Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Son of Kyuss - CR 6 (Medium Undead)

One of AD&D's slightly grim undead for you today. Fresh from the original Fiend Folio, here is the 5e Son of Kyuss (now with added maggots). 

Son of Kyuss
Medium Undead (Chaotic Evil)
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Armour Class: 14 (Natural Armour)
Hit Points
: 44 (8d8+8)
Speed 20'
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STR 18 (+4) DEX 11 (+0) CON 13 (+1) INT 5 (-3) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 11 (+0)
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Damage Immunities: Poison
Damage Vulnerability: Fire
Condition Immunities: Poisoned, Disease, Exhaustion, Fear
Senses: Darkvision 60'; Passive Perception: +10
Language: As spoken in life
Challenge: 6 (2,300 XP)
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Fear Aura: Living creatures that start their turn within 30' of the Son, must make a D.C. 13 Charisma save, or become Frightened of it for 1 hour. Such creatures have the Frightened condition, and must use their actions and movement to get as far away as possible from the monster. They are allowed another saving throw at the end of each subsequent turn to end this effect early. Once they have made the save, they are immune to the fear of that particular Son of Kyuss for 24 Hours.

Regeneration: The Son of Kyuss heals 5 hit points at the start of each turn, as long as it has 1 remaining. Damage dealt to it with acid, fire or by a weapon covered in holy water cannot be healed this way.

Rise Again: Unless reduced to 0 hit points by an attack that inflicts acid or fire damage, or by a weapon covered in holy water, the Son of Kyuss is allowed to make a death save at the start of the next round. If successful, it regains 5 hit points, and may continue to fight.
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ACTIONS

Multiattack: The Son of Kyuss makes two claw attacks.

Diseased Claw: Melee weapon attack, Reach 5', +7 to hit, one target, Hit: 20 (3d6+9) slashing damage, and the target must make a D.C. 15 constitution save or become infected with Worms of Kyuss.


REACTIONS

Loathsome Demise: When the Son fails its death save and is slain, all living creatures within 10' of it must make a D.C. 15 Dexterity save or contract Worms of Kyuss, as it explodes in a shower of writhing green maggots.

WORMS OF KYUSS

You are immediately infested with fat, burrowing green maggots, that begin to consume your innards and nerves. Every minute, you must make a D.C. 15 Constitution save. If you fail, your current and total hit points are reduced by 10 (3d6). Every time you fail your saving throw, the save D.C. Increases by a cumulative +1. If you are slain by this foul illness, your body collapses. 1 minute later, it animates as a Son of Kyuss. This disease is actually a curse, and so, a Remove Curse must be cast on you before you can receive succor from a Lesser Restoration or similar curative magics. 

 Photo bomb!!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Playtest - Artificer Spell Conversions (5e)

As you are no doubt aware, I have created a 5e artificer class, which I will post it here once we have play tested it a bit, and know how broken it is  or isn't. However, I have converted a bunch of 4e artificer powers into 5e spells, and thought I would share them. They have not been play tested, so I can't be 100% sure they are balanced - use at your own discretion!

Enjoy!

AGGRAVATING FORCE
Transmutation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Special (one melee or ranged weapon)
Components: V
Duration: 1 Round

You enchant the weapon so that the next attack it hits with before the end of your next turn inflicts force damage instead of its normal type. The target must also make a Constitution save, or the next attack made against them has advantage.


THUNDER ARMOUR
Evocation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Self or one target within 50'
Components: V,S
Duration: 1 Round

You summon a field of protective force around the target, granting them a +1 bonus to their AC and Reflex saves until the end of your next turn. A single enemy adjacent to the target must make a Constitution save, or suffer 1d4 force damage, and be pushed 5' away from them.

The spell inflicts 2d4 force damage at 5th level, 3d4 force damage at 11th level, and 4d4 force damage at 17th level.


STATIC SHOCK
Evocation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Touch or 25'
Components: V,S
Duration: Instantaneous

Target must make a Dexterity saving throw or suffer 1d8 points of lightning damage, and suffer a -2 penalty on the next attack roll they make before the end of your next turn.

The spell inflicts 2d8 lightning damage at 5th level, 3d8 lightning damage at 11th level, and 4d8 lightning damage at 17th level.
*   *   *


RESTORATIVE FORMULA
1st level Abjuration

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Self or 50'
Components: V, S

Target gains 1d6 temporary hit points. As long as these are in place, they also enjoy a +1 bonus to AC and Dexterity saving throws.
At Higher Levels: When you use a spell slot higher than 1st, this spell grants +1d6 more temporary hit points per slot level above 1st.

*   *   *

SWIFT MENDER
2nd level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Bonus Action
Range: Self or 25'
Components: V

You can cast this spell when you, or an ally within range fails a saving throw. When this spell hits, they may re-roll the save with advantage.

FORCE INFUSION
2nd level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Touch (1 weapon)
Components: V, S
Duration: 10 minutes (concentration)

You shroud the weapon in a flickering field of force. When it hits a target it inflicts +2d8 force damage and the target must make a constitution save or be pushed 5'.
At Higher Levels: When you use a spell slot higher than 2nd Level you can enchant one more weapon (maximum of 5 weapons) per slot level above 2nd. If you use a slot of 5th level or higher, the bonus damage increases to +3d8 force, and you push the target 10'. If you use a slot of 8th level or higher, the damage increases to +4d8 force, you pushed the target 20', and they must make a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone. 

*   *   * 

DANCING WEAPON
3rd level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Touch
Components: V
Duration: 10 minutes (concentration)

You touch a melee weapon, and imbue it with the semblance of life. It animates, gaining a fly speed of 6 and on your turns, as a bonus action, you may command it to move and attack. The weapon attacks as if you were wielding it. It can be attacked, and has the physical statistics of a Flying Sword, although it gains +8 hit points for every artificer level you possess. At the end of the spell, the sword drops to the floor wherever it is. You may enhance this weapon with your artificer spells and abilities if able.


LIGHTNING SPHERE
3rd level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 150'
Components: V, S, M (splinters of quartz and a marble)
Duration: Instantaneous

You hurl an empowered marble, which erupts in a 20' radius sphere, centred on the spot you designate within range, of lightning energy. This lightning inflicts 5d6 lightning damage to all creatures within it, and attacks against them have advantage until the end of your next turn. If the target manages to make a successful Dexterity saving throw when hit by this spell, they suffer half damage and attacks do not gain advantage against them.
At Higher Levels: When you use a spell slot higher than 3rd to cast this spell, it inflicts +1d6 more lightning damage for each spell slot level above 3rd

*   *   * 

PHANTOM STRUCTURE
4th Level Conjuration

Casting Time: 1 Action (Ritual)
Range: 100'
Components: V,S,M (small piece of brick, stone or similar building material)
Duration: 12 hours (concentration)

You create a bridge that connects two squares within range. The bridge can cover a number of 5'x5' areas equal to your artificer level + Intelligence modifier. It can be smashed, having a number of hit points equal to your level +1 x 10. It has resistance versus all forms of damage apart from force and disintegration, and is immune to poison and psychic. It shares all immunities common to inanimate items.

*   *   *

HEALING FIGURINE
5th level Conjuration

Casting Time: 1 Action (Ritual)
Range: 25'
Components: V,S,M (Small crystal figurine worth 10 gps, which is consumed by the spell)
Duration: 10 minutes

You summon a medium healing figurine in a square within range. It appears with 3 charges. You or an ally can, by standing next to the figurine and spending your bonus action, spend one or more of your hit dice as if you were resting (each use costs 1 charge regardless of how many hit dice you spend). Furthermore, each dice heals an additional amount equal to your Intelligence modifier. Once all the charges are expended, the figurine vanishes. The figurine cannot be attacked, although it can be brought down with a Dispel Magic or similar.
At Higher Level: When you use a spell slot higher than 5th to cast this spell, the figurine arrives with 2 additional charges per level of the slot higher than 5th. If you use a slot of 8th level or higher, you or your allies can access its healing when within 10' of the figurine.

*   *   *
VORPAL EDGE
5th level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Touch
Components: V
Duration: 1 minute

You touch a melee weapon, and enchant it so that it has a much higher chance than normal of striking an enemies vital areas. Whilst so enchanted, the weapon scores a critical hit on a natural 18, 19 or 20.
At Higher Level: If you cast this spell with a 7th level spell slot, it critically hits on a natural 17, 18, 19 or 20. If you use a 9th level spell slot, it critically hits on a natural 16, 17, 18, 19 or 20. 

*   *   * 

IRON HIDE INFUSION
7th level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 25' sphere centred on you
Components: V, S, M (small piece of tempered steel)
Duration: 5 minutes (concentration)

You unleash a burst of bolstering energy. You, and all allies within the area, gain resistance versus bludgeoning, slashing, piercing and lightning damage, a +4 bonus to AC, and become immune to poison, exhaustion and disease. You no longer need to breathe, and appear to be plated in flexible sheets of gleaming iron.
Whilst you are under the effects of this spell, your speed drops by 10', and your weight increases by x2. You also suffer disadvantage on Dexterity checks. You may also suffer more damage from certain attacks, such as those made by a Rust Monster.

*   *   *

UNSTABLE INFUSION
8th level Evocation

Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 25' Cone
Components: V,S,M (one of your artificer infusions or base mixtures)
Duration: Instantaneous

You destabilise a nascent infusion, and project the chaotic blast of energy out towards your foes. All creatures in the area suffer 3d6 acid, 3d6 cold, 3d6 fire, 3d6 lightning, 3d6 poison and 3d6 thunder damage; half if they make a dexterity save.
At Higher Level: If you cast this spell with a 9th level spell slot, it inflicts 4d6 of each damage type instead.

*   *   *

HERO'S ELIXIR
9th level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Minute
Range: Touch
Components: V,S,M (a greater Healing Potion [10d4+20],which becomes the elixir)
Duration: 24 Hours or until used.

You imbue a healing potion with epic restorative energies. Anyone drinking the potion is restored to full hit points, and all ongoing negative conditions and effects on them are removed. They are also considered to have taken a short rest.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Steel Horror - CR 5 Construct

Steel Horror
Medium Construct (Neutral)
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Armour Class: 18 (Armour Plating)
Hit Points
: 75 (10d8+30)
Speed 40', Climb 10'
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STR 15 (+3) DEX 12 (+1) CON 17 (+3) INT 5 (-3) WIS 11 (+0) CHA10 (+0)
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Saving Throws: Constitution +6
Immunities: Lightning, Poison
Resistances: Fire
Condition Immunities: disease, exhausted, frightened, sleep, poisoned
Senses: darkvision 60', Passive Perception +10
Challenge: 5 (1,800 XP)
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Lightning Feeder: When the Horror is hit by lightning damage, it heals a number of hit points equal to the amount of damage. If this would take it over its maximum hit points, it gains the remainder as temporary hit points, and gains a +1 bonus to AC and Dexterity saving throws as long as it has at least one remaining.
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ACTIONS
Multiattack: The Horror makes two Charged Spike attacks.

Charged Spikes: Melee weapon attack, Reach 5', +6 to hit, one target, Hit: 5 (1d8) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) lightning damage and target must make a D.C. 14 Constitution save or be unable to use Reactions and suffer disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws for 1 minute. At the end of each of their turns, they may save again to try and end this effect early.

Lightning Bolt (Recharge 5, 6): Range 60' line; Creatures in the line take 21 (6d6) lightning damage; half if they make a D.C. 14 Dexterity save.

REACTIONS

Arcing Burst: When the Horror is first reduced to half hit points or less, all creatures within 20' take 14 (3d8) lightning damage; half if they make a D.C. 14 Dexterity save. 

Clickety click...

*    *    *

Just a quick reminder, I am not one of the lucky ones who has an early copy of the DMG, so this beastie is made with me eyeballing the stats of similar levelled official monsters. I will revisit it and the others once I have the official rules, to check it is balanced. Anyway, here is a monster I have made as part of my conversion of the Artificer class - a spin off of the Clockwork Horrors. Hope you like it Enjoy! 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cha-cha-cha-cha-changes!

As you may have read below, the guys playing in the Ormid et al game want to convert to 5e. This means that I am only running one 4e game now...and I suspect that we will eventually convert that to 5e as well.

This means that my focus will be moving away from 4e and more towards the newest version. I intend to keep posting to this blog, but its focus too will shift more towards 5e (though obviously, as I create stuff for the Shnecke's Wolves games, which is still 4e, I will post it).

So, if you are converting to the newest verison of D&D, this is still the blog for you! Alas, if you are sticking with 4e, you may find that the amount of raw crunch on here becomes less and less. I do feel really bad about this, but with three kids, a job with loooong hours, and a wife, planning gaming time is a strategic operation worthy of the greatest warlords.

I hope you understand, and intend to keep coming. Hell, if you like my rubbish, tell your friends.

Coming soon - my 5e Artificer, and a TON of stuff that is being converted over for the Ormid et Al game!

5e Warforged Sub-Race

The Ormid et Al game is going 5e!

This means that I need to spend a lot of time converting stuff over (though my artificer class is coming along nicely, and I think, will be great fun to play). Part of this has been adding a Veteran sub-race for the Warforged, and this is what I have come up with!

1) +1 Strength
2) A base AC of 16 - though you suffer Disadvantage on Stealth checks
3) Continue functioning when reduced to below 0 hit points. Whilst in this state, you suffer disadvantage on all attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws, and your speed is reduced by 50%. Enemies have advantage against you.
4) You unarmed attacks inflict 1d6 bludgeoning instead of 1d4

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Gorgoth Player Race (for 5e)

Arbel'Verdaniss' Gorgoth (Orcs) are a tough and brutish lot, with more in common with those of the Warhammer world than traditional D&D. Now I am finding my feet with the system, here are the stats for three distinct versions of the Gorgoth; your vanilla greenskin, the Deep Gorgoth (a pale, stealthier version with slight ties to the shadow planes) and the resilient Mountain Gorgoth. Enjoy!



GORGOTH TRAITS
Gorgothi are brutish and resilient. They are not the brightest beings in the multiverse, but they know little in the way of fear, and tend to be too dim to realise when they should be dying, giving them a disturbing edge in even the most vicious of combats.

Ability Score Increases. Your Constitution increases by +2.

Age. Gorgoth mature when they are just 8 years old, and, if somehow able to survive until old age, tend to live until about 45 before suddenly losing their strength (and minds) and being left alone by the clan.

Alignment. If using alignment, Gorgoth tend towards the chaotic end of evil, although when a clan act as one, they act, en masse, as more lawful.

Size. A Gorgoth bull (Gorg) stands between 6' 11” and 8' tall, although they tend to lean forwards, and so appear shorter. They have very dense flesh and bone, and weigh, on average about 266-350 lbs.

Speed. Your base land speed is 30'

Darkvision. All Gorgoth can see in darkness, and have 60' Darkvision. In dim light within this range, they can see as if in bright light. Within darkness in this range, they can see as if in dim light.

Hardened Constitution. Gorgoth are used to pushing their physical endurance beyond normal limits, and as such gain advantage on Constitution checks and saves to do so. They can also go twice as long without food and water as most races.

Too Dumb to Die. When an attack would reduce a Gorgoth to 0 hit points or lower, it is allowed, as a reaction, to make a Constitution saving throw (without advantage). The D.C. Of this is equal to The damage being dealt. If the Gorgoth makes the save, the attack instead reduces it to 1 hit point. Once this ability has been used, it cannot be used until the Gorgoth has either a short or long rest.

Gorgothian Choppa'. All Gorgoth, regardless of class, are trained to use the Choppa; a huge, blunt, cleaver like weapon that can be wielded one or two-handed, and which can sow utter ruin amongst those against whom it is unleashed. You are proficient with, and start play with a choppa, which has the following stats.

Choppa; Cost. 25gp , Damage 1d10 slashing, Weight 15 lbs, Properties; Heavy, Versatile (2d8).

Choppas are Martial Weapons.

Languages. All Gorgoth, in all worlds, gain their language from the Goddess Gorgamorth, and as such, all speak the same tongue (Gorgothian). This makes it a truly universal language, and as a result, a surprising number of others speak it also. It is a brutish, clotted language, that relies a lot on bellowing and gestures, and is almost impossible to speak quietly.

Subraces. The Gorgoth are naturally nomadic, and have spread across endless worlds and dimensions (where they are called things such as Orcs, Orks, Gorrog, Mongorr or Scro). Below are two of the most commonly encountered subraces; the Deep Gorgoth and the Mountain Gorgoth.

DEEP GORGOTH
You have always dwelt in the utter darkness of the deep earth, struggling against the many potent enemies there, seeking always to crush them, steal their lands, and dominate the realm. You are smaller than your standard kin, and somewhat more adept at moving with stealth. You also see better in the darkness, have some resistance to disease, which helps you survive in the unforgiving deeps, and eventually learn to call upon the powers of shadow to hide you from your enemies. Unlike the green skinned Surface Gorgoth, you have a paler complexion, and larger eyes. Shades of grey, white and pale olive are commonplace amongst the deep Gorgoth, though a rare few have black skin. Eye colour tends towards the more standard yellow or red, although white and pale green are not uncommon.

Ability Score Increase. Your dexterity score increases by 1.

Stealthy. You are proficient in the Stealth skill, and if underground, gain a +1 bonus to such checks.

Improved Darkvision. Your Darkvision has a range of 120', and you can see colour and detail even in total darkness.

Invisibility. At 5th level, you can cast Invisibility as a bonus action. Once you have used this, you cannot do so again until you have a long rest. When you are 15th level, you may do this twice between long rests.

Underground Survivalist. When underground, you are considered to be Proficient with Nature and Survival, and may add twice your bonus when making checks in that environment.

Disease Resistant. You have advantage on all saving throws to resist or reduce the effects of a disease, and may add your proficiency bonus to it.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You are dazzled in bright light conditions, and suffer Disadvantage with attack rolls and vision based Perception checks.

MOUNTAIN GORGOTH
The thin air and frozen peaks are nothing to you, for Gorgamorth has given you more than enough resilience and strength to flourish in these harsh climes. You are stronger than even your lowland kin, and enjoy a measure of resistance to the effects of cold. Physically, you appear similar to your lowland cousins, although your skin is a little thicker, and your hair a little wilder.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.

Mountain Athlete. You gain proficiency with Athletics, and gain advantage when making checks to use this skill in a mountainous environment. You also add you proficiency bonus to Constitution saves to avoid the ill effects of the natural mountain environment, high altitude or cold.

Inured to Cold. Cold damage against you is reduced by an amount equal to your Constitution modifier + Proficiency modifier (minimum 1).

"Allo' Come inside, and meet da' missus. Achooly, fogeddit. DIE!!!"


Friday, 21 November 2014

Ancient Huecuva - CR 3 Undead (5e)

Ancient Huecuva 
Medium Undead Evil
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Armour Class: 16 (Chainmail)
Hit Points
: 44 (8d8+8)
Speed 30' (20' armoured)
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STR 12 (+1) DEX 12 (+1) CON 12 (+1) INT 14 (+2) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 15 (+2)
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Saving Throws: Wis +5, Cha +4
Skills: Religion +4
Damage Resistances: slashing and piercing if not made with a silvered weapon.
Damage Immunities: necrotic, poison
Damage Vulnerability: bludgeoning if made with a silver weapon
Condition Immunities: disease, frightened, sleep
Senses: darkvision 120', Lifesense 60'
Language: Dundiir, Gorgorthian
Challenge: 3 (700 xp)
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Resist The Divine:
The Huecuva gains advantage when saving to resist effects made using the Channel Divinity power.

Flesh Mirage:
The Huecuva can weave a potent illusion around itself, which makes it appear to
be alive. It takes a D.C. 13 Wisdom (Insight) save to see through this, and realise what lurks beneath
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ACTIONS

Diseased Claws:
Melee weapon attack, Reach 5', +3 to hit, one target, Hit: 12 (1d10+6) slashing damage, and the target must make a D.C. 13 Constitution save or Contract Cackle Fever.

Bane (Recharge 4,5 or 6): Spell Like Ability, 30' range, Up to 3 creatures in range, D.C. 13 Charisma save or -1d4 on next attack roll or saving throw.

Ok, so bear in mind that at the time I have made this, we do not have any official D&D rules for monster creation yet! Here is a monster that will be turning up in one of my games soon (so spoilers to my players...urrr...a bit late I know), which you might want to stick in your own games...or not!

Remember kids, stay in school...errr....nyahahahaha!

::EDIT [8/12/2014] - I have the DMG, and have adjusted the CR to reflect the rules within it.::

Sunday, 9 November 2014

RL - Bane of Fantasy

Howdy!

So, nearly moved into our new home, but alas, back at work tomorrow. I am hoping, now that things are settling down a little in Real Life, that I will get chance to get more written and to post more stuff.

But we all know how life has a habit of not playing ball!

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I am neither dead 'nor giving up - just really, really busy!

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Homebrew 5e Warforged vs Mr Baker's Homebrew 5e Warforged

So, Keith Baker invented my fave official game setting, the amazing world of Eberron, and within that, one of my favorite races, the Warforged. So, with 5e, I decided to make up some stats for PC Warforged, and came up with the following. Today, Mr Baker published his own stats, and I have to say, apart from a few differences, they are pretty similar. See what you think!

My version;

Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution increases by +2

Speed: Base walking speed of 30'

Living Construct: A warforged gains advantage when saving against necrotic damage or effects that would put them to sleep. Necrotic damage against them is also reduced by an amount equal to their Constitution modifier +1. They are immune to Exhaustion and Poisons, and do not need to breathe. A warforged gains the benefits of a short rest after only 10 minutes, and a long rest after only 4 hours. Warforged only recover half as many hit points when receiving healing spells. They do not naturally heal all damage after a long rest. Warforged are considered to be both Humanoids and Constructs for the purposes of effects.

Machine Stability: When reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, a warforged automatically stabilises, and does not have to make death saves. They can still be killed by being reduced to minus their bloodied value (half total hit points) or more.

Mantled: Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing damage against the warforged are reduced by an amount equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum 1). It gains a +2 racial bonus to AC, and when hit by a critical hit, has a 25% chance of reducing it to a normal hit.

Natural Weapons: The warforged's armoured fists allow it to punch for 1d4 + Strength mod bludgeoning damage. 

 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Update...The Future Holds Many Things...

Howdy! How's it going?

So, I've been very busy with RL things, and have not had much time to get anything done for here. I also have not been able (for a variety of reasons) to play ANY D&D for 7 damn weeks...which is...painful.

This Thursday a few of the regulars and I are going to take a little break from the 4e campaigning to play a short 5e game. I want to see how it plays, feels and GM's, and have thrown together a little adventure to do this. I'll obviously keep you all informed, share some stats,and may even post a recording of the games if we can keep the language to an acceptable level.

There has been a LOT of talk about D&D editions amongst my players. Over all, the opinion is that as long as we play together, the edition doesn't matter, and most of my players seem quite excited at the chance to play Next. At least one is very reluctant to leave 4e, and I have promised him that the current campaigns will be finished, and that we will definitely still be playing 4e in the future as well as 5e (4e is still, at the time of writing, my favourite edition, and there are so many, many options that players have not yet looked at, I am determined to play more).

However, this unexpected shift in my worldview RE; editions (many of my players would argue this was in no way unexpected), means a definite shift on here too. I will continue to post 4e stuff, but will now also be posting a lot more 5e bits and bobs.

Actually, I will try, as much as possible to do all stats for both games.

I hope this is cool.

Game reports will continue as usual, with the next campaign (a 5e one set in the magic scarce early 4th Age), starting as soon as Ormid and the gang finish their adventures.

Anyway, that's what the plan is. Me and mine are in the middle of a house move, and I work looooong hours, so at present, things, as I said above, are a little slow. Promise to have something for you soon!

Until then, roll lucky...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Faster GM! Faster!!

One of the primary things I am looking forwards to in 5e is faster combat. I LOVE 4e combat (and fully intend to bring elements of it into 5e, the base combat seeming a little bland for my tastes), but with both my groups heading towards the pinnacle of their stories, the battles are getting more massive, more complex - and, if I do say so myself - more awesome. However, the speed at which these battles happen is slowing right down.

This is, I think a combination of things, including the wider variety of powers available to the players, and the larger numbers of enemies they tend to face. Also, despite my player's character's have massive damage output, but the hit point total of the mundane monsters outpaces even their inflated (by base 4e's standards) killing ability. This doesn't bother me when we have boss / demi-boss (solo and elite) fights, as they are supposed to be long, painful affairs. However, when fighting the rank and file servants of these monsters, I don't really want a battle lasting three sessions (as the latest Ormid et al battle has).

So, what to do?

I don't want to continue to inflate player damage output, as that can get way out of hand, and present massive problems further down the line. Instead, I intend to halve the hit point total of "mundane" enemies, with a few tougher guys getting their full allocation (including all solos and elites). I'm hoping that this will allow the massive battles that are going to occur to unfold, without us getting bogged down in long, boring battles that loose their fun factor.

Also, as we don't use XP, there is no game impact beyond quicker fights!

I also use the amazing 4e Combat Manager,  which lets you adjust monster starting hpts with a single click. This is fabulous!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

New Condition - Numbed

"As the horror withdrew its tendril, so a strange numbness and warmth spread through me. The pain I expected was not there, and in its place was a glowing sense of relaxed nothingness. I actually smiled, and only avoided being decapitated when I stumbled over my companions body, and fell backwards out of the way."

- Andriss Vorge, Adventurer

4th Edition Version: A numbed character can no longer feel pain, and is infused with a slight state of dissociated calm, which stops them being able to understand the extent of their wounds and makes them less swift to react. In game terms, the player no longer tracks their character's hit points, the GM doing this (in secret) instead. They also suffer a -2 penalty (per tier of the effect inflicting the condition) to all Dexterity based checks.

5th Edition Version: GM tracks hit points as above, and target suffers disadvantage on all Dexterity checks and saving throws.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Sooooo....

My players have expressed an interest in 5e, and I must admit, after spending some time reading through the final rules, and thinking about my life at present (and how much prep time I don't get any more), we agreed that the next games may well use that system.

....Actually, that's not entirely true. The other group are actually looking at trying Pathfinder once Shnecke and the gang have finished their adventures,

Anyway, as well as 4e stuff on here, you can start expect to see 5e stuff too.

Hope this isn't a problem...I'm pretty sure we are all old enough to see past the whole "Edition War" stupidity!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Shnecke's Wolves - A Night In The Shattered Skull

The crowd are crammed in tightly, eager to see how this night's murder will go, for it has been too long since anyone able to challenge Udd'Fugg has come here. The air is thick with the stink of piss, tabac, wyrdroot and Jiid smoke, sweat, alcohol and testosterone. In here at least, the horrors of the island are forgotten, replaced by the savage hunger to see blood spilt and to make gold from the process. This is the Splintered Skull, an infamous fighting pit on Scarathane, that occupies the grim territories between the Porto di contadini , and the bare stone of the volcano's mid caldera. Famed for its brutal fights and savage combatants, its champion has been the horror known as Udd'Fugg for long and long – something that has caused a slight dip in profits, as the mob grow bored of its easy victories, and pray to Banturn that something more novel presents itself soon. And it seems that this night their prayers may be answered, for a band of adventurer's many have already taken note of have arrived....and they have killed their way to the Skull's champion.

The group arrived here late in the evening after being turned away from Niba's tower by a towering Cinderspawn, informed in its crackling, dead voice, that “The Lady is indisposed for some time, following her direct psychical contact with the entity known as the Scheggia. She will not respond to any summons until she has fully recovered”. Somewhat put out given the trouble they had on the way there, the group seek a distraction...and Shnecke suggests a good bar brawl. And so they found themselves in the sweaty and cramped heart of the Splintered Skull, surrounded by the worst of a bad lot, watching a battle between several pirates in a small, blood soaked pit. Soon after, the group sign up to fight...and a new legend is soon born.

The first battle is over almost before it starts, the group facing a huge Solifugid; a brutally swift arachnid that sports a huge pair of shredding jaws. Deadly it may be, but against the group, the beast stands not a chance, and it is slain within moments, the crowd going berserk.

Next, the group face a band of pirates. All have the olive complexions of Vaedecci, and demonstrate considerable skill and tenacity. The fight is nowhere near as easy as the one previously, and the air of the pit resonates with the cries and roars of the crowd as it swings back and forth in favour of one group, and then the other. However, the pirates are outclassed, and slowly but surely they go down. Eventually, the last of them surrenders; a canto or chanter, who's magic has caused the party more than a little pain during the course of the battle.

And so the group wait in the arena, the air booming with the unified chanting of the crowd around them;

“Thatari's Wolves! Thatari's Wolves!” (Shnecke is not happy, for as the chanting began, the warlock managed somehow to swing their chants to cry his name and not the Ulnyrr's). Money is changing hands at a furious rate above, as bets are placed on the outcomes of this battle, and the party can feel the charge in the air as the heavy gates leading to their enemies chambers begins to slowly inch upwards. From the dimness beyond issues a terrible roar; inhuman and thunderous.

“FUUUUUUUUD! UUUUUUUUG!”

And it steps into the arena, each footfall shaking the blood caked ground. Everyone in the group takes an unconscious step back, the arena suddenly feeling way too small, for Udd'Fugg is truly massive. The crowd also back away from the edge of the pit, their faces growing fearful, for the monster has, on more than a few occasions, grabbed a spectator and consumed them there and then.

“What in the sixty six nights is that?” Growls Shnecke, his hands tightening around the handle of his brutal axe as he cranes his neck to meet its eyes, “'Cos I'm going to carve it a new bum hole”.

“It” was clearly once a gigorim – almost certainly a Vulgorim. However, at some point, someone has enhanced it. Its muscles and skeleton have clearly been mutated and exaggerated to an unnatural extent, giving it a rolling, deformed gait, its tanned flesh grown thick and leathery like that of a Thodzuna. However, this grotesque mutation of its form isn't the thing that dominates its appearance, for it seems that whoever chose to “improve” it went one step further; replacing a good part of its chest, both its arms and its left leg with animated stone prosthetics. They also chose to reinforce its skull, implanting a fortifying exoskeleton of stone to support its grossly thickened skull, and worked dark wonders within it, replacing mortal organs with artifice. Glyphs that glow with a hellish light burn across the stone parts of the half-golem, and both the priest and shade realise that they are Draxian in nature, suggesting a possible origin for this nightmare – though how it came to be here is something they can only guess at.

Udd'Fugg stands before the group, his eyes shining with hunger and hatred. Either side of the area a low rattling heralds the arrival of two pillars from which spring lethal blades. Each clatters to a height of about 10' before slowly starting to spin, the air savage with the low swoop of the blades as they describe a vicious zone of slicing death around them.

The crowd begin to chant the group's names, and the announcer (who during the break between this fight and the last came to wish the group good luck, his heart hopeful that they will defeat their current, staid champion and usher in a new order within the arena), his voice magically amplified, announces the start of the battle, the crowd going insane as the group's name is called.

Things do not get off to a good start. Varracuda charges in and slashes out, his blade throwing sparks as it rides along the layers of magical protection covering the monster. In response, Udd' grabs the swordmage and lifts him up in his massive fist, completely covering his upper half. He then grabs the unlucky adventurer's legs, and begins to twist him as if wringing out a wet cloth, sending waves of abject agony through his body. Varracuda tries to scream within the clammy, stinking darkness of the brute's closed fist. His spine feels as if it will snap, and his stomach as if it will burst open. He tries to wriggle free, lights dancing before his eyes, only doing so when Shnecke gives voice to a terrible roar; alive with the primal rage of the frost wolf, and lands a ripping blow across Udd's knee, knocking him back and forcing him to drop the dazed swordmage.

Shnecke is sent spinning away from the monster by a well placed kick from one of its oversized boots, the Ulnyrr smashing against the wall of the arena with a sickening crunch. Magic rakes at the monster as Grigori unleashes his spells against it, a blast of flame following as the warlock adds his ire. The air shimmers with violence, and money madly changes hands as the crowd become suddenly unsure who will prevail in this deadly battle...

Even to a crowd inured to acts of violence, the battle that takes place in the arena that night is a revelation. Udd'Fugg is a truly deadly enemy, and he wants to live to see another day. However, even he, in his magnificent lethality, is slowly but surely weakened and eventually brought low by the group, his form torn and blasted, frosted and dissolved. His artifice innards are ripped and burst, and his spirit crushed under layers and layers of divine magic, and elder hexcraft. He gives as good as he gets thought, and more than a few times it looks as if one of the group are doomed. Alas, he is simply not able to fend off the whole group, and as he weakens so they thrive; the magics of the priest, warlock and swordmage coming together with the deadly poisons and tricks of the assassin and raw brutality of the barbarian to bring him - with Shnecke's axe tearing a bloody swathe along the front of his throat and up through his jaws and into his face - down.

The group forge a new legend for themselves (and Shnecke's axe seems to grow more potent in that moment of glory, somehow seeming more deadly and alive than before), being the new champions of the pit – a title they must be careful to defend if they wish to keep it.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Updated Something

So, following the play tests, I have tweaked the "hit by" values for the "Hitting Harder by Rolling Higher" rules to take into account the impact of the Escalation Die. Although I wanted these powers to trip several times in a battle, I didn't want to see the top tier powers triggering multiple times.

I have also tidied up some of the descriptions!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hitting Harder by Rolling Higher - Update

We tried these rules in the last Shnecke game, and made a few observations...

1) They were cool for the players, as they got to do some extra funky stuff

2) The fight was slightly quicker thanks to the extra damage and conditions

3) The fight was against a solo monster, so the boons granted by the high rolls stacked pretty viciously (especially as the group knew they were in for a solo fight, and went nova with their dailies, meaning that at once point, the enemy had a -6 penalty to their defences, which meant that hitting by 7+, especially once the escalation die had hit 4+ was pretty easy). It was felt that the potency of the abilities would be watered down quite a bit in a battle with multiple enemies.

4) Some of the wording needs to be made a bit clearer. For example, choice C isn't clear that if you hit by 5+, you shift up to half your speed instead of 1 square, not as well as!

5) The players worried that the rules might lead to an arms race between GM and player. We talked about how this isn't so much of an issue in 4e, with its more balanced maths, but acknowledged that this is a risk in any game where house rules came in.

In the end we agreed to try them again, and to see how we felt about them. When I get time, I will tidy up the wording on the abilities a bit too.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Hitting harder by Rolling Higher

Updated 10/9/2014: Player Bonuses with Exceptional Hits: Many monsters get to hit harder, the larger the margin by which they hit, and it only seems fair that players get to enjoy this kind of benefit too. So, to this end, here are some suggestions for effects that could occur when a character hits by a certain amount over what is needed.
Each category is cumulative. The player decides which benefit to apply, and can only choose one (A-I assuming they hit hard enough to have the option open to them). The effects are cumulative with a bigger hit. So if you pick benefit A) when you hit by 7+, you can inflict +2W (or +2d10) damage.
Hit by 5+
A) You inflict +1W or +1d10 damage with the attack
B) You push the target 1 square
C) You can shift 1 square
D) You gain 5 Temporary Hit Points
E) Target grants combat advantage until the start of its next turn
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by your level percent until the end of the encounter.

Hit by 7+
A) You inflict an additional +1W or +1d10 damage with the attack
B) You push the target 1d4 squares and they must make a Dexterity (+Acrobatics) check equal to 10 + ½ you level + the attack's ability modifier or fall prone
C) You can shift up to half your speed (instead of shifting 1 square)
D) You gain 10 Temporary Hit Points
E) Target is dazed until the end of your next turn
F) You save against one effect a save can end
G) If you attack inflicts a condition a save can end, the save becomes a Hard Save
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by twice your level percent until the end of the encounter.

Hit by 9+:

A) Target also suffers Ongoing Damage equal to your level (save ends)
B) +5 to the D.C. To prevent falling prone. If knocked prone, target is also dazed (save ends)
C) You also gain a +2 dodge bonus to your defences until the start of your next turn
D) You either gain 20 temporary hit points, or may spend a Healing Surge
E) Target is stunned until the end of your next turn
F) You save against one effect a save can end. Either decrease the difficulty of the save by one category or roll the save with advantage
G) On a failed save, the target suffers damage (the same as the triggering attack) equal to the powers level.
H) Make a basic attack as a free action. You can make a number of additional attacks this way in any round equal to the escalation die.
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by three times your level percent until the end of the encounter.

Hit by 12+:
A) Hard Save Ends
B) +5 to the D.C. After Effect: The target is dazed (save ends)
C) You can shift up to your speed, and the dodge bonus increases to +5. If the escalation die is 6, enemies have disadvantage when attacking you until the end of your next turn.
D) You either gain 40 temporary hit points, or may spend 1 healing surge to heal your bloodied value hit points. If the escalation die is 6, you may also save against all effects a save can end.
E) After Effect: Target is dazed (save ends)
F) Save against all effects a save can end. All saves have their difficulty category reduced by 1
H) Gain a bonus to the additional attack(s) equal to the escalation die.
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by four times your level percent until

NOTE (10/9/2014): Updated the “hit by” values to take into account the escalation die's impact on things following play testing.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Glyph of Warding - Level 12 Ritual

You inscribe mystical sigils onto the floor, whispering the words that will bind deadly energy to them, ready to strike at those that come uninvited.

Level: 12                                              Component Cost: 2,500 gps
Category: Warding                              Market Price: 8,500 gps
Time: 10 Minutes                                 Key Skill: Arcana or Religion
Duration: Permanent until triggered

You create an invisible glyph that wards a single 5' square. You can cast it on any solid surface, and at the time of casting can designate up to five individuals, or one condition that allows safe passage (for example, the presentation of a particular symbol, gesture or password). You are automatically immune to triggering the glyph. As you cast the glyph, choose one of the following energy types; Acid, Cold, Fire, Lighting, Necrotic, Thunder, Radiant. This is the damage type the glyph inflicts when triggered.

The glyph remains in place until it is crossed by an unauthorised individual, or until someone fails by 5+ to disable it. When triggered, the glyph makes the following attack in a close burst 2; Your Level +5 vs Reflex; Hit: 8d4 [Energy Type] damage (10d4 damage at level 17, 12d4 at level 22, and 14d4 at level 27); Miss: Half damage. Hit 4+: Target also suffers Ongoing damage equal to half the damage inflicted by the initial attack (save ends); Hit: 6+: hard save ends

When you cast this ritual, make either an Arcana or Religion check. This sets the D.C. Of the Disable roll needed to safely remove the glyph. This result +5 is the D.C. Needed to detect the glyph with either Arcana, Thievery or Religion.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Badass Flumph (Level 25 Elite Controller)

"Adventurers often smirk and joke about the so called 'Flumphs', regarding them as nothing but tavern talk or a joke for greenhorns to fear on their first quests. Alas, I know now that they are not only real, but that some grow old and powerful. We had been exploring the shifting corridors and endless chambers of one of Armun's sentient levels, when suddenly we found ourselves face to face with one of the strangest things I have ever (in a career severely packed with strange things) seen. It was a Flumph. However, it had somehow implanted shaped and articulated plates of Adamantium into its soft body, crafted glasteel lenses for its eyes, and mastered new and deadly powers. 
"Of course, it was also insane, having been trapped in its room for countless years, forced to battle endless waves of lost souls, and we too soon found ourselves fighting against it. I feel that ultimately we did the poor thing a favor, for we put pay to its endless torments and finally gave it some rest. However, it left poor Vlad insane and babbling, and poisoned Claus and Briefholdt so severely that both perished. 
"I never smile or chuckle when folks mock Flumphs, and would advise you to do the same. Too many times, legends and jokes turn out to have a deadly side in this messed up realm."

- Avandreis Hetteth, Adventuring Mage.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Flumph (Level 2 Controller)

The Flumph is a monster that has been at the centre of more than a little discussion over the years, with people either loving them, or hating them. Personally, I always thought they were cool, although I can't remember ever using them (Actually, I may have used them once in 2nd Ed....though I'm not sure). Anyway, This Tweet has got quite a few people excited, so I thought I would pool the AD&D, Pathfinder and newest versions together, to create a 4e Flumph worth using. Enjoy!



 meep! Wuv meeeee!




Saturday, 16 August 2014

Unsleeping Custodian (Level 22 Soldier)

Who doesn't love a gigantic mummy that can rot the flesh from your bones, curse you with ancient and terrible magics and smash you to gristle and juice? Your players, that's who!

Make sure you read the bit above about using my monsters!
The Nauseated and Sickened Conditions can be found in the House Rules (also above)
Disadvantage is the 5th Edition Mechanic.


peek a boo!

Well Done Roll20!!!

Roll20 won Gold for best software at the ENies, and as a regular and devoted user, I could not be happier for them. Well done you lot!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Exciting Times

It's funny, despite not intending to run the newest version of D&D (not unless my players suddenly demand to play it), I am looking forwards to getting my hands on the new books. Partly, this is because I am a huge D&D nerd, and have been since '87. Mostly however, it's because I am looking forwards to seeing what bits and bobs we can steal to use in our 4e games.

However, I am even more excited by the imminent arrival of the .pdf version of two Pathfinder books - the Advanced Class Guide and the Technology Guide. This is partly because I suspect, in a year to a year and a half, we will be seeing Ormid and the gang retiring to their places in history (although at present they are knee deep in vampires and other undead horrors, as they begin to realise that unifying the thieves guilds of the North is not going to be as straight forwards as they initially hoped), and I have put it to them that we might think of using Pathfinder for the next game (although I again suspect, and am 1000% happy with the fact, that we will almost certainly stick with our house ruled version of 4e). However, I am also looking forwards to seeing what new items, abilities and tricks these books bring to the game - again, with a view to pinching them for my 4e campaigns.

The truth of the matter is, I am a bit of an omnivore. I have rule books for many, many systems (especially bestiaries) and I actually make constant use of all them, taking ideas and converting them to 4e (which is very, very easy). My players are used now to facing Pathfnider monsters, things from video games, and horrors from a host of strange and unusual settings...as well as my own fevered brains.

Of all the changes in how we play though, the introduction of several ideas from 13th Age and believe it or not, the introduction of items more in line with those from 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder have been the biggest...and they have made the game more fun, no less balanced, and kept it infinitely interesting.

I guess the point of this post is to say that edition wars are fundamentally dumb things. Even if you don't like a system or intend to play it, there are likely some good ideas (or monsters, or items) that could enrich your chosen game.

To finish, here are the scratch notes for a Pathfinder to 4e conversion I did for one of the games I run. Nothing fancy, but potentially very cool for whoever uses it;

+4 Brilliant Energy Longsword (Level 20 Uncommon; Property: Inflicts radiant damage instead of slashing, and wielder may chose to target Reflex instead of AC with melee attacks made using it. Sheds light as a torch (cannot be ended. Must be placed in scabbard to hide); Power (Daily; Standard Action * Radiant) Close burst 3; Targets all creatures in burst; Blind creatures are immune; Attack: Wielders level +3 vs Reflex; Hit: Target is blinded until the end of the wielder's next turn; Hit 3+: Target is blinded (save ends); Hit 6+: Target is blinded (Hard save ends). 

HERE is the Pathfinder version. 

What are your thoughts?  

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Shnecke's Wolves - The Second Meeting, Bargains, Personal Projects, Feyr Factor

(03/09/1472) 05:00 – 10:30; The streets of Scarathane are all but deserted as the group wearily make their way back to the SC, the Splinter contained within a runestruck box of cold iron and silver (a gift from Niba – adding to the cost of her favour, when it comes). It seems that even the hardy denizens of this foul place have learned to fear the unseen horrors that bring madness each night, and have taken to hiding away where they think – wrongly of course – they cannot be hurt by them.

On returning to the ship, they only have time for a couple of hours sleep, to review the current situation, and for them to check on what has been going on. Then they must leave and head out to meet with the Feccia.

10:30 – 12:00: Iskarius is late, and the group begin to wonder if they have been scammed. Patience has worn thin by the time he and his faithful automaton arrive, the heavy tromp of “Mr Butcher's” footfalls shaking the small chandelier that hangs above the meeting table. He is accompanied by another man none of the party know. Like Iskarius, he is a swarthy, olive skinned man, clearly of Vaedecci descent. He has a neatly trimmed beard, short curly hair, and wears mustard coloured robes of fine cloth, stitched with silver runes and sigils. A quiet aura of power emanates from him, though nothing compared to that of Niba, or, to be honest, the adventurer's themselves, and all immediately know he is some kind of mage or artificer.

Iskarius, apparently either ignorant to the group's withering glares or unconcerned, claps his hands together, before rubbing them and saying.

“My friends! It seems you are still alive, and have something with you.”

He grins over to the other man, who smiles back, and with a spike of anger, Grigori realises that neither truly believe the group have done what they asked.

“This is Colvoton√© Giotto, one of our mages. He is here to confirm the validity of the item you have brought here.”

He grins again, apparently enjoying the group's mounting anger.

Here's your cursed blade!” Snarls Grigori, sliding the heavy box towards the men.

Iskarius looks down at the box, and then gestures towards it, looking at Colvotoné. The mage moves to open it, but then smiles, winks at the party, and spends a few moments with his eyes closed, holding his hand above the surface. All (save the Unlyrr) feel the quiet pressure in the air as he concentrates on the box, clearly trying to sense whether or not there are any nasty surprises waiting for him. After several moments, his eyes open, and, apparently happy it is safe to do so, he opens the lid.

At once the air seems to grow thick with a subtle, dreadful energy, and everyone feels their bowels clenching and their nerves fraying as they recognise the hate of the essence within the flint dagger. Both Vaedecci feel it too, and the group take more than a little pleasure from watching them grow pale beneath their complexions. Looking suddenly unsure, the mage looks towards Iskarius, who, angrily it seems, nods towards the blade sharply. The mage looks at the party, no longer smiling, and repeats his examination. This time however it lasts mere seconds before he yelps, dragging his hand back as if burnt. Muttering rapidly in his native tongue, he swings the lid shut, stepping back as if the dagger is going to throw the box open and leap at him.

He speaks to Iskardius in Vaedecci, and the Feccia representative, looking quite peaky, looks at the party with a sudden degree of respect. The mage continues to babble, his fear apparently turning into anger, and Iskarius holds a placating hand up to him, nodding and waving for him to be quiet. However Colvotoné only shuts up when Mr Butcher, sensing his master's discomfort, suddenly emits a menacing growl and moves towards him, empty eyes flashing with power.

So,” mutters Iskarius then, his voice sounding sick, “it seems we entirely underestimated all of you. Honestly, we expected you to bring in a fake, or, if insane enough to actually try and do as we asked, for there to be some kind of furore as you inevitably messed things up and drew the Cani Mortali fire.

To say we are impressed at the successful completion of your, to be frank, purposely impossible mission, is...an understatement”.

you mean you were expecting us to die?” Asks Thatari angrily.

Varracuda slams his fist into the table, his shredded nerves demanding he make this fool pay for his stupidity. However, Iskarius holds up a warding hand.

Please, please. You must understand. Many adventurer's come to us with similar offers to yours, and they, like you, have things we would enjoy taking ownership of. In your case it was your ships. We send them on dangerous missions, in the hopes that they die and we can take their stuff, and if In the process they help our cause, well, so much the better.” He laughs, “It is, well, unheard of for a troupe to succeed, but...”

He gestures at the box.

What can I say, you have all impressed!”

He spends a moment apparently thinking, then.

Please, if you could wait here, I would like to bring one of the Captains to meet you. Indeed, it will be Giovanni himself. Can you wait? I will also need to take the Scheggia with me, to prove I am not insane.”

The swordmage moves as if to try and snatch back the box, but is stopped by a look from the priest (although both Shnecke and Thatari seem to be sharing Varracuda's thoughts). Iskarius sees this and pauses, gingerly grabbing the box when it is clear they are not going to do anything hasty.

12:00 – 13:40: Wine is brought to the room, but no one touches it, fearing that the Feccia might be trying to poison them. After an hour, they hear voices outside the room, and the door opens once more. Two soldiers, dressed in heavy plate armour, and bearing the standard of the Feccia stride in, taking up positions at either side of the table (the group move uneasily to their feet, ready to defend themselves if this proves to be an attack). Then, a third man – impossibly good looking and well groomed, his hair hidden beneath a modest powdered wig, his eyes bright and alert, his clothes of the finest make and quality – strides into the room, his eye sparkling with happiness and eagerness. Everyone notes the practised, athletic bounce in his steps, and the smooth flow of his movements. They also note the ornate sabre at his belt, and the rune-wrought pistol he carries on his hip.
He beams at the party, and with a bow introduces himself as Giovanne de Feccia, a noble Captain of that house. Noticing the wine, he pours himself a glass, and takes a huge mouthful, before sitting down and finishing the drink.

A please. Sit. Sit. We need to talk my friends!”

He pours himself more wine, asking the group if they will join him, and then makes the party an offer – membership, for a year and a day, with the Feccia. The terms are simple; the group will undertake high risk and difficult missions for the house, in return for status in the city, discounts with all merchants in the port, and free berth for their vessels. After the contracted period, both parties will meet to discuss whether or not the contract continues. Expecting only some free days in the port, the group are slightly flabbergasted by this offer, and ask to be allowed some time to discuss. Giovanni waves at them in a “go talk” manner, and sits back, savouring the wine, all the time watched over by his silent, armoured guardians.

After some deliberation and argument, the group agree to the pirate Lord's contract, and sign it. Giovanni is delighted, and thanks them for their wisdom.

We shall be in touch very soon with your first mission.” He beams, rising to his feet, and heading towards the door. “Please make sure you are available for when we call, as I feel you will be sent on some very important missions for the Feccia indeed.”

13:50 – 19:00: With the meeting over, the group return to their vessel, and are quite shocked to discover that it is already late afternoon. The assassin, swordmage and barbarian all get some rest, taking advantage of a rare chance to do nothing. Grigori heads into the city in search of an item of which he has read, that he feels would be most useful to the group, a Foe Stone. It takes him some time, but he is fortunate enough to locate a vendor who has one – though he ends up paying a significant amount for it.

Thatari, his mind once more plagued by sinister voices and pressures coming from beneath the monstrous bulk of the volcano, heads back to the docks, to the place where he purchased Hannah. Before doing this, he meets briefly with the Nadruul child, and discovers that she had been captured with five siblings – three brothers and two sisters. It is only then that he realises that she speaks of the other children in her circle; the group in which she was raised, and not necessarily blood relatives. He promises her that he will bring them back, but Hannah does not look hopeful. Then Caleph protectively moves in, and takes her away.

Downat the docks, Thatari discovers that most of the slavers that trade here have no stock left, the unnatural ice trapping them in the port stopping them from gaining additional cargo. However, the man from whom he purchased Hannah – one Captain Jager Halstruth; Captain of the “Freedom's Despair” - seems to still have a huge supply, and numerous folks clamour to buy his latest acquisitions. Thatari notices that the slaver is watched over by three repellent guardians, their stench and loathsome forms enough to keep everyone in order. They are zombies of some kind; the bloated and animated corpses of gigorim. Each is alive with maggots and flies and misshapen with blood filled blisters. Their eyes bulge like egg yolks lolling in the puffy recesses of their eye sockets, and the air around them thrums with the frenzied activity of a million carrion flies seeking a place to rest and feed. A particularly massive one squats, rivers of mucus and filth pouring from its slimy skin, its rot inflated intestines poking through a soft rip in its swollen belly, on the ship's deck, carrion birds feeding on its dead flesh as it glares emptily at him, and the warlock wonders who could have created such a potent monster.

Thatari has to wait quite some time to speak with the slaver, as he is busily haggling with many merchants and servants from the city. However, his patience bears fruit, and he eventually learns that the others like Hannah were purchased by a Zargorim named Zaad, apparently the primary procurer of slaves for the denizens of the Zargorim citadel. When asked what he uses them for, the pirate laughs.

T'aint any of my business what them giants use 'em for. As long as they pay me, they can do what they want with 'em.”

Thatari decides to let the slaver believe that he has found Hannah to be a particular steal, and advises him that he would appreciate being contacted if any more slaves of similar stock come into his possession (he intends to obtain all captured Nadruul with the aim of setting them free, and so is a little perturbed when Jager tells him he will order his servants to seek out more “palies” for him).

Thatari returns to the SC then, pleased with his work, and eager to seek out this slave master Zaad.

Whilst this has been going on, Shnecke has been working to affix the hammer head he recovered from the pirate treasure hoard to a handle, managing with surprising skill to do just that. Completed, the head suddenly flashes with power, the dundiir runes upon it glowing with deadly portent. However, it also becomes suddenly incredibly heavy and unevenly balanced, and with a roar of frustration, the barbarian realises that he currently lacks the manual dexterity to perfectly wield this ancient “Doom Singer”; a weapon crafted to slay the sons of the Adar, the Gigorim.

19:00 – 19:45: That evening, the group meet to discuss what to do next, and it is agreed that they will journey to ask Niba if she knows of any items that may allow Schnecke to wield the Doom Singer, and then, with the giant slaying hammer in hand, seek entry into the fiery citadel of the Zargorim with the aim of finding and rescuing the slaves.

The group leave the ship, and enter the strangely empty streets of the city. Once again, few have ventured out, although the distant screams and yells that filter over the constant rumbling of the volcano demonstrate that their homes may not be as safe as they imagine them to be. Headed towards the eastern side of the island, and the wall that leads to the badlands where the archmage's tower stands, the group pass through a region of crowded, ash choked alleys, the air bitter with sulphur and gritty particles. Alert for danger, the group suddenly feel their spirits sinking; an alien sense of hopelessness and distress rising within them. Suppressing panic, they all realise that something unnatural is stalking them – something that suddenly, and with terrifying violence, manifests amongst them, biting out with multiple sets of underslung jaws.

A brief skirmish with the Feyr ensues, with the group spending a lot of time trying to work out where it is (for it becomes invisible for much of the battle, only appearing to savage a party member, or to unleash some kind of psionic attack). However, using area and burst attacks, the group negate any advantage it might have had against them, and they are able to drive it off relatively unharmed (although both Shnecke and Grigori spend a lot of the battle struggling to act, the monster controlling their emotions, making them feel utterly unconcerned and bored with their situation).

With the strange monster driven off, the group continue on their way...