Thursday, May 11, 2017

Stone Magic and Magic Pyramids for Savage Rifts

Stone Magic

Stone Magic is an ancient form of magical technology, related conceptually to Techno-wizardry. Stone Masters are, at the simplest level, able to manipulate stone; mold it, move it, and shape it. However, with the proper materials, Stone Masters can create a wide variety of “traditional” powers, and, working together, can create massive stone pyramids; works of magical technology that heal people, extend their lives, and even piercing dimensions. All True Atlanteans are taught how to use Stone Magic technology; only true Stone Mages (those with the Arcane Background: Stone Magic) and Stone Masters (those with the Stone Master Iconic Framework) can manipulate the stone and call forth powers.

NOTE: This was edited on 2017/5/15 to reflect some great feedback I got on the Palladium Message Boards.

Tattoo Magic for Savage Rifts

Tattoo Magic
Tattoo magic is an ancient form of enchanting, imbuing living flesh with mystic power. Taught by the Chiang-ku to the True Atlanteans in the days of High Atlantis, it’s secrets were wrested by the Splugorth, either from rogue Chiang-ku or during the Atlantean diaspora after the Atlantean Cataclysm. For True Atlanteans, it is part of their culture; all True Atlanteans are tattooed young with the “Marks of Heritage”, including a sword bearing the crest of their Clan, and a mark providing protection against vampires.

Ogres for Savage Rifts

Ogre Race:
*Size (+2): Ogres are simply massive; 8-10 feet tall, which an equal increase in Toughness.
*Let’s Get Physical: Ogres begin with a d6 in Strength and Vigor, with a maximum of d12+1 in both traits
*Simply Horrible: Ogres suffer from a Bad Reputation; they are known to be cannibals, slavers, and favored minions of all sorts of evil creatures. They are also quite Distinctive (as Distinctive D-Bee), have a Non-Standard Physiology.

True Atlanteans for Savage Rifts

True Atlantean Race:
*Arcane Background: Tattoo Magic. All True Atlanteans learn the basics of Tattoo Magic. They begin with a d4 in Tattoo Magic, 5 PPE, and two Power Tattoos; Protection from Vampires (as Warriors Gift, but granting Improved Arcane Resistance against the powers and attacks of Vampires) and Smite, which will also summon a magical sword. If the True Atlantean is a Tattooed Warrior, then they receive Tattoo Magic at d10, and their two tattoos are bonus tattoos. If they have another Arcane Background dependent upon PPE, the PPE from this feature adds to that. This arcane background does not prevent their acquiring additional Arcane Backgrounds, either through their Iconic Framework or selection.

*All True Atlanteans learn the basics of Stone Magic. While they are not able to learn Stone Magic powers without the Stone Magic Arcane Background, they have a d6 when making use of Stone Magic Devices.

*Enemies: True Atlanteans are deeply unpopular with many throughout the Megaverse. They receive a -4 to Charisma with Minions of the Splugorth and Vampires, being obdurate foes of both.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sir Ronald's Last Act

Sir Ronald's Last Act

Two thousand years ago, Sir Ronald, The Demonsbane, was known throughout the land as the foremost crusader against the Infernal that the world had ever known. And then, one day, he vanished.

Here lies Sir Roland, in his final act.

In the center of the room is a large circular dais, intricately carved with runes of binding and protection. Crouched in the middle of that dias is a massive angelic form. Could it straighten, it would be twenty feet tall, but it seems restrained into a dome that reaches only ten feet tall. Against one wall is the skeletal corpse of Agamager the Warlock, clad in bits of once-rich robes, his magic staff of binding by his side. With that Staff, Agamager would hold demons at bay, extracting favors from them for their freedom. Sir Ronald's sword is buried in Agamager's chest, and his corpse lies across his feet, still clad in his resplendent mail.

The angel will attempt to convince anyone who enters the room to free her from her imprisonment. She has been stuck a VERY long time, with nothing to do but to watch the decay of Sir Ronald and Agamager... she isn't even able to turn around, and even immortal joints grow pained after centuries of imprisonment. But, should a spark of Good enter the room, Sir Ronald's shade, tied to his corpse by the spell which slayed him, will appear and make his own pleas.

Agamager's Staff of Binding still has one charge left... he had summoned this angel to recharge the staff. With a word, the staff can free her onto this world, or banish her for as long as she was trapped here. Sir Ronald wishes you not to... he claims that she is a foul beast, a fallen angel whose freedom would doom the world, or at least a chunk of it. He has no proof, only his word. Sir Ronald can offer nothing... you may loot his corpse, of course, and take word of his fate back to the world and he gives you leave to use his armor and weapons as your own, if you do not dishonor them. But, as the creature will point out, you can do that if you free her. She'll offer lavish gifts, and will sign a binding bargain with whoever will free her onto this world. Wealth, power, glory... all can be yours, if you simply speak the word of Freedom, not banishment. She swears that Ronald is the liar, a false priest who used his activities as a demon hunter to stamp out rival cults, and that she has been stuck here because he slew Agamager before she could be freed.

Both are immune to most divinations... only truly powerful divinations can pierce the centuries to determine the right of it. And those are beyond your ken.

The sweet spot for this encounter is about levels 5-6... before the really powerful spells start coming out, but when the world can start getting bigger, and items can start getting more powerful.

Sir Ronald should have some sweet loot... his sword should probably be at least +3 against something, though it might be a +1, +3 v. outer planar creatures. Likewise, his armor should be magical and of a useful level; none should be aligned. Agamager's Staff of Binding can only be recharged by summoning an outer planar creature and having it do so as a boon... one charge per HD of the creature, with a non-permanent loss of 1 HD for the creature (so a 10 HD demon would grant it 10 charges, but would temporarily become a 9HD version of itself). It does not allow the summoning of creatures; his long-rotted spellbook was his method of doing that... but it does allow them to be contained in magical circles (such as the dias), and then free them from those circles, or banish them back from whence they were summoned. Agamager might have some other magic items, as well.

It's up to the DM if Roland or the Angel is telling the truth... it could be that both are. Freedom or Banishment should play out pretty much as written... if the angel is freed, she keeps her bargain (fairly or literally, depending on who was right), banishing Roland's shade in the bargain. If she is banished, Roland's shade fades, and the party is free to hit the loot button.

But parties, of course, don't always choose A or B. Some guidance:

a) Loot the room, ignore the problem. They don't free or banish the angel, they just take the stuff and go. In this case, Ronald will rise up as a revenant, his shade merging with his corpse and creating a difficult to defeat monster. Unable to be turned, and regenerating like a troll from almost all damage, he will continue to stalk and slay whoever possess his armor and his sword, and return them both to the room (if the two are separated, he'll go after the sword, first). Downside of being an incarnate shade? He won't be able to talk while in that state, so he can't ask others to come help him.

b) Ignore the problem, come back later. Ronald's shade isn't as bound as the angel... he'll continue to follow them, making arguments for why they should go back and free him. The only thing that will stop a disincarnated Ronald is someone else entering the room. If a group entered room and separated, he'll follow them by whoever is closest to LG, then prefering a priest, a paladin, or a fighter, in that order. All other things being equal, he follow the highest level, the highest Charisma, then the highest wisdom. He can't really DO much but talk, but he can only be heard by those who have been in that room or their descendants.

Falvic, King of Rats

Another Dragonsfoot Contest entry....

Falvic, the King of Rats

In a disused portion of the sewer, sits a shrine made of hundreds of rat skulls, bound together with shreds of rat skin. The skulls range from the teeny, soft skulls of pinkies, to the massive skull of an ogre who fell victim to arourthropy. While the vault around it is caked in inches of rat feces, the shrine itself is clean, the bone gleaming white, save where it is stained rust from tracks of blood across it.

Falvic, the King of Rats, dwells nearby.

A minor demon-deity, Falvic's purview is rats of all sorts... tiny rats. Giant rats. Wererats. Politicians. His influence stretches through the halls of power, and he grows in strength wherever rats may thrive. To that end, he fosters lycanthropy and other diseases, knowing an excess of waste will allow his rats to flourish. When he gains power, he diverts funds away from city maintenance, so that rats will have more places to thrive. He has no real agenda, save an increase in the number of rats; left unchecked, he will overrun a world in rats, only to have those rats turn on each other and devour themselves.

Sometimes summoned by wererats, Falvic more often appears when rats grow out of control in an area. His first action, before he is able to manifest, is to construct a shrine; this takes 1d6 days, and might be interrupted before it begins if people notice that rats are gathering rat skulls and dragging them off. His manifestation causes all cats within three miles to simultaneously yowl in alarm; cats intelligent enough to communicate (such as wizard's familiars) can tell that something very wrong, very unnatural, has some to pass, but won't know exactly what. His manifestation usually appears as the dominant humanoid in the area, wearing a long cloak, but with rats scurrying across and even into his body (squirming in through an earhole, tiny rats falling out the nostril) at irregular intervals.

MOVE: 15"
HIT DICE: 7+1 (43 HP, plus bonuses for rats)
% IN LAIR: 85%
TREASURE TYPE: O*3, P*2, , Q*5, S, T
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Hit only by +1 or better weapons1
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
XPV: 2530

Special Abilities: Falvic has several special abilities that make facing him difficult. In addition to his modest Hit Dice, Falvic gains 1 HP for every rat within 30 feet of him; he is usually surrounded by 1d6*10 rats at any time, but may "beef up" if he wishes to 1d6*100. Summon Swarm and other spells which MIGHT summon rats WILL summon rats, adding (spell level)*(caster level) HP to Falvic's total. When surrounded by normal rats, all opponents within 30 feet of him take 1d4+3 damage per round from rat bites. All rats (including normal, giant rats, wererats, familiars, even other planar creatures such as imps who are able to turn into rats*) obey Falvic if they are within 200'; intelligent rats will feel the call of him, but can make a saving throw v. spell to avoid being drawn in. Falvic is also capable of calling more rats to him. Each round, regardless of other actions, 1d6 rats will approach within 30'. If he calls rats to the exclusion of other actions, this will result in 5d6 rats per round.
Falvic can touch 2 rats per round and affect them as if with Animal Growth. If pressed into combat, he attacks twice per round with dirty claws. Any claw attacks made by Falvic will inflict lycanthropy (wererat), though the effects of that will not appear until the next new moon. It is highly suggested that one not fight Falvic during the new moon, or the effects will happen instantly. In addition, he has the abilities of a 7th level druid and a 10th level thief, including spells and scrolls.

Special Weaknesses: Falvic has some weaknesses; some obvious, others not. While his ability to summon rats and draw strength from them is impressive, anything that kills the rats will likewise harm Falvic; a 3 point fireball won't hurt him much, but it WILL kill most of the rats in the area, reducing his health by a like amount. Falvic also takes triple damage from cats of all types, and double damage from weapons made from cats or anointed with cat urine.

*Only applies if rat is one of a few defined forms that they can take. A Type III/Glabrezu demon is capable of polymorphing into any shape, so is not subject to Falvic's control. An imp, able to turn into a rat and one other creature, is.

Use in a Campaign: Falvic can be exceptionally nasty to fight UNLESS you have access to some way of killing large numbers of rats quickly; one or two area of effect attacks and his HP drop to manageable levels, even if he starts the encounter with over 600 HP. If allowed to run unchecked, he will drag a city down into the sewers, filling it with filth and hordes of rats, letting the rats spill into the countryside at need. His status as a minor deity keeps him from entering Sigil, but he would LOVE to find a way to bring cranium rats to the Prime Material.