Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oil of Phosphorescence

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I got the early round of making the feast today.  Got the turkey in the roaster, stuffing in the slow cooker, a (frozen) pumpkin pie baked and the sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole put together, and gravy made.  My wife got second shift, which pretty much involves getting everything out and making the mashed potatoes and dinner rolls.  So that leaves me to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and knock out a quick blog post before it's time to eat.

Jumping into Dragon Magazine #91, which looking at it now I must never have gotten in my youth.  This is a completely new issue to me.  I will say, I dig the cover.

Nice collection of magic items in this issue, the first of which is the Oil of Phosphorescence, by Michael Persinger.

Oil of Phosphorescence
Potion, uncommon

A slight application of this oil will cause the user to believe that it
is some other form of magical oil, generally oil of etherealness.  A dose is enough oil to cover a Medium creature and the equipment it wears and carries, which takes 10 minutes.

However, when it is fully applied, your skin will suddenly start to glow as if it were aflame. This bioluminescence is permanent, and can only be negated by remove curse. The glow emitted from your body is usually a yellow-green color, and you are highly visible at night or against dark surroundings. All attempts to hide, short of covering yourself completely in blankets, hiding in another room, or going invisible, are doomed to fail.  Opponents gain Advantage on all attacks against you.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ray of Oblivion

I've decided I like to chop up the articles in Dragon into little pieces and string it out over several posts.  Here's another sorcerer spell from Ed Greenwood's Incantatrix from Dragon Magazine #90.

Ray of Oblivion is now available on the DM's Guild in Grognard's Grimoire: Sorcerers!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Today we are checking back in with the Ed Greenwood Incantatrix article from Dragon Magazine #90 and updating a spell, Maladweomer.  In keeping with my making the incantatrix a sorcerous bloodline, I'm adding this spell to the sorcerer spell list.

Maladweomer is now available on the DM's Guild in Grognard's Grimoire: Sorcerers!

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Incantatrix sorcerous origin

I've moved on to Dragon Magazine #90, and the spell stealing incantatrix, by Ed Greenwood.

This was an NPC class I fell in love with when I first read it, but never had the chance to use.  In this conversion, I've taken bits from this original write up, but have based it more on the 3e prestige class, from the Player's Guide to Faerun.  Seeing as how the 3e version was a master of metamagic, it fits into 5e best as a sorcerous origin.

Some of my thoughts with the build: since sorcerers don't get metamagic until 3rd level, I pushed back the cooperative metamagic ability to then, and it scales with level, unlike a lot of sorcerous origin powers.  They needed something at 1st level, so I gave it the ectoplasmic spells ability.  That may be of limited usefulness, but I feel it helps offset the power of later abilities.

At first I wasn't sure what mechanic to use for the stealspell  and the seize concentration abilities.  I finally settled on making a spell attack roll using your spell attack bonus vs. your opponent's spell save DC.  As the incantatrix rises in power, it will be more likely to succeed, but it will be tougher against higher level opponents.  It uses an existing number or mechanic in a different way.

After using the stealspell ability, you can scribe the stolen spell onto a scroll.  Since there are not any rules for that at this time, I left the mechanics of that blank.

The Incantatrix is now available on the DM's Guild in Grognard's Grimoire: Sorcerer!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Creature Catalog part 10, Utukku

This will be my last installment from the Creature Catalog installment from Dragon Magazine #89, the utukku.  This demon later appeared in the 2nd Edition Red Steel appendix of the Monstrous Compendium.  I based it off of those stats, since they were a bit easier to convert.

Monsters that I didn't convert from Dragon #89 are: killer beetle, bichir (a land walking fish), corkie (a groundhog with horns), duleep (electrified spider webs), explodestool (exploding mushrooms), flailtail (marsh dwelling manta ray), giant horseshoe crab, ihagnim (astral oozes), millikan (a flame throwing tree stump), peltast (a leathery parasite that can heal its host), giant pitcher plant, seastar, scallion (a big fish), giant shrike (a big songbird), sind (marsh dwelling humanoid), star leviathan (astral whale), giant venus fly trap (I'd just use awakened tree stats), vurgen (another giant fish), and the killer whale (already have 5e stats).  For the most part, these monsters just didn't interest me, and I'm ready to move on to a new issue.

I might revisit the explodestool as a trap, once I see how the DMG formats them.  The peltast could also work as a bio-organic item!

Large fiend (demon), chaotic evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 157 (15d10+75)
Speed 40 ft.

20 (+5)
15 (+2)
21 (+5)
19 (+4)
17 (+3)
16 (+3)

Saving Throws Str +9, Con +9, Wis +7, Cha +7
Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poison
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Abyssal, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Innate Spellcasting.  The utukku’s spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 16).  The utukku can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At Will: darkness, detect magic, dispel magic
1/day each: lightning bolt, teleport, cause fear

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


Multiattack.  The utukku attacks with two claw attacks and one bite attack.  Alternately it makes two claw attacks and casts one spell.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.
Hit: 16 (2d10+5) slashing damage.

Bite.  Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 12 (2d6+5) piercing damage.

Utukku are roughly humanoid in shape, standing about 12 feet high. An utukku has the head of a lion, with long quills in place of a mane, and a scaled humanoid body. It also has huge, white claws on its hands and feet. These creatures are mostly dark red in color, but their faces are a golden-red. An utukku’s eyes are bright yellow with catlike blue pupils.

On the Prime Material Plane, utukku use their powers to spread misery and evil through nearby humanoid communities. They do not attempt to gain followers or lead humanoids, preferring to work alone.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Creature Catalog part 9, Dark Naga

The dark naga was a creature that I was waiting on the Monster Manual before converting from Dragon Magazine #89

Dark Naga
Large monstrosity, lawful evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 75 (10d10+20)
Speed 40 ft.

18 (+4)
17 (+3)
14 (+2)
16 (+3)
15 (+2)
16 (+3)

Saving Throws Dex +6, Con +5, Wis +5, Cha +6
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Abyssal, common
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Rejuvenation.  If it dies, the naga returns to life in 1d6 days and regains all its hit points.  Only a wish spell can prevent this trait from functioning.

Detect Thoughts.  At will, 60 ft.

Spellcasting.  The naga is a 10th level spellcaster.  Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks), and it needs only verbal components to cast its spells.  It has the following wizard spells prepared:

Cantrips (at will): mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
1st level (4 slots): charm person, magic missile, sleep
2nd level (3 slots): invisibility, scorching ray
3rd level (3 slots): lightning bolt, water breathing
4th level (3 slots): blight, dimension door
5th level (2 slots): dominate person


Multiattack:  The dark naga makes a bite and a sting attack.  In place of a bite, the naga can cast a spell.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.
Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Sting. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.
Hit: 10 (2d6+4) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 hour and the target falls unconscious for the same duration, or until it takes damage or another creature uses an action to shake it awake.  

The eyes of a  dark naga are bright and intelligent, burning with an almost hypnotic inner light.  Dark nagas prefer to fight from an elevated position where they get a good view of the battlefield while also staying out of reach.  Nagas favor spells over other forms of combat. Because they are almost always found in the lairs they guard and know well, they can arrange most encounters to suit their wishes.  The poison from their tail stinger causes nightmare haunted sleep.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Six Very Special Shields, part 6: Grimjaw

The final installment of this Ed Greenwood article from Dragon Magazine #89!  Another with no magical bonus to armor class, but with a completely random effect!

I'd rule that if a wild mage sorcerer had gained proficiency with shields and wielded this one, that they could add or subtract their spell attack modifier from the roll.  I'd probably do this with any magic items that had a random roll.

Unique magical shield (requires attunement)
Named for the small common tongue inscription found deeply engraved on the inside top rim of the shield, this plain iron shield is dented and blackened, and of normal and unassuming appearance. It bears no rust, and rusting will not affect it regardless of the handling it receives, due to protective magics cast upon it.  Grimjaw was first identified by the sage Ragefast of Baldur’s Gate, as borne by the adventurer Krystus and having a certain awesome power described hereafter. Krystus the Proud soon met his death at the hands of a dwarven patrol half a world away, in the mountains near Tethyamar, in a dispute over passage through the dwarven mines there.  Grimjaw is known to have been in the hands of the ruling dwarven clan Iron House for many years, but was lost in battle when orcs and evil mages drove out or slew all the dwarves of Tethyamar. The present head of the Iron House, Ghellin, wishes to regain the shield.

Grimjaw confers no magical armor class bonus to its wearer, but it has a powerful ability to affect any magical items that come into direct physical contact with it, regardless of the shieldbearer’s wishes. The effects of any single such contact are determined by percentile dice roll, as follows:

Item has one charge drained from it by Grimjaw; if the item has no charges as such, its powers are negated for 3-12 hours.
Item instantly turns and attacks wielder for one round, either striking as if the wielder were attacked by someone of equal class, strength, and level (if a weapon), or firing one charge or magical attack (if a charged staff or similar item).
Item has all magical powers and abilities negated for 2-12 rounds.
Item is completely drained of all magical powers forever.  Artifacts are likely to be unaffected, but may, at the DM’s option, teleport away to a random location, with or without wielder.
Grimjaw discharges some of its stored magical energy into the
contacting item; the item gains 1-6 additional charges (permanently), or a +1 on to hit and damage bonuses for 1-6 turns.

If a magical weapon or item is wielded against the shieldbearer, and the item misses the armor class of the shieldbearer by 2 points (i.e., scoring what would have been a hit except for the shield’s presence), then it is considered to have struck the shield.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Six Very Special Shields, part 5: Shoon's Buckler

Back with another shield from Dragon Magazine #89, today we get Shoon's Buckler.

Shoon’s Buckler
Unique magical shield, requires attunement
The adventurer Shoon briefly possessed this magical shield. Its true origin is unknown, but he seized it from the body of a slain male drow during a battle deep beneath the Hill of Lost Souls. Amongst the drow, as speak with dead has revealed, the buckler was known as a “blink shield”; it was unique, and its making a mystery.  Shoon later gave the shield to the fighter Gorlaung “Blackhelm” in exchange for training; Gorlaung fell in battle with orcs in the Stonelands, and his body was stripped of weapons and valuables by his slayers.  The present location of the Buckler is not known.

The Buckler is a 1’ diameter disk of black metal with a fist grip, all fashioned of one piece, and bearing no inscriptions.  Despite its small size, the Buckler functions as a +2 shield. Its other easily discernible power is the ability to glow upon mental command.  It sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet.  The light dies away to nothing at will.  This power is discovered whenever an attuned wielder thinks about the poor light, wishes he could see better, or so forth. Whenever the Buckler sheds light, two words in the common tongue will appear in small glowing letters around its inside edge: “Sekoe,” and “Brund.”

If the word “Sekoe” is spoken, the Buckler will levitate for up to 6 rounds.  The shield can carry or support up to 600 pounds of weight resting upon it or suspended from it, and any number of creatures or objects can make up this cargo. If its load ever exceeds this limit, the shield will instantly cease to levitate for at least 6 rounds and will fall.  

If the word “Brund” is spoken, any other active shield powers cease; then the shield and the attuned weilder will blink, as per the spell, about the location of the shield when it was activated, for up to 7 rounds.

These powers can be used repeatedly in consecutive rounds and in any order (although only levitate and light can be used in combination) if the commands are known.  Anyone who discovers the Buckler will not be informed of any facts about its operation by any revelation or by magical means short of a wish, but must learn them by trial and error.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Six Very Special Shields part 4, Dzance's Guardian

Long time, no post! I think I may have burned myself out with the post-a-day pace a was setting. Well, I'm back, but I'm not making any promises for the remainder of the year. You see, I work for UPS and the next couple months pretty much suck.

After skipping ahead to fit in with the Halloween theme, I jump back into Dragon Magazine #89, and to be honest, I'm ready to finish this issue off. A few more shields to go, and a couple monsters that I was waiting for the Monster Manual before I posted. Today we get one of the shields, Dzance's Guardian.

Dzance’s Guardian
Unique magical shield
The ranger Dzance found this shield in a chest in the depths of Gauntulgrym, the Lost City; its origin is unknown, but it is thought to be of dwarven manufacture.  Dzance's Journals tell us of the properties of this item. When he retired from adventuring to live in the Lady’s Court at Silverymoon, Dzance gave the Guardian to Belpir, a young knight of that city. The new owner forthwith went adventuring and has not been seen since. The fates of Belpir and of the Guardian are yet a mystery.

The Guardian is a “+0 shield”, magical in nature but conferring no additional armor class bonus. However, it has a special defensive power: when worn, it radiates an insubstantial magical energy field that envelops you (and only you) like an aura. Any magic missile directed at you from any direction - not just at the shield - will strike this field and be reflected unerringly straight back at the sender with no damage to you.

This field also absorbs all lightning damage, without harm to you.  These attacks dissipate gradually and harmlessly if the shield is taken off, but if you can bring the shield into physical contact with a foe within 4 rounds of any such damage, the entire stored electrical energy of the field can be transmitted to the foe (a successful Constitution saving throw results in half damage).  You will be made immediately aware of this storage and discharge power whenever the field intercepts electrical energy.

When this discharge is activated, there is a 30% chance that you and the shield (but not any companion creatures or foes unless direct, physical contact is present at the time) will be plane shifted to a random known plane of existence. This power will be unknown to the bearer until it actually occurs; identify and sage-lore will not reveal it.