Friday, September 17, 2021

OSR: Ruby Lips on Tour

This is a post detailing a group of female superhumans for Black Science Superheroes.  Some of these characters may end up being recycled into a mediocre novella or web serial in the future.  I make no promises nor apologies.

Ruby Lips is an alternative rock group that plays soft rock music with pop and folk influences.  Their style is macabre and creepy, with no irony whatsoever.  Their costuming is done by a bunch of guys who really, really like Tim Burton movies and Nightmare Before Christmas.  They are definitely niche and mostly underground, but this hasn't prevented them from developing a small, rabid fanbase.  The secret to their success?  Black magic.  Also, hot girls dressed like a teenager's horny fantasy about goth or monster girls.

source unknown
Vanessa Vamp/Xaya
HD 3
AR none
Atk Sword (1d6+2) or Spell
Mor 12
Saves 10 or less

Enchanting Aura: When Vanessa/Xaya has her illusionary form up, creatures who see it must save.  On a failed save, those creatures are aroused by Vanessa and feel an attraction to her.  They must successfully save to attack or harm her, unless she has seriously wronged them in the past or done something seriously unpleasant in front of them.

Illusory Appearance: Xaya can project an illusion that covers her.  This illusion covers her entirely but does not alter her voice, scent or anything else about her.  It also fails to stand up to physical inspection.  Touching her will still reveal her muscular arms or down fur. 

Fueled by Lust: For each creature that is attracted by her, Xaya gains 1 MD, even if that puts her over 3 MD.

Spellcaster: Xaya is a spellcaster.  She starts with 3 MD.  Her MD burn out on a 5 or 6.  Rolls of doubles or triples trigger corruption.  She knows the spells: A Kiss in the Dark, Defribulate, Illusion, Invisibility, Shocking Blow and Two Black Crows. 

Enslaved: As long as she wears her collar, Xaya can only use the powers she is allowed to.  Usually, this is only her Illusory Appearance and Enchanting Aura. 

Tactics:
- Start with Arms of Hadar
- Hide, cast A Kiss in the Dark
- Cast Invisibility
- Ambush the creatures who aren't caught by the tentacles

Spells:

A Kiss in the Dark
--------------------------------------------------
R: 30'        T: self        D: [dice] minutes

Creates a semi-corporeal illusion of the Wizard.  The Wizard can move and see through this illusion, and the illusion can touch and manipulate objects.  However, the illusion cannot damage anything and if it takes any damage, it pops like a bubble and disappears into a cloud of multi-colored smoke.

Defribulate
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: touch        T: creature            D: one action

You shock someone with enough electricity to restart a stopped heart.  If a creature has died but their body is still mostly intact, this can drag them back to life, assuming they didn't die of something that a restarted heart wouldn't be able to help with, such as being burned alive, digested, decapitated, etc.  If done on a living person, they must succeed a Save or suffer a heart attack.

Creatures that suffer a heart attack must make another save.  On a successful save, the creature takes 2d6 CON damage and take a -[dice] penalty to any STR or CON checks for the next [sum] days.  On a failed save, the creature dies.  This only works on creatures with hearts.  Creatures with multiple hearts get a +1 bonus to their save per heart.

Illusion
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: 30'        T: one object            D: concentration

Create an illusion around an object, or a free standing one.  It can be any image.  This image will move, cannot touch anything, and has no smell or taste.  Additionally, illusions can only add, not remove.

Invisibility
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: 30'        T: [dice] creatures        D: [sum] minutes

[dice] creatures turn invisible for [sum] minutes.  If they attack or do something strenuous before the time limit is up, they turn visible. 

Shocking Blow
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: touch        T: self                D: one action

You may make a melee attack with a metal weapon or with your fist.  On a hit, the target takes [dice]d6 lightning damage and must save.  On a failure, the creature is hurled backwards by 10*[dice]'.

Two Black Crows
-----------------------------------------------------
R: 100'       T: the area around the Wizard  D: [dice] minutes

This spell  summons a murder of Crows [sum] birds strong.  The Wizard can control these Crows and make attacks with them as a free action.  The Swarm of Crows can attack an enemy within range for 1d6 damage, and their attacks automatically hit, unless the enemy is using some kind of defense that the Crows cannot get around (such as setting themselves on fire, being behind something they cannot fly around, etc).  The Swarm itself has 2*[dice] HP, and takes full damage from area of effect abilities and only 1 damage from something that could hit one of them.  For purposes of attacks being made against them, the Crows have an AC of 10+[dice].  Finally, if four or more dice are used to cast this spell, the duration is permanent, and the swarm of Crows remains with the Wizard until they are killed or dismissed.

from here

Description: When she's projecting her illusion, Xaya resembles a leggy blonde with bright red lips and long, golden locks that spill down her shoulders.  She is tall and busty, with exotic face paint, curls of blue-green splashed across her cheeks.  Her outfit is usually something extremely goth, crop tops with leather jackets over them, a glittering piercing in her tongue and navel, strategically ripped dark jeans with a belt covered in red and black squares. 

When she's not, Xaya is revealed to be a four-armed and eyed alien with long ears like a horse's, a wide anglerfish mouth and reversed legs like a deer.  She is covered in down fur that is neon blue, with stripes of violet down her back and covering the tops of her arms and the back of her thighs.  She has a tail, but it's short and stumpy for balance.  Her rack is unchanged though, if anything, it's bigger when she's not wearing her illusion.  She also has short, blunt horns on the crown of her head. 

Personality: Xaya is flamboyant, fond of dramatic gestures.  She loves to show off and is supremely confident in her abilities.  The idea of defeat is something she would never even consider, unless things got extremely dark.  She considers her current imprisonment a mere setback.  She will soon escape and once her full powers are restored, she will take her revenge on Rubenstein and then work on getting off this backwater world.

Weakness: If Xaya has a weakness, it is her need to feed on the lust of other creatures.  She craves attention partially for this reason.  Her other weakness is her tendency to showboat and toy with an enemy before finishing them.  She can get serious, but plays with her food too much.

artist unknown

Morticia Moxley/Dui [Dew-a] Iaxos [z-I-ohs]
HD 3
AR 2 [Natural Armor]
Atk Martial Arts (1d6+1/1d6+1 + grapple or throw)
Mor 11
Saves 10 or less

Grapple or Throw: When she attacks someone, Dui can force that person to make a STR or a DEX check.  If she beats their STR check, she can grapple them, and if she beats their DEX check, she can throw them prone, leaving them vulnerable to someone else's attack.

Shapeshifter: Dui is a shapeshifter, able to alter her appearance to any humanoid form she can see or imagine within one size category.  She can alter her scent, the sound of her voice, hair, eye and skin color, plus her texture.  She does this as an action.  She can also use this to blend into the background and gain a +4 bonus to stealth if she doesn't move or moves slowly.

Enslaved: As long as she wears her collar, Dui Iaxos can only use the powers she is allowed to. 

Tactics:
- Ambush, grab someone and use as a human shield
- Hide, ambush someone
- Pretend to be someone else

Description: Dui currently looks like a girl with light brown skin and dark hair.  She has a heart-shaped face and almond-shaped eyes, which are dark brown.  She is currently wearing make-up to make her look like a cute zombie girl, painted green with special effects make-up applied to give her a few superficial injuries.  She also has a spiderweb painted on her cheek.  Her clothing choices are very gothic lolita, with a poufy skirt made of layers of pink, purple and black, with a corset-like top that pushes up her bodice covered in tiny buttons shaped like spiders.  She wears a pair of rings that look like plastic skulls, but glow in the dark. 

Her true form is vastly different.  As she is a shapeshifer and has been since birth, she does not consider the form she was born as her "true form", but the one she feels most represents her is her "true form".  Her true form thus is a mixture of various alien races, her lips are soft and kissable but flanked by insectine mandibles, her skin soft and pliable like a humans, her head covered in dozens of fractal strands that seem to resemble a curtain of dark blue hair but are actually tiny, glasslike feathers.  Her true form also has a tail and a non-functional stinger, her hands are three fingered and tipped in talons that are purely decorative, and her feet are more bird-like than anything else. 

Personality: Dui is not convinced that things are going as well as Xaya seems to think.  She is pretending to be more broken than she actually is.  She is sad and bitter, but not as much as she pretends to be.  She is angry not with herself, but with Rubenstein.  She doesn't care about killing him, but she would if she had the opportunity, especially if it would help her escape.  She is currently waiting for her chance to escape.  Since she is a shapeshifter, her plan is to simply escape and blend in with the local population.  She is convinced that Rubenstein could never find her then.  The idea of starting from scratch on an alien world depresses her, but not as much as captivity. 

Weakness: Dui's weakness is her caution.  She has probably missed several chances to escape, and might miss a few more.  She doesn't like risks and will retreat before taking a big gamble.  If the choice is to get a smaller, but safer prize or risk everything for the jackpot, she chooses the first one almost every time.

by Ross Draws

Hailey Hexenhammer/Shoyiana
HD 3
AR none
Atk Weapon (1d8) or Firearm [embodied]
Drain Touch (1d6/1d6 radiant) [energy form]
Mor 15
Saves 10 or less

Possessor: Shoyiana is currently possessing a body.  As an action, she can leave her current body and emerge as her energy form.  She can then attempt to claim another body by challening that creature to a CHA contest.  Each round, both of them must make a CHA check.  If Shoyiana wins 3 of those contests, she can possess that creature.  If the other creature wins 3 times, she cannot try to possess that creature until the next day. 

Energy Being: While in energy form, Shoyiana is composed of pure spirit.  She is immaterial and can pass through solid objects.  She cannot be injured by non-magical weapons, poison, cold, necrotic or radiant damage.  She can also attempt to possess people in this form.

Sunlight Vulnerability: While in sunlight in her energy form, Shoyiana takes 1 damage a round and has disadvantage on any roll that does not relate to fleeing or avoiding things.

Enslaved: As long as she wears her collar, Shoyiana can only use the powers she is allowed to.  That list is currently "none".  She is also trapped inside her current body.    

Tactics:
- Fight in your body, take out guys with mana-based powers
- Wait until it dies, possess someone else
- Once all threats are removed, go immaterial and clean up

from Ben 10

Description: The body she is possessing is a short, flat-chested brunette with doe eyes and elfin features.  She is dolled up with make-up to make her look cutesy, which is a sharp contrast to the sexy witch costume they have her in, which mostly consists of a bodysuit with fishnets covering her legs, a cape of shredded silk strands hanging over her back and a big, floppy hat.

Shoyiana's true form is that of a humanoid made of light, resembling a crystal being that light shines through and flickers across, spreading rainbows and stripes of light across her body that move and flow with her attitude.  Her features are less distinct here, shifting and flowing like water into different containers.  Her hair flows behind her in a semi-coherent cloud of light that moves back and forth at varying speeds depending on her emotional state.  When in her true form, she trails sparks behind her and causes minor electrical interference: compasses point toward her when she's close, radios squeal with extra static, videos distort and pictures have weird after-images. 

Personality: Shoyiana is terrified of Rubenstein.  She knows he is powerful, and suspects that he is more than he appears.  She can smell the taint of sorcery on him and fears only one thing more, the ancient beings that have battled her people since the beginning of the universe.  She wants nothing more than to escape, nothing keeps her here, except for the slave-collar.

Weakness: Shoyiana is impossibly old, older than this current civilization.  She fears nothing more than death.  Unlike mortals, who can throw away their lives with courage or bravado, she is ageless and knows the value of life, for should she survive this, she could live until the heat death of the universe.

from Steven Universe

Donald Luke Rubenstein/Karzael (Kar-Zay-el)
SHP 5
AR none
Atk Natural Weapons (2d6, can hit up to 3 adjacent creatures) or Spell
Mor 14
Saves 12 or less
Magic Resistance 6 or less

Damage Threshold: 5.  Ignore all attacks that do less than 5 damage as if they did none.

Magic Resistance: Mana-based attacks and abilities are hard to use against Karzael.  When someone uses one of these against him, there is a 30% chance (6 or less on a d20) that the mana-based ability or attack slides off like a duck off a water.  This causes the attack or ability to slip around him and strike the nearest target.  If there is no obvious choice, roll randomly.

Innate Spellcasting: Karzael has 5 MD.  He can cast the following spells as an action.  He does not trigger Chaos, but his MD do burn out on a 5 or 6.  Karzel knows the spells: Helleportation, Inflict Agony, Wall of Fire, Vampiric Touch and Release Me.

Spirit Being: Karzael is possessing the body of Rubenstein.  He can leave this body as an action, but if he does, he is vulnerable to take sunlight damage (1d6 per round).  He also must possess a body within 5 rounds or he will be banished from our world.  He can possess creatures exactly like Shoyiana, but because he is not native to our universe, cannot remain here indefinitely.

Possessor: Karzael only takes damage from mana-based sources, such as psychic abilities or magic.  Any physical forms of damage only damage Rubenstein's body.  Rubenstein's body has the same Damage Threshold as Karzael, but if it is destroyed, Karzael will live but Rubenstein will not.  Karzael will also be free and must choose either to try and possess a new body or flee this universe.  If Karzael is reduced to 0 SHP, he dies, but if the damage was only magical, the body of Rubenstein will be intact.

Tactics:
- Trap the strongest person
- Kill the weakest
- Divide and conquer

Spells:

Inflict Agony
----------------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: creature        D: one action

One creature you touch takes [sum] psychic damage as pain sears through their body, lighting every nerve on fire.  This damage cannot reduce a creature below 1 HP.  Additionally, after using this spell, a creature can make a save.  On a successful save, that creature regains all the HP it had before taking damage from this spell, minus [dice].  On a failed save, the creature regains no HP.

Ex: For example, a creature with 10 HP takes 8 damage from this spell if cast with 2 [dice].  If the creature successfully saves, he regains that 6 HP (8-[dice(2)]).  If he fails, he regain none of his lost HP. 

Ray of Sickness
--------------------------------------------------------------
R: 30'        T: creature        D: [dice] minutes

Make an attack roll against a creature within range.  On a hit, that creature takes 2[dice] poison damage.

For each [dice] beyond the first, select one of options below:
- The ray also does +[dice] additional damage.  You may select this option multiple times.
- The creature struck takes a -[dice] penalty to STR checks, Saving Throws and attack rolls.
- The creature must save or lose their next action as they spend it vomiting, sneezing or suffering some other symptom (caster's choice).
- The creature must save.  On a failed save, he becomes infected with a contagious disease that he might spread to those around him, assuming he survives.

Release Me
-----------------------------------------------------------
R: self        T: all creature touching you    D: one action

You may cast this spell as a reaction to being grappled or touched or as a normal action on your turn.  All creatures currently in contact with you take [sum] damage, divided equally among all creatures touching you.  If this is enough to reduce a creature to 0 HP, they explode into a shower of giblets and some red mist.  None of the blood or viscera ever gets on you. 

Soul Suck
---------------------------------------------------------
R: 10'        T: creature        D: one action   

One creature within range must save.  If the creature has more HD than [dice], it may add the difference to its save.  If it has 3x or more HD than [dice], it is immune to this spell, automatically passing its save.  On a failed save, the creature has its soul sucked out of its mouth. 

You may release a soul captured this way, which will summon a Psychopomp to come and escort the soul to the afterlife.  Alternatively, you may eat the soul.  If you do, make a saving throw.  If the Soul has more HD than you have class levels, give yourself a penalty equal to the difference.  If the Soul has 3x or more HD than you have class levels, you automatically fail your saving throw. 

On a successful save, you regain 1d6*HD HP, up to your maximum.  Any HD than aren't used to heal you instead replenish an equivalent number of spellcasting dice.

On a failed save, your body is possessed by the Soul you just tore out of its body.

Wall of Force
------------------------------------------------------------
R: 50'        T: A line up to 10*[dice]' long        D: [dice] rounds

The caster creates a wall of force up to 10*[dice]' long and 10+[dice]' high.  The wall can be any shape, as long as it is one continuous path along the ground or a vertical surface. 

The wall of force has [sum]+[dice] HP and takes half damage from all elemental sources, and no damage from sources that deal non-magical sharp or blunt damage.  The wall persists until destroyed or until the duration ends.

Description: In his unaltered human form, Rubenstein resembles a man with a long nose, beady eyes and wiry brown curls tight back in a tight, short ponytail.  He wears sunglasses he is not cool enough to pull off and has a bit of belly, despite the rest of his body looking malnourished and thin.  He dresses like he stumbled out of a 70s disco in some vain attempt to look cool.  He cannot pull it off. 

His altered form is that human form, but straight and lean, stripped of all body fat, leaving him gaunt, with muscles warped and strange.  His flesh flows like liquid and shadowy claws tip his fingers.  His jaw can swing open like an eel, revealing a cavernous opening full of needle teeth.  His eyes can point in different directions and he weeps tears of blood, regardless of his mood or state.

His true form is only visible through true-sight or if he manifests as pure spirit, resembling a huge, goat-legged beast with the face of a beautiful woman and antlers of smoke-stained bone, his bare body covered in thousands of injuries, his chest bearing the faces of dozens of other peoples, each one located just under the skin.  Occasionally his skin stretches and the faces open their mouths to scream silently, as if trying to push through his skin.    

Personality: Rubenstein was a greedy, selfish man who bit off much more than he could chew.  His soul was taken and his body is now worn as a suit by the being known as Karzael, a creature from beyond our universe.  Karzael is possessed by a rapacious hunger to destroy and consume everything he can.  He lives for the sensual pleasures of killing, eating and fucking.  He holds any ideals, but especially noble ones, in contempt.  There is nothing he enjoys more than seducing and corrupting the noble, or just forcing them to do something unpleasant and watching them squirm.   

Weakness: Karzael has two weaknesses.  Firstly, he will hold back out of habit, not utilizing his powers until absolutely necessary.  He wishes to maintain his disguise as much as he can.  Secondly, Karzael is sadistic and if given the chance to hurt someone and get away with it or suffer minimal consequences, he will.

Ruby Lips Plot Hooks:

1d6

1- Xaya sends a coded message to the party, indicating that they need a rescue.  The message is cryptic, but indicates something is up, as Xaya was ordered to never reveal the details of her imprisonment. 
2- A supervillain kidnaps the band and use them for sinister purposes, such as ransoming them back for a large sum.  Karzael, in disguise as Rubenstein, hires the party to try and retrieve "his" girls.  During the chaos of the exchange, the girls may try to escape. 
3- As above, except the girls are the ones who arranged for their own kidnapping, and actually want the supervillain and Karzael to come to blows, in the hopes that the former kills the latter.  They know that Rubenstein has some powers he is concealing, but they do not know that he is actually possessed by Karzael.  As such, they believe that even a lesser Black Cape should be able to take out Rubenstein.
4- The party is hired by Rubenstein to provide security at one of the concerts for Ruby Lips.  During the show, something goes wrong that disrupts Rubenstein's control.  One or more of the girls escape and Rubenstein tells the party about the band's true nature as bound creatures, though he will underplay their danger.  He asks the party to retrieve the girl(s) without harming them.  He will insist that they are evil and portray himself as morally dubious, but not what he truly is. 
5- As above, but during the concert, a zealot/radical attacks the concert with the intention of killing the monsters!  He had a vision from God that Ruby Lips was actually composed of monsters and it is his sacred duty to destroy them.  Stop him.
6- As above, except the vision the Zealot received did not come from God, but was actually transmitted by some villain or group of villains manipulating him for some greater scheme.  Perhaps they want revenge on one of the girls or Rubenstein, or perhaps they want something one of the girls or Rubenstein has, such as the secret of the mind-control collars.  

by Antonio J. Manzanedo

Saturday, September 11, 2021

OSR: Travel and Pursuit Rules

from A Time to Get
These rules are largely drawn from the Angry GM, who came up with them.  

Travel Rules:

The Referee should plan Multiple routes, of varying danger and length of time.  Measure distance in days. 

Divide the wilderness up into territories of various monsters/enemy factions.

Each region/territory is ranked on a Danger Scale.

Danger Scale:
1- Civilized area with rule of law, or barren wilderness
2- The Frontier
3- Enemy Territory
4- Extremely well patrolled and guarded enemy territory
5- A place where every living thing is trying to kill you or is a potential threat, a la the Abyss or the Nine Hells. 

For Encounters, gather six d6s.  Roll them.  Every time you roll the Danger Number or lower, that will equal an encounter.

The six dice equal the six times of day: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Dusk, Midnight, and Predawn.

Each encounter need not be a fight, but should present some form of danger or obstacle to the party.  Depending on who the party encounters and what happens next should determine whether or not violence occurs and if so, how much.  An encounter between a pack of blood-thirsty Orc Raiders will go differently than a squad of deserters from the nearby army, desperate and low on supplies.    

When the party makes camp, log how many days of progress they made.  If they traveled at a normal pace, they will have made one day of progress.  If they went fast, then they make 1 1/3 days of progress.  If they went slow, they made 2/3 of a day.

When traveling fast, the party cannot forage.  They get a -4 penalty to their Navigation check and to their check to avoid people, should they want to do so. 

When traveling normally, no penalty.  The party may forage for food or supplies along the way. 

When traveling slowly, the party has +4 to their rolls to navigate, forage, and avoid stumbling into someone. 

Yami's Modification:

Base Travel Table looks like this, assuming Danger Level 1:

1d6
1- Encounter.  Need not be violent, but there is definitely the chance for combat.
2- Omen.  Sign of a monster nearby. 
3- Difficulty.  You encounter some kind of non-combat difficulty.
4- Quest Event (if applicable).  Ex: if you're hunting a monster, you find signs that it was here.
5- Friendly NPC.  You meet an NPC who will be friendly, assuming you don't try to brutalize him/her.
6- Chance of Treasure.  If you try.

by

Pursuit Rules:

These are rules for running away or chasing someone who is running away.  Only use these if you are dealing with two or more characters or groups of approximately equal speeds.  If one character or group is dramatically faster for some reason, simply let them catch up or escape.

For example, use these rules for when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are chasing the Uruk Hai after the latter kidnapped Meri and Pippin.  Do not use it for when the human bank robber is attempting to run away from Superman.

Da Rulez:

First, everyone should roll a DEX check (1d20+DEX).  If there is a group of roughly similar enemies, they should roll only 1 die per group.  Compare the results of the pursuers to the one being pursued.  If the pursuers roll higher or equal to, they get within striking distance of the one being pursued.

Second, everyone on their turn can choose to Dash or run and take another action.  Dashing means you focus entirely on running.  Dashing gives you advantage on your DEX check and on saves based on dodging, evading or getting out of the way using speed and agility.  If you choose to run and take another action, you can also do something else, such as attempting to tackle or attack someone you are pursuing.

Thirdly, if the pursued creature rolls higher than the pursuers 3 times in a row or 2 times in a row with wide margins (10 or more on a d20), the pursued creature loses their pursuers for the moment.  Depending on the resources of the creatures pursuing, they might be able to find a trail and eventually catch up to the target they were pursuing, but for the moment, the pursued creature has escaped.

Examples:

Royce and William Longtooth are fleeing from the city guard.  Royce rolls a 9 and Longtooth rolls a 3, as compared to the guardsmen's 16.  The Guardsmen catch up to them and can attempt to grapple them to stop their movement, attack them or run ahead to cut them off.

Lord Dreadgrave is fleeing from the remains of his destroyed zombie army, pursued by Bold Alicia and Jon Silverfist.  Dreadgrave rolls a 12, which is enough to beat Alicia's 10 so he manages to stay ahead of her, but not enough for him to escape from the quick hands and sharp blades of Jon Silverfist, who rolled a 17.

from Batman Adventures #9

Chase Complications: 

Roll on the following table to spice up a chase through an environment.  For the purpose of this table, the one being pursued will be referred to as the prey and the one pursuing will be referred to as the hunter. 

Urban-

1d12

1- The prey encounters a beggar, who steps into his way, asking for money.  Succeed on a DEX check to dodge around him or a STR check to shove him down.  Throwing some money to the side will automatically move him out of the way.   
2- The prey runs into a tightly-packed crowd that is marching, watching something or simply filling the space ahead.  Make a STR check to shove your way through or allow yourself to be moved in the direction the crowd is moving.  If the crowd is stationary, this is not an option.  
3- The prey runs into a fight.  Two or more people are brawling in the street, with a group of people gathered around them to watch.  Prey and hunter must save or stumble into the crowd or the fighters and get dragged into the brawl.
4- The prey runs into a dead end.  There are 1d4-1 potential escape routes, but they are more difficult.  These might involve climbing a fence or wall, scrambling up the side of a building, ducking under a vehicle, etc. 
5- The prey's current path ends and he must turn.  The prey gets clues about what is at each end- one way seems to lead to a construction site, while the other leads to the open street, for example.  If far enough ahead, the hunter must make a guess at which way the prey went. 
6- The prey runs into an area with some hazard scattered across the ground, such as spilled water, small round objects, or sharp objects that could pierce a boot.  Both hunter and prey must either slow down or make a save to avoid injuring themselves or falling on their faces. 
7- The hunter finds the direction the prey ran in suddenly covered or blocked by something.  This could be a parade, a wall of vehicles, a barricade, etc.  The prey must quickly choose an alternate route or make a DEX check to attempt to vault or slide over the obstacle.   
8- The prey is suddenly faced with a potentially breakable obstacle in his way.  For example, a window or a sheet of glass, a fruit stand, a small person oblivious to the chase happening right behind them.  The prey and hunter must both make a STR check to successfully smash through, or a DEX check to avoid the wreckage.  If the prey smashes his way through, then the hunter does not need to, as the obstacle has been removed. 
9- The area the prey moved through is suddenly obscured by smoke, fog or some other obstacle that breaks line of sight with the hunter.  The hunter must succeed a COG save to spot the prey before they get too far ahead.
10- The way in front of the prey is partially blocked by a maze of crates, barrels or other low obstacles.  Both prey and hunter must succeed a DEX or STR check to dodge or push through.  Failed checks give disadvantage on next pursuit roll. 
11- A member of the local police force or a concerned citizen sees the chase and decides to intervene, making an attempt to stop either prey or hunter, whoever the creature's DEX check puts them closer to.  The obstructed party should make a STR check to shove him out of the way, a DEX check to dodge around them or a CHA check to impress upon the creature the importance of the chase. 
12- No obstacle, the path is clear.  

Wilderness-

1d20

1- The prey's flight disturbs a flock of birds, bats or some other small flying creature, which swarm out around them.  The prey and hunter must both succeed a COG save, the prey to not freak out and go in another direction and the hunter to not lose the prey in the chaos.
2- The prey and hunter pass through a muddy or slippery area and must succeed on DEX checks or fall on their facess, giving their opposite time to catch up/get further ahead.
3- The ground the prey was running across is actually not as stable as it appears.  They must make a DEX save to avoid falling into the hole that opens beneath their feet.  The hunter must make a DEX check to move quickly around it or a STR save to leap across the hole.
4- The prey accidentally startles a poisonous animal such as scorpion or snake.  He must succeed a DEX save to avoid being struck if he moves, or he can remain still and not need to make the save. 
5- The weather shifts and it starts 1d3 [1= Raining or snowing; 2= Fog rolls in; 3= Storming.]  Visibility is reduced and the hunter must succeed a COG check to keep track of where the prey went.  The prey may have to save, as determined by the Referee, to avoid getting lost unless the prey doesn't care about that and just wants to escape.
6- The prey stumbles upon a dangerous creature or group of creatures, such as a bear or a pack of Goblins armed with slings and shortswords.  The prey must make a DEX save to avoid being attacked out of reflex, while the hunter will have to either go around or risk confronting these creatures to try and catch the prey.    
7- The prey is suddenly faced with a natural obstacle, such as a fallen tree or a river.  He and the hunter must succeed a STR check to leap over this obstacle or find another way around it.
8- The wind suddenly blows up a cloud of grit, dust or other loose matter.  The prey and hunter must make a CON save or be temporarily blinded by the wind-borne matter.
9- The prey and hunter blunder into an area filled with thorny plants.  They both must succeed a DEX save or be caught on the thorns.  They can tear free as a free action, but this causes the thorns to slash into that creature's flesh, doing damage.
10- The prey and hunter stumble upon some uneven ground.  They both must make a DEX save to move quickly through it, otherwise they get disadvantage on their next Pursuit roll.
11- The prey is surprised by a sudden drop.  They must succeed a DEX save to not tumble down the drop, if they fail, they take some damage.  The hunter must save as well.  If the prey chooses to roll down, this calls for a CON check to get up and be able to run after rolling down the drop and being dizzy. 
12- The prey stumbles upon a hunter's snare, COG save to recognize this and avoid tripping it.  If the prey passes the save, the hunter must save as well, unless the prey yelled or made some indication of danger ahead.  If the snare is tripped, there is a 2-in-6 chance the hunter is nearby and will show up to investigate what he caught.
13- The prey spooks a group of animals, which flee away from them, scrambling in all directions.  The prey must succeed a DEX or CHA save or be injured by the fleeing animals.  The hunter must also save to avoid the few that scramble his way.
14- The prey runs through an area of obscuring foliage.  The hunter must succeed a COG check to spot which way the prey went.
15- The prey and hunter encounter an area of thick brush.  They both must make a STR check to shove their way through.  Failed STR save mean disadvantage on their next pursuit rolls. 
16- The prey and hunter's chase draw the attention of the spirit that rules over the wilderness they are traveling through.  This spirit will immediately manifest and demand to know what on earth they are doing.  The spirit may be hostile, or it may be simply confused.
17- 20- No complication, the path is clear.

from Goldeneye

Saturday, September 4, 2021

OSR: Lesser Embodied Undead

The spell Create Servant is for amateurs. 

Real Necromancers understand that reanimating any old corpse is simple, once you know the secret.  But the true expert is one who can not only reanimate dead remains, but choose what kind of spirit that is called up to inhabit the remains the Necromancer has chosen.

from Left 4 Dead

Zombies-

Number Appearing: 1d20+10
Alignment: True Neutral, in the case of ones controlled by a Necromancer.  Otherwise, Chaotic Evil.
Languages: None.
Treasure: None. 

Zombies are the cheapest and easiest Undead to create.  They are designed to be created from corpses that are partially or mostly rotten, but still have a bit of meat on them.  Their bodies have started to break down, robbing them of their speed and coordination, but they still possess enough nerves and muscle for the spell to work without any additional preparation.  Zombies are born to be cannon fodder and as such, are usually created in fast numbers. 

The spirits called up to inhabit zombies are little smarter than dogs, and dim ones at that.  Being trapped in a rotting corpse still pains them, but they are unlikely to understand why they are in pain, only that they are.  Unbound Zombies eat because they are driven to do it, and they hurt others in a futile attempt to relieve their suffering.  Bound Zombies can be commanded to do specific things, but since they lack power and precision, Necromancers usually keep their directions simple, such as "Charge", "Eat" or "Attack"!

Additionally, because Zombies are so often weak, they are often given over to Disease Spirits, which are allowed to infest their bodies along with the bound spirit.  These spirits fill Zombies with their power, causing the Zombie's fluids and flesh contain some of the Spirit's power.  Those who are injured by the Zombie risk catching the disease and allowing it to enter their body.

Statblock:

Zombie
HD 0- HP 1
AR none
Atk Bite or Claw (1d6)
Mor 20
Saves 7 or less

Undead: Undead do not feel pain or get tired.  They are immune to poison and disease.  They do not need to eat, sleep or breathe.  Any spell that says "Undead" in its title or description is talking about something like this.

Sunlight Vulnerability: Undead take 1d6 radiant damage for every round they spend in sunlight.

Diseased Fluids: Zombies can carry a disease.  If this is the case, when injured by a Zombie, make a CON save.  On a failed save, you catch the disease the Zombie carries.  The most common disease a Zombie carries is Zombie Rot.

Moan: Zombies, unless ordered otherwise, automatically wail at the sight of prey.  This sound alerts all within 100' and if there are other Zombies nearby, it will attract +1d6 of them.  These Zombies will arrive next round and if they see you, they will moan, summoning more Zombies. 

Tactics:
- Approach the nearest target
- Grapple
- Bite next round

<Disease Rules:>

When you come into contact with something that is contaminated with the mana of a Disease or Plague Spirit, such as the blood or fluids of someone infected, their possessions, the insides of the room where they expired or were sick, then make a CON save.  On a failed save, you catch the disease.

Each day you are infected you can make a CON save.  You may receive penalties or bonuses, depending on where you are and what you are doing.  Clean sheets, bed rest and good food grant bonuses.  Adventuring, eating bad food or botched surgeries grant penalties.  Pass 2 CON saves in a row to be cured. 

Treatments or cures grant bonuses depending on whether or not they actually work.  Snake oil cures do nothing, while a cure that does work might give you a +10 bonus to your save (-10 if using roll-under saves).    

Diseases can also be cured by magic, or by bribing the spirit.  Disease Spirits are small and weak, and will usually take what they can get.  They can be bribed with prayers, a new victim to infect or threatened with magic that cures disease, which destroys them.  Most Plague Spirit have the temperment of a rabid weasel crossed with a drug addict.  Loathsome and pathetic in equal amounts. 

Plague Spirits are much more dangerous, being able to infect many hundreds, if not thousands of hosts at once, instead of just a handful.  Most mass outbreaks of disease are composed of large confederations of Disease Spirits of a similar type, which is why different people feel different symptoms and at different severities.  But Plague Spirits are singular, amassing large numbers of hosts before over-extending and being beaten back, or simply running out of victims and destroying themselves.  Plague Spirits usually cannot be bribed to leave a victim, unless promised lavish prizes in exchange for doing so.   

</Disease Rules:>

Zombie Rot: The infected person loses 1 CON per hour.  When he drops to 0 CON, he falls into a coma that resembles death for 1d4 hours.  Then, at the end of the coma, the infected person rises as a Skag (see below).

Zombie Horde
HP 300
Damage Threshold 1
Atk Bite (1d6/1d6/1d6 + see below)
Mor 18
Saves 8 or less

Army: A Zombie Horde is a group of 50 or more Zombies working and fighting together as a unit.  Armies move in groups- 3 can walk abreast in a 10' wide hallway.  Three soldiers in the Army are able to surround one enemy and more will be needed should there be more enemies, or should they be standing shoulder-to-shoulder or back-to-back.  Armies make all saves against area-of-effect spells with disadvantage and should a spell or ability of that kind do damage, they take full damage if evading it is based on DEX or agility.   

Variable Attacks: An Army can make a variable amount of attacks, especially if it is able to surround an enemy.  At base, Armies can make three attacks, but depending on positioning, may be able to make more.  If the Referee rules it, an Army may make a number of additional attacks up to 10 potential attacks, but this is only in a situation where a group of enemies has been completely surrounded. 

Damage Threshold: Attacks against the Army automatically hit, instead have the attacker just roll damage and compare it to the Damage Threshold.  Any attack that equals or exceeds the threshold does normal damage to the Army's HP, but any attack that fails to reach or exceed the Damage Threshold is ignored, as if it did no damage.  

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability

Grabbing Hands: Zombies who cannot bite yet will seek to grab any foe that comes up in front of them.  Creatures can resist this by beating the Horde's STR check with a STR or a DEX check of their own.  If the Horde wins, that creature has disadvantage on defense rolls until it succeeds in a STR contest against the Horde or until the Horde is dead.  If the creature wins, it makes defense rolls as normal.

artist unknown

Skeleton-

Number Appearing: 1d8+4
Alignment: True Neutral, in the case of ones controlled by a Necromancer.  Otherwise, Chaotic Evil.
Languages: None
Treasure: None

Skeletons are the basic infantry employed by Necromancers.  They are tougher than Skags and generally more versatile.  Additionally, they are popular among novices and experts alike because of how easily they can be modified.  And sure, it might be a cliche, but the reason why cliches exist is because they work so well.

Statblock:

Skeleton
HD 1
AR 1 [Scavenged Armor Pieces]
Atk Weapon (1d6)
Mor 20
Saves 7 or less

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability: [see above].

Already Dead: Unless decapitated, cut to pieces, burnt to ashes by sunlight or reduced to zero HP by a magical attack or weapon, the Undead has an X-in-6 chance of their body knitting itself back together and recovering from the damage they took, where X is equal to the number of HD they have.

Bare Bones: Skeletons take half damage from all sources of damage that would do deal sharp (piercing and slashing) damage.  Arrows do no damage to them.  If bullets exist in this universe, they do no damage as well.

Tactics:
- Follow pre-programmed tactics
- Fight in formation
- Do not fear your own destruction, fight to the death if ordered to

by ArtDeepMind

Skeleton Army
HP 150
Damage Threshold 2
Atk Bite (1d6/1d6/1d6 + see below)
Mor 18
Saves 8 or less

Army: A Skeleton Army is a group of 50 or more Skeletons working and fighting together as a unit.  Armies move in groups- 3 can walk abreast in a 10' wide hallway.  Three soldiers in the Army are able to surround one enemy and more will be needed should there be more enemies, or should they be standing shoulder-to-shoulder or back-to-back.  Armies make all saves against area-of-effect spells with disadvantage and should a spell or ability of that kind do damage, they take full damage if evading it is based on DEX or agility.   

Variable Attacks: An Army can make a variable amount of attacks, especially if it is able to surround an enemy.  At base, Armies can make three attacks, but depending on positioning, may be able to make more.  If the Referee rules it, an Army may make a number of additional attacks up to 10 potential attacks, but this is only in a situation where a group of enemies has been completely surrounded. 

Damage Threshold: Attacks against the Army automatically hit, instead have the attacker just roll damage and compare it to the Damage Threshold.  Any attack that equals or exceeds the threshold does normal damage to the Army's HP, but any attack that fails to reach or exceed the Damage Threshold is ignored, as if it did no damage.  

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability, Bare Bones

Tactics:
- Varies, see below

What has this Skeleton Army been instructed to do?

1d4

1- Form a shield wall, slowly advance.  The first rank focuses on their shields while the second stabs at anything in front of those shields.   
2- Archers, then javelineers, then spearmen.  The archers fire, then retreat behind the spearmen.  The spearmen fling then javelins then tighten ranks and advance.
3- Calvary Charge.  (1d10+2%) The Skeleton Army is mounted on Undead horses, pigs or other creatures that could serve as mounts.  The mounted skeletons charge in and trample their enemies, then the skeletons on foot come in and mop up. 
4- Hook and Slash.  All the skeletons are armed with swords or spears, but 1-in10 spearmen have hooked polearms that can be used to snag enemy weapons and shields.  The polearm Skeletons unbalance the opponents and create openings for the other Skeletons to exploit.

Variant Types of Skeleton:

1d6


1- Skeleton Archer.  The best weapon to use is one that can't hurt you.  Skeleton Archers do not scared or nervous or unsteady as they calmly, carefully pick off foes from a distance.  Some are merely skeletons given bows, while others only exist from the waist down, sitting in fixed positions, their legs and hips used for other projects. 
2- Skeleton Bomber.  The Skeleton has a bomb.  He's going to run up to you, give you a hug and then the Necromancer is going to detonate the bomb strapped to him. 
3- Skeleton Wrestler.  The Skeleton's arms flower at the joints, giving him six arms blossoming from the elbow.  These arms make the skeleton an amazing grappler.  His job is to pin down foes while his allies circle around them and stab them repeatedly in the back.
4- Skeleton Crab.  A Skeleton with his legs removed and replaced with four arms and hands.  Much faster than a normal skeleton and an extremely good climber. 
5- Skeleton Apes.  Sometimes, these are actual ape skeletons.  Other times, they are humanoid skeletons with the feet replaced with hands.  This allows them to hang upside down and attack at the same time and makes them good climbers as well. 
6- Skeleton, Giant.  Bigger is usually better, or so this necromancer believed.  This is either the skeleton of a a very big creature reanimated, or it is dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of skeletons fused together into a giant humanoid shape.

artist unknown

Skeleton Heroes-

Number Appearing: Varies, see tables below.
Alignment: True Neutral, in the case of ones controlled by a Necromancer.  Otherwise, Chaotic Evil.
Languages: None
Treasure: Skeleton Heroes usually carry high quality or magical weapons and wear armor of a similar quality.

Skeletons can be empowered much more than normal Undead, as they aren't limited by any remaining organic tissue.  As such, most of the most powerful Undead in a Necromancer's entourage will be Skeletons.  Skeletons that are empowered beyond their common brethren tend to have certain tells.  These tells include such things as the Skeleton's hollow eye sockets glowing brighter than normal, the Skeleton being cloaked in a cold mist or subtly glowing with a sickly witchlight that is only visible in darkness or dim light.

Statblock:

Skeleton Hero
HD 1d4+1
AR 3 [Good Quality Armor]
Atk Varies, see below
Mor 20
Saves 7(7+HD) or less

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability, Already Dead, Bare Bones

Tactics:
- Varies, see below

To customize a Hero Skeleton, roll on the tables below:

How many Skeleton Heroes does this Necromancer have?

1d6

1- 1
2- 2
3- 1d3
4- 1d3+1
5- 1d4
6- 1d4+2

What does this Skeleton Hero do?

1d6

1- He has four arms, each one carrying a curved blade.  Makes 4 attacks, each one doing 1d6+1 damage on a hit.
2- He has two additional torsos, each with arms and a head sprouting from his back.  Each one is armed with a bow and rain arrows down while he fights.  He is armed with a bow of his own, or a spear for close-up work.  Makes 1 melee attack that does 1d8+3 damage while the 2 bow attacks do 1d6+1 each.
3- He has arms made of dozens of humeruses, ulna and radiuses, making him look like he has beefy arms.  He wields a massive bow that can fire arrows that rip holes in the bottom of ships or punch through stone walls.  When not using his bow, he fights with a hammer that would look absurd carried by anyone but him.  He makes 1 bow attack that does 2d12 or 2 hammer attacks that do 1d12 damage.
4- He wields a bullwhip, entangling weapons and opening long slashes on unprotected flesh.  The oil he coats his whip in is toxic or poisonous in some horrible way.  When he needs more power, he switches to a sword.  He can use his whip which requires a saving throw and can target up to two creatures, or he can make 4 sword attacks that do 1d6.
5- A duelist, clad in tattered silks with a long, chisel-point sword.  Bows before engaging opponents.  Can parry multiple attacks and will allow creatures to injure him to strike his opponent.  Makes 2 sword attacks that are each do 1d6+3.
6- A skeleton modified with claws and teeth taken from beasts.  Stalks enemies like prey, striking from surprise with white fangs and petrified claws.  Makes 3 attacks, two claw attacks that do 1d8 damage and one bite attack that does 2d4.

by

Skags-

Number Appearing: 1d4+4
Alignment: True Neutral, in the case of ones controlled by a Necromancer.  Otherwise, Chaotic Evil.
Languages: None
Treasure: Since Skags resemble normal people, except for their pallor and scent, they tend to wear whatever they did in life.  Some of them are even adorned in fine silks, delicate fabrics or jewelry. 

Skags are Undead with all their meaty bits still intact.  They are only made from the freshest corpses.  Some Necromancers even use magic on them to slow or temporarily curtail the process of decomposition, preventing the Skag from rotting and spoiling it's good looks.  Others who lack the magical knowledge of how to do this sometimes resort to more unorthodox methods.

The spell, Create Servant, usually creates Skags. 

But why create Skags at all?

There are two primary reasons.  Firstly, Skags can run.  Zombies are rotting and decaying, so they can't move well.  Skeletons, with the exception of Heroes, move slowly because efficiency is important, as mana is the only thing holding them together.  They can't afford to burn through tons of it.  But Skags, with their mostly-intact musculature, can move with minimal energy and with greater coordination than most lesser Undead.

Secondly, Skags are sneaky.  Zombies are obviously unsneaky, with their limited coordination.  Skeletons rattle with their armor and their bony feet scrape along the ground.  But a Skag in stocking feet or barefoot can easily creep around and report to the Master what is going on.  These two reasons make Skags invaluable.

Finally, there is a third, less practical reason for the creation of Skags.  Sometimes Necromancers are paralyzed or tormented by guilt for what they have done, either in general or toward a specific person.  As such, they sometimes preserve the body of someone they love and even treat that person like they are still alive.  For example, if a Necromancer accidentally killed a little girl, he might preserve her body, dress the Skag in pretty dresses and have it tell him it's alright, everything is fine.  

Statblock:

Skag
HD 1d4
AR 1 [Natural Armor]
Atk Bite + Claw or Weapon (1d8 + 1d6)
Mor 20
Saves (7+HD) or less           

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability, Already Dead

Tactics:
- Sneak around to scout
- Ambush vulnerable enemies
- Don't stand and fight

Skags that are not maintained slowly degrade and turn into zombies.    

from D&D 3E

Crawling Claw-

Number Appearing: 1d6+4
Alignment: True Neutral, in the case of ones controlled by a Necromancer.  Otherwise, Chaotic Evil.
Languages: None
Treasure: None

Crawling Claws are not made exclusively from the hands of thieves and murderers, as folklore would suggest.  Additionally, they are not usually created to fight.  Most of the time, Crawling Claws are created to be lab assistants.  They make good tools to threaten apprentices, and sometimes a Necromancer just needs a helping hand.

Statblock:

Crawling Claw
HD 0- 1 HP
AR none
Atk Scratch (1d4)
Mor 20
Saves 7 or less

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability

Hanger-On: When a Crawling Claw damages a creature, it can choose to cling to that creature.  While on a creature, it can slip under their armor and clothing and crawl over their body, doing 1d4 damage a turn as an action.  The Crawling Claw can be pulled off by challenging it to a DEX contest.  If it wins, you can't catch it, but if you win, you can grab it and throw it off.  A Crawling Claw on someone's body can also choose to impose a -1d6 penalty on them instead of doing damage.  

Tactics:
- Drop onto someone
- Scrabble over them, doing damage or impeding their actions
- Make a nuisance of yourself

Crawling Claws created to be weapons are usually modified to make them more dangerous. 

How has this Crawling Claw been upgraded?

1d4

1- It has metal fingernails.  It does 1d6 sharp damage on a hit.
2- One of the fingers was replaced with a stinger.  It can sting one person.  The stinger is usually filled with either hallucinogens or horrible poison.
3- It has metal wires tied to the fingers and connecting it to a source of power.  The Claw clamps on and electricity passes through the wire, electrocuting the creature the Claw is clinging to.
4- The Hand has a magical glyph tattooed on it's palm.  If it touches a creature, that creature 1d6 [1= Takes 1d6 acid damage as the clothing or armor the Claw touched turns to acidic slime; 2= Takes 1d6 ice damage and has that part of the body covered in ice, imposes a -1d6 Attack and Defense penalty until the ice is thawed or broken off; 3= Takes 1d6 fire damage and catches on fire; 4= Takes 1d6 DEX damage as the flesh under the glyph starts to turn to stone; 5= Takes 1d6 necrotic damage; 6= The hand drains 1d6 HP from the creature it touches then by touching another creature, it can transfer that energy back.  The hand will usually drop off and wait for the Necromancer to pick it up.]  Some of these options use the Claw as a suicide weapon, as the blowback from using the glyph will destroy the fragile undead, as in the case of the ones that use fire or acid.

Some Crawling Claws are also given the ability to levitate and fly.  These hands are dangerous for a number of reasons, usually because of what they are carrying.

What horrible thing are the Flying Claws carrying?

1d6  
 
1- Flasks of oil.  One of them is carrying a torch.
2- Daggers.  They're a lot easier to make then a bunch of dancing weapons. 
3- Rope or wires.  They swarm around a creature, unspooling their cords and entangling the creature, then pull them tight to leave the creature bound up and helpless.
4- Large rocks.  They fly overhead and drop them on people.  Buckets full of gravel also work for this purpose.
5- A length of wood or metal.  They fly straight at the target, either at ankle level to trip them or at neck level to harm them.  Sometimes the length of wood has metal spikes along it's length to impale creatures.
6- Half carry slings, the others bags of stones or metal balls.

Skeleton Mage-

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: True Neutral, in the case of ones controlled by a Necromancer.  Otherwise, Chaotic Evil.
Languages: The local Lingua Franca
Treasure: Fine robes, perhaps a few jeweled rings or a gilded scepter

Sometimes you need a little extra firepower, but you don't want to risk another Apprentice, or you need something to draw the attention of a nosy group of adventurers who keep chopping up your poor zombies.  What's a discerning Necromancer to do?  The answer is the same as the one from the Red Ruler who brews up a Chaos Beast, if you can't hire or find the necessary muscle, make your own.

A Skeleton Mage, sometimes known as a Psuedolich, is a certain type of Undead created with the ability to cast spells.  They are sometimes given the body to talk, or more often, for the Necromancer to puppeteer them directly.  Then, clad in ermine robes and plundered jewelry, resting on a throne of bones, they are the ideal red herring to draw a pack of adventurers while the actual Necromancer sneaks out the back with the rest of his loot and skeletons. 

Skeleton Magi are also sometimes used as retainers by powerful Necromancers or Liches.  But care must be taken with such creatures- all Undead are technically intelligent, but they are limited by the orders placed on them.  However, in order to be effective, Skeleton Magi have to given a wider degree of latitude then most.  So Necromancers must be careful when creating and commanding such Undead, for the possibility for treachery from such creatures is never far away. 

Statblock:

Skeleton Mage
HD 1d4+2
AR none
Atk Wand (1d6+2/1d6+2 necrotic) or Spell
Mor 20
Saves (7+HD) or less           

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability, Already Dead, Bare Bones

Spellcaster: Skeleton Magi have the ability to cast spells.  They have MD equal to their HD.  Their MD burn out on a 5 or 6.  If they roll doubles or triples, they invoke Chaos.  Roll on the table below for that result.  The Skeleton Mage has the following spells prepared: Circle of Death, Cloudkill, Cone of Cold, Mage Armor and Vampiric Touch.    

Chaos of the Skeleton Mage:
1d6

1- The Skeleton Mage loses his action as he spends it vomiting up loose bones and black sludge.  The sludge is horribly poisonous for 1d4 rounds, after that it loses any power it had and becomes just sticky, viscous black liquid that reeks of rot and death.
2- A bolt of dark energy flies out of the Skeleton Mage and begins flying around the room.  All creatures must save.  The first creature to fail his save takes 1d8 necrotic damage.  The bolt persists for 1d6 rounds, after which it vanishes.
3- One random creature within 100' of the Skeleton Mage must save.  On a failed save, that creature soul is torn out his body.  On a successful save, the creature takes 1d6 necrotic damage.
4- All skeletons within 50' of the Skeleton Mage start glowing, including the skeletons inside living creatures, which shine through the flesh.  This effect lasts for 1d10 minutes.
5- One random object made of organic material animates as a 1d4 HD Undead and tries to kill the nearest living being.  This could be the Prophet's silk robe, the wooden handle of the Fighter's sword, the vellum pages of the Wizard's spellbook, etc.  This new Undead, if it doesn't have one, gains a method of movement and harming those around it.
6- The ground for 30' around the Skeleton Mage suddenly transmutes into sucking quicksand.  Creatures standing near it start taking 1d6 STR damage a round as they sink and have to make a STR save with penalties equal to the amount of STR damage taken.  For example, if your STR is reduced to 12, you have to save as if 12 was your STR.  STR damage done like this is healed as soon as the creature is freed from the quicksand. 

Tactics:
- Cast a defensive spell first
- Then cast your most powerful offensive spell
- Hit the strongest target with your next most powerful spell next round
- Refresh any defense spells and repeat as necessary

To customize a Skeleton Mage, roll on the tables below:

How many spells does the Skeleton Mage have?

1d4

1- 3
2- 4
3- 5
4- 6

And those spells are?

1d12

1- Circle of Death
2- Cloudkill
3- Cone of Cold
4- Harden Bone
5- Hateful Ground
6- Mage Armor
7- Magic Missile
8- Ring of Frost
9- Screaming Skull
10- Teeth of the Stone Dragon
11- Vampiric Touch
12- Wall of Bones

New Spells:
    
Harden Bone
-----------------------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: creature with skeleton    D: [dice] minutes

One creature you touch takes [dice] less damage for the duration and gains resistance to bludgeoning damage (takes half damage) for the same period.

Hateful Ground
---------------------------------------------------
R: 50'        T: ground        D: [dice] minutes

You target an area of ground or floor made up of up to [dice] 10' x 10' squares.  Any creature that crosses one of these squares takes [sum] sharp damage, save for half, as phantom blades surge up out of the ground and slash at them.  There is no indication of what ground is safe, except when the blades are attacking someone.

If cast with 3 or more [dice], you can designate a password that if spoken aloud, will allow a creature to safely pass over the hexed ground without being damaged.

Ring of Frost
------------------------------------------------------------
R: [dice] x 10' radius         T: area     D: [dice] rounds

All creatures around you take 1d4 damage, save for half, as you cover the affected area in a layer of ice. Calm water will be frozen into a brittle bridge.

Every creature that fails its Save is frozen to whatever surface they were touching.  Objects are considered to automatically fail.  This freezes Boots to the ground, keys in their locks, doors open or shut, etc.  If in water, creatures are usually immobilized from the feet down unless they were in deeper water.  Attempting to break loose is an opposed Strength check. The ice has a Strength of 10 + ([dice] x 2).

This spell comes courtesy of Red Kangaroo, from here.      

Screaming Skull
-------------------------------------------------------------
R: touch        T: skull        D: varies

By touching a skull, you can awaken the leftover energies in that skull.  The skull gains the ability to talk and will say what you tell it to say.  You can also speak through it like the skull is a puppet.  If not given any instructions on what to say, the skull just screams when it sees a living creature.  The skull can talk for [dice] minutes, or if this spell is cast with 4 or more [dice], permanently.

At any point during the duration, you can command the skull to explode.  This does [dice]d6 damage, save for half, to every creature within 10*[dice]'.

Teeth of the Stone Dragon
-------------------------------------------------------------
R: 50'        T: up to [dice] creatures    D: one action

You create [dice] stone projectiles out of the earth in front of you and fire them at up to [dice] creatures.  Each creature must save or take 1d6+[dice] damage.  On a successful save, the creature takes [dice] damage instead.  Creatures targeted by more than one projectile make their saves with disadvantage.  Creatures with shields make their saves with advantage, unless targeted with multiple projectiles, then they make their saves as normal.   

Wall of Bones
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R: 50'        T: A line up to 10*[dice]' long        D: one action

The caster creates a wall of bones up to 10*[dice]' long and 10+[dice]' high.  The wall can be any shape, as long as it is one continuous path along the ground.  Any creatures in the path of the wall when it is created take [dice] sharp damage as sharp bones pierce their flesh.  Any creatures that touch the wall after it has been created take 1d6+[dice] sharp damage.

The wall has [sum] HP, takes half damage from sharp and anyone who attacks it with a melee weapon that does bludgeoning damage takes [dice] sharp damage as tiny flecks of bone shatter off and cut the soft flesh of his face, hands and the inside of his mouth and throat.  The wall persists until destroyed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

OSR: 8 Magic Shields

 

artist unknown

Vulcana:

A disk of black basalt rimmed with a razor edge of obsidian.  Smells of ash and sulfur, and perpetually warm.

The true origin of the shield has been lost, but this story is the one most often associated with it.  In a city near a long-sleeping volcano, a small cult of Chaos lived secretly among the people.  For many years they had terrorized the population with acts of terror, in an attempt to overthrow and weaken their host government.  The authorities were helpless against them, until a group of adventurers captured one of their officers, who revealed many names after he was tortured.  Armed with this new information, the City Watch and Temple Guards began rounding up those named and obtaining other names.  The leader of the cult in the city, a servant of chaos named Galiel, heard that and was terrified.  But one night, when in hiding, he received a dream where an Angel of Isfet came to him.  "The Gods of Chaos have chosen you," the Angel told him, "You are special among your brethren.  Climb the mountain and seize your destiny."  So Galiel gathered up his friends and family, for he feared to leave them in the city, and left, heading for the nearby mountain. 

But as they climbed, they were attacked by bandits, who told him they would slay him if he did not hand over his food and money.  Galiel lied to them and said he had no money, so the bandits killed some of his friends, causing the rest to run away, leaving Galiel with only his wife, children and father.  Galiel then handed over his money and food, and begged him to spare them.  He revealed who he was.  The bandits decided to spare him, as they felt leaving a servant of Chaos alive was more cruel than killing him.  But they warned him not to go up the mountain, for he would surely die. 

Galiel refused to listen.  He knew the Gods had chosen him, so he continued onward.  About halfway up the mountain, they came upon a number of blackberry bushes.  Galiel's father went with the children to pick berries, but as he did, they found a couple of bear cubs.  When the children marveled at their cuteness, the father recognized the danger and sent them away.  This came just in time, for a bear emerged from the bushes and tore him to shreds, killing him.  Galiel mourned this loss and his wife begged him to turn back, but Galiel refused.  He had already lost so much.  He had to go on. 

They buried his father and proceeded up the mountain.  Then they came to a swift-flowing river.  By now they were hungry and thirsty, so Galiel's wife went to draw water for her husband.  But when she did, Galiel's daughter jumped into the river, thinking it shallower than it was.  Unfortunately, not only was it deep, but it was fast-flowing.  She was swept away, and when his wife attempted to pull her out, she was dragged down.  Before Galiel's eyes, both of them were swept downstream and out of sight.  At this point, Galiel's son told him it was foolish to continue, that he didn't want his father to die.  But Galiel, having lost almost everything, realized what was going to happen next.  He knew his son's fate now.  So he agreed, and said they should rest. 

That night, Galiel went out to gather provisions and brought back some berries.  He fed them to his son, claiming he had already eaten.  The boy swiftly grew sick and fell unconscious from the poisonous berries his father had given him.  Galiel then cut his son's throat, to relieve his suffering.  Finally, unburdened by anything, Galiel climbed to the summit alone.  Up there, he found an ancient altar in a cave, a slab of black basalt inlaid with bones.  He cried out then, "I have come, my Lords!  What would you have me do?"  Then, to his horror, he found he was not alone.  His family suddenly reappeared before him, their skin grey with death, their wounds still fresh and dripping.  He cried out for his Gods to save him, but they did not.  He screamed as they came upon him.

Galiel came down the mountain the next day, armed with a shield of black basalt and a spear tipped in obsidian.  He wore armor made of the same material, inlaid with gold and bone.  From there, he rallied the servants in the city and led a successful revolt, putting the city elders to the sword and the city to the torch.  Those who surrendered he recruited or marched them up the mountain, where they were fed to his hideous Gods.  Eventually, Galiel's outrages reached Heaven and they dispatched armies against him, which destroyed his desecrated city and scattered his allies.  But Galiel, or his body, were never found.  When interrogated later, his helpers and servants declared that he was not mortal, not anymore.  They claimed that even now, he watched them for signs of disloyalty.  The only one who dared to aid their captors, the steward who revealed one of the cult's many hidden safehouses in another city, was later found dead in his cell, his bones having been transformed to molten gold.

Galiel's shield, Vulcana, is currently in the hands of a Chaos Cult Lieutenant who is scouting out a mine worked by slaves, in the hopes of finding some usable material among the mass of downtrodden laborers.  When he has sufficient recruits, he will use them to seize control of the mine, murder the overseer and hopefully trigger a wider slave uprising.  If that doesn't work, he has informed his new allies that there are tunnels deep into the Earth that can take them to safety.                   

Abilities:
- The bearer can endure cold climates easily, as long as he keeps the shield near his person, suffering no ill effects from cold weather
- 3/Day, the bearer can cause fragments of razor sharp obsidian to fracture off the edge of the shield and strike one creature within 10', doing 1d6 sharp damage.  This can be done as a reaction to being attacked.
- 1/Day, the bearer can cause one attack against him to pierce the shield, submerging it into the molten core of the shield.  That weapon, unless magical or mostly indestructible then melts or is burned to ash and the user of that weapon takes 1d8 fire damage.  This can be done as a reaction to being attacked.

Sunrise Shield:

A shield of ash wood, covered in stiffened layers of sheepskin and painted with the image of a red-orange sun burning away the early morning mist.  The mist seems thinner the more you look at it, but it never truly goes away. 

The Interrogator-Lord Viko Truthteller of Au-Mar was famous for being able to instantly discern lies when they were uttered in his presence.  No matter how carefully constructed a deception was, he could almost smell them.  Even when blind-folded and with his nose stuffed up, he could tell what was a lie and what was delusion, or truth.  This made him the Emperor's greatest interrogator and propelled him to the top of the nation's elite, until he gained a position as one of the Seven, a group of seven administrators and advisors that are closest to the Emperor and wield the most power apart from him.

Less well known is how he gained these abilities.  When he was a lowly initiate, before he ever joined the Office of Uncivil Tactics, the Emperor's nest of spies, witch-finders and cult-hunters.  When he was a mere initiate into the shrine of prosperity, a cult of demon-worshipers tore upon a hole in the world and ushered in a miniature invasion, which ravaged his city and let to almost two hundred Imperial subjects being abducted.  The invaders then retreated through the gate and closed it behind them.  

The authorities despaired at ever retrieving any of the kidnapped people, but a group of powerful adventurers with an axe to grind offered to try and solve the problem.  And not only did they succeed in opening the door, but also rescued several dozen of those who were taken, including Viko.  Viko joined the Office shortly thereafter, partially so they could examine him for Chaos taint.  But soon they found an able operative in him and put him to work for them.

And as stated above, he was extremely good at what he did.  His astounding record enabled his superiors to overlook some of the more questionable things about him, such as how he employed a private torturer who usually only worked on him and how he absent-mindedly cut himself sometimes when thinking. 

When Viko finally died, it is was discovered that his shield retained some of the abilities that he had while alive.  It has since become an heirloom, passed down to his apprentices and later, to others who served them.  It is currently in the hands of a young Interrogator investigating rumors of a Necromancy ring operating out of the royal boneyard for the Kingdom of Mazxri.       

Abilities:
- The bearer can interact with illusions or intangible things as if they were tangible, if he so chooses.  He can walk across an illusory bridge or pimp-slap a ghost.
- 3/Day, the bearer can dismiss an illusion, causing it to shatter into fractals of light and end prematurely.
- 1/Day, the bearer can produce a dazzling flash of light from the shield that reveals all hidden things within 50', such as hidden doors, concealed booby-traps, invisible creatures, and dismantles any illusions. Additionally, any shapeshifted creatures have their true appearances revealed for a moment.  The light does not blind anyone, for it only reveals.   

Selenic Shield:


A shield that looks like it is made of tin hammered and molded to a piece of hardwood, sort of like frosted glass but made of metal.  During the day, it is unimpressive and even tacky looking.  At night, when bathed in moonlight, it glitters and shines like a million silver coins, drawing the eye involuntarily.

Once there was a Quarrian by the name of Isko, a svetle young man known for being extremely beautiful.  He drew the eye of every young maiden in town, but he cared for none of them, for he only loved looking at himself.  He was cruel with the girls who tried to win his affections, being severely unkind to them.  One of his lovers even took her own life, so in despair was she over his rejection.  But as the girl died, the Goddess of Maidens intervened, transforming her into the first orchid.  

This Goddess then turned her attention to Isko, seeking to punish him. She borrowed a barrel lid and shed a single tear onto it.  The tear then transformed into metal.  She shaped the metal with her hands and then, in disguise, presented it to Isko as a gift.  She told him he would be able to see himself in a new way using the shield, as long as he did it by moonlight. 

Isko was skeptical of this claim, but decided to test it out.  When he did, it drove him mad, stripping him of his mind and leaving him with the soul of a beast.  Isko is said to still be alive, roaming the plains at night, forever chasing the Goddess in her movement across the sky, seeking to reclaim what it is she took from him. 

The shield is currently in the hands of a Centaur warlord who enjoys using it to drive annoying captives mad and then hunting them for sport.      

Abilities:
- 3/Day, when in moonlight, the bearer of the shield can choose to reflect moonlight into the eyes of a creature who can see the shield.  That creature must save.  On a successful save, that creature takes 1d4 radiant damage.  On a failed save, the creature takes 1d6 COG damage.  If this COG damage reduces a creature to 0 COG, it loses all higher reasoning and becomes a feral beast, acting on instinct.  It keeps it's previous personality and motives, but operates with only animal levels of intelligence. 

At dawn, the affected creature should save.  On a successful save, the creature recovers it's reason.  On a failed save, the creature's mind remains in tatters forever. 

Lionheart:

A bronze shield marked with the face of a scowling lion, very detailed, to the point where it seems to slightly move and twitch in firelight.

Jak Nuvia is remembered as one of the Garden Land's most famous heroes because while on his many adventures, he accomplished 12 mighty deeds that any normal mortal would have found impossible.  One of these deeds was to defeat the Cerulean Lion, a great blue cat with snow-white hair and teeth and claws of transparent glass.  The beast was huge, but impossibly quick and fast.  No one could see it until it moved, and when it moved, it struck like a thunderbolt then vanished just as swiftly.  So Jak did not bother to fight the beast head-on, he knew such a battle would be little more than a protracted suicide.  So he investigated the Lion, and found out that it also had the ability to pass through solid objects, which made it even harder to defeat. 

So he concocted a plan.  Jak prepared a feast of raw meat and set it with aromatic candles, then waited for the Lion to show up.  He hid near by, and when the Lion arrived, Jak waited for it to finish eating.  Then he stepped out dressed in fine robes and b owed deeply to the creature.  He informed the Lion that he was an emissary from the King of Cats, and that His Majesty wanted the Cerulean Lion to marry his daughter, Ocelot.  The Cerulean Lion was deeply intrigued by this offer, so it consented to listen and bade Jak go on.  However, Jak continued, the Lion would have to prove it was actually as strong and powerful as the Cat King had heard.  So Jak put the Lion through a series of tests, such as cutting a fine sword in half with a single stroke from it's claws, leaping over the tallest tree on the plains, slaying a water buffalo in one strike; all of which the Lion passed effortlessly. 

Then Jak sprang his trap.  He asked the Lion to show him it's power to pass through solid objects.  First, he asked the Lion to pass through a tree.  The Lion approached the tree and bit it, then became like the tree.  Then the Lion asked the tree if it could pass through.  The tree, thinking that the Lion was part of it's own body, consented and the Lion went through effortlessly.  REalizing this is how the Lion's power worked, Jak asked if he could test this power again tomorrow, as he was very tired and he did not want to trouble the Lion more today.  The Lion agreed and they both departed.  That night, Jak prepared two more items.  The next day, they returned to the same spot, and Jak asked the Lion to pass through two more items.  The first was a wall of sharpened pieces of bamboo.  The Lion bit a piece and easily passed through them, same as the tree.  Jak clapped and applauded, then asked the Lion to pass through the last item, a heavy cauldron with an open lid.  Inside, the Lion found the cauldron full of spicy, mulled wine.  Taking a sip of the liquid, the Lion was easily able to enter into the cauldron.  But as it had become like the wine, it could not leave, for the cauldron was an item designed to contain liquids. 

The Lion was thus trapped, and before it could escape, Jak used a bead from his necklace of baby stars and boiled away the wine, slaying the Cerulean Lion.  But when the cauldron cooled, Jak found that some of the Lion's power had gotten trapped in the cauldron's bottom, which was molded into the shape of the Lion's majestic fight.  So Jak cut out that part and had it fashioned into a shield.  This shield would be passed down after Jak's death, becoming a symbol of heroes, especially those who fight like he did, with guile rather then mere strength.

Lionheart is currently in the hands of a freedom-fighter who is attempting to free his people from the oppression of the Orzanian Empire.  His enemies claim he is no patriot, just a greedy warlord backed by the Dwarven Queens and the Vulkari Slave-Princes.    

Abilities:
- 1/Day, the bearer can pound on the shield with a sword or other hard implement.  This makes the shield emit a horrible sound halfway between the roar of a lion and a clap of thunder.  All enemies within 100' must, upon hearing that sound, immediately check morale or flee.  Enemies within 30' also take 1d6 thunder damage.
- 1/Day, a willing creature can press it's face against the shield.  This causes that creature to transform into a Lion with metallic fur and iron teeth.  The creature keeps it's own mental ability scores, but gains a Damage Threshold of 7 and a number of SHP equal to that threshold.  In all other respects, besides AR which is 0, it gains the stats of a normal Lion.

Brightscar:

Brightscar is a shield made of a glossy, shining material that resembles the shell of a white insect, though it is thick as ceramic and hard as steel, though it is much lighter.  The surface is almost always cool refracts light, shattering narrow beams into clouds of radiance.  The only other notable feature about it is the harsh burn down the center of the shield.

The Superkiller was a creature who made it his quest to kill two of every creature on the face of the earth, from the lowliest bug to the highest of beasts.  He was a brutal creature, a monster clad in the shape of a humanoid who possessed an indomitable body and unquenchable thirst for blood.  He carved a swath through the Garden Lands, causing all sorts of chaos on his mad quest.  While in the Kingdom of Bivalos, he heard that the King kept a menagarie of rare beasts, including a small flock of Royal Peacocks, known for their lustrous purple feathers.  So the Superkiller broke into the castle and stormed the menagarie, decimating the animals inside, as well as killing anyone who tried to stop him, or was sufficiently annoying. 

When the Prince arrived with a squad of heavily armed men, they were horrified at what they saw.  But even seeing the clear brutality of their enemy, they did not recognize what the Superkiller was.  So instead of fleeing for their lives, they challenged him.  The Superkiller saw them coming and broke them like twigs, then left the castle in an annoyed huff. 

Despondent over the death of his son, the King vowed that he would give anything, up to half his Kingdom or his fair daughter's hand in marriage to the man who could take revenge and destroy the Superkiller.  This brought warriors from all corners of the land, foreigners and natives alike, all who believed themselves to be bolder and stronger than any other.  Some were very skilled, others woefully underprepared.  Some possessed great mystical powers or the aid of the Spirits and Gods, while others merely had superhuman skill at arms or their own incredible bodies.  Yet for all these would-be avengers, none could defeat the Superkiller.  His power, his skill at arms, his sheer knowledge of the craft of death, it was too much for mortal power to overcome. 

So when Takiz, Son of No One told everyone he was going to destroy the Superkiller, they scoffed and mocked him for it.  For Takiz was an orphan, with no father.  He had born in a brothel it was said, abandoned after birth even by his mother.  But Takiz didn't listen.  For Takiz, though it was said he had nothing, knew this was not true.  He still had his mind.  And he felt the Gods had chosen him for this mission.  So he sought out the Lady of Fireflies, favored daughter of the Insect King.  He knew she had a weakness for rice liquor, so after luring her in with some, he got her good and drunk.  Then, when she was intoxicated, he got her to reveal the secret of how she stored light inside herself without hurting herself.  After learning the secret from her, Takiz used that secret to create a shield that would allow the user to do the same, allowing him to steal light and store it inside his body.

Then Takiz approached the Superkiller and told him that while he had clearly proven himself to be stronger than any beast, what about things that were not flesh and blood?  With this shield, the Superkiller would be able to challenge fire itself.  The Superkiller questioned his motives for the gift, but Takiz was an agile liar.  He told the Superkiller that he merely wanted to travel with the Superkiller, so that those who heaped scorn upon him for being a lowly, rootless orphan would hold their hurtful tongues.  The Superkiller decided this wasn't a clever trap and allowed Takiz to come along, especially after it realized that Takiz was so weak that killing him would require little more than a breath. 

With it's new shield, the Superkiller was able to test itself against many mighty blazes, and it found new joy in the struggle to conquer these mighty infernos.  Then one day, after celebrating conquering a firestorm it had unleashed, Takiz got the Superkiller drunk and suggested, as if jesting, that it should try and conquer the sun.  The Superkiller, at that point self-assured beyond all rational sense, not to mention inebriated on alcohol, thought this was a good day.  So when the sun rose, the Superkiller faced east and raised his new shield and challenged the sun.  And to the surprise of no one but itself, the Sun, irritated by this tiny, shouting speck, obliterated the Superkiller with a spare thought, instantly burning the greatest enemy of mortalkind to ash in an eyeblink.

There were always those who doubted Takiz and his story of defeating the Superkiller, but none could dispute the fact that the horrible creature was gone and that the shield he bore, the one that absorb light and heat, was scorched as if from some titanic blaze. 

Brightscar is currently in the hands of a noble, if arrogant Agent of Law, who is using it as a tool to aid his hunt for a pyromaniac Chaos Sorcerer.  He has orders to bring him in alive if possible, but this isn't required.            

Abilities:
- The shield transforms the bearer's blood into light.  This means that unless the bearer is at full health, he takes 1 damage every exploration turn (10 minutes) when not in combat, or in combat, 1 HP damage a round.  Additionally, this causes light to shine out of the bearer's open wounds, illuminating them and the area around them.
- As an action, the bearer can absorb the light produced by a source of the former.  This extinguishes the source, but restores X HP.  To see how much any given source restores, consult the table below.
- As an action, the bearer can slice open one of his arteries and fire a beam of light.  By taking 1d4 damage, the bearer's blood fires out in a hyper-focused, high-intensity beam that does 2d6 fire damage, save for half, on a hit.  This beam is hot enough to cut through wood and heat metal to the point where it is too hot to hold.  The beam can strike any 1 target within 50, after that it loses too much energy to do any damage.

Light Source Absorption:


Defender's Lament:

A shield that looks like a crying purple face with it's eyes closed, twisted into an expression of anguish and sorrow.  The eyes occasionally cry purple tears that taste like salted wine.

The Mourn Rider was a terrifying warlord who terrorized the civilized lands, leading his host of monsters and villains in a ten-year crusade against civilization, Law and Goodness itself.  He was a horrible and cruel master, spreading ruin and misery wherever he went, like a sower casting seeds into a plowed field.  Furthermore, he could not be defeated by conventional tacts, armies broke against his terror and genius, spies and assassins were fed bad information or devoured alive by his disturbing level of insight and knowledge and even powerful adventurers who came from across the world to combat him found that they were no match for his cunning and strength. 

But eventually, even his luck turned.  The Rider was crossing a bridge during a rainstorm, leading his calvary as was his custom when lightning struck the bridge and destroyed it, casting him and some of his men into the raging river below.  The rest of his men drowned, but he was not so lucky.  The Mourn Rider washed up on the shore of a tiny, insignificant farming village where he was greeted by some stocky, dirt-stained farmers and their water buffalo.  His reputation preceded him however, even here, so the Mourn Rider expected no clemency.  Instead he simply told them, "When the shield of the fallen cries it's last tear, I will return, and you will suffer dearly."  The farmers did not listen to what he said, instead wrenching off his helm and bashing his skull in.  And where King and Hero failed, Man succeeded.

The Mourn Rider's shield was washed away downstream and faded into legend, and eventually to myth.  No one today would recognize it, but for the most obscure of scholars.  It is currently in the hands of a bandit chief, who has no idea what he possesses.   

Abilities:
- Defender's Lament produces tears randomly or on command once per hour.  Drinking these tears causes a creature to gain +1 AR as Natural Armor, as their flesh becomes stiff and hard, taking on a faint purple hue.  But as a consequence of doing this, the creature takes 1d4 (exploding) DEX damage.  The d4 can explode multiple times.  This DEX damage as permanent as long as the bearer remains cursed. 
- If Defender's Lament reduces a creature's DEX to 0, that creature transforms into a piece of armor covered by a purple face that perfectly matches the previous bearer, but with his countenance twisted into an expression of sadness and suffering.

Creatures transformed into armor by Defender's Lament cannot be transformed back without divine intervention, but the shield's curse can be broken by hurling it into a raging river and the previous bearer fighting in a battle without armor or shield.  This restores all lost DEX, but the creature loses any benefits produced by the curse, namely the natural armor.

If four creatures are transformed into armor, forming respectively the Breastplate of Lamentations, the Greaves of Distress, the Bracers of Sorrow and the Helm of Woes, in that order, the Mourn Rider will be revived from death and live again, to resume his campaign of terror and suffering.     

Scorpion's Shield:

The lands of the Handsome Men can divided into roughly two halves.  One half, to the West of the Canepri Mountains, is hot and damp, characterized by swamps, bogs and thick, steamy jungles. Rain is abundant and falls in great showers, drowning rivers and filling lakes.  The Handsome Men who live there cultivate the forests and plants into fantastic displays of color, using foliage and grasses like a painter might use colors in a palette.  The other half of the land, east of the Canepris, is still hot but is much drier, characterized by semi-arid scrubland and hot plains that flow northward into the Equatorial lands.  The beauty of this land comes from the serene rock formations, the endless blue of the sky contrasted with the red and gold of the earth and stone, and the regal beauty of the many spiny, flowering plants.  The Handsome Men from this sector regard themselves as much more sophisticated then their Western kin, as they work in the much more difficult medium of light, shadow, stone and sand rather then the pedestrian art of flower-arranging and plant-pruning.

This shield is the work of one of those Eastern Handsome Men.  For if you continue East far enough, you will enter the Great Desert of Yamu, a wretched and inhospitable place known for all the unique and horrible dangers it poses.  And one of those dangers are the Scorpions, which can grow magnificently huge, some to the size of warships or sprawling mansions, with stingers containing enough poison to slay entire cities and claws that could snip an ox in two like a man snapping a cracker.  Though usually content to remain where they are, sometimes these Scorpions venture eastward, where they cause untold devastation and summon entire warbands of desperados, war-artisans and adventurers to slay them. 

This shield was obviously created from one of those beasts, as though being large as a similar sized shield, it weighs about a tenth of what something made of bronze would, without compromising strength in the slightest.  But even more remarkable then that, this one bears the mark of the Pruner of Rose Corridor, a Scorpion that destroyed the town of the same name and provoked the wrath of three dozen Handsome Men Princes.  The beast did not survive the onslaught they unleashed upon it, a spectacular display of magic and savagery that is still spoken of years later as the night of falling stars in the neighboring provinces.  But some magnificent was the power released that when the Scorpion's corpse was finally dismantled and removed, parts of it's armor retained some of it's power, enabling the user to channel and use those same abilities. 

This shield is currently in the hands of a thief by the name of Mulch, for his habit of burrowing into seemingly impenetrable structures and making off with the valuables, as well as what the Governor has planned to do with the thief once he gets his hands on the reprobate, especially as Mulch has been leaving sarcastic poems at the scenes of his robberies, mocking the Governor and his seemingly-inept subordinates for being too stupid to catch him.        

Abilities:
- Grants the bearer resistance to fire damage and advantage on any save against desert conditions such as heat exhaustion, or losing one's way in a sandstorm, as long as the bearer has the shield on his person
- Grants the bearer a burrowing speed equal to his walking speed.  If you don't play on a grid, assume the bearer can tunnel through the earth as fast as he can walk.  He does not need any additional tools to do this.
- 1/Day, if in a place with an abundance of loose sand, such as a desert, the bearer can create a sandstorm that lasts for 10 minutes.  While in the midst of the sandstorm, visibility is cut down to 5' and all ranged attacks against an enemy beyond that have disadvantage. 

Fleshpot:

A shield made of a pale pink material adorned with silken ribbons and covered in bands of gold and silver, each one heavy with jewels.  The metals are hard, but the pinkish substance, though it does not yield to swords or spears, is soft to the touch.  There is also a central gash or slit running across the majority of the pink area, one that can be slightly opened with a finger.  Peeling it open reveals a depth of flesh that is far deeper than the shield's small width could possibly accomodate. 

Fleshpot is an Ego Weapon.  To wield it you must be one of the following:
- A man with a STR of 16(+2) and a CHA of 15(+1)
- A woman with a CON and CHA of 8(-1) or less

The King of Cixos was known for two things: his tax reforms which enabled the merchants to pay less, earning him their favor and cheap loans from their money-lender patrons, and his womanizing.  There are some who speculate that the former was caused by the latter.  Specifically, through the Demoness Lashiri, who is better known as the Horned Succubus, both for her tendency to appear as an Oxwoman, but also because it is said she had the sexual appetite of a randy bull.

But when the merchants and money-lenders began to abuse the people of Cixos and the King did nothing, the people prayed and grumbled endlessly, until eventually their prayers reached Heaven.  When she heard their complaints, Lady Tezika, Goddess of Civic Spirit, summoned her husband, Lord Namel, God of Peddlers and dispatched him to investigate these complaints.  Namel sought out the truth and when he found out that they were true, he probed deeper and discovered that a Demoness had been hired by a group of wealthy merchants and money-lenders to defile the laws of the land.  When she heard that, Tezika was outraged and immediately moved to act.  At first, she was tempted merely to destroy the merchants, but her husband encouraged her to stay her hand.  He told her to be gentle with them, for it is not common that a man can resist an amorous woman.  And that gave Tezika an idea.

That night, when Lashiri fell asleep surrounded by the servants of the King's household, Tezika broke in and kidnapped the Demoness, and dragged her back to the Goddess' palace.  Once they were there, she restrained the Demoness and told her that because she tempted men to defile the law and bring forth oppression, she would tempt those who she once entertained.  Then Tezika removed her womanhood and fashioned it into a magic shield.  She then gave that shield to a burly fishmonger who had been ground under by the merchants and anointed him as the new King.  That fishmonger was named Barkil, and he proved to be an excellent King, just but fair.  He was wildly disliked by the merchant families, but that was to be expected after he wrested power from them and had those who abused their financial power thrown in prison or executed just like poor criminals. 

The truth of where the shield of the King of Cixos came from is not widely known, but even if it were, most would probably dismiss it as a wild tale.  Nonetheless, it is quite real.  Just ask Lashiri, who serves Tezika in the Heavenly Court as her handmaiden.  Despite her high place among the servants, the Demoness is still probably the most put upon of the Lady Tezika's servants, not counting her lord husband.

Fleshpot is currently in the hands of an operative attached to the Brotherhood of Broken Chains, who was hired by a wealthy merchant family to steal the shield, to embarass the current King.  There is a good chance the Brotherhood operative might betray his employers, as while the Brotherhood ordinarily looks down on traitors, those who profit off of the system are fair game.  The royal household is currently pretending the theft hasn't occurred, but they need the shield for an upcoming festival and are quietly looking for someone who can retrieve it for them before the deadline. 

Abilities:
- 1/Day, the bearer can cause the shield to produce a cloud of scent that forces all males within 100' to save.  On a failed save, those males will come to investigate the strange smell.  Creatures with a good sense of smell will easily detect it, while creatures with poorer senses of smell will not consciously recognize the smell, but will go in pursuit of it anyway if they fail their save.
- 1/Day, the bearer can cause the shield to spray blood out of the narrow slit.  This strikes every creature in front of it in a 30' cone.  If it hits a creature head on, that creature must save or be blinded.  Creatures covered by this blood must immediately check morale.  If those creatures fail their morale check, they will immediately leave to find some place or way to wash this blood off themselves.  They will attend to more important matters, such as attacking enemies or imminent danger first, but otherwise their first priority will be to go clean themselves off.
- 1/Day, the bearer can can cause the shield's central slit to open up to reveal a pink, toothless maw; a slick tunnel that extends to some unknown destination.  The first creature to see this must save.  On a failed save, the creature will walk calmly over to this opening and crawl inside.  The slit then closes behind it, leaving no trace that the creature ever entered it.

from Warhammer Online