Friday, September 21, 2018

Creature Loot: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes M - Q

"How to turn your fantasy romp into a Planescape campaign" by Chris Perkins
The march continues! This week, we're off to distant lands to explore the monsters M through Q. Yes, I know this book has no monsters in the P and Q categories, but next week is R and I don't want people thinking I skipped anything.

As usual, don't forget to check out the index, get the PDFs of the previous creature loot articles, and let me know if you see any items that have typos or could be improved!

Marut (25) - construct (arcana)
  • 4 Marut Armor: Acts as a magic shield +2. Can be mastercrafted (smith's tools) into Plate Armor +2 or Half-Plate armor +2, which require attunement. While attuned to the armor, a creature is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.
  • 4 Marut Wings: No immediate use. If 4 of these are attached to a vehicle that is large or smaller (smith's tools), the vehicle gains the ability to fly 30 feet. This flight is considered hovering.
  • 4 Marut Limbs: A creature holding the limb can use their action to make a DC 27 Intelligence (Arcana) check. On a success, a creature within 5 feet of the limb takes 60 force damage, and is pushed up to 5 feet away from the limb if it is large or smaller. The limb then becomes nonmagical.
  • 4 Marut Arcane Cores: A creature holding the arcane core can use their action to make a DC 27 Intelligence (Arcana) check. On a success, Energy emanates from the core in a 60-foot cube. Every creature in that area takes 45 radiant damage. Each creature that takes any of this damage must succeed on a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw or be stunned until the end of the user's next turn. The core then becomes nonmagical.
  • 4 Marut Determinism Engines: A creature holding the arcane core can use their action to make a DC 27 Intelligence (Arcana) check. On a success, the engine activates. The next attack roll targeting a creature within 5 feet of the engine automatically hits. Once the attack occurs, the engine becomes nonmagical.
  • 4 Marut Planar Antennae: Acts as a tuning fork for the Plane Shift spell. The spell leads to the Hall of Concordance in Sigil, the City of Doors.
  • 1 Marut Visual Justification Sensor: A creature holding the sensor can use their action to make a DC 27 Intelligence (Arcana) check. on a success, they can point the sensor at a creature they can see within 60 feet. The target must succeed on a DC 20 Charisma saving throw or be teleported to a teleportation circle in the Hall of Concordance in Sigil. A target fails  automatically if it is incapacitated. The creature that activated the sensor is teleported with the target to the circle. Once used this way, the sensor becomes nonmagical.

Meazel (1) - humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Garrote: Simple Weapon, Finesse, Two-handed. 1d6 bludgeoning damage on a hit, and the target is grappled (escape DC 8 + Proficiency Modifier + Strength or Dexterity Modifier).
  • 1 Tattered Shortsword
  • 1d4 Wisps of Shadow: Destroyed if exposed to sunlight. 5 of these can be carefully crafted (conjuration) by a spellcaster into a Shadow Crossing, a portal that leads to the Shadowfell. The portal is permanently affixed to the location where it is crafted. 20 of these can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into a Portable Hole.

Nagpa (17) - humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Staff of the Nagpa: Requires attunement. An attuned creature can use their action to target one creature within 90 feet of it. The target must make a DC 20 Charisma saving throw. An evil creature makes the save with disadvantage. On a failed save, the target is charmed by the attuned creature until the start of the attuned creature's next turn . On a successful save, the target becomes immune to the staff for the next 24 hours. Curse. If the attuned creature sees a city that isn't destroyed, they must succeed on a DC 20 Charisma saving throw or become frightened of the city. The attuned creature must wait 7 days before they are able to reattempt the saving throw. If the city is destroyed, the frightened condition ends.
  • 2d4 Healing Potions
  • 1 Arcane Focus
  • 4d4 books (ancient and valuable)
  • 1 Spellbook. Contains 2 random spells of 5th level or less that can be copied by a wizard
  • 2d4 Skill Books. Contain knowledge concerning a certain skill and topic that the Nagpa was interested in. For example: History (The Raven Queen). Using the book for 5 minutes is equivalent on rolling a 15 on the related skill
  • 2 Flasks of Alchemist’s Fire
  • 1 Map to a nearby Nagpa tower
  • 1d2 Nagpa Eyes: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (alchemist’s supplies) into a Potion of Truesight (grants truesight out to 60 feet for 1 hour).
  • 2d4 Nagpa Claws: Acts as a magic dagger. On a hit, if the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. A paralyzed target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. Undead and constructs are immune to this effect. Once the dagger scores a hit, even if the creature is not paralyzed, it loses this feature.
This picture raises a lot of questions about the Nagpa's physiology. I've never seen a bird with a hunch before.

Nightwalker (20) - undead (religion)
  • 10d4 Wisps of Shadow: Destroyed if exposed to sunlight. 5 of these can be carefully crafted (conjuration) by a spellcaster into a Shadow Crossing, a portal that leads to the Shadowfell. The portal is permanently affixed to the location where it is crafted. 20 of these can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into a Portable Hole.
  • 5d4 Negative Energy Motes: Any non-undead creature takes 14 (4d6) necrotic damage if it starts its turn within 30 feet of the mote. A creature that takes this damage must succeed on a DC 21 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage dealt. This reduction lasts until the creature finishes a long rest. A creature that dies within 30 feet of the mote can't be revived by any means short of a wish spell.
  • 5d4 Shards of the Nightwalker: Difficult to hold. Deals 14 (4d6) necrotic damage to any creature holding it, though a creature can't take this damage more than once a round. A creature holding the shard can use it to cause a creature it can see within 300 feet of it make a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the target takes 26 (4d12) necrotic damage and is frightened of the shard until the end of the user's next turn. If this damage kills the creature, it dies and can't be revived by any means short of a wish spell. The shard is destroyed when used.

Oblex

Oblex Spawn (1/4) - ooze (arcana)
  • 1 Glob of Oblex Jelly: The glob deals 1d4 psychic damage to the first humanoid it comes in direct contact with. The glob can be used as a ranged weapon with a range of 20/60 by using a glove or other throwing mechanism.

Adult Oblex (5) - ooze (arcana)
  • 3d4 Globs of Oblex Jelly: The glob deals 1d4 psychic damage to the first humanoid it comes in direct contact with. The glob can be used as a ranged weapon with a range of 20/60 by using a glove or other throwing mechanism.
  • 1d4+1 Memory Globules: Contains the memories of a creature, including its languages and proficiencies, except saving throw proficiencies. The creature can be communicated with using Detect Thoughts or similar magic. If the memory globule is inserted into a living Oblex, the Oblex gains the memories of the creature within the globule. A creature that is subject to the Oblex's Eat memories action is included in the memory globules.

Voted sexiest ooze by Jubilex itself
Elder Oblex (10) - ooze (arcana)
  • 5d4 Globs of Oblex Jelly: The glob deals 1d4 psychic damage to the first humanoid it comes in direct contact with. The glob can be used as a ranged weapon with a range of 20/60 by using a glove or other throwing mechanism.
  • 2d6+1 Memory Globules: Contains the memories of a creature, including its languages and proficiencies, except saving throw proficiencies. The creature can be communicated with using Detect Thoughts or similar magic. If the memory globule is inserted into a living Oblex, the Oblex gains the memories of the creature within the globule. A creature that is subject to the Oblex's Eat memories action is included in the memory globules.
  • 2d4 Sulfurous Components: Each component can replace up to 25 gp of material components required for an Illusion spell. A creature holding the component can use an action to blow the components into a cloud that fills a 5-foot cube. The cube lasts until the beginning of the creature's next turn. When a creature enters the cube or starts its turn there, it is subject to a Confusion spell (Save DC 18). 

Ogres

Ogre Battering Ram (4) - giant (survival)
  • 1 Battering Ram: acts as a Ram (DMG pg. 255)
  • 2d4 Giant's Toes: No immediate use. Sought as trophies by hunters and heroes, and can be sold for a good price to collectors or admirers.
  • 1 Ogre Heart: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.

Ogre Bolt Launcher (2) - giant (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Bolt Launcher: acts as a Ballista (DMG pg. 255)
  • 1d4 Giant's Toes: No immediate use. Sought as trophies by hunters and heroes, and can be sold for a good price to collectors or admirers.
  • 1 Ogre Heart: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.

Ogre Chain Brute (3) - giant (survival)
  • 1d4 Thick Chains: Acts as a whip with the heavy property which deals 1d8 damage on a hit.
  • 1d4 Giant's Toes: No immediate use. Sought as trophies by hunters and heroes, and can be sold for a good price to collectors or admirers.
  • 1 Ogre Heart: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.

Ogre Howdah (2) - giant (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Howdah: The Howdah is a compact fort that can be carried by a large creature. Up to four Small creatures can ride in the fort without squeezing. To make a melee attack against a target within 5 feet of the large creature, they must use spears or weapons with reach. Creatures in the fort have three-quarters cover against attacks and effects from outside it. If the large creature dies, creatures in the fort are placed in unoccupied spaces within 5 feet of the large creature.
  • 1d4 Giant's Toes: No immediate use. Sought as trophies by hunters and heroes, and can be sold for a good price to collectors or admirers.
  • 1 Ogre Heart: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.

And with that, the article is finally ogre. Over. I meant over. Tune in next week as we begin working through the massive S section!

The shadowy shade of the shadowfell
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Backgrounds as Races (or races as backgrounds)

Just because they're short doesn't mean they steal stuff
I've spoken a bit about how a system defines the way you play the game. D&D is a combat-heavy system, so it lends itself to complex combats and simple exploration/interaction. It's an excellent system for dungeon crawling, which is probably why "Dungeon" is in the title.

But a system also adds another bit of input on how you play the game, by including different races and classes. The Player's Handbook is the first book a player usually sees or buys, and if there's elves in there, by Pelor they are going to want to play elves. If they see stats for pets, they will demand pets. If there is a wizard class, there have to be wizard schools, and the players will want to join them.

Most Dungeon Masters are fine with these ideas. In fact, most Dungeon Masters play in settings right out of the modules, where all the handbook races are represented. The Forgotten Realms (perhaps by virtue of the D&D Adventurer's League) is still one of the most popular settings in D&D.

And in the cases where a DM wants to get creative and craft their own setting, it's easy to say "elves in my setting aren't snooty pricks, they are weird moon creatures!" Or to simply remove gnomes from an area because they don't live in that country. Or even to say "tieflings get different spells than the ones listed in the handbook" like they id in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

But you can't get rid of the races entirely.

Why? Because of their stat boosts. In a system with bounded accuracy like D&D, the difference between a +2 ability modifier and a +3 modifier in a primary ability score will come up dozens of time in a session, tipping the scales on several rolls. Every little +1 helps. That's why the Adventurer's League doesn't award +1 weapons until level 5, and AC-boosting armor and shields are considered quite game-breaking.

In a game where every stat point matters, you'll find that certain race-class combinations become incredibly common. Elven Rangers, Dwarven Fighters, and Halfling Rogues are simply more powerful than other combinations. And while you'll find plenty of people who are interested in role-playing a particular race, there are many more who want to use a particular class and be good at it. Due to the rules and focus of the game, class is far, far more important than race to a character.

So, without a major change, you can't remove race options, because you are essentially asking players to take a hit to the effectiveness of their class.

So, let's talk about making a major change.

Backgrounds as Races


Let's say we are running a setting that is entirely human. Arthurian England, for example. Or some sort of sci-fi post-apocalypse game where humans haven't had enough time to mutate into new races or be visited by aliens. In such a scenario, would every human have the same background and abilities?

Of course not. They might be able to use smithing tools or an herbalism kit due to their background. They could speak certain languages, and have different equipment. And there's no reason why they couldn't have different ability scores, too.

Depending on your art style, they might still look the same, though
The basic human template assumes every human starts with a +1 in every stat. It's one of the weakest and most boring races in the handbook. The variant human is much better, granting +1 in two different stats, a skill, and a feat. Feats are incredibly powerful at first level, but the +1 in two different stats is still a bit lame. That's not even enough to get an ability score to an extra +1 modifier.

I have a house rule in my current games: if you don't roll at least one ability score to be 14 or higher during character creation, you can reroll your stats. Why? Because the game is built around the idea that nearly all first-level characters will have a +3 modifier in their primary stat. A +5 to hit is the minimum needed to get the 65% hit rate the game designers were shooting for. That's why the standard ability score array features a 15 in it - they assume you'll bump that up to 16 or 17 with your racial bonuses.

So, we need to add higher modifiers to the human class. And different backgrounds is the perfect justification to do it. After all, if you are a Charlatan, wouldn't it make sense for you to have a higher-than-average charisma? If you were a smith, wouldn't you be a bit stronger? By co-opting the backgrounds, we can create the mechanical diversity of races without needing the races themselves.

Normally, a background in 5th edition comes with a few perks already: you get 2 skill proficiencies, 2 language/tool proficiencies, some flavored equipment, and a perk. I've discussed before what goes into these backgrounds, and it's best to use them as a base when creating stat-boosting backgrounds.

Of course, stats aren't the only thing you'll want to boost when creating these new backgrounds. After all, races come with plenty of other features, proficiencies, and bonuses aside from stats. To estimate the power of these features, I've used the Detect Balance system from Eleazzaar. This lead to the following point-buy system that can be used to estimate human abilities. Each character should get about 25 points to start with, with a maximum of 30.

Ability Score Increases (A single ability score can only benefit from an increase once.)
  • Ability Score +1 - 4 points
  • Ability Score +2 - 8 points
  • All Ability Scores +1 - 16 points

Proficiencies
  • Common and 1 Standard Language - 0 points
  • Common and 2-3 Standard Languages - 1 point
  • 1 Exotic Language - 1 point
  • Tool Proficiency - 1 point
  • Skill Proficiency - 3 points
  • Expertise on a skill with specific application - 2 points
  • Skill Proficiency and Expertise - 6 points

Movement
  • 30 feet - 0 points
  • 35 feet - 2 points
  • 30 feet climb - 2 points
  • 30 feet swim - 2 points
  • Ignore nonmagical difficult terrain - 3 points
  • Not slowed by Heavy Armor - 2 points

Physical Abilities
  • Hold Breath (15 minutes) - 1 point
  • Powerful Build (+1 size for carrying things) - 3 points
  • Nimbleness (move through space of larger creatures) - 2 points
  • Acclimatized (ignore penalties of a certain environment) - 1 point

Advantage on Rolls
  • Advantage on Rare Roll (e.g. History checks about a certain city) - 1 point
  • Advantage on a Situational Roll (e.g. Animal Handling checks) - 2 points
  • Advantage on a Common Roll (e.g. Perception checks to look for traps) - 4 points
  • Advantage on a Very Common Roll (e.g. Initiative checks) - 8 points

Weapons and Armor
  • 1 Simple Weapon Training - 1 point
  • 1 Martial Weapon Training - 2 points
  • Natural Weapon/Unarmed Strike (1d4) - 1 point
  • Natural Weapon/Unarmed Strike (1d6) - 2 points
  • Natural Weapon/Unarmed Strike (1d8) - 4 points
  • Natural Weapon/Unarmed Strike (1d10) - 8 points
  • Light Armor Training - 2 points
  • Light/Medium Armor Training - 4 points

Other
  • Feat - 20 points
  • Tinker (from the Rock Gnome) - 1 point
  • Lucky (from Halfling) - 4 points
  • Toughness (+1 HP per level) - 5 points
  • Cantrip - 3 points

As you probably have guessed, I've turned this into a PDF here.

Pictured: 7 people who had to choose the same race for the bonuses
Thus, using this system, we can create pure human backgrounds that confer the same mechanical powers a race would! Here are some examples from the Player's Handbook.

Charlatan (Gambler)
In addition to normal background features, the character gains:

  • Dexterity +2 (8 points)
  • Charisma +1 (4 points)
  • Common and 1 Standard language (0 points)
  • Thieves Cant (exotic language, 1 point)
  • Dice Proficiency (1 points)
  • Advantage on Insight Checks versus bluffing (common roll, 4 points)
  • Lucky (4 points)
  • Mage Hand Cantrip (3 points)


Charlatan (Swindler)
In addition to normal background features, the character gains:

  • Charisma +2 (8 points)
  • Wisdom +1 (4 points)
  • Common and 2-3 Standard languages (1 point)
  • Thieves Cant (exotic language, 1 point)
  • Deception Expertise (6 points)
  • Lucky (4 points)
  • Tinker (1 point)

Soldier (Blacksmith)
In addition to normal background features, the character gains:
  • Strength +2 (8 points)
  • Constitution +2 (8 points)
  • Common and 1 Standard language (0 points)
  • Smith's Tools Proficiency (1 point)
  • Expertise on Performance checks to craft items (2 points)
  • Not Slowed by Heavy Armor (2 points)
  • Powerful Build (3 points)
  • Unarmed Strike 1d4 (1 point)

Urchin

In addition to normal background features, the character gains:

  • All ability scores +1 (16 points)
  • Common and 1 Standard language (0 points)
  • Thieves Cant (exotic language, 1 point)
  • 30 feet climb (2 points)
  • Hold Breath 15 minutes (1 point)
  • Nimbleness (2 points)
  • Advantage on History checks about home city (rare roll, 1 point)
  • Slingshot Training (1 point)
  • Unarmed Strike 1d4 (1 point)


As you can see, not only does this system allow you to make more specific backgrounds, it also allows you to modify background features to suit a particular character. Do you want your Indiana Jones-esque rogue to be able to use a whip? That's only 2 points here, but in the normal system it would require an entire feat.

This system allows for more diversity of background-class combinations, and helps players all start on a level playing field when it comes to ability scores. And, of course, it allows the DM to create balanced settings with heavy race restrictions.

In some settings, "Wood Elf Ranger" might as well be synonymous with "Elf"
As a last note, I've built this system under the assumption that humans are not innately magical, and might learn a cantrip but don't have any magic for themselves. Of course, I'll have to add that in for Ahneria, but this is the basic system.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday Recap: To the Moon!

Classic moon shot.
What's this?? A Monday Recap?? Oh yes.

After all of this Valley exploration gaming, we finally got together to play one of the remaining monthly story games. There are actually a few of those still happening, though I'm only running one of them right now.

Anyway, this ended up being a super-fun game for the chaos crew. Also, it ended up being my first foray into Science Fantasy, a staple of D&D going back to the Barrier Peaks. It was pretty fun!

Campaign of Chaos: To the Moon!


Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Shannon: Cressen Juhl, Fallen Aasimar Trickery Cleric of Ralishaz, hates their dad Pholtus
Cody: Myst, Tabaxi Rogue, likes the shiny and shoots the arrows
Quinn: Jakky, Darkling Shadow Monk, sneaks into places to do a murder
Wade: Agne, Kobold Warlock of the Great Old Ones, killed his family for creepy powers
Wes: Magic Man, Drow Transumation Wizard, kind of creepy, teaches magical life lessons
NPC: ArtoriusVoid Dragon Wyrmling, hangs out with Agne

When we last left the crew, they had gathered an arsenal of chaos-infused weaponry from an order of monks devoted to keeping the magic items away from the world. Jakky ended up with the Goblin-made throwing hammer Whelm, Anna got a greatsword called Blackrazor, and Mr. Lizard got a trident called Wave. They returned to their skyfortress, and Mr. Lizard suggested they head into space.

As the skyfortress lifted off from above Garton, the crew was shocked and unprepared for the experience of leaving the planet. Jakky and Agne, used to living underground or in shadows, were very upset by this turn of events. Magic Man was convinced they were growing in size, since the city and country below them were shrinking. Cressen watched the stars, and Myst had enough of this and decided to take a nap.

After a short time, they adjusted their direction and approached the moon. The surface shown brightly, causing the light-sensitive Jakky to shrink back in repulsion. Mr. Lizard suggested that he inspect this side of the moon, and the crew take the dark side for Jakky's sake. They were looking for signs of life, or a place to build an awesome moon base.

Mr. Lizard leapt out of the ship, floating down to the surface as if he had cast Feather Fall on himself. The group was very impressed, and realized they were all under the effect of the spell. They flew to the dark side of the moon and leapt out of the ship themselves, posing as they slowly descended. Their landing site was a strange structure they had seen from the air, which they were quite curious about.

(At this point, the players were very worried about being able to breathe on the moon. After I assured them they could, they asked how. I asked them if their characters would really question the presence of an atmosphere when they had lived their entire lives on the surface of a planet. Sometimes, you have to get the players to trust you, and using the story and world to do so is a great method.)

Classic.
The group landed in front of the strange domed structure, which was made entirely of steel and had strange lights coming out of it. Behind them, the skyfortress descended, piloted by the many lackeys they had collected over their journey. They discussed what to do, all while continuing to hold their poses. However, before they could decide, the doors before them slid open.

Stumbling out of the door came a creature they recognized from stories back on Ahneria: a Mind Flayer. Agne, having encountered some of these creatures as a Kobold, was immediately on the defensive. However, the creature seemed to be expecting them, particularly Magic Man. It asked them to follow it into the building, claiming they were to meet with the leader of the Mind Flayer colony. Cressen, who was wearing a helm that blocked telepathy, was confused but followed the group.

They entered the building, being lead through steel tunnels dotted with glass windows. The group had never seen a building made entirely of steel before, and were quite impressed. Myst, using his chaos powers, realized that they had powerful magic here that could travel through the stars and even possibly through time. Magic Man transformed into an octopus and sat on Cressen's head to try to convince the Mind Flayers to like them and give them fun goodies.

The Mind Flayer explained that about 700 years ago, Magic Man had appeared to their colony and ordered a ship. The ship would be known as the skyfortress, and was to be buried on an island where a bunch of shark-elephant demons would appear. In return, Magic Man had brought materials for the ship and humanoids the Mind Flayers could use as slaves.

Break that classic timeline
The group was very confused by this, especially Magic Man. However, Agne suggested that perhaps some of the time-ravel technology the Mind Flayers use might send magic Man back in time at some point. That would allow him to place the order for the skyfortress without remembering doing so, because he hadn't done it yet. They started to discuss it further, but the Mind Flayer stopped as they arrived at the chambers of the Mind Flayer leader.

Inside, they sat at a large round table around a brine pool, eating the food that Magic Man had recommended for them 700 years ago when they would arrive. From the brine pool, a massive brain the size of a wagon rose up and began addressing them via telepathy. It called itself Orunmila, and spoke as if speaking for the entire colony. Its telepathy was so powerful that even Cressen, wearing a telepathy-blocking helmet, could hear the being speak.

The brain told them about the Mind Flayer (or Illithid, as they called themselves) colony, how they longed to explore the stars and were building spaceships, and how their studies had borne much interesting knowledge and technology. They had foreseen the arrival of the Chaos Crew, thanks to Magic Man's long-ago arrival, and were willing to help the group build their own moon base. They even knew the ritual to turn Jakky into a Darkling Elder, and wanted to share it. But they needed help with something first.

The colony was mining the moon for construction materials, using their slaves as manual labor. Things were progressing smoothly, until the slaves formed a pact with an eldritch entity to rise up against their masters. The slaves were transformed into mindless husks, immune to the psychic powers of the Illithids. Their leader, a being known as The Uncouth, retained some intelligence, and began to lead a resistance against the colony. The crew, being able to effectively fight creatures immune to psychic powers, were quite a boon to Orunmila.

Classic and sexy
The group decided to take up the offer, and the Illithid that lead them into the building now lead the out again. They saw their skyfortress was being moved into a dock-like area, with their many minions still on board. With a bit of a further walk, they arrived at the mine entrance, a dark tunnel leading down into the core of the moon. Their guide bid them farewell, and they began to descend.

As they entered the tunnel, Magic Man noticed figures hiding in the darkness in front of them. Myst casually shot one with an arrow, and the former cultists rushed forward. They had been horribly deformed by their servitude to the eldritch evil, now sporting six arms, blank white eyes, and far too many teeth. One rushed forward, and in a flurry of claws and teeth, tore into Myst with terrible fury.

The group disposed of the attacker, reformed and began their own assault, with Magic Man and Cressen unleashing arcane and divine magic from the rear while Myst and Jakky used their ranged weapons to strike the creatures from afar. Agne and Artorius, however, unleashed their new combination of magical effects to keep the cultists in place: grasping black tentacles combined with Artorius' Gravity Breath. The aberrations couldn't do so much as take a step forward while the restraining magic held them down. After that, the crew made quick work of them.

However, Cressen had been affected by Chaos magic during the battle, and began attacking Magic Man. Magic Man was surprised, but defended quite well until Cressen came to their senses. Cressen felt bad about attacking a fellow Chaos follower, and healed the wounds Magic Man had sustained from the spat. Magic Man was his usual incomprehensible self, and told Cressen there was to bad blood between them.

The group pressed forward, fighting through a large swarm of cultists that had transformed into stunted, smaller monsters with similar attributes as the entrance guards. The creatures seemed like mindless husks, no longer the humanoid workers that they must have once been. They simply seemed to attack anything that entered the mind and wasn't as monstrous as themselves. Though the Chaos crew was evil, they weren't anything like the monsters these beings had become.

Magnificent class
The crew finally found themselves in a sanctuary of sorts, with makeshift pillars lining a hall leading to an area carved out of different stone than the whitish-grey moon rock. The stone had many different carved images and words in it, in an ancient language that only Agne could decipher. However, before the crew could approach this strange slab, a massive cultist lurched into view.

Its eyes and teeth resembled the creatures they had fought before, but it was as tall as an ogre and had weirdly translucent hairless skin. As it caught sight of the group, it turned and charged towards them. It whirled its arms wildly, catching most of the group in its slamming attacks. The crew scattered, moving to unleash spells and weapons on the monster from their best location. Cressen, wielding their giant sword, fought toe-to -toe with the monster, and ended up taking the brunt of its crushing blows.

The crew pumped every attack they could into the beast, and soon enough it began to fall. In its final moments, Myst unleashed an arrow from his bow imbued with the power of magical energy. The arrow struck the monster directly in the head, causing it to sway, then topple to the ground. As it collapsed, Chaos magic caused it to grow a full head of very stylish hair.

Agne rushed forward to study this strange map, and discovered it was a record of an even more ancient civilization on the moon. They had created strange, soulless soldiers that could be infused with magic to fight. The group was interested in this idea, wondering what might happen if they infused the bodies with Chaos magic. Jakky and Ange even discovered a hidden passage that might lead down into the storerooms of the ancient civilization.

However, at that moment, the mine began to collapse, as if someone were trying to sabotage the group's mission. They turned and hightailed it back towards the entrance, dodging rocks and trying to figure out the best way back. Unfortunately, after hitting several dead ends, the collapse settled and they were trapped in a small section of cave. Magic Man shrugged and cast a spell to teleport them back to the skyfortress. They hadn't found The Uncouth yet, meaning their mission wasn't over yet, but the group needed to recoup and heal their wounds.

Wait, that's no moon! Classic.
But as they rested, the side of the ship began to tear open, and another of the giant hairless monsters broke through the side of the ship. Next to it, walking directly through the walls of the ship like a ghost, was a horrible creature with deformed limbs and stretched and twisted skin, holding a staff and peering at the group with those same blank eyes. The crew leapt up, grabbing their gear to attack these intruders.

Myst loosed a shot at the creature they assumed must be The Uncouth, but at the last instant the two aberrations swapped places. The hulking brute took the attack, and the cult leader was safely outside the walls of the skyfortress. Not only that, but Myst was then forcibly teleported right next to the huge creature by the cult leader, causing a wave of psychic energy that made the group clutch their heads in pain. Agne, also a devotee of an eldritch entity, actually managed to avoid the brunt of the attack and turn it back on the monsters.

The brutish beast reached forward to wail on Myst, but Cressen reached forward and unleashed a Banishment spell on it, sending it to a demiplane away from the fight. Meanwhile, Jakky and Magic Man leapt out of the hole that had been created in the side of the ship and began attacking The Uncouth. A volley of hammers, fire rays, and arrows quickly killed the cultist, and their task was complete. They only had two issues.

First, chaos magic had caused them to think this dead cultist was somebody other than the Uncouth. They kept guessing different people, but they couldn't figure out who they had just killed. It didn't really change their plans, though. They still needed to return to the colony and let them know about the mine collapse.

Second, the Banishment spell ended, and the brute returned. Fortunately, Agne and Artorius unleashed waves of magic on it until the crew could thoroughly demolish the beast.

The group went back to the colony, which was in a bit of disarray. Apparently, chaos magic had seeped into the colony and caused nearly 100 Illithids to abandon the colony and join the forces of chaos. Orunmila was annoyed, and they asked the crew to take the blueprints to a moon base and leave. The crew decided they had seen enough for now, and went back to the skyfortress.

A few hours later, Mr. Lizard showed up. Apparently, the other side of the moon was totally empty.

Name a classier trio. I'll wait.
And that's the game! We had a blast with all the different chaos effects that popped up during the game. I use this Huge Magic Surge table, if you're interested in doing so.

I think Chaos Quest will only have one or two more games before it's over. It's hard to top the moon, but I'm going to try. Then, we'll get to do a high-level quest resolving all of the chaos this game has caused! After all, they've killed quite a lot of people.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Failed Magic Items: Dungeon Master's Guide Part 11 (P)

Yeah...that sounds about right.

Hello hello! Will again with another Failed Magic Items. We're nearing the end of the Dungeon Master's Guide with the "Ps".

Let's go!

Note: The Potion of Poison has been omitted due to its already detrimental nature.

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Pearl of Powder
"Wondrous" item, uncommon (requires attunement by a spellcaster)

While this pearl is on your person, you can use an action to speak its command word and turn it into a pile of fine blue powder. The powder can be used for several things...
  • It can be blown in the face of a creature with eyes to impose disadvantage on its next attack.
  • It can be mixed with water to create a colorful ink.
  • It tastes like blueberries if used as a seasoning.

Periapt of Disease
"Wondrous" item, uncommon

You instantly fail any saving throw against contracting disease while you wear this pendant. This effect supersedes any immunities or resistances you already have against disease.

Periapt of Proof Against Periapts
"Wondrous" item, rare

This delicate silver chain has a brilliant-cut red gem pendant. While you wear it, Periapts have no effect on you, including this one. This creates a paradox that deals 6d6 force damage to you as the Periapt tears a hole in the fabric of time and space and is then suddenly removed from existence by an unknown extraplanar entity.

Periapt of Wound Opening
"Wondrous" item, uncommon (requires attunement)

While you wear this pendant, all wounds sustained in the past 1d4 hours reopen. This deals 1d4 slashing damage per wound. Additionally, all damage sustained reduces your Maximum HP by that amount and you cannot be healed.

Philter of Like
Potion, uncommon

The next time you see a creature within 10 minutes after drinking this philter, you regard that creature as if you were under the effect of the Friends Cantrip for 1 hour. This potion’s greenish-yellow, effervescent liquid contains one easy-to-miss bubble shaped like a fist with its thumb extended.

Pipes of Jaunting
"Wondrous" item, uncommon

You must be proficient with wind instruments to use these pipes. They have 3 charges. You can use an action to play them and expend 1 charge to create a jaunty, spellbinding tune. Each creature within 30 feet of you that hears you play (including yourself) must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. Upon a failure, the creature is placed under the effects of the Otto's Irresistible Dance spell. If the creature succeeds they are immune to the pipe's effects for 24 hours. The pipes regain 1d3 charges daily at dawn.

Pipes of Sewage
"Wondrous" item, uncommon

You must be proficient with wind instruments to use these pipes. They have 3 charges. Instead of sound, a putrid green-black sludge pours out of its ends. More sludge is produced than one might surmise could be contained within these pipes.

They have no other effect.

Plate Armor of Eat-here-iness
Armor (plate), legendary (requires attunement)

This suit of armor is made of a variety of dinnerware. While you’re wearing this armor, you can speak its command word as an action to produce a brightly lit sign that reads "Eat Here!" that lasts for 1d4 hours. As long as the sign is lit, any creature (including yourself) can eat anything, even things that would otherwise be considered inedible, off of the dinnerware that the armor is made of. The dinner ware must remain on the suit of armor.

Potable Hole
"Wondrous" item, rare
This think black liquid is contained in small vial.

You can use an action to drink the fluid and create vacuous hole in your stomach. For the next day, your stomach acts as a Bag of Holding. You do not gain the benefits of eating or drinking while the hole remains active. At any point before the end of the hole's duration you can take a full minute to force yourself to vomit any number of items from the hole. Any items that remain in the hole are destroyed when the the hole disappears.

Potion of Animal Hostility
Potion, uncommon

For 1 hour after drinking this potion, every Beast that comes within 60 feet of you immediately becomes hostile. Agitating this muddy liquid brings the teeth of several animals into view.

Potion of Hindsight
Potion, rare

When you drink this potion, you can accurate recall everything that happened to you in the past 1d4 hours. An eyeball bobs in this yellowish liquid but vanishes when the potion is opened, the eyeball constantly looks away from you.

Potion of Plummeting
Potion, common

When you drink this potion, you receive a -5 penalty and have disadvantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to climb for 1 hour. The potion is a brown liquid with bubbles that resemble a falling man.

Potion of Selective Diminution
Potion, rare

When you drink this potion, you gain the “reduce” effect of the Enlarge/Reduce spell for 1d4 hours (no concentration required). However, this only effects one of the following parts of your body...

Effected Body Part (1d6)
  1. Left Arm: You cannot hold anything in the effected arm.
  2. Right Arm: You cannot hold anything in the effected arm.
  3. Left Leg: Your speed is halved.
  4. Right Leg: Your speed is halved
  5. Head: Your Intelligence is reduced by 2 and spells with the "verbal" component become impossible to cast.
  6. Torso: Your AC is reduced by 2
The red in the potion’s liquid continuously contracts to a tiny, unstable bead and then expands to color the clear liquid around it. Shaking the bottle fails to interrupt this process.

Potion of Falling
Potion, very rare

When you drink this potion, you think you gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed and can hover for 1 hour. This effect continues even after being proven wrong, likely by falling to your death. This potion’s clear liquid stays at the bottom of its container and has cloudy white impurities drifting in it.

Potion of Flatulence
Potion, rare

When you drink this potion, you are afflicted with horrible and uncontrollable gastric distress for 1 hour, imparting a -5 penalty to Charisma for the duration. This potion's container seems to hold a sickly green fog that pours like liquid.

Potion of Ant Strength
Potion, rarity varies

When you drink this potion, your Strength score changes to 1 for 1 hour. The potion has no effect on you if your Strength is equal to or less than 1.

This potion’s transparent liquid has several dead ants floating in it.

Potion of Selective Growth
Potion, uncommon


When you drink this potion, you gain the “enlarge” effect of the Enlarge/Reduce spell for 1d4 hours (no concentration required). However, this only effects one of the following parts of your body...

Effected Body Part (1d6)
  1. Left Arm: Your unarmed strikes with that arm are doubled, but you roll with disadvantage.
  2. Right Arm: Your unarmed strikes with that arm are doubled, but you roll with disadvantage.
  3. Left Leg: You are incapable of taking the Dash action and your Dexterity is reduced by 2.
  4. Right Leg: You are incapable of taking the Dash action and your Dexterity is reduced by 2.
  5. Head: You have 25% chance to fall over every time you move
  6. Torso: Your AC is increased by 2 and you Dexterity is reduced by 5.
The red in the potion’s liquid continuously expands from a tiny, unstable bead to color the clear liquid around it and then contracts. Shaking the bottle fails to interrupt this process.

Potion of Hurting
Potion, rarity varies

You lose hit points when you drink this potion. The number of hit points depends on the potion’s rarity, as shown in the Potions of Hurting table. Whatever its potency, the potion’s black liquid glimmers when agitated.

Potion of...
  • Hurting (Common) = 2d4 + 2
  • Terrible Hurting (Uncommon) = 4d4 + 4
  • Agonizing Hurting (Rare) = 8d4 + 8
  • Unfathomable Hurting (Very Rare) = 10d4 + 20

Potion of Cowardness
Potion, rare

For 1 hour after drinking it, your Maximum HP in reduced by 10 hit points. For the same duration, you are under the effect of the Bane spell (no concentration required). This red potion bubbles and steams as if boiling in reverse.

Potion of Perceived Invisibility
Potion, very rare

Upon looking at this potion, make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. Upon a success, you realize that this potion is a murky black liquid, otherwise the container looks empty but feels as if there's liquid in it. When you drink it, you think you and anything you're carrying has become Invisible for 1 hour. This effect persists even after being proven false.

Potion of Mind Eating
Potion, rare

When you drink this potion, you instantly take 2d8 Psychic damage and your Intelligence score is permanently reduced by 2. If this happens to reduce your Intelligence score to 0, you forget how to breathe. The potion’s dense, purple liquid has half of an ovoid cloud of pink floating in it.

Potion of Vulnerability
Potion, uncommon

When you drink this potion, you gain vulnerability to one type of damage for 1 hour. The GM chooses the type or determines it randomly from the options below.

Damage Type
  1. Acid
  2. Cold
  3. Fire
  4. Force
  5. Lightning
  6. Necrotic
  7. Poison
  8. Psychic
  9. Radiant
  10. Thunder
Potion of Slowness
Potion, very rare

When you drink this potion, you gain the effect of the Slow spell for 1 minute (no concentration required). The potion’s yellow fluid is speckles with black stationary dots.

Potion of Drowning
Potion, uncommon

You think you can breathe underwater for 1 hour after drinking this potion. This remains true even after an attempt to breathe underwater is met with inevitable failure. Its cloudy green fluid smells of the sea and has a drowning man-like bubble floating in it.

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All for now, 'til next time!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Innate Magic People Part 10

This week's artist is Marcus Erdt, a freelancer from Germany. He's got a lot of different styles, but I kept to the realistic fantasy stuff for this article.
In Ahneria, nearly everyone can cast a little bit of magic, but some people can cast full-on spells. I decided it would be fun to detail out a set of NPCs based on the first level spells. As I said in the previous article, these are people who are somewhat common, but might have gained notoriety or fame based on their abilities.

These NPCs form an ongoing set of articlesThis is the ninth in this series, and covers the seventh level spells. At this point, the power of these NPCs can shape the cities and countries around them. One of these people might be the reason for an entire campaign's worth of intrigue, combat, or exploration.

Holmar Oddmarsson
Spell: Wind Walk (PHB pg. 288)
Holmar Oddmarsson lives near Mt. Artinir, in a city where people routinely bring sacrifices to the God upon the mountain. However, thanks to his power to become wind, he has learned that the “God” at the top of the mountain is no god at all, but a cannibalistic impostor. After Holmar began rescuing the sacrifices, a rumor began that a wind spirit was fighting the mountain god over power.

The people in the city of Artinir wait with baited breath to discover who will win this war, the star circled god, or the spritely wind spirit. Many root for the wind spirit, in hopes they will no longer have to make sacrifices to their God’s unquenchable hunger.

Avita Volle
Spell: Word of Recall (PHB pg. 289)
Whenever someone finds themselves in a dangerous situation in Toleno, sometimes a being known as the Angel saves them from danger by whisking them away to safety, then vanishing. No trace is ever left by her, but more than one of her rescuees have fallen instantly in love. Many a wishful lover has placed a reward on those who can find this creature, but so far none have been able to.

The angel, whose full name is Avita Volle, enjoys helping people in need. She was rescued by someone from a landslide as a child, and vowed to help people when she grew up. When she came of age, she discovered a small shrine in the mountains where she could use magic to transport herself and others to safety. She practiced for years, until finally she mastered her true power. With her natural gifts and a powerful scrying mirror, she acts as the guardian for those in Toleno.

Yejalo Naringa
Spell: Crown of Stars (XGtE pg. 152)
The god at the top of Mt. Artinir guards and protects the people at the bottom of the mountain, but for a price. Yelaj sends his shining stars streaking down to protect the villages from the barbarians who would destroy their lifestyle. In return, the people in the city of Artinir bring a human sacrifice to the top of the mountain once a month, and god Yejal is satisfied with this.

But Yejal is no true god. His real name is Yejalo Naringa, a powerful magic user who accidentally developed a taste for human flesh. He appears like a God due to the stars that orbit his head. Recently, a troublesome Wind Spirit has appeared, and Yejalo has been struggling to fight the odd creature.

She can be yuor devil... or your angle
Roslile Dargrace
Spell: Conjure Celestial (PHB pg. 225)
Roslile Dargrace is a kindhearted elderly Halfling, who has always been friends with various celestials throughout her life. They seemed drawn to her, and once they discovered what a kind-hearted person she was, they stuck around to become her allies. Whenever trouble ensued throughout her life, Roslile had her cherubic friends to protect her and anyone nearby.

After retiring, Roslile and the celestials spent time relaxing and traveling to new and adventurous places. But while she was absent from her home city of Pegai, a swarm of demons invaded and began to kill her people. Now, Roslile and her friends must hurry back for one last fight.

Azella Birzina
Spell: Delayed Blast Fireball (PHB pg. 230)
The Raquin Army has a secret weapon, and General Roko Blaus thinks that the attack on the Citosa Empire is the perfect time to unleash her. Skilled with explosions, Azella Birzina captures the power of fire, then lets it loose on opposing combatants resulting in catastrophic death. The council rarely needs to call upon her, but this time they did so, and Azella is ready to explode.

Azella enjoys her job, setting up her explosions before the fighting, then watching the light show from her safe perch next to the general. Sometimes when the fighting is not on, she has projects on the side that the council and General Roko do not, nor would not sanction. Sometimes a Jewel crafter’s door burns to the ground, and she gets a cut of the profits, or the neighboring royals are threatened. She’s just in it for the fire and money.

Kaeso Axius Salvius
Spell: Divine Word (PHB pg. 234)
The newly christened Divine Emperor Kaeso Axius Salvius rules the Kaeson Empire with a platinum finger. Everything in the Empire is subject to his opinions and whims, and not one person is safe from his decisions, and his words. If any dare disobey, with a word he can erase them from existence. That is the power of the divine emperor.

However, there is a faction that is trying to rebel against the Emperor and his perfect empire. This rebel faction is trying to negate Divine Emperor Kaeso’s commands, with little success. They need stronger assistance to counteract Kaeso, and maybe some help against the Kaeson Armies as well.

Titus Grimm
Spell: Etherealness (PHB pg. 238)
Something is rotten in the land of Siigo, and it’s not the fish. The King Saamir has passed away, and rumors have been going around that King Saamir’s brother, Imraan caused the death. A rumor that the “King’s ghost” has perpetuated.

Princess Kareema was witness to the appearance of her father’s ghost, and is now obsessed with the idea that she must avenge her father. But little does she suspect that her newest friend and confidant, Titus Grimm, is actually a con man who specializes in appearing ghostly and breaking apart royalty. He is working for the Kareem resistance, and plans to continue to create rumors surrounding the King’s death until the royal family tears each other apart.

Moriah Cham
Spell: Finger of Death (PHB pg. 241)
The continent of Jakala covers nearly half the globe, and Moriah Cham plans on taking all of it for herself with the power of her undead army. The council of Jakala’s countries have united to try and stop this undead force, but some of the leaders could not make it. They have already fallen and are serving in Moriah’s army.

Moriah is just looking to create a playground for herself and the undead, all while taking whatever niceties from the conquered countries she wants. Peace, riches, and quiet moaning from her undead friends is all she needs in life, and no council of leaders or elders can get in her way, and they know it.

"Zombie commander" goes great on a resume
Ignatius Von Brandt
Spell: Fire Storm (PHB pg. 242)
Everyone in the entire country of Maotsa knows that Kelibahar City is the most corrupt in the world. From the underworld crime rings to the bribed politicians, so many officials and people in power are dirty. That is, until some of them were found as a pile of cinders. It was most apparent throughout the underworld first. Since the patrols and guards weren’t straight, those that didn’t follow the law got cooked as well.

The civilians in Kelibahar City are pleased, but skeptical. Rumors of a vengeful fire spirit have been spreading, as more corruption is burned out of the city. No one knows the firebug is Ignatius Von Brandt, the son of the most crooked council member of all, Boritus Von Brandt. Ignatius is hoping his fire spree is enough to scare his father back onto the straight and narrow, but if it is not, he will need someone else to light that fire.

Corixa Vallus
Spell: Forcecage (PHB pg. 243)
Corixa Vallus is pleased that her Emperor enjoys blood sport. The arena is her favorite place to bear witness to the feats of strength of the Emperor’s warriors against her precious pets. Her task is to travel to far reaching parts of the world and capture new and exciting creatures for the emperor to witness in the arena.

Corixa was a little disappointed at first when the emperor decided to introduce his warriors to the arena to kill her pets, but she had an even better idea. What if the emperor used her pets to dispose of unwanted diplomats, or rivals that are unfit for the throne? With a wicked gleam in her brown eyes, she formulated a plan to convince the emperor to buy into her ingenious idea.

Wade Dwiggins
Spell: Mirage Arcane (PHB pg. 260)
On the outskirts of Tarien, in no man’s land, lies an abandoned, haunted looking place. The terrain changes from forested underbrush to scraggly, dead plants and dying vegetation as far as the eye can see. The solid path of packed dirt deteriorates into an untraversable mess of stones and rubble. The soil is dry, and nothing seems to be able to grow there.

Wade Dwiggins, a conscientious old hermit, has every intention on keeping people off his land. Just a few miles past his fa├žade, he lives on a pristine beach off the coast of the Shishtari Ocean. The water from the ocean also washes up treasures from some of the nearby Oceanic peoples tribes, and sell for a nice chunk of gold. He’s content to live his life in peace, but adventurers keep showing up trying to “brave the wilderness”.

Torment Promise
Spell: Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion (PHB pg. 261)
The large continent of Silapur has survived many a natural disaster, but never before has it met a disaster like Torment Promise. A tiefling bent on raising havoc everywhere he goes, Torment has gathered followers to stay with him in his magical mansion. Wherever the mansion is seen, so are Torment’s minions. They attack from doors that appear out of nowhere, and slip away just as easily.

When Torment and his followers, the Promised, appear in Athdu, the capital city, chaos breaks loose. People are turned into animals and rounded up for slaughter, support beams for larger buildings are decomposed or flop into gelatinous forms, and the screaming is heard for miles around the countryside. Queen Orivari is at a loss as how to combat these strange cultish criminals.

Ayanna Viviana Shiochi Ruedas
Spell: Mordenkainen's Sword (PHB pg. 262)
Ayanna Viviana Shiochi Ruedas may have a mouthful of a name, but once someone fights her, they will speak every part with reverence, if they are still alive after facing her magical sword. Ayanna is the world renown champion fighter from Hamaito, known also as “The Slab” or simply, “The Undefeated.” This smallish woman wields a fabled giant invisible sword named Oblivion, and that’s where she sends her foes.

The Emperor of Hamaito’s head guard, Orlondo, is Ayanna’s father. Once he realized his daughter’s amazing potential, he began training for her at an aggressive pace. Ayanna however, does not like the emperor. She only fights because it is what she is good at. She wishes for a truly strong warrior to fight against, to really give her a challenge. 

Samander Umarzai
Spell: Plane Shift (PHB pg. 266)
Most smugglers in Vadros use boats to get black market goods around the island nation, but Samander Umarzai uses magic. His finds are out of this plane of existence, literally. He discovered that he has the ability to transport himself and others to outer planes, and has found wealthy tourists that will pay for such journeys. While he’s there, he palms an item or five to resell back home.

From his most recent trip, he picked up a gear from Mechanus, the plane of lawfulness. Unfortunately for Samander, this was a more important gear than he realized. Anu, one of the gods that lives on Mechanus, has started sending clockwork messengers to try and retrieve it, before Anu comes to fetch the gear himself. Unfortunately, the gear has been sold and Samander needs help tracking it down.

Rock on, dude
Mala Das
Spell: Power Word Pain (XGtE pg.163)
Mala Das was a strange and mean child. She killed insects before moving on to birds and squirrels, and enjoyed tormenting others with the power that she holds over them. This only got worse as she grew older and more powerful. Her schooling ended with her being taught separately from other children, while she made even her teachers and tutors cry on occasion.

Now that she is an adult, she thinks taking over the country of Ozos would be fun. Then she can torture whomever she wants, and get whatever she wants. Her first step was to cripple their current ruler, much adored King Viraj. The next is to get control of the massive army that Ozos has. What good fun.

Kal
Spell: Prismatic Spray (PHB pg. 267)
There is a rumor going around the continent of Iucres that one of the rainbow bird spirits has descended from the heavens to combat demons and other evil spirits. The tropical region has had quite the outbreak of demons recently, with the locals suspecting the extreme summer heat to be attractive to the heat loving fiends. The rainbow spirit swoops in from the sky to fight the demons, then duty done, soars off to find more.

This “rainbow spirit” is none other than Kal, a particularly colorful parrot Aarakocra who has the talent to use his different feathers to summon different powers. The feathers are valued by these aarakocra, as they are said to bring good luck to those who find one. Kal leaves a few feathers that he can spare after each fight, to help prevent attacks in the future.

Saffine Falzarin
Spell: Project Image (PHB pg. 270)
Empress Saffine Falzarin has ruled the expansive country of Arith for over 50 years, and still hasn’t lost her touch. This could be because she is a benevolent person, but it also helps that the half-elf can seemingly be in two places at once. The Empress is a very busy woman, and can just get more accomplished that way. Ambassador Mohavji’s meeting runs late? She can still be on time for her address to her people.

This annoys Jevon Falzarin, Empress Saffine’s nephew and “heir” who is laughed at. Being the older human heir to a half-elf is like buying an axe that has already started splitting. This has been the biggest struggle for her nephew, who has been eyeing the throne for about a decade. Jevon wants to have his aunt removed from power so he can be the ruler, but he will need help to determine the real Empress from the duplicate.

Threat level: Fire Tornado
Mauno Ranta
Spell: Regenerate (PHB pg. 271)
Known as the “Natural Surgeon” Mauno Ranta is a slight, finicky sort of man whose ability to restore limbs is well known throughout the continent of Yegai. He travels around the continent, helping all who need or want their limbs restored. His services have become something of legend, and those who seek him out bring vast tribute and riches in hopes of gaining a moment of his time.

This impressive natural ability has been recognized by some ne'er do well organizations, and the boss of one, Trista “The spike” Massimo. She has had a spike as a right leg for 4 years now, but after hearing about Mauno coming to visit her city of Vribin she wants a chat with the good doctor to become her personal surgeon. Permanently.

Kaisu Lehto
Spell: Resurrection (PHB pg. 272)
Now in her later years, Kaisu Lehto is still better with dead people than alive. She is able to bring back those who are dead, but has strict requirements for using her power. Not that her powers can’t be used - she only wants to bring back those who want to and are worthy. She had put up an ad to find some assistants to help her parse through the many requests sh received, and the roles filled much quicker than she anticipated.

The worthy orders began flooding in, and Kaisu got to work. But something was amiss. Out of her three assistants, two were working together and fabricating information to bring the not-so-great dead back to life. Carn, her third assistant, has discovered their game, and might need some help in removing them from Kaisu’s service.

Don't mess with a guy who can wear armor that weighs more than you do
Briar Abyss
Spell: Reverse Gravity (PHB pg. 272)
General Briar Abyss is well known as a shifter, but also for his immense power on the battlefield. Anyone fighting the army of Zadoris watches cautiously to see if they are fighting General Abyss, for if they are, they will lose their soldiers at the same rate it takes an army to fly up into the sky, and then return to the ground.

For years, the might of Zadoris stood unmatched. But, recently, Zadoris was surprise-attacked by drow from underground. Attacking from their tunnels, the dark elves had a distinct advantage against the swirling effects of gravity: ceilings. The General was thrown for a bit, but believes he might have a strategy to defend against this new adversary.

Jesgwen Kriamtes
Spell: Sequester (PHB pg. 274)
A prophecy was foretold at the birth of copper Dragonborn Koyassa Kriamtes, that she will save the world from utter destruction. The seer, Jesgwen Kriamtes, and elderly copper Dragonborn, said she is only to be awakened 20 years before the end of the world. After the prophecy was given, Jesgwen of the Kriamtes clan sealed the youngling away, and left stories of the prophecy in stone, and in as many languages as they could manage.

Centuries later, the savior is still locked in time, waiting for the 20 years before the world is to end. The clan has expanded in the years to make sure the savior is safe, sharing the lore with each new generation. Nobody knows when the spell will end, but when it does, the end of the world will surely be nigh.

Dusk Cresswell
Spell: Simulacrum (PHB pg. 276)
Dusk Cresswell was a surgeon, until he was kicked out of the hospital he was working in for unorthodox practices. He dissected creatures, still living, to better see how they worked. This was to make his magical models of the monsters more accurate, more realistic, and better suited to further study. When he began working on humans, the hospital chancellor found out and blacklisted him. This seemed like the end of his medical career, until he found the underworld doesn’t have such stringent restrictions. That’s when he began his true experiments.

His new benefactor, an unknown woman, whom he only knows to as The Lady, has payed him handsomely for his work. She requires a small army of dangerous monsters, bred and spliced between other creatures. His most famous early creations were the owlbears, but they were too wild and uncontrollable, and he let them go into the wilderness. His newest creations are much more obedient, which is just to The Lady’s tastes.

Lorena Weston
Spell: Symbol (PHB pg. 280)
The people in the city of Ursall have been smelling worse odors than usual coming from the sewers for the last few weeks. The problem is, anyone who travels down into the sewers to check it out never returns to the surface. This leaves the city council with a conundrum: lose more city guards to the sewers, or endure the rank odors that grow worse every day.

The smell doesn’t bother Doctor Lorena Weston though. She has been conducting glyph experiments in the sewers, and building an underground maze to protect her unethical experiments. The sewers of Ursall are the perfect place for testing, and the smell is from some of her test subjects she fried, rotted, and tortured.

PETA doesn't approve of these activities
Jak Vux
Spell: Teleport (PHB pg. 281)
Jak Vux is a changeling who specializes in transportation, and enjoys it thoroughly. He is a teleporter for hire for those who can afford it, and his prices are steep. This is because after he transports someone, he can use his changeling abilities to lead customers around as a member of the new society. Especially in areas that are hostile to outsiders, Jak’s connections deter probing questions against those who would like to live there.

Since he can afford to live (and transport himself) anywhere, Jak takes full advantage of his abilities, and visits more places that most people could imagine in his lifetime. It has taken him some time to learn how to control his abilities, and he doesn’t like to talk about the mishaps he’s run into during his life. But when he gets a particularly infuriating client, some “accidents” might happen.

Zamam Cinnu
Spell: Temple of the Gods (XGtE pg. 167)
Around the extensive continent of Sateron, rumors have started to circulate about a magical temple that appears to those who needs it for healing or spiritual needs. Those who were wounded from random animal attacks or from bandit raids would see a shimmering building appear before them, filled with caring healers and a kindly old caretaker. However, trouble has been brewing in Sateron. The Empress, Kadrie Frostbrand, has had her eye on neighboring countries on the western coast. As the armies of the Empress are preparing to march, the healers in the Temple are worried they will not have enough healers to go around.

The temple is moved around by Zamam Cinnu, a man who cannot abide by warring times. He lost his closest family members in wars, and wants to prevent as much death and loss as possible. He has been debating visiting the Empress to ask her to stop this foolish and unnecessary war.

Thiandra Bronwon
Spell: Whirlwind (XGtE pg. 171)
The Omune countryside has either had a terrible string of bad luck, or did something to offend the Gods, because the weather has been steadily getting worse over the last month. Killer storms that drop tornadoes have been rampaging en masse, ripping the trees from their roots and flinging anything they can get their wispy winds on. The weather is more severe than usual in Omune, and the people are getting very nervous. This makes the Omunei Council nervous as well, especially when Sovri Hazedown, a newer member revealed that the storms are magical in origin.

Sovri is afraid that the storms are being caused by her childhood friend and aasimar, Thiandra Bronwon, recently returned from the sea. Thiandra seemed to always have the winds at ehr back,  and the coincidence of them returning as the storms arrived seems suspicious to Sovri. She needs to see if Thiandra can stop the storms, or return to sea to let the people of Omune live in peace. 

That's all for this week. Next time, we'll finally get into the big, world-changing spells: The 8th-level spells.

Also, check out Marcus Erdt. Great art!
Thanks for reading!