Friday, July 30, 2021

OSR: Changelings

 Changelings are Folk, lazy and slow-witted creatures that nonetheless possess a casual cruelty that few among their kind can surpass.  Only the most dread of demons compare to the casual neglect Changelings exhibit towards the most helpless of creatures: children.  

You are likely familiar with the Changeling as a dread creature that steals children and replaces them, but this folklore retelling fails to grasp the true horror.

by Fellatrix (warning: mostly nsfw)
Changelings are Grotesque creatures, insectine and inhuman in appearance.  The males are short, covered in a mixture of glassy chitin dark blue or black color that gleams like oil under the moonlight.  The rest of their bodies are covered in spirals of scales and small spots of pale, white flesh like the belly of a dead trout.  They have compound eyes and humanoid looking mouths that split open to reveal enormous fangs and far too many teeth. 

The females look similar, but there are some differences.  For one thing, the females are far larger.  The males only rise to the stature of a large child or one of the shorter races, while the females are easily as tall as most races.  The females are also known to have two extra arms.  Their shorter arms are many-fingered and delicate, capable of fine manipulation, while their larger arms are long and cruel, and tipped with enormous claws.  Their females also have up to six pendelous, swollen breasts across their chests.  The number of breasts and size of the Changeling depends on the race they primarily prey upon- those who prey on Lakazu, Hoba or Humans have two breasts, those who prey on Orzane, Wolfmen or other species where females do not have breasts usually have huge nipples or six breasts. 

Changeling females, also called Mothers, have another ability the males of their species do not have.  They can produce an illusion that covers their bodies- making them appear to be a member of the species they are impersonating.  These disguises are never that good; they always look subtly off in some way.  The breasts are too big to be realistic, the eyes a little too far apart, the hips too large as compared to the waist, etc.  Yet in spite of these facts, the magic of the Changeling still compels males who encounter one in it's disguised form to sleep with it.

Soon after, the Mother will produce an offspring that looks vaguely like her previous partner, but definitely isn't fully normal.  The Changeling Mother will then sneak into a home and steal the partner's offspring and replace it with one of her own.  These offspring share her powers as well- they are able to charm their parents into caring for them.  The parents will suspect from the start something is wrong, but at the same time, they will be compelled to care for this creature.  After a couple of months, the Changeling will be fully grown and it will slip away into the forest.

And while some Mothers will sleep with a target to ensure the offspring at least vaguely resembles one of the parents, some do not bother with this, trusting in the child's innate abilities.  Additionally, some times the Changeling Mother will get confused or forget which of her offspring looks like who, so she can end up leaving a child that looks nothing like the parents in the house by mistake. 

Changeling males do not prey on creatures like this, instead they primarily mate with Mothers and range through the forests, where they serve other Folk, play and rough-house with each other or hunt animals for nourishment.  Changeling males are known to attack creatures who enter their territory, but they do this because they want to eat them.

by Karl Lindberg

Changeling Male:

Number Appearing: 1d6+4
Alignment: True Neutral
Languages: None
Treasure: Changeling flesh is sometimes used as an alchemical ingredient, and is of some value to Sages.

HD 2
AR none
Atk Claws (1d6+2)
Mor 14
Saves 9 or less

Camoflague: When in darkness or in low-light conditions, a Changeling male gets a +4 bonus to stealth.  They also get this bonus if they are concealed by sufficient cover, such as

Climber: Changeling Males get a +4 bonus to any checks made to climb.  They can scamper up trees like squirrels.

Ambusher: Should a Changeling male attack a creature from stealth, the male does +2d6 damage on a hit.  Only add this damage if the male hits, do not include it in the initial attack roll.

Tactics:
- Watch the target from above
- Pounce on them, striking from ambush
- Retreat if faced with significant resistance, unless protecting a female or territory

Immature females stat as males or babies.  Changeling Mothers are females of breeding age.

by Nyctoinc Illustrations

Changeling Mother:

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: True Neutral
Languages: None
Treasure: Changeling flesh is sometimes used as an alchemical ingredient, and is of some value to Sages.

HD 3
AR 2 [Natural Armor]
Atk Claws (1d6+2) + Bite (1d4 + venom)
Mor 12
Saves 9 or less

Illusory Appearance: Changeling Mothers can cover themselves with an illusion that makes them resemble a exaggerated-looking female of the species they are trying to lure or seduce.  This illusion is not realistic, but it alluring.

Charm Aura: Changeling Mothers can, as a free action, create an aura of charm around themselves.  Any male creature who sees a Changeling Mother when she is covered in her illusion must save.  On a failed save, that male is struck by the urge to mate with the Changeling Mother and will pursue her.  Every round he tries to resist this feeling, he takes 1d6 COG damage.  If this reduces him to 0 COG, his lower souls take over and he becomes little more than a rutting beast, incapable of reason.  If he mates with the Mother or is away from her for more than 1 hour, he begins regaining COG at a rate of 1 point per hour.

Venom: Changeling Mothers have venom that enhances sensation.  Any creature bitten by a Changeling Mother takes +1d4 damage to FS from all sources.  If the creature runs out of FS or has none, the creature takes 1d6 COG damage instead.  Creatures beaten down like this fall catatonic if they reach 0 COG.  Similarly, if a creature is faced with a pleasurable sensation when under the influence of her venom, he takes +1 COG damage as a result of her Charm Aura.  Additionally, if he passed his save earlier, he must save again with disadvantage. 

Tactics:
- Cover yourself in your illusion
- Seduce a male
- If your Charm Aura doesn't work, bite him, inject with venom and try again
- If that doesn't work, beat him down and drag him away to have your way with him

Additionally, one finale note.  Some Changeling Mothers do not just target families with babies or children, but will target those who have no children or other unconventional groups, such as adventuring parties.  After seducing one of them, she will leave her offspring behind.  Alternatively, the offspring could not even vaguely resemble any of them, as above, though usually she will seduce one member of that group to try and ensure some attachment to the offspring.

by Andrew Baker

Changeling Child:

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: True Neutral
Languages: None
Treasure: Changeling flesh is sometimes used as an alchemical ingredient, and is of some value to Sages.

HD 1
AR none
Atk Claws 1d3
Mor 5
Saves 7 or less

Charm Aura: Changeling Children have an aura of Charm always around them.  Any creature who sees a Changeling Child must save.  On a failed save, that creature is struck by the urge to care for the Changeling Child.  Every round he tries to resist this feeling, he takes 1d6 COG damage.  If this reduces him to 0 COG, he becomes compelled to care for and protect the child, regardless of his personal feelings.  Any creature that spends more than 1 day enveloped in the Changeling Child's aura gains the Conviction, "I will care for and protect this child, no matter what."  Creatures with this COnviction can regain their COG but they are permanently molded by the Changeling Child.  When in the Child's Charm Aura, they make all saves against their Conviction with disadvantage.

Tactics:
- Be cute and helpless
- Charm someone into taking care of you
- If in danger, initiate a surprise attack and run away

Despite the fact that they are freshly born, Changeling Children are very large for babies and very strong, much stronger than any child has a right to be.  They also have claws that are concealed in the wrist, but will burst out if the child feels threatened or needs to hang onto something.

by RoDennOn

Sunday, July 25, 2021

OSR: Mimics

This post is partially inspired by this very excellent post from a Blasted, Cratered Land.  

artist unknown

Number Appearing: 1d4 per room
Alignment: True Neutral
Languages: None
Treasure: Mimics have glands in their body that can be of some value to alchemists, and Mimic eggs are a delicacy in some parts of the world.  The most valuable part of the Mimic is their flesh, however, as it's tasty, especially when steamed and served with butter.

Mimic Tells
1d12

1- Breathing softly.
2- Bulging at the seams, still a bit full.
3- Droppings in surroundings, hard pellets like an owl.
4- Strong stench, smells of death and meat.
5- Holes underneath for limbs.
6- Making the wrong sounds, making the rumbling sound of thunder instead of a car engine.
7- Mirrored/illegible writing.
8- Moving parts don't move.
9- Part of another form.
10- Ridges for eyes/Eyes on the ridges.
11- Air is slightly warmer than it should.
12- Wound leaking ichor/Strange spills near it.

The lion's share of the work for this table comes from Velixraptor

Mimics are believed by some to be related to crustaceans, a particular species of cave crab that when gifted magic by the Crab King, used that power to give themselves the ability to shapeshift.  Others believe that Mimics are the work of the Folk as part of some sort of devilish prank, or a Magi who refused to let anyone have his treasures and sought to punish anyone who sought them without his permission.  Regardless of their origins, Mimics are horrible creatures that are the bane of explorers, archeologists, Sages and most especially adventurers. 

Mimics disguise themselves as some otherwise common item and when prey comes close, they reveal huge jaws and snap shut around the creature, usually killing the poor fool.  Alternatively, they may ensnare smaller prey in tentacles and flee, carrying their wriggling prize in their sticky fronds.

However, despite their clever strategies, Mimics are not actually intelligent.  They are beasts, though tricksy ones, unable to truly understand what they are doing.  All they know is that certain objects attract prey, so they pretend to be those things.  They are good at, well, mimicry, and can imitate human voices as well as other sounds.  They can disguise themselves as humanoids, but they can never quite get the details right, so a Mimic disguised as a humanoid would look mostly normal, but might have a few small details off, such as discoloration on parts of the body, a few too many or too few fingers and a face that just seems, off, in some way you can't quite put your finger on.  The proportions just aren't right.

Mimics usually mimic items they find in a room.  If a Mimic sneaks into a dining room, they might disguise themselves as a spare chair in the corner or move a chair to the corner or the pantry and replace the chair.  Or a Mimic might find a treasure chest, move that chest to another room and then take the place of that chest.  If you find a piece of furniture in an odd place, that's a good sign there is a Mimic nearby.  Additionally, some Mimic have realized that this is obvious, so sometimes they just take the form of that moved furniture and leave themselves in odd places.

When a Mimic is alone in a room with another Mimic, they will sometimes mimic each other.  So you can end up with a room full of absolutely identical chairs or desks covering the entire floor plan. 

Mimics like damp, cool places and choose such places for their homes.  They love caves and caverns, especially near slow-flowing water.  For this reason they also like cellars, catacombs and sewers and can easily spread into such areas.  Mimics tend to live in colonies of several hundred members and are almost never solitary, so if you find one Mimic, all Adventurers know to expect more.

from Kill Six Billion Demons

Mimic
HD 1d3+1
AR 3 [When Transformed]/ 1 [When Attacking] (both are natural armor)
Atk Bite (1d8+1 + grapple) or Tentacles (1d4/1d4 + grapple)
Mor 13
Saves (7+HD) or less

Sticky: Mimics can adhere to surfaces such as walls and ceilings with ease.  When not hiding, they can slink along these.  Additionally, if a creature is successfully attacked by a Mimic and that Mimic damages the creature, the Mimic can automatically grapple the creature.  The Mimic can release anything stuck to it as an action.

False Appearance: Using their shapeshifting abilities, Mimics can disguise themselves as an object of the same size.  These disguises are not perfect- see 'Mimic tells' below.  Any close inspection is almost certain to reveal a Mimic's presence, but getting close to a Mimic is a good way to get your head bitten off.  If looking for a Mimic without touching or getting within biting range, have the Mimic roll a COG/Deception check and compare that to the person's COG check.  If you roll higher than the Mimic, you can see through it's disguise.  If the Mimic wins, you won't recognize it is a Mimic until you get closer or until it bites you, whatever comes first.

Clamping Jaws: If a creature is grappled by a Mimic, that Mimic can do 1d6 damage a round as a free action.  This damage ignores armor unless the creature is covered head-to-toe in armor or is protected all over it's body.  While it is using this ability, the Mimic can move but can't attack or grapple any other creature.

Mimicry: Mimics can mimic sounds they hear like parrots.  They can imitate human voices, the scrape of metal on leather, the crackle of flames or almost any other sound they might regularly hear.  You can tell the sound a Mimic is producing is actually made by something else by passing a Saving Throw or a DC 13 COG check, if you're actually listening for the source of the fake sounds.  Mimics use these sounds to lure creatures in and to make their disguises more believable. 

Shapeshifting: Mimics can alter their shape, growing and retracting appendages as necessary and can take on many forms, including different false appearances.  If turning into a treasure chest didn't get you, the Mimic can run away and disguise itself as something else. 

Tactics:
- Ambush a creature
- If it doesn't immediately die, grapple it and run away with the body
- Chew on that creature until it is dead
- Feast

Mimic Encounters:

1d12

1- On a rotting dock, there is a pristine and seemingly untouched boat.  Once you get out into open water, the boat reveals itself to be a Mimic.  It will try to drown you, then eat your water-logged corpses.
2- There is a door in this room.  When you open it, it leads to a blank wall.  The door is a Mimic which then tries to eat you.
3- There's a treasure chest in this room, with a runner (long narrow rug) leading up to it.  The treasure chest is empty, except for a pile of teeth and chewed on bones.  The Mimic is diguised as the rug.
4- A room with several treasure chests heaped among loose piles of gold and other valuables.  One of the treasure chests is a Mimic, the rest are normal.
5- A painting with curtains on either side of it, so it can hide the painting.  The painting is actually a Mimic and is covering an open window or arrow slit.  The Mimic will grab someone,  who is looking at it, gag them and drag them through the window, then use it's tentacles to close the curtains behind them.
6- The mattress on that four-poster bed?  Actually a Mimic.  Hopefully you're not tired.  The actual mattress is stuffed in a closet somewhere.
7- The players find a table and chairs set up in a strange place, such as in a cave.  Half of the chairs are Mimics, the others were brought here for authenticity's sake.  The table is also a large Mimic.   
8- The giant stuffed monster head on the wall?  Actually a Mimic, the real one is hidden behind the hedge in the garden.
9- The couch in the parlor?  It's perfectly normal.  The pair of overstuffed wingtip chairs across from it?  Mimics, both of them.  When the chair Mimic grab someone, they run in different directions. 
10- A degraded dining room, soiled by years of exposure to the elements.  The only thing that still glitters faintly is the chandelier.  This is not because gold doesn't tarnish, but because it is a Mimic.
11- The players find an abandoned shrine with an altar stained with fresh blood, as if someone just used it.  That's because the altar is a Mimic and the blood is what's left of the last person who came in here.  One of the smaller statues lining the walls is also a Mimic, which will ambush the players if they try to leave or get some distance from the altar. 
12- The players find a bag of food hanging from a tree by a rope.  This is a common tactic by travelers to avoid attracting bears.  Unfortunately, there's no food, as the bag and rope is a Mimic.  The Mimic drags the person who it grabs up into the trees and if they resist, throws them to the forest floor.  Repeat as necessary.       

Special Types of Mimics:

artist unknown

Giant:

Mimics, like lobsters, don't age.  Furthermore, as long as they can eat, they can grow.  So if a Mimic can get enough prey and isn't eat, they can grow enormously large.  Giant Mimics hide in plain sight, like their smaller cousins, but choose similarly large disguises.

Giant Mimic Encounters:

1d6

1- That cave you just entered, itt's actually a Giant Mimic pretending to be a small hill.  This hill wasn't here yesterday, but only someone familiar with the terrain might realize that. 
2- You're adrift at sea, either because there's no wind for the sails or your boat sank and you're clinging to the wreckage.  Then you see another boat approaching.  You're saved!  Only as it approaches, you see the bow of the boat open into a mouth with thousands of teeth and realize that drowning might not be so bad after all.
3- The house that appeared at the edge of town?  A Giant Mimic.  Inside all the furniture is soft, warm and squishy and the only thing that flows out of the pipes is acid.  The doors then lock and you are trapped inside. 
4- The circus is in town, or at least, it was.  They left up the big tent, but there's no staff, animals nor any people in the neighboring village.  What happened to all of them?  The big tent, is, of course, a Giant Mimic. 
5- Was the lake always that color?  Fishermen are disappearing, along with the fish.  No one knows why.  People are blaming demons, the Gods, necromancers and Witches.  If the players investigate, they will find that the bottom of the lake seems strangely still, and if they hop out of their boat, they will find that about five feet below the surface of the water they will run into blubbery, squishy flesh.  A Giant Mimic is lurking right under the water, using it's shapeshifting abilities to resemble the lake bottom and make "Fish" swim around beneath you.
6- A tower suddenly appeared at the edge of town and the people are getting ready for a witch-hunt or screaming about Demons.  The Lord Mayor requests you go investigate.  Sadly, it's nothing as easy to deal with as an Evil Magi, but is instead a Giant Mimic who has stretched himself into a long, slender shape.

Note that you can't fight a Giant Mimic with swords.  That's like pricking the inside of a human's mouth with a needle.  It hurts, but it sure as hell isn't going to kill them.  The only way to kill a Giant Mimic is to get something as large as it, such as a Dragon, Giant or Roc, to pick a fight with it.  If that's impossible, go inside it, find it's vital organs (usually disguised as some kind of special room) and destroy them.  If you don't want to go inside a Giant Mimic, try fire, and lots of it.

Giant Mimics fight people inside their bodies by producing tentacles and mouths from the walls and ceilings, weaponizing the "furniture" inside of them and by spraying their digestive fluids on you.

by himeshaga

Plaster:

Plaster Mimics are mimics that employ a very unusual strategy.  They grapple and restrain their prey as normal, but do not immediately kill it.  Instead, they keep the creatures they capture inside themselves and leech off their mana, instead of eating them.  But then, when attacked, Plaster Mimics shove the creatures trapped inside them to the surface, causing part of the creature's body, usually the head or torso to emerge from the Mimic's shapeshifting flesh.  This tactic is used to dissuade attackers and cause them to hesitate.  Then the Plaster Mimic attacks that creature and hopefully adds it to the collection. 

Plaster Mimics that successfully pursue this strategy sometimes resemble walls of living creatures, heads pressed tight against strange bodies, limbs entangled and intertwined with others of their kind, a wall of bodies and faces.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 1d4+1.

Sucking Flesh: If a Plaster Mimic grapples a creature, it can on it's turn force that creature into a STR contest.  If the Plaster Mimic wins, it sucks the creature into it's mass.  There the creature is restrained and cannot move.  The Mimic can also shove the creature's head into it's flesh as an action, cutting off it's air to prevent it from resisting.  Creatures restrained by the Plaster Mimic need to succeed a DC 20 STR check to break free, and they make all STR checks with disadvantage.  Creatures trying to pull them out need only succeed on a DC 17 STR check.

Human Shield: If a Plaster Mimic is threatened, it can expose a creature it has trapped inside it's body.  The creature attacking may then abort it's attack or roll 1d6+X, where X is the number of people trapped inside the Plaster Mimic.  If the creature rolls a number equal or under to the Plaster Mimic's HD, the Plaster Mimic takes damage.  If the creature rolls higher than the Plaster's Mimic, one of the creatures trapped inside it takes damage.  This only applies to attacks that could be defended against like this.  Magical effects, unless targeted at a specific creature (such as with a Saving Throw) affect all creatures trapped within the Plaster Mimic.

Plaster Mimic Encounters:

1d3

1- In a dungeon, the party comes upon a wall with a small hole in it, just the right size for someone to crawl through on their belly.  The wall is actually false, once someone is halfway through, the Plaster Mimic traps them halfway through it's body and then attacks the rest of the party.  If threatened, it runs away, with the creature inside it still trapped inside.
2- A Plaster Mimic has snuck on board a ship and disguised itself as a barrel with an open lid.  When people go to look inside it, it slurps them up and with legs still hanging out of it's toothy maw, it goes in pursuit of other prey, growing larger as it does. 
3- A Plaster Mimic has invaded a castle and gobbled up the Princess, who is currently being held inside it.  The Mimic is running around, eating anyone it can who is vulnerable and spending the rest of the time hiding.  Find it before it gobbles up the entire staff and is covered in a living armor that cannot be easily pierced.

by Dmitry Skolzki

Parasitic Mimics: 

Parasitic Mimics, like Plaster Mimics, target one particular creature at a time.  But instead of using that creature as a human shield and collecting as many victims as it can, Parasitic Mimics are more selective and vicious in their hunting.  What they do is target a specific creature and latch on, merging with that creature and forcing it to find food for them.  Should a host be unable to do so, the Mimic gradually devours the creature piece by piece until the host finally dies.  This usually provides adequate incentive.  The host eats the creature in the end anyway.

Parasitic Mimic Encounters:

1d4

1- A pair of centaurs ride up to the party.  Only then the Centaur's humanoid upper halves fall off, their abdomens a half-digested slurry.  Where the humanoid torso and the horse part of the body meant there is instead huge toothy maws dripping with saliva and acidic digestive fluids.  These parasites will gobble up a humanoid's lower half and slowly digest it, while trapping the top half above it by keeping the host alive.  Should the host attempt to betray it, it floods the lower area with digestive fluid and lets the humanoid die in agony.
2- A bandit, unlike all of his fellows, is wearing a suit of armor covering most of his bodies.  When he is killed, you find that the flesh underneath the armor is badly corroded by acid and there appear to have been fleshy tendrils that pierced his flesh.  The Suit of Armor is a Parasitic Mimic and will attempt to forcibly bond with another creature, slowly melting it with acid and extending tendrils into that creature's chest cavity to encircle the vital organs.  Should the Mimic become threatened it will crush the organs and slay the host.  In the meantime, it can draw nutrients from the host's blood stream. 
3- The party sees some kind of powerful monster.  But instead of killing them, it begs them for help, claiming it is being attacked even as it speaks.  If they choose to fight it, once it is in danger of dying, a Mimic detaches from it's body to reveal a horrible, sucking wound.  The Mimic was plugging that wound, but now that it has left, the creature is certain to die.  If it is left alone, the Mimic will return and eat the corpse.
4- The party is engaged in an overwise normal battle near a source of water, in a cave, or in a bog.  If one of them gets seriously injured, the Parasitic Mimic lurking nearby will swoop in, plug the wound and squeeze itself inside the creature.  This will prevent further HP loss but prevent it from being regained either.  The Mimic will begin parasitizing that creature, using the wound to hold that creature hostage.

Statblock Changes:

Probing Tentacles: A Parasitic Mimic inserts tentacles into a host.  These intertwine with the host's innards.  Should the Mimic wish, it can do 1d8 CON damage to the creature at any time, or if the creature is equal or less HD than the Mimic, force an immediate save vs death.  Creatures at 0 CON must immediately save or die.

by DudeMcWhy on Instagram
Askilith:

Number Appearing: 1, 50% of being accompanied by 1d4 Mimics
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: Lingua Franca plus 1d6 profane languages
Treasure: Askiliths generally hoard trasures and minor magical items as payment for their services.  They usually do not use these things, as they interfere with their control over the Mimic's flesh.  As such, they simply collect them and store them in nearby hiding places. 

Mimics aren't intelligent, they're beasts.  That's why they can't replicate writing that well and can only mimic sounds we make instead of speaking.  So when the toothy treasure chest starts talking to you, that will be your first indication that something weird is going on. 

Askiliths are what happens when a lesser Spirit possesses a Mimic and finds it likes it here.  Askiliths have all the abilities of a normal Mimic, shapeshifting, sticky flesh, mimicry, but they also have a couple of their own.  Additionally, because they are intelligent, they can use a Mimic's abilities far more effectively than a normal Mimic.

Askiliths are cruel creatures, mostly dominated by the base desires of their Mimic hosts.  They are still primarily concerned with food, mating and safety, but they also have the diabolic desires of an evil spirit as well.  Askiliths will extort small villages for bribes, in exchange for not poisoning the water or bringing plague upon them.  These are usually bluffs, as Askiliths do not usually possess great magic power and could not do these things, even if they wished to.  But if a village will not comply with their demands, an Askilith can sneak into a couple houses and eat a few people, just to prove it's serious.  After a few families lose a member to a shapeshifting monster that could be disguised as your mattress or firewood box, people usually comply. 

Askiliths usually want large quantities of liquor; rare foods from civilization such as weddding cake, noodles and pickled pigs feet; or nubile virgins to toy with.  They also sometimes want people to humiliate themselves for their amusement.

But the greatest power that Askiliths have, one that they exploit to their best interest, is the power to open doorways.  Their name, Askilith, comes from an ancient word "Ascili", which means "Door".  Askiliths can open portals to other universes.  For this reason, they are sometimes sought out by Sages and Magi seeking to travel to other universes, or they approach those stranded in other worlds and extort them for passage back to their world.  They are also known to help criminals escape justice by opening doorways to faraway worlds, allowing even the worst villains to escape prosecution.

Another activity the Askiliths are known for of a similar vein is where an Askilith promises to take a creature to a specific place and then instead opens a portal to some horrible place, such as the Darkness between the Stars, a volcanic caldera or some hellish world, taking their reward and leaving their hapless clients to die.  This never fails to amuse them.

Statblock Changes:

Askiliths stat as Mimics, with the following changes-

HD: 1d4+2

Uncanny Valley: Askiliths can take the form of people or animals with their shapeshifting, but like when Mimics do the same, there's something just not quite right about them.  A successful saving throw or succeeding on a DC 10 COG check can show that whatever this is, it is not what it seems.  That doesn't necessarily mean that the person who succeeds recognizes it as an Askilith or even a Mimic, but they know something is up with that person or animal.

Open the Way: Askiliths can, as an action, open a portal to another universe.  While this portal is open, the Askilith exists on both sides of the portal.  The Askilith can close this portal as an action.

Acid Glob: Instead of making a Bite or Tentacle attack, an Askilith can make a projectile attack, spitting a glob of acid at any creature within 30'.  This acid does 2d6 damage, save for half, or save to take no damage if you have a shield.  It dissolves armor and shields.  It also does 1d6 acid damage each round until the creature covered by it dilutes it with water or neutralizes it with a base.  Alternatively, just take off whatever is covered with acid.  The Askilith can spit acid once every 1d4 rounds.  

Askilith Encounters:

1d4

1- An Askilith approaches the players and tells them it has knowledge of the lost hoard of a slain Dragon.  If the players agree to provide some service for it and then give it a cut of the treasure later, the Askilith will open a portal for them.  The Askilith, once paid, opens a portal to some horrible cave network in another world and strands them there. 
2- The players are hired by a Sage who has heard about Askiliths and wants the party to find him one.  He has heard there is a nearby ruin infested with Mimics and thinks that might be a good place to start looking.  He promises them a really big paycheck for this.
3- As above, but the Sage knows where the Askilith is, and it's in the middle of a colony of Mimics, who have the same relationship with the Askilith as sheep do to a shepherd.  Guide the Sage safely to the Askilith and don't get eaten by the furniture along the way. 
4- An evil creature is using an Askilith as part of it's diabolical scheme.  Go kill it to ruin that unsavory individual's plan.  Alternatively, you may be able to just bribe it, as Askiliths are known for being greedy and disloyal.
by DudeMcWhy on Instagram

OSR: d12 Magic Spears

This post is inspired by this post by Cacklecharm.  It contains d10 other magic spears. 

from here, Xiangling from Genshin Impact

Salt-Tooth:
Damage: 1d6+Atk modifier

Salt-Tooth is a spear made of a branch from a mangrove tree, sanded to the smoothness of a child's bald head.  It is warm to the touch and smells faintly of rot and tropical fruits.  The tip is leaf-shaped and the edges of the blade are lined with rust.  The spear was created by a swamp dwelling Druid whose lover was slain by a man armored in steel mail, with a length of shining metal in his fist.  The Druid was powerless against such metals, his stone blades proving utterly useless.  So he beseeched the green spirits of the Swamp, bidding them to help.  He promised them anything, and moved by his hatred, those wild nature spirits gave him instructions.  

Killing a dozen men armed and shielded by iron, he gathered these works of civilization and brought them to the center of the swamp.  There the spirits kindled a wild blaze for him and as the metal melted, they danced around the blaze and drank the molten metal like wine.  When they were finished, the chief of the spirits spat out a single piece of metal that had cooled between his teeth and told the Druid to mount it on a piece of wood.  That piece of metal was the head of the spear that would one day become known as Salt-Tooth. 

Salt-Tooth's ability is that it destroys armor and shields.  When a piece of armor comes in contact with Salt-Tooth or Salt-Tooth's wielder (as long as he is holding the spear), that piece of armor loses 1 point of AR.  If this reduces the piece of armor to 0 AR, it crumbles and falls apart. 

Magical armor is not destroyed, but is instead covered in a fine layer of rust that prevents it from being used as armor or it's magical abilities from used.  Magical armor must be purified with lightning or by immersion for at least 1 day in a fast-flowing river.  A Water Elemental's magic or a Dragon's fire could also work in a pinch.

The one problem of Salt-Tooth is that it affects the user as well, as the magic of the spear flows through him (or her) as well.  Any piece of armor the user of Salt-Tooth tries to wear is rendered useless in minutes. 

Salt-Tooth is a precious heirloom of the Druids, and is still in the possession of a swamp dwelling Circle of them, though it likely isn't the circle the forger of the spear was from, despite what they might claim. 

Rosethorn:

Damage: 1d6+Atk

Rosethorn is a spear made of snow-white birch with living green vines curling up and down the handle.  The blade is a long piece of finely worked bronze.  Blooming near the base of the blade is a living, dark red rose.  It is a Handsome Man design, obviously, the work of a master craftsman, though few outside those lands would recognize the latter fact.  The creator is a Handsome Man war-artisan known for incorporating living plants into his weapons, after altering the plants to feed on the blood and mana of the slain.  His name is Binilli Crayasi [Bin-ill-Eh Cra-Ah-See].  His weapons are famous in those lands and very valuable to the right buyer.  

Rosethorn's ability is that 1/Day, you can animate 1 plant for ten minutes.  That plant becomes your ally for the duration or until it dies.  The plant will obey your orders and attack on your turn.  The plant's damage and HD depends on it's size (Referee's Discretion applies).

Plant Table:
Grass/Flowers- 1 HD, 1d6 damage
Shrubs/Bushes/Hedges- 2 HD, 1d6+2 damage
Small Trees- 3 HD, 1d8 damage
Large Trees- 1d6+2 HD, 1d10 damage

A group of bandits currently terrorizing travelers along a stretch of Imperial road near the Northern border of the Empire found the weapon on the body of a dead Handsome Men, the last survivor of a shattered raiding party who managed to crawl away before expiring.  Since that day, they've been using the spear to commit larger jobs and have been far more successful.  However, as they become more brazen, they've been getting more sloppy.  They are unaware of this fact, but there is currently a bounty on their leader's head, as she was the only one who could be positively identified.

Boarsbane:
Damage: 1d8+Atk+STR modifier

Boarsbane is a boar spear, shorter and wide-bladed, with a shaft of sturdy ash.  Below the blade, two long tusks stud the shaft of the spear.  The spear constantly stinks of blood and unsettles people not used to violence when they see it. 

Boarsbane was created when a Hoba named Paul Lightwhisker's family was abused by a pair of Imperial Roadkeepers, who are ordinarily tasked with protecting travelers, collecting tolls and preventing banditry.  But in some places, they are little more than legitimized bandits, as Lightwhisker soon learned.  The Roadkeepers took the lion's share of his family's produce as "tolls" for using His Imperium's roads and when his father complained about this, they beat him bloody.  They then threatened him and his family, insisting that they must hand over half of their next harvest to them, or they wouldn't get to use the road at all.

But Lightwhisker's father wasn't a weak man.  He refused to obey, even traveling to the nearest city to speak with the City's Prelate.  Unfortunately, the Prelate was unable to help, but promised to send a request to the Province's governor.  But when he returned home, the Roadkeepers heard of this and fearing the hangman's noose, they went to the Governor and accused Lightwhisker's father of being a servant of Chaos.  They said he was indoctrinating his children to hate the Emperor and the Gods of Heaven, and to only serve the Red Princes of Chaos.  The Governor granted their request for a writ to arrest this man and bring him in for a trial.  The Roadkeepers then used this writ to go to Lightwhisker's house and kill his father, then rape his mother and two sisters, before killing them as well.  They would have killed him as well, but Lightwhisker escaped.

They sought him out though, seeking to kill him, as he was a witness to their crimes.  So Paul Lightwhisker went into town and told everyone that he was looking for them, and he would be waiting under the dead elm tree on the hill overlooking town at sunset.  When the Roadkeepers returned to town, they heard this from the locals and went to that location.  They suspected a trap, but they were still not prepared.  When they arrived, Paul was hiding nearby.  He threw a stone at oen's back, luring him into the brush.  This caused the first Roadkeeper to stumble into a tripwire and fall, entangled in rope.  Paul then threw a bundle of straw wrapped in a cloak onto him and yelled, "Let go of me!"  When the second came, he thrust his spear downward into what he thought was Paul, but instead was merely straw.  Thus, the blade went straight through the bundle and impaled his friend.  When the second Roadkeeper realized what he had done, he threw up and went into a panic.  He turned to run for help, only to find himself impaled on Paul's spear. 

After that, Paul Lightwhisker chopped off their heads and left them impaled on the fence overlooking the village green, after carving the words "Thief" and "Murderer" into each of their faces.  Despite the fact that the two were known to be abusive, he was still branded an outlaw by Imperial officials.  Since that day, he has been known as Paul Redfoot, a servant of Chaos to some and a man seeking true justice by others.  And though he later lost his spear in battle, by the time he did, the spear had already gained a bit of his cleverness. 
    
Boarsbane's abilities are as follows:

1/Day, it can produce a pheromone cloud that attracts boars, pigs and pig-like creatures, including Pigmen.  It attracts all such creatures within 100'.  Intelligent creatures get a save to resist.

1/Day, it can produce a pheromone that causes all boars, pigs and pig-like creatures, including Pigmen, within 30' of a point that the wielder designates to fly into a murderous rage.  For the Orzane, consider it as if it automatically triggered their Battle Rage.  When in such a rage, such creatures will attack the first perceived threat or enemy they can see.  Their rage is so intense that they will not be able to recognize their companions, so if there are no other targets around, they might end up attacking each other. 

Boarsbane is currently being used by a serial killer who has been using it to lure Orzanian travelers and caravans off safe routes into areas frequented by monsters, then preying on the survivors of the inevitable monster attacks.  He has also developed a taste for hogflesh, of the four-legged and talking kind. 

Gravedigger's Guard: 
Damage: 1d6+Atk

Gravedigger's Guard is a spear with a shaft of dark wood and a pair of petrified feathers mounted below blade, which is barbed and cruel looking.

This spear once belonged to the first custodian of what would become Nu-Zir, City of the Dead.  At the time, it was just another spear.  But one day, when the custodian was accompanying his staff through the crypt-lined streets, inspecting their sacred charges, a raven flew down and landed on the spear and told them, "Death awaits."  The custodian, trusting the word of the Raven, sent his young aide to lead the non-warriors ahead, while he asked for volunteers to go forward with him.  A few stepped forward and he led them deeper into the boneyard, where they were attacked by a mob of zombies that had been lying in wait.  The custodian and his brave men were surrounded and though they fought bravely, they were vastly outnumbered.  By the time reinforcements arrived, all that was left of them were their weapons, left impaled in the ground.  But by sacrificing himself so that others might live, the custodian's spear was imbued with the strength of the slain. 

Gravedigger's Guard's abilities are as follows:

If any Undead should come within 100' of the spear, the stone feathers below the blade glow a sickly green.  The light's brightness depends on the number of Undead or their strength.  A Lich or an army of zombies will trigger the same brightness, roughly.

1/Day, Gravedigger's Guard can conjure a Unkindness of Ravens, who will stand guard over the wielder of the spear, keeping watch and alerting him of any who would approach him.  They will automatically attack any Undead who come within 100' of the wielder, unless ordered to do otherwise.  When these ravens are slain, they disintegrate into shadows and vanish.

Gravedigger's Guard was once passed down by the custodians of Nu-Zir, but after the last custodian broke his neck in a shameful accident, the spear went missing.  It is currently in the hands of an Adventurer named Bogran Skullgrinder of Temris, an Orzane who hates necromancers more than anything in the world.

Pallbearer's Point:
Damage: 1d6+Atk

Pallbearer's Point is a spear with a blade of heavy black iron and a shaft of solid, sturdy oak.  The wood is wrapped in red cord and a pair of white tassels hang down from below the wide, square blade.

Pallbearer's Point once belonged to a Dwarf clansman who was entrusted with the duty of guarding the bodies of his brothers during the winter, standing guard over their corpses to prevent Ghouls and other creatures from despoiling their bodies.  He faithfully did his duty and this offended a Ghoul who disliked such loyalty and wanted to demonstrate the falseness of such sentiments, along with eating the corpses of the Dwarf.  So he disguised himself as a friend of the Dwarf and hired a prostitute to "reward", ie to distract the Dwarf and lure him away.  As Dwarves are all sterile men, many of them have no experience or even feelings of the matter unless awakened.  So when the prostitute described what she wished to do with him, the Dwarf's resolve crumbled like a dog presented with a plate of bacon grease.  But as he was enjoying her, he realized the strangeness of the circumstances and told her to wait for just a moment.  When she attempted to stop him, he broke her nose and ran, snatching up his spear. 

When he returned he found the Ghoul and his necrotizing companions feasting on the bodies of his slain brethren.  Filled with rage at himself and his own weakness, he charged in and attacked them.  The Ghouls were unprepared and he cut down half of them in a single furious assault, breaking their resolve.  Their leader saw that the Dwarf had been wounded as well, and was bleeding out.  So he simply waited for the Dwarf to fall over and die.  But the Dwarf didn't- he remained standing.  Eventually, the Undead realized that he must actually have died on his feet, braced on the spear so that it kept his body upright.  But when one of the Undead attempted to push him over, the Undead brushed the Dwarf's spear.  At this, a burst of holy light erupted from the spear and the Undead was instantly destroyed.  At the sight of this, the rest fled.  The Dwarf's brothers found him that morning, unarmored and naked but for his loin-cloth, dead from a dozen horrible wounds, yet still standing.

Pallbearer's Point's abilities are as follows:

3/Day, should the wielder wish it, upon striking an Undead with the spear, he can force that Undead to save.  On a failed save, the Undead is instantly destroyed.  Note that this ability only works on Embodied Undead such as skeletons, zombies, Wights, Ghouls and etc, not on Immaterial Undead such as Ghosts, Spectres, Wraiths, etc.

1/Day, the wielder can draw a line or circle in the dirt.  No Undead may pass beyond this line for the duration.  Living creatures are unaffected, as are projectiles.  The barrier last until the next sunrise, after which it dissolves and becomes nothing more than a line in the dirt.

Pallbearer's Point is a semi-famous weapon in the South, with at least a dozen Dwarf clans claiming to be the clan whom the original owner belonged to.  The truth is disputed and some allege that the story is nothing more than a piece of fiction.  Regardless, the spear is currently in the hands of an elite Dwarf warrior by the name of Crint Ten Shields of the Harvix Clan.  He is the bodyguard to that clan's lone princess, protecting her until she is old and developed enough to succeed their aging Queen.

from here, artist unknown

Bloodhunter:
Damage: 1d6+Atk+X

Bloodhunter is a spear made of smooth, transparent red crystal.  It glitters brightly in the sun and is always cold to the touch.  It can absorb the blood of those it injures, which automatically makes the spear grow in size, as well as making the designs and ornamentation of the spear grow more elaborate.  From simple studs grow blossoms of razor crystal and curling vines that are cold as iron left in the snow. 

Bloodhunter's ability works like this:

Should Bloodhunter be used to successfully attack and injure a creature that has blood, the spear gets a +1 bonus to damage.  Only add this damage bonus after an attack is confirmed to hit, not as part of the Attack roll.

However, whenever the creature using Bloodhunter makes an attack and fails to hit against a creature with armor or a shield, there is an X-in-10 percent chance that Bloodhunter shatters into shards of crystal.

On a natural 1, the spear shatters automatically.

Bloodhunter, if destroyed, will leave behind a sphere of crystal that resembles an acorn carved of the same transparent red crystal.  If left in a pot of blood, wine and oil for 1 month, the spear will reform with non damage bonus. 

Bloodhunter is currently being used a mercenary who is fighting in one of the many skirmishes between the Dwarf clans and the Empire in the South.  He is not a bad man, but his company has switched sides multiple times and isn't well trusted.   

Infriga:
Damage: 1d6+Atk + 1d4 ice damage on a successful hit

A spear with a wooden shaft that is encrusted with rime and has grown white and stiff, with a tip of ice carved into a delicate looking arrowhead shape, Infriga is a beautiful and exotic weapon.  The tip is perpetually cold and smokes in hot environments, cooling the air around it.

Infriga is a Quarrian weapon, the tip made of lunar ice carved by a aging smith.  When his son was conscripted, he prayed that the Gods grant his son some way to protect his son.  And the smith's distant Gods heard him and sent a messenger, bearing the ice which had frozen in the Darkness between the Stars, wrapped in cloth made of moonlight.  The smith carved the ice into a spearhead and mounted it on the pole, then wrapped the moonlight around the wood, which hardened the wood and made it indestructible.  This act destroyed the smith's hands, freezing then burning them.  So when he presented his son with the spear, his son wept at his father's wounds.  The son swore to use the spear with pride.  His name was Amanaxes Gollow, Prophet of the Moons and Unifier of the Quarrian people. 

Infriga's ability is as follows:

1/Day, if stuck into a container of water, Infriga charges that water with energy, allowing the wielder to hurl the water as a projectile.  Upon impact, the water instantly freezes itself and anything it splashes.  Depending on the size of the container of water, this affects the damage.

The wielder can also use this ice to create an object made of ice.  The amount of water around Infriga's tip affects the size of the object that can be created.

Container Size Table:   

Canteen.  Can create hand-sized object or does 1d6 damage.        
Bucket.  Can create bucket-sized object and does 1d8 damage.
Bathtub.  Can create bath-sized object and does 2d6, save for half, damage.
River or Lake.  Can create an object up to the size of a carriage and does 3d6, save for half, damage.

Infriga is still viewed as precious relic by the Church of the Moons, who occasionally lend it to champions working on behalf of their people or their Gods.  The rest of the time it rests in the Cathedral of Lunador, their God of War, where it is venerated by many.

Basilisk's Barb:
Damage: 1d8+Atk+STR

A heavy spear with a wide, wedge shaped blade of heavy bronze with an ornately detailed closed eye beneath the blade.  The blade is roughly the same shape as a Basilisk's fang and there is a scrap of skin hanging on the opposite side of the blade that the sculpted eye is.  It could be mistaken by Basilisk skin for someone who is unfamiliar with the beast, but any trained adventurer would be able to tell that it's actually just skin from a Giant Snake.  The skin is a relatively new addition, much newer than anything else on the spear.

Basilisk's Barb's true origin is lost in the haze of rumor and folklore, but one story tells of a well-liked man and pillar of the community who was also a degenerate.  He would kidnap and assault women, keeping them as his play-things, then feeding them to the Basilisk that he kept in his basement when he tired of them.  This continued for years until the man captured a pair of twin girls.  He tortured them for a bit, then attempted to feed them to the Basilisk.  But as he was moving them downstairs, one got free and scratched out one of his eyes.  This pain distracted him enough that he forgot to restrain her.  So when the Basilisk failed to eat her, as it was full after eating her sister, she was able to escape and alert the neighbors to what was happening.  The murderer realized what had happened and fled, but the townspeople were still able to exact some measure of revenge, by filling the basement with oil and burning the horrible beast alive.

Supposedly, the spear was then crafted using one of the Basilisk's eyes, but no one knows what happened to the other, or who made it. 

Basilisk's Barb's ability is as follows:

As a free action, the wielder can command the eye to open.  If he takes an action to focus the eye on a creature, that creature takes 1d6 DEX damage.  Should this damage reduce a creature to 0 DEX, that creature is petrified.  Note that unless the wielder uses his action to focus the eye it will roll around and look at everything but what he wants it to look at.  He can close the eye as an action.  Additionally, line of sight is required for the eye to work- even a cloud of smoke in between you and your intended target will block the eye's petrifying effect.  DEX damage done by this eye is undone, with the affected creature recovering 1 point of DEX per 10 minutes after it stops being exposed.    

Basilisk's Barb is currently in the hands of one Yotham, Son of Yarthi, a man who looks every inch a proud and courageous adventurer.  In actuality, he is a spoiled rich boy who is pretending to be one to sleep with loose women and impress strangers.  He has only been in a couple fights before in his life and his best friend is his bodyguard.  He's secretly quite pathetic.

In some of the communities near the Quarrian border, where the trees grow till they touch the clouds and Elephants roam freely through the deep darkness beneath the canopy, there are stories of Ice Eyes, an immortal killer with a snake's eyes.  Those eyes supposedly freeze those who look into them, preventing them from running away, turning blood to slush and flesh stiff as cold stone.  Ice Eyes is used by boys to frighten girls into cuddling with them and by parents to frighten children into doing their chores, but there's no truth to the stories.  At least, probably not. 

Rotgut:
Damage: 1d6+Atk

A spear with a shaft that is just slightly covered and a long, narrow tip with hooks extending from the bottom of either side of the blade.  A good weapon for disarming people or hooking other people's weapons.  It smells faintly of cloves and licorice.

Rotgut was created by an anarchic Culinary Wizard by the name of Simon Seven-Layers, who created the drunken lasagna, a meal that is only enhanced the drunker you are.  But when people insisted on eating his food while sober, he got creative.  Dosing people's drink, mixing rum into the candle wax so that inhaling the fumes would intoxicate you, hiring tiny folk to injecting people under the nails with slivers of frozen liquor, all of these were tactics of his to ensure that all those who ordered his food were the appropriate level of intoxicated.  So it was only a matter of time before he ran afoul of the authorities.  The incident in question involved a dinner where the Governor got drunk and slept with the son of a visiting dignitary, instead of his male paramour, provoking an international incident.  For this, Seven-Layers was hunted down and hung by the neck.  But after his body was turned over to his students for burial, they found a very strange recipe tucked into his clothes, written in an unfamiliar hand writing.  They made the recipe on a whim and instead of the cake that the recipe proported to create, the spear Rotgut spilled from the oven instead.

Rotgut's abilities are as follows:

As an action, the user can open a slit in the spearhead and pour from it a shot's worth of high quality liquor.  This cannot produce an infinite amount of liquor, but it can produce enough to get at least 30 people stone drunk. 

1/Day, as an action, the wielder can produce a cloud of alcohol-laced fog that covers up to 50' square feet of floor.  Anyone in an area that is covered by the fog gains 1 point of drunkenness per minute breathing in the cloud.  The fog cloud lasts for 1d10 minutes indoors, 1d6 minutes outdoors or in strong winds, 1d4 rounds.

Rotgut is currently in the hands of the Chef-Terrorist Fiery Grigor, a Crocoling master of cuisine seeking to devour two of every creature under the earth, including sentient species.  He was last seen bundled in furs deep in the South, but that was years ago.  He could be anywhere by now.

Andronicus:
Damage: 1d8+Atk+STR

A spear with a ruddy-red shaft that gradually deepens to a red-violet color near the tip.  The tip is huge to the point of near-impracticability and always shines like it is freshly polished, no matter how dirty it should be.  It has several gold rings incorporated as part of the design, and they flash with jewels.

Andronicus is an Ego Weapon.  To wield it you must be one of the following:
- A man with a STR and CON of 13(+1) or more
- A woman with a STR and CON of 15(+1) or more
- A person with at least three (female) wives, concubines or paramours

If you do not fit any of the above categories, Adronicus is too heavy for you to lift.  If you attempt to lift it in some other way, such as trickery or sorcery, Andronicus accidentally falls as slices you open, seriously injuring you.

Andronicus is a weapon that once belonged to a Djinn, one of the Genies.  After losing a great amount of wealth in a bet, he created this spear to enable him to quickly regain it.  When he was finished with it, he threw it to Earth, where it landed and proceeded to cause endless amounts of grief for those who gained it.  For while the power of Adronicus is not great, it is an extremely disruptive ability that disrupts communities, rips apart families and generally tends to corrupt those who obtain it.

Adronicus's ability works as follows:

1/Day, if you injure a creature with Adronicus, you can force a creature to save.  On a failed save, that creature will be overcome with a desire to serve you (as Charm).  Depending on who you are, "serve" will take on different meanings based on how that creature would interpret such a desire and how you present yourself.  For example, the grizzled bandit captain will interpret that in a far different way than the harem dancer.

This effect is a Charm effect, but it persists until you die, give over Andronicus willingly to another person or mistreat a creature badly enough.

Andronicus is currently in the hands of an Ogre, who is using it to assemble a "family" that will love and take care of him.  All of the others in his family are actually charmed into carrying out their roles for him, but they will fight to the death to defend him.  Their actual kin would like them back, preferrably undamaged.

Cloud Carver:

Damage: 1d10+Atk

A spear with a shaft of finest cedar and a head of creamy metal that resembles white gold, Cloud Carver is clearly a weapon from another, higher world than ours.  The blade is adorned with cloud-like designs and a ribbon of palest blue surrounds the head and flaps in the breeze whenever there is one.  The weapon is never dirty and when wielded by an appropriate user, seems to weigh no more than a length of balsa wood.  As such, Cloud Carver is immediately recognizable as the prized weapon of Jak Nuvia, Skyclimber, Hoghunter, Bane of Giants, Ocean-Tamer, Wrestler of the East Wind and Father of Horses.

There are more stories about Jak than could be recounted in a single lifetime, most of which are common knowledge.  All you need to know is that almost anyone who saw this weapon would think, "Doesn't this look vaguely familiar?"  They might immediately recognize it as Jak's weapon, but since some cultures describe him differently, with a different personality, weaponry, abilities or even as another race, not all would identify it as his.  The Orzane always describe and depict him carrying an Axe, which to them is a weapon of the Soldiering and Landed class, while in other lands axes are tools used primarily by peasants, so they depict Jak as carrying a sword.  Nonetheless, even if someone did not know the slightest thing about Jak, they would still recognize Cloud Carver as a mighty weapon.

Cloud Carver is an Ego Weapon.  To wield it you must have the following qualities:
- Have a DEX and COG of at least 16(+2) and have at least 5 HD/Class levels
- Have slain a great flying monster (such as a Roc, Griffon, Chimera, Dragon, etc)

If you do not fit any of the above categories, Cloud Carver sizzles with energy and radiates hostility when you pick it up.  If you refuse to heed this first warning, you are struck by lightning the next time you try to use Cloud Carver (4d6 lightning, save for half).

Cloud Carver's abilities work as follows:

1/Day, the wielder can alter the weather in a local area (within 10 miles) to whatever he wishes, as long as the weather is seasonally appropriate.  That means no snow in high summer or warm rain in autumn.  Additionally, all changes take 1d4 hours to manifest as clouds rush to be in the proper position.

1/Day, the wielder can create glowing wings of light that appear on the back of the wielder or the wielder's mount.  These wings grant the ability to fly and levitate for 10 minutes, after which they disappear.  The wielder can feel when they are about to run out and will be urged by the weapon to land before it happens. 

Cloud Carver is currently in a hidden cavern concealed in the Garden Peaks, a mountain chain that is far less pleasant than it sounds.  There it is guarded by a Sphinx, who awaits a champion virtuous enough to claim it.

from here, presumably by OP

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

OSR: The Horns of Valhalla

This is a post based on a magic item from 5th Edition.  I kept the name, but nothing else is the same.  This was also inspired by a Cacklecharm post, which I will link here, but also in the text below.

by Dilorom Abdullaeva
Most people in Nukaria believe the world is circular and eternal.  Like the seasons, the ages come and go and things persist as they always have.  The adherents to Chaos, however, do not share this belief.  They know the reason why the Orzanians, the current superpower straddling the civilized world like a Colossus sacrifices people.  They're not the only ones who know, of course, but they are the only ones who know the truth.  The Orzane offer sacrifices not only to their Gods, but to Tiamat, the Dragon-Goddess of Chaos.  This is because Tiamat is the world. Lord Marzan, Son of their Chief God Anuman, slew Tiamat in battle long ago, in a battle that ended the First Age, the Age of the Gods and began the Age of Heroes.  Before, Gods and Man lived in splendid harmony, but man's unrighteousness allowed Chaos to enter the world and nearly destroyed it.  Since then, the Gods have been divided into the Lords of Law, who seek to continue the world and await the return of the Lawgiver, and the Princes of Chaos, who seek to destroy what remains of the world and remake it in their own "glorious" image.

For there was a problem.  Shortly after the Second Age began, the Lords of Law realized that Tiamat was not actually dead.  Too powerful to be destroyed by them, her body still lived, albeit in a divided form.  As such, the new creatures the Gods had created to people the Earth were being devoured by Tiamat's body, which sought to repair itself.  But while the Lords searched for a way to permanently slay Tiamat, this information leaked to Unta, the Imp of Suffering.

Unta was faced with a delicious conundrum.  If he did nothing, mortals would continue to die and he could watch it for as long as he wanted.  But if this state of affairs was allowed to continue, Tiamat would eventually be resurrected.  And should that happen, he would be killed, as he betrayed the forces of Chaos and her deceased husband, Prince Quino.  As such, while the Lords debated, Unta slipped out of the Court of Heaven and made his way to Earth.

Once he reached Earth, he took the form of an old man and traveled to one of the largest city in the world where he found the people cowering in their homes and praying feverishly for deliverance which did not come.  He went to the elders of the city and found them huddled in an upper room, shaking with fear.  When he saw them, he rebuked them, excoriating them for their cowardice.  When they grew angry and rose from their seats to strike him, Unta transformed and took on a glorious form, dazzling them with his power.  They immediately were overcome with fear and fell on their faces, believing him to be the salvation they had prayed for.  Unta then told them what to do.  He ordered them to take 100 people from the city and offer them as sacrifices to the Gods, spilling their blood into the Earth. 

The elders protested, but Unta insisted that the disaster that threatened their city would swallow them all up if they did not do this.  He told them it did not matter who died, whether they be Kings or Slaves, as long as they died.  Then Unta spoke a prophecy, "As long as the Earth is watered with blood and the Gods do not die alongside men, then the Dragon-Mother will sleep.  But should the blood fail to flow or her killers perish, she will rise and bring about the Last Day, the Day of Red Sun."

The elders then did as Unta ordered them to do, and to their surprise, Tiamat was quieted around their city.  Unta then traveled to other cities, giving them the same orders.  He only did this several times before the Lords of Law realized what he was doing and sent the Throneguard to retrieve him.  Unta was recaptured and returned to his chains in Heaven, but the damage was done.  Not only was the practice of sacrificing mortals to the Gods spreading by itself across the world, but this act of profane violence awoke the taint left in each mortal who participated or witnessed the event.  All the mortals alive on Earth were actually either those who had been resurrected by the blood of Quino the traitor, or they were the descendents of the same.  And when they saw such an act, it awoke dark instincts with them.  Before they had lived in peace with each other, but gradually as the blood continued to flow, it infected their hearts.  For the first time, men fought and killed each other.  The bond of communion between Man and God had been broken, but now that bond was broken between Men as well.

The Lords of Law longed to punish Unta for his dreadful crime, but they feared that because of his prophecy, should they do so, they might speed or cause the resurrection of the Dragon-Goddess.  So they instead punished him harshly by forcing him to eat the worst, most shameful parts of every sacrifice offered to them until his stomach ruptured.  Then they healed him and had him do it again.  This process continued for 1 year.

by Alex Graham-Heggie

The State of Affairs today:

Mortals continue to offer sacrifices to the Gods and spill the blood of the slain into the Earth.  This, along with their wars, massacres and murders feeds the Dragon-Goddess.  Slowly it heals her.  However, because of Unta's prophecy, it is not enough for men to merely die.  He forced the Lords of Law to protect him, by making the death of a God in a specific circumstance the source of her resurrection.

As such, Chaos Cultists seek not only to provide the Dragon-Goddess with enough blood to heal herself, the greater of their numbers also work to engineer a scenario through which Unta's prophecy will be fulfilled.  They speak of the Day of Red Sun, when Tiamat will be resurrected and the remains of this world will be swept away.  The adherents of Chaos believe this will usher in a Heavenly Age, where the innate goodness of man will return when he is no longer being corrupted by the cruelties of Law.  Those who cling to Law on the other hand believe that the resurrection of Tiamat will lead only to death and destruction on an unimaginable scale, if not the end of the world itself as it dissolves back into the formless void that it emerged out of.

But the Lords of Law have not been sitting idle, waiting for this day to come.  Not only do they fight the Princes of Chaos through their proxies, just as the Princes use their cultists and demons as proxies, but they have also been recruiting.  Whenever a glorious or heroic soul is near death or completes some great deed, the Lords of Law appear before him and give him a choice: live on here in this world and potentially die, or come with me.

Those who come with the Lords are placed in a long sleep and concealed under mountains, in hidden caves guarded by Sphinxes, or sealed in a special Sarcophagi that will preserve and heal them.  They become the Sleepers, those legendary heroes who will return on the Last Day to do battle with Tiamat and the armies of Chaos.  This struggle will determine who rules over the world and whether existence will continue or it will all return to the abyss of Chaos.

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The Horns of Valhalla:

The Lords of Law also sought to repay mortals for their generosity and to provide them with some aid, should they need help, as men were deprived of their greatest mortal champions.  So the Gods crafted from the horns of the great beasts of Chaos four horns and imbued them with sacred power.  Should the forces of Law and Justice need aid, they can blow one of these horns and receive aid.                

The horns made from the horn of some great, long dead beast, banded with gold, silver, brass or iron.  The horn is always in pristine condition and the metal bands are molded into scenes of battle and victory.  The horn is a tool of heroes, and refuses to be used for evil or chaotic beings or by them.  When sounded by an evil or chaotic creature, it instead causes that creature to take 2d6 damage and forces all evil or chaotic creatures who can hear the sound of the horn to save or be frightened by the sound.

However, if sounded by a heroic or lawful creature, the Horn will summon a number of Sleepers to aid the Horn-Blower in battle.

Once sounded, the horn cannot be blown for some time, or until Heaven wills it.   

To see the specifics on each horn, consult the table below:

The Sleepers:

- All Sleepers have 1d3+5 HD
- They make all attacks at +4 unless stated otherwise
- They cannot be magically aged and are immune to all save or die effects
- When they take the field, allies of the Horn-Blower receive new saves against any Charm or Fear effects afflicting them and enemies of the Horn-Blower must immediately check morale or flee
 
What Sleepers do you summon?

1d20

1- The Emperor of Shining Glory.  The first Emperor of the Orzane, he is a pig-man with a shaved body and a snow white mohawk, his tusks cut short and capped with white gold encrusted with fire opals.  He can enter a rage that is icy cold and does not prevent him from thinking rationally.  Additionally, while he is raging, he takes half damage from all types of damage.  He is also immune to psychic damage and his mind cannot be read or influenced by psychic effects. 
2- The Demigod Urzai Bullslayer.  A Deerling with fur the color of copper and emerald eyes.  Fast as a charging horse and much stronger than his slim body has any right to be.  He has the ability to dodge anything 1/Day, even a magical effect or something like a fireball.  His red cloak, when revealed, provokes rage in those who see it, compelling them to blindly rush forward to attack and his bright weapons can pierce any mortal-forged armor. 
3- Sulicar, Prince of Djinn.  A human with a swarthy complexion and bearing a pair of magic rings, each one that imprisons a Genie.  He can use these rings to cast any spell he wants as an action, and the spell can use up to 7 MD.  He does not suffer Chaos or Corruption.  He is also incredibly intelligent.
4- Marix Carlo, The Hammer.  The leader of men and the destroyer of the foreign hordes, this Quarrian man has long, dark hair and matching eyes, his blue skin covered in pale tattoos.  He wields a magic hammer that superheats metal armor on contact and rides upon Destrier, Prince of Equines and Son of the King of Horses.  When he is with you, your allies fight like demons and automatically pass all morale checks. 
5- Elia, Bearer of the Word "Burn".  She arrives shining like the sun, riding in a chariot of fire being pulled by a pair of Celestial Centaurs.  Her voice can make objects combust or call down fire from Heaven.
6- Culo Fairskin.  An albino Crocoling, he is a gifted swordsman with icy blue eyes and wears a robe of shimmering grey silk.  He possesses the power to transform into a grotesque simian monster, but his greatest technique is his ability to dance, which creates a rhythm that makes it impossible for his enemies to hit him. 
7- Wilma Silvershot.  The greatest archer who ever lived, she is a Frogling exile who rejected those who cast her out and took the future into her own hands.  She can shoot out the flame of a match without damaging the match and when her son was to be hung for a crime she did not commit, she fired a single arrow that cut the rope he was to be hung with right as he dropped, then managed to kill the executioner and the magistrate who had come to oversee the execution with the same shot.
8- Archon of Nu-Zir.  A metal statue of a warrior that was brought to life by a child's wish and divine intervention, the Archon zealously protected those who dwelled in the necropolis of Nu-Zir, until he misinterpreted the orders his charges gave him and started imprisoning them to keep them safe.  To prevent him from doing this further, the child's father erased the Divine Script on his hand, which is believed to have killed the Archon.  However, an Angel of Law came to the child the next night and told him that the Archon had been taken to Heaven and he would return one day to protect all the world's children.  The Archon is immune to all non-magical weapons and fire heals him.  He imprisons the ghosts of the unjust in the jewels in his gauntlets and can release them to attack people, then pull them back to protect the innocent.
9- Abimelech the Wise.  The greatest Magi who ever lived, he is widely believed to be the one who rediscovered sorcery after the tumultuous close of the First Age and the Deluge.  He was known for his crudity and kindness, as well as for his legacy of teaching mortals how to do magic.  But when he failed to protect his King from a sorcerous witch, he withdrew to live out his life in exile.  However, as he was beloved by the Gods, they did not curse him for his indiscretions and failures and promised him one last chance to fight for redemption.
10- Alhazu [Al-hah-zoo].  The last of the Vulkari (Vulturemen) Emperors, he was the victim of prophecy and foreign invaders, who he welcomed and who took him captive.  When the people grew violent, the invaders asked him to speak to them, that their lives might be spared.  He agreed and walked out of the occupied palace to speak to the people.  When they heard what he had to say though, his rivals declared he was a traitor and whipped up the agitated crowd against him, which threw stones at him, one that split open his beak and nearly killed him.  As a result, the Lords of Law destroyed the Vulkari and blighted them with a horrible plague that broke the last of the Empire's strength.  But Alhazu did not curse his people, but when the invaders fled, the Lords came to him and asked if he would protect them one last time.  He agreed and was sealed inside a sarcophagus of amber that healed him and placed him in a deep sleep, from which he will rise to aid those who deserve his justice.  Alhazu has the ability to pronounce judgement on the guilty and can absorb damage from the wounded, healing them, then transfer it to another by touching them.
11- Vitilo of the Yora.  The Coyoons tell stories about how before they were exiled by the Wolfmen, they lived at the feet of the same, oppressed by their elder brothers.  But one Coyoon rose above his humble origins to become King over not only them, but their elder brothers as well.  This Coyoon, beloved by all, was Vitilo of the Yora, a courageous warrior who brought peace and discord to the lands of the Canifari.  He is the greatest of their Kings, and the Coyoon believes that from his line will arise a savior who will redeem their people and restore their ancestral homeland to them.  Vitilo is said to carry a magic sword that could command the freezing wind and a scabbard that could make his flesh as hard as forged steel.  He also had the ability to frighten people with his gaze so badly that they froze in place like rabbits.
12- Zealous Ripton.  A Loxodon who defied the servants of Chaos when they overtook his city and defiled the Temple, he exhorted the people to remain with their principles and to refuse to kneel before these invaders.  For his crimes he was exiled from the city and imprisoned in a cave, where a Prince of Chaos forced him to watch things from a God's perspective, so Ripton saw his city grow from a village to a great metropolis then crumble and wither away.  But even after seeing civilization rise and fall like the tide, Ripton refused to acknowledge the Chaos God's point.  And at that moment, he realized the stone that imprisoned him had aged as well, so he smashed through them and attacked the God, who he wrestled with.  Terrified for his life at the Loxodon's incredible power, the Prince of Chaos hurled Ripton into the space between worlds.  But through the help of the Lords of Law, Ripton was able to surpass time.  Now he can freely travel to whatever point in time he wishes, and travels through time and space, righting wrongs and fighting evil.  He possesses incredible strength, the ability to teleport and to travel through time.
13- Yin the Boltra.  A Lakazu clad in a mask of gold and robes of perfect black, Yin overthrew the foreigners who oppressed his people and denied them the right to practice their ancient customs, successfully driving the invaders from his homeland and keeping his people safe for ten years, until he was slain via treachery.  Or at least, that's how the story goes.  But legend says that he did not actually die, but instead crawled away and when writing a curse on the floor of his castle in his own blood, an Angel of Law whisked him away where he awaits the opportunity to return and punish those who would abandon his people to Chaos and suffering.  He possesses the ability to unleash psychic blasts which scramble the mind and has the ability to move objects with thought alone.  He can also levitate using this same ability.
14- Leath Cinnafax of Mullberry Grove.  A humble Goatling prostitute, she discovered a pair of foreigners, Froglings who had entered her city as their God had promised them a free land apart from their captors.  She had heard what the Frogling Gods had done to those who challenged their people and was filled with fear, but still had the courage to ask them what they planned to do.  When the Froglings told her that they meant to take the city by force and slay all who resisted, she pleaded for the life of the city, claiming that she could get them to surrender without a fight.  They agreed with her, feeling that the Gods were with this woman.  But when Leath slipped into the chambers of the tyrant of the city to ask for him to surrender the city into the hands of the Free Froglings, he rebuked her and refused.  So she promised him her body if he would.  He pretended to agree, because though she was lowborn and a harlot, she was very beautiful.  But then when the tyrant fell asleep, she assassinated him and forged a document in the tyrant's hand that the gates should be opened.  She then went to the gate before the body could be discovered and showed it to them, claiming reinforcements were coming.  But when the gates were opened, the Free Frogling army rushed the open gate and forced their way inside.  And while some still fought, the city was saved and Leath was proclaimed a hero.  For that, and to protect her from those who thought her a traitor, the Lords of Law took her to Heaven so she could remain fair and virtuous forever.  Leath has the ability to charm people and to enforce non-violence on people through her soft lips.  No one can harm her without passing a saving throw and animals, even wild beasts, refuse to harm or offend her.
15- Ganvi Bloodywine.  A Badgerfolk warrior, he fought for his people and guarded their borders against the raiders from the plains that would have despoiled their lands and carried them away into slavery.  He is said to have been fatally wounded in a battle against Demon Clanlord, but was sealed inside a magical jar by a pair of angels, who concealed him in a cavern of quartz and gold beneath the earth.  There his wounds heal and he enjoys his well-deserved rest.  But should he be needed again, he will emerge from his resting place and take to the field to defend his people once more.  Bloodywine has the ability to create sinkholes and fortifications out of Earth, sculpt stone like it's putty and wields a magic halberd that disintegrates metal on contact.
16- Jasiel, Son of Orimor.  When his people were subjugated, they were forced to offer tribute each year in the form of several human sacrifices, which were given to a monster that their enemies worshiped.  He volunteered to be given over so he could infiltrate the monster's lair and slay it.  However, as mortal weapons were unable to slay it, Jasiel subdued the monster and ate it alive.  This ingestion of the monster's polluted flesh destroyed it, but then the monster attempted to possess and take over his body.  Luckily, he was rescued by the Lords of Law, who tore the Monster's soul away and cast it down to Sheol, then imbued him with it's power.  Jasiel then performed many heroic deeds due to his enhanced physical powers, until finally he was called away by the Gods for one final service.  Jasiel cannot be injured by weapons forged by mortal hands and possesses the strength of a team of oxen.  He fights bare-handed, or with a small tree he tears from the ground.     
17- Azul of Sandcrag, the Glass Castle King.  An Oxman who slew the Dragon threatening his people, then bathed in it's blood.  This gave him the ability to nullify the power of flames, covered him in nigh-unbreakable armor and gave him the gift of prophecy.  Azul used these abilities to bring peace to his fractured homeland, but was ultimately betrayed by envious rivals who thought they killed him.  Fortunately, he was rescued by the Gods, who offered him the chance to guard his people forevermore.  Azul is covered in dragon-scale, can extinguish flames with a gesture and has the ability to peer up to 1 minute into the future.   
18- Nikali the Hunter.  A half-Orc, his other half was human, Nikali was a man who rejected his father, the Slave-King and spent his life traveling around, destroying those who preyed on the weak.  He was a ruthless and efficient slayer, hunting many dangerous beasts.  He had a special hatred for rational creatures that fought against civilization and regarded them as little more than filth.  When he was wrongly accused of murder and hung as an outlaw, he vowed that he would return and judge not only the monsters who he fought, but those who were merely monsters in men's clothing.  Nikali fought with a pair of wands that could produce a gushing blasts of flame.  He also possessed the ability to brand people with magical seals that weakened them and allowed him to track them to the ends of the Earth. 
19- Ovali Jingles.  A Caribusa who hung golden bells on his antlers, he fought against the foreign oppressors who had taken over his country, flouting their rules and humiliating their officials.  When they sent bounty hunters and posses after him to arrest him, he killed them.  When they send armies, he killed them too.  It is not known if he died, he just seemed to disappear one day, as if he took off into the air and never came down.  Ovali was a gifted flier, able to fly extremely well when it was snowing.  He also possessed the ability to manipulate clouds and weather in a local area and was the master of Hale Kai style, which uses a javelin and shortsword simultaenously.
20- Piermont of House Voyin, The Guiding Light.  A Lizarian conquerer and master of medicine, Piermont led his armies across the plains, subjugating the wild peoples there.  He slaughtered all who resisted, but raised up those who submitted, leaving behind schools, hospitals and infrastructure that is still used to this day.  It was he who established contact with the people of the Cold Plains (the Equatorial Lands) and he was the inventer of many things, mostly advanced medical techniques that laid the foundations for what we know today.  After dying peacefully in his bed, he was raised and placed in the armory of Heaven, should they need his military genius again.  Piermont possesses the ability to heal with a touch, can produce clouds of toxic gas and carries a magical mace that can allow him to send telepathic messages to anyone whose blood has touched the head of the mace.

Character Retirement:

Characters can and should be encouraged to retire, especially if you're playing a game that spans over years, decades or some other great length of time. 

One unusual method of retirement is that if a character is sufficiently great and heroic, the Lords of Law may recruit him to become a Sleeper.  This retires the character, who is still alive, but likely will not return until a Horn of Valhalla is sounded or the Last Day.

Besides passing down their material possessions to an Apprentice, should the player character wish to do so, if a player allows their character to become a Sleeper they receive a boon for their next character:

Possible Boons:

- Roll 4d6 for all ability scores, then drop the lowest die
- Replace one ability score of your choice with a 16(+2)
- Start with a magic item of the Referee's choice
- Your character has the gift of prophecy and occasionally has prophetic dreams relating to the future
- Your character begins play with an NPC retainer, a faithful servant, bodyguard or advisor bestowed upon them at birth
- Your character is a child of prophecy and has a grand destiny to fulfill

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