5e Grognard

5e Grognard

Old school ideas, new edition rules.

A non-prophet organization.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Mayans were right.

The Mayans were right.  

December 21, 2012.  The day of the winter solstice.  At 11:11 AM the Earth and the Moon line up with the Sun directly blocking the "center" of the Milky Way.  When eclipsed from that center, The Earth was deprived of the cosmic energy that flows from the heart of the galaxy.   

According to Humankind at the time, this is a certifiable end of the world.

The magnetic poles reversed instantly.  North became south and south beame north in a moment.  This dramatic reversal fried all electronics.  Ley Lines crashed up out of the Earth, tearing space and time while pumping magic back into the world!  The sky itself seemed to fracture, while the ground swelled, oceans surged, and the Earth broke and changed.  

During this Fracture, as it was later named, dimensional portals opened, bringing in creatures from other realms.  Whole forests and even mountain ranges were brought through, sometimes with disastrous results.

The Fracture also changed the power magic and technology has on the world.  Now magic is the driving source of society.  Ancient technology that has survived or has been recreated is met with fear and distrust.

The opening salvo of my world Terra Novo (not the first name, probably not the last).  The ideas of it have been bouncing around in my head for over 4 years now.  A bit has been typed out here and there (or copy and pasted from other sources), but mostly just bouncing around in my head.  Going with the "only create what you need" theory of world building.  In that 4 years I've been thinking about Terra Novo, I haven't even been playing D&D, so I haven't needed anything.

It's now 2812.  Far enough from the Fracture that the first generation of elves born here has died.  Human kingdoms have risen and fallen.  

I used floodmap.net to make this, and a bunch of other maps.  I think I'm going to use hexographer.com to make some "classic look" hex maps based off of these maps.  

Monday, October 20, 2014


Another from Dragon Magazine #162, the slaugh (pronounced slooa).  Taken from Gaelic mythology, known as "the host of the unforgiven dead", they are malevolent spirits of dead mortals.  Presented as undead in the article, I like them as an evil fey creature.  If you like them as undead, it's easy enough to change them over.  Looking through folklore, it's easy enough to see how you could make the argument either way.  Here's a good write up on them.

Tiny fey, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (leather armor)
Hit Points 2 (1d4)
Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft.

3 (-4)
18 (+4)
10 (+0)
14 (+2)
13 (+1)
11 (+0)

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +8
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Elvish, Sylvan
Challenge ¼ (50 XP)


Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: + 2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 1 slashing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 40/160 ft., one target.
Hit: 1 piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 minute.  It its saving throw results is 5 or lower, the poisoned target falls unconscious for the same duration, or until it takes damage or another creature takes an action to shake it awake.

Animate Dead.  The slaugh can touch a dead creature and animate it as either a zombie or a skeleton.  The slaugh can control up to 5 undead creatures.

Invisibility.  The slaugh magically turns invisible until it attacks or casts a spell, or until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell).  Any equipment the slaugh wears or carries is invisible with it.

The sluagh (pronounced slooa) are fey spirits who roam the night in packs, warring with each other and preying on the living. A member of the sluagh, or “the host”, looks much like a black sprite, with a dark shadowy body and gauzy iridescent wings.  Seen at a distance at twilight, a group of sluagh looks like a roiling thundercloud.

The sluagh exist in a state of barely controlled rage.  When not tormenting the living, they are likely to fight among themselves. Tales are told of great aerial battles fought between divisions of the sluagh host. Characters can often turn this animosity to their advantage, as large numbers of the sluagh are easily tricked into fighting each other
and leaving the characters alone.

Sluagh always travel in large war bands.  They appear only in the wilderness, never in dungeon settings. The sluagh never appear during the day and always flee sunlight. Their preferred habitat is any terrain similar to the Scottish Highlands.

The picture of the slaugh that emerges is certainly full of horror.  On a chill, frosty night, one might see the host advance in the bright moonlight. Like fast-moving, low-lying storm clouds, boiling with iridescent blues and greens and reds as if the aurora borealis was trapped within, the host would wash across the night sky.  Sometimes the rolling clouds would clash together and, when they did, bloody crimson rain would fall to stain the earth.

As the sluagh got closer, it could be seen that the clouds were actually masses of malignant bird-sized spirits. Each creature would look much like the negative photographic image of a sprite, with a dark shadowy body and iridescent wings. Each would be armed with a tiny bow with an equally tiny broad sword strapped to its waist. Trapped deep within the cloudlike host would be numerous zombies forced to obey every whim of the sluagh host.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Dragon Magazine #162 gives us some more wealth to mine with the Skotos, a relative of the shadow.  The skotos is based off of Teiresias and the ghosts of Tartarus in Homer's Odyssey.

John Henry Fuseli - Teiresias Foretells the Future to Odysseus

Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15
Hit Points 27 (5d8+5)
Speed  40 ft.

6 (-2)
14 (+2)
13 (+1)
10 (+0)
10 (+0)
8 (-1)

Skills Stealth +4 (+6 in dim light or darkness)
Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petified, poisoned, prone, restrained
Senses darkvision 60 ft. passive Perception 10
Languages -
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Amorphous. Skotos can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Shadow Stealth.  While in dim light or darkness, the skotos can take the Hide action as a bonus action.

Sunlight Weakness.  While in sunlight, the skotos has disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.

Undead Nature.  A skotos doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.


Multiattack.  Skotos makes 2 claw attacks.

Claw. melee weapon attack: + to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d10) necrotic damage.  On a hit, the target makes a DC 10 Constitution saving throw.  On a failed save, the amount of damage inflicted is subtracted from the victim’s hit point maximum, and added to the skotos’ current hit points.  The skotos can have a maximum of 45 hit points.  The victim can regain the loss to their hit point maximum with a long rest.

Skotos are spirits that have broken free of the netherworld and now roam the world of the living as undead. They form hunting packs to better swarm over their prey. Skotos look like pale, shadowy versions of normal beings. They can be of any intelligent race but are of evil alignment, for only evil creatures would voluntarily leave the afterlife to prey upon the living.

A skotos is drawn by fresh blood, which it consumes. As it absorbs the blood, it grows stronger.  It absorbs blood even from the wounds it inflicts in combat against living creatures.  Skotos encountered during or immediately after a bloody conflict will be so frenzied by the sight of blood that they will make no attempt at concealment, immediately attacking any living creature in sight.  Intelligent prey is, however, preferred.

Skotos usually roam in bands composed of similar races, though different beings may band together in their common goal of feeding upon the living. Though they have escaped the netherworld, skotos generally inhabit places that remind them of it.  Subterranean caverns and tunnels are preferred, although skotos bands will sometimes roam wilderness wastelands at night. Skotos dislike daylight intensely and will flee sunlight if at all possible.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wall of Bones

The last of the spells that can be found in the necromantic spellbook Cryptichronos conjures a wall of bones.  

Wall of Bones was mentioned in the article as being a spell that could be in the book and originally appeared in Oriental Adventures. It later appeared in 3.5's Complete Arcane.  Instead of converting from those versions, this is pretty much just a mash up of 5e's wall of stone and wall of thorns.

As an aside, years ago I toured Rome's Capuchin Crypt. Quite beautiful and definitely creepy.

Ok, I've edited this thing like 5 times trying to take out the weird spacing. Still keeps doing it. Deal with it. LOL.

Wall of Bones

4th-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (a withered peach branch taken from a cemetary)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
A nonmagical wall of bones springs into existence at a point you choose within range. The wall is 6 inches thick and is composed of ten 10-foot-by-10-foot panels. Each panel must be contiguous with at least one other panel. Alternatively, you can create 10-foot-by-20-foot panels that are only 3 inches thick.  Though solid, the wall has many small openings and gaps, and provides three-quarters cover to attacks from the other side.
When the wall appears, each creature within its area must make a Dexterity saving throw.  On a failed save, a creature takes 4d8 piercing damage, or half as much damage on a successful save.
A creature can move through the wall, albeit slowly and painfully.  For every one foot a creature moves through the wall, it must spend 4 feet of movement.  Furthermore, the first time a creature enters the wall on a turn or ends its turn there, the creature must make a Dexterity saving throw.  It takes 4d8 slashing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The wall is an object made of bones that can be damaged and thus breached. Each panel has AC 15 and 15 hit points per inch of thickness. Reducing a panel to 0 hit points destroys it and might cause connected panels to collapse at the DM’s discretion.
If you maintain your concentration on this spell for its whole duration, the wall becomes permanent and can’t be dispelled. Otherwise, the wall disappears when the spell ends.
At Higher Levels.  When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, both types of damage increase by 1d8 for each spell slot above 4th.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Creeping Darkness

Another of the spells that can be found in the necromantic spellbook Cryptichronos conjures a inky black cloud. Creeping Darkness was mentioned in the article as being a spell that could be in the book and originally appeared in Oriental Adventures. It later appeared in 3.5's Complete Arcane.  

It's listed as a 4th level evocation spell on the wu jen spell list. I felt it fits better as a conjuration, and was a bit under powered, so I changed it to 3rd level.

Creeping Darkness
3rd level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 ft.
Components: V, S, M (A whisker from a black cat and a tiny bottle of smoke captured on a moonless night.)
Duration: concentration or 1 minute

This spell creates an amorphous cloud of inky blackness that you can shape and move as desired. While you concentrate on it, the darkness can move up to 20 feet per round, either floating through air or seeping through the smallest cracks. The cloud stops all light and sound, so creatures within it (or creatures whose sensory organs and vocal apparatus are within it) are treated as being deafened and blinded (including creatures with darkvision), in addition to being unable to speak or cast spells with verbal components. As well, creatures entirely within the cloud have total concealment.

A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the cloud in 5 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses it in 2 rounds.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Amorphous Blob

Another of the spells that can be found in the necromantic spellbook Cryptichronos releases a hungry ooze.
Lynda Benglis - New Museum

Amorphous Blob
7th level transmutation
Casting Time 1 action
Range: Touch
Components V, S, M (ooze filled crystal orb, worth 5,000 gp).
Duration Special

The casting of this spell requires that you first construct a crystal orb filled with a swirling, gelatinous fluid. The orb and its contents take 1-4 weeks to manufacture. In order for the spell component to be made properly, you must enlist the aid of an experienced alchemist (or have the alchemist background) and must build a special laboratory equipped with its own strange, custom-made apparatus, the total cost of which can be no less than 5,000 gp. The wizard also needs to procure the following ingredients used to formulate the weird fluid: one pint of the spell-caster’s blood, three pints of ochre jelly, and one dram of acid from a black pudding. With these ingredients, the alchemist prepares a viscous solution and encapsulates it in a finely blown glass ball, 1’ in diameter. You then hold the sphere in a shocking grasp to magically activate the liquid contents. Once these procedures are completed, you may use the orb at any time thereafter to cast an amorphous blob. Should the glass container break before the spell is actually employed, the fluid is lost and you must start the process over again from scratch.

Casting an amorphous blob causes the fluid inside the sphere to congeal into a dangerous, amoeboid life-form that is released whenever the glass is shattered.  You can smash the ball by hurling it at an opponent, but great care must be taken since you have no control over his creation once it is released.

Amorphous Blob
Medium ooze, unaligned
Armor Class 8
Hit Points 22 (3d8 + 9)
Speed 10 ft., climb 10 ft.

12 (+1)
6 (−2)
16 (+3)
1 (−5)
6 (−2)
2 (−4)

Skills Stealth +2
Damage Resistances acid
Damage Immunities cold
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, prone
Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 8
Challenge ½ (100 XP) More as it grows.

Absorption.  The monster feeds in order to grow, and it grows extremely fast. The blob has a volume of four cubic feet upon its release, but on a killing attack, the amoeboid creature engulfs its prey and gains 1 hp for each hit die of the dead victim. Every 8 hp gained by the blob endows it with an additional hit die and results in not only an increase in volume of four cubic feet, but also a cumulative bonus of + 1 on damage rolls.

All increases in hit dice, size, and damage are permanent and do not decrease with the loss of hit points. No known limit exists to the blobĂ­s total volume, and if not soon killed, the creature can become extremely powerful.

Amorphous.  The ooze can move through a space as narrow as
1 inch wide without squeezing.

Corrode Metal.  Any nonmagical weapon made of metal that hits the ooze corrodes. After dealing damage, the weapon takes a permanent and cumulative −1 penalty to damage rolls.
If its penalty drops to −5, the weapon is destroyed. Nonmagical ammunition made of metal that hits the ooze is destroyed after dealing damage.

The blob can eat through 2-inch-thick, nonmagical metal in 1 round.

Lightning Absorption. Whenever the golem is subjected to lightning damage, it takes no damage and instead regains a number of hit points equal to the lightning damage dealt.

Regeneration.  The blob can regenerate 1 hp per round, but this ability cannot bring a dead blob back to life.


Pseudopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 9 (2d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage plus 3 (1d6) acid damage.