Armor +3; Bullets, Sling (50); Medallion of Thoughts; Robe of Bones; Sling of Outrageous Fortune +2 (Seeking); Slippers of Spider Climbing;
Spells per Day: (6/7/5/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:12+spell level)
Sorcerer - Known:
Level 0: Arcane Mark, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic
Level 1: Cause Fear, Obscuring Mist, Ray of Enfeeblement, Unseen Servant
Level 2: Hideous Laughter, Obscure Object
Spells per Day: (4/3/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:12+spell level)
Druid - Known:
Level 0: Create Water, Cure Minor Wounds, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Flare, Guidance, Know Direction, Light, Mending, Purify Food and Drink, Read Magic, Resistance, Virtue
Level 1: Calm Animals, Charm Animal, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Animals or Plants, Detect Snares and Pits, Endure Elements, Entangle, Faerie Fire, Goodberry, Hide from Animals, Jump, Longstrider, Magic Fang, Magic Stone, Obscuring Mist, Pass without Trace, Produce Flame, Shillelagh, Speak with Animals, Summon Nature's Ally I

Friday, March 16, 2007

Savage Tide Campaign Chronicle

Hi there, fellow roleplayers!

Today I'm starting a new feature, a Campaign Chronicle. These posts will detail the events that have transpired in actual games we're running, as they happen. The first in this series is from a game I'm running for some friends. We're playing Dungeon Magazine's amazing Savage Tide adventure path. Here's the events of the first two sessions as told by me and two of the players.

It should be noted that this post contains spoilers for Savage Tide's first adventure: "There is no Honor". If you don't want to know what players may face in that adventure, don't read on...

Of course, it all started for each of you in that alley in Shadowshore. It was midday and as fate would have it each of you was passing through as you tended to your day's affairs. As is common in Shadowshore a merchant had set hit wares out to display there on the street, only to pack his illicit goods away and appear in another spot should too much scrutiny appear.

Today, in this alley, in the long shadow of the looming black basalt cathedral of Kord, the merchant was Morga "Blacklash" Harlis, slaver. A few shackled humanoids sat in the dirt of the alley at his feet, miserable and bearing the marks of his namesake. On a crate to Morga'sside stood a small cage, a rarer captive languished. At your approach, the slavemaster prodded the creature within and began barking out it's virtues: "a tiny minstrel for your lady's parlor! Sweet melodies to woo your woman! This tiny faery sings so sweet, for only 50 gold," he shouts moistly.

For Pada Bata, your first glimpse of Blacklash makes your blood run cold. You pull your cowl closer about your scared face, remembering the sting of his whip as he brought you here to Sassarine from the inlands. You move to the other side of the alley and hope to pass by without being recognized as one of his that managed to escape. You can't help stealing a glimpse at the other unfortunates he is selling today, hoping and also fearing to see a familiar face.

Morga begins extolling the faery's virtues, and the tiny prodded thing begins to sing, accompanied by it's tiny violin and a strange cricket-like chirping. The song is a mournful one from the first few notes, and your fear turns to pity. A you catch a glimpse of the poor thing and something startling happens: you rush up and, towering over your former master, confront him, demanding he release all these people.

Blacklash responds with threatening motions with his every-handy whip, words become louder, and violence ensues. A cage is broken. A man is relieved of his whip and left unconscious. None of you is too sure why you helped those slaves escape that day, but afterwards, you barely took time to acknowledge each other before you went your separate ways, hoping to slip away before Blacklash's associates arrived.

News of the event made the rounds in the taverns for a few days, but then was mostly forgotten. Until each of you received a letter inviting you to the Vanderboren estate.


About a week after the fight in the market at Shadowshore, a messenger boy approached Dervish Swinton with a letter. The letter was from Mistress Lavinia Vanderboren of the Vanderboren Estate. Curiosity more than anything set Dervish's feet towards the estate. An old serving woman greeted him at the front door and ushered him into the waiting area of the mansion interior. Dervish was slightly surprised to see the scarred face of the would-be hero who attacked the slavemaster in Shadowshore. The tiny faery minstrel was there too. And a shady looking fellow with cunning eyes who had also participated in the brawl at the slave market.

Shortly after making everyone's acquaintance, a group of seasoned adventurers entered the room. One was obviously a warrior of some sort and seemed to be the leader. An attractive woman had the traits of a sorceress or magic-weaver. They introduced themselves as adventurers in the employ of Lavinia Vanderboren and then took leave of the guests. Dervish got the sense that they were on their way to board a vessel, destined for a formidable sea voyage.

The serving woman returned and escorted the guests into a Mistress Vanderboren's office. Lavinia Vanderboren was a young woman. Her face had lines of worry etched on its attractive features. After making introductions, she revealed that her parents had recently died in a tragic fire aboard a new ship of theirs. The ship had been in the middle of the harbor when the fire had broken out. It burned to the waterline before the remains of the vessel had slipped beneath the waves.

Lavinia was now facing several problems in managing the financial affairs of the family. The Vanderboren's only remaining seaworthy vessel was now impounded by the harbormaster. One of the harbormaster's thugs was keeping a close eye on it and would not release the vessel until the fines owed on it were paid. Lavinia had sent the payment but the harbormaster's people claimed to have not received it. To make matters worse, the rest of the family wealth resided into the Vanderboren section of the city vaults. The only way to access them was to use her parents' signet rings. The one her mother had possessed was lost. Her father's ring was kept on the ship that was currently impounded. The harbormaster would not allow Lavinia to board her father's vessel to retrieve the ring.

The reason for this meeting was now clear. Lavinia needed the group's help in getting her father's ring back. She also wanted the group to find and reclaim the money she had sent as payment for the fines on the ship. After some haggling, Dervish negotiated a price that he thought was adequate for the job and agreed to sign on. The others accepted too.

Taking leave of Lavinia, Dervish and the others followed the serving woman to the mansion's kitchen to plan out their next move.


*narration from my character Mo*

I wasn't sure what to do with the letter. What could a wealthy noble want with a waif like me? Does she have a share in the slave trade? Is this a vengeance-motivated trap? Or could good deeds actually bear rewards? As one not too familiar with good deeds, either receiving or committing them, I had no real basis on which to rely. But I didn't have much to lose other than my "life"--if that's what you could call my existence-- so I decided to take a chance. You can't win anything if you don't roll the dice. I showed up at the estate on scheduled next day, surprised to see familiar faces from the fiasco the day before.

Upon receiving our mission, and also being offered more gold than I've seen in my entire life, I decided that perhaps good deeds do pay off. I may consider that when future opportunities arise.

We decided to start first by snooping around the docks. The faerie-bug (whom I later found out was called a "grig") hid on the rooftops while Dervish and I asked around. Dervish, the more personable one, did most of the talking while I kept my eyes on the ship, which lay only about fifty feet into the harbor. We saw armed guards milling about, but they didn't seem to have any purpose. Dervish set us up as potential deck hands, and we were told to talk to the harbormaster's main man, who could be found on the impounded ship. We stuffed the grig into my backpack and caught a gondola to the ship. The plan was to provide a distraction long enough for the grig to slip out and look around.

We came to the side of the ship and hailed the guards. We told them (quite truthfully I might add) that we had been advised that this was the place to come to look for jobs. Noticing the arms and armor of the deck hands, we improvised and posed as potential security. An ugly brute of a man, their leader and the harbormaster's head of security, invited us aboard, albeit suspiciously, and questioned us further. He must have gone too long without bashing any heads in, because he proposed an interview for the position of guard. A physical interview. Now I'm not small, but I could tell this brute had at least fifty pounds on me. His thick arm reached for his rapier, probably unconsciously, but he then declared a fist fight. The guards gathered around, leering excitedly, eager for a little excitement on the sun-beat decks. Dervish and I looked at each other (and also noticed the grig slip out of the bag that I had conveniently put down outside of the circle of guards), and I stepped forward. I didn't like this fatty looking down on me, and I wanted to take him down a notch.

I tossed aside my sword (though I still kept my hidden daggers... can never be too safe) and put up my fists. This man could easily overpower me, and he looked like he knew it. He walked towards me confident in his size, strength, and fighting experience. He had every reason to be smiling viciously... but he didn't know that I grew up in Shadowshore. I learned to fight before I learned to talk. Though I favor blades, I've done whatever it takes to survive thus far. Bricks, planks, and fists have had to suffice more often than not. I began my fighting dance, staying on my toes, watching my opponent's moves. The brute came forward lunging, as expected, and I easily side-stepped. He was quicker than he looked, but still not quick enough. After feeling him out, I warned him that I fight dirty. I had to remember that I wasn't fighting for my life, that knocking him senseless and slitting his throat would not further our goals (well it might, but I'd also end up on the gallows). The cocky bastard ignored my warning and came at me quick. I feigned an opening, and when he came in as anticipated, I jabbed him in his unprotected side, right in the kidney. Though he'd probably pee blood for a few days, he recovered from the shock and kept his mind about him. After dancing a few more circles though, his pride got the better of him (he must have remembered that his crew was watching) and he came in strong again, attempting to knock me off my feet. I side-stepped again, and this time I clipped him on his throat.

Not being able to breathe has a way of taking the fight out of people, and this time was no exception. He ended the fight, both to my relief and distress. Playing off his defeat in a predictable manner, he said that we had some skill and that if we wanted work we should go to the harbormaster's estate. Inwardly nervous, I noticed that the grig had still not returned. I coughed loudly to signal her, saying that the fight took more out of me than I thought. Dervish and I stalled for time by asking questions about the ship, about specific work opportunities, etc. It could only last for so long before the brute expected something though, so finally we shrugged resignedly and climbed down the rope ladder to the waiting gondola. Fortunately (I mean purposely... yes, purposely) I forgot my bag on the ship. The not serendipitous and completely pre-meditated act bought enough time for the faerie to return, and as I grabbed my bag and set out down the ladder again, she came running along the side of the boat and slipped into my bag unnoticed. Returning to the dock, we sat in the corner of a less-seedy-than-I'm-used-to tavern and listened to what the faerie learned.


Flush with our success in recovering the Vanderboren signet ring and Lady Lavinia's platinum, we set out the next day to the city vaults. After recognizing Lavinia as the authorized executor of the Vanderboren estate, we were led to a round chamber underground with 12 passages spoking outwards. Down one of these spokes we came to a sealed door. Lavinia placed the signet ring against it and it opened for her. Inside was a dark room. Several pillars supported the main dome of this room. To each side were smaller open chambers with lower ceilings than the domed area.

The place was definitely trapped. Erring on the side of caution, we wedged one of Mo's daggers under the open door to prevent it from shutting behind us and trapping us inside. Then we entered the room. In hindsight, the multitudinous snakes carved into the pillars should have been our first clue to the nature of the trap.

I was standing next to one of these pillars, shining my lantern around one of the smaller chambers when a metal snake creature slithered close to my leg and gave it a sharp bite. The pain was bad, but the burning sensation from its venom was worse. I could feel the strength leave my leg. I turned about and struck at it, but my rapier merely glanced off the creature's metal hide with a loud clang. Mo joined in the attack but his weapon proved equally futile in penetrating the creature's metallic hide. I retreated to just out of the creature's striking range as my entire body began to burn and weaken from the spreading venom.

In a bold move, Flit moved right up to the creature's face and attempted to fascinate it with her otherworldly music. Unfortunately, this serpent was not swayed by the strains of her song and instead bit her savagely. I could see the venom affect Flit as she dropped a couple of feet in altitude. Desperate, I yelled to Lady Lavinia, "See if your ring can stop this creature." Mo added, "Try to command it!" Lady Lavinia, pointing the signet ring at the creature, firmly commanded the creature to desist.

Success! The creature ceased its attack. Lavinia then ordered the creature to return to its hole and guard against unauthorized entry. The metal snake slithered away.

We then spent several minutes searching this area for chests, lockers, or another door since there was no obvious sign of the family's money. After some searching, Mo discovered a carving of another serpent with an extended tongue that was a sort of lever. Moving the lever triggered a column of intertwined snake carvings to part and form an arch, revealing a hidden portal to another room.

The next room was octagonal. Each face had a carving of a monster. We quickly realized that starting with the wall immediately to the left of the entrance, and proceeding in a clockwise fashion, each monster had successively one more eye. One eye, two eye, three eye, four, and then some more. In the center of the room was a wide pillar that descended from the ceiling to just a few inches above the floor. The ceiling had a symbol of a black 8-pointed star with one arm a crimson color. Rotating the central pillar moved the red arm of the star around the room. A cryptic note that had been found in the cabin of the Vanderboren ship gave us the clue we needed to solve this particular puzzle.

This chamber was a giant combination lock. We merely had to rotate the pointer to the correct number of eyes according to the note and we would open the safe. We did so and the back wall of the chamber opened to reveal several chests.

Unfortunately most of the chests had already been plundered! Lavinia was shocked. She quickly searched the vault and discovered that only a fraction of her wealth was unplundered. One piece of luck in our favor was that the accounting ledgers were still there. Lavinia collected those and prepared to leave. I searched behind some of the chests and found a partially sodden bag. Several broken vials lay inside it, their liquid contents had drenched the bag and given it a particularly floral scent. One vial remained unmolested.

Upon leaving the family vault, Lavinia questioned one of the employees of the city vault. She discovered to her astonishment that her estranged brother had been in the vaults some weeks ago with a signet ring that could only have belonged to their mother. It appeared that he had emptied the family coffers and then departed.

Once we returned to Lavinia's manor, she entreated us to find her brother and tell him that she wishes to meet with him. After further questioning, it appeared that her brother was the black sheep of the family. As children, he and Lavinia had been very close. But after a prank they pulled had gotten them in deep trouble, they were separated by their parents. Lavinia was sent to a private school in another city and her brother was sent to a plantation on the outskirts of Sasserine. From there he had grown to be a despondent, angry youth who began running with some bad crowds. Lavinia had seen him last shortly after their parents death. By then she realized that a deep gap separated them from the bond they once had as children.

We searched her brother's room in the manor and discovered only a mug that came from a favorite tavern near the plantation where her brother spent his early adolescence. We also discovered that he was frequently seen in one of the "red-light" districts of Sasserine. Our search would have to continue there.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Harness of Taming

This harness fits over the back of a large creature, providing the rider a +10 bonus to animal handling and ride checks. Appearing as a simple harness, the true form is revealed upon successful latching of the leather strap into the mithril buckle.

The full form contains a saddle, saddlebags, and a flask full of water.

The Greater Harness of Taming provides a +20 bonus and costs four times as much.

Moderate alteration and enchantment; CL 5th (or 9th for Greater Harness of Taming); create water, control animal, craft wondrous item; Price: 10,000 gold (or 40,000 gold for Greater Harness of Taming).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pirate Cove

1 Floating Tunnel

The only entrance to the cove is through a small tunnel in the rocky base of the island of Harpy Point, among the choppy water. This tunnel is only passable or even visible during low tide when the water receeds. A ratty rope has been installed along the top of the tunnel -- the most ideal entrance is in a small skiff, where one of the boaters pulls the rope for leverage, propelling the boat into the grotto within. The passage is 300' long.

2 Grotto

The light that filters into this grotto makes the water a translucent light blue. The space opens into a rounded 100'x100' room. Along one end is a sturdy wooden dock, back from which stretches a tunnel deeper into the rock.

If the characters study the dock, they realize that the timbers are ancient and the wide trunks that make up the posts must have come from Elsemere Wood. If the characters search the grotto floor at the bottom of the 50' of water, they discover an old pirate vessel, the Hierotecles. The ship contains around 10,000 gold dubloons as well as the skeletal remains of the pirate crew, complete with rapiers and cutlasses. Three of the pirates have on their remains a cutless cutlass. Everything seems relatively well preserved by the location in the sheltered saltwater grotto.

3 Back of Grotto

Near the back of the grotto, a bunch of split boards have been cast aside and a thousand muddy footprints head into the tunnel.

Any time that the party spends here will shed more light onto the situation. It's obvious that this is where the begotten of the old ones have ended up, climbing out of the water and heading into the deep passage within.

4 Long Tunnel

Part-way down the tunnel, there is a branch to the left. The main tunnel continues downward, taking on more natural cavernous form.

5 Pirate Cache

This 10'x15' niche in the rock is packed with corpses, treasures and other goods.

This niche is also where the begotten, digging over the long centuries of their labor, have come to finally die. As such it is littered with horrible corpses of almost-man-things in various stages of decay.

Anyone clambering over or moving aside the dead fish-men's bodies to examine the treasure runs the risk of catching the shakes (DC 13 Fortitude) or slimy doom (DC 14 Fortitude). The incubation period for each is one day, so characters will not notice if they are infected right away.

Among the goods are crates of shovels, picks, and other implements of destruction, including torches and two rare powder kegs.

6 Deeper tunnel

The tunnel runs deeper here, and the ground grows ever muddier.

As the characters enter, they feel a cold draft. The smell of lemon and brine wafts in from the deeper depths.

7 Steep slope

The tunnel grows very steep here, the walls ever more moist and the ground ever more slick. A low murmuring can be heard down the corridor.

This tunnel continues down to the Lair of the Old Ones. Everyone should roll a significant Balance check (DC 30) to avoid sliding down the shaft into the lair.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Illusion (Phantasm)
Level: Brd 3, Sor/Wiz 3, Trickery Domain 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target: one Creature
Duration: 1 round/level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates

This spell creates a phantasm to dazzle the unwary. The victim perceives whatever thing they covet the most, either as a stationary object, or as something the caster is offering them. Failing a will save, they act to achieve whatever they see, blinded to all other considerations for the duration of the spell. They will defend themselves normally but will take no other actions as long as the spell persists.

If the dazzle is placed in such a place that going to it would cause the subject harm, they receive another saving throw with a +4 bonus to break free of the compulsion.

The phantasm only exists in the subject's mind, and so others do not perceive the illusion.

On a successful saving throw, the phantasm appears ghostly and translucent and persists for the duration of the spell, but the victim is not compelled to pursue to it.

For example, when cast on a greedy merchant, this spell would create an illusion of someone offering them chests filled with treasure. The merchant would be compelled by the phantasm to go to the illusion and accept the illusory treasure for as long as the spell lasted. For a wyvern, it might create an illusion of some helpless prey, upon which it would be compelled to go feed.

As a phantasm, this spell is a mind-effecting effect and so will not effect undead or constructs.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Harpy Point

Harpy Point has come to refer to the entire island, though in less troubled times, people often referred to the lighthouse. Over the rocks crags that ring the south and east half of the island, harpies have made their home. More recently, gargoyles have occupied the lighthouse.

8 Feeding Ground

A strewn pile of bones serves as a centerpiece to this enclosure in the rocks. A low stone overhang provides a partial shelter from falling rain.

Among the bones are a collection of small trinkets from nearby towns and a few adventures packs which have been ransacked. The party will have to thoroughly search the bones (DC 20) to find all the items:

  • masterwork leather armor that's survived the thrashing
  • ring of resistance +1 on a skeletal finger
  • moldy boots of speed at the very bottom of the pile
  • 100gp in coins at various strata

  • 9 Lounge

    A set of smooth stones encircles an ash-filled firepit. Two trees have struggled to grow up through the cracks in the rocks, their low limbs curled back in toward the trunks. A sliver of smoke wafts up and out to sea against a backdrop of falling rain.

    The firepit is still warm, a sign that this location is still used. If the party stays in the area for more than a minute, they will likely hear the high shrill screeches of harpies in the nest.

    10 Nest (EL 11)

    This concavity in the rock forms a smooth surface, which has been padded with many layers of twigs, hay, bits of hide and great greasy feathers.

    The nicer items are here, along with three harpies who have grown fat off the nearby townsfolk, and who have also begun to develop sorcerous powers due to proximity to the old one and also from some small teachings from the gargoyles in the nearby lighthouse. They are haughty and aggressive, leaping to attack unless convinced otherwise.

    Creatures: Harpy Sorcerers HP 38, 50, 48
    Harpy Sorcerer CR 8
    CE Sex Race sorcerer 3
    size Medium Monstrous Humanoid
    Init: +2 Senses: Darkvision 60 ft.
    Listen +7 Spot +3

    AC: 21 (+4 shield spell, +4 mage armor, +2 Dex, +1 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 11
    HP: 38, 50, 48 (HD 7d8 and 3d4)
    Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +9

    MV: 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 80 ft. (average)
    Attack: +9 masterwork spear (1d8)
    Full Attack: +9/+4 masterwork spear (1d8) and +3 claws(2) (1d3)
    Atk Options: Flyby attack, 1 wand of acid arrow: ranged touch +10, 2d4 acid + 2d4 acid next round
    Space / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
    Base Attack: +8 Grp: +8

    Abilities: Str 10, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 18
    Feats: Dodge, Flyby Attack, Persuasive, Ability Focus (Captivating Song)
    Skills: Bluff +11, Concentration +3, Intimidate +7, Listen +7, Perform (oratory) +5, Spot +3

    SA: Captivating Song (DC 19)
    SQ: Darkvision 60 ft.

    Spells Prepared or Available:
    0th (6/day): detect magic, ghost sound, ray of frost, resistance, touch of fatigue
    1st (6/day, 4 remain): shield, mage armor, and either shocking grasp, burning hands, or magic missile

    Posessions: masterwork spear.

    Captivating Song (Su): The most insidious ability of the harpy is its song. When a harpy sings, all creatures (other than harpies) within a 300-foot spread must succeed on a DC 19 Will save or become captivated. This is a sonic mind-affecting charm effect. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same harpy’s song for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.

    A captivated victim walks toward the harpy, taking the most direct route available. If the path leads into a dangerous area (through flame, off a cliff, or the like), that creature gets a second saving throw. Captivated creatures can take no actions other than to defend themselves. (Thus, a fighter cannot run away or attack but takes no defensive penalties.) A victim within 5 feet of the harpy stands there and offers no resistance to the monster’s attacks. The effect continues for as long as the harpy sings and for 1 round thereafter. A bard’s countersong ability allows the captivated creature to attempt a new Will save.

    Tactics: The harpies are likely aware of the party's approach and will cast mage armor and shield on themselves as soon as they see that they are armed (already included in above stats). The harpies are hostile, and will attack immediately, using their song one at a time to attempt to lure party members off the high cliffs (DC 19 Will save). Failing that they will attack with their spells and use their spears in flyby attacks. In addition, one of them wields the wand of acid arrow (ranged touch +10, 2d4 acid + 2d4 acid next round) listed in the treasure below.

    Vicious, the harpies will fight to the death.

    Treasure: a battered sea chest with 7,000 silver coins, six large chests stamped with a tax collector's seal containing 70,000 copper coins, 3 gems in a leather pouch: a black agate worth 10 gold, a galena worth 25 gold, and an octel worth 98 gold, 4 gems in a soggy, gouged velvet-lined jewel case: a brandeen worth 90 gold, a clear topaz worth 825 gold, a brown diopside worth 9 gold, and a pink tourmaline worth 105 gold, a potion of blur, a wand of acid arrow with 33 charges, a +1 quarterstaff, a +1 large steel shield, a ring of climbing, a hand of the mage, and a potion of expiditious retreat.