Part 26: Filling in the Gaps 1: Special Undead, New Spell Levels, and GnomesFilling in the Gaps 1: Special Undead, New Spell Levels, and Gnomes
Now that we're getting more and more established in the setting it's becoming a bit less necessary to fill things in, but we've snuck through a couple of spell levels and run into some interesting oddities. We'll start with the undead, which are kind of the focus this time around.
The lich who acted as mayor of Dulcimer was an interesting and dangerous opponent, but it's worth taking a moment to address what liches are and where they come from. Taking a look at the Monstrous Manual, a lich is an undead wizard of at least 18th level who voluntarily undertook a ritual to become undead in order to continue their study of magic. The first step of becoming a lich is crafting a phylactery (soul jar) using the enchant an item, magic jar, permanency, and reincarnation spells that is valued at a minimum of 1,500 gold. After that the mage has to create a toxic potion using the wraith form, permanency, cone of cold, feign death, and animate dead spells that is drunk at the next full moon. The wizard then makes a system shock roll, and if they successfully pass that roll they become a lich.
Liches have a fear aura that affects creatures with less than 5 HD, and when they actually physically attack they have a cold touch that does 1-10 points of cold damage and can cause paralysis. Liches are impervious to non-magical weapons, and are immune to all charm, sleep, enfeeblement, polymorph, cold, electricity, insanity and death spells. Liches can also see perfectly in darkness or bright light. They're difficult to put down, and normally prefer to attack using powerful magic instead. In order to kill a lich you must first destroy its physical body and then destroy the phylactery. One important note about liches is that they are not precisely evil: rather, they have their own goals and ambitions and will let nothing stand in the way of those goals. Assuming that a lich's goals are not too invasive, it would be quite possible to have one as a comfortable neighbor.
This might be a bit early, but it doesn't hurt to go into a bit more detail about Death Knights since they're the focus of this particular module. A death knight is a paladin or other good warrior who has broken their code of honor in life and been cursed as a result of their unforgivable crimes. They are usually cursed to remain in their former domains, but a rare few are capable of moving about independently. On full moons, death knights are condemned to remember their crime in haunting songs that terrify all who pass.
Death knights all have 9d10 HP, 18(00) strength, and an AC of 0 regardless of what kind of armor they are wearing. Death knights retain some vestige of their living code of honor, and will never attack from ambush or attack before an opponent has readied their weapon. Death knights constantly generate fear in a 5 foot radius and can cast detect magic, detect invisibility, and wall of ice at will. They can cast dispel magic twice per day, and can use one of the power word spells once per day (including power word kill). Once per day a death knight can also cast a 20d6 fireball. All other spells are cast as if the death knight were 20th level. They also have 75% magic resistance, and about a 10% chance to reflect any hostile magic back on the caster. Really, it's a tossup as to which is more terrifying between them and lichee.
Since we've started our spell casting characters have gained access to one new level of priest spells and two new levels of wizard spells. Those levels are somewhat smaller than previous spell levels, however, which makes them easier to catalog.
Clerical Magic - Level 5
Rip has recently gotten access to one of the more significant spell levels for clerics, but it only comes with three spells. With that in mind they are:
Cure Critical Wounds - heals 6-27 HP to the target. Not terribly useful since we have characters with more than 110 HP, but anything helps.
Dispel Evil - improves the target's armor class by 7 points against summoned evil creatures. Once the creature hits a summoned evil creature, that creature must save or be dispelled and sent back to its origin.
Raise Dead - does exactly what you'd expect and returns dead characters to life. It's possible for the target to remain dead if they fail their system shock roll, and this spell only works on non-elves. Characters raised in this manner come back to life with 1 HP, and lose a point of constitution. This isn't as bad as it seems for most non-fighter characters, since their HP bonus maxes out at +2.
Arcane Magic - Level 5
Cloudkill - creates a larger area of effect and may kill weaker monsters, but has the handicap of having no chance to kill stronger enemies. Instead, they take 1-10 damage per round as long as they stay in the cloud. Supposedly usable by both Red and White robes, but in practice this isn't true.
Cone of Cold - fires a cone shaped blast of cold (essentially line-based) that does 1d6 damage per character level up to a maximum of 15d6. A pretty worthy successor to fireball (although a bit harder to use). Again, supposedly usable by both Red and White Robes, but does not appear to be working for Red Robes.
Feeblemind - reduces the intelligence and wisdom of a targeted creature to drop into the single digits if they fail their save, rendering them unable to cast spells. Uniquely, spell casting targets have to save at a -4 on this spell. White Robe only.
Fire Touch - creates an aura around the target that adds 2d6 fire damage to each attack. Red Robe only.
Hold Monster - the same as hold person, but works on nearly any type of creature. Useful, but only on creatures that resist damage spells and don't resist hold spells. White Robe only.
Iron Skin - reduces the mage's AC by 4, making them a bit harder to destroy. Usually your time can be better spent casing something offensive. Red Robe only.
Arcane Magic - Level 6
Death Spell - D&D made death magic useless before it was cool. The awesomely named Death Spell kills up to 80 1-2 HD monsters, 40 3-4 HD monsters, 8 5-6 HD monsters, or 4 7-8 HD monsters. The problem is that it doesn't kill anything with more than 8+3 HD, and kills weaker monsters first. On the plus side, this spell doesn't allow for a saving throw. If you want to impress the hell out of people by wiping out an army of goblins this is the spell to use. Otherwise, don't bother. It's particularly bothersome since there aren't very many living creatures in Death Knights that are weak enough to be vulnerable to this spell. Useable by both Red and White Robes.
Disintegrate - a much better spell, disintegrate destroys any single target that fails its saving throw. This includes undead, and the spell is not limited by the target's HD. It's chancy, but by the time you can cast this spell you have at least a chance of affecting skeletal knights and it can help speed fights along. Red Robe only.
Globe of Invulnerability - the bane of enemy wizards who failed to choose damage spells past fireball or lightning bolt, this spell completely negates affects on the caster caused by spells of 1st through 4th level. Doesn't last long, but other than that it's a great spell. White Robe only.
Flesh to Stone/Stone to Flesh - technically these are two spells, but they're very closely related. Flesh to Stone turns the target into a statue if they fail their save, while Stone to Flesh reverses the effect. Characters subjected to Stone to Flesh must make a system shock role to survive being returned to normal. Both spells are Red Robe only.
We've just recently had our first real encounter with gnomes, which are in close running for kender as the most annoying things included in the Dragonlance setting. This isn't by accident, as the two species are closely related. According to Krynnish lore Gnomes are possibly the parent species of dwarves or kender, although the dwarves tell a different story. Gnomes in the region of the first two games are commonly referred to as Tinker Gnomes, and are well known for being menaces to any society they are a part of. Their inventions never work, often explode, and they are constantly working on new inventions.
Gnomes talk far more rapidly than other creatures, which is normally depicted by having no spaces between their words. They also can't understand the concept of names, and will instead rattle off their entire family history (including inventions) if you ask for their name. Gnomes are short and sturdy, live about 350 years, and generally don't grow beards. The reason we're spared having gnomish PCs is because there was some mercy on the part of the game designers. Also, without specialty classes gnomes don't really have a place in a standard party.