K … is for … KRAJEN #atozchallenge

 

The creature know as the “krajen” is a otherworldly giant space squid. It develops in three stages: small spaceborne spores, a barnaclelike immature stage, and the huge, adult krajen that is the bane of the Spelljammer shipways. In its adult stage, the krajen can grow to be 40 feet long. Its tubelike body is dominated at one end by a thick central tentacle, the base of which is surrounded by a cluster of smaller tentacles.

 In their spore form they can be slain by such simple spells as cure disease. They drift like wind seeds in the Void, waiting for the approach of a ship or other solid body. They are so small that a Spelljamming ship can pass through a cloud of them without stopping and without its crew noticing. It is only when the spores take root in the hull of the ship that they are noticeable.

Krajen spores can take root in any solid object, including asteroids, ship hulls, and large living creatures. Once planted, the base of the spore widens and digs into the surfacer while the outer surface hardens into a shell similar to a barnacle’s. The central tentacle is nested in an opening at the top of this shell. In case of normal attacks on the immature krajen, the tentacle can whip out to attack enemies in the area, lashing out at random. When dormant, the tentacle is tucked inside the top of the shell.

Immature krajens can survive without air, and in fact prefer the stale air of bad air envelopes over the healthy air of areas replenished by green plants. They do need a solid surface to draw nutrients from, though each one can also absorb nutrients from dead bodies that it and the rest of the colony have destroyed.

If you travel the Void, fear the krajen!

 

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J … is for … JESTER #atozchallenge

The Jester is a non-playing character antagonist that is based on DC Comic’s The Joker. He is a Big Bad meant to annoy and challenge my players and their characters. He  is an exarch of Maglubiyet and follower of Bane.

He called himself “The Jester” in honor to the Nilbog tradition of each Goblin tribe having one jester. He started wearing bright clothing, painting his face, and dying his hair. He also used his abilities to appear as a Human so that he could fit in a little better on the streets of Baldur’s Gate. It was only a matter of time before he had his own spot staked out in the marketplace doing “magic tricks” acting the part of a clown.

He is main plan in Baldur’s Gate was to use his magic luring children to him and begin indoctrinating them to serve and worship him. He was collecting a cult of children to follow him. He would use his magic to make them love him! He would be like a god!

He was defeated in 1481 DR by a party of adventurers led by brothers Adran and Adras Half-Elven.

It is rumored that the Jester remains in hiding somewhere in Baldur’s Gate, plotting his next big scheme.

 

I … is for … IBRANDLIN #atozchallenge

 

The now Dead God Ibrandul imparted arcane rituals to his most faithful followers over the centuries, allowing them to create loyal guardian beasts from captured fire lizards called “IBRANDLIN.” These creatures can be trained from birth to revere and protect men and women wearing the vestments of Ibrandul – dark purple robes or tunics with four interlocked silver circles – and to guard a lair, usually a temple, against intruders.

They are also called “Lurkers In Darkness” because they prefer subterranean lairs. Lurkers do not hoard treasure. They form family groups with all inhabitants of a temple, working as a team to guard the common items and splendors of their home lair. If it remains on the same plane, a lurker removed from the lair will always know the direction to its home lair and will slowly, doggedly travel back. Lurkers who lose their masters will aggressively defend their lair, even if it is in ruins. If new individuals arrive clad in the familiar vestments of Ibrandul, such lost lurkers will readily accept new masters.

 

H … is for … HYDRAGEN #atozchallenge

 

The sage Roger Moore discovered this strange beast during his adventures. The Hydragen is a huge, mutated descendant
of the diamond-backed rattlesnake. These creatures can grow to be up to 65 feet in length and have as many as seven heads. Each head is autonomous having it’s own brain. The creature is venomous imparting a paralytic poison with a bite. This poison is only effective against mammals. The HYDRAGEN is very cunning and will usually try to drive its prey into a dead end before making a kill.

G … is for … GUTH #atozchallenge

In the Dungeons & Dragons game, Sir Guth of Ormpetarr was a knight of Ilmater (pronounced ill-may-ter) and a member of the Order of the Golden Cup from the city of Ormpetarr in Sespech. He was featured in the book Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 102–103. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.

 

 

In 1342 DR, the mad priest Bloirt Waelarn stole the Tome of Torment from the House of the Broken God in Keltar, Calimshan. Sir Guth confronted Waelarn and challenged him to “holy combat under the watching eyes of our god.” Waelarn accepted, and promptly used a spell to bury Guth in a huge pile of rocks. Calmly and cruelly, Waelarn then dug Guth out with a pick, and used an axe to chop off any limb that was revealed. Guth was soon killed and Waelarn left.

But that was not the end. Ilmater, the One Who Endures, caused Sir Guth to rise from his grave, but not from the dead. Guth was raised as a Revenant. Untiring and unrelenting, Guth tracked Waelarn across the beautiful countryside of Sespech until the rogue priest collapsed of exhaustion outside the logging town of Elbulder. Then Sir Guth strangled Waelarn as he slept.

The deed done, Guth hid the Tome of Torment then constructed a funeral pyre to burn Waelarn’s corpse to ash. Guth then threw himself on the pyre, still obeying the will of Ilmater the Broken God.

 

 

 

F … is for … FEY #atozchallenge

2014©David Leo — with Megan Wise and April Reece at Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center.

Fey are magical creatures closely tied to the forces of nature. They dwell in twilight groves and misty forests. In some worlds, they are closely tied to the Plane of Faerie. Some are also found in the Outer Planes, particularly the planes of Arborea and the Beastlands. Fey include dryads, pixies, and satyrs. The fey are associated with the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court.

The Seelie court are known to seek help from humans, to warn those who have accidentally offended them, and to return human kindness with favors of their own. Still, a fairy belonging to this court will avenge insults and could be prone to mischief. Seelies are known for playing pranks on humans and having a light hearted attitude, forgetting their sorrows quickly and not realizing how they might be affecting the humans they play pranks on.

The Unseelie Court consists of the darkly-inclined fairies. Unlike the Seelie Court, no offense is necessary to bring down their assaults. As a group (or “host”), they appear at night and assault travelers, often carrying them through the air, beating them, and forcing them to commit such acts as shooting at cattle. Like the beings of the Seelie Court who are not always benevolent, neither are the fairies of the Unseelie Court always malevolent. Most Unseelies can become fond of a particular human if they are viewed as respectful, and would choose to make them something of a pet.

 

E … is for … ERIC THE CAVALIER #atozchallenge

 

 

Eric was probably one of the least liked characters in the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon mainly because he was a big mouthed coward. That’s probably because he was never really supposed to be a part of the show. Series developer Mark Evanier revealed that Eric’s contrary nature was mandated by parents groups and consultants to push the then-dominant pro-social moral for cartoons of “The group is always right; the complainer is always wrong.”

This was the message of way too many eighties’ cartoon shows. If all your friends want to go get pizza and you want a burger, you should bow to the will of the majority and go get pizza with them. There was even a show for one season on CBS called The Get-Along Gang, which was dedicated unabashedly to this principle. Each week, whichever member of the gang didn’t get along with the gang learned the error of his or her ways.

So Eric was added at the last minute to the cartoon to teach kids a simple lesson: “Don’t think outside the box. Go with the majority.”

 

Eric, the Cavalier (voiced by Don Most) was a fifteen year old spoiled child, originating from a rich home. On the surface, Eric is contrary to anything the group wishes to do and often fulfills the role of comic relief. Despite his egotism, selfishness, and snobbery, Eric is potentially also the most realistic character: complaining about the dire situations in which he is involved and voicing concerns which might be common to inhabitants of our world transplanted to the Realm. Despite his cowardice and reluctance, Eric has a well-hidden heroic core, and frequently saves his friends from danger with his magical shield, which can project a force field. And although it was written out of the story by the producers, the shield was also supposed to be able to grant the power of levitation, but it didn’t fit in as well for the shield metaphor.

Yeah, the shield was a metaphor. Eric is the kid who, no matter what you’re doing, it isn’t good enough for him. Nose in the stratosphere, Eric goes through life as snobby as they come. He comes from a family of wealth and breeding and, in the past, has never had to do much of anything himself. He occasionally likes to associate with the poorer folks — if only because it makes him feel like a bigger man — and that’s what he was doing with them at the amusement park, that fateful day. But, no matter what you say, Eric will top you. If you won a silver medal, he’ll tell you he won a gold medal. If you tell him you just got a new Corvette, he’ll tell you about the three BMWs he had custom-made. So, the shield was his ego, projected at the worl so nobody would see the real, vulnerable Eric.

Eric’s Griffon Shield

“This golden shield bears the emblem of a white griffon’s head on a black circle. It hums with power in your hands.”

In the Dungeons & Dragons game, the Griffon Shield is a +2 Bashing shield that can be wielded one or two-handed as an Improvised Weapon. If used for bashing it will impart 1d4 plus Strength Modifier Bludgeoning damage. When the wielder lands a successful hit, she can use a Bonus Action to try to shove a creature 5 feet away from you with your shield.

Also, the shield bestows the owner with a 19 in Constitution while it is being wielded as a shield or a weapon.

In addition, as an reaction the bearer can use the griffon shield to create a 10-foot diameter sphere of force like that produced by the Otiluke’s resilient sphere spell. This requires concentration. The sphere is not subject to damage of any sort except from a rod of cancellation, a rod of negation, a disintegrate spell, or a targeted dispel magic spell. These effects destroy the sphere without harm to the subject. Nothing can pass through the sphere, inside or out, though the subject can breathe normally. The sphere cannot be physically moved by people outside it, but can be moved by the bearer of the shield. The sphere effect must be centered on the bearer of the shield, and any creatures within the area except the bearer can make a DC 25 dexterity save, or be forced out to the nearest open square on a failure. This can be automatically saved if the bearer chooses to include other creatures inside the sphere. The sphere effect can be dismissed by the bearer as a bonus action, but otherwise it lasts until the duration elapses. The griffon shield effect can be created for up to 5 turns each day. They do not have to be consecutive, but each activation always counts as at least 1 turn.

Lastly, when carried by a humanoid of lawful alignment, the Griffon Shield imparts the abilities of a 7th level Fighter as long as you are attuned to the item. If a player has less than 7 levels, then the magic item will impart additional levels of this class to raise them to 7th level. If the player is 7th level or higher, then no additional class levels will be gained.

 

D … is for … DEADLY SPHERE #atozchallenge

 

Deadly Sphere, also called “Blackballs” by some, are the result of a failed attempt for a wizard to create a Sphere of Annihilation. It is simply a featureless black globe, 5 feet in diameter. It levitates about slowly and silently, in apparently random patterns, disintegrating everything in its path. Blackballs are destructive forces, disruptive to the environment but fortunately too rare to cause more than a local disturbance. Observers report that objects and creatures touched by the blackball vanish suddenly, as if simply wiped out of existence. Wizards have said that it seems most like the results of a disintegration spell. However, nothing remains – not even dust or residual essences.

The blackball has no recognizable mind or intelligence, however it does seem be alive. It moves on its own, and seems to focus on people and things that are colorful, the brighter the better. When encountered, the blackball moves toward the nearest “colorful” creature or object within 60 feet. The deadly sphere’s ability to sense color extends in three dimensions, so underground adventurers may be surprised by the sudden appearance of a blackball from above or below. It especially seems to be attracted by Dancing Lights and Faerie Fire.

The blackball’s advance is relentless, moving in a straight line toward its target, regardless of the physical or magical barriers in its way. Running away is the only way to deal with a Deadly Sphere, though that may not be possible in a labyrinth or other such situation. If all intelligent life flees beyond its 60-foot detection range, the blackball will resume its seemingly random movement until another attractive and colorful target is detected.

Whatever solid or liquid matter the blackball touches simply disintegrates to ash; the deadly sphere moves freely through anything. This ability makes it immune to all weapons or attacks; even the most magical swords are destroyed immediately by contact with the blackball.

If characters close to melee combat range with the Deadly Sphere, it moves toward whichever one is most colorful. Because of the blackball’s slowness, its target can evade the blackball with a successful (DC 10) Dexterity check, regardless of initiative and other actions; this check, and not an attack roll, determines the blackball’s success. If the Dexterity check fails, the blackball touches and disintegrates the opponent. If characters try to fight the blackball, everything that touches it disintegrates. It’s Armor Class is 10.

C … is for … CHANGE CAT #atozchallenge

The change cat is a product of tampering by ancient magical forces. In effect, a change cat is two creatures in one. Its natural form, and that in which it spends most of its time, is that of a domestic cat. In this body, it is identical to that animal in all respects. At will, however, the change cat can transform itself into a large, cheetah-like plains cat.

The change cat was created by a powerful magician long ago to act as a faithful pet and a sentinel for his most valuable treasures. Being very fond of cats and having a strong dislike for guards, he set about to create the perfect house cat for a powerful wizard. Although many of these animals now roam the wilds of the world, they are still encountered as pets in the homes of powerful and rich people.

In its larger form, the change cat can sprint quickly over short distances much like a cheetah. This effort is quite exhausting, however, requiring the cat to rest for about two minutes afterward before it can sprint again. A change cat can switch forms quickly, completely in about six seconds. It may remain in either form for as long as it desires.

If a change cat is treated kindly by a human, elf, or half-elf, it will often adopt that person and follow him around, giving no hint of its unique nature and special abilities. If its new companion is attacked, however, there is a very excellent chance that the change cat transforms and comes to their aid. Change cats are fond of humans, elves, and half-elves, suspicious of gnomes, dwarves, and halflings, and have a great dislike of races such as goblins, orcs, and half-orcs.