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Stealing Stones: A Dwarf Named Bailey

“Now that you have proven your worth by recovering my hats from the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.,” lysyy says, adjusting the third hat on his head, “ I have a favor to ask. Long ago before I began making hats, I was a loremaster and story teller that journeyed the Amber Roads looking for adventure to weave into mystical tales to wow my audiences.”

Pausing for a moment to pull his second hat down a bit conscientiously, the zwerc continues his tale. “As I traveled I soon realized that I had the power within me to not only tell stories, but to also help in their creation. I could make baubles great and small that were linked to me, and through them I could collect more stories. I had to dabble in some questionable arts, sure, but nothing about them seemed too dire. I set up a transportable shop and went about looking for special kinds of people to sell too—not ordinary travelers, but those that would do great and glorious deeds, or seek dark and hidden knowledge. I sold custom items and through my customers I began to weave even greater stories, until on my travels I ran into a very curious dwarf named Bailey.”

a dwarf named baileyIyssy stops for a moment, as if searching for the right words to continue (you suspect that this is not a common occurrence.) “Bailey was shy, almost painfully so, but deep down he loved to perform. It was here that I decided to make him a most special item; something I should not have done. You see I made him a top hat, and I poured my own brassiness, confidence, and demeanor into that particular chapeau. It was meant to help Bailey, to inspire him to great deeds and great performances.”

What seems to be a tear appears at the edge of Iyssy’s eye, but then is swiftly gone, quick enough that it may have been a performance or may have been real, perhaps so well-rehearsed Iyssy doesn’t even know. “Instead, I’m afraid, it drove him mad. It compelled him to perform and each time he did so, he lost a small piece of himself and had to run and cower away in the deepest corners of the Amber Roads, away from anyone. It drove him to seek out places where he could find true solace—yet the hat would always drive him back into the public eye. I’m afraid it was all too much for him. Perhaps as my penance, through the hat I could feel it all until it finally stopped.”

“Please locate Bailey and the hat for me; I must destroy my creation and never again make another. I fear that the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. will find it and what they might do with the powerful thing, but I’m not sure where to find the hat—perhaps somewhere on the Amber Roads, or somewhere in a lonely cavern. I do know that if those nefarious criminals are looking for it, they may already have some good ideas. The granite dust that you found earlier, start with that. Venture to the Granite Grotto; the answers I need you to seek for me are likely found there. Please, do this favor for me. I can’t offer much, perhaps some gold or perhaps one of my other fine hats, but please do this for me.”

With that Iyssy turns back toward his storage cave, continuing to update the inventory of his disturbed stockpile of hats.

 

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

 

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Stealing Stones: Subterranean Adventures

subterranean adventuresSubterranean environments are one of the most beloved locales for exploration or adventure in tabletop gaming. Synonymous with the concept of “dungeon delving,” underground realms have been a consistent trope used by GMs for decades. That’s not to suggest that explorations into the world below don’t have their place or serve a very important function—there are many good reasons that world builders, both novice and professional, continue returning beneath the surface to spark both intrigue and wonder as well as cast a foreboding sense of dread.

To understand the natural draw to subterranean adventures and the psychology that sustains the tabletop RPG motif, one must first examine human nature and our history as a species. Since the human race first started crafting stories and myths around ancient campfires, venturing into the earth has always remained a powerful theme—it is often the dwelling place of supernatural beings and spirits, the land of the dead, and the domain of devils, demons, dragons, trolls, and countless other mysterious creatures, as well as a focal point of religion and mythology or places of power. For millennia, our ancestors have assigned mystery to the world beneath our feet more than to any other tangible environment.

As a world forever trapped in night, the ever present darkness in subterranean adventures provides a sense of danger that forms a sound foundation for excitement—a danger that is hard to willfully dismiss (even when taking into consideration magic or other means of illumination). Anticipation and apprehension of the unknown and unseen are biologically ingrained into our very beings, and we are mentally hardwired to perceived risk, providing a psychological route for more fully immersing players, making it easier to create epic and memorable experiences.

subterranean adventures darknessIn a world of layers the subterranean adventure can encompass immense caverns, winding corridors, steep pitfalls, narrow chutes, and vents that access ascending or descending pathways that all interlink with vast chambers and crisscross over and under one another. Without a reliable means of orientation, it is incredibly easy to become hopelessly lost in these vast complexes, but a grandiose sense of scale can be easily obtained within a multi-tiered subterranean environment. Whether purposefully crafted by sentient minds or naturally occurring, the more this knotwork of connectivity is utilized, the more challenging (and rewarding) the subterranean environment will be to explore. It’s worth noting that you are also able to utilize the entirety of the environment much more easily (making climbing PCs far more mobile, but generally changing the expectations of a regular gaming experience on land rather than inside of it). Underground networks of streams, reservoirs of groundwater, and enormous aquifers can provide the same boundaries and hazards as their aboveground counterparts, and dark waters rich with bioluminescent algae and a surfeit of creatures that have adapted to a sunless world can provide a rich food source to support unique and complex ecosystems.

While a subterranean adventure can be as simple as the basement of a castle, the ground beneath our feet provides a ready palette the beckons for deeper and grander exploration. One good source for ready-to-play content to prepare such adventures is the AAW Games Underworld series that provide over a dozen books filled with races and classes designed specifically for a subterranean setting. If you’re looking for a complete subterranean adventure path, also check out Rise of the Drow.

 

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Stealing Stones: Bailey’s Hat

Bailey’s Hat      CR 9
XP 6,400
CN haunt (a single target within a 10 ft.-radius from a tophat)
Caster Level 9th
Notice Perception DC 22 (to see a ghostly hand reaching out from a dusty top hat on the ground)
hp 18; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day

bailey's hatEffect Triggering the Bailey’s hat haunt causes a spectral hand to appear and reach out to grab the nearest creature (+9 melee touch attack). If the attack strikes, the creature is transported to an extradimensional space and makes a DC 19 Fortitude save or falls asleep for 1d10+2 minutes (the extradimensional space has 20 minutes worth of air for one Medium-sized creature).

Destruction The hat must be put on, which transports the wearer to the extra dimensional space where Bailey’s dead body lies, as well as any creatures taken by the haunt (this includes 1d4+1 corpses). The dwarven creator’s body needs to be identified (a DC 15 Heal check recognizes the oldest corpse, a tough task in a place perfectly suited for storing corpses) and brought back through the exit (destroying the tophat and expelling everything that was within). A result of 20 or higher recognizes that something biologically unnatural slayed the extraneous dead creatures within Bailey’s hat, and a DC 25 Knowledge (religion) check inspires a feeling that a gitwerc was involved in their deaths somehow.

Though notoriously shy, Bailey was never bashful about sharing his quest for a private sanctum in the Amber Roads with those he met during his travels throughout the Underworld. A master of prestidigitation, he traveled the Amber Roads and when scarce on supplies or in need of a fine distraction, put on a magic show—and disappear for weeks or months. After one particularly extravagant show wherein he managed to pull himself out of a hat, he disappeared back into the cap and never reappeared. The legend of Bailey’s hat is still told by passerby on the Amber Roads, inspiring a (sensible) fear of what lay ahead in the interdimensional pathways.

 

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

 

 

The Aventyr Bestiary Kickstarter has 2 weeks left!

THE BEST monsters from the vast library of AdventureAWeek.com modules and the ENnie winning-AaWBlog, carefully curated and developed for maximum dismemberment, maiming, and mayhem! There’s a growing number of creatures in this fantastic Pathfinder RPG supplement and you (or your GM!) needs to take a look at this amazing project before the campaign ends!

Don’t miss out and get in on the ground floor for the best book of beasts this side of Paizo!

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Stealing Stones: Replacement Hat Trap

dont touch my hat trapReplacement Hat Trap     CR 7
Type magic; Perception DC 31; Disable Device DC 31
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect spell effect (geas/quest compels the target to replace the touched hat with a brand new, exact replica)

A particular zwerc loved his hats and hated the thought of anyone touching them—or, Amber Roads forbid, wearing them. After having too many chapeaus spoiled by the prying fingers of well-meaning but clueless guests, he came up with a clever solution: the replacement hat trap. By taking a few of his favorite hats and casting geas/quest on them, anyone that even touched one of his hats immediately became compelled to replace it with an exact replica (ensuring that, at least, his finery wouldn’t be soiled by others). Every now and then a replacement hat trap appears; no one knows exactly how they get there, but rumors abound revolving around ancient dwarven spirits, hat gods, and even more outlandish explanations.

 

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

 

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  • Book Golem and Liberum Golem – If you prefer your golems well read, these constructs are up your alley—just mind the paper cuts.
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  • Mosaic Tile Golem, Mushroom Golem, Pumpkin Golem, Totem Golem, Treasure Golem– There’s a reason Paizo is so fond of these…
  • NITNAM – Remember that time the adventurers had to go inside of the giant, flesh-sac alien monster to kill it? You always will.
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