Still working diligently on Hell. Almost finished with the north half of the first ring, and then I need to sprint in October to finish the north half of the next few rings. Should fill quite a few pages. I’m also working on a Demonologist class based on the Elementalist I published a few months back and a class that will present a few underground creatures as playable races, for those who want to run a campaign set entirely in the underworld. I’ve commissioned some art from Jon Kaufman, who did the race images for PARS FORTUNA and requested an old-style bugbear (a’la DCS), orc (pig-nosed of course), goblin (a’la DAT), kobold (scaled dog dude), hobgoblin (samurai armor wearing), svirfneblin (a’la Russ), drow (a’la Willingham), duergar (a’la Holloway) and a new critter. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
I should also mention – if these encounters sound tough, they’re meant to be. Most Land of Nod hex crawls are designed with characters in the fourth to eighth level in mind. These are meant to challenge characters who have gone past 12th level and want to invade Hell instead of settling down and playing the end game (stronghold, armies, etc). For example, Cocytus, the lowest plane of Hell, will be geared towards challenging a party of 30th level characters.
66.4. Fishing Trolls: A tribe of trolls (50 males, 50 females and 60 young) dwell here on the banks of the Acheron. The trolls are whalers. They sail a boat made from the ribs and hardened skin of abyssal whales. They head out into the Acheron each day seeking abyssal whales to harpoon and pull out of the water. The whales are then processed, producing black ambergris that is highly valued (1,000 gp per pound; the trolls usually have 2d10 pounds on hand).
The trolls dwell in a white mount that abuts the river, in caves chewed out of the chalky stone. These caves wind through the white stone like a maze, but the trolls always know their way, especially the secret doors and passages.
The trolls are led by a jarl called Svalmad and his five brothers, who serve as his huscarls. The tribe also includes a shaman called Bearlang, who prays to Hel and Angrboda and has been given a nidhund by those demons for his loyal worship. The trolls of White Mountain have oddly elongated arms, giving them a +1 bonus to hit in melee combat. They wear bits and pieces of leather and metal armor (equivalent of ring mail) and carry axes and harpoons. Svalmad is growing old for a troll, and his brothers know it. They plot against him with Bearlang.
Besides the aforementioned ambergris and a fair amount of scrimshaw art (maybe 1d4 x 100 gp worth), the trolls have a treasure of 3,500 ep, 45,400 gp, 520 pp, a silver idol of Hel (800 gp), an emerald (4,000 gp), an aventurine (1,250 gp) and eight casks of fine wine (12 gal./100 lb. each, worth 600 gp/gal.)
TROLLS: HD 6+3; AC 4 ; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Regenerate 3hp/round, +1 to hit.
NIDHUND: HD 4; AC 5 ; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and 2 claws (1d6); Move 21; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Immune to cold and poison, rake with claws, magic resistance (10%).
HUSCARLS: HD 7+3; AC 4 ; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 9; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Regenerate 3 hp/round, +1 to hit.
BEARLANG: HD 6+3 (38 hp); AC 4 ; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Regenerate 3hp/round, cast spells as a 3rd level anti-cleric, +1 to hit due to elongated arms.
SVALMAD: HD 9+3 (33 hp); AC 4 ; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 9; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Regenerate 1 hp/round, +1 to hit due to elongated arms.
90.11. Igho-Kih: Igho-Kih is a dready city of 12,500 grimlocks and their thelidu masters. The city is hewn from the very stone of the underworld in a lopsided radial pattern – meaning circles off-set from one another in such a way that they intersect at weird angles. The city-state is surrounded by a tall karst wall that looks like a picket of giant stalactites. These walls have been carved into battlements and towers at places, and form a massive fortress. Each buttressed balcony is patrolled by 1d4 grimlocks who carry spears and wear chainmail. Within the city-state there are tall towers that rise above the canyon-like streets. These black, 3-story towers contain acid that can be released into the streets like a flood at the direction of the city’s masters, a council of thirteen thelidu, squid-headed humanoids with tremendous powers.
These thelidu dwell in a domed palace in the center of the city-state. The palace and city are ensorcelled to be completely dark. Even magical light can only penetrate about 5 feet into the darkness, and even then only with the brightness of twilight. Within the domed palace there is a series of pits and tower platforms. There is no way to move between them other than magic or difficult climbing. At the center of the dome there is a deep pit lined with mirrors that scry into the worlds beyond Nod (i.e. Mercurius, Veneris, Martis, etc).
The thelidu plot the downfall of all creation, though they are so plodding and intellectual they’ll probably never get around to actually doing anything grandiose and meaningful. In the meantime, the grimlocks raise worms and fungus. They live in warrior bands under violent chiefs and enslave their (and other races’) women to use as domestic servants and for mating. The council watches all and knows all, and rewards or punishes the chiefs as they see fit.
109.7. Rats & Sharks: There is an old stone fortress here, probably built by the drow ages ago. The fortress has a courtyard and three towers. The two smaller towers have tumble at some time in the past and now exist as a ruin. The larger tower, though shabby, is still strong and is inhabited by a gang of 20 ratling reavers. Ratlings are, of course, little threat to the denizens of Nifol, but these ratlings are smart and they control five landwalking sharks, which they use in the manner of war elephants. The sharks are kept chained in the courtyard. The ratlings must use extreme caution when mounting them, jumping on the large leather and wood harnesses affixed to their backs from above and then guiding them with gibbets of meat tied with sinew to long sticks or bones. Patrols of three of these war sharks are constantly active in these tunnels, and may be encountered randomly (see above).
The tower of the ratlings contains a shrine to their goddess, the Mouse Lord. Here, they keep a silver idol with ruby eyes and the living manifestation of their goddess (or so they think), a wererat named Tefnuin who wandered into Nifol as an adventurer and managed to hook up with the ratlings after her partners were killed. Tefnuin dwells in luxury, her every need catered to. She wears silk veils that accentuate her semi-humanoid curves, enticing perfume (well, enticing to a ratling) and carries a poisoned dagger. Her soldiers are armed with crossbows with poisoned bolts, short swords and, when on their landwalking sharks, harpoons that are used to reel in prey.
The ratlings have a treasure of 9,790 gp, 860 pp and a lapis lazuli charm worth 200 gp.
LANDWALKING SHARK: HD 13; AC 5 ; Atk 1 bite (1d10+8); Move 9 (S18); Save 4; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Amphibious, feeding frenzy.
RATLING: HD 1; AC 9 ; Atk 1 bite (1d6+poison) or weapon; Save 17; Move 12; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Diseased bite.
TEFNUIN, WERERAT: HD 9; AC 6; Atk 1 bite (1d3), 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 7; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Lycanthropy, control rats, surprise (4 in 6).