Saturday, June 29, 2013

[Monster] Pyrohydralisk

Pyrohydralisk : HD 15 [150 HPs]; AC -2/0 [21/19]; Atk 5-7 bites (2d12) 2 Claws (1d12); Move 18; Save 3; CL/XP 21/4700; Special: Firebreath, Petrification

Magically engineered from a joining of pyrohydra and basilisk eggs, the pyrohydralisk is a terrible and fearsome opponent.

Each round, it can attack with each of its heads and its two front claws.  For each head, roll a d6.  

  • On a 1-4, the head will bite for 2d12 damage.  A successful bite will force a save vs. petrification, or the target will be turned to stone.
  • On a 5-6, the head will breathe fire in a line at a target within 30'.  The breath does 40 points of damage (save for half.)  
The underbelly of the pyrohydralisk is not as heavily armored as the rest of its body, hence AC 0[19].

Friday, June 28, 2013

Undead Enhancements

I was over at Wizardawn generating a couple adventures for my sandbox --
As an aside, I love using random stuff because I enjoy IMPROVISING around it.  I don't enjoy drawing maps anymore and I find a "blank canvas" a lot harder to run than one with "ideas" on it that I can use or not.  
-- when I discovered something that's kind of a bummer.  For low-level adventures, in Swords & Wizardry, the monsters are exclusively skeletons and zombies.

That's all fine and good, but what about a little variety?  So, I thought, why not make up a chart of little "enhancements" that can be tacked onto the beastie for a few extra XP?
I'm purposely NOT searching for this.  Someone may have already had this idea.  Hopefully I'm not subconsciously channeling your work.  :)
So, here's my chart and a "guesstimate" of how much more XP it should add to the creature.  YMMV.

XP Bonus
Re-animates:  It falls down and then gets back up at full HP after 1d4 rounds.  It must be hacked apart and/or burned to stay down
Full XP each time it is killed
Shoots arcane energy (like magic missile) or finger bones (like crossbow)
Barfs up … goo that is sticky like web
… that bursts into flame for 1d4 if it hits
… that is slippery, target must save or fall down
Explodes when killed, sending sharp shards of bone nearby for 1d6 damage (save for none)
Uses two swords for an extra attack!

Has four arms and four attacks!

Has a gaze that works like charm person.  Save or fight with the undead rather than against them

Can fly
Shrouded in darkness
Is covered in biting insects.  If it hits in combat, one of these little buggers climbs onto the defender.  It will do 1pt of damage each round.  Defender must lose her attack to squash it
Is not human, but is humanoid (dwarf, orc, elf, etc.)  Cosmetic change only for flavor
… but is an animal (wolf, bear, lion, etc.)  Gains additional attacks
… but is larger than human (ogre, troll, bugbear, owlbear, etc.)  Gaining 1d8 additional HPs
Is protected … from magic of all kinds
… from fire.  It is fireproof
… from attack due to enhanced armor.  +2 to AC
… from turning.  It cannot be turned due to evil glyphs tattooed onto its skin and/or carved onto its bones

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gelatinous Cube Plastic Update

I bought a sheet of thin plexiglass at Hobby Lobby today, thinking it would be a bountiful and reliable substitute for the "packaging plastic" I used to make my Gelatinous Cubes.


While it is "doable," it is much harder to work with because it is so brittle.

I did succeed in making a cube, but it took a lot longer and it wasn't as fun to do.  :(

Just an FYI.  Keep looking for that scrap plastic!

[Monster] Crocoboon

Illustration copyright Alex Babakitis - used with permission -
Crocoboon : HD 4; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d8); Move 12 (Climb 12, Swim 9); Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None

Crocoboon, Alpha : HD 5; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (1d10); Move 12 (Climb 12, Swim 9); Save 12; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Haste

Created by a deranged wizard and corrupted by his dark powers, the crocoboon is the result of terrible experiments, bent on creating a violent servitor race.

Crocoboon are fearless pack hunters.  Once they have located their prey, they will stop at nothing to kill it.  Crocoboon can run quickly through the jungle, swing from the trees and vines and swim effectively.  They are capable of tracking prey over great distances.  

If an alpha male crocoboon is present when the troop corners its prey, it will begin hooting and screeching.  This has the effect of hasting the troop for 2d4 rounds.

It is said that the alpha males are canny enough to master the use of simple magic items.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Boggle Adventure Hook Generator

I went to Goodwill the other day and I found this game for $1.99.  I'm always on the lookout for games that have funky dice or some other interesting feature --
It's called "Quip Qubes" and it's like Scrabble, but with words instead of letters.  I don't know if it is playable.  There is a score pad in with the game.  One sheet has been used (it's still attached.)  I don't know if that means that the owners just gave up or that they never played again for some other reason.

So, I went through the dice and I picked out 16 of the best "words" to suggest action and/or adventure. There are other dice that are suitable too -- this is just one possible set.

I put them in the Boggle case I have and I gave them a shake.  Here's the result --
So, taking a look and trying to make connections --

Somewhere in town, lives a smart dog.  Not your average smart dog, a REALLY smart dog.  Maybe a former familiar or perhaps a fey dog.  It has seen a devil.  A small, one-foot-tall devil that is part duck (or at least it looks that way.)  The devil knows about the dog and it hates it.  It knows that the dog will be trying to find a way to destroy it, if it can find a way.  It's only a matter of time... 
Not bad.  I could work with that.

These dice might do better if I refine the set and include a few Rory's Story Cubes to help flesh them out.  I'll try that sometime.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Make a Gelatinous Cube [Part 2]

Start to finish, this project took 40 minutes.  Seriously.  :)

How to Make a Gelatinous Cube [Part 1]

Scrap Plastic for Homemade Gelatinous Cube

Here's a video showing the kind of plastic I used to make the Gelatinous Cube.  Excuse the poor production values.  :)

Homemade Gelatinous Cube

So I found an old piece of heavy plastic -- the stuff that electronics comes in -- and I cut out a long strip, 2.25 inches wide and 9" long.  I scored it every 2.25" and folded it over like a box.  I did leave a little strip on one end so I'd have some material to glue to.

Then I made a lid.  2.25" square with small strips on two sides.  I glued it to the top.

I then, LIBERALLY, squirted hot glue all over the thing.  I did one side at a time, covering the edges and the corners, dripping a bit each time.

It's hollow on the inside so that it could "engulf" a mini or two if necessary.

It feels heavy and pretty solid.  I think the glue really reinforced the plastic.

Here's the final result --

I think it turned out pretty well.

EDIT - By request, here are some more pictures --
You *might* be able to tell that the open side is near Collen

Collen being dissolved by the Gelatinous Cube

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Campaign 2013 [Part 12]

So Boss, the halfling fighter, escaped the medusa and made it back to The City.  He needed to find a few more party members, so he looked up his buddies Maul of the Frigid Wastes and Deogol, a fighter and a cleric respectively.

These three formed a plan to go to the ruins, but first they needed to find some hirelings.  Reinforcements for the exploration!

They paid a crier 5gp to put up some signs and drum up some interest.  The interviews were to take place in two days at the Silver Eel Tavern.

The adventurers got five applicants (Thanks Meatshields!) and they hired four.  Three men-at-arms and one torchbearer.
Here's a technique that I really like.  Rather than use the HPs on the Meatshields page, I let the players roll up HPs for their men-at-arms.  I told them to roll 2d6 and keep the best one.  One hireling was strong from his labor as a farmer.  I let them roll 3d6 and keep the best for him.  The torchbearer rolled 1d6 -- and got a 1! 
 I told the players that they needed to buy their men-at-arms AT LEAST leather armor and some kind of weapon.  These were theirs to keep.  They had to pay their wages up front as well.  They needed to buy them food for a week and they might want to buy them something to ride.  They didn't have to give that to the hireling, but they'd certainly be impressed.

The group bought a bunch of gear -- torches, rations, mounts, etc. and they headed out.


The journey to the ruin was uneventful.  They saw no one on the road.  The weather was good and they arrived at the ruin by mid afternoon.

The torchbearer, Morig exclaimed, "You didn't say you'd be exploring the Egg of Evad!"
The adventurers tied their mounts to the tree near the ruin and climbed the left stair (careful to avoid the trap.)  They had a small fire, ate their rations and hunkered down for the night.  The group assigned each of the men-at-arms a guard duty shift.

I randomly rolled to see if the guard fell asleep AND if there was an encounter.  Neither thing happened.

When the adventurers were ready in the morning, I asked the players what they intended to do.
These are new players, so, I didn't coach them on *what* to do so much as guide them into thinking about their options.  Sure, they could go down the elevator room, but what about the other two doors into the Egg.  Do you want to explore them?

The party settled on exploring the door at ground level (the middle door.)

A listen at the door revealed some dripping water.  The door itself was made of stout wood with rusty iron bands.  It took several tries to force the door open.

Daylight revealed a narrow, damp staircase down.  The stones were a bit slippery from the dripping damp.

Boss the hobbit took a torch, and moved carefully down the stairs to the point where the sunlight stopped.  He could see another 30' into the darkness and the stairs kept going down.

He called for the rest of the party.  They moved carefully toward the bottom of the stairs and then on down the corridor.  They stopped when they saw another door some 30' distant on their right.
Cautiously, they approached.  The door was stuck and it took Maul four tries to force it open.  Each failed attempt generated a random encounter roll, but nothing appeared.  Whatever is inside, if anything, is certainly aware of the party!

Beyond the door was a small 10x10' room.  Two manacles were attached to the wall inside the chamber.  Another door could be seen on the opposite side.

Maul was more successful with this attempt and the door opened right away.  A gaunt, skeletal wolf with strips of rotting flesh covering its face and back, leapt to the attack.  Maul and Boss blocked the door and fought with the beast eventually defeating it.
The death of the undead wolf
When the  battle was over, the party looked around the room.  They saw a purple blanket in one corner.  Deogol investigated it, poking with a spear.  Purple spores erupted in his face.  He made his saving throw and stepped back from the purple mold, sputtering and coughing.  The room now smelled faintly of rose petals.

(More to come!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hijinks from the Castle of the Mad Archmage

Cast of Characters -

  • Biata - Shadowmage
  • Kalen - Wizard
  • Oryx Flamebeard - Dwarf fighter
  • Collen Redsides - Barbarian fighter
  • Grunbar Rockpuncher - Dwarf handsman
  • Morgrim - Dwarf cleric of Bachontoi
  • Kesk - Human fighter
  • Hildigrim - Halfling fighter

So last night, the Red Ravens were exploring and looting along the Bone Road on level 7 of the Castle of the Mad Archmage.

They have been looking for "The Rod of the Sky Gem" for over two years now and they were determined to find it.  Some tidbits about that --
  • Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom, wants it.  He has commanded Kalen to find it.  Kalen has been looking, but, he's kind of "on the honor system" with this, so, it hasn't been a priority.
  • Morgrim, Kesk and Sir Owyn have been Geased by "The Ringmaster" to bring HIM the Rod.  Apparently his Demonic Circus (complete with terrifying clowns and a freakshow) needs it for some purpose.
  • Bachontoi says that he can break the geas.  We shall see.
  • The party has been using Jasper the intelligent sword that can detect gems in hopes of finding the Rod as they wander the Bone Road.
  • Morgrim, Cleric of Bachontoi, has used Augury to get a few Yes/No answers.  They are confident they'll find it eventually.
So, the party is methodically clearing the Bone Road when they find a secret door (Oryx has Glasses of Minute Seeing) and they enter a dusty passage that has been unused for some time.  

This passage leads to a room filled with ghouls and ghasts.  This kind of situation is just begging for a Fireball, so Kalen pops one into the room and Oryx, Grunbar and Collen hold the secret door shut.  55 points of STR between them!

The end result of the conflagration is a lot of ghoul-b-q.  Smoldering remains of shelves and some destroyed coffins are all that remains. 

The characters discover an adjoining chamber with a floor (30'x30') entirely covered with bronze plates.  Chains of varying lengths swing from the ceiling.  The party immediately realizes that they are going to have to "monkey bar" across the room.  

Just to validate the danger, Grunbar sends the Mech-elf into the room.  It's invigorated by electricity and  it discovers that it really, really likes this room.  Arcs of blue electricity shoot up its legs and it seems to be strengthened by the energy.

Kesk comes up with the idea of making a path across the floor using wooden coffin chunks.  Sure, they are burned, but they should insulate.  He gets the Mech-elf to test it and it works.

Kalen Levitates and uses the chains to pull himself across the floor.  Collen swings across and drags one foot (ouch!)  Hildi tags along with Kalen.  

The sub-group heads into the next room to find a large chamber with mosaic covered walls.  The mosaic depict pastoral scenes like hillsides, rolling hills, farm scenes, a deer hunt, etc.

The rest of the party catches up and Jasper tells Morgrim that the eyes of the animals are made from his namesake!  Jasper!  The party does some significant prying (3000gp worth) before exploring the next room.

Now THIS is where things get interesting and fun!


Behind the door, lying in wait, is a canny ghoul with a Rod of Beguiling.  When the party enters the chamber, it discharges the rod.  Everyone is in range and they all need to make saves.

Normally, EVERYONE makes their save.  They are of high enough level now and have enough bonuses from magical items that they typically only fail on a 1.  5% chance.

Kalen the Wizard and Oryx the Dwarf BOTH FAIL.

They regard the ghoul as a trusted and dear friend!  

Of course, Collen and Grunbar don't see him that way.  He's a nasty ghoul with a magic rod!  KILL IT!  

Grunbar, the Handsman, makes short work of the ghoul, but Oryx sees this as MURDER!

He goes after Grunbar!  Biata casts Grasping Shadows and the tendrils of darkness restrain the dwarf.  In fact, if he isn't released in 4 rounds, they will kill him.

Grunbar goes for the Clobber and knocks Oryx out, "for his own good" and Collen tears the grasping shadows off of the unconscious Oryx.

That's when Kalen peers into the room and sees the dead body of his former master!  Shock and anger! What has Grunbar done!?!

He's already levitating, so he casts invisibility for good measure.  Followed quickly by minor globe of invulnerability.  He uses the ceiling and moves himself away from the party so that he can best plan his attack.

He moves into the electrical room, past Kesk who is in the hallway, and removes the wooden path.  He hovers invisibly in the back of the room.

I roll for random encounters (1) so here come the DEMONS!

Orcus has been hassling the PCs for quite some time now.  They attacked a favorite succubus some time ago and The Big Guy has set up shop on Level 8.  He's been using undead as his eyes and ears.  He has A LOT of contacts along the Bone Road...

He sends 5 vrock and 2 glabrezu to attack the party!

So now, Oryx is unconcious, Kalen is missing and the party is under attack!

Kalen DOES cast haste on the party (except for Grunbar) to buff them up for the battle with the demons!


The battle against the demons turned out to be mostly a distraction, the real conflict was between Kalen and the party.  Oryx was knocked out for most of the battle.

At one point, Biata starts blasting vrock with cones of cold from her Staff of Wizardry.  Kalen gets caught in one of the blasts, but realizes it wasn't intentional.

He decides to dimension door away from the electrical room to go and check on his former master.

Once there, he finds Oryx unconscious and his master, dead.  Hildi is hiding in the room, taking bowshots at the vrock.  The vrock and glabrezu continue to battle and the glabrezu succeed in gating in some reinforcements.

Eventually Oryx wakes up and they converse about their mutual loss.  They seem to have varying opinions about how the murder should be handled.

Soon thereafter, Kalen spies Grunbar in the other room.  Grunbar has taken the Rod of Beguiling and is telling Kalen that this item is responsible for the confusion.  He hasn't murdered his friend, just a ghoul-wizard.  Grunbar tosses the rod into the room with Kalen.  Kalen asks if he can tell if its magical.  I tell him not at this distance (he's hovering invisibly in the corner of the room).  He yells back to Grunbar that its just a stick!

I don't remember what caused the situation to degrade further, but at some point, Kalen decided to lightning bolt Grunbar!

This created an interesting situation.  You see, Grunbar has a ring of spell turning and Kalen has an amulet of spell reflection.  The result of the lightning bolt was a volley of electrical energy, back and forth between the two of them.  The lightning rebounded about 4 times from each target until Grunbar rolled "03" and his ring failed to turn.

Now visible, Biata sends an invisible stalker to steal Kalen's amulet!

Kalen responds by summoning a fire elemental!  He sends it into the fray!

Collen, seizing the moment, pulls the Two-Handed Frostbrand of Errol out and fires up the frost powers!  In his hasted condition, he is attacking 6 times per round.  The fire elemental is LARGE so with the extra frost power, Collen is rolling 4d6 per hit.  He hits 5 or 6 times for 111 points of damage, OBLITERATING the fire elemental in one round!

The invisible stalker isn't having much success trying to steal the amulet -- Kalen's AC is too high.

Biata summons 18 HD of stirges and sends those after Kalen.  Seeing the flock of stirges, Kalen detonates a fireball at his feet.  He's protected by his minor globe.  Oryx has red dragon armor so he shrugs it off.  Hildi gets blasted to 0 HP and has to roll on the chart (rolling 9; he ends up being overwhelmed by the heat...)

The stirges burst into flames....

.... and so does the rod of beguiling lying on the floor of the chamber.  With its demise, the charm is broken and Kalen and Oryx realize that their "friend" was just a monster.  Literally.

The party heals up, makes up, and heads out into the hall.

Jasper says that there's a gem beyond that door...
"Thomas Newton, the man who fell from the sky"
Hmm.  Could the Skygem lie beyond the door? 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Campaign 2013 [Part 11]

The adventurers figured out that there are two entrances to the "medusa" chamber.  How big it is, who knows, but if one person went in one way, they could cause a distraction.

The others could gang up and attack the monster without fear of being turned to stone!

Tom, the cleric, volunteered to cause the distraction.  He would be blindfolded and carry a torch.  He would make a ruckus and get the monster to come toward him.  The rest of the party would attack with surprise and try to defeat the monster.

They couldn't shout at Tom to let him know when they were in position, they would send a goblin back.  They'd attack when they heard him shouting and they saw a light enter the chamber...


The party got into position.  Tom at the east end and the others at the north end --
Once the attackers were ready, they sent the goblin back and waited for the noise.  Tom didn't disappoint...

He started hollering and waving the torch around.  The attackers, Halfdan (with an oil flask), Boss the hobbit fighter and Gork the goblin, prepared to assault.

As the slithering snake lady got closer to Tom, they let fly!

3 of 4 arrows hit and so did the oil flask.  I told them all to roll their damage at once.  They did an impressive amount of damage, but the snake lady didn't die.  She attacked Tom.

A HIT!  Save versus poison!  FAIL!  Tom died screaming in horrific pain!

The attackers slammed their eyes SHUT!

They all started flailing about wildly with their weapons, hoping to keep the snake lady at bay.  Afraid to open their eyes lest they be turned to stone.  The characters shouted at one another to make sure that they kept away from each other's weapons.

The snake lady slithered toward someone...
Here's where I had a flash of inspiration.  I looked into the cupboards at the house and I found a small box of gumballs.  It was like a cardboard milk carton with gumballs in it.  I told the boys to close their eyes...
I rolled a d6 to secretly determine who she attacked.  Boss!  I rattled the carton near his ear!  THEY ALL JUMPED!!
Once the rattle happened (it's her tail!) then they could open their eyes to watch the dice roll.  She had a big bonus to hit (they have their eyes closed!) and they had a penalty for the same reason.

I continually asked them after each round if they wanted to try and flee, with or without their eyes open.  They always said no.

She missed!  They all got a chance to attack.  Misses!

Rattle, rattle!  HALFDAN!  She hit!  SAVE!  Fail!  Halfdan dies horribly!

There was a little moment of silence.  The boys had already had the loss of Phantom (he died under the tree) but I don't think they thought I'd kill Halfdan!  Yep.  Dead as a doornail.

Gork and Boss attack, one actually hit for a little damage.  She's still fighting!

Rattle, rattle!  GORK!  She hit!  SAVE!  Fail!  Down goes Gork!

At this point, Boss is all alone.  I took a minute to talk to his player.  I told him to think about his position.  Do you run? Do you fight?  Do you open your eyes?  Where do you suppose she is looking right now?  At you?  At Gork?

He said he'd open his eyes and he'd take two arrow shots at the snake lady.  Hopefully she'd be looking at Gork.

I told him that she wasn't looking at him, yet, and yes, I let him take two shots...

He connected with one.  She had 4 HPs left....

...he rolled a 5!  Down she goes!



They buried Tom, Gork, Phantom and Halfdan in the chasm.  Made a little shrine with candles and carved their names on the wall next to Krag's name.

Boss took a bag of silver ore (1500 sp), Halfdan's boomstick and a potion that he found in the hobgoblin leader's room.

He left everything else, the mine and all, to the goblins.  They needed a home.  He was always welcome back as a "goblin friend."

He took both ponies and rode back (cautiously) to The City.  (I rolled for random encounters on the road and there were none.)

Being the only survivor of the Expedition to the Mine of Kaladon, he received all the experience.  Boss is now a Level 2 fighter.

The other two boys rolled up new characters.

We play again today!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Campaign 2013 [Part 10]

So when we last saw our intrepid adventurers, they had just been warned about some great danger by the goblin leader, they had rescued 5 goblin slaves, and they were heading down the "switchback" into unknown territory.
Once they arrived at 8, Halfdan explained that the crude stairway leaving the area was new.  The hobgoblins or their goblin slaves must have dug it out.

The group continued along to 10, moving cautiously in the flickering torchlight to arrive at "the chasm."

"'Ere's where I buried me brother, Krag," he choked.  "His body is below so his spirit wud always be near me."

The group approached the chasm.  It seemed bottomless.

"I dropped a torch once.  It went down and down..." Halfdan said.  The party could see the old passageway on the other side of the chasm, but they could also see another way.  If only they could get across...

They backed up to 5 and headed south.

Within a few paces, they found a passage that rounded back upon itself.  In the corner, by 16, they found three broken statues of goblins, each in a position of horror and surprise.

"Medusa!" the party exclaimed.  I explained that they don't know what a medusa is, being young, inexperienced adventurers, but it does appear that something turned these poor goblins to stone.  You may have heard rumors of beasts that turn people to stone with a gaze, but you've also heard of those that petrify by touch.

The goblin leader wept a little as he approached one of the statues and placed his hand upon its shoulder.

He talked with the slaves a bit and whispered, almost desperately, "No go!"  He pointed toward 17.  He made gestures towards his eyes.  Maybe it IS a medusa...

The party began to form a plan...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reaper Bones - Ghostly Summons - PAINTED!

On Saturday, I went out to Bad Moons Gaming in Apache Junction, AZ for Free RPG Day.  I got some swag -- the Swords and Wizardry module "Hall of Bones" and the LotFP offering, "Better Than Any Man."

At first glance, both are excellent (in their own way.)  More on them later.

To support Bad Moons, I made a couple purchases.  I bought the Pathfinder Battles - Champions of Evil box.  Good stuff.  Reasonably priced.

And I bought one Bones mini - Ghostly Summons.

I have the Vampire box (and more) coming, but I wanted to try and paint one of these translucent minis.  The results are below.

In order to paint the clear parts of the mini and leave them translucent, I needed to paint that part of the mini with matte base.  It dries clear and it gives the wash something to stick to.  Without it, the wash just puddled up in dots on the plastic.

I'm no champion painter, but I think this turned out pretty good.