Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CLASS: Shamanic techno-wizard

Techno wizards are tinkerer sorcerers that explore science as if it were a shamanistic art form and practice magic as if it were a scientific discipline. The blending of these two concepts is not unnatural to them. Often a techno wizard will have had a life long curiosity with strange and wondrous objects. By young adulthood they will seek a master to begin an apprenticeship in the three schools of study.

First School - Psionic Magic (Levels 0-3

Derives from implanted biologic technology of an organic nature. Powers are bestowed through serums, potions, vaccines, salves and other medicines. Effects of these concoctions are temporary, but necessary to help train the mind of the Techno-Wizard. Abilities can be mastered in any order and include:
  • Empathy bond (soak up the mental energies of another to interpret their intentions and mood)
  • Telekinesis (level 0 = force push; level 1= force tug, level 2=move in X,Y,Z directions, level 3=complex manipulation of objects in midair)
  • Psionic Screen (mental barrier against all forms of psionic attacks)
  • Commune with animalia (speak with or command fauna)
  • Mental Blast (attack with 1d6 per level; increases all the way to 10th level)
  • Familiar (gain a familiar animal no larger than half your size that will help you in rituals by giving you +1d4 to all rolls per your level; forthcoming posts will outline how certain familiars can also unlock other cosmic powers)
  • Detect psionic flow (energy sources, read auras for empathic readings, etc.)
  • Illusion projection (project a vision, dream, etc. to one target per level)
  • Astral travel (travel anywhere without interaction in a corporeal manner)
Success is based on Wisdom/Presence attribute checks. Take into account any modifiers gained through biological/psionic enhancements.

Note: Due too background noise of the Song of Kings, direct telepathy and prophesying are extremely difficult to perform at this time.

Second School - Energy Magic (Levels 4-6)

After mastering the First School, Second School abilities are opened to the Techno-Wizard. Calling on the fires of the cosmos (subatomic particles et. al.) requires intense focus and concentration, but also a good deal of ritual practice. Drawing of runes on the skin, scarification, and scrawling artifacts or rooms with special "paint" consisting of a techno-alchemical composition is used to harness these energies. The written words are activated through speech and gestures. Techno-Wizards cannot create energy, only attract it, store it, redirect it, and manipulate it.

Abilities must be mastered in the following order:
  1. Detect and call radiation glyphs (allows for drawing energy from the weakest of background sources)
  2. Emanate heat glyph (energizes a weak heat source up to blowtorch flame)
  3. See infra (lizard glyph) and ultra (moth glyph) wavelengths
  4. Create light source (pure light, as a torch or non-harmful ray - paint object you wish to be light source)
  5. Battery Body (illustrate on the inside of an empty vessel to store energy of 1 megawatt per Techno-Wizard's level)
  6. Concentrate/Attenuate (draw rings on entire body along limbs, etc. to create holograms, laser blasts, etc.)
  7. Transmit (full body paint as well as runes on a rod or staff to act as emitter for radio, microwave wavelengths and the like)
  8. Saturate Target (paint large target area on floor, and two walls for X,Y,Z coordinates
  9. Energy sheath (paint armor or shield to become a barrier of energy or magnetism)
  10. Spacetime bending (full psionic concentration and paint body a mosaic of alternating colors in a full-body grid; allows for shaping spacetime, albeit on small scales to create small backward time fluxes for reroll opportunities, causing antigravity fields, bend light for invisibility, etc.)
Success is based on Intelligence attribute checks. Take into account any modifiers gained through cybernetic enhancements.

Note: Dark Energy is akin to "black magic" and very dangerous/unpredictable. You might power a spaceship or you might create a singularity!

Third School - Matter Sculpting Magic (Levels 7-10)

Once the First and Second schools are complete the Techno-Wizard graduates to a much more robust class of abilities. These require advanced technologies that must be worn as circlets, rings, bracers, helms, body harnesses, or other wearable forms. Abilities are not possible, if these items are removed.
Items may be permanently integrated through cybernetics, be they robotic upgrades attached to the PC's biological systems or a constant supply of nanomite supplements. If nanomites, they make take the form of a gas (as through a sealed mask), tiny capsules to swallow, or as a replacement for blood. 

Abilities must be mastered in the following order:
  1. Organize matter (simple objects of just one material, think Green Lantern's early constructs, i.e., swords, shields, hammers, fists, simple wheels, etc.)
  2. Teleportation (move PC or any single object same size or smaller)
  3. Transmorphism (change PC's shape only)
  4. Disintegrate object (range is equal to 10 meters per level - target at a time - effect is permanent)
  5. Composite constructs (more complicated creations made of multiple materials)
  6. Transform Object (change anything's shape)
  7. Technomancery (complex machines, objects capable of computations)
  8. Element conversion (reformulating matter at it's most basic level, e.g., stellar conversion, etc.)
Success is based on Constitution attribute checks. Take into account any modifiers gained through technological enhancements.

Note: This class is a work in progress, and may be updated. :)

Sisters of Chyon and the Tenth Labyrinth

In the southern hemisphere, in the continent of Ueris, lay the ruins of one of the true wonders of Benu--the Tenth Labyrinth.

Legend says that a great technomancer called Chyon of Dhrom had taken residence among the canyonlands to while away the millennia, developing incredible technologies the likes of which Benu had not seen. His powers of intellect and ambition did not go unnoticed and before long nearby kingdoms sent spies, hoping to procure his secrets by any means necessary.

Maze of Madness

To ward off, confuse, and confound his enemies, Chyon used his techno magicks to carve a great maze into the canyons that looked natural to the untrained eye. He added many deadly pitfalls, traps, and puzzles as well as various "guardians" to deter robbers from stealing the magnificent secrets kept safe within his vaults.

Countless intrepid adventurers paid the ultimate price for their curiosity or their bounties. But some did escape with partial maps of his labyrinth. Eventually Chyon came to realize that the sheer number of attempts would catch up with him. So he finally created a final maze--the tenth.

Instead of a completely separate labyrinth though, he connected all the mazes into a giant, moving, multi-level mega puzzle. Each of the previous nine were now interconnected. No single map could ever be produced with enough accuracy to be useful in future expeditions.

The Ultimate Guardians

Having achieved such great accomplishments on Benu, Chyon understood that living in this dimension became like a straight jacket to his now otherworldly abilities. Knowing he soon must depart for a higher plane, he left behind two master guardians to watch over his labyrinth.

Chyon knew he could not himself stay on Benu to personally judge the intentions of those who entered the maze, so he forged two great female sphinx to test would-be invaders and robbers.

He imbued the sphinxes with consciousness. Sephia would be assess would-be assailants through pointed interrogation using logic and reason. Qureo, possessed the ability to empathically evaluate the sincerity and intentions of the entrant. Both are quite cruel and pityless.

They remain the most formidable guardians of the labyrinth--stationed just before the great vault--at the heart of the puzzle. Anyone lucky enough to make it that far, would be tested. Only honorable individuals of noble purpose would be permitted entrance. And they would be re-tested upon exit, for it was under the weight of bearing witness to the astounding artifacts inside the vault, that avarice-riddled entrants would buckle.

Sphinx Powers and Abilities  

The sisters are just under 100 feet tall, and have the ability to stare into the very soul of their targets. Through a massive psionic attack they can render victims powerless, petrified with fear, or vaporized. They are made of an unknown material which is nye indestructible.

Psionic Roar

Victims must roll Save vs. Stunned or Paralysis. Characters with Dexterity or Agility scores lower than 8-9 suffer a -1 penalty, 6-7 suffer -2, and 5 or lower -3. Paralyzing effect lasts for 1d6 rounds. The sisters will then conduct the Test of Courage on their targets. Should their prey fail, the Sisters will employ optic blasts to dispose of targets.

Test of Courage

The sisters will forge an illusion in the mind of their targets in which they must face their deepest fears. Victims must roll Save vs. Fear using the same modifiers found in the Psionic Roar above. Failure indicates they are now also paralyzed (roll 1d6 to determine duration). Those who lose their save also lose commensurate Charisma/Presence attribute scores (-1, -2, -3, per above). Victims who's Charisma/Presense falls below 4 will be driven mad for the remainder of the session.

Disintegrating Optic Blasts

These deadly beams render the final judgement on those poor, unfortunate souls at their feet. They gain a +1, +2, or +3 to hit (the exact oppisite of the ranges found in Psionic Roar). Damage is extreme: 2d8+1 for each eye (fire as two, simultaneous shots per sphinx).


  • Chyon is thought to be the first of the Ancient Kings to disappear from Benu.
  • The souls of Chyon's own sisters are thought to reside (or be trapped) within the giant statues.
  • Anyone pure of heart who can pass both into and out from the inmost vault, shall be free to leave without harm, provided they leave without taking any artifacts.
  • A hologram of Chyon (which appears real) will apparate before the great sphinx sisters to intimidate his victims before the test begins.
  • Chyon may be the inventor of some of Benu's more well-known artifacts.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ancient Secrets: Planetary Alignment

Eons ago, the Temple of Ru sat atop the end of a long rocky pier that was cut from the landscape by philospher stonecutters. The roofless, pentagonal temple sat peering into the night sky, with five sets of staircases (three steps each) that faced each other and met in mid-air.

Inlaid in the first step of each stair, rests brick with an ancient inscription of glyphs for each season. Four of the five stairs still have their glyph bricks. Today, the temple is long fallen, but the three steps for each season remain.

There are five solstices in the Benuvian calendar that take place at the crossroads of the seasons:
  • Veral - growth season (although little grows easily on Benu)
  • Aesat - high season
  • Aumut - falling away
  • Borea - season of death
  • Indeko- twillight before rebirth

Reckoning of Ru: Astral Alignment

A solstice on Benu is anything but ordinary. On these holy days, the constant stars in the sky that make up the Circlet of Nioro (Warrior Huntress)--align along one of five different paths. Beginning at noon, a priestess of Ru (Five-headed Celestine Godess) would speak an incantation--saying aloud the season inscribed on the aligned stair--and a doorway to another world would open.

Five different stairs. Five different solstices. Five different conjunctions. Five different seasons. Five different portals to outer realms.

Intrepid scholars excavating the site have identified three destinations, based on centuries of research and self endangerment during solstice times.
  • Veral - Kurust (although little grows easily on Benu)
  • Aesat - Raathnor
  • Aumut - Trigor ("third" in Benuvian tongue)
  • Borea - Quadrat ("fourth" in Benuvian tongue
  • Indeko- Lagol
Three stairs still seem to function, while the other two lie dormant. They've been named numerically for now. It's unknown why they no longer activate. It's possible the destinations were destroyed or migrated to another plane by some cosmic force.

Different Days, Different Worlds

There's a rumor, that more worlds appear on other holidays too, when different constellations are in alignment. But since those occurances happen with even greater rarity, it's unknown where those portals may lead.

In recent times, few are brave enough to ascend the Stair of Ru, and those who do are never again seen. A low, briny lake now covers the area surrounding the stair, and it's been said that an ancient codex of all the possible portals may lie hidden below the surface. Just one of many lost secrets of the Temple of Ru.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monster: The Khoulak


The khoulak are a race of winged, carnivorous humanoids who live in rocky aeries. They are near-silent in flight and prey on all living things (not the undead). All creatures that walk Benu fear them.


Little is known of khoulaki society except that they are nocturnal and seem to be of a hive mind, often acting in unison. They live in caves in the highlands or atop cliff sides, keeping them as cavernesque aeries.

They attack in feasting parties, preferring to eat what they can on the site of the attack. They will, however, take prisoners to hold captive and eat later. They have at least primitive tools for fashioning prey cages and setting up basic campsites.

They employ no familiars or other beasts, surely they eat anything in their domain.


No one has ever seen a khoulak's (obscured) mouth and lived. They envelop their prey in batlike wings attached to their arms and--presumably by the sound--vomit corrosive acid to digest their prey. The only facial features apparent are a pair of large, pupil-less, lidless eyes. They have no discernible ears or noses, though they seem to still possess those senses.

Khoulak have large eyes which give them infravision, allowing them to see in darkness, but are exceptionally nearsighted. This ability makes them less effective in broad daylight. They also possess a keen sonar sense which allows them to zero in on their prey with extreme accuracy in total darkness.

Smothering Grapple
They are powerful adversaries--for most victims they are nearly impossible to escape from, once enveloped in their terrible, suffocating wings. Anyone caught in their grasp will find it nigh impossible to escape. Their wings are attached along their arms down to their wrists.

Methods of Attack

Their idea of combat is to eat their enemies.


Khoulak are thought to be demons from the Plane of Death. They sound a "devouring scream" as they feast on their prey, which causes a paralyzing fear in any future victims in the vicinity.

Their presence is felt before they are seen--usually a feeling of terrible dread or foreboding.

It's said that the khoulak were summoned by accident through the incompetence of a boastful wizard, who was immediately punished for waking them from their astral slumber.

Gullible travelers believe the khoulak to be worshipers of the moon goddess Zeth. These fools wear her sigil (three cobalt-colored eyes in various states of opening) on a pendant or charm as a desperate hope for safety.

If encountered as a monster:

NO. APPEARING: Packs of 8 or more
MOVE: 5 on ground, 20 in flight
HIT DICE: 2d8+2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Acid vomit 2d12; Bite 1d8+2; Paralyzing scream - stunned for 1d4 rounds
SPECIAL ABILITIES/SKILLS: Sonar - Emit a clicking noise that helps them detect moment and objects up to 100 meters (in air); Coordinated attack - can intimidate prey through practiced attack patterns. Infravision, but limited by nearsightedness (range of 5 meters).
MAGIC RESISTANCE: They cannot be harmed by diseases or acid
ALIGNMENT: Neutral evil
PSIONIC ABILITY: It's believed that the khoulak possess some form of telepathy to communicate with one another, since they are a mostly silent species. It's not know if this ability extends to other races.

If played as a PC:

Prime Requisite Requirements: PHY 13, AGL 15
Hit Dice: Add +2 for being a scary-ass bastard
Max Level: 10
Alignment: Play as True Neutral

Dungeon: "The Unquenchable" Maw

In the highlands that border the wastes lies a massive cave maw, blasted and scorched and choked with carbon stench, called "The Unquenchable". It is the gateway to an ancient dungeon, made up of natural caves, abandoned beetlemen catacombs, and tunnels from a razed super fortress.

Many millennia ago, the area was home to an ancient evil that launched wave after wave of slaughter on the shining fortress of ancient wonders (the name of which has long since been forgotten). Legend has it that one of the Ancient Kings sent his armies into the maw to route the devil, but none returned. More soldiers were conscripted as the centuries passed, but they all perished--it's thirst for blood never seeming to be quaffed--hence the name.

The Ancient King finally passed to the afterlife and without their beloved leader they could not repel the demon's might. The fortress fell in a fortnight, those that didn't fight, fled and a great diaspora began. Many technologies and magics (massive heat rays, psionic generators, astral keys, and more) went missing in the confusion and panic, but a few eventually made their way to the Cryptotherium. The remaining treasures, it's rumored, were claimed by the beast.

Centuries passed, and the maw called once again to adventurers looking to reclaim ancient treasures lost and buried. The maw was rediscoverd, mapped as the entrance--the only one--into the deep chaos below. No adventure party has ever returned.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Races: Beetlemen


Beetlemen are a colony race of hybrid insectoids that live among the vast sand warrens, worshiping the gods of the wastes. If encountered, Beetlemen will attack with intent to capture so as to bring any bounty back to their queen who likely will decare prisoners to be sacrificed in order to appease the gods. Beetlemen will fight until they lose 2/3 their number and if not reinforced, will retreat.

Horns have yet to grow for this young adult.
Occassionally, a beetleman will wander so far from his colony that he'll not be able to find his way back. After 24 hours he will lose the scent of his people and they will disown him. Self-sacrifice is a sin without the queen's direct order, so they typically have no other choice but to wander in search of a purpose or adventure.


Beetlemen live in vast underground and tunnel colonies which are divided into subgroups (clans) of as many as 500 individuals. A hundred or more subgroups that make up a supercolony (city). There are, perhaps fewer than three dozen supercolonies left on Benu. They have a long gestational period as larvae. Their nurseries are constantly tended by feeder bugs (giant beetles) that bring food to fat, grub-like young, which are under careful protection by heavily armed guards. Young adults are thrown into single combat rounds to determine the strongest. Weak individuals are not killed, but merely ignored by the colony. They become as ghosts and are not fed or cared for, dying from neglect.

Beetlemen are scavengers and horde hunters that fan out across the great deserts in search of food and hardware they can use, in addition to collecting intelligence about other races--such as their sworn enemies, the Bando.

For Queen and Glory
Their queen has never before been seen by other species. It's unknown if she is the same queen that has ruled since antiquity or if there are new queens with every generation.

Though they fight enemies in large numbers, beetlemen relish fraternal combat. They'll hold sparring sessions as a means of proving acumen in single combat. They fight for status and preferential treatment from the queen.


Beetlemen have heads resembling several varieties of stag and "rhino" beetles, but stand erect as hominids. They are bulky at the shoulders with two narrow primary limbs (arms). It appears their secondary limbs have evolved to become a set of shorter arms just underneath--nearly at the same joint.

Their exoskeletons appear as black, brown, and the darkest red and so may be hard to spot until it's too late. They also have a pair of thin, rapid-beating wings that don't provide full flight, but do allow them to hover for short periods (no more than 12 meters high). A beetleman's exoskellatal thorax (torso) provides protection to his chest and back.

Super Strength
They are extremely strong and agile, owing to their insect-like physiology. They stand a mere 1.5 meters tall, but can lift and carry up to 20 times their own weight for up to 1d0+1 rounds. Their hind legs allow them to leap up to 30 meters at a time.

Beetlemen have an innate tracking ability based on scent and detection of ground vibrations for up to 4 kilometers. They can communicate using microvibrations when in complete darkness at about the same range. They have excellent senses hearing and sense of smell (see below) but are susceptible to gas-based weapons.

Methods of Attack

Beetlemen like to surprise and surround their prey, overwhelming them with their numbers. Because their powers of flight aren't a tactical asset in surprise, they prefer to burst from underground--being proficient diggers--in large numbers.

Raiding parties generally attack, gravitating towards the footsetps (vibrations) of their intended targets. Camps and villages with lots of activity at night should be extremely cautious that they don't attract unwanted attention.

Attackers will first attempt to close in on enemies using electro-stun spears and nets. If things go badly and foes are not rendered incapacitated in 6 rounds or less, they will resort to more violent methods to bring prey under control. On the ground, they are quick and adept in combat, despite their slow speed in the air.


Beetlemen were the result of ancient alchemical experiments performed by the Ancient Kings. Legend has it that when the rulers of old laid eyes on their creations, they recoiled in horror and sought to erase their mistake. One King took pity, and convinced the court to merely banished them to the wastes. Over the eons, the Beetlemen took this as a divine mandate and consider the wastes a holy land.

It's said that the Beetlemen worship a silent but imposing god--an ancient nuclear weapon--buried deep within their warren catacombs. The device's armament, range, and condition remain unknown.

Subgroups have their own altars at which they make offerings to the gods, but supercolonies are said to have elaborate underground temples for sacrificing their prisoners.

It's believed that the smell of garbage dumps and junk piles can attract a raiding or scouting party if not properly buried or burned.

In recent years, Bando traders have heard that the beetlemen have an unlimited supply of radium and metal in their great hives. It's thought that while they possess little knowledge of weapon making and so some prisoners must be kept as slaves to mine and forge.

If encountered as a monster:

NO. APPEARING: In colonial subgroup (500); Raiding party (20-40); Scouts (3-9)
MOVE: 7 on ground, 4 in flight
HIT DICE: 1d8+2
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 per drone, 2 per champion
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Pincer claws, 1d6+1; mandible bite 1d8; common weapons include stun-ray spears, tridents, electro-stun nets, obsidian-bladed short swords or daggers; champions (1d20) carry long handled maces or battleaxes with large obsidian-carved heads. 1d6 subgroups is an elite troop that will carry radium rifles.
SPECIAL ABILITIES/SKILLS: Sense of hearing and vibration detection up to 3 kilometers. Can smell and identify most species up to 5 kilometers away with ease. Mandibles can create microvibrations to communicate at hypersonic register, reverbartory surfaces can extend this method for miles while underground.
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Hard carapace shell acts as a armor (see Armor Class).
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil
PSIONIC ABILITY: Rare, only 1 in 1d100 exhibit psionic abilities, but lesser beings may equate their special abilities with "magic".

If played as a PC:

Prime Requisite Requirements: PHY 15, AGL 10
Hit Dice: Add +3 for hard exoskeleton and constitution
Max Level: 8

Monday, October 28, 2013

Zohal: Lesser Punisher of the Gods

Zohal is a saucer shaped entity that patrols Benu's rock-strewn deserts dispensing "justice" in the form of sonic blasts and zero-point energy beams. The craft speaks in a cacophany of indeciperable blips and bleeps. Defendants found to be wanting (i.e., everybody) are mercilessly and unceasingly fired upon.

Zohal is less an enemy to be defeated as it is a force to be summoned, either to be lured into battle to assail a greater foe than oneself or to act as a diversion so one can slip away. The object only appears during the day--it will immediately withdraw and flit away once the sun is completely set.

Sonic Blip

A loud audial stream of "BLIP" noises that cause fear, confusion, and some species to soil themselves.

Zero-Point Energy Beams

A single, steady, visible beam of white energy is emitted and lifts objects to hurl at or drop onto targets.