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    Postfest XVIII (Richfest 2016): Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport
    Posted on Sun, July 03, 2016 by LordCeb
    grodog writes "

    Three new Figurines of Wondrous Power, focused on transportation, as described by the Fiend Sage of Rel Astra:

    - Amber Terror Bird
    - Aquarmarine Narwhale
    - Topaz Void Shark

    Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport
    By: grodog (see also

    Copyright 2016 by Allan T. Grohe Jr.
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.


    Turning’s Eve 606 CY, The Hour of Broken Hopes

    Your Illuminated and Perspicacious Lordly Grace---

    I enclose for your eruditious pleasure the unravelled divinations from the Oracle at Syrvar-Til.  With clarity assured, you may rest easier knowing that the Jasidian prophecy is now confirmed to be irrelevant to your Mauric interests.  That the prophecy also reveals a role for the Justicar of Daern appears to be coincidence rather than the thread of Istus; I do not foresee any conflict with your designs.

    On the morrow, you meet with Zabet Elik-Holtreb, who will instruct Your Grace in the latest theories of the intricacies of the sixth cataclysm.  Her interpretations may prove informative in your continued studies into the natures of the Invoked Devastation and the Nethering of Pesh. 

    Lastly, the daggerthorn coffer is a puzzlebox of delightful ingenuity!  The six proper thorns must be blooded in the order indicated or the latches will not open, even to a puissant knock or a chime of opening.  I believe that the puzzlebox is of Pyremiusitic origin, but of sufficient antiquity that the secrets of its manufacture remain lost.  If you wish me to petition The Lord of Lore via Dnomtan for further insights, I would of course be happy to intercede on your behalf.

    Within the coffer are eight padded compartments, each containing one item for your consideration.  On the ring are eight small keys, one for each partition.  Each key is nearly identical, but you will have already noted the subtle differences in the throating, collar, and wards for each.  The individual compartment’s key will unlock it and it alone, of course, and each is protected by poison---needles in the lock or in the lid, gas capsules within the compartment, upflowing contact poison through the key stem, et cetera, as indicated.  If I may---in the spirit of the puzzlebox’s origins, I recommend employing orvaas as the contact poison, and crippendust for inhalation. 

    From the top right, three contain the newly-crafted potion receptacles you requested, designed for the quick and assured imbibing of elixirs; each in glassteeled leaded crystal, terracotta ceramic, and reticulated porcelain.  I particularly favor the enmeshed Hextorian armaments design of the latter.  Once you have performed your testings, I shall insure that the surviving pieces are manufactured to your specifications within a fortnight. 

    The far left two compartments house the replicas of the Hand and Eye.  They will pass as authentic to all but the most thorough and minute of magical inspections, and your readiness to proceed with the exchange, as planned, is now complete.  We must prepare the house guard for possible consequences from this subterfuge. 

    The final, lower three, right-most compartments contain magical figurines, one per cavity.  Their designs vary as described, as do their dweomers.  Like the batch of Feather Tokens from last year, these figurines vary from the traditional designs, and offer unique abilities unseen from others of their ilk. 

    Please let me know if Your Grace requires further assistance. 

    As ever, I remain your humble and dedicated servant, 

    The Fiend Sage of Rel Astra


    Distilled from the Fiend Sage’s notes, the descriptions of the three new figurines of wondrous transport follow, along with AD&D 1e/OSRIC game statistics for each.

    Figurine #1:  Amber Terror Bird

    Physical Description:  The first figurine is one-and-one-half inches in height, and is exquisitely carved from green amber; it stands on a carved base two-and-one-half inches in diameter.  The sculpture is of a tall, long-necked, and long-legged bird, with a fierce, raptor-like hooked bill.  Its wings are folded against its body.  The bird, known as a vorompatra (voohr-uuhm-pahtch-ruh), is accoutremented with a saddle for mounting, bit and reins, as well as a sheathed lance and saddlebag.  The carved detail highlights the feathers of the bird, the rings across its legs, and the large, faceted eyes.  As a piece of fine statuary, or perhaps a variant DragonChess game piece, the figurine is worth 500-750 gp on the open market. 

    Magical Description and Lore:  Upon examination, the figurine radiates the following magical auras, in this order of detection:

    • Conjuration/Summoning – moderate

    • Alteration – faint

    The terror bird’s proper nomenclature is in dispute:  the sages Nav Merpirrrow of Traft and Zagel Caron Tzimocz of Hokar disagree whether the vorompatra (also known as the terror bird and the oliphant bird), is a flightless avian like the axebeak, or whether it is a more ancient form of raptor, prior to its wings becoming vestigial.  Tzimocz opines that the terror bird can fly, although clumsily and without great speed, and that its wings are also employed to leap about in battle, rather than to fly long distances as other, more capable avians; Merpirrow disavows Tzimocz’ scholarship as rubbish, and advises that the oliphant bird is too heavy to fly without magical abilities, which the animal clearly lacks.

    Magical Properties and Gameplay Notes:  When activated by command word, the amber terror bird summons forth an eleven-foot-tall vorompatra, complete with equipment for riding (including saddlebag and heavy lance; if these are lost or destroyed while the figurine is activated, they are replaced when the vorompatra is summoned next).  The bird can be summoned six times per month, and is usable for one full day per summoning, but it may not be conjured more than twice in any given week. 

    The terror bird will fight for its wielder, or bear her or him on ground or in flight.  The vorompatra is a tireless runner, and can maintain its 18” speed for 5 hours before requiring 1 hour of rest; while running it can carry 6000 gp weight at normal movement, 8000 gp weight at encumbered/half-movement.  It is not as strong a flier, however, and can fly for only 3 hours before requiring 2 hours of rest, and can carry only half of its allotted running weight allowance while airborne (which includes its rider’s weight, of course). 

    Vorompatra:  AC 4, Mv 18”/15” (MC: D, E with rider), HD 5+3, HP 26, #AT 3, D 2-7/2-7/4-14, SA 30’ hop (as charge with 30’ range: +2 to hit/-1 to AC), flight dive from 50’ or greater height grants +4 to hit with talons and hits cause double damage (no bite permitted), Int Animal, AL Neutral, SZ L.

    XP Value:  550
    GP Value:  5500


    Figurine #2:  Aquarmarine Narwhale

    Physical Description:  The second figurine is a larger miniature carved somewhat crudely from deep blue aquamarine (sometimes known as maxixe).  It is six inches long, three inches wide, stands two-and-one-quarter inches tall, and depicts a narwhale breaching the ocean’s wavy surface.  Within those dimensions, the narwhale itself is four inches long, and its horn is another one-and-one-quarter inches in length. 

    If examined by a sage or other expert, the figurine can be recognized as sea olven in origin.  As a piece of fine art, the statuette is worth from 3000-5000 gp on the open market, or 2500-4000 gp solely as a large gemstone. 

    Magical Description and Lore:  If examined, the figurine radiates the following magical auras, in this order of detection:

    • Conjuration/Summoning – moderate

    • Alteration – moderate

    • Alteration – moderate

    • Alteration – faint

    Magical Properties and Gameplay Notes:  When activated by command word, the aquamarine narwhale summons a forty-five-foot-long narwhale, with a twelve-foot-long horn.  The narwhale may be summoned thrice per quarter (as measured by the phases of Celene), and is usable for up to four days per summoning, but it may not be conjured more than once per two weeks. 

    After summoning the narwhale (when the figurine is active), this figurine of wondrous power can generate the following additional magical effects, at the 12th level of ability:

    • Water Breathing:  for the wielder only; duration is while the narwhale is activated

    • Airy Water:  a 2” diameter hemisphere centered on the narwhale’s back (duration 2 hours; usable once per month)

    • While either of the above dweomers are in effect, the owner of the figurine may designate herself or himself (if using water breathing) or up to six other creatures (if using airy water) by touching them and uttering the command word again for each.  Each selected creature may then touch and will remain in contact with the narwhale, regardless of its movements or gyrations, and be transported along with it as it swims through the deeps. 

    Narwhale:  AC 6, Mv //21”, HD 6+6, HP 33, #AT 1, D 7-28, Int Animal, AL Neutral, SZ L (45’ long, horn 12’ long).  Source: Monster Manual 2 (TSR, 1983), page 95.

    XP Value:  700
    GP Value:  7000


    Figurine #3:  Topaz Void Shark

    Physical Description:  The topaz void shark is the final miniature statuette, and is a free-standing figurine; its length is approximately two inches, and its height is three-quarters inches.  The shark appears very similar to the Oerthly houndshark, common in the waters of the Azure Sea.  From there, important differences will be seen:  the void shark is larger than a typical houndshark; the ridged plating along its spine and dorsal fins are distinct from all known types of sharks; and its coloration, of course, betrays its ethereal origins. 

    Carved from imperial topaz (likely mined from the Mines of Vaar, or a similar site from that region of Zeif), notable for its rich and rare bloodwine-red hue; if gazed at with the noontide sun behind it, traces of golden brown and fiery orange can be discerned as well.  As a piece of fine art, the topaz void shark is worth approximately 2500-3500 gp. 

    Magical Description and Lore:  Upon examination, the figurine radiates the following magical auras, in this order of detection:

    • Conjuration/Summoning – strong

    • Alteration – strong

    • Alteration – faint

    • Divination - dim

    Curiously, on the lower face of the horizontal caudal fin, a sculptor’s mark appears---you’ll immediately note its similarity to the stylized signature of Al-Yasin.  If indeed the void shark was crafted by the Hooded Master, it suggests not only a possible homeland for him, but another possible medium to index and collect.  (Not unexpectedly I assume, no further avenues of inquiry into the possible location of the Sixth Scroll have been discovered to date).  If the figurine is authenticated as a genuine work of Al-Yasin, then its value would increase tenfold, at the least.

    Magical Properties and Gameplay Notes:  When activated by the proper command word, the topaz void shark summons a seven-foot-long shark that will fight, transport, or otherwise obey the commands of the owner.  It may be summoned thrice per month for up to four continuous hours, but not more often than once per ten days.  As with most figurines, the void shark may be summoned to fight on behalf of its owner, and it also has the following additional magical abilities (that are not standard for a “natural” void shark):

    • On the ethereal or astral planes, it can track infallibly (as an invisible stalker) any creature whose blood it has ever tasted

    • Twice per month, it can plane shift up to nine individuals to either the astral or the ethereal planes; all travelers are physically brought to their planar destination by touching the shark prior to plane shifting

    Void shark:  AC -1, Mv //15” (it “swims” within any environment), HD 10+10, HP 55, #AT 1, D 4-24, SA Natural 20 = puncture wound (+2-12 additional D), brush attack (1-8 D to all creatures who intersect its movement), SD weapons striking it save vs. normal blow or destroyed (magical items and weapons save at +1 plus an additional +1 per +1 of the item), ethereal/astral planar travel, Int Animal, AL Neutral, SZ M (7’ long).  Source: Monsters of Myth (First Edition Society, 2006), page 123.

    XP Value:  1350
    GP Value: 13,500


    Closing Notes

    • The vorompatra is my own creation, a conflation between the axe beak, the “terror bird” phorusrhacidae, and the classic Williams Electronics arcade game Joust

    • The Void Shark is one of Stephen R. Marsh's contributions to the OSRIC _Monsters of Myth_ monster manual, which I specifically included to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the publication of OSRIC (the Old School Reference and Index Compilation; the first retro-clone) on 23 June 2006.  You can download a copy in .pdf format for free at (and print copies can be bought from Black Blade Publishing at  For some history of OSRIC, see

    • Al-Yasin is the creation of montand, one of the early Canonfire! author/admins; Monty wrote a number of articles in the voice of Taras Guarhoth, sage of the Sud Graufult.  I was always intrigued by Al-Yasin, and have used him in my campaigns from time to time.  More info appears at and

    • Orvaas is one of my original poisons, while crippendust was created by my college DM at Penn State, Allen Ruch (I adapted his campaign background to Oerth):

      • Orvaas:  This Suloise insinuative poison is a thin, black liquid that exudes a moderately-strong odor reminiscent of turned vegetable oil.  Its onset only requires 1-3 segments, after which the victim must save vs. poison.  A successful saving throw negates the poison; failure causes hot pain to lance throughout the victim’s body, tracing along their circulatory infrastructure as the poison spreads.  The pain is quite strong---victims have compared it to branding irons or as if their blood was on fire---and long-lasting.  Those failing the save take 1-6 damage for 1-3 rounds and make a 5d6 Constitution check at -4 penalty (non-cumulative) during each of those 1-3 rounds or lose consciousness.  In addition, the victim loses 2-6 points of Dexterity (1d6:  1 = 2, 2 = 3, 3-4 = 4, 5 = 5, 6 = 6) for 1 day plus one day per point lost; Dexterity points are recovered at the rate of 1/day for the following 3 days, then 2/day until full recovery is achieved.  The intense pain remains throughout the duration of the Dexterity loss.  Repeated exposure is said to cause permanent crippling.  One dose is only good for a single attack roll, after which orvaas must be re-applied.  Orvaas is an uncommon poison, and costs 95 gp +/- 35 gp per dose.  

      • Crippendust:  This ingestive nerve venom was discovered by an unnamed alchemist in the employ of the Rax Dynasty prior to the Turmoil Between Crowns.  It is derived from the dried and powered excrement of a rare bat native to the sea caves of the Gull Cliffs.  The droppings are dried and powdered, then mixed with additional ingredients known only to the Rax.  Once refined, it appears as a chalky white powder with a faintly musty odor; it must be inhaled to be effective.  Crippendust is a debilitating poison that destroys the muscular nervous system of its victim, then eats holes through the muscles.  If the initial poison saving throw is made, the victim suffers shooting pains for 4-9 turns, during which time they suffer a -4 penalty on all physical actions/rolls, and cannot cast spells.  The pain concludes once that time passes, but the victim must roll a 5d6 check vs. their Constitution or permanently lose one point of Dexterity.  If the initial saving throw is failed, the agony lasts much stronger (3d6 hours; the same -4/no spells penalties apply), and the victim loses 1-4 points of Dexterity immediately.  Each following day, the victim must roll a secondary save vs. poison anew---with a penalty equal to the total number of Dexterity points lost to date.  If the secondary saving throw succeeds, the poison has run its course; if the secondary save fails, its ravages continue and the victim loses another 1-3 points of Dexterity, and will need to save again on the following day.  Dexterity losses continue until the victim’s secondary saving throw succeeds, or the Dex score is reduced to 2, at which point the victim is unable to physically move of their own volition for the remainder of their life.  The mind remains intact, but the body is permanently twisted and crippled.  There is no known antidote.  Note that slow poison will only exacerbate the agony of the victim.  This will double the pain’s duration for a successful initial save, while for a failed initial save it will cause the loss of an additional point of Dexterity.  Neutralize poison may be used to halt the degeneration caused by crippendust, but will not restore previously-lost points of Dexterity.  Each day after the first, there is a 10% cumulative chance that the spell will fail, as well, due to the virulence of the poison.  Cost is 5000 gp per dose. 

    • Have fun identifying the other Greyhawk references in the letter from the Fiend Sage on your own ;-> (and, if you’re curious, similar references abound in my two other Fiend Sage pieces on Canonfire! at and

    • This is the first CF! article I’ve written in 2 ½ years!  It’s good to be back :D

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    Re: Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport (Score: 1)
    by Cebrion on Sun, July 03, 2016
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    It is great to have you back, and thanks for the OCD level of editing formatting. Not everyone may appreciate it, but I certainly do! :D

    Re: Postfest XVIII (Richfest 2016): Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport (Score: 1)
    by Kraftwerk ( on Sun, July 03, 2016
    (User Info | Send a Message)


    As ever, strong work.  I love both your use of the Fiend-Sage in the article and the unusual monsters you chose for the Figurines you've detailed.  In particular, the Terror Bird -- and its inspiration in Joust! -- appeals to me greatly!  I can easily see a high-level Cavalier prizing this as his trusted mount!

    Great job!!!

    -- K.

    Re: Postfest XVIII (Richfest 2016): Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Tue, July 05, 2016
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    Welcome back Allan! Loved the work including your notes, it motivates me to get off my butt again.

    Re: Postfest XVIII (Richfest 2016): Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport (Score: 1)
    by Syzygyst on Wed, July 06, 2016
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Great stuff, Grodog. Love the detail. Can't tell you how much i love the idea of a 'knight' riding an ostrich-like bird into battle (a-la Joust). It's hilarious. Well done.

    Re: Postfest XVIII (Richfest 2016): Three Figurines of Wondrous Transport (Score: 1)
    by RobertJames on Mon, September 20, 2021
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    This is so inspiring. Nice stuff! Will continue to keep myself updated for new stories here.


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