Old Man Niemand's page

No posts. Organized Play character for Alexander MacLeod (RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4).

Sovereign Court 2/5 RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

Is there any Pathfinder Society scenario that uses the hex exploration rules from 1e's GameMastery Guide?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

Rulebook p. 287 wrote:
"Each day, you can channel your magic into two abilities chosen from familiar abilities, which affect your familiar, and master abilities, which affect you."

Is that two abilities from each list or two abilities in total between the two lists?

Sovereign Court

School necromancy [curse, emotion, fear]; Level antipaladin 2, druid 4, ranger 3, shaman 4, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range touch
Target creature touched
Duration permanent
Saving Throw Fort negates; Spell Resistance yes

You strike the target’s head, causing the skin to tear back back from its face, revealing the musculature and bony structures of its skull. This deals 3d6 points of damage to the target and causes any of the target’s allies within 30 feet to become shaken for 1 round unless they succeed on a Will save with a DC equal to the saving throw required by the original casting of krenshar’s spite.

Even after the initial damage from this spell is healed, until the curse is lifted any time the target attempts a Bluff check to convince someone that what it is saying is true or Diplomacy check to change someone’s attitude towards it, its skin again pulls back in a shocking fashion. This secondary skull-reveal does not cause any additional damage to the target, but does force the target to make an Intimidate check instead of the desired Bluff or Diplomacy, with all the social repercussions that entails.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

My group is only able to get together once a month for 4-6 hours of gaming, so as GM I've decided to go with the PFS style of giving out experience points: 1 game = 1 experience point; every 3 experience points = 1 level.

Now comes my question; what do I do to reward my group for exploring wilderness hexes as per Ultimate Campaign? I don't want to say they get nothing, but I'm also not sure about a straight number of hexes explored giving the PCs a level.


Sovereign Court

Any mention of the Norns from Bestiary 3? This looks really cool for those of us running Ulfen and Norse campaigns...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

So, I've written up the stats of the main antagonist for a 1st-level Winter Solstice/Yule-themed adventure. I could use a little help with his personality. I'm thinking it will take place in Sandpoint, probably at the Rusty Dragon or the Pixie's Kitten...

From a table filled with holiday food—sausages, pies, ham, tarts, roast fowl, and golden cakes bejeweled with candied fruit—an ominous voice calls out a warning.

Fruitcake Tsukumogami CR 2
XP 600
N Diminutive outsider (kami, native)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

----- Defense -----
AC 25, touch 19, flat-footed 20 (+5 Dex, +6 natural, +4 size)
hp 19 (1d10+13); fast healing 5
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +5
Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Immune construct traits, petrification, polymorph; Resist acid 10, electricity 10, fire 10
Weaknesses delicious

----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +5 (1d3-3)
Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft.

----- Statistics -----
Str 8, Dex 20, Con 17, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 14
Base Atk +1; CMB -4; CMD 11
Feats Great Fortitude
Skills Bluff +6, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +3, Perception +7, Perform (oratory) +6, Profession (cook) +4, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +26
Languages Common, Halfling, Skald; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ construction points, merge with ward, ward (100-year-old fruitcake)

----- Special Abilities -----
Construction Points Tsukumogami Toughness (Ex, 1 CP): Gains 10 bonus hit points.
Delicious (Ex) Julekage takes a –2 penalty on Escape Artist and combat maneuver checks to escape a grapple against any creature that has a bite attack with the grab ability.
Freeze (Ex) Julekage can hold itself so still it appears to be a fruitcake. When Julekage uses freeze, it can take 20 on its Stealth check to hide in plain sight as a fruitcake.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

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At first appearing to be a pile of flame-colored leaves, this thousands-strong cloud of nut brown fey takes to the air on wings of oak and maple.

Leaf-Fall Host CR 5
XP 1,600
CN Diminutive fey (swarm)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12
----- Defense -----
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 size)
hp 52 (8d6+24)
Fort +4, Ref +9, Will +7
Defensive Abilities negative energy affinity, swarm traits; Immune weapon damage
----- Offense -----
Speed 10 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee swarm (2d6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 14), frost on the pumpkin
----- Statistics -----
Str 1, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +4; CMB —; CMD
Feats Deceitful, Dodge, Taunt (APG), Toughness
Skills Bluff +15, Disguise +15, Fly +13, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perception +12, Sense Motive +12, Sleight of Hand +14, Stealth +15 (+19 in leafy areas), Survival +9; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth in leafy environs
Languages Common, Sylvan
SQ freeze
----- Ecology -----
Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, or flurry (3-5 swarms)
Treasure standard
----- Special Abilities -----
Freeze (Ex) A leaf-fall host can hold itself so still it appears to be a pile of fallen leaves. A leaf-fall host that uses freeze can take 20 on its Stealth check to hide in plain sight as a pile of oak and maple leaves.
Frost on the Pumpkin (Su) At will, a leaf-fall host can choose to have all damage done by its swarm attack in a round be delivered as cold damage.

The embodiment of the Autumnal Equinox, the elusive fey known as leaf-fall hosts are only encountered between the end of summer and the first day of winter. Their wings look like large oak and maple leaves in colors ranging from gold to orange to crimson, with tips the same deep brown as the leaf-fall’s skin. These fey rarely wear anything more modest than an acorn cap, and while fair to look upon, their tiny teeth and claws become truly dangerous weapons when brought to bear in a swarm.

Despite appearing to be a pile of fallen leaves when at rest, those who have survived an encounter with a leaf-fall host swear they have a distinct smell cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. While these swarms can be bribed to leave crops and farm animals alone with offerings of pies, crumbles, and other sweet baked goods, they are otherwise known to be particularly tricky, even going so far as to use their Disguise skill to take on the rough appearance of a stag or traveler to lure unsuspecting folk into the misty woods.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

I have a number of openings in my Kingmaker game. We like to meet Tuesdays or Thursdays...

Post here or private message me if you want in.

Sovereign Court

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Up Taldor!

By the grace of Her Serene Highness, Princess Eutropia, and His Imperial and Royal Majesty, Grand Prince Stavian III, and in honor of Her Royal Majesty, Arazni the Red Crusader, I am pleased to announce the formation of the Taldan–Gebite Joint Expeditionary Regiment to assist the much-battered forces of the Fifth Mendevian Crusade!

Born in reaction to partisan attacks in Geb first thought to be the harassing work of Knights of Ozem or misguided Pharasmites, but later proven without a doubt to have been caused by demoniac agents provocateur, the Regiment was at first scoffed at by nearly all who heard of it. (You Only Die Twice)

It was, in fact, only through the wise and generous Pathfinder Venture Captain Drandle Dreng that I learned of this unconventional fighting force's existance and desire to assist us all in the containment of the fiends of the Worldwound. I immediately set out to bend all of my resources to ensuring its success. (Shadows Fall on Absalom)

After many letters back and forth between Bordell-on-Jalrune and The Guilded City, I was given command of an elite force of mixed raiders to test the effectiveness of the military venture I was staking my reputation on. Under the banner of Geb, my troops and I showed that not only could the forces of Garund and Avistan work together, but they could do so even with the traditional Crusader soldiers too busy to join us for our delicious victory waffles! (The Wardstone Patrol)

With numerous affidavits of the regiment's prowess in hand, the time was upon me to ensure proper outfitting and unimpeded transport of the Taldan–Gebite Joint Expeditionary Regiment to the battlefront. The standard troops of His Imperial and Royal Majesty continue to guard the borders of the Empire, as the lands of the allied Jalrune estates have begun collecting volunteers from the unbearded masses of thier rural holdings.

Full of forethought and mercantile cunning, the servants of the Red Crusader, myself, and even Scion Lord Kerkis of House Damaq have all ensured that the Mechitar-Absalom-Golsifar trade routes created to smooth the way for the Regiment will not only pay for transport, but leave plenty left over to reward all those who do their part to ensure our success! (The Hellknight's Feast)

So, join me in a cheer and a toast to the success of the newly formed Taldan–Gebite Joint Expeditionary Regiment, and remember: “Sick the wolf on the tiger and the hunter’s work is done!”

The Right Honorable Lady Lillebryst MacFaileas, Visbaronetess of Bordell-on-Jalrune, Corvette Captain of His Majesty's Zimar Corsairs, Colonel of the Taldan–Gebite Joint Expeditionary Regiment, Gythia of the Sacred Sting, Dragonslayer, Husmær of the Ulfen Guard, Member of the Lion Blades, Companion of House Avenstar

Sovereign Court

From Valar Publishing's Book of Erotic Fantasy.

This cloud of naked, glowing lavender faeries the size of a man’s pinkie finger titters and squeals as it flits about in an erratic manner.

Bliss Mote Swarm [CR 2]
NG Fine fey (swarm)
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
Aura hypnotic glow (30 ft., DC 13)

AC 20, touch 20, flat-footed 18; (+2 Dex, +8 size)
hp 18 (4d6+4)
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +4
Defensive Abilities swarm traits; Immune weapon damage

Spd 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee swarm (1d6 nonlethal)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 13), pleasurable caress
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +5)
At will—dancing lights, detect good, faerie fire
1/day—hideous laughter (DC 13)

Str 1, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 13
Base Atk +3; CMB —, CMD
Feats Alertness, Improved Initiative
Skills Fly +25, Perception +9, Perform (sexual techniques) +8, Sense Motive +2, Stealth +9
Languages Sylvan
SQ swarm traits

Special Abilities
Hypnotic Glow (Su) All creatures within 30 feet of a bliss mote swarm must succeed on a DC 13 Will save or become fascinated by the attractive glow and suggestive murmuring of the fey. A bliss mote swarm can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Pleasurable Caress (Su) Sexual creatures (such as, humanoids, most fey, and several kinds of outsiders) who fail their saving throws against a bliss mote swarm’s distraction are stunned by the creatures’ erotic fondling rather than being nauseated.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

Wreck of the Mastrien Slash
What Could Be More Important Than Family?

Vindar Salashi did not bat an eye when a mysterious foreigner began wooing his daughter. He did not shed a tear when he learned of their hasty elopement. But, when he discovered that they had made off with his most prized ship, the Mastrien Slash, the merchant lord cried for blood. Now, the pair of young lovers have run aground in the necromanctic realm of Geb, and the man asking the heroes to mount a rescue cares more about recovering his lost property than he does about the fate of his only offspring.

Wreck of the Mastrien Slash is a tropical wilderness adventure for 8th-level Pathfinder Roleplaying Game characters, who should be well into 9th-level by the adventure’s conclusion. The PCs sail out of Jalmeray, but the adventure itself takes place in the southernmost part of Geb and includes encounters in the Bay of Mermaid’s Tears, a tidal salt marsh complete with grounded shipwreck, the plantation and manor house of a Gebite aristocrat, and a tangled ruin deep within a mangrove swamp.

Adventure Background
A year before her ill-fated attempt to destroy the undead kingdom of Geb, the pirate queen Mastrien Slash gave birth to a son fathered by the only elven member of her seraglio. When word of the petrification of Slash’s army at the hands of Geb reached her matriarchal capital, the paramour fled with the child to Jalmeray, fearing death at the hands of those left behind by the pirate queen.

Several generations removed from his infamous ancestor, the half-elven Vudrani guilder Vindar Salashi has lived a life of ease made possible by riches acquired through smuggling, blockade running, and trade with Geb. Content to give his only daughter, Mihalyi, anything she wanted, Salashi thought nothing of her tryst with a visiting Minkai dignitary until he was informed one morning that the two of them had disappeared.

More important than the loss of his daughter, at least to Salashi, is the fact that she took the key to his success as a smuggler—she stole his folding boat, the Mastrien Slash. Built from darkwood and enhanced to sail twice as fast as a usual craft of its kind, this folding boat can be recognized by its prominent, untarnished nameplate (written in Vudrani) regardless of the shape it takes. So angered was he by this theft that Salashi did not stop to think that the culprits might not know the folding boat was anything more than a fancy darkwood coffer full of silken flags.

Well-payed diviners kept Salashi appraised of his daughter’s passage south, and of the storm that drove her ship ashore amid the salt marshes and mangroves of the Bay of Mermaid’s Tears. As a good number of his personal treasures disappeared at the same time as his daughter and her lover, it took him nearly a week to call in enough favors to find the PCs and mount a mission to return his stolen ship to him.

What Salashi has not discovered is that the man who ran off with his daughter and his ship is no man at all, but an ogre mage calling himself Lord Utsuro. Having been banished from Tian Xia, this crafty oni has spent years wandering from court to court posing as a foreign emissary. Utsuro was just as put off by the undead of Geb as most other visitors, but has taken to the gloomy mangrove swamp and marauding the nearby plantation with the usual zeal of his kind.

The plantation just west of the salt marsh where Salashi’s ship wrecked and north of the mangrove swamp now claimed by Utsuro is owned by Sawba az-Zarqa. A swaggering, loutish aristocrat, az-Zarqa was given his lands as much as a reward for his services to the Harlot Queen as to simply get him away from Mechitar. The growing of sugar cane and manufacture of syrup, molasses, and rum do not interest this skeletal grandee in the least; he would rather be pursuing the favors of his kyton bodyguard (or any beautiful woman, for that matter). However, the recent attacks by the sly oni have grown to a point where even az-Zarqa can no longer turn a blind eye.

Adventure Outline
One week out from the banner-draped Jalmeray port of Niswan, the first hazard the PCs must overcome is the tropical climate of Geb. The hot weather requires a Fortitude save every hour during the day (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 444), though this is easily negated by endure elements and the like. However, the adventure takes place during the rainy season, so the party will also have to deal with 2d4 hours of rain each day (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 438), in addition to a small chance of a fierce storm lashing the area.

The captain of the ship that Vindar Salashi has provided the party as means of transport will not approach to within more than a mile of the coast of Geb, and so the PCs will need to either fly, swim, or row a ship’s boat across the last of the bay—the later two choices resulting in a confrontation with a number of hungry sharks. Beyond the ocean waters, the shore of the Bay of Mermaid’s Tears is a large crescent of salt marsh, home to swarms of crabs, leeches, and gebflies.

Gebfly Swarm
Known to scholars as Axanir flies after the forest where they are believed to have originated, each gebfly is a translucent, silvery insect about half the size of a human’s thumb with a distinctive skull-like marking on its back. Loud-buzzing clouds of these dangerous magical beasts plague the veldts, coastal salt marshes, and river valleys of southern Geb. Their scimitar-like mandibles easily tear the flesh of both the living and the dead, and thanks to their supernatural abilities, they can often be found in symbiotic relationships with sentient undead.
Powers and Abilities: In addition to painful bites and the spread of disease, the area covered by a gebfly swarm constantly acts as if under the effects of a desecrate spell. Finally, the swarm can channel negative energy like a cleric, and is healed by negative energy as per the death’s embrace ability (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 43).

It is in the salt marsh that the PCs can find the wreck of the ship which brought Mihalyi Salashi and Utsuro to Geb. This wreck is not, in fact, the Mastrien Slash, but a Nexian merchantman comandeered in Niswan by Utsuro. The PCs can find evidence of the crew’s murder, and with some successful skill checks, can determine that two people escaped the wreck about a day before a second group showed up to pick through the ship. The survivors were the oni and Salashi’s daughter, while the group that showed up a day later were the servants of the local plantation owner, az-Zarqa. No corpses can be found, as they were all taken by az-Zarqa’s people to be animated.

From the salt marsh and shipwreck, the party must either make its way up a small escarpment to the sugar cane plantation of az-Zarqa or deep into the flooded mangrove tangle now claimed by Lord Utsuro. The plantation is on alert, due to the oni’s week of troublesome attacks, and will likely take the PCs to be the perpetrators. Unless they use clever bluffs, disguises, or diplomacy, a party exploring the fields of sugar cane on their way to the main house will be set upon by giant glitterscale geckos, yellow-musk zombie field-hands, and the plantation’s Gebite overseers (druid/necromancers).

At the main house, the adventure can go one of two ways. Kick-in-the-door combat can ensue if az-Zarqa is not dissuaded in his belief that the PCs have been behind the attacks on his people. Even though he is only an aristocrat, the skeletal champion’s guile, traps, high ranks in Use Magic Device, and skilled kyton bodyguard can provide a fine combat challenge. On the otherhand, for those who take the more challenging route of diplomatic interaction, quick use of the proper skills can turn the meeting with az-Zarga into an invitation to dinner and the offer of a safe place to spend the night and heal up as honored guests. It is also here, within az-Zarqa’s abode, that the folding boat the PCs seek can be found amid other loot taken from the Nexian ship.

Should the PCs have dinner with az-Zarqa, each course will provide its own minor culinary dangers (posion, disease, traps, unliving foods, and the like) with an equally minor reward for those who manage to make it through. Sometime during the meal, az-Zarqa will try to get the PCs to solve his mysterious marauder problem. At the conclusion of the meal, the plantation’s owner will present the party with a full bottle of his finest Second Soul rum. Parties who opt to do battle with the plantation’s denizens can find this magical liquor secreted in the main house.

Second Soul Rum:
Second Soul Rum
moderate necromancy; CL 10th
Slot —; Price 2,500 gp; Weight
This distinctive Gebite gold rum spiced with cinnamon and pepper is typically found in small earthenware jars holding up to four doses. Fermented with a touch of spirit moss and distilled through a bound soul, second soul rum grants its drinker 1d10+10 temporary hit points for 10 hours. So long as the drinker has any of these temporary hit points left, he suffers only half the normal result of any ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain attack he is subjected to.

Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, false life, creator must have 5 ranks in the Craft (distillation) skill; Cost 1,250 gp

An investigation of the mangrove swamp proves at least as difficult as the journey through the salt marsh. Hungry and venomous reptiles make up the majority of the tangle’s lesser threats, while a handful of will o’wisps will try to lure the PCs towards a deadly giant flytrap. If the party survives to reach the lair of Lord Utsuro, they find that the oni has settled in the ruins of some ancient building, so cracked and decrepit that it is hard to say where building ends and the swamp’s largest mangrove begins.

Battle here will have to take into account the deep bog and crocodiles below the thick roots (upon which a successful DC 16 Acrobatics check will allow movement at half speed and a DC 21 check allows full speed), cover from ancient stone walls, and flight limited by the overhanging branches wherein dwell numerous cat-eyed mangrove vipers (advanced venemous snakes). It is here that Utsuro is holding and tormenting Mihalyi Salashi, manacled to a tree with her legs dangling within easy reach of the crocodiles’ jaws. Once he tires of taking the form of her Minkai lover to regale her with tales of his most recent attacks, the oni plans to remove the pearly white spindle ioun stone he forced on Mihalyi, thereby depriving his new pets of plentiful snacks.

Lastly, as the adventure location is close to the Field of Maidens, it is likely that the PCs will discover some of the pirate queen Mastrien Slash’s scouts and skirmishers who were not with her main army at the time that Geb transformed them all into statues. Most of these statues have not weathered the years well, and several of the trapped warriors’ spirits have gone mad. Found in numerous places throughout the salt marsh and the mangrove swamp, these statues now house allips (Pathfinder Bonus Bestiary 4) that leak from cracks in the stone, though az-Zarqa also has a fairly intact “maiden” in his bedchamber that houses a ghost. While these encounters are likely to be purely combat, characters who discover the few patches of spirit moss growing in the northern reaches of the mangrove swamp can attempt to calm the spirits, converse with them, and possibly gain their aid or work out a way to release them.

Vindar Salashi (CN male half-elf rogue 8)
Known as nothing more than a well-to-do spice merchant among his Vudrani neighbors, Vindar Salashi is a descendant of the pirate queen Mastrien Slash, and has more in common with his infamous ancestor than he would like to become public knowledge. His looks favor his human side, with caramel skin and black hair pulled back behind his slightly pointed ears. Though wealthy, Salashi does not wear showy clothing or flashy jewelry. He has acquired a real knack for haggling from years of dealing with other guilders, and is known to be almost as good a sea-captain as he is a merchant.

Salashi is motivated heavily by greed and self-interest, but he is not a cruel man. If he is made aware that his daughter was seduced by a monster, and told of what Mihalyi suffered at the oni’s hands, Salashi welcomes her return (or is reduced to tears by word of her death). Whatever the situation, the Vudrani half-elf never fails to put on his best manners in front of those who could further his desires.

While he can tell the PCs all about his daughter and the mysterious emissary from Minkai with whom she ran away, Salashi is loathe to say anything about what he knows of the lands of Geb for fear that someone my connect him with those who run the periodic blockades to trade with the Domain of the Dead.

Mihalyi Salashi (N female half-elf expert 4)
Mihalyi is the only daughter or Vindar Salashi. Her father’s selfishness at first made her work hard to master the skills of a fine merchant in order to gain his praise, but in recent years she has come to believe he will never love her as much as his wealth. Tomboyish in both looks and dress, Mihalyi does still decorate her forehead with an opal in the traditional way of Vudrani women.

Though she does not have his substantial experience, Mihalyi knows almost as much about the spice trade in Jalmeray as does her father. It was this knowledge of Salashi’s business and Niswan’s docks that allowed Mihalyi and her would-be lover to make off with the Mastrien Slash in the first place. She sees her current predicament as yet one more terrible effect of her father’s greed, rather than something her own naïveté got her into.

Mihalyi tends to put on a stoic, self-sufficient face when in over her head, and her stubborn refusal to ask for help and tendency to take credit for the actions of others can be a bit off-putting. She also tends to whistle absentmindedly when nothing is holding her immediate attention. Having endured the marshlands and the torments of Lord Utsuro for a week now, Mihalyi is well versed in all the dangers in the area.

Lord Utsuro (LE male ogre mage)
The exiled ogre mage calling himself Lord Utsuro has spent the past few decades making his way west across Casmaron to the Inner Sea, alternately terrorizing the countryside and posing as an important dignitary from the realm of Minkai so that local lords would provide for his every whim. His true form, that of a red-skinned giant, still has a burning paper charm fixed to his forehead, marked with the Tien symbols that deny him access to his ancient homeland.

While his usual powers of trickery and charm will not work for him among the undead masters of Geb, the land is rich with opportunities for pillage and destruction. He has ceased using his charm monster ability on Mihalyi, instead using it to convince the nastier beasts of the local marshes to attack az-Zarqa’s plantation. Ursuro is unlikely to give up such easy pickings without a fight, though only a challenge to his personal honor is likely to get him to play fair.

If he discovers the party before they learn of him, Utsuro will follow them invisibly, using his spell-like abilities to further the plantation’s residents’ mistrust of the PCs. If discovered, he will try to convince the party that az-Zarqa has captured or killed Mihalyi and ask for their aid in destroying the skeletal champion. Should the party surprise Utsuro in his lair, he will make parley as difficult as possible, demanding costly and humiliating offerings for even the privilege of talking with him.

Sawba az-Zarqa (NE male human skeletal champion aristocrat 10)
When he was alive, Sawba az-Zarqa was one of the most lecherous courtiers the Cinerarium has ever seen. As many of his fellow aristocrats were surprised that the Harlot Queen granted him unlife as reward for his services as were relieved when she granted him this most distant plantation to get him out of Mechitar. Though az-Zarqa’s body is now naught but bones, he still wears the silks and turban common to his station, and several gold teeth flash from his rictus grin.

Competent enough to run his large estate, az-Zarqa leaves the everyday duties of the plantation to his numerous overseers. He prefers to spend his endless hours dabbling in all sorts of magic, planning grand parties that few of his fellow nobles deign to attend, and making a play for any young lady that does not know his reputation well enough to stay well away. Deep down, az-Zarqa is miserable with his lot (both as plantation owner and as an undead), simply going through the motions to keep up appearances. But, his pride will not let him back down from any perceived affront.

The plantation’s master is quick to jump to the conclusion that the PCs are to blame for Utsuro’s recent depredations, but just as quick to apologize and offer the hospitality of his home should the party be patient enough to explain things to him. Should they take him up on this, az-Zarqa is happy to expound upon his own history and tell them all he knows about the shipwreck and the surrounding marshes (especially if one of the PCs is an attractive woman).

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

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Cloister of Saint Bethaene
Fifteen years before Cayden Cailean was rebuffed by Calistria and stumbled drunkenly into the Starstone Cathedral to end it all, a reclusive order of druids began construction of a hill fort in the northern reaches of the Verduran Forest. Who they were and what they needed this structure for have been lost to the ages, as they were slain by the green dragon Vaxthelian within weeks of their fort’s completion. For hundreds of years since then, the hill fort served as home to bandits, goblins, and other such rough company.

In 4665 AR, a band of adventurers in league with the church of Calistria in Woodsedge cleared the hill fort of its unwanted denizens and rededicated it as the Cloister of Saint Bethaene the Double-Jointed in honor of their temple’s head hetaera. When Bethaene died in the Red Revolution two years later, her body was interred in the Cloister. And, while the mortal servants of the Sacred Sting died or moved on, Saint Bethaene’s final resting place was watched over by the goddess’s more otherworldly servitors—vicious ardorwesps and hedonistic fey.

Now, after years of peace, the Cloister is once more beset by troublesome and prying foes. While the aristocratic treasure seekers of Taldor have begun covertly sending parties of adventurers across the Galtan border to “rescue” relics of old, an even more sinister threat looms over the Cloister of Saint Bethaene. Members of a Nocticulan Slayer’s Guild in Woodsedge discovered the location of the Cloister, and have sent agents to claim the fort to further their machinations and holdings upon Golarion. Subtlety and seduction being key, the cult has sent a succubus assassin to pervert the current guardians and gather a following whose guile can reach into decadent Taldor.

The Cloister of Saint Bethaene is a cluster of nine underground chambers buried within a manmade hill. The steep, crescent-shaped slope rises to about 20 feet above the level of the surrounding forested plain. The walls within are all magically treated superior masonry (hardness 16, hp 180, break DC 55), beyond which is the hard packed earth of the hill. Unless otherwise noted, ceilings are 8 feet high in the hallways and 10 feet high in the Cloister’s rooms. Surprisingly dry and comfortable for such an old structure, the temperature is moderate and the air is fresh.

1. Meditation Garden
A massive oak dominates the center of this small courtyard, its dusky branches covered in deep foliage that mottles the area below in shade. A dark hollow, perhaps a foot wide, can just be seen at the tree’s base. Several stone benches sit beneath the mighty oak’s branches, and gardens off to the side fill the air with a not-unpleasant herbaceous scent. Set into the inner slope of the hill that makes up the Cloister are three pale stone doors with intricately carved lintels.

Even steeper than the slope of the outer hill, the 20 foot high sides of the courtyard here act as a cliff, and can be scaled with a DC 15 Climb check. The oak (see massive trees under Forest Terrain, Pathfinder Core Rulebook 425) has been branded with a well-hidden symbol of the demon lord Nocticula, which can be discovered with a DC 25 Perception check. The gardens act as light undergrowth, though some of the plants are slightly more hazardous (see below).

The stone benches can provide cover for Small creatures and high ground for attackers that stand upon them. They, like the posts and lintels of the doors are adorned with symbols of Calistria and carved with scenes of scantily clad maidens frolicking with satyrs. Closer inspection, and a DC 20 Perception check, reveals that the maidens all have cruel visages, the satyrs are fiends, and the religious iconography has all been slightly cracked.

The eastern door (leading to area 2) is jammed, requiring a DC 28 Strength check to open. The Cloister’s current inhabitants do not use the rooms beyond this door, and the lack of tracks to or from this area is readily apparent to anyone making a DC 15 Survival check.

Creatures: The oak is the bonded tree of a dryad, now twisted by the foul seductions of Nocticula’s servants. She serves as the first line of defense for the Cloister’s current master, though can often be found shirking such duty in favor of dalliances with one or more of the satyr guards from area 5. When present, the fiendish dryad is likely to surprise intruders, thanks to her tree meld ability. Upon noticing the PCs will she will step out of her tree on the far side from the party, using it as cover to hide, and use entangle to make the most out of the area’s hazard.

The ardorwesps that nest beneath the oak attack immediately upon spotting intruders, though PCs with visible symbols of Calistria will be treated with indifference rather than hostility. Loosely allied with the dryad, they will defer to her commands in battle. These creatures will readily follow PCs who flee, returning to this area only after having successfully used their implant ability. If any ardorwesp is killed here, the remaining creatures use their telepathy the next round to alert the entire complex to the intruders’ presence.

Ardorwesp (4) CR 3
XP 800 each
hp 22 each (RPG Superstar Round 3)

Fiendish Dryad CR 4
XP 1,200
hp 27 (Pathfinder Bestiary 116)
DR 5/cold iron and good; Resist cold 10, fire 10; SR 9
Special Attacks smite good 1/day as a swift action (+4 to attack rolls and +6 to damage against good foe; smite persists until target is dead or the fiendish dryad rests)

Hazard: Mixed in with the more common herbs and flowering plants of the gardens here are several tangles of pale nettleweed (Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting 216). A PC can identify these plants before stumbling into them with a DC 10 Knowledge (nature) check, but this will not help those who are bull rushed into these areas.

Development: Should a PC notice the symbol of Nocticula burned into the dryad’s tree, a DC 20 Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (planes) check will confirm that this is some sort of demonic binding, and the cause of the dryad's fiendish powers. If the tree is splashed with six flasks of holy water (one for each HD of the dryad) or targeted with a consecrate or dispel evil spell, the dryad will lose the fiendish template and be freed of Nocticula’s influence. If this occurs, she likely uses tree stride to flee deep into the forest and lament what she had become unless a PC can quickly adjust her attitude to friendly. If they free the dryad from damnation, award the party XP as if they defeated her in regular combat.

If the ardorwesps send out their telepathic alarm, the entire Cloister goes on alert. This causes the satyr guards (from area 5) to arm themselves and move to the library (area 6). Should the fiendish dryad have been with them, she immediately returns to the garden to ensure the safety of her tree. All of the Cloister’s other inhabitants ready themselves to greet the PCs as described in their encounter areas.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

When I load the RPG Superstar 2010 page, there is no link for me to submit my Round 4 entry. Judges, Paizofolk, what should I do?

Alexander MacLeod

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

A thousand metallic bugs fill the air, their metal stingers dripping the same emerald extract that glows from within their glass abdomens.

Chymick Swarm CR 2
XP 600
N Tiny construct (swarm)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0;
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+2 Dex, +4 size)
hp 19 (3d10+3)
Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +1
Defensive Abilities caustic defense, swarm traits; Immune construct traits; Resist acid 10, electricity 10
Weaknesses mental degradation
Speed 10 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee swarm (1d6 plus 1d6 acid)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 11)
Str 2, Dex 14, Con —, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 10
Base Atk +3; CMB —; CMD
Feats Skill Focus (Craft [alchemy]), Toughness
Skills Craft (alchemy) +5, Fly +12
Languages Common
SQ alchemist’s boon, swarm traits
Environment any desert or urban
Organization solitary, pair, or hive (3-6 swarms)
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Alchemist’s Boon (Ex) For its creator, as well as for any creature that can make it friendly, a chymick swarm can take the place of the basic alchemical equipment needed to make Craft (alchemy) checks. If the swarm is made helpful, it grants a +2 circumstance bonus to checks as if it were an alchemist’s lab, and will use the Aid Another action to further assist its ally’s skill checks. Any creature being so aided by a chymick swarm is immune to that swarm's distraction ability.
Caustic Defense (Su) A creature that strikes a chymick swarm with a melee weapon, unarmed strike, or a natural weapon takes 1d6 points of acid damage from caustic shards of the shattered constructs. Melee weapons with reach do not endanger a user in this way.
Mental Degradation (Ex) Unlike most constructs, the animating force of a chymick swarm is powered by an internal alchemical reaction, requiring that the creatures consume glass, crystal, or silica. Every day that it cannot do so, the swarm takes a -2 penalty to its Intelligence. The entire penalty is removed once the chymick swarm finds sustenance, but if four days pass without the creatures eating, the swarm ceases to function, becoming nothing more than inert copper and glass. The swarm can be reactivated and returned to full mental capacity with the application of four flasks of acid and a DC 20 Craft (alchemy) check.

Typically found in groups of several hundreds, an individual chymick resembles nothing so much as a foot long, copper bee complete with stinger, segmented body, and tiny antennae. The creatures are hollow, with blown glass serving for both protruding eyes and bulbous abdomen. A glowing alchemical extract within both powers the swarm and provides for its acidic defenses.

They can speak common with a thousand echoing voices, but Chymic swarms rarely converse on topics other than the quality of various reagents and the location of the nearest expert glassier.

Chymick swarms are built to serve as both laboratory and assistant to powerful alchemists and potion makers. Dungeons in sandy deserts and crystal-rich areas make excellent lairs for those who use chymicks, and swarms that outlive or escape their creators can usually be found in such regions. Unfortunately, those swarms which become uncontrolled closer to civilization have been known to devour windows, glassware, and jewelry like locusts do wheat.

The 1,000 individual constructs that make up a chymick swarm are built from alchemically treated copper and glass.

Chymick Swarm
CL 9th; Price 5,000 gp
Requirements Craft Construct, fabricate, summon swarm; Skill Craft (jewelry) or Craft (sculptures) DC 16; Cost 2,500 gp

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

Description: An ardorwesp is a peculiar amalgam of hornet and dragonfly approximately the size of a house cat. Its sleek, segmented body is flecked with copper, iron, gold, and—especially along its mandibles and six sawtoothed legs—adamantine. The drone of its gossamer wings grows softer the faster the creature flies.
Violent and territorial in the wild, ardorwesps are also surprisingly intelligent, and have been known to make alliances with humanoids devoted to vengeance, passion, or craftiness. Ardorwesps cannot speak, though they can communicate with each other, and usually understand one locally-spoken language.
Found primarily in temperate forests and plains, ardorwesps nest by burrowing into trees or hillsides. The creatures feed on the nectar of giant flowers, treants, and other fantastic flora. They also prey upon magical beasts, particularly stirges and wizards’ familiars, using such creatures as hosts for their young (though any creature, from halfling to hill giant, will do in a pinch).
Powers and Abilities: In battle, an ardorwesp can fly with amazing speed and agility. It lashes about with serrated legs hard and powerful enough to shred cloth and leather, and even sunder steel armor. The creature’s touch, whether claw or bite, magically paralyzes living creatures. Once a foe is rendered helpless in this manner, the ardorwesp can implant a pupa within the host.
The pupa grows quickly, hatching into a fully formed ardorwesp in 24 hours. This birth deals a great amount of physical trauma, more than likely killing a smaller host. A creature implanted with a young ardorwesp is best aided by mundane surgery, as almost any magical healing kills the pupa, but causes it to burst into a swarm of flesh-eating wasps.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

Scapular of True Devotion
Aura faint abjuration and conjuration; CL 5th
Slot neck; Price 21,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This sacramental item consists of two bands of cloth that rest on the shoulders, connecting a darkwood placard in back and a mithril hook at the front. When the wearer attaches a symbol of his deity to the hook, the placard becomes decorated with appropriate religious text or icons, often providing a hint as to what type of energy the item is associated with.

Whenever the wearer uses the channel energy ability to heal, those affected gain energy resistance 1 for every die of damage healed. For example, a 5th-level cleric who channels positive energy to heal 3d6 hit points of damage would provide energy resistance 3. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the wearer’s Charisma bonus (minimum 1 round). The type of energy the scapular protects from—acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic—is chosen during the item’s creation and cannot be changed.

If the wearer channels energy to harm his opponents, the scapular of true devotion adds 1 point of energy damage (of the same sort it otherwise protects from) to the normal damage done by the channel energy ability. This extra damage is not affected by a successful Will saving throw.

Rumors persist of scapulars which deal alignment damage, similar to holy or anarchic weapons, but if true, these items must be incredibly rare.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Elemental Channel, resist energy; Cost 10,500 gp

Sovereign Court 2/5

I see that the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play lists the available equipment from Elves of Golarion as "clustershot, healer’s sorrow, and sparkfly crystal arrow weapon qualities."

My question is, are the mundane, alchemical arrows such as pheromone and splintercloud also available for PFS play?

Sovereign Court 2/5

Would gaining the Scion of Geb ability at the end of Scenario #26: Lost at Bitter End count as "Geb affinity" when trying to qualify for the Necromantic Resistance feat from page 77 of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting?

(See my profile for a full description of Scion of Geb)


I, Arazni, Harlot Queen of Geb have had a brilliant idea for a party. But, my darlings, I need your help, because who wants a party when they could instead have an adventure?

I'm holding a masquerade ball in the capital of Golarion's favorite necromantic realm, but instead of wearing costumes, my arcanist nobles and the powerful undead aristocracy will be wearing the most interesting and beautiful people by way of magic jar spells.

But, my question to you is, what else can I have going on? Hmm...

Sovereign Court 2/5 RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

I am now GMing Pathfinder Society at the Raleigh, NC Books*A*Million (7221 Sandy Forks Rd) every other Thursday. Our first meeting was kind of small, so if you're in the area for the next game (January 22), stop on in!

Oh, yes, and Up Taldor!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

Is there any chance of seeing a change in the create undead spells that would open up other creatures for creation? Perhaps by CR rather than by name, so that casters could create attic whisperers and rajput ambari in addition to ghouls and vampires...

The question has come up in my game that shouldn't humans also have weapon familiarity? Shouldn't Shoanti treat their bolas as martial weapons? Varisians their bladed scarfs? Taldorans their falcatas? And Tiens their shuriken?

I may simply be wondering this since my Pathfinder RPG cleric is the son of a Taldoran diplomat and I'd like to take proficiency with the falcata for my bonus racial weapon proficiency...

That's reasonable, right?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

A cleric in my game who follows the Whispering Way philosophy wanted to get a hold of a copy of Whispers of the Immortals (detailed in the adventure Hungry Are The Dead), and this got me wondering: How much would a dark text such as this go for? I know he couldn't pick one up in Sandpoint, but places like Riddleport, Geb, or Katapesh are sure to have places that sell such things.

This, of course, got me to thinking on what other like tomes would be available on Golarion. The Great Old Ones love to have gnarly old books written about them, don't they? And what of outlawed anatomical codexes (and does Golarion have an Anti-Hypocratic Society?) of the sort found in 2nd Edition's Complete Book of Necromancers?

Any help on these topis, offical or not, would be greatly appreciated.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

I am a fan of the armored kilt from the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, but a question has come up in our game. Can an armored kilt be magically enhanced?

I would assume that any armor enhancement bonus on a kilt would not stack with the armor enhancement bonus of one's primary suit of armor, but is there anything preventing someone from putting special abilities (such as shadow or ghost touch) on an armored kilt?


A question has come up as my group are making PRPG characters to playtest through Entombed With The Pharaohs: Leadership in the D&D PHB has a prerequisite of 6th level. Since Pathfinder characters don't get a feat at 6th, should such characters get it at 5th (which would be the third feat availavle) or at 7th (which would be the next feat after 6th).

E. Rax

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

TORQUIL WIESEL, GHOST OF THE STONEBURG CR 15 [level 13, +2 template]

Male human ghost bard 13
NE Medium undead (augmented humanoid, incorporeal)
Init +5 [+1 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative]; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +25, Spot +25


AC 19, touch 19, flat-footed 18
(+8 deflection [+8 Cha], +1 Dex)
hp 84 (13d12)
Fort +6 [base +4, +2 Great Fortitude], Ref +9 [base +8, +1 Dex], Will +9 [base +8, +1 Wis]
Defensive Abilities +4 turn resistance, incorporeal traits, undead traits; Resist fire 10


Spd Fly 30 ft.
Melee draining touch +10 [BAB +9, +1 Dex] (1d4 Charisma drain)
Ranged ethereal +2 shortbow +10/+5 [BAB +9, +1 Dex] (1d6+2/×)
Special Attacks malevolence (DC 25 [base DC 15, +2 Ability Focus, +8 Cha]), manifestation
Spells Known (CL 13th):
5th (1/day) - mass suggestion (DC 23 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +5 spell level]), nightmare (DC 23 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +5 spell level])
4th (3/day) - dominate person (DC 22 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +4 spell level]), modify memory (DC 22 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +4 spell level]), speak with plants, summon monster IV
3rd (4/day) - charm monster (DC 21 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +3 spell level]), deep slumber (DC 21 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +3 spell level]), lesser geas (DC 21 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +3 spell level]), scrying (DC 21 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +3 spell level])
2nd (5/day) - animal messenger, detect thoughts (DC 20 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +2 spell level]), mirror image, summon swarm
1st (5/day) - comprehend languages, hideous laughter (DC 19 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +1 spell level]), magic mouth, unseen servant
0 (3/day) - dancing lights, ghost sound (DC 18 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +0 spell level]), know direction, lullaby (DC 18 [base DC 10, +8 Cha, +0 spell level]), mending, prestidigitation


Before Combat While he prefers to use others to do his fighting for him, Torquil will use his malevolence ability to "ride" a living body into combat if he thinks he must. If he has time he will also cast mirror image, summon monster, and animal messenger to send for reinforcements.
During Combat Favoring his enchantments and malevolence ability over a fair fight, Torquil doesn't care who gets hurt in battle, trusting in his rejuvenation ability to see him through. However, he does go out of his way to ensure that he uses only nonlethal attacks against any of his descendants .
Morale Torquil abandons combat only if he believes one of his descendants would be killed if he stays or if he is certain his plans would be discovered too soon.


Str 10, Dex 13, Con ¾, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 26 [base 15, +4 cloak of charisma, +3 level, +4 template]
Base Atk +9; Grp +9
Feats Ability Focus (malevolence), Combat Expertise, Flyby Attack, Great Fortitude, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative [human, 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th]
Skills [{base skill points 6, +1 human, +2 Int} x {level 13 + 3} = 144 skill points] Bluff +24 [16 ranks, +8 Cha], Diplomacy +12 [0 ranks, +8 Cha, +4 synergy]), Disguise +8 [0 ranks, +8 Cha] (+10 acting in character [+2 synergy]), Gather Information +24 [16 ranks, +8 Cha], Hide +25 [16 ranks, +1 Dex, +8 racial], Intimidate +10 [0 ranks, +8 Cha, +2 synergy]), Knowledge (nature) +12 [8 ranks, +2 Int, +2 synergy], Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +10 [8 ranks, +2 Int], Listen +25 [16 ranks, +8 racial, +1 Wis], Perform (oratory) +24 [16 ranks, +8 Cha], Search +26 [16 ranks, +2 Int, +8 racial], Spot +25 [16 ranks, +8 racial, +1 Wis], Survival +9 [8 ranks, +1 Wis] (+11 in aboveground natural environments [+2 synergy])
Languages Common, Giant, Sylvan [+2 Int]
SQ bardic knowledge +15 [+2 Int, +13 level], bardic music 13/day (countersong, fascinate, inspire competence, inspire courage +2, inspire greatness [2 allies], song of freedom, suggestion [DC 24 {base DC 10, +8 Cha, +6 level}), rejuvenation
Gear +2 shortbow, quiver of 20 arrows (replenished every evening), cloak of charisma +4, glove of storing, ring of minor fire resistance (all of Torquil's gear is ethereal ghostly equipment, though the original material cloak and ring were buried with him)


Draining Touch (Su): Torquil's incorporeal touch attack drains 1d4 points of Charisma from any living target he hits. On each such successful attack, the ghost heals 5 points of damage to itself. Against ethereal opponents, Torquil adds his Strength modifier to attack rolls only. Against nonethereal opponents, he adds his Dexterity modifier to attack rolls only.
Malevolence (Su): Once per round, Torquil can merge his ethereal body with a creature on the Material Plane. This ability is similar to a magic jar spell (caster level 12th), except that it does not require a receptacle. To use this ability, the ghost must be manifested and he must try move into the target’s space; moving into the target’s space to use the malevolence ability does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The target can resist the attack with a successful Will save (DC 25 [base DC 15, +2 Ability Focus, +8 Cha]). A creature that successfully saves is immune to Torquil's malevolence for 24 hours, and the ghost cannot enter the target’s space. If the save fails, the ghost vanishes into the target’s body.
Manifestation (Su): A ghost dwells on the Ethereal Plane and, as an ethereal creature, it cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When a ghost manifests, it partly enters the Material Plane and becomes visible but incorporeal on the Material Plane. A manifested ghost can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons, or spells, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. A manifested ghost can pass through solid objects at will, and its own attacks pass through armor. A manifested ghost always moves silently. A manifested ghost can strike with its touch attack or with a ghost touch weapon. A manifested ghost remains partially on the Ethereal Plane, where is it not incorporeal. A manifested ghost can be attacked by opponents on either the Material Plane or the Ethereal Plane. The ghost’s incorporeality helps protect it from foes on the Material Plane, but not from foes on the Ethereal Plane.
When a spellcasting ghost is not manifested and is on the Ethereal Plane, its spells cannot affect targets on the Material Plane, but they work normally against ethereal targets. When a spellcasting ghost manifests, its spells continue to affect ethereal targets and can affect targets on the Material Plane normally unless the spells rely on touch. A manifested ghost’s touch spells don’t work on nonethereal targets.
A ghost has two home planes, the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane. It is not considered extraplanar when on either of these planes.
Rejuvenation (Su): In most cases, it’s difficult to destroy a ghost through simple combat: The “destroyed” spirit will often restore itself in 2d4 days. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. A ghost that would otherwise be destroyed returns to its old haunts with a successful level check (1d20 + ghost’s HD) against DC 16. The only way to get rid of Torquil's ghost for sure is to see his plans to their successful end or to dig up his bones and burn them in a fire of oak and mistletoe.

"I swear, I have seen the ghost of the Stoneburg! At first, I was scared to death, but when he just grinned at me, winked like a rake, and disappeared, I warmed up to him quite a bit." - A chambermaid in the service of Lord Hermelin

In life, Torquil Weisel loved the finest clothing, the most delicious food, the softest sheets, and the most beautiful women; in undeath, few things have changed. Now translucent and slightly luminescent, Torquil's ghost still appears as a plump but handsome man in his late twenties. He tends to smile quite often, but his smile rarely reaches his piercing, violet eyes. Torquil wears an aristocratic hunter's outfit (that a DC 20 Knowledge [nobility and royalty] check can determine was the height of fashion about a hundred years ago).

"Life is as valueless and common as sand. It is only when a person makes something of their life that they attain value, as when a stained glass window is formed from common sand." - Torquil Wiesel

Until someone proves themselves exceptional in some way to him, Torquil thinks of people in the vague term of the "unwashed masses." He has a condescending sort pity for such people, but is more than willing to throw away their lives to further his goals. Once someone has shown themselves to be of interest or use to him, Torquil will treat that person as an equal - always acting cultured, polite, and interested.

"It is said that the first Baron Hermelin had many children, not all of them by his lady-wife." - From a banned history of the Stoneburg

Torquil was born a bastard child of the first Baron of Stoneburg. Since the name Hermelin means "ermine," upon reaching maturity, Torquil took the surname Weisel (meaning "weasel"). Raised by bards and druids so that he wouldn't pose a threat to his warlord father's holdings, the charming young man quickly gained a reputation as wastrel and a dandy. Few realized that Torquil was planning to overthrow his half-brother before he was mauled to death by a dire bear.

A hundred years later, the current lord has built a new castle over the site of the menhir circle where Torquil's followers buried him. This act, coupled with the baron's mild decrees, unimaginative spending projects, and the fact that Kalter Hermelin recently signed a peace treaty with the barony's traditional enemies across the Feissel Sea has raised both the ire and the spirit of Torquil Weisel.

"I fear I may be going mad. Yesterday, at dinner, I swore my son's eyes turned the brightest violet and he was no longer himself." - Baron Kalter Hermelin

Torquil has three simple desires. Firstly, to foment violence throughout the barony to raise one of his own descendants (preferably a PC) to the status of hero. Second, to marry that descendant into the Hermelin family. And, finally, to kill off the current baron and any other remaining heirs so that the bloodline of Torquil Weisel has no challenger.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

Freeholds of Karistynia
"Decadence Founded On Undeath"
Alignment: LE
Capital: Karistynia (pop. 23,000)
Notable Settlements: Bokkage (pop. 4,600), Karre (pop. 1,100), Malloven (pop. 2,000)
Ruler: Eldane Rax (LE male human lich necromancer 20), Autumnal Lord
Government: The autocratic Autumnal Lord rules the city of Karistynia and its surrounding lands. He is aided in governance of Karistynia's confederated plantation-fiefs by the Twilight Council, made up of the heads of the dozen necromancer families who rule those outlying provinces.
Population: 32,000 (human 80%, halfling 10%, sahuagin 4%, tiefling 4%, other 2%). The Freeholds also control four to five times as many mindless undead as it has living citizens.

History: Named for an imperial consort, the port city of Karistynia was founded a century ago by the now-destroyed Empire of Mör-Kreln. Originally meant to be nothing more than an agricultural venture, the colony's lord saw an opportunity for himself as his homeland was overrun only twenty years after the city's founding. He declared Karistynia an independent city-state, and sent out trade ambassadors to the far reaches of the world, even as he readied the remnants of Mör-Kreln's fleet to defend his new realm.

The anticipated attack never came, but something far more deadly struck the new nation -- a terrible plague borne from the dark interior of the Great Umbral Swamp. It was this event, more than any other, that had the most profound effect on the current nature of the Freeholds. With several new trade contracts to fulfill, and most of their population laid to waste by the plague, the lords and aristocrats of Karistynia used necromantic magic to animate thousands of dead peasants and used them to continue working the land.

People: Karistynia has no lower class. Its capital, towns, and all of the villages that cluster near the fortified manors of the plantation-fiefs are full of craftsmen, artisans, and the like. The citizens' higher quality of life comes at the expense of their good reputation outside of their homeland. Many good nations, whether lawful or chaotic, will have nothing to do with the Freeholders, thanks entirely to the country's use of skeletons and zombies to work their fields, clean their streets, and butcher their livestock.

However, the skill of the druid-necromancer Overseers trained in Karistynia's universities ensures that the plantation-fiefs crops are always abundant and of the highest quality. This in turn ensures that a profit can be made somewhere along the realm's lengthy trade routes.

The upper classes of Karistynia have generally turned to one of two pursuits. The first is the quest for undeath, laughingly referred to as "going into politics," as every aristocratic family in the Freeholds is headed by a powerful, intelligent undead of some sort or another. In fact, the current Autumnal Lord is actually the original head of the Mör-Krelnian colony from a hundred years ago.

The other path Freeholder aristocrats are likely to follow is the rakish life of the dandy. Intrigue, decadence, fashion, scathing wit, and a flashing blade all mingle and clash in the manors and streets of this realm. It is hard to say whether dueling here has become more of an art or a science in the years since Karistynia's founding; either way, more rakes and duelists are said to be found in the Freeholds than anywhere else in the civilized world.

Holdings: The Freeholds of Karistynia are made up of thirteen plantation-fiefs, each roughly twenty-five miles wide. Five of these -- including the lands around the port capital -- cover a wide, central area of grasslands. Peanuts, cotton, corn, and sweet potatoes are all grown here, and a good deal of fishing is done beyond the three barrier islands (known as the Shield Maidens) that protect the port from bad weather.

The remainder of the lands are split fairly evenly between the Freeholds' other terrain. The hill country to the north lacks rich deposits of metal, but does provide lime, sulfur, and feldspar, as well as grazing for the pigs and cows that have led to the region's fine leatherworking tradition. Moderate forests along the country's western border provide pine, oak, maple, and a surprising amount of darkwood. Pecan and peach orchards have been planted there as well, and much of the lumber from the forest makes its way to the shipyards of Karistynia and Malloven.

The wetlands and salt marshes at the edges of the Great Umbral Swamp to the south of Karistynia have only recently been dominated, though are not yet tamed. They grudgingly yield up rice, sugarcane, tea, and crawfish, while salt and eels are gathered from the coastal areas.

DM Secrets: Rumors are brewing in the hill town of Karre that the industrious hobgoblins that live in the barrens to the north of Karistynia have recently been united under a new leader who apparently cannot stand the unnatural ways of the Freeholds. This feeling, coupled with his obvious desire for his neighbor's wealth, will likely lead to an invasion within the next year.

As if family prestige, lustful desire, and personal honor were not enough to cause the Freeholds' aristocrats to draw steel, several young rakes have gotten it into their heads that the prestige of the elite, female archers of the Shield Maidens needs defending. For some reason unfathomable to the Twilight Council, these dandies are being countered by those proclaiming the superiority of the mostly-male Overseers. Whether the tension will rise or the fad will blow over has yet to be seen.

Finally, a number of good-aligned nations, as well as a few neutral and evil nations, have begun secret talks regarding the Freeholds of Karistynia. Many do not believe that simple agriculture, regardless of the nation's use of undead, could lead to the sort of wealth enjoyed by the living here. Perhaps, they say, Karistynia's fleet contains privateers and raiders in addition to the ever-present trade vessels. And, perhaps, something should be done about it...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4 aka Alexander MacLeod

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Malleus Maleficarum
Aura faint divination; CL 5th
Slot —; Price 10,400 gp

Also known as the Hammer of Witches, these heavy books are always bound with cold iron, often embossed with the symbol of a lawful deity. The parchment pages within are filled with cramped and ancient writing pertaining to every aspect of discovering and defeating the magics of those who traffic with fey, demons, and other dark forces.

A Malleus Maleficarum grants anyone who can spend 1d4 rounds purusing its pages a +2 circumstance bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks, and the book itself can be wielded in combat as if it were a cold iron +1 warhammer.

Finally, three times per day, anyone who understands Infernal can command a Malleus Maleficarum to reveal nearby witches. This causes chaotic or evil spellcasters within 30 ft. to glow (as if affected by faerie fire) in the eyes of the book’s wielder. The language requirement of this last power has gaven rise to the rumor that it was Asmodeus himself who penned the first copy of the Hammer of Witches.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, detect chaos, detect evil, detect magic; Cost 6,200 gp, 336 XP

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

I need a little help.

I remember a certain construct that appeared in DRAGON Magazine since 3.0, but can't seem to find it. It was a scimitar-wielding, man-like construct built to guard harems, and may have been an Al'Quadim monster originally.

Anyone know the beastie I'm talking about? Anyone know which issue it was in?

Many thanks.