Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Secrets of The Divine: Death, Healing, Law, & Madness (Preview) : Phoenix-Child

Illustration by Ubaid Ullah Ahmed


Phoenix children give me great solace that no matter how deep in Damnation one has fallen, one can find the way up to Heaven. It gives me great solace that the vilest of villains can repent, and do good upon this earth, and that redemption does not end with death, but that penance begins with rebirth.

A phoenix-child in his or her previous life has always done wrong not just in their own eyes and the eyes of others but in in that of a particular patron deity, in Questhaven this is most often Our Reaper of Death and Rebirth. Phoenix-children are truly repentant individual who has been resurrected to set right what they have done wrong or to atone in this world for their sins. They always carry a list of deeds they must perform in this new life, even if it is just mental one, though most carry a written one. When they are reborn in the ashes of their own pyre they gain both a new god-given name, new abilities, and a new appearance, but always bear a prominent birth mark in the shape of a burning phoenix. Yet few mortals have the mercy of the divine, so they often must overcome great prejudice and persecution if it is discovered who they once were.

Phoenix-Child (Universal Archetype)
“Phoenix-child” is a universal archetype that is usually applied via the actions of the GM, rather than a choice by a player. Characters who multiclass apply this archetype to every applicable class, adding the class’ levels together to determine the archetype abilities gained.

Alignment:  becomes the alignment of the patron deity or ethos that sponsored the base creature becoming a phoenix child.

Special Qualities:
Rebirth (Su): The phoenix-child’s old body is consumed by flames and a new one walks forth from the ashes. When the DM determines an appropriate time, such as the end of the encounter that caused the character’s death, or a return that allows a phoenix-child creature to save the lives of former foes.

The fire of rebirth actually changes a person. When the phoenix-child emerges from the flames of its pyre, her appearance may have changed, including but not limited to her sex, race, and/or cultural background and basic physical appearance.  Her hair color, eye color, the shape of her nose – any obvious physical appearance is always changed in the process. The new face will be of someone killed by the phoenix in her prior life whenever possible. The phoenix-child may also gain new abilities and lose others, fundamentally altering her personality. The PC can change replace all class levels with class level of any other class allowed in the campaign, reassign skill points, reselect feats, and determine a new hit point total as if one were creating the character anew with this level of experience.  The GM is encouraged to provide new equipment via the wealth by level charts as if one had created a new character, replacing the characters previous equipment as if it had been transformed by a deity of death or rebirth, including the subject’s spellbook if any.  This is how a powerful and charismatic evil mage can be consumed by the pyre and come out a laconic but strong soldier.

Phoenix-children gain two permanent negative levels when they are reborn into to the land of the living, just as if it had been hit by an energy-draining creature. If the subject is 1st level, it takes 2 points of Constitution drain instead (if this would reduce its Con to 0 or less, it can't become one a phoenix-child). A character that is reborn as a spellcaster has a 50% chance of having the correctly prepared spell upon coming back as a phoenix-child. A spellcasting creature that does not prepare spells (such as a sorcerer) has a 50% chance of not losing any given unused spell slot as if it had been used to cast a spell.

A phoenix-child creature returns with a number of hit points equal to its current HD. Any ability scores damaged to 0 are raised to 1. Normal poison and normal disease are cured in the process of becoming a phoenix-child, magical diseases and curses are not undone. Missing parts of the original body are still missing when the creature becomes one of the phoenix-children.

Any bonded animals can become a phoenix-child if they were slain along with their master when she returns as one of the children of the phoenix.

The phoenix-child’s original form cannot be returned to life, though her new phoenix-child form can be by all the normal means. 

The List (Su) The first thing the phoenix-child does after taking her new name is write down a list of all the things she must do in order to right the wrongs of her prior life. The items must be specific (e.g. “kill the Last Warlord,” “destroy the Crematorium of Our Grim Wanderer,” “retrieve Stevon’s soul from hell’s damnation,” etc.). There may be as many or as few items on the list as the GM’s determines is appropriate, but everything that can be done to make amends for her prior transgressions against the patron deity or ethos must be listed, and the GM must approve the final list. One should be mindful not to make the list short or easy. Whenever the reborn is directly performing a task on the List, she receives a +1 sacred bonus to all rolls. At 4th level, this becomes a +2 bonus; at 10th level, a +3 bonus. When the Phoenix-child checks off the last item on the List she dies, absolved of all sins forgiven by the deity or ethos. This does not happen often, as children of the phoenix usually die pursuing the items on their list.  They can be returned though life via normal means.

Phoenix Gifts (Sp) At 3rd level, a phoenix child gains continual flame, detect magic, detect poison, and see invisibility as spell-like abilities with a caster level equal to her character level. She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma bonus (minimum +1) This ability replaces the character’s 3rd level class feature or two 1st level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.   

Shroud of Flame (Su) At 5th level, a phoenix-child can burst into fire as a free action. Thus inflicts an additional 1d6 points of fire damage with each natural attack, and any creature within reach must make a successful Reflex save (DC 10 + ½ her character level + her Con modifier) each round to avoid taking 1d6 points of fire damage plus 1d6 points of fire for every 5 character levels after that she possesses at the start of its turn. A creature that attacks the phoenix-child with natural or non-reach melee weapons takes 1d6 points of fire damage (no save) with each successful hit. This ability replaces the character’s 5th level class feature or two 2nd level spell slot if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

Wall of Fire (Sp) At 7th level a phoenix-child can cast wall of fire as a swift action once per day. At 11th level a phoenix-child gains an additional use per day, and again at 17th level a phoenix-child gains an additional use per day.  This ability replaces the character’s 7th level class feature or two 3rd level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

Phoenix Shape (Su) At 9th level, a phoenix-child gains the ability to turn herself into a Medium sized phoenix and back again three times per day. This ability functions like the beast shape III spell, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 1 hour per character level, or until she changes back. Changing form (to phoenix or back) is a standard action and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity.  A phoenix-child retains her ability to speak while in phoenix form.

A phoenix-child can use this ability an additional time per day at 10th level and every two levels thereafter, for a total of eight times at 18th level. At 20th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape at will. As a phoenix-child gains in levels, this ability allows the phoenix-child to take on the form of larger versions.

At 12th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Large phoenix as beast shape IV.

At 14th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Huge phoenix and gains a +6 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, and a +6 natural armor bonus.

At 16th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Gargantuan phoenix and gains a +10 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, a +8 size bonus to Constitution, and a +8 natural armor bonus.

This ability replaces the character’s 9th level class feature or two 4th level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

 Self-Resurrection (Su) At 13th level a slain phoenix-child only remains dead for only 1d4 rounds unless its body is completely destroyed by an effect such as disintegrate. Otherwise, a fully healed phoenix-child in phoenix shape emerges from the remains 1d4 rounds after death (even if she has no uses per day left), as if brought back to life via resurrection. A phoenix-child cannot self-resurrect if she possesses this permanent negative level. A phoenix-child that dies within the area of a desecrate or antimagic field spell cannot self-resurrect until the desecrate or antimagic field effect ends, at which point the phoenix-child immediately resurrects. This ability replaces the character’s 13th level class feature or two 6th level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

Lords of Gossamer & Shadow: No Beast So Fierce Adventure Preview.

Illustration by Vincent Lefevre

Temple of the Platinum Pavilion,

Hidden among a large copse of bamboo trees covered with a variety of mosses is a Zen garden and temple. There area is serenely quite with the bamboo trees blocking out the wind, and the smell of the fresh water and the flowers from the garden filling the site. The main structure is a two-story Kannon Hall, it appears unfinished as only part of the structure is covered in a platinum leaf, though this fits with the Zen view of transience and imperfection. There is also a beautiful Japanese garden, and a sand garden, which central feature is a carefully formed pile of sand that symbolizes the volcanic intrusion the city of Nō rests upon.  

The electronic ink image of Sota-sama, who appears haggard if uninjured, will appear on the wall of those who enter the temple, she will bow to them: “Good Greetings, if you came searching for a Zen master I am sorry the Cyber-Naki, already got him and they turned him into a cyber-ninja like some reject from Mortal Kombat, so watch out.” 

Psyche: Characters ranked higher than the Cyber-naki-ninja will sense the presence of his psychic presence but once a character with a lesser rank reaches the bamboo forest he will mask his psychic presence.  

Perceiving the Eidolon: The structure of eidolon here is extremely beautiful, and one can tell that gossamer reality here has been bolstered and guided by an eidolon master the symbolic mound of sand is almost mesmerizing in its pattern.

Perceiving the Umbra: the flow of umbra here is one of the weakest you have seen, but its flow is quite elegant and beautiful, like watching a thousand little tributaries after a light rain.

Wayfinding: if the PCs enter the temple before examining the gardens and use wayfinding to locate the the cyber-naki-ninja Sota-sama speaks of or if they use it after noticing his psychic presence, they will locate him meditating on the second floor, if they spent enough time in the gardens’ he will be found sneaking up behind them!

– – – – – –

The Cyber-naki-ninja was once the Zen Buddhist priest of the Platinum Pavilion he was captured and transformed, though when not assigned a duty by the Alpha-naki, he returns here to meditate in an attempt to override the cybernetic programing and the indecipherable commands of the original Annunaki.   

Umbra (affecting reality): Any attempt to affect reality with Umbra Mastery here requires a Psyche 2 ranks higher than the Cyber-Naki-Ninja, do to its continuous use of guiding and bolstering of reality here.  You experience this as if a Eidolon Master were opposing your use of Umbra. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lords of Gossamer & Shadow: No Beast So Fierce (preview)

Illustration by Lee Anthony Moten 

6. Lake of Stars (Phoros Lake)
Near the center of the volcanic intrusion that the city of No was built upon, the locals have created a deep artificial salt water lake. It has a beach, a large section of floating housing, and a natural aquarium. At night the phosphorescent plankton glow, giving the body of water its name. Due to the large amount of rain, the water is currently very high, and the smell of the salt water reaches to nearly every area around it but especially on its western side.   

Psyche:  The PC with the highest rank in Psyche will notice that there is something with a psychic presence that resides within the lake, though they cannot tell how strong.   

Perceiving the Umbra: The natural flow of Umbra in the local Gossamer has been disrupted and a great deal seems to be settling within the depths of the lake.    

– – – – – –

Within the lake you will find the Umbra mutated kaiju Phoros (which is where the Umbra has been flowing too). It is likely at one time Phoros was a thresher shark. If there is an active use of Eidolon on the surface or near the water’s edge Phoros will surface and lash out, it will also be drawn to the Giant Mech if it brought up onto the top of the volcanic intrusion. It will also seek out and eventually attack Cynan if lured toward the Hive, or if Cynan is lured toward the lake.  If slain Phoros uses its Umbra Regeneration to appear else where as new and different type of kaiju. 

I am leaving out the stats on Phoros for the project release. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

[LoG&S] Threats: Secrets of the Annunaki and all things Diceless!

31 Things Rite Publishing is working on.

Card Game
  1. Code Name: Erlking , out of playtesting, going to layout next.

  1. Tales of the Grand Stair (Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, anthology). In the Idea stage.
13th Age Roleplaying Game
  1. The Breaking of Forstor Nagar  released
  2. 101 Feats and Talents to be released on this coming  Sunday April 12th.
Fifth Edition Done Rite
  1. The Breaking of Forstor Nagar  in layout, ordering printing proof.
  2. 101 1st level Spells in development
  1. The Demolished Ones: Fly in the Ointment  mock layout complete, waiting on art.
  2. Making The Demolished Ones available on Amazon.com

Lords of Gossamer & Shadow
  1. The Long Walk manuscript complete, in editing, art complete. I am not going to comment about this till it is out of editing.
  2. Addendum: Shapeshifting in development by Jason Durall. 
  3. Threats: Threshold Ghosts in development by Jason Durall
  4. No Beast So Fierce adventure by me, manuscript in playtesting/development, art is complete. Icon Deck: NPCs: Art Descriptions in development. 2 pieces assigned to artists. I have learned a lot during playtesting and running it as an online game.
  5. Gossamer & Shadow Adventure Path/Campaign Saga in development (hell), I will be doing a harder look at this in May.
  6. Threats: Secrets of the Annunaki just released
  7. Gossamer Worlds: #15 by Matt Banach in development.
  8. Gossamer Options: NPCS by Mark Knights in layout (art complete, writing complete, editing complete)
  9. Gossamer Worlds: Planet Fiction a 32 page full-color Print and PDF project in editing.
  10. Gossamer Worlds: Shatter Light in development.
  11. Lords of Gossamer & Shadow Icon Deck: Npcs awaiting art.


  1. In the Company of Dragons: The Lost Isles Kickstarter, manuscript complete Coming In April
  2. Pathways #49 assigned to writers.
  3. Adventure Quarterly #7 in development.
  4. Martial Arts Guidebook waiting on art, doing mock layout.  (print)
  5. 101 Not So Random Encounters: Desert manuscript in development
  6. Summoner of the Jade Oath manuscript in development
  7. Kaidan Campaign Setting in mock layout, final chapters to be written, art orders being placed.
  8. The Secrets of The Divine: Death, Healing, Law, & Madness in development.  
  9. Questhaven Campaign Setting in development with me writing. 
  10. 1001 Magic Items mock layout complete, cover art complete, needs interior art
  11. Ultimate Monsters Hero Lab (Book of Monster templates, 101 not so simple monster templates, 101 Monster Feats, 101 Variant Monsters etc.) assigned to the Rite Coder.
  12. In the Company of Gelatinous Cubes just released. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

10. Dead End and a Tangle (CR 13 Encounter)

10. Dead End and a Tangle

The mist down the western corridor from the intersection clears out quickly as it enters a small cavern, you can hear the sound of a bubbling spring at the back.

Stealth (DC 10): if a PC approaches from area 9 with stealth she sees 4 horse-sized, crab-like monstrosities clinging tenaciously to the rough stone, their enormous pincers held out menacingly before them some 60 ft. away.

Otherwise as soon as the first PC leaves the mist it gets hit with 4 filament lines and potential pulled 40 ft. toward the tangle of cave fishers.  This appears to be a dead end cavern where the cave fishers have made a lair recently having taken up where the best source of water in this area is, so they can fish for pretty that come here. These cave fishers are creations of the Deathless Duke's adherent  Bercelak the Breeder, based on from notes he discovered written by the Immortal Emperor Cynmark the Dread Lich. 

Cave Fishers (4)      CR 10

XP 9,600
Advanced Dreadnought Cave Fisher
N Large magical beast (augmented [vermin])
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0


AC 24, touch 12, flat-footed 19 (+1 dodge, +2 Dex, -1 size, +12 natural)
hp 144 (9d8+72)
Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +3
DR 10/magic, Immune disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, paralysis, stunning, Resist cold 10, fire 10, SR 19


Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee 3 claws +17 (1d6+9)
Ranged filament +10 (drag)
Space 10 ft. Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks pull (filament, 10 feet)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL HD)
Continuous- haste


Str 29, Dex 14, Con 27, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 6
Base Atk +2; CMB +12 (+16 with pull); CMD 24 (36 vs. trip)
Skills Climb +17

Special Abilities

Felling Strike (Ex) Once per day when a dreadnaught scores a successful critical hit, it can elect to make a felling strike. The target must also make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 23) or suffer 90 additional points of damage, a successful save results in only an additional 15 points of damage.
Filament (Ex) A cave fisher can fire a thin filament of sticky silk as a standard action. This touch attack has a range of 60 feet and no range increment. A creature struck by a cave fisher's filament becomes attached to the sticky thread. As a standard action, a creature can rip the filament free with a DC 25 Strength check. A caught creature can also attempt to escape a filament by making a DC 30 Escape Artist check. A filament is AC 23 (touch 12), has 15 hit points, and has DR 15/slashing. An application of liquid with high alcohol content (or a dose of universal solvent) dissolves the adhesive and releases the creature caught by the filament. A cave fisher can have only one filament active at a time.
Pull (Ex) A cave fisher has a +4 racial bonus on CMB checks made using its pull special attack.
Punishing Strike (Su) Once per day the dreadnought can make a single melee attack with a morale bonus equal to its Chiasma bonus (minimum +1) and a +9 morale bonus on damage rolls. The dreadnought must declare the use of punished strike before making the attack.
Hit Dice.
Magic (Su) A dreadnaught’s natural weapons are considered magic weapons for overcoming damage reduction.


Down in the water is a collection of equipment the angle of cave fishers has stockpiled from their victims.  +1 arrows (10) (460 gp), oil of dispel magic (750 gp), potion of invisibility (300 gp) arcane scroll, baleful polymorph (1,125 gp) greater ring of adjournment (8,000 gp), amethyst (82 gp), deep blue spinel (206 gp), red spinel (73 gp), carnelian (35 gp), hematite (6 gp), alexandrite (146 gp), azurite (9 gp), rhodochrosite (4 gp), malachite (3 gp), Freshwater (irregular) pearl (3 gp), Agate (1 gp), Blue quartz (1 gp); 17 pp, 265 gp, 1160 sp, 2900 cp

Ring of Adjournment

Aura faint abjuration; CL 1st
Slot ring; Price 1,600 gp (lesser), 4,800 gp (standard), 8,000 gp
(greater); Weight -
This jade ring bears the image of a fox. You activate this ring as an immediate action and a ray of eldritch energy, with a range of 30-ft., projects from the ring. The wearer must make a successful ranged touch attack to hit. Creatures struck, who fail a Will save (DC +1/2 the wearer’s HD + ½ the wearer’s Charisma modifier), become unable to recognize and act upon attacks of opportunity until just before the wearer’s turn next round.
A lesser ring can be used 1/day, a standard ring can be used 3/day, and a greater ring can be used 1/round.

Requirements Forge Ring, adjournment of opportunity; (See 1001 Spells by Rite Publishing: Author Steven D. Russell) Cost 800 gp (lesser), 2,400 gp (standard), 4,000 gp (greater)

You can find the start of these encounters here in Area 1.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How to Start Your Own Tabletop Rpg Company: #2 Start Small

I talk about crushing your dreams, being practical, and starting small with a 10 page PDF and not the 300+ page Full-Color Hardcover with text-book binding and silk bookmarks.