Hell South – Preview 5

59.109 Ancient Lake: There is an ancient lake here, the shores of which are thick with tall mushrooms, about ten to twenty feet tall. The mud in the lake bottom is infused with spores that animate corpses as water-logged zombies. A notac-ichat necromancer called Otatach has set up shop on a secluded harbor in a half-ruined tower. He currently has a dozen of these zombies serving him, and is looking for more – a few are already buried in the muck, but new bodies can be added if their current owners die.

70.109 Blue Flame: This hex is a tableland of buttes and wide, empty canyons. The walls of the buttes are a dark gray streaked with white, and there are numerous caves. In the northern portion of the tableland, the ground drops suddenly to form a basin filled with a thin layer of salty water. Amidst this water there is a beacon tower. The tower is 50 feet tall and made of the same gray stone as the buttes. The exterior is studded with spikes and there is a powerful blue flame exploding out of the top of the tower. The flame rises about 20 feet taller than the tower. A stone door descends into the ground when a secret panel near the door is pressed to allow entry.

Inside the tower, which is 15 feet in diameter, there is a spiral stair leading to the top of the tower. The stairs are about four feet wide. In the center of the tower there are glass walls that go from bottom to top. Inside the glass walls one can see the blue fire as it erupts from the ground. At the top of the tower one is exposed directly to the flame, which gives off very little heat.

The flame is actually an ancient red dragon that defied the gods and was turned into this flame as punishment. If one can communicate telepathically they can communicate with the dragon, Vornthek, who will tell its sad tale (all lies, of course) to an adventurer in hope of being changed back, though undoing a deific punishment is no simple matter.
Some folk of the Gloom have been known to spread a tale of the great power that can be acquired by jumping through the flames (not easy, of course, as it is a seven foot jump and a fifty foot drop if one fails). Those who pass through the flames take on draconic powers.

The power comes with a curse, of course. A day after one takes on the draconic aspect, they become a bit smaller and a bit more draconic. After two days, their hands become claws, their nose extends into a snout, etc. By the fourth day the person is noticeably smaller and they have sprouted wings and begun to think like a dragon. This continues until, on the seventh day, they become a little, blue pseudo-dragon.

Draconic Powers: The person who steps through the flame gains the ability to breathe a 30-foot cone of fire for 6d6 points of dragon once per day. In addition, they are immune to fire and their AC improved by four points.

79.106 Well of Evil: A rocky hill here is topped by a shell keep with 30-foot high walls that are 15 feet thick. The walls contain several chambers in which dwell the Platinum Order of dwarf clerics and their servants, three dozen dwarf berserkers who cover their unclothed bodies in violet tattoos and wield two-handed axes.

The berserkers and clerics are the official guardians of an ancient iron well in which are bound dozens of ancient (far more ancient than the devils), evil spirits. The dwarf clerics are bound by several tattoos. They cannot speak or cut their hair, must never draw blood. If they break these taboos, the evil spirits are released from the well as a nightcrawler, a shadowy worm of immense proportions.

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