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"Okay, what do we have?" asked Colmir, looking disdainfully at the dark tunnel leading downward.

"Bugs," replied Thrum. The dwarven explorer twisted his beard with thick, meaty fingers. "Lots of 'em. Big ones."

They looked at each other for a couple of seconds. The human hunter finally raised an eyebrow. "Glink?" "Yeah, Glink. I'll go fetch him. He'll love this."

The dwarf moved off. Colmir waited, watching the tunnel and listening to the rustling coming from within. Fortunately, the insects didn't seem to like the light, or they might well have already swarmed out of the ' ancient tomb.

After a few minutes, Thrum returned, bringing his goblin assistant in tow. Glink was barely paying attention to his surroundings, instead fooling with a huge weapon with six wide-open barrels. As Colmir watched, the goblin shoved something into each of these tubes. "Ready!" he announced in a high-pitched voice. Thrum pointed at the hole in the ground. "Down there," he insisted. "There's a big room, filled with bugs. Clear 'em out."

"Will do!" The goblin hurried forward, disappearing into the hole. A few seconds passed, and then there was a kind of thump. An instant later, six explosions boomed, illuminating the tunnel in rapid-fire flares of light. Colmir and Thrum exchanged glances. "Is that it?" asked the human. "Usually, there are more explosions," replied Thrum, reaching for his mace.

A moment later, the goblin emerged, covered in black soot. His weapon dangled limply in his hands. He looked up at the other two and shook his head.

"Oops," said the goblin sheepishly, as the first giant, angry beetle emerged behind him.

Operation: Using the alchemist's stirrer requires a DC 12 Use Technological Device check. This is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. The stirrer is placed within any quantity of liquid and rotated about liberally, then left within the liquid for the ensuing round. On the user's next turn, the glass bulb illuminates in one of the following colors or shades, partially identifying the liquid:

Blue: Potion of 1st level.

Green: Potion of 2nd level.

Red: Potion of 3rd level.

Black: Poison.

White: Acid.

Bright: Alcoholic.

Shimmering: Transformation school.

Pulsating: Abjuration school.

Faint: Divination school.

Haloed: Conjuration (healing) subschool.

Clear: None of the above; probably an innocuous liquid, such as water.

Combinations are possible, so a potion of cure light wounds causes the bulb to shine blue with a halo around it, while Hong's fighting lager causes a bright red glow.

If the liquid doesn't fit in any of the above categories, the bulb remains clear, suggesting the substance is nothing special. Thus, for example, a sample of tea infused with disease organisms or dangerous parasites would shows up clear, as do most alchemical concoctions.

Malfunction: The stirrer can't be used for 24 hours.

Hardness 1; 3 hp; Size Diminutive; Weight 1/2 lb.; MR 2; TS 3; Craft DC 33; Price 540 gp. Artificial Tail

Description: An artificial tail isn't a true tail, but a mechanical extension of a dragonspawn's existing limb. The sinuous device attaches to the lower backbone, wrapping around the tail and extending outward behind the creature's body. An artificial tail is made of segmented plates that can pivot with as much flexibility as the creature's real tail. The metallic device is fitted with spikes and can be used as a secondary weapon. Only dragonspawn can use or control this device.

Operation: An artificial tail is automatically activated when attached to the dragonspawn's body. Attaching the device requires a DC 20 Use Technological Device check, 5 rounds, and provokes attacks of opportunity. Once attached, the bulky tail reduces the wearer's movement speed by -5 feet per round, but adds a +2 shield bonus to his AC.

The device is always on while attached. Taking it off requires a single full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

The wearer can use the tail as a secondary natural weapon (see the Monster Guide, Chapter 5: Monster Types, Subtypes, and Abilities for more information on natural weapons). The artificial tail deals 1d8 points of piercing damage plus 1-1/2 times the wearer's Strength bonus. Each time he attempts to make an attack with the tail, the wearer must make a DC 15 Use Technological Device check. If he fails, the wearer cannot use the tail to attack. (This skill check, not the attack roll, also determines if the tail malfunctions.)

An artificial tail can be enchanted as can any weapon can (but not as a shield). Higher-level dragonspawn often add a few magic enhancements to give themselves a greater edge in combat.

Fuel: An artificial tail uses 1 vial of liquid phlogiston for every 10 minutes of continuous operation. Refilling the fuel compartment is a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

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