Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stygian Depths - Hellcrawl Preview III

Gustave Dore - Satan talks to his children, Sin and Death
37.41 Ossuary: A muddy little island here is topped by a stone building about 30 feet wide and 100 feet long, with a peaked roof that is also made of stone. The building is sealed by double doors of polished oak that bear four brass medallions, each one depicting a grinning skull. The door opens easily.

The building within is composed of a single large chamber wracked with thunder and lightning. As soon as the doors are opened, the storm spills out from the building, with almost hurricane force winds that make closing the doors very difficult. The winds swirl around the building, forming clouds in the sky overhead. After one minute, the clouds erupt in lightning (per the call lightning spell cast by a 20th level druid). The storm soon covers the entire hex, and an hour later expands into all of the surrounding hexes. If the doors are closed, the storm soon ceases.

Inside the building, there are stored hundreds of skulls engraved with glyphs and runes that emit a phosphorescent glow. Each round, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the skulls, which are blown around the room by the violent winds, swarm around the adventurers and attack.

If a skull is removed from the ossuary, its animation ceases and it gives its bearer the power to cast control weather and call lightning once per day.

SKULL SWARM: HD 12; AC 1 [18]; Atk 3 vicious bites (1d8); Move F15; Save 3; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: +1 or better weapon to hit, immune to electricity, half damage from bludgeoning weapons, 1 point of damage from slashing and piercing weapons.

38.70 Temple of Sin: There is a temple here, standing above the swamp waters on vaulted granite legs. Will-o-the-wisps swarm beneath the temple and around these legs, tracing out glyphs of warding (no magical power) to frighten away travelers.

One enters the massive structure by catching hold of a barbed chain (holding it inflicts 1d4 points of damage per round) and climbing 20 feet up to an alcove in the wall that holds an iron door. There are a dozen such doors, each looking like the monumental brass of a warrior king.

The temple proper is a tall stone building covered with patches of purple moss; it is about 40 feet wide and 200 feet long with a ceiling 30 feet high. The temple holds an idol to Lucifer’s daughter, Sin. From this sanctum, there are six portcullis-barred tunnels (three per side) leading back into the living quarters of the thirty hobgoblin priests of the temple and their mistress, the so-called Woman of Many Faces.

The Woman of Many Faces is just that, a humanoid woman with coppery skin and wearing heavy black robes. She has no face, the front of her head being perfectly smooth and flat. She has five artificial faces that she can hold up to her face, as one holds up a mask, and animate. These are her porcelain face of beauty (cast charm monster and suggestion), emerald face of envy (cast mage’s lucubration and transformation), her ruby face of rage (cast flame strike and rage), her iron face of war (cast ironskin and spiritual weapon) and her wooden face of contemplation (cast augury and divination).

42.38 Bodikar, High Inquisitor: The necromancer Bodikar (Mage 16; 43 hp) occupies a tower of granite faced with sheets of beaten bronze. He serves as the chief inquisitor of Bael, seeking out high-ranking demons who may be disloyal to Bael and putting them through trials and eventual imprisonment and torture. Torturing a demon is, of course, a tricky thing to do.

The offenders have strange metal boxes strapped to their heads. The surfaces of these boxes look into the Empyrean Heaven (per a crystal ball), showing them a world they may never visit again. All the while, lumpy green energy leeches draw their vitality from them, making them as weak as humans. When the leeches grow fat, they are removed from the demons and polymorphed by Bodikar into amber globes that hold the devils’ ichor and a portion of their power.

Bodikar uses these globes to create clones of some of the devils and demons that are loyal to him above all else. Other globes are retained as ingredients for potions or to be used as splash weapons, the ichor acting as flaming oil that causes double damage to lawful creatures.

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