Monday, December 28, 2020

Arkwood Golem


FREQUENCY: Very rare
HIT DICE: 11 (50 hp)
THAC0: 9
SPECIAL ATTACKS: EntanglePlant Growth
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Regeneration 3/round
SIZE: L (7 1/2’ tall)
MORALE: Unbreakable
XP VALUE: 5,000

Arkwood Golems are a special creation of Seldarine clerics and Imperial Fleet mages; these living, growing beings are shaped carefully over fifty years from a standard aelundal tree. This requires a constant regimen of applied magic and special soil to prepare the tree for the grafting of a positive energy elemental to it. This infusion grants the thing a sort of halting life, though the elemental is, like all elementals on the Prime Material Plane, in agony during its imprisonment within the wooden frame of the golem.

Unlike other golems, the Arkwood Golem is not immune to fire, but rather takes full damage from every die of magical fire. However, Arkwood Golems can regenerate from any non-fire damage, and may even be able to send out shoots and grow themselves back into full form from their ashes unless a dispel magic spell is used to break the elemental bindings.

Necromancy has no effect on Arkwood Golems, and they can in absorb the positive energy of any healing spell within 60’ of them, redirecting the effect to themselves. Further, they can cause plant matter to grow once per day as per the priest spell plant growth, and can cause vines, brush, and grass to halt enemies three times per day as per the priest spell entangle.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Knight of Glory


FREQUENCY: Very rare
INTELLIGENCE: High to Supra (14-20)
ARMOR CLASS: 0 (full plate armor)
HIT DICE: 9 (10-sided dice)
THAC0: 11
DAMAGE/ATTACK: by weapon +3 (typically two-handed bastard sword +3)
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +1 weapons or better to hit
SIZE: M (5’ tall)
MORALE: Unbreakable
XP VALUE: 7,000

The Knights of Glory are a never-deployed weapon of the imperial elven navy; these knights were once elves who excelled at swordsmanship and tactics when they were alive. In a ceremony devoted to Corellon Larethian and attended by a clave of high-level priests, fully five hundred of these elves gave their lives to infuse their spirits into chitinous armor grown from elvish subject-insects.

They are now the shining beacons of Corellon Larethian: unstoppable knights-errant who need no food, rest, or air and who can be brought out of time storage for important missions or to serve as a powerful spine of elite troops in any action. By now it is likely there are thousands of Knights of Glory.

Among the navy, the Knights are not widely known to be undead, but rather are thought of as part of a secretive knightly order that serves the navy directly. Those who have fought alongside them never know they are anything other than fully-clad elves unless a stray blow knocks off a helm, revealing the emptiness beneath, or a ballista bolt holes the armor and the Knight continues to fight.

Once per day, a Knight of Glory may produce a sunray as per the 7th level priest spell.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

A New Spelljammer Canon

The Imperial Elvish Fleet is fascist. The Scro are the bedraggled remains of a society nearly wiped out during the First Great Unhuman War, which nevertheless survived and changed enough to begin the Second War. The Known Spheres are replete with hypocrisy disguised as virtue.

This is the new Spelljammer I'm designing (redesigning?) for my players.

The first series of adventures will begin with the PCs imprisoned for many and various crimes against elfdom (potentially including being a goblin, or membership in the anti-Seldarine organization, the Revolutionary Eire'a). The prison, however, is not a traditional brig or prison-ship, but rather the secret imperial resource-world of Highsun.

Rather than have PCs meet in a tavern and decide to go plumb the depths of some tomb together for their first adventure, they will be thrown together by crime and happenstance as the empire-shaking Revolt on Highsun begins. If they want to escape to Wildspace, they'll need to work together, and somehow fight, lie, or sneak their way through the slave-city of Elendin to the Ryledge Shipyard where goods are taken offworld.

The campaign against the Elvish Empire has begun.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Elvish Imperial Armada: a fascist empire

Contemplating the fascist Elven Imperial Armada today.


Gondrilspace, named for the Elvish Armada-Station Gondril which has been its permanent base of operations, was colonized by the Imperial Armada when it was discovered that its central planet, Highsun, was replete with mineral wealth and strong pinewood forests useful in ship construction. Highsun has served as one of a handful of sources of wood, silver, and mithril for the elvish imperial navy.
    Following the Unhuman Wars, Highsun was transformed into an elvish prison-world, and the mining and logging operations that supply the fleet in this part of the Known Spheres. Prisoners held here are divided into three groups: political prisoners from within the empire, criminals who have broken elvish law, and goblin-kin.
    Goblins, Scro, and other undesirables were deported to Highsun during the war as part of the elvish determination to completely expunge the Known Spheres of their kind. While other prisoners may serve a sentence in the mines and logging camps, the third class are never released and are worked until dead.
    The sphere boasts three suns - orbs of molten gold that hurtle erratically through the region. It is a critical nexus in the elvish cold war against the Neogi slavemasters, and serves as a resupply point for the imperial armada moving into Neogi spheres as well as a source of material to construct new ships from and repair old ones.
    The prisoner population of Highsun numbers around 1 million, while the officers of the fleet in the sphere are perhaps 1/10th or 1/5th that. The location of Gondrilspace is highly classified, and Fleet Admiral Emin Cadoc oversees it with absolute authority. He has his own branch of the Elvish Bench and Administration stationed on Gondril for hasty trials.
    Those prisoners who are particularly troublesome on the rocky surface of Highsun are sometimes dispatched in work-teams to the surface of one of the three suns under magical protection to harvest gold.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Spelljammer Returns

For the past three days I've been designing a Spelljammer introductory adventure. Second Edition is back, children. Buckle up.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Carthagos, Jewel of Naxas

Population: 800,000
Government: The Assembly, the Council of the Wise
Military: Polemarch Archaeus Neledos
Law: Archon of the Court Olymfa Philaidos

The city is ruled by the Council of the Wise, which oversees the Library Assembly. The Assembly acts as a deliberative body and the Council as an executive one. Beneath these two organizations stand the Archons and the Polemarch.

The Polemarch, Archaeus Neledos, is in command of the city defenses and all necessary preparations for war. Technically Archaeus is also in charge of the Carthagan fleet, but practically this job falls under the Council of the Wise and the Archon of the Market.

The Archons have the following tasks:

The Archon of the Market, Philemon Execedos, is tasked with maintaining order in the Agora, enforcing the trade laws, and keeping the trade routes to Carthagos and Naxas open. In this capacity, the Archon of the Market has broad authority to issue detentions, command the Carthagan fleet, and serve as the head of the Sworn of Carthagos Agorikon.

The Archon of the Court, Olymfia Philaidos, is the chief magistrate of the city. She oversees the court system and prepares court trials. All lawsuits are handled by means of court trial.

The Archon of the Temples, Taireseus Philaidos, is the head priest of Carthagos. This is an official position, not a mystical one. He arranges the sacrifices in each temple, ensures there are sufficient burnt offerings, and interprets the will of the gods before the Assembly. He also commands the ranks of the Sworn of Carthagos Naulikon.

The Council of the Wise is composed of Wise dating back 150-200 years to the death of Phantigor of Carthagos and the establishment of the Library. Although each could easily have founded their own powerful lineage, the Councilors have instead foresworn heirs and rule Carthagos through its library. These men and women are Nessos, Orpheos, Polikrates, Pythagoras, Antikos, Melite, Hypatia, Aspasia, and Nikarete.

There are five major lineages in Carthagos and countless minor ones. The five larges and most important are the Alchmaeonidae, the Execedai, the Megacloi, Neledes, and the Philaidae.

The Gates of Carthagos
Carthagos boasts six gates. Clockwise from the north, they are the Eliagic Gate leading to Elia and its olive groves, the Diogene Gate, leading to Diogares and its stone quarries, the Piraeon Gate and Port Gates, both leading down to the port of Piraeos, the Nekropolis Gate, which leads directly to the Nekropolitan Hill, and the Diplyon Gate, leading to the town of Diplyon.

These gates make the line of the five main streets of Carthagos, which each run toward the Agora.

The city of Carthagos is the chief city of Naxas and rules the other minor cities on that island. It sits in a commanding height in the valley of Koilos at the head of the Bay of Limnos.

The Acraeus is the tallest hill in Koilos. Once the site of the Temple of Nyx, it was then converted to the shrine of Lysos Acraeus. It was joined by the Palace of Phantigor, which was converted to the Temple of Bel-Amon when that Divinity descended on the city with his winged helm. Atop the old Acraen Temple there now stands the Great Library of Carthagos. Together with the Temple of Bel-Amon these two monuments can be seen for cords and cords in all directions. Even out at sea, the first that a ship can see of the city is the statue of Bel-Amon atop his Acraen temple.

Carthagos stands between the rivers Eridamnon and Menandrion, both of which provide water to the city. The Eridamnon was dammed (legendarily by Bel-Amon, but potentially by the first Lawgiver, Ptolos) and redirected beneath the city walls to provide water pressure, public fountains, and sewer drainage to the city.

The city proper is girdled by a white wall said to have been originally built by the Old Gods in the days when this was a fortress of Nyx. They are impervious to magical assault and wide enough across to mount onagers and other siege machinery. They follow the line of the nearest hills.

A flat black volcanic rock stands near the Acraeus, just to east. This is the Cyclon Stone, sacred to Nyx. It is also where public festivals that require the expenditure of holy myrrh take place. A depression in the heart of the stone is said to be a bowl carved by Nyx to spill the smoking blood of her children.

The craftsman's district is somewhat tighter and more compact than the rest of the city. The buildings are smaller here, and the alleyways that run between them are often unpaved. The Street of Forges is the largest road within the district not counting the main Nekropolitan Way. All smelting activities in the city are required to place at the City Smelters on the Street of Forges.

Perakletes Ironjaw. This smith is famous throughout the city for forging bronze. He is a master weapon smith, and Carthagan bronze blades, spears, and polearms that come from Perakletes' shop are well-known throughout the Circle Sea. He is a gruff, middle-aged, black-haired, man who lost three of his teeth in the last Khian War and thus has a deep hatred for people of that race. He earned his name from his thick and brooding jawline.

Prices at Perakletes are usually half again as much as the open agora, but Perakletan weapons of bronze crit on a 19 and a 20.

Lysa the Shieldworker. Lysa makes shields from yew, bronzewood, and ash. She uses bronze to plate them, and her workshop (which employs twenty slaves) produces the distinctive hoplon of Carthagos. Her painters are always working to paint Carthagan blue and silver on armor.






Friday, February 21, 2020

Skalag's Secret Sight

Level: 3
School/sphere: Divination
Range: Caster
Components: V, S
Duration: Inst.
Casting Time: 1 minute
Area of Effect: 10 foot radius
Saving Throw: Yes (see below)
Reverseable? No

This spell permits the caster to describe a ten-foot area and specify a single day (sunrise to sunset or sunset to sunrise) during its casting. The selected day may be up to 2 weeks prior for every experience level acquired by the wizard, for a maximum of 40 weeks in the past for a level 20 caster.

When the incantation is complete, the caster receives complete visual and auditory knowledge of the 10' region specified during that period of time; he sees every object from every angle that enters the space, hears all sounds, experiences all sources of heat, etc. It is as though the caster were present to examine each individual moment in its entirety, to move about through frozen time and get every possible view, etc. The caster may not interact with the recreation in any way.

As the spell pours this information into the caster's mind in the space of a few seconds, the caster must save vs. spell or else be rendered catatonic by the experience. This catatonia lasts for 1d4 hours.