Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cush & Pwenet Preview 5 - A Hospice, a Mindmaster and the Krakoo

57.08 Nabu Castle: Rising above the savannah is a concentric castle in the style of Old Nabu. From the outside, the castle looks perfectly normal. The outer wall is 20’ tall and constructed of white limestone (quite dazzling under the blazing sun). It has a single gate house with a bronze portcullis that has been rended apart like tin foil. The gate house is guarded by a blazing bones (43 hp) who holds a chain connected to a cauldron of boiling palm oil.

Beyond the outer wall there are the burnt remains of many huts and a well that still supplies sweet water. At some point, a desperate woman cast a golden ring (100 gp) into the well.

The inner wall is 30’ tall and shows signs of damage (broken ramparts, piles of rubble) on its eastern side. The inner gatehouse, located away from the outer gatehouse, consists of 40’ tall towers bristling with arrow slits. Inside each tower are five skeleton archers (HP 7, 6, 6, 5, 2, 2 in each). The iron portcullis between the towers is rusted shut, and would take a combined strength of 100 to force it open.

Once one has breached the inner walls, they will discover that the castle’s donjon is nothing but a pile of rubble. Nevertheless, a cavernous opening does give access to a small entry chamber guarded by three zombies (HP 10, 2, 1) wearing a number of cow bells. Any fight with them will produce a racket, warning the lord of the castle that dinner is served.

From the entry chamber one will pass through a wide tunnel that winds below the castle. The tunnel eventually splits into three passages. The easternmost passage leads to a veritable ossuary of humanoid and animal bones as well as dozens of bell jars containing rare herbs and fungi worth 10 gp each to a herbalist or sage.

The central passage leads further down until the slope becomes quick slippery (permanent grease spell), sending intruders into a deep pool (10’) of fresh water. A submerged tunnel leads to the bottom of the well.

The westernmost passage leads down a bit before ending in a large burrow supported by pillars of limestone. This burrow holds a pool of black water and a large pile of treasure. It is the home of a middle-aged dragon who calls himself Mindmaster the Controller.

Mindmaster sacked this fortress a millenia ago and has been sleeping for the past two centuries. He has copper scales, a sinewy body with bat-like wings, and hypnotic eyes (gaze attack). He is capable of casting the following spells: Grease, detect thoughts (ESP), summon monster I, wall of fire and animate dead. Mindmaster’s breath weapon is a cloud of hallucinogenic gas (save or suffer frightening hallucinations for 1d4 rounds).

Mindmaster’s hoard consists of 1,000 gp and a wand of wonder.

57.44 Hospice of the Blazing Sun: A band of Lawful clerics and knights has established here a hospice and road house for folk bound from the west and south for points north. The hopsice was established on a sacred field of battle, where warriors of the Order of the Blazing Sun, crusaders in service to Mithras, did battle with a coalition of gnolls and the servants of Chaos.

The hospice is a small fort of adobe brick. There is an outer wall, about 16 feet high and 4 feet thick, which is patrolled by crossbow-armed warriors of the order, with a two gates consisting of an iron grate. A 10-ft. deep pit, 8-ft. wide and 16-ft. long, has been secreted beyond the gate, and can be set to open when trod upon by releasing a lever near the inner gate. Above the gate, there is a gold plate (worth about 160 gp) depicting the face of Mithras.

Within the wall, there is a stable (can hold 30 horses), a small smithy manned by the armorer Kanu (who worships Ogun, but keeps it quiet around the religious knight), a cookhouse where game and cattle are barbequed by a cook called Amah, and the main keep, a 20-ft. tall building, square in foundation with sides 40-ft. long, with crenelations on the roof. The keep has a single, sturdy oak door bounnd in iron. Within, there is a great hall, chapel of Mithras, hospice, kitchen, apothecary, armory, a cellar (storage, including several barrels of sweet wine) small rooms for travelers and even smaller cells for the warrior of the hospice.

The hospice is manned by 20 men-at-arms (ring mail, heavy mace, light crossbow (fires bullets rather than bolts), 10 bullets), ten 1st level fighters (light horse, chainmail, shield, lance, light mace) and six 1st level clerics (light horse, chainmail, light mace, three throwing hammers). They are led by a chanter called Bonse and the master of the hospice is the vidame Arkhun, who hails from Ibis.

The hospice is famous for its wine (the valley it is situated in produces a decent grape, which the brothers turn into a sweet wine) and the cattle they graze on the savannah. Recently, a constrictor has stolen its way into the cellar, and awaits its prey.

60.06 Krakoo: This hex was long dominated by a powerful band of gnolls. Over time, their numbers fell and another group of crow-headed warriors called the krakoo invaded. The last band of gnoll warriors, their chieftain Zharl and his eight bodyguards, are now chained to several thorny acacias, slowly bleeding to death. The krakoo have set up their new stronghold on a rocky promontory, studding the upper portions with the spears (and bones) of the gnolls. If aided, the gnolls will happily lead adventurers to the promontory, and will even fight with them, but they ultimately cannot be trusted.

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