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The Calefactive Cavern of Colossal Crystals

Accessible perhaps only through a high-altitude cavern in a region of feared geological instability, the Calefactive Cavern of Colossal Crystals provides shelter to no living creature for long. Not only is the cavern dangerously hot, not only is its atmosphere tainted with unwholesome fumes, but also the enormous, fast-growing crystalline structures in the cave emanate psychoactive radiation that may cause bizarre changes in living creatures too long exposed to these ineffable energies.

Mutant Future Version:

The atmosphere in the cavern is toxic. Anyone who breathes it for too long may be suffer. For every hour exposed to the toxins, there is a 25% cumulative chance of harm that requires a saving throw against Class 6 Poison (6d6 points of damage, or half that with a successful saving throw). Every hour spent away from the cave and/or spent breathing healthy air reduces the chance of suffering harm for that creature by 25%. The heat in the cave is also problematic. Temperatures in the cave reach 58 °C (136 °F) with very high humidity. A creature must succeed at a saving throw versus Energy Attacks once every 10 minutes or take 1d4 points of damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor take a –4 penalty on their saves.

A living creature that survives in the cave for 24 hours must make a saving throw versus Radiation. If the creature fails, it develops a random mental mutation, and the creature also loses 1d4 points from Dexterity and Charisma. Additional saving throws against Radiation occur at an accelerated pace for time spent in the cavern past 24 hours, specifically at 36 hours, 42 hours, and 45 hours. After this time, new saving throws are required hourly. If a creature’s Dexterity drops to less than 3, the creature becomes paralyzed. If its Charisma drops to less than 3, the creature becomes dangerously insane.

Time spent away from the cavern gradually reverses mutagenic effects. Acquired mental mutations vanish at a rate of 0-3 (d4-1) mutations per 24 hours spent away from the cave. Lost points of Dexterity and Charisma return slowly, at a rate of 0-2 (d3-1) points per 24 hours spent away from the cavern.

D&D Version:

Movement in the cavern, to include climbing and flying, encounters difficult terrain. In the case of climbing, the giant crystals offer few handholds and are quite hot to the touch. For flying, the interlocked giant crystals present few straight paths even for flying creatures size Small or larger. The hostile environment of the cave poses several dangers:

* The severe heat forces a Constitution save once every 10 minutes versus DC 10, increased by +1 for each additional 10 minutes spent in the cave. Failure causes 3 (1d6) points of fire damage and increases exhaustion by one level. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor have disadvantage on these saving throws.

* The bad air forces a Constitution save once every hour versus DC 10, increased by +1 for each additional hour spent in the cave. Failure causes 7 (2d6) points of poison damage and imposes the poisoned condition.

* Every so often, major eruptions of steam occur in the cavern. These eruptions cause between 14 (4d6) and 52 (15d6) fire damage. A Dexterity save (DC 8 + one-half the number of damage dice) reduces this damage by half. The radius of the steam eruption is 5 feet per damage die.

* Pockets of flammable gas also accumulate in the cavern. If exposes to open flame, these pockets explode in a 20-foot radius, causing 14 (4d6) fire damage. With a Wisdom (Perception) check made against DC 15, a creature may notice the tell-tale odor of a gas pocket in time to prevent an accidental explosion.

Any living creature that survives in the cavern for 24 hours must make a Wisdom save against DC 15. Failure means the creature develops an innate psionic power that can be used at will. The creature uses its Intelligence as its spellcasting ability. The creature also loses 1d6 points from both Dexterity and Charisma. If Dexterity drops to 0, the creature dies. If Wisdom drops to 0, the creature becomes afflicted with indefinite madness. The saving throw must be repeated every 1d6 hours after the first 24 hours.

Psionic powers are gained in the following order: detect magic, detect thoughts, clairvoyance, and arcane eye.

Psionic powers fade after 24 hours spent outside the cavern. Lost points of Dexterity and Charisma return at a rate of 1d4 points each per long rest. A creature suffering paralysis due to lost Dexterity loses the paralyzed condition when Dexterity recovers 1 point, but indefinite madness does not go away on its own.

Over at the DMs Guild site, sales/downloads of The Dwarf are going fairly well. I’ve not received any feedback yet, but I’m still pleased with the initial response. For those who’ve not heard, The Dwarf brings you an old class made new. Back in the Golden Age of the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game, dwarf was not just a race, but it was also a character class. Now you can relive the days of race-as-class. The Dwarf includes the complete dwarf character class, new dwarf subraces, new dwarf subclasses, and new dwarf backgrounds.

I’ve also made grand progress on Chance Encounters I. This supplement presents new options for characters, including a new bard college, a couple of new spells, a half dozen new monsters, and a few other goodies for use in 5E D&D games. I’m thinking the supplement will be completed, edited, et cetera, and available for purchase before the end of January. At the moment, I am uncertain whether Chance Encounters I will be available through the DMs Guild. I’m leaning toward releasing it through DriveThruRPG.

The Guardian Angel

See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (The Gospel According to St. Matthew 18:10)

Not all angels are celestial agents “sent forth into the planes to further” some god’s agenda for weal or woe. Not all angels “are destroyers”. The guardian angel’s task is simple: to protect some mortal from harm. Most often, the guardian angel watches over a child. The guardian angel spends much of its time observing both unseen and unheard its charge. When it needs to intervene, it does so carefully so as to have the least direct influence on events. This does not mean the guardian angel cannot take direct action when necessary. While it lacks the power of, say, the deva, the guardian angel is not a foe to be trifled with lightly.

Guardian Angel
Medium celestial, lawful good

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 105 (14d8+42)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.
Ability Scores STR 16 (+3), DEX 16 (+3), CON 16 (+3), INT 15 (+2), WIS 18 (+4), CHA 18 (+4)

Saving Throws Wis +7, Cha +7
Skills Insight +7, Perception +7, Persuasion +7, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances poison, radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned
Senses truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages all, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Angelic Weapons. The guardian angel’s weapon attacks are magical. When the guardian angel hits with any weapon, the weapon deals an extra 3d8 radiant damage (included in the attack).

Innate Spellcasting. The guardian angel’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 15). The guardian angel can innately cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:

* At will: detect evil and good, detect poison and disease, sanctuary
* 1/day: dispel evil and good

Magic Resistance. The guardian angel has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Multiattack. The guardian angel makes two attacks using its spear, or one attack with its fire bolt.

Holy Fire. Ranged Spell Attack: +7 to hit, range 120 ft. Hit: 27 (6d8) fire damage plus 13 (3d8) radiant damage.

Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage plus 13 (3d8) radiant damage, or 7 (1d8+3) plus 13 (3d8) radiant damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack. As a bonus action, the guardian angel can teleport the spear back to its hand. It can do this in between attacks with the spear.

Superior Invisibility. The guardian angel magically turns invisible (as invisibility but requiring no concentration). Any equipment the guardian angel wears or carries is invisible with it. While invisible, the guardian angel has advantage with Stealth checks.

January 10th, 2018  in RPG 1 Comment »

The Githyanki Doorkeeper

The warlike servants of Vlaakith, the lich-queen, strike fear into the hearts of most creatures. Githyanki knights who distinguish themselves in Vlaakith’s service may be chosen for a horrifying honor. Through a sinister ritual that reportedly no mortal creature can witness and remain sane, the lich-queen transforms the knight into a githyanki doorkeeper, a twisted undead monster that towers above the tallest human. Gaunt, even withered, its flesh hardened and torn, the githyanki doorkeeper’s fingers end in keys that serve to focus its psionic abilities.

Githyanki Doorkeeper
Large undead, lawful evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 97 (13d10+26)
Speed 30 ft.
Ability Scores STR 21 (+5), DEX 14 (+2), CON 15 (+2), INT 18 (+4), WIS 19 (+4), CHA 17 (+3)

Saving Throws Con +6, Int +8, Wis +8
Skills Arcana +8, Intimidation +7, Investigation +8, Perception +8
Damage Resistances cold; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses darkvision 90 ft., passive Perception 18
Languages Gith
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Incorporeal Form. At the beginning of its turn as a bonus action, the githyanki doorkeeper and its necrotic greatsword can become incorporeal. It remains incorporeal until the beginning of its next turn. While incorporeal, the githyanki doorkeeper can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object. While incorporeal, some of its characteristics change, as shown below:

* Armor Class 12
* Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)
* Ability Scores STR 1 (-5), DEX 14 (+2), CON 15 (+2), INT 18 (+4), WIS 19 (+4), CHA 17 (+3)
* Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder
* Damage Immunities necrotic, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
* Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained

Innate Spellcasting (Psionics). The githyanki doorkeeper’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells requiring no components:

* At will: mage hand (the hand is invisible)
* 5/day: knock (touch range only), plane shift (self only)
* 3/day each: invisibility (self only), jump, misty step, nondetection (self only), tongues
* 1/day each: plane shift, telekinesis

Actions

Multiattack. The githyanki doorkeeper makes two attacks, using its necrotic greatsword and/or its withering blast if corporeal, or its withering touch and/or its withering blast if incorporeal.

Necrotic Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d6+5) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage.

Withering Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (4d6+2) necrotic damage plus 7 (2d6) cold damage.

Withering Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +8 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d6+4) necrotic damage plus 7 (2d6) cold damage.

January 7th, 2018  in RPG No Comments »

More Four-Footed Beasts

I had fun with the Scythian wolf last post, so why not take 1658’s The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents out for another spin? Is there any such thing as too many woodcuts by Edward Topsell?

The bear-ape lives in forested mountain regions. Omnivorous and shy, the bear-ape seldom poses a threat to travelers unless provoked. Bear-apes live in close-knit family groups. While the bear-ape is a beast, its intelligence ought not be underestimated. It is a clever beast, able to learn from experience and make use of very simple tools.

Bear-Ape
Medium beast, unaligned

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33 (6d8+4)
Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft.
Ability Scores STR 16 (+3), DEX 14 (+2), CON 14 (+1), INT 6 (-2), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 7 (-2)

Skills Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Keen Smell. The bear-ape has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Actions

Multiattack. The bear-ape makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d4+3) slashing damage.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 25/50 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage.

The galeopithicus appears to be a combination of cat and monkey with a long, spiky tail. It is aboreal and nocturnal, and most are quite playful, although what a galeopithicus finds amusing probably irritates or even endangers others. The galeopithicus poses a special danger to creatures relying on metal armor and metal weapons.

Galeopithicus
Small fey, any chaotic

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 18 (4d6+4)
Speed 25 ft., climb 25 ft.
Ability Scores STR 12 (+1), DEX 17 (+3), CON 12 (+1), INT 9 (-1), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 10 (+0)

Skills Acrobatics +5, Perception +3
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non-wooden attacks
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Sylvan
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Magic Resistance. The galeopithicus has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

There, Not Here. When the galeopithicus takes the Disengage action or succeeds in a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to escape a grapple, it may magically teleport, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 25 feet to an unoccupied space it can see, doing so as a bonus action.

Actions

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) slashing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage.

Reactions

Heat Metal (Recharge 6). If the galeopithicus hits a creature wearing metal armor with its tail, the creature must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or the creature’s metal armor is affected by heat metal. The heat metal effect lasts for 1 minute without need for concentration.

Ichneumon is a fierce predator with a burning hatred for reptilian creatures of all sorts, especially dragons. Fast, cunning, and stealthy despite its size, the ichneumon hunts out reptilian lairs. Its hatred does not blind it to dangers nor lead it to suicidal action. The ichneumon prefers to prey on eggs or wyrmlings whenever possible. Against more formidable creatures, ichneumons hunt in packs. While it might seem that the ichneumon would make a useful ally for adventurers seeking to defeat a dragon, this is not necessarily so. Ichneumon are greedy for treasure, and this in part explains their preference for hunting dragons.

Ichneumon
Large monstrosity, neutral

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 93 (11d10+33)
Speed 50 ft., climb 30 ft.
Ability Scores STR 17 (+3), DEX 21 (+5), CON 16 (+3), INT 10 (+0), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 11 (+0)

Saving Throws Dex +8, Con +6
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +8
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison
Condition Immunities frightened, poisoned
Languages Draconic
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Evasion. If the ichneumon is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

Reptile Slayer. When the ichneumon hits a reptilian creature with a melee weapon attack, that attack deals an additional 10 (1d10+5) damage if the reptilian creature is below its hit point maximum.

Actions

Multiattack. The ichneumon makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d12+5) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) slashing damage.

January 2nd, 2018  in RPG No Comments »

Animal Races, Et Cetera

Things I’ve done recently:

1. Eulalia! Have you ever wanted to play your own version of a Redwall story? Of course you have, and now you can using 5E D&D. This PDF not only presents several different animal player character races, it also retools the collaborative character creation and campaign major location system found in the excellent Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures and Further Afield.

2. The Valley of Rooz. Over a Facebook 5E D&D group, a fellow named Benjamin Ruse posted a picture his 4-year-old son drew. Mr. Ruse reports that his son told him, “Daddy, I drew this map for you so I can play with you and the guys. See? It has a castle and a crazy river and the X is where the treasure is! It’ll be a great adventure!” I used the map as the basis for a very short 5E D&D adventure suitable for 1st-level characters.

Lastly, here’s the Scythian wolf, the picture of which comes from The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents, published in 1658. Check out the book on the delightful Public Domain Review.

Medium monstrosity, any chaotic

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 22 (4d8+4)
Speed 40 ft.
Ability Scores STR 13 (+1), DEX 16 (+3), CON 13 (+1), INT 4 (-3), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 7 (-2)

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +5
Damage Resistances cold, slashing from nonmagical attacks
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages understands one or two languages but cannot speak, read, or write
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Keen Hearing and Smell. The Scythian wolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Pack Tactics. The Scythian wolf has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the wolf’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Pounce. If the Scythian wolf moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits with a claw attack on the same turn, the target must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the wolf can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.

December 31st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »