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Old 06-27-2012, 01:29 PM   #1151
Abe Sargent
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Face of Xenous



Not only is the location of Xenous close, but it was the last chapter in the book as well.

Alzar flies across the desert on Zadaxx, and then as his magic ebbs, he grabs a Broom of Flying to continue. He manages to eat a lot of distance. Water is no problem for a man who can make much with his magical items – Mead Pitcher, Alchemy Jug and Decanter of Endless Water. He spends the night in OtherSpace and continues for two days. Finally Ansanther tells him that they are getting close to Xenous
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:16 PM   #1152
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There is a great labyrinth on the desert floor in the shape of a beholder’s body with eye stalks and by the mouth at the bottom is the entrance. Magic prevents entry from the top or bottom, so Alzar lands and summons three Earth Elementals, each with 12 HD due to the sand and two Invisible Stalkers.

Flanked by his allies, Alzar enters the maze, and the corridors shift to give him an access.

As an intelligent person, Alzar quickly susses out the maze. His escorts clean out some minor enemies, such as gremlins and spiders and a small tribe of carnivore apes.

Next Alzar runs into some powerful undead tied to one location – phantoms and apparitions. The first he manages to talk to and the second he has to move forward and slay, with his powerful +4 axe leading the way. A group of ogres see Alzar and lay down their weapons and Alzar ignores them.

His escorts and himself arrive at the center of the maze. Ansanther glows warmly, signaling they have arrived. Alzar places the sword into a Bag of Holding to silence it and his party moves in.

In the center of the maze is a beautifully carved rosewood box with copper trim. It is closed and on a table. Alzar checks with the Gem, but the box is normal, and nothing around is out of place. Even through the Bag of Holding, Alzar can hear Ansanther screaming to attack the case with her.

Alzar opens the case and inside is a very odd object.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #1153
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The mad and vain enchanter Xenous Zopour did not want to age and die. Despite her 100+ years, with potions of longevity she had kept her youth. But she knew those were only temporary. In a fit of madness and depression, she bargained with Arentia, goddess of decay and disease. Arentia granted her desire to remain beautiful forever. The goddess ripped Xenous’s face off and placed it in this box.

What Alzar is looking at is a mask which can be placed over one’s own face, and Xenous’s one will blend in and it will appear that Alzar is Xenous, although he can take it off at any time. Xenous is an artifact.

Face of Xenous - Summon one of each elemental, 16 hd, no control, once/week; Cone of Cold, Telekinetic Gaze, 1000 coins, 2/day; Flesh to Stone, Web 1/day; Color Spray, Darkness, 15’, 3/day; Comprehend Languages at will - Fires in 60’ extinguished and temperature drops 20 degrees when power used. When non-evil touches it take 4d4 damage and age 1d4 years. INT 25, EGO 25, turn to CE if dominated.


As you can see, this is a very powerful artifact. Ansanther wants to finish it, but Alzar easily resists it’s pull. He can also just beat Xenous’s pull on him but he’d prefer not to use the Face if he doesn’t have to.

Alzar has finished this adventure, and here is his new XP Total. 1,435,676
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:48 PM   #1154
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Alzar is very close to level 14, and the extremely potent level 7 magic that comes with it. Two of the most powerful spells he has are semi-permanency and consume knowledge. The latter will destroy any book but instantly give Alzar the knowledge in it. Imagine how powerful it is with his Bookcopy spell. He can cast Bookcopy to make a duplicate of a book, and then absorb the duplicate with Consume Knowledge and instantly gain everything it says. A thick tome that would take a day or three to read instead takes two spells. The second spell is a lighter version of the powerful 8th level permanency. It can’t be used to make magical items but it can make any spell effect that permanency affects last more than ten years with no drawback. Alzar can have all of his undead enchanted with his own Undead Porter spell or protection spells for his items such as Talon’s Waterproof and Flameproof. He also has all of the essential spells to bind extra planar creatures into more permanent service than a day or two.

I can’t find many adventures that make sense for him and his power. There are three ways I can take Alzar in the future, but for now, I’m feeling like retiring him for now. Here they are:

The Normal – Labyrinth of Madness looks like a dungeon that would throw him, and Vecna Lives! appears to be a good module with people above his level to tussle with. Perhaps one or two M or CM modules from the D&D line meant for people well above his level.

The Unusual – Alzar moves for a while out into the planes! He travels and adventures in other planes of existence. In these places, sometimes he can’t lean on the normal allies or items or spells, and would have to find other routes of addressing something. Also, many entities out there are much more powerful than the ones in this world.

The Different – Alzar as a general! I would move Alzar to a Battlesystem miniature game (based on the D&D one) and have him fight in the Battlesystem with armies of orcs, undead, and others against various foes. With his knowledge of tactics and leadership of large units, he could be that rare necromancer who actually understands the war side of battle and does well.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:42 PM   #1155
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How about Isle of the Ape? Terrific Dynasty thread BTW. It's a great read and brings back a lot of memories. I look at Necromancers a lot differently after reading about Alzar.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:22 PM   #1156
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Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

I don't have Isle of the Ape. I have a majority of the modules from the 70s and 80s, and some from the 90s, but I am still missing many.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:58 AM   #1157
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Abe’s Guide to the Useful and Essential in D&D, 1st Edition AD&D and 2nd Edition AD&D


What are the supplements and books I recommend for people to play the game from the 70s through the 90s?

I wrote 3500 words on my views on what and why for you!


First you have to pick a game, and pick up the DM’s Guide and Player’s Handbook for that game. I recommend 2nd Edition over 1st, even though I started with 1st, because it cleans up a lot of issues, and makes some rules, such as non-weapon proficiencies, into the main book. However, they are very close together and you can easily play with many (but not all) sourcebooks from either era. Differences are often more about style than anything else.

If you want a simpler game, look at Dungeons and Dragons without the Advanced, and pick up a Basic set. This is the same game, but with fewer creatures, spells, no proficiencies, no skills or traits, and races are classes rather than being able to take a class, so you play an elf class, not an elven thief or elven bard or anything. It’s still D&D. You can take any D&D supplement and use it in an AD&D game, but not vice versa at all.

The Option series in the mid 90s adds the ability to shape your character massively, with a degree of flexibility not seen before or after. That level of flexibility introduces the possibility of min-maxing a character to be the best in combat, but it also gives you a serious dose of role-playing if done correctly.

If you play the Option series, you can use anything before. If you use 2nd Edition normally, you can’t use the Option adventures and such. (There’re not many). If you play D&D, you can’t use any AD&D stuff without massive changes, and f you play 1st Edition, some of the later 2nd Edition stuff makes no sense (such as Options and Kits). So maximum flexibility suggests 2nd Edition normal or Option. I love Option, and I wish 3rd Edition would have moved more in that arena. If they had, I wouldn’t have stopped at it.

With Option, you need Skills and Powers, Spells and Magic and Combat and Tactics. Most C&T make the game more like miniatures too much for my tastes, but weapon proficiencies and other things are quite useful. So, you begin your game with your core rulebooks.


Assuming 2nd Edition with Option your five core books are Player’s Handbook, DM’s Guide, Spells and Magic, Skills and Powers, and Combat and Tactics.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:00 AM   #1158
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Where to go next? What books are next important and useful? You don’t want to waste money and time with a book that’s chaff, and there are a lot of sourcebooks during this era. In order of value I have found in many campaigns as a layer and DM, this is how I would list stuff:


1. Monstrous Manual – 2nd Edition screwed up early with the Monstrous Compendium, which was a three ring binder with alphabetized pages of monsters that you could add later pages to from modules, appendixes, and magazines. The problem is that these pages were beat up fast, and got out of order as the front page and back page of one supplement in out of order with another. This avoided all of that, and is the best monster supplement around. The older ones from 1st Edition have lots of idiotic and stupid monsters that you never use. Some Manuals don’t include all of the essentials in order to force you to buy later books, but this plays no games. It has few stupid and useless monsters (but there are a few, such as Gaff). It has every essential and important creature in the game – all of the humanoids, undead, mythological creatures and essential D&D guys like Mind Flayers and Beholders and Yuan-Ti. It has all of the elementals, their kin, a ton of golems, animals such as wolves and sharks, intelligent plants, scores of dragons and giants, creatures such as giant scorpions and giant spiders, all of the major lycanthropes, and more. This is the best monster supplement in 1st or 2nd Edition, and the only major miss is demons and devils and other such creatures virtually non-existent.
2. Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide – If you are a new DM, this is vital to running a campaign. This books is divided into two parts. The first gives you, the Dm, instead of lots of rules, gives the DM guidelines and info on how to run the best campaigns, create the best worlds, and so forth. Then it actually has runs and tricks on how to create your own world, followed by information about creating maps and stuff. In some ways, it is a better DM’s Guide than the actual DM’s Guide. It’s amazing, and has info from everything from ordering snacks and cleaning up after a gaming session to world building tips. This is an essential DM Tome, especially for new DMs.
3. Encylopedia Magica, Vol 1-4 – This is a four volume set that was published in the 90s. It includes every single magical item printed before its publication in every module, rulebook, supplement and magazine article. You can play without it, no question. But I don’t know why you’d want to. This includes every artifact in publication as well. That means it has all of the items from tons of other supplements that you might want, such as Tome of Magic, Book of Artifacts, Pages from the Mages, and more. Everything from those is in here.
4. Wizards Spell Compendium, Vol 1-4 – Just like the above resource has every magic item ever printed, this has every mage spell ever printed. Wizards make lots of spells, and this has them all. Again, it has the parts of books like the other half of Tome of Magic, some of the best of Complete Wizard’s Handbook, and more. It also gives a serious shot of usefulness to many of the specialist mages that are not based on schools, such as Water Elementalists, Alchemists, Shadow Mages, and more.
5. The Complete Fighter’s Handbook – The problem with this book is that most of it’s best innovations to combat, weapons and proficiencies are done better in Combat and Tactics. It introduced us to the world of Kits ,and it has some great ones, such as gladiator, myrmidon, swashbuckler and amazon. Kits in Option are neutered and watered down versions of those in the Handbook series. It has rules on upkeeping armor and weapons, combat rules such as horse archery, mixing different types of armor and more; plus it introduces many new weapons. If you are not playing with the Option series, move this up to #2, it’s that essential to fighters. All of the other classes get love in new spells, items, and so forth, but this is where your grunt guys shine.
6. The Complete Book of Humanoids – In AD&D or D&D, there are only a few races you can choose to play, but the world is rife with many other intelligent species. This book allows you to play many of them. 45 pages of it allow you to be anything from a centaur or satyr to an ogre mage or goblin. You can be big (two types of giant-kin are in the book) or small (such as a pixie). Then the book has kits for humanoid adventurers, and a new set of 25 non-weapon proficiencies for everything from winemaking to hiding to fast-talking. As someone who has played races from this book, it’s very useful.
7. The Complete Psionicist’s Handbook –
Psionics were a confusing set of rules that were removed from the mainline rules in 2nd Edition and are added in this optional supplement. I am including it here for completeness sake, because if you want Psionics, this is your baby. There is no better supplement for it. But the rules are still clunky, and Psionics just duplicates existing magic, and doesn’t seem to be interesting to me, so I’ve never bothered. If you want Psionics, then bump this up above 7, but if not, don’t even bother getting it.
8. Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical – Published just after the Spell Compendiums and Encyclopedias, it has many magic items and spells for your campaign. It also has very realistic and intricate rules for making magical items and a ton of woods, metals, gems and such to make magic items out of. This is the highest charting sourcebook for an individual campaign world to make my list, and it’s essential. The old 1st Edition or Book or Artifacts way of making magical items felt very fake (cast Enchant an Item, cast Enchanted Weapon or whatever spells it will use, cast Permanency and call it a day). This has the best rules for making items ever, and I want Alzar to make an item through this, to demonstrate the process, so you can see how it works.
9. Priests’s Spell Compendium, Vol 1-2 – I don’t like adding Priests spells to my campaign, because it’s hard to justify how a deity suddenly allows its priests to use new spells. You can’t get away from that very often Plus, the more spells you have in existence, the more powerful all priests are, because they all gain access to it. Priests pray for spells from a sphere they have access to, so a new healing spell can be acquired by every priest who can learn healing spells. I can control the rate at which my mages and NPCs get spells or items from the other compendiums, but this is different. Everyone in my world at all is immediately accessible by every priest. So use this with care, but your clerics want it badly.
10. The Complete Bard’s Handbook – The Priest and Wizard ones have their best parts taken up later by Spells and Magic and the Compendiums. The Thief book is good and the next book on our list. This book takes the concept of the bard as entertainer and spins it into many different conclusions. Now you can play Bards who don’t play magic but are actors or gymnasts or clowns and so forth. The kits push bards in massively different directions and change the abilities they have – it’s almost like they are a bunch of sub-classes, rather than little ol’ kits. The 12 new kits include some high favorites, such as Blade, a entertainer who spins weapons about at a very fast clip, They are the ones who are expert at knife throwing at a carnival and so forth. You can be a Herald, a Skald, a Gypsy or a Jester. That gives this book more punch than the others when considering kits.
11. The Complete Thief’s Handbook – The best part of this book is the 20 new proficiencies, 18 pages of equipment for thieves, 18 kits and 25 pages of info on thieves’ guilds and bringing it into your campaign. This is the only bone you can really throw at your thieves but it’s a big one.
12. The Castle Guide – This is a book you may find really valuable or really junky, depending on your campaign needs. This is the only place you’ll find rules on making castles, including cost. Like many of these books, it has a lot of intro work on the history of castles, the types of them, feudal settings and history, and so forth. If that helps to spark some ideas – great! It also has rules on sieges, equipment, and resolving battle s- but it’s very simple – not turning it into a miniature game, like Battlesystem does.
13. The Complete Book of Necromancers – This DM supplement includes a lot of surprises for an NPC Necromancer. The kits for them are few but very interesting, and Salient Gifts is the price of admission. It’s a great way to make NPC and enemy necromancers something truly villainous. It has a few new non-weapon proficiencies from dark gifts, weaknesses, salient powers, to a map and dungeon at the end was great. I only wish we had continued this series with Conjurers and then moved to others. This book led to Alzar and his campaign.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:00 AM   #1159
Abe Sargent
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After that, it’s up to you to suit your campaign. The next I would recommend are the Monstrous Compendium Annuals, which are softcover, and have all of the monsters published that year in modules, magazines and books. There are also some for specific campaign worlds and they usually have good monsters for any world. I like the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix, because a lot of the creatures here make sense and aren’t too crazy for my campaign (I have a no stupid allowed policy for my critters). In particular, check out the Hivebrood. These are all of the creatures published for the basic D&D game in rulebooks or modules that aren’t in AD&D books already. Some of the best are the Velya – underwater vampire, living statue constructs, the various dangerous plants, mujina, magen, wereswine, a nice selection of new but useful golems (I hate stupid golems, like brain golems), and the aforementioned Hivebrood.

Lots of sourcebooks for campaigns are good for yours as well. I generally would stay away from any which involves a specific place, but those that focus on others can be really good – such as Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical above. For a generic campaign, I like supplements from Planescape, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, and Greyhawk‘s single one – Greyhawk Adventures is pretty good, and cheap to acquire. Oriental Adventures is amazing but really needs that sort of campaign to work. Others that feel similarly are campaigns such as Dark Sun, Al-Qadim, Odyssey, and Maztica.

For example,, some of the Van Richten Guides in Ravenloft are really good for fleshing out those monsters. In particular, I recommend his Guides to Ancient Dead, Lich and Vampires, in that order. The rest aren’t that much. Steer clear of Fiends, which looks better than it is, Created which is the same, and others. Don’t touch the Vistani one. I wouldn’t even get these for those running a Ravenloft campaign.

There are many other books I would recommend you steer clear of. The DM’s books in the blue book series that included Castle Guide, Complete Book of Necromancers and Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Book has a lot of really bad entries too. Don’t waste time or money on The Arms and Equipment Guide, Complete Book of Villains, Sages and Specialists or Creative Campaigning. I have not read Of Ships and the Sea.

If you want to incorporate deities from established D&D sources into your world, then Monster Mythology is not bad, and you’ll want Deities and Demigods and Legends and Lore. If you just want to take one pantheon straight from another world, such as Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk, then get that world’s sourcebook instead. If you make your own, these aren’t even a little bit useful .

Of the Player’s Handbook series that includes the complete books, I’d not suggest the Realms ones, the ninjas, the barbarians, and I think the elves, dwarves, gnomes and Halflings aren’t that useful, but they all have some good things in them. (Not elves, it sucks balls) Priest and Wizard are just okay at best. The Wizards, for example, has just 10 kits, many of which are boring, and some good spells repeated later, and rules for things you should already know how to do, such as pages on how to make your own school of magic. Paladin and Ranger’s books don’t add much. The earlier books in this series are good and useful, but as time went on, good more shoddy and unbalanced. I never read the Druid’s one though.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:00 AM   #1160
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Some of these books have been made free online, and The Castle Guide and Necromancer’s books are some of them, as are many others. Check those if you are interested in getting some free coin.

For 1st Edition Supplements, the Fiend Folio and Monster Manuals have nothing on the ones we’ve already discussed. I would stay very very far away from the Dungeoneer’s and Wilderness Survival Guides. There are too many intricate rules for crap you will never want. They are chaff. The Manual of the Planes is the first of its kind and very dry. It’s good for the Astral and Ethereal planes, but gets lost afterwards. I don’t like the names of many of the Outer Planes (Happy Hunting Grounds, seriously?) and the Para and Qusi Elemental planes are not only dumb sound (A plane made out of salt?) but also poorly conceived (Why is the border between elemental planes of water and air, a plane of ice?) Dragonlance Adventures is very good for that specific world, but otherwise has little to offer others, unlike Greyhawk Adventures, which is rife with awesome.

Stay away from the awesome looking Draconomicon from the Realms. It looks way better than it is, but the specific Secrets of the Magister is good, but spends 50 pages on the history of the position, which is really annoying for everyone. The Seven Sisters is a perfect a balance of fluff and new, but the spells are in the Wizard’s Compendium, so you already have them. Basic rule, if it’s a supplement by Ed Greenwood, it will be really useful, but also tend to have a lot of story and such. He also wrote the All Things Magical Volo Guide.

You might want Chronomancer if you want Time Mages. I have it, but I don’t use it. I have Time Travel and other concepts banned in my world. You can speed up yourself or slow down your foe, but you can’t move from one time to another.

Some books you already have in this collection, such as Tome of Magic and Pages from the Mages. Don’t get them. There is a series of Historical Supplements that give you the ability to add Viking, Celtic, Roman, Charlemagne, Crusades, Greek and the Elizabethan age with A Mighty Fortress. I have the Charlemagne, Fortress and Viking, and they are each long on story and history and short on game mechanics. I don’t know if that’s true for the rest of the historical supplements, but it is of those. The highest rated one by folks is A Mighty Fortress, because it covers the next age after most D&D worlds, so that’s nice. It also adds guns. You’ll note the very Euro-Centric aspect of these supplements, and there is nothing here that I would find particularly interesting. Now, imagine a Mayan Campaign, or one set in ancient China or places in Africa like the Axumite Empire – that would be cool. They have a high value on the secondary market compared to most supplements of the time, because they are different than The Complete X’s Handbook, you know? (Vikings and Celts seem to be cheapest, Fortress, Rome and Crusades are most expensive.)

Some of these books can be pretty cheap. You want Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical? Less than $10. The Seven Sisters and Secrets of the Magister are $5 each. Fighter’s Handbook is $5 new and less than a buck used. Bard is 5 bucks used, Thief is $3 used, and so forth.

Depending on the volume, the Spell Compendium is between $8 and $25 per volume. Player’s Option books are in the $5 range each. Monstrous Manual is a simple $3.50 used. Even Oriental Adventures is in the single digits used. DM’s Option High Level Campaigns is 5 bucks.

Except for the Magic Encyclopedia, and the two Spell Compendiums, none of the rest of these sourcebooks are more than 10 bucks used on the secondary market. Most are in the $5 or less range. The Handbook and DMs Guide are also very cheap as well. Greyhawk Adventures is $4.25 used, and so forth. There are D&D and AD&D items which have really appreciated in value, but none of these are in that boat. Most vendors charge between 4 and 5 bucks shipping and handling, the Amazon price seems to be four for most vendors. That means you can get most of these for less than ten dollars with shipping. That’s a pretty good deal considering how useful many of these are for gaming. If you can find someone who combines shipping for a bulk lot, then you are really decreasing a massive part of the cost.

So many books, expansions, and more have been printed in 1st and 2nd edition territory that I still haven’t read many. My collection, which includes two milk crates of just Dragon and Dungeon magazines, is six milk crates in size. That’s four milk crates of modules, monster manuals, rule books, various supplements and more. I can still pick up a rulebook or two for cheap and keep exploring the game, because there is always something new to pick up.

Planescape really holds its value well, so don’t expect to pick up most PS books as cheaply as you can other product. TSR really out published in the early to mid 90s, and they saturated the market with product, splintered their lines, and began to go bankrupt as a result. That means you can find numerous overprinted items that don’t have demand even today, and lots of good stuff for your campaign.


End Guide
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:11 PM   #1161
Abe Sargent
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For fun, let’s walk you through a Magic Item that Alzar wants to make and has never managed to find. We'll use Volo's Guide to help. With his constant exposure to undead, and especially really powerful ones he can’t always control, Alzar wants to make a common item known as a Scarab of Protection. This is a Scarab that gives +1 to saves and has 12 charges and each time Alzar would lose a level to energy drain, instead a charge goes away. When the last charge is gone, the item crumbles, and it cannot be recharged. This is an item that won’t need 8th level spell Permanency to cast, but even if it did, Alzar could acquire a scroll of one easily. It normally has a loss of 1 Constitution point when used, but he has a 7th level spell called Blood Link that allows him to drain it from another living creature he has secured.


To begin the process, we need to find out what spells will be used in the item.

For the Energy Drain Protection, Negative Plane Protection seems like a good match. This spell specifically is designed to protect from energy drain attacks. It’s a common Priest spell at level 3. There is a level 7 version that is a wizard translation of it. It’s not that uncommon, and Alzar purchases a scroll of it for 2500 gold after scouring for a few weeks to find one.


For the +1 save, but not a bonus to AC, the best spell is the cleric spell Bless, but it does other things too so it won’t work. Alzar decides to get Lesser Malison, a spell that normally gives a target a -1 to their saves, but is reversible. The reverse of it will be his spell. He knows Greater Malison, and Lesser Malison is easy to acquire for 1000 gp and added to another spellbook and not his own. He puts it in Markessa’s High Level Spellbook. He doesn’t want it clunking up his normal books, but he did put NPP in his books.

Now that he has the two spells that will make the Scarab, he needs to store the spells. To do this, he will need to make a Focal Stone for each spell. He begins by selecting two gems from his collection.

He begins by casting Obar’s Lesser Purification on each of them. This will remove any magical taint from the item. Then he casts Dweomerflow. That enables spells he casts to move to an item, rather than just triggering. Finally, he casts Focal Stone on each gem. This will create and hold the spell. For the Purification he used a few drops of Sweet Water Potion, salt and limestone for the spell. The flow requires no additional components, and the Focal Stone just needs some opal dust, easily made ahead of time.

Now Alzar casts a reversed Lesser Malison into one stone and a Negative Plane Protection into the other stone. With the spells stored, he moves to the next subject.

Alzar researches how to make a Scarab. He purchases 2500 gold worth of texts that discuss it and a few other similar items. After a month of research, he has figured out how to make it. Making magical items are not like baking, where you just follow a recipe. Making it requires your own flavor of recipe, to suit your own tastes, and there are many ways to make the same item. Here is how Alzar will make this Scarab:

A flawless section of Epidote is to be used to make the body of the scarab
Copper Detailing, making the legs, antennae, and other detailing
Two small eyes of ruby
Washed in mixture of Mistletoe and Holly, and cleaned with leather made from the chitin of a giant beetle.

Alzar takes two weeks to hunt down the various ingredients, find a way to make chitin into leather, and gets the things carved by experts.

Now that the object is complete, Alzar prepares it. He begins with Lesser Purification on it. This removes any magical taint in the object. If he doesn’t do this, the result could be random. Imagine a stone sitting down stream of a magical statue for a few years. As the water erodes the statue, little bit of magic make their way downstream, and that affects the stone. There is no way of knowing what sort of eldritch taint these items might have, so a Purification is necessary.

Then Alzar casts Merald’s Meld on it several times. He casts it on each ruby, permanently attaching it to the Epidote body. Then he casts it on the copper detailing. The result is to merge these items, but he has used too many Melds, so he casts Crown Meld to make them all work together. This is now, magically, one item. Now he casts Veladar’s Vambrace on the object, and everything becomes of highest quality. The result of these Purification, Vambrace and Melds is to not only make the item one, but also to strengthen it. A magical item is much more durable than a normal one, and this process is how that happens.

Next, Alzar begins to enstar the item. He secures himself far away from the rest of his complex and minions in his Summoning Room. On a blank rock table, he scribes a circular diagram that is made just for this item. He connects the two Focal Stones with the diagram on opposite edges with the Scarab in the middle. Alzar casts the spell Eternal Flame. This is a spell that prepares an item for enchanting, much like the more generic Enchant an Item spell.

The Wondrous Web spell is cast, and this unites all of the items that will make the Scarab of Protection. He has any command words in scrolls on the table, but this item has none. The magic from the Focal Stones begins to move into the item, and after a while, they disappear from existence, and the item is fully prepared. Then Alzar finishes with Awakening, which makes the item work. At this point, a roll is made to see if the item is successfully made. With high quality ingredients, all precautionary spells cast, and so forth, there is only a small chance of failure, and no chance of a disaster. Alzar makes the roll easily.

Now he would cast Permanency, if it were needed. It’s not, so the item is now enchanted. Alzar spent 2500 for the items, 2500 for the books, and 4500 for the spells to make this object. Spell Components for a few powerful spells, such as the Web spell, ran about 2650 gold. He gains 2500 XP from the experience, and now has a Scarab of Protection at 12 charges.

It took about ten weeks to make from beginning to end. Some items can take a lot longer if a mage has to make their spell, or researching something rare or unique. But he was researching a common item, with many known routes to make it, and finding common spells, sable to immediately absorb texts after Bookcopying them, and so forth.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:10 PM   #1162
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This has been a great dynasty, Abe. I hope Alzar doesn't do a permanent retirement, as I've enjoyed every post you've made describing his adventures and his life. May he live a very long time to come!

I think any route you take with him in the future would be enjoyable.

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Old 06-29-2012, 10:31 PM   #1163
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Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:01 PM   #1164
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+1 thread necromancy

I love this thread. I started playing DnD back in 1982. Played until 1990'ish- switching to Rolemaster, which I felt was a better system for what I wanted. I stopped all RPing around 1998 or so.

This past summer, a group of friends talked me into starting up a 3.5 campaign, which I have enjoyed running, but it's been hell trying to read up on everything. This much I do know- if I run another campaign, I will not allow vow of poverty.

I also used to judge for M:tG. I started running events before there was much of a DCI (my original DCI number is 4 digits). For many years I was pretty much the only active judge in the state of Georgia. I left judging about 5 years ago- after committing 15 years to judging/running events.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:09 PM   #1165
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Hello mega-necro!


I'm always happy to hear how people have enjoyed the journey of Alzar the Mighty.

I have also played Rolemaster, and of course, I have an extensive Magic career, so that's cool!

Do you still play, or just left Magic as a judge only? Cause magic is bigger than ever right now, I think we are in the middle of its Golden Age.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:41 PM   #1166
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I found it hard to play Magic competitively and judge at the same time, mostly because there wasn't any other judges in the SE / Georgia. So, the game I played was Legend of the Five Rings. I played Magic quite a bit as well, but mostly casual.

When they changed the SE TO, I took that as my time to step away from Magic and haven't played/judged since.

I still love the game and feel the itch to play, just not sure I have the time to commit to it like I would need to, in order to play at the level I'd want to play at.

Though, from what you say, I am tempted to give it a try, lol.
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #1167
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Alzar’s time line:

Alzar began adventuring around Regalsford.

1 year later – Alzar arrived at the Isle of Dread.

2 Years after that – Alzar arrived back to Chonae from the Isle of Dread adventures.

5 Years Later – Alzar strikes out to hit the Steading of the Hill Giant Chief.

1 Year Later – Alzar returns from the Queen of the Demonweb Pit.

3 Years Later – We pick up the saga…
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:57 PM   #1168
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Alzar at level 14 –

Alzar has spent some time learning new spells in cities and such. Many of his important items have been made semi-permanently flameproof and waterproof, including valuable lab equipment and more. He also has cast Lightning Rod in the main room of his complex, and made it semi-permanent – now any lightning attack spell cast there goes to the metal rod imbedded in the wall, rather than at anyone.

Three years later he is level 14, and one of the found longevity potions of age worked, and the other three were poisoned, so his real age is 54 but physical age is 20.

Alzar has gained non-weapon proficiencies in Bookbinding and Papermaking and he has his minions make books for Consume Knowledge and Bookcopy. This reduces costs for paper for scrolls, books, and spellbooks by a lot. He also has two paid sages and geomancers in Vermani, Keig and Kegra, a pair of twins who are paid to make copies of minor books but also get to make copies of the book themselves. Alzar provides them all of the supplies and they get free books, the spell, and the occasional gold to keep them going. He gets several free books a day from the twins beyond his apprentices.

With the amount of knowledge he has gained from various books all over, Alzar now is considered to have the Obscure Knowledge trait. He also has Sage Knowledge: Outer Planes, Inner Planes.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:11 PM   #1169
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His complex has added the rest of the items from Castanimir’s island. For example, the pantry area from the kitchen that made food was transported to Alzar’s lair, so he people now can get food anytime. The freezer from the first room is also transported over, and other minor things like that were brought over. Everything else was stripped down.

Gamholt built and consecrated several unholy altars around the complex to his deity and now the turning of undead is unable to occur near them until they are sanctified by certain rituals by a good cleric. They have built in redundancy so everywhere in the complex is covered by two altars, in case one is taken out.

One of the most important factors Alzar learned in his long time adventuring is the weakness of a large dungeon. It reduces security by increasing the distance people have to travel and makes everybody weaker. Instead, his complex is rather small. You walk into the opening area, there are a variety of magical traps and such moving in. There is a large undead chamber just by the front with hundreds of skeletons armored, armed, and with useful spells such as transmute bone to steel. The hallway goes the other way and winds around a few times, passing a storage room, locked and trapped, with minor things like tools and extra normal weapons. The corridor winds around and arrives at the main room of the complex, with large pillars along the east and west walls, and corridors moving off to various areas. This has tables, Alzar’s throne, various decorations, guards, and more. It also has many traps and such. One breach heads to the east and it travels for about fifty feet before turning twice and ending in a small study lounge. Off this corridor are all of the sleeping chambers of the various minions, apprentices and henchmen, each one with a room directly opening into this corridor.

On the west side leads one corridor that arrives in a kitchen and pantry and winery in one space. It’s just a few feet past the large open room. Another corridor to the south west heads into the three story library and growing. It is huge with many study tables and such, plus many guardians. One hallways leaves from this room southward. It hits the laboratory after twenty feet – enough space to keep any bad things from hitting the library – and this is one of the first places that has a door in the hallway. Another corridor leaves the expensive and stocked lab (which has things like potions, spell components and more), and heads south. Another turns back east. The east one curves and ends at the treasury. It is well guarded and has normal treasure – gold, lower value gems, some minor and duplicative magic items. The other corridor heads south, and off it are the doors to the summoning room, a storage room for special undead or other creatures, a third room is the valuables storage room (like Dokkalfar weapons or other similar valuable but not major items) and then Alzar’s bed room and personal meditation chamber. Beyond some doors. Also protected, it has opulent settings, and a secret door (as expected) leads to additional treasure, but nothing major. All major items are kept in a secured location either in OtherSpace or in a secret chamber he made in the rock about a half mile away with no entrance to it at all. The place is littered with everything from the special moss that gives off drowsy gas (but the humans have a Necklace of Adaptation) to potent magical traps and guardians and more.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:33 PM   #1170
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But Alzar has also created a portal in the back on the two undead storage rooms. If you’ll recall, only someone with 20 intelligence or greater could understand how to make the portals in Castanimar’s tower, but now Alzar has that info in books and that intelligence. He can order all of the creatures in the back room to pour into the main chamber at a moment’s notice. He can also order all of the creatures in the giant undead chamber at the front of the complex to empty out a few miles away in a nearby plateau. The goal is to unload onto a party that invaded his place or to get his army away from a major threat while he worked. He has duplicates of all of his spellbooks, valuable books from the library, and laboratory and workshop.

That’s it – the entire complex has just two rooms before arriving at the main room, just three branches off it – one ends at a pantry less than 50 feet later, the other has nothing but bedrooms, and the last goes through a library, workshop/lab, and corridors into an area with just four rooms off it. There are not a lot of places in here, and the group of people that visit or live here tend to mix together.

He has normal bedrooms for when people like Estaish or Maerie and Aleigha come to visit. Wassilon has carved a beautiful complex. Gamholt is a permanent resident, and Thedoran and Vala are useful apprentices, and others are here too, such as the Dokkalfar wizard, Nilonim, and he even has been getting occasional visits from others he has encountered, assisted, and traded with – from wizards of many alignments to other-planar guests such as a certain alu-fiend and others, to wizards, apprentices, a few clerics of the cult of death, and even Hrothgr and Nigel have each visited twice.

The complex has built in protection against scrying from outside with various amulets built into the walls along the complex. Only by breaking into the wall would they be discovered though. This enables Alzar to scry out, but none to scry it.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:54 PM   #1171
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Vala has arrived at level 9 and is beginning to establish her own complex, about 200 miles away. Soon, she will be leaving and heading out on her own. Thedoran is level 4 and quickly learning. He is too ambitious though, and Alzar suspects he will not wait until reaching name level like Vala did before striking out. Maybe level 5 or 6 he will begin to consider leaving. Ever since he obtained that Imp familiar from Alzar’s spell, it has always driving Thedoran to push harder and harder.

He has recruited a new apprentice, Magallia Vernstock, who is still less than level 1 and can only use cantrips.


Alzar has summoned and negotiated with several lower planes creatures. He would normally negotiate with the lawful evil devils, but they have a blood feud with the chaotic evil demons. He has a lot of items that summon a demon. They won’t work together and will often fight each other. So, instead, he has negotiated with a small group of neutral evil daemons, who are now in his service for a length of time in exchange for a magic item. His most powerful of these minions is Bartelza, a powerful Hydrodaemon he negotiated a +2 ring of protection to for 15 years of service.

He could force service with pain or threats, but instead he chooses to negotiate with them. It might cost him a weapon, but it’s worth it to him, to not have an angry ex-ally now looking for revenge and with information on some of his secrets.

Alzar has investigated three fallout positions in case his complex is attacked in power. At two of the locations, he has a secret chamber with no entrance or exit that cannot be scryed. Inside them are a list of backup scrolls, potions, minor magic items such as wands, rings, and most important, duplicate set of spellbooks as well as copies of his most valuable, and irreplaceable books, and a smattering of valuable jewelry and gems. Each of these locations could be a place for a future complex if he suffers a major attack or he needs to reset his position.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:09 PM   #1172
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Alzar’s allies and groups include:


The Tribe of the Bleached Skull – A nearby tribe of orcs that were set free by Alzar from various places, but mostly slavers, the giant location and the Temple. There are more than 100 fighting strong.


Troll Tribe – Alzar has negotiated with a nearby group of trolls back in the giant days, and the chief reports to him and he assigns them areas to attack and stay in.


Several Small Giant Tribes (Including Stone Giant) that he has befriended over the years in various adventures)

Individuals - Various people he has saved from torture, death, prison, slavery, and more. These include people such as Hrothgr, Estaish, Maerie and Aleigha. Others living with him include Wassilon, Carum, Gamholt, and Nilonim. He is friends to people from the evil thief Derek Densleigh to Nigel and Darley. He is also welcome and allied to places like the Dvergr outpost by Firestorm peak, Tangaroa on the Isle of Dread, the Kuo-Toa in the Shrine deep underground and places small and large, such as Hommlet, Orlane, Saltmarsh, and Sybar among many more. He has allies from Qwith royalty and good people through wizards both evil and good.

Creations - He has many created folks such as two Flesh Golems, the Clay Golem he controlled while out adventuring, two Iron Cobras, one Necrophidus, 3 Iron Men, and four Stone Guardians.

Undead - His undead are numerous. Four years of using the Barrel results in 4200 undead that were free animations. Some include Wights, Shadows, Swordwraiths, Ghouls, as well as Zombies, Skeletons, and a few others that are less common.

This is in addition to everything from a Taurian Mummy to many various Giant Skeletons and a horde of skeletons enhanced by Transmute Bone to Steel, Bone Knit, weapons and armor of quality. Then he has a bunch of cannon fodder zombies protecting the higher quality skeletons.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:22 PM   #1173
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His complex is beautifully done by Wassilon, who took the Spartan complex that was made by spells such as Transmute Rock to Mud and worked on making it carved with the technical expertise of the Svartalfar

In addition to Gamholt, the Temple of Death has a high level cleric on duty in his complex doing research and helping out as needed with clerical duties. However, the current priestess, 8th level Devona Pyrestaff does not join either Alzar or his people when they head out on adventuring forays, which are usually led by Vala and Carum and include a daemon or two, a good number of undead, and Gamholt.


One of the most interesting features of the Complex is a printing press and papermaking facility that is quite large and run by undead, and occasionally sees someone come by to check up on things. Alzar cuts down on costs by making his own paper and books.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:24 PM   #1174
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That concludes this step of the dynasty.


Check out the new one here:


The D&D Dynasty: The New Path of Alzar the Mighty - Front Office Football Central
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