The Black Pillar of Death | Environmental Hazard

The Black Pillar of Death

Standing tall and ominous against the darkening sky, the ancient stone spire looms like a bony finger reaching up from the earth. Its surface is etched with sinister runes that pulse with sickly green light, and its very presence seems to drain the warmth and life from the surrounding air.

The Black Pillar of Death is an environmental hazard that can be included in many different encounters. It can be used by itself as part of a trap or puzzle, or even as part of a challenging combat. One of the best parts is that over the course of a handful of rounds it will get to one of most characters’ weaknesses. From the low strength wizards and the low intelligence barbarians to the low charisma fighter and the unwise ranger they will eventually fail a saving throw. Which is at most 6 damage but at least the barbarian can stay in a rage. Wherever you use it, the mechanics stay the same however some of the attributes can be modified to suit your table or tier of play. Numbers that can be adjusted include the AC, HP, save DC, and amount of damage.

The Black Pillar of Death. AC 17, HP 43 (6d10). Arcana Check DC 17 to understand how it works, how to stop it, or to successfully scratch the magical runes.

Necrotic Pulse. On initiative count 20 (losing any ties) the black pillar releases a wave of necrotic energy. Any creature not familiar with the pillar within 60 feet must make a DC 14 saving throw taking 3 (1d6) psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. Round 1 begins with a Strength saving throw, each round moves to the next ability score, and starts again with Strength at round 7.

Round 1: STR saving throw

Round 2: DEX saving throw

Round 3: CON saving throw

Round 4: INT saving throw

Round 5: WIS saving throw

Round 6: CHA saving throw

Round 7: STR saving throw

d6 Fantastic Locations. desolate wasteland, twisted swamp, haunted graveyard, forgotten temple, cursed village, remote island

Tell me your ideas for using this in an encounter in the comments below.

As always, good luck with your next session, I believe in you. See you in the future!

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