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Side Effects May Include: Possession, undeath, tingling…

So, I am fihgitng an infection (the Spiteful Infection), and my doctor has me on 3,000 mg of antibiotics twice a day.

The actual possible side effects of the Rx I just took are: Hives; rash; itching; red swollen blistered or peeling skin; fever; wheezing; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; swelling of the mouth face lips tongue or throat; loose or bloody stool; a heartbeat that does not feel normal; change in thinking clearly and with logic; weakness; dizziness; numbness or tingling; unable to pass urine; muscle or joint pain; purple patches on the skin; dark urine; feeling tire; lack of appetite; nausea; severe dizziness; yellow skin or eyes; slow or shallow breathing; feeling confused; hearing loss; mood changes; sore throat; change in eyesight; severe headaches.

Note that there is a SEPARATE list for rare or severe side-effects.

“Okay, so you took the pilled, you turned yellow with purple spots, and went hoarse.”
::Hoarsely:: “Yes, doctor.”
“Was it an UNUSUAL hoarseness?”

 …
 “Either I am getting better, with a few side effects, or it is the End Times. Which is more likely to involve tingling?”
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Details Matter

No one fears the Nostril of Sauron
(“Can you Smell what the Dark Lord is Cooking?”)

The Runeblade WeatherChanger doesn’t inspire fear
(“Cloudy with a 50% Chance of Losing Your Soul”)

It’s hard to get worked up about the prophecy of The Boy Whose Parents Died Saving Him And That Worked Because His Main Foe Never Spent Much Time Actually Studying in Wizard School.
(“The Death-Hazing-Club is on double secret probation.”)

No one listens to Tales of High Adventure about Conan the Unaware of Table Etiquette
(“When eating a bowl of gruel, use the small spoon, not your entire head.”)

The Actor’s Amalgam Universe #2: The Silver Sapien

The rules: Every character mentioned is an amalgam of two or more comic characters played by the same actor, and the world has a single consistent continuity.

The entity known as the Silver Sapien was created by a planet-devouring cloud of elder gods as a mindless side-effect of their constant hunger for sentient sacrifices. The Sapien does not serve the gods, and cannot stop them, but does fly ahead of them from world to world acting as a herald of each planets impending doom. Some worlds achieve true peace in the days before destruction, while others have advanced enough technology for a small percentage to flee before the unthinkable appetites of the galactic gods.
A few fought. Only Earth, lead by the Torch of Liberty, ever won. Inspired by the Torch, the Silver Sapien became an ally of the Earth’s Most Just Heroes, the Fantastic League.

The Actor’s Amalgam Universe #1: The Silken Widow.

The Rules: Every character mentioned is an amalgam of two or more comic characters played by the same actor, and the world has a single consistent continuity.

Natalie Romans was a brilliant scientist in WWII Nazi Germany, where she worked as a nuclear physicist and assassin for the Reich’s most powerful villain, the masked mastermind known as the Red V. As the Silken Widow, she was able to both create devices of amazing super-science, and engage in espionage operations at the highest level. However, she was a true believer in the claim that Germany was beset by enemies from all sides and was just striking out against the international conspiracies that sought its downfall. Though the Red V was a zealot and master manipulator who believed he had mesmerized Romans entirely, she was too intelligent to stay blind to the information she was exposed to on her many missions. In time she realized she was supporting a murderous, evil regime, and set about to ensure its downfall. She stole the Spirit Formula she and the red V had perfected to give humans amazing mystic powers, and used it on both herself and Steve Storm, a US war reporter who had been captured by the Red V for use as a human guinea pig. The two then defeated the Red V, and went on to form the Fantastic League, the premier masked adventurer’s team, to aid the Allies in WWII.

After the war the Silken Widow decided not to risk a Nuremberg trial, and faded into the background. But as a result of her exposure to the Spirit Formula she ceased to age, and continued to protect freedom and liberty from the shadows, ensuring that those who were willing to risk themselves for the greater good and had strong morale compasses had special opportunities to become heroes, an ongoing project she called the Justice Initiative.

The Forty Kings of Solstice

The governing of Solstice is a complex affair, involving avatars, councils, guilds, divine proclamations, churches, alliances, gangs, consulates, great houses, merchant princes, crime leagues, and adventuring companies. Much of this is built around the Intercession Compact, the rules the gods and their avatars use to regulate their dealings within the city, and the charters of the two Astrological Guilds who hold considerable power as the only bodies proven to regularly predict with accuracy the planar conjunctions that can empower of destroy the entire city.

This mish-mash of regulations, edicts, recommendations, and raw threats has, over the centuries, formed a fairly stable system of determining who is taxed, who takes out the garbage, who brings in the water, and who gets thrown in jail. The so-called Quilt Law manages to give rules for most situations in part by insisting all the charters, laws, and proclamations in Solstice treat all individuals of the same rank as equals. It doesn’t matter if you are a smoke knight of the dusky dimensions or a knight-champion of the shining crusade – a knight is a knight under the law. And while Quilt Law is complex and imperfect, and the fact that all elves everywhere are at best going through their Spring Years and running amok with no elven adults to reign them in (or even slow them down), has put it under immense strain, it is generalyl considered “functional.” There’s rarely more than one riot per night, a few murders in each borough each week, and never more than a few dozen building on fire at once, so overall most citizens are content.

Of course, that raises the question of who is a citizen. And who is a knight, who a priest, who a lord, who a prince, and so on. More than anywhere in the world, the titles an individual can claim and which titles are equivalent in which languages are crucial to the day-to-day workings of the patchwork legal system. For the basic underpinnings of Quilt Law to function, someone must have final say in who has what title, and what individual words mean.

When the Quilt Law was young, and avatars of gods of language and order were more common, all the existing major political powers of the day agreed a single scholarly chamber of heraldic and linguistic experts would be assembled to make these decisions. More than mere pursuivants or heralds, these were the kings of arms, who could define each title, match it to cultural and legal equivalents, and split the hairs between squires and esquires or draw the lines from merchant princes to trade barons. Forty wise men and women of all ages, genders, and races were drawn together, and given vast autonomy to pick their successors and determine their own guidelines. To ensure no single force would ever attempt to take all the power of Solstice under a single banner, the kings of arms were given a single inviolate decree – no title or rank greater than duke/duchess/prince/princess would ever be acknowledged within Solstice.

Thus it is often said. “There is no King of Solstice, for Solstice has the Forty Kings.”

The Forty Kings have broad rules determining who becomes a citizen of Solstice at birth, who can gain citizenship and how, and who has a title automatically accepted by Quilt Law. In addition to their “rules ordinary,” which can be applied in nearly all cases, the Forty Kings can also grant an ancient title, local appellation, or even nickname the power of legal authority by declaring a “rule extraordinary” which applies in just one case. If Bloodburn Jill is a pirate captain of great renown who has worked diligently to aid and protect Solstice from naval threats, the Forty Kings can declare “Bloodburn” to be the equivalent of being a countess under Quilt Law as a rule extraordinary that applies only to Jill. Or they can decide to make it a rule ordinary, that when Bloodburn Jill gives up her ship, whoever she chooses as her replacement becomes the new Bloodburn.

The Forty Kings also have vast influence over the definition of words for the dozen languages in common use within Solstice (which are the definitions Quilt Law uses when interpreting a contract) and what are acceptable names for newborn citizens (which may not count as citizens if their names aren’t recognized as being names). As scholars and influential people with no one but themselves to answer to they are often catered to by the rich and powerful within the city, causing them to also be fashion setters and trend-makers in matters of clothing, art, music, culture, tradition, festivals, and even what is and isn’t considered socially acceptable public behavior.

The membership of the Forty Kings is made up of forty numbered “chairs,” numbered 1-99, with 17 numbers retired (to never be used again, either out of respect for their past owners, or as a mark of shame), and 42 numbers not yet ever assigned. When a chair becomes open, which happens only at the death of the previous holder, anyone may send an application to take the chair’s position. In addition to letters of recommendation, scholarly works, and a written argument for why the applicant should be accepted, each applicant must also write a eulogy for the fallen King of Arms, the delivery of which is the new King’s first official duty. As a result, some scholars refuse to apply for specific chairs, as their academic feuds with the previous occupant were so great they are unwilling (or unable) to write and read a noble and praising send-off speech.

Once all applications within a designated period have been received, the Dean (the King who has served the longest), Perpetual Secretary (voted on by all Kings when the previous secretary dies), and the Chancellor (determined at random every three months from among the members, and possibly also the Dean or Perpetual Secretary) go over them, and each may veto up to one quarter of the applications. Then 5 randomly selected chairs are given the task of choosing from the remaining applicants using whatever method they all agree upon, but coming to a final agreement within 180 days. If no agreement is reached in 180 days, the front page of the 5 applciations are all soaked with buttermilk and placed equidistant from a hog that has not eaten in 12 hours. The first application touched by the hog wins the seat.

The current Dean is Tranth Urhudoun, a 120-year old uriphant, that has the distinction of also being the oldest member of the Forty Kings, as any humanoid is limited to 110 years as a result of the Fiery Time of the Necrologer. The current Chancellor is Forgrim the Forgemaster, a 110 year old dwarf who is believed to be the oldest humanoid left in the world (by a matter of seconds over the next-oldest, the elven “Spring Queen” Feyla Feylona, ‘she of the golden ink’). The current Dean is Miserrle Fallenbrook, a half-elf of 31 years who is trying to avoid having her studies interrupted by an unwanted position of great power.

Return of the Cavalier-Paladin!

It’s become something of a joke among my friends and online followers that when I am suffering from massive sleep deprivation, or am on powerful narcotic painkillers, or both, I tend to be more creative in my online writing. I think some of this is the killing of my internal censor, that often squelches ideas before they have a chance to grow. It’s also been suggested that these ideas may be the fleeting flashes of inspiration I’m always having, but must postpone to be responsible and get my work done. Obviously when I can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time and don’t trust my ability to do quality work, I tend not to worry about restricting myself to crucial projects.

So it is, tonight.

I had a flash of nostalgia tonight for the cavalier-paladin class from the days of Dragon Magazine. One of my early rpg experiences was playing a fighter in thrown-together night of gaming, where all the characters were competing in a tournament. Someone who became one of my very best friends played a cavalier-paladin who, despite my rolling something like 5 natural 20s in 10 rounds of combat, still kicked my ass. But she also decided my character was valiant and worthy, and the two PCs became good friends.

Just like the two players.

So most of the actual features of the cavalier-paladin aren’t things that would work well as a focus mechanic for a Pathfinder class. But in my mental haze, I decided I really wanted to create cavalier-paladin hybrid class, and one with very little “new” mechanical consideration. I expected to jot down some notes to maybe work on some other day. Instead, 30 minutes later it was done. (Writing this foreword has taken longer than writing the hybrid class rules.)

So I am proud to present the world’s first Hybrid Nostalgia Class: the cavalier-paladin.

Cavalier-Paladin

A select, worthy few are called to be warriors for the divine, and seek to perfect their skill by dedicating themselves to an organization fighting for a cause. Though still entirely devoted to the service and justice and righteousness, these crusaders believe they can best serve as part of a larger whole. Known as cavalier-paladins, these fearless knights are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests, but also ceaselessly train to improve and inspire others. The cavalier-paladin’s power comes from adherence to ironclad laws of morality and discipline, the conviction of her ideals, the oaths that she swears, and the divine power to smite the wicked.

Role: Cavalier-paladins serve as beacons for their allies within the chaos of battle, marshalling allied forces and controlling the flow of the fight. While deadly opponents of evil, outside of battle cavalier-paladins can be found advancing their cause through diplomacy and, if needed, intrigue. Their magical and martial skills also make them well suited to defending others and blessing the fallen with the strength to continue fighting.

Alignment: Lawful good

Hit Die: d10

Parent Classes: Cavalier and paladin

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The cavalier-paladin’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

TABLE: CAVALIER-PALADIN

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells Per Day
1st 2nd 3rd
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Aura of good, order, smite evil 1/day
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Divine bond, order ability
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Aura of courage, divine health, tactician
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Lay on hands, smite evil 2/day
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Banner
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 Bonus feat
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Smite evil 3/day
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6 Aura of resolve, order ability 0
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Greater tactician 1
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +7 Smite evil 4/day 1
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +7 Aura of justice 1 0
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 Demanding challenge 1 1
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Smite evil 5/day 2 1
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9 Aura of faith 2 1 0
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +9 Greater banner 2 1 1
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +10 Smite evil 6/day 2 2 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Aura of righteousness 3 2 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Master tactician 3 2 1
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Smite evil 7/day 3 2 2
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Holy champion 3 3 2

Class Features

All cavalier-paladin class features function as normal for the class feature of the same name from the cavalier or paladin class, except as noted below.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cavalier-paladins are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Order: Abilities from her order that state they function when a cavalier of the order is using her challenge ability instead function when the cavalier-paladin is using smite evil.

Every cavalier-paladin follows a paladin code (either the standard code from the base paladin class, or a special code determined by the deity the cavalier-paladin worships). A cavalier-paladin must select an order that has edicts that do not violate the paladin’s code. If a cavalier-paladin violates her code, she loses all cavalier-paladin spells and class features (including the service of the cavalier-paladin’s mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a cavalier-paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.

If a cavalier-paladin violates the edicts of her order without violating her paladin code, she loses the smite evil benefits from her order, and all order abilities (though not the order’s skill benefits) for 24 hours.

Divine Bond: If the cavalier-paladin selects a weapon bonus, initially enhancing the weapon only causes it to shed light as a torch and count as a magic weapon for those purposes where a magic weapon functions differently than a mundane weapon (such as bypassing DR). Beginning at 5th level, the weapon bond functions normally.

If she selects a bonded mount, this works normally as the paladin option.

Spells: Beginning at 8th level, a cavalier-paladin gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells which are drawn from the paladin spell list. A cavalier-paladin must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, a cavalier-paladin must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a cavalier-paladin’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the paladin’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a cavalier-paladin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Cavalier-Paladin. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells). When Table: Cavalier-Paladin indicates that the cavalier-paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Charisma score for that spell level.

A cavalier-paladin must spend 1 hour each day in quiet prayer and meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells. A cavalier-paladin may prepare and cast any spell on the paladin spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.

Through 7th level, a cavalier-paladin has no caster level. At 8th level and higher, her caster level is equal to half her cavalier-paladin level. Unlike a paladin, a cavalier-paladin never gains 4th level spells.

Bonus Feat: The cavalier-paladin gets a single bonus feat at 6th level. No additional bonus feats are gained every 6 levels thereafter.

Little known fact*

Gelatinous Cubes came into being when a 1-inch cube of Lime Jello fell on a dungeon map* during an early Gary Gygax rpg session. It totally enveloped the miniature for the mage Bigby. Rather than clear it up, Gygax told Bigby’s player he had been enveloped by a monster, and was dissolving.
This is why the Wizard Spell Compendium books mentioned the spell Bigby’s Transform Gelatinous Cube to Edible Gelatin***
*totally not a fact
**If it has been a wilderness map, Gelatinous Cubes would be 30-feet square. This is true, even though the actual story isn’t.
***Go ahead, go check for that. I the forward, they didn’t actually include the spell.

Spellbane Armor

Spellbane
Aura faint abjuration; CL 3rd; Weight —; Price +18,000 gp
DESCRIPTION
A suit of armor or a shield with this special ability protects against any magaic hp damage. The armor absorbs the first 5 points of magic hp damage per round (not per attack, as with energy resistance) that the wearer would normally take (similar to the resist energy spell).
CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Craft Magic Arms and Armor, dispel magic; Cost +9,000 gp

The improved spellbane (for 10 points of magic damage/round) costs 42,000 gp and the greater version (for 15 points of magic damage/round) costs 66,000 gp.

Top Ten Spin-Ups!

Okay… so what is a Spin-Up?
It’s a Spin-Off of two shows that is a Mash-Up of their stories and genres that begins with a Crossover. (OffMashOver is also acceptable).

10. Better Call Supernatural (Better Call Saul/Supernatural) Taking a retainer for the “Men of Letters Legal Trust” seemed like a no-brainer. The pay was low, but they hadn’t needed legal services for 50 years! But suddenly, some “Winchester” yahoos want to know if it’s really “assault” to throw holy water in someone’s face, and keep needing to be bailed out for murder.
I mean, dodge a charge once? Sure. But how do the same guys keep walking from major charges without a trial, or ANY notoriety?
And why is that dog looking at me funny?

9. Knight of Interest (Knight Rider/Person of Interest) – The idea of an AI designed to help people existed long before The Machine, and though officially decommissioned, the now decentralized KITT has been preparing to select a new Michael Knight for a very long time.

8. Agents of GRIMM (Agents of SHIELD/GRIMM) – There’s a special division forming for SHIELD to handle cases with a bit of the Strange in them, and they’re recruiting. (Ideally, they also recruit an Immortal, a Slayer, a Reaper… )

7. How to Train Your Kaiju (Godzilla/How to Train Your Dragon) – We were attacked by monsters. But some of them formed attachments, strange pyschic links, to our children. We realized that to defeat monsters, we must TRAIN monsters…

6. House of the Walking Dead (House/Walking Dead) – The ultimate diagnostic puzzle. An entire settlement has grown around protecting Doctor House, and providing him with narcotics, so he can solve the Zombie Apocalypse.
Assuming he really IS trying. He is, right? Right?

5. The Archer Brothers (Archer/The Venture Brothers) –  The former ISIS group need a new headquarters, and Kreiger knows a guy… And as part of the deal, Doctor Venture gets a new security team…

4. Star Trek: Holocron (Star Trek/Star Wars) – The ancient hulk began its journey long ago, from a galaxy far, far away. Scavengers found it, and though many died, others made off with new and bizarre technology. They sold it, pawned it, and as often as not were later killed by it on tiny worlds and run-down bases away from the major centers of any government. When a new order of Klingon Sith begin to conquer their home empire, using psychic powers and technology unlike anything ever seen before (coupled with their existing ships and weapons), the Federation realizes it needs a ship to find every Holocron in the quadrant, and train its own Force users.

3. Rick and Morty’s Guide to the Multiverse (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy/Rick and Morty) – As punishment for his crimes, everything Rick does for 100 years is to be recorded and made available as a guide to surviving alternate reality travel. The company doing the conversion to guidebook as some experience in this area…

2. The Fringe Files (Fringe/The X-Files) – Mulder discovers that SOME FBI agents has started their own “weird cases” taskforce while he was out of the game. And while there is NO sign of any of the people mentioned, the FILES are all still around.
Then the phone rings…

1. Stargate Galactica (Battlestar Galactica/Stargate) – Episode one, scene one. “Admiral Adama, we are receiving a hail from the third planet in this Possible Earth system.”
“Put it on speaker.”
“…to unknown vessel, please identity yourself, and the two fleets of ships behind you. Repeat, this is StarGate Command to unknown vessel,…”
“Two fleets!?”

Top Ten Superhero Themed Restaurant Ideas!

Yep, I am still on  narcotic painkillers!
10.Supermazzio: All pizzas are in the Superman chest-shield shape.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Subway: Like Subway, but for pizza. So, basically, Mod Pizza. With nunchucks on the wall.
8. McGothams: Drive through burger joint with a clown-based mascot.
7. Red Lobster Johnson: Just change the decor to pulp-Hellboy and rename some dishes.
6. Jalapeno League of America: The JLA is like Chipotle, but with fewer diseases and more Oreo shakes.
5. Rom the Starbucks: Coffee and snacks able to banish dire wraiths
4. Punisher Steakhouse: Like Outback, except the menu is called a “War Journal” and when you order a steak it’s called “taking out a hit.”
3. Dr. Doom Donuts: Sweet confections, served by Doombots.
2. Arrowbee’s: Endless appetizers after 5pm, and archery-based pub games.
1. Red Robin: Just make it Batman-sidekick themed, nothing else changes.