Friday, December 1, 2017

Monster Mash: Q is for Questing Beast

Is there more comedy or tragedy in equal parts found on the mortal plane than in the ironic quest to find the "Questing Beast"?

A Tradition.
The Glatisant or "Questing Beast" started as a tradition played upon young squires: their mentors would take them into the woods to hunt down a beast that has been troubling the local peasants without telling them anything about the creature. The older knight would treat this hunt with all seriousness. After night falls, the mentor would build up the size, speed and ferocity of the creature before describe the beast:

The creature has the spotted body of a leopard, the neck and head of a great serpent, the legs and hooves of a hart, and a long lion's tail. Its footfalls are silent and it can climb a tree as easily as a spider. You can hear the Glatisant call, the barking of thirty hounds hunting prey, right before it ambushes its prey!

Just as the knight finishes the story, the sound of barking hounds come from nearby, and the knight tells the squire to seek out the beast. Of course, there is no beast. The sound of the barking came from a hidden accomplice with several hounds or a dog call. The squire then spends the night, frightened of his own shadow, scrambling around the woods until morning. When they reveal the trick, the squire is embarrassed but gets to borrow the tradition and use it on the next apprentice.

It is all in good fun... until the gods get involved.

A Cosmic Joke Turned Real. Perhaps, a heroic god was displeased with a family of knights or a trickster god wanted to teach a do-gooder a lesson, but the Questing Beasts was made real.

The Glatisant is a large and solitary ambush predator that hunts small birds, lizards and fish. They spend most of their time lounging about in the branches of trees, running at break neck speed that defies their awkward body shape and barking in excitement when they see humanoids. Their call does sound like dozens of dogs yipping. Their natural instinct is to run from humanoids and they seem to enjoy the chase.

They are most vulnerable when they stop running to cool off with a drink.

The Quest. Many knights are tasked with hunting these creatures by the gods but they are difficult to catch. Some families hunt the same beast for generations, since these creatures live for hundreds of years, and the creature is a symbol found on many family crests. While some knights perhaps driven mad by the quest would slay the beast for a trophy but it is considered bad luck to harm one of these creatures. They are not known to attack humans. It is better to release them back into the wild so that future heroes can prove their mettle by catching the Questing Beast. And who knows, perhaps the Questing Beast will reward this act of mercy by coming to the aid of their favorite Questing hunter in their time of need.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Monster Mash: P is for Psobakka

Something has been digging up the graves and fouling up the corpses. Some nights the graveyard keeper hears a single pair of hooves walking up and down the gravel pathway that winds through the foggy graves and the strangled howl of a wolf. The village priest tells him that is just some of the local boys up to mischief but he knows better. The graveyard keeper locks his door at night. He prays that the trespasser doesn't grow bored of corpses. 

Necromancer's Pet. Psobakka are fiendish creations of evil spellcasters to serve as guards and corpse thieves. As a combination of demonic ritual and necromancy, they are crafted with the tail of a devil, the legs of a horse, the upper torso of a man, and the head of a wolf or jackal embedded with the chaotic yellow eye of a demon in the middle of their head and a jaw full of metallic teeth. They serve their creators, in exchange for souls, by guarding the spellcaster and hunting down more valuable body parts from nearby graveyards.

Anthrophagus Beasts. The psobakka only eat dead flesh. When they kill living humanoids, they often keep body parts as trophies to later be consumed when they start to rot. Psobakka also gain the memories of those they consume. If a psobakka's creator dies, they will consume their dead master and continue to try to carry out his will.

Pack Dynamics.  A powerful necromancer with the proper parts can create a psobakka alpha, a larger and more powerful variant, that often serves as the leader of a pack of psobakka. Psobakka Alpha always tend to be smarter than their lesser counterparts, often requiring multiple brains to function, and have psionic abilities.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Naryan Class Options: Way of the Unblinking Eye Monk

Monks are disciplined warriors who find balance between mind, spirit and body, honing their energy--their ki-- into supernatural techniques that enhance their offensive and defensive abilities in battle. Each monastery has different ideals that inform their disciplines; some are guardians who learn mastery of the body to defend their order, some are stealthy assassins who move like shadows to seek out their enemies and destroy them, and some master the elements to help the people with mage like abilities. Others are scholars who seek knowledge. Some go too far.

Some monks look for answers to questions that no mortal should ask. And sometimes someone answers. The answers they give are not for mortal minds to bear. The monks that survive and keep guard the world from these truths are the monks of The Unblinking Eye. They are corrupted by the void, the mysterious enigmas of space and time, and by forces beyond even the gods. Yet, they manage to contain the madness, tame the impossible and repurpose it as armor and weapons against their foes.

The Unblinking Eye monks are interested in attaining knowledge, protecting forbidden knowledge, and protecting the world from the forces that would corrupt it.

Corrupted Ki

Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, your mind echoes out of itself as it tries to escape the horrible truth. You can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 feet of you. You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language.

Also, you can spend a ki point to add your proficiency bonus to an Arcana, History, Nature or Religion skill check.

Also, your ki has been corrupted by the unknowable knowledge that you learned but cannot unlearn. You gain the ability to disable your opponents with your ki. Whenever you hit a creature with one of the attacks granted by your Flurry of Blows, you can impose one of the following effects on that target:
  • It must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be blinded, deafened, or poisoned until the end of their next turn.
  • It must succeed on an Intelligence saving throw. If they fail, the creature can't cast spells, use psionics, activate magic items, understand language, or communicate in any intelligible way until the end of their next turn.
  •  If the target can hear you (though it need not understand you) or your thoughts, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or take 1d4 psychic damage. The psychic damage increases to 2d4 at 5th, 3d4 at 11th, and 4d4 at 17th.

Fading Spirit
Starting at 6th level, you gain the ability to destabilize reality to blink in and out of existence. As a bonus action, you can spend 2 ki points to cast blur or misty step.

Reforged Mind
 By 11th level, you have learned ways to shield your mind from invasion. Your thoughts can’t be read by telepathy or other means unless you allow it. Furthermore, you cannot be charmed while conscious and have advantage on saving throws against abilities that would compel your actions.

You also have resistance to psychic damage, and, whenever a creature deals psychic damage to you, they must make a Wisdom saving throw or take your monk level in psychic damage.

The Ethereal Eye
At 17th level, by gazing into the void, you have obtained truth. You gain true sight up to 120 feet. You can see in normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects, automatically detect visual illusions and succeed on saving throws against them, and perceives the original form of a shapechanger or a creature that is transformed by magic.

Furthermore, you can see into the Ethereal Plane and interact/affect creatures and objects within the ethereal plane as if they were part of the material plane.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Naryan Class Options: Oath of the Crusader

We previously covered the Nameless God before and the Crusaders of the Holy Imperium.

Today, we look at the paladins of the Nameless God and their oath, the Oath of the Crusader. Paladins of the Nameless God are zealots who put their god above all others and opposing the gods of other faiths. They believe that they are holy warriors fighting an uneven war against blasphemers and heretics, worshipers of false and traitorous gods, and unnatural forces that would destroy the world in the absence of its creator. They seek to spread the truth, destroy the falsehoods and defend the children of the Nameless God until his prophesied return.

Tenets of the Crusader
The exact words and interpretations of the Oath of the Crusader may change, but they all hold these truths close to their hearts.

There is Only One Truth. There is only one god, the Nameless God. He is the creator. We are his children. He is lost, but not forgotten.

All Other Truths are False. All others 'gods' are false. They betrayed him. I will not suffer their falsehoods. I will spread the truth.

I Am His Sword. I shall destroy those that would prey upon the world in his absence: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. I will oppose the authority of the false gods and the outsiders. The unnatural and the traitors are not his children.

I Am His Shield. I shall purge the Imperium of blasphemers and heretics. I will protect the faithful. I will not falter.

The Lost Shall Be Found. Those that follow false gods are lost. It is my duty to bring them into the fold. Those that would oppose their salvation are his enemies.

He Shall Return. His faithful children will be rewarded. His enemies will submit to his glory. The world will be saved.

Oath of the Crusader Spells
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.

3rd Shield, Protection from Good and Evil
5th Silence, Zone of Truth
9th Counterspell, Dispel Magic
13th Banishment, Freedom of Movement
17th Commune, Hallow

Channel Divinity

Spell-Breaker. You can use your Channel Divnity to call upon the Nameless God to defy the unnatural. As a reaction, which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet casting a spell, you cast the Counterspell spell without expending spell slot as if you cast it at 3rd level.

Crusader's Stand. You can use your Channel Divnity to survive the impossible. As a reaction, until the end of your next turn, if damage would reduce you to 0 points this round, you instead are reduced to 1 hit points and are unaffected by all active conditions.

Aura of the Crusader
Starting at 7th level, you can take an action to pick one creature type: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. You and all allies within 10 feet of you are under the effect of a Protection from Good and Evil spell. This effect ends when you pick another creature type from the list.
At 18th level, the aura increases to 30 feet.

Beginning at 15th level, you have resistance to damage from spells and other magical effects.

At 20th level, as an action, you can say the name of the Nameless God.

As an action, your body becomes abjured against death itself. For 1 minute, if you would be reduced to 0 hit points, instead you are reduced to 1 hit point.

Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Also, during the minute, you can choose to perform an act of martyrdom to become a saint. You succeed at an impossible act but drop to 0 hit points and fail three death saving throws. You cannot be resurrected by any means after performing an act of martyrdom.

No one knows for sure if the miracle you achieved is by the shear force of your own faith, the faith of the Imperium, interference by past saints or by the distant influence of the Nameless God.

Character Crunch: Satyrs, Centaurs & Minotaurs of Geleda

Ability Score Increase You increase your Dexterity by 2 and your Charisma by 1.
Alignment. Satyrs have little to no interest in questions of morality or ethics. They are interested in one thing and one thing only: partying. Some satyrs will stoop to any low to entertain themselves, others play cruel games, and others are more benevolent in their merry-making. Satyrs tend to be chaotic neutral.
Size. Your are similarly sized to a human. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 35 feet.
Merry-Maker. You have proficiency with the Performance skill and in one instrument.
Ram. Your horns are a strong natural melee weapon, which can be used to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 2d4+ your Strength modifier. 
Charging Ram. When you use the Dash action on your turn, you may use a bonus action to make a ram attack. If you hit with a ram attack against a Medium sized or smaller creature, after taking a Dash action, they must also make a Strength saving throw equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier. If they fail, they are knocked prone or pushed away 5 feet (your choice).
Magic Resistance. The satyr has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Extra Languages. In addition to speaking Common, satyrs speak Elvish and Sylvan.

Ability Score Increase You increase your Strength by 2 and your Dexterity by 1.
Alignment. Centaurs are peace-loving nomads that try to avoid conflict but, when pressed, are fierce opponents to evil. They tend to be neutral good but those that have had a bad experience with civilized people may be more chaotic.
Size. Your are similarly sized to a draft horse. Your size is Large. You can carry twice the weight of a medium sized creature and double the weight you can push, pull, lift and drag.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
Runner. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
Charge. If you move at least 30 feet towards a target and hit it with a melee weapon attack, they also take an additional weapon dice. You can only use this once per turn.
Hooves. Your kicks are a strong natural melee weapon, which can be used to make unarmed strikes. Each attack with your hooves deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier. Once per round, you may deal an additional weapon dice with one of your hoof attacks.
Trample. When you take the Dash action on your turn, you can move through the squares of Medium sized or smaller creature. They can take a reaction to move five feet into the nearest unoccupied square but, if they do so, they cannot take an opportunity attack against you during this turn. If they do not move, you can make a hoof melee attack against them as a free action.
Barding Required: Armor made for a centaur costs four times as much as a medium sized humanoid and weighs twice as much.
Extra Languages. In addition to speaking Common, centaurs speak Elvish and Sylvan.

Ability Score Increase You increase your Strength by 2 and your Wisdom by 1.
Alignment. Labyrinthine minotaurs follow strict codes of honor and tradition passed down through their culture. They are loyal companions and dangerous foes. Living in the World Below is harsh, often brutal and extremely competitive, and therefore their race tends toward evil.
Size. Labyrinthine minotaurs are smaller than their more monstrous savage cousins. They are Medium size.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Gore. Your horns are a deadly natural melee weapon, which can be used to make unarmed strikes. You attack with your horns (a gore attack) and, if you hit, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d10+ your Strength modifier. If you move at least 30 feet before your hit the creature, they must also make a Strength saving throw equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier. If they fail, they are knocked prone or pushed 10 feet away from you (your choice).
Raging Bull. When you use the Dash action on your turn, you may use a bonus action to make a gore attack and if you hit you deal an extra weapon dice.
Beast of Burden. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Labyrinthine Recall. Labyrinthine minotaurs can perfectly recall any path they have traveled.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Character Crunch: The Onijin, The Civil Servants of the Mugen Empire

Onijin are the descendants of an oni warlord that was married by alliance into their family at the behest of the Jade Empress. They are often employed as body guards and advisors to important nobles, due to their innate abilities, and almost all onijin receive some education in the arcane either by tutor or the Imperial Mage Academy. While they are respected by the Mugen nobility, they are often feared and even persecuted by the common folk.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2 and your Strength score increases by 1.
Age. Onijin reach maturity at the same rate as humanoids until their prime and can live for up to 500 years.
Alignment. Onijin are almost always nobility and have a tendency towards lawful alignments.
Size. Onijin have builds similar to most humans and are medium sized.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Dark Vision. You have the fierce eyes of an oni, especially in the dark. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Elemental Resistance. You have a oni ancestor. Choose one type of oni demon (Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning or Poison). You have resistance to the elemental damage associated with that oni ancestor and you gain a cantrip. If you choose acid, you have resistance to acid and you know the acid splash cantrip spell. If you choose lightning, you have resistance to lightning damage and you known the shocking grasp cantrip spell. If you choose poison, you have resistance to poison and you know the poison spray cantrip spell. If you choose fire, you have resistance to fire and you know the firebolt cantrip spell. If you choose cold, you have resistance to cold and you know the chilling ray cantrip spell. You use Charisma as the spellcasting ability for this cantrip.
Enlarge. For 1 minute, the onijin magically increases in size, along with anything it is wearing or carrying. While enlarged, the onijin is Large, doubles its damage dice on Strength-based weapon attacks (included in the attacks), and makes Strength Checks and Strength saving throws with advantage. If the onijin lacks the room to become Large, it attains the maximum size possible in the space available.

You regain this ability after taking a long rest.
Student of the Arcane. Onijin are almost all educated in the ways of the arcane. You gain proficiency in the Arcana skill.
Extra Languages. You can speak, read and write in common and giant.

Monster Mash: N is for Nuruvilu

Travelers see what appears to be a glowing sword with a gem encrusted hilt in the deep end of the river. A youth swims out to pull the sword up but his hands pass right through it. His companions shout out to him, but it is too late. The powerful muscular form of the nuruvila is wrapping around his body and he hears a chuckle before his shoulder is punctured by a mouth full of fangs. The nuruvila drags his prey to a nearby den but never takes its eyes off of the slain youth's companions.

They will never take a river crossing for granted again.

River Predators. The nuruvila is a creation of some mad wizard or cruel god, resembling a fox that has been given a serpentine form and the fangs to match, but with a twist that sets it apart from creatures like the owl bear; the nuruvila can create illusions to lure its prey or frighten off threats from its hunting ground.

They generally seek out river crossings that are isolated but necessary for a community to cross and will remain there until their prey stops using the crossing or they're scared off.

Bully Illusionists. Nuruvila are not terribly smart but the make up for that with cruelty and a bit of imagination. These creatures are ambush predators that usually attract prey with illusionary traps such as food for lesser prey but they prefer to hunt and consume sentient creatures. Often they rely on greed to get the better of their prey but they are known to also appeal to their sense of duty. Too often does a hero leap into a pool of water saving a struggling child, only to struggle for their own life.

And the nuruvila relishes the suffering they cause. They are known to taunt survivors and many travelers are haunted by the laughter of these beasts.

Cowardly Beasts. Usually, when a nuruvila takes up residence they can be exterminated by brute force or, more commonly, the local shaman will instead rely on threatening the creature rather than engaging it directly. Nuruvila are notoriously cowardly. This can be used to the advantage of unscrupulous villages-- a shaman could recommend that the nuruvila terrorizes the waterway of a rival village or make a deal for the nuruvila to serve as a guardian of some important crossing.

The nuruvila is usually willing to go along with such an arrangement as long as it is well-fed and kept in check by the shaman's threats.