Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wand of Mirrors

The wand of mirrors originally appeared in Dragon Magazine #102 in an article "Nine Wands of Wonder" by Ed Greenwood.  I changed the name from wand of magical mirrors, and edited down the language.  I always feel that these 1st Edition AD&D  items were too wordy.

Wand of Mirrors
Rare magical wand
These wands were made by the archmage Glendar, who, though good and noble in life, became a lich, and was later destroyed. The knowledge of their making is now lost. Perhaps twenty were made, and most survive in the possession of powerful mages, or in treasure, caches.

Activation of this wand creates an opaque, silvery, and reflective circular shield of force. This shield appears wherever the wand is pointing, 10’ distant from the wielder of the wand, facing outward. Its surface will reflect images (including gaze attacks) like a mirror; the wand wielder can look through the mirror as though it was a window without suffering any harm from such attacks.  Also, viewing through the mirror gives you truesight.

The mirror-shield lasts for 1d6+2 rounds and moves as you move the point of the wand. Each wand can only have one shield created from it in existence at a time (the first shield will instantly vanish if a second is created). You need not concentrate on the shield to maintain its existence, and can even put the wand down or pass the wand to another (who thereby assumes control of the shield’s location).

The shield has no tangible physical existence; it can neither ward off attacks nor be used as a weapon. Creatures pass through it as though it does not exist. It will, however, reflect color spray spells striking it from any direction directly back at the caster, and harmlessly dispel darkness.  

Each creation of such a shield drains one charge from the wand, and such wands are not rechargable.

Download a PDF of this item here.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hammer of Penetration

The final item that I will be doing out of Dragon Magazine #99's Treasure Trove II is the Hammer of Penetration by John Uustal.

Updated up the 1e AD&D speech and and based the structural damage capabilities on the earth elemental's "siege monster" ability.

Hammer of Penetration
Rare magical weapon
This is a large-headed light hammer with a 2’ long handle. The hammer’s head slopes down to a point on one side, and the hammer is not balanced for throwing.

The hammer of penetration may be used one-handed in combat, and it does double normal hammer damage (2d4), plus a +3 bonus to hit and damage. When used two-handed on stone walls or wooden doors up to 2’ thick, the hammer does 4d4 damage.

PDF now available for download!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rock Gnomes of Eska

Rock Gnome

The rock gnomes of Eska mechanically are like the gnomes in the 5e Player’s Handbook.  Physically, their skin has taken on a rough, pebbly stone-like texture.  This provides no protection, though.

The rock gnomes sought to escape the wars that ravaged Eska and drove them from their homes.  They scavenge ruins for metal, wood and stone that they can use to create.  Using their ingenuity they built their massive crawlers that have become their roaming homes.  Powered by magic, each crawler is large enough to support a small gnome clan or large family.

Equipped with cranes, furnaces, workshops and lots of living and/or storage space, crawlers are perfect as mobile headquarters, shops, and homes for the diminutive junk scavengers. Rooftop gardens provide food.  The vehicles play a large role in gnome society. One of the most important days for most gnomes was the annual meeting of crawlers. They are also key in gnomish defense doctrine: the vehicle's armor is strong enough to protect from most attacks.

Using the magic that powered the crawlers, the gnomes have built what has become their most fantastic creation, the warforged.  The warforged protect the gnomes and their crawlers from the roving bands that would seek to rob the gnomes.  There has also been a good market in selling warforged off as well.  

The gnomes make their living as craftsmen and traders, always traveling, though.  They are generally distrustful of the elves because they started the wars.  They feel pity towards the dwarves, and generally cut them good deals.  Most others they are distrustful of, though generally willing to do business with.

Gnomes of Eska worship Garl Glittergold.

Inspiration for the crawlers was taken from Wookieepedia.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bow of Doubling

Next item from Dragon Magazine #99's Treasure Trove II is the Bow of Doubling, originally by Stephen Martin.

I have updated this entry and included it in my DMs Guild Pay What You Want entry, Bazaar of the Bizarre: Archer's Best Friend.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Gray Elves of Eska (Mith'edhel)

Gray Elf

The gray elf, or mith’edhel, were the ruling class before the wars threw Eska into chaos.  Their arrogance is what others notice first about them.  They have pale skin and fair hair, and are taller than other elves.  Most gray elves have amber eyes, but violet eyes are rare but not unknown.  The prefer to wear gray, white, silver and gold. Facial tattoos are a recent trend that started with the war.  Wings and aerial motifs are common decorations.

Gray elves prefer not to get their hands dirty, both literally and figuratively.  They are the elite.  The rulers.  The leaders.  They guard their wizardly powers jealousy.  Only a handful of gray elf trained non-elf wizards wander Eska.  

The gray elves are served by goblins, who perform all the day to day mundane tasks. Their goblin entourages follow them closely, but not too close, ready to fulfil the mith’edhel’s every wish.

During the wars, they used their arcane magic to create soldiers to fight the drow armies.  They transformed their goblin servants into mighty hobgoblin legions and armed them with shocklances, and created the obsidian giants.

In the aftermath of the wars, they have retreated to their most secluded domed mountain cities, hidden on mountaintops and secluded valleys in the Earka’orod, the mountains that run down the center of Eska.

They don’t use the ma'tok, or shocklances, themselves.  They consider them “brutal tools for brutal fools”.  Ezuchiro (charge blades) are their weapon of choice, and jealously guarded.  Any n'taurn seen with one will be shunned at best, but most likely hunted, captured and killed.

Gray elves are the most haughty and aloof race on Eska.  They think almost nothing of other races, even other elven races. Most other races they call “n'taurn”, low. The dwarves they hold in lower regard, calling them "talant", the fallen.  Huan'apan and saurians are nothing more than beasts.

The grey elves worship Corellon Larethian.

Ability Score Increase.

Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Elf Weapon Training.

You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.


You know one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.

Speak with Small Avians.

Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller avian beasts, be they reptile, insect or mammal.  Gray elves love flying creatures and often keep them as pets.

Ezuchiro (charge blades)

25 gp 1d6 piercing 1 lb. Finesse, light

Charge blades are the size of a short sword and consist of a metal hilt which produces a blade of hard light and can come in a variety of colors including blue, orange, gray, green, red, purple, pink and yellow.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Stone of Mysterious Sounds

The Stone of Mysterious Sounds is another creation from Dragon Magazine #99's Treasure Trove II.  It is originally by Nick Kopsinis.
It was a pretty easy conversion.  It had a minimum strength to make it stick when thrown, and required a "to hit" roll, but I just simplified it to a single Strength check.  

I added the bit about wild sorcerers, inspired by the 2nd Edition AD&D's wild mage having a 50% chance to control wands of wonder and other random magic items.  It's something I think I'm going to add as a class ability.  I think 50% chance to control is a bit much, so I built off of the existing mechanic of the spell attack bonus to expand the range of the die roll and give a couple options to choose from.

Stone of Mysterious Sounds
Uncommon wondrous item
This stone appears to be similar to any other magical stone, though it is malleable and can be easily grasped and reshaped by a human hand. The stone cannot be pulled apart into smaller stones, and it has only limited elasticity.

You may hurl this stone up to 30’.  With a DC 12 Strength check, the stone will stick to whatever non-living surface it strikes. The stone will remain stuck to that surface until it is pulled off (which doesn’t require any special strength roll). One round after it sticks to a surface, the stone will emit one of a number of different sounds. The stone will broadcast this sound until it is pulled free of the surface to which it is stuck.

You may also fit the stone onto a solid surface, then strike the stone with a heavy blunt object to start the sound production.

The stone of mysterious sounds is useful for distracting and deterring opponents from pursuit, to allow the characters to escape or gain time for other actions. Each time the stone is activated, a roll must be made on the following table to determine what sound it produces.  

A wild sorcerer activating a stone of mysterious sound can add or subtract up to their spell attack bonus to the d% roll to select from a variety of noises.
d% Roll
Noise Produced
buzzing bees
ocean waves on beach
stones grinding
muffled whispering*
whip cracks
fingers snapping
mumbled chanting*
animal growling
birds chirping
horns (musical)
steady rain
wind chimes
fighting (swords clashing, shouts, etc.)*
chains rattling
wind blowing
*The race of the person(s) making the sound cannot be determined, and no intelligible speech will be discerned.

**The race of the person(s) speaking can be determined randomly or by the DM. The content of the speech may be determined by the DM as desired.

Download the PDF for this item here!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Eska's Appendix N

To show you how I'm imagining Eska, I'm going to share with you the inspirationl sources that sparked this whole thing.

Mad Max: Fury Road.  I had wanted to see it, but I rarely go to the movies.  I usually catch them later and watch at home.  My wife wasn't interested in seeing it, so I went and saw it, alone...  I had forgotten how fond I was of the Mad Max world.  Things have gone to hell, and we have no idea how it got that way.  Different roving bands and petty warlords all have a "unique look".

Building on unique look, you can't help but love 1979's The Warriors.  One of my all time favorites movies.
That, but turned up to 11.

A healthy dose of Thundarr the Barbarian, He-Man and Blackstarr.

All that got thoughts swirling in my head, and I binge-read some Hill Cantons and other stuff about D&D's implied world.

Jurassic World has me replacing all the standard Earth beasts with dinosaurs, giant lizards, giant insects, monstrosities, and more.  Who doesn't want to ride around on a giant wasp, or an axebeak instead of horses?

“Outside Paris the breakdown of authority was reaching catastrophe. Its catalyst was the brigandage of military companies spawned by the warfare of the last fifteen years. There were the Free Companies who write “sorrow on the bosom of the earth” and were to become the torment of the age. Composed of English, Welsh, and Gascons released after [the Battle of] Poitiers, as soldiers customarily were to avoid further payment...

Along with German mercenaries and Hainault adventurers, they gathered in groups of 20-50 around a captain...In the year after the truce they swelled, merged, organized, spread, and operated with ever more license. Seizing a castle, they would use it as a stronghold from which to exact tribute from every traveler and raid the countryside.

They imposed ransoms on prosperous villages and burned the poor ones, robbed abbeys and monasteries of their stores and valuables, pillaged peasants' barns...As the addiction took hold, they wantonly burned harvests and farm equipment and cut down trees and vines, destroying what they lived by, in actions which seem inexplicable except as a fever of the time or an exaggeration of the chroniclers.”

-Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror

"Life was squalid in the lofty but crowded fortifications atop isolated hills; visits from bandits and robbers outnumbered those from merchants and churchmen".

-Urban, William, Bayonets for Hire: Mercenaries at War, 1550-1789, p. 31, Greenhill Books, London 2007.

How can I forget Rifts? Rifts fully captured my 17 year old brain. While I don't like the Palladium ruleset, some part of the Rifts setting creeps into every world I create and game I run.

Forgot one, so I had to come back and add it. Corellon Larethian must be stopped! Kind of some general thoughts on the start of the elf civil war.

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Sunday, July 5, 2015


Eska, "home" in the elven tongue is a land in turmoil.

Until recently, the high elves, wood elves and drow lived in peace and harmony, ruling the small continent of Eska until Lolth split the drow elf away in an act of rebellion.  This sparked off a terrible war that lasted nearly two centuries and has left its mark on all the races of Eska.
Click to embiggen.
There was no winner in this war.  The land is left scarred and its people scattered.  What was so recently thriving cities, towns, and ports are now just huddled masses hoping to survive.

The high elves, once the ruling class on Eska, have retreated into domed mountaintop cities.  During the war, their masters of wizardry used strange magics to transform their goblin servants into hobgoblin troopers, and armed them with shocklances.  

Dome Cityby Ishutani

Wood elves once roamed the northern forests and plains have now retreated into treetop cities.  Using sorcery to awaken the wild dogs that once ran with them to fight in the war, their gnolls now run rampage over most corners of the land, out of control.

The drow, driven from the surface, used their spider mounts to drive the dwarves from their halls, and are adapting to life underground.

Now the dwarves roam in clans, the hopefully taking control of former elven fortifications across the land.  They are not doing well with life on the surface, though.  The lucky ones have developed a twitch, or a stutter.  A vast majority of them fall into rages while fighting, which they often do.  They fight for loot, for food, and for homes.

Rock gnomes make their way across the land in their giant crawlers, scavenging as they go.  They build fantastic things with the metal scraps, wood from ravaged forests and stone from the cities of rubble that dot the land.  Warforged, their greatest creation, guard their caravans as they travel.  Many more warforged were sold into mercenary companies during the wars.

The swamps and deserts teem with lizardfolk, who have begun to step out and ask "is it now our time?".

Bandits, brigands, and pirates, all former soldiers in the war, know nothing of peace.  They take land by force, getting what they want mainly through the use of their cannons.  They claim ruins and take over strongholds, setting themselves up as petty kings.

Ley lines cross the land, adding power to spellcasters who can channel their power.

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