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Wandering Wasteland: Part 2

scowl carver (mutant)After landing in the Scorched Lands, the PCs pick up on the trail of the nefarious P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. cabal. Heading off into the desert they find the Canyon March, a network of smugglers that help escaped slaves reach freedom. Unfortunately they aren’t the only ones traveling into the sand and the PCs are soon forced to either help defend or kill a mutant named Scowl Carver. Either way they garner a few pairs of striding boots and some valuable information on where the nefarious faction was operating in the wastelands.

Heading back to Ravine and canvassing the city doesn’t drum up any new information and though at first it seems like the criminal group has given the party the slip, that very night a host of P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. fall upon the PCs while they sleep! Fortunately some evidence on their boots lead the adventurers to one conclusion: whatever the nefarious cabal is up to, they are active in the dreaded Grave Morass on the southern reaches of the Scorched Lands.

corpse cactus (reduced)More dangers of the desert threaten the PCs as they travel—lethal respite offered by corpse cactii, devious merchants with equally fell gifts, the scorching Transgression [the final reveal of its full effects! —MM], magically aggressive tar changed by the passing of the Shard of the Sun, and the restless spirits of those creatures claimed by the ash, oil, and sand pit long ago—but nothing as deadly as what awaits them in the Grave Morass.

Bleirvar the Biomancer (Final-Mezadev-C)Tune in tomorrow to see how Bleirvar the Biomancer fits into Wandering Wasteland and why the PCs need to collect as many contraband cyphers as they possibly can!

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Wandering Wasteland: Grave Morass

grave morassWhatever catastrophe or circumstances led to the creation of the Grave Morass ensured the death of an untold number of primitive peoples and primordial beasts that sheltered in its canyon-like confines rather than suffer the prowling undead of NaeraCull’s jungles. Macabre scholars believe it an irony of the gods that these residents have become animated themselves, and none know how many of them persist or where they might tread when beneath the surface of the black. Exploratory parties sent by the warlords of the deserts or Ravine’s politicians rarely return, prompting the rulers of the southern reaches of the Scorched Lands to keep no small amount of anti-undead equipment and holy water close at hand.

Undead of the Grave Morass
Any type of non-cold skeletal undead can rise from the tar of the Grave Morass, but these animated creatures are predominantly humanoids and large primordial beasts (such as dinosaurs, mammoths, and sabertooth tigers). There is a 50% chance that the tar covering the undead that rise here has been magically affected by The Transgression and attacks from these undead have a chance of inflicting the tarred condition; each hit dice an undead possesses grants one such consecutive attack. For example, a 4 HD skeleton with two weapons would grant the tarred condition for one attack after charging, two attacks during a full-round attack the next round, and the first of its next attacks during a full-round attack the following round (but no more afterward). Any undead able to inflict the tarred condition in this way increase their CR by +1.

Tarred: You take a -4 penalty to all Charisma-based skill checks. Spells that target you instead affect a random target within 30 feet (no save) and have a 10% chance per caster level of triggering a random effect from the list below. The tarred condition can only be removed via dispel magic (CL 18th), heal, limited wish, miracle, or a wish. After 2d4+1 days the tarred condition alleviates itself as the substance crumbles away.
1 – Splay: targeted spell now affects all targets within 30 ft. of the original target
2 – Negate: targeted spell is negated and has no effect
3 – Damaging: targeted spell does twice the damage (in the case of spells that do not deal damage, double duration)
4 – Penetrating: targeted spell grants its caster a +10 circumstance bonus to bypass spell resistance
5 – Tricky: the saving throw DC(s) for the targeted spell are increased by +5
6 – Rebound: targeted spell also rebounds back on its caster

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Wandering Wasteland: Primordial Tar Haunt

primordial tar haunt_fixedPrimordial Tar Haunt      CR 6
XP 2,400
CN Persistent haunt (20-ft.-radius pool of tar)
Caster Level 6th
Notice Perception DC 22 (to hear the dying cries of primordial creatures)
hp 27; Trigger proximity; Reset 1/day

Effect When the primordial tar haunt is triggered, a deinonychus, pteranodon, and rhinoceros rise from the bubbling sludge (as summon monster IV) and charge at the nearest creatures (melee touch attack +8). Creatures struck by the primordial tar haunt gain the tarred condition and make a Reflex save each round (DC 16 + 1 per previous check) or are dragged 5 ft. closer to (or into) the tar pit.

Destruction The bones of a deinonychus, pteranodon, and rhinoceros must be doused in holy water and set ablaze with a divine spell before being cast into the primordial tar haunt.

Tarred: You take a -4 penalty to all Charisma-based skill checks. Spells that target you instead affect a random target within 30 feet (no save) and have a 10% chance per caster level of triggering a random effect from the list below. The tarred condition can only be removed via dispel magic (CL 18th), heal, limited wish, miracle, or a wish. After 2d4+1 days the tarred condition alleviates itself as the substance crumbles away.
     1 – Splay: targeted spell now affects all targets within 30 ft. of the original target
     2 – Negate: targeted spell is negated and has no effect
     3 – Damaging: targeted spell does twice the damage (in the case of spells that do not deal damage, double duration)
     4 – Penetrating: targeted spell grants its caster a +10 circumstance bonus to bypass spell resistance
     5 – Tricky: the saving throw DC(s) for the targeted spell are increased by +5
     6 – Rebound: targeted spell also rebounds back on its caster

 

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Wandering Wasteland: Tar Pit Trap

tar pit trapTar Pit Trap     CR 10
Type magic; Perception DC 34; Disable Device DC 34
Trigger proximity (30 ft.); Reset 1 day
Effect target gains the tarred condition (DC 28 Reflex negates)

Tarred: Spells that target you instead affect a random target within 30 feet (no save) and have a 10% chance per caster level of triggering a random effect from the list below. The tarred condition can only be removed via dispel magic (CL 18th), heal, limited wish, miracle, or a wish. After 2d4+1 days the tarred condition alleviates itself as the substance crumbles away.
1 – Splay: targeted spell now affects all targets within 30 ft. of the original target
2 – Negate: targeted spell is negated and has no effect
3 – Damaging: targeted spell does twice the damage (in the case of spells that do not deal damage, double duration)
4 – Penetrating: targeted spell grants its caster a +10 circumstance bonus to bypass spell resistance
5 – Tricky: the saving throw DC(s) for the targeted spell are increased by +5
6 – Rebound: targeted spell also rebounds back on its caster

The Transgression affects everything in the Scorched Lands. Sometimes a portion of the tar pits in the Grave Morass become perverted, superheated into monstrous swathes of bitumen that cause magic to behave erratically. This sludge animates when a creature approaches it, coating them in a thick layer of disruptive tar.

[Submitted by Rory Toma!]

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Wandering Wasteland: Contraband Cypher

Contraband Cypher
Aura none (special circumstances); CL 20th
Slot none; Price 128,000 gp (lesser), 320,000 gp (greater); Weight 2 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
This small 3-inch cube is crafted from refined alligotonium and appears to be an amalgam of smaller 1-inch cubes. Mostly sienna in hue, the middle cubes in the center of each larger face have been dyed a unique color.

A contraband cypher is a magic puzzle box made up of 26 identically-shaped 1-inch alligotonium cubes arranged to form a larger cube—each side consisting of nine exposed faces of the smaller cubes. There is no center cube within the larger arrangement, allowing for any one of the smaller cubes that make up the center square on each side of the larger paradigm to be depressed inward until it occupies the open space in the core of the puzzle box. When closed, the smaller cubes of a contraband cypher cannot be pulled apart by any means that wouldn’t totally destroy the magic item.AAW_MagicItem_Monday_Contraband_Cypher
The smaller cubes are held together in the form of the larger cube by an attracting arcane force that draws each inwards towards the center of the box. However, when a smaller cube is depressed into the core of the larger construct, it automatically shifts back to its original location when released, once again vacating the empty space inside the puzzle-box. In this way the middle cube comprising each of the six faces of a contraband cypher can be depressed, one at a time, like a button.
The cubes that can be depressed are uniquely hued for identification (carmine, cerulean, verdant, titian, perse, and ashen).
To open a contraband cypher, the buttons on each of its faces must be depressed in a specific order to solve a combination. When the combination has been input, the smaller cubes suddenly expand outward to float, spin, and twirl in midair as they orbit around an ardent spherical field containing an extradimensional space within (and any items that were stowed inside).
A successful DC 30 Disable Device check reveals the first button to be pressed in the contraband cypher’s combination. Subsequent successful Disable Device checks (DC 30 + 5 for each new part of the combination) reveals the next button in the combination.
When the box is opened, items stowed within the extradimensional space float weightlessly inside the spherical field as the small cubes continue to erratically orbit its outer edges. If an item is placed into the extradimensional space that would push the weight capacity of a contraband cypher over its limit, that item falls to the ground.
A full-round action is required to open a contraband cypher, and it remains open for 1d4 minutes. Then the small cubes are automatically drawn back together, securing any items floating within the spherical field by compressing the opening to extradimensional space within the core of the puzzle box. When closed, this extradimensional space functions as a vacuum. The alligotonium construction of the puzzle box makes the interdimensional space contained within immune from outer planar confluences—as long as the box remains closed, the interdimensional space contained within remains unaffected by the presence of an extradimensional space (such as a bag of holding).
     A lesser contraband cypher conceals a 1 ft. spherical extradimensional space that can hold up to 25 lbs., and requires a combination of three buttons to solve.
     A greater contraband cypher conceals a 3 ft. spherical extradimensional space that can hold up to 50 lbs., and requires a combination of five buttons to solve.
While a contraband cypher is closed, it generates no aura and masks the auras of any magic items contained inside as well as providing those items within with spell resistance (SR 25) which it also shares.
A contraband cypher retains the overall mass of the contents stowed inside, causing it to seem unusually heavy when the extradimensional space is being utilized.
The combination of a contraband cypher can be reset by a creature familiar with the current combination (DC 20 Use Magic Device check). This is done by rearranging the colored cubes as they orbit around the extradimensional space when the puzzle-box is open; failure results in a totally random new combination.
To determine a random combination due to recombination failure or determining the existing combination of a discovered contraband cypher, roll 1d6 for each part of the combination and use the following chart:
1d6    Cube to be depressed
1          carmine
2          cerulean
3          verdant
4          titian
5          perse
6          ashen

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Enlarge Spell (for greater contraband cypher only), create demiplane (CL 15th), mask dweomer (CL 5th), ½ lb. of refined alligotonium; Cost 64,000 gp (lesser) / 160,000 gp (greater)

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Wandering Wasteland: Bleirvar the Biomancer

Bleirvar the Biomancer (Final-Mezadev-C)BLEIRVAR THE BIOMANCER     CR 11
XP 12,800
Male tiefling blood kineticist 12
NE Male outsider (native)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11

DEFENSE
AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 20 (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 shield)
hp 133 (12d8+72)
Fort +13, Ref +11, Will +5
Defensive Abilities orc ferocity; DR 5/magic; Resist cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5

OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft.
Melee +1 dagger +9/+4 (1d4, Crit 19-20/x2)
Special Attacks elemental overflow +4, kinetic blast, metakinesis (empower, maximize)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th, concentration +14)
     1/day—darkness
Blood Kineticist Wild Talents Known (CL 12th, concentration +17)
     Defense—shroud of blood
     Infusions—draining infusion (touch, Fort DC 21 for quarter damage, 1 burn), foe throw (Fort DC 21 negates)
     Kinetic Blast—blood blast +13 (6d6+12, 2 burn), water blast +13 (6d12+12 bludgeoning), wrack (3d6+6 untyped, Fort DC 21 halves)
     Substance—bleeding infusion (Fort DC 21 or 6 bleed; 2 burn), gut-wrenching infusion (Fort DC 21 or sickened 1 minute; 3 burn), vampiric infusion (3 burn)
     Utility—blood tell, kinetic cover, kinetic healer, veil of mists, water manipulator

TACTICS
Before Combat Bleirvar activates shroud of blood and drinks his potion of fly.
During Combat Bleirvar uses foe throw to put his enemies into the Grave Morass and otherwise inflicts as much bleed damage as possible (using Shot on the Run to stay out of reach of melee combatants).
Morale Bleirvar fights to the death, drinking his potion of cure serious wounds when reduced to 40 hp or less.

STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 8
Base Atk +9; CMB +8; CMD 23
Feats Craft Wondrous Item, Dodge, Mobility, Point-Blank Shot, Shot on the Run, Weapon Focus (kinetic blast)
Skills Acrobatics +11, Bluff +6, Craft (biomancy) +17, Heal +16, Intimidate +4, Knowledge (nature) +17, Perception +11, Stealth +15, Swim +7, Use Magic Device +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Bluff, +2 Stealth
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Common, Draconic
SQ blood focus, burn (3 points/round, maximum 8), expanded element (blood), gather power, infusion specialization 3, internal buffer 2, supercharge
Combat Gear potion of cure serious wounds, potion of fly; Other Gear +1 glamered chain shirt of invulnerability, belt of physical might +2 (Dex, Con), boots of striding and springing, ring of protection +2, ring of sustenance

5E RULES

BLEIRVAR THE BIOMANCER
Tiefling warlock 12, neutral evil
Armor Class 17 (3 mage armor, 3 Dexterity, +1 magic)
Hit Points 87 (12d8+24)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
8  (-1)17  (+2)15  (+2)15  (+2)14  (+2)20 (+5)

Saving Throws Strength +0, Dexterity +4, Constitution +3, Intelligence +3, Wisdom +7, Charisma +10
Skills Deception +9, Nature +6
Senses Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 12
Damage Resistances fire, lightning
Languages Abyssal, Common
Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

Eldritch Invocations. Bleirvar adds his Charisma bonus when dealing damage with eldritch blasts and can fire them at a range of 300 feet, casts detect magic, disguise self, and mage armor without expending spell slots, and can see normally in all types of darkness,
Spellcasting.  Bleirvar is a 12th-level spellcaster that uses Charisma as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 17; +9 to hit with spell attacks). Bleirvar knows the following spells and has a total of 11 spell slots of 5th-level:

  • Cantrips—blade ward, fire bolt, eldritch blast, mage hand, spare the dying, thaumaturgy, true strike
  • 1st—command, hex, protection from good
  • 2nd—crown of madness, invisibility
  • 2nd (1/long rest)—darkness, hellish rebuke
  • 3rd—fly, fireball
  • 4th—dimension door, fire shield
  • 5th—hold monster, scrying
  • 6th (1/long rest)—eyebite

Warlock. Bleirvar gains 5 temporary hit points when he reduces a creature to 0 hit points, can add +1d10 to an ability check or saving throw once per short rest, and has resistance against lightning damage.

ACTIONS
Eldritch Blast. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range (300 feet), up to three targets. Hit: 10 (1d10+5) force damage per beam (3 total).

TREASURE
boots of speed, hat of disguise, ring of protection

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Wandering Wasteland: Twilight Ambush

As the party settles into Ravine’s Parched Pilgrim Tavern for the evening, their adversaries have a small surprise waiting for themsometime in the middle of the night, the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.ER.S. launch a twilight ambush on the sleeping adventurers!
Twilight Ambush Map
The attack starts when the majority (if not all) of the spellcasting PCs are asleep. Creatures that are still slumbering are targeted with a nightmare spell (DC 18 Will negates). Immediately thereafter, ten P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. hirelings teleport into the area and attack. The assault is mainly a diversion—the cabal’s agents in the Grave Morass are observing the combat, taking note of the tactics and spells used by the party in order to optimize their own defenses for a conflict they’ve decided is inevitable. This offensive has an ulterior motive, however; each hireling has a wand of hostile morass (2 charges) which the criminals try to use on each party member at least once (DC 18 Will save negates). Agents in the Grave Morass are watching from afar with a scry spell (DC 24 Perception check to notice) and take note of any special attacks used by the party, preparing their defenses accordingly.

The P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. specifically developed the special hostile morass spell and provided the wands to these hirelings.

 

HOSTILE MORASS
School abjuration [evil]; Level sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft. / 2 caster levels)
Target creature touched
Duration 1/day per caster level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
Hostile morass is only active while the target is in the Grave Morass of the Scorched Lands. While in the Grave Morass, a creature that fails its Will save suffers the following effects:
     Attract Ash The creature attracts the ash from the Grave Morass, taking a -2 penalty to Dexterity-based abilities and effects, treats all terrain is treated as difficult terrain, and their base movement rate is halved. The ash can be removed with a full round action but 1d6+1 rounds later it accumulates again.
     Attract Oil The creature attracts the oil from the Grave Morass, coating their body in a thin layer of the viscous liquid. Any open flames or fire-based effects that happen within 5 ft. of the creature cause it to catch on fire (taking 1d6 points of fire damage each round). It takes a full-round action to extinguish the flames.
     Attract Sand The creature attracts the sand from the Grave Morass, taking a -4 penalty to concentration checks.
These effects cannot be dispelled, but they can be removed with a break enchantment, limited wish, miracle, remove curse, or wish spell.

 

5E Rules

The P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. cast dream instead of nightmare.
Locating the sensor of the scrying spell requires a DC 30 Wisdom (Perception) check.

HOSTILE MORASS
5th-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 week
You wrap a creature in energies that draw upon the primal fundament of the Grave Morass, causing it to attract the very landscape of that region in the Scorched Lands of Aventyr. A creature targeted by this spell must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or suffer from the following effects:
     The creature attracts ash from the Grave Morass, reducing its movement speeds by half. Removing the ash requires an action and it accumulates again after 1d4 rounds.
     Oil coats the creature, causing it to ignite and take 1d6 points of fire damage each turn until it or another creature spends an action putting out the flames.
     Sand inexorably draws toward the creature, causing it to take disadvantage on Perception checks.
These effects cannot be removed with dispel magic, but they can be removed with a remove curse or wish spell.

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Wandering Wasteland: Ashen Death

The-Transgression_Ashen-DeathAshen Death

The deadly Transgression is covered in more detail in two different Trap Tuesdays this month (here and here!), but not every creature exposed to the powerful effects of the Shard of the Sun is incinerated. Some survive the experience though few are ever left unchanged by the immense ray of energy that rage across Aventyr each day. When the results on Table SL-1: Ashen Death result in a mutation, roll on Table SL-2: Transgression Mutations to see what befalls those who “escape” an Ashen Death (acquiring one of the effects below and therein the ashen template).
transgression mutations table sl-2

[The Transgression and its Ashen Death are by writer Lance Keppner!]

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Wandering Wasteland: Ashen Choker

ashen chokerAshen Choker
Aura strong enchantment; CL 17th
Slot neck; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTION
Before being worn this item appears to be a wondrous piece of magical jewelry; a DC 18 Knowledge (history) check reveals it is from the outskirts of Ravine. As soon as it is worn by a creature it transforms into a thick, rounded piece of ash that attaches to the wearer’s neck, transforming them into a mutant (if they are not already a mutant, roll once on the table below). [More on mutants tomorrow! —MM] Once the painful transformation is complete the wearer is under the effects of a permanent charm monster spell towards whomever attached the ashen choker and convinced via a suggestion effect that any attempts to remove it will result in instant death; these compulsions remain until the ashen choker is removed and the wearer does not receive a saving throw to negate either the charm monster or suggestion effects. After the ashen choker is removed, a transformed creature returns to their natural state after a number of days equal to double the number of days they wore the cursed item.

CREATION
Magic Items necklace of adaptation, necklace of fireballs, necklace of ki serenity

Ashen Choker Mutation Table

  1. The wearer suffers the Ashen Death; roll on SL-2: Transgression Mutations. [Tomorrow! —MM]
  2. The wearer’s skin sags, cracks, and becomes horned, resulting in a -2 to all Charisma-based skill checks.
  3. One of the wearer’s legs expands, becoming a large slab of meat. The wearer can no longer be tripped or go prone but takes a -4 penalty to Dexterity.
  4. Pus fills the wearer’s sweat glands giving the creature the stench monster ability (DC 15, 10 minutes). Unlike normal, this affects the mutant.
  5. Large prongs extend from the wearer’s hands, making it so it can’t use manufactured weapons and suffers a 35% chance of failing to cast any spell with a somatic component. The wearer gains two claw attacks as secondary attacks as well as the attach monster ability.
  6. The wearer’s eyes become large crystals that extend a few inches past their nose, granting darkvision 60 ft. and low-light vision, but sunlight powerlessness as well.

[Submitted by Tim Snow!]