Excerpts Archive | 12/11/2009
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Excerpts: Plane Below: Masters of the Elements

In today's Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos preview, we meet another denizen of the Planes -- where some creatures have become so potent, so dangerous, or so important that their infamy has spread beyond that turbulent plane.


Looming in an obscure region of the Elemental Chaos, a fortress of uneven walls and jagged towers rises from a foundation of black clouds. A passerby might mistake this structure for a bastion of the djinns, but on close examination it seems to be constructed of ash-blackened steel. The clouds are in fact rolling banks of burning, suffocating smoke. This is the Choking Palace, home of Ehkahk, the Smoldering Duke, and his court.

Ehkahk is a gaunt creature, the height of a human child, with ash-gray skin. Smoke leaks constantly from his eyes and mouth, leaving trails in the air when he moves, and pours from his back, giving the impression of flexing wings. Those who take Ehkahk’s small size to mean he is no threat, though, rarely survive to repeat their mistake.

Ehkahk’s Tactics

Ehkahk claims to disdain violence but actually delights in exercising his abilities, particularly against those he deems disrespectful. He uses venomous vapors to neutralize as many enemies as possible, then wreaks havoc. The most troublesome foe becomes a target for consuming smoke, and he looses the choking kennel against enemies that are mobile. He prefers to remain at range and aloft, making use of ride the smoke when possible.

Ehkahk Lore

Arcana DC 17: Ehkahk, the Smoldering Duke, is a small but powerful creature of poisonous fumes who rules a court in his fortress, the Choking Palace. Although his domain, called Fume, is not large, and he does not always treat his subjects well, he protects the place mercilessly against attackers. The other powers of the Elemental Chaos seem to acknowledge his rule; he sends regular ambassadors to the Charcoal Palace in the City of Brass and occasionally visits there himself.

Arcana DC 26: Nobody is certain of Ehkahk’s true nature. Different tales claim that he is an elemental who developed an abnormal degree of intelligence; the offspring of an efreet and a djinn; and even the child or a fragment of a slain primordial.

Ehkahk’s duchy is home to all manner of creatures, from near-mindless elementals to rogue efreets and djinn, and even a sizable population of natural beings. Any who lack a home are welcome in Ehkahk’s domain—as long as they’re willing to swear lifelong fealty to him.

Arcana DC 31: Ehkahk seems to have no fear of death. He has more than once returned to his court after being “slain” in the sight of witnesses. Perhaps the Smoldering Duke is truly unkillable, or maybe multiple different individuals have taken on his title.

Level 25 Elite Controller (Leader)
Small elemental humanoid (air, fire)
XP 14,000
Initiative +16 Senses Perception +22
Suffocating Fume aura 2; each living enemy that enters or starts its turn within the aura begins to cough uncontrollably. Until the start of its next turn, it grants combat advantage and cannot spend healing surges.
HP 464; Bloodied 232
AC 39; Fortitude 35, Reflex 39, Will 37
Immune disease, fire
Saving Throws +2
Speed 6, fly 8 (hover); see also ride the smoke
Action Points 1
Melee Ashen Rapier (standard; at-will) Weapon
+29 vs. Reflex; 2d10 + 10 damage, and Ehkahk slides the target 1 square and can then shift 1 square as a free action.
Ranged Ashen Plume (standard; at-will) Fire, Poison
Ranged 15; targets one or two creatures; +29 vs. Fortitude; 1d10 + 10 fire and poison damage, and the target is blinded (save ends).
Ranged Choking Kennel (minor; recharges when first bloodied)
Four smoke hounds (see below) appear, each in an unoccupied space within 15 squares of Ehkahk. The smoke hounds take their turns immediately after Ehkahk’s initiative count. They remain until they are killed, until Ehkahk uses a free action to dismiss them, or until the end of the encounter. Characters do not gain experience points for killing smoke hounds summoned by this power.
Ranged Consuming Smoke (standard; recharge 456) Fire, Poison, Teleportation
Ranged 15; +31 vs. Fortitude; 1d10 + 10 fire damage, and the target disappears until the start of Ehkahk’s next turn. The target reappears prone in a space of Ehkahk’s choice within 15 squares of him that does not include hindering terrain, and Ehkahk makes a secondary attack that is a close burst 1 centered on the target. Secondary Attack: +28 vs. Fortitude; 3d10 + 10 poison damage. The area within the burst is heavily obscured by thick smoke until the start of Ehkahk’s next turn.
Area Burst Ride the Smoke (move; recharge 56) Teleportation, Zone
Area burst 4 within 20; the burst creates a zone of thick smoke that lasts until the end of Ehkahk’s next turn. Ehkahk and each adjacent ally of his choice teleport to spaces of his choice within the zone. The zone’s area is heavily obscured to enemies.
Area Burst Venomous Vapors (standard; encounter) Fire, Poison
Three area bursts 1 within 15 that do not overlap; +28 vs. Reflex; 4d8 + 10 fire and poison damage, and the target is blinded (save ends). Miss: Half damage, and the target is blinded until the end of Ehkahk’s next turn.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages Common, Giant, Primordial
Skills Arcana +26, Bluff +25, Diplomacy +25, Insight +22
Str 13 (+13)
Dex 19 (+16)
Wis 21 (+17)
Con 24 (+19)
Int 28 (+21)
Cha 26 (+20)
Equipment ashen rapier

Smoke Hound
Level 23 Minion Soldier
Medium elemental beast (air, fire)
XP 1,275
Initiative +21 Senses Perception +20; low-light vision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 37; Fortitude 35, Reflex 37, Will 33
Immune poison; Resist 30 fire
Speed 8
Melee Unyielding Bite (standard; at-will) Fire, Poison
+26 vs. Reflex; 9 fire and poison damage, and the target is grabbed. The smoke hound cannot make unyielding bite attacks while it has a creature grabbed. Sustain Minor: The smoke hound sustains the grab, and the target takes 13 fire damage.
Melee Tongue of Smoke (standard; at-will)
Targets a creature grabbed by the smoke hound; +26 vs. Fortitude; the smoke hound moves half its speed and moves the target with it.
Unshakable Grasp
A creature grabbed by a smoke hound grants combat advantage until the grab ends.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages understands Primordial
Str 22 (+17)
Dex 26 (+19)
Wis 18 (+15)
Con 21 (+16)
Int 5 (+8)
Cha 11 (+11)

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November 16

Skill Challenge: Reasoning with a Slaad

November 20

Orders: Elder Elemental Eye

November 23

Artifacts: Wave

November 27


November 30

Locations: Pandemonium Stone

December 4

Locations: Plains of Rust

December 7

Creatures: Dust Devil

December 11

Masters of the Elements: Ehkahk