Updated Physic rules, Seamanship [LotFP Skills]

So, I’ve got a fire under my ass (for the moment) and I’m re-upping the now four-year-old rules for my homebrew LotFP skills.
And before you get started on why Clerics get this, remember:
Knights Hospitallier.


“Physic is a shorthand for all the healing arts; diagnosing and correcting imbalances in the humors, knowledge of healing herbs, of staunching and stitching, fitting artificial limbs, and all things appropriate to the station of a doctor. ”

As a starting skill
Clerics may start with Physic at a base chance of 3 in 6, and advance as a Dwarf’s Architecture skill. Other classes may exchange their starting skill for a 2-in-6 chance at Physic, and advance as an Elf’s Search skill. All classes begin with 1 point in Physic.

1) All characters with Physic may attempt basic first aid on themselves or a single comrade following combat. This takes a Turn. A success heals 1HP per point of success. Characters with Specialist’s Tools (Physic), often called a Leech-bag, get a +1 to this roll. Specialists and Clerics with the Physic skill and tools always heal their skill level in HP on a success, and may divide this number between more than one character.

2) A character with Physic and Specialist’s Tools (physic) may forgo their normal rest to heal others. They may care for a number of patients equal to their skill level, and double each patients’ recovery rate.

3) A Specialist or Cleric with a Leech-bag may deal 1d3 damage to an ally who has failed a save versus Poison, drugs, or diseases (and similar imbalances in the humors). If the Physic roll succeeds, their ally is allowed to make an additional save.

4) A Cleric or Specialist with Specialist’s Tools (Physic) can attempt to resuscitate a “dead” character. This can only be done if the character has succumbed to wounds or other immediate trauma rather than “instant death”, and their body must be largely intact. No scraping Captain Pancake off the bottom of the cliff, or trying to undo your comrade’s tuberculosis. Poisons, diseases, and other conditions will remain in the character’s system, and they may succumb to these eventually.
If the character succeeds at a Physic roll, the “mostly dead” character’s player may make a Save vs. Poison. If successful, the formerly-dead character will stabilize at 0HP and enter a coma for 1d6 hours. They remain barely-lucid and helpless for 3 days, minus their Constitution bonus. They will usually suffer some severely disfiguring injury or mental trauma; to use the crit/injury table of your choice. Feel free to assign bonuses or penalties depending on the severity of the character’s injuries and the suitability of the environment.

Restrictions, Bonuses, and Penalties.
1) Rolling a “6” on a Physic attempt always fails. Unless the Leech is a Specialist or Cleric, the character(s) being treated immediately suffer 1d6 additional damage, reduced to 1d3 damage if the character is using a Leech-bag. Clerics and Specialists only injure their patients on an additional roll of 4+; with a skill level of 6, this is reduced to  6+ roll.

2) The Physic skill cannot cure conditions that specifically require magical healing. It also cannot cure magically-induced conditions and curses like a Blindness spell, but could remove a necromantically-conjured poison from a character’s system or restore the sight of a man blinded by the flash of a spell.

Depiction of a carrack, carrying John of Gaunt to Lisbon. From Jean de Wavrin's 'Chronicles of England', Bruges, c.1461-83. c British Library Board, Royal MS 14 E. IV, f.195r

Depiction of a carrack, carrying John of Gaunt to Lisbon. From Jean de Wavrin’s ‘Chronicles of England’, Bruges, c.1461-83. c British Library Board, Royal MS 14 E. IV, f.195r

The mastery of a ship at sea, and how to survive on the waves. Treated as Bushcraft when adventuring on the water or along the coast/rivers, with the following additions:

1) A Specialist or Magic-user with Specialists’ Tools (Seamanship), which include a Sextant or Sunstone, star-charts, and compass, can determine their rough location on a successful Skill roll.
2) Seamen may attempt to predict the weather for that day; on a successful roll, the DM should inform them of the day’s sailing conditions. Failure yields no information.
3) The character helming a boat may add their Seamanship level to the ship’s saving throws against weather effects, grounding, reefs, etc.

Savages may exchange their starting Bushcraft skill for Seamanship.
Hunting at sea requires fishing gear or harpoons (as Javelin). Lines and harpoons are expended as “ammunition”.

Occultism Skill Rework and Grimoires [LotFP]

It’s been a few years, and a good bit of play, since I posted the Occult skill here. Anon asked about it today, and I figured I might as well go root out my hardcopy notes and post the revisions here.
I’ve loosened the day-to-day bookkeeping restrictions in favor of a more intuitive system, and added a bit more gambling to the mix. The additional rules for bonuses are encouraging my players to do weird stupid shit, like carrying around live chickens for sacrificial purposes and cranking themselves on Red Lotus in inappropriate places, and it also allows me to throw in more evidence and clues when the PCs are dealing with cultists/EHPs/witches and diabolists. Those folks can also be a serious, time-sensitive threat to the party without needing to have a level 9 Magic-User running around. It’s also a lot more dangerous than using a regular skill, but still useful enough to tempt players. Finally, the Grimoire rules place a sharp limitation on ritual spellcasting while adding a new and desirable form of treasure to the DM’s options.


Harry Clarke – Faust – Faustus Appears


For the Archive: Solaris Stable Tag Match (Battletech)

I was reminded of an old game mode I used to run years ago by a stray comment in /btg/ – Anon wanted to know what BV levels we preferred, and it came back in a flash.

The Stable Tag Match works best as a mid-season exhibition match or a semi-finals match if you’re doing a full-on AccountantTech Solaris season (and really, there’s no reason not to). It’s sort of a modified Grinder, but flashier, and it makes for a fun demo game. It’s also very much a make-or-break event for the smaller stables, where you have a chance to deal – or receive – crippling economic harm against the competition. I recommend playing it as a double-elimination tournament over a couple of weeks, but with small stables you can sometimes get away with running it as a full-day event.
There are also some other rules in here that I’ve used for most of my Solaris seasons, like the “Face/Heel” bonus purses (see Crowd Support).

First things first: you’ll need the April Fool’s joke product XTRO: Royal Fantasy. It reprints all the necessary material from the old Solaris VII boxed set for free, including the map-sheets. You can even print them off in double-size if you want to use Dark Age clix minis, which I’ve done in the past to kick up visual interest in the game. Alternately, you can try to hunt up the Solaris map pack, but that’s been out of print for a good while. The scenario was initially designed for the Steiner Coliseum, but I’ve also used it in the Reaches, the Jungle, and the Factory to good effect.

You’ll also need at least four tag-out markers. I’ve used bottlecaps (good beer makes for good Battletech), Blip markers, repainted Krazy Glue bottle protectors with an LED in the tip, and cardboard hex markers with the word “TAG” on them in large friendly letters.  You can also add 2-hex-wide doors, one per player (I used Space Hulk bulkheads) to the edges of the map, representing the entrances at the edges of the arena.

Hiring Duncan Fisher is advisable but probably prohibitively expensive.

Force Selection:
Matches may be ‘Mech-only, or mixed, at the option of the organizers. The points limit is the total fieldable BV of the smallest stable in the Season, or an arbitrary value between 2,000 and 5,000 BV.  If playing with Stables during a season, the smallest stable(s) use their entire available force. The other stables must field ‘Mechs or other combatants, to the nearest 250 points (NOTE: You can go over, but only if you don’t have any units with a BV lower than the overrun. This is to keep you from winding up 500+ points behind because you can’t quite squeeze in a Light).
For single matches, the forces chosen must all be under the points limit.

Special Rules:
Tagging Out: If a ‘Mech successfully lands a physical attack on one of the “TAG” markers, the ‘Mech is swapped out with another unit from the owning player’s stable at the beginning of the next turn. Vehicles, infantry, and battle armor need simply remain in the same hex through the physical phase. The new unit is swapped directly on the tabletop with the old one, being placed in the same hex but with any facing the player prefers.
Tag Markers count as one vehicle for stacking purposes. They may be inset into one of the walls in a cramped arena, such as Ishiyama, at which point non-Mech units need only spend the physical attacks phase adjacent to the marker to tag out in this case.

No Tag-backs: If the player has more than two usable units, a unit may not tag-out with the most recently-used unit.

Forced Withdrawal: A unit that has been subjected to Forced Withdrawal must retreat to a Tag Point; they may not retreat to their stable doors.

Destroyed and Surrendered Units: If a unit is destroyed, or surrenders on the field, the killing player gets one free Movement Phase. The player who lost the unit may then move its replacement onto the map from their Stable Door in the Movement Phase of the next turn.

Crowd Support: The usual rules for Crowd Support are in effect; players may not agree to ignore them for tag matches. In addition, track each player’s highest total support rating in each match. At the end of the tournament, the player who achieved the highest total score in any of the matches gets the “Viewer’s Choice” purse of 25,000 Cb per match in the tournament. You can also award Viewer’s Choice after each round in the tournament.
At the management’s option, in tournaments with more than two players you may also include a “Heel” award of 5-10,000 Cb for the player with the lowest Support Rating after each round or tournament.
Note that tagging out is NOT considered surrendering; in fact, the Crowd Support rating is increased by +1 on a successful tag, representing the crowd’s excitement to see a fresh warrior enter the battle.

Example: Emily has just finished a match in the Factory. Over the course of twenty turns, she scored mostly sixes and eights, but after a particularly spectacular kill in the twelfth round her total support rating went up to 14, before falling once again to average numbers. The GM notes down “Support: 14” next to her win on the ladder chart; this places her ahead of Mike, who got a 12 in a Jungle match in the previous round of the Tournament. Her lowest rating, a 5, doesn’t come close to Dennis’s low water mark of -3 (bad rolls, cockpit hits, and away crowds are unforgiving at times), so she’s still not in contention for the “heel” award. 

Optional Rule: If players successfully execute a “flashy” physical attack (DFA, Charge, pushing an opponent off the fourth floor of the Factory or cliff) they gain +2 Crowd Support instead of the usual +1.
Set Up:
The organizer places the Tag markers before the match begins. At least one should be in a concealed but difficult-to-reach location and one in a highly-visible spot; try to keep them roughly equidistant from each other. In the Steiner arena, you can also roll a d6 at the beginning of a round to see the squares in which Tag Points have popped up; there is a Tag Point on each of the related black numbers for the rest of the round. If combining this with pylons, rolling doubles means there are no tag points available, only pylons.
Place each of the Stable Door markers into two adjacent hexes on the edge of the map, spacing them out as far as possible. The Coliseum already has two stable doors; for three and four player matches, simply add two more on the far side of the map.

Each player writes down their chosen unit on a slip of paper, and then rolls initiative for the first turn. The chosen unit must enter the battlefield from the player’s Stable Doors. Play then proceeds as normal.
Stables have the option to surrender at any time after having one ‘Mech or vehicle destroyed, and must surrender if all their available units are currently subject to Forced Withdrawal. A Stable surrender is considered a loss for the round.

A Sample Mage, using my generator from earlier (LotFP, NPCs, Spoilers)

Spoilers for my players under the jump. Plz to go away, thank you.


So, this is one of the mages I made for last week’s session, using that generator from the last post plus some of the other stuff I’m working on..

The Skeleton Key (Magic Item/LotFP)

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. That’s not what it does…

A brass cylinder roughly a handspan long, and about as big around as a little finger. At the top, the cylinder pierces a twisted ring. It is incised with a well-worn images. The obverse shows a skeletonized body, greatly elongated, tied by its wrists to the top of the hoop, while the reverse shows a bound hermaphroditic figure in the same posture. The images are blackish-green at the top of the ring, fading to a deep russet black near the end, and the base of the key is also blackened badly. A thin slot is visible at the tip of the cylinder on the end furthest from the hoop.

Spoilers follow. Players beware.


FtA: Oathbreaker, The Sundering Breath (New magic weapons)

Came up with a new magic item while reading the old Judges’ Guild adventure “Zienteck”, when considering ways to fix a rather boring weapon tucked into an interesting place. The second pair of weapons (Oathbreaker) were the sidearms of one of my Vampire: The Masquerade characters ages ago, herein modified for D&D/LotFP. If you’re interested, it’s got the basic Vampire stats afterward.

The Sundering Breath:
Created by a former Cleric to aid him in unmaking the Golems and other Things given Unlife in his maddened experiments. He would eventually be consumed by his belief that all Men drew breath stolen from He That Is, weakening the font of force from which all Clerics draw their power. The fallen Wizard would embark on a one-man Crusade to return himself to his former Grace and power by uncoupling the Spirits stolen to craft the Unliving, and rejoin them to the true Breath. That he did so with a stolen spirit speaks volumes of his corruption..

The Breath is a heavy and inelegant Crow’s-beaked warhammer. It is faintly transparent, and the inscribed pattern of golden Kabbalistic runes and precisely-positioned number tables seems to writhe in the hands of its owner. It does only half damage (1d4) to any target that is not imbued with an Animating Genius. When it is used to smite Things so imbued (including, but not limited to: most Undead, Soul Gems, Phylacteries, Golems, and many magic items), the Sunderer has a cumulative 10% chance per purposeful blow of breaking its enchantment. Be wary, however, as the force(s) released may not be especially friendly. It can only strike corporeal things, but this includes binding circles/fields or the like which are currently containing a living or Unliving spirit.
Items of Angelic and Demonic magic are immune to its effect, as are certain types of naturally-occurring Undead; only those made with stolen or bound life force or spirits are vulnerable. Elemental spirits are freed but not destroyed.
The Sundering Breath may also be used to cure a victim of possession – but the target must be struck with the hammer, and with full intent to harm (normal attack roll, and 1d4 damage per blow). Mortals slain by the Sunderer may not be reincarnated, resurrected, or reanimated through any means short of direct Divine intervention (id est, not a Cleric saying “can you do a brother a solid”, but YWH Himself shoving a metaphorical finger up the corpse’s nose).
If a character successfully frees a spirit or Genius with nowhere to go, it will haunt his dreams until guided to the proper Reward.

These ancient weapons are said to have been forged in the fires of the wars against Cain’s Brood, seen the battles that threw down Enoch and Nod. The Man who carries them is a Pariah, a kingbreaker, destroying falsehoods and truth alike in his wake.

Stats, LotFP/D&D:
The Oathbreakers are a pair of ancient, unbreakable bronze short swords, each marked with an indecipherable rune that causes revulsion in all who view it. Its pommels are unlovely chunks of a plain, gray stone indelibly stained with blood, supposedly cut from the weapon of the First Murder. Each sword calls out to its mate: when owned for one full week, the bearer will become consumed by visions and dreams. At first, these will be from the point of view of the owner of its twin, or from the twinned sword itself if it is unowned. Eventually, the character will begin to have visions of flying to the area in which the sword can be found, or the dying dreams and days of its last owner. The owner will also see the Mark of Cain (the same as on the sword-blade) branded on the forehead and right hand of any being who has killed another in anger and with intent. This latter power is shared with anyone touching any piece of the First Weapon, whether deliberately or accidentally.
The blades do 1d6 damage per round, per Small weapons; dual wielding the blades uses the normal rules for your edition (in my case, roll twice for damage and pick the best). Against any creature which has the Mark of Cain, however, they ignore all special defenses, including incorporeality, the need for cold iron or silver, the requirement for certain “plus” ratings, etc.
If invoked, by crossing both blades before the face of another being and speaking the phrase “I give you Freedom” in Enochian, all magical or divine enforcement of oaths they have sworn will be severed. It also dispels many curses, at the GM’s discretion. Finally, a character who is carrying or owns either blade becomes unable to take any enforceable oath for any reason; they will be overcome by chills and nausea, and their tongue will cleave to the roof of their mouth, rendering the character dumb for 1d4 rounds. Likewise, no other being may swear an oath to the owner of either of the swords.
(They can wound, but not kill, Cain himself. Yes, this came up. No, I will not explain how.)

Stats, oWoD: 5-point Artifact. Does one die of Aggravated Damage for each point of True Faith the wielder possesses to anyone who has committed murder, in addition to its normal damage. When crossed, and the formula is uttered, all Blood Bonds owed by anyone who views them are dissolved

New tanks (Battletech).


I picked up a few new tanks and a fighter this weekend from the Value Village toy wall. I got one “YF-19” (the fake Stealth Fighter prototype that was making the rounds in the early ’90s), what I believe to be a pair of Korean Type -89 or -99 heavy tanks, and some kind of half-track (see pic).

At first I thought they were Armored Recovery Vehicles, missing a crane or something. After extensive research, however, they don’t match the profile of any engineering or construction vee I can find that was produced before 1989 (the copyright date: both they and the tanks are marked “KPT ’89”). Right now I’m thinking they might be tractors for a tactical ballistic missile Transporter/Erector/Launcher, but for some reason images of ?Chinese? tac-nuke TELs aren’t exactly in wide distribution.

I also posted an image of samples from my tank collection yesternight on Tumblr, and promised stats: Here’s the first batch, with links to the source design.

Left to right: LRM, APC, and Autocannon variants.  Visible to rear is a JRS "Native Dancer" light strike vehicle and a factory-fresh Type 54 EWAC hover-car

Left to right: LRM, APC, and Autocannon variants.
Visible to rear is a JRS “Native Dancer” light strike vehicle and a factory-fresh Type 54 EWAC hover-car

Bromley Corporation ARMC Instead
A light attack vehicle, with options for a missile turret, autocannon, or troop-carrying capacity. I’ve made it a 35-tonner, given its close resemblance to the existing Striker Light Tank.
Bromley, inc. is a long-term competitor of Qwikscell, though the limited production capacity of their single FWL-based factory has kept their products to a lower profile than those of the “Acme” of cheap tanks. The “Instead”, properly an armored car or Infantry Fighting Vehicle, is built on a strengthened APC chassis. While governmental support for the company has always been limited, their cheap, rugged products are popular among mercs in the “golden triangle” at the intersection of Steiner, Liao, and Marik space. Mercenaries in the know particularly appreciate the targeting systems on Bromley’s weapons carriers and light IFVs; their programming was specially adapted for long-range ballistic fire and anti-aircraft work, compensating for a gap many independent units struggle to fill.

Quirks: (all combat variants): Improved Targeting (long), AA Targeting, Poor Environmental Sealing, Hard to Pilot (high center of gravity), Easy to Maintain, Hard to Customize (any Energy weapons mounted suffer from Poor Targeting at all ranges)

(APC variants): Easy to maintain, Modular equipment (as modular weapons, but for the 8-ton space in the body of the vehicle.), Poor Environmental Sealing.

Age of War/Succession Wars (2.5 Variants):
After cannibalizing their rare fusion engines, the design had to be downgraded to late Age of War specifications; the armor was slashed, and cheaper weapons installed. The fast 2-man design is popular with mercenaries. Tougher than the Scorpion, faster than most Medium or Heavy ‘Mechs, and mounting long-ranged weapons that are cheap either to replace or reload, the “Instead” is frequently bought rather than some other, more expensive design. Thanks to the survival of Flak ammunition, both armored car variants have kept their well-deserved reputation as dependable backup anti-aircraft artillery.
(Note: the SW-era APC variant would already remove the 1-ton turret, 8 tons of turret weapons, and 1t of armor: at that point, it’s simpler just to use the 20t Heavy Wheeled APC stats)
SW-era Instead AC variant SW-era Instead LRM variant

Star League/Clan Invasion (5+ Variants):
The original design was quickly resurrected after Bromley Inc. gained access to the Helm core. Vehicular ferro-fibrous armor and upgraded versions of the standard weapons give the second-generation “Instead” significantly more bite and staying power, albeit by more than tripling the light tank’s cost. Some mercenary groups have removed the LRM-15’s Artemis systems in favor of more (and much cheaper) ammunition storage – or NARC and TAG-compatible munitions –  but the specialized targeting/tracking system has so far made their attempts to add in energy weapons fruitless. The APC variants quickly became more sophisticated, with their 8-ton modular bays filled with everything from  MASH units to command facilities and battle armor, all protected by 5 tons of ferro and the Instead’s trademark speed. To encourage escort, most mounted a paltry single machine gun.

Invasion-era Instead AC variantInvasion-era Instead LRM variantInvasion-era Instead LRM variant (merc)Invasion-era Instead LRM variant (mmg)

New Magic Item, and a revised house rule

Courtesy of an idea by Fractalbat, I’ve revised my rules for using the Occultism skill for ritual casting: if you fail, you can now burn HP equal to the Margin of Failure to cast the spell anyway. I normally roll skill checks on a secret sliding-base roll (IE, I roll a d6 at the same time, and whatever’s on it becomes the “1” the other die is compared to), so I’m trying to decide whether to:
a) keep the results secret until the player chooses to burn HP (and possibly stop the burn at 1 HP to keep them alive/give them the option to burn out instead)
b) Roll the base die in the open on this one to give them a little more info.
I think having the choice to burn HP after casting, or keep gambling on better rolls next turn, makes for a little more exciting play. Plus, it means higher-level ritualists are going to be burning “just one more HP” a lot more often, making the skill more consistent in the middling levels but still giving proper Magi the edge. And, of course, with Magi starting out with a middling skill in Occultism to begin with, it gives them another avenue for repeat casting without becoming (as Fractalbat put it) superheroes off slinging Shocking Grasp every round. It also means that the Mage will be prepping casting-time-sensitive spells, but still have some access to “utility” stuff at low levels.
Edit: decided that burning years of your life expectancy once you run out of HP/instead of HP is a better trade. Plus, Koura, man. Koura (different video than the one below).

I’ve also reworded it so that Chaotics/Lawfuls with Occultism can’t cast spells from the other side (they’ve already sold their souls, remember..).

The Magic item’s deets are after the break. On that note, I’ve been reading 18th-century histories and the Arabian Nights lately. Can you tell?

The item is a casket made of some ancient and weatherbeaten bone or ivory. It is carefully and extensively inscribed with floral Arabesques and a flowing decorative script (Players fluent in pre-Islamic Arabic will recognize references to Suleiman and a “Thirsting Djhann”). It contains a “fluffy” white sand; when disturbed or poured out, the sand will slowly flow back into the box, through the hinges or keyhole if necessary.

Pistori’s Translocation of Infirmity (new LotFP/D&D spell)

Still working on that folio. For your elucidation, I present a lovely spell of the Second Level from my past. This was based loosely on good old Pagan medical practices, pretty much the world around. Clerics get miracles. The rest of us can only fob off our bad shit on other people..
It is released under the OGL (see the topbar).


range: touch (5 miles)
the caster of this spell transfers all temporal suffering due from a disease to another living being, usually root vegetables carved in the shape of the afflicted body part(s) with a token from the sufferer.
transferring the disease to a vegetable, however, relieves only the symptoms of the sufferer. they will continue to progress in the disease, feeling well and perhaps exacerbating the condition; should they be particularly incautious or ill it may even prove fatal.
should the root be fed to or handled by a being of the same hd as the sufferer (other than the wizard) , the disease will transfer fully between them. unfortunately, the flesh of any animal so afflicted will then bear the disease. commonly, an “escape” or “scape” goat is chosen, and the diseases and afflictions of an entire household inflicted on it; the wizard will allow the beast to die naturally (an unnatural death undoes the spell) and bury it far from the paths of man.
if ever the caster of the spell removes himself more than 5 miles from a living sacrifice, the spell is undone. both it and the sufferer are wracked by the affliction as severely as if the spell had never been cast.

New LotFP Skill: Physic [Now obsolete]

So, I had this big long complicated idea for herbalism that I was getting waaaay too 2e on, if you know what I mean.
Then I went back, had a cider, and looked at the actual Lamentations skills.

EDIT: These rules have been updated, though mostly just reworded. The update is available here


Physic is a shorthand for all the healing arts; diagnosing and correcting imbalances in the humors, knowledge of healing herbs, of staunching and stitching, fitting artificial limbs, and all things appropriate to the station of a doctor. Use of Physic requires a Specialist Toolkit (Physician). It may be used in any and all of the following circumstances.
First Aid: Following combat, you may use the skill to treat one or more wounded characters. The physician declares his priorities for treatment, then rolls against the skill; success means he can heal 1HP plus an additional 1HP per point of his margin of success. Divide these HP as evenly as possible between patients. If a 6 is rolled, roll again: on a 4+ (6+ for physicians with a skill of 6) the doctor does an additional d6 HP of damage to the patients.
Back From the Brink: You may attempt to stabilize a dying character. Characters who have been given a coup de grace, died from disease, or whose bodies are clearly destroyed, cannot be saved. With a successful Physic roll, the character is allowed a save vs. Poison. A character stabilized in this way can be moved with sufficient care but will remain unconscious or immobile and barely lucid for the remainder of the day. They must also roll on an appropriate resurrection survival/mutilation table or suffer other disabilities at the DM’s discretion.
Find Herbs: As “find food” under Bushcraft. A Physician with Healing Herbs in the party allows all party members to recover an additional HP with each night’s rest, or one character to regain 1d4 HP.
• Diagnose/Treat diseases, drugs, and poisons: a character with an imbalance in the humors can be treated by a Physician. The suffering character takes 1HP of damage. If the Physician passes his skill test, the character is allowed an immediate “free” save against his ailment, with no further penalty for failure.

For the Archive: New Magic Items for Lamentations of the Flame Princess/D&D

Both of these items are related to my upcoming campaign; my players should kindly bugger off.
They are intended for a campaign involving Arabic/esque mages, and one will probably be pretty useless to most PCs (other than as a source of cash, that is)

Evil Vizier courtesy of Reginald Balfour's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Evil Vizier courtesy of Reginald Balfour’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


For the Archive: Lehana Mzeruzeru (NPC, Magic Item, Wizard)

Spent last night out on the town with my folks for a surprise birthday dinner, so it delayed my writing a bit. But then an image and a poem crisscrossed in my head..

Tiger cape

There was a young lady from Nyger
who smiled as she rode on a Tyger.
They returned from the ride
with the Lady inside
and the smile on the face of the Tyger.

Over a century ago, the Wizard now known as Lehana wandered out of the jungles and into what passed for civilization. She meanders freely through the countryside, displaying an almost insatiable curiosity for matters grand, mean, strange and mundane. She rarely speaks, and that only (usually) to decline some offering or gesture of hospitality. The villagers living in the areas she visits have nicknamed her “the contrary Albino”, whilst informing her that it was the title of a local deity. To this, as to most things in the spheres of Men, she seems indifferent. Lehana moves as she will; doors and guard animals obey her command, and no warrior remaining alive will challenge her if she gestures for entry.

Most people assume she maintains a holdfast somewhere in the local barrows or in the Jungle, and she disappears for days or weeks at a time, often with some item she has taken on her expeditions. No-one has tracked her long enough to determine her Sanctum’s location, and the few who have sworn to find it never return.

She wears a gown, clearly of Western manufacture, and a cloak made from the skins of dozens of animals – mostly predators. Tribal Elders say the type and number of skins in her cloak have changed drastically over the years. Neither the cloak nor her voluminous dress seem to cause her distress despite the crushing heat. Her only other possessions seem to be a small book and occasionally small metal hand tools; she has never been seen with a weapon.

Stats (LotFP)
5 HD, attacks as 0-level Human, saves as 5th-level Magic-user.
Attributes: Cha 4 (to Men and all other Things), 16 (to Beasts); Int 17, Wis 14, all others average.
Skills: Occultism 2, Survival 5.
Languages: Ki-Swahili (poor), Latin. Has not responded to any other.
Powers: Command of the Cloak of Manifold Beasts, slowed or arrested aging, heightened endurance of hunger, thirst, heat, and lack of sleep.
Spells: Detect Magic, Identify, Item, Be Impressive, Charm Animal: Speak with Animals, Forget, Invisibility, Knock, Locate Object: Speak with Dead, Detect Illusion, Dispel Magic.
Equipment: Spellbook, 2 sacks of various small delicacies and gold hidden within the Cloak and under the influence of an Item spell, the Cloak, and the Ring of Displacement. May be carrying small gardening tools or magnifying and surveying devices. Occasionally bears a scroll inscribed with divinational spells.
She also possesses a Labratory and Library in her hidden home, which is worth approximately 6,000 SP; much of this “library” is in fact a Cabinet of Wonders, with each item serving to trigger the Wizard’s mind to travel some Aetheric path even as her body traveled to discover it. Her home is well-hidden in the nearby jungles, and a number of fanatically loyal animal servants tend it. They will attempt to lead interlopers astray or intimidate them, only attacking if the sanctum seems in imminent danger of violation.

The Cloak of Manifold Beasts
This strange device is a riot of clashing furs, scales, and taxidermy. Each patch of hide is an animal who has sworn service to the owner and been absorbed into an unknown Limbo. Beasts “stored” may thereafter be summoned, with the corresponding pelt disappearing from its weave; it will be under the absolute control of the user until the next moonrise. While the user may call forth any number of beasts, however, only one can be controlled by it at any given time. Any further animals called forth must make an immediate Reaction roll, and may well attack the caster or flee.
The Cloak may bind one beast each Lunar month. Each time a Beast is bound, however, its inherent wild essence seeks a new home. The closest human being other than the wielder when the Cloak absorbs an animal is affected by a Howl of the Moon spell; the duration is based on the HD of the creature absorbed, with each HD counting as a caster level. The duration bonus for casting on the Full Moon applies. Any animal who offers service of any kind, even unwittingly, to the bearer can come under the sway of the cloak – though an unwilling subject may save vs Spells to resist absorption, and will likely be ill-disposed to the cloak’s owner in any case thereafter. Further, any given beast can be bound only once by the Cloak; once freed it may never rejoin it.
Lehana has been rather industrious over the last century. The Cloak currently contains at least 3 tigers and as many panthers, a crocodile, a pack of hyenas, several wolves, an assortment of smaller creatures, and one extremely distressed Indian elephant.

The Displacing Ring:
The ring is a slender hoop of intricately-carved and inlaid bone. The bearer’s discomforts and bodily cares are spread among every person within a 1-mile radius, with the caster suffering only the proportional remainder. In a densely-populated area, the bearer effectively need never eat, drink, or sleep again. Likewise, someone suffering the thousandth part of another’s exposure or lack of sleep and food is quite unlikely to realize he is parasitized.
In a rural area, however, or a small group, the effects will be much more noticeable. Finally, any wielder of Magic (both Lawful and Chaotic) can feel the ring’s tug on their essence, and the web it weaves when worn may be seen instantly under the effects of a Detect Magic spell.

For the Archive: A Sealed Laboratory (room, trap, magic item)

Occasionally I get hit with random inspiration, usually on the bus. In this case, it’s a modular room, suitable for pretty much any environment with savage spellcasters and more organized arcanists. It includes a low-powered magic item, a trap, and monsters. Deets after the break for my players, if I had any :b


Of Wizards and Magics Arcane (NPCs)

Remember how I said Seclusium got the mental wheels turning on the topic of Wizards?
Have some.

Makhali the Devoured

No mortal is certain who or even precisely what Makhali once was. The few who know aught say Makhali has bartered a deal for power; so long as no food passes its lips, it shall live forever, and remain pluripotent in the magical arts. There is an essential truth to these rumors, and the cunning and profoundly deaf Makhali had held in abeyance a spell which would eternally steal away its mouth. As is ever the case, the Daemon had the last laugh; hunger still afflicts the Wizard acutely as ever it did.
The once-human thing shambling through Makhali’s haunts looks upon all it encounters with the fever-bright eyes of a madman, from a shriveled face and wasted, yet unnaturally strong body. It communicates through signs and dreams. The animus of its hunger has permeated the sanctum, and Makhali now shares its eternal misery by holding great phantasmal feasts* for travellers, trapping and starving them while syphoning the hunger to its own ends. The wretched Wizard’s depredations have infested the surrounding woods with the Gaunt Things and other foul fae and phasms. They drive the weary to its waiting tower and unholy feasts. In the forbidden back of the tower lurk the forgotten remnants of its researches into Demonology and Summoning, as well as many horribly dangerous devices it has cobbled together when the hunger for power and magic briefly drown its body’s baser drive for meat.

*Consider the Feasts to be a multiple castings of Create Stuff That Looks Like Food But Really Isn’t, combined with some extra illusion magic (servants and such). For added ick factor, there’s always the option of using Makhali’s last set of victims as the source material.

Ali Ibn Sawad, Herpepotens, Vocator Serpenticae

Ali is held in the deepest confidences by the ensorcelled Bashah of Tangiers. The Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon do hold him accus’d of direst Sorceries and of Consorting with Demons; to wit, his bruited conferences with a being of the name “VALIS” who does provide advisings and false prophecy. Sawad speaketh to all those in thrall to the Serpent of Eden, and may hold Snakes and other scaled beasts at his whimful Command.
We, the King of Castille and the Queen of all Aragonians and Pamplonese, rightful Sovereigns of all Iberia, hereby proclaim a reward of one hundred-weight of pure Silver for his head, and further its weight in Carbuncles. To this, His Eminence the Cardinal of Valencia adds the promise of a Plenary Indulgence, relieving the weight of all Sins save true Blasphemy.
Any Criminal or Heretic within our power who wishes to undertake this task will be granted a year and a day of Parole; success will grant them a full pardon, but flight shall win them only Banishment and a Warrant of Death.

(The entity “VALIS” is a deliberate fabrication. Ali is the reborn soul of a high priest of Valusia, incarnated through his millenial machinations in a body which fits him ill indeed. He retains his ancient favor with the Snakefolk, and knows their Words of Command. His actions and advice are calculated to bring about a vast war, between and among the Mohammedan and Christian alike. In the chaos, he will take passage with trusted mercenaries and seek to excavate the sleeping-chambers of his folk beneath the newly-discovered Spanish province known as “Alta California”. Of course, the mercenaries are both warm-blooded and somewhat expendable.. and his folk hunger.)

New 1st-level Spell: Pistori’s Most Expedient Repairing Dweomer

My father taught me, many years ago, that a wizard’s most important skill is not spellcasting, but fraud – followed hotly by ingenuity.
In the vein of the “Banquet” spell of Better Than Any Man, I present “Baker’s Magic Fixing Spell”, which he came up with long ago. There are two versions, plus the ostensible effect, which you may feel free to insert into spellbooks, etc. This is presented as Open Game Content (see the sidebar for the license).

Pistori’s Most Expedient Repairing Dweomer
(AKA Baker’s Magic Fixing Spell)

Level: 1
Duration: See Below
Save: Conditional. See Below.
Range: Touch.
Components: Verbal, Somatic, Special material (see below)

Blurb when found inside spellbooks:
This first-level spell appears to instantly and magically repair any one mundane tool or other useful item, including weapons and armor.
The material component is a small jar of foul-smelling, acrid ungents (including the anchoring fibers of a mussel and pure alcohol distilled from wood) and the broken object itself.

Version 1: The Original
(This is the one my dad first wrote up; simple, to the point, and slightly worse than Mending. But a LOT funnier.)
The spell instantly and completely repairs one broken and useless non-magical item/tool/whatever. It cannot be cast upon a whole and usable item or on magical items. It can regenerate missing parts if they are irrecoverable, and to all tests the item is perfectly sound. It functions perfectly while performing routine tasks, as well as the first time it is used under stress.
The second time the item is used in any situation of danger or stress, it catastrophically and utterly irrecoverably fails, preferably in an incredibly humiliating manner – armor rots to rust and horrific stains, swords turn soft as rubber, lockpicks shatter and jam in the lock, etc.

Version 2: The Weird one
(This is what the spell evolved into over about 20 years of play. I still occasionally inflict it on my players, and it can get really fucking amusing even if they know what’s going on. It leads to resource games – “how much is having that set of lockpicks REALLY worth to you, hmmm?” – and encourages gambling)
The spell instantly and magically repairs one broken and useless non-magical item/tool/whatever. It can regenerate missing parts if they are irrecoverable, and to all tests the item is perfectly sound. It functions perfectly while performing routine tasks.
Each time it is used in a life-threatening or stressful situation, however, the character must save vs. Spells (or make a Fort/Crushing Blow save for the item at a -1 for each time it is used). Failure indicates that some randomly-selected item or piece of property OWNED by the character (not necessarily carried on them) is irrecoverably lost or destroyed. This can take several rounds to take effect, and the DM is encouraged to make it look coincidental. For the purposes of this spell (and yes, this has come up in a game), slaves aren’t property but the title to them qualifies.
Casting the spell on a whole, currently usable item allows a save vs. Spells to avoid its effects entirely.
Broken Magic items are also allowed a save. If the item saves with exactly the number required, the magics of the item pervert the spell and fully repair it – but it is drained of all its significant powers for at least an hour. If the item passes the save with any other number, the Fixing Spell fails. If the item fails its save, it’s partially repaired, but fails catastrophically the next time it is used – violently and unpredictably releasing the magic within.
Whole and usable magic items will fight the spell, draining the item of some power or charges, but inflicting at least 1d6 of damage on the caster per significant ability it possesses.

Viewing the item in a proper reflective surface (blessed silver or polished iron, pure water) will show malicious-looking imps covering it, slowly devouring its substance. This spell is a Curse, should you desire to remove it, and clearly detects as such if you know how to look..

From the Archives: The Song of Silence (Monster)

The Singing Seeming
Outsider, incorporeal, magres50, Lawful, Mindless, Flying, Solitary, No Treasure, Non-aggressive, d30 table

#Appearing: 1 (v. rarely, 1-4)
AC 9 (10)
MV: 30′ (float)
HD: 3
Lair: 0% (no lair)
Morale: 9
Treasure: None
Attacks: 0, Special damage (see below)
Defenses: Incorporeal, limited spell immunity (see below)
Magic Resistance: 50%
Alignment: Lawful
Intelligence: Mindless
Size M (3-6′)
XP: as 4HD creature (non-damaging balances against its special attacks and defenses)

.     .These ghostly beings are lost, wandering notes – warped echoes of the forgotten songs of Creation. Seemings wander the Prime stealing the voices of all they encounter, trying desperately to correctly reproduce the complex chords that are their very existence and rejoin the Great Song. They manifest as translucently glowing humanoids with long, ornamented hair in violently unnatural colors. Strange lights play about a Seeming, reacting to nearby sounds (treat as permanent Dancing Lights, shifting colors to match songs or mood) as it hovers gently in mid-air, moving at a walking pace unless disturbed or frightened.
.     .When it finds a being who captures its attention, the Seeming will point at it, open its own mouth, and seem to inhale violently. Only a being who is physically capable of speaking meaningfully and making vocal music can be affected (they don’t have to be good at it, but someone with their tongue cut out or a mechanical blockage is immune to the effect). The character, who is chosen randomly unless someone is singing, humming, whistling, &c in the initial encounter, must save vs. Polymorph (Fort) or lose their voice instantly. If the theft is blocked, the creature will make a Morale check: if passed, it will try to harvest another voice from the party each round.
.     .Only one voice at a time can be stolen. The Seeming will keep it for 1d6 rounds, or one round per “level”/HD of the voice stolen, whichever is larger. Each round, they will attempt to sing a note, with slightly different effects each time (roll on the table below). After the duration given above, the Seeming will appear angered or frustrated, and choose another target. The previous voice is returned to its owner as soon as it steals a new one. The player receiving the voice must make a second save vs. Polymorph or remain unable to speak coherently for 1 turn for each round the voice was stolen; if they pass, the effect lasts the same number of rounds. If the Seeming flees or tries all available voices, it will move off, singing softly as it goes in the last voice stolen: this voice is not returned until the Seeming is killed/banished or finds another victim.
.     .Singing Seemings are completely non-hostile and take no overtly offensive action, even though their activities have dangerous side-effects. They are incorporeal, and their deep connection to Creation shrugs off most magic. A Seeming will attempt to flee if it takes damage or is subjected to a particularly discordant (though not necessarily loud) sound. If Silence or a suitable anti-magic spell is cast on a Seeming, it automatically affects the Seeming: it must release its current voice and cannot sing or generate visual effects and will usually flee immediately. They appear mindless, and cannot be affected by psychic emanations or mind-controlling dweomers, though Protection spells hedge them and block the theft effect.
.     .An observant Magic-user may be inspired to recast their own spells into song, or use songs to reproduce a magical effect. The exact difficulty and effects are up to the DM, but with the Seeming’s primal connection to True Name magic, they are a grand muse for research.

Song Effects Table

Roll 1d30, or 1d6 and 1d10 (with 1-2 = 0nes, 3-4 = add 10, 5-6 add 20)  Add the “donating” character’s Charisma modifier to this roll. Clerics’ voices add +1, Bards’ +2, and Elves’/Mages’ -2. At GM’s discretion, other modifiers may be applied.
Effects are considered to be cast by a Magic-user of the 5th level.
All: all beings in the area
Area: everything in the area
Single : one random sentient individual
Special: see description
Seeming Table

From the Archive: The Hunger

I am Erich of Halleschtat, sometime called the Faithless. Much have I seen, and many foul things are dead by my hand. Hear my testimony, and be forewarned.

A Gaunt Thing is a spirit of Starvation and Want. When it be seen, it prowleth at night about the edges of any campsite raised within miles of its lair. It do plead most piteously from without the circle of fire for the gift of a morsel or warmth. It shall remain beyond the reach of torch or firelight unless it be invited, and disappeareth at dawn but to return the next even. If one be so foolish as to extend welcome, it will seem affable, but hungry. First it shall inexorably devour all offered foodstuffs, then seize those unoffered, and finally seek to rend and eat its very hosts and their beasts. It will devour the light and heat of a fire , and it is healed by flames. They grow swifter and tougher as they feed, bloating into a fearsome aspect.

Allowing one into the fire’s light or slaying it within the circle will summon as many as a half-dozen more, who will arrive over the following hour. These too must be invited in to enter, but will wheedle, curse, cajole, and threaten their targets constantly and loudly. While besieged by the Gaunt Ones, characters must successfully strive against their Spells each night for each and every Gaunt One plaguing them, or they will find no restful sleep.

Dogs howl at their approach, and horses go mad with fear. Even the cruelest of monsters will be driven off in fear or devoured if they approach the Gaunt; if the Gaunt flee during the night, you would do well to follow their example! Remember too, that an “Invitation” can be broad, as one of my own expeditions did find to their chagrin, and traveling without a flame in their haunts is ill-advised. They are vulnerable to Magics, the juices of waybroad, and to iron, but fade away when slain – seemingly only to multiply as their fellows fall. A Gaunt One in its first aspect is the work of a moment to slay (can you but strike it), but its teeth and claws are as daggers, striking in heedless phrensy when assaulted (or, as my late Portraiter Michaud discovered, when struck by the actinic light of Magnesium). Yet I have felled bears more easily than the first which we encountered.

Thinking these fell things but a backwards tribe in need of succor, we unthinkingly offered warmth and feed unto the first we encountered. Soon we played the hosts to a small pau-wau, each babbling in a chatter much like the local patois. But no other words could we pry from them, of their tribe or their plight, save extasy at the food and speech of an increasing lust for meat. We were astounded at the growth of the first creature, and my chronicler prepared his contraptions to document the Beasts.
Many times have I heard the old saw that a portrait or reflection steals away a bit of the soul, but never did I believe it until after the battle, when I saw what showed on the cracked plate within.


Our greater knowledge of the Gaunt came at a steep price. Fully two day’s travel it took us, and the crossing of some unknown torrent, before the last of the Gaunt abandoned us. But five of the expedition survived; all the Natives had fled in the melee of the first night. We found two of them on the morning, but the Gaunt had found them first.  Weary and half-mad with lack of sleep, even Dulac (who had slept on the trail to be fresh for guarding in the night) succumbed to the Night. An ambuscade by a great Reptile in the night claimed Dulac, and two of the fingers of my hand – but I shall speak of the rest of our escape another day. Know, then, that these beasts may only truly be conquered through a hardened heart and swift legs.

Gaunt Things
# appearing: 1 (but see below)
HD: 1, +1 per feeding turn
AC: 12
#ATT: 2,, @1d4 per.
Morale: 4 initially, 12 once fed.
Special Attack: Keening.
Special Defense: Half damage from most weapons (see below). No matter how they appear, however, they are inimical Fae and not Undead..

Gaunt Things are initially repelled by fire, and must be invited into firelight or a defined structure (a tent counts, but not a campsite).  If uninvited, the Gaunt Things will snivel, plead, and scream just outside the area they cannot enter; characters must save vs. Magic or lose the benefits of that night’s sleep. As the sun rises, all of the Gaunt Things will vanish, to return at sundown. Each night the party successfully resists their groveling, however, 1d3 will disappear permanently.

If invited, or if they are able to infiltrate an unlit campsite, they gain 1HD per Turn spent feeding on the party’s resources. They will first take what is offered, then beg for (and attempt to seize) more. Feeding or killing one summons 1d6 more within a Turn. Summoned  Gaunt Things divide any additional HD the slain one possessed among themselves as equally as possible. Gaunt Things always use the Charge or Press actions in combat.
Weapons wrought from cold iron or hawthorne, magic or enchanted weapons (even banefully-enchanted ones), and plantain-coated weapons do full damage; all others cause only half. Plantain-root powder does 1d4 damage if cast into one’s face. The beast’s true reflections can be seen in free-flowing water and silver mirrors; if cameras are present, they work as well.

No  other “monster” or “animal” random encounters will appear as long as the party is stalked by the Gaunt, and a party on the march will instead find at least one of these creatures viciously mauled and partly-devoured instead. At your option, some or all of the Gaunt Things may gain HD from consuming these creatures.

From the Archives: Not actually.

New magic item for LotFP or your system of choice.  Designed for lulz.

The Ring of Selene

An intricately-carved, but otherwise plain red-gold ring. The lettering cannot be read by Read Magic or Comprehend Languages unless the user is also under the effects of a Protection from Law spell. The wording reads as follows: “I <character name> do pledge myself to the eternal service of (Chaos, or an appropriate Infernal entity)”. Hand the character a note with this writing: if they read it aloud, they must immediately save vs. Poison or become pledged as below.

 Wearing the ring grants a mage an additional level for spellcasting purposes, and grants the spellcasting ability of a 1st-level mage to any other class. It also prevents restful sleep after one full day of wearing, however, and for a further 24 hours after being removed. The user’s dreams are wracked with visions of alternately alluring and terrifying infernal beings pledging great power or “other” rewards to any who will serve them.

If the user pledges themselves to Chaos/local infernal entity while wearing the ring, the following occurs:

• All previous effects of the ring cease.

• The character gains an immediate 2,000 XP (if an arcane or infernal caster – IE, an Elf, Dilletante, or Magic-user), becomes a Magic-user or Cultist (if they exist in your campaign) of the same level if a Cleric – note that this destroys their Clerical powers – or becomes a first-level Magic-User if any other class. The latter characters retain their ability with weapons, skills, etc, and their HP, but are considered a 1st-level Magic-user in all other respects, and must restart from 0 XP.

• They may Read Magic at will, and understand an appropriate Infernal language.*
• They gain a +2 to saves vs. fire and fire magics.*
• The ring transforms into an Impish familiar, pledged to serve the character (it can freely transform to and from the ring form, but finds it irritating and confining – it will only do so to further its own ends). If the character is killed, the imp must roll a 5 or 6 on a d6, or it will be immediately banished to its home realm. If the imp is killed, the character loses 1d4 Con and any benefits other than the XP (the penalties remain, and cannot be removed by any means other than a Miracle AND a Geas or similar)

• The character loses 1d4 HP permanently.
• The Character becomes a Turnable Chaotic being, native to the Nine Hells or another appropriate realm. They will flag as Demonic to any character able to sense such: physical stigmata may be inflicted at the DM’s whim.
Raising the character is subject to the whims of their Infernal patron, and may take unexpected or extremely unpleasant forms.

The character may not take other patrons &c. without incurring the wrath of the current one, but may invoke their patron for aid. Again, the effects of this are up to the DM, and may be extremely unpleasant.
*You may remove, or freely substitute these abilities for others to reflect the nature of your campaign or the character’s patron. These assume patronage by Ose, for anyone interested.

From the Archives: Screw You 4chan edition.

As many of you know, I root about on the 4chan a lot. Good old /tg/ and I have had many the fight. This is born of one of them.

So some fine chap in a thread about assorted villainy posted an image of Maleficent and claimed that she was “the only” Disney villain that could be translated into a reasonable threat to a D&D party, let alone a proper “campaign” villain.  Bull. Shit.  Quite beyond the obvious – wicked (and noble) stepmother/sisters: a moderate-level Wizard with a minimum of Poison and Alter Self, a scrying device, and troops at her beck and call.. you have the beasts.

Now, this is based on the literary source.. but the Big D’s onscreen presentation of him is still consistent with Kipling, staggeringly. I statted him out in about 15 minutes, and he’s even suitable for a Modern campaign..

Shere Khan, King of the Jungle

Beast King: Dire Tiger.
Freq: Unique.
AC: 5 (hide and speed)
Move: 10″ + 5″ Jump
HD: 12
%IL: 50%
TT: nil (see below)
#attacks: Claw/Claw/Bite (2d4/2d4/1d12)
Special: Surprise on 1-4 on 1d6 , +2 to saving throws vs. Magic (Wisdom), thief abilities. No magic resistance.
Intelligence: Very.
Alignment: CE.
Size: L
Psi: Nil.

Shere Khan is a dark legend of the forest, a great tiger with a taste for Manflesh and a fondness for destruction unmatched by his animalistic kin. He demands human sacrifice on a fairly regular schedule from villages in his domain, which is quite large. Unwary adventurers, hearing the tale of an “intelligent” tiger hunting and manipulating the local populace, might suspect a weretiger or Rakshasa. The truth is, Khan is “merely” a paragon of his kind, and Lord of the forest – should his subjects refuse to give him pleasing offerings, he will wreak a terrifying retribution upon them. He is petty, vengeful, and cunning, preferring to follow his prey and strike when the moment is ripe.

When travelling in natural terrain, his exceptional stealth allows him to surprise a party on a 1-4 on a D6: he is only surprised on a 1. Shere Khan has the following Thief abilities: Hide in Shadows 40%, Move Silently 60%, Climb Walls 95%, and Backstab (Triple damage). He may also Rake (if he lands both Claw attacks, he may forgo his Bite attack and Rake with his hind claws for 2d4/2d4 damage)

When encountering a party in his demense, Khan will more than likely attempt to kill them if they appear to be a threat. If they offer slaves or one of their own as tribute, he will allow them to pass unmolested – but this is a grossly evil act. If there appear to be spellcasters in the party, Khan will single them out in his initial attacks, leaping on one from ambush (consider this a Charge if using the optional rules from 2e) before savagely mauling him – on a successful surprise roll, the target is Backstabbed, for triple damage. On the next round, Khan will fade into the underbrush using his Thief abilities and wait for another opportunity. His cunning allows him to create distractions, and he will attempt to force magic-users to waste their spells if he is unable to kill them in the initial strike – often waiting hours to strike again if a spell has no obvious effect.
Shere Khan is deathly and instinctually afraid of fire, a fact that irritates him deeply.

The Hide of Shere Khan:
If harvested and properly prepared, Shere Khan’s hide will serve as a powerful symbol to the denizens of the forest (Human and some animals) – the bearer/wearer will be considered the new King of the Forest, and treated as such. Note that the locals may still consider offering humans to a PC bearing the Hide. The Hide offers an AC of 7 if worn intact. It can be prepared with the proper spells into an armor which grants an AC of 5 and the ability to use Thieving skills while wearing it as though it were ordinary clothing: it loses its other properties. Shere Khan has no other treasure: only flesh and power interest him. Finally, players should remember – Shere Khan is the King of the Forest – but the Forest selects her rulers, not the hand of Man….

From the Archive: Poisons, Pt. III

Or “Finally, the RULES”.
In Part I we discussed the impetus for the rules, and in Pt. II the immature form from my 2e days (plus fed you some examples). This post dissects the actual rules that I’ve derived from them, and a few additions to make the system playable.

My rules assume the 10-second round and the 6-turn hour. 0 HP = unconsciousness, -HP = dead and possibly maimed. I also use the Silver Standard. Convert all SP notations into GP.


“Poison” can be anything from alcohol to henbane, from dimethyl mercury to opium and the Black Lotuses in the stinking pits of Telele’li.

Players may use poisons, but this is never an honorable act, and rarely good. The GM should also be reminded that activities which do not expose the character to significant danger do not grant XP. Poisoning a well and stabbing a man in the back with a venomed dagger both offer similar levels of danger, and should be treated similarly…