Warlock Pact: Pact of the Wolf

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Your patron is the spirit of the wolf, embodied by such beings as Fenrir, the wolf of Norse mythology, the Capitoline Wolf or Lithuanian goddess Medeina. Many cultures throughout history have worshiped and respected the wolf and other canines.

At early levels the wolf embodies loneliness and those who are empowered by the wolf spirit must learn to survive on their own.

Later, as the wolf’s power grows, the loner becomes a pack leader, able to help and protect their allies. The Wolf lives for the thrill of the hunt, but is not unnecessarily cruel. The strong survive and the weak perish, this is the main tenant of those who follow the Wolf Gods.

EXPANDED SPELL LIST

Bonus Cantrip: Primal Savagery

1st: Animal Friendship, Speak with Animals (Wolves Only)

2nd: Beast Sense (Wolves Only), Pass Without Trace

3rd: Conjure Animals (Wolves Only), Spirit Guardians

4th: Conjure Woodland Beings, Phantasmal Killer

5th: Commune with Nature, Awaken

Senses of the Wolf: At 1st level the warlock has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell. Starting at 1st level, the Warlock gain the service of a wolf spirit. The spirit assumes the form and game statistics of a wolf, and it always obeys your commands, which you can give telepathically while it is within 100 feet of you. The Warlock can see through the wolf’s eyes and hear what it hears while it is within 100 feet of you.

The wolf doesn’t require sleep. While it is within 100 feet of the Warlock, it can awaken them from sleep as a bonus action. The wolf vanishes when it dies, if the Warlock dies, or if the two of you are separated by more than 5 miles.At the end of a short or long rest, the Warlock can call the wolf back to their side—no matter where it is or whether it died—and it reappears within 5 feet of the summoner.

Alpha Leader: At 6th level the Warlock has advantage on an Attack roll against a creature if at least one of the warlock’s allies is within 5 ft. of the creature and the ally isn’t Incapacitated.

Shape of the Beast: Starting at 10th level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a wolf exactly like a Druid’s Wild Shape. You can use this feature once per Long Rest. The Wolf has its maximum level of hit points as well as half the Warlock’s CON bonus per level. ( A 10th level Warlock with a +2 CON bonus will have an additional 10 HP in Wolf form.)

Sly Wolf: Also at 10th level, the Warlock gains Advantage on any Charisma (Intimidation) or (Persuasion) when dealing with creatures of the same race.

The Hunted: When a Warlock reaches 14th level they can use an Action to mark a target as Hunted. That target must make a Charisma Saving Throw versus the Warlock’s spell save DC. On a successful save, the target is attacked briefly by a pack of summoned wolves that inflict 2d6 piercing damage. On a failed save, the target is Frightened for 1d6 rounds. During that  time the target can do nothing more than flee from the Warlock, imagining that a pack of wolves is snapping at their heels. Every round the target may make another saving throw, but each fail inflicts 2d6 piercing damage. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Pack Leader: At 20th level the Warlock has become an alpha leader, respected by their chosen Wolf God. The Warlock can inspire others through intimidating presence alone. The Warlock can use a Bonus Action on their turn to choose one creature other than themselves within 60 feet of you who can hear see them. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d6. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

The Warlock also learns Commander’s Strike. When they take the Attack
action on their turn, they can forgo one of their attacks and use a bonus action to direct one of their companions to strike, When they do so, they choose a friendly creature
who can see or hear them. That creature can immediately use its reaction to make
one melee attack. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

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The Darkness Pitch

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This is the last comic script I wrote, which was a proposal for a new take on the Darkness. The idea was to write the book as a horror series, more like American Horror Story, where there was no clear hero or villain, just an unstoppable evil that would try to ruin the lives of everyone it encountered. I finished writing this just as Stranger Things came out, and there were some close similarities, such as the “Darkness World” that was leaking through to our realm.
Since it has been well over a year and no one even contacted me in regards to this script, I am going to assume Top Cow and I have no further business together and I am posting the script for the world to read.
As always, feel free to comment or contact me about it. Artwork by the wonderful Rob Doria.

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DarknessMan_PinUp (1)

 

The Darkness

 

 

Page 1

 

 

Panel 1: ESTABLISHING SHOT of the brand new CALIFORNIA STATE HOSPITAL, a prison for the mental ill and deranged. It is 1955, the building is new and the paint still fresh, the flowers that grow in the garden are tall and full of color.

 

A van sits in the parking lot to the left side of the building, with the word’s THE MARVELOUS MIFF on the side. The truck belongs to Miff the Magician. It is painted black with playing cards and gold stars on it.

 

Panel 2: INSIDE the hospital, in the open gymnasium. Magic Miff has set up his gear in front of the basketball net. The inmates sit in chairs about twenty feet away, with orderlies stationed next to all the rows of seats. There are 12 rows all together, totaling just over sixty inmates. Doctors are scattered among them, as well as a few nurses. A young nurse, blonde, tall and slim, stands in the front row, a clipboard pressed to her chest. Miff is a round, happy, man with an unusual moustache. He wears a red vest over his black tuxedo and he holds a long, black, wand in his hand. Nearby covered under a black blanket is a six-foot tall ominous looking box.

 

MIFF: THANK YOU, ONCE AGAIN, FOR ALLOWING ME TO PERFORM HERE TODAY, FOR ALL OF YOU. FOR MY SECOND TRICK, I WILL NEED A VOLUNTEER.

 

Panel 3: Miff looks at the inmates, smiling at the assorted freaks and weirdoes, a wide grin on his face.

 

MIFF: THE TRAVEL BOX REQUIRES A BRAVE SOUL, WHICH OF YOU WILL IT BE, EH?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 2

 

 

Panel 1: The old hospital administrator, a mean looking old man who leans on a black cane, approaches the young blonde nurse. His name is Mr. Coldfax and his eyes are too large and too shiny, he is clearly not well.

 

  1. COLDFAX: MARTHA, WHY DON’T YOU VOLUNTEER? I’D PREFER HE LEAVE THE INMATES IN THEIR SEATS WHERE THEY CAN ENJOY THE SHOW.

 

Panel 2: Miff takes Martha by the hand and leads her toward the Travel Box.

 

MARTHA: THIS BOX CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, ANYWHERE YOU WANT TO GO. YOU WON’T REMEMBER IT OF COURSE. . .THAT’S THE MAGIC OF IT. . .

 

Panel 3: The young woman takes Miff’s hand is lead into the box.

 

MIFF: WHEN I CLOSE THE DOOR, I WANT YOU ALL TO CLAP YOUR HANDS AND SEND THIS NICE YOUNG LADY ON HER MAGICAL JOURNEY! ACROSS THE STARS TO WORLD’S UNKNOWN!

 

Panel 4: TIGHT SHOT: The door is closed, the latches secured. The crowd begins to clap.

 

Panel 5: The magical box is rotated around on its special stand. Two or three times the box turns, turns, turns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Page 3

 

Panel 1: The box comes to a stop, the Magician smiles for the clapping crowd.

 

MIFF: ABRACADABRA!

 

Panel 2: Opening the door, Martha is gone!  Miff bows, his hat in his hands.

 

Panel 3: Closing the door again, the Magician continues with his trick.
MIFF: THANK YOU, THANK YOU! NOW LET’S BRING HER BACK FROM HER AMAZING JOURNEY!

 

Panel 4: Once again the box is revolves around and around. This time the shot is closer, tighter, more claustrophobic.

 

Panel 5: Miff throws open the door, but Martha is gone. We do not see the back of the box, instead we see only darkness.

 

MIFF: ABRACADABRA!

 

 

 

 

 

Page 4

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Miff peers into the box. The rest of the audience is worried, they can sense something is wrong.

 

MIFF: EXCUSE ME, FOLKS. JUST A MINOR SETBACK HERE.

 

Panel 2:

 

Miff studies the box, front and back, but cannot figure out what happened.

 

CROWD: WHERE IS SHE, WHERE IS MARTHA?

 

Panel 3:

 

The Magician gets closer to the box, trying to see into the blackness.

 

Panel 4:

 

Miff steps into the box, his face just inches from the dark.

 

Panel 5:

 

CLOSE-UP of Miff’s horrified face. Suddenly Miff can see into the dark, down into the blackness and what he sees is madness and evil incarnate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 5

 

 

FULL PAGE SPREAD:

 

The panel is framed by the magical box and we can tell that this is what Miff sees.

 

Martha drowns in a sea of blackness, surrounded by massive white gleaming teeth. Her clothes are shredded, her flesh torn open, her face twisted in horror and pain. It is the Darkness incarnate and it is terrible to behold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 6

 

 

Panel 1:

 

CUT TO: A beautiful suburban neighborhood. Prominent in the panel is a gray family van parked on the street with those stick figure stickers on the back. There is one for a mother, a father, a cat and a baby sticker.

 

Panel 2:

 

A middle-aged female real estate agent Linda Blair walks toward the van as the James family gets out and gathers in the front yard. A moving truck is parked in the driveway and the movers are almost finished moving everything into the house. The side of the truck reads FULL SERVICE MOVERS. PACKING AND UNPACKING OUR SPECIALITY.

 

Robert James, his wife Tabitha and their baby girl Mona are a beautiful, young, hip, family. Robert holds the baby, since Tabitha was driving the van.

 

LINDA: MR. AND MRS. JAMES! HELLO AGAIN!

 

Panel 3:

 

Linda hands the keys to the house to Tabitha, a big grin on her face.
LINDA: THE MOVERS ARE ALMOST DONE, EVERYTHING IS READY TO GO! HOW WAS THE DRIVE?

 

ROBERT: LONG. VERY LONG. I’M GOING TO FEED THE BABY AND PUT HER TO SLEEP.

 

LINDA: HER ROOM IS ALL SET UP, I MADE SURE OF IT PERSONALLY.

 

Panel 4:
As Robert enters the house, the two women stand in the yard.

 

TABITHA: THANK YOU, LINDA. WE REALLY APPRECIATE ALL YOU’VE DONE FOR US.

 

LINDA: HEY, IT WAS MY PLEASURE. MOVING ACROSS COUNTRY IS A BIG STEP, ESPECIALY WITH A NEW BABY. I WAS GLAD TO BE OF HELP.

 

 

 

 

 

Page 7

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Robert has just laid the baby down in her crib and leaves her room, quietly closing the door behind him.

 

Panel 2:

 

Tabitha and Linda are in the kitchen having a coffee when Robert enters.

 

LINDA: SO WHEN DO YOU START WORK, MR. JAMES? YOUR WIFE TELLS ME YOU GOT A GREAT PROMOTION.

 

ROBERT: I START MONDAY MORNING.

 

LINDA: OH WELL GREAT, YOU AND YOUR WIFE HAVE SOME TIME TO GET YOURSELVES SETTLED IN.

 

ROBERT: ANY IDEA WHICH CUPBOARD THE CUPS ARE IN?

 

Panel 3:

 

Following he directions, Robert finds his favorite coffee mug.

 

LINDA: LEFT OF THE SINK, I BELIEVE.

 

ROBERT: THANK YOU. ITS GOING TO BE A PAIN IN THE ASS FIGURING OUT WHERE THEY PUT EVERYTHING.

 

TABITHA: STILL BETTER THAN DOING IT OURSELVES, ROB.

 

ROBERT: I GUESS.

 

Panel 4:

 

As Robert drinks his coffee, the two women share a laugh.

 

LINDA: TYPICAL MAN. NEEDS TO DO EVERYTHING HIMSELF.

 

Panel 5:

 

OUTSIDE SHOT of the House.

 

 

Page 8

 

 

Panel 1:

 

OUTSIDE SHOT of the James house. Now it is night and the house is dark. There is a shadow in the panel of the Darkness Man; his shadow is almost concealed by the dark, almost but not quite. If a reader looks carefully, he can spot it.

 

Panel 2:

 

Robert gets out of bed, light coming in from the street outside.

 

Panel 3:

 

He enters the washroom, reaches in and flips the switch but nothing happens.
Panel 4:

 

Robert continues to flip the switch then decides to go ahead anyway.

 

ROBERT: GREAT.

 

 

 

Page 9

 

 

Panel 1:

 

FROM IN FRONT: Robert sits on the toilet in the dark, the door closed.

 

Panel 2:

 

FROM BEHIND ROBERT: The shower is in front of him, curtains closed and we can see the shape of the same man, The Darkness Man, standing directly in front of him.
Panel 3:

 

Fear crosses Robert’s face. He can make out the shape of the person in shower even in the dark.

 

Panel 4:

 

SLOWLY he leans forward on the toilet seat and places his hand on the curtains.

 

Panel 5:

 

He pulls the curtains back, revealing a terrible face, similar to previous versions of the Darkness but twisted and evil.

 

ROBERT: AAAHHHH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 10

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Robert wakes up in bed, still screaming in silence.

 

OFF PANEL: ROBERT!

 

Panel 2:

 

Tabitha peeks in from the bathroom.

 

TABITHA: WHAT DID YOU DO? THERE IS PISS EVERYWHERE IN HERE!

 

Panel 3:

 

Robert gets up from bed, confused and still shaken.

 

ROBERT: WHAT?

 

Panel 4:

 

Robert joins his wife in the bathroom. The shower curtains are now open. His wife looks down at the seat with a look of disgust and anger.

 

ROBERT: I’M SORRY, I MUST HAVE BEEN HALF ASLEEP. THE LIGHT DIDN’T WORK.

 

TABITHA: WELL IT WORKS NOW. CAN YOU CLEAN THIS UP PLEASE?

 

ROBERT: SURE. YEAH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 11

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Tabitha pushes the baby down the suburban street in a modern stroller. She is in a good mood and enjoying the sunny weather.

 

Panel 2:
Tabitha walks passed a neighborhood park.

 

Panel 3:

 

The Darkness Man waits near the sidewalk, concealed beneath the shadow of a massive oak tree. He tips his hat to the passing woman, his face twisted with a large grin.

 

THE DARKNESS MAN: GOOD AFTERNOON.

 

TABITHA: HI.

 

THE DARKNESS MAN: WHAT A LOVELY CHILD.

 

Panel 4:

 

Tabitha slows down a little; she is slightly suspicious but trying to be polite to her new neighbors.

 

TABITHA: THANK YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 12

 

Panel 1:

 

The shadows around him conceal his features, making him seem like nothing more than haunted eyes and a gaping mouth.

 

THE DARKNESS MAN: CAN I SEE HER? BRING HER A LITTLE CLOSER. MY EYES ARE NOT WHAT THEY USED TO BE.

 

Panel 2:

 

WIDE PANEL: Tabitha looks around. It is a beautiful day, people are out playing in the park, but she feels a sudden sense of danger. The shadow of the tree is just a few feet from the baby and the Darkness Man waits there patiently, hands folded in front of him.

 

Panel 3:

 

CLOSE-UP of the grinning face of the Darkness Man.

 

THE DARKNESS MAN: JUST A LITTLE CLOSER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 13

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Suddenly a chestnut coloured dog appears, barking furiously.

 

Panel 2:
The dog’s owner, a middle-aged woman dressed in running clothes, runs over to her pet.

 

FEMALE JOGGER:  COFFEE! STOP THAT! HEEL! HEEL!!

 

Panel 3:

 

The Darkness Man is gone, but the dog continues to bark at the shadow where he had been.

 

FEMALE JOGGER: I’M SO SORRY! HE’S HARMLESS, TRUST ME.

 

TABITHA: IT’S FINE.

 

Panel 4:

 

Tabitha picks the baby up and holds her close to her. The jogger attaches her leash and walks away with the dog. The park seems harmless but Tabitha looks distraught, she can feel the evil that was only a few feet from her just a moment ago.

 

 

 

 

Page 14

 

 

Panel 1:

 

CLOSE-UP Of the baby. A dirty diaper lays nearby as Tabitha finishes changing her diapers.

 

Panel 2:

 

The baby is awake and clings to her mother’s chest.

 

Panel 3:

 

Robert appears behind them, dressed in a casual business suit.

 

TABITHA: HOW WAS YOUR FIRST DAY?

 

ROBERT: STRESSFUL.

 

Panel 4:

 

Tabitha hands Robert the baby and a partial scowl crosses his face.

 

ROBERT: CAN’T I AT LEAST SIT DOWN FOR A MINUTE?

 

TABITHA: YOU CAN SIT WITH THE BABY SHE WON’T STOP YOU.

 

Panel 5:

 

Tabitha leaves the babies room and heads toward the computer sitting in the living room by the window. Robert follows her, the baby in his arms. The baby fusses and squirms in his grip.

 

TABITHA: THERE ARE A FEW JOBS I WANT TO APPLY FOR BEFORE IT GETS LATE OR I FORGET.

 

ROBERT: WHAT ABOUT DINNER?

 

TABITHA: ORDER WHATEVER YOU WANT.

 

 

 

Page 15

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Time passes, Robert sits in front of the TV, pizza box on the coffee table, baby in his arms.

 

Panel 2:

 

He yawns as he carries the baby to the bathroom.

 

Panel 3:

 

Robert finishes giving the baby a bath and wraps her in a blanket.

 

Panel 4:

 

He turns on the light in the baby’s room, heading for the changing table next to the window.

 

Panel 5:

 

He dresses his daughter in a pretty jumper with tiny rosebuds on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 16

 

 

Panel 1:

 

He wraps the baby in a blanket and then puts her down in her bed. Tabitha stands nearby, watching.

 

Panel 2:

 

Tabitha leans over the baby and gives her a kiss while Robert waits with his hand on the light switch.
Panel 3:

 

Robert slowly closes the door to the room after his wife exits. The room is dark and the house is quiet.

 

Panel 4:

 

Tabitha and Robert slip into bed for the night. The clock on the nightstand reads 11:33.

 

 

Page 17

 

 

Panel 1:

 

CLOSE-UP: Robert lays his head on his pillow and closes his eyes.

 

Panel 2:

 

Suddenly Robert’s eyes open wide in shock.

 

Panel 3:

 

He bolts upright; the clock says 3:00.

 

Panel 4:

 

He sits upright, in the dark, and the cries of his child can be heard coming down the hall.

 

Panel 5:

 

SKEWED ANGLE: Robert walks down the hall to the baby’s room, with the panel shifted askew to show the strangeness of what it happening.

 

 

 

Page 18

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Robert hurries down the hall but it seems to lengthen and stretch away from him.

The baby has stopped crying, replaced with a haunting hymn that fills the house.

 

SFX:

 

OUR DARK GOD IS IN HIS TEMPLE

IN THE EVIL, ROTTEN MIND

 

Panel 2:

 

Robert reaches the door but it seems to be locked. He tries desperately to open it.

 

SFX:

HE HAS COME FROM DEEP WITHIN YOU

COME TO SWALLOW ALL MANKIND

 

Panel 3:

 

The door flies open and Robert tumbles into the room, scrambling to turn on the light. The baby’s crib is hidden beneath the viewer’s eyeline, bottom of the panel.

 

SFX:

 

HE WILL FEED OUR DESPERATE HUNGER

HE WILL SEE THAT ALL HAVE DINED

 

Panel 4:

 

The light switch won’t work, but now we can see what is in the crib: The baby is surrounded by vicious looking little Darklings.

 

SFX:
UPON THE SOULS OF ALL THE PEOPLE

DARKNESS FALLS ON ALL MANKIND

 

 

 

Page 19

 

 

Panel 1:

 

Finally the light comes on, Robert runs to the crib. He is obviously scared worse than ever before in his life.

 

Panel 2:

 

Robert runs his hand along the bottom of the crib but the baby is gone.

 

ROBERT: OH NO. NONONONONO!

 

Panel 3: He begins to search in panic, moving the crib, tossing blankets.

 

Panel 4:

 

CLOSER: To Robert’s face, twisted in anger, the first signs of madness in his eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 20

 

 

Panel 1:

 

OUTSIDE THE HOUSE: The Darkness Man walks toward the house, where the van sits in the driveway. We can only see him from behind.

 

Panel 2:

 

Robert’s screams echo outside the house.  The Darkness Man now stands near the rear of the gray van.

 

SFX: NOOOOOOOO!!! NO! SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!!!

 

Panel 3:

 

TIGHT SHOT: The Darkness Man peels the sticker off the back of the van of the baby. His nails are clean but inhuman looking, his fingers boney and misshapen.

 

Panel 4:

 

TIGHT SHOT: The Darkness Man places the baby sticker on his tongue, a grin on his face, and swallows it.

 

SFX: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED.

 

RIP Bernie Wrightson

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Bernie Wrightson was THE greatest American horror illustrator of the 20th century. His work defined the scary comics of the seventies and he continued to influence the horror genre well into the new millennium. Like Frank Frazetta before him, Mr. Wrightson was a unique and vibrant artist that will never be replaced. Thank you for everything, sir.

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The Other DM #4

The Other DM

4

“Strange Events in Relfren”

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The Wererats of Relfren  was originally created by Grant Boucher & Kurt Wenz

Whoever the organizer for Breakout Con that suggested I bring pre-made character sheets was a genius. I want to thank everyone that put together the convention and volunteered their time to keeping us RPG nerds organized and on schedule.

Only three people came to my table, which was good, because we would not have had time to run it with more players. There was a fourth player at the table, but when he discovered we weren’t doing an AL game he left.

The Wererats of Relfren adventure takes place over a three day period, ending in a massive town festival, and I thought for sure it would be finished before the end of the four hour time frame. I think the players had a good time and I was glad to hear that they wanted to keep their characters after the game ended. It feels good to get a thank you from players for a good game, but its also nice to get complimented on the characters I made for them. A young lady named Amber took the Barbarian Goliath, inspired of course by Critical Role, and named her Frostpeak. Her partner took the high-elf Rogue and the other gentleman at the table took the halfling Life Cleric and named him Pandelion Tumblebelly. It was cool to see them breathe life into the templates I had put together, although I have to admit I don’t remember making the Rogue but I am sure I made one of each class.

As the players moved through the town of Relfren, they learned of the murder of a family of Dwarves. The reward for catching their killer was 1000 gp, remember this was an older D&D module, I believe for 2nd edition, when gold and magic items were given out for the most menial of tasks. In earlier versions of D&D, only humans could become lycanthropes. Any other races that were bitten were badly poisoned and would die from the infection. In 5th edition, there is no racial limitations to who can become a were-creature, so I had to change the motivations of the wererats. Instead of killing non-humans because they were immune to the disease (and therefore unable to convert to their growing army), they were simply killing them because they were NOT human.

I won’t go through the whole adventure, but I do want to point out the two funniest moments that we experienced. The players were able to jump ahead in the adventure, bypassing many other clues and meetings with townspeople, all because of one fat rat. They were talking with a foul-mouthed owner of the town’s trading post and she became distracted by a rat in her shop. As she went to smash it with her broom, Pandelion asked if you could take care of it. He rolled incredibly high to catch the little guy and easily scooped it into his hands. Then he cast Speak with Animals on it. I didn’t even know I gave the character that spell. I must have figured no one would pick him. Obviously the rat would know everything that was going on in town,  I mean the town was being taken over by Wererats with command over swarms of rats and giant rats, there was no way this little guy didn’t know what was going on. So I described his cute little nose twitching and then I said in a really deep, evil voice “Our kings have come. Humanity shall join us or perish!” Seeing their faces when this evil mouse told them the plot was worth the fact that they learned the info sooner than they should have.

Frostpeak, the female Goliath Barbarian, was a pleasure to DM. This was the first time I ever DM’ed a female player, at least as far as I can recall. To have one at my table, playing the strongest, toughest character in the group, made the whole day worth it. I’d considered dropping out of the event the week before because I only have two days off a week and I spent both of them that week playing D&D. I was missing my kids, but I stuck it out because I’d already committed to doing it. Even though only three players ended up at my table, they were the right places for the adventure and I am glad I did it.

Here’s how it ended: The players fought there way through the cheese factory and discovered the owners hidden room behind a large painting of himself. They thought they were rescuing him, but when the true Big Bad Guy showed he turned on them. They were forced to face a Wizard, A Rogue with some magic and four wererats. The evil wizard was beaten pretty quickly when he tried to run, and the rogue on the team, Reed, chased him down. The wizard was not the brightest guy and thought if he used his newly learned fireball spell, he would not be harmed because he was a lycanthrope. As I said, not a bright guy. The rogue used uncanny dodge and the evil wizard roasted himself. As the party began to finish off the wererats, the Big Bad saw his imminent demise. First he tried to use Charm Person on Reed, hoping the rogue would assist him. Reed made his saving throw and the Big Bad was losing hit points fast. With his last spell slot, the Big Bad used Charm Person on Frostpeak and it succeeded! Frostpeak was a totem warrior with the Elk totem, giving her a movement of 40. The other players were not nearly as fast and so the Big Bad hopped on her back and rode her to safety. The spell lasted for one hour, more than enough time to get him clear of town and out in the mountains before the spell effect wore off. The player, Amber, fully cooperated with this and was more than happy with the villain using her to get away. She thought it was hilarious. Of all the scenarios I envisioned for the Wererat leader, this was definitely not one of them.

Goliaths, the new alpacas.

R.

 

The Other DM #3

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The Other DM

3

“I once had strings but now I’m free. . ”

This is my first attempt at making a class for 5E. Let me know what you think of it.

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Mystical Puppeteer

 

Puppet Masters are talented, eccentric spellcasters who channel their magic through a puppet of their own creation. Their puppet is as real to them as a Warlock’s otherworldly being or a Cleric’s deity. As they grow in power, their puppet becomes more and more important to them and their own personalities fade into the background.

 

Some Puppeteer’s join the circus or theater, using their skills to delight the crowd, others hide in the shadows and use their puppets as familiars, seeing the world through the eyes of their creation. A puppet is humanoid in shape and can be anywhere between 1ft and 5ft in height. They can use any light or small weapons, same as a Gnome or Halfling. A puppets armor class is determined by AC11 + INT bonus + Proficiency Bonus.

 

STRINGS OF FATE:  At 1st level, a Puppeteer can control his puppet up to 10ft away through invisible strings that stretch from the Puppeteer’s fingers to the puppet itself. The range increases by 5ft at level 6, 11, and 20. The strings can be visible or invisible, decided by the Puppeteer, and can appear as chains, ropes, or any other connecting material. A Dispel Magic spell or any kind of magic cancellation will break the connection and render the puppet useless until it can be taken out of range or area of effect. The connection allows the Puppeteer to transfer his DEX, CON and INT to his puppet. At 9th level, the Puppeteer can transfer all his stats to the puppet.

 

At first level, a Puppeteer starts with the Magic Initiate Feat. The Puppeteer does not cast these spells directly; they are cast through the puppet, from the puppet’s location. A Mystical Puppeteer gains magic levels exactly equal to a Bard, plus the initial Magic Initiate spells that are part of the puppet itself. A Puppeteer does not get any abilities from Bard Colleges and only uses the Bards spell selection and slots per level, starting at level 2. The Puppeteer does not gain new cantrips at second level, those spells chosen with the Magic Initiate feat count toward the total spells and cantrips. After third level, the puppets count as magical items.

If the Puppet is destroyed, the Puppeteer can only cast cantrips until the Puppet is remade. At level 10, the Puppeteer can cast one level one spell. At 20th level the Puppeteer can cast one level one and one level two spell.

A damaged puppet (no HP) can be repaired during a long rest, but a Puppet that is completely destroyed takes 1d8 days to rebuild and costs 50 GP in supplies. At 10th level, the time is reduced to 1d6 days, at 10th level it is further reduced to 1d4 days. At level 20, a new Puppet can be built in eight hours. The cost for supplies remains the same regardless of level. A War Golem costs twice as much and requires a forge to rebuild.

At 10th level a Puppeteer can give his puppet to another owner, who can control the puppet for one hour and cast the cantrips chosen at character creation. At level 20, the time becomes 2 hours.

 

At second level the Mystical Puppeteer can see and hear through the puppet itself, as if he/she had cast Animal Sense, except the connection lasts as long as the Puppeteer wishes it to, or until the puppet is destroyed. Starting at 3rd level, the destruction of the puppet physically hurts the Puppeteer, doing 1d4 damage at level 2, 2d4 damage at level 8, 2d6 damage at level 16 and 4d6 damage at level 20. After level 15 the Puppeteer can make a CON saving throw against DC 15 to take half damage.

A puppet is a substitute for a spell book and uses all the same rules.

 

At third level, the Mystical Puppeteer begins to customize his puppet and can choose a Puppeteer Archtype from the following list:

 

Haunted Dollmaker: When a Puppeteer becomes a Haunted Dollmaker, he draws on dark magic to create a puppet with a terrify visage. The puppet moves in silence, with a proficiency in Stealth and Intimidation. At 6th level the Haunted Doll gains Demon Sight, at 9th level the Puppeteer can cast Darkness once per long or short rest.

At level 20, the puppet gains Necromancy and can increase in size up to seven feet by five feet. Every hit point the puppet gains through necromancy, the Puppeteer also gains.

 

War Golem: A war golem is a thicker, tougher, puppet that is made to fight and is a foot taller than other puppets. A War Golem gains +2 to its damage and AC and gains one superiority dice which it can use for ONE maneuver chosen from the Battle Master Fighter domain. At 6th level a War Golem adds 2d6 to its HP. At 9th level the War Golem gains a second maneuver. The War Golem grows in size with each level,

 

Divine Action Figure: A Divine Action figure is a tiny version of a God or otherworldly being. The Puppeteer can cast Protection from Good or Evil once per long or short rest. At 6th level the Puppeteer can cast Lesser Restoration through the puppet. At 9th level the Divine Action Figure can cast Smite on itself twice per day, adding 3d8 to its damage.

 

Beautiful Distraction: A Beautiful Distraction is a magical doll made to impress and enchant a crowd. At 6th level the Puppeteer can use the puppet to cast Charm Person once per long or short rest and gains proficiency in Performance. At 9th level the Puppeteer can cast Hypnotic Pattern twice per long rest.

 

Childhood Friend: A Puppeteer who follows this path does not have strings attached to his puppet. Instead his puppet is a childhood toy that has become the focus of the puppeteer’s magical abilities. The Childhood Friend does not suffer from the Puppet Penalties on magical range. Destruction of a Childhood Friend does double damage and building a new one takes twice as long. The Puppeteer can choose the No Strings Attached option, which makes the Childhood Friend an inanimate object that cannot move and must be carried by the Puppeteer. The Puppeteer gains +4 HP per level and +2 to AC to a maximum of 20. All damage is scored against the Puppeteer, but they can transfer 2d6 damage to the Childhood Friend per five levels.

 

 

Arcane Control: At 5th level the Puppeteer has gained enough skill over his puppet to control it with only one hand (two strings per finger). This allows the Puppeteer to use his free hand to make an attack action, while using the extra attack to make an attack action with the puppet.

 

Puppet Empowerment: At 7th level a Puppeteer can transfer his Feats into his creation. This mystical process takes no longer than a short rest. If the puppet is destroyed, the Puppeteer regains the Feat the moment the puppet is destroyed and can transfer it once a new puppet is made. At 18th level the Puppeteer shares his Feats and Skills as he chooses with his puppet.

 

Strings of Health: When a Puppeteer reaches 11th level, he can transfer his hit dice to the puppet to heal it as a bonus action. The Puppeteer can use any number of hit dice up to his maximum, however the Puppeteer cannot use the hit dice to heal himself until 24 hours have passed.

 

Magical Secrets: By 14th leveI, you have plundered magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two spells from any class, no higher than 10th level and add them to the permanent spells of the puppet.

Independence: By making a DC15 INT roll, a Puppeteer can cast a spell without his puppet, even if it has been destroyed.

 

At 16th level, the bond between the Puppeteer and his puppet is so strong that a magical shield forms between them. Add +2 AC at will. if the puppet is destroyed or taken more than 100ft away from the Puppeteer, the extra AC is lost.

 

Vicarious Living: Once a Puppeteer reaches 17th level, all Puppet Penalties are removed. All spells can be cast normally, although the spell still originates from the puppet, not the Puppeteer. Spells that are cast on self are shared with the Puppeteer. If a Puppeteer falls in combat, their essence can be transferred to the puppet for 1 minute. During this time the Puppeteer can cast all spells normally, and all stats and abilities are the exact same. After a minute, the essence of the Puppeteer fades and returns to the unconscious body. The Puppeteer does not make death saves until their essence has returned to their body.

 

1st: Strings of Fate, Magic Initiate

2nd: Animal Sense

3rd: Puppeteer Archtype

4th: Ability Score Improvement

5th: Extra Attack

6th: Puppet Archtype Feature

7th: Puppet Empowerment

8th: Ability Score Improvement

9th: STAT transferal, Puppet Archtype Feature

10th: Bardic Inspiration (d8), Arcane Control

11th: Strings of Health

12th: Ability Score Improvement

13th: Song of Rest (d8)

14th: Magical Secrets

15th: Independence

16th: Arcane Armor

17th: Vicarious Living

18th: Puppet Empowerment

19th: New Cantrip

20th: Puppeteer Archtype

the_puppeteer_by_jubjubjedi

Until next time, may the dice be ever in your favor.

 

R.

 

 

 

 

The Other DM #2

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The Other DM

2

MAY contain SPOILERS for the STORM KING’S THUNDER

 

“Save Us, Tinkerbell!”

 

There seems to be a lot of posts about bad DM’s, but I wanted to post about a good one.
Our DM Martin has done a great job of running SKT and last night helped us avoid a TPK.

After killing Duke Zalto, we were trying to get the slaves out before the rest of the fire giants discovered what was going on. Unfortunately our tank Druid and our Cleric weren’t able to make it this week leaving only four of us ( a new guy joined us).
Unfortunately we just weren’t fast enough. The lack of a rest between sessions and the large amount of damage fire giants inflict left my fighter battered and unconscious not once but twice. Our brave Ranger refused to leave me behind, which made it impossible for him to escape. Our rogue bravely distracted the giants but he too went down.


The DM at this point basically paused the game and worked with us to figure out a means of escape. He could have just hunted us down with the combined might of the giants and killed us all.What he said to us was
“I don’t want to see the party killed, if you have the resources to escape, I’d rather help you use them.”


He did not “fudge” the dice rolls or create a plot contrivance to allow us to escape. He simply gave us time and a few ideas that might make it possible for us to get out alive.
In the end the new player saved our skin, since he had been a prisoner of the Duke’s he had all his spell slots. He cast Darkness, which we hid in until we could get our wounded up. I cast Pass without Trace, making it difficult for the giants to locate us within the small area of darkness.


How did we make it out of there? A minor illusion from our Eldritch Knight, followed by a bag of pixie dust. That’s right, we hid in the dark, covered each other in pixie dust and flew out of the forge of the fire giants. Thanks to our DM for giving us the time and breathing room to come up with a plan to save our skin.


I will never make fun of Tinkerbell again.

 

Until next time, may the dice be ever in your favor.

 

R.

 

 

 

 

The Other DM #1

The Other DM

1

MAY contain SPOILERS for the STORM KING’S THUNDER

 

“The Lament of the AL Ranger Beast Master”

 

It has been a long time since I played an RPG. How long, I am not sure. At least a decade.

 

Welcome back to the world of Dungeons and Dragons! Nobody actually said that, but I like to imagine that Dungeon Master from the first edition AD&D DM’s Guide opening those doors for me once again.

My first game back was a short little adventure where someone had stolen some books from a library. Ended up dying when I shot a baby black dragon in the eye. Dragon breath, even from a baby dragon, is enough to kill a first level character. I should have known better, I remember playing a wizard in 1st edition that had 2 HP.

I don’t recall ever having a character die before, so this was a nice welcome back to the world of D&D. I played D&D back when wizards could end up with 1 HP to start the game, so I had no illusions about my chances of survival. I had never played a bard before and he didn’t last long enough to really say I “played” a bard. The world was not ready for his gothic songs and emo style.

I rejoined the party with a Drow Ranger. Apparently there is a really famous Drow Ranger out there, but I don’t really know much about it. I’ve seen tons of art featuring the dark-skinned Elves and I thought it would be fun to play a race that people did not always trust and accept. So far I have no complaints about the race, although the stereotyping from some of the older players is kind of funny.

Little did I know that the Beast Master archetype is severely underpowered in Adventurer’s League play, so after four months of using this character I am stuck with an animal that stopped being dangerous at level 4. Apparently, everyone knew this, but did not say anything because I was new and they didn’t want to influence my choices. While I am jealous of the other Ranger in our party and his high damage as a Hunter, I have to admit that those weak pets have provided some interesting roleplaying moments. At first I had a giant crab, which I would wear on my head when entering a town. Later on when our adventure took us farther north, I sent my crab back to the sea and made friends with a large bobcat. Many times when we camped for a long rest, my pet Bob woke us up when danger approached.  After we gained access to an airship, it became difficult to take my pet Bobcat into combat. I mean the ship CAN land, but climbing up the ropes to make a quick escape was almost impossible with the cat around. I decided to change my pet into something smaller and easier to control; essentially a pet that stayed out of combat and didn’t waste my actions. Now I have a poisonous snake that I wear wrapped around my arm, which makes it a little easier to make a coordinated strike and his poison allows me to add a few more dice to my damage.

 

When it was time for us to head the Maelstrom, I took a snake, because the poison would add a little extra damage to my attacks. It is very difficult in 5th edition to increase your damage output, so any little boost helps. Apparently the monsters don’t carry gold and magic weapons around with them anymore.

 

I don’t want to spoil too much of the SKT book, but when we demanded an audience with the regent, we were led to guest rooms to await her summons. As we waited for food to arrive, courtesy of our giant “hosts”, I sent the snake out to do recon, using the BEAST SENSE spell. What I heard was two storm giant princesses command a handful of giant lords to go and murder us. Informing my party of what I had seen and heard, we quickly moved into action. I managed to create a distraction while my party raced passed the giant guards, making their way to the Princess and offering to help her find her father and avenge her mother. The giant guards gave me a nice beating, but not to death and thanks to some smooth roleplaying we got passed a very dangerous chapter in the book. As much as I wish I could do more damage with my attacks, without that little snake we would have been caught off-guard and the four of us would have been forced to face the combined might of a storm giant, a frost giant, a cloud giant, a fire giant and a stone giant. If you’ve never fought a giant, trust me it sucks. They hit hard and rarely miss.  There isn’t a pet in the game you can get that can withstand a hit from a giant, even from the stupid Hill Giants. Unfortunately, in Adventurer’s League you can’t rebuild your character after level 5, so I am stuck with a pet for the rest of the campaign. It’s nice to be the guy who does the damage on the team but D&D isn’t a video game. I have a high charisma stat for no reason other than flavor. I just have to think of the pet the same way; as another tool to role-play with. There is one cool attack I am pull off with the snake; if my blade is coated with poison we can do a simultaneous poisoning attack, adding 2d4 damage to both strikes. Sure, I could do more damage with a battle-axe but there are lots of classes that can swing an axe, not everyone can attack with a dagger and a snake. There is something reassuring about a great sword coated in poison.

 

Until next time, may the dice be ever in your favor.

 

R.

 

 

 

 

The Legend of Korus

Excerpts from the diary of Captain Korus Fallenleaf of Overlund.

Fallenleaf. A strange name for Drow, the men often say. My family line can be traced back to the Greenleafs, a once proud family of Wood Elves. Overlund is a great city, built above ground in the Greypeak Mountains. Unlike other Drow cities, the sun and sky waits for us right outside our cavern. As I patrol the beach, I wonder if it is time to continue the Fallenleaf line. More than one wealthy lady has taken an interest in me, perhaps it is time to consider their offers.

The city has fallen. The light burst into the cavern from above, and rubble crashed into the lake below. Giant tools broke the rock, tearing an opening in the mountain like a vicious wound. The massive monsters poured in like rats, grabbing for anything they could get a hold of.
The men wanted to flee deeper into the mountain, into the caverns below. I ordered them into formation behind me, crossbows at the ready. I would not abandon Overlund. Our weapons were ineffective. A massive stone giant knocked me into the lake, where I nearly drowned. When I awoke, the men were dead, the city looted, my people gone. I should have ordered the men to retreat, so they could protect their families. Now all is lost. Their deaths were my fault. I could follow the survivors deeper into the mountain, but what will I say to the survivors? The giants destroyed Overlund, but I killed my men. There is nothing for me here now.

How many years have passed? The human family who lives on the edge of the forest have grown grey, has it been so long? The sun is so bright and it seems to be everywhere, overwhelming me,  but at night I can survive. There are plants and animals to eat but the silence is destroying me. Every night I can hear the screams of my men and the echoing roar of the giants, laughing at me. There is a human city nearby, perhaps there I can drown out the noise in my head.

Yartar. I hate this city. The water of Firefly Lake was so clean and clear, here the stink reaches every part of the city. They drink it, bathe in it, then pour it right back in. This place is nothing more than a haven for pirates and thieves, but the is no shortage wine and no one asks any questions of me. If I drink enough of it, I can find some peace.

I am broke. Worse, I am indebted to a local conniver known as the Snail. After months of sleeping at the bottom of a bottle, I have picked up the sword again. The lure of human wine is strong, I will keep a sword in each hand so that a bottle cannot take its place.

The Zhentarim have offered me a place in their organization. In return my debt to Snail has been cleared, in fact I have gained his favor. I ride with six other Zhentarim mercenaries to a town known as Nightstone. Our leader is a man named  Xolkin Alassandar, a paranoid racist who does not hide his disgust for me. It is sad times indeed that I have ended up in the company of such men.