'The White Ship' (H.P. Lovecraft d20)

Michael O. Varhola

In "The White Ship," H.P. Lovecraft takes readers into his dreamlands on a voyage on the title vessel. While this story is rich in imagery and details that could be adapted to a gazeteer or encounter areas, it has fewer concrete things that could be expressed in game terms. One that does, however, is the "celestial bird" that guides the narrator toward his ill-conceived goal. I am thinking of also adding a card to a new magic item I am developing, the Deck of Fortune, named for this creature and allowing the user to call one to assist him.

 

Bird of Heaven:  Small Magical Beast; CR 2; HD 2d10+2; hp 13; Init +3; Spd 10 ft. (2 squares), 80 feet (average; AC 17 (+2 size, +3 Dex, +2 Natural), touch 15, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +2, Grp -4; Atk +5 melee (1d6, beak); Full Atk +5 melee (1d6, beak); S/R 5 ft./5 ft.; SA Smite Evil; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., Low-Light Vision, Resistance to Acid, Cold, and Electricity 5, Spell Resistance 7; AL NG; SV Fort +4, Ref +6 Will +5; Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 5, Wis 16, Cha 12.

Skills: Listen, Spot.

Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse BWingoverB.

This attractive, azure-feathered bird, "whose glossy plumage matched the sky out of which it had appeared,"  has profound divinatory abilities that it will use on behalf of people who it encounters. It can use at will any Arcane or Divine divination spell of up to third level at the 20th level of ability and, when it encounters new people, will often use Detect Thoughts to determine whether they are seeking something. If so, it may decide to help guide them to their goal -- although it will not actually communicate the fact that it is doing so in any direct way. It will also not attempt to figure out whether acheiving the goal in question is actually in the character's best interests and will only help them fulfill their desires. It will, however, do so even to its own detriment. One way or the other, a Bird of Heaven will not generally accompany a party for more than a single adventure.

The Bird of Heaven is able to anticipate harm directed at itself and the first attack against it each round is at a -20 penalty and it enjoys a +20 bonus on its first saving throw each round. If attacked the Bird of Heaven will, in any event, attempt to escape as quickly as possible. If the bird is slain, the person or persons who participated in doing so will all be afflicted as if by the spell Bestow Curse cast at the 20th level of ability.