SpheRe of Chaos

Description: This goblin is a crystalline globe. Filling the globe are a large number of ingredients that were originally detritus from an alchemist-tinker's workshop: various chemical concoctions, bits of incomplete and castoff junk with linger magical auras, random reagents from the tinker's reagent closet, and similar items. These items interact in strange ways — especially when the sphere breaks. Just getting near something like this makes the average person nervous.

Operation: Activating a sphere of chaos is as simple as smashing it into any handy solid object. The ingredients within cause the sphere to explode in a blast of magical debris and alchemical liquid, invoking strange transmutations on anyone it touches. These changes are temporary, but can be disorienting. They can even be beneficial.

When a sphere of chaos explodes, it affects everyone in a 20-foot radius. Victims are permitted a DC 19 Reflex save to avoid the burst. Those failing the save roll on this chart to see what happens to them. No further saving throws are permitted (the listed effect occurs automatically).

All continuous effects last for 3d6 rounds unless otherwise listed and stack with any similar effects already in place. For example, if the victim was already enlarged, the sphere's enlarge person effect (die roll 1) causes him to grow by another size category. The duration of the sphere of chaos effect overlaps (is not cumulative with) any other existing effects.

If the "10" result appears, a player can spend a hero point to select any desired spell effect of his choice, within reason. The GM is the final arbiter of whether or not a particular effect is allowed. As a general rule, no spell effect should be permitted if it is of a higher level than a caster of his character level could normally access. For example, a 4th-level hero could not select a fly effect, because a mage of his character level could not normally cast that spell. He could, however, choose a 2nd-level spell effect.

If a second sphere of chaos is discharged while a first is still active, anyone caught in the second field adds a cumulative +1 to the die roll (maximum result 10).

Fuel: A sphere of chaos uses no fuel.

Malfunction: The sphere explodes in the wielder's hand, setting off its effects centered on him. Add +2 to the die roll (maximum result 10) when rolling to determine the effects. If the "10" result appears, the effect is always bad (GM's choice of any appropriate nasty spell effect). This result also occurs if the tinker fails in even one Craft check while making this device. The combined ingredients are dangerous!

Hardness 3; 5 hp; Size Tiny; Weight 1/2 lb.; MR 3; TS 12; Craft DC 22; Price 258 gp.

Sometimes — and this is one of those times — I flatter myself and feel that I speak for all the good and reasonable races. I'm talking humans, ores, dwarves, tauren — the lot. (Admittedly, occasionally the reason falls by the wayside, but I have confidence that we're all good folks.)

The Alliance and Horde are really just drops in the bucket. A whole lot of other interesting people are out there — and a frightening number of them want to kill us. The violence of Azeroth's races never ceases to amaze. In order to protect ourselves from these creatures, we should better understand them. With this in mind, I have here composed descriptions (necessarily brief) of their histories and cultures.

I should point out that while most of these races would like to rip out our spines and play them like xylophones, exceptions exist — the pandaren come to mind — and an individual is sometimes a different story than her race as a whole.

Brann Brohyebeard

Ugh... Dark Iron dwarves. Our darkest cousins, the Dark Iron clan is a blemish on our race's history, one many of us Bronzebeards try to forget. Yeah, I don't like them, and neither should you. You'll know why soon enough.

Long ago, about 230 years before the First War, the dwarf race split into three factions. I've already gone into great detail on Bronzebeard and Wildhammer dwarves, elsewhere (see the Alliance Player's Guide). Dark Iron dwarves, the third faction, were a bunch of fire-loving, scheming dwarves who lived deep below Ironforge. After our great king Anvilmar died, the War of the Three Hammers broke out, and all hell was unleashed. Even though I already discussed the war in prior documents (see the Alliance Player's Guide, Chapter 6: History and Culture, "Ironforge Dwarf History"), I'll go in from the Dark Iron perspective, as twisted as it may be.

Once, long ago, we three clans lived in Ironforge peacefully. The Wildhammer faction was drawn to the foothills and crags around the base of the mountain, while we Bronzebeard dwarves chose to mine the mountain itself. The Dark Irons became fascinated with the mountains' depths, where fire and brimstone simmer. Here they discovered dark iron, as well as forged a connection with the magma below. They also gained an unnatural obsession with arcane magic, and many had at least some training in spellcasting. Some say whatever they discovered below eventually corrupted the race. Nonsense, I say; they were bad to the bone well before.

The Dark Iron leader, the sorcerer-thane Thaurissan, and his wife Modgud grew discontent with dwelling under the mountain and began plotting. When High

King Anvilmar died, the already tense situation exploded. During the War of the Three Hammers, the Bronzebeards cast out the Wildhammers and Dark Irons. Believe me, the Dark Irons didn't like this one bit. Founding Thaurissan in the Redridge Mountains to the south, the sorcerer-thane built up his armies and unleashed a two-pronged assault; one on Ironforge and one on Grim Batol, intent on ruling all dwarves. Despite overwhelming forces and several near losses, we Bronzebeards beat back Thaurissan's forces, while the Wildhammers slew Modgud at Grim Batol. After this crushing defeat, Thaurissan withdrew back to his city, and the Wildhammer clan joined us in marching to finish this war.

Our two combined armies marched south, intent on destroying Thaurissan once and for all. However, their thane had other ideas. The mad king still believed he could win, and sent out powerful magics, seeking something powerful enough to wipe out both armies. Ruled by fear, Thaurissan didn't know what he was getting himself into when his spell found something far worse than defeat at our hands.

Long, long ago, our creators, the titans, imprisoned the greatest fire elemental ever, Ragnaros the Firelord. Our stupid cousin, in his self-empowering madness, freed Ragnaros from his prison. His eruption into the world destroyed 80% of the Redridge Mountain range, and nestled in the middle of the devastation rose the great volcano now known as Blackrock Mountain (yes, the same place where the orcs had their first fortified stronghold in the First War). The Searing Gorge bordered it to the north, while the Burning Steppes, formerly lush and beautiful but now destroyed, formed

in the south. Ragnaros's rebirth killed Thaurissan and destroyed his city. His kin, however, survived, and to this day they live within Blackrock Depths, in servitude to Ragnaros and his elemental minions.

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