Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Recap: Tools of the Trade

Ah, chaos magic. Is there anything it can't do?
Chaos Quest is back! We had a much faster turnaround this time. Not sure why, other than people just being available at the right time. And it was our first game with all the characters present in a while, too. I decided to use this opportunity to run the group through White Plume Mountain, a classic D&D module.

With a few chaotic changes, of course.

This story is part 7 of a series. The campaign is complete.
Previous Campaign | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 |

Campaign of Chaos: Tools of the Trade


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
Cait: Anna, Human Brute Fighter, pretty ditzy but very strong and interested in chaos
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 completely ransacked the city of Garton, gaining tons of followers and destroying several key figures in the city's system of law and order. They had just rejoined their leader, Mr. Lizard (currently wearing a giant robot suit that caused most of the damage), and were about to head back to their skyfortress. However, an aspect of the God Pholtus (Cressen's dad) had showed up to punish them for their actions.

Pholtus began by offering Cressen a chance to turn away from the deceptions of Mr. Lizard and join the path to justice. Cressen told Pholtus to shove it, and the crew went wild. The god-like being sighed, and told Mr. Lizard to take off the ridiculous costume so they could fight properly.

Mr. Lizard shrugged, and told everyone to yell out a random place. The entire crew, including the allies and lackeys they had picked up along the way, yelled different locations. With a wink, Mr. Lizard cast a powerful teleport spell, shuffling the locations everyone had said and sending them away from the battle field. Unfortunately for him, Jakky had picked this exact location (just 3 feet to the left), and Mr. Lizard ended up directly in front of the Deity.

Meanwhile, everyone else was teleported off to various places in the multiverse. One of Anna's lackeys was sent to the center of the planet, and died instantly. Anna herself was sent to the living room of a lackey they picked up named Chet. Chet was a fairly boring and normal guy, and Anna just grabbed a beer and relaxed for a bit. Cressen and Agne were sent to terrible places that shouldn't be mentioned in polite company.

Myst was sent to the roof of a school building, where a holographic schoolgirl from Magic Man's dating sim was waiting to confess to him. Magic Man ended up at a sunflower seed shop, so he bought some seeds. Jakky was sent to a dark palace where he had to fight and kill a roguish phantom in front of an eldritch king. The "king" gave Jakky a message: "Tell him he is doing well." Jakky didn't understand and didn't bother remembering it.

After about 10 minutes, the crew and most of their lackeys appeared in front of a huge mountain, which had white smoke pluming out of it. Built into the mountainside was a massive temple, carved with images of monks and holy men.

A voice echoed in their heads, the voice of Mr. Lizard: "Hey kids! I'm having a tough time fighting this guy. There's 3 powerful chaos weapons and a wand of pure chaos sealed away in the back of this temple. Mind grabbing them for me? You can keep the stuff once I'm done with it!" The entire party readily agreed.

The OG Dungeon of the Mad Mage
They stormed the temple, killing any monks in their path. The monks were well-trained in magic and combat, wielding swords that glowed with pure radiance. But the overwhelming power of the chaos crew was unstoppable. They cut their way through these monks, learning that this was a Temple of the Knights of the Order, a group dedicated to law and justice. Not that they needed another reason to murder them, of course.

At the end of the temple, the monks began calling out for Javala Naas, their chosen leader, to smite the heroes. She appeared, wielding lightning and soaring through the air. However, the chaos crew combined their powers and dealt blow after blow, bringing her down with rotting energy, magical arrows and knives, and a bolt of their own lightning.

With the chosen one defeated, the group pressed onward. There were still a ton of monks left to kill, but they decided to leave it to their allies and lackeys (which, as a bonus, meant they didn't have to split up the treasure).

They entered the deepest sanctum and came up against a magical wall of force, behind which sat a sphinx. She seemed awfully bored, and told the group they needed to answer a riddle in order to pass. Myst and Magic Man, still giddy from their collective dating sim experience, decided to flirt with the sphinx instead.

She seemed coy at first, but they learned that she had been captured by the Knights of the Order and contracted to guard this location. With little convincing, they managed to turn her over to the ways of chaos and got to answer a much easier riddle to bypass the magical wall. Once that was done, the Sphinx ran off to join the other lackeys in kicking some monks' butts.

The crew carried on, bypassing some acidic green slime with the clever use of rope and flight. They came to an intersection, where one door was very clearly trapped and optional, and the other door was plain and lead further into the temple.

They went through the trapped door and were immediately locked into a small room.

Hanging above them were several glass orbs. They tried breaking the orbs, revealing false keys to the door and various treasure or threats. They defeated an air elemental, Magic Man nearly swallowed an acidic Grey Ooze, and Cressen obliterated some living shadows with his unholy radiance. They finally found the real key in the very last orb they checked, as well as a strange magic ring. Myst snatched it and put it on.

Of course, the great magic powers of the ring were just a prank, which the crew appreciated despite being the victims of it. It seemed the chaos weapons and wand were not the only chaotic items the Knights had stashed away in this vault.

They returned to the un-trapped door. Inside were several stitched-together flesh golems, who presented a riddle for the group to solve. Jakky figured it out almost immediately, and one of the golems joined the crew as a lackey. Due to the number on the golem's chest, they dubbed him Lackey Number 9. In reality he was number 15 or 16.

The next few rooms presented little challenge for the group thanks to their ability to sit in Myst's portable hole and fly through the rooms, carried by Cressen or Artorius. They arrived at a tunnel that lead into a magically darkened room with a human-sized box in it. Jakky, with his blindsight, was the only one who could tell anything about the room. He crept in cautiously, and was surprised when an undead human came out of the box: a vampire!

BLEEHHH!
The vampire attacked ruthlessly, but Jakky was fast enough to avoid damage while calling back for help. Cressen used his holy symbol to Turn the vampire, Jakky unleashed a flurry of blows that stunned him, and Magic Man lit up their foe with a Faerie Fire spell. After a few rounds of arrows and magic from Myst and Agne and a massive blow from Anna's sword, the vampire was history, vanishing into thin mist.

Under his coffin, they found a huge haul of gold and items, notably a throwing hammer crafted by goblins that Jakky picked up. The hammer told Jakky its name was Whelm, one of the magic chaos weapons held by the Knights of the Order. It was made to kill dwarves and giants, and seemed eager to help Jakky and the crew.

The crew made their way back to the magical wall, and decided to turn towards the next hallway. Along the way, Whelm told Jakky about a secret passage under a nearby water grate, and he seemed interested in following it. With Anna's help, they pried the grate up and found a door hidden under the flow of the water.

Inside, there was what appeared to be a wizard's workshop, guarded by two beefy red-skinned horned men. Myst dropped down, turned invisible with the aid of Cressen's magic, and slinked across the room to a pedestal where a wand was waiting in a glass case. He expertly slid the wand into his portable hole and made his way out without making a sound.

The group examined the wand, which appeared to be the wand of pure chaos Mr. Lizard had requested. They decided to give it to Magic Man, the wizard of the group. He took it gladly, ready to put the wand's power to use. They pressed forward, now halfway done with their task.

In the next room, they were attacked by a pair of seaweed monsters. Magic Man immediately tried using the wand, and (as chaos goes), nothing happened. However, magic Man believed that the most epic magic of all time was happening before his eyes.

Meanwhile, Jakky used Whelm to deal massive blows to the monsters, and in a fit of chaos, the hammer summoned another one of the Chaos weapons to aid the group. Anna grabbed the massive shining black sword, which called itself Blackrazor, from the air and used it to cleave the monsters in twain.

Now with added Chaos!
The group kept moving forward, opening a series of thick stone doors and entering a magical bubble in the middle of a boiling geothermal lake. They could see their final prize: a trident sitting atop of a pile of treasure, guarded by a massive crab monster. The group steeled themselves for battle.

However, Cressen decided to simply Polymorph the crab into a harmless seahorse. They plopped him into some water, grabbed the trident, and went on their way. The Trident's name was Wave, and although Myst learned about the weapon's properties, none of the crew was able to properly use it. They decided to save it for Mr. Lizard. This was a bit opposed to Wave's wishes, who was worried about a prophecy made that said it would kill a God of Chaos. The group said Mr. Lizard wasn't a God, so no worries.

Speaking of which, Mr. Lizard hadn't called them back yet, despite the crew gathering all the weapons and wand. They decided to go see how their lackeys were doing in the meantime, and headed back out towards the temple.

However, they were stopped on the way by the wizard and the two beefy red-skinned men. The wizard declared that he was the keeper of the Knights of the Order's vault, and he wouldn't dare let a group of miscreants leave with his treasures. He ordered his bodyguards to attack!

However, Myst and Magic Man were still in the mood to recruit some lackeys. They stopped one of the bodyguards by flirting with him, then attempting to convince him to join their cause. The Horned man seemed interested, but his companion wasn't. Anna, Agne, Cressen, Jakky, and Artorius all began to stab, bite, and fry the bodyguard with magic.

The bodyguard proved to be a powerful foe, however. He placed a Wall of Fire among his attackers, dealing out burns to everyone except Jakky, who leapt out of the way. Meanwhile, the other bodyguard was being seduced by Myst, who leapt through the wall of flames without so much as a burnt whisker.

Finally, just as Jakky stabbed the violent bodyguard to death, Magic Man pulled out his ultimate weapon: the sunflower seeds he had purchased earlier that day. By the power of chaos, that was enough to convince the man to join the crew, and he threw himself at Myst and Magic Man.

The keeper of the vault was flabbergasted, but not for long. Anna ran him through with Blackrazor, absorbing his soul into the blade. The group cleaned themselves up and went back to collect their lackeys, just in time for Mr. Lizard to summon them back via teleportation.

They, and all their lackeys new and old, appeared in the skyfortress. Mr. Lizard was slightly battered, but he said he had managed to win against the aspect of Pholtus. Everyone, especially Cressen, was quite impressed. The group asked what they were supposed to do next.

Mr. Lizard smiled. "How do you feel about outer space?"

WE GON GO TO DA MOON
We stopped there for the night. I have to say this was one of the best games so far in Chaos Quest. Just giving this group a location to explore and demolish is loads of fun. It's particularly useful that I don't really plan too much story or event structure ahead of time. They ended up skipping a 3rd of he dungeon because of their chaos magic... how do you plan for that??

The answer is: go with the flow, play the world, not the game, and don't be afraid to let your players seduce an efreeti.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Failed Magic Items: Dungeon Master's Guide Part 9 (I-L)

Sure, it looks cool now. But wait until freezes you solid for touching it.

Greetings! Will here again with more Failed Magic Items. There's not a whole lot of items in the "I", "J", and "L" categories so I've combined the three for this week's article.

Enjoy!

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Immaculate Rod
Rod, legendary

This pristine flat iron rod has a mirror-polished finish and appears to glisten in sunlight. Staring at it for extended periods of time invites thoughts of inadequacy and dread that you may never see something so pure or beautiful again. Indeed any task you are currently undertaking seems to become trivial upon gazing at the unfathomable wonder that this rod evokes.

It has no other effects.

I.O.U. Stone
"Wondrous" item, rare

This hand-sized stone has the letters "I.O.U." scrawled into its surface. Under these letters is a signature that reads "Ioun", a god of knowledge and prophecy who is revered on some worlds.

Every day at dawn roll 1d100. On the result of a 100, an Emissary of Ioun appears to you. The emissary, who is seemingly out of breath, apologies for the delay and gives you an Ioun Stone (the DM determines the type and rarity). The emissary then takes the I.O.U Stone from you and disappears without further explanation. Otherwise this stone has no additional properties and is surprisingly heavy for its size.

Iron Bands of Blinding
"Wondrous" item, rare

This rusty iron sphere measures 3 inches in diameter and weighs 1 pound. You can use an action to speak the command word, but before you have the chance to get rid of it the sphere bursts into a tangle of metal bands that instantly wrap around your head. The bands effectively blind you for 10 minutes before falling off and becoming useless. A DC 25 Strength saving throw is needed to wrest the bands off before their duration has ended.

Ironic Flask
"Wondrous" item, uncommon

Apart from some beautiful engravings, this appears as a normal flask used for storing liquid. After speaking the command word, you can summon any drinkable liquid to fill the flask. However, the liquid that is actually produced is always somehow the opposite of what you requested and you discover this only after taking an action to identify the liquid (i.e. drinking some, pouring some out, etc.). The DM decides what "opposite" means for every liquid you request.

Once used, it cannot be used again until the next dawn.

Javelin of Lighting
Weapon (javelin), uncommon

This otherwise unremarkable Javelin perpetually sheds bright light in a 30 foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet. It's actually quite blinding to look at and it imposes disadvantage on attack rolls made with this weapon.

Revealing Lantern
"Wondrous" item, uncommon

While lit, this hooded lantern burns for 6 hours on 1 pint of oil, shedding bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet. Any creature caught in the lantern's light appears completely naked to everyone but themselves. You can use an action to lower the hood, reducing the light to dim light in a 5-foot radius.

Misfortune Blade
Weapon (any sword), very rare (instantly attunement) 

You gain a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. While the sword is on your person, you also gain a -1 penalty to saving throws.  Additionally, every attack roll or saving throw you attempt critically fails on a d20 roll of 5 or less, regardless of any additional bonuses.

Curse. While attuned to this blade, you are unable to remove it from your person and any attack made with a different weapon is rolled with disadvantage. A Remove Curse spell can break this curse, in which case the blade becomes a non-magical version of itself.

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Another one in the books, goodbye for now and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Minimum Questing Age

Far too young to fight orcs
I've talked a bit about the minimum age requirements for "adulthood" among the various races, and how to modify an adventurer to fit their age category. Essentially, some race traits require more time than others to obtain. If you're an elf raised among humans, you're probably not getting "Elven Weapon Training".

But the same can be said about classes as well. Does becoming a fighter take more time than becoming a cleric? How does one actually become a warlock? And what do we do with multi-classing?

We start by taking yet another page from 4th edition, and dividing the classes up by where they get their power from.

Power Sources and Classes


There are four major power sources in D&D that fuel the various classes. They are Innate Power, External Power, Physical Power, and Mental Power.

Innate Power is something that you don't really have to work for. It simply resides within you, ready to be drawn forth when you command it. This power is something that might be discovered when it manifests during emotional duress, or something you were born with. The power grows because you learn to channel and control it in better ways, not because the power itself necessarily changes.

The most notorious classes that rely on Innate Power are the Sorcerer and Mystic. Each of these classes begins with the concept that a power has awakened inside the character, and controlling it is a matter of careful thought (Mystic) or emotional control (Sorcerer).

In some cases, the Barbarian and the Bard can be an example of Innate Power as well. Depending on how you decide magic functions in your world, the Barbarian/Bard could simply be drawing the natural powers within them through the medium of art or rage, both very emotional sources.

Finally, depending on the rules of magic, the Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, and Monk could also have Innate Power. But in the standard settings of D&D, they can be better described by other sources of power.

External Power is also called Divine Power. Essentially, you don't have any power: something or someone grants you power. This necessitates you being chosen to receive this power, and if you wish to be chosen, you might need to undertake oaths and preparations to become worthy of such power. By continuing to further the goals of the being giving you power, you are granted greater powers. Sometimes, this means the demands placed on your activities are more severe.

The Cleric is the epitome of External Power. The first thing a Cleric must do is chose which God is granting them power, and many clerics act in service to their God over the course of their adventures.

In the basic D&D settings, Paladins and Druids are also powered by External forces. Paladins are granted basic powers, then undertake oaths to ensure they gain more. Druids speak to the spirits or Gods of nature in order to manipulate their surroundings. Either way, the classes come with restrictions (such as oath tenants or being unable to wear metal armor) that the class must follow.

The odd child here is the Warlock, which could be External or Mental Power depending on how the class is played. For Warlocks with a back-and-forth relationship with their Patron, External Power would be appropriate.

Again, depending on the rules of magic, you could also include Rangers, Barbarians, Bards, Mystics, or Monks in this category. They wouldn't be a great fit in the standard settings of D&D though.

The pointy end goes in the bad guy. I can't believe I have to explain it that clearly
Physical Power is the most straightforward of the classes, as it is the only one completely reasonable in real life. You decide to increase your physical prowess, and must train to do so. You gain power through continued training, though for adventurers this usually involves self-directed training.

The classic Physical Power class is the Fighter. A fighter must train in the use of all weapons and armor, and their growth comes from learning new techniques and implementing them on the battlefield. Some, like Action Surge and Second Wind, are literally an additional burst of effort powered by endurance training.

The Rogue and Ranger are also (for the most part) powered by Physical Power. Their speed and precision require physical training. However, the Rogue's skills and the Ranger's magic can be attributed to other Power sources, making them less "pure" Physical Power than the fighter.

Depending on the magic rules of your setting, Barbarians, Monks, and Mystics might also fall under the Physical Power category, but they are more of a stretch.

Mental Power comes from study and learning. Though this is reasonable to expect a person to accomplish in real life, the end results are much more fantastic in D&D. A properly trained mind in this case can hold magic in the mind and push the body beyond its limits. Mental Power is increased through study and mental exercises such as meditation.

The best example of a Mental Power is the Wizard. Wizards must write down their spells and learn them carefully. They memorize spells for the day, gain new abilities through study within their school of magic, and can cast spells effortlessly once they have internalized them at high levels.

The Unearthed Arcana Alchemist and Mystic classes can also be seen as Mental Power classes, the Alchemist especially so. The Mystic gains power via superhuman forces, but controls it mentally, so they might be included. The Alchemist studies recipes and inventions, making them solidly fueled by Mental Power.

The Monk is also based on Mental Power, specifically through the use of Ki points. Their mental focus allows them to perform feats beyond the capabilities of fighters and rogues, but only for a limited time.

Again, the Warlock is the odd one out here, as it is possible for a Warlock to gain power by further studying their patron. This would work if the Warlock wanted to take a very Lovecraft-ian approach to their class, where they learned their magic powers by delving deeper into forbidden lore. They would use their force of personality (Charisma) to prevent themselves from going insane, but their growth would be governed by their Mental abilities.

Of course, depending on your magic system, Bards, Sorcerers, Rogues, and even Fighters might have some Mental component to their growth. However, this wouldn't be common in regular D&D settings.

Preparing to Quest


Epic magic power? Oh, I just got lucky I guess.
Obviously, depending on how magic works in your particular setting, any class might belong to any number of Power categories. I personally prefer my Bards to have Innate Power, but if music is naturally magical in your setting, then a Bard would require Mental Power to harness and control it.

Thus, when translating these classes to guidelines on how to become one of them, it's hard to generalize. You can't say all Bards should require the same amount of time to become Bards. Take the follow two examples:
I was dying. My father fought the bandits as well as he could, but they were too many. I couldn't help. I did the only thing I could think of: I sang the song mother had sung to me hundreds of times. Before my eyes, my father drew his sword again, and fought with renewed vigor. It was then I realized I had some power over songs, and my path to becoming a Bard began.
I'd been trained in music from a young age, expected to learn the lute and viol from my family. But I always had my eye on something bigger, something bolder. I wanted to learn the secret, magically-laced music of the Bards. I worked harder than I ever had to master my instruments so I could be accepted into one of their colleges. Finally, I was accepted, and my real training began.

The first example (Innate Power) would likely require only a few weeks of preparation before the character could begin traveling as a Bard. The second (Mental Power) would require years of training and plenty of backstory in order to become an adventurer.

Is either one better than the other one? Not particularly. Again, it depends on the way magic works in a particular setting, or even how a single character works. These two examples could happen side-by-side in the same world, as long as the rules of magic allowed for it.

So, instead of assigning requirements to particular classes, we'll assign requirements to particular Power sources.

Before we do, though, I want to talk about multi-classing.

Defining the power sources of each class gives us an easy way to determine the time required to gain a new class. For example, a class reliant upon Physical Power would take (10 - Con modifier) weeks to obtain, since a high Constitution would allow the character to train more often.

But compared to 1st level, the time a character spends on subsequent levels is minuscule. A 1st-level fighter might have a background in the army where they fought for years, but they reach 3rd-level and greatly increase their combat power in a matter of days. This can be explained in-game by the nature of their training: in the backstory, a character is simply learning the basics, but their power actually goes up once they gain real-world experience.

But this means that a lot of class growth comes from self-directed training. A wizard can continue to grow even while in the field, because they learned enough in wizard school to conduct their own research.

A multi-classed character doesn't have the benefit of years of becoming familiar with the basics. That means that every multi-class character must have a teacher or guide to help them understand their power more quickly. This is in addition to the time and story requirements imposed by their class.

Even the chosen one can't multi-class into Monk-Sorcerer without a little help
With that in mind, let's break this down!

Class Requirements by Power Source


Innate Power
Gained By: an event (even birth) that grants potent powers
Increased By: using the powers and learning how better to control and channel them
1st Level Time Requirements: none
1st Level Story Requirements: must work with DM to create event that grants powers
Multi-Class Requirements: a teacher to guide the character in the use of their new powers

External Power
Gained By: being chosen to have the powers by a greater being or force
Increased By: the greater being or force bestowing more powers upon the character
1st Level Time Requirements: none
1st Level Story Requirements: must work with DM to become worthy of powers granted by being
Multi-Class Requirements: a teacher to show the character the proper path to serving the greater being

Physical Power
Gained By: undergoing physical training
Increased By: continuing physical training
1st Level Time Requirements: (10 - Con mod) weeks
1st Level Story Requirements: none
Multi-Class Requirements: a teacher to guide the character in using the proper exercises and techniques

Mental Power
Gained By: study and mental training
Increased By: continued study and mental training
1st Level Time Requirements: (10 - Int mod) weeks
1st Level Story Requirements: none
Multi-Class Requirements: a teacher to guide the character in learning the proper topics and understanding them

With this system, you can determine how a particular character gains their powers. Perhaps one Warlock opened an eldritch tome, and after poring over it for weeks, unlocked eldritch powers. Another Warlock was visited by a fiend and presented with a choice: serve the Fiend or die. They chose the latter.

Depending on how the character gains their powers, you can include sections of their backstory to reflect their training or events in their lives. A wizard might have gone to school, a Cleric was trained to be worthy or their God's power, etc.

If a character wishes to multi-class, you can determine what they must do in order to take that class. A character wishing to multi-class into a Fighter will need to start training weeks before they can take their first level, and they will need to remain under the tutelage of an instructor during that time.

Idea for tutor: the book itself
Again, the power sources of each class will vary based on how magic works in your setting. But with this framework, you can ensure the training required for your character classes remains consistent across the board.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Recap: The Hunt for Adventure

Sometimes it's a literal hunt
Hello everyone, and welcome back to Jandar’s Lions. In this fourth session we had a special guest, Liz, Tom's sister. She played the part of Lin this time, so I want to thank her for coming out and playing with us. It was a great deal of fun to have her around.

This article is part 4 of a series. The campaign is ongoing.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 |

Jandar's Lions: The Hunt for Adventure


Jandar's Lions Crew:
Makayla: Dungeon Master
Jon: Captain Jandar Monroe, Human Paladin, Captain of "The Golden Duchess," Explorer of the Horizon (As of 2 weeks ago), tries not to kill things.
Wes: Barry the Basher, Mountain Dwarf Barbarian, has many memories of his mother, superb angler, can't write.
Tom: "Barth" Perth, Human Rogue, likes to challenge Jandar with moral quandaries, can't take a hit or drink alcohol.
Shannon: Otaroinae “A’ro’wan” Kalepeach, Water Genasi-Halfling Coast Druid, thoroughly enjoys being in and around water, likes to 'kelp' people.
Liz: Lin Kurwa, High Elf Balde Bard, player of battle pan flute music, trying to get Barry to be less racist towards elvenkind.
NPC: Dekkard: Mountain Dwarf Eldritch Knight, Purser, Jandar's Friend.

When we last left Jandar’s Lions, they had just said farewell to Hyon De Donta’s former crew. As everyone woke up in the morning, it became apparent that Barth had once again had too much to drink. Dekkard let Jandar know that he would take a double shift for the day to give Barth some rest. Meanwhile, Barry decided to take to fishing once again. After some time, he felt another large fish bite his hook. Fortunately for everyone involved, it was a sunfish instead of a shark this time. They decided to preserve the meat from it to sell at port later. The day was rather quiet overall however, with Barth unable to make his usual interesting remarks.

The following day, the group passed by a coral reef, and decided to stop for a brief time to give Otaroinae some time to use her new water breathing pendant to explore the reef. She took some time collecting a few empty conch shells, while Barry attempted to fish again, asking in vain to have Otaroinae entice some fish to bite his hook. After the brief visit, some sea birds that were hunting at this particular reef decided to follow the ship back to the islands that they presumably lived on. Otaroinae did attempt to entice the birds, however they seemed uninterested, what with already having their fill of fish.

Jandar and co. also took up talking about favorite sea shanties. Lin lists her favorite as “Oblivion”, about the largest whirlpool in the world. Excited, Barry interjects that he has a new one that he and his brothers used to sing, where in he and his brothers would hit each other and have harmonic screams. Barth mentions his favorite was about smelly sushi, while Jandar’s favorite was “Requiem for an Honest Sailor”. Lin, Dekkard, and Otaroinae began laughing as Barry tried to explain that the ship made a “booor-riiing” sound, and that he didn’t say that Jandar’s choice was boring. Jandar defended his choice, but sulked a little bit regardless.

We all know the famous shanty "Oops I smashed it again" by orc Chief Brit Many-Spears
The following morning, their ship passed by some merchant ships, and Jandar decided to call out to them, seeing if a deal of some kind could be made. The elves brought their ships closer and Jandar mentioned that he had a box, however the rest of the crew managed to remind him that it seems a little important that it may be related to the god that he worships, talking him out of selling it. After a quick discussion about stock and current gold amounts, Jandar decided to purchase one of the magic weapons that the elven traders were carrying, a Dagger of Venom. Jandar, feeling that he would regret the decision later, handed the new weapon to Barth. After thanking the elves, the ships parted ways.

In the afternoon of the end of their first month together (Ahnerian months are 2 weeks long), the first of the Jeonju islands appeared on the horizon. Jandar, knowing that Otaroinae wanted to meet with the aquatic halfling residents of the islands, had the crew find the nearest port town and dock at it. Arriving after nightfall, Dekkard gave out 50 gold to everyone to procure personal supplies for the next day. Otaroinae asked the harbormaster if there were any wise people or seers in town that she could talk to. He told her to go talk to an old man named Frasha who lives up a bit on one of the hills near the town.

The group made their way to the tavern Jorando. The population of the tavern is made up of mostly aquatic halflings, but Lin still decided to try to communicate with the musicians in the tavern, being a bard herself, making a quick acquaintance of one of the musicians. Jandar talked to the tavern keeper, asked for the rooms with the largest beds, and had some nice water to drink. Otaroinae asked the tavern keeper about the racism that some elves have, and he told her of times when periodically, an aquatic halfling would be on the mainland, be kidnapped, and brought to an island they were not from. When Barry had a chance, he showed the tavern keeper a crudely written description of someone that he was looking for and asked the tavern keeper to let him know if he ever saw him.

After Barry once again attempted to get Jandar to find a soul mate, Otaroinae went to make conversation with some of the locals. She briefly explained her situation, not knowing where she really came from and where she grew up. After a quick gill check, and a brief talk about her mystifying hair, they say good night to each other. While this was going on, Jandar and Barry had begun playing a card game, “Double Dare”, where high card wins, and low card has to do the dare stated beforehand. With Barry dancing on the table and Jandar saying a ‘dirty word’ being the two dares, the two drew cards. Jandar ended up losing, so he stood up, a man of his word, strode to the center of the room, gathered everyone’s attention, and said a word most foul.

After reconvening and having a brief conversation about hair care and having a laugh about the case for the missing butter on the ship being solved, with the revelation that Barth puts it in his hair, the crew retires for the night. The following morning, the group heads their separate directions, with Jandar heading to a bookstore “Highlands & Kaklord”. He found and purchased a good high seas adventure book, “The Adventures of Azont”. Barry following Jandar, asks the front desk about getting his friend a gift, motioning to Jandar. After searching for a book, Barry decided on “The Tragedy of Enoch”, hardly understanding what it was about. Barth looked around for a bit and found a shady guy and procured a minor hallucinogen. Otaroinae and Barry both purchased healing potions (After Barry sold his bag pipes). Jandar purchased some silken rope, and donated to the local temple. Lin purchased a pan flute.

Lin and Otaroinae, done with shopping, went to see Old Man Farsha. He greeted them both happily. After briefly investigating her, he dubs Otaroinae not an aquatic halfling. He did however try speaking to her in Aquan, and she was moderately surprised that she understood it. Asking for her family history, she mentioned that she did not know her father. He looked her over and thought about it for a bit longer. He lets her know that her father might not have been from this plane of existence. After decompressing from this revelation, she thanked him by giving him a conch, and the duo left, with Lin trying her best to comfort Otaroinae.

After the group reconvened at the ship, Otaroinae explains what happened, and Barry comforted her by saying “No matter what you are, you are still our family”. He then proceeded to hand Jandar the book that he bought for him, and thanked Jandar for being his friend. After Dekkard finished the final preparations, the group finally set sail for the final part of their trip over to the Jeonju mainland. Jandar proceeded to begin reading the book that Barry gifted to him, finding a part of it circled. Jandar then spent the rest of the day contemplating how Barry knew what part to circle in regards to his usual conversation topics.The following morning, Jandar ended up being in a bad mood, due to finishing reading the tragedy book that Barry gave to him.

Everyone has to leave their small town someday
The weather changed from being clear to heavy rains by the evening. Late into the night, during Lin and Dekkard’s shift, the port city of Jium finally came into view. The pair masterfully brought the ship into port, however they noticed that there was a commotion at one end of the port, where a large number of people had gathered around a ship. After waiting for some dock hands to help moor the ship, Lin decided to investigate the goings on of the crowd. As she approached the ship, she noticed that it had large gashes in its side. After listening to the ship’s captain explain to the guard captain that they were attacked by a skeletal shark, the guard captain orders for a scouting party to investigate the inlet near where the attack occurred. After briefly talking to the captain, Lin returned to The Golden Duchess and informed Dekkard, however they decided it was not important enough to wake Jandar and co.

After the rest of the crew woke up, they were informed of the events of the previous night, and that they had docked in Jium. After a brief conversation between the crew, Dekkard returned carrying a box. He gathered everyone’s attention, and opened the box, revealing 1,000 platinum (10,000 gold). Jandar and co., who hadn’t paid much attention to the cargo that they had purchased for transport, were surprised when Dekkard told them that they had made 8,000 gold in profit from their first set of cargo. Dekkard had arranged for a sizable amount of weapons and heavy armor for cargo for their first trip, as to help get the company off the ground.

The group decided to talk to the captain of the ship that was attacked so the rest of the crew understood the gravity of the situation. While there, Barry noted that the skeletal shark that attacked this ship would have been at least three times the size of the shark that he had caught. Otaroinae and Barry confirm that the white shrapnel in the ship was in fact bone. After saying good bye to the captain of this vessel, the group made their way to the Heenvine Tavern, where they would be staying for the next few weeks. On the way, Otaroinae noticed that the elves didn’t pay any attention to her in the slightest.

Jandar tried talking to the tavern keeper about finding some adventure, or even rats to kill, however he came up empty handed. Otaroinae asked Lin if Jandar had a thing about rats, but she said that he had not shown previous signs of it. Lin noted that Jandar’s list of possible adventures, including rat killing and random evil cults, mirror the adventures in the book he had purchased for himself and had begun reading. Lin and Otaroinae had a good laugh while Jandar continued down his list of adventure. After getting mildly frustrated at the barkeep having little information about adventure in the seemingly peaceful city, he heads out of the tavern alone, seeking the city guard for any adventure, having completely forgotten about the puzzle box in his bag.

He found the nearest city guardsman, and asked about any extra work around the city. He managed to learn that there was a rat infested ship that had come in recently, and Jandar immediately set off to the port to kill rats. After turning in the rats at the guard tower, he set out to find people to help. Barry headed out to make a map of the city, Otaroinae and Lin had some good bonding time together, looking around at different vendors. Barth scoped out the city and followed people around, getting used to the routes they took.

There has to be an adventure in here somewhere!
Lin and Otaroinae visited a weapons shop together, however the clerk ended up being slightly racist towards Otaroinae. After they left, they noticed Jandar washing the windows of the shop across the street. Barry also visited the weapon shop later in the day, and talked to the clerk about the differences between dwarven and elvish weapons for a bit. Meanwhile, Jandar fell out of the chimney, having been hired to clean it. Otaroinae found a land halfling and made a quick friend. While Barth was out following people around, he noticed Jandar cleaning the floors of someone’s house.

In the evening, the group reconvened at the tavern. Jandar was exhausted from having done odd jobs around town. Barry insinuated that Jandar was actually doing something else, much to Jandar’s dismay. Jandar grilled his crew to see if anyone found any quests to do. None of them had, and so Jandar told them that tomorrow, their job was to each find an adventure for the group to do.

The following day, Lin found out that there was a need for an area in the mountains to the north to be mapped out. Barry learned there was a group ambushing people in another part of the mountains. Jandar learned from one of the people he had helped that there was a ruined abode of a hero from an age long past to the south. Barth wandered aimlessly.

Unfortunately, Otaroinae ended up going out by herself. As she was out by the pier where fishermen gather, she became aware of people approaching her from behind. After she was grabbed, she reacted by casting entangle behind her. Unfortunately, she was knocked unconscious by a sleep spell. In the evening, Jandar had everyone reconvene at the tavern. After waiting an extra hour for Otaroinae to no avail, the group set out to attempt to find her.

The group went around town asking for information. They eventually learned that there was an aquatic halfling spotted by the fishermen pier in the morning. Meanwhile, Otaroinae woke up inside of what appeared to be a crate, with her hands and legs bound. Jandar and co. made their way down to where she was last spotted and started talking to a meditating fisherman. Jandar noticed that he was not being truthful, and sat down next to him. He mentioned that he was offering a reward to anyone who could help find her, however the elf insisted he had seen nothing. Finally, Jandar had everyone draw weapons. Barry began pressing for information, insisting on the urgency of the situation.

Finally the elf mentioned that one of his friends had mentioned an aquatic halfling being led away from the pier, and pointed towards one of the ships in port. Otaroinae at this point had managed to break out of her bonds, and decided her best chance to escape was to thunder wave the crate that she was in. She blasted the crate open and took note that she appeared to be in a ship. She ran over to the closest ladder to the top deck, and found someone standing at the top looking down at her. After a quick poison spray to the face, she managed to get around the few crew around her and dove into the water.

Jandar and co. finally reached the ship where a commotion had broken out. Barry, acting quickly, hurled his maul at the ship, however it failed to damage the ship in any way. After it fell into the water, Otaroinae saw the maul drop into her field of view, recognizing it as Barry’s. She went and picked it up, managing to swim to the surface of the water with it. Meanwhile, Jandar was yelling at the ship, demanding the return of his friend, however the elf speaking to him insisted there were not any aquatic halflings on board. Otaroinae, finally breaking the surface of the water, called out to Jandar.

Jandar was relieved to have his friend back, however he demanded compensation for emotional trauma. Eventually, the elves on board gave in and tossed a bag of platinum at them. Jandar bid them a nice day, and took his crew back to the tavern to rest. On the way back, Barry went on another tangent about Jandar, and the crew had a good laugh, with everything being normal again.

"Normal."
It was a relatively combat-less game this time. I found Jandar's actions.. interesting. He seems to really be trying his hardest to find adventure wherever it may lurk, to a staggering extent. I can understand this. However in my mind, if you are always just walking (or sailing) into a new town, and there is always adventure in your face, that kind of says that the world is so full of chaos that there is never any peace for anyone involved (Ignoring the events of Chaos Quest for now, for.. certain reasons..). I'm not of the mind that any world should be like that. Adventure comes, and adventure hides sometimes. Sometimes finding too much adventure is a bad thing, as it can distract you from other adventures that might come along.

Regardless, I felt that I did not provide an adequate amount of 'adventure' in this session, as most of the adventure on the high seas has, so far, been dictated by the random encounters that I have set up. Regardless, I'll keep letting Jandar take the direction he wants to for now, as the wind can be a fickle thing. Every now and then, it will wrest control away from you and drag you along by your sails in the wind.

Thanks for reading! Take care.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Creature Loot: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes - Derro and Devils

Just like Rafiki from the Lion King. But legitimately insane.
With the demons done, let's move on to the devils. There are some really cool guys in here, like the kind you'd want to invite to a badminton party. 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!

Derro

Derro (1/4) - humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Hooked Spear: Acts as a spear. On a hit, if the target is medium or smaller, the wielder can choose to deal no damage and knock the target prone.
  • 1 Tattered Light Crossbow
  • 1 Tattered Set of Leather Armor
  • 1 Derro Head: No immediate use. Acts as a trophy to underdark hunters and Duergar.

Derro Savant (3) - humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Quarterstaff
  • 1 Tattered Set of Leather Armor
  • 1 Derro Head: No immediate use. Acts as a trophy to underdark hunters and Duergar.
  • 1 Derro Talisman: Acts as an arcane focus, except while exposed to sunlight.
  • 1d4 Magic Detritus: Each appears to be a trinket (PHB pg. 160) but has a minor magic item property (DMG pg. 143)

Devils

Note: Unless the devil is killed in the Nine Hells, only the Hellish Ichor is able to be harvested.

Black Abishai (7) - fiend (religion)
  • 2 Black Abashai's Scimitars: Acts as a magic scimitar and a Holy Symbol to Tiamat.
  • 1d2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 1d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 1d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 1d2 Black Abishai Wings: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (leatherworker's tools) into a Cloak of Shadow Stealth. A creature wearing the cloak can take the Hide action as a bonus action while in dim light or darkness.
  • 1d2 Black Abishai Horns: A creature holding the horn can use it to cast Darkness at a point within 120 feet of them, requiring no components. While the spell persists, the creature can move the area of darkness up to 60 feet as a bonus action, as long as they are holding the horn. Once used in this way, the horn cannot be used again until the next dawn.

Blue Abishai (17) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Blue Abashai's Quarterstaff: Acts as a magic quarterstaff and an arcane focus.
  • 2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 4d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 2d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 2 Blue Abishai Wings: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (leatherworker's tools) into a Cloak of Internal Electricity, which requires attunement. An attuned creature's unarmed strikes deal an additional 1d6 lightning damage on a hit.
  • 1 Blue Abishai Horn: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (alchemist's supplies) into a Potion of Clear Thought. A creature that drinks the potion has its Intelligence score increase by 2, as well as its maximum for that score. A creature can't benefit from this potion more than once.
  • 1 Spellcasting Component Pouch
  • 2d4 Books (useless)
  • 2d4 Skill Books: Contain knowledge concerning a certain skill and topic that the Blue Abishai was interested in. For example: Arcana (Tomes of Infernal Magic). Using the book for 5 minutes is equivalent on rolling a 15 on the related skill.

Green Abishai (15) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Green Abashai's Longsword: Acts as a magic longsword and a Holy Symbol to Tiamat.
  • 2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 3d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 2d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 2 Green Abishai Wings: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (leatherworker's tools) into a Cloak of Shapechanging, which requires attunement. An attuned creature can cast Alter Self at will, without requiring a spell slot.
  • 1d4 Green Abishai Spines: A creature holding a spine can snap it to cast Fear (Save DC 17) originating from the spine. 
  • 4 Vials of Green Abishai Poison: Can be applied to a weapon or a piece of ammunition as an action. A creature hit by the poisoned weapon or ammunition must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take 2d10 poison damage. Additionally, the creature is poisoned for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Color-coded for your convenience
Red Abishai (19) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Red Abashai's Morningstar: Acts as a magic morningstar and a Holy Symbol to Tiamat.
  • 2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 4d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 3d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 2 Red Abishai Wings: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (leatherworker's tools) into a Cloak of Internal Fire, which requires attunement. An attuned creature's unarmed strikes deal an additional 1d6 fire damage on a hit.
  • 2 Red Abishai Horns: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (alchemist's supplies) into a Potion of Gainful Strength. A creature that drinks the potion has its Strength score increase by 2, as well as its maximum for that score. A creature can't benefit from this potion more than once.
  • 1 Talisman of Tiamat: Requires attunement. An attuned creature can use its action to target one dragon it can see within 120 feet of it. The dragon must make a DC 18 Charisma saving throw. A chromatic dragon makes this save with disadvantage. On a successful save, the target is immune to the talisman's ability for 1 hour. On a failed save, the target is charmed by the attuned creature for 1 hour. While charmed in this way, the target regards the attuned creature as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. This effect ends if the attuned creature or its companions deal damage to the target, or if the attunement ends.
  • 1 Heart of the Red Abishai: While holding the heart, it can be used to cast Plane Shift as a ritual. Only the creature holding the heart may shift. This consumes the heart. When the spell is cast, roll 1d20. On a 1, the bearer is shifted to Tiamat's lair in Avernus instead of the intended destination.
  • 1 Mantle of Tiamat: Requires attunement. An attuned creature can use its action to choose up to four of their allies within 60 feet of it that have the dragon or fiend monster type and can see them. For 1 minute, each of those allies makes attack rolls with advantage and can't be frightened.
  • 1 Red Abishai Brooch: A creature holding the brooch can touch it as an action. Each creature of the holder's choice that is within 120 feet and aware of it must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of the brooch for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the brooch's ability for the next 24 hours. once used in this way, the brooch can't be used again until the next dawn.

White Abishai (6) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 White Abashai's Longsword: Acts as a magic longsword and a Holy Symbol to Tiamat.
  • 1d2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 1d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 1d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 1d2 White Abishai Wings: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (leatherworker's tools) into a Cloak of Reprisal, which requires attunement. The attuned creature may use their reaction, in response to taking damage, to make a single melee weapon attack against a creature within 5 feet of them. If no creature is within reach, the attuned creature may move up to half its speed towards an enemy it can see, without provoking opportunity attacks.
  • 1d10 White Abishai Teeth: As a bonus action, a creature may consume one of the teeth. The creature gains advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls have advantage against them until the start of their next turn.

Amnizu (18) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Taskmaster's Whip: Acts as a magic whip. On a hit, the target takes an additional 16 (3d10) force damage.
  • 2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 4d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 2d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 2 Amnizu Wings: No immediate use. 2 can be crafted into a Cloak of Betrayal, which requires attunement. When a creature within 60 feet of the attuned creature makes an attack roll against it, and another creature is within the attack's range, the attacker must make a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the attacker must target the creature that is closest to it, not including the attuned creature or itself. If multiple creatures are closest, the attacker chooses which one to target. If the saving throw is successful, the attacker is immune to this ability for 24 hours.
  • 1 Amnizu Scepter: A creature holding the scepter can target one creature it can see within 60 feet of them. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Intelligence saving throw or become stunned for l minute. A stunned creature repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If the target is stunned for the full minute, it forgets everything it sensed, experienced, and learned during the last 5 hours. Once this property has been used, it cannot be used again until the next dawn.
  • 1 Amnizu Robes: Requires attunement. A creature attuned to the robes gains telepathy out to 1,000 feet. While communicating in this way, a creature cannot make a purposefully false statement, as if under the effect of a Zone of Truth spell
  • 2d4 Bones of the Amnizu: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (alchemist's supplies) into a Mindrot Poison. A creature that ingests this poison must succeed on a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw or take 26 (4d12) necrotic damage and be blinded until the end of their next turn.
  • 1 Heart of the Amnizu: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted by a spellcaster (enchantment) into a Domination Amulet, which requires attunement and has 10 charges. An attuned creature can use an action to expend 1 or more charges from the amulet to cast one of the following spells from it (Save DC 19): Charm Person (1 charge), Command (1 charge), Dominate Person (5 charges), or Dominate Monster (8 charges). The amulet regains 1d6+4 expended charges daily at dawn. If the last charge is used, roll a d20. On a 1, the amulet dissolves into the waters of the River Styx, casting Feeblemind (Save DC 19) on the attuned creature.
  • 2 Hands of the Amnizu: Can be used as an improvised melee weapon. On a hit, a target takes 44 (8d10) necrotic damage. The hand then loses this property. The hand can also be used as an arcane focus whether or not it has dealt damage.

New idea: a campaign where these things just kind of flatten an entire country. So metal.
Hellfire Engine (16) - fiend (religion)
  • 3d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 2d4 Vials of Acidic Flame: Acts as a Vial of Acid, dealing 11 (2d10) fire damage plus 18 (4d8) acid damage on a hit.
  • 1 Lightning Flail: Acts as a magic flail that deals an additional 9 (2d8) lightning damage on a hit. Additionally, on a hit, one creature of the wielder's choice within 10 feet of the target must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 9 (2d8) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • 1 Thunder Cannon: Acts as a siege weapon with 18 AC and 75 hit points. It takes one action to load the cannon, one action to aim it, and one action to fire it. The Thunder cannon targets a point within 120 feet of it. Each creature within 30 feet of that point must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 27 (5d10) bludgeoning damage plus 13 (2d12) thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
  • 4d4 Plates of Hellfire Shielding: Acts as a magical shield. 4 of these can be mastercrafted (smith's tools) into Hellfire Engine Armor. The armor is equivalent to plate armor, and the armor is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it. Additionally, a creature wearing the armor is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.
  • 4 Hellfire Wheels: A creature with a Strength score of 20 or higher can use their action to roll the wheel in a straight line a distance equal to their speed. The wheel stops at the end of this move, or if it hits an object or creature that is Huge or larger. During this move, it can enter Large or smaller creatures' spaces. A creature whose space the hellfire wheel enters must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw. On a successful save, the creature is pushed 5 feet to the nearest space out of the hellfire wheel's path . On a failed save, the creature falls prone and takes 28 (8d6) bludgeoning damage. If the hellfire wheel stops in the prone creature's space, the creature is also restrained until it's no longer in the same space as the hellfire wheel. While restrained in this way, the creature, or another creature within 5 feet of it, can make a DC 18 Strength check. On a success, the creature is shunted to an unoccupied space of its choice within 5 feet of the hellfire wheel and is no longer restrained.
  • 1 Heart of the Hellfire Engine: The Heart has AC 10 and 55 hit points.  If a creature deals at least 13 bludgeoning damage to the Heart with a single spell or attack, the Heart starts like an engine. The Heart does not start if the attack reduces the Heart to 0 hit points. Each creature within 20 feet of the Heart when it starts must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (5d8) lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If this damage kills a creature, the creature's soul rises from the River Styx as a lemure in Avernus in 1d4 hours. If the creature isn't revived before then, only a wish spell or killing the lemure and casting true resurrection on the creature's original body can restore it to life. Constructs and devils are immune to this effect. After the Heart is reduced to 0 hit points, the Heart becomes non-functional.

Merregon (4) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Hellforged Halberd: This halberd is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it. The weapon can be destroyed with a DC 20 Strength check.
  • 1 Hellforged Crossbow: This crossbow is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it. The weapon can be destroyed with a DC 20 Strength check.
  • 1d2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 1d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.

Narzugon (13) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Set of Hellforged Plate Armor: This armor is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it.
  • 1 Hellforged Shield: This shield is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it. The shield can be destroyed with a DC 20 Strength check.
  • 1 Hellfire Lance: This magic lance deals an additional 16 (3d10) fire damage on a hit. If this damage kills a creature, the creature's soul rises from the River Styx as a lemure in Avernus in 1d4 hours. If the creature isn't revived before then, only a Wish spell or killing the lemure and casting True Resurrection on the creature's original body can restore it to life. Constructs and devils are immune to this effect.
  • 1 Infernal Tack: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes page 167
  • 2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 2d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 1d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 1 Head of the Narzugon: A creature holding the head can communicate with the Narzugon telepathically. The Narzugon refuses to communicate with good-aligned creatures. A non-good creature can use their action to make a DC 17 Charisma (Persuasion) check to convince the head to assist them. On a success, the head issues one of two commands, chosen by the creature holding the head:
    • Infernal Command. Each ally of the non-good creature within 60 feet of it can't be charmed or frightened until the end of their next turn.
    • Terrifying Command. Each creature that isn't a fiend within 60 feet of the head that can hear it must succeed on a DC 17 Charisma saving throw or become frightened of it for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. A creature that makes a successful saving throw is immune to this Head's Terrifying Command for 24 hours.
  • 1 Nightmare: Monster Manual page 235. If the Narzugon was defeated in combat, the Nightmare is hostile to the person who slayed them.
  • 2d4 Bones of the Narzugon: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (alchemist's supplies) into a Potion of Supreme Healing.

Don't worry, I'm on the keto diet, bro!
Nupperibo (1/2) - fiend (religion)
  • 1 Vial of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.

Orthon (10) - fiend (religion)

Note: If the Orthon triggers its Explosive retribution, only the Hellish Ichor can be harvested.
  • 1 Infernal Dagger: On a hit, the target must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking 11 (2d10) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. On a  failure, the target is also poisoned for 1 minute. The poisoned target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
  • 1 Brass Crossbow: This crossbow is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it. The weapon can be destroyed with a DC 20 Strength check.
  • 1 Set of Hellforged Half Plate Armor: This armor is immune to effects that would deteriorate or weaken it.
  • 1d2 Devil Eyes: If consumed as an action, grants Darkvision out to 60 feet for 10 minutes. This darkvision is not impeded by magical darkness. Can be mastercrafted (Jeweler’s Tools) into an amulet or circlet that provides this benefit once per day as an action.
  • 2d4 Vials of Hellish Ichor: No immediate use. Forms into a Lemure after 1d10 days, unless the devil was killed by a good-aligned creature with Bless cast upon it, or if the ichor is splashed with holy water.
  • 1d4 Devil Claws: Acts as a magical dagger that deals fire damage instead of piercing damage. This damage ignores the fire resistance of demons.
  • 3d4 Magic Bolts: These bolts contain magical properties when fired from a crossbow. The number of bolts obtained determines their properties:
    1. Acid. The target must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking an additional 17 (5d6) acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
    2. Blindness. The target takes 5 (1d10) radiant damage. In addition, the target and all other creatures within 20 feet of it must each make a successful DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or be blinded until the end of the crossbow user's next turn.
    3. Concussion. The target and each creature within 20 feet of it must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking 13 (2d12) thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
    4. Entanglement. The target must make a successful DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or be restrained for l hour by strands of sticky webbing. A restrained creature can escape by using an action to make a successful DC 17 Dexterity or Strength check. Any creature other than an orthon that touches the restrained creature must make a successful DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or become similarly restrained.
    5. Paralysis. The target takes 22 (4d10) lightning damage and must make a successful DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for l minute. The paralyzed target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    6. Tracking. For the next 24 hours, the crossbow user knows the direction and distance to the target, as long as it's on the same plane of existence. If the target is on a different plane, the crossbow user knows which one, but not the exact location there.
    7. Acid (see above)
    8. Blindness (see above)
    9. Concussion (see above)
    10. Entanglement (see above)
    11. Paralysis (see above)
    12. Tracking (see above)

Next week, we move on to the Archdevils! Not the biggest bad guys in Hell, but like #8-14 at least.

"Let's steal from archdevils!" - a PC, probably
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Innate Magic People Part 6

This week's artist is Sandara, whose art has been inspiring my D&D games since before I was running them!
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.

This is the sixth in this series, and the first of the fifth level spells. These spells are so powerful, that not only will these people influence the world, but the world will bite back. Their stories are tales of epic heroism, tragedy, or legend. Thus, we'll be reducing the number of NPCs but increasing the description of them.

Yonnael Pendown
Spell: Animate Objects (PHB pg. 213)
Since Yonnael Pendown reached adulthood, he wasn't a normal man. He appeared to be a tall, somewhat gangly human, but wherever he went, objects around him sprang to life, ready to do his bidding. He was confused by their demands for his orders, and asked the local priest for help. Unfortunately, the priest had no way to stop this strange condition. The townsfolk were hesitant to accept a person with such powers, since even their personal possessions would leap up and ask for an order when Yonnael came near.

People Yonnael had known his entire life suddenly turned their backs on him. The priest asked him to leave town, perhaps living at the abandoned castle on the nearby mountain. Yonnael went, leaving his life behind to live in a dusty old tower. The longer he stayed there, the more things came to life, and they brought him food and fresh water so he would not perish. He longs for his life in a small village, where everything was normal. However, he has been away from other humans too long, and his servants attack anyone who approaches the castle. He can't bear to see a reminder of the life he lost to fate.

Shima Tanaz
Spell: Antilife Shell (PHB pg. 213)
Ever since she was young, Shima Tanaz pushed away those around her. Literally. Nobody could get closer than ten feet to her, though by her teenage years the distance had grown to 30. Fortunately, her wealthy parents had the fortune to hire clockwork humanoids that could feed and attend to her, and she grew up fascinated by these mechanical manservants. In fact, she became so attuned to their presence that she became quite anti-social, preferring to work on her own clockwork creations and strange engineering projects.

As Shima grew, her nature changed. She began to resent those humans who tried to care for her, as they didn’t understand her work and were utterly unpredictable compared to her mechanical companions. She fled her home in the city of Mitigas and started a secret laboratory, engineering strange and deadly contraptions to protect herself. She has become a threat to Mitigas, and the mayor is looking for someone to fight her creatures and kill her. Shima’s parents are opposed to their daughter’s death, not the least because nobody has even been able to approach her with a sword or axe and harm her.

Bilfiz The Swift
Spell: Banishing Smite (PHB pg. 216)
In the multiplanar city of Sigil, ideas are currency, and fast communication is worthy of a huge investment. Enter Bilfiz The Swift, a gnomish courier who has seen every end of the multiverse and then some. With a tap of his nose, he jaunts off to anywhere in the multiverse for a minute at a time. Thanks to his advanced gnomish technology, he can survive anywhere from the lakes of fire to the poison swamps of the Abyss, and his time limit means he never remains captured or embattled for too long. Bilfiz has turned speedy delivery and artful escapade into an art form.

However, there are still some folks who simply don’t like his intrusions. He’s never spoken to Asmodeus directly, and Pelor only allows him halfway up Mount Celestia. This doesn’t put much of a damper on his business, though, since the lawful planes generally have their own messaging systems which Bilfiz can hand off the delivery too. And on many chaotic planes, his information and discretion have earned him access to places normally forbidden to mortals. But Bilfiz’s latest delivery is to a particular demon lord who has never once allowed a message to enter his plane: Demogorgon. Bilfiz needs someone to venture deep into the Gaping Maw and finish his delivery for him, as his reputation is on the line.

Mess with me, mess with my giant bug friends
Niva “Echofist” Sykes
Spell: Bigby's Hand (PHB pg. 218)
For many years, the city of Calirix was plagued by crime and corruption. But a few years ago, a vigilante hero emerged from the rabble, promising to bring peace back to the citizens. Her name was Niva Sykes, but she was known as Echofist, for her punches would “echo” out of her hand and strike her foes with spectacular force. Each punch would cause hideout walls to crumble, criminals to implode, and gangs to scatter. She cleaned up the streets, earning the gratitude of the city and the fear of the crime lords who ruled its underbelly.

However, since crime has gone down, the bounties on criminals haven’t been enough to pay for the damage her power does to buildings, roads, and bystanders. Not only that, but the new magistrate, Armin Hamdast, is convinced that the best solution is banning the use of magic from the city. Such an edict would majorly hamper the ability of the citizens to live their lives, and Niva wants to avoid hurting the people. But she can’t give up helping people with her powers, either. She’s looking for help finding a solution.

Eli Dusque
Spell: Circle of Power (PHB pg. 221)
Dubius von Z├┐mmern, the evil wizard who ruled Zymmer with an iron fist, was recently assassinated. So was Khalida, the Sorceress of Death, and Oshi’o the Cursed One. This rash of mysterious deaths held the entire continent captivated for some time. Who was behind these attacks? Were they altruistic? Or was it portent of some greater evil simply removing their rivals? Each of these powerful overlords was more than capable of destroying entire countries with their magic, so what happened?

Well, eventually, the hero behind their downfalls revealed himself after taking out The Dark Lord Mudario. Eli Dusque is an assassin who is nearly impervious to powerful magic, and he was immediately hailed as a hero by every ruler in the land. But that’s where things got messy. Eli hated the idea of fame, and declined alliances with any country that approached him. This could have made him a hero of the people, but it turns out he also hates associating with the commonfolk. His sense of justice was completely overshadowed by his unlikable personality. He didn’t mean to reveal himself, but now that he has it’s become difficult for him to find places to eat and stay. He’s looking for a patron who is willing to put up with an antisocial jerk.

Serenity Uraias
Spell: Cloudkill (PHB pg. 222)
They say when she was born, she wiped out the entire town. They say she was raised by some strange monster, though the tales vary from demons to liches to some sort of poison elementals. They say she will take any job, and there’s no stopping her once she sets her eyes on a target. And when she reaches that target, everyone they love will die as well. Just being targeted by her is enough to earn exile from a community. Her name is Serenity Uraias, but she is known as The Eradicator.

She wanders the land, surrounded by a greenish fog. Those who try to attack her can’t get close enough to see her, much less strike, before they perish. Her mist creeps under doors and through the cracks in windows, wiping out entire villages at a time. Her only calling card is the entire population of a village, dead from poison. Despite the enigmatic nature of her work, she has earned powerful allies in the form of nobles looking to quiet insurrections or erase protesters. The commoners have no way to strike back, at least directly. Recently, Basile Northoll, a baron of the Hills of Nazkos, was revealed to have purchased the services of The Eradicator to eliminate a village that refused to pay taxes. Now, every attack is being linked to him, and the commoners are planning a revolt before they are completely wiped out.

"I just don't understand why people keep assuming I'm evil"
Diam Tanner
Spell: Commune (PHB pg. 223)
In the Holy Land of Yamasai, the people don’t have to worry if their souls are saved. They know it. His Holiness Pope Diam Tanner gives the people the exact guidelines for acting in accordance with Yone, the God of light and justice. Born with the ability to hear the voice of the God, Pope Diam has spent his life obtaining information on the afterlife, Yone’s doctrine, and how best to serve her. Once the church heard of this miracle child, they installed him as their leader and disseminated his writings to the populous. His words have a huge influence, and he is seen as incredibly righteous after using his gift to expose corruption in the rulers of the nearby land of Setasa.

However, a small faction of countries have rejected the words of Pope Diam, and begun to fight for their own God, Ssytris, the benevolent God of life and death. At first, they simply refused to join in the ever-growing Holy Land of Yanasai, but before long violence broke out on the borders and a rebel militia had formed. Now, Pope Diam has declared war on the defectors, and to those in the Holy Land, his word is God’s word. It’s time for a crusade against the heretics!

Amadora Vinas
Spell: Commune with Nature (PHB pg. 224)
For centuries, the Thelvia Pass was well-known as a terrifying wilderness that claimed the lives of any who passed through it. Dragons, manticores, and more had all been sighted there, fighting with each other over territory and prey. This included any travelers making their way between Theldor and Anuvia. However, for the past three decades, those who brave the mountain pass have been met by an old, mute woman carrying a small lantern. Those who follow her through the stranger parts of the jungle invariably made it to the other side, and rumor of her ability and presence spread quickly. Those blessed to meet Amadora Vinas would be able to get between the two cities in a matter of days.

But all of that changed recently. A group waited and waited for Amadora, but she never arrived. The people of the cities are unsure if she finally passed on or if they had upset her in some way. And with an outbreak of sickness in Theldor, the people of Anuvia need to get medical supplies there as soon as possible. Lady Amelie of Anuvia is looking for trailblazers to lead her clerics through the pass alive, to save the lives of those in Theldor.

Calros del Goya
Spell: Cone of Cold (PHB pg. 224)
Calros del Goya grew up relatively normally, living in a tropical village on a small island. He loved his family, and was courting a girl from another clan. However, when they kissed for the first time, he drew back to discover she had been frozen solid. Ice was unheard of on the island, and poor Calros had no idea what was happening. Unfortunately, even though the ice melted, the girl had died, and his fate was sealed. The islanders learned of his crime, and they had no evidence that he hadn’t killed her on purpose. There were no wounds on her body, but the girl’s family would only be satisfied with exile. But before the islanders could put together a boat and food for the boy, he experienced a fit of rage and frustration so powerful that the entire island froze over.

The plant life and people on the island would not survive such a deep freeze, so suddenly and without precedent. Calros, not knowing what to do, tried to flee into the ocean and drown himself, only to find it froze beneath his feet, supporting him. He gathered what food he could and began to wander the ocean, leaving a path of ice in his wake. Not only that, but every island he finds invariably ends up meeting the same fate as his home. He is looking for companionship, for a way to stop his powers, and a way to return his family and friends to life. But for now, he can only cause pain, and rumors of frozen islands are beginning to spread among sailors in the area.

I wish your powers would stop getting in the way of our "us" time
Valza Woe
Spell: Conjure Elemental (PHB pg. 225)
Even for a Tiefling, Valza Woe’s appearance is quite odd. Her eyes, horns, and tail are a swirl of colors, and strange energy pulses around her. People avoid interacting with her, a common situation for tieflings, but when she is angered, she reveals how powerful she really is. Her rage brings forth creatures of pure fire, swirling air, rushing water, and surging earth to fight who- or whatever is the subject of her ire. The angrier she is, the more powerful her servants, though they seem to act in her defense even after she has calmed down. The elementals act like they are guarding her, even against her wishes.

Unfortunately, her short temper brings forth these creatures more often than she would like. And she recently got very angry while in the Royal City of Thanea, causing her summoned servants to rip the very foundations of the city to pieces. Blinded by rage, she spurred them onward, an act that was not unnoticed among the guards who attempted to subdue her. Now, she is on the run, hunted by the allies of Thanea, who fear this walking disaster will arrive on their doorstep.

Rinvis Gavorath
Spell: Conjure Volley (PHB pg. 226)
Rinvis Gavorath is the finest warrior in the undersea Triton kingdom of Nephthas, known to be a master of the trident and chivalrous to a fault. Visitors are treated to stories of him slaying a massive sea monster alone, which are no mere legends. He threw his mighty multiplying trident and destroyed the terrible beast in full view of the entire colony. Those who bore witness claim the beast was torn to shreds under the power of his assault.

But all is not well in the kingdom of Nephthas. A group of kraken-worshipers have begun to appear on the fringes of society, threatening to bring their dark master out of its slumber and destroy the entire kingdom. The people called upon Rinvis to slay the ancient monster, but he has not returned since his departure several weeks prior. Queen Orlyn Vuhrosath is looking for a group of heroes to find out what happened to the bravest warrior of Rinvis, and stop the threat of the Kraken if possible.

Maru Caldeira
Spell: Contact Other Plane (PHB pg. 226)
Since she was a child, Maru Caldeira was an avid listener. She waited patiently while others were talking, absorbing everything she heard. It wasn’t all that surprising, then, that she became somewhat of a database for information about people in the city of Telina. She wandered around, listening to everything she heard, holding it in with her remarkable memory. Her parents were quite pleased to have such an intelligent child, and would often inquire about things she had learned in her wanderings. That is, until she began to tell them things she would have no way of knowing.

She told them about Prince Ygram’s scandalous affair, about the secret murder fetish of Liliane the cobbler, about Mrs. Livett’s cannibalistic urges.  Her parents were shocked, and punished her for slandering upstanding citizens. That was when the first bout of madness began. Maru insisted that she had heard these things, being spoken about in disembodied whispers, and that she knew they were true. Her parents, not knowing what else to do, called a local cleric, but it was too late. Secrets began pouring out of her mouth, revealing the darkest shames of anyone she saw. Nobody could come near her, not without having their darkest secrets revealed. Her family needs help.

Stay back! I know magic!
Wally Honvale
Spell: Contagion (PHB pg. 227)
The country of Churith is situated next to the Churi mountains, and has long suffered attacks from the Broken Skull tribe of barbarians. These brutal warriors showed no mercy to the civilians of Churith, even going so far as to hunt them and take their scalps for sport. The common folk lived in fear of an attack, and each report of their savagery only increased their terror. This is when Wally Honvale decided to step up, putting his strange and dangerous gift to use.

Wally had the ability to spread virulent diseases, and King Rubian of Churith quickly saw the advantage in using such an ally. He ordered Wally to head into the mountains and spread sickness and disease into every member of the Broken Skull tribe. But when Wally ventured into the mountains, he saw the truth behind the attacks from the barbarous tribes: they had been forced from their homes by King Rubian, and were trying to regain lands that they once held dear. Wally disappeared into the mountains, and the attacks did not stop as expected. Nobody knows what happened to the plague-bearer, but now the barbarians have begun spreading a deadly new sickness among the population of Churith. King Rubian is desperate for help, fighting against both the tribes and this new disease that plagues his lands.

Suaki
Spell: Control Winds (XGtE pg. 152)
In the Aarakocra village of Sejo, Suaki is known as the one person in the aerie who never flies. She stays upon the earth, working as a leatherworker and creating armor for her fellow birdfolk, never taking to the skies. Many young chicks ask her about her wings, and if she was injured or afraid to fly, but none of that is true. The real reason is that the last time she tried, she created such terrible gusts from her wings that those aarakocra who were in flight were buffeted into cliffs and badly injured.

However, word has reached the flock that Ophomne, a mighty and ancient Red Dragon, has just been ousted from her lair by the great hero Choi Hyun-gi. Ophomne is heading toward the village, looking to set up a new lair in this mountainous region, and the flock has voted to leave immediately. This puts Suaki in a bind - she can’t fly with the rest of them. The flock is leaving within the day, and Suaki needs help fleeing from this terrible danger approaching.

Zinlamin
Spell: Creation (PHB pg. 229)
Zinlamin is nearly a legend, the wandering elven weapons master who summons armaments of glittering diamond before cutting down any challenger. He spent nearly three centuries simply wandering from town to town, challenging swordmasters to fights and defeating them to further his own reputation. Before long, his name was spoken in all of the arenas and fighter’s guilds in the land of Hasaem. He was said to know every fighting style, fight with weapons that appeared out of nowhere, and have senses bordering on animalistic.

After wandering for so long, Zinlamin began to take sides in local conflicts, siding with those in need or under oppression. This got him involved in several larger conflicts, until finally he was fighting alongside revolutionaries in a war. The war ended, and Zinlamin returned to his wandering. But, as power corrupts, it wasn’t long before he found himself once again fighting against the soldiers under the government’s command. War ensued again, followed by peace, followed by war. Zinlamin is finally becoming too old to get caught up in politics again, but his constant threat to the ruling power has earned him a sizable bounty which prevents him from travelling much. Even his legendary swordsmanship can be overwhelmed by masses of bounty hunters. He is seeking help fleeing the continent.

With great power comes sweet animal companions
Nastassya Novik
Spell: Danse Macabre (XGtE pg. 153)
Another village gone quiet. The scouts of Cirros reported to their queen that undead stalked the husk of the settlement, sticking around only a few days before vanishing. It’s been happening more and more often, these mysterious transformations of common civilians into hungry undead. A darkness has creeped into the land of Cirros, and Queen Kalina is gathering heroes to combat it.

The person behind this matter, revealed at great cost of life, is a young girl known as Nastassya Novik. She arrives in an area with her horde of undead minions, slaughters everyone in her sight, and moves on. Surprisingly, those who returned reported she seemed to have no great power, that the undead seemed to rise without her casting a spell or even paying attention to them. She did not cast any magic, in fact, only relying upon her teeming servants to protect herself. The mystery of her powers has caused some heroes to join up and try to understand such magics, but until this girl is dead the country of Cirros cannot sleep easily.

Bress Lightlock
Spell: Dawn (XGtE pg. 153)
Bress Lightlock was born of the God Usnia, who commands light and hope. They were granted the light of their mother, and are constantly surrounded by a nexus of searing light that destroys those who oppose them. Bress has used this gift to great benefit, wandering the Underdark and guiding surface dwellers, using their burning light to dispose of monsters that might attack them. Because of their efforts alone, the caverns below the country of Cestra Oscium have been made quite safe and passable, and the country has grown wealthy on mineral deposits found deep below.

Recently, a new threat to the Underdark has emerged: a lich, enraged at his lost love, scouring the Underdark to find the soul of his partner. Bress has been called upon to defeat this menace, but such a task might be too much even for their cleansing light. They are looking for heroes to join their righteous quest.

Tymun Bhelrigg
Spell: Destructive Wave (PHB pg. 231)
Born deep in the Ustral mountains, Tymun Bhelrigg had a normal childhood, being raised to love rocks and climbing like many dwarves. It wasn’t until he began to learn the ways of combat that his powers began to manifest. When wielding a hammer, he could strike the earth to cause an eruption of powerful energy all around himself. He was seen as blessed by Zypros, the God of Thunder, and quickly rose up the ranks to be a great warrior.

As his power grew, so too do the impact of his blasts. One fateful day, while fighting a band of orcs attacking the Bhelrigg clan stronghold, he crushed the earth so hard that an avalanche sprung forth from the mountain, burying his family and friends under a mountain of rubble. He was devastated, and swore off fighting, becoming a mountaineer instead. He spend over a century wandering the land, always followed by rumors of the mountains that he crushed in his wake while defending himself. Now, the Bhelrigg clan’s neighboring allies, Udros village, needs to be defended from the Orcish Warlord Solzi the Bone-Breaker. They want to find Tymun and bring him back to fight on their behalf, but he is nowhere to be found. They need help, and quickly.

When your hobby is bringing statues to life, it starts getting expensive to feed them
Aysha of Jowha
Spell: Dominate Person (PHB pg. 235)
Those close to King Rafi say he hasn’t been quite the same since he married Queen Aysha of Jowha. Some of it was in small ways, like picking up her mannerisms and word choice, things you would expect a married couple to do. But his stances on policy changed quite a bit as well. Negotiations with other countries became less hostile, public executions all but stopped, and he began treating his advisers better. People attributed it to the Queen’s soothing influence and practicality, after all, the king had been passing through a small town when she, a commoner, caught his eye and he immediately fell in love. The citizens feel this new change is for the better.

However, Queen Aysha’s stoic demeanor belies the daily struggle she maintains to keep King Rafi under her mental control. His brash and hateful personality is railing at her magic with every fiber of its being, threatening every type of torture when he becomes free. She appears calm and soothing, but behind her facade she is fighting a battle every second for control. Some of the King’s generals are beginning to get suspicious, and she knows she can’t keep this up forever.

Colias Pierce
Spell: Dream (PHB pg. 236)
The entire country of Skourus knows the supposed strength of Colias Pierce, a prophet said to wield magics beyond mortal comprehension and have the blessing of every benevolent God in the skies. His foes have nightmares of his terrible power, and he often forces them to submit to his authority without so much as lifting a finger. Nobody dares to oppose him, but thankfully he uses his powers for the betterment of the common people. Whenever he travels, his arrival is hailed by prophetic dreams, which always appear to those most in need of his services.

Of course, Colias is responsible for the dreams and not much else. Merely an average fighter, he preys on the fear and weakness of those he is sent to kill. He and his employer, an enigmatic organization known as the Obsidian Frost, operate a network of information that locates potential citizens in need and uses them to further his reputation. However, due to a mix-up, he reached out to a warrior being plagued by an unsleeping revenant. Now, Colias must face the powerful undead without the benefit of his prophesied “power” to aid him. He will pay a fine sum to anyone who can help him in a discreet manner.

Zora Nazim
Spell: Enervation (XGtE pg. 155)
Zora Nazim hates the cursed life she was born into. Everything around her withers and dries up, killing humanoids and plants, and even crumbling wooden structures. Her first memory was being alone in the husk of a town, surrounded by dried up corpses. She couldn't even tell who her parents were. All she could do was cry and move on to the next town, hoping someone could help her and leaving a trail of desiccated grass in her wake. Her powers nourished her, and she never realized that she didn't eat or drink like most humans.

She wandered for years, inadvertently destroying town after town. With no survivors, people began to assume a terrible drought or powerful wizard was plaguing the country. They became quite concerned, that is, until the Noble Knight Rolf Whitewood tracked down Zora from her trail of enervation. He kept his distance, but was her first friend, and gave her the name she now calls herself. Together, they began the search for a wizard that could help cure her condition while surviving the curse themselves. An undead or clockwork person would be best.

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Vimal Desai
Spell: Far Step (XGtE pg. 155)
The city where Vimal Desai grew up in, Barox, is now a bit of a tourist attraction. People come to see the insane architecture and meet the people who knew the famous artist in his youth. Vimal got his start with building odd houses by accident, they say. He was working as a normal laborer on a small house, when suddenly a portion of the house shifted five feet off-center. Part of the house collapsed, but what remained had an aesthetic quality to it that greatly pleased the owner. She insisted that the rest of the house be completed with the teleported materials in place.

Word spread, and Vimal was asked to do more work, though now as a designer rather than a laborer. He hired teams of workers to reinforce the buildings so the damage would be minimal when he applied his magic. Soon, the whole city was full of wild shapes and strange angles. Vimal has since gone on to bring his strange style to other kingdoms, but he remains popular in Barox.

Mao Xinyi
Spell: Flame Strike (PHB pg. 242)
Mao Xinyl wants to do good in the world. She has worked on many projects around the city of Usakos, focused on helping the unfortunate and promoting kindness. Her work has been wildly successful, and Usakos is an extremely peaceful city. In normal circumstance, this would make Mao popular and loved, but instead she is feared and avoided. This is due to the strange magic she wields: those who disobey her requests are doused in holy fire, often fatally. Once the city guard determined she wasn’t doing this maliciously, they couldn’t bring charges against her. However, they couldn’t dissuade her from stopping her work without risking their lives.

Mao, despite the terrible power she was born with, has tried to keep her head held high and continue her work. However, a new minister of the city, Throgest Valisson, has come forth in strong opposition to her. He speaks of her violence and brutal slavery of those who she forces to work on her causes. He refuses to meet with her personally, citing the danger to his own life, but nonetheless his words have reached the hearts of the civilians. Mao has been ostracized and pelted with trash wherever she goes. Of course, they always stop when she asks them to, but the next day they are back at it. Nobody seems to appreciate her efforts, and Mao is slowly losing hope in her city.

Next week: more fifth-level spells!

Thanks for reading!