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Goblin Quest part 5

Gitmor finally hit his breaking point. The stress of following Tilagi around, getting into law breaking situations, the illithids, and now being brought into custody finally broke him.

“Gitmor throws his short sword at Abbith’s head” his player tells me.

I’m dumb struck, Tilagi’s player is laughing. I’m a relatively new dm. It was at this moment though, as the tiny 3lv fighter, opening attacked a mindflayer with 3 other mindflayers around him, that I knew he was probably going to die. My first player death.

Gitmor hits as his short sword slices Abbiith right above the eye and blue blood hits the ground.

“HAHSHAHA FOR MORK! NYEHAHAHAHA!” Gitmor screams, having finally harmed something bigger than himself" says Gitmor’s player as we roll initiative.

Gitmor miraculously is first in the initiative and he bolts for the nearest window and breaks through it. It is after that though that he takes 45 psychic damage and falls unconscious. He succeeds his first death save as the mindflayers walk outside.

He fails his second as they pick him up and discuss what to do. I decided to leave it to chance. At this point he has enraged Abbiith by attacking his face, the group has violated the law multiple times, and Gitmor is actively dying as Tilagi watches on, clinging to Zult. I get my d100 and set it up this way: 1-33% they eat his brain, 34-66% he gets a tadpole shoved in his skull, 67-100% they label it insanity and stabilize him.

I rolled 90.

The group is screaming at this point as he somehow, SOMEHOW avoided death. And that was when the party was taken to Vusiks.

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Goblin Quest part 4

So Gitmor was revived and now Tilagi and him had an impossible task, persuading a mindflayer they were innocent. Specifically Tilagi did, Gitmor was barely an accomplice.

Tilagi’s first strategy: Take a note from the bard and seduce the squidman. They ended up tying the roll. But the thing is Zult is asexual and barely an adult. He doesn’t understand other races yet so while he understood this goblin liked him and was acting weird he didn’t fully understand why. I basically gave Tilagi advantage on their next save against him.

But they rolled a 4 and a 7 so they failed anyway! So Zult read their minds and got the whole story. He relayed the information to his colony and the colony fined them 25 gold. This was easy to pay off and Zult said he would help investigate the missing ruby.

But at this point Gitmor had had enough. He was stressed beyond belief. He and Tilagi started a shouting match while Zult sat there awkwardly. Then Gitmor told Tilagi she wasn’t a princess. This set off Tilagi so bad she tried to blast him with fire bolt screaming she was going to kill him. She missed, setting a curtain in the church on fire. Zult at this point got up and restrained Tilagi with his tentacles stunning her. Gitmor was losing it. The colony seeing this through Zult told him to bring them to Captain Vusiks. Abbiith showed back up with two other illithids to take them to him. They gave the two goblins their rights which in Cultantum are “come peacefully and quietly. Resistance means you forfeit your life”.

And then the worst case scenario happened.

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Goblin Quest part 3

This is where things start heading downhill. But first the party decided to buy a horse. They went and found a pony that would be big enough to carry the two of them and named it Peanut.

No I forgot to mention that they also discovered the feathers headed towards Blacktower so the team started traveling that way. Along the way we did one random encounter and they rolled really good again and this time came across the remnants of an illithid arrest. Three corpses with their brains removed and an overturned cart. Tilagi investigated and found more gold, some tea, and a pocket watch with a strange symbol on it. Gitmor realized it was theives cant but couldn’t read it himself.

They made it to Blacktower and went into the first bar they found. There was a kenku inside so Tilagi had her snake familiar investigate his bag after casting dragons breath on it so it would have a breath weapon. But he failed the stealth checks so hard the entire bar saw this snake. She then had the snake breath fire on the kenku. Gitmor’s player misread what I wrote I thought that he needed to make a dex safe and he got a Nat 20 so I said that he’d bamfed out of the building as fast as he could once he saw that this snake was about to breathe fire. It was then the authorities were called.

Everyone ran out of the building as the illithids it’s made a barrier around the place and started investigating. These two illithids are going to become important so ill tell you about them. Abbiith is a 100 year old veteran of the bounty hunters and Zult has only been an adult mindflayer for about 2 weeks.

As Abbiith goes to interrogate Tilagi, Gitmor’s player asks me if he could roll to faint. After everything this poor little Goblin had been through I agreed to it and he made the save that I said he needed to in order force himself to faint. Zult seeing Gitmor pass out ran over to make sure he was okay. Abbiith saw an opportunity for the young illithid to learn and told Zult to take Tilagi and Gitmor to a cleric and interrogate Gitmor once he wakes up.

And thats where I’m stopping for now.

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accidentally updated my hacked switch, like its fine as theres custom firmware available for it but it means my sigpatches are out of date which is the code that allows me to play pirated games and launch things from the home menu.

Shame i guess but i’ll just have to wait for the new patches to come out.

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Goblin Quest part 2

Last time our party of two goblins rolled a 20 for their random encounter.

So I had them encounter the main campaign party when THEY were heading back from Sakato to Blacktower. We all got a good laugh as Karzag threatened to punt the little goblins like foot balls and Karotir’s player made the smart move of having their much richer main campaign character give 100 gold to their poor goblin character. So money was no longer an issue for our goblin duo.

After that the group arrived in Sakato. First thing they did was see who was around town. They found some more myconids, a troll, a green hag, some illithids talking to eachother and a group from a rival clan of goblins.

Tilagi confronted the goblins and demanded they greet her like the proper princess she is. They of course refused, calling her a loon. Tilagi then first enchanted them with her wizard ability and then punched one in face.

This was when I realized that my players didn’t know that when I call the illithids in Cultantum bounty hunters I meant they are also the main source of law enforcement, as one of the illithids ran over to break up the fight. Gitmor was about ready to throw up from anxiety.

Tilagi tried to lie to the mind flayer… and failed. The illithid scolded them and told them if they ever did that again he would dominate her to teach her what true enchantment looks like and force her to be his thrall for the day. Tilagi responded with and I quote

“😈 I like you.”

And then rushed off with Gitmor who I honestly was amazed hadn’t had a heart attack yet. The illithid watched them go, confused and surrounded by angry goblins and demanded he eat Tilagi’s brain or something.

It was then my players asked when the plot was going to happen (as if they hadn’t skipped my plot hook and rushed off to a city unplanned 👀💦). So I decided to speed things up and had Bulga, the shaman from before caste Sending and message them that the clans prized giant ruby had been stole and the main suspect was a kenku because of some black feathers found outside the chest it was once locked in.

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A while back I made a set of advanced elementals designed to be the improved types on the key 4 types and summoned out of 9th level spell slots with the conjure elemental spell. While mechanically I’m happy with them, thematically the acid elemental is still a bit off for me. I’m considering alternatives for it again, and in the meantime my next few updates will put my other three elementals into 13th Age.

Metal elementals are typically much smaller than the equivalent earth elemental, and hollow. They’re formed from non-forged metals, pulling the ore out of the ground and binding it together until the slag separates out and a rough mixture of metals are bound together into a smaller form. They’re quite hard to damage, but each hit that manages to break through their metal body usually breaks them down significantly. Older ones tend to begin sprouting large blades and spikes in battle, tearing those that get too close to them to pieces as they wheel and spin in battle.

Small Metal Elemental
Double strength 3rd level troop [elemental]
Initiative: +6
Metal limbs +8 vs. AC (3 attacks) - 7 damage
Miss: 3 damage.
Durability of metal: When the elemental takes 5 damage or less from a non-psychic attack, it takes no damage instead.
Fire absorption: When the elemental takes fire damage, its metal limbs attacks deal an additional 2 fire damage on a hit.
AC 21 PD 18 MD 10 HP 68

Metal Elemental
Double strength 5th level wrecker [elemental]
Initiative: +8
Metal limbs +10 vs. AC (3 attacks) - 11 damage
Miss: 5 damage.
Bladeling transformation: Roll a d10 at the start of each of the elemental’s turns. If you roll less than or equal to the escalation die, it shifts into its bladeling form until the end of the battle. While in this form, each enemy engaged with the elemental that activates its durability of metal trait also takes 5 damage (and you stop rolling bladeling transformation checks).
Durability of metal: When the elemental takes 10 damage or less from a non-psychic attack, it takes no damage instead.
Fire absorption: When the elemental takes fire damage, its metal limbs attacks deal an additional 4 fire damage on a hit.
AC 23 PD 20 MD 12 HP 108

Big Metal Elemental
Double strength 7th level wrecker [elemental]
Initiative: +10
Metal limbs +12 vs. AC (3 attacks) - 16 damage
Miss: 8 damage.
Bladeling transformation: Roll a d8 at the start of each of the elemental’s turns. If you roll less than or equal to the escalation die, it shifts into its bladeling form until the end of the battle. While in this form, each enemy engaged with the elemental that activates its durability of metal trait also takes 7 damage (and you stop rolling bladeling transformation checks).
Durability of metal: When the elemental takes 15 damage or less from a non-psychic attack, it takes no damage instead.
Fire absorption: When the elemental takes fire damage, its metal limbs attacks deal an additional 6 fire damage on a hit.
AC 25 PD 22 MD 14 HP 162

Epic Metal Elemental
Double strength 9th level wrecker [elemental]
Initiative: +12
Metal limbs +14 vs. AC (3 attacks) - 30 damage
Miss: 15 damage.
Bladeling transformation: Roll a d6 at the start of each of the elemental’s turns. If you roll less than or equal to the escalation die, it shifts into its bladeling form until the end of the battle. While in this form, each enemy engaged with the elemental that activates its durability of metal trait also takes 9 damage (and you stop rolling bladeling transformation checks).
Durability of metal: When the elemental takes 20 damage or less from a non-psychic attack, it takes no damage instead.
Fire absorption: When the elemental takes fire damage, its metal limbs attacks deal an additional 8 fire damage on a hit.
AC 27 PD 24 MD 16 HP 270

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Goblin One Shot Update

I should honestly call this the smaller campaign instead of a one shot but whatever. I’m going to record how things are going so far.

Gitmor is new to the Ruby Back clan of goblins, having escaped a rather horrible life in the underdark. Bulga, the shaman of the clan, ordered Tilagi to show Gitmor the surrounding area to get him used to to.

Tilagi in turn… completely ignored this and decided to take Gitmor to Sakato to enjoy a shopping trip. On the way there they decided to panhandle on the side of the road. And were actually really successful.

The way I do random encounters is I have one person in the party roll a d20 and depending on the roll I make the encounter good of bad. So first they ran into some myconids who gave them mushrooms. Then an orc party that gave them a shiny rock. Gitmor btw was panicked the whole time that Tilagi was going to get them killed as she called over every person they ran into. Gitmor even tried hiding in some brush (but rolled like a 2 so everyone saw him).

Then they rolled an encounter that made me laugh my ass off. Captain Vusiks, currently Ulithard head of the Cultantum Illithids, road past them with his two retainers. Of course Tilagi flagged him down. Gitmor, someone from the underdark outside of Cultantum, is having a full on panic attack as this 8 foot tall Illithid gets off his horse and comes over to them. Vusiks assumed they called him over because they were hurt or something until he read Tilagi’s mind, had a good laugh, and gave them 10 gold for their troubles. He got back on his horse and left them alone. Gitmor was about ready to strangle Tilagi.

Then my players rolled a 20 for their next encounter. And I’ll tell you about THAT in the next update.

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Some (more or less) simple house rules of mine concerning falling to 0 Hit Points:

1. Secret Death Saves: If you play online, the players whisper them to you. If you play at the table, they hand you a note. Or you trust them enough to manage it by themselves. Keep also secret if the character made it or not. A successfull DC 10 Medicine Check reveals, if the character is still dying, stable or dead. This leads to RP and to intense fights.

2. Lethargy: Falling to 0 Hit Points gives one level of exhaustion. That prevents the feeling of being an indestructible machine that keeps fighting after being revived several times.

3. Broken armor: Falling to 0 Hit Points gives the characters armor class a permanent and stackable malus of -1. If your armor class falls to 10 because of that, it breaks apart entirely. To repair the armor, it costs 1/10 of the armors original price per point of AC that must be restored.

Feel free to use them in your game.

‘cause f*ck 'em, that’ why.

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The Goblin Campaign

So that little story I mentioned before is from my second campaign in Cultantum. The first is on hiatus until some of the players get a break that is the horror of trying to go to school in 2020 (I will EVENTUALLY write about that campaign but we are at about 200 hours worth of play on that one). In the meantime we have a one shot campaign involving Goblins.

Pierce/Karzag’s player is playing Gitmor: A Cavalier Goblin who is very anxious and grumpy

Karotir’s player is playing Tilagi: a Goblin Wizard in the school of enchantment who thinks they are a princess and demands to be treated like one

They are on a quest to find a ruby a kenku stole from their tribe.

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How Illithids Outside of Cultantum React to Cultantum Illithids

Cultantum illithids are seen as abominations by other mindflayers. A mindflayer from outside of Cultantum would probably try to kill them on sight. This is due to a few things. Cultantum mindflayers do not reject acarne magic and many of them use it. Alhoons, illithids liches, are respected members of the community and many young mindflayers train under them. Cultantum illithids do not keep thralls and work with other races in Cultantum. Because of how strict Olberic was on them when they first joined, they have become very active civil servants. They take great pride not only in how they hunt by also how they help the community. They have pretty much abandoned all thought of returning to their status of rulers the universe. Instead have aspiration of making their cities utopias for all races, with themselves being the ones who keep the cities running like well oiled machines. Other mindflayers see this as corruption and insanity. Cultantum illithids meanwhile see other mindflayer as feral and primitive. If given the chance they will capture other illithids and keep them hostage with their colony with the hope that over time they can convert the outside to their cause.

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Cultantum Illithid Relationships

Illithids have unique familial and relationship structures. The entire colony is seen as a family but often groups will form units. When on bounties they will travel in packs of about 3 to 5 members. Because of this illithids often form intimate relationships with their hunting party. Even when with the rest of the colony their groups will stick together. They often eat, sleep and bathe together. Members of these bonding groups can even trust eachother with memories from their host or be entrusted to care for eachother’s tadpoles. It is about as close to a romantic relationship as illithids get. Sometimes illithids will form this sort of relationship with people not of their species. This mostly happens with illithids who choose not to be bounty hunters. An illithid can turn into a very clingy friend suddenly if they trust you enough.

Illithids in bonding pairs often will braid their tentacles together when relaxing. Other races compare this to kissing. If in a relationship with another race they often will instead wrap a tentacle around a hand or arm.

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Families and Young Adulthood for Cultantum Illithids

Cultantum illithids have no elder brain so they keep their tadpoles in jars they carry with them while they travel. This means a mind flayer can actually track their lineage. Illithids often form close bonds with their children and grandchildren but more as a teacher/student relationship. When a mindflayer first reaches their adult stage the community psychically transfers information into their head in a process that only takes a few days. They function as full adults after thst but often still have to refine their psychic abilities for the next few months. Talking to other non-illithids is difficult for a young mindflayer and often their speech is broken or it takes them longer to communicate. After a month or two though they blend into society perfectly.

Normally illithids are extremely defensive and secretive. Leaving the colony is only for those banished or emergency missions. In Cultantum when an illithid is about 3 months into their adult stage they are given a mission by the colony to leave completely alone without another illithid. They see this as a right of passage and teaches the young adult survival skills and how to interact with races besides their own. The missions are often extremely difficult for the young illithid who has spent their entire life surrounded by others. The quiet of not having other illithids around can make them depressed and anxious. But upon their return there usually is a large celebration.

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Cultantum Illithid Foods

Mind flayers have no sense of taste but this hasn’t stopped the Cultantum mind flayers from creating a lot of interesting dishes for themselves. Being bounty hunters means being on the road a lot so many of their foods are pickled. They will pickle the brains of those they take from bounties but they also pickle pigs brains. Pigs are very intelligent animals and the ones in Cultantum have over time been bred with mind flayers in mind, making them increasingly most intelligent. The average pig can give a mindflayer enough nutrients for a few days. Octopus, also being very intelligent, are a delicacy for Cultantum illithids and often are bought live around holidays to enjoy. Intellect devourers are mostly kept as pets now instead of also as a food source. Many mindflayers keep one around their living spaces. Cerebral mushrooms are eaten with almost every meal since they contain a lot of psychic energy and enough nutrients to keep a mindflayer healthy for a week. Many illithids grow some in their living quarters.

Cerebral mushrooms are also popular with other races in Cultantum. They are easy to grow and have a taste some describe as being like duck in an earthy sauce. You can find many dishes with cerebral mushrooms in restaurants throughout Cultantum. At home they are often used in stews or baked for a mid week meal.

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