Z is for Zendikar

This article is part of a series for both the April 2020 RPG Blog Carnival and the 2020 Blogging A to Z Challenge.

Zendikar

A tumultuous plane of wild mana, unstable weather, and floating terrain, Zendikar is a world of incomparable natural beauty and danger. The plane is wracked by volatile seismic movements known as “the Roil”. Violent shifts in the landscape make life precarious, unpredictable, and full of adventure. Rivers cascaded down from above the skyline. Craggy peaks lurch to crush those who would scale their heights. Lush forests and murky swamps grow over upturned ruins hiding ancient secrets. Massive stone formations known as hedrons, the ancient handiwork of the Planeswalkers Ugin, Sorin, and Nahiri the Lithomancer, remain as a reminder of calmer days on the plane. Days before the Eldrazi escaped.

The Eldrazi were three inscrutable entities of the Blind Eternities, able to travel between planes to devour worlds. Unable to defeat the titans, the ancient Planeswalkers used the hedrons to lure, contain, and immobilize them. They remained trapped in stasis and hidden for millennia until younger Planeswalkers inadvertently released them.

Freed from their imprisonment, the Eldrazi titans summoned their spawn and spread throughout the plane, consuming two of Zendikar’s seven continents and leaving chalk deserts and warped Escher-scapes in their wake. The Zendikari who endured the destruction adapted and built alliances; kor and merfolk, elves and humans, even the proud and deadly vampire families of Guul Draz. With the help of the four founding Planeswalkers of the Gatewatch – Gideon Jura, Nissa Revane, Jace Beleren, and Chandra Nalaar – the titans Ulamog and Kozilek were destroyed near the city of Sea Gate. Zendikar struggles to recover, with vast areas depopulated and devastated.

Trap-riddled ruins can be found on every continent. Mysterious glyphs hint at truths long forgotten. Unspeakable monsters lurk in the quiet of these hidden monuments of a forgotten past. The ruins still emanate power, and most local explorers will undergo great peril to reap their rewards.

“Deadly perils, priceless treasures.”

ArtOfMagic-Zendikar-p92_93-800x450

For your campaign

Totem armor was introduced in the Rise of the Eldrazi set in 2010. If a creature enchanted by an Aura with totem armor would be destroyed, the Aura is destroyed instead. In this sense, totem armor works similarly to Regeneration. All auras with totem armor in that set have a two-word name, consisting of the name of an animal followed by the word ‘Umbra’. The artwork of these cards (all illustrated by either Howard Lyon or Christopher Moeller) depicts a floating humanoid, surrounded by a glowing ‘aura’ in the color of the card and in shape of the animal the card is named after. For example, Bear Umbra depicts an elf surrounded by the glowing green figure of a bear, Hyena Umbra depicts a human surrounded by the glowing white figure of a hyena, and Eel Umbra depicts a merfolk surrounded by the glowing blue figure of an eel.

New spell: Totem Armor

Calling on the protective spirits of the just awakened Soul of Zendikar, you can channel special abilities from it diverse fauna.

Totem Armor
3rd-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

When casting this spell, you can select an animal spirit to channel. The spirit will surround you as a bright aura, giving you temporary hit points, movement and special abilities as described below. If those temporary hit points are reduced to 0, the spell ends.

Umbra

Temporary hp Speed Special abilities Spell level

Bear

Half your maximum

30 ft Your STR becomes 17; Multiattack

3rd

Boar

Equal to your maximum

40 ft Your STR becomes 19; Charge attack

6th

Drake

Half your maximum

Flying 50 ft Advantage on Perception checks that rely on hearing.

4th

Eel

A quarter of your maximum

Swim 30 ft Lightning damage

3rd

Eland

Half your maximum

50 ft Dash as a bonus action

3rd

Mammoth

Double your maximum

50 ft

Your STR becomes 21; Charge attack; size Huge

7th

Octopus

Half your maximum Swim 40 ft Grapple

6th

Snake

A quarter of your maximum 20 ft

Squeeze; Poison

3rd

Spider A quarter of your maximum Climb 30 ft

Advantage on Dexterity saving throws

3rd

Treefolk Equal to your maximum 10 ft AC 17

3rd

Special abilities are detailed below. If any DC is given, it’s your spellcasting DC.

  • Totem Armor (Bear)Multiattack: You can make two attacks: Bite and Claw. Both are melee weapon attacks that use your Prof. and STR, dealing respectively 1d8 piercing and 2d6 slashing damage.
  • Charge attack: If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a melee attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 3d6 slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
  • Totem Armor (Eel)Lightning damage: You can choose to turn damage you deal with melee attacks as lightning damage.
  • Grapple: When you deal damage with a melee weapon attack, the target is grappled until successfully escapes with an Athletics or Acrobatics check. Until this grapple ends, you can’t grapple another target.
  • Totem Armor (Spider)Squeeze: You can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and you can move through occupied spaces without reducing your speed.
  • Poison: You can choose to turn damage you deal with melee attacks as poison damage. Any creature dealt damage this way must make a Constitutipon saving throw and becomes poisoned on a failed save.

At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a slot of 4th level or higher, new options are available to choose from, as indicated above.

 


This is probably one of riskiest homebrew material, since it allows spellcaster to actually get many of the benefits of wild shape, a class feature exclusive to the druid. The purpose, though, was to make it feel more like the powers of Bravestar, a saturday morning cartoon I used to watch as a kid.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Frédérique says:

    Congratulations on ending the challenge! I enjoyed a lot traveling throught these planes so different from each others. Great spells, characters and places!
    Take care, and stay safe
    Z is for Zakka

Leave a Reply