Posts Tagged ‘Aberration’

Quick announcement: The meaty World Builder Blog posts will now come every Thursday, since episodes of Have Spellbook, Will Travel drop on Wednesdays and I don’t want to overload you.

Time for even more aberrations!

A few weeks ago I made the case for needing more high challenge rating aberrations than the ones in the Monster Manual for my soon-to-be-published Exploration Age campaign setting. There’s only 19 total aberration stat blocks in the book, and the highest CR is 14 (beholder in lair), so you might want some more aberrations for your world too! That’s why I’m sharing them on this blog.

In that post I showed off the Lovecraft-inspired moonbeast. Then in a later post I presented my hound of Tindalos and after that my gug. In this post I’m showing off my fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons version of the dimensional shambler!

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rich Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rich Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Dimensional Shambler

Dimensional shamblers are 5-foot tall hairless beasts of humanoid form. Tight grey and red skin binds their unnerving crouched form. Their hands sport cruel claws and their almost simian head can open terrifyingly wide to reveal rows of canine teeth. Very little is known about their motivations, but theories abound.

Hunters of Intelligent Life. Dimensional shamblers cross the multiverse using their innate plane-shifting abilities looking for prey. While no one is certain what exactly attracts shamblers to a particular prey, they seem to be drawn to intelligent humanoids who use magic to travel to and summon creatures from other planes. While such victims appear to be a shambler’s preferred target, they are known to abduct any creature with above animal intelligence. A shambler can spend years tracking a single target.

Soul-Devouring Torturers. While dimensional shamblers are powerful combatants and known to kill large groups of humanoids, they much prefer to drag off a single intelligent creature from a fight. They will carry these victims to forgotten corners of the multiverse and bathe them in a ooze-like substance called gray mire. The gray mire painfully devours and nourishes a victim over the course of weeks as the shambler watches, never resting. Eventually the victim’s body is completely destroyed by the mire, leaving only their soul which is devoured by the shambler.

Power in Numbers. While dimensional shamblers often work alone, they do cross paths in the multiverse. Sometimes these horrors agree to work together to capture prey. A strange bond forms between shamblers who agree to work together, increasing each’s power exponentially.

Dimensional Shambler

Medium aberration, chaotic evil


Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 171 (18d8 + 90)

Speed 30 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
20 (+5)  16 (+3) 20 (+5) 10 (+0) 14 (+2) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Dex +7, Int +4, Wis +6, Cha +9

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Damage Immunities psychic

Condition Immunities exhaustion, charmed

Skills Perception +6, Stealth +7, Survival +7

Senses truesight 120 ft. passive perception 16

Languages Deep Speech, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)


Aggressive Plane Shift. When the shambler casts plane shift any creatures it is grappling must succeed on a DC 17 Charisma saving throw or be teleported with the shambler. If the shambler is touching an unconscious creature when it casts this spell, that creature is automatically transported with the shambler.

Hypnotic Presence. Creatures who start their turns within 30 feet of the shambler and can see the creature must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 minute. A paralyzed creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the shambler’s Hypnotic Presence (and the hypnotice presence of all dimensional shamblers) for the next 24 hours.

Spellcasting. The shambler’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 17). The shambler can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

At-will: dimension door, misty step

3/day: dominate monsterplane shift, telekinesis

Strength in Numbers. The DC of the shambler’s spells and Hypnotic Presence ability increases by 1 (to a maximum of 20) for every other dimensional shambler within 100 feet on the same plane.

Actions

Multiattack. The shambler can make three attacks: two with its claws, and one with its bite.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) piercing damage.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) slashing damage and the target is grappled (escaped DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and the shambler can’t use its claws to attack another target.

Create Gray Mire. The shambler touches any 10-foot-square area of natural ground such as dirt, stone, grass, sand, or ice and it becomes a 5-f00t-deep pool of gray mire. Creatures who enter or start their turns in the area must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 24 hours. During this time the gray mire nourishes them, so they don’t need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but it also eats away at their flesh, dealing 1 necrotic damage which cannot be reduced in anyway. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken effect. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest outside of a pool of gray mire. If a creature’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0 by this effect, it is consumed by the pool and any dimensional shamblers nearby regain 171 hit points. At the end of 24 hours of being paralyzed, the creature must succeed on another DC 17 Constitution saving throw or suffer the same effect if it still in the pool.

The pool counts as difficult terrain. Creatures who start their turn in the pool or enter the pool on their turn must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or become grappled by the mire until the start of their next turn. A creature who is in the pool can be pulled out of it by another creature not in the pool who can reach the creature in the pool with a DC 17 Strength check made as an action. Being pulled from the pool ends any grappled or paralyzed condition caused by the mire.

Dimensional shamblers are immune to the effects of the gray mire.

PDF

Would you like this Lovecraftian beastie to threaten your players’ characters? Grab it now in its own PDF or alongside a lot of Exploration Age’s monsters! Like the icebreaker shark, gaping maw, morchia, and mystauk.

Dimensional Shambler

All Monsters

If you liked these creatures be sure to check out my other offerings in the Free Game Resources section of this site and my Pay What You Want products on the DMs Guild for backgrounds, magic items, optional rules, and more.

Playtest it up!

Now I ask you my readers to please go forth and test this nasty. Throw it at your players and see how they fare! If you have any feedback for my monster please leave it in the comments below or email me (james.introcaso@gmail.com). If you tell me your name and the names of your players I’ll give you credit as playtesters in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Let’s make some more aberrations!

A few weeks ago I made the case for needing more high challenge rating aberrations than the ones in the Monster Manual for my soon-to-be-published Exploration Age campaign setting. There’s only 19 total aberration stat blocks in the book, and the highest CR is 14 (beholder in lair), so you might want some more aberrations for your world too! That’s why I’m sharing them on this blog.

In that post I showed off the Lovecraft-inspired moonbeast. Then in a later post I presented my hound of Tindalos. In this post I’m showing off my fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons version of the gug!

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rich Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rich Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Gug

Gugs are fur-covered, vertically mouthed, bug-eyed, spindly limbed giants. These horrifying creatures are constantly hungry and able to fit in almost any space. The aberrations stalk deep underground tunnels for unsuspecting prey.

Driven by Hunger. The gugs’ strange metabolism means the beast is always hungry. As such these alien monsters eat anything that has flesh – living or undead. They will even eat another gug if starving, but the creatures are civilized and only resort to such actions when desperate.

Smart Stalkers. Gugs’ hunger keeps them on the prowl, making them dangerous hunters. Practiced gugs surprise their prey by using their odd, flexible anatomies to drop from impossibly high cave ceilings and leaping out of tiny crevasses. Gugs are used to feeling hungry, so they are patient when hunting, waiting for days clinging to a wall or shoved into a crack.

Cities of Gugs. Gugs live together in the deepest underground caverns in enormous cities of massive towers. A single king or queen has absolute control over the lives of all the other gugs in the city. When the gugs return to the city after a hunt, they must bring a portion of each kill to the monarch.

Gug

Huge aberration, chaotic evil


Armor Class 20 (natural armor)

Hit Points 262 (21d12 + 126)

Speed 50 ft., climb 50 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
26 (+8)  20 (+5) 22 (+6) 14 (+2) 20 (+5) 14 (+2)

Saving Throws Dex +11, Int +8, Wis +11, Cha +12

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned, prone

Skills Perception +11, Stealth +11, Survival +11

Senses darkvision 120 ft. passive perception 21

Languages Deep Speech, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 19 (22,000 XP)


Amorphous. The gug can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Fall Damage Immunity. The gug can fall any distance and does not take fall damage.

Horrifying Visage. Creatures who start their turns within 30 feet of the gug and can see the creature must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of the gug for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the gug’s Horrifying Visage for the next 24 hours.

Magic Resistance. The gug has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Magic Weapons. The gug’s weapon attacks are magical.

Spider Climb. The gug can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Actions

Multiattack. The gug can make five attacks: four with its claws, and one attack with its bite or swallow.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (3d10 + 8) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 20). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the gug can’t bite another target.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d8 + 8) slashing damage.

Swallow. The gug makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the gug. A swallowed creature takes 35 (10d6) acid damage at the start of its turn. If a swallowed creature dies as a result of taking acid damage from this ability, the gug regains 50 hit points.

If the gug takes 50 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the gug must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the gug. If the gug dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone.

PDF

Would you like this Lovecraftian beastie to threaten your players’ characters? Grab it now in its own PDF or alongside a lot of Exploration Age’s monsters! Like the icebreaker shark, gaping maw, morchia, and mystauk.

All Monsters

Gug

If you liked these creatures be sure to check out my other offerings in the Free Game Resources section of this site and my Pay What You Want products on the DMs Guild for backgrounds, magic items, optional rules, and more.

Playtest it up!

Now I ask you my readers to please go forth and test this nasty. Throw it at your players and see how they fare! If you have any feedback for my monster please leave it in the comments below or email me (james.introcaso@gmail.com). If you tell me your name and the names of your players I’ll give you credit as playtesters in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

So I’ve been on vacation so I don’t have much new to share in today’s post.

Instead I’m giving you a new version of the Prison for Dragons adventure. I’ve had a lot of folks downloading and checking out the adventure and got some great feedback from folks. I’ve really changed two things…

  1. I’ve added some space between the columns so the words don’t run together.
  2. Someone on the EN World forums pointed out there might be a copyright issue with a specific term for undead dragons (it rhymes with “lacodrich”) which I have now changed to “undead dragon mage.”

Prison for Dragons is a fifth edition adventure for four to six level 12 PCs.

Below is a link to the updated version of the adventure in a nice, downloadable, FREE PDF. You can grab it in the link below or you can head on over to the Free Game Resources section of the site where it will live forever alongside plenty of other resources for your game like monstersD&D fifth edition rules modules, backgroundsspells, magic items, and more.

Prison for Dragons

Maps

I’ve got more links below of the individual dungeon maps, both with and without grids, for you to use however you like. Personally, I’ll be bringing them right into Roll20 as I play through with my group.

All these maps were made using Pyromancers‘ Dungeon Painter tool. I love it! So fast, easy, web-based and free!

All of these maps also live on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

Gridless

Shuzal 1 No Grid 57x66 Shuzal 3 No Grid 100x100 Shuzal 2 No Grid 131x63 Shuzal 4 No Grid 102x100

Gridded

Shuzal 1 Grid 57x66 Shuzal 3 Grid 100x100 Shuzal 2 Grid 131x63 Shuzal 4 Grid 102x100

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

It’s time for part six of the prison for dragons series! If you’ve been following these posts than you know that the dungeon I’m building in each entry is inspired by this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme, “Unusual Dungeons,” which was chosen by Nils Jeppe of Enderra.

The dungeon I’m creating is a prison made to hold dragons built by aberrations. Here’s all the blog posts I’ve written about the subject so far.

  • Part I – A general overview of dragon prisons
  • Part II – The historical background and character hooks of a specific dragon prison, Shuzal
  • Part III – A description of the area surrounding Shuzal and a table of random encounters
  • Part IV – The surface level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel
  • Part V – The lower level of Shuzal’s ruined entrance citadel

So now it’s time to tackle Part VI – The upper level of Shuzal.

The Upper Level of Shuzal

Shuzal 5

In the demiplane where Shuzal is found everything was engineered toward keeping dragons in their cells. The aberrations didn’t count on losing the war and they certainly didn’t count on a tiefling necromancer turning one of the prisoners into a dracolich. Now that necromancer, Akros Sepora, rules the surface level of Shuzal and is building an army of undead ogres to destroy her old home, the Amber Spire.

One of Sepora’s soldiers, a vampire ogre named Sveja the Crow, was created only a month before. Sepora created the intelligent undead as an experiment to see if she could control captains who could command her undead armies in battle. Sveja despises Sepora, but is bound to do her bidding, which includes making forays back into the entrance citadel’s catacombs to murder her Ox Tribe friends and family to add undead to Sepora’s army. Sveja is looking for a way to break her thrall and the PCs could be just the solution she needs.

Features of the Area

Illumination. The sky of the demiplane shines a red light through thick, impenetrable clouds and braziers burn bright in the guardhouse. The entirety of Shuzal’s upper level is bathed in bright light.

Ageless. While on the demiplane creatures do not age and require no food or water to survive.

Braziers. The braziers in Shuzal are powered by the aberrant magic of the prison and never go out. A creature who moves into or starts its turn in the same space as the brazier takes 5 (1d10) fire damage.

Finite Demiplane. The edges of the map are impenetrable walls of reality. This demiplane is finite and creatures can travel no further than the walls. The cloud layer of the plane sits at 100 feet above the ground and this too cannot be pierced in any way. A creature burrowing into the ground finds it cannot dig further than 100 feet for that is the bottom of the plane.

Limited Flight. Creatures who can fly who are not aberrations or constructs cannot fly higher than 20 feet above the ground. The strange gravity of the aberrant magic holds them close to the ground.

Psychic Moat. The moat around Shuzal is a torrent of crackling psychic liquid. If a creature falls into the moat, its senses are completely assaulted and overwhelmed. That creature must make a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw. Creatures who fail take 55 (10d10) psychic damage and contract a random form of short term madness. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not stricken with madness.

Towers. The towers of Shuzal are solid adamantine pillars with arcane cannons on top. The helmed horrors in Shuzal know how to operate the cannons.

Walls. The walls of Shuzal rise 50 feet into the sky and dive 100 feet below the ground to the bottom of the demiplane. The walls, gates, and doors of every structure here are adamantine (AC 23, HP 300, damage threshold 50). The walls are perfectly smooth and trying to scale them without a rope requires a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check.

Arcane Cannon

Large object

Armor Class: 20

Hit Points: 100

Damage Immunities: poison, psychic

Special alchemical canisters are loaded into the muzzle of these magically reinforced cannons. The gems along the barrel of the cannon can be charged with magical energy which is used to propel and explode the canister.

An arcane cannon is supported in a metal frame fixed to the top of the towers. Before it can be fired the cannon must be loaded and aimed. It takes one action to load the weapon, one action to aim it, and one action to fire it. The weapon must be fired by a spellcaster or helmed horror, who feeds an amount of magical energy akin to casting a cantrip into the cannon.

Force Canister. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 800/3,200 ft., one target. Hit: 55 (10d10) force damage.

Frost Canister. The frost canister can be shot 800 feet. It explodes in a 30-foot-radius sphere on impact. Creatures within the area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (4d10) cold damage and have their speed reduced by 10 feet for one minute. Creatures who succeed take half damage and do not have their speed reduced. A creature whose speed is reduced in this way may repeat the saving throw at the end of its turn, ending the reduced speed effect on a success.

Lightning Canister. The lighting canister can be shot 800 feet. It explodes in a 20-foot-radius sphere. Creatures in the area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 33 (6d10) lightning damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage.

C1 – The Portal

A sky and wall made of red clouds crackling with energy encloses the area you have just entered as you climb through the well. Across a river of bubbling blue energy looms an enormous black structure, the prison of Shuzal. High walls enclosing something long forgotten, but still active.

Normally an alarm would go off in area C9 when the portal is activated, but since Sveja the Crow is watching the monolith which controls the prison. She immediately quiets the alarm and watches the adventurers, using the monolith’s magic. She wants to gauge their strength and hopes they will free her from Sepora’s thrall.

Random Encounters. As the PCs spend time trying to figure out how to enter Shuzal, they may run into some of the denizens of the upper level of the demiplane. Sepora isn’t expecting an invasion, but she knows her attacks on the Ox Tribe have begun to draw attention so she keeps patrols wandering the area.

For every ten minutes the PCs spend outside the walls of Shuzal roll on the table below to see if a random encounter occurs.

d10 Encounter
1 – 6 No encounter
7 Psychic moat tendril
8 1d6 + 5 ogre skeletons
9 1d6 + 5 ogre zombies
10 1d4 + 1 helmed horrors

Psychic Moat Tendril. Sepora has been tinkering with the aberrant magic of the demiplane and now the psychic moat sometimes experiences energy surges as a result. If you roll this result, the next time a PC comes within 30 feet of the moat, a tendril of psychic energy reaches out and attacks the PC with a +8 bonus to the attack roll. If the attack hits the PC takes 5 (1d10) psychic damage, is grappled (escape DC 15), and is pulled 10 feet toward the moat. The tendril remains attached to the PC and continues to pull it 10 feet at the end of each round. The tendril retreats back into the moat if the PC escapes or if it is dealt 50 damage. The tendril has AC 15 and is immune to poison and psychic damage.

Raise the Alarm. If the PCs encounter enemies, combat longer than 5 rounds attracts the eye of the four helmed horrors working the walls, who alert the rest of the complex by firing off the arcane cannons at the PCs.

C2 – The Gates of Shuzal

A massive adamantine drawbridge creates the front gate of Shuzal. Currently the door is drawn up and perfectly flush against Shuzal’s wall.

Four helmed horrors float along the tops of Shuzal’s walls, ready to raise an alarm by firing the arcane cannon if they notice any enemies with their passive Perception 14.

The monolith in area C9 controls the drawbridge. If the PCs cannot figure out a way to cross the moat or scale Shuzal’s walls, Sveja the Crow uses the monolith to lower the drawbridge, hoping they’ll storm the prison.

C3 – Shuzal’s Grounds

Inside the black walls of Shuzal, the first thing to draw your eye is a deep pit in the middle of the grounds shielded by a field of blue energy. Behind this pit lurk three dome-shaped buildings connected by adamantine-enclosed hallways. The middle building is the largest standing 40 feet high, while the two smaller buildings are only 20 feet in height and much smaller around.

Eight ogre skeletons and eight ogre zombies patrol the grounds within Shuzal’s walls. If they are aware of the PCs or if the four helmed horrors on the wall raise the alarm, the undead converge on the PCs and attack. If things seem to be going the PCs’ way, more reinforcements from area C5 come to take on the PCs.

If a battle breaks out, there is a 10% chance at the end of every round of combat that a helmed horror patrolling the grounds outside of Shuzal flies over the wall to join the fray. Sveja the Crow makes sure the drawbridge is raised once the PCs are inside to make sure skeletons and zombies in the outside of Shuzal do not have a way back in.

Facing the enemy directly is a deadly encounter for the PCs. Make sure they are aware of the risks before they rush headlong into the battle.

C4 – The Pit

The pit here drops 100 feet to area D1.

Energy Field. The energy field here is controlled by the monolith in area C9. Any non-dragon creature can pass through the field without a problem, but creatures of the dragon type are stopped in their tracks. For the purposes of this energy field, dragonborn count as humanoids and are unaffected by the field.

C5 – Welcome Chamber

This adamantine chamber is flickers with the light of braziers and is filled with undead.

The ceiling in this chamber rises 30 feet. Sepora cleared out all the furniture and decoration in this room and uses it to store reserve troops. Eight ogre skeletons and eight ogre zombies stay here. If a battle breaks out in the grounds and the PCs appear to have victory close at hand, four ogre skeletons and four ogre zombies exit this area to join the fray in area C3. Sepora always has some undead stay back to guard her.

C6 – Abandoned Construct Lab

A large pit toward the back of the room is the only feature of note here aside from the braziers.

Three ogre wraiths (same statistics as a normal wraith, but size is Large) float about this room. They are an angry experiment gone wrong, but Sepora has managed to use her magic to keep them confined to this room. They abhor all life, even Sepora, and will attack anything that lives.

This room was once a laboratory for building and repairing constructs, but Sepora used all its resources and needed the place to store undead soldiers (and then later a place to bind the wraiths). All of the furniture and tools from this room and area C5 have been broken up and placed into the pit.

Pit. The pit is 30 feet deep, but 20 feet of the pit is filled with broken pieces of furniture and tools. A creature who falls into the pit takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage and 3 (1d6) piercing damage after landing prone.

Treasure. Searching the pit with a successful DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds a diamond worth 5,000 gp. Sepora bound the wraiths to this diamond and they must remain within 30 feet of it at all times.

C7 – Meeting Room

The small room has a stone table set with plush chairs and a bubbling fountain shaped like a many-tentacled beast nearby.

This quiet room was a place for aberration guards to hold meetings or socialize while not on duty.

The Fountain. A creature who drinks from the fountain regains 19 (6d4 + 6) hit points. The creature can only regain hit points from the fountain in this way once per day.

C8 – Sepora’s Chambers

A purple bed at the back of the room, a pool of red water, a bookshelf, a table, two chairs, and a chest are all which can be seen in this room… oh, and a hulking construct made of stone and steel which runs at you.

Akros Sepora is in this chamber, but odds are by now she knows the PCs are headed her way. She quickly casts improved invisibility on herself and climbs the walls of the chamber using her rod of arachna. She then sends her shield guardian to attack the PCs as they enter the room.

If Sepora’s shield guardian dies and she drops to less than half her hit points she tries to negotiate with the PCs. She first offers them the location of the diamond in area C6, hoping the wraiths will tear them apart. If the PCs don’t go for this she tells them that Maxathaltros, a silver dragon held below, has a large treasure hoard which he will use to reward any person who frees him. She offers to help the PCs get to the lower level of Shuzal and hopes the dragons finish them off.

Bookshelf. Sepora’s bookshelf holds her spellbook which contains all the spells she has prepared as well as another 20 spells of your choice. Remember Akros specializes in necromancy.

Pool. The pool of red liquid here is contact poison which sprays in a 20-foot cone originating from the pool at the end of each round in a direction of Sepora’s choosing.

Creatures in the cone must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 11 (2d10) poison damage and are poisoned. Creatures who fail take half damage and are not poisoned.

Treasure. The adamantine chest (AC 23, HP 100) in this room is locked and requires a successful DC 20 Dexterity check made with thieves tools to pick the lock or a DC 22 Strength check to force the chest open. If an attempt to pick the lock fails or the chest is forced open, the poison mister trap activates (see below).

Inside the chest are two diamonds worth 1,000 gp each, some robes made for Sepora, a journal which details all of Sepora’s exploits against the Ox Tribe and hatred of the Amber Spire, and a wrist spider.

Sepora carries, a key to the chest, a rod of arachna, and the amulet used to control the shield guardian.

Poison Mister Trap. A nozzle connected to a vial of poison gas is hidden in the chest’s lock. When the trap is triggered the nozzle creates a 15-foot cone of gas originating from the lock. Creatures within the cone must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (4d10) poison damage and are poisoned for 1 hour. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not poisoned. A DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap’s presence from alterations made to the lock to accommodate the nozzle and vial. A DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disarms the trap, removing the nozzle and gas vial from the lock.

C9 – Monolith Room

As you enter this room a magic hum can be felt deep within your chest. A large ogre with glowing red eyes and sharp fangs bows as you enter the room, standing before a massive glowing pillar.

The Shuzal monolith in this room allows for monitoring and controlling various aspects of Shuzal. Sveja the Crow watches over the monolith by order of Sepora. Sveja was told by Sepora to guard the monolith and let no one touch it, so if the PCs attempt to use the device while Sepora is alive, Sveja must attack them.

Monolith. The Shuzal monolith is a magic item which can be attuned to up to three creatures at once. It is attuned to Sveja and Sepora at the start of the adventure. A creature must spend 1 hour with at least one hand or body part touching the monolith to become attuned to it.

While standing adjacent to the Shuzal monolith an attuned creature immediately knows if the portal into Shuzal’s demiplane has been activated.

Creatures attuned to the monolith can use the following actions when they are touching the pillar.

  • Cast scrying anywhere within the prison or demiplane
  • Raise or lower the drawbridge in C2
  • Turn the energy field over the pit on and off in C4 (this requires at least two creatures attuned to the Shuzal monolith to use their actions in the same round)
  • Activate the enormous psychic net in area D1

Sveja the Crow. Sveja the Crow does not wish to fight the PCs. She wants them to kill Sepora and free her from the necromancer’s thrall. She believes the PCs can take out the necromancer and if they haven’t by the time they approach Sveja, the vampire is very blunt in her request. Kill Sepora and Sveja will tell the PCs all she knows about the complex. She tells them she must attack them if they touch the monolith and explains why if given the time.

If the PCs have already killed Sepora, Sveja has watched the event through the monolith and expresses her gratitude.

When Sepora is dead, Sveja tells the PCs that Kerrinalastraya is planning on breaking out of her prison and has the means to do so. If she gets out it could spell disaster for any who feel her wrath. Sveja is worried that her Ox Tribe family will be the first to go.

If this doesn’t appeal to the PCs, Sveja tries to tempt them into the lower levels by telling them they aberrations kept weapons of great power in their vaults and now Kerrinalastraya is using them to escape the prison. If they stop Kerrinalastraya perhaps some of those weapons could be theirs!

Sveja will help the PCs in any way she can… from the upper level of the demiplane. She fears Kerrinalastraya’s power as does not want to fall into the thrall of another soon after escaping the grasp of Sepora.

Next Time…

…let’s head into the cell block!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of “Unusual Dungeons” chosen by Nils Jeppe of Enderra has inspired a series of blog posts about some abandoned prisons built to hold dragons by aberrations. So far I’ve written about dragon prisons in general, the specific history of the prison of Shuzal, and the area surrounding Shuzal. Now I’m going to flesh out Shuzal post by post and hopefully have a nice dungeon to show for it in the end. My plan is to put it all into a PDF and throw it up on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

The Ruined Entrance Citadel

Shuzal Entrance Citadel Map

Built in Pyromancers online Dungeon Painter.

Shuzal’s entrance citadel lies in overgrown forest ruins, picked over by the ogres of the Ox Tribe. Having been exposed to the elements for thousands of years, the citadel’s roof has collapsed, walls have crumbled, and trees have grown right through the floor. While the Ox Tribe has some guards posted on this first level of the citadel, most of its members are out raiding or living life in the underground section of the complex.

As you trek through the forest, through the trees you can see curved stone structures rising from the ground. These walls seem to have grown as naturally as the trees growing amongst them. Though crumbling and forgotten there is no mistaking the strange curvature of the walls, identifying this structure as something built by aberrations.

Features of the Area

Illumination. Because there is no ceiling on the ruined citadel, it has the same illumination as the forest directly outside.

Crumbling Walls. The citadel’s 20-foot-high surface level walls are on their last legs. A Small or larger creature adjacent to a wall can use its action to make a DC 15 Strength check to know over a 5-foot section of the wall. Creatures on the opposite side of the wall must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage. Creatures who are adjacent to a wall can be knocked through the wall by another creature using the shove attack or a spell which causes forced movement. The creature being moved must be adjacent to the wall before the shove happens or spell is cast, otherwise the wall stops them in their tracks as normal. A creature pushed through a wall takes 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage. Trying to climb one of the walls requires a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check. Creatures who fail this check break the section of wall they are trying to climb, taking 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage in addition to fall damage as normal. The ogres in this complex do not hesitate to knock over the walls to make more room for their bulk.

Open Spaces. The destroyed ceiling and crumbling walls of Shuzal mean that anything happening within the citadel can be heard in all other areas on this level of the complex, except in area A7, which has maintained its roof and door. If battle breaks out or a wall is destroyed, any Ox Tribe members in the complex converge on the source of the noise. Consider breaking enemies into waves based on the rooms they start in. If a fight breaks out, bring in a new wave at the end of the round whenever the PCs outnumber the enemies they are currently fighting. Keep the pressure on in this dungeon brawl.

Rubble. The Ox Tribe ogres have pushed the rubble into large piles which hampers less-than-ogre-sized creatures. Rubble is considered difficult terrain for Medium and smaller creatures.

Trees. The trees growing in this area are 20 feet tall and require a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check to climb. Medium or smaller creatures who climb 10 feet or more into a tree have the benefit of half cover thanks to the branches.

A1 & A2 – Guard-Houses

As you enter the ruined citadel, gaping holes in the wall can be seen on both sides of the hall. A foul stench, laughter, and gross eating noises come from the West side of the hall. Low grumbling and the clatter of small stones on large stones can be heard from the East.

Eight ogres are on guard duty, four in each guard-house. In A1 the ogres sit eating the bodies of four dead human merchants and telling each other bawdy jokes. In A2 the ogres play a game with dice.

Treasure. The hungry ogres in A1 shoved the tattered clothing of the merchants into the corner of the room behind a pile of rubble and can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character searching through the clothing discovers a blood-stained belt pouch containing 302 gp.

A3 – Tunnel Room

The most prominent feature of this room is the large, gaping hole in the floor, which drops 15 feet onto a ruined stone floor.

If the ogres are in this room, add:

Two large ogres turn to face you as you enter the room. One rushes toward you, the other heads for the hole.

This room used to be the aberrations well-guarded stairwell to the lower portions of the citadel. Now the stair well lies in ruin and two ogres stand guard. If trouble breaks out, one of the ogres heads down below to warn the rest of the tribe.

Tunnel. The tunnel here is really a hole in the ground which drops 15 feet. The height is high enough for large creatures (like ogres) to safely lower themselves down, but smaller creatures need to use rope, magic, or some other method to safely touch down on the lower level of the citadel.

A4 – Training Room

This long room has walls painted with faded frescos of dragons falling in battle before aberrations. On the side of the East wall, a large column painted with various targets lies in ruin.

If the ogres and oni are in this room, add:

An oni feverishly lectures two ogres who hang their heads in shame and fear.

This is the place where aberration guards would practice their combat tactics. Any who wished to access the lower levels of the citadel and the portal to Shuzal would have to pass aberration soldiers ready for combat. Now two ogres and an oni are here. The ogres came to blows over a shiny stone one of them found. The oni has taken the stone for herself and is currently lecturing the ogres about fighting each other while on guard duty.

Treasure. The oni carries a topaz worth 500 gp on a pouch in its belt.

A5 – Processing Room

This forgotten room has a smashed, divot-filled column which was once inlaid with some sort of stones. The smashed pile of rubble in the corner of the room was clearly an old piece of furniture.

This forgotten room is where polymorphed dragon prisoners were brought for processing. The column, once full of magically charged gemstones, forced a permanent zone of truth spell in room. The pile of rubble in this room is a smashed stone desk which held the files of the aberrations, since plundered or lost to the ravages of time.

Treasure. A DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals there is still a large spinel worth 250 gp on the underside of the column. A character can reach under and try to pry out the spinel with a DC 15 Strength check.

A6 – Golem Workshop

A smashed bench and some rusty old tools lie on the round in this room. Faded frescos on the wall depict various aberrations assembling guardians of stone, flesh, and metal.

If the clay golem is here, add:

In the middle of the room stands a silent statue made of clay, resembling a human with tentacles for arms.

One of the onis of the Ox Tribe found this old golem workshop and managed to magically reprogram the clay golem here to work for her. The clay golem guards this level of the complex and runs toward any sounds of battle and attacks any non-Ox Tribe creatures it comes across.

A7 – The Key Room

As the adamantine door opens, a heavy purple mist floats out of the door around your ankles. Inside the room, a great adamantine chest sits behind a huge creature made of iron. Its three heads look your way as it raises its sword. Its feet crush the skeletons of ogres as it moves toward you.

This room was setup long ago by the aberrations to guard one of Shuzal’s portal keys. The ogres have left the room untouched after many attempts to get to the chest failed thanks to the iron golem guardian and the mists within the room. This room is entirely enclosed, has a 20-foot high ceiling, and is shrouded in darkness, though opening the door and leaving it open allows for light from the outside to penetrate the room. The iron golem here does not join battle unless it can see intruders (and it considers the Ox Tribe intruders as well). Its main function is to guard the chest.

Jammed Door. The adamantine door (AC 23, HP 100) to this room has been jammed by the ogres. It can be forced open with a DC 20 Strength check.

Mists of Madness. This mist covers the entirety of the floor in area A7. When a living creature shows any sign of above animal intelligence (such as speaking, casting a spell, using tools or a weapon, etc.) while standing within the mists, the mists rise up and try to enter the creature’s lungs. When the mists try to enter a creature’s body, that creature must first succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails that saving throw, it must then succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or gain one form of long-term madness. Creatures who are aware they are standing in mists of madness have advantage on the Constitution saving throw. A DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals the nature of the trap. A strong wind forces the mists to dissipate in 1d10 rounds.

Treasure. The adamantine chest (AC 23, HP 100) is locked. The key to this chest is long forgotten, but a DC 20 Dexterity check made with thieves tools picks the lock or a DC 20 Strength check forces the lock open. If the lock is forced open with a Strength check or if a creature attempts to pick the lock and fails, the poison mister trap (see below) triggers. The chest contains a Shuzal portal key, a rod of planar entrapment, and fifteen pearls carved to look like eyes (worth 100 gp each).

Poison Mister Trap. A nozzle connected to a vial of poison gas is hidden in the chest’s lock. When the trap is triggered the nozzle creates a 15-foot cone of gas originating from the lock. Creatures within the cone must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (4d10) poison damage and are poisoned for 1 hour. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not poisoned. A DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap’s presence from alterations made to the lock to accommodate the nozzle and vial. A DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disarms the trap, removing the nozzle and gas vial from the lock.

A8 – Offices

A huge pile of rubble indicates that all of the stone furniture in this room was smashed and pushed into a pile.

If the ogres are here, add:

Eight ogres sit around the body of a fallen comrade, solemnly praying.

Once the prisoners of Shuzal were processed, their information was brought here and poured over by various aberration intelligence officers. Now eight ogres hold an impromptu funeral for a friend who died on a recent raid before bringing him below to be buried.

A9 – Forgotten Room

This room is so badly damaged it’s almost impossible to tell what its former purpose was. It does not seem to have much of one now.

This room’s outer wall is easier to break. A DC 10 Strength check is all that is required to knock it over. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the wall is weaker than the others.

A10 – Armor Storage

A huge pile of rubble sits in this room next to a tree which seems to have grown taller than the others nearby. Rusted pieces of metal sit here and there on the ground, perhaps once pieces of something greater.

Long ago the aberrations stored armor here. Now the highest tree in this section of the forest grows from the floor. The tree is 40 feet high and climbing to the top allows a person to see over the rest of the complex, since all areas have no ceiling except A7.

A11 – Weapon Storage

Rusted blades, spears, and hammers lie about this room.

If the oni is here, add:

At the center of the room, an oni meditates beneath a tree.

The oni in this room is trying to get in touch with the aberrant magic of the ruin. The aberrations once kept their weapons here.

Treasure. The roots of the tree are covering an old deerskin bag, which can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. Removing the bag from under the roots requires a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the check fails by 5 or more the bomb of horrors in the bag goes off.

Next Time…

…we’ll get to the lower level of this dungeon!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Last week I wrote about the prisons for dragons built by aberrations. Then I wrote about the specific history of one such dragon prison, Shuzal, and provided some adventure hooks to give players a reason to visit the aberrant ruin. Today I’m going to discuss encounters which can occur around Shuzal.

Before I get going let me send a shout-out to Nils Jeppe over at Enderra. He’s hosting this month’s RPG Blog Carnival and the theme is “Unusual Dungeons.” That great choice inspired this series of blog posts. For a general overview of what a dragon prison is check out the first post in this series. For the specific history of Shuzal and quest hooks to get your PCs headed there, check out the second post in this series.

In this post I’ll give you a description of the area surround Shuzal’s entrance citadel and tables for random encounters PCs may have on their way to the ruin.

Shuzal and surrounding area

The Great Bear Forest

Shuzal is located within the Great Bear Forest between the Aeranorian colonies of Paqual and Lumberton, the tiefling Amber Spire, and the village of the Bear Tribe. The Great Bear Forest is chilly and mysterious. Every morning the woods are covered in thick mist and the sounds of animals calling and responding to one another fills the ears of the tribes and colonists. This routine ends with the baritone call of the great bears. The Bear Tribe describes their namesake as elusive, enormous bears infused with spiritual energy by their gods. The bears protect the wood, and lumberjacks from Aeranore have been warned many times that if they continue their work they will be marked for death.

Towns and Settlements

PCs could be based in one of the following settlements or pass through them on their way to Shuzal, depending on the hooks used. The small descriptions below can be expanded upon. Assume the colonies and the tiefling spire have a place to buy most mundane goods and services, while the Bear Tribe does not offer much in the way of goods and services for sale, but might be willing to barter in exchange for items or favors from the PCs.

Lumberton (Colony Population 1,500) Lumberton is a community of humans and gnomes focused on exporting lumber all over Canus. The companies here dream to one day expand and overtake one of Taliana’s main exports. The elves and halflings of Taliana currently does not see this colony as a threat, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t keeping a watchful eye.

Paqual (Colony Population 2,500) Nobleman Sydal Freedrock has convinced the people of Paqual that they should not be subject to the rule of Icillia IV, who sits on a throne across the sea and does not understand the problems of the Verdan colonies. He wants Paqual and Aeranore’s other colonies to rise against Icillia IV and declare themselves a separate nation. Trying to garner support, Sydal will soon make his own claim for Paqual’s independence, with or without the other colonies. Many of Paqual’s citizens agree with this separatist attitude, though some Aeranoreans see Sydal as a power-hungry tyrant who desires a kingdom of his own.

Amber Spire (City Population 30,000) The Amber Spire is home to some of Verda’s most isolationist tieflings. Outsiders cannot enter the walled city unless accompanied by a tiefling who has legitimate reason to enter the spire (as deemed by the guards). The city is built upon itself with winding roads which lead the way up to its pointed top. The tieflings here often specialize in the aburjation school of magic and train with great weapons. Like many of Verda’s tieflings, they rarely leave the walls of the spire without good reason and are suspicious of any outsiders who enter their city.

Bear Tribe (Village Population 400) The half-orcs, humans, and orcs of the Bear Tribe live a peaceful life in their small settlement of longhouses. They are friendly toward outsiders though they believe the Aeranorians in Lumberton and Paqual are angering the spirits within the great bears by taking more lumber than they need. Though they are not at war, the Bear Tribe has many great fighters and accomplished shaman who can spring into combat a moment’s notice and keep the village from harm.

Movement

PCs traveling to Shuzal may choose to take the trail between Paqual and Lumberton, which they may travel at normal speed, or they may cut through the forest, through which they travel at half speed, unless they are using a special mount or magic item. One hex on the map above equals 50 miles.

Random Encounters

While traveling in the Great Bear Forest the PCs may encounter all sorts of people and monsters. Roll a d20 three times for each day the PCs are traveling in the forest, once for morning, once for afternoon, and once for night. On a roll of 18-20 a random encounter occurs.

Use the table to determine what type of encounter occurs. For encounters marked with an asterisk use the descriptions provided after the tables.

Great Bear Forest Random Encounters
d12 + d8 Encounter
2 1d6 + 4 great bears*
3 1 morchia and 1d6 cult fanatics*
4 1 tiefling archmage*
5 1 fleeing merchant*
6 1d4 trolls
7 1 Ox Tribe oni and 1d8 Ox Tribe ogres
8 1d8 + 8 giant toads
9 Tribe (friendly) 1d4 druids and 1d6 + 2 berserkers*
10 1d6 + 5 Ox Tribe ogres
11 Lumber merchant caravan*
12 2 human gladiators and 2 human mages*
13 Tribe (hostile) 1d4 druids and 1d6 + 2 berserkers*
14 1d2 + 1 mammoths
15 1d8 + 8 dire wolves
16 1d4 hill giants
17 1 behir
18 1 roc
19 1 young gold dragon flying overhead
20 1 abandoned lumberjack mech

Descriptions

Use the descriptions below for encounters marked with an asterisk.

Druids and Berserkers

Members of a tribe of bugbears, hobgoblins, humans, half-orcs, githzerai, gnolls, goblins, kalashtar, orcs, or any combination of these humanoids might cross paths with the PCs in the forest. These tribal warriors are decorated with the patron animal of their tribe (decided by the DM). Friendly warriors might belong to the bear tribe.

Fleeing Merchant

The PCs come across a human lumber merchant who is alone in the forest. The merchant’s caravan was attacked by the Ox Tribe ogres. The merchant wishes to return to the safety of Lumberton and will pay the PCs 50 gp each to act as escort.

Great Bears

Everything around the PCs goes silent and then enormous, majestic bears traveling in a pack cross their path. Unless provoked the bears pass by peacefully. If the PCs are on their way to Shuzal to stop the ogres, one of them receives a charm of animal conjuring as a gift from the bears.

Human Gladiators and Mages

The PCs come across members of the Explorers’ Guild or Society of Seekers searching for new aberrant ruins.

Lumber Merchant Caravan

This lumber caravan is on its way to Paqual with a fresh order of lumber to ship to Aeranore or on its way to Lumberton to get more lumber to send over seas. They are friendly and able to provide directions, food, and water to the PCs.

Morchia and Cult Fanatics

This morchia and its Aberrant Alliance followers stalk the forest for victims for the morchia to devour.

Tiefling Archmage

This spireless tiefling was kicked out of the Amber Spire years ago for violent tendencies. If it sees the adventurers it stalks them, trying to separate them and pick them off one at a time.

Up Next

Coming up… the first layer of the dungeon!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

The Exploration Age magic item preview continues with sweet new firearms and explosives. If you missed the rules for Exploration Age’s nonmagical firearms and bombs go ahead and check those out.

These are the final items I’ll be showing off (for now) as part of the Exploration Age magic item preview. If you’ve been following this blog you may have already seen the weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, wondrous items, bioarcane items, and artifacts for the setting. If you haven’t checked them out please do so. I’m taking any and all feedback into consideration! Once I’ve revised the items I’ll be posting them in a lovely PDF for your consumption in the Free Game Resources section of this site. It’ll live there forever.

So enjoy the excerpt from the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide below.

Aberrant Revolver of Comedy

Weapon (aberrant revolver), rare (requires attunement)

This ivory and jade revolver has a barrel opening shaped to look like a laughing face. When fired, the revolver lets out a wild cackle. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the revolver. When you damage a creature with an Intelligence score of 5 or higher with the revolver you can choose to have the revolver cast Tasha’s hideous laughter on the creature (save DC 15). The revolver cannot cast this spell again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aberrant Revolver of Weakening

Weapon (aberrant revolver), very rare (requires attunement)

This revolver is made of shining steel embedded with lapis lazulis. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the revolver. When you damage a creature with the revolver you can choose to force the creature to succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails, its melee attacks deal only half damage for 1 minute. A creature who fails this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending this effect on a success. You cannot use this feature again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aberrant Rifle of Webs

Weapon (aberrant rifle), rare

This double-barreled aberrant rifle is made of black steel embedded with spider web shaped tiger’s eye gems. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this rifle. This rifle has 10 charges. As an action you can expend a charge and shoot a magic web as a ranged attack from the second barrel of the gun at a creature who is no more than 30 feet away. A creature hit by the web is restrained. The web has no effect on creatures that are formless or creatures that are Huge or larger. As an action, a creature can try to free itself or another creature restrained by the web with a successful DC 15 Strength check. Dealing 10 slashing damage to the web (AC 12) also frees the creature without harming it, ending the effect. This rifle regains 1d6+4 charges each day at dawn.

Asphyxiating Charge

Weapon (alchemical charge), rare

This alchemical charge is filled with a green liquid and explodes on impact releasing poison gas in a 30-foot-radius. Creatures in the effected area must make a DC 15 Constituion saving throw. Creatures who fail take 4d6 poison damage and are poisoned for 1 minute. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not poisoned. Creatures who fail this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending the poisoned condition on a success.

Bomb of Horrors

Weapon (bomb), rare

This bomb looks like a screaming skull and has two red zircons for eyes. All creatures who are in the zone of the bomb’s blast must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you for 1 minute. Creatures who fail this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending the frightened condition on a success.

Bomb of Silence

Weapon (bomb), uncommon

This bomb has a single purple zircon on its bottom. When the bomb explodes it makes no sound. After the bomb explodes all sounds are magically silenced in the zone of its blast for 1 minute.

Exploding Bullet

Weapon (bullet), very rare

This diamond dust flecked, lead ball sparkles in the light. When handled it feels quite warm. When you shoot the bullet it explodes on impact in a 20-foot-radius. All creatures in the effected area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 10d6 fire damage, creatures who save take half damage.

Icer

Weapon (aberrant rifle), very rare (requires attainment)

This blue steel aberrant rifle is studded along its barrel with icy sapphires. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this rifle. This bonus rises to +2 if you load the weapon with cold alchemical charges. As an action you can expend a cold alchemical charge loaded in the aberrant rifle to shoot a 60-foot line of cold energy. Creatures in the line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving. Creatures who fail take 3d6 cold damage, creatures who succeed take half.

As an action you can expend a cold alchemical charge loaded in the aberrant rifle to coat a 5-foot by 5-foot area in a thin layer of ice. The ice lasts for 1 minute before melting, unless the area’s temperature is extremely cold, in which case it could last longer (which is up to the DM). Creatures who enter the effected area must make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall prone. If the ice is used to coat over a door or doorway, a DC 15 Strength check is required to break through the ice.

Musket of Force

Weapon (musket), legendary (requires attainment)

This musket’s oversized barrel flares slightly at the end and its cherry stock is embedded with with a single large sapphire. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. When you hit a target with a bullet from this rifle it deals an extra 1d6 force damage and pushes the target back 10 feet. As an action you can shoot the ground beneath your feet, launching yourself 10 feet into the air and in a horizontal direction of your choice. If you do launch yourself this way you must make a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (your choice) to land safely. If you fail the check, you take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and land prone.

Musket of Lights

Weapon (musket), rare

This musket’s barrel is made of shining steel and polished walnut which never dulls. Its fine stock is embedded with diamond studs. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. As an action that does not expend any bullets, you can shoot a brilliant firework from the musket at a creature who is adjacent to you. The target must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or be blinded until the start of your next turn.

Musket of Merriment

Weapon (musket), very rare (requires attunement)

This musket has a mother of pearl stock and gem-encrusted mitral barrel. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. As an action you can fire the musket into the air without expending any bullets. Glitter flies from the musket and music can be heard in an area within 30 feet of you. All creatures you choose who can hear the music are subject to Otto’s irresistible dance (save DC 17). You cannot use this feature again until you have completed a long rest.

Pistol of the Blind

Weapon (pistol), uncommon

This pistol has a black steel stock and chestnut handle studded with onyx gems. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this pistol. When you deal damage to a creature who is invisible with this weapon its invisible condition ends.

Pistol of Drowsiness

Weapon (pistol), rare (requires attainment)

This pistol is has a gem-studded barrel shaped like a wine bottle and a stock carved with images of ale mugs. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this pistol. When you deal damage to a creature with the pistol you can force it to succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The creature must repeat this saving throw at the end of its turn, ending the poisoned condition on a success. If the creature fails the second saving throw, it falls unconscious 1 minute. If the creature takes damage or another creature uses its action to wake it, the unconscious condition ends. You cannot use this feature again until you have completed a long rest.

Pistol of Honesty

Weapon (pistol), legendary (requires attunement)

This pistol has a gold barrel and an oak stock embedded with three large emeralds. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this pistol. Before attacking with the pistol you can ask a creature a question. If you deal damage to the creature with this pistol within 1 minute of asking the question, the creature must make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure the creature must answer the question you asked it as honestly and completely as it is able.

Revolver of the Dragon Hunter

Weapon (aberrant revolver), legendary (requires attunement)

This adamantine revolver has blue sapphires inlaid in the grip and is pure midnight black everywhere else. When used in a fight, the revolver grows warm with excitement and red Dwarish runes spelling out the phrase “death to lizards” appear on the barrel. You gain a +3 bonus to attack rolls with this weapon. In addition, this weapon ignores any acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage immunities of enemies.

Screaming Rifle

Weapon (aberrant rifle), rare

This aberrant rifle is made of heavy adamantine and studded with jade gems. When fired the rifle lets lose a primal scream that can be heard by all creatures in a 500-foot-radius. This rifle deals an additional 1d8 thunder damage. When you deal damage to a creature with this rifle, that creature is deafened until the start of your next turn.

Feedback Please

Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

Deep beneath the surface of Canus, the progeny of an ancient alliance between aberrations and devils slumber, waiting to be awakened. The morchia, cast down and unconscious by The Reckoning Spell, have hate boiling in their sleeping hearts for the world their parents said would be theirs. Simply put, you’re not an aberrant or a devil, they hate you. The exception is of course, tieflings, whom they hate beyond measure, despite the infernal influence on their heritage. Of course, some morchia escaped the influence of The Reckoning Spell, and still wander Verda’s jungles, scheming and plotting the ways they might be able to free their kin.

This…

… plus this!

Morchia Redux

I’ve mentioned the morchia before, and I also created their statistics using the final D&D Next playtest packet. Just like The Lingering Havoc, blazing wraiths, icebreaker sharks, gaping mawsand krakens, and mystauk, I’m going to now give you my proposed morchia statistics for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons rules.

I am keeping the random variability of the morchia as I push forward. I like that their devil traits are consistent and their aberrant traits are more of a variable. I hope you think it’s fun as well! Check it out below!

Morchia

Large monstrosity, neutral evil


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points  142 (15d10 + 60)

Speed  40 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
20 (+5) 11 (+0) 18 (+4) 16 (+3) 12 (+1) 18 (+4)

Saving Throws  Dex +3, Wisdom +4

Damage Resistances cold, fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons that aren’t silvered

Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Skills Deception +7, Insight +6

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Deep Speech, Infernal, telepathy 60 ft.

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)


Aberrant Trait. All morchia have at least one feature trait which can be determined by rolling on the Aberrant Feature Table below.

Devil’s Sight. Magical darkness doesn’t impede the morchia’s darkvision.

Magic Resistance. The morchia has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Multiattack. The morchia can make two attacks, or one attack and uses Hold Monster.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) slashing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Hold Monster (3/day). The morchia casts hold monster. The spell save DC for this spell is 15.


Aberrant Feature Table
d20 Time Phyiscal Feature Effect
1 Bonus Action Tentacles Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage.
2 Ooze Feet Aberrant Ground. The ground in a 10-foot radius around the morchia is doughlike difficult terrain. Each creature that starts its turn in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or have its speed reduced to 0 until the start of its next turn.
3 Mouths All Over Gibbering. The morchia has mouths all over its body which babble incoherently while it can see any enemy that isn’t incapacitated. Each creature that starts its turn within 20 feet of the morchia and can hear the babbling must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the creature can’t take reactions until the start of its next turn and rolls a d8 to determine what it does during its turn. On a 1 to 4, the creature does nothing. On a 5 or 6, the creature takes no action or bonus action and uses all its movement to move in a randomly determined direction. On a 7 or 8, the creature makes a melee attack against a randomly determined creature within its reach or does nothing if it can’t make such an attack.
4 Third Eye Antimagic Cone. A third eye on stalk atop the morchia’s head emits a 60-foot anti-magic cone, as in the anti-magic field spell. At the start of each of its turns the morchia decides which way the cone faces and whether the cone is active. The area works against any of the morchia’s own abilities.
5 Covered In Mucus Mucus Covered. The morchia is covered in a transformative mucus. A creature that touches the morchia or hits it with a melee attack within 5 feet of it must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature is diseased for 1d4 hours. The diseased creature can breathe only underwater.
6 Action Purple Eyes Enslave (3/day). The morchia targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be magically charmed by the morchia until the morchia dies or until it is on a different plane of existence from the target. The charmed target is under the morchia’s control and can’t take reactions, and the morchia and the target can communicate telepathically with each other over any distance. Whenever the charmed target takes damage, the target can repeat the saving throw. On a success, the effect ends. No more than once every 24 hours, the target can also repeat the saving throw when it is at least 1 mile away from the morchia.
7 Action Forked Tongue Moan. Each enemy within 60 feet of the morchia that can hear the morchia must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened until the end of the morchia’s next turn. If a creature’s saving throw is successful, the creature is immune to the morchia’s moan for the next 24 hours.
8 Action Black Scales Phantasms. The morchia magically creates three illusory duplicates of itself. The duplicates move with it and mimmic its actions, shifting position so as to make it impossible to track which morchia is the real one. Whenever any creature targets the morchia with an attack or a harmful spell while a duplicate remains, that creature rolls randomly to determine whether it targets the morchia or one of the duplicates. A duplicate has the morchia’s AC and uses its saving throws. If an attack hits a duplicate, or if a duplicate fails a saving throw against an effect that deals damage, the duplicate disappears.
9 Action Exposed Brain Devour Intellect. The morchia targets one creature it can see within 20 feet of it that has a brain. The target must succeeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw against this magic or take 22 (4d10) pyschic damage. Also on a failure, roll 3d6: If the total equals or exceeeds the target’s Intelligence score, the score is reduced to 0. The target is stunned until it regains at least one point of Intelligence.
10 Action Protruding Forehead Mind Blast (Recharge 5 – 6). The morchia magically emits psychic energy in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or take 22 (4d8 + 4) psychic damage and be stunned for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
11 Action One Large Eye Rotting Gaze. The morchia targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw against this magic or take 21 (6d6) necrotic damage.
12 Webbed Feet Regeneration. The morchia regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point.
13 Action None Shapechanger. The morchia can use its action to polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid, or back into its true form. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.
14 None The morchia gains a fly speed of 40 ft.
15 Action Third Eye Petrification Ray. The morchia targets a creature within 90 feet. The targeted creature must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature begins to turn to stone and is restrained. It must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends. On a failure, the creature is petrified until freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.
16 Action Third Eye Sleep Ray. The morchia targets a creature within 90 feet. The targeted creature must succeeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or fall asleep and remain unconscious for 1 minute. The target awakens if it takes damage or another creature takes an action to wake it. This ray has no effect on constructs and undead.
17 Action Third Eye Paralyzing Ray. The morchia targets a creature within 90 feet. The targeted creature must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
18 Black Eyes Telepathic Probe. If a creature communicates telepathically with the morchia, the morchia learns the creature’s greatest desires and one fact or secret about the creature.
19 Action None Invisibility. The morchia can cast invisibility on itself at-will.
20 Roll twice on this table. If you get this result again roll three times and so on.

So what do you think? Sound off in the comments below and let me know if you like the morchia!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!