SPELLSWORD – A NEW PLAYER CLASS

Spellswords

The apprentice who fled the night his master was killed. The farmer’s daughter who found an old spellbook in the attic. The dungeoneer who was more interested in swordplay, but liked having a few cantrips on hand “just in case”. Some souls are born with a natural aptitude for magic, but never find the opportunity or inclination to receive further training.

These individuals grew up with a natural talent for spellcasting, but couldn’t grasp the basics until adulthood. Forced to make do with any available jobs in the meantime, most of these figures took up some kind of mercenary work – granting them the title of spellsword.

Bounty hunting, soldiering, and adventuring is the only life most spellswords have ever known. Yet as the years progress, the subtle pull of magic convinces them to hone their craft in unique ways.

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Happy Birthday, Gorgon Breath Games!

SpellswordsAs of this week, Gorgon Breath has been officially been in the RPG business for a full year. Woot!!

That’s 52 Weekly Beasties (with the latest arriving tomorrow), several short adventures, and the occasional diversion like playable bears or duck-transforming potions. It’s been a blast, and we’ve been so happy to create and share this game content with you.

Reaching a full year, however, is a perfect time to reflect on what works, what doesn’t, and where to go from here. Stew, Jon, and I have been talking about what Gorgon Breath can do moving forward, and the short answer is: Way more.

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Weekly Beastie – Unholy Bull

71040 ZombieBull_A 2

Most cities take great pride in arena combat, but few follow the ancient tradition of bullfighting. These battles once pitted expert fighters against prized bulls in fights to the death – all to the cheers of a massive audience.

That all changed upon the discovery of sentient animals. Suddenly the general public became repulsed with the idea of bullfighting, opting to follow other forms of entertainment instead. In a last-ditch effort to save their businesses, some arenas hired necromancers to reanimate and empower bull corpses. This side-stepped any pesky ethical problems while creating a brand-new market for arena combat.

Outside of a few occasions where the undead have escaped their pens, the move has been fairly successful. Many patrons take great pride in “grooming” their bulls to be both effective and theatrical in combat, adding bone armor or arcane symbols for visual effect.

And when a fan-favorite bull such as Zomb the Unholy is killed? There are usually enough profits to make resurrecting the beast a mere inconvenience. After all, what’s the problem with killing animals for entertainment when they’re already dead?

Don’t bother answering if you’re a Lawful Good Cleric. Nobody cares what you think.

Do you want a miniature of this Beastie? Well, this Annis artwork is provided by the folks at ArcKnight, who produce Flat Plastic Miniatures and other RPG supplements. You’ll get one if you order ArcKnight’s Ancient Evils set!

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Weekly Beastie – Tarrasque Hatchling

TarrasqueOf all the monsters across all the realms and all the planes, tarrasques are easily the most dangerous. These massive beings are vicious, deadly, and surprisingly resistant to magical spells which normally protect the communities in their path. When just one emerges from the bowels of the earth, entire cities will be lost as countless adventurers sacrifice themselves to halt its progress.

And yet, even the most powerful of tarrasques once began life as an innocent hatchling.

A mature tarrasque can lay a single dwarf-sized egg every 500 years, although mating pairs are uncommon. When an egg is laid, it gestates for six months before hatching, usually with the assistance of its mother or another helpful creature.

The hatchling always imprints on the first creature it sees, trusting its “parent” to feed and protect it in an uncertain world. If the creature it bonds with is not an adult tarrasque, the hatchling will still become a lifelong companion to it and treat any trusted allies like its own family. While the hatchling’s first attempts at combat are enthusiastically clumsy, it will eventually grow into a powerful being in its own right.

Which is a problem. The typical adventurer’s life is short and brutal. Even an elf who retires from questing will reach an advanced age at 750 years, fabled rumors of immortality to the contrary. Tarrasques, meanwhile, live for millennia. There has never been a recorded case of such a creature dying of natural causes. So eventually, the tarrasque hatchling will lose its imprinted parent. And when that happens, it will start to lash out at creatures around it.

Most of the civilized world views tarrasques as monsters. But the tragic reality is every single tarrasque is vicious because it is grieving the loss of its mother.

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Weekly Beastie – Divine Behemoth

7200 Behemoth_ABefore humans, dwarves, or even elves existed, the behemoths walked the material plane. Widely considered one of the first beings shaped by the gods, behemoths were so mighty they unintentionally threatened the other races intended to populate creation. With no mortal force capable of taming them, the gods stepped in directly to capture the beasts and take them to celestial realms where they could serve another purpose.

Yet the presence of behemoths has not been forgotten. Every few millenia someone will claim to have seen a behemoth the gods missed in their initial sweep. Even more concerning are the beasts who seem to have escaped from celestial planes, still wearing the harnesses forged by the gods to control their actions.

Behemoths are massive but solitary creatures, typically driven into a rage at the mere sight of another creature in their territory. While they are strict herbivores, sentient beings give them a wide berth – behemoths will often swallow other creatures, damage them with acid from one of their stomachs, and vomit them out in an effort to disorient them. A behemoth left to itself might eat an entire forest or drink up a lake, but allowing that is safer than confronting one in combat.

Or at least it was. Some “divine behemoths” who escaped their masters still wear their celestial harnesses. If a mortal could take hold of this harness, they would become master of a force many in the material plane have barely seen. Of course, behemoths are loathe to let anyone close to them, let alone allow a humanoid to crawl along their fur…

Do you want a miniature of this Beastie? Well, this Annis artwork is provided by the folks at ArcKnight, who produce Flat Plastic Miniatures and other RPG supplements. You’ll get one if you order ArcKnight’s Legendaries set!

As an added bonus, ArcKnight is currently running a special promotion! For a limited time, any physical purchase from ArcKnight’s store (including this mini) will automatically grant you 5 brand-new digital packs. Check it out!

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Dark Bodak – Weekly Beastie

8250 Bodak_ABodaks are a thankfully rare branch of the world’s known undead. Unlike skeletons and zombies, which are remnants of necrotic magic, bodaks are created by a direct intrusion of Chaotic Evil into the material world. They usually are a sign of that the boundaries separating dimensional planes have worn thin, and may eventually attract demons and other abyssal creatures if their presence is allowed to fester.

While not physically imposing compared to most warriors, bodaks pose a real danger to all races. Their greatest power is an ability to inflict their undead condition on other humanoids with a single glance, dooming that creature to a slow death. They cannot be reasoned or bargained with, seeking only to spread their contamination across the material plane.

For this reason, good and lawful evil heroes of the material plane formed a temporary alliance generations ago to purge the bodaks from existence. Their efforts appeared successful, but now bodak sightings are being reported once again. One benefit to the reduced infuence of Chaotic Evil is their legendary Death Gaze – a key ability in creating more bodaks – has been reduced in power. But unchecked, they still threaten all civilizations, and may require new heroes to stand against them once again.

Do you want a miniature of this Beastie? Well, this Annis artwork is provided by the folks at ArcKnight, who produce Flat Plastic Miniatures and other RPG supplements. You’ll get one if you order ArcKnight’s Undergound set!

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Night Terror – Weekly Beastie

2900 AnimateDream_A“Don’t worry, it’s just a bad dream!”

Sometimes that’s true. But when your planet happens to be in close proximity to the Astral Plane, your nightmares could be something else.

It’s common knowledge that sleeping creatures can experience loosely-remembered journeys into the Astral Plane. So if your drifting spirit encounters a hungry night terror, you’re likely to wake up in a horrible sweat as it rips into your astral form. Thankfully, short of causing you to fall out of bed in a panic, there’s little harm a night terror can inflict on dreamers.

The problem comes when direct portals to the Astral Plane – which spellcasters have been creating with great efficiency – causes night terrors to leak into the Material Plane. Now they can directly feed on dreamers, disrupting their rest and consuming psychic energy. While unlikely to kill an adventurer on their own, they can still make life incredibly difficult for a party travelling through dungeons without any rest.

But don’t worry, it’s just bad dreams.

Do you want a miniature of this Beastie? Well, this Annis artwork is provided by the folks at ArcKnight, who produce Flat Plastic Miniatures and other RPG supplements. You’ll get one if you order ArcKnight’s Ancient Evils set!

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