Thursday 20 March 2014

Artifacts from the Vine-worm Mother's Crater

Not for glory was the Vine-Worm Mother exterminated, but for the glint of treasure winking from her be-vined crater-home. In the hidden gloom of a Dwarven thoroughfare she was poisoned, and now her twisting figure rots in a hole. Her murderers recovered the following artifacts from her offering pile.

Shield of Clasping Detritus:

A small cracked, stone buckler, the backside of which has a rubbery, pliant texture. The wearer of this shield will find it impossible to remove it once donned, though the rubbery, rocky strap maybe be moved from hand to fore-arm. Over the day of initially strapping on the shield the wearer's body will slowly take on the aspect of stone. They will become pale, bluish and craggy and their skin turns hard and cold to the touch. Unsightly, bulbous stone protrusions will also form over their body.

 This transformation, and wearing the shield itself, has the following effects:
  • The wearer's base AC is increased by 2, plus an additional 1 point of AC bonus if the shield is wielded rather than moved up the forearm to free up the hand. 
  • The 2 in 6 chance ability to hide against a backdrop of stone, rocks, cliffs, stone-ruins, etc when standing still. 
  • Due to hardening of the epidermis the wearer of the shield is much less agile and their Dexterity drops by 1 point, their fingers in particular become constantly numb and less deft leading to a penalty of 2 to any ranged attacks or actions involving fine motor skills. 
  • The wearer of the shield will also always go last in a scenario where individual initiative is used. 
Once the transformation is complete, the wearer of the shield has control of its shape like that of a particular cramped, numb limb suffering from extreme parathesia. The shield can change shape once a day, and can be melded into something completely un-shield like, such as a head, wing, statue, etc, but any armor class benefits of using the buckler as a shield are negated for the day. The transformed shield must remain on the arm which the shield was initially worn, and the shape it transforms into can not exceed the general mass of a small dog. To do this requires a successful Save vs Paralyze or the shield stays as its shape from the day before. This may only be attempted once per day.

Any non dwarfs will find the wearer's cracked, grey and segmented skin disturbing and uncouth resulting in a -4 penalty to any social Charisma based checks or actions. Dwarfs will generally find the effect agreeable though particularly proud and historically minded dwarfs with knowledge of the shield and its like may become offended if they see a non-dwarf transformed by the shield

To remove the shield, the Stone to Flesh spell must be cast on the wearer.

Blood Drawer's Oath Ring:

A black ring inset with a dull black stone. When the ring is worn the stone turns red.

These rings was used as a form of punishment by ancient dwarfs. The ring was placed on traitors, heretics and those guilty of treason. Once the ring is put on a finger, the wearer must spill the blood of non-dwarven foe once a day and dip the ring into that blood to avoid the onset of a mortal illness. Those condemned to wear the rings were shipped to an area known to house aggressors of the dwarfs and left to fend for themselves. Only those that sate the thirst of the ring and return to dwarven civilization are forgiven for their past transgressions.

Wearing the ring has the following effects:

  • When placing the ring on a finger the wearer may not remove it for d6 weeks. Each day that the ring is worn a non-dwarven foe's blood must be drawn by the wearer. If this does not occur the stone of the ring will begin to darken and the finger will begin to fester and rot. The wearer will become nauseous and be filled with an oppressive sense of dread.  The amount of weeks that the wearer is required to wear the rings equals the amount of days without blood the ring will wait before attempting to kill its wearer. Each day the ring does not receive blood impacts the wearer with a stacking additional penalty of 2 to all actions. Once the amount of days without blood are up, the wearer must make a Save Vs Death each day to avoid death.
  • The knowledge of impending doom imbues the wearer's psyche with a vicious and savage will to fight for their life, granting a bonus of 1 to both To Hit and damage.
  • Any person who survives the Blood Drawer's Oath, sates the thirst of the ring is granted 1000 XP per level and a permanent increase of 1 to Wisdom when they remove the ring. The bonus to To Hit and damage no longer apply and the increase in Wisdom may only be bestowed once.        
Removing the ring normally will result in instant death but a wearer who takes off the ring as Remove Curse is cast upon them may Save Vs Death to avoid dieing.

Zafu of Welling Thought: 

A circular rug, two and a half feet across, decorated with a dark, swirling, psychedelic pattern. Though clearly worn and aged by countless centuries, it's lurid colored  patterns draw and mesmerize the eye

This Zafu was loomed in age when primal magic energy swirled constantly through the ether and drenched the world. Those that kneel upon it to meditate feel themselves sinking deep below the earth and are able to harness the ancient power that lurks there. Doing so causes a depression in the world's psychic fields and those of weak conviction and disorganized mind tumble towards it.

The Dwarven Magi had a twofold use for this Zafu. They enriched themselves with magical power and entrapped those dwarfs who were not of sound mind. Free-thinking, dwarfs who in their deepest thoughts did not respect the Sanctity of Law were powerless to resist the curvature of the Zafu's psychic hill.

A Magic User who meditates (meaning the 8 hour rest/meditation) with the assistance of the Zafu has the following effects:
  • They may memorize an addition 1-3 spells above their normal allowance. With a singular additional spell the chance of a random encounter with a chaotic being is increased to 2 in 6. With 2 additional spells the chance of a random encounter a with a chaotic being is increased to 4 in 6. With 3 additional spells a random encounter with a chaotic being is guaranteed.
  • In areas that are normally considered safe, such as town and cities, chaotic beings will be inexplicably drawn towards the magic user, normally to attempt to procure the Zafu for themselves. 
  • Using the Zafu to memorize a singular additional spell will disrupt any Chaotic aligned party member's attempt rest and they must Save Vs. Spells or the 8 hours will pass without them receiving any of the benefits of resting. With 2 additional spells any Chaotic aligned party members will be simply unable to rest for the 8 hours and gain no benefits of the period. With 3 additional spells any Chaotic aligned party members will, on the fourth hour of rest, have to make a Save Vs. Spells to not spend 1 round attacking the meditating Magic User. The Chaotic party member will attack the meditating magic user for each round that they fail their Save Vs. Spells until the Magic User is dead or stops meditating. If this occurs, neither the Magic User or the Chaotic party member receive the benefits of rest.
The Zafu is rather bulky and thus transporting the Zafu on one's person results in a penalty of 1 to the carrier's Dexterity.

Monday 10 March 2014

Magic Consumables: Salve of Vermin Poreification and Knotted Wring of Babble Weed

I would like to see more one-time-use magic consumables.When I get around to writing it all up I want my Guild Dogs campaign setting to be filled with them. I want to have a veritable feast of temporary game breaking items available for players to purchase before each "job".

Imagine these items come from seething black metropolis filled with all the weirdness of intersecting multiverses. Also note that these items aren't particular wild and belong on the mundane side of an adventurer's inventory.

These items do what they say they do once, and then they are gone. They are consumables after all. You could probably buy a few of them if you had the ability to carry them (and the gold).

Salve of Vermin Poreification: 500 GP, Black ointment contained in a metallic canister.

Large black pustules will begin to form once this tarry jelly is smeared over a person's (or fleshy being's) skin. A patch of flesh approximately the size of human's thigh is needed for the verminifaction to take place. 12 hours after the application a quivering mass of vermin filled sacks will be protruding from the salve's application area. With the correct flex of the muscles beneath the sacks, or the correct pressure applied either side of the sacks, a swarm of misshapen insects will burst forth from the popped abscess's. There is a 75 percent chance that the vermin swarm will move in the direction the host of the vermin sacks was intending (the art of aimed boil popping is unfortunately lost to the ages). If the chance fails roll a d8 to determine the direction the vermin travel in.

The airborne insects released from the pustules will move directly along their launched trajectory until they make contact with an immovable barrier. At this point they will continue to squirm against said movable barrier until they exhaust themselves and fall to the floor dead. Any flesh-based being caught in the cloud of insects path will take 1d4 damage as the insects bite and sting them. They must also make a Save Vs. Poison to avoid their bites swelling into unsightly, stinging boils which will drive them to distraction for the next 24 hours (-1 to any attempted actions).

Once the insect pustules are popped the host takes 1d6 damage and is left with a large open sore. This wound has a 1% chance to become infected with the cancerous magics that produce the insects themselves.

Knotted Wring of Babble Weed: 750GP, Knotty roots braided into a arm sized band, the underside of which is speckled with fleshy, pink suckers.

Slipping this wooden band over a persons arm will cause the suckers on the underside to leech onto their skin and release incredibly thin, sharp root tips. These will quickly spread to tap into the blood steam of the arm. At this point said person is require to make a Constitution Save at a penalty of 3 to avoid instantly passing out from pain.

Once the root tips have tapped the blood stream, the band will begin to sprout luscious red vines, leaves and flowers. The plant growing from the band will be fully formed, protruding approximately a foot in all directions from the band, in d6 rounds. Each round that the band grows results in 1 point of HP lost for the person wearing the band. The plant will not grow to its full size (and thus not flower) if the person wearing the band drops below 0 HP. It will continue to grow if that person is unconscious but above 0 HP.

The flowers of the Knotted Wring of Babble Weed bear a resemblance to that of a human's lips. Once formed the lips will begin to "sing" an alien, but alluring sounding song that will draw the attention of any vaguely intelligent being within 100 feet of the plant. The song lasts for 1d10 rounds. During this time any being hearing the song will do everything within its power to get closer to the noise. They will not risk bodily harm or death for this goal though. Those within a 10' radius of the plant's first round of song will be affected by the plant's soothing, healing vapors which heal for 1d6 and calm any mental anxiety for the next day.

Once the Babble Weed has sung its leaves will wither, die and fall to the ground. The ring will be unable to be removed without severe damage to the wearer's circularity system  for the next d10 days. 

Sunday 9 March 2014

Easy Mapping for G+ Hangout Gaming

In most games I run I will draw a basic map for my players. I can see the value in leaving the mapping to players, but in the campaign I'm currently I value speed of getting across basic ideas of space. Explaining relative distances between objects and people is much easier when I map things, rather than having to re-explain details as they change in importance to the player. One day I'll run a game where the mapping is left to the party and cackle with glee as they get hopelessly lost. Until that day, my current practice for mapping online G+ Hangout games is outlined below.

I take a blank Google Documents Spreadsheet with re-sized cells:

Then I share it with the Party and color in the Squares to make a map!

Adventure ensues.

The squares generally represent 10'x10' but my measurements get pretty liquid. Also I don't use my maps for tactical combats, just to give an idea of where everything is.

Here's the link to the blank map which you're welcome to copy and try my mapping system for yourself.

As a bonus, here's my folder of maps I've created over the course of my G+ campaign.