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Strange Salve: Opsjena

opsjenaA vaguely humanoid form towers above you, its shimmering features impossible to discern but its posture clearly aggressive. Kaleidoscopic displays of light play across its body, making you wonder if it just an illusion or something more.

OPSJENA     CR 7
XP 3,200
N Large aberration (incorporeal)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10

DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +3 natural)
hp 95 (10d8+50)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +9
Defensive Abilities incorporeal (figmentary); Immune critical hits, disease, grapple, illusions, mind-affecting effects, poison, precision damage; Resist acid/cold/electricity/fire/sonic 10
Weaknesses figmentary

OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft.
Melee 3 slams +10 (1d8+4)
Ranged 3 figmentary bolts +9 touch (1d8+4 force, Range 40 ft.)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks figmentary bolt (1d8+4 force damage)

STATISTICS
Str 18, Dex 16, Con 18, Int —, Wis 15, Cha 15
Base Atk +7; CMB +12 (cannot grapple); CMD 26
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack, Power Attack, Toughness
Skills Acrobatics +11, Perception +10; Racial Modifiers Acrobatics +8, Perception +8
SQ amorphous

ECOLOGY
Environment any
Organization solitary but always with a Sideribus Volunt mage
Treasure none

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Figmentary (Su) The opsjena is a magical monster wrought through ancient arcane rituals and not truly corporeal. When a creature first sees an opsjena they receive a DC 22 Will save to realize there’s something strange about the opsjena’s form (as though part of it existed only within the minds of those that look on it) and treat the opsjena as if it did not have the incorporeal subtype.
Every time that a creature is dealt damage by an opsjena or successfully hits an opsjena with a melee attack, ranged attack, special attack, spell, or spell-like ability, another DC 22 Will save is triggered; on a failure their next attack against the opsjena treats the creature normally (meaning that its incorporeal subtype is in effect), triggering another DC 22 Will save.
In effect, any direct interaction with the opsjena triggers a Will save, whether this is initiated by the creature or not. It is a free action to voluntarily fail the Will save.
Each creature that comes to believe an opsjena to be real (meaning they failed the Will save and treat it without the incorporeal subtype) grants it 2 temporary hit points (up to a value equal to its maximum normal hp) and a cumulative +1 luck bonus to attack and damage against creatures that believes it is real.
Every successful Will save against an opsjena grants a creature a cumulative +1 luck bonus to Will saves against the opsjena; as soon as they fail a Will save against the opsjena, this bonus immediately ends.

 

Summoned by only the most powerful mages of the Sideribus Volunt, these amalgamations of conjuration and illusion magic are mindless servants that perfectly carry out their orders. When its task is done or enough damage has been dealt to the creature, an opsjena disappears in a puff of smoke.

 

5E Rules

OPSJENA
Large aberration, neutral
AC 12
Hit Points 75 (8d10+30)
Speed 40 ft.
STR 16 (+3), DEX 14 (+2), CON 16 (+3), INT —, WIS 15 (+2), CHA 15 (+2)
Skills Athletics +6, Perception +5
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, necrotic, poison, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from magical weapons
Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, restrained
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)
Figmentary. The first time a creature looks upon an opsjena and every time thereafter that it interacts with the opsjena (either attacking it or being attacked by it), the creature makes a DC 19 Wisdom save to determine how real the opsjena is. Success on this save removes the opsjena’s immunity and resistances to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage and grants advantage on the next Wisdom save against the opsjena. Failure on the Wisdom save grants the opsjena 2 temporary hit points and a cumulative +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls against creatures that believe it is real.

ACTIONS
Multiattack. The opsjena makes three slam attacks or three figmentary bolt attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) bludgeoning damage.
Figmentary Bolt. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) force damage.

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Strange Salve: Mage’s Game

Upon arriving on the docks of Mohkba, the note the PCs acquired during their passage across the river becomes noticeably warm and the next time it is looked upon or read, the adventurers find an address emblazoned on it: 531 Ripkorski Way.

Mage's GameTraveling through the metropolis isn’t easy for people new to Mohkba and finding the address on the note is difficult indeed. A DC 10 Knowledge (local) check or DC 13 Diplomacy check to gather information narrows it down to the Mariner’s Quarter, but only a result of 25 or higher (in either check) finds the place within the party’s first day there. For every additional day spent in the Mariner’s Quarter, grant PCs a cumulative +1 circumstance bonus to skill checks to find 531 Ripkorksi Way (located smack dab in the center of this part of the city).

After their first day in the city the party start to get glimpses throughout the day at more P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs but each time the dubious criminals utterly disappear around alleyway corners or the lips of rooftops, curiously leaving no tracks. Every day these sightings increase in frequency, generally becoming more and more common the closer adventurers get to the center of Mohkba’s Mariner’s Quarter. Even curiouser is the lack of knowledge most people have about the address the PCs are searching for—almost as if there is some great conspiracy going on, or as though the street the party is searching for wipes the memories of those who walk upon it.

When the PCs finally find 531 Ripkorski Way, read the following:

After no small bit of footwork you’ve acquired the directions to the address on the hitman’s note, carefully following them to a run down theater in the center of the Mariner’s Quarter. The street around it is similarly dilapidated and only the faded shadow of “531” appears beside the building’s ramshackle front doors. Further within its darkened interior are the vestiges of a far greater past, an eloquent room and hundreds of empty seats that have fallen into disrepair and inspire a sense of fear. Sitting in the center of a proscenium stage is a small, crooked hat, but otherwise the chamber is unremarkable, if unsettling.

mage's game theaterNothing happens until someone touches the hat (with a weapon, their hands, or magic) at which point an opsjena [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] appears, attacking the party! When the creature is defeated or one of the adventurers is brought below 0 hp, the monster disappears.

After defeating the creature, Jesker the Great—invisible and sitting up in the furthest seats from the stage—begins clapping, shouting, “well done!” and appears amidst the PCs in a puff of voluminous, brightly colored smoke. Before anyone can protest he doles out 2d4+4 potions of cure serious wounds and congratulates the party on their prowess and cunning, exclaiming that the stars truly were aligned and that they are indeed the ones he was waiting for.

Apologizing for his duplicity, the mage explains that he represents the Sideribus Volunt (a benevolent organization that opposes the chaos wrought by the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. at every turn) and that he requires truly devious and experienced adventurers to take the criminal cabal to task. The network of ne’er-do-wells are up to no good again, secretly transporting something into the city to undoubtedly nefarious ends. Jesker overstayed what little patience and welcome the metropolis had for him long ago, and he is well known to the society of thieves, actively opposed by their coterie of spellcasters. The mage is unable to act freely and stop the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.; though the PCs are on their radar the adventurers still have some level of mobility and can strike back without the whole of Mohkba’s city watch responding in force. Worse yet, he suspects the disappearance of Ullast has something to do with the criminal network and that their presence in Mohkba is related.

Jesker the GreatThough it will take him some considerable doing, Jesker promises the PCs each 5,000 gold pieces and one limited wish provided by the Sideribus Volunt should they bring an end to the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. current plot, offering up half of the gold up front to fund their mission. After the party accepts the deal, he tells them of the latest shipment his informants have discovered, one arriving in the docks adjacent to the Trade Yard a few hours before the next sunrise. Unfortunately the wizard doesn’t know any more than that, unable to pierce through the cabal’s magical defenses to find out more.

If a PC falls while fighting the opsjena the creature disappears in a puff of smoke and the party fails the mage’s game. Jesker the Great doesn’t reveal himself just yet, cunningly sending them on various smaller quests until he feels they are prepared for the dangers ahead.

5E Rules

Finding out that address on the note is somewhere in the Mariner’s Quarter requires a DC 8 Intelligence (Knowledge [local]) check or DC 11 Charisma (Persuasion) check. The initial DC to narrow down the exact location of 531 Ripkorski Way is 20, and PCs gain a cumulative +2 bonus to skill checks to find it each day they spend in the Mariner’s Quarter.

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Foul Machinations: Strange Salve (part 2!)

baroness grandaj's estate - frosted windowThe adventurers finally reach the Refuge of the North, Enixam, a town of lepers and outcasts pushed out of the Klavek Kingdom’s capital across the Mohkba River. With the serafin salve given to them by Antonio Casta to deliver to the leader of the settlement, the party finally reaches Baroness Grandaj’s Estate, bringing the concoction directly to the ostracized noble. Though things go badly within her home, the PCs are free to explore Enixam afterwards though for the pristine of form, there are plenty of dangers to had—both from irate citizenry and the occasional curse.

Unless they’re looking to take an extremely long walk across the Klavekian Grasslands the PCs need a ride across the Mohkba River (a task that might be even more difficult than the last time). The adventures manage to procure passage on a ship, but its sailors draw blades and attack not long after the vessel leaves Enixam’s docks! After defeating the duplicitous thugs the party finds a cryptic note implicating one of Aventyr’s most notorious groups: the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S., a continent-spanning criminal cabal of ne’er-do-wells. In addition to the note, the void of Ullast haunt casts more shadows onto the disturbing events during Duty in Drak’kal, leading toward Mohkba and what it is that happened to the missing town.

void of ullast hauntThe would-be assassins were all wearing inflatable gauntlets so even if the ship is scuttled, the adventurers have a reliable means to finish crossing the river but once there, more danger is afoot. Troublemakers within the party find that their ilk is not tolerated very well in the capital—noble estates are protected by disfiguring statue traps and the waterside homes of the wealthy are liberally equipped with water globe traps.

Much more is revealed in this weekend’s sidequest as we bring Strange Salve to a close, so make sure to stay tuned and follow the AaWBlog 2015 Adventure Path as we journey into June with Mendacious Materials!

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Strange Salve: Aquatic Encounter Deck

AaW Random Encounter Cards backsideThe Aquatic Encounter Deck has 30 different encounters for waterborne adventures, including floating debris, sea monsters, troublesome harbor bureaucrats, shipwreck survivors, pirates, and more! As soon as a link for physical cards is available we’ll let you know and update the page, but check out the rest of Strange Salve and the 2015 AaWBlog Adventure Path until then (unless you’re an avid reader already, in which case please keep on keeping on!) If you’re digging the Aquatic Encounter Deck make sure to check in over the next few months—more of its kind are on the way!

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Strange Salve: Void of Ullast

Void of Ullast      CR 6

XP 2,400
Persistent NE haunt (single bed roll)
Caster Level 6th
Notice Perception DC 14 (to notice the absence of peripheral senses)
hp 22; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day

Effect The void of Ullast haunt triggers when a creature touches the bed roll of an eliminated survivor, triggering a DC 24 Will save; failure on this save compels the creature to doze off to sleep for 2d4+10 minutes. A creature put to sleep by the void of Ullast haunt dreams of an urban village brimming with vivid colors and all manner of life. Each minute that passes gradually drains some of the brightness from this world until parts of the village and its people begin to vanish. When almost nothing is left, a diminutive monster similar to a malfunctioning skurgxon appears, glaring angrily for a moment before it suddenly multiplies. The pair start to make disturbing whispers, slowly duplicating again and again until a creature under the effects of the void of Ullast haunt has been sleeping for 10 minutes. At that point the sleeping creature receives a DC 17 Will save to wake up as the monsters multiply hundred- and thousand-fold. Failure on this save keeps a sleeping creature from awakening for one minute and deals 1 Wisdom damage, and creatures under the void of Ullast haunt’s effects receive another save every minute until they awaken or the haunt’s duration ends.

void of ullast hauntDestruction The void of Ullast haunt can be destroyed by burning the bedroll and then planting phycomid in the ash.

Adventure Hook The young refugee in Drak’kal, Issa, was not the only survivor of whatever plight undid the settlement of Ullast. Not only is it fueling the rumors of what might have happened to the town that disappeared, but the resemblance of the unique monsters in the dreams caused by the void of Ullast is uncannily similar to the creature the adventurers encountered in the Three Sisters [during the finale of Duty in Drak’kal! -MM].

 

[Contributed by Tim Snow!]

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Strange Salve: Water Globe Trap

Water Globe Trap     CR 4

Type magic; Perception DC 28; Disable Device DC 28
Trigger proximity (alarm); Reset none
Effect target’s head is surrounded by a globe of water for 6 hours (suffocation while immersed, and -4 penalty to Perception checks; DC 13 Reflex save negates)

water globe trapWaterside homes in the capital of the Klavek Kingdom have a tendency to jut out over the waterway, making traditional defenses difficult to employ. Some of these wealthier merchants employ the water globe trap as a defense against trespassers that try to break and enter their properties from the nearby Mohkba River.

As the unsuspecting intruder leaves the river and steps onto a surface adjacent to it, a giant ball of water forms on the surface and moves to quickly surround the trespasser’s head, completely engulfing and suffocating the target.

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Strange Salve: Inflatable Gauntlets

Inflatable Gauntlets

Aura faint transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot wrists; Price 300 gp; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTIONinflatable gauntlets
These surprisingly light gauntlets are made from supple sleeve-length leather gloves inlaid with gold.

Though they look expensive, inflatable gauntlets are plated with pyrite (fool’s gold) and are actually far less valuable than most folks initially believe them to be (DC 14 Appraise check). Activating a pair of inflatable gauntlets requires the magic items to be completely submerged. When active, the wearer of inflatable gauntlets becomes incredibly buoyant, floating to the surface of any water at least 5 feet deep. So long as the wearer is swimming atop the water, they gain a +5 circumstance bonus to Swim checks but should they attempt to submerge themselves while using inflatable gauntlets, the wearer takes a -10 penalty to Swim checks. Once activated, inflatable gauntlets continue working for one hour, at the end of which they become inert and practically worthless. Removing or putting on inflatable gauntlets is a full-round action.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, ½ lbs. of pyrite, buoyancy; Cost 150 gp

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Strange Salve: P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug

P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug Image_Portfolio_1.13_Fantasy Rudolf Montemayor 06

P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. THUG      CR 2
XP 600
Half-orc slayer 3
CN Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 30 (3d10+9)
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0
Defensive Abilities orc ferocity

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk kukri +10 or +8/+8  (1d4+3, Crit 18-20/x2)
Ranged dagger +7 (1d4+3, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 20 ft.)
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6, studied target +1

TACTICS
Before Combat The P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs gradually move to surround the doorways leading into and out of the room the party is in. If possible, each chooses a different studied target.
During Combat Using flanking, P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs cut opponents down with critical hits from their kukri, sneak attack damage, and the studied target class ability.
Morale When reduced to 5 hp or less, a P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug briefly retreats to drink their potion of cure moderate wounds, returning to the fight as soon as possible. The second time they are damaged this severaly, a P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug leaps into the water, swimming as far away while submerged as their lungs allow before activating their inflating gauntlets.

STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 17
Feats Double Slice, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Acrobatics +7, Bluff +7, Climb +7, Intimidate +3, Perception +5, Sense Motive +5, Stealth +7, Survival +3,Swim +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Klavek, Orc
SQ slayer talent (ranger combat style [Two-Weapon Fighting], track
Gear potion of cure moderate wounds; Other Gear inflating gauntlets [tomorrow’s Magic Item Monday! –MM], mwk breastplate, mwk kukri (2), daggers (5), 42 gold

 

5E Rules

Use the “Spy” entry from the Monster Manual but grant each P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug half-orc racial traits (darkvision 60 ft., Relentless Endurance, and Savage Attacks) as well as a potion of healing.

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Strange Salve: Ambush on the Water

By the time the PCs arrive to catch their boat 2 hours after the sun rises, the remainder of the ships in the pier are gone and the only viable option for crossing the river into Mohkba is their chartered vessel; any enterprising adventurers that show up early in an attempt to book other passage, are rebuffed as readily as they were the previous night. Though the party didn’t learn the name of Mazidri’s boat, it’s easy to find—there’s only one ship on the docks, the Sorrowful Plug. As the PCs climb aboard read the following:

Despite the warmth of summer, a cold wind rolls down the Mohkba River as you walk down one of Enixam’s rickety wooden piers and toward the only ship in sight: the Sorrowful Plug. One of its sailors hollers in the ship’s direction, prompting Mazidri to appear from below deck. “Greetings, friends!” he says, clearly in a more chipper mood than late last night. “Please, come aboard, file in; down the steps and into the room under the masthead, if you would.”

ambush on the water pirateThere’s certainly something strange afoot; PCs that succeed a DC 17 Sense Motive check can discern that the 8-man crew of sailors don’t seem exceptionally familiar with the vessel. If questioned about it, Mazidri explains that they are new crew as his previous employees have since retired—an opposed check against his Bluff +10 reveals that “retired” is an extremely cunningly chosen word—but a result of 22 or higher on the initial check reveals that the workers on the Sorrowful Plug are clearly not sailors at all (PCs receive a circumstance bonus to the initial check equal to half their ranks in Profession [sailor]).

A DC 13 Perception check recognizes that aside from Mazidri, every one of the sailors is a half-orc. Though that might seem strange, a DC 12 Knowledge (local) check confirms that it’s actually the norm in Eximan; a result of 20 or higher on this check, however, notices that they all have visible tattoos of various kinds, each conforming subtly to one emblematic style that matches with the motif of one of the town’s thieves’ guilds.

The Sorrowful Plug leaves port 1d4+1 minutes after the party climbs aboard, giving the adventurers some time to mingle and get their bearings on the vessel. Interactions with the crew are extremely short but with every passing minute Mazidri becomes more and more nervous, noticeably so with a successful Sense Motive check (DC 20 – 2 per previous check). When confronted he quietly reveals that his former crew was murdered, replaced by ruffians early last night—any refusal on his part would have meant an instant death.

Ambush on the Water top side finalOnce the boat is moving the PCs have 1d4+1 minutes of sailing away from Enixam before the false sailors launch their ambush on the water. Parties that have already uncovered the trap and heard Mazidri’s confession are able to move about the vessel and prepare themselves for the inevitable battle, but otherwise, the adventurers are in for a surprise when the 8 P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs attack! [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday, folks! –MM]

When the last blade is sheathed and the corpses of these brigands are thoroughly searched, the PCs find a cryptic note. The code is nearly impossible to break with only this message (a DC 34 Linguistics check) but any Aventyr adventurer worth their salt easily recognizes the symbol of a much larger organization: the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. criminal cabal. Once they reach the shores of Mohkba an address magically appears on the parchment, but otherwise it remains inaccessible even to magic[The contents of the note are a secret to everyone for now—keep an eye out in future posts for more clues and remember the party has it! -MM]

Ambush on the Water below deck final

5E Rules

Realizing that the sailors on the Sorrowful Plug aren’t familiar with the ship requires a DC 13 Wisdom (Insight) check. A result of 18 or higher recognizes that they are not sailors at all (any PC with the sailor background gains advantage on this check).

A DC 10 Wisdom (Awareness) check reveals that all of the sailors are half-orcs. A DC 10 Intelligence (Knowledge [local]) check notifies a PC that this is quite common in Enixam; a result of 17 or higher makes the connection to the town’s thieves’ guilds.

Noticing Mazidri’s nervousness after the ship is away from the docks requires a Wisdom (Insight) check (DC 17 – 1 per previous check).

A DC 25 Intelligence check deciphers the note.