Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Metaphysical Mathematical Cosmos

I'm sure y'all are familiar with this, The Great Wheel:
In it, the cosmos is divided and sorted into various polarized Planes, each describing some integral Idea (or more often, a Classical depiction of the afterlife shoehorned into an alignment) represented in physical form. 

You go to the Plane of Fire and it's like 'Ah! There's fire everywhere!' And things behave like fire would. You go to the Nine Hells, and shit is just Evil all over. Go to the Positive Energy Plane, and everything is LIFE, vaguely.

Point is, they're physical places. You can go to Heaven and come back. You can book a vacation in Avernus with your local interplanar travel agency. They have places one can return to: the City of Brass, the dark mirror world of the Shadow Realm, the Fifth Layer of Hell, etc.

All of this I've described I'd like to put into contrast with what I'm about to describe: the...

Metaphysical Mathematical Cosmos!

It's, like... math and shit...

In the Metaphysical Cosmos, the Planes are not places one can go. They are places that you always are: either upon one side of the Plane, the other, or straddling somewhere upon the median. The Planes are, essentially, mathematical Planes.

Like, this kind of Plane.

Each Plane represents some ethereal Form. We're talking, like, the Theory of Forms here, Plato and shit. Each Plane is a "timeless, absolute, unchangeable idea" (quote source). Most importantly, each Plane is a dimorphic Idea - it must contain a state which is below the Plane, and one which is above. This differs from Plato, in which ideas are monomorphic.

Though they stretch infinitely, they do not occupy space. You can't go to these Planes and fly around and have Plane adventures on them, at least in the traditional sense (more on that later). Everything in existence, from gods to the last grain of sand, exists relative to all Planes simultaneously. There is a relationship between each Plane and every thing, and every thing exists in either four states for every Plane:

1. It exists on one side of the Plane
2. It exists on the other side of the Plane
3. It straddles the Plane
4. It is coplanar

In this universe, the overwhelming majority of things exist on either one or the other side of all Planes. Only the Divine or the Strange can straddle or be coplanar.

Depending on the Plane, this will mean different things for that particular object. For instance, let us compare two persons: a pauper and a King, as objects upon the Plane of Power, which describes whether or not something has true agency (in this hypothetical example). A pauper does not have much power, but a King does. They both, however, have some kind of power, and so the pauper lies quite close to the Plane, but the King lies far above it. Something without power, say, a rock, might lie below the Plane. If the pauper were to somehow lose all agency, say if he were Charmed, he could very well traverse the Plane, to join the rock. An unpleasant experience.

Ultimately, this is simply a way of explaining how magic and divinity works in a particular universe. It's all Vector Math.

Pictured: Augury, perhaps?

Example Planes:

Plane of...
On One Side, 
That Which...
On The Other, 
That Which...
Example Plane-Traversing Spell 
1. Power
Wields Power
Has none.
2. Fear
Feels Fear.
Is not afraid.
3. Doom
Holds Doom.
Has no Doom.
Bane, Geas
4. Destiny
Holds Destiny.
Has no Destiny.
Bless, Atonement
5. Passion
Has Passion
Is indifferent
Calm Emotions
6. Pain
Is in pain
Is not experiencing pain
Symbol of Pain
7. Sapience
Contains Sapience
Is Not Sapient
8. Love
Is in Love
Holds No Love
Love Potion
9. Death
Is Alive
Is Dead
Power Word: Kill,
10. Good and Evil
Is Good
Is Evil
Protection from Evil*

* This spell would rather block one from traversing.

These Planes being mathematical, there exist many combinations and relations: Planes may be parallel and never intersect with one another. Some Planes intersect with many, and their relationships may be described. Take a series of Planes: Power, Wealth, Faith.


A pious King, a Hermit Aesketic, and a Squirrel with a huge winter store would likely find themselves in 3 of the 8 different spaces within this conjunction of these three Planes. The pious King would have Power, Wealth, and Faith. The Hermit would have Faith, and maybe Wealth, but not Power. The Squirrel would have Wealth, but not Power and Faith.


So... Why bother with this? Why would it matter? You can't go there, right? So isn't this all a bunch of Ivory Tower nonsense? How it is game-able?

Astral Projection, my friend!

The kind of Astral Projecting, anyway, based on Forms. Cavegirl's Version.

The kind that exists to translate the metaphysical states to a physical understanding, where one can pluck at the ideal like how one plucks a violin.

Now, To Make Things More Complicated...
Let's add a layer of complexity to it all, by assuming that all object-vectors within existence are subject to Newtonian Physics. Everything bounces and collides with everything near it, all while simultaneously drawn towards each respective Plane by this gravity-like force, for any particular thing resulting in this kind of Brownian Motion - the chaos of existence.

But why, you ask?

Well, so the astral-surfing Monk can roundhouse kick the Lich into another metaphysical realm. KUH-POW!


Admittedly, this is a dumb idea. But its so up-its-own-ass I love it.

Here's how it works: Unless one is reasonably orthogonal to the respective Plane the monk wants to roundhouse kick the Lich across, the Lich is going to go sailing in pretty much any way imaginable.

So, for instance, the Monk wants to Astral Kick the Lich across the Plane of Power, rendering him powerless. The Lich, normally, has far more power than the Monk, and exists further above the Plane than the Monk does. If the monk wants to smash orthogonal to the Plane of Power, like a Newtonian pinball into the Lich, it'll only send the Lich higher above the Plane, making them even more powerful.

Forgive my terrible illustrations, please.

This is the initial attempted Astral Kick.
And this is what we call: A Bad Thing.
In order for the Monk to Astral Kick the Lich below any Plane, the Monk must be above the Lich in this Plane, not below. Which means, to kick the Lich below the Plane of Power, the Monk must have more power than the Lich. Not an easy feat, by any means. Doable, though.

However, there may be some Planes in which it's easier to get on top of the Lich, say, Fear, Empathy, Love.

There may be allies that the Monk would like to Astral Kick, like some kind of metaphysical yeet, in the effort of support. Make an ally more empathetic, more wise. To do this, the monk would need to be inferior to their peer in regard to the Plane in which they'd want their ally boosted.

So, to summarize: three functions for Astral Kick. 
With regards to a particular object and to a particular Plane:
[] = Plane    M = Monk   O = Object   <-> = Velocity

1) If the Monk is closer to the Plane than the object, the Monk may kick the object further from the Plane.

[] M -> O              to             []     M      O ->

2) If the Monk is further from the Plane, the Monk can kick the object closer to the Plane, or even across the Plane.

[]   O    <-   M                                      to               <- O  []   M   OR    []  <-  O    M

3) If the Monk is on opposite sides of the Plane as the object, then the Monk can cross the Plane, while causing the object to travel further from the plane.

O   []   <-  M                to                          <- O  M  []

Complications/Failures of Astral Kick:

1. Aforementioned: make Object more of something than you wanted it to be.
2. Random Vector: send Object across different Plane than intended.
3. Accident: Hurtle oneself across unwanted Plane.
4. Collateral Damage: Exert astral force on other than intended Object, causing a bowling-pin effect of scattering multiple objects across multiple potential Planes. (In that case, related objects across space and time could very well cross unintended Planes.)


Okay... Enough of this insanity. I'm done. Whew.

Fun Post-Scripts

P.S. (Of note: it's probably safest to ensure that these Planes are Non-Euclidian, or else they must all intersect or be parallel with each other, and that can be difficult to manage.)

P.P.S. (Also of note: This representation of reality allows a theory of magic and everything based on Vector Math. All things exist potentially not as objects, but as vectors. Magic is a way of transforming these vectors hard.)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Egg to Mud

Zedeck Siew recently made a post highlighting a flying egg, and it reminded me of a curiosity - I'd seen an egg of similar caliber (although maybe of higher spell level) in The Sunjata, an encounter between two handsome Hunters and the woman who becomes the Buffalo of Do - which I'd like to call "The Most D&D Thing To Ever Happen."

In the legend, the Hunters (one of which will become Sunjata's sire) are travelling through the land of Do. They have caught wind of this rampaging buffalo (in various versions sometimes called a specter, jinn, or a shade, perhaps more akin to a were-buffalo) that's going around killing people. They happenstance upon this old woman, and offer her some hospitality. It just so happens that this old woman transforms into this buffalo, and because of their generosity, she informs them how to kill her:

Excerpt came from one of the Mamadou Kouyate, English-translated-prose versions of the Sunjata.
(Transcribed by D.T. Niane, Translated by G.D. Pickett, ISBN: 1-4058-4942-8)

Magic eggs deserve more cred. This one's basically Earth to Mud in convenient transportable form!

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Summer Bards

It begins with a simple flaccid horn from the woods - the herald, sounding as a prepubescent child would play the trumpet, more spit than sound. It then, accompanied by another, joins its second in a cacophonous duet, like a toddler pounding her open-fisted hands upon a piano to enjoy the reaction more than the sound.

Then comes a third, and a fourth, and then an exponential increase in fumbled music so loud that cows a county away turn tail and flee from the sound, and dogs begin angrily barking a hundred leagues away. The noise of incompetent music rises to such a volume that the nearby peasants of the village must fill their ears with wax and encase their heads in wool at the peak of summer heat, least they go deaf.

These are the Summer Bards, and they are universally hated and despised. They arrive but once a year, converge but once a generation, and cause such horrid noise from the wood that the very agents of Nature and Civilization, in an impossible alliance, join forces in their extermination.

Welp, time to go a-murdering!
An Annual Concert
For every man, every occurrence is different. One year the Bards will arrive with chitinous drums sounding of bashing pots. Another, with flutes of caliber akin to elementary classes' recorders. Still yet, they may arrive screaming in pitched voices like their football team just won a game, or with wash-boards that cry like dried-out cats. For every instrument known to man and Gentle Kin the Bards may replicate, though only the eldest of elves have witnessed every iteration.

The Summer Bards come in generations of duration numerological. Certain kinds will appear every 3 or 5 years. Some 13 or 17 years. Other 29 or 41 years. Others, 111 or 2083. Always Prime Numbers. Generally, the longer the wait, the more spectacularly annoying the Bard.

Some years they don't arrive at all, and in these times there are festivals in the fall to celebrate their not-coming, filled with decent music and beer and pumpkin-based foods, and most importantly NO DRUNKEN SINGING and NO ERRANT WHISTLING... Unless it's in good tune, of course.

And sometimes the emergence of the Bards is manageable. Maybe only one type of Summer Bard will emerge in the wood, one with a quieter instrument and in smaller numbers. One that's easily culled by mere Nature.

But sometimes it's not. Sometimes there is a convergence of the breeds of Bard, and in these times folk from far and wide will arrive, hearing the horrid mating calls of ten million incompetent flute-players, drum-beaters, and well-whistlers, to partake in their massacre.

The Great Audible Cleansing! Death to the Bards! Partake in the Holy Chordophonic Crusade, and the Pope-of-Good-Taste will grant you clemency for your sins!

And so they come, from far and wide, with peasant pitchfork and with ear-muffed horse and lance, to kill every last Summer Bard.

Murdering Bards
It's not so difficult to slay a Bard. Though they be as big as a full-grown man, and have sharp teeth and strong legs, each one lives in the waking world but for a few weeks, in which it has little time to learn and no time to develop survival instinct. They tend to bumble about, playing their embedded instruments, climbing on trees and falling into ponds, oblivious to the obvious threats. They are more concerned with mating than with the genocidal peasants and adventurers nearby. A single untrained peasant can slaughter two dozen of them with the proper motivation (and their noise is good at producing that). Though, occasionally one of the Bards may get lucky!

And this is what the entire Summer Bard species depends upon: producing so many Bards in one giant bardic wave that it absolutely overwhelms all of their predators, that despite their complete un-coordination and utter lack of survival instinct and dexterity, that there are simply too many of them to kill all at once.

"Kill the Bards, burn their shells!
Send them back to Seven Hells!"

Doughty - Robert Kett leads the Peasants Revolt
Many, many, many will die - eaten by giant rocs and basilisks; skewered by angry cloud giants, peasants, and wandering knights; and drowning in ponds and mud puddles from their own sheer clumsiness.

This makes for strange scene - for all predators will have more than their fill of high-protein Bard, leaving them somewhat stuffed and torpid. You will see giant bloated snakes sunbathing next to giant eagles. You will see peasants resting next to basilisks and manticores. You will see natural enemies forsake their grudges in a feast of overabundance. For this reason more than mere rabble is drawn - it presents an excellent opportunity for zoological study, hence procuring all matter of alchemists and academics.

However, despite all this slaughter, some Summer Bards will get lucky, stumble upon a mate, and reproduce the next generation by the thousands.

They leave quite a mess, too, when they're finished (dying, that is). By the time the last gurgle-trumpet-as-loud-as-a-wind-tunnel has died down, there will be hundreds of thousands of man-sized Bard corpses laying about, and millions of their skins, which they shed to reach maturity. It's gross. It's a public hazard. Nobody wants to enter the wood after that, except wild dogs, corpse eaters, ghostly hermit crabs, and necromancers. Thankfully, the corpses of the Summer Bards do not produce much of a stink.

A Mountain of Corpses. An Ocean of Shells.
Folk have tried to find good uses for all those leftover Bard shells. They've tried making armor, but it's a bit too brittle and thin. They've tried crushing it to powder, using it as medicine, but the most it's good for is making your stomach gurgle. At best, folk have used the shells for decoration - they use them as cast molds, or like lamps for fires, as they seem to be at least a little flame resistant.

The Corpses, though... For them a use is found. There is little energy left after a Bard slaughter to resist the Necromancers that follow, and zombie Bards are far scarier and more threatening than their living cousins. Necromancers scoop them up like candy, gaining potentially dozens, if not hundreds of servants in a single night. Sometimes, if they're ambitious, enough minions to march on the living, playing their instruments of dread and torture. The Cacophonic Crusade.

Thankfully, though, even the Necromancers are limited by their resources, for there are far too many corpses than even they can handle. That, and the height of summer is fortuitously poor climate for necromancy.

Summer Bard
No Appearing: 1-300
AC  Unarmored   HD 0   HP 1   Dex 3
1d2  Clumsy Flailing Limbs
Uncoordinated: Summer Bards get disadvantage to all actions.
Fumbling: Summer Bards can only perform actions and movements every other Round.
Deafening Cacophony: Anyone within X feet of the Bards is considered Deafened, where X = the # of Bards present. Unless ear protected, they must also Save vs. Petrification or become permanently Deaf.

Summer Bards will not help each other in combat, or notice danger until it is already upon them. Each of them will die of natural causes within 1d4 Weeks.

Summer Bard Characters

Art by Robin K Herman
Ahhh... I see now. You want to play as a Summer Bard? Well, good on you! They are the Bard-est of Bards, after all. Who wouldn't want to play a living Dungeons and Dragons meme with a month-long lifespan? (If they're lucky!) Here's how it works:

1. You are a Bard.
However Bards work in your system, you get to be that.

2. You always start at Level 1.
Regardless of how far along in a campaign you are. No exceptions.

3. Your Dexterity and Wisdom are 3.
Or, the lowest possible score, always.

4. You get one random instrument.
This instrument is embedded in your body. You probably suck at playing it!
You can use this instrument to attempt to Deafen everyone within 30ft.
Save vs. Petrification. Unlimited use. It's like:
1) Inane Screaming Lute
2) Jangling Trash Bag Full of Empty Beer Bottles In Garbage Disposal
3) Out-of-Tune Whistling But It's 150 Decibels
4) A Thousand-Thousand Elementary School Recorders
5) Thigh Cymbals But Instead Screaming Goat
6) Microphone Feedback But Never Gets Quieter

5. You gain experience like a normal party character.
You may even reach Level 2!

6. Flight
Oh, I guess you get Flight, too.

7. You die of natural causes in 1d4 Weeks.
Make good use of that time!

8. If you find a mate, and then do the deed, and said mate isn't murdered...
There will be about a thousand more of you in 3d10 Years time! Hooray!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Under Gallax Hall 13-23

Under Gallax Hall - Level 1 - Basement
Made on Gridmapper by Alex Schroeder

13. "Caution: Grabby Floor"
   7-9: Custodian    9-7: Empty

Signs placed on music stands at either side of a 10x20 foot slick: "CAUTION: GRABBY FLOOR". A Custodian is occasionally by here to attempt combat-cleaning of this infestation by the dumping of copious amounts of acid.

TRAP: Grabby floor. Ghostly grabbing hands emerge from the carpet to snatch, grab, and pull at walkers. Anything the ghostly hands touch goes numb and loses all control. Normal Dex Check when traversing hall, or fall prone, followed by 1d4 psychic damage per round as the ghostly hands paw at viscera.

14. The GRUE - B08
   9-10: Custodian    10-9: The Grue

This room is dark. A GRUE lurks, waiting to eat curious students. The only time it isn't here is when a Custodian comes around, for even monsters fear Custodians.

A shuffling sound welcomes those who open the door. Shuffling and a drip-drip-dripping sound in the dark.

TREASURE: The light reveals three corpses of those eaten by the GRUE, lying on the floor cracked open and feasted upon like plucked game hens. Their bloodied robes contain 4gp, fifteen locks of various hairs, and a bloody-paged worn textbook "Psychoanatomy" (20gp).

The GRUE fears light. Provided some is carried, the GRUE will scurry into the spaces between floors and disappear. Otherwise, it strikes from the darkness with white eyes and long teeth.

(Graduate Research 'Ugly Experiment')
AC Chain  HDHP 26   2d6 Bite
Fears Light ; Advantage in the Dark, on everything.

15. Abandoned Office - B10
   9-10: Custodian    10-9: Empty

The doors are locked, but they have windows above the doorknobs. The western door's window is smashed right next to the handle.

A dark, abandoned professor's office. Dusty furniture: grand desk, mostly-empty bookshelves, upended and sliced open comforter-chairs. Papers scattered all over.

SEARCH: About two hundred papers with notes on academic discussions about the Dungeon Swan. It is a swan which lives in dungeons and feeds on hatred (see post for more notes). Reading these will provide insight on the Swan in Level 2 - Steam Tunnels.

SECRET: Desk has hidden back to bottom drawer. Can be found by careful searching or smashing the desk. Contains an Unregistered Key and a note written in childish script: "Be carfil Daddy!"

16. Equidistant Classroom - B12
   9-10: Custodian    10-1: Empty   1-3: Random Class   3-9: Empty

Strange spatial magic: everything in this room in equidistant from everything else in this room, and is considered adjacent, no matter where in the 20x20ft room it is. It's kind of uncomfortable, and very hard to keep things hidden from equidistant people.

Several chairs, bolted to the ground. There's one table.

17. Textbook Black Market - B17
   8-2: Black Marty   2-5: Black Marta   5-8: Empty, Trapped

The door is magically locked and barred from the inside. It has no doorknob - just a solid wooden slab. Knock (physically) between 8 and 5, and a Magic Mouth will appear on the door.

"How much do textbooks cost?" It asks.

Any variation on "Too much." will unlock and open the door. Any other response and the lights will go out in the hallway, and the Magic Mouth will be unavailable until tomorrow. This darkness will lure the GRUE from room 14 to attack the vulnerable.

Inside are rows of bookshelves containing very illegal hand-me-down and used textbooks. There should be one copy for textbooks for nearly every class. For any particular textbook, roll 2d20:
Usefulness: 1-5: Horrendously Outdated   6-12: Old Edition   13-20: Latest Edition
Discount: 1d20 x 4%   (A typical, legal textbook usually costs between 5-50gp.
1d10 x 5gp for random price generation.)

MAGIC TRAP: All the books are cursed. If they're taken out of the room without being de-cursed, they will either:
1) Grow a Magic Mouth and scream relentlessly
2) Activate an Acceleration Rune, causing the holder to accelerate at 1ft/s-squared, indefinitely.
3) Explode for 3d4 damage in 10ft. Save vs. Breath for half.
4) Melt into a hot sticky goo, burning for 1d4 damage for 3 rounds and adhering to anything it touches.

There are two dealers for the black market: Marty and Marta (Wizards, Level 2 w/ Sleep, Arcane Lock, and Knock). Their job is to take money and de-curse the books (by whispering the secret curse deactivation word). They could be brother and sister: dressed in 100% black with downer personalities and big wide-brimmed hats. They take any money and send it through an extradimensional pocket they carry, sending it to the 14 and 5/8ths Street Gang.

If either of them run into trouble, they'll shout into one of their extradimensional pockets, and 2d6 14 and 5/8ths Street Gang Pocket Wizards will emerge to threaten and restore order.

Pocket Wizards are Level 1 Wizards, with one random spell each, armed with clubs.

SEARCH 1: Rare Textbook: "SpellKraft" - Contains the Meat Men and Soul Broth spells.
SEARCH 2: Rare Textbook: "Invisibility for Beginners" - Contains Invisibility and Arcane Mirage spells.

If the Bookprinter's Cartel found out about this market, they'll pay the snitch a finder's fee of around 200gp, then send a squad of 2d10 wizard-thugs to incinerate it.

18. Timeloss Clock

Grandfather clock in the middle of the western wall of this hallway, facing East. It has this taxidermist cuckoo bird which pops out whenever it chimes, which appears to be constantly. Loudly.

MAGIC TRAP: People in this room become temporally trapped, except on each and every hour, when the cuckoo is chirping. For people in the room, time skips ahead to the next hour instantaneously. You have until the cuckoo stops chirping to get out of the room before the next hour-skip. Looking from outside, the people appear frozen. To those in the room, the cuckoo is constantly chirping.

19. Old Gallax Bell Tower [Secret]

ARCHITECTURE: At least two hundred years old: decomposing wooden scaffolding and chipping, rusted paint.

SECRET: There is a solid wooden wall between the secret entrance and the adjacent hallway. Tapping on it hard will reveal its hollowness.

Every hour the bells of this submerged clocktower still sound, though weaker than they once were. Upon the hour in adjacent rooms (15, 17-22), one can hear the bells if ears are pressed up against the walls, or feel them vibrating through the floor.

There are five small bells (15gp each) and two large bells (2000gp each, extremely heavy). They are functional.

TRAP: The bells are supported above a narrow dilapidated scaffolding, leading down to Level 3. A Dexterity check will be required to traverse them, either to touch the bells or climb down the belltower.

20. Spare Clock Room - B20
   10-1: Custodian   1-7: Empty   7-9: Five Students   9-10: Empty

Piles and piles of broken clocks and other timekeeping devices, up to the ceiling in some places.The Custodian brings them here from various classrooms. It smells dusty and unkempt. There are footprints in the dust from six people.

From 7-9, five undergraduate students are here, performing a cult ritual: they wear the broken clocks on their faces, saying 'tick... tock...' in meditative poses for two hours. If disturbed, they'll get weirded out and try to bribe intruders to leave them alone with functioning clocks they've salvaged (1gp each). They believe that this ritual ensures that they'll never be late for anything, and they're actually quite right.

Names: Sam, Georgie, Malthusa, Tempest, and Zyan.

SEARCH: Plenty of scrap, wood and metal. 1d4-1 semi-functional clocks found in the heap, still ticking. Worth 1gp each.

SEARCH (3): Deep in the pile there's a gem-sequined cuckoo sticking out of a clock. Worth 400gp.

21. Stairs Down
   10-1: Custodian   1-2: Empty   2-3: 2d4 Black Magic Brothers   3-5: Empty 
   5-6: 2d4 Sisters of the Cell   6-8: Empty   8-9: Custodian   9-10: Empty

ARCHITECTURE: The floors become metal scaffold. The walls become unadorned concrete. It is distinctly moist and hot. An occasional echoed clank comes from the stairs. Goes down to Level 2 - Steam Tunnels.

22. Custodial Closet - B22
   10-1: Custodian   1-8: Empty, Locked   8-9: Custodian   9-10: Empty, Locked

A shrine to the Clean God - a Custodians' Closet. Various cleaning supplies: mops, buckets, towels, etc. Amongst them is an effigy: a ram's skull adorned upon a mop handle, soaked in blood, the mop heads forming eviscerated intestines spilling out of its mop bucket torso.

TRAP: If approached, the effigy springs to life. It lurks forward on broken mop-handle limbs for two steps, then sprays blood on anybody in the room. All in the room must Save vs. Breath or get sprayed. Success on the save means only one or two drops got on you. These blood stains never come out, and they permanently stain the skin for 1d4 damage.

If any Custodian sees a person with these stains, they will immediately become hostile and attempt to slay the intruder heretic.

TREASURE: There are 3 vials of Strong Acid on shelves, unlabeled, clear liquid. Application causes 1d12 damage, but it'll get out any stain.

23. Administrator Statue
   1-2: Custodian   2-3:  Frederick Miles   3-5: Empty   5-6: 1d4 Black Magic Brothers   6-1: Empty

ARCHITECTURE: This intersection has big 10x10ft white tiles that cover the floor. These tiles are secure, and will require tools, time, or magic to remove. (Exception: Pit Trap)

A statue of Zarlor - Dean and Administrator - upon a pedestal.  A stereotypical wizard in baggy robes with unkempt beard and pointy hat, one open hand tucked in by his chest, the other pointing to the ground at the base of the statue.

A cat statue sits obediently at his feet, licking one of its paws. It has a big fluffy tail sticking straight up.

The statue faces the southern corridor (by default). A bronze plaque containing "The Mighty, The Astute, and The Generous Zarlor" has been repeatedly scratched out at the statue's base.

TRAP: There is a 15ft concealed, counterweighted pit trap just south of the statue. Takes 2 normal-sized people to trigger it. A fall deals 1d8 damage.

TREASURE: At the bottom of the pit is an undergraduate student corpse, fresh. They have a legit (non-used) textbook worth 15gp (on the black market) "Identify: Advantages and Applications"

SECRET: Place a book in the hand near his chest, and the statue's other arm will raise to point horizontally, down the hallway that it is facing. (This points towards other secrets)

SECRET: The fluffy tail on the cat statue can be pulled down to either direction like a lever. If pulled left, the entire pedestal will rotate the face West. If pulled right, the statue will face East. (This points it towards Secrets down the Western and Eastern hallways, or the secret trap door just to the statue's East.)

SECRET: Under the tile just West of the statue will be a copy of the gazetteer The Waking Eye. The corner of this tile is chipped off, allowing an easy pry with any strong tool.

SECRET: Under the tile just East of the statue is a laddered pit heading down to Level 4 - Monastery. Removing this tile is near-guaranteed to cause a loud noise, due to its weight.

KNOWLEDGE: Zarlor was a huge donor to the university. Some  University Administrators herald him as a kind of wizard-god.

KNOWLEDGE 2: Zarlor's name is plastered all around various libraries. He's known for being quite the bookworm.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pact of Matrimony (5e)

Because my main home campaign, Tidelock, is run using 5e D&D, I occasionally write ridiculously unbalanced stuff for it. Warlocks are a favorite - here's a new Pact for them.


Most marriages end when one or more of its partners die. But for some Death is merely the beginning of an awful relationship. Engaging in the Pact of Matrimony ensures the Pactee's soul in eternal marriage to their designated upon death.

The ring is delivered by a servant of the patron.

Acquired at Warlock Level 3.

You receive an Engagement Ring from your patron, to whom you have sworn eternal matrimony upon death. This ring cannot be removed under any circumstance: should fingers be chopped off or limbs lost, the ring will relocate itself to some remaining part of the body (as an earring, piercing, tattoo, etc.).

The warlock’s patron is an exceptionally jealous being. Anybody that shows romantic affection towards the warlock will become cursed. This may manifest in several potential ways, according to the particular patron and the DM’s discretion.

Gain proficiency, or Expertise if already proficient, in two of the following skills: Persuasion, Deception, Performance, Intimidation, Insight.

Jealous Curse
Let’s be honest, fey are pretty hot.
Horrible nightmares of being tortured relentlessly. Also, animals will hate them and attack on sight - even non-aggressive critters like squirrels.
“I’m married to JESUS!”
They straighten up and fly right, especially if it’s inconvenient. Any intimacy or any wrongdoing results in moral  and social disaster.
It’s easier to arrive in Hell when you’ve already got papers.
Symptoms may include: pain, injury, dizziness, genital rotting, ceaseless rage, grave misfortune, warts, premature aging, and requirement of an exorcist.
Great Old One
The least demanding, and caring, of patrons.
Great Old Ones don’t get jealous. They do, however, create fallout. Bequeaths subtle insanity and strange dreams.
“I’m married to the sword...” (referring to literal sword)
Your Hexblade weapons strike out at potential lovers, gaining a life of their own. They effectively become animated weapons intent on murdering them.
The Sea (Kraken)
“The sea is a harsh mistress…”
Water doesn’t like them. Nightmares of drowning. Catastrophe at sea, extreme difficulty breathing, water poisoning, or scurvy.
Death (Raven Queen)
(grumbly angst) “I’m married to DEATH…”
Death, or very likely near-death experiences. Death would like to have ‘a talk’.
A Lich (The Undying)
Because every adventurer needs a rich eternal sugar daddy to spoil their soul to the core.
The Lich will know, and will *definitely* want to eat their soul.

Revival Bane (40%)*
Revival Boon (60%)*
Resurrection Bane**
Resurrection Boon**
Doom***: Failure on next Dex check / Save within one week.
Grace***: Success on next Dex check / Save within one week.
Your Time Is Short: Shorten lifespan by 5 years
Temporal Youth: Appear 5 years younger
Empathy: When anything within 10ft takes damage, you take 1 damage.
Blessed: Gain Lay on Hands as 2 levels of Paladin
Deal 1d4 x Level damage split as you wish among allies within 120ft.
Deal 1d4 x Level damage split as you wish among enemies within 120ft.
Hunger: Gain a random Addiction, -1 WIS.
Devilish Pride: +1 CHA
Great Old One
Temporary Random Madness
Clarity: Automatic success on next Knowledge check within one week.
Visions of What Is and What’s To Come: Gain a Madness, -1 WIS
Become more appealing to crazy people: +1 CHA
Disadvantage on attack rolls with weapons.
Advantage on attack rolls with weapons.
Reckless: +1 to all damage received
Bloodthirsty: +1 to weapon damage rolls
The Sea
Sea Sickness (Poisoned)
Freedom of Movement
Fishy: -2 CHA from smelling funny and looking more fish-like.
Fishy: +2 CON, doubles duration of holding breath, +5ft of Blindsense
1 HP is your health maximum
Revive at full HP, then temporarily double your max HP
Close to Death: -2 CON
Death Tease: Receive one permanent duration, undispellable Death Ward
A Lich
Lose 1 highest level Spell Slot
Gain 1 highest level Spell Slot
A Piece of Soul: Lose one important memory, -1 INT
Memetic Erasure: One collective memory of you is lost, your choice.

*Duration is 1d3 x 10 minutes unless otherwise specified. If multiple instances occur, then Banes and Boons either stack or cancel out at a 1:1 ratio.
** Effects are permanent
*** DM makes this roll in secret.

Each time the warlock drops to 0 hit points, they will have a brief meeting with their dread pact-fiance, resulting in a brief interaction (likely a reminder of what’s to come) and either a bane or boon. There shall be an exceptional amount of pettiness.

Upon the event of the warlock’s first death, they will be unable to resurrect for one week. During this time the warlock’s soul undergoes the Dread Wedding and possibly a honeymoon. Various torments and pains will be undertaken, and if the warlock resurrects they will be forever changed. Each time the warlock resurrects they will gain a permanent effect, depending on patron.