Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some monster tweaks

I got some invaluable monster number crunching help from surfarcher.  Tweaked a few of the stats in the previous monster listings to balance them better.

You can check out surf's masterful 5e monster crunching over at his blog.


The DM is the Core Mechanic of D&D


I've been a big fan of The Angry DM for awhile now.  Just wanted to give a shout out to this rant of his.

The picture above, and the title of this post are my two favorite parts of it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Get Well Soon!

Today's post goes out to a friend of Grognards everywhere, David R. Deitrick.  David has been in a accident recently and is in a wheelchair.  I'm sure you'll recognize his artwork that has adorned many gaming products.

You can find some of his work at Art of the Genre.

One of my favorites is one that he did for blogger Jeff Rients.

The cover of one of those games that I always wanted to play, but never did (sorry David!)

David's work defined FASA's Star Trek line.

Get well soon, David, and get back on that...whale?
David Deitrick 'Orcavalry' Print

Monday, August 25, 2014

Creature Catalog part 4, Cantobele

Back to the Creature Catalog from Dragon Magazine #89. This creature made it into the Forgotten Realms 2 Monstrous Compendium (MC 11) in 2e. I also referenced (and even copy and pasted) from that had a 3e version.

Medium fey, neutral evil
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 20 (3d10+6)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.

16 (+3) 18 (+4) 15 (+2) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 13 (+1)

Skills Stealth +6
Damage Immunity cold, blindness
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages A cantobele can speak with any creature that has a language.
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Detect thoughts.  At will, DC 13.

Ice Storm. 2/day.  A hail of rock-hard ice pounds to the ground in a 20-foot-radius, 40-foot-high cylinder centered on a point within range. Each creature in the cylinder must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 2d8 bludgeoning damage and 4d6 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Multiattack.  The cantobele makes 6 claw attacks, 1 bite, and 1 tail slap.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 2 (1d4) slashing damage.

Bite.  Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 4 (1d6+1) piercing damage.

Tail Slap. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 4 (1d6+1) bludgeoning damage.

This great cat has six legs, and a sleek, heavily muscled frame covered with thick, double-coated fur and a long mane. Its long, broad tail has very short fur and ends in a tuft of long, black hairs. Its startlingly human eyes display an unusually high intelligence.

The cantobele is a predator that uses deception to trick its victims. A cantobele hides in underbrush, using its magical abilities and its naturally soft, high-pitched feminine voice to lure and deceive prey. The creature's name is derived from the strange, beautiful ringing sound it makes after making a kill, like the chorus of chiming bells. This intelligent creature hoards treasure for use in bargaining with other intelligent creatures.

Cantobeles live in deserted, humid areas with much plant growth, particularly swamplands and forested ravines. A cantobele's fur and mane color changes depending on its habitat and the season, ranging from gray-white to tawny, though dark and intense colors denote youth. Its eyes are usually brown or mauve.

A cantobele is from 7-9 feet long and can weigh anywhere from 250-700 pounds.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Six Very Special Shields, part 1, Reptar's Wall

I've spent a chunk of the last couple days reading the PHB.  I'm also a little burned out on monsters, so I'll mix it up with a magic item.  We're still in Dragon Magazine #89, an article "Six Very Special Shields", an interview with Elminster in which he details unique magic shields.

Reptar’s Wall

Armor (shield), unique, requires attunement
Named for the ranger who once bore it, the Wall is a large, heavy shield constructed of iron plates riveted to an iron frame. Its origin, lost in antiquity, is unknown. Two words are engraved on the frame in the common tongue, facing the bearer at eye level when the shield is held ready for battle: “Eiruvan” and “Thammis.”  The shield is magical, and has the following powers and abilities:

Despite its construction, the Wall does not rust or corrode, or conduct heat or cold, its metal remaining inactive. It is a +1 shield, and gives forth no sound when struck or dropped. It does not ring or grate, but is absolutely silent; the heaviest blows falling upon it cannot be heard.

When you speak or whisper the word “Eiruvan”, you and the shield, become invisible for up to an hour. Anything you are wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the your person.  During this time you move silently, because of the shield’s sound- absorbing qualities, and can move about or strike at opponents while so concealed. An attack made on an opponent by you will cause the you and the shield to immediately become visible.  This power can only be used once a day, and the power resets each day at dawn.

The shield’s major power, made active when you speak or whisper the word “Thammis” while wearing the shield slung for use, is the ability to fly.  You gain a flying speed of 60 feet for up to 10 minutes.  You can carry up to 400 pounds with you.  The magic also confers full stability for wielding weapons in midair.

Secret: Use of the fly power has an unexpected side effect in that at the onset of flight, the nearest magic item or artifact will be permanently drained of one charge, which serves as energy to power the shield. If the nearest item is of a permanent nature and has no charges (e.g., a magical dagger), all of its powers are negated for 4 hours. The item closest to the shield is always affected, regardless of the your wishes.  You are usually unaware of the draining.  If no magic item is within 90 ft. of the shield when its fly power is activated, the shield’s own other abilities, including its sound absorption and +1 bonus, are negated for 6 hours.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Got my PHB from Amazon today...

So no updates!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Creature Catalog Part 3, Calygraunt

We dip again into the Creature Catalog from Dragon Magazine #89.

Medium fey, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 18 (4d8)
Speed  40 ft.

14(+2) 14 (+2) 10 (+0) 16 (+3) 16 (+3) 10 (+0)

Immunities all mind-affecting effect, including charms, compulsions and illusions
Saving Throws Intelligence +5, Wisdom +5
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Fey
Challenge 1 (100 XP)

Control Magic Item. A feystag may attempt to take control of a magic item that it has successfully identified, as a standard action at a range 20 feet.  Once a feystag has gained control of an item, it controls that item indefinitely. A feystag only loses control of an item if another character bears the item and attempts to wrest control of the item from the feystag in one of various ways. If the item is controlled by a physical means, the bearer need only perform the action that activates the item to cancel the feystag’s control. If the item is controlled by a command word, the bearer must speak the command word to override the feystag’s long-range commands. If the item is activated by will or mental command, the bearer must make an opposed Wisdom check against the feystag. If the bearer’s result is higher, the feystag loses its control over the item. If the feystag’s result is higher by more than 5, the bearer must make a successful Will save (DC 12) or suffer from confusion, as the spell, for 1d6 rounds. If the bearer does not gain control, and is not confused, he may make another attempt in the next round. The save DC for the confusion effect is Wisdom-based.

A feystag cannot attempt to control any item that it has not first identified. A feystag cannot attempt to control any item that it has tried to control and failed, as well as any item that it has lost control of, for the next 24 hours.

Activate Magic Item. A feystag can activate one magic item per round, as a free action, and can choose from any item within range that it has control of. If a feystag activates an item that can operate continuously for more than one round and does not require concentration to maintain, this item will continue to operate even if the feystag later activates another item or attempts to control another item in subsequent rounds. A feystag must consciously activate the items it controls, as they do not activate automatically.

A feystag can choose exactly how an activated item will function, so long as the same choice is available to anyone able to use the item normally. Effects that are centered on the bearer or that target the bearer (such as winged boots) always effect that individual, not the feystag. For magic items which have effects that must be aimed in a particular direction (such as cones or lines), roll 1d8 to determine the direction. (Forward, right, left, back, and the diagonals in between).

A feystag cannot attempt to activate an item that requires some sort of physical action to operate, unless it is in possession of the item. This includes anything that needs to be read (such as scrolls), anything that needs to be ingested or applied to a body or object (such as potions and oils), anything that needs to be touched to something or requires that the user touch something while using it, or anything requiring a lever, button, or switch to be manipulated.

Detect Magic. This power only detects magic items. A feystag sees such magical auras in variations of brightness according to magical strength.

Identify Magic Item. A feystag may study a single magic item within a 60-foot range, as a free action once per round, to determine its magical properties. This ability functions like the identify spell, except that it only takes a single round to gain the full effect.

Multiattack.  The calygraunt makes two claw attacks.

Attack. claw: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 4 (1d6+1) slashing damage.

This creature has a feline head, adorned with a set of frond- branched antlers much like those of a stag. Its coat is dusty brown and its eyes seem to hide an alien intelligence. Though it looks like it can run on all fours, it stands erect on its hind legs.

The feystag, also known to herald as the calygraunt, is a woodland being with an odd mastery over magic. The beast is often whispered of in woodcutters’ tales, in taverns where adventurers and miners gather. The feystag makes its lair only in the deepest woods, caverns, and delvings, where strange magical forces are said to lie.

A feystag is usually a solitary forager (except during mating cycle, when it hunts with its mate). It habitually scouts out new territories, discovering springs, caverns, hiding places, and areas where pitfalls and snares can be set – often a feystag lair is surrounded by traps. The creature hoards magical items, delighted in their use and always trying to acquire more.

A few feystags dwell among humans in remote forest communities. They often bargain with or sell information about items brought to them, or they become sages.

The same creatures that prey on the common deer are also likely to prey on the feystag. Feystags are friendly with korred, centaurs, and satyrs. They prefer to eat plants, particularly mint, certain mosses, and mistletoe.

Feystags are typically 4 feet high at the shoulder, and weigh about 90 pounds.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creature Catalog, part 2, Bohun Tree

We continue with Dragon Magazine' #89's Creature Catalog. I added the fey reference, I thought it fit.

Bohun Tree
Huge plant, neutral evil
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 85 (10d12+20)
Speed  0 ft.

18 (+4) 6 (-2) 15 (+2) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 7 (-2)

Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing
Senses passive Perception 15
Challenge 4 ( 1,100 XP)

False Appearance.  While the tree remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal tree.

Sleep Fruit.  If the fruit is cut or bruised, it exudes a vapor in a 20 ft. radius that causes magical slumber.  11d8 hit points of creatures are affected.  
Starting with the creature that has the lowest current hit points, each creature affected by this spell falls unconscious until the spell ends, the sleeper takes damage, or someone uses an action to shake or slap the sleeper awake. Subtract each creature’s hit points from the total before moving on to the creature with the next lowest hit points. A creature’s hit points must be equal to or less than the remaining total for that creature to be affected.
Victims can make a Constitution save to avoid falling asleep.  Undead and creatures immune to being charmed aren’t affected.

Poison Fruit.  The flesh of the fruit may be fatally poisonous if ingested.  Make a Constitution saving throw vs. DC 13 or suffer painful acidic reactions within the stomach which cause 2d8 points of poison damage.  Fey creatures get advantage on this saving throw.

Multiattack.  The bohun tree can fire up to 6 thorns and make up to 8 root attacks per round.

Thorn. Ranged weapon attack: +4 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target.
Hit: 3 (1d4+1) piercing damage at range.

Root. Melee attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit: grappled.  If a target is grappled, thorn attacks have advantage to hit.

The bohun tree, or "tree of death," is found only in deep woodlands.  Such trees are always solitary, but are surrounded by other varieties of trees on which they feed.  They are more common in the feydark, and areas that border it.  The bohun tree, usually  brownish grey or greenish grey, can be distinguished by  its massive trunk and unique blossoms.

The bohun tree's branches usually start 10 to 12 feet above  the ground and spread out horizontally  from  the top of the trunk; on them hang thick clusters of dark red, luscious fruits. These smooth - and soft- skinned  fruits  resemble giant grapes.  The tree will deliberately  cause 1 fruit to burst every other  round if it is attacked. The vapor's odor resembles that of crushed  apples or fresh cider.

Against creatures that approach too closely, a bohun  tree directs the thorns that grow on its branches between fruit clusters. These 18- inch-long thorns are flexible, sharp, and weighted so they will fly true.  They are fired from  the tree by means of sap pressure.  A bohun tree has 30-60 thorns at any time, and can regrow 1-4 per day after some have been fired. It hurls these with deadly accuracy and force

The bohun tree has keen eyesight; hundreds of compound
eyes stud fissures in the trunk and grow amid the fruit clusters.  It uses  this eyesight to home in on  the targets of its thorn attacks and also to locate assailants that it can entrap with its roots.

The bohun tree can send roots tunneling through the ground, breaking the surface where a target is located and binding the target's arms or legs (50% chance of either).  Only one root will attach to any target.  A root is AC 11 and has 2-7 hit points (determine separately for each root)  before being severed.  This does not count towards its hit point total.  

A  bohun tree will cease combat when all of its thorns are gone or after the loss of all of its attacking roots.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Creature Catalog, part 1, Amitok

Once again we jump forward in time to Dragon Magazine #89, and the last of the three chess themed covers.  This issue is one of my all time favorites.  It includes the Sentinel NPC class, an elite guard that I'll try to convert to a fighter archetype here soon.  Elminster also brings us six unique shields.  It also has a pull out section, the Creature Catalog.  While unfortunately I sold the majority of my old D&D stuff years ago when I started switching over to digital format, I still have this pull out section.  Twenty-nine new monsters are in this issue!  I'm going to start by bringing one of those to you here today.
Medium humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 11 (2d8+2)
Speed  30 ft.

16 (+3) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 9 (-1)

Damage Resistances: cold, poison
Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
Languages Goblin
Challenge  1 (200 XP)

Snow Camouflage.  Amitok have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in snowy terrain.

Multiattack.  The amitok makes two claw attacks.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: + 3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 4 (1d4+3) slashing damage.

Amitoka (the singular form is amitok) are also known as snow goblins.  They are descendant from hobgoblin stock that has adapted to arctic and subarctic climates.  Amitoka are very broad in build, and covered in light gray or white fur, except for their hairless, blue faces.

Amitoka are carnivorous and frequent hunters.  They fear no creature, and groups of amitoka are known to take on a solitary frost giant, and they usually win out, even though many of the group will die in the assault.  After the battle they will gather all of the dead (including their own) and bring them back to their lair for a feast.

Amitoka lair in short tunnel systems dug deep into the snow, usually with 2-5 large communal rooms for the colony.  There are half as many females as males, and twice as many young as total adults.  Only the males go hunting, but the females ferociously defend the colony.  The amitok culture is completely oriented to getting food, and all creatures are potential food sources.  

A thick layer of fat keeps amitoka warm, and provides resistance to cold damage.  The fat layer also provides them with advantage on saves vs. injected poisons.  

Colonies of amitoka are likely to have hoar foxes or winter wolves as pets.  Amitoka hate all humans and demihumans, and dislike all other creatures besides themselves. They do cooperate at times with quaggoth, and the two creatures have been mistaken for each other.

Large colonies are often led by a shaman, who has 18 Strength, is 8 ft. tall (and considered a large creature) and causes 1d8+4 points of damage with each of its claw attacks. This shaman also has spells as a Priest, listed in the DM Basic Rules.   He has a CR of 3 (700 xp).