illustration by Kata Kane

One cool spring morning, a young man named Johannes Proft ventured into a deep, dark forest. He was a junior contributor to a publication called The Almanac of Complete World Knowledge and he was keen to make a name for himself as an investigator of all that was strange and mysterious.

A year and a day later, he stumbled back out of the woods with a head full of fractured and scrambled memories, clutching a smooth gray stone with a perfect hole worn through it, and the name Jon Proferatus on his tongue.

From a sheaf of crumpled, frantic notes he found in his coat pocket, Jon learned how to channel his will through the stone – the Hag Stone according to the notes. For the most part, his disorganized thoughts could only create flames of varying intensity and project frightening or confounding imagery into the minds of others.

While living on the outskirts of civilization, Jon met a young wilderness scout named Cal Shrigley and through Cal became part of a troupe of adventurers. While exploring the catacombs beneath a ruined castle, Jon answered a mystical call emanating from a pool of water. Plunging into the pool, he found a sword and became bound to it. Despite having no training in fencing or fighting – that he can remember anyway – Jon discovered he could wield the blade to deadly effect.

Jon was last seen plummeting out of the sky in a dragon-shaped flying machine with all his friends.

Jon Proferatus is a character I created for a friend’s Sword & Backpack game, illustrated here by another friend and player in that game, Kata Kane. Please check out more of her work at


The White Wardens are a martial order dedicated to maintaining peace and order wherever they travel, or so they proclaim. Beyond rote-sounding answers about justice and defending the defenseless, white wardens will deflect or evade questions about the principles of their organization. [I leave it up to the game master to decide whether there’s something nefarious about them, or if they’re just a bunch of officious pricks.]

White Warden
Hit Dice: 2 to 8 (9 to 36 hp); saves as a cleric, has Advantage on saving throws to resist emotion-manipulating spells and effects.
Armor: High (Heavy armor + shield)
Movement: 3/4ths normal human
Demeanor: roll 2d6

2 – 3Triumphant: They’ve just subdued a major adversary.
3 – 4Pondering: They appear to be lost in thought.
6 – 8On the Hunt: They’re responding to a report of a threat in the area.
9 – 10Despairing: They’re having a crisis of faith.
11 – 12Paranoid: They believe they’re surrounded by enemies.

Attack: Medium melee weapon (1d8 damage) or shield bash (1d6 damage and target is pushed back)

  • Quenching Blade: As their action, the white warden can make a melee attack that deals no damage. Instead, the target must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or be overcome with feelings of tranquility. While under this effect, a creature cannot attack or cast spells, and moves half their normal speed. This effect ends immediately if the affected creature suffers damage or the white warden is killed or rendered unconscious. A white warden can have a number of creatures equal to their hit dice under this effect.
  • Veil of Tears: As their action, a white warden can touch a creature and force them to re-experience their most painful memory. If the target fails a Wisdom saving throw, they become wracked with negative emotions and are incapacitated for a number of rounds equal to the white warden’s hit dice.
  • Lance of Light: Only white wardens with 6 or more hit dice can use this ability. As their action, the white warden emits a beam of brilliant light at target they can see within 100 feet. The target must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or be struck blind for a number of rounds equal to the white warden’s hit dice and lose their next set of actions. Using this ability leaves the white warden momentarily drained – until the end of their next turn, they have Disadvantage on all Strength- and Dexterity-based rolls.

I Search the Body: roll 1d10

1-51d6 gold coins per hit die.
6A string of white jade prayer beads.
7A letter of introduction to a local official identifying the bearer as a White Warden.
8A coil of white and silver silk rope. Its knots can only be undone by the person who tied them.
9A white enameled silver amulet. People speaking to the wearer have difficulty telling lies (Disadvantage on rolls to deceive).
10A beautifully illuminated pocket-sized book containing detailed instructions on performing rituals of warding, sealing, and banishment.

NEW SPELL: Polychromic Bolt

Sorcerer/Wizard (Evocation)

As you speak the incantation, you gather chaotic energies into the space between your hands. The power coalesces into a projectile that shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow as it streaks toward your chosen target.

A polychromic bolt can affect on creature within a range of 30 feet plus 10 feet per caster level. The target can avoid the spell with a successful Dexterity saving throw.

On a failed save, roll 1d8 to determine the effect of the spell:

1RedThe bolt burns the target for 1d6 points of damage per caster level and the target catches on fire.
2OrangeThe target is blasted backward 10 feet per caster level. If the target strikes a solid object (like a wall or another creature) it takes damage as if it had fallen from a height equal to the distance it had traveled.
3YellowThe target is incapacitated with pain as arcs of crackling yellow energy crawl over their body. The target is unable to perform any actions for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level. Any creature that touches the target must make a Constitution saving throw or become incapacitated as well.
4GreenThe target is limned with sickly green light as their vitality leaves their body. For a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level, the target moves at half their normal speed and has Disadvantage on all rolls related to physical activities.
5BlueThe target’s eyes take on a faint blue glow. For a number of minutes equal to the caster’s level, they regard the caster as a friend and will take no hostile action towards them.
6IndigoThe target clutches their head as their mind is overwhelmed by psychic turmoil. For a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level, the target must must roll a 1d6 to determine their action: 1-2 – Stagger about in a random direction; 3-4 – Stand still and stare vacantly; 5 – Make a melee attack against a random creature within reach, or themselves if no other target is available; 6 – Act as normal
7VioletThe target is surrounded by an aura of purple light and floats up 10 feet off the ground for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level. While floating, the target can only move by pushing off of, or pulling across, a solid surface.
8WhiteThe target disappears in a flash of brilliant white light. A fist-sized hunk of clear, multi-faceted crystal rests on the ground where the target stood. An image of the target appears inside the crystal – they are trapped inside for one hour per caster level or until the crystal is broken. While trapped, the target is conscious and can see and hear, but cannot be heard, outside of the crystal.

Random Encounter: Mercenary Pyrotheurge

Pyrotheurges are mystics with a great affinity for fire. Most spend their time cloistered in small communes or in secluded hermitage. But some, who chafe at a life of quiet contemplation, have found their calling in setting things on fire for money.

Hit Dice: 5 to 10 (22 to 45 hp); saves as a magic-user, has Advantage on saving throws related to fire.
Armor: Low (Heavy robes + average Dexterity); takes no damage from non-magical fire.
Movement: As a normal human.
Demeanor: roll 2d6

2 – 3Just got paid! Who’s down to carouse?
4 – 5You all look like you’re on the way to some action. Mind if I tag along?
6 – 8Need some firepower? Mine is yours, if the price is right.
9 – 10Get out of my way! Time is money and I’m wasting both talking to you.
11 – 12Nothing personal, but someone paid for you to burn.

Attack: Light melee weapon (1d6 damage)
Special: Pyrotheurgy – Each of the following effects requires the pyrotheurge to sacrifice 1d6 hit points to activate.

  • Serpentine Fire: The pyrotheurge uses their action to summon a sinuous stream of fire that can be wielded like a whip (1d4 damage + 1d4 fire damage, if a 4 is rolled for the fire damage, the target catches on fire) or thrown as a ranged attack (2d4 points of fire damage and the target catches on fire, 30 foot range).
  • Hell’s Wind: The pyrotheurge uses their action to unleash an arcing wave of flames with the sweep of their arm. Every creature in a 30-foot cone that fails a Dexterity saving throw takes 1d4 points of fire damage per hit die of the pyrotheurge and catches on fire.
  • Fire Walk with Me: The pyrotheurge uses their action to levitate off the ground, their feet surrounded by flames. For a number of rounds equal to their hit dice, the pyrotheurge can fly with a 50% increase in speed.
  • Smoldering Gaze: The pyrotheurge uses their action to enhance their vision. For a number of rounds equal to their hit dice, they can see normally in total and magical darkness, detect illusionary images, and see through invisibility.

I Search the Body: roll 1d10

1-42d10 silver coins
5-6A flask of potent, spicy liqueur
7Bronze and garnet jewelry worth 1d4x100 silver coins
81d4+1 firebombs
9A hooded robe, singed in places and smelling of smoke, but impervious to fire
10A heavy leather-bound tome with bronze fittings – a pyrotheurgical text.


You’ve tried your hand at a lot of things, some more successful than others. You’ve lived in a lot of different places, some longer than others. But in your heart of hearts, you’re a nomad, a wanderer, and wherever you lay your head is home.

You have hit dice, saving throws, and XP progression as a thief.

You’re fluent in a system of marks and symbols that vagabonds use to pass on information amongst themselves.

You like to travel light, but you always keep this item around for sentimental reasons.

Roll 1d6:
1 – Antique Weapon: The blade has a few notches, but it keeps a fine edge. You gain a bonus to rolls to attack with this weapon equal to your vagabond level.
2 – Secondhand Musical Instrument: Playing a tune helps you unwind after a long day on the road. Anyone listening to your music while resting recovers as if they had rested under ideal conditions.
3 – Rugged Boots: Well worn footwear that fit just right. You have Advantage on all rolls to keep your balance.
4 – Lucky Charm: A shiny trinket that caught your eye from the side of the road. Once per day, you can make any one roll with Advantage or force another character or creature make a roll with Disadvantage.
5 – Cookware: A cast iron stew-pot or skillet. A character who eats a meal cooked in it gains Advantage on their next roll to resist poison, disease, or any other physically debilitating condition.
6 – Book: A journal of your travels and experiences. You can consult it to attempt any knowledge-based check with a bonus equal to your vagabond level.

If you are subject to an attack or effect that would kill you, you can sacrifice your prized possession to stay alive. You cannot acquire a new prized possession until you gain another experience level in vagabond.

At first level and whenever you gain a level, roll twice on the following table. If you have sacrificed your prized possession to save your life, only roll once.

Roll 1d30:
1 – Ain’t Got Time to Bleed: Once per day, you can ‘defer’ one instance of hit point loss from any source for one minute. Every time you roll this again, you gain another use of this ability per day.
2 – Another Mouth to Feed: You’ve picked up a travelling companion equivalent to a 0-level hireling. Every time you roll this again, you can gain another companion or one already accompanying you gains a level in vagabond.
3 – Bloody Knuckles: Your two most reliable allies are your left and right hands. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with unarmed strikes.
4 – But It’s a Dry Heat: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to resisting the effects of non-magical adverse weather conditions.
5 – Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker: Every now and then, you’ve had to pick up and odd job to make ends meet. You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to a craft or trade of your choice.
6 – By the Pricking of My Thumbs: You’ve learned that danger can lurk behind any curve in the road. Once per day, you can automatically detect an ambush or hidden trap. Every time you roll this again, you gain another use of this ability per day.
7 – Call Me What You Will: You brush aside petty insults and threatening looks. You gain a +2 bonus to rolls to resist intimidation and coercion.
8 – Conjuror of Cheap Tricks: Your hands are so quick, some might consider it magic. You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to juggling, palming, and sleight of hand.
9 – Folk Medicine: You’ve cobbled together some rudimentary healing skills from home remedies and old wives’ tales. You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to diagnosing and treating injuries and illnesses.
10 – Friends in Low Places: Name an inhabited area; you have a relatively loyal contact living there who provides you with information and advice. You can also call in a favor from them, after which they will no longer be your contact.
11 – Gotta Have Faith: Pick a religion; you know enough about its doctrine and traditions to convincingly pass as an adherent. Every time you roll this again, you can pick another religion or gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to one you already know of.
12 – Hardy: You gain an extra hit die’s worth of hit points.
13 – I Walk the Ley Line: You’ve developed a sensitivity to the web of magical power the envelopes the world. You can detect their presence with a successful Wisdom/Perception roll. Every time you roll this again, you gain a +2 bonus to the detection roll.
14 – In the Pale Moonlight: You know an occult ritual to summon an otherworldly being. The ritual can only be performed at a crossroads at night. Roll 2d6, modified by your Intelligence; on a result of 10 or more, the ritual succeeds. On a 7-9, you summon something, but not what you intended. A roll of 6 or less indicates failure. Every time you roll this result again, you gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to interacting with the being you summoned.
15 – Intestinal Fortitude: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls to resist poison, intoxication, and food- and water-born diseases.
16 – It’s All in the Reflexes: You gain a +1 bonus to your Armor Class when not wearing armor.
17 – King of the Road: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to wagons, carriages, and other wheeled vehicles.
18 – Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to gambling and games of chance.
19 – Let’s Make a Deal: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to bargaining, haggling, and negotiating.
20 – Mysterious Ways: The first time you roll this, you no longer leave a trail or tracks unless you wish. The second time you roll this, you can move at full speed without incurring a penalty to rolls related moving stealthily. The third time you roll this result, you can attempt to hide while being observed. The fourth, and every subsequent, time you roll this, you gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to sneaking and stealthy movement.
21 – Polyglot: You become fluent in a language of your choice. (If you roll this result twice, you can elect to know one secret language – like thieves’ cant – instead of two common languages.)
22 – Sing for Your Supper: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to a visual or performing art of your choice.
23 – Stowaway: You are adept at getting into and hiding in cramped spaces. You can squeeze through openings as if your were one size category smaller. Every time you roll this again, you gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to hiding.
24 – Survival Instincts: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to finding food, water, and shelter in the wilderness.
25 – Sweat the Technique: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related to a combat trick (strike to disarm, strike to stun, trip, etc.) of your choice. Every time you roll this, you can pick an additional trick or gain an additional +2 bonus to one you already chose.
26 – Tongue Twister: You have a talent for tying people into rhetorical knots. You gain a +2 bonus to rolls to deceive others.
27 – Traveling Without Moving: You know a ritual to induce an out-of-body experience. An Intelligence/Arcana roll determines how many minutes your consciousness can safely exist outside your body. While out of your body, you are intangible and invisible, and you can fly at twice your normal speed. During the experience, your body appears to be asleep and is completely helpless. Every time you roll this again, you gain a +2 bonus to the ritual roll.
28 – Unnerving Stare: As you action, you can stare down an adversary that meets your gaze. Make an opposed Charisma/Personality roll; if you succeed, you can make one demand of the creature you’ve unnerved. If you fail, the creature becomes hostile towards you. Every time you re-roll this result, you gain a +2 bonus to the opposed roll.
29 – Wild at Heart: You gain a +2 bonus to rolls related handling and interacting with animals.
30 – You Can Never Have Too Many Knives: No matter what you’re carrying or how thoroughly you’re searched, you can always reveal a hidden dagger. Every time you roll this again, you can produce another, different, mundane item of similar size – a candle, a length of wire, a deck of cards, etc.

NEW SPELL: Waste of Tiamat

Sorcerer/Warlock/Wizard (Evocation)

Invoking the dread name of the primordial dragon, you smite your foes with seething, iridescent fire.

Every creature in a 30-foot cone emanating from the caster that fails a Dexterity saving throw must roll 1d6 to see how the spell affects them:

  1. Bodywarp: The target gains a number of random mutations equal to the caster’s level. At the start of their next turn, the bodywarped target can make a Constitution saving throw, reverting to normal with a success. If they fail three Constitution saving throws, the mutations become permanent.
  2. Fatewarp: The target gains Disadvantage on the next X rolls they make, where X equals the caster’s level.
  3. Mindwarp: The target gains a number of random insanities equal to the caster’s level. At the start of their next turn, the mindwarped target can make a Wisdom saving throw, regaining sanity with a success. If they fail three Wisdom saving throws, the insanities become permanent.
  4. Spacewarp: The target is teleported 1d6 feet per caster level in a random direction.
  5. Timewarp: The target ages 1d10 years per caster level.
  6. Warpfire: The target takes 1d6 damage per caster level and starts burning. At the start of the creature’s turn it takes another 1d6 damage; on a 6, add another 1d6 and keep adding d6s as long as 6s are rolled. Any creature that starts its turn next to a burning target must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or start burning too. Warpfire can only be extinguished with magic.


And I’m back with another exercise in brevity, this time coming up with thirty one-sentence NPCs. Hopefully there’s enough meat on those bones to make a meaningful encounter or maybe even a little bit of an adventure.

Roll 1d30:
1 – Algramay Salbator: An exiled noble impatient to meet with sympathizers from home.

2 – Bardolph Nims: A slovenly religious fanatic feuding with a local woodsman with odd headwear.

3 – Carlene Floggerty: A cynical pre-pubescent street urchin with an unsettlingly hard stare.

4 – Cotterjon Sweek: A hirsute boatman heartsick over a failed romantic relationship.

5 – Duffy Olan-Pey: A hare-lipped nightwatchman with a beautiful singing voice.

6 – Eritska Burvic: The talk-of-the-town poet troubled by writer’s block and disturbing dreams.

7 – Farlowe Shoom: A hapless vagabond who witnessed something unspeakably vile.

8 – Grippa Magnanni: An anxious young diplomat procrastinating instead of delivering bad news from their homeland.

9 – Hafouz Gul Afkar: A pious merchant being blackmailed into smuggling contraband into the city.

10 – Hasmodel & Hasmodai: Identical twin stage-magicians who are actually warlocks.

11 – Heinruth Carvold: The aging figurehead of an occultist cabal who staves off his ennui with food and drugs.

12 – Imbric Von Füst: A morose military academy dropout eager to redeem himself in the eyes of his family.

13 – Jaconda Ingermar: A fast-talking journalist-turned-agitator with a strikingly white stripe in her glossy black hair.

14 – Keatley Ransford: An excitable naturalist who’s faith in reason has been recently tested by an encounter with the paranormal.

15 – Kinlon Flanneur: A disgraced wilderness explorer who is adamant about what they saw in the mountains on their last expedition.

16 – Lainie de la Coás: A curious and athletic young mystic who only refers to herself in the third-person.

17 – Mortris Grimmelheld: A twitchy, shabbily-dressed soothsayer with a sophisticated demeanor.

18 – Nisbin Ostlewaithe: A junior bureaucrat trying to hide the otherworldly parts of their heritage slowly asserting themselves.

19 – Odric Dorn: A sharp-eared poacher in a ridiculous hat who has attracted the ire of a local street preacher.

20 – Penza Crickshed: An ambitious occult scholar throwing herself into her work to distract from a bad break-up.

21 – Rewse Mandelbone: A dedicated and reserved factotum puzzled as to why his employer just fired him.

22 – Semoon Semay: A burly bartender missing his left ear, left eye, and left nostril.

23 – Snella Foulkes: A clever, but somewhat addled scout who talks to a shrunken head tied to her belt.

24 – Tarson Nimas: A tragically hip art student desperate to pay off an astronomically high bar tab.

25 – Terley Rhosbarton: A teenage delinquent afraid of their burgeoning powers as a spirit medium.

26 – Ulun Bast: A lithe and long-limbed mercenary who spends all her money on gawdy clothing.

27 – Visatha Pasheman: An erudite travel writer who hates this place but needs the money from this assignment.

28 – Waldis Ketsky: A babyfaced sharpshooter on the run after deserting from their army regiment.

29 – Yornold Coggsfoot: A baker trying to convince his father to stand up to the criminals extorting protection money from their business.

30 – Zaul Orvine: A soft-spoken laborer who is also a ruthless bare-knuckle boxer.

Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion: The Atavist

photograph by Charles Fréger

The idea for this had been kicking around my head for awhile, but the format was inspired by Zedeck Siew’s recent player-character concepts for A Thousand Thousand Islands.

You have made a pact with the elemental forces of the world. Rejecting the trappings of progress and society, you draw strength from primordial sources.

You have hit dice, saving throws, and XP progression as a cleric.

You are a follower of the old ways. +2 to Wisdom.
Choose a source of power. You gain an ability for every taboo you possess.

Beast & Bough – +1 Dexterity
1 – Berserker: You can craft a ritual garment made from the hide (or other parts) of a particular animal. Once per day per taboo possessed, you can take the shape of the animal whose hide the garment is made of. You can remain in this form for a number of hours equal to your character level.
2 – Call of the Wild: You can flawlessly imitate the sounds of any animal.
3 – Cornucopia: Once per day, you can summon enough edible fruits and plants to feed one person per taboo possessed.
4 – Creeping Ivy: Once per day per taboo you possess, you can cause vegetation to animate and immobilize creatures within a 15-foot radius area around you.
5 – Foaming at the Mouth: Once per day per taboo you possess, your bite can instill a ferocious, near-mindless bloodlust in a living creature for one minute.
6 – Leaps and Bounds: Once per day per taboo possessed, you can move at double your normal speed or jump, from a standing start, a distance equal to your normal speed.
7 – Mossy Creche: Once per day, you can dig a shallow pit and consecrate it for 24 hours. A number of creatures equal to the taboos you possess can rest within the pit, healing damage at twice the normal rate.
8 – Spirit of the Beehive: Once per day, you can summon and control a swarm of insects for a number of rounds equal to the taboos you possess.
9 – The Tree Remembers: By touching a tree, you can review events that have taken place underneath its branches.
10 – Tooth and Nail: Your canines sharpen and your nails thicken. Your unarmed attacks deal 1d4+Strength damage. For every taboo gained after your first, the damage increases by one die size (1d4 -> 1d6 -> 1d8, and so on).

Blood & Bone – +1 Strength
1 – Bad Blood: Once per day per taboo, you can weaken a living creature you can see by curdling their blood.
2 – Blood Will Tell: By tasting blood, you know how and when it was spilled.
3 – Pierced Flesh: Your body is covered with apotropaic scars and tattoos. For every taboo you possess, you permanently lose one hit point, but gain a +1 bonus to your Armor Class and rolls to resist magic spells and effects.
4 – Red Right Hand: You gain a bonus to melee attack rolls equal to the number of taboos you possess.
5 – Roll the Bones: You possess a bag of old bone fragments inscribed with weird symbols. Once per day, you can perform an augury with them – roll a d20 a number of times equal to taboos you possess. At any point afterwards, you can substitute one those results for another d20 roll, yours or someone else’s.
6 – Seeing Red: By closing your eyes, you can detect living creatures by visualizing their circulatory systems.
7 – Skeleton Dance: Once per day per taboo, you can make a creature act against its will by moving its bones.
8 – Songs for the Dead: You’ve crafted a flute from a human femur. When you play it, you summon the spirit of someone who has died nearby. They will truthfully answer one question per taboo you possess.
9 – Thicker Than Water: Your touch can staunch bleeding and close wounds. Each day, you can heal 1d6 points of damage per taboo possessed, all at once or divided into increments of 1d6.
10 – Thoughts for Food: By eating a creature’s brain, you can access their memories. If you are looking for a specific memory, you have a 1-in-10 chance per taboo possessed to find it.

Stone & Sky – +1 Constitution
1 – Chip and Shatter: Once per day per taboo you possess, you can destroy a single manufactured object with a successful attack.
2 – Ear to the Ground: You can sense the location of creatures standing on the ground or beneath it out to a range of 30 feet, plus 30 feet per taboo possessed.
3 – Feather on the Wind: You take damage from falling as if the distance fell was 10 feet less, plus 10 feet for every taboo you possess.
4 – Like a Rock: Once per day per taboo possessed, you can harden your flesh as a reaction to being struck by an attack, reducing the damage suffered by an amount equal to your taboos.
5 – Listening Wind: You can ask the wind to carry messages for you to anyone within a range of 1 mile per taboo possessed.
6 – Parched Earth: Once per day, you can evaporate all the moisture from a 15-foot radius area, including from plants and living creatures, centered on you. For every taboo you possess, the radius of the area of effect increases by 15 feet.
7 – Reap the Wind: Once per day per taboo possessed, you can produce a blast of concentrated wind with a range of 60 feet. The gust can attempt to move creatures and objects as if it had Strength modifier equal to your taboos.
8 – Stonefinger: Once per day per taboo possessed, you can cause a 5-foot tall stalagmite to erupt out of the ground.
9 – Thunderstrike: Once per day per taboo you possess, you can generate a burst of sound powerful enough to knock down and deafen every creature in a 15-foot radius.
10 – Waterstrider: Each day, for up to one minute per taboo possessed, you can move across a body of water as if it were solid ground.

In exchange for your gifts, the powers of the earth demand certain sacrifices from the atavist. At first level, third level, and then every three levels thereafter (6th, 9th, 12th, and so on), you gain a taboo – a sacred prohibition – as proof of their devotion.

Should an atavist break any of their taboos, they lose their class-related abilities and cannot advance any further as an atavist until they atone for their transgression.

1 – Must refrain from using metal armor, weapons, and tools. You don’t incur any penalties for using improvised tools and weapons and your non-metallic tools and weapons will never break.
2 – Must refrain from sleeping indoors. While sleeping, you remain fully aware of your surroundings. You don’t incur any penalties for sleeping rough.
3 – Must refrain from eating cooked food. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to rolls to resist poisons and diseases.
4 – Must refrain from using money in exchange for goods and services. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to all crafting rolls.
5 – Must refrain from wearing any kind of footwear. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to rolls to resist forced movement.
6 – Must refrain from wearing clothing made of woven fabrics. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to rolls to resist the effects of extreme temperatures and weather.
7 – Must refrain from owning animals. You understand the languages of animals and they understand you. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to rolls to ask them for favors.
8 – Must refrain from sexual activity. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to rolls to resist mind-affecting spells and effects.
9 – Must refrain from reading or writing. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to rolls to detect lies and deception.
10 – Must refrain from cutting or shaving any hair. You gain a bonus equal to the number of taboos you possess to melee damage rolls.

Tiger Lung, by Simon Roy

SOUND AND FURY (New Monsters)

A lanky, simian creature tufted with long quills. Troops of mocking beasts are typically found in grasslands and prairies, where their spiky coats helped them hide among the stalks of tall grass.

No. Appearing: 4d4
Hit Dice: 4d6
Movement: Equivalent to a normal human. Mocking beasts are unhindered by difficult terrain caused by tall grasses and brush.
Armor Class: Low (Matted hair + average Dexterity)
Attack: Raking claws (1d6 damage)
Morale: Average

  • Mimicry: Mocking beasts get their name from their uncanny ability to replicate sounds they hear, including speech.
  • Quills: A mocking beast can use their action to pluck out and hurl one of their long spine-like hairs. This attack has a range of 30 feet and deals 1d8 damage on a hit. Until it is removed, a creature struck with a quill cannot move at more than half its normal speed or it suffers another 1d8 damage as the spine digs in deeper.

Wulkurë are gaunt, avian creatures that haunt graveyards and battlefields, anywhere there is large number of the dead and dying. Folklore holds that just seeing a wulkurë is an ill omen.

No. Appearing: 1d6+2; there’s a 1-in-6 chance of 1d4 zombies accompanying them
Hit Dice: 7d6
Movement: Normal human speed. Wulkurë can also fly at twice normal human speed.
Armor Class: Medium (Tattered rags + very high Dexterity)
Attack: Slashing talons (1d4) or by weapon.
Morale: High

  • Chooser of the Slain: Whenever a creature under the effect of a wulkurë’s dreadful screech curse dies, the wulkurë can use its reaction to raise the creature as a zombie under its control.
  • Dreadful Screech: As its action, a wulkurë can unleash a horrifying shriek. Living creatures in a 30 foot radius must make Constitution and Wisdom saving throws. A creature that fails the Constitution save is incapacitated with pain for 1d10 rounds and deafened for 1d10 minutes. A creature that fails the Wisdom saving throw is cursed – they become unable to heal by any means until the wulkurë that cursed them dies or remove curse is cast upon them. 

NEW SPELL: Ephemeral Arrow

Warlock/Wizard/Sorcerer (Illusion)

The caster draws back the string of bow and an arrow fades into existence in their hand, nocked and ready to fire. 

An ephemeral arrow seems to unfailingly hit its target, ignoring armor and shields. The target of the missile must make a Wisdom saving throw; if they fail, they believe they have been struck by an arrow and take damage equivalent to the type of bow used to fire the arrow.

With a single casting, a magic-user can fire a number of ephemeral arrows equal to their caster level. If the caster drops the bow, the spell immediately ends and no more arrows can be fired.