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Journeys to the West: Hazards and Havens

Journeys to the West: Hazards and Havens

Cover for Journeys to the WestThe patrons of Journeys have been hard at work brainstorming, collaborating, and creating material for an island-hopping expedition of legend. And with that comes not only the sort of item certain to save your hero’s hide as the ship sinks beneath storm-tossed seas, but the sort of creature locked within a giant brass monkey head, just begging for a greedy crew to unleash upon an unsuspecting officer corps.

With that in mind, the patrons of Journeys into the West are pleased to present the Island Survival Manual, which is sure to provide anyone who washes ashore with the barest form of subsistence. We also reveal the rum gremlins. These creatures can gleefully leave your crew in a state where the ship’s about to founder and your characters are about to need a copy of that Island Survival Manual.

So enjoy! And remember not to open any giant brass monkey heads!


Island Survival Manual

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot —; Price 9,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.


This is a small, weather-beaten and dog-eared waterproof chapbook with ten chapters, each containing advice on particular aspects of survival in the islands:

  • Chapter 1: Find drinking water (create water)
  • Chapter 2: Find food (call animal)
  • Chapter 3: Stay out of the sun (cloak of shade)
  • Chapter 4: Avoid extreme heat and cold (endure elements)
  • Chapter 5: Speak with the natives (comprehend languages)
  • Chapter 6: Identify footprints (residual tracking)
  • Chapter 7: Avoid predators (hide from animals)
  • Chapter 8: Evaluate threats (know the enemy)
  • Chapter 9: Repair equipment (jury-rig)
  • Chapter 10: How to swim (touch of the sea)

Possessing the book provides the owner a +5 bonus to Survival checks. Additionally, the owner may activate one chapter each day. Effects targeting an individual affect the owner or an appropriate number of designated creatures within 10 ft. of the book. Once a chapter has been activated, treat the manual as a normal book for the rest of the day.


Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, call animal, cloak of shade, comprehend languages, create water, endure elements, hide from animals, jury-rig, know the enemy, residual tracking, touch of the sea, creator must have 5 ranks in the Survival skill; Cost 4,500 gp

Rum Gremlin

At the edge of the dock, a small, pot-bellied monstrosity stares at you, and its bright green hair is evident even in dim light.

Gremlin, Rum         CR 1
XP 400
CE Tiny fey
Init +3; Senses darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
Aura drunkenness (20 ft, DC 12)

AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +5 natural, +2 size)
hp 6 (1d6+3)
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +1
DR 5/cold iron; SR 12

Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft., swim 10 ft.
Melee bite +5 (1d3), 2 claws +5 (1d2)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st, concentration +1)
At Will—prestidigitation
1/hour—ghost sound, snare

Str 10, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 9, Cha 12
Base Atk +0; CMB +1; CMD 11
Feats Dodge, Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +4, Climb +1, Craft (traps) +6, Escape Artist +4, Perception +0, Stealth +12, Swim +1; Racial Modifiers +4 Craft (traps)
Languages Common

Environment coastline
Organization solitary, pair, mob (3–12), or gang (13–20 with 2–5 dire rats or a rat swarm)
Treasure standard

Drunkenness Aura (Su) A rum gremlin emanates an aura of drunkenness to a radius of 20 ft. All creatures inside the aura suffer the effects of the spell touch of gracelessness and must make a DC 12 Fortitude save to avoid being sickened for one hour. Creatures who have already been drinking take a 1 penalty to the save per drink.


These impish fey are only a foot tall and weigh ten pounds. Nonetheless, the nasty creatures are renowned for causing mischief far beyond their Tiny size. The pot-bellied rum gremlins have sickly green hair, orange eyes, and mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth.

Rum gremlins make their homes near the docks of seaside towns, and some stow away on ships. Each rum gremlin radiates a magic aura (see Drunkenness Aura, above) that causes drunkenness in any creatures in the area. Those affected find it difficult to stay on their feet and may become sick from the effect.

In addition to these auras, the little horrors have the ability to create distracting sounds and small traps. Rum gremlins use their abilities to prey on sailors and dockworkers, working in groups to swarm affected victims, who they drag into their lairs below docks or in the holds of ships. They also take great delight in the collateral damage their magic can wreak, frequently using it to cause distrust and disruption in the areas they inhabit before picking off isolated victims.

Rum gremlins are often found with rat swarms or dire rats they have trained to help protect their nests. The sound of bells drives rum gremlins into a rage, and they will go to great lengths to destroy the source of their torment.

Legends say the rum gremlins originated when Loki bet Ninkash that she couldn’t craft a brew potent enough to knock him out in a drinking contest. Ninkash won the contest, but a band of mites watching the contest made off with the remaining beer and transformed into the first rum gremlins.

(This post is Product Identity.)

13 thoughts on “Journeys to the West: Hazards and Havens”

  1. Christina Stiles

    Actually, we need to get those authors’ names on their works. Ben put the article together. I’ll have to get him to ask Miranda to update.

  2. And this is why you should always, always, ALWAYS put your name on your manuscript. Not just in the filename; also in the body text.

    Because if you don’t, your name can disappear from the record, and we don’t want that!

    (Also, cool monsters, Michael! Captain Jack would love these guys!)

  3. Great work! I love the gremlins, and will inflict them on someone this summer when I get a new campaign underway!

  4. Thanks for the thoughts everyone! I look forward to hearing the mayhem these nasty little devils inflict on your campaigns. And, I think we can safely predict that I will never, ever have a manuscript without my name in it again!

  5. “Unless of course, I am writing under the influence of a rum gremlin”

    Adding that to my list of reasons to invest in protective writing goggles.

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