Articles By Author - Neal F. Litherland

Shades of Magic: The Necromancer’s Toolkit

The Necromancer’s Toolkit Necromancy is a potent force, and while many spellcasters might long for its power over the dead, the wise know not to meddle with what lives in the shadows. Despite this magic’s reputation, though, it can be used to create items of great potency. Those who take up these tools may even use them to battle the scourge of undeath… if they so choose. Bonebreaker Mace Weapon [any bludgeoning], rare,...

Tournaments: Blood on the Sand

Water is life in the desert, and those willing to turn the dunes red with blood are usually the ones who control that water. Oasis guards always walk a delicate line, though, because while they are the ones who maintain control of the water, there has to be enough to sate them, as well as travelers paying for the privilege. On the other hand, if your force is limited by the available resources, all a rival has to do is send a larger force to...

Tournaments: The Devil’s Dance

Blood draws crowds. From back alley brawls held by torchlight to the regimented pageantry of a knight’s tourney, people come to feast their eyes on the most basic of human impulses. No matter how much rouge you put on a fight, though, or how pretty you dress it up, the mob knows what it’s looking at. That’s why people flock to these controlled combats like flies, eager to feast on the raw, savage hunger of battle. For some,...

Tournaments: The Labyrinth

There may be no honor among thieves, but there is infamy. Names like Arnault the Razor, Light-Fingered Calence, or the Token Taker inspire respect and no little amount of fear. What many of the great thieves, dreaded enforcers, and even the rumored assassins that lurk in the darkened corners of the world share, though, is that they survived the Labyrinth. This shadowy event, which is difficult even for the well-connected to find, is the...

Tournaments: The Iron Fist

Every nation boasts its own, unique fighting arts. From pugilists in roped rings to oiled wrestlers who grunt and grapple in the dirt, to exotic fighters whose feet, knees, elbows, and even foreheads can cripple a foe for life, every culture believes its fighters are the toughest. Once every four years, that belief is put to the test when fighters are drawn from across the region to compete in the Iron Fist. What Is the Iron Fist? The Iron Fist...

Tournaments: The Arcane Masters

Magic is often seen as a dangerous but controlled study. Those who learn the art of spellcasting and who devote themselves to the arcane craft are seen as scholarly. And indeed, many mages come together in colleges to share their experience and expertise, training a new generation of magic users in controlling and harnessing the great powers of the universe. While there are adventurers who use magic in the field and warriors who wield sword and...

The Raven’s Quill Criers

Trolls are rampaging through the countryside, destroying farms and killing entire herds of livestock. A band of freelance warriors have offered to put an end to the beasts. Before they agree to set out, though, they ask for a contract. As any savvy adventurer knows, it’s easy to offer a promise and to shake a hand. Putting your name to parchment, on the other hand, makes things a little more official. When your employer is the city mayor,...

The Order of the Healing Hand

The worlds adventurers live in are full of dangers. Between sickness, sunstroke, frostbite, and the spears and swords of their enemies, along with less mundane dangers like basilisk venom, dragon fire, and mummy rot, it’s a wonder any of them survive to middle age, much less old age. While clerics can pray for their allies’ wounds, and paladins may lay their hands upon the afflicted, there is only so much a single servant of the...

The Sundown Eyes Guild

The Rose Stone Manor is the crown jewel of the city’s wealthiest estates. The grounds are private, the windows easy to open, and with so many doors it should be simple enough to find a way inside. Smart thieves have seen the signs with the red all-seeing eye, put their hands in their pockets, and walked away. Stupid thieves thought they were smarter than the Sunset Men, and decided to try the job anyway. They spent a lot of time...

The Wanderer’s Way

Have you ever wondered how normal people send letters in your fantasy setting? Noble lords have dedicated servants, and the government makes use of military messengers, but what about the butchers, blacksmiths, shipwrights, farmers, and hundreds of others? How do they send letters and packages to their loved ones? Well, in your world, they could hand them over to the Wanderer’s Way. What Is the Wanderer’s Way? The Wanderers, as...

The Brotherhood of The Brawl

The Headhunters are a renowned band of adventurers, known throughout the nation for their bravery, daring, and at times suicidal pursuit of getting the job done. Gordran Halfhand, the hulking bruiser, has never lost a duel. Semran Nightshade was one of the most infamous graduates of her arcane academy. Edelweiss Lightfingers has beaten a dozen charges for thievery, but never seems to run out of money. Rounding them out is the pious Temple “The...

The Lawful Good Rogue

An unfortunate habit exists in the world of tabletop gaming; we’re sometimes unable to separate the name of a class (which is just a convenient handle to describe a certain package of abilities), with the actual character who has levels in that class. For example, while clerics are servants of the gods, nowhere does it say in their class description that they must be a part of an organized religion. The samurai could just as easily be...

The Daredevil Paladin

There is no class more stereotyped and pigeonholed than the paladin. They are, after all, iconic. Noble defenders of good, they are the men and women through whom true divinity shines. They serve as a shining force for all that is just and right in the world, and almost universally we picture them as chivalrous knights in gleaming armor. Part of the reason for that is the word ‘paladin’ refers to one of the 12 Peers of Charlemagne,...

The Devil’s Own

Most people will pay lip service to the idea that tieflings aren’t inherently evil. That these men and women, whose forms have been twisted by an infernal lineage, can turn their backs on the darkness that has seeped into their blood. Many of them do just that, by using their innate powers to fight against devils, demons, and the more natural evils of the material plane. When crops die, cows cease giving milk, or people begin disappearing...

The Anti-Undead Necromancer

The necromancer is an archetype whose power players crave, but whose darkness many gamemasters will look askance at. This is particularly true for gamemasters who want groups of heroes, not simply characters who are a lighter shade of gray than the servants of darkness they’re standing against. Those who deal with the dead are often seen as unclean, secretive, or malicious… but what if they used their powers in service of a greater...

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