ESOTERIC ARSENAL 2: Eclectic Bugaloo

More funky weapons to tantalize, or torment, adventurers.

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RAT-TOOTH
So long as a person holds this dagger between their teeth, they can crawl up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside down along ceilings with a climb speed equal to their normal movement rate.

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ALONE-AGAINST-ALL
A stout shortsword of Dwarven manufacture. The wielder gains a bonus to attack rolls equal to the number of enemies adjacent to them.

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HOWLING HATCHET
This hand axe returns to the wielder’s hand when thrown and screams while in flight. The wielder has Advantage on attack rolls when throwing the weapon at a living target.

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BOLT-THROWER
This spiked gauntlet holds five charges. By expending one or more charges, the wearer can project a bolt of electricity as a ranged attack dealing 1d8 damage per charge expended to a range of 60 feet. Alternatively, the wearer can discharge the gauntlet directly into a creature they have grabbed, dealing 1d10 damage per charge used. Any spent charges are restored after 8 hours of inactivity.

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LONG ARM OF THE LAW
A larger-than-life-sized metal fist at the end of a 15-foot chain; equivalent to a flail. When wielded by a person of a lawful alignment, the fist can open and operate as a hand with Dexterity and Strength equal to the wielder.

SOLAR GLARE / ABYSSAL GAZE

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Sorcerer/Witch/Wizard (Evocation)

The spellcaster’s eyes blaze with unbearable radiance, casting light as strong as the noon-day sun in a 20-foot cone and torch-bright illumination extending 30 feet further. Creatures within the illuminated area must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. Undead and fiendish creatures have Disadvantage on their saving throws and suffer 1d8 damage every round they remain within the light.

The reverse of solar glare, abyssal gaze, turns the spellcaster’s eyes into seemingly bottomless pools of utter black. A creature within 20 feet of the spellcaster that can see and be seen by the caster must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or become transfixed by the terrible darkness, unable to act. Every subsequent round, a creature stricken by the abyssal gaze can attempt a new saving throw to shake off the effect. Undead creatures had Advantage on their saving throws and fiendish creatures are immune. Once a creature has succeeded a saving throw, they cannot be affected by this spell again for 24 hours.

Both versions of the spell can be sustained for 1 round per caster level.

Picture Pong: MARP

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So, False Patrick and Scrap Princess started a game of image response ping pong.

This being the foul year of our lord 2020, it’s gone viral.

The forces of chaos and law are forever at war, and all of creation is their battlefield.

But, on occasion, the great powers of order and disorder are obliged to meet peaceably. This presents some logistical challenges – how does an immovable object and an irresistible force interact without mutual destruction?

The answer, my friend, is Marp.

The marp are metaphysically inert, equally unaffected by chaotic or lawful influences. They also seemed to be cursed with unfaltering altruism. Thus, they make perfect intermediaries, shuttling between the two opposing sides like the hapless children of irreconcilable divorcees.

Whenever an inter-dimensional armistice is being signed, it’s marp who are serving drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Marp seem to intuitively understand all languages but can’t say anything other than “marp,” whence comes the name by which they are known throughout the cosmos. They communicate among themselves with a complex system of blinks from their single, tripartite eyes. Utterly ineffectual in combat, a marp’s first instinct is to flee as fast as it can. As a last resort, a marp can project a prismatic spray (as the spell) from its eye, once per day.

Now, gentle reader, it’s your turn. Behold, who or what is this:
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PUT A RING ON IT

tumblr_otj1slowgt1r8scyto1_500RING OF THE WANDERING EYE: The glass eye can detach from the ring and fly up to 100 feet away from the wearer, who can see through it by closing their own eyes.

 

tumblr_otj1slowgt1r8scyto4_r1_500RING OF DEATH DEFERRED: When an injury, condition, or spell would kill the ring’s wearer, they drop to 1 hit point and their hit point maximum is permanently reduced by 1. 

 

tumblr_otj1slowgt1r8scyto8_r1_500SALAMANDER BAND: The ring grants three abilities to its wearer: 1. The wearer becomes fluent in the language of fire elementals. 2. The ring reduces the damage from fire effects suffered by its wearer by 1 point per die of damage inflicted. 3. At will, the ring can emit a tiny gout of flame that can ignite any flammable material. If used as an attack, it deals 1d3 fire damage to a single target in melee range.

tumblr_ognqwqr9591qzcapfo1_500RING OF THE WAR WOLF: When the ring’s wearer drops a creature to 0 hp with a melee attack, they gain temporary hit points equal to the number of hit dice of the slain creature. If the wearer has any temporary hit points left over when they go to sleep, there is a 5% chance per hit point that they will turn into a werewolf until the next sunrise. The risk of transformation doubles during a full moon.

ff0c190ee4b742aafba389572ed933daRING OF RIPPLING EARTH: While standing on earth, soil, or stone, the ring’s wearer has Advantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws to resist forced movement and being knocked prone. The ring holds 5 charges that reset every 24 hours. The wearer can project a 5-foot-wide wave of seismic force through the ground that travels in a straight line 25 feet long, plus 5 feet per charge expended. A creature standing in the path of the wave takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per charge expended and is knocked prone. A successful Strength or Dexterity save negates both effects.

HIRUDINOID, or WALKING LEECH

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“Edge of Tomorrow” concept art by Ivan Manzella

Medium aberration, neutral


No. Appearing: 1d4
HD
4, 30 hp
AC 16, resistant to bludgeoning damage
MV 30 ft., swim 30 ft; a hirudinoid can squeeze through spaces as small as 1 foot wide  

Attack: Sucker-lined fist +4 (1d4 damage) x 2  

As a free action, the hirudinoid can attempt to grapple a creature it has successfully hit with a melee attack, gaining a +4 bonus to the check. If both fists strike the same target, the hirudinoid has Advantage on the grapple. At the start of its turn, a hirudinoid drains 1d6 points of Constitution from a creature it has grappled.


Despite its bipedal stance and humanoid body-plan, the walking leech is an invertebrate that maintains its upright posture through hydrostatic pressure. Hirudinoids only have a rudimentary intelligence and lack the ability to vocalize sounds. Their vision and hearing are quite limited, just good enough to detect movement. They hunt mainly by scent and body heat.

They lurk in sewers, trash middens, and other dark, unhygienic environments. Wounds inflicted by a hirudinoid need to be cleaned thoroughly to minimize the risk of infection.

NEW SPELL: Catacomb Winds

Witch/Wizard (Necromancy)

The spellcaster calls forth a swirling blast of fetid air laden with necromantic energy.

A violent wind whips around a 30-foot radius circular area centered on, and moving with, the caster. Small unattended objects and debris will be carried aloft and hurled about, hampering movement and vision for all creatures except the caster. The turbulence bestows Disadvantage on attacks with missile weapons against targets within the spell’s area of effect. On the ground, movement speed is halved, and flying is impossible.

The currents of negative energy flowing through the area dampen healing effects. A creature within the winds recovers only half as many hit points from healing spells or abilities. Corpses reanimate as zombies under the control of the spellcaster as long as they remain within the spell’s area of effect.

Catacomb winds lasts for 1 round per caster level. 

A GRAY AND UNPLEASANT LAND

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I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with the Post-Roman, Pre-Saxon Hex Generator Jones Smith created for Secret Santicore 2019. The following is a disorganized set of locales inspired by the generator’s output. If I squint at them, I can sorta see a Dung Age campaign setting take shape…

1 – A cold wind rustles through an empty expanse of knee-high grass. Water trickles out of a stone cairn; everything the liquid touches is covered with verdant growth. Arrayed around the pile are a number of headless bodies encrusted in green mold. A lone man crouches at the foot of the cairn, frantically tearing patches of moss from his skin. If approached, he will cry out a warning that the spring water is cursed – he and his companions, all soldiers of fortune, drank from it and plants began to sprout from their flesh. The warrior slew his comrades as they writhed in agony, but they would not die until he cut off their heads. He will refuse any offer of aid or release from his own pain.

2 – Ghostly lights flicker about in a foggy marsh. Trudging through the muck, a stony escarpment looms suddenly into view. Petroglyphs taller than a man are carved into the crumbling cliff face. Atop the hill stands a ruined outpost, ancient stones tangled with withered vines. Further along the ridge, the mouth of a cave is partially concealed by overgrowth. A band of cannibals makes their lair inside; they lure in victims with tales of treasure hidden in tunnels beneath the fort.

3 – Tendrils of mist snake between the great trunks of centuries-old trees. A hint of woodsmoke wafts through the air. A sinkhole gapes in the forest floor, revealing a subterranean chamber. Its walls and ceiling are decorated with faded murals depicting a long gone people. If one were to follow the scent of smoke, it leads to campfire burning low. Next to it, a lone man leans against a tree, asleep, sword laying in his lap, a full-looking backpack beside him. This man is a brigand named Kilius, an unrepentant thief and killer. He’s calm and affable, but cagey about his satchel (full of stolen goods). 

4 – A hillside terraced into a series of walled gardens fallen into disorder and decay. Planters and flower beds are hidden by overgrowth, unpicked fruits rot on branches and vines, and weeds break up the paved paths. As you walk through the ruins, you discover a wan and disheveled young woman digging ineffectually at bare dirt. She is the restless spirit of the caretaker, Bodamil; her despair is reflected in the state of the grounds. If her remains are found and sanctified, the gardens will be restored.

5 – A cluster of buildings, the remains of a farm estate, have been overtaken by brambles. Thorny vines crawl up walls and through windows. Out of the corner of your eye, you think the plants creep towards you. Searching inside the farmhouse, you find several skeletons, all encircled by briars. The grounds are stalked by a gangrel fey that controls the spiny vegetation. It destroyed the farm and killed the farmers for trespassing on wilderness it considers sacred.

6 – Cold vapor crawls along the surface of an unwholesome wetland. A pungent odor stings the nostrils; oozing berries depend from a clump of bushes nestled against a dilapidated dwelling listing on its foundation. The horns of a bull have been nailed above the door. A figure dressed all in green has their back to you, oblivious to your approach as they pick berries. This being will startle at any noise or contact you make and run off at great speed, leaving behind their collecting basket.

7 – A river, swift and cold, rushes through a stony valley. The wind seems to carry faint snatches of the sounds of battle. From the rocky banks, you see what looks a like body lying on the bottom of the river, impaled on a sword. Should you enter the water and grab the sword, the body disappears. The sword is a rusty relic, seemingly hundreds of years old. On the opposite side of the river stands a partially collapsed menhir. Sitting on top of the weathered stone, a harried-looking vagabond sings softly to herself. Her name is Jelza Howdel and she is waiting for someone a dream told her would be here.

8 –  Rain drizzles on a barren and rocky plain. Stinging nettles and thorn bushes grow along the banks of a sluggish stream. A fluttering scrap of fabric catches your eye. Should you investigate, you find a woman entangled in one of the briar patches. She is in obvious distress: clothes torn, eyes tightly closed, a sword lays broken at her feet. If helped, she will say little – just that her name is Eothu. With great effort, she can be persuaded to accompany you but will be despondent until her sword is repaired.

9 – A stream wends down a rocky slope in a series of waterfalls; something in the water stains the rocks red. Behind one of the falls is a cave in which hides a crew of bandits; they are recuperating after their last attack went badly for them. Many of them are wounded and all of them are in a bad mood. The cave goes deep under the ground, ending in a chamber covered with ancient eldritch paintings.

10 – A flash flood has scoured this valley, demolishing a village and leaving behind a thick layer of mud and debris. Hidden in this morass, the restless corpses of the villagers will emerge to chase after and drag down anyone entering the area. Several of the creatures are in pursuit of a sellsword carrying a cumbersome chest. If rescued, the warrior will introduce himself as Worgar and will offer you a share of the proceeds of the sale of the relics he carries in the chest.

11 – A deserted hillfort perches upon a desolate, boulder-strewn ridge. Deposits of scree impede your ascent; an unlucky step can send you crashing back down the slope in a tumble of loose rock. The gate of the fort hangs askew on its hinges revealing a courtyard of churned up dirt. Detritus piles up in the corners and the walls are covered with graffiti and bird shit. Inside the keep, a young dragon called Eksusha toils at turning the building into a suitable lair.

12 – The surface of the bog roils as pockets of gas seep up from the bedrock. Occasionally, a vent ignites in a brief, fiery flash that suffuses the area with a foul stench. From the crown of a grassy hillock, clean water burbles up from a deep aquifer. Surrounding the spring is a quagmire of bituminous sludge. As you approach, a person can be seen lying in the noxious tar. It is the nobleman Lord Fentus, abandoned by his retainers, delirious from thirst; without aid, he will soon die. If revived, he will make grand promises of rewards he has no intention of honoring.

TRAUMATURGE

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Spellcasters who gaze into the wrack-glass find not only their bodies and minds transformed, but their magical aptitude as well.

TRAUMATURGE
Medium humanoid (human)


Hit Points: novice – 20 (3d6+9), initiate – 32 (5d6+15), master – 65 (10d6+30)
Armor Class: 15; master traumaturges also have resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage.
Speed: 30


Str 11 | Dex  15 | Con 17 | Int 16 | Wis 13 | Cha 6

Arcana +7, Insight +6, Medicine +7, Perception +6
Passive Perception 16


Pain to Some, Pleasure to Others (Recharge 5,6): As a reaction to taking damage, the traumaturge instead gains an equivalent amount of temporary hit points.

Mirror Madness: A traumaturge that sees their reflection must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become fascinated by it. While in this state, the traumaturge is stunned until they are attacked or they can no longer see their reflection.


Looks That Kill:  If a creature starts its turn within 20 feet of a traumaturge and the two of them can see each other, the traumaturge can force the creature to make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw if the traumaturge isn’t incapacitated. On a failed save, the creature suffers 1d8 psychic damage (2d8 psychic damage for master traumaturges) and their speed drops to 0 until the start of the traumaturge’s next turn. 

Blood Magic: Traumaturges cast arcane magic with a caster level equal to their hit dice; they use their Intelligence as their spellcasting ability. To cast a spell, a traumaturge inflicts 1d4 points of damage to themselves per level of the spell.

Bleeding Edge (Master Traumaturges only): melee attack +8 (1d4+1 slashing damage and the next time they cast a spell, the traumaturge doesn’t have to sacrifice hit points. The level of the spell cast cannot exceed the damage inflicted with the attack.


Master traumaturges will be accompanied by 1d3+1 crooked killers and there’s a 1-in-10 chance of a messergeist as well.

 

NEW SPELL: Needle of the Sun

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Sorcerer/Wizard Spell (Evocation)

Also known as the arrow of Nergal, the caster of this spell gathers a mote of solar energy in their hand and hurls it with tremendous speed and penetrative power.

The projectile travels in a straight line and creatures in its path must succeed a Dexterity saving throw to avoid being struck. The spell inflicts 1d6 radiant damage per caster level to the first target, minus one die of damage for each subsequent creature or object the projectile passes through. The projectile also ignites any flammable object or material it strikes.

needle of the sun will continue travelling until it either passes through so many targets that its damage potential drops to zero or it reaches a maximum range of 100 feet, plus 10 feet per caster level.

This spell cannot be cast at night or whenever the sun is obscured.

CROOKED KILLERS

The wrack-glass is a dreadful artifact. It appears as a mirror, taller than a man, bound in a frame of tarnished silver. When one looks upon it, their reflection looks normal at first, but rapidly begins to twist and deform, taking on a malevolent aspect. Some scholars of the occult surmise that this vision represents the viewer’s darkest thoughts and impulses.

If one gazes into the wrack-glass too long, the grotesque image in the mirror is embodied in the viewer’s flesh and spirit. These warped beings are the custodians of the wrack-glass, and the crooked killers are the most militant of this cabal.

Despite their warped bodies and gnarled limbs, crooked killers are swift and lithe. They are cruel and cunning opponents, attacking from ambush to inflict maximum injury while minimizing their risk.

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CROOKED KILLER
Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil


Armor Class: 17
Hit Points: 28 (5d6+10)
Speed 35 ft.


Str 13 | Dex  17 | Con 15 | Int 14 | Wis 10 | Cha 6

Skills: Acrobatics +6, Intimidate +6, Stealth +8, Perception +5
Passive Perception 15


Twisted Anatomy A crooked killer has Advantage on ability checks to resist grapples and escape from bonds or confinement. As part of a move action, they can squeeze through spaces two size categories below their own.

Crooked Fighting A crooked killer deals an additional 2d6 damage against an opponent when attacking with Advantage.

Mirror Madness Crooked killer are compelled to smash or otherwise destroy any mirror in their vicinity. They will suffer Disadvantage on all rolls in the presence of an intact mirror. Should a crooked killer see their own reflection, they must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or move away from the reflective surface as far as possible.


ACTIONS

Serrated blade +5 melee (1d6+2 slashing damage, can score a critical hit on 19-20)

Barbed dagger +5 melee/ranged (1d4+2 piercing damage, can score a critical hit on 19-20, 20 ft. range)

Multiattack A crooked killer makes one serrated blade and one barbed dagger attack.

Twisting Parry As a reaction to being hit with a melee attack, a crooked killer can substitute their armor class with an attack roll. If their roll is greater than their attacker’s, the crooked killer can redirect the attack to another creature adjacent to them.

Tortuous Gaze If a creature starts its turn within 15 feet of the crooked killer and the two of them can see each other, the killer can force the creature to make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw if the crooked killer isn’t incapacitated. On a failed save, the creature suffers painful muscle spasms that halves its movement speed and grants Disadvantage on Dexterity and Strength based rolls and checks. The creature can make another save at the start of its next turn to end the effect.