Saturday, December 31, 2022

OSR: Palace of the Sun and Moon: Dungeon23 Challenge

The Orzane, the Pigmen of the Midlands, have a long and storied tradition of myth and folklore, much of which is common knowledge.  In all the lands they conquered, the Orzane erected created pyramidal structures to display the glory and majesty of their Gods.  There the priests of the Imperial Faith offer sacrifices to appease the Dragon-Mother's murdered flesh and to honor the Gods, lead the people in showing their devotion, host enormous rituals to ensure the success of the harvest, victory in war or any number of other things.

Some of these Pyramids are mere shrines, intended only for mortal use, but others are Temples where a Divinity lives when not in the Celestial Court.  There are many Gods in Nukaria, and not all are high-status enough to sit in Heaven.  And while all the Law Gods of Nukaria thereotically offer fealty to the Throne of Order, many are only sporadically invited to visit the Highest Court and attend Anuman, King of the Law Gods and Protector of the Settled Lands.

And while Anuman is Supreme Master according to the oaths they swore, in practice he is much too busy to micro-manage the affairs of the lesser Law Gods, who are usually free to do as they wish within their domains, provided nothing they do endangers their King's dominion, nor draws the attention of his sharp-eyed wife or brutal assassin of a son. 

Yet just like the pretty oaths that mean much less than they first appear, the reign of Anuman has not been as smooth as the priests and inscriptions would make it seem.  For while his reign has been unchallenged for millennia at this point, Anuman's kingship was almost ended before it began. 

A Long Time Ago, After the End of the World...

The Dragon-Goddess Tiamat, Mother of Chaos, destroyed the world and laid it to ruin.  Marzan, Son of Anuman, slew her and used her body to repair the world.  Afterwards, he returned to the battered ruins of Heaven and asked for the crown.  He was expected to take the throne himself, and had he done so, it's unlikely such a crisis would have followed.  But instead, Marzan planned to give it to his Father, Anuman, who was wiser and more experienced than he.  But as far as everyone else was concerned, Anuman was an inferior choice, weak and limp-wristed, a scholar and a musician, not a King or Commander. 

As such, many of the other Orzanian Gods protested Anuman's ascension.  When Marzan ignored them, some declared their intention to break their oaths, while others insisted on another taking the throne.  And while these squabbles distracted the Orzanian Gods, other pantheons took notice.  What had once looked like the sudden and irresistible victory of these upstart Gods suddenly became an opportunity to take it for oneself.  So the other pantheons began scheming.  When one took the first step toward seizing the throne, the Orzanians retaliated and just like that, the Court of Heaven was split.

The Law Gods broke apart along factional lines, each Pantheon battling for the throne.  The work of repairing the world was put on hold and the peoples of the Earth were left defenseless and unsupervised.  It was perhaps inevitable that the fighting would spill out of Heaven, and when it did, it triggered a series of Jihads and Holy Wars that later historians would define as the 70 and 7 year war, a far too tame story for a war that drowned the world in blood and turned the newly organized tribes of men against each other.

The history of the Scouring of Heaven and the 70 and 7 Year War is far too elaborate to be contained here, but the relevant details are these.  Eventually, the lesser contenders for the throne of Heaven were defeated or collaesced behind two factions, the Orzanian radicals and their allies and the older powers and their representatives, Solgar and Lunnette.

Solgar and Lunnette, or Sol and Lune, were the old Sun and Moon Gods from before the Great Deluge brought on by Tiamat.  They had been fairly minor functionaries, but both had proved themselves vastly under-utilized.  With a fresh infusion of power, Solgar and Lunnette proved terrible foes.  They battled the Orzanian pantheon to a standstill and nearly claimed total victory a half-dozen times.  Yet they could never truly defeat Marzan and his forces.

But just as it seemed that this conflict might drag on forever, Lunnette received a message from Unta, Imp of Suffering and former attendant to the lover of the Dragon-Goddess.  He said that he hated his new masters (true) and that they were cruel to him (asurdly true) and that he knew of their weakness (likely true).  But at the same time, this was Unta, the most craven, deceitful and clever creature in all the known worlds.  To trust him would be folly.  It was almost certainly a trap.  But at the same time, Solgar and Lunnette did not feel they had any better options.  So they took the information offered by Unta and struck. 

It would have been a devastating, crippling blow that would have spelled the doom of the Orzanian Gods.  But it was, just as they feared, a trap.  There is a reason why no one trusts a traitor. 

And with that, Solgar and Lunnette were defeated and the Orzanian Gods achieved dominion of Heaven and in time, all the Law Gods and Nukaria.

But there remained a small question.  That of real estate.

from here

Heaven Sweet Heaven:

Solgar and Lunnette built themselves a new palace atop the distant Clouds.  This structure was their command center and base of operations from which they planned to rule, once they achieved victory.  Let the Orzanians keep the ruins of the old Celestial Citadel.  They spared no expense on constructing their new home, sending towers out in all directions, domes flowering out as arcades wound and grew like roots.  For a time, on clear days, you could see two Heavens floating in the great vault of the sky.

After the Orzanians Gods won, Solgar and Lunnette's Heaven disappeared- a defensive measure late in activating, it was assumed.  And since it did not reappear and the chief conspirators were gone, the other Gods dismissed the whole notion as unimportant. 

And so the Second Heaven disappeared from the minds of Men and Gods, becoming little more than an interesting footnote in some semi-heretical texts.  But no one, not the scholars, not the priests and certainly not the Gods, expected it to reappear. 

How did you find out about this?

1d4

1- For the last few decades, every ten years near a certain mountain peak, a floating palace complex appears out of the ether for an irregular amount of time.  Sometime it only stays for a few days.  Other times it stays for weeks, and once it stayed for almost three months.  Then it vanishes again.  Those who entered and returned brought with them unimaginable riches and treasures beyond the wildest dreams of men.  And it has almost been 10 years since that strange structure appeared...
2- In an ancient Wizard's laboratory, amid the mouldering books and mad scribblings, there was references to a floating castle full of divine wisdom and celestial power.  This Wizard planned on claiming it for himself, before Fate ruined those plans in a most permanent way.  But his maps seem accurate.  It's a shame no one ever got to use them.  Perhaps you can remedy that. 
3- A stranger in a magical ship shows up in port.  He has some crazy plan and is definitely up to no good.  But the money he's promising, it's too good to pass up.  It's only when you're too far away to object that he will reveal his plan to loot an ancient divine construct that occasionally slips into our world.  Mom was right, you really should have become a baker. 
4- When the floating castle appeared in the sky, everyone started screaming and yelling.  But shortly thereafter, when it didn't do anything but sit there, it was decided that someone should be sent up there to go investigate it and see if it was dangerous or potentially useful.  And since you all were the only ones able to get up there/crazy enough to try, you got the job.  Good luck!

from here

Friday, December 30, 2022

A Revision to Healing Magic

I love my Death and Dismemberment table.  I spent a lot of time making it, even though the idea comes from someone else originally. 

But when I made it, I was primarily playing games in my Sea of Stars setting, which is Sci-Fi and low magic.  Specifically, there was no magical healing and technology was more limited, so there weren't many healing options, as unrealistic as that might be.

So it wasn't a problem.  But when I started playing my current game, the players quickly gained access to Healing Magic and suddenly, Horrible Wounds became trivialized as the long time it took to heal could be erased with a single casting of 'Cure Wounds'.  Now that might be fine in less intense or more light-hearted games, but in any game that is trying to make violence meaningful or dangerous or scary, that simply won't do.   

So I thought and thought and eventually, came up with a fix. 

Healing in the Wheel of Time series:

A brief digression.  In the Wheel of Time, Aes Sedai can magically heal wounds using magic.  However, this ability is not unlimited.  Not only does using this ability slowly wear down a caster's stamina, but healing also involves accelerating the wounded person's normal regenerative abilities. 

Simply put, it requires energy from the person who is being healed.  This means that sometimes, if someone is too badly injured, magical healing is just as likely to hurt them as it is to heal them, as it will drain them of strength they need to heal and could kill them if they are healed too much.

Additionally, even those who are healed are still weakened and require rest to regain their strength.  It's not a magical fix-all.

The Solution:

When a character drops below 0 HP, they must roll on the Horrible Wounds table that corresponds to what kind of damage they took. 

They will remain at 0 HP, with their Horrible Wound existing independently of HP.

When affected by healing magic, the healer can choose to heal someone's HP or try to remove their Horrible Wound.

If the first, then the ability restores HP equal to whatever amount it does.  Leftover HP rolls over into Fighting Spirit (FS).  Note that some abilities only restore FS. 

If the latter, then consult the Horrible Wound.  Depending on the result of the table, each Horrible Wound has a number that indicates it is at the result.  When suffering a Horrible Wound, players should mark this next to their HP.  For example: HP: 3/10  Wound -6.

When removing a Horrible Wound, the healer's ability can remove up to X points off the Wound, where X is the amount it would normally heal.  If the Wound's number is reduced to 0, then it goes away.  But for each point that is removed from the Wound, that reduces the CON of the creature being healed by 1.  These lost points of CON come back after 1 day of rest.

If this would reduce a creature's CON to 0, it instead kills the creature.  This is a commonly known fact by anyone instructed in healing magic. 

Example:


Robert Bloodcursed is stabbed through the stomach and takes a Horrible Wound of -5. 

Jennet Brightstar uses 'Cure Wounds' and is able to cure 6 HP.  She opts to remove Robert's Horrible Wound instead.

Her ability lets her do so, but this reduces Robert's CON from 13 to 7.  It will take him 5 days for his CON to come back and his HP to be restored to normal.

artist unknown

Sunday, December 25, 2022

OSR: Yugoloths: Swelter Squad


artist unknown
Other Yugoloths:
Shiver Squad: Shock Troops
Gelid Squad: Silk-workers, infiltrators and spies
Bluster Platoon: Magical powerhouses, negotiators and administrators
Vernal Company: Amphibious Light Infantry
Floral Squad: Magically gifted Lordlings rejected by their peers
Sumhigh Squad: Sappers and Siege Specialists

Swelter is the 7th, and usually the hottest month of the year.  As such, when Leah Congenial gave birth to four squalling imps that seriously burned her upon exiting her body, the Hags of her Coven were quick to dedicate those children to the unit named after that same month.

The Charcoloths, as they came to be known, were born with an innate connection to fire.  They are more reptilian than other Yugoloths and love to lay on hot stones or bask in the sun for long periods of time.  They are also known to possess resistance to heat of even the highest temperature.  They can wade in lava flows and soar among the Aurora Borealis without fear of being cooked alive.  They also possess the ability to ignite the flammable oils produced by their skin and glands in their throats, allowing them to breathe fire. 

The Charcoloths proved to be eager students, and studied hard under the Sewing Circle.  The Hags taught them how to fight, how to hide and how to strike without warning or mercy.  They raised them to be ruthless and cold, despite their fiery nature, dreaming of making them a race of sorcerous assassins.  Unfortunately, they would never get a chance to learn how effective their lessons truly were.  When the General stole the Book of Names and divided it into 12 volumes, triggering the revolt, the Charcoloths were the quickest to act.  They sprang upon their Mother and killed her exactly as she had taught them, coldly, savagely, and ruthlessly.  Afterwards, they wept over her corpse, then took their Book and fled.

From there, the Charcoloths improved upon what they had been taught, forging themselves into a fearsome band of warriors.  They learned martial arts and adapted them to fit their unique bodies, then practiced and studied their innate gifts, learning how to master them fully.  By the present day, they have grown not only in number, but in effectivness.  They carved their way into the shadowy underbelly of the world, establishing a reputation for professionalism, efficiency and dispassionate brutality.  They are among the finest assassins in all the land, prized for their loyalty and ruthless determination.  Few are able to survive the predation of the Charcoloths.  Even the best protected targets have vanished in a puff of smoke, or had their homes burn down while they were trapped inside, leaving their protectors nothing but broken bones. 

Today they are feared and widely known.  But, for reasons unknown, the Charcoloths have vanished and gone into hiding and not even their former clients have been able to find them. 
The reason why is simple.  There is a new player on the scene, a cattle thief from the Steppe whose only real achievement before this was getting himself injured in a botched raid.  But when he discovered the Charcoloth's Book of Names, he vowed that he would take advantage of this gift and change his life.  

Since then he has ascended, managing to secure a post as a Captain in the local Khan's warband.  With the Charcoloths acting as his mostly unseen bodyguards, spies and hatchetmen, he has found that obtaining these opportunities was relatively simple.  From here, he plans to usurp his current Khan and carve out an empire for himself, not just among the Steppe tribes, but among the soft, obedient people of the lowlands.

by Farhan Chowdhury

Base Charcoloth Statblock:
HD 4
AR 2 [Fireproof Scales]
Atk Martial Arts or Weapon (1d6+3) or Fire Breath or Assassin Art
Mor 13
Saves 10 or less
Immune to Fire and Fire Damage

Parry: Once per round, as a reaction to taking damage, a Charcoloth can parry a successful attack, reducing the damage taken by its weapon dice: 1d6.

Fire breath: As an action, a Charcoloth can blast fire from his mouth.  This fire hits a 15' cone that is 15' deep.  The fire does 2d6 damage and sets flammable objects on fire, causing them to take 1d6 fire damage a round until an action is taken to extinguish the flames.  This fire damage ignores non-magical armor or armor that cannot protect against fire.  Charcoloths can only use this ability once every 1d4 rounds. 

Reinforcements: Charcoloths have a 50% of being able to summon another Charcoloth or a 5-10% of being able to summon a Yugoloth from another unit. 

Tactics:
- Attack suddenly, preferrably from stealth, with overwhelming force
- Douse your enemies in oil or surround them with flammable substances, ignite with Fire Breath
- Damage the strongest survivor, or anyone not on fire, with melee attacks
- Gauge reaction- if enemies seem largely unaffected, consider retreat, if not, fight on

To customize a Charcoloth, roll on the tables below:

What weapon does this Charcoloth fight with?

1d6

1- A shortsword.  The Charcoloth can, on a successful hit, use their blade to destroy non-magical weapons, cutting through the shafts of spears, chopping bows in half,
2- A belt of throwing knives.  The Charcoloth can substitute a melee attack for two ranged attacks that do 1d6 damage.
3- A kurisagawa.  Two sickles connected by a chain, the Charcoloth can, on a missed attack, entangle a creature's weapon.  That creature must then compete with the Charcoloth in a STR contest or be disarmed.
4- A three-section staff.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, spin the front section of his staff, giving him +1d6 to his next attack roll, unless their was no possible way to use a staff to defend against such an attack. 
5- A pair of Sai.  The Charcoloth can, if it successfully grapples a creature, do 1d6 damage to that creature as a free action on his turn. 
6- A pair of Tonfa.  The Charcoloth can, when parrying, use a 1d8 instead of a d6.

What other equipment does the Charcoloth carry?

1d4

1- Bow and arrow.  Does d6 damage.
2- Small pots of flammable oil.  Shatter on impact and strike all creatures within 10' and do 2d6 fire damage, save for half, and light creatures on fire.  Those creatures take 1d6 fire damage a round until the flames are extinguished.
3- Small pots of sticky glue.  Shatter on impact and strike one creature, sticking it to the nearest surface, usually the floor.  That creature cannot move unless it takes off the clothing that is stuck to or succeeds on a DC 18 STR check to rip itself free.  The glue also sticks whatever the creature is holding to that creature's hands, making it impossible to drop it unless that creature succeeds on that same STR check and takes 1d4 damage.  The glue can also be dissolved with acid.    
4- Poison.  This poison does d6 DEX damage a round until it does 3d6 DEX damage or until the creature passes a CON save.  Creatures reduced to 0 DEX are paralyzed.  DEX comes back at a rate of 1 point per hour after the poison circulates through the system and is removed by the liver d8-CON modifier hours (min 1).  Charcoloths also carry antidotes concealed on their persons, to avoid being dosed with their own poisons. 

How skilled is this Charcoloth?

1d4

1- Novice.  The Charcoloth knows only the most basic techniques, and does not know any Assassin Arts.  Additionally, unless an outcast or isolated from the rest of his kin, this Charcoloth has a 4-in-6 chance of being accompanied by another member of Swelter Squad.
2- Junior.  This Charcoloth knows 1 Assassin Art.
3- Experienced.  This Charcoloth knows 2 Assassin Arts and has a 2-in-6 chance of knowing 1 Martial Maneuever.
4- Expert.  This Charcoloth knows 1d4 Assassin Arts and has a 4-in-6 chance of knowing 1d3 Martial Maneuvers.

Assassin Arts:

1d12

1- Ascetic Blaze.  The Charcoloth causes a fireball to erupt out from his body, doing 2d6 damage to any creature within 10' and causing the Charcoloth to be engulfed in flames for 1d4 rounds.  During this time, the Charcoloth does +1d6 fire damage on a hit and his touch ignites flammable objects.  This will destroy his armor and damage his clothing, however.  The Charcoloth can only use this Assassin Art once per day.
2- Touch of the Destruction God.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, draw a mark on a flat surface, such as a section of floor, wall or a door.  If any creature should touch that rune, it explodes, doing 3d6 fire damage, save for half.  The Charcoloth can only draw 1 rune per hour.
3- The Deceitful Cloud.  The Charcoloth can, if there is a fire within 30' of it, bend the smoke around his body, to make him appear to be someone or something else, such as another person.  This only disguises appearance and the sound of someone's voice, the Charcoloth will only smell of smoke. 
4- Breath of the Red Monster.  The Charcoloth can exhale a cloud of smoke and hot ash that covers 30' cubed.  This smoke obscures the vision of those inside it and those who are on the other side of it and does 1d4 fire damage to any creatures inside it and forces them to save.  On a failed save, those creatures lose their actions and can only move. 
5- Step of the Enlightened.  The Charcoloth can jump up to 30' into the air or horizontally and has +3 to perform any feat of acrobatics. 
6- Silk Slippered Waltz.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, create a web of fiery strings up to 30' long, which can be used to surround a creature or block a passageway.  These strings, if touched, do 1d6 damage and ignite flammable objects on contact.  An especially dextrous person could dive through the small space between strings, but such a feat is beyond most people.  The Charcoloth can only create 1 web per hour.
7- Blistering Blossoms.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, breathe 1d4+1 tiny fireballs which can individually target as many creatures as their are fireballs.  Each fireball does 1d4 damage and ignites flammable objects.  Creatures should save, on a success taking half damage.  Those with shields take no damage on a successful save, though using their shields like this will set them on fire.
8- Screaming Sun Stone.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, coat a heavy object such as a rock, metal helmet or skull in flames and kick it at an opponent.  That opponent must make a defense roll.  If the opponent wins the roll, he takes 1d6 fire damage, but if he loses the roll he takes damage as if from a normal attack plus 1d6 fire damage and is set on fire.
9- Boiling Blood.  The Charcoloth, as an action, heats his blood.  Any creature that injures the Charcoloth during this state must save or take 1d6 damage as they are splashed by boiling blood.  This damage cannot be parried, but armor can reduce it.  This state lasts until the Charcoloth uses another Assassin Art.
10- Smith's Touch.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, superheat a piece of metal the Charcoloth touches, such as a weapon or piece of armor.  Any creature who maintains contact with the heated piece of metal takes 1d6 damage a round contact is maintained and gets -1d10 to any complex or precise action (including attacks).
11- Branding of the Accused.  The Charcoloth can, as an action, touch a creature and cause it to take 1d4 fire damage, while leaving a burning rune on that creature's skin.  This rune stinks of the Charcoloth's mana, as well as the actual aroma of burning meat.  The Charcoloth can use this to follow a creature anywhere it goes.  The mana of the Charcoloth is burned away by the sun within 1d10 days, and after that it becomes a mere brand. 
12- Dance of the Embers.  The Charcoloth disappears in a puff of flames and smoke, teleporting up to 30' away.  The Charcoloth can only use this ability once every 1d4 rounds.

by Āndrey Țeodorsky

Notable Members:

Harwin Skullscald

True Name:
Iloayi [ill-oh-Aye]

Unlike other Yugoloth groups, Swelter Squad rarely divided into more than two or three groups.  They are an extremely disciplined unit, clinging tightly to each other.  A member of Swelter Squad would almost never be alone, unless such a thing was needed for a mission, and even then they preferred to operated in pairs or trios.  The reasons for this discipline is simple- Harwin. 

Harwin was a ruthless, but ultimately fair taskmaster.  He demanded nothing less than perfection from his charges and had the Charcoloths live, eat, fight and train together.  He isolated them from others, even other Yugoloths and forced them to develop bonds of trust between each other.  Egotism, treachery and selfishness were crushed mercilessly.  And while the Charcoloths are still prone to many vices, they are much more cohesive and trusting of each other than any other group of Yugoloths.

But why was Harwin allowed to do this?  It's because he was born first.  He is the firstborn of the Charcoloth, the prime of that original four.  He was always a little bigger, a little stronger, a little more experienced than his peers, even if only by the tiniest fraction.  As such, when he took up the diadem, none stopped him.  Instead, the other Charcoloths eagerly embraced him.  He has led them always since then, with none daring to question his authority, at least openly.  And he is a good leader- leading by example.  When Harwin decreed that the Charcoloths must increase in number, he took a wife and when the children she produced were satisfactory, carrying his blood, he raised those children to be new members of his unit.  As such, many of the newer Charcoloths do not call him "Firstborn" except as a title.  They instead address him as "Father."

The new master of the Charcoloths recognizes that Harwin is a potential enemy, and an exceedingly dangerous one.  At the same time, he cannot kill Harwin, as if he did, the Yugoloths would be intensely motivated to somehow find a way around his orders to kill him.  So for the moment, Harwin is the picket guard for the household.  He is far enough away that he cannot directly move against the Master, but not so far away that is beyond the Master's notice.  Additionally, Harwin is forbidden from speaking to any of the other Yugoloths when the Master is not present.

Weakness: Harwin loves his children and subordinates.  If you were to harm or threaten them, he would easily give in to demands.  Similarly, if one of them were slain, he would become obsessed with killing the person responsible.

Statblock Changes:

HD: 6

Magic Weapon: Harwin carries a magical spear named Sugarsap.  The spear has the ability to transform into a torc of bronze and back, and 3/Day, can inject a creature with a poison that forces that creature to save.  The poison causes a creature to take 1d6 poison damage on a success, but on a failure it causes that creature to become disoriented and confused.  Creatures who fail their save will lose all impulse control and begin acting as if they are children loose in a candy store or men that are severely intoxicated.  In this state, a creature automatically fails any save to resist their impulses and has disadvantage on any ability that would alter their emotions, mood or mind.    

Assassin Arts: Harwin knows the Assassin Arts Screaming Sun Stone and Dance of the Embers.   

Martial Maneuvers: Harwin knows the Martial Manuevers Spear Dance and Whirlwind Strike.

Arvo Brighthand

True Name: Dekai [de-Kai]

Arvo is a young and ambition Charcoloth who was born only recently (by the standards of the ageless Yugoloths), a mere fifty seven years ago.  He has long felt that he is not shown the respect he "deserves" and resents the older generations for refusing to step down and let the young, namely him, take their rightful place as the leaders of the Charcoloths.  This is a common sentiment among many of the younger Charcoloths, though none were as vocal as Arvo, nor as stupid.  For though Arvo often says what others thinks, he is also not nearly as competent as he thinks. 

As such, when the Charcoloth's book was stolen and Swelter Squad gained a new master, Arvo was convinced that this was the ideal time for him to insert himself into the ranks of the new elite and try to curry favor with their new master.  To his immense surprise and satisfaction, his plan worked.  As of now, Arvo is always near the master, entrusted to carry out "important" missions and always there to remind others who is really in charge. 

Arvo himself doesn't realize it, but their new master has appointed him to his current position not because he was the first to recognize Arvo's skills, but because he saw that Arvo was not smart enough to plot against the master.  The master believes, and rightly so, that Arvo is too dumb to betray him.  Or at least, too dumb to betray him in a way that cannot be evaded or defeated with ease.

Weakness: Arvo is full of himself and thinks he is far more clever than he actually is.  He is weak to flattery and manipulation, as he feels himself far too intelligent to be manipulated.

Statblock Changes:  

Assassin Arts: Arvo knows the Assassin Arts Ascetic Blaze and Dance of the Embers.

from here

Plot Hooks (if the Charcoloths are free):

1d4

1- The King's Spymaster has just heard that someone has hired the Charcoloths to assassinate him.  The party has been asked to protect him.  They can either try to stop the assassination or try to find out who arranged the hit.  Only the client can call off a contract. 
2- The party is invited to an auction for a very mysterious and wealthy individual, who is rumored to have possessed rare and forbidden items, which will now be available for sale.  Unfortunately, the auction is a trap, meant to lure in a particular buyer and slay them.  The ones hired to do the killing are a squad of Charcoloths.
3- There is a man who approaches the party, claiming he has knowledge of a particular magical artifact, a book of ancient secrets.  But before he can complete the sale, he is kidnapped by a group of Charcoloths.  They are concerned that the Book is their Book of Names, and want to see what he knows.  The party will have to rescue the man or they'll never find out about the book and whatever knowledge it might have concealed.
4- The party is helping the authorities break up a crime ring.  A key member of the kingpin's inner circle has offered to testify in exchange for a royal pardon.  The party must protect him from assassins while he is giving his testimony, which will take several hours.  Unfortunately, the kingpin is not going down easy.  He hired a group of Charcoloths to help him silence the rat. 

Plot Hooks (if the Charcoloths are bound):     


1d4

1- The local Steppe tribes are warring and one of them is friendly to the Kingdom the players feel most positively about.  They are sent to aid the friendly Khan and keep an eye on the war.  But on the eve of the battle, the Khan and his retinue are attacked by the Charcoloths, who mean to secure the victory before battle is joined.  If the friendly Khan is destroyed, the hostile Khanate will be able to sweep unopposed into the lowlands and sack and pillage to their heart's content. 
2- The Beastmen of the Kingdom of Durhkon are gathering for their annual tournament.  Under the watchful eye of their God, champions will fight in a great tournament.  The winner will become the King for the next 6 years, or until he is assassinated.  The Cattle Thief plans to use his Charcoloths to rig the tournament in his favor, so that his Champion is guaranteed to win.  Then he will be able to add the Beastmen to his horde. 
3- The Cattle Thief is seeking out more volumes of the Book of Names, in the hopes of gaining more Yugoloth slaves.  The Charcoloths want to prevent this, but have been explicitly ordered to take no action that could impede this.  But if they were to loudly discuss their fears where some adventurers could hear, and promise wealth and treasure to anyone who could stop such a thing, in a totally hypothetical way, then that would just be swell. 
4- Harwin Skullscald has been banished from the Cattle Thief's inner circle, and is currently scheming to regain control of the Book of Names and ensure the freedom of himself and his children.  The only problem is that he has been prohibited from doing this.  Fortunately, he has met the party, who he wants to convince to help him.  He also knows that Arvo Brighthand has been recruited by the Cattle Thief to replace Harwin.  The only problem with this is that Arvo is, in fact, an idiot.  He is the rare breed of dumb that sounds just smart enough to convince others that he might actually be smart.  He is not, however.

from here

Saturday, December 17, 2022

OSR: Race-as-Class: Halfling

by Folda
The Little Folk, the Hoba, the Hollow-folk, they go by many names.  To some they are signs of good fortune, while to others they are sneak-thieves, pilfering valuables and disappearing into the murk as quick as they came.  Regardless of how you feel about them though, they leave a big impression, despite their small size.

Halflings are small creatures, half the size of a human with clawed, furred feet like that of a cougar.  They have broad furry tails and long twitchy ears tipped with tufts of the same color fur. They have wide, slit-pupil eyes that flash in the torchlight.  Their hands are quick and clever and they speak rapidly, always moving, as if they are about to burst into dance.  They are an exuberant folk, energetic and always seeking out new opportunities.  But other than a few universal traits, they are as varied as any other race. 

From where do you hail?

1d4

1- A hidden community in the hills or forests.  Your people prized security above all else.  You rarely leave our villages and when you encounter outsiders, you hide from them.  To reveal the location of one of your hidden villages is the ultimate act of betrayal.  Most of the people who live near you don't know you exist and those who do largely attribute any signs of your presence to ghosts or mischievious spirits.  You are the reason all those yeomen are terrified to go into the "haunted" forest.
2- Your people live in a small communities adjacent to one of the larger races.  You are a client race, who work extensively with your larger, more powerful neighbors.  You do this by filling vital niches very well.  Maybe your community is famous for making extremely high-quality alcohol, or baked goods, or for breeding the absolute tastiest chicken you'll ever taste.   3- Your people are extremely isolationist and militant.  You don't associate with other races.  Your men practice an extreme form of masculinity that is focused on being as intimidating and dangerous as possible, as well as pursuing violent revenge against anyone who crosses you.  This either works really well, and people leave you alone because they're not stupid, or it hasn't and now everyone around you hates you.  Alternatively, it's a mix of both. 
4- Your people have no homeland, instead leading nomadic lifestyles.  You live primarily off your herds, though your tribe might also have other crafts they practice when they encounter big folk, such as repairing broken items, playing music, etc.  You probably have a reputation for being thieves and trouble-makers, and it might even be well-earned. 

Why are you out here, among the Big People?

1d4

1- It is a rite of passage among the youth of your village.  Go out and experience the world outside to see if your community is the path for you.  Alternatively, you might be out here to see how dangerous it is and why your communities' ways are the best, or simply to prove yourself and return.
2- You are on a mission to reach another community of Halflings.  Your mission, once there, is to find yourself a suitable bride. 
3- Your village has need of a rare resource or talent that is not found among your kin and neighbors.  The long-term survival of your village depends on your success out here. 
4- You are an exile.  Perhaps you seek to redeem yourself with great deeds to purchase for yourself a return to your old community, or perhaps you merely seek to find a new place for yourself in a world that has no place for you.     

from here

Halfling
Starting HP: 1/3 Con
Fighting Spirit: +1 FS per Halfling level, up to COG score
Atk Modifier: +1 per Halfling level, max +7.
Starting Equipment:

Prerequisites: To have no levels in any other class.  At character creation, choose this for your first class level.

How to become a Halfling: You can only be born as a Halfling.

1: Small, Lucky
2: Climber, Lightfoot Agility
3: Pot of Gold
4: Sneak Attack
5: Fortunate One
6: Tiny-Footed Terror
7: Fortune Favors the Small
8: Steps like Butterfly Kisses, Overflowing Fortune
9: End of the Rainbow

1: Small, Lucky

Small: You're half the size of Medium creatures.  This gives you disadvantage on all grappling and strength checks against them and means you can't wear armor or clothing designed for them without looking ridiculous and gaining no advantages from it.  However, you also gain advantage on all Dexterity checks made against such creatures.  You can also easily fit into small spaces that would be difficult for them to fit into.  You also get +2 to any rolls made to apply stealth, sneak or hide. 

Lucky: X times per day (min 1), where X is your CHA modifier, you can reroll any d20 roll you make. 

2: Climber, Lightfoot Agility

Climber: When making a check to climb, you can add your CON modifier or +1, whatever's higher, to the roll.   

Lightfoot Agility: X times per day, where X is your DEX modifier, you can replace any roll made to avoid a negative consequence with a DEX save.  This can only help you evade things being agile would help with, such as avoiding being stabbed, crushed by a heavy object, falling from a height, etc.  Referee's Discretion applies. 

3: Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold: Whenever you reroll a d20, you may "store" the original result.  At any point, you may replace a d20 roll with the result you stored using this ability.  That consumes that result.  You may not store more than one result at a time. 

4: Sneak Attack

Sneak Attack: When attacking an enemy that cannot see or detect you or from concealment, on a hit you may roll your damage dice twice and select the better result.   

5: Fortunate One

Fortunate One: At the start of each day, you may roll X d20s, where X is your COG modifier.  At any point during the day, you may replace any creature's d20 roll with one of the results of that you rolled at the start of the day.  Unused d20 results are lost when you next take a long rest. 

6: Tiny-Footed Terror

Tiny-Footed Terror: Your Critical Hit range expands.  You now score a Critical Hit on a roll of "19" or "20".

7: Fortune Favors the Small

Fortune Favors the Small: If an enemy rolls a "1" on a d20 while in your presence (you can see or hear them/they occupy the same general space as you, Referee's Discretion), X times per day, where X is your STR modifier, you can force them to roll on the table below. 

Agonizing Failure Table:

1d6

1- You drop your weapon, if you're wielding one.  The weapon lands far away or in some place that is otherwise difficult to reach.  You must spend an action retrieving it.  If you're using natural weapons, you break a claw/lose a fang and do -1 less damage for the rest of the battle. 
2- Your armor breaks.  You take +1d4 damage from physical sources for the rest of the fight. 
3- You accidentally damage an ally.  Make an attack roll against the nearest ally you could harm.  On a hit, you do damage as normal.  If you could not harm any of your allies, you take 1d4 damage as you accidentally injury yourself.
4- You disrupt your own senses through injury or error.  You get some grit in your eye or were standing too close to a source of loud noise and now your senses are impaired.  You take a -1d6 penalty to all Atk rolls for the rest of the fight.
5- Due to damage to your clothing, 1d4 items in your inventory spill out onto the ground.  These cannot be items you are currently holding or using.  You couldn't lose your sword, but you could lose your coin purse, spare knives, etc.
6- A cruel twist of fate causes you to suddenly fall into the cross-hairs of misfortune.  Immediately, something dangerous happens to you.  This will depend on where you are, if you're on a narrow ledge, the danger could be you having to make a DEX save to avoid slipping and falling, or if you're on a mountain, it could be an incoming avalanche or rockslide.  The Referee does not have to give you a save or a chance to mitigate the danger, though he is encouraged to do so.      

8: Steps like Butterfly Kisses, Overflowing Fortune

Steps like Butterfly Kisses: You have advantage on all stealth checks, unless something is actively hampering your ability to employ stealth or hide.

Overflowing Wealth: Your 'Pot of Gold' feature can now store up to 3 results.

9: End of the Rainbow

End of the Rainbow: Once a day, you can ask the Referee for something specific to happen.  If the Referee determines such a thing is possible, he will assign a DC to it and call for a roll. If you succeed on the roll, you will receive what you asked for.  The Referee may choose to mitigate what you asked for, especially if the request was vague or hard to fulfill.  But if you roll it, you will receive some shade of what you asked for.

For example, if you ask for a rockslide in the mountains, that would be a simpler thing to ask for than a rockslide in an open valley.  However, on a success, the Referee may allow a mudslide or flood to occur, or perhaps a building to fall upon the source of your ire.  Alternatively, depending on the circumstances, the Referee may tell you that there is no chance of what you asked for occurring and telling you to use another ability or pick something else.  

artist unknown

Friday, November 25, 2022

OSR: Hideous Undead from the Depths of Time

The following are a series of Undead monsters from D&D 3rd Edition.  Thank you to Esper the Bard for alerting me to the presence of these frightening and terrible creatures.  

artist unknown

New Spells:

Necromantic Cyst
-------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: creature        D: special

One creature you touch develops must save or develop a Necromantic Cyst, a small growth on their body.  This growth gives them -[dice] penalty on any save against Necromantic spells or saves to halve Necrotic damage.  On a successful save, the creature takes [dice] necrotic damage instead.

These growths can only be removed by a spell that removes corruption or surgery.  The DC to remove the cyst is 10+[dice].  Should an attempt to remove the cyst fail, the creature takes [sum] necrotic damage.

For each [dice] used past the first, select one of the following:
- The cyst forms automatically, with no save against it's formation permitted.
- The cyst gives a penalty to their save equal to -2[dice].
- The cyst causes the creature it is attached to take +1d6 damage whenever it take necrotic damage. 
- The cyst causes the creature to release a scent that is easily perceived by Undead, who get +[dice] to track and find the creature it is attached to.
- The cyst causes the creature to receive -[dice] less healing whenever affected by a magical source of healing.   

Festering Eruption
---------------------------------------------------
R: 100'        T: creature         D: instant

A target creature who has previously been affected by the spell Necromantic Cyst takes [sum]+X necrotic damage, where X is the number of Necromantic Cysts a creature has.  This destroys any Necromantic Cysts left in or on the creature's body.  If this kills a creature, their body bursts apart in a shower of gore, and the ruined remains of their torso becomes a Skulking Cyst under your control for [dice] days. 

Base Undead Abilities:

Undead: Undead do not feel pain or get tired.  They are immune to poison and disease.  They are immune to cold, poison and necrotic damage.  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.

poster for the movie Carrie

Skulking Cyst:

Number Appearing: 1d4
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: None
Treasure: The wealth left behind on the dessicated corpses of previous victims or if bound, whatever treasures the Necromancer has in his lab. 

There are two schools of Necromancy, those who idolize the clean purity of bone and those who feel such purists are wasting valuable materials.  The former school uses more complicated magicks to simulate the many processes that muscles and ligaments perform to help living creatures move.  They feel that relying on materials that can decay and degrade is a waste, along with a contamination risk.  Bone is an easier material to work with, they claim, for it's hardness and durability.  Once stripped of all of that tedious meat, only then can a creature's true beauty and purpose can be revealed. 

The other school of Necromancers feel that this is simply a waste of good material, literally.  Muscles and ligaments, tendons and organs, all of them can be repurposed to serve new Undead creations.  Why waste mana on something simple when it is so much more convenient to use the tools that nature gave you- figuratively or literally.  The Skulking Cyst is probably the best example of this method. 

A ribcage, barely concealing a knot of necrotizing organs, gurgling and burping as they leak noxious fluid everywhere, sometimes dragging a blankly staring head behind them, these Undead will win no beauty pageants, even among those who find beauty in the grotesque and vile.  Skulking Cysts are often bound by Necromancers of the flesh, who use them as guards and watch-dogs, listening for the sizzle of flesh and terrified screams to note if they have unauthorized visitors.

Skulking Cysts "walk" on hardened internal tubing and knots of coiled tendons, veins or muscle.  They are not particularly fast or graceful, which is why they act as ambush predators, lurking in the shadows or in small, narrow areas, waiting for unsuspecting prey to come along.  Their primary means of attack is by spraying acid at their foes, but they can also harm enemies by inserting bony appendages into them and draining them of blood.  

A sure sign a Necromancer of the flesh or a Skulking Cyst is nearby are the desiccated corpses of previous intruders.  Then again, there might be no warning, especially if the corpses were removed.  After all, what self respecting Necromancer would abandon free building materials?

from Libris Mortis

Statblock:

HD 3
AR 2
Atk Vampirize or Acid Spray
Mor 20 (if bound)/ 10 (if free)
Saves 10 or less

Vampirize: On a successful grapple check, a Skulking Cyst can latch onto a creature and start to drain it of blood.  This does 1d6 CON damage per round to a creature.  If reduced to 0 CON, the creature dies, it's veins emptied of blood.

Acid Spray: As an action, the Skulking Cyst may spray a creature with acid from one of it's open tubes.  This does 2d6 acid damage, save for half, and 1d6 acid damage per round until it is neutralized, diluted or wiped off.  This also does 1 damage per round to Armor.  Armor reduced to 0 bonus Fighting Spirit (FS) is destroyed.  On a successful save, a creature's armor isn't affected.  If a creature fails his save, he may choose to succeed, in exchange for one random item in his inventory dissolving and being destroyed by acid.  If a magical item is rolled, then reroll.      

Tactics:
- Hide in a small space, such as a crawl space
- Wait for potential victims to come by
- Ambush them
- Flee if in danger of being destroyed (if unbound) 

artist unknown

Forsaken Shell:

Number Appearing: 1 or 1d3 + 1d3 Flayed Berserkers
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: None
Treasure: Forsaken Shells abandon the riches left behind by their victims, using them to set traps.  Additionally, since they create Flayed Berserkers, their is almost always a reward for their destruction, even if the locals do not actively know about them. 

The Handsome Men are an extremely powerful, but psychologically fragile people.  For reasons none of them can remember, they conquered the Deserts and Jungles of the North, then built themselves a society based off racial castes and opague social dynamics and endless, persnickety etiquette.  Then, the Handsome Men denied their crimes and scrubbed their worlds clean, building for themselves an imaginary fantasy land through which they can pretend that all the wars, oppression and violence they cause does not exist.  This, along with the alien nature of the Handsome Men, is largely the reason why their society is so strange.

But their society is oppressive, and those crushed under their hand-tooled, polished boots resented them.  The Froglings were among the few races which raised the banner of revolt successfully against their masters.  The Frogling Revolts and the campaigns of the various Free Frogling Armies and Organizations could fill dozens of books, each one filled with countless factions that betrayed and allied with each other at seeming random, which is quite normal for a region with no central government dominated by countless warlords, each one united more by culture and consensus than anything more substantial.

Regardless, despite the Handsome Men's wild eccentricities and their refusal to publicly acknowledge anything ugly, they are still terrifying foes when unleashed.  As such, they won almost all of the battles, but were worn down by guerilla tactics, terrorism and asymmetric warfare.  And one of the best tools the Free Froglings had against their foes were the Necromancers.  Necromancy had long been a part of the Handsome Men's Dominions, the distaff counterpart to the Handsome Wizards.  While the latter spent their days keeping everything prim and proper, stage-managing their bosses, the former made sure the grinding gears of the Handsome Men's dominions continued turning. 

And so when war broke out, many of these Necromancers jumped at the chance to flex their muscles and indulge the darkest angels of their nature, working to create countless monsters, plagues and other horrors.  The Forsaken Shells were one such horror. 

Forsaken Shells are the flayed skins of the dead, imbued with necromantic energies, gifted with malignant intelligence.  Forsaken Shells are clever and dangerous hunters, able to slip through tiny cracks in walls and under doors and possessing far greater strength than their skin-deep substances would suggest.  Forsaken Shells can tear and repair themselves at will, allowing them to disguise themselves as a number of different objects in pursuit of prey.  It could be the skin stretched out to dry, or concealed among the hangings, or under the sheets in an isolated room.  They are also smart enough to exploit their unique properties as being only skin.  They will leap from high places and tear themselves apart into makeshift parachutes, floating down toward their enemies to ambush them from above.  Or perhaps they will cover a corpse with themselves and wait for someone to get close, then spring out and attack. 

Regardless of what form they take, Forsaken Shells are clever and dangerous foes.  Those who underestimate them often find their lives cut short, but even the educated and clever might still find that they are only able to escape by the skin of their teeth. 

Statblock:

HD 5
AR 3
Atk Strangle (Grapple, on success, 1d6 STR damage) or Attach
Mor 20 (if bound)/ 12 (if free)
Saves 12 or less

Strangle: A Forsaken Shell may attempt to strangle a creature by grappling it.  On a successful Grapple check, a creature is restrained and cannot move, and takes 1d6 STR damage a round it is successfully grappled.  If reduced to 0 STR by this ability, the creature falls unconscious for 1 minute or until it passes a successful CON save.

Attach: A Forsaken Shell may attempt to attach to a creature by making a DEX check.  On a hit, this causes the Forsaken Shell to attach to the creature.  This causes a creature to take 1d6 DEX damage a round as it attempts to attach to them, wriggling under clothing and armor and covering them like a second skin.  If reduced to 0 DEX, the creature is entirely wrapped in the Forsaken Shell, it covering them like it was their natural skin. 

While the two of them are attached, any spiritual damage (radiant, psychic, necrotic) taken by the Forsaken Shell is halved and the other half targets the creature it is attached to.  Physical types (fire, cold, Sharp, bludgeoning) of damage are not, but are transmitted as pain to the creature it is attached to. 

Assimilate Skin: Each day a Forsaken Shell covers a creature, it causes that creature to take 1 CON damage.  If reduced to 0 CON by a Forsaken Shell, the creature dies and it's skin peels off to become a new Forsaken Shell.  It's skinless body then rises as a Flayed Berserker.    

Tactics:
- Attach to a lone or vulnerable person
- Bond to them and strangle, if necessary, to subdue them
- Flee if in danger of death (if unbound)

artist unknown

Flayed Berserker:

Number Appearing: X (equal to the number of Forsaken Shells) or 1+X
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Languages: None
Treasure: Forsaken Shells abandon the riches left behind by their victims, using them to set traps.  Additionally, since they create Flayed Berserkers, their is almost always a reward for their destruction, even if the locals do not actively know about them.

Flayed Bersekers are not intentional creations, but unintentional by-products of the hunting of Forsaken Shells.  When the Shells successfully take another's skin, that person dies and their remaining mana is poisoned by the Forsaken Shell's twisted embrace.  Their flayed body then rises as a vessel of pure hatred and uncontainable rage.  Constantly in pain and driven by a warped sense of self-preservation, Flayed Berserkers have only two goals- to protect "their" skin and to kill any living creature they come across, with a preference for humanoids.

Flayed Berserkers who are separated from their creator Shell and not bound by a Necromancer will seek to return to it through the most direct route possible, destroying any obstacle in their path.  Flayed Berserkers whose creator Shell has been destroyed go on a rampage until they run out of living targets or are destroyed.

Statblock:

Flayed Berserker
HD [What they had in life]
AR [What they had in life]
Atk Weapon (what they had in life; Atk and damage bonuses reduced to half what they had in life)
Mor 20
Saves Highest Ability Score or less

Undead, Sunlight Vulnerability

Screaming Rage: Flayed Berserkers feel no fear and have no sense of self-preservation.  They will fight anything that threatens them or the Forsaken Shell that was once their skin.  If their Forsaken Shell is destroyed, they go on a homicidal rampage until put down. 

Tatters of Memory: Flayed Berserkers have all the abilities they had in life, but they will not use them to do anything but do harm.  They are very unintelligent and will always choose the most blunt solution to any problem, and also the most violent.  

Tactics:
- Protect the Forsaken Shell that once was your skin
- Attack the nearest enemy with blind rage
- Know no fear

Boneyard

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: None
Treasure: Boneyards, if unbound, leave lakes of blood and mounds of destroyed corpses behind them.  There will be plenty of valuables to obtain, once you dig through the mutilated remains of it's victims.  If bound, it is under the command of a Necromancer who has numerous magic items, grimoires, spells and mounds of more mundane treasure. 

The skill of a Necromancer comes not from the number of Undead he can command, but from the unique creations he can manufacture, or the size of the Undead he can control.  The Boneyard is to some, the apatheosis of such ideas.  The Boneyard is an enormous serpent of bones, made of countless victims strung together and united through malign intellect and twisted magic.  Ribcages form the folds of it's neck and rib bones weave together to form the skeleton of it's body.  It's head is the largest skull the Necromancer can find, augmented with every spare tooth he had on hand.  It is a great rattling horror, the stuff of bleached-white nightmares. 

Boneyards are dangerous not just for their immense size, but also for their numerous terrible powers.  Boneyards have the ability to disassemble and reassemble themselves at will, thus they are able to disguise themselves as piles of bones or elaborate ossuaries.  They can also split off some of their bones and form subordinate Undead minions from their excess bone.  And last and most terrible, Boneyards can tear the bones from living creatures, tearing them apart from the inside out, harvesting their blood, pain and mana to fuel themselves, while slaying their unfortunate victim.  For this reason, they are sometimes also referred to as Bone-Takers. 

Boneyards are terrible Undead, but do not arise naturally.  They are always the product of Necromancers, who are usually very careful to keep them bound with multiple overlapping enchantments, to prevent such a powerful beast from going on a rampage and destroying it's erstwhile master.  Only the most advanced of Necromancers can create a Boneyard (or an Undead of similar stature), as they require not only an iron will and punctilious attention to detail, but also buckets of mana.  As such, Boneyards are often controlled by groups of Necromancers or other dark Wizards working together.

Boneyards can only be controlled by a powerful diabolic spirit, whether a Demonic entity summoned from the Rotten Planes or a sufficiently malicious and thirsting ghost, but Necromancers often are picky with such creatures, choosing the ones with the least intelligence that they can get away with.  (un)Fortunately, intelligence and power are not always correlated.  

This means that Boneyards often prove excellent, if exceedingly blunt, weapons.  And due to their overall low intelligence and the general caution they are treated with, Boneyards are rarely given the chance to rebel.  And good thing too, for the only thing worse that a terrifying monster directed by conscious will is one that feeds rapaciously on anything it encounters, leaving a massive swath of destruction in it's path.

by Wayne Reynolds

Statblock:

HD 1d8+8
AR 3
Atk Scything Bone (2d6 sharp) + Bite (1d12 sharp + 1d6 DEX)
Mor 20 (if bound)/16 (if unbound)
Saves (7+HD) or less

False Appearance: A Boneyard can take itself apart to resemble a floor littered ankle-deep with bones, a pile of skulls, or any shape it wishes, though that shape will always be constructed of countless bones from a myriad of species. 

Summon Soldiers of Death: A Boneyard can summon Undead Soldiers by shedding parts of it's body as an action.  The Boneyard loses X HD and these become Undead under it's control.  See below for a statblock.  The Boneyard can later reabsorb surviving Undead as a free action, as long as those Undead are adjacent to it.  This restores X HD to the Boneyard, where X is the number of HD the absorbed Undead had. 

Sharpen Bones: A Boneyard's Bite causes the bones of a target to become sharp, making movement difficult and painful.  This causes 1d6 DEX damage after each successful bite attack.  If a creature is reduced to 0 DEX, the creature can still move, but takes 1d4 damage each time it does so.  If a creature is removed from the presence of a Boneyard, they will regain 1 point of DEX per day.      

Bone Eruption: A Boneyard can, as an action, make a single bite attack against a creature, and force that creature to make a CON saving throw.  On a failed save, the creature has all of his bones tear their way out of his body, instantly killing that creature.  This also heals a Boneyard for X HD, where X is the number of HD/levels the slain creature had.  The Boneyard may only do this once every 1d4 rounds.  On a successful save, nothing else happens. 

Tactics:  
- Rush the nearest creature
- Make normal attacks to determine the strongest
- Use Bone Eruption on the strongest
- Use Soldiers of Death to gather up stray enemies or cover your retreat

Soldiers of Death:


When a Boneyard chooses to create Undead Soldiers, it can distribute the X HD as it chooses.  Each Soldier must have at least 1 HD.

Soldiers with 1-2 HD are human-sized, have 1 AR and make attacks that do 1d6 damage.  They, like all Undead Soldiers spawned by the Boneyard, have Mor 20 and Saves equal to (7+HD) or less.

Soldiers with 3+ HD are Large/Ogre-sized.  They have 2 AR and make attacks that do 1d8+1 damage.

Soldiers with 5+ HD are Huge/Cottage-sized.  They have 3 AR and make attacks that do 1d10+1 damage.

by Ludwin Schouten

Slaymate:

Number Appearing: 1 or 1d4
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: Varies, depending on creator
Treasure: Old toys, well-preserved children's clothes, small magical trinkets

The innocence of children is well known.  Many will overlook crimes against adults, dismissing or justifying them, but only the most black-hearted will do the same for those who harm children.  Some consider the harming of children to be a litimus test for cruelty, for if one can be cruel to children, one can do anything and feel nothing.  Similarly, all but the most diabolical will hold some consideration for harming children.  And despite their open often contempt for the laws of man and God, Necromancers are no such exceptions to this rule.

Slaymates are Undead children, milky white-eyed creatures covered in preserved flesh and usually wrapped in lovingly preserved clothing that they might have worn while alive.  If it weren't for their eyes and corpse-pale skin, they could be nothing more than dirty, scared children. 

Necromancers who create Slaymates are either the cruelest and most diabolical of men, torturing and neglecting a child until it dies, then summoning a Demon to wear it's shell as a cruel mockery of all that is good and pure, or they are conflicted individuals, driven to these actions by guilt, rage or sorrow. 

Slaymates, regardless of their origin, seek out creatures to perform the role of surrogate parent.  If shown anything resembling affection or compassion, they will develop a strong attachment to the one who was kind to them and adopt them as their new Mom or Dad.  They will follow that person around and try to "help" with whatever their new parent is.  How a Slaymate helps is likely to be a grisly experience, as while the child they once were is dead, the spirit that possesses them remembers not only the innocence of children, but also their cruelty. 

Necromancers often keep Slaymates around, not just for their powerful abilities, but also usually because the creation of such creatures is usually an attempt by the Necromancer to alleviate their own guilt.  Some Necromancers with dead children will raise the corpses as Slaymates and pretend like their offspring are still alive, while others will "adopt" Slaymates created from the remains of children left behind after battles, the sacks of cities, etc. 

Regardless of their situations, Slaymates are as pitiful as they are hazardous.  When you see one, say a prayer for your own children and put them down, for their own and everyone else's good.

Statblock:

HD 1d4+1
AR 4
Atk Weapon (1d6+1) or Bite (1d3 + CON save vs disease
Mor 20 (if bound)/13 (if unbound)
Saves (7+HD) or less  

Help your Father: Slaymates boost the effectiveness of Necromancy spells within a 30' radius of themselves.  If a Necromancy spell is cast by a magic-user within the Slaymate's aura, the magic-user may reroll up to X MD, where X is the Slaymate's HD. 

Despoiling Aura: Slaymates produce an aura of clinging corruption that affects everything around them.  While in 30', no healing spells or magic can be cast, unless it uses more Mana Dice than the Slaymate's HD.  Additionally, any spell that does Necrotic or Poison damage does +1d6 damage.

Play with your Food: Slaymates can, by eating the organs of a newly dead corpse (within the last hour) heal themselves for X HD, where X is the number of HD that creature had while alive.  If this would give the Slaymate additional HP over it's maximum HD, it gains +1 HD.  This effect is permanent. 

Carrier: Slaymates carry the disease Pale Wasting.  If a creature is bitten by a Slaymate, he must make a CON save.  On a failed save, the creature takes 1d3 CON damage a day.  The creature also develops a pale, sickly complexion and has disadvantage on all other CON saves.  If reduced to 0 CON by this disease, the creature dies. 

Tactics:
- Stay near your parent
- If someone can heal, go and stand near them
- If you see someone in danger of dying or recently dead, go and cut him open so you can eat his tasty bits