A Murder Of Crows

It is believed to be a bad omen when a murder of crows is spotted in the sky. Amongst those who know it is said that while conjunction magics emerge swarms of crows will fill the skies arranging themselves into strange shapes, behaving oddly. Those that search for Conjunction Infants follow the crows. It is believed that the first Conjunction Infant was a crippled crow and that he can still be glimpsed in the shadows of a particular type of dead tree found in the south.

Crows are symbolic of magic throughout the world and the Cult of the Crow is one of the Largest and most powerful.

A Murder of Crows

AC: 14
HD: 4 (d4)
ATTACKS: Peck or claw (d2).
SPECIAL: Swarm for 1d10 damage
MOVE: 60 ft. fly
XP: 100


Jitterack Trees

A Jitterack Tree. Painted by a long time player.

Long, black windswept hair hides the desirous white faces of the sisters. Long tongues obsessively tend to their hair keeping it neat and smooth in appearance. Each identical in voice and appearance. When not bickering amongst themselves or engaged in heated argument and shouting matches they are silent. And one hears the sound of a symphony of chattering teeth rising in waves of crescendo giving any who hear the Jittersand the goosebumps that follow.

Jitterack trees are scattered throughout the land. Each tree posses the same indistinguishable faces and personalities. When they don’t get what they want they resort to screaming and extreme verbal abuse.

AC: Trunk 15. Faces 17.
HD: 7 (d8)
ATTACKS: 2 Strikes (with branches) 1d8 damage. 2 Slams 2d8 damage
SPECIAL: Can use their tongues to lash out and choke on a successful attack. 1d8 damage as it wraps around a players neck.
If more than two tongues are successful in choking they can attempt to hang a player. 2d8 damage per round.
MOVE: None. Reach 10ft with branches or tongues.
XP: 500
Wants: Trinkets, a kiss or jewelry. Something to make one special and different from the rest. This is status.

Roleplay: Seductive and overly nice at first. Verbally abusive when they don’t get what they want. Always worried about their hair being messy.

Vairocana the Dweller

Vairocana; who dwells deep within the Tumors of Potan Lith.

Wise beyond ages, Vairocana dedicates her mind and powers to diving the depths of creation in search of the one answer that alludes her. If everything in the universe is interconnected as though it were one big web, then who spun the web that has no weaver? She travels the web into the void from which it was spun seeking this one truth. She is connected to all things in all times and places. The answer alone drives her to obsessive, compulsive seeking.
Once she was a Lady of Bordello with full control of the district of Pag Yang, where every desire could be bought or bartered for, no judgement levied. Always inquisitive she led a life of extreme indulgence pushing the boundaries of the flesh and the ecstasies it could endure until she experienced something that could only be deemed divine, or The Divine. A realization that all is connected.
Giving up everything she walked out of the city one night and never returned. She made her way to the Tumors where while absorbed in physical ecstasy she attracted the emerging magics of a conjunction and thus she was claimed, a conjunction infant of pure ecstasy with a highly inquisitive nature seeking the truth of divinity. Now bearing a form through which to express and seek.
The magics she radiates have turned the rocks and lands around her into a living, growing fungal mass which resembling a tumor, attracting followers.

Wants: The answer to the question. Who spun the web that has no weaver?

Role Playing: Like a grandmother speaking to her most beloved grandchildren. She speaks slowly with long drawn out pauses and with a vacant demeanor as though her mind is elsewhere. Very little concerns her.

Vairocana as painted by one of my players.

The Duke

The Duke. Wielder of the Sword Of Nine Hells.

Frozen haunted wastes of heavy snowfalls. The cry of sorrowed winds constantly attack the ears in hopes that some may listen. It is here in this haunted tundra known as the Fear Of Sorrows that the Duke sits upon his throne, extending his reach into the lands beyond. The Duke alone controls the slave trade and remains unchallenged. From his throne his Graals scour the land for slaves, taking those deemed worthy. For he possesses the Sword Of Nine Hells, and their are none who can defeat him.

The power of the sword has consumed and twisted him making him Godlike. But he is only powerful so long as he possesses the sword.He never stands, always sitting upon his throne amusing himself as slaves are forced to perform vile acts upon one other.
His once human body has grown unable to contain the power of the sword. Now it calls to others, luring them to the Fear Of Sorrows to challenge the Duke or steal away the sword. For the Queen of Swords desires a new lover.

His body can no longer contain the power of the sword.
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The Duke as painted by one of my longtime players.

The Sword Of Nine Hells

The Sword of Nine Hells

“Now hear my creation
which you have failed
I shall devour you
questions and all”

The Queen of Swords

She emerges from the great blade, summoned by her keeper. Filling the sky as nine bloodied swords as large as castle towers, circle around her dripping crimson. Each carrying the weight of the world within it. Nine hells for nine blades. She is the Queen of Swords and the gatekeeper of the Bardo. Should she devour you, you will never know death but shall come to fear life. For life in each of the nine hells is timeless and everlasting. There is no escape.

Skin Smiths & Flesh Alteration

Alteration of flesh and limb while looked down upon is very common. The quality of the craftsmanship can vary. Providing fresh flesh can dramatically reduce the costs of materials.

The PC suffers permanent scarring from the surgery which cannot be healed.

Body Part Performance Time Con Save (CL) Cost (sp)
Claws 1 hour
CL 1 2000
Eye 1 hour CL 1 1000
Hand 1 hour CL 2 1500
Arm 3 hours CL 3 2000
*Leg 6 hours CL 5 3000
*Additional Eye 2 hours CL 4 2000
New Face 1 hour CL 4 2500
*Additional Arm 6 hours CL 6 3500
*Tail/Appendage 3 hours CL 5 3500

* A failed saving throw results in being reduced to 0 HP and falling unconscious. The PC begins bleeding out at 1HP/round.

House rules for Almost & The Castle Keepers Guide

Here are the house rules I use most often for my Almost Campaing.

Advantage: I use a Challenge Base (CB) of 15 before the addition of Challenge Level (CL). If the attribute being used for the check is a Prime attribute the player gets advantage on their roll, rolling 2d20 and taking the higher roll result.

For Encumbrance I allow the players to carry a number of items equal to their Strength+ Modifiers.

Called shots at -8 to hit, double damage. ( -5 for Armigers).

Pain Magic. Archanics can access their Ruathain to cast first level spells at a cost of 2HP per spell cast, reflecting the damaging effects of unprepared raw magic tearing through their bodies. But using arcane magic in such a way can have unforeseen effects on an Archanics body and mind.

As Almost grows and evolves through continued play I am sure that I will be experimenting with and exploring more optional rules as provided in the Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide. The Castle Keepers guide is chocked full of so many awesome optional rules including feats, a mana system for magic as well as rules for firearms which I use for my Armiger class. The ships and sea battles rules have served particularity useful for creating and running high tension nighttime airship battles in storm riddled skies. The Castle Keepers guide is a great addition to my gaming collection and has definitely enhanced the depth and scope Almost.

Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide