Monday, March 31, 2008

Necromatic Nargile - Major Wondrous Item

The Nercromatic Nargile: This glass hookah was created in 1634 in Turkey by the infamous Ottoman sorcerer Fazl Abdullah. Its cap is made of gold, its hose of tightly woven silk, and its mouth piece is cunningly carved from a piece of amber that contains an entire tiny scorpion. Even when the Nargile is not lit, the interior of its glass body is hazy, as if with smoke.

When lit, and when tobacco or opium is being burned in it, the nargile can trap an incorporeal undead create that is nearby. To activate this ability, a user must smoke from the hookah. Activating the nargile is a standard action that does not draw an attack of opportunity. Lighting the hookah is a full round activity and does draw an attack of opportunity.

The undead creature gets a will save (DC 20) to resist the effect. If the creature fails the save, it is trapped within the glass body of the hookah. The nargile can trap 30 HD of undead.

Releasing an undead from the nargile is a standard action that requires a simple command, such as “release the ghost of Joe from the nargile,” or “release the third shadow.” The Nargile must be burning, and the released undead first appears as a thin wisp of smoke rising from the mouthpiece.

You can control undead from the Nargile indefinately if they are not intelligent. If they are intelligent, they gain another saving throw to release themselves from the control of the Nargile after 17 minutes of control. Non-intelligent undead or undead with animal intelligence can be called and returned to the hookah at will after they are initialy trapped. Additional attempts to return intelligent undead to the hookah require additional saving throws. The undead gain a modifier of +2 to their saving throws for each period they were trapped in the hookah.

If the nargile's owner smokes from it while undead are trapped in the hookah, the smoke is infused with the energy of one the spirits trapped inside. The user can gain the benefit of a death knell spell. Doing this is a standard action that the user can will to happen as he smokes from the nargile. This causes the trapped undead with the least HD to be destroyed without a saving throw.

Strong Necromancy; CL: 15th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, control undead, death knell; Cost: 234,000 gp; Weight: 10 lbs.

d20 Modern Stat Block

Caster Level: 15; Prerequisites: Control Undead, Death Knell; Purchase Difficulty Check 43; Weight: 10 lbs.

Treasure Value: 24th
NPC Gear: 23rd

Math: Control Undead and Death Knell (7*15*2,000) + (2*3*2,000)*2 = 210,000+24,000 = 234,000 gp.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Other people's coolness

One of the things I've always wanted to do with this blog is link to other blogs and sites where I've found great crunch. Well, that has rarely happened, but it's never too late to correct a mistake.

That said, I link to three blogs in the sidebar. Two of them irregularly produce funky d20 material.

Jeff's Gameblog could also be named Jeff's Funky-Ass Gameblog. Although he writes a lot about goofy, small tabletop RPGs, everyone in a while he does some d20 stuff. His approach is attractively Gonzo for me. This article is about some fun magic items he cooked up for a Vikings ruling the New World (with kobolds in it) game.

Neitherworld Stories, is run, I think, by a buddy of Jeff's. It is less exhuberant, but has a purple Beholder in the logo. His Open Game Content includes the Create Spell Grenade feat, and the spell Ground Stew. It, um. Makes the ground into stew.

Wolfgang Baur is a professional, not a rookie. But I link him here for his blog articles about translating material from the New Croubazon works of China Mieville into d20. New Croubazon is sort of like steampunk on acid, and so right up my ally.

From little Genjitsu Games, I've had this on my hardrive for awhile. It has fiendish penguins and half brass dragon catfish. Funky little monsters, often hard to come by.

And, for 4.0, this is a set of links to a guy on Gleemax who is already making new monsters for the new additions. He takes fairly standard concepts and gives them a healthy twist, so as to sidestep the orthodoxy of the Dungeons and Dragons settings. Do they work? Dunno. They look comparable to what wizards is producing. Won't know for sure until the game comes out. But it is heartening.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Greasy Belt - Minor Wondrous Item

Greasy Belt: This belt, made of seemingly of a strip of uncured boar hide, is covered with patches of bristles. A large hole punched is punched in one end. A polished boar tooth is affixed to the other, and can be pushed through the hole to act as a clasp.

One per day, the wearer of the Greasy Belt can make his clothes slippery with a noxious grease, giving him a +10 bonus on escape artist checks on grapple checks made to resist or escape a grapple or to escape a pin. Unfortunately, once free they must make a DC 10 reflex save to stand or act during that round, falling prone if they fail the check.

Weak conjuration; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, grease; Cost 200 gp

NPC Gear: 1st
Treasure Value: 1st

Math: 1st level spell 1/day = 1*1*2000/5 = 400. Halved for limited range/execution and limited backfire.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lantern of Stillness - Moderate Wondrous Item

Lantern of Stillness: This lantern is made of gold filigree wire that encloses an intense golden flame. The flame doesn't seem to burn, but instead causes any living thing or limb inserted into it seems to feel numb and a tiny bit slower, a feeling that wears off in seconds. Despite the brilliance of the flame, it is small and does not travel far. The lantern sheds light as a standard torch. The flame seems to have no source of fuel, and can be shuttered to block the light.

The flame is actually made of a section of time, folded up until it is the size of a finger joint, glimering with the potential energy compacted into that tiny point.

Each lantern has a command word that will snuff the flame. When the flame goes out, a time stop as if cast by effect is centered on the lantern, as if cast by a 17th level wizard.

One the flame is snuffed, the lantern becomes useless.

Moderate transmutation; CL 17th; Craft Wondrous Item, time stop; Cost 15,300 gp

NPC Gear: 14th
Treasure Value: 14th

Math: Single Use Time stop, 9*17*100

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kamagun - Minor Universal Item

Kamagun: The Kamagun is a chitinous sheath that resembles the primary manipulative limb of the last creature who wore it. It has a psionic trigger. Only those with psionic ability can cause it to fire, commanding it with a thought.

When it is not being worn, the Kamagun changes its shape to fit the primary manipulative limb of any psionic creature who touches it. This starts as soon as the Kamagun is touched, and takes one round to complete.

When a Kamagun is put on, the protein computer that runs the quasi-organic Kamagun samples the skin and excreted body fluids of it's wearer. It roots around in the junk DNA of the creature for the design of a diminutive flying creature that produces organic toxins and can be used as a weapon. It then begins to manufacture a version of said creature using the user’s body fluids as raw materials. These creatures are the ammunition that the Kamagun uses.

In the case of a terrestrial user, the most efficient flying killer a Kamagun will find is a breed of prehistoric wasp. The Kamagun strips the wasps of all their biological functions but their wings, sensory organs, and stingers, and they are extremely dumb and fast. When the Kamagun is aimed, the wasps are imprinted with a psionic image of their target. If they miss on the first shot, they will generally continue on until they hit a solid object. They are created with just enough energy to fly 100 feet, the outside of the Kamagun’s range, then they die.

The first time a Kamagun is put on, it will do a point of damage to the user each round for five rounds. If this is interrupted, it will continue the next time it is put on until it has done five points of damage. After this, it is ready to be used. This damage can be healed back normally.

Each shot from a Kamagun costs it's user one hit point, which can be healed back normally. A Kamagun has a five shot magazine. It can hold no more shots. Once a shot is fired, the Kamagun can regenerate one charge each round, on it's user's next action, taking a hit point from it's user for each it shot it regenerates. After the magazine is filled the initial time, the Kamagun's user can mentally order the gun not to make more shots. A kamagun will not make new shots if it's wearer has fewer than 1 hit point.

A Kamawasp that hits it's target deals 1 hit point of damage and injects venom (DC 13+ the wearer's con modifier, 1 Con/O Con)

A Kamawasp also has a +12 to hit because the wasp guides its own flight. A Kamawasp can be intercepted by an attack of opportunity if it is hit by an attack that hits an AC of 23 or greater. It has a touch AC of 23, and is never flat footed.

The Kamagun also bestows a +2 armor bonus to its bearer’s armor class.

Minor Universal Item; ML: 10th; Craft Universal Item, prevenom; Cost 440 gp

NPC Gear: 1st
Treasure Value: 2nd

d20 Modern Stat Block

Type: Wondrous Item (psionic); Manifester Level: 3rd; Purchase DC: 28; Weight: 2 lb.


There is no math for this monstrosity, which is patterned after a weapon in a video game I used to love playing.

This weapon only does one point of damage per shot. That's way lower than any mundane weapon off the rack. The benefit of using it would be the con damage. The greatest benefit would be against fighter opponents. So I figured this item would be appropriate for a level where it was affecting the fighter at least half of the time.

That turns out to be first. I gave the Kamagun a base cost equal to 300 gp, the value of one first level treasure. I bumped the value by 140, the value of a masterwork buckler, for the armor bonus.

In order to give this a little more life, I elasticated the DC save.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ur-Vat of the Golden Aura - Medium Wondrous Item

Ur-Vat of the Golden Aura: This highly polished golden basin is carried on the back of two glorious winged serpents. It’s rim is graven with injunctions in enochian, and its basin is inscribed with nested protection circles. A good aligned outsider my willingly give up hit points enough to equal the XP cost of the Ur-Vat’s creating a potion. Any given outsider can only do this once, and generally must be convinced to let his blood be used in such a coarse fashion. Once per day, if left in sunlight for 16 hours, it can brew the blood into a potion of shield of faith.

Moderate abjuration; CL 3rd; Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, shield of faith; Price 7,500 gp.

NPC Gear: 10th
Treasure Value: 11th

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ur-Vat of Rent Oak - Medium Wondrous Item

Ur-Vat of Rent Oak: This Ur-Vat is hollowed out of a huge wooden stump and is smoothed and stained by years of handling. Its basin is carved with runes in fey, and a knoll in the roots hides a charred, copper lined space where coals can be put to heat the basin. A knowledge nature (DC 20) will reveal the wood as from the tree of an ancient dryad or treant.

The Ur-Vat of Rent Oak can take magic points in the form of blood or sap from any magical beast or intelligent plant with a natural armor bonus greater than +2. Once per day, if the blood or sap is left to simmer for sixteen hours and barkskin is cast on the remaining liquid at dusk, this Ur-Vat produces a potion of barkskin.

Moderate transmutation; CL 5th; Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, barkskin; Price 15,000 gp.

NPC Gear: 13th
Treasure Value: 14th

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ur-Vat of the Bezekira’s Malice - Ur Vat

Ur-Vat of the Bezekira’s Malice: This Ur-Vat is assembled from the skull of a dire tiger, painted in infernal runes and mounted upside-down on a pedestal of black basalt carved in the shape of an erinyes who holds the basin up. The skull's eye sockets are filled with bloody colored star-sapphires.

The Ur-Vat of the Bezekira's Malice will turn blood taken from a bezekira slain within a fortnight into a potion of cat’s grace. The blood must be steeped for sixteen hours, and cat’s grace must be cast on the basin at midnight in the middle of the steeping.

Moderate transmutation; CL 5th; Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, cat’s grace; Price 15,000 gp.

NPC Gear: 13th
Treasure Value: 14th

Ur-vat - Item Type

Ur-Vat: In places where the local population has a large supply of a magical resources, local spellcasters sometimes multiply their power by magically automating production of the most broadly useful form of magical power: the potion.

Ur-Vats can be used to produce potions as long as a magical agent is added, and spells are cast over the mixture. A magical agent is bodily fluid from a magical beast, plant, or outsider that the GM deems relevant to the creation of the potion.

A number of points of magical energy must be provided equal to half the gold piece sale value of the potion, plus 1/50th. For instance, a potion of Cat’s Grace requires 156 points of magical energy. The number of points of magical energy that can be derived from a creatue is determined by looking up the XP reward for a creature defeated by a group with an APL equal to the creature's challenge rating, and then dividing that number by 10.

For instance: the Halfling druids of a local forest are troubled by a gate into the nine hells. They have been unable to close it, but kill enough of the hellcats that come through to create an Ur-Vat that manufacture's potions of cat’s grace, the reward for a 7th level party defeating a CR 7 creature is 2,100 XP. For each slain bezikira, the druid's can provide 210 points of magical energy from the bezekira’s blood.

GM’s may decide that extra blood loses potency if not from a live creature, or after 24 hours, or after it is touched by the sun.

GM’s may wish to award less treasure for that encounter, one gp per point of magic energy obtained, as those are resources the PCs would otherwise not have to spend in potion creation.

Ur-Vat’s are large and cumbersome. They usually weigh in the neighborhood of 500 lbs, and cannot be carried like normal treasure. In order to brew a potion, they need to be unmoved for the full day that it takes to create one.

Potions of varying caster levels may be created. For that to happen, the Ur-Vat must be attuned for the day, by having a caster cast the spell into the Ur-Vat at that level. The amount of magical energy required to create the potion is increased accordingly.

Making an Ur-Vat requires both the Brew Potion and Craft Wondrous Item feats, as well as whichever prerequisites are needed to brew the individual potion.The cost of making a Ur-Vat depends on the potion it generates: it costs (the potion’s spell level * 7,500). 1/50th of that value again must be spent in XP. Some Ur-Vats can brew more than one potion. The Ur-Vat must be attuned by a spell caster each day it cast’s a spell. The cost to make such an Ur-Vat is equal to the combined cost of both Vat’s.

As treasure, Ur-Vat's are not meant to be handed out to PCs. Generally, they are the belongings an NPC: a villainous organization, a warlord, local druid, or allied wizard. They are a convenient in story explanation for common treasure. In the posession of PCs, they are mostly furniture. They are hard to move, must be tended to, and the cost of hunting resources to feed them is probably more than the amount saved from regular use by PCs. Turning them into a business should be hard work: hunting Bezikira is not for the faint hearted, and at the very least will probably distract PCs from reaching their goals.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Gorgoi Amulet - Minor Wondrous Item

Gorgoi Amulet: This amulet is made of ancient stone with a clasp and chain of green bronze. The amulet depicts a face with an abudance of curly hair. The features have been worn away by the closeness of many people's skin, but the feature's are somehow sinister, as if the face still glares.

The wearer of a Gorgoi amulet gains a +1 bonus to their natural armor.

Once per day, they may hold the amulet and speak their own name, invoking a +4 enhancement bonus to their charisma that lasts for three minutes.

Weak transmutation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, Barkskin, Eagle's Splendor; Cost 5,200 gp.

NPC Gear: 9th
Treasure Value: 10th


+1 natural armor bonus: 1*1*2000
+4 bonus to ability: 4*4*1000 = 16,000/5 for 1/day = 3,200
standard math would add 50% of the armor bonus, for 5,200
post MI compendium would not, for 6,200 of natural armor +1 (plus +4 to charisma once per day, 6,200 total)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Salamander's Monocle - Minor Wondrous Item

Salamander's Monocle: This brass ring, set with rubies and engraved with fire runes, holds a lense of orangeish red crystal that has a magic circle lightly etched in the glass. They are often found in the ruins of the old culture, but ancient texts say that the spirit of a larval salamander is trapped within. If such a spirit could be manufactured today, more of the Salamander's Monocles could be created. Worn over the eye by holding them between the brow and cheekbone, or surgically implanted in the skin of the same area, they boost a magic user's ability to cast fire spells.

Once per day, the caster level of a spell cast by the wearer is granted a +1 enhancement bonus if the spell does fire damage.

The Salamander's Monocle can also be affixed to a wand that casts a damaging spell, from magic missile to lightning bolt. In this role, it will add +1d6 fire damage each casting the wand is used for. However, there is a one in 20 chance that the energies of the wand will over load the monocle and burst it, draining a charge as normal, destroying the monocle, and doing 3d6 fire damage to the wand wielder and anyone within 5 feet of them.

Weak evocation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, burning hands; Cost: 575 gp.

Math: Rather Ad hoc'ed

Once per day bonus to caster level fire spells. +1 caster level bonus to a spell is worth approximately 2*2*1000 gp. /5 for once per day = 400 gp

the benefit to the wand is always active and worth five times more (2,000 gp). It will self destruct at some point, meaning that it is probably worth about half as much (1,000 gp). The fact that it will self destruct messily and do so in battle is worth maybe a 25% reduction. Hit points aren't all that important a resource, and fire damage is pretty easy to circumvent. That's 750 gp. The abilities are mutually exclusive, so I averaged them for a final value of 575 gp

Salamander's Monocle (Celestial Wastelands): This brass ring, set with rubies and engraved with fire runes, holds a lense of orangeish red crystal that has a magic circle lightly etched in the glass. They are often found in the ruins of the old culture, but ancient texts say that the spirit of a larval salamander is trapped within. If such a spirit could be manufactured today, more of the Salamander's Monocles could be created. Worn over the eye by holding them between the brow and cheekbone, or surgically implanted in the skin of the same area, they boost a magic user's ability to cast fire spells.

The wearer gains a +1 enhancement bonus to their caster level when casting fire spells. This bonus stacks with other caster level bonuse. They must pay the additional spell point cost to cast their spell at a higher level.

The Salamander's Monocle can also be affixed to Sineal. In this role, it will add +1d6 fire damage shot. However, there is a one in 20 chance that the energies of the Sineal will over load and burst, doing 3d6 fire damage to the weapon, the weapon's user, and anyone within five feet of them.

Weak evocation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, burning hands; Cost: 625 gp.

Math: This is a version for a homebrew game I am hoping to run in the near future. It uses a spell point varient from Unearthed Arcana.

I am valuing a caster level bonus that must be paid for with spell points at bonus squared*500. Although it grants a permanent bonus, it still requires spell point to operate.

the benefit to the sineal, a kind of arcane energy weapon. It worth much more, at least as much as a +1 enhancement to a weapon (2,000 gp). It will self destruct at some point, meaning that it is probably worth about half as much (1,000 gp). The fact that it will self destruct messily and do so in battle is worth maybe a 25% reduction. Hit points aren't all that important a resource, and fire damage is pretty easy to circumvent. That's 750 gp. The abilities are mutually exclusive, so I averaged them for a final value of 625 gp

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Game 2

We were missing a player, and so put off the end game again.

Doc, Cheez, and BC, with Putkin dragging along behind (his player was absent, so he was too heatstroked to be involved in combat), continued towards the Baelatian peaks, hoping to find shards of fallen star.

They run into a group of kobolds leading armor plated pack camels. The kobolds immediately brandish their weapons and tell the strange humans and the human loving "toads" (kobolds who live with humans) to head in the other direction. They refuse to let humans proceed unimpeded through their lands. The tribe with the black arrow tattoos having been wreaking too much havoc with kobold trade routes and communities.

Out heroes do not take kindly to threats. After a few rounds of trying to cook down the hostile kobolds, they engage them in a fire fight, to their lament. The wiley kobolds make good use of the armored camels for cover. The kobolds leave them to die, sending a runner back to warn the kobold communities about these interlopers in case they survive.

They do survive, with the help of an otherwise incapacitated Putkin, who heals them with his magic.

Continuing into hostile kobold lands, they are attacked by an invisible fungus at a watering hole and hunker down to let an burning ash-storm pass by. BC is nearly blind from the stinging ash.

Then they are ambushed by human tribesmen bearing black arrow tattoos. The tribesmen demand that our heroes give them everything they own. It is a long fight, especially with BC being near blinded, but they manage to defeat the bandits, handily turning the tables on them by looting the corpses.

I treated the ash storm as a low level hazard:

Ash Storm: CR 1. A cloud or reddish black dust that seemed to be on the horizon sweeps down and engulfs you. A Survival Check, DC 15, allows you to find shelter inside the storm. It passes in 1d8 hours. Does 1d3 if fail a DC 13 reflex save, blinds if does damage three times. When it finally settles, see humans holed up half a mile ahead.