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.




Long ago, the sage Wolfgang Baur discovered the artifact known as The Brass Book. It is a large tome with a large brass inset lock. The book appears to have many pages but it is only sculpted to appear tat way. Instead, the tome has a single brass page that rattles and clanks as gears inside the frame (and beneath the page) writes answers to any question the owner of the book might ask. As a question is asked, the books inner workings clatter and grind. When the engraved writing is finished, the brass “page” lifts up, turns over, and then falls back into place to reveal the new engravings. When another question is asked, the old writings disappear and are replaced by new answers.

The brass book is fully two feet square and six inches think, bound in cured gorgon’s hide with an internal makeup of brass plating. It weighs 34 pounds. It has no paper pages, though the edges of the book are scratched to resemble a thick tome. When it is in operation, it is sometimes quite noisy, whirring and riffling and even chiming. When an answer is complete, the page displays the text in Common. The brass book is AC 19, has 30 hp, and a damage threshold of 30.  Smashed, it is worth little more than 100 gp in scrap materials.

When the book’s cover is opened, a speaking tube and a blank page are visible. The user must speak a single question into the tube, and the answer appears on the page after a delay of 1d6+4 rounds. After the book cover is closed, the answer disappears and that use of the book is done. If the book is opened again, the page is blank and ready to show a new answer. The brass book answers only 1d4+1 questions per day. Once those questions are done for the day, speaking into its tube returns only silence. The brass book does not know the answer to everything. Most often, it provides a clue of the DM’s discretion. When all else fails, the DM may use the guidelines of Legend Lore to describe the outcome of questioning.

The Wealdath Portal

The Forest of Tethir, also known as Wealdath, was the largest forest on the Sword Coast and one of the largest in all of Faerûn. Some scholars were of the opinion that the forest was the “single most important thing” that set the culture of Tethyr. Within this forest, the Emerald Enclave maintains and protects a portal.

This portal is formed by the arcing of two oak tree branches near a stationary elf village deep within the forest. Dryads who have seen enough action in their time to gain druid and ranger levels protect these trees. The dryads agreed to let their trees be used as part of a portal and understand the potential danger. They also understand that having the friendship and protection of the Emerald Enclave outweighs any danger that association could cause. The dryads themselves have the ability to open the portal from the Wealdath side, while the portal is continually open from the Ilghon side.




These items are for use with characters using psionic powers. For more information, refer to this PDF about the Mystic, version 3.


This mask grants the wearer the ability to speak, understand, and write five different languages. The wearer proficiency with each as if it were a skill. It draws upon the wearer’s internal reservoir of energy, Psi Points to fuel the power. The mask drains 1 Psi Point every hour of use. As a Bonus Action, the wearer attunes her mind to the knowledge of the five chosen languages.


Mystics and other psions can you can draw vigor from Power Stones. The citrine stone must be attuned to the user as with a Magic Item per the DMG. Once the psion is attuned to the stone, the stone begins to function. The Citrine Stone will begin to function doin g what is called “Flushing.” This flush removes naturally occuring Psi Points from the stone. Once it is fully flushed, the stone must regenerate its power for a full 24 hours.

Each stone has 6d4 Psi Points when it is fully recharged. It possesses a barely detectable interior glow if it holds a low-level of points. A stone charged with more points glows more brightly, but never enough to provide illumination in its own right when fully charged.  When a Stone regains its charges (after 24 hours) the user must pick it up and “connect” with it again. At this time, the player must made a roll of 1d20 and a roll of “1” indicates that the stone overloads, exploding in the psion’s grasp. At this time, the psion experiences “Brainburn” as the power stone improperly manifests the stored energy. The resultant psionic surge will knock the Psion off her feet, causing her to become Prone.  This surge deals 1d6 points of damage per Psi Point (6d4) in the stone.

Citrine Stones provide access to the following powers:

Avatar of Healing (5 psi)
You project an aura of
resilience. While you aren’t incapacitated, each
ally within 30 feet of you who can see you
regains additional hit points equal to your
Intelligence modifier (minimum of 0.)


Step from Sight (3 psi; conc., 1 min.)

As a
bonus action, cloak yourself from sight. You can
target one additional creature for every
additional psi point you spend on this ability.
The added targets must be visible to you and
within 60 feet of you.
Each target turns invisible and remains so
until your concentration ends or until
immediately after it targets, damages, or
otherwise affects any creature with an attack, a
spell, or another ability

Mend Wounds (1–7 psi)

As an action, you can
spend psi points to restore hit points to one
creature you touch. The creature regains 1d8 hit
points per psi point spent

Truesight (5 psi; conc., 1 min.) 

As a bonus
action, you gain truesight with a radius of 30
feet, which lasts until your concentration ends.




Hundreds of tiny cactus needles cover the green Cactus Cloak. When worn, the cloak moves and flows so that its wearer never need fear being pricked by the needles. The cloak acts as masterwork armor spikes, even if the wearer isn’t wearing armor. When used as armor spikes, the wearer gains proficiency in their use. They do 1d6 points of piercing damage (x2 crit) on a successful grapple and count as a light weapon when used as a melee weapon. Once per day, the wearer can whip the cloak in a chosen direction and fire a volley of needles. This volley of needles fills a 30-foot-long cone; all creatures in this area must make a DEX save (DC 17) or suffer 9d6 points of piercing damage. This damage is physical and is subject to damage reduction. Those who succeed at the saving throw take half damage.

Also, by wrapping the cloak about the body, the wearer can assume the shape of a Medium-size cactus; doing so is a standard action. The wearer can remain in cactus form for up to 9 hours. Once deactivated, this power cannot be activated again for 24 hours. The closest inspection cannot reveal that the cactus is anything other than a normal cactus, unless magic such as detect magic or true seeing is used. While in cactus form, the wearer can observe all that transpires around him as if he were in his normal form. The wearer’s hit points and saving throws are unaffected. A wearer gains a +10 natural armor bonus to AC but has an effective Dexterity score of 1. The wearer is also immune to critical hits while in cactus form, and all clothing and gear carried or worn changes with him. The wearer can dismiss the cactus form as a free action.




The autoscribe is an arcane caster’s dream: a writing device that can make spell scrolls day and night. Like all devices seemingly too good to be true, though, it comes at a price in XP and materials. This device was created for “Clockwork Wonders” by in 2001.


The autoscribe resembles a scribe’s writing desk. It’s taller than it is wide, with three pewter inkpots built into the top, a sloping writing surface, and a metal-nib attached to a series of writing arms and levers. When in operation, it hums and scratches while moving the nib slowly across the paper. It can make use of gold illumination, magical inks, and even special colors and waxes to create the perfect arcane scroll. Its three arms are attached to the top and side of the writing surface and can reach a set of interchangeable quills and inkpots in its interior.

Use and Powers

To use an autoscribe, a spellcaster must use the attached metal quill to write out a fair copy of a spell scroll in the usual way, and make a successful Concentration check (DC 20 + spell level) while doing so. If successful, this process “teaches” the autoscribe that spell. An autoscribe can contain 10 spells in its internal collection at any time; if it already has 10 spells, it cannot learn more until one or more spells are removed. It can be taught arcane or divine spells, but not both at the same time. A divine caster wishing to teach it divine spells must clear out the entire collection if there are arcane spells in the machine’s collection. Casting an erase spell on an autoscribe removes one spell from its collection, while casting a feeblemind on it removes all spells from its collection.

Once taught a spell, the autoscribe knows how to make additional copies of that scroll. Any spellcaster who has that spell on her class spell list can command the autoscribe to make usable scrolls of it. The copies take 1 hour per spell level to create instead of the usual 1 day per 1,000 gp value of the scroll, and the user must spend one additional hour loading the autoscribe with the appropriate materials. The materials cost half the gp value of the scroll, as usual for making scrolls, and the autoscribe can hold enough materials to make 10 copies of all 10 of the spells in its collection before needing to be reloaded. The XP cost for the scroll is doubled (so spell level x caster level x 2), and must be paid by the spellcaster commanding the autoscribe. Spell scrolls are created at the minimum caster level for the spell in question, and the autoscribe can only put one spell on a scroll.

An autoscribe can be commanded by non-spellcasters using Use Magic Device with a successful check DC (20 + caster level of the scroll to be produced). If the check fails, the autoscribe jams or otherwise becomes damaged by the attempt and must be repaired by an artificer. The cost in XP for non-casters is twice the cost that a legitimate spellcaster pays, and the non-caster must still supply the materials if the autoscribe is out.


We recently started playing a swashbuckling pirate themed campaign set in Forgotten Realms called “Really Bad Eggs.” Since I enjoy using random charts to hand out treasure, I created two different downloadable charts that you can add to your collection if you like.

Here’s an example of one of the charts:


  1.  75 cp, 55 sp, 22 ep, 15 gp, and a Gold Earring set with a tiny ruby (30 gp).
  2.  180 sp, 130 gp, and a silk pouch containing five carnelians (10 gp each), two peridots (15 gp each), and one pearl (100 gp)
  3.  Scroll of charm person and a scroll of fireball.
  4.  Leather bag containing 35 sp, 20 ep, 20 gp, 5 pp, one pearl (100 gp) 5 55 cp, 75 sp, 22 gp
  5.  Healing Potion (2d4+2)
  6. Roll twice on this chart

Pirate Booty Sheet #1

Pirate Booty Sheet #2

My DM Toolbox Page






Stone Bridge was a bridge located along the River Dessarin, connecting the Red Larch and the Long Road to the High Forest. The bridge, which was also a temple to Moradin, was a single arch, about two miles in length and 400ft high, made of granite, roughly six paces wide, with no railings or barriers. The gigantic stone archway comfortably spans the widest spring flood of the Dessarin River. It is made of smooth, fused hard granite. The Bridge is only six paces wide and lacks railings or barriers, so anyone atop it is at the mercy of the wind, particularly in winter. It is the only crossing of the Dessarin River between Ironford and Yartar, though, so travelers and caravans frequently use it although with great care. It was originally built to connect the two halves of the realm of Besilmer, and was wide enough to cope with the broadest flow of the river in times of flooding.




Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

While wearing these gloves, you gain a +5 bonus to Strength (Athletics) checks made while grappling.

When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them.

The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you, and it must be within your reach. Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check, a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you succeed, you subject the target to the grappled condition (see appendix A). The condition specifies the things that end it, and you can release the target whenever you like (no action required).

Escaping a Grapple. A grappled creature can use its action to escape. To do so, it must succeed on a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check.

Moving a Grappled Creature. When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.





The Tablets of Fate were stone slabs on which the official portfolios of every one of the deities of Abeir-Toril were written.
Every deity has certain aspects of existence over which it has dominion, power, and control. Collectively, these aspects represent the deity’s portfolio. Deities are intimately concerned about and involved in their portfolios, and they are often strongest in power when acting within the bounds of their portfolios.
The portfolios of deities within a pantheon rarely change, but this can happen. If a deity dies, returns from the dead, gains or loses divine power, or radically changes personality, portfolios can change. One or more deities may share certain portfolio elements. For example, Boccob and Wee Jas of the D&D pantheon both have magic as an element of their portfolios.
Bane and Myrkul stole the Tablets of Fate from Ao and hid them in Faerûn, suspecting that some of the Overgod’s power was derived from these tablets. When Ao discovered the Tablets of Fate were missing he summoned all the deities and asked for those guilty to hand them over. When no one stood forward to admit to stealing the Tablets, Ao cast down all the gods from the heavens, taking their divine power in the process. Ao tasked Lord Helm with guarding the Celestial Stairways which would lead the deities back into their divine realms. For this he retained his divine powers. Before the Time of Trouble ended, Bane and Myrkul were both slain, although they would all be reborn during The Sundering along with the other lost, forgotten, or dead gods.