Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quick Update & Observations


  1. People like illusionist stuff.  The Illusionist Class is the 4th most viewed post ever, and until recently it was the most "plussed" post on here.  I'm not quite sure why it isn't anymore - the "plus" count has actually declined by one, so someone "unplussed" it.
  2. Three New Illusion Spells; The Paladin & Anti-Paladin Class; and The Illusionist Class are the most "plussed" posts.  Alter Reality is only behind by one, so it'll probably match them.
  3. Most viewed posts in the past month, in order from most to least: Ability Scores; The Knight; The Fighter; The Paladin; On Classes: Magic-Users; The Ranger; The Barbarian; Three New Spells; Alter Reality; and The Illusionist Class.  The low showing of the Illusionist is because it was posted just over a month ago, and there were a lot of views on the first day.
  4. Four of the top 5 most viewed posts ever are older/pre-2013.  It's interesting that Notable Spellcaster is so popular, and I really don't understand the popularity of Posting Will Be Light, unless people think it's some kind of joke post (hint: it's not.)  First post ever (I've had a few...) is still the most viewed.
  5. Followers jumped a little, but not much.  It would be kinda nice to hit 20 followers, so if two more people could want to jump in the pool, it'd be great.
  6. In Like Flynn ( and Sword +1 ( provide a huge amount of my traffic.  They are awesome.  The rest of it comes from Google (the Swords & Wizardry community, you guys are awesome too).
  7. If you came here looking for a tigana map, paksenarrion map, or guy gavriel kay map, I'm sorry, and I've just messed up your google search again.


  1. I burned out on classes for a bit, but will wrap up the Soldier soon.  I'll probably do a few variants, clarify some rules and stuff, and put together a "martial classes draft" pdf for download.  Then...we'll see.  I'm still wrestling with mechanics for other classes.  As usual, I should probably stop thinking and start writing.
  2. Plugging away on illusion spells.  I've got a huge pile of d20 spells to draw from, but formatting (and unformatting) takes time.  Once I get a good number, I'll probably make up another pdf.
  3. Eventually I might bring everything together in one compendium, and see if anyone is willing to pay money for it.  Some sort of house rules/variant rules thing, with an overview of the Shadowend tucked in as well.  What's posted here is basically rough drafts, so the final product would be a bit more polished and have extra bits.  Long ways away, though.  No rush.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Illusionist Spell - Alter Reality

Historically, alter reality is identical to a limited wish spell.  That deprives the illusionist of a real signature pinnacle spell, and treads on the magic-user's toes.  And it's boring.  A more recent version turned the spell into a short duration buff for any illusions in the area, which again sells the illusionist short.  And it's boring.  If there's one thing an illusion shouldn't be, it's boring.

This version of the spell sets up a comic-book style rewrite of reality - everything has changed, only the heroes remember "reality", and only they can change it back.  Alternately, the PCs can use it, but the advantages are fleeting.  It is both broader in scope and more ephemeral than wish.

Alter Reality

Level: Illusionist, 9th Level
Range: 1 mile radius per level
Duration: See below
Upon casting this spell, a silvery blast of light radiates outward from the illusionist to the limit of the spell.  Within the spell’s range, reality reshapes itself according to the caster’s desires.  The effect reaches backwards in time up to one day, so battles that were lost might be won, the slain returned to life, and so forth.

All those within the area of the spell’s effect, however, have a persistent sense of displacement and déjà vu, the severity depending on how dramatically their reality changed.  A person returned from the dead has a constant feeling of hopelessness and apathy, for instance, while someone else might feel displaced, or that they've forgotten something important.  Changed creatures and items taken beyond the area of effect maintain their changed state (but see below).

Characters and creatures of half the caster’s level and higher get a saving throw; if successful they remember “reality”, but this does not undo any circumstances currently affecting them.

The altered reality remains in effect until the caster dies, he leaves the area of effect, or dispels the spell.  Once that happens reality reasserts itself.  The dead become dead again, and their illusionary “living” forms disappear.  A character that was killed by the altered reality awakens, alive, at the site of their “death”.  Other effects are up to the Referee, but in general things should revert without serious physical consequences.  After dispelling or exiting an alter reality spell, the caster is mentally exhausted and cannot cast spells for 1d6 days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Three New Illusionist Spells

The Illusionist Class

Brilliant Pattern

Level: Illusionist, 1st Level
Range: 150 feet
Duration: Concentration + 1d4 rounds
 This spell creates a 20-foot wide pattern of swirling white light. Creatures within the pattern take a -1 penalty to attack rolls for as long as they are within the brilliant pattern, and for 1d4 rounds after they leave the area of effect or the spell ends.

Churning Pattern

Level: Illusionist, 3rd Level
Range: 150 feet
Duration: Concentration + 1d4 rounds
You create a 20-foot wide, glowing, twisting pattern of green, yellow, and purple colors that nauseates those within it.  Living creatures caught within a churning pattern are nauseated, making them unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention.  The only action an affected character can take is a single move per round.  The nauseating effects last for as long as the character is in the churning pattern and for 1d4 rounds afterwards.  A successful save in the first round negates the effects of the pattern.

Shadow Labyrinth

Level: Illusionist, 8th Level
Area: 1 room/level.
Duration: Permanent
This spell creates a maze of passages and corridors through the plane of Shadow linking rooms on the Material Plane.  You can link as many rooms as you have caster levels, but you must stand within each room during the casting of shadow labyrinth.  The rooms must all be on the Material Plane.

During the casting of the spell, you designate which rooms are linked, how many portals appear in each room, and the appearance of the corridors between the portals.  The portals traditionally appear as dark archways in walls of each room, and there can be as many or as few as you wish.  Portals can replace existing doorways, and this is often done when fashioning a shadow labyrinth inside a single structure.  Portals cannot be invisible, and they must be large enough for you to enter.  Any room can be linked to any other room, including itself, but every room in the shadow labyrinth must be connected to every other room via the network of rooms and corridors (you cannot fashion two freestanding shadow labyrinths with a single casting).

The corridors of a shadow labyrinth are actually dimensional portals through the Plane of Shadow.  They usually appear as underground passageways lined with cut stone and paved with flagstones.  Within the passages light sources and vision are dimmed, and all creatures are considered to have concealment.  Sound and light from rooms only penetrate 20 feet into the corridors.  You can create your caster level times one hundred feet of corridor in the shadow labyrinth, but each corridor is at least 50 feet long.  You can specify the shape, appearance, and junctions of the shadow labyrinth.

 Shadow labyrinths resist attempts to decipher their pathways.  Anyone using magical means to navigate through the labyrinth must make a Will save vs DC (18+shadow labyrinth caster’s relevant ability score modifier), as though saving against the shadow labyrinth itself.  If the save fails, the magical means fail for 24 hours.  Non-magical means automatically fail.

Once cast, the layout of the shadow labyrinth does not change. 

(The license for this entry is located in the Legal page above.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Well of Swords

The Well of Swords lies four days west of the reclaimed city of Shalanholt, south of the High Hills and due west of the Hags' Mere, within the bounds of fallen Asavar. The terrain around the Well is flat and fertile, covered in a mature forest of oak, elm, chestnut, and beech. No other notable ruins or hamlets lie within a half-day's walk; the Well's proximity to the fell Hags' Mere deterred settlement even in Asavar's safest years.

The Well is a circular pit thirty feet in diameter and approximately eighty feet deep. A narrow staircase spirals down the wall of the Well, terminating at a stone ledge at the well's bottom. Quite a few stones are missing from the stair, and those that remained are slick with moisture, rot, and mold. A foul-smelling pool fills the bottom of the Well, and the layer of scum that tops it occasionally ripples as though something large was moving underneath.

Three narrow doorways can be reached from the stairs, marking the first three levels. The fourth level is accessed from the stone ledge at the bottom. Several stairs are trapped, and the uppermost doorways as well.

The first and third levels of the Well are relatively small, while the second and fourth (the "working" levels) are more extensive. The primary connection between levels is the well stair. Lenki inhabits the bottom-most level, and the other three levels have a variety of opportunistic inhabitants.

First Masters of The Well

417-446 AR - Enwald of Barin 
The Well of Swords was begun in 417 AR (Amerite Reckoning) by Enwald of Barin, a former soldier forced to change professions after the loss of his right leg and several fingers to dragonacid. Enwald oversaw the excavation of the first two levels of the Well (now known as the Guardrooms and the Testing Grounds), choosing to dig out his stronghold after having seen too many castles fall to siege in his earlier years to be comfortable living in one. Enwald adopted as his sigil a fan of maces.

446-498 AR - Hivuar, Smith of Swords 
A longtime companion of Enwald's, Hivuar lived with him in the Well for many years. Hivuar's elven blood ultimately extended his life well past his friend's, and he became Master of the Well after Enwald's death (446 AR). Hivuar dug down further, adding the third level (the Suite) to the Well of Swords for himself and his wife. Hivuar's sigil was a fan of swords, a motif retained by all following masters of the Well.

498 AR - Nindalia, Lady of Swords  

Nindalia was Hivuar's wife in his later years. She added her command of magic to Hivuar's forgecraft, and together created a great many enchanted weapons. She is believed to have crafted the blade traps that guard access to the Well. She inherited mastery of the Well after Hivuar's death (498 AR), but died later the same year. Her symbol was a circular rune above a fan of swords.

The Apprentice Masters

498-517 AR - Tardel Throwingstone 
 Tardel was the first apprentice in the Well to become Master of the Well of Swords. Although his true apprenticeship was long completed, he never took a journeyman's journey, preferring to remain in the Well as an assistant to Hivuar.  There was much strife in Asavar during Tardel's tenure in the Well, and Tardel and two of his apprentices, Ashun Wier and Muar Tenshoulders, were killed when the Well was besieged by a lizardman force from the Mere. Tardel's sigil was a hammer above a fan of swords.

517-601 AR - Gwaylar Finla-Gormadoc'son  

Gwaylar was the first, last, and most proficient of Tardel's apprentices, and it seemed appropriate he become Master of the Well after Tardel's death (in 517 AR). During his tenure the Well was sunk to its current depth of eighty feet, and the fourth level (the Forge Halls) were added. War flourished throughout Gwaylar's time, and the Well of Swords was a reliable source of quality weapons and armor for gnomes, half-elves, and humans of the Sunrising Kingdoms as they battled lizardfolk, goblins, dopplegangers, and the dark clans of gnomes tempted and transformed by the Crone Goddess. Gwaylar's symbol was a spear above a fan of swords. Gwaylar's exact ending is unclear; he purportedly died in 601 AR, in Asavar's final collapse, but careful investigation revealed the body interred in the crypts of the Well to be an illusion. If the gnome has, in fact, not died, he would be no more than middle-aged now.

601-614 AR - Varalon, Smith of Kings 

Varalon was of royal blood, one of Sieriven's princely sons. With the fall of that kingdom to shapechangers and the wilderness, Valaron chose to remain in the Well with Gwaylar, and later, after the gnome's death (601 AR), as Master. He retained contact with the Hundred Kingdoms in the west, and crafted a great many enchanted crowns and other regalia for the myriad princelings and petty lords in those hotly contested lands. His symbol was a crown above a fan of swords.

The Forgotten Masters

614-638 AR - Andrella, Lady of the Well 
Andrella apprenticed with Varalon and inherited the Well when he departed for a civilized retirement in the Hundred Kingdoms (614 AR). Andrella herself preferred the wild and dangerous place the lands about the Well had become, spending weeks adventuring in the High Hills or the ruins of Asavar. Her symbol was a morningstar above a fan of swords.

638-642 AR - Hildurn the Smith 

Hildurn was the last true runesmith and Master of the Well of Swords. He apprenticed to Andrella and inherited the Well from her (638 AR). The Lady of the Well had not bothered to retain more than the most tenuous connections to the civilized lands, and Hildurn found himself master of a smithy-stronghold nearly forgotten. Nevertheless, he created a number of powerful magical items before he was betrayed and slain by one of his own apprentices, the dwarf Lenki. His symbol was a broadsword above a fan of swords.

The Current Master of the Well of Swords

642 AR - current - Lenki Ashbones 
Lenki, the current Master of the Well, fell prey to foul temptation and forged a pact with a dark god (likely the Crone Goddess). He slew his master Hildurn (642 AR), and interred the corpse in a crypt with Lenki's two fellow apprentices, Red-Hair and Yorn, alive. Lenki, however, found himself sadly lacking in the runelore he craved, and spent many years trying to puzzle out the secrets of the runes, slipping into undeath as he did so. Most of the Well of Swords was abandoned (at least by Lenki; many other creatures moved in) as the mad dwarf toiled at the forge, slowly unlocking the secrets he craved. He has assembled an armory of tainted weapons, and contacted many forces of woe in the Shadowend as buyers. Lenki's symbol is a skull above a fan of swords.

Lenki Ashbones; male moulder dwarf wight (runesmith 4); AC 16; Save 14; HD 4; dam 1d6+2 (heavy pick +1); hit only by silver or magical weapons; level drain (1)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Paladin and Anti-Paladin Classes


Hit Dice: 1d6+2 (+3 hp per level after 9th level.)
Armor: Any armor, any shields.
Weapons: Any weapons.
Skills: A paladin is skilled at feats of endurance and influence.  They are also skilled at battle lore, diplomacy, noble lore, religious lore, and riding.
Alignment: Paladins must be Lawful (and Good, if appropriate).

Class Features

Aura (1st): Paladins emanate a permanent aura of Law (or Good) that protects them as per the spell protection from evil.  This aura can be detected by powerful undead or supernatural evil, exactly as the paladin’s own sense evil ability.

Lay on Hands (1st):  A paladin can cure 2 hp per level per day by laying on of hands.  This can be used and divided as the paladin chooses.

Sense Evil (1st): The paladin has a heightened ability to detect evil auras, such as those emitted by demons, devils, undead, and powerful followers of evil deities.  The paladin has a 1-in-6 to notice such an aura automatically, and a 4-in-6 chance when actively looking (which takes at least one round).  The presence, but not location, of concealed or invisible creatures can be determined.

Smite Evil (1st): A paladin gains a +1 bonus to hit and a +2 bonus to damage when fighting undead.  This bonus increases to +2/+4 at fifth level, and applies to supernatural evil creatures, such as demons and devils, as well as undead.  At 9th level the bonus becomes +3/+6.  Exactly what constitutes supernatural evil is up to the GM.

Anointed Flesh (3rd): Paladins are immune to all diseases, including mummy rot and lycanthropy. Their touch can cure disease once per week at level 3, twice per week at level 7, and three times per week at level 11.

Destrier (4th): At level 4, the paladin gains the service of a divine warhorse (or other mount) if he successfully completes a quest to locate the animal. The divine mount is unusually strong, loyal, and ready to serve the paladin in her crusade against evil. Should the paladin’s mount die, a year and a day must pass before another can be called.

Divine Warhorse: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d3), 2 hooves (1d4);Move 18; Save 12; Special: None.
Lionheart (7th):  The paladin becomes immune to normal and magical fear, and allies within 10 feet of the paladin gain advantage on saving throws vs. fear.

Healing Touch (11th):  A paladin's touch is capable of removing all ailments from a creature, including disease, poison, ability score damage, level drain, hit point damage, confusion, curses and insanity.  A paladin can use healing touch once per day.

Anti-Paladin (Paladin Variant)

Anti-paladins are champions of ruin and woe, the dark mirror of true paladins.  An anti-paladin has the same abilities as a paladin, except as noted below.
Alignment: Anti-paladins must be Chaotic (and Evil, if appropriate).

Aura (1st): Anti-paladins emanate a permanent aura of Chaos (or Evil) that protects them as per the spell protection from good.  This aura can be detected by powerful factors for good, exactly as the anti-paladin’s own sense good ability.

Herald of Woe (1st): The forces of evil protect their own, and the anti-paladin is no exception.  She has a +2 bonus to all saving throws.

Sense Good (1st): The anti-paladin has a heightened ability to detect good auras, such as those emitted by innately good and magical creatures (dragons, unicorns) and powerful followers of good deities (priests, paladins, angels).  The anti-paladin has a 1-in-6 to notice such an aura automatically, and a 4-in-6 chance when actively looking (which takes at least one round).  The presence, but not location, of concealed or invisible creatures can be determined.

Baleful Combatant (1st): A anti-paladin gains a +1 bonus to hit and damage when fighting opponents antithetical to his beliefs.  This bonus increases to +2/+2 at fifth level, and +3/+3 at 9th level.

Venomous Blow (1st): Once per day the anti-paladin can release a malignant supernatural poison through his weapon, inflicting 1 hit point of damage each round for a number of rounds equal to twice the anti-paladin’s level.  This effect cannot be stopped with a cure wounds spell, only delay poison or neutralize poison.

Foul Flesh (3rd): Anti-paladins are immune to all diseases, including mummy rot and lycanthropy.  She becomes a bearer of corruption and sickness, and can cause disease once per week at level 3, twice per week at level 7, and three times per week at level 11.

Nightmare (4th): The anti-paladin gains the services of a nightmare steed.  This is treated as the divine warhorse (above), except it can breathe fire (1d6 damage).

Blackheart (7th): The anti-paladin radiates fear (as the spell, but in a 10’ radius around the anti-paladin).

Touch of Ruin (11th): The anti-paladin can return a dead creature as an undead once per day.  The undead will temporarily serve the anti-paladin, and then go its own way, as evil turns serves only itself.

(The terms advantageknack, and skilled are defined on the Game Design page above.  The license for this entry is located in the Legal page above.)