Monday, May 31, 2010

New blog site!

Hey, everyone!

We've been busy setting up some new infrastructure and typesetting material for release on

As today is Memorial Day in the U.S., we'd like to further celebrate by laying to rest our old site. Be advised that the URL you should be using to access this blog is

We've moved to our own self-hosted Wordpress installation, leaving the Google-hosted Blogger home we've been using for the last 4 years. This will give us more flexibility and control over our IP as we move forward as a collaboration between Unicorn Rampant Publishing and Inverspace Press.

Thanks, Blogger, for helping to get us off the ground. And thanks, dear readers, for your support these past four years.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cloak of Humility

This plain, slightly tattered clock projects the wearer's more humble virtues. As a result, against onlookers with any sense of humility, the wearer receives a +5 on all diplomacy and bluff checks.

Wearing the cloak in scenarios that call for more formal attire will penalize these skill checks.

The minor version provides a +2 bonus, and the greater version provides a +10 bonus on the associated skill checks.

Price: 1,000gp, Craft Wondrous Item. Owners of the cloak will often require a humble deed be done before they part with the cloak as the result of a transaction.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Return from hiatus with claws and bite

Thanks everyone who sent in an entry to our April contest. We'll post the results, including the top 3 entries soon. And, send in an entry for May's contest, eh?

Thanks also for bearing with us as we finalize plans to migrate our site to a Wordpress installation on our own servers. There's something downright satisfying about that.

We are also about to embark on an 8-post journey of virtuous items for any adventuring avatar. They should be fun additions to your role playing games, and bring back shades of your gaming past.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Contest: Awe-inspiring Items

Thanks to all of you who submitted entries to our April contest, Dastardly Denizens. We're happy to announce May's contest, Awe-inspiring Items.

Write up your favorite item with a description of its origin, magical (or non-magical) effects, price, construction costs in materials, skills, and (if appropriate) time and experience. Artifacts are also welcome, as they are physical items wielded in much the same way as any other item.

"Post"mark your entries (to clawclawbite ATE by the end of May to be considered for the contest. Winners will appear in CCB 19 this summer.

By submitting an entry, you allow us to post the content of your entry, and reuse the entry for Claw/Claw/Bite magazine.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

April Contest: Dastardly Creatures

Use the month of April to create a dastardly creature, and you'll win free copies of Claw/Claw/Bite and our inaugural issue of Tailslap. Entries are due on the last day of the month, at which point, our next contest will be announced.

Be creative. Be crazy. Enter as often as you'd like; no purchase necessary. Have fun with this. Email entries to

Winners will be printed in CCB 18!

Entries may be printed in future issues of CCB or future collections released by Unicorn Rampant Publishing.

UPDATE (response to Comment #1): To help structure your entries, borrow a template from one of our recent creature entries, described in detail in the D20 SRD, or use the Pathfinder bestiary system, including an introduction, stat block, and a description in your entry.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

New blog site about to go live

In case you've wondered what we've been up to these past few weeks, well...

After almost 4 years working with Blogger, we've decided to move on to Wordpress, and will be hosting the site off our own shiny server. We expect to make this move in another few days, once the blog software is completely installed, configured, and the data migrated over. We'll keep you posted as to when the move will be made.

Those of you using the address, please migrate over to, which will stay with us wherever we move in the future. Consider that link the permanent home of the magazine.

Thanks again for your support...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Dark Hounds of Sin

Dark Hounds of Sin wander the earth, tempting humans and their brothers with sin. Some take the forms of humans to lure their prey into dark alleys and private homes where they can strike.

There are different dog types for each sin, each of which embody a particular sin. Here is an example of a Dark Hound of Gluttony, who may be encountered at a banquet in the court of a castle.

Dark Hounds of Sin (Gluttony)
Size/Type: Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)
Hit Dice: 16d8+32 (103 hp)
Initiative: +9
Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
Armor Class: 28 (+5 Dex, +10 natural, +3 hide armor), touch 13, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +16/+24
Attack: Bite +18 melee (1d10+5/19-20 plus 1d6 poison)
Full Attack: Bite +13 melee (1d10+5/19-20 plus 1d6 poison)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon, poison bite, rend
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., protection from good, scent, vulnerability to water, shape shift
Saves: Fort +14, Ref +11, Will +12
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 21, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 4
Skills: Intimidate +22, Jump +20, Listen +16, Spot +18, Survival +10*, Tumble +12
Feats: Alertness, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Outer Planes and urban environments
Organization: Solo
Challenge Rating: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always lawful evil
Advancement: 17-26 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: --

A typical hound of sin stands 5 feet high at the shoulder and weighs 140 pounds.

Hounds of sin are always encountered alone.

Shape Shift (Su): Three times a day, hounds of sin can shape shift into humanoid forms in order to tempt their humanoid prey.


Hounds of sin sneak up behind their prey, employing razor-sharp teeth to bite into and rend their opponents.

The natural weapons of hounds of sin are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Breath Weapon (Su): 10x10 area of noxious poison that quickly fills an area, dealing 2d6 poison damage, Fortitude DC 25 to negate. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Poison Bite (Su): Hounds of sin deal an extra 1d6 points of poison damage every time they bite an opponent, as if these bites are a poison weapon.


Hounds of sin have a +10 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks, which are commonly used.

*They also receive a +8 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent, due to their keen sense of smell.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Suffering Souls

"Alas! how feeble is our faith! If a domestic animal, a little dog, falls into the fire, do you delay to draw it out? And see, your parents, benefactors, persons most dear to you, writhe in the flames of Purgatory, and you do not consider it your urgent duty to relieve them; you delay, you allow long days of suffering to pass for those poor souls, without making an effort to perform those good works which will release them from their pains."

-Fr. Schouppe, from his book: Purgatory, pp. 238-239, 1893 Imprimatur
Suffering Souls
Medium Outsider (Neutral, Extraplanar, Incorporeal, Swarm)
Hit Dice: 4d8+3 (24 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+11 (+1 for each soul)
Attack: Swipe +5 melee
Full Attack: Swipe and Grapple
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Haunt, soul link
Special Qualities: Incorporeal, strong-willed, immunity to charm and sleep effects
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +7
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 11, Con 3, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 11
Skills: Climb +6
Feats: Improved Grapple
Environment: Hell, any haunted locale
Organization: Swarm
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: TN
Advancement: None
Level Adjustment: None

Haunt (Su): Suffering souls haunt an area, trying to escape their torment on the Nine Planes of Hell. Creatures within a haunted area (usually a 400' diameter circle) receive -1 penalties to all rolls.


Suffering souls swarm all who enter their unhallowed grounds. They will attack relentlessly until repelled, at which point they return to Purgatory until they are returned in an unending cycle to their place on the Prime Material Plane to haunt it evermore. The only way to free suffering souls from this torment is to travel to Hell to confront the devil that binds them.

Soul link (Su): When suffering souls make eye contact with a humanoid within 20' for a full round, they establish a soul link with them. For the duration of the encounter, all damage they experience is also experienced by those whose souls are linked with them. When the encounter ends, the soul link lingers for multiple days, during which time the affected experience the torment of the suffering souls in Hell.

OwlCon XXIX Recap

It's not often enough that we're able to get out of our regularly scheduled lives and game for a few days straight. But it was time!

Last weekend, we attended OwlCon at Rice University, a handsome campus smack in the middle of Houston. Since we could stay at a hotel just a few blocks away, we could walk to the con itself, which this time of the year is brisk but enjoyable.

Adam spent the weekend at the RPGA tables, which were well-run, complete with an organizer taking orders for food, which was then delivered at your table so you could keep gaming. Very enabling of our addictions...

And very well run. Their adventures take part in the Forgotten Realms, which allows players to come in knowing much of the world, helping to paint the scene for easier role playing. I have to admit I don't know enough about FR, so I'll need to pick up a book and do some background reading before my next con. That way I'll know where Aldric is from and where he's been. Seems like harmless enough homework...

I spent Friday and Sunday at the RPGA tables playing the same adventures, and Saturday I played board games. It's hard to find the groups to play Advanced Civ and Rail Baron since people are rightfully daunted by these classic Avalon Hill titles and their many complex dynamics. But at my last two cons, I've seen these listed, and simply had to play. When it all shook down, as Asia I came in second in Civ (Egypt taught us all a lesson in economics) and as Minneapolis-based "white player" came in third in Rail Baron (first time playing; I'm clearly not a optimal capitalist).

We learned on Saturday night (in the last game of the night) that Battletech pods are fun as hell! Providing a hands-on 'Mech pilot experience, they confounded me, but Adam racked up tons of points. I did have fun jumping all over the map and firing missiles at long range toward every 'Mech I could track down. Good times, and a desire I've had since middle school fulfilled.

Our final game on Friday was run by a great DM who embodied many of the traits of other favorite con DMs -- he controlled the action, telling an engaging story, didn't read any of the mechanics aloud, occupied the long end of the table, stood for much of the session, and used traps, hazards and classic DM trickery to get us to fall into them. We learned a lot from his presentation. So, Phil of the Houston RPGA, this post is for you.

All in all, a very well-organized con, especially one hosted by a university. Good people, DMs, and miniature dungeons and battlescapes. Adam got a few photos of the scapes, but I put it off too long...

Late night diner runs led us to 59 Diner, a friendly joint with tasty greek salads. Try 'em the next time you're in downtown Houston.

Finally, on our way out of town, we dropped by some old friends' place for some home cooked lasagna and caught up. A great weekend! Looking forward to next year's.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Abysm's Dread Kraken

Deep beneath the waves of the oceans of Abysm, Demogorgon's realm in the Abyss, lurks a creature of unfathomable might.  Spawned and nurtured by the Sibilant Beast, Drigular is to a squid what Demogorgon is to a monkey.  Drigular will rise to the surface at his master's bidding to whelm and destroy intruders on Demogorgon's waters.

Size/Type:     Colossal Magical Beast (Aquatic, evil, outsider)
Initiative:     +4

Hit Dice:     44d10+484 (726 hp)
Armor Class:     28 (-8 size, +26 natural), touch 2, flat-footed 28
Damage Reduction: 10 / magic
Saves:     Fort +35, Ref +22, Will +18
Resistances: cold & fire 20
Spell Resistance: 30

Speed:     Swim 20 ft. (4 squares)
Attack:     Tentacle +42 melee (4d6+22/19-20) with 10 point power attack
Full Attack:     2 tentacles +42 melee (4d6+26/19-20) and 6 arms +37 melee (1d8+18) and bite +37 melee (4d8+18) with 10 point power attack
Base Attack/Grapple:     +44/+76 (+56 if not concentrating completely on a single target)
Space/Reach:     30 ft./ 20 ft. (90 ft. with tentacle, 45 ft. with arm)
Special Attacks:     Improved grab, constrict 4d6+16 or 1d8+8, swallow whole, smite good (+20 damage 1/day)
Special Qualities:     Darkvision 60 ft., ink cloud, jet, darkvision, spell-like abilities

Abilities:     Str 42, Dex 10, Con 33, Int 21, Wis 20, Cha 20
Skills:     Concentration +58, Diplomacy +7, Hide +0, Intimidate +32, Knowledge (geography) +30, Knowledge (nature) +25, Listen +51, Search +51, Sense Motive +34, Spot +51, Survival +5 (+7 following tracks), Use Magic Device +32
Feats:     Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Iron Will, Improved Natural Armor (x7), Power Attack

Environment:     Abyssal Ocean
Organization:     Solitary
Challenge Rating:     20
Treasure:     Triple standard
Alignment:     any evil
Advancement:     21-32 HD (Gargantuan); 33-60 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment:     —

Improved Grab (Ex)
To use this ability, the kraken must hit with an arm or tentacle 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 constrict.

Constrict (Ex)
A kraken deals automatic arm or tentacle damage with a successful grapple check.

Jet (Ex)
A kraken can jet backward once per round as a full-round action, at a speed of 280 feet. It must move in a straight line, but does not provoke attacks of opportunity while jetting.

Ink Cloud (Ex)
A kraken can emit a cloud of jet-black ink in an 80-foot spread once per minute as a free action. The cloud provides total concealment, which the kraken normally uses to escape a fight that is going badly. Creatures within the cloud are considered to be in darkness.

Spell-Like Abilities
at-will-deeper darkness, bestow curse, contagion, control weather, control winds, resist energy
3/day-dominate animal (DC 27 Will negates), insanity (DC 22 Will negates)
1/day— unholy aura (DC 23 Fort. or 1d6 strength damage when hit).
Caster level 17th. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Abyssal Headlesses

Created by Orcus from the corpses of Demogorgon's subjects when he began reshaping Abysm to suit his will, these horrors now stalk the burning jungles of the 88th layer of the Abyss.  They mindlessly kill all they encounter other than their own kind.

These horrible maimed wretches are as varied as the demons of the abyss in appearance, but all share the trait of having no head - just a bloody stump for a neck.  

Abyssal Headless CR 15
CE size large monstrous humanoid (outsider, undead)
Init: +1 Senses: tremorsense 60 ft.
Languages: none

AC: 30 (+1 dex, +20 natural, -1 size) touch 10, flatfooted 16
HP: 199 (HD 30d12)
Immune: mind-effecting and illusions, fire, poison & electricity
Resist: 15 cold, acid & sonic
DC 15 / magic
Fort: +18 Ref: +9 Will: +13

MV: 40 feet
Attack: claw +28 (1d8+12) or greatclub +27 (2d8+18)
Full Attack: 2 claws +26 (1d8+12) or greatclub +27 / +22 / +17 (2d8+18)
Attack Options: improved grab, rend, combat reflexes
Space / Reach: 10 ft. / 10 ft.
Base Attack: +15 Grapple: +39

Abilities Str 34, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 14, Cha 6
SQ: tremorsense 90 feet, senseless, undead traits
SA: improved grab, rend
Feats: Improved Grapple, Weapon Focus (claws), Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, Improved Natural Armor (7 times)
Skills: climb +46, jump +46

Rend (Ex): If a headless hits with both claw attacks it can automatically rend for 4d6+18 damage.

Improved Grab (Ex): If a headless hits with a claw attack it can start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Once it establishes the grapple it can either attack with it's claws at a -4 penalty or it can roll a grapple checks to deal claw damage.

Senseless (Ex): having no heads, these creatures are blind, deaf and dumb. Beyond the reaches of their tremorsense, they are not aware of their surroundings.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Burning Treant Husks

These eternally burning undead treants were created by Orcus when the Savage Tide was thwarted, Orcus became Prince of Demons, and he began to transform Abysm, the 88th layer of the Abyss, to his liking.

This blackened, shrieking, humanoid tree rushes toward you, its panicked expression back-lit by the blazing fire in its foliage.

Burning Treant Husks CR 15
CE size huge plant (outsider, undead)
Init: -1 Senses: darkvision
Languages:abyssal, common
Aura: creatures within 5 feet take 3d6 fire damage

AC: 29 (-2 size, -1 Dex, +22 natural), touch 7, flat-footed 27
HP: 187 (HD 28d12)
Immune: mind-effecting and illusions, fire, poison & electricity
Resist: 15 cold, acid & sonic
DC 15 / magic
Fort: +18 Ref: +9 Will: +11
SR: 20

MV: 30 feet
Attack: slam +32 (2d6+18)
Full Attack: 2 slams +30 (2d6+18) and 3d6 fire
Attack Options: trample 2d6+18 and 6d6 fire, (DC 32 Reflex for half damage)
Space / Reach: 15 ft. / 15 ft
Base Attack: +15 Grapple: +31

Abilities Str 37, Dex 8, Con -, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 12
SQ: plant traits, undead treaits
SA: trample

Skills: climb +46, jump +46

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Owlcon XXIX

We'll be at OwlCon this year, which starts tomorrow!

Look for us with the unicorns on our shirts. We'll have a few copies of our issues, including hardcover copies of Claw/Claw/Bite Omnibus 1.1 for you to peruse.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whelmer of Ships

This part air, part water elemental is a powerful force, devouring ships on the open seas.

To visualize whelmers of ships, think pf a whirlpool with its complementary winds.

Whelmer of Ships
Size/Type: Huge Elemental (Air, Water, Extraplanar)
Hit Dice: 24d8+120 (228 hp)
Initiative: +15
Speed: Below-water portion: 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 120 ft. Above-water portion: Fly 100 ft. (perfect) (20 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (-2 size, +11 Dex, +8 natural), touch 19, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +18/+35
Attack: Slam +27 melee (2d10+9/19-20)
Full Attack: 2 slams +27 melee (2d10+9)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Water mastery, drench, vortex
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/-, darkvision 60 ft., elemental traits
Saves: Fort +19, Ref +25, Will +10
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 33, Con 21, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 11
Skills: Listen +29, Spot +29
Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Great Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Flyby Attack, Improved Critical (slam) Improved InitiativeB, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Power Attack, Spring Attack, Weapon FinesseB
Environment: Storm Plane
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 14
Treasure: None
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: 25-48 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: —

Whelmers of ships speak Auran and Aquan, though they rarely choose to do so. A whelmer can't venture out of the body of water from which it was conjured, and cannot be conjured into a body of water too small for it to fit into.

Whelmer of Ships Height Weight Whirlpool
Save DC Damage Height
Elder 40 ft. 24,000 lb. 34 2d8 10-60 ft.


Their rapid speed at the intersections of bodies of water and fast-moving air make them well-suited to battlefields beneath the waves where their whirlpools and heavy winds suddenly swell up behind its opponents.

Air Mastery (Ex): Airborne creatures take a -1 penalty on attack and damage rolls against a whelmer of ships.

Whirlwind (Su): The whelmer can transform itself into a whirlwind once every 10 minutes and remain in that form for up to 10 rounds. In this form, the whelmer can move partially along the surface of a body of water at its fly speed.

The whirlwind is 5 feet wide at the base, up to 30 feet wide at the top, and up to 60 feet tall. The whelmer's movement while in whirlwind form does not provoke attacks of opportunity, even if the whelmer enters the space another creature occupies. Another creature might be caught in the whirlwind if it touches or enters the whirlwind, or if the whelmer moves into or through the creature's space.

Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the whelmer might take damage when caught in the whirlwind (use the table from the air elemental) and may be lifted into the air. An affected creature must succeed on a Reflex save when it comes into contact with the whirlwind or take the indicated damage. It must also succeed on a second Reflex save or be picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful winds, automatically taking the indicated damage each round. A creature that can fly is allowed a Reflex save each round to escape the whirlwind. The creature still takes damage but can leave if the save is successful. The save DC is Strength based.

Additionally, creatures trapped underwater must make saves or begin drowning, as per the PHB.

Creatures trapped in the whirlwind cannot move except to go where the whelmer carries them or to escape the whirlwind.

Creatures caught in the whirlwind can otherwise act normally, but must succeed on a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) to cast a spell. Creatures caught in the whirlwind take a -4 penalty to Dexterity and a -2 penalty on attack rolls. The whelmer can have only as many creatures trapped inside the whirlwind at one time as will fit inside the whirlwind’s volume.

The whelmer can eject any carried creatures whenever it wishes, depositing them wherever the whirlwind happens to be. A summoned whelmer always ejects trapped creatures before returning to its home plane.

Water Mastery (Ex): A whelmer gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both it and its opponent are touching water. If the opponent or the whelmer is touching the ground, the whelmer takes a -4 penalty on attack and damage rolls.

A whelmer can be a serious threat to a ship that crosses its path. A whelmer can easily overturn vessels up to 200' in length. Ships over 200' can be slowed to half speed.

Drench (Ex): The whelmer's touch puts out torches, campfires, exposed lanterns, and other open flames of nonmagical origin if these are of Large size or smaller. The creature can dispel magical fire it touches as a dispel magic spell.

Vortex (Su): The whelmer can transform itself into a whirlpool once every 10 minutes, provided it is underwater, and remain in that form for up to 10 rounds. In vortex form, the whelmer can move through the water or along the bottom at its swim speed. The vortex is 5 feet wide at the base, up to 30 feet wide at the top, and 60 feet tall.

The whelmer's movement while in vortex form does not provoke attacks of opportunity, even if the whelmer enters the space another creature occupies. Another creature might be caught in the vortex if it touches or enters the vortex, or if the whelmer moves into or through the creature's space.

Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the whelmer might take damage when caught in the vortex and may be swept up by it. An affected creature must succeed on a Reflex save when it comes into contact with the vortex or take the indicated damage. It must also succeed on a second Reflex save or be picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful currents, automatically taking damage each round. An affected creature is allowed a Reflex save each round to escape the vortex. The creature still takes damage, but can leave if the save is successful. The save DC is Strength-based.

Much like in the whirlpool form, creatures trapped in the vortex cannot move except to go where the whelmer carries them or to escape the whirlwind. Creatures caught in the whirlwind can otherwise act normally, but must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + spell level) to cast a spell. Creatures caught in the whirlwind take a -4 penalty to Dexterity and a -2 penalty on attack rolls. The whelmer can have only as many creatures trapped inside the vortex at one time as will fit inside the vortex's volume.

The whelmer can eject any carried creatures whenever it wishes, depositing them wherever the vortex happens to be. A summoned whelmer always ejects trapped creatures before returning to its home plane.

A whelmer in vortex form cannot make slam attacks and does not threaten the area around it.


A whelmer of ships has a +8 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. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Image: The Shipwreck, Joseph Mallord William Turner, exhibited 1805

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Moment of Clarity

For just a second, you see things are they truly are. Mostly.

Moment of Clarity
Level: Brd 0, Sor/Wiz 0
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 10 ft.
Target, Effect, or Area: Self
Duration: 1 round
Saving Throw: See text
Spell Resistance: No

You briefly acquire the ability to see all things as they actually are. For one round, you see through normal and magical darkness, notice secret doors hidden by magic, see the exact locations of creatures or objects under blur or displacement effects, see invisible creatures or objects normally, see through illusions, and see the true form of polymorphed, changed, or transmuted things. The range of this effect is 120 feet.

Moment of clarity does not penetrate solid objects, negate concealment, expose mundane disguises, spot creatures who are simply hiding, or allow you to notice secret doors hidden by mundane means. In addition, the spell effects cannot be further enhanced with known magic, so one cannot use moment of clarity through a crystal ball or in conjunction with clairaudience/clairvoyance.

Note that any level 4 or higher effects are not affected by this spell.

Material Component

A sprig of mint, rosemary, or a salve of salt to wake the senses.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Grove of Bones

This location was created when a mad druid took up the necromantic elements of sorcery. First he consecrated the area with an evil bent, then he turned an entire grove of fine alder trees into bones, using the limbs to raise up an army of skeletons and bone golems.

Throughout the grove are creeping vines, represented in dark green on the map. There is a 1 in 6 chance that each vine will attack as the party passes within the 10' reach of the vines. Once one vine attacks, every vine will attack a character that steps within 10' of the vine. This automatic attack includes vines within 10' of a character when the first vine attacks.

Each white circle on the map represents the trunk of bone. Those lying sideways are horizontal with the exception of two that are leaning against other bones. The grey areas are stone, the brown wood or road. Each number on the map corresponds to a location or set of locations described below.

1 The Approach
The wind grows still and the squawk of avians silent as you approach this fork in the road. The primary direction continues before you where it is blocked by a felled, forty-foot trunk. A smaller path heads into a grove of birch trees, their trunks covered in a white bark. The area smells of charnel.
If the characters study the trees more carefully, for instance walking up to one and trying to harvest its bark for parchment, they will notice that the trunks are not normal. A DC 15 Knowledge Nature check will reveal that they have a sturdy-yet-porous feel not unlike bone.

2 Felled Trunk
A tree with a 7' diameter trunk blocks the road before you. Spider webs cling to the underside of the rounded trunk, running to the ground in threads woven so thick that you cannot see the ground.
If characters try to scale the bone tree, they must make a DC 20 Jump check to reach the upper side of the bone, and then a DC 20 Climb check to continue to scale the bone. if they fail, they will find the trunk too smooth to climb, and will slip off. Those who succeed can walk along the trunk at half speed with a DC20 Balance check.

Characters who linger at the base of the trunk for more than 3 turns will be attacked by a group of 4 dire spiders, who climb up through the webbing. Characters within 15' of the trunk when the combat begins have a 1 in 6 chance of standing in some webbing, requiring them to make a DC 20
Reflex save or be stuck as if under the effect of a web spell as the fight breaks out.

After the combat, if the characters search under the trunk, they will find the crushed remains of a skeletal humanoid, his leather backpack intact. The backpack contains 2 cure medium wounds potions, a potion of momentary clarity, and a scroll of freedom of movement. On the skeleton's feet is one boot of speed. The other is on one of the skeletons that the party faces with the necromancer. If they check carefully, they will notice the match on the skeleton.

3 Summoning Circle
Chips of wood and bone dot the ground around this 15' circle surrounded by four stone obelisks. The obelisks have wooden adornments that serve as appendages emanating from the stone bases. The circle is rimmed with alternating white and black stones the size of a human fist. The weeds are kept at bay just outside the rocks; inside the circle there is no grass nor weed.
The chips are fairly long and narrow, and do not appear to have been made with axes or other normal blades, as the edges are serrated.

The obelisks are abstract representations of four woodland animals: bear, boar, owl, and wolf. The wooden portions provide the representations, as the stone portions are the same on each obelisk, constituting the base and the trunk. These obelisks belong to the long-dead druids who once cared for this grove.

This is where the necromancer summons creatures, growing his undead army.

4 Pile of Bones
A neatly-arranged pile of assorted bones lies in the center of the dirt path in the center of the grove.
Characters who linger at the base of the pile for more than 3 turns will be attacked by 2 bone golems, who, when killed, will rattle their bones, alerting the necromancer. If the time is right, he will attack the party. This is up to the DM. In most cases, he will attack when the party reaches location 6.

The bones are of assorted lengths, from 3" wide and 2' long to 3' wide and 10' long, and appear to have been shaped into bones. Perhaps they are true bones, perhaps they are trees-turned-bones.

5 Fitted-Stone Slab
This slab of fitted stones is stained a deep rust color.
The rust color is from blood used in sacrifice to aid the necromancer in his foul deeds.

The workmanship suggests that this slab was built some hundred or more years ago. If the characters look carefully, they will notice that the stones are arranged in the form of an owl mized with a bear. This grove once was the home of a great owlbear clan, the remains of which have been disturbed by the necromancer. This clan was befriended by the druids who then took over mantenance of the grove before their untimely end at the treacherous hands of the necromancer.

6 Stone Hut
When the party nears the hut, read or paraphrase the following:
A mound of vines obscures something large and grey underneath.
If the party clears off some of the creeping vines (by killing or otherwise dispatching with them), read aloud the following:
A well-mortared wall of a 10'x15' fitted-stone structure shows signs of age, yet is impressively intact in the face of the strong vines that once covered it.

Inside the stone hut, in among rusted rakes and shovels with rotted handles, the party will find various necromantic items, including a scroll of transmute wood to bone, a scroll of protection from good, and a collection of notes on the anatomy of human bones and trees, with strange connections drawn between them.

Once the party loots the hut, the necromancer will appear outside and begin summoning assistance. When they fight him, he will by flanked by 12 medium skeletons, 2 large skeletons, 3 bone golems, and 2 animated owlbear skeletons, all of which quickly rush up to engage the party in melee, while he casts spells from afar. In their rush into the melee, the owlbears knock over some of the remaining bone trees, creating dynamic terrain hazards. The bone golems and large skeletons will even lift some of the bones out of the pile at location 4 to use as large bone clubs against the characters.

7 Twin felled bones
Two twin bones have been knocked over here, forming a small space between which run thickly-woven spider webs.
In among the bones, the party discovers the remains of an old graveyard, with headstones written in a strange and ancient language. This is where the necromancer raised his skeletons out of their ancient graves.

8 Angled bone
A large bone leans against a standing one, providing a perilously balanced cover.
This bone of course, could at any moment be knocked loose, for instance in combat or if a character attempts to walk upon it, requiring anyone above or below it to make a DC 20 Reflex save to avoid taking 2d8 damage from the falling bone.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Asteroth: Demon Liche

Asteroth is an ancient demon who through a bizarre series of events and a strange curse survived his own destruction. Now, by the use of his arcane powers, he persists as a liche.

In the centuries since then he has served as a mercenary wizard, enchanter and sage to many of the most powerful and important personages of the underworlds. None know where his sanctum lies.

Asteroth is the creator of the spell Asteroth's Snare.

His normal form is a towering skeletal humanoid with the skull of a jackal and glowing, red eyes, but often he appears in other guises. He leaves a trail of ash wherever he walks.

Asteroth CR 22
Size Large Undead Outsider (Evil)
Wizard 17
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Languages: Abyssal, Telepathy to 100 feet
Senses: darkvision, Listen +12, Spot +15
Initiative: +6

AC: 26 (flatfooted 19, touch 14), +1 dodge bonus against one target, +4 with Shield cast, +4 vs. attacks of opportunity when moving
DR 15 / bludgeoning and magic and 10 / adamantium from Stoneskin
Hit Dice: (22d12)
Hit Points: 136
Saves: Fortitude: +11, Reflex: +13, Will: +21
Immune: cold, electricity, paralysis, mind-affecting attacks, poison, acid
Resist: 20 cold, 20 fire
Aura: fear (affects creatures of 5 HD and less within 60 feet, Will DC 24 negates)
Turn Resistance: +4
Spell Resistance: 29

Speed: 40 ft.
Attacks: +13 negative energy touch
Damage: 1d8+5 (Will DC 24 halves) and permanent paralysis (Will DC 24 negates)
Face / Reach: 10 ft. / 10 ft.

Feats: Combat Casting, Craft Wand, Craft Wondrous Item, Dodge, Forge Ring, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Scribe Scroll, Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration

Special Abilities & Qualities: See Below

Abilities: STR 17 (+3), DEX 15 (+2), CON - (-), INT 28 (+9), WIS 18 (+4), CHA 19 (+4)

Skills: Appraise 10; Balance 2; Bluff 5; Concentration 29; Decipher Script 9; Diplomacy 9; Hide 11; Knowledge (Arcana) 28; Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) 10; Knowledge (Dungeoneering) 9; Knowledge (Geography) 10; Knowledge (History) 13; Knowledge (Local) 14; Knowledge (Nature) 10; Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) 14; Knowledge (Religion) 12; Knowledge (The Planes) 15; Listen 12; Move Silently 10; Ride 4; Search 17; Sense Motive 13; Spellcraft 30; Spot 15; Survival 3; Swim 1;

Possessions: Amulet of Natural Armor +3; Ring of Protection +3; Bracers of Armor +4; Cloak of Resistance +4; Headband of Intellect +4; Wand of Cat's Grace; Wand of Scorching Ray (11th level caster); Wand of Lightning Bolt (10th level caster); Wand of Magic Missile (9th level caster); Wand of Polymorph; Wand of Suggestion;

Spell-like Abilities (as 17th level wizard, save DC 19 + spell level): At-Will: alter self, greater teleport. 3/Day: geas, true seeing

Wizard Spells:
Spell Save DC:19 + spell level
Mana: 193
Level 0 (4 / day): Arcane Mark, Daze, Detect Magic, Touch of Fatigue
Level 1 (7 / day): Identify, Ray of Enfeeblement x 2, Shield, True Strike, Charm Person, Protection From Good
Level 2 (6 / day): Mirror Image, Detect Thoughts, Invisibility, Resist Energy, Touch of Idiocy, Web
Level 3 (6 / day): Blink, Slow, Fly, Fire Ball, Vampyric Touch, Protection From Energy
Level 4 (6 / day): Enervation, Fire Shield, Greater Invisibility, Mass Reduce Person, Stoneskin, Resilient Sphere
Level 5 (6 / day): Feeblemind, Baleful Polymorph, Telekinesis, Dominate Person, Wall of Force, Cloudkill
Level 6 (5 / day): Flesh to Stone, Globe of Invulnerability, True Seeing, Greater Dispel Magic, Repulsion
Level 7 (4 / day): Mage's Sword, Spell Turning, Finger of Death, Force Cage
Level 8 (3 / day): Horrid Wilting, Clenched Fist, Temporal Stasis
Level 9 (2 / day): Mass Hold Monster, Time Stop

Summon Daemon: once per day, Asteroth can summon 3d6 Canaloths or 2d4 Nycaloths with 100% chance of success, or 1d6 Nycoloths or 1 Ultroloth with a 50% chance of success. See the Manual of the Planes for statistics of these fiends.

Fear Aura (Su): Liches are shrouded in a dreadful aura of death and evil. Creatures of less than 5 HD in a 60-foot radius that look at the lich must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by a fear spell from a sorcerer of the lich’s level. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same lich’s aura for 24 hours.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A lich has +4 turn resistance.

Immunities (Ex): Liches have immunity to cold, electricity, polymorph (though they can use polymorph effects on themselves), and mind-affecting attacks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Transmute Wood to Bone

Transmute Wood to Bone
Transmutation [Healing]
Level: Drd 4, Sor/Wiz 5, Clr 5
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: Up to two 10-ft. cubes/level (S)
Duration: Permanent; see text
Saving Throw: See text
Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell turns natural, uncut or unworked wood into an equally-sized bone, complete with marrow. Magically-enhanced wood is not affected by the spell.

If cast on living wood, for instance a tree, the wood must make a saving throw with a DC equal to the caster's level + attribute bonus. Wooden structures must also make such a save. If cast on wands, staves, and other wood in possession of a living creature, the living creature rolls for the item.

The bone remains until a successful dispel magic or transmute bone to wood (reverse of this) spell restores its original subtance but not necessarily its form, especially if the bone has been chipped, fractured, or otherwise broken.

This spell can also be used to turn forests into components or raw material for necromantic magic, as the bones can be animated and turned into giant skeletons.

Arcane Material Component

A rib from a human or demihuman and a piece of bark off of a live tree.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lord Dunsany's The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories

The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories is the influential third book by Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany, aka. Edward J. M. D. Plunkett. Dunsany's stories have been major influences on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula LeGuin and many others writing fantasy today. This collection of stories was first published in hardcover by George Allen & Sons in October, 1908, and has been reprinted a number of times since.

Some of the short stories in this collection are linked by Dunsany's invented pantheon of deities who dwell in Pegāna, which were the focus of his earlier collections The Gods of Pegāna and Time and the Gods. One of the stories, "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth," was afterwards (1910) published by itself as a separate book, a now very-rare "Art-and-Craft" style limited edition. A scene from "The Highwaymen" is very similar to a scene I'd written a few weeks back in one of my Proppian adventures.

To me Dunsany is a true master of the fantastic form. His collection, The Hashish Man has been a major influence on my writing and my own thinking about creating interesting characters in role playing games since I first read it back in 2000. This heightened imagination continues to inspire me to this day.

This collection is well worth finding at a used book store for $2 (thanks, Half Price Books!), but also available for free online at Project Gutenberg. Check it out for inspiration in your fantasy role playing games.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Memory Eater

This floating, mostly-mandible creature eats memories, dealing XP damage rather than normal damage. Watch out for crits!

Memory Eater
Size/Type: Small Aberration (Evil, Psionic)
Hit Dice: 8d8+15 (50 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: fly 60 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 24 (+1 size, +6 Dex, +7 natural), touch 17, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+3
Attack: Bite +8 melee (1d3+1)
Full Attack: Double bite +8 melee (1d3+1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Psi-like abilities, steal memory
Special Qualities: Blindsight 60 ft., damage reduction 10/adamantine, immunity to fire, power resistance 23, resistance to electricity 15, vulnerability to protection from evil, shift alignment
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +8
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 23, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 14
Skills: Bluff +15, Concentration +11, Hide +16, Listen +16, Move Silently +16
Feats: Combat Manifestation, Toughness, Up the Walls, Wild TalentB
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary or pod (2-4)
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: standard coins of various sorts; double goods; standard items
Alignment: Always chaotic
Advancement: 9-12 HD (Medium), 13-16 (Large)
Level Adjustment: +7

Memory eaters understand common and all the tongues of the Dream and Astral Planes, and can understand any of the languages of prey whose memories they have stolen.


Steal Memory (Su): Upon a successful critical hit (range 18-20) on a creature, memory eaters steal memories from the creature, dealing 5d20 xp damage. Exactly which memories are taken is up to the DM. If the memory eater is killed, the memory is split among the party, who all feel as if they have the memory all to themselves. The XP taken is also split back among the party.

Psi-Like Abilities

Like their rival yet much smaller brethren, intellect devourers, memory eaters have supernatural mental abilities, including: at will—cloud mind, compression, detect psionics, ego whip (2d4, DC 16*), empty mind (+5 on Will saves*), id insinuation (three targets, DC 16*); 3/day—body adjustment (2d12*), intellect fortress, painful strike. Manifester level 7th.

The save DCs are Charisma-based.

*Includes augmentation for the memory eater's manifester level.

Blindsight (Ex): A memory eater can use nonvisual means to ascertain all foes within 60 feet as a sighted creature would.

Alignment Shift (Ex): Memory eaters' alignments shift based on the experiences they have experienced second-hand.


Memory eaters have a +4 racial bonus on Bluff checks. They also have a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks and Listen checks. Finally, they enjoy a +8 on all Knowledge checks, since they have learned more than their physical bodies have experienced.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Issue 17 Released!

As you know, Claw/Claw/Bite is a magazine devoted to developing new material for Pathfinder and d20 system role playing games.

This issue of Claw/Claw/Bite includes the following:

  • * 4 new elements of campaign flavor, including medallions of honor!
  • * 6 new characters with backgrounds, including a wandering pair of NPCs!
  • * 7 new creatures, including 2 devious NPC rakshasas and a new construct!
  • * 3 new locations, including Bale Morrow and a lone tree within!
  • * 12 new magic and special items, including sylvanthread armor!
  • * 3 mini plot threads to weave into your campaign!
  • * 1 new presige class, the Arcane Runethrower!
  • * 1 new race, a return to classic storytelling with hobbits!
  • * 2 new spells, including one to bless and fortify structures!
  • * 2 new traps and hazards, including map pins and false traps!
  • * 2 variant rules, including a new attribute, cunning!
  • * and a new comic, the next installment of Trolls and Tribulations!

  • Note the new landcape design, complete with 3-column presentation.

    Buy the new issue at rpgnow, or if you simply must have it for free for review purposes, email us at clawclawbite AT gmail DOT com.

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    DnFnD #1 - Bards

    Bards are the quintessential fantasy role playing characters. They are the ones who tell the stories. They write the songs that make the XP ring. In a way, the players playing DnFnD are bards.

    I'm not suggesting you sing at your games, but you know what I mean. And why rule singing out? It's a heck of a way to liven up a session. Not recommended in apartment complexes with thin walls...

    As stated in Appendix II of the PHB, in 1st Edition DnFnD, ...

    Read the rest of the article here.