Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All Things Arcane - Arcane Grafts

Grafts are one result of mad wizards trying to magically cross several animals. Grafting is the act of adding body parts, either new or replacements, from other creatures. Golem limbs, giant scorpion tails, chameleon skin, ghoul claws – all are available through grafting.

However, there are downsides to grafts, mainly the chance of not surviving the process. Characters who undergo grafting must succeed on a saving throw vs. death to survive the experience. Characters take a -1 penalty to this saving throw for each graft they already have. In addition, the character takes 2d6 points of damage due to incisions and the arcane solutions needed to graft the new parts. Afterward, healing damage takes place normally, but the character will need to take at least a week of rest for the graft to heal and become fully functional.

Get a few grafts and before you know it, your
character looks like this.
To create a graft, characters need things: an arcane surgeon to perform the graft, someone to be grafted, an acceptable body part to graft, and costly ritual components. The arcane surgeon must be of 7th level or higher and be a Magic-User, Warlock, or Artificer. To obtain body parts suitable for grafting, the arcane surgeon must have access to a specimen of the appropriate type. If the specimen is dead, there is a 1-in-6 chance that the body part is too damaged to use. However, if the specimen is alive, the body part is always useable, though the arcane surgeon will have to remove it, which generally either kills or cripples the specimen. Suitable magic (a hold monster or similar spell) may assist in removing the body part intact. Certain specimens may hold multiple grafts of the same kind – for example, a massive dragon may be able to provide two or three sets of scales for the Dragon Scales graft.

Each graft has an associated cost to perform the ritual. The character or arcane surgeon spends this cost on ritual components – healing solutions, numbing balms, cleaning agents, spell components, etc.


Demon Claw
Specimen: Any demon
Cost: 5,000gp
Effect: A demon claw replaces the character's hand. The character can use the hand as a melee weapon dealing 1d6. On a strike with the claw, the victim takes another 1d6 damage unless they pass a saving throw.

Demon Heart
Specimen: Any demon
Cost: 10,000gp
Effect: A demon heart gives replaces the character's actual heart (requiring a saving throw to avoid death during grafting). It gives the character +2 hit points per HD, a +2 on saving throws vs. magic effects, a reddish cast to their skin, and the character takes half damage from fire. In addition, the character gains an affinity for blood and violence and gains a more volatile temper due to the fiendish influence of the heart.

Dragon Breath Gland
Specimen: Any dragon
Cost: 10,000gp
Effect: A dragon's breath gland gives the character a breath weapon. The shape and type of the breath match that of the dragon specimen. Range is reduced to twenty feet in its largest dimension. The breath weapon can be used three times per day and deals 1d6 damage per HD of the character.

Dragon Scales
Specimen: Any dragon
Cost: 7,500gp
Effect: Dragon scales bond to the character's skin over most of the body. They give the character a -1[+1] bonus to AC and the character takes only half damage of the damage type dealt by the dragon specimen's breath weapon.

Ghoul Claws
Specimen: A ghoul
Cost: 7,500gp
Effect: Ghoul claws replace the character's hand. They allow a character to make a 1d6-damage melee attack, and if the attack's target fails a saving throw, they are paralyzed for 1d6 rounds.

Giant Scorpion Tail
Specimen: A giant scorpion
Cost: 5,000gp
Effect: The scorpion tail is grafted to the end of the character's spine. It allows the character to make a tail attack that deals 1d6 damage and forces a saving throw. A failed saving throw means the target takes half the damage (rounded down, never less than 1) again due to the powerful scorpion venom.

Or maybe even like this.
Giant Squid Tentacle
Specimen: A giant squid
Cost: 5,000gp
Effect: The squid tentacle attaches to the character's shoulder or hip. The tentacle gives the character a tentacle attack that allows the character to grapple an enemy for one round, giving it a -2 penalty to all actions and AC on a successful attack roll.

Golem Arm
Specimen: An iron golem
Cost: 7,500gp
Effect: A golem arm replaces the character's original arm. The arm may be used as a shield and allows the character to make a melee attack equivalent to an attack with a mace. The arm cannot be used both as a weapon and a shield in the same round.

Griffon Wings
Specimen: A griffon
Cost: 10,000gp
Effect: Griffon wings are grafted to the character's back and shoulders. The character may fly at normal speed for a number of minutes per day equal to the character's Constitution score. A heavily-encumbered character cannot fly.

Lizardman Tail
Specimen: A lizardman
Cost: 5,000gp
Effect: The tail is grafted to the character's spine. It gives a character the ability to swim at double their normal speed and a +2 to any saving throws related to balance.

Minotaur Horns
Specimen: A minotaur
Cost: 5,000gp
Effect: The horns are grafted affixed to the character's skull, giving them a gore attack that deals 1d6+1 damage. A successful attack also knocks an opponent off their feet, if they are the same size or smaller than the character.

Ogre Arm
Specimen: An ogre
Cost: 5,000gp
Effect: The ogre's arm replaces that of the character. The character gains +1 to Strength and adds +1 to damage from melee attacks made with weapons wielded with that arm.

Shark Gills
Specimen: A shark
Cost: 3,000gp
Effect: The shark's gills are implanted into the character's neck. The character can breathe underwater indefinitely. However, the character needs to keep the gills moist – a wet rag wrapped around the neck would work. Dried gills cause intense pain to the character, preventing them from concentrating on difficult tasks such as spellcasting or picking locks.

Shark Teeth
Specimen: A shark
Cost: 2,500gp
Effect: The shark teeth replace the character's original teeth. The character gains a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage to a target. The target must succeed on a saving throw or take half that damage again the next round, due to teeth breaking off in the wound. The character constantly sheds and regrows teeth every few days, and cannot speak clearly enough to cast spells.

Spider Silk Gland
Cost: 3,500gp
Specimen: A giant spider

Effect: The spider's silk glands are implanted into the character's wrists, allowing the character to spin a web (similar to the Web spell) or create thirty feet of silken rope once per day.

GM NOTES: This material hasn't been playtested yet. I was playing XCOM and figured it would be really interesting to modify D&D characters the way XCOM soldiers can get genetic modifications using alien technology. I know that there were graft rules buried somewhere in D&D 3.5, but I wanted something I could use for the old-school games I'm running now. I wrote this up with Swords & Wizardry in mind, but it should work just fine for most, if not all, old-school games. For cost, I just had to wing it - I couldn't find anything about magic item costs in S&W, and I was thinking these are kind of like permanent magic items. So as with anything OSR-related, use at your own risk and feel free to tweak, add new grafts, and please, if you use them at your table, let me know how it went and how the rules worked for you!

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