Hey 2012 – Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya Where the Good Lord Split Ya

Well, the end of 2012. A pretty good year for me, in terms of publishing, and not too bad otherwise as well. Any year you can walk away from is a good one!

As you’re sit around waiting for 2013 to start, feel free to buy NOD 18 – just up for sale on Lulu as a PDF. I’ll have the print copy up as soon as I get a proof copy. What’s in this issue?

– Cush/Pwenet hexcrawl – eastern half (oh, and map J12 is now up on the Nod page on this blog)

– As the Cleric Turns – alternate turn undead effects for clerics

– Cock of the Walk – variant cockatrices

– Of Nomes and Genomes – new races for Space Princess and Pars Fortuna

– Random Jeweled Thrones – design some fancy places for royals to park their keisters

– Personal Quests – add some storytelling to the dungeon-crawling

– Santas for All – Who brings good little elves, dwarves and halflings presents?

– The Shadow Dancer – a new class for Blood & Treasure

– Making Alignment Count – some schemes on making alignment more than just a word on a character sheet

64 pages, $2.99

Later tonight, I’ve got a goofy new class for you’re game I think you might enjoy.

Also – my sincerest thanks to all you folks who read the blog and spend your coin on my products. I never thought this whole self-publishing thing would work out so well, and I owe its success to the reception you’ve given it. Hopefully, there will be many more books to come, including the NOD Companion and Action X.

So, let’s say goodbye to that old bastard 2012 – have a couple cocktails, chill the champagne and, if you’re fortunate, pucker up for that new bastard 2013!

Demi-Humans Inspired by the Norse Mythos

This idea came to me a few days ago. There is a tradition in RPG’s of turning unique monsters from mythology and turning them into “species of monsters”, Medusa and Pegasus being but two examples. The other day, I was thinking about using the gods of various pantheons as inspiration for designing demi-human races for RPG’s.

This first go at the concept draws inspiration from Norse mythology.

THUNORS
The thunors are tall humanoids with ruddy skin, copious manes of hair in various shades of red (and, very rarely, blond) and eyes that range from blue to grey. They are usually quite strong, with large, meaty hands and faces that suggest an angry Neanderthal. Thunors are good-hearted and hate bullies, but they are also boisterous, assertive, aggressive, stubborn, and prone to solving problems with brute force. Most thunors are aligned with Law.

Despite averaging about 7 feet tall and built like brick houses, thunors are only medium-sized creatures. Their powerful shanks propel them forward at a speed of 30 feet per round. They can see in the dark up to 60 feet. This “darkvision” is in black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight.

Thunors are built like oxen and add one point to their starting strength and constitution scores. They are not, however, known for their brain power or self-control, and so must deduct one point from their starting intelligence and wisdom scores. These ability modifications cannot increase a score above 18 or reduce it a score below 3.

Thunors enjoy a +3 bonus on saving throws against electricity and sonic attacks, as well as a +3 bonus on Will saves against magic unless they themselves are spellcasters. Thunor spellcasters lose this bonus to save vs. magic.

Thunors have a mystic connection to both the earth and sky. They are capable of treating half of the damage from their melee attacks with metal weapons as electricity or sonic damage. This is useful for overcoming some creatures’ resistance to weapon damage. When a thunor scores electricity damage, his weapon is surrounded in crackling electricity, and when he scores sonic damage, his hits are accompanied by a thunderous boom.

Thunors are +1 to hit giants, ettins and ogres in combat.

While they do not care much for magic or magic items other than magic weapons and armor, they will deign to use gauntlets of ogre strength and belts of giant strength. Thunor are also capable of using dwarven throwers.

Thunors speak Common and Thunor. They might also speak Dwarf, Elf, Ettin, Kobold and the various languages of the giants.

Thunors can multi-class as barbarian/clerics, barbarian/druids and barbarian/thieves. See Multi-Classing below for how this works.

FREYLINGS

The freylings are lithe, comely folk with large, violet eyes, alabaster skin and hair of copper, silver or gold. Freylings stand about 4 to 5 feet tall, and their narrow frames make them look very fragile. They delight in the sensuous, and have a bad habit of charming people of the opposite sex just for the fun of doing; the feelings of others rarely enter into their calculations.

Because of their height and slender frames, freylings count as small creatures with a base speed of 30 feet.

Freylings tend to be beautiful and vivacious, allowing them to add one to their starting charisma score. Their slight frames tend to be on the weak side, though, so they must deduct one point from their starting strength scores. These ability modifications cannot increase a score above 18 or reduce it a score below 3.

Freylings have darkvision to a range of 120 feet. They can make their bodies glow (per the light spell) for up to a total of 10 minutes. In addition, once per day they can assume the shape of a falcon, cat or boar for 1 round + 1 round per character level. When in this form, they retain their attack bonus and mental ability scores and abilities, but use the attack forms and damage of their new form. They also have any physical abilities of their new form.

Freylings speak Common and Freyr. They might also speak Elf, Gnome, Goblin, Kobold and Sylvan.

Freylings may multi-class as bard/druids, bard/duelists and bard/thieves.

WOTANI
The wotani are a strange, reclusive race of humanoids. They have a slightly simian appearance, their bodies covered with taupe colored hair (it turns white as they age), with only the burgundy colored skin of their faces, palms and the bottom of their feet showing. Wotani walk with a hunch. They have one golden eye, and one eye of pure black.

Wotani are small creatures with a movement rate of 20 feet per round. They have darkvision to a range of 60 feet and have a knack for finding secret doors.

The wotani are wise souls, and add one point to their starting wisdom score. Their propensity to speak in riddles and manipulate people makes them unpopular with folks, and so they deduct one from their starting charisma score. These ability modifications cannot increase a score above 18 or reduce it below 3.

Wotani have a natural affinity for divination spells. A wotani with a wisdom score of 10 or higher can cast the following spells, each once per day: Augury, detect evil and detect magic. Wotani receive a +2 bonus on Will saving throws against divination spells.

Wotani speak Common and Wotan. They might also speak Celestial, the Elemental tongues, Fiendish and Sylvan.

Wotani may multi-class as cleric/diviners, diviner/fighters and diviner thieves. The diviner is a specialist type of magic-user.

LOKAI
Lokais are nimble little bastards, thoroughly untrusthworthy and always scheming. They have swarthy skin, eyes that burn like hot coals (usually red, but intensifying to white and blue when the lokai is scheming) and their hair is actually a flickering flame (bright as a lantern, but they can dim it to a very dim radiance).

The lokai are graceful and slim, and stand about 5 to 6 feet tall. They count as medium-sized creatures and have a base movement rate of 40 feet per round. They have darkvision to a range of 120 feet and have a knack for picking pockets and trickery.

A lokai’s lithe form gives it a bonus of one point to its starting dexterity score. Their silver tongues also give them a one point bonus to their starting charisma score. Unfortunately, they lack in muscle mass and must deduct one point from their starting strength score. These ability modifications cannot increase a score above 18 or reduce it below 3.

Lokai enjoy a +3 save vs. fire and fire spells. They have a +2 bonus to save vs. magic, and can see magical auras (per the detect magic spell). They enjoy a +1 bonus to hit with daggers and darts.

Lokai speak Loki and Common. They might also speak Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Goblin, Kobold, the various Giant tongues and the secret language of reptiles.

Lokais can multi-class as assassin/enchanters, enchanter/thieves or enchanter/fighters. The enchanter is a specialist type of magic-user.

The Vigilante [New Class]

The war on chaos cannot be won in the streets alone, for beneath those streets, in hidden places, the lords of chaos lurk and plot the destruction of all that is lawful and good. The vigilante is a warrior against chaos who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He’s not a shining knight, like the paladin, or a beacon of hope like the cleric, but rather a rugged street warrior on par with the thief, but playing for the other side.
The vigilante really doesn’t belong in medieval European fantasy. He is a creature of the lurid penny dreadfuls, dime novels and pulp magazines of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Shadow is one of the more famous of these dark avengers, but he is not alone and the stock type survives to this day. Vigilantes are expected to be resourceful, cunning, handy with their fists (and whatever else they can find to bash in their opponent’s head) and sneaky. They employ many of the techniques and skills of their less exotic foes, thieves and assassins, and thus also dress and arm themselves much like these rogues.

ROLL D8 FOR HIT POINTS

REQUIREMENTS
Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence of 13+; Vigilantes must be Lawful (Good)

ARMOR ALLOWED
Padded armor, leather armor, studded leather armor, ring mail, mithral chainmail and bucklers

WEAPONS ALLOWED
Crossbows (any) and all light melee weapons

SKILLS
Balance, climb walls, escape bonds, hide in shadows, jump, listen at doors, move silently, open lock, tracking, trickery

XP ADVANCEMENT
Vigilantes advance as paladins

CLASS ABILITIES
Vigilantes must hide their true identity, lest their value as a crime fighter be negatively affected. While wearing their mask, the vigilante enjoys a +2 bonus to save vs. fear and other mind affects, including mind control. In addition, they can attempt to cause fear (per the spell) in humanoid creatures with no more than half the vigilante’s hit dice. Thus, a 1st level vigilante can cause fear in 0 hit dice creatures, while a 10th level vigilante can cause fear in creatures with 0 to 5 hit dice. If unmasked, the vigilante loses these bonuses and abilities.

Vigilantes have the same need to disable foes quickly that thieves and assassins have, but are often bound by their code of conduct not to kill their victims. A vigilante has the same skill at backstabs as thieves, but any time they would normally kill their target and are employing a bludgeoning weapon, they can instead choose to reduce their victim to 1 hit point and knock them unconscious for 1d6 turns. The victim can attempt a Fortitude saving throw to cut this time in half, but make sure the vigilante is unaware of whether this saving throw is successful or unsuccessful.

Vigilantes are known for their resourcefulness, often having just the piece of equipment they need to beat any situation. As long as a vigilante has at least ten pockets, pouches or sacks (or their equivalent) on their person, they can spend 50 gp to fill them with “miscellaneous gear”. When, during an adventure, a vigilante suddenly needs something that is not on their equipment list other than a weapon, armor, money or magic item, they can attempt a Will saving throw modified by Intelligence to find that item in one of their pouches. If the item costs less than 10 gold pieces, there is no modifier to this saving throw. For every 10 gp of value an item has, this roll is modified by -2. If the roll is successful, the contents of one pouch are now known (i.e. the vigilante can only do this as many times as they have pouches or sacks) and the item is added to the vigilante’s equipment list.

At 6th level, the vigilante can choose an arch-nemesis for themselves. If this is a unique creature (i.e. Gork, the Guildmaster of Assassins in the city of Yorok), the vigilante enjoys a +2 bonus to hit and damage them, a +2 bonus on task checks made to find or defeat them, and a +2 bonus to save vs. their special abilities (if any). Once this unique arch-nemesis is defeated, the vigilante may choose a new arch-nemesis.

The vigilante can, instead of choosing a unique arch-nemesis, choose an entire class of creatures as his arch-enemies. Sample arch-enemies could be goblins, thieves, chaotic magic-users, green dragons or devils. Against his arch-enemies, the vigilante enjoys a +1 bonus to hit and damage them, a +1 bonus on task checks made to find or defeat them, and a +1 bonus to save vs. their special abilities (if any).

A 9th level vigilante can establish a hideout to serve as his secret base of operations within a settlement or in the wilderness near a settlement. This signifies that the settlement is under the vigilante’s protection. The vigilante attracts a 3rd level vigilante to serve as his sidekick and apprentice, and earns one contacts per level within the city-state. Use the following table to determine the general occupation of these contacts.

Contacts are a source of information (and adventures) and have varying amounts of loyalty to the vigilante based on their alignment:

This loyalty is the percentage chance they will cooperate with the vigilante and do special (though not overtly dangerous favors) for the vigilante. Dangerous favors, or resisting torture to protect the vigilante, are made at half normal loyalty.

Merry Christmas from the Land of Nod!

Quick note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the blessings of the season. More than getting everything you wanted, I hope you all have everything you need (and are wise enough to know it, if you do). My Christmas present to you folks today is a quick preview of some new art I’ve commissioned for the forthcoming NOD Companion – all of it drawn by Jon Kaufman – for the classes collected in the book. Enjoy the art, and I hope you all have a wonderful day, whether you’re celebrating or not.

Puritan by Jon Kaufman

Psychic by Jon Kaufman

She-devil by Jon Kaufman

Traveler by Jon Kaufman.

I’ll be posting a couple new ones soon that will appear in the book – The Vigilante and the Femme Fatale.

Merry Christmas folks! Thanks for making me feel like a success with this little hobby of mine. Like many folks of the geeky persuasion, I’ve never had the best self image in the world, and your support over the last few years has done wonders for me. In the coming year, let’s all remember to be kind to one another.

Adventuring in the Himyarite Kingdom

I know, I know – like you need yet one more blog post talking about using the Himyarite Kingdom as a setting for a fantasy RPG. But here we go, just the same …

So, you can call it the Himyarite Kingdom, the Homerite Kingdom (kinda like that one better) or Himyar, but what we’re talking about is a Judeo-Christian kingdom or empire in Yemen, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from the pre-Islamic Arabs in the north (“Men, Nomads” is covered), the Egyptians and Ethiopians across the Red Sea, the Romans to the north, Persia just across the Persian Gulf and near much-storied Baghdad and India (and their martial artists – so we have monks covered) across the Indian Ocean.

Himyar was established round about 110 BC, with a capital at Zafar (Sana’a). The kingdom of Sheba (you might have heard of it) was conquered in 25 BC, Qataban in 200 AD and Hadhramaut in 300 CE. Himyar remained dominant until 525 AD.

From my extensive reading (and article on Wikipedia counts as “extensive”, right?), it sounds like the period from 115 BC to 300 AD might be the most interesting. Himyar conquer Sheba, but its trade is failing due to domination of the north by Nabatea (or orcs, if you prefer), domination of naval routes by the Romans, who have just freshly conquered Egypt, and due to inter-tribal warfare. In other words lots of turmoil and thus lots of opportunity for conflict and gaming.

Because Himyar is a Christian state, it makes a great base of operations for clerics. Allow all the pagans, be they Arabs, Egyptians or Romans, to use druids but save the clerics for the Judeo-Christians. The Israelites and Ethiopians would probably also use clerics. This could make for an interesting ancient zombie apocalypse campaign, with only a few peoples having access to clerical turning – perhaps the Roman conquest of Egypt has awakened the entombed pharaohs, who are now, as mummy lords, leading armies of the undead all over the world.

Some of the local kingdoms other than those mentioned are such fabled lands as Punt, Kush, Aksum, Damot and Awsan.

Demihumans – what about the elves and dwarves and halflings? Well, you can either distribute them throughout and not worry about whether they belong there, or you could replace them in name only. The elves are replaced by the jinn, the doughty halflings by the amazons (Themiscyra is just north in Asia Minor, after all) and the dwarves by the wondrous blemyes (no heads, faces in chests) who apparently live along the coast on the Africa side of the Red Sea!

Armor and Weapons
Most of the fantasy standards would be available in a campaign like this, with the exception of platemail (though perhaps the mirror armor of India would suffice) and maybe some of the later European pole arms.

Landscapes and Sights
“Look, Sahib, there is the way to Ubar. It was great in treasure, with date gardens and a fort of red silver. It now lies beneath the sands of the Ramlat Shu’ait.”

Yemen is mountainous (i.e. dwarves, dragons and dungeons are not out of place here, and an old bas-relief from Hadhramaut features a griffon) and somewhat lush, but is otherwise surrounded by arid deserts and sea. Pirates have plenty of places to play, and desert nomads are covered as well. Perhaps one could mix in some desert orcs with the Arab tribes.

So, what is there to explore and plunder in this region? Well, the mega-dungeon known as Irem of the Pillars is lurking somewhere in the Arab sands (remember, this is fantasy Irem, it doesn’t have to be the ruins of Ubar – maybe Ubar is another mega-dungeon) and not far from this fabled site of God’s vengeance one finds Lovecraft’s Nameless City.

Across the Red Sea, you have pyramids galore to plunder in Egypt, and in Ethiopia, if you dare, there sits an honest-to-goodness artifact – The Ark of the Covenant – guarded by, one must believe, a brotherhood of Ethiopian paladins and their paladin-king, the Lion of Judah – maybe they are all mounted on celestial lions?

Over sixteen megalithic standing stones were found on the coast of Tihamah – no doubt they are involved in some sort of dimensional portal, a thin bastion against an invasion from Hell, Asgard, the Mind Flayers of Dimension X or the femazons of Venus.

The Thamudi cliff dwellings have to form a dungeon with some sort of amazing secrets, given that they were apparently punished by a soundwave from God for some manner of infraction. Maybe it wasn’t a punishment from God, but rather an experiment of super-science gone horribly wrong – a weird monster unleashed on the world at large, but trapped within their subterranean city!

The Wabar Craters – what created them? Was it something from the mysterious rogue planet Nibiru? Did it burrow into the sands? Is it dining on the King of Baghdad’s caravan as we speak – the one that was carrying his daughter south to be married to the King of Himyar?

Imagine if the astral devas looked like cherubs mounted on lions

Holly Jolly Warriors for Your Dungeon [New Class]

‘Tis the season for being goofy, don’t you know, so I present this long overlooked fantasy archetype for your favorite fantasy game. Check you stocking for dice, roll up a kringle, and go slip the hobgoblins some coal (and cold steel) upside their pointy heads.

KRINGLE

H/T Trey’s Sorcerer’s Skull Blog

Kringles are holy warriors dedicated to generosity to the poor, protection of the weak and punishment of the wicked. They adventure to take their war on naughtiness into dungeons and to acquire enough wealth to one day build a fortified workshop of their own.

ROLL D8 FOR HIT POINTS

REQUIREMENTS
Strength and Wisdom of 13+; Kringle’s must be Lawful or Lawful Good, depending on what alignment scheme you use.

ARMOR ALLOWED
Any armor and shields

WEAPONS ALLOWED
Any bludgeoning weapon

SKILLS
Escape Bonds, Move Silently, Riding

XP ADVANCEMENT
Kringles advance as paladins

CLASS ABILITIES
A kringle can use the know alignment spell at will; he knows just by looking at you whether you’ve been naughty or nice. In addition, they are capable of squeezing through very small openings, as though they were tiny in size.

A 2nd level kringle is capable of using the minor creation spell, though they can only create an item if they have a sack from which to pull it. At 6th level, a kringle can use minor creation three times per day, and major creation one time per day. A 9th level kringle can use minor creation at will, and major creation three times per day.

A 3rd level kringle is immune to fear. Each ally within 10 feet of him gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against fear. In addition, a xxx gains immunity to all diseases, including supernatural and magical diseases.

A 4th level paladin (gallant) gains the ability to turn constructs, as a cleric turns undead, as a cleric three levels lower.

A 5th level kringle can undertake a quest, guided by a divine vision, to find and gain the service of an unusually intelligent, strong, and loyal reindeer to serve her in her crusade against naughtiness. If the kringle’s mount dies, he must atone (per the atonement spell) and then wait until gaining another level of kringle to undertake the quest again.

A 9th level kringle is capable of using time stop once per day. This increases to three times per day at 16th level.

At 9th level, a kringle is permitted to use crystal balls as though they were magic-users. How else could they know when folks are sleeping or when they’re awake?

An 11th level kringle can choose to establish a workshop in the wilderness and gain followers (see High Level Play below). A kringle who becomes a lord or lady attracts 1d6 gnome artisans per level, 1d6 automatons (1st level fighters – toy soldiers, get it?) and one 3rd level kringle to serve as a foreman. The automatons and the kringle should be generated as characters under control of the player.

Fighter Moves – a Feat Hack

Found at Wikipedia

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I like taking existing mechanics from the SRD and playing around with them. Today, while I was working on the NOD Companion (on the illusionist class renamed as the trickster) an idea for messing with combat feats popped into my head. The idea is based on the excellent maneuver concept in the Dragonfist RPG.

Basically, I took each of the combat feats and assigned it a level from 1 to 5 based on how many prerequisite feats it had. I then used the bard spells per day table as a guide for the number of fighter moves a fighter could perform each day of each level. I suppose other fighting classes could use this as well, perhaps as a fighter one level lower.

Fighters should begin the game knowing two moves, and then gain a new move at each level, choosing from any level of moves they have available to them based on their own level. One could also use the spell research rules to allow fighters to invent new moves.

The list of moves follows – note that it’s extremely spare at 4th and 5th levels – I suppose I could do some open content feat research and flesh it out, but for my purposes of exploring the idea and presenting it to folks who might want to use it, this will do.

The rules – well, on his turn, a fighter could perform a move in addition to attacking. Simple as that. If the move is an action – such as cleave – assume it is “instantaneous”. If the move involves a static bonus – such as weapon focus – then it lasts for a number of rounds equal to the fighter’s level. Simple and straight-forward, and thus there are probably all sorts of holes in it. Again, this is an exploration, not a full-blown system.

FIGHTER MOVES

1st level
1. Blind-Fight
2. Combat Expertise
3. Combat Reflexes
4. Dodge
5. Improved Critical
6. Improved Initiative
7. Improved Shield Bash
8. Improved Unarmed Strike
9. Mounted Combat
10. Point Blank Shot
11. Power Shot
12. Quick Shot
13. Rapid Reload
14. Two-Weapon Fighting
15. Weapon Finesse
16. Weapon Focus

2nd level
1. Cleave
2. Deflect Arrows
3. Diehard
4. Far Shot
5. Greater Weapon Focus
6. Improved Bull Rush
7. Improved Disarm
8. Improved Feint
9. Improved Grapple
10. Improved Overrun
11. Improved Sunder
12. Improved Trip
13. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
14. Mobility
15. Mounted Archery
16. Precise Shot
17. Rapid Shot
18. Ride-By Attack
19. Stunning Fist
20. Trample
21. Two-Weapon Defense
22. Weapon Specialization

3rd level
1. Great Cleave
2. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
3. Greater Weapon Specialization
4. Improved Precise Shot
5. Manyshot
6. Snatch Arrows
7. Spirited Charge
8. Spring Attack

4th level
1. Shot on the Run

5th level
1. Whirlwind Attack

Cush & Pwenet Preview 6 – Ophidian Ruins, Angry Books and Sleeping Kings

NOD 18 (wow, 3 years of NOD!) is written, 90% laid out, and just about ready to hit the presses (so to speak). I think I’ll have it ready to go after Christmas, because right now I’m all about getting my holly and mistletoe on and having some Christmas fun!

Guess which one of these guys writes RPGs in his spare time …

Anyhow – since I need an easy post today, I’m going to the Cush and Pwenet well one more time! Have fun, lads and lasses!

62.04 Ophidian Ruin: A portion of the savannah here is marked with strange hemispheres of marble. The marble is ancient and cracked, and the hemispheres are actually domes – parts of an ancient ruin that now lurks beneath the savannah. The ruin belonged to the ophidians, and was long ago destroyed by the forces of the Nabu, assisted by the cosmic beings who helped found that empire.

The domes connect to palaces, temples and other buildings of what must have once been an astounding ancient city. Many of the rooms of these buildings are now collapsed and filled with soil, but many remain intact. Buildings are connected by tunnels or catacombs, while others have been connected by tunnels dug out of the earth by large, reptilian brutes bred by the ophidians as slaves and warriors. The ophidians of the ruins also breed vicious attack lizards. They have retained a small portion of their ancient technology, but most has been lost.

The lost city is ruled by a bloated queen, Sheshuur, the mother of all the ophidians in the complex. The complex is rife with traps – green slime-filled pits, pits of vipers, gouts of poisonous fumes and flaming jets.

64.37 Fortress of the Twin Tomes: Long ago, two rival princes, Trentar and Epham, mages of wondrous ken, were trapped inside magical grimoires by their former patron, Muola. Their mother, the hag queen Gwrga, interred each tome in a tower. The partisans of each prince gathered in these towers, and have for centuries been locked in sporadic battle with one another, each seeking to free their prince and destroy the other while still trapped within his grimoire. Travelers passing through this hex have a 4 in 6 chance to be pressed into service by a roving band of 3d6 miscreant mages intent on using them to destroy their enemies. The mages are loathe to expose themselves to danger, and prefer to use outsiders to settle their scores.

Miscreant Mages, Human Magic-Users: LVL 3; AC 10; ATK 1 staff +1 (1d6); MV 30; F14 R14 W12; AL Neutral; XP 300; Special—Spells (4/2/1); Gear—Spellbooks, quarterstaffs, darts (3).

65.19 Empire of the Sleeping King: This hex of windswept hills and hibiscus trees is eerily quiet. A deep well in the hex, so deep that it reaches into the Underworld, produces a sweet perfume that causes people and animals to fall into a drowsy langour. The outskirts of the hex are marked with small villages filled with laconic villagers and their herds of sleeping cattle. A road of adobe bricks overgrown with weeds winds through the villages to a small town in the center of the hex, from which rules the sleeping king, Kulala. The people of the town walk about as though asleep, and their baskets of food are bare. The people are severely undernourished, as they can barely stay awake long enough to feed themselves. In the center of the town sits the well, with a sort of wavering haze about it.

Just entering the hex forces people to pass a Fortitude save or become fatigued. Those who travel 2 miles into the hex must pass a Fortitude save (once per day) or fall dead asleep for 1d6 hours. Those who travel 4 miles into the hex must pass a Fortitude save (once per day) or fall asleep for 2d6 hours. Those who enter the town at the center of the hex must pass a Fortitude save (once per day) or fall asleep for 3d6 hours. An unlimited number of potions of sleep can be drawn from the well, but the liquid is so powerful that those in possession of it must pass a Fortitude save once per day or become fatigued.

What’s In Santa’s Sack – Halfling Edition

Image from here

Christmas is maybe the most halfling holiday of the year … well, except for Thanksgiving. Either way, you have to imagine that old St. Nick has a few packages in his sack for those little Lawfuls of the Shire …

1. Cheese – and lot’s of it.

2. Mithril mixing bowl – nothing sticks to mithril except dire molasses

3. Jar of dire molasses

4. Rose-colored glasses (+1 to save vs. sadness and fear)

5. Lederhosen – pre-worn in by the elves at the North Pole and thus smelling of peppermint

6. Toe hair combing kit in a fancy leather case

7. Scented foot oil

8. Pennywhistle, mouth-harp and set of musical spoons – to pass the time on long trips

9. Brand new slingshot with a compass and a thing that tells the time in the stock

10. Crushed velvet bag containing 10 silver sling bullets

11. A set of hand-carved bird calls – includes one’s for giant eagles, rocs and giant owls (1 in 6 chance of attracting an owlbear)

12. “Get Out of Gaol Free” card signed by St. Cuthbert himself

13. Stickum – useful for halfling thieves (bonus to climb and pick pocket checks)

14. Autographed copy of There and Back Again

15. Set of three nosegays (+1 save vs. poison gas)

16. Daisy chains, enchanted to never wilt

17. Elven cloak (ever since that book came out, every halfling wants one)

18. New hurling stick (can be used as a club or to hurl things like flaming oil or holy water)

19. A prize pig of surprising intelligence, large enough to be used as a mount

20. Sack of walnuts

21. Shire Army Knife (fork, spoon, knife, toothpick and corkscrew)

22. Silver locket containing a curly auburn lock – find the owner and get a free kiss

23. Embroidered shirt or dress – hand stitching

24. Gnarly, wooden walking stick

25. Sack of jelly babies

26. Glass bottle of bay rum

27. Seat cane with silver top (counts as a silver club for attacking incorporeals and lycanthropes)

28. Dragon-nip – throws dragons off your scent when sneaking into their hordes

29. Silver dagger

30. Book of Riddles – useful for stumping gollums

The Monsters of Henry Justice Ford – Part II

Today, I present three giants to confound (and stomp on) you precious PC’s.

River Giant
Huge Giant; Chaotic (NE); Average Intelligence; Eddy (1d4)

HD 12
AC 17
ATK 1 slam (2d6) or 4 locks (1d4 + constrict)
MV 30 (Swim 40)
SV F4, R9, W9
XP 1200 (CL 13)

River giants are the children of the great rivers. They appear as massive humanoids with long, grey mustaches and beards which seem to flow and ripple with a will of their own. They dwell within rivers, sometimes in simple caves, but more often in submerged strongholds with courts of nixies and river nymphs.

In combat, a river giant can breathe forth, once per day, a fetid mist per the obscuring mist spell. Those trapped within the mist must pass a single Fortitude saving throw or succumb to filth fever. Their mustaches and beards can be used as tendrils to grab and constrict attackers.

Special Qualities: Resistance to cold

Jinnati
Large Giant; Chaotic (NE); Average Intelligence; Blaze (1d6)

HD 4
AC 14
ATK 1 slam (1d10 + 1d6 fire) or by weapon (+1d4 fire)
MV 30
SV F10, R14, W14
XP 400 (CL 5)

The jinnati, or fire-eaters, are a breed of fire-breathing ogres who dwell in volcanic hills in tropical regions. They have ruddy to dull green skin, lustrous black hair and sparkling eyes that suggest clever malevolence. Jinnati rarely wear armor, though when they do it is usually formed of glowing, red scales, and likewise when they arm themselves they do so with metal weapons. They have a profound lust for reddish and orange gemstones, and will almost anything to possess them, even behave honorably.

Jinnati can breathe a 15-ft. long line of fire once per day. This fire deals as many hit points of damage as the jinnati currently possesses (or half that with a successful Reflex saving throw). They can recharge this fire breath by eating fire – that is, inhaling flames from any sort of source larger than a torch.

Creatures grappled by the monsters suffer as though from a heat metal spell, in addition to suffering normal grapple damage.

Special Qualities: Immune to fire, vulnerable to cold

Stalo
Large Giant; Chaotic (CE); Average Intelligence; Roost (1d6)

HD 6
AC 15
ATK 2 claws (1d6) and bite (1d4)
MV 30
SV F9, R12, W12
XP 600 (CL 7)

Stalos are magical ogres that haunt the northern woodlands and steppes. They have dark brown to nearly black skin, leering yellow eyes and pronounced fangs.

A stalo possesses a set of pipes not unlike those of a satyr. When playing those pipes, those within 1 mile must pass a Will saving throw or be charmed (per the charm person spell) and convinced that they must journey to the source of the piping. Subjects within 30 feet of the piping must make an additional Will save or be held (per the hold person spell) for 1d6 rounds, during which time the stalo will kill them for its supper. A stalo can track unerringly on his home territory.

A stalo has one weakness, and that is running water. While they can cross running water, they do so slowly (movement rate of 5) and must pass a Will save each round or be either frozen with fear for one round.

Spells: At will—calm animals, speak with animals; 1/day—summon nature’s ally II