NEW SPELL: Thoughts Like Hammers

This versatile incantation weaponizes the caster’s psyche, projecting their consciousness out to bludgeon a target they can see.

At the moment of casting, the magic-user chooses one of the following effects:

  • Overwhelm – The target must succeed a saving throw versus magic or be knocked unconscious for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level. The caster can increase the number of targets by decreasing the duration one round per additional target.
  • Compel The target must succeed a saving throw versus magic or truthfully answer one question per caster level.
  • Commandeer – If the target fails a saving throw versus magic, the caster gains complete control of its actions. The target is entitled to a new saving throw at the start of each of its turns.

Regardless of chosen effect, the spell ends if the caster is knocked unconscious.

Miscast (1d12):

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1 – You pour too much power into the spell – the target’s head explodes, Scanners-style.

2 – Your mind swaps bodies with the intended target. You have full access to the physical abilities of the target, but keep your mental faculties (including your other prepared spells); the same applies to the target.

3 – The target fights back; you and it become locked in a psychic duel. Resolve as melee combat; first one to 0 hp loses. Half of the damage is reflected in actual hit point loss (“The mind makes it real.”). The loser is also knocked unconscious.

4 – The strain is too much – a blood vessel in your brain ruptures. Whenever you attempt an Intelligence-based skill or ability check, roll a d20 twice and use the lower of the two results. Also, spells automatically miscast. This condition lasts for a number of hours equal to your caster level.

5 – Brainstorm – psychic energy lashes out randomly for one round per caster level. All creatures within 20 feet of the caster must succeed a saving throw versus magic or take 1d6 points of damage per caster level.

6 – Where is my mind? – You miss your intended target and your consciousness is stranded outside of your body. It’ll take 1d6 rounds for it return, during which time your body is catatonic.

7+ – Consult the standard miscast table.

Alternative Medicine in the Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine

So,

Picking up where we last left our intrepid heroes

  • Hertzenstube, elven rogue; played by Adam
  • Guilfoyle, half-orc fighter; played by Amanda
  • Ros Axegrinder, dwarf rogue; played by Laura

basically hung out at the Sinister Polliwog to kill time until the Rhyming Toads came back to lead the PCs to their marshy abode. The goal was to find someone who could translate a book – “The 99 Invocations of C’tawn” – that the party had stolen from the Golden Fangs, a street gang at odds with the Toads.

At Rhyming Toad HQ, the PCs have a chat with one Felix Longworm, who had a problem that needed solving. See, the Rhyming Toads, as was established in the previous session, are traffickers of a potent hallucinogen called psychedennelid. Longworm explains that the raw material for the drug is extracted from cysts growing on the body of a hibernating feathered swine. (Hertzenstube was slightly nonplussed to learn that he had gotten rickety-wrecked on parasites.) The most recent expedition to gather more worms never came back and Longworm offers to translate the 99 Invocations if the PCs would retrieve the missing Rhyming Toads, or at least the valuable worms. The party agrees, provided Longworm leads them to the feathered swine’s den.

After a hike through the marsh, and avoiding an encounter with a stirge swarm, the group comes to mouth of a cave. Longworm, riding on Guilfoyle’s back like Yoda, says that the swine is down that hole. Without further ado, they all venture inside.

In the first passageway they explore, the group pauses at a cleft in the cavern floor from which the sickly scent of bile wafts. Guilfoyle has his pet raven fly down the hole to recon the area beneath. The bird returns with an iron spike gripped in its beak. Intrigued,

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One of the mutants (illustration by Logan Knight)

Hertzenstube ties a rope around his waist and abseils down the crack to investigate. It doesn’t take him too long to  discover one of the missing Toads, all mangled and mutated and begging for death. Shortly thereafter, a pair hideously deformed man-things lurch into view. Hertzenstube calls up the crack for help from Guilfoyle and Ros, and the fight was on. The two rogues tag team one of the mutants while Guilfoyle makes short work of the other with his greatsword.

The area secure, Longworm hops off of Guilfoyle’s back and positively IDs the wretch wallowing in mutant slime as one of the group they’ve come to rescue. After a little bit of dithering over who’ll do it, Hertzenstube grants the poor bastard wish and mercy-kills him with his rapier. Meanwhile, Ros scopes out on of the adjoining chambers and immediately becomes suspicious of the holes dug into the walls. She senses a presence behind her – but it’s just Longworm, who is promptly snatched up and into one the holes. Ros pulls him out, but his face is all chewed up and covered with slime. As the mutant crawls out of the wall, Ros drags Longworm back to the others, and they clamber back up the way they came. Once all are safely out of the hole, Ros drops a brimstone grenade down the shaft and blows up the mutant real good.

Concerned that Longworm might become a mutant himself, the PCs discuss how to best treat his injuries. First, they douse his head and face with wine, hoping the alcohol will have disinfect the wounds somewhat. Then, Hertzenstube – who has no medical training at all – heats up an iron spike and uses it to cauterize the bites. He only screws up twice during the grisly procedure, so Longworm survived. They dose him with some narcotic spice they found in a backpack and high-tail it back to the Rhyming Toad’s lair.