2532. As one passes through this woodland of pines and pale blue rhododendrons, they might (1 in 12 chance) be accosted by a sort of clown – a short, slight man wearing a frightful blue mask and brightly colored silks and going barefoot. The clown appears about 20 yards ahead of the adventurers, performs a series of comical acrobatics and motions them to follow him.
The clown leads the adventurers to a secret grove of tall, black pines. Black moss covers the ground and the boughs of the trees are thick with spider webs. Sitting on the ground in the grove is a porcelain bottle decorated with black moths. The bottle contains a powerful narcotic, that, when imbibed, causes one to fall instantly and deeply asleep. As a person falls into unconsciousness, they also fall through the mossy ground, which becomes spongy, then more and more insubstantial until it can no longer hold the sleeper’s weight.
The sleeper passes through the ground for about 100 yards, finally emerging in an etheric chamber of mists and half-heard whispers. This chamber leads into the lair of a coven of nine witches (shugenjas, level 1d4+1) loyal to the Yozi. Like the grove above, it is lousy with spider swarms and giant spiders, as well as a tribe of twenty-five blue faced bugbears (HD 3+1) with long, golden brown fur that lightens to silvery white at the tips. The leader of the witches is Gatachru, a creature that appears to be female from the waist up and spider below. She has skin the complexion of black currants and eyes that shine like sapphires. On Gatachru’s head is an ivory crown set with two large emeralds, one containing the trapped soul of a holy bujin, the other that of a sohei.
The chambers of the bugbears and Yozi cult connect to the wider underworld of demons, devils and the unquiet dead.
| Gatachru: HD 6; AC 2 ; Atk 1 weapon (1d6) and bite (1d4 plus poison); Move 12 (C9); Save 11; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Poison, magic resistance (40%), casts spells as a 6th level sohei and 6th level shugenja, surprise on roll of 1-3 on 1d6.