The Vile Madness is About to be Unleashed!
This week, on May 1st, I hope to release the first book in the “Super Genius Presents” line, titled The Vile Magic of Argonax the Mad. This book is something I’ve been working on for months, in what little spare time I can scrape together, and it’s significantly different from a typical SGG Pathfinder-compatible product. Rather than a book conceived and developed by the entire Super Genius staff, this project is much more a one-man-show, an “unplugged” version of how I write games without the (admittedly extremely useful) feedback from the other geniuses.
There’s a good chance there will be more “Super Genius Presents” books in the future. I have a long list of ideas I’ve been saving, that I’m not ready to give over to become the kernel of Super Genius products. That’s not to say I don’t value their contributions – I absolutely do or I wouldn’t be in business with them! But no matter how good a committee is, design by committee is still a different kind of activity that an entirely solo design. I love what we’ve managed to do together with our Class Options, Genius Guide, and Mythic Menagerie product lines. But I also want to stretch my solo design muscles, and offer up something a little different in scope and tone. Since I’m experimenting a bit, I don’t want to call this a “Genius Guide,” since my intent and outline are different from what we do with those books.
The “Super Genius Presents” line name is a sign that while SGG stands behind the production values of those books, they are very much the vision of their creators rather than the SGG collective. In addition to my own solo products, at least a couple of other authors have expressed some interest in making arrangements for us to do the editing, layout, and business end of things, while letting the author’s vision shine through. I have no idea if we’ll manage to make those deals work to everyone’s satisfaction, but it’s an interesting new way to try to do things.
So, what all is in The Vile Magic of Argonax the Mad? Well, the 40+ page PDF includes:
How to Use This Book
Vile Magic can be used as a sourcebook of a new element of history and cosmology for a campaign world, or as just a collection of new (and often icky) magic items, feats, and spells.
The Mad One
An overview of the history of Argonax, the insane demi-mortal spellcaster who is living multiple lifetimes, as different races and classes, in an effort to recreate the knowledge of creating major artifacts.
The Works of Argonax the Mad
Descriptions of the workbooks and journals Argonx keeps creating in his many lifetimes.
Argonax the Outsider and the College Obscura
What Argaonax is doing in the outer planes in-between lives, and how to handle that in a campaign.
The Harbingers of Argonax
A loose collection of cults drawn from multiple different cultures that wish to prepare the world for Argonax’s next lifetime.
Using Argonax the Mad in Your Campaign
Suggestions on utilizing Argonax as an enemy, ally, background figure, planar threat, or even part of a PC’s character history.
Vile Magic Items
As a guy trying to create major artifacts, Argonax has spent a lot of lvies creating new, often unpleasant, kinds of magic items.
The Powers of the Curios of Argonax
If you insist on trying to do things in ways no one ever has, there are going to be consequences. The highlight of this section is the table of 100 random magic item side effect powers, a common element in items created by Argonax, or using his notes.
Vile Armor and Shields
New armor and shield special abilities, as follows:
Betraying (& improved & greater)
Impatient (& improved & greater)
Tyrannical (& improved & greater)
New weapon special abilities, as follows:
Elemental (and greater)
Spectral (minor & major)
For some reason, Argonax has never gone into much research regarding magic rings. Some scholars believe Argonax finds the symbolic ties of rings to such limits and oaths and pledges of friendship to be distasteful. Among the Harrowers, a common legend relates how early in his efforts, Argonax spoke with a powerful undead elf that had mastered all there was to know about magic rings, and concluded further study one the issue was pointless.
However, Argonax has created a few magic rings in his many lives, usually to allow him some insight into points of view he has not yet gained through reincarnation, or as defenses against the consequences of his frequent delving into forbidden and protected lore. Precisely because such rings are rare, they are highly valued prizes among Argonax enthusiasts.
Ring of Affliction Reversal
Ring of Succor
Among the new kinds of magic items created by Argonax the Mad are eldritch lense (both singular and plural), crystals that have the mystic patterns of one or more specific spells permanently etched into them. An eldritch lense is a magic item that allows a spellcaster to convert energy from a prepared spell or unused spell slot into the spell coded within the item. This works much like a cleric’s spontaneous healing ability, but rather than converting a prepared spell into a cure spell, the magic is converted into whatever spell is within the eldritch lense.
Lense of Storms
Lense of the Wanderer
The Vile Art of Minor Artifact Construction
Though Argonax has not managed to create major artifacts, despite spending lifetimes in the quest, he has rediscovered a dangerous (and often distasteful) technique for creating minor artifacts. The full rules are presented here, though few characters will wish to pay the cost, along with one minor artifact of Argonax’s design: The Cyclopean Helm (as seen on the product’s cover).
You don’t study the forbidden shadows of magic without developing some new techniques, a few of which are presented here, as listed below:
Craft Curios of Argonax
Craft Minor Artifact
You also can’t study the forbidden shadows of magic without developing some new spells, as listed below, including spells for alchemists (a few), antipaladins, bards, cleric/oracles, druids (just 2), inquisitors (a few), magi (a few), sorcerers/wizards, summoners (just 2), and witches (a bunch).
Blood Fangs, greater
Bloody Terrain (I just have made a magic item that does blood vomit and then bloody terrain, but I didn’t. You could, though.)
Curse of Dread
Dislocate (as in, dislocate an arm)
Ioun Sigil (also depicted on the cover)
Knell of Ruin
Toil and Trouble
A Harbinger of Argonax
An overview of how the Harbingers work, and stat blocks for sample Harbinger at 6th, 12th, and 18th level.
And that’s it! Just over 25,000 words of creepy arcana, wrapped around a narrative background you can take whole cloth, modify as needed, or ignore totally as you prefer!
It’s available at RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, and will soon be at Paizo. I’m very active at the Paizo boards, so if you have questions about the product you can ask them there, or here, or even at my Facebook and Twitter feeds (links at the upper right).