Monday Morning Moments 03 – City Story Hooks

Monday Morning Moments 03 – City Story Hooks

Have some free story hooks from us at The Grinning Frog.

It’s always handy to have a few of these lying around in the back of your DM notes. That way you can throw in a tantalising side trip for the players or simply enrich the world in which they are moving through. After all, their adventure is not the only one happening!

In whatever way you use them we trust they will enhance your game!

You can download a pdf of the storyhooks by clicking here: Monday Morning Moments 003 – City Story Hooks

City Story Hooks

  1. A wanted assassin ‘the nightingale’ is rumoured to be in town for an assassination. A large reward has been offered for their capture. A town surgeon named Gulliver is reputed to know the identity of nightingale but he has gone missing
  2. A trade delegation has arrived in town from a rival city. Whilst tensions are high it is hoped that a trade deal might be struck at last.
  3. A wanted woman ‘Lysinda the Fang’ is on the run having broken out of jail. She is wanted on multiple counts of murder. It is rumoured that in fact she is a werewolf.
  4. The royal gardens are holding an open day next week to celebrate the successful growing of some rare fruits by their head gardener.
  5. A magic helmet has been stolen from the city armoury. A large reward is being offered for its return. No details of its magical properties are being given but apparently it was the personal property of the guard captain and kept securely locked away.
  6. A low-life contact has word that a mysterious collector known only as Ambrose would like to hire a team to steal a certain magical portrait for him. The job needs to be done within the month.
  7. People are saying that one of the statues of a winged Valkyrie in the Temple of Speed has come to life and flown away. It certainly isn’t in the temple any more!
  8. The local Lord is granting audience to anyone with a grievance or complaint. It is expected that there will be some contentious scenes and that there might be a need for someone to investigate the claims and accusations made.
  9. Cellars across the city have been mysteriously flooding overnight. Once a cellar floods it doesn’t appear to flood again but people would like it to stop. Several merchant firms have had stock damaged from the flooding.
  10. A new tavern, “The Kings Seat” has finished being built and is due to open next week.

Monday Morning Moments 02 – Dungeon Story Hooks

Monday Morning Moments 02 – Dungeon Story Hooks

Have some free story hooks from us at The Grinning Frog.

It’s always handy to have a few of these lying around in the back of your DM notes. That way you can throw in a tantalising side trip for the players or simply enrich the world in which they are moving through. After all, their adventure is not the only one happening!

In whatever way you use them we trust they will enhance your game!

You can download a pdf of the storyhooks by clicking here: Monday Morning Moments 002 – Dungeon Story Hooks

  1. A deadly new dungeon has been identified recently. It was found by a shepherd girl who stumbled into it looking for some missing goats. Since its discovery five parties have entered but no one has yet emerged. Some local scholars say it is the fabled Dungeon of Naz’gar – a secretive wizard who lived several hundred years ago.
  2. There is a magical statue in a nearby dungeon that has so far resisted all attempts to understand. It is believed that by performing the right action the statue will animate it and in doing so the secret exit from the room it is contained within will be revealed. The statue is of a warrior woman holding aloft a sword. Her left arm reaches out to the side and her hand is open but empty.
  3. A coven of witches has been discovered to operate out of a local underground series of caverns. The local authorities are keen to find their exact location, so they can be dealt with.
  4. The rumours are that a new dungeon complex is being built by order of a mysterious undead crime boss. The construction is rumoured to be extending out from one of the cities catacombs. So far, people have not been able to locate which one.
  5. Swarms of vicious giant beetles and other insect life forms have been coming out of the old tunnels under the town and attacking people. They were known to live down there on the scraps and offal that went into the sewers and they have never come up above ground before. The locals are terrified. The attacks take place mostly after sunset.
  6. A group of adventurers went underground to locate a fabled golden egg said to be located deep in a dungeon complex. They haven’t been heard of since. They left a month ago. Their sponsors are willing to pay for a team to investigate their disappearance and ideally return with the egg.
  7. A single surviving member of a recent adventure party made it out of an old dungeon complex. He has babbling about giant killer mushrooms and mushroom people just before he died. After death, his body sprouted red pustules which looked like they were going to burst. The body was incinerated by a wizard who happened to be in the vicinity.
  8. Several young children have been kidnapped and taken into an old mining complex. It is thought that a group of troglodytes led by a mountain giant are behind this.
  9. Inside a nearby cavern complex a detailed model of the local mountains and plains has been discovered. Various stories are now being told about this model – that it can show the way to hidden treasure, that it can predict natural catastrophes or that it can show the movements and locations of monsters and evil creatures. Oddly, no one who reports seeing the model can exactly pin point where they found it in the complex.
  10. A local castle has collapsed into the ground. It appears that something big has been tunnelling underneath the building causing it to collapse. The local lords want this thing tracked and killed. No one is saying it out loud but the idea that the creature might be under the control of someone is terrifying the lords.

Monday Morning Moments 01 – Coastal Story Hooks


So everyone likes a good story hook or story moment … they add diversity and create options for the players. Here are twenty with a coastal theme. Perfect for the Sword Coast, Chult or frankly anywhere the oceans meet the land!

Coastal Story Hooks

  1. A tribe of merfolk have been spotted offshore. The locals are worried that they are here to raid the town.
  2. A strange underwater creature has been spotted by local fishermen. They are refusing to fish locally until the creature is identified.
  3. A nest of giant crabs has been discovered on one of the local beaches. To reach the beach you have to climb down the Cliffs of Peril.
  4. There are a series of underground caves only accessable at certain low tides in the month. Local legends tell of pirates and smugglers using the caves for storing their treasure.
  5. A triton warrior has arrived in town and spends all his time drinking and getting into fights in the local tavern.
  6. Magical lights have been spotted under a popular fishing lake north of the town. Two local men went to investigate, and they haven’t been seen since.
  7. An ornately made, metal horned helmet washed up on shore last night. Exquisitely made it has tiny lettering and symbols etched around the edges. The language is unknown to anyone locally.
  8. Rumour has it that a new drug has hit the streets made from some rare seaweed that was washed ashore recently. Some people say that it grants immunity to pain whilst other say it turns you into a zombie. The authorities are worried.
  9. At high tide last week, a horde of monkeys came ashore in a battered rowing boat. They then ran off into the local forest. They appeared to have been led by a large male gorilla.
  10. A scaled and armoured sea serpent has been disrupting the merchant ships even running two aground and sinking a third. The people are worried that the merchants will stop coming if the matter isn’t resolved.
  11. During a recent storm just off the coast the waves appeared to turn into jagged scales and some boats had their hulls battered and badly scratched.
  12. Last week a local girl went missing after a picnic near a local river.
  13. A new pirate ship has been raiding the merchant vessels close to the shore. The pirates use shields with a red and blue stripped pattern on their front. The appear to be well organised and disciplined.
  14. The main local gang, The Sea Serpents, have been getting more brazen in their street crimes and the rumour is that the authorities are looking for help in clearing out the gang once and for all.
  15. A shield washed up on shore last week. The major is looking after it. The rumour is that it has magical properties.
  16. A new seafood restaurant has opened on the docks. The food is supposed to be amazing.
  17. A strange cactus like plant has been sprouting up just above the high tide mark. It is starting to obstruct the routes to the beaches.
  18. The local inn keeper has been arrested for poisoning one of his customers. Some people say it was his wife’s lover that he poisoned.
  19. The local forge has just finished building a brass and crystal look out telescope for the lighthouse. It’s said to be a wonder to behold.
  20. Strange seaweed swarms have been left on the shore at low tide. They burst and spray acid on anyone who goes close. They drift away again when the tide comes in. There are more and more of them each night.

Hope those come in handy!

Until next time; happy gaming!


Chief Scribe,

Trash Mob Minis Review – Elemental Enemies Paper Miniatures

Welcome to this review of Trash Mob Mini’s upcoming “Elemental Enemies” paper miniatures. A companion pack to their existing “Ultimate Elementals”. (And the first ever review from the grinning frog!)

Now, let me say straight off the bat that I’ve never used paper minis – except that one time I forgot my figure case and made a quick print out for a key player, so they would have a table-top representation for the game!

Apart from then, never used them. I’m guilty of having a rather large figure collection thanks to my love of both wargaming and dungeons and dragons. My miniature collection goes back to the late seventies and some of those original Ral Partha Fiend Folio figures still see action! Consequently, never really felt the need to go the paper route.

I’ve seen paper figures, and scenery around of course and thought it was a nice idea for those who want it. I’ve seen Trash Mob on my twitter feed for a while and they always get positive feedback. When they asked for reviewers I thought ‘what the heck, time to try these things out.’

I chose to approach this review from the perspective of someone with limit tools and time. Instead of using a craft knife, tweezers or any of my other modelling toolkit I got some scissors from the office. I used a Pritt glue stick and cereal card for the base. To compare if I was doing this for myself, I would be using a scalpel, tweezers, steel-edged ruler, likely the same glue but then photo-frame card for the base. Additionally, I gave myself 45 minutes as a time limit.

My attitude to reviewing

I will tell it like it is. By which I mean that if I like something I will say so and if I don’t then I will, hopefully positively, point that out. I actively game with figures in homebrew games, published wargames and multiple RPGs. I know what I want to see, I believe I have a valid opinion, (having gamed for over 35 years) and I want my reviews to be of some practical value!

First impressions

No instructions. Now that is likely because myself and the other reviewers were sent a sample pack rather than the full set. Jesse Jennings of Trash Mob sent over an instructions pdf as soon as I asked. I am going to assume they will be in the full set.

Other than that, the file is a single page PDF and you simply send it to print. The images are clear, and I would say fit for purpose.

What you have here are:

  • One water cultists,
  • One armoured earth cultist
  • One earth myrmidon
  • One “2.5D”* model of a water weird

In the full pack, there will be 16 unique miniatures.

* “2.5D” is the description that Jesse sent to the reviewers. I will talk about it later on as it caused me some issues!

I don’t know if the figure contents are listed in the final pack, but I hope so otherwise, you might struggle to recognise some of the figures.


From an artwork perspective, everything is very clearly drawn and the colours are quite bright. My printer muddies browns and greens a bit so you might get cleaner cultists on your printer.

The earth cultist (top right) reminds me of some old Warhammer figure I think – chaos warrior maybe? It seems derivative. And he doesn’t look particularly ‘earthy’ for an earth cultist. My least favourite figure I think.

The water cultist (top left) is great. I really like him. He’s wearing armour with an old diving suit helmet visor. A lovely touch and after all, what else would a land-based, air-breathing water cultist wear – very clever. I like it a lot.

The earth myrmidon (middle) is a little too manga styled for my personal taste. It’s not an art style I like for my DnD. Also, I do have to point out that it is a little at odds with the style of the other four figures.

Finally, the water weird (bottom). I love it. It looks exactly as I feel it should look. That is, the main body rearing out of the water. And there they missed a trick – the base tabs for the water weird should be blue to represent it coming out of a pool of water. Unless it’s coming out of a crack in the ground? Nope, doesn’t work. Make the base tab water coloured like the rest of the creature and you are onto a winner.

I’ll mention the snake appendages here briefly – they look like brilliant little sea serpents. I really like them … but they are part of the water weird? Okay, that’s weird and a point I will come back to below. For now, let me just say that the snakes are great … except the colour is missing from the eyes and teeth on one side! A small error but it’s on the face so noticeable. A quick going over with a coloured pencil would fix it but it’s still an error.

Construction and Build

I was a little unclear at what point I cut away the adjoining white space between the figures. What I ended up doing was cutting most of the shapes away, scoring the middle and folding them over before finishing the cutting.

And the water weird

And now is where things got a bit sticky … I have no idea where the snake appendages are supposed to go on the water weird.

Do they face the front like this?

Or do they face backwards like some kind of tail? In both cases, you don’t seem to need both of them. I’ve decided to leave them off the figure this time. I’m sure Jesse will let me know how it was supposed to look and I can make another one!

(As an aside – I actually need some small fire snakes for a game that’s coming up, so I don’t mind having the two snakes left over. Yes, I know I said I had a large figure collection, but all my snakes are green – I need magical fire ones … which might now be magical blue fire snakes!)

It is a little vexing not to have some kind of guide as to how it should look. A shadow silhouette on the original sheet would have been sufficient.

Anyway, after thirty-five minutes of work what I had was this

Three mini’s cut out and based. (Obviously not the snake).

Another few minutes going around the edges with a Sharpie and they looked like this:

They are nicely 28mm in scale so would go with existing mini’s without any issue. Sadly, I can’t actually get to my miniature collection at the moment because of some building work in the house so I’m not able to show you a comparison right now. Give me a few days and I will update this!

They were relatively easy to build – all you need to do is take your time cutting them out. Sharp scissors are quite satisfactory.

They are going to take about fifteen minutes a mini to cut out and make. Not the slowest thing in the world but do appreciate that makes it about 4 hours if you make all 16 from the pack. Give yourself enough time prior to the game!

The figures seem fairly durable. I printed them on presentation card. The thickest paper that will go through my printer – 180gsm I think from memory. I can fold the figures flat and then unfold them without, it appears, doing any damage so if I really wanted to I could tuck them in my game book for emergencies or prior to using them in a planned session.


If you are just starting out in the hobby or fund are particularly tight this is a good way to get the more exotic and larger creatures that can cost quite a lot if purchased in resin, plastic or metal. Equally, if you are looking for one-time figures then this is very economical – and quick. Purchase, download and get printing. Even Amazon Prime isn’t that fast!

However, for regular figures that will see a lot of action, or that are important to the story I do think you are better off saving up and purchasing a 3D physical figure. There are various forums around where you can source second-hand physical figures if funds are tight.

Without knowing the competition out there, if I was going to purchase a paper mini for a game that was upcoming then I’d be happy to browse Trash Mob’s DM Guild website and buy what I needed. The art is clear, the scale is right, the price is a bargain. And the ultimate testament … that water weird is going to get used – with or without its appendages!

How to Buy

“Elemental Enemies” should be available in their shop  mid-late December. Currently there are over twenty other packs available starting from only $2.50!

16 unique figures in the pack, and it will cost about $4 USD.


I, nor anyone at The Grinning Frog is affiliated with Trash Mobs in any fashion. I was sent the sample pdf to review in good faith and I stand to make no financial return on this review or on any sales of the items.


Monday Morning Maps 01 – The Tower Tavern

  • Orientation
  • Left = South
  • Right = North
  • Fire is on the East Wall

Full Size Map is downloadable at the bottom of the text below

The Tower Tavern is an old and somewhat run-down tavern situated next to the ruined wizards tower that it gets its name from.

The top levels of the tower were destroyed in a magical explosion some years and the lower levels have been inaccessible due to a magic barrier since that day.

Fortunately for the tavern, the barrier extends only a few feet out from the tower and as such doesn’t affect the tavern situation about fifteen feet away. Still, since that day the fortunes of the surrounding village have dwindled, and it is only nearby river trade that keeps any form of commerce coming into the village.

A simple single-story building the tavern only supplies drink and basic food with no rooms to let. A nearby hostel is the only location in the village for available for lodging. (Well, except for Hodgkins Farm but folks that stay there don’t always leave – at least that’s how the rumour goes.)

The Tower Tavern is almost always occupied by one or more local farm hand or fisherman. Without any other tavern in the village, they are drawn here more by necessity than by choice. Ollie, the bartender and part owner of the tavern does try his best, but he is an individual with fairly limited skills of which cooking and cleaning rank fairly low. He serves his customers with more routine than customer service and his bar snacks and food consist entirely of cold meats, cheese and local vegetables and nuts.

Ollie’s story is a fairly common one – at least in how it started. He was a local lad who ran away to become a soldier, travel the world and find his fortune. Where things get unusual is that he succeeded – at least in a small way. Whether through luck or skill he took part in multiple successful campaigns and not long after his 25 birthday he returned home with saddlebags full of silver.

Greeted like a hero he was the subject of much romantic interest amongst the local ladies and business interest by the traders and merchants. Over the years that followed his fortunes waned. His critics would blame his poor judgement including his four wives and multiple questionable investment choices whilst his friends point out that, despite his travels, he is a rather naive individual and he’s been taken to the cleaners by unscrupulous women and rogues.

Whoever is to blame Ollie is now in his mid-fifties, balding and with a beer belly. Currently single, and after his fourth divorce swearing to never marry again, he will occasionally get a little drunk and wax lyrical against the dangers of love.

The Tower Tavern is his last investment although he only owns half of it. No one knows the identity of his co-owner and Ollie is surprisingly close-lipped about the matter.


The tavern faces south and is entered by the oak double doors at the front of the building. Reinforced by iron and magics local legend has it that if closed and secured by the owner of the tavern then no hostile force can open them.

Multiple benches are scattered around the building with stools that fit underneath arrayed around the sides. The benches are of various ages and carve from varying woods. One has been dyed green during an aborted style change a few years ago.

An inlaid wooden box can usually be found on a small table on the right-hand side of the tavern. It contains an ivory chess set carved from some unknown animals tusk. A spell, cast by an old wizarding friend of Ollie’s, prevents it from being stolen from the pub. Any pieces taken reappear back on the table within 48 hours.

The fireplace is kept well lit most of the time. Peat, coal and wood are all varyingly burnt. (As well as demanding legal letters that Ollie gets from his ex-wives from time to time.)

The large bear skin rug that habitually lies in front of the fire is Ollie’s last heroic act (that anyone locally is aware of). Five years ago, the bear had been wounded in a goblin trap and, driven mad by pain and poison, went on a destructive rampage through the local countryside. Getting closer and closer to town it cornered some unarmed fisherman down by the old bridge.

One of the fishermen made a desperate dash for the village to raise the alarm and ran into Ollie who was out purchasing supplies. Without a moment’s hesitation, he followed the terrified fisherman back to the old bridge and charged into the bear armed only with a stout walking stick.

Accounts of what happened next vary (often depending on how drunk Ollie is when telling the story) but regardless of later exaggeration Ollie single-handedly fought and killed an enraged cave bear, saved the fisherman and lived to tell the tale … again and again to anyone who will listen.

In his more philosophical moments Ollie will sometimes refer to the rug as ‘Brutus’ and even salute him with a drink. He also keeps the rug cleaner than the rest of the pub regularly taking it outside to dust it down. (Muddle boots are not welcomed on the rug!)

Franco, the local village elder, is a semi-regular although he isn’t too keen on Ollie thinking him a blowhard fantasist has-been. Ollie, on the other hand, thinks that Franco is a snivelling weasel and only in charge because Ollie was away when they had the vote for the new elder. If Franco is in the pub he will almost have a few of his cronies with him and be loudly talking about and working on “the thing that will put the village back on the map”.

A big iron-bound chest occupies the north-east corner of the pub and dishes, mugs, candles and various supplies for the pub can be found in there. The chest is locked with a sturdy padlock. The key for which lives in a fake bottle under the bar. Pretty much everyone in the village knows where the key is kept!

Behind the bar, along with assorted local beers and wines – most awful but a few palatable, can be found a magically sealed chest that contains the takings from the bar and under the top tray, a number of healing potions and any other valuable items that might have been found on the floor or given by travellers in payment of their bar bill.

The chest opens with a magical gesture (which Ollie has managed to keep a secret) and only he accesses the chest. As a result, there are often loose coins on a brass plate under the counter from the day’s trade which he then deposits in the chest later that night.

The small door at the back of the room leads to a small vestibule with two further doors lead off. One is to a very grubby and seldom used storeroom. It has a volume of broken furniture and old grubby tavern supplies. There is nothing of value in the room.

The other door is to the toilets … equally grubby. Regulars at the tavern tend to nip off home when they need the toilet rather than using the taverns facilities. It is joked by the locals that you can always spot a stranger because they order food and use the toilets!


Light is provided by the fire, regular windows, (with shutters against cold weather) and candle stubs on all the tables. There is a chandelier above the centre of the room however the winch mechanism has broken and Ollie hasn’t fixed it yet. (It’s been broken for three years.)


The tavern is 50 feet long and 35 feet wide. The ceiling rises in the middle to the height of ten feet.

Full Size Map

The Tower Tavern Interior

Until next time;

Happy Gaming!


Chief Scribe

Monday Morning Magic 03 – Abraxion’s Coin

In many ways wizards are a breed apart from humanity, in other ways they are just like us. They can have appetites and sometimes those appetites can prove to be expensive.

Many years ago, Abraxion was one such individual. He was the chief wizard of a growing town – soon to be a city in a newly civilised vale. Magically powerful, emotionally lustful and egotistically full of himself Abraxion led a lavish lifestyle paid for by his many patrons; even though most found his rather pompous attitude wearisome. Then a young wizard named Beritz showed up in town and offered similar services to the chief wizard; but at half the cost and without the attitude.

The chief wizard’s patrons flocked to this newcomer, but the chief wizards lavish lifestyle continued unabated. Consequently, money became tight and eventually turned into debt. As his debt mounted Abraxion started to chance his luck and gamble, first in high-quality establishments and then in less respectable places.

These locations were warded to keep the games free from magical influence, but this didn’t stop Abraxion trying to enhance his luck; but nothing worked. Finally, one night in a drunken fit of misplaced rage and anger he created a summoning pentagram and threw all his magical might into powering a summoning spell. His target – Lady Luck herself.

In a burst of arcane energy and flame, that destroyed his workshop. but amazingly (luckily?) left him alive, a figure appeared in the centre of the pentagram. It was a hooded and veiled woman cloaked in pale blue with dark blue arcana fire flickering and rising around her. The lace veil before her eyes was a darker midnight blue and seemed to reflect the firelight as if made of metal.

Motionlessly she gazed down upon Abraxion lying in the shattered remains of the room. Crawling forward to the edge of the pentagram he began alternatively berating her for abandoning him and begging her to intercede in his fortunes.

For long moments, he raged and begged before, with the faintest nod of her head, she extended her right arm and, opening her hand, dropped a silver coin at his feet. The coin bounced once showing the veiled head of a lady on one side and a grilled gate or portcullis on the other.

In his distraction of retrieving the coin, Abraxion took his eyes off the lady. As such, it was several minutes before he realised she had vanished.

Chuckling to himself Abraxion staggered from his ruined tower and headed straight to the last gambling den that he was welcomed in. Upon entry, he went straight to the high stakes table and joined in a game of cards.

Time wore on and despite holding the coin, rubbing it and even kissing it, his misfortune grew. Betting more than he owned, including a fake copy of the deeds to his tower (he had already lost the real deeds in a game of chance the week before) he entered into a final round.

He lost.

His opponent, a hobgoblin general demanded payment, Abraxion paled, he was lost. And then it dawned on him. He had commanded Lady Luck to appear and bend to his will. He had applied all of his skills and magic to summoning her. The coin was the answer. He proposed a final bet. Winner takes all, with his life thrown into the bargain.

The hobgoblin general examined the coin for trickery then grunted acceptance. A single coin toss – heads Abraxion won, the gated side and the general won.

The gambling den fell silent, everyone watching the wizard hesitate, weighing the coin in his hand. Onlookers swear that slivers of doubt were visible on his face before his normal arrogance and ego asserted itself and he tossed the coin high in the air.

The silver coin glittered in the candlelight as it rose and fell before being caught in Abraxion’s right hand and palmed down onto the back of his left. There was a pause and then as Abraxion lifted his hand and saw the gated side looking up at him everyone heard a female voice whisper “There is more than one kind of luck.”

Item Description

This item is a magic coin which confers either good or bad luck to an individual.  Not unique there are more than one of these in circulation and as such they are referred to as ‘An Abraxion coin” although not everyone knows the history if the item.

It always has the face of a veiled lady on one side with the counter side varying but usually depicting a grated gate or cage. When tossed, the coin confers positive luck when it lands on the portrait side and bad luck when the grated side. That luck lasts for approximately an hour.

The coin often catches out the owner unaware, who believe that it only provides good luck. It is those people, who are more ignorant of the ways of the universe, who tend to suffer the harshest downfalls from this item.

 Mechanically – Generally this should provide the option to reroll failed dice rolls when positive and reroll successful rolls when negative – but only once per roll. For example, if I roll and fail, I can reroll that first failure. Should I fail again then tough luck!

5th edition Dungeons and Dragons

I think this could be easily reproduced in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons by providing advantage on all rolls for a period of time – 5 minutes to an hour. Should that be deemed too powerful then all skill checks but not combat rolls. That said, give it could provide disadvantage on the gated side there is an inherent risk!

The coin itself should have a one use a day power limit.

4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

 In 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, I’d suggest either a +4 to all rolls for an encounter or for an hour.

And this would be a daily item power.

 Editor’s note

 I would like to mention that I saw the idea for this coin somewhere online recently. Sadly, I can’t remember the source, or I would happily credit. I had been working on a collection of magic items that have random outcomes – due out in 2018 – and whilst doing some research came across the elegantly simple idea of a two-headed coin that confers either good or bad luck.

I had forgotten about that until I was halfway through writing the story of the item, but I suspect that it was lurking in my subconscious from somewhere and I do like to give credit where it’s due. If by some chance someone reading this has produced such an item then do let me know in the comments!


The image was the closest I could find to fit the story! It comes the generous hands of Kellepics who shares his work for free on pixabay.

Until next, happy gaming!


Chief Scribe




More via our published items page here 

Monday Morning Magic 02 – The Sister’s Answer

Legend tells us that a long time ago in a desert land, two squabbling sisters led rival factions in the royal court. They were almost identical to look at save for one had jet black hair and the other red hair that glowed in the sun. Eventually, tired of their machinations and scheming, the court wizard cursed them both to take the form of sphinxes.

They retained some aspects of their original forms including their lions tail fur matching the sister’s original hair colours.

The curse further compelled them to act as a true sphinx and pose riddles to travellers. Should the travellers be unable to solve the riddles then the sisters would be compelled to slay the unfortunate traveller. The wizard decreed that the curse would only be lifted when the sisters worked together, and a traveller succeeded in passing by both of them.

Time passed, and the body count grew. Whilst some travellers would get past the first sister they all failed at the second (who had always been the trickier and more devious of the two).

Eventually the first sister (who many say was the brightest of the two) came up with a plan. They both knew riddles, that knowledge had come with their transformation, and they could solve each other’s riddles with ease. They were forbidden to directly answer each other’s riddles in front of a traveller, indeed they were forbidden to meet the same traveller at the same time, but the first sister had a plan.

Travelling by night they watched and waited for many days before they spotted a lone witch on the roads. Following her secretly they observed her performing powerful magic in the aid of fellow travellers that she encountered on the road.

The sisters put their plan into action and the second sister, the trickiest one, went on ahead to wait at the next mountain pass.

That evening, the first sister appeared before the travelling witch and challenged her to solve a riddle. She did so with ease but rather than passing on immediately she stayed with the sister for many hours. Passers-by reported seeing magic lights and sounds coming from the dell that the witch and the sister occupied.

Hours later, under a cold, clear, dessert sky the witch travelled on and encountered the second sister. The riddle was hard, almost impossibly so. Time passed, and the sister felt the rage coming on as she felt the witch was unable to answer. Then, with a smile, the witch lifted her head and gave the correct answer in a voice that sounded a little like the first sister. The curse was lifted, and the second sister felt herself transform back to her real self.

The witch stayed with her during the transformation and afterwards during the night. In the morning, the first sister walked into camp and the sisters were reconciled. The witch bade them well and continued on her way. It was at that point that the second sister noticed the unusual bracelet on the witch’s arm made of red braided hair which twinkled in the sunlight.

Item description

Made from sphinx main hair infused with magic this item typically takes the form of a braided bracelet. The braids often appear to shimmer and sparkle in the light.

More refined versions have been made into rings or metal bracelets with the hair inlaid in the metal.

It enables the wearer to, once per day, solve any one riddle or puzzle. When used the wearer often appears to be speaking in a voice that is not their own – almost as if they are channelling some unseen presence.

The riddle or puzzle does not have to be verbal, a practical puzzle or contraption (such as a mechanical trap) can also be solved. In that instance, the item enables the wearer to know how to solve the puzzle but it does not facilitate them physically overcoming it. That they need to do themselves!


Monday Morning Magic 01 – Charm of Soliri

Charm of Soliri

Soliri was an eladrin fey witch and the daughter of a minor royal house. Her mother died in child birth and her father was a strict man with lofty ambitions for the future of their house. When her father discovered that she had been seeing a drow ambassador’s son and was considering eloping with him, she was confined to a remote tower and forbidden to receive visitors for a year. The solitude would, her father stated, help teach her the importance of keeping the right company.

Knowing the futility of begging for her freedom, her only request was that she be allowed to take into the tower a figurine of a cat that had belonged to her mother. Seeing no harm in it her father acquiesced.

Many would have gone mad under such confinement but Soliri was as strong willed as she was independently minded. And she had a plan. She laboured over her spells and enchantments and on the third month an explosion of magical energy was seen to come from the top of the tower. The guards investigated and found Soliri unconscious on the floor surrounded by the ruined remains of a magical workshop.

Whilst her wounds were tended, the workshop was cleared out, and all magical contents destroyed. Her father came to see her to find her in bed recovering, cradling the figurine of the cat. He fiercely forbade her to practise her arts until her captivity was complete before taking his leave of her. To his surprise Soliri agreed to this new restriction without protest, all the while stroking the figurine of the cat in her hands.

It is said that when the time came for her to leave her tower she strode out, confident and alert followed by a beautiful black cat with stardust shimmers in its fur. Other versions of the story say that in fact two cats left the house. Whatever the truth, it is well known that Soliri never returned home but that there were many sightings of an eladrin fey witch and a drow noble travelling the countryside often accompanied by a beautiful black cat.

This magic item comes in the shape of a cat ornament in either obsidian or similar dark material. When the activation – (command word spoken, and the figurine’s head and belly rubbed) an apparition of a beautiful black cat appears within 5 feet of the ornament.

The cat mews loudly and is playful and attentive, seeking attention from anyone in the room. It can be touched and feels like a real cat.

The apparition lasts for 1d4 x 5 minutes. At the end of that time it slowly fades away purring loudly. Once used the power cannot be used until the following day.

Monday Morning Magic is a new series of articles that provide a free magic item, monster or other creation every Monday Morning!

They will be system free.

Enjoy and happy gaming!


Chief Scribe, @thegrinningfrog

Like Magic Items? Free items via the previews – simply click the image:


Sneak Peak – 20 Seashore Magic Items

In Britain, we have a real tradition for rushing to the seashore when the faintest glimmer of sun peaks out from behind the clouds.

In fact, I was there last weekend – suitably wrapped up against the bracing wind that was blowing off the north sea! Ah well, it was sunny and the fish and chips tasted good!

With a summer theme running in my head I have put the final touches to the next publication to come out from The Grinning Frog:

20 Seashore Magic Items!

I mention in my introduction, in the publication, that I think this is a sometimes neglected terrain location to run adventures in. And what a shame that is. The ocean and seashore is a rich source of the fantastical and wonderful – and that’s in the real world, never mind dungeons and dragons!

I have taken some real effort to ensure that there is a wide range of magic items from simply helpful to out of this world powerful!

At the more common level, we have items such as the Shell of Messaging which enable you to magically record a message into a seashell. It can then be set to play the message at a specific time or in response to a specific trigger such as a specific person picking up the shell.

I’d like to think that it might be handy to use when leaving clandestine messages when spying, to share romantic notes with a particular loved one or be a means to give a story clue to a party who stumble over a recording made by someone they are investigating.

At the other end of the spectrum is the God Stone. Now, this is, as the name might suggest, a stone which literally, (if you are high enough level and preferable in the right location) lets you summon either the avatar of a god or a god itself!

If the god, or its avatar, appears (there are no guarantees with this item) then you suddenly have some real firepower at your side and for any high level aquatic based adventure it’s going to make for a really cool quest objective or be a very powerful ‘get out of jail card’ for when the players really need some help.

The help isn’t guaranteed of course and you need a little luck and ideally to be in the right location to activate the most powerful aspects of the stone. If you are a dwarf, down a mineshaft dug into a desert a hundred miles from the nearest coast line then it’s going to be a lot harder to summon a god of the sea. That reality is built into the summoning table. And yes, being a different race can affect the likelihood of your ability to summon a sea god …

So, here’s a glimpse of the inside of the publication – I have to say I am really pleased with how it looks and I think it’s my favourite cover that The Grinning Frog has produced so far!

The 20 magic items are as follows and you can see the rarity indicated after the item name:

  1. Shell of Messaging, uncommon
  2. Shell of Announcing, uncommon
  3. Octobag, rare
  4. Anchor of Time, rare
  5. Anchor Weight, uncommon
  6. Kiss of the Sea, uncommon
  7. Sand of Revealing, uncommon
  8. Shield of Brachyura, uncommon
  9. The God Stone, artefact
  10. Breast Plate of Many Shells, uncommon
  11. Coral Diadem, rare
  12. Lobster claw gloves, unusual
  13. Pseudomorph ink cloud, unusual
  14. Aquam Amor Staff, rare
  15. Aquatic Rod, very rare
  16. Electric Eel Coat, unusual
  17. Cry of the Gull, uncommon
  18. Saltwater Tonic, uncommon
  19. Turtle Talisman, unusual
  20. Giant Deep-Sea Turtle Talisman, very rare

In the publication are included full descriptions, short narrative histories and stats for the items.

The first two will be available via the free preview just as soon as the publication has been approved and uploaded by the drivethrurpg staff.

I will edit this article and link to the document just as soon as it’s available!

EDIT – Available now with the first two items free via the preview!

So I think it’s time you all took your players off to the seaside!

Enjoy, and until next time; happy gaming!

Stephen Hart
Chief Scribe

Amazons WIP

I will talk about amazons in a moment but let me set the scene for a second – one of the challenges that occurred to me when I started to write and self publish the dungeons and dragons and roleplay supplements were the illustrations. Whilst I have some small skill in drawing I am very out of practice and if I am to write, edit and produce to the volume and degree that I am hoping to I simply don’t have the time to be producing drawings as well.

I figured I couldn’t be the only person with this issue so I went out and did some research … long story* short I am going to use one of my favourite set of artworks to illustrate my upcoming publication on Amazons as a race option for fifth edition dungeons and dragons. As well as a publication on their home island.

Turns out that prior to a certain date art becomes copyright free – having been a life long fan of the pre-raphaelites I am totally excited to be able to use their artwork to illustrate my humble words!

So the above picture can be for the section on the sirens who protect the island from invaders whilst perhaps the follow illustrates the sorrow that such activity brings to the amazons – caring, as they do, even for the misguided people who try to invade.

And then the following might get used to illustrate their contemplative nature.

The potential is vast and I’m very excited to have an excuse to spend hours online browsing some of my favourite artwork!

The Amazons as a race should be ready for release mid-September with their island paradise coming out late September.

Until next time; happy gaming!


*(which I will recount more fully later)