Monday, October 26, 2015

Grasping Dead, Skull Bomb, and Gaze of the Dead: Three New Necromancy Spells

Just in time for Halloween, here are three new necromancy spells.  The first, grasping dead, is the necromantic equivalent of entangle.  It causes corpses in an area to become uncomfortably handsy, grappling any nearby creatures.  The second spell, skull bomb, charges a skull with volatile amounts of negative energy, turning it into a dangerous bomb, trap, or thrown weapon.  The third, gaze of the dead, turns the eyes of basilisks, medusas, and other gaze-happy creatures into floating, necromantic weapons.

The following text in gold is available as Open Game Content under the OGL.  Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars and d20 Despot.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Improved Armor Tables Part 4 - Medium Armor

This is part 4 of my ongoing series on improving the armor tables.  Unlike my Fixing the Weapons Table posts, these changes should be considered entirely optional and a GM should carefully consider whether they want to use them in their game, because it might mean a lot of tweaking stat blocks behind the scenes.  These changes are designed for GMs who love history and want their fantasy worlds to be a little more grounded in it.

This week's subject is medium armor, more protective than light armor but less restrictive than heavy armor.  We've got leather plate, wooden slat, scale, light mail, jazerant, brigandine, and lamellar.  These include some of the most widely used armors from history.  Lamellar, for instance, was used from ancient times through to the 19th century, in places like Central Asia, Byzantium, and Tibet.  Some armors are more obscure, or more limited in geographic or temporal range; jazerant was largely a Middle Eastern variation on mail, though the Japanese later got in on it as well.

Brigandine is one of my favorite armors, but it is one that often goes overlooked.  Because the actual metal of the armor is concealed (except for the rivets attaching the plates to the cloth backing), it doesn't show up well in historical illustrations and it lacks visual appeal for Hollywood and for fantasy illustrators.  Medieval drawings of soldiers in brigandine armor were probably the inspiration for 'studded leather armor', the fictional type of armor so popular among Victorian medievalists, RPG designers, and Hollywood costume departments.  Nonetheless, brigandine was an incredibly effective and popular style of armor, and I hope it will become so in your games as well.

Read on to see the stats for all these armor types and learn more about them.  As before, I have provided some historical information with each armor entry in order to aid the GM in determining which armors would fit best in a particular campaign setting.

The following items and rules in gold and their accompanying tables are available as Open Game Content under the OGL.  Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars and d20 Despot.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sandbox Campaign Part 16: Assault on Castle Drenn, Part 2

This is part 16 of my ongoing Sandbox Campaign, also known as the Graverobbers Campaign, after the appellation of the group whose adventures it chronicles.  

When last we saw the Graverobbers, they had infiltrated Castle Drenn, stronghold of the bandit queen Thalestra and her wizard consort Xericos, who the Graverobbers presume to be the mysterious 'X' who has been antagonizing them.  The bulk of the party assaulted the rear courtyard of the castle, burning, slashing, and otherwise killing an encampment of ogres led by Grist Halfogre and a number of defenders of the castle walls.  Kat, Daphne, the wizard Cole, and a dozen rescued prisoners secured the town outside of the castle's walls.  Sigrid, meanwhile, spent most of the battle invisibly exploring the castle, scouting out a number of rooms and stumbling upon a few fairly unsettling inhabitants.  In the end, Kat got bored of securing the town and bluffed her way into the castle, Rikkette used a magic jar spell to inhabit the body of a guard and jump into the spiked moat, Monty killed Grist Halfogre, and the remaining defenders of the castle walls surrendered.  Then Sigrid put on a belt looted from a dead ogre and was turned into a man.

And now:
Click for big

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monster Monday: Fomorians - Horrific Giants of Irish Mythology

Today's Monster Monday is the dreaded fomorian, a race of deformed and hideous man-eating giants that were the inhabitants of Ireland before the Irish.  Well, they were the first inhabitants of Ireland, then the Firbolgs came, then they were both conquered by the Tuatha Dé Danann, and so on, but you get the picture.

The Fomorians by John Duncan, 1912 - via Wikimedia
Fomorians are generally depicted as having all manner of crazy mutations; some of them have one arm, some of them have one leg, some of them even have a goat head!  The king of the Fomorians back in the day was the dreaded Balor (modern Irish spelling: Balar, which I use to avoid confusion with D&D's Balrog knock-off), who had a single eye that destroyed all that he gazed upon, wilting crops, blasting through rocks, and laying waste to armies.  He was finally killed when his grandson, the half-tuatha-dé-danann-half-fomorian Lug, struck him in the eye with a slingstone so hard that it exploded out the back of his skull and killed twenty-seven warriors who were standing behind him.

Fomorians have been statted up for Pathfinder in Bestiary 4, as a type of titan.  I'm presenting my own take on them here, partly because I will never run a campaign in which a CR 22 monster shows up, and partly because my interpretation is a bit more in line with Irish mythology and D&D legacy.

The following text in gold is available as Open Game Content under the OGL. Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars.