Winged Helm

This helmet, fittingly adorned by giant wings, allow the wearer to fly at various speeds, depending on the size of the adorning wings. Activating the item takes a standard action, as the wearer must rub the feathers with saliva not unlike the way a cat preens itself.

The helm in the picture is the minor version of the helm, which allows the wearer to float a foot off the ground with very limited mobility, essentially hovering and moving at half speed.

The normal version (with 18″ wings) provides fly at the wearer’s normal move and the greater version (with 6′ wings) provides flight up to 100′ per round.

Originally researched and developed by Djander, mage counsel to the King of Vandor in the waning days of his kingdom. When the king passed, the land split into the Ten Princedoms, and the Winged Helms allow the Princes to travel quickly across the sea to convene meetings to continue to rule the land. As such, there are ten Winged Helms, one each in possession of the princes.

Price: 25,000gp
Price, minor: 12,500gp
Price, major: 50,000gp

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Axe of Dismemberment

In addition to being a +1 axe, this deadly weapon deals critical hits, removing limbs like a vorpal sword. It does not sever heads, merely other body parts, such as limbs and digits. Still, it’s pretty nasty. It’s been known to render warriors useless in battle, their arms sundered from their corporal beings.

This nasty item and the magic that powers it was developed by orc mages in the Northern Reaches, but has been strongly adopted by all the demi-human races in the Fjordlands.

On a successful critical hit, roll a d6. On a one, the DM chooses a limb that is severed.

Due to the tainted nature of the item, this axe cannot work for a day after a restoration or repair spell is cast upon it. In these cases it acts as a normal axe. It also needs to taste blood before the special dismembering power is activated.

Oh, and you don’t want to fumble wielding this item — critical failures mean you roll 1d6 on yourself. On a one, you lose something!

This weapon has left many a knighly warrior shouting, “Come back and fight — I’ll bite your legs!” and other sad taunts.

Moderate necromancy and transmutation; CL 18th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, wither limb, keen edge; Price +4 bonus: 32,000 gp.

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Issue 5 Released!

Today we released Issue 5 to the General Public. This means you. Unless you’re the Major General Public, or the eminent Modern Major General Public.

Beautiful cover art, 7 new characters, 2 new locations, 2 new monsters, and one hell of a scary encounter. All that and more in a beautiful printer-friendly edition. So go download the issue today!

Sir, yes sir!

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The Ritual in the Woods (EL 13)

This encounter is the climax of the second part of the Horror of the Old Ones, a D20 fantasy adventure for 10th level characters. At this point the party has entered the Elsemere woods in search of the village priest. Eventually they will find their way to a clearing with some ancient ruins.

Forest Features

Lighting: The forest is relatively dimly lit, much dimmer than the outside. However, even at night, the forest seems to have the same light. It’s as if there is no difference in the wood. Daylight (or nightlight) filters through the canopy, creating an ambient effect.

Creatures: Creatures in this part of the wood are less tame than in other woods. For instance, foxes, deep and other woodland creatures are likely to be aggressive rather than docile.

The Ritual in the Woods (EL 13)

Clearing Features

Lighting: As normal. Sunlight and moonlight during their respective hours.

Creatures: No natural creatures live in the clearing, but there are inhabitants detailed below.

This large field is dotted with the remnants of ancient stone buildings or walls, mossy, overgrown and half buried. A group of people are gathered around a large flat stone, chanting along with a hooded figure standing before the stone.

As the party watches the sky takes on a startling transformation. The clearing darkens and stars become visible in the sky, however none of the constellations are familiar. A transparent creature appears in the sudden darkness. Its enormous lumpy head, shoulders and membranous wings occupy a third of the sky, looming over the horizon.

This enormous shape begins to draw closer, becoming smaller as it does so. Soon it hovers above the altar, silently regarding the Priest with its alien eyes. He draws back his hood, revealing himself as Ernaldus, Elsemere’s Priest of St. Cuthbert. His eyes wild, he beseeches the apparition in strange words with arms upraised.

The phantom reaches out with its long arm, its rubbery digits squirming. Dark energy passes from its grotesque hand to the priest’s head and a horrible transformation overtakes the man. Ernaldus’ features are twisted as his skin turns a mottled green-brown and his mouth and jaws widen unnaturally. In his gaping maw are revealed rows of pointy teeth, like a lamprey’s mouth. As his body runs like wax at the apparition’s touch, the cleric begins to scream in terror. His eyes blank and glassy, he begins pleading towards the horror in the sky to stop drinking his soul. His tortured pleadings are punctuated with sobbing cries of, “It doesn’t even know I’m here! It doesn’t even know I’m here! I’m an insect! A mote! It’s eyes!!!” before trailing off into incomprehensible burbles and croaks. Similar changes turn half the cultists into vaguely reptilian or amphibian mockeries of their former selves. Their screams and groans create a symphony of anguish that echoes throughout the clearing.

The transformed priest, or whatever is now pulling the strings of his mind, straightens up and seems to recover his composure somewhat. Speaking with a strange slurring voice that is not entirely human, he orders the destruction of the nonbelievers who have profaned this holy moment.

Creatures: Ernaldus, Begotten of the Old Ones (5), Shada Monks (5) and a projection of the Old One. The cultists are enacting a ritual they hope will bring forth the unknown source of dark power they’ve been worshiping. They will attack any who is profaning this sacred moment. The Old One is here in a special projected form, and so is not able to act with its full strength or enjoy the benefits of its reality-warping. Use the stats below for this form.

Projected form of the Old One (CR 11)
Chaotic Evil Outsider
Size Large Aberration (incorporeal)
Init:+0 Senses: Darkvison 120
Listen +20 Spot +20

AC: 28 (+19 natural, -1 size) touch 14, flat-footed 33
HP: 140 (HD 16d8+96)
Resist: Incorporeal (50% miss chance)
Fort: +14 Ref: +5 Will: +14

MV: 30 ft, fly 40 ft (perfect)
Attack: claw +19 (1d6+8)
Full Attack: 2 claws +19 (1d6+8) and 8 tentacles +17 (1d6+4)
Space / Reach: 10′ / 10′
Base Attack: +12 Grapple: +24

Abilities: Str 26(+8), Dex 10, Con 24(+7), Int 21(+5), Wis 19(+4), Cha 23 (+6)
Feats: Multiattack, Combat Expertiese, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Sunder, Great Fortitude
Skills: Concentration 23, Knowledge (Arcana) 20, Knowledge (Planes) 21, Knowledge (Dungoneering) 21, Listen 20, Spellcraft 21, Spot 20

Ernaldus, the Corrupted Priest CR 11
Chaotic Evil human cleric 9
Size Medium Aberration
Init: -2 Senses: Darkvision 60′
Listen +3 Spot +3
Languages: common, telepathy 60′

AC: 22 (+5 armor, +5 natural armor, +4 deflection) touch 12, flat-footed 22
HP: 66 (HD 9d8+24)
Resist: DR 5 / lawful, SR 15
Fort: +9 Ref: +1 Will:+9

MV: 20′
Attack: +11 appendage 1d6+5
Full Attack: +11 / +8 appendage (1d6+5)
Attack Options:
Space / Reach: 5ft / 5ft
Base Attack: +6/+1 Grapple: +8

Abilities: Str: 14 Dex: 10 Con: 14 (16) Int: 10 Wis: 16 Cha: 12
SQ: Lightning Touch, Otherworldly Gaze, Spell-like abilities (see below)
Feats: 5 spell focus enchantment, scribe scroll,
Skills: points: concentration +10, knowledge (religion) +8, spellcraft +8

Spells Prepared (DC 13 + spell level)
0th: 6:
1st: 4+1: cure light wounds, doom (2), shield of faith, protection from good*
2nd: 4+1: cure moderate wounds, hold person, silence, sound burst, blindness*
3rd: 3+1: cure serious wounds, dispel magic, prayer, contagion*
4th: 2+1: cure critical wounds, greater magic weapon, unholy blight*
5th: 1+1: flame strike, feeblemind*
* domain spell

Domains: corruption (ignore hardness when attacking an object 1/day), evil (evil spells are cast at 1 higher caster level)
Spell-Like Abilities: blur 1/day
Possessions: breastplate +1 (200 gp), Amulet of Health +2 (4000gp), Lesser Rod of Metamagic (Empower) (9000 gp), scroll of symbol of pain, potion of cure moderate wounds, brown robes.

DR: 5 / lawful (axiomatic)

SR: 15

3 Shada Cultists CR 5
Chaotic Neutral human monk 5
Size Medium humanoid
Init: +3
Listen +10 Spot +10
Languages: common

AC: 16 (+3 monk bonus, +3 dex), touch 16, flat-footed 16
HP: 29 (HD 5d8+5)
Fort: +4 Ref: +4 Will: +4

MV: 40 ft
Attack: +5 unarmed strike (1d8+1)
Full Attack: flurry of blows +4 / +4 unarmed strike (1d8+1)
Attack Options: stunning fist (DC 14 Fort. or stun for 1 rd.), improved grapple, improved trip (+4 on Str check)
Space / Reach: 5ft / 5ft
Base Attack: +3 Grapple: +8

Abilities: Str: 13 Dex: 15 Con: 12 Int: 10 Wis: 14 Cha: 8
SQ: evasion, still mind
SA: flurry of blows, ki strike (magic), stunning fist
Feats: 3 stunning fist, combat reflexes, weapon focus unarmed strike, improved grapple, improved trip
Skills: +10 listen, +10 spot, +11 tumble

3 Begotten of the Old Ones CR 5
Chaotic Neutral with evil tendencies
Medium Size Aberration
Init: +2 Senses: darkvision 60′
Listen +7 Spot +7
Languages: Telepathy 60′ and common

AC: 17 (+2 dex, +5 natural armor), touch 12, flat-footed 15
HP: (HD 9d8+ 27)
Defenses: SR 15, DR 5 / lawful
Fort: +6 Ref: +5 Will: +5

MV: 30, swim 30 or fly 30′
Attack: +10 appendage 1d6+4
Full Attack: +11 appendage (1d6+4), and +11 appendage (1d6+4)
Attack Options: Lightning Touch
Space / Reach: 5ft. / 5ft.
Base Attack: +6 Grapple: +10

Abilities: Str: 18 Dex: 15 Con: 17 Int: 9 Wis: 12 Cha: 6
SQ: DR 5/lawful, SR 15, darkvision 60′
SA: spell like abilities: blur
Feats: weapon focus (appendage), power attack, ability focus (Otherworldly Gaze), quicken spell-like ability (blur)
Skills: +7 listen, +7 spot

Lightning Touch (Su): Begotten of the Old Ones can generate, as a free action, a burst of electricity from within their bodies that damages and may stun their victims. The touch deals 1d8 points of electricity damage and stuns the target for 1d4 rounds. A DC 17 Fortitude save avoids the stun effect – the save is constitution based. They may use this ability once per round, delivered by melee attack.

Otherworldly Gaze: As a standard action begotten can focus their otherwordly gaze upon a mortal creature and create a haze of confusion as the spell. A DC 17 will save is required to avoid this confusion (save is wisdom based), which lasts as long as the begotten concentrates upon it.

Spell-like abilities: blur 1/day. Caster level 5th.

DR: 5 / lawful (axiomatic)

SR: 15

Tactics: The Shada monks will attack immediately, charging the nearest party member and attempting to flank them while the Begotten will use their otherworldly gaze on the nearest targets. The projected Old One will float into the midst of the party and lash out with its claws and tentacles at opportune targets.

Ernaldus will prepare with the following spells before joining the fray. First will be a symbol of pain from the scroll he carries. Anyone approaching within 60′ must make a DC 18 Fortitude save or suffer -4 to attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. After that he will cast prayer, shield of faith, and greater magic weapon (on his appendage). His statistics are altered to include these effects. He will then cast hold person on a warrior before casting feeblemind, flame strike (empowered) and unholy blight (empowered) on any spellcasters before supporting the monks and begotten with empowered healing.

Treasure: offerings for the Old One amounting to 9 gems worth 2600 gp total. There are also five minor magic items: Amulet of Mighty Fists +1, Elixir of Sneaking, Boots of Elvenkind, Dust of Illusion, and a Swan Boat Feather Token.

Development: Once the party defeats the priest and his twisted worshipers, Ernaldus will fall to the ground and regain one last moment of lucidity as his former self. As his life slips away, he will gasp out a gurgling, mostly incoherent rant, that will contain one clue for the party to continue on to the next phase of their mission.

“No light…only darkness and hunger…I didn’t know… How could I have known?… It sleeps and dreams…under Harpy’s Point…I know its secret now…oh the horror! The horror! We are all doomed…we have always been doomed…death without end…eons without hope…oblivion…”

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Bawana Garawal (14th level)

Bawana was raised in the gnoll highlands in the Orkrun. She fought her way up through the ranks of the Gnoll Brigade and finally struck out on her own, founding the Iron Coven with her companions. She now travels the northern reaches with them, adventuring and building up a small horde of treasure and followers.

Bawana Garawal
Medium-size Female Gnoll
Humanoid2 Fighter12

Hit Dice: (2d8)+(12d10)+70
Hit Points: 174
Initiative: +5
Speed: Walk 30 ft.
AC: 24 (flatfooted 20, touch 14)
Attacks: *Minor Battleaxe of Ice +22/+17;*Minor Battleaxe of Fire +22/+17/+12; ;
Damage: *Minor Battleaxe of Ice 1d8+10;*Minor Battleaxe of Fire 1d8+15; ;
Vision: Darkvision (60′)
Face / Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Humanoid Traits
Saves: Fortitude: +16, Reflex: +9, Will: +5
Abilities: STR 28 (+9), DEX 20 (+5), CON 20 (+5), INT 11 (+0), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 9 (-1)
Skills: Appraise 0; Balance 3; Bluff -1; Climb 7; Concentration 5; Craft (Untrained) 0; Diplomacy -1; Disguise -1; Escape Artist 3; Forgery 0; Gather Information -1; Heal 1; Hide 3; Intimidate -1; Jump 7; Listen 1; Move Silently 3; Ride 5; Search 0; Sense Motive 1; Spot 1; Survival 1; Swim 5;
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Heavy), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Axe (Orc Double)), Greater Weapon Focus (Battleaxe), Greater Weapon Specialization (Battleaxe), Improved Critical (Battleaxe), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Martial Weapon Proficiency, Power Attack, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (Battleaxe), Weapon Specialization (Battleaxe)
Challenge Rating: 13
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Possessions: Belt of Giant Strength +6; Minor Battleaxe of Ice (+2/frost); Boots of Speed; Gloves of Dexterity +2; Gnoll Chain; Minor Battleaxe of Fire (+2/flaming)

Alternate Stats
Presented here are alternative statistics for Bawana, with 7 levels of Blackguard.

Recently, Bawana began trafficking with dark powers in order to increase her power. Since then her leadership has propelled the Iron Coven to infamy across the kingdoms. None of the Iron Coven dare cross her as her fiendish raven Blackeye watches her back and reports any disloyalty to Bawana.

Fighter 7, Blackguard 7
Medium-size Female Gnoll
Init: Senses: darkvision 60 ft
Listen Spot
Languages: Gnoll, Common

AC: 19 (+1 natural armor, + 3 dex, +5 armor)
HP: 151 (HD 14d10+70)
Aura: Aura of Despair (enemies within 10 feet of her take a -2 penalty on all saving throws)
Fort: +16 Ref: +8 Will: +6

MV: 30 ft
Attack: Minor Battleaxe of Fire +21 (1d8 + 13 and 1d6 fire)
Full Attack: Minor Battleaxe of Fire +21/+16/+11 (1d8 + 13 and 1d6 fire) and Minor Battleaxe of Ice +21/+16 (1d8 + 8 and 1d6 frost)
Attack Options: sneak attack +2d6 damage, smite good (+1 attack, +7 damage) 2/day
Space / Reach: 5 ft / 5 ft
Base Attack: +14 / +9 / +4 Grapple: +23

Abilities: STR 28 (+9), DEX 16 (+3), CON 20 (+5), INT 11 (+0), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 13 (+1)
SQ: Aura of evil, Dark blessing, fiendish servant (raven)
SA: detect good, poison use, smite good 2/day (+1 attack, +7 damage), command undead, aura of despair, sneak attack +2d6,
Feats: Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Improved Critical (Battleaxe), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (Battleaxe), Weapon Specialization (Battleaxe)
Skills: ftr: 20, bkgrd 14. Diplomacy +7, Hide +8, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (religion) 2, Ride +5

Spells Available:
1st (2/day): cause fear, corrupt weapon, cure light wounds, doom, inflict light wounds, magic weapon, summon monster I*.
2nd (1/day): bull’s strength, cure moderate wounds, darkness, death knell, eagle’s splendor, inflict moderate wounds, shatter, summon monster II*.
3rd (1/day): contagion, cure serious wounds, deeper darkness, inflict serious wounds, protection from energy, summon monster III*.
* Evil creatures only.

Possessions: Belt of Giant Strength +6; Minor Battleaxe of Ice (+2/frost); Boots of Speed; Gloves of Dexterity +2; Gnoll Chain; Minor Battleaxe of Fire (+2/flaming)

Minions: “Blackeye”, Fiendish Raven 4HD, 7 Int, SA: Empathic link, improved evasion, share saving throws, share spells, speak with blackguard.

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Spell: Studied Divination

Studied Divination is a spell that allows the caster to gain insight into future events. It is especially useful for the DM to introduce a threat that the players must eventually face, as it gives vague warnings about a future threat.

“Studied Divination”
Level: Clr 3, 6 and 9, Drd 3, 6 and 9, Sor/Wiz 3, 6 and 9.
Components: V, S, M/DF, F
Casting Time: 1 month of 2 hrs/day
Range: See text
Effect self
Duration: instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: no

This spell allows the caster, through long and careful study, to gain portents regarding developing or distant events. Through the careful study of the stars, throwing of yarrow sticks, the study of sacrificial entrails, drawing of runes, the study of cards, throwing of bones, entering sacred trances, or some similar activity, the caster may be able to gain knowledge of important events that are of interest to him. As a secondary effect, the caster may know weather certain mundane events will come to weal or woe, such as the prosperity of a wedding, weather the establishment of a certain field will be fruitful or other similar mundane events.

The knowledge so divined is limited to vague portents, easily misunderstood. At 3rd level it is limited to knowledge regarding a single town or county not more then one month in the future. At 6th level it can relate to a kingdom for a year, and at 9th can regard a world for a decade. Information and prophecy gained can be misunderstood, and is not necessarily foolproof (the future is not set), or can be self-fulfilling (aka, you can’t escape fate). The specific information given is left to the discretion of the DM.

The casting of this spell requires it’s preparation and casting every day for a month. The casting itself requires a quiet place of study where the caster may examine the signs for the required two hours, the divination objects themselves (which cost 500, 5,000, and 50,000gp at the respective levels), and a successful knowledge arcana, nature or religion check at the end of the casting (DC 15, 25, and 35, respectively). This check is made in secret by the dungeon master. Failure represents a confused or unclear interpretation of events.

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