Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Well, Room 5: Altar of the Eye

At the end of the eastern hall is a lozenge-shaped room, approximately 15 feet wide and 20 feet long, with rough, rounded corners. A one foot wide trough, hewn from the stone of the floor, crosses the room from the northern to the southern wall about five feet from the eastern wall. To either side of the door, torches in sconces with beaten-bronze mirrors shed light on a Chaotic chapel.

Bas relief carvings along all the walls seem to have once depicted more gnolls and elves, but these carvings have been thoroughly defaced. In their place, much newer, cruder carvings abound- massive eyes, human figures with eyes for heads, human faces with eyes in their mouths and mouths in their eye sockets, and the like.

The trough appears to be filled with a dust-covered pool of oil. A brazier with cold coals sits against the northern wall, with flint and steel and several bits of tinder beneath the brazier.

Beyond the trough, a heavy chain descends from the ceiling, suspended by a hook fastened to a ring on the wall. At the end of this chain is a chandelier-like figure- a metal central body with a paste-gem eye, and ten twisted wrought-iron arms ascending from this central mass. The ends of these arms have the decaying remains of human eyes impaled on six of them, and another bizarre, non-human eye with a strangely shaped pupil decorates the last. (This is an ibixian eye, a devotive offering from one of the Servitors of the Bleth on level 2B.)

Kneeling before the oil trough are six human cultists (use the statistics for brigands or bandits). All six of the cultists have shaved heads, long, wild beards, and do not pause for even a moment before leaping to their feet and attacking strangers in their (un)holy place.

Four of the cultists wear dingy white robes, their open fronts displaying crude tattoos of multiple-eyed beasts on their chests. Three of these men kneel next to long-handled axes, while the fourth possesses a massive, multi-headed flail.

The last two wear equally poor robes, dyed a rusty reddish-brown. One of the men has an axe, and one a flail. Beneath their tattered robes, these cultists wear studded leather armor. These red-robed cultists are missing their left eyes, scarred sockets empty and unhidden. On the backs of their heads are further crude tattoos, depicting lidless eyes with triangular pupils. These cultists also possess the chest tattoos of the above men, beneath their armor.

If the room is searched, the paste-gem eye of the beholder figure is revealed to in fact be a grime-covered pearl, worth 250 gp. The cultists each bear 1d6 sp, and one has a pouch with 5 gp and a wooden holy symbol of an open eye.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

[ACKS Monster] Fimir

I really enjoy the 1st Edition Warhammer FRP rulebook. That game definitely scratches a different itch than D&D does.

Sharl Maragh Fhimm/Dirach
Lair: Special Special 17+
Dungeon: Special Special Band (1d8)/Lair (1d4 bands)
Wilderness: Special Special Slaving Party (1d4 bands)/Stronghold (1d6 parties)
Alignment: Chaotic Chaotic Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40') 120' (40') 120' (40')
AC: 3 (piecemeal armor) 3 (piecemeal armor) 3 (piecemeal armor)
Hit Dice: 2+1* 6+3*** 3+2* (3+2** for Dirach)
Attacks: 2 (slam or by weapon) 2 (slam or by weapon) 2 (slam or by weapon)
Damage: 1d6/1d6 or 2x by weapon 2d6/2d6 or 2x by weapon +2 2d4/2d4  or 2x by weapon +1
Save: F2 M7 F4
Morale: 0 +2 +1
TT: Special Special G per band
XP: 47 1280 100 (135 for Dirach)

Rumored to be the descendants of humans and demons, the Fimir haunt bogs, fens, and desolates moorlands throughout the world. They are common in coastal areas, but can be found anywhere suitable dank. Their strongholds tend to be human ruins, coastal headlands and barren hill-forts, perpetually shrouded in thick mist.

Roughly human-shaped, Fimir have massive barrel chests, short, powerful legs ending in three-toed clawed feet, and long arms which nearly reach the arms. Their heads are large and almost hairless, tapering to a noseless, tusked snouth. They possess a single baleful white eye set low on their head. When Fimir stand up straight (which is rare), they reach nearly to eight feet. Fimir have long tails ending in thick knobs, and pebbly greenish-yellow skin.

Fimir communtiies are divided into caste by body type, with the majority being of the Sharl caste, servitors and menials. The next is the Fhimm, or warriors, followed by the Dirach- demonfriends. Most feared of all are the Maragh, the witch-queens who rule over Fimir strongholds, the only female Fimirs. How Fimir maintain their numbers with so few females is a matter of much scholarly debate, mostly amongst the more depraved scholars of Talis.

The Fimir shun the light of day, traveling in darkness whenever possible. They raid human farms and villages, in search of food and captives. Fimir are perpetually shrouded in thick fog to a radius of 20'.

Each Fimir warband consists of the above noted number of Fhimm warriors. A warband has a 50% chance of having a Dirach leader.

Each lair or slaving party has an additional 1d4 Dirach and a Maragh.

A Fimir stronghold in the wilds has all of the above, plus 1d4 more Maragh, with 1d4 Dirach per Maragh as a sort of honor guard.

Sharl rarely leave a Fimir lair, whether it be in dungeon or wilds. When such a lair is encountered, there will be a total number of Sharl Fimir equal to 150% the number of Fhimm.

Combat: Enemies to the side or behind a Fimir can be attacked by their tail. This attack is at a -2 to hit and inflicts 1d6 damage, regardless of the Fimir's caste. Sharl and Fhimm invariable use a pair of heavy-bladed axes, maces, spiked clubs, or the like.

Dirach: Dirach are, essentially, Fhimm born with some talent for spellcasting. They are able to cast spells as 3rd level mages, in addition to their normal abilities in combat. Once per week, seven Dirach may come together at the direction of a Maragh in order to perform an hour long ritual which is able to summon and command a demonic servitor elemental, as the spell Conjure Elemental. This elemental, when summoned, always appears somehow unwholesome (stinking reddish water, greenish-blue flame, bone-filled earth and the like).

Maragh: Maragh do their best to avoid melee combat. They have the spellcasting ability of a 5th level cleric and 5th level mage, and in addition may throw a bolt of crackling green-black energy up to 120', dealing 1d12 points of damage. Once per week, four Maragh may come together in a day-long ritual to cast Contact Other Plane.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Well, Room 4: Black Chains

Twenty feet away from the True Well, down the eastern passage, the hallway passes by two doors, one on either side of the hallway. 

Ten feet further, the hallway ends at a third door.

The left (north) door appears to have been hacked down at least once, and has been re-hung, apparently recently, on well-greased hinges. The door is neither locked nor stuck. Through the door is a fifteen by fifteen room. Thick black chains hang from the eastern wall- four sets, all of which are empty. 

In the western side of the room is a crow cage, with several tongs, branding irons, and knives hanging from hooks along one of the hoops of iron. The knives are very sharp, and appear well-used. Stamped into the steel blade of one of the knives is the Dwarven rune for "N", and there are several strange notches near the base of the blade.

This knife can be used as a key for the chest in Kaaz the Runic's room on level 2A.


Monday, October 26, 2015

[ACKS Monster] Horned Ape

I love Russ Nicholson's art in the Fiend Folio, and I was checking out his website. This picture spoke to me, sufficiently to hammer out a monster to match it. I hope you enjoy-

Horned Ape
Lair: 19+
Dungeon: Troop (1d6)/Den (2d10)
Wilderness: Band (2d4)/Den (2d10)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 3
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 3 (slam, slam) or 1 (horn gore)
Damage: 1d4/1d4 or 1d8
Save: F2
Morale: 0
TT: A (in Den)
XP: 50

Long ago,  the inhuman "Green Monks" came to the world of Rhule from unknown dimensions, and stole primitive human women for their own carnal desires. The resulting progeny- beautiful, eldritch crossbreeds- were valuable as concubines, and sold as slaves across the three worlds.

Eventually, the race of the Green Monks ascended, leaving their physical husks behind, their twisted cities empty, and their slave-races bereft of civilization. Over time, the crossbred children ceased to breed true. Future generations birthed abominations- bestial ape-like forms with a single, massive horn arching from their foreheads.

Many of these horned apes survive in ruined, nameless cities throughout the southern continents of Talis.

Art by Russ Nicholson

The Well, Room 3: The True Well

If one were to remove the bar from the southern door of Room 1 and then hack down the swollen planks from their framing stone, they would find a room approximately thirty feet square, with a protrusion to the south 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep. To the left and right (east and west), five foot wide corridors proceed into gloom.

The central 20 feet of the room is a vast, circular hole with a narrow stone lip. Ascending out of the darkness are numerous white, chalky vines, here and there marred by blood-red leaves. A few lurid yellow blossoms, reminiscent of tansies, also grow from these vines, which reach all the way out of the great pit, creeping along floors, walls, and even ceiling to arch back upon themselves at the southern end of the room. The whole of the "plant" glows dully with a faint white lumiscence. The frame of a double door is barely visible behind a clot of white vegetation in the southern wall.

A lit torch thrown into the depths of the vegetation (or some other light source) reveals a similar landing, 15 feet below this floor, and even a second, 15 feet below that. Beneath that, though, is a vast white tuber, apparently the source of the profusion of vines. It appears to have grown or been forced from yet a third landing, 45 feet below the level currently stood on. The tuber is irregularly shaped, and seems to have a root structure which descends still further into the shaft.

The vines are edible- though wholly foul-tasting- and the blood-red leaves can be boiled down into a concoction that will, if ingested, provide a +1 bonus to saving throws versus poison for 24 hours. Partaking of any part of the flowers, however, will cause the eater to have vivid, bizarre dreams when next they sleep- dreams of strange, red towers looming from dunes of black ash, while a pale white sun hangs low in the sky. The dream ends as shadowy figures lurch toward the dreamer, changing and growing more like the dreamer in form and face as they approach.

The vines are also more than strong enough for an armored man to ascend or descend to the landings below...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Well, Room 2: Guardhouse

From the zombie-infested entry chamber, the northern archway opens up into a twenty by twenty room.

In the room are the shattered remains of several bunks, a weapons rack, armor racks and an overturned table, though all but the table are but broken debris. The ashes and scorchmarks of a cold campfire hide behind the overturned table.

Cut into the face of the table is a crude image of a rising (or setting) sun, with two birds to either side of it. It would appear this carving is an addition made after the table was overturned.

The western wall sports a series of small alcoves, three in all, with ragged, filthy tapestries half-covering the openings. These alcoves are privies, and sport benches with openings descending at a steep angle out of sight.

What can be seen of the images on the tapestries appears to depict armored elves, fighting dog-headed humanoids. The elves appear to be losing.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Well, Room 1: Entryway

It seems impossible, but here, at least thirty miles from the nearest town, stands a circular stone well, about eight feet wide in diameter, dressed fieldstone rising three feet out of the ground. Above this arches a stone trilithion, carved with many symbols. Astute or eldritch-trained visitors recognize a few of these as debased symbols reminiscent of the ancient elves, though the handiwork of the well is decidedly not their work.

A much weather-worn rope is lashed about the lintel stone, descending into the putrid-smelling depths. It is within arm's reach of the eastern side of the well, and the stone face seems scuffed, as though by passage of feet clambering over the low wall.

The well itself descends some fifty feet into the earth, ending and widening out into a long, shallow room, about eighty feet long by twenty feet wide. At the southern end of the room is a wooden door, age-twisted in it's frame, with a heavy wooden beam serving to hold it shut from this side. In the eastern wall, a low archway opens up on a steep set of stairs, while in the north, another archway seems to lead to a second room.

The source of the putrid smell is a group of 10 zombies, clad in rotting mustard-yellow robes and black-lacquered masks bearing the symbol of a sun upon their brows. The zombies ineffectually scratch at the barred door to the south, ignoring anyone entering the well unless they make loud noises, cast spells, or come within 10'. These actions cause the zombies to turn, attack the interloper, and then (if not destroyed) go back to their previous actions.

Propped in the southeastern corner of the room, there is the semi-decayed corpse of a small dwarf (or large halfling) clad in chain mail, warhammer still clutched in withered hand. It seems evident that the poor fellow died facing the zombies. Upon his person is a backpack and rotten pouch with 12 gold. His other gear, an assortment of "generic starting adventurer" belongings, are damaged by time and weather.