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Wandering Wasteland: PRANKSTER Isle

The PCs have tracked the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. operations to the Grave Morass and sure enough, floating out on the lake of tar and sludge is a fortress where the criminal cabal has been hard at work. Now is the perfect time for the adventurers to disrupt the manufacture of a deadly biomechanical threat soon to be unleashed on Mohkba, the Klavek Kingdom, and the whole of Aventyr!

grave morassThis island in the Grave Morass is 250-ft. in diameter. On its southwestern shore is a 20-ft.-radius shed made from recycled metals (Bleirvar’s Workshop), on its southeastern shore is another almost identical building (slightly smaller and more angular, 15 ft. by 15 ft.) where supplies are kept, and on the north side of the landmass is a much larger shanty (40 ft. wide and across) that serves as the barracks for P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. agents.

Anyone approaching the northern shore of the island risks alerting the guards in the barracks (PRANKSTER Hirelings and PRANKSTER thugs) and while approaching from any other direction is stealthier, there is a 50% chance the PCs trigger a tar pit trap when doing so. A patrol of one hireling and two thugs walk the perimeter of the island on a leisurely lookout every 30 minutes, keen for anomalies coming from Bleirvar’s Workshop or the intervention of the meddling adventurers that have plagued the cabal’s plans for some time now. When the party is detected, P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. pour out of the barracks at a rate of 1d4 hirelings and 2d4 thugs every round (in total there are 6 hirelings and 12 thugs on the island).

The primary targets of the PCs are the Storage shanty and Bleirvar’s Workshop. Within the former the party finds two contraband cyphersthough one is empty, the other is filled by a screaming cesspool of abominated heads and limbs about the size of a children’s doll. The biomancer spends most of the time in his Workshop, carefully tending to a vast array of esoteric equipment and machines that synthesize magic and science. These devices are quite fragile and in some cases volatile; if even one device is utterly destroyed (beyond the reach of mending) or lost in the muck of the Grave Morass, the entire production process will be halted for weeks as the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. restart the operation.Bleirvar the Biomancer (Final-Mezadev-C)

As soon as he becomes aware of trespassers on PRANKSTER Isle, Bleirvar ceases the rituals required to incubate skurgxon in the pool of alchemical reagents outside of his Workshop (heated by the Transgression and catalyzed by mentis quie blooms taken from the Vast Swamp) to face the intruders. If his desk hasn’t been raided and emptied by the PCs already, he grabs his crystal ball and wand of animate dead (CL 7th, 7 charges) and fills the battlefield with undead to supplement whatever PRANKSTER underlings are still fighting.

Between Bleirvar’s boasts in combat (sure of his victory, he has no compunctions or modesty regarding the age of chaos and destruction his twisted creations herald) and inspection of his Workshop, the party easily conclude that skurgxon have been prepared for a terrorizing assault in Mohkba! Anyone able to detect magic easily recognizes that powerful conjuration magic—almost certainly teleport spells—was recently used several times recently, and records in the biomancer’s desk (a DC 14 Perception check) confirm that as many as 3 agents have already received their shipment of biomechanical horrors.

A few minutes after the battle ends, Jesker the Great arrives via teleport to share what he’s learned—all information the party has recently uncovered for themselves. With such a dire threat looming ahead the wizard wastes no time, casting conjuration spells in a flurry to rapidly bring the party to Mohkba to stop the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. Unfortunately at the last minute he mumbles, “oh no, they were expecting me! Hold onto your helmets!” just as the world dissolves in white and the adventurers suddenly find themselves with a very, very big problem. [The players are in for a bigor rather small surprise. Tune in next week as the party find themselves in Mohkba! —SP]

5E Rules

Searching Bleirvar’s desk for his records regarding skurgxon deliveries requires a DC 11 Intelligence (Investigation) check.

 

[Submitted by Stephanos ‘netlich’ Patelis!]

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Wandering Wasteland: Part 2

scowl carver (mutant)After landing in the Scorched Lands, the PCs pick up on the trail of the nefarious P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. cabal. Heading off into the desert they find the Canyon March, a network of smugglers that help escaped slaves reach freedom. Unfortunately they aren’t the only ones traveling into the sand and the PCs are soon forced to either help defend or kill a mutant named Scowl Carver. Either way they garner a few pairs of striding boots and some valuable information on where the nefarious faction was operating in the wastelands.

Heading back to Ravine and canvassing the city doesn’t drum up any new information and though at first it seems like the criminal group has given the party the slip, that very night a host of P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. fall upon the PCs while they sleep! Fortunately some evidence on their boots lead the adventurers to one conclusion: whatever the nefarious cabal is up to, they are active in the dreaded Grave Morass on the southern reaches of the Scorched Lands.

corpse cactus (reduced)More dangers of the desert threaten the PCs as they travel—lethal respite offered by corpse cactii, devious merchants with equally fell gifts, the scorching Transgression [the final reveal of its full effects! —MM], magically aggressive tar changed by the passing of the Shard of the Sun, and the restless spirits of those creatures claimed by the ash, oil, and sand pit long ago—but nothing as deadly as what awaits them in the Grave Morass.

Bleirvar the Biomancer (Final-Mezadev-C)Tune in tomorrow to see how Bleirvar the Biomancer fits into Wandering Wasteland and why the PCs need to collect as many contraband cyphers as they possibly can!

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Wandering Wasteland: Grave Morass

grave morassWhatever catastrophe or circumstances led to the creation of the Grave Morass ensured the death of an untold number of primitive peoples and primordial beasts that sheltered in its canyon-like confines rather than suffer the prowling undead of NaeraCull’s jungles. Macabre scholars believe it an irony of the gods that these residents have become animated themselves, and none know how many of them persist or where they might tread when beneath the surface of the black. Exploratory parties sent by the warlords of the deserts or Ravine’s politicians rarely return, prompting the rulers of the southern reaches of the Scorched Lands to keep no small amount of anti-undead equipment and holy water close at hand.

Undead of the Grave Morass
Any type of non-cold skeletal undead can rise from the tar of the Grave Morass, but these animated creatures are predominantly humanoids and large primordial beasts (such as dinosaurs, mammoths, and sabertooth tigers). There is a 50% chance that the tar covering the undead that rise here has been magically affected by The Transgression and attacks from these undead have a chance of inflicting the tarred condition; each hit dice an undead possesses grants one such consecutive attack. For example, a 4 HD skeleton with two weapons would grant the tarred condition for one attack after charging, two attacks during a full-round attack the next round, and the first of its next attacks during a full-round attack the following round (but no more afterward). Any undead able to inflict the tarred condition in this way increase their CR by +1.

Tarred: You take a -4 penalty to all Charisma-based skill checks. Spells that target you instead affect a random target within 30 feet (no save) and have a 10% chance per caster level of triggering a random effect from the list below. The tarred condition can only be removed via dispel magic (CL 18th), heal, limited wish, miracle, or a wish. After 2d4+1 days the tarred condition alleviates itself as the substance crumbles away.
1 – Splay: targeted spell now affects all targets within 30 ft. of the original target
2 – Negate: targeted spell is negated and has no effect
3 – Damaging: targeted spell does twice the damage (in the case of spells that do not deal damage, double duration)
4 – Penetrating: targeted spell grants its caster a +10 circumstance bonus to bypass spell resistance
5 – Tricky: the saving throw DC(s) for the targeted spell are increased by +5
6 – Rebound: targeted spell also rebounds back on its caster

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Wandering Wasteland: Primordial Tar Haunt

primordial tar haunt_fixedPrimordial Tar Haunt      CR 6
XP 2,400
CN Persistent haunt (20-ft.-radius pool of tar)
Caster Level 6th
Notice Perception DC 22 (to hear the dying cries of primordial creatures)
hp 27; Trigger proximity; Reset 1/day

Effect When the primordial tar haunt is triggered, a deinonychus, pteranodon, and rhinoceros rise from the bubbling sludge (as summon monster IV) and charge at the nearest creatures (melee touch attack +8). Creatures struck by the primordial tar haunt gain the tarred condition and make a Reflex save each round (DC 16 + 1 per previous check) or are dragged 5 ft. closer to (or into) the tar pit.

Destruction The bones of a deinonychus, pteranodon, and rhinoceros must be doused in holy water and set ablaze with a divine spell before being cast into the primordial tar haunt.

Tarred: You take a -4 penalty to all Charisma-based skill checks. Spells that target you instead affect a random target within 30 feet (no save) and have a 10% chance per caster level of triggering a random effect from the list below. The tarred condition can only be removed via dispel magic (CL 18th), heal, limited wish, miracle, or a wish. After 2d4+1 days the tarred condition alleviates itself as the substance crumbles away.
     1 – Splay: targeted spell now affects all targets within 30 ft. of the original target
     2 – Negate: targeted spell is negated and has no effect
     3 – Damaging: targeted spell does twice the damage (in the case of spells that do not deal damage, double duration)
     4 – Penetrating: targeted spell grants its caster a +10 circumstance bonus to bypass spell resistance
     5 – Tricky: the saving throw DC(s) for the targeted spell are increased by +5
     6 – Rebound: targeted spell also rebounds back on its caster

 

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Wandering Wasteland: Tar Pit Trap

tar pit trapTar Pit Trap     CR 10
Type magic; Perception DC 34; Disable Device DC 34
Trigger proximity (30 ft.); Reset 1 day
Effect target gains the tarred condition (DC 28 Reflex negates)

Tarred: Spells that target you instead affect a random target within 30 feet (no save) and have a 10% chance per caster level of triggering a random effect from the list below. The tarred condition can only be removed via dispel magic (CL 18th), heal, limited wish, miracle, or a wish. After 2d4+1 days the tarred condition alleviates itself as the substance crumbles away.
1 – Splay: targeted spell now affects all targets within 30 ft. of the original target
2 – Negate: targeted spell is negated and has no effect
3 – Damaging: targeted spell does twice the damage (in the case of spells that do not deal damage, double duration)
4 – Penetrating: targeted spell grants its caster a +10 circumstance bonus to bypass spell resistance
5 – Tricky: the saving throw DC(s) for the targeted spell are increased by +5
6 – Rebound: targeted spell also rebounds back on its caster

The Transgression affects everything in the Scorched Lands. Sometimes a portion of the tar pits in the Grave Morass become perverted, superheated into monstrous swathes of bitumen that cause magic to behave erratically. This sludge animates when a creature approaches it, coating them in a thick layer of disruptive tar.

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

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Wandering Wasteland: Contraband Cypher

Contraband Cypher
Aura none (special circumstances); CL 20th
Slot none; Price 128,000 gp (lesser), 320,000 gp (greater); Weight 2 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
This small 3-inch cube is crafted from refined alligotonium and appears to be an amalgam of smaller 1-inch cubes. Mostly sienna in hue, the middle cubes in the center of each larger face have been dyed a unique color.

A contraband cypher is a magic puzzle box made up of 26 identically-shaped 1-inch alligotonium cubes arranged to form a larger cube—each side consisting of nine exposed faces of the smaller cubes. There is no center cube within the larger arrangement, allowing for any one of the smaller cubes that make up the center square on each side of the larger paradigm to be depressed inward until it occupies the open space in the core of the puzzle box. When closed, the smaller cubes of a contraband cypher cannot be pulled apart by any means that wouldn’t totally destroy the magic item.AAW_MagicItem_Monday_Contraband_Cypher
The smaller cubes are held together in the form of the larger cube by an attracting arcane force that draws each inwards towards the center of the box. However, when a smaller cube is depressed into the core of the larger construct, it automatically shifts back to its original location when released, once again vacating the empty space inside the puzzle-box. In this way the middle cube comprising each of the six faces of a contraband cypher can be depressed, one at a time, like a button.
The cubes that can be depressed are uniquely hued for identification (carmine, cerulean, verdant, titian, perse, and ashen).
To open a contraband cypher, the buttons on each of its faces must be depressed in a specific order to solve a combination. When the combination has been input, the smaller cubes suddenly expand outward to float, spin, and twirl in midair as they orbit around an ardent spherical field containing an extradimensional space within (and any items that were stowed inside).
A successful DC 30 Disable Device check reveals the first button to be pressed in the contraband cypher’s combination. Subsequent successful Disable Device checks (DC 30 + 5 for each new part of the combination) reveals the next button in the combination.
When the box is opened, items stowed within the extradimensional space float weightlessly inside the spherical field as the small cubes continue to erratically orbit its outer edges. If an item is placed into the extradimensional space that would push the weight capacity of a contraband cypher over its limit, that item falls to the ground.
A full-round action is required to open a contraband cypher, and it remains open for 1d4 minutes. Then the small cubes are automatically drawn back together, securing any items floating within the spherical field by compressing the opening to extradimensional space within the core of the puzzle box. When closed, this extradimensional space functions as a vacuum. The alligotonium construction of the puzzle box makes the interdimensional space contained within immune from outer planar confluences—as long as the box remains closed, the interdimensional space contained within remains unaffected by the presence of an extradimensional space (such as a bag of holding).
     A lesser contraband cypher conceals a 1 ft. spherical extradimensional space that can hold up to 25 lbs., and requires a combination of three buttons to solve.
     A greater contraband cypher conceals a 3 ft. spherical extradimensional space that can hold up to 50 lbs., and requires a combination of five buttons to solve.
While a contraband cypher is closed, it generates no aura and masks the auras of any magic items contained inside as well as providing those items within with spell resistance (SR 25) which it also shares.
A contraband cypher retains the overall mass of the contents stowed inside, causing it to seem unusually heavy when the extradimensional space is being utilized.
The combination of a contraband cypher can be reset by a creature familiar with the current combination (DC 20 Use Magic Device check). This is done by rearranging the colored cubes as they orbit around the extradimensional space when the puzzle-box is open; failure results in a totally random new combination.
To determine a random combination due to recombination failure or determining the existing combination of a discovered contraband cypher, roll 1d6 for each part of the combination and use the following chart:
1d6    Cube to be depressed
1          carmine
2          cerulean
3          verdant
4          titian
5          perse
6          ashen

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Enlarge Spell (for greater contraband cypher only), create demiplane (CL 15th), mask dweomer (CL 5th), ½ lb. of refined alligotonium; Cost 64,000 gp (lesser) / 160,000 gp (greater)