2019. február 9., szombat

[5e] Warlock: The Diamond (D&D meets Steven Universe)

Steven Universe is great, for a multitude of reasons --- and for me it's also a good aid on portraying aloof and whimsical Archfey type creatures. In my current 5e game, the players will soon meet a Lady of the Fey. At first, I planned her to be more standard, but then I got into Steven Universe, and decided to play her as a Diamond. I reskinned her dungeon into a crystal palace and everything. 

So, if you have a Diamond, why not also have a Diamond-Pact Warlock?

Here's a quick write-up. The extended spell list is new - I concentrated on spells that control minds or manipulate inorganic matter. The features are ripped from the Great Old One and Archfey Warlocks, with one original addition.

Warlock: The Diamond

Your patron is a Diamond, one of the four leaders of The Great Diamond Authority, a cosmic entity of vast power. Her behavior is whimsical and unknowable, like that of the fey, but her goals are crystal clear. She grants you dominion over inorganic matter and the feeble minds of mortals. But in exchange, you must prepare your own planet for colonization by the Gems.

Expanded spell list

The Diamond lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Spell level
Chromatic Orb, Command
Calm Emotions, Phantasmal Force
Blink, Meld into Stone
Conjure Minor Elementals, Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere
Antilife Shell, Dominate Person

Awakened Mind

Starting at 1st level, your alien knowledge gives you the ability to touch the minds of other creatures. You can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 feet of you. You don't need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language.

Misty Escape

Starting at 6th level, you can vanish in a puff of mist in response to harm. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to turn invisible and teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. You remain invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack or cast a spell.
Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Lustrous Retinue

Starting at 10th level, your Diamond delegates one of her servants to aid you. You can summon an Amethyst (as Earth Elemental, MM p. 124) or a Pearl (as Air Elemental, MM p. 124). The conjured creature serves you unquestionably.
Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Create Thrall

At 14th level, you gain the ability to infect a humanoid's mind with the alien magic of your patron. You can use your action to touch an incapacitated humanoid. That creature is then charmed by you until a Remove Curse spell is cast on it, the charmed condition is removed from it, or you use this feature again.
You can communicate telepathically with the charmed creature as long as the two of you are on the same plane of existence.

2019. február 8., péntek

[Monster] The Kelipot Sovereignty, using the Elegant Fantasy Creature Generator

Another random monster post, this time using Elegant Fantasy Creature Generator by Raphael Sadowski / Nine Tongues Tales. It promises interesting, inspiring combinations (instead of silly results or randomized messy stats), so let's dive in!

Type: Swarm
A group of small creatures that live and work together. Smaller than human.

Theme: Mollusk/Squid
Soft bodies, sometimes a shell. Tentacles or primitive slug-like “foot”.

Mental Faculty: Primitive
Just above the “Smart Animal” – is able to create art, worship gods and probably wonders about the meaning of life.

Pigmentation: Translucent / White

Random Features:
Single Horn: Sports a single horn somewhere on its body. Ornamental or disfiguring, this horn may have function other than just a crude mean of defense.
Smoke: It’s always surrounded by smoke. Is it a humanoid smoking a hookah? A living censer? Or a salamander breathing out billowing smoke every time it opens its mouth?
Egg Laying: Kill it! Quickly, before it lays eggs! Or is it too late…?

Peculiar Circumstances: Worshiped
There are humanoids who treat this creature as their god.

Horrifier: Destiny
It will chase you and haunt you forever. It will crawl from under your bed to watch you sleep at night. It will be observing you from afar. You’ll never be alone for as long as it lives.

Weirdifier: Strange Diet
It eats something absolutely bizarre. Sand, glass, sea water, books, bones, excrements. This is the only way it can sustain itself.

Attitude: Oblivious
It will act as if you do not exist at all, even if you attack it.

Which all combines into...

The Kelipot Sovereignty
Sea mollusks. Live and prosper in the shallows. They feed on kinetic energy of underwater currents - starve in still water. For protection, they build exquisite shells around their soft bodies: there are no two identical shells and they are prized artifacts for collectors. When in danger, the creatures hide behind an ink-cloud.
Pearl divers worship these creatures. They know that each single mollusk is just an extension of the Kelipot Sovereignty, a terrible cosmic entity. Some people who come into contact with a shell become marked by the Sovereignty. One day, the Kelipot will arrive to Earth, and the Marked will prostrate themselves before it. The rest will be consumed by the Ever-Shell. 

2019. január 31., csütörtök

Miraculous relics for pseudo-historical settings [LotFP]

I'm putting together a short adventure, the working title is "The Mysterious Chapel of the Knights Templar". It includes a table for generating random relics. Could be useful for any pseudo-historical / medieval setting!

The reliquaries of the Chapel house a wide assortment of holy items. Some of them are significant and miraculous relics. Each character has a chance to recognize one such item.

Base chance
Clerics’ base chance
Devout Christian characters
For every hour spent studying the inventories of the Chapel

All Relics count as Holy Symbols and detect as magic. For game purposes, as a rule of thumb, the “wielder of the relic” is a single person who possesses the object (e.g. it’s not being torn out of their hands), and is in skin contact with it (so holding it works, but so does wearing it as pendant against bare skin). Some miraculous effects require the relic to be visible to others or be touched by others.

Roll 1d10 three times to get the Relic, the Saint, and the Miraculous effect!

Miraculous effect
Skull, with red silk thread connecting the eye and nose cavities. Belonged to…
St. Bartho. A Crusader who was quartered by the infidels. Didn’t give up his Faith.
Our Savior’s Heavy Cross. Counts as 2 points of Encumbrance (regardless of size or actual weight), but gives +1 to all Saves.
Molar tooth with silver fillings. From the mouth of…
St. Penther. A simple artisan, who did nothing special, but one day ascended into Heaven in a pillar of light.
Speaking in Tongues. Once per day, the wielder of the relic can fall into a trance and speak in tongues. Everybody in hearing distance can roll their Language skill (the check must be made again every time the Tongues are heard). If successful, they can piece together some random but useful information regarding their current situation. The trance lasts for 1d12 minutes and cannot be ended before this duration. Afterwards, the wielder must Save against Paralyze, or remain in the trance for 1d6 days.
Piece of bloody cloth, pressed under glass. From the garments of…
St. Ambo & St. Ivor. Conjoined twin brothers: one of them was pious, one was a non-believer. Nobody remembers exactly which one was which, so both got canonized by the Church.
Miraculous Conversion. Anybody seeing the relic must Save against Magic or wholeheartedly accept a tenet of faith uttered by the wielder. It must be phrased as a generic “commandment”, not an exact “command”. After 1d10 minutes, the tenet is completely rejected. Works only once on one person.
Small crystal vial, containing the blood of…
St. Gomberth. A hermit who lived 133 years and could talk to animals.
Pains of Salvation. If any damage roll affecting the wielder comes up as the minimum or the maximum possible value, it must be re-rolled. The second roll must be taken.
The heavy chains that were used to imprison…
St. Kirlian. 8-year old boy, participant of the Children’s Crusade.
Suffer no Witch. The wielder of the relic senses the presence of Magic-Users and Elves. The range of this ability is defined by the approaching witch’s level (30’/level). The wielder doesn’t know the identity or location of the Chaos-tainted abomination, but can taste their approximate power. The wielder must also make a Save against Poison, or vomit for 1d3 rounds (1 damage/round).
Small portable icon, size of a palm. It depicts…
St. Ar’qhual’aaaa. Blessed with miraculous healing powers. Came out of the blue, spoke an unknown language, had a second mouth on his forehead. Disappeared without a trace after saving a whole town from the Black Plague.
Seal of Purity. The wielder of the relic is considered a pure, innocent virgin* who can do no harm by everybody. If the wielder does something impure, harmful, or “un-virginlike”, everybody must Save against Paralyze. On success, they realize the relic-wielder for what they are. On a failure, they try to rationalize the act as a demonstration of purity.
* Unicorns detect the wielder as a virgin too.
Gilded knucklebone belonging to…
St. Luxielle. Wife of a pagan chieftain, who became Christian, and proceeded to convert her husband and her husband’s other wives.
Bringer of Prophecies. If pulverized and consumed before sleep, the relic brings a dream about angels, bright lights, flight and other such imagery. The interpretation of the vision is up to the character. While resting under the influence of the powder, natural healing is quadrupled. Enough for 1d8 uses.
A cold iron dagger lying on a velvet cushion*. The weapon was the implement of the torture of…
* The miraculous power actually comes from the cushion.
St. Morsus. A blind man, who could talk to angels.
Receptacle of Sacrifices. Anybody who touches the relic can voluntarily sacrifice 1d6 maximum Hit points. This amount is stored in the relic. The process can be repeated any number of times, by any number of individuals. The relic’s maximum capacity is 77 hit points. If a person who has already sacrificed maximum hit points takes the relic and touches any other person or creature with it, the target heals 1d6 hit points (up to the amount that’s currently stored). The number rolled is then subtracted from what’s stored in the relic.
Left index finger, conserved in honey. Severed from the holy body of…
St. Veroni. Disguised herself as a man to join the Crusades. Killed 665 infidels, then collapsed dead at the sight of Golgotha.
Scourge of the Unclean. A Cleric holding the relic turns undead as if 1 level higher. A non-Cleric turns undead as Cleric 1.
Mummified right hand of…
St. Migareth. A noblewoman who gave all her riches to the lepers.
Paradise Regained. Wherever the relic is placed, common plants grow around it overnight in a 5’ radius. The plants are edible and nourishing, feed up to three people or mounts, but a Save against Poison must be each time made to avoid addiction.

2019. január 19., szombat

[Monster] Beings from the "Level 1 Creature Generator"

Some monsters from The Level 1 Creature Generator by Michael Raston!

Level 1 Creature #1: Mushroomman Scholar

Basic Shape: 3x8
Mushroomman, AC11, 2HD, punch: d6, when attacked releases sleep-spores, all Nearby must test CON or fall asleep for d4 rounds.

Form: 4x9
Has evolved to become more manlike, more beastly shapes become humanoid and gain the ability of verbal communication. Pre-humanoid shapes become super intelligent or technologically.

Ability: 1x6
Can choose to divide self in half once per lifetime, each half has half original total HP but current HP is restored fully to each half.
The Mushroomman Scholar is a highly intelligent strain of the general mushroom-people. It can converse about a wide range of subjects, and is ashamed of releasing its spores in public. 
For higher levels: It can either be an accomplished occultist (spellcasting a Magic-User 2), or a researcher into weird new technologies (wields a Space Alien weapon, generated via Carcosa's random tables: Rifle, range 1000', damage 4d6, 50 charges; projects a beam of cosmic radiation). 

Level 1 Creature #2: The Charmer Snake

Basic Shape: 1x2
Snake, AC11, 1HD, poison bite: d6, test CON or d4 damage for d6 rounds.

Form: 4x4
Form morphs into that of its target, becoming a mirror image. Is globular and amorphous otherwise. (Getting rid of this clause)

Ability: 4x4
A being born of chaos, roll on this table twice and combine results:
4x1: Magically sings d4 x HD beings to sleep once day.
1x1: Can charm a target once per day for d6 hours.
Used to be a snake charmer's pet, but learned a couple of tricks, broke free, and now it is the Charmer Snake!!!!!! 

Level 1 Creature #3: Dodo Avenger

Basic Shape: 2x5
Flightless bird, AC11, 1HD, claw/beak: d8.

Form: 2x5
Is regular size for shape until the point is attacked or attacks. At that point form grows/shrinks to be the same size as target. Modify HD and attack damage as appropriate.

Ability: 4x5
HD times a day can summon a biologically or magically appropriate trap mechanism that holds target completely in place for d10 rounds.
The Dodo Avenger will fight to death to avenge the death of its species.

Overall, this is a really nice generator. Instead of spurting out mad cosmic abominations, tt gives a solid baseline (table #1 by itself generates a simple, but complete creature, to which more variations and abilities are added). Great for weird/whimsical settings!

[Monster] Summoning the Spawns of the Nether-Realms with the LotFP Summon Spell

More random creatures! This time with Lamentations' notorious Summon spell. Of course, the easiest way is firing up Ramanan's automatic Summon script, but rolling dice on a weekend is a nice thing, so let's roll some dice!

Summoned Entity #1, casting save made
HD: 6
Basic form: Organic Rot (causes disease on a hit)
Appendages, base number (1d8): 1
Appendages: no appendages :(
Special powers, base number (1d8): 4
Special powers: none :(
The Perspiring Mound of Pandemonium is a crawling, oozing abomination, spreading the Ochre Plague.

Summoned Entity #2, casting save failed
HD: 6
Basic form: Insectiod (+2 AC) = 14 AC
Appendages, base number (1d8): 6
5 - Skeletal Stinger; 1 - Adhesive Eggs/Seeds 
Special powers, base number (1d8): 6
Special powers:
2 (41) - Immune to Physical Attacks; 1 (99) - Wall of Fire (at will, one at a time)
The Abyssal Dragonfly-Dragon, straight from the 6th Circle of hell. Translucent wings shimmer like cosmic fire.

Summoned Entity #3, casting save failed
HD: 4
Basic form: Polyhedral
Appendages, base number (1d6): 3
Appendages: none :(
Special powers, base number (1d6): 3
Special powers:
2 (100) - Web (at will, one at a time)
Fragment of a Shattered Fractal Dimension, mad and uncontrollable, paralyzing people with Tron-style meshes.

2019. január 17., csütörtök

[Monster] Spawning Spawns with Carcosa's Spawn of Shub-Niggurath generator

I like random creature generators! I was reading through Carcosa, and there is a short section with tables for generating random Spawns of Shub-Niggurath. Two examples follow:

Spawn #1: G'hal, The Niggurathean Spore-Sack Bastard

AC: 13
Movement: Land only, 30'
HD: 6
Alignment: Chaotic (duhh...)
Body type: Fungoid
Color: Gray
Hide: Scaled
Eyes: One
Mouth: Circular gaping maw
Special Attacks: None
Special Defenses: Regenerate 1HD every 1-3 rounds
Crawling and ever-growing fungal fruiting body. Its slow movement is not "movement" per se, but actually rapid directional growth. Which explains the regenerative powers as well. The single eye makes it quite phallic too. Creepy. 

Spawn #2: Tsath-Shub Hybrid

AC: 12
Movement: Land 60', Flying 120'
HD: 3
Alignment: Chaotic (duhh...)
Body type: Batrachian
Color: Green
Hide: Smooth
Eyes: Three
Mouth: Circular gaping maw
Special Attacks: None
Special Defenses: None
A three-eyed flying frog, nothing less, nothing more!

Overall, the generator serves the purpose well - it can quickly spurt out a couple of spawns. 3 minutes for a creature, tops.  Its utility outside of Carcosa seems more limited.

One of the main problems with this generator is the low number of special attacks. There is a 84% chance of "none", and then 16 powers. Admittedly, in the context of Carcosa, this is alright, as Spawns are encountered ALL THE TIME, and having each and every one of them with a special attack would be too much even for the Carcossan gonzo.

Another thing I find underwhelming is the Eyes table. The results are just quantitative (zero to six eyes), with just one result being a qualitative descriptor ("multiple/insectile"). Not very inspiring. The Mouth table is short (1d6), but with four good qualitative results in there.

It can yield interesting combinations, but it lacks that emergent inspiration that you can find in RECG, for example. But, again, this was not created as a general monster randomizer, so it's unfair to criticize it as such. Go Spawns!

2019. január 9., szerda

Machen's "The White People" and The Gardens of Ynn

Just a quick follow-up: another quote from "The White People". This time a good fit for the Rose Maidens in The Gardens of Ynn...
"What would your feelings be, seriously, if your cat or your dog began to talk to you, and to dispute with you in human accents? You would be overwhelmed with horror. I am sure of it. And if the roses in your garden sang a weird song, you would go mad. And suppose the stones in the road began to swell and grow before your eyes, and if the pebble that you noticed at night had shot out stony blossoms in the morning? "Well, these examples may give you some notion of what sin really is."