Thursday, February 26, 2009

Saha Ra and Ohases

Saha Ra is a neutral deity who provides clerics with access to the Sun and Earth domains. His wife Ohases provides his cool complement, Moon and Water.

He is concerned with the role of light and heat, and she with the role of shadow and cold. They are both favored by cultures which live in or near deserts.

His symbol is a the sun with the earth below, represented by a horizon line. A simplified version of the symbol is a circle with a horizontal line under it. Hers is a crescent with a wavy line below.

Tales of their troubled romance peppers the mythologies of those who worship them, as well as those whose religious practices allow for them in their larger pantheons.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flying V

These are nasty bat-like creatures that drift along the stratosphere until dark, when they swoop down to the surface to feed.

Flying V
Size/Type: Huge Magical Beast (extraplanar)
Hit Dice: 8d8+20 (60 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: fly 60 ft.
Armor Class: 23 (-2 size, +8 Dex, +7 natural), touch 16, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+26
Attack: Bite +10 melee (1d8+6)
Full Attack: 2 Bites +10 melee (1d8+6)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./20 ft.
Special Attacks: Fly-by Attack
Special Qualities: Darkvision (200'), Low-light Vision (500')
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +15, Will +8
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 26, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6
Skills: Hide +12, Listen +18*, Move Silently +18, Spot +14*
Feats: Alertness, Stealthy, Fly-by Attack
Environment: Lofty Peaks, Night Sky
Organization: Colony (5-8)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 9-16 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: —

A flying V has a wingspan of 25 feet and weighs about 400 pounds. They have hands near the ends of their wings that allows them to grip their prey.


Scouting the night sky with their strong nightvision and low-light vision, flying Vs swoop down upon unsuspecting prey from above, using a fly-by attack to either grapple or simply attack their unsuspecting prey.


Flying Vs have a +4 racial bonus on Spot and Listen checks.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Khadiya Umberbær

Khadiya was born and raised by the Bær tribe on the edge of a vast desert. From his upbringing, he has learned to worship Saha Ra, god of sun and sand, and live off the fruits of this deity. As he's moved into more urban environments, he's taken up various rogues skills to survive.

Khadiya Underbær
Medium-size Male Human
Rogue 5 Ranger 2
Hit Dice: (5d6)+(2d8)+14
Hit Points: 54
Initiative: +4
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 18 (flatfooted 18, touch 14)
Attacks: *Shortbow +1 +10;Sword (Short/Masterwork) +7;
Damage: *Shortbow +1 1d6+1;Sword (Short/Masterwork) 1d6+1;
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Archery Combat Style, Evasion (Ex), Favored Enemy (Humanoid (Reptilian)) +2, Sneak Attack +3d6, Trap Sense (Ex) +1, Trapfinding, Uncanny Dodge (Dex bonus to AC), Wild Empathy (Ex) +3
Saves: Fortitude: +6, Reflex: +11, Will: -1
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 18, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 7, Cha 12
Skills: Appraise 2; Balance 16; Bluff 1; Climb 6; Concentration 5; Craft (Untrained) 1; Decipher Script 2; Diplomacy 1; Disable Device 7; Disguise 1; Escape Artist 10; Forgery 3; Gather Information 4; Heal -2; Hide 10; Intimidate 1; Jump 6; Listen 4; Move Silently 14; Ride 8; Search 5; Sense Motive 0; Sleight of Hand 9; Spot 1; Survival -1; Swim 2; Tumble 10; Use Magic Device 4;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Dodge, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Track
Challenge Rating: 7
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Possessions: Aquamarine; Rope (Silk/50 Ft.); Arrows (20); Arrows (20/Mithral); Backpack; Bedroll (Fine); Case (Map or Scroll); Elixir of Sneaking; Fishhook; Flint and Steel; Grappling Hook; Leather +2; Magnifying Glass; Onyx; Piton; Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds; Pouch (Belt); Rose Quartz; Sack (Large); Sack (Small); Sard; Shortbow +1; Signet Ring; Sword (Short/Masterwork); Thieves' Tools; Torch; Waterskin (Filled); Whetstone;

Spells per Day: (0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:8+spell level)
Ranger - Known:
Level 1: Alarm, Animal Messenger, Calm Animals, Charm Animal, Delay Poison, Detect Animals or Plants, Detect Poison, Detect Snares and Pits, Endure Elements, Entangle, Hide from Animals, Jump, Longstrider, Pass without Trace, Read Magic, Resist Energy, Speak with Animals, Summon Nature's Ally I

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Traveler's Tables

Traveler's tables are nice little elements to add some spice (and encounter locations) to your worlds. Placed outside the city walls, though often in view of the town guard, these are simple tables set up so that merchants and travelers can regroup, take in a meal, and generally rest up before heading into the hustle and bustle of town and city centers.

The construction of the tables varies per region, with some city-states erecting magnificent stone tables, complete with moderate shelter, horse ties and posts, working wells and shrines. Other, less well-to-do locales offer more meager accommodations, but all municipalities consider it their duty to accommodate the weary traveler, and this is one such gesture of welcome.

These locations are often named for famous adventurers who hail from the towns in which they are placed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tablas of Persuasion

These portable drums appear normal until played by someone who succeeds at a DC 15 Perform (drums/percussion) check. At this point the rhythm of the drums causes all who are within earshot (typically 60') to make a DC 15 Will save or be at a -10 on all Will saves while the drums are played. This makes them more susceptible to persuasion, charm, and command effects originating from the player or those aligned with her.

Faint enchantment; CL 8th; Craft Wondrous Item, creator must have the bardic music class feature, charm person; Price: 15,000gp; Weight 5 lb.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ale Break: Immediacy in Storytelling

Here is a problem that plagues many role playing campaigns. The story isn't driven enough by the need to move. Think of many classic fantasy stories that inspired the creation of dnd and have been written since then - Lord of the Rings, Golden Compass, the novels of Jack Vance, etc. time and time again, these stories move from location to location because the protagonists aren't allowed to idle. There are no two-month periods where they sit around spending loot in bars and brothels. Sadly, too many dnd games devolve into this, with players playing out their adolescent fantasies in the campaign world. This is also the pacing of games like World of Warcraft, where the goal is to level your characters without ever actually role playing. This too has become too often the norm. Sure, players love shouting one-liners across the table, and this should be encouraged, especially when it's done in character. But in too many games, real role playing is often the afterthought.

Unfortunately, World of Warcraft has made its snickering (and highly profitable) way into the latest edition of the rules, which are written to entice players to want to level up to get that next encounter power, and making that the focus, rather than actual role playing. This perversion of the rules (huh... why's everyone able to heal themselves fully ~10 times a day?!?! and where's spellcasting gone?!? it feels like fighters wield as much magic as mages...) More reasons why 4th ed is subpar compared to other, more realistic, though perhaps more loop-hole-ridden systems to follow in a later opinion post.

Back to the topic at hand. One thing I've noticed (remember that this is an opinion piece) is that so many decent fantasies come from Britain, and so few from the U.S. It's not to say that Americans (and I'm one of them) can't create them, but why are we as a culture so stunted when it comes to deep storytelling? Maybe because there's not much of an oral tradition anymore, or really any sense of history at all. More people my age can name all the thundercats and transformers than can name all the U.S. state capitals or the 44 presidents. And don't dare utter the term Magna Carta unless you want to face blank stares.

In role playing sessions (and outside them as well), this bugs me, for without knowing your history you have no context for what you're doing. History (though often confined to thick tomes and a certain not-so-aptly-named cable channel that shows more infomercials than actual history) is living... history provides context... history provides immediacy. And it's this immediacy that makes role playing fun and exciting. Not all campaigns feature short people who travel the land to deliver an evil ring to its maker, but certainly any epic-scale campaign should include some reason for the characters doing what they're doing.

Otherwise they're just floundering around the world, a drunk gambler with a penchant for whores, like a gamer with no opposing alignment. And thus, no need to move!

So if you're a DM, keep reading up on history (or make some up!), and introduce or maintain a sense of immediacy in your storytelling. Your players will thank you... maybe not today, but when they look back on your campaign through the lens of their future's past.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Rug Rats

Created by a mage who once sought world dominance through sales of a specially-tainted rug, rug rats are now relatively common in most lands.

Rug Rats
Size/Type: Tiny Magical Beast(Swarm)
Hit Dice: 8d8 (26 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft.
Armor Class: 16 (+2 size, +4 Dex), touch 16, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/—
Attack: Swarm (1d6 plus disease)
Full Attack: Swarm (1d6 plus disease)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Disease, distraction
Special Qualities: Half damage from slashing and piercing, low-light vision, scent, swarm traits, meld with fabric
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +6
Abilities: Str 2, Dex 18, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 16, Cha 2
Skills: Balance +16, Climb +16, Hide +16 +18, Listen +8, Move Silently +10, Spot +8, Swim +8
Feats: Alertness, Stealthy, Weapon FinesseB
Environment: Any
Organization: Pack (2–4 swarms), or infestation (7–12 swarms)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: None
Level Adjustment: —


Rug rats seek to climb up from the rug they're in and attack any warm-blooded prey they encounter. A rug rat swarm deals 1d6 points of damage to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move, 2d6 if they stand upon the rug they inhabit.

Disease (Ex): Filth fever—swarm attack, Fortitude DC 14, incubation period 1d3 days, damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a rug rat swarm in its square must succeed on a DC 14 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Meld with Fabric (Su): A rug rat swam can meld with the rug it inhabits. This makes them unable to be attacked, though the rug can still be destroyed. If the rug is destroyed, they immediately meld back into their rat forms and scatter, at which point they are treated as normal rats.

Skills: A rug rat swarm has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks, and a +8 racial bonus on Balance, Climb, and Swim checks. A rug rat swarm can always choose to take 10 on all Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. A rug rat swarm uses its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier for Climb and Swim checks. A rug rat swarm has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tasun Sölya

A hooded figure clutching an ornately carved shortbow steps quietly from the shadows. He bows slightly, intoning a solemn greeting in a foreign tongue, the light revealing a silver medallion around his neck in the shape of a moon eclipsing a sun.

Tasun Sölya was raised by a monastic order in a kloster (Kloster Saiben) overlooking in a small alpine village along a trading route. He studied the crafts of brewing and writing and would sneak out into the fields where he practiced archery and herbalism. From time to time, wandering traders would come through the small town offering tales of far away places and strange herbs and spices. He memorized some of these stories, which have moulded the way he thinks about the world. In his late adolescence, he learned that the interactions of salt, pepper, and other spices have a profound affect on food, something he has begun to explore in his alchemical concoctions. Toward the end of his stay in the kloster, he began to think he is a half-elf, and so he has taught himself to read elvish script out of one of the elven tomes in the kloster (there were no elves around to teach him to speak).

He set off to adventure as soon as he could, in dire spiritual need of new forms of spices and herbs. Along the way, he has come to realize that his religious beliefs are aligned more with those he believes are his blood brethren, rather than the monks from the kloster who raised him.

In game terms, I Tasun is a cleric with druidic leanings and a penchant for skills commonly associated with rogues and bards – archery, sneaking, and storytelling. He’ll take levels of rogue and/or bard in time.

Tasun Sölya (goes by Tæsundel Sölya-mun because he thinks he’s half-elf)
Medium-size Male Human
Cleric of Eilistraee

HP: 18 (2d8+2)
Initiative: +2
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 15 (leather armor, dex+2)
Base Attack Bonus: +2 melee, +3 ranged
Attacks: Shortbow +1 (+4 to hit), Dagger (+2 to hit)
Damage: Shortbow 1d6+3, Dagger 1d4+1
Vision: normal
Face/Reach: 5ft, 5ft.
Special Qualities: none
Saves: Fort +4 Ref +2 Will +3

Abilities: Str 12 +1 Dex 15 +2 Con 13 +1 Int 10 - Wis 13 +1 Cha 12 +1
Skills of note:
Bluff 2
Concentration 4
Diplomacy 2
Heal 4
Knowledge: Nature 2
Knowledge: Religion 2
Listen 1
Spellcraft 3
Survival 1

Languages: Common, Elven (Read/Write, not speak so well - knows a few catch phrases, but has a strong human accent)

Feats: Point Blank Shot, Brew Potion

Possessions: Shortbow +1, Leather Armor, Leather Belt, Spell Component Pouch, Travelers Outfit, Tinwhistle, Hooded Cloak, Leather Boots, Boot Sheath, Masterwork Dagger, Quiver, 40 arrows, Small Backpack, Holy Symbol, Silk Gown, 3 Days of dried food, Quill, Scroll Case with 2 pieces of parchment, Small Traveller’s Journal, 2 Potions of Cure Light Wounds

Deity: Eilistraee
Community (Use calm emotions as a spell-like ability once per day. Gain a +2 competence bonus on Diplomacy checks.)
Rune (Free Scribe Scroll feat.)
Spells per Day: (5/4/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/ DC:10+spell level)

Often Prepared:
0th: Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Light, Mending, Read Magic
1st: Cause Fear, Detect Undead, Entropic Shield, Shield of Faith

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sitar of Confusion

While the sitar of confusion is played, all within earshot must make a (DC 10 + the Perform (music) skill of the player) Will save or find themselves under the effect of a confusion spell. The player must make a DC 10 check or be affected.

Those under a silence spell or similar effect are immune to the effect of the sitar.