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Fiction Friday (Banlan Backlash): Rogue Ruse

aaw-website - witch hunter - storn cook

Rangel motions to the party to follow him around the bend in the sewer up ahead and even though you know it’s guarded, the sentries must be well concealed. These are some serious professionals—you can’t spot any of them. He holds up a hand to bring you to a halt while closely examining the wall, looking for something.

A single splash echoes behind you. Rangel quickly spins around towards the noise, crossbow in hand.

Oh, Marco, it’s you. How did you follow me for so long?

Marco points at a ring as a big smile creeps onto his face. “New toy. Watch.” Marco vanishes, or at least his smile does—it’s hard to tell in the dark. The grin reappears, bigger this time and a foot to the left. “One of those Staffers was following me. Doubled back on him and picked his pocket. He must’ve just confiscated it. Must be ‘cursed’,” Marco says, chuckling as the last word comes out. “Anyway, hand me your copper.

Rangel fishes about the pouch on his belt, his fingers carefully feeling each coin. A few moments later, he procures a single copper piece, slightly worn and unremarkable. He holds it up between his two fingers and carefully feels the surface. Hollow_copper_coin_1_Satang_(front)

Here ya go, Marco,” Rangel says, handing the coin over.

Marco replies, “We’ll see. Where is my coin? Ah, here.

Marco puts the two coins together casually, matching the fronts together. Adjusting them slightly, he raises them up, holding each in the small amount of illumination that creeps into the tunnel.

Satisfied, Marco?“, says Rangel, holding out his palm, expecting the return of his coin.

Marco nods and places the coin back in his hand. “Follow me,” he says, touching a brick on the sewer wall, opening up a small, hidden door. “There’s a small stash back here that we need to identify and fence. You“, pointing at the yourself and your companions, “you can help us identify this batch, right?

Fortunately upon arrival in Nyamo and the difficult delivery of the alligotonium, the Order of the Staff gave you a scribe orb. It’s fitting that you should use this item to help their enemies. You nod and begin to enter the small room.

Wait,” says Marco. He puts his arm across the doorway, blocking the entrance, then reaches up behind the door. An audible click is heard as a trap is presumably disarmed. “Ok, now you can go in.” He notices Rangel’s glare. “Hey, it’s just business. It’s disarmed now, nothing to worry about.

All right. Identify these. Let me know if there’s something cursed or weird about them. We can’t be fencing inferior merchandise now, can we?

powder of detection - justin andrew masonYou pull out the scribe orb and begin to identify the first item, a small dagger, while Rangel collects up a few small bags of coins. As the orb’s power begins to analyze the weapons enchantment, recording it on a piece of parchment, Marco knocks the orb out of your hand.

Where did you get that!? Do you realize what you’ve done?“, he says, backing up to the entrance and clicking the trap back into place. “Explain. Quickly. We have mere minutes before the Order is here, courtesy of that orb you are using.

Seeing your confused expressions, Rangel jumps in. “Marco, what do you mean? These guys are good, we can trust them, they could have betrayed us at anytime, what’s going on?

Rangel, that orb. That’s a trap! Anything identified with that orb is transmitted to the Order: they know exactly where and what we have—we don’t have time to discuss this! Leave the items here. Rangel, come with me. You,” he says, pointing at the party, “stay here. The trap here will make sure you stay, so you might want to stay away from it. Of course once the Order arrives, it could take care of them instead. You have a choice to make, here and now: that trap just might take care of our problem, or it may not. In any case, the Order will be here soon, and that will be YOUR problem. I suggest you destroy that damn orb too, no matter what you do.

With that last piece of advice, Marco yanks Rangel out of the room and darkness falls as he closes the door.

 

 

 

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Story Locale (Banlan Backlash): Nyamo Wall

Underground_tunnel_RCW_02Nyamo is a walled city; years of outside threats necessitated the construction of a sturdy barrier hundreds of years ago. Originally designed to repel intruders, it now serves a slightly different purpose—as the settlement became a center of commerce, traders from all over the world arrived in Nyamo to sell their wares and exchange ideas.
While the goods and money were welcome, the ideas were not.

The visiting merchants and migrants were mostly housed in the migrant district, which was composed of most of the northern half of the city. Construction began on a new section of the Nyamo Wall that effectively split the city in half, running down the middle and connecting each end to the original outer wall. Taller and thicker than the original wall, the huge gatehouse built into its center gave each side of the barrier its own portcullis.

Traffic between the sections of the Nyamo Wall is strictly regulated—in order to pass, the person must provide an acceptable reason, a gate tax must be paid, and a stamp issued. Those wishing to stay overnight must obtain permission and purchase a special permit to do so. Guards from the Order of the Staff search each and every person that passes through the gate, ensuring that no contraband makes its way into Nyamo (normal magic items are not illegal, but may not pass through the gate; these items must be surrendered or passage is also prohibited.) Usually, traveler are given the option of simply turning around and not passing through the Nyamo Wall if they do not wish to surrender their items—in this city of Timeaus, this is just the cost of doing business. Those that pass through the gate are often followed by a member of the Order of the Staff, who make careful notes on interactions they make and often follow up questioning where searches occur (often using Nyamo scribe orbs).

Those that wish to enter the city from outside must go to the Migrants’ Gate on the outer wall (unless they are a Timerian citizen) where they are still subject to search and seizure, declaring all of their enchanted items; undeclared magic items are subject to confiscation. Those that wish to stay more than 24 hours must apply at the gate or at a Timerian embassy for a permit, and anyone found entering the city under false pretenses are subject to expulsion or arrest.

Only Timerian citizens are allowed entry through the Timerian Gate. They must present the proper papers and declare any magic or valuable items obtained outside of Timeaus. Generally speaking, most citizens comply and seizures at this gate are rare.

When the Nyamo Wall was constructed, the sewers under the city were modified, blocking passages with bars and grates, and in some cases blocking tunnels altogether. Over the years enterprising smugglers and other criminal elements have reopened some of these sealed passages to facilitate the burgeoning black market in Nyamo. While some goods are sold, it is most often news of the outside world that is traded, as well as books and other forms of publication. Several competing guilds operate underneath the Nyamo Wall, including those that support revolution; simple thievery and smuggling are often overlooked, with the occasional blatant offender caught and made an example of. However, the revolutionaries that deal in information and subterfuge are almost always put to the death when caught.

Entry into the tunnels that connect the two sides of the cities is a closely guarded secret. A select few safe houses on each side contain concealed entrances to the underground labyrinth—these are moved on a regular basis, the old entrances sealed up. Few people know of the existence of more than one way into the network under the Nyamo Wall, and even some of the guild masters do not know every entrance under their control.

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Weird Wednesday (Banlan Backlash): Nyamo Scribe Orb

Nyamo Scribe Orb

Aura moderate divination; CL 11th
Slot none; Weight 1 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
This many-faceted orb has been run through with a long adamantine needle extending out one end.

earthbound gem nyamo scribe orb
When analyzed for magical properties, a Nyamo scribe orb indicates that it is a regular scribe orb, made red as a mark of identification for the wizards of Timeaus. In truth this magical item has a secret function—any analysis it performs is immediately communicated to the Order of the Staff in Nyamo (regardless of distance), and it can always be easily found by mages of the organization (located with a DC 13 Will save).

CREATION
Magic Items scribe orb

Shortly after their presence in Nyamo is known, diplomatic wizards from the Order of the Staff seek out the PCs and insist that they accept a gift for their troubled (likely botched) delivery of alligotoniuma Nyamo scribe orb. The mages insist that any adventurer can make use of the magic item identifying device, and that no compensation is required; they feel horrible about the entire ordeal (a DC 20 Sense Motive check reveals that they do not, though they sincerely want the party to accept their gift).

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Trap Tuesday (Banlan Backlash!): Raining Rubble

Raining Rubble      CR 9

Type magical; Perception DC 33; Disable Device DC 33
Trigger visual; Reset automatic (1d4+2 rounds)
castle keep stairs nyamo raining rubbleEffect 20 ft.-square area explodes with rubble from a nearby wall (3d6+4; DC 22 Reflex for half damage). When raining rubble resets, the section of exploded wall rebuilds itself, dealing the same damage to any creatures still in the area

 

When a member of one of the Orders of Timeaus walks nearby (or a member of the Banlan Brotherhood activates it) a rune inscribed on the wall explodes, showering the area with rubble; a few rounds later the trap casts mend to reform itself. Originally used by the people of Timeaeus to do repairs on the Nyamo Wall, it was later adopted by the Banlan Brotherhood for guerrilla warfare against the Orders.

 

 

[Submitted by Tim Snow! -MM]

 

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Magic Item Monday (Banlan Backlash!): Scribe Orb

scribe orbScribe Orb
Aura moderate divination; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTION
This many-faceted orb has been run through with a long adamantine needle extending out one end.

A scribe orb is a magical tool capable of examining and writing in detail the properties of any magical items it encounters. Three times per day the orb can be activated to examine a target item for one minute. Once the examination is complete, the orb takes on a faint light and then inscribes all the details of the item (upon a piece of paper, stone tablet, or even a wall) as though it had used analyze dweomer in a process that takes an additional minute. This second ability does not have to be used immediately, but if not activated before the scribe orb is used to examine another item, what would have been scribed is lost.

HISTORY
DC 15     Scribe orbs were created by Timean professors to judge the exact properties of their students’ work.
DC 25     Some scribe orbs have needles extending from the top as well as the bottom. They glow when they inscribe, as though they were writing such information into the air.
DC 30     Cursed scribe orbs are used by the orders of Timeaus to secretly gather information about other groups. They can occasionally be seen writing in the air information that it is magically sending to its creator.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Items, analyze dweomer; Cost 5,000 gp

 

[Submitted by Michael McCarthy!]

 

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Statblock Sunday (Banlan Backlash!): Goemul


The stench of death assaults your senses as a strange amalgamations of rotting remains, wood, and vegetations rises from the disgusting water. It’s eyes glow an unnatural blue and stare at you intently as one of its malformed limbs reaches down into the water briefly before the massive limb rips upward with a wave and sends an enormous rock hurtling right at you!

shambling mambler smallGOEMUL      CR 11
XP 12,800
NG Huge undead (leshy)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +12

DEFENSE
AC 25, touch 11, flat-footed 25 (+4 deflection, –1 Dex, +14 natural, –2 size)
hp 136 (16d8+64)
Fort +13, Ref +4, Will +10
Immune plant traits, undead traits, electricity, sonic; DR 10/slashing

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +20 (2d6+9 plus 1d8 negative energy, Crit 19–20/x2)
Ranged rock +10 (2d6+13)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks rock throwing (180 ft.), trample (2d6+13, DC 25)
Spell-Like Abilities (Concentration +36; CL 32nd)
Constant—pass without trace

TACTICS
Before Combat The goemul keeps beneath the waterline (which is impossible to see through without the use of magic) and as soon as it perceives a creature above it, rises up to evaluate it.
During Combat After throwing a rock at range it charges forward, engaging as many targets in melee combat as possible.
Morale The goemul is compelled to fight to the death.

STATISTICS
Str 29, Dex 8, Con —, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 18
Base Atk +12; CMB +23; CMD 36
Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Diplomacy +12, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (nature) +9, Perception +12, Sense Motive +9, Stealth –9 (+7 in forests); Racial Modifiers +16 Stealth in forests
Languages Common, Druidic, Sylvan, Treant
SQ animate corpses, deadspeech, double damage against objects

ECOLOGY
Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Animate Corpses (Sp) A goemul can animate any corpses within 180 feet at will, controlling up to two creatures at a time (of a combined HD equal to the goemul’s). It takes 1 full round for a corpse to rise, after which it moves at a speed of 10 feet and fights as a goemul (although it has only one slam attack and lacks the goemul’s animation and rock-throwing abilities). If the goemul that animated it terminates the animation, moves out of range, or is incapacitated, the corpse immediately falls prone wherever it is and returns to its normal state.
Change Shape (Su) Goemul can transform into rotting remains, with results similar to the tree shape spell. In this form, the goemul appears as a recently killed creature of Small size. A goemul can assume this form or revert to its true form as a swift action.
Deadspeech (Ex) A goemul has the ability to converse with the dead as if subject to a continual speak with dead spell, and most corpses greet them with an attitude of friendly or helpful.
Double Damage Against Objects (Ex) A goemul or animated corpse that makes a full attack against an object or structure deals double damage.
Violent Burst (Su) When slain, a goemul explodes in a burst of rotting matter filled with negative energy. All creatures within 30 feet of a slain goemul take 1d8 points of negative energy damage plus 1 point per HD of the slain goemul, and the surrounding area is strewn with gruesome remains of countless dead creatures, dense enough to make the region into difficult terrain for 24 hours, after which the remains change into a disgusting mold.
Ingan befriended many treants in his failed bid to resist the High Mages of Timeaus and though most died, his most steadfast woodland companion suffered a fate far worse than burning to death. Intent on making an example out of the creature, the sadistic wizards malformed both its body and its essence, trapping it in a torturous existence stretched taut between life and death. Cursed to prowl the catacombs of Nyamo, it has wandered for centuries, forced to walk beneath the disgusting, brackish waterways of the tunnels killing anyone it comes across; while initially a great deterrent from smuggling, the rogues now use it to their advantage.

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Sidequest Saturday (Banlan Backlash!): Abattoir Ambush!

The PCs have been inexplicably teleported to the catacombs beneath Nyamo, drawn there by a dimensional funnel orchestrated by infiltrators from the Banlan Brotherhood! Immediately after reaching their dark, dank destination, these agents bolt for the tunnels nearby, attempting to lure the party away from the alligotonium-laden caravan. As soon as the adventurers exit the wagons, however, they are ambushed by the restless spirit tethered to this section of the complex beneath the port city of Cape Fin!

rogue 6 mageOn the note a PC may have received from a befriended infiltrator (immediately before the dimensional funnel trap was sprung) is a carefully drawn symbol—the sign of the Banlan Brotherhood. Any PC possessing a note or other item with the insignia is completely ignored by the haunt (until they deal damage to it, at which point it targets them next).

Tracking after the members of the Banlan Brotherhood is exactly what they want; as soon as the party leaves the caravan unattended (or lightly guarded), a score of their agents (N Human rogue 6; see the “Tomb Raider” entry in the NPC Gallery chapter of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide) enter the chamber from a secret door in its ceiling. Any creatures or PCs watching over the caravans are ambushed and the Banlan Brotherhood absconds with as much of the alligotonium as they possibly can.

If all of the infiltrators were befriended by the party before the teleportation trap went off, the rogues—well versed in the layout of the tunnels—lead them in pointless circles for twenty minutes (long enough for their allies to complete their task) before drinking potions of pass without trace.

cave-7This is unlikely, however, and there should be at least one infiltrator still indifferent to the PCs; he does as he was ordered to, leading the adventurers deeper into the catacombs. Staying just far enough in front of the party to spur them into sprinting, the agent’s trail ends in a wide chamber with a running channel of disgusting, brackish water. Drinking a potion of invisibility, a potion of pass without trace, and a potion of spider climb, their quarry escapes down either side of the tunnel but before the PCs can investigate, movement from under the disgusting slurry beneath them catches the eye of anyone that succeeds a DC 18 Perception check.

Something rises from the water…[…on tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM]

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The Veranthea Codex launches today at 6PM EST (3 PM PST)!

Veranthea_Codex_Full-page_Ad

Mike Myler and Rogue Genius Games are launching a Kickstarter later TODAY (6PM EST!) for a book everyone needs in their Pathfinder library—the Veranthea Codex.

Spoony Jaws - Trectoyri [Jacob Blackmon] (reduced)Veranthea is Mike’s mad world, the campaign setting he started playing Pathfinder in years ago, and it’s been developing into a truly amazing project! But why are you reading about it on the AaWBlog?

The answer is simple—Mike’s borrowing some of the crew here to help bring his world to life in a beautiful hardback book!

  • Brian Wiborg Mønster is heading development and writing in Grethadnis!
  • Luis Loza and Colin Stricklin, two module authors from AdventureAWeek.com’s stables, fill out his core group of writers (developing Urethiel and Trectoyri, respectively).
  • Beztekorps - Grethadnis [Indi Martin]Justin Andrew Mason is producing incredible graphics for the Veranthea Codex, doing the lion’s share of cartography (with the exception of Jonathan G. Nelson’s stretch goal), and is on to make some mythic content alongside Rory Toma (another great stretch goal)!
  • Another AdventureAWeek.com veteran—the other MM, Michael McCarthy—is on to develop material for stretch goals and is the lead editor, making sure that all of the content in the Veranthea Codex is top-notch!
  • Finally there’s Julian Neale, the mechanics engineer that worked with Mike Myler on the Underworld Classes product line—with his guiding hand on board, the archetypes and prestige classes throughout the Veranthea Codex are sure to be some of the most balanced material third party publishers have to offer!

Master in Irons - Urethiel cast [Nathanael Batchelor]

This post is to get the word out; visit the Veranthea Codex tumblr for a peek at much of the existing content for Mike’s World, keep an eye out for the four FREE Veranthea Codex PDFs on d20pfsrdstore.com, DriveThruRPG.com, Paizo.com, and RPGNow.com, or drop by the Veranthea Codex Facebook page to get an early peek at the FREE PDFs releasing all throughout September!

If you like what you see, please tell your friends, share the Facebook page, and get ready for the Kickstarter launch TODAY at 6PM EST!

We’ll see you there!

Braxthar Grimdrahk - Scientific Innovator [Indi Martin] (reduced)

 

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Story Locale (Banlan Backlash!): Ingan’s Abattoir

Beneath the most prolific port city of Timeaus are vast catacombs that weave all around Nyamo, some of them hundreds if not thousands of years old. While rogues and smugglers of all kinds make use of these underground tunnels, one particular region is favored by the Banlan Brotherhood, the leader of its inception having organized a powerful tool to insure the safety of his subordinates. The spirit of a potent druid has been anchored to the Material Plane since the first stones of the city were set, destroyed by the High Mages of Timeaus as a heretic.

Catacombs at Castle MorsainKnowing that he fought a losing battle, Ingan fled beneath the coves of Cape Fin, preparing and executing a series of rituals that triggered when a series of empowered and maximized lightning bolts finally claimed his life. His murderers, however, were too taxed to defend themselves against the tunnels themselves turning against them, spectral animals dragging many beneath tepid waters or ripping them apart as the mages struggled against cave-ins and collapsing walls. These dangers persist to this day, giving a section of the catacombs a name that rings through the taverns and drinking halls of the city above—Ingan’s abattoir.

Only creatures wearing an insignia of the Banlan Brotherhood (or those traveling with a member of the resistance) are immune to these hazards. For every 10 minutes of travel through Ingan’s Abattoir, there is a 50% chance a creature is targeted by one of these hazards; if a creature displays arcane spellcasting talents, the likeliness of their being targeted increases to 80%. Besting any of these hazards is equivalent to overcoming an obstacle with a CR equal to spell level + 1.

d100     Hazard (all CL 18th, with the exception of revenge of Ingan)
1-24      tentacles drag the target beneath the water (as black tentacles)
25-47    chamber collapses (reassembles after 100 rounds; CR 8)
48-67    wall collapses, target attacked by ghostly animals (as spectral weapon)
68-86    ambushed by 2d4+1 greater elementals (as summon nature’s ally VII)
87-100  revenge of Ingan