Author Archives: Jason K

About Jason K

If I inspire one other 4th Ed DM, my objective is complete.

The Smiling Ones – The White Hand

This is part of a series of creatures called The Smiling Ones, read the introduction here…

“…sir?!?” The rookie looks at you with a pallor disposition, looking rather woozy.

“Don’t worry son, this is not the first time I have seen something like this.” You tell the quivering soldier. “There is nothing to see here, go wait outside.” Hoping that he isn’t able to see the sheer terror in your eyes, you turn to face the grisly scene before you.

Six bodies lie upon the tavern floor. Half burnt to a crisp, still wafting small plumes of smoke from their sprawled corpses. Those not charcoal need to have their pulverized faces cleaned off the tables and walls. Flashing back to a bloodbath not too different on the outskirts of town, it is your turn for a flash of pallor.

Drawing you back from your reminiscing, you catch a bit of movement from the back of the tavern. Squinting and straining your eyes against the darkness, all you can make out are the piercing eyes of a smiling white face.

Download the Maniacal Juggler now…

The White Hand

 


Thruk, Troll Experiment #274

Calm and almost docile, the troll who calls himself Thruk passively sits on a barrel inches from your blades. Responding to inquiries with simple but honest answers, his attitude toward your presence borders on apathy. Vastly more intelligent then any troll you have ever seen, his wits nearly matching the smartest in the party.

Kindly offering to show you safe passage through the caves for a mere 100 gp, he picks up his pair of daunting fullswords and begins to guide you through the treacherous terrain. As you traverse the subterrane, your guide divulges bits of information regarding his past. Having no memory prior to his capture, the wizards he refers to as “the sodality” preformed experiments that radically altered him and are the reason for his high intelligence. As you inquire further about them, his eyes seem to flash with fiery rage and he falls silent.

—–

Showing his true colors at last, Thruk pulls out his fullswords and politely requests that you hand over your possessions at this time. Recognizing that the entire party was too grave a threat alone, he guided them closer to the exit of the cave and in so doing, into the lair of several of his troll brethren. Fearing Thruk for his power over fire, they respond to his request and attack on command.

Click below to download the smartest troll your party will ever meet…

Thruk


The Bonewillow

“The old fool was not as foolish as we had predicted,” your contact whispers. “He did take it to his grave, but not in the way we thought! He created a written copy of the ritual, but encased it in his glass eye.”

“Perfect,” you say. “All we need to do is dig up his body and the vault will be ours for the plundering.”

“Alas, it is not that simple. His body was never found, but I do know the last area in which he was last seen…”

Weakened by the withering effects of the dark hills your party has traversed, you feel the need to break the silence. “Tell me again, why is this place called The Plains of Sorrow?” The quiet chuckle you expect from the group absent, you turn around to see their attention fastened dead ahead. Through the dim light of dusk you squint and barely make out the object at which they stare, a huge ancient tree silhouetted against the horizon. This is your target.

Closer now then you ever wanted to be, the aged hardwood looms over your friends like an old angry god. Not normally comfortable in the forest, this tree especially unnerves you due to the notable feature missing from it. Leaves. In its place, hundreds of full skeletons hang like ornaments on decorated scenery. The only noise breaking the silence, the clatter of withered bones in the breeze.

“Who is climbing it?” The cleric blurts out, startling you all.

“Not me!” The response rings out in unison.

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Standing alone on a hill amidst the barren wilderness, this ancient tree sits in silent vigil waiting for it’s next meal. Aware of it’s prey’s weakness for the shiny and the sharp, a vast array of treasure rests along it’s base, inviting the brave to venture a little too close.

Standing nearly 250′ tall, this testament to the foolishness and greed of adventurers ordains its branches with their bones. If you can hear the clatter of the bleached skeletons in the breeze, it is too late.

Download The Bonewillow…

The Bonewillow


The Smiling Ones – Introduction

As your party of six enter the king’s great hall in answer to his summons, you instinctively draw a breath before plunging into the sea of bodies before you.  Accosted on all sides by a plethora of humans, dwarves, elves, halflings and gnomes of all ages. Minstrels, barons and members of the royal harem all  scurry about their business, giving travelers such as you an annoyed glance.

Always with an keen eye for danger, the bard taps your shoulder and directs your gaze to the single dark corner of the hall. You find your stare returned by five sets of eyes hidden behind five contorted, gloomy masks. Attired in bright colors and wielding the tools of the trade, most would assume these were the king’s jesters. Having looked death in the face many times previously, you know better. Your heart skips a beat and suddenly you find your sweaty hand on the hilt of your sword.

“Aren’t Jesters supposed to be funny?” you ask your companion. “I have a feeling these, not so much.”

His eyes darting around the hills surrounding you, the ranger whispers  “I fear we have not lost them… but I fear we never may.” Weary from the days of travel with naught but brief rest, “Agreed” you chime in. “The bard was a fool to test the meddle of the green one, but we are prepared now. They have the home advantage no longer.” Gathering the ounce of courage left in you, “This is as good a place as any, let them come!” Not seconds later, the sound of cruel laughter rings out.

Sweat streams down your forehead and your legs burn as you barrel through the forest. Meeting the warlords eyes, he finally nods and the three of you collapse to the ground. Between pants, the paladin blurts out “What will we do now?” “Any respite will be brief, you must remain strong my friend.” The Warlord weakly says. “Let’s build a fire, we will need a warm meal bef…” His statement is cut short by the sickening thwack of a crossbow bolt thudding into his back.

Face flush and eyes swollen with tears, you crawl forward through the darkness. Your friends dead and your strength forsaken you, it is inevitable now. Your ears tell you nothing, but the hairs on the back of your neck give their presence away. They are here. Gathering a mere arms length from you, they sneer down from behind their twisted masks.

A final act of defiance, you murmur through your bloodied mouth “You know… you guys aren’t funny… at all.”

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The five lethal assassins that comprise The Smiling Ones are intended to be long term antagonists that are a continual threat to the players. Always slinking in the PC’s shadows, but wisely choosing to strike only when the situation favors them. Their targets find a blade in their back while focused on another foe.

Download the first of the diabolical jesters, The Blue Hand below…

The Blue Hand


Welcome to the Slaughterfest…

…just don’t mind the pools of blood or the bodies, just adventurers anyway.

This blog will contain free Dungeons and Dragons content for the DM’s in need of inspiration. Many of the monsters and traps will be  created using Forthcore design principles.

(What is Forthcore you say? Check out this  for more info…)

My hope and aspiration is to provide spicy and sweet ingredients suitable to accent any campaign.