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Sharur, Smasher of Thousands

Sharur

SHARUR, SMASHER OF THOUSANDS

Aura strong evocation; CL 12th

Slot none; Price 100,808 gp; Weight 6 lbs.

DESCRIPTION¬†This finely crafted hammer has vicious spikes jutting out of the head’s underside and the entire black haft of the weapon is scored with runes of violent design. Blue and black impressions cover the two-handed hammer and it glows with a harsh, pulsing cyan light.

This +4 axiomatic demon bane battlehammer (3.5)/earthbreaker (PF) consists of a long haft the height of a man, ending with a vicious sweeping head with a sharp back end and spikes protruding backwards, directly under it. Sharur provides its wielder with a +5 bonus to Knowledge (planes) checks when they pertain to information regarding the Abyss. The weapon provides a blue eldritch glow that sheds a slowly pulsing light equivalent to a light spell (bright light radius of 20 ft. and dim light out to 40 ft.).

HISTORY A character that makes a Knowledge (history), Knowledge (planes) or Knowledge (religion) check to learn about Sharur, Smasher of Thousands identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 20 ¬† ¬† Sharur, which means “smasher of thousands” is the legendary weapon and mythic symbol of the god of war. Ancient sources describe it as an enchanted hammer of prodigious size, bloodied with the remains many opponents and smothered with violent iconography.

DC 25     In a prominent early legend, Sharur had a leading role in which the god of war loaned it to the hero Girsu to defeat Asag, a monstrous demon, and his vast horde of abyssal followers.

DC 30 ¬† ¬† According to this legend, Sharur’s role in the battle was not only as a weapon. It provided crucial intelligence to Girsu, acting as an emissary between him and the god of war, relating to him a strategy to defeat the demon and its horde.

CONSTRUCTION

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, order’s wrath, summon monster I, creator must be lawful; Cost 50,558 gp 4,033 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 ‚ÄėArmory of Adventures submission‚Äô¬†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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Two Thorns in the Grand Lion’s Paw

AAW-SonicCicada-colors01Creature design can be a tough road to walk and even the most seasoned, stalwart player can lose their nerve when their nefarious monster brings them low.

This isn’t a sign that either one of you is necessarily doing anything wrong; as far as I’m concerned, it means that you’re about to crest the wave of¬†serious immersion. Drama is high and there is a real, palpable danger to the¬†PCs and if they aren’t preparing their things to go home, you’ve done it and you’re riding the wave.

How do you stay on the board? Weaknesses: one generalized and (to get unique) one rare.

 

My favorite example of this is from the Paizo core rules – take a look at the Jabberwock‚ÄĒspecifically, DR 15/Vorpal and cold vulnerability.
That’s pretty specific and you know what? That’s great. A dedicated party of high-level adventurers would still be able to drop this creature, whether properly equipped for the task or not. The latter will prove to be a real challenge, but the former won’t be a pushover.

 

If you’re making any monsters yourself (and you should be – always throw a curve ball at your players) take a note from the Jabberwock.pyro

This creature brings into focus one of the principal elements in monster design. It’s clearly in the realm of high-level encounters, and it shows without having to read the slew of offensive abilities at its disposal. Following the progression of the Pathfinder Monster Creation Rules, its hit points, AC and saves fit the bill and are on average what they ought to be, so why the weaknesses?

 

The answer is a simple one: high-level encounters mean high-level abilities and powers.

A formidable, high-level combat-proficient PC (barbarians, fighters, paladins, rangers and rogues) will unleash a considerable amount of damage each round from weapons, chipping away at that stack of hit points with a fair amount of success (at that point, the frequency of critical hits rises quite a bit). Without a truly effective form of damage reduction‚ÄĒtake a seat, adamantine‚ÄĒthe Jabberwock will fall far sooner than any GM is going to be happy about.¬†If a potent spellcaster is around, this wonderful “dragon” would be biting the dust if it wasn’t loaded with resistances.

 

The specificity of the vorpal¬†enchantment means that the PCs are unlikely to have more than one or perhaps two weapons capable of completely ignoring it’s physical buffer, and the resistances (at double the value of the DR) do the same for magical attacks‚ÄĒany lower level spells, like fireball, are going to be practically ignored unless they produce a cold effect.

 

Gremlin final cropMonsters like the Jabberwock are unique examples of truly creative design work. This one creature can easily occupy a huge number of opponents, withstand the attacks of fell foes, while still possessing an attainable¬†Achilles’ heel to reward the smart, prepared adventurer.

 

If you’re making a mid- or high-level monster, make sure to learn the lesson of the Jabberwock – prepare for the worst (buffer) and hope for the best (selective and generalized weakness).

[Hey, did you know I have a twitter account? The myths are true. -MM]

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 ‚ÄúMeta Thursday‚ÄĚ in the subject line!

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Ring of Exuberance

Celurian-Chain Link Rings

Ring of Exuberance

Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd

Slot ring; Price 9,500 gp; Weight ‚ÄĒ

DESCRIPTION

This beautifully crafted ring is actually in two parts – one is onyx black, the other sterling gold. Each miniature circlet is infused with a light cyan energy that entwine’s the wearer’s finger.

The wearer of a¬†ring of exuberance¬†gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity, a +10 ft. enhancement bonus to their speed and ignores all penalties of the fatigued condition (note: the wearer may still become ‘fatigued’, they simply suffer no penalties for it and receive negative modifiers when they reach the exhausted condition).

 

HISTORY 

A character that makes a Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (local) check to learn about the ring of exuberance identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 10     Halflings are responsible for first creating the ring of exuberance with the aim of winning a grand race between villages. The rivalry was so great that a retired adventurer from one of the settlements crafted the enchanted ring for no purpose other than this race.

DC 15     The original creator was actually a half-elf. Having grown up with the halflings, the otherwise-outcast actually made the ring of exuberance to assist the burgeoning courier business of a longtime friend.

DC 20     Katra the half-elven wizard became the defender of the settlement through unlikely means Рwhen attacked, the fleet-footed courier service quickly relayed messages about the guard and their alacrity saved the halfling town time and again.

DC 25¬† ¬† ¬†The magical craftswoman wasn’t the only retired adventurer; unbeknownst to the half-elf, her longtime friend Jerry Draggletuck was also a retired adventurer. Having taken to the art of thievery, he soon found that his retirement was constantly disrupted by many individuals he had stolen from or cheated throughout his lucrative career. Reluctantly, he used half of his funds to convince his childhood friend to craft relatively cost-effective rings that would enable the settlement Jerry called home to defend itself effectively.

 

CONSTRUCTION

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Iron Will, cat’s grace, expeditious retreat, lesser restoration; Cost 4,750 gp 190 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 ‚ÄėArmory of Adventures submission‚Äô¬†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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A Simple 5-Step Approach for Complex Characters

A couple of weeks ago we got quite a response to an article (10 Ways to Run a Better Tabletop Game) and several folks responded with how they implement in-depth character creation‚ÄĒthank you! One of these approaches is so simple that its originator, John Hughes, broke it into a simple sketch. His thoughts on that area of game design are below. Enjoy!¬†

Image_Portfolio_104_Fantasy Jason Walton 60It’s never easy coming up with a character concept‚ÄĒknowing your character’s goals, hopes, quirks and foibles. Too often we ignore the intangible qualities of our imagined hero and focus on the mechanics of the numbers and abilities instead. During a World of Darkness campaign, a dear friend (but lackluster roleplayer) came up to me one day, proclaiming proudly, “I’ve got a new character concept for a vampire: Dominate plus Telepathy.”

That’s not a concept‚ÄĒthat’s two powers strung together‚ÄĒand while that might be the extreme of mistaking mechanics for personality, I believe that all of us occasionally make this trade-off. Whether the setting is a casual pick-up game or a convention event, when faced with a different group at the table and a new piece of paper in hand, the temptation as the player to develop only a cursory profile can be overwhelming. Additionally, other players might enjoy the game for the sake of the combat and don’t want to divert time and effort into fleshing out their creation.

Over time, I’ve developed simple steps that, regardless of playing style, encourages quick but meaningful examination of a hero that more fully invests players in their creations.

 

Step 1: Five AdjectivesA PC in 5 parts
The first step is to come up with five adjectives to describe your character; the idea is not to just develop a string of five words from the same category: e.g. physical traits like strong, swift, lithe, nimble and sure-footed. Without variety, five adjectives are no better than one. Instead pick one word from each of the following five categories to give a character instant depth:

Past     This should describe something about how the character arrived at today.

  • Where did they come from?
  • How did training or other major events change and shape them?
  • What was their family situation (or lack thereof) and how did it affect their adolescence?

Future ¬† ¬†¬†You have one word describing the hero’s formative experience, now imagine the more aspirational facets of this individual.

  • How do they want to be remembered
  • What word best describes what this character hopes to do?
  • What mark do they want to leave or what role would they like to fulfill?

Image_Portfolio_1.27_Fantasy Romans-Robots 01Self ¬† ¬†¬†Bringing the time vista back to the present, now we’ll look inward.

  • What word best describes the character in behavior, philosophy, or appearance?
  • Is this a way the hero presents themselves as a facade, or does this represent a true personality facet?

 

Others     Look around the hero and empathize with how they must feel about the world.

  • What word best describes what your character think about others? (The definition of others could be other tribes, races, traditional enemies, close allies, nations, classes, alignments, religions.)
  • How does your character treat them?
  • What does the hero expect outsiders to think upon meeting?

Stuff     How an individual deals with other people can be completely different from how they deal with objects.

  • What word best describes the character’s relation to goods, services and social bearing?
  • Do they show an interest in tangible objects like weapons or wealth?
  • Does the character prefer intangibles like fame or power?

Gary Dupuis - Kargrin-CRemember, the quality of adjectives count! Why be “happy” when you can be cheerful, joyful, enthusiastic or even maniacal? This step is a great opportunity to break out those words you only memorized for the SAT; you may never use “nonagenarian” in a sentence, but it could be the perfect word for your wizard, who might also be decrepit or wizened (assuming your wizard is a human‚ÄĒfor an elven wizard, “nonagenarian” is the equivalent to immature or untried.)

Don’t be afraid to try unconventional words for your concept! Many people can see a cleric as devout, but what if hanging around the temple all the time instead has made the disciple ingratiating or even sycophantic? Words with greater context or specific meaning will produce a more concrete vision of the character from this exercise.

Step 2: Draw Your Character
When describing the five areas above, I’ll draw little pictures to help visualize what I mean‚ÄĒI also draw in an effort to overcome any resistance or fear of this next step. This part of the exercise tends to draw heavily on the class, armor, or weapon of a character, so in some ways the illustration serves only to reinforce the role of those mechanics. Nonetheless, by encouraging the players to draw the character, the image triggers other areas of the brain, giving visual context to both the adjectives and the mechanics. The drawing doesn’t have to be great or even good, but encourage the player to try‚ÄĒthe rewards are immediate and the practice makes the next time easier.

Note: I can’t claim to have devised this step entirely on my own‚ÄĒI came across a version of this idea in On The Edge by Jonathan Tweet and have been using it for two decades.

Elve_ThiefI discourage names from movies or books when players flesh out the last part of the character. An original name reinforces ownership of the hero‚ÄĒnames like Bob or Fred can disrupt the fantasy mood‚ÄĒso put some effort into a plausibly authentic name.

Hopefully this quick, easy exercise will help make characters more interesting for both you and your companions during your next adventure!

 

Submitted by Jonathan Hughes [who also submitted these pictures as examples]
[Edited by Mike Myler]

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 ‚ÄúMeta Thursday‚ÄĚ in the subject line!

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The Eternal Torment

Statue-3The Eternal Torment

Aura none (medium abjuration and medium conjuration, see text); CL 7th

Slot none; Weight 800 lbs.

The Eternal Torment¬†is always a¬†beautiful marble statue of perfect proportions, slightly larger than the creature it portrays. The face is contorted in pain but otherwise an aura of beauty surrounds the artwork. Upon careful examination, however, the statue surrenders its dreadful secrets‚ÄĒhidden hinges open revealing the interior of an iron maiden. Small spikes dot the inside, barely large enough to allow a creature to fit inside.

The Eternal Torment is a devious device used to imprison people in a torturous cage made all the more sadistic by their innocuous presence within a populated place. The statue bestows the benefits of a ring of sustenance, although the effects start only last from when a victim is fitted inside to when they leave it. The statue also has a working nondetection spell placed upon it. If a divination spell is attempted against the occupant, the caster of the divination must succeed on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) against a DC of 19 (as if the occupant had cast nondetection on herself). The auras from these effects are hidden, and are only discovered with a successful DC 11 Will save (see detect magic spell text for greater details on how this is discovered). The spikes inside deal 1d6 piercing damage every round The Eternal Torment is closed, receding slightly when the victim reaches 1 hit point.

CREATION

Magic Items any statue or body suitable for a golem or similar construct. 

 

A character that makes a Knowledge (history) check to learn about The Eternal Torment identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 15      This statue bears all the hallmarks of the now extinct char’krar culture, nomadic horse raiders that conquered Kith Guhr, the jeweled city, some eight centuries ago. Seeing how comfortable city life was, their leaders abandoned their ancient ways in favor of urbanity. The few disgruntled tribesmen that voiced any concerns or reluctance were quickly found floating face down in the Ruby River.

DC 20¬† ¬† ¬† In the first three centuries after the fall of Kith Ghur, char‚Äôkrar culture had a renaissance, going from crudely carved wooden idols of their ancestors to paintings and sculptures rivaling nearby cultures. Several of their nobles collected statues, trying to outdo each other with massive outdoor collections, called gardens. The char‚Äôkrar enjoyed several profitable trade routes with nearby nations before four to five centuries ago, when a radical change overcame Kith Ghur: the temples of the city were defiled and the ancient gods were abandoned in favor of open worship of the demon lord Tzzeraxxt, lord of pain and joyful suffering. For almost a century trade continued with Kith Ghur until at last relations grew too strained to continue‚ÄĒthe missing caravans and rumors of human sacrifices could not be ignored. Three hundred years ago Kith Ghur closed its gates for the last time as the char‚Äôkrar withdrew into the city to worship Tzeeraxxt and tend to their own increasingly vile, debased, ritualistic practices of worship.

DC 25¬† ¬† ¬† As time passed, the gardens grew but a new feature was added‚ÄĒhollow statues used to torture and torment in the name of Tzzeraxxt. Many times servants awoke to find one of their number missing and another statue was added to their master‚Äôs garden; horrifyingly, they soon discovered their lost companions as statues, as the truly devout made their tombs to resemble their victims. Fear was a constant companion in Kith Ghur‚ÄĒno one was safe from joining a garden. The char‚Äôkrar nobles tried to outdo each other in an attempt to gain favor from their vile lord Tzzeraxxt¬†by¬†increasing the pain caused by removal from the statue‚ÄĒspikes were added to the hollow insides, longer spikes combined with regeneration (not that anyone were ever taken back out according to the legends). In time Kith Ghur fell silent apart from the muffled cries from some of the statues before those within died out, as the city itself eventually did as well.

DC 30      Persistent rumors speak of a few statues with the power to halt time for the occupant, it is doubtful if these statues were ever made, but if they do exist, the question arises: who or what will emerge should one be found?

 

Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster

[edited (into a cursed item!) by Mike Myler]

 

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Dyrnwyn

Dyrnwyn

Dyrnwyn 2.0

Aura moderate necromancy; CL 9th

Slot none; Price 34,315 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

DESCRIPTION 

This four-foot full bladed longsword is forged from the finest steel, with a broad S-style crossguard that holds a matched pair of opals. The hilt is wrapped in the finest ivory, polished white from decades of use, and the hilt is capped with a heavy gold pommel studded with black pearls. The broad blade is both weighty and razor sharp as it narrows to an elongated point. The weapon is curiously free of any magical script or visible aura, but the heavy leather scabbard is formed from the thick hide of a black bear studded with fine silver rivets, each marked with an individual arcane rune.

This +3 vicious longsword is a finely crafted weapon that has obviously seen several decades of combat in hands of numerous masters. When drawn by a warrior of lawful good or lawful neutral alignment, the blade erupts in blue faerie fire, proving that the bearer is an honest and lawful individual that may be trusted in their future dealings (granting them an alignment aura equivalent to a cleric of their level).

Such a wielder only receives the damage inflicted back upon the wielder of a vicious weapon 50% of the time. However, such an enchanted bearer is always highlighted when wielding this weapon, taking a ‚Äď20 penalty on all Stealth checks. The outlined weapon does not benefit from the concealment normally provided by darkness (though a 2nd-level or higher magical darkness effect functions normally), blur, displacement, invisibility, or similar effects placed upon it or its bearer. The light is too dim to have any special effect on undead or dark-dwelling creatures vulnerable to light.

HISTORY

A character that makes a Knowledge (nobility) or Knowledge (local) check to learn about the item identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 20¬† ¬† ¬†Dyrnwyn (“White-Hilt”) was said to be a powerful sword belonging to Rhydderch Hael, one of the three lords mentioned in the Western Sagas. When drawn by a worthy or well-born man, the entire blade would blaze with fire.

DC 25¬† ¬† ¬†Rhydderch was never reluctant to hand the weapon to anyone, hence his nickname Hael “the Generous”, but the recipients, as soon as they had learned of its peculiar properties, always rejected the sword and returned it back to him.

DC 30¬† ¬† ¬† The weapon was eventually lost when Rhydderch fought a powerful necromancer. His foe was eventually vanquished, but the demands of the weapon were too great and the great warrior was lost along with his famous blade. However, rumors have recently abounded that Rhydderch walks again as a powerful shade…

CONSTRUCTION

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, enervation, faerie fire, crafter must be lawful good or lawful neutral; Cost 17,315 gp 1,373 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 ‚ÄėArmory of Adventures submission‚Äô¬†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