Magic Books of Faerun07/21/2004


Earthmother's Weapons
(Druid Spells from the Moonshaes)



This broad book is bound in thin leather and embossed with a picture of a sheaf of grain. Its pages are tightly woven strands of dyed plant fiber that form a small tapestry of pictures and magic symbols. Due to wear and tear, the book gives the impression of being very old. A thin shard of bone tied to a leather thong serves as a bookmark.

Last Record: Galast of the Beastlord, Malarite druid, 16 Ches, 1373 DR.

Description: A stamped picture of a sheaf of grain graces the thin but sturdy cow leather of this book. This symbol signifies the Earthmother, which is a wilder, more natural aspect of Chauntea. Rather than vellum, paper, or some of the strange materials wizards are fond of in their spellbooks, this book's pages are carefully-woven works of art, showing pictures of natural creatures (including the Earthmother's three Children -- Leviathan the whale, Kamerynn the unicorn, and the Pack of awakened dire wolves), druids casting spells, nature scenes, as well as magical symbols and passages written in Illuskan. The pages have been soaked in a fireproofing substance (fire resistance 10), and it is resistant to water as well. The bone bookmark is carved from a human jawbone.

The book does not radiate magic.

History: The history of the Moonshaes is filled with war. Human kingdoms fought each other. Agents of Malar and Bhaal fought the civilized peoples. Druids of the Earthmother participated in these battles, seeking to minimize the damage to nature and actively striking against those who would despoil her sacred places. Several hundred years ago, a druid named Bryn Kernwyld created several new spells she thought might be useful in the battles to protect and avenge nature (particularly against Malar, a constant foe of her deity), and collected them in a book she called Earthmother's Weapons. Kept secret among the members of her circle, the knowledge in the book was passed down to other druids in an oral tradition in the following centuries, with the book used as a reference by the senior members of the circle. In 1278 DR a band of Malarite berserkers found the hidden tree-home of the current leader of the circle, Marath Haldewn, and, though she slew half of them, the remainder overpowered her, staked her to the earth under the full moon, and tore out her entrails, murdering her in the name of the Beastlord. The other members of the circle tracked the Malarites for two weeks before finding and killing them, and while they found other treasures from Marath's home, the copy of Earthmother's Weapons was not with them.

The book remained undiscovered until 1358 DR when an adventuring company searching for monsters in the southern parts of the mountain range on the isle of Gwynneth came across it. Unfortunately, the Time of Troubles happened very shortly after the discovery, and before the adventurers could bring the book to Caer Corwell or any druids of note, one of the party wizard's spells went awry and wiped them out. All magic items the adventurers bore were teleported in random directions, so the book could be almost anywhere, even underwater or on mainland Faerûn. While they try not to spread work of the book, the church of Chauntea is looking for it and would reward anyone who turned it over to them, since they wish to return it to the high druids of the Moonshaes. Rumors exist of a Malarite leader in the High Forest who has been using spells similar to those contained in the book, though it is not confirmed that he actually has it, and his exact location cannot be pinpointed for more than a few days at a time because he travels a lot.

Contents: The first few pages of Earthmother's Weapons are prayers to the goddess, asking for her blessings in times of war when the devout must protect her and her favored children. The remaining pages describe four druid spells researched by Bryn. These spells are considered unusual spells, and any spellcaster who wishes to use them must first decipher them as described in the Divine Magical Writings section of Chapter 10: Magic of the Player's Handbook. The spells the book contains are as follows:

  • bone talisman
  • frostbite
  • horrible taste
  • wolfskin

Bone Talisman
Necromancy
Level: Druid 2
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Target: Bone touched
Duration: 10 minutes/level or until discharged
Saving Throw: None (object)
Spell Resistance: No (object)

You channel divine power and life energy into a bone from an animal or humanoid, giving it limited power against undead. Once cast, it may be used for two purposes (decided at the time of casting).

Bone of Turning: You or another druid may present the bone in the manner of a holy symbol and use it to turn undead. The effective turning level is equal to your caster level. All normal turning effects apply. For example, if your turning level is twice the Hit Dice of the turned undead, they are destroyed instead of turned. After one turn attempt, the bone talisman loses its power (but you can cast the spell on it again).

Bone Weapon: The bone is treated as a weapon that deals +1d6 damage to undead creatures, similar to but weaker than an undead bane effect. The bone is treated as a simple weapon appropriate to its shape, such as dagger or dart (small and sharp), club (if large and blunt), or spear (if small and sharp and fastened to a haft) and deals normal damage for its type. The spell does not grant proficiency in the weapon. The spell is not discharged when the weapon hits and this aspect of the spell lasts until the full duration (10 minutes/level) expires.

The spell has no effect if you cast it on a bone taken from an undead creature. The bone must be at least 8 inches long and may be straight or curved; normally bones from the arm, leg, or ribs are used. You may carve, drill, or otherwise shape the bone before or after the spell is cast; the spell functions as long as the bone remains bone (not turned to wood or metal, for example).

Frostbite
Transmutation [Cold]
Level: Druid 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

You rapidly cool the target so it suffers the effects of frostbite -- just as if he were exposed to severe environmental cold (see Cold Dangers in the Dungeon Master's Guide, page 302). The target creature must succeed at a Fortitude save or suffer 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character with the Survival skill cannot use that skill to receive a bonus on this saving throw because its effects are instantaneous rather than accruing over time. A creature that takes nonlethal damage in this manner is beset by frostbite (treat as fatigued). The fatigue ends when the character recovers the nonlethal damage he took from the spell's cold. Characters wearing winter clothing suffer frostbite (fatigue) only if they took 4 or more points of nonlethal damage from the spell.

Horrible Taste
Transmutation
Level: Druid 1, Ranger 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 10 minutes/level

Drawing upon the talents of some creatures of the insect world, you change your flesh to make it unpalatable to other creatures. Any creature that bites you must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw or be nauseated until the end of its next turn. Nauseated creatures cannot attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. The only action such a creature can take is a single move action per turn.

Most creatures of animal or otherwise low Intelligence will not willingly bite you a second time (whether or not they failed their first saving throw); someone trying to direct the creature to bite you again must make a Handle Animal check as if they were trying to "push" the creature. This check must be made every time she tries to make the creature bite.

Creatures immune to poison or lacking the ability to taste are unaffected by this spell.

Wolfskin
Transmutation
Level: Druid 2, Ranger 3
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 minute/level (D)

You take the shape of a normal wolf as if you had the wild shape ability of a 5th-level druid.

Focus: The skin of a wolf, dire wolf, werewolf, worg, or winter wolf. The skin melds with your body while the spell is in effect, and it returns to normal when you assume your own shape.

Price: 1,000 gp (fireproofed and waterproof spellbook value only). A buyer interested in religious lore might pay up to 200 gp more for it. The church of Chauntea is willing to pay up to an additional 1,000 gp for it. A member of the church who finds and returns the book would be rewarded a like amount in wealth, magic, or services; if the bearer is a worshiper of the Earthmother and returns it to the druids of the Moonshaes personally, the rewards will be more significant (+500 gp) but mostly in terms of services rather than goods or wealth.

Last Known Bearer: Galast of the Beastlord, Malarite druid.

Galast is the son of human outlaws living in the High Forest. Raised by evil-thinking folks who needed to hunt to survive, it is natural that he gravitated to Malar's faith. Though he began his adult life as a tracker and scout (handy when trying to evade and outfox bounty hunters in search of his parents), he became a druid of the Beastlord after seeing the man who would become his mentor single-handedly destroy an elven warband. The elder druid, who calls himself "Wolf Dragon," arranged for Galast to become a werewolf, but for some reason Galast never fully succumbed to the curse of lycanthropy. Wolf Dragon turned out his protégée in disgust, and since then Galast has wandered the High Forest, occasionally hooking up with other Malarites but leaving before his private shame is revealed. He discovered Earthmother's Weapons buried in debris at the back end of a bear cave, and he has since deciphered the spells in it. Since he has no idea that the Earthmother is an aspect of Chauntea (and thus an enemy of his god), he doesn't know he has been holding onto Chauntean spells. Malar finds the spells useful in the hands of one of his people and has granted Galast access to the spells. He uses his speed (from longstrider and the Run feat) and maneuverability (from the woodland stride class ability) to make hit-and-run attacks, relying on his damage reduction to absorb most attacks against him.

Galast: Male human quasiwerewolf ranger 1/druid 3; CR 5; Medium humanoid (shapechanger); HD 1d8+2 plus 3d8+6; hp 26; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13; Base Atk +3; Grp +4; Atk +5 melee (1d6+1/x3, masterwork shortspear) or +6 ranged (1d6/x3, masterwork shortbow with masterwork arrow); Full Atk +5 melee (1d6+1/x3, masterwork shortspear) or +6 ranged (1d6/x3, masterwork shortbow with masterwork arrow); SQ animal companion (Fang), damage reduction 10/silver, disguise self, favored enemy (animals +2), nature sense, trackless step, wild empathy +3, woodland stride; AL NE; SV Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 8.

Skills and Feats: Climb +5, Handle Animal +6, Heal +5, Hide +8, Knowledge (nature) +7, Knowledge (religion) +2, Listen +6, Move Silently +8, Ride +4, Spellcraft +4, Spot +6, Survival +11, Swim +5, Point Blank Shot, Run, Stealthy, Track(B).

Animal Companion: Galast has a wolf named Fang as his animal companion. Fang grants him the following benefits.

Link (Ex): Galast can handle Fang as a free action, or push him as a move action. Galast gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks concerning Fang.

Share Spells (Ex): At Galast's option, he may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) he casts upon himself also affect Fang, as long as the wolf is within 5 feet of him at the time of casting. If a spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting Fang if he moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect him again, even if he returns to Galast before the duration expires. Additionally, Galast may cast a spell with a target of "You" on Fang (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. Galast and Fang can share spells even if they normally do not affect animals.

Disguise Self (Su): Galast has been infected with lycanthropy by werewolves three times, but because he was born a quasiwerewolf, he has not contracted lycanthropy. Galast can shift his own form ever so slightly, growing wolflike hair all over his body, changing his eye color to wolf-blue, and elongating his canine teeth. This ability works just like a disguise self spell (caster level 4th). He cannot change body types or give himself natural weaponry. Though he has the shapechanger subtype and a lycanthrope's damage reduction at all times, he cannot take hybrid or animal form. Galast uses the wolfskin spell (from the Earthmother's Weapons book) to assume wolf form and pretend to be a full werewolf.

Favored Enemy: Galast gains a +2 bonus on his Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against animals. He gets the same bonus on weapon damage rolls against creatures of this type.

Nature Sense (Ex): Galast gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks (already included in the statistics given above).

Trackless Step (Ex): If Galast desires, he leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked.

Wild Empathy (Ex): Galast can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal (such as a bear or a monitor lizard). This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person. His bonus on the check is +3. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly. Galast and the animal must study each other for 1 minute. This ability can also be used to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but the ranger takes a -4 penalty on the check.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Galast may move through natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain at his normal speed and without suffering damage or other impairment. However, thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion still affect him.

Druid Spells Prepared (4/3/2; save DC 12 + spell level): 0 -- cure minor wounds (2), flare (DC 12), light; 1st -- cure light wounds, frostbite (DC 13), longstrider; 2nd -- barkskin, wolfskin.

Possessions:+1 leather armor, masterwork light wooden shield, masterwork shortspear, masterwork shortbow, masterwork arrows (50), holy symbol, potions of cat's grace, potion of cure moderate wounds, scroll of resist energy, elixir of hiding, 52 gp.

Fang: Male wolf companion; CR --; Medium animal; HD 4d8+8; hp 26; Init +7; Spd 50 ft.; AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +3; Grp +5; Atk +6 melee (1d6+3, bite); Full Atk +6 melee (1d6+3, bite); SA trip; SQ evasion, low-light vision, scent, tricks (attack, defend, down, guard, heel, seek, stay, track); AL N; SV Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +2; Str 14, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Jump +10, Listen +4, Move Silently +5, Spot +3; Improved Initiative, Track(B), Weapon Focus (bite).

Trip (Ex): When Fang hits with a bite attack, he can attempt to trip his opponent (+1 check modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip Fang.

Evasion (Ex): If Fang is subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, he takes no damage if he makes a successful saving throw.

Quasilycanthropes

Quasilycanthropes are giants or humanoids with a trace of lycanthropy in their bloodlines. A quasilycanthrope is indistinguishable from other members of its humanoid or giant kind until it is exposed to lycanthropy from a lycanthrope of the same kind as the quasilycanthrope, whereupon its latent lycanthropic traits emerge. For example, a quasiwerewolf requires exposure to lycanthropy from a werewolf. When a latent quasilycanthrope is exposed to the curse of lycanthropy and fails its saving throw (see the Lycanthrope entry in the Monster Manual), it does not become an actual lycanthrope; instead, its quasilycanthrope abilities emerge.

Creating a Quasilycanthrope

"Quasilycanthrope" is an inherited template that can be added to any humanoid or giant (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

Size and Type: The base creature's type does not change, but the creature gains the shapechanger subtype. The lycanthrope takes a few characteristics of some type of carnivorous or omnivorous creature of the animal type (referred to hereafter as the base animal).

The animal can be any predator, scavenger, or omnivore whose size is within one size category of the base creature's size (Small, Medium, or Large for a Medium base creature).

A quasilycanthrope uses the base creature's statistics and special abilities in addition to those described here.

Special Qualities: A quasilycanthrope retains all the special qualities of the base creature and also gains those described below.

Disguise Self (Su): A quasilycanthrope can shift its own form ever so slightly. This works just like a disguise self spell cast at the quasilycanthrope's character level except that the guises the quasilycanthrope can assume must involve some aspect of the base animal. For example, a quasiwerewolf can grow shaggy hair and pointed canine teeth. A quasiweretiger can grow whiskers and a tail. The quasilycanthrope cannot change body types or give itself natural weaponry.

Damage Reduction (Ex):A quasilycanthrope has damage reduction 10/silver.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.

Treasure: Standard.

Alignment: Any. Noble creatures such as bears, eagles, and lions tend to produce good-aligned quasilycanthropes. Sinister creatures such as rats, snakes, and wolves tend to produce evil-aligned quasilycanthropes. This tendency is a reflection of how these animals are perceived, not any innate quality of the animal itself, so the alignment of the animal form can be arbitrarily assigned.

Advancement: By character class.

Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +1.

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About the Author

Sean K Reynolds lives in Encinitas, California, and works for a video game company. His D&D credits include the Monster Manual, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, and Savage Species. He'd like to thank Brian Cortijo for his advice in this article series, and Ed Greenwood for the writeup of the Codicil in Pages From the Mages. You can find more game material at Sean's website, Sean's website.

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