Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another new feature - the Wicked DM's Toolbox

While you all wait with baited breath (whether it be fire, acid, or chlorine gas) for the next Shattered Sky campaign setting installment, I would like to tantalize you with some tidbits from the delicious unkindness that is the "Wicked DM's Toolbox." The wicked DM, of course, being me...or you...or someone you know. This inaugural edition will focus on a pair of hazards and dangers to be found in the wild places of the land - whether they be wet or dry.

Managed to get the party in a swamp? Put them in a real pickle:
Dread Swamp: Not only does the rot and stagnation of this place recreate the stench of a troglodyte to nauseating perfection (save vs. Poison each hour or gain a -2 on "to hit" rolls - the effect is not cumulative), but the water and damp vapors actually corrode metal in much the same way as the touch of a rust monster. After 1-6 hours spent in the swamp, all non-magical metal items will become fragile and prone to destruction. A single successful hit with a metal weapon destroys it. A single successful hit against metal armor destroys the armor. Metal buckles and hasps give way from weight and pressure. And so forth. Even if later taken out of the swamp before being subject to stresses enough to destroy them, the items are forever damaged and will suffer the same fate under the right circumstances. Magic weapons and armor have a 10% chance per "plus" of not being affected. Those that succumb will lose one "plus," but no more. If this loss renders the item non-magical, use the guidelines given above for normal metal items.

In or near a desert? Give this a spin:
Whirlwind of Scorpions: Desert twister with a swarm of scorpions whirling around within. Victims caught inside take damage from the whirlwind and from stinging scorpions each round. Brush off the "Insect Swarms" entry and give the little critters Giant Centipede poison to liven things up a bit.


  1. Woot, it works now!

    The swamp seems like the perfect place to run into a tribe of wild, dwarven druids.

    Question on the whirlwind of scorpions: do they control the whirlwind in some sort of magical hive mentality ability or do they individually join a whirlwind as they grow to a certain size? Or is it just the result of a conjuror who was experimenting with how to make deadlier swarms?

  2. There will be far worse in the swamp (the Crowfens, as it will be called in the campaign) than dwarves or druids...but the thought is an awfully good one.

    The beauty of giving only the bones of a concept is that the DM can mold any flesh at all across the framework. The answer to the question regarding the Whirlwind of Scorpions is the obvious one: Any or none of the above. If you're asking ME what I have in mind, the answer is: An angry djinni, bent upon revenge, sweeps across the desert in whirlwind form, snatching up scorpions for the final confrontation with his tormentor. Savvy?