Saturday, April 29, 2023

OSR: Fist Arts 4: The Revenge

I started reading Legend of the Condor Heroes and it inspired me to make some more magical kung-fu.  Some ideas borrowed from the author, Jin Yong.  

More Fighting Man Secret Techniques here, here and here.  

from here
Orchid Dance

Magi postulate that mana, or life energy, is derived from the soul and does not interact with the body, except in that it uses a Wizard's physical gestures and the movement of his mouth and tongue to manifest itself.  The practitioners of the Fist Arts and other Martial Schools have a different perspective.  They postulate the existence of five nodes of power- the Chakras.  These nodes produce or transmit life energy through the body, through a network of spiritual channels called Spiritual Channels, Mana Circuits or Chi Lines.  It is thought by many that the proper flow of energies along these lines enables vitality and good health.  Similarly, if the channels become obstructed or clogged, physical sickness or mental instability is sure to follow.  Some regions of the world host Priests and Sages who study the structure of these lines and through the use of needles and meditation, they can speed healing, relieve pain and cure diseases.  But there are less wholesome uses for this knowledge. 

One of these is the Martial School called Orchid Dance, a school which prioritizes precision, grace and sublime technique.  The practitioners of Orchid Dance pride themselves in being delicate and gentle, as their techniques enable incredible defense and allow a fighter to incapacitate a foe without doing great harm.  Yet Orchid Dance is not as gentle as it often appears, as it leaves minimal marks on a target's body, making it prized by assassins.  Additionally, it requires absolute dedication and near-manic focus to master it.  Despite how the practitioners often behave like petty aristocrats, cultured, quietly dignified, clad in soft fabrics, they are one and all utterly dedicated to their ruthless school, which is in truth, as delicate as dragon-forged steel.  It just happens to be a sword carefully wrapped in soft, elegant reeds. 

Novice: "The true mark of elegance is to appear uninterested."  Your fists do 1d6 damage on a hit.  You can parry one attack as a reaction, reducing that attack's damage by 2d6.  As an action, you can attempt to make an attack on your enemy's Air Chakra.  Make an attack roll.  On a hit, instead of doing damage, the enemy gains a penalty to his Atk rolls equal to 1d4+[Your Level in Orchid Dance].  This effect lasts for 1 hour or until a Fighter trained in a Fist Art successfully undoes your effect by succeeding on a COG check with a DC equal to 8+[Your COG Modifier]+[Your level in Orchid Dance].  This also applies to other Chakra strikes done through Orchid Dance.

Journeyman: "Do not strike first, instead arrange so your enemy can only harm himself through attacking."  As an action, you can make an attack on your enemy's Water Chakra.  Make an attack roll.  On a hit, instead of doing damage, your paralyze one of your enemy's limbs.  If you choose an arm, the enemy cannot use two-handed weapons and some tasks will become impossible with only one limb.  If you paralyze a leg, the enemy halves their movement speed and has disadvantage on DEX checks, DEX saves and pursuit rolls. 

Expert: "Most battles are decided before the first blow is thrown- a practitioner's skill is in recognizing this fact."  As an action, you can make an attack on your enemy's Fire Chakra.  Make an attack roll.  On a hit, instead of doing damage, you stop the flow of chi through an enemy's body.  This prevents spellcasters from being able to cast spells and will prevent Fighters from being able to use any of their Secret Techniques that involve utilizing chi.   

Master"Seek victory first, then go to battle."  As an action, you can make an attack on your enemy's Spirit Chakra.  Make an attack roll.  On a hit, instead of doing damage, you may select one broad category of action such as "Running Away", "Attacking", "Hiding", etc.  The enemy cannot perform that action for the duration of your Chakra strike.  An enemy can only be affected by one of these restrictions at a time.

Spotted Terror

While often thought to be the most vicious of the Cat Kingdom, many savage tribes venerate Jaguars as precise and effective killers, as Jaguars, with their powerful jaws and ambush tactics, are often known to kill with a single bite to the head.  Members of these tribes studied the hunting styles of the Jaguar and gradually developed a fighting style based on that.  The Spotted Terror School is not formalized, varying greatly from place to place, though it is generally only practiced by the jungle tribes of the Sweltering North who dwell in regions of forest not claimed by the Handsome Men, or in the Shrouded Forests of the Teeth of Artax.  

These savage assassin-warriors form warrior lodges and cloak their teachings in mysticism and veneration of ancient and primordial spirits, those likely to be pleased by martial skill, warrior pride or blood sacrifice.  These lodges highly prize their independence and will often refuse to teach those not of the appropriate birth or bloodline, but exceptions are sometimes made to the truly exceptional, or those thought to be touched by the lodge member's ancestral spirits or otherworldly patrons.      

Novice: "There is nothing so cruel as a fair contest."  Your fists do 1d8+Atk damage on a hit.  If you attack an enemy from a position of advantage, such as from stealth, from behind, from a greater elevation, etc (Referee's Discretion applies) then you may reroll your damage dice and take the better result. 

: "He who strikes first strikes last."  You learn the pouncing strike.  As an action, you may leap up to 30' in any direction to make a melee attack against an enemy.  This move also allows for vertical, as well as horizontal movement.  If you successfully hit an enemy while using this move, you take no fall damage, if any. 

Expert: "Be careful when throwing down the gauntlet, lest your enemy snatch it from the air."  You can give yourself advantage on any roll, but if you do so, you suffer a penalty to your Atk rolls equal to -1d6 for the next four rounds or until you can sit down and rest for ten minutes.

Master"There is no victory in conflict, only those who survive and those who fail to."  1/Day, you can, after a successful attack, add +1d8 damage to any damage done as a result of the attack.  If you slay a creature in a single blow with this ability, you may use it again. However, each time you use it, you take 1d4 damage, as you strain your muscles.

by Saeed Jalabi

Poison Palm

The Poison Palm Fist Art was found by Outcast Hyang-zo, a traveling martial artist better known by the alias Master Blue Ring.  An exile from his own homeland, Hyang-zo was said to be a practitioner of a variant of a defensive Fist Art that enabled him to strengthen his body, which enabled him to cross the Iron Dunes on foot.  It is said that he was abandoned there with nothing more than a skin of water by those who meant for him to die- who that was, none could say, though there are many theories.  And there are plenty who say that whoever they were, they had a good idea.  

Hyang-zo nearly died in his attempt to cross the desert, and by the time he reached the Inverted Mountain, he was dying of thirst and faint with hunger.  As such, when he saw one of the Blue-Swirled Squids in one of the many shallow pools around the Mountain, he seized it and ate it, not knowing it was poisonous.  Any normal man would have died, but Hyang-zo was able to marshal every ounce of spiritual and physical strength he had to suppress the poison within his body, to prevent it from destroying him.  The technique he improvised was so effective he soon began testing it on other poisons, until he was traveling far and wide to seek out rare poisons to improve his technique and gain resistance to new, more exotic toxins.  

Soon he attracted students eager to learn his secrets, and from these early disciples the Poison Palm Art first began to spread.  These disciples became the first masters of the Art, and it is said that they alone learned the true identities of those who attempted to kill their master, a secret that is said to be known only by the High Fraternity and the Grandmaster of the School.  Some say that when Master Blue Ring died, it was this secret that motivated his students to continue his mission, building monastery-labs wherever they went, training up new students and refining their study and collection of poisons.  Whether or not this is true, practitioners of Poison Palm enjoy relative acceptance in many nations, as they are willing to sell their services and are often employed by the wealthy as food-tasters, bodyguards and secretly, as assassins.  

But even among those who employ these secretive martial artists, it is not known whether or not their claim of fidelity to their late master's thirst for vengeance is a mere pretext to motivate ever-greater technique and innovation, or a secret, bloody faith that could potentially lead to an imminent explosion of violence on some future date.  And who knows, that day of retribution they often joke of, it may never come.  Or it could come tomorrow, and by the time you realize the danger, it will be far too late.             

Novice: "Hatred is like fire, it cossets and warms the heart, but unguarded it will devour you."  Your fists do 1d6+Atk damage on a hit.  1/Day, instead of taking damage from a poison you are exposed to, you can instead absorb the poison.  This poison remains in your system but does no damage.  As a free action, when making an attack, you can secrete it through your limbs, doing bonus +1d6 bonus poison damage.  You may do this for a number of rounds equal to the number that the poison would affect someone.  Alternatively, if the poison only does damage once, then you may secrete it until your fists collectively do enough bonus poison damage equal to the maximum damage that poison could do.  For example, if the henbane you absorb does 3d6 damage, then you may do bonus poison damage until you have done 18 poison damage.

Journeyman: "Anger is a vice you can ill afford- let it simmer at your peril."  You gain resistance to poison damage from any poison you have been exposed to before.  You may absorb poison up to 2/Day, but you can only secrete one poison at a time.  Additionally, you can fully expel a poison from your system into another container.  This "other container" could be another creature, but only if they were helpless.  If the creature can resist or move in any way, they may save to take no damage.  Creatures that take a full dose of poison from you must save or take damage as if they had been poisoned ordinarily.    

Expert: "Perfection of body is nothing if the mind that rules it is disordered and full of weakness."  You can gain immunity to a poison if you have been exposed to it ten times.  You may absorb poison up to 3/Day.  You can also fully expel a poison by spraying or spitting it.  This is done in a 10' or a 15' line, your choice, and targets may save to take half damage on a success.  

Master: "Emotions are like the weather, deceptive and fleeting.  Trust them not."  You can secrete any absorbed poison from your skin in a cloud, forming a toxic aura around yourself.  When any creature comes within 10', they take poison damage.  Your toxic aura follows the same rules as secreting poison from your limbs to do bonus damage.  You may also secrete one type of poison from your limbs and another using your toxic aura.  

Dead Hand

One can experiment with powerful hallucinogens for only so long before one finds something that allows the user to separate his soul from his body.  This is the perspective of how astral projection was first developed, by early mortals sampling mushrooms and other herbs until they found some that didn't just taste good, but allowed them to see their Gods face-to-face.  Eventually, the reaction produced by these drugs were studied and mortals found ways to replicate them without the use of chemicals.  It was this technique that first led to the notion of using the soul as more than a way to protect against magical attacks- some scholars saw much greater implications, including some scholars who practiced the fist arts.  This led to the Tranquil Silence of the Eternal Mountain Fist style, though it is better known by it's common, laconic name, Dead Hand.

The Dead Hand Fist Art is one that involves the manipulation of the soul, allowing the user to fully utilize the resources of their own soul to augment physical strength.  Practitioners of this school seek perfection in both mind and body, living in monasteries in desolate places, training endlessly to strengthen their bodies while also practicing sharp discipline and self-denial, refraining from indulgences such as unhealthy or rich foods, alcohol and in some cases, all form of carnal or intimate relations.  Any are able to apply to enter their monasteries, but few can last beyond a few weeks of nothing but meat, yogurt and brutal training, mixed with mortification of the spirit and interminable hours of meditation.       

Novice: "The world is wide and vast, yet thinner than a pane of glass."  Your Fists do 1d8 damage.  You may parry one attack per round as a reaction, reducing the damage by 1d8.  You gain the ability to see into the Shallows of the Astral Sea, so you can see all the little spirit creatures romping around on the other side of the veil.  You can also sense the presence of ghosts and undead.

Journeyman: "You may slay your enemies, but leave no wound upon their bodies, nor limbs, nor spill a single drop of blood."  You gain access to your Chi.  You gain X Chi points, equal to your COG+CON modifier.  You may spend one of these Chi points to do +1d6 necrotic damage for 1 minute (10 rounds).  While this ability is active, you also gain resistance to necrotic damage.  Chi points are lost once used but are fully recovered after a long or short rest.  Also, for each Fighter level you gain, you gain +1 Chi point starting now.  

: "To the man who has no one, do not despair, for in the union of flesh and spirit, one has all the love they could ever need."  By spending 2 Chi points, you can separate your soul and body by a hair, allowing you to make two attack rolls, striking body and soul at the same time.  Body attacks work as normal and do HP damage on a hit.  Soul attacks are fended off with a Defense roll composed of 1d20+[CHA modifier]+[number of Mana Dice/Chi Points (if any)].  Soul attacks do COG damage.  If you reduce a creature's COG to 0, they automatically fail any save against a spell or magical ability.  Additionally, by spending 1 Chi point, you may separate your soul and astrally project.  While you do this, your body falls comatose and cannot move.  Your soul and body are also connected via a silver cord that is invisible to most creatures.  However, if this cord is cut, you die.  The cord can only be cut by a magical weapon and a creature that can see it or by taking damage from fire.  The cord has HP equal to half your COG score and can only be damaged by magic weapons or fire.  

Master: "Through division, unity, through emptiness, overwhelming strength." The By spending 3 Chi Points, your soul separates from your body and physically manifests.  Each round, if you pay one Chi point, you can continue this separation.  This allows you to make two actions, with your Body making one and your Soul-form making another.  Your Body, when in this state, cannot be charmed or frightened, but also counts as non-magical.  It cannot use magic weapons or items, but can walk through barriers designed to keep out magic as if they weren't there.  Your body also is immune to necrotic damage.  

Your Soul-form can fly and takes half damage from non-magical weapons or sources of damage.  Your Soul-form is immune to radiant damage.  When the Body and Soul-form are separated, they are connected via a silver cord, the same one present when you astrally project.

artist unknown

Sunday, April 23, 2023

OSR: Freeform Magic Wizard

I wrote some rules for freeform magic a long time ago.    The rules for such are here.  This is what it would be like to play a Wizard using those rules.  Anything I have not included here is the same as my ordinary Wizard class, found here.  

Starting HP: 1/3 Con
Fighting Spirit: N/A
Atk Modifier: as per Wizard
Starting Equipment: Fine robes, book of arcane lore, staff or wand, impressive hat, dagger or sling

1: Spellcasting, Affinity, Mana Dice
2: Ritual Casting, Reactive Defense
3: Safety Casting
4: Soul Drain, Death Curse
5: Astral Warrior, Affinity Increase
6: Learned Resistance, Partial Success
7: Dual Affinity, Affinity Increase
8: Archmagi
9: Master of the Mystic Arts


Spellcasting: You can use magic.  As an action, tell the Referee what you wish to do and he will tell you if it is possible.  If it is, he will call for a roll.  Roll 1d20+COG modifier.  If you equal or exceed the DC the Referee has set for the attempt, your spell succeeds.  On a failure, your spell fails to accomplish what you wish.  Additionally, if you roll a natural "1" on your d20 roll, your spell automatically fails.
Affinity: Select one element of magic or one school of magic. When attempting a spellcasting roll that involves that school or interacts with that element, you may add +1 to your roll.  See below for what affinities you may select. 

Mana Dice: You have a collection of d6s which are referred to as Mana Dice (MD).  You can spend Mana Dice to enhance the power of your spells, rolling as many as you wish and adding them to your spellcasting rolls.  You must roll your d20 and Mana Dice at the same time.  Mana Dice burn out on a "5" or "6" and return after a long rest.  Rolling doubles or triples on them triggers Chaos or Corruption, respectively. 


Ritual Casting: If you attempt a spellcasting roll as part of a ritual, you may receive certain bonuses based on the level and skill of your preparations.  Common preparations include writing down a spell on a scroll or in a book to recite, creating a magic circle(s) to contain channeled energies, as well as defensive measures to protect the casters and prevent magical mishaps or feedback. 

Reactive Defense: As a reaction on your turn, you can attempt to protect yourself by making a spellcasting roll. 


Safety Casting: Once per day, you may replace one of your spellcasting dice with a "1".

Affinity Increase: Increase one of your existing Affinities by +1 or gain a new one.  You can only select one of the Elements of Magic. 


Soul Drain: You can drain your Fighting Spirit (FS) or Hit Points (HP) and convert them into Mana Dice.  2 points of FS or HP equals 1 Mana Die.   

Death Curse: If at 0 or less HP, then you cause yourself to take X damage, where X is how much damage you take, and gain X MD.  Even if the resulting damage would instantly kill you, you can still attempt your spell before you die. 


Astral Warrior: As long as both spells don't require you to focus or have a persistent effect, X times per day, where X is your CON modifier, you can cast two spells on your turn. 

Affinity Increase: Increase one of your existing Affinities by +1 or gain a new one.  You can only select one of the Elements of Magic.


Learned Resistance: When taking defense action against a spell or a magical ability that involves one of your Affinities, you may add your Affinity to any roll made to mitigate the effects or damage of that ability.  For example, if you have an Affinity for Fire Magic and a Dragon breathes fire on you, you can add your Affinity to your saving throw to take half damage. 

Partial Success: When you fail a spellcasting roll, X times per day, where X is your CHA modifier, you can gain a partial success instead.  This causes half of your intended effect to occur or your spell to succeed at half effectiveness.  For example, if you wanted to create an ice bridge over a chasm, the bridge only spans half the distance, or is extremely thin and fragile; or if you threw a fireball at a group of enemies, it only hits one, doing full damage, or it hits all of them, but only does half the damage it would ordinarily do. 


Dual Affinity: When you are casting a spell that involves multiple of your Affinities, you may add them together when attempting a spellcasting roll. 

Affinity Increase: Increase one of your existing Affinities by +1 or gain a new one.  You can only select one of the Elements of Magic.


Archmagi: 1/Day, you can add +10 to any spellcasting roll or to a damage roll for a successful spell. 


Master of the Mystic Arts: When working Magic or attempting a spellcasting roll involving Magic you have an Affinity in, you cannot trigger Chaos or Corruption. 


At Level 1, you may choose one of the Schools of Magic or one of the Elements of Magic to have an Affinity in. 

At level 3, 5 and 7 you may choose an additional Element of Magic or increase an existing Affinity by +1.

Schools of Magic:

- Abjuration: A school specializing in defensive magics.  Shields, wards, spells of protection. 
- Conjuration: A school specializing in summoning objects, creatures or resources.  Also the school most focused on spells used for transportation such as portals or teleportation. 
- Divination: A school specializing in gathering information, especially from the future.   
- Evocation: A school specializing in combat magicks, especially the manipulations of the elements; highly effective magic often derided for it's simplicity and choice of form over function.
- Illusion: A school specializing in manipulation of light and the senses of others.   
- Transmutation: A school specializing in transforming one substance into another.  Also involves the study of shapeshifting, transformation and life-extension. 

Necromancy is not thought of as a true school of magic, but a mongrel school that steals from other schools but has no strict focus.  This is an elitist perspective, but it holds merit.  Additionally, necromancy is illegal, so it doesn't have a rich academic tradition, for obvious reason. 

Elements of Magic:

The Ultimates:

- Select one of the following: Life, Death, Souls, Minds, Force, Words*

The Fundamentals:

- Select one of the following: Time, Space, Magnetism, Gravity, Light

The Elements:

- Select one of the following: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Wood, Metal, Ice, Lightning, Smoke.

The Ephemerals:

- Select one of the following: Plants, Animals, Words*, Information, Emotions

*Depending on your school of thought or tradition, some consider words merely a tool to express ideas, while others consider them more important than almost anything else.

by zhu liu

Saturday, April 8, 2023

OSR: 8 Magic Hammers

from God of War
The Tongue / Licker:

A small hammer made of dark metal, with the forward face painted with a pair of lips, revealing a few white teeth.  The handle is wrapped in dull brown leather.  Whenever the wielder is in a dangerous situation, the hammer is slightly moist.  In the dark of night, previous wielders have also claimed to hear the hammer humming to itself or grinding it's "teeth". 

Once there was a cruel Judge who used his powers to enrich himself.  He judged cases unfairly, accepting bribes and deciding cases brought before him on the basis of who brought him the fattest purse.  This enabled him to quickly become rich and powerful, as wealthy men brought their disputes to him, along with their coin, confident he would give them the outcome he desired.  But the Judge was not satisfied, for though he possessed an opulent house, rich clothing and many cattle, sheep and goats, the nobles he sought to befriend regarded him as unsavory and crass. 

He debated why this was and decided it must have to do with his lack of pedigree.  Thus, he sought to purchase something that would grant him a degree of legitimacy.  So when he heard Barzan, Son of Barcos and his whole clan had died, he went to his house in the hopes of finding his weapon unclaimed.  Barzan, Son of Barcos was a skilled and famous warrior and had always carried a crude black hammer with him into battle.  

And though he eventually came to be able to afford weapons far finer than that hammer, that first weapon saved him countless times over his life.  But unfortunately, when the Judge arrived at Barzan's house, he found that the rumors were false.  Barzan's family were in fact slaughtered, but Barzan's youngest daughter, the virgin Nimiya had survived. 

Still, this posed no real challenge to the Judge.  The Judge spoke to her and pretending to be sympathetic, claimed he wished to purchase her father's hammer from her.  After all, a young maid such as herself could not hope to wield it, and a life of violence would not suit her.  She agreed with him on this fact.  But Nimiya was a clever girl, far smarter than her dainty appearance and youth would suggest.  So she said she would sell the hammer, but only if the Judge would pay her a fair price.  Otherwise, he would have to pay her five-fold.  Furthermore, she ordered him to swear on the Lords of Heaven. 

The Judge, arrogant and unafraid of the Gods, agreed and offered to bring an appraiser to the City Gates tomorrow.  The next day they met there, but he did not bring an appraiser, but a well-spoken servant disguised in rich robes.  The Judge's servant inspected the hammer and named a respectable sum, but nothing like what the hammer would truly be worth.  The Judge was confident Nimiya would not want others to know she was selling her father's prized possession and bring shame upon herself, so he figured she would accept the low price.  But when the servant lied, the words of his falsehood reached the ears of Heaven. 

Namel, God of Deals and Merchants, heard what was happening below and grew outraged at what happened.  So he stretched out his hand and touched Barzan's Hammer.  And at his touch, the hammer came to life and declared with a loud voice, "This man is a liar!  I am worth ten times what he just offered!"  The elders who had gathered at the City Gates to judge and oversee the business of the days were amazed at this, declaring it a sure sign of Heaven's Will.  

But then the hammer spoke again, declaring that the Judge promised to pay 5 times what he offered if he attempted to cheat Nimiya.  The elders interrogated the Judge on this, and overcome with terror, he said that it was true.  So as punishment for breaking his oath to Heaven, as well as for the other injustices he had inflicted, he would pay Nimiya not only fives times what he promised, but fives times the true price, an absolutely ruinous sum.  Then, to ensure he could not retaliate against him, the stripped him of his office, as they declared that no one could trust a Judge to be fair if he broke his oath to Heaven.

Thus was the former Judge expelled from the city with little more than a pair of coins in his pocket and his spare cloak, while Nimiya received his beautiful home, many servants and enormous flocks.  Nimiya tried to refuse this gift, as the Judge's wealth had come from theft and bribery, but the elders insisted.  So she accepted the Judge's possessions as payment.  What she did with them wasn't what you would expect, but that is a story for another day. 

- Licker can manifest a tongue that can, upon tasting a dish or liquid, identify if there are any poisons or potentially harmful substances in it. 
- If Licker licks someone's skin within 1 minute of them telling a lie, it can determine whether or not they are lying.  It can't tell you what the lie is specifically, but it can tell you if a lie has been told.  Liars taste different. 
- As an action, it can shoot out the tongue up to 20' and grab objects or grapple creatures.  The tongue is strong as a bullwhip and has 1 HD.  If cut off, it will regrow in 1d6 days. 

Licker is still in the hands of Nimiya's descendants, who lend it to those who they judge to be heroic on the condition that they only use it to pursue justice and destroy evil.  Those who attempt to cheat them invariably meet with ironic fates, which may or may not be the work of Licker.  There is also a prophecy that at a coming hour of great need, Licker will speak again once more, to ensure the Will of Heaven is done, as since that day, the hammer has never spoken.       

Alchemist's Aid / Radak's Folly:

A hammer of steel, with chunks of clear crystal set into the hilt.  Arcane symbols spiral across the sides of it's head.  When it strikes metal, it produces a faint, musical chime.  Ancient, forged with techniques long lost to history.  Exquisitely crafted and obviously the work of a master craftsman.

After the Earthly Paradise was shattered by the Dragon-Mother's rampage and the world was left in ruins, the Gods of Law set to rebuilding the world.  But while they labored, the resurrected mortals of the world had to survive a world in wild flux, one where other powers could interfere with the work of the Gods.  Before the land was restored, it was almost usurped by a conglomeration of monsters collectively referred to as "The Unthinking" or the "Thought-Drinkers".  These creatures were intelligent and powerful, gifted with innate abilities that left mortals powerless before them. 

But the Gods did not abandon us in our fallen state.  For among us arose a man named Abimelech, one who would first be called "The Wise".  Abimelech was the greatest sorcerer to ever live, possessing unimaginable power.  He wove spells that tore apart mountains with a thought and boiled lakes with a whisper.  He was the first to rediscover sorcery after the Great Deluge and the first to command the awesome might of the 99 Words of Power.  He, along with other heroes of that age, crushed the Unthinking and banished them back to the primordial sludge from which they slithered.

Then Abimelech set about establishing a new order to spread his teachings before he died.  He entrusted a portion of his teaching and power to his three sons, Radak, Garlug and Zuul, dividing it evenly among them.  To Radak he entrusted command of Stone, Metal and Constructed Things; To Garlug, he entrusted command of Water, Oil, Green Plants and Living Creatures; and to Zuul, he entrusted command of Fire, Light, Words and Knowledge.  These three Sons eventually founded the three primary schools of magic- Artifice, Alchemy and Incantations. 

But though they kept their peace while he lived, once Great Abimelech passed, they immediately set to squabbling.  Each professed their way to be superior and insisted that they would take up the mantle of their fallen Father.  In the end, peace was never an option. 

Radak struck first.  He was the smartest of his brothers, his mind an incomprehensible machine of lightning calculations and dazzling deductions.  He lured his brother Garlug to his fortress on a pretense and then struck when Garlug's back was turned.  But if Radak had one weakness, it was the living.  He could not convince himself that other people were truly intelligent and thus, capable of free action.  He thought that all were ultimately predictable.  And as he knew that his brother specialized in Alchemy, he had redesigned the protections on his fortress so that any attempt to transmute him or his creations would reflect the attack back. 

What Radak hadn't considered was the fact that Garlug was not a thinker like him, or a socialite like Zuul.  He was an adventurer, an explorer, a traveler.  He solved problems not with his mind or his powers, but usually favored more blunt solutions.  So when his brother wheeled on him in a rage and attacked him with a workman's hammer Radak had left carelessly lying around, he was too surprised to properly defend himself.  This is why for centuries after, when asked by his students what the greatest weakness of a Wizard, Great Zuul did not bring spirit shackles or bindings, but simply said "Hammers".

- When Radak's Folly comes into contact with an item constructed primarily of one of the Ten Essences, it can transmute it randomly into one of the others.  Living creatures affected by this can save to resist this ability.  To determine the result, roll on the table below.  
- 3/Day, the wielder can choose what he transmutes his target object into from the table below.

The Ten Essences:


1- Air.
2- Water.
3- Smoke.
4- Fire.
5- Wood.
6- Blood.
7- Oil.
8- Metal.
9- Stone.
10- Flesh.    

Radak's Folly is currently lost in the laboratory of a mad alchemist who was researching the Elixir of Eternal Youth.  He never finished it before his experiments got to him, damn bio-alchemy, but his apprentice insists that if he could just retrieve his master's notes, he could make the Elixir.  All you have to do is escort him to the lab and protect him for long enough to disable the magical booby-traps and then you'll all be rich as kings.

by Judash 137

A Gentleman's Magnaminity / Gentleman's Mallet:

A wooden hammer, varnished and carved with exquisite care.  The handle is wrapped in a light, delicate cloth that feels almost insubstantial, yet is never dirtied or damaged.  Three small gems are set into the handle, a flawless topaz stone, a glittering sapphire and a blazing ruby.  Three lines of the matching colors wrap around the wooden head of the hammer.  The hammer is also extraordinarily resistant to damage, resisting any attempt to harm or break it.   

The Emperor of Magnaminous Judgement was a kind and wise Emperor who ruled the Empire during the first Long Peace, a period of fourty years where the Empire was relatively stable, with not a single rebellion or revolt recorded.  This allowed His Imperium to focus on building projects, social welfare and economic reforms, a task he was eminently suited for.  But if he had one flaw, it was arrogance.  He failed to properly honor the Goddess Lady Tezika at one of her festivals, ignoring her priests and directives.  He did not even lay with the Emissary of Flesh, the Priestess who was her proxy on Earth.

For this, her anger was raised against them.  But Lady Tezika was not content to merely destroy the Emperor, so she instead consulted her servants and found that he was a great lover of the game Garbald.  Garbald is a game that involves striking three balls with wooden hammers, trying to hit your balls into position to score the most points, while knocking away an opponent's balls.  His Imperium happened to be truly excellent at this game, defeating all challengers.  

So she cursed him with even greater skill in the game, making it impossible for any to best him in the game.  Soon His Imperium did not win most of the time, but all of the time.  All praised him for his excellent playing, and at first, His Imperium relished this praise.  But as it wore on, he came to despise the cheers.  He started to play sloppily, deliberately make mistakes, to barely try, in a vain effort to challenge himself.  But it was all in vain.  No matter how badly he played, he won easily.

So desperate was he to enjoy the game he loved so much once more he made a proclamation that should any defeat him in a game of Garbald, he would grant them anything within his power.  And so challengers came from all over the Empire, but none could best him, causing His Imperium to sinke even deeper into despair.  Finally, one night, an old woman with a persistent cough came to the Emperor's palace.  She declared that she might test her experience and wit against his youth and talent.  The Emperor knew he would be victorious, but accepted anyway. 

And so the game began.  The Emperor's first shot was barely aimed and sloppy, yet seemingly by sheer luck, it looked like it might score him an early lead.  But then, before he could get the best possible score, the damp grass of the field caused his ball to slip off to the side and instead fail to earn any points.  The Emperor was struck dumb by the sight.  His courtiers immediately accused the old woman of cheating, but the Emperor bade them stand down.  Even he could make a mistake, surely. 

The game continued and for a brief moment, it was tied.  Then the Emperor realized if he could knock all of his opponent's balls out of the scoring zone.  But when he attempted the shot, the sun came out from behind the clouds and dazzled him, causing him to miss entirely.  His courtiers raged at this- they did not believe in coincidences, nor in the idea that their Emperor could lose Garibald.  But the Emperor silenced them, as he was enjoying himself too much. 

Finally, the game entered it's final stretch.  The Emperor and the old woman were tied and she made her last shot, giving herself a tiny lead.  If the Emperor could make anything close to a good shot, he could win.  The Emperor stretched and using every ounce of intellect he had, calculated the perfect shot.  But just before he made the shot, a servant dropped a taper that he was using to light a lamp, causing it to fall and set the Emperor's robes alight.  The Emperor thus missed and the old woman won the game.  

The courtiers went into a frenzy at this; the old woman must be cheating and that servant had attempted to kill His Imperium.  But the Emperor stood firm and ordered them to release him and the servant.  He fell on his knees before the woman and declared that the Heavens favored her, she was truly the greatest Garibald player in all the world.  So he asked her what she desired. 

Then, before the eyes of all his courtiers, the old woman disrobed and shed her disguise, revealing herself as Lady Tezika, Goddess of Civic Spirit, Parties, Alcohol, Families and Abundance.  She then demanded her conjugal rights honored, right there and now.  So the Emperor shed his clothing and took her on the damp grass of her garden.  They spent an entire day and night together, leaving the Emperor on the verge of death and Lady Tezika satisfied.  She then removed the curse on the Emperor and departed. 

And from that day on, it was said that all who had dared to gaze upon the Emperor and Tezika's coupling forever renounced congress and embraced celibacy, for they knew that no matter what they did, it would never equal the sublime beauty and celestial eroticism they witnessed that day.  It is also said that the Emperor lost all appetite for any form of intercourse on that day, as all others paled before Lady Tezika.  To repay the fact that she ruined his, she left him with a hammer that still worked. 

- 3/Day, this hammer can conjure and fire a sphere of glasslike material.  The range of these spheres is 20*[STR modifier]' of the wielder.  The wielder can conjure three spheres of one type, one of each or any other combination, but can only conjure 3 per day. 
- Red spheres are full of fire.  They are warm and glow as bright as candles.  When they strike a hard surface, they shatter and spew flames in a 20' radius circle.  These flames do 2d6 damage, save for half, and light creatures on fire on a failed save.  These creatures take 1d6 damage a round until they take an action to extinguish the flames.  The spheres also ignite flammable items and if not given any normal fuel, burn for 10 minutes unaided. 
- Blue spheres are full of water.  The water can be any type of water the wielder wishes, from cold to warm, potable to salt or brackish.  When they strike a hard surface, the spheres shatter and spray water everywhere in a 10' diameter circle.  This is sufficient to extinguish any non-magical fire smaller than a bonfire.  Creatures struck by this water must save or be blinded, as water gets in their eyes.  This blindness automatically goes away on their next turn. 
- Yellow spheres are full of light.  They glow like torches for 1 hour before fading and disappearing.  If they strike a hard surface, they explode in a shower of light, doing 2d6 radiant damage, save for half.  Creatures who fail their save against this damage are also blinded for 1 minute, or until they pass a CON save.  Undead are not blinded on a failed save, but must immediately make a morale check upon taking damage from this weapon. 

The Gentleman's Mallet was held by the Emperor of the Orzanian Empire, but it was lost during the 87 year war and never recovered.  Most believe it was lost in the Sack of AuMar.  In reality, it was stolen by a courtier who eventually sold it, out of fear of being executed.  It is currently in the hands of an amateur player who spends his days drinking and partying and his nights demolishing the nobles of his city in games of Garbald.  They are planning on hiring adventurers to find out how he's cheating.      
Gambler's Insult / Fortune's Retort:

An ancient carpenter's hammer of aged black oak, old and worn, every imperfection smoothed down by decades of use.  Yet despite it's obvious age fact, shows no signs of damage.  The only ornamentation in seems to be a needle of gold inserted into the bottom of the handle and capped with a tight-fitting cap of wood.  This is easy to overlook, unless you're carefully studying the hammer.  Always faintly warm.  When you enter battle wielding this hammer, you feel the sound of dice clattering in your head.   

Lucky Lucia is considered the luckiest woman to ever live.  And how did she achieve this remarkable feat?  Well, there are many stories, but one goes like this.  The Goddess Fortuna was known to travel in disguise along the road to visit her sisters, Sophia and Fate by traveling along the North Road.  The Goddess was known to travel in disguise and to those who aided her on her journey, she blessed them with good fortune.  Those who attempted to harm her suffered greatly, finding themselves cursed with the worst of luck.  Ever been devoured by a lion in the middle of a bathhouse?  Rumors says that happened to the man who took Fortuna's coin purse at dagger-point.  But that was his fault, and it was just bad luck that a Nobleman's menagarie was being transported through the town on that day. 

But back to Lucky Lucia.  She was a gambler, known then as Unlucky Lucia, because while a good gambler, she never knew when to stop.  So she would win and win, but just when a sensible person would cut her losses, she'd go all-in on a risky bet and end up with nothing.  And that was on a good night.  The truth was that Lucia owed a lot of dangerous people a lot of money.  Specifically, she owed Glinda Goldfang 12 gold sovereigns.  

And since she knew what Goldfang did to those who didn't pay up, she was desperate. So when she learned about Fortuna's journey, she decided to go to that road.  She figured that if she could help Fortuna, she could win enough to pay off her debt and not end up drowned in the river with a stone chained to her neck.

So Lucia went to the road and waited.  The first traveler she met was a shepherdess, who was looking for a lost lamb.  Lucia helped her search for it and eventually they found the poor beast trapped in thicket.  Lucia ended up shredding her cloak, but she managed to rescue the lamb.  But the shepherdess was not Fortuna.  Next she encountered an old woman who was trying to fish a pear out of a tree, but it was too high for her to reach.  Lucia retrieved the pear, but in the process tore her best dress, as one doesn't dress shabbily when going to meet a God.  

Finally, as the day grew long, she encountered a lost girl, who was crying in the dark.  Lucia asked the girl what was wrong and the girl said that she had stolen her Mother's ring to wear, but she had lost it.  Now the girl was sure to be punished.  Lucia, confident this must be what she was looking for, gave the girl her most prized possession, a bracelet of gold and ivory, worth more than some horses.  It was the one treasure she had never sold or pawned.  She told the girl to tell her Mother that she traded the ring for the bracelet.

After all that, Lucia fell asleep under a tree, hopeful that she had helped Fortuna.  But when she was woken in the night, it was not a Goddess, but Goldfang who stood over her.  Goldfang asked her where her money was and Lucia replied she didn't have it yet, but she could get it, she just needed time.  Glinda Goldfang just laughed and told her servants to grab her and take her to the river.  They laid hands on her, but before they could take her away, the shepherdess emerged from the brush and drove them off with her staff.  Despite being badly outnumbered, she was able to defeat men much larger and stronger than her. 

Glinda couldn't believe it and yelled at her men, telling them, "She's just a girl with a stick!"  This chastened them and they drew their blades.  Then the old woman appeared and with a wave of a willow switch, transformed their weapons into stalks of wheat.  And when Goldfang drew her own sword to attack, the child from earlier appeared.  "You've been lucky for too long, Goldfang," the girl intoned.  Then before the eyes of all, she withdrew a gleaming sickle and pulling on a loose thread from her dress, sliced it off.  At with that, Glinda Goldfang fell dead.  Her men fled in terror and the Sisters turned to face Lucia. 

"This is the last time we will intervene to help you," the Shepherdess said.  "You will have to make your own way from now on," the old woman said.  "When we again meet," the child said, her eyes white as milk, "That will be the last time."  Lucia fell down before the Goddesses and worshiped them, but in her heart, she felt fear.  She knew that the Goddesses spoke the truth, and that their intervention would not come again.  So she turned to Fortuna, disguised as the shepherdess and begged her to return her necklace, currently hanging around the Goddess' throat.  Fortuna refused, as she had already more than paid for it.  Lucia took her hand and kissed it, then pressed her lips to Fortuna's feet and pleaded.  But the Goddess refused.  Then, in a puff of wind, they vanished. 

And since that day, Unlucky Lucia could not lose.  She rarely lost at cards and never at dice, even for the worst of odds.  She diced with death countless times and won.  People claimed it was because she stole the Ring of Fortune right off the Goddess' hand, but even without her rings, her luck was never affected.  Even when she clashed with the Demon Prince Zabal the Trice-Slain, stripped of jewels and clothing alike, armed only with her trusty hammer, she still triumphed, if only by sheer luck.  After all, how was she supposed to know that her missed blow would have triggered the magical explosives buried at the site of their clash by ancient Sorcerer-Kings but had failed to go off until then?


- Whenever you make an attack and successfully hit your target with this hammer, you may roll on the table below. 
- 3/Day, you may reroll your roll on the table below.  You must take whatever result you roll. 

Gambler's Insult table:


1- Target regains 2d6 HP. 
2- Target regains 1d6 HP. 
3- Target may immediately make a counter-attack against any creature that attacked it this round. 
4- Target gains +1 to Defense rolls for the rest of the battle. 
5- Target gains resistance to one type of Elemental damage for the rest of the battle 1d8 (1= Fire; 2= Ice; 3= Lightning; 4= Acid; 5= Poison; 6= Psychic; 7= Radiant; 8= Necrotic.)
6- The wielder goes last in the intiative order (if you use group intiative, they go last on their side). 
7- The wielder gets +1 to Defense rolls for the rest of the battle. 
8- The target gains vulnerability to one type of Elemental damage for the rest of the battle.  See table under "X".
9- The wielder gains advantage on his next Atk roll.
10- The wielder does +1d6 damage on a hit. 
11- The wielder does +2d6 damage on a hit. 
12- The wielder may make one additional attack this round as a free action.
Gambler's Insult is lost, no one knows where it is.  But if you need a little luck, you might just find it in your pack when you most need it.

artist unknown

Life's Last Chime:

A hammer of burnished steel, with holes shot through the metal handle.  When you swing it, it creates a faint musical sound.  When the head strikes a hard surface, it makes a strangled ringing sound.  The sides of the head are covered in an etching depicting a maiden fleeing from a skeleton perched atop a bone-white steed.

The poet and musician Safio was known to have the most beautiful voice and most artful mind ever gifted to mortals.  It is said that when he practiced, the birds would cease to sing out of respect for him and ponds would become smooth as glass, to not miss a moment of his songs.  And this talent of his brought Safio many admirers and great wealth, as rich men and Kings quarreled over who would have the honor of hiring Safio to perform for them.  This even led to his marriage to the most beautiful woman in his home city, Fair Isi.

But though he was rich and talented, Safio was still mortal and strung to the harp of fate.  So when his wife perished while trying to birth her second son, tragedy struck and she died, along with her son.  Upon hearing this, Safio wept and raged at the unfairness of the world.  His screams aroused pity in all who heard them, including those who should not have heard.  That night, a stranger in black greeted Safio and offered him a deal.  The stranger gave Safio a bell and told him that the bell had the power to resurrect a person who had died, restoring them to life.  But it had a terrible cost- should the bell ring again, the person who was raised would immediately die again. 

Safio seized the bell at once and immediately rung it.  And true to the stranger's word, his wife Isi was raised.  She was confused at first, glancing around in shock.  But Safio embraced her and told her all was well.  And so they continued to live together as husband and wife, but to their dismay, Isi's womb did not quicken again.  And though Safio was saddened by this fact, he was not hurt like Isi was.  Isi fell into a deep sadness which would not leave her- even her husband's songs could only comfort her for a moment. 

Finally, one day, Safio got drunk and demanded to know why Isi was so sad.  She yelled at him, telling him she missed their son, Safrack.  She wept then, pouring out her tears and rage, screaming at him to tell her how she was alive and he was not.  Safio had kept the bell a secret from her since that point, but in his drunken state, he thought nothing of it and told her.  She laughed now, realizing she could use the bell to raise her son Safrack.  She ran to the room where Safio had concealed the bell and before he could stop her, Isi rang the ball.  And as it chimed, Isi fell dead.  For in his confusion, Safio had failed to mention the second part of the bell's power. 

Safio began to weep again and tried to use the bell again, but the stranger suddenly reappeared and took it from him.  He begged the stranger to allow him to use it again.  But the stranger only laughed, disappearing in a flash of black. 

It was said that years later, when Safio opened his wrists with a dagger, he saw the stranger again, and heard that same, dreadful ringing. 

- 3/Day, when you strike a creature with Life's Last Chime, you can note down the number of your naked d20.  For example, if your Atk roll was 1d20(10)+1d8(4)+Atk bonus(+1) = 15, then your naked d20 roll is "10".  Until the end of the battle, if any creature attacks that creature and hits and rolls the marked number on his d20, the creature affected by Life's Last Chime takes triple damage.  To calculate, roll your damage dice three times, but only add modifiers once.       

An elegant warhammer was found next to Safio's corpse, it is said, but the whereabouts of that hammer are unknown (if it even exists).  In unrelated news, a local lawman has declared himself the new rightful King and is leading a rebellion against the Crown.  No one knows much about him, but is said that when he enters battle, you can hear bells ringing.  This is said to either be wedding bells ringing, as the Land awaits her true Lord and Master, or the chimes of Heaven welcoming the righteous home.         

Pounding Surf:

Laza of Frozen Bloodfall was a famous warrior woman who was as well known for her debauchery as she was for her impeccable skills at war.  She was said to be stronger than men twice her size, and Laza was a big woman.  She could outfight ten men, outdrink twenty and is said to have regularly thrown parties where she would have relations with up to thirty men at once, including their slaves and occasionally their mounts.  Her favorite past-time other than killing was accumulating lovers, which she did with remarkable deft.  It is said that she had a lover of every race on the Earth, a claim that even her most ardent fans found hard to dispute.

One of those lovers happened by the Mermaid Prince Olkar Vixolos, a terror of the sea-lanes and ruler of a vast underwater kingdom.  Laza claimed to be a servant of one of the nearby kingdom of Freiza and seduced him, allegedly for the purpose of securing an alliance.  When Mermaid envoys visited the capital of Freiza, they were ignored and mocked.  This started another war with the Mermaids, but Freiza was well used to such things.  Laza herself had long left, unaware of the doom quickening in her womb. 

Latsar was born a little less than a year later, just another of Laza's often neglected bastard children.  Though her soul was far stronger than Vixolos', the boy still retained some of his father's essence, and longed for the sea, without knowing why.  So when the boy had a fight with his then stepfather over something history has not recorded, he ran away to become a sailor. He proved to have a natural knack for sailing and enjoyed a rapid rise from cabin boy to bosun's mate.  And perhaps that's all he would have been but a skilled sailor and navigator if he wasn't swept overboard in a three-day gale.

Latsar was thought drowned, but his father's blood saved him once again.  He sank beneath the sea but he did not die, as he realized he could breathe underwater.  This led to him attempting to find his way back to shore, only to be happened upon by a patrol of Mermaids.  They captured him and brought him back to their city, convinced he was some kind of spy.  But when he was brought before his now-aged Father, Olkar recognized him immediately as blood of his blood.  The two embraced and Olkar claimed the boy, naming him Oraga, which means "Prince of the Land".  But even his wise father had no clue about how right he would be. 

In the years to come, the sea-lanes around Freiza became more and more dangerous.  Those who swore oaths of allegiance to the Mermaids were permitted to trade freely, as long as they did not give aid or succor to the enemies of the Undersea Folk.  Freiza herself was cut off except by land, her island holdings snatched away by mysterious armies that appeared out of nowhere.  

Spies and informants reported that the Mermaids had land-folk working for them and were led by a Halfbreed general who could swam faster than a charging horse and could leap from the sea to a ship's rigging in a single bound.  These reports were written off as propaganda or wild tales and the loss of the islands was attributed to lack of resistance or local lords selling themselves in exchange for their lives and positions. 

It's unknown who was more shocked when an army of land-folk mercenaries backed by Mermaid shamans poured out of the river leading from Freiza to the sea and assaulted the palace itself, but most say it was Laza herself, who was supposedly visiting the city for unrelated business at the time.  However, considering how badly the land-folk lost that battle, most contemporary historians seem to think she was not in fact there, as there were no reports of anything she did during the battle.  Also, if she had been there, they probably would have won.  Probably.

EGO Weapon:
- Pounding Surge will only allow itself to be carried by someone who has a bad relationship with his mother.
- Or someone who has a strong relationship with Mermaids, whether through being related to them by blood, marriage or some other form of entanglement.
- If not carried by such a person, the weapon will, if taken over a body of water, become heavier and heavier until it is dropped or breaks through the bottom of the ship and falls into the depths, where it will be lost.   


- 3/Day, can launch the user 50' horizontally or vertically. 
- 2/Day, the wielder can unleash a shockwave of water by striking the hammer on a surface.  This wave of water forces all creatures within 20' to succeed on a Save or be pushed 20' back.  Those creatures that fail their saves are also knocked prone.
- 1/Day, can grant the wielder wings of water which give him a swimming speed of 60' and also allow him to levitate up to 10' above a body of water.  These wings last for 1 minute or until dispelled.

Pounding Surge was carried by a mercenary who aided the Mermaids, until he broke his contract for a better deal.  Shortly thereafter he drowned after his boat sank when crossing the harbor. His corpse and hammer are still down there, allegedly, and there are those who will pay for it back.  Unfortunately, spies working for the Mermaids reported the same, and now they are coming to get the property of Oraga's heirs back.

by Cosmin Alexandru Radu

War God's Goblet:

Takiz, Son of No One, was said to be an unlucky fellow, as he had been rejected by both his parents when he was born, and grew up in the grasp of poverty and desolation.  Yet Takiz was not deterred by his circumstances, but rose to become a famous hero and eventually, the savior of his people.  Here is one of his stories:

The King of Gazul died without leaving an heir, an event that plunged the whole kingdom into chaos and uncertainty.  Thus, people were relieved when Raz the Red-Handed took over the city, vowing to rule until the Gods sent them another King.  But the people's hope swiftly turned to dismay as Raz revealed himself to be a cruel and rapacious individual, who cared only for his own desires.  So his rule crushed the people under a rod far heavier than their previous King, with none of his justice.  And so the city grew more and more tense, until it seethed on the edge of revolt.  But though Raz the Red-Handed was cruel, he was far from foolish. 

So he declared the rule of Challenge: if you came and declared what you wished to do, you could challenge Raz for the throne of the city.  If you won, he would grant the throne to that person. And though many suspected this to be a trap, that didn't stop the city from coming out to see who would challenge Raz. 

The first of Raz's challengers was a man named Harzar the Mighty, who was so strong he could split boulders with a single swing of his sword.  He challenged Raz to a duel to the death.  Raz agreed to the duel, but asked that they switch swords, as Raz did not consider himself as good a fighter.  Harzar agreed to this, and swapped blades with Raz.  The duel began and Raz held his own, but swiftly began to lose.  He fell to the ground, but just as he did, Harzar hesitated, allowing Raz to slay him, narrowly winning the challenge. 

The next of Raz's challengers was a young woman named Yuli.  Yuli was said to be unmatched at stones, a game of skill, strategy and intellect.  She was said to have never lost a game.  So Raz agreed, on the condition that he be allowed to drink and burn incense to his God.  Yuli trusted the Gods, so she agreed to this.  Surely the Gods would not aid her enemy, a wicked soul such as he.  And so, they began to play.  Yuli easily took the upper hand at first, but as she played, she grew worse and worse, until she began making illogical or illegal moves.  The judges were forced to penalize her and eventually disqualify her. 

And while his supporters declared that Raz was clearly favored by the Gods, Takiz watched calmly from the sidelines.  He investigated and after speaking with a Sage, he used a ritual to summon the soul of Harzar the Mighty from beyond the grave.  Harzar's shade revealed that he died by the sword, but poison had been placed on the handle of Raz's sword, poison that dissolved when Harzar sweated and went through his skin.  He then went and spoke to Yuli and found out she was perfectly sensible.  When he brought up the idea of poison, she said that there was likely some sort of drunk in the incense, as she felt her mind becoming clouded the more she played.  So knowing this, Takiz concocted a plan.

He went to the Monks of the Tenebrous Order and after defeating their grandmaster in a game of chance, Takiz inquired after their secrets and asked them if they knew any method of converting sin into solid form.  The Grandmaster said he did, and he would teach it to Takiz, if he never shared it with anyone.  Takiz swore on Heaven and Earth that he would not, and so the Grandmaster taught it to him.  Using the secrets he had learned, Takiz forged two crystal cups.

When he next returned to Gazul, he found the city in an even worse state than he had left it.  So he challenged Raz and proposed a drinking contest.  Whoever could drink the most would be the winner.  They would use his crystal cups and Raz would provide the wine.  Raz agreed and so the contest began.  However, at the beginning of the contest, Takiz demanded the right to choose which cup he would use.  Raz asked him which one he wanted and Takiz gestured to one.  Raz then snatched up that one and told Takiz that since the cups looked the same, it shouldn't matter, right?

Takiz reluctantly agreed and so the wine was poured.  But when Raz drank his cup dry, he found to his surprise, it was still full.  So he drank again.  But his cup was still full.  Meanwhile, Takiz was already on his third cup.  Takiz joked that the wine Raz had provided was so terrible even he couldn't drink it.  Raz was enraged and tried to empty his cup again, but no matter how much he drank, he found his cup still brimming with liquid.  Takiz was no far ahead of him and seemed barely affected, while Raz felt a pain in his belly.  He gulped frantically, but his cup never emptied.  Worse, the more he drank, the sharper the pain felt. 

Finally, nearly overcome with agony, Raz accused Takiz of cheating.  Takiz replied that technically, he had not.  He explained that what Raz was attempting to drink was not wine, but his own sins.  And as wicked as he was, his body would burst long before he consumed even a few drops of the ocean of wickedness he had produced.  Raz denied that explanation and declared that he had been poisoned, and the challenge was invalid.  He then attacked Takiz with his sword.  But Takiz simply stepped aside, and blinded by pain, Raz impaled himself on his sword.  He could have survived this would however, if a hand had not reached out of his wound and seized the blade. 

"Finally, just what I've been looking for," a voice declared from within Raz.  The hand pulled the blade inside the tyrant and carved him open, slaying him instantly.  The hand turned out to belong to Zarzar the Bloody Fist, a terrible demon which had been hiding inside Raz.  The demon then escaped, flying into the night.  Takiz would eventually confront that demon, but that is a story for another day. 

When they saw this, the people rejoiced and immediately moved to declare Takiz their new King.  He denied them, claiming that instead they should select a new monarch through the use of his goblets.  Whoever had the least sin would become the new King.  And that was how Blind Youga, an ancient beggar who lay on the temple steps ended up becoming the new King of Gazul.  And by all accounts, he was an excellent King.

- Every time you slay an enemy with War God's Goblet, you gain X Bloody Slivers, which float in the air around you.  X equals the slain creature's HD. 
- You gain +1 to your Defense roll per Bloody Sliver floating around you, to a maximum of +8. 
- As an action on your turn, you can direct any number of your Bloody Slivers to attack a creature.  This requires an attack roll, and is made like a normal ranged weapon attack.  Bloody Slivers used to make an attack are used up, whether or not they hit.
- 1 Bloody Sliver does 1d6 damage, 2 do 1d6+1, 3 do 1d6+2, 4 do 2d6 damage, 5 do 2d6+1 damage and so on.     
- All Bloody Slivers last for 1 minute or until used up.   

The crystal cups that Takiz, Son of No One, were used to select the monarch of Gazul for many centuries until they were melted down and forged into a hammer by one of their would-be warrior kings, who then rode off on campaign and got himself slaughtered.  The weapon has since then migrated from soldier to soldier, taken from the dead.  It is currently being used by a mercenary whose company has been hired to hunt down an extremely well organized band of brigands, who might just be secretly part of that same mercenary company.         

The Grave Despoiler / The Bane of All Flesh:

A huge, scratched and battered warhammer.  Seems to ooze an aura of malice- being near the hammer makes anyone but the wielder uncomfortable, in the same way most people would be uncomfortable if they had a cobra coiled on their chest.  Despite any superficial damage it might have suffered, it is still utterly functional and surprisingly light.  When lifted, the wielder will find it fits them extremely well and is very easy to use, despite it's bulk.

The King of Nazuka had a dilemma.  His wife had just given him twin sons, but something had gone wrong.  Usually when two boys are born to the royal line, the one intended to rule the Kingdom has his forehead marked with the Royal Star, a special birthmark unique to the royal line.  But this time, both of his sons had it.  Distressed, he consulted his Magi and Sages, asking them what he must do.  The Magicians and Priests conversed and eventually came to the decision that either could rule, but one must be denied.  The Gods had clearly put the decision in the hands of mortals.  So the King had one of his priests cut his son's forehead, removing his birthmark.  He then entrusted the boy to the High Priest to raise as his own, so to avoid succession wars in the future. 

And so the boys grew, becoming the best of friends, though they knew not their parentage.  But as they grew, the Priest's Son resented his brother, especially when the Prince was betrothed to a beautiful princess whom they had both loved as children.  The princess had been their companion when she was younger, and had now blossomed into a beautiful and regal lady.  The Priest's Son hoped that their union would not go forward, but it looked like it was going to.  Then one dark night, Unta the Imp appeared in the boy's room.  Though at first frightened, Unta said he could not harm the boy.  Instead, Unta had come to help.  Unta revealed that the boy was not the son of the High Priest, but a Prince in his own right.  He had been deprived of his birthright by the arbitrary actions of his father. 

Enraged, the boy swore that he would have his revenge.  And when he did so, Unta offered to help.  He would give the boy the ability to take his brother's face and steal his memories, allowing him to take his brother's place and live his life.  Unta would allow him to do so for seven years.  The boy had until then to reveal the truth to the princess and any children that he had with her.  If he did not, their bargain would end.  The boy agreed in a heart-beat, enraged by what he had been denied. 

So Unta helped the boy ambush and slay his brother and cut off his face.  The boy wore his brother's face like a mask and to all who saw him, he WAS his brother.  And so he was married to the princess and they lived happily together for years.  But for each year that passed, the boy swore that this year, he would tell her.  But each year, he lost his nerve and said he would do it next year.  And so seven years passed.  On the last night of the year, Unta appeared before the boy again.  He told the boy that he must fulfill the bargain now.  The boy protested that he could not, that there must be some other way.  Unta laughed at him and told him that if he would not pay in one way, another would be found.  Then he disappeared, leaving the boy scared and alone. 

The next night, thunder raged over the Royal Necropolis.  In the grave of the High Priest's Son, the boy's mutilated brother stirred.  His corpse twitched and spasmed, then came to life in a wave of unholy power.  He tore free of his tomb and utilizing the dark powers he had been given, raised an army of the living dead.  When the Gravediggers came to stop him, he crushed them with his powers and taking the hammer they planned to use to hammer an iron stake through his heart, raising it as a symbol of revenge.  His undead legion rampaged across the land, devouring and destroying everything in their path.  The Faceless Prince was unstoppable.  All armies sent against him melted away before his Fell powers or the strength of his unholy host.  He smashed their defenses and laid siege to their capital. 

The defenders of the castle went to their King then, to ask him, to beg him for some solution.  But they found none- in his chamber, they found only a corpse hanging from a noose, his forehead bare of any Royal Star.  The King had taken his life, but his household soon followed him as that very night, the Faceless Prince broke down the gates with his hammer and put them all to the sword.

EGO Weapon:
- The Despoiler will only allow itself to be wielded by a man of endless avarice and bloodlust.  Only those dedicated to an endless pursuit of blood, wealth or revenge will sate it.
- If it is not wielded by such a person, it will drain 1d4 HP from that person per day and prevent him from using it to heal.  It will also prevent him from regaining HP from resting or eating if they carry it on his person.  

- 3/Day, the Despoiler can do +1d8 damage to a living creature.  The hammer stores this extra damage as HP within itself.
- The hammer can store up to 50 HP at a time. 
- The wielder may drain some of this HP as an action to heal themselves of injuries. 
- The wielder may also, as an action, infuse a corpse with some of this stolen HP.  This animates the corpse as an Undead.  Undead created this way have [sum] HP, equal to the amount given to them.  These Undead are loyal to the hammer's wielder and remain bound to the wielder for as long as they are continuously fed.  These Undead require X HP per day, where X depends on their HP.  If a bound Undead's HP is 8 or less, it requires 1 HP per day.  If it has 9 to 16 HP, it requires 2 HP per day.  If it has 17 to 25 HP, it requires 3 HP per day. 
- Undead who are not supplied with their required HP become unbound and may do as they wish. 

The Faceless Prince was never truly destroyed.  Though he has been slain, every time he is, he returns on the anniversary of his resurrection to continue his campaign of revenge.  And when he comes back, he will want his hammer.

by Dmitry Burmak

Friday, April 7, 2023

TwK: Underworld Locations: Fast Food for the Graveyard Shift

artist unknown


It's actually a Burger King.  The windows are partially boarded up, the sign only lits up sporadically and the ground outside is littered with crushed glass and occasionally, shell casings. The boards are adorned with symbols added via spray-paint and sloppy brushstrokes.  Some are genuine sigils of warding and protection, but just as many are mere mummery.  Inside the store is mostly clean, but everything looks slapdash and mismatched, as if they haven't gotten a decent resupply in days.  In truth, it's been much longer.   

The food is lousy, but it will do.  Of course, no one comes to McFuck's because of the food.

The staff are all sleep-deprived college kids and burnouts who are either depressed, stoned or both.  However, unlike a normal Burger King, they are also Understudies, those who have knowledge of Downworld.  This restaurant, as such, acts as sort of hub for Understudies, a neutral ground where those affiliated with various gangs, cults, syndicates and secret organizations can meet with the relative promise of safety.

Characters of Note:

Aaron.  He's the store manager, short with a well-trimmed beard and an affable demeanor.  He is widely liked by the staff.  If he was threatened, they would be quick to return the favor.  He is often the mediator between various groups.  Everyone who knows him likes him.  Weakness: Aaron knows of his reputation and is aware most people wouldn't hurt him on purpose.  He will not see a surprise attack or a betrayal coming.

Gale.  The other store manager, who always works the Night Shift.  He's tall and muscular, clean shaven with gauge earrings that have bullets through the holes.  He is a laissez-faire sort of guy, fairly genial most of the time.  Do whatever you want, just don't threaten his customers or subordinates.  If you do, he'll throw you out.  He is known to carry around an old looking Japanese sword, who customers and patrons alike will tell you is very sharp and very dangerous.  Some will even tell you stories of how Gale decapitated someone in the store for pointing a gun at him.  Others will tell you it's all nonsense, though.  Weakness: Gale does not respond well to threats to himself or others.  He fixates on obvious dangers to either.  A gun to the face will distract him from anything else you might be up to.  He's also sensitive to slights.  Stand up to him and he will retaliate in kind. 

Angel.  Despite the fact that he is a flamboyant gay man who wears too much make-up and styles his hair eccentrically, Angel is definitely an alias.  He's a sleazy character who plies his wares in and out of the store.  When Gale is there, he's usually outside, hanging out near the dumpster.  He sells illicit substances and stolen goods out of the back of his van.  No one really likes Angel, but he's reliable and knows when to keep his mouth shut, so they let him stay.  Plus, if they kicked him out, then they'd have to find someone else to sell them coke.  Weakness: Beautiful boys, preferably ones that are cold and cruel, especially toward him.  This is common knowledge, both managers and all regulars know it.

by AnekaShu

Who else is here?


1- The Lionesses.  A group of 1d6+2 girls in sexy outfits (schoolgirls, flappers, cosplay, etc).  They're Werecats who have the ability to transform into huge Cats.  They claim this is because of a pact they made with a Cat Goddess, but rumor says it is actually because of their matching amber pendants.  They're available for hire as bodyguards, additional muscle or very deadly, if unsubtle, assassins.  They're loud and crude and sleazy when not working, but are ruthless and professional when they are.  They are expensive, but if you defeat them in a challenge, they are willing to offer large discounts.  Today's challenge is 1d4 [1= A sex contest.  Bring one of them to orgasm within 3 minutes or you lose; 2= An eating contest.  Whoever eats the most raw meat in 1 minute wins; 3= A riddle contest.  Each team presents 3 riddles.  The one who successfully answers the most riddles wins; 4= Truth or Dare.  First person to tell a lie (they claim to be able to smell them) or back out of a dare loses.]  Fail one of their challenges and you will also have to face a penalty that is likely expensive and almost certainly embarrassing.  Secret: They are looking for a strong man to become their husband (they will share him) and help them reclaim their kidnapped offspring. 
2- The Mumbler.  A man who wears thick Groucho Marx glasses, a fedora and a huge trenchcoat.  Cannot seem to speak above a mutter, hence the name.  Seems to possess an absolutely ludicrous level of social anxiety.  Refuses to speak when anyone but the people he's directly talking to might notice.  No one at the store has ever spoken to him, except for maybe Aaron.  Carries a trio of three silver dollars which with he often toys.  Also, according to regulars, he has a nose for trouble.  He's never around when there's trouble, so if he leaves, it's time to clear out. Similarly, if he's there, everything is probably fine.  Secret: He's a Prophet, though a very weak one, only able to see about an hour into the future.  He'll tell your fortune if you get to know him and treat him nicely. 
3- Susan Mubarak.  Goes by the name 'Amani' and wears a headscarf in an attempt to connect to her "native" culture.  No one, not even her, seems to really believe it.  Is an excellent shot and is an expert on firearms and long-range assassinations.  Available for hire.  Will not take jobs that she feels aid the allies of capitalism or the Masters of the Universe.  Secret: Currently wanted by the mundane authorities for killing two cops with her signature .306 rifle.  They don't know who she is, but they're looking for someone who matches her description.  
4- The Redneck Ronin.  A man with a strong country accent, white cowboy hat, kilt and katana.  He's a fairly good duelist and you can hire him as a henchmen.  He will only take jobs that he feels are "honorable" and won't fight believers in the Good Book, even if they're hypocritical.  He considers Gale his rival, a feeling not shared by Gale, who mostly ignores him.  Secret: Is under a Death Curse.  Knows he will die in a fire and avoids anything that could potentially involve large amounts of it.  Is scrupulous about fire safety.  Will not work with you if you use a lot of Molotov cocktails or an improvised flamethrower.   
5- The Blob.  Five people of mixed age, sex and race.  They all wear matching outfits, blue jeans and white t-shirts, and move in eerie sycnhronicity.  Seem to be able to communicate telepathically among each other.  When communicating with outsiders, one will speak while the others watch.  None of them have ever been seen apart from the others.  Secret: They are responsible for the disappearance of two of the other regulars, who are being used as the basis for another one of this species.  The humans are actually puppets for a central telepathic entity, which controls them like puppets. 
6- Zakony Johnson.  A dark-skinned man in a cheap suit, with a great love for fine art and exotic pornography, which he appreciates in a detatched, analytical way.  Is an information monger and has his finger on the area's metaphorical pulse.  Will trade art for rumors, information he can resell and secrets.  Secret: He is secretly an Agency informant, helping them keep tabs on the locals.   
7- The Great Swahili.  A drunken clown in faded pastels, with a bright red nose and a perpetual frown.  No one is sure if he's just a depressed human or something else.  Rumors persist of his magical powers- one story claims he was shot in the head, point-blank, and lived to tell the tale.  He will deny any rumors if you ask them about him.  He's available for birthday parties, he will tell you.  He will also ask for help in getting rid of his ex-wife, who took the kids and, he believes, is an actual Demon.  Secret: He has no actual magical powers, he's just a man.
8- Big Joe and the Brewhouse Boys.  A hillbilly who makes his own moonshine, despises the government and carries an excess amount of guns, even for an Understudy, who generally treat the Second Amendment like the Word of God.  He references events that don't seem to have happened, or perhaps will happen.  He sells extremely powerful and basically undrinkable alcohol, though it functions well as a disinfectant and it's good for making molotovs.  Willing to buy guns and gasoline for top dollar, though he usually pays in gold or barter.  He is usually accompanied by a small mob of well-armed, stars-and-bars clad kinsmen who are available for hire for modest fees, as long as you're willing to include ammo and booze.  Secret: He is actually from the future, right after the Third American Revolution.    

What's going on today?


1- A game of cards.  One player is on a hot streak and probably cheating.  No one can figure out how though.
2- A famous fighter has offered to fight anyone who challenges him for a small fee.  If you beat him, you get the pot.  There is a small line of people lined up to try their luck, while a much larger group is watching. 
3- A mysterious salesman is selling potions.  Angel is pissed and is seriously considering doing something about it.  Sample the man's wares and see if there is anything to these potions.
4- Nothing at first, but as you sit down to eat, the TV that never usually works turns on, tuned to a news program.  The News Anchor inform you to kill one of the other patrons.  No one else seems to notice this broadcast.
5- An armed group is laying siege to the Restaurant.  The group is 1d4 [1= A group of gangers who want the cash in the register and the manager's stash of magical drugs; 2= A pack of monsters who want to eat everyone inside; 3= Some Lighthouse Affiliates trying to burn the place down for some unclear reason- probably political; 4= Agency Members, Knight Class- Mostly human except for their gibbering madness and the earpieces sticking into their flesh.  They are here for some reason that is clear to no one but themselves, but it seems to involve a lot of shooting.]
6- One of the patrons is being held hostage by another.  Half the patrons/staff are trying to de-escalate the situation while the other half are running for cover.  Aaron and Gale are smoking a blunt and sharping his sword respectively.       

What are they out of today?


1- Iced Tea.  They're serving coffee instead.  Everyone is jittery and miserable.
2- Burgers.  The delivery driver is late.  Probably.  Gale disappeared into the freezer an hour ago saying he was going to "take care of it".  No one has seen him since and strange lights and smells are coming from the deep freeze.
3- Ice Cream.  Aaron's girlfriend disappeared mysteriously and he's been alternating between binge-eating it and leaving for hours at a time, with no explanation of where he's going or when he'll be back.  The ice cream machine is making strange noises and when you turn it out, vanilla mixed with blood and human teeth comes out.
4- Salt.  The fries are worse than usual, but if you complain, everyone will make fun of you.
5- Ice.  Everyone is actually okay with this, as now the sodas actually have something in them.
6- Chicken Tenders.  Tempers are flaring as the chicken tendies are the only decent thing in this place.  The restaurant is a powder keg, all it needs is a spark.

What is Angel selling today?


1- Potions of lesser Healing.  He claims they will fill you with vitality.  They aren't magical at all, and only heal 1d6 FS.  The effect is a result of the placebo effect.  Magically talented characters or those with strong faith who actually believe it will help also heal 1d4 HP.  If you get told the truth, there is a 80% that drinking one has no effect. 
2- Crystal Salts.  A drug.  Snort or inject them to become immune to pain, take -2 less damage from non-magical sources and gain advantage on Fear or other mental effects, other than illusions or Charm spells.  Has a variety of horrible side effects, but those who take them generally don't care. 
3- Fuzzy Dice.  A magic item that allows you to reroll any d20 3/Day.  But if you roll a "1" while carrying them, you suffer a critical fumble.  The Referee is encouraged to be sadistic.  The item is thought to be cursed, as most of it's previous owners have died violently.  It's not actually, but what happened to it's previous owners is well known.
4- Battle Vests.  Ramshackle armor made of a mix of thin metal plates and repurposed kevlar.  Offers decent protection but if they take 1 point of Fire damage, they immediately fall apart and are destroyed. 
5- CIA-level hallucinogens.  Let you see the presence of ghosts, spirits and other immaterial entities when you take these.  You can also see through illusions while on them.  Simultaneously causes hallucinations at the same time though, so make sure that's a real spirit you're talking to and not a manifestation of your guilty subconscious.
6- A Chainsaw.  It looks well-used and has a Hello Kitty charm hanging from the handle.  Angel claims he just really needs the money and only used it a few times.  In reality, it's stolen and belongs to a very important local Understudy, who is famous for both their heroism and love of ultraviolence.  He/she will want her toy back. 

Besides 1d3 of these, Angel also sells regular Drugs and will buy stolen goods.  He also has 1d20 other stolen mundane items he will try to sell to you.  Example items: Records, rope, plates, mirrors, TVs, DVDs, gaming consoles, jewelry, recently reset cellphones, guns, swords, power tools, etc.

from Miyoho

The Secret Menu:

Aaron is actually a great chef and if he likes you, or if sufficiently compensated, will let you order off the Secret Menu.  If something requires an exotic ingredient, you'll need to procure it for yourself.

Eternal Pie
Rarity: Uncommon
Cooking DC: 12
Special Ingredients: Blood from a creature that can manipulate Time, or chrono-crystals, which grow around portals or other places where time travel occurs.

Eternal Pie is a special type of pizza.  You can make it any way you want and vary the toppings to your liking.  Then infuse it with the special ingredients, either by mixing into the dough or the sauce.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until crust is flaky and delicious.  The name comes from if you don't eat the entire pizza.  As long as there is at least 1 slice left, the Pizza will regenerate 1 slice every 1d4 hours.  (For convenience, the Pizza is always cut into 8 pieces and 2 slices is enough for a full meal.)  If entirely consumed, the pizza's magical effects will not occur.             

Opium Cakes
Rarity: Uncommon
Cooking DC: 10
Special Ingredient: Opium, Heroin or Raw Opium Poppies

Small cakes, colored red and delicious topped with cream cheese icing, these cakes have astounding anaesthetic properties.  Eating an Opium Cake while in pain will dramatically reduce it, removing it almost entirely.  If eaten by someone who is resting, it removes pain, but when eaten by someone in an agitated state, such as right before a battle, it almost entirely removes their ability to feel pain.  Creatures under the influence of this effect cannot have their ability to fight impeded by pain or negative sensations.  They also become resistant to fear, making all saves against Fear or negative sentiments with advantage.   

Sex 'n' Cinnamon
Rarity: Common
Cooking DC: 10
Special Ingredient: Cinnamon, broken crockery. 

A special type of milkshake that involves mixing shards of broken crockery into the sweet mixture.  A broken teapot is traditional but not required.  When consumed, it makes the user come off as sweet and charming, no matter how they act.  No matter what breach of manners the drinker commits or what heinous statements they say, whatever they say will be taken as entirely nice and kind.  You could go to a Bar Mitzvah and loudly quote Hitler and everyone would just politely chuckle and compliment you on your excellent witticisms.  Note that this charm effect does not apply to explicitly violent actions, so it will wear off if you attack or take an action to hurt someone.  The charm effect also wears off for anyone you seduce while affected by the shake, which is where the name comes from.   

Rarity: Common
Cooking DC: 8
Special Ingredient: Lemon-Lime soda

This sugary-sweet soda is a mixture of lemon lime soda and a few other more toxic ingredients.  When consumed, McAcid makes the drinker's bodily fluids, from sweat to tears to everything else a potent acid.  This acid dissolves everything but glass, plastic and magical items and can eat through anything else given time.  This makes the drinker able to easily escape from most forms of confinement and bypass most obstacles.  It's hard to keep such a person out when they can just melt through a door.  Those under the influence of McAcid will naturally produce one flask of acid per hour via their sweat if engaged in non-strenuous exercise, or one every 10 minutes if in combat or engaged in hard work.  However, the sweat not gathered will do damage to any clothing or armor they wear that can be dissolved.         

Incomprehensible Sauce 
Rarity: Uncommon
Cooking DC: 12
Special Ingredient: Worcestershire Sauce, a powerful hallucinogen

Incomprehensible Sauce is a special sauce that resembles clear jelly.  When applied to a living creature, that creature emits an aura of sheer, baffling confusion.  Creatures who look upon the affected creature must save to understand what the affected is doing.  The more recognizable an action, the easier it is to recognize, as well as the more important.  For example, eating or trying to stab someone is easily recognizable, but if the affected creature started trying to make origami or dancing the waltz, others would be utterly baffled on what was happening.  Incomprehensible Sauce also renders the speech of the affected creature into incomprehensible gibberish.  No one can understand what the affected creature is saying.  Even two creatures affected by the same batch of sauce will find the other speaks nothing but incoherent nonsense.

by Burger King's marketing team