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Volume 1, June 2002

d20Zine - June 2002 Page 20


d20Zine! W
elcome to the premier issue of d20Zine! This is our first
attempt at what is hopefully a long-term project providing
quality resource material for players and GameMasters
alike who utilize the d20 gaming system. Collected in the pages of
our first issue is an eclectic series of articles that cover topics such
Volume 1, June 2002 as new character races, monsters, prestige classes, and GM resource
A quarterly magazine established to be an Open Content re- articles. In addition, there are a few reoccurring feature articles that
source for GameMasters and fans who use the d20 Rules Gaming you will see with each issue.
System. Produced by the design team of the d20 Magazine Rack Approximately once every three months, it is our intention to pub-
(www.d20zines.com) and the following contributing authors: Mark lish a new issue of d20Zine! The success of this electronic magazine
Chance, Jeff Craigmile, Steven Creech, Johnn Four, Jeffrey Fuller, will depend largely on the people who contribute articles, fiction,
Mark Howe, Brain Olsen, Steven Peterson and Kevin Ruesch. and artwork to be published as a part of the magazine. I encour-
age anyone who wants to get into the professional end of writing
Copyright 2002, d20 Magazine Rack. for role-playing games to send in their material. This magazine is a
Editor: Steven Creech perfect platform for getting your work noticed by various publishers
in the industry (believe me when I say that there are several who visit
Graphic Layout: Todd Schumacher
the d20 Magazine Rack on a regular basis).
Cover Art: Michael Loh The role-playing game industry is probably as hot as it’s ever been.
Despite claims of lackluster or even poor earnings, each month sees
Table of Contents: the release of product after product. Often these products will
Page Article Title overlap in subject matter such as the recently released Shaman class
02 The Gamer’s Corner by Steven Creech books by both Green Ronin Publishing and Mongoose Publishing.
The development and consequent opening of the d20 system to
03 Computers in Dragonstar by Mark Howe
other publishers is forcing companies to continually improve their
08 Rational Animals by Steven Peterson products in order to remain competitive. This is a boon to the con-
12 Are Your World’s Races Just Humans With Different Bumps On sumer, for he can be selective in what he chooses to add to his collec-
Their Foreheads? by Johnn Four tion. He can compare which naval supplement suits his campaign,
13 Counterspelling Revisited by Brian Olsen for example, without being forced to buy one that is poor quality
16 Making Monsters by Mark Chance just because only one publisher owns the rights to a specific gaming
18 The Martial Master: An Alternative Path for the Standard Monk system and therefore, it’s the only book available.
by Kevin Ruesch Everyone seems to love Top xx lists in America. I suspect David
19 Dues Ex Machina - the Art of Saving the Game by Brian Olsen Letterman has a lot to do with the obsession with lists that folks tend
to have. Travel anywhere and I am willing to bet that there is a Top
21 d20 Magazine Rack Contest Winner - Talyn by Kevin Ruesch
xx list readily visible or heard over the radio. Well, in the spirit of
21 d20 Magazine Rack Contest Winner - Kanker’s Monkeys by Jef- Top xx lists, I give you my top 5 picks for best naval supplement and
frey Fuller best city supplement.
23 Soul Ship Prestige Class for Dragonstar by Mark Howe
25 “Oh, my aching head!” - The Pros and Cons of Incorporating Best Naval Supplement:
Psionics into Your Campaign by Kevin Ruesch 1. Broadsides! (Living Imagination, Inc.)
26 d20 Magazine Rack Contest Runner-up - Il’rokke by Kevin 2. Seafarer’s Handbook (Fantasy Flight Games)
3. Seas of Blood (Mongoose Publishing)
Ruesch
4. Twin Crowns: Age of Exploration Fantasy (Living Imagination, Inc)
26 d20 Magazine Rack Contest Runner-up - Mercurial by Mark 5. Ships of the Elves (Mongoose Publishing)
Chance
30 Ad Hoc Encounters - Goblin Hunting Party by Steven Peterson Best City Supplement:
33 The Gradebook - Raskia by Jeff Craigmile 1. Freeport: City of Adventure (Green Ronin Publishing)
34 Elemental Alchemist Prestige Class by Steven Creech 2. Bluffside: City on the Edge (Thunderhead Games)
35 Around the Corner by Steven Creech 3. City Guide I: Everyday Life (Dark Quest Games)
4. Seven Cities (Atlas Games)
37 The Critic’s Corner by Steven Creech
5. Seven Strongholds (Atlas Games)
38 Open Gaming License
Be sure to drop by the d20 Magazine Rack (www.d20zines.com) and
“Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons® Player’s Handbook, Third Edition,
and the Psionics Handbook, published by Wizards of the Coast®
get signed up for the new discussion forums and boards. You may
find the forum at (http://www.d20zines.com/forum/YaBB.cgi).
“Dungeons & Dragons® and Wizards of the Coast® are Registered Trademarks of There you will find a growing community of gamers devoted to hav-
Wizards of the Coast, and are used with Permission.”
ing fun and keeping abreast of current gaming products and new
“Dragonstar® is a registered trademark of Fantasy Flight Games, and is used with releases...
Permission.” Enjoy the premier issue of d20Zine! Let us know what you like or
‘d20 System’ and the ‘d20 System’ logo are Trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast didn’t like about the magazine by either leaving a message on the fo-
and are used according to the terms of the d20 System License version 3.0. A copy of rum boards or emailing me at S_Creech@d20zines.com and letting
this License can be found at www.wizards.com. me know your comments. All comments and letters will be included
d20Zine! is sponsored in part by (www.frpgames.com). in our next issue (even if they are bad)...

Sincerely,
Steven Creech
Executive Chairman, d20 Magazine Rack
Editor, d20Zine!

d20Zine Page 1
The Gamer’s Corner
By Steven Creech pieces, the main body and two hands holding axes. This is an-

W
other large piece that symbolizes the size of ogres. Attaching
elcome to The Gamer’s Corner, the first official feature the hands will take a lot of patience and a steady hand, as there
article series of d20Zine! This column is merely an ex- are no pegs on the hands to slide into the holes on the arms.
tension of the one that I pen on the d20 Magazine Rack The overall detail is good and what you would expect from a
website. For this issue, I am evaluating several different miniatures Chainmail miniature. However, there is quite a bit of flash on
offered by Wizards of the Coast (www.wizards.com). These minia- this piece and it will require trimming carefully.
tures come from both the Chainmail line and the official Dungeons • The Howler from Set 2 (Naresh’s Horde) is a bit of a disap-
& Dragons brand line. pointment. While only two pieces, substantial bending or trim-
First up are the Chainmail figurines... ming is required to get a proper fit. There is a lot of flash on
• The Drow Warrior from Set 2 (Mercenaries) is an excellent this piece and the level of detail is lacking compared to other
example of a quality miniature. The attention to detail is awe- pieces. Painting will be easy given the lack of details. This
some on this guy! Here we have a chainmail armored warrior would be a good opportunity for people who are good with
holding a crossbow at full extension ready to shoot his op- airbrushing effects to breathe life into the otherwise lifeless
ponent with one hand, while holding a buckler with a blade figure.
forged to it with the other. There is an insignia of a spider on Now the Dungeons & Dragons brand miniatures...
the face of the shield and a sort of half cape dangles from his • The Monsters box set contains 5 different monsters to use in
back. The individual links of armor can be seen along with his your campaign. They are a displacer beast, dire rat, goblins
facial features even though they are partially hidden by a pro- (2 of them), ogre, and orc. The displacer beast has its charac-
tective helm. Not only do you not see the mold lines, but there teristic “starved cheetah” look and comes in two pieces. While
is also no flash to shave off either. The only part you have to the level of detail is good, the way the two pieces fit together
watch is the crossbow because the tips are a bit fragile. I wish all is not. Filler will be needed to give this piece a uniform look
miniatures were done this well. and the moderate amount of flash will need to be trimmed.
• The Owlbear from Set 1 (Drazen’s Horde) is also a good The dire rat is a single one-piece miniature that depicts the rat
piece. It comes in three pieces, the main body and two arms, atop a treasure chest with a skull nearby. The level of detail is
and is definitely a formidable sight. This is a large and heavy great and the flash minimal. The two goblins are identical and
miniature and will require some sturdy glue or bonding agent. are holding a spear and shield. They are each cast as a single
Again, the detail is excellent with an emphasis on the presence piece and will require minimal flash trimming. The detail is
of both fur and feathers. There is no flash or mold lines to fairly good and painting will be asy to do with this miniature.
shave from this piece either. The ogre is the roughest of the miniatures in this set. A large
• The Otyugh from Set 2 (Mercenaries) is another large piece and heavy piece that comes in three pieces (main body and
that comes in many pieces. This one requires a bit of work two arms), a large amount of filler will be required to make the
and patience to secure all of the legs and the tentacles in place arms seem fluid and uniform to where they connect. There is a
properly. A fast bonding agent is definitely needed here. The fair amount of flash to be trimmed, but once together painting
attention to detail is good especially with the mouth region. will be fairly easy. Lastly, the orc is a highly detailed piece that
You see not only teeth, but a tongue and gullet also. This eat- is complete with a separate shield. There is some flash present,
ing machine is ready to chomp your favorite character. There but it is minimal and easily removed.
is some minimal flash that will need trimming, but where it is • Heroes is a box set consisting of six miniatures representing
located is not an issue. the iconic figures used in Wizards of the Coast’s core books.
• The Crazed Cultist Minotaur from Set 2 (Ahmut’s Horde) is a Included are Redgar (human fighter), Lidda (halfling rogue),
mostly intact piece. The only part that needs attached is the Soveliss (elven ranger), Mialee (elven wizard), Jozan (human
head, but it is a tricky thing to do. The hole in the back of the cleric), and Tordek (dwarf fighter. All of the pieces are cast as
head that slides onto the peg needs to be hollowed out more a single figure with the exception of Jozan, who has a separate
in order to achieve a good clean fit. This minotaur carries a shield. Redgar is a formidable figure with a fair amount of flash
huge greataxe that will cleave his opponents in half. A nice but outstanding detail, especially with his armor and shield.
detail that adds to his fearsomeness is the presence of human Lidda is the least detailed due to her diminutive size. This is
skulls dangling at the end of braids in his massive mane. There the type of miniature that was commonly seen in the 80’s and
is some flash and it will require some careful cleaning so the 90’s with a minimal amount of detail. Soveliss is shown with two
detail isn’t damaged. weapons (something I disagree with regarding the ranger class)
• The Ogre Delver from Set 2 (Drazen’s Horde) comes in three and a flowing cape. The level of detail is good especially with

F RP Games
Your Gaming Source for everything at 25-30% off retail prices!!
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d20Zine Page 2
his armor. You will need to trim a lot of flash off this piece and Monsters box sets are great to start with. The Chainmail miniatures
you will need to be careful in several places so as not to dam- offer a diverse choice and the standard of quality regarding detail is
age the miniature. Mialee also has a fair amount of flash to be a notch above most other manufacturers. They come highly recom-
trimmed but has a good level of detail as she stands upright with mended because you can be selective and not have a huge amount
a spear held over her head. Jozan is also a great figure, espe- invested unless you want to have a really large collection with mul-
cially after his shield is attached. Detail is high and flash is low, tiple minis of the same figure (especially if you are actually playing
but care is needed to bend his mace back into proper position. the Chainmail game in addition to using them in your Dungeons &
Finally, Tordek is the fitting symbol of the stereotypical dwarf. Dragons gaming sessions).
The detail is good in the armor and equipment, but the amount FRP Games can special order your miniature and other gaming needs at
of flash is rather high and will require careful trimming. up to 30% off the regular retail price. Contact Shaw at frpgames@yahoo.com
for special pricing. Please be sure to give as much information as you can,
Overall, these miniatures are a fantastic addition to a collection with such as product number, manufacturer, and name of product. This informa-
many of them really coming into their own after being painted. If tion will allow for faster quotes and faster orders. 
you are just beginning to collect miniatures, both the Heroes and

COMPUTERS IN DRAGONSTAR
Written by Mark Howe
®

C Explanation of Terms: -
omputers are primarily technological devices, used to per-
form many routine and complex tasks in every day to day life, Here is what each of the categories represents
through their use tasks can be performed quicker, simpler, Processor Name: The make of Processor
and more efficiently.
Effective INT: This is the effective Intelligence score the computer
In Dragonstar®, computers vary a lot in design, size and purpose
imitates, notes this does not imply a computer has any form of con-
but their requirement is nevertheless important in a lot of peoples
sciousness or artificial life, unless such modifications have been
day to day lives from tracking the accounts of a billion credit mega-
made. And in no way implies any other statistic for the computer
corporation, to tracking satellites and their data, communicating
other than Intelligence. The intelligence imitated is in relation to
over distances, making calculations, accessing databases of knowl-
all programs or functions a computer performs, and does not allow
edge on a subject and a million other uses.
it to act beyond the scope of its programming.
Computers are broken down into four integral components
Actions/Round: This is the amount of simultaneous actions the
1) Processor
processor can perform at once. Thus a computer with 2 actions per
2) Memory
round could search a database and use any in-built defences to at-
3) Power Source
tack an intruder at the same time. Note there are passive programs
4) Programs and Peripherals
that allow computers to perform additional actions automatically,
Each of these sections is discussed below in detail along with how it which do not count towards this limit of actions per round. Also
functions; it’s limitations and what it costs. the amount of usage someone can get out of a computer manually
is limited only by the number of terminals attached to it. NOTE:
PROCESSORS: (The Effective Brain and data processing This is also the applicable circumstance bonus a processor adds to
power of the computer) an appropriate ability or skill check used through the computer with
Processor Effective Actions/ Max Prog Cost Notes this processor.
Name INT Round Rating (Credits)
Max Program Rating: This represents the maximum ranks of a skill
Type 1 9 1 +2 200 cr Wristcomps, from a program that can handle. Thus a processor with +15 max
Alpha Handhelds
Prog rating can handles programs that grant a bonus from +1 all the
Type 1 12 1 +5 500 cr - way up to +15.
Beta
Cost (Credits): This is the processors effective cost in the games
Type 2 15 1 +8 1000 cr Personal Standard currency.
Ceti Computers
Notes: this is where any additional information is included, includ-
Type 2 18 2 +12 2500 cr -
Delta ing the most common pieces of equipment a processor of this type
is found in.
Type 3 21 2 +15 5000 cr Adv Personal,
Epsilon Ship comps
Type 4 24 3 +18 10,000 cr -
Gamma
Type 5 27 3 +21 25,000 cr Adv Personal,
Omega Installation
Type 6 30 4 +25 50,000 cr Height of
Ultimax Technology

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MEMORY: (This is the storage space for all data and pro- directly, effectively providing an unlimited and indefinite supply of
grams on a computer) power. This kind of Computer power source makes the computer
as much a part of the ship as any of it’s other systems; the computer
Max Max
Memory (in Prog No. of Cost is effectively built in. Of course should anything happen to that pri-
Terabytes) Size Progs (Credits) Notes: mary power source then the computer is rendered inactive unless it
Datachip (1 Portable, blank disk can hold 1
has a backup power source.
Terabyte) +2 1 1 cr terabyte (1000 gigabytes) Bio-Electrical Source (1000 cr): This kind of power source can only
Min Memory for a Datapad, be fitted to a palm top or wrist mounted computer, by doing so it
20 Terabytes +2 10 10 cr Wristcomp adds a small micro generator and a series of small needles on the
100 Terabytes +5 20 100 cr underside of it. Then to power the computer the computer is simply
held firmly (in the case of a palm top), or affixed to the wrist (in
Min Memory for a Personal
240 Terabytes +8 30 250 cr Computer the case of a wrist comp) and in doing so the needles penetrate the
user’s skin. In doing so they are exposed to the user’s blood flow,
480 Terabytes +12 40 500 cr
which powers the micro generator through the bioelectrical current
Min Memory for a Ship’s produced.
750 Terabytes +15 50 750 cr Computer
Heavy Power Cell (50 cr): This kind of power source is the same
900 Terabytes +18 50 1,000 cr
kind of cells used to power some large and huge energy weapons.
2,100 Min Memory for a (Fixed) This kind of power source although used up relatively quickly is
Terabytes +21 100 2,500 cr Installation Computer
quite common and very versatile in a fix. Most military field com-
5,000 puters use this kind of power source. These cells can provide a com-
Terabytes +25 200 5,000 cr
puter 72 hours continuous usage, before needing replacing.
Explanation of Terms: - Solar Generator (150 cr): This kind of power source adds a small
Here is what each of the categories represents electrical generator powers from solar panels that are either part of
the computers case, or connected to the computer via power leads.
Memory (In Terabytes): This is the memories size in Terabytes (1000
This requires direct exposure to sunlight to provide the power
gigabytes)
needed to turn the generator; anything upto an overcast day can
Max Program Size: This represents the maximum ranks of a skill a provide at least some power but in conditions beyond that a solar
program can be with this kind of memory. panel isn’t much use. However as a backup or for computers used in
Max No. of Programs: This represents the maximum number of the field it is perfect. The power provided is constant and indefinite
individual programs this memory can contain; these can all be up to so long as there is sunlight. NOTE: A solar generator if a secondary
the maximum program size in capability. power source to a Heavy Cell can be switched on and used to charge
the cell up when not in use, it will restore 10% charge to the cell for
Cost (Credits): This is the Memories effective cost in the games every hour of sunlight.
Standard currency.
Magus Crystal (5,000 cr): These special crystals are grown and
Notes: this is where any additional information is included, includ- charged with magical energy, the power source includes the matrix
ing the minimum memory sizes that certain kinds of computer can that converts the magical energy into a usable power source for the
have. computer. This kind of power is highly efficient, pollution free and
relatively easy to fit. It is however quite uncommon to obtain and ex-
POWER SOURCES: (What Powers the Computer, both
pensive, as the Crystals are difficult to grow. Each Crystal provides
main and Secondary) power for 1 year’s continuous usage, before it is eventually drains
Power Source Cost (Credits) Notes: and needs replacing.
This is your standard utility type power, Back-up Power Sources (200%): Back-up power sources are de-
Mains Supply 5 cr/month plug it in and use at leisure signed to kick in should the power from the primary source stop
This uses the Vehicle power source, or run out. It is designed to trip in automatically in such instances.
Tied in Power Source 10% vehicle meaning it is effectively unlimited The cost for a secondary power source is twice that of whatever type
It is powered off the users blood flow,
is used, due to the smaller size, and special systems designed to al-
Bioelectrical Source 1,000 cr only wrist comps can have this low it the “kicking in” safeguard ability. Also in the case of power
sources with a set duration, when used as a back-up power source
the computer is powered off Maxi cells,
Heavy Power Cell 50 cr and provides 72 hours usage they only provide half as much duration as they would if they were a
primary power source.
Allows constant usage so long as it is
Solar Generator 150 cr exposed to sunlight
PROGRAMS: (These are the information and “skills” a
Magically charged crystals provide 1 computer can perform)
Magus Crystal 5,000 cr years constant use before wears out
Where a Computer is performing a task it always uses it’s INT
Backup Power a second power source that kicks in modifier when using a program regardless of whether the skill is
Source 200% when main fails
Intelligence based.
Mains Supply (5 cr/month): This is the type of power source most Note where programs are concerned if a computer is running a
commonly used for personal computers, they are able to plug into program it uses the programs rank, plus the modifier from its effec-
whatever mains supply provides power to the building, installation tive Intelligence score. Where a computer program is run manually
etc. so as long as the bills are paid to the supplier of the power sup- it uses the programs rank plus the users (not the computer’s) Intel-
ply it is provided indefinitely. ligence modifier.
Tied in Power Source (10% Vehicle Cost): This is the main power For example a computer with a Type 2 Delta Processor (effective INT
type for starship computers, and installation central computers, they 18, +4 modifier) and a 100 Terabyte Memory (max program rank +5)
are tied directly into the ship or installations main power source is running an Alchemy program +5 in an attempt to design a new Anti-

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venom (DC25). The GM rolls for the computer getting a 16 on the Alchemy Programs (500 cr/level): This program is used for design-
roll, adding the computers INT modifier (+4), and the programs rating ing, analysing and identifying all manner of alchemical items, from
(+5) for a total of 25 (16+4+5=25). The computer succeeds...just! The potions and substances, to acids anti-venoms, flammable liquids.
design for the Anti-venom looks promising, of course to actually produce Craft - Specific Programs (300 cr/level): This program allows the
it a craft roll must still be made by the someone other than the computer, construction of a specific kind of item, from armor, weapons, sculp-
unless of course it is tied in to some pharmaceutical manufacturing ma- tures, machine parts, electronics, wooden items, ship construction,
chines, in which case it could attempt that roll too. and basically anything else which involves the construction of some-
thing. Obviously this kind of program is only of any use if the com-
If we use the same example but the players character G’nakh the Orcish puter is linked to the relevant machinery and production facilities
Wizard is making the attempt instead of the computer, then we follow the necessary to produce the specified items, otherwise it is only usable
same process but ignore the computers effective intelligence and respective for producing designs, which will provide a +4 circumstance bonus
when used to produce what the designs are of.
modifier are replaced with the characters applicable statistic and modi-
fier. So G’nakh sits at the terminal and accesses the computers Alchemy Forgery Program (500 cr/level): This kind of program is used to
program +5, he works fervently to design the new Anti-venom (DC25). provide forgeries of everything from a written document, retinal
The player rolls for G’nakh getting a 16 on the roll, adding G’nakhs scan, thumbprint, identification papers, photos and pretty much ev-
ery other form of media or security that can be feasibly copied. Of
INT modifier (+2), and the programs rating (+5) for a total of 23
course for this program to fully function in cases where some form
(16+2+5=23). Poor G’nakh fails, he feels he’s on the right track, but has of hardcopy end result is sought special equipment and materials
to go back to the drawing board with his plans for the new Anti-venom!, are required to ensure the forgery produced is accurate.
or he could upgrade the computers memory and buy a better Alchemy
Heal Program (500 cr/level): This program when tied in to the ap-
program before trying again.
propriate scanner and equipment allows a computer to scan, diag-
In circumstances where a players character has a higher rank in a nose and treat all manner of illness and injury, providing first, long
skill than the program he is using then he is forced to use the lower term care and treat poisoning and disease.
program rank. As although his ability is greater the program just
Knowledge - Specific Program (200 cr/level): These programs are
doesn’t allow him to express it adequately, and so would have to buy
vast databases of information collected upon the specific subject,
a better program (and possibly upgrade the memory and proces-
and as such allow the computer the ability to search for the answers
sor), to fully utilise his innate skill in a particular area.
to questions relating to the specific subject. There are thousands
Example: G’nakh in the above example has say 8 ranks of his own in upon thousands of different types of Knowledge programs, from
Alchemy which is greater than the Alchemy +5 program offers him, but Arcana Databases, History databases, cultural databases, stories,
using the program he is forced to use the program s +5 instead of his own military records, scientific databases, everything....
+8 as the program itself just isn’t capable of reflecting his skill to the full- Profession - Specific Program (100 cr/level): These programs are
est. His software definitely needs upgrading. Or of course he could work required when a computer is performing any kind of job or task that
on paper, but working on a computer is a lot quicker generally. does not involve making something.
Appraise - Specific Program (200 cr/level): These programs are
Program Name Cost (Cr) / level Notes:
vast databases of price guides of the commonest prices for the spe-
Manufacturing cific type of item commonly found throughout the Dragon Empire.
Progs These programs are updated yearly, but provide a more accurate
Can be tied to a craft skill if appropriate way of determining the relative value of an item. The types of pro-
Alchemy 500 cr/level machinery is available gram vary from Weapons, vehicles, armor and so on...
Needs Manufacturing machinery to Speak Language Program (100 cr/level): A Language program
Craft (Specific) 300 cr/level produce specific item
adds an additional language to what the computer can understand/
Special materials needed for hardcopy translate and if a vocaliser is present speak for every rank of the
Forgery 500 cr/level forgeries
program.
Knowledge Progs
Spellcraft Program (300 cr/level): A Spellcraft program is used to
Heal 500 cr/level Needs to be tied to medical equipment identify and translate all manner of magical effects. It is a vast data-
Knowledge base or arcane information, and analysis routines.
(Specific) 200 cr/level Endless variety of informational databases
Wilderness Lore Program (200 cr/level): This program is a data-
Profession base of survival procedures and techniques. Typically this is used
(specific) 100 cr/level Perform specific jobs and tasks
via remote communication with the computer providing advice and
Appraise Can value specific types of items based on answers to questions on how to survive in a particular place.
(Specific) 200 cr/level known common prices
Alternatively hardcopy instructions can be provided which grant the
Only allows understanding unless a
Speak Language 100 cr/level Vocaliser is available
user a +2 Circumstance bonus by following the advice in them.
Spellcraft 300 cr/level A Specific database Handle Animal Program (100 cr/level): This program provides
information on handling, looking after and training all manner of
Wilderness Lore 200 cr/level Survivalists database
domestic animals.
Handle Animal 100 cr/level Animal training and handling database
Decipher Script Program (500 cr/level): This program is designed
Requires access to visual sensors or a to analyse, learn and translate all manner of ancient script and sym-
Decipher Script 500 cr/level scanner to access written script
bols. To be of proper use the script or symbols must be visible to the
Needs to be tied to communications computer through sensors or via being scanned into the computer.
Cryptography 500 cr/level systems
It then begins the process of analysing the scripts finding commonly
Accesses info net to research specific to occurring letters and symbols and working on the process of break-
Research 200 cr/level find answers to questions ing them down and understanding them in some legible form.

d20Zine Page 5
Cryptography Program (500 cr/level): This program needs to be the computer have both visual and audio sensors and a vocaliser.
tied to communications equipment to be totally effective, but once If the computer meets these requirements it can monitor the vocal
done, has the ability to decrypt encrypted signal that are picked up, patterns and body movements and expressions of anyone it can see
It is also used to encrypt outgoing transmissions. and hear to determine their mood and whether they are telling the
Research Program (200 cr/level): This program is a search engine truth or not.
of sorts scouring the Infonet, and other external databases, news Spot Program (100 cr/level): This program requires the computer
sites, discussion forums, historical databases and computer libraries to have a visual sensor suite and one or more remote cameras. If
to find the answer sought to a particular question. it does, the computer can keep and active view of all areas they are
Use Device Program (100 cr/level): This program allows a com- present.
puter to operate most complex or specialised technological devices,
such as other computers, machines, robots and vehicular sensors. It All computers must have at least one, each is a monitor, keyboard
can also be used to externally hack another computer system. etc...
Navigation Program (300 cr/level): This program is a database of Audio Sensor Suite (1,000 cr): This is everything necessary to allow
maps and navigational charts and coordinates and an advanced a computer to have microphones and all other audio related devices
course plotting routine. Using this program allows the computer to attached to it. Alone it does nothing besides analyse and identify
plot an accurate course. sounds sensors pick up but it is a required stepping-stone to avail-
Piloting Program (200 cr/level): This program allows the computer able audio sensors.
to operate any kind of vehicle it is tied into be it a ground vehicle, Microphones (50 cr): These are the standard audio sensor devices,
watercraft, hovercraft, aircraft or spacecraft. small and easily installed, they are about the size of a Zippo lighter,
Repair Program (200 cr/level): With this program a computer that and can pickup all sound within the normal human range of hear-
is tied into the appropriate devices can maintain, upgrade, modify ing within 100 feet radius of the microphone. They can also work as
or repair all manner of technological equipment and devices. A speaker for projecting sound.
Computer can attempt this actively, or it can issue the order to any Vocaliser (100 cr): The Vocaliser allows a computer to generate
remote maintenance robots it has remote control of and leave it to speech and almost any other sound, which can then be projected
their standard programming to handle. anywhere it has a microphone. A computer with a vocaliser can be
Performance Program (100 cr/level): This form of program is programmed to have any sort of voice male, female certain tones
typically for artistic expression or entertainment and includes every- and so forth.
thing from playing music, storytelling. This program may require Visual Sensor Suite (1,000 cr): This is the basics sensor suite re-
some additional peripherals be attached to the computer to func- quired for a computer to be able to analyse and interpret all visual
tion properly. information picked up within the range or it’s remote camera sen-
Combat Program (1,000 cr/level): This program allows the comput- sor. On it’s own it is near useless; it must have at least one remote
er attack via defenses tied to it, starship weapons if built into a star- camera to be of maximum use.
ship etc. Each rank of this program provides an attack bonus as if a Remote Cameras (50 cr): These are small cameras mounted with
fighter of equivalent level to the number of ranks. If the computer the same range of vision as that of a normal human, they can view all
has robots tied to it via remote operation it can either take control of within a 60 feet wide cone and can rotate upto 180 degrees.
the robot and attack through it using it’s own combat bonus with a -4
Telescopic Cameras (100 cr): these cameras have the same range
penalty, or give the robot an order to attack in which case the robot
of vision and similar traits as a normal remote camera but can zoom
uses its own attack bonus. This program is of Military design is not
in and out providing 25x magnification. This provides a +2 circum-
commonly available for sale, it can however be bought through the
stance bonus to search and spot checks made via these cameras.
black market if a character knows the correct people.
Infrared Cameras (100 cr): These cameras have the same quality
PASSIVE PROGRAMS and scope of vision as a normal remote camera, but can also see
Passive programs do not count towards the computers maximum Heat Patterns, which makes tracking living beings even in pitch
number of actions per round through its processor; they are on all black through the camera quite easy.
the time and active so long as certain conditions as described below
Ultraviolet Cameras (100 cr): These camera have the same quality
are met.
and scope of vision as a normal remote camera, but can also see into
Listen Program (100 cr/level): This program only functions if the the ultraviolet spectrum, making them ideal for viewing underwater,
computer is fixed with audio suite, and has one or more audio sen- as such these camera are often mounted on submersibles and sub-
sors tied to it. It allows the computer to hear into all areas where merged installations.
one is present.
Nightvision Cameras (250 cr): These cameras have the same quality
Read Lips Program (100 cr/level): This program can only function and scope of vision as a normal remote camera, but can also see at
if the computer has visual sensor suite, and one or more telescopic night by using ambient light, so as long as there is at least some light
cameras tied to it. If it does it can zoom in on anyone within view it can see at night, under moonlight, or a starry sky etc. as good as
and attempt to discern what they say if out of range of the computers normal daylight, but in total darkness this camera can see nothing.
audio sensors by studying the lip and throat movements.
Motion Sensor (500 cr): A Motion sensor works by detecting dis-
Search Program (100 cr/level): This program requires the com- ruptions in the airflow, these are typically made when people move
puter have a visual sensor suite and one or more telescopic cameras. around. As such any movement within 60 feet, provides the comput-
If it does it can search any area it can view. If the computer has er a +4 circumstance bonus to spotting the source of the motion. Of
variable sensors and scanner such as Infrared or Ultraviolet, it can course a computer still requires some visual or audio sensor nearby
search for a greater variety of things. to be able to check out the source of the motion, as the sensor alone
Sense Motive Program (100 cr/level): This special program is only indicates that there has been movement, not exactly where or
something of a vocal stress analyser and lie detector. It requires what made it.

d20Zine Page 6
Multiscanner (2,500 cr): The Computer is fitted with a Multiscan- sary program to do so. A system tie-in provides a +2 circumstance to
ner, which has ranges and functions exactly as described for a multi- a user’s checks performing any activity through those systems.
scanner in the Dragonstar® Core Rulebook. EMP Shielding (+100% cost): EMP Shielding protects a computer
Security Scanner (1,000 cr): The computer is fitted with a Security from all electromagnetic attacks, this is very expensive, but consid-
scanner that has ranges and functions exactly as described for a se- ered the sensitive nature of information some computers contain, or
curity scanner in the Dragonstar® Core Rulebook. the importance of the functions they perform protecting them from
Behavioural Analyser (500 cr): This is a more advanced device de- this devastating form of attack is quite important.
signed for tracking and identifying expressions, body movements Remote Transmitter (2,500 cr): A Remote transmitter allows a
and vocal patterns to identify if someone’s mood and whether or computer to remotely direct any number of robots, and if necessary
not they are telling the truth. As such to function a computer with take direct command of them, though if it does so all attacks are at
this analyser must have some form of audio and visual sensor. The -4 penalty.
effect of the Behavioural Analyser is to provide a +4 circumstance to Hardened Casing (3,000 cr): A computer with a hardened casing is
all sense motive checks. armoured and more durable, this especially important for central
Personal Communicator (100 cr): The computer has a personal computers and field computers. A standard computers case is 10
communicator fitted, with which it can receive and transmit radio Hardness, 100 hit points, a Hardened Case is 15 Hardness, 200 hit
signals upto a range of 10 miles. If a computer has access to a satel- points.
lite uplink (which adds another 1,000 cr to the price) but allows A.I Module (100,000 cr +): A.I modules are only available to some
the communicator to access communication satellites if available to militaries and governments normally, and are exceptionally and
boost the range of communication to Global. very rarely available in the black market, usually as stolen technol-
Holographic Projector (5,000 cr): A computer with this has the abil- ogy. But an A.I module grants the computer artificial life, effectively
ity to create 3-Dimensional holographic images, and with the use of granting it a 3d6 Wisdom and Charisma score, no Constitution,
at least one holo emitter can project them for all to see. A Holo- Dexterity or Strength. The computer can independently think and
graphic projector has the ability to record images through cameras act for itself just as a normal person, it is no longer limited by it’s
and project the recording through emitters also. programming. A.I modules can only be fitted to computers with
Holo Emitters (500 cr): A holo emitter is a projection device of sorts the biggest memories as anything less does not have enough space
with a short range of about 10 feet, and can project holographic im- to hold the complex programming necessary to cause artificial life
ages produced or recorded by a Holographic projector. to occur.

System Tie-in (10,000 cr/system): A system tie in grants the comput- Terminals (100 cr): Terminals are just that the Monitors and key-
er access to specific systems that are not directly related to the com- boards, touch screens, viewers etc. that are necessary for all com-
puter but can be manipulated by it, if it has the relevant software. puters to function, every computer must have at least one terminal.
Appropriate systems include Piloting, Navigation, Engineering, Terminals are scaled to fit the computer so a wrist comps view screen
Weapons systems, Security, Manufacturing and Processing systems, and buttons that make up it’s terminal are smaller than say the con-
Environmental and so forth. Once a computer has a system tie in it soles and viewers of a starship computer, but the price remains the
can effectively operate every aspect of it, providing it has the neces- same.

PERIPHERALS AND EXTRAS: (These are the upgrades and the extras)
Peripheral Name Cost (Credits) Notes:
Audio Sensor suite 1,000 cr Provides the basic sensors necessary to use microphones
Microphone 50 cr Hears all within 100 feet radius
Vocaliser 100 cr Allows computer to speak and project sounds
Visual Sensor Suite 1,000 cr Provides the basic sensors necessary to use remote cameras
Remote Camera 50 cr Can rotate 180 degree, provides view in a 60 feet wide cone
Telescopic Camera 100 cr +2 to search and spot checks, 25x Magnification
Infrared Camera 100 cr Detects heat patterns I 60 feet
Ultraviolet Camera 100 cr very useful for underwater vision, 60 feet range
Nightvision Camera 250 cr Amplifies ambient light to provide perfect nightvision in 60 feet, won’t work in total dark
Motion Sensor 500 cr Can detect movement within 60ft, by detecting movement in the air +4 Spot bonus
Multiscanner 2,500 cr Variable sensors, as Dragonstar page 107
Security Scanner 1000 cr Monitors electrical currents and radio transmission, as Dragonstar page 108
Behavioural Analyser 500 cr Advanced behavioural scanner +4 bonus to sense motive checks
Personal
communicator 100 cr 10 mile range communication, using satellite uplink it has global range
Holographic
Projector 5,000 cr Has the ability to create, record and project 3D holographic images
Holo Emitter 500 cr Holo projector can project images wherever there is one of these
System Tie-In 10,000 cr/sys Ties into a system like piloting, navigation, engineering, provides +2 circumstance bonus
EMP Shielding +100% cost Makes the computer immune to Electromagnetic attacks
Remote Transmitter 2,500 cr Allows the Computer to send order to robots, and if necessary take direct control
Hardened Casing 3,000 cr The Computers casing is armoured
A.I Module 100,000 cr + Provides computer an artificial intelligence, giving it a Wis and Cha score
Terminals 100 cr All computers must have at least one, each is a monitor, keyboard etc…

d20Zine Page 7
SAMPLE COMPUTERS: Processor: Type 1 Alpha Effective INT: 9 Actions/Round: 1
Here is a selection of sample computers
Max Prog Rating: +2 Memory: 20 Terabytes Max Prog Size: +2
Cypher Px-31 WristComp Max No. of Progs: 10 Primary Power Source: Heavy Power cell
The cipher wristcomp is a small arm bracer style computer that Secondary Power Source: None Cost: 7,010 credits
affixes to the bearers forearm, powered by the users bioelectrical Extras: Terminal (flatscreen or digital glasses and collapsible key-
energy. Designed as a field operative’s model it is commonly used in board), Audio sensor suite, 1 microphone, vocaliser, holographic
military and espionage operations. projector, 1 holo emitter.
Processor: Type 1 Alpha Effective INT: 9 Actions/Round: 1
Max Prog Rating: +2 Memory: 20 Terabytes Max Prog Size: +2 Cerebus X-3000 Central Computer
Max No. of Progs: 10 Primary Power Source: Bioelectrical Sec- The Cerebus Central computer is designed to run most kinds of
ondary Power Source: None Cost: 10,820 credits Explorer vessel, it is integrally tied in to the vessels power source, as
well as its Environmental, piloting, navigational, engineering and
Extras: Motion Sensor, Multiscanner, Terminal, Personal Com- tactical systems, and as such all the systems can be run remotely
municator, Security scanner, EMP shielded. (providing necessary software is available) or manually.

Processor: Type 3 Epsilon Effective INT: 21 Actions/Round: 2


Imperial TMG Datapad Max Prog Rating: +15 Memory: 750 Terabytes Max Prog Size:
The Imperial datapad is the standard lightweight handheld per- +15 Max No. of Progs: 50 Primary Power Source: Tied in Power
sonal computer. It can be used as a notepad, personal scheduler, source Secondary Power Source: Solar Cost: 364,850 credits
calculator, graphics tablet and library. It is verbal or cursor input Extras: Seven Terminals (4 on bridge, 1 by starcaster, 1 in each
with a collapsible keyboard. Data is typically displayed on a holo- cargo hold), Audio sensor suite, 9 Microphones (1 in each com-
graphic projection, digital glasses, or integral flatscreen. Datapads partment), Vocaliser, Visual Sensor Suite, 9 remote cameras (1
provide users with a +2 circumstance bonus on appropriate ability or in each compartment), Multiscanner, Personal Communicator, 5
skill checks. By design it is primarily suited for knowledge programs System Tie ins (navigational, environmental, piloting, engineer-
but could handle others. ing, tactical), Remote Transmitter.

Rational Animals
By Steven Palmer Peterson

W
hile I like stat-blocks in scenarios and modules I prefer date), Skill Focus (Profession, Cook), Weapon Finesse (Dag-
my NPC write-ups to have space to breathe (and space for ger), Weapon Focus (Dagger)
me to scribble in notes). The NPCs in this section use a Challenge Rating: 8
format akin to that of a monster write-up. For skills, I’ve italicized Alignment: Any lawful
the cross-class ones and granted a +3 bonus to the target skill for Possessions: set of three +1 keen cutting knives, ring of minor el-
the Skill Focus feat in the following characters. For the NPCs here I emental resistance (fire), +2 bracers of health, decanter of endless water,
don’t simply assign challenge ratings based on character level; I ad- periapt of proof against poison
just them to better represent how great a threat I think they’ll pose Description: The empire’s best chef is just that, the best chef in the
to an average party of player characters. My players have always been land. You should probably restrict the number of these to one per
min-maxing combat monsters (but I love ‘em!) so you may want to metropolis or large kingdom. Since the best chefs naturally gravitate
adjust the CR’s for your own group. I’ve focused on NPCs that you towards large urban areas, or get nabbed by the king and put in his
can bring into your game fairly easily. castle, you’ll normally find the empire’s best chef in one of those
THE EMPIRE’S BEST CHEF places. The chef described here runs a tight kitchen. Once you’ve
Medium-size Humanoid entered that place you have entered his domain, even the emperor
Human Expert 17 treads lightly there (threats of using a Murlynd’s Spoon for later
Hit Dice: 17d6 (62 hp) meals ensures that). The empire’s best chef employs a variety of
Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex) skills in preparing meals; alchemy to know how different substances
Speed: 30 ft. blend together, vintner to know what wines are the best and what
AC: 11 (+1 Dex) goes best with different dishes, and knowledge about nature to know
Attacks: knife +14/+9/+4 melee (1d4, 17-20/x2); thrown knife of the rare herbs and animals and how to get them.
+14/+9/+4 ranged (1d4, 17-20/x2) Some Possible Names: Erich Deitens, Mora Tolmassos, Gordal
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft. Tremesk, Vittor Coulaise
Special Qualities: Old (attributes already adjusted for age)
Some Sample Dishes: Cilantro roasted mutton, Lobster fra Diablo
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +15
(lobster out of the shell cooked in a spicy red sauce), Honey glazed
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 14
flan, sweet cakes with redberry sauce, Domelian (breaded and fried
Skills: Alchemy +18, Appraise +23, Bluff +12, Diplomacy +22, In-
darkmantle rings), Ghunth (humanoid liver, bone, and stomach
timidate +15, Knowledge (Nature) +23, Listen +8, Perform +22,
lining softened in ochre jelly to a soup-like consistency then fil-
Profession (Cook) +26, Profession (Herbalist) +13, Profession
tered and distilled to edibility; improper preparation can poison an
(Vintner) +13, Search +18, Spot +8
eater).
Feats: Endurance, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Intimi-

d20Zine Page 8
Lawful Good: The lawful good chef runs a tight ship and brooks no ital binoculars, datapad w/variety of chips, nightvision goggles
slacking but all for the good of the meal. He makes sure to train his Description: “I crept through the burning ruins of my village,
most talented apprentices and journeymen well; he knows that some fire-glare reflecting off crushed and broken bodies. Already some
day he’ll retire and future kings and queens need to eat proper food goblins skulked about, looting the corpses and picking melted cop-
too. You could cook up an easy scenario by simply kidnapping the per and silver from the ashes. Great, grinding shrieks and sprays of
chef and sending the players to retrieve him. Perhaps some frost sparks came from the mill. She was hammering it to dust. You see,
giants decided that they wanted to try something a bit better than we hadn’t warned her of the adventurers that came to town and now
over-cooked polar bear. Once the players rescue the chef he can ac- she intended to replace us, perhaps let one of the goblin mobs just
tually help them fight their way out. He matches up fairly well with overrun the place. I crawled up to a bit under 100 feet away. The
an 8th to 10th level player group; he’s neither so powerful that he flour dust in the mill burst into flame occasionally when she struck
drowns out their abilities nor so weak that the players need to hide the stones. She stood maybe eleven feet tall, all hand-sculpted iron
him in a portable hole while they escape. looking like something forged by a madman. She had told us some
Lawful Neutral: The lawful neutral chef runs a dictatorial kitchen. time ago that we just didn’t understand art. I knocked a single gray-
The meal comes first, always and if you can’t understand that you black shaft to the string and drew back. The arrow was tipped with
should go work somewhere boiling potatoes. He’s the soup-nazi; he a dull-silver head; odd, inter-locking runes twined back along the
makes the best meal around and his clientele know that they have shaft. They would unwind whatever held the iron thing together. If I
to toe the line to get what they want. He’s more likely to work as an hit. If the arrow didn’t glance harmlessly off all that steel. If the force
independent, such as a chef for one of the great inns of the empire. of her will couldn’t hold it all together in spite of this. And what if it
You could run a roleplaying scenario around the king or some other didn’t kill her anyway? How could I possibly take that chance?”
powerful person accidentally offending the chef then asking the Dayla Karmykos didn’t grow up here or train here. She comes
players to somehow make amends so he can eat well once again. from someplace with steel machines that glide through space, a
Lawful Evil: The lawful evil chef might be good to have working for place where people capture lightning in wires and command it to do
a monstrous or evil race. He’s more than willing to toss a slow or the mundane for them. Perhaps she came here through a strange
sloppy cook into the pot with the rest of the meal (perhaps that meal magical gate or perhaps she crashed here in one of those steel ships;
gets fed to the help though). He constantly looks for new dishes regardless, she’s stuck now and she’s trying to make the best of it.
and focuses more on the base of the dish. His employers like food While here she may try to dominate a small region. Many of her
simply because it’s exotic; half-celestial halflings are rare and that skills have become pretty worthless so she wants to develop her sor-
makes them good eating. The lawful evil chef might use his Knowl- cerous powers and has a long-term goal of being able to design her
edge (Nature) skill to figure out which species stand at the brink of own golems. Dayla is already familiar with arcane magic so not much
extinction and pick out the last remaining few of the creatures for a surprises her but new and unusual spells can hold her interest.
single great banquet, knowing that his employers will savor the taste Sorcerer Spells (per day/known):
all the more when they realize they’ve brought about the end of a Level 0 (6/5): Flare; Read Magic; Detect Magic; Repair Minor
species. You could hang a scenario around this where the players at- Damage
tempt to prevent the destruction of a species by either stopping the Level 1 (6/2): Charm Person; Repair Light Damage
hunters from getting at the prey or rescuing the creatures from the Technomancer Spells:
pantry of the lawful evil chef. Level 1 (4): Cause Light Damage; Detect Secret Doors; Endure
DAYLA KARMYKOS Elements; Endure Radiation; Identify; Mage Armor (x1); Rein-
Medium-size Humanoid force (x1); Repair Light Damage; True Strike (x2)
Human Mechanist 4/Sorcerer 2/Technomancer 10 Level 2 (3): Continual Flame; Electric Scry; Instant Reboot; Magic
Hit Dice: 14d6+2d4 (57 hp) Bullets; Power Down; Refuel (x3)
Initiative: +2 (+2 Dex) Level 3 (3): Detect Surveillance; Protection from Elements (x1);
Speed: 30 ft. Protection from Radiation; Repair Serious Damage (x2)
AC: 20 (+2 Dex, +6 flight suit, +2 deflection) Level 4 (2): Cause Critical Damage; Fire Trap; Minor Creation
Attacks: dagger +8/+3 melee (1d4, 19+/x2); assault blaster +13/ (x1); Repair Critical Damage (x1)
+8 ranged (4d10+2); or laser pistol +12/+7 ranged (2d10+2) Since meld with construct plays such a central role in Dayla’s fighting
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft. style I’ve included stats for her melded with an iron golem. I’ve also
Special Qualities: Jury-rig; guerilla repair; minor upgrade; favored included the effects of her enhance construct ability that she’ll use on
tech +1 (Robots); sabotage; arcane tools; energy flux (3/day); the golem whenever needed.
confuse construct (3/day); enhance construct (2/day); dominate
machine (1/day); meld with construct (1/day) DAYLA AS IRON GOLEM
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +14 Large Construct
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 20, Wis 11, Cha 19 Hit Dice: 8d10+13d6+2d4 (44+51 hp)
Skills: Concentration +14, Craft (Gunsmith) +23, Craft (Electron- Initiative: +1 (Dex)
ics) +23, Craft (Robotics)+23, Disable Device +22, Knowledge Speed: 20 ft. (can’t run)
(Physics) +12, Open Lock +9, Pilot +9, Repair +24, Research AC: 32 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +22 natural)
+10, Search +12, Spellcraft +19, Use Device +25, Use Magic Attacks: Slam +21/+16 melee (2d10+13); or assault blaster +12/+7
Device +18 ranged (4d10+2)
Feats: Autofire; Craft Arms and Armor; Gearhead; Martial Weap- Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./10 ft.
on Proficiency (Assault Blaster); Point Blank Shot; Precise Shot; Special Qualities: Construct, magic immunity, damage reduction
Rapid Shot; Scribe Scroll; Technical Proficiency 50/+3, rust vulnerability
Challenge Rating: 14 Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +14
Alignment: Neutral evil Abilities: Str 36, Dex 12, Con -, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 15
Possessions: 1 iron golem, 2 flesh golems, +2 flight suit, +2 ring of Skills: Concentration +14, Craft (Gunsmith) +21, Craft (Electron-
protection, +4 headband of intellect, +4 cloak of charisma, +2 assault ics) +21, Craft (Robotics)+21, Disable Device +20, Knowledge
blaster w/laser sight, +2 laser pistol, 4 minicells, multiscanner, dig- (Physics) +10, Open Lock +8, Pilot +8, Repair +22, Research

d20Zine Page 9
+10, Search +10, Spellcraft +17, Use Device +23, Use Magic to the city for a reason; Druce deals in facts and all his talents exist
Device +16 solely to reveal those facts. Druce works in a large metropolis or area
Challenge Rating: 14 with a significant enough population to support powerful specialists
Alignment: Neutral evil in criminal investigation. Druce avoids fighting; he has help to cover
Possessions: +2 assault blaster w/laser sight that portion of the job. Your players might work with Druce during
COMBAT a scenario and, if you run a city-centered campaign, Druce could
In addition to her spells and other abilities Dayla acquires the fol- become a recurring character or ally. If you have the kind of players
lowing special qualities while melded with her iron golem. If you who spend a lot of time on the wrong side of the law, Druce might
look at her hit dice you’ll see she has split dice and split hit points. end up tracking them. Note that while Druce is pretty weak in a fight
I’ve split her hit points into two groups, a base number for the iron he’s a potent ally; treat friendship with him like a reward. You can
golem body and an additional set for her own skill at avoiding dam- parcel it out over a period of time. At first the players may get some
age. When she takes damage draw it from her hit points first (the of his assistance as part of a scenario. If they do well (he doesn’t care
51 hp); once that’s exhausted the golem body starts taking damage. for sloppiness) he might do small favors for them but he’ll also keep
Note that the mere golem body has significantly less hit points than an eye on them for the local government (if he trusts it). Later on
a regular golem animated by whatever warrior magic powers them. the players may have a scenario where they help him in a personal
She can heal her own hit points with regular cure spells and heal matter and after that he becomes a full ally, willing to stick his neck
the golem’s hit points with her repair spells. Of course this is a very out for his trusted contacts.
unofficial way of handling meld with machine. Psionic Manifestations (24 pp):
Construct: Immune to poison, disease, and similar effects. Not sub- Attack/Defense Modes: Mind Thrust, Psychic Crush, Mind Blast/
ject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or Empty Mind, Thought Shield, Intellect Fortress, Tower of Iron
death from massive damage. Will
Level 0: Detect Psionics; Inkling; My Light; Missive; Telempathic
Magic Immunity (Ex): As an iron golem, Dayla is immune to all Projection
spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural effects, except as follows. Level 1: Object Reading; Conceal Thoughts; Sense Link
Any power with the Mind-affecting descriptor affects her normally. Level 2: Sensitivity To Psychic Impressions; Detect Thoughts
An electricity effect slows her (as the slow spell) for 3 rounds, with Level 3: Remote Viewing
no saving throw. A fire effect breaks any slow effect on Dayla and
cures 1 point of damage for each 3 points of damage it would oth- NIXHAU
erwise deal but it only heals the golem hit points (the base 44 hp). Large Monstrous Humanoid
For example, if hit by a fireball cast by a 5th-level wizard, Dayla gains Yuan-ti Abomination Blackguard 3
back 6 hit points if the damage total is 18. Dayla rolls no saving throw Hit Dice: 9d8+3d10+36 (96 hp)
against fire effects. She takes no damage to her own hit points from Initiative: +1 (Dex)
fire. Speed: 30 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
AC: 29 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +10 natural, +6 bone mail, +3 shield)
Rust Vulnerability (Ex): As an iron golem, Dayla is affected normally
Attacks: Fanged blade +17/+12/+7 melee (1d8+6 and substance,
by rust attacks, such as that of a rust monster or a rusting grasp
19-20/x2); or bite +16 melee (2d6+6 and poison); or composite
spell.
longbow +14/+9/+4 ranged (1d8+3, 20/x3)
DRUCE MAVELLE Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./10 ft.
Medium-size Humanoid Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities; psionics; improved grab; con-
Elven Rogue 2/Psion (Seer) 6 strict 1d6+6
Hit Dice: 2d6+6d4 (25 hp) Special Qualities: SR 16; human arms; detect good; poison use;
Initiative: +1 (Dex) dark blessing; smite good (1/day +4/+3); command undead;
Speed: 30 ft. aura of despair
AC: 11 (+1 Dex) Saves: Fort +15, Ref +12, Will +15
Attacks: club +5 melee (1d6) Abilities: Str 19, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 18
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft. Skills: Concentration +14, Knowledge (Poisons) +9, Knowledge
Special Qualities: Elven traits; psicrystal (meticulous) (Religion) +12, Hide +5 (+9)*, Intimidate +16, Listen +13, Spot
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +8 +13
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 15 Feats: Blind-fight, Cleave, Expertise, Great Fortitude, Power At-
Skills: Bluff +6, Decipher Script +6, Diplomacy +6, Gather Infor- tack, Sunder
mation +13, Knowledge (Arcana) +6, Listen +14, Open Lock Challenge Rating: 11
+5, Psicraft +6, Remote View +12, Search +27, Sense Motive +14, Alignment: Chaotic evil
Spot +28 Possessions: +1 substance laced fanged blade; +1 bone mail w/bone
Feats: Alertness; Psychoanalyst; Psychic Inquisitor armor spikes; +1 large steel shield; +2 cloak of charisma; masterwork
Challenge Rating: 8 might composite bow (+3); 20 masterwork arrows; 1 dose
Alignment: Lawful good purple worm poison; 3 doses giant wasp poison; 2 doses shadow
Possessions: +2 Cloak of charisma, third eye (aware), masterwork essence; 2 doses blue whinnis; 1 haste potion; 1 cure moderate
club, investigation kit, masterwork thieves tools wounds potion; 2 cure light wounds potions
Description: “Proper investigation requires a mixture of the cere- Description: “I sometimes have this dream where I have enough
bral and the supernatural, the intellect and the intuition. You must poison to fill the oceans. All of them.” Nixhau wields a jagged blade
believe; you must have instinct. But you must run those untamed dripping with venom and covers his green, violet, and black scaled
thoughts through the engine of analysis.” hide with armor forged from the bones of his victims. He likes work-
You can picture Druce as a combination of Hercule Poirot and ing for others, so long as they value him and provide ample opportu-
new-age mystic/conspiracy nut. Perhaps if he had been born a hu- nity for carnage. Occasionally Nixhau goes on lone hunting raids to
man the analytic side would have taken over completely; but, despite acquire unusual poisons; this might give the players an opportunity
a move to the big city, Druce’s elven side remains. Still, he moved to face him alone. Otherwise they’ll likely face him in the employ of

d20Zine Page 10
some evil magician or priest. He has an obsessive fondness for poi- Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day-animal trance, cause fear, deeper dark-
sons and will occasionally taste a poison just to test it. In combat he ness, entangle, neutralize poison, suggestion, and polymorph other.
may drop a deeper darkness in the area then fight at an advantage These abilities are as the spells cast by an 8th-level sorcerer (save DC
using his blind-fight feat. Nixhau weighs in pretty tough for a chal- 14 + spell level).
lenge rating 11 opponent; he’d likely match up evenly with a 12th Psionics (Sp): Nixhau can produce the following effects at will:
level iconic fighter just going toe to toe and that’s ignoring Nixhau’s • Detect Poison: As the spell cast by a 6th-level sorcerer.
special abilities and poisons. But he’s a major henchman and thus • Alternate Form: Nixhau can assume the form of a Tiny to Large
might deserve it. viper. This ability is similar to a shapchange spell cast by a 19th-
COMBAT level sorcerer but allows only viper forms. Nixhau uses his own
The Fanged Blade: A fanged blade is a martial, sword-like weapon or the viper’s poison, whichever is more potent.
constructed from steelwood. Substance lacing allows it to store 12 • Chameleon Power: Nixhau can change the coloration of him-
doses of a fluid and the wielder can command the blade to release self and his equipment to match his surroundings. *This grants
the substance with a strike (or drink a potion from the weapon as for a +8 circumstance bonus to Hide checks.
drinking a normal potion). One nice thing about being a yuan-ti is • Produce Acid: Nixhau can exude acid from his body, dealing
that you have easy access to a fairly potent poison. Nixhau typically 1d6 points of damage to anything he touches. The acid be-
keeps a couple compartments filled with his own poison at any time comes inert when it leaves Nixhau’s body.
but likes to vary his poison use. He’s a gourmet after all. His current • Aversion: Nixhau creates a compulsion effect targeting one
compartment allocation is as follows: creature within 30 feet. The subject must succeed at a Will save
1. Purple Worm Poison (DC 24, 1d6 Str/1d6 Str) (DC 18) or gain an aversion to snakes for 10 minutes. Affected
2. Giant wasp poison (DC 18, 1d6 Dex/1d6 Dex) subjects must stay at least 20 feet from any snake or yuan-ti, alive
3. Giant wasp poison (DC 18, 1d6 Dex/1d6 Dex) or dead; if already within 20 feet, they move away. A subject can
4. Shadow essence (DC 17, 1 perm. Str/2d6 Str) overcome the compulsion by succeeding at another DC 18 Will
5. Shadow essence (DC 17, 1 perm. Str/2d6 Str) save, but still suffers deep anxiety. This causes a -4 reduction to
6. Blue whinnis (DC 14, 1 Con/Unconsciousness) Dexterity until the effect wears off or the subject is no longer
7. Blue whinnis (DC 14, 1 Con/Unconsciousness) within 20 feet of a snake or yuan-ti. This ability is otherwise simi-
8. Yuan-ti poison (DC 17, 1d6 Con/1d6 Con) lar to antipathy as cast by a 16th-level sorcerer.
9. Yuan-ti poison (DC 17, 1d6 Con/1d6 Con) Poison (Ex): Bite, Fortitude save (DC 17); initial and secondary
10. Cure light wounds potion damage 1d6 temporary Constitution.
11. Cure moderate wounds potion
12. Haste potion Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, Nixhau must hit with his
bite attack. If he gets a hold, he can constrict.
Given Nixhau’s poison use talent, when he activates a compartment
the poison flows down along the length of the blade and remains in Constrict (Ex): Nixhau deals 1d6+6 points of damage with a success-
place until the first successful attack, as if Nixhau applied the poison ful grapple check against Large or smaller creatures.
by hand; this takes a move equivalent action. Allow any character *OGL Notes
with the poison use special ability to use the fanged blade like this.
You can read more about the fanged blade and bone armor in Substance laced fanged blade and bone mail w/bone armor spikes
the original source material (the 3rd book cited in section 15 of the come from Arms and Armor (item 3 in section 15 of the OGL).
OGL in the legal appendix). Most of Dayla Karmykos’s classes and equipment come from Drag-
onstar: Starfarer’s Handbook (item 6 in section 15 of the OGL). 
Blackguard Spells: 1st- cure light wounds (x2); 2nd- bull’s strength
(x1)

d20Zine Page 11
Are Your World’s Races
Just Humans With Different
Bumps On Their Foreheads?
By Johnn Four
johnn@roleplayingtips.com
http://www.roleplayingtips.com

I
’m not privy to the big story arc of the Star Trek® universe, if You have an opportunity to twist these assumptions in your game
there is one, but it seems weird to me that most of the aliens and give your aliens and races strange moralities. The kender in
in those series seem to be simply humans with different bump Dragonlance®, for example, were unique in part because of their
configurations on their foreheads. strange ideas of ownership and theft. Ownership is considered a
I’m definitely not the first to spot this, and I’m not out to slam temporary thing at best in the kender world, and guests frequently
Star Trek, but I think we can take a warning from this apparent left with the silverware, dishes, and even a piece of furniture. Theft
deficiency to ensure that the different races in our own campaigns like this wasn’t considered a crime, a fact that greatly irked the other
do stand out and seem unique. If our elves, yuan-ti, and aliens don’t races in the land who had to interact with these people and fre-
seem special, don’t lend a sense of wonderment or mystery to our quently found their pockets empty afterwards.
games, then they’re really just a bunch of humans with extra abilities So, consider your races’ views on:
and stat bonuses. • Ownership, private property, theft
Here are a few tips and options to get you started down the road • Violence
of making your races special again: • Relationships, the sexes
1) Retrench, Redesign, Reintroduce • Truth, honor
Rule that, for at least the time being, PCs can only be human. This • Wealth, commerce, negotiation, contracts
will give you time to retrench, redesign, and reintroduce the non- • Justice, vengeance
human races later on in your game. Once you set the terms for what • The weak, the young, the old
makes races and aliens unique and different from people, the play- • Being industrious, taking the initiative, having ambition
ers will know how to role-play their non-human PCs better. • The use of leisure time
2) Rarity Breeds “Specialness” 5) Reserve Feats and Skills
If the races in your campaigns are found on every street corner, Use game mechanics to support the differences between your races.
maybe they *should• all seem alike due to their constant con- Just because the Feats and Skills are listed in the rulebook doesn’t
tact and interaction with each other. mean the PCs should have 100% access to them.
If this isn’t the case, then shut your races away in your game world Feel free to reserve some feats and skills for the various aliens,
and bring them out only on rainy days. If two dozen sessions go by races, and cultures in your world. This is a great way to create dif-
without the PCs seeing an elf, then that fact alone should help bring ferentiation and nice future plot hooks as well.
the mystery back. Further enhance this technique by creating a little background
3) Use Contrast when Designing and by considering the consequences and effects for each exclusive
This is a great technique for highlighting differences. Take what feat and skill.
exists in one race, for areas such as customs, laws, trade, and appear- For example, if you rule that Great Fortitude can only be taken by
ance, and create the opposite in another race. These contrasting dwarves, then you might decide to name all the dwarven clans based
differences will give your campaigns a feeling of diversity, and make on synonyms of the word fortitude:
your races clearly distinct. • Clan Resolute
For example, are the humans in your game mercantile? Then • Clan Valour
make the Spider People a barter-based race who trade only in favors • Clan Mettle
and who honor deals for generations. The favors themselves can be • Clan Dauntless
tendered, and spider folk sometimes find themselves in debt to their • Clan DieKraft [based on German translation of fortitude]
enemies as their favors get traded around. The rich are those who • Clan DieStarke [German]
accumulate uncollected favors and are thus owed by many. • Clan Sterk [Afrikaans translation]
There are many other consequences of such a social system, but Also, you might decide that the Great Fortitude feat is gained not
the final touch would be to change the word “favor” to something by genetics, by only through a special period of intense training
exotic or strange to role-play with, such as an “indulgence” or “cha- and conditioning that members of other races have tried and not
tra”. survived from.
4) Create a Contrasting Morality Making your races feel unique, special, and alien is a process that
Morality is another word for conduct, and it’s another example of doesn’t happen overnight. Unless your players are new to the game,
using contrast to make your races feel special, but one that deserves in which case they are in the enviable position of having just about
its own bullet. Your players show up to each session with a pretty everything feel new and wondrous, then put in a little extra design
good idea of modern morality, and what’s right and wrong, and what work so that all the beings in your game won’t come off feeling like
happens to those who are caught being amoral. they’re human with different bumps on their foreheads. 

d20Zine Page 12
Counterspelling Revisited
By Brian Olsen

C
ounterspelling is an intriguing option for spell casters in the 1) You could make an attack of opportunity at this time.
d20 system. But when is the last time you played a d20 game 2) You have not already cast a spell as a free action this round.
in which this option was used? The problem with the exist- 3) The target spell caster is within Medium range (100 ft + 10 ft /
ing d20 rules for counterspells is that it is seldom an effective use your caster level).
of your spell caster’s abilities to use a useful spell to counter your 4) You are not actively casting a spell.
opponent’s spells. This article will offer a slight modification of the 5) You are able to cast a spell (i.e. you have one hand free and/or
existing d20 rules in an attempt to make counterspelling a more use- the necessary spell components in hand to cast whichever spell
ful option without making it unbalancing. you may use to counterspell).
The Problem: Counterspelling is a poor option. At best, you are Process:
exchanging one of your own spells for one of your opponent’s. This • First you must make a spellcraft check (DC = 15 + spell level) to
does not bring you any closer to victory, unless you are in a situation identify the spell being cast. If a spell is unknown to you (i.e., it
where you have an inherent advantage over your opponent (i.e., you is a new spell of which you have never heard), then this check
have allies who can attack your opponent, or you are under the ef- may still reveal certain information that is useful to counter-
fects of a haste spell and they are not, or you have more spells than spelling. If you beat the DC, you learn whether the spell is an
your opponent or can afford to wait). In most situations, it is wiser to arcane or divine spell, and the spell level. If you beat the DC by
use your spells for their full effect rather than using them simply to 5 or more, you learn the school of the spell and the general ef-
counterspell your opponent. For example, it is nearly always better fect (but not the specific parameters) of the spell.
to cast a fireball at your opponent than it is to use your fireball to • Armed with this knowledge, you can attempt to counter the
counter your opponent’s fireball. As a result, players seldom choose spell. There are several ways to do this.
to attempt a counterspell, and an important and evocative concept • Use the same or opposite spell. As in the standard d20 rules,
in magic is lost through lack of use. some spells automatically counter others, and any spell can be
To be fair, there are situations in which counterspelling is a good used to counter the same spell. Success is automatic (assuming
option, even if you must ready an action to do it. When your op- you choose the correct spell, and are within range to use it) and
ponent is higher level than you, or is casting spells that have been casting the spell as a counterspell is a free action.
modified by Metamagic feats, then counterspelling is a good option. • Use dispel magic. This use allows you to cast this spell as a free
Your 5d6 fireball is much more effective if used to counter a 10d6 action (for this purpose only, dispel magic can be cast as a free
fireball than it would have been to harm your enemies. Similarly, a action, and counts against your normal limit of one quickened
single magic missile can counter a maximized, empowered magic spell per round). Of course, you must make a dispel check (DC
missile, and is an excellent use of that spell. You may also be faced 11 + target spell’s caster level, as described in the spell descrip-
with an opponent who is casting spells that are no benefit for you, tion of dispel magic) to succeed.
so you can use your spells to counter them. For example, you may • Use one of the new counterspells described below.
be fighting a lich who is using harm to weaken your fighters or heal
his undead allies. Your prepared harm spell will not hurt the undead New Counterspells
you face, but it can be used effectively to counter your opponent’s Ozmar’s Lesser Counterspell
spell (assuming you are within range to touch the lich as he casts his Abjuration
spell). You may be facing opponents who use spells that are amaz- Level: Sor/Wiz 3
ingly beneficial to them, and you may wish to prevent them from Components: V, S
ever being cast. You may be facing demons who use darkness to Casting Time: See text
cripple your entire party, or your opponent might be known to use Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
teleport to escape at the last moment. In such cases, counterspelling Target: One spell
is a good choice, even though it essentially locks down the party’s Duration: Instantaneous
wizard in a continuous ready action until his allies can deal with the Saving Throw: None
opponent. Spell Resistance: No
Counterspelling is only a good tactical choice when you have an Roll 1d4+1 to determine the number of spell levels affected by this
inherent advantage over your opponents, such as when you outnum- spell. If the spell level of the target spell is less than or equal to the
ber them. If your wizard can afford to spend his actions countering number of spell levels countered, then the target spell is automati-
the enemy while your fighters attack them, then it can be a good cally negated with no effect. The caster of the target spell loses the
choice. However, this is seldom the case. spell as though he had cast it, but the spell has no effect. This acts ex-
Players who recognize that it is typically a poor tactical choice actly as though dispel magic had been used to successfully counter
seldom use counterspelling. This is a missed opportunity in a game the spell. If the target spell level is greater than the number rolled,
in which counterspells and counterspelling could be an integral and then this spell fails with no effect. This can only be used to counter
flavorful component of magic. The following recommendation may spells as they are being cast, and has no effect on existing spells or
be used by gamemasters who wish to provide for a more common magical effects. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance,
use of the counterspell action. quickly enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a
The Solution: Make the counterspell action a free action that can free action, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the
be taken in response to certain actions. In this way, counterspelling normal limit of one quickened spell per round.
would work very much like an attack of opportunity, but with some Ozmar’s Counterspell
important differences. When your character perceives someone Abjuration
attempting to cast a spell, you may take a free action to attempt a Level: Sor/Wiz 5
counterspell if you meet five requirements:
d20Zine Page 13
Components: V, S to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a free action, like
Casting Time: See text casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the normal limit of
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) one quickened spell per round.
Target: One spell Material Component: A silver mirror.
Duration: Instantaneous Power Siphon
Saving Throw: None Abjuration
Spell Resistance: No Level: Sor/Wiz 5
Roll 1d4+3 to determine the number of spell levels affected by this Components: V, S
spell. If the spell level of the target spell is less than or equal to the Casting Time: See text
number of spell levels countered, then the target spell is automati- Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
cally negated with no effect. The caster of the target spell loses the Target: One spell
spell as though he had cast it, but the spell has no effect. This acts ex- Duration: Instantaneous
actly as though dispel magic had been used to successfully counter Saving Throw: Will partial
the spell. If the target spell level is greater than the number rolled, Spell Resistance: Yes
then this spell fails with no effect. This can only be used to counter This spell acts like Ozmar’s lesser counterspell except that it has a
spells as they are being cast, and has no effect on existing spells or secondary effect. If the caster of the countered spell fails a Will save,
magical effects. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance, then you gain spell energy from his countered spell. You gain a num-
quickly enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a ber of “spell levels” equal to the level of the countered spell, which
free action, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the you can then use to cast any spell you have prepared (or know, if
normal limit of one quickened spell per round. you are bard or sorcerer). Spells cast with stolen spell levels do not
Ozmar’s Greater Counterspell count against your daily limit. These spell levels fade if not used after
Abjuration 10 minutes. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance, quickly
Level: Sor/Wiz 7 enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a free ac-
Components: V, S tion, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the normal
Casting Time: See text limit of one quickened spell per round.
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Painful Distraction
Target: One spell Evocation [Force]
Duration: Instantaneous Level: Sor/Wiz 4
Saving Throw: None Components: V, S
Spell Resistance: No Casting Time: See text
Roll 1d4+5 to determine the number of spell levels affected by this Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
spell. If the spell level of the target spell is less than or equal to the Target: One living target
number of spell levels countered, then the target spell is automati- Duration: Instantaneous
cally negated with no effect. The caster of the target spell loses the Saving Throw: Will negates
spell as though he had cast it, but the spell has no effect. This acts ex- Spell Resistance: Yes
actly as though dispel magic had been used to successfully counter You attempt to disrupt your opponent’s concentration by causing
the spell. If the target spell level is greater than the number rolled, some pain. If the target fails his Will save, he takes 1d4 points of
then this spell fails with no effect. This can only be used to counter subdual damage for each level of any spell he is attempting to cast
spells as they are being cast, and has no effect on existing spells or (if he is not casting a spell, or is casting a 0-level spell, then he only
magical effects. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance, takes 1d4 subdual damage). If he takes damage, this forces him to
quickly enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a make a concentration check (DC = 10 + damage taken + spell level)
free action, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the to continue to cast his spell. You can cast this spell with an instant
normal limit of one quickened spell per round. utterance, quickly enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting
Redirection this spell is a free action, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts
Abjuration toward the normal limit of one quickened spell per round.
Level: Sor/Wiz 6 Explosive Counterspell
Components: V, S, M Evocation
Casting Time: See text Level: Sor/Wiz 4
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Components: V, S
Target: One spell Casting Time: See text
Duration: Instantaneous Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Saving Throw: None Target: One spell
Spell Resistance: No Duration: Instantaneous
You alter the parameters of one target by choosing a new target Saving Throw: None
or targets. Your choice of target must be legal - all targets must be Spell Resistance: No
within the range of the spell and within the range of your redirec- You and the caster of the target spell must make an opposed Spell-
tion spell. All targets must be within line of sight of both you and the craft check. If you tie or beat your opponent’s check, his spell is
target spell’s caster. You can choose to redirect a touch-range spell to countered in a bright flash of energy, and he takes 1d4 damage /
its caster or to anyone that he is touching. If you choose the caster, spell level of his countered spell. If you fail to beat your opponent’s
then the spell takes effect as if he had touched himself with the spell. check, then this spell is countered, and you take 2d4 damage. You
The altered spell immediately takes effect as though the original can cast this spell with an instant utterance, quickly enough to use
caster had chosen the targets you have selected. You can use this in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a free action, like cast-
spell to alter the point of origin of the affected spell, so long as the ing a quickened spell, and it counts toward the normal limit of one
new point of origin is legal. For example, you could alter a fireball quickened spell per round.
to detonate somewhere away from your party, or even at the caster’s
feet. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance, quickly enough Ozmar’s Suspicious Delay

d20Zine Page 14
Abjuration Duration: Instantaneous
Level: Sor/Wiz 5 Saving Throw: Will negates or none (object)
Components: V, S Spell Resistance: Yes or no (object)
Casting Time: See text This spell is identical to the silence spell, except in the following
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) ways: the casting time is shorter, the range is only Medium, there is
Target: One spell no verbal component, and the duration is instantaneous. This spell
Duration: Instantaneous is typically used as part of a counterspell action, and is targeted so
Saving Throw: None that the enemy spell caster is within the radius of the emanation.
Spell Resistance: No This has the effect of automatically disrupting any spell with a verbal
You alter the target spell, delaying the moment of its effect for 1d4 component. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance, quickly
rounds. All effects of the spell remain the same; the target, origin, enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a free ac-
duration, etc. are all unchanged. The spell simply delays 1d4 rounds tion, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the normal
before taking effect. When the spell takes effect, it takes effect ex- limit of one quickened spell per round.
actly as if the original caster had cast it from his new (current) posi-
tion. If the target was the caster, then the spell will take effect on the Counterspelling Feats
caster normally. If the target was someone else, the spell will affect Counterspell Reflexes [General]
that target if they are still within range of the spell, otherwise the You can respond quickly and repeatedly to opponents who cast
spell fails without effect. You do not know exactly how many rounds spells in combat.
the spell is delayed. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance, Prerequisites: Combat Reflexes
quickly enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a Benefits: You can make a number of additional counterspell at-
free action, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the tempts each round equal to your Intelligence modifier. For ex-
normal limit of one quickened spell per round. ample, if you have an Intelligence of 15, then you can make up
Reduce Spell to 3 counterspell attempts each round - the one normal coun-
Abjuration terspell, plus an additional 2 for your +2 Intelligence modifier.
Level: Sor/Wiz 5 You may also cast multiple quickened spells each round if (and
Components: V, S only if) they are cast as part of a counterspell attempt (but still
Casting Time: See text no more than one spell per counterspell attempt).
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Normal: You can only cast one spell as a free action per round.
Target: One spell Special: Each counterspell attempt also counts as one attack of
Duration: Instantaneous opportunity for that round.
Saving Throw: None Overwhelming Counterspell [General]
Spell Resistance: No You overcome uncertainty with raw, magical power. You have
You alter the target spell in the following way: the caster level for learned how to overwhelm your opponents’ spells with excessive
the affected spell is reduced to the minimum required caster level. magical force.
The spell is still cast successfully, but it takes effect as though the Prerequisites: Improved Counterspell, Spell Focus
caster were the minimum level necessary to cast it, instead of his Benefit: When counterspelling, instead of using the exact spell
actual level. For example, if you cast this spell on a fireball cast by you are trying to counter, you may use any spell that is three or
a 10th level wizard, it would take effect as though cast by a 5th level more levels higher than the target spell.
caster (the minimum caster level necessary to cast a fireball). Thus
Counterspell Mastery [General]
the fireball would deal 5d6 damage instead of 10d6, its maximum
Your reflexes and quick mind can be used to attempt to block an
range would be reduced, and any caster level check made to over-
opponent’s attempt to counter your spells.
come spell resistance would only receive a +5 bonus. Use the caster’s
Prerequisites: Counterspell Reflexes, Combat Reflexes, Combat
class to determine the minimum level at which a spell can be cast.
Casting
For example, if the above fireball were cast by a 10th level sorcerer,
Benefit: When someone attempts to counter a spell you are cast-
then it would deal 6d6 damage, since a sorcerer must be at least 6th
ing, you may make a concentration check (DC = 15 + spell
level to cast fireball. You can cast this spell with an instant utterance,
level). If successful, you may make a counterspell attempt to
quickly enough to use in a counterspell action. Casting this spell is a
block your opponent’s attempt to counter your spell. Proceed
free action, like casting a quickened spell, and it counts toward the
with the attempt as normal, and treat your opponent’s counter-
normal limit of one quickened spell per round.
spell as a spell he is attempting to cast. If you succeed in your
Silence Burst counterspell attempt, then you may continue to cast your spell
Abjuration uninterrupted.
Level: Sor/Wiz 2 Normal: You may not attempt to counter another caster’s attempt
Components: S to counterspell your own spells.
Casting Time: See text Special: This counterspell counts as one of your counterspell at-
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) tempts (and attacks of opportunity) for the round, and can only
Target: 15-ft.-radius emanation centered on a creature, object, or be taken if you are still able to take counterspells and attacks of
point in space opportunity this round. 

d20Zine Page 15
Making Monsters
By Mark L. Chance.

M
aking a new monster for the d20 System isn’t all that hard. bonus to Listen and Spot, and a +8 racial bonus to Wilderness Lore
The goal is to catch your players off guard, to make them when tracking by Scent.
sit up and take notice that your fantasy world isn’t limited
to the core rules. The goal is not, however, to come up with some- Step 4: Challenge Rating
thing completely original. There are no original ideas, but there are Here’s the touchy one. A Medium-size shark is CR 1. My shark,
countless variations on the theme. Follow along on a trip through however, can fly and breathe fire. I increase its CR by 1 for each
my mind as I create a new monster. special additional ability. Thus, this new creature is CR 3. If there is
an exact formula for determining CR, it hasn’t been published yet.
Step 1: Develop a Concept For more comprehensive CR guidelines, check out Skip Williams’s
Here are a few questions to consider: What sort of monster do I article about how to create monsters, originally published in issue
need? What is its role in the world? Is it predator or prey? Magi- #276 of a certain game company’s magazine.
cal or mundane? Which core rules monster does it somewhat re-
semble? Step 5: The Finishing Touches
I need a fast, effective predator. It needs to be domesticable, for I Finally, I come up with a name and type the creature’s entry for my
want it to serve as a lair guard for my boss monster, a drow slave lord. monster binder:
Now, when considering fast, effective predators, one of the most
exemplary is the shark. Thus, the shark becomes my base creature.
Rashk
Medium-size Magical Beast (Fire)
Since the boss monster is not aquatic, however, neither is my new
Hit Dice: 3d10+3 (20 hp)
beast. A non-aquatic shark-like predator sounds more magical than
Initiative: +6 (Dex, Improved Initiative)
mundane, so magical it will be.
Speed: Fly 60 ft. (good)
Step 2: Build on the Base AC: 15 (+2 Dex, +3 natural)
Next, I need to work from the shark entry in core rulebook III. I’ll Attacks: Bite +4 melee
just start at the top and work my way down, changing and adding as Damage: Bite 1d6+1 melee
I go. Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
First, my monster is not an Animal. Its type changes to Magical Special Attacks: Breath weapon
Beast. I’ll set the size at Medium since I want it to be able to move Special Qualities: Scent, fire subtype
well in the lair. Since I’ve changed its type, I’ve changed several Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2
other things as well. First, Hit Dice become d10 instead of d8. Its Abilities: Str 13, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 2
attack bonus is now based on fighter rather than cleric. Good saving Skills: Listen +3, Spot +3, Move Silently +7, Wilderness Lore +1
throws become Fortitude and Reflex instead of Fortitude or Reflex. Feats: Improved Initiative
Its skill points increase to 2 x Int score +1 per extra Hit Die, and it Climate/Terrain: Any underground
has 1 + Int bonus feats (+1 per 4 extra Hit Dice). Finally, all Magical Organization: Solitary, school (2-5), or pack (6-11)
Beasts have darkvision 60 feet. In case you’re wondering where all Challenge Rating: 3
this info came from, check out page 13 of core rulebook III. Treasure: None
The next thing I notice that needs to change is the beast’s speed. Alignment: Always neutral
A non-aquatic shark does not swim, and it doesn’t have legs. So, Advancement: 4-6 HD (Medium-size)
let’s say its speed is fly 60 feet with good maneuverability. Its attacks, The rashk is a subterranean magical beast with a strong physical re-
damage, and special qualities look fine, but I’ll want to add to the semblance to a shark. It is an aggressive hunter, and these creatures
latter. Since size didn’t change, neither does face/reach. are often domesticated by underground races such as the drow.
I’d like to add a special attack, but I don’t want to get too carried Rashks are about 5 feet long and weigh about 150 pounds. Their
away. This is only a guard beast, after all. So far, I have a flying, sleek, shark-like bodies are covered with smooth, tough flesh. Col-
air-breathing shark. That’s pretty odd. Well, odd is as odd does, so oration ranges the earth tones, with skin growing lighter toward the
why not get exotic? I include a breath weapon, patterned after the underside. Their round eyes are bright red, and tongues of flame
hellhound’s and add the Fire subtype to my creation. lick between their fangs.
COMBAT
Step 3: Ability Scores, Skills, and Feats Rashks ordinarily hunt in groups. They surround prey quietly, then
The shark’s ability scores look fine except for Intelligence. My beast attack one or two at a time, trying to drive the prey toward the wait-
needs to be smart enough to be trained. I up its Intelligence to 4 ing jaws of the rest of the pack.
and leave the rest the same. Its ability scores are Str 13, Dex 15, Con
13, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 2. Breath Weapon (Su): Cone of fire, 30 feet, every 2d4 rounds; dam-
Skills and feats must change. A 3d10 HD magical beast with Int 4 age 1d4+1, Reflex half DC 13. The fiery breath also ignites any
has 10 skill points and 1 feat. I never reduce a creature’s skill points flammable materials within the cone. Rashks can use their breath
or feats due to low Intelligence. A guard animal needs Listen and weapons while biting.
Spot. Since this one has Scent, let’s add Wilderness Lore. Finally, Fire Subtype (Ex): Fire immunity, double damage from cold except
with its magical flight, it can Move Silently. I distribute the points on a successful save.
for the following result: Listen +2, Spot +2, Move Silently +5, and
Wilderness Lore +1. Since I want it to be fast, I choose Improved Skills: Rashks have a +4 racial bonus to Listen and Spot, and a +8
Initiative for its feat. racial bonus to Wilderness Lore when tracking by Scent.
Its skill totals are still rather low, but there’s no rule against a
monster having racial bonuses to skills. My creature has a +4 racial

d20Zine Page 16
Making Monsters Meaner playing potential by introducing the possibility of character-monster
negotiations.
Tip 1. Check That Treasure
Tip 5. He Who Runs Away....
Look at your monster’s treasure. What is there that the monster
If the battle can’t be won, don’t fight it. Do the characters pitch
could use against the characters? This is especially important when
themselves suicidally into the fray, or do they find some way to
running published scenarios which often fail to give proper consid-
retreat, recover, and return? Why can’t monsters do the same? If
eration this very question. For example, why would the orc leader
some degree of realism is to be attained, monsters cannot be treated
leave two healing potions locked in chest rather than carry them
merely as a collection of statistics pertaining to combat. The basic
on his person, especially if he is expecting trouble? If an item of
options when presented with danger are fight or flight, and the mob
treasure is something that a character would insist on carrying and
of monsters willing to die for the cause is an over-used cliche’. By
using, then the sensible monster insists on the same. Depending
way of example, a few times I’ve run for different groups of players
on the nature of the item, it also encourages characters to vary their
a scenario that involved rescuing a kidnapped minor noble from a
tactics. An enemy wizard who is not afraid to use her wand of magic
pack of wererats. One group in particular failed miserably. They
missiles presents a double-threat. Not only is she using a magic item
waltzed blithely into ambush after ambush, lost a party member, and
against the characters, but she is also using up the charges of the
eventually fled back to town to lick their wounds for two days. Dur-
characters’ potential treasure.
ing that time, the wererats killed the minor noble and left his body
Tip 2. On the Importance of Mental Ability Scores with a sarcastic note explaining how much easier it would have been
How intelligent, wise, and charismatic is your monster? Consider to just pay the ransom, and then they packed up all their treasure
one of the most over abused character tactics: two fighters block and fled the province. The characters got nothing for their trouble
the door in order to “force” the mob of monsters into a bottleneck except scars and an opportunity to attend a comrade’s funeral.
where they can be dealt with a few at a time. Exactly how stupid
Tip 6. Home Field Advantage
would a mob of monsters have to be to cooperate with this set-up?
Considering all of the above, now consider how long your monster
There is nothing in the rulebooks that says monsters must actively
has had to make its lair livable and defensible. Are all the entrances
cooperate in their own destruction. Even some animals, such as
covered? Are there planned escape routes? An alarm system (even
wolves, display a startling degree of organization and intelligence
if nothing more than yelling really loudly)? The more intelligent
when hunting. The next time the characters face a reasonably in-
the monster, the more sophisticated can be the preparations.
telligent foe or group of foes, turn the tables on them. Have the
Simple things like barricades not only slow down invaders but also
monsters retreat, regroup, and refuse to be lured into anything but
provide cover for defenders. Of course, barricades can be turned
a truly clever set-up.
into cover for invaders should the defending line fail, so smart mon-
Tip 3. Best Defense = Good Offense sters have plans to oust unwanted company from such positions.
A defensive battle is a losing battle. Any monster who locks itself For example, if the lair has more than one story, defenders can
in its lair and just waits for the characters to act is a monster that drop flaming oil, scorpions, acid, or other unpleasant things onto
will eventually die. Put the characters on the defensive by putting invaders. Also do not under estimate the humble pit trap. If the
the monsters on the offensive. This is especially important if the pit trap has can be locked shut, monsters can travel over it freely.
characters have only penetrated so far into a lair and then retreated When forced to retreat, the pit can be unlocked in order to set up
to recover hit points, spells, et cetera. Would the monsters not give a defensive weapon against invaders. The same idea can be applied
chase? Engage in harassment attacks? Set up ambushes for when to a myriad of traps.
the characters return? Do the monsters have spellcasters in their
midst? If so, examine their current selection of spells and then Summary
make appropriate changes. For example, a goblin wizard would be A monster is a role. Prepare for your part, but do not consider
a fool to keep sleep readied if he is facing a party of elves. things from your perspective. It is like those annoying essay ques-
tions literature teachers like to ask. You know the type. You’re read-
Tip 4. Goal-Setting ing, say, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and the teacher tells
What are your monster’s primary goals? Command and conquer? you something like this: “You are George. Explain why you killed
Defend the homefront? Loot and pillage? Answer this question as Lennie.” The monster is not you; you are the monster. Now, your
precisely as possible and then adjust your monster’s tactics accord- homework is to answer this question: “Adventurers are invading
ingly. Most importantly, if a monster’s goals do not require it to fight your space, and trying to kill you and take your stuff. What are you
to the death, have it avoid fighting to the death (see Tip 5 below). going to do about it?” 
Determining a monster’s goals also determines what it is willing to
sacrifice if those goals are threatened. This increases actual role-

d20Zine Page 17
The Martial Master: An
Alternative Path for the
Standard Monk
By Kevin Ruesch

Along a wind swept dirt road walks a lone traveler. Carrying only a re-attach lost limbs or organs. She cannot regenerate damage sus-
bedroll, a small sack of possessions and the modest clothes on his back, the tained by fire or acid.
monk plods along the road with a straight back and an air of strength Damage Reduction (Su): the Martial Master gains DR: 10/+1.
and confidence about him. Suddenly he stops, his warrior senses picking Ghost Strike (Su): The Martial Master can focus her energy into
up the faintest sound of metal slipping out of a sheath and the quiet creak physical strikes that can affect incorporeal creatures. This is limited
of leather. The landscape is alive with brigands.... an ambush! An im- to one such strike and it is the only attack that can be made that
pressive looking warrior in splint mail armor casually walks out into the round.
middle of the path some 20yds up the road. A longsword at his belt and Fury Attack (Ex): This ability allows the Martial Master to perform
arms confidently crossed over his chest, he calls out to his prey. one attack, at her highest Unarmed Attack Bonus, against every
target within a 5ft. radius. At the completion of this attack, she will
“Ro-shen! You WILL swear fealty to my lord!” The monk’s fists tightening,
always end her turn exactly were she started. This ability can be used
he glares at the warrior. “Never!” And with that, the surrounding thugs only once per day.
scream and rush the unarmed traveler. Ro-shen lets out a quick battle cry
Improved Abundant Step: This ability is the same as above accept
and explodes into a flurry of quick kicks and punches, landing a single,
that the Martial Master can now perform this feat 1 + Charisma
devastating blow on each of his attackers. They in turn fall to the ground, modifier times per day.
defeated. The leader realizes he is out matched and quickly turns to re-
treat. The monk instantly vanishes and appears in front of the surprised Improved Fury Attack: Same as above except that the Martial Master
can now attack foes within a 10ft. radius. 
fighter. With a few lightning fast blows, the leader is quickly subdued.
Standing over the fallen warrior, Ro-shen speaks “Take my answer back
Level AC Unarmed Attack Unarmed Special Abilities
to your lord and master. I will never serve him!” Bonus Bonus Damage

T
he standard monk spends her life training and improving 1 +2 +8/+5/+2 1d12 Abundant Step
on a road towards enlightenment. Striving toward spiritual 2 +3 +9/+6/+3 1d12 Ki Strike (+1),
perfection. However, some monks loose sight of this goal and Regeneration 5
choose an alternative path. One that leads them down the path of
3 +3 +10/+7/+4/+1 1d12 DR 10/+1
the warrior. Leaving behind them the spiritual and embracing the
raw power and might of the ultimate unarmed fighter. This is the 4 +3 +11/+8/+5/+2 1d12 Ki strike (+2),
path of the Martial Master. Ghost Strike-1/rd.
When a standard Monk has gained enough experience points to 5 +3 +12/+9/+6/+3 1d20 Fury Attack
gain her 11th level as a Monk she may make the decision to follow
6 +4 +13/+10/+7/+4 1d20 Improved Abun-
the path of the Martial Master instead. This can only be done at this
dant Step
particular time, when a 10th level Monk can go on to 11th level. The
Monk is still considered 11th level for most purposes, except as is 7 +4 +14/+11/+8/+5 1d20 Ki strike (+4), DR:
noted below. (Example: Ro-shen is a 10th level Monk/ 7th level Mar- 20/+1
tial Master, but for all intents is still considered a 17th level Monk 8 +4 +15/+12/+9/+6 1d20 Improved Fury
single classed.) Attack -1/day
Class Features 9 +4 +16/+13/+10/+7 1d20 Ki strike (+5),
Ghost Strike-2/rd.
Abundant Step (Sp): This is the same as the Monk’s Abundant Step
ability. 10 +5 +17/+14/+11/+8 1d20 Improved Fury
Attack-2/day, DR
Regeneration 5 (Ex): The Martial Master gains the ability to regen- 20/+2
erate in much the same way as a common troll. She can re-grow or

d20Zine Page 18
Deus Ex Machina - the Art
of Saving the Game
By Brain Olsen

Y
ou have prepared for weeks. The party has researched their recovers from the trance. You explain that the cleric had cast
enemy and located his fortress. They’ve spent months of the spell the night before entering the castle, to see what might
game time traveling to the remote location and bypassing the happen. The players should accept this as a reasonable explana-
various perimeter defenses. They finally burst down the magically tion and an alternative to TPK. There should be a reason why
warded gate and face the hideous dragon that guards the doors. The this won’t happen again. Perhaps the deity now considers the
dragon surprises them all and belches forth a cone of red-hot flame. cleric to be indebted, and informs the cleric that he will not
You expected this to be a tough fight, but you never expected the receive such a boon again, so he must be careful in the future.
entire party to fail their saving throws! No one had the foresight to • Their opponent sent them a dream to scare them away from
cast fire resistance. Even the rogue critically failed his save, and by his fortress. In the dream he exaggerated the strength of his
your house rule, that means he takes full damage despite his evasion defenses. You can then scale down the power of the actual resis-
ability. You roll the double-handful of dice, and after counting the tance, allowing you to correct a mistake you made in balancing
numbers; you fearfully ask if anyone survived. the encounter. Of course, their enemy would not show them
The entire party is wiped out after weeks of gaming. Everyone was the true location of his traps, and might even send them false
looking forward to finally confronting the evil arch-wizard, and now information that would lead them into peril. You should scale
you’ve underestimated the power of their opponents, or a failed die down the power of the foe’s defenses, but change the locations
roll at a critical moment has plunged the entire party to their doom. of key traps and add a few more (less lethal) traps in places that
What do you do? You don’t want to end the campaign that you’ve were safe in their dream.
spent weeks preparing, and you don’t want to pull out a deus ex • A dream monster or spell caster sent a horrific dream against
machina that destroys the players’ sense of disbelief or ruins their them. If they die in the dream (which they did) then some-
expectation of danger. You need something (quick) to pull out of thing bad happens to them. This could be unrelated to their
your hat to keep the adventure going, but to the players it has to quest, or the source of their attack might be their enemy. The
appear as though you had this planned all along. How can you save consequences of death in the dream might be minor (a small
the campaign without resorting to an obvious save-game-and-reset curse, the loss of a few learned spells or skills, or even a level) or
button? something that changes the scope of the campaign (they sleep
Here are a few ideas to make the deaths of the entire party seem for a hundred years). This option shows that their deaths had
like it was a planned part of the campaign. If the players sense that negative consequences on the party, but it wasn’t as bad as they
you are pulling their fat out of the fire because you (or they) made thought it was.
a mistake, then they might begin to feel like they have no control • Perhaps the fight was a training scenario for the minions of the
over their characters or the game. They might also begin to believe bad guys. They were fighting dopplegangers or clones of the
that they cannot die, or that if they do, that it is only because you PCs, and the players received a vision or dream about the fight.
decided to let them die. So it is important that you use these ideas The vision might have been sent to them by a powerful ally, or
(as much as possible) to preserve the players’ sense of belief in the perhaps there is a traitor within their enemy’s castle who has
reality of the game world. It is best to have two or three of these sent this dream to help them prepare their assault. Now they
ideas prepared ahead of time against the possibility of TPK (Total know what the bad guys are planning and can better prepare
Party Kill). For example, you might establish early in the campaign their attack. If you use this option, be sure that the players know
a relationship with an extraplanar power that can whisk the party it is something they cannot count on again, and they should
away with a powerful summons moments before they are wiped out eventually learn who sent them the dream and why, so it doesn’t
(to perform a mission for it, of course). That way, when it happens, feel too much like you arbitrarily saved the game.
it won’t seem contrived, it will look like you had it planned from the • Perhaps the PCs’ entire lives were but a dream, one that they
beginning (because you have). In other words, make the party’s sal- are only now (with their “deaths”) awakening from. The true
vation something unique, planned, and something that they cannot nature of reality may yet be undiscovered. This works best if you
rely on happening again. have dropped hints about the true nature of reality throughout
Here are some options to consider: the campaign, and it really changes the nature of the game, so
it might not be a preferable choice if you are trying to keep the
1. It was a dream. game from changing through the characters’ deaths.
• A friendly deity has sent them a vision warning them against a
foolish action or preparing them by showing them the power 2. They are resurrected by...
and tactics of their foes. Now they will be more prepared for the • Their enemy. They are now minions of evil, and must throw off
challenge that awaits them. This works best if the party contains their magical shackles and break free of their enemy’s control.
at least one cleric, or other devout follower of a helpful god. It is This gives you an opportunity to lay out the enemy’s plans, al-
especially appropriate if the god in question is a god of dreams lowing the players to see the larger plot that they may not yet
or visions, or if the cleric could have cast the dream spell ahead have uncovered. You could summarize their years of servitude
of time. After the party is wiped out, you can announce that the until they manage to free themselves or are rescued by another
cleric awakens from his dream spell, and the rest of the party group of heroes. Now that they have inside knowledge of their
foe’s plans (and all the more reason to hate him) their subse-

d20Zine Page 19
quent revenge will be all the sweeter. finally decided to fight for good.
• They were brought back to be interrogated or tortured by their • A group of dopplegangers were observing the fight and imitate
sadistic enemy, and must escape from his dungeon. This allows the heroes, returning to their home city. The dopplegangers
you to proceed naturally from the PCs deaths in a reasonable have different personalities, but are not evil. The PCs could play
manner. For some players, the thought of losing a level (or even the new characters as they try to pretend to be the originals,
their race - the enemy might reincarnate them!) and all of their and still pursue their own goals. Perhaps each player could play
equipment might even be worse then the thought of rolling a different character to represent the doppleganger’s incom-
up a new character! Be sure you are mindful of your players’ plete portrayal of the deceased PC.
desires and then do your worst. 4. They didn’t really die.
• They we?s could acquire the magical bodies of golems, or they • For reasons unknown to the PCs, they continue to live despite
could act as intelligent items and possess their owners. This their wounds and even recover. Perhaps they are actually im-
would allow them to continue their quest, perhaps with even mortals, and cannot be killed by normal means. They are
more strength than before. Of course, once their quest is com- members of a select group of individuals who operate in secret,
pleted, there is the question of how do they restore their old never revealing themselves to other immortals until after their
bodies... first deaths.
• Their valor and heroism has inspired a particular deity to grant • They are actually members of a strange race that lives 2 (or 3, or
them a second chance, but they will die upon completion of 5...) lives in wildly different forms. Each life cycle is separated by
their task. Such a deity should be established early as one that death, during which the individual heals and transforms into a
honors and rewards extreme bravery and valor, and he should new body.
probably also be an enemy of the PCs’ adversary. The players • Through a potent spell (or curse) they find themselves unable
should know that they have one more chance to die with glory to die, continuing to live in their horribly wounded condi-
as heroes, and you could expect that they will seek to go out in tions.
the most heroic method possible, taking their opponent with • They have been infected by a magical parasite or disease that
them at the last. Devious players might also set up emergency transforms their bodies into new forms (lycanthropy?) that are
plans for their resurrection, since they know they will die wheth- strong enough to keep them alive despite their wounds.
er they win or lose. They might hire some other adventurers • They struggle on, with an incredible force of will, keeping
to resurrect them after the battle, or will their most powerful death at bay just long enough to crawl back to town to the pres-
possessions to their heirs (and next characters). Depending ence of a healer.
on your inclinations and the deity who raised them, you might • The mysterious magical items they haven’t yet identified turns
praise their ingenuity or punish their lack of selfless heroism. out to be rings of regeneration, or a similar item that brings
• They are raised as undead by an evil force, but manage to retain them back from the brink of death.
their minds and wills, providing them a means to strike back • What they thought was certain death turns out to be merely
from beyond the grave (but they must constantly fight their evil a powerful illusion. The party might be allowed a will save to
natures). This would allow you to give them each new powers avoid death or unconsciousness, and if the entire party fails this
and weaknesses as undead characters. They would have diffi- save, then they are merely captured by their enemy and must
culty finding allies, and might have to fight or flee their former attempt an escape.
friends before they can defeat their foe or undo their curse.
• They are each reborn (reincarnated) in the bodies of their 5. Suddenly, a rift in the space-time continuum...
descendants (or relatives) centuries later. They retain their • Perhaps the adventure was a foreshadowing of the eventual
memories, and must come together again to complete their death of the heroes. They continue to play their characters,
unfinished quest. but they are playing the adventures they had in the past, before
• Someone (their enemy? or unknown allies?) has secretly made their eventual downfall (a tragedy that the players know about,
clones of the heroes in the past. Upon the characters’ deaths, but the characters do not).
the clones come alive, and promptly begin trying to complete • At some point, the characters became (become) time travel-
their quest. Of course, there is also the mystery of who created ers, and are able to leap forward in time to a period after their
their clones (and why) which must be solved. deaths to defeat their enemy. They are fated, however, to some-
day return to their own time and die as they have already seen.
3. They are dead, but their legend lives on, only to be picked up • They can find a way to alter the flow of time, altering events that
later by: are past and changing the future so they do not actually die.
• Their descendants, relatives, or friends. Their relatives or • They actually played characters from an alternate reality. If one
friends may feel called to avenge their deaths, or their descen- character survived, he may find a passage into a parallel dimen-
dants (or heirs) might return years later to defeat their still-liv- sion where the fight has not yet taken place. He can warn them
ing enemies. about the danger and help them avoid a similar fate.
• A group of “hero-worshippers_ who have studied their former
character’s exploits and seek to recreate them and complete 6. The cavalry!
their unfinished tasks. • Just as they are on the brink of death, powerful allies appear
• A totally unrelated group of adventurers who discovered the to help the party. They may be able to cast a mass heal spell
legends of the old characters’ adventures and find their an- or raise the dead after forcing the enemy to retreat for a little
cient items. Perhaps some of their magical items are tied to the while. Of course, once the PCs have recovered, the cavalry will
dead characters’ quest and lead the new characters to their old be low on power, and the PCs will need to lead the assault (or
goals. retreat).
• Some of their enemies are ashamed of their evil ways, and draw- • A powerful extra-planar power or deity summons the PCs to its
ing upon the noble PCs as inspiration, turn against their dark presence to perform a task for it just moments before (or after)
leaders and vow to complete the PCs’ battle against the forces death occurs. This task might have nothing to do with the PCs
of evil. You could work with the players to make some really current quest, or it might be related.
interesting backgrounds for orcs or half-demon characters who • A previously unidentified magic item is actually a wish ring (or
have always been torn between good and evil and have now a wishing sword or something) and it activates with the last PCs’

d20Zine Page 20
dying wish that they would not come to such a bitter end. The defeat whenever they are in trouble. You must allow them to succeed
wish might teleport them all to an ally who can heal them, or it and fail on their own terms, or at the very least, you must make them
might restore their wounds, or summon aid. believe that they can fail. If you find that you must use a deus ex
The key to pulling off a successful deus ex machina is to make sure machina to save the campaign, try to make sure it is something that
the players feel that it is not a deus ex machina. Above all, you must is an acceptable extension of the campaign, and something that the
not allow them to feel that you will save their characters from utter characters cannot count on saving them again. 

d20 Magazine Rack Original


Character Race Contest Winners!
O
ur April contest yielded some excellent entries for original Pounce (Ex): A Talyn may leap upon his foe during the first round
character races. Here are the two winning entries. The first of combat; he may then make a full attack even if he has already
one is the Talyn by Kevin Ruesch followed by the Kanker’s taken a move action. Regardless of whether any attacks hit, the vic-
Monkeys by Jeffrey Fuller. Congratulations to both winners. The tim must make a Reflex save (DC 12) or be knocked prone.
winning prize was an autographed copy of the Player’s Handbook Rake (Ex): on a Pounce attack a talyn may choose to rake his foe
signed by all three principal authors, Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet with both his foot claws for 1d6 +6 damage each.
and Skip Williams.
Talyn society
Talyn The Talyn are fiercely territorial, usually marking the boundaries
with ornate skulls on totem sticks. To this end tribes will have scouts
(by Kevin Ruesch) and lookouts many miles from their home. Different tribes will of-
Medium-Sized Humanoid (Reptilian) ten clash over territory with each other just as easily as with other
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp) humanoid races.
Initiative: +2 (Dex)
Talyn characters
Speed: 40ft.
A talyn’s favored class is warrior. Talyn have no natural talent with
AC: 17 (+5 natural, +2 Dex)
magic, so only a rare few become clerics, wizards or sorcerers. Most
Attacks: 1 foot claw +2 melee, 1 short spear +0 melee, or javelin
developed into warriors, barbarians and even rangers. These rare
+2 ranged
individuals usually take their place as tribe leaders.
Damage: Foot claw 1d6+2, short spear 1d8, or javelin 1d6+2

Kanker’s Monkeys
Face/Reach: 5ft. by 5ft./ 5ft.
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 10 By Jeffrey Fuller
Skills: Balance +6, Jump +12, and Climb +12
Feats: Multiattack “Oh oohooh ooh. Ohah hooh oooh oh. Ah oh ah oh ah oh, oh ooh
Climate/Terrain: Jungle and Temperate Forrest oooh.”
Organization: band (6-10 + 1-4 noncombatants plus 1 leader of -Kanker’s Monkey addressing the “counsel”
3rd or 4th level), Tribe (20-80 + 20% noncombatants + 1 leader These tough little monsters, I mean, monkeys are lethal in combat,
of 5th-6th level + 3 lieutenants of 3rd-4th level) and dreadfully playful. Everyone loves when the party is in dire
Challenge Rating: 1 need, and the monkey decides that it wants to juggle its own feces
Treasure: Standard rather than helping. Despite their short falls, they will often prove to
Alignment: Usually neutral be the life blood of the party.
Advancement: By character class Personality: Kanker’s monkeys always seek the spotlight. When they
The Talyn are a smaller, more prehistoric ancestor of the well-known aren’t the focal point of attention their fun is always dampened.
Lizardfolk. Talyn are usually about 5ft to 6ft in height with gray to Their playfulness often makes them difficult to effectively work as a
brownish scales and light yellowish stripes along their neck, back member of a party, however when in a party the same playfulness will
and tails. Their tails make up half their total body length. But their often strengthen the party with the comedic relief it provides. The
most prominent feature is a long curved claw where their big toe ultimate frustration results when you are fighting the great red wyrm
should be. They wear very little clothing, mostly hides and crude and the monkey won’t let go or your hair. All Kanker’s monkeys tend
jewelry. Most tribes are known to wear tattoos, which signify tribe to be stubborn and belligerent.
and ancestry. Talyn are strictly carnivores, but are not too particular
where their meat comes from. Physical Description: Kanker’s Monkeys are reddish brown with
short slick-backed hair on top of their heads. There seems to be a
The Talyn speak Draconic. wide variety of weights with females ranging from 10lbs-25lbs and a
Combat height of 18”-20”. Males range from 15lbs-30lbs and a height of 20”-
Talyn hunt in organized packs with a chosen individual acting as a 25”. Tails are medium lengths at 7”-12”. They have myriad of facial
distraction or decoy. The rest will rush en masse flanking the target. expressions and are considered a “tough” monkey that won’t back
They do not set traps as Lizardfolk do, but love to ambush. They down very easily. They have a life span of approx. 89 years and often
never use shields or armor as these inhibits their Pounce attack. outlive their masters.
They favor short spears, but occasionally use daggers, shortswords Relations: These monkeys would love to once again reunite, however
or clubs. they were evicted from their homeland, and were forced to separate

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to each end of the globe. They are generally found in jungle-like bonus on Hide checks, but they can’t use weapons regularly,
areas and do not usually venture into settled areas. and their carrying limits are one-half the carrying limits of me-
Alignment: These monkeys tend to be good at heart, and chaotic dium-size characters.*
by nature. You would be hard pressed to ever find an evil Kanker’s • Kanker’s monkeys base speed is 30 feet.
monkey, it simply violates there joyful disposition. • +8 racial bonus on Climb, Jump, and Move silently checks.
• +2 racial bonus on all saving throws.
Languages: Kanker’s monkeys speak monkeyese, and are able to un- • +2 racial bonus verse range attacks.
derstand other languages as their intelligence allows, however they • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Any.
are unable to write any language. • Favored Class: Monk. A multiclass Kanker’s Monkey monk class
Names: Kanker’s monkeys, if you haven’t already figured this out, does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP
don’t have names. Thus, Kanker’s monkey was adopted to differen- penalty for multiclassing. (see Experience for Multiclass Char-
tiate between regular monkeys when referenced. On a case by case acters, PHB pg. 56).
basis, the monkey goes by the name of its master or former master. • Miscellaneous: Kanker’s monkeys can, once or twice a day use
For example, the Kanker’s Money that befriended Edwinn is known any weapon (two-handed) for an entire battle without suffer-
as Edwinn’s Monkey. ing any kind of penalties. Once they have done this, they can
use any weapon (two-handed) one more time that day with full
Adventures: Kanker’s monkeys love to adventure, not only because penalties. Then, they can’t use weapons anymore that day.
they get to show off their amazing skills, but they also cling to the • Level Adjustment +1 all Kanker’s Monkeys are more skilled
hope of meeting other Kanker’s monkeys. than average races, and thus they progress a little slower
Kanker’s Monkey Racial Traits through class ranks.
• +1 Wisdom, +2 Strength, -3 Charisma, -2 Intelligence *Do to the great combat prowess of the Kanker’s Monkeys; their
• “Tiny-size:” As tiny creatures, these monkeys gain a +2 size bo- threat range is treated as if they were medium-sized creatures. 
nus to Armor Class, a +2 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +8 size

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SOUL SHIP PRESTIGE CLASS:
v1.02
By Mark Howe

S
oul-Ship’s are specially modified Explorer vessels, that include
Gargantuan Vehicle; hp 180; Top Spd 30; Acc 4; Dec 4; Hand +2;
the specially designed Infinity Matrix Columns, these are a
Sensor +5; Stealth 10; AC 9 (-4 size, -5 Dex, +5 natural, +3 armor);
form of Neural net that can hold the soul of a normal Soul
SQ vehicle, hardness 20; Fuel 500,000/1.
mech, but whose influence spreads throughout the entire vessel,
Station: Soul-Ship 1, Companion 1.
which effectively becomes the Soul Mechs new body.
Cargo: 25 tons.
Soul-Ship’s are exceptionally rare, and only ever found in the
Weapons: Two Laser Cannons (battery); Fire arc: front; Attack
employ of some government, powerful corporation or power body,
bonus: Soul-ship’s +5 (targeting computer) Damage 6d10x2;
the Recipient who becomes the soul-ship, is always given rigorous
Range: 5.
testing and training and only exceptional candidates are accepted,
mostly because the transition from an androgynous humanoid form
to a non humanoid form, requires the ability to adapt and think in Hit Die: d6 (all Hit Points of a Soulmech and this Prestige class stack
new ways. As such Soul-Ship’s are almost always paired with a living with the vessels Hit Points, this reflects its ability to mentally soak
companion, as this is proven to keep them grounded and their “Hu- the damage more than an actual improvement in the toughness of
manity” intact, it also requires the ability to take the mass inflow of it’s frame)
information without causing mental overload, this is something few
have the natural ability to do. Requirements
The Soul-Ship are then effectively indentured servants of the To qualify to become a Soul-Ship, a character must fulfill all of the
group or power body that gave them the opportunity, many are giv- following criteria:
en the opportunity after long terms of service to buy their freedom, Feats: Technical Proficiency, Starship Piloting, Space Jockey,
but this is not required of the patron. Skills: Pilot 10 ranks, Navigate 10 ranks, Repair 6 ranks, Research
Soul Ships are not commercially available, the technology to 6 ranks, Use Device 6 ranks and any one Knowledge skill 6
make them exists only through powerful governments, or super ranks.
rich mega corporations and the like as mentioned above. The Special: Sponsorship by a Group/Faction/Religion/Business or
Technology necessary to make the Infinity Matrix columns that are Individual with the necessary resources, a Soul mech must also
fitted into the Soul-Ships vessel form and the extensive conversions have a 16+ Intelligence, and a 12+ Wisdom & Charisma
internally that are made to the vessels to allow the Soul-Ship to have Alignment: Any
total control and awareness of the form are a closely guarded secret Class Skills
of the Church of the Smith, and have never yet managed to be suc- The Soul-Ship’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
cessfully replicated, and are only sold to governments and the like Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Intuit Direction
in very limited numbers for extortionate prices far out of the realms (Wis), Knowledge All skills (Int), Listen (Wis), Navigate (Int), Pilot
of even the richest players character. (Dex), Profession (Int), Repair (Int), Research (Wis), Spot (Wis),
A Soul-Ship has total control over it’s own form, from environ- Use Device (Int).
mental controls, doors, engines, weapons, lifts, lights everything,
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
all things are tied into the Soul-Ships control through the Infinity
matrix column. It can as a result see inside itself at any point where Class Features
there exists a camera (which is every compartment and all major All the following are class features of the Soul-Ship prestige class:
corridors & lifts), other than these areas the Soul-Ship must investi- Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Soul-Ship is proficient with
gate through it’s hands. But thanks to these internal sensors it can all high tech Simple and Martial weapons, including Starship
see and hear almost all activity aboard itself, providing a +5 bonus to weapons.
Spot, Listen, Search and Read lips to determine anything appropri- Remote Operation: The Soul-Ship gains the Remote operations
ately tied to these skills which occurs in these places. It is considered FEAT free
polite for a Soul-Ship not to spy on it’s companion, and only look or Remotes: A Soul-Ship has only limited ability to function outside
listen in on its passengers if it has cause for concern, as such typical of space, as such to give the Soul-Ship the ability to interact with
their viewers and sensors in these areas are kept switched off while it’s companion and others, they are given one small robot (al-
occupied. though more may be purchased later), which they can directly
control, as miniature extension of themselves called “Hands”,
Base Form (Explorer): these are very durable high tech small hovering disc shaped
The base form of a new Soul-Ship is the Explorer (Dragonstar® Core robots, with many features, and designed to allow them to be
Rulebook); vessels later have the option to upgrade in lieu of other easily customised even further.
choices (see customisation below).
Small Construct; HD 1d10; hp 5; Init +0 (Dex); Spd 40 ft, fly 40 ft
(good); AC 17 (+1 Size, +2 Dex, +4 Natural); Atk (as soulship for

d20Zine Page 23
attack score, +1 from integral laser sight) ; SQ Construct, low light vi- active the ship is effectively Invisible as per the spell, but lasts
sion, ambidexterity, Darkvision 60 ft; AL (as Soul-Ship); Fort +0, Ref for up to 1 hour/level (as opposed to the usual 10 mins/level),
+2, Will (as Soul-ship), Str 8, Dex 14, Con -, Int (as soul ship), Wis (as note a cloaked vessel becomes visible the instant it fires).
soul ship), Cha (as soul ship). Class Skills: (as Soul-ship), Feats: (as • Fortified Hull: (the vessel is given a special reinforced hull and
Soul-ship), Upgrades: Darkvision, +4 Enhanced Dexterity, Improved it’s infrastructure is given extra armoring and support, as such
visual sensors, Improved audio sensors, Integral Specialised master- the vessel tends to be able to shrug off a lot more damage, this
work toolkit (type varies), Integral laser sight, Integral dual Holdout gives the vessel +20 hit points, and a 25% chance to ignore any
Laser (1d10x2 damage, x2 crit, 75 ft rng), Laser Torch, Retractible critical inflicted against it. Note: The fortified hull makes the
manipulators, Multiscanner, +4 Natural Armor, Personal Commu- vessel less maneuverable -2 penalty to Handling, and -1 acc &
nicator, Reinforced Construction DR 5/-, Remote Operation unit, dec).
Security Scanner, Hoverlift; Cost: 27,360 cr each • Additional Weaponry: (the vessel is granted 50,000 credits
Note: “Hands” cannot hold any programming due to the memory worth of additional weaponry Note: Additional weapons slow
requirements, and space required for the direct link remote opera- the vessel somewhat due to their power drain and bulk reduc-
tion components that allow the soul-ship to control them as parts ing a vessels move by 10).
of itself, as such if the soul-ship is incapacitated as are the “Hands”. • Improved Farcaster: (the vessel is installed with an improved
Also if a “Hand” is destroyed the Soul-ship must make a Will save Farcaster, these are specially designed and charged and provide
(DC15) or be rendered unconscious because of the neural backlash 100 charges as opposed to the usual 50, they are also far more
for 2d10 rounds, during this time both it and it’s remaining hands accurate providing a +5 bonus to the navigation roll).
are vulnerable and unable to do anything. A Soul-Ship is able to The Soul Ship
control a maximum of 1 “Hand” for every 3 levels (total character
Level Attack Fort Ref Will Special
levels, not class levels). Also for every hand controlled at any one
time there is a cumulative -1 penalty to all Skill checks and Attack 1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Remote Operation Remotes
rolls, this reflects the Soul-Ships mental awareness being divided to 2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Total Recall Self Diagnosis
operate the “Hands” so only part of it’s total awareness is ever in ef- 3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Form Familiarity 1
fect through each hand.
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 --
Total Recall: The Soul-Ship gains the Total Recall FEAT free; this is 5th +3 +2 +4 +4 Customisation
a new feat (See below)
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Form Familiarity 2
Self Diagnostics: The Soul-Ship is able to Determine problems to it- 7th +4 +2 +5 +5 --
self, by running a number of internal checks as well as using it’s own
8th +5 +3 +6 +6 --
sensations to narrow down where and what the problems may be, as
such he gains a +4 bonus to Repair checks upon itself. 9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Form Familiarity 3
10th +6 +3 +7 +7 Customisation
Form Familiarity 1, 2 and 3: Form Familiarity comes from the Soul
mech finally becoming so familiar and used to the form that it’s is
very agile, and gains some familiarity bonuses with the form; namely NEW FEAT
+5 speed, +1 acc, +1 dec, Hand +1, +1 AC Dex bonus for each level
of Form Familiarity, bonuses are Cumulative. TOTAL RECALL (General)
You have a highly trained mnemonic capacity, providing an almost
Customisation: The Soul-Ship is occasionally awarded for loyal ser- perfect ability to recall almost anything you have ever seen, read or
vice with the option to customise their form in some unique fashion, done.
or even take a new form. Whenever Customisation is given as an Prerequisites: Int 16+, Information Junkie
option the Soul-Ship may choose one benefit from the following list. Benefit: The individual can attempt recall anything they have
Note: None of these customisations are available for sale normally, ever seen, heard or done with almost total accuracy. To do
available only through the patrons who first provided the Soul-Ship this the character can make a Gather Information roll against
conversion. a Difficulty number that varies on the level of information the
• Upgraded Form: (the Soul-Ships Infinity Matrix Column and character seeks to recall.
hence the Soul-Ship are transferred to a new larger form, first Simple info (name of a person met multiple times, name of
time to a Corvette, second time to a Destroyer). a planet that is well known, name of your planets governor)
• Regenerative Hull: (the ships hull is replaced with a special liv- DC10, Uncommon info (name of a person met once, the name
ing metal replacement, that has the ability to regenerate itself, of an Alien species once shown on a holo vid, the code to the se-
growing back to seal breaches and repair damage, effectively curity door you saw entered once or twice) DC 20, Obscure info
providing the vessel Fast Healing 5. Note: This does not allow (The name of a person you have only seen once at a distance,
the vessel to repair system damage, nor propulsion, weapon or that book you read when you were 7, the account number you
sensors which may get damaged or destroyed, these must still be saw in the three seconds before you had to switch the computer
replaced). off, the address of anyone whose address you have ever seen)
• Energy Shielding: (the ship has the ability to erect an energy DC 30+
field around it to protect it, which effectively provides 100 Phan- Special: Obviously a character cannot use this feat to gain ac-
tom hit points for the vessel all damage done to the vessel comes cess to information they have never seen, done or heard, but if
off the shield first. Once a shield is destroyed it cannot be there is chance that the PC may have once seen, done or heard
erected for 24 hours as it requires time to recharge). something about the subject apply a DC to the chance of them
• Cloaking Device: (the vessel is fixed with a cloaking device, recalling it and let them roll. This is a great way for PC’s to
these use an immense amount of power which is drawn from see if they can recall a pertinent adventure fact they may have
the vessels Farcaster, each use drains 1 charge from it. But while forgotten. 

d20Zine Page 24
“Oh, my aching head!”
- The Pros and Cons of Incorporating Psionics into Your Campaign.
By Kevin Ruesch

S
o there you are, quietly poring over books and scribbling down power to create magical effects. Now there is a third category of
notes as you prepare for this weekend’s gaming session. Then magic: Psionic.
you get a call from one of your players. She says she just got a A psionic creature taps into the bio-energy of its own mind and
copy of the Psionics Handbook and “reeeally” wants to play a half-elf body in order to create magical effects. Instead of casting a spell, the
psion. You cover the receiver as you let out a long groan. So what do psionic creature concentrates and “manifests” its magical power in
you tell her? Your campaign is complicated enough without adding much the same way a sorcerer does. The only real difference is that
an all-new system into the mix, right? Well, before you jump to con- while sorcerers have a limited allotment of spell slots, the psionic
clusions, here are a few options to consider. creature has a limited number of power points to use as she sees fit.
You can treat psionics as a different form of power, differing from So you can treat psionic creatures just as you would any other spell
magic. This is covered quite extensively in the “Psionics are Differ- caster and most of the same rules apply to both. However, there is
ent” variant rules of the Psionics Handbook. In short, the benefits of one mechanical difference, saving throws against psionic powers.
this approach are that it adds a totally new dimension and flavor The standard method used in the Psionics Handbook is for the
to your campaign. Psionic characters and monsters would be com- Manifester to determine a psionic powers DC is to roll 1d20 and add
pletely at odds with every spellcaster and magical beast in the realm, the level of the power + the key ability modifier for that power. This
with neither side being able to properly defend themselves from adds a bit of variety and mystique to psionic powers. But it is also
each other. time consuming. If you simply wish to make the process as stream-
Unfortunately, this option means a lot of extra work for the DM. lined as regular spell saves, you can use the same method used for
Powerful monsters (and characters for that matter) that normally spells. A psionic powers DC is equal to 10 + the level of the power +
have Spell Resistance will need to have a separate Spell Resistance the key ability score modifier of the Manifester. This saves time and
and Power Resistance rating. A creature with only one of these rat- with some quick calculations, your players can write up a short list of
ings could quickly be brought to their knees by a low-level power or psionic power DCs for quick reference, just as spellcasters do.
spell that they have no resistance to. And for similar reasons, new And as noted above, there is also the issue of Spell Resistance and
arcane and divine spells would be needed to affect psionic powers, Power Resistance. Instead of complicating things with a rating for
such as a negate psionics spell, and new psionic powers that could af- each, simply use the same rating. SR equals PR and vice versa. After
fect magical spells and effects. all, we are treating psionic powers as spells, right?
However, there are other, more simple options. In most fantasy So, now you can respond to your caller with an enthusiastic “Sure,
worlds there exists two categories of magic: Arcane and Divine. Ar- a half-elf psion sounds like a fun character to play.” Adding psion-
cane spellcasters use pseudo-scientific methods to tap into the en- ics to your campaign doesn’t need to be a hassle. It can add a new
ergy of the world around them in order to create magical effects. perspective and flavor to your world. And the richer the world you
Divine spellcasters pray to otherworldly Powers to grant them the play in the better. Enjoy. 

d20Zine Page 25
d20 Magazine Rack Original Character Race Contest

Runner-ups!
Il’rokke tentacles with a single grapple check. The victim may attempt to
escape with a single grapple check or Escape Artist check, but the
by Kevin Ruesch)
Il’rokke gets a +2 circumstance bonus for each tentacle attached at
Medium-Sized Aberration the beginning of the opponent’s turn.
Hit Dice: 8d10+10 (74 hp)
Extract (Ex): An Il’rokke that begins its turn with all four tentacles
Initiative: +6 (+2 Dex, +4 improved initiative)
attached and successfully maintains its hold automatically extracts
Speed: 30ft.
the opponent’s brain, instantly killing the creature.
AC: 20 (+2 Dex, +4 natural, +4 inertial armor)
Attacks: tentacle +8 melee and weapon +6 melee/ weapon +2 Telepathy (Su): Il’rokke can communicate telepathically with any
ranged creature within 100ft. that has a language.
Damage: tentacle 1d4+1, by weapon type
Face/Reach: 5ft. by 5ft./5ft. Il’rokke Society
Special Attacks: Mindblast, Psionics, Improved Grab, Extract The Il’rokke are extremely xenophobic and rightly so, because
Special Qualities: SR 20, Telepathy they are truly alone. Every sentient race that has encountered them
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +9 naturally assumes that they are just another type of the notorious
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 17 mindflayers and attack first and ask questions later (if at all). And
Skills: Concentration +12, Hide +8, Intimidate +12, Knowledge the mindflayers themselves show an extreme hatred towards the
(psionics) +8, Listen +8, Spot +6 Il’rokke and attempt to slay them on sight, in preference to any
Feats: Alertness, Combat Manifestation, Inertial Armor, Improved other enemies. Some believe this loathing stems from a splitting of
Initiative, Multiattack, Weapon Finesse (tentacle) the two races thousands of years ago. But the mindflayers are silent
Climate/Terrain: Astral Plane and ignore any questions about the Il’rokke and their beginnings.
Organization: Raiding party (4-10), Clan (20-80) Il’rokke clans live in small demiplanes created by the clan’s Ma-
Challenge Rating: 8 tron. There they are isolated and safe. They send raiding parties to
Treasure: Standard the Astral plane (via astral projection) to attack and loot githyanki
Alignment: Usually Neutral settlements and outposts.
Advancement: By character class Each clan has a Matron (male or female), which is a high-level
The Il’rokke appear to be a larger and more savage cousin of the psion. The Matron acts as a social leader and judge over any arbitra-
insidious mindflayer. They stand some 6-7ft. tall. Unlike the mind- tion. All martial actions are lead by the War Chief (usually male)
flayer, il’rokke skin is dry and rough, and is light tan, light grey or that is a fighter, barbarian, or psychic warrior of at least 9th level.
(rarely) dark brown in color. Their eyes are large with slit pupils.
Il’rokke Characters
Il’rokke can speak, but rarely do, preferring to communicate via
Most Il’rokke are psychic warriors, fighters, barbarians or rogues.
their telepathy.
Some have the patience and talent to become psions or monks. Very
Combat rarely a loner will become a bard, druid, ranger or sorcerer. Il’rokke
The Il’rokke in battle is a sight to behold, for they utilize melee have an instinctive distrust of spellcasters (probably due to the
and/or ranged weapons with their Mindblast and psionic abilities, mindflayers) and follow no gods, believing in their own powers and
along with tentacle attacks. With all these different weapons at their talents. As such Il’rokke can never be clerics, paladins or wizards. 
disposal it is no wonder their raiding parties are so very effective.
Il’rokke are carnivores, but think of sentient brains as a delicacy and
will usually take the head of a fallen enemy to be used as a victory
Mercurials
By Mark Chance
meal later on.
Mercurials are elemental creatures not native to the Material Plane,
Mindblast (Sp): this attack is a cone 60 ft. long. Anyone caught in but have long resided here, usually in smallish, isolated communi-
this cone must succeed at a Will save (DC 17) or be stunned for 3d4 ties in frontier regions. According to Mercurial history, this race was
rounds. Il’rokke will generally use this attack as they charge an op- originally native to a planar zone in which each of the four elemen-
ponent and then attack in melee once their foe is stunned. tal planes overlapped in part. There the Mercurials lived in peace
Psionics (Sp): At will- astral projection, charm monster, detect thoughts, and freedom until jealous elemental tyrants took exception to the
cat’s grace, endurance and keen edge. These abilities are as the spells region and invaded with their respective armies. The four-element
cast by an 8th level sorcerer (save DC 13+ spell level). Use these region was subjugated and each element brought under strict con-
instead of their class psionic abilities if you do not use psionics in trol of a different tyrant. The Mercurials’ way of life and homes were
your campaign. shattered, and so they fled into exile to the Material Plane. Mercuri-
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability the Il’rokke must hit a Small als are known for their skill as artisans as well as widely viewed with
to Large-sized creature with a tentacle attack. If successful, the ten- suspicious curiosity given their unusual natures. Although many
tacle becomes attached to the opponent’s head. This can be done commoners believe Mercurials to be creatures of legend, almost all
against a huge-sized creature, but only if the Il’rokke can reach its know wild tales about these most peculiar beings.
head. Personality: As always, generalizations about racial personality
Once attached, the Il’rokke may attempt to attach its remaining traits descend into stereotyping, but there is more justification for

d20Zine Page 26
doing so with Mercurials than many other races. A Mercurial does * -1 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
**-2 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
not have just one personality, but has four, and each personality
*** -3 to Str, Con, and Dex; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
has strong inclinations toward certain moods and behaviors tied to
the Mercurial’s elemental origin. Each day at six-hour intervals a Table 3: Random Height and Weight for Mercurials by Form
Mercurial’s physical form and psyche change, switching randomly
Form Base Height Base Weight
from elemental type to elemental type. These four different forms
Height Modifier Weight Modifier
- Aquan (Water), Auran (Air), Ignan (Fire), Terran (Earth) - each
have different personalities, appearances, and racial traits. Aquan 2 ft. 8 in. +2d4 in. 85 lbs. x (2d4) lbs.
Aquans tend to be levelheaded, flexible, and introspective. They Auran 3 ft. 0 in. +2d4 in. 80 lbs. x (2d4) lbs.
are inquisitive but not foolishly curious, and are difficult to provoke
to extremes of emotion. Their appreciation of rhythm and cycle in Ignan 3 ft. 4 in. +2d4 in. 90 lbs. x (2d4) lbs.
both form and movement make them natural musicians and danc- Terran 2 ft. 6 in. +2d4 in. 95 lbs. x (2d4) lbs.
ers. In contrast, Terrans are grouchy, stubborn, and seldom think Relations: Mercurials are not predisposed to be friends or enemies
deeply about anything for long. Their virtues are physical: strength to any group. This race’s strong chaotic inclinations lead them to
of body and an ability to enjoy hard manual labor. Terrans have a judge individuals by those individuals’ actions. Chaotic evil orcs who
natural affinity for the earth, rocks, and metals, and they are natural behave themselves are likely to be just as welcome in a Mercurial
crafters of these substances. community as are lawful good dwarves who also behave themselves.
Aurans are moody, swinging from calm to giddy to enraged with In regions where one group is known to be particularly unruly or no-
minimal provocation. They also tend to be self-absorbed, valuing ticeably trustworthy, Mercurials often take steps to enter into infor-
their own comforts and desires above all others. Words are the mal treaties that usually involve trade arrangements. As Mercurials
special talent of Aurans. They are silver-tongued orators and gifted are not warlike, it is not common for them to intervene in conflicts
singers. In contrast, Ignans are cheerful and generous unless pro- that do not directly affect their communities. Mutual defense pacts
voked, and then their wrath can be terrible indeed. They are great between Mercurials and other races are uncommon as a result.
consumers of food and wine, and many Ignans are talented chefs.
Ignans also have an innate insight into the healing arts Alignment: Mercurials are inherently chaotic. This is only to be
expected among a people whose members change not only physical
Physical Description: Just as his mind changes during the day, so form but also personality, to include often widely different sets of
does a Mercurial’s body. A Mercurial has four different physical knowledge and skills. The fact that the entire Mercurial pantheon
descriptions, one for each of his four forms. None of a Mercurial’s of deities is chaotic neutral further reinforces the strong tendency
forms have any body hair and all are humanoid in shape. Aquans among Mercurials toward individualism and avoidance of authority.
have faintly greenish skin covered with fine, almost invisible scales. Few Mercurials are lawful, and these individuals are often viewed as
Their flesh is iridescent when the light catches it just right. An deviant. Mercurials have no particular bent toward either good or
Aquan’s eyes are largish and round and tend to be blue, green, evil, but the inevitably destructive nature of evilness is neither unap-
or some combination thereof with vertically slitted pupils. Fin-like preciated nor ignored. There is a noticeable tendency in Mercurial
flaps of cartilage and tissue grow from an Aquan’s cheek bones and communities for the leadership (whatever form it takes) to be pre-
project backward to cover their ear holes. Their limbs and torsos are dominantly neutral good.
long and thin. Aurans have smooth, almost waxy skin of alabaster
hue. Their features are delicate, even fey, including the pointed Mercurial Lands: As noted above, Mercurial communities are usu-
ears. Like Aquans, Aurans are thin of body and limb. The Aurans’ ally found in frontier regions, especially those not under the control
almond-shaped eyes are most often entirely yellow, light blue, or of any particular government or ruler. Given their skilled craftsmen
emerald green, usually with a metallic sheen. and artists, Mercurial communities, while they are often small, are
Ignans have dark red skin with a gritty texture like char. They seldom impoverished. Mercurials residing on fertile land or near
are noticeably warm to the touch but not uncomfortably so. Ignans waterways usually boast impressive farming and fishing economies as
tend to have narrow eyes that glow yellow, orange, or red, and broad well. In mineral rich hills and mountains, Mercurials mine the earth
faces with wide mouths and small ears. Ignans share the slender of its wealth. Mercurials typically reside in small towns or smaller
limb types of Aquans and Aurans, but they tend to be barrel-chested settlements. The dominant forces in the community are usually two
and slightly bow-legged. Terrans are the shortest and heaviest with or three prominent craft or professional guilds as well as the clergy.
broad shoulders, thick arms, and shortish legs. Their heads are rela- Government forms are overwhelmingly democratic in nature. As
tively small compared to their bodies. Terran eyes tend toward glossy mentioned above, most prominent Mercurial leaders tend to be
earth tones, glittering like polished rocks. They have ear holes, snub neutral good. The general benevolence typical of this alignment is
noses, and wide, downward curving mouths that give Terrans a per- well suited to arbitrating disputes and protecting the general welfare
petual frown. A Terran’s skin is covered with pebble-like scales of without being too rigid or too feckless. It is rare to find many Mer-
varying sizes and ranging across several shades of earthy brown and curials living in other communities. Individuals or small groups can
dull green. sometimes be found in larger towns and cities where they usually
make their living as highly paid craftsmen and professionals.
Table 1: Random Starting Ages for Mercurials Religion: Mercurials honor a small pantheon of four related el-
Adulthood Barbarian Bard Cleric emental deities. Legend has it that the four are all siblings - two
Rogue Fighter Druid brothers and two sisters (Aurania and Igniss are the sisters). Their
Sorcerer Paladin Monk parents were evil, authoritarian tyrants who sought to subjugate and
Ranger Wizard
segregate the constituent elements of nature. In the process, they
30 years +2d6 years +4d6 years +6d6 years wreaked untold havoc. Aurania, Aquus, Igniss, and Terok rebelled
against their parents and slew them or imprisoned them (depend-
Table 2: Aging Effects for Mercurials ing on who is telling the story). The names of the parents also vary
from tale to tale. Whatever the truth of these tales, the deities of the
Middle Age* Old** Venerable*** Maximum Age
Mercurial are real powers. The four Mercurial cults are too chaotic
80 years 120 years 160 years +6d20 years and disorganized to ever monopolize power in Mercurial culture.
Instead, cleric and druids of these gods and goddesses act as advi-

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sors, teachers, craftsmen, professionals, and (in extremis) champi- Mercurial is actually four different characters, but only one is
ons of their people. active at any given time. Even a Mercurial’s languages known
and alignments can vary from form to form (although the lat-
Table 4: The Mercurial Pantheon ter seldom includes diametrically opposed extremes). Each of
Deity Alignment Domains Typical Worshipers a Mercurial’s four forms can multiclass normally, but earned
Aurania Chaotic neutral Air, Chaos, Travel, Travelers, rangers, rogues, experience is always divided evenly between the Mercurial’s
Trickery entertainers, poets four forms. This racial trait is the reason Mercurials do not have
Aquus Chaotic neutral Earth, Chaos, Plant, Farmers, stone and metal a class level adjustment despite their impressive racial traits.
Strength workers, miners, fighters • Form Change: Every six hours, a Mercurial usually changes to
Igniss Chaotic neutral Fire, Chaos, Destruc- Healers, cooks, fighters, another form. Consult Table 6 below to determine the Mercuri-
tion, Healing those seeking restitution al’s new form. None of a Mercurial’s equipment changes to suit
Terok Chaotic neutral Water, Chaos, Knowl- Scholars, sages, fishermen, his various forms unless that equipment specifically changes to
edge, Magic arcane casters, musicians fit a wearer.
Language: Language is a confusing affair among Mercurials. Each
form speaks the tongue that corresponds to its elemental type. More Table 5: Mercurial Form Changes
intelligent Mercurials learn additional languages as well. What com- Current New Form (1d10)
plicates matters is that each of a Mercurial’s four forms often speak Form Aquan Auran Ignan Terran
different languages from the each other. It is becoming customary
for all of a Mercurial’s forms to learn the Common Tongue, and Aquan 1 2-4 5-7 8-10
this language is gradually becoming a default racial language for Auran 1-3 4 5-7 8-10
Mercurials. Ignan 1-3 4-6 7 8-10
Names: In the middle of the chaos of Mercurial life, naming con- Terran 1-3 4-6 7-9 10
ventions are something of a breath of fresh air. All Mercurials have a
four part personal name, and each part is composed of two syllables. New Feat: Induce Form Change [General]
The first syllable of each part is derived from the second syllable of You can trigger a form change before it is time for one to occur
each part of the Mercurial’s father (if male) or mother (if female). normally.
The second syllable is chosen by the parents. For example, Gutran- Prerequisites: Influence Form Change
Pomtur-Rebsar-Dirmar, a male Mercurial, has a son. His son’s name, Benefit: As a full-round action that does provoke attacks of op-
in part, would be Ran*-Tur*-Sar*-Mar*, with each asterisk being a portunity, you can attempt to change form even though it is
syllable group chosen by the parents. Typically, a Mercurial uses not time for a form change to occur. Doing so requires a Will
a different part of his name with each of his four different forms. saving throw against DC 20. If you succeed, roll 1d10 and con-
The four name parts correspond to the Aquan, Auran, Ignan, and sult Table 6 above as normal. You can use your Influence Form
Terran forms respectively. To continue with the example, when in Change feat to affect the die result.
Aquan form, the father above would be addressed as Gutran.
New Feat: Influence Form Change [General]
Adventurers: Mercurials tend to adventure out of a sheer love of
You can influence but not completely control your changes in
freedom and a chance to experience new things. If along the way
form.
fame, wealth, and power are accumulated, so much the better. Many
Prerequisites: Mercurial, base Will save +2 or better.
become partisans in lands under the iron fists of oppressive regimes,
Benefit: Whenever you change form, you can alter the 1d10 re-
aiding local resistance groups in their efforts to break the bitter yoke
sult by one or two points in either direction if you so choose.
of tyranny. Rare, lawful Mercurials are usually outcasts and wander
You need not decide whether the adjustment will be positive or
the land seeking acceptance among foreigners.
negative or by how much to modify the die result until after you
Mercurial Racial Traits roll. You cannot take this feat more than once.
• Small-size: As Small creatures, Mercurials gain a +1 size bonus
Automatic Languages:
to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size
Aquan, Auran, Ignan, or Terran, depending on form, and Common.
bonus on Hide checks, but they must use smaller weapons than
Each form speaks the appropriate language elemental language. Bo-
humans use, and their lifting and carrying capacities are three-
nus Languages: Aquan, Auran, Dwarven, Draconic, Elven, Gnom-
quarters of those of Medium-size characters (except for Terrans
ish, Goblin, Ignan, Orc, and Terran. Mercurials often learn the
as detailed below).
languages of those intelligent beings that live nearest to them.
• Ability Scores: A Mercurial’s six ability scores are base values
that are adjusted according to its current form. Aquan Racial Traits
• Darkvision: Mercurials can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvi- • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength: Aquans are slender and graceful but
sion is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, lack muscle-power.
and Mercurials can function just fine with no light at all. • Aquan base speed is 20 feet.
• Outsider: Mercurials are outsiders. They are not affected by • An Aquan has a swim speed of 30 feet: He can swim at this
spells that specifically target only humanoids. They cannot be speed without making Swim checks. An Aquan gains a +8 racial
raised or resurrected, but a wish or miracle can restore a Mercu- bonus to any Swim check to perform some special action or
rial to life. avoid a hazard. He can always choose to take 10, even if rushed
• Sleeplessness: Mercurials do not sleep, and are immune to or threatened when swimming. An Aquan can use the run ac-
magic that induces such a state. The time a particular form is tion while swimming, provided he swims in a straight line.
inactive counts as a rest period for that form. • Water Subtype: Aquans have the water subtype. They can
• Distinct Forms: Each of a Mercurial’s four forms has a dif- breathe water as easily as they can breathe air.
ferent character class with separate base attack bonuses, base • +2 racial bonus on Perform checks dealing when playing an
save bonuses, skills, feats, et cetera. Experience points earned instrument or dancing.
are divided evenly between all four classes. In effect, a single • +2 racial bonus on Profession (composer) checks.

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• Fast Healing 2: If at least up to his waist in water or exposed to • +2 racial bonus on all skill checks dealing with food and wine.
rain, an Aquan regains 2 hit points per round. Fast healing does • +2 racial bonus on Heal checks.
not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation, • Fast Healing 2: If touching a flame at least as large as a torch,
and it does not allow an Aquan to regrow or reattach lost body an Ignan regains 2 hit points per round. Fast healing does not
parts. restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation,
• Acidic Spray: Once per hour, an Aquan to spew a jet of acid and it does not allow an Ignan to regrow or reattach lost body
that functions like Melf’s acid arrow cast by a 3rd-level sorcerer. parts.
This is a spell-like ability. • Breath Weapon: Once per round, an Ignan can breathe forth
• Noxious Fog: Once per day, an Aquan can create a cloud of a 15-foot cone of fire that inflicts 1d8 points of fire damage. A
noxious fog equal to a stinking cloud as cast by a 6th-level sor- Reflex save (DC 12) halves the damage suffered. This is a super-
cerer. This is a spell-like ability. natural ability.
• Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass Aquan’s bard class does not • Flaming Dart: Once per hour, an Ignan can project a dart of
count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty. flames that duplicates the spell magic missile (but inflicts fire
damage) as if cast by a 3rd-level sorcerer. This is a spell-like abil-
Auran Racial Traits ity.
• +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution: Aurans are quick and agile but • Heat Metal: Once per day, an Ignan can heat metal as the spell
frail. cast by a 6th-level sorcerer. This is a spell-like ability.
• Auran base speed is 30 feet. • Favored Class: Cleric. A multiclass Ignan’s cleric class does not
• An Auran has a fly speed of 60 feet with perfect maneuverability. count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty.
An Auran cannot fly if carrying more than a medium load. An
Auran can make a dive attack while flying. A dive attack works Terran Racial Traits
just like a charge, but the creature must move a minimum of 30 • +2 Strength, -2 Intelligence and Charisma: Terrans are quite
feet. An Auran can use the run action while flying, provided he strong, but are slow of mind and not too friendly.
flies in a straight line. • Greater Weight Capacities: Terrans are considered to be Me-
• Air Subtype: Aurans have the air subtype. dium-size creatures for determining their lifting and carrying
• +2 racial bonus on Perform checks dealing when singing or capacities.
reciting poetry. • Terran base speed is 20 feet.
• +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Diplomacy checks. • A Terran has a burrowing speed of 10 feet. He can tunnel
• Fast Healing 2: If exposed to naturally moving air, such as a through dirt, but not through rock. A Terran cannot use the
breeze or a draft, an Auran regains 2 hit points per round. Fast run action while burrowing.
healing does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, • Earth Subtype: Terrans have the earth subtype.
or suffocation, and it does not allow an Auran to regrow or reat- • +2 racial bonus on all skill checks dealing with earth, rock, or
tach lost body parts. metal, including precious gemstones.
• Obscuring Vapors: Once per hour, an Auran can surround it- • +4 natural bonus to Armor Class: A Terran’s rocky hide is tough
self with vapor that duplicates the blur spell as cast by a 3rd-level and resistant to injury.
sorcerer. This is a spell-like ability. • Fast Healing 2: If underground or buried up to at least its waist
• Wind Blast: Once per day, an Auran can generate a gust of wind in earth, a Terran regains 2 hit points per round. Fast healing
as the spell cast by a 6th-level sorcerer. This is a spell-like abil- does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffo-
ity. cation, and it does not allow a Terran to regrow or reattach lost
• Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass Auran’s rogue class does not body parts.
count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty. • Grow: Once per hour, a Terran can use enlarge on himself only
as if the spell were cast by a 3rd-level sorcerer. This is a spell-like
Ignan Racial Traits ability.
• +2 Wisdom and Charisma, -2 Strength: Ignan’s are reflective, • Soften Earth and Stone: Once per day, a Terran can soften earth
intuitive, and personable, but not terribly strong. and stone as the spell cast by a 6th-level sorcerer. This is a spell-
• Ignan base speed is 30 feet. like ability.
• Fire Subtype: An Ignan is immune to fire damage but takes • Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass Terran’s fighter class does
double damage from cold attacks (except on a successful not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty. 
save).

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Ad Hoc Encounters

Goblin Hunting Party


[EL 2/5/8]
By Steven Palmer Peterson

A
d Hoc Encounters is a new feature meant to provide single for a large portion of the audience and can even allow the gamemas-
encounters that you can easily drop into a game. You can use ter to re-use the encounter at a later level.
an Ad Hoc Encounter as a planned encounter in a scenario
you design in order to save a bit of work, add it to a module you’ve Immediate Background
purchased to whittle away a few more player resources, drop it on A team of goblins led by a goblin ranger crossed the characters’ trail
the fly into an ad-lib adventure, or pull one out when you roll a of destruction a little ways back. They could simply have spotted the
random encounter. Ad Hoc encounters are not mini-scenarios; player character’s trail in the wilderness or dungeon but a better
they won’t take you a night to run and they shouldn’t take the focus explanation for the encounter has the goblins coming across the
away from the main purpose of your adventure. They’re kinda like remains of a fairly recent battle. They scope the battlefield, pick up
French fries, a side order for the main course. Also like French fries, any loose gear left behind, then figure that scavenging might be a
they should go with just about anything. That’s why we include three profitable venture. Even better, they can wait until a fight weakens
separate versions of the encounter at three different encounter the party of heroes then ambush the players while recovering. A
levels. By spacing the encounter levels out with a three level gap goblin ranger leads the hunting party but he has a special ability. He
between them they should be usable over a spread of perhaps nine possesses a little psychic potential, allowing him to use the psionic
character levels. For instance, this encounter has ELs of 2, 5, and 8 manifestation, object reading, as a 1st level psion 3 times per day.
and would count as a tough encounter for 1st, 4th, and 7th level, When the hunting party first crosses the trail of the player group
moderate for 2nd, 5th, and 8th level, and light for 3rd, 6th, and 9th the ranger uses his object reading ability to check out some of the
levels. Of course you can always bump up to a slightly tougher level left over gear (like weapons); he goes for 6 rounds on each object
or down to a slightly weaker level depending on the role you want so that gives him roughly 10 to 14 objects to read. For weapons this
the encounter to play in your game (and how many ‘grudge’ points can reveal how the previous owner (likely lying nearby) gained and
the players have built up during the session). Ideally, you’ll eventual- lost the object. In all likelihood the previous owner “lost” the object
ly have a large battery of Ad Hoc Encounters from which to choose, by having a player character stab, shoot, bash, hack, sleep, fireball,
making picking out a well-developed random encounter pretty easy, magic missile, etc. him. There’s also some chance the players left be-
or even making it possible to put together an entire scenario from hind an item they owned (perhaps the remains of material compo-
Ad Hoc Encounters (probably ought to tie them together somehow, nents, or an arrow in a victim’s chest, or some iron ration wrappers);
but not all player groups care that much about plot). the ranger has keen eyes for this kind of evidence and will object
Of course, we welcome Ad Hoc Encounter submissions. When read it first. This likely results in the ranger having some pretty good
submitting an encounter focus on versatility. It should easily drop intel on the players.
into a variety of scenarios or campaigns. Typically it’s easier for a
gamemaster to fit in an encounter if it moves around, like the hunt-
Extended Background
The hunting party works well as a purely random encounter. Goblins
ing goblins. This allows the gamemaster to have the encounter seek
like to prowl around for loot. You could also run the hunting team
out the players. A site based encounter could be interesting too; for
as a planned encounter in a larger scenario of your own design,
instance, a gamemaster can drop a single cool room with monsters
or add it to an existing scenario. In a wilderness scenario you can
or cool trapped corridor into a scenario pretty easily. They can even
have the team regularly scout a forest; perhaps the team patrols for
replace a location within a module with one of those. But, again,
a goblin camp hidden somewhere in the woods. In a dungeon the
it shouldn’t require too many background assumptions. Dungeon
hunting team could work almost like a rival adventuring party; but
locations are usually pretty safe. As far as length, short works fine.
where adventuring parties seek out combat the team looks mainly to
It’s just one encounter after all. This one wound up a bit on the long
scavenge and pick off the occasional weakened creature. You could
side but that’s mainly because implementing sneaking around and
also use the team as a hook for a larger story arc in your game. A
tracking can get pretty tricky and many gamemasters might not be
pack of more fearsome monsters have displaced goblin tribes from
familiar with the rules (or there might not be much in the way of
their homelands and now the goblins wander nomadically looking
rules) for handling such a situation. By including details on how
for a new place to loot. The hunting party represents some forward
to handle the encounter you help the gamemaster run it more eas-
scouts of these nomads. The players might then have to defeat the
ily; for some gamemasters this winds up educational and hopefully
goblin tribe, defeat the displacing creatures so the goblins can go
helps them handle similar situations in the future, for others it just
home, or defeat both the goblins and the displacing creatures so
means that they don’t need to flip through their books so much
that the players can score more loot and xp.
looking for obscure rules. Do avoid the temptation to turn the
encounter into a story though. Having multiple encounters limits Strategy
your ability to devote lots of attention to the one encounter. Ad Hoc After first picking up the trail the ranger does the object reading
Encounters might be like French fries in many ways but they’re also trick then formulates his plan. He’s a goblin through and through
like espresso, small but highly developed. Gamemasters already have so the plan revolves around stealth, underhandedness, and taking
plenty of other resources for mini-scenarios. Do include multiple advantage of those weaker than him (or at least weaker than him at
encounter levels in submissions. This makes the encounter usable the right time). He’ll track the player group using his track feat; in

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a dungeon he’ll have a harder time actually finding a trail but he’ll team ready ahead of time so they can assault right after the bat-
also have the benefit that the player group has a pretty limited range tle finishes. He likely won’t attack unless at least one character
of options. When tracking fails he relies on common sense to tell has fallen or he suspects that most characters don’t need much
him where to go next. You should decide ahead of time if the ranger to push them over.
already knows the terrain; if yes then he can foresee where the play- 2. If the party has gotten split up for some reason he’ll attack then;
ers might go and even how to flank them if he desires. He might he prefers split-up attacks where the group he hits has only non-
also know where the lethal traps lie and have has team wait nearby armor-wearing spellcasters in it or if the split group has also
to pounce on the players after they’ve sprung the trap. While track- suffered some damage. If he knows the area and the cause of
ing the ranger leads the way. Any other goblins hang back about the split he might also move his team to attack the other group
40 feet (or behind the last corner) so that only the ranger needs to first.
make Move Silent and Hide checks. He can shout for aid and they 3. It might seem natural to attack a party while they sleep but
can run up quickly when needed. Outdoors the other goblins hang player characters can be notoriously resilient while sleeping.
back a bit further, either at the limit of their darkvision at night or Sleeping characters count as helpless; the goblins also get a sur-
roughly 100 feet during the day. Outdoors the ranger waves a white prise round. This gives them time to rush into the area and get
rag (typically shielded from view by his body or a tree) to call them next to their targets. If the goblins include a rogue he’ll target
forward quietly. one sleeping character, the toughest looking fighter or cleric.
They’ll all use coup de grace if possible and if doing so won’t
Detection provoke an attack of opportunity. During the surprise round
In a dungeon environment people typically hear an opponent prior each sleeping character may make a Listen check (DC 20) to
to seeing him. When the ranger first comes into what you consider wake up. Everyone, including sleeping characters, checks initia-
to be possible detection range make a Move Silent check for the tive normally. During subsequent rounds each sleeping charac-
ranger opposed by the players’ Listen skill bonus +10. Lower the dif- ter may make another Listen check (DC 20) to see if they wake
ficulty by 5 for distance (assume 50 feet) and by another 5 if there’s up. You do not receive any actions during a round where you
a closed door between the ranger and the party. Assume that stone wake up. If possible, the ranger tries to have the goblin team
walls eliminate any real chance of the ranger boloing this check. attack from different entrances so he may scout around a bit if
You should also make a Listen check for the ranger to determine he sees the party hunker down.
if he has heard the players. Most players make a lot of noise; if talk-
ing, the DC equals 0 (+5 for distance of 50 feet; +5 more if there’s Prior to any such ambush the goblins prepare any spells and drink
a closed door between them). If the players make some effort to any potions that might help them in the fight. In addition to the
stay quiet but move around normally they likely count as at least above tactics each version of the hunting team includes some notes
wearing medium armor, raising the ranger’s base Listen DC to 5 about how they, in particular, fight.
before the other modifiers. After this initial check the ranger must In the encounter write-ups I include a line with the approximate
make another Move Silently check each hour against the same DC value of major equipment characters can loot from the bodies. I
to stay on the trail without alerting the players. The ranger might assume characters leave behind mundane weapons and armor (un-
decide to move closer; allow him to take 10 on a Move Silent check less worth a great deal) and take along masterwork equipment and
if he’s already made his regular Move Silent check. If the ranger magic items. I list the book values; if the players sell the items they’ll
really wants to check out the group he can peek around a corner; get whatever selling rate you use in your game. I also include the
resolve this as a standard Hide check opposed by the players’ Spot standard gold reward value for an encounter of the appropriate
checks; if they’re busy and not particularly attentive grant the ranger level so that you can determine if you’d like to include some addi-
a +10 cover bonus to his Hide check for just peeking. If the players tional treasure and how much would be appropriate. Note that the
suddenly double back on the ranger he may need to make another equipment values include potions; it’s quite likely that the creatures
Move Silently check, or Hide check, or both to get out of the way be- will use some or even all their potions thus you might want to adjust
fore the players pass him. More than likely though he’ll know ahead for that. This particular encounter also works well for making sure
of time by listening to their movements and speech. that players get something important that they missed from a previ-
Outdoors people typically see their opponent before hearing ous encounter; you can simply assume that the goblins scavenge a
him. Determine the encounter distance for the terrain according bit more efficiently and let the players find the item on the goblin
to the DMG then give the ranger a Spot check to notice the players bodies.
once he gets within that distance. Again, use the rules in the DMG Basic Goblin Hunting Team [EL 2]
to determine the DC of the Spot check (remember also that the Goblin Ranger (Gibbets): Rgr1; CR 1; Small humanoid (goblinoid);
ranger takes a -2 penalty on this check since he’s hiding). If he fails HD 1d10 (10 hp); Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (touch 13, flat 15);
this check then he needs to move closer; once he gets within half Atk shortsword +0 (1d6, 19+/x2) and dagger +0 (1d4, 19+/x2), or
the encounter distance he automatically spots the party (assuming Shortbow +4 (1d6, 20/x3); AL NE; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +1; Str
they’re not hiding) but they may make Spot checks with a DC of 25 + 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
the ranger’s Hide bonus + any modifiers for lighting and so forth. Skills and Feats: Hide +7 (+8), Intuit Direction +3, Listen +5,
Tactics Move Silently +7 (+8), Search +2, Spot +5, Wilderness Lore +5;
If the players discover the ranger they’ll likely attack him and he Alertness
will yell for help from his team. The ranger can probably follow the Special Abilities: Track, Special Two-weapon fighting/
party unnoticed for quite a while though. He’ll try to get a bit more ambidexterity, Favored Enemy (+1 Animals); darkvision 60 ft.;
information about them then seek an opportune time to launch an object reading (Sp) 3/day
ambush. He’ll also want to weigh the benefits of hitting them when Possessions: shortsword, dagger, shortbow with 20 arrows, master-
they’re vulnerable against letting them kill some more monsters for work chain shirt, 2 cure light wounds potions
him. They might choose from one of the following options: If you want to use the sample name, Gibbets got it from his fascina-
1. After a particularly intense fight the ranger moves quickly but tion with devices used to execute people. He likes to object read them
silently back to the team and brings them forward for the am- and find out about the last person who “used” the noose.
bush. They won’t have time to flank but the ranger might be
2 Goblin Thugs: CR 1/4; Small humanoid (goblinoid); HD 1d8 (4
able to tell that the fight is intense from hearing it and get his
hp); Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (touch 12, flat 14); Atk morningstar
d20Zine Page 31
+1 (1d8) or light crossbow +3 (1d8, 19+/x2); AL NE; SV Fort +2, Ref Elite Goblin Hunting Team [EL 8]
+1, Will +0; Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8. Goblin/Wererat Ranger (Gibbets): Rgr4; CR 6; Small shapechanger;
Skills and Feats: Hide +6, Listen +3, Move Silently +4, Spot +3; HD 4d10+8 (34 hp); Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 20 (touch 16, flat 15); Atk
Alertness dual wielded daggers +8/+8 (1d4, 19+/x2), or Shortbow +10 (1d6,
Special Abilities: Darkvision 60 ft. 20/x3); AL LE; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 20, Con 14,
Possessions: morningstar, light crossbow with 20 bolts, studded Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
leather armor Skills and Feats: Hide +12, Intuit Direction +4, Listen +15, Move
Tactics: The goblins prefer a straight ambush and that’s best Silently +13, Search +11, Spot +15, Wilderness Lore +8; Alert-
handled up close so they’ll likely ignore their ranged weapons and ness, Weapon Finesse (dagger)
move straight into melee against sleeping targets. Against alert vic- Special Abilities: Track, Special Two-weapon fighting/
tims they’ll try to find a good location (like a ledge) and use ranged ambidexterity, Favored Enemy (+1 Animals); darkvision 60 ft.;
attacks, focusing on one target at a time (typically mages then clerics object reading (Sp) 3/day; lycanthropic empathy, curse of lycan-
then others). thropy, alternate form, DR 15/silver
Possessions: 2 masterwork daggers, shortbow with 20 arrows, +1
Equipment Value: 350 gp (standard: 600 gp) studded leather, 2 cure light wounds potions, 1 bull’s strength po-
tion
Veteran Goblin Hunting Team [EL 5]
Goblin Ranger (Gibbets): Rgr3; CR 3; Small humanoid (goblinoid); Goblin/Wererat Fighter: Ftr2; CR 4; Small shapechanger; HD
HD 3d10 (21 hp); Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (touch 13, flat 15); Atk 2d10+4 (19 hp); Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 21 (touch 16, flat 16); Atk
dual wielded daggers +4/+4 (1d4, 19+/x2), or Shortbow +6 (1d6, shortsword +9 (1d6, 19+/x2) or shortbow +7 (1d8, 20/x3); AL LE;
20/x3); AL NE; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +0; Str 10, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 11,
Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8. Cha 8.
Skills and Feats: Hide +8 (+9), Intuit Direction +4, Listen +6, Skills and Feats: Climb +6 (+9), Jump +1 (+4), Swim (+2); Weapon
Move Silently +8 (+9), Search +3, Spot +6, Wilderness Lore +7; Focus (shortsword), Weapon Finesse (shortsword), Combat Re-
Alertness, Weapon Finesse (dagger) flexes
Special Abilities: Track, Special Two-weapon fighting/ Special Abilities: Darkvision 60 ft.; lycanthropic empathy, curse of
ambidexterity, Favored Enemy (+1 Animals); darkvision 60 ft.; lycanthropy, alternate form, DR 15/silver
object reading (Sp) 3/day Possessions: masterwork shortsword, light crossbow with 20 bolts,
Possessions: 2 masterwork daggers, shortbow with 20 arrows, mas- studded leather, large wooden shield, 1 bull’s strength potion
terwork chain shirt, 2 cure light wounds potions, 1 bull’s strength Goblin/Wererat Rogue: Rog2; CR 4; Small shapechanger; HD 2d6+2
potion (11 hp); Init +6; Spd 30 ft.; AC 19 (touch 17, flat 13); Atk shortsword
Goblin Fighter: Ftr1; CR 1; Small humanoid (goblinoid); HD 1d10+1 +0 (1d6, 19+/x2), or shortbow +8 (1d6, 20/x3); AL LE; SV Fort +1,
(11 hp); Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 19 (touch 13, flat 17); Atk shortsword Ref +9, Will +1; Str 8, Dex 22, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
+4 (1d6, 19+/x2) or shortbow +3 (1d8, 20/x3); AL NE; SV Fort +3, Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Disable Device +5, Hide +15, Listen
Ref +2, Will +0; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8. +14, Move Silently +15, Open Lock +11, Search +13, Spot +14;
Skills and Feats: Climb -1 (+3), Jump -1 (+3), Swim (+2); Weapon Alertness
Focus (shortsword), Weapon Finesse (shortsword) Special Abilities: sneak attack +1d6, evasion; darkvision 60 ft.;
Special Abilities: Darkvision 60 ft. lycanthropic empathy, curse of lycanthropy, alternate form, DR
Possessions: shortsword, light crossbow with 20 bolts, chain shirt, 15/silver
large wooden shield Possessions: shortsword, dagger, masterwork shortbow with 20
arrows and 5 +1 flaming arrows, leather armor
Goblin Rogue: Rog1; CR 1; Small humanoid (goblinoid); HD 1d6 (6
hp); Init +3; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (touch 14, flat 13); Atk shortsword -1 Tactics: The elite hunting team is a bunch of goblin wererats; this
(1d6, 19+/x2), or shortbow +3 (1d6, 20/x3); AL NE; SV Fort +0, Ref makes them pretty formidable in the skills and stealth department.
+5, Will +1; Str 8, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8. They’ll spend almost all their time in hybrid form so all the attri-
Skills and Feats: Climb +3, Disable Device +4, Hide +11, Listen butes above assume that. Remember that their attacks with slashing
+5, Move Silently +11, Open Lock +7, Search +4, Spot +5; Alert- weapons can inflict the curse (DC 15 Fortitude save). Most players
ness can easily bypass the elite team’s damage reduction and the team
Special Abilities: sneak attack +1d6; darkvision 60 ft. will know this; however, the fighter is an opportunity attack machine
Possessions: shortsword, dagger, shortbow with 20 arrows, leather and they have pretty good armor classes so they’ll risk melee in or-
armor der to get at vulnerable targets; the rogue will hang back and use his
bow though.
Tactics: The veteran hunting team is more willing to jump into
melee but otherwise operates much the same as the basic hunting Equipment Value: 3,850 gp (standard: 3,400 gp); note that by this
team. The ranger might also trade off with the rogue at times when level players may very well leave behind all non-magical equipment;
scouting the player group; for instance, if the ranger wants to get a if yours do this that would make the equipment value about 2,500
look at the party he’ll send the rogue ahead to do so (since he has gp; you could easily upgrade the ranger’s daggers to +1 weapons and
better Hide and Move Silently skills). stay around the standard reward value. 
Equipment Value: 1,250 gp (standard: 1,600 gp)

d20Zine Page 32
The Gradebook
By Jeff Craigmile
D20zine staff writer

T
he World of Raskia is hosted by AARG.net, which is an in-
The World of Raskia (http://www.aarg.net/raskia/index.shtml)
teresting site in and of itself and warrants further review at
a later time. The site was created by Erik Arneson. Raskia is
a D&D game world that is very well designed and would probably
be a great deal of fun to play in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear
that this site has been updated in a while. Hopefully the campaign
continues.
The Raskia site is laid out in a very easy-to-read manner and is
quite enjoyable. All of the links appear to function well. There are a
lot of great pages involving the world’s design, NPC’s and PC’s. It has
a great deal of what a lot of players undoubtedly look for in a cam-
paign site. A little more is needed to make it possible for another
DM to run a world of Raskia campaign.
What makes this site terrific is the game world information. Al-
though this was apparently a Second Edition D&D game, it looks
like a lot of the conversion work has been successful. There are tons
of NPC’s that could easily be adapted to other campaigns. Some of
them are very well filled out. Races are another point that is very
well laid out and adaptable. The maps provided are also very help-
ful. Languages and other character creation items are fairly well
designed, too. A lot of the locations are fairly well fleshed-out and
exciting. This looks like a fun place to adventure. Nice calendar!
The NPC search and site search features are nice. They are ex-
tremely efficient and useful. These features are nice if you’re look-
ing for an NPC to borrow or want to check a house rule.
The only obvious technical glitch is that the left hand menu gets
lost on the calendar page. It is possible that not all computers view
this page in the same way. The only other change that would be
suggested is to change the link color to more effectively distinguish
it from colored text. Readers might find themselves clicking on
section headings accidentally mistaking them for a link. Like many
other web sites World of Raskia is very well designed in terms of text,
color, and layout, but lacking graphics and artwork. Artwork would
be especially helpful in the section dealing with races.
There are links to buy the various Core Rulebooks and character
sheets. This is a handy feature provided that the player does not
already own them. There are links to buy character sheets in at least
two places. It might be more effective to put these links on a sepa-
rate page.
Suggestions for improvement would include updates to the PC’s
and NPC’s. They have a fascinating story going on. More artwork in
any of the character sections would be great. Finally, more details on
equipment, spells and unique prestige classes would add even more
depth to the setting and be a lot of fun to read and share with other
players and DM’s.
Overall Ratings: (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best)
Site Design: 3.5 (Well thought-out. Easy to get around.)
Site Contents: 3.0 (Needs more art, non-text graphics, and pos-
sibly game stats.)
Content Quality: 3.75 (What’s there is very good. Lots of great
characters.)
Originality: 3.5
Overall Score: 3.25 (B-) 

d20Zine Page 33
Elemental Alchemist
Prestige Class
By Steven Creech

Elemental Alchemist (also known as Elementalists) Magical poison immunity: At 3rd level, elementalists become im-

E
mune to all magically enchanted or magically derived poisons.
lemental alchemists (or elementalists, as they prefer to be
called) represent perfection in the science of alchemy. Those Alchemist’s Insight: 4th level elemental alchemists gain a clarity to
who attain the highest class levels are able to exactly identify examine any item by using any of their five senses and determine the
the components used in the construction of an item simply by study- exact composition and amount of the substances used to make that
ing it or using their sense of hearing, smell, taste, or touch. Further- item. The alchemist must spend one full round in concentrative
more, an elementalist who achieves that ultimate level of perfection study of the item in order to make the identification of the compo-
becomes so attuned to the elements that everything is comprised nents. Spending an additional full round in study will discern the
of; he can alter the molecular and elemental structure of anything. amounts of each substance used.
Elementalists are the alchemists of myth and lore, the ones with the Elemental Transmutation: At 5th level, an elementalist’s skills reach
Midas touch that can turn lead into gold. perfection. He is so completely attuned towards the molecular ar-
Elementalists are very devoted to the study and improvement rangement of matter that he can change an item’s very composition.
of alchemical science. They spend much of their time deep in By holding or touching two items of different composition, he can
research and experimentation. They will often use adventuring par- force an exchange of their elemental molecular structures. For ex-
ties to raid old ruins and tombs in search of lost lore that may hold ample, an elemental alchemist that holds a gold piece in one hand
secrets of ancient alchemical processes or clues to new potions. In and a steel crowbar in the other can use this ability to change the
exchange, they often provide the adventuring party with vital po- gold piece into steel and the crowbar into gold. The amount of ma-
tions that may be needed. Only on rare occasions will an elemental terial that may be transmuted is limited to the sum of both objects
alchemist be found adventuring inside a dungeon. If he is, then being no greater in weight than his Constitution score. If the item or
that which he seeks is of extreme importance and trusted to no one items carry a magical dweomer, such as an enchanted weapon, then
but himself. a Will save is allowed against the elementalist’s Constitution score to
Sorcerers, wizards, and loremasters most commonly select this negate the attempt. The channeling of the energies throughout his
prestige class. However, it is not unheard of for clerics, druids, or a body is quite taxing and therefore can only be attempted once per
rare ranger to take levels in Elemental alchemy. day. Once an elementalist has transmuted an object, he must rest
for 1d6 hours due to exhaustion.
Requirements:
-Spellcaster 7th level, Constitution of 13 or greater. Level Base Attack Fort Ref Will Special Abilities
-Skills: Alchemy (5 ranks), Knowledge (arcana) (5 ranks), Knowl- Bonus Save Save Save
edge (elemental metallurgy) (5 ranks), and Knowledge (poi- 1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Acid Resistance 5
sons) (5 ranks).
-Feats: Brew Poisons*, Brew Potion, and Poison Immunity*
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Non-magical poison
-Alignment: Any immunity
3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Magical poison im-
Hit Die: d4 munity
Class Skills/Key Abilities: 4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Alchemist’s Insight
Alchemy (INT), Concentration (CON), Decipher Script (INT, ex- 5 +2 +1 +1 +4 Elemental Transmuta-
clusive skill), Gather Information (CHA), Heal (WIS), Knowledge tion
(all skills taken individually) (INT), Listen (WIS), Spellcraft (INT),
Spot (WIS), and Use Magic Device (CHA, exclusive skill). *Open Game Content from Traps and Treachery by Fantasy Flight
Games. 
Skill points at each level: 4 + INT modifier.

Class features:
Armor and Weapon Proficiency: Elemental alchemists gain no pro-
ficiencies in either armor or weapons. Armor check penalties do
apply to any relevant skill check.
Acid resistance: At 1st level, an elementalist gains Acid Resistance 5.
Non-magical poison immunity: 2nd level elemental alchemists
develop a natural immunity to all poisons that are not magical in
nature due to consistent exposure to poisonous substance used in
alchemy.

d20Zine Page 34
Around the Corner...
By Steven Creech
Here are some previews of what is coming from some of your favorite A thousand years before Numa was founded, shrouded behind
publishers. mountains thick with swirling mist and endless deserts full of fabu-
lous treasure, tribes of nomads built a fabulous culture of intrigue

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)


and mystery. Gradually, they formed what would become the Empire
of the Crescent Moon and grew strong, until one day they turned
July releases - themselves loose upon the rest of the known world and changed the
face of Theah forever.
*Farscape RPG At last, you can go where only the most daring have ventured and
(d20 System) see what precious few have lived to tell. Within these pages lie the
That’s right! Sci-Fi Network’s hottest television series is now an RPG! long-awaited secrets of the Crescent Empire, but be warned - this
Play in a world of villainous Peacekeepers, mysterious aliens, and is not for the fainthearted or weak-willed. Temptation and danger
renegade prisoners in stolen Leviathans. This 320-page, full-color lurk in surprising places and the price of knowledge can empty your
hardbound book is full of information on the people, places and purse and your veins in the flash of a pair of dark eyes! (128 pages,
things of the Farscape universe, and utilizes the innovative D20 softbound)
System. August releases -
*Way of the Shugenja Fortunes & Winds
(L5R RPG d20 Supplement) $24.95 (L5R RPG d20 Supplement) $24.95
“One cannot command the power of magic. One can only hope to under- “Open your eyes, little samurai. Now worlds await you.”
stand its secrets.”
Fortunes and Winds opens up new worlds for players already famil-
More than just a book of spells, Way of the Shugenja offers inside iar with Legend of the Five Rings ten worlds to be precise. The Spir-
looks on the shugenja class. Magical secrets, items, and kiho are just it Realms vaguely hinted at in previous supplements are illustrated
a fraction of what you’ll find in this immersive tome. New prestige here in detail. The Realm of the Hungry Dead, the Realm of Trick-
classes, ranks and feats help to customize your shugenja to your sters, even foul Jigoku, home of the demonic oni; all are presented
tastes. Surround your shugenja with history by enrolling them in in this volume along with their bizarre inhabitants. How do you get
one of dozens of newly detailed shugenja schools. (96 pages, soft- to these realms? What will you find there? Most importantly once
bound) you are there, how do you get home again? Fortunes and Winds
answers all these questions and more. (96 pages, softbound)
The Shadowforce Archer Foundation
• Compatible with the Gold Edition timeline, but contains infor-
(Spycraft Role-playing Game) $19.95
mation usable in any L5R campaign.
“That’s quite all right. We all play the Game here...” • Contains rules for entering and adventuring in Rokugan’s ten
Delve into the very heart of intrigue with the first sourcebook for Spirit Realms, adding new possibilities for longtime players.
the Shadowforce Archer RPG, The Archer Foundation. Learn the • Contains information on Rokugani myth and legend, includ-
stunning secrets the world’s protectors have been hiding behind ing the divine Fortunes... and how to become one.
their web of espionage for the last fifty years, and take an incred- • Compatible with the traditional Alderac game system and the
ible tour inside their remote Australian complex. Discover the true popular d20 System.
goals of the most pervasive organization on the planet, and the real • Strong continuity with the L5R CCG.
threats they protect us from, and the secret history they seek out and
Heroes, Villains & Monsters of Théah
exploit. Included in this 128-page sourcebook are detailed Cham-
(Pirates and Musketeers d20 RPG (NEW!)) $24.95
ber and Inter-Chamber protocols, several key Foundation locations
The corners of Theah hold dangers you can scarcely fathom.
across the globe, and new Agent classes, feats, gadgets, and more.
(128 pages, softbound) Heroes, Villains, and Monsters of Théah contains a plethora of new
threats and dangers for your swashbuckling campaign. Some wear
Mercenaries human faces, such as the sinister Prince Villanova and the dreaded
(d20 System Supplement) $30.00 Captain Reis. Others are monsters with no earthly origin: the man-
“Don’t fear a powerful man, fear a desperate man...” eating sirens, the horrible Schattenmann, and the inhuman Sidhe.
Now, uncover their darkest secrets... and learn about the brave men
The ultimate 304-page man-for-hire guide, Mercenaries is full of and women who stand against them. (96 pages, softbound)
the best d20 System has to offer: New classes, races, equipment, • Over 100 new feats.
spells, monsters, mounts, rules for creating mercenary companies, • Over 80 new Character and Prestige classes.
tracking, and the work that men do for a few coins. Also contains a • Rules for explosives and Poisons.
complete collection of tables and charts from AEG and official 3rd • New artifacts and Magic items.
Edition rules including spells, equipment and domains. (304 pages,
softbound) September releases -

Crescent Empire Soldier & Wheelman Class Guide


(7th Sea RPG) $24.95 (Spycraft d20 RPG) $24.95
For six hundred years, it has remained a mystery to Theah... until Life in the fast lane has never looked this good!
now.

d20Zine Page 35
Expand the possibilities at your gaming table with this handy volume magic items are the treasures of a sleeping mind.
for soldiers, wheelmen, and any character who can pick up a gun • Spirit Cultivation is the Gleaner’s art of capturing the fleeting
or hop behind the wheel of a sports car. This sourcebook for the remnants of a soul, and slowly teaching it the ways of power.
Spycraft RPG offers you a glimpse into the lives of these freewheel- Gleaners nuture these souls first in a cloak of remnants, then
ing action junkies, from constructing the perfect combatant with transfer them into reliquaries to invoke the skills and spells of
the Spycraft rules to how to use their skills to maximum advantage. the spirit, and finally use focal charms to control spirits with the
Included are hundreds of new agent options, many for use with power of the gods themselves!
any class, as well as new core and prestige classes, career paths, and • Sympathetic Magic uses ritual points to toss spells across conti-
much, much more. (96 pages, softbound) nents -- all a Mage needs is a lock of hair to curse an enemy for
a lifetime.
River of Blood
(d20 Supplement) $14.95
For generations beyond counting, the River Purvaas has known the
Second World Simulations
pain and suffering of war. As the key border between three perpetu- June releases -
ally feuding kingdoms, so many battles have been fought over its
bridges and fords and on both of its banks that all sides have lost Bodies and Souls: 20 Templates (pdf release)
count. To everyone in this corner of the world, it is not the River Bodies and Souls: 20 Templates” provides 20 creature templates for
Purvaas, but the River of Blood. the d20 system; it’s a strange mix of horror, comic book, and B sci-fi
But now a new horror rises to haunt the banks of the Purvaas. movie creatures that can fit in a variety of settings, from fantasy to far
All three combatants report that terrifying abominations- undead, future. Templates are some of the most powerful and flexible tools
in numbers and strength never before seen in these lands- have at- in the d20 system and this book is devoted to them.
tacked their soldiers and civilians alike. Whispers spread throughout The book includes possessions, arcane diseases and corruptions,
the cities and countryside: The dead rise to haunt those who waged and mystical powers. Several of the templates have special rules
the wars that slew them! The three kingdoms have made hasty peace for application to player characters; these should help smooth out
while they search for heroes to deliver them from this peril... the problems that typically crop up when allowing players to take
(48 pages, softbound) templates. In addition to the following templates the book includes
rules for making exorcism an exciting conflict and guidelines for
Magic how to turn any outsider into a possessor. The templates marked
(d20 Supplement) $26.95 PC ready include alternative rules to ease the use of them for player
Magic details the lesser known forms of magic: Witchcraft, Thauma- characters.
turgy, Dwarven stone mages, Elementalism, Chi Masters, and more. Atomic Elemental Scions:
With details on creating your own spells and magic items and rules Bonesmith Scion of Flame (PC ready)
for new spell casters, this book picks up where the Player’s Hand- Cutter (PC ready) Scion of Stone (PC ready)
book left off. Magic is the perfect addition to any campaign. (208 Demon Flock Scion of Water (PC ready)
pages, softbound) Faded Scion of Wind (PC ready)
Fly Lord
Atlas Games
Standard Possessions:
Gray Marble Succubus Possession
Insect Scion (PC ready) Kyton Possession
June releases - Machine Coded Ghaele Hitcher
Occult Lore Mechanized
(d20 Supplement) $29.95 Rabid
Occult Lore, the Penumbra sourcebook of new D20 magic systems, Red Candescence
is scheduled to be available in June. The 240 page hardcover will Tiger Scion (PC ready)
retail for $29.95.
Occult Lore is the definitive tome of alternate D20 magic systems. Wizards of the Coast
This 240-page hardcover tome contains new spells, magic items, E-Tools: Character and Monster Generator $29.95
creatures, PC and NPC classes, prestige classes, domains, and in- D&D E-Tools (MSRP $29.99) will give Dungeon Masters and game
depth rules for ten new magic traditions. Here’s just a few: enthusiasts more control over their own campaigns with the ability
to track multiple players and create characters, monsters and trea-
• Astrology places the wisdom of the stars into the hands of mor- sures in accordance with D&D rules.
tals; horoscopes can predict a character’s future, the most aus- The D&D E-Tools CD-ROM, originally announced as D&D Master
picious time to explore a dungeon, or let an Astrologer control Tools, is an essential tool for Dungeon Masters to generate charac-
the subject of a nativity from afar. ters, monsters, treasures, and encounters which can be cataloged for
• Elementalism turns the forces of air, earth, fire, and water to easy and quick reference. This software accessory will offer Dungeon
the will of the spellcaster, until the Elementalist tranforms her- Masters and gamers an extensive database and the chance to pre-
self into one of the elemental creatures she commands! pare multiple stats for characters and nonplayer characters (NPC).
• Herbalism is the craft of the Wylderwitch and the Grand D&D E-Tools will have an advanced and comprehensive character
Herbalist -- the plants of the field become healing poultices and monster generator and valuable other options, such as a trea-
and powders, magical concoctions that can extend or shorten sure generator but will not incorporate the mapper function that
life, or even Verdex that “bind” spells for later use. Occult Lore was to be included in the Master Tools software suite.
features Baird’s Botanical, an extensive appendix describing “The mapper function originally slated for this product was re-
twenty mundane and magical plants and the concoctions Herb- moved because we felt it was not as useful for a paper-based roleplay-
alists can distill from them. ing game as originally thought,” said Peter Kim, associate business
• Oneiromancy grants access to the dream worlds where id- manager for roleplaying games at Wizards of the Coast. “We were
hounds roam, Lucid Dreamers manipulate dream reality to fit able to create a very practical software tool for Dungeon Masters and
their own deepest desires, and secret knowledge or transient gamers alike that will enhance their roleplaying experiences.” 

d20Zine Page 36
The Critic’s
Corner
By Steven Creech

W
elcome to the d20zine! issue of The Critic’s Corner. Just as
with The Gamer’s Corner feature article earlier, this review is
merely an extension of my column on the d20 Magazine
Rack. Today’s review is for Armies of the Abyss by Erik Mona. Pub-
lished by Green Ronin Publishing (www.greenronin.com), this 64-
page supplement represents volume two in their Book of Fiends series
and retails for $14.95.
Armies of the Abyss contains 47 demonic creatures, 10 new clerical
domains, 9 new spells, and a new character class complete with four
feats solely individualized for that class. In addition, there is some
very good information for using demons effectively in a campaign.
I have to say that this collection of demons is by far viler than
those listed in the monster books put out by Wizards of the Coast.
My favorites from this book are Armageddon Beast, Eurynomus the
Corpse Eater, Razorwire Golem, Jahi, and Rahu the Tormentor.
Just as with Legions of Hell, Green Ronin has delivered a quality
product that will leave your players pleading for mercy when you
drop them into the Abyss and hit them with the goodies from this
book. Armies of the Abyss is a highly recommended addition to any
GM’s collection.
The Critic’s Rating: (maximum 5pts for each category)
Amount of Open Game Content: 3.5
d20 Compliance: 5.0
Originality: 5.0
Playability: 5.0
Value for the Dollar: 5.0
Overall: 4.70
Final Grade: A
**Available at FRP Games (www.frpgames.com) for only $11.95**

F RP Games
Your Gaming Source for everything at 25-30% off retail prices!!
www.frpgames.com

d20Zine Page 37
OPEN GAME LICENSE
Version 1.0a
The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright
2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc (“Wizards”). All Rights Reserved.
1. Definitions: (a)”Contributors” means the copyright and/or trademark own-
ers who have contributed Open Game Content; (b)”Derivative Material” means
NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.
copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into
7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as
other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension,
an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent
upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing
Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not
work may be recast, transformed or adapted; (c) “Distribute” means to reproduce,
to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trade-
license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute;
mark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly
(d)”Open Game Content” means the game mechanic and includes the methods,
licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or
procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the
Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does
Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content
not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any
clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor, and means any work
Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest
covered by this License, including translations and derivative works under copyright
in and to that Product Identity.
law, but specifically excludes Product Identity. (e) “Product Identity” means product
8. Identification: If you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate
and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts;
which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Game Content.
creatures characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents,
9. Updating the License: Wizards or its designated Agents may publish updated
language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts,
versions of this License. You may use any authorized version of this License to copy,
themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names
modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any ver-
and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas,
sion of this License.
likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment,
10 Copy of this License: You MUST include a copy of this License with every copy
magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and
of the Open Game Content You Distribute.
any other trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as Product identity by
11. Use of Contributor Credits: You may not market or advertise the Open Game
the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game
Content using the name of any Contributor unless You have written permission from
Content; (f) “Trademark” means the logos, names, mark, sign, motto, designs that are
the Contributor to do so.
used by a Contributor to identify itself or its products or the associated products con-
12 Inability to Comply: If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms
tributed to the Open Game License by the Contributor (g) “Use”, “Used” or “Using”
of this License with respect to some or all of the Open Game Content due to statute,
means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create
judicial order, or governmental regulation then You may not Use any Open Game
Derivative Material of Open Game Content. (h) “You” or “Your” means the licensee
Material so affected.
in terms of this agreement.
13 Termination: This License will terminate automatically if You fail to comply with
2. The License: This License applies to any Open Game Content that contains a
all terms herein and fail to cure such breach within 30 days of becoming aware of the
notice indicating that the Open Game Content may only be Used under and in terms
breach. All sublicenses shall survive the termination of this License.
of this License. You must affix such a notice to any Open Game Content that you Use.
14 Reformation: If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such
No terms may be added to or subtracted from this License except as described by the
provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.
License itself. No other terms or conditions may be applied to any Open Game Con-
15 COPYRIGHT NOTICE
tent distributed using this License.
Open Game License v 1.0 Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
3.Offer and Acceptance: By Using the Open Game Content You indicate Your ac-
d20 System Reference Document Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors
ceptance of the terms of this License.
Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on original material by Dave
4. Grant and Consideration: In consideration for agreeing to use this License, the
Arneson and E. Gary Gygax
Contributors grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license with
Arms & Armor Copyright 2001, Bastion Press, Inc.
the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.
Traps & Treachery Copyright 2001, Fantasy Flight, Inc.
5.Representation of Authority to Contribute: If You are contributing original
Deadlands d20 Copyright 2001, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Inc.
material as Open Game Content, You represent that Your Contributions are Your
Dragonstar: Starfarer’s Handbook Copyright 2001, Fantasy Flight, Inc.
original creation and/or You have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by
d20zine, Volume 1, June 2002 Copyright 2002, d20 Magazine Rack
this License.
6.Notice of License Copyright: You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE por- The entire contents of d20Zine are considered Open Content with the exception of
tion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any the “Around the Corner” section and following words or phrases: “Dragonstar”, “Star
Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add Trek”, “kender”, “Dragonlance”, “d20Zine!”, and “d20 Magazine Rack”. “d20Zine”
the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder’s name to the COPYRIGHT and “d20 Magazine Rack” are also to be considered Product Identity.

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