dinsdag 22 augustus 2017

Eberron s1e4 - jewelry heist

Roll call

  • Falco, Human wizard 3/cleric 1 of the Blood of Vol out of Karrnath, former acolyte of the Church of Vol, looking to become a freelancer of the Finder's Guild. Ultimately in search of immortality. The right feat choice means he finally has more hit points than the henchmen.
  • Lhorsan, High Elf rogue 4; Elf out of the Eldeen Reaches with a haunted past. Previously encumbered with a life-sucking cursed item. Got rid of it and took sweet revenge on the organization behind it.
  • Igor, henchman fighter 1 in the employment of Falco. Main duties: hauling stuff, pouring healing potions down Falco's throat.
  • Sara, henchman cleric 1 of the Devourer. Lucky carousing roll means she works for free the first month. 

Happily Retired

  • Rathan, Stout Halfling ranger 2 out of the Talenta Plains.

Dearly departed

  • Hedrak, human drop-out from Morgrave university; the party's original employer. Died in the session's second Lightning Rail crash.
  • Redeker, human member of House Orien, purser on the Lightning Rail out of Gatherhold. Died channeling the escaped lighting elemental back into the train's engine.

Sara: This internship is turning out to be AWESOME.

Igor: Totally.

Sara: Like, I had my doubts when the history teacher at Arcanix said that he had the perfect mentor for me. I mean, a wussy Elf that looks like a stiff wind can blow him over?

Igor: I feel your pain. My new employer ran away from a stray cat, screaming "1d4 damage, if it crits I'm dead!" Swear to god.

Sara: They travel light though.

Igor: They have to. Carrying capacity of a gnat, the both of them.


Sara: It's like they saved all the 18s for our stats and took the crappy rolls for themselves.

Igor: Gotta respect that.

Sara: Do we?

Igor: Nah, just messing. Anyways. At first it didn't seem like the best of career choices. Playing henchman to a Karrnathi cleric/wizard who is trying to sell a Hobgoblin artifact at the Wayfinder auction...

Sara: ...snore. Likewise with the Elf and his constant crying over a sharp edge on his bracelet.

Igor: I think that was actually the thing trying to suck out his soul or something. Anyway, things definitely picked up when they played the Hobgoblin lady and the scary Gnome chick against each other and made off with a couple thou' more than the highest bid in the auction.

Sara: Pfah, money...when the Storm comes, no-one cares about your coins.

Igor: It does buy pretty armor and healing potions.

Sara: ...which they need.

Igor: ...desparately!

[both laugh]

Sara: I still wasn't too sure of our new "mentors" when we set out to ask an old guy about a piece of jewelry.

Igor: Hey, don't diss your boss' armband! It's not just a pretty piece of glitter, it's [waggles fingers] CURSED TO SEND HIS LIFE FORCE TO A MYSTERIOUS MASTER AMULET!

Sara: I pity whoever has to live off of Lhorsan's hit points.

Igor: Still twice the amount Falco has!

[laughter again, and lewd jokes, and more laughter]

Igor: I have a feeling we'll be laughing for a while longer with these two in charge.

Sara: That's a bit harsh - they did track down the dude who originally found these bloodsucking bracelets in Xen'Drik.

Igor: Confession: I spaced out on shrooms during all that exposition.

Sara: Thank the Devourer for eating my memory of that story. Something about a nobleman who decided to stop adventuring and go back to help build up Merylsward?

Igor: Fucking Merylsward.

Sara: Ass end of nowhere, and in the Eldeen Reaches that is REALLY saying something.

Igor: That pimple on the ass of the continent DID have a swanky medical horror dungeon underneath Baron Meryl's mansion.

Sara: Did you notice the old guy was a vampire?

Igor: Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Sara: I'm not fucking around! Ninety years old human, spry as fuck, can read in the dark, doesn't come out during the daytime, loads of zombies around the place?

Both: [in chorus] FUCK ZOMBIES.

Igor: Be glad it was just zombies. Did you see when the piece of meat that Lhorsan took out of the acid vat started to grow back into a troll??

Sara: Happy he dunked it back in time. But it would have been a nice change of pace from the zombies.

Igor: If I never have to put a patch-job reanimation to rest again, I will die happy.

Sara: Endless. Hacking. Of. Zombies. Most boring night time infiltration job ever.

Igor: Until one got to the alarm button.

Sara: Ok, that was fun.

Igor: If you call an ogre zombie to the face fun.

Sara: Ow. Talk about stamina...

Igor: My personal highlight of the soiree was when master ...


Igor: [blushing furiously] ...fuck you and your stepladder, Dwarf.

Sara: With a smell like yours, the stepladder is the only one you stand a chance with.

Igor: Still better odds than our heroic mentors. 

[both laugh]

Igor: ANYWAY: my highlight is when Lhorsan's sleep spell took down the level 5 wizard and his 15 hit points before he could rain arcane pestilence upon us.

Sara: I glanced at his spellbook. Sleep, Web, Suggestion...guy was a creep. Posing as the count's servant, blackmailing him into allowing a medical dungeon on the estate...

Igor: Lucky us that Lhorsan whipped out Sleep. Falco and his Melf's Acid Arrow, I dunno. That thing gave an unimpressive performance.

Sara: [snickering] That's what she said.

Igor: I was not looking forward to dude getting back up again. But that wasn't going to happen. Not after he got a 40 hit point crit in the throat.

Sara: That was sweet arrow shooting by the Elf.

Igor: Word. It was pretty much over at that point.

Sara: The healer halflings that ran the whole place were still around.

Igor: Sure, but their heart wasn't really in it. First we robbed their precious life draining / healing items without them noticing. And when they woke up it was still clownsville. Trying to set off the self-destruct and failing...

Sara: Trying to gate in reinforcements...

Igor: ...too late...

Sara: ...and being turned blind...

Igor: ...and finally carried away by your own guards through your precious gate...

Sara: Sad, really.

Igor: [stretching] We can't all be awesome muscle-bound masters of mayhem.

Sara: Aw, that last part rhymed.

Igor: Alliterated, actually.

Sara: You're so awesome, you should multiclass into Bard.

Igor: Job's already taken babe. Why do you think our two employers suck so hard that they had to hire the two of us?

Sara: Shush, they might hear you.

Interviewer: Actually, I took a level in Bard. Learned to play the flute and everything. But right now I'm writing this report for the Wayfinder magazine.

Igor: ...

Sara: WHY did we agree to this interview again?

Interviewer: Your master suggested that it would be nice to hear about the past days from your point of view...?

Igor: I'm thinking it's best that this conversation stays private.

Interviewer: You can't silence the press man!

[bludgeoning ensues, followed by brief interaction with a Lhazaar pirate captain looking for new crew]

maandag 14 augustus 2017

So you wandered through the dead-grey mist

Congratulations, traveler! Took a little shortcut, did we? Managed to get stuck in the dead-grey mists of the Mournland and invited them into your body? Have we got a gift for you...

For the players

Your characters are aware of the text marked purple. Yep, that's precious little. I'm still putting all this out-of-character info up here to work up some appetite / fear / Schadenfreude ;) 

Folks touched by the Mists

  • Falco, human wizard/cleric from Karrnath [player character]
  • Some gnome assistant to the wizard who originally found their way into the pocket realm and escaped by figuring out that blood sacrifices make the mist sit up and pay attention.
  • Survivors in Last Hope, the hamlet in the pocket realm 

Mist-touched condition

How to get it: bleed while in the pocket realm of Last Hope. You now have the mist-touched condition ability. This is visible as tendrils of mist swirling around in your pupils.

How to raise it: there are some mechanisms below, but the big one I'll keep secret until I can spring it on my players.

  1. Sense the direction and distance to nearest location tied to the mist. Direction is terms of N-NE-E-SE-S-SW-W-NW; distance in steps of 500m/5mi/20mi/100mi/beyond. You always know where the Mournland is. 
  2. Dedicate this death: once per day, touch a dying creature (up to 9 hp below 0) with your blood (deal 1hp to yourself if necessary). If you maintain the touch for a full round (concentration), the creature fails all its death saves, dies, and its soul is sent to the pocket realm. You gain temporary hit points equal to the difference between the creature's hp and -10. These hit points last for an hour.
  3. Cast vampiric touch once (refresh condition: secret). Spell slot is equal to your level of mist-touched. If you kill a creature this way, the area you were in is now mist-touched (see below).
  4. Mark an area or person with the mists and transport people through the mists. 
    - alignment: spend 10hp of your blood to mark a place with the mists OR share 10 hp of blood with another creature to make it mist-touched. With additional uses, you can raise the creature or area's level in mist-touched up to one less than your own. (But why would you?)
    - transport: spend 10 hp of your blood to call the mists and guide yourself and up to (wis bonus) creatures to a mist-touched place you visited personally. The trip takes 1d20 x 5 minutes and seems to last for (reroll) 1d20 x 5 minutes. Multiple mist-touched creatures may cooperate to bring larger groups. If a mist-touched creature has a wisdom penalty, it can only transport itself.
  5. Cast raise dead once (refresh condition: secret). The deceased returns to life mist-touched, or gains a level in this ability if already mist-touched.

Mist-touched areas

Location infused with the dead-grey mist. This carries the influence of Dolurrh, the plane of death. Mist-touched comes in 3 levels for areas:
  1. Area has stunted plant life, sunlight less bright, animals have reduced survival instinct and reduced fertility. Area size ~10ft radius per level of mist-mark. Tendrils of mist fill the area. It is lightly obscured unless you are mist-touched. Size: up to 30 feet radius.
  2. The area is heavily obscured by mist. Sound is randomly distorted and redirected. Disadvantage on rolls to orientate yourself. Treat as light obscurement if you are mist-touched. Anyone wounded and bleeding in this area gains the initial stage of mist-touched. Higher levels of mist-touched gain no effect. Anyone dying in the area is sucked into the realm of Last Hope. Size: up to 60 feet radius.
  3. When wandering into this area, 20% chance of being sucked into Last Hope, 20% chance of stumbling out of another mist-touched area, 10% stumble into the Mournland, 50% wander out after 1d20 x 5 mins. Will feel like (reroll) 1d20 x 5 mins instead. Size: up to 150 feet radius. Dead things in the area do not decay. Natural or magical healing does not work in the area. (Exception: the Goodberry-spell and any mist-touched abilities.)

zondag 6 augustus 2017

It's a world of adventure

Next session, the players will join the Wayfinder Foundation and get access to leads on all kinds of crazy adventure. Taking a page from Jeff, I'll be awarding XP for visiting wondrous locations and living to bring back the story.

The map below lists current leads for the PCs. The list is open to all members of the Wayfinders - explorers might find rival bands on their adventure, and explorers can suggest other sites they'd like to explore.

Benefits of membership

The players will be sponsored for membership by adventurer-gentlemen Tymen Rand, a well-known explorer in his own right. If they prove themselves with a few expeditions of their own, he will consider hiring them on for his personal outings beyond the continent.

Membership fees and priviliges

Expedition member: 50 gp / year (often paid by expedition leaders)
Expedition leader: 300 gp / year
  • Membership in the Wayfinder Foudation gets you access to their travel lounges at lightning rail stations, harbors and airship towers.
  • Expedition members and leaders can buy specialized gear (we'll have to make up stuff...)
  • Expedition leaders can submit expedition locations to the Wayfinder pinboard (which makes these expeditions eligible for sponsoring)
  • The Wayfinders will sponsor expeditions (to the Demon Wastes, Q'Barra, Shadow Marshes and to other continents) in return for 1/5th of the profits. 
  • The Wayfinders will arrange for the auction of historic relics by expedition leaders. Taxidermists will buy the bodies of magical beasts, aberrations, or plant creatures recovered from the Demon Wastes, the Shadow Marches, Q'barra, or any continent beyond Khorvaire.
  • The Wayfinders will provide insurance if members miss a due-back-date. If a rescue team determines that an expedition has lost without hope of return, the Foundation will send 100 gp and a lily bouquet to each party member’s next of kin.

The map, man! Show us the map!

Black leads are regular adventures. Purple leads are specific to the players.

vrijdag 28 juli 2017

Dragonmarks 5e

I have to think hard to remember more than a couple of Eberron's deities, but the Dragonmarked Houses with their genetic arcane tattoos more than make up for that. Magical guilds that dominate the economy? I know, economics is boring, but not with Prismatic Wall or Control Weather in the mix!

Here is my 5e tweak for the Dragonmarks; feats work slightly differently than in 3.Xe, and not all the spells survived the transition, so I had to hunt for nearest neighbours. I also like to get the overclocked Syberis Marks in play way earlier; level 8 (not 12) is when they can first show up.

Feat: Dragonmarked

You manifest a magic tattoo called a Dragonmark, which boosts your skill in a certain field and allows you to draw on magical power. You may be a recognized member of your House, or a scion of a lost bloodline, but your Dragonmark marks you as an heir of the great trade houses. Over time, your Dragonmark will expand and grow in power, as your House takes greater and greater interest in you.

You may take this feat at level one, by giving up +2 worth of ability bonus from your race. 

Prequisite: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-Elf or Half-Orc
Effect: when you take this feat, gain advantage in the use of a skill and gain the use of one spell in the Least Dragonmark line. The next time you qualify for an ability boost or feat, also gain the power of the Lesser Dragonmark, and use your Least Dragonmark power one extra time per day. When you qualify for an ability boost or feat again, gain the powers of the Greater Dragonmark and use your Least and Lesser powers one more time per day. Note: you do not have to spend extra feats or ability boosts to grow your Dragonmark; it happens automatically when you hit the right level.

Mark of Detection - House Medani
Race: Half-Elf
Warning Guild
Least: Advantage: Investigation; Detect magic 1/d OR Detect Poison 2/day
Lesser: Zone of Truth 1/d OR See Invisiblility 1/d
Greater Dragonmark: True Seeing 1/d

Mark of Finding - House Tharashk
Race: Half-Orc, Human
Finders Guild
Least: Advantage: Perception; Identify 1/d OR Locate Object 1/d
Lesser: Locate Creature 1/d
Greater: Find the Path 1/d

Mark of Handling - House Vadalis
Race: Human
Handlers Guild
Least: Advantage: Animal Handling; Animal Friendship 1/d OR Speak with Animals 1/d
Lesser: Dominate Beast 1/d OR Conjure Animals 1/d
Greater: Conjure Animals (level 5 slot) 1/d or Awaken 1/d

Mark of Healing- House Jorasco
Race: Halfling
Healers Guild
Least: Advantage: Medicine; Cure Wounds 1/d AND Spare the Dying cantrip
Lesser: Lesser Restoration 1/d OR Cure Wounds (level 3 slot) 1/d OR Protection from Poison 1/d
Greater: Heal 1/d OR Greater Restoration 1/d

Mark of Hospitality - House Ghallanda
Race: Halfling
Hostelers Guild
Least: Advantage: Persuasion; Purify Food & Drink 2/d OR Prestidigitation cantrip OR Unseen Servant 1/d
Lesser: Create Food & Water 1/d OR Tiny Hut 1/d
Greater: Heroes' Feast 1/d OR Magnificent Mansion 1/d

Mark of Making - House Cannith
Race: Human
Tinkers Guild, Fabricators Guild
Least: Advantage: Artisan's Tools (and proficiency in one set); Mending 2/d
Lesser: Fabricate 1/d
Greater: Creation 1/d

Mark of Passage - House Orien
Race: Human
Couriers Guild, Transportation Guild
Least: Advantage: Survival; Jump 1/d OR Longstrider 1/d OR Misty Step 1/d
Lesser: Dimension Door 1/d OR Phantom Steed 1/d
Greater: Teleportation Circle 1/d OR Wind Walk 1/d

Mark of Scribing - House Sivis
Race: Gnome
Speakers Guild, Notaries Guild
Least: Advantage: Deception; Comprehend Languages 1/d OR Message 1/d
Lesser: Illusory Script 1/d OR Tongues 1/d OR Sending 1/d
Greater: Divine Word 1/d OR Telepathic Bond 1/d

Mark of Sentinel - House Deneith
Race: Human
Defenders Guild, Blademarks Guild
Least: Advantage: Insight; Mage Armor 1/d OR Shield of Faith 1/d OR Warding Bond 1/d
Lesser: Protection from Energy 1/d OR Stoneskin 1/d
Greater: Globe of Invulnerability 1/d OR Wall of Force 1/d

Mark of Shadow - House Phiarlann / Thuranni
Race: Elf
Ph: Entertainers and Artisans Guild; Th: Shadows Guild 
Least: Advantage: Persuasion Darkness 1/d OR Disguise Self 1/d OR Minor Image 1/d
Lesser: Clairvoyance 1/d OR Scrying 1/d
Greater: Mislead 1/d OR Programmed Illusion 1/d

Mark of Storm - House Lyrandar
Race: Half-Elf
Raincallers Guild, Windwrights Guild
Least: Advantage: Acrobatics; Fog Cloud 1/d OR Gust of Wind 1/d
Lesser: Sleet Storm 1/d OR Wind Wall 1/d
Greater: Control Weather 1/d

Mark of Warding - House Kundarak
Race: Half-Elf
Banking Guild, Warding Guild 
Least: Advantage: Investigation; Alarm 1/d OR Arcane Lock
Lesser: Glyph of Warding 1/d OR Nondetection 1/d OR Private Sanctum 1/d
Greater: Faithful Hound 1/d OR Guards and Wards 1/d

Feat: Syberis Mark

Very rarely, an unmarked member suddenly erupts with a Dragonmark covering almost their entire body. These Syberis Marks are more powerful than even the Greater Dragonmarks and are highly prized by the Houses. Only two or three Syberis Marks are active at any one time. Syberis Marked are quickly approached by their House - or competitors - to gain access to their power or to slit their throats if they prove willful, to try and get the Mark to manifest on someone more pliable. From underappreciated peon to overpowered trophy cousin, who wouldn't want a Syberis Mark?

Prequisite: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-Elf or Half-Orc. Level 8+
Effect: gain the power of your House's Syberis Mark.

Mark of Detection (Half-Elf) - Foresight 1/d
Mark of Finding (Half-Orc or Human) - Discern Location 1/d (as the 3.5e spell)
Mark of Handling (Human) - Animal Shapes 1/d
Mark of Healing (Halfling) - Mass Heal 1/d
Mark of Hospitality (Halfling) - Antipathy / Sympathy 1/d
Mark of Making (Human) - Animate Objects (level 9 slot) 1/d
Mark of Passage (Human) - Teleport 1/d
Mark of Scribing (Gnome) - Symbol 1/d
Mark of Sentinel (Human) - Mind Blank 1/d
Mark of Shadow (Elf) - Project Image 1/d OR Etherealness 1/d
Mark of Storm (Half-Elf) - Storm of Vengeance 1/d
Mark of Warding (Dwarf) - Prismatic Wall 1/d

maandag 24 juli 2017

Stuff found in a Lightning Rail compartment

Our rogue decided to dig around in a random first class cabin of a crashed lightning rail. The treasure below was [rolled] fair and square, then seasoned with details because inspiration struck.

Send in a reaction / e-mail for:

50 bonus XP if you can guess a short profile of the previous owner.
100 bonus XP if you can suggest interesting consequences of trying to sell the art objects!

[see bottom of post for responses]

Treasure hoard, level 0-4 (p137, DMG 5e)

[1d100] = 43
--> [2d4]=4 art objects (25gp each)
--> [1d6]=3 magic items, table A

Art objects, 25 gp each (p134, DMG 5e)

[1d10]=2 = carved bone statuette; pouncing displacer beast
[1d10]=1 = silver ewer; decorated with stars and moons
[1d10]=9 = embroidered silk handkerchief; initials Sd'T
[1d10]=3 = small gold bracelet; charms of a lute and dagger

Magic items table A (p144, DMG 5e)

[d100]=84 = wizard spell scroll (lvl1) - fog cloud
[d100]=15 = potion of healing
[d100]=68 = potion of climbing


Locked strongbox (1/2 litre volume)
- rustling sound (paper)
- something small and dense rolls around inside

Previous owners of your honest find

  1. Member of an archaeological society, who found the item in an abandoned village in the Demon Wastes and informed the society of his find.
  2. Property of a Warforged mage - the only thing (s)he/it held dear in life. Hopefully the mage is now wandering the mists of the Mournland instead of hunting down his stolen property.
  3. Commissioned by the world famous adventurer and explorer David Dunn. Heirloom from his father, equally legendary in stature.
  4. Previously owned by a dragon called Eugene. Total mystery as to how it got to where you found it.
  5. Assassin Harmless dragonmarked entertainer from House Thuranni. Sleep tight.
  6. Soul-vessel of the bound Rakshasa demon Teacher-of-Slaves, who is pleasantly surprised at having been stolen instead of buried forever by Silver Flame paladins.

Complications when selling an honest find

  1. A secret society the previous owner belonged to finds out about your selling their item. When they discover the owner is dead, they want you to take their place in their ranks.
  2. Previous owner will hunt down his property and try to take revenge on whoever stole it.
  3. Item turns out to be a highly valuable collectible, worth easily 3x listed price. Buyer will try to screw you over by offering 80% listed price.
  4. Item's previous owner known as supremely covetous, will want property back. Good luck finding a fence who will risk buying it.
  5. Item is a perfect focus for scrying spells. Previous owner capable and/or wealthy enough to get said spell cast. 
  6. Item will provide inspiration through odd dreams.  

Eberron s1e3 - House Orien lightning rail liability

The House Orien Lightning Rail is not liable when the dead grey mists of the Mournland abduct passengers and their train.

...hey, the Talenta Plains were getting a bit boring, right?

Also not insured for ensuing trips to Ravenloft-lite demiplanes filled with hungry two-headed wolves and demoralized survivors of earlier crash.

...survivors who were hiding the fact that one of their number murdered another to escape the place, and half the rest may still be walking, but have already been claimed by the mists.

...also touchy-feely tendrils of mist trying to zombify you by creeping into your wounds.

...not that you tried because you had rations, but eating the fungus from the cavern filled with, again, mist? Big no-no.

...we're sure you guys will get the mist out of your eyeballs real soon! In the meantime, enjoy these totally free of charge powers.

Passengers are notified that allowing the lightning elemental to escape the engine voids the warranty.

...repairing the engine by allowing the House Orien purser to become a lightning conductor does not restore warranty.

 ...neither does luring out the mist from engine by kiting it along with a freshly cut forearm.
...nor does sacrificing old hermits (even it was only the one guy!) to the mist to get it to spit you back out into the world.

...although awesome job piloting the engine through the mists and right into the main rail hub at Passage 🤘 (There's this Gnome insurance agent here to see you.)

Although circumstances were extreme, dismantling conductor stones to rig a maglev lift and get the engine cart back on the track is not use-as-intended.

...while House Orien applauds the creativity, it must frown on lashing together makeshift huts out of precious rail carts to protect from nightly wolf attacks.

On a tangent, management apologizes for all the other passengers dying in the crash and getting up as zombies.

...you had to nick their stuff?

Roll call

  • Falco, Human wizard 1/cleric 1 out of Karrnath, former acolyte of the Church of Vol, looking to become a freelancer of the Finder's Guild. Ultimately in search of immortality.
  • Rathan, Stout Halfling ranger 2 out of the Talenta Plains, an outlander warrior searching far and wide for news about his disgraced, outcast family member (who at this point has neither name nor background). (Sadly retired because player had to drop out.)
  • Lhorsan, High Elf rogue 2; Elf out of the Eldeen Reaches with a haunted past with a life-sucking cursed item.

Dearly departed

  • Hedrak, human drop-out from Morgrave university; the party's original employer. Died in the session's second Lightning Rail crash.
  • Redeker, human member of House Orien, purser on the Lightning Rail out of Gatherhold. Died channeling the escaped lighting elemental back into the train's engine.

vrijdag 14 juli 2017

Actual megadungeon

Undermountain. Castle Greyhawk. Rappan Athuk. IKEA. What is this hobby's fascination with megadungeons? In any case, here's images of a real life megadungeon I found lurking in a bookmarks folder. Head ye to Turkey and dig (haha) Derinkuyu, Kaymakli or the other underground cities of Cappadocia. Just don't forget the garlic.