Building Better Henchmen [Blood & Treasure]

Do you like random tables? I do.

Do you like henchmen? I do.

Do you like random henchmen? I hope so …

The following tables can be used to make more interesting, if not useful, henchmen for your classic fantasy game. I think I might adapt these to ACTION X and use them as the default for minions.

Note – for those who don’t play Blood & Treasure (yes, I’m aware that’s 99.99999999% of all gamers), treat a “knack” as succeeding on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6, or as a flat +3 bonus to skill checks

TABLE THE FIRST – HENCHMAN PERSONALITY

1. Sniveling coward – has move of 40 and must check morale before each fight

2. Greedy bastard – tries to steal treasure at every turn

3. Junior paladin – braver and more heroic than he/she should be, but also a Lawful (Good) moralist about things

4. Dastardly spy – working for an opposing group of adventurers, making a map and reporting back

5. Secret cultist – member of a secret chaos cult, will betray the party if possible

6. Sword-for-hire – has to be paid (1×6 x 5 gp) for sticking his neck out, but +1 to hit with swords

7. Old veteran – a bit slower (move 20), but good at solving puzzles

8. Pack mule – can carry 150% normal weight, tends to be quiet and dull

9. Rebellious princess – (or prince) a rich brat who wants adventure but is still in the aristocratic mindset, has a tendency to complain and command

10. Rugged he-man – or she-woman; strong, brave and competent and a bit arrogant

11. Mother hen – very concerned about the adventurers and their health and well-being

12. Hyper-active – gets bored easily, often moves off on his own (especially when carrying something important)

13. Lucky duck – +2 bonus on all saving throws; lucky and knows it

14. Rakish devil – hits on the opposite sex, makes lascivious innuendos at the drop of a hat, has an over-fondness for booze

15. Death magnet – 1 in 6 chance that any random bad thing happens to this poor slob, but they enjoy a +2 bonus to all saving throws

16. Terrible jinx – increases chance of random monster encounters by 1 (or 5%), imposes a -1 penalty to saving throws for all in the party by their mere presence

17. Lazy complainer – move rate of 20, like to rest once per hour, complains about physical exertion, eats double rations

18. Delusions of grandeur – claims skills he or she does not have

19-20. Mundane henchmen – nothing special at all about this henchman

TABLE THE SECOND – HENCHMEN SKILLS

1. Academic – knack at deciphering and appraising the value of goods

2. Acolyte – can cast 1d4 zero-level cleric spells, each once per day; charges double

3. Acrobat – knack for jumping and ???

4. Animal Handler – knack for riding and taming animals

5. Apprentice – can cast 1d4 zero-level magic-user spells, each once per day; charges double

6. Athlete – knack at climbing walls and swimming

7. Deceiver – knack at forgery and disguise

8. Investigator – knack and finding traps and discerning alignment

9. Negotiator – +2 bonus to reaction checks if does the talking and knack for discerning alignment

10. Pick Pocket – knack at move silently and pick pockets

11. Rogue – can backstab for x2 damage once per day, knack at thief skills; charges double

12. Savage – berserker in combat, knack at barbarian skills, comes with loincloth, shield and spear; charges double

13. Sentinel – knack for finding secret doors and listening at doors

14. Shadow – knack for move silently and hide in shadows

15. Spelunker – darkvision to a range of 30 feet, dwarf knacks

16. Survivor – knack at survival and climbing walls

17. Swordsman – has one combat feat of the TK’s choice and comes with chainmail, shield and hand weapon; charges double

18. Thugee – can backstab for +2 damage and use poison safely, knack at assassin skills, comes with black leather armor and two daggers; charges double

19. Whirling Dervish – can attack twice per round with melee weapons, comes with leather armor, short sword and dagger; charges double

20. Woodsman – +1 to hit animals, knack at ranger skills, comes with leather armor, longbow and short sword; charges double

PAY SCALE

Just thought of this. What if the henchman’s pay scale determines what they’ll do …

Copper a day – will carry torches and bags, but will not fight

Silver a day – as above, plus will fight in second rank

Gold a day – as above, plus will fight in front rank

Platinum a day – as above, plus will check for traps and go into rooms first

Masters of the Dungeon [Monsters]

The Masters of the Universe came a bit late for me when I was young. A good friend of mine got the entire original release of MOTU for Hanukkah, though, and I remember going over to his house and checking them out, though I don’t think we ever actually played with them. We were getting too old for action figures (i.e. dolls for boys) at that point, and I was never into swords and sorcery anyways – I was more into a G.I. Joe (the original figures, you know, back when Snakeyes was a commando and not a stupid ninja) and Star Wars guy. At the time, MOTU figures struck me as really lame, and the cartoon was just horrible … well, except for this …

Now that I’m an adult, though, and have embraced my inner stooge and gonzo gaming, I have to admit a fondness for those old figures. Yeah, they’re goofy, but in all the best ways. They also strike me as things that would be amazing to throw at players in a gonzo dungeon – not as individuals, but as monsters on the order of goblins, orcs, bugbears, etc. With that in mind …

DOUBLE-HEADER (Double-headed Evil Strategists)
Medium monstrous humanoid; high intelligence; chaotic (LE); band (1 + 2d4 humanoids)

HD 4
AC 16 (breastplate and shield)
ATK 2 bites (1d4) or slam (1d6 + constrict)
MV 30
SV F14 R11 W10
XP 400 (CL 5)

Double-headers are two-headed humanoids who often lead humanoid war parties due to their high intelligence and mighty muscles. While some two-headed creatures have trouble with competition between heads, the double-header’s heads work in perfect cooperation. While this makes them especially cunning, it also gives them a +2 bonus to save vs. mind-affecting spells and abilities.

KLAWE (Warriors with a Grip of Evil!)
Medium monstrous humanoid; low intelligence; chaotic (CE); snag (1d4)

HD 1
AC 15
ATK 1 claws (1d6 + constrict), mace (1d6) and bite (1d4)
MV 30
SV F13 R15 W16
XP 50 (CL 1)

Klawes are humanoids covered with orange chitin and armed with maces. Their claws are capable of locking their foes in a grip of evil that deals double damage to lawful (good) victims.

KOZMO (Evil Cosmic Enforcers)
Medium outsider; average intelligence; chaotic (NE); glower (1d4)

HD 3
AC 14 (breastplate)
ATK 1 slam (1d4) or 1 ray gun (1d6 fire)
MV 30
SV F12 R12 W12
XP 300 (CL 4)

Kozmos are humanoids that hail from the outer dimensions. They are used as enforcers by minor evil extraplanar entities. They wear helms with goggles that protect them from gaze attacks and permit them to see into the ethereal and astral planes. Once per day, a kozmo can use the dimension door spell.

LASHER (Evil Tail Thrashing Warriors)
Medium humanoid; low intelligence; chaotic (CE); welt (1d6)

HD 2
AC 14
ATK 1 spear (1d8) and tail lash (1d4 + stun)
MV 30
SV F12 R15 W16
XP 100 (CL 2)

Lashers are cousins of the lizardmen with lashing tails. They have rather ogrish faces with protruding fangs, and pale, glistening green scales.

LOCK-JAW (Evil Warriors Armed for Combat)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); clamp (1d4)

HD 4
AC 14
ATK 1 bite (1d8) and either 1 musket (xxx), 1 hook (1d6) or 1 claw (1d6)
MV 30
SV F11 R14 W14
XP 200 (CL 4)

These cybernetic outlaws know no fear. They are equipped with adamantine jaws that can bite through nearly anything (+2 to sunder attacks; -2 to item saving rolls against them) and mechanical arms with the following possible attachments: Musket, hook (1d6 damage, +2 to disarm attacks) or claw (1d6 damage, +2 to grapple attacks). Lock-jaws can store unused weapons on their belts, and it takes them a full round to exchange one weapon for another.

MAN-BEAST (Savage Henchmen)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); throng (1d8)

HD 1
AC 13
ATK 2 claws (1d3) or 1 whip (10-ft range, 1d4)
MV 30
SV F13 R15 W15
XP 100 (CL 2)

Man-beasts often serve as henchmen to evil lords. Once per day, they can use monster summoning I to summon animals only. Man-beasts can speak the language of animals.

MER-MOK (Ocean Warlords)
Medium humanoids; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); gang (1d6)

HD 1+1
AC 16 (scale breastplate)
ATK 2 claws (1d4) or sword (1d8)
MV 30 (Swim 40)
SV F13 R15 W15
XP 100 (CL 2)

Mer-moks are scaly, green-skinned amphibians that may be distant, telepathic relatives of the sahuagin. They wear breastplates and carry bronze swords. Mer-moks suffer no penalty when fighting with their swords underwater. They can communicate with aquatic animals via telepathy (300-ft. range) and can use this telepathy, once per day, to cast monster summoning II (summons aquatic animals only).

PROWLER (Evil Masters of Escape)
Small humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (NE); pounce (1d8)

HD 0
AC 14 (breastplate)
ATK 2 claws (1d3) or musket (2d6)
MV 30 (Climb 40)
SV F16 R14 W16
XP 50 (CL 1)

Prowlers are small, halfling-sized humanoids with monstrous, spidery faces, dark blue skin that helps them blend into the shadows (surprise on roll of 1-4 on 1d6). They are capable of moving across walls and ceilings (per the spider climb spell), and use this ability to help them surprise foes when they are forced to engage in melee. They prefer to attack with their slim, accurate muskets, though, striking from the darkness as snipers and then looting the bodies of their victims.

SKULLFACE (Lords of Destruction)
Medium monstrous humanoid; high intelligence; chaotic (LE); solitary

HD 9
AC 18
ATK 2 claws (1d4+2) or sword (2d4+2)
MV 30
SV F11 R9 W8
XP 900 (CL 10)

These lords of destruction are demonic men with skull faces and blue skin. Having the special qualities of demons, they are capable swordsmen and sorcerers. Skullfaces can cast spells as 8th level sorcerers, channeling their magic through their skull-headed staves without needing to speak or gesture. When encountered, there is a 50% chance a skullface will be mounted on a giant black panther and a 50% chance they will be accompanied by their savage henchmen, 1d8 man-beasts.

SPIKAZ (Evil Masters of Untouchable Combat)
Medium monstrous humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); prick (1d6)

HD 1+1
AC 16
ATK 1 trident (1d6) and morningstar (1d6)
MV 30
SV F15 R13 W13
XP 100 (CL 2)

Spikaz are strange humanoids covered in bony protrusions that jut from their leathery hides. Natural smiths, most amputate their lower left arms and replace them with weapons, often tridents or warhammers. They often wield morningstars in their right hands in combat. Those locked in melee combat with spikaz using their natural weapons or small weapons must pass a Reflex save each round or be struck by their spikes, suffering 1 point of damage. Attacking a spikaz with unarmed attacks or grapples automatically inflicts 1d3 points of damage on the attacker with a successful hit.

TRICLOPS (Evil Warriors That See Everything)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (LE); peep (1d4)

HD 3
AC 14
ATK 1 sword (1d8) or eye ray (30-ft range, 1d6 force)
MV 30
SV F12 R14 W14
XP 300 (CL 4)

Triclops possess three eyes spaced evenly around their heads. These eyes make it impossible to surprise a triclops, and give them the power of true seeing (as the spell), x-ray vision and the ability to rays of force that force victims to pass a Fortitude save or be knocked back 2d4 feet and fall prone if they fail a Reflex saving throw. They are also capable swordsmen.

YELLOW AMAZONS (Evil Warrior Goddesses)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (NE); coven (1d4)

HD 3
AC 15 (leather armor)
ATK 1 staff (1d8)
MV 40
SV F12 R14 W14
XP 300 (CL 4)

These saffron-skinned warrior goddesses go into battle armed with iron staves and leather armor. They can channel magic through their staves as though they were 3rd level sorcerers, though without their staves they have no magical abilities.

Poker Made Easy [ACTION X]

I was just watching an episode of Mission: Impossible which hinged around a high stakes poker game. It occurred to me that such an occasion might arise in a modern role playing game, such as ACTION X (whenever I finish it), so it might be worthwhile to come up with a little in-game system to simulate a game of poker. Note – this is not a step-by-step simulation of poker, and it is completely untested and probably stupid.

Step one for the player (or players) involved is to roll on the following table to discover the strength of their hand. Essentially, this would be their final hand – there’s no drawing of new cards in this simulation. For our purposes, we just want to get a relative idea of what the player has to work with. Each hand carries with it a modifier that will be used later in the simulation.


D%
HAND
MOD.
01-44
High card
-2
45-86
One pair
+0
87-92
Two pair
+1
93-94
Three of a kind
+2
95
Straight
+3
96
Flush
+5
97
Full house
+7
98
Four-of-a-kind
+9
99
Straight flush
+11
100
Royal flush
+13

The player now nominates how much money he is risking on his hand. This will be matched or nearly matched by his opponents (see below)

Next, the player makes a Gambling task check against each opponent in the game. A gambling task check is a Charisma check in ACTION X, which uses the same task resolution system as Blood & Treasure. The player adds his hand modifier to the roll, and subtracts his opponent’s Wisdom modifier. If his opponent has a knack at gambling, the player suffers a -2 penalty to his roll. If his opponent is skilled at gambling, the player suffers a -4 penalty to his roll.

Each time the player makes a successful task check, that opponent folds and leaves the game. Each person who folds deposits half the amount of money the player chose to risk into the pot.

Each opponent that survives these Gambling checks now reveals his or her hand – roll randomly on the table above to find out what they have. Each of these participants will put risk as much money as the player. The participant in the game with the best hand takes the pot.

Sugarcane, Agent 99

You never know where inspiration will originate. A few days ago, my daughter and I were watching an old commercial on PubDHub, and the name of the product, Sugarcane99, struck me as a great name for a sexy ’60s spy. As we continued to watch the commercial, it revealed itself as a wonderful little preview for a spy movie …

First, we have the spy boss, in his thick-framed glasses …

Then we have Sugarcane, Agent 99, on the beach, awaiting instructions …

Then the villain of the piece, complete with obligatory white cat.

Finally, the villain’s accomplice, a wealthy femme fatale who uses her cover as a member of society to disguise her malevolent hobby, and the victim, a hapless diplomat drinking drugged coffee …

Hopefully, you’ll be able to catch the whole crew (and much more) in ACTION X, my take on modern role-playing. I’m about 75% finished with the game, and hopefully will start playtesting soon.

Enter the Geo-Metrons [New Monsters]

Inspired by Adventure Time

In the vast cosmos there are many weird entities to encounter and fight. These are three of them.

Hell-Sphere
Small Aberration, Chaotic (LE), Average Intelligence, Gang (1d3)

Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 17 [Silver]
Attack: 2 fire whips (10-ft. range; 1d4 + 1d6 fire)
Speed: Fly 30
Save: F15 R14 W11
XP: 400 (CL 5)

Hell-spheres look like ruby colored spheres about the size of a human head. While they look solid, they are in fact only semi-solid, bridging the material and ethereal planes. Hell-spheres move by flying, and can also levitate in place. They attack by extending semi-solid whips of fire from their surfaces, and are also capable of taking control of living creatures.

To control a creature, a hell-sphere must envelop that creature’s head. This is considered a grapple attack, which the hell-sphere makes at a +2 bonus to hit. Once it has enveloped a creature’s head, the target is allowed a Will saving throw to resist the sphere. If this save fails, the creature is stunned for the remainder of the round. On the next round, it is under the control of the sphere.

A creature under a sphere’s control can use all of its natural abilities, and also gains the special defenses of a devil. The sphere must remain on the creature’s head to control it, and can be removed by a grapple attack (assuming somebody has silver or magical gloves or a net or such to catch it). Attacks against a sphere enveloping a creature score full damage on the sphere and half damage on the creature it is enveloping. While enveloping a creature, a hell-sphere can continue to use its normal attacks in addition to its new minion’s attacks.

Death-Cube
Small Aberration, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence, Gang (1d3)

Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 16 [Silver]
Attack: 2 rays (50-ft. range, 1d6 negative energy)
Speed: Fly 30
Save: F15 R14 W12
XP: 300 (CL 4)

Death-cubes look like black cubes about the size of a human head. While they look solid, they are in fact only semi-solid, bridging the material and ethereal planes. Death-cubes move by flying, and can also levitate in place. They attack by firing rays of gray energy from their surfaces, and are also capable of taking control of living creatures (per the hell-sphere above).

A creature under a cube’s control can use all of its natural abilities, and also gains the special defenses of a demon.

* Note – this one keeps making want to say Death-Cube for Cutie

Battle-Prism
Small Aberration, Neutral (N), Average Intelligence, Gang (1d3)

Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 18 [Silver]
Attack: 2 rays (50-ft. range, 1d6 force)
Speed: Fly 40
Save: F14 R13 W11
XP: 500 (CL 6)

Battle-Prisms look like three-sided pyramids about the size of a human head. Each surface is a kaleidoscope of colors. While they look solid, they are in fact only semi-solid, bridging the material and ethereal planes. Battle-prisms move by flying, and can also levitate in place. They attack by firing rays of prismatic force from their surfaces, and are also capable of taking control of living creatures (per the hell-sphere above).

A creature under a prism’s control can use all of its natural abilities, and also gains the effects of the heroism spell.

Speed of Mercury [New Class]

Long time readers of this blog know that I like weird or unique classes. Equipped with this blog, you could have a party consisting of a 5th level master blaster, 4th level unicorn, 4th level traveler (think Doctor Who) and 5th level cleric (well, you always need a cleric, right?).

This class actually originated as me thinking “Metatron would be an awesome level title – I wonder what of?”

RUNNER

Runners are men and women (or males and females) who specialize in running. Most serve as long-distance messengers or in military organizations as couriers delivering orders and reports back to headquarters. In dungeons, they are capable scouts and middling warriors, and at high levels they begin to emulate the very messengers of the gods.

Requirements: Runners must have Constitution scores of 13 or higher

Hit Dice: Runners roll d6 for hit points up to 10th level; they gain 2 hit points per level thereafter

Armor Allowed: No armor is allowed, but runners can use bucklers

Weapons Allowed: Runners can use light and medium melee and ranged weapons

Advance As: Fighter

First level runners (messengers) are known for their quickness and their utility as messengers. They gain Armor Class bonuses as monks (same progression) and can make Will saves (modified by intelligence) to understand unknown languages and Will saves (modified by their charisma) to make themselves understood to those who do not speak the same language.

A second level runner (sprinter) can run at up to five times his normal land speed (most can only run four times their normal land speed).

A third level runner (courier) gains the Endurance feat for free (even if you do not usually use feats in your game).

A fourth level runner (herald) receives a +1 bonus to all reaction checks, provided they are not acting in an offensive or aggressive manner.

A sixth level runner (emissary) can calm emotions (as the spell) by speaking, provided he is not acting in an offensive or aggressive manner. If those he is trying to calm do not speak his language, he must use his ability (see above) to make them understand, and even then they receive a +1 bonus to save vs. the calm emotions effect. Creatures with no language cannot be calmed.

An eighth level runner (mercurial) becomes superhumanly fast. They can now run at six times their normal land speed. For one round plus one round per Constitution bonus per day they can use the haste or blur spell on themselves.

In addition, an eighth level runner can speak with dead once per day.

A ninth level runner (metatron) gains the ability to communicate with any intelligent creature in their native tongue. In fact, the metatron simply speaks; others understand her in their native tongue.

A twelfth level runner (psychopomp) can move so quickly that they can, when moving at top speed, plane shift once per day into another dimension, and once per day back to their home dimension.

Phantom Tech [Space Princess]

Thought up a few new bits of super science for Space Princess. Enjoy …

Phantom tech is concerned with insubstantiability. It is designed to separate an object’s molecules just enough to allow it to pass through another object, which is also made insubstantial. In the process, molecules from these two objects do not mix with one another, but rather they maintain integrity (well, mostly – long term use can prove hazardous to one’s health).

Phantom Suit (DC 25) – Phantom tech suits cover the entire body and are skin tight. They are usually a dull gray or black in color and covered with slightly luminous circuitry. One can see and hear through the head covering, though not terribly well. When activated, the suit creates a field of ethereality around and through the suit, allowing a person to become ethereal and walk through solid objects.

Phantom Bullets (DC 20) – Phantom bullets can be fired from needle guns. Each bullet is imprinted with phantom-tech circuitry. They are designed, after being fired, to become ethereal until they have passed through at least one inch of solid material. This allows them to ignore armor (even natural armor) and to inflict +1d4 points of damage when they become solid within a creature’s body

Phantom Ray Goggles (DC 20) – These goggles project a conical ray that separates the molecules of a solid substance, allowing the person wearing the goggles to peer through it

Phantom Ray Trap (DC 25) – These traps look like flat, circular, metal objects about 3 feet in diameter. When laid on the ground, they project a conical phantom tech ray when they are trod upon. This causes the person who trods on them to become ethereal and shift into the Phantom Dimension (fantasy characters know it as the Ethereal Plane), where they are trapped. The process takes one minute, giving scientists time to deactivate the device before the person is trapped.

Etherscope (DC 20) – An etherscope looks like a hemispherical but of metal with a glass screen, with all sorts of dials and antennae projecting from it. It permits one to look into the Phantom Dimension from normal space.

Magical Strings [Magic Items]

Why magical strings? Because the idea popped into my head the other day while I was taking a walk. Enjoy …

Thread of Fate: This special thread is made from entwining gold and silver thread with hair plucked from the head of a hag. When sewn into clothing using a gold needle, the thread permits the wearer of that garment to once attempt to escape death. When faced with any event that would cause their death (hit point damage, a failed saving throw, etc.), the adventurer can ignore the event – i.e. the attack somehow misses, the saving throw is a success, etc. Once death has been escaped, the thread loses its magic unless the garment is subsequently washed in a potion of restoration.

Thread of Guiding: This magical thread, when its spool is dropped to the ground, traces the path of the person who dropped it, rolling along until it reaches its maximum distance of 300 feet. It can be re-rolled onto its spool while one follows it, but will not magically re-roll itself.

Cat’s Cradle: This is a magical string with an amethyst gleam that can be turned into a cat’s cradle by one deft with his hands (Reflex save). While held before a person, it can catch any spell thrown at the person (force effects included, but not energy or physical effects like fire or stones). The magical energies in the thread can then be flung back at the caster (and only the caster) the next round. If these energies are not so thrown within 3 rounds, they ignite the string, which deals 1d4 points of the damage to the holder of the cat’s cradle per spell level.
Obviously, while holding a cat’s cradle, one cannot wield a weapon or shield. Monks can still attack, but since they may only use their legs they suffer a -2 penalty to attack.

Memory Thread: Memory thread is a saffron colored bit of string. When tied to one’s finger, it permits them to remember one thing perfectly without fail. Magic-users can use memory string to remember a single spell of up to 2nd level, essentially gaining an extra spell slot. If the string is removed or destroyed, the memory is lost (though one could still conceivably remember it in the normal, non-magical way).

Spool of Recording: This is a spool of mahogany, well worn, without any thread. When held before a person and the command word (“Victrola”) is uttered, it causes anything said before it by a single person to take the form of a silver thread which is pulled from their mouth and reeled onto the spool. The sound of what the person said is converted into the silver string, so no sound is heard. Spells uttered in this way are disrupted.

If this string is pulled through the eye of a crystal needle, the sound can be replayed. This can only be done once. If the sound is a spell, there is a chance it will go off, based on the level of the spell, with a target chosen by the holder of the spool.

Level 0 to 1 90%
Level 2 80%
Level 3 70%
Level 4 60%
Level 5 50%
Level 6 40%
Level 7 30%
Level 8 20%
Level 9 10%

A string can also be destroyed with fire if the spool’s owner does not wish to hear it.

String Snapper: A string snapper is a magical amulet of bronze embossed with the image of scissors. By rubbing the amulet and then snapping her fingers, the owner can cause all strings within 30 feet to potentially snap. This includes the strings of instruments (though not magical instruments), bowstrings (though not of magical bows) and other taught strings. The strings in question receive a saving throw to resist the effect. Each time the amulet is used, there is a 1 in 6 chance that it dissipates into yellow smoke that smells of sulfur.

Kazoo of Power: This silver kazoo, when blown, produces no noise but causes all strings on bows or musical instruments to begin vibrating. This vibration renders an item useless for its owner, and also sets up a throbbing harmonic that causes 1 point of sonic damage per round to anyone within 10 feet of the item (cumulative). Magical items receive a saving throw to resist the effect of the kazoo of power.

Quantum Lens: A quantum lens looks like a monocle with a silvery sheen. When placed over the eye, it allows one to glimpse quantum strings that crisscross through reality. The lens also allows one to pluck these strings (or at least attempt to) to cause changes in the environment around them. The attempt requires on to make a special task check that is a Will save modified by intelligence (if one is a magic-user, sorcerer or bard) or otherwise made as if one had a knack at screwing with reality (also modified by intelligence). Different quantum effects carry with them different penalties to the task check. In any event, only one such event can be produced per day without attracting the attention of an astral deva, who will attempt to seize the quantum lens from the character with extreme prejudice.

 – Call lightning (-2)
 – Control weather (-8)
 – Control winds (-6)
 – Earthquake (-10)
 – Firestorm (-10)
 – Fog cloud
 – Gust of wind
 – Ice storm (-4)
 – Planeshift (-6)

 – Reverse gravity (-10)
 – Sleet storm (-2)
 – Whirlwind (-10)

Silver Scissors: This is a pair of scissors made from alchemical silver and engraved with various glyphs and words of power. Silver scissors can be used to cut astral threads, those threads that connect a person on one plane with his material self on another after he has traveled through the astral plane. Astral creatures can also be affected by the scissors, the cutting of the thread forcing them back into he astral plane for 24 hours.
Finding a thread is the hard part, of course. Threads usually connect to a creature’s back, and random attacks at a person’s back can be made with the scissors as though attacking Armor Class 22. If one can discern astral threads in some manner, they may attack them as though attacking Armor Class 12. Damage need not be rolled – a successful attack with the scissors cuts the thread.

Woodland Classes I – The Unicorn

A maiden’s best friend, unicorns (and pegasi and other little ponies) are all the craze these days with girls and a few (slightly disturbing) men. We’ve endured many years now of sneering, leather-clad, spiky-shouldered, ridiculously-large-weapon wielding wannabe badasses in dungeons, perhaps it’s time for something sparkly.

Requirements: Wisdom and Charisma 13+, Lawful (Good) in alignment

Hit Dice: d6, +2 per level after 10th

Weapons allowed: None

Armor allowed: Up to chainmail barding

Skills: Find Secret Door, Jump, Listen at Doors, Move Silently, Survival

Advance: As paladin

Attack: As cleric

Saving Throws: As paladin

First level unicorns are medium-sized creatures, with the bodies of goats, heads of horses, snowy-white hair and pearlescent horns growing from their foreheads. They are capable of speaking both Common and Sylvan. They can make one attack each round, either with their alicorn (their horn – yeah, there’s a fancy word for it!) for 1d8 damage, or with their two hooves (as though attacking with two weapons) for 1d4 damage. Unicorns are naturally immune to poison.

A note on climbing: Unicorns, having the legs of goats, are actually quite capable climbers, so long as they have even the smallest ledge (or its equivalent) on which to rest their hooves. For sheer surfaces, unicorns are going to need some help involving ropes and people to pull them.

A 2nd level unicorn’s alicorn strikes as a +1 weapon. This innate magical bonus improves to +2 at 4th level, and +3 at 8th level.

A 3rd level unicorn becomes immune to charm and compulsion-type spells, unless they are cast by a lawful (good) female spellcaster.

A 4th level unicorn gains the innate ability to cast spells with its alicorn. The unicorn prepares and casts spells as a paladin, with each spell being cast from its horn. Spells that require a touch require the unicorn to touch the subject with its horn. The unicorn need not speak to cast these spells, nor otherwise move.

A 5th level unicorn can undertake a quest, guided by a divine vision, to find and gain the service of a chaste, lawful (good) female elven companion. This companion is either a cleric, fighter, magic-user or paladin (roll 1d4) who begins as a 1st level character, but advances one level each time the unicorn advances one level. If the unicorn’s companion dies, it must atone (per the atonement spell) and then wait until gaining another level of unicorn to undertake the quest again.

A 10th level unicorn can establish a serene woodland clearing as its lair. A 12 mile radius circle around the clearing must be cleared of all evil influences before the unicorn can consecrate the clearing. Once consecrated, the unicorn attracts 1d10 creatures to act as guardians of the clearing and associates in its fight for law and good. Roll on the following table to determine these companions.

ROLL D10
1 – Aasimar warrior (2 HD, chainmail, longsword, longbow, 20 arrows)
2 – Brownie
3 – Celestial brown bear
4 – Celestial eagle
5 – Celestial wolf
6 – Druid (1st level; either human, elf or gnome)
7 – Druid (2nd level; either human, elf or gnome)
8 – Dryad
9 – 1d6 pixies
10 – Unicorn

UNICORN SPELLS

First Level: Bless, calm animals, charm person, cure light wounds, detect evil, detect poison, freedom of movement, light, obscuring mist, remove fear, sanctuary, shield of faith, slow poison, virtue

Second Level: Aid, animal messenger, cure moderate wounds, dimension door, lesser restoration, magic circle against evil, neutralize poison, remove paralysis, shield other

Third Level: Charm monster, cure serious wounds, prayer, protection from energy, remove curse, searing light, teleport

Fourth Level: Air walk, cure critical wounds, divine power, holy smite, restoration, teleport without error

Nymphomania Part 2 – Seven More Variant Nymphs [Monsters]

And so we come to part 2 of my article on variant nymphs. Enjoy (can’t wait to commission art for this one!)

MELISSAE (HONEY NYMPHS)
Melissae are the nymphs of honey bees. They appear as 4 to 5 ft. tall women of exceptional beauty, with golden skin and honey-colored hair. On their backs are wings like those of a giant bee, and they have a fly speed of 30 feet.

Once per day, a melissae can summon a swarm of bees (per summon swarm). They do not have the gaze attack of normal nymphs, but their kisses act as a charm person spell. Melissae are immune to poison, and most carry a magical mead that acts as a neutralize poison potion. Melissae cast spells as bards rather than druids. They are usually encountered with 1d6 giant bees.

NAIADS (WATER NYMPHS)
Naiads are the nymphs of fresh water, dwelling in rivers, lakes, streams and pools. They are among the more pleasant of their kind, enjoying dalliances with mortal men and rarely doing lasting harm to mortals. Naiads are about 5 feet tall and generally resemble elves. They have pale skin and silvery hair.

Naiads are amphibious. They have a swim speed of 50 feet and are resistant to cold damage.

NEREIDES (SEA NYMPHS)
Sea nymphs dwell in salt water, often constructing small palaces for themselves below the waves. Their leader is the famous Thetis, mother of Achilles. They usually have pale skin and golden hair, with deep blue eyes.

Nereides are amphibious. They have a swim speed of 60 feet. Nereides are resistant to cold damage, have 10% magic resistance and can only be harmed by silver weapons. In place of a normal nymph’s gaze attack , nereides can sing a siren song that affects all within 100 feet. At minimum power, this acts as a bard’s fascinate ability, but nereides can also use it to deliver the following spells: Charm person, charm monster, suggestion, command, confusion or fear.

NYMPHAI HYPERBOREIOI (HYPERBOREAN NYMPHS)
The nymphai hyperboreioi are the nymphs of the taiga. They are hardier and more barbaric than their southerly sisters, and excel at archery. Nymphai hyperboreioi stand about 7 feet tall, have pale skin (often freckled) and flowing red or blond hair. They are always found wearing leather armor (or furs – count them as leather armor either way) and carrying short swords and longbows.

Hyperborean nymphs have 8 Hit Dice and enjoy resistance to cold damage. In their hands, bows and arrows always carry a +1 magical bonus. When making trick shots with their bows, they enjoy a +2 bonus to hit. Hyperborean nymphs do not have the normal nymph’s gaze attack, but they can imbue their arrows with a charm person effect; when an arrow is so imbued, it deals no damage. Rather, it disappears into a cloud of smoke when it strikes a target, and that target must pass a Will saving throw or be charmed.

OCEANIDS (OCEAN NYMPHS)
Oceanids might also be called greater nereides. They are the daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, and thus have titan blood flowing through their veins. Oceanids are exceptionally lovely, with blue-green skin and hair like sea foam. They can appear in the form of mermaids, or as humanoids.

Oceanids have 9 Hit Dice, AC 18 and a swim speed of 90. They can only be harmed by +1 or better weapons, have magic resistance 25% and are immune to cold. They can breathe air or water. Once per day, an oceanid can enlarge herself (as the spell), an artifact of her titan heritage. Oceanids cast spells as 9th level druids. In place of a normal nymph’s gaze attack , oceanids can sing a siren song that affects all within 1 mile. At minimum power, this acts as a bard’s fascinate ability, but oceanids can also use it to deliver the following spells: Charm person, charm monster, suggestion, command, confusion or fear.

Oceanids can control water at will, and they can rebuke water elementals as an evil 9th level cleric can rebuke undead.

OREADS (MOUNTAIN NYMPHS)
Oreads are earth nymphs who dwell in the mountain and rugged hills. They avoid contact with non-fey, and are less apt to seduce a mortal than most of their kin. Oreads have nut-brown skin and auburn hair. Their eyes shine like rubies, sapphires or emeralds.

Oreads are resistant to acid and can use stoneskin (as the spell) at will. They can meld into stone as a dryad can meld into trees, but are not tied to particular stones as dryads are tied to particular trees. Oreads can communicate with burrowing animals as a gnome. They do not have a normal nymph’s gaze attack.

THEMEIDES (GUARDIAN NYMPHS)
The themeides are the daughters of Zeus and Themis (i.e. they’re true demigods), who serve both as prophets and as keepers of divine artifacts (a certain famous saint’s mace, perhaps). While these warrior nymphs appear at first merely as red-headed nymphs with bronzed skin, when attacked one learns of their true nature.

Themeides are only struck by +1 or better weapons, are immune to lightning and fear and enjoy magic resistance 30%. They have 12 Hit Dice. In combat, they can summon chainmail and spears that appear on their person. Both chainmail and spear crackle with energy; while on the nymph they act as +1 magic items and the spears deal +1d6 electricity damage with each hit. When a themeides dies, her armor and weapon disappear.

Themeides cast spells as clerics rather than druids.