Converting monsters from Tales From The Infinite Staircase

Cleon

Legend
What about using the True Neutral alignment system as part of the reason that makes Kamerel magic different from normal magic? Their magic could be pulled from the alignment of the Outlands itself. The Kamerel could have figured out how to "borrow" from the magic that the Outlands "steals" and convert it into an alternate form of arcane magic that is only accessible to beings of true neutral alignment. No other neutral beings have studied this magic because they never knew the Kamerel existed. Since Kamerel refuse to associate with other beings, they will never teach it to any other true neutral beings.

So their magic is different, without being mechanically different.

We don't need to include metaphysical explanations as to why the kamerel's magic works that way in the actual special ability write up though, do we. I'd be more inclined to leave that to the flavour text in the "background crunch" section.

Also, that explanation wouldn't explain why they can't use normal magic, and it includes a few assumptions that I'd be reluctant to introduce - like saying the Spire's effect "steals" magic instead of merely preventing it.

Besides, if I had to come up with some explanation as to why kamerel and non-kamerel magic were mutually unintelligible I'd guess it had something to do with the kamerel's ability to "pass into reflection". Maybe the kamerel's minds and souls are a reflected/reversed version of a "normal universe" creature, which is why one cannot use the magic of the other.
 

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Cleon

Legend
I've just realized we don't have a Working Draft for the Kamerel yet. I guess I'd better start one, even if it's blank.
 

Cleon

Legend
Kamerel Working Draft

Kamerel Warrior
Kamerel, 3rd level warrior
Small Outsider
Hit Dice: 3d10+3 (19 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares, base speed 30 ft.)
Armor Class: 18 (+1 size, +6 masterwork banded mail, +1 masterwork light steel shield), touch 11, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/-1
Attack: Masterwork longsword +6 melee (1d6/19-20) or masterwork hand crossbow +5 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Full Attack: Masterwork longsword +6 melee (1d6/19-20) or masterwork hand crossbow +5 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Enlargement, mirror magic
Special Qualities: Hardened senses, immunity to electricity, immunity to petrification, madness, mirror safety, pass into reflection
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 7, Cha 12
Skills: Climb +1, Jump -5
**includes -5 armour check penalty for masterwork banded mail and light shield
Feats: Weapon Focus (shortsword), Point Blank Shot
Environment: Concordant Domain of the Outlands
Organization: Solitary, team (3-10 3rd-level warriors plus 1-3 6th-level kamerel drivers or mages) or troop (10-20 3rd-level warriors and 3-6 6th-level kamerel drivers or mages, plus 1 leader of 8th-10th level)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment:

A short, white-skinned manlike creature with pointed teeth and foliage braided in its hair.

Kamerel are an ancient race native to the Outlands. They are fantastically xenophobic, so much so that they hate even being looked at by a non-kamerel. Eons ago, the entire kamerel race retreated into the Plane of Reflection to avoid the rilmani. This occurred so long ago that even most rilmani and planar scholars have forgotten them. Now the kamerel have begun to reappear, emerging from mirrors to try reclaiming their long-lost empire.

A kamerel stands about 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds on average. Kamerel able to use the Enlargement power (see below) are usually 5 feet tall when enlarged to Medium Sized, with a weight around 100 pounds.

The kamerel warrior presented here is based on a 3rd-level kamerel warrior, using the following base ability scores: Str 13, Dex 9, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8.

Combat
Kamerel attack from ambush, often using mirrors to surprise their foes. They work in concert, flanking and mobbing their enemies, with the support of summoned creatures. Due to their xenophobic paranoia, kamerel ask for and give no quarter to non-kamerel opponents.

Enlargement (Ex): A kamerel with 6 or more Hit Dice can enlarge its size to Medium as a full-round action. This size change gives the kamerel a +4 size bonus to Strength but does not alter the kamerel's other ability scores. The enlarged kamerel gains all the other benefits and penalties of being Medium size. All equipment worn or carried by the kamerel is similarly enlarged by this ability, but instantly return to their normal size if they leave the enlarged kamerel's possession. This means that projectile weapons deal their normal (Small) damage. Size enlargement lasts as long as the kamerel remains conscious or until it reverses it (a free action).

Hardened Senses (Ex): A kamerel cannot be blinded, dazzled, or deafened.

Madness (Ex): Kamerel use their Charisma modifier on Will saves instead of their Wisdom modifier, and have immunity to confusion and insanity effects. A kamerel cannot be restored to sanity by any means short of a miracle or wish spell.

*The racial madness of the kamerel provides a +4 bonus to their Charisma scores and a -4 penalty to their Wisdom scores. A kamerel restored to sanity gains 4 points of Wisdom and loses 4 points of Charisma.

Mirror Magic (Sp): Kamerel have developed a form of arcane magic that functions more easily in the Outlands than normal magic. Rather than needing to succeed at a DC 35 Spellcraft check to cast an impeded spell in the Outlands, a kamerel need succeed only at a DC equal to 20 plus the level of the spell (as if the Outlands had the standard Impeded Magic trait). Mirror magic, like normal magic, does not function at all within 100 miles of the Spire.

Kamerel are unable to use spell-completion or spell-trigger items created by other creatures, and cannot learn or decipher arcane spells written by other creatures. Contrariwise, non-kamerel cannot learn or decipher mirror magic spells or use spell-completion or spell-trigger items created by kamerel. Nonetheless, mirror magic is arcane magic, and spellcasting kamerel gain levels in standard spellcasting classes.

See the kamerel mage for additional information on mirror magic.

Mirror Safety (Ex): A kamerel never breaks mirrors by accident, although it can deliberately attack a mirror if it wishes to. If another creature forces a kamerel to strike a mirror (with a Bull Rush attack, for example), the mirror will suffer no damage or breakage unless the kamerel wants to harm it.

Pass Into Reflection (Su): Kamerel have a unique ability to enter the Plane of Reflection, a “pseudo-dimension” made up of reflected images, once per day. To Pass Into Reflection, a kamerel must spend a standard action contemplating itself in a mirror that is large enough to reflect the kamerel’s entire body. The kamerel then simply steps into the mirror and vanishes (this requires a move action, so the kamerel must be within its move distance of the mirror).

A kamerel can bring along objects as long as their weight doesn’t exceed your maximum load. A kamerel with at least 6 Hit Dice may also carry one additional willing Medium or smaller creature (carrying gear or objects up to its maximum load) into Reflection for every 6 HD it possesses.

A kamerel can exit the Plane of Reflection by using the same procedure to step out of a mirror from the "other side". It need not be the same mirror as the kamerel used to enter Reflection.

Unlike a normal supernatural power, Pass Into Reflection is only annulled by the limited magic trait around the central spire of the Outlands if the kamerel is within 100 miles of the spire.

Originally from Tales From the Infinite Staircase (1998)
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Welcome back, Oryan77.

In any case, I am fine with Cleon's suggestion with a few minor tweaks. Basically, I want to make more clear that it is not a "separate system" to prevent the need to invent new caster classes just for kamerel. (Yes, I'm aware I'm changing some of my own wording).

Mirror Magic (Ex): Kamerel have developed a form of arcane magic that functions more easily in the Outlands than normal magic. Rather than needing to succeed at a DC 35 Spellcraft check to cast an impeded spell in the Outlands, a kamerel need succeed only at a DC equal to 20 plus the level of the spell (as if the Outlands had the standard Impeded Magic trait). Mirror magic, like normal magic, does not function at all within 100 miles of the Spire.

Kamerel are unable to use spell-completion or spell-trigger items created by other creatures, and cannot learn or decipher arcane spells written by other creatures. Contrariwise, non-kamerel cannot learn or decipher mirror magic spells or use spell-completion or spell-trigger items created by kamerel. Nonetheless, mirror magic is arcane magic, and spellcasting kamerel gain levels in standard spellcasting classes.
 

Oryan77

Adventurer
So what sort of thing can I do at the moment that would help you guys out on this project? What specific area would you like me to focus on and write up so you can critique? I'm about to start running this adventure and there are still quite a few monsters to convert. Eight months later and we haven't finished one. :p

Point me in the right direction and I'll try my best to help.

P.S. I'm not complaining at all. I'm very grateful for the work you guys do.
 

Cleon

Legend
In any case, I am fine with Cleon's suggestion with a few minor tweaks. Basically, I want to make more clear that it is not a "separate system" to prevent the need to invent new caster classes just for kamerel. (Yes, I'm aware I'm changing some of my own wording).

Mirror Magic (Ex): Kamerel have developed a form of arcane magic that functions more easily in the Outlands than normal magic. Rather than needing to succeed at a DC 35 Spellcraft check to cast an impeded spell in the Outlands, a kamerel need succeed only at a DC equal to 20 plus the level of the spell (as if the Outlands had the standard Impeded Magic trait). Mirror magic, like normal magic, does not function at all within 100 miles of the Spire.

Kamerel are unable to use spell-completion or spell-trigger items created by other creatures, and cannot learn or decipher arcane spells written by other creatures. Contrariwise, non-kamerel cannot learn or decipher mirror magic spells or use spell-completion or spell-trigger items created by kamerel. Nonetheless, mirror magic is arcane magic, and spellcasting kamerel gain levels in standard spellcasting classes.

That's acceptable, except surely it ought to be a (Sp) ability rather than an (Ex) one?

I'll add it to the Kamerel Working Draft as an (Sp).
 

Cleon

Legend
So what sort of thing can I do at the moment that would help you guys out on this project? What specific area would you like me to focus on and write up so you can critique? I'm about to start running this adventure and there are still quite a few monsters to convert. Eight months later and we haven't finished one. :p

Yes, sorry about that. Apart from having to occasionally getting tied up with our real world wages-paying labours we've been busy wrestling Epic Level Monsters on other threads.

Point me in the right direction and I'll try my best to help.

P.S. I'm not complaining at all. I'm very grateful for the work you guys do.

Basically you can just join us in throwing out some stats or special abilities you think are appropriate or critiquing those we're suggesting.

Also, if you're in a hurry you could give up a rough idea of the schedule you'll need the next few Infinite Staircase monsters.

Anyhow, it sounds like we should get a move on. I've got a rough draft Homebrew for a Kamerel Warrior that should give us something to talk about. I'll post it and we can argue about what bits to add to our Working Draft.
 

Cleon

Legend
Incomplete Kamerel Homebrew

KAMEREL

Kamerel Warrior
Kamerel, 3rd level warrior
Small Outsider
Hit Dice: 3d10+3 (19)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares, base speed 30 ft.)
Armor Class: 18 (+1 size, +6 mirrorwork banded mail, +1 mirrorwork light steel shield), touch 11, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+4
Attack: Mirrorwork longsword +6 melee (1d6/19-20) or mirrorwork hand crossbow +5 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Full Attack: Mirrorwork longsword +6 melee (1d6/19-20) or mirrorwork hand crossbow +5 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Mirror magic, mirrorwork equipment, pass into reflection
Special Qualities: Hardened senses, immunities (blinded, confusion, dazzled, deafened, electricity, insanity, petrification), madness, mirror safety, mirrorsight
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 7, Cha 12
Skills: 12 - 2@6
**includes -5 armour check penalty for mirrorwork banded mail and light shield
Feats: Weapon Focus (shortsword), Point Blank Shot
Environment: Concordant Domain of the Outlands
Organization:
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure:
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment:

The kamerel warrior presented here is based on a 3rd-level kamerel warrior, using the following base ability scores: Str 13, Dex 9, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8.

Kamerel Driver
Kamerel, 4th level fighter, 2nd level barbarian
Small Outsider
Hit Dice: 4d10+2d12+12 (47)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares, base speed 40 ft.)
Armor Class: 20 (+1 size, +2 Dex, +5 mirrorwork chaimail, +2 mirrorwork heavy steel shield), touch 13, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+3
Attack: +1 keen longsword +10 melee (1d6+5/17-20) or mirrorwork hand crossbow +9 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Full Attack: +1 keen longsword +10/+5 melee (1d6+5/19-20) or mirrorwork hand crossbow +9 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Enlargement, mirror magic, mirrorwork equipment, pass into reflection, rage 1/day
Special Qualities: Fast movement, hardened senses, immunities (blinded, confusion, dazzled, deafened, electricity, insanity, petrification), madness, mirror safety, mirrorsight, uncanny dodge
Saves: Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +3
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 14
Skills: 12 - 2@6
**includes -5 armour check penalty for mirrorwork chainmail and heavy shield
Feats: Combat Reflexes (B), Weapon Focus (longsword), Point Blank Shot (B), Power Attack (B), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Specialization (longsword)
Environment: Concordant Domain of the Outlands
Organization:
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure:
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment:

With Enlargement
Medium Outsider
Armor Class: 19 (+2 Dex, +6 mirrorwork chainmail, +2 mirrorwork heavy steel shield), touch 12, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+8
Attack: +1 keen longsword +9 melee (1d8+5/17-20) or mirrorwork hand crossbow +8 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Full Attack: +1 keen longsword +9/+4 melee (1d8+5/19-20) or mirrorwork hand crossbow +8 ranged (1d4/19-20)
Skills: 12 - 2@6
**includes -5 armour check penalty for mirrorwork chainmail and heavy shield

*Note that kamerel drivers are naturally Small sized, but they normally fight while using size distortion to become Medium size.

The kamerel warrior presented here is based on a 4th-level kamerel fighter and 2nd level barbarian, using the following base ability scores: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 8.

Kamerel are an ancient race of outsiders native to the Concordant Domain of the Outlands. Like most entities of that plane, the kamerel are beings of Neutrality, which they expressed as a complete disregard and disinterest in anything apart from themselves. This became utter xenophobia, and the kamerel avoided any situation where they might come across any creatures who are not kamerel — or even evidence that such creatures existed. The kamerel built an large empire near the Spire, where most normal magic does not work. This is of no concern to the kamerel, who use a curious form of mirror magic. The kamerel lands were so isolated few visitors came to disturb them.

Then the rilmani arrived.

The rilmani wanted access to a building in the kamerel capital that contained an artifacts that magically created copies of books and writings from across the multiverse. The rilmani called this place The Mirrored Library, but the kamerel knew it as Timaresh, the Collection of Hated Lore. This magical library was built by a kamerel mirror-mage named Hallonac due to her concern that her people's ignorance of other races might lead to their ruin. The other kamerel killed her, disgusted by her heretical interest in other creatures, but by then Timaresh had been completed. The rilmani saw this place as an invaluable tool in their duty of "maintaining the balance" but the kamerel, as was their wont, ignored all their diplomatic efforts to gain access to it. All efforts at dialogue having failed, the rilmani resorted to invasion. Totally unsuited to warfare – the kamerel at that time could barely stomach the idea of looking at a non-kamerel, let alone attacking one – the entire kamerel race simply vanished off the face of the Outlands.

The rilmani never discovered what had happened, but the kamerel had used their ability to Pass Into Reflection to escape into an extradimensional mirror-realm. Countless years have passed since then, and the kamerel are now returning, having sensed that the rilmani have left their former home. The eons the kamerel have spent in Reflection have changed them, however. They have been driven insane by the knowledge that places in Reflection only exist when beings on the other side of the mirror look at them, since this means their very "reality" depends on them being observed by beings who are not kamerel.

COMBAT
All kamerel share the following traits:

Enlargement (Ex): A kamerel with 6 or more Hit Dice can enlarge its size to Medium as a full-round action. This size change does not alter the kamerel's ability scores, but grants it all the other benefits and penalties of Medium size -1 size penalty to AC and attacks, -4 to Hide checks,+4 to Grapple checks, larger weapons, etc.). All equipment worn or carried by the kamerel is similarly enlarged by this ability, but instantly return to their normal size if they leave the enlarged kamerel's possession. This means that projectile weapons deal their normal (Small) damage. Size enlargement lasts as long as the kamerel remains conscious or until it reverses it (a free action).

Hardened Senses (Ex): A kamerel cannot be blinded, dazzled, or deafened.

Immunities (Ex): Kamerel have immunity to electricity damage and petrification, in addition to the immunities they gain from their hardened sense and madness special qualities.

Madness (Ex): Kamerel use their Charisma modifier on Will saves instead of their Wisdom modifier, and have immunity to confusion and insanity effects. A kamerel cannot be restored to sanity by any means short of a miracle or wish spell.

*The racial madness of the kamerel provides a +4 bonus to their Charisma scores and a -4 penalty to their Wisdom scores. A kamerel restored to sanity gains 4 points of Wisdom and loses 4 points of Charisma.

Mirror Magic: See Kamerel Working Draft for finalized version

Mirror Safety (Ex): A kamerel never breaks mirrors by accident, although it can deliberately attack a mirror if it wishes to. If another creature forces a kamerel to strike a mirror (with a Bull Rush attack, for example), the mirror will suffer no damage or breakage unless the kamerel wants to harm it.

Mirrorsight (Ex): A kamerel is never deceived by mirrors or reflections. It can always distinguish a reflected image from reality, views distorted or inverted reflections as if they were true images, and sees through a one-way mirror as if it was an ordinary pane of glass while simultaneously seeing what is reflected in it. A kamerel is not affected by the mirror image spell, since it can see which target is real and which are figments.

Mirrorwork Equipment: Kamerel mostly use special equipment called mirrorwork. In most respects, this is identical to masterwork equipment, with the additional property that it can exist in Reflection (see the kamerel ability Pass Into Reflection). Some mirrorwork gear looks literally looks like it's made out of mirrors, but kamerel can make mirrorwork items that appear to be ordinary objects, albeit very shiny or reflective ones. All kamerel magic items are mirrorwork, and they have also developed a wide range of special mirrorwork items, a few of which are described in the kamerel mage entry.

Pass Into Reflection (Su): Kamerel have a unique ability to enter the Plane of Reflection, a “pseudo-dimension” made up of reflected images. To Pass Into Reflection, a kamerel must spend at least a minute contemplating itself in a mirror that is large enough to reflect the kamerel’s entire body. The kamerel then simply steps into the mirror and vanishes (this requires a move action, so the kamerel must be within its move distance of the mirror).

Only kamerel and mirrorwork items can Pass Into Reflection, any other creature or object they try to carry Into Reflection will fall to the ground when the kamerel vanishes.

A kamerel can exit the Plane of Reflection by using the same procedure to step out of a mirror from the "other side". It need not be the same mirror as the kamerel used to enter Reflection.

[stuff about the nature of Reflection].

Notes

Ability Adjustments: -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity. This does not include the -4 Wisdom and +4 Charisma from the Madness special ability.
 

Oryan77

Adventurer
Basically you can just join us in throwing out some stats or special abilities you think are appropriate or critiquing those we're suggesting.

I can work out the skill list. Can you confirm what you mean by "Skills: 12 - 2@6"?

Also, if you're in a hurry you could give up a rough idea of the schedule you'll need the next few Infinite Staircase monsters.

Since we're doing the Kamerel from Tale 7, we might as well finish off the rest of the Tale by doing Kyton (chainless) & the Kyton, Lesser.

Speaking of the rest of Tale 7 creatures; I see a slight problem with the three shrunken creatures (Leucrotta, Giant Bombardier Beetle, & Rust Monster).

The adventure states that Kamerel mages can create Transport Mirrors as a Mirror Magic spell (I suppose they would need points in a Craft skill). It says that Kamerel often use the "Reduce spell" (AD&D version) to shrink objects and creatures down to at least 2-ft & under 50lbs.

So along with the Mirror Magic spells Scry Mirror, Transport Mirror, & Spacial Mirror, it looks like we need a "Reduce" Mirror Magic spell that can get creatures of at least large size down to 2-ft & under 50lbs. This spell would also need to function against Magical Beasts (Leucrotta), Vermin (Giant Bombardier Beetle), and Aberrations (Rust Monster).

I know the adventure mentions that these creatures range from 20%, 40%, & 50% in size, but I say keep it a standard size and make the spell work only on small, medium, & large creatures and simply reduce their size to tiny (2 1/2 ft). Weight can vary a lot, which seems too complicated and I don't think that weight should really matter for this.

One suggestion for this spell is to make it similar to 3.5 Reduce Animal (for the 1 hour per level), but have 3 different spell level versions of it that target unwilling "creatures", allowing a Fort save.

Level 2 spell:
Reduce Small Creature (drops small creatures down 1 size to tiny)
Level 3 spell:
Reduce Medium Creature (drops medium creatures down 2 sizes to tiny)
Level 4 spell:
Reduce Large Creature (drops large creatures down 3 sizes to tiny)

If this is the way to go about it, would just doubling the 3.5 Reduce spell stat adjustments for Medium (and tripling for Large) work for each spell?

Creating such spells would mean that it isn't really necessary for us to create variant versions of those shrunken monsters. A DM could just apply the spell adjustments to those creatures (and any others if he chooses).
 
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Oryan77

Adventurer
One other point I wanted to bring up is about the "Plane of Reflection".

Technically, there is a Plane of Mirrors which is a demiplane that exists on the Ethereal Plane. I think it originated from the Greyhawk setting. I would say that this is where the Kamerel fled to rather than making it sound like we just created a new demiplane. Maybe Kamerel call it Reflection? Should we mention the "Plane of Mirrors" in the background description rather than simply referring to "an extradimensional mirror-realm"?

Maybe also change the Pass Into Reflection (Su) ability to say

"Kamerel have a unique ability to enter the Plane of Mirrors, or as the Kamerel call it, "Reflection", a demiplane made up of reflected images."
 

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