Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Wastelanders

His breath billowed white around him in the achingly cold air. The dark landscape felt alien. Shapes and shadows that didn't correspond to anything he thought of as normal. Frozen dirt, jagged rocks, and everything painfully dry.

"It is another 2 weeks before we will see the daystar again." his guide informed him.

With his hands on his knees he gasped, trying to control his body's reaction to this inhospitable place he asked "How can you tell? No sun, no moon, and the clouds have been covering the sky for... what feels like weeks."

"I just can. Come, we must keep moving."

"Where are you dragging me now."

"We must keep moving. This is a bad place."

He stumbled forward behind the guide. "Bad how?"

"There are... people... that live out here. Wild folk that have left civilization."

"Why would anyone want to live in this god-forsaken waste?"

"Because not all of the gods have forsaken it."

God of the Wasteland
This unnamed mad god grants his unfortunate followers the gift of near immortality. They will not die from lack of food or water, or exposure to the inhospitable wastelands that he claims as his own. Anyone who calls out for salvation from hunger, thirst, or cold in the wastelands will be given what they ask for. In return, they will worship him. His tenants are simple, and worship is accomplished through his followers insanity, and they are all insane. Driven mad by the touch of their god, they are like ghouls, forever hungry, forever cold. The hot wet flesh of those unfortunate enough to travel through the wastes will be consumed in a frenzy rending teeth and claw-like fingers.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Virginal Viragos

"There's just one rule: No men!" Callista yells in the torchlight.

"No Men!" The women scream into the night.

"Men are the enemy!"

"Men are the enemy!"

"Tonight we strike at the heart of those who would hold us back. The baron, his knights, his men-at-arms, his squires, his boys will be marching down that road. And when they do, we will be ready, and they... will be ours!"

The cheering rang through the woods, and the revelry lasted well into the night.

The following afternoon, when the baron was her prisoner, Callista leered at him with her tattooed face, her followers hooting and howling at the men on their knees.

The Viragos are a roving band of women who crop up in places where the local lords, sheriffs, and guild-masters use their power to take advantage of women. The power behind them is a warrior goddess, protector of women, who makes a woman so wronged, and turns her into an avatar of vengeance who is always known as Callista.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


"Live fast, die young, and enjoy a beautiful corpse for all eternity!" The party toasted, clinking their glasses together in the book filled study. The furniture had been shoved out of the center of the room, plush chairs lined the walls interspersed with side tables, a globe and even the great desk and tables of ornately carved and highly polished wood.

The revelers were all richly dressed in ornate fashions of yesteryear. Young men and women, barely out of their childhood in clothing out of style when their parents were their age, and all had their faces painted as ornate and somewhat abstract skulls. Smudges of which ended up on their wine glasses after the toast.

Observing them, standing alone in the shadowed corner in clothing that was even more out of style than that of the infants before her was a woman whose face was unpainted, and whose hand held no glass. The partygoers could feel her watching, knew who she was, and yet not one would look directly at her, though she was the entire reason for the gathering. It's difficult to look death in the face. she thought to herself. They still think they're immortal.

Successful vampires are patient. They know they have time on their side. Time to corrupt the children of your enemies, or their grandchildren. They also know how to entice those children with promises of eternal beauty. So it is that the children of the rich and powerful join these clubs of the pre-undead. Sometimes a few of them are even turned into vampires. Most are merely charmed, used, and tied to the vampire for the rest of their lives, acting as the vampire's puppets in the daylight.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tunnel Tormentors

The sound of the drumbeat echoed down the rough stone passage. The slimy stone walls were latticed with colorful looking molds that added to the pungent bouquet of earthy rotting aroma that was nauseatingly sweet. Over the drumbeat, the sound of soft flesh inching it's way over the floor, coming closer.

Into the chamber they crawled, pink fat worm things. Behind them the tormentors poked and prodded them forward with their perverted shepherd's crooks. Sharpened steel replacing the rounded wooden top.The drummer came last into the chamber. As the worms were gathered together into the pen within the circle the brethren waiting for them in the chamber were finishing the outer form of the circle.

The candles were lit, the words spoken. The brethren stood around the chamber, chanting, drumming, and thumping their crooks. And suddenly there was a man standing in the circle. No flash of light, no puff of sulfuric smoke, no ground shakes, just... there. The drumming and chanting faltered as they all looked at him.

He was dressed in rich black fabric, embroidered with black. His thin beard and short hair was well trimmed, and the only real sign of his otherworldly nature were the small tips of horns protruding from his forehead. He looked down at the worms grubbing around in the pen with him. They were making a mewling noise, and the demon's lips curled in disgust.

"Next time, you can leave them out of the circle." the demon nudges the worms away with his tooled black leather boots.

Demons trade in souls, and while they prefer living souls that are given willingly, they are also willing to accept "used" souls. Usually these are captured at the moment of death, often by curse or other magical means. Sometimes they form when the body is killed by a powerful undead. They eventually manifest as small pink worms with baby faces. Depending on how they're cared for, they can grow and develop in a variety of ways. Some like making them fat while simultaneously torturing them, twisting them into an unrecognizable abomination that's perfect to transform into a demon.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Starshadow Gazers

The moon hung low over the jagged mountain tops, casting her pale glow that stole the colors from the world. Thin wisps of clouds did little to hide her pregnant face, nor the stars aligning on this, the shortest night of the year. While the darkness would not last long, it would not be wasted. The quintet of figures climbed the stone steps. In front, striding up the stairs two at a time, impatient to begin, Kexxor Night-Watcher wore his ritual helm, complete with great brass horns and skull face plate. His muscled chest and arms were bare, and his hair blew in the mountain breeze.

Behind him, Tamax and Xamis dragged the sacrifice between them. Her arms were bound in iron chains, and her body bare but for the loin cloth. Bruises covered her arms where the chains bit too tightly, and her feet were scraped and sore from the rough stone.

Atop the mountain, a silent mass of hooded figures waited.  Kexxor stood facing the silent congregation. Slowly he drew his silver dagger, holding it up in the moonlight. And turned to face the sacrifice. Xamis shoved her to her knees, and they pulled hard on the chains, stretching her arms wide. She closed her eyes and turned away from the sight of the blade held above her.

The blade plunged deep into her chest, , piercing her skin, sliding cleanly between her ribs, and skewering her heart. Her body shuddered, and she let out a single soft gasp when Kexxor pulled the knife swiftly out. Tamax and Xamis relaxed their hold on the chains, and the sacrifice slumped forward. Blood pooled beneath her kneeling form.

As the blood stained the rock, the silvery light of the moon was also stained and crimson light shined down upon the world. In the shadows between the stars, something stirs at the sight of a blue orb turned red...

Between the stars that burn so brightly are shadows, dark and primordial that hide things. Out in the fringes, unseen things older than demons and gods lurk waiting for the light of those stars to burn red, to die... There is power in that silence, that darkness, out in the void, and if you're willing to call upon it. 
Introduction of the Nox Eternia

Friday, April 22, 2016


The guard standing on the watch tower jumped at the soft voice behind him. "I have heard that a great host approaches the monastery?" Spinning around he found himself in the presence of the abbot. How the old man had made it up here without making a sound...

"Yes abbot." And points out to the south. "You can see the dust. They're not moving quickly, but there seems to be a bunch of them."

"Well, keep an eye on them. I'll start making preparations for their arrival."

Hours later the first wave of walkers arrived. Dusty and tired, wearing a wide variety of clothing, from peasant smocks to noble outdoor attire they approached the gate. The abbot was waiting for them. An older skinny man, dressed in what once must have been a scribes outfit came forward, walking stick tapping with every other step. His ragged beard, stringy hair, and sun darkened skin told of many miles on the road. Stopping before the abbot he smacked his lips a few times to wet his dry mouth, and then coughed once to clear his throat. His voice, when it finally emerged was gentle, though a little rough. "Brother." He bowed slightly at the waist. "Might we beg of you for some water?"

"If you'll tell me your tale, we'll happily share what we have. Not just water, but food and wine."

"That would be most kind."

The abbot waved his monks out, and they came bearing trays of bread, pots of stew, and jugs of wine. "Come, join me inside if you would. We can sit in my garden."

Sitting among herbs, spices, and flowers the wanderer began "My tale is simple enough. I lost a friend, and I didn't know what to do. A day after the funeral, I went out on a walk to clear my head. I had no destination in mind. I never made it back home. Along the way, people have... followed me. I don't know why, really. They all seem to want something from me, and I don't know if it's something I can give. But I walk, and they walk with me."

"I'd heard something about a wanderer who'd collected lost souls in his wake."

"If that's me, then I'm just the first of them. I'm as lost as anyone."

"How long have you been on the road now?"

"Oh, almost 2 years now." the rambler smiles.

Staff of the Wanderer
This simple walking stick will always indicate true north to anyone grasping it. It also radiates an aura of calm around the bearer, and anyone wishing to attack must pass a saving throw vs spells to do so. This effect is negated for a day if the staff is used for violence. If used in combat it counts as a magical weapon but only causes 1d4 points of damage on a hit.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Quellers of Quixhill

The burgomaster smacked his fat lips together. "It's the villagers, you understand... it's been a hard winter, and spring has been difficult for them with the rains. It's impossible to get the crop in when the fields are so swamped. But... They're getting restless."

"How so?" the hooded man whispered.

"Oh, the usual sorts of talk." He paused to drink deeply from his wine goblet. "Complaints in the tavern about how they're starving while I make sure my poor family is well fed. You can't rightly expect us to starve as well, now can you?

"Of course not"

"Indeed." He gently places a square of rich chocolate on his wine stained tongue. "Now, we need them to realize that I am not the enemy. That their, my this is truly wonderful. Are you sure I can't interest you in any? No? Very well. They need their attention to be redirected."

"Do you have any ideas where to?"

"The elves are a natural choice. Weird, insular, but... they make the best wines." He smiles and again drinks deeply. "No, I was thinking something more... I don't know... demonic?" 

"And where would this demon have come from?"

"Oh, it could be anything. A wandering witch, an ancient curse, even a long buried jar in some farmer's field."

"And do you want adventurers to arrive to take care of it?"

"Good heavens no! I want the villagers to worship it. Form a cult or something around it. Then the adventurers come in and take care of both problems. By then the weather should turn and things can go back to normal."

Most adventurers will never stop to really ask where the demon came from. And that fat mayor who just paid them so handsomely? Clearly a sleaze, but he just paid them to take care of a demon cult, so he can't be all that bad. Right?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pious Paladins of Pragmatism

"Bring forth the demon." The Quisitor ordered.

The armored knights around him tensed as the priest began to chant out the blasphemous spell. The smell of sulfur filled the air, mingling with the sweat and fear and smoke in the vaulted chamber. The braziers and candles flickered and danced, making their shadows cavort on the walls behind them. The circle glowed and filled with black smoke as the priest chanted.

"Be strong!" The Quisitor's voice rumbled over the priest's chants. "Face the evil, know it, know that we command it."

The singsong chant halted abruptly, and the smoke took form. Kneeling in the center of the small circle was a skinny and lanky form the size of a teen, but with claws, horns, hooves, and wings. All over it was pale, the color of bleached bone. It lifted its demonic face to the knights surrounding it, and it laughed, solid black eyes taking them all in.

"You should not laugh so before your betters."

"Worms crawling about on the dirt are your betters. You're damned, each and every one of you."

"You're here to answer our questions. You will be silent otherwise."

"Oh, please, do ask away. Always happy to serve."

The Quisitor's jaw tightened. "Tell me what Orcus has planned for the Northern coast."

"Death. Yours." the demon lifts a claw and points here and there among the crowd. "His, hers, his, that one especially, his, he'll live only to watch his family ripped apart one by one in front of them, unless he kills them first." It turns back to face the Quisitor. "And after we start with his little girl, he will."

The knight, visibly shaking, draws his blade and swings it before anyone in their shock can stop him. As the blade passes over the circle, breaking it, the demon snaps out toward the Quisitor, the sword passing harmlessly behind it.  

While their faith is as strong as any, their loyalty to dogma in the face of unholy terrors is lacking. Believing that any weapon used in the cause of good is good, these knights and clerics have been known to summon, deal, and even ally with their enemy to further the goals of goodness. The leaders of the order, Quisitors, are charged with keeping their paladins on the path of good, in spite of the tactics they use. The holy orders hunt these sects down when they find out about them, believing them to be no better than demon worshiping heretics.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Oyster Cults

As the sun set over the mudflats, the village was mostly quiet. It had been a busy day, and the hard working folks were shucking off mud caked boots and overalls and sitting down for a well deserved hot bite of supper and a cool glass of something with a little bite. The sky was awash in pastels ranging from pink and orange in the west over the water, to blue and violet in the east. The mud shimmered in the dying light.

Up in the village, two old men sit on the porch of a wooden cottage overlooking the mudflats. The short thin one, with dark skin like worn old leather squints out toward the sun.

"You'll ruin your eyes doing that." His larger but no less worn companion warns, as he tugs his soft brimmed hat lower on his head to block the sun.

"What do I have to save them for anyway?"

"Well, there's always checking out the cute things coming back from the mud."

"Like them?" the smaller one points. Down below, a line of robed figures sets out into the mud, making their way slowly away from the shore.

"Crazy cultists aren't exactly what I was talking about..."

"What are they doing?"

"They think they're aliens."

"The cultists?"

"No, the cultists think the oysters are aliens. They're out there to get... I don't know... oyster inspiration or somesuch."

"Well if that ain't the looniest thing I ain't ever heard. And I've been stuck around you all my life, so I've heard some pretty damn loony things before."

So, these guys got a little too into heavy metals (lead mostly) and they're off their collective rocker. They don't fear the reaper or the black blade, and they're no agents of fortune or anything else mystical.

They do however, have one magic item among them, a cursed mirror. In its reflection the viewer sees that which is patently untrue (oysters are aliens for example) and yet they will believe it with a fanatic's fervor. Whether that fervor is violent or not all depends on the group. If viewed by multiple people, they will all see the same untruth. Every time it is viewed by a new person (as long as no one at the time has looked into the mirror before) will see the same untruth as anyone else who has before viewed it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Night Nagas


"You must work on your pro-nun-ci-a-tion, novice." The heavily robed snake man chides.

"Yesss... I've been working on it." The illusion of humanity fades, revealing the nearly identical face of another snake man in much simpler robes. "Seilik is coaching me, but many of the wordsss are... difficult. ."

"Hence the need for practiss. Even I am not perfect." Shedding the robes, he stretches in his nakedness.

"We will not need to be perfect when we take over the town." the novice takes the dry scrub brush, and burnishes it's master's scales.

"That is foolish, novice. The man-creatures will always outnumber our Knot. And they will fear us, and become violent."

"But they are weak!"

"Individually, but their danger is in numbers. When they march, they leave only death behind, whether they fight their own, or other things. It is better to control them, play them, and keep them fat. Then we may feed without fear.

Night Nagas
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3+1* (M)
Move: 150' (40')
Attacks: 1 weapon or 1 bite
Damage: By weapon or 1d4+poison
No. Appearing: 2d4 (6d6)
Save As: F3
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: F
Intelligence: 13
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 75

Night Nagas are natural illusionists, able to camouflage their reptilian appearance and appear as a human, elf, or half-elf. Each has a unique illusionary appearance, though they are incapable of distinguishing one humanoid from another due to their generally poor eye sight. Their sense of smell, however is highly developed. Their bite attack carries a nasty poison which causes debilitating muscle cramps that half movement, and cause a -4 penalty to AC and attack rolls.

Night Nagas have a higher than usual number of wokan and shaman in their ranks. For every 6 encountered, there is usually a level 2 spellcaster (even odds as to type). And every established Knot has at least 1 spellcaster of at least level 6.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Moon Maidens

"How can they not know?" Allianora asked

The acolyte shrugged. "It's what they say. She's there, but... aside from granting spells, she doesn't communicate with them."

"And this has been checked out?"

"Oh yes. They're quite happy to allow people to come and worship her. Having a living goddess in residence makes for some impressive attendance"

"But she doesn't say anything?"

"No, but merely being in her presence is a something. You can feel the power radiating off of her..."

The avatar of the moon goddess lounges placidly in her temple, as she is adored by all those who enter her presence. If she stood, it is estimated that she would tower near 20' tall. A shadow drake, her companion, watches over her, preventing anyone from coming too close. Her headdress grows a variety of night blooming flowers, and the petals are collected by servants of the temple. These petals are instrumental in the brewing of a variety of poisons as well as useful ingredients in potions of eternal slumber, dreamspeech, and ethereality, and also highly potent reagents for rituals of prophecy.

Slight posting delay due to a cold. Apparently I don't write well under the effects of cold medicine. Go figure...

Sunday Inspirational Image: Covenant of Blood

Why are all cult rituals so messy?

by Seb McKinnon

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lich Lord's Necromancers

Standing high above in a stone pulpit carved into the shape of a coiled wyrm the necromancer rasped "The city thaws, and my lord awakens." The mob, their faces hidden by hoods and masks and paint, shifted in anticipation. "The time has come when we shall march forth at the head of my lord's host, and sweep across the land." Behind him, the wall of ice dripped. The skeletal form within glowing with a pale green light that weakly lit the entire chamber.

The mob cheered, and the necromancer droned on.

The companions, hidden by the masks and robes they stole from the now dead cultists cheered alongside the real cultists, but glanced at each other in amazement. "This has to be the most boring inspirational speech ever." Nimble muttered.

"There's gotta be something to this, other than his clear lack of charisma."

"Can we just kill him?"

"In front of everyone?" Allianora incredulously asked

"Guys, reminder; we're in the middle of a bunch of necromancer following cultists."

The necromancer continued to drone on, stopping only when the wall of ice cracked loudly behind him. The sound was sudden and sharp and the glow began to brighten.

Felstad, the city of wizards, wonders, and magics long lost was cursed. Snow fell upon it in the heat of summer. Biting winds ripped roofs from homes, toppled towers, and froze people in the streets. In less than a day, the city was lost, and for a thousand years it lay buried under that curse. No magic could pierce it. Within the city, some yet survived, though they did not live. One was the Lich Lord. Already immensely powerful, he remained trapped in the city by choice, and though much experimentation, tapped into the power of the curse. His efforts boosted his already considerable power, and weakened the curse.

Today, as the curse has been broken, and the city begins to thaw, he has sent a summons to powerful necromancers to gather at the city to help found a new Necropolis. Some answered the call, accepting the Lich Lord as patron. Others came to try to take his power.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Keepers of the Word

"How badly do we need to know?" Feris asked. He sat next to Allianora on his bed in the roadside inn. Nimble and Rathgar sat on the opposite bed. A large rough wardrobe stood next to the door of the small room, and a table between the beds held several bottles and glasses.

"Pretty badly Feris." Nimble snapped.

"That's not good enough. I know you think... I'm not being unreasonable here. Yes, I can get us the information, but it's going to come with a price."

"We can pay." Rathgar assured him.

"No. Not 'we', me. I'll pay. You don't have anything they want. They keep secrets. And for them to give up this secret, it's going to cost... More than you've got. They're going to want power. Magic. Not just an item, but a spell... they're going to want the very magic from me that makes it work. And I'll never be able to get it back."

Allianora put her hand on Feris' shoulder. "We wouldn't, we couldn't ask..."

"But it is actually that important."

Feris sighed, nodded, and stood up from the bed.

The door of the wardrobe opened into a small richly appointed waiting room. Dark wood chairs with plum cushions, heavy curtains hanging over opaque windows. green and black patterned wall paper mostly hidden by shelves full of books and trinkets and portraits of black eyed somber figures of all races and manner of formal dress.

Nimble stared at the wardrobe. "Where's my cloak?"

"Shut up Nimble." Rathgar hissed.

"Don't wait up." Feris smiled sadly and stepped through the doorway. The door slammed shut behind him.

The Keepers of the Word are a group of magical beings who collect, trade, and sell secrets. They inhabit an extradimensional library that can be accessed by simply knowing how to knock on a door, any door, the right way. They're always listening at doorways for the knock, and know not to open to combat. While they are not omniscient, they are highly versed in just about every subject under the sun, and many beyond it. Whenever they are seen, they always seem to have pitch black eyes. Ion stones (or things that look like them) hover and spin about their heads. It's not known if the number or color of stones is related to rank or knowledge.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Jade Knives

A flash of green was Nimble's only warning. Perched on the edge of the roof, there wasn't really anywhere to go except 40 feet straight down, so instead of flinching away from the knife, he moved toward it. The stab of pain in his arm just below his shoulder made him question his life's decisions up to that point. Without having seen his opponent, his own blade shot out catching something made of flesh and bone, and sinking deep into it. It crashed into him, twisted the blade from his fingers, and in a failing heap they tumbled along the edge of the roof punching, kicking, and grabbing at each other. Nimble came out on top, and slammed his fist into the face of the masked woman under him. She slumped, her eyes rolling back in her head when her nose broke.

The blood flowed freely from the gash in Nimble's arm, mixing with the blood oozing from around the dirk in her gut on the rooftop. He yanked the dark green sash from around her waist and painfully bound up his arm.

Nimble pulled the mask from her face, but didn't recognize the young woman. She probably looked better before he'd pounded her face into a red and swollen mess, but the bubbles around her mouth and nose showed she was still alive. He patted her down, and found nothing else on her. The knife was off to the side. The green blade looking almost luminous. As he reached to pick it up the world spun, and Nimble collapsed to the roof.

A flash of consciousness, more spinning, sudden and intense pain all over, and a scream.

"Hey, you're awake." Allianora smiled down at him, her face lit by sunlight streaming through colored glass windows. "You were found on the street with this wrapped around your arm. Making new friends?"

The assassins of the Jade Knife are a primarily female organization, training young rich and/or noble daughters in the art of killing. The usually operate in boarding schools, hidden among the regular staff, teaching those who show the talent and inclination.They are named for their trademark weapon, which is usually poisoned, but like most assassins they are skilled with most lighter and smaller weapons, as well as unarmed combat, poison, and anything else that they can use to cause death.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ignighters of the Malicious Inferno

Thick acrid smoke billowed up the stairwell. "How are we going to get down through that?" Nimble asked.

"I've got a wind spell that might work."

"Wait, blow the smoke back in there?" Allianora asked.

Rathgar grinned. "I like this plan! Let's hurry before they finish the ritual and summon that demon."

"Elemental Lord" Feris corrected.

"What's the difference? In the end it's just another nasty thing that's gonna kill lots of people, probably starting with those stupid cultists down there."

Feris worked his magic, and a mighty gust of wind blew down from the sky, aimed right at the stairwell, pushed the smoke back down. "Quickly, follow it!"

They ran, taking multiple stairs at a time. About half way down, the smoke began to return, but with it came a rush of voices coughing and yelling from below. The companions were down the rest of the way before the cultist's were fully recovered.

Malicious Inferno
Use 16HD elemental stats.

The entity known as the Malicious Inferno has been summoned to the material world one too many times, and the experience has driving it mad. It now actively seeks to be summoned, distributing enchanted rubies (counts as a scroll) that, after a proper destructive and expensive ritual is performed, summons it. Any wizard capable of casting 5th level spells has a chance of realizing that the ritual doesn't actually provide any control over the elemental. Some of the ritual components are sent back to it's citadel on the elemental plane, and the ruby is teleported to a random spot on the prime material plane. There are 3 of these rubies known to exist.

Until the ritual is cast, the ruby also provides some minor magical powers centered around fire, including immunity to natural cold and fire, resistance to magical cold and fire, the ability to wreath the hand holding the ruby in flames, and the ability to throw those flames. In addition, the bearer will consistently have a nimbus of flame around their head.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: Remote Temple

If your cult isn't going to be in the center of civilization, this isn't such a bad spot. Heck of a view...

By Liu Tao

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Harvester of Hearts

"My dear sweet child..." The Queen put her arm around the dejected teen. "You can't win what's not offered."

"But I love her!" he whined.

"Oh how I know! Believe me, I've been in the same position." She squeezed him tight against her bosom. "Most of us have. Loving someone who loves someone else..."

"What did you do?" He was suddenly very unsure where his hands should go, and desperately trying not to look at the cleavage mere inches from his eyes. To his horror and thrill he was pulled in even tighter.

"I? I went out and got what I wanted. I didn't let anyone or anything get in my way." Pulling him from her chest, she cupped his face in her hands, and pulled him toward her face. When they were nearly nose to nose, his eyes as wide as saucers, she said "If you want her heart... you have to take her heart. Show her you're a man. Are you up to it? Do you want her?"

He nodded, and she kissed him full on the lips.

"Good. Then let's see that you've got the tools for the job."

The following day he was back, with his beloved on his arm. "It worked." He grinned like a fool, and held up the box. The sanguine glow leaking from the edge was faint but steady.

The Queen stepped from her throne. "Congratulations, and well done." She took the box gently from the boy, and cracked the lid. "Excellent indeed..." She pulled the knife from her hip sheath and handed it to the girl. "Now cut his heart out."

As she did, the Queen added the box to the growing collection on the shelves behind the throne.

Heart Box
These magic boxes allow the owner to draw the heart from a single individual. That person can make a save vs spells. Failure means their heart has been magically removed. They will say or do anything that the holder of the box orders, an effect more powerful than any standard charm spell.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Guardians of the Glade

After days of travel the companions were tired, mud soaked, and cold, and now they found themselves surrounded by archers. Mostly elves, but a few humans and even a halfling had their weapons trained on the party. 

 One of the archers, a haughty elf approached the party.

"Please, we're-" Allianora halted as the elf raised her bow toward her.

"Have you ever stood before a god?" While his voice quivered with emotion, the arrow trained on Allianora wavered not a hair.

Shaking her head, she replied softly "No."

"Well I have. And though I'm sure you think you have a good reason to come to our glade, I assure you that you do not. Turn around and go. Now, before your bones-"

"We've come to see Gumtu." Rathgar snapped over the elf's monologue. "We have a gift... and a request." Rathgar reached over and opend the small chest in Nimble's hands. Nimble held stock still, eyes fixed on the arrow tips pointed at him, wondering how many he couldn't see.

Glances shot back and forth among them. "Who sent you?"

"My goddess." Allianora shot back, pulling her holy symbol from beneath her muddy tunic. .

"We were told to expect a delegation... we expected someone... else" he finished lamely. Around them bows we lowered and arrows returned to their quivers.

Local gods (genius loci) are not particularly powerful outside their limited sphere of influence, and are generally loathe to leave it, but on occasion they can be coaxed out of their comfort zone. Doing so usually requires a gift that they deem to be worthy of their attention. Their local worshipers tend to be about as devoted as your average brainwashed cultist, but more because the god's direct impact on their lives rather than through any untoward influence.

Guardians of the Glade
This set of seven stone animal figures, when burred around the perimeter of an area up to their necks allows anyone attuned to them to see through the stones merely by concentrating on them. Those looking through the stones can detect invisible at the least. Some sets can pierce the invisibility, see through illusions, detect magic or evil. and the most powerful sets are said to be able to prevent things from crossing the marked perimeter.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fellowship of the Fallen Angel

The sigils painted on the wood of the stage held her more firmly than any cage could, but none of the fools kneeling before her would ever see them.

"Say it" The voice hissed from behind her. The nails in her wings twisted as he flexed her wings, bolts of pure agony shooting through her body. Knowing his soul was damned was little consolation.

"I come with a message to all faithful beings!" A blood dripped down her back, a drop for every tear she couldn't shed. "You have been chosen. Your souls guaranteed a place in paradise!" The crowd of villagers gasped, and a murmur of voices rose up. "But even... paradise isn't without it's price. Tonight," she swallowed hard "tonight you must purge the unbelievers among you. Those who give false witness. Those who are not true. As dawn breaks, return here to receive your reward." The lights all instantly go out.

Moments later, a single light illuminates the stage, and standing where the angel had been is man in black red trimmed robes. At his feet is a small chest. "You have heard the glad tidings!" his voice cheers from the shadows of the hood. "Come forward, you of pure heart, you who wish to receive paradise. Within this chest is the key to your ascension."

The crowd surged forward, and multiple hands reached forward to open the box. The gleam of steel shined from the box, and there was a collective pause as the knives came into view.

"Purge these who do not deserve..." the robed man urged "And at dawn you will receive everything you desire!"

Behind the curtain, the angle silently sobbed in her prison.

Hesitantly at first, and then with growing fervor, the knives were taken from the box... It would be a red dawn, and the ritual would be complete! With the temple now empty, the man in the robe called his fellow cultists to inscribe the floor for the ritual. 

To Summon A Pit Fiend you must first capture and break a divine being. Lesser angels are best for this. The process is involved, and is more thoroughly detailed in chapter 66-6. In short, you must trap them using enocian script, hide them from being scried, and then torture them until they break. Do not reveal your plans, lest the angel work to specifically foil them. They are tricky creatures, do not be fooled by their acts of innocence. The angel must then cause mortal souls to engage in bloody sinful behavior. At least 3 dozen must die by the hands of their fellow mortals. Following that, they must sacrifice themselves with the same bloody weapons. Once the last falls, use the blood to inscribe the symbols below into the already prepared summoning circle. See diagrams 1-5 below. Once done, the angel must be doused with holy oil and burned alive in the center of the circle.

Note that control of the demon is not imparted by this ritual. See Chapter 86-7 for rituals to bind major demons.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Frostgrave: Fountains and Fell Huts

On Saturday 4/2 We got together to play the 3rd game of our local campaign. All 7 players in the group made it out for this game, and we ran the Haunted Huts and Well of Dreams and Sorrow scenarios. There were a total of 12 huts and 2 wells on the board.

Chris, our gracious host, has already posted his report on the game here.
Don posted his here.

My force consisted of the following:
Ziwong Lingzhu - Necromancer 1
Ziwang Puren - Apprentice
Sir Hellsbane - Knight
Rathgar - Man-At-Arms
Deadeye - Marksman
Longshot - Crossbowman
Knuckles - Thug
Hook - Thug
Fagan - Thief
Dome - Thief
Princess - Dog

The board at setup. My huts and DDS terrain included.

Deploying my force. I split them into two major groups. The  apprentice was going after the treasure on the hill. The wizard was going straight for the 100xp for drinking from the fountain.

Chris (and his illusionist Kodak), the host was directly across from me, while Don (and his druid/witch) was to my right.

Lingzhu makes it to the fountain, and drinks before anyone else can spit into it. He didn't see the snow leopard stalking up behind him however. Sir Hellsbane stands between his master and Kodak's forces.

Puren the apprentice and his force head for the treasures on the hill.

The cat arrives, followed by Lingzhu's bodyguards.

As is typical when facing Don's animals, they do more than their fair share of damage to my force, this time taking out both Lingzhu and Dome the thief.

Up on the hill things get rough. Chris' apprentice falls victim to several bone darts and crossbow bolts, but the arrival of the archers makes things less than fun. Only the emergence of a wraith in the hut cause them to flee, which gives Fagan the chance to grab the treasure at the top of the hill.

Sir Hellsbane tried to snag a treasure from Chris' thief, but is ganged up on, and bites it.

So many monsters on the table. Besides an unexpectedly high number of wraiths (1/4 chance in each hut, with 12 huts, and we had I think 5 wraiths on the board, and no one had any magic weapons to fight them with) there were also a bunch of random encounters, including rats, wild dogs, a vampire, a mummy, and two toads (above) that were making life difficult for my thief trying to sneak off with a treasure. .

Don's ranger and marksman (or crossbowman?) closing in on my force to try to take more treasure.

It's hard to see, but next to the outhouse is my felled apprentice. Dropped by a crossbow bolt.

Hook trying for one more treasure. He summons a wraith, runs and hides, and then runs back in when the wraith goes the right way away from my force and toward Don's marksman! Hook books it toward the board edge.

My casualties! Princess and Dome the Thief both suffer mortal wounds. Lingzhu decides to replace princess with a skeleton dog the next time he ventures into Frostgrave.

The guys who got the gold! 180 gold are recovered, as well as a grimoire and a Fate Stone! In spite of Lingzhu's being knocked out of the game early, he still manages to go from level 1 to level 4 thanks to Hook and Fagan and drinking from the fountain! Puren's spells helped too.