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

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Spells and Wards Set Adrift. A Dragon That Collects Teeth. New Magic Items and Magic Item Rules.

No reposts to this thread tonight.

I resurrected the DMs Guild Online Tools thread instead.

****

1. My imagination is stuck on wards and set-piece spells pried loose by the Spellplague.

2. There are a bunch of places in Cormyr that are properly warded by fixed spells that obfuscate, shield, prevent certain spell effects from going off, etc., in the ward's area, and I'm pretty sure the Spellplague ripped these wards right out of wherever they were anchored and set them loose like a plastic bag tumbling along in a breeze.

3. What I think would be cool is if some of these wards ended up attaching themselves to other buildings or wagons or living things "down wind" from where they were cut loose. Some of the wards probably dwindled away into nothingness wherever they settled. Some may have just fallen into the earth and drifted down into the Upperdark (or deeper) before fading away or anchoring to something. Others may yet remain--especially if they found an anchor in something old and alive, like any tree or landscaping a century or more old, or in a magic item of Uncommon or higher rarity, in which case the ward may be slowly draining the item even as it's being tugged along by the item (if the item is something worn or held, and not stationary).

4. Figuring out some interesting results is a topic for another day, however.

Onto the next topic.

5. So there are like a bazillion dragons lairing in the Thunder Peaks and the Stormhorns. You might not realize it at first, but if you dig deep enough you can find off-hand comments about it online by former Realms game designers. There's got to be a good number of these dragons that craft minor magic items that appear no more than simple trinkets (as in right out of the Player's Handbook, page 160-161).

6. What? The trinkets tables? Yes, Dear Reader. Those two pages are not nearly the waste of space you think they are. On the contrary, they are 100 excuses for the DM to drop an encounter on your head. For example: The bag containing 47 humanoid teeth (one of which is rotten) may just be 47 examples of humanoids that made good meals for a dragon lairing on the Cormyr side of the Thunder Peaks, as well as 47 examples of dragon-like patience, as the beast took the time to remove one tooth from each of its meals ahead of time.

7. Now those teeth are in a bag, each of them enspelled to act as a focus for the dragon's Scrying spell, that it might see where the teeth go and have 47 little windows on the world it can peer through.

8. Worse, if anyone thinks to use the tooth as a body part to help with their own reverse scrying attempt (to see where the tooth owner is, for example), they'll instead get a grand view of the dragon, right before it plunges into their minds to raid for spells, spell knowledge, and useful information. Think of it as a Legendary Action.

9. And that rotten tooth? That's the one a spellcaster used in a disastrous scrying attempt. It got burned a little. So he or she threw the tooth back in the bag and said good riddance. Now you own the bag.

Next topic.

10. I like the idea of magic item rarity governing the ability of one magic item to have an effect on another magic item. Not a hard and fast rule for all magic items, mind. Just for some items, like magical portals.

11. And for this item, too:

Glove of Gem Snaring
Wondrous item, very rare

While you wear this glove you may treat as immaterial a space equal to the size of your hand on any non-magical object that that is set with gemstones, as well as any magic item whose rarity is Rare or less. Within that space, only gemstones are solid. Such gemstones remain in place until you remove them. This glove has no effect on objects absent gemstones. This glove does not prevent magical catastrophes or backlashes that may result from gemstones being removed from a magic item. Your DM determines the side effects of removing gemstones from a magic item, if any.


12. Another rules concept/idea I am pondering is how to link Ritual Casting to magic items. It would be some kind of named descriptor that would be listed after the item type, rarity, and attunement requirement (if any). Maybe limit the Ritual aspect to certain spell levels, or just one spell level.

13. So, what to call it? Hrm...how about Ritual Tailoring? Bleh. Customizable? Doesn't mention the word Ritual in it. Shoot. I need the word "Ritual" plus another word that's a synonym for "adjust." What about just "fine tuned" and then explain the ritual aspect in the description? OK. Let's go with that.

14. Here's an example:

Ring of Wand Leeching
Wondrous item, uncommon (may be fine tuned)

While you wear this ring, you may drain one charge from any wand that you hold in the same hand. If you do so, you may cast the spell stored in the ring in the same action. If you do not cast the spell, the charge is lost.
The spell stored in the ring remains until replaced, regardless of the number of times the ring is used. If you fully drain a wand of charges then it immediately crumbles to dust. The ring only stores 1st level spells, and no more than one spell at a time. A spellcaster may fine tune the ring by substituting any 1st level spell they have prepared from their list of spells known for the spell currently stored in the ring. This process requires the ritual casting of a 1st level spell. While the spellcaster conducts this ritual, any 1st level spell prepared on the spellcater's spell list is considered to have the Ritual tag.


15. Looks like what I've done here is figure out a way for spellcasters to have the limited means of tweaking magic items. That might make magic items more useful, and take the pressure off the DM to produce items better suited to the PCs as they level up.

16. That, and I now have an avenue to take a second look at every magic item in the DMG to see if there could be a fine tuned version of it. In fact, this might make an interesting class feature. Yet another topic for another day.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading!
 
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Brainstorming the Sundered Tomb

As you may or may not know, Dyson Logos provides a bunch of dungeon and other maps for free (as in, free for commercial use, not just for your own use at the gaming table).

One map that caught my eye is "The Sundered Tomb".

sundered-tomb-copy-copy.jpg

So, pretty straightforward. You've got some rooms-in-all-directions going on in the main chamber, plenty of doors to check, some kind of cave in or earthquake-caused fissure, and good spots from which to add on more dungeon. I took the liberty of adding numbers to the rooms and defining the area of a square on the map at 10'.

Let's play with this.

1. OK, location: Somewhere in the King's Forest, in Cormyr. There are plenty of deep ravines in the King's Forest, and any one of them could house a moss and vine covered entryway in its side easily enough.

2. Let's assume the top of the map is North. Each square is 10' on a side. Seems big, but I learned a long time ago that players have more fun when they have room to maneuver their characters.

3. The fissure running through the dungeon from the top left to the bottom right of the dungeon could have been caused by any number of things: earthquake, earthquake by spell, divine wrath, spell battle gone wrong, backlash from a defensive magic on one of the entryway doors--perhaps caused by whomever forced their way in the first time around.

4. Let's assume the last of that list is the case. Let's also assume that the backlash "woke things up" inside the tomb, and that maybe one of the adventurers or hired plunderers was slain when the left hand door (as viewed from outside the tomb) went off.

5. Perhaps the backlash was meant to be something more: A magic designed to obliterate the tomb in its entirety if the main doors were ever breached. But time, and the efforts of the plunderers--bah, let's call them hired adventurers--mitigated the effect. And too bad for them, because that which woke up in the tomb made killing the hired adventurers its business, and business was good that day.

6. The hired adventurers were no novices, and they came with extra help in the form of extra swords carried by mercenaries that were employed by the same person/group that hired the adventurers. This may seem unusual at first glance, but if all they had to do was guide the mercenaries to the location of the tomb entrance, and then work their magic (literally, I suppose) on the entryway doors before stepping aside to let the mercs through, it makes sense (and provides more corpses, which is always good).

7. Hrm...if all that was needed was magic to breach the doors and constrain/prevent the tomb-destroying self-destruction magic built into them, then let's reduce the hired adventurers to one hiremage. Better yet, a free mage and her apprentices. That allows for the mercenaries to have been hired by the free mage. (Note: I use terms like "hiremage" and "free mage" to distinguish between arcane spellcasters who make their coins on fees paid for services rendered by means of their spell casting talents, and spellcasters who wouldn't dream of working for anyone--even in the cold months and low on coin--but instead delegate tasks to apprentices and/or hire others to do things for them.)

8. Let's assume the debacle at the door slew at least two apprentices, and that the free mage brought along all her apprentices (the better to keep an eye on them). How many left? Two. As for the mercenaries, they weren't touched by the magical blast/recoil. And let's assume the mercs were once adventurers but have now turned to mercenary work with an eye on growing their numbers (and a hope that this expedition to the King's Forest provides the sort of coin necessary to feed, clothe and arm a mercenary band, plus pay Crown fees for the year). They are led by one battle commander/leader, and her two lieutenants. These are the only three of the original adventuring band to have survived a past disaster that slew the rest of their number. So that's three leaders, and each commands a banner of four mercenaries. That's fifteen mercenaries total. Note: in the Realms a "banner" is a sub-unit of a larger military organization.

9. The debacle at the door happened anywhere from 2 to 10 years prior to the PCs showing up. Between then and now there has been plenty of rainfall, snow, ice, and earth and rock slowly pried lose by the slow, persistent grip of the seasons. Now the fissure running through the dungeon is half-filled by water that flows from a stream long ago diverted by the builders of the tomb, that has since found its way back over the side of the ravine where the earth and rock collapsed inward a few years after the door went off. Thanks to that water flow, the right-most side of the cave space at the bottom of the map is filled with water. That's where most of the destroying magic of the door went off, thus hollowing out the rock and leaving a trailing line towards the corner of the map where the magic ended. Water seeps through lesser cracks in the rock that extend into the lightless depths of the Upperdark.

10. The southernmost room off of the main chamber ought to be where another map connects. I figure "The Tomb of Eight" (also by Dyson Logos) will work. This will be where the actual tomb is located. It also looks like the southern wall of the main chamber has some kind of face sculpted in high relief. Not sure if I like that yet. The rectangular chamber and the L-shaped chamber along the top of the map look like they could house connections to other maps, depending on how big I want this dungeon to be--which might be necessary. After all, I have 3 wizards, 3 ex-adventurers and 12 mercenaries to kill. It would be no fun to pile all the bodies in one room.

11. EDIT: I need to place this dungeon near one of the main settlements in the King's Forest (Waymoot, Dhedluk, Knightswood, Mouth O' Gargoyles). Shoot...let's say Waymoot. That settlement is the biggest and most well provisioned, it's near Aloushe (a region ruled by Dryads), and has a recurring troll problem which may be of use to me.

12. EDIT: Let's put the low end of this dungeon's level range at 2 to start. I'm one of those DMs who likes to have players level up in the first session, and saying right off the bat that, "You're now level 2, and you already know each other, and you've had some very minor adventuring success already in the King's Forest so the people around Waymoot where you are based have taken note of your presence, and please add a few more coins to your character sheets," is the easiest way to do that.

That's all for now. Hit this again tomorrow.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
The Sundered Tomb Continued

So, what's the area around the Sundered Tomb like?

In the last post we determined it's near Waymoot, which is the busiest and most populated of Cormyr's settlements in the King's Forest. Waymoot has had recurring troubles with trolls over the centuries, and is not far from an independent realm of Dryads (Aloushe) that owes no fealty to the Crown of Cormyr.

I have attached a map slice of the Waymoot area. The black bar on the left is 15 miles long.

waymoot1.png

This image is taken from a rough draft copy for a map of Cormyr I commissioned for my Cormyr sourcebook. I'm excited for it to be finished, and to get a hex overlay on it.

1. Waymoot itself is all about horses. The area around the settlement has been cleared sufficiently that horse ranches abound. Waymoot still produces wagons of excellent quality, and from its populace are drawn some of the best foresters, woodsmen and huntsmen to walk the King's Forest. The temples to Tymora and Lliira still stand, as do the handful of inns, taverns and shops. Waymoot is still a travelers town; a necessary place to stop, but never to stay unless you already live there. The place is ruled by a King's Lord (a person appointed by the King of all Cormyr to rule in his name, and to dispense the King's justice and so on) from his or her sturdy keep, though I don't know who the King's Lord is in the year 1479 DR. Will have to make that one up.

2. Maybe someone like Myrmeen Lhal--herself a tough as nails ex-adventurer who came to rule over Arabel with an iron fist in the name of King Azoun IV after Gondegal the Usurper tried to turn Arabel into the capital of his own kingdom, and was driven out. (He ended up being transformed into so much worm food for a lich somewhere beneath the ruins of Myth Drannor, if I recall correctly.)

3. And then their are the trolls. Not just a problem for the internet, mind, but for all of Waymoot and the surrounding woods for as long as anyone can remember. The trolls came and went every few decades, but when the Spellplague re-wrote the rules of reality the trolls who'd largely abandoned the Prime for their ancestral home in the Feywild returned en masse. Besides, horseflesh tastes good--almost as good as human.

4. The trolls want to punish the fey-traitor dryads and their allies in Aloushe. The trolls had always tried to regain the dryad's favor after the elves of the Wolf Woods won it away, and were doubly offended when the humans of Esparin (a self-declared human kingdom within the nominal borders of the Forest Kingdom that was conquered and absorbed centuries ago by Cormyrean forces) won the dryad's favor after the departure of the elves.

5. The defeat of the last great Troll King by a human King's Lord of Waymoot (Lord Filifar Woodbrand) some 150 years past seemed to seal the deal for the trolls. The King's Lord won away the magical strength of the Troll King (and he used it to lift a wagon into the air and dump out the thieves hiding in it, in one instance), and the surviving trolls slunked back into the woods and through the few remaining gates that led to their fey home. But a few remained. These trolls dared try and slay Lord Woodbrand in his advanced age--and they succeeded, taking the Troll King's strength with them.

5. Anyway, the trolls who've returned to the King's Forest are smart. The trolls plan long term, just like old Thauglorimorgorus the Black Doom did (this black dragon ruled the Wolf Woods before the elves came and ruined everything all those years ago) and they've a new Troll King who's won the strength to lead its fellow trolls.

6. I don't know anything about Aloushe. But I figure that the close, overlapping presence of the Feywild with the King's Forest in the wake of the Spellplague has turned lose plenty of Feywild-based creatures into the King's Forest, and that the Dryads of Aloushe and their allies are probably as much interested in keeping things calm and peaceful between the two worlds as Cormyr is. After all, the King's Forest is the "tame" forest in Cormyr (as apposed to the far wilder and dangerous Hullack), and the Dryads are probably not interested in hunters, adventurers and greedy nobles using the excuse of Feywild beasts in need of slaying to cover their attempts to invade Aloushe and plunder its supposed "riches beyond imagining" (this according to one wild-eyed adventurer leader, who was never seen again after departing Waymoot for the "fairy land" to the east). I don't know who rules Aloushe. Not worried about it yet.

7. There's the legend of the Sleeping Kings, too: The idea that somewhere under or near Waymoot lies the sleeping ghosts of all the former Kings of Cormyr. They rest until a time of great need, when the danger to the Forest Kingdom will draw them like moths to a flame so they can hack and slay whatever doom imperils the land they once ruled.

8. This legend pervades daily life in Waymoot, inasmuch as everyone knows some version of the legend, and all the many travelers who pass through Waymoot hear the differing versions and pass them on further up the road and throughout the rest of Cormyr.

9. And wouldn't you know, you picked a map with tombs in it. That works. So, it's not much of a stretch to suppose the free mage who's put together an expedition of mages and mercenaries (heh...another name for D&D, that) could be looking for the Sleeping Kings. Maybe she's heard more of the old song:

Bring me the key from dungeons deep,
Where undead knights a-rusting sleep,
That doth unlock the dragon's door
And we'll swim in gold forevermore!


(Volo's Guid to Cormyr. Page 174)

...and she put two and two together, and it was enough for her to find the (now) Sundered Tomb.

10. Of course those lines of song refer to very real catacombs beneath Waymoot--these catacombs were used by the occupants of a long since torn down castle that once stood where Waymoot is now, and later by a dragon that hid itself in human guise--but sometimes verses get added and subtracted to songs, so who's to say the free mage is wrong?

11. Anyway, I think the Sundered Tomb is just what the free mage and her allies assumed it to be: A tomb housing persons of royal blood--but of the line of Esparin, or possibly nobles of the vanished land of Espar, and the mages and mercenaries hoped to plunder wealth enough for each of their causes (greater power for the mage and her apprentices, and for the mercenary captain coin enough to build a true mercenary company).

Too bad for them.

********

Well, that's all for now. Back at it tomorrow.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Passwords and Passphrases

Pancake batter powered by nitrous oxide.

Yeah, I did a double take when I read that line too. It's from an article in the New York Times: "A Trickier Stage for Alton Brown", Wednesday, September 28, 2016, the Food section (section D), with "The Cookbook Issue" for a header on each page, page D1, continued on page D11.

What does this have to do with 5th Edition D&D and Cormyr? Not much I'm afraid, save to remind you that when you're not gaming you should be cooking. Like all the time. And if you don't know how, then you should be learning how to cook.

You can thank me later.

********

1. So, passwords and passphrases. Not as in a line of characters, or even a string of text with spaces, that are keyed in to gain access to a locked computer. I'm talking the mundane spoken kind, as in your character is challenged by a guard who says something like, "Who goes there?" And your character better say the correct response the guard is expecting to hear (aka the password or passphrase). If not it's swords out and slay your character time.

2. This is the sort of thing where if PCs aren't prepared they can either try to boldly act official and roleplay their way through the encounter--which is a good thing--or they can be silly and mocking and just attack the guard. And so far as killing the guy who does not in fact have a key to the door the PCs want to get through is concerned, this isn't much help to the continuance of an adventure. (The door is opened by someone else on the other side, who's waiting to hear the correct sequence of knocks, for example, by the just-now-stabbed-and-bleeding-to-death-on-the-ground door guard).

3. Thus, prepare your PCs, Dear Reader/DM. However you do it, make sure you show your PCs that people in power use passwords and phrases to limit access to important places, to gain access to such themselves, and to grant access to others.

4. Knowing the right words can get the PCs into all kinds of places in Cormyr, and the wider Realms. In some cases merely knowing the right words allows one to unlock vaults filled with magic items of terrible power, and so marks someone as being important and not to be messed with in the eyes of guards who stand watch.

5. If you haven't given the Rogue PC in the party a chance to skulk around, then this is a good reason to get him to hide, lurk, and listen in important places like the Royal Court in Suzail, and the Royal Palace just next door. Same goes for the spellcaster PC if she has eavesdropping spells she hasn't used.

6. War Wizards, important courtiers, Highknights, Purple Dragon officers and more all use spoken passwords and passphrases in Cormyr, and every last noble house and established guild has their own set of passwords and phrases they use, so smart PCs can have a lot of fun figuring out how to successfully overhear such and use it to their advantage or gain.

7. This is one of those things where a DM doesn't have to throw it in the PC's faces. Simply mentioning it on the side during downtime--a throwaway line like, "On your way back to the inn, as you pass around the back of the temple to Tymora after buying potions for the party, you overhear a temple priest standing in the lee of a rear entrance to the temple. He is admonishing a lay member of the temple for failing to remember the words of entrance."

8. If the PC keeps on walking, cool. Sally forth to adventure and all that. If not, or if they at least state they try to listen to what's being said, then the PCs have a chance to hear the priest say,
  • "As you know, the challenge phrase is, 'In darkness I cannot see.'"
  • Then the priest says, "Next time you must reply as follows to gain entrance to the temple at night, 'The moon and the stars in the water.'"*
...and at some point in the future if the PCs have a pressing need to gain access to this particular temple of Tymora (of which there are three in Cormyr, FYI), then they have a way in. Maybe something bad is about to go down inside the temple that only the PCs know about and can stop. Or maybe a PC is in dire need of healing that the PCs can't cast themselves--happens all the time.

9. At some point a group of PCs in Cormyr will have to go to the Royal Court in Suzail to pay the fee for an adventuring charter. This was something I ignored to the maximum in my campaigns until it hit me like a brick that one of the design intentions behind adventuring charters (which all PCs in an adventuring party active in Cormyr must acquire ASAP once they start gaining levels, on pain of other chartered adventurers being free to arrest the PCs for a reward if they don't comply with Crown law) is to put curious, greedy, and brave to the point of foolishness PCs right in the middle of the labyrinthine expanse of the Royal Court, with all its attendants and functionaries, schemes and plots, lurking dangers (the Dread Door Warden is a trip), secret doors, back passageways, walls behind walls behind walls, magical portals and more. It's a baked in excuse to visit.

10. Anyway, once PCs are in the Royal Court, they stand a good chance of hearing passwords and pass phrases because they're being used everywhere. For example, an old phrase and counter phrase out of Volo's Guide to Cormyr goes:
  • The challenge phrase: "Black Sword."
  • The reply: "Meets green shield."
  • The counter reply, so you know that the person you're dealing with (in this case a Wizard of War) is legit too: "To make red war."


* I modified a line from Lee Child's short story "High Heat" to make this passphrase up. After all, this stuff doesn't appear in my mind whole cloth and ready to be written down. If you want to write good, then you have to read good.
 
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
The Sundered Tomb Continued: Determining What Happened to the Mages and Mercenaries

Let's take what was established about the Waymoot region in the my last Sundered Tomb post and use it to inform a brainstorming session to figure out the fates of the mages and mercenaries that invaded the Sundered Tomb.

Here's the trusty map again:View attachment 77104

On to the sequence of events. (The numbers that follow correspond to new events, not to the numbers in the map above.)

1. The first rule of this dungeon: Nothing boring monster-wise, as per the following quoted text from a post by l0lzero (that was lost in the recent database crash):
More low CR monsters. Everyone wants to run a game where you start out at level one, and you end up fighting a couple animals, a couple undead, and then it's back to goblins, kobolds, and orcs for another few levels, and then you're off to the actual show. Low levels are just so freakin' boring. (snip) Give me some quality freak monsters of 1 cr and less so that people aren't afraid to throw them at 1st level characters.
Emphasis mine.

2. The blast report from the door ward going off (at area 1) could be heard for a few miles, and the bleeding-eared mages and mercs didn't waste any time marching inside, the better to be first before anyone else came along. So that's 2 apprentices dead, and 2 still alive.

3. The backlash shorted out a magical gate leading from the Sundered Tomb to the Waymoot Castle Catacombs (not sure where the gate on the Sundered Tomb side is located just yet).

4. This cut off the troll expedition.

5. The troll expedition was part of a larger force that entered the Waymoot Catacombs by means of another gate. (The trolls from the Feywild are seriously out to do harm in Waymoot, and that's a possible future campaign plot point for the PCs to explore.)

6. This second gate led from the Waymoot Catacombs to another, smaller excavation-turned dungeon in another part of the Waymoot region. (I.e., there are other dungeons to be accessed from the Catacombs, for possible future play opportunities.)

7. The trolls first rule was not to be discovered. Their second was to slay all that spotted them and to eat the corpses--gorging themselves if necessary--and to turn everything they could not eat over to the metal keepers.

8. Uhm...what are Metal Keepers? OK, Metal Keepers are barrel-sized mounds of living flesh with low intelligence and no visible eyes. Basically a blog o' fleshy stuff. They are native to the Feywild and share ancestry with trolls (and jaod--pie-sized creatures of flesh that live on human faces, and that can be shaped and molded to form disguises, of which a few are in circulation among spies and rogues in Cormyr), and they take on humanoid form by absorbing into their flesh metal armor, coins, weapons and tools, and using them to form skeletons (first) and then external metal "skin" (from coins and the like) second. They are not hostile unless attacked, and always try to escape when truly threatened (read: fire). Anyone who speaks Troll can command them to disgorge their metal, much like telling a dog to sit. They preserve all things metallic they keep in their bodies, needing only water, sunlight (or firelight) and minerals from laying on rocks to survive, plus an occasional meal of corpse or rotting plant matter. In tombs absent sunlight they harden up into dry mounds. They will disgorge their metal in a communal pile near underground lakes where magical light or phosphorescent illumination is present and they can swim around in their fleshyblob form.

9. Metal keepers make good cannon fodder. They regenerate like trolls do, they are dumb enough to follow crazy orders (though they won't run into a blazing inferno), they don't get confused because they can't understand complex orders--they just stay put until told to what to do with one word: attack or stay or disgorge--and they don't flee until after they are truly hurt by fire or acid or magic, or any spell or substance that dries them out. A Heat Metal spell will cause them to open up and disgorge their metal contents in short order. When they're hurt by fire or acid they make a fluted keening noise to warn their kind, who submerge themselves in the nearest water. They swim in water like seals. They can be hacked into fleshy bits, and these bits will form back together. Fleshy bits of one metal keeper and another metal keeper will gladly join together to form their own blob. They tend to linger wherever they are left to fend for themselves--and so where their troll masters fell in the Sundered Tomb. They dislike heat. Cool and wet first. Cool and dry second. Sunshine in moderation. Eat once a month. They tend to breed only when there is too much metal to go around. This is as simple as splitting in two. Blobs who've gained enough metal to form a humanoid body will depart when more than four or five occupy the same area. They eat dead flesh, clothing, rotted leather and plant matter.

10. The main entry hallway and the topmost chamber (areas 2 and 3) were devoid of trolls and metal keepers.

11. The trolls waited patiently in areas 4, 6 and 7, to assess their foes before attacking.

12. Two trailing mercs were skewered on a stag spear plundered from area 4, the spear wielded by a troll attacking from the last entrance to area 4 (at the top of area 5 hallway after the bend).

13. They were hit east to west, the spear driven through the neck of one merc and fully into the torso of the other.

14. 10 mercs left.

15. The double doors to the main chamber (area 8) are stuck fast. Not even the trolls could open them.

16. One mercenary was skewered by boar spear and bled to death at the double doors. His attacker was a troll to his right, in area 7.

17. 9 mercs left.

17. The ceiling at the end of area 5, and before the double doors to area 8, will end up blackened from smoke produced by burned troll and human flesh. That smoke stain will trail to a taper along the roof. It happened because air flowed out from other parts of the dungeon towards the newly made opening in the entryway.

19. The flanking rooms (area 6 and 7) will become blast-scorched and bone filled. (And during the adventure they'll be web-festooned, with mostly harmless spiders that crawled in from the outside, and possibly a giant spider.)

20. The flanking rooms each hold one greasy, fire-blackened troll corpse.

21. Area 7 holds three mercenary corpses. They went after the spear troll.

22. 6 mercs left.

23. Area 6 holds the corpse of one mercenary lieutenant. He faced off against a spear-less troll solo, driving it back into the room.

24. 1 lieutenant left.

25. The rooms were torched by fire magic after the trolls won those close quarters fights.

26. The mercenaries did a good job; the trolls *were* hacked up pretty good--in some cases to pieces--but they killed the mercenaries or wounded them sufficiently that they would bleed to death, and in any event the trolls began regenerating so they were burned hastily *after* the rest of the mercenaries and mages funneled through rooms 6 and 7 and into the main chamber at area 8.

27. So, the section of hallway after the dogleg right was where the troll ambush commenced, and the back troll got it started, the better to surprise the front rank of mercenaries who may have turned towards the sound of danger. That first troll was no match for the mercenary commander and the free mage. The former hacked the troll's head off and the later burned both head and body to a cinder with her magic.

28. In the main chamber two trolls attacked, and were immediately doomed to dance forever as per a permanent version of the spell Otto's Irresistible Dance that was cast by the free mage. They yet remain when the PCs show up. (This should be an interesting encounter: Low level PCs vs. two trolls who can't move out of their space.)

OK, that's all I have for now on the events that transpired.

Thinking ahead to the actual adventure:

29. One of the rooms off the main chamber has a closed door where a Metal Keeper blob dried up. The PCs can experiment with it if they force the door. It's shaped like half of a big watermelon, but it's the color of an old dry bread loaf.

30. At least one fully humanoid Metal Keeper (I need a better name for them) should be glimpsed moving into area 10 when the PCs make their way into the main chamber (area 8).

31. When the work of figuring out what happened is done, remember to think about what may have come out of the dungeon (probably a couple Metal Keepers) or made its way into the dungeon (giant spiders, common animals, etc.) in the intervening time between when the mages and mercs met their doom, and when a group of PCs show up to explore the dungeon.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
The Fate of the Mages and Mercenaries, continued.

1. Thinking about idea #28 in the last post, I figure what doomed the two trolls to dancing forever was that when the freemage (going to make this one word from now on, just like the word "hiremage") cast Otto's Irresistible Dance, the two trolls were crouching in part of the jagged scar of stone that runs the length of the tomb.

2. This was bad because the entire scar had just become a fixed area area of tattered magic, including the trench-like scar itself, and everything above and either side of it out to 10'. (What's tattered magic, you ask? Think of it as an area where the fabric of magic is in shambles, and waiting to be repaired. The best way to fix it is to cast powerful spells in the area. Tattered magic doesn't form when the Weave of all magic is present, and as of 1479 DR it's not)

3. I figure the very fabric of magic itself had been rent by the backlash caused by the freemage's apprentices in their attempt to control the self-destruction magic present in the double doors at area 1 (see two posts up), so when the freemage cast her spell in area 8 it not only went off as planned, but being a 6th level spell it helped drive magical energy from the surrounding area into the tattered magic space, causing the fabric of magic to settle and mend itself--and in so doing it endowed the area in at least a 10' radius around the target troll with a permanent Irresistible Dance effect. Unfortunately, this mean no saving throws.

4. Trolls are Large giants, but they are also long and lean, so I think there was room for them to fold themselves into a crouch and hide in order to try and surprise whomever came through rooms 6 or 7. I figure that scar runs at least 5' deep in most places.

5. Assuming the mercenary captain ordered her last surviving lieutenant to fan their forces out (so as not to be caught bunched up), the trolls were probably spotted and they engaged the surviving mercenaries (6 left, at last count) as they approached the scar in the stone.

6. The trolls probably attacked as the surviving apprentices (2 left) were busy igniting rooms 6 and 7 to end the existence of the regenerating trolls within them.

7. Note: When it comes to illumination for the mages and mercenaries, the freemage and her two apprentices could each have cast Light once each (since the spell ends if you cast it again, they could only have cast it once). The mercenary commander probably has a magical source of illumination on her person, and the mercenary soldiers no doubt came equipped with torches, which at least one mercenary would have carried at the front and back of the marching order. Torches and the Light spell both provide the same illumination (20' bright, 20' dim). As for the Tomb, all the magical illumination inside it was at least temporarily shorted out by the backlash (as was the magical portal leading from the Waymoot Catacombs, lest we forget).

8. I figure at least two mercs and one lieutenant were caught up in the Irresistible Dance effect, along with the trolls. This might seem comical, but for the giants and humans it was a mad fight to the death, while the freemage tried and failed to dismiss her spell (she stopped concentrating, but it just kept on going), and the mercenaries outside of the area of the dancing switched to ranged attacks on the trolls.

9. The humans were rent into bloody ribbons by troll claws and fanged troll bites, and the trolls were sorely wounded by the humans. I figure at least one troll had a head or arm lopped off (being 5' lower than their human attackers, this would have been a little more likely), but that won't stop a troll. The troll bodies were ultimately left to dance by the freemage's choice. She had ordered everyone away from the jagged scar and took the time to study both it and her spell's unexpected effect from a safe distance. She figured out what happened, warned her apprentice to mind their magic, then explained that the trolls were doomed to dance forever.

10. After that, the survivors bypassed the dangerous area of the spell and headed straight for the south end of the main chamber. The freemage was driving them hard at this point; she knew where she wanted to go (the Tombs) and getting there mattered more than anything. This probably cost lives earlier in area 5, since the freemage ordered the mercenary captain to *not* explore rooms 3 and 4, and instead to watch the alcoves leading to them as the mages and mercenaries passed by.

Headcount: 0 mercenary lieutenants left. 4 mercenaries left. 1 mercenary captain left. 2 apprentice mages left. 1 freemage left.

Note: Because the freemage cast Otto's Irresistible Dance, she's at least an 11th level caster. Probably 12th.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Moving From The Sundered Tomb To The Tomb Of Eight

Headcount: 0 mercenary lieutenants left. 4 mercenaries left. 1 mercenary captain left. 2 apprentice mages left. 1 freemage left.

1. So, once the surviving mages and mercenaries got to room 14 they saw the entrance to the tombs proper, as shown on the following isometric map:

Name: isometric-tomb-of-eight.jpg Views: 47 Size: 694.9 KB

As with the prior map, each square = 10 feet.

isometric-tomb-of-eight.jpg

2. Thus, the entrance on the bottom left hand corner of the map faces North, and the tomb furthest from the entrance points South.

3. Where the stairs reach their lowest point, you can see what looks like water buildup on the floor. This can also be imagined as pools of blood--all of it belonging to three of the four trolls (the other half of the 8-troll strong expedition from the Waymoot Catacombs) that split off to explore this part of the tomb.

4. The trolls just got their heads handed to them (almost literally) by the spectral guardians (i.e., Ghosts; MM 147) that manifest as armored from head to foot warriors in gleaming armor wielding paired longswords and possessed of a wicked bad attitude, that emerged collectively from the tomb chambers they were left to guard for all of eternity very soon after the magical backlash from area 1 ripped through the dungeon.

5. A custom among nobles of Esparin was to have one bonded retainer--better an altar sworn veteran mercenary, when they could be found--who protected them at all times, and fought for them when matters could not be resolved peacefully. The spectral guardians were all altar sworn warriors (variously sworn to Tyr, Helm, Tempus, Lliira [you read that right] and Tyche), and they agreed to follow their charges into death by becoming ghosts. Think of this as a poor man's version of a baelnorn (goodly elf ghost protector).

6. One troll was Possessed as per the Ghost ability.

7. The freemage had good intel on the tomb, and she came prepared with a spell to even the odds against spectral guardians: Ghost to Flesh. As the spell suggests, when seven of the eight ghosts were caught in its area they all became flesh form temporarily. They lost all their terrible attacks (Withering Touch, Etherealness, Horrifying Visage, Possession), but gained in terms of their incorporeal armor and weapons becoming solid on their bodies.

8. If you've ever seen Game of Thrones, specifically the episode with a flashback scene where Bran Stark watched his father's force of five men take on dual-longsword wielding Sir Arthur Dayne and an ally of his, then it shouldn't be too hard to imagine how the now fleshform guardians looked as they brought the fight to the mercenaries.

9. And this was the fight the mercenaries had been waiting for: warrior against warrior, sword vs. sword.

10. The possessed troll attempted to bull rush right over the closed ranks of mercenaries and its ghost allies, so as to get at the spellcasters in the back rank that were further up the stairs. Unfortunately for it (and the spectral guardian riding inside it), the mercenary captain unloaded with her Heavy Crossbow of Wand Detonating. What's this delicious item, you ask? See entry #6 in the post after this one.

11. The bolt flew true, and the exploding overcharged wand took the head and shoulders off the troll. The ghost was ejected and the mercenaries (who'd fallen prone and covered eyes and ears, as they'd been trained to do) went to work on the guardians who'd been hurt and knocked down by the boom, hacking and slashing them. The apprentice mages unleashed carefully aimed Burning Hands spells on the fallen troll parts--especially any heads or hacked off arms that could potentially trip up their sword-swinging allies, and the freemage targeted the ghost when it reappeared.

12. Then the tide came in.

13. What tide? The tide of magic. It was like a tsunami, and the shattering of the entryway door was the earthquake that spawned it. So in other words, when the apprentice mages attempted to channel the self-destruction spell ward on the doors in area 1, they didn't account for how the fabric of magic would react, and it reacted by rippling away from the tomb and then flowing right back towards it in a wave that was invisible, but that manifested in trees swaying and gusts of wind blowing like a miniature hurricane before flowing into the earth and to the tomb proper.

14. In the tunnel steps, the riptide of crashing magic dispelled all magic in the tomb. It washed away the preservative wards that had kept the memorabilia like new and kept the tomb in pristine condition. In its wake some of the objects aged years in just seconds, as though catching up for lost time. A few of the sarcophagus chambers and satellite rooms in the tomb were spared the worst of the magical tsunami. As for the wind, it howled in the stairway tunnel, knocked warriors prone and put out all torches. Only the burning flesh of the trolls remained alight.

15. Now freed from their fleshy confines, the spectral guardians waded into the mercenaries, slaying them mercilessly.

16. The freemage attempted one futile casting after another, but the wave of flowing magic drank her spells. Her life was ended when a pair of guardians caught her in their Horrifying Gaze, thus aging her by 80 years. She died a round later of hearstop (A Realmsian catch-all term for heart attacks or any condition from age to sickness that ultimately stills a beating heart).

17. While their master was aging to death, her apprentices threw caution to the wind, drew their Wands of Fireball, and set to blasting. The wands had no effect as the tide of magic was still washing in. Then the apprentices ran for their lives.

18. The mercenary captain was left to fend for herself. As the guardians closed in on her, she set a wand in her Crossbow and made sure it did not sit true. When she pulled the trigger the Crossbow misfired and the wand exploded, taking her and her attackers with her.

19. A guardian had bypassed the captain to chase the fleeing apprentices. It caught one ascending the stairs just before room 14, and slew her.

20. By then magic returned to normal in the tomb, as the invisible ripples and eddies of magical current settled down again.

21. The last apprentice was so utterly terrified that he ran headlong into the north wall of room 14--and was whisked away to the Waymoot Catacombs.

22. The north wall of room 14 is a magical gate. It consists of a fresco that runs floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Any creature incapable of taking Legendary Actions that comes into contact with the gate is instantly transported to a room in the Waymoot Catacombs that contains a duplicate fresco. This is the other side of the gate. After, the Gate does not function for that creature until the next day at dawn (or 24 hours...DM's call).

23. Using tools or objects on the gate, as well as casting spells that come into contact with the gate and that require concentration (like Bigby's Hand) will get you transported instantly, and end your spell.

24. Otherwise the gate absorbs the effect of any spell that targets it, or whose area intersects with the gate, if that spell is 7th level or lower. The gate likewise absorbs the effects from any magic item whose rarity is less than Very Rare.

25. Not sure what the fateof that last apprentice was (a topic for another day). But I can say that his appearance was rendered on both fresco walls, in very small form, when he was transported. The same has been true for everyone that's ever used the fresco gates. Where one appears has to do with one's alignment and temperament.

26. One may well notice that a dragon or two are visible on the fresco walls, and other creatures like dopplegangers and shape changing Malaugrym--these always appear in their natural form on the fresco. The trolls are visible, as are their metal-collecting flesh blobs.

And that about covers what came before in the Sundered Tomb and the Tomb of Eight.

Now it's time to think about how the place aged over the next 2 to 10 years, and to get it ready for the arrival of soon to be dead 2nd level PCs.
 
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
More Magic Items, Including Wands as Explosive Crossbow Ammunition

Let's brainstorm more magic items.

Let's also abuse wands.

1. A ring that drinks charges from wands.

Ring of Spellslaking

Ring, rare (requires attunement)


When you wear this magical ring, you may grasp any wand and expend charges from it sufficient to cast one spell listed in the wand's item description. The spell is not cast, but absorbed by the ring and stored for later use. While wearing the ring, you may use one action to cast the spell stored in the ring.
If the wand does not cast spells, the ring does not allow you to expend charges from a wand. If the act of expending charges depletes the wand of charges, then the wand is automatically destroyed. If there are insufficient charges in the wand, it is depleted of its remaining charges and destroyed, and the ring does not store a spell. The ring may store only one spell at a time.

(The concept here is to give non-spellcasters a one shot item that mimics wands [items which can only be attuned to by spellcasters], and to allow a party to get a little more use out of rechargeable objects like wands. That, and it might be cool if a rogue used an action to grab an enemy spellcaster's Wand of Fireballs and possibly drain it of power before the bad guy blasts the party a second time and roasts them all to death.)

2. How about some gauntlets amenable to spellcasters? OK then.

Battlestorm's Gauntlets of Brawling

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires a bad attitude)


When you wear these magical war gauntlets, your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 damage instead of the base 1 point of damage. These gauntlets do not hamper a spellcaster's ability to cast spells or to make somatic gestures. You do not need to be proficient in Heavy Armor to wear these gauntlets.

("Battlestorm" refers to Taltar Battlestorm, a War Wizard of my own devising that prefers to punch first and cast spells later.)

3. For those days when you just have to be the hero and save everyone else:

Helm of the Spell Martyr
Wondrous item, rare (does not require attunement; anybody can be the hero)


This helm has 1d3 charges, and it gains back 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn. While you wear this helm, you may use your Reaction to expend 1 of its charges to prevent any one spell of the schools of evocation or abjuration that affects you from affecting others at the same time. The spell's damaging effects are tallied up for all of its targets as normal, except that all of the damage is applied to you. If the spell requires a saving throw, you make one roll. The spell must include you as a target or in its area, or the helm does not function.

4. How about some brass knuckles that steal spells:

Brass Knuckles of Spell Intervention
Wondrous item, uncommon


While wearing these brass knuckles, you may use your Reaction to make an unarmed strike against any spellcaster within your reach that casts a spell. If the attack is successful, the spellcaster must make a Constitution saving throw (10 + your damage dealt). If the save succeeds, the spell takes effect as normal. If the save fails, the spell is interrupted as though you had cast Counterspell.
If you roll a natural 20 on your attack roll and the spellcaster's save fails, the spell is stored in your brass knuckles. You can cast any spell stored in the brass knuckles as though you were wearing a Ring of Spell Storing. Only one spell at a time may be stored in the brass knuckles. A character may not wear the brass knuckles and any magical ring on the same hand.

5. Potions taste better when you first poor them into a sturdy stein before downing them:

Stein of Perfect Miscibility
Wondrous item; uncommon


This sturdy earthenware stein is topped with a platinum lid that can be locked into place. You may poor the contents of up to two different potions into this stein with no deleterious effects, and then close and lock the lid. The combined liquid remains stored in this manner until consumed. You may use your action to open the stein and consume its contents. If you do so, both potions take effect normally.

6. Who says you can't use wands as crossbow ammunition?

Crossbow of Wand Detonation
Wondrous item; rare


This heavy crossbow grants you advantage on attack rolls against spellcasters. In addition to crossbow bolts, you may use a wand as ammunition. On a successful attack the wand does normal heavy crossbow damage, and then detonates. The explosion deals force damage: 4 x the number of remaining charges in the wand, in a 10' radius. The damage is force damage.
If you roll a 1 on an attack roll while using a wand as ammunition, the wand explodes in the crossbow and deals its explosive damage as normal.

(Don't sell excess wands! Save them in a quiver for a special day in the future when you can use them as exploding ammo!)

7. Slings are fun, but Slingshots are better--especially magical ones:

Slingshot of Impertinent Magical Destruction
Slingshot; uncommon


This slingshot is a simple ranged weapon. It deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage, and uses the same type of ammunition as a Sling (PHB 149). Its range is 60/180.
The handle of this slingshot is hollow, and a hole in the base of the handle can admit one wand (the magic of the slingshot resizes odd-shaped wands to fit). Whenever a wand is inserted into the handle, you may choose to expend charges from the wand while making a ranged attack with the slingshot. If you do so, select an effect from the wand's description, and deduct charges from the wand as normal. The wand's effect occurs only if you make a successful attack roll, and the effect is centered on the target of your ranged attack. If you roll a 1, the wand's effect occurs as normal, but with you as the target. You may not make a save to avoid this effect.

8. A cat on your back can be a good thing. Watch those claws!

Cape of the Hissing Cat
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement by Fancy Feast[TM])


While you wear this cape embroidered with a big fluffy house cat, you have advantage on initiative rolls. Whenever a foe makes a successful Sneak Attack against you, you may use your Reaction to make an Opposed Dexterity Roll with advantage. If your roll equals or exceeds the attack roll of your foe, the attack fails. (And the DM should tell you that the embroidered cat briefly comes to life, hissing and spitting at the unseen foe that just tried and failed to stab you in the back.)
This cape is of no help when you are sleeping, and does not prevent you from being surprised.

9. You're attuned to that item, huh? Think again, bro.

War Shield of Dissonance
Shield, very rare


This shield comes with 1 charge, and gains back 1 expended charge daily at dawn. It may hold no more than 3 charges.
You may expend one charge while using an action to bang your sword or other heavy object against the shield, causing it to emit a shrieking howl of dissonant noise. Every creature within a 60' radius centered on you that is wielding or carrying at least one attuned magic item must make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 15 + your Charisma modifier. On a failed save, they become unattuned to one magic item at random, and the shield gains back 1 charge per unattuned item (to a maximum of 3 charges).
You may use your Reaction to expend a charge whenever a creature fails an attack roll against you with a melee weapon. If you do so, that creature's attack was blocked by your shield, and that creature must make a saving throw against a DC of 20 + your Charisma modifier. On a failed save, they become unattuned to one magic item at random, and the shield gains back 1 charge per unattuned item (to a maximum of 3 charges).
This shield has no effect in areas of magical silence (as per the spell Silence, PHB 276), or on creatures without a sense of hearing.

10. Oh man, I'm spent. So...a few posts back I came up with a minor magic item property called Crawling. I think an interesting encounter a DM using the new Storm King's Thunder adventure might try is having the PCs encounter an enormous longsword (say 10' - 15' long) with the Crawling property. The PCs are traveling down the road when the sword comes rumbling along thanks to the legion of legs sticking out of it.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
More Magic Item Ideas

Not much time for writing full magic item entries. But that’s OK. This thread is supposed to be about idea generation, not finished products.

1. A wardrobe closet that carries a spare set of equipment.

Backup Wardrobe
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)
TARDIS2.jpg
This tall, rectangular wooden closet is about the size of the Police Call Box (aka the TARDIS) from Doctor Who. The frame is supported by sturdy iron wheels at each corner that remain perpetually lubricated and rust free.
Three of the wardrobe’s interior walls contains hooks, shelves, hangers and numerous means of storage for clothing, armor, shoes, jewelry, and all manner of objects that may be worn, as well as the ceiling. A full-length mirror backs the entrance to the wardrobe. Facing the mirror is a fully articulated mannequin that changes height and shape to match the proportions of the creature it is attuned to. The interior of the wardrobe is always lit comfortably by magic from an unseen source.
If you are standing outside the wardrobe, and are on the same plane as the wardrobe, you may use an action to teleport all of your worn and held objects to the wardrobe, and replace them with whatever objects are worn and held by the mannequin. The wardrobe can’t be used this way again until the next dawn. When you use this property of the wardrobe, its magic automatically ends all spells effects, other ongoing magical effects, and any other effects active on your person that were caused by your first set of worn and held items


2. Monty’s Haul:
On a successful attack, this magic weapon steals a one of a creature’s three attunement slots and gives that slot to you. You can receive no more than three attunement slots this way. That creature can take back its slot by making a successful melee attack against you. While you have an attunement slot from another creature, you may attune to one extra magic item beyond the normal limit of three (DMG 136).

3. Shield of the Wounded Warrior:
A shield that drinks evocation magic and provides you with hit points.

4. (spell) Ride the Lightening:
Summon the fury of Talos to be struck by lightening and teleported to a random destination within the same region of the storm, or to someplace where the deity determines you are most needed.

5. Gems of Whiplash:
Say the command word and get rocketed back to the location of the last gem in this five gem set, and at an awesome rate of speed. You will hurl. You’ll be yanked into the sky like the unfortunates in the movie “The Forgotten”, except that you get to land somewhere and (hopefully) walk away.

6. Hellwalk Boots:
Active a blazing inferno at your feet with the boots, or jump in a fire on the Prime Material Plane, and then step lively as you race through the Hells for a short while until you find the second fire conjured up by your boots to jump through to make your way back home and to your destination on the Prime. But beware: the denizens of hell love a free meal and a chance to torment, and they always know to toss the boots back through the fire so the next fool and his friends will come, because they’re the ones that made the boots.

7. Ring of Combat Critiquing:
This magical ring “remembers” the last combat you participated in. A combat is as any encounter where you rolled initiative, and the ring records everything from your point of view until the combat ends. Any time before your next combat, you may command the ring to replay the last encounter. The replay consists of a Programmed Illusion that fills up to 30’ space, includes sight and sound, and lasts for no more than 5 minutes. There is no limit to the number of times you may replay your last encounter. The last replay stored in the ring is erased the instant a new combat starts .

8. Shield of the Fire Thief:
Although this surface of this ornate shield is carved to resemble a flattened red dragon’s head, it plays no favorites when it comes to dragon breath weapons. Any time the wielder of this shield is struck by the breath weapon of a dragon, the shield automatically prevents all damage and deleterious effects to the wielder, and it steals the dragon’s ability to use its breath weapon. The dragon’s breath weapon returns at dawn on the day after its breath weapon was stolen. This shield may steal no more than one breath weapon this way.

9. Gauntlets of the Pious Mercenary:
These simple gauntlets provide healing to their wearer. Whenever bearer of the gauntlets provides food and drink to the needy, to the wounded, or to the starving by handing it to them and assisting them to consume it (if necessary), the bearer is healed 8 hp per person fed. For up to one day after feeding others while wearing the gauntlets, if the bearer harms someone they fed, the bearer is then cursed: he or she may not benefit from healing magic of any kind for one year per person harmed, and the gauntlets may not be removed by any power short of a Wish spell or divine intervention.

10. Gauntlets of Extra Hands:
Whenever you require extra help with a physical, non-combat task (such as lifting up a heavy object, carrying a fallen comrade, steadying a ladder from falling, etc.), these Gauntlets create a second set of your hands that may be “set” in place and then commanded to act as you would act while performing the physical task. For any of the tasks listed under Other Strength Checks in the PHB, p.176, these gauntlets confer advantage on your Strength roll. These extra hands disappear when you stop performing the physical task. They may not be used to make attack actions of any kind.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Playing Around With Attunemnt (DMG 136)

1. Warships, sailboats, wagons, carriages, horse-drawn carts, huts, houses, towers, castles...all of these can be magic items, and it follows they can be attuned to.

2. I think a magical property that magic conveyances and magic structures could posses is something called Shared Attunement: The owner of this magical structure/conveyance may share the magical properties of any other magic item to which the owner is attuned to with the structure or conveyance. This is accomplished by placing the item on the structure/conveyance (hanging a magical shield on a bracket on a wall), and spending a short rest linking the attuned item to the c/s. Once this is done, the c/s is considered to have all the magical properties of the magic item, and the owner of the c/s may use the shared properties from anywhere in the structure, or while in physical contact with the conveyance.

...a DM would have to decide odd cases or corner cases, but I think this basic idea is workable.

2. So, let's do that. If a player builds a castle, gives it Shared Attunement and decides to hang his or her trusty Flame Tongue on a wall in the sitting room, what can happen next? Well, according to your description, the PC should be able to speak the sword's command word and cause the castle to erupt in flames that shed bright light in a 40-foot radius (really this ought to be farther--I mean, we're talking a freaking castle here). Presumably the interior rooms wouldn't light on fire, and the castle exterior would remain as immune to the flames as the blade of the Flame Tongue.

3. What if the sword was a Luck Blade? Hrm...well, the PC wouldn't gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls unless he or she was actually wielding the blade. They should benefit from the +1 to saving throws, since they are in their castle, which is about the same as the sword being "on their person." That means the PC would be able to activate the Luck and Wish magical properties of the sword from anywhere in the castle.

4. Forget swords. What about Staves? Specifically, the mother of all staves: Staff of the Magi. As with the Luck Blade, the owner would not gain the +2 benefit to attack and damage rolls because they're not wielding the staff; it's hung up somewhere in the castle, in a (presumably) safe location. The owner would gain the +2 to to spell attack rolls, since being within the area of the castle (and in contact with it) is similar to holding the staff. Therefore, all the other magical properties of the staff that require it to be held in order to be used (Spell Absorption, Spells, Retributive Strike) can be used from anywhere in the castle.

5. [Encounter Idea] Whoa...that's pretty powerful. But if we switch this scenario from a PC to an NPC, then you have the makings of an interesting ongoing set of encounters in the dark castle of a Big Bad Evil Guy NPC, who just happens to have one or two secret rooms in which their Staff of the Magi and another powerful magic item are kept, so the bad guy NPC can keep their hands free to do other nefarious things to the PCs while being able to call on those two items' powers. If they PCs can get to the items first, though, they can limit the bad guy's power by destroying the items or maybe turning them to their own use somehow. The PCs could also figure out how to levitate the NPC so he's not in physical contact with the structure, since this would be like taking a magic item out of his hands.

6. I figure a Retributive Strike called up by the bad guy NPC in the scenario above would not destroy the Staff, it would explode the whole freaking castle. <insert evil DM laugh here> The description does say you have to break the staff, but I suppose the rules could be bent if the NPC could break something else attached to the castle (like a window).

7. Hmm...what if we power everything down a bit...maybe an item, like a wrought iron decorative hook--like a coat hook or something you'd hang your walking cane from--that can be placed on a conveyance or fastened to a wall in a room inside a larger structure. The owner of the magical iron hook would have to be attuned to it, and any magic item hung from the hook would be considered as still in contact with its owner. This way, a sleeping NPC (or PC) who doesn't want to have to lug their Staff of Power with them to the jakes in the middle of the night would at least have a shot at using the powers of the staff to defend themselves if they were caught unawares in the structure. An NPC riding in a wagon would probably be using both hands to hold the reigns controlling the draft animal(s) pulling the wagon, so this item would allow the NPC to fight back without having to let go of the reigns and grab their magic item(s) up.

8. Another Minor Property: Faraway This item never becomes unattuned to its bearer as a result of being separated by a distance of 100' or more over a 24 hour period. This property does not extend beyond planar boundaries; the bearer and the item must be on the same plane for this property to function.

9. There ought to be objects or compounds or alchemical mixtures or spells or magic items that modify the process of attunement during a short rest, for better or worse. This is a topic for another day.

10. Regarding Attunement in general: Maybe some items that must be attuned to be used, and that remain with one owner for decades or even centuries (think: Liches and Dragons) end up becoming tethered to their owners in ways mysterious. For example, if a PC finds a magic item that requires attunement, and then discovers that they can't attune to it, then the spellcaster in the group might be able to deduce that this means the ghost of the last owner of the item is still on the Prime Material Plane, and that former owner needs to be put to rest permanently.

11. This could be a simple "slay the evil ghost" adventure, or something more involved where the PCs have to figure out what wrong was never righted before the former owner died, or something similar. Succeeding in this way might grant the PCs a boon of other magic items tied to the ghost, that are now free to be attuned to the PCs.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Bringing Life to the Faiths of the Realms

So there's this topic that's run 17 pages the last time I looked. It's called Wanting players to take in-game religion more seriously.

In my experience at the gaming table this is a worthy goal for a Realms DM to have, regardless of a particular group's level of interest in things divine.

How to do it? Let's crack open Elminster's Forgotten Realms and pair it with my own gaming experience, and see what comes to mind.

1. The deities of the Realms are many and varied, but you only ever need a handful to bring the concept of divine influence and faith-driven actions into a campaign. What's good about places like Cormyr is that you have the basic set of neutral, good and lawful deities that are openly worshiped, as well as a few evil deities that are worshiped as well (yes, some evil deities are tolerated in Cormyr). This design tenant is far older than 5th Edition D&D, but it follows what I consider to be the very best core concept of 5th Edition: Keep It Simple.

2. In other words, don't throw all the deities of the Realms at your players at once. Stick to one region for a few adventures and let the players see for themselves over time what the followers of the gods are up to.

3. It's good to remember that the numerous churches in the Realms all have secular goals. They don't just follow some divine creed and call it a day. Followers of Beshaba don't work misfortunes on others because the Maid of Misfortune commands it, for example. They do it to enrich themselves and their temples through schemes to start wars and topple thrones, and in so doing find wealth unguarded that can be seized.

4. What I like to do is include encounters between regular adventures that put the PCs in the middle of someone else's conflict. The followers of Beshaba are good at getting two individuals or groups to be at each other's throats--especially the local populace against law enforcement, the local militia, whatever/whoever is in charge--so here's one avenue for a DM to change up downtime or at least show the players that the time between adventures isn't always one of peaceful rest and recuperation.

5. Another form of divine conflict that PCs can witness (and so become embroiled in) is inter-faith conflict. Here's something that is not limited to evil deities, since all faiths suffer from it. Followers of the church of Deneir are just as good as the Zhentarim at blackmailing, and they engage in it regularly. And since we're talking about Deneir we know the deity's follower's have a huge store of written information (read: secrets) to draw on.

6. But not all followers of the Lord of All Glyphs do this, or believe it's right to do it. Where disagreements arise and stay unresolved, conflict ensues. A DM can easily have an important Glyphscribe of Deneir hire the PCs to steal records from a fellow Glyphscribe who plans to blackmail someone important in Cormyr--perhaps a highly placed courtier.

7. The creeds of the deities change over time, but you're almost certain to find at least one admonishment for the faithful to travel once a year, or otherwise get out and about in the world to work deeds in line with the faith.

8. For the faithful of Deneir this means getting out in the world three months out of the year to hunt for lost records. This is a serious business--deadly serious, when the faithful plumb the depths of old tombs or search for the graves of dead mages who felt the need to be buried with all their tomes.

9. Cue up the player characters, who may have among them a follower of Deneir, or may be in between adventurers and ready to be hired by the church to assist in records recovery somewhere dangerous.

10. Dangerous may include places where records were hidden away on purpose, as well as records whose owners don't wish to share them with anyone. This last could include everyone from Kings to paupers.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Spell Baldrics; Magic Item Ideas

A new job working swing shift means I spend my favorite time of the day for writing by driving a company vehicle in the night, so I am glad to have a chance to get back to this thread on my day off.

Updates will come once a week at most.

Your patience Dear Reader is, as always, appreciated.

Let's start with another post I recovered after the database crash here at EN World.

********

My imagination hit me with a few more spell ideas involving Spell Mantles and Spell Baldrics. (I thought Spell Mantle was one word, but it's two words.)

So, let's take a pause on building an adventure within the Sundered Tomb so I can get these ideas down while they are relatively fresh in my head.

Here we go!

1. The difference between Mantles and Baldrics is that Mantles are primarily defensive in nature, while Baldrics are offensive. This makes sense, since a baldric is a belt for a sword, while a mantle is like a cloak or covering.

2. The similarity between the two is that both were multi-school spells. For example, Spell Mantle as written under 2nd Edition AD&D (in the Realms sourcebook "Secrets of the Magister", page 93) was a Wizard spell at 6th level of Abjuration, Alteration (a school not in 5E) and Evocation spell.

3. Let's write out a simple Baldric spell and see how it looks.

Basic Spell Baldric
1st-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (one fresh drop of blood each time you cast a spell into the Baldric)
Duration: 24 hours

When you cast this spell, an invisible and incorporeal field of magical energy settles over your shoulders. Immediately after you cast this spell, and at any time within the spell's duration, you may cast a 1st level spell into the Baldric (regardless of the chosen spell's actual range). Any time thereafter, you may spend an action to cast a spell stored in the Baldric as an act of will. This requires only that you be conscious. You need not meet any of the other requirements to cast the spell, such as making Somatic gestures, using additional Material Components, etc.
This Baldric readily accepts any spell you cast, and only spells that you cast. Therefore, you may cast spells into the Baldric from magic items, such as a wand or staff. A Baldric may not be stored in another Baldric. Any time the Baldric is emptied of spells, the spell ends. If you complete a long rest and prepare spells before the duration is complete, this spell ends.
At Higher Levels. If you cast this spell using a 2nd level spell slot, then you may store up to two levels worth of spells in the Baldric (i.e., one 2nd level spell or two 1st level spells). A 3rd level spell slot allows for three levels worth of spells, and so on to 9th level. Subtract available spell levels from the Baldric each time you cast a spell into it.

...OK, that seems pretty reasonable. I think it's OK to make this a 1st level spell to start. I'm no expert at min-maxing, so if you see something that's crazy overpowered about this spell, please let me know.


3. How about a more advanced Baldric? Something that you can keep around for longer than 24 hours, but at a price...

Blood Baldric
3rd-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a vial of the caster's blood)
Duration: 24 hours + special

This spell functions exactly as the 1st level spell Basic Spell Baldric, with the following exceptions:LIST]
[*]This spell stores a minimum of three levels of spells.
[*]After 24 hours, or after a long rest and immediately before you prepare spells, you may chose to reinforce the Baldric by paying a number of hit points equal to the number of spell levels stored in the Baldric.
[*]Only you may pay the hit point cost. You may not benefit from any effect that prevents damage while you pay the hit point cost. You must pay the entire cost; either the Baldric is reinforced or it is not.
[*]If you choose to reinforce the Baldric and you pay the hit point cost, the Baldric's duration is extended another 24 hours.
[*]Any time the Baldric is subjected to a spell or effect that would destroy it--such as the effect of a Dispell Magic or similar--you may pay a number of hit points equal to the number of spell levels currently stored in the Baldric to reinforce it. If you do so, the Baldric is not destroyed. [/LIST]

...5th Edition is generous with healing, so I might consider increasing the hit point cost.


5. A player could theoretically cast multiples of these two Baldric spells. I don't see a problem with that at low levels, though I suppose a wizard could turn herself into a spell machine gun at higher levels. There might be room here to add another element to the spell such as paying hit points to put spells back into the Baldric. Or to create another version that lets you unleash two spells at once (or even three). Hrm...let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

6. Let's get down to even more of a basic spell mantle (as in more basic then the versions I wrote up HERE).

Let's not even call it a mantle. Instead, we'll call it a spell shield.

Simple Spell Shield

1st-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (1 solid rock per spell placed into the spell shield)
Duration: 24 hours

When you cast this spell, a disc of silver radiance materialize in front of you, and then disappears from view. Immediately after you cast this spell, and at any time within the spell's duration, you may cast a 1st level spell into the Shield (regardless of the chosen spell's actual range). You are unaffected by that spell for the duration of the Shield. You are no longer protected if the Shield is dispelled, or if you choose to dismiss your shield. You may dismiss your shield as a bonus action, or by casting any spell that was previously cast into the shield. The Shield accepts spells that you cast from magic items, and may be dismissed by spells you cast from magic items in the manner just described.
At Higher Levels. If you cast this spell using a 2nd level spell slot, then you may cast up to two levels worth of spells into the Shield (i.e., one 2nd level spell or two 1st level spells). A 3rd level spell slot allows for three levels worth of spells, and so on to 9th level. Subtract available spell levels from the Shield each time you cast a spell into it.


7. I figure a ritual version of Simple Spell Shield might allow for other casters to place spells into the Shield, but only during the ritual casting activity. I know that ritual casting doesn't allow for the modification of spells--it only prevents the use of a spell slot while also limiting the spell to its lowest level version. Hrm...Ritual Casting should be different or made better. Maybe that's an Arcane Tradition in its own right (and so a Topic For Another Day).

8. So for now you're going to have to come up with a unique spell that allows others to add spells to the shield.

Thus:

Cooperative Spell Shield
3rd-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (1 gemstone worth at least 10 gp per spell placed into the spell shield)
Duration: 24 hours

This spell functions exactly as the 1st level spell Basic Spell Shield, with the following exceptions:
  • Because this spell is 3rd level, you may cast up to three levels of spells into the shield.
  • Any creature may cast a spell into your Shield. For your Shield to accept the spell, you must Ready an action to accept the spell while holding a gemstone of the proper value, and the creature must announce it is casting a spell into your Shield.


9. That's pretty straightforward. I don't think it's a good idea to add any ability to extend this spell beyond 24 hours. Being immune to a spell is pretty powerful.

10. How about a magic item? OK then, borrowing from the concept of Wandlace (as introduced in post #18 in this here thread)...

Wandlace Bracers
Wondrous item, uncommon
These bracers of intricate lace over leather may accept up to two spells of 3rd level or lower cast into them. You may accept a spell into one of your Bracers by casting a spell into them yourself, of by readying an action to accept a spell cast by another creature. In the later case, the creature must announce it is casting a spell of the appropriate level into your Bracers after you ready your action. Any time you are the target of a spell stored in your Bracers, or are in the area of effect of a spell stored in your Bracers, that spell has no effect on you (though it may affect other targets and anything in its area normally) and your Bracers lose the spell that was just prevented. Any time a spell stored in the Bracers is cast into the Bracers a second time, that spell is prevented as though it was dispelled, and the stored spell in the Bracers is lost.


...and I'm spent.

Some good candidates here for my sourcebook. Two months until the next update. Good night, Dear Reader.
 
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
A Wand-Wielding Class? Maybe A Precursor To A True Bladesinger?

Firstly, a slice of the finished map that I had commissioned for my Cormyr sourcebook, along with a hex overlay. The map covers a good portion of the King's Forest, and includes Suzail to the south and Eveningstar to the north.

Hexes are 6 miles. Border bars are in 15 mile increments. Letter and number coordinates on the map borders allow for the identification of individual hexes on the map. Feel free to use this slice of the map for your campaign.

lower-left.png

Aint she a beauty?

Now, to the work of generating ideas:

1. All of the material you've come up with in this thread having to do with magical wands and Wandlace seems like it could be borrowed for the creation of a new Class, or better an archetype.

2. Are there archetypes open to multiclassed characters? That is, archetypes that you can only select if your character is multiclassed? Bah, I'm getting ahead of myself by thinking about a Bladesinger archetype. Focus on a wand-wielder instead.

3. So, all of the magic items you've come up with having to do with wands, and some of the spells, could inform an Archetype for Wizards: an arcane spellcaster who focuses not on a school of magic, but on one category of magic items (wands) with the intent of maximizing their skill at using the item while also casting spells, and shaping their use of magic around the item and what it commonly does.

4. I suppose a bladesinger would be similar, except they focus on a weapon over a magic item (swords, though magical swords work great too). This would be the more difficult path, since the sword isn't itself magical to begin with. Oops, there I go again. Must focus on wand-wielders.

5. Looking at the Arcane Traditions (PHB 115-119) I don't see any drawbacks to selecting a tradition. I'd assumed there would be, in the form of negatives associated with whichever schools of magic you didn't select or with schools that might be diametrically opposed to your chosen school.

6. So a Wand Master (let's call it that for now) would generally gain benefits associated with using Wands, and these would have to be dolled out at the same level as the features found in the Arcane Traditions; 2nd level, 6th level, 10th level and 14th level.

7. I figure the 2nd level feature would grant the Wand Master to make somatic gestures while wielding any wand.

8. Other potential features might include:
Maximized charges at sunrise: Any wand you are attuned to gains back the maximum number of charges each day.
  • Quick attunement: as the Harmonious minor magic item property, but only for wands.
  • 4th attunement: You may attune to a fourth magic item, but only if it is a wand.
  • Wand Bond: As the Eldritch Knight's Weapon Bond, but for a specific wand.
  • Twin Spells: Once per day when you cast a spell from a wand, you may cast the spell a second time from the wand without using any additional charges.
  • Art of the Duel: Some sort of spell parrying ability.


9. The last line on that list has me wondering if the concept of superiority dice ala the Fighter's Battle Master Archetype couldn't be added to a Wand Master. Or heck, wizards in general.

10. For example, if the Wand Master selects the equivalent of Disarming Attack, she can spend a superiority dice anytime she casts a spell with a wand that does damage. Target must make a Strength save or drops an object.
 
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Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Wizard Archetypes Focusing on Wands

First off, thank you very much to the person that purchased a copy of my Cormyr sourcebook yesterday.

Because of you I worked hard to publish the first ever update to the sourcebook. The update includes the new sub-map of Cormyr, which you will receive for free when you download the updated sourcebook file.

Thanks again!

********

Let's steal a little bit from the Eldritch Knight and the Battle Master, and give these Features to a dual wand wielding wizard. (Say that last part three times fast).

1. Imagine a wizard absent any armor standing in an alley, who is surrounded by a trio of mercenaries intending to chop her to pieces. The narrow walls force the mercenaries to rush her one at a time, and they come at her from both directions.

2. The wizard has the ability to conjure forth a wand in each hand at will. This she does in an instant as a bonus action.

3. The ritual bond she's formed with each of her wands allows for her to produce Somatic gestures while holding a wand. The bond also links her spellcasting through her wands to any Material components she has on her person.

4. Thanks to her special training, anytime her damaging spells strike home while she wields a bonded wand she has the option to perform combat Maneuvers like a Battlemaster. The results she gets are not unlike the wizarding duels in various of the Harry Potter movies (don't cringe; use your imagination).

5. She wins initiative, unleashes one Magic Missile at each mercenary from her bonded wands, and adds one of her four superiority dice (d6s, not d8s) to the damage as she attempts to make one of the mercenaries fall prone with a Trip Attack. The mercenary falls to the ground thanks to a missile to the knee.

6. On the mercenary's turn, the second mercenary is fleet of foot and jumps over his fallen comrade with a lunging attack that is sure to skewer the wizard. She turns the attack aside with one of her bonded wands--in particular the dagger-like field of force that appears over her wand as she bats the mercenary's stabbing sword to the side via a Parry maneuver that costs her Reaction and one superiority die. Behind him, the fallen over mercenary stands up.

7. The wizard can perform Maneuvers with her bonded wands without casting spells through them, provided a foe is within her reach. Her bonded wands count as daggers when she wields them.

8. The third mercenary is to the wizard's back. He makes his attack by trying to disarm the wizard of one of her bonded wands. His strike fails, as the wizard can't be disarmed of any bonded wand she wields.

9. The wizard pays her attackers back in blood by stabbing the third mercenary through the eye with her bonded wand. She spends a superiority die to perform a Sweeping Attack, and the same arms-out-and-whirling attack that felled merc #3 mercenary works just as well on merc #2, and down he goes in howling agony thanks to a bonded wand pushed through one ear and out the other.

11. The wizard has one superiority die left. The now-standing mercenary opts not to flee for his life, but to attack. Unfortunately for him he misses, and so the wizard spends that last die on a Riposte maneuver that sees her stab him in the armpit. Down he goes.

She thinks about how well the fight went. She knows that as she gets more powerful, her bonded wands will be able to produce sword-like fields of force, and not just daggers. Or she may chose one sword and one shield. What choice will she make? Time will tell.

She realizes that for now she must choose her battles wisely, and use the terrain and her spells to limit the flow of enemies towards her because she can't wear armor.

So...that's a basic idea for a Wizard path that emulates the Fighter, Battlemaster and Eldritch Knight, with a little Harry Potter inspiration thrown into the mix.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Dreaming Up Magic Item Ideas. Working On The Wand Mage Archetype

1. Bag of Sharing
Concept:
A wondrous item, probably of uncommon rarity, that consists of a pair of bags that are magically linked to the same extradimensional space. When one bag is open, the other remains closed. Anyone can reach in the bag to deposit something into it, and then the owner of either bag may open their bag (when the other is closed) to access the object. Storage would be small. When either bag is on a different Plane, neither bag can access the extradimensional space, and both appear as mundane leather bags.

2. Background for the Bag of Sharing
Something to do with powerful spellcasters or creatures either modifying regular bags of holding, or creating these bags in trios and disseminating them to places where adventurers and the curious can find them. The idea being that the mysterious creature holds one of the linked bags, and can steal items from the other bags or deposit items into them for the adventurer to discover, like a Ring of Recall (see below). More mundane uses would be for spies or agents of some group or another who need to sneak in magical objects, or that need to steal small things and make them disappear right away so as not to get caught (an ally with the other bag would open it to take the stolen object out, presumably).

3. Ring of Recall
Concept:
A pair of rings that can be worn or attached to objects of medium size or smaller. One ring is the Primary ring, the other (or all the others) is a secondary ring. Whenever the owner of the Primary ring wills it, she can recall the wearer of the secondary ring/any object attached to the second ring or that the ring is placed inside of (like a treasure chest). This occurs via teleportation.

4. Background lore for the Ring of Recall
Used by powerful kings and queens to summon guards at a moment's notice. Used by thieves or the heads of evil cabals of merchants to steal cargo, or to force anyone shipping their cargo to pay for what they "lost". Shared between loved ones or given to children to wear on necklaces. Used by nefarious bad guys and hungry dragons to summon unwary adventurers who put the rings on. Thieves drop the rings into the coin-filled pouches worn by their marks, then teleport the pouch to themselves when the time is right.

5. Could the Wand Mage archetype have the ability to trade spell slots for Superiority Dice?

6. Figure the Wand Mage starts with two superiority dice, and these are d4s.

7. They can have up to five superiority dice at any one time. To gain more dice, the Wand Mage (Combat Mage?) must cast spells into her bonded wand.

8. 2nd for a d4 superiority die, 3rd for a d6, 4th for a d8, 5th for a d10, 6th for a d12.

9. I figure 1st levels spells could grant a d2, and 7th through 9th only grant a d12.

10. The bonded wand would store the spell energy, and anytime the Combat Mage performs a combat maneuver (either as a spell or as a physical maneuver, see the post above this one) she expends energy from the wand in the form of a superiority dice.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
For D&D, How Many Magic Item Slots Are Required To Make A "Set" ala World of Warcraft? And What Are The Benefits?

Hey you.

Yeah you, the one with the big brain.

If you haven't reached out to Morrus in a while, then please stop reading this post and take a second to send him a private message saying thanks for all he does.

Without him (as well as the efforts of the team he's put together) I wouldn't be able to speak inside your brain right now, and I kind of like it here.

Don't worry, I'll wait.

********

1. Let's say there are magic items that grant one daily use of any one of the maneuvers listed for the Battlemaster on page 74 of the Player's Handbook.

2. The item would magically carry one superiority die (a d8) that you can use when you activate the item as part of taking your attack action, or whenever spending the die is called for. You get the die back the next day, at dawn.

2. All of these particular items require attunement, and one of the quirks of these items is that if you are attuned to any other item in the set, then attuning to a second item does not use up one of your attunement slots. In effect, you are attuned to the set.

3. Oops, "quirk" isn't a good word to use. What you should write is Minor Property. Keep it simple by giving it a simple name: Set Attunement.

4. Now if you're already a Battlemaster when you acquire one of these bad boys, the superiority die granted by the magic item is the same as your regular superiority dice. So if you're a badass mothertrucker 15th level Fighter (Battlemaster), that's a d10 you're working with for all of your set items.

EDIT (just had an idea): 4.5. If you acquire and equip at least four items in a set, then all of the superiority dice that come from your set items recharge at the same rate as your regular superiority dice, so after a short or long rest.

5. If you manage to acquire and equip the entire set, then all of your superiority dice--whether from your items or from your Archetype--are jacked up one notch. Therefore, if you equip the whole set at, say, 17th level, your superiority dice are d12s and not d10s. When you level up to 18th, they become d20s!

BOOM goes the hammer/sword/whatever it is you're wielding!

6. Looking for all the pieces would be like hunting for the Paladin's Holy Sword, but WoW style, and so presumably a lot more fun, and without all of the stupid moral conundrums that make Holy Avenger hunting such a drag.

7. You'll need to dig deep and produce good Realmslore if you make this idea part of your Cormyr sourcebook. Maybe Baron Thomdor had a set. Or Duke Bhereu. Or one of the dead noble lords of Esparin (see this post) had some pieces, and now it's inside a Metal Keeper (see this post).

8. There are what, 9 or 10 places where magic items can be worn on the body before things start to overlap? That is, maximum number of items worn without invoking your DM's soul-withering stink eye. And there are 16 maneuvers for the Battlemaster.

9. So maybe you can build two sets of 8 magic items, and each set is built around a theme that all of the maneuvers in the items fit with.

10. No...here's what you do: create 2 new maneuvers for the Battlemaster (so 18 maneuvers available to choose from) and make the actual maneuvers Cormyr-themed in some way--like a Purple Dragon-inspired maneuver that lets you aid another PC's Grapple or Shove: They are considered one size category larger for purposes of adjudicating the results per PHB 195--and then create 3 sets of 6 items each.

Perfect.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
What Is The Aftermath When A Deity Is Split In Two?

For all the deity drama in the Forgotten Realms (of which there has been far, faaaaaaaar too much of, in my not so humble opinion), and given the fact that I like to think I know a thing or two about the Realms as a published setting, you'd think I'd have a better handle on figuring out the aftermath of a deity splitting in two.

Which is to say, before there were Tymora and Beshaba (aka Our Smiling Lady and the Maiden of Misfortune), there was only Tyche.

Now if you ask anyone to explain why Tyche split in two, you're likely to get some blather about the Dawn Cataclysm and bad things happening on the outer planes by way of reply--none of which I give a hoot about and neither should you, Dear Reader.

They might direct you to the AD&D sourcebook Faiths & Avatars, page 44, which is only slightly more helpful, but still not sufficient. For example, there's the bit about the twin deities battling in a civil war that "lasts to this day," but that's basically one factoid entirely devoid of specifics on a struggle that's apparently been raging for several centuries, if not a millennium or more, and then there's the chance you might get drawn into an unending argument about when, exactly, the Dawn Cataclysm happened, since Tyche existed before it but not after it.

And that's a dark alleyway you should avoid at all costs Dear Reader, because its populated by Realms Grognards who lurk in the shadows, just waiting for the chance to lure some unsuspecting and innocent Realms fan who just wants to know when the Dawn Cataclysm happened. The grognards will jump you, each grabbing an arm and to hold you in place while they start arguing back and forth incessantly, there mouths right up against your ears like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith slobbering on his microphone while he shouts "Dream On!" over and over and over, until your head explodes.

So let's keep your head in one peace Dear Reader and consider the question from the mortal point of view, i.e., what happened in **the Realms** when Tyche split in two.

If the twin deities really were at each other's throats upon their birth, does it follow that the temples turned into scenes of slaughter as one priest battled another? Did the wiser, more controlled priests spend temple funds to hire mercenaries, call upon the faithful, and enact a holy war against other temples? Could both deities speak in the minds of fallen Tyche's followers at the same time? Did the deities lure, cajole, or threaten in their faithful's dreams?

And when the poo hit the fan, what did mortal rulers do about it? After all, modern day Cormyr hosts no less than three temples to Tymora--and powerful temples at that. Were these all former temples to Tyche? Was there a covert war among the faithful of Beshaba and Tymora to control these temples? Did Cormyr's rulers have to arrest temple priests and followers? Did they have a hand in the outcomes of any struggles for power in the temples? What about holy relics and artifacts? Who controls them now? Are there battles for control of them? Does either deity wish to subsume the other? Or to destroy the other outright?

Volo's Guide to Cormyr doesn't even list any ruins for Tyche. The only Tyche ruin I've ever come across in Cormyr was in the adventure "The Door to Everywhere" in Dungeon #88 by Roger E. Moore.

Nowadays things seem pretty tame in the Realms when it comes to Tymora and Tyche, but I am not one to believe it's always been this way. I prefer a little strife and struggle between followers of opposing faiths, especially when those faiths are so intertwined as these two are, and I think that strife continues, mostly behind the scenes, to this day.

Not so much ideas tonight, as questions, but that's OK. Ask a good question, get a good answer.

Until next time, Dear Reader, good night.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Magic Item Sets For the Battlemaster: Adding Two Maneuvers; Dividing Up Maneuvers Into Three Groups

First off, lets create two new Battlemaster Maneuvers so we can bring the total to 18 maneuvers available.

1. Limb-Lock Attack. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to forgo rolling damage and instead attempt to grapple the creature with your weapon. Add the superiority die to your attack roll. The result is used in place of your Strength (Athletics) check. While the creature is grappled, you use your Attack Roll in place of a Strength (Athletics) check for all contested rolls involving the grapple.

2. Harrying Attack. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to harry your opponent. You add the superiority die to the damage roll. Until the start of your next turn, your opponent is considered to be one size category smaller for the purpose of adjudicating grapples, shoves, or any attack that takes size into consideration that is made by you or your allies. If your opponent is grappled before the start of your next turn, then it is considered to be one size category smaller for all contested rolls to escape the grapple as long as your opponent is within your reach.


And before I forget, here are three important rules for Item Sets:

3. 1) When you equip four items from a set, you may unlock a partial set power. In order to use this power, you must attune to it. This uses one attunement slot.

4. 2) When you equip all six items from a set, you may unlock a full set power. In order to unlock this power, you must attune to it. This uses one attunement slot.

5. 3) Minor Property: Set Exclusion. Whenever a partial or full set power is unlocked, the items in the set all gain this new property. This property causes any item worn or carried by you that belongs to a different magic item set to become dormant and inactive. Such items are considered to have no magical properties while you benefit from another set's partial or full set powers.

This way a character wanting to gain all the benefits from a set must use up all three of her attunement slots, and so the character is only attuned to the full set of items and can't be attuned to anything else. That, and no other items from different sets can be used, so you're either all in with the set, or you fold.

I think fits thematically, and is appropriate from a rules and balance perspective.


So, how to organize the 18 maneuvers into groups of six...?

6. Maneuvers that involve allies:
Commander's Strike, Distracting Strike, Maneuvering Attack, Limb-Lock Attack, Harrying Attack, Rally,

7. Maneuvers that are flashy:
Disarming Attack, Evasive Footwork, Feinting Attack, Lunging Attack, Parry, Riposte,

8. Maneuvers where you still hit someone on the head:
Goading Attack, Menacing Attack, Sweeping Attack, Precision Attack, Pushing Attack, Trip Attack

That works. One group of maneuvers is about being the battle boss on the field. The second is kind of a flashy sort of Three Musketeers type of group. And the last group is all about kick, bite, chop, punch, slash, stab, teabag-with-your-spiked-codpiece-for-damage.


The kicker will be making magic items. It should be easy to write up the magic items, but each item in a set--as well as the set itself--ought to have Realmslore wrapped around it like a nice bow that's just waiting to be untied. This means writing something that appeals to players running Battlemasters as well as to DMs in need of good adventure hooks and good ideas to wrap around a quest to complete an item set.

If you take care of the DM, the players will follow (or something like that).

So, what do I need to figure out still?

9. How rare should items in a set be? An assembled set ought to be right up there with Legendary magic items (or possibly artifacts). On the other hand, it's no fun to have just one or two set items early on and not see another one until several levels later. Maybe that's where your idea for Partial Set Powers comes in: A player can unlock a partial power and enjoy that for the next five levels and find one more set item in that time, and then find the last item around 17th level or so and completing the set/becoming a juggernaut of superiority dice.

10. Should I be giving advice to the DM on how sets affect a campaign? (The closest experience I have is with PC Paladins hunting for Holy Avengers, and I wasn't very nice about it. Oh dear...)
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
Realmslore for Magic Item Sets: Where do sets come from? And who was good as or better than Drizzt?

So, Realmslore. Need it for the three magic item sets being devised on this here thread. Let's start by asking:

1. Who was as good a fighter, or better, than Drizzt Do'Urden? This is a moving target of a question, but it serves our needs.

2. Why? Because magic item sets--as in individual items that confer additional abilities to their user when four or more of them are equipped--are legendary things. They don't just appear out of nowhere.

3. One theory (among sages in the Realms) is that magic items become attuned to users over time. Humans don't normally experience this, given their short lifespans. But elves, dwarves, and humans who've attained the means to extend their lifespans...these are creatures for whom it's possible to develop a unique bond with magic items that extends beyond the simple familiarity that is required for an item to be used.

3.5 Personally, I think Drizzt's magic items are headed in this direction.

4. Rarer still are magic items crafted to be a set. A group of items made to be worn by a specific individual and designed to work harmoniously together. Like what the Armathors (think elf fighter mages of terrible power and sword skill) who guarded the Coronal's Court in Myth Drannor were equipped with. Or any of the generals that commanded Netheril's armies.

5. Another theory is that of magical bleed, and magical overlap.
  • In the former, the magic of a single potent worn or held item (like an item that is Very Rare or Legendary) "bleeds" into non-magical items of superior quality and make, and into minor magic items of little individual power. Remember: The DMG states most magic items are "well--preserved antiques." Sometimes that old car springs an oil leak.
  • In the later, magic and non-magic items alike become linked when their bearer is the repeated target over time of spells meant to enhance or to protect. The items become receptive to specific spells, and may in time produce the spell's effects on their own.
  • Regardless, all of this takes time, and it's rare to happen at all because the art of fighting is really good at killing the people who practice it.



6. Getting back to my first question: Any fighter as mighty as Drizzt is likely to have some or all of the items from a set designed to enhance one's fighting ability. Or they may have "made" their own set without knowing it, through sheer repetitive use.

7. Who are our candidates? Looking back in time in the Realms (which is pretty easy if you look at the mid 1300s) I see there are a few. Though they'll not be found in any official sourcebook, they're official none the less, as they come from Ed Greenwood. Let's exclude fighter/mages (so Methrammar Aerasumé is off the list).

8. In the year 1375 DR, we have:
  • Ember Tsartaera
  • Sraece Telthorn
  • Loaros Hammarandar


9. Of the three sets of maneuvers I made in the post above this one, Ember seems most likely to have mastered maneuvers that involve commanding and moving allies; Skoalam the flashy duelist maneuvers; Loaros the crush your foes and pick their teeth out of your boots maneuvers.

10. These will be the three legendary warriors of old (from the point of view of 1479 DR) for whom a trio of magic item sets were either crafted or produced by dint of use, that I'll hang some Realmslore on.
 

Jeremy E Grenemyer

Feisty
Supporter
No time to write this evening so here's a free thing.

I ran out of time this evening to generate ideas.

This is because I spent all my time experimenting with the Homebrewery website.

Here's what I came up with (for a future section on adapting PHB Backgrounds to Cormyr):

Backgrounds.jpeg

I hope you find the tables above useful. They were a bear to make at first, but it got easier with repetition.

If my experimenting continues to go well, then I hope to port my whole Cormyr sourcebook over to this format.
 
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