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The Deck of Miraculous Luck [Free!]

Deck of Miraculous Luck intro pic

The Deck of Miraculous Luck
A player reward system by Justin Andrew Mason

Many of us have seen it: dumb luck—an event that can only be attributed to a miraculous stroke of serendipity that manifests (almost as if by magic) appearing in the right place at the right time. Some call it fate; others call it the work of the gods. Regardless of the label applied to them, these improbable moments do happen and they can have a tremendous effect on those privy to luck’s sweet embrace.

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The Deck of Miraculous Luck consists of 30 cards, each presenting a different lucky effect that simulates those unexpected miraculous moments for player characters. As a meta-mechanic, the deck can also serve as a perfect alternate reward system, providing incentive to players to strive for exceptional endeavors.

A GM should use the deck sparingly. Many of the effects are quite powerful and if too freely distributed, could run the risk of unbalancing the intended challenge of the game.

When looking to reward a player for exceptional role-playing, solving a particularly complex puzzle, or completing a difficult quest with their character, the GM may allow that player to draw from the deck, reaping the benefits associated with that card. Every card is designed to be a boon, and there are no inherently negative effects included.

About the Deck of Miraculous Luck

This series consists of six different card types including: healing, magic item, spell, mechanic, storyline, and enhancement. There are five of each type in the 30-card deck, and every card has been sized the specifications of standard business cards (2” x 3.5”) to provide an easy method for print and use.

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There are seven “rare” cards, which are removed permanently from the deck once used. All other cards get shuffled back into the deck.

In addition to detailed text explaining how each card is used, they are individually numbered 1-30 and offer a title, an icon identifying card type, and a use indicator (automatic, triggered, or expend).

Automatic cards have an effect that happens immediately after the card is drawn. Expendable cards are held by the player who drew them until that player desires to use the card’s effect. Triggered use cards explain a stipulation that must be met before the card’s effect takes place.

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Get the Cards for Free!

This PDF is arranged to fit pre-perforated printable Avery® Business Card sheets (Compatible Products: 38373, 5881, 8373, 8869, 88220, 88221). However, you can download a compressed ZIP file that contains the individual card graphics and can be arranged to fit other templates if needed.

Enjoy! If you find The Deck of Miraculous Luck useful and would like to see it expanded with additional series, be sure to comment at the bottom of this article. I am considering releasing a new quarterly series of 30 cards that can be added to the deck if there is call for me to do so.

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Series I Deck Description & Card Texts

The content of each of the cards has been included below in order of the assigned card number.

Description Syntax
[#] – [Title] ([Use Indicator]) {Type} [Rarity Indicator]
Card Description

#01 – Is there a Medicus in the House? (Auto) {Healing}
The PC finds a stash of healing potions. This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon the container (a simple non-descript burlap sack) containing several potions. Inside the sack are 3d4 cure light wounds potions, 2d4 cure moderate wounds potions, 1d4 cure serious wounds potions, and (1) cure critical wounds potion. There is nothing else in the sack. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#02 – Dead Man Walking! (Trigger) {Healing}
The next time the PC dies an automatic resurrection effect triggers (resurrection, CL 20th) that affects only that character. This effect remains permanent until used. If something prevents this effect from occurring when the PC dies, then it triggers as soon as possible instead. The PC must be DEAD to trigger this effect. In the story, the cause of this resurrection forever remains mysterious and unexplained. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#03 – All Together Now (Expend) {Healing}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to have the PC, party, and all allies instantaneously restored to maximum hit points and all their negative effects (poison, negative spell effects, curses, ability drains, etc.) are removed. Use of this card also restores any negative levels of the targets. This card can only be expended once by the owner before being returned to the deck. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#04 – Like a Rock (Expend) {Healing}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to activate an effect of Damage Reduction 20/— to target creature or character. This DR has a duration of 24 hours and cannot be removed by any means, magic or otherwise. This card can only be expended once by the owner before being returned to the deck. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#05 – Can’t Touch Me Now (Auto) {Healing} |Rare|
The PC automatically gains immunity to one (1) negative status effect type of choice from the following three status effects: poison, disease, fatigue. This immunity is permanent. When this card is used, permanently remove it from the deck.

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#06 – Take One Down, Pass it Around… (Auto)  {Magic Item}
The PC finds a small wooden chest containing 2d4 random magic potions. This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon an un-trapped, unlocked chest containing the potions. There is nothing else in the chest. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#07 – Okay, Who Robbed the Magic Shop!? (Auto) {Magic Item}
The PC finds a small wooden chest containing 1d6 random minor wondrous items. This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon an un-trapped, unlocked chest containing the magic items. There is nothing else in the chest. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#08 – Wyrd Place to Stash a Treasure (Auto) {Magic Item}
The PC finds a small wooden chest containing 1d4 random medium wondrous items. This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon an un-trapped, unlocked chest containing the magic items. There is nothing else in the chest. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#09 – Fortune & Glory, Kid. (Auto) {Magic Item} |Rare|
The PC finds a small steel chest (with a masterwork lock, Disable Device DC 25) containing one random major wondrous item. This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon an unlocked chest containing the magic item. Do not reveal what the item is until the chest has been opened. After this card is used, permanently remove it from the deck.

#10 – Stick to the Possibilities (Auto) {Magic Item}
The PC finds one fully charged random wand or one fully charged random rod (GM’s choice). This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon the rod or wand. Put this card back into the deck after use.

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#11 – You had to let it Linger (Expend) {Spell}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to have all spells cast by target PC gain x4 duration and/or range for a 24-hour period. This also affects applicable effects of spell like abilities or magic items (wands, rods, scrolls, etc.) used by the affected target. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#12 – I’m like Rubber, You’re like Glue… (Expend) {Spell}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to reflect any spell back at its caster as if with any five metamagic feats (your choice) at CL 20th. This effect appears in the story as an unexplained momentary ripple in arcane essence that alters the caster’s original spell. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#13 – Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe… (Expend) {Spell}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to change the target(s) of any spell cast in the presence of your PC. The nature or source of the spell doesn’t matter in regard to this effect. The new target is automatically affected by the spell (provided that the target could be affected by a spell of that type). This effect should appear in the story as an unexplained momentary ripple in arcane essence that alters the caster’s original spell. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#14 – What is this Sorcery!? (Expend) {Spell} |Rare|
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to cause target PC to gain immunity to magic (as a golem) for 24-hours. This effect cannot be negated or altered by any means for its duration, except by the affected target. The affected target may temporarily suspend the ability and be affected by magic normally for 1 round as a free action. After use, permanently remove this card from the deck. 

#15 – Need to See Your Papers (Auto) {Spell}
The PC finds a stash of scrolls. This effect is automatic, and should be worked into the story in such a way that the PC literally stumbles upon the container (a simple non-descript leather scroll tube) containing several scrolls. Inside the tube are 2d4 random arcane scrolls (maximum CL 10th) and 2d4 random divine scrolls (maximum CL 10th). There is nothing else in the scroll tube. Put this card back into the deck after use.

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#16 – Finish Him! (Expend) {Mechanic}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to turn any single d20 die roll result into a natural critical success (natural 20). If used on an attack roll it automatically confirms a critical hit. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#17 – Finding an Important Lesson (Expend) {Mechanic}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to turn any single d20 die roll result into a natural critical failure (natural 1). Put this card back into the deck after use.

#18 – Save the Best for Last (Expend) {Mechanic}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to activate an effect that causes all saving throws of one type (Fortitude, Reflex, or Will) for the PC to result in success (regardless of DC). This effect lasts for 24-hours and cannot be altered or removed in any way. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#19 – Hey, Mom: Watch This! (Expend) {Mechanics}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to turn any one skill check (trained or untrained) made by the PC into an automatic success. This does not enable the PC to do the impossible, but it provides the maximum success results for any skill check. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#20 – Wale of a High Roller (Expend) {Mechanic} |Rare|
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to add a +2 bonus to *all* of the PCs checks for a 24-hour period. This magnificently lucky effect should appear blatantly obvious in the story and seem to be caused by some unknown, unseen force or divine intervention. This bonus does not apply to rolls when determining permanent random numbers (hit die roll, for example). This bonus applies to all attack rolls, damage, saving throws, skill checks, and the like. After use, permanently remove this card from the deck.

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#21 – Can’t We All Just Get Along? (Expend) {Storyline}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to make target NPC more “friendly” towards the PC. This does not alter the NPC’s agenda or demeanor, or how he or she feels about other party members or NPCs. It changes only the target NPC’s demeanor towards the PC. This effect is at the discretion of the GM, but should be allowed if at all possible. The change in demeanor is liberal enough to be noticed. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#22 – If at First You Don’t Succeed… (Expend) {Storyline}
Keep this card. Return this card to the GM to undo the results of any encounter. The PC and allies start back at the beginning of the encounter as if it never happened and retain full memory of all events that took place during the encounter. This should be explained in the story as an intensely vivid sense of déjà vu. This card must be used during the encounter that is being “undone.”  Put this card back into the deck after use.

#23 – If I Knew Then What I Know Now (Automatic) {Storyline} |Rare|
You may choose one past event to change as if it never happened. Since this effect can have tremendous (or possibly even detrimental) effect on the story and whether or not a specific event can be changed is completely at the discretion of the GM. If the event you want to alter is deemed too important to be changed, the GM will work with you to select a narrower range of changes related to that specific event that can be allowed. If no agreement can be reached between the player and GM, then this card should be discarded and another card drawn by the player. After use, permanently remove this card from the deck.

#24 – Someone to Lean On (Trigger) {Storyline}
The PC gains a devoted follower. The follower must be of the same race as the PC, but can be any gender or class that you choose. The follower has one-fourth the experience level of the PC. This follower should come into contact with the PC as soon as the GM deems it plausible to the storyline, and should possess equipment and treasure typical for a NPC of that type and level. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#25 – It’s Your Lucky Day! (Auto) {Storyline} |Rare|
Congratulations! You’ve drawn the Lucky Bonus card. Permanently remove this card from the deck, and you should draw two new cards (gaining the advantages of both).

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#26 – Practice Makes Perfect (Auto) {Enhancement}
The PC gains a +5 miscellaneous bonus to any one skill of your choice (trained or untrained). This bonus is permanent. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#27 – Sometimes it Only Takes One (Auto) {Enhancement}
The PC gains +1 to any one ability score (STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, or CHA). This bonus is permanent. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#28 – My, What Big Feat You Have! (Auto) {Enhancement}
The PC gains an extra feat (your choice). The PC must meet all the prerequisites to obtain the chosen feat. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#29 – It’s the Spice of Life (Auto) {Enhancement}
The PC immediately gains +2d6 to his or her maximum hit point total. This bonus is permanent. Put this card back into the deck after use.

#30 – Taking Things to a Whole New Level (Auto) {Enhancement} |Rare|
The PC automatically gains 1 more experience point than is needed to advance to the next experience level. When used, permanently remove this card from the deck.

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[This entire guy is Justin Andrew Mason’s wonderfully put together project! Send some love his way folks! -MM]

You can also follow AdventureAWeek.com on Facebook to get sneak peeks at the plethora of supplemental materials for Rise of the Drow! Alongside the Player’s Guide you can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at pages from the prologue (taking PCs from 1st through 6th level) and epilogue (moving PCs from 16th to 20th level), and stay on top of the brewing Snow White Kickstarter!

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Box of Wonders

Box of WondersBox of Wonders (“Leahcim’s Game”)
Aura overwhelming conjuration; CL 30th
Slot none; Weight 25 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
The Box of Wonders is an otherwise nondescript wooden cube, extolled squarely in the center of its cover with the image of a multifaceted gemstone in amethyst hues. The container has been carved down from a large block of tranteum trunk to the size of a small chest. The sides of the box have been finished to smooth, rounded edges, and the lid is affixed to the base with a pair of simple copper hinges. The rough-hewn interior has been marred with various carved sigils. The stylistic differences between each of the symbols suggest the markings are the handiwork of dozens of individuals.

The box has a permanent field of nondetection surrounding it that hinders any attempt to divine its location. This field also affects any items contained inside. If dispelled, it automatically regenerates the following day, increasing by 1 caster level for each preceding day until returning to maximum strength.

To activate the box, a character places treasure inside (coins, gems, jewelry, or art items that are small enough to fit inside a space of 2 cubic feet). After closing the lid, with the treasure inside, they knock on the emblazoned gemstone sigil eight times. All treasure items within the Box of Wonders vanish, consumed by the box.

If the treasure placed within the box is of ample value it manifests a random item in place of the valuables it consumed when activated. The random item created by the box can range from mundane to major wondrous items, depending on the value of the treasure held within when it is activated (see the Activated Effects Table for details) but never returns an item of greater value than half of what was put in it.

All treasure consumed by the box should be recorded, as it could be relevant to later use of the artifact. Any non-treasure items within the box are not consumed when it is activated.

Each time the box is activated it gains counter points. The number of counter points accumulated with each use depends on the type of random item the box creates and is determined by the Activated Effects Table. These counter points activate the box’s final effect.

If the box accumulates 100 or more counter points when activated (and the activation doesn’t result in the destruction of the artifact), the lid bursts open and the entirety of the treasure Leahcim’s Box of Wonders has consumed reappears, spilling out along with the final random item it created. The box then disappears and teleports to a random location at least 500-miles away and its counter points are reduced to zero.

Leahcim, patron of chance and aficionado of risk, despises those who would move to gain an unfair advantage by cheating. As a divine countermeasure, the god has bestowed each of these devices with a temporal linear field that prevents any altering of the activated effects by any means. Mechanics that would allow for re-rolls or other such means of altering the outcome do not work for this artifact. Any attempt to remove this fail-safe from the device results in its immediate destruction; just as if the character had failed the required roll for chance of destruction during a normal activation (see Destruction).

Amused by the struggle between greed and chance, the location where the box reappears may be at the whim of the god, Leahcim, sent by him to challenge another to his game.

 

ORDER OF OPERATIONS
When the box is activated the order of operations for its effects are as follows:
1. All treasure (coins, gems, jewelry and art items) within is consumed by the box when activated.
2. The box accumulates the appropriate number of counter points for the item it creates based on the value of treasure it consumed.
3. Check for the chance of destruction of the box if an item will be created.
4. If the box is not destroyed then determine the random item of the appropriate type, and it appears inside the closed container. The randomly generated item must fit within a 2 cubic foot space.
ACTIVATED EFFECTS TABLE

Random Item TypeTreasure ValueDestructionCounter Points
Mundane item1-99 gp10%1
Potion or Wand (1d4 charges)100-999 gp20%2
Minor Wondrous Item1,000-2,999 gp30%5
Medium Wondrous Item3,000-4,999 gp50%10
Major Wondrous Item5,000 gp+75%20

HISTORY

A character that makes a Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (religion) check identifies important historic information about the box. A character who is a follower of Leahcim receives a +10 bonus to this Knowledge check.

DC 15 – There are many folklore legends about magic boxes that can manifest valuable items for a price. In nearly all such stories: the higher the price paid, the higher the reward.

DC 30 — Also known as “Leahcim’s Game,” the Box of Wonders is a divine artifact, crafted by the hand of the god of chance and misfortune, himself. How many of these “games” exist isn’t known, but the existence of more than a few have been noted in the annals of history. It is said the boxes bring both great fortune and terrible misfortune to those who own them.

DESTRUCTION
The box cannot be destroyed except as a function of its activation. Each time it is activated, there is a chance it will be destroyed and trigger an effect from the item’s Negative Effects Table. The more valuable the random item created by the box, the higher the chance of destruction. The negative effect triggered upon destruction is dependent on the number of counter points the box has accumulated.

If the box is destroyed, in addition to causing a negative effect to the user it also explodes, sending out a blast wave of splinters that deals 1d4 damage for every 10 counter points accumulated by the box. This blast wave has a spherical radius of 300-feet (DC 25 Reflex save negates).

NEGATIVE EFFECTS TABLE

Counter PointsNegative Effects
1-20The next potion the user drinks is poisoned: lose 10 hp / round dissipating 1 point each round; fortitude DC 20 negates.
21-40The next opponent of equal or greater CR engaged targets all attacks on the user. Opponent gains a +5 to attack and damage rolls.
41-60The user is automatically teleported 3d10 miles away into the lair of a random creature of equal CR. The creature is immediately aware of the user’s presence and is hostile.
61-80The user automatically rolls a 1 on all initiative rolls for the next 1d6 days and takes a -5 penalty to attack rolls for the same duration.
81-99All magic items in possession of the user manipulating the artifact are irrevocably destroyed.
100+All of the above, and the user gains a negative level.

 

[Today’s item was brought to us by Justin Andrew Mason in both art and design!]

 

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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Biddlytree

BiddlytreeBBiddlytree     CR 11
XP 12,800
CN Large plant
Init +4; Senses blindsight; Perception +15
Aura anti-magic aura (30 ft.)
DEFENSE
AC 27, touch 11, flat-footed 25 (+2 Dex, +16 natural, -1 size)
hp 145 (16d8+85)
Fort +15, Ref +5, Will +10
DR 10/silver; Immune plant traits; SR 10
Weakness special (fazing chrysalises)
OFFENSE
Speed 25 ft.
Melee 4 burrowing roots +18 (1d6+3 plus grab or trip)
Ranged 4 biddlypines +15 (1d4+3 plus poison, Range 60 ft.)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 50 ft. (burrowing roots)
Special Attacks earthly strangle (burrowing roots), trip (burrowing roots)
Biddlypine Poison injury; save Fort 22 negates; onset 1 round; frequency 1/round for 1d4 rounds; damage 1d4 Con and paralyzed for duration
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +10)
      Constant—dimension door (see fazing chrysalises)
STATISTICS
Str 30, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +10; CMB +21; CMD 33
Feats Alertness, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Precise Shot, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (Grapple)
Skills Perception +15, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +10 (+20 in forests); Racial Modifiers +10 Stealth in forests
Languages Druidic
SQ Blindsight

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Anti-Magic Aura (Su)
A biddlytree generates an anti-magic aura that radiates in a sphere around the plant forming a 30-foot field in all directions that negates magical effects passing through it. This aura cannot be seen except with the use of detect magic; which will reveal an outline of the radius with an aura (abjuration CL 10th).
Any magic item, spell, or spell-like effect lower than CL 11th are suppressed as long as they remain in the anti-magic aura. Spells or effects lower than CL 11th without durations are instantly negated within the aura. The only exceptions to the effects of the anti-magic aura are spells with a target of touch, which may be cast at the biddlytree’s if the caster is grappling it.
Biddlywinks are unaffected by the anti-magic aura of a biddlytree.
Fazing Chrysalises (Sp)
A biddlytree has 2d6+7 biddlywink chrysalises firmly affixed near the base of its crown. Normally the cocoons protect the helpless biddlywink pupae from harm by concealing them within impervious interdimensional space.
As a reflex to severe damage, when 10 or more points of damage are dealt to the biddlytree in a single strike the chrysalises upon it faze into the prime material plane for 1d4 rounds before returning to their interdimensional space. During this faze period, the individual chrysalis may be attacked (an attack on the biddlytree itself does not damage a chrysalis and visa versa.)
The nature of the biddlytree’s sentience is directly connected to the biddlywink chrysalis attached to it, which operate with a hive mind mentality; it becomes more and more enraged with each destroyed chrysalis, gaining a -1 penalty to its base AC (minimum AC 10) and +1 to base attack bonus for each chrysalis killed.

Biddlywink Chrysalis     CR 1/8
CN Diminutive fey (vermin)
XP 50
DEFENSE
AC 10, touch 6, flat-footed 10 (-5 Dex, +1 size, +4 soft cover) [when not in impervious interdimensional space]
Elevated nearly 20-feet from the ground and provided soft cover by the branches and needles of its biddlytree
HP 10 (1d8+4)
Fort +3, Ref , Will +3
Weakness Biddlywink chrysalises are vulnerable to silver and take x1.5 damage from all attacks made with the material. Whenever being treated as a vermin would prove negative for the biddlywink chrysalis, such as when fighting an opponent with favored enemy (vermin), they are treated as the vermin type.
OFFENSE
None (stationary; no attacks)—a biddlywink chrysalis, when attached to a biddlytree, is a part of a group consciousness that controls the biddlytree, and has no action as an individual creature.
STATISTICS
Str 1, Dex 1, Con 18, Int 1*, Wis 1, Cha 1
If all the chrysalises on a biddlytree are killed, it loses its sentience, functions as a normal non-sentient plant, then shrivels and die in three days time.
If a biddlytree is killed and biddlywink chrysalises remain attached to it, half of them immediately emerge as hostile biddlywinks with the young template (minimum 1). Any remaining chrysalis attached to the tree have died from system shock when their mother plant was killed.
Plant Traits (Ex)
Biddlytrees are immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms), paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, and stun. Even though as individuals the biddlywinks are fey type creatures, when they are attached as chrysalis to the biddlytree and functioning as a hive, their combined consciousness is considered as part of the parent plant type creature.
Earthly Strangle (Ex)
An opponent grappled by the burrowing roots of a biddlytree is hindered by a 60% chance that they cannot speak or cast spells with verbal components.
Trip (Ex)
A biddlytree can attempt to trip its opponent with its burrowing roots as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity if it hits with its burrowing roots. If the attempt fails, the biddlytree is not tripped in return.

COMBAT

Whenever a character gets within 60-feet of a biddlytree, they may notice (DC 15 Perception check) that the thousands of multicolored needles affixed to the plant’s branches tilt and turn as to constantly point in their direction. If there are more than one character within a 60-foot radius of the tree then the tree evenly disperses the various directions it is pointing its needles in between all of those characters.

If a biddlytree is attacked or feels threatened by any aggressive action, it immediately attempts to kill the source. It does this first by stealthily using burrowing roots to trip and then entangle the target. Once the target is grappled, the biddlytree ejects several biddypines at it until the paralyzing effect of its poisonous needles takes hold. Once the target cannot move, the biddlytree attempts to strangle and crush them. If the threat remains out of the range of its burrowing roots, the biddlytree still attempts to paralyze the target using its biddypines from afar. Once paralyzed, the biddlytree continues to eject a barrage of biddlypines towards the out-of-range target until it perceives that it is dead.

Should the biddlytree be successfully communicated with, the biddlywink chrysalises will respond in unison in such a way that the character communicating with it understands that the plant’s sentience is composed of multiple beings. They only message they will convey can essentially be understood as “Go away!” or “Leave us be!” Searching the emotions or thoughts of a biddlytree reveals only a sense of fear and irritation directed towards the interloper.

ECOLOGY

Environment temperate forests, usually somewhere near a large city or main road
Organization solitary (plus 4d6 biddlywink chrysalises)
Treasure 4,000 gp worth of minor magic items (located inside the tree, left undigested by the parent biddlywink when it took root to become a biddlytree; 4-24 winkynuts.

Within 1d4 hours of an adult biddlywink having consumed (1000 gp x hit die) worth of magic items, they seek a relatively safe place to take root and sprout into a biddlytree. This process begins when the biddlywink devours its own digestion sack, the interdimensional space within expelling outward and creating a wide anti-magic aura around the creature. It then uses the tendrils extending from its mouth to burrow, head down, into fertile soil.
Once aptly buried, the biddlywink undergoes an unusual metamorphosis as the fey dies and its body is revived as a plant type creature. The nodules at the tips of each of its tentacles detach, becoming an individual biddlywink pupae that channel their way up the tentacle that each was previously part of. The pupae make their way into the thorax of their parent’s body where they await the sprouting of the biddlytree. The parent biddlywink’s tendrils grow outward, burrowing deeper into the ground, becoming the roots of its plant form. Its previous body grows and extends upwards to become the trunk of the new biddlytree sapling.
Infused with the essence of the magic consumed in its previous form, the biddlytree grows exceptionally fast, becoming fully grown and standing nearly 30-feet tall in just 12-hours after taking root.

The mature biddlywink tree has a twisted network of roots that stretch beneath the soil and outward over 40-feet from the trunk in every direction. The trunk, nearly 3-feet in diameter, thick and stout, is covered by a very solid bluish-grey, rind-like bark.
The base of the biddlytree’s trunk grows between 20 and 30 feet high, with 4 to 8 long, node-less and tapered branches asymmetrically extending outward from the crown another ten feet. Each of these branches is covered by thousands of multi-colored, dual-toned needles known as biddlypines. The biddlypines, covered in a thin coating of poison sap, range in length from a few inches at the branch apexes to almost two feet at the midrib. The needles grow laterally in an elliptical arrangement tapering again near the crown of the biddlytree. The wide assortment of colors and shades of the biddlypines give the needled braches an undulating rainbow-like appearance in even the slightest of breezes.

At the top of the biddlytree’s crown are inverted several bulbous indigo fruits, which are known as winkynuts. They are considered to be a very tasty and surprisingly filling delicacy. The fruit is often sought after by wealthy merchants who travel long distances and value it for its durability, longevity, and a single winkynut’s natural ability to sustain a hungry individual for a week or longer.
During the first 24-hours of its life, the biddlytree is nothing more than an unusual plant, but that changes soon after. Having matured for a full day, a biddlytree becomes infested with 2 to 24 biddlywink chrysalises as the pupae borrow from deep inside the plant, up and through the xylem of the biddlytree, and then firmly affix themselves to the base of the biddlytree’s winkynuts.

Upon reaching the intended destination, a pupae immediately begins to weave magical cocoons around their exposed vassals, up to their cremaster, until the entirety of each chrysalis is covered. This magical cocoon encloses the chrysalis in an impervious interdimensional space where it remains protected for the remainder of its metamorphosis into a biddlywink. When the biddlywink matures and emerges from this cocoon, it becomes absorbed into their bodies, becoming the creature’s interdimensional digestion sac.

Once having their first feeding upon the fruit, the biddlywink chrysalises connect psionically to one another to form a conjoined sentience that takes over the body of the biddlytree. This hive mind utilizes the biddlytree’s natural defenses to further protect them until they have fully matured and later emerge as young biddlywinks. A biddlywink chrysalis retains the connection to its hive sentience only as long as it is physically attached to the plant.
Once the chrysalises emerge as young biddlywinks and go their separate ways, the biddlytree begins to shrivel and dies within a few days.

Winkynuts
The crown of a biddlywink tree hosts several palm-sized, hard-shelled fruits known as winkynuts. These magic fruit have a deep indigo colored shell that is filled with a lightly-glowing iridescent jellylike substance that is intended to feed the biddlytree’s biddlywink chrysalises while they grow upon it. There are as many winkynuts on a biddlytree as there were biddlywink chrysalises attached to it.
The jelly inside a winkynut is magical in nature, and will glow with a faint aura (transmutation CL 3) if detect magic is cast upon it. A character that consumes the sweet tasting jelly contained inside a single winkynut does not thirst or hunger for 1d10 days. The duration of this effect can be stacked by eating the jelly of multiple winkynuts, up to a maximum of 10 days. Once plucked from a biddlytree, a winkynut stays fresh and edible for up to a year.

 

[Today’s entry brought to us by Justin Andrew Mason, artwork by Thomas Alexander!]

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Sangue Malar

AWW_Blog_Blood_Vat_Map_Justin_Mason_Draft_002 jpegThe paranoia and chaos reaches a fevered pitch as midnight nears before Countess Veresovich enacts the final portion of her plan—the large floor of the ballroom suddenly drops out from under the attendees of the masquerade, dumping all of them onto a steep slope that slides each into an unremarkable hewn stone chamber hundreds of feet below.

If the PCs fall with the nobles, read the following:

The muffled panicking of the crowds of lords and ladies has grown as every member of the masquerade suddenly understands the excruciating experience of being locked in a cage with portent of only doom. Then, in a moment that immediately draws silence from everyone present, a loud, ominous clockwork gear can be hear turning somewhere along the wall.

Before anyone can react, however, the floor drops out from underneath! The crowds of nobles fall a few feet (or in some cases, a few more feet) and slam into a pitched slope that funnels them all down into a pile of frantic limbs in a nondescript cavern roughly hewn from the stone.

If the PCs are in another room when the nobles fall, read the following

A loud grinding of gears reverberates through the walls as the consternation in the main hall suddenly quiets in response. A moment later scores of crying voices ring out briefly before disappearing—the floor of the entire room dropped out from under the masquerade’s guests, funneling them directly into a large chute that goes down for hundreds of feet into the darkness. Their cries for help are easily heard and whatever uncertainty about what troubles Veresovich Manor that remains is sure to be brought to an end below.

sangue malar caveThe nobles are all too cowardly to venture farther down the cavern until the party arrives, at which point all of them assure the PCs that they are clearly better suited for danger. A good thing too; the only exit from the chamber is a narrow, 200 foot long hallway that leads down a small motley of miniature bluffs inside of a larger chamber and at its end are a dozen of the Countesses’ most fanatical acolytes. They lie in ambush, waiting to massacre anyone that’s fallen into their master’s trap, filling the sloping rooms with blood that pool in the final area.

(12) Sanguineus Acolytes; CR 4 (XP 1,200)

Sanguine AcolyteMale or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1
HP 44 (4d10+1d6+19); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
Init +3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +6 (1d6+3, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk+4; CMB +5; CMD 18
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14
Skills Bluff +8, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +5; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +3, +7 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 15; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 15; CL 2nd)
0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 14; CL 2nd)
Bloodline undead (sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.

After the cultists have been bested, Countess Veresovich makes her second attack: she orders her corpse companion and a second squad of 8 acolytes to assault the party.

With the blood of the fallen acolytes spilling onto the floor, you notice this entire cavern slopes towards another chamber. Inside of the next area you can clearly see Countess Darah Veresovich—her dress gown is gone, replaced by a set of vicious looking full-plate armor. She gestures at you and screams, “Kraujas, loyal followers, attack the interlopers! Coat the walls in blood! Sate your hunger for the crimson wine and drink your fill from the fallen!”

Once the battle seems to be going the adventurers’ way, the Countess decides to use one of her last cards: she enacts the binding rituals placed to affect the Items Sanguineus, conjuring forth whomever wore the vampiric amulet, mask and cloak (under her mental control, although it is not complete).

sangue malar 3Countess Darah takes a brief instant to survey the battle and makes a split decision, screaming, “MORTUUS VIVENS!” Wards and spiritual markings flare along the walls and roof of the ceiling in spurts that become more and more frequent before they all pop with darkness that coalesces in the center of the main cavern. In the matter of a moment, a pallid, familiar figure emerges from the inky black cloud, prominent fangs jutting from their mouth…

Vampire Dominated

Should one of the PCs have worn all three of the Items Sanguineus, they must make a DC 20 Will save each round or are under a dominate person effect controlled by Countess Darah Veresovich. If a member of the cult wears them (like Count Krev Ragata) they automatically fail their save each round unless they roll a natural 20.
Vampire Template

vampire aaaaughVampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature’s stats and abilities except as noted here.
CR: Same as the base creature + 2.
AL: Any evil.
Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, or saves.
Senses: A vampire gains darkvision 60 ft.
Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +6.
Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, vampires use their Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).
Defensive Abilities: A vampire gains channel resistance +4, DR 10/magic and silver, and resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A vampire also gains fast healing 5. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.

Weaknesses: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from mirrors or strongly presented holy symbols. These things don’t harm the vampire—they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attacks against that creature. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action. After 1 round, a vampire can overcome its revulsion of the object and function normally each round it makes a DC 25 Will save.

Vampires cannot enter a private home or dwelling unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so.

Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape. Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed. Driving a wooden stake through a helpless vampire’s heart instantly slays it (this is a full-round action). However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the head is also severed and anointed with holy water.

Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.
Melee: A vampire gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the vampire’s size (see Natural Attacks). Its slam also causes energy drain (see below). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Special Attacks: A vampire gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
Blood Drain (Su): A vampire can suck blood from a grappled opponent; if the vampire establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The vampire heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood.
Children of the Night (Su): Once per day, a vampire can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour.
Create Spawn (Su): A vampire can create spawn out of those it slays with blood drain or energy drain, provided that the slain creature is of the same creature type as the vampire’s base creature type. The victim rises from death as a vampire in 1d4 days. This vampire is under the command of the vampire that created it, and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction. A vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again.
Dominate (Su): A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent’s will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM’s discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power.
Energy Drain (Su): A creature hit by a vampire’s slam (or other natural weapon) gains two negative levels. This ability only triggers once per round, regardless of the number of attacks a vampire makes.

Special Qualities: A vampire gains the following.
Change Shape (Su): A vampire can use change shape to assume the form of a dire bat or wolf, as beast shape II.
Gaseous Form (Su): As a standard action, a vampire can assume gaseous form at will (caster level 5th), but it can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability.
Shadowless (Ex): A vampire casts no shadows and shows no reflection in a mirror.
Spider Climb (Ex): A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though under the effects of a spider climb spell.

Ability Scores Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score.
Skills Vampires gain a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth checks.
Feats Vampires gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, and Toughness as bonus feats.

As the vampire appears and some of the wards around the chamber fizzle away, a second wave of acolytes pours in from behind the nobles and a true slaughter commences as the PCs fight against the leader of Cultus Sanguineus and her vampire thrall: either a fiendish Krev Ragata now with the vampire template, a Sanguineus Acolyte (use their statblock above) with the vampire template or a turned member of the party!

 

Blood Sucking Leech Pits

Each of the pools in the main chamber is only a few feet deep but hides a greater danger than slipping down; a DC 20 Perception check reveals that leech swarms occupy the blood ponds. These creatures have been specially prepared by Countess Veresovich and are a rare breed from exotic lands that instantly latch on to anyone that steps into one of the slough—traveling through these squares requires a DC 15 Reflex save for each 5 ft.-square entered. On a failed save, creatures are subjected to one swarm attack  from the vermin as they eat their fill. Otherwise the creatures are content to stay in their confines and lap up the wave of crimson nourishment sure to pour their way.

LEECH SWARM CR 4

XP 1,200
N Diminutive vermin (aquatic, swarm)
Init +4; Senses blindsight 30 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size)
hp 39 (6d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2
Immune mind-affecting effects, swarm traits, weapon damage
Weaknesses susceptible to salt (see giant leech)
OFFENSE
Speed 5 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee swarm (2d6 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach0 ft.
Special Attacks blood drain, distraction (DC 15)
STATISTICS
Str 1, Dex 18, Con 15, Int, Wis 10, Cha 2
Base Atk +4; CMB ; CMD
Skills Stealth +16 (+24 in swamps), Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in swamps, uses Dexterity to modify Swim checks
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Blood Drain (Ex) Any living creature that begins its turn with a leech swarm in its space is drained of its blood and takes 1d3 points of Str and Con damage.
Poison (Ex) Swarm—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 2 rounds; effect 1d4 Dexterity drain; cure 1 save.

 

sangue malar 2The Battle Behind Them!
The Countesses’ grand plan has led both the nobles and the acolytes (of which, there are about 50 each) to fall into states of adrenaline borne of bloodlust, fear, magic and exotic spices. During this side encounter (which occurs in the cavern the adventurers were fist ambushed in), both sorties receive the advanced template though once the PCs engage them and their master is gone, the cultists lose their fervor and cease to be a unified force (if they were an army, they aren’t anymore and disperse: see below for details).

Mass Combat in Cultus Sanguineus

There are a number of ways to incorporate this enormous melee combat into your game, but the AaWBlog recommends using this opportunity to try out Paizo’s excellent Mass Combat Rules.
Because of the space restriction and build of the map however, their movement and space rules differ slightly.
1) Each army always occupies 10 contiguous squares until reduced to ½ the unit’s hit points, at which point its DV and OM are both reduced by 2 and it only occupies 5 contiguous squares.
2) When reduced to ¼ hit points, the army disperses, reverting to single creatures; take the total number of the army’s remaining hit points and divide it by its maximum hit points; multiply this by 25 and round down for the total number of remaining units (which are too ineffectual to engage an army unit and are sure to die soon).
Klavekian Noble Army

N Small (50) army of humans (klavek aristocrat 6)
hp 13; ACR 3, ranged
DV 14; OM3
Special ferocity
Speed 1 (on this map, 4 squares); Consumption 1
Note Due to their hardy survival instinct, the Klavek nobles benefit from the Ferocity special ability if demoralized or routed. It may continue to act for one more Melee phase, and its OM and DV are reduced by 4 for that phase.
Adrenal Klavekian Noble CR 5 (XP 1,600)

Male human [Klavek] aristocrat 6 (temporarily advanced)
HP 39 (6d8+12); AC 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural)
Init +4; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +2 (1d3+2, provokes attack of opportunity), rock +4 (1d4, range 10 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 20
AL Neutral; SV Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +7; Str 14, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 15, Cha 19
Skills Appraise +15, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +15, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (geography) +8, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Perception +8, Profession (merchant) +11, Sense Motive +11; Feats Deceitful, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Cultist Army

NE Small (50) army of humans (fighter 4/sorcerer 1)
hp 16; ACR 3, ranged
DV 15; OM 5, ranged
Special armor training, bravery, cannibalize, spellcasting 1, weapon specialization
Speed 1; Consumption 1
Notes Once per battle, increase the army’s OM for either ranged or melee attacks by 2.
Adrenal Sanguineus Acolyte CR 5 (XP 1,600)

Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1 (temporarily advanced)
HP 54 (4d10+1d6+29); AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural)
Init+3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +8 (1d6+5, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 20
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +5; Str 16, Dex 16 (20 restricted by armor), Con 19, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18
Skills Bluff +10, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (religion) +6, Perception +7; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +5, +9 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 17; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 17; CL 2nd)
0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 16; CL 2nd)
Bloodline undead (sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.

With Countess Darah defeated, the acolytes broken and perhaps with a few nobles left alive to tell of their deeds, the party might feel victorious as the conflict draws to a close—their moment of triumph is brief, however, as the pooled blood that now fills the main chamber begins to steam….

[Stay tuned to the AaWBlog for the FINALE of Cultus Sanguineus as the prime evil behind this debacle in Mohkba is revealed in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday!]

Also, today’s beautiful cartography is brought to us today by Justin Andrew Mason! We cannot thank him enough and are absolutely beside ourselves to add yet another new contributor to the AaWBlog crew!

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The Divine and the Recreant – Prayer Effects & Divine Synergies

She's not really the bargaining kind...

Some GMs create elaborate pantheons of deities for their campaign settings, while others choose to utilize preexisting gods. Whether divine influence in your game comes from the fantastical or historical, why should only devout characters reap the benefits of prayer? While gods and demigods may choose to bestow special favor upon those who show devotion and dedicate their lives to their cause, it only makes sense that they would also hear the laments of those less faithful.

One way of doing this is to integrate prayer effects into your game world—here’s one example of how such a system could be designed:

Most deities have one or more aspects to their persona. For instance, a “god of war” would focus on aspects of combat tactics and strength, while a “goddess of magic” would instead lean towards the arcane and esoteric. Providing small (but relevant) temporary bonuses in return for prayer not only provides the sense that the divine truly interact within the game world, but also gives motivation for non-devout characters to seek the aide and guidance of many different gods and goddesses.Image_Portfolio_1.27_Fantasy Romans-Robots 03

Perhaps a god dedicated to learning could provide a temporary luck bonus to Knowledge skill checks, or a goddess dedicated to the hunt could provide a temporary morale bonus to attack rolls. The possibilities are endless, and can be easily defined to reflect the personality of virtually any deity.

Prayer effects should be limited to minor (though still beneficial) bonuses, and only for a limited period of time between prayers. One hour of dedicated prayer would result in a character being granted 24 hours of favor from the deity prayed to; 48 hours if the prayer occurred in a temple or shrine dedicated to that god or goddess.

Divine synergies are another potential design for such a system. If the character praying is of the same alignment as the deity being entreated (or perhaps has the same favored class or race of the god or goddess) the bonus granted might double or see its duration extended. To be fair to those characters who have dedicated themselves to a deity, the prayer effects associated to any one god or goddess could become permanent as long as that character remains devout.

GladiatorThere are endless fun ways this could be integrated into a game world to provide a true sense of worth in faith and value in characters knowing (and understanding) their chosen pantheon.

 

 [Submitted by Justin Andrew Mason]

 

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