Bone Mask of Life (Relic)

This magic item originally appeared 17 Relics by The Le Press. A relic is a powerful magic item which once formed part of the body or belongings of some great figure. See Seventeen Relics for special rules on relics.

This relic, fierce as it appears, is actually a holy artifact made from the skull of the first aasimar to become a king on the material plane. The mask, with horns coming out of the front, covers the top half of the wearer’s face except for the eyes and nose. It attaches securely to the wearer’s face, resizing to fit anyone with a head of general humanoid form, up to a maximum of Large size.

While wearing the mask, its fearsome visage confers a +2 competence bonus to all Intimidate checks, but the wearer suffers a -2 penalty to Diplomacy checks. The fierce soul of the bone mask increases the wearer’s level by one for the purposes of turning (but not rebuking) undead, and grants the wearer a +1 divine bonus to saves versus any the special abilities or spells of any undead.

The bone mask of life takes up the same “magic item slotâ€? on the body as goggles or eyeglasses.

Faint necromancy; CL 7th; Price 30,000 gp; Weight: 1lb.

Portals, Rod of

This heavy white rod is strange and alien in shape, and appears to be made from steel. Crafted by a mage’s guild who were paid a handsome sum to develop magical artifacts for a great king, the rod went missing under mysterious circumstances and was never seen again. Rumour has it, however, that the Rod of Portals is hidden in an orange box, protected by nineteen dangerous and increasingly complex puzzles.

The Rod of Portals conceals two buttons on its underside, one blue and one orange. Pushing each button opens a magical portal in any flat, stationary surface that the rod is pointed at—for example, walls, floors or ceilings. Only two such portals can exist at any one time, each one linked to one of the buttons. A person stepping into any one portal finds himself stepping out of the other - likewise, the portals can transport objects or even spells in the same manner.

Each portal is large enough for a human to step through with ease. A portal collapses immediately if a second is created with the same button, or after one hour has passed. Portals also collapse if the surface they are on is moved.

The rod, however, carries a minor curse. Whoever wields it is periodically hears the echoing voice of a woman, who claims at all times to be watching the wielder.

Moderate transmutation, CL9th, Craft Rod, dimension door; 76,000 gp; Weight 10lbs.

Yes, I’ve been playing Portals. Go buy the Orange Box from Valve now.

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Deep Crow

The following game statistics are inspired by this Penny Arcade strip.


This vile feathered creature appears at first a massive, corrupted crow. A disgusting multitude of eyes are mounted above a powerful antlike beak, and four lethal talons ready themselves before a heavy, swinging tail.

This terrifying creature is responsible for night raids on farms that are often mistakenly blamed on dragons or common cattle thieves. Swooping down out of the darkness on massive wings, the powerful bird simply lifts off with livestock in its talons. Its roost is frequently littered with the smashed skeletons of former meals, with recognisable skulls evidencing that the terrible creature has no compunctions about eating human flesh. Growing ever larger with age, truly ancient deep crows are fearsome creatures indeed.

(Game statistics follow behind the cut.)

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The following game statistics are inspired by this Penny Arcade strip.

This short, stocky creature resembles an angry, humanoid stalagmite. Furrowed eyes rest above a massive, jagged maw as its short arms clutch a crude stone spear.

Stalagmen are tenacious, vicious creatures. Stalagmen subsist chiefly on rock, with a special taste for rare ores. They inevitably come into conflict with any nearby underground societies such as dwarves, who compete with the stalagmen’s voracious appetite for metals and precious stones. Stone-destroying oozes are the stalagman’s natural enemy, although more resourceful tribes are known to cultivate gelatinous cubes as door guards.

(Game statistics follow behind the cut.)

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Kill Gleemax!

Tempers flared when Dungeons & Dragons players started to fear that their two favourite magazines had been replaced by some kind of brain in a jar website. It turns out that’s not quite the case, but I figured that if enough players have an axe to grind with Gleemax, that they might as well do it accompanied by a mage, thief and cleric.

I’m told it’s some kind of Magic: The Gathering in-joke.

Gleemax, CR20
Advanced brain in a jar psion20 (telepath)
NE Tiny undead
Libris Mortis 90
Init +3; Senses blindsight 60ft., darkvision 60ft; Listen +14, Spot +14
Telepathy 100ft, language-dependant

AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11
hp 311 (29HD; turn resistance +8)
Immune undead traits
Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +20

Spd fly 30ft (good)
Space 1ft.; Reach
Psionic powers known (CL 20th, 403pp/day);
    9th—affinity field, assimilate, psionic etherealness, microcosm, psychic chirurgery, reality revision
    8th—mind seed, recall death, true metabolism
    7th—crisis of life, decerebrate, insanity
    6th—mind switch, mass cloud mind, psionic disintegrate
    5th—mind probe, leech field, psychic crush, psionic true seeing
    4th—mind wipe, psionic dominate, psionic modify memory, telekinetic maneuver
    3rd—dispel psionics, false sensory input, psionic blast, time hop
    2nd—ego whip, brain lock, read thoughts, psionic suggestion
    1st—conceal thoughts, distract, inertial armor, mind thrust, psionic charm
Special Atk mind thrust, psionics, rebuke undead

Abilities Str —, Dex 16, Con —, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 25
SQ Madness, +8 turn resistance
Feats Ability Focus (mind thrust), Alertness, Delay Power, Dodge, Force of Will, Greater Power Penetration, Improved Turn Resistance, Iron Will, Overchannel, Power Penetration, Psionic Dodge, Quicken Power, Skill Focus (Bluff), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Skills Concentration +20, Bluff +42, Diplomacy +42, Knowledge (history) +37, Knowledge (psionics) +37, Knowledge (religion) +37, Listen +14, Profession (game designer) +12, Psicraft +25, Spot +14

Mind Thrust (Su): As a standard action, Gleemax can deliver an assault on the mental pathways of one creature, dealing 2d10 points of damage to any creature which fails a DC 20 Will save.
Madness (Su): Anyone targetting Gleemax with thought detection, mind control or any sort of telepathic or psionic ability that makes direct contact with its tortured mind takes 1d4 points of Wisdom damage.
Psionics (Sp): 3/day—suggestion (DC20), telekinesis (DC22); 1/day—dominate person (DC20). Manifester level 20th.
Rebuke Undead (Su): Gleemax can rebuke or command undead as a level 9 cleric.
Unholy Toughness, aka Dragotha Rule (Ex): Gleemax gains a bonus to its hit points equal to its Charisma modifier x its Hit Dice, just because.

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More Powerful Planetouched

We all know that tiefling and aasimar are a shade underpowered for +1 level adjustment. Sean K Reynolds has admitted this in the past, pointing out that everyone would play them if they were +0 level adjustment but some people would still play them at +1, and that a better solution than the level adjustment system couldn’t be found.

If you want to encourage the planetouched races in your game by giving them a little boost, here’s my house rules on the topic.

First, make the race a template - why should only humans get to have extraplanar ancestors? Thus there now exist in your world aasimar elves and tiefling dwarves. The character gains both the benefits of the base creature as well as the planetouched race, and these stack - for example, a tiefling elf has (amongst other things) +4 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, and -2 Charisma, and treats both rogue and wizard as his favoured class. He retains the Outsider (native) type regardless of the base creature.

A “plain” aasimar or tiefling in this variant is simply a planetouched human. He is as the standard tiefling but with the bonus feat, the bonus skill point per level and can treat any class as his favoured class. An alternative to this is that

The effect of this on your game world is that planetouched should be more common to fit with how often players choose them, and there should be some explanation for this such as planar war in the world’s history. This also means that you will have planetouched monsters - good-aligned aasimar minotaurs guarding holy sites, well-organized bands of tiefling orcs with devil ancestors - but don’t overuse this! Remember that planetouched races have resistance 5 to several elements, which at low levels can make opponents immune to most of the wizard’s offensive spells.

In truth I haven’t worked out yet how tiefling-as-a-template affects a creature’s challenge rating - perhaps it brings a CR1/2 creature up to CR1, but then perhaps it’s not even worth that much. It’s probably something best decided on a case-by-case basis.

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Wedgerocket’s Embarrassing Trap

The almost unnoticeable glyph of a trap has been laid.

Wedgerocket’s Embarrassing Trap
Level: Sor/Wiz 0
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: Object touched
Duration: 1 minute
Saving Throw: Reflex negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

This amusing cantrip was the first spell created by Wedgerocket, a clever gnomish wizard and spell inventor. During his early adventures, this spell led to some higly amusing pranks being played on a group of senile dwarves.

This spell creates a tiny magical “trap” of more than one six-inch square on the object or area touched. Popular targets among pranksters include door handles, frequently-passed spots on the ground. The trap has a search DC of 25, appearing as an almost unnoticeable magical symbol, and has a disable device DC of 20. The next person to touch the trapped object (generally by stepping on it or picking up the trapped item) sets it off. The spell duration ends once the trap has been set off.

The spell has one of two effects when activated. When used in combat, it deals one point of damage to its victim, reflex negates. If simply used as a prank, however, the victim must make a reflex save or his trousers fall down. The prank version of the trap cannot be used against foes in combat, nor against someone who is not wearing trousers.

Focus: The object to be “trapped”.

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Wedgerocket’s Alchemial Accident

Nothing appears to have happened to your flask of alchemist’s fire.

Wedgerocket’s Alchemial Accident
Level: Sor/Wiz 2
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One unopened flask of alchemist’s fire
Duration: Instantaneous (see text)
Saving Throw: Reflex negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

Wedgerocket, the gnome wizard, is known throughout his homeland of Lantan for his infamous alchemy lab accident. While he was not seriously injured, the explosion did manage to destroy several hundred gold pieces worth of equipment. One bored weekend, he decided to duplicate this effect in a dangerous spell - and as far as anyone knows, it has only ever been used once.

One round after casting the spell on a flask of alchemists’ fire (or if directly strikes a target before this) it explodes violently, dealing 1d6 slashing damage and 2d6 fire damage to any person directly struck (or holding the flask), and 1d6 fire damage to anyone within five feet. The flask explodes at the end of the round after the spell has been cast on it, whether or not the caster is still holding the flask - hence, they would be advised to throw the flask at an enemy soon as possible.

Additionally, anyone suffering fire damage from a direct hit must succeed at a DC15 reflex save or be set alight. Failure means that they take another 1d6 fire damage and remain alight, success means that the flames are extinguished. Each round that the character remains on fire, they must make another DC15 reflex save or take another 1d6 fire damage. (See DMG page 303 for the rules on catching on fire.)

Material component: A vial of alchemist’s fire.

Skewering Surprise

A familiar spear is summoned into existence.

Skewering Surprise
Conjuration (Summoning)
Level: Sor/Wiz 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100ft. + 10ft./level)
Effect: One spear, shortspear or longspear
Duration: 1 minute/level
Saving Throw: Reflex negates (see text)
Spell Resistance: No

This spell summons a spear, shortspear or longspear to appear anywhere within the spell’s range, typically either directly above an opponent at the maximum possible height, or in the caster’s hand. If summoned above an enemy, he must make a Reflex save or be struck by the falling spear, taking the spear’s normal damage, plus the spear’s falling damage (1d6 damage for every 60 feet it falls, or 1d6 per 70 feet for a shortspear). The spear then remains on the ground for the spell’s duration, allowing anyone to pick it up and use it as a normal weapon.

At the caster’s option, hey may summon any spear, shortspear or longspear which he already owns and has prepared in a special ritual costing 50gp. The spell functions as long as the spear is stored anywhere on the same plane as the caster (even in the caster’s posession), and is useful for allowing the caster to summon magical and/or poisoned weapons. The weapon’s enhancement bonus to damage and special properties still apply to an enemy it strikes, although it cannot score a critical hit. The caster may only have one such spear prepared at any one time.

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