Archive for March, 2020


A new April begins, March ends

31 March, 2020

April begins tomorrow with a day of tricks and misdirections, though in some ways it seems that the world has been playing enough cruel tricks on us this year, and, as such deception not being my specialty, do not expect anything clever from me.  But I hope to enjoy cheerful cleverness from others.

Through A to Z again!While April is obviously drawn from the name of the Roman month Aprilis however it is unclear where the Roman name comes from, it may refer to the opening (aperire) of buds and flowers as Spring arrives or in some way to the goddess Venus, to whom it is a sacred month, or something else.  We just do not know, such is the way of history.

I am again doing the the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for April, the theme will be “Interesting Things in the Sea of Stars” so if you have questions about my setting, please ask.

March, 2020, saw the following posts here:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Soldier’s Aid Kit

31 March, 2020

Keep body and soul togetherGollaon finished tying the bandage on the unconscious soldier and leaned back against the wall.  “I am pleased that our employers values their soldiers enough to provide them with these kits.”

Voddick nodded.  “A farsighted choice but as they are a republic, it makes sense.  Keeping your citizens alive is good policy and good politics.”

“Even dictators should learn that lesson but they do not.  Thinking they can expend people without care or repercussions . . .”

“We try to be better people,” said one of the soldiers.  “We treat their wounded when we can as well.”

“That is as it should be,” said Voddick and Gollaon nodded.

Soldier’s Aid Kit

These compact kits, usually of leather, contain the minimum amount of material to treat wounds, magically enhanced bandages, needle, cat gut, and perhaps an analgesic in power or pill form but little more.  Easy to carry and easy to use.

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Giant-Blooded, descendants of the Giants for D&D 5E

29 March, 2020

The Giant-Blooded

Sometimes it pays to be bigIn the Sea of  Stars, there are no humanoid monster races such as orcs and goblins (for reasons discussed here) but there are still giants, not many, but some and some of them have had human lovers and their bloodline survives in a diluted form among many of their descendants.

Giantblooded Traits

Your giant-blooded character has certain traits deriving from your distant giant ancestry.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Empowered by your giantish blood, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Age. The giant-blood mature as humans. They age as humans but often have a slightly longer lifespan if their violent lifestyle does not catch up with them sooner.

Alignment. The gaint-blooded are often loners, finding themselves outsiders wherever they go.

Size. The giant-blooded are useually somewhat larger and bulkier than humans, and they range from 5 to well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giantish.

Menacing. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Relentless Endurance. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You cannot use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

Strong Attacks. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.

They may also select one Giantish Trait:

Blood of the Elements, the giant-blooded chooses an elemental damage type (acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder) and gains resistance to it.
Hard Hands, the Giant-blooded unarmed strike uses a d4 for damage and if unarmed or without a shield or weapon in their off-hand, they gain a +1 bonus to armor class.
Home in Nature, choose one terrain type and ignore the penalties for moving through difficult terrain in that terrain and gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception and Survival) rolls in that terrain.

Notes: Half-orcs are actually an interesting option in D&D 5E so I wanted players to have access to similar option for characters in the Sea of Stars, but had to work around that whole “no orcs” thing.  Luckily, I had already done the Giant-Blooded for Pathfinder.

Image: Poster: London Pavilion : Giant Constantin. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)



Tuesday Magic Item – Chain of Dreams

24 March, 2020

Chain your dreams tohgetherVoddick adjusted the chain around his neck.  “A kind gift for our services,” he said.

Gollaon slipped his under his shirt.  “Did you notice that each has a link from the other chain?”

Voddick nodded.  “An interesting stylistic choice.  To show our friendship I thought.”

“That and more, it ties the two together.  They guard your dream and fortify your sleep,” said Voddick.  “The more links you share with other, the stronger the protection.  Some say you can even pass messages between linked wearers in dreams.”

“Then it is an even kinder gift than I thought.” 

Chain of Dreams

These chains are made from links of precious metal, usually copper or silver, occasionally electrum, marked with runes of protection and promoting restful sleep and good dreams.  While the chain starts off with all of the links being the same type but with permission of their owner, two link from different chains can swap places.

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Of Souls and Seals – A Petrichor Campaign Report

23 March, 2020

Having fought demons and been rescued by Erishum, a guardian shedu, our heroes have agreed to explore the depths of the ziggurat temple and find out what is going on in the depths.  Erishum being too large to venture within.

The first expedition involves dealing with traps and robed humanoid creatures that are just shells of people animated by strange worm like beings.  It is a standard dungeon crawl but not much more.

When we return to play, its starts in media res in the lowest level of the ziggurat, everyone wounded with Elsbeth unconscious.  Pedr uses a healing potion to get Elsbeth back to her feet and sends her back up.  (Elsbeth’s player could not make it.)  They advance further down the tunnel and find a shattered door behind which is a looted and destroyed armory . . . except for a massive bronze reinforced maul surrounded by a circle of black ash.  Pedr finds fragments of black bone and a feather in the ash.  Lorrend just grabs the maul and adds it to his arsenal, mentioning that he had read about such a weapon belonging to a hero who slew demons back before the Sundering.

Pazuzu of famines and locustsThey continued down the corridor where it became hotter, dryer and brighter as it fell away into a bright orange desert-scape.  They discuss what to do and hear a voice from the other side commenting blackly upon their options.  They venture into the portal and find, just around the corner, a black tree filled with crows, one, the largest, has four eyes and has been the one talking with them.  Its name is Gon and it offers to guide them to the master of this realm.  They set out across the dusty wastes seeing occasional ruins of different styles of buildings in the distance before arriving at an impossibly tall tower made of brass and iron.  A cage is lowered on a long chain and they ride up, Pedr finding it disconcerting and vomits on the way up.  Arriving near the top they see an ogre like creature with small legs and massive arms operating the winch and then pulling the cage into a safe spot to disembark from.  From there, they moved deeper into the tower, which is hollow and on a platform suspended in the center, is a throne, upon which sits the demon lord, Pazuzu.

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New Magic Item – Equinox Bracers

21 March, 2020

BalanceVoddick checked his weapons and adjusted his armor.  “Well, it will be an interesting challenge.”

Gollaon finished polishing his knife and slipped it into its sheath.  “Truth.  It is not often we are asked to assist a champion.”

“Though I am not exactly certain what were are assisting them in fighting,” Voddick said as he set a bolt in his crossbow.

“Given the pay and the equipment provided, something unpleasant.”

“Well, nothing new there.”

“And it should be a good story for caging drinks from people,” said Gollaon, clasping his friends shoulder.

Equinox Bracers

These bracers are made of silver and inlaid in white and black materials forming contrasting but balanced patterns.  They remain clean and visible even in the worst conditions.

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Once Upon a Time in 1967 – What is Happening in Earth-H

18 March, 2020

Since we cannot meet to continue our Masks campaign at the moment, I thought I would put together some resources for the setting to share.  It is Fall as we begin the campaign and this is to present some context to the world around the young heroes.


UN HQLyndon Baines Johnson (“LBJ’) is the President of the United States, following the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963 and his victory in the 1964 election.  Hubert Humphrey is Vice President.  LBJ has tried to get more superheroes to back the US war effort in Vietnam with little success.

John Linsay is the Mayor of New York City, where are campaign is set, and who is still deciding if having New York City be the “Superhero capital of the US” is a good thing or not.

The Six-Day War in June sees Israel capture and occupy the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Anti-War Protests are increasingly common in major cities.  Race Riots, usually triggered by violent police actions, roll across the US causing great disruption and doubt. Read the rest of this entry ?


Adventure Report – Storybooks and Witches

17 March, 2020

So, every three to four weeks, I run D&D at my local game store (Tyche’s Games in Athens, GA, come by and visit) as part of our Friday Night Initiative program to let people try roleplaying games.  This last game was just really fun so I wanted to write it up so that other people could enjoy.

We had nine(!) players, four returned, five new to the game (of those three new to D&D entirely) and the campaign is Sea of StarsPetrichor, the hexcrawl part of the world.

Crystal MountainsThe existing group was on a mission to find a missing cousin who was last seen heading for the crystal mountains, the new group was venturing to the crystal mountains in search of (surprise) valuable crystals.

The original group was just coming out of the village of Yarrow when they were spotted by the new arrivals.  A few members of each group had noticed that the horizon low looked like a painted backdrop, like a stage set or an illustration in a book.  They meet and talk.  A raven lands on one of their shoulders.  Just in time to hear the thump, thump, thump of heavy steps as a two-headed giant approached the village.  He (they?) is not armed and is here only to collect butter from the village, they two heads are Nog and Tog and they are quite chatty.  Before leaving, with his butter, he drops a bag with a loud clank saying “You will need these.”  Inside were nine pairs of iron shoes, matching the size of the characters feet . . .  The original group took the new members to the place where (last session) they found a blood trail leading to a body which Kron, giantblooded barbarian, decapitated and the body turned to paper and blew away.  The blood trail then turned to a narration of the event.  No one knew what to make of this.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Plague-Slaying Blade

17 March, 2020

Strike at the heart of the diseaseVoddick and Gollaon paced behind the paladin and her glowing blade.  Voddick leaned in to his friend and whispered, “She does not seem like she needs protecting to me.”

“I hope you are right,” replied Gollaon, also whispering, “the worry would be that this disease is not just a run of the mill outbreak and masterminded by some force or being.”

Voddick shivered.  “I could go a lifetime without fighting plague wraiths again.”


Plague-Slaying Blade

These weapon are usually swords, but the occasion polearm has been made, the blades are of gleaming steel decorated with sigils of health and wards against disease often in gold or silver.  The grips are usually wrapped in white leather or linen.

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Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report Episode 15 – Under the Dome

12 March, 2020

This takes place directly following Episode 14.

Our cast for this episode (for more information on the game background, see here):

Reed Greenbottle and Skathfka (with Mercutio is a GMC for this episode.), introducing:

Natya Gefeltewulfa, brave if none too bright scion of a noble family, trained in the arts of the eldritch knight and assigned to a desolate border region to keep her out of trouble. (Fighter – Eldritch Knight, played by B2).

Episode 15: Under the Dome

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