Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reworking the 4e Duergar


Many people have expressed a disinterest in the cosmetic changes to some races from 3.x  to 4e. None brought me more displeasure than the Duergar. The idea of each member of this soft skinned, humanoid race, flinging poisonous quills, from their hair is maddening.

Removing the quills require to change almost known of the fluff. They still can have infernal ties to Asmodeus, be former slaves of the Mindflayers, be distant relations to the dwarves. . . all that wonderful stuff. To balance that out, add the following:

Infernal Blood:  Resist 5 Poison. Use Poison Veins as an Encounter Power.

  Poison Veins                                                                                                          Duergar Racial Power
You feel blood run from open wounds and slide down you're body, preparing to focus it's power into you're next attack.
Encounter * Poison
Minor Action                   Personal
Requirement: You must be bloodied.

Effect: You're next attack does an additional 1d8 poison damage to one target, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls and ongoing 2 poison damage (save ends both). This effect ends if no attack is made by the end of you're turn.
Level 11: 2d8 poison damage to one target, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls and ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends both).
Level 21: 3d8 poison damage to one target, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls and ongoing 8 poison damage (save ends both).

This gives you a similar power, so you can swap it in when running the Monsters in the MM2 and Monster Builder. The Resist 5 Poison also gives them a little more Umpf when comparing them to other player races, as well as keeping them with similar qualties as passe editions.  Also, the visual imagery of the Duergar blood flowing over a weapon, staff or holy symbol and then being used to attack the palyers offers allot of fun opportunities.

PC Feats

Heroic Tier

Duergar Weapon Training
Prerequisites: Duergar
You gain proficiency and a +2 feat bonus to damages rolls with picks and hammers.

Hardened Mind
Prerequisites: Duergar, Slave No More
+2 Racial Bonus on saving throws vs. being dominated.

Slave No More
Prerequisites: Duergar
Gain a +2 Racial Bonus when escaping grabs or disabling devices currently restraining you.

Paragon Tier

Improved Infernal Blood
Prerequisites: Duergar, 11th Level
You're resistance to Poison is now 15

Improved Poison Veins
Prerequisites: Duergar, 11th Level
Add you're Constitution Modifer to the damage granted by Poison Veins

Epic Tier

Epic Infernal Blood
Prerequisites: Duergar, Improved Infernal Blood, 21th Level
You become Immune to Poison Damage

Epic Poison Veins
Prerequisites: Duergar, Improved Poison Veins, 21th Level
When an enemy within 5 squares of you drops to 0 hp due to poison damage regain the use of Poison Veins.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sahuagin Eel Lord

Everyone knows that Sahuagin love sharks, but surely  there are many other nasty creatures that lurk the deep. Inspired by Primal Power, I present to you the Sahuagin Eel Lord.

This scaly creature has a strangely bluish tinge compared to it's aquatic allies. As it stares you down with its yello sunken eyes, its hands begin to flicker with energy. Skins of of other creatures make up its clothes and a necklace of bones falls about its neck. Its brings up its hands in summons and from the deep dark below a multitude of creatures answers his call.


Tactics: Sahuagin Eel Lords try to hit as many enemies as possible with their Swarm of Eels attack. Once the zone is placed he sustains the ability for as long as possible, attacking enemies within the zone with Draining Ray.

Encounters: Eel Lords pair ideally with other Sahuagin. Soldiers a minions help it stay at range and artillery make good use of the imobilization effect of the Eel Lords Swarm Attack.

Pair with monsters who can also weaken for a particuarly tough encounter.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

 Today, I present for your enjoyment, 17 quick tavern tables. The charts are specifically designed to help you create a new tavern on the fly, in less than a minute!

If you didn’t quite have enough time to prepare or the PCs don’t go quite in the direction you thought they would the tavern is the most common stop along the way. Why not make it interesting?

In under a minute produce a tavern name, fill it with patrons, fill it with people, order drink and inquire about rooms. Guaranteed to help distinguish one tavern from another and help make what was once a footnote an interesting and memorable encounter space.

Tables 1-11 help you generate a name with over 64,000 possibilities (I think. Accurate math not guaranteed.)
Tables 12-15 fills it with people and helps create your space. The last to tables gets your PC's in a room. See the PDF for the whole chart.

The Full PDF

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


 Yama is based on the divine being Yama of Hindu and Buddhist faiths. I originally stated Yama out because I specifically wanted a god of death for my 4th edition campaign who was not evil and did not have evil feeling fluff. 

As always, feel free to use as little or as much as this as you'd like.


Greater God (Unaligned)
Yama is generally depicted as a large humanoid with red skin, and green clothing.  Occasionally he is seen as horned, or fully clothed in a large black cloak like his reapers. He never wields a scimitar however, instead carrying a length of rope with a noose on one end.

It is said that he always travels to the South and those wishing to reach him without dying can find his path by doing so as well.

Symbol: Noose
Portfolio: Death
Domains: Death
Favored Weapon: (Spiked) Chain
Allies: Celempietal, Corellon, Grapog, Istus, Mugar, and Obad-Hai

Yama as a god rarely get's involved in any drama or plans involving the other deities. He cares little for wielding more power, contolling domains, of for the majority of the affairs on earth. His major concern is making sure the souls of those who die make it to their final planar destination.

Those divine powers who champion the natural order, respect the dead, or who battle undeath are generally considered among his allies.

Enemies: Lloth, Orcus, Asmodeus

Yama is a powerful, focussed god who rarely gets inteferes with other deities domains. Few dare or bother to cross him. Those who do stand out cheifly in the world. Lloth has made several attempts to help her mortal followers cheat death and would like nothing more than to wield an unending never dying army, all the while hiding her plans away in secret.

While Asmodeus respects death and it's place in the gathering of souls, it is no secret he would like to add Death to his of domains, flooding Baator with new souls and increasing his power.

Orcus' hold over the power of the dead is legendary and his disrespect for it equally

Gender: Male
Home: Naraka: Is a small demi-plane containing Yama's Onyx Fortess and little else. Souls who die go here for some time, before moving on to their final destination. It lies in no fixed location often appearing in the Astral Planes and the Shadow Shard.

Cleric Training: Clerics of Yama are rare, and as such no formal training exists. Clerics usually train under a local priest for some time, learning official funeral rights and respect for both life and death. Due to Yama's fair relationship with the other deities, clerics are then usually allowed to work under a clerical training regiment for another god, or apprentice directly under a cleric, or paladin of an allied deity.

Quests: Quests on behalf of Yama generally involve protecting the sanctity of death. This could be something simple, such as defeating a group of bandits using a graveyard as a hideout, or complex like stopping Orcus' latest plan.

Occasionally, it is said that Yama empowers his mortal followers to act as his reapers on earth, seeking out specific targets that have offended death and sending them onto the afterlife.

Temples: Temple's to Yama range from small, ornately decorated buildings in larger cities to outdoor shrines in the graveyards of most villages and other towns. Most human settlements at least have a shrine to Yama and a local priest.

Rites: Funerals

Herald and Allies: Reapers (see Open Grave), Shades and Angels

Relics: The Obsidian Scythe

Obsidian Scythe (Artifact)

The Obsidian Scythe appears to be a relatively normal looking scythe accept that the blase is made obsidian. Tests show that both the blade and staff are harder than normal, not faltering under normal abuse. Legend has it that the blade was forged from the first Reaper Yama sent forth to this world.

Weapon: Scythe
Enhancement: +5 to attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +5d10 Necrotic
Property: Any creature killed by this weapon instantly moves onto the plane of Narka, destroying any item, short of artifact level power, tying them to this world, including phylacteries.

If any creature killed by this weapon, later is ressurected or rises as an undead, the wielder is instantly aware of the event, as well as the exact location of where they were raised.

Monday, September 28, 2009

4e/Creature/Hill Giant Solo and Guardians

I apologize for the delay in posts. I was waiting for a reply from a certain company on a certain legal use issue. I have since filed my question through more official methods and I don't think it's worth waiting any longer. (I was also really busy.)

Something quick and simple tonight and more advanced stuff later in the week. Three creatures to help offer a chalenge in the later heroic teir.

First, the Solo Hill Giant.

This Hill Giant is more advanced than the standard version but also comes at a lower level. He's designed to help bridge Heroic and Paragon play, serving as a mini-boss, with the feel of a mini-boss. He's not to far from his standar cousins so by the time they're introduced it should be relatively seemless.

There are no immediate reactions, or bloodied abilites to keep track of. The Hill Giant wants to be in Melee and use Sweeping Club as often as possible, traping the PCs in a corner if one is easily available.

Pair with Striker and/or Artillery if facing five or more foes.

Divine Guardians

 These Large Animated Statues are modeled after two major gods. The Guardian of Bahamut is a tough target to tie down, using it's honorable resolve to stay mobile and in the fight.

It's Lightning Breath offers just enough control to help it keep PCs where it wants them and away from anything or one it might be protecting.

The Guardian of Malkind uses it's Shield Slam to move targets around, and War Hammer Sweep to keep them where they are. If Malkind is not available in your campaign Moradin or another warrior god works fine.

The Guardian's work well as a duo, with Malkind's being immune to Lightning, as well as seoarate in a mixed group.

Set them up as temple Guardians guarding an importnat artifact or statues come to life by powerful magic. If springing a surprise or waiting for something to happen, like someone grabbing the treasure in the middle of the room, before attacking, the Guardian's use Bluff to appear inanimate.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

4E/Creature/Orc - Orc Chain Fighter

Tactics: Orc Chainfighter's keep dangerous or especially mobile enemies occupied while others are either at a distance or doing damage. They can also act as minor controllers shifting and then yanking their targets around the field.

Notes: I couldn't start a site called Free Orcs without any Free Orcs.

4E/Creature/Minion - Greenscale Warrior/Blackscale Tribal Fury

Tactics: Greenscale warriors are the front line of most tribes. They protect the mystics and set up basic flanking, but generally try to keep out of the way of the more capable warriors. They do not fear dying for their tribe.

Notes: Lizardfolk really needed a minion in my mind. I'm going to give all of them the hold breath ability to keep the flavor of 3rd edition.

Tactics: Blackscale Tribal Fury lead war parties of lizardfolk into battle. They employ abmushes and flanking tactics, always favoring facing their enemies head on whenever possible.

Notes: These creatures make really good mini bosses. If tow are put together in one encounter it should be a big deal.

3E/Diety - Jortin

Greater God (Chaotic Neutral)
Jortin is often depicted as a mad jester though it is said that when he appears it is in an almost constantly shifting form. Known as the mad god, there seems to be no reasoning with him, or reason to his actions. His clerics are taught to create chaos in their daily life.
Symbol: Lightning Bolt
Portfolio: Air, Weather, Music, Art, Wealth
Domains: Air, Chaos, Luck, Madness (CD 139), Passion (Eb 107), Travel, Weather (CD 141)
Favored Weapon: Long Bow
Allies: Bruch (Brother)
Enemies: None, but is considered unstable by the gods
Gender: Male
Home: Limbo
Cleric Training: Jortin’s clerics are often bards or thieves first. They learn the tools of Jortin while accompanying other members of their dual class on missions.
Quests: Clerics of Jortin are always on one quest: to create chaos within order. Some do this with whimsy; others do this in a more disruptive way.
Temples: Jortin’s Temples are often attached to theatres or other local cultural center. They can also be places to sell and buy illegally in out of the way places.
Rites: Clerics of Jortin celebrate the creation of new works and ideas on a daily basis.
Herald and allies: Air Elementals, Visions
Relics: Jortin's Bow, Jortin's Marbles

Jortin is the mad god, totally emodying chaos and madness. For that reason most gods tned to steer clear of him, not wanting his eire or even general attention. Most mortals would do the same but he also governs the weather and sky's of the world and is a patron of creativity. Servants of the mad god follow him for vastly different reasons.

3E/Diety - Malkind

Greater God (Lawful Good)
Malkind often appears as a large warrior with armor and weapons forged from stone, a great helm shielding his face. His followers are taught to obey and enforce the laws of this world while protecting the weak from evil and injustice whenever possible.
Symbol: Open Hand
Portfolio: Dwarves, Earth, Protection, Medics
Domains: Earth, Exorcism (Eb 106), Glory (CD 139), Healing, Nobility (CW 115), Protection, Strength
Favored Weapon: Mace
Allies: Hextre (Trusted Ally), Hennist (Trusted Ally/Ex-Lover)
Enemies: Tyra (Directly Opposed/Lover of Hennist), Grapog (Directly Opposed), Sindress (Directly Opposed)
Gender: Male
Home: Arcadia
Cleric Training: New clerics are often instructed to train at the side of an experienced cleric or a good knight.
Quests: Clerics of Malkind often accompany armies into battle, protect and help govern settlements (especially new or small ones), or are charged with protecting key individuals.
Temples: Temples of Malkind are always made of stone and metal. There are often built downwards with many sub layers and have outer walls.
Rites: Birth and funeral rites are the most important to a cleric of Malkind, as it is the start of protection and the return to the earth.
Herald and Allies: Archons, Earth Elementals, Spirits
Relics: Malkind's Hammer, The Helm of Malkind, The Light of the Dwarves

Malkind is my god of earht and protection. I very purposefully did not adapt Moradin because of Moradin's heavy association with the dwarves. While Malkind is often revered by the Dwarves, and he likes the dwarves, he's far from a Dwarven god. In fact in many area's Bahamut's not revered and he's The Symbol of Lawful Good.

This is his third edition self. He later reconciles with Sindress, has a son (Celempietal), wages a divine war, and gains more good diefic allies.

3E/Diety - Sindress

Greater God (Chaotic Neutral)
Sindress often appears as a beautiful woman in full battle regalia, with hair made of flames. Her followers are taught that battle is the greatest glory one can hope to achieve. Sindress’ clerics teach that with the help of Bruch, Sindress tricked Hennist and Tyra into falling in love which resulted in the creation of the world. Sindress is the mother of Celmpietal and Guiness.
Symbol: Flame
Portfolio: Fire, Love, War, Illusion
Domains: Charm (Eb 104), Courage (CW 114), Fire, Passion (Eb 107), Planning (CW 115), Trickery, War
Favored Weapon: Long Sword
Allies: Bruch (Fellow Trickster), Grapog (Trusted Ally)
Enemies: Hennist (Foolish and Naive), Hextre (Nuisance), Malkind (Directly Opposed)
Gender: Female
Home: Ysgard
Cleric Training: Clerics of Sindress are taught to fight and defend themselves by senior members and are often sent out to accompany armies into battle.
Quests: Clerics of Sindress are often sent to retrieve artifacts of great power, keep a conflict going, or even start them where there is peace.
Temples: Temples of Sindress often include weapon forges and swinging lanterns of eternal flame.
Rites: Sindress most important rituals are the blessings of troupes and sanctifying of battlefields. The clerics are often a means for young lovers to be married without their parents consent.
Herald and Allies: Angels, Archons, Fire Elementals, Ghosts of Warriors
Relics: Sindress' Sword, Sindress' Helm, Sindress' Plate

Sindress is one of my original pantheon gods andis still present in my 4th edition group. She is a god of passion, with war and fire tying in with this as well. She makes descisions quickly and is always of a stong and confident mindset but doesn't hesitate to change her mind, embodying chaos to a lesser degree than Jortin.

She proved popular with players and is an easy source of plot and adventures.

She is the mother of Celempietal (father is Malkind), and Guiness (father is a follower, Peldar). The version presented here is before these two events.

4E/Diety - Celempietal

Lesser God (Lawful Neutral)
Celempietal is often seen as a middle aged dwarf with no hair, or beard, whose skin is made out of adamantine. In fairness, he has the tendency to change forms when addressing those of other races so they can be at eye level. His clerics teach order in all things and practice ritual shaving only after they believe they have achieved discipline over their lives. He is the son of Malkind and Sindress.
Symbol: Circle with Dotted Middle
Portfolio: Law, Buildings, and Pacts
Domains: Civilization, Creation, and Protection
Favored Weapon: Warhammer and Shield
Allies: Sindress, Malkind, Asmodeus, Bahamut, Poseidon, and Mugar
Enemies: Grapog, Jortin, and Lloth
Gender: Male
Home: Mechanus
Cleric Training: Clerics of Celempietal Study Law as well as Religious Doctrine in Rigorous Schools.
Quests: Clerics of the law god are often set to guard important texts as well as critical and ancient buildings. Trusted followers might be assigned to oversee the creation of pacts and treaties between rivals and powerful enemies.
Temples: Small Fortreses
Rites: Celempietal honors few days, but considers new pacts, both great and small momentous. They also celebrate the start of a new year as well as major anniversaries of local important texts and nations.
Herald and Allies: Modrons and Inevitables
Relics: The Golden Rulebook, The Five Treatise Scrolls of Legend

One of the first gods my players had a hand in forming. For a very long time the goddess Sindress and the god Malkind were at odds with each other. During the Divine War stakes were high and these two came together with help of the players. Afterwards they remained allies and during a time of passion, as the goddess of passion tends to produce, Celempietal was made.

Civillization is the god of law. He overseas structure both physical and figuritivie. He makes a avaluable additional  to most dwarven pantheons but is otherwise filler or plays a limited role. While he promotes order and civillization his ability to protect it is limited and relies heavily on his alliances with other dieties and earthly followers.

4E/Diety - Bane

Greater God (Lawful Evil)
Bane often appears as a large warrior in bronze or gold armor and a helm that hides his face in shadows. He is an ever reaching god who would like nothing less than absolute control of the cosmos.
Symbol: Fist
Portfolio: Tyranny, Fear and Evil
Domains: Fate, Skill, Tyranny
Favored Weapon: Spear, Longsword and Gauntlet
Allies: Sindress, Asmodeus, Istus, Tiamat and Lloth
Enemies: Jortin, Malkind, Pelor, Mugar, Bahamut and Obad-Hai
Gender: Male
Home: Chernoggar
Cleric Training: Bane runs his church much like a large military. Early training puts clerics through a boot camp of sorts followed by other specialized areas of training.
Quests: Clerics of Bane are often sent to advise leaders. Their primary goals is to help right societies, into a more organized and authoritarian structure.
Temples: Temples often feature altars of dark iron or stone.
Rites: Prayer before battle. Thanks of present strength. Local ceremonies celebrating long standing organizations.
Herald and Allies: Angels and Archons
Relics: Bane’s Helm, the Bronze Heart, The Iron Codex, The Reneskria Scrolls, Bruch’s Broken Rapier

Another 4th edition god I decided to add to my pantheon. He's roughly the as WoTC's Bane except he was not around for any early events.

Bane killed Bruch as part of a scheme with Asmodeus. Asmodeus got most of Bruch's power and ascended to godhood. Bane got Bruch's realm of Yelmshand and used it to reform his own realm on this world.

4E/Diety - Bahamut

Intermediate God (Lawful Good)
Bahamut is depicted as a massive, long and sinuous dragon with silver-white scales and blue, catlike eyes. The exact color is hard to specify and may depend on Bahamut's mood, ranging from sky-blue to frosty indigo. About a quarter of the time, Bahamut wanders the world in the shape of a human or some other guise. He is said to have been encountered as a frail old hermit, with the seven great golden wyrms that accompany him disguised as seven canaries singing sweetly nearby.
Symbol: Silver Dragon Head
Portfolio: Air, Honor, Justice, and Storm
Domains: Hope, Justice, Protection, and Storm
Favored Weapon: Broad Sword
Allies: Malkind, Pelor, Jortin, Mugar, Obad-Hai, and Celempietal
Enemies: Bane, Asmodeus, Grapog, Tiamat, and Lloth
Gender: Male
Home: Celestia
Cleric Training: Bahamut only accepts good-aligned priests. They strive to constantly yet subtly act on behalf of good. They oppose evil, but their first mandate is to ensure they do no harm in the process.
Quests: The servants of Bahamut strive to root out evil, especially evil dragons, and protect the weak.
Temples: Bahamut’s temples are beautiful, elegant edifices characterized by clean, simple architecture and furnishings. Within them will be public rooms in which the faithful can gather and private rooms for meditation and recuperation. Dragons will not normally build temples, contenting themselves with simple symbols on the wall that they treat as shrines. Bahamut prefers his followers to worship him with deeds, not objects.
Rites: The counting of deeds. Rite of Rebirth (where humanoids become dragonborn).
Herald and Allies: Good Dragons
Relics: Bahamut’s Silver Shield, The Seven Dragon Spans, Bahamut’s Tear

Bahamut is a god included in both 4th and 3rd edition (and earlier one's in fact). He was one of the only WoTC gods I used in my third edition campaign. I use him almost exactly as they do, with a little embelishment and some slight changes to domain to help balance out the other gods.

In order to keep the number of gods down, I do not use the full draconic pantheon.

4E/Diety - Asmodeus

Intermediate God (Lawful Evil)
Followers of Asmodeus promote Tyranny, not only in government but in life. Only through strong social structures can the races achieve a type of divine perfection. Of course, within that structure, one should strive to rise in ranks by any means. The church of Asmodeus urges its adherents to seek power over others, to repay evil with further evil, to exploit kindness for personal gain, and to show no compassion for the weak and downtrodden.
Symbol: Ruby Rod
Portfolio: Power, domination and law
Domains: Civilization, Skill, Torment, and Tyranny
Favored Weapon: Mace
Allies: Tiamat, Istus, Celempietal, Bane and Grapog
Enemies: Corellon Larethian, Malkind, Sindress, Mugar, and Bahamut
Gender: Male
Home: Baator
Cleric Training: Clerics of Asmodeus memorize tomes of the various laws of nearby kingdoms as well as the laws of Baator all the while working under a direct supervisor and taking care of anything assigned. They often do not advance until they take proper initiative.
Quests: Whatever their superiors need them to do. Often this involves the corruption and capture of souls, support for the bloodwar, or making new tyrannies.
Temples: Asmodeus favors easily defended, military structures, often at least partially subterranean. When his followers control the local government, his temples are more often above ground, and become bustling center of commerce and bureaucracy.
Rites: The month of Bathorous is said to revere the devils and Asmodeous. On the 13th of Bathorous Asmodeus supposedly rose to divinity. Followers also revere promotions in rank, and anniversaries of long standing social structures.
Herald and Allies: Devils, Archdevils
Relics: Ruby Rod, the Cloak of Asmodeus, Whip of Phongor, Bensozia’s Silver Chain Asmodeus is one of the gods included in 4th edition. My homebrew setting was originally 3.0 and he at that time was simply the archlord of hell, a greater power but no god. I explained all the changes from 3.x to 4th edition with world shattering events. The last battle was suppossed to end with Asmodeus stealing the power of existing god Hextre, destorying him in the process. Well my players intervened in a manner not set up and one of my players ended up ascending to godhood instead (the above mentioned Mugar). Well that didn't stop him and he ended up using Bane as a conduit and ascending when Bane killed Bruch. One of his goals as a god was getting the uperhand in the blood war. When he ascended he took the initial burst of power and moved Baator into the Astral Sea. This severed several of the connections between Baator and the Abyss, making it more difficult for the demons to flood Avernus (the first layer of hell) with their superior numbers. Instead of pushing the war further into the Abyss and begin conquering its many layers, Asmodeus instead is focussing on keeping his realm secure and keeping a strong force on Pazunia. The demons instead have funnelled their numbers through other portals and have an increased number on the world. Devils pursue them there, in area's of interest, and the Blood War rages still, especially in the area know as the Fields of Blood. Bensozia was Asmodeus' former consort and mother of Glasya. Phongor is the Inquisitor of Hell.