Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to deal with argumentative players?


    It's a problem that's been around for just shy of 40 years now, and will probably be around for at least 40 more. Most commonly, the disputes that arise are due to:

  • Different ideas about what a certain rule or ability does
  • A mistake on the player's part that makes them want to strong-arm the GM into a "do-over"
  • An idea or plan that a player has fallen in love with, and cannot accept has failed to produce results

    My favorite means of dealing with this behavior is to nip it in the bud by laying out a set of ground rules at the start of a campaign. Lots of GMs like to prepare a campaign packet beforehand, letting the players know some back story for the game, listing important factions and NPCs, as well as specific materials and books they recommend. All of this information doesn't need to take up more than a page or two, and can serve as the spoonful of sugar for the medicine that is a final page of campaign policies

    The term policy has a very firm connotation. It is most likely that your players have all encountered policies in their work or school lives, and so they know that such things are taken seriously by whoever has set them. Subtle things like this can, over time, make all the difference.

    A way to set the tone with a new group of players is to (politely) insist that they roll their stats in front of you, explaining that it simply a matter of personal policy in how you like to run your games and no particular reflection on your trust in them. It sends the message that you have a handle on your game, and are not afraid to induce a little squirming to maintain that handle. If you have the luxury of a longtime gaming pal in your otherwise new group, make sure that the new players see her rolling stats in front of you as well, so they get the message that there will be no favoritism.

    One policy I've found to work very well is an edict against rules-lawyering. We're only human and we will make mistakes when it comes to a strict interpretation of the rules. These mistakes might, if left uncorrected, even have a seriously negative impact upon the player character(s) they are affecting.

    This changes nothing.
    Most of us only have a limited amount of time during any given week to come together and indulge in our little slice of escapism, and if that time is eaten up by one person rifling through books and heatedly debating their nuances, it is a disservice to everyone else at the table. Don't allow it, don't engage in it. Simply do your best to become familiar with the rules (so you make the fewest mistakes possible), and explain to your players that any concerns should be made a note of, and discussed with you at the end of the game, preferably in private.

    If and when you realize you've made a mistake (it happens to the best of us!), be sure to smilingly concede the point. This is not a competition, and even a hint of non-ironic pouting might instill an "us versus him" mentality that you really want to avoid. You shouldn't ever retcon something that has happened in game, but you can make it up to the player by offering a little extra XP, a hero point, or maybe even a new magical item that's just their size (this last should ideally be worked into the story as smoothly as possible).

    If the mistake resulted in the actual loss of a character, even that isn't an unfixable situation. Even the best fantasy stories of all time have their contrivances and miraculously improbable resurrections! Simply whip up an excuse to save them, and then give them a shot at coming back in dramatic fashion, maybe even somehow carrying new plot information and a nice chunk of free XP they didn't have before.

    What about generally cantankerous behavior? Some otherwise great people can turn into real passive-aggressive ogres around the game table, muttering about this and glaring after that, or getting all worked up over something else. Don't put up with it! It's important that you, as the GM, enjoy the game as much as anyone else. My remedy for this has two parts -

    First, consider the teachings of Pavlov. Conditioned behavior is a real thing, and can result in all sorts of positive changes. If a player is getting snarky and unpleasant, consider making their character's life subtly more difficult. The key word here is subtly. As tempting and hilarious as it may seem to drop a house on them, this will only exacerbate the bad behavior. However, if you do small things when they get out of line, it will eventually have an effect. Declare them to have failed a Will save that they actually just BARELY would have made, as though the DC had been a single point higher for them. Perhaps they get a slightly lower ratio of useful loot than the rest of the party, or perhaps they miss a trap they otherwise might have found. Skill checks and saves are the best way to go about this without them catching directly on.

    The other side of that is to reward them when they are being pleasant to game with. Maybe an NPC is a little nicer to them, they make a save they otherwise would have just BARELY failed, or the treasure the party finds is just a tiny bit (10% or so) richer than they would otherwise have expected. This works wonders if done properly.
    Secondly, a discrete one on one conversation. Don't stop the game to tell them to knock it off, because the satisfaction you'll feel will come at the cost of embarrassment and resentment on behalf of the offending party, and could possibly escalate into a shouting match that splinters the group. Simply take them aside at some point, ideally after calling a ten minute break (a good idea for any game), and let them know that this isn't okay. You're doing your best, and you get enough harassment from your boss/teacher/customers that you don't need it here, in a game you're trying to facilitate for their enjoyment. Be sure to remain relaxed during this conversation, and if they get defensive just let them get it out of their system. If they have a specific complaint, address it, sure. But let them know that this isn't the way to go about bringing it to your attention, or making their voice heard. Remind them of the policies outlined at the start of the campaign, and if they can't get a handle on it, it may be time to amicably part ways.

    Of course that isn't something anybody wants to happen.

    Remember - you aren't there to be a smug tyrant god that lords your power over your friends for four hours a week, but neither are you there to be a punching bag upon which they can take  out frustrations  that they simply can't vent on other, more serious authority figures. Do your best to keep the PCs the stars of the show, but don't be a doormat. Be even handed in the choices and calls you make, and stand by those rulings even if the player doesn't agree. Above all, don't let your group lose sight of the fact that it is just a game, and that anger over a game is behavior befitting of children.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Personae Malevolent 12 - Turducken


CR 3
XP 800
N Small magical beast (4d12 lbs)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +9

AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 27 (3d10+12)
Fort +5; Ref +7; Will +6

Speed 40 ft, Fly 40 ft, Swim 20 ft

Peck +5 (1d6)
2 Lesser Claws +3 (1d4)
2 Greater Claws +3 (1d6)

Special Attacks: Warble, Leap

Str 10, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 20, Cha 6
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 17 (21 vs. trip)
Feats Multiattack, Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception +9, Stealth +12, Survival +6


Warble (Su)
Once every 1d4 rounds as a standard action, a turducken can generate a mind-affecting effect by warbling "Gobuakuk!". Every non-turducken  in a 60 foot radius takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage and is Fatigued as though they had not eaten for 3 days, and are therefore starving.   (DC 16 Will save for half and no fatigue). The save DC is Constitution-based.

Nonlethal damage from thirst or starvation cannot be recovered until the character gets food or water, as needed—not even magic that restores hit points heals this damage.

Leap (Ex)
A turducken can perform a special kind of pounce attack by jumping into combat. When a turducken charges, it can  jump into the air and land next to its enemies, then follow up with four claw attacks against foes in reach. When a turducken pounces, it cannot also peck.
Environment - Forests and low hills
Organization - Solitary, mated pair, or grand feast (3-9)
Treasure none (Unspoiled carcass is worth 400 gp)

The turducken is a chimeric beast along the same lines as an owlbear or hippogryph. They only appear near human settlements around harvest time each year, and it is rare to find more than one at a time.
A majestic comb crowns its head like a juanty pompador, matching nicely with its rather dapple waddle and aerodynamic beak. When swimming, the fore and rear legs fold in close to the body to allow the central webbed feet to kick.
Elusive beasts, turduckens trust in their natural camouflage to keep them out of sight when hungry humans are about. If it becomes evident that escape will be impossible the turducken will launch itself heedlessly into battle against its pursuers, upon whom it will unleash the raw fury that has slumbered within the hearts of turkeys, ducks, and chickens for generations.


These beasts are much prized by the finest chefs in the land. A cook must prepare a turducken with a DC 20 Craft: Cooking check to unlock its hidden potential.

Everyone that eats at least 1/4 lb of turducken meat receives a +1 morale bonus to all saves for 2 hours. If more than two portions are consumed in the span of one day, the imbiber must succeed at a DC 20 Fort save or be Slowed for 10 rounds, then remain Fatigued until they take at least 30 minutes to nap.

Anyone who eats one of the turducken's legs receives the effects of a Cure Light Wounds as cast by a 1st level Cleric.

Turducken meat will never ever spoil.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beginner Box!

We had the opportunity to get together with some people and try out the new Pathfinder Beginner Box over at Dungeon's End in West Duluth.

Pictured clockwise above, our group consisted of two people with very limited experience with the Pathfinder RPG (Miranda and Addam), one player with none whatsoever but a goodly amount of 3.5 experience (Max), and one that hasn't touched any sort of RPG in about ten years (Greg). I'm the yeti standing in the back by the dragon mural.

So nope, couldn't get any TOTAL newbies, but that will change when I use this bad boy to teach my in-laws how to play sometime this winter!

Once everyone was assembled, we decided it would be better to get going as quickly as possible, and so we used the pregenerated characters right out of the box. A cursory glance over the sheets was enough for most of the players, though Greg needed the occasional reminder of how skill checks worked. It took us about two and a half hours to play through the premade scenario, though that was due at least in part to us doing a fair amount of goofing off.

This mini-module managed to show off -
Three puzzles
Skill checks for swimming and climbing
The benefits of using Diplomacy instead of violence (or at least it would have if the players hadn't decided to launch an ambush...)
and the importance of strategy!

                                                  (Not pictured: strategy)

There was a lot of magical loot for a level 1 adventure, but there was also a lot of peril in the form of creative encounters that didn't have much patience for sloppy tactics. Sending the wizard into an unexplored area first triggered a chain reaction that brought the party within a single hit point of a TPK...but then the cleric got to test out the "channel energy" mechanic, and it made her a big damn hero!

All of this was a good time, but what I find most impressive about this box is that the premade adventure and characters are a tiny part of its worth. The (glossy and full color) books contained inside of it are actually all you'd need to run a campaign up to level 5.

They include several dozen premade monsters, random encounter tables for just about every kind of environment, and a skin and bones version of the town of Sandpoint. Add to that the concise and neat blank character sheets and the simple grid on the other side of the dry-erase flip map, and you're set for several months of quality games.

I expected this to be pretty good as a way to introduce people to the game, and it turned out to be a lot more. The hard cardboard "pawns" seem to be made of the same adamantine-infused paper as the Pathfinder GM screen, and they are a terrific midpoint between 2-D pogs and plastic miniatures. They also keep the cost down to a trim 35.00, and allow for a lot more critters to be stored away!

Our demonstration has Dungeon's End looking at getting a store copy of the boxed set for free use, so be sure to stop in and ask about it if you'd like to give it a whirl yourself. This is an absolutely terrific addition to our collection, and something we'll be bringing with us whenever we travel with friends!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Personae Malevolent 11 - Yellow Musk Sporebearer

Yellow Musk Sporebearer

 Yellow Musk Spore Bearer
CR 2
XP 600
NE Medium plant
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+2 natural)
hp 2 (2HD)
Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +3
DR 5/slashing; Plant traits
Spd 35 ft.
Melee slam +3 (1d6+3)
Special Attacks - Burst
Str 14, Dex 13, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats: Fleet
SQ plant traits, staggered
Plant Traits (Ex)
This zombie's animation is provided not by necromancy but by the plant that grows throughout its body. Yellow musk zombies lack undead traits, but gain plant traits. They are treated as plants, not undead, for the resolution of magical effects and attacks. Channel energy cannot harm a yellow musk zombie, for example, nor does negative energy heal a yellow musk zombie.
Staggered (Ex) Zombies have poor reflexes and can only perform a single move action or standard action each round. A zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round as a charge action.
Burst (Ex)
As either a swift action, or an automatic response from being dealt damage, the Spore Bearer can cause it's body to explode into a cloud of dark yellow pollen.
Everyone standing within 40 feet of the Sporebearer needs to make a Fortitude save. DC 12 if out to 40 feet, 14 within 30, 16 within 20, 18 within 10, and DC 20 if directly adjacent. If the save is failed, the spores take root inside the nasal passages and begin to grow into a miniature version of the Yellow Musk Creeper that spawned it. The subject is Nauseated [unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. The only action such a character can take is a single move actions per turn.] from the overwhelming pain, and suffers 1d4 points of int damage per round, during each of which the victim may attempt a new save.    


When a Yellow Musk Creeper gets to a certain size and age, there is a 10% chance that one of the zombies it creates will continue to undergo physiological changes until it becomes little more than skin bursting with yellow pollen. This quasi-undead creature then lurches off in search of the living, and has just enough awareness to try and burst itself in the midst of as many animals (or people) as possible.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tomb of Horrors Part 1

Thought it might be fun to upload audio from a game I'm running for UWS' gamer's club. Sending some college buds through the Tomb of Horrors, and the death toll is mounting!

                                           SAGA vs the Tomb of Horrors -Episode 1

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Personae Malevolent 10 - King Obould Many-Arrows

Wow, it's been awhile, huh? I've been distracted from doing PMs by the ongoing work with Mask of Death as well as my home campaigns. I'm coming back with a bang with a level 21 King Obould Many Arrows, and while I don't think I'll quite be back up to doing it on a weekly basis for quite some time (especially with college going again), I'm going to try and keep from waiting this long between updates again.

Also worthy of note - this is the last PM I'm going to do in the classic 3.5 style. All future entries will be designed with the Pathfinder system in mind! If you prefer your 3.5 un-updated though, fear not. It's a very simple matter to reverse engineer from one system to the other.

King Obould Many-Arrows


Barbarian 11/Orc Warlord 5/Legendary Leader 5

Str 28 (22 + 6 enhancement) - +8
Dex 16 (12 + 4 enhancement) - +3
Con 24 (16 + 6 enhancement) - +7
Int 12 - +1
Wis 14 - +2
Cha 24 - (16 + 6 enhancement) -+7

Speed: 40 ft  Initiative: +4

Size: Medium. Height: 6'9 Weight: 314

AC: 33  [10 + 3 (Dex) + 10 Armor Bonus. +5 Deflection +5 Natural Armor]
Flat footed AC: 30  Touch AC: 18

DR 5 (2/-, 3/adamantine)

HP 294

Fort:22  Ref: 11 Will:18

Base Attack Bonus: 19

Grapple: 27


Horde King's Blade:  32/27/22/17
2d6+17 +2d6 Fire Damage (3d6 on crit) 17-20x2

Horde King's Bow: 26/21/16/11
1d8+13 20x3


Str 34 - +11
Con 30 - +9

HP: 357

AC 31

Will: 21

Grapple: 30

Horde King's Blade:  35/30/25/20
2d6+21+2d6 Fire Damage (3d6 on crit) 17-20x2


Blood of the Warlord: You are seen as a king among kings and a natural leader of orcs. You gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks made to influence orcs. Additionally, as long as you are visibly leading them, all your followers gain a +1 morale bonus on their attack rolls and Will saving throws.

Leadership: Leadership score of 33. (level 21 +7 cha  +2 for Great Renown, +2 for Stronghold)

Iron Will: +2 to will saves
Power Attack: Trade attack bonus for damage, up to Base Attack Bonus. (19) If you attack with both hands on the weapon, instead add twice the number subtracted from the attack rolls. (max -+38 damage)

Cleave: If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop you get an immediate extra melee attack against another creature within reach. The extra attack is with the same weapon and same bonus as the one you used to drop the initial creature.

Intimidating Rage: While you are raging, designate a single foe within 30 feet of you that you can attempt to demoralize as a free action (see page 76 of PHB) A foe that you successfully demoralize remains shaken for as long as you continue to rage. You may only use this feat against a single foe in any particular encounter.

Extra Rage: You can rage 2 additional times per day.

Extend Rage: Your rage lasts an additional 5 rounds.


Intimidate:  30 (32 against orcs)

Diplomacy: 24 (26 against orcs) (29 if target is not unfriendly) (31 if target is orc and not unfriendly)

Jump: 24

Listen: 15

Spot: 15

Swim 14

Ride: 8

Knowledge, Religion: 4

Knowledge Nobility: 4

Survival: 15

Class Abilities:

Barbarian 11
Fast Movement, Rage, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge (cannot be flat footed, cannot be flanked, cannot be sneak attacked by a rogue of lower than 15th level. Damage

Reduction. Greater Rage.

Orc Warlord 5
Gather Horde 200%: Number of followers from the Leadership feat are doubled so long as they are all orcs.

Inspire Courage:
(as Bard) Allies get +2 morale bonus on saves vs charm and fear, +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage so long as they can hear the Orc Warlord speak and for five rounds thereafter.

This ability can be activated while in a rage or frenzy.

Final Rage:All allies within 10 feet of the Orc Warlord (and the Warlord himself) immediately enter a rage, even if they could not normally do so or have already used all their rages for the day. If the warlord or his allies are already in a rage at the time, they enter a Greater Rage. This rage lasts until the end of the Warlord's next turn, and all penalties for leaving a rage are applied.
Invoking the Final Rage is a free action.

Legendary Leader 5
Fearless: Immune to fear effects

Hero's Luck: +3 to all saving throws

Natural Commander: Commander rating equal to class level, unless rank would grant a better one.

Legendary Reputation: Add class level to Diplomacy checks made against any NPC who is not already Unfriendly.

Greater Command: 2/day as the spell, DC 23

Quick Rally: May perform a rally check as a free action once per round.

Bonus Feat:  Improved Cohort. Cohort level is only one lower than Legendary Leader's character level.

Heroic Success: Once per day you may automatically succeed on a single saving throw instead of rolling the dice.

Additional Commander Aura: At 5th level you may select an additional Commander Aura for which you qualify. Your followers benefit from both Auras.

To Hell and Back: Any followers gained from the Leadership feat are immune to fear effects (including morale checks) so long as they have line of sight to you.

Obould as a commander:

Blood of the Warlord: As long as you are visibly leading them, all your followers gain a +1 morale bonus on their attack rolls and Will saving throws.

Orc Commander - Orc allies within 30 feet of Obould deal an extra 1d6 damage on melee attacks. Considered a morale bonus.

Bloodthirsty Commander - All allies within 30 feet of Obould gain a +1 morale bonus on damage rolls against wounded creatures.

Inspire Courage:
as bard; allies get +2 morale bonus on saves vs charm and fear, +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage so long as they can hear the Orc Warlord speak and for five rounds thereafter. This ability can be activated while in a rage or frenzy.

Final Rage:All allies within 10 feet of the Orc Warlord (and the Warlord himself) immediately enter a rage, even if they could not normally do so or have already used all their rages for the day. If the warlord or his allies are already in a rage at the time, they enter a Greater Rage. This rage lasts until the end of the Warlord's next turn, and all penalties for leaving a rage are applied.
Invoking the Final Rage is a free action.

Quick Rally: May perform a rally check as a free action once per round.
To Hell and Back: Any followers gained from the Leadership feat are immune to fear effects (including morale checks) so long as they have line of sight to you.

Intimidating Rage: While you are raging, designate a single foe within 30 feet of you that you can attempt to demoralize as a free action (see page 76 of PHB) A foe that you successfully demoralize remains shaken for as long as you continue to rage. You may only use this feat against a single foe in any particular encounter

+5 Adamantine Breastplate that adds +6 to the wearer's Dex. (DR 3/Adamantine)

Periapht of Health +6,  (+6 Con)

Ring of Moderate Fortification +5.  (50% to negate critical strike or sneak attack damage, +5 to

Deflection AC)
Ring of Arming  (All weapons and armor stored within ring, can be automatically donned and armed when ring is activated, and removed in the same manner)

Bracers of Wind. (-2 penalty on ranged attacks fired against you, does not affect siege weapons.
+1 competence bonus on all ranged attack rolls. Wind constantly seems to blow wearer's hair or clothing about. Can be suppressed by saying "Calm" in Auren, and re-activated by saying "Zephyr" in the same language.)

True Strike Gauntlets (When you activate True Strike Gauntlets, you gain a +20 insight bonus on the next attack you make before the end of your next turn. This ability functions once per day)

Obould's Mantle (Cloak of Charisma +6, increases Natural Armor +5)

Girdle of Giant's Strength +6  (+6 to Str)

Greater Boots of the Mountain King.(Ignore increased movement cost and skill check DC increases for light and dense rubble. In addition, you can move up stairs and slopes at normal speed and run or charge downhill without making a Balance check. Finally, the boots can be activated to grant the wearer the benefit of the Stoneskin spell once per day)

Crown of Rage (While raging, you can negate the damage dealt by a single sneak attack or critical hit scored against you. You can activate this item after the damage from the attack has been determined. Crown of Rage functions once per day)

Potion of Heal (x2)

Horde King's Bow (+4 Mighty Composite Greatbow [+9]. Range increased to 200 ft. When the bow is drawn, a ghostly pale violet arrow appears nocked. These projectiles are treated as +4 for purposes of damage, though they deal Force damage rather than piercing. The arrows also have the Precise property, which means they can be shot into melee without the standard -4 penalty))

Horde King's Blade (+5 Keen/Brash/Flaming Burst/Adamantine Greatsword. If the wielder of the Horde King's Blade enters a Rage or Frenzy, the Rage or Frenzy lasts an additional 3 rounds. In addition, the wielder becomes immune to fear effects during the duration of the Rage or Frenzy)

The greatest orc chieftain to ever live, Obould Many-Arrows commands a mighty horde from his seat of power in the northern reaches of Faerûn. A credit to his fecund and ambitious race, he's sired many sons over his life, and intends to carve an even larger empire out of the Forgotten Realms, to make certain that his progeny all have enough elbow room to not fall into civil war at his passing, thereby undoing all he's wrought. 

While it's generally accepted by civilized races that an orc horde will pour out of the mountains very few dozen races, the efforts of Obould have made the Many-Arrows clan a much more credible long-term threat to the Silver Marches, and perhaps to all of the Realms.

If Obould finds himself fighting alone, it must be a truly extraordinary circumstance. The few times he enters combat personally it is at the head of a horde for a a particularly important battle, his honor guard berserkers holding the line while he makes use of his famous bow. If a particularly worthy foe should challenge him to single combat however, he will oblige.

He rages at the first opportunity, and makes use of his gauntlets of true strike while power attacking for the full amount with the Horde King's Blade. If brought to below 1/4th his total HP he will quaff one of his potions and keep up the fight. He only flees if there is outside interference, or a more pressing tactical matter catches his attention.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A brief interview with Elaine Cunningham

We recently had the exciting opportunity to pick the brain of one of fantasy literature's all-time greats; Elaine Cunningham!

GMK: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
 ec:   Someone once described me as having “eclectic curiosity.”  That works. I’m interested in a lot of things, most of them wildly impractical.  I’m a history geek--16th century Scotland is a particular obsession.  Once upon a time I was a classically trained soprano with a  degree in music education.  I still have the degree, I suppose, but my current musical preference is traditional folk music.   My favorite instrument these days is the Celtic harp, though I also play around a bit with Irish fiddle and tin whistle.  I’m fascinated by linguistics, folklore, mythology and more modern belief systems, the Scottish reign of James VI and I, the Matter of Britain, the mystery surrounding Tycho Brahe’s death, organic gardening, mead making, psychic phenomenon, and how recent advances in neuroscience are changing our understanding of how the brain works.  I’m a voracious reader and I make a great apple pie. I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We have two sons, a garden that needs more attention than it gets, and an eccentric Siamese cat.  

GMK: What was it like to make the transition from music teacher to author?
ec:  It wasn’t a direct transition.  I spent four years doing office work and taking classes, trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I was working toward an MBA when my first son was born. The idea of putting Andrew in daycare was heartbreaking, so my husband said, “You’re always reading. Why don’t you try writing?”  The idea had never occurred to me, but it felt right.  I started reading stacks of books on the craft of writing. I also approached writing the way musicians learn composition:  Analyze music to learn the rules and understand the structure.  I took books I admired and outlined them in detail. After a few of these, I began to understand the bones of a story.  I wrote several manuscripts and began to understand that theory and practice are, in writing as in art and music, two very different things.  My first book sale didn’t come until Andrew was three years old and his brother, Sean, was an infant.  Needless to say, I did most of my writing during naps, nights, and weekends.  

GMK: So shortly after you were published, you started living the  life of  Richard Castle, right? 
ec:  Of course!  Well, there are some minor differences.  I write fantasy novels, not murder mysteries, so instead of following a homicide detective around, I stalk dwarf warriors. You would not believe what I spend on ale on any given work day.

GMK: Can you tell us about your process?
ec:   I usually start with characters, then come up with a basic conflict and figure out their response, which in turn tells me more about the character, which suggests more plot complications.  Story planning is a very circular process, tied together with considerable amount of patchwork.  But it boils down to a few basic questions:  What does this person want, what is he willing to do to get it, and who/what stands in his way?  I  go through this process with the antagonist as well the protagonist, because a hero is only as interesting as the villains he faces.  Then I write a narrative outline to nail down the overall shape of the story.  Then comes the working outline—chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene.  Once I start writing, my inclination is to tinker endlessly, but that’s a terrible habit. I try to work straight through a rough draft, then revise.  The revised first draft goes to the editor, who suggests revisions that might be substantial or might, as with one book, consist of two typos. 

GMK: What is your ideal day off?
ec:   Assuming this ideal day takes place in Scotland, I’d start with an early morning walk along the Tweed, past the 15th century Needpath castle and up to the Roman ruins.  Lunch would be “haggis, neeps, and tatties” and a pint of Guinness at a pub in Peebles.  More exploring in the afternoon--visiting some historic sites, doing some research.  Traditional Celtic music in the evening.

GMK: I've heard a rumor that you're going to be moving on from writing stories set in the Forgotten Realms. True or false?
ec:  Not true.  The Serpent’s Daughter, a novel focusing on Azariah Craulnober, will be out in 2012 or thereabouts.

GMK: Are you currently involved in any gaming?
ec:  I’m not playing RPGs at present. It’s too difficult to find a group of geezer-gamers in the New England suburbs. We do a lot of family game nights, though, and we play Settlers of Catan several times a week.

GMK: Ever played any of the characters you've written about?
ec:  Not yet!

GMK: Who is your favorite and why?
ec:  Hmm. That’s like asking a parent to name their favorite child.  I appreciate Elaith’s complexity, Azariah’s devious intelligence, Danilo’s sense of humor, Liriel’s combination of fun-loving nature and single-minded intensity, and Arilyn and Honor’s devotion to the elven people.  But I’m just as fond of several other protagonists, a few villains, and many secondary characters.

GMK: What projects are on the horizon?
I’ve started a new and very different project:  a series of “e-riginal” fantasy novels in a world of my own creation.  The first, Honor Among Thieves, is available now at all the usual e-booksellers:, Barnes & Noble Nook Bookstore, iTunes, Smashwords, and so on.  I wrote the outline for this story years ago. Since it was planned as a novella, that’s how I wrote it.  It’s only 35,000 words, a little less than half the length of some of my Forgotten Realms books.  Honor Among Thieves is the first story in the Starsinger trilogy. The next two, Honor Bound and Word of Honor, will be novel-length stories.  In addition to the ebooks, I’m posting daily articles about the setting, Sevrin, on my author website,  The Prologue and first six chapters of Honor Among Thieves are also available on the website. 

GMK: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Elaine! 
ec:  My pleasure. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PM 9; Inexorable Apparatus

Name: Inexorable Apparatus
Classes: Construct (16 HD)
Alignment: N
Size: Gargantuan
Appearance: This massive war machine thunders across the battlefield on two huge spike-covered metal cylinders, spitting fire and lightning from it's various weapons. Most ominously, a mighty throwing arm holds a single hunk of dark gray metal at the adamantine boulder, capable of blasting through stone as though it were stand.


STR 24 [+7]

Speed 50 feet
Initiative -2
BAB 12

AC 15
Flat Footed 15, Touch 4

HP 164
Hardness 10
SR 12

Fort 5
Ref 3
Will 0

Scorching Crossbow (4), +10 to hit Touch AC, 4d6 fire damage, range 60
Rate of fire - once per round

Lightning Ballista (2), 5d6 electricity damage, DC 14 Reflex save for half, 60 foot line
Rate of fire - once every 5 rounds

Main Catapult [Maximum range 1,250 feet. minimum range 125 feet, range increment 250 feet]
Returning Large Adamantine Stone - +12 to hit, ignores DR less than 20 14d6 damage to targeted square and all adjacent squares, DC15 Reflex save for half
Rate of fire - once every other round, though acquiring a new target takes an additional round
Special: Once every 10 rounds, the stone can be charged with necrotic energy. The next time it is fired, it animates all corpses within 60 feet of the impact zone as up to 20 HD worth of uncontrolled zombies. These zombies remain active for the next 10 rounds, after which time they fall inanimate once more.

Slam, +15 melee 2d8+10
Special: Trample (Ex)
An Inexorable Apparatus can trample creatures two or more sizes smaller than itself, dealing damage equal to it’s slam damage + 1½ times its Strength bonus. Opponents who do not make attacks of opportunity against the Apparatus can attempt Reflex saves (DC 25) to halve the damage.

Class/Racial/Extraordinary/Supernatural Abilities
Construct traits are as follows;

Low-light vision.
Darkvision out to 60 feet.
Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).
Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and necromancy effects.
Cannot heal damage on their own, but often can be repaired by exposing them to a certain kind of effect (see the creature’s description for details) or through the use of the Craft Construct feat. A construct with the fast healing special quality still benefits from that quality.
Not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or energy drain.
Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects, or is harmless).
Not at risk of death from massive damage. Immediately destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points or less.
Since it was never alive, a construct cannot be raised or resurrected.
Constructs do not eat, sleep, or breathe.

Improved Toughness
Improved Natural Attack (Catapult)
Improved Natural Armor (x3)

Sense Motive - 7


Goramas' forces make use of many conventional siege engines, but none of them compare to the might of the Inexorable Apparatus. Designed by the Iron Baron himself, these machines are nearly invincible on the battlefield, providing long range support, siege capability, and cover for archers. The scorching crossbows are located at each corner of the 20 foot long base, and can swivel 360 degrees about. The ballistae are forward-facing, and cannot turn more than 90 degrees, which is the same range of motion possessed by the main catapult. The Apparatus has two modes.

The first is the transportation mode, which is how it spends most of it's time. There is enough room for six riders, and it is the only way that it is able to perform it's ram and trample attacks.

The second form is the siege configuration. It's wheels dig into the ground as it seems to unfurl lengthwise from either side, forming itself into a massive "T" shape. This ensures that the crossbows have full forward coverage, and provides cover (+4 AC) for up to 8 archers (4 on each side) who climb up the struts into position.

The Apparatuses are just intelligent enough to know friend from foe, though a convincing disguise (DC 15) might be enough to get up close. If attacked however, it will retaliate.

While it is certainly possible to attack indiscriminately, clever adventurers will probably want to focus on the individual weapons.
The scorching crossbows have 15 HP and 10 hardness. If removed (DC 20 Disable Device check while active, DC 10 while inert), they deactivate instantly, though a DC 15 Spellcraft check can permanently "trick" it into reactivating.
The lightning ballistae have 30 HP and 10 hardness. If removed (DC 20 Disable Device check while active, DC 10 while inert), they deactivate instantly, though a DC 15 Spellcraft check can permanently "trick" it into reactivating. It should be noted, however, that these weigh 500 lbs each, and so would prove very difficult for most adventurers to make regular use of.
The catapult has 60 HP and 10 hardness. (No you can't remove it. Yes I know you've got 20 ranks in Disable Device. No, that doesn't mean you can "jury rig it" with a dagger.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Venturing Virtuosos #1; The Einhander


Hit Die - d8

To qualify for the Einhander prestige class, a character must fulfill the following criteria

Base Attack Bonus

Bluff 8 ranks, Tumble 8 ranks

Exotic Weapon Proficiency; bastard sword
Improved Feint
Weapon Finesse
Graceful Edge (Dungeon 128; pick a one-handed slashing weapon. If you do not wield a shield or weapon in your off-hand, you treat your chosen weapon as a light

Class Skills
An Einhander's class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Swim, and Tumble.

Skill Points at Each Level
4+Int modifier

Level  BAB     Fort     Ref     Will
1st      +1     +0     +2     +0     Adroit Offense
2nd     +2     +0     +3     +0     Sudden Strike +1d6
3rd     +3     +1     +3     +1     Sly Combatant
4th     +4     +1     +4     +1     Sudden Strike +2d6
5th     +5     +1     +4     +1     Evenflow

Class Features
All of the following are Class Features of the Einhander prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Einhanders are proficient with all one-handed bladed weapons, and with light armor.

Adroit Offense (Ex)
When wielding a bastard sword one-handed with the other empty while wearing light or no armor, an einhander adds 1 point of Dexterity bonus (if any) per einhander class level to his Strength bonus to modify weapon damage dealt.

Sudden Strike
An einhander deals 1d6 extra damage to any foe who is denied his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any). This damage increases to 2d6 at level 4.

Sly Combatant
An einhander gains a +2 bonus on all Bluff and Tumble checks performed while engaged in melee combat.

On attaining 5th level in this prestige class, an einhander is so skilled with  his blade that he is able to apply his Strength bonus to damage as though he were wielding the blade with two hands (x1.5 damage). The Dexterity bonus from Adroit Offense is factored in to this. Evenflow has no effect on Power Attack.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

PM8; The Relentless

Name: The Relentless
Race: Human
Classes: Fighter 2
Alignment: LE
Appearance: The grim visage of this heavily armored warrior is hidden behind a nondescript helm. He marches in perfect formation with this brothers and sisters in-arms, tower shield upraised and emblazoned with the heraldry of the dread Iron Baron.
Sect: Dispater

STR 15 (+2)
DEX 14 (+2)
CON 14 (+2)
INT 11
WIS 10
CHA 9 (-1)

Speed 30 feet
Initiative 2

AC 21 (10 + Dex 2 + armor 5 + shield 4)
[When adjacent to an ally AC = 25]
Flat Footed 19 [23] , Touch 12

HP 20

Fort 5
Ref 0 [1]
Will 0

Masterwork Short Sword - +4 to hit, 1d6+2 damage (19-20 x2 crit)
Longspear - +4 to hit, 1d8+3 damage (x3 crit) [Range/10 feet. When they are used to attack through the space of an ally, the target gets a +4 soft cover bonus to AC, effectively making the attack bonus +0]
Shortbow - +4 to hit, 1d6 damage (x3 crit) [range/60 feet]

Phalanx Fighting (+2 AC and +1 Reflex when within 5 feet of an ally who has the Phalanx Fighting feat, so long as you are using a light weapon and a large or tower shield)
Shield Wall (When you and an adjacent ally are each using a shield, your shield bonus to AC increases by 2)
Weapon Focus: Short Sword (+1 to attack with short swords)
Quick Draw (You can draw a weapon as a free action)

Warrior Of The Phalanx
Trained to fight in a group, you have difficulties when fighting alone.
Effect: You suffer a -4 penalty on attack rolls you make when not adjacent to an ally.

Climb - Ranks (5) + (str) - (armor check penalty 5 in armor, 15 with tower shield drawn) = 2 or -8
Intimidate - Ranks (5) + (cha)+ misc ()= 4

Masterwork shortsword
Shortbow (20 arrows)
Tower shield
Potion of Cure Light Wounds (1d8+1)


While the occasional expendable band of orcs, wild men, or desperate serfs will find their way to the front line, the real backbone of Goramas' army are the Relentless. Several hundred strong, this elite fighting force makes deadly use of the shield wall, advancing over the battlefield like some inexorable dull gray tide. After their foes close to melee amidst a hail of arrow, they will always attempt to fight at least two rows "deep", with the ranks behind those at point making attacks with the longspears over the shoulders of their fellows.

If someone in the front rank is badly hurt, he will blow on a whistle to signal the other Relentless to reorganize so he might move to the back to quaff a healing potion and take up a spear. The one who will move up stabs the head of his spear into the ground, then make use of quick draw to ready his sword and shield, making an attack as he moves into position. The others shift around until the injured warrior is in his own proper place, and the battle doesn't skip a beat.

The mortality rate among these warriors is remarkably low, due in large part to the fact that they are very cautious about closing with a mage. A good way to make sure you get shot full of arrows is to wear a billowing robe in sight of the Relentless.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Name: Anmyl
Race: Fiendish Ogre Mage/Nymph
Classes: Giant 5/Rogue 2/Bard 2/Druid 3/Fochlucan Lyrist 6
Alignment: NE
Appearance: The sylvan being before you is a vision of alluring beauty, yet is somehow diminished in her perfection from some elusive "it". Wearing very little and smiling a great deal, she eyes you with a suggestive smile...though it is difficult to tell whether the suggestion is one of carnal interest, or more that of a cat eyeing a mouse.
Sect: Dispater


STR 16 +3
DEX 18 [22] +6
CON 17 +3
INT 20 +5
WIS 21 [25] +7
CHA 26 [30] +10

Speed 40 ft/Fly 80 ft. (good)
Initiative 6
BAB 13
Grapple 16
Space/Reach 5ft/5ft

AC 35 (10 + dex 6+ armor 6+natural 3+deflection 10)
Touch 26, Flat Footed 29
20% miss chance due to displacement

SR 22

HP 98

Fort 22
Ref 29
Will 29

Lash of Agony
22/17/12, 1d3+6, DC 20 Fort save or stun for 1d4 rounds on hit. Deals lethal damage, and can affect armored foes.

+4 Composite Longbow (str +3)
Full attack 24/19/14
Rapid Shot 22/22/17/12

Masterwork arrows -1d8+7
Flaming arrows -1d8 +7+1d6 fire
Sonic arrows - 1d8+7+1d6 sonic
Slaying arrows - 1d8+7+DC 22 Fort save or death. 3d6 extra damage on successful save
Assassin Vine arrows - 1d8+7. On impact, the arrow explodes in a flash of green light, splitting and spilling out over the target as it changes into an assassin vine. The assassin vine gets an immediate grapple attempt, and remains until it's destroyed.

Class/Racial/Extraordinary/Supernatural Abilities
Darkvision 90 feet, low-light vision, regeneration 3, SR =6+HD (per Ogre Mage class in Savage Species) Natural Armor 3, DR 10/magic
Resistance Cold/Fire 10
Smite Good (Su) Once per day, Anmyl can make a normal melee attack to deal an extra 16 damage to a good foe.

Spell-Like Abilities:
At will: darkness, invisibility
1/day: charm person (DC 21), cone of cold (DC 25), gaseous form, polymorph, sleep (DC 21), and dimension door. Caster level 9th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Regeneration (Ex): Fire and acid deal normal damage to Anmyl.
If Anmyl loses a limb or body part she can reattach it by holding the severed member to the stump. Reattachment takes 1 minute. If the head or some other vital organ is severed, it must be reattached within 10 minutes or Anmyl dies. Anmyl cannot regrow lost body parts.

Stunning Glance (Su)
As a standard action, Anmyl can stun a creature within 30 feet with a look. The target creature must succeed on a DC 23 Fortitude save or be stunned for 2d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Unearthly Grace (Su)
Anmyl adds her Charisma modifier as a bonus on all her saving throws, and as a deflection bonus to her Armor Class.

Bardic music, bardic knowledge, countersong, fascinate, inspire courage +1
Animal companion, nature sense, wild empathy, woodland stride, trackless step
Sneak Attack +1d6, trapfinding, evasion
Unbound (can use non-druid weapons and armor)

Spring Attack
Point blank shot
Shot on the run
Weapon Finesse
Weapon Focus: Longbow


You lack the ability to summon a creature to do your bidding.
Prerequisite: Ability to call an animal companion.
Effect: You lose the ability to call an animal companion.


Bluff - Ranks (14) + (cha ) + misc ()= 24
Concentration - Ranks (10) + (con ) + misc ()= 13
Decipher Script - Ranks (7) + (int) + misc ()= 11
Diplomacy - Ranks (14) + (cha) + misc ()= 24
Gather Information - Ranks (15) + (cha) + misc ()= 25
Hide - Ranks(16) + (dex) + misc (20) = 44
Intimidate - Ranks (13) + (cha) + misc () = 23
[nature] - Ranks (7) + (int) + misc ()= 11
[the planes] - Ranks (5)  + (int) + misc ()= 9
Listen - Ranks (8) + (wis) + misc ()= 13
(String instruments)- Ranks (17) + (cha) + misc ()= 27
(Sing) -                    Ranks  (17) +(cha) + misc ()= 27
Sense Motive - Ranks (12) + (wis) + misc ()= 19
Sleight of Hand - Ranks (7) + (dex) + misc ()= 13
Spellcraft - Ranks (8) + (int) + misc ()= 12
Spot - Ranks (10) + (wis) + misc ()= 17
Survival - Ranks (10) + (wis) + misc (2)= 17
Use Magic Device - Ranks (9) + (cha) + misc () = 19

Languages: Common, Giant, Infernal, Druidic, Sylvan, Elven

+4 Shadowed Leather Armor (+10 on Hide checks)
Gloves of Dexterity +4
Periapt of Wisdom +4
Cloak of Charisma +4
Ring of Displacement (20%)
Ring of Chameleon Power (+10 on hide as free action, disguise self as a standard action, unlimited)
Lash of Agony (+3 whip that deals lethal damage and can affect creatures with armor bonus +1, and/or natural armor of +3 or better. On a hit, target must make a DC 20 Fort save or be stunned with pain for 1d4 rounds)
+4 composite longbow [str bonus +3]
Quiver of Holding [As a free action, draw whatever arrow you want from within. Can hold up to 500 arrows)
Assassin Vine arrows (x16)
Slaying arrows (x2)
Flaming arrows (x50)
Sonic arrows (x25)
Masterwork Arrows (x200)


Bard spells per day         
0th - 3                             
1st - 6                             
2nd - 6
3rd - 3

Bard spells known
0th - 6

Dancing Lights
(Evocation [Light])
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Effect:     Up to four lights, all within a 10- ft.-radius area
Duration: 1 minute (D)
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
Depending on the version selected, you create up to four lights that resemble lanterns or torches (and cast that amount of light), or up to four glowing spheres of light (which look like will-o’-wisps), or one faintly glowing, vaguely humanoid shape. The dancing lights must stay within a 10-foot-radius area in relation to each other but otherwise move as you desire (no concentration required): forward or back, up or down, straight or turning corners, or the like. The lights can move up to 100 feet per round. A light winks out if the distance between you and it exceeds the spell’s range.

Detect Magic
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     60 ft.
Area:     Cone-shaped emanation
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
You detect magical auras. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.
1st Round: Presence or absence of magical auras.
2nd Round: Number of different magical auras and the power of the most potent aura.
3rd Round: The strength and location of each aura. If the items or creatures bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make Spellcraft skill checks to determine the school of magic involved in each. (Make one check per aura; DC 15 + spell level, or 15 + half caster level for a nonspell effect.)

Ghost Sound
(Illusion [Figment])
Components: V, S, M
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect:     Illusory sounds
Duration: 1 round/level (D)
Saving Throw:     Will disbelief (if interacted with)
Spell Resistance: No
Ghost sound allows you to create a volume of sound that rises, recedes, approaches, or remains at a fixed place. You choose what type of sound ghost sound creates when casting it and cannot thereafter change the sound’s basic character.
The volume of sound created depends on your level. You can produce as much noise as four normal humans per caster level (maximum twenty humans). Thus, talking, singing, shouting, walking, marching, or running sounds can be created. The noise a ghost sound spell produces can be virtually any type of sound within the volume limit. A horde of rats running and squeaking is about the same volume as eight humans running and shouting. A roaring lion is equal to the noise from sixteen humans, while a roaring dire tiger is equal to the noise from twenty humans.
Ghost sound can enhance the effectiveness of a silent image spell.
Ghost sound can be made permanent with a permanency spell.
Material Component: A bit of wool or a small lump of wax.

Mage Hand
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:     One nonmagical, unattended object weighing up to 5 lb.
Duration: Concentration
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
You point your finger at an object and can lift it and move it at will from a distance. As a move action, you can propel the object as far as 15 feet in any direction, though the spell ends if the distance between you and the object ever exceeds the spell’s range.

(Transmutation [Language-Dependent])
Components: V, S, F
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets: One creature/level
Duration: 10 min./level
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
You can whisper messages and receive whispered replies with little chance of being overheard. You point your finger at each creature you want to receive the message. When you whisper, the whispered message is audible to all targeted creatures within range. Magical silence, 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal (or a thin sheet of lead), or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks the spell. The message does not have to travel in a straight line. It can circumvent a barrier if there is an open path between you and the subject, and the path’s entire length lies within the spell’s range. The creatures that receive the message can whisper a reply that you hear. The spell transmits sound, not meaning. It doesn’t transcend language barriers.
Note: To speak a message, you must mouth the words and whisper, possibly allowing observers the opportunity to read your lips.
Focus: A short piece of copper wire.

Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     10 ft.
Target, Effect, or Area: See text
Duration: 1 hour
Saving Throw:     See text
Spell Resistance: No
Prestidigitations are minor tricks that novice spellcasters use for practice. Once cast, a prestidigitation spell enables you to perform simple magical effects for 1 hour. The effects are minor and have severe limitations. A prestidigitation can slowly lift 1 pound of material. It can color, clean, or soil items in a 1-foot cube each round. It can chill, warm, or flavor 1 pound of nonliving material. It cannot deal damage or affect the concentration of spellcasters. Prestidigitation can create small objects, but they look crude and artificial. The materials created by a prestidigitation spell are extremely fragile, and they cannot be used as tools, weapons, or spell components. Finally, a prestidigitation lacks the power to duplicate any other spell effects. Any actual change to an object (beyond just moving, cleaning, or soiling it) persists only 1 hour.

1st - 4

Hideous Laughter
(Enchantment [Compulsion/Mind-Affecting])
Components: V, S, M
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:     One creature; see text
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw:     Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
This spell afflicts the subject with uncontrollable laughter. It collapses into gales of manic laughter, falling prone. The subject can take no actions while laughing, but is not considered helpless. After the spell ends, it can act normally.
A creature with an Intelligence score of 2 or lower is not affected. A creature whose type is different from the caster’s receives a +4 bonus on its saving throw, because humor doesn’t “translate” well.
Material Component: Tiny tarts that are thrown at the target and a feather that is waved in the air.

Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting time: 1 hour
Range:     Touch
Targets: One touched object
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
The spell determines all magic properties of a single magic item, including how to activate those functions (if appropriate), and how many charges are left (if any).
Identify does not function when used on an artifact.
Arcane Material Component: A pearl of at least 100 gp value, crushed and stirred into wine with an owl feather; the infusion must be drunk prior to spellcasting.

Undetectable Alignment
Components:     V, S
Casting time:     1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:     One creature or object
Duration:     24 hours
Saving Throw:     Will negates (object)
Spell Resistance:     Yes (object)
An undetectable alignment spell conceals the alignment of an object or a creature from all forms of divination.

Silent Image
(Illusion [Figment])
Components: V, S, F
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Effect:     Visual figment that cannot extend beyond four 10-ft. cubes + one 10-ft. cube/level (S)
Duration: Concentration
Saving Throw: Will disbelief (if interacted with)
Spell Resistance: No
This spell creates the visual illusion of an object, creature, or force, as visualized by you. The illusion does not create sound, smell, texture, or temperature. You can move the image within the limits of the size of the effect.
Focus: A bit of fleece.

2nd - 4

Alter Self
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Personal
Target:     You
Duration: 10 min./level (D)
You assume the form of a creature of the same type as your normal form. The new form must be within one size category of your normal size. The maximum HD of an assumed form is equal to your caster level, to a maximum of 5 HD at 5th level. You can change into a member of your own kind or even into yourself.

Components: V
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target:     One living creature
Duration: Permanent (D)
Saving Throw:     Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
You call upon the powers of unlife to render the subject blinded or deafened, as you choose.

Bone Fiddle
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature with a skeleton or exoskeleton
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
You rub your middle finger across your thumb like a bow against a fiddle while simultaneously humming a discordant tune under your breath. Nearby, you see a translucent bone-white fiddle bow appear and sink into the flesh of your target. It begins sawing, as if playing your target like a fiddle.
You call up a ghostly fiddle bow in the air above the targeted creature. This bow immediately descends into the target body and begins to saw back and forth against its skeleton. Although the music produced is eerily beautiful, it causes intense pain and anguish in the victim. Each round on its turn, the victim must make a Fortitude save or take 3d6 points of sonic damage and a –20 penalty on Move Silently checks.
A successful save negates the damage and ends the spell. The spell’s effects continue even if the subject moves so that you no longer have line of sight or line of effect to it.
Focus: A miniature silver fiddle worth at least 30 gp.

(Enchantment [Compulsion/Language-Dependant/Mind-Affecting])
Components: V, M
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:     One living creature
Duration: 1 hour/level or until completed
Saving Throw:     Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
You influence the actions of the target creature by suggesting a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two). The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the activity sound reasonable. Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell.
The suggested course of activity can continue for the entire duration. If the suggested activity can be completed in a shorter time, the spell ends when the subject finishes what it was asked to do. You can instead specify conditions that will trigger a special activity during the duration. If the condition is not met before the spell duration expires, the activity is not performed.
A very reasonable suggestion causes the save to be made with a penalty (such as –1 or –2).
Material Component: A snake’s tongue and either a bit of honeycomb or a drop of sweet oil.

3rd -3

Crushing Despair
(Enchantment [Compulsion/Mind-Affecting])
Components:     V, S, M
Casting time:     1 standard action
Range:     30 ft.
Area:     Cone-shaped burst
Duration:     1 min./level
Saving Throw:     Will negates
Spell Resistance:     Yes
An invisible cone of despair causes great sadness in the subjects. Each affected creature takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls.
Crushing despair counters and dispels good hope.
Material Component: A vial of tears.

(Necromancy [Fear/Mind-Affecting])
Components: V, S, M
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     30 ft.
Area:     Cone-shaped burst
Duration: 1 round/level or 1 round; see text
Saving Throw:     Will partial
Spell Resistance: Yes
An invisible cone of terror causes each living creature in the area to become panicked unless it succeeds on a Will save. If cornered, a panicked creature begins cowering. If the Will save succeeds, the creature is shaken for 1 round.
Material Component: Either the heart of a hen or a white feather.

Components: V, S, M
Casting time: 1 hour
Range:     See text
Effect:     Magical sensor
Duration: 1 min./level
Saving Throw:     Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
You can see and hear some creature, which may be at any distance. If the subject succeeds on a Will save, the scrying attempt simply fails. The difficulty of the save depends on how well you know the subject and what sort of physical connection (if any) you have to that creature. Furthermore, if the subject is on another plane, it gets a +5 bonus on its Will save.
Knowledge                                                    Will Save Modifier
None1                                                                         +10
Secondhand (you have heard of the subject)              +5
Firsthand (you have met the subject)                          +0
Familiar (you know the subject well)                          –5
1 You must have some sort of connection to a creature you have no knowledge of.
Connection                                                   Will Save Modifier
Likeness or picture                                                 –2
Possession or garment                                                 –4
Body part, lock of hair, bit of nail, etc.                        –10
If the save fails, you can see and hear the subject and the subject’s immediate surroundings (approximately 10 feet in all directions of the subject). If the subject moves, the sensor follows at a speed of up to 150 feet.
As with all divination (scrying) spells, the sensor has your full visual acuity, including any magical effects. In addition, the following spells have a 5% chance per caster level of operating through the sensor: detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law, detect magic, and message.
If the save succeeds, you can’t attempt to scry on that subject again for at least 24 hours.
Arcane Material Component: The eye of a hawk, an eagle, or a roc, plus nitric acid, copper, and zinc.
Wizard, Sorcerer, or Bard Focus: A mirror of finely wrought and highly polished silver costing not less than 1,000 gp. The mirror must be at least 2 feet by 4 feet.

Druid spells per day
0 - 6

Create Water (2)
(Conjuration [Creation/Water])
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect:     Up to 2 gallons of water/level
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
This spell generates wholesome, drinkable water, just like clean rain water. Water can be created in an area as small as will actually contain the liquid, or in an area three times as large—possibly creating a downpour or filling many small receptacles.
Note: Conjuration spells can’t create substances or objects within a creature. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. One cubic foot of water contains roughly 8 gallons and weighs about 60 pounds.

Know Direction
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Personal
Target:     You
Duration: Instantaneous
You instantly know the direction of north from your current position. The spell is effective in any environment in which “north” exists, but it may not work in extraplanar settings. Your knowledge of north is correct at the moment of casting, but you can get lost again within moments if you don’t find some external reference point to help you keep track of direction.

Resistance (3)
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range:     Touch
Target:     Creature touched
Duration: 1 minute
Saving Throw:     Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)
You imbue the subject with magical energy that protects it from harm, granting it a +1 resistance bonus on saves.
Resistance can be made permanent with a permanency spell.

1st - 6

Obscuring Mist (3)
(Conjuration [Creation])
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     20 ft.
Effect:     Cloud spreads in 20-ft. radius from you, 20 ft. high
Duration: 1 min./level
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
A misty vapor arises around you. It is stationary once created. The vapor obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. A creature 5 feet away has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker cannot use sight to locate the target).

A moderate wind (11+ mph), such as from a gust of wind spell, disperses the fog in 4 rounds. A strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog in 1 round. A fireball, flame strike, or similar spell burns away the fog in the explosive or fiery spell’s area. A wall of fire burns away the fog in the area into which it deals damage.

This spell does not function underwater.

Produce Flame
(Evocation [Fire])
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     0 ft.
Effect:     Flame in your palm
Duration: 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: Yes

Flames as bright as a torch appear in your open hand. The flames harm neither you nor your equipment.

In addition to providing illumination, the flames can be hurled or used to touch enemies. You can strike an opponent with a melee touch attack, dealing fire damage equal to 1d6 +1 point per caster level (maximum +5). Alternatively, you can hurl the flames up to 120 feet as a thrown weapon. When doing so, you attack with a ranged touch attack (with no range penalty) and deal the same damage as with the melee attack. No sooner do you hurl the flames than a new set appears in your hand. Each attack you make reduces the remaining duration by 1 minute. If an attack reduces the remaining duration to 0 minutes or less, the spell ends after the attack resolves.

This spell does not function underwater.

Entangle (2)
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Area:     Plants in a 40-ft.-radius spread
Duration: 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw:     Reflex partial; see text
Spell Resistance: No

Grasses, weeds, bushes, and even trees wrap, twist, and entwine about creatures in the area or those that enter the area, holding them fast and causing them to become entangled. The creature can break free and move half its normal speed by using a full-round action to make a DC 20 Strength check or a DC 20 Escape Artist check. A creature that succeeds on a Reflex save is not entangled but can still move at only half speed through the area. Each round on your turn, the plants once again attempt to entangle all creatures that have avoided or escaped entanglement.

Note: The effects of the spell may be altered somewhat, based on the nature of the entangling plants.

2nd - 6

Soften Earth and Stone (2)
(Transmutation [Earth])
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Area:     10-ft. square/level; see text
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
When this spell is cast, all natural, undressed earth or stone in the spell’s area is softened. Wet earth becomes thick mud, dry earth becomes loose sand or dirt, and stone becomes soft clay that is easily molded or chopped. You affect a 10-footsquare area to a depth of 1 to 4 feet, depending on the toughness or resilience of the ground at that spot. Magical, enchanted, dressed, or worked stone cannot be affected. Earth or stone creatures are not affected.
A creature in mud must succeed on a Reflex save or be caught for 1d2 rounds and unable to move, attack, or cast spells. A creature that succeeds on its save can move through the mud at half speed, and it can’t run or charge.
Loose dirt is not as troublesome as mud, but all creatures in the area can move at only half their normal speed and can’t run or charge over the surface.
Stone softened into clay does not hinder movement, but it does allow characters to cut, shape, or excavate areas they may not have been able to affect before.
While soften earth and stone does not affect dressed or worked stone, cavern ceilings or vertical surfaces such as cliff faces can be affected. Usually, this causes a moderate collapse or landslide as the loosened material peels away from the face of the wall or roof and falls.
A moderate amount of structural damage can be dealt to a manufactured structure by softening the ground beneath it, causing it to settle. However, most well-built structures will only be damaged by this spell, not destroyed.

Heat Metal (3)
(Transmutation [Fire])
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:     Metal equipment of one creature per two levels, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart; or 25 lb. of metal/level, all of which must be within a 30-ft. circle
Duration: 7 rounds
Saving Throw: Will negates (object)
Spell Resistance: Yes (object)
Heat metal makes metal extremely warm. Unattended, nonmagical metal gets no saving throw. Magical metal is allowed a saving throw against the spell. An item in a creature’s possession uses the creature’s saving throw bonus unless its own is higher.
A creature takes fire damage if its equipment is heated. It takes full damage if its armor is affected or if it is holding, touching, wearing, or carrying metal weighing one-fifth of its weight. The creature takes minimum damage (1 point or 2 points; see the table) if it’s not wearing metal armor and the metal that it’s carrying weighs less than one-fifth of its weight.
Round           Temperature     Damage
1                   Warm     None
2                       Hot      1d4 points
3-5                     Searing     2d4 points
6                       Hot     1d4 points
7                     Warm     None

On the first round of the spell, the metal becomes warm and uncomfortable to touch but deals no damage. The same effect also occurs on the last round of the spell’s duration. During the second (and also the next-to-last) round, intense heat causes pain and damage. In the third, fourth, and fifth rounds, the metal is searing hot, causing more damage, as shown on the table below.
Any cold intense enough to damage the creature negates fire damage from the spell (and vice versa) on a point-for-point basis. If cast underwater, heat metal deals half damage and boils the surrounding water.
Heat metal counters and dispels chill metal.

Tree Shape
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Personal
Target:     You
Duration: 1 hour/level (D)
By means of this spell, you are able to assume the form of a Large living tree or shrub or a Large dead tree trunk with a small number of limbs. The closest inspection cannot reveal that the tree in question is actually a magically concealed creature. To all normal tests you are, in fact, a tree or shrub, although a detect magic spell reveals a faint transmutation on the tree. While in tree form, you can observe all that transpires around you just as if you were in your normal form, and your hit points and save bonuses remain unaffected. You gain a +10 natural armor bonus to AC but have an effective Dexterity score of 0 and a speed of 0 feet. You are immune to critical hits while in tree form. All clothing and gear carried or worn changes with you.

You can dismiss tree shape as a free action (instead of as a standard action).

3rd - 5

Protection from Energy (2)
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Touch
Target:     Creature touched
Duration: 10 min./level or until discharged
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)
Protection from energy grants temporary immunity to the type of energy you specify when you cast it (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). When the spell absorbs 12 points per caster level of energy damage (to a maximum of 120 points at 10th level), it is discharged.
Note: Protection from energy overlaps (and does not stack with) resist energy. If a character is warded by protection from energy and resist energy, the protection spell absorbs damage until its power is exhausted.

Meld into Stone
(Transmutation [Earth])
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Personal
Target:     You
Duration: 10 min./level
Meld into stone enables you to meld your body and possessions into a single block of stone. The stone must be large enough to accommodate your body in all three dimensions. When the casting is complete, you and not more than 100 pounds of nonliving gear merge with the stone. If either condition is violated, the spell fails and is wasted.
While in the stone, you remain in contact, however tenuous, with the face of the stone through which you melded. You remain aware of the passage of time and can cast spells on yourself while hiding in the stone. Nothing that goes on outside the stone can be seen, but you can still hear what happens around you. Minor physical damage to the stone does not harm you, but its partial destruction (to the extent that you no longer fit within it) expels you and deals you 5d6 points of damage. The stone’s complete destruction expels you and slays you instantly unless you make a DC 18 Fortitude save.
Any time before the duration expires, you can step out of the stone through the surface that you entered. If the spell’s duration expires or the effect is dispelled before you voluntarily exit the stone, you are violently expelled and take 5d6 points of damage.
The following spells harm you if cast upon the stone that you are occupying: Stone to flesh expels you and deals you 5d6 points of damage. Stone shape deals you 3d6 points of damage but does not expel you. Transmute rock to mud expels you and then slays you instantly unless you make a DC 18 Fortitude save, in which case you are merely expelled. Finally, passwall expels you without damage.

Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 3 rounds
Range:     Touch
Target:     Touched nonmagical circle of vine, rope, or thong with a 2 ft. diameter + 2 ft./level
Duration: Until triggered or broken
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
This spell enables you to make a snare that functions as a magic trap. The snare can be made from any supple vine, a thong, or a rope. When you cast snare upon it, the cordlike object blends with its surroundings (Search DC 23 for a character with the trapfinding ability to locate). One end of the snare is tied in a loop that contracts around one or more of the limbs of any creature stepping inside the circle.
If a strong and supple tree is nearby, the snare can be fastened to it. The spell causes the tree to bend and then straighten when the loop is triggered, dealing 1d6 points of damage to the creature trapped and lifting it off the ground by the trapped limb or limbs. If no such tree is available, the cordlike object tightens around the creature, dealing no damage but causing it to be entangled.
The snare is magical. To escape, a trapped creature must make a DC 23 Escape Artist check or a DC 23 Strength check that is a full-round action. The snare has AC 7 and 5 hit points. A successful escape from the snare breaks the loop and ends the spell.

Sleet Storm
(Conjuration {Creation} [Cold])
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Area:     Cylinder (40-ft. radius, 20 ft. high)
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw:     None
Spell Resistance: No
Driving sleet blocks all sight (even darkvision) within it and causes the ground in the area to be icy. A creature can walk within or through the area of sleet at half normal speed with a DC 10 Balance check. Failure means it can’t move in that round, while failure by 5 or more means it falls (see the Balance skill for details).
The sleet extinguishes torches and small fires.

4th - 3

Command Plants
Components: V
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets: Up to 2 HD/level of plant creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration: One day/level
Saving Throw:     Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
This spell allows you some degree of control over one or more plant creatures. Affected plant creatures can understand you, and they perceive your words and actions in the most favorable way (treat their attitude as friendly). They will not attack you while the spell lasts. You can try to give a subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. (Retries are not allowed.) A commanded plant never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.
You can affect a number of plant creatures whose combined level or HD do not exceed twice your level.

Flame Strike (2)
(Evocation [Fire])
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area:     Cylinder (10-ft. radius, 40 ft. high)
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw:     Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes
A flame strike produces a vertical column of divine fire roaring downward. The spell deals 1d6 points of damage per caster level (maximum 15d6). Half the damage is fire damage, but the other half results directly from divine power and is therefore not subject to being reduced by resistance to fire-based attacks.

5th - 2

Baleful Polymorph
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:     One creature
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw:     Fortitude negates, Will partial; see text
Spell Resistance: Yes
You change the subject into a Small or smaller animal of no more than 1 HD (such as a dog, lizard, monkey, or toad). The subject takes on all the statistics and special abilities of an average member of the new form in place of its own except as follows:
    The target retains its own alignment (and personality, within the limits of the new form’s ability scores).
    The target retains its own hit points.
    The target is treated as having its normal Hit Dice for purpose of adjudicating effects based on HD, such as the sleep spell, though it uses the new form’s base attack bonus, base save bonuses, and all other statistics derived from Hit Dice.
    The target also retains the ability to understand (but not to speak) the languages it understood in its original form. It can write in the languages it understands, but only the form is capable of writing in some manner (such as drawing in the dirt with a paw).
With those exceptions, the target’s normal game statistics are replaced by those of the new form. The target loses all the special abilities it has in its normal form, including its class features.
All items worn or carried by the subject fall to the ground at its feet, even if they could be worn or carried by the new form.
If the new form would prove fatal to the creature (for example, if you polymorphed a landbound target into a fish, or an airborne target into a toad), the subject gets a +4 bonus on the save.
If the subject remains in the new form for 24 consecutive hours, it must attempt a Will save. If this save fails, it loses its ability to understand language, as well as all other memories of its previous form, and its Hit Dice and hit points change to match an average creature of its new form. These abilities and statistics return to normal if the effect is later ended.
Incorporeal or gaseous creatures are immune to baleful polymorph, and a creature with the shapechanger subtype (such as a lycanthrope or a doppelganger) can revert to its natural form as a standard action (which ends the spell’s effect).

Tree Stride
(Conjuration [Teleportation])
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range:     Personal
Target:     You
Duration: 1 hour/level or until expended; see text
Type of Tree     Transport Range
Oak, ash, yew     3,000 feet
Elm, linden     2,000 feet
Other deciduous 1,500 feet
Any coniferous     1,000 feet
All other trees     500 feet
You gain the ability to enter trees and move from inside one tree to inside another tree. The first tree you enter and all others you enter must be of the same kind, must be living, and must have girth at least equal to yours. By moving into an oak tree (for example), you instantly know the location of all other oak trees within transport range (see below) and may choose whether you want to pass into one or simply step back out of the tree you moved into. You may choose to pass to any tree of the appropriate kind within the transport range as shown on the following table.
You may move into a tree up to one time per caster level (passing from one tree to another counts only as moving into one tree). The spell lasts until the duration expires or you exit a tree. Each transport is a full-round action.
You can, at your option, remain within a tree without transporting yourself, but you are forced out when the spell ends. If the tree in which you are concealed is chopped down or burned, you are slain if you do not exit before the process is complete.

Assassin Vine
Size/Type: Large Plant
Hit Dice: 4d8+12 (30 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed:     5 ft. (1 square)
Armor Class: 15 (-1 size, +6 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple:     +3/+12
Attack: Slam +7 melee (1d6+7)
Full Attack: Slam +7 melee (1d6+7)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft. (20 ft. with vine)
Special Attacks: Constrict 1d6+7, entangle, improved grab
Special Qualities: Blindsight 30 ft., camouflage, immunity to electricity,
plant traits, resistance to cold 10 and fire 10
Saves:     Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +2
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 10, Con 16, Int Ø, Wis 13, Cha 9
Constrict (Ex)
An assassin vine deals 1d6+7 points of damage with a successful grapple check.
Entangle (Su)
An assassin vine can animate plants within 30 feet of itself as a free action (Ref DC 13 partial).
The effect lasts until the vine dies or decides to end it (also a free action). The save DC is Wisdom-based. The ability is otherwise similar to entangle (caster level 4th).
Improved Grab (Ex)
To use this ability, an assassin vine must hit with its slam attack.
It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can constrict.
Blindsight (Ex)
Assassin vines have no visual organs but can ascertain all foes within 30 feet using sound, scent, and vibration.
Camouflage (Ex)
Since an assassin vine looks like a normal plant when at rest, it takes a DC 20 Spot check to notice it before it attacks.
Anyone with ranks in Survival or Knowledge (nature) can use one of those skills instead of Spot to notice the plant. 

Anmyl is a being of contradictions. The daughter of Goramas and a now-dead nymph, she's known only the teachings of the Iron Baron during her short childhood. The erinyes in her blood mingled with the fey, and has left her with a pair of downy moth-like wings, the dust that accumulates on them smelling of saffron and lavender.

She acts as a sort of morale officer for Goramas, as well as making certain that the forests around his territory remain secure. Despite the inauspicious nature of her conception, Goramas dotes on his daughter and values her as one of the few beings for whom he feels genuine affection.

Her first tactic is always to try and engage those who might be worthy foes in dialogue, to try to sway them to the side of her father, or at least persuade them that they would be better off being heroic elsewhere.

In combat, she always attempts to engage foes in a heavily wooded glen. Aside from her spells, she will remain hidden in a tree and snipe away (happily taking the -20 to her hide score, and making use of her racial ability to turn invisible at will). If she takes significant damage, she will not hesitate to flee the combat with her Tree Stride spell, hastily returning to tell Goramas of the powerful adventurers who were able to defeat her.