Sunday, April 17, 2016

Quagmire (Living Quicksand)

Dragon Magazine #127 had once creature in it that immediate jumped out at me as belonging on Eska. The quagmire was originally created by Scott Bennie, and I built my conversion upon James Introcaso's young gaping maw, with a few changes.

SPEEDPAINT - Swampby tgw-Raptor

Scattered among the coastal swamps and marshlands of Eska, a curious ooze has developed, the quagmire, or living quicksand. They are quite a natural hazard to those who are unaware of their presence.

Saurians on Eska have developed a bit of a relationship with quagmires, and use them as defensive hazards around their sviks. Once a quagmire has been identified, they mark the area around it, often with discreet marks on surrounding trees and rocks. A DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) check is required to identify these markings. Saurians gain advantage on these checks, though members of the closest svik will know where the quagmires are located without having to make a check. After the area is marked, they proceed to make sure it is well fed so that it does not move.

When a quagmire reproduces, or found in an undesirable area, a saurian svik will try to move it, a long and arduous process given the quagmire's slow speed and luring scent. Such an undertaking often requires the entire svik working in tandem, and there is usually a loss of saurian life. Any outsiders that offer or are recruited to help are often adopted by the svik and made members of the clan upon successful completion of the task.

Large ooze, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 85 (10d10+30)
Speed 10 feet
14 (+2)
12 (+1 )
16 (+3)
8 (-1)
15 (+2)
8 (-1)
Skills Perception +8, Stealth +10
Senses blindsight 60 feet, tremorsense 120 feet, passive Perception 20
Languages none
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Scent Lure. The quagmire can emit a variety of scents that lure in animal prey. When within 30 feet of a quagmire, the target must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or suffer from the charmed condition and use its movement to move towards the quagmire. The victim gets another saving throw each round to counter the effects.

Grappler. The quagmire has advantage on attack rolls against a creature grappled by it.

Psedopod Pull. The quagmire can use its move to pull any number of creatures it is grappling adjacent to it.

Multiattack. A quagmire may make two psedopod attacks or one psedopod attack and one bite attack.

Psedopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 feet, one creature.
Hit: 14 (2d8+5) bludgeoning damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until the grapple ends the target is restrained. The quagmire has four psedopods and so it can only grapple four creatures in this way.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 feet, one creature. Hit: 20 (3d10+5) piercing damage.

Swallow. The quagmire makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the quagmire.

Swallowed creatures must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 round. At the end of this period if the creature is still swallowed by the quagmire they save again or remained paralyzed for another round. If the creature does save but remains swallowed it is subject to another saving throw every round after the successful one. A swallowed creature’s maximum hit points are reduced by 1 for round it is swallowed. When it’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0 the creature is completely digested by the quagmire and dies.
Quagmires, or living quicksand, are strange creatures related to assorted oozes that live in marshes. Quagmires are virtually undetectable, blending in perfectly with the terrain.

Quagmires devour organic matter, even leather, bone, and paper, but will leave deposits of metal and gems (the undigested remains of their victims). Quagmires can be huge, with pools 30 feet in diameter not unknown. They are believed to reproduce by fission. Because quagmires blend in with their surroundings, they have no true coloration.

Please check out my Pay What You Want titles on DM's Guild!

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bazaar of the Bizarre: Archer's Best Friend

My newest Pay What You Want entry to the DM's Guild is a collection of ten bows and ammunition converted mostly from an article in Dragon Magazine #127, but I also updated the Bow of Doubling from Dragon Magazine #99's Treasure Trove II that I had previously converted here. I present to you, Bazaar of the Bizarre: Archer's Best Friend.

Updated 4/25/16 with two new items!
Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mists of Akuma, a preview

I was recently contacted by Mike Myler and given a sneak peak into his upcoming Mists of Akuma setting for 5e. It's going to be released by Storm Bunny Studios, with the Kickstarter going live on April 29, 2016. Described as "Eastern Fantasy Noir Steampunk" for 5e D&D, this is a setting that absolutely drips with flavor.

"The year is 3466; monsoons have become more and more common since the roiling, demon-spewing Mists of Akuma first appeared, and the sun’s light grows duller with every day that passes after the end of the War of Kaiyo more than a century ago. A pall of darkness has fallen on Soburin and even its greatest heroes are mired in the petty intrigues and never-ending slights of aggressive clans. Spellswords and mercenaries cross the countryside in search of fortune, leaving the poor and meek to fend for themselves or die in the harsh reality of a broken world where technology has been either abandoned as heresy or perilously embraced."

Full disclosure: I've never gamed in an "eastern setting". My only experience is many readings of the old AD&D Oriental Adventures book, and a devoted watcher of Bruce Lee and Kung Fu Theatre on the USA Network in the '80s. I did allow a few OA characters in my Greyhawk games back in the day, though.

So, pulling from that experience, Mists of Akuma hits all the right notes. Samurai, ninja, wu jen, hengeyokai and martial arts galore! The "steampunk noir" elements are evocative of Into the Badlands on AMC.

I've gotten to see several early documents. The Primer is a sneak of some setting specific backgrounds like the ronin and shinobi. Races such as the shikome and tanuki (anthropomorphic raccoon dogs).

The two class archetypes are excellent, the paladin Samurai sacred oath, and the wu jen warlock.

The flavor suggestions on the wu jen is great, such as this from the Summer Patron:
"Pact of the Chain. Your familiar is in tune with your patron and takes the form of a magma mephit with an alignment that matches yours. The magma mephit loses its death burst, innate spellcasting, and fire breath abilities.
Pact of the Blade. Your weapon could be a scimitar with engravings of flames that dance along the handle and hilt, sizzling the air with each swipe.
Pact of the Tome. Your Book of Shadows might be a crimson red tome with a gold engravings of fire that is always warm to the touch no matter how cold the environment around it is."

The Autumn, Spring and Winter are just as evocative.

EnWorld has done a nice preview of the Martial Arts section. Overall I really like the flavor and imagery of the martial arts. It is feat driven, and in the raw playtest document that I got to peek at provides a monk martial arts monastic tradition that pretty much gives you additional martial art feats as class abilities, including the ability to use more than one stance at a time.
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Making these available as feats allows all classes to dabble in martial arts. Rogues and fighters, with their additional feats will really be able to be fleshed out as ninjas and bushi, and the martial arts monastic tradition monk will really shine.

Of course, no eastern setting would be complete without the Imperial Dragons!

Here's what the setting contains, according to the quick primer they sent me.

Scores of beautiful, brand new illustrations from several talented artists to truly depict the unique world of Soburin in all of its dark, gritty glory
Detailed workings of Sanbaoshi, the capital of Soburin and home to the Imperial Palace of the Masuto Dynasty
Information on the Star of the North, Chikan, one of the unique scientifi c prefectures of Soburin
A section on Nagabuki, Gem of the South and one of Soburin’s most traditional states
The 22 great clans of Soburin, each with statistics for a unique Bengoshi (government agent) and henchman
Five different imperial dragons and over a dozen oni, filling your game with exciting new monsters
A treasure trove of new class options!
Bushibot Martial Archetype, Circle of Blight, Circle of Shifting, Clockwork Adept Arcane
Tradition, College of the Gun, Detective Rogue
Archetype, Herbalist Rogue Archetype, Mage
Arcane Tradition, Martial Artist Monastic Tradition,
Ninja Rogue Archetype, Priest Monastic Tradition, Samurai Sacred Oath, , Shinobibot Archetype,
Tsukumogami Hunter Ranger Archetype, Wu-Jen Warlock Pacts (with four patrons for every season of Soburin)
New races for players in Soburin!
Humans (Soburi, Ceramian, and Ropaeo),
Bakemono, Enjin, Hengeyokai (of the
Cat, Dog, Monkey, Rat, Crane, Fox, and
Spider varieties), Kappa, Mutants, Necroji,
Oni-Touched, Psonorous, Pyon, Shikome,
Steametic, Tanuki, Tengu, Umibozu
Dozens of new feats for spellcasters, warriors, and dedicated martial artists
Eastern armor and weapons, as well as a retinue of steampunk equipment
Two new attributes to instill flavor into your game: Dignity and Haitoku

Like I've said, I've gotten a sneak peak of a 44-page playtest document as well that provides a really nice collection of all the crunch mentioned above, and really only hints at the setting. Still, a lot of great inferences can be gleaned and I've gotten a pretty good feel of what's to come.

There are a few things that I'm not a huge fan of. Many of the feats have ability score requirements, which is different from core 5e. I can see the reasoning behind the prerequisites, but it is a break from the base rules. While other feats are class specific (for the wu jen). Maybe these could be worked in as wu jen options instead of taken as a feat? They are reminiscent of racial feats that WoTC has introduced, but I don't like them either.

I do like the steampunk vibe, but I'm not 100% sold on the implementation that I've seen. These are from the playtest, and are still rough at this point. The tsukumogami I find a bit weird. These are normal objects that on their 100th birthday can animate and become aware. I know these are from Japanese folklore, but even in their mythic sources I find them strange.

They also include a variety of "cyborg like" enhancements (my words, not Mike Myler's). Base rules, but not to much to them at this point. James Introcaso has an excellent system for bioorganic items for his Exploration Age campaign setting that I feel is absolutely brilliant on this point.

Overall, I do really like what I see here. The art and layout that I've seen is gorgeous and evocative. It hits all of my "Eastern Grognard" checkmarks on what I would like to see, as well as the post-apocalyptic pseudo-magicitech that I like and want to bring forth in my own Eska setting. I eagerly anticipate the upcoming April 29th, 2016 Kickstarter, and can't wait to see more.

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