Magic in the Stacks (5E)

Magic in the Stacks, my collection of library-themed magic items, is available now on EN World’s EN5ider!

Art by Dana Braga

Knowledge is the greatest treasure a library can hold. But books aren’t the only enchanted objects lore-hungry heroes might discover in a wizard’s study or ancient atheneum. Catch up on your sleep and reading at the same time with a nap in a dozing chair, receive book recommendations from a pickled critic, or spin the trotter’s globe to plan your next adventure!

Key-starter? Kick-locker?

My friends at Sneak Attack Press recently launched their Kickstarter campaign for Lock and Key, a 5e and PF2 mini-supplement about stopping people from stealing your stuff! As I write this, the project is over 200% funded and is well on its way to reaching all of its (announced) stretch goals. Check it out!

Project image for Lock and Key - A Mini-Supplement for 5e and PF2

Since the dawn of fantasy roleplaying games, opening locks has been a staple of roguish characters. This mini-supplement for the worlds most popular roleplaying game is filled with information about locks and how to open them.

It includes:

  • A real-world history of locks and keys
  • Ideas for a fantasy history
  • Variant Locks – Including real world items like false keyholes, and fantasy items like talking locks
  • A random key generator
  • 2 new traps
  • 4 new magic items
  • 1 new spell
  • 3 new monsters

Ten-Ton Satyr (Runewild PF2)

A short encounter today as we continue converting the Runewild Campaign Setting from D&D 5E to PF2. If you’re interested in learning more about the Runewild, the 5E version of the book is available now on DriveThru RPG.

Can you find the sneaky satyr?

31. Ten-Ton Satyr (Level 1)

  • Scrape, an elite ghast
  • Carvings function as a spellbook

The bones of a gigantic satyr fill this clearing, as if the creature laid down for a nap and never woke up. Though the satyr’s flesh has rotted away, a nauseating stench greets the PCs as they approach.

The Giant Satyr

The bones are the remains of Ponderwattle, the largest satyr ever to walk the Runewild. Ponderwattle once served a hag named Molly Bitters, but the Whitebone Sisters (18) killed the satyr and his mistress decades ago. The Whitebone Sisters still visit Ponderwattle’s bones to perform magic inside his skull. A ghast named Scrape (the source of the foul smell) guards the hags’ sanctum.

While he lived, Ponderwattle stood over 50 feet tall. There’s no sign of how Ponderwattle died, but if the PCs interrogate his bones using the talking corpse spell, the satyr explains the Whitebone Sisters tricked him into disturbing the sprite nursery at 16 and slit his throat when he succumbed to the sprites’ enchanted arrows. Ponderwattle still bears a grudge against the hags. He tells the PCs everything he knows about the Whitebone Sisters, in the hopes the PCs decide to confront them. Assume Ponderwattle’s spirit knows all the information detailed in the Whitebone Sisters’ entry in the Runewild Bestiary.

Scrape

If the PCs visit this location at night, Scrape is absent, having gone hunting in the nearby woods. Every hour the PCs spend investigating Ponderwattle’s bones, there’s a 1 in 6 chance Scrape returns. Make secret Perception checks for the PCs against Scrape’s Stealth DC 22. Characters who succeed spot the ghast when he arrives. If he goes unnoticed, the ghast observes the PCs for several minutes, then leaves to report their presence to the sisters.

During the day, Scrape hides inside Ponderwattle’s skull, muttering to himself and smashing worms between stones. PCs can sneak up on the ghast by making Stealth checks opposed by Scrape’s Perception DC 20. On a failure, Scrape senses the party’s approach and attempts to outmaneuver them. He ambushes PCs he manages to catch alone (Initiative Stealth +12).

Scrape won’t betray the Whitebone Sisters unless coerced by intimidation or magic. He knows the way to the sisters’ cottage (18) and the halfling village of Kidwelly (19) but little else about the forest.

Inside the Skull

Ponderwattle’s skull is large enough to accommodate up to two Medium-size or smaller creatures. The Whitebone Sisters have scratched magical symbols across the inside of the skull. PCs who make a successful DC 23 Occultism check recognize the symbols as formulae for the spells bind undead and talking corpse. A wizard character who successfully studies the carvings can inscribe the spells into their spellbook.

The space inside Ponderwattle’s skull is cluttered with the trappings of the Whitebone Sisters’ magic: candle stubs, mortars and pestles, baskets filled with chicken eggs. Cracking open the eggs reveals the bones of tiny, unidentifiable humanoids. The chickens the Whitebone Sisters raise at their cottage lay the eggs. The bones are identical to those which decorate the sisters’ enchanted mirror (see location 18 for more information).

The Path of Petals and The Whispering Well (Runewild PF2)

Today we visit two more locations from the Runewild Campaign Setting. Both of these encounters lead the PCs other locations of the Runewild…whether or not they want to go!

29. The Path of Petals (Level 1)

  • Magical flowers tempt PCs (DC 15) off the trail to 124

Vibrant purple wildflowers grow beside the trail in such profusion that the party can’t help but pause to admire them. Each PC must make a DC 15 Will saving throw or become fascinated by the flowers for 1 minute. While fascinated, PCs are compelled to abandon the trail and stroll among the flowers. As if to avoid being trampled, the flowers magically part as the PCs approach, revealing a path leading deeper into the forest.

 Unless physically restrained, fascinated characters begin following this new path. Moments later, they emerge in a stand of trees far north from where they started, a half-mile east of the watchtower described in location 124. The path disappears once the PCs arrive and can’t be used to return to this location.

Characters who successfully save become immune to the flowers’ effects. A character doesn’t need to be fascinated to see the path revealed by the flowers. All characters can travel the path willingly, if they choose.

Every time the party returns to this location, there’s a 1 in 6 chance the path of petals has disappeared.

30.  The Whispering Well (Level 3)

  • A magic well is a portal to 57
  • The Gunkpuddle Girls, a coven of sea hags, hear everything inside the well
  • Foul water: DC 18

A mile north of the trail sits a crumbling well half-hidden in the underbrush. The well’s pulley system has rotted away, but its low stone brim remains intact. Those who peer into the well discover relief carvings of hundreds of faces decorating its interior. The faces are human, but each likeness is unique. The carvings continue all the way down to the waterline, 20 feet below the lip of the well.

Investigating the Well

If inspected with a detect magic spell or similar effect, the well radiates auras of conjuration and divination magic. Any words spoken into the well cause the faces to animate and repeat the words in a chorus of whispers. Characters who succeed at a DC 18 Society check to Recall Knowledge knows the well’s name (the Whispering Well) and have heard the following folk tales about it:

  • If you throw a coin into the well, the faces grant you a wish. (This is false.)
  • If you drown a cat in the well, you can’t be killed for the next nine days. (Also false.)
  • If you whisper a witch’s name into the well, the witch must answer one question you ask. (Only partially true.)

The Gunkpuddle Girls

The Gunkpuddle Girls, a coven of sea hags, were drowned in this well before their transformation into hags (see the Gunkpuddles’ entry in the Runewild Bestiary). The Gunkpuddles hear any words the faces whisper. If the faces are made to say one of the Gunkpuddles’ names (Foul Anne, Dripping Jenny, or Fishbone Sue), that hag climbs from the water at the bottom of the well a few moments later.

Despite the folk lore surrounding the Whispering Well, the Gunkpuddle Girls aren’t bound to answer any questions if summoned in this way. They’re fond of the old well, however, and usually arrive in generous moods. If the PCs use the well to ambush one of the Gunkpuddles, the remaining sisters refuse to appear when called.

Entering the Well

Creatures who use the carved faces as handholds can Climb the well’s interior with a DC 15 Athletics check, provided the climb is made in silence. If the faces animate, the Athletics check increases to DC 20. On a critical failure, the creature loses its grip and falls into the water.

The Gunkpuddles’ association with the well has permanently fouled its water. Creatures who start their turn in the water must attempt a DC 18 Fortitude saving throw.

  • Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
  • Success The creature is sickened 1.
  • Failure The creature takes 2d6 poison damage and is sickened 2.
  • Critical Failure The creature takes 4d6 poison damage and is sickened 4.

Creatures who submerge themselves entirely beneath the water are teleported to Area 5 of The Palace of Water, Wind, and Stone (57).

Four-Armed Gargoyles…In SPAAACE!

AAW Games just released Hulk of Horrors, my sci-fi, mini-dungeon homage to Tomb of Horrors. You can pick it up now on adventureaweek.com or DriveThru RPG.

Four-armed gargoyles…in SPAAACE!

On their way to another adventure, the adventurers chance upon a serpentfolk war hulk adrift on the Astral Sea. Such hulks are powered by phylactery drives: engines that harness the essence of a disembodied lich to propel the hulk across the multiverse. Discovering a hulk that has been abandoned—as this one appears to be—is either a stroke of incredible luck or a sign of ill fortune.

Unbeknownst to the party, this war hulk’s phylactery drive contains not just any lich, but a legendary sorcerer king of old. Recently, the lich discovered a way to wrest control of the hulk from his captors. The lich now awaits a band of unwitting adventurers to release him from his prison.