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Witch NPC Class – Based on “Salem Witches”   Leave a comment

Witch NPC Class
Based on the lore of Witches implied in The Crucible

Designed by Jeffrey Queen

The play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller – although an allegory – presents a look into the situation surrounding the Salem Witch Trials and some lore about the powers of a perceived “witch”. After watching the play the other night, I realized the powers of the “Witch” presented would make for an interesting NPC class.

About: Witches are normal people given powers through compacts with Demonic or otherworldly entities. By agreeing to work for the entity, to be their hand – or tentacle – on the material plane, the benefactor gives them a modicum of their power to use.

The Gifts: The powers given to the witch vary depending on their benefactor, but the main Gifts are as follows: a familiar spirit, the knowledge of rituals that can be used to contact spirits or other beings from beyond or produce great curses, the knowledge of “hedge alchemy” that can be used to make powerful potions and poisons, and a very extended aging process.
The Familiar Spirit: The Witch’s familiar can take any form it desires, and is invisible to anyone except those it wants to be seen by. The witch can see and hear through the familiar, and the familiar can effectively extend the witch’s power to wherever the familiar is located. Familiars can also physically effect the world around them should they choose too. In many cases they are used to torment victims of a witch’s curse while they sleep or go about their day.
The Rituals of Contact: The rituals presented to the witch by their benefactor are all different but ultimately produce the same results: the ability to contact things beyond the material plane – from spirits of the dead to the demons of the nine hells – and ask them questions or purchase their services. Rituals of contact don’t usually take long – maybe around an hour – and the effects last as long as needed, but more often than not the ritual requires a price, such as the blood from some creature for a low level summoning, to the bodies of many innocents for stronger beings.
The Rituals of Cursing: These rituals allow a witch to push a curse upon an individual, a town, a farm, or whatever the caster chooses. A curse can take any design the witch desires – the withering of every cow and crop of one household, making a healthy child grow sick, forcing a general storm of bad luck on someone’s head, etc. A ritual of cursing takes around two to eight hours, depending on the power of the curse.
Hedge Alchemy: The witch’s benefactor often teaches the witch about the basics of alchemic magic. They learn what herbs and body parts can be used to what effect, and how to mix them. This includes potions and poisons, powders and teas, soups and elixirs, and much, much more.
Extended Aging: The witch is blessed with an extended life span: triple that of a normal member of their race. They physical age the same as is typical, but their minds stay strong and agile until the end.

Benefactors: The witch’s benefactor changes what other powers and knowledge the witch receives. Some demons offer the powers to produce fire, or control the minds of the weak; evil fae sometimes offer the powers of illusion and great charm, or control over nature; elder beings from times long passed may simply expose the witch to the reality of existence, driving them utterly mad in the process. In any manner, the gifts of any given benefactor are left to the imagination of the Game Master.

Here’s a table to spice up the local Witch

1 Cannot stand to see the light of the sun; burns when presented with sunlight. However, in moonlight grows to double the size.
2 Has compacted with a Lawful entity and is actually attempting to fight against Chaos
3 Has surpassed Life and managed to become a Lich while retaining its benefactor
4 Has been given a rubbery and impenetrable body and as such is immune to any piercing or slashing attacks and cannot be crushed to death
5 Is a great warrior who has compacted with the benefactor to gain extra power in battle – can be found leading a large warband.
6 Is actually a horse given sentience by a mad wizard and has compacted with its benefactor in order to gain control over its surroundings and revenge on its previous owner.
7 Changes its physical age constantly, in a disturbingly fluid manner.
8 Is entirely under control of its familiar, with no will of its own left anymore.

Posted 11/05/2011 by silentjudas in NPC Class

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Old School Silliness   Leave a comment

Simple, short post today:

So as some of you know, I recently acquired the box set of the Outdoor Survival game referenced in 0e D&D. I also own a self-bound copy of the Swords and Wizardry White Box Edition, and a basic game mat from Paizo.

I just now put them together and holy crap I’m excited.

On G+

On Picasa

Posted 10/14/2011 by silentjudas in talk

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Quick Post: Chaotic Evil Alignment Discussion   Leave a comment

On Reddit’s RPG subreddit, someone asked how to play Chaotic Evil without being Chaotic Stupid. In my sleep deprived, over-caffeinated state, I provided an answer last night that ended up being well lauded. So I figured I’d post it up here for anyone who might find it interesting (with slight editing for the sake of punctuation and grammar):

My Take on Chaotic Evil:

“So many people have trouble getting into CE. CE is a little harder to get into than some alignments, for a good reason. It’s worlds different than most normal humans will ever think.

Chaotic Evil is, at its core, anarchic. It’s not uncaring, it’s not psychopathic, or sociopathic even. In fact, having people you care about, or standing up for a cause is a good piece to add to being chaotic evil. Chaotic evil is being evil because you feel that your way is the best way. Might makes right, and your might is best. Your opinions are best. But by all means, mr. party paladin, prove me wrong.

Where lawful evil is obsessed with establishment, chaotic evil is obsessed with a more open ended society where their opinions are the core foundation.

Lawful evil will lead an army to take over a city to rule with an iron fist

Chaotic evil will subvert the ruling class, sabotage the city from the inside, and raise up an angry mob to tear down the city walls…without an army. Whether the CE’s inspiration is pure subversion of order, or for a “greater cause”, it all begins the same: subversion, sabotage, and chaos.

Look at the demons of D&D, who exemplify CE. Sure they’ll make deals and even stand alongside others in a unified attempt, but it’s just a means to an end. The higher eschelon demons wouldn’t burn the world to the ground, they’ll just subvert it. That’s what CE does: subvert. Their ways are best in their minds, so they’ll do what they feel is best.

Chaotic is all about emotion, evil is all about forming the world into your personal preferred manner of existence. CE means everything is a means to an end in your personal passionate recreation of the world around you. A manic artistry without care for the current established “proper” and “right. The world is your canvas, and nothing will stand in the way of your art.

In short, my take on CE is pure passion without regard for morality. “Mad scientists” are often chaotic evil, people filled with a fiery passion and a distinct view on how things should be. And nothing stands between then and their passions and lives.

But that all just might be my take on it.”


Update: I’ve been asked to do a PDF of my interpretations of Alignment from someone on Reddit. This should be a neat project.

Posted 10/11/2011 by silentjudas in discussion, talk

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A Follow-up NPC: Treklotter na-risi, Risi Dilettante   Leave a comment

Found this site earlier and after playing around with the random generator ended up with this:

Dilettante (Amateur)

Who may or may not be a:

Which I felt was awfully convenient after my last post.
The point of the generator “…is to take a physical descriptive adjective, a “conveyed feeling” adjective, and an archetype with an option to turn them mythical.”  Sounds good to me. I’m picturing a fae-troll with his best swashbuckler look on.

Treklotter na-risi, Risi Dilettante: HD 5+2; HP 19; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Magical Rapier (1d6+1); Save 12[9 vs. magic]; Special: Flight, Immune to Non-Magical Weapons, Regenerate 1hp/round, casts  personal spells (up to 10 times a day), can speak with animals

Treklotter na-risi is a fae-troll who stands around nine and a half feet tall. He wears a red musketeer’s hat with a unusually long peacock feather perched upon his head, and silky, blue nobles clothing that covers the toughened, slimy green skin underneath.

Physically, Treklotter is mostly proportional, with the strangely long arms traditional of all forms of trolls, but with his claws clipped. His skin is covered in a thin film of slime, a manifestation of his wheedling, Machiavellian personality. His eyes are a piercing blue, a contrast to his origins and a mockery of those of “noble blood” that his kind often pose as.

However, Treklotter is out of his element. He’s been kicked out from the Fae Courts and their vicious entertainments. He has left bitter from an argument impossible to explain to a sane individual and is – for once in his life – genuinely worried about fixing his status and returning. As such he has taken to wandering the lands of Man to find new experiences to keep him busy as he schemes.

Treklotter, like most fae, is a dilettante.  He knows a little about many a thing, pretending to know far more on topics than he really does to get into people’s good graces. Sure he knows about poetry and playwriting! Of course he knows all about the creation of gourmet food and the ecology of the Savannah Ball-Leopard! In fact, he has an etching he did of one in his bag, here, let him show you!
Due to this sprinkling of knowledge, Treklotter can answer some questions about most things. Now, as for them being entirely accurate -or even true-  is not quite able to be determined easily.

Thanks to his magical background and his minor knowledge of earthly and scholastic magic, Treklotter can perform some feats of spellcraft if he wishes to, often using them to wow his audience and bring them more to his side.  He can also naturally speak with animals.

Treklotter also owns a magical rapier (which he claims is his own craftsmanship) named Natalia Ogresbane. The name comes from the time when Treklotter was set upon by a “savage ogre of mountainous proportions” and managed to bring the beast down. Natalia is a +1 Rapier whose blade is made of an thin, unknown, golden metal with a guard made of silver, a hilt of steel embedded with jade, and a large emerald as a pommel. A silken cord with several ogre’s teeth tied in it is attached to the crosspiece.

His spells include:

Charm Person, Charm Monster, Create Food, ESP, Invisibility, Passwall, Pyrotechnics, Sticks to Snakes, and Suggestion.

Posted 10/06/2011 by silentjudas in npcs, resources

Trolls throughout D&D gaming history   Leave a comment

One of my favorite creatures for use RPGs is the troll. Everyone interprets them differently, from the intelligent, to the more fae, to the savage. Some split them into groups, like Mountain and Woodland (like the movie Troll Hunter), or Mountain and River (like is common around some rpg bestiaries). In any manner, you can do a lot with trolls to keep players on their feet.

The traditional RPG troll is a 7-9 foot creature with great rending claws and the ability to regenerate any and all damage except damage by fire and acid.

Let’s take a look at RPG troll options through the variations of D&D and some other games.

Original Dungeons and Dragons:

Monster Type # Appearing AC Move in inches Hit Dice % in lair Treasure Type
Trolls 2-12 4 12 6+3 50% Type D
Gnoll 20-200 5 9 1+1/2 30% Type D

TROLLS: Thin and rubbery, loathsome Trolls are able to regenerate, so that beginning the third melee round after one is hit it will begin to repair itself. Regeneration is at the rate of 3 hit points per turn. Even totally sundered Trolls will regenerate eventually, so that unless they are burned or immersed in acid they will resume combat when they have regenerated to 6 or more hit points. In strength they are about equal to an Ogre, but as they use only their talons and fangs for weapons, only one die of damage is scored when they hit an opponent.”

Meanwhile we have the first variation of a troll: the gnoll. In the original edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the Gnoll was a combination of Gnome and Troll, but it was listed in the chart alongside Orcs and Hobgoblins, implying it was far weaker and expected to be faced as a large group (similar to its list-mates).

GNOLLS: A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Sunsany did not really make it all that clear) with +2 morale. Otherwise they are similar to Hobgoblins, although the Gnoll king and his bodyguard of from
1 – 4 will fight as Trolls but lack regenerative power.”

In Holmes Basic we have a singular Troll entry. They’re officially classed as chaotic evil and regenerate at a rate of 3 damage per turn. They are noted as having the strength of Ogres, but “attack with talons and fangs” instead for some strange reason.

In Moldvay Expert rules, trolls are officially sized at “nearly 8′ tall”. The number appearing is reduced to 1-8 and are listed as intelligent and preferring humanoid flesh over any other. They are listed as living in “caves, dungeons, wastelands, and in ruined dwellings of the humanoids they have slain and eaten.”

In First Edition the troll goes back to its original number appearing of 2-12 and their size is increased to Large (9′ + tall).
“Description: Troll hide is a nauseating moss green, mottled green and gray, or putrid gray. The writhing hair-like growth upon a troll’s head is greenish black or iron gray. The eyes of a troll are dull black.”

In Second Edition we finally begin to see variations of the troll. We have the default troll, the two-headed troll, freshwater troll (scrag), saltwater troll (marine scrag), desert, spectral (troll wraith), giant, and ice, and spirit. Second Edition is where we very much see the naturalism involved with later D&D with the ecology details and such for the troll entry.

In 3.5 edition we are told an adult troll stands 9 feet tall and weighs around 500 pounds, and that trolls speak Giant (where earlier editions claimed they spoke their own language, trollish). The Scrag is retained, and we are given a new “class” of troll, titled the Troll Hunter, which is a more cunning troll that hunts intelligent humanoids for kicks and food and is trained as a ranger. There are also rules given for playing a troll for your race as a player character.

In Fourth Edition we are given some new troll stat blocks. We have the default troll, the extra powerful, greatsword-wielding War Troll, and the unnecessarily large Fell Troll.

And finally, Shadowrun 4th where they are a variant of the magically changed humans, being two and a half meters tall and 300 to 350 kg and have long horns which grow in all sorts of manners. They are, as always, huge and intimidating and have tough, armor-like skin. No regeneration here, however.

Now let’s look into Folklore: (via the ever-present Wikipedia)

In Norse mythology, troll was used as a derogatory term for  jötunn, or giant.

“There is much confusion and overlap in the use of Old Norse terms jötunn, troll, þurs and risi. Lotte Motz theorized that these were originally four distinct classes of beings; lords of nature (jötunn), mythical magicians (troll), hostile monsters (þurs) and heroic and courtly beings (risi) – the last class being the youngest addition.” While this is considered an unsupported theory, this does give us some room for creating trolls in RPGs. Risi could be interpreted as the Fae variants of the troll,  Jötunn being the intelligent, enormous mountain trolls, Troll (though probably with a new name) could easily be troll-witches in the wilderness, and þurs being the more savage trolls of the wilderness.
Interestingly enough, most RPGs ignore the traditional concepts of trolls turning to stone when they come into contact with sunlight and the rumors that lightning scares them away.

In Scandinavian folklore, we are given details of different troll types (straight out of Wikipedia, because… well I’m lazy at times).

“…Troll or Trold can also be used for smaller creatures, which are said to live underground, in burial mounds and in the mountains. These trolls appear to be from mixture of different tales about creatures from old Norse myth, such as the Alfar (Elves), Dvergar (Dwarves) and spirits of the dead. These creatures are called Troldfolk, Bjerg-trolds or Bjergfolk in Denmark and Troldfolk or Tusser in Norway. They are linked with the Norse concept of the Vættir and Landvættir, which mean “Spirits” and “Land spirits” of various kinds. These creatures appear as small human like beings or as tall as men.

In some districts these trolls differ but little from the Huldrefolk who are grotesque creatures, with long noses or cows’ tails. Like these trolls they could be the same size as humans and sometimes small. They can also be dangerous to human. This possession of a tail is similar to that of the Huldra who could be seen as the queen of the huldrefolk.

In Norwegian tradition a line of distinction is drawn between the trolls and the huldrefolk, but whether the trolls and huldrefolk came from the same stock or had different origins altogether is still unanswered. However, the use of trow in Orkney and Shetland to mean something very like the “family” of beings covered by the huldrefolk in Norway suggests that they may come from the same stock”

(from Wikipedia)

Now let’s look at Swords and Wizardry:

Troll: HD 6+3; AC 4[15]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Regenerate 3hp/round.

“Trolls are as tall as ogres, and just as strong. Unlike ogres, however, they attack with claws and teeth instead of weapons. Trolls regenerate, which is to say that any damage inflicted upon them heals within minutes
(3 hit points per round). The only way to utterly kill a troll is to submerse it in acid or burn it. Trolls can even re-grow lopped-off heads and limbs.”

This gives us the basic troll, what I will denote as a “True Troll”. Now let’s take this and make some simple statistics for troll variants.

Jotunn: HD 8+3; AC 3[16]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (1d12); Move 14; Save 8; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Regenerate 3hp/round.
Jotunn are massive mountain trolls with human intelligence. They stand around 30 to 54 feet tall are usually quite territorial (as they need quite a lot of food to themselves). They regenerate as any other troll, but due to their size causes them to become even hungrier than normal. If they had to regenerate three times in one battle to reach max HP and they deem the enemy to be worthless, they will abandon the battle to search for food that has less point weapons. They more often than only wander out at night; while sunlight does not kill them or turn them to stone, it does heavily annoy them to where they will be at -5 to hit in sunlight.

Ringlefinch: HD 6+3; AC 3[16]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (1d10); Move 10; Save 11; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Disease, Immune to Blunt/Piercing Weapons, Swallow Whole
Ringlefinch trolls are large, muscular beasts that stand around 12-14 feet tall and lack the regenerative qualities of “True Trolls”, but have a multiple chunks of calcium build ups all over their bodies and thick moss growth that protects them from many weapons. They are filthy, often living in stagnant ponds and nearby caves and tend to contract diseases. They are highly unintelligent, their only motivation being hunger, and will attempt to swallow an enemy whole if they hit with both claws. If they succeed, the troll regains 5 hit points. Ringlefinch only hunt at night, as sunlight fully calcifies them. They are deathly afraid of lightning and will not wander out during stormy nights.

Bjergtrold: HD 4+4; AC 6[13]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), Staff (1d6); Move 10; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Casts spells like an 8th level Magic-User
Bjergtrold, or Troll-Witches, are trollkin witches, often gathered in covens with hags or other witches. They are immensely powerful magic casters, but otherwise rather weak. They are built like traditional trolls but lack their regenerative powers. They are not affected by sunlight, but prefer not to be in it. They do, however, still retain the vicious claws and ugly appearance of their forbearers.

Risi: HD: 5+2; AC 6[13]; Atk rapier (1d6); Move: 12/20 (flying); Save 12; CL/XP 9 ; Special: Flight, Resistance to Magic 25%, Immune to Non-Magical Weapons, Regenerate 1hp/round
Risi are a variant of troll that belong to the “True Fae”. Tied to the concepts of Magic and Nature, Risi are 9 foot chaotic beings of mercurial disposition. Risi belong to the Fae Court of Summer and often dress in mockeries of human noble clothing and wear a rapier at their sides. They can fly by magical means and can turn invisible at will, but are unable to change their size. The sounds of bells repel them, as well as bread of any sort, both of which symbolize stability and humanity. Despite being True Fae, they look entirely like True Trolls in noble clothing. They will never use their claws unless entirely desperate.

You can do a lot with trolls in a game to keep your players on their toes. Removing their weaknesses, or simply changing them to something else, will throw metagamers off quite a lot. Losing regeneration and giving them other powers instead let’s you confuse them even more. Combine these into making a troll that doesn’t regenerate unless it is covered in fire or acid and is immune to magic is just absurd. Either way, trolls are a good monster to throw at a party of early-mid level characters. They can be members of a group of other monsters (0e gnolls perhaps? Ha!) or singular entities ravaging the fields for sheep or any number of things.

Posted 10/04/2011 by silentjudas in monsters, resources, talk

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Season Content Suite One: Winter   1 comment

Here is my entry for the Winter is Coming festival, and my first Season Content Suite. Following this I will hopefully be designing a module/adventure titled “The Abandoned Temple of Istlah-Dul”, which will (hopefully) include a set of villages, several useful tables, items and monsters, and the named Temple of Istlah-Dul. No clue what level it will be yet.

All stats are based for Swords and Wizardry (though easily converted to other games, as always), with some inspiration coming from The Random Esoteric Creature Generator and Realms of Crawling Chaos (the first helped with the Bloody Maw, and the second with the Circlet of Jaas Halud).


  • Festivals
  • Monsters
  • Spells and Rituals
  • Non-Player Characters
  • Mundane Equipment
  • Magic Items
  • Random Tables/Charts
  • Miscellanea

Sian-nital: Celebrated continent-wide on Balsanar, even in the Savanna. Sian-nital is a celebration of the new year, marked by the first true day of winter. The holiday is much in the way of a crafting week. Those skilled with woodworking make crafts from dying trees. The hunters have begun to bring in the first winter pelts and so beautiful white furs are sold. Those skilled in botanical mixtures begin to sell their elixirs that can only be made when the winter-blooming plants and flowers grow. All in all it is a gathering of the populace, no matter the size of it – from large city to the smallest village – good cheer – and good beer – is to be had by all.
Alongside these winter nights, many volunteer to guard the borders of civilization, as creatures soon to hibernate hunt for their last gullet-filling meals, and the occasional cult seeks to practice their wicked rituals. These volunteer guards are drawn from all walks of life (though are often from the Mercenary Guild and various adventurers and actual guards), and are well taken care of by wandering Aid Caravans through the week, carrying with them warm meat, warm ale, and warm lovers.
To go with the festival are the ever-present festival activities and games. You have the typical assortment of children running through the streets, making games up as they go, but the adults have their own entertainment:

Snow Packing: an absurd measure of masculinity (often joined in by women eager to prove their mettle), Snow Packing is a strange competition to see who can stuff the most snow inside their clothing without looking as though they are actually packed full of snow. The contestants stand in a metal bucket so as to catch any melting snow. At the end of the contest (typically around ten minutes), judges determine who appears to have the least amount of snow in them, in order, and then everyone empties their snow into the bucket and melts it. Whoever has the best ratio of least appearing to most water in the bucket wins.
This game goes back to a practice by those that travelled the mountains in the winter, where the only way down sometimes was to roll down the side of a cliff. To prevent harm, they would pack their layers of clothes with snow and roll down, hoping for the best. While the practice worked, it was still extremely dangerous, and tales of it were carried into local taverns and have always been a bit of a joke on failed expeditions and hopeless travelers.
Yellow Arrows: a game played only by the drunkest, often in the dead of night after a long day of celebration. This game is to see who can manage to urinate the farthest into the snow. Many of times this drunken game has ended in a friendly brawl outside the back of a tavern over who took the farthest piss.
The White Doe Hunt
: a traditional game among hunters played on the first day of the festival. The hunters go out to the nearby forests or woods and attempt to find the finest white-haired deer they can, and capture it. The deer is not killed, but subdued and carried through town to the judging table, where the deer billed as the finest is killed and offered to the ruler of the town, while the rest are set free.

The Great Beast Hunt: This is a festival held midway into winter when all the big beasts have gone into hibernation, but the stranger beasts of the wilds being to wake. The target of this hunt is a winter-waking breed of Drake that live in the forests close to civilization. These great beasts are rare, often only one or two at a time in an entire region; however during winter they gather to breed. Females are far more limited than males and so several swarm on whatever forest happens to hold a female. Typically only the nations of the grasslands have to worry about this problem, and to control it, the Great Beast Hunt was developed. When scouts see the large drakes flying in from the mountains and forests from beyond, they signal to the people to hide indoors. The hunters, and often many travelling adventurers, gather their equipment and set out to make camp on the edge of the woods, attempting to sleep through the echoing sounds of mating and fighting among the drakes. In the morning, when the drakes are sated and asleep, the hunters creep through the trees and single out one drake – as the males refuse to sleep near one another. They then ambush the drake and attempt to kill it and drag it back to town. There are rarely many deaths but broken bones and permanent injury are common, but acceptable to those involved as the various parts of a drake are highly useful for many trades. Whoever strikes the final blow is awarded a cloak of drake-skin and heralded as the best hunter for that year.

The Rites of Istlah-dul, God of the Frozen Wastes: this day-long festival takes place near the end of winter and is dedicated to the local god of death, who is said to live in a land of endless, dark winter. There are three rites: a sacrifice of a bear in a wicker sphere in the snowy fields, the burning of those that died from wintry troubles to carry their spirits to Istlah-dul, and a somber feast.


Winter-Waking Drake
Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4) or bite (2d6), tail slap (1d6)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: spit freezing phlegm, immune to cold
Move: 9/20 (flying)
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 8/800

The Winter-Waking breed of drake only wake when the weather becomes cold, where they quickly devour anything edible nearby and then hunt down females of the species and mate, often fighting many other drakes for the right.

This breed of drake can also spit a freezing ball of phlegm at their enemies. Unless a save is made, the target is entangled in the sticky, freezing goop until it turns brittle in around five minutes. The target also takes 1d4+2 points of damage from the temperature alone unless they are wearing thick winter wear.

The Winter-Waking Drake has many properties for which its body is prized. The skin, scaled and hardened against the cold, is valued highly for use in the creation of cloaks, boots, and hats. A full skin can sell for about 800gp (or sp if you use the silver standard). The teeth can be sold as a set to collectors or novelty lovers for about 12gp, and the claws for around the same price. The gland that allows the Drake to spit their freezing phlegm is valued by alchemists for elixirs and potions used for anything involving low temperatures, and by spellcasters for similar reasons. This gland can go for upward of 1000 to 2000gp depending on the market. (Used alongside a relevant spell, such as Cone of Cold, the target saves at -2)

The Bloody Maw of the Cold Woods
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: bite (1d8+2), 2 vines (1d4+1)
Saving Throw: 12 (6 against magic)
Special: aura of fear, feast of fear, swallow whole, rubbery body
Move: 6
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 7/600

The Blood Maw of the Cold Woods is a warped being, summoned by strange cults during rites only able to be completed in winter. The being is a rubbery, quadruped plant, about the size of an elephant, with two large vines and a “neck” and “head” resembling a Fly-Trap, and coated in blood that seeps from every inch of its body – which shows starkly against the white snow. It walks plodding through the woods it has been summoned in as a passive guardian, feeding on dead animals and its favorite, the fear of sentient beings. For the relevant ritual, see the spells and rituals section further down.

Upon seeing the beast, saves must be made against Fear, as per the spell (though only within sight). Anyone who fails their save has their fear “harvested” by the creature, where it gains +2 temporary HP per failed save. If everyone present passes their saves it will ignore them and walk on. Its rubbery body helps it defend against attacks, in that any attack that rolls below half its possible damage (eg 1-2 on a d6) simply bounces off. As an additional horrible possibility, if it manages to hit with its bite and both vines on a single target, the target will be shoved into the “mouth” of the monster and will be coated with sticky blood and slowly pulled down the throat to be swallowed whole.

Snow Wight (a bit of humor)
A Snow Wight is spawned when a dwarf dies out in frozen grasslands during the depths of winter. They are rather uncommon, with all the same abilities of a regular wight, except that their touch also freezes their victims solid.

The Ghoulish Wolves of the God All Consuming
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: Bite (1d6+4) + paralysis
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Immunities, paralysis
Move: 20
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP:
Amount Appearing: 2d10+4

The Ghoulish Wolves of the God All Consuming are strange not-quite-undead wolves said to be summoned by the barbaric avatar of Istlah-Dul when he hungers. They streak out of a blizzard at night and take any they see, from adults to children to other animals. Their bites freeze an individual (granting a save), effectively paralyzing them. After taking 1d10 victims they will tear off back into the blizzard and disappear. They are immune to sleep, charm, and hold effects, but can be banished if done quick enough.


Animate Snow
Spell Level: Magic-User, 1st level.
Range: 60’
Duration: 1 hour

This spell allows the caster to animate one creature made of snow per level of the caster. The creatures can take any shape the caster desires. They are each 1/2 HD (3 hit points), save at 18, have an AC of 9 [10], and may make one attack that deals 1d4+1 damage upon hitting.

Ritual of the Bloody Maw
This ritual is a well-kept secret of the various druidic cults, part of their seasonal defender summoning rituals. The ritual is passed down from head druid to head druid and has never been written down in full, and only fragments of that document are said to exist.

The ritual takes two hours and requires five members of the cult to stand in a circle holding hands, inside of which a bear must feast upon a living sacrifice. The head druid must chant the ancient words and finishes as the sacrifice finally passes away. With a loud shout from all the members involved the bear is grasped by vines from deep within the woods and turned inside out and the power invested through the ritual infuses the bear, slowly turning it into a Blood Maw over the course of the final hour, after which it is able to be commanded by the members of the cult.

Grasp of Primeval Winter
Spell Level: Cleric, 4th Level
Range: target within sight
Duration: 1 Turn + Concentration

This spells calls to the very Concept of Ice itself to consume the target with tendrils of ancient black ice, causing them to hallucinate visions of horror and icy death as they slowly freeze to death. This will only last for ten minutes, and while they become paralyzed it won’t kill them, unless the caster concentrates on keeping the connection to the Concept of Ice open, in which case the target will die after 2 failed saves (one per following Turn), but wounding the caster 1d6+2 points of damage each turn spent concentrating.

Ritual of the Shrouding Snowstorm
This ritual requires a snowy area of at least 5 miles and takes 10 minutes to complete, but takes about 30 minutes to begin to take effect. When completed, a mild snowstorm will begin to kick up in a two mile radius around the ritual site. This snowstorm will appear to all but the most aware as a natural weather pattern. The snowstorm will protect against all forms of magical scrying and mundane vision, shrouding the ritual site entirely except for 20 feet out from the location. Those involved can see out of the storm without a problem. It will also prevent mundane animals from wandering into the storm.

To complete this ritual, a 20 to 30 foot ritual circle must be drawn in the snow with the blood of animals and the winter pelt of any animal burned in a pyre per hour the effects of the ritual are to last. An invocation of protection from the god of secrets must be chanted, followed by the eating of two eyes by the invoker– animal or not.


Aberash Kamali

Aberash Kamali is a Cleric of Istlah-Dul, God of the Frozen Wastes. He has always lived in the frozen lands of constant winter and as such is intimate with death in the snowfields. His early years he spent cloistered until wanderlust send him adventuring into ancient ruins, covered in the deep snow, alongside many delvers. After many years, he has come back to his home town to care for the people there, especially in aiding the dying and helping to ease their passage into the afterlife. Much of his time is spent in either the monastery or watching the stars through his looking glass at night.

Aberash certainly is an unusual man to look upon. He stands 6’6”, with a tall, skinny figure, hungry eyes, and a full length slowly graying beard. His hair too is streaked with gray, far beyond his age, he walks with a limp, and one ear is missing – while the other contains a silver earring. He wears a slightly tarnished bronze circlet on his head, an artifact found during his travels.

Personality-wise, he is a sullen and doleful man, though slightly neurotic when stressed. He has a fear of being touched by others and has a halting speech. His travels have taken him among many peoples, so he can speak the basics of Elven, Goblin, and Gnomish. He also has a minor obsession with playing with campfires, staring deep into the fire while poking at it the entire time he is awake.

Aberash Kamali: HD 5; HP 14; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 polehammer (1d8); Save 12; Special: Circlet of Jaas Halud

Circlet of Jaas Halud: this ancient circlet enables the wielder to summon six large albino worms from the earth to constrict one or more targets within 30’. Treat these worms as the tentacles of a giant octopus for all statistical purposes. These worms disperse after 1d6+1 rounds. This power may be invoked up to 3 times a week, and emits a faint, maddening piping when used.


Whale Bone Pulk: This is a cargo toboggan is built with the long bones of the cold water whales. With the hollow bones, it is light, yet sturdy. The key point of using whale bone is the length, allowing for less material to be required. A whale bone pulk requires at least two individuals to pull it, or several dogs. It is large enough to hold most, if not all, the supplies for a sojourn into the cold lands.

Requires: whale bones, cloth, adhesive or nails, rope.

Snow Blind Goggles: These goggles are used to control the amount of UV rays entering the eyes, keeping the harsh reflection of the sun on the snow from burning out your corneas. Traditionally made from caribou antlers with thin slits cut into them, they have kept many safe from going blind in the wastes.

Requires: antlers or wood slab, tool for cutting slits, sinew or string to attach to head.

Ulu: The ulu is a crescent blade attached to a wooden or bone handle. The ulu is a multipurpose knife, used heavily in the skinning and cleaning of animals, as well as cutting up food and whatever else needs to be. The curved blade and close handle give excellent control compared to most knives, especially for cutting such things as bone. Due to its build it is also able to easily be used one-handed for most purposes. The ulu is not meant as a weapon, but if built strongly could be used in a pinch. (Treat as a knife that only deals slashing damage for all statistical purposes).

Requires: slate, copper, steel, iron and ivory, bone, or wood.


Orb of Winter: An orb made of black ice about 5 inches in diameter, created by a desperate sorcerer trapped in a snowed-in cave in the frozen wastes. The sorcerer sacrificed his two companions to some being known only to him in return for an implement that might allow him to save himself. The ice around him turned black with an evil energy and shed pieces off which coalesced into the Orb. With it, he was able to control anything made or related to frozen water.
When used, the wielder cannot place the Orb down as it will freeze to their hands through any and all material, and will slowly remove the heat from their body, freezing them to death after one turn (ten minutes) of use. The Orb will release its grip when it ceases to be used for its primary function, but if the wielder dies it will stay frozen in their grasp.

The Necklace of Yula Machan: The necklace is made from caribou sinew threaded through the tooth of an ancient white dragon. Yula found the dragon’s remains on a trek into the mountains in the north and raided what little was left of its hoard, taking a tooth as a keepsake – and for its ease of enchantment. She worked her magic on it and the necklace was created.
The necklace will protect the wearer from the physical effects of freezing temperatures, but the use will still feel these effects. So diving into a pool of 40 below waters will not cause any damage to the wearer, but they will feel every bit of pain that they would normally feel from doing so.
Every week the necklace is worn risks a cumulative 1% chance of the spirit of the long-dead dragon forces itself into reality and assaults the wearer, fighting as a 10 HD dragon, but incorporeal and unable to be damaged except by magical weapons or magic.

Hand of the Ice Witch: This dried, shriveled and inhuman hand has been made into a glove, with stitching of troll hair and arcane symbols inlaid in silver. The hand belonged to an elder troll witch of a northern cabal. When delvers slew her, her fellow witches took her hand and used it to make this powerful artifact.
The hand can be used to cast control weather once a week, but only to produce a blizzard in a 20 square mile area. Once a day it may be used to cast Ice Storm as per the spell.
Each use brings a 5% chance of the hand growing into the user’s skin, slowly becoming one with the user. If the user spend a full round cutting and digging into his or her hand, they can remove the glove. Otherwise, after a full turn (ten minutes), the hand will become their new hand and both it and the arm it is attached to will organically grow double their original size.

Yahruk Desmal – “The Book of Isolation”: Yahruk Desmal is a book with thin, pressed copper pages bound in the skin of an unknown creature that always feels cold to the touch with a copper clamp on the spine. . Each page has designs cut into it and when the book is clamped to an upright pole and the sun is overhead, allows for the page to be easily read against the ground. In this manner, the designs can be carefully drawn with whatever the ritual therein requires. The book contains the Ritual of Shrouding Snow, a barely comprehensible ritual for freezing one’s self alive for cryo-hibernation, and an article in a long dead language that can be translated with careful study to essentially be about the finer points of isolation. If destroyed, the book will exile everyone within 30’ into the void between the stars.



1d8 What’s hidden under the snow?
1 A long-dead lizardman frozen in a layer of ice, dressed in sorcerer robes with a look of horror on his face. Has a strange book on a ten foot pole in front of him.  (Yahruk Demsal – “The Book of Isolation”).
2 An expedition of gnomes dressed for mountain climbing and huddled around a dead fire pit. Total gold: 3d10 pieces and 4 precious gems worth 80-100gp each.
3 A single door, standing of its own volition. If opened, it will reveal a portal to the top of the nearest mountain peak, one way.
4 4 elder creatures from beyond the stars, unrecognizable by modern sentients.
5 A single candle, emitting Continual Light as per the spell.
6 2 giant skeletons in embrace. Will awaken and fight if disturbed.
7 An entire mammoth. Can be animated as a zombie if a player feels like it.
8 A crack in the earth leading to an underground lake with a prehistoric Giant Fish (10 HD 23’ long)


1d10 Treasures of the Frozen Wastes
1 A Polar Bear-skin cloak with the head used for a hood and snow-blind goggles built in.
2 A steel longsword with a hilt made from mammoth ivory, pommel carved in the shape of a snow leopard’s head, the designs inlaid with silver, and a feathered cord of ancient leather and white peacock feathers tied to the guard.
3 A leather bag filled with 7 mushrooms known to only grow in the coldest, darkest caves. Eating one will daze an individual for 2 hours and open them to suggestions. They fetch a high price on the right black market.
4 A glass vial filled with an emulsion of poisonous cold weather flowers in alcohol and essential oils. If burned as incense, the smoke from the flowers will erase the breather’s memories for the past 1d3 days, and if drunk as a whole will send a person into a slow death spiral as their brain cells degrade one by one over the course of 1d6 hours.
5 A man-sized statue of Istlah-Dul (or any other god of winter or death) carved from quartz and turquoise. The patterns and various designs of the “clothes” are gold. The appearance of the god does not match the commonly accepted appearance of the modern day, with a heavy deviance into an almost monstrous appearance.
6 A large wooden box with a blanket made from the winter coats of foxes. Superior craftsmanship.
7 A walking staff made from the tusk of a narwhal with strange trinkets tied to it with strips of leather, from idols of various gods made out of ivory and gold, to pouches of dried flowers. 1d10+5 small pouches in total, contents randomly determined by the GM.
8 A bull walrus stuffed with a female walrus stuffed with a baby walrus stuffed with damaged furs. Each walrus is completely gutted.
9 A small, fist-sized iron box filled with spores of an unknown fungus. When it is opened without care, the spores will go everywhere, infecting those within 5’ of the box. If a save is passed, the individual is fine, but if failed they will be infected as the fungus begins to grow from the inside, infesting organs and liquefying them over the course of 1d4 days, resulting in the individual’s death. The fungus will eventually get grow through the skin and liquefy the body until all that is left is a patch of horrid purple fungus that smells of rotten flesh.
10 A skin-tight body suit sized for a Halfling made from the skin of a penguin. When worn it will protect against the cold (giving a -5 to saves against cold weather or water) and is waterproof.



Istlah-Dul, God of the Frozen Wastes: Istlah-Dul is one of the more prominent and recognized gods in the frozen lands. Considered a local god, Istlah-Dul is very rarely worshipped outside of the people in cold fringes, and many monstrous tribes worship strange avatars of his. His realm is said to be a never-ending winter wasteland, snow always falling and nothing alive and growing.
To the more civilized races, Istlah-Dul’s avatar is that of an extremely tall and gaunt – yet regal – human wearing a walrus-hide robe, one hand holding a radiant sphere and the other outstretched and open. His face bears no ears and eyes, as it is said he cares not for the whimpering and begging of the dying, and will take all regardless of their form of existence. This avatar is a lawful being.

To the more barbaric, his avatar appears to be mutable, seen differently by each race of the wilds. However, they all contain similar aspects. Istlah-Dul still appears tall and gaunt, but his skin is removed and his teeth are fanged; the shining orb is replaced with a skull and his hands are long and clawed, encrusted with filth. On his cloak are blasphemies against the living written in blood. In this form he is said to take all – dead or alive, as all will one day pass into his realm. Sacrifices are made to this avatar in hopes of keeping his appeased and away from their tribe. It is said he sends howling, ghoulish wolves into villages at night to steal away children for his dark feasts that, like his hunger, never end. This avatar is a chaotic being and is named ISTLAH-DUL, THE GOD ALL CONSUMING.

New Spell: Memetic Plague   Leave a comment

New Spell: Memetic Plague

Spell Style: Arcane, level 4
Range: close hearing distance
Duration: 3 days in isolation, otherwise for as long as able to be restarted.
Special: One word per caster level.

The caster of this spell must prepare a statement to be told to their target or targets. The statement must be simple and concise, inspiring thought or a steering of action. This can be a rumor, a commandment, or anything similar. When the statement is heard, the listener must make a save or have the statement implanted into their thought stream, where it will cycle around until it becomes something they think about often. They will bring it up whenever someone is willing to listen to them, causing the memetic virus to spread. The virus will also mutate as it goes, often adding pieces. For example, if the statement is “You should never kill a rabbit” it may mutate into several states, such as “You should never kill a rabbit because they are watched by the gods” or “You should never kill a rabbit because their souls will make sure the crops fail”, etc.  The statement cannot be removed from a person’s mind without the aid of Remove Curse or the like.

In isolation, the statement will only cycle 3 days in an individual’s head before it is wiped out of their memories, but if there are people around who have the virus, it will continually restart the timer. This can effectively go on forever throughout the whole population.

Example: “The Mayor of Lawson is a vampire!”, “Santa Clause is real!”  “You should never kill a rabbit.” “Don’t ever go into the woods at midnight.”

Posted 09/26/2011 by silentjudas in resources, spells

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