Thursday, May 21, 2020

Having a Tear Gas of a time - a Prison generator


          
         The Big House, Con College, Slammer, Joint, Pokey, Stockade, Brig, or my favorite, the Clink (named for the sounds that the chains of the prisoners would make), all euphemisms for Prison. The place you find yourself when it has been decided that you need to be punished for your terrible actions - or at least your supposedly terrible actions - and make recompense to your society. Whether you're guilty or innocent, the forms of your punishment can be a varied as what you led there in the first place. While the morality of this can be chewed over for ages, for our purposes penitentiaries are dungeons, except they're being used for their intended purpose. Not only is a jail an interesting place to break out of, it is also an interesting one to break into. There are plenty of reasons why PCs would have cause to do either.



          This set of tables seeks to give you a wide range of various penitentiaries for use in your game. To use this generator roll 4d8 and consult the results.


d8
"So what's the lowdown on this place?"
1-3
Bars, stones, cells and blocks. A typical penitentiary.
4
Somewhere desolate and isolated, perhaps the side of a mountain or the endless expanse of the steppe. No bars are necessary because there's nowhere to go.
5
A slum or segregated area of either an existing city or structure, or perhaps one now given over entirely to the purpose. The area is walled off and the perimeter guarded.
6
Exile. Prisoners are dropped off on some (supposedly) uninhabited island. They're likely still under a watchful eye, but it is much smaller than it otherwise would be.
7
This place is more akin to a religious community than a true prison. Prisoners are enrolled as initiates and are required to go through certain rituals to be released.
8
The prison is a labor camp, perhaps prisoners are forced to work at various crafts, farm or they're simply on a chain gang.


d8
"How about the Cons?"
1-2
This is a place for hardened criminals - thieves, murderers, rapists and robbers. The folk here are likely violent and skilled in the ways of criminality
3
Debtors, those who owe the powers that be enough that they've been thrown in gaol to work off their debts.
4
Political prisoners. Folk who have fallen afoul of whatever temporal authority controls the penitentiary.
5
The inmates here are prisoners of war, taken in battle or surrender.
6
These souls are the victims of a religious purge or inquisition. They could be heretics, or they could be worshipers of an entirely other faith.
7
This place was built to house a special kind of inmate, Magic-users. It has additional layers of security, of course.
8
They're ghosts. This place was meant to shackle the souls of condemned beyond the grave as a form of additional punishment.

d8
"What are the Hacks* here like?"
1
Vicious and unrelenting, they are a well-paid monolith of authoritative violence.
2
Lazy and indolent, they will not notice all but the most egregious violations such as murders or escape attempts.
3
They have been utterly co-opted by a criminal group; the true masters of this place are whomever you rolled for "How about the other Cons?"
4
The guards are prisoners themselves, generally those who earned trust through following the rules. The upper hierarchy may be normal guards, or perhaps there may be periodic checks to ensure that the population hasn't changed.
5
Members of a religious order dedicated to punishment or otherwise oppression of criminals and the condemned.
6
The prison is guarded by wild animals and the elements. There may be border guards or occasional patrols, but they are few and far between
7
There are only a few guards, but they are preternatural in some way, ranging from Cerberoi and Minotaur to Spirits or Elementals.
8
There aren't any. Some sort of eldritch force keeps people here, from a curse to even a form of spell.
*: Guards


d8
"What kind of help can I get here?"
1
A snitch, with wary eyes and open ears. They're a fantastic source of information, but they may also be informing others about you.
2
A smuggler, with connections to the outside and a means to get things in. Smugglers will do most anything before revealing their sources.
3
A tough, frightening and capable of coercing near anyone into compliance.
4
A killer, skilled and predatory. Willing to murder nearly anyone for the right price.
5
A fixer, with the ears of the administration or the guards. They can arrange for the rules to be bent - for a favor.
6
A crafter, able to take disparate materials and turn them into damn near anything, from weapons to drugs or drink.
7
A kingpin, able to organize other prisoners (at least some of them) and to bend them towards their own ends.
8
A seer, priest or other form of magic-user who is able to communicate with the outside, or if given the materials and seclusion, cast spells.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Magical Rodent Species


"The animal chain of command goes Mouse, Cat, Dog." - Roger Meyers Jr, The Simpsons.

          This is the third article in my series about finding the strange in the mundane by introducing fantastical species of animals into your setting. The first is about dogs, the second goes over cats, and with this one we're going to go over our gnawing friends, Rodents! While rats and mice are the most well known (and dark in their reputations) of their order, the term also includes squirrels, beavers, porcupines, hamsters and prairie dogs - plenty of fodder for a number of different species for a fantasy setting, weird or otherwise.


          In our reality many rodents are keystone species, meaning that the rest of the ecology around them is dependent on their presence, most commonly as prey, but also as ecosystem engineers, their burrowing acting as both housing for other creatures and as a source of natural soil aeration. Rodents are also everywhere - they've even been to space as stowaways. Why would they be any less important and adaptable in a fantasy setting?


(By the way, the Secret of NIMH was one of my favorite childhood movies, so writing this article was a blast.) 

d20
Name
Description
1
Volmusian Seed Mouse
Supposedly the product of a curse levied by a druid, seed mice are feared as the ruin of farmers and hoarders the world over. These tiny, plant-like mice live, breed and die entirely within grain stores, and seem to arise spontaneously from particularly large stocks. The mice see the grain as their home, and will defend it with startling ferocity.
2
Dolchean Dross Beaver
Originally a native of volcanic ranges, Dross Beavers were captured by a group of enterprising dwarven smiths generations ago and are now more commonly seen in captivity than the wild. These beavers can chew through nearly anything and prefer metal above all else. Dross beavers exude the metal, purified by their internal processes, through their waste and fur.
3
Dorician Chrono-vole
An experiment that escaped from an Imperial College lab, chrono-voles have the distinction of being nearly impossible to exterminate. To outside observation it appears that chrono-voles are simply extremely lucky, but the truth is that the voles simply reappear a few minutes after their deaths, armed with the knowledge of how they were killed. The original's corpse is left where they died.
4
Selkirk Boss Rat
A slow-acting calamity on any neighborhood that is unlucky enough to host one of them; some wry observers note that Boss Rats must be responsible for the corrupt state of the city where they supposedly hail. Whatever their origin, Boss Rats show an uncanny and disturbing intelligence, one which they can share with their common fellows by mere proximity. Not only are they capable of learning humanoid languages, their personalities tend towards a surly malignance. Left to their own devices these rats will begin to amass wealth through theft, protection rackets, and other schemes.
5
Yvonne's Glyph-Dog
Bred by a geomancer to aid with their work, glyph dogs can be a bane or boon to a local community. This strange breed of prairie dog has the capacity to learn rudimentary spells, and will draw them out using the shape of their underground burrows as their medium. Once the subterranean rune is complete it will begin to draw in mana from the environment and occasionally manifest the spell on hapless creatures above.
6
Trap-Dormouse
A practical joke crafted by a trickster spirit to deflate the arrogant and terrify those who would prey on the weak. Trap-Dormice resemble typical members of their species, but differ in two important ways, they are carnivorous and they are prolific diggers. These mice hunt on well traveled roads, often setting up in the dark of night, hiding one of their eponymous traps by undermining the ground underneath. After a successful catch the mice will eat their fill and then move on.
7
Glacial Marmot
A constant source of vexation for farmers in northern climes, frost marmots are relentless in their search for food. After feasting continually throughout the warmer months the now chubby marmots waddle to a secluded area and huddle together. Over the course of a few hours they freeze themselves into a block of solid ice using their natural ability to lower the ambient temperature. The frozen marmots are safe in their glacier from all but the most determined predators.
8
Sivardian Wind Lemming
Energetic and hyper, the fur of these uncommonly seen creatures ranges from a coal grey to pure white. Common misconception holds that wind lemmings can control, or otherwise govern storms, but the truth is that they merely live within clouds, falling to the surface as they disperse. The lemmings seek as much fare as they can while on the ground, then ride back up onto the clouds by jumping onto great gusts of wind.
9
Humar's Zapybara
Widely held by the elves of the Ceirwannian highlands to be an animal sacred to their storm god, the Zapybara is a torpid and fearless creature which ranges wherever it wills, but favors rivers and lakes. Growing to the size of a small pony, these creatures can unleash arcs of electricity with enough intensity to stun a man. Zapybara pelts provide resistance to lightning if worked into a cloak.
10
Cernunnokian Beam Squirrel
Feared by natives and surface dwellers alike, these slender and slate-furred squirrels dwell in outcroppings carved out using their powers. Capable of firing bolts of force similar to Magic Missiles from their eyes, beam squirrel nests are given a wide berth. Sages agree that something so horrific can only have been created by the Drow.
11
Fever-dream Porcupine
Native to the jungles of Auyyuah, these pygmy porcupines inject venom with paralytic and psychotropic qualities. Worse still, they often escape the oppressive daytime heat by burrowing underground. Many of the local cultures use fever-dream porcupine venom and spines as part of initiation and cultic rituals.
12
Saoghalian Reef Rat
A frequent sight the world over, these fully aquatic rats have spread far and wide from their homeland by way of the many ships which berth at the great port of Saoghal. Far from being ashamed of the ubiquity of a pest from their home being so common, the garrulous Saoghalians have taken the animal as a symbol of pride and point to it as proof of the skill of their merchants. True to their title, reef rats live among coral formations, and appear in a range of vivid colors to match their homes.
13
Gobluggian Enlarged Zokor
A semi-subterranean creature common to the deserts of the east, Gobluggian zokors are notable for the fact that they never stop growing. As long as these sandy-furred creatures have a source of food, they will continue to increase in size. As a result of this capacity for growth they are favored as livestock and pack animals by the goblinoid natives of the region.
14
Lovet's Phantasmal Mouse
First observed by a sage traveling through the elven highlands, this small and unassuming rodent seldom grows larger than of pair of fingers. These mice have developed a novel method of keeping themselves safe from predators by producing a burst of illusory copies of themselves when they are agitated or frightened. The mouse seems to have no conscious control over this ability or it's shadowy copies.
15
Ingram's Dryad Rat
A completely arboreal species, dryad rats favor forests and other overgrown regions. Ranging from olive green to a rich chocolate brown, these rats are named for their disconcerting ability to teleport between trees within their fields of vision. Dryad rats are major pests to any one living or traveling through heavily wooded areas.
16
Jokorian Stony Muskrat
A frequent sight to those living in or around the humid wetlands of Jokor, the stony muskrat is possessed of a rock-like, scaly hide instead of fur. These large rodents are capable of weathering repeated blows from clubs or bites from dogs without serious harm. Peasants have found that the only reliable way of dispatching the hated animals is by setting them aflame or with solid blows from piercing weapons such as picks or daggers.
17
Hyperborean Lunar Mouse
Allegedly hailing from a lost continent, lunar mice are so called due to only being visible under the light of the moon, which is also the only time that they are active. No one has ever successfully located a lunar mouse burrow. Certain desert tribes believe that the lunar mouse is a creature to emulate, and often keep them as pets.
18
Piebald's Migratory Squirrels
The outcome of an archmage angry at having their home used as a storage space one too many times by the local squirrel population, the squirrels named after the now dead archmage are infamous for the damage they can wreak upon unprepared communities. During the fall when members of their species would normally begin stockpiling food, Piebald's squirrels instead began to form into mobs and head south for warmer climes. During their flight south any sources of easy food would be absolutely ransacked, and the sheer number of them makes effective extermination onerous.
19
Kaidan Imperial Paca
The descendant of rodents bred for food by a now extinct royal line, the imperial paca has nonetheless maintained it's reputation as a delicacy. Sought for as much as a status symbol as for their reputedly delicious taste, paca meat and pelts fetch a higher price the further away one is from shadowed Kaidan.
20
Dunworth's Berserker Cavie
An offshoot of the normally harmless cavie species, berseker cavies are a nasty surprise for any explorer or hunter who expects an easy meal. Nearly identical to their more pedestrian brethren the berserker cavie is named for their tendency to work themselves up into a furious state when threatened or cornered. The cavie will begin to thrash, screech and foam at the mouth, launching itself bodily at the target of it's ire. Worse, the cavie's cries attract others of their kind, who invariably join their fellow in their assault.
(All art is the property of their respective holders. Please for the love of God don't sue me.)

Monday, May 4, 2020

Things to do in D&D after you're dead.



        Death in OSR inspired games happens. A lot. To the point where it's one of the things that people most associate with our little section of table-top gaming. That's fine of course, death isn't a fail state, it's merely an indication that the solution you just tried as a player was likely flawed; trusting your fate to the dice is always a fool's errand when there's few safety nets to catch you. Some systems allow for raising the dead, but many OSR systems sidestep the issue entirely by simply not including those spells and encouraging players to roll up a new character. I have my own solution in the Liminal for those who can't let go of a beloved character.

          But what happens if everybody dies? This isn't outside the realm of possibility, especially if the party happens to be cocky or tries to throw good effort after bad. While the initial urge would be to have everyone make new characters and starting over with some convenient excuse, there's the possibility of moving the game into the afterlife instead. This isn't entirely without precedent, large sections of Planescape take place in any number of afterlives. Ravenloft has also been suggested as a destination for slain parties. In the assumed afterlife of AD&D and 3.X, characters who die and are not resurrected become what are known as Petitioners and generally forget the details of their former lives. In a sort of modification of this, I propose the idea that the character's former mental stats act as a major influence on how their afterlife goes. So we're going to break down my ideas for what aspect of their hereafter each stat affects.


          Before we start going into the mental stats, there's another question that we have to answer - how do you make the afterlife risky? Again, death means that the player was too prone to taking risks or that they simply were unlucky. This concept loses a bit of bite when you assume that souls are unable to be destroyed. So let's just assume that they aren't. For our purposes, souls are more like extra lives. Each soul has a number of reincarnations in the afterlife before it goes Elsewhere. We'll call these extra lives Essence. A character has Essence 7 when they appear in whatever afterlife they're destined for. Individual referees may wish to modify the amount of starting Essence to fit the tone of their games.

          Intelligence is a general measure of a character's learning, memory and reasoning ability. As such it governs how much (in general terms) a character retains of their memories from their living days.

Intelligence Bonus
Effect
+1
Retain up to 1 skill point, or improve a save by 1.
+2
Retain up to 2 skill points, improve 2 saves by 1, or a combination of both, retain knowledge of a single 1st level spell.
+3
Retain up to 3 skill points, improve up to 3 saves by 1, or some combination of these equal to 3, or retain knowledge of two 1st level spells, or one 2nd level spell.
+4
Retain up to 4 skill points, improve up to 4 saves by 1, or some combination of these equal to 4, or retain knowledge of three 1st level spells or two 2nd level spells, or retain the knowledge of a Feat.


         Wisdom is the strength of the character's connection with the divine, their intuition and the overall awareness that the character has of the world around them. In the afterlife, this translates into both additional Essence as well as an increased chance to both manifest or possess beings on their former prime material plane. Your Wisdom bonus is also the number of times per day where you can attempt a manifestation or possession. Possession takes the form of a save on the target's part versus Magic, modified by the table below.

Wisdom Bonus
Effect
+1
+1 to Essence, 50% chance to Manifest, Possession save is at a +2 bonus for target.
+2
+2 to Essence, 60% chance to Manifest, Possession save is at a +1 bonus for target.
+3
+3 to Essence, 70% chance to Manifest, Possession save is not modified for target.
+4
+4 to Essence, 80% chance to Manifest, Possession save is at a -1 penalty for target.


          Charisma is a measure of a character's magnetism, personal confidence and force of personality. A charismatic character isn't necessarily the nicest or most fun to be around, but those with high Charisma scores are likely people who can make a strong and lasting impression - for good or ill - on others. While it still allows them to navigate their afterlife's social scene, for our purposes Charisma is important because it governs how often they receive offerings in the afterlife. These offerings can take the form of food and drink, weapons and armor, money, or even sacrificed animals. Offerings appear next to the character upon them waking and only affect the intended target if they are meant to be consumed. An Offering roll is made on behalf of each character by the Referee once per week.

Charisma Bonus
Effect
+1
10% chance to roll on Offering table.
+2
15% chance to roll on Offering table.
+3
20% chance to roll on Offering table.
+4
25% chance to roll on Offering table.

d12
Offering
1-4
A fine, full course meal. Eating it will give the character (and only that character) advantage on their next 1d2+1 rolls.
5-6
A bottle of beautiful booze. Drinking the liquor restores 1d8+2 HP.
6-7
Cash money. (3d10 x CL) GP in a neatly tied sack.
8-9
A weapon crafted specifically for the dead character - it may have even once been theirs. The character may select a weapon of their choice.
10-11
A set of armor crafted specifically for the dead character - it may have even once been theirs. The character may select a suit of armor of their choice.
12
An animal has been led into the afterlife to join them. Roll 1d6, 1: Chicken, 2: Goat, 3: Cow, 4: Horse, 5: Pig, 6: Exotic creature such as a Bear or Lion. The animal is well-disposed towards the character.


Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Liminal - LotFP Custom Class


The Liminal


         Everyone dies. Whether through violence, old age, disease or stranger things besides, Atropos comes for all of us. But what of those the feel her touch, but do not fully succumb? Some simply find that they embrace life more readily before, the world around them is more vibrant and all the more wonderful with having briefly tasted mortality. Those few that become what are known as Liminals have a far more surreal experience in store for them. Having become untethered during their brief death, they find themselves with one foot in the grave from that day forward and the souls of the departed become visible to them. Most of these folk simply make peace with their new state, some dismiss the ghosts that they can now see as delusions, while some lose themselves to drink and drugs to numb the terror their new senses give them. Others are drawn to the new possibilities that their new state opens for them, they become death speakers, sin-eaters and exorcists, shepherding the dead to their proper ends. The worst are little more than hungry ghosts or specters who still happen to have a body.

         No matter what form they take, the abilities of Liminals make them objects of dread and suspicion to those who are aware of what they can do. It is whispered that their airy souls can take flight from their bodies, to bedevil good folk and work wicked ends upon the world. Worse still, it is known that they can extend these abilities to others, perhaps even damning them to a similar fate. Even as their powers grow, their corporeal forms begin to grow steadily weaker and more wane, marking them outwardly with the signs of the world that they already half-exist within. In spite of (or perhaps because of) their often grim backgrounds and macabre abilities, Liminals often find themselves eagerly welcomed in mercenary or adventuring bands.

Level
Experience
HP
SP
Paralyze
Poison
Breath
Device
Magic
Figments Known
1
0
1d8
1d4
14
13
16
12
15
2
2
2,300
1d6
1d6
14
13
16
12
15
2
3
4,600
1d6
1d6
14
13
16
12
15
3
4
9,200
1d6
1d8
12
11
14
10
12
3
5
18,400
1d4
1d8
12
11
14
10
12
4
6
36,800
1d4
1d10
12
11
14
10
12
4
7
73,600
1d2
1d10
10
9
12
8
9
5
8
147,200
1
1d10
10
9
12
8
9
5
9
294,400
1
1d10
10
9
12
8
9
6
10
441,600
+2*
+2*
8
7
8
6
6
6
11
588,800
+2*
+2*
8
7
8
6
6
7
12
736,000
+2*
+2*
8
7
8
6
6
7
13+
147,200+/lvl
+2*
+2*
6
5
6
4
5
8
*: Constitution/Charisma modifiers no longer apply. Liminal much choose whether to apply this bonus to HP or SP


          As befitting their status as being that exist in both the lands of the living and the dead, Liminals can perceive intangible undead such as Ghosts, Shadows, Specters and Wraiths without the aid of magic.

          Liminals are quasi-spellcasters who are able to work eerie effects known as Figments. The Liminals form their Figments by casting their spirit own out into the world around them, either whole or in part. This allows them to temporarily leave their bodies, or to interact with ghostly or otherwordly beings. Their capacity for this is represented by the second hit die on their class table, which are known as Spirit Points. Liminals gain Spirit Points just as they would hit points, though they add their Charisma modifier instead of their Constitution for the purposes of gaining bonus Spirit Points. Figments cost Spirit Points to cast and maintain. Liminals over 9th level can choose to add their bonus hit points to their SP instead of their HP. If a Liminal runs out of SP, they may choose to cast their Figments using their HP instead. Expended Spirit Points are regained at the end of a resting period in a place of relative safety for at least 10 hours.


        While Figments are similar to spells in many ways, they do not have the same restrictions that spells have when it comes to slots or spells per day. Liminals may cast as many Figments as they wish per day provided that they have the necessary remaning SP/HP to produce the Figment; if a Liminal would run out of SP while trying to cast a Figment, the excess is dealt to their HP. Unless otherwise stipulated only one Figment may be active at a time and only take one round to cast. Figments do not have level requirements, nor do they require any form of vocal or material components. A Liminal starts the game with two Figments of their choice and gain more of their choice as they level as detailed in their class table.

Figment Name
SP Cost
Effect
Thought Stab
1d4 per die dealt
Lashing out with the darkest aspects of their souls, the Liminal damages their own spirit in order to damage their foe. The Liminal can inflict their wrath on any one they wish within 50ft, simply rolling as many d4s in damage as they risked in SP to cast the Figment. A Liminal cannot spend more than that own level in dice for this attack.
Possession
1d4 per round for animals, 1d8 per round for humanoids
Locking eyes with their intended target, the Liminal attempts to overwhelm their control of their own body by possessing them with their spirit. The target of this Figment is entitled to a save, gaining advantage if they have more HD than the Liminal, with the Figment having no effect if they succeed. On a failure the Liminal is allowed control of the target's next turn, though attempts at self-harm entitles the target to another save. The Liminal perceives using the target's senses, and their own body is reduced to a comatose state while the Figment is active. The Liminal may renew this Figment as long as they wish after the initial attempt.
Spectral Jaunt
2/round for caster, 1d3 a round for others
The Liminal steps fully into the spirit world or pushes a willing target into it. This Figment renders the target intangible, but not invisible as long as the Liminal maintains it. In return for doubling the cost, the Liminal may also allow the target to become invisible. This effect immediately ends if the target takes any sort of hostile action.
Ghost Hand
1d2+1 for every 2lbs of item.
Casting their souls out from themselves, the Liminal can manipulate distant objects as if they were next to them. This grasp, while relatively weak, is fine enough in control to allow the Liminal to write or tie a string.
Strike the Beyond
2 per touch/attack for caster, 3 per touch/attack for ally
Reaching past the barrier separating our world from the ethereal, the Liminal (or one of their allies) can strike incorporeal or intangible enemies without penalty. The Liminal need not spend an action to cast this Figment for their own attacks, though they must pay the cost before they know the results of their attack roll.
Crypt Tales
1d6 for each question
As per the Speak With Dead spell.
Play Dead
1d4 per minute, with an additional +2 for each additional target
Channeling the moment of their narrowly evaded demise, the Liminal or their targets appear to outward observation to be a moldering corpse, too decayed to allow any form of identification.
Call the Ancestor
1d8 per minute
Calling upon their connection to the undead, the Liminal beckons a ghost to their side. This spirit can perform duties as per Unseen Servant, as well as bedevil their enemies with relatively weak attacks (+1, 1d4+1 damage). The Spirit has a number of HD equal to the Liminal's level divided by two (round up)
Haunting Visions
1d4 per minute
The ethereal plane is a place of nearly infinite possibility. Pulling some of the protean matter into reality, the Liminal can produce complex illusions which can encompass sight or sound. These illusions fade if touched or are otherwise interacted with directly.
Airy Step
1d4 per round
Forgetting the crass demands of gravity, the caster of this Figment can hover, float and fly as long as they maintain the effect. The Liminal simply gains a fly speed equal to their walking speed.
Phantom Arms
1d4 per minute
Dragging some of the raw ectoplasm of the ethereal plane into reality, the Liminal forms it into what they may need. These must be relatively simple objects, a weapon such as a sword or bow would be fine, but a firearm or clock would be too complex. Conjured objects must be small enough to be wielded in two hands, and they dissipate as soon as the Liminal stops maintaining them.
Consign to Below
1d3 per lb of object
Grasping an object firmly, the Liminal focuses on it intently and then shunts it into the realms beyond. Unattended items simply disappear, while those wielding or holding a targeted object are entitled to a save versus Magic to keep it. Magic items cannot be affected by this Figment. If the Liminal also possesses the Phantom Arms Figment, then they may retrieve objects banished in this way, provided that they're in the same place where they left them. Retrieving an object costs the same amount of SP as it did to banish it.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Magical Cat Breeds



Who doesn't love cats? Seriously, if you don't like cats you need to question some life decisions - though obviously not the decision to read this blog. Regardless, much like the question posed by my article on magical dog breeds, why would a fantasy setting not have it's own versions of cats? They're absolutely ubiquitous as pets in most cultures on our planet. Why would Athas, Faerun or Thedas be any different? So, in that vein I present twenty species of various felines for use in your home setting. Any names sourced from locations are from my own homebrew setting.


d20
Name
Description
1
Biamese
These graceful, sleek cats range from tan to dark brown and are always born in pairs. Biamese are mentally linked to their twins, and they can act together in perfect synchronous movements. Biamese gain advantage on any roll that their twin is also engaged in.
2
Altrian Rain Coon
Bred from captured cloud elementals and particularly robust felines, Rain Coons are used in small groups to call down precipitation on targeted areas. These fluffy, long-haired cats are temperamental, and will only call rain if properly appeased. Altrians can call rain for 1d4 hours over a 30ft radius 1/day.
3
Kaidan Hex Cat
Associated with witches and necromancers, kaidan are sinister creatures with an intelligence that outstrips other cats. Hex cats are almost always solid colors such as black or white. They sometimes have multiple tails and they can walk upright and speak the language of their owners.
4
Propheceline
Descended from felines that were used to keep rodents out of temples and shrines, Prophecelines are small and quiet creatures that come in a variety of coats. They have the uncanny ability to show up before events of great import. As a result priests now use them as a source of divination, and they gain advantage in the ceremony when assisted by one of these animals.
5
Liorian Whorlcat
Perhaps the angriest animal to live within the Rainwood, the Whorlcat is considered an ill omen by the tribes of the forest. Large and covered in tawny to orange fur, whorlcats have the bizarre ability to spin themselves on the tops of their tails quickly enough to turn into a blur of claws and teeth. Whorlcats can use this spinning ability 3/day. Whorlcats can move 20ft/turn while spinning, and automatically attack anything in their path while moving at a +1 bonus, with 1d4 for damage.
6
Cernunnokian Spire Cat
Theorized by sages to be the result of house cats interbreeding with underdark creatures. Spire cats are sleek, hairless creatures with eyes that glow brightly when hit with any sort of light. Spire Cats can climb on vertical surfaces as if they were on the ground.
7
Abyssinian Pard
Huge and aggressive, these cats are the size of a large dog possessing thick coats covered in spots. Pards are used as show pieces and guardians for members of the elite; the poor wretches who take care of these felines suffer from a high turn-over rate. Pards have an additional hit die than a typical cat, and they are an additional size category larger.
8
Kashan Dream Eater
Wane and slender in appearance, these odd animals were developed by oneiromancers to protect them while they were sleeping. Kashans survive on dreams instead of normal food, and their presence can blunt the effects of mental attacks. A presence of a Kashan while a character is sleeping can negate the effects of a single spell or attack meant to affect their dreams.
9
Dorician Yowler
A particularly strange breed, the Yowler is mostly average in appearance. It is however, extremely loud, enough so that its screeches can disrupt spellcasting. Trained Yowlers are often used by nobles or inquisitors to ensure that they cannot be beguiled. Yowlers force a concentration check for spellcasting to any who hear while they scream. Yowlers can scream 3/day.
10
Charantian Shorthair
A favorite of elves and other forest dwellers, the Charantian is a mild-mannered and friendly breed. While it's lineage is unclear, the Charantian has the ability to slowly shift the color of it's coat to be in line with that of its surroundings.
11
Serradian Phantom Cat
The bane of fishmongers and the darling of thieves the world over, the Serradian is a haughty and large breed prone to corpulence. Long of coat and tending towards darker colors, the Serradian has the ability stutter itself through non-metal objects, most notably walls.
12
Prismatic Tabby
Likely the result of some mad mage's experiments (but honestly, what isn't?) the Prismatic tabby is a small, stocky cat with an iridescent, rainbow-hued coat. When frightened or agitated, the tabby can surge arcane energy in the environment through it's fur to blind nearby on-lookers. This ability can be used 2/day and has the same effects as the Color Spray spell as cast by a 1st level magic-user.
13
Hoaridga's Liebling
Known to be quite rare, the Liebling hails from an isolated monastic community in the far north. Used as training aids for budding mystics, Lieblings have the ability to give off psychic chatter to those who have the ability to hear it. This chatter makes telepathic communication effectively impossible in the presence of one of these animals.
14
Chardonian Levkoy
A breed of working cats, Levkoys are small, quick felines with short, velvet like coats that come in a variety of earth tones. Levkoys not only love water, they are fully amphibious. Many find their use by seafarers to keep their ships clear of vermin.
15
Selkirk Beguiler
Beloved by crooked merchants and con-artists, the Selkirk Beguiler is reputedly the result of a wish to a genie. Whatever their origin, the breed is truly gorgeous, with long, silky fur and coats ranging from vivid blues to deep purples. Most striking are their eyes, which seem depthless and can entrance those who stare into them for too long. Stupified victims are easily robbed.
16
Nine-lived Drow Cat.
The product of centuries of magical research by the dwellers below, the Nine-lived Drow Cat is named for it's ability to come back to life from the dead. Fine-boned and always black of coat, these strange cats can knit themselves back from anything short of a Disintegrate spell.
17
Corantinian Dingmaul
Supposedly native to the Corantine heartland, the Dingmaul is a large, tree-dwelling cat with a bulbous, mace-like mass of bone at the end of their tails. Commonly mottled or calico, Dingmauls are known for their propensity to knock unaware travelers out and eat their rations.
18
Zelazian Spikefur
Native to the deserts surrounding Doru, the Spikefur is named for the hair-like thorns extending from their bodies instead of a normal coat. These spines allow the feline to attack and maul creatures far larger than it and they are fearless as a result. Zelazian spikes make for fine daggers.
19
Teacup Lion
Sourced from a single mating pair designed as a gift to their monarch by a courtly wizard, Teacup lions have found their place as lap warmers and diversions for the idle rich. Befitting their names, teacup lions are for all appearances nothing more than normal lions the size of housecats. They are also unfortunately the same as normal lions in temperament.
20
Soucian Flying Cat
Something of a marketing gimmick, the Soucian Flying Cat cannot truly fly, however it can hover up to several feet off of the ground. This has made the breed popular for use in carnivals or other cheap roadside diversions.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Greater Lycanthropy - a protean threat for OSR & 5th Edition


         Disease is a constant fear for the rich and the poor alike. In fantastical settings where it is possible for healing magic to treat nearly any malady, certain afflictions may still be so dire that they cannot be addressed by even the Gods. They may simply be so deadly or terrible in their effects that the victim isn't able or willing to seek out help in time. Lycanthropy falls into the latter category, an aggressive disease which changes the victim into a monster over the course of a number of weeks. While it's unlikely that the disease can spread unchecked for long given the madness it inflicts on victims, each infected has the potential to spread it unchecked until they're stopped or cured. Even if healing magic can be used to arrest or blunt the worst of the disease, it may be that like in our world where contagions eventually begin to develop resistances or even immunity to common treatments.


          Greater Lycanthropy is such an occurrence. Unlike it's lesser cousin, Greater Lycanthropy does not stop at mere changes to the subject's behavior and body; it is in many ways a creature unto itself. The disease begins similarly to normal Lycanthropy, subjects find themselves transforming under certain conditions and as they descend mentally, eventually at their own wills. As the disease progresses the subject's mind begins to suffer an internal assault, with the disease beginning to manifest in this way first as compulsive behaviors, then eventually graduating to voices and the overriding of the subject's will with that of the contagion. Unlike mere Lycanthropy, the greater version isn't spread merely through bites, any fluidic transfer - whether saliva, blood or otherwise - is enough to potentially transfer it to another. Greater Lycanthropy is significantly harder to detect due to the malevolent intelligence direct it's victims and the subtle nature of it's early effects. Sages have classified the disease into a number of strains, but all of them share the same five stages of severity.


Severity
Effects
Stage 1
Various symptoms which can include, fevers, chills, terrifying nightmares, fatigue, delirium and mental confusion. (Save vs Magic* on waking. On a failure the subject does not derive any benefit from sleep, such as regaining HP, though they still regain expended spells. The fatigue an other symptoms impose a -1 penalty on attack rolls. Upon three failures the disease progresses to the next stage.)
Stage 2
Temporary voluntary transformations begin, the subject is now stronger and healthier even without the benefits of transformation. (The victim is invigorated by their infection and gains +1 to all physical stats permanently. The subject can now transform into a horrific form based upon the strain they have been infected with. Subject gains an additional +2 to all physical stats and regains 2/HP a turn while in this form. This transformation takes 1 round to enact and lasts 6d10 rounds. Save vs Magic upon transformation, on three failures the disease progresses to the next stage.)
Stage 3
Involuntary defensive transformations in response to attacks or stress, the disease begins to communicate directly with the victim via auditory and visual hallucinations. (There is now no limit to the length of the subject's transformation. The victim gains immunity to critical hits. The subject must save vs Magic when they would normally suffer a critical hit, or when they would take 1/4 of their total HP in a single instance. After three such failures the disease progresses to the next stage.)
Stage 4
Victims can now sense and communicate telepathically with others who have been afflicted with the same strain. Sufferers begin to lose long spans of time as the disease begins to take over their mind and enact its own will. (Upon waking or taking damage, the victim must save vs Magic. Upon failure the subject loses control of themselves for 1d8 hours as the disease takes over. On three such failures in a row, the victim moves up to the next and final stage.)
Stage 5
The victim has been completely overtaken by the affliction's alien intelligence. While their memories are still present and able to be used by the disease to imitate them, they are gone.
*: Please make a Wisdom or Charisma save at DC (11 + Stage Level) instead if using 5th edition.


         A number of strains have become apparent to sages observing victims, and while this list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide an idea as to the type of transformations which may be encountered, as well as the means by which the disease progresses and behaviors that sufferers may exhibit. There is speculation among those studying disease that the designation of Lycanthropy for the affliction is incorrect, and that while there may be similarities to the other disease in the Therian strain, the existence of the other types proves that it is a unique infection.


Name
Effects
Theria
The most familiar in nature of the commonly encountered varieties, victims of this subset of the contagion turn into variations of beasts, most commonly wolves. The guiding intelligence of this strain desires little more than to engage in wild and unrestrained debauchery and bouts of violence.
Scylla
Victims of this strain begin to dream of the ocean, of cities down in the dark depths. Their transformations allow them to survive and thrive underwater and generally resemble creatures such as fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The guiding intelligence attempts to organize its victims to build structures underneath the waves and actively seeks to infect more victims.
Windigoag
By far the most outwardly horrific of the commonly encountered strains, the poor subject of this strain begins to desperately hunger for the flesh of their own species. The physical changes from this subset of the contagion are the most subtle; sunken and reddened eyes, growth of teeth and nails into fangs and claws, and facial gangrene which causes the lips to rot away. The intelligence lurking in the disease simply wishes to consume any other sentient creature it encounters, though it is capable of great craftiness & stealth.
Hyron
The Hyron strain causes transformations which resemble eusocial insects such as bees, ants, termites and wasps. The malevolent intellect behind the disease uses its victims to establish settlements and communities in isolated and hard to reach locations. After doing so it begins to gather strange and esoteric materials in an attempt to summon an entity termed 'The True Queen.'
Daemonic
A particularly disturbing manifestation of fiendish intrusion, certain outsiders exist not as corporeal beings but instead as something akin to an infection. Transformations tend towards fiendish norms such as cloven hooves, tails, unnaturally hued skin and horns. The intelligence of the demon is typically distributed among its victims, and its goals are completely dependent upon their personality.
Eldritch
Contact with realms beyond the ken of mortal souls can bring with it the notice of the loathsome creatures which dwell in those far off spaces. Some of these creatures can use the bodies of those fools who encounter them as a vector to enter our reality. These pitiful souls find their bodies warping into unwholesome and bewildering shapes; tentacles, extra limbs, mouths and eyes or the addition of baffling and disturbing organs have all been observed. As the mind of the victim begins to degrade, the alien consciousness directs its form to bring more of its kind into the world.

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