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Magic Item Monday (Banlan Backlash!): Airships – Black Arrow and Skyfang!

Stolen Airships are the Best Kind

If the adventurers aided the Banlan Brotherhood with their sabotage, the party finds that just outside the Production Yards, their allies are waiting in a swift ship just recently stolen—a gift to the PCs for their help disrupting the doings of the mages of Timeaus!

Final-Najim-BWBlack Arrow
Large air vehicle
Squares 12 (30 ft by 10 ft across); Cost 25,000 gp

AC 9; Hardness 5
hp  180 (90)
Base Save +3

Maximum Speed 160 ft.; Acceleration 40 ft.
CMB +1; CMD 11
Ramming Damage 1d8

Long, narrow, and entirely black, the Black Arrow is an exceptionally uncommon ship in the Timean air force. Built with speed and stealth in mind, the airship is constructed from lighter materials and gains a +16 bonus to Stealth checks made to travel at night. In addition, it contains within its engine a lever that can be pulled to make the ship entirely invisible for up to 10 minutes in a day, or until the lever is depressed (used in 1 minute increments that need not be consecutive). Rather than a ceiling, the black-hulled ship instead has an open roof, providing those on deck an opportunity to lean over the railings and fire upon targets below (which is sometimes essential, as the ship doesn’t contain any onboard weapons of its own).
The Black Arrow can comfortably carry eight, plus a driver, and can lift up to 2 tons of weight. In a pocket on the side of the drivers seat is a map depicting the Klavek Kingdom, and a sheaf of instructions to collect and return with any ‘mind-magic’ the operator can get a hold of. [More on that in November, I swear -MM (the editor MM; I swear I’m done with this gag! -MM)]

Propulsion 2 squares of magic engine at rear of ship
Driving Check Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier)
Forward Facing the ship’s forward
Driving Device magical
Driving Space one square adjacent to engine, providing limited visiblity below, but excellent visibility ahead.
Crew 0
Decks 1
Weapons The Black Arrow can be equipped with any one Large siege engine at the front of the ship. A weapon so mounted can fire in a 180 degree arc ahead of the ship, and reduces the number of people the ship can carry by 4.


Cutting the Skies for the Mages of Timeaus

If the PCs aided the Order of the Staff and stopped the sabotage of the Production Yards, the mages of Timeaus reward them with one of their newest model of aircraft: a skyfang.

Skyfang, Class 3 skyship
Huge air vehicle
Squares 14 (30 ft by 25 ft cross); Cost 25,000 gp

AC 8; Hardness 20
hp  560 (280)
Base Save +1

Maximum Speed 80 ft.; Acceleration 20 ft.
CMB +2; CMD 12
Ramming Damage 2d8

A fifteen foot hemispherical base makes up the body of this skyship, with a wooden deck covering the engine within. Unlike most ships, its base isn’t made from the shell of a giant tortoise, but carefully fitted iron plates that mimic one. Above, a similar but much smaller roof gives protection from the weather and aerial attack. The railings that run around the edges are broken only by a ten foot long neck that connects to the pilot’s seat (where all the controls are mounted) and a pair of light, side-mounted ballistae that can swivel around to fire anywhere in a 180 degree radius.
The ship has limited capacity to carry soldiers or supplies—what can fit on deck (20 passengers in a pinch, or 10 fully equipped soldiers)—but is still capable of lifting up to 10 tons of weight. Tucked into the drivers seat is a package wrapped in thick fabric that contains an odd compass carved from crystal that doesn’t point to the true north, but slightly north-northeast instead [more on that in November, folks! -MM (not this post’s MM, the other one. The regular MM. -MM)].

Propulsion 3 squares of magic engine
Driving Check Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier)
Forward Facing the ship’s forward
Driving Device steering wheel
Driving Space one square at the end of a 10 ft. ‘neck’ ahead of the ship, containing steering wheel and seat for driver provides improved cover from below and partial cover from sides.
Crew 1
Decks 1
Weapons The Skyfang comes equipped with two light ballistae, one mounted on either side. However, they could be replaced with any Huge or smaller siege engine. They can be swivelled to any direction before, beside, or behind their side of the ship, as well as 45 degrees above and below.


Submitted by Michael McCarthy!

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Fiction Friday (Banlan Backlash!): Life with the Orders

Busy CityFirst thing in the morning, I wake up. Waking up is good, and not something you should take for granted—you never know when you won’t. I see my wife sleeping in the bed next to me, which is a small blessing. Her day won’t start for another hour, but I give her a nudge to let her know I’m just off to work.

I go to our bathing hall, it’s not grand, just a small room with a basin set into the ground. As I step into the chamber it conjures hot water from one of the city’s reservoirs. I make sure to scrub my hair—I have duty on the south side of the wall today. Not only is it law to wash before and after a shift, they’ll be issuing me a wand for spot cleaning. I certainly don’t want to catch any of the diseases that are so abundant in the outside world. Once I’m clean, I change into a simple shift. I’ll be given a proper uniform when I get to the station, so there’s no point in getting into anything complicated.

I’m never particularly hungry in the morning, but I don’t want to have to wait in line for lunch at one of the few safe places to eat. It’s rather amazing they’re not all dead, those travelers. Maybe they just get sick often. I have some bread and milk in the ice-chest. It’s a new invention—a box crafted from ice that never melts. Saves me time almost every day when I don’t have to go down to the market.

I don’t open the shutters. Looking outside at this hour of the morning you might see someone whose family didn’t wake up, and that would ruin my day, and then when the wife comes in for her breakfast she would probably see the same thing. Not that they wouldn’t have deserved it—if they didn’t wake up they must have been doing something wrong—but some of them are still my friends. I can open the shutters when I get home.

I arrive at the station a few minutes before my shift begins, so I don’t have to hurry to change. I work at a traveling house outpost. Packages are teleported here from across the country and we run them around town. At the end of every day we draw straws to see who will be delivering to the South side of the city—yesterday it was me. I have all the rotten luck.

I’m given my day’s uniform, which is a lot more elaborate than our normal uniform—they want to make sure I stand out when I’m out and about, and I want to make sure I‘m not rushed getting ready. As much as I hate crossing the wall I’m eligible for a bonus if I make the traveling house look good. The wife and I put in an application to have a child, and I’ve been told we’re going to get approval soon. I might have to volunteer for a few southside shifts and build up a nest egg.

Image_Portfolio_107_Fantasy Jason Walton 75Like my uniform, they give me one of the good bags for deliveries—it’s only a few pounds but it can hold anything you can fit through the opening, and no need to fish around inside for it, either. Edith assures me it’s already been loaded, but there’s a case I’ll need to deliver, too. I pick up the bag and head outside to where the carts are. Like the bag, they give me one of the good carts for the deliveries, though I know that’s also because I’m here early. This one doesn’t even have wheels, There’s a little flight engine in the bottom that holds the whole thing a few inches off the ground, I just have to provide the pull.

Waiting for my gate pass is the second most dull part of my day—the worst is actually crossing the wall. The Order of the Staff keeps a firm control at the gates, making sure we are who we say, and that we didn’t pick up anything dangerous while we’re out. I heard, once, that a merchant tried to bring someone back through the wall with them. An outsider! They must have been crazy; who knows what outsiders are thinking, they’re dangerous and constantly warring with one another.

Eventually, I do get through the gate and onto the other side of the wall. It’s drearier out here, the walls are grey stone instead of white, the streets aren’t as straight or as clean, and the people especially are almost dim. Not even just in how dirty everyone is—I’d bet not one in five of them could cast a spell if they tried. It almost made you pity them. Most of my deliveries on the list are fairly mundane, but there’s nothing of priority today. I decide to get my case out of the way quickly so I don’t need to carry the cart around all day; I’ll deliver it, drop off my cart at a lockup, and finish the rest of my deliveries. I might even be home early at this rate.

The case, according to my list, contains depleted crystals. They’re usually broken up and used to do things like recharge wands, or craft nick-knacks for travelers. Apparently it’s quite a good business. I don’t recognize the man I’m delivering it to—a grim-faced, haggard blonde fellow with a poorly trimmed goatee. Still, he shows me his papers and everything looks in order, so I help him unload the cases into his workshop.

The rest of the day is much the same, after I drop off my cart. I move quickly, both to ensure my deliveries are prompt, but also to assure I don’t have to spend too long touching anyone or anything out here. There are all sorts of strange races and people in the harbor, and any one of them could be plotting against us or carrying some sort of dangerous disease. They always act friendly, but we’re reminded every time we cross the gate that it’s just to mask their jealousy. I can see it in their eyes— they look at my elaborate outfit, my pale, healthy skin, the magic I have at my fingertips, and they crave what I possess.

I deliver my last few packages not far after lunch, which I skipped, and get back in line to cross the wall. As I near the front of I hear shouting ahead of me, someone trying to smuggle some unapproved fruit through the wall. There’s a figh, and one of them lands at the ground near my feet. I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was dangerous by looking at it, but that’s why the Orders have to keep such a close eye on us. The outsiders are constantly trying to rob us of what is rightfully ours. I kick the tainted produce away.

Returning my cart, bag, and uniform at the station, I sign out for the day. The boss is nearby when I do, and he looks happy to see me back so soon. That’ll bear well on my next review. He even offers to teleport me home so I don’t have to walk the rest of the way, and while I don’t mind the walking I agree to let him. I step into the chamber, and instantly I’m standing in front of my house.

Image_Portfolio_107_Fantasy Jason Walton 61I open the shutters, tidy the dishes from breakfast, and check the sundial—which magically works even while inside, or flipped over. I would have nearly two hours until the wife gets home. I sit down and find a book to read. We only have a few, there was no need to go looking for too much reading material. The Order of the Staff provided a few tomes for every household. I settle on The Adventures of Tarrex, a series of short stories of a hero of Xio who wars endlessly against the undead on the northern border. Some of the stories are so incredible it’s hard to remember they’re all true.

The wife comes home, we kiss, and have dinner. She tells me of her day at the factory, where she oversees a handful of craftsmen who create parts for larger clockwork assemblies. I tell her of the strange and terrible things I saw on the other side of the wall. As the sun sets, the lights on the street automatically flare to life. There’s an optional reading at the school down the street and we decide to go; our application to have a child is going well, but it isn’t approved yet. We want to attend everything we can, even if it means we don’t have as much free time.

Tonight the reading is on abjuration, teaching a simple spell that we can work into our clothes to keep the dirt from sticking. It’d be especially handy for us with a child, as even the best child has a tendency to get dirty. I go to shake the speaker’s hand afterward, telling him that I’m going to put the spell to good use. He looks happy to hear, and gets my name so he can come by next week and make sure I’m not having any trouble with it.

My wife and I go to sleep not long after getting home, after trying the spell out on some of our clothes. It’s a little harder than the speaker made it look, but his talents were one of the reasons he was in the Order of the Staff and I was just a delivery man.

Tomorrow should be another good day.


[Submitted by Michael McCarthy!]

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Weird Wednesday (Banlan Backlash!): Motive Resistor

Motive Resistor

Aura moderate necromancy; CL 7th
Slot none; Weight 2 lbs.

motive resistorDESCRIPTION
This large, bronze scarab glows brightly from within, thrumming rhythmically as if it were alive.

Unlike the fully charged motive capacitor it resembles, the light in a motive resistor comes from a malevolent energy eager to drink up any life it can. Affixing it to a living target requires a melee touch attack, at which point it immediately activates.
When activated the motive resistor immediately drives needles deep into the target creature, doing 1d6 points of piercing damage (that ignores damage reduction) and draining the creature’s life essence. Each round a motive resistor is affixed to a creature, the creature must make a DC 18 Fortitude save or gain 1 negative level and take 1 point of Constitution damage. Forcibly removing a motive resistor is a standard action that requires a DC 14 Strength check; failure on this check deals 2d6 damage to the creature it is affixed to.
For 24 hours after its curse has been activated, any creature handling the motive resistor must make a DC 14 Fortitude save every minute or gain 1 negative level.

Magic Items motive resistor


[Submitted by Michael McCarthy!]

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Statblock Sunday (Banlan Backlash!): Kelsaola, Commander turned Saboteur

Final-Amalgam galvo sorcererKELSAOLA      CR 10
XP 9,600
Galvo sorcerer 2
CE Medium magical beast (aquatic)
Init +4; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +14

AC 25, touch 17, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 179 (15d10+2d6+90)
Fort +13, Ref +15, Will +9
Defensive Abilities swarmlike; DR 10/slashing; Immune electricity

Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +22 (1d6+2 plus 2d6 electricity), 2 slams +22 (1d6+2 plus 2d6 electricity)
Ranged eel dart +22 touch (1d6+2 plus 1d6 electricity) or acidic ray +22 touch (1d6+1 acid; 4/day)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +3)
1st (5/day)—grease (DC 12), comprehend languages
0 (at will)—dancing lights, mage hand, mending, read magic, touch of fatigue (DC 11)
Bloodline aberrant
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with slam)

Str 15, Dex 23, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13
Base Atk +16; CMB +18; CMD 35 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Point-Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Vital Strike, Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception +14, Stealth +17, Spellcraft+19, Swim +17, Use Magic Device +19
Languages Aquan (can’t speak)
SQ amphibious, bloodline arcana (polymorph spells are Extended), compression, varied attack
Treasure Kelsaola has swallowed a necklace of adaptation, and gains its benefits. A PC searching his body finds it only with a DC 25 Perceptioncheck.
Kelsaola has always been a commander, ever since it was created by it’s masters in the deepest sea trenches. He was to wage war against the undead skum so plentiful about the cape, but as he approached, his army was absolutely destroyed by Chum. In shame, he refused to abandon his goal and has worked tirelessly to claim control of the colossus with the goals of turning it first against its creators, then against the targets of his original invasion.



[By Michael McCarthy]

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Sidequest Saturday (Banlan Backlash!): Colossus Chum!

Having learned that the Order of the Staff is spying on them through a Nyamo scribe orb, the PCs decide to take a different route back to the northern side of the city—by means of an airship piloted by Banlan captain Il-Kai’am. He has all the papers required to transport a shipment of “treated” wood north into the shipyards, a delivery that would be virtually impossible to pass through the Nyamo Wall.


nyamo harborNot long after the adventurers are in the air, however, an explosion comes from the harbor: an eighty foot tall steel machine bursts from beneath the surface of the water! PCs that make a DC 25 Knowledge (history) check recognize the machine as Chum—a titan crafted a century ago to keep the Nyamo harbor clear of pirates and sea creatures (especially of the undead variety). Any PCs that beat the DC by 5 or more know that it has to undergo annual maintenance to repair the sometimes extensive damage it accumulates from this job. Even a DC 10 Knowledge (arcana) check can identify that is is a colossus (a DC 31 check identifies it specifically as an iron colossus)—a sort of impossible construct designed to crush entire cities, and something far beyond the party’s ability to combat directly on.

If none of the PCs make the check, Kai’am can at least tell the adventurers the titan’s name.


This titan begins smashing ships left and right as it plods its way out of the harbor, and unless stopped, will clearly kill hundreds if not thousands. Kai’am mentions now would be a good time to simply flee the city in its entirety.


As the PCs make a decision one way or the other, a transparent and rough-bearded wizard suddenly appears on deck, looking rather flustered. “Airship! Can you hear me?” He repeats the message several times until one of the PCs acknowledges that they can, at which point he continues, “I’m sure I don’t have to point out the trouble at the docks. The portside protector seems to have sustained damage to its control circuit. Our fleet is taking longer than expected to mobilize, too many ships undergoing maintenance and—an alligotonium shipment was late—not important. You are nearby, we can reward you handsomely if someone in your ship can teleport or fly over to the protector’s control circuit—in a room on the back of it’s head—and disable it. The emergency code is Palsoptra.” If the PCs seem hesitant, he reminds them that doing so will save hundreds of lives, and that the code will disable all of its security systems: other than the possible risk of falling, there is nothing to worry about.


Originally, Kai’am is willing to make one single pass near Chum’s head to let up to two PCs leap from ship to the titan, a maneuver that requires a DC 20 Acrobatics check to avoid missing the platform and falling the 80 ft. to the ground. A DC 20 Diplomacy or Intimidate check convinces Kai’am to make up to two additional passes.


PDG-AmalgamEarthElemental-lines-01 chum colossusThere are two sections within the titan; outside, which is a 5 ft. x 15 ft. walkway, and inside, a 15-ft. diameter chamber. Each round the titan advances slowly into the town, requiring all titan-bound PCs to make a DC 10 Acrobatics check or be knocked prone by the motion (which is treated as violent motion for the purposes of casting spells). The door between the walkway and the chamber is locked with a superior arcane lock (DC 50 Disable Device) that opens automatically with the passphrase.


Inside, however, adventurers discover that the bulk of the security systems have already been disabled by an enormous humanoid collection of electric eels standing in the center of the room. The creature is Kelsaola, a galvo of uncommon intelligence and ambition [see the upcoming Statblock Sunday -the other MM!] that discovered the titan’s critical weakness by chance during its maintenance period, and has been craving an opportunity to strike back against the surface world since Chum destroyed his army. He has taken six years to infiltrate and understand the creature’s controls, and now finally has the time to strike!


Between the party and Kelsaola are two of the colossi’s guardians that it has reprogrammed: clockwork soldiers. They do anything they can to prevent the PCs from reaching Kesaola, who continues to man the controls, overriding any attempts to use the code word until he is struck in combat at least once, at which point he eagerly enters the fray. Speaking the codeword aloud as a standard action staggers both clockwork soldiers for the round, but like the collossus, Kelsaola simply reactivates them the next round so long as he remains at the controls.


Once Kesaola is away from the controls, speaking the codeword aloud immediately stops the clockwork soldiers and Chum, negating the need for any further balance checks and making Kai’am confident enough to fly in and let any additional PCs into the combat.


Adventurers remaining aboard Kai’am’s airship aren’t helpless, as Kai’am does have a light ballista mounted to each side of the ship, allowing the PCs to alternatingly make attacks against Chum from a distance. The ballista aren’t powerful enough to pierce the colossus’ DR, but each round they successfully make an attack (against AC 20) they prevent Chum from advancing further into the city, saving lives and negating the need for titan-board PCs to make checks to balance that round.
When the party lands (assuming Chum is stopped), the Order of the Staff pay the PCs a reward of 3,500 gold.


[By Michael McCarthy!]

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Magic Item Monday (Banlan Backlash!): Scribe Orb

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

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

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

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

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


[Submitted by Michael McCarthy!]