Ancient legends of the land speak of a beautiful young princess called Argenta who lived in a wonderful enchanted palace made of every type of marble known.
This palace is the home of this realm’s eccentric rulers, the King and Queen of Courland. The king has recently left to hunt the legendary Bandersnatch—a task he has attempted dozens of times, though he has yet to even sight the frumious creature
It has three entrances, and one of the rooms contains the remains of a dead halfling who fell prey to the rats.
Discarded equipment, burned-out torches, and broken armor accumulate in corners and along the edges of corridors.
Skeletons and zombies are sometimes encountered within these halls, brought to the hideous semblance of life by the unbalancing presence of the nixthisis in the dungeon.
Since it must be opened frequently to stash the donations of losers, it is not locked; it is, on the other hand, always guarded by the dealer working the counter.
That said, if the adventurers devise a clever plan to sneak in, run with it!
Regardless of which way the party enters, they will eventually see the nature of the place they are in:
Final authority always rests with the Mutant Lord.
The Princess volunteers this much information:
Aside from a handful of streams that trickle less than fifty miles before drying up, there is not a single river on the planet-though I have crossed plenty of ancient bridges and know that rivers were once common.
River and Roads act differently than other hex features.
The landscape writhes, but whether it is alive or only a radical geological formation is a matter of conjecture.
We have seen signs of unspeakable evil in the land.
The doll was buried in the depths of the mountain when Wanda caused half of the mountain to collapse upon it
A crevice in the seabed conceals a waterproof trunk containing an assassin’s disguise kit, a +1 dagger, and a small raft with the skeletal remains of a small whale chained to it.
The next critical time node is the most delicate.
The enemies (possibly Chaotic monsters) are invading the Realm of Man.
A knight, lone and overconfident, lives on this island, challenging all comers in an overconfident manner to a joust, using the newcomer’s choice of weapons.
You remember snitching apples from the big tree in his yard when you were young and foolish.
He has a darkly beautiful face, but appears morbidly sad.
From him comes a sharp, sweet, churning scent, like rotten corn.
There is no reason to believe that this will change.
Occasionally he manages to trap a giant scorpion and has a feast for the whole village.
While the heroes feast, several Oolalats perform an awkward dance around a great bonfire. The audience watches for the heroes' reactions, then mimics their response.
This leaves them free to devote themselves to their favorite pastime: frenzied feasting and wild revelry.
Then the knight goes back to the princess with the dead devil shield, and is happy that she touched his hand, by accident, and looked him in the eyes.
Because of their stupidity they are not often prone to listen to bribe offers.
They are extremely hungry and will take food over a fight.
Madness can be a subtle yet serious element to your game.
After a round the players will hear scuffling and fighting noises from the other side of the east wall door.
This is a relatively new conclave of wizards.
They abide in the gloom of Hades, controlled by the night hags.
One of them is badly injured. The healing powers of the other two are sufficient to keep their friend alive, but the wounds do not heal as expected.
The character has some form of injury to his or her incorporeal shadow-self.
The caster has crude control over one non-intelligent animal.
If his hands are not bound, he tries to escape by means of his Teleportation spell.
Only his essence remains.
Fish swim through the room as the north door lies open and undefended.
Their specialty is a potato-and- cabbage soup.
The arrangement of the manipulative organ (or hand) on the front limb is one of their most interesting features.
This area’s dimensions cannot be easily ascertained, for it is enveloped in a thick fog of black smoke that does not extend beyond the room’s perimeter!
Many lexicons, scrolls, manuals, tablets, books, and codexes are scattered on the floor in disorder and most will crumble upon being touched.
Because of the complexity of this adventure, and the huge cast, it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with these books before beginning play.
A successful Read (symbols) roll indicates that the symbols were read and understood.
When the heroes are the most off-guard, read the following to the players:
There are rumors of unicorns being seen in the valley.
Some say that it portends the birth or begetting of a great hero who will help all of mankind. Others say that is a sign of disaster, either of the death of a great man or the birth of the worst villain to be ever born.
Some say that any half-elf who can befriend most of the dwarves in Ptolus must be practically a saint.
Some say that sages carry on the research traditions of the ancient Philosophers, though in a way different from the alchemist; while others point to the sage-priests of Thoth to rebut any connection to the ancient Philosophers.
Some say the island held a major city of the Orichalan Dragon
Some say it is a forgotten god of an ancient culture. Still others say it is an enslaved demon.
Another rumor states that it was used as a secret entrance to the underworld and was collapsed to keep the dark forces from spewing forth. Whether or not these rumors are true makes no difference to a pack of 25 dire rats (CR 1/3; hp 5 each) that scurry back and forth in the darkness looking for scraps of food.
The rats’ priestess lives here.
The priestess, Yem, is a virgin sworn to divine service.
One of her fingers is a laser weapon.
She will personally slay anyone who dares to damage her carnivorous plants – sure, they have fangs and eat stray dogs, but their beauty and fragrance is quite extraordinary.
The smell is incredible. You can see your surroundings by the faint yellow and ochre radiance of phosphorescent slime growing on the bridge and the walls of the room.
This putrid glob of slime combines all the horrid qualities of bl. pudding, gr. ooze, gr. slime, and och. jelly.
The slime feeds so quickly that after this period, in only 1d4 rounds after contacting an animal’s (or character’s!) bare skin, the slime will completely digest it, creating more slime in its place.
It loves chess (moving pieces with an unseen servant) and expects the PCs to lose graciously, like it was forced to do when it played with kings.
You may flinch when it silently scans your face.
The chess pieces are gold and silver plated (2000 gp).
There is also a puppet, dressed and painted as a gypsy, whose strings are draped around it like a shroud. Awareness. (Success = You notice that the puppet’s eyes follow you as you move.)
There is an elaborate golden birdcage, with a gorgeously plumed songbird inside, warbling a pleasant song. Compose or Singing. (Success = You recognize the song, a well-known lament for a lost love.) Finally, there is a miniature tableau under glass. It appears to be a bedroom with various figures surrounding the bed. The figures and furniture are all constructed of dried flowers and other plants. There is a red rose on the bed, which curiously has not faded as the other flowers have. This is the receptacle of Lady Alene’s soul.
These are intended as assassination weapons.
These things will move onto the characters unnoticed due to the obscurement of the fog.
This is a complex encounter; the DM must be totally familiar with everything in this room before the PCs begin exploring the area.
Unless the characters come up with something very unusual, they aren't likely to escape by trickery.
The villains' grudges often border on obsessive or insane behavior.
This entire area is a Time-locked Glyph-magic Chamber, aging simply does not occur. The eternally youthful, age-old former monarch of the Graeth now lies calmly slumbering upon a rune-carved stone dais in this, her prison.
Three of the walls are made of metal. At the top and bottom of each metal wall is a small silver cylinder. The top cylinder pours out a sheet of liquid which runs down the wall until it contacts the lower cylinder.
The Malignancy does not extend here.
The ceilings on this level are fifteen feet high.
Those who enter by day find nothing but mourners and morticians.
This place is the home of Indolence itself.
However, if the party posts no guards, the monsters will surprise automatically as the party was sleeping and unaware.
Buried under at least 10 feet of silt is a heavy, lead trapdoor. This trapdoor is the entrance to a vast, underground complex which some say connects to the giant, subterranean vaults the lie beneath the surface, maybe to Hell itself.
This area is also the return point for parties who have begun at the end, worked through the middle, and arrived at this beginning—not at all unnatural here, you know.
The door to this room is unlocked. This large pentagonal room is filled with the same strange light as area 9. A 10’ tall copper statue is on a pedestal near the east wall. A single brain lasher is here, seeming to kneel in prayer at the statue.
The long wall is covered with a mural depicting many battles. Among the combatants are strange aliens that look like snakes with antennae, fighting Kang!
Here is a catacomb of dozens of tombs of inanimate Snake-Men mummies. The inside of one of their coffins has been inscribed with the ritual for the Imprisonment of the Angled Labyrinth. Over the course of 2-4 weeks, a sorcerer can daub the inscriptions with his own blood, thus learning the ritual. Another tomb has a dinosaur-skin scroll containing the ritual for The Lurker amidst the Obsidian Ruins.
Humans, demihumans, and even humanoids can be targeted to receive this ecclesiastical instruction.
Such detailed work requires an inordinate amount of time and is likely to irritate adventurers.
Priests worshipping a good deity who begin to acquire a following of fleshiating servants soon lose their status as a priest-at least as the priest of a good deity.
This is the fringe of this level's magic-dead area.
Look into what doctors have to say about the particular affliction, and try to reflect that.
The walls of this large, pillared hall are lined with jet black stone. The walls, the ceiling, the floors, the pillars, all are intensely black.
This is dark. Utterly, undeniably dark. So dark the word loses its meaning.
The center of the eastern wall is occupied by a shimmering green effigy of a 9' tall, four- armed man.
He might be silent at first, but at some point it will be more convincing to have him growl, screech, cackle, or mock. He does not breathe at all.
He is being chased by three blue- skinned humanoids.
These vaguely human blobs are then tormented by devils.
They beat people up and demand answers to their questions, but they don't know how to piece the puzzle together.
(This adventure, like yesterday's, was collaged together from random RPG books.)
OSR: Tomb of the Serpent Kings, Session 10
7 hours ago