Which Pissant Noble am I Talking To?

Normally, there are many layers of functionaries and factotums that prevent the aristocracy from getting within spitting distance of people as disreputable as adventurers. But, whether through dumb luck or deliberate shenanigans, the PCs may find themselves face to face with one or members of high society.

To generate an upper-class twit, roll 4d20.

D20 Roll

Female Male Noble House Rich Person Nonsense They Won’t Shut Up About

1

Alianor Auberic Asmodi Making miniature furniture for dioramas

2

Basilissa Bort Balagaga Falconry

3

Bruticia Bromulus Blumslow Experimenting with electricity

4

Citrinita Calastor Charivari Cocaine

5

Delephine Drystan Dunclop Erotic etchings

6

Dratlana Eephus Ermengard The latest canto of the epic poem they’re writing

7

Erzegund Fleurian Fitzwark Competitive orchid cultivation

8

Frangelique Gormsley Guisarme Their extensive wine-cellar

9

Gorgonetta Hinkard Hurdivant International finance

10

Hildegrine Indrid Kakarov Clockwork automata

11

Irlanis Jedward Le Bont The artist they’re patronizing

12

Javelinda Jobias Mackelay Their feud with another noble family

13

Lazuli Maldivio Nethersby Their feud with their own family

14

Lynira Niflas Ombrego Betting on bumfights

15

Marbeline Oxton Pleurgeron Why peasants deserve to be treated better

16

Nephilia Phinster Quence Why peasants are treated exactly as they deserve

17

Ornella Scarlon Slayle The ongoing renovations of their manor

18

Sibylis Theobald Tant The health benefits of their ridiculous diet

19

Tartine Vespio Utherelm Creating historical tableau with taxidermied animals 

20

Zinerva Weymund Vargulli A new, absurdly complex beauty regimen

 

THE VOID (WARLOCK PATRON (5E))

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When you tell others you serve Nothing, they regard you with incomprehension. It is difficult for a mortal mind to grasp the absence of existence. Nevertheless, you contemplate nullity and perhaps – beyond sensation, beyond thought – you will find something, or perhaps, something has already found you…

Patron Spells
1st: false life, sleep
2nd: blur, rope trick
3rd: blink, sending
4th: confusion, greater invisibility
5th: modify memory, passwall

Seeking Emptiness: Starting at 1st level, you can enter a state of suspended animation for up to 1 minute. While in this state, you do not need to eat, drink, or breathe, you do not age, and the progress of any disease or poison is halted. You remain aware of your immediate surroundings but cannot interact or communicate in any way. At any time before the duration expires, you can return to full consciousness instantly as a bonus action.

Every time you gain a level, the duration of this ability doubles.

Empty Mind: Starting at 6th level, you can use your reaction to automatically succeed a saving throw against a spell or ability that would detect your emotions or thoughts, or bestow the charmed condition. You must complete a short or long rest before you can use this ability again.

Ego Destruction: Beginning at 10th level, you gain resistance to psychic damage and have Advantage on Charisma based saving throws. Additionally, you can grant these benefits to another being with an Intelligence score of at least 3 by spending a round talking to them. A creature affected in this way has Disadvantage on Intelligence-based skill and ability checks. The effects last until the creature takes a short or long rest.

Total Annihilation: At 14th level, you can cast disintegrate once without expending a spell slot. You must complete a long rest before you can use this ability again.

WRACK-WRETCH

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Some people become so warped by the power of the wrack-glass that they can no longer stand upright. Far from being disabled, these wrack-wretches lope about on all fours like a predatory beast, albeit one augmented by a human intellect.

WRACK-WRETCH
Medium monstrosity (human), neutral evil


Armor Class: 15
Hit Points: 35 (6d6+14)
Speed 35 ft., climb 35 ft.


Str 17 | Dex  13 | Con 15 | Int 9 | Wis 13 | Cha 5

Skills: Athletics +8, Intimidate +6, Stealth +7, Perception +7; wrack-wretches understand Common, but can only speak in monosyllabic growls.
Passive Perception 17


Mirror Madness: A wrack-wretch that sees it’s own reflection flies into a mindless frenzy, unable to perform any actions except attack or move into attack range. The frenzy lasts until the wrack-wretch is incapacitated or it hasn’t made an attack in 1 minute.


Clutching Bite: melee attack +6 (1d4+3 piercing damage and target is grappled. Unless the wrack-wretch ends the grapple voluntarily, the target takes 1d4 damage when escaping from this grapple.)

Gnaw: A wrack-wretch can use its action to automatically deal 1d4+3 piercing damage to a creature it has grappled using clutching bite.

Sweeping Slam: melee attack +6 (1d6+3 bludgeoning damage and target must succeed a Strength or Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.)

Lurching Pounce (recharge 5, 6): melee attack +8 (2d6+6 bludgeoning damage and the target is knocked prone. On a miss, the target is pushed back 5 feet and must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.) Before the attack, the wrack-wretch moves up to its speed, ignoring difficult terrain.

NEW SPELL: Grave Dagger

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Necromancy

This spell requires a dagger with a handle fashioned from human bone. As part of the casting, the magic-user invests the dagger with their own essence. By sacrificing at least one point of Charisma, the next attack made with the ritual dagger ignores non-magical armor and deals an additional 1d6 points of damage. Every additional point of Charisma spent adds another 1d6 extra damage. The dagger remains charged with the spell until a successful attack is made.

A creature slain with a grave dagger can only be reanimated, never resurrected.

Until the spell is discharged, the caster cannot regain the Charisma used to power it. Charisma expended to cast this spell in excess of the caster’s level is permanently lost.

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.

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.