Oh The Places You’ll Go: RPG Blog Carnival, August

Hey hey hey, all you mischievous Fair Folk out there! August is here, and it brings it’s oppressive Summer Court temperatures with it, so there’s no way then to cool off with some creative writing exercises.

Codex Anathema is running this month’s installation of the RPG Blog Carnival, with theme of ‘Location, Location, Location’.  With how much time I’ve been spending on working on my homebrew world in my campaigns, this seems like something naturally I could write about- maybe not at full length that it would fill up an entire book, but at least the gist of it.

Let’s dive in then, shall we? I suppose for now, we’ll go into detail about a prominent focal point in the last two games I’ve run in said world: the Avehi Arcana Magitorium, located in eastern Chervaux, Faustus Kil.

Those Are Quite the Mouthfuls

To begin with, Faustus Kil is a world that’s been several games in the making: one campaign where I was a player and two as the Dungeon Master. The latter duo of games has it in it’s present, which is a strange magipunk society. Here, technology and the arcane develop side-by-side, and oftentimes merge with one another for advancements that should not be possible.

In this world, there are several primary countries. Smaller ones are being added but they are negligible in size:

  • Chervaux, the rich and militaristic country who has a majority of the most advanced tech and magic
  • Saum,  to the south of Chervaux. They largely believe in magical advancement rather then technnological but this has not slowed their progress down. Currently in a stalemate with Chervaux.
  • Petra, decidedly neutral to most conflicts in Faustus Kil. It’s kind of like the in-world equivalent of Austrailia, where most things want to kill you.
  • The Dreadfangs, a relatively new republic consisting of mostly aquatic and semi-aquatic creatures.  There are many small islands here as well which fall under their rulership.
  • Aggithil, known as the Giant’s Land, is the  home of the goliath and does not get along at all with Chervaux. This is territory where those who are hunted by the Chervaux military come to lead safe lives.
  • Zoraiv are the southern brothers to Aggithil, and is a country steeped in centuries old mysteries. This is where kitsunes originally hail from, and some of the most notable alchemists and druids call this their ancestral homeland.
  • Criyith, the actual place on the map that says ‘Here Be Dragons’. Four primary deities rule over this land, and most species with scales can trace their bloodlines back here.

Short of it is that Chervaux is scary, hungry for materials and is always expanding, much to the horror of their Saumian neighbors who do not get along with them in the slightest. It is in Chervaux that the crux of this blog takes place: at the aforementioned Magitorium.

 

Not Your Grandparent’s Wizard College

Hogwarts by Obsession-Overload

 

I can guarantee you that you’re probably thinking to yourself that this is a blatant Hogwarts rip-off. I promise you, its not!

The Avehi Arcana Magitorioum, or just called the Magitorium for a bit shorter, is located in the Terebin Mountains in western Chervaux. The land was chosen for its distance from most major cities (because having tons of magical students could lead to some possible disasters) as well as it being cheap, according to the Headmaster (we’ll get to him in a bit). It has off-site dorms in the capital city of Je’taime, accessed through a portal system installed in each location for ease.

The grounds of the Magitorium have your typical stuff: deep ancient forests, a lake that houses merfolk in it (students are told they really should not swim with them, but adventurous folk do it anyway), and the mountains themselves which are an important part of the terrain. It keeps anyone who would want to run and take over the school away, as well as provide many resources for the school’s staff and student body. Though things still need to be purchased from Je’taime, of course.

Education here is for seven years, though  by no means do you need to take them one year after another, nor is there a maximum age you need to be to attend. The minimum you need to be to enroll, however, is ten years old, as prodigies often happen and in a chaotic world of warring goverment factions, a Wild Magic Sorcerer who cant control their abilities is going to cause a liability for anyone not trained to deal with it.

The most dangerous year, by far, is third year.

Third year is where students are divided into groups of four to six, depending on the class size, and given a semester’s long research project. Sounds boring, yes? Not in the slightest, as each group is presented a series of books to serve as the basis of their projects. These topics can range from: finding what happened to the dwarven civilization, a lost druidic culture, documenting different apocalypse mythos across the realm. Needless to say, these are quite dangerous and the staff is willing to admit this themselves.

A Tree and His Dragon

Hemlock

 

The ever-esteemed Headmaster of the Avehi Arcana Magitorium, Professor Hemlock Evetide is a dryad of peculiarities. For one, one does not often see a male of his species and two, for a dryad to be seen away from their soul-tree (Dryads are bound to a tree that, if they survive the trauma of having it destroyed, are able to wander in the world away from it). This leads to a man of great resolution and pride in his scholarly works.

Evetide is also a rare type of spellcaster in Faustus Kil, a Summoner: a person who dabbles in making pacts with creatures, sort of like a Warlock in reverse. These Pacts are ever-binding and always  can be edited by the creature in question and the Summoner, as agreements are always changed depending on the situation one is facing. At least, that’s what Hemlock teaches.

Note: in order to even be considered to attend his courses in Summoning, you need to be at least a Third Year student, as its extremly risky:

“Why do you come to begin your research into this topic, if you know that you will be shunned for it?- not as much as Necromancy, perchance, but still. The life of a Summoner is one of scrutiny and constant clarification: see it less like a normal spellcaster and more like a newspaper journalist.

“We are not soul-binders, devil-worshippers and cultists. That is derogatory to our craft en large. A Summoner is all about consent; I teach that those who you make a Pact with are in a way, in your guardianship when you bring them forth. Equal treatment is  the name of the game, and those who do not respect the wishes of the Pact-creatures are not a sort I want to see in my classroom. Ever.”

–   Hemlock Evetide, on the premise of Summoning to his  Year Three students

Image result for black wyvern
“Wouldn’t you like to know how the two of us met. It’s not as interesting as you would think.”  Hemlock Evetide, reminescing on the bond he shares with Minerva

 

And then there’s Minerva, Hemlock’s trusted Shadow-Touched Wyvern companion. Not a familiar but she might as well be considered one, as she’s pretty much never seen without her at his side. ‘Miss Shadow’ as students have gone to calling her, since she has a rather vain personality, need to watch out for her silhouette against the sky: she enjoys dropping things from great heights, including cinder blocks, bricks and deer corpses.  She is also affectionately addressed by Evetide and some brave students as Minervikins.

Fun fact: Minerva was named as such due to there being a character in Fire Emblem: Awakening who was a Wyvern Rider. Cherche’s name for her mount was Minerva. In part, she was also named this in honor of Professor McGonnagal from the Harry Potter series.

She has a roost somewhere in the nearby mountains, which she lets no one save her master enter. Even moreso is that the only one who may ride on her back is also the Headmaster.

You’re a Wizard, Harry (But Not Everyone Is)

As a magic school, the arcane and divine studies are the cornerstone features. But what most fail to understand is that the Magitorium serves as a normal college as well (magic is just what it focuses on).

There are classes for just about any subject, along with topics that are covered either in the classroom or in student run activities

  • Artificing and magical crafting with technology
  • Clergy studies for those akin to Paladins and Clerics
  • History classes on all the major countries in the world
  • Scientific labs for potions making
  • Performance trick-shots with guns. This one’s a favorite of students.
  • Theater, and you can bet those with Bardic tendencies will eat this one up.
  • Biology on both mundane and magical creatures. Hemlock has a soft spot for the latter, due to his profession
  • Necrobotany, which walks the fine line between conservationism and Necromancy. TLDR; using plantlife to manipulate corpses but not actually raising the dead. This is a Year Three mastery course that very few are approved to do.

There are even trips during the school year as well. One of the most anticipated is exclusively for Hemlock’s Summoning class, and that is the great migration of the Sky Mantas.  Yes, they have giant flying stingrays in Faustus Kil. You’re welcome.


 

Sadly, the Magitorium is not taking any submissions for its fall-winter semester, but hopefully the location itself caused you all some pleasure of enjoyment. You can listen to http://chapter one here, on the Flumph Cast channel under the campaign name ‘Many Eyes of the Magi’.

Support the monthly RPG Blog Carnival, run by Of Dice and Dragons! And make sure to hop on over to Codex Anathema, the hosts for this month’s traveling sideshow of clickity-clackity math rocks. 

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Mover and Shakers of Faustus Kil

Hello, beloved pixies and sprites of the Internet!

You can’t have a good campaign without beings in the world who cause things to happen. Not necessarily good or bad, just prominent figures who hold some level of clout among  their peers.

These would be the movers and shakers of a world, which is the topic of the July RPG Blog Carnival held over at In My Campaign. Make sure to drop by, post a comment and participate in the carnival this month, if you’re so inclined.

I wanted to provide a list of some NPC’s that have appeared in my own home campaign, ‘The Many Eyes of the Magi’, which you can listen to the first episode of up here.

There are also just some important  figures from some character’s backstories as well. If you’d like to use any of them, ASK PERMISSION FIRST.


Ahri 1

Ahri: Ahri is a white fey fox, the familiar of the Warlock named Kaiyu Ashpaw in my Many Eyes of the Magi campaign. Sneaky and as full of snark as her master, she is currently roaming Faustus Kil looking for a way to return to her family in the Realm of Wonder after master Ashpaw met his death.

Ahri has two forms: one is her standard fox form, which she started the campaign as. However, due to silliness from Kaiyu and the events of the story, she had gained the ability to take on a kitsune-esque pixie form. Since she was an innately magical creature from Faerie-Land, she was able to shapeshift between each form at will. This allowed her to blend in even with mundane populations.

Ahri 2


 

Pine.jpg

Pine/Mandrake: Pine, also known as Mandrake by those who do not know the truth of his real identity, is an agent of the Winter Court and Aiosidhe (translating to Archfey in the Common language) and the lead assassin of Aiosidhe Nim the Permafrost Heart. He is a charismatic Dryad, bearing the Major Arcana mark of the Lovers and appropriately enough, the boyfriend of a fellow winter agent named Thistle.

He uses numerous fake names when interracting with people on the mundane world, including Mandrake (after all, Dryads often take their names from plantlife and animals). His favored dagger, Venomspite, is a gift from the Archfey herself.

Pine stats.jpg


 

Related image

Pitch: a small Faerie Dragon of a unique shade, midnight black scales and purple-blue wings, Pitch is the familiar of a Kobold Summoner named Drisk. He shows little care for laws, and considers only the words of his scaled master as rules to  follow…but only more as guidelines.

Pitch will do things such as stealing platinum from gambling tables and lemons from food stalls, to harassing studying mages by turning invisible and causing them to hear kazoos ringing in the back of their heads. He does have Fey blood in him, after all.

Pitch stats

 

jEZZU

Jezzu: a Eladrin hailing from a desert nation, Jezzu serves as the purveyor of Triple Moon Mystic: a fortune telling shop and seller of magical implements. His pupilless golden eyes though betray a secret, along with the constant scent of patchouli and vanilla around him.

Jezzu, in actuality, is a Brass Dragon of the Adult variety. He finds that running a store and having people give/trade their magical items for his business is much easier then having to fly around and seek out a hoard. Whatever tickles his  fancy, he keeps for himself. Whatever he doesn’t have a need for, he simply sells.

Having to stat him out was a bitch, by the way, in that I had to make not one but TWO stat blocks. I really don’t want to think out Lair Actions as well.

Jezzu class 1

Jezzu class 2


 

Image result for weretiger

Danzen, the Lunar Tiger: a Zoraivian myth, the Lunar Tiger was once a mortal half-elf named Danzen. Through feats of great physical strength and bravery, he ascended to demi-godhood after punching the moon back into orbit (dont ask…).

Unfortunately for him though, he got stuck on the moon in the aftermath. But somehow he managed to survive, with deep meditation and unlocking cosmic abilities that were once locked away from him. He now is the literal Man on the Moon.

During a full moon though, the Lunar Tiger is able to send a physical manifestation of himself down from the heavens to find worthy opponents to fight. This either is in the form of a white Weretiger (his usual form) or that of his once-mortal appearance.

 

Lunar Tiger stats


 

Witch Hunters Amanda and Makao: hired assassins of the royal family of Chervaux, the notorious Fairglen family, Amanda and Makao are what are known as Witch Hunters: men and women who are sent to detail and (if necessary) kill ‘halfling spawn’. This includes: Dragonborn, Dracovecta, Half Elves, Half Orcs, Aasimar, Tieflings, Genasi (because actual Halflings do not exist in Faustus Kil).

Amanda is the stealthy leader of the duo, while Makao is the back-up with a full roster of summons at his beck and call. Makao also is a Charcardin (an anthropomorphic shark man).

Makao’s list of summons is as follows:

  • Barlgura (CR 5 demon, MM pg 56)
  • Swarm of Cranium Rays (Cr 5 tiny beast swarm, Volo’s pg 133)
  • Elder Quickling (modified Quickling). HP 40. Cant be charmed or put to sleep through magical means. Weapons are considered magical.
  • Owl Harpy (Tome of Foes, pg 246)
  • Hulking Whelp (Tome of Foes, pg 252). The large grey dog Rilith saw with Makao
  • Sandman (Tome of Foes, pg 333)
  • Lindwurm (Tome of Foes, pg 276)
  • Ratatosk (Tome of Foes, pg 319)
  • Shadow Beast (Tome of Foes, pg 345)

Witch Hunter Amanda

Witch Hunter Makao


This is the closest I could find to her actual appearance, because it’s impossible to find Faerie Dragonborn artwork (or at least anything that resembles such a concept).

Syrilith: a professor at the Avehi Arcana Magitorium, lady Syrilith is affectionately called ‘The Librarian from Hell’. She is a strict Faerie Dragonborn who teaches about dragons and their long history, as well as the School of Illusion.

Her sword she weields,  a Fey enchanted blade called the Glamorblade, matches her fickle nature in that it causes Syrilith to project phantasms of herself, allowing the woman to go in for the kill.

Syrilith stats

June RPG Blog Carnival Wrap-Up: The Third Fey March

As the official start of summer gets underway steadily, the Fair Folk pack their caravans and begin to slowly, quietly, drift into the tors and mounds which they call passageways to their home. They leave as quickly as they arrived, with passerby’s never the wiser.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the Third Fey March! You guys astounded once again with the theme, and I wanted a moment to showcase all the entries for the month of July.

Here are those who put their creativity into the theme this month:

RPG Blog Carnival: Friends from the Faerie-Side

Welcome back, friends of the realm!

A apology from my end, for being stupidly lazy with posts. Life is hectic for the Lady of the Fae, so let’s hope that my sporadic posts make up for that.

To bring some variety to  the Fey we see presented in Dungeons and Dragons, here are some that are taken directly from faerie lore across the world as well as some custom things created for my own amusement and games. These are also a sampling of creatures from a larger project I am currently working on, and only really have had the time to make any sort of real headway with.


Bwca

 

Related to friendly household spirits such as Brownies, the Bwca is the much more mean-spirited version of these diminutive, helpful Good Neighbors.

The Bwca, as a house faerie, will do chores while the inhabitants are not around or blissfully unaware of its physical presence. However, if it is not thanked en masse for its hard work, via an offering of alcohol or a saucer of cream, it will soon become destructive and wreck havoc across the property it works to maintain and live in.

Bwca 2


 

Deepwoods Guardian

Vaguely resembling bipedal tree-like forms, Deepwoods Guardians are aptly named: nomadic shaman-esque fey creatures who are skilled in pacifistic magic and guiding the lost.

Though they are capable of great destruction, violence is never their first reaction. Often, they would rather talk to someone and figure out the reasoning to their actions before choosing a proper course of action. And sometimes, if one is lucky, a wanderer would gain it’s s favor by doing such small things, like planting a flower.

Deepwoods Guardian


Image result for jack-in-irons

Jack-In-Irons

 

One does not often think about giants as being Fey creatures, but such is the case in two beings: the kind-hearted Firbolgs and the much-less pleasant Jack-In-Irons.

Wandering lonely causeways and passages in the dead of night, the Jack-In-Irons is a malign thing. It does not take kindly to  those it crosses, especially humanoids who lack faerie blood.

Their most well-known attack is when they lob one of many heads at wanderers, which they seem to never have any less then five heads total of things which they have recently killed.

Jack In Irons


The Nualavae

A horror if there ever was one, the Nuckalavae is a chaotic beast even amongst the wild faeries.

The Nuckalavae is something which is unimpeded by water and terrain, the ocean proving just as easy for it to navigate as  the roaming hillsides it stalks. Sailors know to avoid the territory it claims as its own, and that the only way to keep away from it is by crossing a rather mundane threshold: a simple brook of running water will stop it dead in it’s tracks.

Nuckalavae stats

 

All artwork belongs to their respected artists. All creatures are either created from homebrew or are actual mythological figures: if they resemble anything previously created, this is by sheer chance. 

All content by Pitfalls and Pixies belongs to Faith D’Ambrosio (Brynvalk.Wordpress.com) 

The 2019 RPG Blog Carnival: The Third Fey March

Featured Art: ‘Faerie Boy’ by Evanira 

Ah, the warmer months of spring and summer. When life comes about, new and refreshed after the cold winter’s reign. It just makes you want to dance and flit about, doesn’t it?

Well, that sort of merriment comes to Pitfalls and Pixies for the month of June. Once more, you, adventurous homebrewers, set foot into the mysterious Realm of Wonder in this month’s installment titled The Third Fey March.

The Third Fey March is part of an expanding network (or should we say hivemind for some of the creatures) to provide the tabletop gaming community with more Faerie/Fey  themed content, as it seems to be drastically small in comparison to things like demons, dragons and the like. And certainly, lady Titania and lord Oberon are none too pleased by this.

What Qualifies For ‘The Third Fey March’? 

As the world of the Good Neighbors is stretched far and wide, and their mythology as varied as the cultures they come from, any sort of topic can be chosen, including but not limited to:

  • How do the Fae and other sylvan beings interact with your home world/personal setting?
  • Tricks and traps that faeries use to befuddle and trick mortals
  • Of course, new monsters inhabitants of the Faerie Realm. Everything from bwcas to the mightiest of Archfey, nothing is held off!
  • How you incorperate real-world mythos of the Faerie Folk into your games/stories
  • Sylvan-themed player options; races, backgrounds, feats and items (both normal and cursed: the Faerie Folk do love curses and tricks, after all!)
  • Fairies in popular culture  and media, and how this has influenced them across the media spectrum
  • Show off your fantastical art with a sylvan motif! Fine art, writing, cosplay? Everything and anything goes!
  • Re-branding existing content as fey themed
  • Taking characters from pop culture who have such faerie ties and statting them for actual play in games, as either hostile or friendly NPC’s

 

But Brynvalk, How Do I Sign My Soul to the Fae   Participate? 

Easy!

All you need to do is create content befitting of June’s theme,  and post a link to this blog post in your contribution.

After this, you leave a link to said post in the comments of the hoster’s own page. At the end of the month, said hoster will compile all posts into one master post and show off this homage to the residents of the Realm of Wonder, hoping they will take kindly upon our offering to them.

Remember: if using someone’s art, always give credit where credit is due! ‘Tis just common courtesy.

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again: I look forward to seeing what your creativity brings about!

The RPG Blog Carnival is hosted by ‘Of Dice and Dragons’. All past posts can be seen here, or if you would like to host the Carnival in the future,

 

The Art of the Character: April RPG Blog Carnival

Hello, pixies and sprites, to the warmer start of the year. The blog has been rather silent here, mostly because I run two campaigns in my free time (so I dont have much time in the slightest bit).

Codex Anathema is running the RPG Blog Carnival this month, and its topic is a bit different then most: this time around, it deals with DM’s/GM’s bending the rules a bit for thematics. And while I generally stick to RAW (Rules As Written), I do like to alter things to be more interesting from both a mechanical and story point of view.

Monsters: Variation is the Spice of Life

So when you have multiple friends who 1) have the Monster Manual and 2) are not so good at keeping meta information from blending in with the knowledge that their character would have, it can be a bit frustrating to plan encounters. I found that there are some relatively easy ways to keep those inquisitive sort on their toes, not aware of threats.

To better explain, I’ll use examples of how I’ve changed up the dynamics of how certain monsters work.

Shadows: Shadows are literally that. Hazy blackened figures (if you’ve seen Dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you know what a Shadow is). However, to a character who does not focus on Strength as a stat of importance, they can be generally shrugged off.

I have made my Shadows a bit worse. Seeing as how there are so many PC options that rely on Dexterity, I made my Shadows either drain a PC’s Strength or Dexterity. The chance of death, when either stat reaches 0, is still the same but it strikes fear into Rogues more then you could imagine.

Hag Covens: ask any of my players, and they’ll tell you that a monster I use somewhere in all of my games would be Hags. Now, I generally don’t use hag covens, mostly because that means more that I have to keep track of.

However, in a recent game that I am running for some in-person friends, I finally used the optional Hag Coven rules in the Monster Manual, but with a bit added. Instead of the standard spells the Coven would get, I swapped them out to be more thematic with each hag in the group. In this case, it was one Night Hag, Green Hag, and a Sea Hag (who should not be working together at all).

While the combat ended shortly, they were able to use some of their coven spells to throw them for a loop. Not to mention, with the variation of each Hag’s innate abilities, it was a fun combat to run for both me and the players.

In addition, each room in the complex of the group was themed after one of the Hags in the group, and the party was trying to figure out what was the deal with this eerie trio of women who were stealing selkie skins.

The Fey: I personally don’t like how 5e treats creatures with the Fey typing  as diminutive tree-hugging hippies, as actual faerie folk are actually terrifying in theory and abilities.

In my game worlds, I don’t go off of their Monster Manual/Guide to Monsters/ Tome of Foes listing, but the actual mythology behind the creature and the culture it comes from (if it has a real world equivalent).

Cold IronSomething I have added to any creature that has the Fey Ancestry trait or has any racial association to faerie is an actual downside to playing it: Cold Iron Vulnerability. In folklore, the Faerie Folk/Good Neighbors do not like iron, which keeps them from crossing thresholds, doing certain actions, etc. I utilize that in my games as the note I have on the side. As many races in my worlds do have some sort of ties to this mysterious, magical creature typing, this is an extra threat to these characters. I also have rules for making a weapon coated and made from the material.

Player Characters

Now this is going to most likely be a small section, as to how I have had a need to do this much, but to better fit the build or story of a PC, I have made minor changes to a race to better fit the theme.

Naiads, a homebrew race which I say are fey water spirits, were changed to minor elementals, as the player didn’t see their Naiad character as fey-associated. So, Keth was Related imagechanged to an elemental similar to how Genasi could technically be considered that. Instead of knowing Sylvan, Keth had Aquan as a racial language. 

Elves/half elves and Firbolgs, as well as Kitsunes, Dryads and Selkies, (the last three are all also homebrewed) were all given Cold Iron Vulnerability. This has led to a kitsune PC taking damage from touching dwarven made cold iron mining tools being harmed, and both a Dryad PC and NPC being terrified of cold iron bullets from fey who were immune to that most unholy of materials. The NPC also has still-visable scars from cold iron plated swords striking his skin. It is something that not even the Archfey can avoid. 

In a game I am sporadically playing, the DM has allowed all of a PC’s spells to largely do acid damage as they have become known as the Acid Wizard. This makes jokes in-game hysterical but his spells are going to be useless when we get to an enemy who’s immune to that….

Dragonborn have tails as well as Dark Vision. Stylistically I like the idea with tails a lot better then lacking, and why wouldn’t they have Dark Vision if their ancient, powerful ancestors do? Thematically, it doesn’t make sense (at least in my head it doesn’t).

Druids in my worlds can Wild Shape into Swarms and not just singular creatures. This is because like classic faeries, druidic type characters in folklore and mythology were able to do this sort of thing, including the Celtic goddess Morrigan, goddess of death, war and magic (overall, a complete bad-ass).


 

If you would like to join in on the fun with this month’s Blog Carnival topic, head on over to Codex Anathema’s post and participate for the month of April! 

Blog Carnival: Divines and the Worldbuilding Process

Hail and well met, pixies and sprites, to 2019: I apologize profusely for my laziness on Pitfalls and Pixies, but hopefully with the New Year I’ll be more active (and now that the holiday season is over, as well).

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival kicks off with kjdavis’ ‘Divine Worldbuilding’. While not something I initially put great thought into, I suppose I would come now speaking about my current campaign and some of the deities which populate the realm known as Faustus Kil.

In this magitech setting which I run, there are several countries and powerhouses in existance: Chervaux, Saum, Zoraiv, Criyith, Petra, Aggithil and the Dreadfang Republic. Not all of them have a binding mythology to them, which  makes the countries of Zoraiv and Criyith radically different from the other established locations.

(At least at the time of writing this: the second game I am running here is heading to Saum so this’ll allow me to flesh out this southern neighbor further. I may do a continuation of this topic with Zoraiv but that’s just so many deities that I have no idea how long it would take to cover them all.)

Criyith: The Dragon’s Roost

Literally that cliche’d region on any map that reads Here Be Dragons, the country known as Criyith is exactly that: the homeland of the dragons on the whole, as well as their offspring the Dragonborn and Dracovecta (humanoids which combine dragon blood and lineages not of that species). Criyith is an island in the southwest whose inhabitants are odd: not only do they have scales, tales and  teeth, but they have an innate fear of any magic not of a divine nature.

As such, they have developed a close, intimate relationship with the four cornerstones of their regional pantheon. Those beings are the following, listed below and with  their roles in their society.

Glamdraug: The Divine Egg-Bearer. She Who Provides. Life Domain.

Keeper of the Flameseeker Prophecies by Isvoc
Glint from the Guild Wars franchise was a large preliminary inspiration behind Glamdraug. Not so much in appearance, but rather in what she represents. 

The first of the major Criyithian pantheon, Glamdraug is the matron of the society and by far the one who is held aloft the most (though her importance is neck-and-neck with the other three: it seems she is just more revered then the others).

Glamdraug is seen as the mother of the draconic race and really, any creature that has  the dragon typing. Her primary attributes are:

  • Life in its current state.
  • The action of childbirthing, courting, etc. In this aspect, Glamdraug  could also be associated with romance and couples, if one stretches this meaning.
  • The extermination of the undead: a scourge against everything that this goddess stands for.

All of the dragons were created at the same time, by an unknown entity whose name is lost to all of those not their children. They are the only ones who remember this individual’s name, but they are sworn by blood and word to never reveal whom this may be.

Glamdraug was the first created, and scholars speculate the favored child out of the four. With a calm serenity to her, it is no surprise that she is favored among dragon-kind and revered as the Mother to All. Even those reptilian creatures who lack a semblance of sentience react at the mere mention of her name, such as wyverns and drakes.

 

Khorvas: The Justicar. He Who Decides. Knowledge Domain.

Onyx by Chromamancer
‘Onyx’ by Chromamancer (deviantart.com)

Perhaps the most studious of the four,  Khorvas is the one who is most likely to speak to the mortal races beneath his wings. An adept scholar and collector of lost lore, the Justicar uses his acute mentality to win battles of wits and soothe over the arguments of divines and the common folk below.

Due to him being called He Who Decides, Khorvas has the following  domains associated with his name:

  • Decision making, similar to that of Anubis and the Weighing of the Heart in standard Egyptian mythos.
  • Clairvoyance and divination: two arcane traditions that are actually not taboo to Criyinthians
  • Divine judgement, and delivering the will of the gods.

A quirk about Khorvas is his precidings over the arts of divination, which is typically seen as something heretical. This is not the case in the Land Of Dragons, due to He Who Decides having a claw directly involved in this. Priestly workings dedicated to Khorvas often use this sort of magic in communicating deeper with him.

In one of two current parties I run in this world, a player’s Dracovecta character says that she would identify most with Khorvas, as a Bard (College of Lore). Rilith is the scholarly sort, a third year at a mage school, and says that her veneration for this god most likely lead her  down the path to studying at the Avehi Arcana Magitorium.

 

Otughu: The Thousand-Winged. He Who Billows. Tempest Domain.

Storm Dragons by EternaLegend
‘Storm Dragons’ by EternalLegend (deviant.art.com)

Otughu is the third of the pantheon of Criyith, and some say he is the much more reserved foil to Parnaghast. Storms are chaotic and uncontrollable, but have a pattern: war and the insanity which She Who Feeds presides over does not, coming about out of nowhere.

Aspects of the Herald of Storms rules over include:

  • Storms (it’s literally in his job description).
  • Orderly chaos, or chaos that has a greater importance.
  • The elements of air and water: sources that nourish and provide, which works in tandem with Glamdraug.

Otughu is, by far, one of the more primal-minded deities due to the nature of what he presides over, but this does not mean savage. Otughu teaches those who wish to learn his viewpoints of Faustus Kil that being in tune with one’s instincts does not necessarily mean something negative in connotation. One of his prime teachings is “be the storm’s fury, but also the calm to its eye”. 

Because of his controlled ferocity, he is not directly associated with the bloodlust that comes about in combat. Moreso, he is the tactician that strikes hard and at once after methodical thinking and deliberation. He is not about attacking at random, but knowing the precise moment to come in and call attention to him.

 

 

Parnaghast: The Ever-Active. She Who Feeds. War Domain. 

Wrath of the dragon by VampirePrincess007
‘Wrath of the Dragon’ by VampirePrincess007 (deviantart.com)

Parnaghast, strangely enough, is the fourth of the dragons and is actually the most fleshed out (relatively speaking). The Criyinthian deity of war, destruction and the end of all things, she is a necessary evil when in conjuncture with the other three. Not merely the in-world chapter of Wizards of the Coast’ main baddie Tiamat, she has her own role to play in the world at large.

The being who causes much of the antagonism in Criyithian folkore, her associated concepts are as follows:

  • Generalized chaos, be this good or ill.
  • Destruction (for both personal pleasure and to ensure the start of a new day).
  • Conquest over enemies, the patron of the warrior, per say.

That does not mean that she is merely the villain in this mythology. Parnaghast’s fury is oftentimes what is needed to bring calm to a calamity: the end of things to allow for the new to blossom. From the ashes of her rampage comes the start of the beginning.

Chaos also does not directly associate itself with things such as trickery, as often many real-world gods and beings who are associated with Trickster archetype are also involved in chaotic aspects. This is not the case with Parnaghast, who has a distinct lack of this sort of nature to herself. She is  the blood-rage of barbarians; the pain in a mother’s cry as she gives birth; the will to survive when one must decide on flight or fight.

The Ghost Host’s Manor

Welcome back, foolish mortals.

As All Hallow’s Eve creeps up on us on Wednesday this year, I figured that many of us are most likely encorperating spooky aspects of the holiday into our upcoming sessions. Whether they be homebrew campaigns or just something to add some extra ‘oomph’ to your Curse of Strahd game, here’s something that may help.

My real-life friends know what a nerd I am for Disney World and the storylines for their attractions (Expedition Everest being one of my favorites but I’m not here to write a Disney travel blog). And while I could talk about any number of things from the parks and movies, here’s something to keep in spirit with the time of the year.

‘The Ghost Host’s Manor’ is a homage to a classic Disney World attraction, and should be fairly obvious to which one it is. Inside of the PDF you’ll find stats on the Ghost Host himself, the mystic Madame Leota and the singing statues which reside in the mansion’s gardens. Just don’t forget to beware of hitchhiking ghosts.

The Ghost Host’s Manor

This is not a serious piece and is a creation of pure fandom, not ment to be reproduced for sales and currency. Fun and holiday spirit is the most important thing here! 

Arcaniva and Tulpa: Two Esoteric Races for Dungeons and Dragons 5E

Hello again, friends! I apologize for some time of absence but the job has gotten more and more busy in the past weeks with the holidays coming up. Trade season is one heck of a time.

Regardless, I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak at part of the latest project I’m working on with two new playable races: the Arcaniva and Tulpa.

Both of these races are rather strange and mystical, and are part of my own homebrew campaign world. I’d love for you guys to play one and give me some feedback on how it runs!

A side note: Tulpa are a great race for children to play, in order to get them used to 5th Edition. It lets them select any number of traits to make a character they like without having to be limited to what is already offered by the system. At the same time, it is challenging enough for more experienced players due to their quirk based on thought.


Image result for magical orbArcaniva

I swear, the thing pulsated in an unholy way that shouldn’t ever exist. I blame rampant mages for its mere existance.

Magical energy cannot truly be destroyed; simply only transfered into a different form once one means has been expent. Those talented in various arcane and divine traditions know this all too well, and should take the utmost care in their spellwork.

For some though, primarily those who gain their powers through Otherworldly pacts and Wild Magic Surges, they do not have the ability to control their biggest strength. In the wake of these rampant powers, Arcanivas are born.

A Matter of Magic. Arcaniva are a race which has only recently been classified as its own breed of sentient creature and not just a simple magical anomaly. They claim that they have been around for just about eternity, but it is only in recent times they have been given an official name.

Arcaniva Names. Arcaniva are strange, in how their names are self chosen and gender neutral. They are often a word or short phrase that is associated with magic and various mystical traditions across the realm. Some even name themselves after enchanted creatures which they find intriguing and natural phenominom associated with magic.

Example Names. Rune, Sigil, Salamander, Pendulum, Kirin, Augury, Silver, Eclipse

Racial Features. As an Arcaniva, you have the following traits that you share with others of your race.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution increases by two. Arcaniva, while being the result of spells, need to be hardy to survive as long as they have with little detection.

Move Speed. You have a move speed of 30 feet, and you hover an inch to two inches off of the ground. Arcaniva don’t have completly corporeal tethers to the ground beneath them, as magic is fluid and consistantly fluxuating.

Languages. You know how to read, write and speak Common and one additional language based on your subtype.

Darkvision. You can see in darkness for up to 60 feet in shades of grey.

Magical Mindset. You are proficient in the Arcana skill. If not adept casters themselves, it helps Arcaniva understand their own strange origins.

Innate Spellcasting. As beings born of magic, you have a limited number of known spells which is dependant on your subtype. This is described below in the next section.

Subtypes. When creating an Arcaniva, you may choose from one of the following as a subtype.

Nature

Arcaniva who come into being with the Nature subtype are the biproducts of druidic practices long since ceased.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom increases by one.

Additional Language. You may choose to understand either Elvish or Druidic.

Innate Spellcasting List. At corresponding levels, you may choose one spell listed from each section.

1st Level. druidcraft, mending, produce flame

3rd Level (regain on a short or long rest). absorb elements, longstrider, purify food and drink

5th Level (regain on a long rest). flaming sphere, healing spirit, warding wind

Priesthood

Arcaniva born into this typing are the remains of holy magic, whether they be Clerical rituals or a Paladin’s righteous fury.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence increases by one.

Additional Language. You may choose to understand either Celestial or Sylvan.

Innate Spellcasting List. At corresponding levels, you may choose one spell listed from each section.

1st Level. light, resistance, sacred flame, thaumaturgy

3rd Level (regain use on a short or long rest). *bless, detect poison and disease,

5th Level (regain use on a long rest). branding smite, continual flame, spiritual weapon

 

Occult

Arcaniva born with the Occult subtype are products born from dark rituals and tappings into the most taboo practices of magic.

Ability Score Increse. Your Charisma increases by one.

Additional Language. You may choose to understand either Abyssal or Infernal.

Innate Spellcasting List. At corresponding levels, you may choose one spell listed from each section.

1st Level. mage hand, prestigiditation, minor illusion

3rd Level (regain use on a short or long rest). false life, illusory script, silent image

5th Level (regain use on a long rest). misty step, ray of enfeeblement, shatter


CDC day 3 - Left Hand of the Erlking by flatw00ds
‘CDC day 3 – Left Hand of the Erlking’, by flatw00ds (deviantArt)

Tulpa

No mommy, I swear that Barghil is real! Isn’t that right, Barghil?

Their existance is yet to be completly understood, though they have been known through many iterations and names in different regions. Many times, they are played off as simply imaginary friends to children and young adults. But these are more then just the past times of an overactive imagination. These are tulpas.

Whimsy Made Real. Tulpa are in a sense, akin to constructs in that they are artificially created but their forms are as wild as the minds of those they spring forth from. Their appearances can range from fantastical creatures to noble warriors and terrifying specters. They are not limited to what is possible in the Material Plane and its rules of physiology.

Children at Heart and Essence. Rare creatures, tulpa are innately connected to children and those who have a imaginative way of seeing the world around them. But they understand more then even the most literate bards that words have power. So long as their story and thought of what makes them who they are, they will live on immune to the passage of time. But if they are forgotten, they shall disappear eternally.

Ability Score Increase Your Wisdom increases by two, and one stat of your choice increases by one. Tulpa often have a strange world view of their own, but their features can be anything that can be imagined.

Move Speed Your move speed is 30 feet.

Languages. You know how to read, write and understand Common and a language of the person whose imagination you sprung forth from. For example, if you were imagined by a tiefling, you would know Common and Abyssal.

Ageless. You cannot age and cannot be killed by old age so long as you are remembered in some way. However, you can still die from poison, physical damage or anything else which may take the life of another.

Pure Imagination. Unlike standard races, when creating a tulpa, you may choose three of the features listed below. These also have a list of attributes which can be associated with each of these traits. Ypu choose one trait from each section below

Pure Imagination, Section 1

Aquatic. With fish like traits, you have the ability to breathe in and out of water.

Darkvision. Manifesting in eyes which glisten with unnatural energy, you can see in the dark in shades of grey up to 60 feet out. You cannot see in magical darkness.

Sturdy. Larger or more stocky in physical form, you have advantage on Strength saving throws to resist being grappled or moved by force. You may also make this saving throw to ignore a spell effect that automatically pushes you away.

Elemental Resistance. Your skin glistens and shines with sparks of energy found in the natural world. When creating a tulpa, choose either fire, lightning, cold, acid, poison

Flight/Gliding. Appearing many times as wings or even flaps of skin on the arms, you can naturally fly at a speed equal to your move speed so long as you are not wearing medium or heavy armor. You may also choose this option as a means to break your fall if you are falling from great heights.

Pure Imagination, Section 2

Camogflauge. You have an innate ability to hide yourself naturally. You can change the color of your skin and the equipment you wear to gain advantage on Stealth checks.

Charge. When you move in a straight line for at least 20 feet, any melee weapon you hit does an additional 1d6 damage of the damage of the type that it normally would do.

Natural Weapons. Beast-like in your manners, you have either a natural Bite or Claw attack which deals 1d6 piercing or slashing damage.

Tree Stride. You may enter a tree that is a size Large or bigger, then reappear out of another tree of a similar size no more then 60 feet away. You have one use of this and regain it on a short or long rest.

Mimicry. You can skillfully imitate voices and sounds which you have heard. Those who can hear the imitation can make a Intelligence (Investigation) check equal to 8 + your proficiency modifier.

Pure Imagination, Section 3

Beast and Plant Speech. You can speak fluently with animals and plants as if you shared a language with them.

Fey Thought Patterns. The imagination of the one you were born from was not easilly swayed. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and cannot be put to sleep through magical means.

Magically Inclined. the air around you shimmers in a strange yet enchanting light. Choose a spell list from Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer or Wizard. You may choose two cantrips from that spellcasting list to learn.

Mana Blood. You being born of high magic has you not needed to eat or sleep. You can still eat but it is not mandatory for you to do so. Alcohol can still make you feel the side effects of over drinking, however.

Terrifying Presence. Just being around you is enough to make others quake in fear. You have advantage on Intimidation rolls as well as advantage on fear saving throws.

2018 RPG Blog Carnival Wrap Up: Tabletop Tales

As July ends and we go into August, the Carnival enters town and leaves once more, providing inspiration and festivities to passerby.

Rodney and his group plays through the series ‘Stranger Things’ and accounts their misadventures.

Doctor Necrotic recounts various campaigns he has played in, including one of my own.

A mischievous Furtive Goblin has a very odd first campaign situation, and speaks of it here.

Magic: The Gathering is a love of Gonz, and he talks about ‘having to wear Prada’ for his game group.

While the posts were few and far between, I enjoyed each and every one of them! If you didn’t send me your article yet, no worries: just send me the link and I’ll update the list with your contribution.