Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Borrowing from Magic the Gathering

I'll be honest here: I've always liked MTG's looks, flavour and huge range but I've never really got into playing it. I bought several packs both when it first came out and as various expansions were released, but never got round to finding other people to play it with. 
But the pictures were cool. 
This article explains why an official M:TG /D&D crossover did not happen, but there are plenty of opportunities for unofficial conversions. is quite good as well if you look further down the page to the answer that quotes Ryan Dancy. 

There are a lot of cool ideas in M:TG, much of which is inspired by the artwork. Most of those ideas are monsters of one sort or another. For example:

Serpent Warrior

No Enc:     1d8
Alignment:     Chaotic
Movement:     180’
Armour Class:     4
Hit Dice:     6*
Attacks     2 claws/1 bite
Damage     1d4/1d4/1d8+poison
Save:     F6
Morale:     10
TT/Hoard:    K/X
Size:     Medium
Type:     Humanoid
Intelligence:     11-12
XP:     350

These creatures are found in swamps and jungles, particularly around desolate ruins of fallen civilisations, and are ferocious enemies of mankind. Sages speculate they were created by an elder race of serpent-creatures called the Yuan-ti. 
In combat they are fast and deadly, preferring teeth and claws to artificial weapons. They can create darkness in 10’ radius around their bodies once per day for 10 rounds and they will use this to surprise opponents. If they successfully bite an opponent, they inject a venom - the target must save vs poison or suffer 1d4 damage per hour for a whole day (24 hours). Serpent warriors are willing to cooperate with other evil reptiles and sometimes have lizardmen and troglodytes as slaves or foot-soldiers. 

Bogardan Firefiend

No Enc: 1d4
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 180’
Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5*
Attacks 2 hoofs/1 gore
Damage 1d6/1d6/2d4
Save: F5
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: Nil
Size: Large
Type: Outsider
Intelligence: 6 (low)
XP: 350

These weird and terrible creatures are a fusion of elemental fire and the planes of Chaos, and can be found in either place. They can also be found in volcanic areas on the Material Plane, including lava caverns of the Underworld. They are occasionally found alongside fire giants, efreet and red dragons.
Firefiends have vents on their back that unleash red-hot gasses once an hour and they may, in addition to attacking normally, unleash a burst of flames and hot gases that cause 2d6 fire damage to all within 10’ of the creature and 1d6 to anyone from 10’ to 20’ of the creature.
Furthermore, on dying, a bogardan Firefiend unleashes one last burst of flame that does 3d6 to all within 10' and 1d6 to anyone from 10' to 20' of the firefiend.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Ruined City of Aerisport

Aerisport used to be one of the greatest ports of the Duchy of Urdus in the Toutus Empire. At its height, shortly before the Wars between the Empires, Aerisport had a population of 10,000. It sat on the River Rancor, and ships would swap cargo with river barges that would then travel up through prime farmland to Mesabridge and the Confederacy of the Ten Peaks.
During the Wars between the Empires, Aerisport escaped relatively unscathed. A raid by Telthyan pirates was fought off by the town guard.
This all changed with the Summoning. During his rampage across Kaelaross, Bhael created many Chaos Portals. One of these was in the heart of Aerisport, and it linked to the Chaotic Plane of Carceros (the reddish dot in the middle of the city map).
Further disaster occured when, during the fight between Bhael and the two lawful gods Rhondus and Adonar, the Godsblood Strait was created and the Godsblood Hills were heaved out of the sea immediately offshore from Aerisport. This shook Aerisport like an earthquake and six major fissures in the earth ripped open, swallowing buildings and a few remaining inhabitants (many had fled east when the Chaos Portal was opened). Other smaller splits in the earth are dotted around the city.
This left Aerisport landlocked and the River Rancor was diverted away from the stricken city.

These days Aerisport is abandoned by civilised humans. The map of the city does not show which buildings are ruined and which are still intact . About a third are ruined, either by the earthquake or monsters or even just time and erosion - it has been abandoned for 50 years.
The creatures of Carceros are more varied than the humanoid hordes of Hestoris, and are generally subterranean in nature. To start with they hid out in the surface ruins but then a clan of goblins emerged into Aerisport. These goblins, the Virrish-Guth, are master miners and excavators. On the plane of Carceros they expand and modify the vast dungeon networks. In Aerisport they have started in the fissures, digging sideways from the walls and sometimes creating safe pathways down into the fissures.
The other monsters appreciate the goblins' efforts - rather than killing and eating the goblins the other creatures have enslaved and bullied the goblins into creating underground lairs, usually connected to the fissures.

Nobody knows for how long or how far the goblins have excavated, but it is telling that the area that was the shoreline to the north-west of the city is being filled with what seems to be bucket- and barrow-loads of rubble, enough to form small hills. Some would say that underneath Aerisport is the biggest dungeon in Toutus, surpassing that underneath Seaview Keep.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Howling Forest

The Howling Forest is a large stretch of deciduous forest south of the east side of the Godsblood Straits. It is mostly natural, but has a bad reputation since it was first investigated by the Toutus empire. Humans of the Toutus Empire have entered into it occasionally but never settled. Even woodcutters and hunters rarely venture more than a few hours inwards then retreating back out before sunset.
There are a number of inhabitants of the Howling Forest, few of whom are friendly.

There are substantial numbers of werewolves. These include more powerful leader-types that can fight most heroes and win. Other werewolves are clerics of chaotic gods when in human form, particularly Bhael, Skreech and Slargor. These werewolves gather into packs of about 2-20, but many packs are part of wider tribes. These include:
the Sly Stalkers (who sometimes visit human settlements outside the woods, either in human form in the day, or as wolves in the night), the Rabid Slayers (ferocious to the point of killing any creature not of their tribe) and the Midnight Singers  (who take glee in scaring prey witless with their howls before moving in for the kill)
There is the ruins of an elven culture that predates the Toutus Empire. The Citadel of Maeredoth has long been abandoned by the elves after foolish elven spellswords dabbled in magics that should have been left alone. Although there was no disaster on the scale of the Summoning, Mearedoth was still tainted with Chaos in such an indelible way that no amount of Remove Curse or Dispel Evil spells would remove. Chaotic monsters, including those from chaos portals, are attracted to the ruins of Maeredoth.
Some of the elves of Maeredoth moved north and joined their kin in the Talloak Forest while others fled west to Teiglin and the Shorgan Forest. There are now very few elves still staying in the Howling Forest, and they have to contend with the werewolves and other creatures.

The Lurggorkoth Orcs (translated: Bleeding Socket orcs) have been in this forest for hundreds of years - long before the Summoning and the chaos portals. They are immune to werewolf lycanthropy but can still be attacked and killed by the werewolves. As such, the Lurggorkoth orcs prize silver more than gold, and will fashion it into weapons, particularly daggers and arrowheads. Chiefs, shamans and leaders will be equipped with silver-headed spears and hand axes.
There is a small tribe of minotaurs led by a chief. They usually stay close to the centre, and are sometimes found investigating the elven ruins of Maeredoth. They dislike the werewolves and can hold their own against them. Although contemptuous of the orcs, they occasionally hire themselves out as mercenaries. Due to their great strength (and possible supernatural origins) minotaurs can damage werewolves. This makes them valuable allies to the orcs.

There is a small, scattered community of sylvan creatures, including treants, dryads, pixies, sprites and elves. They are very cautious of humans, as most werewolves appear human during the day. They hate the werewolves for hunting and killing all the centaurs that used to live in the Howling Forest. 

Random Encounters:
Roll D12+D8  Result
2Green Dragon
4Sprite or Pixie
6Giant Crab Spider
8Giant Carnivorous Beetle
10Wild Boar or Giant boar
11Stag (2HD herd animal) or Giant Stag
14Dire Wolf
17Bear, Grizzly
19Human or Demihuman NPC
20Treant or Dryad

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Hoofed Herbivores of Toutus

Toutus, as a continent rather than an Empire, has a wide range of wildlife as well as supernatural monsters. The continent is loosely based on medieval Europe, so looking at what sort of herbivorous creatures would be in a fantasy version of Europe I came up with:
Giant Elk
Great Ram
Giant Boar
I admit these are sort of borrowed/adapted from 1st Edition AD & D but I reckon they are worth producing here. They seem to answer the question "What do big fierce monsters eat (apart from careless adventurers)?"

Name Auroch Giant Elk Great Ram Giant Boar
No. App. 0 (2d8) 0 (1+2d4 does) 0 (3d6) 0 (1d8)
Alignment Unaligned Unaligned Unaligned Unaligned 
Movement180' (60')240' (80')240' (80')180' (60')
Armor Class7776
Hit Dice5536+6
Attacks1 gore or 1 trample1 gore or 1 trample1 butt1 gore
Damage1d6 or 1d61d8 or 1d41d82d6
Save AsF2F2F1F3
Hoard Classnonenonenonenone

Aurochs are large wild cattle that roam the wilds of Toutus. They form small herds and usually live in temperate forests, swamps and plains where there is plenty of vegetation to feed on. Their eyesight is not very good, but their sense of smell is acute. On Kaelaross there is no significant difference between bull aurochs and cows - they are both powerful and dangerous. If an auroch has a 30' or more running start, it will try to charge an opponent. When charging it will only use its horns but gets +2 to hit and does double damage.
Aurochs are found in:
Wherever there is a random encounter with wild cattle, the DM may roll 1d6. On 1-2, the cattle are aurochs.

Giant Elk (the name Irish Elk seems inappropriate on Kaelaross) roam the hills and woodlands of Toutus. Their magnificent antlers make them prized among huntsmen and noblemen seeking sport. However, they do not give up their antlers easily. Only the males have antlers, and typically there will be a single giant stag accompanied by a number of giant does. The stags can charge if it has a run of 30' or more. When charging it will only use its antlers but gets +2 to hit and does double damage. Does can only use their hooves to trample, and rarely fight anyway as they usually flee any threat larger than a fox.
Giant elk are found in temperate and cold climates, usually hills and woodlands, such as:
Similar to aurochs, if a DM rolls stags or deer as a random encounter, then 1-2 on D6 says that it is a giant stag.

Great Rams are agile and powerful mountain dwellers found in hills and mountains. They are almost the size of a pony, standing 4'6" at the shoulder, and both sexes have horns (though the males are larger and more impressive). The ram can charge if it has a run of 30' or more. When charging it will only use its horns but gets +2 to hit and does double damage. It has been rumoured that some dwarven adventurers have tamed great rams to ride around on them, but this is dismissed as being silly by any self-respecting dwarf.

Great Rams are found in high altitudes across Toutus, including
Giant Boar are at least twice the height and length of normal wild boar, and often have more elaborate tusks and facial "warts". They are surprisingly aggressive for hoofed animals, but are omnivorous, not herbivorous. They generally do not actively hunt, but will scavenge on dead animals they come across. In combat the males and females are basically the same.  

Giant boars are found in a wide range of environments 
Giant boar are found in temperate and cool forests, hills and swamps, such as:

As with previous entries here, if you roll a wild boar as a random encounter, you can roll 1d6 and on a 1-2 the wild boar is actually an encounter with giant boar.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Chaotic Cleric Spells

As a sort of counterbalance to a previous post on Lawful cleric spells, I've come up with a few for the dark side. 
Although I realize that clerics were never meant to be the magical powerhouses of destruction and control that mages can be, the 1st level cleric spells still seem pretty weak. 
If you use Basic D&D, then you don't get any spells as a 1st level cleric - you have to get to 2nd level to prove yourself worthy to receive...Purify Food and Drink! Is that how foul followers of terrifying gods lure crazed worshippers into their dark cults? No, this is how they show their deity's boons. 

1st level spells for chaotic clerics

Blood Loan
Range: 30'
Duration: 1 turn per caster level
Area: 1 target
This spell grants the target a temporary extra 1d6+1 hp. The same amount of hit points are subtracted from the target at the end of the spell's duration. If this reduces the target to below 1 hp, they die as normal as they lose the borrowed life force. This spell can stack with multiple castings. Some clerics use this on their allies before a fight, then after battle they ask for vital information or oaths of loyalty before casting healing spells that save the ally's life. 

Range: Touch
Duration: 1 round per caster level
Area: 1 target
This spell grants the target a +1 to damage and also makes them unable to retreat or surrender voluntarily. They get a +2 bonus to morale checks while fighting, though they may run away if they fail a morale test. If cast on PCs, they will keep fighting until either they or the opponents are dead. While the spell is in effect, the target shouts and yells threats and obscenities at any enemies. 

2nd level spells for chaotic clerics

Aura of Shadows
Range: Caster only
Duration: 1 round per caster level
Area: Caster
This spell causes the cleric to be surrounded by wisps of dark shadows that cling to to the cleric like smoke. The Aura gives the cleric +2 to AC and +2 to saving throws, and reduces the damage of all attacks against the cleric by 1hp. 

3rd level spells for chaotic clerics

Champion of Chaos
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 turn per caster level
Area: 30' around target
This spell is like a variation of the Bless spell. It is cast on a single target who temporarily becomes a champion of chaos and exudes an aura of power and hatred. All chaotic creatures within a 30' radius around the champion of chaos gain +1 to hit and damage and saves similar to a Bless spell, and also +1 bonus to AC and +2 to morale. The champion gains +2 to hit, damage, to saving throws and AC, never needs to check morale while the spell is in effect, and visibly appears more powerful (more muscular, more ferocious).  The cleric may choose to cast the spell on himself. 

Range: 60' 
Duration: 1 turn per caster level
Area: 1 target
This spell causes the affected target to save vs spells. If they fail, they treat all allies as if they were foes and will refuse to trust them. The target may retreat and run away if outnumbered, or may attack allies if confident of victory. They will refuse any help, and any attempt to cast a spell on them will be treated as an attack. This spell can be removed by Dispel Magic and Remove Curse.