Monday, September 19, 2022

Red Frontier Bestiary: Skinwalkers

Skinwalkers are a rare breed of skin changers. Like their werewolf counterparts, sorcery is used to turn the practitioner to a more animal like state. Unlike werewolfism and other forms of lycanthropy, the magic used for skin walkers is more ancient, more primal, and possibly tied to the Fae itself. Another difference between the two, is that while werewolves take on the characteristics of wolves, skin-walkers don't take on any certain characteristics of any known animal. Instead, their skin sheds and tears off very quickly as their limbs elongate and become more bulky. Their faces, along with their heads, elongate as well, but take on more a leathery, skull like appearance with long, needle-like teeth. Their short fur is the color of black ash, and their eyes become a glowing grey. Skinwalkers are also able to talk to their soon to be victims through telepathy. They can quickly move, including making long leaps. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that even children can be turned into skinwalkers, though a lesser version. And unlike lycanthropes, some skinwalkers, usually the head or older members of their "families" can cast some magic. While susceptible to holy water and silver (only in creature form), skinwalkers can be killed with normal weapons. No one knows the origins of these ancient, vile creatures, but many of the red men tribes have tales of skinwalkers that go back for centuries. Men, women, and even children that have wandered away from their tribe sometimes come back months later, changed, and ready to lead others into this dark path, or even feast on their flesh. Skinwalkers are not known to be solitary creatures. They usually form "families" either formed from actual families, or from various individuals of different tribes. Keep you settings in mind, especially on warm nights, and keep an ear out for strange voices when you're out in the Red Frontier. You know never know who or what is watching you, especially when you think you are alone. Though in the Red Frontier, you're never truly alone.

Skinwalker Stats:

Frequency: Rare

No. Appearing: 1-8

AC: 5-3

Move: 15"/18"

Hit Dice 4-6+2

%In Lair: 25%

Treasure Type: E

No. of Attacks: 2

Damage/Attack: 1-8/2-12 (1-6/2-8 for younger members)

Special Attacks: Older members and heads of families cast spells, usually Charm, Sleep, Hold Person

Special Defenses: Nil

Magical Resistance: Standard

Intelligence: Average-Exceptional

Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Sizes: (In creature form) M-L

Psionic Ability: Telepathy


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 21: A Trip to the Haunted Castle Part Two

Laurentius (Cleric)

Boldvay (Magic-User)

Mark (Thief)

Whiskey Jack (Explorer)

Plus Boldvay's various henchmen

Oh yeah! A second trip to the spooky castle! For this session, the party is joined by newcomer Whiskey Jack, a level one Explorer. Woo-hoo! The party arrives at Zappos's place and ask about any info he may have gotten from his snakeman prisoner. He replies that he did. The rest of the snakemen are low in number, maybe eight or so left, are lead by a snakeman wizard, and are indeed holed up in the northwest tower of the castle. The party pays Zappos to teleport them right outside of the castle and they soon began their way to find the vile serpentmen. 

Instead of making they're way through the courtyard and castle proper, the party heads to the castle's northwestern tower and decide to climb up and try to find and retrieve the Black Eidolon manual. Moving around the mote, they quickly found the tower they sought. Before scaling it, invisible was cast on the thief Mark who also carried a rock that had Silence cast upon it. He slowly made his way up to the western window on the second story and once inside, placed the rock down and attached his rope to the opened window and threw it down for the others to climb.

While they were taking their time to climb up, Mark saw that the room he emerged in contained four snakemen and what appeared to be human with a grayish pallor and adorned with many stiches sweeping the floor. Out of the four snakemen, the apparent leader, robed in a black cloak with various insignia and zodiac signs, was at a table containing various alchemical instruments and other equipment. He seemed to be preoccupied. The three other snakemen hadn't noticed Mark, but instead had their backs turned away from the window. Another table in the room had a glass dome over it with various magical items inside. The rest of the party finally made it through the window quietly and quickly surprised attack the snakemen. Their surprise was successful and soon all the snakemen were on the floor, dead. The other creature inside just watched as the players hewn the serpent folk down.

Laurentius realizes the creature is a sort of undead type and used turn undead on it. While he made the number he needed, it failed. The creature then tells the cleric that his turn ability has no effect on him as he is indeed alive, but made from various parts of different human corpses. He lets everyone know his name is Frank and that he's a patchwork of body parts brought back to life by the liche Aristide Malevol the Patrician, another member of the vile family that calls Castle Xyntillan home. He goes into the adjoining room and soon the party hears various clicks and buzzing. The glass dome on the table lifts and they plunders the table's contents. The items they recovered are: 1) a journal made of human skin, 2) a spell book with various level spells, 3) a gold and onyx sacrificial dagger, 4) a Ring of Spirits, and 5) a Staff of Commanding. Not bad at all.

Frank then reemerges and tells the group that the fowl liche has been away for some time, and during his absence, the Black Scale gang has moved in. He also tells them that he hasn't helped them much and has mostly stuck to his own business. Frank also let's them know that there isn't as many of the snakemen left. Next, the players move into the side room Frank just left only to find strange metal contraptions, with electric buzzing and humming. They soon left. After that, the party sees some stairs leading down and make their way to first floor with Frank in tow. Emerging out of the stairway, they see two snakemen throwing another one of their kind into what seems to be a pit of acid. Whiskey Jack charges the snake men, who being surprised, all manage to fall into the deadly acid. Unfortunately, the snakemen managed to splash some acid on Whiskey, who took some damage. They're quickly dispatched. After that, they dispose of the bodies by throwing them into the acid pits. Searching around the room, they see a large magical mirror and a pedestal with a black and eldritch tome. Frank clues them in that the liche uses it to go to different places and is usually gone for long lengths of time. 

Before leaving to go back to the teleportation spot, they get a bright idea to deal with the liche. Finding a rug in front of the mirror, the party moved it of over the acid pit, weighted down (or tied down, not quite sure which) each corner to where it was tight and level, placed the pedestal on the other side of the rug (with the book on top), and finally placed the mirror in front of the rug. This was done in hopes that one day the liche would return, climb out of the mirror, and walk onto the trapped rug, and finally fall into the acid pit as said rug collapsed. Here's a picture: 

After all that, they finally left the castle unharmed and returned to Pottsfort with treasure and Frank in tow. Frank was convinced by Laurentius to join the church, and the players, over the next few days of down time, quietly went back to the castle (with help of Zappos's magic mirror) and carefully retrieved the very expensive lab equipment from the second story of the laboratory tower.

Happenings and Going Ons in the Red Frontier Part 2

These events took place during August thru October of 2022 While the Urgak and Wier were preparing to fight against the forces of Law, the p...