Nothing is quite so important to a trapsmith as novelty and invention in design. For in their war against trespassers, new tricks tip the balance of power in the trapsmith’s favor. This is why some trapsmiths favor the art of alchemy: in the alchemical world, innovation takes place at an extraordinary speed, providing new tools to fuel a trapsmith’s lethal designs.
To take one example: Shadowstuff, the very essence of the Plane of Shadow, sometimes seeps through planar cracks and is found on the material plane. Rare as it is, nevertheless materia umbra or shadowstuff is the focus of a great body of alchemists. Instead of asking: “what can it do?” shadowstuff forces alchemists to ask: “what can it not do?”
The creation of shadowspores is one of alchemy’s successes. Exposing a particular strain of yellow mold to shadowstuff creates something extraordinary: shadowspores.
Shadowspores (CR 3)
If disturbed, a 5-foot square of this shadowy mold releases a dark cloud of poisonous spores. All within 10 feet of the mold must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be dazed for 2d4 rounds. A second DC 15 Fortitude save is required 1 minute later — even by those who succeeded on the first save — to avoid projecting visions of past experiences.
These magical projections take the form of a major image, showing scenes of the target’s past: they can be violent, tender, full of sorrow or joy. Observers always find these scenes fascinating, drawn in by shadow magic. A viewer who makes a DC 13 Will save can avoid being fascinated by them, otherwise the fascination lasts until the manifestation ends (4 rounds). The caster level of the major image is twice the affected target’s level.
Shadowspores are immune to cold and 5-foot square patch of shadowspores requires 15 points of fire damage to destroy, exposing the shadowspores to a spell with the light descriptor of 3rd level or higher removes the shadowstuff from the mold: rendering it harmless.
“A row of columns support the ceiling of the corridor ahead.”
PCs who make a DC 20 Spot check notice that four columns in the corridor ahead seem to leak shadows. A DC 20 Knowledge (architecture and engineering) check reveals that the columns are not required to support the ceiling.
Approaching within 10 feet of a column sets off the trap. The hollow columns slide down, revealing a patch of shadowspores within — which immediately releases a cloud of shadowy spores. The walls of the columns reset to their original position after 10 minutes.
CR 4; mechanical; proximity trigger; automatic reset; shadowspores; multiple targets; Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 29. Market Price: 17,200 gp.
On their own shadowspores are but a minor nuisance. Adding multiple rolling rock traps, a summoned monster, or a gelatinous cube can help increase the deadliness.
The spores have other uses, of course. In particular, the use of shadowspores in acting troupes and street entertainments is on the rise; in particular, its fascinating effects have not gone unnoticed by criminal elements like pickpockets.
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