Saturday, January 5, 2019

Vile Bile (Something For Green Dragonborn Assassins)

Folks who stop by my blog know that Improved Initiative is more of a place to remix concepts and builds with existing rules than a place where I brew up totally new stuff. However, when it comes to 5th Edition, barely a session of the campaign I'm in goes by where I don't notice a big gap that is just calling out to be filled in with fresh content.

So this week I thought I'd present something I'm going to try out that other folks might like as well. I call it Vile Bile, in honor of the foul-mouthed, foul-tempered, hard-drinking, blackmailing, vicious, incorrigible maniac I'm currently playing.

The hell you looking at, softskin?
For folks interested in some of my other thoughts for 5th Edition, check out Method in The Madness (A Structure For Wild Magic Surge Rolls in 5th Edition).

Vile Bile (A Poisoner's Best Friend)

Green dragons are unique, in that no other breed can belch forth the clouds of noxious vapors they can foment inside their gullets. While most adventurers are not foolish enough to approach a full-grown green with the intent of harvesting the power of its breath weapon, it is possible for someone with the proper knowledge to get the necessary ingredients from the lesser children of these dragons.

If someone has access to either a willing green dragonborn or a green dragon, it is possible to extract a single use of their breath weapon for the day. The poison gas must be blown into a kettle or a cauldron with a sealed stopper. The vapors must then be alternatively heated and cooled over a two-hour process. The kettle will release terrible fumes, but while they will smell awful, they won't be deadly. At the end of the two hour process, the inside of the kettle will have a thin layer of highly poisonous resin in it. That resin can be smeared on a weapon, or if tea is made in the pot it can be infused into a drink (though the green tint may make some drinkers suspicious).

No, it's supposed to taste like that. Don't worry.
In either case, the person brewing the Vile Bile must make a DC 15 check using a poisoner's kit in order to properly craft the poison. Once it's been crafted, there are as many doses as there are d6's of the breath weapon that was used. The poison uses the same save as that breath weapon, as well, making the bile of powerful dragons and dragonborn much deadlier than that of younger, less-seasoned ones.

Only a single dose (1d6 of poison damage, with the appropriate save for half damage) can be applied to a single bolt or arrow at a time. Additionally, only a single dose can be put into a single cup of tea. However, up to two doses can be placed on light weapons, up to three on one-handed, non-light weapons, and as many as four on heavy weapons. No matter how many doses are placed on a weapon at a single time, all of them activate on the first hit made with it (so if you swing a greatsword with 4 doses of Vile Bile on it, then you add 4d6 of poison damage with the appropriate save for half damage). Once the poison has been spent, it needs to be re-applied, and every dose requires an Action to apply. Due to the nature of Vile Bile, as long as the weapon is not washed or scoured, the poison remains indefinitely.

The additional benefit of Vile Bile is that the specific dragon or dragonborn whose breath weapon is used as the base component is immune to its effects. This allows them to apply it to unarmed strikes or natural weapons without worrying about the toxin threatening them. It also means they can drink beverages brewed from their own breath weapons without damage; a trick that has been used by those with devious intent to get a drop on their foes before they know they're being attacked.

Would You Like To See More?

If you'd like to see more content like this from me, then let me know in the comments below! And it doesn't hurt if you share it around with your groups, either. The more eyes I get on something, the more likely I am to do a repeat performance.

Also, don't forget to check out some of my other 5th Edition creations!

- False Valor: The first module in the Critical Hits series, a murder mystery with a race against time to find the guilty party, and prevent an old war from sparking back to life!

- A Baker's Dozen of Rumours (And The Truth Behind Them): 13 rumors, each one meaty enough to build an entire session around, that you can weave into your campaigns lore, or play with as separate one-shots.

- 100 Bits of Miscellaneous Tat To Find: When you want to give out loot that's worth less than a gold piece, here's some cheap-as-dirt swag for adventurers to find.

- 100 Pieces of Flotsam and Jetsam to Find on a Beach: From wrecked ships, to buried bodies, to cursed coins, to lost fish familiars, there's a little bit of everything in this collection.

- 100 Encounters For On The Road or In The Wilderness: If your party is walking down the road, or cutting through the trees, what will they find? Bandits, lost shrines, buried treasures, and more!

- 100 Encounters in a Fey Forest: From half-mad oracles, to moving clearings, to tiny sentinels mounted on dragonflies, there is never a dull moment when you're traveling a fey forest.

That's all for this latest Crunch installment! If you'd like to see more of my work, remember to check out my Vocal, Gamers, and Dungeon Keeper Radio pages. Also, if you're looking for a new book to read, take a look at My Amazon Author Page where you'll find stuff like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife!

If you want to stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. And if you want to help me keep making content just like this, consider Buying Me A Ko-Fi or heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron today! Every little bit helps, trust me on that one.

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