Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel (“original bird” or “first bird”), is the earliest and most primitive bird known.

Size/Type: Small Animal
Hit Dice: 2d10 (12 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 10 ft (2 squares), fly 40 ft. (average)
Armor Class: 16 (+1 size, +5 Dex), touch 15, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-11 (+1 when attached)
Attack: Bite +7 melee (3d4-1)
Full Attack: Bite +7 melee (3d4-1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Attach, sawteeth
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +1
Abilities: Str 7, Dex 21, Con 10, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Hide +8, Listen +2, Spot +4
Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse B
Environment: Warm marshes and moors
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: —
Level Adjustment: —

A archaeopteryx’s coloration ranges from rust-red to tan, with a coat of feathers that ranges from ochre to turquoise.

A archaeopteryx’s body is about 3 feet long, with a wingspan of 3-5 feet. It weighs about 50 pounds.


A archaeopteryx attacks by biting into a victim, and making a sawing motion with its beak.

Attach (Ex): If a archaeopteryx hits with its bite attack, it uses its saw-like teeth to latch onto the opponent’s body. An attached archaeopteryx is effectively grappling its prey. The archaeopteryx loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and has an AC of 12, but holds on with great tenacity. Archaeopteryx have a +12 racial bonus on grapple checks (already figured into the Base Attack/Grapple entry above).

An attached archaeopteryx can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself. To remove an attached archaeopteryx through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the archaeopteryx.

Sawtooth (Ex): Archaeopteryx deal 1d6 points of damage in any round when it begins its turn attached to a victim.

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The Ruins of Soguer – Introduction

Welcome back to Tailslap!, Unicorn Rampant’s 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons publication.

Today I’m releasing the first on many dungeon-a-day style posts for our latest adventure: The Ruins of Soguer. I’m super excited to be sharing this adventure with y’all in this great format! Every few days you’ll see a new section of the adventure, be it a location in town, a interlude, and overview of an area or an encounter.

So without further fanfare, I present the introduction to The Ruins of Soguer!
Look for the details of Aguies town to follow shortly, followed by the start of the meat of the adventure: a trip by riverboat down the river Daren to the Ruins of Soguer!

Introductory Text: Called upon to retrieve the old king’s sword and crown from the ruins of the god-destroyed capitol, the heroes must brave the crumbling remains of the once-great city to find the royal insignia. Destroyed, overgrown and daemon-haunted, the ruins of the city of Soguer are said to be cursed, and do not relinquish their secrets easily. It will take heroes of true mettle to return alive with their prize and crown their lord the new King of Soguer!

Background: A year ago, in the war-torn country once known as Soguer, a young man named Ludwig appeared claiming to be the heir to the throne of the shattered kingdom. Pursuing a daring campaign this young warrior captured Castle Devyn from the orcs of the Yellow Snake Clan. As peace spread around Devyn town Ludwig was pressed to become a vassal by the neighboring Count of Aguies. Ludwig, claiming himself the true heir to the kingdom, and that Aguies was thereby rightful vassal to him, refused and forged an alliance with other lords in the County. Ludwig and his allies fought a brief, victorious war against Count Aguies.

Now Count of Aguies, one of the five Counties that composed the kingdom of Soguer, Ludwig has asked the priests of the Church of the Three Brothers to coronate him as King of Soguer. Hesitant, the priests of Kord, Pelor and Herionious cloistered themselves to pray upon the matter.

Several days later Father Dirk, the priest of Kord in the Aguies Cathedral announced that he had received a vision from The Brawler. In Ludwig’s hall he tells how a strong man appeared to him and told him that “only if the boy speaks with the tongue of the law can he be the heir of Soguer”. All agree that this must refer to Ludwig’s grandfather’s sword, the Judge’s Tongue, and that this is a sign from the gods that if this task can be mastered Ludwig should be coronated.

Thus does a call go out for heroes to retrieve the old king’s sword and crown from the ruins of the god-destroyed capitol at the mouth of the river Daren. The heroes are asked to brave the crumbling remains of the once-great city to find the royal insignia. Promised great reward and Ludwig’s eternal gratitude they are asked to return alive with their prize and crown Ludwig the new King of Soguer!

Adventure Hooks: This adventure was written as part of a larger campaign, called The Heir of Soguer, where the players are knight-vassals to Ludwig, and are assisting him to establish peace in the war-torn and fractured land that was his grandfather’s prosperous kingdom. In this context Ludwig simply asks them as friends to try to find the Judge’s Tongue.

If you are playing this adventure as a stand-alone adventure or as part of your own campaign, you may simply announce that a call has gone out for heroes to retrieve the royal sword and start play in that way.

Alternatively, you may wish to replace the sword with some other item or person that the players seek. It could be treasure they want or an important item in your story. Simply run the adventure as written and replace all references to the Judge’s Tongue with the item they are questing after.

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A Series of False Trap Sketches

Inspired by a brief conversation from tonight’s role playing session, here are some false trap ideas for your dungeons. They’re brief themselves; so be it.

Alternate Flooring

One way to keep your party (especially the rogues) on their toes is to mix up the flooring. Drop in fitted stone where there is mostly naturally-hewn rock, or parquet in the middle of a wealthy treasure chamber. These false positives will set the party up to let their guard down for the real traps awaiting them!

Spurious Tripwires

Have tripwires in dungeons that don’t set off any traps. These wires might set certain levers, building to a larger trap, be lines to traps already set off, or simply be duds, traps that never seem to work.

False Pits

Have floors drop out from under the party, only to have them land 6″ below the normal floor. This will set them at ease… Or will it!?!?

Anti-trap Tripwires

Have these tripwires drop shields that protect the party from the falling rocks in the next room, or provide other potential escapes and work-arounds, such as opening up a side chamber or otherwise revealing a potential escape.

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Giant Pipefish

Slithering out from the the reef, a giant eel of a beast swims toward you.

Giant Pipefish
Size/Type: Large Animal (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 12d8+46 (107 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: Swim 90 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (-1 size, +6 Dex, +12 natural)
Base Attack/Grapple: +10/+23
Attack: Bite +17 melee (2d6+5)
Full Attack: Bite +17 melee (2d6+5)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab, constrict
Special Qualities: Keen scent
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +15, Will +8
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 23, Con 15, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills: Listen +14, Spot +10, Swim +24
Feats: Improved Natural Attack (bite), Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Cold aquatic
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 10
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 13-18 (Huge); 19-32 (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: —

Giant pipefish attack anything they perceive to be edible, even larger creatures, constricting them until they stop breathing.

This monstrous fish can grow to a length of 25 feet and weigh more than 4,000 pounds.


Giant pipefish entangle their foes in their long, tentacle-like bodies.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a dire shark must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe in the following round.

Constrict (Ex): A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, after making a successful grapple check. The amount of damage is given in the creature’s entry. If the creature also has the improved grab ability it deals constriction damage in addition to damage dealt by the weapon used to grab.

Keen Scent (Ex): A giant pipefish can notice creatures by scent in a 180-foot radius and can detect blood in the water at a range of up to 1 mile.


A giant pipefish has a +12 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered, and get a free tumble check to move through opponents spaces, avoiding attacks of opportunity.

It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

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Proppian Player’s Guide (Oct 20 DRAFT)

Here is the next installment of the Proppian Player’s Guide.

Spending the last two weeks in a cabin in the Finger Lakes has continued to inspire the development of the guide, as has The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe and a few fairy tales I’ve had my head planted within. We’ve experienced autumn and winter in the same week, and it’s been memorable — lots of hauling wood and fire-stoking, interspersed with storytelling and lots of writing.

The result in this guide is more depth in the NPC classes, and at the request of some upcoming players to the realm, more information on the key nations of the region that they’ll begin in. These nations will be fleshed out in much more detail in the Proppian Storyteller’s Guide, since it’s information that shouldn’t be well known by the players, since the idea is to have them learn it in-game. However, to get my new players in the right frame of mind to create their characters, it helps to have some basis for their made up reality.

New NPC classes include:

Acrobat: Sneaking about the urban landscape under cover of darkness, the acrobat balances tight rope walking with weapon finesse to provide an athletic character class.

Friar: Traveling the world to preach their own interpretation of the gospel, friars know much of the world and contemplate the afterlife often. Others may see them as overly dogmatic, but they insist they are faithful to their faith, and this keeps them going as they journey from hamlet to township, making observations that they tie back to ancient parables in homilies delivered to all who will listen.

Hunter: Wandering the forest in search of food, hunters have learned where to aim, how to stand, and when to attack their prey. This makes them formidable foes in woods, cities, and dungeons, wherever they may roam.

Jongleur: The ballads sung by wandering minstrels don’t do their adventuring lives justice. In their long-winded tales, they tend to dance around the central theme as well as they dance rings around the local nobility and robber barons alike with their wordplay and wit.

Merchant: Nearly every society requires commerce to thrive, and who but merchants ensure that commerce is successful. Found in almost every settlement, merchants live for one of two things: to see the community prosper through their individual actions, or to see themselves prosper as the expenses of the community grow.

Scholar: Living physically sheltered lives in cloisters and monasteries, these true monks known as scholars receive exemplar educations. Others call them bookish, but when the need for ancient knowledge or other long-dead lore arises, they are often the only ones able to provide the proper perspective for the situation.

Shepherd: Astute animal handlers with aptitude for deep thinking and spending long periods of time in concentration, shepherds are known for their no-nonsense understanding of the ways of the world.

Tinker: Toiling away in their laboratories, tinkers develop new devices to solve society’s problems. Some of these improvements are seen on the battlefield, others in the healer’s tent, and still others remain in their labs, to one day be discovered by some courageous adventurer.

Get the latest version of the fairy-tale-oriented, Medieval guide here. Remember that this guide is still under development, to be released by the end of this year.

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Wild Arbors of Mahdihly Vale

Outlaws defied the local law, setting up a camp in the local baron’s private wood. On a sacred night for believers of the dominant religion in the area, the Baron Allain sent his men into the wood, attacking the outlaws while they were in prayer. The outlaw men were hanged from the trees overhead while their families watched. They wept and prayed out loud, finally shouting insults at the baron’s men.

One of the women shouted, “for many days have these men cared for your arbors! May these trees enact a tax on your bloodthirsty life!”. She was run through on the spot by the baron himself.

A week later, he passed through the scene of the crime on his way back from battle with a small retinue, including some of the men who carried out the hangings. The baron never made it home that night, nor did any of his men. When his castle guard returned to investigate, they noted that the roots of the trees had grown in a circular barrier and that the baron and his men’s bodies were found hacked to pieces in the corral, and there were no signs of his horses, nor the corpses of the outlaws that had been left to rot.

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Adventure on sale to celebrate one year of 4th Edition on Tailslap! Only $2.50!

That’s right, here at Unicorn Rampant we’ve been putting together 4th edition material for over a year now! It’s been a long, fun year for me: we started playing a 4th edition game as soon as the material came out, starting with Keep on the Shadowfell, and then switching to my homebrew The Heir of Soguer game. Those characters are now 11th level, and the players are loving it. You can see a bit of the action on the Unicorn Rampant boards here.

It’s also been a year since we released our first 4th edition adventure: Anointing the Seer. This dark fairy tale adventure for 5th level characters has been a great seller, and I had a lot of fun writing it and playtestng it at Millenium Con here in Austin. Now, as a special thank you to our readers I’m releasing Anointing the Seer for half price – only $2.50!

Follow this link to get your half-price copy from!

In this adventure, a malevolent warlock appears at the coronation of the new priestess at a flourishing temple, renowned for it’s high priest’s abilities as an augury, and lays a curse on all there. A call goes out for some brave souls who must enter the now dangerous temple, discover the nature of the woe laid upon the priestess and set all to right. Before all is done, they will face a witch and her minions, a warlock in his aerie and a dragon in its lair.

Featuring beautiful art, full color maps, and new monsters, spells and magic items!

This dark, fairy-tale style adventure is designed for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons characters of 5th level. It is set in the western end of the Verdant Woods at the edge of the Middle Kingdoms in the Soralic lands, a campaign setting by Unicorn Rampant. As such is is suitable for any wooded area with some mountainous terrain that is near the edge of civilized lands or in a very rural area between kingdoms. The adventure is location-based and character driven, with fairy-tale elements and plenty of crunchy dungeon crawling goodness.

Great care has been taken to make this adventure easy for you to run, with notes for the gamemaster preceding each section of the adventure. All stats are presented in an easy to read format, and the adventure features great art from three professional artists.

Follow this link to get your half-price copy from!

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Llana d’Arth

This woman of the sea would sun herself on rocks a good deal off the coast of the Jæruel for those few summer weeks when the clouds would part and the light stream in sharp contrast to the grey clouds in the distance.

One summer, she was caught in the nets of a fishing trawler, and dragged up on deck. The men were frightened by her until she spoke in their tongue, asking to be set free. They complied, and she thanked them and swam off, back to her rocks to sun. They returned to the rocks the next day and she was gone.

Later that season, she swam up to their vessel and warned them of an approaching storm. Turning back to shore, they returned in time to warn the rest of the town, which boarded up and weathered the storm with minimal damage.

The fishermen were branded heroes by their fellow citizens.

Rumor has it that fishermen still see her in those sunny summer weeks out there on the rocks.

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Water Wyrd

A powerful serpent made of water rises up from the surface of the pool. Spray wets your face as it sways for a moment, then it lunges at you with blinding speed!

Used as guardians, or among some cults as sacred animals, these ceratures from the elemental chaos are unperdictable and violent. Striking unexpectedly from the water, they drag creatures under and drown them.

Water Wyrd ✦ Level 13 Lurker ✦ XP 800
Medium elemental magical beast

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +6
HP 98; Bloodied 49
AC 27; Fortitude 24, Reflex 26, Will 24
Speed Swim 8


Snatching Strike ✦ At-Will, Standard Action, Melee reach 2
A snake made of water lunges out of the pool and pulls you in.
+16 vs. Reflex, 2d8 + 6 damage, and the target is grabbed and slid 2 squares.

Squeeze! ✦ At-Will, Standard Action, Melee
The creature, invisible in the water, crushes the life – and the air – from your body.
Usable against grabbed targets only.
+16 vs. Fortitude, 4d8 + 6 damage, and if the target is underwater, they must succeed on a DC 20 Endurance check or lose a healing surge or, if out of healing surges, lose hit points equal to their healing surge value.

Dissappear ✦ At-Will, Minor Action
The water-snake dives beneath the water and from sight.
The Water Wyrd takes cover in water and becomes invisible.

Alignment neutral Languages none
Skills Athletics +15, Stealth +17
Str 19 (+10) Dex 22 (+12) Wis 11 (+6)
Con 14 (+8) Int 5 (+3) Cha 19 (+10)

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Sylvanthread Armor

This extremely light, non-magical cloth armor is made of finely-woven sylvanthread, a durable elven fabric base.

Sylvanthread Armor:
Armor Bonus: +4
Price: 3,250 Gold
Check: 0
Weight: 5 lbs.

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