Monday, July 29, 2013

The First Language

The common language in the world of Seralin is a constructed language: conceived and kept up to date by the Society for Language, Vocabulary and Idiom, or SoLVI in short. This Guild changes the common vocabulary and grammar, and publishes a new edition of The Green Tome, almost every decade. There are now a total of eighty-six (86) editions of The Green Tome, all different from each other - sometimes only a little, but often greatly.

Common was originally designed to be easy to learn and to be understood by speakers of all existing languages​​. But in the dozens of editions SoLVI has released the language has changed so much that no one really knows what exactly is correct. There are dozens of versions of Common. The speakers of different versions can more-or-less understand each other, but is not really a common language that everyone uses, which was how it was intended.

But few people know there are no eighty-six, but eighty-seven versions of the common language. The first version of Common was written nearly 2000 years ago Dr. Alandra Sannie, a linguist at the University of Pretomournon. She based the language on a number of ancient scrolls adventurers had found in sea caves on the Silk Sea coast. After she had studied the roles, Alandra came to the conclusion that the unknown, ancient language they were written in was an ancestor to many - if not all - modern languages ​. She was amazed at the clarity and simplicity of the language, and decided to use it as a base for a new language that would serve as a common language to all people of Seralin.

Constructing the language took Alandra many years, but eventually she presented her life's work: The Grey Tome. The academics of Pretomournon received Alandra’s work enthusiastically, and the university immediately organized lectures in which Alandra could teach her new language to others.
No one survived the first lecture. Alandra had never spoken the language during her studies, and did not know the language was only safe as long as it was written. Pronounced out loud the words contained terrible power. Alandra was right: this flawless language could conjure beautiful images in her audience with only a few words, but her students gouged  out their own eyes so they didn’t have to see those images. Others stabbed sharpened pencils in their ears not to hear her words. Others jumped out of the window and, as this took place on the fourth floor, fell dead on impact or died on the way to hospital.

The Grey Tome was safely hidden in a vault and not until a thousand years later was brought out to consult while writing the first version of The Green Tome.  Linguists have paid more attention which elements of the language they used, so that their new language wouldn’t have the same terrible consequences. Yet, there are still traces of the Language of Death found in the current common language. That’s why words can hurt.

(The books below use the ‘Reading Eldritch Tomes’ rules from Realms of Crawling Chaos.)

The Scrolls from the Sea Caves
The original scrolls that a group of adventurers found in the sea caves on the Silk Sea coast. The five scrolls are all extremely fragile and must be treated with great caution. Someone rolling out a scroll must make a Dexterity check or the scroll crumbles to dust.

Spells: Power Word: Blind, Power Word: Kill, Power Word: Stun.

Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
6 days

Alandra’s Copy of the Scrolls
Alandra copied the fragile, damaged-by-silt scrolls in two thin notebooks bound in black leather. The text is almost the same as that in the scrolls, but it differs in a few key points: Alandra didn’t know the language in which the scrolls were written and therefore made ​​a few mistakes. The entire text has been annotated, and Alandra included a number of spells that were not in the original.
These books are long since removed from the vaults of the University of Pretomournon. Where they are at this time is unknown.

Spells: Confusion, Power Word: Blind, Power Word: Stun, Read Language, Read Magic.

Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
5 days

The Grey Tome
The Grey Tome is a thick book with a gray dust jacket. The pages are yellowing and gnawed at by worms and rats, but for a 2000 year old book is in good shape. It’s still in the vaults of the University of Pretomournon. Since Alandra wrote it, an unknown number of incomplete copies were made, that might pop up anywhere the Labyrinth Lord wishes.

This version of the First Language is perhaps the most dangerous: it has the power of Death Speak, coupled with the uncontrollability of people who want to use that power without understanding it. The words in this book easily describe the clearest images, but the images are of the sort the human brain cannot comprehend and have insanity as a result.

Spells: Confusion, Fear, Power Word: Blind, Power Word; Kill, Power Word: Stun.

Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
4 days

The Green Tome (first edition)
The first edition of The Green Tome is a book of great size with a green leather cover. It is much thinner than the Grey Book, and a lot less complete. The linguist who compiled the book was Somin Gennek, one of the founders of SoLVI. Gennek used The Grey Tome as an example to make his version of Common as clear and as easy to learn, but he was fully aware of the dangers that the use of First Language entailed. He was very careful, and the result was a common language that possessed only some dangerous supernatural properties.

Spells: Confusion, Read Language, Scare.

Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
2 days

Death Speak
This is the first language, from which all other languages have evolved. It is an ancient tongue of the dead, and it’s words are words of pain and corruption. It’s an powerful language and it can convey concepts and feelings, but it is difficult to pronounce.

Anyone who tries to pronounce Death Speak must make an Intelligence check with a -4 penalty. Failure means everyone hearing the words, including the speaker himself, suffers 3d6 damage and gets the irresistible urge to commit suicide. This works as a suggestion spell, but with a harmful act (obviously).

If the roll succeeds, the words of the speaker convey the emotions he wanted to express. This has one of the following effects:

Confusion: As the magic-user spell of the same name.

Fear: As the magic-user spell of the same name.

Joy: All people in the audience get a +2 Charisma and a +2 on morale rolls for 2d6 turns.

Love: The members of the audience get romantic feelings for each other and the speaker. Hilarity ensues.

Rage: The members of the audience go berserk, as described in the dweomer of rage spell, and start attacking each other.

Sorrow: All people in the audience get a -3 on all die rolls for 2d6 turns.

Learning Death Speak: To learn the First Language, someone should have a teacher who already knows it, or have access to The Silk Sea Scrolls, Alandra’s copy of them, or The Grey Book. The pupil must study for a total of 200 hours to learn the language. Then, even a rudimentary knowledge of the language is gained, and Intelligence checks to pronounce it are made with an additional -3 penalty (for a total of -6). This extra penalty will disappear over time, provided the character Death Speaks on a regular basis.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New "Monster": Green Fairy

Green Fairy (Absinthe Fairy)
No. Enc.:
60’ (20’)
180’ (60’)
Armor Class:
Hit Dice:
1d4 hit points
1 (intoxication)
See below
Hoard Class:

These 1’tall girls are cousins to sprites and pixies, and are associated with drinking hard liquor. They are not malevolent, but their naughty mischiefs show they do not understand the limits of the (demi)human body concerning pain, alcohol, sex, and being trampled on by pink elephants.

Invisible: Green fairies are naturally invisible, but can be seen by anyone who is at least a little tipsy. Green fairies may act freely, including attacking, without becoming visible. Therefore they always surprise their victims. Sober people cannot affect a green fairy.

Intoxication: The green fairy makes this attack by touching her victim. On a successful attack, the fairy may slide the victim down one level on the Absinthe Intoxication Chart.

Intoxication Level
Other Effects

-3 / -15%
Victim sees and may affect the fairy
-6 / -30%
Movement is halved , summon pink elephants
-10 / -50%

No actions possible

*On all die rolls made.

Summon Pink Elephants: When the victim is Drunk, the green fairy may summon 1d4 pink elephants. These have the same stats as a regular elephant, but have a fly speed of 150’ (50’), and can shoot soap bubbles out of their trunks. On a successful hit, the victim must make a save vs. paralysis or becomes trapped inside a bubble for 1d6 rounds. Pink Elephants can only be seen and affected by characters who are Drunk.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Three Sad Wizards

My 7-year old son Mathijs is eager to play D&D, so he sent an e-mail to my players group asking if they wanted to play. He sent me an e-mail asking if I could “provide the map”.
At first I thought I could run a part of Castle Verge or some other adventure I had already lying around, but then it occurred to me I better play something with a little less necrotic mutations, virginal sacrifice, and prostitutes than I normally run. So I decided to write something new, more suitable for a 7-year old but hopefully, still cool.

The adventure “Three Sad Wizards” consists of three mini-dungeons:

Bymen the Botanomancer (plant mage) lives in a little shack in a garden with beautiful flowers. But when he experimented with fertilizer potions brewed by Ermard the Entomomancer, the plants grew bigger and more dangerous than expected. Now terrible carnivorous plants grow in the garden: Archer bushes, strangleweed, vampire roses, and more make the garden unsafe.

Ermard the Entomomancer (insect mage) has many rare specimens of insects and arachnids in his underground laboratory. However, unkown to him, one of his giant spiders was really an arachnea. She has opened all the cages and now all the insects are running free in the house: Giant centipedes, a crab spider, beetle swarms and more. And there’s the aranea: a beautiful woman called Andrea.

Ostal the Ornithomancer (bird mage) lives in a tower. His birds somehow escaped out of their cages. Most of the flew away to freedom, with the exception of an axe beak, that roams the corridors of the tower. Unknown to Ostal, the birds were set free by an Evil Doppelganger of Lessie, his apprentice. Lessie looked into a mirror of opposition, and was set prisoner by Evil Lessie. When the Player Characters come to the tower expecting to fight birds, they will have to pass traps and Evil Lessie’s wand of wonder in a Home Alone scenario.

I found it more difficult to write an all-ages adventure than I anticipated. But in the end, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I like the concept of three mini-dungeons the Player Characters can visit in any order, or not-at-all, if they don’t want to. There’s a little village, which I’ll give a bit of detail, and in the forest in which Ermard’s dungeon is located there are a few beast lairs.

All-in-all it’s one of the more complete adventure’s I have written. After we have played it, I’ll probably flesh it out a bit and put a pdf up on my blog.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's in the mage's mailbox?

Random Mail Generator
A letter from mum: Dear son, It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from you. You haven’t written me in a long time and you never come to visit. Is it that much trouble to come to tea  now-and-then? I've talked with Margaret about it and she think’s it’s shameful how little attention you pay me. Love, your mother.
An advertising brochure: Buy a can of brown tea at Mademoiselle Vita’s and get a bag of green tea worth 5 copper pieces for free!
A bill of 25 gp of the local laundry service. (Expensive, but magicians get very dirty).
A letter from a young man from Pretomournon who would like to apprentice to the mage.
A map of the village of Tealief.
An invitation to the birthday party of Mr. Sonder Klomt, in two days.
A letter that begins: I finally found the formula to turn potatoes into gold! Start as follows… But the letter has been wet and the rest is smudged and  illegible.
A letter from a little boy: Dear wizard-sir, can I borrow your wand of fireballs? Dink is bullying me all the time and I want to teach him a lesson. Greetings, Timmie.
Spam: Visit the casino! If you visit the casino you get 30 gold pieces of me to try our games. All you have to do is fill in the reply card below and return it.
Fanmail: I'm your biggest fan! You are the best magic-user in the country! No, in the world! Can I have your autograph?
Hatemail: You’re stupid! You're the worst magic-user in the country! No, in the world! Go jump into a ditch!
A chess move: Knight to C3. Checkmate! Hahahahaha!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The spells of Ermard the Entomomancer

The mage Ermard the Entomomancer lives in the cellar of a ruined keep a hour out of Tealove village. His specialties are insects, spiders, and bug magic. In his spellbooks are common spells like web and delay poison, as well as some unique spells researched by Ermard himself.

False Tremors

Level: Magic-user 1
Duration: 1d6 rounds
Range: 60’

This spell causes small tremors in one spot designated by the caster. At the same time, any vibrations the caster makes are masked. Blind creatures that detect their prey by sensing tremors (giant centipedes, for example) will mistake the false vibrations in the ground for a moving creature  in contact with the ground, and will focus on that spot.

Swarm Form

Level: Druid  2, Magic-user 2
Duration: 1 round per level
Range: 0

As soon as this spell is cast, the caster’s body breaks up into a number of crawling ants, beetles, or spiders equal to his age. The caster’s clothes and possessions fall unchanged to the ground. The insect swarm occupies an area of 10’x30’ and may engulf an opponent. It does not need to roll to hit, and inflicts 2 points of damage per round to the person engulfed. Double damage is dealt to characters wearing no armor. The swarm does not sustain damage from weapons, but fire, such as that from a torch, does 1d4 hit points damage. Other fire-based and cold-based attacks do normal damage. Smoke or water may be used to ward off a swarm.

After the duration ends, all surviving insects crawl back in the clothes of the caster and transform back into his body. If more than half the bugs survive, the body will be intact. If more than half of the insects is slain, the body may miss a finger, hand, or other body part.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The spells of Ostal the Ornithomancer

The mage Ostal has dedicated his life to the study of birds. He lives with his apprentice, a 10-year old girl by the name of Lessie, in a tower with many nests, birdhouses and a dovecote on the roof.
His spellbooks contain some unique bird-related spells, researched by Ostal himself.

Carrier Pigeon
Level: Magic-user 1
Duration: One delivery
Range: 40’ per level

Casting this spell calls to the caster the closest bird, be it a normal bird or of the giant variety. The bird will be friendly or non-threatening to the caster, and will allow him to tie a letter or small package to its paw. If the package is light enough for the bird to carry, it will then deliver it to the person named by the caster.
The recipient must live within half a day flying. If there’s no bird in range when the spell is cast, no bird will come.

Stork’s Legs
Level: Magic-user 1
Duration: A number of turns equal to the caster’s level
Range: 0

The caster’s legs grow to a length of 2 yards. The caster can use stork’s legs to reach for things on the upmost shelf of a cupboard, look over walls, and look into a window on the second floor.
When walking, the caster moves at 1.5 times his normal speed. His clothing and shoes grow as well to fit his new legs. The caster can dismiss the legs before the spell’s duration is over.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Spells of Bymen the Botanomancer

The magician Bymen is the world's leading authority in the field of plants and plant-like creatures. He lives in a small hut surrounded by a beautiful garden, where many rare and endangered plants grow.

In addition to more common spells like find plant, speak with plant, etc., Bymen’s spellbook contains dried leaves and flowers, and some spells of his own devising.

Flower Bomb

Level: Magic-user 1
Duration: 2d6 turns
Range: 120’

The mage throws an acorn, peanut, pine cone or similar nut to his opponent. It explodes in a cloud of colorful flowers, which remain whirling in the affected area. All creatures in the area must save vs. spell or become trapped in the area of swirling flowers. Mesmerized and disorientated, the victims cannot leave, cast spells or perform other significant actions, and can talk about nothing else except the beautiful colors and wonderful fragrance of the flowers. After the duration expires the flowers float to the ground and the victims are freed.

Unaffected creatures can try to pull a victim out of the cloud but must make a new save or become stuck themselves. Flower bomb does not work on undead or very large creatures like dragons.

Lovely Fragrance

Level: Magic-user 1
Duration: 12 turns
Range: 60’

The mage casts this spell on a flower, plant, or weed, which will grow a pink flower. This new flower gives off a delicious sweet scent that anyone within 60’ who smells it is filled with romantic thoughts and feelings. Creatures in the area of ​​effect must save vs. spells or fall in love with someone of the preferred sex (if present) or else the non-preferred sex (if the player agrees). Furthermore, all victims receive a -4 on saves against charm and similar spells while still in smelling range of the flower.

When the duration ends, the flower wilts and the smell disappears. The player (in the case of a player character) or the DM (in the case of a sample or NPC) may determine if the infatuation also ends.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Requirements: DEX 8
Ability Modifiers: None
Botanoids are plant people, mobile plants. They are very diverse in appearance, from green humans with leaves for hair to tree people with bark-like skin. Height and weight are very diverse, ranging from 4 to 6 feet and from 120 to 150 pounds. Botanoids do breathe and eat, but do not sleep and are immune to sleep and similar spells.
Botanoids have infravision of 60 feet. In bushes or other outdoor cover, botanoids can hide with 90% ability. They can also hide in shadows or behind other forms of cover when underground in labyrinths or caverns on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6, but they must be silent and motionless.
Botanoids are hardy beings, resistant to poison, paralyze and polymorph effects, and as such they receive a +4 saving throw bonus to defend against these effects. However, as plants, botanoids are vulnerable to fire and get double damage from fire, regardless of a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.
Botanoids can speak their alignment language, common, gnoll, gnome, goblin, and  hobgoblin. They can Speak to Plants as per the spell.
Botanoids may select from the following classes, with the indicated level limits.
Level Limit

Botanoid thieves receive the following bonuses and penalties to thief abilities:
Pick Locks
Move Silently
Pick Pockets
Hide in Shadows
Hear Noise

*Botanoids receive a better dice range for hearing noises. For example, 1st level botanoid thieves hear noises on a 1-3, and at 9th level it is 1-5. Hear noise may never be better than 1-5.