War Bringer

war bringerI created this intelligent sword for one of my campaigns. It was a lot of fun to play with.

The part I liked the best was having the sword take over its wielder and have him blunder into fights the party might otherwise have chosen to avoid.

I also upgraded its powers every 4 levels or so (offsetting it by making the ‘bad’ stuff worse, such as its blood drain ability more potent) but what you do is totally up to you. You don’t want to give this sword to low level characters because it will unbalance the game big-time.

The truth is, I wanted to make my own version of the legendary sword Stormbringer.

So here it is.

War Bringer

Legend has it that War Bringer was crafted by Gorum, the God of battle, strength, and weapons, who then sealed the soul of his greatest champion inside to honor his contributions to his cause.

War Bringer thirsts for blood, battle and glory. It is an intelligent weapon – it can be a curse or a boon, depending on its wielder.

Properties

  • Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
  • Intelligence: 16
  • Ego: 24
  • Great sword +3
  • Damage: 2D6+1D6 cold damage+3
  • Telepathy with ‘owner’
  • Aware of other intelligent items within a 60ft radius
  • Can cast shield on wielder twice per day (5 minutes and +4 shield bonus to AC.)
  • Sword can continually glow a cold, blue light (much like the continual flame spell)
  • Followers of Gorum who see the sword will treat bearer with respect, but may possibly challenge the wielder in order to prove their mettle in combat and get the sword for themselves
  • Bearer automatically gains proficiency in great sword
  • Can cast crushing despair 3 times per day (5 minutes, 30 ft. radius and affected creatures take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, skill checks, and weapon damage rolls. DC 16 will save)
  • +1 trait bonus against fear effects and +2 to intimidate checks made against you

Curse

 

  • War Bringer moans in ecstasy while in battle, making any creatures in the area more likely to succeed a listen check
  • War Bringer bleeds one hit point per round from wielder when unsheathed (unless user is reduced to 0 HP or less)
  • War Bringer continually lusts for battle and if the bearer doesn’t indulge this lust, the sword may try to dominate the bearer (DC 24 will check every day until battle is waged)
  • The sword can try to dominate the user if it feels justified in doing so
  • Can’t be destroyed by any regular means
  • War Bringer does not like to miss a battle and makes it extremely difficult for the user to draw any other weapon while in combat, unless it makes good strategic sense (such as hitting a winged opponent or the hero is too wounded to sate the swords blood lust without dying)
  • Once War Bringer finds a wielder, the sword will do its best to not allow its user to part from it, unless they are slain in combat, turned into an undead or its rough equivalent. It will not bond with rogues (not honorable and too sneaky), wizards or other true spell casters (cannot indulge its lust for hand-to-hand enough) except war druids and clerics. If the bonded wielder is parted from the sword, they take on the ‘shaken’ condition. If separated for too long, the condition worsens steadily. The sword must remain within a 20ft radius for this condition not to take effect
  • Is loyal to its alignment and the dictates of its God, Gorum.
  • War Bringer can decide to abandon its user for another or refuse to cast any spells if it deems it necessary or warranted

 

* Not a lot is known about this weapon but rumors abound about its existence, powers and the limits to its abilities

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Showing My Geeky Side

WayofthewickedI’m so excited!

My Way of the Wicked Books came in today – they’re all shiny and glossy…

It cost me another $30 in duty and taxes, which means I spent just over $200 for all 6 books, but I don’t care. I love them. Having them will also make GM’ing the game so much easier.

Sure, I have the PDF’s, but it’s so much easier to flip a page than wait for a PDF book to load etc. I don’t mind reading PDF’s, but using them as a reference book is annoying as hell.

My players were talking on Facebook the other day about playing villains. It was hilarious. One called himself the ‘hand of Asmodeus’, while the other asked about the ‘availability of my other evil doers’. It was nice to see them enjoying it after only one session playing bad guys.

I just wanted to point out that the books arrived within 3 business days, when they originally said it could take 2-5 weeks for them to arrive. That’s some hardcore awesomeness there.

Wizardly Pictures

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a sucker for wizards and dragons.

Oh, and super-hero movies but that’s a whole other story.

Today I was looking around for some wizard pictures and I thought I’d share them with you. They’re linked so if you like what you see, stop by and give the author some kudos.

edriss.deviantart.com

Evil Wizard by Edriss

Here’s one that obviously was inspired by Lord of the Rings. And hell, that’s okay. It’s still a nice piece of artwork.

Wizard against demon by Chevsy

Wizard against demon by Chevsy

All I have to say about this next one is…You Shall Not Pass, Gandalph Dog!

How cool is that?

How cool is that?

Last one, even though I could look through pictures like these all day.

Wizard by crisvector

Wizard by crisvector

So there you have your daily allotment of kick ass wizards.

The Best Trait For a Game Master to Possess?

Game-MasterI suppose the answer to the question posed in the title could be different for each person, but this is my blog so I’m going to give you my answer.

Okay?

*crickets*

I think the best GM’s care about whether or not their players are having fun. They are flexible and aren’t in it for the power trip. They genuinely want their players to enjoy each and every game session and walk away feeling as though the game was time well-spent.

Recently, I gave up the reigns to a player of mine who wanted to give GM’ing a shot. I was a little hesitant because as a GM, I’d already had a few problems with this player. I suspected he was cheating on some of his rolls and he had a tendency to try and bend the rules so that his character would be the most powerful in the group, which ultimately ruined the game for the other players.

However, I also wanted to try playing for a while. I missed the care-free action of playing a character. Sure, I enjoy Game Mastering, but sometimes I just want to show up at a session, whip a character sheet out and sit down and play, without having to worry about what I was going to play. Let someone else worry about that for a bit.

It was a big mistake right from the start.

This guy just went on a complete power trip. If someone couldn’t make it to a session, he would cancel the entire game that week because he wasn’t flexible enough to gear down the monsters or reduce their number. He told one player that he was glad he’d hit her because it was payback for another campaign, where she’d riddled him with arrows by accident.

She had done that, but she’s 13 years old and didn’t know the rule set at the time. She (and people like her) are also the future of gaming. What’s important is that she had fun riddling your character with arrows by mistake, and she enjoyed playing enough that she came back for more. Besides, that was another campaign and now you’re running this one. Revenge is not best served cold – it’s best never served as a GM.

To make a long story short, it became apparent that the players enjoyment level took a backseat to the GM’s. This is the kind of dynamic that ruins the game for everyone.

It was time to go.

We (as a group) decided to let the GM go. After all, without players, the GM has no one to power trip over and I took over as GM again. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to play, but I also don’t want to waste an entire afternoon playing in a game that isn’t fun.

Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity play a character in the future, but for now I’m content to run a campaign and watch my players smile and laugh an afternoon away.

When all is said and done, gaming is about getting together, rolling some dice, and enjoying the social atmosphere that’s generated.

 

Duskblade (Magus archetype, full write-up)

Long before the first magus learned to blend martial prowess and studied magic into a single discipline, there existed an ancient elven order of elite arcane warriors whose members gained their arcane power as a result of intrinsic magic drawn from their blood and their souls, fusing it to devastating effect with their significant skill with bladed weapons.  The most accomplished warriors of this order were known as the Nael’kerym, or “duskblades.”  Though their order has long since passed into the annals of history, the name used to describe these champions of blade magic has survived, and in modern times it is used to refer to the rare breed of magus who, like the elven duskblades of antiquity, gain their arcane talents from the magic inherent in their bloodline rather than from careful study.

Role: Like many magi, duskblades spend much of their time traveling the world, learning whatever martial or arcane secrets they can to enhance their art.  Often more impetuous and headstrong than “traditional” magi, duskblades may be found serving as mercenaries, bodyguards, and soldiers as well as itinerant adventurers.  They primarily hone their craft on the field of battle, learning as they go, rather than by spending their time poring over ancient texts and tomes in dusty libraries and museums.

Alignment:  Any.

Class Skills:  The duskblade’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge [arcana] (Int), Knowledge [dungeoneering] (Int), Knowledge [planes] (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points at each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A duskblade is proficient with all simple and martial weapons.  A duskblade is also proficient with light armor.  He can cast magus spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance.  Like any other arcane spellcaster, a duskblade wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component.  A multiclass duskblade still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Unfettered Will:  A duskblade uses his Charisma, rather than his Intelligence, to determine all class features and effects relating to the magus class, such as bonus spells per day, the maximum spell level he can cast, the save DCs of his spells, the number of daily uses of his class abilities, and the size of his arcane pool.

Cantrips:  A duskblade knows a number of cantrips, or 0-level arcane spells; these spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any spell slots and may be used again at the duskblade’s whim and discretion.  A duskblade begins play knowing four 0-level spells; at 2nd level and every two levels thereafter through 10th level, he learns one new cantrip, for a total of nine cantrips known at 10th level and thereafter.  To learn or cast a cantrip, a duskblade must have a Charisma score of at least 10.  The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a duskblade’s cantrip is 10 + the duskblade’s Charisma modifier.

Spells:  In addition to his cantrips (see above), a duskblade can cast arcane spells of 1st through 6th level drawn from the magus spell list.  He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time.  To learn or cast a spell, a duskblade must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level.  The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a duskblade’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the duskblade’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a duskblade can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day.  His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Duskblade.  In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells in the Core Rulebook).

The duskblade’s selection of spells is extremely limited.  A duskblade begins play knowing three 1st-level spells of the duskblade’s choice.  At each new duskblade level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Duskblade Spells Known.  Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a duskblade knows is not affected by his Charisma score.  The numbers on Table: Duskblade Spells Known are fixed.

If the duskblade selects selects the spell blending magus arcana, he gains the selected spells as bonus spells known.

Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third duskblade level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a duskblade can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows.  In effect, the duskblade “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one.  The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least one level lower than the highest-level magus spell the duskblade can cast.  A duskblade may only swap a single spell at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that he gains new spells known for the level.

As noted, the duskblade need not prepare his spells in advance.  He can cast any spell he knows at any time, assuming he has not yet used up his allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level.

Arcane Pool (Su): At 1st level, the duskblade gains a reservoir of mystical arcane energy that he can draw upon to fuel his powers and enhance his weapon.  This arcane pool has a number of points equal to 1/2 his duskblade level (minimum 1) + his Charisma modifier.  The pool refreshes once per day when the duskblade prepares his spells.

At 1st level, a duskblade can expend 1 point from his arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon he is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute.  For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level.  These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5.  Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 5th level, a duskblade’s arcane pool can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal.  Adding these properties consumes a number of points from the arcane pool equal to the property’s base price modifier (see the Magic Weapon Special Ability descriptions).  These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack.  If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added.  These bonuses and properties are decided when the arcane pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the magus uses this ability.  These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the duskblade.

A duskblade can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time.  If he uses this ability again, the first use immediately ends.

As a duskblade advances in level, he gains other uses for his arcane pool from his class features and magus arcana (see below).

Spell Combat (Ex): At 1st level, a duskblade learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time.  This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast.  To use this ability, the duskblade must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand.  As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a -2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty).  If he casts this spell defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Charisma modifier, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check.  If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty.  A duskblade can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.

Combat Casting (Ex):  At 2nd level, a duskblade gains Combat Casting as a bonus feat.

Spellstrike (Su): At 2nd level, whenever a duskblade casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack.  Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a duskblade can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell.  If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell.  If the duskblade makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks.  This attack uses the weapon’s critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

Magus Arcana: As he gains levels, a duskblade learns arcane secrets tailored to his specific way of blending martial puissance and magical skill.  Starting at 3rd level, a duskblade gains one magus arcana.  He gains an additional magus arcana for every three levels of duskblade attained after 3rd level.  Unless specifically noted in a magus arcana’s description, a duskblade cannot select a particular magus arcana more than once.  Magus arcana that affect spells can only be used to modify spells from the magus spell list unless otherwise noted.

Spell Reserve (Su):  At 4th level, a duskblade learns to use his arcane pool to prepare a magus spell he knows as a reserve spell.  As a swift action, he can expend a number of points from his arcane pool equal to the level of the selected spell, creating a spell slot dedicated to the selected spell.  Once a reserve spell has been created, it can be cast as normal, except that this casting does not count against the duskblade’s normal spells per day.  The duskblade can also apply any one magus arcana he knows that duplicates the effect of a metamagic feat – such as empowered magic or still magic – to the reserve spell by expending an additional point from his arcane pool.  The maximum number of points a duskblade can expend on reserve spells each day (including any applied magus arcana) is equal to 1/2 his duskblade level; the total number of reserve spells a duskblade can create per day is likewise limited to 1/2 his duskblade level.  If the duskblade does not cast a prepared reserve spell before the next time he regains his full complement of spells per day, that reserve spell is lost.  While a spell is held in reserve, the arcane pool points spent on it count against the duskblade’s daily limit; as a swift action, the duskblade can choose to release any reserve spell he has not yet cast, losing the spell slot created for it but restoring the arcane pool points spent on it to the arcane pool for that day.

Bonus Feats: At 5th level, and every six levels thereafter, a duskblade gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement.  These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat, item creation, or metamagic feats.  He must meet the prerequisites for these feats as normal.

Absorb Spell (Su):  At 7th level, when a duskblade makes a successful save against a spell that targets only him (not including area spells), he can attempt to absorb the spell energy as an immediate action.  To absorb a spell, the duskblade must attempt a caster level check (DC 10 + the spell’s original caster level).  If he succeeds, the duskblade can absorb the spell’s energy without harm and use the spell energy to restore arcane pool points.  The number of points a duskblade can restore to his arcane pool in this manner is equal to the spell’s original level.  He cannot, however, use this ability to give himself more points than his normal arcane pool daily limit; excess pool points are wasted.  At 13th level, the duskblade may choose to use this ability to temporarily add the spell to his list of spells known rather than restoring arcane pool points.  If the duskblade succeeds on his caster level check to absorb the spell, he can use a swift action on his next turn to spend one point from his arcane pool and add the spell to his list of spells known.  He retains access to this spell until he casts it, at which time it is removed from his list of spells known.  The duskblade can cast the absorbed spell using his own caster level and save DC (rather than the spell’s original caster level).  If the absorbed spell was a divine spell, the duskblade casts it as if it were an arcane spell.  The duskblade can also use this absorbed spell with his reserve spell ability.  If the duskblade does not cast the absorbed spell (either as a normal spell or as a reserve spell) before the next time he regains his normal complement of spells per day, the spell is lost.  A duskblade can use his ability to absorb spell energy a number of times per day equal to 1 + his Charisma modifier; in order to add absorbed spells to their list of spells known with this ability, the duskblade must also have enough points left in his arcane pool for the day.

Medium Armor (Ex): At 7th level, a duskblade gains proficiency with medium armor.  A duskblade can cast magus spells while wearing medium armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance.  Like any other arcane spellcaster, a duskblade wearing heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component.

Improved Spell Combat (Ex): At 8th level, the duskblade’s ability to cast spells and make melee attacks improves.  When using the spell combat ability, the duskblade receives a +2 circumstance bonus on concentration checks, in addition to any bonus granted by taking an additional penalty on the attack roll.

Fighter Training (Ex): Starting at 10th level, a duskblade counts 1/2 his total duskblade level as his fighter level for the purpose of qualifying for feats.  If he has levels in fighter, these levels stack.

Improved Spell Reserve (Su):   At 11th level, the duskblade’s ability to prepare reserve spells become more efficient and flexible.  Whenever he uses the spell reserve ability, he expends a number of arcane pool points equal to 1/2 the spell’s level (minimum 1). The arcane pool cost of applying metamagic-duplicating magus arcana to a reserve spell remains unchanged, but the duskblade can now apply two such arcana effects to each reserve spell he creates.

Heavy Armor (Ex): At 13th level, a duskblade gains proficiency with heavy armor.  A duskblade can cast magus spells while wearing heavy armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance.  Like any other arcane spellcaster, a duskblade using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component.

Greater Spell Combat (Ex): At 14th level, the duskblade gains the ability to seamlessly cast spells and make melee attacks.  Whenever he uses the spell combat ability, his concentration check bonus equals double the amount of the attack penalty taken.

Counterstrike (Ex): At 16th level, whenever an enemy within reach of the duskblade successfully casts a spell defensively, that enemy provokes an attack of opportunity from the duskblade after the spell is complete.  This attack of opportunity cannot disrupt the spell.

Greater Spell Access (Su):  At 19th level, the duskblade gains access to an expanded spell list.  He adds 12 spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list to his list of spells known as magus spells of their sorcerer/wizard level.  He gains two spells of each spell level from 1st to 6th which are not already on the magus spell list.  Furthermore, he can now ignore somatic components for all his spells (including absorbed spells), allowing him to cast them without the normal chance of spell failure even when using a shield.

True Duskblade (Su):  At 20th level, the duskblade becomes a master of spells and combat.  Whenever he uses his spell combat ability, he does not need to make a concentration check to cast the spell defensively.  Whenever the duskblade uses spell combat and his spell targets the same creature as his melee attacks, he can choose to either increase the DC to resist the spell by +2, grant himself a +2 circumstance bonus on any checks made to overcome spell resistance, or grant himself a +2 circumstance bonus on all attack rolls made against the target during his turn.

Table: Duskblade

 

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells Per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Arcane pool, cantrips, spells, spell combat, unfettered will 1
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Combat casting, spellstrike 2
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Magus arcana 3
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Spell reserve 3 1
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Bonus feat 4 2
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Magus arcana 4 3
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Absorb spell, medium armor 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Improved spell combat 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 Magus arcana 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 Fighter training 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 Bonus feat, improved spell reserve 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Magus arcana 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Heavy armor 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9 Greater spell combat 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9 Magus arcana 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Counterstrike 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Bonus feat 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Magus arcana 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Greater spell access 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 True duskblade 5 5 5 5 5 5

 

Duskblade Spells Known

 

Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th   Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1st 4 3 11th 9 7 5 4 3
2nd 5 4 12th 9 7 5 4 4
3rd 5 5 13th 9 7 5 5 4 2
4th 6 5 2 14th 9 7 6 5 4 3
5th 6 5 3 15th 9 7 6 5 4 4
6th 7 5 4 16th 9 7 6 5 5 4 2
7th 7 6 4 2 17th 9 7 6 6 5 4 3
8th 8 6 4 3 18th 9 7 6 6 5 4 4
9th 8 6 4 4 19th 9 7 6 6 5 5 4
10th 9 6 5 4 2 20th 9 7 6 6 6 5 5

 

Way of The Wicked: It Begins

VillainMy group played their first adventure as villains in The Way of The Wicked – Knot of Thorns. 

The adventure begins with our villainous masterminds imprisoned. They must escape the prison using their wits and a few magic items given to them by a mysterious female benefactor.

My group did exceptionally well. They managed to escape their prison cell without too much fuss, and make their way towards the exit. Three of them were knocked unconscious during melee combats (that could have been avoided) but no one has yet died. Several of the players played out their dark-side.

For example, the necromancer of the group decided to kill 4 innocent, unarmed, unarmored servants. Sure, she could have pumped them for information, but decided that hurling splashes of acid at them would be so much more fun.

Of course, the Dhampir cleric used one as a blood bank. She drained a servant so she could gain some temporary hit points.

There was much laughter throughout the game, as each character explored the darker side of their nature. Each one said it was fun to play in a campaign like no other.

But what about my opinion of the adventure itself?

It was well put together. You could tell that Fire Mountain Games put a lot of thought into their campaign. The one downfall I noticed was that there is a lack of healing ability when you play villains. Clerics cause injury, paladins do the same, and so you’re forced to rely mostly on healing potions or items.

To solve this problem, we created a house rule that allows clerics (or any other spell class) to choose whether a spell will heal or inflict damage.

For example, the evil cleric can now cast cure light wounds or inflict light wounds. Before casting the spell, she declares which it will be. I think this is a fair rule that will allow the villains to survive longer, and ultimately have more fun.

I do want to give a shout out to Drive Thru RPG. This company really rocks. I couldn’t find the hard cover version for the Way of The Wicked anywhere, until I stumbled upon a thread somewhere that lead to Drive Thru RPG. They had the hard cover (which I ended up ordering because hard cover beats PDF every time) but I wanted to ask a question before ordering. I sent them an email query while at a restaurant, and within five minutes, I had a response. My wife couldn’t believe the speed in which they answered, and neither could I.

It’s not often you find a company in any sector that has that kind of customer service.

So if you’re thinking of running a Way of The Wicked campaign, and want to get a hard copy version of the game, you could do worse than directing your business towards Drive Thru RPG. The campaign is out of print and insanely hard to find anywhere else. I even tried EBay with no luck.

And no…I don’t get any compensation for mentioning Drive Thru. It’s my honest, sincere opinion.

I think my players will really enjoy playing villains. All of them have expressed pleasure with the game. I hope it stays that way.

Dwarven Mine: For Characters Level 1-3

This was my first home-brew Pathfinder adventure. I basically created it to test the waters and level my players up before tackling one of the adventure paths. It’s not fancy and feel free to add a bit of your own material onto what I’ve provided.

Unless you have a lot of players (6+) this adventure might be too hard for level one characters. It should be fine for level 2 characters and maybe a bit easy for level 3 heroes. Of course, you can jig around with the number of monsters, CR levels etc. to make it fit your particular campaign.

Have fun with it! That’s the main goal anyways, right?

The original ‘hook’ was that there were loggers missing in the woods surrounding the town the players were currently in. The town had sent out rangers who also went missing. In desperation, the town (mayor/sheriff or whoever you please) offers a reward for information about the missing loggers and rangers.

You can fill in the portion before the dwarven mine on your own – simply make the players track the missing people using survival checks etc.

While the adventure is admittedly plain, my players still talk about this little quest. Surprisingly enough, their favorite (and often talked about) part was area 18/19. They had to figure a way past a nasty, glaive wielding trap, only to discover there was nothing on the other side!

Don’t worry though…there was plenty of loot in the rest of the dungeon to make up for it.

They literally spent over a half hour sitting around planning the best way to defeat the hated trap, while I chuckled inside like a fiend.

They eventually decided to use the wheelbarrows found in area 13/14 to cover themselves, while the glaives struck down. It was a stroke of genius on their part and I ended up awarding them extra experience for great role playing.

Anyways, here is my home-brew adventure along with the map. At the bottom of the written portion, I also included a quick “experience-at-a-glance” chart for your Game Mastering convenience.

Dwarven Mine

Dwarven Mine Map

Dwarven Mine Map – click to enlarge

0: Outside the entrance to the mine, two hobgoblins with longbows wait in tree stands guarding the entrance. DC 20 perception checks to notice movement in the trees.

1: Two torches on the wall. The right one disables the spiked pit trap. DC 20 perception to notice the trap and a DC 20 disable device. Effect 10-ft.-deep pit (1d6 falling damage); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4+2 damage each); DC 20 Reflex avoids; multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-square area). If they disable device, they get 600 exp

2: 6 goblin slaves are chained to a spike in middle of the floor. If adventurers speak goblin, they can find out that Hobs kidnapped them from the Lick toad tribe and brought them here to work in their filthy mines. They are not certain of much else, besides ‘scary bone man’ tells Hobs what to do and they make them work somewhere (pointing vaguely) in the east part of the dungeon. They ask for freedom. If adventurers release them, they run for the entrance immediately.

3: Table in the middle of the room, with two Hobgoblins playing dice. They’re supposed to be guarding the goblin slaves in area two, but are intent on their game.

4: Two large statues of armored dwarves. One is on the north wall and the other is on the west wall. They have been chipped and weathered by time but remain mostly recognizable.

5: Two bunks and empty of occupants. Search of the room turns up 30 gp.

6: Two bunks and empty of occupants. There is nothing of value here besides a regular long sword lying against the wall.

7: Locked door. DC 15 to pick lock. Three hobgoblins reside within, sleeping on the bunks. Each attempt gives the hobgoblins a chance to make a perception check (DC 20 and hobs get +2) to hear the intruders. If they make the perception check, adventurers will find hobgoblins armed but unarmored (-3 to armor class) and if they fail, they will find them grumbling and stirring but will get a surprise round on them. It will also take a standard action to arm themselves. 200 gold coins can be found on the bodies and in the room.

8: The room is empty except (DC 15 perception check) for a hidden stash of semi-precious gems – 3 chunks of garnet worth 100 gp each.

9: Room is empty except for some rotting food and foul smelling clothing strewn on the bunks.

10: Room is empty. In the middle of the room is a small cage that houses an unconscious goblin who has obviously been tortured.

11: Two hobgoblins sleep in this locked room. Same checks as room #7 apply.

12: This is a banquet hall. There is a fire place in the south wall. Several hobgoblins (5) are eating their meal here. The room’s door is closed but there is a high chance that the hobgoblins inside will hear the sounds of battle if the adventurers fight the hobgoblins in room #7 or #11. Each goblin can make a perception check of 15 (with their +2) to hear the battle over their own noise and closed door. If they succeed with their check, they will take 1D4 rounds to arrive at the scene. Stagger how fast they reach the players so they don’t get totally overwhelmed. Inside the pockets of these hobgoblins, players can find an assortment of Low-Quality Gems, Semi-Precious Gems and Medium Quality Gemstones worth 700 gp. On the lintel in the hall itself, players can find 3 potions of cure light wounds.

13&14: these rooms housed mining equipment for the dwarves, such as wheelbarrows, shovels, picks etc. The items are rusted to nothing.

15: At both entrances of this huge circular chamber are signs that say ‘Danger, stay out’ in Goblin. Inside, there is a giant hole in the ground and webs everywhere, with bodies (and bones) clinging to the webbing. If the adventurers look closely, they might recognize a few of the rangers that were sent to find the missing townspeople. Inside the hole, clinging to the webbing is a giant black widow spider (800 exp) and it will do its best to surprise anyone entering the room, especially if they approach the hole. On the bodies can be found a total of 200 gp, 2 potions of cure light wounds, a wand of cure light wounds with 10 charges remaining, a masterwork longbow, and a cloak of resistance +1.

The hole was once a giant mine, where the dwarves delved deep into the earth. Above it is a huge drill that is now mostly rotted away.

16: Secret stash. DC 20 perception check to find the secret door. Inside there is 300 gp, a wand of magic missile with 15 charges, 2 scrolls of false life and a pair of old looking goggles, which are goggles of minute seeing: Goggles of Minute Seeing: The lenses of this item are made of special crystal. When placed over the eyes of the wearer, the lenses enable her to see much better than normal at distances of 1 foot or less, granting her a +5 competence bonus on Search checks to find secret doors, traps, and similar concealed objects. Both lenses must be worn for the magic to be effective.

17: Large room containing more mining supplies, particularly carts to run mined rock from #15 to the entrance of the mine back in its heyday. There is nothing of real value here.

18: Two dwarven statues holding glaives in their hands. This is a trap that requires a DC 25 perception check to discover, and a DC 20 to disable. If the players hit the trap, both statues turn towards the pressure plate and swing their glaives (+8) and a player can make a reflex save (DC 15) to jump out of the way.

19: Old bathhouse that has rotted into ruin. Fungus and mold are its chief occupants now. This once had been a beautiful dwarven bathhouse but now it’s just fallen to ruin.

20: Looks like an alchemy lab. The door is closed but not locked. Inside is an elderly hobgoblin brewing potions. The PC’s can kill the goblin to get the experience or bind her. She will not fight because she is too old and frail. However, if the PC’s attack her, she will scream hysterically, possibly alerting the 2 hobgoblins in room #3. Inside the PC’s can find 3 potions of delay poison (to combat the black widow spider in room #15), 1 shield of faith potion (+2 AC for 1 minute), 2 potions of cure light wounds and a potion of invisibility that lasts one minute.

21&22&23&24: No one inside these rooms. They’re more sleeping quarters for the resident hobgoblins. Bunks can be found in each one. These rooms look sparsely used, probably because of the poor sleeping conditions due to the torture chamber in room #26.

25: One hobgoblin inside, sharpening his sword in full gear. He may hear the alchemist in room #20 if she decides to scream. He attacks as soon as the PC’s unlock his door. DC 15 to disable the lock. 20 gp can be found on the body.

26: This is a torture chamber. Currently there is one resident (one of the rangers sent to find the missing townsfolk) who is barely clinging to life on a rack. One hobgoblin holds a hot poker in his hand and is advancing towards the hapless elven ranger.

Once the PC’s kill the torturer, they will hopefully release the ranger. He is too injured to leave unless the PC’s cure him with a spell or potion. If they do not, the ranger will die within an hour from his injuries. If the PC’s cure him enough to leave he will thank them profusely and tell them to visit him in Sandpoint if they return, for a reward. He then leaves to return to town. Award them an extra 100 experience points if they cure and release the prisoner.

Nothing of further value can be found here, except the key around the neck of the torturer, which opens the cells in room #27.

27: This is the prison area. Two captured villagers can be found here. There is also a bugbear guarding them. He also has a key to the cells on his person. He will attack the PC’s on sight and fight to the death. The prisoners are hungry, scared and tired. They have obviously suffered at the hands of the hobgoblins. They will tell the PC’s that to the south, there is a mine where the others are being worked to death. From here, the PC’s could probably hear the sounds of mining picks striking rock.

28: 9 prisoners toil in this room, each chained to a spike hammered into the earth. 3 of the 9 are humans captured from Sandpoint and the rest are goblins. Two hobgoblin overseers are also present and will attack the PC’s on sight.

29: This is a fairly grand but old room. The upholstery on the bed was once fine, but is now tattered and worn. Dust fills the room and coats everything. There is a small chest (unlocked) under the bed, which contains 300 gp and a wand of magic missile with 20 charges left in it.

30: Once the grand meeting area of the mine, the skeleton lord has now taken up residence here. He is seated on a throne of dwarven bones at the far end of the room. Two skeletons are also in this room. The skeleton lord’s eyes smoke a crimson red and he raises himself from his throne once he sees the PC’s. He immediately orders the two skeletons in the room to attack. If the PC’s are tired, let them deal with the skeletons before the lord attacks.

Hoard lies on floor beside throne, casually tossed there by the skeleton lord. PC’s can find:

  • Gems and gold totaling 2000 gp.
  • +1 short sword
  • Wand of enlarge person with 8 charges left
  • Amulet of natural armor +1
  • Boots of Elven kind

Total Experience

600 (100 for each prisoner released, including the ranger being tortured)

600 experience from spike trap

400 for 2 hobgoblins

600 for 3 hobgoblins

400 for 2 hobgoblins

1000 for 5 hobgoblins

800 for black widow

200 for glaive trap

200 for elderly hobgoblin

200 for single hobgoblin

200 for torturer

600 for bugbear

900 for final fight

Total: 6700 experience