Ruins of Chult: Session 7- River journey -day 2 & 3

Characters

  • Flyzus, Wood Elf Ranger (hunter), Outlander; sole survivor of his tribe after an orc invasion
  • Varis, Drow Rogue (thief), Far traveller; exiled scion of a noble family on the losing side of a feud
  • Droidoc, Halfling Druid (circle of the land), Outlander; was there when Camp Righteous fell, now he’s a cannibalistic loony

Day 2

Is it still waste?

Ambiance

After slaying (most of) the gnolls, the victorious PCs entered the river and a few hours later come upon a grisly scene: an entire herd of hadrosaurs had been decimated. It wasn’t hard to guess that the gnolls had killed the beasts, taking meat and leaving most  to rot.

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A dozen velociraptors were doing the best they could before something bigger got there. The PCs didn’t stay to see what it would be…

 

Friendly Frogs- Portage

Combat>>defused

The party had to get out of the water for a portage, unfortunately 2 giant frogs were in the way. Unfazed, the Halfling druid cast the animal friendship spell and the two dangerous beasts let them pass without harm.

Uneventful first night in the outside on a small island in the middle of the river that was indicated by a fisherman earlier

Day 3

In Shallow Territory

Social (1)

Eblis

Paddling for a few hours in the morning, the PCs were met by an eblis who advised to take a side affluent, saying that it would be impossible to go further on the main river. He asked for “shiny things” for his well-timed advice.

After a moment of hesitation, the PCs did choose to follow the eblis’ advice and got on shallow waters full of reeds. Not much further, another eblis proposed to sell them “beautiful and magical feathers” and Varis fell for it.

Deeper in what look more like a marsh, a third eblis whispered an offer to raid a nearby nest while he did a diversion and split the content between them. The PCs declined and forged ahead.

By then, Droidoc had had enough of the shady eblis and when yet another one approached, he threw a javelin at it! (2)

Combat: 1 eblis

The eblis cast a Hypnotic Pattern spell, it briefly affected Flyzus. It then attempted to fly away but was instead shot down. The PCs then cut through the dense vegetation to get back on the main river and away from those damn birds!

Octopus vs Plesiosaur!

Combat: 1 plesiosaur

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A river plesiosaur broke the surface of the water and savagely mauled the surprised Varis. Droidoc shapeshifted once more into a giant octopus and grappled the marine reptile while the elves slashed at it with swords. The severely wounded beast tried to get away but the octopus did not let go until it was dead.

Uneventful night on the pebble river bank

DM’s notes.

  1.  My eblis were more akin to peddlers. Neutral evil peddlers.
  2. Sometimes violence is indeed the solution!
  3. The fisherman’s tip and the animal friendship both removed a combat situation and that’s perfectly okay, the PCs got xp for it.

 

magic items – Chult- III

Mask of the Oracle

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Carved from the mythic Gboga Tree.

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

Once per day, while wearing this mask, you can use an action to cast the scrying spell.

Ikakalaka Sword +1

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Weapon (short or longsword), rare

An Ikakalaka sword can do both slashing and piercing (your choice).

Bonehead Helmet

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Wondrous Item (requires attunement)

While wearing this helmet, you cannot be stunned. Additionnally, you have advantage on your check when you attempt to shove a creature.

Wand of the Su-Monster

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Wand, rare (requires attunement)

The wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 charge to inflict 5d6 psychic damage on 1 target, 30′ range, stunned for 1 round (Wisdom saving throw DC  15).

The wand regains 1d6+1 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the wand’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the wand crumbles into ash and is destroyed.

Shotel Sword +1

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Weapon (scimitar), rare

A shotel sword can bypass an opponent’s shield (ignore AC from shield).

Mu-Ngyengyue Bracelet

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Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

While wearing this bracelet, you have advantage on saving throw to resist an entangle or ensnaring strike cast against you.

Maze Earrings

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Wondrous Item, rare (requires attunement)

Once a day, while wearing the maze earrings, you can use a bonus action to gain advantage on an Intelligence (Religion) skill check.

Chultan Armors

Scuta Leather Armor

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Best leather armor comes from Chult. Because dinosaurs!

  • 135 gp
  • Armor class: 13 + dex modifier
  • Weight: 17 lb

Zorbo Hide Armor

Zorbo

The bad-tempered, Koala-like Zorbo, possesses the peculiar ability to transform his skin into whatever he’s standing on. Some clever leatherworker have figured out a way to craft an armor that keeps this amazing power.

  • As leather armor but if you attach (bonus action) a special pin (comes with armor) it transforms into a (metal) breastplate.
  • 600 gp
  • you can buy an adamantine pin for 300 gp more (protection vs critical hits)
  • Weight: 10 lb

Ankylo Breastplate

Astutely assembled from ridges, crests and bone-plates, this heavy apparel has the distinct advantage of being a lot less heat-inducing than its metal equivalent.

  • 350 gp

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Magic Items – Chult – II

Matteba Leaves Garment

 

Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires attunement)

This garment is the Chult equivalent of a Cloak of Elvenkind.

Sahuagin Shark Teeth Sword

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Weapon (any sword that deals slashing damage), uncommon

When you attack a creature with this weapon and roll a 20 on the attack roll, that target takes an extra 7 slashing damage.

Velociraptor Feather Cloak

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Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

While wearing this cloak add 5′ to your base speed.

Magic items – Chult

African inspired magic items for my Ruins of Chult setting:

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Ivory Armband of Ferocity

Wondrous item, uncommon

When you hit with a weapon attack, you inflict +1 damage

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Amulet of Power

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

Choose a spell you know, when you cast this spell you cast it at one higher spell slot than the one you spend. You can change the spell only after a long rest.

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Headrest of Repose

Wondrous item, uncommon

Using the Headrest of Repose while you sleep, you can recover from one additional level of exhaustion with a long rest. Additionally, you are immune to the Dream spell for the day.

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Ivory Cup of Purity

Wondrous item, common

Anything you drink with the Ivory Cup of Purity is under the effect of a Purify food and drink.

 

I- Fighting styles for Streets & Turmoil

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Even inside the same combat system (boxing, karate, etc), there’s many different styles of fighting . I’ve tried to translate that for my D&D 5e Streets & Turmoil setting.

As it is far easier and less risky to take what already exists rather than homebrew everything from scratch, I’ve started with looking at the options already available. When I couldn’t find any, I’ve resorted to basic homebrewing, tinkering  with the fighter class feature fighting styles and champion subclass battle maneuvers.

Swarmer

Applying constant pressure, the swarmer wins with sheer volume instead of technique or power, not letting any breathing space for his adversary.

How to showcase that style:

  • Barbarian class feature: reckless
  • Barbarian, path of the berserker subclass feature: frenzy
  • Monk Ki feature: flurry of blows

Evaluation: The swarmer is not a subtle style so that seems like a quick & easy fit.

Out-fighter

The opposite of the swarmer, the out-fighter do best while keeping his distance, using superior reach and quick feet.

How to showcase that style:

  • Fighter, champion battle maneuver: lunging attack
  • Fighter, champion battle maneuver: pushing attack 
  • Rogue, Scout subclass feature: skirmisher
  • Monk, Ki feature: step of the wind

Evaluation: The opponent have the leisure the move back in range easily, this doesn’t seem to give a real edge at all. It definitely needs something more.

Homebrew: New fighting style (Fighter class feature):

Out-striking: +1 bonus to AC when the creature that targets you starts its turn at more than 5′. +1 bonus to attack rolls when targeted creature is at more than 5′.

Counterpuncher

A counterpuncher relies on good defense and waits for the opportunity to counter when his opponent exposes himself to attack.

How to showcase that style:

  • Fighter, champion battle maneuver: riposte
  • Monk, Ki feature: patient defense

Evaluation: That seems sufficient to me, riposte is a perfectly serviceable battle maneuver, even more so with a good AC.

 

Towers & Blood: setting

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Tower defense plus vampires, I mean, what’s not to like?!

This one I actually know it’s good, it’s been playtested! It was planned as a separate chapter on my last campaign, for 5 sessions, when my players had to “play the game”, so to speak, of the vampires ruling the city where they had to stay.

It served as change of scenery then, but I’m fully convinced that it can be a full-blown setting of its own, with a great tactical emphasis.

Overall idea

Vampires have many weaknesses aside their allergy to sunlight and one that is seldom seen in D&D, but that is nonetheless canonical, is the rather strange need to be invited before they can get in somebody’s home (forbiddance).

Take that and:

See the image above? That’s the city of Bologna in the Middle Ages.  Italy at the time was the most urban you could get and the local nobles, with these towers, made sure everybody knew who were the bosses. Owning a tower was a matter of prestige, but also crucial to control an area by might. So, indeed, towers everywhere.

Mix it:

Now imagine a city that is owned by vampires, say a few dozens of those bloodsuckers. The populace gives blood at the sunday mass, whatever. The vampires are the nobles. They each have a territory, of course, established by a notary (a very important profession) with a cadastre and all. Within these parcels of city they do as they please, feed whenever and from whoever they want, collect taxes and so on. But they can’t put a single step outside of what they own, unless specifically invited to do so (for a bal masqué maybe?). And what you own is firmly established by which towers you possess.

  • housings and people, are properties both
  • those are owned by the owner of the closest tower
  • a master vampire lives in a fortified mansion, which effectively acts as a tower for its surrounding area
  • the rules are enforced by a neutral party led by the Podestat, a vampire that come from another city

Tower defense

Being fiercely competitive creatures but also having a strong sense of self-preservation, the vampires have established a sort of equilibrium that rewards aggression without risking their precious untanned skin.

They can take a neighbor’s tower by force (or ruse), if they have the means, seizing in the process all properties that goes with it. But only by night. There’s an inverse couvre-feu, as it is.

Of course the vampires  (masters or spawns) can’t attack an enemy tower themselves, they’re not invited. That’s where minions, non-vampires, comes into play. But only resourceful agents (read PCs!) know success, for it is a very dangerous business overcoming a tower’s defense. The very best at this offer their services to the highest-bidders and can obtain great rewards (possibly becoming bloodsucking monsters themselves if so they wish). If they can survive the ceaseless schemes of their employers, that is.

Some more features

  • all matter of creatures are bound in the service of the vampires
  • towers are close enough  that their garrison can shoot with crossbow at each other
  • what about vampire hunters? PCs could decide to overthrow the city’s undead masters once they tire of working for them
  • there’s a vast maze of catacombs and sewers below that can be used to move or hide
  • organized religion turns around the concept of the sacred blood, given to the worthy so they could rule and protect the herd humans forever after

Damn I can’t find the map I did for this… Oh well, who cares, here’s a meme:

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