Monday, January 17, 2022

8 Summon Magical-Weapon Spells

[1] Elemental Spear
This spell conjures a magical spear made of elemental energy. To determine the element, pick the most fitting for the NPC or roll on the random table. (Roll 1d4) Fire, Ice, Lightning, Acid. The spear deals 1d8+1 damage on a hit and deals damage of its respective element. It counts as magic and uses the normal To-Hit bonus of the character wielding it.

As a spear, it grants either first strike, a bonus against targets larger then the caster, can poke things floating a few feet off the ground, etc. Because it is made of magical energy, it does not harm the caster that is holding it, but will burn the hands of anyone who tries to grab it, short out if brought into contact with water, etc. If you hit someone and deal 6 or more damage on a hit- the victim of the melee strike suffers the Overcharge effect of its respective element.

If the spear is thrown- it is very similar to an Elemental Blast, except much more powerful. The caster raises their hand and throws the spear- turning it into a projectile of elemental power along the way. The spear requires a d20 + Int modifier of the caster to hit (Magical To-Hit roll) and deals 2d8 + Int modifier in damage. The spear explodes into a blast of elemental energy on contact.

In addition; whatever element the spear is also grants it an extra effect on hit when thrown.
Fire- Creates a cloud of ash and smoke, choking anyone adjacent to the target who tries to cast a spell. If the spear is blocked by the target has a wooden shield, the shield burns up.
Ice- Stabs into the target as a physical object instead of exploding; piercing their body and pinning them down until it is broken, pulled out, or thawed. (Thaws naturally after 3 rounds).
Lightning- Knocks victim to the ground, requiring a round to stand up.
Splashes acid around the hit- dealing 1d6 damage to everyone standing adjacent to the target. If you get hit by this and in a tight hallway this could be your whole party.

[2] Swooper
Conjures a magical creature/weapon to strike at the caster's foes. The creature pantomimes the caster's motions and deals damage when striking a foe, dealing magical damage. The caster must control the creature and make attack rolls to guide it correctly. This creature tends to be a bird for casters of a Lawful alignment, or a screeching hellbat for casters of a Chaotic alignment; but individual magic users may have their own version.

The caster rolls a magical To-Hit roll (d20 + Int modifier) to attack with the bird. Enemies may attempt to knock it away with an attack roll of their own, but this requires a magic weapon and a higher To-Hit roll, which knocks the Swooper off course.

On hit, the swooper deals 1d6+1 damage. It can hit multiple targets; divide the damage according to cleave rules.

[3] Scissors of Splendor
Conjures forth golden scissors from an alternate dimension; specifically ones first found in the second of Four Golden Valleys. The scissors are very big, requiring two hands to operate, and beautifully engraved with ornate artwork and cross-thatching. The cutting edges are razor sharp and made of silver- anyone caught between the jaws of this tool take 1d10+2 magic damage unless they make a save to wriggle out- no attack roll needed, as these scissors cut through metal and defense alike.

The scissors are also known to be magical and can cut through binds of magic. Snipping the air above a magic circle or barrier "cuts" it, allowing entry into the circle without retaliation. Cutting the space just above the head of someone bewitched may cut the spiritual chord that binds them to their controller.

The magic scissors have another property- their apparent value. Anyone who sees them, wants them. Any living creature who desires gold and wealth (all of them) must make a save or try to pry the scissors away from the caster. Clerics and Holy men are immune to this effect. The scissors stay in this realm for four combat rounds before phasing away.

[4] Black Scythe of Harvest
Creates a shadowy black scythe of dark energy- tied closer to the power of the reapers and psychopomps. Enemies who make a morale check against the holder of this weapon make it as though they had one less morale.

If you sweep the scythe, all within a 30 ft cone of the user are "attacked" by his or her attack roll. Everyone who is struck takes 2d6+1 damage. Deals no damage against the undead.

If you raise the scythe, you can strike down one target- causing them to save or die on a successful attack roll. This is done instead of dealing damage.

You may make up to three attacks with the Scythe before it disappears. Caster ages 1d6 years.

[5] Lava Axe
Yes, just like the magic card. Makes a magical axe made of lava, acts as a 1d8+1 hand axe that deals fire damage. The axe does not harm the caster as long as they hold it- and retains its shape as an iron-hard axe until thrown, in which case it turns into lava and deals 1d10+1 fire damage when it hits a target. 

The lava axe turns to stone if submerged or splashed with water- its loses its magic quality but retains its axe-like shape and could be used as a primitive stone axe of obsidian.

[6] Staff of Five Mountains
Creates a magical staff made from deep earth and iron ore- the staff rises out out of the ground wherever the spell was cast, cracking the earth and forming a magical staff. This spell cannot be cast if you're on a flying island or on a high floor of a building, it requires a close connection to the elemental earth.

The staff acts as a 1d4+1 magical iron warstaff. It grants +1 AC to the holder, but reduces your movement speed as though you are heavily encumbered. It also acts as a staff for magical spells, granting +1 damage to spells and making spells cast with it have harder saves by +1 for as long as its held. Additionally, anyone who is holding this staff may manipulate the earth freely for an action; carving out small trenches, creating small embankments or mounds of earth, etc. In practical terms, use the guidelines of Mold Earth per combat round as a rough estimate.

The staff gets heavier every turn it exists in this world- beginning as encumbering, then heavily encumbering, then requiring supernatural strength to hold (+3) or better, and so on. After one exploration turn; putting it down on the ground will cause it to begin to be reabsorbed by the ground and disappear back to its elemental plane.

[7] Fire Arrows
Magical box of arrows appears; each arrow is ended by a different shaped orb or cartridge of colorful wrapped paper. After two rounds, the magical fuses begin to light and go off. The arrows fly off and fly in random directions, but usually hit in a large cone out from the front of the weapon; this is an artillery piece. The weapon fires for three rounds, each round releasing 3d6 arrows.

Each time an arrow hits a target or the ground, it has one of three effects (1d3);

  1. Explodes in a colorful firework explosion (1d4+1 magic damage)
  2. Appears as an actual arrow (1d6)
  3. Has a random bomb effect (Roll on the Scuttsman Bomb Table)

[8] Sword of Likewise
While the spell is named the "Sword" of Likewise, its really closer to a dagger for most people- the size of the "sword" is directly tied to the Charisma score of the caster. The length of the sword is equal to your Charisma score in inches- use your Charisma modifier to substitute for Strength for To-Hit and Dex for the AC bonus.

The dark silver handle and guard emit a glowing blue magical blade. Any wounds struck or bodyparts severed by this sword are instantly cauterized or turned to dust, making regeneration without a high level divine spell impossible. If you cut off a part of your own body with this sword, it grows by the length of the bodypart you severed. The "length" of each caster's sword is remembered each time it is called back again, as each caster sword is actually a different entity entirely, called from whatever strange realm this thing hails from.

The sword lasts for one exploration turn until it must be called again.

Friday, January 14, 2022

50 Things found in a Soldier's Boot

Roll on this list if you're scavenging through a battlefield, just killed some evil empire mooks, or maybe if your character starts as a generic soldier- this is what they got under their foot.

For a bandit/militia- Roll 1d20
For a blackguard/elite- Roll 1d20+30
For a real bloodthirsty bastard- Roll 1d10+30
For any old soldier- Roll 1d50

50 Things found in a Soldier's Boot
A rock.
[2] Old bandage trimmings.
[3] Dried blood.
[4] Some flower petals- meant to prevent foot fungus.
[5] Some dead maggots.
[6] The severed foot.
[7] Some copper coins.
[8] Some gremlins.
[9] Tufts of grass to act as poor padding.
[10] A hole.
[11] Old tooth.
[12] Wooden dowel used for bandages (or toilet paper)
[13] Bit of nasty water.
[14] Bit of slime and shed skin- probably trenchfoot. Gross.
[15] Bit of slime from a slime- slashed apart. No longer acidic in this state.
[16] Knuckle bones
[17] Lock of a prostitute's hair.
[18] Tiny bag of grain, hidden from his fellows.
[19] Pet mouse.
[20] Crude drawing of the face of his superior officer.
[21] The minimum age required to enlist- written on a tiny slip of paper.
[22] Note for an extra meal at the commissary.
[23] Fake gold coin.
[24] Deck of playing cards.
[25] Pouch of salt.
[26] Some dead gremlins.
[27] Note written by another soldier as an IOU for a day of shore leave.
[28] An arrowhead.
[29] An extra sole.
[30] Feathers; for fletching arrows in the field
[31] A knife.
[32] Note announcing a denial for promotion.
[33] The leather face of a person, tread on in hatred.
[34] Tarot Cards
[35] Dead songbird, wrapped in soiled bandages
[36] Voodoo doll- uniform as the enemy
[37] Fresh blood.
[38] Doll's dress.
[39] Bloody rag.
[40] An extra soul.
[41] Some herbs; helps with the smell.
[42] Map of the local area. There's an X marked with "weapon cache"
[43] Pouch of spices.
[44] Bloody handkerchief.
[45] Polish.
[46] Key.
[47] Tiny hand mirror.
[48] Some silver coins.
[49] Stiletto
[50] Perfumed love letter

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

[Class] Salaryman

Max AC-
12 / Minimum Hit-Points- 3

You are a Salaryman. Imported directly from a Tokyo subway car- probably while you were taking a nap. You got Isekai'd into a fantasy world, but you aren't some young kid with escapist fantasies; you probably hate it here.

Quick note; you're free to not lean into the Japanese stereotype for this one- but I think it fits best. An American "Salaryman" feels more sleazy, more of a Patrick Bateman or a Steve Castle, better suited for a venture capitalist style class. We aren't trying to profit on the fantasy world or turn it into a parking lot, we're more trying to keep it running smoothly with a slavish devotion to protocol.

As a Salaryman, you aren't gifted with any kind of fighting or magical prowess. However, you are used to an incredible workload. Reroll your Constitution score with 3d6+1 and keep it if its bigger then your original score when you create your character. You're also pretty good at karaoke- not like a bard or anything, but not bad. Treat your Charisma as +1 for stuff like this.

As an innate ability; you can respectfully bow, address, and politely defer to any intelligent fantasy creature. You can do this in place of a normal reaction roll. Treat the result as a Neutral- the creature cannot attack you or your party unless you attack first. Most creatures will treat this with utter confusion. Every level beyond the first, you can manage a meeting with a creature one step on the chain of command higher, equal to your level in HD or less. So at 2nd level you can manage to get a meeting with the kobold headshaman after a meeting with some random kobolds that were trying to lure you into a trap earlier. These meetings follow the same rules as above; preventing direct and immediate retaliation.

You are also very skilled at apologizing. At 3rd level and above, you can successful apologize to even the most radical groups of breeches of conduct or harm against their organization to anything up to killing their members. Trampling on their sacred ground or stealing a holy artifact can be forgiven (as long as you bring it back), but murder isn't. Especially callous factions, like evil death cults or orcs, may still be willing to forgive you anyway.

At 10th level, you become Secondary World Tokyo-Branch Head Officer or just "Director" for short. Having gained enough experience to move yourself up the corporate ladder (which you yourself have established), you are now capable of managing the affairs of your party's finances, factional connections, and public relations. You can now apologize for the most heinous of past actions, balance finances and cut costs by -30% for all party members in domain level play, and create effective supply lines and infrastructure anywhere you need it- camp followers come with letters of recommendation.

However, to run this position, you will require two aides to assist you. It is highly recommended these aides are strong enough to survive the assassination attempts, so picking some fantasy creatures like a bugbear or gorgon to help manage your company is probably a good idea.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Fluff from a picture- Fox Merchant

At first glance, people may not trust a fox person as a merchant. That's not surprising, as nobody trusts fox people in the first place. But there's a big difference between stealing and encouraging people to spend their money in unwise ways; and foxes thrive exactly where that line is drawn. Let's talk about this one.

Art @SylviaJo (mildly NSFW)

The stall is a modified shipping crate modified for easy carrying. Lightweight woods were used for its construction, and naturally the whole thing is collapsible and portable. The awning is designed to keep the sun out of the seller's eyes, but also acts as a way to "stand out" from the rest of the crowd. The stripes of the awning also have special significance- to most casual observers and patrons, they would assume it is merely decorative, but it's actually code. White indicates a "clean" stall, without stolen goods, and "blue" indicates a fox whose goods are not of interest to other foxes. In other words, they're selling boring junk and overpriced novelties to tourists.

Typically, customers are expected to either approach the fox merchant from the front to ask about goods, or approach from behind. Selecting their items from the crate and dropping the appropriate coins in the bags strung up between the poles. To any human, this idea seems absurd- too easy for a cutpurse. This goes into their selling style- this fox may simply walk in front of anyone who they sense needs something- allowing them to make a quick purchase without breaking their stride. The fox merchant is good enough to keep up a conversation while patrons simply take and pay for what they wish from behind the seller- the fox can sense the shifting of weights and items in the box, they know what you've taken. This almost sixth sense of being able to anticipate a sale opportunity is what gives fox merchants- the perfectly legal ones- their competitive edge.

How much trust do these foxes put in their clients to serve them from behind? Of course- the fox is not a human. Their ears and sense of touch is more then fine enough to tell if someone is cheating. Each bag is soaked in a specific perfume overnight, meaning a sudden heavy coin dropping in will release a specific odor- no way to fake the noise. And this technique isn't just for the loose change. The fox's tail is also dipped in another scent- this one is for defense. Anyone who tries to steal or cheat the merchant, or a cutpurse who thinks they're fast enough to outfox a fox will get a quick brush from the tail. The thief will falsely assume they can get away before the fox can turn around, when in reality they've already coated their legs with a an easy to follow scent. Fox merchants are infamous for allowing thieves to run off and finishing their day at work, before casually leading the guards to the thief's hideout after sundown.

The pouches and bottles are there for the fox. Honest. Personal affects meant to be separate from what they're selling- they travel light. This fox merchant will have a bottle of water (they can't drink wine anyway) and a bottle of a common potion. Most commonly they carry a potion of charm or suggestibility to spike the drinks of anyone foolish enough they can get a fox more sauced up then themselves.

The clothes and apron are garb from local merchant's guilds. The fox, as a beastperson, has less need for clothes then humans and has less modesty in public, so borrowing a few official pieces of trader garb can make the fox look more official. Trader aprons are, of course, purely ceremonial. This profession is so far removed from actual physical labor that a butcher's smock or blacksmith apron is merely a symbol to be adopted.

The rings are highly rated status symbols. Fox people value rubies the highest of all precious stones, including diamonds- though diamonds are still more rare and expensive, the red ruby is the most romantic and infatuating stone. As with any merchant, rings act as both a symbol of ones wealth AND a potential store of future wealth- if you're really down on your luck, you can sell one to recoup your losses on a failed trading trip. Any fox would be remiss to do something like that to their ruby rings- unless they have a plan to get it back.

The necklace, still a symbol of wealth, is more personal. Foxes are not immune to their own reputations as tricksters and thieves, and they primarily project this quality of themselves into their hands and tails. Anything worn close to the body is more sacred. For this fox, four circles represent four children in a wonderful marriage to their loving partner. Maybe that's the reason this fox is on the straight and narrow.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Ori is a good example of High Fantasy Nature

In many fantasy settings, "nature" exists as a secondary or wholly existent form of order separate from the intelligent races or humanity in that world. Of course, people use their real world experience with the natural world to define it; the natural world of fantasy has wolves and bison- but rarely do they have wholly supernatural creatures. Nature and nature magic may exist in some ways, but rarely is it a fully fictionalized source that goes beyond the real world conception of "natural". 

Some may took an example from Princess Mononoke and intelligent animal spirits rule their peoples- maybe you'll get nature spirits and faerie glens. But what other elements can we add to make a more "high fantasy" version of nature?

I've been playing Ori and the Blind Forest recently; and that game has in my opinion a very good depiction of what a "high fantasy" nature might look like. It should be noted that it isn't a chaotic, wild and untamed version of nature, but nature as a form of order. The "Spirit Tree" is the game world's God or central being, to which the life and plenty of nature relies on. Once the tree loses its light, nature begins to weaken. The corruption brought by Kuro's theft of the light is natural too, but represents a sick or corrupted form of nature- something like a fantasy blight or darklands.

If you play the game; various levels are made up of natural places and areas with high amounts of growth. Magical glowing plants provide both restoration to your life, jump pads, various folding/unfolding platforms, plants that shoot energy blasts, and so on. The locals have also used this energy to various effects, in the form of machines or laser beams that are used as weapons. One could consider this magitech, but these technologies exist because of the natural energy, and is not shown to be directly damaging to it; much of it is built by the Gumon or the race that Naru comes from- and they still live in caves despite building lasers. Even without these features, I'd like to imagine something like "spirit wells" still exist in the world; they are just concentrated points of natural energy.

Ori herself can absorb and use power- her primary source of energy is the "light" that is sourced from the great tree. Whenever she uses one of the shrines, she gains a new power- this power is always a physical ability or enhancement. The power to dash, double jump, climb walls, and so on. From this, we can say that the direct blessings and power of nature is all about improving the innate aspects of a creature- if a party explores or finds magical blessings or power sources in nature; it fits here more then a dusty stone dungeon built by humans to gain a permanent bonus to a stat or maximum health.

Another aspect of nature being magical or something aligned with order is the temples and dungeons that actually control the world. At the beginning of the game, the land of Nibel is shown to be in chaos because it is missing its three elements; the Waters, the Winds, and the Warmth. These elements are directly tied to physical places in the world; dungeons formed or built by nature itself. With the source of these elements corrupted or blocked off, the world itself is wrong and nature is corrupt. This is another high fantasyization of nature; rain is a magical entity that is caused by a specific thing, not the water cycle. If a tower that controlled the rains existed in your setting; people going up there to steal it away and gain control over all the kingdoms by controlling their rains and crops would be a high fantasy plot- something only possible in a world that operates under fantastical rules.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Cool Dragon Design + Random Dragon Thought

Art @Antiono Stappaerts

So I saw this random dragon design by an artist (does youtube drawing tutorials) and I thought this design was really cool. I like the skinny dragon concept that still looks distinctly "dragon". Also the implied size of this dragon is right in the sweet spot- it looks to me like a really big airborne crocodile moreso then a massive behemoth, which is a more agreeable power level for dragons. I also really like the wings, fixes the "issue" of dragons with having wings too small; and you can imagine how they'd fold up at the sides without having to rely on a 4 limbed dragon design.

But while randomly thinking about this cool dragon I had a second thought; things that fly like to use thermals to fly right, and dragons have hot-breath. Has seriously nobody talked about this before? I can't think of any examples off the top of my head- though I'm sure somebody has somewhere.

The reason why dragons have such long, skinny necks may not be immediately obvious to a casual observer, but dragonologists know. The closest thing to a dragon in terms of ecological niche is something like a large predatory reptile- crocodiles, komodo dragons, etc. These creatures do not have long, snake like necks. The reason dragons have them is because one, they are more intelligent and being able to look around to speak or groom another dragon is valuable, and two, because it lets them blast heat underneath their wings in flight. Dragons who need a boost can just look backwards and puff- and I imagine dragons can do that cool growl thing that just shoots out hot, oven-like air instead of actual fire if they want.

Dragons having fire breath is a evolutionary advantage for many, many reasons. As a flying predator, burning forests down not only lets you see prey animals more clearly, but it also creates massive thermal updrafts used for your dragon antics. Maybe its a mating display thing too; big fire = big dragon lungs = big dragon sex.

This is also the reason dragons sleep for a long time. They're not resting for fun or because they're especially lazy, they're resting to let forests grow back. Dragons slumber for ~a hundred years or so, enough time for a forest to regrow and wildlife to come to its lair. In a fantasy world; dragons are the natural embodiment of fire; and are the balancing force that keeps the old trees and magical woodland spirits and such from getting too gigantic and overgrown. They come out, burn down forests and gobble up everything that comes out, go to sleep for a hundred years and do it again.