Using My Monsters

Friday, 31 July 2015

House Rules: Making Magical Items

Making magical items has always been a part of D&D for me and mine. Many potent weapons and devices have come from the hard labour and imaginations of heroes (and players), and many fabulous games have come from their efforts to secure rare or unusual components to complete their devices. A session or two ago, Ormid lost his beloved Repulsion armour, and, having (barely) survived the nightmares of a Tyranid infested world (using the Unearthed Arcana - Mass Combat rules, which were, apart from a few minor points, pretty damn good), he wanted to try and make another set.

We determined that his particular set or armour was Very Rare, being +2 and having a cool power, which, according to the DMG meant he would take literally years to complete his work! Obviously this was stupid.

So, here is a slight tweaking of the official rules, to bring a little variance to the process, and to bring those times down to something reasonable.

Unless it's mentioned here, the rules in the DMG are unchanged.

To determine the time taken to make a magic item...

1) Make an ability check for your spell casting attribute. Add Arcana or Religion if felt to be appropriate.

2) Divide the cost of the item you are making by the result. (see the DMG, page 129)

3) Divide this by 25. This is the number of days you need to make the item. Round up. Making an item takes at least 1 day.

4) Artificers take half as long to make magical items. 

By the way, we are getting to a point where I should be ready to share the full 20 level Artificer class with you all. We have play tested two of the three builds I came up with (Warsmith and Tinkerer), and so far, apart from a few adjustments, they are proving pretty balanced and playable. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hope's Famine - 5th Edition Stats

Hope's Famine was one of the many things I loved in the Shnecke et al game, and I hope it will appear in one of the other games sooner or later. Of course, for this to happen, it has to be converted into the latest rule set - so here it is (and there is some new fluff to go with it).


Hope's Famine (Legendary Wondrous Item)
Requires Attunement by a Warlock

Hope's Famine is a despicable implement, which seems to harbour some kind of vague, malign intelligence. It appears to be crafted from a blackened section of humanoid spinal column, each vertebrae being carved with vile runes of dark magic. A horn curves from one end of it, forming the “head”, whilst teeth and finger bones rattle from sinew at the opposite end.

When attuned to a wielder, Hope's Famine emanates a slight warmth, suggestive of living flesh, and it is said that it wriggles and writhes when it is used to inflict harm, as if savouring the pain it is channelling. Although a lesser legendary item, the Famine has found its way into the possession of many famous anti-heroes, almost always being implicated in their eventual downfall.

The version here only represents its larval stage. Certain tales suggest it can, once it has fed enough on suffering and hate, pupate into something even more terrible, evil and sentient, although there are no clear records as to what this form can do.

Powers And Abilities

  • An individual that is attuned to the Famine permanently lose 1 Hit Dice for as long as they are so joined. However, they also reduce all damage inflicted to them by 3 points.
  • Warlocks can channel their Eldritch Blast and spells through the Rod, gaining a +1 bonus to hit and to damage.
  • Powers channelled through the rod inflicts +7 (2d6) bane damage on a critical hit, or if the target rolls a natural “1” when saving against it.
  • The bearer of the rod may choose to sacrifice 10 hit points to the Rod before making an attack through it. If the attack inflicts damage, it inflicts +2d6 Bane damage on top of the normal damage. The wielder cannot reduce the damage they inflict to themselves in any way.
  • As a Reaction, when the bearer of the rod misses with an attack channelled through it, they may sacrifice 10 hit points to it (there is no way to reduce this damage to themselves), and re-roll the missed attack with advantage. They must use the second result, even if it is worse than the first.
  • 1/ Long Rest, the bearer of the rod may choose to inflict 11 (2d10) points of Bane damage to all allies within 25' of them. For each ally damaged in this way, the next attack made through the Rod inflicts +4 (1d8) Bane damage. The allies are harmed before the attack roll is made, or the targets have to make any saving throws.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Touchstone Spells; Corrosive Fountain

I'm always interested in cool new ways to reward players, and whilst browsing through some 3.0 and 3.5 books, I came across a few old ideas that I really liked - namely the Planar Touchstone from the Planar Handbook, and the Artifact Spells from Secrets of Xen'Drik. What follows is a 5e spell based on these ideas, which I hope gives you some ideas about adopting something similar in your own games.

"In the middle of the wretched heat and mosquito haunted humidity, we came across an ancient Settari statue. Sardai was carved into it, which I of course innately understood, though it was pure gibberish to my Dundorin companions. Almost at once I realised that the runes spoke of a potent spell I could unleash, if only I could properly understand their message, and lock it within me. I set to work at once, and after a days' solid study, had mastered the magic!

What a shame the effort of casting it wiped it from my mind...and of course by then, we were in too much trouble to return to the statue so I could restore it! Ah well"

- Yardo Job, Explorer and Mage.  

Corrosive Fountain
Touchstone Spell (Invocation)
To Learn: Intelligence (Arcana), D.C. 25; 24 Hours*

Casting Time: 1 Action
Casting Check: Arcana (Intelligence) D.C. 25**
Failure Penalty: No***
Range: 500'
Area of Effect: 40' Diameter, 50' High vertical Cylinder
Components: S
Saving Throw: Dexterity 1/2 and Partial
Duration: Instantaneous

A column of searing acid erupts in the area, inflicting 77 (22d6) Acid damage to all creatures in the area and pushing them to the top of the cylinder. The acid then vanishes, and those creatures fall 50' with normal effects. A D.C. 20 Reflex save halves the damage and allows the target to avoid being lifted up.

Once cast, the spell is lost from memory, and the source must be studied for another 24 hours (Learn D.C. Intelligence (Arcana) 25.

* To properly lock the magic into your character's mind, you must study the spell for the total specified amount of time and then make an ability check (often skills will apply). You do not have to study the spell in one go, although you must do so in chunks of at least 1 hour. If you fail the check, you do not learn the spell, and must start again. Once you cast the spell, it is gone from your mind, and you must study it again as before. You can normally only hold one such spell in your mind at a time. 

** Although you hold the magic, it is potent and difficult to bring forth. You must succeed in the specified check to cast the spell. If you fail the check, your action is wasted, although you retain the use of the spell. 

*** Some spells have unpleasant effects if you fail the check. Usually, there is a safe margin for error, where nothing happens - so, for example, you may have to fail the check by 6 or more to trigger the penalty, or have to have failed to cast the spell twice in a row. The nature of the penalty is unique to each spell, and not all spells carry them.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

New Weapon - Maquahuitl (Martial Weapon)

Maquahuitl – Martial Weapon

Cost: 10gp
Damage: 2d4 slashing
Weight: 6lbs
Properties: Versatile (2d6); Brutal 1 Vs Unarmoured (When attacking a target that is unarmoured (or has an AC below 14 despite natural armour), re-roll any damage results of 1 until you roll higher)

Many Ssethrek tribes manufacture these weapons, using either the fangs of large beasts to create its blade, or sharp shards of obsidian. Surprisingly heavy, they are largely made from dense jungle woods, and so, are immune to the effects of rust monsters or similar. The price above is indicative of the price one may expect to pay for an imported example. If buying in an area where they are used, they may be as cheap as 1 gp. 

Almost all Maquahuitl are highly decorated, often bearing sacred or protective inscriptions that guide the warrior's attacks, or keep them from harm.

Not sure if they would cut a can....but pretty sure they will open up a skull or chest quite nicely...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Lensman - CR 3

The Lensman is the odd one out in the Beholder (or in my games, Xareth'Cheldean) world, being earthbound and pretty feeble. However if you are planning an adventure in, say, a Beholder Hive, these things are the fodder for your characters blood engines...if you get what I mean...

Anyway, from 2nd Edition AD&D to your 5e game, may I present, the Lensman...

Lensman – Medium Aberration
(Neutral Evil)

A.C. 16 (Natural Armour)
Hpts: 78 (12d8+24) [36 - 120]
Speed: 30'
Initiative: +2
Proficiency Bonus: +2

Str: 19 (+4) Dex: 14 (+2) Con: 15 (+2) Int: 7 (-2) Wis: 10 (+0) Cha: 5 (-3)

Skills: Athletics +6, Perception +2

Senses: Darkvision 60'; Passive Perception: 12

Language: Cheldean

CR: 3 (700 xp)


The Lensman make a single glaive and tentacle attack, or a single melee attack and Eye Ray attack.

Glaive: Melee weapon attack; Reach 10'; One target; +6 to hit; Hit: 9 (1d10+4) slashing damage.

Tentacle: Melee attack; Reach 5'; One target; +6 to hit; Hit: 6 (1d8+2) bludgeoning damage

Eye Ray (Recharge 3-6): The Lensman knows one of these powers. Range 60', Save D.C. 10;

1) Emotion: Target must make a Wisdom saving throw or suffer disadvantage on attack rolls, saving throws, ability and skill checks for 5 (2d4) rounds. The target may repeat the save at the end of each of their turns to end this effect early.
2) Heal: As the spell, cast with a 6th level spell slot
Dispel Magic: As the spell, cast with a 3rd level spell slot
Tongues: As the spell, cast with a 3rd level spell slot
Phantasmal Force: As the spell, cast with a 2nd level spell slot
Protection: Targets gains immunity to one form of damage for 1 hour. 

 I was pretty limited on pictures for these guys, so have the token 
I made for my online games (not my art of course)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Zygom Colony

When that spaceship crashed in Greyhawk, it brought many strange and alien lifeforms into D&D. One of them was the adhesive and slightly Cordyceps like Zygom; a fungus from space that was embarrassing at first, and know....deadly.

So, here are my 5e stats for this mycological horror. It's not actually a monster as such, but a pretty vicious terrain feature. However, unless the group are pretty low level, they shouldn't be too nasty....though "shouldn't" is a very relative word in D&D *evil grin*


Zygom patches typically covers an area of 2d4 contiguous squares. If anyone enters their space (which is difficult terrain), they must make a D.C. 13 Dexterity save or break several fungi. If this happens, they are restrained by the gluey sap until they make a D.C. 18 Strength check. They must also make a D.C. 16 Constitution saving throw to avoid becoming infected by the Zygom spores that lace the sap.
If they fail this save, they are infested by its aggressive pathogens and immediately become highly protective of the colony, only desiring to stay and defend the colony, and violently opposing any attempts to move them or to harm it. Every 1d4 hours they must repeat the Constitution save, failure indicating they take 16 (3d10) Necrotic damage, their total hit points being reduced by the same amount. If slain by this damage, they immediately rot, and a new Zygom colony is born.
If the victim makes three successful saves in a row, they fight off the infection, and all symptoms fade. Any lost total hit points return slowly, at the rate of 16 (3d10) per long rest.
A Neutralise Poison spell allows the target to save against the spores immediately with advantage. A Heal spell, Greater Restoration or similar completely remove the infection, the former also restoring all lost total hit points.

A patch (5' square) of Zygoms have 25 hit points, AC 6, and are immune to psychic damage. They have no intelligence, being in most respects normal fungi (albeit fungi from a remote world). As such they are immune to any attacks that rely on fear, or a functioning intellect, and are rather passive participants in any attempts to bluff or intimidate them.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Phycomid - CR 3

As you may have gathered, I have a real world love for fungi, and as such, adore all the various fungi monsters that have appeared in D&D over the years. One that seems to get looked over quite a bit is the Phycomid - a lump of slimy gunk with acid spitting mushrooms growing from it. The  Paizo description for them is by far my favorite, painting these things as truly repugnant and dangerous, and I would encourage you to check it out before you use them.

Anyway, here we go! My 5e Phycomid.

Phycomid – Small Plant

A.C. 10 (Natural Armour)
Hpts: 99 (18d6+36) [52 - 144]
Speed: 10' (Forestwalk)
Initiative: +2
Proficiency Bonus: +2

Str: 4 (-3) Dex: 14 (+2) Con: 15 (+2) Int: 3 (-4) Wis: 5 (-3) Cha: 6 (-2)

Saving Throws:
Constitution +2
Skills: Stealth +4 (Fungoid Form)

Damage Resistances: Acid, Poison
Condition Immunity: Frightened, Prone, Sleep; Lacking Imagination
Damage Vulnerability: Radiant

Senses: Blindsight 60' (Blind Beyond) ; Passive Perception: 7

3 (700 xp)


Forestwalk: The Phycomid ignores difficult terrain caused by trees, bushes or other natural features found in a forested area, even if they are not caused by nature.

Fungoid Form: The Phycomid gains advantage on checks to pass as innocuous fungi in an environment typical for such things.

Lacking Imagination:
The Phycomid is immune to all Illusion spells and effects.


Phycomid makes two Digestive Spume attacks.

Digestive Spume: Ranged attack; Range 50'; One target; +4 to hit; Hit: 22 (4d10) Acid damage and target must make a D.C. 12 Constitution saving throw, or begin to lose 1 point of Constitution at the start of each of their turns (Save at end of each turn ends). This is a disease effect. Those killed by the disease immediately begin to rot, and in 1d6+6 hours time become a new Phycomid. A Remove Affliction or similar can also stop the ongoing Constitution loss. need a spot of cream on that I think...

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Jotor'Gigorim (Mountain Giant) - CR 14

Not all of the "Low" Gigorim (or "non-Adaric Gigorim") are as stupid and relatively weak as the Vulgorim and Urgori. Some, such as the Jotor'Gigorim, span the gap between their brutish "common" brethren and their potent "high" kin.

Jotor'Gigorim are the legendary Mountain Giants, first described in the 1st Edition AD&D Fiend Folio. They are massive creatures, that can inflict terrible punishment on those stupid (or unlucky) enough to rouse their wrath. There is a story line coming to one of my campaigns that will see more than a few of the "Children of Adar" battling with the "Runt Races", which is why these guys are back in my games. Hope you like!

Jotor'Gigorim (Mountain Giant) – Huge Giant
(Chaotic Neutral)

A.C. 15 (Natural Armour)
Hpts: 263 (17d12+153) [170 - 357]
Speed: 60'
Initiative: -2
Proficiency Bonus: +5

Str: 27 (+8) Dex: 7 (-2) Con: 28 (+9) Int: 11 (+0) Wis: 12 (+1) Cha: 13 (+1)

Saving Throws: Strength +13, Constitution +14
Skills: Athletics +13, Perception +6

Damage Reductions: Slashing, Piercing, Bludgeoning from non-magical weapons 10
Damage Resistances: Cold
Condition Immunity: Petrified

Senses: Darkvision 120'; Passive Perception: 16

Language: Jotorim

CR:  14 (11,500 xp)


Sure Footed: In mountainous terrain, the Jotorim may substitute their Strength score for their Dexterity score when making ability checks to avoid falling, being knocked prone or similar.


Greatclub: Melee weapon attack; 15' Reach; One target; +13 to hit; Hit: 77 (6d20+8) Bludgeoning damage, and target is knocked prone, and must make a D.C. 21 Constitution save or be Incapacitated until the end of their own next turn. If this attack misses, all creatures within 10' of the target (including the target) must make a D.C.21 Dexterity save, or suffer 38 (3d20+4) Bludgeoning damage.

Moutain Boulder: Ranged Weapon Attack; 800' Range; Four targets within a 10' x 10' area; +13 to hit; Hit: 40 (5d12+8) Bludgeoning damage and target is knocked prone and stunned unless they make a D.C. 21 Dexterity saving throw. Anyone failing this save by 5+ is pinned beneath the rock until they escape. Whilst pinned they have total cover from everything, are Restrained and at the start of their turn suffer 19 (3d12) Bludgeoning damage.

Yo ladies. My name is Hans, and I am 32' of pure, manly lovin'

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Birthday Pile of Conversions

I turn 41 today, so I thought I would share a bunch of magic items. Most are from earlier versions of D&D, though a couple are my own creation. Enjoy!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dhampyr Homebred Race

Found this in my notes from last year. Thought I would share.


The Dhampyr, is treated as a sub-race of another race. Choose a basic race (but no sub-race). You gain all their abilities, plus the following...

Age: Dhampyr are not truly immortal, being half-dead. They age much more slowly however, only doing so at 100th the rate of their basic race.

Ability Score Increase: +1 to one ability score of your choice.

Darkvision: You gain Darkvision 60'. If you already have Darkvision, its range increases by 30', and you are able to discern detail and colour, even in total darkness within its original range.

Mask of Life: You gain advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks to pass yourself off as a living member of your base race.

Necrology: Dhampyr do not need to sleep or breathe, although they do need to eat. They can eat normal foods, but prefer blood – straight from the throat of a living victim if possible. They have advantage when saving against Poison, and poison damage against them is reduced by an amount equal to their Constitution modifier (minimum 1). Dhampyr must still rest for at least 4 hours to regain the use of abilities that need a long rest to recharge, and unfortunately, due to their unnatural life energies, only gain half the normal amount of healing from healing spells. Animals may (at the GM's whim) react poorly to you, as they sense your unnatural nature.

Inured to Death: Dhampyr have resistance to Necrotic, and advantage on saving throws against spells and abilities that draw on necromancy, or inflict necrotic damage.

Feed on the Living: When you have a living enemy, who has blood within them grabbed, you may make a special attack against them as a bonus action. You may also use it against a helpless target. The attack is a melee attack, and if it hits, inflicts 1d4 + Strength Modifier piercing damage, and you gain temporary hit points equal to your level + the targets Constitution modifier. You may use this 1/ short or long rest. At 11th level, you may use this twice per long or short rest. At 17th level, you may use it three times per long or short rest, and inflict 1d6 + Strength Modifier piercing damage.

Weakened by Sunlight: You are vulnerable to Radiant damage, and suffer disadvantage when saving against attacks that inflict this. In sunlight, you loose the benefits of your Inured to Death ability, and suffer disadvantage on all saving throws, skill checks, and attack rolls.  You may cover yourself and wear heavy shaded lenses to negate these penalties, but should not be surprised when people are naturally suspicious of you.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tower Shield for 5th Edition

Tower Shields are something I miss from earlier editions of D&D. The idea that someone might want to wield one of those ridiculously large, bulky and heavy things appealed to me, and although few characters I have DMed for bothered, it always irritated me that they didn't re-appear....

...Well, now they've re-appeared (though to use one properly you will need to take a feat)

Armour Class
Tower Shield
Str 18

* If you are proficient with the shield you can, as a bonus action, set it steady and hide behind it, gaining ½ - ¾ cover from attacks that originate from the other side of it. As long as the shield is set this way, your speed drops to 5'. As a bonus action you can return to using it as a normal shield. Note: The cover bonus to AC replaces the normal AC bonus granted by the shield whilst it is being used in that way.

New Feat

Tower Shield Bearer
Prerequisites: Proficient with Shields
Benefits: You are Proficient with Tower Shields. Increase either your Strength or Constitution by 1 (Maximum 20). When you are conscious and using a tower shield, up to 2 adjacent allies gain a +1 bonus to AC, and you can use it to grant yourself cover (as outlined in the shield's description). 

Peek-a-Boo! I kill yooooou!