NEW SPELL: Chemical Euphoria

Sorcerer/Wizard (Transmutation) Level 1

Through subtle transmutation magic, this spell turns any one instance of a substance (for example: a glass of wine, a roasted chicken wing, even a dollop of salve) into a potent narcotic. The physical properties of the target substance (how it looks, smells, feels, and tastes) are not affected.

When someone consumes the altered material, the dose kicks in in 1d4-1 rounds. The primary effect is an overwhelming sense of giddy well-being for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level. In practical terms, an affected person is immune to any effect that would incur fear or other negative emotions.

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The narcotic also numbs pain to such a degree that the affected person can ignore even grievous injuries. While the drug is in effect, a person will remain conscious and able to act after reaching 0 hit-points – any additional damage is taken out of the person’s Constitution score; only when that reaches 0 will the person die. Naturally, when the effects of the narcotic wear off, the person will definitely feel every wound.

Optional Miscast Table for LotFP (Roll 1d12):

1 – Hallucinogen: For a number of hours equal to the caster’s level, the target of the spell perceives things that aren’t really there – during every encounter or NPC interaction, add another participant that only the spell’s target can see and interact with.

2 – Emetic: After 1d4-1 rounds, the creature that ingests the altered substance will puke up the entire contents of its substance. For a number rounds equal to the caster’s level, the ingester most succeed a Constitution check at the beginning of their turn to act. If they fail the check, they’re wracked with dry heaves and unable to act.

3 – Soporific: After 1d4-1 rounds of drowsiness, during which the ingester has disadvantage on saving throws, initiative, and Perception checks, the ingester falls asleep.

4 – Paralytic: After 1d4-1 rounds, the ingester’s body seizes up, immobilizing them. At the beginning of their turn, they can make a saving throw vs. poison. If successful, they can act that round, but their Strength and Dexterity scores will be treated as 3’s. After three successful saving throws, the paralysis ends.

5 – Anti-coagulant: For a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level, the ingester suffers an additional point of damage from all physical attacks

6 – Hypnotic: After 1d4-1 rounds of drowsiness, during which the ingester has disadvantage on saving throws, initiative, and Perception checks, the ingester enters a highly suggestible fugue state for a number of hours equal to the caster’s level. After the drug wears off, the ingester will have no memory of what it did under its effect.

7 – Allergen (Mild): After 1d4-1 rounds, the ingester suffers a physically harmless, but annoying, allergic reaction (itchy rash, constant sneezing or hiccuping, etc.) for a number of hours equal to the caster’s level

8 – Allergen (Severe): The substance triggers an extreme reaction from the ingester’s body, taking 1d4 points of damage at the start their turn and suffering disadvantage on all rolls for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level.

9 – Pyretic: After 1 round, the ingester appears flushed and begins sweating profusely. On the next round, and each subsequent round up to the the caster’s level, the ingester begins radiating ever-increasing amounts of heat. The creatures takes 1d6 fire damage on the second round, 2d6 on the third, and so on; if the creature drops to 0 hit points under the drugs effect, it spontaneously combusts dealing the same dice of fire it just suffered to everything in a 5-foot radius around it.

10 – Aphrodisiac: The ingester becomes passionately infatuated with the spell’s caster for a number of rounds equal to caster’s level. While under the drug’s effect, the ingester will do just about anything to curry favor with its “love.” When the effect wears off, the ingester will immediately revert to its previous attitude about the caster and have no memory of ever feeling any other way about them.

11 – Mutagen: After 1d4-1 rounds, consult your favorite random table of mutations a number of times equal to the caster’s level. When the spell’s duration ends, the ingester must succeed a saving throw versus magic for each mutation. On a success, the mutation disappears; on a failure, it becomes permanent.

12 – Deadly poison: After 1d4-1 rounds, the ingester drops dead.

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NEW SPELL: Spewn From the Earth

Sorcerer/Warlock/Wizard Level 1 (Enchantment)

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You curse a single target you can see within 30 feet such that the very ground upon which it stands reviles its touch and casts it off. If the target fails its saving throw versus magic, it is catapulted straight up 5 feet per caster level.

The target must be in contact with the ground for the spell to take effect.

Optional Miscast Table for LotFP (roll 1d12):

1 – The earth underneath the target merely explodes upward. The explosion deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage per caster level to the target and everything within 5 feet of it, knocks it prone, and leaves behind a crater 5 feet deep and 15 feet across

2 – Earth spews from the caster: a scrambled incantation causes the caster vomit soil from their mouth for 1 round per caster level.

3 – A 5-foot-square pillar of stone rises up from underneath the target’s feet, stopping at a height of (5 x the caster’s level) feet.

4 – Spell inversion: The target begins sinking beneath the earth at a rate of 1 foot every 6 seconds until it has completely submerged.

5 – A (5 x the caster’s level)-foot radius area, centered on the target begins to buckle and heave violently. Movement speed through the area is halved and any creature standing within the affected area must succeed a Dexterity check or be knocked prone by the tremors.

6 – A fissure opens at the target’s feet and begins spewing (roll 1d6):

  1. Silty water
  2. Molten lava
  3. Noxious fumes
  4. Swarms of vermin
  5. Skeletons
  6. Black blood of the earth

7+ – Roll on generic miscast table

MONASTIC TRADITION: SWORD SAINT

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Miyamoto Musashi woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Blade Meditation: At 3rd level, a monk pursuing the path of the sword saint becomes proficient with the longsword, scimitar, and greatsword. As a bonus action, a sword saint can regain 1d4 ki points after peforming an attack with a sword.

Measure Twice, Cut Once: At 6th level, a sword saint can use a bonus action to expend ki to re-roll an attack made with a sword, gaining a bonus to the new roll equal to the ki spent. The result of the second roll must be taken even if it was lower than the first.

Sword Sagacity: At 11th level, improvised weapons wielded by a sword saint that approximate the size and shape of a sword (like a folded umbrella or an oar; be reasonable) are considered swords for the purposes of all abilities and effects.

One Thousand Cuts: At 17th level, a sword saint can expend all remaining ki to perform a devastating attack that deals a bonus weapon die of damage for every point of ki spent.

This is a revision of content that originally appeared on my tumblr

DEATH IS THIS COMMUNION

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The tree stands alone, ancient and gnarled; perhaps at the top of a low hill, or at the center of an unusually quiet clearing. It bears signs of human, or at least intelligent, presence: its bark is covered with deeply-carved runes.

On a successful history/lore/Intelligence check, a character can identify this site as a Wyrd-treow, or Tree of Fate. Some primordial culture used it as a place of judgment and execution. Alleged transgressors were nailed to the tree’s trunk, or hung from a branch, and left exposed to the elements – a trial by ordeal. The innocent would survive, the guilty would perish.

With some additional research, a character can discover a secret ritual whereby one could achieve supernatural power through voluntarily impaling one’s self to the Wyrd-treow.

A person can make as many attempts as they can bear, but can only benefit from a Wyrd-treow once in their life. For every failed attempt after the first, a person permanently loses 1d6 Wisdom.

Every day spent on a wyrd-tree, a character takes 1d6 damage directly to their Constitution score. If a character’s Constitution drops to 0, they die and the ritual fails. After being removed from the tree, a character that survives the ordeal can regain their lost Constitution at a rate of one point per day of complete bed-rest.

Survive

  • One to three days on the Wyrd-Treow: roll 1d4 and consult the table below.
  • Four days: roll 1d6
  • Five days: roll 1d8
  • Six days: roll 1d10
  • Seven or more days: roll 1d10 twice

 

Die Roll Boon
1 Pain Don’t Hurt: The physical extremes of the ordeal have granted you some resistance to injury. Anytime an attack or effect would inflict hit point damage, reduce the hit points lost by the number of days you spent on the Wyrd-treow.
2 Sleep is the Cousin of Death: For every day of your ordeal, you require one less hour of sleep to gain the benefits of a full night’s rest. You are also immune to any effect or spell that would compel you to sleep.
3 Tales From Beyond: Your experiences on the Wyrd-treow give you some insight into the spirit realms. You can cast speak with the dead a number of times per day equal to the days that your ordeal lasted.
4 Deadeye: Life hangs by a thin thread and now you can see where best to cut it. You gain a bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to the number of days you survived on the tree.
5 Time Is An Illusion: Your perception of time has changed; so has time’s perception of you. Your natural life span increases a number of decades equal to the number of days of your ordeal. You also become immune to effects that would affect your age (in either direction).
6 This Is Not My Fate: While on the wyrd-tree, you receive a vision of your own demise. Once per gaming session, if any one attack or effect would kill your character, it doesn’t.
7 The Horror: Your eyes reflect back what you glimpsed during your ordeal. You can cause fear, as the spell, as a gaze attack. Your caster level is equal to one-half your character level plus the number of days you spent on the wyrd-tree.
8 One of Us: Your encounter with death has marked you among the unliving. Once per day, you can command (as the cleric spell) an amount of hit dice of mindless undead equal to the number of days of your ordeal. You also gain a bonus equal to number of days on the wyrd-tree to Charisma checks and reaction rolls dealing with intelligent undead.
9 It Made Me Stronger: The extremity of your ordeal has reforged you, body and soul. You gain a number of points equal to the days spent on the tree with which to increase ability scores of your choosing.
10 The Quickening: Through intense suffering, you have achieved a new state of consciousness. Your character gains enough experience points to level up.

This is a revision of content that originally appeared on my tumblr.

NEW SPELL: Halo of Flies

Sorcerer/Wizard/Warlock/Witch Level 1 (Conjuration)

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The spell caster conjures a cloud of flying, biting insects that swarm around a target of the caster’s choice that they can see within 60 feet, for 1 round per caster level. For every round of duration subtracted, the caster can add another target.

The spell can be used in one of two ways, which the caster declares upon casting:

  • Defensively: The swarm provides the target with partial concealment against ranged attacks. Also, creatures adjacent to the target take 1 point of damage per caster level per round and have disadvantage on melee attacks against the target.
  • Offensively: All creatures are partially concealed from the target. Also, the target takes 1 point of damage per caster level per round and creatures have advantage on melee attacks against the target.

Optional Miscast table for Lamentations of the Flame Princess (Roll 1d12):

1 – Maggots spontaneously generate out of the target’s flesh, dealing 1d6 damage per caster level.

2 – For spell duration, target believes that insects are crawling over and underneath their skin; save vs. magic to resist dealing melee damage to themselves each round.

3 – Conjure an uncontrollable insect plague of biblical proportions.

4 – Caster discorporates into a swarm of flying insects. For the duration of the spell, the caster can fly at double their normal speed, is immune to melee and ranged attacks, and takes double damage from area-of-effect attacks.

5 – Conjures a single flying insect that acts as the caster’s familiar; lasts until squashed or this spell is cast again.

6 – For a number of days equal to the caster’s level, the target emits odor irresistible to biting insects.

7+ – Consult generic miscast table

NEW MONSTER: Messergeist

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Messergeist
Medium Aberration

Armor Class 16 (gimp suit + high dex)
Hit Points 37 (5d8+15)
Initiative: +3
Speed 40 ft, ignores difficult terrain; Spiderclimb

Skills: Acrobatics +8, Athletics +8, Stealth +6, Perception +6

Senses: Blindsense, 60 ft.

Languages: Understands Common, but can’t speak

Special Features

Moving Target: The messergeist’s constantly swaying stance makes it especially difficult to hit.. Creatures attempting a ranged attack from more than 30 ft. away have disadvantage on the attack roll. If a creature fails any attack roll against the messergeist by 5 or more, apply the same result against another viable target adjacent to the messergeist.

ACTIONS

The messergeist can make up to two limb-blade or impaling thrust attacks each round.

Limb-blade: melee attack +8 (1d8+3 slashing damage).

Slashing Skitter: As a full-round action, the messergeist moves its speed, making three limb-blade attacks at any point during the movement.

Impaling thrust: melee attack +10 (1d8 piercing damage and target is grappled).

Pin Down: As a bonus action, the messergeist can knock prone and immobilize a creature it has grappled with impaling thrust.

Living Shield: As a reaction, the messergeist can transfer the damage it suffers from one attack or single-target effect to a creature it has grappled with impaling thrust

As the Wheel Turns

“The Wheel” is the collective term for a loose confederation of dipshit villages within the unclaimed territories; the name comes from the fact that any one village is roughly a day’s journey by horse-drawn wagon from the next (a unit of distance colloquially referred to as one wheel).

Roll 1d10 to determine which town you’re about to enter:

  1. Bell Throne
  2. Broken Pillar
  3. Candle Keep
  4. Crow Glen
  5. Pale Waters
  6. Sand Eye
  7. Shine Brook
  8. Topaz
  9. Two Kings
  10. Wilting Wood

All of the towns in the Wheel have pretty much the same things to offer travelers passing through – a general store, a smith, maybe a public house or a barber-surgeon. There most definitely won’t be magic-users or demi-humans, and the townsfolk will be awfully suspicious of anyone consorting with either (like people coming from, or headed to, Hexhaven). After all:

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Of course, there’s one weird thing in each town that separates them from the others (roll 1d20):

  1. One of the townsfolk owns a talking goat that recites verses that may or not be prophetic.
  2. Any woman who gives birth in town will have identical twins.
  3. A partially ruined monolith stands in the center of town. It’s made of a stone not native to the area and has strange glyphs carved into its sides.
  4. The town’s quaint, rustic religion requires periodic human sacrifices.
  5. The town’s quaint, rustic religion has been co-opted by a monster living in the woods outside of town.
  6. Weird artifacts are routinely dug out of the ground in and around town.
  7. Nobody in the village is over the age of (1d4x10)+10.
  8. A capricious magic-user is running a protection racket on the entire town. The bizarre demands are annoying, but there hasn’t been famine or bandit raid since it started, so… it’s working?
  9. The town is completely opposed to the use of currency and operates on a strict barter system. Townsfolk will be insulted if offered money of any denomination for goods or services.
  10. The whole town consists of one very large, interconnected building.
  11. Somehow, the town gained possession of a relic of historical or religious importance. The townsfolk’s livelihood is entirely dependent on visiting pilgrims.
  12. Everyone in town is relentlessly, obnoxiously cheerful, but everything – their food, their clothing, their music – is just bland and awful.
  13. All of the town’s agricultural products and craft works are derived from insects.
  14. The town is actually a collection of houseboats that separate during the day and join together every night.
  15. Every building in town is elevated at least 10 feet off the ground; high social status is displayed by having even taller stilts on one’s house.
  16. There’s a plot of land just outside of town that reanimates the dead – the town uses zombies as a form of unpaid labor.
  17. The townsfolk are actually from a technologically advanced parallel dimension who are attempting to live a more “simple” agrarian lifestyle, but keep a cache of gadgets hidden in town.
  18. An ancient pact requires the town to regularly give tribute to a nearby demi-human community – a dramatic re-enactment of the demi-humans saving the town from certain destruction.
  19. A secret society, made up of the most prominent people in town, terrorizes the rest of the townsfolk.
  20. All disputes, civil and legal alike, are settled through trial by combat.

1d12 Henchpeople You Meet in Hexhaven

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Deep in unclaimed territory, Hexhaven attacts all manner of fortune-seekers, misfits, and general malcontents from more civilized lands.

  1. “Wee” Garmyr Dingwell: Soft-spoken giant (over 7-feet tall, 18 Strength) with an easy-going disposition. He’d be terrific in a fight except he hates violence – refuses to carry a weapon, but will use his tools to defend himself. (Fighter)
  2. “Black” Bartram Mordir – An absolute bastard. Never fights fair and will always look for the easiest solution. Has knives concealed all over his person and they all have names. (Specialist)
  3. Tibio “Boarface” Parsus – A slovenly, hirsute barrel of a man. Fancies himself a gourmand and an aesthete but has terrible taste in everything (food, booze, music, you name it). Has double HP, but consumes twice as many rations per day. (Fighter)
  4. Twila “Shy Violet” Dogskin – Once a socialite, now a semi-feral witch-woman devoted to cthonic goddess. Knowledgeable about survival and herbology (Bushcraft 3-in-6), could still pass as an aristocrat if she took a bath. (Magic-user)
  5. “Slow” Yoris Cranclay – An extremely competent polymath (rolls all skill checks with advantage), but also a perfectionist – takes her twice as long as normal to perform any skill. Any attempt to rush her will force a morale check. (Specialist)
  6. Angus “Goose” Geechan – A bespectacled outdoorsman who is a crack shot with firearms… so long as he’s wearing his glasses. (Whenever he suffers damage from an attack or spell effect, there’s a 4-in-6 chance that they’ll be knocked off his face.) (Specialist)
  7. “Dandy” Dolphus Garwulf – Well-dressed, well-coiffed defrocked priest (Getting dirty forces a morale check; if it’s really bad – like being submerged in mud or drenched in blood, roll with disadvantage). Will balk at manual labor or menial tasks. (Magic-user)
  8. “Bad” Gaz Wickham – A pint-sized hellion who fights with a weapon in each hand; she will draw steel at the slightest provocation. Rolls initiative with advantage, but the party suffers disadvantage on reaction rolls. (Fighter)
  9. “Mad” Jack Ludovico – A smarmy-looking fellow with one blue eye and one green eye. A card-sharp and charlatan, he’s actually a spell-casting prodigy but is only interested in making money. (Magic-user)
  10. Makuza “the Last-Born” – Claims to be the only surviving member of an august and learned family of magi, becomes very tight-lipped when asked what happened to the rest. Dour, pessimistic, and obsessed with legacy and destiny. Jealously guards the knowledge of the unique spell hell’s wind. (Magic-user)
  11. Mihali “Mink” Tawno – A wiry, weasely-looking guy, always studying martial arts manuals. Has a +1 bonus to attack and AC when fighting unarmed and has advantage on Grappling checks, but doesn’t wear armor or carry a ranged weapon. (Fighter)
  12. “Uncle” Evrit Lumpley – A ruddy-faced, gray-bearded bag of wind. Has a story or opinion for every occasion; will attempt to interject himself into any negotiation or conversation. There’s a 1-in-6 chance that his rambling recollection with be useful to the situation at hand. (Specialist)

Give a Hoot – Read a Book

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“Forest King,” by Andrey Shishkin

Literacy isn’t addressed much in D&D; I think across most additions the default assumption is that PCs could read and write at least one language. The outlier is 3rd Edition, where barbarians were explicitly illiterate until they multi-classed into something else. (Anecdotally, the issue of literacy has only come up one time as DM – when a player flatly stated that her character couldn’t read because she was raised by wolves. I said yes, of course.)

 

Apart from magic-users and their spellbooks, books aren’t typically important to other characters unless the book in question is some kind of maguffin. But unless the printing press exists in your gameworld, books are probably hand-crafted objects potentially worth a lot of gold (and possibly XP).

Books can also be an easy way to give characters a boost: maybe consulting a botanical guide gives a character advantage on a skill check to determine whether these berries they found are edible, maybe consulting an astrological manual can give a character a bonus to a particular action under a particular set of circumstances… if the stars are right, of course. (Jeff Rients recently posted a fantastic way to incorporate astrology into your game.) Yes, there are canonical examples of special books granting mechanical effects, like the manual of health that straight up gives the reader a permanent stat boost. But I find that incredibly cheesy.

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“Human fighter/poet,” by Ben Hatke

Here are some books that more martially-inclined characters might be interested in lugging around on adventures (and also gives them something to do during downtime):

 

  • A Most Dangerous Dance, by Moncenzo Lunaldi. A seminal work on dueling and sword-fighting written and illustrated by a true master. By studying the text and practicing for at least one hour a day, a character can wield a rapier as if they had proficiency in that weapon. A character that already has proficiency in the rapier instead gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls when wielding such a weapon. A fighter that studies the text and practices for an hour each day also gains a +1 bonus to their Armor Class while wielding a rapier. Additionally, a fighter can use the text to teach others how to use a rapier, granting proficiency to any character that practices alongside them.
  • To Weave a Web of Steel, by Haldemar Grunyuf. Grunyuf claimed this work is not his own, but a translation of teachings he received from a member of race of subterranean elves. The book is part training manual, part “memoir,” recounting Grunyuf’s tutelage in an esoteric style of fighting while living in a cave with one of these elves. The man was obviously a lunatic, but the instructions are sound. A character that studies the text and practices for at least one hour every day can wield a weapon in each hand, allowing for another attack during their turn in combat. A target that is struck by the character with at least two attacks in the same round is rendered immobile until the end of the character’s next turn. The exercises described in the book are physically demanding: a character must have at least a score of 13 in both Strength and Dexterity to gain the benefit of this text.
  • War-Songs of the B’Diemi, by Carlam and Timinee Tonwyn. The Tonwyns were married scholars who spent several years living with and studying the ways of the nomadic B’Diemi. This book is a collection of translated chants that B’Diemi warriors sing before and during combat. A character can learn to sing one of the songs by rolling under their Intelligence score on a 1d20. They can memorize a total number of songs equal to one-half their Intelligence score (rounded down). Characters and retainers within 30 feet of the singer that can hear and understand them gain a +2 bonus to one of a variety rolls (attack, damage, saving throw, initiative, etc.) depending on the song. While singing, the character cannot perform any other action or ability that requires the use of their voice (like cast a spell) and engaging in strenuous activity (like attacking) requires them to roll under their Constitution score on a 1d20 to continue singing. The benefit ends immediately if the singing stops or a character moves out of ear shot.

MARTIAL ARCHETYPE: THE BASTARD

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“Should they win merely because of the gifts god gave them? Well, I say cheating is the gift man gives himself.”

3 Ready for Anything – A bastard is always considered proficient with improvised weapons and deals 1d6 damage when using such weapons.

3 Jaded – Bastards have advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks to detect deception and saving throws against fear-based spells and effects.

7 Fight Dirty – Instead of dealing damage, a bastard fighter can use a successful attack to impose the blinded, deafened, prone, or restrained condition to their target until the start of the bastard’s next turn.

10 Live to Fight Another Day – As long as a bastard has less than half their total, maximum hit-points, they can use Disengage as a bonus action after completing an attack.

15 Gettin’ Too Old for This – When a bastard uses Second Wind, they can roll twice and take the higher result.

18 Smarter, Not Harder – Whenever a bastard attacks with advantage, they can also roll the damage twice and take the higher result.