Artifacts of Nature

Tigerkin Cloak

A half cloak made from a skinned tiger, slashed down the length. Old and stained brown with blood. Once belonged to a hunter who learned his trade from tigers, and turned against them for profit.

You are invisible when standing still in forest environments. All attacks against the rear are made at +4 and deal double damage. However, rear attacks against you also have this effect.

Fly Thief’s Rod

A large ragged stick with many circular holes. Things seem to be moving in the dark gaps, but a close examination reveals nothing. One end is sharp. Many daring escapes were made by the eccentric thief that once carried this artifact.

With a sacrifice of blood (lose half of max HP) you may make an insect or arachnid massive. The insect’s demeanor towards you on 2d6: 2-3 actively attacking you 4-10 ambivalent/confused >10 loyal. The insect will die after 6 hours.

Ash Eating Scarab

A small brass scarab, plain and scorched. Found discarded in a burnt orchard following a famine that killed half a nation. Chirps and buzzes maliciously.

Planting the scarab on any tree causes it to lay an egg within. In a 1d10 rounds, the tree will burst into flames, becoming a fire elemental as tall as the tree that created it (and of appropriate size). The fire elemental owes the owner no allegiance and will immediately seek to consume more burnable material.

Dreamer’s Owl

An apparently dead, tiny, stuffed owl. Grey, with amber eyes, and an angry face. The result of a failed experiment by a wizard.

By whispering a name and description in the owl’s ear-hole, one can cause the owl’s specter to appear in the target’s dream and deliver a message. Each night the owner will dream of a forest with a chorus of hooting, and has a one-in-ten chance of meeting the owl’s cranky ghost, whereupon they can ask it a question. It knows everything there is to know about every forest in the world and is generally far smarter than most humans.

Feather of the God-Crow

A massive black feather, the length of someone’s forearm. Stolen by an enterprising rogue, who wrought havoc before arrows and hubris brought her down.

When affixed into the flesh of a target, willing or unwilling, the feather turns them into a massive crow monster with stats as a giant falcon (or similar). The target must save or lose control during the transformation and act like a very angry bird. The transformed can attempt to return to human form every 8 hours for the next day on a successful save. Otherwise, the transformation of permanent.

The Gardening Ring

A coiling golden ring fashioned in the form of a common garden snake. Covers the entirety of the proximal finger segment. Made for a gardener who wished to save his blighted crops. The desperately ill and their petitioners tore him limb from limb in search of the ring.

The ring can at a mere touch draw all sickness out of the target and into the wearer. The wearer will get a save to prevent the disease, but must save to stop themselves from using the ring whenever an opportunity presents itself. This works on plants and animals as well.

Soporific Centipede

An apparently mundane centipede, save for its fatness and laziness. It can not speak, but wizards and druids have determined that it also possesses intelligence, and hails from a time so distant that even the air was inimical to humanity, or so it claims.

Swallowing the centipede whole transforms you into mud. You are now made of mud, and immune to all non-magical damage. Once per day, you can turn something your touching into mud. You also gained a crushing attack, d10+2 damage. You can not wear armor, use weapons, or cast spells with somatic components, but you can store things in your body. Poisons and toxins have no effect on you. You can increase your size as long as enough mud is available, and decrease in size over time (down one category each week). You can be dried out or washed away. The transformation only ends if the centipede leaves your body- good luck convincing it.

The Book of Autumn

A book bound in orange and brown leaves and twine. The by-blow of a mad wizard hired by a foolish king to destroy his enemy’s kingdom.

Opening the book to a certain page forces everything in a 100′ radius to save or die. The whole geographic region is afflicted by a a fast-acting blight that wipes out the current year’s crop. You don’t know which page does this.

The book also functions as a spellbook. In lieu of listing spells that you may or may not use, in general it should contain two killing spells (Finger of Death, Slay Living, or Power Word Kill for example) a weather controlling spell and some kind of cursing spell.

False Sun Brooch

A simple square clasp made of a dark unidentified metal, decorated with an abstract lightning motif (upper right). Made by a sage who claimed lightning was an aspect of the sun.

Grants the wearer immunity to electrical damage, and can glow with strange purplish light at will, functioning as a torch. Allows them to travel through the sky at the speed of light during thunderstorms, landing and taking off with a flash of lightning. The wearer takes double fire damage, and takes 1d6 damage for every round spent in sunlight.

Spell-Thief’s Spring

A place, instead of an object. An unassuming well, buried within the sewers of a great city. Immensely deep. Once the haunt of a prodigious spell-thief, who in his final moments threw all his pilfered tomes and baubles down into the abyss, along with himself.

Water taken from the spring has the strange quality of attracting spells. Any spell cast within 15 feet of the water will instead target it, creating a medium water elemental with the ability to cast the spell that created it three times a day. They owe no allegiance to anyone, but can be bargained with. This effect works with water carried away from the spring.

 

 

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Well, that was weird

But I’m back from China now! Lifestyle tip: if you want to update your blog in a foreign country, don’t use someone else’s laptop then forget to log yourself out afterwards.

My name is Grace

Hello my name is Grace. I am 19 years old. I am very blonde and pretty and short, I am 5’2. I live in America. I wear glasses because I have bad eyesight. I have good feet arches. I am Irish and Lebanese cuz fuck you. I have never been to Uruguay. I can swim for a while sometimes. I like John Mulaney because he is really funny. If you’ve never watched the West Wing you’re not American. I am currently in a shitty hotel room in China, don’t ask why. Malaysian villagers are building a hut outside. Samata ipasana. Samata samata SAMATA ipasana. Father Time.

Race as Class Troglodytes

Troglodyte

Troglodytes are amphibious humanoids, known for their physical toughness and atrocious scent. Most of them live in miserable underground villages called Welts carved out long ago, which are ironically quite common in deserts and the Empty Ring. Each Welt houses 50-100 Troglodytes and usually the only sources of water for miles around. Overpopulation is a constant existential threat. Despite the near religious practice of infanticide, the population climbs and some Troglodytes are exiled. The exiles are chosen from the ranks of the Welt’s hunters, who are responsible for protecting the Welt’s territories, finding their food, and best suited for surviving outside the Welt anyway. Trog society is not pleasant nor merciful, but it does tend to be stunningly egalitarian and fatalistically fair.

Trogs themselves look like long-snouted amphibians, with porous, slimy skin. Most stand a foot or two taller than an average human male. Many are the under the impression that they possess hardened scales, which is false. The Troglodytes practice a symbiotic relationship with certain species of mold or pond scum, which they cultivate on their bodies on an in their skin. Incidentally, this is where their legendary scent comes from. The exact species of pond scum the Troglodyte cultivates can differ, and each provides different utilities. The most common type which is responsible for the lovely scent most humans associate with Trogs, is meant to keep the amphibious Trogs alive in the desert. Trogs are born in broods of dozens, though most are eaten by their parents. They live as near totally aquatic tadpoles for their first five years then emerge from the water, and are dead before fifty.

As a Trog adventurer, you were a Hunter who was exiled either by communal vote, lots, or your own choice. Troglodytes can form friendships and love others but you will probably have trouble understanding the human child-parent relationship. Troglodytes tend to be brutally pragmatic and quietly stoic. People do not like you because you stink, look weird and are believed to eat human babies.

Photographic Memory- You possess photographic spatial memory. You can never get lost as long as you follow the exact same path taken before, though finding the path to start out with may be difficult.
Detrivore- You can eat almost anything, including rotten meat, bits of twig, and actual feces. You are immune to most poisons and diseases. Barring extreme circumstances you can always find rations for yourself.

Excellent Olfactory Sense- Despite your appalling redolence, you possess an excellent scent of smell, and can recognize people by it. You also gain the Tracking and Awareness Talents.
Living Skin- Your skin is a rubbery porous material that has some innate ability to deflect blows. Your base AC is 12. Normally, you would need to bathe every hour to prevent drying out (taking d8 damage every hour), but the cultivation of pond scum on your skin prevents this, in addition to providing several other benefits.

Troglodyte Hunter

HD: d8  Mins: PHYS-13 Saves and Levels as Fighter

You are a survivalist and a warrior. The desert and wilderness are where you feel most at home. Settlements of more than a hundred people are alien to you, and many may bar your entry entirely. You are also a hunter, and are very good at killing things. You probably do not wear armor, as you pond scum needs air to survive and responds poorly to constant pressure.

Level Base Attack Bonus Special
1st +1 Racial Features
2nd +1 Favored Enemy
3rd +2 Move Quietly, Hide
4th +2 Heightened Awareness
5th +3 Trophies, Greater Favored Enemy
6th +3 Overland Travel
7th +4 Superior Favored Enemy
8th +4 Opportunist
9th +5 Dangerous Game
10th +6 The Harder They Fall
11th +7 Tough

Favored Enemy- Choose a type of creature (e.g. goblins, orcs, humans, unicorns). You gain +2 to attack that enemy. Greater- Choose another enemy and gain +2 to damage against favored enemies. Superior- Choose another enemy type and reduce all incoming damage from favored enemies by one.

Trophies- You can collect trophies from fresh corpses. These each grant you a +1 to AC, and also a stacking +1 bonus to save against special attacks and abilities from the creature whose corpse you have vandalized. You may wear a maximum of four at a time.

Overland Travel- You can mask the movement of yourself and half your Wisdom score creatures, preventing mundane tracking from finding you.

Dangerous Game- Once per day, one of your physical attacks can deal an extra +X damage, where X is the HD of the largest creature you or your party has killed. This ability is not expended if the attack misses.

The Harder They Fall- If you successfully attack a creature bigger than you, you do their SZ difference additional damage to them (+1 if they’re large, +2 if huge, etc)

Tough- Reduce all incoming damage by one.

Living Skin- As a troglodyte, you are in a symbiotic relationship with a colony of what can best be described as a slime mold or pond scum. This pond scum can be assumed to prevent your skin from drying out every hour you spend out of water. However, it also has requirements of it’s own. The slime mold needs a fairly constant supply of air and responds poorly to prolonged bouts of his pressure. This precludes the wearing of armor and most clothing. The mold also has two states, active and inactive. Each state usually has its own benefits. Assume that to maintain an active state the mold needs water every hour, with other conditions listed where appropriate. All of these smell unpleasant up close unless mentioned.

 

Clinging Scale Mold- The most common type of mold, because of its utility in keeping trogs alive in their native desert environments.

Active- Appalling stench. For 1 round after becoming active all creatures with a sense of smell must save or wretch uncontrollably.

Dormant- Hardened giving the appearance of scale and granting +1 AC. Also gives immunity to the effects of heat exposure and the trog only needs water every three days.

 

Welt Garden Moss- Great big clumps of moss growing out the troglodyte. Can outgrow the trog. Used for agriculture in the welts. Smells of petrichor and dogshit.

Active- Requires you to not be starving and the judicious application of ‘fertilizer’, all this does is cause the moss to grow each day.

Dormant- +1 AC innately, +1 AC -1 MV per day of growth. Can also be harvested while dry to provide four disgusting rations per day of growth.

 

Sand Worm Gut Slurry- Barnacle like patterns, a putrescent mix of red and green. Used by Welt Beserkers in times of great danger. Smells like the vomit of a very big carnivorous monster, because it is.

Active- Instead of water, requires blood to activate. In combat has a 1 in 4 chance of activating whenever an enemy dies near you, chance increases by one each roll. Sends you into a zen mode that gives +2 to hit and damage for the duration of combat. Pass out for an hour at the end.

Dormant- You smell delicious to scavengers and most desert life forms. Any animal from those categories will definitely target you and seek you out, other animals probably will as well.

 

Lotus Spores- Disingenuous green moss, but tipped with red and pink tubes. Fragrant like flowers, but with the musk of over applied men’s cologne.

Active- Anyone standing near you or engaging in combat must save of experience calling illusions. -2 to hit and AC as the hallucinogens mildly warp your perceptions.

Dormant- allows the release of a cloud hallucinogens in a 15ft circle. You are not immune. Afterwards, both the active and dormant effects are unusable until a day passes and the spores are hydrated.

 

Oasis Angel- Like the philosopher’s stone but for troglodytes and it exists. Light yellow stalks. Very rare and prohibitively expensive. Smells like a cup of vanilla extract tastes.

Active- Requires near constant bright light. A torch won’t cut it unless you’re holding it. If you die while this is active after 1d4 weeks you will revive. Make a save against insanity that gets harder the more times you do this, or become a vegetable.

Dormant- +2 to all saves

 

Prism Slime- irregular rainbow patterned and mesmerizing. Favorite of wizards with trog employees. Disgustingly saccharine odor

Active- Colors begin to shift and pulsate. As the spell hypnotic orb.

Dormant- At will shed garish rainbow light as a bonfire up to four hours a day.

 

Lodestone Lichen- grayish fuzzy mold. Found in cold regions, and susceptible to fire. Regardless of state take double fire damage. Peat and urine.

Active- +2 AC, metal weapons that hit you stick into you and can only be removed after a round of pulling. Opposed strength check to move.

Dormant- +6 AC, -2 MV

The GLOG doesn’t use race as class, but for the sake of completion/ peer pressure I feel like I should write one.

+1 Stealth for every two Troglodyte templates you possess.

A- Tracking, Detrivore, Living Skin

B- Favored (Hated Enemy), Overland Travel

C- Trophies, The Harder They Fall

D- Dangerous Game (Dragon Hunter), Tough

You’re doing Changelings all wrong.

NOTE: I wrote the first draft of this a while ago, didn’t like how it turned out, and then realized Arnold Kemp did something very similar with his Doppelgangers post before hand, so I dropped it. However, in the interest of clearing out my drafts folder I revised it and decided to get it out there anyway.

Changelings. The fantasy race known for their ability to change their appearance nearly at will. Also, without a doubt, the most boring race ever conceived compared to their potential. I mean, they’re pretty much just humans that can change there face and have some other seemingly unrelated drawbacks to compensate.

Biology

Generally humanoid. Bleed as whatever form they currently take. Insides look like it too. The only way to tell is if you try to eat them or touch iron to them. Then the tissue begins to dissolve into an oily brown-black fluid. Changeling mothers or fathers always produce changeling children. They are older than humanity. They can learn to cast spells. Their minds are just as prone to dementia as humans, possibly more so. Maybe innately, maybe from the stress of maintaining lies. They can have super-strength, speed, unnatural beauty, but usually don’t for the purpose of fitting in.

THE FACE

The most immediately noticeable facet of most changelings is that they are not in possession of an actual face, or fixed form. Despite their ability to wear the identities of others, they are still given their own. No. Bad. From now on, the changeling does not have their own face, nor a fixed, “real” form. Any form they take was once someone else’s or otherwise based on someone else, and it an be taken away in an instant. It is NOT a choice for them, and it is not an illusion that can be pierced. That is the price of flexibility.

THE CHANGING

There are two ways Changelings change. One is your run of the mill look at someone and take their face/body shape. This can be done at will, and only becomes a mental problem if sustained for a long time. If you kill and imitate someone named Ralph the dyer far from anyone who actually knows him, you could have enough to live a life. Settle down somewhere new. You look like Ralph the Dyer and people treat you like Ralph, so you will eventually settle into a comfortable pattern of being Ralph, whether you have his memories or no. You may comfortably forget you are anyone other than Ralph the Dyer. But there are limits. No changing from biped to quadruped, for example.

The other method is far more intimate. They can consume another person entirely, melding their essence into one. Everything comes with. In addition to having that form, they now have memories, personality, and instincts loaded into their brain in a matter of hours, minutes, or even seconds. If the changeling was demented or animal before, this influx of an entire other person is so overpowering that the person may not even realize that he was consumed. It might be more appropriate to say that the changeling became part of the person, as opposed to the other way around. An imitation so perfect that not even the imitator can tell the difference. But the end product is always a changeling, perhaps latent, but capable nonetheless.

If the changeling was lucid, expect some sort of mix both physically and mentally of the two people. This is how changelings are born with faces when no twin exists to consume, after all.

Regardless of type, Changelings faces tend to warp over time, from subconscious movement of their features. Most people don’t even notice. Can you even remember exactly what your own face looked like five years ago?
THE MIND

As the changeling has no face of their own, they have no fixed personality, and instead take on the personality of whoever they’re supposed to be imitating eventually. I mean, if you lived like John the Carpenter for thirty years in which everyone thought of and treated you like said carpenter, you would probably just eventually think of yourself as a carpenter named John. Changeling minds are no different in this way, except perhaps in that they are more adept in the selective deletion of memories not currently aligned with their current identity.

Most changelings are not aware of their status as changelings from the start. For some reason, some human pregnancies lead to changeling births instead. Many are born of a changeling parent who wasn’t aware either. They can be born of two human parents though. The leading scholars have suggested that when twins or triplets are incubating in the womb, an errant wave of magic, a cosmic ray, or some similar happenstance passes through the womb and leads to one of the twins being transformed into a changeling, which then consumes the face and genetic information of the other twin. Sometimes the child is obviously a changeling, when it transforms in the womb and kills the mother. Other times its obvious when the birthing fluid comes of black and brown an oily, or interspersed with the consumed body parts of the consumed siblings. But changelings are (or can be) savants at imitating human life cycles. Pretty much everything about your physical appearance is encoded in your DNA from the word go; in some cases, the changeling can use this information. So it goes that the child can be born, go through puberty, and even reach adulthood without ever realizing he is not human.

Then through some chance event their nature is revealed, and the changeling comes to be aware of his abilities, whereupon he is promptly chased from his home by peasants making an earnest attempt to kill him. Fearing for his life as an outlaw, he imitates or more likely outright consumes another person, and settles into that persons life. Soon, the stress of taking on all the memories of the 30 year old John the Carpenter combined with his daily life as ostensibly normal human combined with the repressive defense mechanism of his undoubtedly traumatizing experience as a fugitive of all mankind causes him to forget he is, in fact, a changeling. John the Carpenter is still alive, as part of the changeling, even the majority share. John the Carpenter did not want to be a changeling and still does not. The changeling probably does not have much in the way of personality or tangible memories anyway, if it was insane beforehand. So Johnny suppresses the memories that aren’t his, and continues on his life. This life as John the Carpenter goes until someone notices he has hardly been aging at all, or that his face has been subtly drifting away from familiar features through the years or he gets old enough for dementia to take over. Again he is run out (or otherwise simply wanders off) and again he consumes, either out of fear for life or as an instinct, resurgent as the memories that hold the current identity fall away. Refreshed by new memories, that sweep away most of the old, the cycle begins anew.

This can keep happening many, many times. Sometimes he will be chased off. Sometimes dementia will take over, he will merge with someone else, and then get chased off. Sometimes he will accidentally merge with an animal. Sometimes, he will be aware, other times latent. Eventually, the changeling might be clapped in silver fetters and destroyed or sold to a wizard. Some may bounce around the wilderness, losing their mind every five years. Or the changeling might reach a state of meta-stability, self-aware of his state as a changeling for hundreds of years. Changelings are unpredictable, even to themselves. Especially to themselves.

Society 

Naturally, they are mostly perceived as parasites. They can basically kill a person instantly, and imitate them until they go mad and kill or absorb others. They are hunted, usually for the sake of execution, but sometimes for sale. Wizards love changelings. For research and possibly as servants. Same for the more mercenary states. Most states offer a bounty for their removal. The military or religious orders responsible for hunting them do so with heavy hands and silver bands. They also tend to be very rich, and very dangerous. Some of the most deadly fighters and superb trackers come from this background. If an insane shape-shifter granted super-strength by his own abilities is bearing down on you, you had better know your way around a sword. Likewise for detective work if you want to find a non-insane one. They are hard to surprise; they always expect the unexpected.

Meta-stable changelings, those that are aware of their own nature and maintain sanity for centuries at a time, are inevitably incredibly powerful beings. However, maintaining meta-stability requires careful management of stimuli. No melding. No interacting with too many different people. Constant meditation. The sense of self must be cultivated or it will slip away. They often form pseudo-religious orders, some of which are alive even today. They take in wayward changelings, where they can be found. Train them to use their powers. The ability to change your own body can give you great strength, beauty, and dexterity. All the orders are martial, for their own survival. When the lower members go insane, the order puts them back on track. New memories, created or ‘found’ in kidnapping victims. Even a new face. Many of the cults practice sculpting, to make truly unique faces. Some changelings have been part of the cults for millennia, albeit as different people. They are deadly. Do not piss them off. Do not make a serious attempt to locate them, unless you’re helping a changeling. Even then they will probably wipe your memories, possibly even kill you outright. Human memories are harder to destroy than changeling ones, why take the risk? The most ardent hunters learned their lesson long ago. Destroy as many unaffiliated changelings as you like, but the orders are not even discussed, and if they are it as myths and legends. They have their will to live, several dozen shape-shifters, and a millennium of experience on you. It will not go well.

Prominent Fleshcrafting Cults

Shenti-jia

The Puissant Guild of Shenti-jia specializes in the creation of contingents of giant flesh soldiers called the Fleshguards. They stand 10 feet tall and wield massive glaives and come fully equipped with armor. All their war atronachs are of superlative quality, and the rate at which they produce them implies industrial efficiency. The Warring States have employed their battalions to great effect; most infantry is utterly helpless against them. Their servitors are the longest lasting, and it is said that a full millenia can pass for they begin to decay. They have discovered a method of prolonging human life, but it is prohibitively expensive, in one case costing half of a kingdom. The king would have agreed to it, had he not been assassinated. The bloodtown of Shenzhou is torn by an inter-cult war between two purportedly immortal cult leaders who have hated each other since their childhood.

FleshguardsHD 6+6, MV 4, AC 20 Greater Rs Phys, Glaive 1d12+4

Smart enough to follow complex military commands. 20000sp
All atronachs meant to fight have +2HD/to-hit, and cost 20% more.

All atronachs take half the time to produce (one week opposed to two).

Sarmaris

Located in the lands of the West, the Cult on the Sea is the most powerful of the . Their specialty is aquatic models that patrol the waterways of the gulfs and rivers. The infamous whale-like Sea Hounds are their work. These specimens are huge, highly aggressive, and can reduce smaller ships to sawdust within a minute using their long mouths filled with gnashing teeth. Amphibious contingents of humanoid warriors are also frequently employed. By far their most famous works are the Lotus Whales, which can enclose an entire legion (more often other atronachs) and carry them over and underwater. However, as a result of the reagent they use for nerve tissue, their creations are unruly and can go rogue, sometimes wondering far afield. The corresponding town of Samaris is built on the coast, with the flesh silo itself out a mile or two from shore, the mouth elevated to prevent flooding. The cult itself commands a large trade fleet, and many rich families within the town maintain their own.

Sea Hounds– HD 6, MV 5 (Aquatic), AC 12 Rs Phys, Charge 1d12, Gnash 1d12+1d6 per round
Will mostly target small ships, but will also target single creatures or closely grouped ones. Charge does damage in a line. If gnash attack succeeds, you are now in its mouth and will take 1d6 damage per round until escape (dex check or something). 12000sp


Lotus Whales– HD 8 MV 3 (Aquatic), AC 10 Rs Phys, Tail Whip 1d10 (-4 to hit)

Can carry up to a hundred human-sized beings with three hours of air. Will try to flee battle but if forced to fight will make pathetic flailing attempts with tail that can nonetheless hit multiple enemies. 14000sp

Aquatic– The atronach can now travel in water at MV 3. 3000sp

Maladapted Control Cluster– every atronach made by Sarmaris must save every other week or go rogue and start attacking/running away from anything and everything.

Nalian

Flesh cultists are ill reputed the world over, but the Putrid Cult of Nalian is especially well-disliked. Their town is comparatively tiny; inhabitants within the cult and without openly practice necromancy and other dread magicks. Hedonism, madness, and chaos reigns. Key hring area for war mages. The cultists of Nalian make their atronachs with closable maws on their bodies, where they store dangerous creatures such as disease bearing mosquitoes or deadly aggressive wasps to be spewed forth at a later date. One of their favorite tricks is making atronachs that spew deadly flesh burrowing maggots great distances. Yeah, not a good look. On a less disgusting note, they also make multi-limbed servitors capable of carrying more than twice their body weight. It is also rumored that the cultists have also discovered the secret of creating undead atronachs, but if so they keep this secret intensely well-guarded. Unlike other cults, that of Nalian may be willing or even eager to experiment.

Six-limbed– HD4, MV 3, AC 12 Rs Phys

Can carry up to four tons of goods on its hooks, but not very smart and prone to falling off cliffs. You may want to travel alongside them to make sure they don’t wander off. 14000sp

Hive Artillery– a large body cavity filled with deadly or at the very least unpleasant critters, which the atronach can spew out on command.

Hive Artillery Ammo

  • Curling Maggots, 30’ cone, all in area must save vs breath or be covered in maggots that deal 1d4 damage, damage die size increasing each turn until they spend a turn scraping them off. 600sp refill.
  • Mosquitoes, 15’ cone, all in area are stunned (can only move or attack) and must make a save vs disease or contract malaria. 600sp refill.
  • Hornets. Basically releases a hornet swarm, but you can target it. Range of 15’. 800sp refill.
  • Really, any sort of creature, with the caveats that it must be solid and not bigger than a human face.

Extra Limbs– this cult can add extra arms, up to two sets, 2000sp per limb, or 3500sp if bought as a set.

Brdomis

The cultists of the Beloved Circle specialize in the creation of massive quadrupeds called Dramsta. Instead of a head, they have massive articulated jaw. Think interlocked fingers with sharp hooks on the end. While their bite can turn a human body into mince-meat, those hooks are often made to carry things; one princess famously chose to be transported everywhere in a cage carried by one such Dramsta. Brdomis specializes in the creation of quadrupedal forms (albeit with human limbs) and excellent sensory organs, as well as comparatively high intelligence. This is the most beloved of all the cults; they frequently give gifts of atronachs to royalty the world over, and invest heavily in painting and tattooing their golems for the sake of pageantry.

Dramsta– HD4+4, MV 5, AC 16 Rs Phys, Jaw/Hands 1d12/1d6/1d6

Incredibly intelligent, like movie dog sidekick intelligent. Also aggressively, even problematically loyal. Can carry three people on their back and up to one ton in their jaw. Prey Eyes included. 20000sp

Quadruped Form– As basic golem, but with base MV4 and no attack.

Prey Eyes– Gives ability to see as far as a human, as well as increased awareness(whatever system you use for surprise, they’re better at it). 2000sp

Predator Eyes– Gives ability to see as far as a human and 60’ low light vision. 4000sp

Latch Jaw– Basically a bear trap. 1d6 damage, on successful hit latched onto target and lowers MV by one. Serrated- does an additional 1d4 damage every turn latched. 2000sp(+2000sp)

Mount Cluster– Allows a atronach of sufficient size to be mounted and controlled basically as a horse. 3000sp

Molar Nose– Can track quarry over great distances by scent. As B/X Tracking Talent. 4000sp

Idainiku

The Magnanimous Cult of Idainiku is the only cult in the East known to create flying atronachs. They are essentially hot air balloons that can be made to float in a certain direction if there is no wind. Often only one organ can be attached to the bottom of the balloon, the most common one being a gland that disgorges what essentially is human stomach acid. The cult is also known for the strange assortment of organs they produce, both for their flyers and their humanoid servants. They also own great tracts of rice farms, and easily rival smaller states in size, and their crops are shipped all around the east. Notorious salesmen and hucksters.

Cutaneous Balloon– HD1, MV 2, AC 10

Fragile sacks of flesh filled with buoyant gases. Highly flammable. Does not come with any weapons, and unusually dumb (buggy? glitchy?). Only has a 4 in 6 chance of doing shit correctly. Can generally only carry one organ. 4999sp.

Acid Gorge– Basically bubbles out acid as a melee attack for other atronachs, but on a Balloon can drop it on a square from a great height. 1d6 damage per round until scrapped off. 2999sp, refills 199sp

Self-Igniter– Almost exclusively seen on Balloons, can ignite the flammable gases within, causing them to brightly flare and drop to the ground, dealing 1d6 damage to anything it manages to land on (not likely). Small enough to be coupled with an extra organ. 999sp

Lightning Flower– All lightning will be drawn to this organ and redirected out of the organ’s ‘stamen’, allowing it to be aimed. Other atronachs suffer normal damage, and Balloons ignite and die instantly. 3999sp

All Seeing Eye– A compound eye in the shape of a disco ball. Gives 360 (720?) degree vision up to human sight range. 4999sp

Screamer– Basically a vocal box. Can be programmed to scream, curse, or generally make extremely unsettling noises. Can’t be turned off. 1999sp

Mimic Box– Copies up to a minute of sound and replays it, ad nauseum. 2999sp

The table below can be used to generate a quick cult.

Roll Specialty Quirk
1 War Intelligence- can follow more complex orders, such as tactical movement Iron-deprived. Need shipments from nearby settlements and kingdoms. Less independent as a result.
2 Quadrupeds- can make quadrupeds Wizards. Most of the practicing cult are also practicing wizards.
3 Aquatic – can make aquatic forms Slavers. Despite their possibly preferable use as flesh, slaves are widely used by the cult for labor
4 Servitors- 1d6, 1-4 their servitors carrymore 5-6 can build things/follow more complex instructions. Gentle. The cult has somehow acquired noble titles and is essentially run by a noble family, and likely has powerful regional/international ties.
6 Small- can make smaller atronachs, 1d4-2 extra SZ difference, min 1 Industrialized. Half time to produce all atronachs. Probably filthy rich.
7 Large- can make larger atronachs 1d4-1 extra SZ difference, min 1 Hedonist. The cult members love all things luxury and witter away production time in trivial pursuits.
8 Perceptive- can make more powerful perception organs Expansionist. Has taken to very slow military conquest and “liberation” in the vein of more traditional rulers. Probably a regional power
9 Extra Limbs- 1d6, even arms, odd legs, half rounded down is number of extra sets, min 1 Businessmen. Own more guilds/land/industries than usual, including those not involved with fleshcrafting.
10 War Ferocity- +1d4HD or 1d4 to-hit Factious by specialty. Roll again on specialties table, and/or split existing specialties into two factions. Factions are (1d6) 1-2 tense 3-4 actively noncooperative 5-6 fighting a shadow war.
11 Defense- can make atronachs extra tough through a variety of methods Factious for some other reason.
12 Weird. See Nalian/Idainiku Savant. Roll again on specialties table. One of the cultists specializes in that instead. If the same as the cult, go totally wild.

Of course, there is a table for the corresponding blood town and silo.

Roll Population Silo Radius Silo Depth Industry Industry 2
1 >1000 250’ 500’ Extra Ironworks. Iron weapons cost 20% less. School of Astronomy. Observatories in the hinterlands.
2 1000-2000 500’ 1000’ Apothecary District. All medicine is 10% off and rare healing materials can be found Wizard Cabals. More than usual, and of all schools, even those usually banned.
3 2000-5000 500’ 1500’ Extensive underground Sewer/Runoff System. Impeccably clean streets and less likely to suffer outbreaks. Actual Wizard University. Cheaper tuition than most, but you have to give up your body to the cult at 60.
4 5000-10000 500’ 2000’ Mercenary Camp. Cheaper by 10% and 50% more of them. Exiled Subversives. 1d6: 1-2 Anarchists 3-4 Religious ‘Fanatics’ 5-6 Basically Communists
5 5000-10000 1000’ 2000’ Extensive Aqueduct Systems. The tops serve as priority roads for the cultists. Incredibly prosperous trader families/guilds. Exercise considerable regional power. Cult is afraid.
6 5000-10000 1000’ 2000’ Assassin Order(s). Will not target the cult. Foreign Embassy of a very strange and strangely distant land.
7 10000-20000 1000’ 2000’ Master Poisoners. Can craft all sorts of deadly and rare poisons. School of Theology. Heterodoxy and outright heresy runs amok. Upper faculty at center of personality cult.
8 10000-20000 1500’ 3000’ Noble Exiles. A noble or once powerful family has taken refuge with the cult. Manhunters. Specialists in going out and capturing slaves for use in the silos. Basically bandits.
9 10000-20000 1500’ 4000’ Refugees. 1d6: 1-2 1-2 <1000, 3-4 1000-5000, 5-6 >5000 Massive Black Market. Every bloodtown has one, but this one is a massive center for moving hot goods.
10 20000-40000 1500’ 5000’ Menagerie. Exotic and dangerous animals for sale. Master Brewers. Delicious beers, and a great many bars as well.
11 20000-40000 2000’ 6000’ School of Medicine. There practice far exceeds even that of the cult. Immoral but potentially helpful. Tattooists/Painters. Mostly decorate atronachs but can get you inked as well. Rare colors and excellent designs.
12 >40000 2500’ >6000’ School of Engineering. Masters of defensive fortification and siege technology. Traveling Troupe. Nomadic circus makes their headquarters here, and members linger throughout the year. Useless but cool to watch.

 

I decided to roll one up using this method. Warning: flavor added.

1 9 2 2 8 1 10 1

The Turquoise Cult of Gehran specializes in the creation of siege atronachs. Their breachers can scale most walls with ease, scurrying up like flesh colored insects. They also have many sapper good, capable of assembling siege engines or undermining structures tirelessly. The college hosts its own school of Conjuration magicks and also maintains a legendary menagerie, rumored to be supplemented with summoning. The silo’s location in the mountains and relatively small population attracted the attention of a royal astronomer, who managed to force the cult to allow the Observatory to be constructed – the cult is notably reliant on outside trade to provide flesh. Everyone calls it the Turquoise Observatory, even though it is named after the astronomer. Tensions between the astronomers and cultists are high, with the cult resenting the often elderly astronomers’ exemption from the flesh heriot.

Breachers– 2HD+4, MV 4, Climb 2, Rs Phys

Attack depends on weapons. Can carry two one hand weapons or a crossbow. Other limbs are for climbing. Can follow tactical orders. 12000sp

Atronach Sapper Corp-  2HD, MV 3, Rs Phys

Can not fight, but can assemble siege machines and mine tunnels in a fourth of the time. Will need siege engine components prepared for them. When operating the engines they halve reload time. Includes instruction manual detailing what engines they can make. Twelve of them. 80000sp.

 

Climbing Limbs– Gives climbing MV 2. 2000sp.

 

Fleshcrafter Cults

DisCLAIMER: HEAVILY UNTESTED

The fleshcrafters practice a trade as useful as it is distasteful in the eyes of many would be rulers. Through the arts of transmutation, animation, and the usage of the enigmatic blood silos, they produce servitors and soldiers in the form of the flesh atronachs. These beings can suffer a dozen blows and keep coming. They do not tire, nor do they require food- at most they need air and the barest amount of water. Despite their status as living beings they lack internal organs and blood and are immune to poisons. Being mostly mindless, they can not be persuaded or bribed.

It is simple to see how a king may use this.

 

Beast_shivering_fleshatronach
From TESwiki, copyright Bethesda

Blood Silos

In ancient times, large cylindrical holes were bored into the earth, with uniform sides and perfect geometries. Whoever carved them dug up to two miles deep and up to half a mile in radius, then erected out of nigh indestructible metal a tower in the center of the hole to fill half the radius. At or near the surface, these towers can be filled with the corpses of the deceased (or, on occasion, still living). Most of the length of the tower had been filled in ancient times, requiring the flesh cults of modernity to only top off their respective silo. At the bottom of the tower, faucets and taps disgorge the pinkish syrup referred to the fleshcrafters as corpus essentia. From this fluid, all their crafts flow, for the hardiness and survivability of the otherwise living flesh atronachs derives from some unknown factor or property of the essentia.

Entire settlements form around these blood silos, named from the partially erroneous belief that they contain the blood of sacrificial victims. The bloodtown resident need only eat a vegetarian diet, use no contraceptives, and give their bodies up to the blood silo when they die or reach the age of sixty. In return, they have access to the greater medicinal knowledge of cult acolytes and physicians that travel here to practice their trade freely. The simple law codes keep order and ensure the the supply of bodies, and the only harsh punishments are meted out in the case of that supplies interruption. The tax rates are amongst the lowest in the known world, and the streets are kept clean to prevent contamination. War rarely comes to these places, as each having their own personal garrison of the deadliest atronachs the cult has to offer. For the practical and distinctly non superstitious person these settlements are very attractive. Indeed the greatest of the cults are more akin to theocracies equipped with an ultra efficient bureaucracy, all in the name of keeping the blood silo filled as high as possible with corpses.

Though the alchemical process for rendering bodies into corpus essentia is well known, the construction of the silos greatly increases its efficiency and ease, perhaps owing to the great pressures and temperatures the fodder is subjected to within. Alchemists can spend a good week rendering a sow into a single quart of the (surprisingly light) essentia with complex formulae and labyrinthine reaction chains. The fleshcrafters need only to dump bodies in their silo, and (according to the calculations of one cult headmaster) reap nine twentieths of the creatures total mass in the precious liquid. Even though the silos will disgorge no fluid unless filled past a certain point (or otherwise, the cult masters will not allow such a depletion of their vast stores), the limiting factor in the creation of armies is more often a shortage of capable labor and equipment than raw materials.

Manufacturing

The atronachs must be assembled. First, the bones are made by filling cylindrical casts with the essentia, whereupon a reagent is added, turning the encased fluid into hard marrowless bone. Joints are cast in roughly spherical molds, then lubricated with an essentia exposed to a different reagent.

Note: it is entirely through the use of varying reagents that the essentia is rendered into solid tissue for use in the atronachs. All the cults know how to make bone, muscle, skin, nerve, basic ears and basic compound eyes. Some have more advanced reagents that allow for the creation of more capable atronachs. The cult at Letsulian can create tissue the generates electrical discharges, for example.

The various bones of the atronach are made each in this way. Eight cylinders, a combined ribcage and pelvis, thin slabs of bone for feet, and anywhere from sixteen to twenty joints depending on the specifications of the spine The most basic golem lacks a head, merely having a raised slant of flesh for a neck where the eyes are mounted. The nerves are then created using delicate molds, the key of these being a cluster that gives the atronach the ability to follow orders. The nerves are delicately intertwined with the bones, and attached to the sensory organs. Then the bones and covered sensors are mounted in molds filled with essentia that is then made into muscle. This step is where the atronachs obtain the metal hooks appearing to pierce their flesh; they once suspended the bone in the mold, and removing them after the fact was found to be far too great an inconvenience, even in places where the art of doing such without damage to the product is known. The entire body can be done at once and often is to save labor. Stitching together the limbs after casting them seperately is more expensive but yields more able servants. After this, the skin is added by covering the surface of the atronach in reagent- really, all this does is increase the rate of oxidation. Usually a short sword and shield are attached in place of hands, in addition to adornments. The basic atronach is thus created, with a shield and simple blade:

Basic Flesh Atronach – 2HD+2, Lesser DR Physical, AC 10+2, Sword 1d6, MV 20’

When the eye covering is removed, the creature immediately imprints on the first creature it sees and will follow its commands. It can guard areas and attack enemies in a general direction, though differentiation between friend and foe is beyond its capability. They can also be ordered to stop attacking. The creature can not see further than 10’ and make terrible sentries. They are also easily knocked prone, and will begin to decay after a year.
The basic golem costs 1000sp. Size can be increased, the first increase or decrease in either direction costs 2000sp and adds or subtracts 1 HD. The cost doubles for each increase after that, stacking with skin layers (see below). However, most cults can only go one size down and 2 sizes up. Almost every cult can provide the following generic upgrades: (the following prices are meant to be relative more than anything else)

Stitched Arms- +2 to attack, 3000sp (1500 per)

Stitched Legs- MV 30’, 4000sp

Diplomacy Cluster- A very basic brain. Can distinguish between friend and foe and follow more specific instructions, like patrolling or attacking a specific enemy. Can also accept orders from others. 2000sp +1000sp for skull.

War Cluster- +2 to all attacks and can attack with both hands in a turn or wield two handed weapons. 4000sp

Slaughter Cluster- +4 to all attacks and can attack with up to four limbs. Requires War Cluster. 4000sp

Primate Cluster- can run, sprint, and climb if hands are attached. 4000sp

Targeting Cluster- can use piercing and ranged weapons, and knows how to reload a crossbow. 2000sp

Nerve Encasing- Greater DR Physical. 6000sp

Layered Flesh- +1HD, cost doubles each subsequent layer. 2000sp

Hands – Can now wield two-handed weapons and theoretically complete simple tasks like opening doors and carrying stuff. Just don’t give them glass you don’t want broken. 6000sp

Spinal Hooks- allows the attachment of a storage unit. 500sp

Red Sphere Eye- can see up to half normal human range, but can’t sense color or depth. 1000sp + 1000sp for skull.

In general, the cost of equipping the golems with armor and other weapons costs as much as the equipment itself. The only ranged weapon they can use with any efficacy is a crossbow, which can be attached with a hook on the opposite hand to reload it. Most cults have other permutations that only they know how to create, such as adding extra limbs, biological weaponry or making quadrupeds. Many also tend to specialize in creating a certain “model” of atronach. Those and their attached cults will be detailed in the next post.

The Cults

The guiding tenets of the cults posit that the corpus essentia is the most basic unit of life, that the blood silos are sacred objects, and that creation of atronachs/artificial life is an act of divine perfection. Most aren’t overly concerned with who built the silos, because interest in such would require acknowledgment of the greatly fallen state of fleshcrafting; scholars have found evidence that once the silos were used to create complete, reproductive life, including troglodytes, man-eating cats, and wargs.

Heterodoxy between cults is common, leading very occasionally to horrific holy wars, but each cult strictly enforces its own beliefs amongst their members. The cults are famously conservative and haughty, and their crafts have scarcely changed in the past hundred years. Most cling stubbornly to humanoid models, and those that don’t cling instead to quadrupedal ones. Convincing them to experiment with different forms and potentially waste precious essentia is a nightmare and a headache, and only happens when very large states fight very large wars.
Their conservatism runs over into their political matters, and many warlords have been inconsolably frustrated when their attempts to forge an alliance inevitably fail. Gifts, threats, and promises are ineffective on their own. Protection and money they have in abundance; their political organization likewise precludes marriage alliances. The only thing that  can be trusted to sway them is the donation of meat, an incredibly unpopular, usually infeasible, and potentially suicidal proposition for most leaders. Even then the supplicant in question had better be the most powerful person in a war that is going well, otherwise the cult leadership will probably err on the side of neutrality.

Things the Cult Wants:

  1. Flesh, obviously. Slave traders and callous ransomers often make rounds to the silos. If the party finds themselves suddenly in possession of a herd of cattle, they are well-advised to drive it to the nearest blood silo. The cult will pay half again as much for large livestock.
  2. Favors. The cultists may have some of the most powerful militaries in terms of sheer power, but there ability to act discreetly in carrying out specific and delicate tasks is sharply limited- the party may be useful in this regard.
  3. People. The bloodtowns built around blood silos run on the industry necessary to support the sale of atronachs. Auxiliary forges for crafting the weapons the cult doesn’t or can’t provide, for example. This industry needs humans to power it, as the atronachs are of limited manual dexterity. As an added bonus, any settlers will eventually feed the blood silos.
  4. Bribes. Avaricious cult leaders can be swayed with lucre, but since they are rich already this can only get one so far.

As for day to day organization, the cults apprentices are taken in at a young age and put to work in the various manufacturing processes. The youngest boys clean and generally page for higher members. The older boys work in the forges and keep animals if the cult directly owns any. The bulk of initiates never get beyond this point, within the cult but not trusted by it. If they initiates family has money, or is part of the upper ranks of the cult, they can enter the cult studies branch. Here they learn anatomy, letters, bookkeeping, and are put to work casting the atronachs. If they appear trustworthy and capable or their parents have enough money/influence, they move on to learning the practical alchemy of producing reagents and the theoretical musings of various long-dead cultist scholars. On completion of these studies they will be inducted into the cult as full members, and be privy to most of its secrets. Some cults also teach transmutation and animation and maintain a corp of wizards for problem solving and defence.

To the outsider these cults function more like guilds, probably because they are more like guilds. The leaders (usually organized in a council) will be the best managers and businessmen, or those with the best connections, not the best scholars. Their actual religious practice is esoteric, complex, and apparently not terribly important if you want to interact with them. Treat them like exacting and shrewd vendors.

The final consequence of their ultra-careful approach to politics is a healthy distrust of adventurers. The powers that be don’t enjoy the rabble running around with deadly and resilient semi-mindless servants, and the cults feel obliged to keep their best customers as pleased with them as possible. If you want atronachs, expect to have to do a favor or five to get into the cult’s good graces. Even then overt destructiveness may cause them to cut off the supply. If you run domain games, any sufficiently rich and powerful lord can purchase freely, but widespread use of them within the domain or amongst regular forces will hurt morale. There are various services that can be used without their trust, however.

Additional Services and Goods

  1. Medical Attention. As mentioned above, the cult acolytes can serve as effective physicians. Beyond that, the town above usually has a profusion of practitioners of varying ability and professionalism.
  2. Vitium. This pinkish foodstuff is densely packed with energy and does not spoil. A week’s worth for one person costs 500sp but weighs only one of whatever weight system you use. The creation of the material costs essentia and the cult is thus loathe to provide it, so expect bribes and higher costs.
  3. Banking. The rock-solid continued neutrality of the bloodtowns make them excellent places for moneylenders and bankers to settle down. Expect mostly unfair rates, however. On occasion, cults themselves also provide financial services.
  4. Anything else you would expect to find in a medium-sized trading town, with the added benefit of cheap iron weapons. Mercenaries and especially wizards also tend to congregate in the bloodtowns, hoping to be picked up along with the atronachs. In general, all sort of outcasts can be found within.