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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to Thanatos, the 113th layer of the Abyss

My Planescape group is going to be exploring this place, so I figured I should read up on it. This is a guide to Thanatos, the 113th layer of the Abyss that is ruled by Orcus, demon prince of undeath.
I’m going to go through each old product and pull out the essential information so that we can use it as a starting point whenever we need to use Thanatos in a campaign.

The Essential Information
  • This place is home to hordes of undead.
  • Mortals find that this place drains their essence and will kill them if they stay too long.
  • If you die here, you rise up as either a zombie or a bodak.
  • There are many cities here, full of demons and undead.
  • Kostchtchie, demon lord of giants once sent giants to attack Thanato and were repelled.
  • A cult of Ahazu the Seier attacked Thanatos and were also repelled.
  • Kiaranselee, a drow goddess of undeath, actually killed/drove Orcus out for a time.
  • A section of this realm is known as The White Kingdom, home to Doresain, King of the Ghouls.
1st Edition Manual of the Planes

We learn a few things:
  • Orcus lives in a great palace made of bones.
  • His guards and servants are undead.
  • From his many halls, Orcus rules many layers of the Abyss and "Prime Material planes."
Throne of Bloodstone

This adventure has piles and pile of information on the realm of Thanatos. In this module, Thanatos is referred to as layer number 333, but in later editions it is said to be layer 113. The Abyss is chaos so it’s pretty easy to explain – the abyss shifts around.

The Sky Changes: The sky is bright red, then dull crimson, then sickly green. It changes often, and the sky is something of a multicolored light show with roiling clouds.

Flying in Thanatos: Hordes of chasmes attack. There is a 10% chance that the demon lord Pazuzu shows up! He's being paid by Orcus to defend his skies

Creatures in Thanatos: Nabassu, Demiliches, sons of kyuss, spectres, ghouls, babaus, chasmes, shadow demons, dretches, rutterkins, vrocks, wights, mummies, ghosts, vampires, skeletons, and death knights.

Dying in Thanatos: If you die here, you rise up as a bodak. Only a wish spell brings you back to your former state, but a wish in the abyss must be granted by the nearest power.

Valley of the Crypt Things: This place is lined with ornate thrones. On each throne its a pale, solitary skeletal being wearing a brown, hooded robe. There are 24 of them in total. They rise and point fingers at PCs.

Skeletal Mountain: A mountain 4,000 feet high made of bone. It is alive! It forms into strange, skeletal shapes. It forms skeletal creatures that attack intruders every three rounds. The creatures include a giant skeletal fist, skeletal ettins, skeletal t. rexes, skeletal hands, skeletal dragons (!), and skeletal storm giants. I really like that, you could make a really cool adventure out of that.

City of the Zombies: A city of 10,000 zombies, victims of the evil of Orcus who seek a true death. They are ruled by a zombie king - ordinary zombie on a throne. The zombies here would team up with the heroes to take down Orcus.

The Bridge: Two skulls stand guard at the edge of a bridge that spans a moat of fiery lava. The skulls declare: "Let the strongest among you best the champion, ere you may cross." They form a duplicate of the group's strongest fighter and stuff happens! Crazy.

City of the Liches: A great stone wall with a gate of iron. A silent, dead city. Magnificent, but cold. Ruled by “the Lich King.”

The City of Orcusgate: A chaotic metropolis ruled by Glyphimhor, demon lord of orcus gate. Glyphimhor wants the Wand of Orcus for himself. The city is full of dark houses, no sign of life. No light, sounds or smells. Being in the city drains levels! Every d4 hours you lose one.

NPCs in Thanatos:
  • Ter-soth, the Brigade commander, a balor.
  • The group is spied on by fire mephit named Dimwold in a plaid suit and a derby? Yes, a plaid suit.
  • The Trapped Solar: Tied to a burning stake is a solar with skin of molten copper. Ten demons have captured him. The flames can't kill him, but are painful. His magic bonds can only be cut by a magic item. Cutting the bond instantly destroys the sword. The solar’s name is Gabriel and he serves Bahamut. If the group rescues him, he summons a ki-rin to aid the heroes for the rest of the adventure.
  • Fyrillicus, the Abyssian Dragon: He is 100 feet long and can cast spells like dimension door. Fyrillicus is not smart.
The Castle of Orcus:
  • Bone Guns: The castle is guarded by magic bone cannons/guns operated by demons. They can fire an assortment of spells once per round: Dispel magic, lightning bolt, or magic missile.
  • Climbing the Walls: Don’t climb the walls. The walls can form claws or dragon heads that breathe red dragon fire.
  • The Moat: If you fall into this moat of lava, it means “instant and irrevocable death for anyone from the Material plane.” It is 5,000 feet deep and it exudes poison gas.
  • The Mazes: Inside the castle, you’ll need to navigate really, really complicated mazes. This adventure has diagrams and everything.
  • The Prison of Baphomet: This is an open platform. Orcus teamed up with Yeenoghu to capture Baphomet, demon lord of minotaurs. him. Once Baphomet slays a human, he can go home.
  • Library: Shelves of scrolls and tomes. All of them deal with Orcus - his conquests, his slaves, all doctored to make him look good.
  • Teleportation Room: Anyone exiting through a certain door teleports everyone outside to the bridge.
  • Battle Arena: Orcus will fight the heroes in this arena. There are special effects: Dispel magic and a chessboard floor that you fall through… 1000 feet to your doom. This arena is detailed again in 3rd edition, but it doesn’t have these fun details.
Planes of Chaos


This is a Planescape boxed set that is totally overloaded with ideas. There’s a section on layer 113: Thanatos, the Belly of Death.

Effects of the Realm: Undead regenerate 1 hp every hour in Thanatos. More powerful undead regenerate at faster rates (each round!). The thin air causes you to get exhausted quickly.

Orcus is Gone: In 2nd edition, due to the satanic panic, all demons and devils were downplayed. Orcus had “gone missing.” The story here is that he was slain by a drow goddess named Kiaranselee.

New Ruler: Kiaransalee, drow goddess of vengeance and the undead. She wears a cloak of rattling bones and rules Thanatos from Naratyr, city of the dead.

Naratyr: Cold realm on the surface of a frozen ocean. There are a lot of carpets of hair from former occupants. This city has vampire councilors and spectre generals. Her legions include babau, driders and armanites.

Lachrymosa, the Cauldron of Tears: This is a town around a citadel where rust-red geyser spew steam and water. It is home to undead zombies and ghouls. If you die here, you immediately become an undead servant or a mane/dretch/rutterkin. You can only be reverted back via raise dead/wish/resurrection polymorph.

Kiaranselee, drow goddess of undeath

Servants of Kiaranselee:

Rotting Jack: A babau who perpetually sheds his rotting skin which crawls with maggots. He loses an eye periodically and he wants Thanatos for himself.

Anista of the Eight Eyes: A drider who rules the summer palace. She wears a crown of eyes that gives her 360 degree vision and he can't be surprised. He is high strung and very jumpy.

Sleepless: A molydeus who marshals forces for the Blood War. He seems to be in many places at once (Sleepless is actually twins who pretend to be one person).

There are Dustman guides and visitors. Most undead ignore travelers accompanied by a Dustman.

Naratyr, City of the Dead: Hanged people and ghouls on lines the sides of the streets. This place is home to warring bands of vampires, banshees and spectres. Lots of factoids:
  • Ruler: Rauva Cormrael, drow priestess of Kiaranselee
  • Surrounded by a moat of River Styx
  • The city is silent, and cold. There are few taverns/shops/food.
  • The central castle of bone has interior walls of flesh and carpets of hair. This book has a thing for carpets of hair.
  • Militia: They are known as the Ivory Mace, a rag-tag gang of ghouls led by ghasts and wraiths. The captains are babaus wielding thighbone clubs who can sing a banshee-like death song once per day.
  • The Bottomless Well: An inn/tavern run by Crimson Mol, a constantly muttering wight. He clean mugs obsessively.
  • The Last Meal: The city's elite comes here. One frequent patron is Ladislas the Cruel, a bard framed for his spiked flute and sharpened lyre.
  • Ally of Kiaranselee: Qaletra, a priestess of Lolth (possibly a lich)who betrayed her goddess for Kiaranselee.
The Book of Lies: In the adventure book of this boxed set, there’s a short scenario about going to Thanatos and stealing a magic book. The Book of Lies is in a Dustman stronghold on Thanatos.

The Book of Lies lists every lie that was ever uttered in all of creation. It is four feet tall and three feet wide, with an infinite number of pages. You need a strength of 14 to carry it. To use it: Call out someone's name, and the book opens to a list of that person's lies in chronological order. It doesn't explain the circumstances, just the statements.

Portal: There is a portal to Thanatos in the graveyard of Sigil. It is in the inner doorframe of a mausoleum.

Dead Gods
This adventure is all about Orcus. It says that once, Orcus ruled multiple layers of the Abyss, all filled with teeming cities of undead and demons. He created a secret lair known as Tcian Sumere in case things went bad. It is in the negative material plane. The balor Glyphimhor is here! He’s dead! He’s some kind of shaft of light. Somehow he comes back to life in 3rd edition.

Faction War

We learn that when news broke that Orcus had somehow come back to life, Kiaranselee went "barmy" and closed off Thanatos, barring all traffic.

3e Manual of the Planes

Tombstones of every imaginable type dots the landscape

We are told that the drow deity has disappeared. Rumor has it that Orcus has returned! In Dead Gods, Orcus is a thing known a Tenebrous and at the end, his servant Quah Nomag doe a ritual on hi giant dead body. I guess this brought him back to life!

In later books, it is explained that Tenebrous and Orcus became two separate entities. Tenebrous is now a vestige in the Amber Temple of Curse of Strahd. Orcus was most recently seen in Out of the Abyss, sort of. I guess he was supposed to be in a novel but it never got released. The art from it shows that he was mingling with mind flayers, which is an odd combination.

Planar Handbook

There is a very cool section in this book detailing all sort of fun locales in the planes. One of them is:

The Mausoleum of Icy Fear: In Naratyr, there is a cemetery whose graves are carved into the surface of a frozen ocean. The heroes exploring this place may have to battle. It is home to vrocks, vampires, bodaks and spectres.

Fiendish Codex I

When Orcus was a nalfeshnee, he sat in the Court of Woe (layer 400 of the Abyss). During this era, the gith revolted against the mind flayers

Thanatos Details: We get tons of general information.
  • Ash-gray clouds fill the cold, black sky.
  • The immense, melancholic moon changes phases at random.
  • There are roving hordes of thousands of undead.
  • Living mortals take d6 damage per round!
  • If you die here, you rise up as a zombie in one hour.
  • Thin Air: Save every hour or become fatigued. Those who become exhausted immediately begin to suffocate.
  • The dustmen have an outpost in every city.
  • Leaders in the order of Orcus call themselves skull lords. Skull lords are tested. Those who fail become liches and are sent to Golmin Thur forever.
  • When a Skull King dies, it is reborn as a demon - either a vrock or a nalfeshnee.
  • Orcus can manifest himself from place to place throughout the layer at will.
  • Chief Diplomat of Orcus: Harthoon: Lich and an embalmer.
Eldanoth: When Kiaranselee took over Thanatos, a demon named Eldanoth fled and took over its own layer, known as the Arc of Eternity. It is a kingdom of snakes and manes with a copper fortress on a rocky plain. Eldanoth wants to be a god of crime and hatred, and he has many adherents on Thanatos. Eldanoth looks like a smiling male tiefling with snakes growing from his fingertips.

Glyphimhor: This powerful balor died shortly after the invasion of Kiaranselee. He was a column of light in Tcian Sumere. When Orcus returned, he brought him back to life. Glyphimhor rules the city of Lachrymosa, the capital. He is willing to betray Orcus.

City of Straight Curves: A frozen-over port city whose streets bend in extra-dimensional ways. It is ruled by a nabassu named Slursidyal, who loves using illusions to mess with visitors.

Everlost: A massive fortress of bones in a sprawling desert of bone meal called Oblivion's End.

The Valley of the Crypt Things: A bewildering maze of natural defiles and canyons that eventually dip below the surface of Thanatos and connect to the Endless maze of Baphomet.

Frozen Sea: Ancient citadels and shipwrecks frozen in ice. One vessel, the Shadow, is home to Kiaranselee-worshiping drow who want to humble Orcus.

Lachrymosa, the Cauldron of Tears: Rust red geysers that spew steam and water into the River Styx. It contains the Forbidden Citadel, once the seat of Kiaranselee's power. It looks like a bust of the goddess herself. Some believe Orcus doesn't have the power to destroy it. It may contain treasures tied to Kiaranselee's ultimate plan for the layer. Later in the book, it is revealed that an armageddon device is in the Forbidden Citadel - a vortex connected to the heart of the Plane of Positive Energy!! In order to use it, you must make a trip to the world of Guldor for an audience with the Banshee Queen's avatar before making a daring raid against the fortified capital.

Golmin Thur: I think this is the City of Liches from pat products. A weeping city of narrow avenues and towering minarets. The liches here are known as the Disgraced. The sorcery of their creation prevents them from harming the skull lords, but they want to rebel.

Lash Embrar, the Flickering City: An enormous spinning helix of borealis-like magical energy dominates the sky about 350 feet above this crumbling metropolis. It may have been here that Orcus enslaved the layer of Thanatos to his will thousands of years ago. All skull lords must make a pilgrimage here. The ruler is skull king Quah Nomag, the cultist who appeared at the end of Dead Gods.

Naratyr: Carved into the Frozen Sea, protected by a frozen moat of the Styx, this is a city of dead vampires, banshees and spectres, as well as reanimated corpses of drow and driders formerly loyal to the Vengeful Banshee. There are also a lot of Quth-maren, skin-stripped corpses who were loyal to Kiaranselee.

Orcusgate: This is the dwelling of demons of Orcus. There is a gate of fire that connects Thanatos to the Pits of Pazunia. The demons here demons thwart visiting skull lords, delighting in the cruelty. Bulky white-skinned winged demons known as zovvuts pass for law-enforcement here. The rulers are the Council of the Riven Ram, a six-member cabal that dictates demonic policy. The council is comprised of balors and mariliths.

The Plains of Hunger: This area is home to countless hordes of undead seeking flesh to consume. Skeletons, zombies, ghouls, mohrgs, hullathoins and wights. Skull Lords come here and try to take control of a horde. Sometimes the Disgraced liches take control of a horde.

Crawling Heads: Long ago, Kostchtchie sent giants here. Orcus fed them to the hordes of the planes of hunger. These giants later reanimated as crawling heads. There I at least one in most hordes. They are brilliant undead behemoths that fall into a deep concentration that allows them to conduct strategic planning for Orcus.

Vadrian: This ruined city was once the stronghold of a balor who betrayed Orcus. The Dustman home is known a the Galendure citadel. Sherenve the Shrewd, half-elf wizard, commands the Thanatos sect of the fallen faction. She studies undead to learn about the multiverse. A burning metal tower is home to Buldinol, a palrethee who serves as Glyphimhor's eyes and ears.

NPCs: There is a Dustman named Eravamont Glask, a wizard and guide. The Ashen Triune is a trio of mute deathbringers who wander the planes looking for enemies of Orcus to kill.

Dungeon Magazine #147

The heroes come across a ship that is a clot of blood and meat made from the remains of 1,000 slaves that is stretched over a bony frame. A cage of dark iron is in the center that holds an angel prisoner. This skiff is operated by two blood fiend agents of Orcus, who are transporting a prisoner who is pretending to be an angel. He is Azael, a spy who was supposed to monitor Demogorgon but got found out.

Dungeon Magazine #148

At one time, the cult of Ahazu the Seizer tried to attack Thanatos. They were repelled. Orcus sent his demons to the Wells of Darkness. They killed the entire cult and destroyed the fortress they lived in.

Dungeon Magazine #149

We learn that the city of Vadrian is all but abandoned except for the Dustmen. Hiring a Dustman guide costs 4,000 gp per person.

Everlost: Most inhabitants are intelligent undead along with with demons and bodaks. Two balors guard the entrance to the throne room, a place where mortals normally aren't allowed in. The balors wear black adamantine armbands that grants them immunity to negative energy.
  • The Halls of the Risen Grave: A short tunnel that leads to the center of the palace. The dome inside is the interior of a truly gargantuan skill. At the center is a pile of skulls with a throne of black stone inlaid with mithral. This is the throne of Orcus. Strange black tendrils writhe from the black stone.
  • The Throne of Orcus: Approaching the throne is difficult. It is a negative energy conduit that drains strength. The closer you come to it, the more you feel pressed down by an unseen weight. Once within 60 feet you must save each round or be forced to your knees.
  • The Arena: The champions include fiendish death giants Lestra and Orbenet and a crawling head named Lertyck Trumbel.
Dragon Magazine #358

Those who sail the Styx through Thanatos must navigate carefully. Bergs of ice and frozen bodies make navigating the Styx slow and treacherous.

Lachrymosa: The portmaster is a bloated zovvut named Sensiner. He has a huge goat eye in the center of his forehead. He must be bribed or their ship will be crippled.

4e Manual of the Planes

Skull lord and Doresain

Those that die in Thanatos rise up as undead in moments

The Plains of Hunger: Frost-rimed flatlands teeming with undead. Hundreds of skeletons, zombies and ghouls.

Lachrymosa: A balor named Glyphimhor governs the town. Glyph makes it through every edition!

Valley of Crypts: Bewildering maze of defiles and canyons. This place connects to the endless maze of Baphomet.

E1 Death's Reach

Ghovran Akti: A lich dedicated to Orcus. He hopes to help an exarch of Orcus named Mauglurien to slay the Raven Queen. Ghovran wants to become an exarch of bitterest winter.

Shonvurru: An undead marilith, member of a cult of Orcus known as the Ashen Covenant. There may be a gate from Thanatos to death's reach, a weird realm right on the edge of the Material Plane.

E2 Kingdom of the Ghouls

Orcus has a sidekick – Doresain, king of the ghouls. Doresain rules a realm inside the realm of Thanatos. It is called The White Kingdom, home to thousands of ghouls. The main palace is situated in a lake of black blood.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 49 - Storm King's Thunder

Episode 49 - Distraction Force

On June 2nd and June 3rd, the Stream of Annihilation will be up and running. This is an official D&D event where a bunch of different groups will be playing through adventures linked to some mysterious story. It sounds like the waffle crew will be doing something at this thing!

I am going to try and cover it as best I can, and I think I’m going to be tweeting during the whole thing. I’ll do my best to let you know what happens and hit you with the highlights.

This event, I think, launches the new D&D storyline. I have my fingers crossed that it involves Planescape. I think this is the project that included the contributions of Pendleton Ward, the Adventure Time guy.

The Party

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer
(Sam Sykes) Kozin Xorlarrin - Drow Fighter 

Last Time: The group beat up some drow and forced them to surrender. The heroes are getting ready to draw out the fire giants so that Diath and Kozin can sneak in to Ironslag and steal Maegara, the fiery primordial, so that the giants can't use her to create the rampaging colossus known as the vonindod.

Evelyn politely welcomes the drow to the light, and offers to take their things. The drow had the iron flask, but now it belongs to the Distraction Force.

Strix loots a staff with a spider on it. It is sticky. Strix is very into this thing.

The group learns that this delivery was a test for the drow leader. If she had failed to deliver Maegara, she would have been turned into a drider. But she succeeded, much to the disappointment of Kozin.

The dark elves call Kozin a traitor and inform him that Lolth sees all. He asks them, "Does Lolth see this?" and he kills one of the drow with his dagger.

The group asks the drow for some information about the items.

Then, the drow leader Vireth teleports onto a wall about thirty feet away from the group. She casts fly and starts to take off.

Evelyn hucks a few javelins at her and misses. Strix starts looking through the drow spell book and sees that it has a lot of new spells, including greater invisibility and cloudkill.

Diath flings daggers and rolls well for once! He does a pile of damage to her. The drow is still alive but she’s wounded badly.

Kozin tries to get the dao to help, but the drow gets away.

It is time to execute the plane. Strix casts fly on Diath and he flies down the shaft with Kozin. This dynamic duo creep around, looking for a place to hide until the Distraction Force forces a distraction.

Outside, the dao points out that while he was chasing the drow, he found Harshnagg's axe. Hmmm. The group sets up at the door. Strix creates an illusion of a short frost giant and launches a fireball at the front door. The sound reverberates throughout the complex.

It works. Duke Zalto, a bunch of fire giants and hell hounds emerge from the doors. Paultin gets mauled by the hounds. Strix casts polymorph on the duke. It works! Duke Zalto is now a chicken.

Down in the forge, Diath approaches the furnace. Through the grate, he notes that the fire is so bright that he can't look directly at it. He senses a pair of malevolent eyes in the fire.

Diath speaks the command word to activate the magic iron flask. Maegara gets a saving throw. Jared is freaked out... Maegara fails the save! Maegara is in the iron flask.

Evelyn summons Mourning Glory, her horse, in a dazzling display that includes a speech and a wink. Mourning Glory's job is to distract the hell hounds. It works. The hound are chasing the horse.

Diath realizes that there are a lot of slaves in Ironslag. Kozin doesn't want to bother with them. Diath decides that he needs to go and try to free them. Kozin takes chicken-Zalto and leaves Diath to his fate.

Evelyn activates her armor of invulnerability. The hell hounds breathe fire on her, but it does no damage. Evelyn sarcastically pretends to be hurt. Anna has been hilarious from the first second of this episode.

Kuharik, the dao, wants to go find the golem. The group hates this dude and kind of shrugs it off.

Paultin ends up thunderwaving Evelyn and the hell hounds. Evelyn takes no damage, but goes flying with the dogs.

Diath finds a bunch of prison cells, each affixed with a giant-sized lock. To pick the locks, he'll have to stick his arms in them. This will take a lot of time.

Is there a key around?

Ohh boy. Diath decides to free Maegara. I believe he can control her for one hour. She's gigantic. 50 feet tall! Diath burns and all of the dwarves die. The cells melt. Yeargh!

That’s where we stop.


Very fun episode! Lots of action, lots of humor, just as I like it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Adventures in Eberron - Thelanis, the Faerie Court

Last week, we played some more of the Eberron campaign. I have a 9th level sorcerer who now has a staff of power.

We're on a quest to get three gems from three different Eberron planes. Eberron has its own cosmology and I know absolutely nothing about it. That makes it very fun for me as I have absolutely no idea what to expect.

I googled the Eberron planes just to figure out the name of the place we went to. The DM told us what it was, but I couldn't remember.

We had come to some kind of feywild realm.We were looking at a city with lots of giant birds flying over it. There was a huge tree on top of it with tendrils that shot beams of energy. The birds were trying to snatch these seeds of power from the roof but were getting slaughtered.

It turns out that our gem was there on the roof, too. I had twinned a fly spell. We approached a bird cautiously and befriended it. We ended up with giant bird mounts.

I flew close and used telekinesis to snatch the gem. The party fighter got a seed.

The tree shot me with a laser beam (a sunbeam spell). My bird died! I fell all the way to the ground below.

There were redcaps down there, a volo's monster. I have never, ever encountered redcaps in D&D before. They have steel boots and they started gleefully kicking the crap out of me. They dropped me to 0 hit points.

I have an amulet of life protection that automatically stabilizes me when I drop to 0, so I never have to worry about death saves.

The other heroes flew down, fought the redcaps, and revived me. I cast wall of force using my staff of power and created a protective dome that shielded us from the redcaps.

The others were hurt as well, so we took a few minutes to recover. The fighter's bird was in the dome with us. It wanted the magic seed.

It ate the seed and transformed into some kind of golden ultra-bird that was super-fast. We climbed on it, I dropped the dome and we flew away, free.

We went back through the portal. That was one gem acquired!

We took a long rest and then used my well of worlds to enter another plane. I think the DM is actually rolling on a chart to see which plane we appeared on. Did he cook up a scenario for every plane?

This time, the well brought us to some kind of ocean plane. There was a storm overhead. I think this is Kythri, the Churning Chaos, but I could be wrong.

We went into the city and bought some potions and scrolls of water breathing.

The wizard has this robe with magic patches that create different things. She has one patch that creates two rowboats! Handy!

We entered the realm. In the distance was a floating tower that actually flipped upside-down every so often. As in, the top of the tower swung so that it was underwater. The roof became the basement, and vice versa.

We rowed close. We climbed in through a window and made our way to the roof. The DM began rolling each round to see if the tower flipped. We got extremely lucky. The tower didn't flip once!

There were four slaads messing with the gem we needed. We started dropping magic bombs on them. A few raced forward and attacked.

I used telekinesis to snatch the gem out of their hands. My plan from here was for us to run down the stairs and I'd make a wall of force blocking them from following us.

It didn't quite work out, as the others couldn't get away and one slaad pursued me down the stairs. I used telekinesis to keep the slaad away from me and to clear a path.

The other slaads were killed and the group joined me in the stairs. We fled to the rowboats while I held the slaad back with telekinesis.

We rowed back to the portal and escaped!

We have two gems. We had to stop there.

I really like how the DM comes up with these scenarios that are so different from each other. I don't think I ever would have come up with that flipping tower, that was really cool.

We need one more gem and then something is going to happen. I think we're actually going to connect in some way to the world in our previous 4th edition campaign, which is Nerath/the Nentir Vale, the default 4e setting.

That world got altered in the course of the 4e campaign so that during the day, the world crossed with the feywild and at night, the world crossed with the shadowfell.

I love my staff of power. It's the greatest thing ever. Was a good one!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons - Converting Old Adventures to 5th Edition

I know a lot of you are newer players or people returning to the game after many years, so I feel like this might be helpful for some of you.

For some of you newer people learning the rules, I think you might be interested in these action cards (cards with no crop marks here). On top of that, this company is giving away 5e Player Handbooks, one per week. This is all in preparation for their kickstarter for color-coded dice. I am very amused at the idea of having an orange set of 8d6 specifically for fireballs.

So! Today I’m going to take a stab at explaining how you can convert older adventures to 5th edition D&D rules.

Here’s the super-short version:
  • Scale the encounters when necessary.
  • Re-skin the monsters (Take the numbers from a 5e creature appropriate to your group’s level, and apply that to the old monster’s stats).
  • Use the DC and damage guidelines in the DMG on pages 238 and 249.
  • Remember that old adventures are way overloaded with treasure and might be a bit much for 5e.
Good Adventures: There are all of these old adventures out there that are really great. I made a list of my favorites a while back.

If you're newer to the game and you see a cool adventure that uses a different version of the D&D rules, you might back off, thinking that converting it is too much work.

It's not! It's worth it! There are a lot of cool old adventures that virtually nobody has played. Converting can take a while, but it doesn’t have to. If you’re a stickler and you want to get every little detail right, it will take forever. But that’s not necessary at all. You can slap stuff together and run it just fine.

Guidelines: There are two very important pages in the DMG:
  • DC guidelines on page 238.
  • Damage guidelines on page 249.
Online Tools: Nobody can remember every spell and item in existence. When you need to know 5e stuff, you can ctrl-f and search these lists real quick:
Monsters: A lot of times, when you are converting a monster from an older edition, that monster won’t exist in 5e. In those cases, here’s what I do:
  • Google the Monster: The stats for almost any monster from 1e-3e is online. Check out its powers and description.
  • 5e Stats: Find a similar 5e monster that is a suitable challenge for your group
  • Re-Skin: Apply the 5e monster's numbers (AC, plus to hit, damage expression, save DC) to your monster. Boom. 
Tons of Treasure: In older editions, magic items are handed out by the truckload in published adventures. In 4e, magic items are expected. You have to have them!

In 5e, magic items are rarer. Adventuring groups have less of them and, at least in my games, a +2 item is ridiculously rare. I don't think I've ever given one out! In older editions, +2,+3, no big deal. +5 is usually the big time in the olden days.

I'm going to go through each edition, list some adventures and show how to convert stuff from that edition.

AD&D 1st Edition – Temple of Elemental Evil

Certain 1st edition adventures such as Tomb of Horrors and White Plume Mountain are reprinted in almost every edition, just like in 5e's Tales From the Yawning Portal.

Low AC: A low armor class is good in 1st edition. Once you get in the negatives, it's very good. AC -2 is fantastic. That’s +4 plate mail you’re wearing, there.

No Balance: The big thing to know as a DM is that most of the time, there's no encounter balance in 1e and 2e adventures! There is no math, they just threw whatever they felt like at you.

So when you're converting 1e adventures, keep that in mind. If there's a room with 20 orcs and your group is 3rd level, you have a choice: Leave it as-is or balance it. I think that kind of depends on your style and the temperament of your players.

Maintaining the Balance: If you want to balance it, go to kobold fight club and enter in your stuff. A medium challenge for four 3rd level characters would be three orcs. So you just change that room to 3 orcs instead of 20.

I converted and ran the Temple of Elemental Evil a few years ago. You might want to check out the computer game. It is buggy, but you will probably end up really excited about running this adventure. I did, anyway.

Modify It: Do not feel weird about changing things or removing sections of the dungeon that seem boring to you. Every DM does it in every edition. In the case of this adventure, this dungeon is very uneven and some of it might be a drag to play through.

Chamber of Statues (page 78, Room 311)

I picked this room because I like it a lot, and it has a lot of examples of the choices you will have to make when converting. The above image doesn't include the whole room. There's all these statues in here, too.

Scaling the Wisps: The lights are four will-o'-wisps. The 5e version of them is on MM page 301. The wisps attack the group as they look at the statues. If the group consists of four heroes that are 5th level, then 4 will-o'-wisps is a hard encounter. You could drop it to 3 wisps to make it a medium encounter.

If two wisps are slain, the others flee, which makes the encounter a bit easier. But it's a tricky choice. I'd go with less wisps, because the fun of this room has nothing to do with them. This room is all about experimenting with the statues.

Beholder Statue: It is protected by a fire trap and it has a scroll of protection from magic.

So.. I don’t see a 5e fire trap. Let's google fire trap from an older edition. It's right here.

Basically, you touch the fire-trapped thing and there's a fiery explosion. For damage and DCs, you can use the guidelines on DMG pages 238 and 249. I usually stick with DCs that are between 10-15, because even high-level characters have a hard time making those rolls.

I'd go with a DC 13 Dexterity save and 2d10 fire damage. Success = half damage. If the group is 5th level here, we're right on the border of 'setback' and 'dangerous' on page 249. I might split the difference and go with 3d10 fire damage.

I think I would have it hit everyone within 5 feet of the object. That’s always tricky because you need to know who is close without tipping the players off that it matters where they’re standing.

I'd replace protection from magic (doesn't exist in 5e) with protection from energy, PH page 270.

Dragon Statue: The box that the dragon statue is admiring has invisible runes on it. They reveal four command words:
  1. Shrinks the box to 1/12th normal size.
  2. Causes it to function as a Leomund's secret chest spell.
  3. Causes the box to go back to full size.
  4. Makes the box four times as large! It weighs 1,200 pounds.
Invisible Runes: Invisible runes! How do we decide if they're detected? Who scans every item for invisible text on it?

I would do it like a 5e glyph of warding, where the words are nearly invisible and require a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check to find. So, if the group is smart and cautious, they'll check it for traps.

No DC: In cases like these, I just let the group find it if they say they are looking. I don't like it when the group has the foresight to search something and then don't find anything because of a die roll. If they were clever enough to check, I'd give it to them.

Leomund's secret chest is on PH page 254.

Weaponized Box: One pitfall here. Your players will definitely try to drop the box from a height onto a bad guy and speak the command word so that the 1,200 pound box comes crashing down on them.

That's fun and hilarious once, but it could march into cheesy territory real easily. You might want to say that it takes the box d6 rounds to fully expand and that it makes a stretching, creaking noise when it does so.

Or! The group drops it and expands it. It falls, hits the target and cracks. It doesn’t break, but it is clear if they do it again, the box will fall apart and be useless.

Fire Giant: Has a +2 spear, cursed backbiter.

This item is in Tales from the Yawning Portal, page 229. Let’s assume you don’t have that book. We google it.

Magic Curse: The deal here is that when you roll a natural 1, it damages the wielder. Usually with these kind of items, the wielder will be affected by it magically and won't want to get rid of it. Remove curse will need to be cast to separate the wielder from the item.

In this case, I think it would be funny to say that it is just a faulty spear. The character gets hit with it one time, and they can either throw it in the garbage or maybe use it in a clever way, convincing an enemy to wield it so that they end up killing themselves with it, which would be really funny.

Manticore: It has a crossbow of speed, but the crossbow's string is missing. It says that "enchant weapon" is needed to fix it. Furthermore, the bow's new string will break whenever the wielder rolls a natural 20 to hit.

There's no crossbow of speed in 5e, but there is a scimitar of speed (DMG page 199). It's +2 and it lets you make one more attack with it as a bonus action on each of your turns. That's easy to apply to this, right?

Fixing the String: Enchant weapon isn't in 5e. It seems like the cantrip "mending" (PH page 259) would fix this just fine.

Medusa: Oh boy. Cloak of poisonousness. When you put it on.. you die. No saving throw.

That's brutal! I don't like stuff like this. If you are going to use this item, I think you should warn your players when you start this adventure that there is save or die effects in it. They'll be more cautious and they deserve a heads up. Also, it might save you some headaches if/when they die from it.

If I was going to use this item, I would make the DC low. DC 10. I'd probably also describe it in an ominous tone, and say that it slithers anxiously like a snake, eager for you to wear it.

Changing It: I think I would change this completely. I'd probably alter it to an effect where the hero is cursed and very slowly turning to stone. Each day, they lose a bit of speed and maybe gain 1 point of AC. They'll be petrified within a week, giving them ample time to remove it if they want.

I'd also love the idea of the character becoming more medusa-like. They start to grow snake hair, and their gaze sometimes turns things to stone, but they can't control it. Eventually they'd start to lose control and they'd need a remove curse before they became an NPC monster.

Players love this kind of thing, and frequently they'll request to keep the effect in some way. They might just like the snake hair. I usually let them keep it, because it's fun. I did a thing in a Blackmoor campaign where some of the heroes turned into slaads in times of stress as if they were the Hulk. They loved it so much, I just let them keep it.

Don’t Worry About It: As long as it doesn't unbalance the game, stuff like this can help get the players more into their character. That character is now utterly unique, and they are rewarded for interacting with the world.

Mummy: The staff has a glyph of warding (blindness) on it. The bottle contains strong acid that can be thrown like a grenade.

Glyph of Warding is on PH page 245, blindness/deafness is on PH page 219. That's a Con save. The blindness spell only lasts a minute, which feels a bit useless. Then again, being blind in a dungeon for a long time sucks.

Timing: I think what I'd do is have the wisps play it cool and wait for someone to be blinded, and then attack. That way the blindness matters without it being too harsh.

Lords of Acid: The acid grenade. I googled a 5e vial of acid. It does 2d6 acid. Since this bottle has "strong acid" let's double the damage! 4d6 acid right in the face!

Ogre Mage: The necklace has a stone that can be thrown to create an Otiluke's freezing sphere.

Otiluke's freezing sphere is on PH page 263. 60 foot radius, 10d6 damage! That's a cool one-shot item for the group to use in times of peril.

Rakshasa: A ring of delusion which performs as a ring of x-ray vision for one turn before becoming false and useless. Ring of x-ray vision is on DMG page 193.

There is no 5e version of a ring of delusion that I know of. I googled it. The user believes the item is what it appears to be and can't be convinced otherwise without a remove curse.

Cursed Items are Weird: I don't like cursed items because it's too much of a middle finger to the group. Also, how exactly did the bad guy get these things without getting cursed? The bad guy collects them? Does the bad guy expect that many intruders??

Altering It: You can have fun with this, though. You could say that the x-ray vision works half the time, and the other half it shows something really weird. So then, if there is a room where there is actually something bizarre going on, the group will have no idea if the ring is messing with them or not.

Also, you could do it in a way where the ring likes the character and deceives them to keep them safe. That might lead to all sorts of fun things.

Wight: The urn is worth 20,000 gold!!! Inside it is dust of sneezing and choking, which "spills out of the vessel if examined." Each creature within 20 feet is disabled for 5-20 rounds and must save vs. poison... or DIE.

How Much Gold? Wow. First, if the group is 5th level, 20,000 gold is a mighty sum. If you google this topic, you get a great enworld post that helps a lot.

According to that, each hero should have around 560 gold each at 5th level. At 6th, they should have 4500 gold.

Dispensing Cash: Handing out gold partly depends on how you run things. If the group can buy magic items in your world, then the amount of gold they have matters a lot. If they are able to pay spellcasters to cast high level spells for them, that matters too.

Don't Sell Your Timeshare: In D&D, characters don't do a lot with gold. What is there to buy? If you look at the prices of buildings, they are incredibly expensive. A fortress is 150,000 gold. If your group is the type to want to buy a place like that, then handing them this gold is fine! They're saving it for their fortress.

Dust of Death: Dust of sneezing and choking is on DMG page 166. DC 15 Con save or become unable to breathe and begin suffocating. They can repeat the save at the end of each turn.

I would use the dust as it is written in the 5e DMG and remove the YOU DIE part from the 1e adventure. The characters might suffocate to death using the 5e rules, but it will be through the suffocation/exhaustion rules. I hate looking those rules up. I googled it, it's right here.

Heimlich: The choking character can last at least a round before it hits 0 and starts making death saves. The only thing I'd plan for is another character trying to help their friend breathe. Medicine check? You could do an amusing heimlich maneuver or mouth-to-mouth scenario, depending on your group’s sense of humor.

AD&D 2nd Edition - The Rod of Seven Parts

Ok.. this adventure is awesome, but it's very high level. My favorite part of this whole boxed set is the third booklet that details the rod and has scenarios that might occur in the campaign, such as: "What if the group is caught by the bad guys?" That whole possibility is written out like an adventure. I love it.

In this campaign, the Queen of Chaos sends her flunkies after the heroes. She wants the pieces of the Rod of Seven Parts. The group is collecting them while avoiding her deadly spyder-fiends. Let’s convert the weakest type of spyder-fiend from 2e to 5e. Here's the 2e stat block:

We’ll go down the terms so you have an idea of what matters. Most of it doesn’t:
  • AC: Armor class.
  • MV: Their speed, which is weird in old editions (they use real-life inches on a real-life map).
  • Wb 15: I think this is the speed it has climbing webs.
  • Cl 9: I think this is the spider's climb speed (Thanks Nono).
  • HD 4: That's the challenge rating of the monster. "Hit dice" in older editions basically meant the "level" of the monster.
  • # AT 1: Number of attacks per round. It has one attack.
  • Dmg: Damage.
  • SA: Spell-like abilities.
  • SD: Special defenses.
  • SW: Vulnerabilities.
  • MR: Magic Resistance. A lot of monsters in 2e have some amount of magic resistance. When a spell is cast at them, they roll a d100. If they get that number or lower, they resist the spell. If the spell bypasses the resistance, the monster still gets to make a saving throw as normal.
  • SZ: Size.
  • ML: This is morale, a tool for the DM to figure out if a monster runs away. During a battle when things go bad, you'd make a roll. The lower the morale score, the more cowardly the monster.
THAC0: This is the stuff of legend, the core of the 2e experience. This is 2nd edition's weird way of helping you figure out what you need to roll to hit an armor class. Remember, a low armor class is good in 2e. THAC0 stands for "To Hit AC 0." The lower your THAC0 score, the better.

If you have a THAC0 of 5, that means you only have to roll a 5 on a d20 to hit a monster with an AC of 0. That’s really good!

So a THAC0 of 17 means you need to roll a 17 on a d20 to hit AC 0. Remember, a -1 AC is harder to hit. If you have a THAC0 of 17, you need to roll an 18 to hit a -1 AC.

If you want to hit a regular dude who has an AC of 10, you only need to roll a 7. It's weird, but once you get it in your head, you never lose it, ever.

Spyder Time: OK. To get these spider-y powers right, we should look at the 5e spiders to see how 5e rules use spiders. If you look, a phase spider (MM page 334) seems to be very close to what we want. It is one level lower than I'd like.

Honestly, I would probably just use these stats and add a few hit points and the bite power. But let’s try and do this thing. Basically, I’m taking the spider abilities and scaling them for a challenge 4 monster.

One thing I noticed is that giant spider poison does a pile of damage. I decided to use that. I also chose to limit the teleport power. Teleport at will seems a bit much for a low-level monster. I was torn on giving it the phase spider ethereal jaunt ability. I decided not to just to be faithful to the 2e version.

Kakkuu (Demon, Spyder-Fiend): AC 14 HP 65 Bite: +5 to hit, 6 piercing dmg piercing and the target must make a DC 11 Con save, taking 18 poison on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. If the target drops to 0, it is stable but poisoned for one hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.
  • Immune: Lightning, poison. Resistant: Cold, fire
  • Web (recharge 5-6): +5 to hit, range 30/60, the target is restrained by the webbing. DC 12 Strength to escape.
  • Spell-like Abilities: (At-will): Darkness, (3/Day) Teleport.
There's a description of how a kakkuu can dangle a web down and swing it so that the heroes get stuck to it. Then it can reel them in at 15 feet per round. I'd make that an encounter or two, not sure how to word it exactly.

One other thing. You should probably change the name of this monster. If you have a goofy group, once they start saying “Kakkuu” out loud, you’re in for many nights full of ribald humor.

D&D 3rd Edition Life's Bazaar (Dungeon Magazine #97)

Let's do a Perkins! Chris Perkins used this adventure to kick off the first big 3e adventure path - The Shackled City. This path is really awesome, but it is a bit disjointed. The adventures don't connect that well and they don't foreshadow the big final villains, so it comes off a little weird.

This adventure has an awesome level 1 dungeon (called Jzadirune) in it. I actually converted this to 4th edition years ago, and I screwed it up. So, it seems like a good choice to talk about here.

This dungeon has gear doors:
  • The doors in Jzadirune are gear-shaped.
  • They roll into a nearby wall cavity when properly opened.
  • Burned into the center of each door is a glyph representing a letter in the gnome language.
  • The doors are locked. Opening one requires a rectangular, rod-shaped key.
  • The key fits in a tiny, diamond-shaped slot, and each key bears a tiny glyph at one end.
  • The glyph on the key must match the door to open it.
  • Opening a gear door without a key (knock spell, lock-picking, etc) activates a trap.
  • The DC on this lock is a 30! At first level! Even in 3rd edition, that's really high.
Problem: What happened in my game was that I made the DC high - attainable, but really high. The thief kept failing his attempts to pick the lock. From the text: "The trap continues to function until the door is opened or destroyed."

The thief kept failing and getting hit with the trap effect over and over. It got unpleasant, to say the least.

Converting the Traps: Each of these doors has a different trap, many of which mirrors the effect of a cantrip. There's a shocking grasp, ray of frost, cloud of corrosive gas, fan of magical flames, etc. I'd use the actual 5e cantrips with a DC of 10 where applicable.

For the other traps, I'd use a DC 10 and damage of 1d10 or maybe even 1d6.

Deciding the DC of the Locks: This dungeon is designed in a way where I think you can get through it without opening one gear door. There's secret doors you can use to traverse the dungeon, and some of the gear doors are open. If I could do this again, I’d have lowered the DC by a lot. I think that DC 30 was some 3e thing that went over my head when converting.

1st Level Characters: This adventure is the beginning of a campaign, so if you have new players, you want to really lowball them on damage while they learn the game.

D&D 4th Edition - Siege of Bordrin's Watch (Dungeon #157)

I didn't like that Tales from the Yawning Portal didn't have a 4e adventure in it. I wracked my brain to think of one to replace Forge of Fury (we don't need two 3e adventures from the same path in Yawning Portal, right?). I realized that it should be Siege of Bordrin's Watch. I ran that and my group talked about it for years after. 

Converting 4th Edition: 4e is different. Very different! It's like D&D tactics. I loved it, but I understand why people wouldn't like it.

4e was all about game balance. In older editions, once characters hit 11th level or so, they were so powerful that they could plow through any adventure. Parties would have some characters who were weak and useless, and others who were godlike.

Players would exploit certain combinations which was fun for them, but not so much fun for the players sitting there twiddling their thumbs while their friend killed everything in one round.

4th edition completely removed that. It is extremely balanced, to the point that every class feels similar. Everyone has "powers" that are roughly equal in strength.

4e Monsters: In 4e, the monsters are streamlined. Each has a few powers that are completely explained right there in their stat block. You don't have to look up any spells. They don't have spells! They'll have a power that is like a spell, but it's described right there in the text.

4e Level Range: This adventure is for 3rd level characters. 4th edition goes from levels 1-30, so normally I'd remove a level or two for 5e. You might want to cut them by a 3rd.

For example, if you have a level 12 4th edition adventure, that would be a level 8 5th edition adventure. It doesn't matter that much, it's just something to keep in mind.

In this case, level 3 is fine.

Shrine to Moradin (page 43)

This room has 8 orcs and a cave troll. Most of the orcs are minions, a 4e type of monster that has one single hit point. I love minions, they're a lot of fun and players like slaughtering them.

Remove Orcs: For the conversion to 5e, I'd get rid of all the orcs. The troll is more than enough! After all, a troll is a deadly encounter for four level 3 characters. A troll is a hard encounter for four level 4 characters.

I like this encounter because the monster has a cool power. It's very memorable. "Improvised Weapon" lets the troll grab a creature and use them as a weapon. If the creature has heavy armor on, it does more damage!

We have some options here. We can re-skin the troll so that it's lower level, or we can use the technique from Yawning Portal/Dead in Thay. It's called "reduced threat monsters."

Reduced Threat Monsters: A reduced threat monster has half its normal hit points and -2 to attack rolls, ability checks, DCs and saving throws. That seems simple to put into effect and should shave down our troll from deadly to hard or medium.

We have to create the grabbing-and-hitting power for 5e. Regular trolls are on MM page 291.

Cave Troll AC 13 HP 42 +5/+5/+5 5dmg/5dmg/9dmg
  • Regeneration: Regains 10 HP at start of its turn unless it takes fire or acid.
  • (Action) Improvised Weapon: +5 to hit. Hit: Target is grabbed and restrained. The troll uses it as a weapon in a melee attack: +5 to hit, Hit: Both the target and the grabbed creature take 7 damage. If the grabbed creature is wearing heavy armor, the target takes 11 damage. Escaping the grab is an action: Athletics or Acrobatics check DC 11.
There we go. Good enough for a one-off encounter! I'm a little worried about the three attacks. That's a lot of damage. If I were to run this, I'd just spam the improvised weapon power.

You are now a Convert

It might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Just slap some appropriate numbers on it and run it! Err on the side of caution and you’ll be fine.

Once you know the appropriate numbers that work for your group, it’s a piece of cake. Any creature you’re unsure of, you can model them after existing 5e monsters of the level you need.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to Juiblex, Demon Lord of Slimes and Oozes

Today we’re going to make ourselves a resource. I’ve collected all of the information I could find on Juiblex, the demon lord of slimes and oozes.

There’s a lot more information on the realm that Juiblex rules rather than Juiblex himself. It seems like nobody is sure what to do with him.

AD&D Monster Manual

Juiblex has got himself some weird art, here. He is known as the Faceless Lord, "the most disgusting and loathsome of all demons." Adventurers can take damage from "the caustic properties of his noisome excretions."
  • He can fly! That must look strange. Maybe he turns into a sphere?
  • Once every 10 rounds, he can spew forth a slime that is a combination of an ochre jelly and a green slime.
  • He can spread himself into a pool of slime or become an 18-foot-tall "column of disgusting ordure."
Monster Manual 2

It says here that on Juiblex's plane there are slimes, deadly puddings, jellies, and various amoeboid monsters.

Throne of Bloodstone

This adventure is nuts. Tons of info on the Abyss!

The Realm of Juiblex: "The nauseating tench of decaying matter greets you…" This place is filled with fungus and rot. It is sometimes known as the Amoebic Sea.
  • Every 30 minutes, characters need to make a save or suffer the effects of a stinking cloud spell.
  • The layer putrifies all non-magical food. Water is turned into gelatinous cube material (!).  Food becomes black pudding. When that happens, they eat through your stuff and attack you!
  • Stepping into the swam causes you to duffer the effects of: Green slime, yellow mold, ochre jelly and black pudding.
  • If you fly over the swamp, it spews great columns of muck at you.
There’s some creatures here:
  • Giant Obliviax: It drains your memories from the last 24 hours and memorized spells.
  • Giant Gelatinous Cube: It's 100 feet to a side!
  • Green Slime Colony: Lots and lots of green slimes.
The Palace of Juiblex: The largest heap of decaying garbage in all the planes. It is guarded by an assortment of demons who fight each other. If the group gets inside, Juiblex attacks them.

It actually lists the treasure in Juiblex’s Palace. It includes an alchemy jug, pipes of the sewers and a talisman of ultimate evil.

They changed Juiblex’s stats. In the Monster Manual, he had 88 hit points. Now he has 176.

Monster Mythology

Juiblex is described here as a lesser god. He spreads disease and is beyond mortal comprehension.

Some aboleths revere him, because Juiblex is slowly revealing lost magical secrets to them and the aboleths believe that he keeps their skin moist.

Dead Gods

There’s a mention of quintuplet tieflings who tried to use a building (known as "The Rotting Oracle") to channel information from Juiblex. The building sunk halfway in the mud and the tieflings disappeared.

Faces of Evil: The Fiends

The alkiliths are thought to be the creation of Juiblex.

The Inner Planes

There is a portal to the Para-Elemental Plane of Ooze in Shedaklah. The portal is a gelatinous orb 30 feet across. If you press a platinum disc to it, the portal activates. Weirdly, the person who activates it can't go through.

Juiblex has made an alliance with Bwimb II, the princess of Para-Elemental Ooze.

Planes of Chaos

Shedaklah, the 222nd layer of the Abyss. The Slime Pits:
  • Vast expanses of caustic and unintelligent slime.
  • Strange organic forms rise from the ocean of molds at Juiblex's whim.
  • Juiblex shares the realm with Zuggtmoy, demon queen of fungi.
  • According to this, Zuggtmoy is still trapped in the Temple of Elemental Evil.
Dragon Magazine #337

The caverns under Shedaklah are a perpetual battleground of oozes and fungi.

Dragon Magazine #358

You can sail the River Styx between the Slime Pits and the area of Shedaklah that Zuggtmoy rules. On the shore by the Slime Pits, the river jellifies with acidic and predatory slime.

Planar Handbook

Juiblex's Grasp: There is one area of the Slime Pits that is a shallow bay of slime that covers a forest of mushrooms. The flow of slime can create riptides and undertows

Book of Vile Darkness 3e

We learn all sorts of stuff about Juiblex:
  • Other demons refer to him as the "Lord of Nothing."
  • He does not scheme, he is content to simply exist. He hates everything and revels in destruction.
  • There are a lot of hezrous that serve him. They bring victims to Juiblex to feed on.
  • Juiblex often takes the form of a 9-foot-tall cone of jelly and slime.
  • He is nothing more than a seething pool of animate ooze.
  • He has pulsing red eyes that look in all directions.
  • If possible, he starts a combat invisible and engulfs a number of foes at once.
  • His touch does 50 acid damage to wood and metal per round.
  • He can exude a circle of cold, all within 10 feet take 6d6 cold damage per round.
  • Once per round he can spew forth a patch of green slime.
  • If engulfed, you can actually drown inside of Juiblex.
Follower: We get details on Duvamil, a gnome that worships Juiblex:
  • She can spit caustic goo, exudes acidic slime from her hand, and she secretes a smelly ooze from her pores.
  • Once per day she can summon a demon.
  • She can also summon a patch of green slime, a gray ooze, an ochre jelly or a gelatinous cube.
Darkness Given Hunger: The largest black pudding known to exist, this hezrou fused with a black pudding has become the main servant of Juiblex. It patrols the Slime Pits.

Fiendish Codex I

Some tidbits: 
  • Juiblex is the lord of oozes and shapeless things.
  • Most weapons can barely harm him. He is immune to bludgeoning damage.
  • He can spew green slime at foes and summon both oozes and demons to aid him in battle.
  • He is at war with Zuggtmoy.
Tons of info on Shedaklah:
  • It has an overcast sky of mud-brown dotted with rotten green clouds. It rains polluted water and everything in the realm is covered in a thin slimy film.
  • It says that while Zuggtmoy was trapped in the Temple of Elemental Evil, Juiblex spread throughout her layer. Now she is back and she is trying to drive him and his minions underground.
  • Shedaklah is actually infused with life-giving positive energy. All living creatures gain enhanced healing abilities... "fast healing 2" in 3e terms. Maybe in 5e you can spend healing surges as an action, no rest required?
The Forest of Poisoned Dreams: This forest has tree-sized toadstools and its fungal blooms contain phantasmagoric psychotropic plants of legendary potency. When you take those psychotropics, you must make a saving throw or die.

The Ichordeep Entity: A lowly expanding strain of colonial algae that can use giant pseudopods to pull flying creatures down from the sky. Zuggtmoy may have no control over this thing.

The Slime Pits of Juiblex: Five bubbling slime-filled chasms that "erupt onto the surface of Shedaklah like pus from a broken scab."

Xhubhullosk: A mortal settlement! An assortment of lean-tos and rotting stalk structures. It is home to 400 people who became stranded on this layer somehow. Myconid servants of Zuggtmoy guard them and try to convert them into worshipers of Zuggtmoy.

Zuggtmoy's Palace: Her stinking palace is made from the largest fungi in the multiverse. It's four miles high!

Aspect of Juiblex: When he has to make an alliance with another demon prince, he sends an aspect along with a succubus for negotiations. They're guarded by two vrocks and two black puddings.

There are two new spells:
  • Oozepuppet: You can telekinetically take control of an ooze.
  • Slime Wave: You create a wave of green slime that more or less summons about 6 green slimes. Once the wave hits you, the slimes need to be removed from your body in one round, or else you'll need to burn or freeze them off.
Monster Manual 5

We actually get some major storyline developments.

Zuggtmoy created adamantine plinths and triggered a ritual meant to banish Juiblex to a different plane but it didn't work right. A portion of Juiblex's polluted form was sent to the Elemental Plane of Water.

This polluted a section of the Plane of Water and created the spawn of Juiblex there. Those creatures eventually were banished themselves by denizens of the plane to a demiplane of filth. This demiplane is a forest with ground of pulsating slime and streams and ponds of reeking watery goo. There's a green sun and great clouds of insects in the air.

The Hermit: At the center of the demiplane of filth is a monolith that has a hut on it. That is the home of The Hermit. The Hermit was made from a single shard of Juiblex's essence and he knows a lot about the multiverse. He's an avatar of Juiblex.

When he talks, green slime leaks out of his mouth and devours his body, but he is reborn somehow.

Dungeon Magazine #132 - Caverns of the Ooze Lord

This issue has an an adventure called Caverns of the Ooze Lord We get some details on what a shrine to Juiblex is like.

There is an old cleric named Morbion who lives in the woods and is obsessed with slimes and oozes. He explored the "Sickstone Caves" where he found an olive slime, which turns those who touch it into olive slime. He's been infecting villagers with olive slime, which slowly turns them into slimes.

Olive Slime: An immobile ooze that attacks with tendrils that cause paralysis. It grows in the flesh of those it touches.
  • It is immune to non-magic weapons, lightning, poison, and most forms of magic.
  • Olive slime and green slime neutralize each other when they come into contact.
  • Secret Shrine: There's a secret shrine to Juiblex under a temple in a town. It has a long stone block fitted with chains and manacles. The cultists burn incense that gives others penalties to rolls. They have a silver urn with an olive slime in it.
The cultists get a victim, stick them on the altar and pour the olive slime in its mouth. Once the victim is infected, the slime exits the body and goes back in the urn.

Second Shrine to Juiblex: The walls glow with silver green radiance. The floor is a mire of ooze and slime. The walls weep a dark green liquid that runs down in rivulets.

The altar is made of glowing green stone. Four black candles burn with lurid green flames.

Dungeon 181: Demonomicon of Iggwilv - Juiblex

Finally! A detailed article.

Titles: He Who Slithers, the Unnameable One, Glistener, Indescribable Darkness, and the Slick of Foulest Humors.

Dagon and Pazuzu think that Juiblex was an obyrith that Tharizdun shattered, but this is not true. Juiblex was an infection in a wound of the Elemental Chaos, a mass of gel stirred into awareness when Tharizdun lodged the seed of evil into the Abyss.

Juiblex witnessed the formation of the Abyss and the battle between Tharizdun and the obyriths. Juiblex knows the true name of each obyrith! Wow, that would include Pazuzu and Obox-Ob.

Juiblex has slimes everywhere, in every realm. He ha so many of them that he cannot command them all. He is slowly accruing power and once he has enough, "the cosmos is doomed to drown in his putrescence."

Juiblex has the ability to possess oozes and transform them into an aspect of Juiblex.

Shedaklah Notes: The pits contain lakes of slime. The oldest of these lakes is called Suppurus. It is 100 miles across.

Juiblex has a sort of throne room. There is a cracked stone pedestal that he perches on. It’s pretty shabby.

Denizens of Shedaklah include hezrous and pod demons.

All of his humanoid servants are touched with disease in some way.

Ooze Scion: A minion. When it is hit, roll a d20. on an 11 or higher, it takes no damage and a new ooze scion appears next to it.

We get stats for Darkness Given Hunger. It is the mightiest ooze next to Juiblex. When it is dropped to 0 hit points, the ooze is destroyed and the hezrou inside of it stands up and attacks!


Spawn of Juiblex: When these slimes die, they are reabsorbed by Juiblex and are born again. They are living extensions of Juiblex. Aboleths and otyughs are drawn to them.
  • Ooze Horror: It has a thousand eyes and it can fire acid globules and cause fear-based psychic damage.
  • Plague Hurler: It call forth a rain of effluvia that will blind you. This thing can actually take the form of a humanoid that it has seen. It can shoot virulent pustules as a ranged attack, infecting you with:
  • Slime Lord's Rot: As it gets worse, your movement is lessened. Eventually, you die and become a sludge dredge. 
  • Sludge Dredge: This is a one hit point minion. When it dies, a dead sludge dredge within 30 feet is restored to life.  That's pretty crazy.
The Plane Below

Wow. There's a whole thing in here. Juiblex has apparently acquired another layer of the Abyss.

Molor, the Stinking Realm: Juiblex is the opposite of Erathis, god of civilization. Juiblex is on the losing end of the struggle with Zuggtmoy.

Thullgrime: A town in the twisted tunnels. It is home to cultist explorers, wererats and "disease-riddled consumptives." In some places, the ground is alive and drags creatures below. Eventually, their bones bubble up to the surface.

The place is ruled by Cullis Heartrend, who is served by a creature known a the Grollog, a huge amorphous beast with dripping pits for eyes. It is somewhat intelligent and can communicate in broken Abyssal and Common. Nobody knows why it serves Cullis.

Dripping Tunnels: Filth of all sorts flows here - stinking waste, diseased refuse, rotting food...

Juiblex's Shrine: Worshipers come here to pay homage. The shrine is said to hold uncounted riches beneath it. Followers have been tossing offerings into the slime for centuries.

The Maw of Eternity: A cavern with a 15-foot-wide hole in its center that is said to be a bottomless pit. When you jump in, you fall for ten minutes and pass through an unpredictable portal that sends you to a random layer of the Abyss. Sometimes it sends creatures beyond the planes entirely.

Molor is linked to Shedaklah through a number of portals.

Out of the Abyss

This 5e adventure has got a lot of Juiblex stuff in it.

The Oozing Temple: This place is a forgotten temple that is home to servants of Juiblex. There is an intelligent gelatinous cube here name Glabbagool and it can speak via telepathy. Juiblex's arrival in the Underdark has granted it sentience. It might join the group as an NPC sidekick.

The Pudding King: A deep gnome who lived among oozes. He named some of them. Princess Ebonmire is a black pudding and Prince Livid is a gray ooze.

When Juiblex arrived in the Underdark, he threw himself down and pledged loyalty. Juiblex gave him the power to command and summon oozes. He summons oozes to The Pudding Court and prepares to overtake the settlement of Blingdenstone.

The Fetid Wedding: In this chapter, Zuggtmoy is going to merge with this thing called Araumycos and become very powerful. Juiblex and the heroes can stop her.

Spies: Juiblex has two black pudding spies, which is weird.

Juiblex Stat Notes:
  • Those consumed by Juiblex are obliterated.
  • Seeing him might cause you to go mad. Effects include the need to consume everything, and refusing to part with any possessions.
  • Juiblex can eject a corrosive slime that does 55 damage! It can pull you into its body. You are obliterated within one minute.

A very handy rundown of Juiblex's history in D&D

Dice, Camera, Action: Episode 48 - Storm King's Thunder

Episode 48: The Hero Conundrum
There are some great pictures of the waffle crew in their gear right here. This is my favorite:

The Party

(Anna) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander
(ProJared) Diath - Human Rogue
(Nathan) Paultin - Human Bard
(Holly) Strix - Tiefling Sorcerer
(Sam Sykes) Kozin Xorlarrin - Drow Fighter

Last time, the group met Kozin, a drow with a tattoo of a spider on his face. The heroes fought fire giants and escaped Ironslag.

Kozin wants them to go back down into Ironslag to stop the giants from putting together and activating the vonindod, a massive colossus that will go on a rampage and kill many, many people.

The giants have a flask with Maegara, a primordial, in it. They are going to use it to finish crafting the vonindod.

The group are in some caves, having climbed up in here via a chimney in Ironslag.

The crew asks Jasper, the dwarf, how he got captured by the giants. Jasper says that he and his team of dwarves ran into some giants digging up a relic when they were ambushed by yakfolk and dragged back to Ironslag to serve as slaves.

Jasper says it might be suicidal to go back down into Ironslag.

Kozin points out that drow don't like anyone. Evelyn: "Do you like me?" Kozin winks.

The group spends a lot of time debating what to do next. They need a rest, but they also need to steal Maegara back and time is of the essence.

They consider making a distraction to draw the giants out of Ironslag. As that happens, Diath can sneak in alone and steal the iron flask/Maegara.

Splitting the party! Alarming.

The group had blocked the chimney with boulders. Evelyn hears someone in there - sounds like it is one of the drow. She hears the drow swear when it realizes the exit is blocked. Evelyn is a bit offended by the drow’s potty mouth.

The group decides to remove the rocks and attack the person in the chimney. They open it. Nothing in there. Evelyn throws a boulder down the shaft.

Heyyy Kozin has faerie fire, which will reveal invisible creatures. He casts it. No invisible people. It looks like the drow climber got away.

After more deliberating, the group decides to go with the distraction plan. Evelyn makes up a theme song for the Distraction Force.

The group explores the caves and they find the exit. They want to call on Harshnag's bird. The players are trolling Sam, as they know he shot the bird last session.

Kozin tries to stammer out an excuse. The group gets suspicious of him and Kozin says he's afraid of birds, which the group finds amusing.

Paultin summons Leomund's tiny hut aka the Waffle Hut. It’s resting time!

Diath goes through the burned yakfolk village looking for loot. He runs into the dao, who is wearing the armor of invulnerability. His true name is Kuharik.

Diath makes an insight check and realizes that this dao is evil and not trustworthy. Diath plays it cool and for now, the dao is an ally of the crew.

The heroes quietly talk about the dao while he guards the hut. Diath says they can't let him get the golem. Kozin has a great point: Maegara can melt the golem.

Paultin mentions that the golem was a gift from the Bronzefire clan to cement an alliance with the giants. So that means there’s traitors in Citadel Adbar.

The group takes a long rest.

Fully refreshed, Evelyn, Strix, Paultin and the dao are going to go to the front door and draw out the giants Diath and Kozin will sneak in and get Maegara.

The group convinces the dao to loan Evelyn the armor of invulnerability.

They give Waffles the baby owlbear to Jasper, who is going back to Citadel Adbar.

The group has Jasper cast a divination spell. They learn that Maegara is not in the flask, it's in the forge. The drow have the empty flask and they are apparently nearby.

Kozin knows the command word to activate the flask. He shares it with Diath.

The group realizes that the drow will exit through the caves just like they did. They're going to set up an ambush.

The drow come out and the group gets surprise! Diath does 25 points with a sneak attack. Evelyn ignites her new magic weapon, the Heart of Spinelli, and tears into them.

Strix drop a fireball on the drow that does piles of damage. The drow are still up, but hurt badly.

One drow tries to use the iron flask to suck the dao in. She holds up the flask, utters the command word, and Kuharik makes his save. The drow surrender. That’s where we stop!


Too much planning on this one for me! It wasn’t bad, but I am ready to move on from Ironslag.