Posts Tagged ‘ places of power ’

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.

Days 17 & 18: Dance & Mistletoe

Come now, a roundel and a fairy song. / Then for the third part of a minute, hence— / Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, / Some war with reremice for their leathern wings / To make my small elves coats, and some keep back / The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders / At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep. / Then to your offices and let me rest. — Act II, Scene 2, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

You find yourself in the land of faerie attending a dance in the court of the Faerie Queen. What happened during the dance, and how long were you there?

Of course, take some time to roleplay the dance, the specific event that happens during the dance, and the effects of the difference in time between the land of faerie and the mortal world, especially if time passes differently for each character that attends the party.

The mistletoe, however, is but rarely found upon the robur; and when found, is gathered with rites replete with religious awe. This is done more particularly on the fifth day of the moon, the day which is the beginning of their months and years, as also of their ages, which, with them, are but thirty years. This day they select because the moon, though not yet in the middle of her course, has already considerable power and influence; and they call her by a name which signifies, in their language, the all-healing. Having made all due preparation for the sacrifice and a banquet beneath the trees, they bring thither two white bulls, the horns of which are bound then for the first time. Clad in a white robe the priest ascends the tree, and cuts the mistletoe with a golden sickle, which is received by others in a white cloak. They then immolate the victims, offering up their prayers that God will render this gift of his propitious to those to whom he has so granted it. It is the belief with them that the mistletoe, taken in drink, will impart fecundity to all animals that are barren, and that it is an antidote for all poisons. Such are the religious feelings which we find entertained towards trifling objects among nearly all nations. — Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book XVI, Chapter 95

1E Info

Once a year, a druid of at least 9th level can ritually harvest 2-8 uses of consecrated mistletoe. When used as a material component for a druid spell, the druid gains the full and best effects from the spell. For example, a cure wounds spell heals the maximum number of hit points, spell effects are of the broadest area possible, saving throws against the spell are made with a -1 penalty, et cetera.

5E Info

Once a year, the druids of the Circle of the Moon harvest mistletoe in a special ritual that starts at sundown and culminates in the sacrifice of two white bulls. This consecrated mistletoe has powerful effects when used as a material component for a druid spell.At the end of the ritual, make an Intelligence (Religion) check. For every 4 points in your total, you harvest one point of Metamagic, with each point representing a certain amount of consecrated mistletoe. You can use the consecrated mistletoe to cast spells, expending points of Metamagic to affect a spell in a manner similar to the way a sorcerer can twist his or her spells (see pages 101-102, PH).

December 20th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Day 5: Snow

In the distant south, steaming jungles vanish as rocky highlands become dominant and the climate grows cooler until the world turns in little more than sparse evergreen forests, rocks, ice, and snow. Those few clans that scratch out a life from this inhospitable land call it Arktinis, a word that translates into Common meaning something like “home” or “suffering”.

Legends say that once upon a time Arktinis was a warm land full of wild game, sweet water, and abundant berries and nuts. Whether it was a frost giant shaman’s curse or an ice-devil-haunted portal to some frigid hell, winter came to the land, and it hasn’t left since. Arktinis is truly cursed, and few travel far into its interior and return again to tell the tale. Those rare survivors bring back stories of fearsome monsters, such as trolls that breathe fire and giant furred serpents with venom that turns blood to ice. The interior is difficult to navigate, and sources of food and potable water are scarce.

Foraging & Not Getting Lost: In the interior of Arktinis, Wisdom (Survival) checks to forage and to not get lost are made with disadvantage. Should a party become lost due to a failed Wisdom (Survival) check, it takes 1d12 hours before the party’s navigator can repeat the Wilderness (Survival) check in order to get back on course.

Freezing Cold: The temperatures in Arktinis seldom rise above 0 degrees Fahrenheit for long. Whenever the temperature is at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, a creature exposed to the cursed cold of Arktinis must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, made with disadvantage, at the end of each hour to avoid gaining one level of exhaustion. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, but creatures wearing cold weather gear (thick coats, gloves, and the like) do not. Creatures wearing cold weather gear must still succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw to avoid gaining one level of exhaustion, but they do not suffer disadvantage when doing so.

A creature can be immersed in frigid water for a number of minutes equal to its Constitution score before suffering any ill effects. Each additional minute spent in frigid water requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, made with disadvantage, or gain one level of exhaustion. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw.

Treacherous Footing: Slippery ice is difficult terrain. When a creature moves onto slippery ice for the first time on a turn, it must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, made with disadvantage, or fall prone. Thin ice has a weight tolerance of 3d10 x 10 pounds per 20-foot-square area. Whenever the total weight on an area of thin ice exceeds its tolerance, the ice in that area breaks. All creatures on broken ice fall through.

Of course, the monsters native to Arktinis never suffer the negative effects of the region’s curse. Speaking of those monsters, those who die of starvation or exposure in Arktinis may rise again as Evils-That-Devour.

1E Stats
Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 1-12
Armor Class: 8
Move: 12″ (see below)
Hit Dice: 1+1
% in Lair: 25%
Treasure Type: B (x1/2), T
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-3/1-3/1-6
Special Attacks: Rake for 1-3/1-3, surprise 1-4
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Size: S (3′ tall)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defens Modes: Nil
Level/XP Value: III/52 XP + 2 XP/hp

The horrid evil-that-devours appears as an emaciated, dessicated humanoid creature the size of a young child or halfling. It moves quickly and silently, surprising targets 4 times in 6. It attacks with its claws and fangs. If both claws hit, it rakes with its back claws for two more attacks for 1-3/1-3 points of damage. The evil-that-devours moves across snow and ice at normal speed. It is immune to cold, poison, charm, and sleep.

5E Stats
Small undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 22 (5d6+5)
Speed 30 ft.
Ability Scores STR 10 (+0), DEX 15 (+2), CON 13 (+1), INT 6 (-2), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 7 (-2)
Skills Stealth +4
Damage Resistances necrotic
Damage Immunities cold, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Iceborn: The evil-that-devours treats ice and snow as normal terrain.


* Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage.

* Fangs: Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d8) piercing damage.

* Voracious: The evil-that devours is always starving. If it hits with its bite, it grapples (escape DC 12) its target. Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the evil-that-devours cannot use its fangs on another target. The evil-that-devours can use its claws, but it makes melee attacks with disadvantage against a target other than the one it is feeding on.

While attached, at the end of each of its turn as a bonus action, the evil-that-devours cause its target to lose 4 (1d8) hit points due to blood and tissue loss (no attack roll necessary). The evil-that-devours can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement.

December 5th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Day 3: Bells

Far to the east in the rugged mountains of an uncivilized land, jungle tribes of humans live in simple villages, growing rice, peas, sugarcane, and spices, some of which find their way into civilized markets, brought by ships or caravans. Centuries ago, this land of rice and spices was ruled by belligerent princes, the sons of a great king who in his twilight years divided his land and turned his mind toward heavenly things. This king reckoned that he could secure a place in the Upper Planes by honoring the gods of those planes, something he had failed to do throughout his life.

And so the king commissioned foreign bell founders to cast an enormous bell that would sound on the anniversary of his death. He sent out soldiers to his provinces and rounded up hundreds of able-bodied men who, under threat of torture and mutilation, set to the task of building a great mausoleum and temple. In its former capacity, it would hold the king’s body, his most valued possessions, and two score specially chosen servants and wives who would be interred alive with their monarch. In its latter capacity as temple, it would honor the deeds of the gods of the Upper Planes, serving as a place of pilgrimage for the faithful. Thus, the gods would be pleased with the king and grant him a place among their ranks.

The bell was completed first and installed some three hundred yards to the east of the mausoleum-temple. By this time, slaves had labored for a nearly a decade on the first floor and crypts of the king’s grand folly. The suffering of the slaves was a blight upon the land, and the costs of the bell and the construction threatened to bankrupt the kingdom. The people murmured against the king, and the king’s sons met to discuss what to do.

First, the princes’ spies confirmed the rumors of the king’s madness. The gods, far from pleased with the king’s arrogance, touched his mind, stirring up obsessive thoughts about ever more elaborate ways to please the heavens. Dozens of bizarre rituals consumed the king’s waking hours. He had to eat three eggs every morning as the sun rose, eating each one facing a different direction, but never facing the west. He wore mismatched boots. Every other door in his palace had to be bolted, and every other window was left unshuttered.

When an earthquake struck the region of the mausoleum-temple, a falling tree hit the bell, causing it to sound. The facade of the mausoleum-temple cracked. The princes seized upon this event, convincing their deranged father that the gods were displeased with his wasteful ways. Construction was halted, and those men who survived the years of hard labor returned to their homes.

A few days after construction was halted, guards burst into the king’s bedchambers and murdered him. The princes interred his body according to the king’s instructions, selecting several of their enemies to serve their father in the next life. In short order, the princes took to squabbling and then warring among themselves. Civil war destroyed the kingdom. The jungle reclaimed much of the land. The king’s bell and unfinished mausoleum-temple remain. The jungle tribes know the place is cursed, and they avoid it entirely. Their elders believe that the king’s bell will sound again, heralding the dead king’s return.

Whatever sleeps in the mausoleum-temple possesses great power and greater evil. Its presence has twisted the environment within and around the mausoleum-temple.

Lair Actions

When the dead king fights inside his lair, he can invoke the ambient magic to take lair actions. On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dead king takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects:

* The dead king calls forth the angry spirits of those who died building his lair. The spirits attack one creature that the dead king can see within 60 feet of him. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw, taking 36 (8d6) necrotic damage and being dragged 120 (7d6 x 5) feet away from the dead king on a failed save. On a success, the target takes half as much damage and is not dragged away by the wailing cloud of spirits.

* The dead king’s undead servants within the lair act as the dead king’s eyes, ears, and voice. As a lair action, the dead king can bolster one of his undead servants by having it act as his proxy until initiative count 20 of the next round. The bolstered undead makes attacks and saving throws with advantage, and it gains 14 (4d6) temporary hit points. The temporary hit points fade after the dead king stops using the undead creature as his proxy.

* The dead king warps the structure of his lair at will. He chooses one creature he can see within 60 feet. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw to avoid being entombed, surrounded by stone walls (as per wall of stone).

Regional Effects

The region containing the mausoleum-temple is profaned by the dead king’s evil, which creates one or more of the following effects:

* Giant spiders and monstrous insects infest the region. These creatures act as the dead king’s eyes and ears if they are within a 1 mile radius of the dead king’s lair.

* Within the 1 mile radius of the dead king’s lair in which giant spiders and monstrous insects act as the dead king’s eyes and ears, the jungle assumes a hostile quality as well, making it easier for the dead king’s eyes and ears to move unseen and unheard. Giant spiders and monstrous insects within 1 mile of the dead king’s lair make Dexterity (Stealth) checks with advantage.

* The jungle shifts and twists within a 6 mile radius of the dead king’s tomb. Trespassers in the area always treat the jungle as at least a lightly obscured area, which imposes disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. Wisdom (Survival) checks to avoid getting lost or to follow the tracks of another creature are made with disadvantage.

If the dead king is destroyed, the supernatural link between him and the giant spiders and monstrous insects breaks immediately. These creatures lose the ability to make Dexterity (Stealth) checks with advantage as well. Within 3d10 days, the jungle around the dead king’s lair ceases to shift and twist.

December 3rd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »


The giant stone swords of Agmundr stand on a rocky outcropping along Sverdsfjord, one of the southernmost bays in that rugged, northland known locally as Izotz. Centuries ago, two kings vied for control of Izotz. Ecgberht and Hildebrand waged war against each other, and the conflict grew increasingly bitter and lawless as both kings sought the advantage over the other. Villages were burned, and their citizens put to the sword. Sacred places were defiled. The blood of innocents cried out for justice, but ambition and malice deafened both Ecgberht and Hildebrand. Into this chaos from out of the ice-locked north strode Guđbrandr.

Haunted by visions of those innocents caught in the conflict between the two kings, Guđbrandr swept into the borderlands between the kingdoms. The opposing armies broke against Guđbrandr’s righteous fury. Others, war-weary, flocked to Guđbrandr’s banner. Before long, Ecgberht and Hildebrand found themselves on the defensive. When winter came and the polar bears arrived to support Guđbrandr, the warring kings decided that perhaps peace was a better option.

In the dead of winter, Guđbrandr met with Ecgberht and Hildebrand at Agmundr by the frozen Sverdsfjord. Guđbrandr took the kings’ swords and thrust them into the rocks. Then he took his own blade and did the same with it. The two kings knelt and swore fealty to Guđbrandr and amity between themselves. The witnesses to this agreement stood awed as the three swords turned to stone and grew to enormous size. The largest sword belonged to the victorious Guđbrandr, and the two smaller swords to the defeated kings Ecgberht and Hildebrand.

Since that day, those northern lands are ruled by a triumvirate of kings descended from Guđbrandr, Ecgberht, and Hildebrand. Each king’s coronation takes place at Agmundr, and the ancient oaths of fealty and amity are repeated in that god-touched place.

Anyone who dedicates himself to a cause or quest may journey to Agmundr and swear an oath on the power of those stone swords.

Barbarians of Lemuria

Upon swearing an oath on the power of Agmundr to accomplish some task, a hero gains 1d6 Fate Points. The hero can use these Fate Points to grant himself a one-off boon, just as if he were a priest.

Dungeon World

When you bolster yourself prior to swearing an oath on the power of Agmundr, you gain preparation as normal, plus you gain hold equal to preparation+2. If you violate your oath, the power of Agmundr will make its displeasure known. As long as you act to fulfill your oath, you may spend hold, 1 for 1, to choose an option:

• Defy danger as if you rolled a 10+ instead of rolling the dice.
• Heal damage equal to half your max HP.
• Inflict maximum damage with an attack.
• Use an advanced move appropriate to your class one time as if you were one level higher.

Swords & Wizardry

A character who swears an oath on the power Agmundr to accomplish some task gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls and saving throws until that task is fulfilled. If the character does not diligently work at performing the task, a deadly weakness sets in (50% reduction in Strength), and an attempt to entirely abandon the quest incurs a curse.

June 19th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »