This series looks at the corruption that the extended use of violent and uncontrolled magic might cause on the landscape, from pollution to neglect to the destructive aftermath of conflict. We continue by looking at magical pollution, the contaminated waterways and wetlands.
The noxious potions, failed alchemical experiments, and magical malfunctions left to spill into the currents of local waterways leave greasy, iridescent slicks while bubbling vents emanate from slag piles consisting of accidental heaps of poorly combined reagents. This inconsiderate, mystical trash warps the creatures and alters the plants and the very terrain of the region, tainting everything with aspects of the arcane experiments dumped here. Expect to find chimeric beasts, oversized and aggressive flora with a taste for travelers, living spells, and an increased frequency of hazards like green slime, brown mold, and various ravenous oozes. If left untouched or even perpetuated, such places might become the lair for even more powerful and terrible creatures. Disease runs rampant, and the awful stain befouls more of the countryside with every sunrise.
Living Simulacrum of Heroic Domination
The vaguely humanoid form appears as if carved from dark wax and then melted in place. Its face contorts as if the figure still felt every scorching flame that caused its deformation, writhing in pain. The ripples of wax continuously flow down its form, like a living, slowly bubbling fountain. It slithers along the ground, reforming when engaging sentient beings.
Living Apocalyptic Domination
Large construct, unaligned
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (7d10 + 28)
Speed 25 ft., climb 25 ft., swim 25 ft.
|20 (+5)||15 (+2)||18 (+4)||11 (+0)||10 (+0)||6 (−2)|
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities acid
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned, prone
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common, telepathy 100 ft.
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)
Amorphous. The living spell can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Magic Resistance. The living spell has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Multiattack. The living spell makes two Magical Strike attacks.
Magical Strike. Melee Spell Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (5d6 + 5) acidic damage.
Spell Mimicry (Recharge 5–6). A humanoid within 100 feet must make a successful DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be targeted by a dominate person spell, as if cast with a 5th-level slot. The living spell will often then target the same creature with its Arcane Gift and telepathically direct the creature to attack nearby foes.
Arcane Gift (Recharge 6). As a bonus action, the living spell targets a creature within 100 feet, and that creature gains the benefit of a servant of doom spell (see Deep Magic), employing the spell’s envoy aspect. The target must make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw (if unwilling) or gain the following traits for 5 minutes:
- Bony, stone-like skin.
- Ignores difficult terrain for movement purposes.
- Bursts through doors/walls with a DC (10 + twice the barrier’s thickness in feet, minimum 1).
- Advantage on Strength- and Dexterity-based attack rolls.
- Successful melee attacks do an additional 1d6 slashing.
A target cannot be affected by this ability more than once per long rest.
Salvage from the Blight
Many are the odd magic item found in alchemical muck.
Wondrous item (rare)
A roughly fist-sized lump of self-contained and perpetually boiling quicksilver, an immortal mote is often kept in a glass flask where it softly roils and thrums. Twice per long rest, you may, as an action that does not provoke opportunity attacks, pour out a portion of the mote onto yourself or an adjacent creature.
The draw of liquid metal immediately absorbs into your flesh, eliminating a level of exhaustion and permitting you to gain the benefits of a short rest, including spending Hit Dice to heal, or to spend 3 Hit Dice to eliminate a condition, cure a disease, or neutralize a poison. You may spend 6 Hit Dice to begin regenerating 5 hit points per round for 10 minutes unless affected by a dispel magic. The immortal mote is considered a 7th level effect. If you are unaffected by exhaustion, you gain 3 temporary Hit Dice that may be used to fuel the immortal mote’s effects. You may continue to spend Hit Dice via the mote’s effects until you take a long rest.
In addition, if the entire mote is poured into the mouth of a creature not dead for more than 10 minutes, they may be brought back to life as the raise dead spell, which consumes the mote.
As long as a portion of the mote remains, it will regain any lost mass at dawn each day.
In Midgard: Swamps of Maillon
The perfumeries, laboratories, and workshops of Maillon have dumped their mistakes and accidents into the swamps surrounding the city since the Ninemage Council forcibly teleported the alchemical district from the edge of Bemmea to the wetlands of the Leukos River. The alchemists and artisans knew how to spin gold from dross though and ignored the slight, exulting instead in the sudden access to a rich variety of ingredients and proceeding to shore up their structures and rebuild the city. However, their incessant magical runoff has resulted in regular chimeric creatures simply emerging from the wilds. Harpies, manticores, giants, oozes, and owlbears all roam the area. The resulting centuries created a city as accidental and as chaotic as the fruits of its residents’ labors.
Story Seed: The Wandering Font
An acquaintance of the party comes to them, delirious and upset. He keeps finding himself in random places, injured and disheveled, and two different people assaulted him on the way here. He begs the group to restrain him and monitor him for the next three nights. During the night, he breaks free and travels by great leaping bounds to a small spring in the nearby swamp. Despite the difficulty in tracking him, his destination becomes apparent: a modest shrine on a hill. Inside, a strange creature of living, flowing wax and oil holds its court, infusing the acquaintance with a greasy black substance and whispering directions before they leap away. What is this thing, and what sway does it hold over their friend?