RPG Previews: Forbidden Arcana: Pits of Despair | Echoes #13

Forbidden Arcana: Pits of Despair

Forbidden Arcana: Pits of Despair

All across the lands are festering pits that emanate magical power and an almost tangible aura of fear. Commonly known as pits of despair, these naturally occurring sites are a disaster in waiting for unwary adventurers.

Pits of despair can be found in any terrain upon the land and, it is rumored, along the floor of even the deepest oceans. The exact number of pits in the world has never been recorded though study of the pits has shown that no two pits are ever closer together than one hundred miles. Pits have been discovered in caverns deep beneath the surface world and these, it is told, are even more dangerous than those upon the surface.

A pit of despair covers an area 2d6+20 ft. in size and can be any shape imaginable (though always natural and irregular in appearance). A pit of despair is 3d6+5 ft. deep.

Pits of despair never move and cannot be erased by any means of power less than a wish. Even then, a wish spell will only reduce the size of a pit by 25%. Four wishes will completely eradicate a known pit of despair.

DMs are encouraged to use these foul pits sparingly. Stumbling across one of these pits can be a hazardous experience for even the most powerful of adventurers but if the occurrence of such pits become commonplace the magic is lost.

Game Effects

Simply being near a pit of despair has powerful effects upon characters and creatures. These vile pits have the following game effects.

Cause Fear: For an area 100 ft. around the pit – and within the pit itself – all characters and creatures are assaulted by an ability best represented by cause fear as if cast by a 10th level character. This is a permanent effect and a save must be made for each round a character is within the affected area.

Weakened: All characters and creatures within 50 ft. of the pit must make a Will save (DC 15) or lose 1d4 Str while close to the pit. Those within the pit must make a Will save (DC 20) or lose 1d8 Str while inside the pit. The check must only be made when the character enters the area (or into) the pit. If the save is successful the character ignores this effect of the pit . . . this time.

Magic Items Drained: Items with charges that come within 25 ft. of the pit lose 1 charge per round. Those inside the pit lose 2 charges per round. All other magic items are rendered inert when inside or within 20 ft. of a pit. Once the items are taken away from the pit’s influence they are likely to regain their power. There is a 10% chance that any item will be completely drained of magic if taken within the pit’s area of effect.

Negative Level: Any character or creature that enters the pit must make a Will save (DC 25) or suffer the effects of a negative level. This check must be made for every 10 minutes spent within the pit. These negative levels are temporary and are restored as per the rules found in the DMG.

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