Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Werk: Gronk Sword, Octoscholar, Synchronocitor

In this week's Wednesday Werk, we'll look at the Gronk Sword, the Octoscholar, and the Synchronocitor.

The Gronk are a highly industrious people, and Gronk Central Command looks after all Gronks.  Gronk Central Supply Service oversees production of the famous Gronk-Swords, and they also make certain that they get into the hands of adult Gronks.

(For some oddball reason, the strange non-Gronk creatures of the planes seem to avoid using Gronk-Swords, likely in a display of their inferiority.)

As suggested in the original entry, Gronk-Swords will probably never break, but there are several uses that suit them better than being actually used as swords.  Gronk-Swords count as greatclubs in most respects, save that a character is only proficient with the weapon if s/he takes the Weapon Proficiency (Gronk-Sword) Feat.

Strangely, the Gronk seem to have little difficulty with these weapons.

Octoscholars are extraplanar octopoid entities.  When not warring among themselves or with other transplanar creatures, they have a reputation as scholars of a sort.  Octoscholars are interested in arcane and historical knowledge of all types, and when they are not engaged in forays to find some piece of esoteric lore, they will frequently aid those who come to them.

Unfortunately, everything comes at a price.  In game terms, octoscholars will cast rituals for PCs (they tend to specialize in Divination rituals, although Comprehend Languages from the Exploration category is popular, and they sometimes Enchant Items).  In fact, they'll cast rituals and provide services at 60% of the market value.  So, for example, if you want something translated, an Octoscholar will do it for 36 gp (versus the typical 60 gp), and if you want one to find some secret information for you, it will do it for 840 gp (as a comparison, getting Consult Mystic Sages cast for you will run 1400 gp).

However, this comes with problems: Octoscholars will typically keep copies of whatever information they learn (unfortunate if you don't want another copy floating around, but then again, you should probably learn the ritual yourself in that case).  Additionally, Octoscholars lie.  Every transaction carries a flat 50% that the Octoscholar's mercurial mood prompt the creature to lie about the outcome, providing an incorrect translation or fallacious information.  This lie will, according to the original writeup, feature "hidden pranks or spurious gibberish to complicate matters or cause things to fail, explode or melt-down spectacularly."

Octoscholars may use spells or carry items.  They can frequently use an equivalent of the Enchant Item ritual, though these items take the form of strange, technological wonders that cannot be disenchanted (and if an Octoscholar makes one for an outsider, the item carries the abovementioned 50% risk of being cursed or unusable — but, hey, it's cheaper than it would normally be, right?).

In case your PCs get burned and want to attack an Octoscholar, here's a sample Octoscholar with knowledge of the Twist of Space spell (Arcane Power, page 106):

There are likely other specimens who swap out that Twist of Space Encounter power for another, and there are likely creatures who exist at higher levels.  As the more powerful creatures are typically either warring or buried in research, they are rarely seen.

Finally, there's the Synchronocitor.  This odd device — obviously a byproduct of strange sciences unknown to most fantasy worlds — appears to be a staff covered in globes containing a purple liquid.  This liquid depletes as the staff is used, replenishing during times of rest.

Several variants have been found.  Most staves appear to be examples of odd craftsmanship, while some appear to be sapient.  These latter staves gain Concordance as noted in the DMG, pages 164-165, or in Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, page 105.  It's up to individual DMs to determine what goals a sapient Synchronocitor might have (likely, each one would be slightly different).

The following Synchronocitor does not appear to be free-willed, though it's possible that it is merely exceedingly quiet or patient.

I hadn't noticed that Word tried to correct this entry. Ah, well.

Note the planar shift ability.  Sure, a low-level party might get excited about it ("This staff gives me a level 6 spell, a level 10 spell, and the ability to Plane Shift without needed a weird and expensive ship?") until they go plane-hopping and get stranded for several days, likely in a place where they did not hope to stay.

Again, there are likely other versions of this artifact, some of which may be sapient or may have different capabilities.


  1. Nope, I want one in the worst way. Yes, it is potentially dangerous, and has powers well above where any of my characters currently stand, but good lord it is PRETTY. Like a battle lava lamp. Cyber-Steam-Punk Battle Lava Lamp. That's f**kin' smart.

    Oh, and Octoscholars are totally Time Lords. Except, as a whole, Octoscholars seem more likely to come to the aid of outsiders, despite the blatant dickery.

  2. This idea of a regular series is excellent, and it's cool to see their work in a different form like this. So much too - three is a feast! The Synchronicitor especially is a wonderful thing, and even an iconic item for their worlds, but it seems to me very apt that it should make the cut so early and be involved in a crossing of systems as well as worlds.


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