Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Statue of Limitations

Each statue of limitations appears to be a humanoid statue between eight and twelve inches, with one feature diminished in size. These features correspond with which stat attribute they limit to a highest value of 14. Greater statues of limitations limit these values to 10, lesser to 18.

When the figurine is worn around one's neck, its effects radiate 5' in all directions, affecting others.

If a statue of limitations is broken or destroyed, its effects are nullified, its power departed.

Each feature on the statue that appears diminished on the statue is so limited. Figurines with all six attributes limited appear with all six features diminished.

Price: 8,000gp, lesser 4,000gp, greater 16,000gp.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Map Pins

This campaign flavor is also a nice trap, or in the modern parlance, a hazard. Have a map available on a desk or pinned to a wall in a mage's tower, with a map pin corresponding to the current location. As the characters remove the pins and place them in new locations, the tower teleports them to the new location.

See how this can be used in various forms and in various environments, for instance representing the location of a large floating disk in a catacomb riddled with pit traps. The party will have to play with the pins on their confusing map (where are they, for instance?) until they find which one will bring them the disk. Meanwhile, other pins correspond to beholders and other nasty creatures, which the party inadvertently teleports in in their search for the disk.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cut-up Construct

Cut-ups are magically created automatons of varying power. Constructing one involves a decoupaged collage of scroll parchment and the employment of summoning magic, which pulls together the components for the Cut-up out of the ether. The tasks to be performed by the Cut-up must be written along the edge of the collage in a magical runic script. This is usually done in chalk so the collage may be reused.

The animating force for a Cut-up is a spirit from the Ethereal Plane. The process of creating the Cut-up assembles the component corporeal matter and breathes a temporary life into them, subjecting the ethereal spirit to the Cut-up’s creator, at least until their servitude is complete, as dictated by the tasks set forth in runes.


Since they are collections of multiple life forces all bent on competing their tasks and thus being set free, Cut-ups are strong-willed and tenacious in combat. They make any and all decisions based on this drive for freedom. They follow instructions explicitly and are incapable of any strategy or tactics outside this fundamental urge. For this reason, some may even attack their creators, if their creators are not careful to make their tasks clear.

Fatal Flaw

Cut-ups are destroyed if the collage used to summon them is destroyed, whether by fire, evisceration, or even a simple tear down the center of the parchment. Creators of Cut-ups must thus stow their collages with care, especially if they intend to reuse them.


The cost to create each Cut-up includes the cost of the scroll parchment used to breathe life into the collages and a bag of holding to provide the link the Ethereal Plane. Completing the Cut-up’s creation drains 50 XP from the creator. The bag of holding is not consumed in the creation, and once the Cut-up returns to the Ethereal Plane, the bag is left on the ground.

The resulting Cut-up can be up to 1’x1’ per level of the spellcaster. For instance, Mialee, a 14th-level spellcaster, creates a collage, and summons the ethereal energy to manifest a Cut-up up to 14’x14’. This creature is included in the stat block below.

The physical characteristics of a Cut-up come from its design on parchment, so there is infinite variation in their final forms.

Mialee's Cut-up
Size/Type: Large Construct
Hit Dice: 14d10+30 (105 hp)
Initiative: 0
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 23 (-1 size, 0 Dex, +14 natural)
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+19
Attack: Slam +14 melee (2d8+8 plus deep cut)
Full Attack: 2 slams +14 melee (2d8+8 plus deep cut)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Deep cut
Special Qualities: Construct traits, fatal flaw, flip sides, fold space, damage reduction 10/bludgeoning and piercing, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to magic, low-light vision
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +5
Abilities: Str 27, Dex 11, Con Ø, Int Ø, Wis 11, Cha 1
Skills: —
Feats: —
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-4), up to ¼ the level of the caster
Challenge Rating: 11
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 15-21 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: —

Cut-ups take the forms depicted on their collages.

A Cut-up cannot speak or make any vocal noise. It moves with a wide gait like the folding of paper. It appears weightless, yet is strangely corporeal.


Flip Sides (Ex): Every round a Cut-up is in combat, there is a 5% chance each round that it will determine that the easiest path to setting its ethereal energy free is to flip sides, turning on its creator. While fighting against its creator, there is a 5% chance that the Cut-up will return to its creator’s side.

Deep Cut (Ex): Since Cut-ups are made of pure ethereal energy, damage dealt by a Cut-up doesn’t heal naturally and resists healing spells. A character attempting to cast a healing spell on a creature damaged by a Cut-up must succeed on a DC 10+ the constructor’s caster level check, or the spell has no effect on the injured character.

Vulnerable to Blades (Ex): Cut-ups are especially susceptible to damage from slashing weapons, which deal double damage.

Immunity to Magic (Ex): A Cut-up is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.

A blade barrier spell or other non-magical blade slows the Cut-up (as the slow spell) for 1d6 rounds and deals 2d6 points of damage.

Fold Space (Su): At will, Cut-ups can take shortcuts through the Prime Material Plane by folding themselves through the ether as per the spell ethereal jaunt.

CL 11th; Craft Construct, animate objects, resurrection, caster must be at least 11th level; Price 5,000gp in fine scroll parchment, a bag of holding; Cost 21,500gp, 1,540xp.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blessed Structures

In some regions of Proppia, it is rumored that the buildings themselves are touched by a powerful force.

In order to bless a structure, a 4th level spell, bless structure must be cast with the appropriate magical material component to provide the base bonus.

The effects of these enchantments are due to magical amulets and ward statues mortared within the structures themselves. These bonuses can come in many forms, including strength, AC, saves, temporary hit points, etc.

A common recipient of these blessings are walls, which add bonuses to all those on defense within the walls. This is a great way to achieve mass effects upon entire forces.

Blessings placed in structures are nullified if removed from the structures themselves, for instance if excavated. In these situations, the amulets, statues and other magical items which provided the wards often retain their bonuses, but travel with their new owners. In order for them to bless a new structure, they must be used as material components in the new bless structure invocation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bless Structure

Bless Structure
Level: Cleric 4, Paladin 5
Components: V, S, M
Casting time: 10 minutes
Range: Medium
Target: Structure that the material component is within
Duration: 10 min./level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This enchantment adds a bonus to all creatures within a structure who side with the caster. The structure is treated as having an enhancement bonus of the type of the alignment of the caster. In addition, those on the side of the caster receive additional bonuses depending on the magical item used in the casting of the spell.

See here for more.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Alternate Lanterns

We're bringing you some campaign flavor this Halloween night, in the form of alternate lanterns to light up the night.

Hollowed Vegetables

Citizens of towns and villages carve out the centers of excess vegetables from the harvest, placing them on their doorsteps to light the paths. Commonly carved vegetables include pumpkins, potatoes, and turnips, which, when carved, are called jack o'lanterns, named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus.

Hammered Tins

Tins will often have holes pressed through them to allow light through. These are filled with candles and set out as long-term light sources with short-term fires.

Wooden Barrels

Some townsfolk are fond of chiseling or sawing holes in wooden barrels set at intersections, wherein smaller lamps are often placed. These holes allow light to pass through, illuminating the path, while protecting the wick from wind and rain.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel ("original bird" or "first bird"), is the earliest and most primitive bird known.

Size/Type: Small Animal
Hit Dice: 2d10 (12 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 10 ft (2 squares), fly 40 ft. (average)
Armor Class: 16 (+1 size, +5 Dex), touch 15, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-11 (+1 when attached)
Attack: Bite +7 melee (3d4-1)
Full Attack: Bite +7 melee (3d4-1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Attach, sawteeth
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +1
Abilities: Str 7, Dex 21, Con 10, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Hide +8, Listen +2, Spot +4
Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse B
Environment: Warm marshes and moors
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: —
Level Adjustment: —

A archaeopteryx's coloration ranges from rust-red to tan, with a coat of feathers that ranges from ochre to turquoise.

A archaeopteryx's body is about 3 feet long, with a wingspan of 3-5 feet. It weighs about 50 pounds.


A archaeopteryx attacks by biting into a victim, and making a sawing motion with its beak.

Attach (Ex): If a archaeopteryx hits with its bite attack, it uses its saw-like teeth to latch onto the opponent’s body. An attached archaeopteryx is effectively grappling its prey. The archaeopteryx loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and has an AC of 12, but holds on with great tenacity. Archaeopteryx have a +12 racial bonus on grapple checks (already figured into the Base Attack/Grapple entry above).

An attached archaeopteryx can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself. To remove an attached archaeopteryx through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the archaeopteryx.

Sawtooth (Ex): Archaeopteryx deal 1d6 points of damage in any round when it begins its turn attached to a victim.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Series of False Trap Sketches

Inspired by a brief conversation from tonight's role playing session, here are some false trap ideas for your dungeons. They're brief themselves; so be it.

Alternate Flooring

One way to keep your party (especially the rogues) on their toes is to mix up the flooring. Drop in fitted stone where there is mostly naturally-hewn rock, or parquet in the middle of a wealthy treasure chamber. These false positives will set the party up to let their guard down for the real traps awaiting them!

Spurious Tripwires

Have tripwires in dungeons that don't set off any traps. These wires might set certain levers, building to a larger trap, be lines to traps already set off, or simply be duds, traps that never seem to work.

False Pits

Have floors drop out from under the party, only to have them land 6" below the normal floor. This will set them at ease... Or will it!?!?

Anti-trap Tripwires

Have these tripwires drop shields that protect the party from the falling rocks in the next room, or provide other potential escapes and work-arounds, such as opening up a side chamber or otherwise revealing a potential escape.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giant Pipefish

Slithering out from the the reef, a giant eel of a beast swims toward you.

Giant Pipefish
Size/Type: Large Animal (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 12d8+46 (107 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: Swim 90 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (-1 size, +6 Dex, +12 natural)
Base Attack/Grapple: +10/+23
Attack: Bite +17 melee (2d6+5)
Full Attack: Bite +17 melee (2d6+5)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab, constrict
Special Qualities: Keen scent
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +15, Will +8
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 23, Con 15, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills: Listen +14, Spot +10, Swim +24
Feats: Improved Natural Attack (bite), Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Cold aquatic
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 10
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 13-18 (Huge); 19-32 (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: —

Giant pipefish attack anything they perceive to be edible, even larger creatures, constricting them until they stop breathing.

This monstrous fish can grow to a length of 25 feet and weigh more than 4,000 pounds.


Giant pipefish entangle their foes in their long, tentacle-like bodies.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a dire shark must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe in the following round.

Constrict (Ex): A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, after making a successful grapple check. The amount of damage is given in the creature’s entry. If the creature also has the improved grab ability it deals constriction damage in addition to damage dealt by the weapon used to grab.

Keen Scent (Ex): A giant pipefish can notice creatures by scent in a 180-foot radius and can detect blood in the water at a range of up to 1 mile.


A giant pipefish has a +12 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered, and get a free tumble check to move through opponents spaces, avoiding attacks of opportunity.

It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Proppian Player's Guide (Oct 20 DRAFT)

Here is the next installment of the Proppian Player's Guide.

Spending the last two weeks in a cabin in the Finger Lakes has continued to inspire the development of the guide, as has The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe and a few fairy tales I've had my head planted within. We've experienced autumn and winter in the same week, and it's been memorable -- lots of hauling wood and fire-stoking, interspersed with storytelling and lots of writing.

The result in this guide is more depth in the NPC classes, and at the request of some upcoming players to the realm, more information on the key nations of the region that they'll begin in. These nations will be fleshed out in much more detail in the Proppian Storyteller's Guide, since it's information that shouldn't be well known by the players, since the idea is to have them learn it in-game. However, to get my new players in the right frame of mind to create their characters, it helps to have some basis for their made up reality.

New NPC classes include:

Acrobat: Sneaking about the urban landscape under cover of darkness, the acrobat balances tight rope walking with weapon finesse to provide an athletic character class.

Friar: Traveling the world to preach their own interpretation of the gospel, friars know much of the world and contemplate the afterlife often. Others may see them as overly dogmatic, but they insist they are faithful to their faith, and this keeps them going as they journey from hamlet to township, making observations that they tie back to ancient parables in homilies delivered to all who will listen.

Hunter: Wandering the forest in search of food, hunters have learned where to aim, how to stand, and when to attack their prey. This makes them formidable foes in woods, cities, and dungeons, wherever they may roam.

Jongleur: The ballads sung by wandering minstrels don’t do their adventuring lives justice. In their long-winded tales, they tend to dance around the central theme as well as they dance rings around the local nobility and robber barons alike with their wordplay and wit.

Merchant: Nearly every society requires commerce to thrive, and who but merchants ensure that commerce is successful. Found in almost every settlement, merchants live for one of two things: to see the community prosper through their individual actions, or to see themselves prosper as the expenses of the community grow.

Scholar: Living physically sheltered lives in cloisters and monasteries, these true monks known as scholars receive exemplar educations. Others call them bookish, but when the need for ancient knowledge or other long-dead lore arises, they are often the only ones able to provide the proper perspective for the situation.

Shepherd: Astute animal handlers with aptitude for deep thinking and spending long periods of time in concentration, shepherds are known for their no-nonsense understanding of the ways of the world.

Tinker: Toiling away in their laboratories, tinkers develop new devices to solve society’s problems. Some of these improvements are seen on the battlefield, others in the healer’s tent, and still others remain in their labs, to one day be discovered by some courageous adventurer.

Get the latest version of the fairy-tale-oriented, Medieval guide here. Remember that this guide is still under development, to be released by the end of this year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wild Arbors of Mahdihly Vale

Outlaws defied the local law, setting up a camp in the local baron's private wood. On a sacred night for believers of the dominant religion in the area, the Baron Allain sent his men into the wood, attacking the outlaws while they were in prayer. The outlaw men were hanged from the trees overhead while their families watched. They wept and prayed out loud, finally shouting insults at the baron's men.

One of the women shouted, "for many days have these men cared for your arbors! May these trees enact a tax on your bloodthirsty life!". She was run through on the spot by the baron himself.

A week later, he passed through the scene of the crime on his way back from battle with a small retinue, including some of the men who carried out the hangings. The baron never made it home that night, nor did any of his men. When his castle guard returned to investigate, they noted that the roots of the trees had grown in a circular barrier and that the baron and his men's bodies were found hacked to pieces in the corral, and there were no signs of his horses, nor the corpses of the outlaws that had been left to rot.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Llana d'Arth

This woman of the sea would sun herself on rocks a good deal off the coast of the Jæruel for those few summer weeks when the clouds would part and the light stream in sharp contrast to the grey clouds in the distance.

One summer, she was caught in the nets of a fishing trawler, and dragged up on deck. The men were frightened by her until she spoke in their tongue, asking to be set free. They complied, and she thanked them and swam off, back to her rocks to sun. They returned to the rocks the next day and she was gone.

Later that season, she swam up to their vessel and warned them of an approaching storm. Turning back to shore, they returned in time to warn the rest of the town, which boarded up and weathered the storm with minimal damage.

The fishermen were branded heroes by their fellow citizens.

Rumor has it that fishermen still see her in those sunny summer weeks out there on the rocks.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sylvanthread Armor

This extremely light cloth armor is made of finely-woven sylvanthread. Speed while wearing sylvanthread is 40 feet for medium creatures, or 30 feet for small. The armor has an arcane spell failure chance of 5%, a maximum Dexterity bonus of +6 and no armor check penalty. It is considered extra-light armor and weighs 5 pounds.

Sylvanthread armor provides a +4 AC bonus.

No aura (nonmagical); Price 3,250 gp.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Holy Caltrops

Holy caltrops are runes the wielder drops on the ground to slow and damage the undead. The runes have a single activation keyword, the name of the rune. The runes deal 2d8 holy damage to and slow any undead in a 20' radius which fail a DC 20 reflex save. Undead creatures which step on the caltrops must make a DC 25 reflex save or take 3d8 holy damage.

If laid as a trap, the caltrops do not require the keyword to activate them, but also do not affect all those in a 20' radius; only those undead which step upon the caltrops are affected.

Greater holy caltrops raise the DC by 5 and the damage by a d8; lesser remove 5 DC and a d8.

Moderate enchantment. Must be blessed by a cleric of at least level 9. Price: 2,500 (lesser), 5,000 or 7,500 (greater) gp.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Proppian Player's Guide (Oct 1 DRAFT)

Welcome to Proppia, a fantastic land of medieval fairy tales, where knights in plate armor occupy turreted castles of stone, where struggling merchants hawk exotic wares in the town squares, where an ordinary journey becomes a dangerous adventure, where priests claim miraculous powers, alchemists bent on affecting the world mix powerful concoctions, and where scholars study arcane tomes written in long-dead languages for the secrets to powerful incantations.

Based on feudal medieval history, this world is chaotic and violent, and differs from traditional d20 worlds in that arcane and divine magic are hard for player characters to acquire and require intense in-game activity to wield. Without instant healing and three fireball spell slots a day to ward off the many bandits, the roads and rivers are unsafe, let alone the deep wilderness with its dark denizens. In the monarchies, republics, theocracies, and military states, bribery and corruption are as commonplace as poverty and superstition. The fears and superstitions that manifest in the songs of bards and the whispers in dark corners of taverns are likely true, though often embellished when shared with the intoxicated masses.

In this midst of this general disorganization, expansionist kingdoms send their armies to ravage the countryside, strange creatures infest underground mines, thieves stalk mountain passes, witches intone loathsome curses, and various cults deliver dogmatic sermons in forest clearings as they vie for the allegiances of the people. Aggressive animals and strange creatures have reported throughout the land, especially in the forests.

The world of Proppia is inspired by Europe between the 15th and 16th centuries, covering the end of the Dark Ages, the emergence of the Renaissance, and the folk tales captured by the Brothers Grimm and others. The new ideas of the Renaissance have begun to usher in a period of change to the world. The strange, miraculous and magical elements simply reflect popular beliefs, superstitions and myths. This is an era before formal logic or widely-accepted science, a time when anything is still possible in the minds of the people. In short, if medieval Europe believed something might be true, in Proppia it may actually be true. In fact, the players are responsible for and encouraged to bring the fantastic ideas from fairy tales to life within the world. This is, after all, your story; your place to game. Make it fun.

Over the course of the campaign, you will travel across many lands, meet diverse personalities, wage war, crawl from from the ashes of battle, and discover and wield new and ancient magics. You will explore many different city and nation states, castles, hamlets, monasteries, dungeons, and a dangerous, unforgiving landscape of moors, primeval forests, and deep caverns. You will encounter unique creatures as well as those traditionally found in fantasy role playing settings. You will trip over and unwillingly discover specially-designed traps.

There are many opportunities to perform heroic deeds that live forever in the minds of the people, and that fill your purse. If you travel far and wide and accomplish enough, you will be known among Sigfried, Beowulf, Roland, Frodo, and other heroes whose stories are still told today. You may even have your story told and retold by each new generation. One of the goals of Proppia is to generate enough story material for a series of medieval fairy-tale sagas.

And so you are invited to relax your notion of the rigid rules of the 3.5 (and 4th ed) systems and enter Proppia, a world where history and fantasy meld together in a low-magic, high-adventure campaign of politics, intrigue, and mystery. Tiptoe forward from the back of the tavern and take the stage as a lead character in Proppia, and prepare yourself for a lifetime of quests and heroic adventures...

Download a draft copy of the Proppian Player's Guide. Note that it's still in the works, but is coming along.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flute of Dancing

Inspired by a recent history of heresy in medieval times, and Richard Wunderli's telling of the story of the Drummer of Niklashausen, Hans Behem, here is a magic item that should please fans of the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

This flute appears to be a normal, oversized flute. When played by a person who succeeds on a DC 15 Perform (wind instruments) check, the flute creates an hypnotic rhythm of a tune. Those within 30 feet who fail DC 20 Will saves are forced to dance for 2d6 rounds. Those affected can still attack, but at a -4. They also receive a +2 bonus to AC while dancing.

Flutes of dancing can be sounded with this effect twice a day.

Faint enchantment; CL 4th; Craft Wondrous Item, scare; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Michael Kane, a new contributor to Claw/Claw/Bite, came up with this new skill that gives DMs and players a fun way to introduce some cinematic action and daring-do into their games.

If you wish to use it in your game, you could make it available as a class skill to rogues, bards, and other quick martial characters.

Cunning (Wis+Int) - Take the average of the two scores.

You are a quick thinker. You can quickly survey a area and see cause and effect. A decorative rug on the floor looks nice to everyone else but to you its a trip attempt, or an elaborate pulley system on a boat is complex, but you know which rope to cut that could pull you to safety and possibly collapse the sails on its crew.

Check- A successful check lets you spot out situations that could come to be. Once in a area you scan the room paying more attention to detail then everyone else. Dms can use this skill in their game, either to place fun and creative situations on the pre-existing maps or make it up from the hip during gameplay.

DC: All check DC will be determined by the DM. A handy rule of thumb - DCs can be set at 10 + Encounter Level for easy tasks, +5 to spot harder situations, or +10 for really tough longshot situations.

Task: Example: Nadira the crafty little Rouge walks into the Thirsty Throat Saloon. The bar is full of patrons all having too much of a good old time. She could make a Cunning check to notice a simple rope holding up a chandler made of antlers, wooden barrels of ale sitting at the the top of a stairway, or a floor plank that is loose and that could be shot up with a solid stomp - causing damage or tripping someone over.

Example: Nadira is on top of a moving carriage being chased by bandits. A standing dead tree on the side of the road just needs a good yank to come tumbling down, stopping the bandits from their chase. Dms can use multiple skills together making a situation have a possible out come good or bad. Here's a round-by round example of how it could be played out:

1st round: While on-top of the carriage Nidira notices the dead tree ahead and quickly pulls out some rope.
2nd: Attempting to make a lasso Use rope DC 12, if its a success she will be granted a +2 circumstance to lasso the tree, if failed Nadira can another attempt next round
3rd: Lasso in hand Nadira will spend the round setting up for the touch attack on the dead tree (+2), rope in hand Use Rope DC 12, if fail situation is missed
4th: Nadira make touch attack to lasso tree AC 11, if failed situation is missed
5th: Rope is lassoed to tree and rope is beginning to tighten (this is where the good or bad situation occurs) Nadira makes a Wis DC 12-14 if successful she'll notice that she doesn't have enough weight to pull the dead tree down and can attempt to tie the rope to the railing of the carriage, if failed Nadira will hold on to rope.
6th: The rope will tighten on the railing and dead tree will come toppling down on the bandits, or if she is still holding on to the rope Nadira is yanked from the carriage and is swung towards the bandits. Nadira makes a swinging kick attack at the surprised bandit knocking him off of his mount. They both tumble to the ground. Nadira may use the downed bandits horse to catch up with the party.

This skill is optional for a player and a DM to use in the game. There is no limit to the creativity of craftiness.

-Michael Kane

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Alternative Level Advancement System

Sean K. Reynolds, co-designer of 3rd edition D&D, has shared an alternative character leveling system he developed that uses "Steps" instead of XP. Read all about it on his site here!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Inspired by the Friday and Saturday night shift running of the Tower of Gygax at GENCON 2009, I have begun to delve deeper into 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and have been reminded of why I liked this edition so much as a kid. I'm documenting pros and cons of this (just about) original edition at

Follow along if you too want to reminisce.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Arcane Runethrower

This prestige class is a natural fit for dwarven spellcasters steeped in their runic lore.

Arcane runethrowers have honed their stonecutting skill to be able to precisely chisel arcane runes into them. These runes replace most standard material components (excluding any with material cost and any others that the DM deems essential) when the spell is to be cast. Arcane runethrowers cast their runes and intone arcane words to bring about their spell effects.

NPC runethrowers usually lead lead solitary lives in towers and reclaimed caves. Some specialize in a particular set of runes, organizing into groups that trade their runes among themselves.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become an arcane runethrower, a character must fulfill the following criteria.

Alignment: Any
Skills: Spellcraft +6, Craft (Stonecutting) +6

Class Skills

Arcane runethrowers are intended to hone their Spellcraft and Knowledge: Arcana skills while keeping their tools and Stonecarving skills sharp.

Class Features

Arcane runethrowers gain the ability to cast spells at the same rate as sorcerers, and can elect to use their dexterity bonuses the way sorcerers use intelligence. They gain access to all the spells up to their arcane runethrower level plus any levels of spellcasting they have acquired through other classes. In addition, the following skills are are available: Concentration, Knowledge: Arcana, Knowledge: Dungeoneering, Spellcraft, Stonecarving, and Use Magic Device.

Arcane Skill Bonus: For every 10 points (ranks + ability modifier + misc modifier) in Stonecarving, arcane runethrowers cast spells at an additional level.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Initiative Around the Table

One variant that I have seen work well in multiple sessions is having whoever wins the initiative start the round, and have play proceed around the table from there at the discretion of the first player. This makes it easier to know who moves next, and players can stay close to the action until their turn is up before grabbing a snack or using the restroom.

This can really keep the action moving, but may upset players who want to go next. Use at your own risk.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


The two rakshasas go by Zilves and Chanaras when they take their human forms, the bards from the Salty Grog. This is where they learn their stories which they weave into stories, stories into song, songs into spells. They do not work with Salodrin, but know of him, and have a fork tuned to the Plane of Knowledge which allows them to plane shift here using Silvex's ring.

Silvex is the younger of the duo, traveling with Janarax and for the most part following his directions. He could be persuaded to help the party for a large sum of gems, for which he has a certain overwhelming fascination.

Medium-size Male Rakshasa
Rakshasa 7 Sorcerer 6 Rogue 1

Hit Dice: (7d8)+(6d4)+(1d6)+85
Hit Points: 160
Initiative: +9
Speed: Walk 40 ft.
AC: 32 (flatfooted 27, touch 15)
Attacks: Bite +8; 2 Claws +15/+15
Damage: Bite 1d6+4; 2 Claws 1d6+4
Vision: Darkvision (60')
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Change Shape (Su), Damage Reduction (Su), Detect Thoughts (Su), Spell Resistance (Ex), Summon Familiar, Sneak Attack +1d6
Saves: Fortitude: +12, Reflex: +13, Will: +12
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 20, Con 22, Int 20, Wis 12, Cha 22
Skills: Appraise 4; Balance 12; Bluff 23; Climb 9; Concentration 18; Craft (Alchemy) 4; Craft (Trapmaking) 13; Craft (Untrained) 6; Diplomacy 10; Disguise 24; Escape Artist 7; Forgery 6; Gather Information 6; Heal 2; Hide 5; Intimidate 6; Jump 7; Knowledge (Arcana) 22; Knowledge (Tactics) 10; Knowledge (The Planes) 9; Listen 6; Move Silently 15; Perform (Comedy) 8; Perform (Dance) 10; Ride 5; Search 5; Sense Motive 5; Spellcraft 23; Spot 13; Survival 2; Swim 4
Feats: Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (Claw), Quicken Spell, Simple Weapon Proficiency
Challenge Rating: 14
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Possessions: 5 Tiger Eyes; Bracers of Armor +8; Cloak of Charisma +2; 2 Blue Diamonds; Emerald; Ring of Plane Shift; Star Ruby; Wand of Hold Monster; Tablas of Persuasion

Spells per Day: (6/8/8/7/7/7/4/0/0/ DC:16+spell level)
Sorcerer - Known:
Level 0: Arcane Mark, Daze, Detect Magic, Flare, Light, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Read Magic, Resistance
Level 1: Alarm, Expeditious Retreat, Hold Portal, Magic Missile, Shield
Level 2: Arcane Lock, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Knock, Touch of Idiocy
Level 3: Displacement, Fly, Haste, Hold Person
Level 4: Fire Trap, Charm Monster, Ice Storm, Phantasmal Killer
Level 5: Cone of Cold, Dismissal, Telekinesis
Level 6: Dispel Magic, Legend Lore, Shadow Walk

A closer look at a rakshasa reveals that the palms of its hands are where the backs of the hands would be on a human.

A rakshasa is about the same height and weight as a human.

Rakshasas speak Common, Infernal, and Undercommon.


In close combat, which a rakshasa disdains as ignoble, it employs its sharp claws and powerful bite. Whenever possible, it uses its other abilities to make such encounters unnecessary.

Detect Thoughts (Su): A rakshasa can continuously use detect thoughts as the spell (caster level 18th; Will DC 15 negates). It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based.


Change Shape (Su): A rakshasa can assume any humanoid form, or revert to its own form, as a standard action. In humanoid form, a rakshasa loses its claw and bite attacks (although it often equips itself with weapons and armor instead). A rakshasa remains in one form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, but the rakshasa reverts to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell reveals its natural form.


A rakshasa has a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks. *When using change shape, a rakshasa gains an additional +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks. If reading an opponent’s mind, its circumstance bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks increases by a further +4.

Rakshasas As Characters

Rakshasa characters possess the following racial traits.

* +2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +6 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, +6 Charisma.
* Medium size.
* A rakshasa’s base land speed is 40 feet.
* Darkvision out to 60 feet.
* Racial Hit Dice: A rakshasa begins with seven levels of outsider, which provide 7d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +7, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +5, Ref +5, and Will +5.
* Racial Skills: A rakshasa’s outsider levels give it skill points equal to 10 × (8 + Int modifier). Its class skills are Bluff, Disguise, Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Sense Motive, and Spot. A rakshasa has a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks, and it can gain further bonuses by using change shape (+10 on Disguise checks) and detect thoughts (+4 on Bluff and Disguise checks).
* Racial Feats: A rakshasa’s outsider levels give it three feats.
* +9 natural armor bonus.
* Natural Weapons: Bite (1d6) and 2 claws (1d4).
* Detect Thoughts (Su): The save DC is 12 + the character’s Cha modifier.
* Spells: A rakshasa character casts spells as a 7th-level sorcerer. If the character takes additional levels of sorcerer, these levels stack with the rakshasa’s base spellcasting ability for spells known, spells per day, and other effects dependent on caster level. A rakshasa character likewise uses the sum of its racial spellcasting levels and class levels to determine the abilities of its familiar.
* Special Qualities (see above): Change shape, damage reduction 15/good and piercing, spell resistance equal to 27 + class levels.
* Automatic Languages: Common, Infernal. Bonus Languages: Sylvan, Undercommon.
* Favored Class: Sorcerer.
* Level adjustment +7.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


A devious bard who has focused his sorcerous powers on murder and deceit, Janarax partners with Silvex, one of his brethren. The two make a powerful spellcasting force, wandering the planes causing trouble.

Recently, he has learned about the power of Magesilver and has been wielding a large chunk. In his research into powerful artifacts, he has discovered the Silver Orb of the Ages, which he seeks in the Great Library that is the Plane of Knowledge.

Medium-size Male Rakshasa
Rakshasa 7 Sorcerer 7

Hit Dice: (7d8)+(7d4)+70
Hit Points: 140
Initiative: +9
Speed: Walk 40 ft. (8 squares)
AC: 32 (flatfooted 27, touch 15)
Attacks: *Bite +8;*Claw +13/+13; ;
Damage: *Bite 1d6+1;*Claw 1d6+3; ;
Vision: Darkvision (60')
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Change Shape (Su), Damage Reduction (Su), Detect Thoughts (Su), Spell Resistance (Ex), Summon Familiar
Saves: Fortitude: +12, Reflex: +12, Will: +12
Abilities: STR 16 (+3), DEX 20 (+5), CON 20 (+5), INT 22 (+6), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 22 (+6)
Skills: Appraise 6; Balance 5; Bluff 26; Climb 3; Concentration 22; Craft (Alchemy) 11; Craft (Trapmaking) 9; Craft (Untrained) 6; Diplomacy 10; Disguise 27; Escape Artist 5; Forgery 6; Gather Information 6; Heal 2; Hide 5; Intimidate 8; Jump 7; Knowledge (Arcana) 23; Knowledge (Tactics) 10; Knowledge (The Planes) 10; Listen 6; Move Silently 12; Perform (Comedy) 8; Perform (Dance) 8; Ride 5; Search 6; Sense Motive 7; Spellcraft 25; Spot 11; Survival 2; Swim 3;
Feats: Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (Claw), Quicken Spell, Simple Weapon Proficiency
Challenge Rating: 17
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Possessions: Alexandrite; Tiger Eye; Amethyst; Aquamarine; Bite; Bracers of Armor +8; Claw; Cloak of Charisma +2; Blue Diamond; Emerald; Ring of Blinking; Star Ruby; Wand of Ice Storm; Sizable chunk of Magesilver (adds +2 to all spell levels while wielded)

Spells per Day: (6/8/8/7/7/7/6/3/0/ DC:16+spell level+2 for the Magesilver)
Sorcerer - Known:
Level 0: Arcane Mark, Daze, Detect Magic, Flare, Light, Mage Hand, Open/Close, Read Magic, Resistance
Level 1: Alarm, Expeditious Retreat, Hold Portal, Magic Missile, Shield
Level 2: Arcane Lock, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Knock, Touch of Idiocy
Level 3: Fireball, Fly, Haste, Lightning Bolt
Level 4: Black Tentacles, Charm Monster, Phantasmal Killer, Solid Fog
Level 5: Baleful Polymorph, Dismissal, Wall of Force
Level 6: Chain Lightning, Greater Dispel Magic
Level 7: Spell Turning

A closer look at a rakshasa reveals that the palms of its hands are where the backs of the hands would be on a human.

A rakshasa is about the same height and weight as a human.

Rakshasas speak Common, Infernal, and Undercommon.


In close combat, which a rakshasa disdains as ignoble, it employs its sharp claws and powerful bite. Whenever possible, it uses its other abilities to make such encounters unnecessary.

Detect Thoughts (Su): A rakshasa can continuously use detect thoughts as the spell (caster level 18th; Will DC 15 negates). It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based.


Change Shape (Su): A rakshasa can assume any humanoid form, or revert to its own form, as a standard action. In humanoid form, a rakshasa loses its claw and bite attacks (although it often equips itself with weapons and armor instead). A rakshasa remains in one form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, but the rakshasa reverts to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell reveals its natural form.


A rakshasa has a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks. *When using change shape, a rakshasa gains an additional +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks. If reading an opponent’s mind, its circumstance bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks increases by a further +4.

Rakshasas As Characters

Rakshasa characters possess the following racial traits.

* +2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +6 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, +6 Charisma.
* Medium size.
* A rakshasa’s base land speed is 40 feet.
* Darkvision out to 60 feet.
* Racial Hit Dice: A rakshasa begins with seven levels of outsider, which provide 7d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +7, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +5, Ref +5, and Will +5.
* Racial Skills: A rakshasa’s outsider levels give it skill points equal to 10 × (8 + Int modifier). Its class skills are Bluff, Disguise, Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Sense Motive, and Spot. A rakshasa has a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks, and it can gain further bonuses by using change shape (+10 on Disguise checks) and detect thoughts (+4 on Bluff and Disguise checks).
* Racial Feats: A rakshasa’s outsider levels give it three feats.
* +9 natural armor bonus.
* Natural Weapons: Bite (1d6) and 2 claws (1d4).
* Detect Thoughts (Su): The save DC is 12 + the character’s Cha modifier.
* Spells: A rakshasa character casts spells as a 7th-level sorcerer. If the character takes additional levels of sorcerer, these levels stack with the rakshasa’s base spellcasting ability for spells known, spells per day, and other effects dependent on caster level. A rakshasa character likewise uses the sum of its racial spellcasting levels and class levels to determine the abilities of its familiar.
* Special Qualities (see above): Change shape, damage reduction 15/good and piercing, spell resistance equal to 27 + class levels.
* Automatic Languages: Common, Infernal. Bonus Languages: Sylvan, Undercommon.
* Favored Class: Sorcerer.
* Level adjustment +7.

Monday, August 31, 2009


As the dust from the swordfight clears, there is one man standing. In profile, he is tall and slender, and when the light of the re-lit lanterns fills the room, his bruises become apparent. He holds one hand over his eyes squinting in the brightness of the light, a stoic expression over the rest of his face.

Lars and his traveling companion Faris hail from the eastern edge of Besht, where they live in an intentional community of woodsy folk. His skills in leatherwork give him a keen eye for craftsmanship, and his long hours of toil have tightened his muscles.

Mild-mannered and soft spoken, he is not quick to respond to stimuli, unless he feels immediately threatened, but when he does speak, his words ring with the wisdom of one who has lived on his own for much of his life.

Male Human; Medium Humanoid ( Human )
Fighter2 Expert1
Hit Dice: (2d10)+(1d6)+3
Hit Points: 29
Initiative: +6
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 16 (flatfooted 14, touch 12)
Attacks: Dagger +4; Dagger (Thrown) +4; Shortbow +5; *Sword, Short +4;
Damage: Dagger 1d4+2; Dagger (Thrown) 1d4; Shortbow 1d6; *Sword, Short 1d6+2;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities:
Saves: Fortitude: +4, Reflex: +2, Will: +4
Abilities: STR 15 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 12 (+1), INT 12 (+1), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 8 (-1)
Skills: Appraise: 1; Balance: 0; Bluff: -1; Climb: 3; Concentration: 2; Craft (Leatherworking): 2; Craft (Untrained): 1; Diplomacy: -1; Disable Device: 3; Disguise: -1; Escape Artist: 0; Forgery: 1; Gather Information: -1; Handle Animal: 3; Heal: 2; Hide: 0; Intimidate: 3; Jump: 1; Knowledge (Geography): 2; Knowledge (History): 2; Listen: 4; Move Silently: 0; Ride: 6; Search: 1; Sense Motive: 3; Spot: 2; Survival: 2; Swim: 1;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Improved Initiative, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Weapon Focus (Shortbow)
Challenge Rating: 2
Alignment: Neutral Good

Possessions: Arrows (50); Backpack; Bedroll; Buckler; Caltrops; Dagger; Flint and Steel; Outfit (Explorer's); Rope (Silk/50 Ft.); Sack; Shortbow; Studded Leather; Sword, Short; Torch;

Friday, August 28, 2009


There is a quick double thwap sound, and the boar falls to the mud before you, its snout landing on your chest. Rolling out from under the beast, a young man giggles as he approaches. "You're not bored, are you?" he quips. As he retrieves his spent arrows from the deceased beast, you note his well-kempt features and the standard of a far-off land tattooed on the insides of his wrists.

Medium-size Male Human
Hit Dice: (3d8)+3
Hit Points: 27
Initiative: +3
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 15 (flatfooted 12, touch 13)
Attacks: Dagger +5;Dagger (Thrown) +6;*Shortbow +6; ;
Damage: Dagger 1d4+2;Dagger (Thrown) 1d4;*Shortbow 1d6; ;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Archery Combat Style, Favored Enemy (Giant) +2, Wild Empathy (Ex) +4
Saves: Fortitude: +4, Reflex: +6, Will: +2
Abilities: STR 14 (+2), DEX 16 (+3), CON 12 (+1), INT 11 (+0), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 13 (+1)
Skills: Appraise 0; Balance 3; Bluff 1; Climb 5; Concentration 3; Craft (Untrained) 0; Diplomacy 1; Disguise 1; Escape Artist 3; Forgery 0; Gather Information 1; Handle Animal 2; Heal 4; Hide 4; Intimidate 1; Jump 4; Knowledge (Dungeoneering) 1; Knowledge (Geography) 4; Knowledge (Nature) 4; Listen 4; Move Silently 6; Ride 3; Search 3; Sense Motive 1; Spot 5; Survival 5; Swim 4;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Endurance, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Track
Challenge Rating: 3
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Possessions: Arrows (20); Leather; Dagger; Outfit (Explorer's); Shortbow;
Spells per Day: (0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:11+spell level)
Ranger - Known: None, as in Proppia, all magic is learned in-game.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kamgai Parzi

Kamgai was trained in a martial monastery on the border of the Fjordlands, a region inhabited by hordes of orcs that patrol the hills. He received his best training wandering those hills, picking fights and knowing when to flee before orc reinforcements arrived on the scene. His ability to sneak in behind enemy lines has been put to use on multiple occasions by the militias keeping sentry over the border between the Central Valley and Orkrun. This has won him a medallion of honor from the shared governance of Central Valley.

His history picking fights makes him come off as abrasive when he is first met, but over time he warms to groups who show themselves full of valor and thus worthy of his respect. Beating him in a feat of strength, dexterity, or combat will instantly win him over.

Kamgai Parzi
Medium-size Male Human
Hit Dice: (11d8)+33
Hit Points: 97
Initiative: +8
Speed: Walk 60 ft.
AC: 25 (flatfooted 21, touch 18)
Attacks: *Flurry of Blows +11/+11/+11/+6; ;
Damage: *Flurry of Blows 2d8+3; ;
Vision: normal
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Diamond Body (Su), Greater Flurry of Blows (Ex), Improved Evasion (Ex), Ki Strike (Magic and Lawful), Purity of Body (Ex), Slow Fall (50), Still Mind (Ex), Stunning Fist attack 12/day (DC 16), Wholeness of Body (Su) 22 hp/day
Saves: Fortitude: +12, Reflex: +13, Will: +10
Abilities: STR 16 (+3), DEX 18 (+4), CON 16 (+3), INT 12 (+1), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 7 (-2)
Skills: Appraise 1; Balance 11; Bluff -2; Climb 5; Concentration 9; Craft (Untrained) 1; Diplomacy 2; Disguise -2; Escape Artist 11; Forgery 1; Gather Information -2; Heal 1; Hide 12; Intimidate -2; Jump 20; Knowledge (Arcana) 4; Knowledge (Religion) 4; Listen 4; Move Silently 14; Perform (Dance) 2; Profession (Soldier) 3; Ride 4; Search 1; Sense Motive 8; Spot 6; Survival 1; Swim 5; Tumble 16;
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, Mobility, Multiattack, Power Attack, Stunning Fist
Challenge Rating: 11
Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Possessions: Belt, Monk's; Ring of Water Walking; Boots of Levitation; Bracers of Armor +5; Cloak of Resistance +2; Flurry of Blows; Outfit (Monk's); Medallion of Honor from Central Valley (AC +2)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Medallion of Honor

As a means of introducing campaign flavor, we recommend using Medallions of Honor. these medallions exist in many forms, and are awarded by communities and organizations to those who perform honorable deeds, for instance a party which saves a village from a marauding goblin army or saves a favored daughter of the hamlet.

Most common Medallions of Honor grant a +1 AC bonus (Sacred) to the wearer. However, they range through +5 bonuses, and can also bestow a number of other powers to the wearer. For instance, Medallions of Honor in aquatic communities often grant waterbreathing.

Prices range based on ability as dictated by the DMG, with additional cost bonuses for the stones which adorn them, be they turquoise, copper, or diamond.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gloves of Choking

This normal-looking pair of leather gloves is laced with a set of extra-long laces. Once worn, the long laces wrap around the wrists and arms of the wearer, binding the gloves to the wearer. Once this happens, the wearer must make a DC 20 Will check or be forced to choke the nearest creature as if under the affect of a charm person spell. If the wearer successfully chokes his neighbor, he will move on to his next-nearest neighbor until the enchantment is broken.

This is particularly deadly when characters try on the gloves while their companions sleep.

Moderate transmutation, CL 7th, Craft Wondrous Item, charm person, Price: 2,000gp.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Gnomish barbarian

Hey, all. Just got back from GenCon this sunday, and I must say the experience was awe inspiring. I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to take a try at a character that is bereft of the min/maxing typical of players of Dnd/4th ed. This character is, in particular, specific to Pathfinder (which just came out officially. If you like 3.5, it is a significant improvement. Especially the fighters and barbarians). You can see the 4th ed version over at our sister blog, Tailslap.

Luk was not born terribly lucky, despite what his name would tell. His parents were outcast from gnome society while his mother was with him. By the time of his birth, they were destitute, and forced to abandon him in the heart of the Naljin Forest. There, he was rescued by a pack of wolves, whose alpha female happened to be awakened. Life for Luk was fine, until the day the wolf he called "mother" was killed in the jaws of a hidden trap. He brutally avenged her death by fur collecters, and left the pack to seek his fortune.
This gnomish warrior could be considered strange even by the standards of his race. Mercrurial and tactless, Luk will pick the absolute worst time to speak the truth with nary a negative intention. But while the insulting replies he receives will roll off his tough hide, the mistreatment of animals--especially wolves and dogs--will immediately send him flying off the handle in a violent rage.

Male Gnome Barbarian 1(favored class)
Chaotic Neutral Small Humanoid
Init: +1 Senses: Perception +4 Low-light Vision
Languages: Common, Gnome, Sylvan

AC: 17 (+5 scale +1 size +1 dex bonus, ) touch 12, flatfooted 16
+4 dodge bonus vs. monster of the Giant type
HP: 18 (HD 1d12+2 con+3 toughness+1 favored class)
Fort: +4 Ref: +1 Will: +0
+2 morale bonus to Will while Raging, +2 racial bonus to Will vs. illusions

Speed: 30 ft.
Attack: +1 (+2 to damage 1-handed)
Full Attack: Great Club +3 (1d8+3 / x2)
Attack Options:
Battle Axe one handed +3 (1d6+2 / x3) slash
Spiked Gauntlet one handed +3 (1d3+2 / x2) pierce
Space / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Base Attack: +1 Grapple: +2 (Pathfinder: CMB: +2, CMD: 13)

SQ: Illusion resistance, Keen Senses, Obsessive, Weapon Familiarity: Gnome
SA: Rage 6 rounds/day, Fast Movement
Feats: Toughness

skills & abilities
Skills: Intimidate +4, Knowledge (nature) +3, Perception +6
Abilities Str 15 Dex 12 Con 15 Int 8 Wis 11 Cha 11

Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day-
dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, and speak with animals

Possessions: Scale Mail(note, in Pathfinder, barbarians are allowed the use of medium armor), Great Club, Battle Axe, Spiked Gauntlet, Backpack, Belt Pouch, Weapon Harness, Waterskin, 10 days rations, torch x3, 50 foot hempen rope. Total weight: 35 lbs.--light load (note: in Pathfinder, a small creature's weight allowance is 3/4 that of a medium creature)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

GenCon 2009: Saturday

This day was all about two events -- our Arena of Death Battletech game and a late night playing of Tower of Gygax that ran until 7am. I didn't know I could sit that long! Well, actually, I stood for most of the Battletech game, giddy with excitement and playing, and also at co-running the event.

Odd thing happened most of the way thru the game tho -- the fire alarm went off and we all had to vacate the premises. When we returned, we were almost out of time to complete the game. This was too bad; we had a bunch of smaller 'Mechs taking on two Marauders and I was still sneaking about in my Commando. Oh well, at least everyone ended up okay, save a guy who got a little run over in the excitement. He seemed okay tho; I saw him being carried out on a stretcher as I walked back into the Convention Center.

Tower of Gygax redux... played a Monk this time, and feigned death after getting my ass handed to me by a Minotaur/dragon. While the rest of the party were slaughtered, I snuck back and retrieved the Blueprints of the Tower from the beast's chest behind his throne. Then, after hiding in the shadow of one of his tapestries, I snuck my way back out after he returned to his throne. Two nights, two powerful artifacts. I was proclaimed the Ultimate Champion of the Tower. Huzzah!

Good times both nights. I would play Tower of Gygax a hundred more times. I even became attached to my characters in this meant-to-go-through-characters-by-the-dozen adventure.

That was all I had time for; by the time I'm getting to sleep in the morning (8:30am), there will only be time to wake and bus to the airport.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

GenCon 2009: Friday

What can I say? Tower of Gygax rocked my world. A return to old school 1st edition D&D, before everything got so complicated. Before the terms taint, bloodied, and grapple entered the scene. Back when you just took 2 actions -- move and attack, move and cast, or double move. Back when dungeons consisted of puzzles rather than long battles.

The main premise of Tower of Gygax is that you've entered this tower that was built by a wizard, and that constantly shifts and changes. But this Nethack-like dungeon is not dull; the room description s are rich and the puzzles challenging. Some rooms need to be pushed through with combat, but most require the lining up of symbols or the solving of a riddle, or even just the careful use of the elven ability to search for secret doors. Tread softly; there are deathtraps around every corner! So the premise if fairly ridiculous, and you're expected to die as if you're in a Paranoia game, but this experience is too fun to pass up. You must try it next time you're at a con where it's being offered.

Of course, I started the day playing a nine hour game of Advanced Civ, coming in 3rd out of 7 players. Since I've never seen the end of a Civ board game, it was nice to have this run to completion. When it comes to board games, this may be my favorite; it's definitely in the top five.

A good two games of Pompeii later, I was ready for Tower of Gygax. You know the rest. I emerged from the game at 7am after almost 5 hours of playing and then chumming with the DM afterward. I was the lone survivor and had the Crown of Paradise to show for it, providing command abilities and the ability to open up pocket planes at will. Good times!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

GenCon 2009: Thursday

Ugh, the day started early. 7am is earlier than I'd normally drag myself from slumber, but for tickets to fun, I suppose I could do it. Signed up for a Diplomacy game at 10am, a SF film by Richard Garriott and others actually filmed in space, and picked up 10 generic tickets at $2 apiece for use all over GenCon.

The line took forever. If it's possible to line up generics beforehand, that's the plan for next year. I mean, sheesh, why waste valuable time in line!?!? Luckily, this gave me time to figure out my schedule for the next few days. Also a good thing that I tried to sign up for things on Friday afternoon, so the dude behind the counter could remind me that the Civ game is actually Friday, not Saturday. Good thing he told me or I'd have missed it!

Then off to games, and the exhibition floor. I found the floor a bit overwhelming, with all these vendors pushing their products with vim and vinegar. Nice to see the gaming world pushes ahead full throttle despite the many reports of a dismal economy out there. WotC had a glossy exhibit; Crazy Egor had a nice warehouse of all you'd ever want feel. There was everything in-between. Next year, we may try to get a table if we start printing our modules. Stay tuned for news of this over the coming months.

Got into a few games over the course of the day, including Diplomacy, Pompeii, and Junta. I'd say the Junta game went best, with everyone really getting into it. Pompeii is a nice 45 minute fire-and-forget kind of game. Diplomacy is hard if people come in as a strong voting block. I got screwed by a strong Turkey/Austro-Hungary alliance and my Russian people were forced to take Berlin at the cost of losing Sevastopol to Turkey, Warsaw to Austria, and St. Petersburg to Britain. Can you say "squeezed?!?"

Back to the focus of this blog. I was excited to see so many role players, people dressed up (photos perhaps to follow), and general goodwill toward gamers all in the first day of the con. Looking forward to tomorrow, where I hope to get in some good old fashioned role playing after an 8 hour Advanced Civ game. Where else other than GenCon can you get in a game?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GenCon 2009: Wednesday

Today, three of us from Unicorn Rampant hopped flights from Austin to Indianapolis. Had to figure out Indy's public transit system, which isn't terribly well documented. In the end, I discovered the Green Line 7, which heads from the airport to the downtown area, passing by the Convention Center and most of the hotels, including the Hyatt where I'm staying for the next few days.

We'll be running a few games, most notably For Love of Evil all day Thursday and Friday. Though it's already sold out, this is highly recommended for you 4th Edition gamers out there! We'll be releasing this as a module soon.

After an okay meal at a sports bar across from the Convention Center, we headed back to get tickets to get involved in some fun. There were a number of things already going on Wednesday; if I'd known this, I might've flown out late Tuesday night to partake. Unfortunately, they cut off the line right in front of us, so we weren't able to get into the Wednesday night games we'd hoped to play. But we did get in a Battletech session in a two-on-two battle which was almost resolved.

Now to get a (mostly) good night's sleep before getting up by 7 to get in line for tickets!

GenCon 2009 Preview

For those of you heading to GenCon, Unicorn Rampant will be running two sessions of our new 4th Edition adventure, For the Love of Evil, one on Thursday from 8am-10pm, and one on Friday at the same time. We'll be running a Battletech game, Arena of Death on Saturday from 1-10pm. Come join the excitement!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Taking July Off

We're taking July off to spend with family, friends, and also to prepare for GenCon!

In the meantime take a look at our sister publication: Tailslap!

See you in August!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Time in a Bottle

This item appears to be a normal glass bottle with an hourglass printed on the cork. When opened on the Prime Material Plane, it allows the character to take one full round action. This can be repeated once every minute (hence, once every 10 rounds). The side effect is that the wielder ages a day per use.

If the bottle breaks, the wielder falls unconscious for a day. This is the tactic that those who know of this item use against the wielders. For this reason, Time in a Bottle is sometimes found in areas where there is much broken glass. But often they are found in very secret locations known only by powerful mages.

It is unknown how Time in s Bottle reacts on other planes.

Major transmutation; CL 19th; Craft Wondrous Item, phase self; Price 37,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Belt of Singing

Origin of the term "belt it out!" this belt can be adjusted around the waist of the wearer to improve their pitch and vocal range. The belt gives the wearer a +3 competence bonus on Perform checks and vocal skill checks. Worn by bards, it improves such rolls to perform acts by +5.

Minor divination; CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, creator must be a bard with Perform (voice) at least 5; Price 2,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wild Boots

These brightly-colored leather boots provide benefits to the wearer. First, he receives a +5 Insight Bonus to knowledge checks in the wild. Spellcasters that wear the boots also add 1 additional spell of level 3 or below to their daily spell allotment. For games using mana, add 3 mana to the wearer's mana pool.

Faint abjuration and transmutation; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, imbue with spell ability; Price 4,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Polonico Colouz

Polonico is the scruffy-yet-trustworthy paladin who runs Adin Temple, the main church in Central Valley. This church contains multiple wings, each of which is dedicated to a god - Pelor in the north and largest wing, Heironeous in the east wing, and Kord in the west wing. Polonico himself worships Pelor, but works in a partnership with adepts and warriors who worship other gods in typical Central Valley fashion.

Polonico Colouz
Medium-size Male Human
Paladin 9

Hit Dice: (9d10)+18
Hit Points: 79
Initiative: +1
Speed: Walk 20 ft.
AC: 22 (flatfooted 21, touch 11)
Attacks: *Mace +2 (Light) +13/+8; ;
Damage: *Mace +2 (Light) 1d6+4; ;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Aura of Courage (Su), Aura of Good (Ex), Divine Grace (Su), Divine Health (Ex), Lay on Hands (Su) 27 hp/day, Remove Disease (Sp) 2/week, Smite Evil (Su) 2/day, Special Mount (Sp), Turn Undead (Su) 6/day (turn level 7) (turn damage 2d6+10)
Saves: Fortitude: +11, Reflex: +7, Will: +9
Abilities: STR 15 (+2), DEX 13 (+1), CON 14 (+2), INT 13 (+1), WIS 16 (+3), CHA 16 (+3)
Skills: Appraise 1; Balance -5; Bluff 3; Climb -4; Concentration 14; Craft (Sculpting) 3; Craft (Untrained) 1; Diplomacy 15; Disguise 3; Escape Artist -5; Forgery 1; Gather Information 3; Handle Animal 7; Heal 15; Hide -5; Intimidate 3; Jump -10; Listen 3; Move Silently -5; Ride 5; Search 1; Sense Motive 5; Spot 3; Survival 3; Swim -10;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Improved Turning, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Power Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Spell Penetration
Challenge Rating: 9
Alignment: Lawful Good
Possessions: Banded Mail +2; Mace +2 (Light); Potion of Cure Serious Wounds; Potion of Fly; Shield +1 (Heavy/Metal);

Spells per Day: (0/2/1/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:13+spell level)
Paladin - Known:
Level 1: Bless, Bless Water, Bless Weapon, Create Water, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Poison, Detect Undead, Divine Favor, Endure Elements, Magic Weapon, Protection from Chaos, Protection from Evil, Read Magic, Resistance, Restoration, Lesser, Virtue
Level 2: Bull's Strength, Delay Poison, Eagle's Splendor, Owl's Wisdom, Remove Paralysis, Resist Energy, Shield Other, Undetectable Alignment, Zone of Truth

Monday, June 15, 2009

Padaric Malloy

Padaric Malloy is the leader of a small rebel unit that has held out against the Baroese army's advances into its home nation. The group of wild-dwellers has evaded the large, organized army by living at the edge of a great forest. The Baroese tactics do not account for heavy forests. Malloy's group is able to steal supplies and sneak attack the troops in their bivouacs when the sun is down. Malloy's men and women number six.

Malloy himself was once a soldier, so he understands tactics. His recent need to survive in the the woods has led to his greater understanding of nature, and he has recently gained the ability to cast ranger spells.

Padaric Malloy
Medium-size Male Human
Fighter 5 Ranger 3

Hit Dice: (5d10)+(3d8)+8
Hit Points: 67
Initiative: +1
Speed: Walk 20 ft.
AC: 20 (flatfooted 19, touch 14)
Attacks: Dagger +12/+7;Dagger (Thrown) +9/+4; Shortbow (Masterwork) +10/+5; Sword +1 (Bastard) +14/+9; ;
Damage: Dagger 1d4+4; Dagger (Thrown) 1d4; Shortbow (Masterwork) 1d6; Sword +1 (Bastard) 1d10+5; ;
Vision: normal
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Favored Enemy (Humanoid (Orc)) +2, Two Weapon Fighting Combat Style, Wild Empathy (Ex) +5
Saves: Fortitude: +8, Reflex: +5, Will: +1
Abilities: Str 18 (+4), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1), Int 10 (+0), Wis 9 (-1), Cha 14 (+2)
Skills: Appraise 0; Balance -4; Bluff 2; Climb 1; Concentration 3; Craft (Blacksmithing) 3; Craft (Untrained) 0; Diplomacy 2; Disguise 2; Escape Artist -4; Forgery 0; Gather Information 2; Handle Animal 6; Heal 2; Hide -1; Intimidate 10; Jump -5; Knowledge (Geography) 1; Knowledge (Nature) 3; Listen -1; Move Silently -4; Ride 5; Search 2; Sense Motive -1; Spot 1; Survival 1; Swim -4;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Diehard, Endurance, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Sword (Bastard)), Leadership, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Power Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Track, Weapon Focus (Sword (Bastard))
Challenge Rating: 8
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Possessions: Arrows (20); Arrows +1 (20); Banded Mail (Masterwork); Dagger; Medallion of Honor (AC Bonus+2) (Sacred); Shortbow (Masterwork); Sword +1 (Bastard); Wild Boots - AC Bonus (Insight) (+1);

Spells per Day: (0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:9+spell level)
Ranger - Known:
Level 1: Alarm, Animal Messenger, Charm Animal, Delay Poison, Detect Animals or Plants, Detect Poison, Entangle, Jump, Longstrider, Magic Fang, Pass without Trace, Resist Energy, Speak with Animals, Summon Nature's Ally I

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Thousand Eyes of Prince Sangor

This prince of a nomadic tribe is said to have a thousand eyes.

In actuality his tribe has over 500 warrior-aged men and women who act and fight in his name. As nomads, they are known to travel in many directions, even away from the tribe. They keep watch wherever they go, reporting news back to Prince Sangor through a specialized sending spell.

In person, the middle-aged prince can seem distant, since reports from his "thousand eyes" stream in constantly. To his credit, he is amazingly attentive for someone who has the central node in a hive mind in his head at all times.

The prince rarely sleeps for more than a few hours (whenever his "eyes" sleep, he is able to), leading many outsiders (and even some closer to him) to question his humanity. However, to many he comes off as a kind and generous leader who believes very strongly in core principles of honesty and justice.

The story element here is that the prince's counsel has gone missing, and he has been unable to sort through the many messages that fill his mind. The party will be sent on a search and rescue mission across the desert in order to win his trust. Sandor's top archers will accompany the party, and will teach those who use bows how better to use them. They will, of course, be able to be impressed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Roadside Shrines

Roadside Shrines are found throughout Farghoal. Some are even far off the road, in the middle of the wilderness. Wherever people have found a reason to note a piece of ground, shrines can be found.

These shrines have multiple uses:

* providing a location to worship while on the road
* providing a source of (holy) water for travelers
* consecrating an area that once was tainted
* memorializing an event, such as a successful battle or a treaty
* memorializing a hero, especially one of the traveling saints
* providing spiritual or holy defense of an area

Sample Roadside Shrines

In the Central Valley, shrines are common roadside reminders of times past. The rich histories of the people who live in the valley are woven together in detailed, sometimes cryptic poetry and prose.

Every mile or so (twenty minutes walk) between towns and inns there is some shrine serving as a reminder of the teamwork and sharing that keeps the valley thriving.

Some towns have markers in the form of shrines on every corner, telling some part of the story. Though these have mostly taken on a more secular meaning. Those that have not are homages to Farlagn, though others praise Pelor, Moradin, or Toddemere Wolfhaven, a minor god of travel.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Soup Stone

Dropped into a cauldron or pot filled with water, this knobby stone will leak the taste of onions, carrots, potatoes, and other root vegetables into the mix, proving a nutritious and tasty meal. The stone shrinks by a negligible margin with each use; a new soup stone lasts up to a year.

This meal will not cover all the nutritional needs of an adventurer, but will provide more than half, making soup stones a valuable, if not expensive item. Multiple soup stones add to the nutritious value of the meal, and make the meal tastier.

Unfortunately, if soup stones get wet (by rain or accidental dunking in a river), they wear away much quicker.

To make a soup stone, the caster must be able to create food through magical means and must be able to enchant objects. Price: 750 gp.

Drawing by Ben Dare.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trangúll Dřevo Rumors

The following are quotes that various people who have heard of Trangúll Dřevo, or who are putting the party on, will say to them.

"It is said that southwest of Olde Bay is an ancient wood, wherein lives elf folk. Mischevious, kiniving they are, and will steal your pack if you don't keep it close you. Be careful traveling in those parts."

"I daresay, you should never head there. Only death and despair. 'Tis why the Olde Bay's been so haunted all these years. Foul beasts come form there, beasts half stone and half flesh. Carry you out to their island. Don't go into those woods."

"I never venture south of the Bay. Recommend you don't either. It is said there is a haunted wood down there. Filled with dark fey folk."

"In the heart of Trangúll Dřevo is a portal to another world -- on the other end is a dragon. Can't imagine anyone would ever want to find it."

"We have seen wandering patrols of armed men dressed in deep robes, with shiny armor sneaking out from under their adornment. Their faces have a slight green hue, and they are armed with impressive weapons. If you're heading there, be sure to be well armed, or you will face certain disaster."

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Byzozius is an ancient unicorn who lives in the Forest of Light on Solania, a subplane of Celestia, accessible from a portal in the center of Trangúll Dřevo, a giant elven forest in Farghoal full of fey creatures. It is by making connections with them, and serving them for a time, that he is able to be encountered.

Byzozius lives on, but has grown weak and withered without his horn. Byzozius' horn was carved by Kardâsuan, an elven carver who didn't know its origin.

Fully restored with his horn, Byzozius has the following stats. Without his horn, Byzozius is roughly as powerful as a heavy war horse. This makes his very vulnerable until restored with his horn.

Byzozius (Level 11 Celestial Charger)
Size/Type: Large Magical Beast (Extraplanar, Celestial)
Hit Dice: 8d10+11d8+75 (177 hp)
Initiative: +10
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (-1 size, +5 Dex, +7 natural, +5 bracers of armor +6), touch 13, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +15/+26
Attack: Horn +24 melee (1d8+10)
Full Attack: Horn +24 melee (1d8+10) and 2 hooves +16 melee (1d4+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Turn undead 13/day, smite evil, ride-by attack, spells
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/magic, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to poison, charm, and compulsion, low-light vision, magic circle against evil, resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and electricity 10, scent, spell-like abilities, spell resistance 20, wild empathy
Saves: Fort +18, Ref +14, Will +20
Abilities: Str 24, Dex 20, Con 20, Int 13, Wis 29, Cha 22
Skills: Concentration +15, Knowledge (nature) +10, Knowledge (planes) +12, Knowledge (religion) +8, Listen +15, Move Silently +19, Spellcraft +12, Spot +17, Survival +15 (+17 aboveground)*
Feats: Alertness, Combat Casting, Extra Turning, Improved Initiative, Improved Turning, Run, Skill Focus (Survival)
Environment: Celestia
Organization: Unique, solitary
Challenge Rating: 17
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic good
Advancement: 11 Cleric levels
Level Adjustment: +12 (cohort)

Byzozius is an 11 HD celestial unicorn with eleven levels of cleric.

A unicorn has deep sea-blue, violet, brown, or fiery gold eyes. Males sport a white beard.

A typical adult unicorn grows to 8 feet in length, stands 5 feet high at the shoulder, and weighs 1,200 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and slimmer than males.

Unicorns speak Sylvan and Common.


Unicorns have a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks. *Unicorns have a +3 competence bonus on Survival checks within the boundaries of their forest.


The save DC for this celestial charger’s neutralize poison ability (DC 20) is adjusted for its greater Hit Dice and altered Charisma score.

Byzozius’ natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Smite Evil (Su): Three times per day, Byzozius can make a normal melee attack to deal 15 points of extra damage against an evil foe.

Magic Circle Against Evil (Su): Three times per day, Byzozius can create a 20' magic circle against evil, as the spell, with the larger area of effect.

Cleric Spells Prepared (6/7/6/5/4; save DC 18 + spell level)

0th: detect magic, detect poison (2), light, virtue (2)
1st: bless (2), calm animals*, obscuring mist, remove fear, sanctuary, shield of faith
2nd: aid* (2), animal messenger, lesser restoration, remove paralysis, shield other
3rd: prayer, protection from energy, remove curse, searing light (2)
4th: air walk, divine power, holy smite*, restoration
5th: atonement, flame strike, spell resistance
6th: blade barrier, wind walk

*Domain spell. Domains: Animal and Good.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Unicorn Rampant Heading to GenCon

Just a quick note to let everyone know we'll be there in Indy from the 12th-16th of August. Looking forward to 4 days of non-stop gaming.

We'll post which games we expect to attend once we register for them.

See you there!

PS - One of the games we'll be DM'ing at GenCon is "For Love of Evil", an adventure for evil 30th level characters. Find out more here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Issue 16 Released!

In time for tax day, we're happy to announce the release of Claw/Claw/Bite Issue 16 - Winter 2009.

Claw/Claw/Bite is a resource for storytellers and gamemasters to help create thrilling worlds of adventure for your players to test their mettle in. In each issue, you'll find new characters, creatures, magic items, encounters, and locations for use in your campaigns. We also include little nuggets that will enrich your world with interesting details and intriguing features.

Our goal is to be a "one-stop shop" for you, the gamemaster. With little or no tweaking on your part, you will be able to drop any game element from Claw/Claw/Bite into your adventure setting and run it how you see fit. All of our creations are designed for d20 fantasy rules. And of course, everything is carefully reviewed and balanced to fit into your game without disrupting your play balance or awaking the dogs of war.

This issue of Claw/Claw/Bite includes:

* Campaign Flavor in the form of Traveler's Tables
* Two new dieties, Saha Ra and Ohases
* One new spell, Cone of Silence
* Four new characters, including a Vanaran Shaman-Scientist
* Four new creatures, including the Dogs of War and Rug Rats
* Ten new magic items, including three new transport-reated Tomes
* Five new locations, including Dindle Keep and two towns in the Jaeruel
* Three new Ale Break editorials on improving the gaming experience
* And Session 2 of the new comic Trolls and Tribulations.

Download it here.

Friday, April 10, 2009


This is a race TSR stole from Tolkien... we're stealing it back!

In response to halflings being dragged all over creation in the many incarnations of fantasy role playing games, recast as kender, tallfellows, even cannibals in the Dark Sun world, it's time to take them back. We're giving them a new name that's an old name, and giving them back their proper identity.


* +2 Charisma, -2 Strength.
* Small: As a Small creature, a hobbit gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons than humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
* Hobbit base land speed is 20 feet.
* +2 racial bonus on Disguise, Gather Information, Listen, and Perform checks.
* +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.
* +1 morale bonus on saving throws against fear: This bonus stacks with the hobbit's +1 bonus on saving throws in general.
* +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with thrown weapons, slings, and daggers.
* Automatic Languages: Common and two Hobbit languages. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling.
* Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass hobbit's bard class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Inspired by a justified rant of a blog post and of course the work of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sending Stones

Sending Stones allow messages to be transmitted between themselves over large distances on a single plane. The stones must be keyed to one another; two randomly-selected sending stones will likely not be compatible, though with the careful application of a sending spell cal be keyed to the same frequency. When two stones are synced in this manner, they lose their connections to their previously-connected stones.

Unfortunately, these stones tend to be found by themselves, as they are rarely kept together (this would undermine their usefulness). However, a locate object spell can help locate the destination stone.

Price: 5,000 gp. Create Wondrous Item; sending.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Direction Sense

Level: Ranger 1, Magic 2, Sor/Wiz 1, Clr 2
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Targets: One touched object
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

The spell provides the target with a better sense of direction, even underground. The target receives a +5 on all tracking and direction sense checks and all checks to sense spinners and other direction-obfuscating mechanisms both above and below ground.

The arcane material component is a handful of iron filings and a metal rod. The divine component is a metal spinning top. Rangers whistle on the winds as a verbal component and toss a small leaf in the air.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trolls and Tribulations 2: Diplomacy

Text: S.D. Hilderbrand
Image: Jason Maggitti and S.D. Hilderbrand

Monday, March 30, 2009

Whisk o'Way

This ornate whisk appears as a typical kitchen implement, unless carefully studied by an onlooker. When properly used, this item imbues the resulting food with natural wayfinding abilities, improving travel for those who consume it.

For 8 hours after consuming a meal prepared with a whisk o'way, creatures receive a +5 on all tracking and direction-finding checks. They are also compelled to travel, which assists in all Will saves along the journey within the same 8 hour duration.

Price: 300gp; CL3, Create Wondrous Item, direction sense.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Horn of the Unicorn

This musical instrument is a unique artifact, carved from the horn of Byzozius, the ancient unicorn of the clouds, by the master hornmaker, Halupin. The Horn of the Unicorn grants its good-aligned wielder resistance to sonic effects. In addition, the horn emanates a 15' magic circle against evil as the spell.

Those who play the instrument with a DC 20 perform check deal 5d6 points of sonic damage to all creatures within a 60' cone in the direction of its playing. All evil creatures creatures within earshot receive an additional 2d6 points of sonic damage, including those within the 60' cone.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kurdt Menstan

Leader of the garrison at Rido Savo in the steep cliffs at the north edge of the Southern Reaches that sprawl across the southeast quadrant of Farghoal. Gruff. Intimidating. The perfect NPC for a DM who likes role playing in deep voices.

Kurdt Menstan
Medium-size Male Human
Fighter 15
Hit Dice: (15d10)+45
Hit Points: 153
Initiative: +6
Speed: Walk 20 ft.
AC: 24 (flatfooted 24, touch 13)
Attacks: *"Crash" Greatsword +4 (Thundering) +25/+20/+15;
Damage: *"Crash" Greatsword +4 (Thundering) 2d6+14;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities:
Saves: Fortitude: +12, Reflex: +7, Will: +7
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 18
Skills: Appraise 0; Balance -4; Bluff 4; Climb 0; Concentration 3; Craft (Armorsmithing) 1; Craft (Untrained) 0; Diplomacy 4; Disguise 4; Escape Artist -4; Forgery 0; Gather Information 4; Handle Animal 15; Heal 2; Hide -4; Intimidate 22; Jump -4; Listen 2; Move Silently -4; Ride 16; Search 0; Sense Motive 3; Spot 2; Survival 2; Swim -7;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Greater Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Greater Weapon Specialization (Greatsword), Hold the Line, Improved Critical (Greatsword), Improved Initiative, Improved Shield Bash, Leadership, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Trample, Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Weapon Specialization (Greatsword)
Challenge Rating: 15
Alignment: Neutral Good

Possessions: "Crash" Greatsword +4 (Thundering); Cloak of Charisma +2; Gloves of Dexterity +2; Half-Plate +3 (Electricity Resistance (Improved)); Mithral Heavy Shield; Outfit (Traveler's); Smoky Quartz; Ring of Protection +3; Star Ruby;

Mount: Ta N'ing

Ta N'ing
Large-size Male Warhorse, Light
Hit Dice: (3d8)+9
Hit Points: 28
Initiative: +1
Speed: Walk 40 ft.
AC: 19 (flatfooted 18, touch 10)
Attacks: *Bite +2;*Hoof +4/+4;
Damage: *Bite 1d3+1;*Hoof 1d4+3;
Vision: Low-light
Face / Reach: 10 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Animal Traits, Scent (Ex)
Saves: Fortitude: +6, Reflex: +6, Will: +2
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Appraise -4; Balance -4; Bluff -2; Climb -2; Concentration 3; Craft (Untrained) -4; Diplomacy -2; Disguise -2; Escape Artist -4; Forgery -4; Gather Information -2; Heal 1; Hide -8; Intimidate -2; Jump 3; Listen 2; Move Silently -4; Ride 1; Search -4; Sense Motive 1; Spot 4; Survival 1; Swim -7;
Feats: Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack
Challenge Rating: 1
Alignment: Neutral Good

Possessions: Barding (Chainmail); Saddlebags; Saddle (Exotic Military);