Wow in depth, with enough info to base an entire campaign around. It's nice to see an unusual enemy that has a fresh approach to achieving their goals, and really make players struggle to get a grasp on their capability and motivations.
A couple quick ideas to improve the appearance/presentation:
Putting the headers such as appearance, confrontation etc.. in bold would help a bit to highlight the different sections of the article and make it easier to find a particular area when skimming during a game session.
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Also, putting a line break in between each plot hook and bolding their titles would make the last text area a bit easier to read/navigate. (as it is it's a bit of a wall of text towards the end)
A unique take on a gnomish subclass, and can make for a refreshing change in the usual wilderness encounter.
Perhaps giving them some type of musical related magic would help fill in the missing gap? Perhaps they have found a way to combine bardic magic with that of regular mages?
A song of burning passion may possibly set a target on fire, or one of a raging river make those enemies in ear shot feel as if they are drowning?
Giving them a little bit of offensive power (which they learned so they don't suffer the same fate as their ancestors) could make the odd group who looks at them as little push overs rethink their assumptions rather quickly. (Having a group of singing gnomes come to the rescue from a bandit ambush would also make for a fun encounter.
It's integral to the setting. Basically humanity was all humans until a virus, combined with the reawakening of magic across the world caused a % of humans to mutate into either Dwarves, Orcs, Trolls, or Elves.
The history of the setting goes on to mention that occasionally two parents one race will give birth to a child of a completely different race due to latent genes. (referred to as "spike babies.")
There's also a small % of people that undergo mutation during puberty from human to a different race because of the same latent genes.
I'll see about working a brief "as you know Watson" explanation into the back story for readers unfamiliar with the setting, thanks for the suggestion.
Short and catchy, with all the quality I'd expect in a short story from one of the published magazines like the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
The piece can work well as the basis behind a rescue mission for nearly any sci-fi setting, or a cautionary tale told around the star port bar by a retired brotherhood guard about what happens to those who are *too* successful with cutting edge creation.
An interesting piece I'd like to see expanded upon and fleshed out more. (pardon the pun) For example, it's mentioned they are very knowledgeable, but where did they get the knowledge from? Did the lich have an old repository of arcane tomes in a library they;ve obtained access to? Or did the Lich imbue them with knowledge mystically?
I'm also curious back the back story behind how they first were discovered by the surrounding villages and befriended enough to be named grave born rather then feared as a village of "walking dead," especially due to their xenophobic nature.
It reminds me a little of the town of friendly ghouls players encounter in Fallout 2 near a nuclear reactor, which always stood out in my mind and one of the more unique encounters in an rpg game.
A useful 30 sub, with enough variety it's easy to find one that will fit their current campaign.
I especially like the ambiguity of these phropecies, a evil GM could simply toss a random phropecy into theri game near the beginning of the campaign and then watch the fun unfold as the PC's keep tryign to fit whatever events come to pass into the framework of the phropecy.
(Some of these work well for higher tech games too that still ahve phropecies and such, like the BSG rpg.)
An interesting pool although I fear most intelligent characters will quickly capitalize on the pool to become incredibly rich. (Immersing copper or iron cookware to make all but the handle gold would be fairly simple, as would immersing weapons up to the hilt) Also, with the inclusion of magic, fishing bodies from the depth would be fairly simple. (using levitation magic especially)
Perhaps changing things so the item has to be fully immersed for the change to take effect would help? (although then smart characters would immerse a small hand sized rock let go of it until it turns to gold then pick it back up)
The idea of gold items turning back to water is a good one, although I would change it to make the gold effect a temporary enchantment that would wear off as soon as the item sufficiently dried off, or after x # of days.
This could lead to short term wealth gain to near by merchants that later comes back to bite them in the ass when the merchants treasure turns back to normal items. (If it turned to water the merchant would likely think he only got robbed.)
(of course after rescue the newly re-fleshed person would come with considerable complications/plothooks for their suitor to deal with.) Go to Comment
It can also lead the more kind hearted characters to devise a means to rescue the poor saps who had been turned into gold at the bottom of the lake. (Especially if one or more them was an attractive member of whatever sex the characters found appealing) "Thank you for saving me, I'm forever in your debt brave adventurer!"