These spacefaring fungal creatures have a complex polymorphic lifecycle. Although mindless, they are a dangerous invasive species.
In all of their stages they grow by externally digesting organic or chemically useful compounds and minerals, and also through a photosysthisys-like process that allows them to slowly grow even in the wan starlight of deep space. This process and the mineral-like composition of their outer skins even allows them to grow from the energy of pulsars, gamma streams, and radioactive materials like uranium oxide deposits or atomic warheads.
Their cyclical lifecycle proceeds as follows: from tiny Spores grow Starflowers, which will grow as slow or as fast as local conditions allow. Their color varies depending on the local available nutrients, minerals, and radiation. Their bulb-based, tubular flowers grow until they are large enough to form a Starseed for the journey into space.
At that point the Starflower explosively launches the Starseed into the night sky, using the delicate fronds at the top to sense nearby stellar bodies for its progeny. The Starflower is blown into pieces by this process, which begins a cycle of regrowth. In being destroyed, the Starflower releases its internal defenders and the re-seeders of the flower: the Sporriors. Waiting encased in the Starflowers flesh are the nascent, ambulatory guardians who spread the Spores wherever they go. The destroyed Starflower’s remains become fertile ground for a new, wider batch of Starflowers, and the process continues.
Starflowers sometimes explode when cut or struck, depending on their state of growth.
If the Starseed escapes the local gravitational body, and makes it into space, and it doesn’t end up in a sun, it will break open upon impact, releasing Sporriors from their layered interiors and providing organic material for their new Spores to grow upon. If the Starseed doesn’t make it to space, when it falls back down it breaks open and seeds a new area.
In the asteroid fields and on the tiny iceballs in the depths of dim interstellar space the Starflowers grow slowly and are only large enough to launch little starseeds away from their host body. They release tiny little Sporriors to slowly crawl around spreading new Starflowers.
On planets like Earth with rich local organic deposits, a warm nearby star, and 1G local gravity, the Starflowers will quickly grow to be 90 meters tall or taller before exploding, which launches Starseeds measuring 10-15 meters in diameter. At that size the conical, ambulatory Sporriors released when damaged are 2-3 meters (6-9 feet) tall and in circumference at the bottom of their caps.
Slow but steady walkers, Sporriors spill out from damaged Starflowers and Starseeds, and mill about spreading Spores. They can also climb quite well owing to the hundreds of tiny appendages on the bottom of their trunks. They move very quietly, which combined with their rocky-looking exteriors makes them stealthy.
As they move the Sporriors slowly drip spores suspended in digestive acids, which will grow into Starflowers.
Though lacking a central nervous system or language, they will quietly and steadily walk towards any sound or vibration they sense. And if their tough outer cap touches anything that is moving for more than a moment, be it a sapling or a curious child, they attack.
A hydraulic and chemical reaction causes their conical caps to flip up, inverting. This causes the burning sporewhips, which line the interior of the cap, to fling out in all directions around the Sporrior to a distance of 2-3 meters. The burning sporewhips lie in channels of digestive juices and Spores, and are raspy, so they cut, chemically burn, and possibly infect anything they hit. This reflexive attack also momentarily exposes the Sporriros softer inner cap and stalk.
large fungal plant
Armor Class: 16 (or 9 when attacking)
Hit Points: 48 (4d8+16)
Skills: Stealth +4
Move: 10′, climb 5′
Attack: +4 attack against all creatures within 10 feet / 3 meters, damage 1d4 + 2 slashing, 1d3 acid, and DC 12 Constitution Saving Throw or become infected with burning, itching, tiny-Sporeflower-growing spores. Unless treated with healing magic, technology, or DC 12 Medicine skill checks, the digesting spores will eat away at the infected creature’s body, spreading and dealing 1d12 Hit Points of damage per day.
Challenge Rating: 1
Posted in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Creature, d20 Future, D20 Modern, Gamma World, Post-Apocalyptic, Science-Fiction and tagged alien, fungus by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In Springfield USA
sometime in the 1980’s
terror lurks in the mall…
Unknown to the shoppers at Springfield Mall, a reality-jumping alien ship has arrived, invisible and untouchable, in one of the closed stores. By day, everything appears normal. By night, strange beings prowl the dark shops stealing and causing mischief. But something far worse awaits the people of Springfield on Black Friday. Terror beyond imagining lurks within the ship, preparing a campaign of mind-bending domination. (more…)
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Location, rules agnostic and tagged Class of 198X, ClassOf198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
This fantasy role-playing game scenario is the lair of the Wyrm of Etiniga, the draconic creature from the adventure: The Suitor’s Challenge. I also used a shorter, modified version of this dungeon for the medieval age dungeon in season 2 of Class of 198x. This map could also serve as basically any dragonlike creature’s lair in your home game.
As the person running the game, select a number and type of creatures for the below encounters according to what seems appropriate to the characters attempting to delve the dungeon. The scenario probably entails navigating three to five encounters, so a gamut of medium and hard encounters is probably appropriate, based on Player Character number and level (consult your Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide or equivalent books for more guidelines on this topic). My advice: make it hard, but not impossible. Don’t be afraid to throw in a couple of reinforcements (on either side) when appropriate, but overall try to present a difficult but achievable scenario.
Situated in a large natural cavern hidden in the ravine past the hills north of Vistola, the lair of the cursed Wyrm of Etiniga’s maw stands open. A cavern in the side of a ravine, twenty feet wide and receding into the yawning darkness of a larger chamber ahead. Close examination of the gravely ground reveals clawed footprints of a variety of sizes, among dry old bloodstains.
1) Gruesome Display
A pile of broken animals, people, and weapons have been arranged into a sort of horrid meat-drying scaffolding in this chamber. The corpses are in varying stages of decay and bear jagged bite marks on whatever is left of them. Broad natural stone passages lead to the left and to the right.
Loud noises in this chamber will alert the kobolds and lizardfolk to the right in areas 3 and 4.
This passage is bisected by a twenty foot deep crack in the stone, at the base of which a shallow underground stream flows. The walls bear black moss and faintly glowing white lichen.
Climbing up or down is a difficult task (DC 20) due to the moisture and the slick growths on the walls.
The warband of lizardfolk who have come to the caves to worship the Wyrm and raid the countryside live in this cavern, eating from the corpses in area 1 and otherwise being served by the kobolds. Among them is a war shaman who will aid them with magic against intruders. The lizardfolk warband spends its time eating, resting, and raiding the surrounding countryside, dragging back both shepard and sheep upon which to feast.
They will lead the attack against intruders, backed up by the kobolds and the shaman as their leader.
Numerous kobolds already lived in nearby caves when the Wyrm arrived, and have come here to join in the worship and feasting. They mainly live in this cavern, and perform most of their domestic tasks here from cooking over small firepits to coppersmithing spear heads and knives.
They will join the lizardfolk in defense of the caverns, taking advantage of the narrow passages that connect areas 4, 5 and 7 to flank and sneak up on intruders. Medium sized creatures must squeeze through the narrow passages at half speed, and are at disadvantage to attacking foes and defending themselves.
The kobolds and lizardfolk have built a shrine here to the Wyrm: a stone block with a silver-and-gold gilded idol of the serpentine Wyrm with eyes of garnet. Piled up at the base of the altar is the wealth of the tribe, including several boxes of sandalwood incense, one hundred gold coins, twice as many pieces of silver coin, and a pot of healing balm which will heal 2d4+3 hit points when applied to wounds.
The shaman will make their last stand here against intruders and will fight to the death to protect the shrine.
The idol itself is is worth 200 gold, but it is also warded with a curse, and the first non-lizardfolk to touch it will take 3d8 points of acid damage, unless they make a Constitution save for half damage.
6) Fungi and Slime
Putrid-smelling green slime drips from the ceiling of this shallow bowl of a cavern. Below, grayish gunk stirs slightly among shards of bone and dark smelly spoor.
Creatures entering the cavern will be dripped upon by the green slime on the ceiling, and attacked by the gray ooze on the ground. Unless they succeed on stealth checks, those who pass by this cavern are likely to be pursued by at least one gray ooze.
For lower level parties, consider using Blue Oozes instead of gray oozes.
This large cavern is split by a 30 foot deep crack in the stone ground.
The chasm is difficult to climb up and down, but the Wyrm can arch across it without difficulty.
Loud noises in this cavern will attract the ire of the Wyrm.
The Wyrm of Etrigia lies here, a gleaming shiny black mass of coils and claws, making gruesome noises.
If using the True Love plot twist version of this adventure, medium difficulty (DC 15) Sense Motive skill checks will reveal the beast appears to be in pain, and is writhing and scratching at itself, biting its tail, all without piercing its scaly hide. With successful Perception checks, of if the princess has accompanied the party she will recognize the silver necklace around the serpentine creature’s neck as the one she gave to her true love. If she can kiss the willing beast, the curse will be broken and the Wyrm will revert to their former self.
Otherwise the Wyrm will attack, kill, and then eat any who intrude, or those making loud noises in the adjacent cavern (area 7, above).
The Wyrm‘s hide is invulnerable to non-magical slashing and piercing damage, and will make a grand prize for any who can collect it. If the Wyrm is slain its scales can be made into hide armor that grants the wearer resistance to slashing and piercing damage. This legendary magic item requires attunement.
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, rules agnostic by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
A notorious figure in the eastern Pirate Kingdoms, Barkle is a greedy, heartless wizard. He is known to recruit minions who rob the good, honest villagers and travelers on the lonely road between Vistola and the Monastery of the Deep.
medium human male, chaotic evil
Wizard (Urchin) Level 7
Speed 30 ft.
STR 9 (-1)
DEX 14 (+2)
INT 18 (+4)
WIS 16 (+3)
CHA 16 (+3)
Saving Throws Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills Arcana, Insight, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Disguise Kit, Thieve’s Tools
Languages common, draconic, goblin
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Spellcasting. Bargle is a 7th level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). Bargle has the following wizard spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will):
1st level (4 slots): shield, magic missile, charm person, sleep
2st level (3 slots): invisibility, misty step, ray of enfeeblement
3st level (3 slots): fireball, counter spell, fly
4th level (1 slots): wall of fire
Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Character by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
I came up with this dungeon when my players wandered into hex C2-20 in the classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, a great old adventure which encourages DMs to fill inthe blank encounter areas with dungeons of one’s own design.
One of the players was playing a Warlock with the Far Ones pact, and I wanted to introduce a re-occurring Mind Flayer antagonist who would be a contact for the Warlock for their pact. The result was a nasty little dungeon filled with traps and horrors. When the Mind Flayer within contacted the warlock telepathically to offer magical secrets the Player Characters followed them right in.
The evil architects of this stronghold forced their slaves to build it as a spiraling trap, with a raised, hidden central area from which they could use their psychic powers on hapless intruders. As their prey make their way through the outer areas, encountering the mind-controlled slaves who dwell there, the Mind Flayers will lurk, peering through hidden peep-holes to use mind blasts and charm powers on their victims. If discovered, the Mind Flayers will retreat up 20 foot vertical shafts to the central passages and behind further secret doors.
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, rules agnostic, Trap and tagged Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In case you missed it, the second season of our actual-play Dungeons & Dragons show Class of 198X is available here!
See the comedians of Cow Chop play teenagers from the 1980’s and bumble their way through time and space in this incredible adventure, fighting adversaries (and each other) every step of the way.
If you’d like to play the adventure from season one of the show, it’s right here!
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, announcement, D20 Modern, Fantasy, Science-Fiction and tagged Class of 198X by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
After 12 years and 799 articles detailing new magic items, monsters, spells, characters, encounters, locations, and adventures, Unicorn Rampant Publishing and Claw Claw Bite Magazine are thrilled to present you with this free adventure for Dungeons & Dragons or other fantasy role-playing games.
Thanks for coming with us on this amazing journey of the imagination, and look for this and so much more in the next issue of Claw Claw Bite!
In the land of Findor, where the Hadevar River meets the Soral Sea, the gray city of Grimsport broods. Dark stone buildings with slate roofs cluster around the main square, a short walk up the cobblestone road from the docks. There are found the homes of the ruling Captains’ families. Stone walls separate the inner city from the wooden homes of the tradespeople and serfs. Farms dot the banks of the river further inland.
It is from this city that the region gets it’s moniker “The Pirate Kingdoms.” Grimsport is the largest city in the region and the closest thing to a capital, and the primary source of the raiders that plague the Soral Sea. But in Findor no one rules an area larger than a stronghold or city, save the goblins of the northern wastes.
The Town of Grimsport
The boat-owning worthies who make their homes in the city center form the Captains’ Council, the closest thing to a government in this violent port town. They own most of the farmland and assign it to serfs. They serve as the bankers and trade in many goods. Some families have small fleets. Others have but one ship to their names.
The most important Capitans’ families are as follows:
- VonWaldemar – The wealthiest and oldest of the families, with the largest home on the central square. Said to be the descendants of some of the first humans to come to this wild, cold land many generations ago. Old man VonWlademar hasn’t been seen in public in years, and people sometimes whisper about pale, ghostly figures peering out of the heavily curtained mansion windows at night.
- Thyra Askrdottir – Daughter of Askr Vulfethson, Thyra’s exploits as captain of her father’s ship have earned her a reputation as a skilled and ruthless pirate.
- Addis Rígson – Addis owns two ships, which are captained by his two eldest sons Victor and Ricus. His youngest son Sigurd wanders the land seeking his fortune and could be a NPC or hierling met here or elsewhere.
- Soljev – Captain Soljev sails the Drunken Siren.
- Ragnhild – Captain of the Kraken’s Maw and the Burning Spear.
- Kromulf – The new captain of the Black Hydra, an infamous pirate ship that Kromulf wrested from its previous captain.
- Gunnar Smithson – Owns a small fleet of fishing vessels, sailed by his extended family, and the ship Silver Wave.
- Malte One-Hand – An old captain, now mostly retired due to his ship being in poor repair.
- Gull Erland – His ship is in drydock for repairs which he cannot afford.
- Eberhard the Bloody – Has one small ship and a reputation as a unpredictable and violent man.
- Bjarke Littlebear – Sails a large fishing boat with his five sons.
- The Wailing Wench – This rowdy tavern sits on the road between the main square and the docks, and is always full of sailors. Thieving, fighting, kidnapping and every other type of crime are regular occurrences here. A fenced pen and stables are attached to the back for travelers animals.
- Church of the Sky Father and Sea Mother – attended by a priest and priestess, with smaller shrines to other local dieties such as Krom, etc.
- Smithy – Worked by a smith and a team of apprentices and journeymen, with a good assortment of tools, weapons, and armor, used or ready-made.
- Shipwright – Currently building a 20 foot wooden currach.
- Hanging Tree & Godswood
- Ruined Watchtower – built long ago by the Captain’s council, no repairs have ever been made to the watchtower. Over the decades it has fallen into ruin, and the whole north wall of the two-story tower has collapsed. None know about the small cache of treasure buried there.
Adventures and Encounters in Grimsport
- Thieves in the Swamps – A band of thieves operates out of the swamps to the west. They secretly use Malte One-Hand’s ship as storage for their stolen goods.
- Pressed into Service – Press gangs round up drunks and force them to crew the captains’ ships. While the Player Characters are crewing the ship any sort of mishap or adventure could befall them. The ship could sink in bad weather, throwing the heroes upon some unknown shore. Perhaps they are forced to scout a fortress the Captain wishes to raid, or perhaps the PCs are forced to be the first wave of the attack. The Lilend at the Stormking Rocks might lure them to her isle and send them after the Rune of Life in the shadowlands at the edge of the Land of the Dead.
- Pickpockets and Muggers – The rough rogues of Grimsport will take any opportunity to enrich themselves if they see people not paying attention to their purses, or who they think are weak enough to rob (preferably one character who they follow until they outnumber their victim).
- Dueling in the Streets – Disputes in Grimsport are often settled personally, and duels are a common form of conflict resolution, weather to first blood or to the death. In such a place the Player Characters could easily become embroiled in a dangerous situation. Mistaken identity, false accusations, or just disrespecting someone or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could result in a duel.
- Escaped Slaves – Some slaves captured in a raid have escaped and a reward is offered for their return.
- Beggars – Old crippled fisherman and seamen beg for alms in the square and by the docks.
- Grave Robbers – Graves dug on the hill behind the church are always found empty a week or so after burying. No one in town really seems to care, as this has been going on for as long as anyone can remember. Under cover of night, the ghouls who crew the VonWaldemar’s ships and attend them in their mansion are digging up the graves to feast upon the rotten bodies. Investigation after the next burial (a common occurrence) will lead the Player Characters to the basement door of the VonWaldemar mansion.
- Land Dispute – One of the Captains wants some land currently owned by another Captain and the Player Characters are asked to undertake some skulduggery. Burn the crops, poison the well, kill the farmers, or whatever is needed to get the current tenants off and new tenants on.
- Missing Servant Girls – Player characters who spend much time in town will hear that servant girls sometimes go missing. Investigation leads to the ghouls in the basement of the Von Waldemar mansion (see map).
VonWaldemar Mansion Areas
- The stone exterior, high windows, and peaked slate roofs of this mansion site like a dark and gothic castle on the town square. A fence surrounds the front and sides of the windowless bottom floor, and a stair in the back leads down to the basement entrance. The front door will not be answered unless it is being battered down, and then by ghoul butlers and Matrok, an armored wight who will demand to know what business interrupts the VonWaldemar’s rest.
- The ground floor has several mostly-empty halls, a decorative armory, and a small library of dusty common books. An undead shadow, the restless spirit of one of the long-dead Von Waldemars, haunts these halls and will warn Gunnar of any intruders.
- The basements are overseen by a ghoul named Harod and a flesh golem doorman named Pip. Peasant servants prepare food while ghoul footmen serve the vampires upstairs. The locked vault contains a large amount of plateware, iron ingots, and other loot pillaged from around the Soral Sea, along with several chests of gold, silver and copper coins, and two empty caskets where the vampires will flee if defeated.
- The sub-basement holds cells, a half-flooded chamber where corpses float in briny water, and their horrible feeding area. VonWaldemar, the vampire master of the house, is sometimes found here feeding with the ghouls among the cracked bones of countless people. A secret passage leads to a small, rough-hewn passage which leads to the town well, and is guarded by a gargoyle.
- The VonWaldemar family quarters are upstairs, as are the quarters of their wight guards and ghoul servants. Gunnar VonWaldemar and his daughter Helde are centuries-old vampires, and the only remaining members of the family. They are attended by several ghoul servants. Their quarters contain much finery, and any victims that they are feeding from. The windows in the vampires’ quarters have the shutters nailed closed and reinforced so that no sunlight can enter. Gunnar is a 7th level wizard, and his chambers contain his spellbook, many magic scrolls, and correspondence with someone who signs with a unique snowflake-like rune (the evil lich White Eye), and who has asked Gunnar to use an enclosed scroll of glacial onslaught to draw the oncoming unnatural summer ice south, down the river. If necessary, the VonWaldemar vampires will become bats or rats and use the ratholes, which crisscross the entire mansion with a network of rat-tunnels, to escape.
VonWaldemar Mansion Sub-Basement
Background image by Nikolai Rerikh, Guests from Overseas, 1901, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (public domain)
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, Location, rules agnostic and tagged Soralia by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Posted in 1st edition D&D, 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Spell by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Medium undead, lawful evil
Armor Class 19 (plate armor), 21 (shield of faith)
Hit Points 67 (8d8+24)
Speed 25 ft.
STR 19 (+4) DEX 10 (+0) CON 16 (+3) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws Dex +3, Wis +4, Cha +4
Damage Resistances fire
Damage Immunities poison; necrotic
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened, poisoned
Senses passive Perception 11, darkvision 120 ft.
Languages Common, Dwarven
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Multiattack. The death knight makes two Frost Brand attacks.
Frost Brand. Melee greatsword: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (2d6 + 4 slashing and 1d6 cold damage).
Spellcasting. The death knight is a 8th level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). It has the following spells prepared:
1st level: (4 slots): shield of faith, thunderous smite, bless, searing smite
2nd level: (3 slots): aid, branding smite
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Character, Creature, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The History: This ancient blade’s full history is known only to the most studious Dwarven sages of the Dunheng Kingdoms, where it was forged to slay giants and dragons. In the centuries since, it has appeared in the hands of many heroes, only to be lost again with their passing. Most recently it was wielded by Jak, a King of the Fridon people who in tales is called the Giant Slayer. He was a king of the Fridon many years ago, when his people were attacked by the giants from the Danor Mountains. He fought them wearing the hide of a dragon and wielding Jäällätaudin, and drove them back to their burning peaks.
Below are statistics for Jäällätaudin using 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. To customize it add some of the magic item quirks from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Or alter these stats or add abilities to make it fit into your campaign.
Weapon (greatsword), very rare (requires attunement)
This thick-bladed, angular greatsword is a masterpiece of dwarven artistry. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Against creatures with Damage Immunity to fire, the bonus is instead +3.
Jäällätaudin is sentient, and is only interested in slaying dragons, and giants, or other fire-type creatures (salamanders, fire elementals, etc.). It will communicate its history through nightly dreams (telepathy), where the wielder lives through the many battles that the sword’s previous owners fought. If its wielder does not actively peruse the killing of its foes, a deep chill comes over the wielder and they must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or become fatigued and vulnerable to cold damage until the sword is convinced the wielder will do as it wishes.
Many times in the past, this compulsion has driven the sword’s wielders to their doom, for no warrior survives every fight. Other times stubborn warriors resisted the sword’s commands, discarding it in an icy ravine or mountain lake. Twice those who could not leave the sword behind died from the cold, buried under a slowly-growing ice.
This sword’s driving purpose and blood-soaked past have coalesced into a curse – no one, once attuned, may voluntarily discard the blade unless they succeed on a DC 20 Charisma saving throw.
Posted in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Magic Item, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.