So I’ve been inspired to do a few new things. Let’s see what you think. Consider this an unofficial sidebar to my unofficial conversion of the prinny for 5th edition.
The concept of a prinny is fascinating when it comes to the way it is integrated into the celestial hierarchies of Dungeons and Dragons. There are many creatures that could be considered analogues to the prinny, such as fiendish larva, lemures, and manes. However, none as as compelling as the knife wielding murder penguins.
Prinny have occupied an interesting place in the greater Disgaea universe, and I think they could fit very well. They are souls, trapped in a kind of indentured limbo, and forced to work until the universe decides they’ve paid their penance. Why not include these odd creatures as enemies, allies, or even paid conscripts in the planar landscape? You could do worse, DOOD!
The counterpoint to the imp; there are no monsters that are a good counterpoint to the imp in D&D and its ilk. There are lantern archons, and other such beings, but nothing really comes close to an iconic creature that would serve as the mirror to the imp the way that some angels have equals among the higher ranks of demon kind.
So here is the Ishim.
Ishim Small Celestial, lawful good Armor Class 13 Hit Points 11 (2d6 + 4) Speed fly 40 ft. (hover) Str 4 (-3), Dex 17 (+3), Con 14 (+2), Int 11 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 14 (+2) Skills Intimidation +3, Insight +3, Persuasion +4, Stealth +5 Damage Resistances lightning; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks Damage Immunities fire, radiant Condition Immunities deafened, exhaustion, poisoned, prone, restrained Senses blindsight 120 ft., passive Perception 11 Languages Celestial, Common Challenge 1 (200 XP) Messenger. The ishim is the messenger for the divine host, and projects its voice magically to all who can hear within 100 feet. The ishim has advantage on intimidate checks when it uses its booming voice. Magic Resistance. The ishim has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects. Tongue of Flame. The ishim can speak and understand any language. Additionally, it has an aura that grants this ability to any creature within 50 feet that can speak and understand a language.
Actions Divine Flame. Ranged Attack: +5 to hit, range 30 ft., one target.Hit: 13 (3d8) radiant damage.
Divine Speech (Recharge 6). The ishim utters a holy phrase. Enemy creatures within 100 feet must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw, becoming frightened for 1 round on a failure. Creatures that fail this saving throw by 5 or more are frightened for 1d4 rounds. Invisibility. The ishim magically turns invisible until it attacks or until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell).
An Ishim appears as a small glowing halo, sometimes literally a golden shining hoop, at other times as a glimmering mandala of symbols and numbers, but always with a golden light. Though small, the light it sheds makes it appear larger or at least more imposting.
The ishim is an exalted celestial creature that occupies the third sphere. They are the divine messengers, and are either born into existence by divine will, or are the exalted souls of righteous men of piety. Ishim are just as likely to deliver a word of warning to a man about to commit a grievous sin as they are to warn a city of impending catastrophe. Their minds are mysterious, following the vaulted edict of the diving host, and rarely speak outside of their intended message.
In rare situations, a person is deemed to have a pious destiny may have an ishim granted to them, in which case the ishim becomes a doting mentor and guardian. Such cases are exceedingly rare, and recipients of this mentorship are usually cloistered by mortal agents seeking to protect the individual.
So, Limitless Adventures has reached out to me and asked that I review their products. I want to refer you to my reviews page so that you can see the reviews that I’ve posted, but let me say in brief that the Limitless Adventure series of encounters is excellent! I’ve had the pleasure of looking over both the Storm King’s Thunder and the Sword Coast iterations of encounters, and they have some excellent and brief encounters that can replace those tedious random table encounters.
Please check them out, as they are excellent and brief encounters that can fill out a session or be themselves expanded to a thorough story. There are even “Further Adventure” notes that excellently suggest ways to expand each encounter into something more interesting.
In addition, I wanted to help announce that Limitless Adventure has a Kickstarter that will be a collection of the first 15 encounter products from their line. Here are some highlights.
150 fully detailed encounters set in 12 different environments
OGL stat blocks for all mosnters
Creative, CR appropriate treasure
451 “further adventure ™” writing prompts
You will have your choice of PDF or softcoverprint copy (color and black and white options available).
Judging from the excellent nature of the encounters that I have already seen, I look forward to the compilation, as should you. If you want to see for yourself, have a look at the Limitless Adventure website and see the products that they have available, including a few free products.
Backgrounds are pretty neat, but they tend to be pretty mundane. 5th Edition, by and large, is encompassed by a world of fantasy rife with magic and the supernatural.
But what of when magic fails? Other than those to whom magic comes naturally as with sorcerers, or those granted power as with Warlocks and Clerics, Wizards must learn. Wizardry in particular is a rigorous field that one must seek out and master. Your specific setting might have wizardry academies or cloistered wizards that carefully choose single inheritors. but there will always be those that take up the call of magic, and fail.
New Background- Failed Magician
You came to be an apprentice, but it never took. Whether you just never had the knack, or you squandered your opportunity for arcane might through a series of bad choices or mistakes, you were rejected and turned away from magic while in the middle of your training. You know enough to get you in trouble, and this rudimentary but incomplete knowledge has proven to be more of a liability at times.
Your new path fills you with enthusiasm, but you can still harken back to the times scrubbing out old potion bottles or attempting to read from an animate book, and can recite rudimentary magical principals with ease, though this does not mean anything without a more thorough background in magic.
There is perhaps a wizard academy or cabal that resents you for spurning the gift of magic, or you may be marked by some strange magical aura that highlights the shame inherent in failing at the pursuit of magic. This tends to manifest itself as an immediate recognition by other mages that you were once meant for a life of magic. You either find kinship with other magic users, or rue their eccentric ways.
To your other companions, you might either hide that part of your life, or underscore your past by regaling them with the story of your excommunication. Whatever the case, it is likely that your past will come back to haunt you in any number of interesting ways, whether by zealous witch hunters, unpaid magic guild fees, or a situation that calls for your limited understanding of magic.
Skills: Arcana, Perception
Language: Two of your choice.
Equipment: A magical encyclopedia, chalk, apprentice robes, a ritual dagger,
Feature: Hedge Magic
You know the basest bits of magic, and it’s been enough to get you into trouble, especially when those around you assume you know more. You may either elect to be able to cast ritual magic, with knowledge of one ritual selected from level 1, selected from any spell list. Alternately, they may know one cantrip that can be used twice per day. In either case, you must make an Intelligence (arcana) check with a DC of 12. The spell is cast as normal on a success. Otherwise, the spell fails without counting towards your uses per day.
Alternate Feature: Cursed Caster
You have learned magic, but your understanding of it is flawed. You may cast one spell from level 1 or 2 from the wizard spell list. Each time you cast it, you must make an Intelligence (arcana) check with a DC of 15. If you succeed, you cast the spell with no negative consequences. If you fail, you cast the spell as normal, but receive a curse. The nature of the curse can be anything from being polymorphed into a mouse to being poisoned. In either case, the effect lasts for 1 minute. Any effect that would end the curse is expensive, either doubling listed costs or costing 1000 gold in addition to any other requirements. Work with your game master to come up with an appropriate spell choice and curse feature. A player must remove this curse before being able to pursue class levels in wizard or sorcerer.
Failed spellcasters come from all walks of life, from apprentices turned charlatans to desperate students researching forbidden tomes. They may come from all walks of life, but their interest in the arcane arts are as steadfast as they are misplaced. Some abandon the further study of magic, while others seek to pursue a deeper magical career.
d8 Personality Traits
1- I clutch an empty spellbook when nervous, and refuse to let people touch it.
2- I was maimed once by a spell, and react viscerally when I hear or see it.
3- If it has to do with magic, I can’t resist knowing more!
4- I whisper unless I absolutely need to speak louder. My old teacher might be listening…
5- I make a mystic hand sign to ward off bad luck and evil spirits.
6- I doodle magical symbols on EVERYTHING!
7- I am a real magician. I’m even dressed as one!
8- I carry a wand, and I think that it’s real.
1- Freedom. No one should be forced into servitude.
2- Fairness. The privileged should not hoard all mystic might.
3- Pilgrimage. There is a new path that leads away from magic, towards destiny!
4- People. Magic should be used for the good of all!
5- Responsibility. Magic can be dangerous, and should not be taken lightly.
6- Aspiration. Magic is the key to a better life.
1- Arcane secrets should be kept secret.
2- I’m dedicated to learning magic the right way!
3- I won’t let anyone else suffer as I did as an apprentice.
4- I wish to prove my innocence at the academy and be reinstated as a student.
5- I always wanted to meet that one nymph… it’s why I learned magic!
6- I’ll have a student of my own someday!
1- I will use any magical item or device without thinking.
2- I think I can brew potions.
3- I refuse to use any magic that is not my own!
4- An old mentor is angry with me, and seeks me out for revenge.
5- When it comes to magic, I stubbornly refuse to admit when I’m wrong, even in the face of danger.
6- I’m aggressively competitive with real magicians.
It’s a short but awesome product about occult rituals in 5th edition. I’m quite fascinated with the spell category that encompasses rituals, because it opens up utilitarian spells to any class, provided you use the optional feat rules. But I took it one step further! Sidebar #1, Occult Ritual Magic gives you dangerous magic that anyone can try, including a nifty table that encompasses any ritual spell miscasting.
Weather tends to be an afterthought for most games. Usually, it is showcased as some feature of the terrain, such as a desert that has frequent sandstorms, or a polar region so cold that you have to be equipped for it. If these things are not in themselves self-evident, then weather is largely ignored.
And I’m not suddenly advocating that you become a meteorologist as part of your session prep, but rather that you SHOULD focus on the extremes. More extreme than polar cold, more dangerous than being caught in a sandstorm.
I recall Final Fantasy 10 having a segment in it in which you had to cross a region so beset with lightning that you could potentially get struck dozens of times while crossing it. While this may seem a bit odd, that is the kind of adventure design that sticks in the head of the player. Though I admit, the even stranger “dodge 100 lightning strikes in a row” mini game might also have contributed to its remarkability.
But I digress. Fantasy games have a special leeway in presenting extraordinary weather that may seem outlandish. If the link above is any indication, Earth has its own extraordinary weather patterns. Shoot for the moon with your weird weather!
Let’s try this…
On the eastern plains of Selna there exist a great number of oddities that dot the map, pronounced all the more against the otherwise featureless plains. Among those oddities is the Walking Wind, a legend of a sentient tornado that stalks the plains with some bizarre agenda. Though many dismiss the stories as superstitious nonsense, and cite the tornado seasons seen on other continents, many claim to have seen the tornado at all times of the year, moving to and fro as if by determination.
The legends claim that it chases after treasure hunters, and that it guards the opening to ancient crypts and vaults. The only definitive text on the matter is the journal of Andrew Hunt, an explorer and researcher that set out to verify the nature of the tornado. His accounts detail a strange and careful study of the alleged tornado, having observed it carefully for over two weeks. Hunt was never able to present his findings; his tattered journal was all that remains of him.
The Jhorrund, perhaps the only people that can speak of the tornado with any authority claim that it is an ancient nature spirit that has become angry, and would see its territory scoured of all humanoid life. Whatever the truth may be, the tornado (or tornadoes) continue to claim the lives of those foolish enough to enter the area.
The Walking Wind is a tornado, and an extreme weather effect that targets any biped traveling along a stretch of territory approximately 200 square miles. The tornado travels at roughly 50 miles per hour, or 250 ft per round. Anyone caught within 200 ft of the tornado is pulled up in the air, and thrown a great distance in a random direction. Assume 15d6 falling damage whenever they land.
The tornado will always throw its victims away from its territory, at times whipping victims as far as 10 miles away. Anyone that has the ability to fly, hover, glide, or slowfall is not subject to this damage, but is still thrown for the entire distance as determined by the game master. The Walking Wind is known to try and scare people from its territory, moving slowly to warn intruders before advancing menacingly.
The Walking Wind is considered to have a strength score of 50 for the purposes of pushing and moving creatures. Although it is a sentient weather hazard, it does not have hit points, and can only be temporarily dispelled by powerful weather control magics. A wish or miracle may dispel it permanently, but the tornado exists as a powerful runic curse, and as such may be subject to a specific condition that will finally quell the Walking Wind for good. Obscure legends tell that it’s rune is carved somewhere along the plains, and that dispelling that rune may be the key to quelling the strange tornado.
The few of you that read this blog might have been disappointed that I did not post this week.
I was doing pretty good for a while as far as keeping my schedule, but this week just fell through. Rather than just chalk it up to a bad week, I thought that I would write a brief something to at least inform you that I have not been entirely dormant.
I have been writing! Just not for this blog, and not even for Diem Mundi, but I shall soon return to the mini-setting as well as some insights into game design. Within the week, I should also be adding more reviews, and updating the mini-setting tab with additional information (including a much needed society section added to the fox folk).
For now, I want to extend my thanks to Raging Swan for helping me to run a most excellent 5th edition campaign. Although I will try not to sound like an infomercial, their array of products have helped tremendously with my prep time. If you do any sort of fantasy role playing, please see their patreon page, and give some support. You won’t be sorry that you did.
Also, I must share with you that part of my writing has been for some projects at Fat Goblin Games. There are some exciting new things coming in the next few months, including more Call to Arms guides, more Astonishing Race guides, more Vathak support in the form of three new core rule books, and much more! With luck, I will soon be posting about the projects to which I’ve contributed.
If you’ve had enough of me selling you on these companies, I will leave you with something more thoughtful.
As I continue to learn about new games, I find myself continually impressed with new approaches to old games. For instance, the so-called Old School Renaissance is actually a rather apt name, as it is not simply a return to old sensibilities, but a reinterpretation of the foundations of the game through newly learned methodologies. It is an improvement without losing the soul of the game, or so I would argue.
13th Age has caught, my interest. It grabs you by the lapels and tells you to role play, or at least define your character in such a way that he stands out from others by description alone. I think I might see what I can learn from it and perhaps integrate this into 5th edition, though 5e already does a great job of evoking characters as people and not character classes. I only regret that these games were not around 15 years ago.
I would also like to eventually discuss my love for the Storyteller system. As I am left without a game (other than the one I am running), I consider either digging back into the Storyteller System, given the recent revisions to some of my favorite games. Even if I were to run a game, I would be happy to once again pick up a handful of d10’s with a mix of hope and fear. It’s an exciting prospect.