Fridays Unleashed 2-20-2015

We’ve talked a bit about bone grinders, one of the new Iron Kingdoms Unleashed careers available in the new Unleashed Adventure Kit. Bone grinders are a versatile Gifted career able to perform the messy wilderness version of alchemy.

Bone grinders can wring arcane power out of the blood, bone, and tissue of both living things and the recently dead and can transform the raw components into useful totems and fetishes. Though similar to the alchemy used by the settled societies of western Immoren, bone grinding is performed in the field and is less clinical and sterile than alchemy. A bone grinder’s fetishes don’t stick around forever, eventually rotting away. There’s a reason Disease Resistance is one of the career’s starting abilities!

Bone grinders can also transform organic and inert matter into alchemical items they and their allies can use. In most cases these items provide single-use effects that emulate much of what a traditional alchemist can do. Add a powerful spell list on top of these abilities, and a bone grinder can adapt to almost any situation that may occur in the wilds.

There are two dissimilar bone grinders in the Unleashed Adventure Kit: Lurk the bog trog player character and his farrow rival Knor. Of the two, Lurk is the more traditional bone grinder. He wears several grotesque totems acquired in previous encounters on his belt and uses his abilities to create items like the arcane relic, which extends the range of his magic. Knor, who prefers a more cultured approach to bone grinding, leans more toward single-use items like cinder bombs and explosives and has a predilection for anything that bursts into flames or explodes into a ball of fire.

The Bone Grinder career was designed to give these characters plentiful abilities to confront and defeat creatures on their own. Lurk’s spell Arcane Bond not only damages a creature he hits with it but also prevents a creature from running or charging for a round (perfect for getting away from a creature that wants to make the bog trog a meal or for stopping a valuable beast from escaping). The bone grinder’s knowledge of different species’ anatomies is reflected through the Anatomical Precision ability, which allows him to damage a target in melee no matter how well armored it is.

Still, bone grinders work best when supported by several other talented individuals, and Lurk is no exception. His Marked for Death spell allows Longchops or Zocha to use ranged attacks to take down enemies they can’t even see while Lurk himself stays safely away from the front lines—or a possible counterattack by Knor. Along the way, the bog trog can use the pieces of fallen farrow and razor boars to create tools that will help the group in their journey to defeat Morrg and his warband.

The following is a short scene that puts yet another tool in Lurk’s webbed hands that could prove to be the deciding factor should the bog trog decide to meet with Knor face-to-snout. Game Masters who choose to add this scene to the Hogwash scenario are encouraged to set it on the outskirts of the Farrow camp in Option 2: The Left Path.


In this scene, the player characters encounter one of the many territory markers placed by Morrg’s farrow warband as they moved deeper into the Blackmarsh Valley.

Read Aloud or Paraphrase

As you move through the trees you make out something ahead. Standing in the shadow of a willow is a tall stack of smooth rocks topped with a grisly large, tusked skull. Around the base of the column are fragments of dozens of smaller bones. It might be a marker the farrow placed to define the borders of their territory—or perhaps someone left it to commemorate a particularly fine meal.

A character can spend a round examining the skull and make an INT + Lore (extraordinary zoology) roll against a target of 13. If the roll succeeds, the character identifies the skull as that of a great boar, one of the powerful breeds of larger creatures used by farrow as warbeasts. Lurk can make an ARC roll against a target of 10 to feel residual arcane power in the beast’s skull.

Once it is identified, Lurk can transform the skull into a potent bone grinder item, a bone fetish.

Bone Fetish

Description: This item is a fetish or charm made from the bones of a warbeast. The essence of the warbeast is trapped within the bones. By ritually consuming or crushing them, a bone grinder can call upon the beast’s power. Most bone grinders hoard as many bone fetishes as they can, and these devices are always among their most prized possessions.

Special Rules: The fetish contains the essence of the warbeast it was fashioned from. A character with the Bone Grinder ability can tap its essence with a quick action, enabling him to cast that warbeast’s animus as a spell. Casting the animus as a spell does not require an additional quick action but destroys this fetish. Note: the character must still pay the COST of the animus to cast it as a spell.

Creation: Creating this fetish requires some of the bones of a living or undead warbeast and two hours of labor. At the end of this time, the character must make an INT + Alchemy roll against a target number of 16. If the roll succeeds, the character creates the fetish. If the roll fails, the character can make a new skill roll after another hour of labor.

When complete, the bone fetish gives Lurk the ability to cast the following:

Pig Farm 2 SELF - - No No
This character gains an additional die on melee damage rolls against living characters and gains Snacking. Pig Farm lasts for one round. (A character with Snacking can spend a quick action to devour any destroyed character within its melee range to immediately regain d3 vitality points.

Creating the fetish takes a great deal of time, which might give the farrow the opportunity to discover the player characters before the work is complete. For each hour of work, the Game Master rolls 1d6. On a roll of 6, a group of three brigands and two slaughterhousers on patrol encounters the characters.