2016-02-28

Monster: Infernal Fiddler

Devil, Infernal Fiddler

This handsome red skinned gentleman is attractive despite his horns, long tail, and pair of hooves. He wears the most fashionable clothing made of fine black and gold velvet and carries a golden fiddle.

CR 7; XP 3,200
LE Medium Outsider (devil, evil, extraplanar, lawful)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see in darkness; Perception +18

Defense
AC 20, touch 18, flat-footed 16 (+4 deflection, +4 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 85 (9d10+36)
Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +10
Defensive Abilities personal inviolability; DR 5/good; Immune fire, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10; SR 18
Weakness vulnerable to sonic


Offense
Speed
30 ft.
Melee gore +13 (1d6+4), sting +13 (1d4+4)
Ranged 3 lashing notes +13 (3d6 sonic)
Special Attacks bardic performance 24 rounds/day (move action; countersong, dirge of doom, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence +3, inspire courage +2, inspire greatness, suggestion)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +13)
At will—ghost sound, greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), prestidigitation, ventriloquism
3/day—blindness/deafness (DC 16), remove blindness/deafness

Statistics
Str 18, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 19, Cha 19
Base Atk +9; CMB +13; CMD 31
Feats Acrobatic Step, Alertness, Improved Initiative, Nimble Moves, Skill Focus (Perform [string])
Skills Acrobatics +13, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Knowledge (nobility) +14, Perception +18, Perform (sing) +20, Perform (string) +33, Sense Motive +18; Racial Modifiers +4 Perform
Languages Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ golden fiddle

Ecology
Environment any (Hell)
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Golden Fiddle (Su) An infernal fiddler bears a golden fiddle, an extension of himself manifested as a magical item that grants +10 profane bonus to Perform (string) checks (already calculated in the stat block). With his golden fiddle infernal fiddler can also use bardic performance like a 9th level bard. He can recall his golden fiddle with a standard action. However, if the fiddle is destroyed, he has to wait for 24 hours before he can recall it.

Lashing Notes (Su) An infernal fiddler can play terrible flesh-cutting tunes on his fiddle as a standard action while maintaining his bardic performance. Lashing notes are a ranged touch attack with a 30 feet range and no range increment.

Personal Inviolability (Su) An infernal fiddler is protected by constant sanctuary effect (DC 18). When an infernal fiddler takes a hostile action, the protection is voided for 24 hours against the creatures that witnessed the action. Additionally the infernal fiddler always applies his Charisma bonus as deflection bonus to AC and his clothing look perfectly immaculate regardless of circumstances.

Infernal fiddlers are vain and flamboyant devils, cowardly when confronted with physical violence but confident in the sanctity of their artistic status. They are often found roaming the mortal world, using their guile and music to inspire mortals to perform evil acts. They particularly enjoy challenging musicians into duels of skill, betting use of their golden fiddles for a period of time (usually a year and a day, seven years, or thirteen years) against possession of the mortal's soul, though a promise of future favor might be a sufficient stake. Because of their arrogance, majority of infernal fiddlers tend to be sore losers, often plotting revenge against those who beaten them in their own game and they publicly show contempt for those who reject their challenge.

While visiting mortal realms infernal fiddlers often pretend to be tieflings and are not above playing the sympathetic victim of prejudice against their inherited blood. They like to assure existence of further generations of tieflings as well, taking advantage of popularity their musical talents can grant them.

2016-02-21

Monster: Toxic Effigy

Toxic Effigy

This attractive young man in elegant clothing is surrounded by a sweet smell of incense. His skin seems to be very very smooth and his eyes are eerily empty. 

CR 5; XP 1,600
LE Medium Construct
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
Aura sweet release

Defense
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 53 (6d10+20)
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +2
DR 5/adamantine; Immune construct traits
Weakness preprogrammed behavior

Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee tongue stinger +10 (1d4 plus poison)
Ranged 2 darts +10 (1d3 plus poison)
Special Attack poison (DC 15), sneak attack 3d6

Statistics
Str 10, Dex 18, Con —, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 17

Base Atk +6; CMB +6; CMD 20
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +12, Diplomacy +12, Disguise +12 (+22 to avoid being detected as not a real person); Racial Modifiers +10 Disguise to pretend to be a normal person
Language Common

Ecology
Environment any

Organization solitary or pair
Treasure double standard

Special Abilities

Darts A toxic effigy has a set of self-loading darts hidden inside its hands that it can fire up to 30 feet. A toxic effigy can fire one dart as a standard action or one dart out of each hand as a full-round action. It can fire up to six darts out of each hand before running out. The darts can be reloaded at the rate of one dart per round.

Poison (Su) Sting or dart—injury; save Fort DC 13, frequency 1/round for 6 rounds, effect 1d3 Con, cure 1 save. The effigy magically replenishes the supply of the poison.

Preprogrammed Behavior A toxic effigy is imbued with intelligence that is exceptional for a construct but still imperfect. A toxic effigy is unable to succeed on Sense Motive checks. During discussions it is unable to keep track of the more complex topics involving specialist lore, a successful Sense Motive check against DC 15 during such conversation notices that its behavior edges on erratic and confused.

Sweet Release (Ex) A toxic effigy is surrounded by a subtle smell of the most stylish cosmetics which mask the insidious incense that weakness natural resistance against toxins. All the living creatures within 30 feet suffer –2 penalty to their saving throws against poison effects.

Product of cooperation between assassins and alchemists, a toxic effigy is a human-looking construct capable of blending in a normal society for a while until the reaches its mark and delivers a deadly venom. Or it can act as a dupe, to attract the attention of the victim’s guards while the actual assassination is commenced. Or be a bit of both, with its poison-resistance weakening fumes greatly helping the actual assassin while attracting attention to oneself at the same time.

Most of toxic effigies are made with their own unique appearance but a number of serial off-the shelf toxic effigies were made as well.

An advanced melee oriented model is currently tested as well, armed with dagger-blades hidden within hands instead of darts, and having Outflank, Weapon Finesse, and Two-Weapon Fighting feats.

Construction
Toxic effigy requires careful assembly of its internal mechanisms and covering it in an alchemically grown material that mimics human skin, weighing about 100 pounds and worth a total of 1,000 gp.

Toxic Effigy
CL 8th; Price 16,000 gp.
CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Construct, alter self, charm person, poison; Skill Craft (alchemy) DC 20; Cost 8,500 gp.

2016-02-14

Monster: Pale Publican

Pale Publican


A swarm of solid coins is swirling around a transparent figure of a bloated man in opulent clothing.

CR 10; XP 9,600
LE Medium Undead (incorporeal)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +21


Defense
AC 22, touch 22, flat-footed 14 (+4 deflection, +7 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 110 (13d8+52)
Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +9
Defensive Abilities armor of wealth, channel resistance +4, incorporeal; Immune undead traits
Weakness eternal greed

Offense
Speed fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 incorporeal touches +17 (1d4 Charisma damage)
Ranged 10 thrown coins +18 (1d6+1 plus weight of debt)

Statistics
Str —, Dex 24, Con —, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 19

Base Atk +9; CMB +16; CMD 31
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Appraise), Weapon Focus (coin)
Skills Appraise +21, Bluff +17, Diplomacy +17, Fly +15, Intimidate +17, Perception +21, Sense Motive +21
SQ eternal debt
Language Common and three other local languages

Ecology
Environment any
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure double standard

Special Abilities
Armor Of Wealth (Su) A pale publican can use the amassed coins not only to attack but also to defend oneself. Whenever he attacks with his thrown coins, he can refrain from making one or more of available attacks gaining 1 temporary hit point for each attack not made. Using total defense action grants the pale publican 20 temporary hit points. Temporary hit points gained from armor of wealth last for one hour or until the pale publican passes through a solid object.

Charisma Damage (Su) A pale publican touch erodes personality of living creatures. Sapient beings find themselves obsessing over wealth mostly. When the Charisma damage inflicted by this attack equals or exceeds Charisma ability score of a sapient being, a geas is placed on that creature to collect more wealth for the pale publican’s hoard.

Eternal Debt (Su) Each pale publican is served by a number of minor spirits that are bound to perform menial tasks for him. They act like multiple unseen servants but are restricted to carrying, cleaning, and taking other care of the pale publican’s treasure and files.

Eternal Greed (Su) Pale publicans are entities driven by avarice. Despite being undeads, they are susceptible to mind-affecting patterns, phantasms, and compulsions that show money or jewels or otherwise focus on their greed.

Throw Coins (Su) As a standard action, a pale publican can telekineticaly throw coins from his hoard with great strength and precision against targets within 60 feet. Each coin is treated as a +1 weapon dealing 1d6 points of bludgeoning and slashing damage.

Weight Of Debt (Su) A creature struck with one of a pale publican’s coins is cursed with weight of debt. For each coin that hit (even if the damage was reduced to 0), the victim suffers a cumulative –1 penalty that applies to all checks to which regular armor check penalty applies, to all saving throws against mind-affecting powers that inspire or take advantage of greed, to all checks and rolls made to earn money or capital, to determine rewards of investment, and to all Economy rolls of any kingdom in which the cursed creature holds a leadership role. This is a curse effect with removal DC of 11+the pale publican’s HD. The bearer of weight of debt can also remove the curse by spending a number of days equal to accumulated penalty by personally helping poor and sick.

Common people hold little love for taxes and tolls and even less for those who attempt to collect them. While the sentiment seems to be universal, for tax assessors and collectors are one of the most hated groups everywhere, people living on frontiers are usually in better position to get rid of tax collectors, for many travelers are killed by bandits, beasts, and savage barbarians coming from beyond the borders of civilized lants. And where death is common, so are spirits bound by unfulfilled desires. Occasionally, a tax collector so thoroughly corrupted by greed and avarice dies suddenly (through violence or accident) and yet the hoard of wealth amassed remains untouched for some reason. Occasionally, a greedy richman dies clinging to uncounted wealth while thirsting for more. From all those deaths, a pale publican can spring, a potent spirit of avarice haunting the place of own death, collected hoard, or even place where he worked for his riches while alive.

2016-02-07

Tale Of The Fallen Kings


So you want to become a king? Ha! I’d thought about that again, kid… We had many, many kings here in the Deepwood… And you know what? Only a few of them died peacefully. Yeah, the kings… Well, the kings here ascend and fall often, very often, and violently too! Whom I should tell you about first? See, let’s start with Andars Antheros, a southern lordling who came here to carve a name and a fief for oneself. It was a hundred and fifty years ago, more or less. He arrived with a retinue of men-at-arms, servants, and laborers. He had a seer with him. Some sort of magician who threw lots and divined the auspicious place for the castle… Not much stone was were he settled and the roads here weren't suitable for long distance transport at that time. Not that changed much, the local routes are still a crap in the eyes of southern merchants. Anyway, without stone, Andars had to content himself with a wooden keep. He had grandiose plans, though. Clear the wood, build routes, settle the land, import the stone, build a proper castle fitting a southern prince… He let slip that he would value being prince of Imperial colony more than being a local king, though, and the locals would have none of that. They intercepted his envoy with letters of submission on the way south and confronted the wouldn’t-be-a-king. He died that night together with his magician and his senior officers. He must have made some sort of agreement with his killers, however, for they spared his teenage daughter, Kalia. She refused to return south and even kept some of her father’s retainers with her. The rebellion had four leaders: Arndal, Sigbert, Yesh, and Kirgillo. Arndal and Sigbert became co-rulers, called themselves Lords Keepers Of Deepwood… Kirgillo was their steward. Yesh went to become champion of the common laborers, hunters, and lumberers. He was quickly ousted from the ruling elite and had to flee and hide among his supporters. Kirgillo managed to keep peace as long he lived, but when he died of old age incompetence of the Lords Keepers couldn’t be hidden for long. Without steward to handle things for them, Arndal and Sigbert increased their oppression of the commoners, demanding higher and higher tribute. Rebellion rose on the first spring after Kirgillo’s death and Yesh led lumberers and hunters against the tax collectors… With the help of Kalia’s loyal troops. Young heiress was viewed as a savior now by the people remembering her father’s reign with fondness. Soldiers were leaving Lords Keepers side in droves. Before the autumn harvest, Kalia and Yesh stormed the keep. Arndal, Sigbert, and Yesh died that night. For years people believed that Yesh died fighting, but later some servants started telling stories of the hunter’s leader ghost haunting the keep, claiming to have been killed by Kalia in delayed revenge for her father’s death. No one knew that at first, though, and Kalia ruled for ten more years. She managed to build a stone tower as a central part of the keep as a first step of making her father’s dreams come true, but she died in childbirth. Baeldrick, captain of her guards, rumored to be the child’s father took over as a regent. His rule was deemed satisfactory but unexceptional. Until the kid got oneself killed at the ripe old age of fifteen. Fell from a horse, or so the official story went. I think it might be even true… If Baeldrick wanted to take over, why would he wait fifteen years to get rid of the kid? The people didn’t think him innocent, though. They rose against the regent. He fought back. Blood was spilled, lots of blood. Then a witch came out of the woods and offered to bring the dead prince back to life. She demanded a royal ransom for that, she did, but the people agreed. It was paid from the regent’s coffers anyway. It ruined our small kingdom but the prince returned, the regent was exiled, and the witch became the sole royal adviser and consort. The boy crowned himself the first king of the Deepwood and named himself Andars the Second in honor of his grandfather. Ruled five years and got himself killed during hunting accident. The witch revived him, emptying the treasury again. Five years later the king was dead again. This time it was fair and square death on the battlefield in a border skirmish with Idriss, a petty queen of the neighboring realm of the Greystone. After being returned to life for the third time, he promptly proposed to Idriss. The witch cursed him, took all the money from the treasure, and left for good. Thankfully, Andars was shrewd entrepreneur by now, keeping most of his wealth invested in trade routes, infrastructure, and local industries. Royal union with Greystone gave him much needed stone and now he could build a proper castle where once wooden keep stood. Just in time to see the king’s funeral. Fourth time was the final one. Andras was killed by a dragon that assaulted and ravaged the Greystone while the royal pair was overseeing a festival there. His burned corpse was recovered by the fleeing queen. She sent envoys in search of the witch who saved her husband’s life in the past. The witch laughed her out. Idriss doubled the offer only to learn that the dead kings was beyond the help of magic the witch could call upon. The dark days came for realm as the dragon turned the queen’s old settlement into own lair, earning itself the name of Greystone Dragon, and kept harassing the Deepwood. Baeldrick, the elderly former regent returned from exile to aid the queen in the assault against the dragon in its lair. The raid ended being a costly failure, Idriss and most of her companions died while Baeldrick and his squire barely fled with their lives. With no heirs to the royal line, Baeldrick proclaimed himself the king. The dragon wounded in the raid kept low for the year and the future started to look bright for the Deepwood again. And then the dragon struck again. In its rage the monster rampaged through the castle and killed every living thing within its walls. The people fled the realm and wilderness slowly encroached again. The dragon moved its lair to the ruined castle and nested there for the next fifty years. After two generations, a group of adventurers came to the Deepwood. Three siblings claiming to be grandchildren of king Andars and the witch, and their three companions. In a grand battle of magic, cunning, and martial valor, they killed the dragon, losing one of the siblings and two companions. They brought laborers and settlers and started rebuilding the castle into a new town. The sister crowned herself queen Randa while her surviving brother Faen became her adviser and her court wizard. The reconstruction works were interrupted by appearance of the former regent and self-proclaimed king Baeldrick. He arose as some sort of undying monstrosity driven by hatred toward the living, especially the usurpers of his throne. The queen and her brother promptly got rid of the dead captain. He returned next year. They destroyed him again. He arose again and again. Finally, Faen somehow managed to convince or trick Baeldrick to take the crown of the desolated Greystone and leave the Deepwood castle to the living. The battles with the dead and the time took their toll, and queen Randa died of natural causes not long after. Predicting her incoming death and with Faen refusing to take the crown, the queen organized a tournament for warriors and soldiers of the land. The winner was crowned as the royal heir. Faen retained the formal title of royal adviser and the court wizard, but he moved out of the castle and into the secret abode somewhere in the woods. Randa’s heir, Vasil, ruled for six months until an unexpected fever cut his life short. Shortness of his reign was eclipsed by those of his successors, during what is now known as The Year Of Moon Kings, for they reigned a month each, 
on average, before dying to poison, dagger, garrote, crossbow bolt, or fall from bedchamber window. The last of the Moon Kings fled the realm renouncing the crown altogether. The rule passed to the royal council who divided between them the control over various holdings and industries in Deepwood. Three times in the last thirty years one of the lords would try to subdue the others and put on the royal crown, but each time the rest would overcome their animosities and ally to defy the usurper. As you see kid, being a king is not easy. You might be strong, you might be wise, you might be loved, and yet, Death might take you before you know it.