Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This Earth, This Excavator!

Dave "Doomsdave" Morris (he of the koardinal bear) sent me some notes on a very Wampus-y prospecting wizard, along with some spells from his grimoire and a monster.  With Dave's permission, I have tweaked that a bit, added some stuff, and present the below.  All puns and allusions should be credited to Dave, and exhortations for him to keep writing and drawing stuff should go in the Comments section!

The wizard Geb-i-Haaz is long dead, but his legacy of earth-related magic lives on through his legend and the several copies of his magnum opus still in circulation.  Geb-i-Haaz, also known as the Mad Prospector, was very talented with sorcery related to the elements, particularly earth and air; perhaps there was no stone- or dirt-related spell he had not mastered.  The wizard spent the bulk of his life in the mountainous wilderness, digging for gold, platinum, rubies, diamonds, adamantine, mithral, and who-knows what else.  His wizard name (also written as Gabi Haze in some sources) is taken from extradimensional sources; he chose the name, his apprentice tells us, after locating a planeshifted pyramid buried deep beneath Big Eagle Mountain, in which he found marvelous secrets of earth-magic.

Locals referred to him as "tetched in th' head" for his eccentric ways, Geb-i-Haaz was occasionally willing to lend a hand to his neighbors.  However, when he was approached to join in the fight for Cadaver Canyon during Grandpa's War, he demurred.  The Mad Prospector was rumored to have constructed an extensive series of interlinked mine shafts, a subterranean labyrinth in which to store and protect the treasures he'd dug up over decades.  When Geb-i-Haaz finally passed on, his book The Miner Texarcana was located (or perhaps inherited), and copies have been circulated in the years since.  Although it is not supported by any material in the tome, legend has it that Geb-i-Haaz developed for himself a sealed spelunking suit with an air supply provided by a bound air elemental; this slave-elemental also powered the wizard's harpoon-gun, with which he defended himself.

One of the few extant photographs of the  Mad Prospector.

THE MINER TEXARCANA OF GEB-I-HAAZ: a manual of elemental digduggery
This quarto-sized volume is bound in muleskin and stitched with wampus-gut.  The cover is embossed with a sigil depicting a pickaxe crossed by a shovel, superimposed on a square surrounded by a unicursal heptagram.  A complete and accurate copy of this tome will include the following sections:

Theories of Earth Elementalism - contains earth-magic theory and notes on creatures of the earth-elemental plane.

Secrets of Claim-Jumping - Geb-i-Haaz knew a thing or two about taking from others, and having things taken from him; studying this chapter intensely for two weeks will increase a thief's skills one level permanently.

Practical Mineworking - several chapters on digging, bracing, mining, and the like.

The Miner Texarcana also contains a number of spells.  Some of these are explicit in the text and included by Geb-i-Haaz; these are explained below.  In other cases, those who discover a copy of the book may find notes on other earth-magic spells written in the margins or upon the endpapers.


Ore Dowsing (level 2, duration 1 turn) - The sorceror attunes himself to the nature of the earth and stone around him, and is able to discern veins or deposits of precious (gold, silver) or useful (iron, copper) metal.  The ore-sense is 100% accurate within a 30-foot radius; accuracy decreases 10% per extra 20 feet thereafter.

This Ain't Gold (level 2, duration 24hrs/special) - After casting this spell, the wizard may bite or lick an item of treasure to estimate its value within plus-or-minus 10%.  The ability lasts for 24 hours after casting the spell, or until the wizard has evaluated 10,000gp worth of items, at which point the effect expires.

Cave-In (level 3) - Functions underground only, as the dweomer calls upon earth-spirits of the deep.  The caster targets an area within line-of-sight and mentally triggers a cave-in displacing d4 cubic yards of earth/stone per level of the caster.

Handy Lil' Fellers (level 3, duration 24 hrs) - This summoning spell calls forth 1d6 Lesser Excavators per level of the caster (see monster description below).  The Excavators will dig as instructed, and can remove up to 10 cubic yards of earth/stone per day.

Lesser Excavators (very minor earth elemental creature)
HD 1     Attack/Save As: F1
The small, ball-like excavators are native to the planes of earth and related realms; they are spherical and crimson, with goggle-like eyes and tiny feet.  Excavators thrive on stone and earth, and can eat their way through it at a remarkable rate; it is for this reason they are summoned as digging assistants.  Although they are normally calm, excavators encountered in the wild can become vicious at a moment's notice.

Geb-i-Haaz, in spelunking-suit, defends himself against a wild Excavator (artist's rendition)


  1. It's ashame Geb-I-Haaz's techniques weren't more widely practiced in his on time.

    By the way, I had to look up "unicursal." Who says rpgs aren't educational?

  2. I had to look it up, too - although there was a moment where I was all "if it isn't a real word, I'm keeping it anyway". Blame Dave!

  3. Glad I could be of service. Thanks for allowing me to people a small corner of your excellent RPG world.