Type mechanical; Perception DC 35; Disable Device DC 35
Trigger touch; Reset none Effect blinding flash (Reflex DC 22 or blinded); multiple targets (all targets in a 100-ft.-radius)
The eyes of the traveler are encased in a fine silver powder, undisturbed for centuries as it floats in the strange demiplane of Uklonjen. Energy has accrued to the space soot over time, transforming it into solar dust. Whenever the rotation of an item covered in solar dust is interrupted, the cosmic grit reacts wildly to the friction and erupts into a sparkling array of incredibly bright explosions of light. Creatures within 100 feet that have line of sight to the solar dust trap when it is triggered may become blind; they cannot be aided by supernatural healing of any kind, and only have their vision return after 2d6 days.
A DC 35 Knowledge (planes) check recognizes solar dust for what it is; armed with this information, anyone attempting to remove solar dust (disarming the trap) gains a +5 circumstance bonus to their Perception and Disable Device checks against it (rather than thinking it to be simple cosmic dust).
Eyes of the Traveler Aura moderate clairsentience; ML 10th Slot none; Price 61,050 gp; Weight 1 lb.
DESCRIPTION Three large lenses crafted of iceland spar, a transparent crystal, are coupled with a smaller lens within this rolled piece of tanned hide. The hide itself is glossy auburn in appearance and has been emblazoned with a trio of runework bands in a style common to the Vikmordere region of Aventyr.
When rolled, the hide forms a slightly conical tube that holds a single large lens at one end, and the smaller lens at the other—creating a crudely fashioned spyglass. A double-braid of sinew binds the edges of the hide together, allowing it to be tightened to secure the lens and also easily loosened to switch between either of the three larger lenses. The loose lenses are contained in a simple small burlap pouch that is bound to and dangles loosely from the sinew cording of the composite spyglass.
The magic of the lenses only works when used via the spyglass crafted of the rolled hide tube and smaller lens they were found with. No special skill is required to peer through the spyglass once it is assembled with a specific lens (which requires a DC 10 Craft [leather]check).
When a character peers through the assembled spyglass she finds that the image presented is of another location (possibly very distant or even on another dimension or plane of existence). Each of the three larger lenses is magically focused on a predefined location, and the viewer sees their surroundings through the eyes of the traveler as if they were standing at the exact spot in which the lens is focused on. Each lens offers a full spherical 360-degree view of its attuned location in real time.
Once attuned to a specific location, the only way to disable the spyglass from peering into that location is to either change the location the lens is attuned to or destroy the attuned lens (hardness 15, 10 hp) or the eyes of the traveler itself. The sight provided by the lens can even peer into areas otherwise protected from magic or scrying, though the viewer is still only able to see what they would observe with their own natural sight if actually viewing from the attuned location—natural and/or constructed obstructions cannot be peered around. Magic-negating or cancelling effects may still affect the eyes of the traveler and can prevent its use to both peer into attuned locations as well as attuning to a new location.
The view is as if the character were using her own eyes (for example, when taking into consideration darkvision or low-light vision). For the purposes of spells, spell-like abilities or other supernatural abilities, magic cannot be transmitted through the lens (in either direction) and sight through the lens cannot be used for purposes of line of sight effects. However, a character may use skills, such as Perception, to better understand what they are seeing through the magical device.
To attune one of the lenses to a new location the lens must be submerged in water created by magical means (such as create water) for an uninterrupted 24-hour period to be cleansed. Once cleansed, the next location that particular lens is peered through in the assembled spyglass automatically becomes its newly attuned location.
CONSTRUCTION Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, four calcite crystals worth at least 250 gp each, 50 gp of mundane materials, remove viewing, wrench; Cost 30,525 gp
When the eyes of the traveler are discovered, all three lenses have already been attuned to three random locations in Aventyr. When peering through the spyglass, a DC 25 Knowledge (Geography)check allows a character to recognize the attuned area and its various landmarks (either recalling the location from memory if they have visited before, or from the very unique terrain of the region being depicted on a map they once saw).
If a viewer looks upon the same attuned area multiple times, or if the eyes of the traveler is peered through longer than 10 minutes, the viewer can make a DC 15 Perceptioncheck to become aware of the time dilation offset between this dimension and Aventyr (for instance they may notice clouds moving quickly or the expedited rising and setting of the sun or moon). The time dilation offset is roughly equivalent to one day passing on the prime Material Plane for every 4 hours that pass in Uklonjen.
Bright orange, red, and green gems and chunks of ore shine in the twilight, but as you draw closer an overwhelming stench worse than death reaches your nose and tentacles unfurl, lashing out in every direction.
DEFENSE AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+2 Dex, +1 dodge, +5 natural armor) hp 38 (4d8+20) Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +6 Defensive Abilities mind screen; Immune disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, diseases; PR 10 Weaknessconfused (10 hp)
OFFENSE Speed fly 20 ft. (poor) Melee 3 tentacles +5/+0/+0 (1d6+2 plus grab) Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft. Special Attacks gene fusion, implanting touch, strangle Psi-Like Abilities (ML 4th; concentration +6)
At will—mind thrust (DC 14, 4d10)
TACTICS Before Combat When outside of combat, veinar curl into shapes that resemble gems or chunks of ore until disturbed by a nearby mind. During Combat Veinar are constantly confused, but when they are able to act, manifest mind thrust at targets beyond their reach. After an opponent proves resistant to its mental attack or rendered defenseless, the veinar uses its tentacles. Morale When a veinar goes below 10 hp it snaps out of its confusion and moves toward the nearest veinar to gene fuse with it; if there are no other veinar it fights to the death instead.
STATISTICS Str 14, Dex 15, Con 20, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 11 Base Atk +3; CMB +5 (+11 grapple); CMD 17 (19 vs. grapple; cannot be tripped) Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Grapple Skills Acrobatics +9, Fly +5, Perception +9, Survival +9 Languages telepathy 100 ft.
ECOLOGY Environment Veinar are only found in dimensions that the mad god has entered. Veinar are part of the mad god and are only found within it or alongside god spores; when separated from the mad god, they remain curled up and motionless. Organization clutch (3-5) or horde (12-30) Treasure none
SPECIAL ABILITIES Gene Fusion (Ex) As a standard action, a veinar can merge with another veinar, granting that veinar +2 power resistance for 4 rounds and giving it 10 temporary hit points. If a veinar fuses with 4 other veinar, it evolves into a high veinar. Implanting Touch (Su) Whenever a creature come into contact with the veinar’s body they must make a DC 30 Will save or have hallucinations about the veinar for 1d4 weeks. For every -5 a creature fails this save by, the duration of these hallucinations increases by +1 week (on a natural 1, they last for an entire year). Shared Confusion (Ps) Targets that fail a Will save against a veinar’s mind thrust psi-like ability by -5 or more are confused for 1d4 rounds.
Deep hues of orange red and green shimmers from the tentacles of this large beast as it reaches out to embrace another helpless, sane creature.
High Veinar CR 10 XP 9,600
CN Large aberration (extraplanar) Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., mindsense; Perception +11 Aura stench (DC 18, 10 rounds)
DEFENSE AC 26, touch 16, flat-footed 19 (+4 Dex, +3 dodge, +10 natural armor, -1 size) hp 92 (8d8+56) Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +9 Defensive Abilities mind screen; DR 3/—; Immune diseases, mind-affecting effects, poison; PR 13 Weakness confused (50% chance each round)
OFFENSE Speed fly 50 ft. (good) Melee 4 tentacles +11/+8/+8/+8 (2d6+6 plus grab) Space 10 ft.; Reach 15 ft. Special Attacks gene fusion, implanting touch, strangle Psi-Like Abilities (ML 8th; concentration +11)
At will—id insinuation, mind thrust (DC 17, 8d10), time hop
TACTICS During Combat A high veinar has a 50% chance of being confused each round, but otherwise acts like a veinar. When facing difficult opponents, it uses time hop to remove some from the battlefield before manifesting id insinuation to disable others while its allies move in. When a foe seems unable to defend themselves, a high veinar moves in to grapple with its tentacles. Morale At 15 hp or less the high veinar seeks out a veinar to gene fuse with it; if there are none nearby, it fights to the death instead.
STATISTICS Str 22, Dex 19, Con 24, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 15 Base Atk +6; CMB +13 (+19 grapple); CMD 27 (33 vs. grapple; cannot be tripped) Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Grapple, Rapid Metabolism, Sidestep Charge Skills Acrobatics +11, Fly +13, Perception +11, Stealth +7, Survival +9, Use Magic Device +6 Languages telepathy 100 ft.
SPECIAL ABILITIES Gene Fusion (Ex) As a standard action, a veinar can merge with another veinar, granting that veinar +2 power resistance for 4 rounds and giving it 10 temporary hit points. If a veinar fuses with 4 other veinar, it evolves into a high veinar. Implanting Touch (Su) Whenever a creature come into contact with the veinar’s body they must make a DC 38 Will save or have hallucinations about the veinar for 1d4 weeks. For every -5 a creature fails this save by, the duration of these hallucinations increases by +1 week (on a natural 1, they last for an entire year). Shared Confusion (Ps) Targets that fail a Will save against a high veinar’s mind thrust psi-like ability by -3 or more are confused for 1d6 rounds.
As a move action, an encephalon gorger can gauge the relative intelligence level of any creature within 60 feet as follows: unintelligent, animal (Int 1–2), low (3–8), average (8–12), high (13–16), genius (17–20), or supra-genius (21+).
Mind Screen (Ex) The mind of an encephalon gorger is an alien and dangerous place. Should a creature attempt to scan the mind or read the thoughts of an encephalon gorger (with detect thoughts, telepathy, or the like), it must make a successful DC 20 Will save or be driven permanently insane (as by an insanity spell, CL 15th); if the save succeeds, the creature is instead confused (as the spell) for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Intelligence-based.
After the PCs have stocked up on xyrx crystals and are either on their way to the Ancestral Gateway or exploring the demiplane, flying out and across the endless void they spot 1d4 god spores with a DC 18 Perception check, enticed to approach the traps by the rare treasures and gems hidden within them. At least one of these mindless creatures drops an avaricious xyrx crystal during the conflict, at which point the cursed item takes hold of one member of the crew or party, leading them to chase down a possible stash of xyrx crystals by following more of the god spores.
The PCs can follow a trail of the god spores with a DC 25 Perception or Survival check, finding a cohesive line of the things arrayed towards an ancient interdimensional gateway; if the party attacks the god spores, the creatures do not actively resist them (though they still pose a danger). All told this takes the adventurers 4 hours of travel with the vessel moving at its normal pace to reach the portal that opens up in the skies above the PCs.
If the party didn’t follow this treasure trove of cursed loot and traps (or veered off course), more god spores appear, lining up in the sky from several different directions, all pointing towards the same ancient interdimensional gateway (noticed with a DC 22 Perception check), and filling up the air space both above and below the ship. Every hour a DC 18 Profession (sailor) check is required to navigate through the floating god spores without running into them; failure on the check means the PCs are engaged by 1d2+1 of the devious traps. There is a 45% chance that a lesser veinar [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] spills out of a god spore, immediately attacking the PCs.
When the party is within half a mile of the portal the god spores are attuned to, read the following:
Following the great gathering of treasure-laden spores in the void sky, you make out an enormous, semi-tangible limb extending from a great portal suspended in the air. The disfigured tentacle sways with an eerie rhythm, countless spores spewing from its decaying form.
The limb of the mad god is spewing forth torrents of god spores in every direction—the PCs need to close off this gate to keep Uklonjen from being overrun by the creatures. The god spores are ejected hundreds of feet from the mad god’s limb, and there is only a 5% chance each round that two of them are close enough together to engage the PCs.
As the party approaches the mad god’s limb, they feel their minds touched by darkness and light, warmth and cold, a soft sensation and a rigid accompaniment followed by contracting sensations of other worlds vividly rampant in their psyche. Deep within, the adventurers instinctively know that should they touch the limb itself, they are sure to lose their minds, or worse yet, die.
The mad god’s limb is impervious to damage, leaving the PCs with only one option: to push the thing back through the gateway. Six DC 20 Profession (sailor) checks are needed to ram the vessel against the mad god’s limb at the right angles, each taking a round to attempt. After the first attempt (successful or failed), 3 lesser veinars and a high veinar [again, tomorrow, folks! -MM] shuffle off from the otherworldy appendage, attacking the party. Each time the PCs move the limb, there is a 30% chance another lesser veinar joins the fray.
After the limb is finally pushed through the gate, a rush of wind tears though the sky, sucking in 90% of the god spores spread nearby before closing—the party is free to move normally, unmolested by the remaining creatures. A DC 30 Perception check as the gate closes reveals to the PCs that the decaying limb was only a small part of something bigger, an entity that engulfed the whole other side of the gate with layer upon layer of an unidentifiable substance that changed every moment, yet somehow remained the same all the while…
One the biggest misconceptions within many roleplaying games revolves around insanity; this isn’t to say that it should not have a place in RPGs, or implemented in one particular way, but that generally it is overzealous and harsh in the depiction of high mental states without showing the progression of the actual condition. One might argue that since these are within games, most conditions are mechanical and need to be triggered and resolved quickly. In those cases, kudos, but my concern is more of an aspect to a character’s thoughts, feelings, and general well-being after the mechanical effects are gone.
The after effects of conditions can amount to very little, or accrue into a bigger issue; it is up to the player, but as a GM I always think it is great to see the PCs grow not only with powers and abilities, but weaknesses and desperations as well. These characters are heroes, adventures, and masterminds from all walks of life. Not every single condition should deeply affect them, but after awhile every great person begins to crack. With that in mind, it may not always be a bad thing that a person gets a chill every time they come across their fears—one hero may shrug it off and rush off into a deadly trap to die a fool’s death, while their compatriot’s learned caution leads them to live another day.
What happens when psionics are mixed with insanity? There are myriad ways a psychic suffering from a mental condition could represent that aspect of their character while using their powers—the biggest thing that may happen is how the character’s powers manifest when used under stress. When creating a weapon from the characters mind, it could have images of the wielder’s greatest fear represented on the blade, or the hilt itself could embody their personal terrors. For example, a wielder with arachnophobia might have a blade that has eight moving fringes which seem to scuttle across it as the weapon cuts through the air. One of the important considerations when evaluating mental afflictions and psionics is how it changes a PCs powers regardless of whether it is a short, high, intense burst of the condition or an arduous, ongoing battle within themselves that lacks any mechanical effects that the group is likely to notice at first.
Bearing all that in mind, remember that insane characters are not stereotypes, caricatures, or cartoons; they are people with feelings, consciences, and real struggles. Playing those struggles out is far more rewarding than trivializing them, and makes for far more dynamic encounters with not only the GM, but other PCs as well.
DESCRIPTION Avaricious xyrx crystals have been infused with the essence of a mad god. Unlike normal xyrx crystals these crystals have more energy to expend (exactly one and half more power points are available) but a depleted avaricious xyrx crystal dissolves into nothingness (until then it has 4 hit points per 10 lbs. of crystal). Avaricious xyrx crystals, unlike their regular counterparts, exert a measure of control over their users.
Twice per day the owner an avaricious xyrx crystal can manifest control body (ML 7th; DC 16 Will save) but rather than gain control over the target’s body, the avaricious xyrx crystal causes the user to target randomly; they may hinder foes, or simply make a few creatures wander off by themselves.
Once per month when a creature touches an avaricious xyrx crystal it triggers the enthrall ability of the mindbender psion discipline (ML 14th; DC 22). Creatures that roll a natural 1 on their save to resist this effect develop a god complex, believing that the avaricious xyrx crystal is a deity for 2d4 months, trying to convert all other creatures they are able to communicate with. When the avaricious xyrx crystal is dominating a creature it encourages the creature to cause any type of chaos that it can, from revealing dark secrets that the creature knows about itself and others, to upsetting military orders, or even going on a rampage. After the effect ends the creature is confused for 1d4 hours or until cured.
If the crystal is used as part of a power supply for a machine (such as an airship) it gains a minor possession over the machine. At random times in the day the machine that the avaricious xyrx crystal powers does a random act such as flipping over, turning the wrong direction, or trying to overload the device itself. When the avaricious xyrx crystal is in possession of the ship and a creature succeeds against either its control body power or enthrall ability, the cursed item lashes out at that creature, making a improvised attack (+6 melee touch attack, 2d6+2 damage) for 3 rounds before quieting down again. If the avaricious xyrx crystal can’t reach the creature, it moves 5 feet towards its target with one of its three rounds of actions.
An avaricious xyrx crystal used to craft an item possesses it as above or has a 75% chance of being shattered while it is being crafted; when successfully implemented into an object, the item and its bearer become covered in quintessence, entering a state of stasis.