Friday, November 3, 2017

Tortles Across the Spheres

This post was inspired by a post I saw recently talking about using 5e's Tortles in other settings. Tortles, of course, are the anthropomorphic reptilian-humanoid  that can be purchased here. Most of the material written about them will either be generic material, or if it's official D&D, based around Forgotten Realms. This post will try to offer where Tortles might be found in other campaign settings.

Primary Location: Lake Gloomy; Shell Enclave, Jackport Bay

Brief: Tortle in Blackmoor are divided into Blackshell and Oceanstride groups that are either freshwater or saltwater bound respectively. The Blackshells dwell in the Lake Gloomy region along with a combination of long-standing Humans and friendly Grippli tribes. The alliance is not wholly friendly, given the common ancestor that Grippli share with the wild forgmen, Tortles are looked one with little favor, though the Human military of Lake Gloomy do appreciate Tortle apothecaries for creating a special wax that has kept the brass shining brighter than ever. Blackshells prefer fishing or practicing their Druid-craft, but their bravery along the war road has been noted by the Baron of the Lakes. Warrior Tortle prefer spear fighting or slamming into the enemy with spike covered shells. Tortle range units have benefited as of late by the introduction of the Human crossbow.

Both within and outside of Jackport are the Oceanstride Tortles. These relatively peaceful sea-going Tortles trade salvage retrieved from the bottom of the bay or pearls for Human and Elvish goods. Just as Men are fascinated by Elves, so to are the Cumasti fascinated by the turtle men who typically dwell across the bay. The Tortles chief worry, besides the occasional predator that swims into the bay from the ocean, are river rats and freebooters who work the area. Oceanstride Tortles, like their Blackshell cousins, tend to use spears as their weapons. They also are known to use blowguns with darts laced with coral or blowfish poison against their enemies.

Primary Location: Rock of Bral; Wildspace

Tortles on the Rock have an interesting position since arriving on the Wildspace scene. Tortle spellcasters tend towards water-based deities and spells, forming what are known was "Bubble Seers". On the Rock, Tortle colonies have begun to pop up along Lake Bral with leave from royal authority to care for precious resources of the Lake. They are also found in the Bralian graveyard, tending to the graves and the plants of the yard in exchange for pay or supplies. Tortles who travel into the various portions of the city find the most tolerate services in Low City (who cater to anyone, for a price) and some measure of tolerance in Middle City (provided the Tortle has aided the merchant before or they are beneficiaries of some noble or a Middle City notable's esteem. Tortle on the Rock tend to be quiet, watchful, and whatever cards they are given are careful to play them as they are an extreme minority.

Tortle living among the stars proper, as upon ships, seem to enjoy the company of Lizardfolk vessels the most, given the amphibious nature of the two races. Tortle are often found working as porter on cargo vessels due to their strong backs. They can also be depended upon in a fight for being a tough, naturally armored opponent, but they are viewed as a detriment for jobs that need speed, such as rigging or firing a weapon. They can make good loaders due to the knack at hauling material.

Primary Location: Westkeep; Hool Marshes

Since the occupation of Westkeep by the armies of Keoland, one of the most invaluable resources that the troops can call upon are the turtle men of the Hool. The Tortles of the Slow River Tribe are known to provide aid in the form of meals, alchemical poultices, and guidance for supply trains working through the Hool. The Tortles tend to avoid embroiling themselves within the civil war that grips the Hold of the Sea Princes, though they do admit that they maintain contact with colonies that struggle on the Princely Isles of Jetsom, Fairwind, and Flotsom. News is sporadic as the Tortle colonies on those islands work to avoid the attention of the infamous Scarlet Brotherhood.

Tortle parties, also known as 'gangs' that do get involved with the war effort tend to do so in support of Keoland's occupation, seeing the men of the North as relatively fair minded and grateful, certainly more grateful than the old Princes ever were. Herdsmen and slave troops of the Brotherhood have found a tough, yet merciful opponent in the Tortles. In turn, the Tortles are grateful they have yet to face a monk in scarlet robes who wasn't a mere pretender to the true, terrifying agent of the brotherhood.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Monster: Guardian Skull

Guardian Skull
Undead caretaker of frontier village or tomb. Known to be decorated by village shaman.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d12, Spirit d10, Strength d4, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d10, Knowledge (Arcana) d12, Knowledge (History) d10, Notice d8, Spellcasting d12+2, Stealth d8
Pace: 8 (Flying); Parry: 6; Toughness: 6 (Size -2; Undead)
Edges/Hindrances: Arcane Background (Magic), Improved Rapid Recharge, Wizard / Obligations (Major): Town or Tomb
Arcane: Power Points: 40; Suggested Spells: Armor, Blast, Bolt, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Dispel, Invisibility, Light/Obscure, Puppet, and Teleport w/ typically trappings including Cold, Fire, Arcane, and Necrotic.
Other Traits: Tiny (-2 Toughness; -2 to Hit due to Size); Undead (+2 Toughness; +2 Recovery; No Weak Spot); Vulnerable (Holy Energy. On a raise holy energy deals an extra d4 damage. This damage can explode like other trait dice).

-Guardian Skulls are demi-liches that have decided to take up a higher calling besides building elaborate, and some might say impractical, dread tombs. They have instead dedicated their existence to protecting a village or tomb of a respected elder. This form of lichdom is honored by these wild villages with the elder shaman decorating said demi-lich with iconography.

-Quite a number are experts on history. This may be of a historical event or the history of an item in the possession of the NPC's. A Guardian may give some kind of challenge to the player characters in order to gain its respect and then answer any questions that the  players may have on whatever macguffin they are carrying.

-When attacked, a Guardian will typically use its spells and keep targets at range, but it is not above making bite attacks. Its favorite method of attack is the called shot to the throat and, while probably not the biggest sadist compared to normal demi-liches, it does get a good laugh out of TEARING MEN'S THROATS OUT!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

5 Taverns to Rest At

It is a universal truth that all adventuring parties at some point and time love to rest in a tavern. It is almost a universal truth, but not quite, that most adventures somehow begin a tavern- particularly due to the mysterious stranger in the corner that either draws the eye or approaches the party. Here are 5 taverns that one can scatter in their campaign world that might be of interest to some adventurers.

The Unseelie Mushroom

The Unseelie Mushroom, also known as 'The Unseelie' is an Elven influenced bar located typically on the seedier side of port towns or on the border with large swamps. A pair of Dark Elven sisters, the Flushes, run the establishment with amenities including drinking and games of chance. Solitaire and Royale are known to be very pleasing to the eye, they are even known to flirt with the customers, but they are quick to use their small batons to strike hands or knives to take fingers. The bar's patronage includes a high degree of wild elves, the occasional high elf, and then a smattering of other locals. The tavern doors will open for anyone, but orcish types report feeling a sense of suspicion and disquiet at their presence.

Tavern on Dark Moon Lake

Dark Moon Lake is a far off lake that has something a reputation of eldritch magic and "things" lurking within its shores. Parties who includes witches or druids feel more at ease with their protective magic compared to parties who travel without. The building itself has no name other than "Tavern" which hangs on small chains outside the door. A rather large, grim visaged man runs the establishment and serves brews brought down by the nearby mountains by brave dwarven merchants. When asked why he decided to have his tavern in the middle of the peninsula that stretches into the center of the crescent shape lake, Orbard Manyblades, an orc and former adventurer, merely shrugs and says: "Not a lot of rent or tax to pay in these parts. It seemed like a good place to have a tavern." Both the lake and the nearby forests are said to be wild and fell, but there are also rumors of lost treasures from dead adventurers and the possibility of lost cities from ancient times that is attracting the weird in the region.

The Hungry Pelican

Dockside! It's a place of pirates, freebooters, buccaneers, and the one-or-two honest sailors who just happen to stop in for a drink. They are all welcome to come one-and-all to the Hungry Pelican. Ran by Brandy Watson (Miss Brandy, a fine girl) and her staff that includes a minotaur bouncer, a couple of halfling cooks, and a few barmaids. The Pelican, as it's called, is a riotous place that has seen a bar fight between crews every once in a while, despite Miss Watson's efforts to try run an honest and trouble free establishment. Adventurers who are looking for work as crewmen or looking to book passage to parts unknown can find captains or veteran crewmembers who can arrange work or passage on a ship bound for the sea.

The Keg & Fire

Located within the recesses of a Dwarven citadel or underground city, the Keg & Fire tries to bring a touch of charm and levity to both the adventuring crowd, as well as outsiders who have stopped in while looking for work or between adventures. The Keg, as it's called, features wooden tables and chairs brought in from the outside. Balcony seating that overlooks the commons of the city. The brews are a bit stronger than other taverns, being made of Dwarven stock with a distinct barley taste from surface level farms that the Dwarves use. Kerbold Kegmender is a retired dwarven adventurer turned bar owner. He sports a friendly face, even with the eye patch that he received protecting his homeland from a gnoll attack. Gnomes, dwarves, and halflings will find the most welcome due to their short height, but the tavern has rarely closed its doors to any person.

The Cog Cafe

Located either on the surface, within a hill, or even in a dwarven city that includes a gnomish quarter is 'the Cog' a place the bills itself more as 'Cafe' than a tavern. It nearly serves the same purpose as a place people eat and drink, but Tynerbell "Tyne" Tack, a gnomish arcanist and manager, would say that his establishment was classier compared to a tavern. The Cog is known for a combination of mixed drinks, fizzy water, and quick to eat sandwiches over heavier meals such as boar legs or mutton. This is because the Cog typically serves Rocks Gnomes, who are known to eat quick and get back to work over wanting to savor a heavy meal. The cafe serves as a salon for Gnomes to chat and compare notes on either a tinker project or some spell they are working on. As a gnomish establishment, smaller races up to dwarven size will find it more comfortable compared to tallfolk, but Tack prides himself with having an open establishment to anyone who wishes to enjoy its services.