Tuesday, April 26, 2022

OSR: A Giant Revision (part 3)

This is part 3 of my series on Giants.  Here is Part 1 and Part 2.

by Chris Rahn

Cloud Giants:

Number Appearing: 1d3 + 1d8 servants (see below)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Languages: The Lingua Franca and Giantish, plus 1d4+1 ancient languages
Treasure: Strange alchemical mixtures, potions and equipment used in magical experimentation.  Also, spell books and scrolls containing spells. 

The Cloud Giants are the greatest of the Giants, or so they say.  The Imperial Cult teaches that they were created from the brain of the Dragon-Mother, which is why they are so smart and magically talented, but also completely insane.  This is their explanation for why Cloud Giants act the way they do, which seems completely bizarre to someone without context.  Southerners from the frigid lands beyond the Cold Gates tell it differently.  They say the bizarre behavior of the Cloud Giants is fuelled by resentment.  The Cloud Giants are the weakest Giant race and thus wish to exterminate their brethren so that they can be the only Giants left on the Earth. 

The truth is, as always, more complicated.  It is true that the Cloud Giants do occasionally descend on their brothers and obliterate them with storm-cannons and unnatural weather events, but this is not to destroy their brothers, but to enforce the rule of the Cloud Giants.  All other races of Giant, with the exception of the Frost Giants, bow in service to the Cloud Giants. 

The Cloud Giants are the progenitors of much of current Giant culture.  They created and enforce the Ordning, a code of ethics and law that explain and order everything from the religious to the utterly mundane.  This legal code is byzantine, utterly enormous as it grew over the centuries from relatively comprehensive to gargantuan.  It contains rules from how to properly wash your hands and bathe, to whether or not it is okay to wear shoes to bed to how to butcher and prepare meat.  But the most important parts of the Ordning are this: that the Cloud Giants rule and that the Giant race is to be preserved.  Securing and protecting fellow Giants is considered the highest priority, above everything else.  This means that almost any action, no matter how cruel, is justified in the pursuit of that goal. 

According to certain Cloud Giant scholars, one Giant is worth the equivalent of 10,000 smallfolk, while others propose larger numbers.  Still others argue that it is a meaningless comparison, as the Smallfolk are essentially animals and to compare them to Giants in any way is a sin.  That being said, the Ordning does not explicitly demand the subjugation of the Smallfolk- that is a note of culture exclusive to the Fire Giants.  The Cloud Giants generally argue that unless Smallfolk impose themselves on Giants or otherwise trouble their betters, they are to be left alone.  That doesn't mean Giants should help them, that is unacceptable, but like a child sitting on the edge of a well, they are to be neither pushed in nor pulled away.

Meanwhile, the Cloud Giants police the rest of their brethren to ensure that not only the Ordning is followed, but so that the catastrophe of the Storm Giants is never repeated. 

Statblock Changes:


Damage Threshold: 8

Innate Spellcasting: Cloud Giants have Mana Dice equal to their HD.  They do not cause Chaos on rolls of doubles or triples, though their dice do burn out on a 5 or 6.  They can cast one spell as an action.  Cloud Giants know the spells April Showers, Cloud Control, Feather, Fogbank, Incapacitating Grip and Meteor Guard.

Cloud-Walker: Cloud Giants can walk on clouds, fog, smoke or airborne dust as if it was solid ground to them.

New Spell:

Cloud Control
------------------------------------------------------------------
R: [dice] miles        T: [dice] clouds        D: [dice] hours

The caster can select up to [dice] clouds.  These clouds take on the shape that the caster wishes over a period of 2[dice] minutes.  The clouds will maintain this shape until the duration ends or someone else casts a spell of equal or larger [dice] to change them.

If cast with 4 or more [dice], the effect is permanent unless someone attempts to modify the clouds with magic.     

by Mist XG

Servants of the Cloud Giants:

1d6

1- Claymen.  Crude constructs made of soft clay.  Resemble a child's toy, with large eyes and faces painted on.  Can mold and shift themselves into new shapes.  Obedient, servile and fearless.  Have no minds of their own, despite appearances.  Can easily be chopped or smashed into bits, but will just flow back together.  Fire is the only way to truly destroy them, by fusing them into a solid mass. 
2- Harpies.  For some reason, the horrific screeching of a Harpy's song seems to please the ears of the Cloud Giants, who often keep them as valued servants or pets.  The distinction is usually lost on the Giants and the Harpies seem unaware that they are being condescended to, or they just don't care. 
3- Bound Spirits.  Cloud Giants often summon lesser spirits and bind them into service.  They rarely summon Demons, Angels or Noble Spirits, as such creatures are generally too independent and dangerous to be useful.  These spirits usually resent their bondage but are often powerless to escape on their own.
4- Lab Assistants.  Generally Smallfolk with magical expertise, these humanoids were long leather aprons, thick gloves and goggles to protect themselves from toxic fumes and chemical spills. They carry a variety of horrible potions and chemicals that they throw at people, or know how to cast spells as a level 1 Wizard. 
5- Doom Eyes.  Cloud Giants seem fascinated by these horrid birds, letting them roost in their lairs and using their precognitive abilities to the Giant's advantage. 
6- A Cloud Giant.  In particular, a Cloud Giant who looks very similar to the more dominant Cloud Giant.  Is it just your unfamiliarity with the species or are they actually, identical?  No, it couldn't be...

by Krassimir Mercier

Cloud Giant Battle-Lord: 

To be a Cloud Giant is to take responsibility, for not just oneself, but for the curses poured out onto the Giant race.  It was not the fault of the Cloud Giants, but they still take it upon themselves to understand how the curses changed their race and how they could be alleviated.  This is a task countless Cloud Giants have dedicated themselves to and while progress has been made, much of it has only created more problems. 

A good example is the Frost Giants.  Their skin burned at even weak sunlight, so they fled north, where the Sun's dominion was non-existent.  Yet there they froze in droves, nearly driving an entire part of the Giant race to extinction.  The Cloud Giants intervened, modifying their brother's children through their magicks, allowing them to survive in the brutal cold.  But were the Frost Giants grateful?  No, they continued their vendetta, blaming the Cloud Giants for the arrogance of their former masters, as well as for the gift that allowed them to survive.

The Hill Giants were consumed by ravenous hunger, so the Cloud Giants taught them magic so they could create food and not strip the land bare.  Yet while this allowed the Hill Giants to survive, they instead became extremely sophisticated in their tastes.  Before, they ate everything in sight to sustain their ravenous appetites.  But now, with an abundance of food, they could become far choosier in their meals.  The Cloud Giants abandoned their experiments shortly after, which led to most of the knowledge they sought to impart on their lesser brethren never reaching the Hill Giants, when it wasn't ignored or forgotten.  The Hill Giants today are a bizarre parody of the master's ancient servants, brutish and primitive, with the same sophisticated palette and opinions of highly-trained valets who insist nothing is good enough for their master. 

Perhaps it was only natural that some of the Cloud Giants became frustrated with this scholarly approach.  Instead of dedicating themselves to study and scholarship, they took up the sword and lance.  They sought to enforce order upon the other Giants, to control and guide them, even if the other tribes refused.  This was the beginning of a series of civil wars that not only further weakened the Giant race, but further spread enmity between the tribes.  While formerly, different races of Giants would work together, that is no longer the case.  Now they will only rarely cooperate, even sometimes aiding Smallfolk who seek to harm one of their rivals.

Most of these martial Cloud Giants faded away, calling their mission a failure.  Some withdrew into solitude and isolation, refusing to aid anyone.  Others continue their doomed quests to this day, training, preparing and making ready for the day they will once again unite all of the Giant Tribes under one banner once more.  Then and only then, they tell themselves, will they be able to end the curses plaguing their races and restore the Golden Age of the Giants.     

Statblock Changes:

Damage Threshold: 11 

Innate Spellcasting: Cloud Giants have Mana Dice equal to their HD.  They do not cause Chaos on rolls of doubles or triples, though their dice do burn out on a 5 or 6.  They can cast one spell as an action.  Cloud Giants know the spells Anti-Gravity, Cloud Control, Divine Retribution, Fly, Fogbank, Snow Storm and Meteor Guard.

Giant Test Subject:

Many Cloud Giants study sorcery and the corrupted nature of the Giant race, in an effort to try and remedy the various afflictions their race suffers.  This can result in beneficial effects, but just as often, these experiments can result in horrors and freaks.  Most Cloud Giants will simply describe this as a simple failure, the processes they are experimenting on and meddling with are fiendishly complex and there are no cut-and-dry solutions.  Others, however, share a different opinion.  They argue that the Cloud Giants, despite their own claims, have been affected by the curse that befell the whole Giant race.  But rather than a moral or physical corruption, there's was a mental affliction, a belief that they alone were the saviors of their race, an ingrained messiah complex that all Cloud Giants can fall victim to.  A belief that not only are they the only ones who can save their people, but that they alone are pure and untainted. 

And if one has seen some of the horrors these scholars produce in their laboratories, the gruesome experiments some of them conduct, you might have to agree.  Many a Cloud Giant has fled their laboratory in horror of what their work has created, or abandoned a facility after their test subjects died on the slab, leaving behind toxic brews of chemicals, ancient, nigh-incomprehensible scribblings and rotting carcasses or worse, freakish organisms that if freed, might die in minutes.  That is if they, or you, are lucky. 

Some of these facilities might have been abandoned less willingly.  Some are destroyed by the experiments conducted there, the forces the Cloud Giants scholars unleashed too powerful even for them to control.  Others may have been destroyed by rival Cloud Giants who felt the work going on there was unethical and perverse, or perhaps by a group of Frost or Fire Giants, seeking revenge or a new weapon to make war with. 

Despite all that, the Cloud Giants insist that they do what they do out of concern for their brethren.  Though their methods may seem clue, they are the only method through which the Giant race might obtain salvation. 

The Cloud Giant's Test Subjects and their Maladies:

1d8

1- Three severed Giant Heads, kept alive through an elaborate machine that pumps fresh blood into their stumps and removes it.  All conscious and suffering the agony of an entire body's worth of phantom limb pain.  The Giant's minds have merged into a collective consciousness which dominates their individual souls.  The heads have the power to read minds, communicate telepathically and dominate the minds of weaker creatures.  They can also fire psychic blasts that stun or harm, but cannot kill.  They long for an end to their pain and to be healed.  The original consciousnesses of the Giants are still in there and long to die, but the collective consciousness prevents them from taking suicidal actions, as it can only exist in this current state.
2- A seemingly normal Hill Giant that randomly teleports to different planes.  Every 1dX [1= 1d10 minutes; 2= 1d6 hours; 3= 1d3 days; 4= 1d4 weeks] the Giant has a 50% of teleporting to another plane of existence.  He will remain there for an equal amount of time before teleporting back to an occupied space 1d4 [1= 1d20'; 2= 1d100'; 3= 1d6 miles; 4= 1d4 leagues] from his original point of departure.  He
3- A floating cloud of organs, muscle and bone that shimmers in and out of view.  This is actually a Fire Giant with transparent skin and eyes.  It is blind and upset with the world.  Largely impotent unless you get too close to him. 
4- A Giant Chimera.  It's actually three different Giants, their torsos spliced together and their limbs shuffled about their new body.  All three of the Giants retain their original minds and dislike each other, but not so much that they refuse to work together.  All three wish to be separated and secretly fear that the others would kill the others if it meant to separating them would be easier. 
5- A Frost Giant that has a dozen angry ghosts bound to it's body through the use of the runes and symbols carved into it's chtininous exoskeleton.  The ghosts want to be free and hurt the Giant, but both are currently impossible for them, so they take out their aggression on anything around them, engaging in violent poltergeist activity and frightening people to vent their frustrations.  The Giant spends his time avoiding others in the hopes that his curse will prevent him from hurting anyone. 
6- A Giant that constantly grows in size and mass.  This allows him to regenerate from almost any injury, but if he has no injuries, he will continue growing.  He will eventually grow other appendages including new limbs, heads, etc.  He prevents this by carving off bits of his body and disposing of the meat in whatever way he can. 
7- An enormous Ooze, controlled not by an Artificer's Juju, but by a Giant's brain encased in a protective shell.  The Giant can 'see' through it's new slime body and control the slime via it's telepathic commands.  The shell that contains it's brain enables this, as well as preventing the acidic slime from dissolving it's brain.
8- The skin of a Cloud Giant stretched over an iron frame, so much so that it is even ripping in places.  The creature's eyes are artificial and it's mouth is sewn shut.  It is a horrific fusion of flesh and metal.  Cannot speak, but is in constant, agonizing pain.  If threatened, emits an ear-splitting sound that bursts ear drums and causes internal damage that is usually fatal.      
    
Cloud Giant Plot Hooks:

1d10

1- A group of Hill Giants are oppressing a village, which has drawn the presence of a band of soldiers who have come to remove them.  But the soldiers are acting strangely.  They are currently engaged in a massive party and seem to be all intoxicated, though they don't have any alcohol.  Secretly, they've been drugged by a Cloud Giant who is conducting an experiment.  Find a cure for the soldier's ailments before the Hill Giants slaughter/eat them all.
2- A Hill Giant shaman has transformed a small hill into a massive pancake and his brethren are feasting on it and the scavengers who come to try and steal some of their meal.  The Cloud Giant Battle-Lord who has come to monitor the situation has decided that this Shaman's ability could benefit him and his battle-brothers, so he plans on kidnapping the Shaman and stealing his power, or convincing him to work for them.  He plans to do this by sending his mortal servants to stir up trouble and blame it on the Hill Giants.  Hopefully, they will send adventurers and then he will be able to exploit the chaos. 
3- A Fire Giant warband is marching through Smallfolk lands, killing and burning as they please.  A Cloud Giant has decided that the City they are approaching is too dangerous for them to try and assault and thus sent his servants to inform the City's leadership that he is going to destroy the City in three days.  You are hired by this City's King, who asks you to find out how the Giant plans to do this and stop him.
4- A scholarium of Sages has been surrounded by a group of Cloud Giant Battle-Lords who have demanded the Sages build them a terrible magical weapon.  They are willing to wait and fetch the materials needed, but the Sages cannot leave until the weapon is finished.  The Sages have asked for your help in recquisitioning the necessary materials and also, helping them escape, hopefully without drawing the Cloud Giant's ire.
5- A Magi wants you to break into the laboratory of a Cloud Giant and steal something valuable, dangerous and/or magical.  The Cloud Giant has left on a trip recently, so if you hurry, you can be in and out before the master returns.  Just avoid the booby-traps, servants and other counter-measures the Giant has no doubt left behind. 
6- A Demon has been sending dreams to people in a nearby village, demanding they free it from the lab of a Cloud Giant.  The Demon tells the truth when it reveals that the Cloud Giant has it working on something awful that would certainly be a pox on all those in the village.  But foiling this plan might mean freeing the Demon, which could be just as bad. 
7- A group of Frost Giants approach a migratory tribe and demand the help of that tribe's warriors.  They are planning on assaulting a Cloud Giant's stronghold and need someone to sneak in and scout it out for them.  In exchange, the Frost Giants will not eat the tribe.  If a bunch of powerful adventurers intervene, they might be willing to offer other treasures, such as several tons of frozen whalemeat, the location of a treasure that is useless to the Frost Giants, etc.
8- An enormously powerful monster is rampaging across the landscape.  A Cloud Giant is concerned that the Frost Giants who live nearby might try to hunt it, which could be dangerous to them. As such, he is going to redirect the monster away from them.  This will lead the monster toward a port city full of innocent Smallfolk.  The Cloud Giant doesn't particularly care about them, but he will be willing to let you try to kill the monster.  You have one week to do so before the Cloud Giant tries his plan.  The Frost Giants are unaware of this and would hate the Cloud Giant meddling in their lives. 
9- A Cloud Giant is attempting an experiment.  This experiment is to see if he can fix the Giant's corrupted blood through interbreeding with other species.  To do this, he has directed his servants to steal a number of Smallfolk children and modify them to slowly grow them to Huge size and accelerate their maturity so they can reach breeding age faster.  That way, when they are old enough, they can be used as test subjects.  You don't know this.  Free the children before it's too late.   
10- You find a Cloud Giant preparing to test an incredibly powerful magical device.  However, if the device is activated, it could endanger the town in the valley below.  The Cloud Giant doesn't understand your objections to this and is planning to go ahead with the test anyway.

Storm Giants: 

No one knows where they went, or if they were even real.  Many Smallfolk scholars argue that there the so-called "lost tribe" of the Giants simply never existed.  They are either mythological/religious construction or were a rank awarded to the ancient ruling class of the Giants.  The similarities between Cloud and Storm Giants is obvious.  Both were said to possess the ability to mold creatures and change them, both were said to possess powerful magical abilities and both lived much longer than other Giants.  In addition, the Storm Giants were also said to be the rulers of the Giant race, uncontested by any others. 

Yet the first camp argues that while the Cloud Giants are generally loathed or ignored by their kinsmen, the Storm Giants are almost always described favorably as the benevolent rulers of the Giant race, while the Cloud Giants are tyrants.  Some cite accounts that say the Cloud Giants overthrew the Storm Giants and destroyed them as stories that might have been influenced by local religion's accounts of older pantheons of Gods being defeated by a people's current divinities.  For example, the Thousand-Faced-God and the Voice of the Sea were two ancient religions that only survive in the accounts of those who defeated them.  The Thousand-Faced-God was said to be the religion of the Orzane's cruel oppressors, who worshiped a God that spoke through a thousand identical priests who hid their faces and had the ability to hear the thoughts of the unfaithful.  They were also said to be able to control the Orzane through vile magicks, stealing their will and making them puppets. 

This religion was eventually destroyed by the Emperor of Shining Glory, who was said to have been blessed by the Gods to be immune to their psychic manipulations and thus, they were powerless to defeat him.  Some say this might have inspired the legends the Giants tell, while others argue for the other way around.  None of the scholars who argue this, are, of course, imperial historians. 

Yet the Storm Giants were very real.  After the First Age ended in the death of the Dragon-Mother at the hands of Marzan (or so the Orzane claim) the world was remade.  During this time, the Gods hid in Heaven and failed to man the Gates, which permitted many horrors from the Beyond to invade the world.  These creatures oppressed the peoples of the world and made them their slaves.  They also set about modifying the world to make it suit their liking more.  These horrible monster-cults and alien religions ruled for only a brief moment before they were demolished by the Giants, who emerged from their shelters carved into the Earth, hanging in the sky or concealed beyond the Veil to conquer the world.  Armed with immense physical size, supreme magical might and their own incredible brilliance, they defeated the invaders and cast them back into the Dark. 

From there, the Giants set about building their own civilization.  They erected a glorious Empire, one that encompassed the entire known world and was unrivaled in it's power, culture and prosperity.  The level of comfort and safety enjoyed by it's citizens, Smallfolk and Giant alike, has not been equaled yet in the millennia that has since passed.  Yet even as they soared to never-before-seen heights, the leaders of the Giants, the Storm Giants, grew unsatisfied.  They had created the greatest civilization since those already distant days when Man and God walked hand-in-hand, yet they still did not have enough. 

Then, one researcher found it.  At first he thought it was an error, but repeated verification produced the same result.  It was a huge energy source, buried deep into the Ground.  No, it was the ground!  The Earth itself was giving off a source of energy, a power that greatly resembled the natural fluctuations of Magic.  If such a field could be tapped, the potential benefits to thaumaturgy, to artifice, to life itself were potentially limitless.  So the Storm Giants resolved to tap this newly discovered source of magical power.

And to their credit, they succeeded.  But all power comes at a price and the price for this power was their entire civilization.  The Storm Giants who first held this power went mad, but they were the lucky ones.  This new-found power destroyed all who touched it, driving them to madness and violence.  Those who did not shortly die afterward were corrupted, twisted into horrific shapes with little to no recollection of what came before them.  These horrors then spread further fear and pain and the arrogance of a few led to the pollution of countless others.  This was the Doom of the Giants, an experiment to benefit the whole world that destroyed the greatest civilization the Second Age has yet seen.

Behirs:

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: The Lingua Franca of the region it lives in
Treasure: The weapons, coin and armor left behind from previous victims.  Much of it will need to be repaired before it can be used.   

Behirs are huge, dragon-like creatures that have long, sineous bodies and a number of limbs from six to twelve.  They have wide jaws lined with pointed teeth, though they prefer to swallow prey whole.  They have the ability to blast lightning from their mouths and make it crackle along the metallic spines that sprout in patches on their otherwise smooth, eel-like bodies.

Behirs are intelligent, though driven entirely by base desires, namely food.  They can speak, though rarely do so except to mock and frighten potential prey.  While some are prone to vanity, they are generally far more reasonable than Dragons.  They will be vaguely insulted by any comparisons to Dragons, referring to them as "arrogant lizards".  They will then probably eat you.

Behirs have, on rare occasions, seem making marks on the walls of the tunnels or caves that they inhabit.  Some of the symbols and pictograms they draw seem to resemble humanoid creatures or an ancient language, long distorted by time and the fallibility of memory.  Behirs don't seem to know what these mean, if they think they mean anything.  Most of them regard them with disinterest, while others consider them curiosities with no inherent meaning to them.

It is not uncommon for outlaws and underground groups to try and recruit a Behir for a scheme.  They are strong, much more powerful than most things the authorities are likely to have access to.  Additionally, Behirs are reasonable and relatively easy to bribe, provided you have access to large amounts of meat.  Despite the fact that Behirs are often willing to make such deals, this rarely goes well for those who attempt to strike bargains with them.

Statblock:

Behir
Damage Threshold 8
AR none
Atk Bite (1d12+2 + grapple) + Tail (1d8+2 bludgeoning) Swipe or Crushing Coils
Mor 12
Saves 15 or less
Immune to Lightning Damage

Damage Threshold: Unless an attack does damage that equals or exceeds the Behir's Damage Threshold, ignore it as if it did no damage.  If it does, the Behir loses 1 SHP.  It has SHP equal to it's Damage Threshold.  When it has 0 SHP, it dies.

Helpless Prey: If a creature is grappled through the use of the Bite attack, the Behir can do 1d12 damage to that creature as a free action on his turn in place of a normal Bite Attack. 

Great Jaws: If a Behir has a creature grappled in it's mouth, it can then choose to swallow that creature on it's next turn as a free action.  That creature may attempt to beat the Behir's STR roll with a STR check of it's own, or attempt a DEX check.  If the creature wins, it escapes and is not swallowed.  If the Behir wins, the creature is swallowed.  Swallowed creatures are blinded and grappled and cannot do anything that requires large or precise movements.  They also take 1d6 COG damage and 1d6 acid damage a round as they begin suffocating and dissolving.  If the Behir takes 10 or more damage as the result of an attack, it must save.  On a failed save, the Behir spits up the creature it swallowed.  A Behir can also choose to spit up creatures as a free action on their turns.  

Crushing Coils: A Behir can, on a hit with a Tail attack, force that creature to save.  On a failed save, the creature takes half damage but is grappled and restrained by the Behir's long, sineous body.  The Behir can, as a free action on it's turn, inflict 1d6 CON damage on that creature each round.  If this CON damage reduces a creature to 0 CON, that creature must save or have a heart attack.  On a failed save, that creature dies, though they can possibly be revived with healing magic and alleviating the pressure.   

Tunnel Predator: If you are fighting a Behir in a confined space, such as a tunnel or cave where it's body takes up the majority of space, each round you are next to it's long body you must save.  On a failed save, you take 1d6 bludgeoning damage as it slams you into the walls, floor or ceiling of the cave.  Those grappling the Behir have disadvantage on this attack.

Arc Breath: Once every 1d4 rounds, as an action, a Behir can fire a blast of lightning from it's mouth.  This bolt of lightning does 3d6+X lightning damage, where X is the number of metal items a creature is carrying.  Save for half damage.  Additionally, any creature standing within 10' of the attacked creature who is carrying any metal items is also damaged by the Behir's Arc Breath.  

Tactics:
- Open with Arc Breath, use it to separate enemies
- Grab one with bite attack, chew on them until mostly helpless and then swallow
- Use Crushing Coils and Tunnel Predator to keep enemies at bay until their friend is dead
- Then retreat   

Behir Plot Hooks:

1d4

1- A group of armed squatters/miners have been occupying one of Farmer Yevin's fields for a few weeks.  They found a cave entrance there, rich with gold.  They refuse to leave and refuse to share the profits of the gold, but to Yevin and the local mayor's disappointment.  This has led to a escalating stand-off, but no violence has occurred yet.  Yesterday, one of the squatters disappeared and they are blaming the locals.  Unknown to both parties is that a Behir lives in that cave system below the farmer's field and is taking an opportunity to explore a new hunting ground.
2- A group of bandits have recently become bolder than normal, completing blatant and obvious crimes.  This has attracted the authorities, who have sent multiple squads of lawmen after them, but all have failed to return.  Rumor says the bandit leader wields a magic sword that lets him shoot lightning.  Go and apprehend them.  The truth is that the bandits are actually working with a Behir, who has been eating the lawmen.  Despite the abundance of food coming to it, the Behir doesn't particularly care for the bandits and would eat them just as readily, if they were too inconvenient or it got a better offer.  The bandits don't trust the Behir and most of them are scared of it.
3- An Ogre recently broke into a local shrine and kidnapped a priest, along with every holy artifact that the Ogre could find.  Rescue the Priest.  When you get there, you find that the Ogre wants the Priest to bless his cave to try and drive away the ghost that keeps stealing the Ogre's "family", ie a bunch of travelers he kidnapped and is holding hostage.  The source of these disappearances is not a Ghost, however, but the Behir that keeps gobbling them up in the night.
4- A Chaos Cult have recently been emboldened in their activities because they discovered a Behir that had accidentally tunneled into the catacombs and thought it was a servant of the Dragon-Mother.  The Behir has been pretending to go along with it, promising them it will help them overthrow the city.  At the moment, the Behir is content to order them to bring it sacrifices.  The Red Ruler of the Cult doesn't trust the Behir and rightly so.

from here

Flesh Drakes:

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: True Neutral
Languages: None
Treasure: Well chewed armor, weapons and other possessions left behind from those it has eaten.  If being kept as a pet or helper, it will wear a collar or harness, perhaps even armor that could be broken down into base materials or sold to a collector. 

Horrible creatures, vaguely humanoid in shape, but stretched to the size of a Dragon and warped into a quadrupedal shape, these monsters live lives of perpetual discomfort and hunger.  Their flesh is naked and elastic, molding around deformed bones with ease, lending them a grotesque appearance.  They look ungainly and revolting, but can move quite quickly.  Their bones also have the ability to soften, allowing these huge creatures to squeeze into spaces far too small for them ordinarily.  They can also reshape their flesh into a variety of different forms, though this process is not instanteous and causes the creature's great pain.

Flesh Drakes vaguely resemble Dragons in body-plan and behavior, though most are no smarter than a Wolf or Dog.  They will behave as beasts, hunting and claiming territory for themselves.  They can be controlled, even tamed by certain creatures with the power, knowledge or lack of sense, though their loyalty is never certain.  They are treacherous beasts, turning on their masters if weakness is ever showed.  Many a confident master has been devoured by his previously docile Flesh Drake, often for no reason that can be ascertained. 

No one is sure where the Flesh Drakes came from.  Some suspect they are the work of Dragons, while others blame Wizards.  Regardless, they are plague upon any who find themselves by one, or worse, attempt to control one. 

Statblock:

Flesh Drake
Damage Threshold 7
AR see below
Atk Fists (1d8+2/1d8+2) or Fist (1d8 + grapple) + Bite (2d6-4)
Mor 16
Saves 14 or less

Damage Threshold: Unless an attack does damage that equals or exceeds a Flesh Drake's Damage Threshold, ignore it as if it did no damage.  If it does, the Flesh Drake loses 1 SHP.  It has SHP equal to it's Damage Threshold.  When it has 0 SHP, it dies.

Thrown Object: As an action, a Giant can throw something large and heavy at a creature.  That creature and any adjacent creatures take 3d6 damage, with a DEX save to take half damage.  Creatures with 16 or more DEX on a successful save take no damage and half on a failed save.

Flesh Drake Plot Hooks:

1d3

1- A Chaos Cult has found a Flesh Drake and has begun using it as a terror weapon.  Find out where they're hiding it and kill it.
2- As above, except you're hired by a Magi who wants you to find out how they control and it and steal it from them.  He wants to study it, or maybe modify it into a living weapon.  But you can trust him, right?
3- A Flesh Drake is running rampant, eating livestock and farmers and generally making a nuisance of itself.  A Cloud Giant wants to capture it, to take it off your hands.  If you help him, he will reward you with a magic item.

artist unknown

Fomorians:

Number Appearing: 1 + 1d20 servants
Alignment: Any Evil
Languages: The Lingua Franca and Giantish plus 1d10 ancient languages
Treasure: Spell scrolls and books, wands and staves, devices to enhance the use of magic as well as magic weapons and items.  You will also find large amounts of alchemical supplies, potions and intricate if highly impractical devices designed to be used in the torture and harvesting of other Giants. 

Imagine a beautiful woman.  She can look like however you imagine, just make her pretty.  Her specific features aren't important.  Then imagine taking a knife to her face and cutting a deep, scarlet gash into her flesh.  Or imagine spraying her with acid, or burning her with fire.  Then, imagine that woman's face after she has been treated, after she has been healed as best as the doctors were able to.  She looks similar to how she did before, yet there are still marks of her injuries.  Worse, there are psychic scars, deeper ones left upon her heart that might never heal.  If you can imagine such a small tragedy, then you can imagine the Fomorians.                          

They know they were great once.  They ruled the world, or so their legends claim.  The details of how exactly that was done are not known to them, though many will claim to have the answer. They were once Gods, but they were rejected.  Cast down by jealous rivals, those unworthy of their gifts and blessings.  These cruel people chose others to follow, tyrants who abused them and treated them like dirt, to be trodden on then scraped off your boots.

Cruelty upon indignity was heaped upon the Fomorians.  They were banished from their homeland and forced into the most desolate parts of the world, forcing them to take shelter on the highest of moutains, the coldests of wastes, the deepest depths of the Earth, where few ever come.  There they hold court, plotting their revenge, planning for the day they will return. 

Fomorians resemble Giants, but twisted and malformed.  They are blighted with mutations, most reptilian or Draconic in appearance.  These are a source of shame for them and most conceal their mutations from others, especially other Giants and Fomorians.  Other then their mutations, though, they resemble Giants.  They are pale-fleshed with hair that is either raven or milk-pale, with eyes of palest blue, red or pure black.  They are physically more powerful to Smallfolk by virtue of their large stature but compared to other Giants or creatures of a similar size they are actually quite weak. 

Fomorians also suffer from a wasting sickness that robs them of much of their vigor.  They cannot exert themselves for long and are rather weak in terms of physical strength.  They cannot work magic or perform any real labor during their spells of weakness.  Over time, these spells will become more sudden and longer-lasting, until they usually lead to the death of the Fomorian, either directly or otherwise.  However, they are not without their strengths.  Fomorians possess great intelligence and magical talent, able to work incredible feats of magic with only a fraction of the effort other creatures, even other Giants might have to exert to produce a similar result. 

Even more fortunately, Fomorians have also discovered a treatment for the wasting sickness.  If a Fomorian drinks the blood of another Giant, that will temporarily invigorate the Fomorian and suppress all symptoms of their sickness.  This leads to the Fomorians seeking out their ungrateful cousins, seeking not only to punish them, but also to feed on them to continue their own tortuous existences.

artist unknown

Statblock:   

Fomorian
Damage Threshold 7
AR varies, see below
Atk varies, see below
Mor 12
Saves 15 (7) or less

Damage Threshold: Unless an attack does damage that equals or exceeds a Fomorian's Threshold, ignore it as if it did no damage.  If it does, the Fomorian loses 1 SHP.  It has SHP equal to it's Damage Threshold.  When it has 0 SHP, it dies.

Giant Weapon: If a Fomorian is fighting with a weapon that is sized for Giants or other large creatures, they get -4 to all Attack rolls against any creature smaller than Large.  On a hit, however, they do not subtract this penalty from the damage rolled.  Fomorians also have weapons used for fighting smaller creatures, but these do not do as much damage.

Thrown Object: As an action, a Fomorian can throw something large and heavy at a creature.  That creature and any adjacent creatures take 3d6 damage, with a DEX save to take half damage.  Creatures with 16 or more DEX on a successful save take no damage and half on a failed save.

Spellcasting: Fomorians have Mana Dice equal to their Damage Thresholds.  Their dice burn out on a 5 or 6 and a roll of doubles or triples triggers a roll on the Chaos table below.  Fomorians know 6 spells.  To see what spells a Fomorian knows, select 6 from your favorite Wizard sub-class or roll 1d6 times a random spell table.  An example spell-list is included below.

Chaos of the Fomorian:
1d6   
           
1- The Fomorian begins bleeding from it's eyes, nose and ears and begins speaking in an ancient language that no one knows.  All creatures, including it's servants, must make a morale check or flee from the Fomorian. 
2- The Fomorian enters a berserker rage, losing all reason and spell-casting ability for 1d4 rounds.  During this time it will only make melee attacks and will attack the last creature that made an attack against it.  It will not be able to use magical abilities or magic weapons and will instead just use them to smash, crush or cut. 
3- The Fomorian begins seeing a hallucination of a monster that isn't there and will attack the hallucination, unless in danger of dying. 
4- The Fomorian becomes frightened and will try to flee from the current situation.  This fear lasts for 1d10 minutes, but each minute that passes, the Fomorian can make a save to end the fear effect early. 
5- The Fomorian loses his next action as he vomits up a cloud of burning ash that fills the air for 15' around him.  Any creature in the ashcloud takes 1d6 fire damage. 
6- The Fomorian immediately transforms into a Flesh Drake.  This change is permanent and irreversible. 

Magic Resistance: Mana-based attacks and abilities are hard to use against Fomorians.  When someone uses one of these against them, there is a 25/100% chance (5 or less on a d20) that the mana-based ability (magic, psychic powers, bio-energy blasts, spell-like ability) or attack does not affect them.  This causes the attack or ability to slip around them and strike the nearest target.  If there is no obvious choice, roll randomly. 

Tactics:
- Send servants forward to gauge enemy strength
- Strike the strongest enemy with a powerful spell
- Use magic to break the group apart
- Pick-off the weakest

To customize a Fomorian, roll on the tables below:

What is this Fomorian protected by?

1d4

1- Armor.  The Fomorian wears 1d4 [1= Mail sized for a Giant.  Increase it's Damage Threshold by 1; 2= Mail with breastplate, bracers and greaves.  Increase it's Damage Threshold by 1d4+1; It wears a suit of ancient powered armor built for Giants.  Increase it's Damage Threshold by 6.  However, the armor has a weakness, if the power cells strapped to the back are damaged, they will explode, doing 2d20 damage to everything within 50'.  This also disables the armor; 4= A form-fitting suit of combat silks, worn by the Storm Giants of legend.  Increase the Fomorian's Damage Threshold by 3.  But this armor has a weakness, as it doesn't protect everything.  If someone rolls a critical hit or takes a penalty to an ordinary hit, they can target an unarmored area, hitting the Fomorian and only having to overcome it's base Damage Threshold.]
2- Magical Wards.  The Fomorian is shielded by magical shields that give it 2d10 temporary HP each round.  This HP must be reduced to 0 before the Fomorian can be damaged.  These wards can be disabled by stealing or destroying the power source.  Alternatively, the wards take double damage to fire. 
3- An Ioun Stone.  The Fomorian has an Ioun Stone orbiting around it's head.  The Ioun Stone causes the Fomorian to regenerate 1 SHP a round and 1/Day, it's magic can be temporarily drained, causing it to stop working but healing the Fomorian for 1d6+1 SHP.  This causes the Ioun Stone to stop functioning and fall to the ground. 
4- A bound Spirit.  The Fomorian has a Spirit that accompanies it in physical form and protects it from injury.  Any attack that the Spirit can see has it's Attack roll reduced by 1d20.  The Spirit cannot hamper attacks it cannot see.   

What weapon does it carry?

1d4

1- A Magi's Staff.  The Staff is huge, sized for a Giant.  It is made of the wood of an enormous tree and topped with a white quartz crystal wrapped in gold wire.  The Fomorian can use the staff to make 1 melee attack that does 2d10 bludgeoning but is made at disadvantage against any creature smaller than Large.  Alternatively, it can fire 2 blasts of magic from the staff that do 1d12 radiant damage to any creature they strike.  Both of these blasts require an attack roll. 
2- A Wand and a Whip.  The Fomorian can make 1 whip attack that does 1d10 damage on a hit and grapples any creature it hits.  The Wand lets it fire two blasts that do 1d8 damage of a random elemental type (roll before the start of the battle).  These blasts still require an attack roll.  The Fomorian can also forgo the whip attack and fire a concentrated blast from the wand, doing 2d8 damage on a hit. 
3- A shapeshifting Living Weapon.  The blade is made of enchanted metal that is the "body" of the spirit that inhabits/Is the blade.  The Spirit will change itself into a form that is inconvenient to the wielder, such as turning into a trident to fight someone with a sword and shield, unless a contract is made with it.  In exchange for 1d4 [1= Ritual sacrifice offered in it's name at regular interval; 2= The murder of it's previous wielder/the descendants of the same; 3= The regular composition of songs and poems praising the weapon and it's various virtues, as well as the performance of the same; 4= Being allowed to have sex with the wielder in dreams and bear children with them, as well as the raising and care of those children until they are fully grown] the Living weapon will protect the wielder and 3/Day, will transform into any form that the wielder wishes.  The Living Weapon can only take the form of weapons with no moving parts (with the exception being bows and crossbows).  Think T-1000 rules.  The Fomorian uses the Living Weapon to make 1 attack that does 2d10 damage.  The weapon is agile enough that is prevents the Fomorian from suffering disadvantage on it's attacks on Medium or smaller creatures.       
4- A magic sword.  The sword is called Nightscream and is made of stygian metal.  Nightscream gives the wielder, 3/Day, the ability to cloak themselves in shadows to gain bonuses to stealth, sneaking and hiding.  In dim light, Nightscream's wielder is all but unnoticeable.  1/Day, the wielder can also teleport, jumping into one shadow that they can touch and appearing out of another they can see.  Nightscream's powers do not work in perfect darkness or in direct sunlight.  Nightscream is sized for humans, so the Fomorian is using it like a dagger.  The Fomorian uses Nightscream to make 2 attacks that do 1d10+4 sharp damage.     

What Spells does the Fomorian know?

(This is an example)

Dimension Door
-------------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: [dice] creatures    D: one action

Up to [dice] creatures you touch, counting yourself as one of the creatures, can teleport up to 30*[dice]'.

Fireball
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: 50'         T: 10*[dice]' diameter circle        D: 1 action     

All within the targeted area take [sum] fire damage, save for half.

Malignant Portal
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: 30'        T: a flat surface within range        D: [dice] rounds

You create a portal on a flat surface that begins sucking up everything near it.  Everything within 10*[dice]' begins to feel suction as if a creature with a STR score equal to [sum] (maxing out at 19(+4)) is pulling on it.  Any creature that fails to resist this pull is sucked off their feet and into the portal.  The portal also pulls in loose objects, air, gases in the atmosphere, and etc.  Note that the caster also knows that whatever ends up going through that portal is probably gone forever.

But in case you do end up falling through it...

Where does this Portal lead to?
1d8

1- Sheol.  The grey, sunless land of the dead, where the dead walk through the wastes forever, occasionally being hunted by unimaginable monsters and each other.
2- The Sun.  This isn't instantly fatal.  You arrive in the golden offices of the Burning Bureaucracy, the heart of the Elemental Court of Fire.  You are likely to be instantly arrested and seized as you will stick out like sore thumbs, but if you manage to escape that, you will find the Sun has parks and taverns and cities.  The only long term problem you might have is finding food.  Being arrested might not even be a bad thing, as you might be able to convince the Pyrocrats or the Sultan  to send you back. 
3- The Moon.  The moon is covered in strange forests and red oceans.  It is mostly humid and tropical, with the exception of the poles, which are quite cold.
4- The Veins of the Earth.  Enjoy starving to death forty miles below ground.  Also, read the book if you haven't.
5- A parallel universe.  Nothing seems different at first.  Soon you might realize that this is not your world.  Or maybe you won't.  Who knows?
6- Heaven.  The Domain of the Law Gods.  It's not full of mortal souls, but the Law Gods, their Angels and their Celestial Bureaucrats.  A really swanky place, but if they catch you, they will send you back.
7- The middle of the wilderness.  You have no idea where you are.
8- New York City.  The air is warm and the sky is blue, but everything else looks different.  The roads are paved in solid slabs instead of individual stones and there are metal towers that reach halfway to Heaven it seems.  You have no idea what to make of this place.  

Prismatic Ray
---------------------------------------------------------
R: 50'        T: [dice] creatures    D: one action

Fires [dice] rays at up to [dice] targets.  Each ray requires an attack roll.  On a hit, each ray does 1d6+[dice] damage.  To determine what ray is fired, roll 1d8, rerolling duplicates.  All additional effects last [dice] minutes.

What ray is fired?
1d8
1- Red.  Does fire damage.  All hit by this are set on fire and take 1d6 damage a round until they take an action to put out the fire.
2- Orange.  Does necrotic damage.  All hit by this must save or age 1d6+[dice] years.
3- Yellow.  Does radiant damage.  Undead, enemies of the Court of Fire or those hated by the Sun take double damage.
4- Green.  Does acid damage.  All hit by this must save or go insane for [dice] minutes.
5- Blue.  Does cold damage.  All hit by this are trapped in a thin shell of ice and cannot move until they take an action to free themselves.
6- Indigo.  Does psychic damage.  All hit by this must save or become overcome with delusions of grandeur.
7- Violet.  Does electrical damage.  All hit by this must save or be scared of the caster for the duration.
8- Double Strike.  The caster fires two rays because of this result.  Roll again twice.  If you roll this result again, treat it as '7'.

Shield
------------------------------------------------------------------------
R: touch    T: creature            D: [dice] rounds

One creature you touch, or yourself, is covered in a magical aura that grants them +[sum] Fighting Spirit (FS) for the duration or until it is all expended.  

Snow Storm
---------------------------------------------------------------
R: 1000'        T: A cylinder 100*[dice]' in diameter    D: [dice] hours

You lower the temperature over a specific area, freezing the water in the air and causing it to come down as snow.  This snow blankets the area in a wide cylinder and covers the earth in a layer 1/2[dice]' deep.  Open fires are extinguished and outside conditions become miserable.  Unless they have resistance or immunity to cold, or are otherwise prepared for cold weather, creatures must make a morale check to remain outside or avoid seeking shelter.

If cast with 2 [dice], strong winds fill the cylinder, causing all ranged attacks to be made at disadvantage due to high winds and lowered visibility.  At 3 [dice], the storm also drops hailstones that do 2[dice] damage to any creature outside or unprotected.  At 4 or more [dice], the storm does [dice] cold damage to any creature outside that does not have resistance or immunity to cold damage or is not wearing sufficient cold-weather gear. 

What mutations does it suffer from?

(Roll 1d4 times on the table below.)

1d20
1- The Fomorian has clawed fingers, making manipulating fragile or delicate things hard if not impossible. 
2- The Fomorian has a mouth overflowing with fangs and sharp teeth.  It is an obligate carnivore and can only eat meat. 
3- The Fomorian has teeth growing not just from it's mouth, but out of different parts of it's body. 
4- The Fomorian has 1d4 extra mouths on it's body.  These mouths just bite things near them, but otherwise don't do anything.
5- The Fomorian has a long, reptilian looking tail.
6- The Fomorian's nostrils constantly leak smoke.  There is a 50% chance that it can breathe a cone of fire (3d6 fire, save for half) every 1d4 rounds, but each time the Fomorian does this it does 1d8 damage to the Fomorian, so it can be hurt by this ability. 
7- The Fomorian has 1d3 pairs of wings growing from it's back.  The Fomorian has a 2-in-6 chance of being able to fly.  Otherwise, it's wings just make it easier to hit and harm. 
8- The Fomorian has patches of thick, colorful scales growing all over it's body.  This has a 1-in-6 chance of giving it Natural Armor equal to AR 1d3.  Otherwise, it is merely unsightly.
9- The Fomorian has no nipples and is hairless.
10- The Fomorian is cold-blooded.  It likes to be warm and cannot last long in cold environments. 
11- The Fomorian has reversed legs and a flexible neck.  It is quadrupedal and can move much faster than a bipedal creature, but standing up on two legs is very difficult for it, though it can be done for a brief amount of time. 
12- The Fomorian has spikes growing out of its 1dX [1= Spine; 2= Arms and Legs; 3= Back; 4= Chest.]  It cannot wear most armor or clothing unless it has been specifically modified to fit the spikes.  Alternatively, the Fomorian might file down the spikes, a painful and time-consuming process. 
13- The Fomorian has reptilian slit-pupil eyes. 
14- The Fomorian has horns on the top of it's head. 
15- The Fomorian swallows it's food and can unhinge it's jaws.  It can swallow Medium or smaller creatures whole. 
16- The Fomorian can sit still for hours, not doing anything, not even blinking.
17- The Fomorian has fangs that secrete a painful, but largely harmless venom.           
18- The Fomorian, if female, lays eggs.  If male, it has genitalia more similar to a reptile.  Regardless, the Fomorian finds this disgusting and shameful.                                
19- The Fomorian has the ability to detach an arm or limb if attacked.  It will then run away.  The arm will grow back after 1d3 weeks.  The Fomorian is skilled at moving with only three, or even two limbs, because of this ability.
20- The Reptilian is only attracted to reptilian creatures and finds mammals and other creatures repulsive.   

Who serves the Fomorian?

(Roll 1d3 times on this table or until you have a total of 13+)

1d12
1- 1d20+10 level 1d3 Vampires.  A gang of low-level Vampires serve the Fomorian, who they refer to their as their Vampire King.  The Fomorian despises them for this, but it needs their service, so it tolerates their antics. 
2- 1d20+6 Ghouls.  A pack of gentlemen Ghouls who dispose of the corpses left behind from the Fomorian's experiments/torture/feeding.  Very well fed, so they are cultured, intelligent and friendly. They might still eat you, though.   
3- 1d4+1 Wights, each with a small pack of Undead servants bound to them.  The Fomorian has his own elite Undead, which he keeps as a safeguard against the Wights betraying him.
4- 1 Demon.  The Demon serves as the Fomorian's assistant or partner.  The Demon also brought 1d4+1 lesser spirits to assist the Fomorian.
5- 2d20 Chaos Cultists.  The Fomorian has convinced them that it's mutations are actually gifts from the Dragon-Mother and if they are faithful, they will receive such benefits as well. 
6- Far too many Goblins.  They think the Fomorian is a God.  To them, it might as well be.  They are worshiping it. 
7- A Coven (3) of Hags.  The Hags act as the Fomorian's research assistants.  They make it potions, which helps alleviate it's symptoms.  These potions are also addictive and the Fomorian has come to rely on them.  It realizes the Hags are trying to control it, but it doesn't dare weaken itself as long as they nearby. 
8- A Durama and his household.  The Durama feels that the Fomorian's "art" is inspired, if a bit tacky.  He has to come lend his talents and maybe make it less tasteless. 
9- 1d4 Ogres.  The Ogres think of the Fomorian as their Father/Mother and the Fomorian encourages this notion. 
10- A Cult of Kua Toa, who revere the Fomorian as a demi-god or a nascent deity. 
11- An Anti-Paladin, fallen from grace and dedicated to revenge against the world.  The Fomorian will be his tool for that.  He just needs to help the Fomorian with a few tasks first.
12- A Mad level 1d4+2 Wizard and his 1d6 Apprentices.  The Apprentices are 1d3 levels weaker than their Master (min 1).  Most of them are hesitant about helping the Fomorian, but their Master is extremely eager to obtain the Fomorian's research through whatever means he can. 
       
Fomorian Plot Hooks:

1d6

1- A group of bandits have kidnapped a noblewoman on her way to an important meeting.  Her husband disappeared with her and their families are worried, willing to pay top-dollar for the return of both of them.  Secretly, the reason why the bandit's leader kidnapped them is because his men are being held hostage by a Fomorian, who has pressed them into service.  They hope that if someone else comes looking for the nobles, then they will be able to get away in the chaos. 
2- A group of miners accidentally tunneled into an Iron Giant cavern, but they find the place seems abandoned after a recent attack.  The Iron Giants within are being attacked by a Fomorian, who is kidnapping them to feed upon and sate the Fomorian's thirst revenge.  This sets off a bit of a gold rush for the strange technology within, with explorers attempting to avoid the Giants, their technology and the thing feeding on them. 
3- The city of Al-Kith was built on the ruins of an ancient Giant metropolis, but this fact hasn't been relevant for a long time.  Then, one night, a Fomorian leading an army of monsters rises from the catacombs to lay siege to the city.  While the city burns and blood runs in the street, the Fomorian is only interested in one specific thing, an ancient treasure that the royal family has guarded for centuries.  If it falls into the hands of such a brute, the damage wrought could be catastrophic...
4- War!  A conflict has broken out between a fraternity of Cloud Giant Battle-Lords and a clan of Frost Giants.  But the Cloud Giants are suffering terribly, far more than they should.  The Frost Giants have gained a new ally, in the form of their new shaman.  The Smallfolk servants of the Battle-Lords hire the party to assassinate the Frost Giant's shaman, as he is too powerful for the masters to defeat.  Secretly, this new Shaman is a Fomorian, disguised with magic, who is allowing the Giants to slaughter each other so it can harvest blood from the fallen.
5- A Fomorian contacts the party through intermediaries and asks them to break into a Fire Giant war-camp to steal a particular item one of their leaders possesses.  Secretly, the Fomorian doesn't care about this, and only plans on using the party as a distraction to kidnap a few pickets to sate it's thirst. 
6- A thief fell in love with a Cultist and proposed that they should run away together.  But the Cultist refused, claiming her work was too important.  So the Thief kidnapped her and plans to perform a ritual to charm her into loving him.  But unknown to him, that Cultist was the one who made the potions that maintain the health of her Fomorian master.  Now the Fomorian is on a rampage, going forth with his servants to find her before he succumbs to his sickness and dies.

by Alejandro MGNZ

Friday, April 15, 2022

OSR: The Spirit World

Most of these ideas below are stolen from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

This is the realm beyond the veil, the source of magic, where spirits and Gods dwell, where souls go before the Psychopomps come to collect them.  It is a place where thought and action are one and the same, where emotion controls the weather and ideology forms the land upon which people stand. 

In Nukaria, it is referred to by various names such as the Spirit World, the World Beyond, the Plane of Thought, the Land of Dreams, The Void, The Emptiness, The Floating Realm or Deep Heaven but the most common among Magi is the Astral Sea. 

The Shallows:

This is the lowest level of the Astral Sea, or perhaps the highest.  This area directly borders the material world.  The Ethereal Plane is usually what it is referred to by the uneducated who regard it as another plane and not merely an extension of a higher one.  Spirits and smaller spiritual entities have the ability to step between this world and our world at will.  Sight Beyond Sight allows a creature to peer into this world, which is how they see creatures as they truly are, for they see the shape and nature of their souls. 

The Shallows naturally resemble our world.  It is a mirror of our world, with a few exceptions.  Firstly, there are few, if any animals.  Only animals intelligent or powerful enough to reach the Astral Sea will appear here.  Some species have the ability to enter the Shallows when they sleep, such as Wolves and Dragons.  Secondly, structures erected by mortals will appear where they should in our world.  The longer something has existed, the more likely it will be there. 

For instance, a house that has stood for many years will appear where it was built in the mortal world, while a tent erected a few minutes ago will not.  Things that have been there for less than a day will appear ghostly and insubstantial.  Things that are often changed will shift back and forth.  For example, the contents of most people's desks will shift around and move as you watch it.  Papers will disappear as you read them, laptops will shift between open and closed, mugs will fill and empty while teleporting around the desk. 

People's clothes will also change, depending on their moods and current thoughts.  The more experienced someone is, the less things will change on their body.  For example, if a woman is thinking of her lover while she wanders here, she might find herself wearing a low-cut dress that compliments her figure, while if she was worried about being spotted, she might find herself wearing all black with a mask to conceal her face.  If she was worried about being attacked, she might find herself in armor, carrying a sword. 

By contrast, a more experienced traveler's clothing will change much less often, or not at all.  Their clothing might even appear finer, freshly pressed, or their jewelry might shine more than possible in the physical world, but otherwise they will likely maintain a stable image in this world.

Additionally, these changes to a person's clothing and physical appearance will mostly occur only when the creature is here in Spirit.  Those who come in the Flesh find much less extreme changes await them, or few at all.  That being said, they can still change, or be changed as a creature here in Spirit can.  But more on that later.             

While in the Shallows, it is also possible to observe the physical world that you left through reflective surfaces such as mirrors, polished metal, puddles of water or anything else that can reflect light.  This is why Magi fear mirrors and never keep any around them, for they know what might be watching from the other side.       

Wading in the Shallows:


If you travel to this world, you can go in two ways, in Spirit and in the Flesh. 

In Spirit- Mortal souls naturally dream, but occasionally even ordinary dreamers can wander into the Shallows.  They usually remain for only a brief time before disappearing.  Do you remember ever having a dream where you were falling or another one that was shockingly realistic?  Odds are you appeared in the Shallows briefly.  Luckily, your mind slipped out of there, falling back into ordinary sleep.
 
This is fortunate for you, as any injuries sustained in the Spirit World appear on the person's body.  Dying in the Spirit World will not cause you to wake up, but will leave your soul trapped there till the Psychopomps come to collect you.  It is as real a death as any other. 

Spending time in the Spirit World in Spirit is not nourishing to the body like real sleep and is as strenuous as any other physical activity.

There are multiple ways to enter the Spirit World in spirit.  Certain hallucinogenic drugs and magical herbs allow a dreamer to travel there and remain until they wake up.  There are magical artifacts that allow the untrained and unskilled to enter.  There are meditation techniques that allow someone disciplined enough to detach their consciousness and travel here.  And there are spells that allow a caster to move his or other's spirits here. 

Coming here in the Flesh is in some ways, more challenging, but easier in other ways.  Firstly, powerful magicks can allow a creature to come here in the Flesh through methods similar to teleportation or planar travel spells.  Secondly, there are natural points of entrance that, if certain rituals are completed, allow a creature to enter through a variety of natural portals.

artist unknown

Astral Combat and Astral Clay:

There is another trait of the Shallows that I should mention.  While here, the world functions according to the normal laws.  People still walk on the ground, breathe air, sink in water, etc.  Except, they don't.  Not really.  Their minds think these things are how things should be and so, they are.  But it doesn't have to be that way. 

By making a check, someone in the Shallows can enforce their will on the place, altering it and transforming it in whatever way they wish.  These changes rarely last, but on a success, they become real, if only for a moment.  These checks use whatever mental ability score governs a character's will.  One can make a check on their turn as a free action, in conjunction with doing something else.   

Generally, the bigger the change, the harder the check.  If another creature opposes the check, the creature should also roll and the higher result wins. 

For example:


Robert Stronghand and Jennifer Goldheart are fighting in the Shallows.  Robert fires an arrow at Jennifer from his bow.  Jennifer, instead of dodging, thinks- no, she believes, that her cloak is hard as steel.  Thus, the arrows bounce off her cloak, doing no damage. 

Jennifer then chases off Robert into the forest.  Robert believes in his heart "I am invisible" and hides behind a tree.  Jennifer bursts through the bush, but doesn't see him, because he actually has turned invisible.

Other Skills-

There are other skills that the Shallows can grant someone, should they know how.  Those experienced with the Spirit World can move rapidly across the landscape or teleport to any location they know enough about.  They cannot teleport to a place they have never been, though they might be able to get close.  For example, if you have never been to New York City, you cannot go there.  But you might be able to teleport into New York State, or at least to New England.

Creatures can also create things from thin air in the Shallows, though the more complex and unrealistic something is, the harder it is to create.  Additionally, when something is created, that thing stops existing the second the traveler stops thinking of it.  For example, creating a castle of crystal and glass would be very hard, but creating a stand mirror to look at yourself would be fairly easy to someone who knew what they were doing. 

The one exception to this rule is that of living creatures.  If a dreamer or astral traveler creates a living creature, that creature will gain a semblance of life and will.  These creatures must be overpowered and forced back to non-existence.  Furthermore, even if such a creature is designed with certain parameters, the longer it is left alive, the more it will begin to change.  Since the Astral Sea is essentially a soup of pure consciousness, the longer these artificial creatures exist here, the more likely they will become conscious and stray from the template established by their creator. 

And this is where the advantage of coming to the Spirit World in the Flesh comes in.  Creatures there in the flesh add double the relevant modifier to any roll made to alter the Spirit World in this way- in my game, this is COG, but in yours it might be INT, or CHA.  For example, if you have a COG of 13(+1), then you add +2 to any roll to mold the Astral Clay if you come here in the Flesh.

Creatures who come here in the Flesh also have advantage on their rolls when contesting any creature not here in the Flesh.

artist unknown

The Depths:

Traveling deeper into the Astral Sea involves flying up into the air, into the sky.  Leaving the Shallows behind, one will enter a vast, inky space full of glittering lights that resemble stars.  But these are not stars, but the dreams of all creatures currently dreaming, in this or any other world.  Experienced Spirit World travelers and dream-walkers can zip through this dark space and find the dreams of a particular individual. 

They can then enter that person's dreams, though this is hazardous. 

While inside someone's dream, they are in almost total control.  They can do whatever they want to you, though they might not be fully aware that it's you in there.  They probably also aren't in control of their dreams.  It is difficult for a dream-walker or traveler who ends up in someone's dream to escape if the dreamer wants to keep them there, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  If the dreamer is holding them there, they can only leave when that person lets them go, or if that person wakes up.

Some people, gifted with the ability to control their own dreams, but not enter the Shallows, can hold entire conversations with a dream-walker and remember whatever happens come morning.  This can be an asset to many dream-walkers, who find such people to be refreshing to speak to, as it is very difficult to communicate with normal people through dreams.  There are some creatures who can pull an ordinary dreamer with them into the Shallows, but most such creatures are malicious and only seek to harm the dreamer in question.  

No harm, or at least, no physical harm can come to you in someone else's dream.

Examples:

A dream-walker is peering in on the dreams of a man she knows.  She enters his dream and finds him riding a horse across the beach near his house.  While she doesn't know it yet, this man has a crush on her.  So when he sees her in the dream, she will probably become more beautiful and depending on his inclination, wearing something better looking, sexier or maybe nothing at all. 

Hopefully she's okay with him seeing her like that, or if she's not, hopefully she can escape his dream, otherwise it's going to make their interactions very awkward for her in the future.  Remember, she will remember the dream, but he might not.

The Dreams of the Divine:

But there are dreams, and then there are Dreams:

In the Depths, certain powerful entities make their dwellings here.  These entities go to sleep and create vast dreams which can hold not only them, but many countless others.  Inside, these dreams can be large and detailed enough to contain cities, nations or even entire worlds.  It is here, in the dreams of the Gods, that you can find the Upper Realms from where Outsiders that we name Angels and Demons truly hail from. 

These worlds often resemble cities or nations in their most superficial ways, but are clearly designed for creatures not familiar with things such as three spatial dimensions or linear time.  Gravity is often a suggestion, where it exists at all.  Buildings flow and shift, changing with the whims of those who dwell within them.  Bizarre and unnatural weather occurs constantly, though here the abnormal is normal.  The creatures here are strange, ever-shifting beings that adopt new forms as fashion, custom and whim changes.  Not all will be stronger than you, but their will be those who wield great power.  Others will be weak, little more powerful than the small beasts or insects in your own world.

Depending on what Dream you enter, these creatures might greet you warmly.  You might find this a land populated by friendly, if alien beings, or one frequented by travelers from other worlds.  Others are unforgiving and completely inhospitable to creatures such as you, even bordering on the incomprehensible as objects and creatures pop into existence around you before just as swiftly disappearing, or events occurring out of order, or linear time simply not existing here.  Even the most experienced of planar traveler will likely find the Dreams found in the Depths of the Astral Sea to be unpleasant, confusing or downright dangerous.          

The afterlives of various Gods belonging to certain exclusive cults can be found here. 

Renegade entities often hide here as well, for the nigh-infinite space in the Depths means that even the most persistent of hunters will find it difficult, if not impossible, to find them here.  Here they can celebrate and do as they wish without interference.  Grazui, Beloved Master of the Kytons, makes his realm here, as do many of the Princes of Chaos.  There are likely other creatures who lurk down here, in the darkness beyond reality.  Who know what lurks down there, in the blackness that never ends?

source unknown

Saturday, April 9, 2022

OSR: Wraiths

by Jonathan Lee
 This post was inspired by Anthony Ryan's Blood Song and Raven's Shadow series. 

"Let's step back for a moment.  Frank Dominio was a man of hyper-charged and off-kilter imagination, no denying it; but he had always been held back by his fears and demons.  Domino, on the other hand, was not only completely warped, he also belonged to a class of demon himself.  Both of them shared many like qualities.  Among them was an eagerness to get started on the project, if only to put it behind them as soon as possible." 

- Thomas Ligotti, My Work Is Not Yet Done

Death's grip is not as absolute as the Priests will tell you.  When you die, you will fall into a shadow world, where the details of our world are the same, but different.  This grey world will be inhabited by passing shades and other, stranger creatures.  A creature will come to you.  He will insist you come with him.  If you go with him, you will be taken to your eternal fate, whatever that would be. 

But you did not.  You feared what awaited beyond that final gate, or knew your work was not yet done.  So you fled.  You ran that grey road and fled from your captor.  Now you haunt that world and the land of the living, forever seeking to finish what you began.  Forever looking for your final goal.  Whether it be love, duty, honor, revenge or simply life, it is your drive, your dream, your obsession. 

There are those who would mistake you for a common Ghost.  You are nothing of the sort.  You are greater than they, greater than anything alive or dead.  And soon, they will all know it.  They will fear you.  For unlike them, you are infinite.

The Ones Death Forgot:

Ghosts are created from the shattered remnants of souls shriven by tragedy and sorrow.  Pieces of them remain behind after they die, bonded to one particular place.  They are doomed to repeat particular actions in particular ways.  The smallest ghosts carry out a single action over and over, such as the ghost of a suicide forever leaping from the same tower, or the ghost of a murder victim attempting to reason with invisible captors, before a phantom gunshot sprays his blood and brains across the walls. 

More powerful ghosts retain more knowledge and memory of the events of their(?) previous lives.  They follow more complex patterns, but they are still patterns.  The Moonlight Fiddler still appears to seduce comely maids and doom their fathers to death, the Splatter Man still haunts the streets of the city he once protected, the Mourning Bride still perishes in the arms of her groom, while the ghosts of her wedding party watch in horror, their screams a shrill, eternal chorus. 

A Wraith, on the other hand, is something different.  A Wraith is a person's full soul, full consciousness, torn from the bonds of life and implanted fully in the world of the dead.  This soul retains all of it's memories from life but also, it's power.  Wraiths have much greater ability to affect the world of the living and thus, rarely pass over.  They remain in the world, meddling in affairs, acting as ghostly puppeteers.  All that they see falls under their influence. 

Wraiths can very easily obtain power in the living world, even if their ability to interact with it is still limited.  They can easily invade fortresses to obtain information, or follow important people and black-mail them for their crimes.  If either approach fails, they can simply appear to the powerful or exploitable and offer services in exchange for sacrifices or loyalty.  And if all that fails, the Wraith can simply steal that person's body and wear like a robe, using him as it sees fit, then discarding him when no longer useful to the Wraith.

Their schemes are complex and can span years, decades or even centuries.  Wraiths do not age and only go in strength the longer they remain between life and death.  This is partially because of their growing experience with using their ghostly abilities, but also through their consumption of souls.  Wraiths have the ability to devour the souls of the recently deceased, gaining their knowledge and some of their abilities as well.  The souls of the dead are not destroyed by this process, but instead become unwilling passengers in the 'body' of the Wraith, forever tormented by the Wraith's endless hunger for blood and vengeance.

Wraiths are not common poltergeists, out for revenge against those who wronged them.  A Wraith's revenge will span centuries and lead to whole nations drowning in blood.  A Wraith is not a creature to be crossed.  Flee from them if you fear you have entered the domain of one.  Yet the sad truth is that often Wraiths are created through the destruction of evil souls who cling to life even as they are slain, but have no other way to return to life.  So beware the one who saves his people and wields a sword of light, for he may be followed by a horror that he created, a horror that will bring his doom.

Wraith
HD 1d6+X or What he/she Had in Life
AR none
Atk Varies, see below
Mor 15
Saves (7+X) or less

Ghost: A Wraith counts as being a Ghost and Undead.  They can fly and are intangible, so non-spiritual objects pass through them.  They are immune to damage from non-magical weapons, as well as cold, poison and necrotic damage.

Sunlight Damage: A Wraith takes 6 damage a round it is exposed to sunlight.        

Invisibility: A Wraith can turn invisible as a free action.  It becomes visible if it attacks or takes an action against another creature.  It can still be seen in mirrors and dogs and cats can detect it, even when invisible. 

Changeable Image: A Wraith, when it appears, can appear as anything it wishes, from an Angel to it's true form- that of murdered soul, strained and divorced from the peace of the grave.  No matter what form it takes, this does not change it's stats. 

Native of the Shallows: Wraiths can, as an action, leave or enter the Shallows of the Astral Sea at will.  When they does this, they vanish from our world but also loses any ability to affect it except indirectly, until they re-enter our world. 

Life Drain: Instead of making it's attacks, a Wraith can touch a creature.  This requires an Attack roll, but do not add non-magical weapons to the Defense roll.  A hit causes the creature to take 1d6 CON damage.  If this CON damage reduces a creature's CON to 0, it dies.  This CON damage cannot be healed until the creature is blessed by someone who carries the power of the Gods such as a Holy Man (Prophet, Holy Man) or a Priest or King.  A God can also remove this effect.  After that, CON returns at a rate of 1 point per day. 

Possession: Instead of making it's attacks, a Wraith can attempt to possess a creature.  This forces a creature to save.  On a failed save, the creature is possessed.  On a successful save, the creature takes 1d6 COG damage.  The Wraith may do this up to 3 times.  If it reduces a creature's COG to 0, the Wraith can possess that creature.  But if it cannot, the Wraith can attempt to possess that creature for 24 hours.

Wraiths, when possessing a body, retain their resistances and immunities.  If a host body is killed, the Wraith is banished to the Shallows for a day and an hour, but can return after this time.  Non-magical damage to a host body is taken by the host body, which retains it's previous physical ability scores (STR, DEX, CON, HP, etc).  Spiritual or magical damage is split between the Wraith and the host creature.

Devour Soul: If a creature is slain around a Wraith and it is not possessing a body, it can devour that soul.  This causes a Wraith to regain X HD, where X is the HD that creature had while still alive.  Additionally, if a Wraith devours a soul that had HD equal to or exceeding the Wraith's current total, the Wraith's HD total increases by 1.  The Wraith also has a X-in-20 chance, where X is the soul's previous HD, of being able to gain some or all of a devoured soul's abilities, as long as they were based on mental ability scores.  This includes spell-casting ability, bearing one of the Secret Names of God, or anything else the Referee feels is appropriate.

Specific Death Condition: Unless reduced to 0 HP by damage from Sunlight, a Wraith that is destroyed will reform in a 1d20-X years (where X is the Wraith's HD - min 1 year and a day). 

Tactics:
- Play with your food, until it shows it can hurt you
- Try to possess the strongest enemy, or the one most likely to fail
- Drain those who can hurt you, kill them first
- Kill one and feed on their soul
- Don't fear destruction unless it threatens a long-term goal or promises to be permanent

What signs signal this Wraith is near?

1d8

1- Cold spots and the general lowering of temperatures.  Glass mists over, frost forms on water, people's breath fogs the air.
2- Lights dim, candles gutter.  Torches and fire cast less light and shadows seem to lengthen, growing blacker.
3- Food spoils, water becomes befouled, things that cannot spoil become inedible for some reason.
4- Animals become agitated, dogs bark, cocks crow, horses buck in their stalls. 
5- The wind howls and the weather grows worse.  Rain becomes a downpour, snow becomes a blizzard, storms hurl hail and lightning as they vent their impotent rage.
6- All people nearby have the sense of eyes on them, even if no one is there. 
7- Pictures of people weep blood, mirrors crack, hallucinations occur in certain people.
8- Spell-casters and others attuned to the flow of Magic feel shudders passing through the world and a foul presence.   

How strong is this Wraith?

1d4

1- Newborn.  This Wraith was just created.  It has 1d6+1d4 HD.  It can make two attacks that do 1d6+3 necrotic damage.
2- Mature.  This Wraith has been around for several years, maybe a decade or two.  It has 1d6+1d6 HD.  It can make two attacks that do 1d8+2 necrotic damage.  Roll once on the Otherworldy Powers table.
3- Old.  This Wraith is older than you, your great-grandparents, maybe even the current dynasty.  It has 1d6+1d8 HD.  It can make three attacks that do 1d8+4 necrotic damage.  Roll twice on the Otherworldly Powers table.
4- Ancient.  This Wraith is older than your nation, your people, maybe even your race.  It is old as Time and Death and utterly divorced from whatever put it in this situation so many eons ago.  It has 1d6+1d12 HD.  It can make three attacks that do 1d10+3 necrotic damage.  Roll 1d6 times on the Otherworldly Powers table. 

What Otherworldly Powers does it possess?

1d6

1- The Wraith can raise corpses as Undead.  It does this by sacrificing one or more HD.  This permanently raises the Undead and binds it to the Wraith's will. 
2- The Wraith can tear apart the souls of the newly deceased to create Spectres.  These Spectres are bound to the Wraith, but it only controls them through holding the fragments of their soul.  If these fragments could be taken, the Spectres would be healed and could pass over. 
3- The Wraith can curse creatures.  The creature must be able to see the Wraith and understand what it is saying.  The Wraith cannot curse another creature until the first curse is broken or fulfilled. 
4- The Wraith can, by touching a creature, force that creature to save.  That creature becomes infected with a disease on a failed save.  The Wraith carries 1d4 spirits of disease with it, and can only infect that many creatures.
5- The Wraith can create barriers up to 100' long that spiritual creatures or magic cannot cross.  Living creatures and physical objects can cross these barriers without suffering any effect, but nothing magical can.  The only way something magical can cross this barrier is if they ask permission.  These barriers last until the next sunrise.
6- The Wraith can tear open portals in space that lead to other planes of existence, allowing it to travel as it sees fit.  It can only do this 1/Day.        

Who serves it?

1d3

1- Undead.  The Wraith is served by 1d3 [1= A small group of Greater Undead, faithful lieutenants who obey out of loyalty; 2= A small group of Undead slaves, bound to perfect obedience through foul magic; 3= A vast horde of Undead slaves, bound either to the Wraith or to lesser servants who it trusts to carry out it's will.] 
2- Demons.  The Wraith is served by 1d3 [1= A Clan of Demons, a small group bound by loyalty to the Clan's Patriarch and united in service to the Wraith based on a highly specific and elegantly argued contract; 2= A host of wicked spirits, united by the Wraith's charisma and the promise that service to it will enable them to indulge every black desire they have; 3= A Prince (or Princess) of Demons, who has become the Wraith's partner in this affair.  The Prince and the Wraith spend as much time working together as they do trying to undermine the other and looking for chances to cut the other out of the deal.]  
3- Mortals.  A group of mortals have come to follow this Wraith.  They are 1d4 [1= A Cult which believes the Wraith is a God of Death that will grant them eternal life if they serve it, the Cult's leader being the Prophet that their God speaks through; 2= A Cult that has formed around a man with magical powers- secretly he has no powers and the Wraith is responsible for everything, he may or may not be aware of this; 3= A group of criminals have 'bound' the Wraith to serve them, but they might not have as much control as they think; 4= A group of wealthy men who have partnered with the Wraith in exchange for it using it's power to help fulfill their ambitions.]

What treasures might the Wraith possess?

1d6

1- The Lantern of the Second Sight.  A lantern made of brass and glass etched with tiny, almost imperceptible runes.  It must be filled with ordinary oil and lit with ordinary fire and produces light as a normal lantern- bright light for 30' and dim light for an additional 30'.  But, if an invisible creature enters that cone of light or a spiritual creature is watching from the corresponding area of the Shallows/The Ethereal Plane, the lantern's flame flares bright blue and remains that way for as long as the creature is nearby.   
2- Censer of Damned Souls.  A huge censer on a wooden rod that can be used as a mace, doing 1d6+Atk magical bludgeoning damage.  If the flanged head is filled with burning incense, it will allow the user to 3/Day, summon hungry ghosts up from Sheol.  These souls are not loyal to the holder of the mace, but might be willing to provide a service in exchange for something in return, such as protection from psychopomps coming to retrieve it, an offering of blood, revenge against someone living, or anything else it wants.   
3- Brooch of Whispers.  A jeweled brooch that resembles a jet spider squatting on a pink dome that resembles human skin.  If worn, 3/Day, the user can ask a person a question and the person will answer truthfully, no matter the question.  Only the wearer of the brooch will hear this answer, everyone else will hear what the person would have normally said.  For example, if a wife asked her husband, "Does this outfit make me look fat?" and he thought it did, his answer through the brooch would be, "Yes, and frankly, you don't pull that look off as good as your sister."  But everyone else, including the husband would hear him say, "No, of course not, dear" which is what we ordinarily would have said.  Additionally, the brooch is cursed and every day has a X-in-20 chance of giving false answers, where X is the number of days the brooch has been worn by any one person.   
4- Mirror of Life Trapping.  A flawless mirror, set in a lacquered and gilded frame adorned with a fat emerald.  The mirror is usually covered by a non-magical clump of silk.  Any person other than the current owner who looks in this mirror must make a save.  On a failed save, that person is trapped inside the mirror.  Persons stored inside the mirror are stuck in the world as perceived inside the mirror, but cannot leave the area the mirror shows.  They do not need to eat, drink or breathe in this space, nor do they age.  They do need to sleep, however, and will go mad.  Anyone touching the mirror or looking into it can communicate with a person stuck in the mirror.  The Mirror can store up to 20 HD worth of creatures.  If it ever exceeds this limit, or is broken, all trapped creatures are released.  The mirror, if shattered, disappears and then in an abandoned building in 10+1d10 years.
5- Robe of the Nightmare King.  A black robe made of fine, smooth silk that is always faintly, but not unpleasantly warm.  It smells of sweat and conjures up memories of child, particularly of all the things children are scared of, strange noises, the dark, strangers, monsters under the bed, etc.  If thrown over a sleeping person, the person will fall into a deep sleep and remain asleep as long as the robe covers them.  If a creature touches the robe, you can enter that creature's dream.  But beware, if the person covered in the robe is injured or killed while covered by it, there is a chance that a part of their dreams will escape into the spirit world and become a hostile entity that will seek out it's killer.  This chance is X-in-20, where X is that creature's HD.  Wizards also add their number of MD to X. 
6- Lifebane.  A sword that when drawn, blazes with ethereal flames of dark blue and mottle green.  The sword does 1d6+Atk magical sharp damage on a hit.  3/Day, the bearer of the sword can draw a line or geometric shape in the dirt or scratch one into the floor with the sword.  Any living creature that crosses one of these lines ignites with ghostly flames, taking 1d6 radiant damage until it crosses another one of those lines again.  The bearer of the sword is immune.  Additionally, 1/Day, if stabbed into a corpse within 1 minute after death, the bearer can tear apart the dead creature's soul and make it into a Spectre.  This Spectre has 1d4 HD and is bound to the sword, obeying the will of it's wielder.  But beware, it serves the sword, not you.  If you ever lose the sword, the Spectres will be free to do as they wish, until someone else claims the sword.      

What created this Wraith and how can it be defeated?

1d4

1- A failed attempt at Lichdom.  The Wraith was trying to become a Lich and something went wrong.  It cannot be affected by Undead control spells, nor bound as a Spirit or normal Undead due to it's origin.  The only way to kill the Wraith is to seal it inside a phylactory to finish the ritual, then destroy the phylactory. 
2- A Demonic Pact.  A Demon prevented the Wraith from passing over, as per the agreement.  The Wraith either owes that Demon a favor, or is owed another service from the Demon (50%).  The Demon has the contract on it's person(?).  This may or may not be an actual contract signed in blood.  The Contract contains the secret for getting rid of the Wraith.  Alternatively, if you become the holder of the Contract through means fair or foul, the Wraith may have to serve you, or at least work with you.
3- An adventurer, who killed the Wraith during a ritual.  The ritual failed, obviously, but the Wraith's soul absorbed much of the power that the Wraith was working with.  The only way to kill the Wraith is to use the weapon that originally killed it.  Hopefully it hasn't been lost, stolen or forgotten in the time since. 
4- The Wraith itself.  The Wraith knew how to become a Wraith and killed itself in a ritualistic way to ascend past it's own mortality.  The only way to destroy this Wraith is to stick it inside a suitable body, bring it back to life, then kill it again.   

Was is the Wraith's goal?

1d4

1- Revenge.  It's dead and someone killed it.  That person must pay.  Maybe it's the King, or it could be the institution that the Wraith hates.  Maybe it's the people who shunned him, or the tribe that cast him out.  Maybe he simply suffered and now the world has to as well.  Regardless, it's going to be bad for all involved.
2- Power.  The Wraith didn't have enough of it while alive and dying hasn't quenched his thirst for it. 
3- Completing it's ambition.  The Wraith had a goal while alive- to conquer an enemy, to crush a rival, to secure peace for his people, to correct an ancient error.  Now unbound by time and life, the Wraith is finally able to achieve victory.   
4- To live again. 

Wraith Plot Hooks:

1d4

1- The ruling class of one Empire have long hungered for the lands of their neighbor.  Now, with the aid of the Wraith, they plan to take it.  The Wraith will move ahead of the invasion, assassinating important people, gathering intelligence and turning pliable people to the side of the invaders, so they will betray their countrymen when the invasion comes.  Despite it's service, the Wraith might have another goal than a simple invasion and land-grab.
2- Brightstar Khunum was a terror, a brutal warlord who nearly tore the Empire apart and plunged the world into ten years of ceaseless war.  Luckily, he's dead.  Or is he, as his banner was once again raised and thousands flock to it, hearing his siren call of liberation.  Investigating the army will reveal that the new commander bearing the banner of Brightstar is an imposter, a presumptive heir.  Yet this new heir seems to act much like the original Brightstar did, even possessing knowledge that no one but Brightstar and a select few did.  Just what is going on and more importantly, is Brightstar truly gone?  No, he is not.  His Wraith currently watches from the dark, whispering in the ear of his puppet.  Not that the players will find that out until it's too late.
3- A new religious group is rapidly growing in the hinterlands, centered around a man said to have magical powers given to him by God, or so he claims.  His radical preaching is upsetting the rulers of the land and they want you to go investigate him.  Investigation will reveal that the man is a non-magical individual, and the true source of his miracles is the Wraith that speaks to him.  The preacher may be aware of this, or he may think that the Wraith is some kind of divine spirit. 
4- A series of strange murders and other events are occurring in a city, which the city officials seem powerless to stop.  This is because they are being black-mailed by a Wraith who is using them to aid it's own agenda.  For these murders are not random killings, but instead the foundation for a work of massive power, a ritual the likes of which the world hasn't seen in a thousand years.  The Wraith wants to live again, but not as a man, but as a God.  Stop the Wraith, before it's too late.

by Diana Franco