Posts Tagged ‘pdf’

Once again I’m continuing my quest to add killer undead to the options already available in the fifth edition Monster Manual for my world of Enora. So far we’ve seen husks, skeletal dragons, vampiric dragonsvampiric vines, and elemental undead. Now I’d like to turn my attention to updating (and adding my own twists to) some old favorites: the nightcrawler, nighthaunt, nightwalker, and night wing. Thanks to EN World forum user pukunui for the idea!

Nightshades

When shadows and evil are infused with the strong will of a powerful being, they take massive forms. Appearing as giants, purple worms, and winged-beasts, this animated shadow stuff abhor life and light and desire a world covered in a shadow of death.

Massive Murderers. All nightshades are enormous combinations of solid shadow and corruption. When a strong-willed, evil beings refuse to pass into the afterlife, their souls infuse the with the same material that creates the Plane of Shadow. The souls wrestle with the shadow stuff, taking as much of it on as possible in order to anchor themselves in worlds of the living. At the same time, the shadow sucks any tiny sense of morality from the soul, creating a new being of considerable size, horrific shape, and murderous intent.

Undead Generals. Nightshades are cunning beings, who stalk the Plane of Shadow, looking for wayward victims to kill and turn into other undead through dark rituals. These undead are bound to the nightshade for as long as it exists. They follow its every command. Many nightshades search for ways to lead their armies into the Material Plane, so they might swell their ranks and experience death on a grand scale.

Work Better Together. Nightshades have great respect for others of their kind. They often form alliances to increase their slaughtering capabilities and grow the sizes of their armies.

Undead Nature. Nightshades don’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawlers resemble purple worms made of pure darkness. Despite their appearance, they are extremely intelligent spellcasters who have devastating strength, burrowing capabilities, and the ability to swallow ogres whole.

Nighthaunt

Nighthaunts resemble large gargoyles and are pure malevolence. As expert tacticians, these nightshades are the best at leading armies of undead or placing guards and strategic defenses around a fortress.

Nightwalker

Nightwalkers are twenty-foot-tall humanoids silent as death. They are among the multiverse’s best stalkers and their dead eyes can cause panic in the most daring prey.

Nightwing

Nightwings appear as enormous bats made of darkness, but have the same level of cunning and guile as all other nightshades. Silent as death and nearly invisible against a black sky, these beings dive onto prey before victims even know they’re being attacked.

Want the Stats?

Grab the PDF below or on the Free Game Resources section of this site any time.

Nightshades

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

Once again I’m continuing my quest to add killer undead to the options already available in the fifth edition Monster Manual for my world of Enora. So far we’ve seen husks, skeletal dragons, vampiric dragons, and vampiric vines. Now I’d like to turn my attention to updating (and adding my own twists to) two old favorites: blazing skeletons (or blazing bones) and the chillborn zombie.

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Elemental Undead

Just because many wizards focus on one school of magic does not mean they can’t add a dash of another to their speciality to create a true nightmare. When a pinch of conjuration is added to the power of necromancy, skeletons bathed in fire and corpses armored in ice walk the land, eager for only murder.

Created by Master Mages. Only the most powerful mortals can tap into the power of the elemental planes when they make the dead walk again. These horrid creations are infused with elemental essence to make them stronger and faster while providing magical abilities that other undead of their ilk lack. A creator must be certain they can control an elemental undead before they create it, since the monster desires the mage’s death as much as any other living creature.

Furious Dead. Blazing bones and chillborn zombies have the elementals’ fury and the undead’s hatred of all things living, making them extremely difficult to control. They take a primal, raw pleasure in killing and are never satisfied.

Blazing Bones

Blazing bones are skeletons wreathed in ever-burning flame. They smell constantly of cooked marrow and screech like vultures when they attack. A connection to the Plane of Fire allows them to hurl flame and detonate their bodies at the moment of death.

Chillborn Zombie

Chillborn zombies have ice crystals embedded in their rotting flesh. The immediate area around them is deathly cold and their frigid touch penetrates to the heart. Their elemental connection allows them to breathe cold and, like the blazing bones, they also explode in a burst of energy when they perish.

Want the Stats?

Grab the PDF below or on the Free Game Resources section of this site any time.

Elemental Undead

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

Today I’m continuing my quest to add killer undead to the options already available in the fifth edition Monster Manual for my world of Enora. Today we enter the world of undead plants! (You read that right). You might say, “Whoa, James. Plants that are evil and dead? C’mon.” To that I’d say, “Of course, dear reader. Haven’t you ever seen Evil Dead? The most terrifying scene involves trees (that are presumably both evil and dead).”

It is with great pleasure that I now show off vampiric vines.

Vampiric Vine

Vampiric vines are sentient clusters of black thorned vines that thirst for the blood of the living. When a plant dies as the result of necrotic magic and its seeds are scatter on desecrated ground, these vines grow forth and eventually uproot themselves and crawl out into the night in search of a drink.

Nocturnal Hunters. During the day, a tangle of vampiric vines stays in the desecrated dirt from which it sprung forth. At night, the undead plant crawls forth, looking for unsuspecting creatures and an easy meal before returning home. The vines leave the bodies of their drained victims behind, sometimes causing panic that a den of vampires is nearby, attacking the land at night.

Hidden in Plain Sight. Vampiric vines appear to be normal dead brush when at rest. If a victim wanders into a lair, the vine waits until it is within striking distance and then pounces.

Save Snacks for Later. Vampiric vines are surprisingly strong, and will sometimes drain enough blood from a victim to drop it unconscious and then drag the prey back to its lair for more feeding later. Sometimes vampiric vines will feed off a victim for days before drinking enough blood to kill it.

Want the Stats?

Get them in the PDF below or grab them anytime on the Free Game Resources page. These stats are in playtest mode, so I’d love any feedback you have for me!

Vampiric Vines

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

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In the last two weeks, I showed off some new undead (skeletal dragons and husks), to help fill the undead Challenge Rating gaps in the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my world of Enora. Today I’m continuing the parade of new undead with vampire dragons!

Vampiric Dragon

Vampiric dragons are the unfathomable result of dragons undergoing transitions to become potent, blood-sucking undead. Of the few such terrors that exist, most underwent the transition willingly. There are many reasons for a dragon to become a vampire, fear of death and increased power chief among them.

Vampiric Qualities. Like humanoid vampires, vampiric dragons do not cast shadows or reflections and have a thirst for blood. In their normal state, they are generally undistinguishable from their dragon counterparts who are not undead. Unlike normal vampires, vampiric dragons do not need to be invited to enter a residence and have nothing to fear from running water.

Feed and Slumber. When vampiric dragons feed, they can ravage miles of countryside or an entire city in a single night. Their thirst for blood is nigh insatiable, and a vampiric dragon can devastate an entire province before it slumbers, creating armies of vampire spawn to guard its lair.

Relief comes when the dragon decides to rest. Finally satiated, the beast enters a long slumber of one-hundred years before it wakes to feed again.

Undead Nature. Vampiric dragons do not require air. Since they have nothing to fear from running water and no need to breathe, many make their lairs deep in bodies of water.

Want the Template and as Sample Vampiric Dragon?

Here you go. I put them into a nice little PDF for you:

Vampiric Dragons

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

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Last week, I wrote about my desire to create more undead of varying challenge ratings. I need a ton of these rotting beasties for my world of Enora. Up next are skeletal dragons!

By the way, if you like these baddies, you might enjoy my zombie dragons available on the DMs Guild in the pay-what-you-want product Arachnids, Wraiths, and Zombies.

Dragon Skeletons

Animating the bones of a dragon is no small feat. A huge infusion of dark magic must be brought to bear to make the skeleton of an ancient wyrm rise. Even more power is required to maintain control over the bones. While such beasts are most often created by intentional rituals, if a dragon’s grave is desecrated, over the course of a century or more dark magic can seep into the bones. This causes the skeleton to rise and wreak havoc on the world of living for no reason other than it was not allowed to rest.

Not Your Average Skeleton. Dragon skeletons are more mentally capable than their boney counterparts. They can think critically and improvise. These undead sometimes lead other minions as a result.

Undead Nature. A dragon skeleton doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Want the Stats?

Here you go. I put them into a nice little PDF for you:

Skeletal Dragons

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

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As I’ve said before, I’m starting to make some progress in my world of Enora, where undead rule the surface of the planet! There’s just one monster of a problem with this idea: the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual has a serious Challenge Rating gap when it comes to undead. There’s a handful of Challenge 5 undead and then it jumps to 13 with the vampire. What’s a DM with a taste for rotting flesh to do when hankering for some good mid-level baddies (not to mention during the thinner highest levels of the game)? Time to put on the necromancer hat and make some new fifth edition undead!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be revealing some of my creations and asking for your critiques and feedback. Let me know what you think! These critters are in playtest mode. First up is the husk.

Husks

Husks are the undead shell of a creature, animated skin and muscle of surprising strength that do the bidding of their creators. Many necromancers see these horrid creations as a two-for-one deal that does not waste a corpse’s fleshy parts after animating a skeleton. Husks are loyal to the wielders of dark magic who create them, but sometimes these undead rise of their own accord in places where mass murder occurs. Husks without a master desire only the death of other creatures.

Created by Power. Only the most powerful necromancers and most atrocious acts of murder can create a husk. The creatures require a massive amount of dark energy to move without a skeleton. Having a husk servant is a point of pride for evil spellcasters. The larger the husk, the more dangerous the master.

Insatiable Desire to Kill. Even husks who are bound to masters have a strong desire to murder any living creatures they come across. A husk’s master can feel this desire and only those necromancers with the strongest wills do not give into this temptation themselves. For many dark wizards giving into the temptation is not a problem at all.

Murder Victims Only. Husks can only be created from corpses that were murdered in cold blood. Many necromancers kidnap victims and murder them one at a time when they are learning the ritual required to create a husk. Husks that rise on their own usually do so in groups, and only in places of sorrow after a mass slaying has occurred. Beyond this requirement, any creature with skin and flesh may become a husk.

Size Matters. Most husks of a given size have the same abilities. A husk that was once a human and a husk that was once a panther are statistically the same, but they might move, smell, and sound very different from one another.

Undead Nature. A husk doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Want the Stats?

Here you go. I put them into a nice little PDF for you:

Husks

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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 talk about an Archduke of the Nine Hells! Both of my Exploration Age games that started during the launch of fifth edition are wrapping up. One campaign has a single session remaining! The entire story culminates in a battle with Bel, the former Archduke of Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. (Note, if you’re unfamiliar with Bel, he’s mentioned briefly in the Nine Hells section of the Dungeon Master’s Guide on page 65 and in the old third edition source book Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells).

In my campaign the player characters formed an alliance of necessity with Bel. They had common enemies. Bel gave the characters the power to take out some very formidable aberrations in exchange for helping to reinstall him as the Archduke of Avernus. It turns out the characters were being used by the crafty devil to take out his rivals. Now all they are all that stands in the way of Bel turning their home plane into a brand new hellscape.

Since I needed to stat out this legendary fiend for my party to take on, I thought I’d share the mechanics with all of you! Take a look. You can grab Bel’s stats in the free PDF linked below and in the Free Game Resources page of this site. (Note: My version of Bel is extra powerful. He’s the campaign’s ultimate villain and he’s gained a lot of power thanks to the adventurers. I estimate his normal Challenge Rating would be somewhere in the low to mid 20s. Reducing his hit points, damage output, and AC and then replacing his Limited Magic Immunity with Magic Resistance is an easy way to make that adjustment.)

Bel: Not Your Average Pit Fiend

Image from the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Image from the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Bel

Bel is no ordinary pit fiend. The ground shakes and all but the strongest archdevils are cowed when the legendary general walks by.

Asmodeus Above All. Bel is the former and present general and adviser of Zariel, the current ruler of Avernus by decree of Asmodeus. During Zariel’s first reign, Bel served his mistress loyally, until she plotted to overthrow Asmodeus. Bel betrayed Zariel in order to please his greater master Asmodeus. As a reward for his loyalty, Bel became the Archduke of Avernus when Zariel was overthrown. Overtime Zariel proved her loyalty to Asmodeus once again and Bel fell from the dark god’s favor. Zariel once again ruled Avernus and Bel was demoted. This was the will of Asmodeus, and though the decision was a slap in the face to Bel, he respects the hierarchy of the Nine Hells above all. It is an insult to serve Zariel, who delights in keeping Bel as an advisor, but he will not go against the word of Asmodeus.

Coveter of Power. Though Bel will not directly oppose or betray Asmodeus, he still desires his old station as Archduke of Avernus. To this end Bel seeks creatures who operate outside of the hierarchy of the Nine Hells. Bel’s plots are layered and complex. The strange bedfellows he makes are often unwitting adventurers who don’t realize the true consequences of their actions until it is too late. Bel seeks Zariel overthrown again, this time permanently, or a way to coerce Asmodeus.

Dangerous Deceiver. Bel is an engaging liar. He forges perfectly worded contracts that have deceived ancient gold wyrms into handing over their souls. The devil can look into the soul of any person and tell them exactly what they want to hear in order to get his desired reaction.

Brilliant General. For centuries Bel has been leading armies of devils in Avernus, the first line of defense against the Nine Hell’s incoming threats, namely demons from the Abyss. He has been fighting the Blood War for as long as he can remember and the fact that he has survived and thrived in this environment is a testament to his strategic mind and the loyalty of his troops.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

Friends, it is time to show off another fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons background I created. This one has been rolling around in my head for awhile, and I thought it was time to share it with the rest of you.

You may know my cursed background (available in the Pay What You Want PDF 15 New Backgrounds on the DMs Guild #ShamelessPlug). In this background, the character suffered a horrible magic curse that haunted them throughout their pre-campaign life. Now I’m happy to show off the blessed background, in which the character has the expectation of greatness thrust upon its shoulders due to some prophetic happening. This background lives in this post and is available as a PDF in the link below and on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

PDF: Blessed

Blessed

Some sign or prophecy has foretold your greatness. The excitement surrounding your soon-to-be-legendary story has spread throughout your home, but you have yet to actually prove you are worthy of your reputation. There are those who accept your prophesied fate as future fact. Others are skeptics, anxious to see you fail as proof that most mystical readings are mumbo jumbo. Some folks might be jealous of you while other desperate people pressure you to be the chosen one they need. You can determine how you became blessed by using the Prophetic Signs table.

Prophetic Signs

d6

Prophetic Sign

1

You were born during a rare astrological or lunar event.

2

Your mother was blessed by an important priest or mage while pregnant with you.

3

A specific birthmark on your skin is a sign of your greatness to come.

4

An ancient scroll, tablet, or other writing foretold your greatness.

5

As a child you miraculously defeated an ancient evil and people took this as a sign of greatness to come.

6

An important person in the community claims to have a dream that showed you are destined for greatness.

Skill Proficiencies: History and Intimidation or Persuasion

Languages: One exotic language and one other language of your choice

Starting Equipment: A set of common clothes, a piece of parchment with the prophecy that pertains to you, a signal whistle, a journal, pen, bottle of ink, and a belt pouch with 5 gp.

Feature: Blessed Guidance

When you are truly stumped and in need of guidance, there is a voice, wind, light, or other force that occasionally guides you. You can ask for this force to aid you when you are at a loss for what to do next and the DM decides if and how this force aids you. It often works in a vague, mysterious way (e.g. speaking in riddles, rustling a key chain on a guard’s belt, etc.) and does not perform any actions for you, but rather provides a hint about some course of action you could take.

Suggested Characteristics

You have an enormous burden of expectation to shoulder. Do you believe in your own greatness or are you worried that the truth is you are just another nobody? In either case, you might strive to prove your doubters (and possibly yourself) wrong by achieving every heroic deed possible. Of course you might be terrified of your fate, running with all haste from what you fear could be true, and simply living your adventuring life as a mercenary who cares only for friends and money.

d8 Personality Traits
1 When others boast, I must top them with my own achievements.
2 This chosen one speaks in the third person.
3 I don’t want to be recognized, so I use a myriad of fake names.
4 I feel out of place and figdety when others don’t fawn all over me.
5 I can’t help but take on a challenge.
6 I don’t take “no” for an answer.
7 I have a personal mantra that I repeat in stressful situations.
8 Nothing I achieve is ever good enough for me.

 

d6 Ideals
1 Strength. Everything accomplishment must be more impressive than my last. (Neutral)
2 Protection. My greatness will be used to protect the defenseless. (Good)
3 Order. I am meant to bring law to the lawless. (Lawful)
4 Tyranny. Only those destined to rule, like me, should have power. (Evil)
5 Freedom. Everyone should be free to live their life. (Chaotic)
6 Community. I do everything I can for the people that believe in me. (Neutral)

 

d6 Bonds
1 I cannot shake the memory of the first time someone called me a fraud.
2 My destiny is intertwined with that of a prophesied evil-doer.
3 I am meant for greatness, but I am prophesied to kill a loved one in order to achieve it.
4 My hometown is the place where I am most revered and most jeered.
5 I have a mentor who always challenged me to rely on myself and not a prophecy to be great.
6 A trinket from home reminds me where I came from and who I am fighting for.

 

d6 Flaws
1 I was born to be better than everyone else and I am.
2 I’ll take money over trust any day.
3 Praise me and I’ll do anything for you.
4 I brag about my greatness just to take others to bed.
5 I do not ask others about themselves or make newcomers feel welcome.
6 I treat my opinions as fact.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

I could not be happier! My very first D&D Adventurers League adventure, DDAL05-05 A Dish Best Served Cold, is now available for purchase on the DMs Guild! Here’s a quick description of the module:

Stagwick’s long-standing peace with giant-kind is threatened as a patrol of Blood Riders spark a feud with a local tribe of giants.

With word of strange activity coming from the Ice Spires, Good King Hartwick can’t be too careful.

Can you quench the giants’ thirst for revenge?

A Two-Hour Adventure for 5th-10th Level Characters

This two-hour adventure represents many hours of work on my end and countless hours from others. The Adventurers League Admins are incredible at what they do and the adventure would not be where it is without the amazing feedback from playtesters.

Speaking of playtesting, an encounter was removed from the adventure for time during the playtesting feedback phase. These adventures need to fit to time for conventions and game stores, but if you’re playing it at home and want to throw another encounter into the mix, here’s how!

ddal05-05_a_dish_best_served_cold_v1-0

And while you’re at it, pick up Travis Woodall’s awesome Deluxe Digital Map Pack for the adventure!

Added Encounter for DDAL05-05: A Dish Best Served Cold (SPOILERS AHEAD)

1. Add the following text to the “General Features” section of “Part 2. Abandoned Camp.”

Terrain. Eight-inch deep snow covers the ground. Medium and smaller creatures who move more than half their speed must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone at the end of their turn, suffering the debris-covered ground.

Climate and Weather. Snow falls rapidly from the sky, whipping around in all directions as the wind howls. Wisdom (Perception) checks that involve vision or hearing and ranged attacks against targets more than 30 feet away are made at disadvantage.

2. Add the following text after the read aloud text in “Part 2. Abandoned Camp.”

The abominable yeti that Scövja and Burleigh were hunting is hiding in this area. The smell of the bodies signaled an easy meal to the creature. More corpses were once on the ground here, but the yeti ate those. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Survival) check determines there were once more corpses in the snow.

The monster hid by the tent when it heard the characters approaching, lying down to look like an enormous snowdrift. A successful Wisdom (Perception) check against the yeti’s Dexterity (Stealth) check spots the creature. If a character approaches within 40 feet of the yeti, the monster stands and attacks. The yeti fights until it is reduced to 30 hit points, then flees.

3. Add the following sidebar to “Part 2. Abandoned Camp.”

Adjusting the Encounter

Here are recommendations for adjusting this combat encounter. These are not cumulative.

  • Very weak party: Replace the abominable yeti with three yetis
  • Weak party: Replace the abominable yeti with two young remorhazes
  • Strong party: Replace the abominable yeti with a remorhaz
  • Very strong party: Add one yeti

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you buy the adventure, let me know what you think. Leave a rating on the DMs Guild and please help spread the word if you enjoy it!

That’s it for this week. This post was months in the making!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!

Today’s update may look short, but it’s actually 16 pages of free PDF long. As you may know, for the last two weeks I’ve been expanding Storm King’s Thunder by adding a new giant lord to the adventure. Not just any giant lord either. A desert giant lord from Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts!

In the PDF below you can grab new content for chapters 1-4, plus a whole new chapter, “Pyramid of Desert Giants,” that uses many a denizen from Kobold Press’ latest masterpiece.

LINK TO THE PDF: The Desert Giant’s Plan

I love to play using Roll20, so I’m making the maps available for you below. If you want to grab this expanded content for Storm King’s Thunder and the maps at another time, they’ll live forever on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, 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!