Author: Crash

Circulus Ep 17: Critical Hit Puns

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

My audio is a bit worse this time due to a (now fixed) mic issue, sorry about that.

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Circulus Ep 16: Devil’s In The Details (Audio)

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

MP3 Download: Circulus Ep 16: Devil’s In The Details

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Circulus Ep 15: Five Men And A Little Kobold (Audio)

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

 

MP3 Download: Circulus_Ep_15_5men_mono

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Medieval Fantasy City Generator

For some GM/DMs, sitting down to craft intricate maps of towns and cities is one of the best parts of world building for a homebrew campaign. For everyone else, there’s this little gem by itch.io user Watabou.

The interface is fairly simple, but if you don’t like the random map it makes for you there are a lot of tweakable options available. Is this a coastal town? Is there a river? Is there a protective wall? What color scheme would you like?

As an added bonus, when you mouse over structures on the map you get alt text telling you what part of town you’re looking at, whether its a slum, craftsmen quarter, temple, park, and so on.

Is this a place to which the party will return? You can export the map as a png or svg file. I prefer the svg format myself as it makes editing in Inkscape (Or Adobe Illustrator if you’re the kind of person who has money) much easier, though be warned that these svgs will have a LOT of shapes and might slow down older machines.

One downside is since the labeling is done with alt text it doesn’t carry over into the exported files, but since I intend to relabel most of my maps it isn’t much of a drawback for me. Other than that, I think I’ve found my new favorite tool for city and town adventures.

 

Circulus Ep 14: Opening Orestrike Part 4 (Audio)

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

MP3 Download: Circulus Ep 14 Opening Orestrike Part 4

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Circulus Ep 13: Opening Orestrike Part 3 (Audio)

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

MP3 Download: Circulus Ep 13 Opening Orestrike Part 3

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Circulus Ep 12: Escape From Hooson (Audio)

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

MP3 Download: Circulus Ep 12 Escape From Hooson (Oneshot)

D&D Extra Life 2017: http://dnd.wizards.com/extralife2017

Cast:
Akari: Vex’Sarin, Half-Elf Ranger
Akari’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Akari_Mag
Akari’s Podcast: https://azerothctc.com/

Tom: Panqarim Darkstone, Deep Gnome Barbarian
Tom’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/bolthra

Syn: Obaim Metalcaster. Dwarf Cleric
Syn’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Synrgy007
Syn’s Podcast: http://vote2kick.com/

Logan: Fenix, Dragonborn Paladin

Matt: Aristobulous Ravenscroft, Human Wizard

Crash: DM
All Crash’s stuff: http://aaronbsmith.com/

Circulus Ep 11: Opening Orestrike, Part 2 (Audio)

Welcome to Circulus, a D&D 5e campaign setting.

MP3 Download: Circulus Ep 11 Opening Orestrike Part 2

D&D Extra Life 2017: http://dnd.wizards.com/extralife2017

Cast:
Akari: Vex’Sarin, Half-Elf Ranger
Akari’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Akari_Mag
Akari’s Podcast: https://azerothctc.com/

Tom: Panqarim Darkstone, Deep Gnome Barbarian
Tom’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/bolthra

Syn: Obaim Metalcaster. Dwarf Cleric
Syn’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Synrgy007
Syn’s Podcast: http://vote2kick.com/

Logan: Fenix, Dragonborn Paladin

Matt: Aristobulous Ravenscroft, Human Wizard

Crash: DM
All Crash’s stuff: http://aaronbsmith.com/

Circulus: Act 1 Epilogue & Quest Breadcrumbs

Battle’s End

It would have been nice if the ancient green dragon’s retreat had resulted in the undead falling to the ground, lifeless (again). Sadly, the battle raged on for many hours afterwards.

The departure of the glitterbombed and freshly cyclopean wyrm was a turning point, however, with soldiers able to quickly patch up the wall breach using spare cattle run partitions. The original plan to have the undead funnel through to the crematorium worked … mostly. The large stockpile of explosive arrows proved far more effective.

The dragon’s strafing run through town did manage to kill a significant number of townsfolk, who subsequently animated in a number of minutes rather than hours. The practice of everyone boarding themselves up in their houses meant most new members of the undead horde were unable to cause mass destruction, but one zombie in a building was more than enough to turn the entire structure into a crypt before help could arrive.

With the complete destruction of Clearspring and the casualties during the battle, the total population of Koomridge was down to 30% of its size at the onset of Winter.

This is only an estimate, as the dwarves of Orestrike sealed their tunnels sometime during the conflict. Even the dwarf residents of Koomridge Keep were unable to contact any survivors inside, and the worst is feared by most. There is some debate as to whether efforts should be made to unseal Orestrike, but dwarf settlements are cleverly built and frequently rigged to do bad things to anyone who tries to break in. Many (including many dwarves) suggest waiting until any survivors poke their heads out to see if it’s safe, but dwarves are a patient race and can wait a long time.

Dragon Departed

Fiddlepunch’s escape and survival were due to a unique property of his Mark 42 telescope: It could turn into a giant mech roughly twice the size of Fenix. He had originally designed it to survive the vacuum of space while he toyed with converting the tower into a rocket, but those plans fell through as Marwood’s senility grew worse.

Upon the defeat of the zombie horde Fiddlepunch returned to the tower and discovered tracks indicating that the bulk of the zombies who had attacked his home had walked straight out of the lake. Further inspection showed a previously undiscovered underwater cave which had apparently been home to the dragon for some time, perhaps several hundred years.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how eager one wishes to be a dragon dinner) the green dragon had apparently packed up and fled. There were plenty of signs that a great many things had been stored in the cave, but nothing of value had been left behind.

It is assumed that the ancient green dragon was responsible for the curse, in part because after its departure the dead stopped their perpetual unlife. Those zombies not destroyed remained animated, but any killed, along with any new deaths, remained dead.

The citizens of Koomridge still cremate their dead, however. When you’ve been doing something for 100 years, it becomes the way you’ve always done it.

Converts

Members of the party were not the only ones apparently blessed by the gods. Many of the recent cleric converts to Sylvanus, Ilmater, and Bahamut reported abilities of far greater power than should have been possible. Turning undead more often than not resulted in corpse dust rather than fleeing foes, and healing spells did far more than could ever have been expected.

While these boons to ability quickly faded as the day went on, it still led to many residents turning to these new, foreign gods for worship and protection. Koomridge is now home to three temples, in addition to the three churches it originally contained. There is some contention between the new and the old, but it is mostly of an intellectual nature.

The exception to this involves the worshipers of Bahamut, which sadly could have been expected. With the driving force behind Koomridge’s curse turning out to be a dragon, a religion that worships a dragon god is not exactly the most favored of choices. The few who adhere to this faith make great efforts to never wear green.

One might think that they would also avoid displaying marks of their faith based on the public’s overall attitude towards dragons, but their role model is Fenix, so….

Ari

Ari spends the Winter months chest deep in scrolls and books, mostly looking for more information involving large scaly things. With the zombie crisis mostly averted, the Idris family is all too happy to help. Fervid’s contacts at multiple magical academies (gained through decades of research into the curse) as well as the books that Fiddlepunch was able to salvage from Marwood’s Tower reveal little, but little is still more than nothing.

It turns out that fanatics wielding green daggers adorned with dragon heads are not unique to Koomridge. Some of them have popped up here and there around Circulus, including on a largish island north of Adrilanka, the port city that Ari also calls home.

Reports of a frightening creature of immense size flying at an incredible height have reached one of the academies far to the North West. The thought is that it was heading towards the island continent granted to the orcs for their aid in the fall of the Circulean Empire.

In addition to this Ari continues his arcane studies under Ardent’s tutelage, gaining an additional 3 spells of his choice from the PHB. Ardent refuses to take the wand of fireballs back, insisting that it is well deserved. Its command word is “teepeekay,” which is no stranger than most command words.

Fenix

Fenix spends his Winter attempting to be as awesome as possible. Training with the guardsmen, discussing religion with new clerics of Bahamut, moving heavy construction materials, and destroying wagons are all things he does on a daily basis.

As a reward for his service against the green dragon, the dwarf blacksmiths of Koomridge craft a suit of plate armor (AC18) for Fenix. While mostly of sturdy steel construction, the breastplate is adorned with a relief design of a dragon’s head covered in platinum leaf (like gold leaf, only…).

Fenix is also gifted with a pair of enchanted jesses allowing Justice to survive through most weather conditions. With these, he spends more time bringing Justice outside to let him stretch his wings. Fenix is frequently rewarded for this with gifts of rabbit, small birds, and the occasional rat.

One time Justice tries to catch Shepard and bring him to Fenix. It does not end well, at least from Justice’s point of view. Shepard is by now a bit too heavy to lift and spends the time jumping in an attempt to help Justice out. Justice does not appreciate the assistance from his “prey.”

Obaim

Obaim spends his Winter months tending to the sick and injured, along with a following he did not expect to gain. Ilmater’s call to service is unmistakable in its direction, however, and even those who dislike the intrusion of foreign gods cannot deny the aid that Ilmater’s followers provide for any in need.

As Spring approaches and it becomes likely that Obaim will continue to travel with his companions, his congregation pitches together and gifts him with a handy haversack to aid him on his journey.

Panq

Despite all previous indications of his character, Panq spends his Winter helping to rebuild Koomridge and helping as many farmers as possible return to their homesteads. He begins to gain a reputation in town as a somewhat more gray and significantly more bald version of Old Bob, and the comparison is not meant to be hurtful.

Old Bob continues to have odd jobs for Panq now and then as the months go by. Between these and the initial payment for the star charts, Panq makes roughly 200 gold for his efforts and also somehow manages to “acquire” Marwood’s portable hole, though he neglects to share that story with the rest of the party.

The hole is full of clutter and usually at least one live chicken. So far the chicken(s) have managed to escape any attempts to harm it (them), and they seem to do fine in spite of portable holes only containing roughly 10 minutes of breathable air.

On one of these jobs Panq is able to find a meeting place of Dragon Cultists in a cave not far from town. The cave seems deserted, but some directives written in code are found on a sheet of parchment that had slipped between a desk and a rough stone wall.

Panq also finds a latrine in the cave, but declines to investigate further.

Vex

Vex spends his time researching dragons, and quickly learns that his knowledge far outshines any tome the Idris family can locate. On Circulus dragons had always been creatures of myth and legend, so those who wrote about dragons were usually more interested in telling a good story than anything else. Frustrated, he manages to pen a significant amount of details himself.

These activities have him spend more time with the royalty of Koomridge, but Fervid’s steady supply of candies makes the experience a little better.

Vex spends his non-literary time tending the sick and injured, assisting with repairs, and training Shepard.

During this time Shepard beefs up, and not from the scraps that Pudge the Innkeeper’s wife continues to try to sneak past Vex’s watchful gaze. He’s now full grown, with his marvelous takedown ability ready to go. Shep is happy to demonstrate this at any hour of the day, much to the dismay of people who would normally call themselves allies.

Shepard has also developed the odd habit of bringing Vex random trophies, likely because of how proud Vex was after the eyeball and dragon ones. These are varied, but have included such things as hats, scarves, a table leg (the table did not collapse until the leg was delivered), a whole, cooked chicken, a small child (the kid enjoyed the experience, the parents did not), Panq (twice), Justice (three and a half times, including when Justice tried to bring Shepard to Fenix), Obaim’s mace, an animated, severed human hand, and a deck of playing cards.

Of all of Shepard’s trophies, the strangest was a small, rust colored cloth bag. It was found in the middle of the woods, with no sign of its previous owner in spite of Vex’s superb tracking skills.

Where To?

With the Spring thaw fast approaching, the party has been growing restless. Before them lie several options, and not all of these are mutually exclusive. Wherever they choose to go, the grateful people of Koomridge are happy to provide them with horses (or a horse and wagon if they prefer) and any basic traveling supplies (food, etc.) they might need.

  1. Ari has discovered evidence that the strange cultists encountered in Koomridge might also have a base of operations somewhat closer to (his) home. Additionally, he still has Lord Idris’ formal letter agreeing to a trade arrangement with the Ravenscroft family.
  2. The worshipers of Bahamut have been petitioning Fenix to visit his own homeland, the former Circulean capital known as Dei Perfecta. Failing that, they have been asking him to send word to them for more paladins or clerics to bolster their numbers. Dei Perfecta is located on the other end of Circulus’ ring.
  3. The best stonemasons of Koomridge, if they still live, are entombed in the sealed subterranean town of Orestrike. This leaves no one outside of Orestrike with the knowledge of how to get in. An expedition has been proposed to contact another dwarven settlement named Whosonfirst to see if they can lend aid.
  4. The orc lands far to the North West have the strongest lead on the ancient dragon’s whereabouts. It is currently wounded and weakened, but will not stay that way forever.
  5. Fiddlepunch brings word that a town to the South named Whatsonsec appears to have up and vanished. He suspects that it may be related to the same phenomena that brought Vex, Panq, and Obaim into this world, and wishes to travel there to investigate. Alas, he is a researcher, not a fighter, and the roads are often dangerous. (The Mark 42 is not built for long distance travel inside of a gravity well.)

 

Alternate D&D Background: Teacher

You’ve grown up in a family that valued knowledge and its practical use. Fortunately, you also found a community that holds the same values, as they hired you (either through public funds or a wealthy patron) to educate the local children.

Your academic prowess is not as vast or as deep as the ocean, but you know more than the average adolescent and you’ve never stopped learning, so you get by.

Skill Proficiencies: History or Insight, and Persuasion or Performance
Languages: Two of your choice
Equipment: A book of local history, a small slate, 5 pieces of chalk, a set of traveling clothes, a set of formal clothes, a ruler or yardstick, a pouch containing 10gp

 

Urban Dragons

D&D has Chromatic and Metallic dragons, and they work quite well. What if, however, there was a third category? One that came about since the dawn of civilization, and included dragons that took on some of those aspects for themselves? Here are three examples.

Paper Dragon

  • Color: White, turning yellowish as it ages
  • Breath Weapon: Cone of small, fibrous slivers that do double damage to unarmored areas
  • Alignment: Any Lawful
  • Quirk: Likes to build its lair in monasteries, universities, etc. – often  forming a partnership with the administration of those buildings. After all, a dragon knows the location of every item in its treasure hoard, and card catalogs can get unwieldy as a collection grows…
  • Preferred Treasure: Knowledge – books, scrolls, etc.

Coal Dragon

  • Color: Matte black
  • Breath Weapon: Cloud of black dust that can asphyxiate victims, but is also extremely flammable to the point where any spark or ember will ignite it into a fireball
  • Alignment: Any Chaotic
  • Quirk: Preferred lairs are mines, ideally ones that have abundant coal seams. Enjoys everything about metalworking, to the point where some Coal Dragons have been known to kidnap blacksmiths and force them to work in their lairs, the large beasts slowly falling asleep to the sound of hammer on anvil.
  • Preferred Treasure: Any metalwork that shows great skill or effort, especially larger mechanical contraptions

Sewer Dragon (Come on, you knew this would end up here.)

  • Color: Various shades of browns, with specks of green appearing as it ages.
  • Breath Weapon: Stinking Cloud, as per the spell
  • Alignment: Any Good
  • Quirk: One would think sewer life would lead to a sour disposition, but a Sewer Dragon’s sinuous body and immunity to disease and odors makes it ideal for this environment. Some Sewer Dragons have been known to train rats to seek out discarded items.
  • Preferred Treasure: Jewelry of any kind, though gold rings are ideal

Malfunctioning Magical Items

Just in case your D&D/Pathfinder game needs a little levity:

  • Helm of Teleportation
    Acts like a normal Helm of Teleportation, but ONLY the helm teleports. The player stays behind. When attuning to the helm, language used should avoid pointing this out without actually lying about the helm’s ability to teleport.
  • Deck of Just One Thing
    Appears to be a Deck of Many Things, but every card drawn awards the player with an additional Deck of Just One Thing. They cannot draw cards from the new decks as they are identical in every way to the deck from which they drew.
  • Sleeping Bag of Holding
    At a random time during use, and until dawn, this sleeping bag constricts in such a way as to make the player feel like someone is in the bag with them and hugging them as they fall asleep. This can actually be quite comforting, unless you weren’t expecting it.
  • Carpet of Flights of Fancy
    Anyone using this carpet will feel and act like it is in fact a flying carpet. The best, flying carpet, in fact. Never has the player flown so fast, with such great maneuverability. Why, they can even do a barrel roll. In reality, they will be sitting on the carpet wherever they placed it while onlookers wonder if a high level cleric should be brought in.
  • Goggles of Night
    Traditional Goggles of Night give darkvision up to 60 feet. THESE goggles make it look like it’s midnight, though characters who have darkvision may use that ability when wearing these goggles in well lit areas.