What’s In The Bag? (Demoniac)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Demoniac’s Bag of Holding

This pouch of tanned leather has irregular bulges along its surface. It looks as though it has been stitched together with sinew. Merely touching the container makes the handler feel uncomfortable. The bag is tied closed with a leather thong, and its ragged mouth can be stretched wide enough to deposit a Small creature in it.

  • The skeleton of an adult halfling male, wired together and complete except for the missing left hand
  • Four small vials marked “marilith blood” worth 100 gp each to a collector or wizard
  • Half-full box of powdered sulpher measuring 13 inches by 7 inches by 11 inches
  • Petrified Human Heart
  • Thirteen iron spikes, each of which is 7 inches long
  • Mostly blank journal. The words “I died” are scrawled on the third page in what appears to be blood
  • A black sheep skin
  • Thirty-nine black candles, all of which have been used to some extent
  • Tinder box
  • Broken horn
  • +1 dagger etched with evil-looking sigils
  • Small-sized hand of glory
  • Box holding 13 pieces of used white and black chalk
  • 13 gold coins each marked on one side with a leering demonic face
  • Bottle of Ink
  • Quill-cutting kit
  • 17 pieces of parchment rolled together
  • 133 brass coins

What’s In The Bag (Smuggler)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Smuggler’s Bag of Holding

This bag is nearly indistinguishable from any other duffel, though keen-eyed observers who are knowledgeable about stitchery will note the high quality of the bag’s construction.  This bag of holding can be opened wide enough to insert or remove a case of wine or a keg of ale. The bag contains:

  • Two cases of wine, each holding twelve bottles worth 12 gp apiece
  • Three small kegs of whiskey worth 65 gp each
  • Well-made wooden box holding 350 gp of snuff
  • Used disguise kit
  • Ring of thieves’ tools
  • Courtier’s outfit in the current style
  • Set of woolen clothes, including a cloak, dyed black
  • Six complete outfits which can be mixed and matched to fir into most social situations
  • Costume jewellery worth 50 gp
  • Brand new tricorne hat
  • Potion of invisibility
  • Two signet rings, each depicting the seal of a different house
  • Six different falsified manifests. Detecting their fraudulent nature requires a DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check.
  • Bloody silvered dagger
  • Rapier
  • 101 cp
  • 320 sp
  • 466 gp

What’s in the Bag? (Noblewoman)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Noblewoman’s Bag of Holding

This small clutch is decorated with a collection of shiny jewels. Once open, the small bag reveals itself to be much larger in size. The opening of this bag remains quite narrow.

  • Vial of perfume
  • Flask of whiskey
  • Finely crafted small dagger
  • Grooming kit
  • Narrow silver bracelets, worth 50 gp
  • Warm wool socks
  • Long silver chain with a dragon pendant, worth 25 gp
  • Pearl of power
  • Journal written in tidy script detailing the owner’s interactions with nobles from various houses
  • Small silver bell with depictions of a dragon, worth 100 gp
  • Riding crop
  • 28 cp
  • 51 sp
  • 198 gp
Cover of Incantations: Skill-Based Magic

Location Incantation

Incantations are formalized magical rites that can be performed by any character, not just those who can cast spells or who have supernatural abilities.

While each incantation is unique, there are certain laws they have in common:

· Its formula must be known by the invoker.

· They require time to perform; invoking an incantation takes minutes, hours, or days.

· They require a sacrifice. The description of each incantation informs the invoker what is needed.

· Their effects are very specific. Each invocation does exactly what its description says, no more and no less.

· There is no guarantee of success. Invoking an incantation shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. There are always consequences for failing.

Incantations: Skill-Based Magic has six incantations, as well as rules on how to make more for your own game.

You can pick up a copy now on DriveThruRPG.

WHEREABOUTS

Minor divination incantation

Invocation Time: 10 minutes
Components: V, S, M (two candles, a map and a small piece of chalcopyrite on a silver chain which aren’t consumed in the incantation)
Number of Participants: 1/3
Duration: Instantaneous

When you invoke this incantation, you locate a single
intelligent creature by swinging the chalcopyrite on the chain, like a pendulum, over the map.

Ability Checks: A DC 16 Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) check must be made by the invoker to initiate the incantation.

After the initial check, one of the following checks must be made every five minutes for a total of three checks. The DC for each check is 16. If the invoker holds an object of emotional significance to their quarry while the incantation is invoked, the DC of the ability checks is reduced to 13.

Charisma (Persuasion) to plead for help.

Intelligence (Investigation) to know which clues lead to your quarry and which lead to dead ends.

Wisdom (Insight) to predict your quarry’s next move.

The final check can be any of the above checks.

Sacrifice: The invoker has disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks for one hour following the completion of the incantation.

Success: The crystal lands upon the map at the approximate location of the creature the invoker is seeking. This incantation works at any range as long as the creature being sought is on the same plane of existence as the invoker. The more local the map you are using, the more refined and exact your result will be.

For instance, if you aren’t at all certain where the creature you seek might be, you can find their general location on a world map, and then narrow your results by moving to the area it was located and performing the incantation again using a more
localized map, narrowing down the result until you find your quarry.

Failure: The exact location of the invoker springs into the mind of every creature they have spoken to during the preceding twelve months.

5e NPC – Burkhart Zykleres

Dire Rugrat Publishing has released 5e NPCs: Nobles & Ne’er Do Wells.  With 20 pages of unique stat blocks, write-ups, and colour art, there’s plenty of NPC goodness. While all of the characters in the book are a noble and/or ne’er do well of some sort, there is plenty of variety; challenges range from 1/4 to 9.

One such NPC is Burkhart  Zykleres, an abusive aristocrat who takes credit for other people’s good ideas and flees a situation he can’t win.

More on House Zykleres can be found in Houses and Heraldry, available on DriveThruRPG.

Burkhart Zykleres

Abusive Aristocrat

You know that was my idea.”

Burkhart is the youngest son of Count Fredrick Zykleres, a lord known for his unpleasant attitude. Along with his father’s sour disposition, Burkhart shares the family’s striking blond hair and blue eyes. Charming as some found young Burkhart, his boyish good looks have long faded. Burkhart has no desire to take over the house as it would require far more time and work than he is prepared to spend. Instead, he is happy to reside in the family home, enjoying the benefits of lordship without any of the responsibility.

Burkhart is a weaselly man who eagerly avoids the consequences of his actions by blaming them on someone else. If faced with a situation he cannot talk his way out of, Burkhart runs away by whatever means necessary. He is not above disguising himself as a servant, or even killing them to take their place, if it means living another day.

Should his older brother Ambrosius have one of his occasionally insightful ideas, Burkhart deftly takes credit for it. He has become such a master at this tactic, Ambrosius often believes the idea was his brother’s. Burkhart employs the same strategy with suggestions from some of his father’s advisors, which has become increasingly frustrating for them. He has a canny knack for twisting only the successful ideas to seem like his own, and any poor ideas always appear to belong to someone else.

Burkhart discovered a young age how easy it was to coerce people to do work on his behalf, and he has long enjoyed the power he holds over servants and staff. Burkhart shows only some respect to his father, brother and their head of staff, which is more than he shows to anyone else.

His mother, Amelia Zykleres, formerly of house Stylark was a gentle woman, and a trusting one. She adored her children, and always took them at their word. Young Burkart quickly realized he could use this to his advantage, and he blamed any of his misdeeds and mishaps on staff that displeased him. His charming plump face, large blue eyes and halo of blond hair were convincing. Pieces of shattered vases were disposed of, and their disappearance was blamed on a sticky-fingered page. A filthy room was the result of a lazy maid. A kennel master who lacked discipline with the dogs was responsible for the mess in the garden. Over and over again staff were forced to take responsibility for young Burkhart’s poor behaviour. No one dared to speak up for fear they would be next. 

Amelia Zykleres died when Burkhart was a boy, and he spent much of his youth with a parade of assorted governesses. If one displeased him, he bullied them into resigning or otherwise staged a scenario that resulted in their employment being terminated. While some noble parents may have realized something was amiss, Count Fredrick Zykleres gave little thought to his children.

The only member of the house who realized what the growing boy was up to was Ximena Diguera, the housekeeper and head of staff. Ximena had long been involved with Fredrick, and had even more power over the house than a housekeeper usually would. Disinterested in anything would upset their way of life, the two developed a mutual understanding to stay out of each other’s business.

Olanna, Burkart’s new step-mother, is not much older than he is, and his only interest in her is trying to bed her. Ximena, for her part, is encouraging his attempts.

 

Burkhart's stat block

 

What’s in the Bag? (Footman)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Footman’s Bag of Holding

This finely made bag opens to a reveal a seemingly endless void. The exterior is crafted of a sturdy fabric and a silken rope fastens the bag shut.

  • Long roll of red carpet
  • A fine cloak trimmed with fur
  • Gold cloak clasp inlaid with pearls
  • Noblemen’s outfit
  • Courtier’s outfit
  • A well-made top hat
  • Vial of perfume
  • Shoe polish and a cloth
  • Flask of brandy
  • A small bag with dried fruit and nuts
  • Grooming kit
  • A book titled Tales from the Dark Woods, which includes frightening stories of lost children and strange woodland creatures
  • 50 cp
  • 100 sp
  • 212 gp

What’s in the Bag?

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts detail the contents of such magical bags.

Nel, Temptress of the Tarn

“Come, traveller. You must be thirsty.”

This soft-faced fey creature watches over a large, clean lake. She smiles innocently at those who approach her domain. Nel has no desire to directly harm mortals. She instead encourages them to drink and bathe in the lake, where they might be transported to her mistress in the Green Realm.

fey creature in a pond

Nel once spent her days serving her mistress, an aspiring lesser fey lady. She was well regarded and respected among her kind, and one of her mistress’ favorites. Nel spent much of her time being doted on by lesser fey than herself.

Several decades ago, Nel’s rival Shara intentionally committed a grievous act against their mistress, framing Nel. The once favorite servitor could find no evidence to prove her innocence, and Nel knew better than to argue with her superior. She threw herself upon her mistress’ mercy and asked for a chance to prove her devotion. Shara had anticipated Nel’s destruction, but instead the mistress sent her favorite pet from her sight, banishing her to a lake in the mortal realm.

Before her banishment Nel had been on good terms with many creatures in the Green Realm. Her pleasant disposition made her easy to get along with, and she had used her position with her mistress to assist more than a few petitioners. During her time in prison in the Material Plane, Nel has been able to get word back to the Green Realm. She has called in a few favors and a one-way portal to her mistress’ court now exists at the bottom of the lake.

Nel spends her time on the mortal plane luring travellers who will appease her mistress into the lake, and pushing them through the portal. She is eager to return to her mistress and seek revenge against Shara, but dares not pass through the portal herself until she has sent 263 worthy mortals through first.

Nel does not risk endangering travel to the area by preying upon all who visit, and has let several satisfactory offerings go when the risk of exposure was too great. Nel uses whatever means necessary to draw her prey beneath the surface.

While Nel is homesick for a great many things, she misses the music more than anything else. Even when travelling alone, mortals who are able to entertain Nel for a time are not sacrificed to her mistress.

Pick up Nel (plus her sturgeon and snakeshead) and more NPCs like her, in 5e NPCs: Woodfolk and Wanderers, available now on DTRPG.

Pearls of Life (Magic Item)

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

You may use one of the pearls from this necklace to have advantage on a single death saving throw. If you have already failed two death saving throws, you can instead use five pearls to automatically stabilize yourself. The string starts with 49 pearls in total; each pearl is a luminescent off-white until it is used, at which point its color darkens to a glossy black. When all of the pearls have been used, the string becomes a mundane necklace of black pearls worth 150 gp.

If a pearl is removed from the string, it turns black and no longer has any magical properties. If the string is broken, all remaining pearls turn black and cease to retain any magic benefit.

Veteran Knight

Your players have run afoul of the city guards, but when you pull up the stat block you realize it isn’t going to be as effective as you hoped.

We present to you, the veteran knight.

Veteran Knight

To be regarded a veteran, most knights have seen their fair share of war and atrocity. Outside of a wartime environment, many veteran knights become watch commanders or household trainers who teach younger members of the house in warfare and force of arms.

 

Find this stat block, and others like it, in Houses and Heraldry for 5e on DriveThruRPG.


Houses and Heraldry

old fashioned book with a house shield of a black elk on a green and white backgroundThis book sketches out ten noble houses for your campaign. Each house is laid out on one page; the top half contains the house name, its motto, a representation of their heraldic device as it would appear on a shield, and an information block detailing important personages, numbers of troops, and vassal houses. The lower portion provides enough detail about the interesting characters of the house to get your imagination going, but leaves plenty of room for you to add your own details. See a sample here.

Pick up your copy today on DriveThruRPG.