Sunday, November 4, 2018

Gonzo Items - Soul Gems

(Sorry, no art of the Soul Gems...)
So, Jennell Jaquays in her absolutely AWESOME 1980 tour de force, "Dark Tower," (heh, I ran a paladin in our then-campaign) came up with a bunch a fantastic magic for the battle between minions of Set and Mitra in this buried temple.

A little something that could work for anyone are the "Soul Gems" artifacts. Well, anyhow, one for good folks and another for evil. Neutral gem pretty much just destroys the other two.

But if you're a goodly or evilly type, pop one of these suckers in your forehead...

The Soul Gems

Each gem is six inches in diameter. If the character touching the gem survives alignment shock (see individual gems), the gem will fly up and embed itself in the forehead of the victim.

Each gem has Intelligence of 18, Wisdom of 18, and Charisma also of 18. Use rules for Sentient Magic Items for taking control by the gems of their wielder. If a gem takes control of its wielder, the wielder's alignment will immediately change to that of the gem.

Forceful removal of the gems will result in effects as if the gem was destroyed (see Mind of Balance). Anyone who touch the gem during its removal may be possessed.

After the final death of the host, the gems will wait one turn and if during that time, they do not receive a new host, they will teleport to a place of the referee's choosing.

NOTE: Touching the heart of law and the soul of chaos together will set off a 50d8 hit point damage explosion to all within radius 50 feet.

The Heart of Law:


1. 100% chance of resurrection of its host regardless of Constitution, up to a number of times equal to the host's Constitution score. After the final resurrection, the death of the host will be countered by an immediate reincarnation as a lawful-good creature;
2. +3 Ring of Protection (continuous functioning);
3. Cure Wounds 2d8+1 hit points (2x per day);
4. Spell Turning as per ring (continuous functioning);
5. Detect Evil (continuous functioning);
6. Know a creature's alignment within 5' (at will);
7. Light (at will);
8. Protection from Evil (continuous functioning); and
9. Darkvision (continuous functioning).
Alignment Shock: Evil types take 86 hit points damage touching the gem, Chaotic Good 22 hit points, and Neutral Good 22 hit points.

Special: Lawful-Good Fighters become paladins.

Description: A Lawful-Good, clear, colorless, glowing gem. The goal of this gem is to destroy all evil and anyone who gets in the way of that goal. Chaos and Neutrality are to be converted to Law if at all possible.

The Soul of Chaos


1. Whenever the gem or the user desires, it will cause necrotic damage to combat victims like a spectre (3d6 hit points necrotic damage, target must succeed on DC 17 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. Reduction lasts until the creature finishes a long rest and target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0). The host will receive a 1 hit point for every point of necrotic damage caused. These points will only reach a
maximum of 150% of the characters current total hit points prior to any damage which may have been sustained. Character will only heal by gem causing necrotic damage. Necrotic damage to true friends and/or comrades will heal double value.
2. +2 Ring of Protection (continuous functioning);
3. Spell Turning as per ring (continuous functioning);
4. Know a creature's alignment within 5' (at will);
5. Darkness (at will); and
6. Darkvision (continuous functioning).

Alignment Shock: Good types take 82 hit points damage touching the gem, Lawful Evil 20 hit points, and Neutral Evil 20 hit points.

Special: If the host is in danger of death, the gem will absorb life levels from living creatures at a radius of 20'. Two attacks will be made per round on one or two creatures. Those killed by the gem can not be resurrected or reincarnated. This also goes for the host if he dies while in the possession of the gem.

Description: A Chaotic-Evil, black, glowing gem. The gem host will be forced to attack all Good.

The Mind of Balance


(Any use of these powers except for Darkvision will result in one point being subtracted from host's Constitution (2 points Constitution for Laser Blast). These points may only be restored by the absorption of 500 gold pieces worth of treasure per point of Constitution restored.)

1. Laser Blast is fired by the gem and can only be used against the other soul gems. The blast will do 5d8 hit points of damage to the gem's host (DC 17 Constitution saving throw applicable for half damage) and cause the gem to make a straight saving throw against DC 13. Failure to do so means destruction of the gem and an additional 1d8 hit points of damage against the host. If the host survives this ordeal, he will lose 1d8 Intelligence points plus have a 60% chance of going insane. Once both of the other soul gems have been destroyed, the mind of balance will phase out into nothingness leaving its host behind. If so, the host will suffer the loss of 1d4 Intelligence points plus take 1d8 hit points of damage and have a 20% chance of insanity.
2. Host's touch will cause paralysis to the Lawful or the Chaotic (DC 17 Constitution saving throw possible).
3.  +3 Ring of Protection (continuous functioning);
4. Spell Turning as per ring (continuous functioning);
5. Detect Good and Evil (continuous functioning);
6. Know a creature's alignment within 5' (at will);
7. Negate Light and Darkness spells within 30' (at will);
8. Detect Thoughts (at will); and
9. Darkvision (continuous functioning).

Alignment Shock: All not true-neutral take 44 hit points damage upon touching this gem.

Special:  The gem requires gems, jewelry, and gold, etc., to power itself, acting as a sort of value vampire. It will regenerate lost hit points at a rate of 200 gold pieces value per hit point. Affected items become dross, glass or worthless. Once the healing has begun roll 1D8 x 200 gold pieces to determine how much extra value this greedy gem will absorb if available within a range of 30'.

Description: An absolute Neutral, glowing and scintillating, rainbow-colored gem. The mind of balance has one sole purpose, to seek out and destroy the other two soul Gems with a withering, laser-like ray.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Gonzo Monster - Kill Kittens

("Kill Kittens" art by Greg Espinoza)
Dang, I am on a Dave Hargrave roll, have to pick a different author next time.
(From Arduin Grimoire Vol. II, "Welcome to Skull Tower")

Kill Kittens

Hit Dice: 1d4+1 (attack as 3 HD creature) Movement: 60' (charge 75') Dexterity: 13-20 Armor Class: 12+Dex bonus Number: 12d4 (1 in open, rest hidden)

Attacks: Their claws do only 1d2 points damage plus fatal poison (successful save versus poison still results in paralysis for 1d6 days), and their bite does 1d3. The saliva has a 20% chance (no save) of driving those bitten 100% insane and berserk for 1d6 days.

Description: These lovable, cuddly, purring, fuzzy little cats are sure to melt even the hardest heart.

Notes: They pretend to have a broken leg or some other hurt, and limp whimpering toward a victim, with their big soulful eyes pleading for aid and succor. When the tenderhearted soul picks them up to comfort and help them, they dig their steel hard and needle sharp little claws into him, pumping in poison. They usually travel in packs, although all of the others are usually hidden until their decoy has bagged a meal. Although only 1/2 HD in size, their attack is as a 3 HD monster. They are about as intelligent as lions or tigers, and their favorite meal is a nice plump Hobbitt.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Gonzo Item - Powered Exoskeleten

(The artist for this was Greg Espinoza, a truly remarkable talent!)
This "techno" artifact is another creation by David Hargrave from his 3rd Arduin dungeon scenario, "The Citadel of Thunder." Sadly, Hargrave's dungeons are all out of print, so, unless you can find a reasonably-priced used copy, the dungeon scenario is not commercially available.

However, here is some goodness from that work!

There are on and off again a lot of argument about technology, especially futuristic technology, in The World's Most Populat Role Playing Game. Our group always paired technology and magic, and had several folks running "Technos" (as that class was know from the Arduin Grimoire) over the years. Including the indomitable Barbarian-Techno, Grady.

Powered Exoskeleten (aka "Bone Walker")


    1. Operating Charge 100 hours;
    2. Movement 240' (note: max move burns operating charge at 25x normal rate);
    3. Ability to leap 30';
    4. Strength equivalent to 25 (hit for 4d10+7);
    5.  Dexterity equivalent to 25;
    6. Armor Class 23, hit only by +1 or better weapons or strength greater than 20;
    7.  Hit Points 200 (abilities reduced 10% per each 25 hp taken over the first 50).

Description: This "techno" artifact is composed of Titanium, boron filament, plasteel, etc., powered by a nuclear battery, and is more than 150 years old. It weighs 250 lbs. and is 8 1/2' tall. It will fit all humanoids from 4' to 7' tall.

Value: 100,000 gold sovereigns

Friday, August 31, 2018

Gonzo Monster - Air Squid

"Air Squid" art by Carol Rode (1977)
The Air Squid is a fantastic, yet simple creature created by Dave Hargrave (of "Arduin" fame) for the first "All the World's Monsters" edited by Steve Perrin and Jeff Pimper for Chaosium and published in 1977. Players of Arduin probably remember the more explosive, hydrogen-filled "air sharks."

Air Squid

Hit Dice: 6d8+6 to 12d8+12. Movement: Fly at 30'. Dexterity: 7-12. Intelligence: 2-12. Armor Class: 13. Alignment: Chaotic Neutral.

Attacks: 12 tentacles 1d8 hit points constriction damage. 1 beak 1d10 hit points bite damage.

Description: Giant, helium-filled squids which "swim" through the air. Usually sky-blue in color with great, dull-white eyes. 35 to 75 feet long. Their lairs are on mountain peaks.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Gonzo Items - The Helm of the Heinous

The Helm of the Heinous from "Booty and the Beasts" (1979) written by Erol Otus, Mathias Genser, and Paul Reiche III. (There are no commercial editions of this book available, including no used copies I could find. Someone posted a digital version here.)

The Helm of the Heinous

  1. Speak With Dead (no matter what their state of composition may be); 
  2. Solicit aid from Demons whenever they are met (Demons will not obey all of the wearer's commands, but will take suggestions if they like them); and
  3. Fire beam of sickly yellow light (Usage: 3x per day, Range: 240', Target: single, Save: yes, Effect: If the target fails saving throw, will attempt to commit suicide using the most effective means available. If the victim succeeds on saving throw, will lapse into unconsciousness for 1-6 melee rounds).
Additional Effect: 60% chance any undead will not attack the wearer.

Description: This rare and arcane piece of magic is sought with fervor by all manner of evil beings, for it possesses several magic attributes, none of them trivial. The Helm of the Heinous will only serve those who work toward evil ends and will not function for anyone else.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Gonzo Monsters

So, there were some gonzo-strange critters and toys back in the day that probably could be used as is with most of the retro-clones and OSR-style rules systems to add a little flavor to your games now and again. However, since our group is basically running the Advanced Knights of the All Mind 5th ed. mod (not even a "hack"), we need a little update.

What I would love is if Emperor's Choice, for instance, would get it together to publish a nice 5th ed. or OSR-style monster manual of Arduin uglies. Heck, I would put it together myself if they would let me Kickstart it.

During the meanwhilst what I would like to do is just share a translation from time to time of what some of the stuff from yore might look like in an updated form of 5th ed./Advanced Knights and toshare a little of what's out there if you dig a bit.

Here is my first foray, The Cerebro Demon from "The Necromican" (1979) written by Erol Otus, (yes, that Erol Otus) Mathias Genser, and Paul Reiche III. (Only used print editions are commercially available here starting at well over $800, someone posted a digital version here.)

The Cerebro Demon. 

Hit Dice: 10d10. Movement: Crawl at 7.5', or fly at 30'. Dexterity: 18-22. Armor Class: 16. 

Attacks: 8 large tentacles 3d6 hit points damage.

Psychic Attacks: Project Knowledge Not-Meant-to-be-Known DC 20 Wisdom save (Succeed: Stunned 1 melee round, Fail: Victim goes permanently and gibberingly insane). Control Will DC 20 Wisdom save (Fail: Completely under control of demon will do will do anything demon tells to do). Zap Brain DC 20 Wisdom save (Fail: Death). 

Special Abilities: Communicates telepathically, immune to all psychic attacks, 75% resistant to magic and techno, teleport without error.

Description: This demon travels freely on the ethereal and astral planes and can attack from these planes with its psychic attacks. It is highly intelligent and can understand virtually any order, no matter how complex. Its small tentacles can manipulate the most delicate machinery and magical apparatus, but are useless in battle. It knows everything that humans were not meant to: Cthulhu's face, the Old One's telephone number, etc., and one of its psychic attacks is projecting this knowledge into a human mind. The demon can also use its telepathic powers to control the will of any being. Finally, it can zap the brain of an opponent causing death if the opponent fails saving throw. The cerebro demon communicates telepathically and is immune to all psychic attacks.

Friday, June 1, 2018

New Cha-Checklist for Game Judges

Character Checklist for All Mind & Compatible Games
Here is a character checklist that details several pertinent aspects of an adventuring party you're running. To tell the truth, I haven't used this during a game hardly at all. Where it comes in super-duper handy is when a player loses or forgets their character sheet.

Anyhow, click the link below for a copy of the checklist from my Dropbox: