D&D 5E 5th Edition and Cormyr: Flexing My Idea Muscle and Thinking Out Loud

Jeremy E Grenemyer

A redux of my Ideas thread. It was lost in the September 2016 hack/database failure here at EN World.

This thread is about getting ideas about 5E and Cormyr written down as time allows. I like to get at least 10 ideas down per post, though sometimes it will be less.

The goal is to produce ideas, be they good, bad or ugly.

EDIT: Here’s a link to a map of Cormyr on the FR Wiki.
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Iron Pond

From "Seven Swords" by Ed Greenwood (Dragon #74, June 1983), there is mention of a sword that floats in just about any liquid you place it into: Namara, aka "The Sword that Never Sleeps". How to make this an encounter location?

1. Transfer the property of the sword to a body of water. Maybe the sword (and its bearer) drowned in a lake--or better, fell to her death in a deep pond.

2. The sword bearer was an adventurer. She possessed a magical ring that could push water away out to fifteen feet, and create a pocket of everlasting air in its place.

3. Her companions drowned along with her after she went over the muddy edge of a deep shaft at one end of the pond, taking her sword and the adventurer's means of breathing underwater with her.

4. Absent any water to slow her fall, down she went to a bone-shattering landing at the bottom. She managed a painful crawl partly into one of the six or so tunnels that led away from what was once a landing from which dark elves levitated upwards to the surface world, before she succumbed to her injuries.

5. So the adventurers found the ruin they were looking for--it just killed them quickly, all thanks to a little bad luck. The body of the sword bearer is still encased in a bubble of air, and has rotted oddly in the wet muck where she died.

6. Forty years or so later, the Spellplague struck. In the case of the sword bearer, the magic of her sword was swept away in the magical chaos, and dispersed into the natural rock shaft that had served well as a tomb for bold adventurers.

7. One of her fellow adventurers wore magical chain armor that was stripped of all its enchantments by the Spellplague, save for its ability to not rust, and in time what was left of his soggy corpse floated the 20 or so feet to the surface from where it lay.

8. Some years later his body was discovered and the armor looted. Word of the find slowly spread through the woods where the pond was located (let's say the King's Forest, in Cormyr, several miles west of Dhedluk).

9. Today the pond remains a curiosity. Experienced foresters hire out to lead adventurers and anyone with time on their hands and a desire to explore the safer parts of the King's Forest to the pond.

10. Visitors find that the rumors are true: The murky pond water will not admit anything made of iron or iron alloy below its surface without some effort made to push such objects under water, and when those objects are released they float straight up to the surface. A warrior in full plate can lay on the water and sink only an inch or so in, as this is the equivalent of wearing a body-suit made out of life jackets.

11. Water removed from the pond does not retain the quality of keeping iron objects afloat.

12. Efforts to dredge the pond with stone implements tied to ropes turned up bone and decayed clothing and items from two other corpses (other comrades of the sword bearer), and led to the discovery that one end of the pond is quite deep--longer than the 50' of rope used to dredge. This much is common knowledge to those who've visited the pond or talked to others about it.
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Yeah it felt like getting kicked in the digital balls.

Speaking of digital: I am trying to work some of the magic that Morrus laid out for everyone vis-a-vis thread recovery. We'll see how it goes.

Jeremy E Grenemyer

The Adventurers In Parchment

In my Cormyr sourcebook I introduce a concept called Turning Points.

Turning Points take the concept of the "Defining Event" (from the Folk Hero background, PHB 131) and expand it into full on write ups that describe THE major event in a Character's life that put her on the path of adventure.

One such Turning Point that will be made available in my next sourcebook update is called "Adventurer In Parchment". It describes how several enemies of, and thieves preying on, a merchant of Amn were trapped one by one in a magical book--one that the merchant gloated over every chance he got, by turning the parchment pages and having one sided conversations with the victims depicted therein, one to a page, where he describes how he lured them to their doom. Time eventually caught up with the merchant, and his death by old age set the trap book free in the wider Realms.

Eventually it was scooped up by a mage in Cormyr, who's been patiently freeing the prisoners of the tome for the last several years (and thus a Player Character at some point) and turning them back out into the world.

Thinking about the trap tome...

1. Perhaps it's truly a big book, like the ubiquitous reference dictionary found in any decent library, or one of those atlases whose covers are as wide and long as a suitcase or trunk.

2. Maybe it has the power to form itself (via illusion magic) into other objects; immaculate chests, small coffers, shipping crates, keepsake boxes, etc.

3. The trap tome can be set to go off by whomever is attuned to it.

4. He or she need only open it to the next blank page, and then imagine something like a chest or box, and will the trap tome to take on the look of what is being imagined.

5. I think the trap tome's pages should all be mirrors in frames, with a piece of parchment paper between each mirror page. When you open the trap tome up, you get a mirror on the left and a piece of parchment on the right. Turn the parchment page and you see the back of the next mirror frame, which is covered over in a thin sheet of copper.

6. The frame of each mirror is very thin, and is made of hard metal. The corners are reinforced and covered by metal caps. On each cap is a loop and hook so that one mirror page can be attached to its neighbor.

7. The binding for the book includes two pairs of small L-shaped metal legs that run down each side, and whose "feet" touch in the middle of the binding.

8. These can be folded out to stabilize the book when the trap is set, and its owner looks into the exposed mirror with a shape for the book to take on in the forefront of his or her thoughts.

9. When a victim touches the trap tome, the illusion drops and the mirror immediately captures whomever is closest to it, provided that person is looking into the mirror/sees their reflection in it (note to self: check rules for gaze attacks in the 5E Monster Manual). Once this happens the trap tome closes shut.

10. So maybe the trap tome is really like a rectangular shaped box that's designed to be opened like a chest, its "lid" consisting of all the empty frames whose magical mirrors have captured an unwary victim and transferred the victim's likeness onto the extra parchment page that can be found between each frame.

11. This process consumes the mirror and "burns" the edge of each loose page into the frame that formerly held the mirror, so each page displaying a victim appears as an extremely lifelike painting on parchment of someone in the throes of surprise (and probably despair), set in a durable metal frame backed by shiny copper.

12. I figure the trap's maker designed into the trap tome the option to manually remove each page from the binding, so that trapped victims could be put on display all about one's residence--this is quite the power statement, and warning, to anyone visiting such a home--but the Amnian preferred to hoard his collection and share it with no one but himself.

That works.

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Playing With A Volo's Guide Index

One of my favorite ways to generate names for places is to take the names listed in various of the entries in any Volo's Guide Index and mix them together.

I use the Volo's Guides this way because their indexes are broken down by categories: Bands & Organizations, Temples & Sacred Sites, Shops, Settlements, Homes, Inns & Rooming Houses, etc., which makes it easy to combine words and parts of names to form something new.

I try to come up with ten interesting sounding names as quick as I can and jot them down. Then I pick the two or three that sound the best and develop them further.

Tonight I'll be using Volo's Guide to the Dalelands.

1. Blackwater's Provisions.

2. Felsharp's Bonepile.

3. The Thirsty Death Knight.

4. The Abbey of Dancing Fire.

5. The Tower of the High Leaves.

6. Stonebow, Stump and Redmark -- Ferrymen.

7. The Lion Bell.

8. The Witch Barracks.

9. Galath's Bellowing Werebat.

10. Spindral's Hand In The Moon.

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Minor Properties For Magic Items

Brainstorming additional minor properties for magic items (DMG 143).

1. Winking. The surface of this item gleams or flashes momentarily whenever a spell is cast in its vicinity. Range: 120 feet. Intervening barriers of all kinds (Wall of Force, stone, soil, rock) do not prevent this property from functioning, and its range extends in all directions.

2. Levitating. This item does not fall to the ground when let go. This property ceases to function whenever the item is touched, grasped or otherwise manipulated by a creature of any type. If fired or thrown, the item stops moving when its momentum is expended or after it strikes an object, and then remains at its current elevation. This property remains in effect if the item is pushed, towed or otherwise made to move by a tool (such as a rope, stick, or other means).

3. Candlelight. The bearer can use a bonus action to cause the item to shed light equivalent to a candle flame (5' radius bright light and additional 5' dim light) or to shed light equal to the dying embers of a fire (dim light 5' radius), or to extinguish the light.

4. Sunrise/Sunset. The item's appearance changes drastically at sunrise and sunset. The item's basic form does not change (a longsword remains a longsword, a robe a robe, etc.), nor does its magical properties.

5. Flamequench. This item can put out a non-magical fire that it is placed into or made to touch (up to 5' square of flame per turn).

6. Flamespark. This item can ignite a fire, provided sufficient kindling or flammable material is available.

7. Short Term Memory. The bearer can use a bonus action to cause the item to emit the words of any one person that has spoken in the vicinity of the item in the last hour. Once used, the bearer must wait an hour before she can utilize this property again.

8. Written In Steel. The surface of this item crawls with words that appear and disappear as quickly as they are spoken within earshot of its bearer, whenever the bearer holds the item. The language that appears on the item is left to the DM to determine, and the bearer may always read that language as long as she grasps the item.

9. Spellspark. Whenever this item comes into physical contact with another magic item, it emits sparks for up to one round.

10. Moonslave. Under the light of a full moon, this item's appearance transforms considerably. The item's basic form does not change (a longsword remains a longsword, a robe a robe, etc.), nor does its magical properties. While so transformed, the item emits bright light out to 10' and dim light for an additional 10', until the bearer spends a bonus action to command the item to extinguish the light. Once extinguished, the light does not return until the next full moon.
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

OK, that's page 1 of the old thread recovered.

Try as I might I can't find anything beyond page 5, post #41 via Google searches and cached link searches.

I'll try to get one full page of posts re-posted per day.

Thankee for your patience, and for your continued interest.

Jeremy E Grenemyer

The 2-4 Line Treatment

Might as well sneak something new in here.

So, three posts above this one I played with a Volo's Guide Index and generated some place names. Let's see if they can't be fleshed out a little.

How? We'll use the 2-4 line treatment: You generate at least two descriptive sentences about the place, but no more than 4. Just bang 'em out. It's like you're running sprints: you run, you rest, you run again.

The fun part about this method is that if you lay out like 20-30 index-generated place names and then apply the method, at some point you're not going to want to stop at four sentences--and I mean you're really not going to want to stop.

When that happens, just keep running. You can get back to the rest of the list later and see if it happens again.

As always, everything that follows is assumed to be in or very near to Cormyr, in the year 1479 DR (The Year of the Ageless One).

And here's a link to the best map of Cormyr ever made. Enjoy!

1. Blackwater's Provisions.
Blackwater's is a provider of miscellaneous goods and services. It's also a moving target. Blackwater's consists of no less than three enormous wagons (sometimes as many as six) that roam up and down the Thunder Way from the prison city of Wheloon to the nominally independent village of Highcastle. Traders and travelers alike on the Way know to look for the Blackwater wagons (their wagon canvas all painted black), as they are sure to find good deals and a safe encampment to rest at overnight.

2. Felsharp's Bonepile.
For all the work done by Suzail's Dung-and-Bone Wagoneers to cart human waste, refuse and animal carcasses out of the city, there remains a substantial amount of bone to be had from Wormpits to the west. Felsharp built his business by finding and selling the bones that even the dung collectors refused to keep for themselves (to be sold off to necromancers, or boiled to produce grease for wagon wheels), and it has steadily grown to the point that the dung collectors are finding better pay in selling bones to Felsharp. Felsharp's Bonepile is located one gently rolling hill before Wormpits, and mercifully upwind from the stench. Felsharp possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of his collection, and is rarely mistaken when it comes to a particular bone's provenance.

3. The Thirsty Death Knight.
In its current form The Thirsty Death Knight serves as a roofless, three-walled structure little taller than its occupants and with its back to the Dragonmere. The entrance consists of a total lack of wall on one side, and its interior walls are painted over in metallic colors with flowing scenes from a play about an undead knight from Monksblade that found peace at last by slaying the descendant of the knight's arch rival living in Marsember, that was once enacted regularly over a five year period by a succession of bored Marsembans, starting around 1450 DR. (At that time the noble slain at the end was always the least popular among the nobility in the City of Spices.) Now the "Thirsty Knight" (as the locals call it) is a gathering place where Marsembans of high and low birth come to mingle day or night, but mostly in the daytime whenever the sun peeks through the clouds to shine of the walls and warm the structure.

4. The Abbey of Dancing Fire.
An unusual collection of squat stone structures comprise this abbey dedicated to the worship of Kossuth; no two are alike, and the occupants come from all over the continent of Faerûn. The abbey's location along the eastern coast of the Wyvernwater (roughly equidistant from Junirill and Hultail) has not spared it the attention of the Crown: Led by Swordcaptain Hannifae Rowanmantle, and based out of Junirill, a ride of forty mounted Purple Dragons visits the abbey once every tenday. For their part, the followers of the Lord of Flames cooperate with the Dragons, and otherwise go about their business venerating their deity. New followers from beyond Cormyr that seek the Abbey are oft escorted by the Dragons to the location, and are given a pointed lesson on Cormyr's laws and customs during the ride.

5. The Tower of High Leaves.
The Tower of High Leaves was fashioned out of an enormous dead Ironwood tree that stands between the southern border of the Hullack Forest and the northeastern coast of the Wyvernwater. The tower was not constructed so much as formed of the hollowed out trunk of the dead tree. Established less than a decade after the onset of the Spellplague, the Tower remains an important school of arcane learning and forest lore. In the decades since the Tower was established the bottom portion of the tree has been slowly hollowed out and reinforced to allow for additional rooms for students, as well as the completion of an inn for the exclusive use of trusted friends and former students of the Tower.

Going to pause here. That's some good work for the night. See you tomorrow.
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