All posts by Rodney

Hi there, I'm Rodney. Writer, Game Designer, Editor, Kitbasher, Skateboarder, and Ork 'Ed Banga. But Nothing Without Christ!

Tea-Inspired Plot Hooks for your D&D or Pathfinder Game

Tea! A hot cup of bliss. Writing fuel. Gaming fuel. I can’t GM without it, and now I’ve discovered all sorts of inspiration from the humble beverage. Let’s look at some tea-inspired plot hooks for your game.

Throughout real-world history, the humble tea plant has inspired human determination and greed. Kingdoms have sent men to fight and die to secure their control over the tea trade. Fortunes have been made, and lost, under the hot sun as plantation workers, and slaves, coaxed the tea crop to grow. Add a magical element to the intriguing history of tea and you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your campaign. Below are some ideas.

The Smugglers’ Ring

Tea is a valuable resource. However, tea doesn’t grow naturally in many kingdoms, and some lands don’t have a suitable climate to grow the crop. Consequently, these countries are at the mercy of traders and pay high prices for imported tea. This situation is ripe for enterprising fortune-seekers. The illicit trade of tea supports a vast black market that extends to the highest power in the land. But this shady economy was created by pirates, bandits, and smugglers. Those people daring or desperate enough to risk their lives to capture armed trade ships and caravans, and make off with their cargo. Unsurprisingly, kingdoms with both the climate and a domestic tea plant go to great lengths to protect their tradeable tea harvest. So, it falls to the smuggler to keep the tea flowing.

Teaboys are handy, dayo!

Cargo for Coin

Smugglers mainly move captured cargo, but also traffic plants. A rival plantation owner or a kingdom may see a single seedling as the key to their future empire. The powerful are willing to pay handsomely for such opportunities—provided their involvement remains a closely guarded secret.

The party might be involved on either side of a tea-smuggling plot, as smugglers or investigators. Involve the player characters further by binding them to the tea trade. It’s not just a job. Must they carry tea plants across mountains and rivers, through orc lands, to pay the ransom for their village? Does the loss of their village tea harvest — taken by bandits — threaten their livelihood?

A smuggling ring can have many tiers, and dealing with each might take many sessions. Who do the smugglers work for? Is the smuggling ring one of many? Is the tea plot the first incursion of a great war between nations? Add a fantasy twist and you might have a vampire queen building her kingdom’s dominance through the tea trade. Or a lich who uses his smugglers as scouts, probing for an initial invasion of his undead hordes.

It’s hard for us to imagine tea’s value when it’s readily available in our modern economy. In a fantasy world, where growing and moving crops might face other problems, such as dragons or magical catastrophes, tea might be even more valuable and hard to come by than it was in our real-world history. Consider the realities of the tea trade in your fantasy world and you’ll add an authenticity that helps your shared story come alive.

The Magic of Tea

Does lemon and ginger tea really help to cure the common cold? Does tea truly have health benefits? While modern science cannot confirm the miraculous properties attributed to tea, in the realm of fantasy, the possibilities are boundless. Is tea an important component of resurrection magic? Has one of the heroes died? Are tea leaves difficult to obtain? You can control the importance of tea in your campaign by dialing up the usefulness of hot beverages, while making tea rare. If a cup of tea is the only way to restore mana, your players will go to great lengths to secure a personal tea crop.

There are means to tie nonmagical characters to tea. Clerics might incorporate tea into sacred rituals, alchemists may seek to distill its essence for potent brews, and rogues could be hired to pilfer rare tea leaves or exquisite silver tea sets. The infusion of magic into these scenarios adds further depth and intrigue.

Supplement these tea-inspired plot hooks by making tea evocative. The champion’s cup of chai exudes an aroma that evokes faraway lands. It reinvigorates her with power drawn from the very earth. It holds the warmth of life. Then, just maybe, she connects to her god through the deep magic of tea.

The Politics of Tea

Tea grows in the dirt, yet kingdoms, with their centers far from those fields, depend on that crop. As we’ve seen, the business of tea is as important to a king as it is to the muddy worker who sewed and harvests it. The heroes begin their story as modest farm hands, at level 1, and through facing monsters and deadly quests grow to become tea barons and baronesses by level 20. Throughout this progression, the heroes’ progression is indelibly tied to the tea harvest and its trade.

Teahouse Leshy for Tea-Inspired Plot Hooks
Teahouse leshys consider tea an art form. #DrinkTea

At first level, the party might defend their harvest from goblins, those little fiends who love setting fields ablaze. Goblins never need a good reason for arson. At second level, the harvest is collected and taken to market and will need an escort. At third level, a trader bargains for the entire harvest and stout hearts to accompany it to his ship. Perhaps the trader has a decree from the queen and drafts the party into the kingdom’s service. Can the party navigate the dangerous river voyage to bring their cargo of supplies (including that tea) to the besieged allies of their monarch?

That same tea cargo might cross many more kingdoms and oceans before its journey is done. With the party traveling with it, there will be plenty of opportunity for intrigue and adventure. When the party finally returns to their fields, they do so as champions of the kingdom, with wagon loads of treasure creaking along behind them.

Join Us for a Cup!

The Magic of Tea is our latest supplement for Pathfinder Second Edition, and it contains a bunch of treats for your campaign. It’s a perfect addition to these tea-inspired plot hooks. The book includes:

  1. 18 new spells inspired by tea. Another cup, anyone?
  2. Tea Master background
  3. Brewpot Dragonet and the Teaboy creatures

You can find The Magic of Tea on DriveThruRPG and Itch.IO.

Two sugars for me, please.

How to Become an RPG Designer

Do you want to be an RPG designer? Maybe you’ve created some great homebrew content, have a few products on sale already, or have a cool tabletop RPG (TTRPG) idea you want to publish. Maybe you’re just curious about what it takes to create RPGs for a living and wonder where to start. Whatever the case, this article’s for you.

First Steps

The first thing you need to do is start.

TTRPGs involve a lot of creative energy. From creating your first character to running a months-long campaign, the hobby expects your creative investment at many levels. The trick is to take that creative investment, develop your craft (the ability to create and package that creativity), and ultimately deliver professional products.

Those customers might be an RPG publisher like Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, or Rising Phoenix Games, or you might be self-publishing on a site like DriveThruRPG or Either way, produce good work and be an asset to the roleplaying community.

An RPG designer is often part of a team. I’ve written rules, edited stat blocks, laid out books, created covers, made art assets, drawn maps, managed development teams, and made the tea. Mostly, that work is shared by a team of talented individuals, each with strengths and flaws. Being a team player is important, as is balancing your ego with a healthy dose of humility.

So, it’s worth learning as much as possible about writing and game design to be an asset to any development team you’re a part of. This collection of resources has proved very helpful to me, and I hope it’s helpful to you too.

Recommended Reading

I maintain a bookshelf on GoodReads with great RPG design resources. Check it out. All of the books I’ve listed are ones I refer back to often.


Mystery Dice Featured Image

RPG Design Courses

Various courses on RPG game design:

RPG Product Marketing Courses

  1. Title Descriptions DriveThruRPG course video.

RPG and Fiction/Fantasy Writing Courses

  1. Brandon Sanderson’s BYU course on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Rapid Prototyping

The following tools are useful for making quick, iterative versions of your game ideas.

  1. Video about rapid prototyping for card games.

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Pathfinder Second Edition

Specific tools and resources for creating Pathfinder Second Edition supplements.

  1. PF2 Tools.
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Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition

AI Tools

Many people take issue with AI tools, but — like any tool — knowing how to use the tool gives you more options to create better works. Enhance, rather than replace.

  1. Grammarly for AI-assisted text editing.

Free Web Tools

I use the following tools to improve my workflow, manage projects, and supplement my digital and real-world tools.

  1. Trello is a great management tool.
  2. Cloud Convert concerts file formats. Useful when you do a lot of work with PDFs.

What’s the Simplest Way to Play Pokémon Games?

Do you have a stack of unused Basic Pokémon you’d like to get some use out of? Or do your kids have a bunch of Pokémon cards but not enough Energy and Trainers to make a proper deck? Are they looking for simple games to play with your Pokémon cards? Here are two simple Pokémon games you can play with your collection of Basic Pokémon cards.

Poké One-Up

Make a pack of Basic Pokémon. You’ll need at least 16 cards for a short game, or about 20 cards per player. Split these equally between all players.

Number of Players: 2–8
Deck: Basic Pokémon only

Now each player flips over their first Pokémon. Look at the damage value for each Pokémon’s first attack. The player with the highest attack damage wins all the cards revealed in this round. If there’s a tie, put all the cards from that round aside. They’ll go to the winner of the next round.

The winner of the game is the player with the most cards after a player has been knocked out.

This simplest of Pokémon games is based on Top Trumps, and you can make it more interesting by picking other card traits to compare. Here are a few:

  1. Retreat cost
  2. Highest attack cost
  3. Greatest resistance
  4. HP
  5. Shiny!
Simple Pokémon Games

Energy Unleashed: Basic Poké Battles!

Make equal packs of Basic Pokémon for each player. Don’t worry too much about what Energy cards they need, but pay attention to their attacks and abilities. Remove any cards that won’t make sense for this type of game.

Number of Players: Best for 2, fine for 3~4 players
Deck: Basic Pokémon only, but you’ll need a pile of Energy cards or tokens to use as Energy cards.

Each player shuffles their deck, then draws 7 cards (just like a regular game of Pokémon). Put the rest of your cards away, since we won’t need them for the rest of the game.

Then, each player chooses one Pokémon from their hand to be their active Pokémon, and then places 5 on their bench, which is the row behind the active Pokémon. This is just like a regular game of Pokémon too, but you don’t have Power cards or Trainers to worry about. Keep the last Pokémon in your hand until a spot opens up on your bench.

During each turn, put an Energy card on one of your Pokémon. It doesn’t matter what energy it provides, although if you have enough Energy cards you can rule that it does. Make attacks as in a normal game of Pokémon. A player wins if they knock out 6 Pokémon.

Did you enjoy these Pokémon games? Do you have other games you play with your Pokémon cards? Let us know, in the comment below.

Mystery Dice: Can we Unravel D&D’s Greatest Mystery?

Dice. Can you ever own enough? Will they roll high when it matters? These questions might be the greatest mysteries of our wonderful roleplaying hobby. Or it’s “What’s in a pack of Mystery Dice?” I’m here to rip open that mystery like a frenzied goblin oracle tearing apart a loot sack!

Rip open a bag of Mystery Dice
Rip open a bag of Mystery Dice!

Mystery Dice? What’s in the Bag?

Mystery Dice, from UK-based Mystery Dice Goblins, are blind bags of 7 RPG dice. They’re perfect for games of Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. There’s the caltrop-of-doom D4, the ubiquitous D6, the D8, the pair of D10s (units die and tens die), the D12, and the mighty D20. Each bag’s contents are colour-matched, so you get a complete, colour-coordinated set. However, the transparent purple set I opened has 5 dark purple and 2 light purple dice. I call it my “Berry Blast” set. Although the variation is noticeable, they still look fantastic together. I love them!

Berry Blast RPG Mystery Dice

The dice are a good, standard size. The set I’m playing with are slightly rough distressed blue dice. The D4 and D6 are slightly bigger than the same dice from the Pathfinder Beginner Box set, which is only noticeable when you carefully compare them.

Distressed Blue Mystery Dice

All the numbers on the dice are clear, and that readability is important to me. We need to see those numbers! In our third set, the gold paint on green and white marbling produces a low contrast, but I’ll take elegance over readability in this case. These are some of our most beautiful dice — the other being a green and black marbled set, which belongs to my wife. She has excellent taste.

Mystery Dice Marbled Green and White

Blind Bags are a Party, in a Bag

Skeptical of blind bags? Me too, but I remember being a kid and the fun we had opening those Monster in My Pocket packets. The fun’s still there today. Opening each pack was an exciting rush of endorphins, and I was happy with every dice I got. Several older sets are getting the boot from my collection to make way for the new arrivals.

Grab some bags with your gaming group, then figure out who gets the first pick. You’ll have a blast and get a set you love as part of the deal. Christmas is far off, but Mystery Dice are the perfect stocking filler. They’re also a great gift for gamer friends or prizes for your gaming club.

Where to Buy Mystery Dice

You can buy Mystery Dice from the Mystery Dice Goblins website.

Keep Rolling!

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Party Up: Friends vs Monsters, and Life

Do you ever feel alone? Do you feel like the world’s too much, and it’s banging on the door, trying to get you? I sometimes feel that way.

When that happens, it’s a struggle to stop my gloom-and-doom thought train and change my perspective. Recently, it was my RPG publisher friends who helped me see things differently. So, I want to talk about those friends and I want to give you a light to hold onto when things get rough.

When the Going Gets Tough, Collaborate

I reached out to a few indie RPG developers and asked if they’d join me on a bundle. The Hidden Indie RPG Treasures Bundle is available on DriveThruRPG, right now, until the end of February. I’m mentioning it now and again at the end of this post only, so the marketing is clear for you to see. Anyway, I had a great response from those friends and we made a neat little collection of indie RPG games.

I’m mentioning the collaboration because it provided a healthy change of perspective.

Toughen Up, RPG Creator

The perspective I’ve had for a long time is a warped idea of what success in the industry means. You can’t get a true sense of where you stand in the industry without friends to help you gauge it.

It’s important to understand the context here. Many of us do what we do with limited resources. We use our free time, our own money, and our sweat equity to make games. We’re passionate about the hobby, and that drives us. But it’s hard competing against bigger companies like Wizards of the Coast for those RPG dollars. If you don’t have a hit RPG title or a large social media presence, then it’s hard to get eyes on your work. Even professional, high-quality work can be ignored. Burnout is a real threat because of that. We work hard but don’t always see recognition for that effort. It can become a depressing, black hole.

Anybody, no matter what they do, might be a step away from that deep, dark abyss. Watch the news, suffer a string of bad luck, get hit with unexpected financial pressure, and the cracks start to show. Part of the issue is a false sense of the truth. Essentially, thinking we’re not good enough is a result of a foggy perception of reality.

Reaching out is incredibly hard for me to do. I’m a busy introvert. I spend a lot of time chatting with friends online, but these interactions are often superficial. The medium is restrictive. Those conversations seldom touch base with reality. That changes when friends are struggling with the same thing, like how to market an indie RPG bundle. Working together, we challenged our perceptions. We could better perceive the truth, but only together.


I realized that Rising Phoenix wasn’t as insignificant as I thought we were. We could help guys with a handful of titles because we have a bucket-load of titles. We also saw how each effort brought in a few extra sales. Without data (or friends with experience) it’s hard to anticipate what sort of sales we might get, which leads to frustration if those sales seem lower than we hoped for.

There’s a Biblical aspect to this worth considering. In Galatians 6 verse 2 (that’s in the New International Version for this and the rest), Paul says: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” If you draw this back to Jesus’s words of “love one another” (John 13:34) and then further back to the 10 Commandments’ “Love your neighbour” (Leviticus 19:18) then it’s clear: we should help people.

I have no scientific research confirming what we gain from helping others, but my experience has been that it’s good to step into a leaking boat with someone. Struggling together sharpens a person and helps us see the same problem from different sides.

I’m just a dude trying to make great games and figure out this crazy thing called life, and those are my two cents. I hope it’s a useful idea for you to think about.

The Hidden Indie RPG Treasures Bundle

Now, let’s talk about that bundle one last time. Our goal is to make 50 sales. That boosts overall sales since customers are more likely to buy a best-selling title, and 50 sales gives you a Copper Best-Seller badge. With roughly nine days left, we currently need another 31 sales to hit that goal. Please consider telling a friend about the bundle. Ask them to tell their friends about it too. That’ll help us in the greatest way possible.

Here’s a copy of Road to Rhune, at rogue prices (free), to help you get the bundle even cheaper.

Get the Hidden Indie RPG Treasures Bundle on DriveThruRPG today. Sale ends end of Feb.

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Is AI Art Killing the TTRPG Industry?

What’s up? We’re in the final stretch of 2023, and it feels like the year is about to slip by way too soon. What a busy year! Wizards of the Coast kept things interesting, a new version of Pathfinder dropped, and then AI tools further divided the community.

We have several projects ongoing, and the evolution of our process has some interesting insights into how AI tools are changing the TTRPG industry. For example, I used AI art tools to colour and detail my monsters. First, I’d draw them in pencil and ink them. Then I’d colour them in Photoshop. I’d run this through a few AI generations. These I’d then composite with Photoshop.

An intelligent tool, turning mediocre art into something evocative. The process worked and I felt that it wasn’t the same copout as generating images from scratch. Are artists losing out with this process? I don’t think so. I still pay for art when it makes sense, and there’s still a lot of drawing being done. If anything, the process has helped me compete with the competition that can afford good art.

The above image is AI art, and I think it’s obvious that the technology is improving. Less obvious is how the artist is still important. I love The Simpsons, and part of the charm of the series is the deformed art style. Flaws, it turns out, are beautiful. I don’t mean weird fingers and third legs. Put another way, the craftsmanship is a thing of art. This is ultimately why every artist owes it to themselves to keep working at their craft. Even when it looks like the machines are taking over.

What I’m Playing

Years ago I bought the physical Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game, but I now play the Steam version. The game has terrible achievements and no support, so some of the achievements are impossible to achieve. Still, it’s a fun solo card game that scratches my Magic: the Gathering itch.

Strange Brigade Screen Shot

I recently picked up Strange Brigade, which is a lot of fun with friends. If you love action archeology as much as I do, then this one is for you.

What I’m Listening To

My song for Christmas is Children 18:3’s “Bethlehem”. The Christmas message is for everyone, no matter what you believe. It isn’t true if it isn’t.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of ska music, and that, right now, means The Interrupters. Their music will build anyone back up.

Sometimes when you’re low
You gotta kiss the ground

What are your thoughts on AI art and AI tools? Tell us in the comments below.

Related Tabletop News

Here are some hot news items. Check them out!

Gundam: Requiem for Vengeance is coming to Netflix next year. Will it be the show fans deserve?

Christmas is around the corner. Here are five tips for saving money on Pokémon cards this festive season.

RPG Advent Social Media Covers 4

The RPG Advent bundle has 25 products for only $24. It’s even cheaper if you already own some of the books (and you probably do). It’s a great chance to build your collection.

Our Goblin Spy Reveals Santa’s RPG Advent Bundle!

Greetings, fellow goblin adventurers! Gather ’round, for I, Snozgrot the Stealthy, have just returned from the heart of Santa’s secret workshop with jaw-dropping news! Prepare yourselves for an epic treasure trove of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) with the RPG Advent bundle! You don’t want to miss it.

A Peek Inside the Stocking:

In my daring mission through the snowy north, I discovered a hidden treasure trove that would make even the most stoic dwarf break into a jig. Santa, it seems, is not just crafting toys for the good little humans — he’s been secretly working on a magical bundle of 24 TTRPG products! And get this, my fellow goblins and goblinettes, you can snag this treasure trove for a mere $24! Yes, you heard that right, just one shiny gold coin for a bundle worth over $150!

Unveiling The Mysteries:

The bundle is shrouded in mystery, much like the wonder of reading (I kidnapped an elf and made him write this post). What I can share with you, however, is that these treasures include rulebooks, adventures, maps, and tools crafted by the finest TTRPG creators in the universe. Old Santa has truly outdone himself.

What’s In the Bundle:

Santa’s elves have collected 24 TTRPG products* to excite every little goblin. Yes, it’s even more exciting than playing with fire!

Player and GM Options: Looking for more ways to build the characters you want to play? We’ve got several titles covering a variety of games, including Dath (New Race), Monstrous Personas, Archetypes of the Ages: Dragons (5e), ARMR Studios Compendium – 2015, Black Powder Rebellion – Firearms and Historical Campaigns (PF2), Pocket Lint, Light Loot & Tiny Treasures, and The Book of Many Things Volume 2: Shattered Worlds. These titles cover a wide array of games, so you’ll have a wealth of options to mine.

RPG Advent Social Media Covers 1

System Hacks and Expansions: If you love playing new games with familiar systems, then check out The Ruin 5th ed RPG or Ghost Ops Second Strike – 5th ed.

RPG Advent Social Media Covers 2

Indie Games: If you’re looking for innovation and creativity, then indie games have it in spades. The RPG Advent bundle has many indie TTRPG titles, including Big Eyes Small Brains, Bullet, Camp Karate, How to Plan a Murder, KARMA: A Roleplaying Game About Consequences, Onyx Sky, Samurai Androids, Something Wicked, Static Dawn, Teenage Mutant Dirtbags: A Roleplaying Game and Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG.


RPG Advent Social Media Covers 3

Adventures and Maps: My library of maps and adventures always has room to expand. The bundle has several stunning additions in this category, including Time Is of the Essence (A New Year’s Eve Adventure), Bokafesh’s Never Ending Dungeon, Santa Claus CRUSHES the Martians, and Ships: Terran Frigate.

RPG Advent Social Media Covers 4

This bundle looks set to include something for everyone, all for the cost of a modest goblin hoard of $24.

Genres Under the Christmas:

Santa’s workshop brings gifts from every dimension! Dive into the realms of high fantasy, traverse futuristic landscapes, or explore the shadowy corners of post-apocalyptic tent markets – this bundle spans genres, ensuring there’s something for every adventurer’s taste. It’s like a digital bag of holding filled with possibilities!

Limited Time Offer:

The stars align for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Santa’s bundle is available from December 1st until Christmas only! Gather your party, summon your familiar, and don’t miss out on the chance to acquire this legendary collection. Whether you’re a seasoned dungeon master or a curious newcomer, this bundle gives you 24 products, so you can enjoy one for each day of Advent, and for months to come.

But How Do I Snag the Bundle?:

Santa’s elves aren’t done yet, but you can claim your bundle from the first of December, from Drive-Thru RPG. Trust me, this is a deal you won’t want to miss. ‘Tis the season for epic tales and unforgettable quests, and Santa’s got your back!


So, fellow adventurers, let the word spread like wildfire across the realms – Santa’s Advent RPG bundle is the ultimate gift for TTRPG enthusiasts! Unleash your imagination, roll those dice, and embark on an RPG journey of a lifetime with this magical collection. Don’t let this slippery opportunity slip through your buttery fingers!

Happy gaming!

Buying on Itch? We’ve got a bundle running right now.

* Note that the books in the bundle may change. We don’t think they will, but we’re just covering our butts in case it does.

Ectoplasmic Elemental: an Avatar of Undeath

Tombstones rip out of the ground, then twist through the air, trailing green flame. Out of the ethereal vortex rises an ectoplasmic elemental that screams through the dislocated skull of a long-dead giant.

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Cleanup on aisle nine! We’re back to ectoplasm again, and there’s a lot of it.

Ghostbusters News on Twitter: "Alright, who stained the ...
(Image source)

Eeek, an Ectoplasm Elemental!

Tombstones rip out of the ground, then twist through the air, trailing green flame. Out of the ethereal vortex rises an ectoplasmic hulk that screams through the dislocated skull of a long dead giant.

Ectoplasmic elementals are the focus of powerful necromantic energies that draw in souls, creating a towering avatar of soul-matter, or ectoplasm. Such a creature is the essence of unlife, raw necrotic energy so powerful that it leeches the souls of the living nearby.

Battlefields and mass graves might provide the raw material for an ectoplasmic elemental to materialize, but it requires a dark ritual or grim series of events to initiate the process. This event cuts off the souls’ path to the afterlife, locking the souls on the Material Plane. Forced to manifest in some form, these souls might take on any of a myriad of ghostly forms. However, if the concentration of ectoplasm is strong enough, then an ectoplasmic elemental is likely to form.

Ectoplasmic Elemental stat block

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Ectoplasmic elementals are brutes, built for close combat. If you’re looking for something to support them, look for good ranged options, or keep the ranged characters in the party busy with some ectoplasmic swarms. Tight dungeons can also cut down on line of sight, and let your avatar of undeath deal with a few characters at a time.

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Festrog — A CR 4 Undead for D&D 5e

Bounding on long, scabrous gray limbs, this creature looks like a twisted, reanimated corpse with glowing white eyes. The festrog is a CR 4 Undead that hunts in packs and loves to terrorize its prey.

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Over these three weeks, we’ve got three undead creatures, two of which are themed around ectoplasm. The festrog, though, is type of ghoul, making it a perfect addition to encounters with ghasts, ghouls, or other festrogs.

Festrogs: Fast, Festering Hunters

Hundreds of tiny green flames surge forward, each clawing the air with flickering fingers.

Bounding on long, scabrous gray limbs, this creature looks like a twisted, reanimated corpse with glowing white eyes.

Festrogs are bestial ghouls, created when a corpse is desecrated or embued with terrifying amounts of negative energy. Although their basic anatomy is humanoid, festrogs run on all fours, using their elongated limbs to make loping strides. Festrogs are also known as rotdogs and zombie dogs, though they aren’t zombies at all.

Terrible circumstances spawn every festrog, and the hurt and horror that birthed them fuels their unlife. This is best seen in how Festrogs, which are skilled pack hunters, toy with their prey. Often they will separate one creature from its group, injure it, then harry it for days until it finally dies of exhaustion. The pack then mutilates the corpse too, a torment that is often enough to raise the unfortunate creature as a festrog itself.

Festrogs are not natural swimmers, but their doggedness means they’ll pursue prey even through the darkest depths. Sometimes merfolk corpses become festrogs, and these are powerful swimmers with tails lines with protruding bone.


Festrog a CR 4 Undead for D&D 5e

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Festrogs are all about mobility and speed. Think undead velociraptors.

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Flaming Ectoplasmic Swarm for D&D 5e

Hundreds of tiny green flames surge forward, each clawing the air with flickering fingers. Add this CR 3 undead incorporeal ectoplasmic swarm to your next adventure to challenge your players.

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Over the next three weeks, we’ve got three undead creatures, two of which are themed around ectoplasm. Ectoplasm might be described as life-essence, a residue left by creatures that have crossed between the Mortal Realm and the Realm of Death. Slimer from Ghostbusters is the best example of an ectoplasmic creature from popular culture. That slime is pure ectoplasm.

Eery Ectoplasmic Swarm Fiends

Hundreds of tiny green flames surge forward, each clawing the air with flickering fingers.

Ectoplasmic swarms appear as green flames, with darker flames within that seem to function as eyes and mouths. Their shape is roughly humanoid, with legs and arms ending in flickering claws. Besides these features, they are otherwise featureless and transparent.

Necromancy is usually at the root of an ectoplasmic swarm’s appearance, though they can form wherever a large concentration of departed souls is present. Although tiny, swarms of these flamelike creatures can quickly suck the life out of the living.

Animated ectoplasm seeks to devour souls, which sustain it and gives it a collective memory drawn from all the lives it has consumed. Drawing information out of the ectoplasm, usually through a seance, is difficult because of the mob of souls present. However, if the paranormalist can bring order to the discord, the souls can provide many insights from their collective memory.


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Ectoplasmic swarms are tough to kill because they’re incorporeal and have the normal resistances of a swarm. Give your players access to holy water and a chance to figure out the swarm’s weakness, otherwise this could be a tough slog.

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