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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dungeons & Drunkards Collected!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_btfruzzXzDQVhoLWxibTEtZG8/view

+Charles Akins has done me, +Jens D., and +Stelios V. Perdios a favor and collected our Dungeons & Drunkards posts into one handy FREE PDF! Thrill to Charles' fiction of debauchery gone wrong! Laugh at Stelios' reminsces of debauchery gone right! Learn from Jens' history of alcohol rules in D&D! And... um... read my goofy monsters and 5e drinking rules, I guess...
 
(No, seriously, it was fun and the other guys' stuff is pretty cool.)
 
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dungeons & Drunkards Part 8: Wine Angel

Dungeons & Drunkards continues! Join me, +Jens D.+Charles Akins, and +Stelios V. Perdios on a drunken ramble through roleplaying. Today I bring you another 5e monster with a drinking problem...

In worlds where the bottling of wine has been perfected, a new phenomenon is sweeping through the better taverns of the great cities. Tavern keepers are stacking their bottles in towering stacks reaching from the floor to the ceiling; when a patron orders a bottle from the higher shelves, a comely magic-user levitates or flies up to the bottle in an acrobatic display. These performer-hosts are called “wine angels” in reference to the playful celestials that watch over barrel rooms.

True wine angels are a lesser form of celestial, far less fierce and warlike than the devas, planetars, and solars that battle against the forces of evil. Wine angels primarily exists to bring blessings to those who seek to spread happiness, but they also ward barrel rooms from the incursions of imps and quasits who seek to infect the rapture of intoxication with bitterness and regret. In comparison with more powerful angels, they often appear slender – even slight – with softer features and more pleasant demeanors.

Angels’ Share. Wine angels guard barrel rooms, watching over wine, whiskey, tequila reposado, and other beverages that are aged in oaken barrels. They draw sustenance from the fumes released by the evaporation of the liquids (hence the distillers’ and vintners’ term “the angels’ share”). The high spirits of a resident wine angel is shared in turn; hope and happiness are infectious in a wine angel’s barrel room.

A Wine Angel's Lair
A wine angel's lair is the vineyards and winery of a good-aligned winemaker, often associated with a church or monastery. They most often frequent vineyards worked for many generations.

Regional Effects
Blessed by the angel's presence, a winery home to a wine angel might receive any of the following benefits:

  • Good-aligned creatures using brewer's (vintner's) tools receives advantage on their checks.
  • The vineyard attracts cellar rats (10% chance every year).
  • When a creature rolls a natural 20 when using brewer's (vintner's) tools within the wine angel's domain, the wine created acts a potion of heroism.

Wine Angel
Medium celestial, lawful good

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (12d8+12)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.

  STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS      CHA
10 (+0)   14 (+2)   13 (+1)   12 (+1)  18 (+4) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Wis +6, Cha +7
Skills Insight +6, Perception +6
Proficiencies Brewer's/Vintner's Supplies
Damage Resistances radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages all, telepathy 120 ft. 
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Angelic Weapons. The wine angel's weapon attacks are magical. When the angel hits with any weapon, the weapon deals an extra 3d8 radiant damage (included in the attack).

Innate Spellcasting. The wine angel's spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 15). The wine angel can innately cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:

  • At will: detect evil and good
  • 1/day each: commune, create food and water, purify food and water 
Magic Resistance. The angel has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions
Holy Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) slashing damage plus 14 (3d8) radiant damage.

Invisible Guardian: The angel magically turns invisible until it attacks or casts a spell, or until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell). While invisible, the angel leaves no physical evidence of its passage, so it can only be tracked by magic. Any equipment it wears or carries is invisible with it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dungeons & Drunkards Part 6: B-E-N-D-E-R!

Dungeons & Drunkards continues! Join me, +Jens D.+Charles Akins, and +Stelios V. Perdios on a drunken ramble through roleplaying. Today I bring you another 5e monster with a drinking problem...


Bender

You’re a "party?!" I love to party! Woo! Party! Party! Party!
– any random bender

Everyone knows of rogue modrons – those natives of the plane of Mechanus who throw off their allegiance to their creator-deity Primus and embrace self-determination – but few are aware that there are rogues amongst the rogues: hedonistic modrons warped both mentally and physically by their selfish desires. The Platonic solids that comprise the core of all modrons’ bodies are bent by odd, non-Euclidean geometry into strange curved and angled shapes, hence their name of “benders.”

Benders rarely pose direct danger to adventurers. Their drunken bonhomie impels them to befriend anyone and everything they meet, so they are most likely to greet adventuring parties as boon companions. Unfortunately, their reckless excess means that any heroes traveling with a bender will have their location and objectives announced loudly and frequently. 

Party Hearty. Benders have utterly embraced Chaos and live in a perpetual state of raucous inebriation. This distracted, drunken state makes benders exceptionally resilient to mind-controlling effects at the cost of leaving them in a perpetual haze of uncontrolled hedonism.

Alcoholic Alchemy. Primus did not create modrons to use wine and spirits as fuel. Alcohol imbibed by benders is transformed by their internal workings into a potent distillate essentially identical to alchemist’s fire. Benders are known to vomit this concoction in its liquid form and belch gouts of fire.

Bender (Duodrone)
Medium construct, chaotic neutral

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 17 (2d8+8)
Speed 20 ft.

STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS      CHA
11 (+0)  13 (+1)  18 (+4)    6 (-2)    6 (-2)    7 (-2)

Skills Sleight of Hand +3
Proficiencies Thieves' Tools
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 8
Languages Common, Modron 
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Alchemical Vomit: Any time the bender fails a Constitution save (such as when it is plied with excess drink), it vomits enough nascent alchemist's fire to fill one flask. The vomit can be contained in a stoppered flask in 1d4 rounds before igniting; otherwise, it sets fire to whatever the modron threw up on.

Intoxicated Mind: The bender can't be compelled to act in a manner contrary to its nature.

Actions
Multiattack. The bender makes two fist attacks.

Fiery Belch (Recharge 6). The bender exhales a flaming burp in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in the area must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or take 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object hit by the belch ignites if it isn't being worn or carried.

Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) bludgeoning damage.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dungeons & Drunkards Part 5: Drunken Beasts

Dungeons & Drunkards continues! Join me, +Jens D., +Charles Akins, and +Stelios V. Perdios on a drunken ramble through roleplaying. Today I bring you some 5e critters with a drinking problem...


Throughout the known planes, humanoid cultures invariably attribute the invention of alcoholic beverages to the gods. Whether it is Aegir of the Asgardians, Alobal Lorfiril of the Seldarine, Dionysus of the Olympians, or Hanseath of the dwarven pantheon, every culture claims a god of theirs invented their favorite spirit. It is no wonder that humanoids impute divine origin to alcohol, though, for is there anything so transformative?

Alcohol can make meek men bold and bold men cowards. It gives wisdom to fools and makes the wise foolish, bestows quickness on some yet makes others fumble and fall, enrages the peaceful and calms the warlike, and unites strangers while driving families apart. Alcohol is a blessing and a curse – the cause of and solution to all of life's problems – and such a dangerous power could have only come from the wondrous yet capricious gods.

Is it any wonder then that it can work its unpredictable magic on beasts as well as men?
    
from Texas' own Cellar Rat Wine Tours
Cellar Rat

Despite its divine origins, winemaking is a dirty, hands-on business. When vintners speak of the “cellar rats” that aid them in the unglamorous physical part of winemaking – cleaning out barrels and crushers, punching down the cap or crust of fermenting grapes that forms on top of tanks, and similar tasks – most people assume they speak metaphorically about their humanoid apprentices. They do not realize that the term comes from actual rodents transformed by the divine alchemy of winemaking.

Clever Creatures. “In wine, there is wisdom,” say the philosophers. Cellar rats are proof of this concept; while normal rats are clever problem solvers (as shown by the experiments of scholars and wizards in many realms), cellar rats have insight and intelligence bordering on sentience. Some druids even claim the creatures have a language and society of their own. It certainly appears that they learn the languages of the winemakers whose barrel rooms they inhabit, even if they cannot communicate back to those who cannot speak with animals.

Tool Use. Cellar rats are proficient with vintner's (brewer's) supplies, receiving a +2 proficiency bonus. Individual cellar rats aid their vintners by licking dried grape juice out of picking bins and nibbling stuck-on grape skins off of crushers. Swarms of cellar rats work together to manipulate larger pieces of equipment, leaping on and off of the mashers used during punch downs in order to drive them down into the tanks before bobbing back to the surface. They extend this tool use to actions taken to defend their homes.   

Cellar Rat
Tiny beast, shares its winemaker’s alignment (usually neutral or neutral good)

Armor Class 11
Hit Points 2 (1d4)
Speed 20 ft.

STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS      CHA
2 (-4)   12 (+1)   10 (+0)   7 (-2)    12 (+1)    4 (-3)

Senses darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages understands the language of the vintner it works with but cannot speak it 
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)

Keen Smell: The cellar rat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Actions
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +1 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage.

Improvised Weapon: Ranged Weapon Attack: +1 to hit, one target directly below the rat. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) bludgeoning or piercing damage. The cellar rat uses its environment to its advantage, attacking the intruder by knocking a bottle (bludgeoning), cooper’s hammer (bludgeoning), or knife (piercing) off of a high shelf or table.

Spray of Glass: The rat pushes one or more wineglasses or one or more bottles of wine off of an overhead rack or table, causing them to shatter in a spray of glass and/or wine. Glass shards left in the space afterwards act as caltrops (PHB p. 151).
Empty Bottles and Glasses: A rat succeeding on a DC 10 Dexterity (Vintner's Supplies) check may knock down one empty bottle or wineglass; add one additional glass for every 5 points by which it exceeds the DC. Shattering glasses spray glass in a 5 ft. square, doing 2 (1d4) piercing damage per glass broken to any characters that fail a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. 
Full Bottles: In most medieval fantasy settings, winemakers still haven’t figured out how to control the natural effervescence that builds up in wine bottles as the yeast continues to consume the wine’s sugars. This means that glass from a shattering filled bottle is propelled by the gases contained therein as well as the force of the fall. Shattering filled bottles spray glass in a 10 ft. square and do 3 (1d6) piercing damage per bottle broken. If the shattered bottle is within range of other filled bottles (such as a nearby rack of bottles) and it does 5 or more points of damage, then 1d4 more bottles burst on the next round from damage caused by the shrapnel. This can cause a chain reaction that can destroy an entire cellar full of bottles, which is why cellar rats use it as a last resort.        

Swarm of Cellar Rats
Medium swarm of Tiny beasts, share their winemaker’s alignment (usually neutral or neutral good)

Armor Class 11 
Hit Points 31 (7d8)
Speed 30 ft.

STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS      CHA
9 (-1)   12 (+1)   10 (+0)   7 (-2)   12 (+1)     3 (-4)

Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages understands the language of the vintner it works with but cannot speak it 
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Keen Smell. The swarm has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny rat. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Actions
Bites. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target in the swarm’s space. Hit: 7 (2d6) piercing damage, or 3 (1d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Improvised Weapon: Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, one target directly below the rat. Hit: 4 (1d6+1) bludgeoning or piercing damage. The cellar rat swarm uses its environment to its advantage, attacking the intruder by knocking several objects off of a high shelf or table.

Rolling Barrel: The cellar rat swarm pushes a barrel loose from the stacks. A rat swarm succeeding on a DC 10 Strength (Vintner's Supplies) check is able to push loose an empty barrel, while a swarm succeeding on a DC 15 check can push a full barrel. The barrel rolls 60 feet in a straight line. The barrel can move through creatures’ spaces, and creatures can move through its space, treating it as difficult terrain. Whenever the barrel enters a creature’s space or a creature enters its space while it’s rolling, that creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage (if empty) or 44 (8d10) bludgeoning damage (if full) and be knocked prone. A full barrel smashes open if it hits a stone wall, so cellar rats only use those as a last resort.

Spray of Glass: The rats push one or more wineglasses or one or more bottles of wine off of an overhead rack or table, causing them to shatter in a spray of glass and/or wine. Glass shards left in the space afterwards act as caltrops (PHB p. 151).
Empty Bottles and Glasses: A cellar rat swarm succeeding on a DC 10 Dexterity (Vintner's Supplies) check may knock down one empty bottle or wineglass; add one additional glass for every 5 points by which it exceeds the DC. Shattering glasses spray glass in a 5 ft. square, doing 1d4 piercing damage per glass broken to any characters that fail a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. 
Full Bottles: In most medieval fantasy settings, winemakers still haven’t figured out how to control the natural effervescence that builds up in wine bottles as the yeast continues to consume the wine’s sugars. This means that glass from a shattering filled bottle is propelled by the gases contained therein as well as the force of the fall. Shattering filled bottles spray glass in a 10 ft. square and do 1d6 piercing damage per bottle broken. If the shattered bottle is within range of other filled bottles (such as a nearby rack of bottles) and it does 5 or more points of damage, then 1d4 more bottles burst on the next round from damage caused by the shrapnel. This can cause a chain reaction that can destroy an entire cellar full of bottles, which is why cellar rats use it as a last resort. 

http://s27.postimg.org/6uefwj2f7/pinky.jpg

Pink Elephant

“You always risk some danger when you camp in a dungeon overnight. We’d spiked the doors to the chamber and were having a nip from Garlem’s flask, when suddenly there was a trumpeting roar outside in the hall. Something heavy began battering at the door and before we knew it this… this elephant had broken through and crushed poor Garlem to the floor. Before we could properly react, it plucked Garlem’s flask from his hand and downed the whole thing! Poor, poor Garlem… It wasn’t even good whiskey.”
 – Maldon Littletoes, former dungeoneer

Like the owlbear, the origins of the pink elephant are shrouded in mystery. Some claim the beasts accompanied Dionysus back from the Uttermost East, while others claim they’re the misbegotten experiment of either an abstemious or alcoholic wizard. The latter seems likely, given that pink elephants are most often encountered in dungeons created by mad archmages such as Castle Greyhawk and Undermountain. 

Dungeon Dwellers. Pink elephants have either been transformed for or adapted to a life in deep, dark dungeons. The rosé-colored creatures are smaller than most pachyderms, only being as tall as an ogre or draft horse. They subsist entirely on alcoholic beverages and other intoxicants scavenged from adventurers and humanoid dungeon inhabitants, somehow metabolizing a bottle of wine or a keg of mead into enough nutrition to keep them from starving until they can ambush the next adventuring party. Worse, they still possess the soft, cushioned soles of surface elephants – meaning they pad almost soundlessly through dungeon corridors despite their weight.

Raging Alcoholics. Perhaps because their highly specialized diet leaves them in a state of perpetual starvation, or perhaps because they really, really like to drink, pink elephants attack recklessly whenever they sniff a hint of alcohol. They will bash in doors, lift gates, and pursue their quarries up and down dungeon levels until they’ve drunk every drop. Pink elephants never forget and never give up.

Pink Elephant
Large beast, unaligned

Armor Class 11 (natural armor)
Hit Points 45 (6d10 + 12)
Speed 40 ft.

STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS      CHA
21 (+5)  8 (−1)    15 (+2)   3 (−4)   12 (+1)   6 (−2)

Skills Stealth +4
Senses blindsight 30 ft., passive Perception 11 (16 if alcohol is involved)
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Nose for Booze. The pink elephant has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smelling alcohol. Their sensitive sense of smell and exceptional hearing gives them the equivalent of blindsight in darkened locations. 
Reckless. At the start of its turn, the pink elephant can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
Crushing Charge. If the pink elephant moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the elephant can make one crush attack against it as a bonus action

Actions
Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) piercing damage.

Crush. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one prone creature. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage




Friday, March 13, 2015

Dungeons & Drunkards Part 3: Boozing it up in 5e

We will serve no wine before its time, and so it is with Dungeons & Drunkards, a long weekend-long celebration of everyone's favorite legal intoxicant. +Jens D. of the Disoriented Ranger+Charles Akins of Dyvers, +Stelios V. Perdios of The Word of Stelios, and I have joined forces in a pubcrawl through our blogs to talk about drinking in gaming and drinking while gaming. Jens led the way with a discussion of drinking rules in various editions of D&D, Charles continued with some eerie weird fiction,  and I feel compelled to add a bonus post suggesting some rules for the newest edition of the world's dungeons and dragoniest roleplaying game!

Have I ever mentioned that I’m TABC certified? Yes, I have in fact passed the course that allows me to legally serve alcohol in Texas.

I am a fan of alcohol and recreational drinking. That TABC certification means that I am also all too aware of the terrible cost that drunk driving and alcoholism can inflict on people. Therefore, I find myself torn when it comes to drinking rules in RPGs. One the one hand, I derive great pleasure from my expeditions to the Texas wine country; one the other, I don’t want to ignore the very real dangers of over-drinking. While I could write happy-go-lucky 5e drunkenness rules for my merry band of responsible adult players, I don’t want to release onto the internet anything that accidentally encourages binge drinking in the young and stupid.
As written, the 5e “exhaustion” condition easily replicates the actual, factual physical results of drinking too much. You start off slightly but noticeably impaired, then you get worse and worse, and finally you can actually kill yourself through alcohol poisoning. Unfortunately, exhaustion doesn’t bestow any of the psychological or physiological benefits that make consuming alcohol so damned fun. As someone with more than a little social anxiety, I know from experience that booze lowers inhibitions. Heck, my hand-to-eye coordination actually gets better after a couple of drinks (just like Dr. Johnny Fever) – right before it gets really, really bad.
So let’s try this:
Alcohol 
Alcohol acts as an intoxicant at lower doses, but inflicts exhaustion if one overindulges. While it resembles a poison in some ways, it does not count as one for proficiency with the poisoner’s kit. Characters proficient in brewer’s supplies may create alcoholic beverages per the rules for crafting.

A creature may consume 2 alcoholic drinks before requiring a DC 15 Constitution poison save to avoid ill effects; one alcoholic drink is the equivalent of one pint of beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of hard liquor. Until a creature fails its saving throw, each alcoholic drink consumed bestows one of the following beneficial effects (choose or roll randomly):
  • +1d3 temporary hit points 
  • Advantage on a single saving throw against a mind-controlling spell or effect
  • Advantage on a single Charisma check
  • Advantage on a single Dexterity (Acrobatics or Stealth) check
  • Advantage on a single Strength check 
  • Advantage on a single Wisdom (Insight or Perception) check
These beneficial effects last until the creature fails a saving throw against alcohol consumption or until one hour has passed. Creatures may resume drinking after an hour has passed in order to regain these benefits, but the DC increases to 20 until they have taken a long rest.

Once a creature fails its Constitution saving throw, it is immediately subject to a level of exhaustion equal to the additional number of alcoholic drinks it has consumed (past the initial two, “safe” drinks) and all beneficial effects of alcohol consumption end. For example, a creature that fails its saving throw on its third drink immediately suffers the first level of exhaustion (disadvantage on ability checks) while one that fails on its fifth drink suffers the third level of exhaustion(disadvantage on ability checks, speed halved, and disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws). These levels of exhaustion are recovered as usual.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Fallen Fane of Sehanine

A bit over a week ago, Wizards of the Coast ran a (deliberately) brief open call for adventure designers for the D&D Adventurers League. As I am currently rather enamored of 5e and I'd like to be working RPG author and not just a Savage Worlds author, I went ahead and churned out the requisite two encounters during a marathon brainstorming/writing session last Wednesday.

I envisioned the scenarios as part of an imaginary site-based adventure called The Fallen Fane of Sehanine. Over a century ago, a brutal orc horde conquered a temple complex dedicated to the elvish moon goddess Sehanine Moonbow. The elf noble Duke Avaryll was separated from his wife, Duchess Queliarra, and believed killed. The duchess recently discovered that the duke still lives, and hired the adventurers to rescue him.    

WotC asked for a combat encounter and a role-playing and/or exploration encounter. I hope which is which is fairly obvious; if not, then I really, really screwed up.

***

Outside the Fallen Fane

The dense, deciduous Eldwold falls silent as the characters approach within a mile of the Fallen Fane of Sehanine. The white elk and songbirds so common in the rest of the forest avoid this desecrated corner of the wood, leaving it to the orcs and their manticore ally.
Twisted, moss-covered oaks overrun the expansive ruins of the temple, creating a jumble of sickly trees and broken marble paving stones and columns. This counts as difficult terrain as well as dim lighting, impairing both the party and the manticore. 
The tumbled ruins allows both the adventurers and the maticore to easily seek cover from ranged attacks; characters succeeding on a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check can duck behind full cover on their action, with those failing only finding three-quarters cover. The dense forest canopy grants half cover to opponents targeting each other for ranged attacks from either side of the leaves and branches.
The manticore, Rrarrthek, is aware of these conditions and will use them to his advantage. If he surprises the party, then he will begin sniping at them with his tail spikes from long range (200 feet), moving closer every turn as he runs from one area of cover to the next. After the first round, he will boast to the characters of the long decades he has spent guarding the Fallen Fane and the many adventurers he has devoured. 
Rrarrthek first fights recklessly once he is able to engage in melee, but begins roaring for help if he is reduced to half of his hit points. A patrol of 1d6+1 orcs arrives in 1d4+2 rounds; the orcs flee immediately if they see that Rrarrthek has been slain in the interim.

Statue of Sehanine

Adventurers seeking cover who succeed on a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check discover a suspiciously well-preserved statue of Sehanine Moonbow hidden in a curiously clear glade. The elf goddess kneels with her arms outstretched in supplication; her left hand beckons, but her right hand is clenched.    Characters using thieves’ tools whom either succeed on a DC 10 check or on a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check discover hidden mechanisms on either side of the statue. 
The mechanism on the left opens a secret door that leads into a passage to the Chamber of Bones; the passageway will only fit Medium or smaller creatures, but it is blocked at its far end by a rockslide that requires a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check to budge. 
The mechanism on the right opens a spiked pit trap 30 feet deep. The trap is one of the temple’s defenses and will not trip accidentally; the trap door that conceals the pit is a 10 x 10 ft. square laying five feet to the right of the statue. Unwary allies or opponents falling into the pit take 11 (2d10) piercing damage from the spikes and 12 (3d6) bludgeoning damage from the fall. It takes one round to close the trap once it has been sprung.

***

Chamber of Bones
When the orc horde desecrated the altar of Sehanine with the sacrifice of her high priestess, a terrible earthquake shook the temple grounds. Duke Alvaryll and some of his retainers were trapped in the escape tunnels. The duke miraculously survived the rain of falling rocks and choking dust, but his retainers did not. Instead – long months after the flesh had rotted from their bones, and the evil of Gruumsh had pervaded the Fallen Fane – the dead elf courtiers rose as skeletons.
Some strange, last blessing of Sehanine Moonbow prevented the skeletons from murdering Duke Alvaryll. Instead, the skeletons began a perverse reenactment of their role as his servitors. They have tended to his needs for over a century, and the maddened duke now thinks of them as his protectors and friends. 
He is very, very mistaken.
When the characters attempt to rescue him, they must be careful in how they persuade the duke to come with them. Duke Alvaryll may have forgotten that the skeletons are animated by corrupting evil, but their true nature has not changed. If Duke Alvaryll becomes angry or frightened, the skeletons will attack both him and the adventurers. If the characters discover Duke Alvaryll alive but return a fresh corpse to their patroness, Duchess Queliarra, they may face her wrath as well the dishonor of failure.

Features of the Chamber

The isolated section of escape tunnels the orcs call the Chamber of Bones is a 20 x 50 ft. worked stone passageway with a 15 ft. high ceiling; it is choked with fallen rubble at both ends and dotted with fallen stones throughout. 
The tunnel leading off of the interior, southern end of the chamber is utterly collapsed for 100 ft. and impassable except by magic. The exterior, northern end that leads to the exit by the statue of Sehanine, is blocked by heavy stones that require either a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check or half an hour of digging to lever out of the way. Alvaryll lacks both the tools and the leverage to open the chamber from his side.
There is a small opening high on the western wall that opens onto the interior of the Fallen Fane. A Small character may squeeze through the hole with a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, and it can be widened with the use of mason’s tools. 
Orcs infrequently stop by this “window” to jeer at the elf noble; check for a random encounter of 1d4+1 orcs every two hours. A refuse pile beneath the window keeps the duke supplied with mushrooms (that also attract rats) while a nearby leak from the aquifer beneath the temple trickles fresh water into the chamber.

Duke Alvaryll Lianodel
The duke is a high elf noble who knows the minor illusion cantrip. Surviving on the brink of starvation for the past century has ravaged his once-handsome features and ruined his aristocratic finery. When the characters discover him, he is in the second stage of exhaustion.
He greets the party as visitors, not rescuers, blithely introducing them to his skeletal courtiers and using minor illusion to briefly bestow each skeleton with the visage it had in life. If the characters attack the skeletons without though for the duke’s safety, he has a brief moment of lucidity to warn the party that the skeletons will kill him if provoked. Otherwise, he happily treats the menacing undead as boon companions and resists leaving them behind.

Skeletons
There are 12 skeletons in the chamber grotesquely reenacting their past lives. The duke is happy to politely introduce them to the party.
The duke’s bodyguards – Enneth, Meldryn, Sonias, and Theriel – are armed with longswords (1d8+2 slashing damage) and wearing chain shirts (AC 15). The bodyguards stay close to the duke at all times and will be the first to assault him if the situation comes to violence.
The maid Narralee combs the courtesan Illiria’s non-existent hair. 
The steward Yvar and the butler Unwynn play dragon chess. The valet Ciosian mends the duke’s cloak.
The footmen Garim and Tomias carry rocks back and forth across the chamber. 
The cook Larynniel is carefully filleting rats.
If Duke Alvaryll can be persuaded to leave the chamber without the skeletons, the bodyguards collapse into heaps that the footmen begin to silently sort into piles.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A List of (5e) Basic D&D Monsters by Type

Because “why not?” (And because I don't have access to any Savage Worlds books.)

 
Also, some observations at the end.

 
 
***

Aberration: Nothic, Spectator

Beast: Allosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Ape, Axe Beak, Baboon, Badger, Bat, Black Bear, Blood Hawk, Boar, Brown Bear, Camel, Cat, Constrictor Snake, Crab, Crocodile, Deer, Dire Wolf, Draft Horse, Eagle, Elephant, Elk, Flying Snake, Frog, Giant Ape, Giant Badger, Giant Bat, Giant Boar, Giant Centipede, Giant Constrictor Snake, Giant Crab, Giant Crocodile, Giant Eagle, Giant Elk, Giant Fire Beetle, Giant Frog, Giant Goat, Giant Hyena, Giant Lizard, Giant Octopus, Giant Owl, Giant Poisonous Snake, Giant Rat, Giant Scorpion, Giant Sea Horse, Giant Shark, Giant Spider, Giant Toad, Giant vulture, Giant Wasp, Giant Weasel, Giant Wolf Spider, Goat, Hawk, Hunter Shark, Hyena, Jackal, Killer Whale, Lion, Lizard, Mammoth, Mastiff, Mule, Octopus, Owl, Panther, Plesiosaurus, Poisonous Snake, Polar Bear, Pony, Pteranodon, Quipper, Rat, Raven, Reef Shark, Rhinoceros, Riding Horse, Saber-Toothed Tiger, Scorpion, Sea Horse, Spider, Stirge, Swarm of Bats, Swarm of Insects, Swarm of Poisonous Snakes, Swarm of Quippers, Swarm of Rats, Swarm of Ravens, Tiger, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Vulture, Warhorse, Weasel, Wolf

Celestial: Pegasus 

Construct: Animated Armor, Flesh Golem, Flying Sword, Stone Golem

Dragon: Adult Red Dragon, Wyvern, Young Green Dragon

Elemental: Air Elemental, Earth Elemental, Fire Elemental, Gargoyle, Water Elemental 

Fey: Blink Dog, Satyr 

Fiend: Hell Hound

Giant: Cyclops, Fire Giant, Frost Giant, Hill Giant, Ogre, Troll 

Humanoid: Goblinoid (Bugbear, Goblin, Hobgoblin), Gnoll, Kobold, Lizardfolk, Merfolk, Orc, Shapechanger (Werewolf)

Monstrosity: Basilisk, Centaur, Chimera, Cockatrice, Death Dog, Doppelganger, Grick, Griffon, Harpy, Hippogriff, Hydra, Manticore, Medusa, Minotaur, Owlbear, Phase Spider, Winter Wolf, Worg, Yeti

Ooze: Ochre Jelly 

Plant: Awakened Shrub, Awakened Tree, Twig Blight

Undead: Banshee, Flameskull, Ghost, Ghoul, Mummy, Skeleton, Wight, Zombie

***
 

A few things stick out at me from this list.


1) Why are centaurs “monstrosities?” They’re a good-aligned sentient race, for eff’s sake! What kind of weird Island of Dr. Moreau-like racism makes biped hyenas “humanoids” and quadruped horse-dudes “monstrosities?”
 
2) Dinosaurs, giant animals, monsters from Greek mythology… The emergent setting of Basic D&D looks like a supercut of Ray Harryhausen films.
 
3) The weird way true dragons are represented only by young green dragons and adult red dragons inspires me to imagine a world where dragons mature – almost Pokémon-like – from amphibious green dragons into powerful red dragons. It would be similar to the life cycle of Komodo dragons, for that matter; young Komodo dragons live in the trees because mature Komodo Dragons eat them. Red dragons are obviously the only natural predator for green dragons, so imagine that the young greens spend their time lurking in non-flammable swamps and lakes while they wait for their gaseous breath weapon to eventually become flammable whereupon they shed their green scales and become adult reds. 
 
4) I suppose it’s too complicated if banshees are both fey and undead, right?

5) Given the preposterous number of giant animals, I find myself speculating about the existence of giant dinosaurs – like, kaiju-sized Giant Ankylosaurs and Giant Tyrannosaurs. Hee-hee-hee!

6) So many “beasts.”

7) If, for some perverse reason, I restricted a campaign to only what ‘s in Basic D&D, I would probably fold Pegasi into fey, or fold the few celestials, fey, and fiends into monstrosities. Not that it would matter, since Basic D&D doesn’t have rangers.

8) The DIY RPG crowd has been making alternate archetypes for Basic D&D, right? Like making “ranger” a fighter archetype? I hope so (not that it matters since I’m not going to try to run a campaign only using the Basic rules).

9) Flameskulls, but no vampires? What the eff? Jack Shear must be rolling in his grave.

Young Komodo Dragon
http://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/wp-content/gallery/komodo-dragon/komodo1-web.jpg
We actually have Komodo dragons at the San Antonio Zoo, but I couldn't find any pictures I liked.