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Just because it's been idle for so long... [Oct. 13th, 2005|12:44 pm]
Oswald's Tower

pghkitten
The Tower Inn, Hotel, Casino, and etc. needs some cool stuff. Like custom LJ icons or banners or something. Adam and I are only beginning to unlock the wonders of Photoshop, so we might not be the best people to undertake this...anyone creative have any ideas?

Also, who is everyone playing for the Halloween LARP this year?
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Mugwump's cleaned up character sheet [Jul. 3rd, 2005|01:27 pm]
Oswald's Tower

mrteapot
MugwumpCollapse )
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Fun Facts: The Nethenist Hierarchy [Apr. 19th, 2005|10:40 pm]
Oswald's Tower

scholarinexile
Nethenism is a hierarchical religion that, in its modern form, recognizes six ranks among the clergy. All Nethenist titles end in the suffix "-nil," which means "blessed" in Irelian. A cleric uses the title in place of his last name, and is addressed by that title in the same way we would call a priest "Father" or a cardinal "Your Eminence" (thus, if Ferlan Goldsmith becomes a Nethenist cleric with the rank of Deranil, his name would be given formally as "Ferlan Deranil" and he'd be addressed directly as "Deranil"). In order of ascending rank, the titles in the Nethenist hierarchy are:


  • Camanil (rhymes with "ham," the title of a typical rank-and-file priest);
  • Himanil (rhymes with "why," an honorific given to especially accomplished priests, often those who have repeatedly bested spellcasters or evil undead);
  • Deranil (rhymes with "hair," roughly equal to bishops and sometimes the rulers of small fiefs);
  • Loranil (rhymes with "poor," generally the titular rulers of Nethenist cities in the absence of nobility);
  • Seranil (rhymes with "hair," somewhat similar to cardinals and generally not tied to a specific geographic locality).


Until recently, Seranil was the highest title in the Nethenist religion, and the Seranils collectively governed the church. After the religious coup that established the Theocracy of Irelia just over ten years ago, the priest who instigated it, Andars Deranil, proclaimed himself "Nethenil" (literally "Blessed of Nethen," after Yers Nethen, the first prophet of Wallethere and the founder of the faith) and assumed a previously unprecedented place at the top of the Nethenist hierarchy, claiming rulership of both the nation of Irelia and the Nethenist religion by divine right. Since he's the only person ever to hold the title of Nethenil, the precedents for treatment of such an individual are still being set, and it is uncertain whether anyone else will be elevated to the title of Nethenil after Andars dies, let alone how such a decision would be made. But he's still a relatively young man (in his forties), so the issue may not come up for quite awhile unless he's deposed violently.
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(no subject) [Mar. 15th, 2005|12:34 pm]
Oswald's Tower

pghkitten
Poll #455095 Ides of March Assassination Extravaganza

In honor of Julius Caesar's Death Day, which of Galon or Kaerith's D&D authority figures do you want to perforate with daggers?

Baron Randolph
3(50.0%)
Mr. Levesque
1(16.7%)
Sycron the Collector
0(0.0%)
Vorax
0(0.0%)
Good King Tylor of Gregora
0(0.0%)
Any Gagnerian orc
0(0.0%)
Kerfle
0(0.0%)
Andarrs Nethenil
1(16.7%)
The High Bat-Priestess of Markira
0(0.0%)
Plon
1(16.7%)
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w00t! [Dec. 20th, 2004|12:58 pm]
Oswald's Tower

pghkitten
Orange Group meeting (quite possibly) tomorrow! Hurray for being done with classes and it being the holidays and stuff!
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Applied Mephitology 1: The Mephit Vendetta Code [Sep. 1st, 2004|03:58 pm]
Oswald's Tower

scholarinexile
Although mephits have a number of practical uses, the one for which they are best known is their use as living signals in vendettas among wizards and other powerful beings. Believed to have originated among demonic entities in the Lower Planes, the code of mephit signals was adopted as a common practice among Serinite mages centuries ago. In essence, the system consists of sending a mephit as a “gift” to a rival wizard, with the type of mephit sent representing a specific message for the recipient; the meanings of various mephit types are well known among Serinite mages, and have remained remarkably consistent across time and space, with a salt mephit having the connotations in Serin today as it did in the Hells a millennium ago. Occasionally, mages outside of Serin will use the same signals, but it is less common, and usually indicative of Serinite training. In game terms, any mage trained in Serin knows the meaning of a given mephit signal on a successful Knowledge (Local-Serin) or Knowledge (Planes) check at DC 15. Mages without Serinite training instead make a Knowledge (Planes) check at DC 20. Conjurers and elementalists of Serinite training automatically know the meaning of any given mephit signal. Obviously, anyone who’s had to deal with mephit signals also might know the code, but in general, few beings on the Prime use mephit signals other than mages and a handful of priests, and non-mages are rarely sent mephit messages.

It is worth noting that mephit messages are not exchanged among friends, except perhaps in a rueful or sarcastic manner. The “gift” of a mephit is a dubious one at best, even if the mephit in question is useful to the recipient; thus, mephits are usually only exchanged among rivals and enemies, and are recognized as an acceptable form of communication between wizards who might otherwise attack one another on sight. Traditionally, mephits given as signals in vendettas have no other mission to accomplish for their original summoner, and are generally conjured for that specific purpose. Once it arrives, the mephit is considered the property of its recipient, and will regard that individual as its master. The recipient is free to do with the mephit what they wish- employ it, send it as a message to someone else, dismiss it to its home plane, set it free, or even destroy it. It is worth noting that Serinite law forbids the release of mephits into the streets, but does not protect them in any way; few wizards feel any compunctions about harming or destroying a mephit, which are seen as little more than living tools. No one has yet protested this state of affairs or demanded “mephit rights,” including the mephits themselves, who realize that this would mean giving rights to other mephits, a condition which no individual mephit wants. Those who might feel remorse for harm done to the creatures are usually gently reminded by their fellows that the mephits reform on their home plane if destroyed. However, few wizards who have had to contend with the behavior of a mephit feel much remorse for destroying one preemptively in any event.

The code of mephit signals as recognized by Serinite wizards is listed below. Please note that this differs from the canonical code of mephit messages as listed in the cited sources on several points; the meanings listed below should be considered “official” for all of my campaigns, regardless of world or setting.

Air: An air mephit is a warning for the recipient to beware, an eleventh-hour signal that that the sender is intending to ambush or betray the recipient. The mephit’s arrival is typically timed in such a way that it will be too late for the recipient to prevent the impending treachery, and the mephit is not obligated to reveal the name of its sender.

Ash: An ash mephit is sent as a mocking gesture of sympathy when a rival has been victimized by a third party, with the connotation that the recipient got what was coming to him. It is seen among wizards as a means of absolving oneself of responsibility when an enemy was attacked by parties unknown. In response to any other mephit, an ash mephit is a gesture of contempt indicating that the sender no longer considers the recipient worth the trouble of further communication.

Dust: The gift of a dust mephit is a subtle threat, with the connotation that the sender has recognized some plot of the recipient against him and that the recipient should reconsider his tactics. It is often seen as a warning to “back off.” Sometimes dispatched as a response to an air mephit, implying that the sender knows what his rival intends.

Earth: An earth mephit is a stubborn refusal indicating that the sender will not acquiesce to the demands of the recipient. It’s a forceful way of saying “no” to the recipient’s requests. Formally, it is the answer to a mineral mephit if the giver has no intention of yielding and is confident they can retain their advantage. Sent apropos of nothing, it is a less offensive means than a salt mephit of telling the recipient that no compromise or collusion between them is possible.

Fire: The gift of a fire mephit indicates displeasure at an enemy’s actions. It is the only mephit type commonly sent in groups; the more fire mephits sent, the greater the sender’s disapproval. Formally, it is the response to a dust mephit when the sender is not planning any specific actions against the recipient, with the connotation that the recipient’s accusations are baseless and paranoid.

Ice: The recipient of an ice mephit is forbidden to enter the sender’s home or territory; this might mean anything from the sender’s tower to its native plane of existence, depending on circumstances. It is generally a response to an intrusion by the recipient into the sender’s turf, or provocative action by the recipient on what had previously been neutral ground. Sent in response to a water mephit, an ice mephit cautions the sender not to become overconfident; in response to a magma, ooze, or smoke mephit, an ice mephit is a gesture of contempt suggesting that the sender will not be goaded into response and considers such taunting beneath him.

Lightning: The gift of a lightning mephit is a warning to the recipient to change tactics because the sender has a hidden ally or asset that will turn the tide in his favor. Among mages, this gift has the reputation of being a hollow threat made by those desperate to derail an enemy’s plans, so those sending lightning mephits are generally thought to be either supremely confident or bluffing. Sent in response to an ice mephit, a lighting mephit implies that the sender is making an aggressive bid for control of neutral ground or a resource held by the receiver; it is more forceful means than a mineral mephit of declaring one's desire and intention to seize a prize.

Magma: Magma mephits are sent to gloat, a mocking gift when the sender has bested the recipient in matters intellectual or political. The implication is that the recipient, like the dull magma mephit, was unable to match the sender’s wit. Magma mephits are rarely sent without being preceded by an obvious contest between sender and recipient, as doing so is considered a rather childish insult to the recipient’s intelligence. In response to any other mephit, a magma mephit suggests that the message delivered by the previous mephit was already blatantly obvious.

Mineral: The gift of a mineral mephit indicates that the recipient has something the sender wants. This may refer to anything from a parcel of land to a magical item to an object of romantic or political competition, and carries the implied admission that the recipient currently controls the coveted object, but the sender is willing to compromise to gain control of it. Sent in response to a shadow or mist mephit, a mineral mephit is a request for more direct means of communication.

Mist: Sending a mist mephit is a warning that someone close to the recipient is an assassin or traitor. Mist mephits are often sent anonymously, and in that instance carry the connotation that the sender would, at least for the time being, rather see the recipient alive than dead. They are sometimes sent as a form of bragging by a rival who has infiltrated his enemy’s camp, but just as often are empty threats intended to sow suspicion among the recipient and his allies. In response to a lightning, smoke, or shadow mephit, a mist mephit implies that the recpient is trifling with forces better left alone; it is a subtle warning that the recipient is in over his head.

Ooze: A vile, stinking ooze mephit is a sarcastic gift suggesting that the sender is far stronger than the recipient, whether in personal power, magical puissance, or position in an ongoing conflict. An ooze mephit is considered a grave insult, and often goads the recipient into hasty and careless action- which is frequently the precise reason one is sent.

Radiant: A radiant mephit is considered a truce offering among rivals. Traditionally, sending the mephit back is a sign of acceptance. Sent in response to a shadow or mist mephit, a radiant mephit is a backhanded means of thanking a rival for the warning, with the connotation that the sender will stay out of the recipient’s way for the time being.

Salt: The gift of a salt mephit, usually accompanied by a profane verbal message imparted by mephit itself, is a declaration of open war, an indicator that the time for subtle maneuverings is over; it is often the last mephit exchanged between rivals before they come to blows, and frequently sent in response to an ooze mephit if the sender is sufficiently offended. Sent apropos of nothing, a salt mephit indicates that the sender has no intention of attempting to negotiate or peacefully coexist with the recipient, and will actively oppose the recipient's actions.

Shadow: A warning among rivals, a shadow mephit indicates that an enemy of the recipient (not necessarily the sender) has uncovered the recipient’s plots and is manipulating them to his own ends. This message carries the connotation that the sender knows who the enemy is and is open to offers from both sides, and is often sent as a means of winning concessions from the recipient in exchange for information on the hidden enemy. One of the most feared mephit messages, and not sent lightly; a shadow mephit discovered to be a false warning is a serious embarrassment to the sender. Sent in response to a mineral mephit, a shadow mephit indicates that the sender is entertaining offers from multiple camps for access to a desired resource.

Smoke: Often the first mephit exchanged between rivals, smoke mephits are gestures of insolence and contempt, and sending one is accepted as a declaration of vendetta; it differs from sending an unprovoked salt mephit in that the sender intends to combat the recipient on a more subtle level until further notice. In an ongoing rivalry, the gift of a smoke mephit is a means of scoffing at an enemy’s actions. Formally, a smoke mephit is sent following a radiant mephit to indicate that the truce is over.

Steam: A steam mephit is a gesture of agreement with the recipient, although it is generally considered to have a gloating, “I told you so” undertone in the acceptance, and is therefore a somewhat self-effacing gesture by the sender. Accompanied by a radiant mephit, a steam mephit is a gesture of support for the recipient's actions against a common enemy. Sent apropos of nothing or in response to an ice or mineral mephit, a steam mephit is a formal request for a meeting on neutral ground.

Water: The gift of a water mephit is a sarcastic gesture of victory when the sender has evaded a plot or trap by the recipient. It is formally the answer to an air mephit if the giver has survived the plot the air mephit indicated. Sent apropos of nothing, it is a means of bragging about an accomplishment that will impart an advantage against the recipient, and represents a less insulting display of prowess than an ooze mephit.

It is worth noting that, in Serin, the demand for mephits among the politically vying wizards is great enough that two mages have gone into business as "mephit-mongers." Trammin Zereybos, a conjurer from Serin's tiny claim in the Disputed Territories, will conjure any type of mephit for a mage lacking the requisite time or abilities (such as those unable to use Conjuration magic) for a fee of 100 ducats, plus materials. He only works for wizards, as he views non-mages as unfit to deal in the august code of the Lower Planes, although he is known to make exceptions (at a steep markup) for non-mage arcanists belonging to the Serinite Guild of Wizardry. His son and former apprentice, Miklos, harbors no such prejudice, however, and will conjure mephits for anyone who asks him to; he's established a niche for himself as the supplier of mephits to priests and politicians who want to play the wizards' games and make trouble for rivals. The Guild of Wizardry disapprove of Miklos' actions, but the Conjurers' Council within the Guild (except Trammin) supports him because he's seen as representing the rights of all conjurers to make a living selling their skills; they've managed to garner enough support among the Guild to block measures aimed at stopping him so far.

Sources

Planescape boxed set
Planscape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Vol. 1
Dungeons and Dragons Monstrous Manual, 3rd edition.
Mephit Messages: A fun site if you want to send mephits to your friends, although not every type is listed.
The Mephit Code

All information on Serin, Kaerith, and any names, customs, practices, or organizations pertaining thereto are (c) 2004 by Adam Wells Davis, and are considered Closed Content under the terms of the Open Gaming License.
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Mephitology 331: Mephit Taxonomy 3 (Ooze through Water) [Aug. 31st, 2004|01:53 pm]
Oswald's Tower

scholarinexile


Ooze Mephits

Vile, stinking, and barely recognizable as cohesive entities, ooze mephits are undoubtedly the most disgusting of their kind, being soft and muddy creatures of sickly browns, greens and oranges that can barely maintain a recognizable solid form. Their personalities are equally unpleasant; they are obsequious, self-abasing kowtowers and yes-men that would, in the modern world, seek jobs at the kind of used-car lot where they don’t ask questions and very little paperwork is exchanged. They have a species-wide inferiority complex, and desire nothing more than to become something other than what they are. Ooze mephits are prone to sidle up to people, shower them with blatantly insincere compliments, and then ask for money, which they save toward paying mages to polymorph them into other sentient beings; their sense of lowliness prevails, though, and they usually request transformation into goblins or similarly weak creatures. Ooze mephits smell horrible, and the stains they leave cannot be removed, even with magic. They’re cowards and avoid combat, but when they are forced to attack, they do so with a slam attack that burns the victim with acidic mud. They can spew a stream of such ooze at opponents, distill their corruption once per hour into an effect reminiscent of melf’s acid arrow, and produce a stinking cloud. Ooze mephits are fairly durable, having damage reduction 5/+1, complete immunity to fire- and liquid-based attacks, and taking only half damage from cutting and piercing weapons; they can be destroyed instantly by transmute mud to rock. It is suspected that ooze mephits should be able to summon both ooze and water mephits, but only their own kind will respond. Ooze mephits regenerate only when immersed in stagnant water, sewage, or mud, and thus favor marshes and cesspools as homes.

Radiant Mephits

Arguably the most beautiful of mephits, radiant mephits have slender bodies with a mirror finish that constantly ripples with prismatic lights and colors, reflecting any light in the vicinity in a scintillating rainbow as they move (in game terms, they have a constant faerie fire effect that cannot be dispelled). Their minds seem unable to cope with the terrible beauty of their home plane, and radiant mephits act stoned at all times; they ramble about beauty, light, and color, talk about anything that crosses their minds, utter bizarre non-sequiters, forget their own names, and change subjects in mid-sentence; the world itself seems to leave them constantly in a state of wonder, and they’re only dimly aware of their surroundings. Radiant mephits are unreliable at most tasks, since they tend to forget what they’re doing very rapidly, wander away from assigned duties, or simply break into a fit of mad giggling or stand still, gaping at a spot on a wall or a shiny object for hours at a time. They’re not given to the usual mephit varieties of mischief, but will often do inexplicable things that cause just as much trouble. Radiant mephits have claws, but there is no recorded instance of one physically attacking anyone, even in self-defense; if directly confronted with an obvious danger (or what they perceive to be such; they might react violently to a hatstand), they respond with a color spray or a randomly-colored chromatic orb, either of which they can produce at will. Individual radiant mephits have been observed to produce light spells, dancing lights, and rainbow patterns, but it is impossible to verify whether or not these are species-wide powers or merely individual idiosyncrasies. Radiant mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to fire, heat, and all effects based on color, light, or vision (including visual illusions); however, they are automatically affected by any mind-affecting spell used on them (they always fail Will saves) and can be instantly and painfully destroyed by subjecting them to magical darkness. They are believed to be only able to summon other radiant mephits, usually to share some fascinating stimulus (“Grabilifarsk! You’ve gotta see this bug! It moves!”). Radiant mephits regenerate only when exposed to bright light or color-based magic, which restores 1d6 hit points per level of the spell.

Salt Mephits

Widely regarded by wizards as the nastiest and least pleasant of mephits (if any mephit can truly be considered pleasant), salt mephits are foul-mouthed, horrible creatures that delight in tormenting living creatures and other mephits alike. Left to its own devices, a salt mephit will corrupt entire pantries of food, foul wells, encrust important objects with corrosive crystals, mummify small animals alive, and take potshots at the feet of humanoids to make them dance. Their curses give new definition to the term “salty language,” and they almost reflexively insult anyone they talk to- their creators, their masters, other mephits, passersby- with little regard for the feelings of the victim; they seem to be genuinely pleased if their taunts can drive the subject to violence. In fact, salt mephits are the only ones known to deliberately learn new languages- the better to offend a wider range of beings. They’re also the only mephit type observed to eat food- they don’t need to, but enjoy the flavor of exceedingly salty dishes, and love watching the reactions of humans as they ruin delicate cuisine with absurd quantities of salt and then devour it messily. Salt mephits have heavy, gray-to-white bodies composed entirely of cubic salt crystals, giving them an oddly geometric appearance; their wings, like those of earth and mineral mephits, are rigid and do not flap when they fly. They consider themselves the sworn enemies of moisture (including water mephits) and seek to corrupt it anyplace they can. Salt mephits can attack with salty claws and teeth, which leave painful, itchy wounds, but prefer to fire jets of salt crystals from their hands, striking targets at range. They taunt their victims constantly as they fight, and can invoke a taunt spell once per hour through their insults. They can corrupt food and water (up to a barrel) at will, and once per day can draw the moisture out of a 20’ radius around them, dehydrating living beings and severely damaging water-based creatures and plant life. Water burns them painfully, and liquid-based spells and effects can easily destroy them. Salt mephits can only gate in other salt mephits, usually to aid in tormenting something, but sometimes even to subject them to painful tricks themselves. Salt mephits only regenerate in dry, arid environments.

Shadow Mephits

Mysterious and sinister, shadow mephits are not playful. They are frightening creatures that lurk in dark corners, speak seldom, and derive a quiet sort of sadistic happiness from frightening both living beings and other mephits. Little is known of shadow mephit society- they don’t congregate with their own kind, other mephits are universally scared of them, and they seldom speak to their masters unless asked a direct question or presented with a good opportunity to startle them. They’re unusually obedient, and most wizards don’t employ them for long; they finish assigned tasks quickly, and thereafter tend to make their masters nervous as they lurk somewhere just out of sight. Shadow mephits are gaunt, almost skeletal beings with flickering bodies of darkness through which hints of objects behind them can be seen. Their voices are low, deep, and quiet, and they are never seen to lose their composure, smiling to themselves even in battle. Shadow mephits attack with their long, sharp claws, which have the effect of a chill touch spell. They can see in any form of darkness, fire shadow bolts from their hands, belch forth a cloud of rolling, leaping darkness that fills any enclosed space with flickering shadow, become invisible at will in any shadow big enough to hold them, and move in complete silence. The few mages who have studied them believe they may also be able to shadow walk and produce quasi-real illusory effects, but the shadow mephits won’t confirm or deny this. Shadow mephits are incorporeal, making them the hardest of all mephit types to damage, and immune to shadow-, darkness-, and negative-energy-based effects; light-based spells and positive-energy attacks severely damage or destroy them. They have never been observed to summon other mephits, but mages suspect they can probably summon others of their own kind. Shadow mephits only regenerate in areas of dim lightning; it is worth noting that complete darkness does not allow them to regenerate, as their shadowy nature requires some amount of light. Other mephits regard them as bogeymen of sorts, and numerous rumors about them circulate in what passes for mephit society.

Smoke Mephits

The laziest of their kind, smoke mephits can seldom be persuaded to do much of anything other than lounge about, smoking foul-smelling pipes, dirtying the environment around them, and cracking jokes. They’re indolent creatures that simply don’t seem to care about much of anything; they’ll happily sit back and watch their masters get attacked because it’s simply too much trouble to call out a warning. Smoke mephits follow orders if badgered into action, but strive to fulfill the letter of their duties as quickly as possible so they can get back to relaxing; the only things that spur them readily into action are threats to their own well-being. A smoke mephit resembles a fat imp composed entirely of black, billowing vapor; like air mephits, they drift on their own currents, and they seldom bother to move their wings in flight. They perpetually give off smoke of varying densities and scents, both from their own bodies and the pipes they smoke. Smoke mephit pipes are a bit of a mystery; each is unique, carved from a wide range of materials, and constantly gives off smoke, but they’ve never been seen being packed or lit. A smoke mephit will actually go out of its way to recover its pipe if taken, so few specimens are available for study. Smoke mephits will only enter combat if they absolutely have to; their claws inflict little damage, so they mostly rely on their breath weapon (a smoky cloud that can suffocate breathing creatures) or a hurled ball of soot that blinds and damages opponents. Smoke mephits can also turn invisible once per day and produce pyrotechnics once every ten rounds. They can summon smoke, fire, magma, or steam mephits; they are gregarious and like company, preferring their own kind, but most mephits enjoy their rather crude humor and will cheerfully answer their call. Smoke mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to all gases, fire, and heat, but will be driven away by spells that produce strong winds. They regenerate only in smoky environments, and thus will often hide in chimneys or the rafters of forges and smokehouses, the better both to heal and to avoid work.

Steam Mephits

Angry and pugnacious, steam mephits are the most combative of their kind. They arrogantly view themselves as the lords of all mephits, and will happily engage in combat with any creature, mephit or otherwise, that challenges their authority; in fact, they seem to become frustrated if no one disputes their right to rule, and will deliberately order others around in an effort to generate protests. Needless to say, steam mephits take orders poorly and resent being in a condition of servitude. They view mist mephits as weak and incapable of effectively representing their plane, and aim to destroy them whenever possible. Steam mephits lack any kind of subtlety, and refuse to keep quiet or discreet if they’re not physically forced to. A steam mephit resembles a muscular, greenish imp that constantly seeps near-boiling water and plumes of steam. They eagerly dive into combat, striking with their hot fists, which stun and dizzy creatures they hit. They can spray jets of boiling water at opponents, breathe forth clouds of harmless but obscuring steam, produce superheated vapors that imitate the effects of a stinking cloud, and call down a rain of scalding water that damages all creatures within 20’. Steam mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to fire, heat, and liquids, but cold-based effects inflict double damage on them. They can summon fire, magma, smoke, or other steam mephits, mostly to boss around when they have no one else available. Steam mephits only regenerate in hot, humid environments (at least 90% humidity and no less than 90°), so they tend to gather around saunas, hot springs, and boiling kettles.

Water Mephits

Water mephits are friendly, cheerful, and optimistic, to the nuisance of everyone around them. They affect the manners and accent of upper-class Tedroxian nobles, calling people “old boy” irrespective of gender, chortling, and affecting a monocle whenever they can find one. Irritatingly jovial and utterly tactless, water mephits try to be helpful by loudly pointing out errors in plans (“I say, old boy! This ambush is atrocious! Why, those goblins have just looked up, and I think they see you!”), flaws in anyone they see (“Does the Duchess know her bodice is unbuttoned at the top? Oh, I say!”), and the bright side of any situation, as they see it (“Buck up, chaps! I know you’re outnumbered, but you can defeat these giants! And if not, you’ll make a cracking good stew for them!”). Needless to say, this doesn’t endear them to anyone. Water mephits resemble corpulent little men made entirely of water enclosed by a thin, clear membrane, with bulging eyes and lips; they often wear false handlebar mustaches that quickly get sodden through. They smell of brine, drip constantly, and moisten anything they touch, which leads to despair in wizards when the mephit tries to curl up in their best armchair with an old book (which they can’t read), a good cigar (which they can’t smoke), and a glass of his best wine (they happily drink anything, including valuable liquor, potions, poisons, and mercury). They like most other mephits, and can’t understand why fire, lightning, and salt mephits hold them in such contempt. In combat, water mephits can attack with their slender claws, but prefer their breath weapon, a stream of acid. They can produce a water blast once every ten rounds, create water at will, and produce a fog cloud. Water mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to fire, heat, and liquids of all types; they take double damage from cold, and effects that destroy water will kill them instantly. A water mephit can summon other water mephits; they can also technically summon ice mephits, but the latter hate them and the chance of success is halved. They can only regenerate when immersed in comparatively clean water (most natural bodies of water will suffice).

This concludes the catalogue of known mephit types. Coming up next: Applied Mephitology, including the code of mephit messages and practical uses for mephits.

Sources

Planescape boxed set
Planscape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Vol. 1
Dungeons and Dragons Monstrous Manual, 3rd edition.

All information on Serin, Kaerith, and any names, customs, practices, or organizations pertaining thereto are (c) 2004 by Adam Wells Davis, and are considered Closed Content under the terms of the Open Gaming License.

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Legalese [Aug. 31st, 2004|09:33 am]
Oswald's Tower

scholarinexile
Those of you reading back over old entries in the Tower or viewing new ones from here on will note a little bit of legal text at the bottom of each entry that contained "hard" data about Serin, mephits, or any other subject. Stacie pointed out to me last night that, given that much of the technical information on mephits I'm citing is derived from published books copyrighted by other people, I need to acknowledge the source lest I be guilty of inadvertant plagiarism.

Additionally, since I do intend to eventually publish short stories, novels, and possibly d20 products involving our campaign worlds, I've put a copyright label on to protect my own creations from any random Internet dweller, just so I don't find the sourcebook Serin: City of Wizards on the shelf of Phantom of the Attic a year or two from now without my having been involved with it in any way and no legal recourse to do anything about it. I want anyone who plays in my campaigns to know that this is not meant in any way to protect campaign content from any of you, or to crib any of your own work; I trust you guys. I consider anyone who currently plays in one or more of my campaigns to have at least a partial stake in any copyright I hold on this material, and should any of you wish to pursue Galon or Kaerith publications of your own, I only I ask that you do so in consultation with me, so as to avoid continuity errors and to keep a consistent vision of the worlds and their stories; also, I'd sort of like to be the first person to publish things set on these worlds, if indeed multiple people seek to do so. Should I publish anything that any characters or concepts any of you originated appear in, I suppose we'll all have to sign the sort of annoying legal documents that friends shouldn't have to exchange before publishers will even look sideways at my manuscript to make it clear that I have the rights to use the material. But till then, I just wanted to make sure that no one outside our little circle can go off and put Alka Redtooth or Tychonderoga Sampsonite (granted, that name poses an entirely different set of copyright issues) in a novel or d20 book before we do.
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Mephitology 321: Mephit Taxonomy 2 (Fire through Mist) [Aug. 30th, 2004|04:11 pm]
Oswald's Tower

scholarinexile
Fire Mephits

Sly, crafty, and mischievous, fire mephits are the most pranksome of their kind, and are fond of terribly mean and destructive practical jokes (such as dumping chamber pots onto salt mephits and tying burning objects to the tails of dogs before setting them loose in a luxury fabrics market). They are bright orange and resemble imps more closely than most mephits; they frequently play this up, affecting fake horns and beards and claiming to be agents of Dianaubis. Fire mephits are among the most destructive of their kind; mere contact with them causes burns, they have both a breath weapon (which resembles burning hands) and a more narrowly focused ability to shoot jets of flame from their hands, and they possess more spell-like abilities than most mephits, including heat metal, magic missile, and occasionally some other minor fire-based power. They’re entirely immune to fire and heat, have damage reduction 5/+1, and suffer double damage from cold-based effects. They can also summon a wide range of other mephit types, including fire, magma, smoke, or steam; they are gregarious and enjoy the company of others of their own or similar kind. Fire mephits can only regenerate when in contact with a flame at least the size of a torch; many are fond of hiding in fireplaces and campfires and leaping forth to scare those who come close for warmth (or simply sitting inside and flicking coals onto anyone or anything flammable). Fire mephits fear water mephits and avoid them at all costs.

Ice Mephits

As cold as their native plane, ice mephits are cruel, heartless, and sadistic, and seem to take genuine pleasure from harming flesh-and-blood creatures. They are angular, translucent blue-white creatures with sharp spurs of ice all over their bodies, frosty wings, and long icicle “beards.” They are aloof and seldom cooperate with others of their kind; they reserve special hatred for fire, steam, and magma mephits, which delight in melting them. Ice mephits attack with sharp claws that infuse the living with chills and shudders, imposing cumulative penalties on their victims with each successive strike. Like fire mephits, they have both a breath weapon (a spray of ice crystals) and a ray attack (similar to ray of frost). They can freeze water or organic matter by touch, chill metal as the spell, and occasionally manifest another minor spell-like ability (usually magic missile). They can summon both ice and mist mephits, but shun the company of others of their kind and only do so in dire straits. Ice mephits are immune to ice and cold and have damage reduction 10/+1. They can only regenerate when in contact with a significant quantity of ice or snow, or when the outside temperature is below freezing; in hot weather, they cower indoors in the coolest place they can find, freezing any water they can gather near and complaining bitterly about the heat.

Lightning Mephits

Hyperactive and careless, lightning mephits live their lives at the speed of thought, but are ill equipped to handle their own speed. The talk continuously and as rapidly as gnomes, but with constant malapropisms, false starts, and spoonerisms. In confined spaces, they are prone to zoom around, bouncing off the walls, breaking things and yammering about whatever cross their minds if not given something to do. A lightning mephit’s body is constantly in flux, consisting of ever-shifting bolts of energy crawling over curling clouds of ozone in roughly the shape of a human body. Their eyes glow constantly, they hum and crackle like bug zappers, and they’re surrounded by a smell of ozone and a nimbus of energy (which might be their “wings”) that generates a static field within a 10’ radius, making sparks jump and hair stand on end. Lightning mephits are faster even than air mephits but not as maneuverable, causing them to ricochet constantly off of various obstacles. They have no claws, but their touch acts as a shocking grasp, and they can fire small lightning bolts at enemies. They’re immune to all attacks with metal weapons, and anyone thus attacking them suffers damage as if the mephit had used its shocking grasp on them; they have damage reduction 10/+1. Lightning mephits are also immune to fire, heat and electricity, but any attack with a significant quantity of water or acid will destroy them; strangely, they don’t seem to fear water mephits, but will go out of their way to harass them. Lightning mephits can only summon others of their own kind, but they like working together; they only regenerate when struck by lightning or electrically-based attacks (gaining as many hit points as the damage normally inflicted), so a group of lightning mephits can bolster one another with their own attacks almost indefinitely.

Magma Mephits

Widely regarded by both wizards and other mephits as the stupidest of their kind, magma mephits are dull, dim-witted, and slow, and are the brunt of many mephit jokes. They are less excitable and malicious than other mephits, but are easily angered by insults and teasing; fire mephits in particular like to torment a magma mephit in order to watch the destruction it causes in anger. Left alone, they’re prone to stay in one place for hours at a time and tend to obey their masters more readily than most, but often bungle instructions unless they’re very carefully and simply worded. A magma mephit is heavy, stocky, and thick-built, and resembles a slightly melted gargoyle, with a hardened outer surface sliding gently over a glowing molten interior visible between the cracks. They’re hotter even than fire mephits, exuding noticeable warmth in a 30’ radius; their soft fists inflict little impact damage, but any contact with a magma mephit inflicts serious burns. They can spit blobs of magma as a breath weapon, inflicting terrible burns and serious damage on their surroundings; they can also emit pyrotechnics from their bodies at well, but seldom do so unless angered. Once per hour, a magma mephit has the curious power to transform into a pool of magma three feet wide and six inches deep; in this form they can creep along slowly and gain damage reduction 20/-, but cannot attack (and do not regenerate). 1 in 10 magma mephits can convert their bodies into pahoehoe, acting as a haste spell for ten rounds, once per day. Magma mephits are immune to heat and fire and have damage reduction 10/+1; they tend to ignite wooden weapons used on them and make metal ones too hot to wield after a blow or two. Cold inflicts double damage on them; water does not harm them, but it hardens them, acting as a slow spell. A magma mephit exposed to water, however, exudes sulfurous steam that acts as a stinking cloud. Magma mephits can summon others of their own kind, fire mephits, smoke mephits, and steam mephits, but seldom summon any other than magma mephits, as they fear the inevitable teasing that will follow. They can only regenerate when immersed in a pool of magma or molten metal, and thus have few opportunities to rejuvenate on the Prime except in large foundries or smelting operations.

Mineral Mephits

Solid and heavy, mineral mephits resemble earth mephits physically, but are composed of crystalline minerals such as quartz, mica, and (in some cases) gemstones. They are greedy and covetous, but make excellent guardians, as they see themselves of the protectors of all treasure, whether or not it actually belongs to them. Mineral mephits avoid other mephits most of the time, seeing them as competitors for valuables. Left to their own devices, they’re less mischievous than they are cunning, and are known to seek paid work “on the side” even when doing duties for their master. A mineral mephit, like an earth mephit, attacks with its hard fists. Their breath weapon is a stream of painful mineral shards, and they can also produce an effect resembling a glitterdust spell. Mineral mephits can pass through up to two feet thickness of stone as if it was not there, and can summon either mineral or earth mephits. They’re among the most indestructible of mephits, being entirely immune to air-, gas, fire-, water, and heat-based effects, and cold inflicts only half damage on them; they also have damage reduction 15/+1 and suffer only half damage from edged and piercing weapons. A mineral mephit regenerates only when in contact with pure minerals of any type (whether a slab of granite or a vein of iron ore); they can also absorb gems and jewels, stripping 10 gp from the value of any stone for every hit point of damage regenerated by the mephit.

Mist Mephits

Sneaky and sly, mist mephits fancy themselves the spies of the mephit world. Other mephits seldom trust them, as they’re wont to spy and report bad behavior to the master of the mephit in question; they form small “spy brotherhoods” with others of their own type. Consequently, they seldom engage in mephit banter, but are known to eavesdrop on conversations both human and mephit. If they pull pranks or cause trouble, they do so discreetly, don’t take credit, and try not to be caught; bragging rights among their kind are won for secrecy, not mayhem. Mist mephit claws are weak, but their breath weapon, a cloud of blinding and choking gas, can debilitate even strong opponents. They can create walls of fog, assume gaseous form, and become invisible in any sort of fog or mist. They can gate in either mist or ice mephits; a mist mephit and an ice mephit working in partnership can make for a surprisingly cunning and effective partnership. Mist mephits have damage reduction 5/+1 and are immune to water- and gas-based attacks, but any spell that generates wind will affect them as if it were a confusion spell. They regenerate only in mist or fog. Mist mephits and steam mephits, which share the Quasiplane of Steam, see themselves as competitors for the rulership of the plane; they never cooperate and attack one another at any opportunity, although mist mephits prefer subtle guerilla warfare and deceptive alliances to the open attacks of their steamy brethren.

Sources

Planescape boxed set
Planscape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Vol. 1
Dungeons and Dragons Monstrous Manual, 3rd edition.

All information on Serin, Kaerith, and any names, customs, practices, or organizations pertaining thereto are (c) 2004 by Adam Wells Davis, and are considered Closed Content under the terms of the Open Gaming License.
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Just wanted to point out... [Aug. 30th, 2004|03:24 pm]
Oswald's Tower

pghkitten
...that we have a new Tower Employee among us! Welcome to guendolen_sama, also known as Wendy, who plays Eilis. Eilis (don't call her Eyelash!) recently worked as a temp at Oswald's Tower, ostensibly as an entertainment consultant, but actually aiding Orange Group in one of their covert missions of intrigue and Nethenist bebotheration. But I'll allow herself to introduce...herself...at her leisure.
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