Monday, 31 March 2014

Black Glass

Imagine an ocean, a deep one. Imagine the water is black and dark like North-Sea mud. Imagine things living in it, thickly-knitted limbs that churn like a mower motor left tipped up and switched on, cutting blindly in long grass. You can’t see the limbs, or the things to which the limbs attach, but you can feel their movement in the thick black sea. They regard you. They hate you. A hate so deep they tear frantically at their own flesh in substitute for reaching yours.

Imagine the sea restrained by glass. Like the walls of an aquarium built on titanic scale. You stand before the sea that rises out of sight and curves to the horizon on each side. You can hear the surface fretting up its waves in storm a distant mile above your head. The glass holds everything back. Inside it you can see brief churnings of that midnight high-pressure world, raging at your presence just beyond its reach.

Imagine that the glass is beautifully made. Etched and engraved with perfect smiling forms. Beyond it, the black water, but, when the light slants just-so across the pane, a field of translucent harmony gleams, worked there on its surface by hands and minds that leap the greatest human art. A genius casually employed that vaults with ease the best that man has ever made. Crystal signature of thoughtless superiority. So perfect are its fields and processions that when seen, even glimpsed in a trickle of lateral light, you want to live there, with those frozen people, inside the surface of that glass.

This is the Drow.

This is how much the Drow hate you.

This is how much they control that hate.

The offence of your existence cannot be easily expressed.

The Drow are not angry that you live, they are amazed. The knowledge of you stabs them in the flesh with every recollection and event. Though they know it well, the wound of your existence will not close. Each memory of you, each experience, all evidence of your continued being, is like a knife twisting in the skin.

No other species could absorb such titanic contempt and remain sane. They would be reduced to raving berserkers, living only to kill, directly, the loathed enabler of their pain.

But the Drow are old, they know much of patience and control. Nothing is done without intent.

They can speak of you. They can name you. They can even see you in the flesh without breaking down. Some can even speak to you as if you were real, as if your name was something other than the froth-flecked gargling of a beast that dreamed it had a soul. As if your language did not taste like shit on their tongue.

Everything that can be done is being done. The situation is difficult, but there is time. There is always time. They must endure, as they have for so long.

They know an hour will come when horrors fade. When nothing else thinks or speaks upon the earth or in its veins. When even the memory of any other monstrous thing has been expunged. Then. Finally. There will be only Drow.

And they will be at peace. They will live to see it. They do not die.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Speleo Spells

Cryobrite Bridge
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: Permanent
Range: 0
The caster can summon up a bridge of yellow cakey, brittle untrustworthy stone. The bridge is 10 feet long for every level of the caster. It’s width is equal in feet to 1/3  of the casters intelligence score. The rock is solid and will support weight, but is about as hard to chip away as polystyrene. Use of this spell in a volume under the control of  a particular race will be taken as an affront and possible prelude to attack. If they wanted a bridge there they would have built one. Also your bridge is thin as fuck, no-ones impressed.

Calcite Gap
Magic-User Level2
Duration: 1 turn
Range: touch
The subject can move through calcite formations as if they were thick foliage. The stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and helictites will simply shift smoothly out of the way without breaking. If the subject is still amidst the flowing stone when the spell give out, they will be trapped.

Heat Ghost
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: 5ft/level
Creates a human-shaped and sized figure, under the control of the caster, visible only in the infrared spectrum. To a watcher using only infravision this will appear to be a real person. The figure cannot speak or  affect the physical world but any tracks they leave will persist in exactly the same way as those of a warm blooded person. If this spell is memorised it may be cast alongside any illusion spell to extend the illusory effect into the infrared spectrum.

Stone Steps
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 round/level
Range: 10ft/level
Turns any stone slope, from 10 to 70 degrees incline, into a set of 6ft wide, neat, even stone steps. The length of the stairway increases with the level of the mage. When the spell ends, the stairs disappear back into the rock. Often used as a trap spell.

Speak With Air
Magic-User Level 4
Duration: 1 round/level
Range: 0

Worthless Corpse
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: touch
Appearing to be dead is not to useful underground. Corpses are resources. This spell makes the body of the target appear, not simply dead, but utterly worthless, not worth investigating, without even marrow to crack open and eat.

Blood Into Rope
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: 0
The caster can drain their own blood and weave it into a red rope. Arterial blood is dynamic, veinous blood is static. The rope is non-animate but will un-knot on command. It counts as magical, which means it could be used to, for instance, strangle a Ghost. Rope is 30ft long per hp sacrificed.

Hollow Head
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: touch
This spell moves the targets brain into a side dimension, and leaves a handy crack all the way around their skull. They head can be opened and the brain-shaped space inside can be used to store handy things. The crack is undetectable and cannot be opened by anyone other than the caster. The subject is immune to mind-affecting magic as their brain is no longer there. Loos objects may rattle around. The brain returns to its position at the end of the period, if anything is occupying the same space the subject will die instantly. Unwilling subjects get a save.

Servant Skull
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: permanent
Range: Touch
This spell can only be learnt directly from the Olm, they never write it down. The caster can enchant the skull of a dead college. (Only PC’s can be affected and only if the player of that character is willing.) The skull, once flensed, can float around freely. It has the memory and intelligence of the fallen friend, 1HD and no powers of any kind.

Magic-User Level 4
Duration: Permanent
Range: Touch
The caster can turn the bone skeleton hand (one hand per casting) of an intelligent, named, humanoid, into a grapple. The hand can grab, climb and run around on the end of its rope with the same skill as its original owner. (The hand of a high levele thief, for instance, will be significantly better than that of a common mook.) It has standard human strength. It counts as a retainer and has a morale.

Terror Tubes
Magic-User Level 5
Duration: Instant
Range: 0
If this spell is memorised it can be cast instantly as a free action, even in the enemies turn. The casters mouth opens to enormous size and all the fear in the immediate location is swallowed and moved safely to their appendix. The fear-creating properties of any being can be consumed this way. However, this fear remains in existence, simply inside the casters swollen appendix.  If the appendix bursts at any time the fear will be released. So if the caster steals the fear of a Death Knight and then takes a blow to the stomach, they will be poisoned by appendicitis while emanating terror.

Magic-User Level 5
Duration: Permanent
Range: 120
Area: one cave.
Causes the creation of speleothems to go into overdrive. Stalactites and stalagmites close in like teeth in a closing jaw. This still takes a few seconds so is not that useful as a weapon, but can trap those inside, or make an area impassible.

Piercer Cloak
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: Permanent
Range: touch
Over the course of an hour the caster can enchant a cloak. The wearer of this cloak can wear it as long as they wish. If they wrap it over their head like a cone, they take on the appearance and powers of a large Piercer. Specifically, they can cling to ceilings, shuffle slowly around, observe secretly and drop on people. This will continue until the unfurl the cloak, at which point the enchantment is lost.

Cone of Mould
Magic-User Level 7
Duration: Immediate
Range: 0
Causes a cone-shaped area originating at the casters hand and extending outwards in a cone 6 feet long per level of the caster. This area is full of spores. These spores may have effect equivalent to one of the following Myconid spores; Rapport. Pacifier. Hallucinator or Animator. Remember it takes 1d4 days for infected corpses to animate.

Waterfall Caul
Magic-User Level 5
Duration: 1 day/level
Range: 0
If in the presence of a waterfall, the magic user may steal a fragment of its power. A cloak-shaped gap appears in the waterfall. This part of the waterfall now falls around the casters shoulders like a cloak. The water appears from nowhere, flows the length of the casters body and disappears. It looks cool as fuck. Anything thrown, or pushed, into the water will appear in the waterfall. To the caster, the falling water may be manipulated as a cloak and does not chill their body. To anyone else it is surging white water with the same temperature and force at the original falls. Provides equivalent to plate protection anywhere it covers the body. Protects against backstab. Quite loud. Tends to mist up the place. The cloak may only be taken from an actual waterfall, it cannot be created whole.

Dream Venom
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: Permanent
Range: 0
An invention of the Drow. The caster may distil a poison that infects the dream state of the victim. This can be applied to any blade or placed in food or drink. The victim gets a save vs poison as usual. It has no physical effect, but whenever the caster dreams their body in the dream will be horribly diseased. The disease begins as a mild flu-like virus and progresses slowly to the level of horrific leprosy. The caster can release the victim at any time. It is rumoured that certain rare materials can also cure the poison.

Vampire Counsel
Magic-User Level 5
Duration: see below
Range: 0
Summons a member of the Vampire Court to deliver legal advice for the caster. The vampire summoned will be human 70% of the time and 30% will be another humanoid but highly intelligent race. The Vampire is a fully trained and highly expert lawyer in every known legal system. The vampire will serve in a legal capacity only and will do nothing illegal. Though there are, of course, grey areas.  They will never engage in combat of any kind, except verbal combat. They will serve as long as they are fed one pint of blood a day and there is legal work to do. Other creatures will react exactly as if a Vampire had suddenly appeared in their midst. However, if they examine their records, they will find the Vampire is a registered member of the bar in that polity and is qualified to represent the caster and associates in court. People have been arrested for casting Vampire Counsel, but never convicted.

Ghoul Pipes
Magic-User Level 4
Duration: depends
Range: 30ft
By taking the thigh bones of a humanoid that starved to death and hollowing them out, the caster can create a pair of pipes. Use of this spell transforms them into Ghoul Pipes. The pipes will only work for that caster. Anyone listening to music from those pipes will not be disgusted or surprised by any meal they are invited to eat. Even the rotting flesh of their own family will pass without remark. They are no more or less likely to eat than they would a normal meal, but the nature of the food will have no effect on their decision.

Silent Speech
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: 0
This spell lets the user use and understand the Silent Speech of the Underdark. They may comprehend the trade speech and any of the racial languages.

Magic-User Level 1
Duration: d4 turns per level
Range: 30 + 10 per level
This spell was developed by the Duregar as an alternative to Sleep that would actually affect elves. Like Sleep it affects 2d8 of creatures of up to 2hd each. If the creatures are not in combat or direct danger, they will simply wait where they are for the duration of the spell. They are not dazed in any way and can still respond to threats. They just won’t go anywhere. If interrupted or compelled by an authority figure they get a second save. Drow hate this spell.

Pocket Ropes
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 day/level
Range: 0
Simply shrinks a number of ropes equal to the caster level to the size and weight of string. They can be kept easily in the pocket, or wrapped around the wrist. Caster can end the spell at any time.

Optic Beast
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: 1 round/level
Range: 0
The Optic Beast is trapped within the radius of one particular light-giving flame. Usually a lantern, candle or torch. If the light goes out, it dies.  It has the same HD as the caster, but rolls the d8 rather than the d4. The optic beast can take the form of any creature the caster has directly seen and has the physical attacks, movement and AC of that creature. It does not have special attacks. It can affect only creatures that can see it. Blind creatures, or sighted creatures with their eyes closed are immune to it. It is always gold, like a burning sun.

Lens Weapon
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: Continual
Range: sight
The caster may destroy a particular weapon and trap its image in a lens. The weapon must be destroyed beyond any possible use or repair. If the caster holds the lens carefully to their eye and looks at someone, the person being focused on can make use of the weapon in the lens as if it simply appeared in their hands. This cannot be prevented by anti magic or dispelled. If the caster blinks, looks away, drops the lens, loses line-of-sight or loses focus, the weapon blinks out of existence.  One lens, one weapon. Only the caster may focus the weapon, and never on themselves.

Monkey Guts
Magic-User Level 3
Range: 0
The caster can spill anthropoid guts from a living victim, they will fall into the shape of the local arrangement of passages. Secret routes will be shown. Warded or hidden passages will be shown. If the victim expires or the guts are disturbed on the floor the map disappears. Monkey guts work, ape guts, human guts but not Elf, Dwarf, Halfling or any creature not related to man.

Levitating Brain
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: 100/level
Imbues a disembodied brain with amazing powers of flight. Regrettably does not increase the toughness or solidity of the brain in question. The brain must be whole and acquired separately. The brain can fly at the speed and with the force of a dragon. If it hits anything solid it splats apart. It may not be encased or protected.

Summon Mirth Elemental
Magic-User Level 6
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: 20
The most irritating elementals of all. Will be attacked by any other elemental present. Will probably be attacked by anyone else as well. Mirth elementals instantly enrage anyone they have not charmed. The elemental will obey the caster so long as the orders are funny, by the standards of Mirth Elementals, which are not high.

Mirth Elemental
Armour: As Plate, HD8, Atk d3/d3 , Flight
Immune all psychological effects.
Spells at will: Shocking Grasp, Ventriloquism, Invisibility, Knock, Feign Death, Fumble, Animal Growth, Feeblemind, Charm, Mass Charm, Otto’s Irresistable Dance, Shape Change, Time Stop.

Iron Eye
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: 1 round/level
Range: 0
The caster may temporarily remove one eye and replace it with an iron eye, which must be specially made for them. They iron eye can see magnetic waves. It can be blinded by worked metal held close to it. Otherwise the user can see their way through dark spaces or across empty oceans, (iron bearing stone may be rather bright). Weapons and metal arrowtips will show up like flares in the dark, as will any other metal. (The caster should take care not to lose their original eye.)

Magic-User Level 5
Duration: Permanent
Range: 0
With a fragment of original DNA and enough biomass, the caster can create a duplicate of any humanoid creature. The duplicate will have all the innate powers and physical capabilities of the original. The duplicate will regard the caster as a parent. Their intelligence will be one sixth of the originals. (Minimum of 1). If magical powers or special skills required intelligence to use, they can no longer be accessed. They clone has them memories of the original, but usually does not understand them.

Un-suspectable Servant
Magic-User Level 2
Duration: 6 turns + 1 turn/level
Range: 0
This spell creates a mindless but opalescent, featureless and entirely visible and man-shaped being that performs simple tasks at the casters command. It can run and fetch things, open unstuck doors and hold chairs, as well as clean and mend. It can lift 20 pounds or drag 40 pounds . It cannot cause direct harm in any way. It has one hit point and an AC of 12. It cannot be suspected of any wrongdoing, ever. It could carry body parts through a nunnery, it could pour poison into the kings drink in front of him, it could dig a pit trap outside the gates of a school. The acts can be questioned if they are unusual, but not suspected.

Matchstick Men
Magic-User Level 1
Duration:  3o seconds to a minute.
Range: 0
This spell transforms burning splinters of wood into tiny golems under the casters control. Expect d30 from a double handful of kindling. Once the fragments are alight, they crack apart into tiny humanoid bodies, wreathed in flame. About an inch to two inches in height. They will scamper around as long as they live and do whatever the caster commands. They last 30 seconds, after that point, one matchstick man dies each second. None lives longer than a minute. They leave tiny ash corpses where they fell.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Effects (Continued and expanded)

This is a fuller and more formalised version a  previous post, with a lot of stuff added. This one is arranged for eventual inclusion in Veins.

Physical changes can take days or even weeks to come to fruition, but they begin on the roll.

Still not sure if this should apply to dwarves and elves or just humans. One idea was that Dwarves become more like Duergar or Derro and Elves become more Drowish.

In the game I am thinking that PC’s will be hunted by the Rapture, a kind of animate madness. If they are driven mad by it and survive, they roll on the table below.

1-5. Paranoia. You know that a fellow PC is hiding something from you.  XP freeze until you force them to reveal it.

6-10. Rage. You can no longer control your resentment and suspicion. XP freeze till you physically and directly harm a team mate. Until you commit this action the DM may force it upon on the failure of any roll.

11-13.Weight obsession. You must find a way to reduce your load. Throw something away or drastically alter its form to reduce its weight.

14-16. You now lie half awake and  hallucinate instead of dreaming.  Name your most common vision. If rolled twice you can create this vision in darkness, casting it as an illusion spell by having a brief conversion with the target. If thrice the vision will appear in your ‘waking’ hours and call you. If four times, you must obey.

17-18. If you wake up in darkness, you remember exactly where you went to sleep, the precise dimensions of the enclosing space, and the exact location of every nearby object. You will not need to fumble for your sword or search to locate an exit you have seen.

19-20. Any sense of claustrophobia is gone. You do not fear any enclosed space, no matter how long you are there, in fact you prefer it. Your memory of the sun is gone. You may not refer to it or describe it.

21. You can identify blood by taste. The species and, if you have tasted it before, the individual. Roll twice and you must identify any blood by taste.

22. Your pupils are permanently dilated to their maximum extent. Add 10ft to the distance you can see. You are easily blinded.

23-25. Each time you roll this, go down to the next lightest skin pigmentation. The last three are Caucasian, Albino, Translucent. (Elves respond differently to deep earth radiations, their skin gets darker not lighter.)

26. Your immune system has collapsed. You have no save vs disease. You must trade with the Myconids for a symbiotic fungal replacement.

27-28. Lose the hair from your body, or head. (Elves do not lose hair, instead it turns white.)

29-30. Hyper-sensitive skin. You no longer like to wear clothes. With naked skin you can sense the movement of air around you. 50% naked you can sense the size of cave around you. 90% the size of the local system. 100% and you can sense local movement, the rough size and speed of things moving in the cave.

31-32. Subconscious sonar. You compulsively click your tongue to discover the distance of nearby surfaces. You can scan for solid objects within 50ft. It is hard for you to stop doing this.

33-34. You hunger for silence. The rhythm of your conversations slows imperceptibly. You breathe out single words. Shouting becomes intolerable, even in times of danger. You must pass a WIS test to raise your voice.

35-36. Osteocytes. You begin to develop frills and ridges of bone upon your skull. These extend through the skin. They may be horns, ridges, spikes or something else. the more you roll this result the more elaborate they become.

37-38. Your finger bones lengthen and crook permanently. This provides a tireless hold while climbing and increases your ascent speed. You have difficulty doing fine work.

39-41. Your time sense erodes without any realisation; your wake-sleep cycle extends from 24 hours to 48 if rolled twice,  then to 72. You do not notice this

42-43. Respiration and digestion slow when still. If doing nothing you can go 30 seconds between breaths. You barely need food if all you do is wait.

44-45. Your breathing becomes silent. If you were next to someone, they would feel your breath on their face before hearing it.

46-47. You no-longer trust paper as it decays too fast. You start to tattoo your knowledge and maps onto your skin. Your self-developed code is shorter than writing and means your flayed skin would be useless as a map for others. A clever trick, you think. You start with your forearms and thighs then spiral out.

48-49. You can taste lies on someone’s breath as they speak. You must be within kissing distance.

50-51. You compulsively sharpen your teeth.

52-53. There is a darkness in your belly. When you scream, deliberately or not, a minor darkness spell is cast, from your mouth for the duration of the scream.

54-55. You must name any flame that you light. You must speak to them as if they were people. They take up a retainer spot. They have a morale. They may keep watch for you. They may also betray you.

56-57. Scent identity is now more real to you than visual identity. If separated from your friends, you will not fully recognise them till you smell them all over.

58-59. You no longer recognise own racial nature. You regard yourself as “other”. You gain no bonuses when communicating with your own race.

60-63. You must make a WIS test to avoid compulsive consumption of your fallen foes if they are of animal intelligence, if  rolled twice, named beings, if thrice, even your own species.

64. Your eyelids become translucent, you are hard to surprise if sleeping but easy to blind.

65-67. Your limbs and torso grow subtly longer yet retain the same mass. At first gangly (10%), if rolled twice, freakish (20%), if thrice, trollish (30%) and you go up a size category.

68. Your vision spectrum drops into a deeper shade of red. You gain infravision but blue is now simply black to you. If you had infravision, you can now see vague x-ray glows.

69. Mask-hunger. You become obsessed with protecting your image. Make a mask and wear it continually.

70. When you are not exerting yourself your body temperature drops to the ambient temperature of the environment. You cannot die from hypothermia. Neither can you warm others who are suffering. You may seem dead when you sleep.

71. Shadows are portals from which you can be watched. You cannot sleep or relax in shadow. You need complete darkness. You can often spot illusions by watching their shadows.

72. In absolute silence, just on the edge of hearing, you can hear the darkness speaking with itself. You do not like this. Learning its language is harder than any human tongue. Its discussions may be beyond you.

73. Reflections are enemy selves. You will avoid them if you can and never discuss important business in front of them.

74. Rapid protein conversion. You can gorge on meat to add 1 STR  for HD consumed. So all of a 1hd creature, half a 2hd creature one 10th of a 10hd creature, etc. The bonus lasts till sleep.

75. Always hungry -1 CHA unless just eaten. Can smell food on people if it is hidden.

76-78. Your nails thicken, and extend, they become d3 weapons. If rolled twice, d4 weapons. If thrice d6 weapons and are now claws, you will have difficulty with fine work.

79. You must name any rope you own and speak to them as if they were people. They take up a retainer spot. They have a morale. You can command them to unknot, they may inform you if they are damaged or not well secured, the may also betray you.

80. You can and must use Speak with Air as daily power.

81. Bone collector. Every enemy you kill has one bone waiting for you, take it and wrap it carefully.

82. Riddlemaster. You cannot refuse a riddle challenge. In appropriate circumstances you may riddle and gain bonuses to social situations.

83. Flayer Smell. You can and must smell psionic influence. The smell is as slight as a cup of coffee but you will sense it if you get close enough.

84-86. Magic Sense. Tip your head back, spread arms, close eyes, roll jaw and moan to detect magic. You will feel it in your teeth if it is there.

85. You gain a sense for the silent tongue. If you see dwellers using it you can get a good feel for the general tone and can spot simple words.

86. Secrets. You horde them. Must pas WIS test to willingly communicate any secret thing. For instance, the location of a secret door you just found, a letter you picked up, the last words of a foe.

87. Cloaker Totem. Build one and wear it continually. You believe this will protect you. It will. Once per level, in life threatening circumstances, it will act with the powers of a normal cloaker under your control

88-89. Face blind. You can’t remember faces till you stroke them.

90-91. Tectonic dreams. Just before you fall asleep you can hear the murmuring of Earth Elementals, you can gradually learn that language.

92. Ghost warden. You fear the spirits of those you have killed. Build, or obtain, an amulet to imprison them. Record them all. If it breaks or is lost, they may get free. (5% chance true per Ghost)

93. Magnetic sense. Iron in the rock will stop you reliably sensing North, but it can aid you in navigation nonetheless. Especially if blinded. Worked metal is like a burning torch to you. It can blind you if close enough. You don’t like carrying metal weapons.

94-95. Blood change. Your blood becomes an odourless, tasteless clear gel. It is hard to track you. If your skin is already translucent then your bones are almost visible through the cloudy flesh.

96-97. Poison Absorber. Poison still affects you as normal, but if you survive it, your body will hang on to the dose. You can transmit it via biting.

98-99. Water Sense. You can taste emissions from upstream in moving water. Anything pissing or bleeding within half a mile upstream.

100. You lose all desire to return to the surface. You belong here now.