Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hellcrawl Preview - Besieged Towns and Ruby Cities

Probably the last Gehenna preview until NOD 13 hits the virtual shelves - having an extra day this February is going to help. Other articles slated for lucky number 13 include Shades of Red (the variant red dragons), Hero vs. Villain (stats for Zanzibar the magician and the speed demon Greymalkin - and an adventure seed as well), a crop of Demon Lords, Epic Journeys (a series that will lay out the concept of a 1st level to 20th level campaign centered around an epic level monster, in this case the Anaxim), the rules to my card game Greatsword, the Evolutionary PC class (with some sweet art) and a few new magic helms.

On to the preview ...

Fly Man of Abaddon by Ndege Diamond - not in this preview
80.28 Nathox: Nathox was once a splendid town of 1,000 Xshayathian ophidians under the command of the glabrezu Keirzer the Dreadful. It is now besieged by an army of demonic centaurs and erinyes that marched into Gehenna from Stygia. Powerful magics from the centaurs and their leader, Erichtho (Mage 17; 43 hp), the Stygian witch and a servant of mighty Dagon, Prince of Stygia, who seeks the soul of the damsel Beatrice, stolen by rebel erinyes.

Erichtho wields the horn of an ancient white wyrm, using it to freeze the once blazing city, encasing the walls in ice and causing all of the fires in the city to sputter and die – they now produce nothing but thick, acrid smoke.

87.76 Black Dogs: This hex is patrolled by packs of gaunt, black dogs. The dogs are about the size of terriers and are capable of emitting a terrible shriek before attacking (save vs. fear or flee for you drop). The strange beasts are only harmed by holy symbols (which are pretty pathetic weapons) and divine magic. They have 90% resistance to arcane magic and even magic weapons only harm them 90% of the time. The dogs were summoned by an unfortunate wizard using a small book bound in black leather. The book was stolen from the camp of Paymon, and may contain other weird summonings.

88.73 Monastery of Madness: There is a monastery here that looks like it might have been dreamed up by Salvadore Dali – all abstract shapes and weird lines. The monastery is dedicated to Azathoth, the Slaad Lord of Madness, and is staffed by a priesthood of walking slimes and overseen by a balor demon called Karum, Bringer of Madness. Karum looks as though his flesh is melting from his body, and he leaves a trail of slime that, if it puddles, has a 1 in 6 chance per turn of animating as yet another walking slime.

At the heart of the monastery, if one can find it through the shifting corridors and many pit falls, there is an idol in the form of a black sphere that gives off a strange humming noise (like a theramin) and great arcs of electricity (1 in 6 chance per round of striking a random person within 30 feet with a 3 dice lightning bolt that also steals their soul unless they pass a saving throw). Rumors speak of a vault beneath the idol holding all manner of relics and riches.

The idol is surrounded, at a distance of 35 feet, by six hepatizon pedestals. A thief can work out that they are triggers that must be weighted down with 100 lb. each to be triggered. If this is done, the would-be tomb robbers get a nasty surprise. Instead of discovering a treasure vault, they instead are drained of 1d4 levels, their life energy passing into the black sphere, which shatters and is sucked inward into a umbral blot that has been summoned to wreak havoc in Hell in service to mighty Azathoth.

92.42 Calepp: Calepp is a grand city of ruby spires inhabited by the 1,000 Lamuresti elves. The city is constructed of ruby-colored crystal and blocks of brass, each one a bas-relief of a beauteous elf. From the walls of Calepp, the elves sing terrible chants that echo across the metallic sands, mourning the kidnap of the Princess Ninsab, daughter of King Barimu (Fighter/Mage 10; 36 hp).

The elves are especially enraged that Barimu has launched no counter attack against the gnolls [90.76] who took her. He is currently enchanted by Eshkit (Duelist 11; 35 hp), a rakish woman who is actually a doppelganger in service to Mammon, sent to spy on these elves who worship Mulciber above all other demons. She has carried a magical garnet into the city and has secreted it in Barimu’s treasure chamber. The accursed garnet has not only stolen Barimu’s heart and will, but is spreading a wasting curse (per mummy rot) through the elves of the city.

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