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Bog of Sacrifices

Image_Portfolio_102_Fantasy Jason Walton 30

The Bog of Sacrifices
XP 4,800
CE persistent haunt (30 ft. radius)
Caster Level 8th
Notice Perception DC 24 (to notice the faint sobbing of doomed sacrifices)
Hp 36; Trigger proximity, (within 5 ft. of the inscribed stone); Reset 1 day
Effect Upon nearing the stone inscribed with prayers to the Bogmother, the haunt triggers and ghostly hands and spectral roots rise from the ground to grab at anyone within the haunt’s radius. Every creature within the area of the haunt is the target of a combat maneuver check made to grapple each round. Creatures that enter the area of effect are also automatically attacked. The ghostly hands and spectral roots do not provoke attacks of opportunity. The ghostly hands and spectral roots have a CMB of +16, and each grapple is resolved individually on creatures in the haunt’s area.

If the ghostly hands and spectral roots succeed in grappling a creature, that creature takes 1d6+4 points of damage on each round it is being grappled, and furthermore gains the grappled condition. Grappled creatures cannot move without first breaking the grapple. All other movement is prohibited unless the creature breaks the grapple first. The ghostly hands and spectral roots receive a +5 bonus on grapple checks made against creatures they are already grappling, but cannot move or pin creatures. Grappled creatures are pulled down into the swampy ground, on the third round of having the grappled condition the creature must also avoid suffocating as it is pulled under the earth.

After three rounds the ghostly hands and spectral roots dissipate and no new grapples will be initiated, but any ongoing grapples are maintained. For those first three rounds, the haunt’s area counts as difficult terrain. The ghostly hands and spectral roots’ CMD is 26 for the purpose of escaping the grapple.

Destruction A series of six icons of the Bogmother stands around the haunt in a distance of one mile, these icons mark the ancient site for the sacrificial rituals of the Bogmother’s worshipers, and must all be destroyed to release the souls from the bottom of the swamp. These icons are all hidden from view by centuries of plant growth or submerged in the swamp, or even protected by a tribe that knows nothing of the icon’s original purpose.

Adventure Hook Centuries ago the swamp was home to several tribes that venerated an evil diety, the Bogmother. The tribes heeded her call for human sacrifice, and many criminals, prisoners of war, and unlucky travelers ended up on the bottom of the swamp honoring the fetid queen. The paladin order of The Righteous Flame cleared the swamp of the Bogmother’s influence and with time she was forgotten. On the bottom of the bogs the sacrifices did not forget, however, and when a recent earthquake pushed a holy relic of the Bogmother to the surface, they seized the opportunity to exact their vengeance in the area around the inscribed prayerstone. The pathways through a vast swamp shift occasionally as the dynamic landscape releases built-up gas, or the soft ground causes whole passages to disappear into the watery parts of the swamp—for every path that disappears, another path appears. Recently a minor earthquake destroyed the most stable route through the swamp and soon after travelers started to go missing in the area (more travelers than usual, that is). Rumors of the swamp punishing trespassers quickly surfaced—the drowned body of a local hunter has been found, and now the village elder of nearby Crannolang wants to find out why, if he drowned, the hunter’s face was frozen in fear. 

 

[Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster though I only included it after this guy because I realize how mean jack-in-a-box-zombies are 😉 -MM]

Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at) adventureaweek.com, but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:

1. Anyone can submit an entry.

2. One entry per person at any one time. An entry must be your own work, not being published previously or considered by any other publisher, and it must original and not infringe upon copyrighted material.

3. All entries become property of Adventureaweek.com, LLP.

4. By submitting an entry you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.

5. Adventureaweek.com, LLP reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this endeavor at any time without prior notice.

6. All decisions of Adventureaweek.com, LLP and their arbiters are final.

7. There is no compensation provided – any entries are given freely by their creators for use by Adventureaweek.com, LLP in perpetuity.

8. Your statblock must be properly formatted (compare to similar content on the AaWBlog for correct formatting).

 

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Echoing Fury

3

Echoing Fury

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th

Slot none; Price 26,312 gp; Weight 15 lbs.

DESCRIPTION

This beautifully crafted heavy mace is fully four feet long, with a broad head split by four rows of studded metal spikes that have withstood dozens of encounters with the enemy. The haft of the weapon is forged from finely lacquered wood bound by steel rings, adding weight to the attacks of this already brutal weapon. The head of the haft is capped by a perpendicular metal band, while the grip is wrapped in the finest leather from the hide of a salamander.

This +2 heavy mace (3.5) / +2 impact heavy mace (Pathfinder) is designed around a the rows of spikes along the head of the weapon. Upon uttering the command word—“shatter”, in the language of the azers—the mace begins to vibrate gently, becoming fully charged as part of the swift action to activate the weapon.

Once charged, a successful strike from echoing fury discharges its kinetic jolt for 2d6+2 base damage, rather than the standard 1d8+2 base damage. The weapon then immediately begins recharging for its next overpowered strike (dealing 1d8+2 base damage until the beginning of the wielder’s next turn), unless the command word “calm” is spoken (again in the language of the azers).

In the hands of an azer warrior, the weapon bestows shatter as a spell-like ability usable once per day and does not require any time to recharge between strikes.

HISTORY A character that makes a Knowledge (planes) check to learn about echoing fury identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 20     Created by the azer master smith Aleksey Kiriyenko more than a millennia ago, this weapon was forged as a means of striking grievous blows against raiders from the Elemental Plane of Earth. Many raids had struck hard against the forges of the azers on the Elemental Plane of Flame, and attention had turned to the production of weapons that could counter their dense physical forms.

DC 25     Wielded by the azer ranger Nikolai Saidova for more than a century, echoing fury gained great fame for the damage it caused against the rock and crystalline creatures that occasionally flooded through temporary portals and gates. In time, the tide of the conflict turned and Nikolai led a number of successful raids deep into the home of the invaders, shattering opponents within their hearths and garnering great mineral wealth in the process.

DC 30     It is said that Nikolai was lost on his last great raid, crushed under a huge rockfall caused by his opponents. His body and famed weapon are said to remain there still, and the azer community will pay a handsome fortune in rubies for the return of the weapon and his remains.

CONSTRUCTION

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bull’s strength, shatter; Cost 13, 312 gp 533 xp

[Submitted by Jonathan Ely]

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)
  • one or two sentences about its appearance
  • what the item in question does
  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction
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Ball of Decadence

medieval-clothing-2Ball of Decadence      CR 9

XP 6400

NE persistent haunt (40 ft. radius)

Caster Level 9th

Notice Perception DC 21 (to notice faint dots of light on the grass)

hp 40; Trigger automatic; Reset 1 week

Effect: When triggered (on a hill outside the small village, once a week at midnight) the haunt transforms the area into a magnificent ballroom. The haunt’s area is full of dancing nobles (their dress style centuries old) but several of the dancers look more like peasants and adventurers whose fashions are more recent, some clutching weapons or tools. Whispers of decadence, drunken revelry and seductive promises fill the heads of anyone within the haunt’s area—any PC within the haunt must take a Will save DC 20 to avoid joining the dance. On the second and third round anyone still in the haunt’s area must take another DC 20 Will save or join the ball—for those already dancing, a DC 22 Will save prevents them from fading away with the dancers after the third round, going back to the castle of the Prince of Revelry in a pocket dimension. Succeeding on the second Will save breaks the haunt’s hold over the character and they are not subject to any more Will saves while the haunt lasts.

Destruction At the exact time the haunt triggers, the still-beating heart of the Prince of Revelry must be pierced with a silver dagger by a virtuous maiden. The virtuous maiden and a silver dagger can be found in the village, but the still beating heart of the Prince of Revelry might prove trickier to procure. 

Adventure Hook The mayor’s youngest daughter has been taken back to the Prince of Revelry’s castle, and understandably the mayor wants her back. The party is hired to travel via the haunt to the castle and rescue her. Legends tell that strong-willed individuals have escaped from the haunt when it manifests; although no one can point out anyone who has done so, it is well known and therefore must be true.

Origin: Altazar Hunthar was the son of a minor noble and a dabbler in all things magical. He was a shy young man and one fateful evening he attended a ball at the local baron’s estate. Unfortunately being an awkward young man, he was easy prey for the experienced socialites at the event. A humiliating experience left Althazar in tears, running into the darkening night. The rain and the muddy road conspired against him and he stumbled from a stone bridge, falling to his end in the ravine below. With his dying breath Altazar cursed everyone at the ball—his all-consuming spite made the curse very real and the baron’s castle disappeared with everyone inside. A year to the day the haunt manifested for the first time, and since then the socialites have danced every week trying to lure more into their midst. When 101 new dancers have been added to the ball, the souls are released to the afterlife, the pocket dimension collapses and the haunt ceases to manifest.

 [Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster]

Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at) adventureaweek.com, but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:

1. Anyone can submit an entry.

2. One entry per person at any one time. An entry must be your own work, not being published previously or considered by any other publisher, and it must original and not infringe upon copyrighted material.

3. All entries become property of Adventureaweek.com, LLP.

4. By submitting an entry you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.

5. Adventureaweek.com, LLP reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this endeavor at any time without prior notice.

6. All decisions of Adventureaweek.com, LLP and their arbiters are final.

7. There is no compensation provided – any entries are given freely by their creators for use by Adventureaweek.com, LLP in perpetuity.

8. Your statblock must be properly formatted (compare to similar content on the AaWBlog for correct formatting).

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Argus Spyglass

Color Spray Scope (CR2)

Argus Spyglass
Aura strong divination; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 18,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTION

This telescoping spyglass is fashioned from worn brass, the final piece painted a solid red. It is remarkably light and fits over the eye with ease.

Any areas perceived with an argus spyglass are treated as though the wearer has darkvision. Once per week, the red band can be turned counterclockwise, causing a movable field of x-ray vision to penetrate any target area within 1,000 feet. Correctly manipulating the device requires a DC 15 Dexterity check each round to focus the lenses correctly, allowing the user to see through stone, metal, earth, wood and any material save adamantine. This enchantment lasts for 5 minutes, after which the argus spyglass loses all its magical properties for one week.

HISTORY 

A character that makes a Knowledge (history) check to learn about an argus spyglass identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 10     These enchanted spyglasses are often found not with sailors, but miners. The dweorg especially have made prodigious use of the item, making detailed surveys that maximize their mining efforts.

DC 15     The first argus spyglass was said to have been forged in the Underworld, but not by dweorg. A mysterious otherworldly people are responsible for its creation, but their identity remains a mystery.

DC 20     All the subterranean races place as great a value on the argus spyglass as Upperworld sailors do. The best equipped armies are also keen to add these items to their arsenal, and any one of these buyers would pay a truly handsome sum for one of them.

DC 25     The sailors of the Forever Deep always have one of these on their ships; without it, they are likely to run afoul of the countless dangers in the subterranean waters, be they monstrous or natural hazards.

CONSTRUCTION

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, true seeing; Cost 9,000 gp 360 xp

 

 

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)
  • one or two sentences about its appearance
  • what the item in question does
  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction
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4 Tips to Stop the Monotony in Random Encounters and Surprise Players

Image_Portfolio_101_Fantasy Jason Walton 12Everybody can enjoy the nocturnal prowling of beasts, but eventually troll raids can get a little bit stale. When the party goes off-course and the third evening of animal attacks comes to pass, consider a few alternatives to keep your players on their toes. Any NPC could be led to act as a random encounter for the party, hired or tricked by rivals or nemeses, following a falsified bounty or another case of mistaken identity or even simply be opportunistic bandits.

Here are a few of the things I keep around when I’m GMing to make sure my group remains alert and engaged when they’ve fallen foul of a random encounter:

  • Keep a collection of pre-generated NPCs near the party’s level (if you’re trying to save space or ink, keep it to NPCs of a higher level than the party.)
    • Don’t have the time to stat them all out? Do you have old character sheets? These are good to have around for surprise guests at the table or if a player dies unexpectedly at the beginning of a session and doesn’t want to miss out on all the action, but can definitely stand in as mercenaries, bounty hunters or misguided enemies.
      • For some extra fun, get your players to lend you their old sheets; just make sure to reward additional XP, not to give out too many magic items, and of course to change the NPC’s name.Image_Portfolio_1.14_Fantasy Butch Mapa 12
  • What about the plethora of NPCs here at AdventureAWeek.com? There are dozens of adventures for parties of every level. Bookmark your favorite characters (they all have hyperlinks for both D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder) when you browse through the modules for referencing later!
  • For the Pathfinder players out there, there are three extra suggestions I have for you:
    •  The first is the simplest: get familiar with the NPC Codex. There are characters for every core and NPC class, levels 1-20; I bought a copy and am super happy that I did.
    • The second is a little bit more complex but ultimately worth it: grab File Off the Serial Numbers. Within it, Sean K. Reynolds explains how to quickly strip down a monster and have it act in a different role (turning monsters into monks, clerics, wizards and paladins).
    • Don’t forget about haunts and cursed items! The AaWBlog has been consuming them for some time, and there’s already several in its gullet!
  • Sometimes monsters are unlikely or in unexpected places. If your campaign setting is a place of moderate to high magic, what’s to say an awakened animal (which could quite easily gain fighter levels) or creature far removed from its normal stomping grounds hasn’t taken the territory by chance?

Image_Portfolio_1.13_Fantasy Rudolf Montemayor 08

Whether the party is in a dungeon, on a mountainside, sailing the seas or resting in a wooded grove, if they’re there, there’s always the possibility that similar adventurers or explorers might be as well. Don’t be afraid to challenge your group with some of the suggestions above if things seem to get dull.

 

Do you have a contribution or idea for Meta Thursdays?  Send us your ideas (after reading the submission guidelines) to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with “Meta Thursday” in the subject line!

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Enganar’s Final Ballad

Enganar’s Final Ballad     CR 6
XP 2,400
CN haunt (60 ft. by 60 ft. grove)
Caster Level 7th
Notice Perception DC 24 (to hear lamented strings)
hp 12; Trigger proximity (resting within the grove); Reset 1 hourRoad adjacent to Haunted Forest

Effect When this haunt is triggered, anyone within its area must succeed a DC 12 Will save or be unable to speak intelligently (suffering a 20% spell failure chance when casting any spells with verbal components or activating any magic items that use a command word) as long as they remain within the haunt’s area. Whether they succeed on this save or not, invisible specters swarm the area and attempt to steal items from anyone inside the haunt’s (CMB +8). Any stolen items float into the air at a rate of 10 feet per round (up to 60 feet in the air) and can only be recovered by succeeding on a combat maneuver check against CMD 18. Any stolen objects still airborne when the haunt is destroyed suffer falling damage as normal. Should any more than 4 weapons rise into the air from the haunt, they drop while over a single target within the area, requiring a DC 14 Reflex save to avoid taking weapon damage + 6.

 
Destruction The bones of Enganar, hastily buried between the trees and the river, must be excavated, cleaned in the waters, after which the bard must be given a proper funeral (including a eulogy and musical accompaniment).

 
Adventure Hook
As it often is with adventuring companies, the bard Enganar fell into step with some scurrilous individuals with interest in nothing more than the treasure the minstrel recently acquired. While he fought valiantly to preserve his life, eventually the troubadour fell to their blades, mortally wounding one of the thieves before dying himself. In anger they buried his bones disgracefully, shaming his name as they did so. That night as they slept, their weapons took to their air and impaled them in their sleep. Adventurer’s found the bodies and spread word of the mysterious event, but time has passed and the legends of Enganar’s Final Ballad have fallen into obscurity. Recently an important pack of couriers left for far realms and their route passes through this odd grove. Their bodies will have been taken away by animals keen on an easy meal, but their belongings remain – oddly, their weapons are embedded in the earth.

 

 

Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at) adventureaweek.com, but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:

1. Anyone can submit an entry.

2. One entry per person at any one time. An entry must be your own work, not being published previously or considered by any other publisher, and it must original and not infringe upon copyrighted material.

3. All entries become property of Adventureaweek.com, LLP.

4. By submitting an entry you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.

5. Adventureaweek.com, LLP reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this endeavor at any time without prior notice.

6. All decisions of Adventureaweek.com, LLP and their arbiters are final.

7. There is no compensation provided – any entries are given freely by their creators for use by Adventureaweek.com, LLP in perpetuity.

8. Your statblock must be properly formatted (compare to similar content on the AaWBlog for correct formatting).