Ring of False Death

Ring from the British Museum
According to myth this ring was given to a prince on his deathbed by a scorned lover. He was promised a longer life if he cut a small part of his flesh and put it into the coffin on the ring. The prince did this but still died three days later.

The lover took the ring back and the prince was buried. Three years later the lover was accused of witchcraft and part of the trial was to dig up the body of the prince to search for evidence supporting the accusation. The lover was hanged and burned after claw marks were found on the inside of the coffin lid.

If the Ring of False Death is filled with a piece of flesh carved from the wearers living body it gives the wearer a chance to die and resurrect 1d4+1 days later.

  • Whenever the wearer is below half of it's maximum hit points the wearer may at will enter a state of false death if a Save vs Magic Device with a +4 bonus is made. 
  • If the wearer takes half it's maximum hit points in damage during one round of combat, the player must Save vs Magic Device or be forced into false death. 
  • If the target dies in any way that leaves it's body mostly intact the wearer can Save vs Magic Device, if the save is successful the target instead enters false death and will resurrect 1d4+1 days later. 

Once any of these saves has either succeeded or failed, the flesh in the ring disappears and has to be replaced before a new attempt is made.

The resurrection still works if the ring is removed after the wearer has entered false death but the resurrection will fail if the ring is destroyed or if the body is destroyed by burning, beheading or similar. If the wearers soul is somehow forcibly removed from the body, the body will instead rise as a mindless undead.


Laura Edgecombe and The Father's Bass Violin

art by Scopophobia
Laura Edgecombe was a promising young musician who never felt she got the attention her talent deserved. The fact that she never passed up a chance to explain this to her superiors mixed with a growing opiate addiction that caused her to miss concerts led to fewer and fewer job opportunities and a growing debt to the city's drug dens.

Angry and frustrated she hungered for revenge and this is just what the Cult of the Hollow Void promised her when they found her. All she had to do was to play her instrument and hour every night, and tell her masters what she heard.

Blessed by The Father of Nothing, her bass violin is made up of the still living bodies of several of her old bosses. No music can be heard when she plays it, only a strong buzzing as a cloud of flies spreads from the open mouth of the body. The flies spread out over the city's streets and buildings and when they return an hour later Laura is struck by visions of what they have seen.

Laura proved more resourceful and intelligent than the cult expected and has begun using information not deemed directly useful to the cult by selling it or as grounds for blackmail. This has put Laura in an unexpected position of power that the Father hopes will come in handy soon.


Spells from Der Hexenhammer

I accidentally ended up spending Sunday morning reading parts of Malleus Maleficarum, Der Hexenhammer, The Hammer of Witches. The book written 1486 by Heinrich Kramer arguing that witchcraft was real and witches was a real threat. Also a whole bunch of stuff about how women were the most common agents of the Devil due to being weaker and easier to fall to temptation and also how to torture them into confessions. 

For a long time it was thought to have been a very influential book, 20 editions were published the first 40-ish years so I guess it's easy to think so. Later historians have argued that Malleus Maleficarum was just a tiny part of several reasons to why everyone got into this witch-hunt craze in the following 150 years. What we do know is that the Catholic Church condemned the book as false only 3 years after it's publication and that the members of the Spanish Inquisition was told not to trust anything in it, not even when the book have what looks like solid proof. 

It's also of course a great source of inspiration, especially if you, like me, are running a game set in Europe in the early 1600s.  

Part I, Question VI: How Witches Impede and Prevent the Power of Procreation.
For a certain wizard who had been arrested confessed that for many years he had by witchcraft brought sterility upon all the men and animals which inhabited a certain house.
Curse of the Dying Bloodline
Magic-User Level 2
Duration: 6 Months/Level
Range: 60'
If the target fails a Save vs Magic it becomes unable to create offspring, and any child not yet born die. The target gets a new save every 6 months of the duration of the spell even any save succeeds.
A willing target are able to adjust the save with +/-4 at will.

Part I, Question IX: Whether Witches may work some Prestidigatory Illusion so that the Male Organ appears to be entirely removed and separate from the Body.
... for since devils can do greater things than this, as killing them or carrying them from place to place [...] therefore they can also truly and actually remove men's members.
Crotch Curse
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: 1 Turn/Level or Permanent
Range: Touch
The target of the spell see and feel how it's genitals rots and falls off or closes shut. The target gets to Save vs Magic, with a -4 modification if the target willingly let the caster undress him/her before the spell was cast, if the save succeeds the spell was just an illusion and everything will seem normal again after 1 Turn per Level of the caster. If the save fails the effects are real and permanent.

Part I, Question X: Whether Witches can by some Glamour Change Men into Beasts.
... a certain girl would not consent to a young man who was begging her to commit a shameful act with him. And the young man, being angry because of this, caused a certain Jew to work a charm against her, by which she was changed into a filly. But this metamorphosis was not an actual fact, but an illusion of the devil ...
Shape of the Beast
Magic-User Level 2
Duration: Permanent
Range: 60'
This spell disguises the target as that of an animal. The target must Save vs Magic, a success means that the target sees itself as normal except in reflections a failed save means the target will see and believe it has been turned into the animal, the target will then start behaving as the animal and will not remember any details of what happens during the duration of the spell. Everyone who sees the target will have to Save vs Magic, with a -4 modification if the Target failed its save. A success means that the person will see the target as it's normal form.
During the duration of the spell Holy Water becomes harmful to the target as it is to other magical creatures. If the target takes half it's total hit points in damage from Holy Water, the spell is broken. The spell can also be broken by a Bless, Remove Curse, Dispel Magic or similar spell.
A willing target gets a +2 bonus to it's Save.

Part II, Question I, Chapter III: How they are Transported from Place to Place.
A number of scholars had met together to drink beer, and they all agreed that the one who fetched the beer should not have to pay anything. And so one of them was going to fetch the beer, and on opening the door saw a thick cloud before the grunsel, and returning in terror told his companions why he would not go for the drink. Then that one of them who was carried away said angrily: “Even if the devil were there, I shall fetch the drink.” And, going out, he was carried through the air in the sight of all the others.
Flight of the Silent Hours
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: Special
Range: Touch or Special
This spell is only useable in the darkness of the night, and only in a overground, outside environment. It allows the target to fly with a speed of 1 mile per Round for up to 2d6 Rounds plus 2 per level of the caster. If the spell is cast upon more than one target, the duration are split up between them. Flight is only possible in a straight line and during the flight no actions are possible.
It is also possible for a Magic-User to cast this spell in advance on an object. The object has to be ingrained with parts of the caster, like a necklace with a band braided of the casters hair, a book decorated with nail clippings or a potion the caster spat in. After this the caster are able to call upon the object to fly towards the caster. It has the same limitations, only works at night and only above ground and outside, but the object can be in a bag or similar. If someone is holding the object, or have it strapped upon the body, person gets a Save vs Magic to see if he/she will also take off.


The Cult of the Hollow Void

The Father of Nothing needs henchmen, worshippers, followers. A cult.

They are worshipping emptiness, so they are going to be people who either are so damaged and depressed that they rather feel nothing; alcoholics and addicts of other mind-numbing drugs, PSTD perople returning from the war or people who have suffered tragic losses make perfect recruits. Other followers may be those so hate-filled and vengeance seeking that they stop for nothing, those who do not care what happens to others or themselves as long as their target for revenge gets something worse. Whatever category they belong too, they usually do not realize what the coming of the God of What is Between actually would lead to, they do however know that worshipping him and recruiting more to do so will sometimes grant them blessings.

Hollow Mind
Magic-User Level 1
Duration: 1 Round/Level
Range: 60'
Hollow Mind targets a person within range who must Save vs Spell or have it's mind filled with a black hollowness and apathy. During the duration of the spell the target feel nothing but a apathy and is unable to take any other actions than moving at half the normal rate or Parry. The target also takes a -2 modification on AC and all rolls to Save during the duration of the spell.

Blessing of the Black Void
Cleric or Magic-User Level 2
Duration: 1 Turn/Level
Range: 50'
The Father of Nothing's Priest may give His blessing to 2+Level willing followers. They lose the ability to feel pain and are granted 1d6+Level extra hit points. When the spell duration ends all pain felt during the spell will hit the target at ounce, causing 1d3+half the total damage taken during the spell duration, potentially killing the target. If the target still has extra hit points left after this, they are removed.


The Father of Nothing

(art by Devin Francisco)
The Father of Nothing, God of What is Between, Lord of the Hollow Emptiness, Nameless Horror of the Black Void.

On the Day of Swine and Roses it will rise and will drag itself across the worlds open wounds and turn them into nothing. It gives it's worshippers the gift of absence. Absence of physical and emotional pain and bad memories. The absence of joy and happiness comes later and the indifference is almost always there to begin with. You do not start worshipping the Black Void cause you care about other people.

Worshippers are also granted magic gifts, spells or magic items usually related to destruction, obliteration and the Pseudobulbar affect. Examples:

Hargyn's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter (LotFP-version)
Magic-User Level 2
Duration: 1 Round/Level
Range: 180'
The victims of Hargyn's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter must Save vs Spell or perceive everything as hilariously and debilitatingly funny. All affected beings must be living and have an Int of 5 or more.
The effect is not immediate, and creatures feel only a slight tingling on the round the spell is cast. On the round immediately following, victims acquire a rictus grin, then begin to giggle, chuckle, titter, snicker and guffaw. During this round they have a -1 modification on their AC.
In the third round they will grow weaker and begin to stagger, breaking into gales of agonised laughter. During this round they cannot use Shields, lose any positive AC bonuses from Dexterity and get a -2 modification to their AC.

More stuff regarding the Father of Nothing are sure to follow.


The Blue Pyramid

Sometimes all you need is a map and suddenly you have a campaign going in your head. This one is by Lukc over at Cartographers Guild.
Original thread.


Star-spore Mutant

Hit Points: 5d8
Armor Class: 14
2 Attacks: 2 Slams 1d6
Movement: 90'
Morale: 12
Special Abilities: The Star-spore Mutants sacks of puss will burst upon death and everyone within 10' will have to Save vs Breath Weapon or be covered in purple puss and spores and take 1d6 damage. Star-spore Mutants take 3d6 damage from  this attack and this may trigger a chain reaction.
Saves as a level 1 Fighter.
No Appearing: 1-entire city populations.

The story usually goes something like this: A meteor crashes down in a field somewhere and of course someone can't keep their hands away from it. The alien spores on the meteor is transferred unknowingly from person to person until it somehow ends up on a recently deceased corpse. Moments later the corpse starts jerking and big puss filled sacks starts growing around the neck and head of the corpse who then get up on it's feet and start killing everyone around it, creating more and more of the mutants.

It does not want to eat your brain. It does not care about your soul. It will just try to kill you so that you too can rise up and spread the Star-spores.

(art by Alex Konstad)

Sometimes I save pictures I find on the web and turn them into monsters. Unless noted, the picture was found in the wild and the source/artist is unknown to me, sorry about that. 

All stats assume that an unarmored human move 120' (divide by 3 to get combat movement) and an ascending AC where an unarmored human have AC 12. Unless specifically noted, the creature saves as a Fighter with a level equal to the creatures HD. 


The Shadow Wolves of Schwarzwald

Hit Points: 3d8+3
Armor Class: 15
2 Attacks: Bite 1d6, Claw 1d4+1
Movement: 240'
Morale: 10
Special Abilities: Takes half damage from everything that is not fire, silver or magic. Suprises 4 in 6.
No Appearing: 1-6

The villagers of southern Germany tell stories of demonic wolves that hunt among the trees. They say that no weapon can harm it's fur made of shadows and their glowing red eyes and that the Shadow Wolves will eat your soul and send you forever to burn in hell once they catch you. Some will tell you that they will never stop hunting you and others say that the only way to get away is to leave the bloody corpse of a deer for them to feast upon. They won't tell you that the corpse of a fellow man will probably work as well, but once the red eyes are spotted some men will realize that they are guaranteed to be running faster than the man with a knife in his back.

Sometimes I save pictures I find on the web and turn them into monsters. Unless noted, the picture was found in the wild and the source/artist is unknown to me, sorry about that. 

All stats assume that an unarmored human move 120' (divide by 3 to get combat movement) and an ascending AC where an unarmored human have AC 12. Unless specifically noted, the creature saves as a Fighter with a level equal to the creatures HD. 


What I currently play and why

I'm currently running two games, one campaign in Pathfinder, set in Kaer Maga on Golarion and one campaign in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, set in England on a kind of dark magical earth circa 1615.

The players in the PF campaign are a bunch of friends with a mixed experience of playing. One of them started playing around the time I was born 30-ish years ago and another one is a newbie. The campaign is pretty much standard fantasy new school D&D with some of my personal tastes mixed in to it. I'm not gonna spoil anything for my players so I'll shut up about exactly what's in there.
Most of all it's fantasy, easy standard fantasy with rules most know well enough. It's safe and secure. It's also a bit complex and hard to tamper with without breaking stuff.

The LotFP campaign is set in Europe 1615-ish with magic and gunpowder. It's not in any way meant to be historically correct, the Earth-setting is meant to make the world familiar. The magic and monsters are meant to be unknown and mystical. There are no other races than humans and monsters are mostly one of a kind stuff so there are no goblins or orcs or armies of undead. Magic-Users risk being burned at the stake and magic items are probably going to be nasty and weird. No +1 swords. The players are all people I played with as a teenager and they all stopped playing circa 10 years ago. The benefit of this is that they seem to pretty much agree to go with all my ideas without any major objections and everything seems new and fresh to them.

These are stories of Wonders and Witchcraft.

Station Ident

This is Wonders & Witchcraft, a blog mostly about, mostly Old School, rpgs. The plan is to post ideas and stuff I come up with, usually sitting on a subway going somewhere, or at a conference table. Ideas I need to get in print. Sometimes there will also be a review or just thoughts about the latest little booklet I read.

Unless otherwise noted stats for stuff are written with the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rule set in mind, that means ascending AC with a unarmoured human having AC 12 and Silver Pieces being the money/XP standard. It should be easy to convert it to your rules of choice.

Unless otherwise noted the pictures posted were found somewhere on the internet and I do not know the source of them. Sorry.

RPG Person Profile

I'm currently running (at home): Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Pathfinder
Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (at home) include: Same.

I'm currently running (online): Not much for online play.
Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (online) include: see above.

I would especially like to play/run: Carcosa. Started planning for running it, but it will most likely be a while.
...but would also try: Getting more and more interested in some cyberpunk gaming. Of some sort or another.

I live in: Stockholm, Sweden
2 or 3 well-known RPG products other people made that I like: Vornheim, Realms of Crawling Chaos, The Metamorphica
2 or 3 novels I like: Pattern Recognition, Thieves World, CoMa
2 or 3 movies I like: La Jetée, Blade Runner, Gozu

Best place to find me on-line: Here.

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it: Includes random tables and non-generic monsters.
I really do not want to hear about: Elves.

I think dead orc babies are ( circle one: funny / problematic / ....well, ok, it's complicated because....): Funny.

Game I'm in are like (link to something):

I talk about RPGs on swedish site WRNU under the name chrull.