Monday, April 27, 2015


Lampads don't make any sense.  And that’s awesome.  Because how you make them make sense can be the seed that sprouts any number of adventures.

But wait, let me go back and start from the beginning: Dryads have their oaks.  Nymphs have their glades.  Nereids have their deceptive currents.  So naturally caverns need a nymph of their own.  Thus the lampad.

But…why are they insane (and insanely beautiful)?  Caves aren't insane.  Why are they constantly crying?  If they love the places they guard, why do “their forlorn cries ring the belly of the earth,” according to Bestiary 4?  See why I say they don't make sense?

But when we start answering those questions, suddenly, presto—we have readymade adventure hooks.  Take the crying: Maybe they cry in echo of the dripping that creates stalactites over eons…or maybe lampads embody or have become infused with the spirits of those who got lost and perished underground.  Or maybe they were dryads who ignorantly allied on the side of the elves who would one day become the drow, and were cast down with them?  Or maybe the first lampad, like the oread Echo of myth, was spurned, and her sorrow has been imprinted on the race.  (And if the spurner was divine, servants of that god or demigod might want to beware these cave nymphs.)

How about the insanity: Both Pathfinder’s Golarion and 4e D&D feature gods of chaos, suffering, and destruction trapped deep underground.  Perhaps their emanations have poisoned these fey along with the earth.  Or maybe lampads are too close to demiplanes and dimensions like Leng or the Far Realm.

Anyway, you see where I’m going with this.  Reconciling these fey’s backstory with their abilities and Bestiary 4 description is easy and makes your world a richer place.

PS: If, like me, you wish that Pathfinder’s oreads more closely resembled the mythological ones, the lampad is an easy way around that.  Pretty much all the abilities can stay the same, just make Insane Beauty (Su) into something like Dazzling Vista, Weep (Su) into Haunting Echo, etc.  Bam—instant mythologically correct oread.

Outnumbered by ghouls, adventurers are saved by the well-timed and well-slung magic stones of a lampad.  The weeping fey will not speak to the adventurers, but she leads them to a grotto where they can rest and heal from a magical spring.   In the morning she acts as if she has never met the adventures, giving them the full blast of her insane beauty.  She has also stone shaped away the exit they entered by, forcing them to exit down a twisting passage that leads to a black subterranean harbor frequented by even stranger sailors.

A lampad and her will-o’-wisp companion haunt the pass at Achin Tor.  The pair create ghostly lights to lure explorers into pit traps and blind crevasses.  The insane, constantly sobbing fey has begun to resent the will-o’-wisp’s endless diet of fear and terror, but would need convincing to turn on her aberrant ally.

An evil faerie queen is still a queen.  And when reports reach the Queen of the Eighth Hour that her lampad subjects have gone mad, she alone sends representatives to investigate: namely, mortal adventurers who owe her a favor.  The journey takes them to a kingdom of underground fey and sentient mushrooms ruled by an albino lampad.  It is soon apparent that drow demon worship has so polluted the earth that the lampad race is going mad.  The adventurers need to save the albino lampad and report this back the Queen of the Eighth Hour without getting embroiled in a demon/faerie war.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 178

Today got stupid.  I’m fine.  I continue to say don't believe the hype.  For current news and updates, follow Bay.  Speaking of which, you may have seen him today on MSNBC and BBC and similar outlets all afternoon/evening.  Photographer Joe is still out there, despite certain occupational hazards.  Follow him here.   Most of all, please withhold judgment—on the protesters, on the looters, on the cops, on the city.  Whatever you’re hearing, it’s probably wrong. 

At least I didn't spend the last year of my life working on Baltimore’s new tourism campaign.  Oh wait…

Written earlier in the day….

So, how was your weekend?  Mine was completely uneventful.  But since you all seem intent on reblogging it anyway, why not enjoy listening to my radio show as you do so?  Featuring a lot of new music from Matt and Kim, Pins, Wet, Annabel, and Holychild.  Stream or download it here.

(Link good till Friday, 5/1, at midnight.  If the feed skips on you, use the Save As function to grab the file as an mp3 instead.)

1 comment:

  1. As it happens, I would have liked if Pathfinder's oreads were more like the mythological versions - thanks for the tip!

    Some of the more interesting parts of Magic: the Gathering's recent Theros block were the cards portraying nymphs:

    Dreadbringer Lampads in particular is kind of terrifying.

    I've always thought that Greek and Norse mythology were oddly compatible in certain ways. Perhaps just as valkyries come for the souls of those who die in battle, lampads come for those who die tragically, or some such.