Stabbing You With Their Minds

The last of the three “lost classes” of Blood & Treasure is the soulknife. The soulknife is certainly more gonzo than the classic fantasy archetypes, but they have some cool precedents in sci-fi entertainment, specifically in the form of the ubiquitous light saber and in the redesigned Psylocke (kinda miss the old one, to be honest) and her mind blades. The overall concept is pretty decent, and it was a close one to make it into the final game. I especially liked the idea of illustrating it (or having it illustrated for me, to be precise) as an Indian warrior with glowing katars. So … the soulknife for Blood & Treasure (which is about a month away from being finished, FYI).

SOULKNIFE

Soulknives are men and women with a natural surplus of psychic energy but no ability to manifest it in the form of psychic powers. Instead, they learn, through rigorous training and meditation, to unlock their chakras and focus their psychic energy into a blade-shaped construct. Soulknives follow a strict warrior code – the Kshatriya Dharma. This states, “Stand straight and never bow down, for this alone is manliness. Rather break at the knots than bend!”

Requirements: Soulknives must have a dexterity and wisdom score of 13 or higher.

Hit Dice: d8 (+3 hit points per level from 10th to 20th).

Armor: Padded, leather, ring mail, studded leather and all shields.

Weapons: Club, crossbows (any), dagger, dart, javelin, mace, morningstar, punching dagger, quarterstaff, rapier, sap, shortbow, short sword, sickle, sling and spear.

Skills: Climb, Find Secret Doors, Hide, Jump, Listen at Doors and Move Silently.

CLASS FEATURES

A soulknife can create a semisolid blade composed of psychic energy distilled from his own mind. The blade is identical in all ways (except visually) to a short sword (for medium-sized soulknives), dagger (for small-sized soulknives) or longsword (for large soulknives). The wielder of a mind blade gains the usual modifiers to his attack roll and damage roll from their strength score.

The blade can be broken (it has an AC 15 and 10 hit points); however, a soulknife can simply create another on his next turn. The moment he relinquishes his grip on his blade, it dissipates (unless he intends to throw it; see below). A mind blade is considered a magic weapon for the purpose of hitting monsters only hit by magic weapons.
A soulknife’s mind blade improves as the character gains higher levels.

A soul knife of 2nd level or higher can throw his mind blade as a ranged weapon with a range increment of 30 feet. Whether or not the attack hits, a thrown mind blade then dissipates. A soulknife of 3rd level or higher can make a psychic strike (see below) with a thrown mind blade and can use the blade in conjunction with other special abilities.

A soulknife of 3rd level or higher can spend one round of combat to imbue his mind blade with destructive psychic energy. This effect deals an extra 1d6 points of damage to the next living, non-mindless target he successfully hits with a melee attack (or ranged attack, if he is using the throw mind blade ability). Creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are immune to psychic strike damage.

A mind blade deals this extra damage only once when this ability is called upon, but a soulknife can imbue his mind blade with psychic energy again by taking another round to imbue it with destructive psychic energy.

Once a soulknife has prepared his blade for a psychic strike, it holds the extra energy until it is used. Even if the soulknife drops the mind blade (or it otherwise dissipates, such as when it is thrown and misses), it is still imbued with psychic energy when the soulknife next materializes it.

At every four levels beyond 3rd (7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th), the extra damage from a soulknife’s psychic strike increases by 1d6.

At 5th level, a soulknife gains the ability to change the form of his mind blade. This one full round; he can change his mind blade to replicate a blade one size larger (i.e. dagger to short sword, short sword to longsword or longsword to bastard sword) or smaller. Alternatively, a soulknife can split his mind blade into two identical blades, suitable for fighting with a weapon in each hand.

At 6th level, a soulknife gains the ability to enhance his mind blade. He can add any one of the Class A weapon special abilities on the table below. At 10th level the soulknife can add a Class B ability to his mindblade. At 14th level, the soulknife can add Class C abilities to his mindblade. At 18th level, the soulknife can add two Class B abilities or three Class A abilities to hit mindblade.

Special Abilities
Class A: Defending, keen, lucky, mighty cleaving, psychokinetic, sundering, vicious
Class B: Collision, mindcrusher, psychokinetic burst, suppression, wounding
Class C: Bodyfeeder, soulbreaker

Bodyfeeder: Weapon grants the wielder temporary hit points equal to the damage inflicted on a natural attack roll of ‘20’.

Collision: Weapon increases own mass at end of swing, dealing 5 extra points of damage.

Lucky: Once per day, the wielder can re-roll a missed attack.

Mindcrusher: Spellcasting or spell-using creatures hit by this weapon lose a random ability or spell slot. They must also pass a Will saving throw or lose 1d2 points of wisdom.

Psychokinetic: Weapon deals +1d4 points of ectoplasmic damage to those it hits.

Psychokinetic Burst: As psychokinetic, plus, on a natural attack roll of ‘20’ it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage.

Soulbreaker: On a natural attack roll of ‘20’, the victim loses one level (per a life drain). One day after losing the level, the victim can attempt a Fortitude saving throw to regain the lost level.

Sundering: Weapon provides a +2 bonus to sundering attacks.

Suppression: Creatures hit by this weapon suffer from a targeted dispel magic effect. The wielder makes a dispel check (i.e. Will save with a penalty equal to the level of the spell to be dispelled).

The weapon ability or abilities remain the same every time the soulknife materializes his mind blade (unless he decides to reassign its abilities; see below). The ability or abilities apply to any form the mind blade takes, including the use of the shape mind blade or bladewind class abilities. A soulknife can reassign the ability or abilities he has added to his mind blade. To do so, he must first spend 8 hours in concentration. After that period, the mind blade materializes with the new ability or abilities selected by the soulknife.

Beginning at 13th level, when a soulknife executes a psychic strike, he can choose to substitute intelligence, wisdom or charisma damage for extra dice of damage. For each die of extra damage he gives up, he deals 1 point of damage to the ability score he chooses.

Deviant Friday – Pot-Pori

Today’s Deviant Friday post is just a bunch of little items I’ve favorited over the last couple of months … no connection other than, for one reason or another, I dig’ em. Enjoy and check out all of these folk’s portfolios online and let them know if you like them.

Oh, and special bonus points for picking one of these characters and giving them stats in your favorite system in the comments below.

Happy Blog-O-Versary to Me! + FLAILSNAILs comes to NOD

Image is property of Wizards of the Coast, the darlings

Four very simple items today.

First – it’s my second blog-o-versary! I’ve had a ball with this blog and, I think, created something useful to the RPG community at large. My sincerest thanks to those who read the blog (especially to anyone out there that uses this material in their games), to those who follow the blog, to those who put me in their blogrolls and to those who have purchased some of my nonsense and made one of my dreams com true (still waiting on the jetpack).

Second – I have two groups working their way through the Land of Nod right now playtesting my Blood & Treasure rules. One just crawled into a strange, abandoned trireme they found buried under a mountain (clearly their lives are not in danger) and the other just came up from a delve into the catacombs of Ophir, the Wickedest Little City on the Tepid Sea.

Most importantly, I have now officially signed on to the FLAILSNAILs Convention, and hereby open the gates of Nod to anyone who wants to poke around in it and cause trouble. Right now, I just do play-by-post gaming on Google+, because I have a day job, a family and I spend a fair amount of time writing RPG stuff (if you hadn’t noticed). If you or a group want to delve into Nod and you’re on Google+, just let me know and we’ll work something out. You can even choose the system we use, assuming I own the rules and have the inclination to use it.

ALARUM: A couple people have dropped out of the Google+ Nod game, so there are slots open on the 3rd level Team Blood and the 6th level Team Treasure, if anyone wants to play. Team blood lost an elf fighter and Team Treasure a human cleric, but you can play something different. Team Blood is currently above ground and resting, so a Team Blood player could jump right in. Team Treasure is in the wilderness, but they’ll be returning to civilization soon to re-supply, so a higher level character might have to wait a bit. 

If you want to join in now, just send me an email (jmstater    AT    yahoo    DOT    com) and we’ll make it happen.

Third – Random Things Found Under Foot in the Dungeon (by command of JOESKY)

1) The shed scales of a large reptile (psst – it’s behind you, and its invisible)

2) A puddle of halfling blood (you can tell from the sugar content)

3) A patch of green slime cunningly masquerading as brown mold (don’t ask me how)

4) Bugbear droppings (where did they find corn 300-ft below ground)

5) A pointy hat, lightly singed

6) A wooden holy symbol, broken in half

7) A tentacle (attached to an angry monster, of course)

8) Footprints in the dust that stop where you’re standing

9) The ashes of a lich

10) A flimsy ceramic tile hiding a caltrop

11) A chainmail bikini (with a broken leather strap!)

12) Shards of glass that sparkle like gems (with the reflection of a yellow-pupiled eye staring back at you in each shard)

13) A copper coin (48% chance of being shiny)

14) A puddle of acid with mind-bending effects for those who touch it

15) An anti-shadow cast by an adventurer from the negative zone

16) A silk scarf that smells of sunflowers, the ends tattered and stained with blood

17) The Magna Carta

18) A patch of ice … evil ice!

19) Tomb dust (hold your breath!)

20) Mummy wrappings (pray the owner doesn’t give a tug)

Thoughts on the City of Dis [Hellcrawl]

Dis presents a unique challenge for the Hellcrawl, as it is a city that dwarfs anything mankind has ever known. Mapping it would be impossible, and producing enough unique encounters to fill its streets would take more time than I can possibly devote to the task.

For that reason, Dis is going to lean more heavily on randomization than the other cities I’ve presented in NOD.

For geography, Dis will rely on a deck of playing cards. As players enter Dis, the Refeee will lay down a card in such a way that everyone can see it. The card’s suit determines the general activity of that “block” of the city, while the number will determine the level of that activity and thus the likelihood of adventurers being caught up in it. The common cards in the deck represent something akin to suburbs, while the “face” cards represent city cores, each governed by a different arch-devil or demon lord of Hell.

Clubs = Magic – illusions, alchemical experiments, magic storms, wizard wars

Diamonds = Commerce – con-men, slavers, thieves, doxies, hucksters, beggars, merchants selling indulgences and buying souls

Hearts = Religious Fervor – unholy preachers, sacrifices, religious processions, gruesome holidays and festivals

Spades = Violence – duelists, gladiators, angry mobs, gang wars, armies fighting street to street or besieging a small castle, etc.

Each hex of Dis is taken up by four cards, placed thus:

Dis is generally three hexes thick, so winning through the other side of Dis will involve, at a minimum, navigating through six cards. Naturally, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The streets of Hell are mazelike, so finding one’s way through is difficult. Unlocking each maze depends on the wisdom of the party members. The wisdom totals are added together and divided by two. This is the percentage chance that the party members can navigate through the maze. If they fail, they can remain where they are and try again tomorrow – though that means finding lodging and dealing with the possibility of frightening urban encounters. They can also go back the way they came.

Becoming lost in Dis is not just a matter of physically finding one’s way through the city – it also represents becoming spiritually lost. When a group becomes lost, the member with the current highest wisdom score loses 1d4 points of wisdom. If their wisdom score is reduced to a 9 or lower, they begin to question the value of virtue and become more attracted to vice. If their wisdom is reduced to 3 or lower, they become enmeshed in sin and take on the chaotic alignment. If their wisdom is reduced to 0, they become one of the undead citizens of Dis (those citizens will be given more detail in the actual article) and they cease attempting to escape.

If a group’s wisdom roll is successful, they find 1d3 exits from the current block they are in, allowing them to move in one of three directions to another card.

1 Exit – you can move right or left (50% chance of either)
2 Exits – you can move right or left
3 Exits – you can move right, left or forward

The higher the value of the card, the more difficult it is to find one’s way.

To finally escape Dis, one must win their way to the other side and hire transport to the next circle. In Dante’s Inferno, this transport is provided by Geryon. In Stater’s Inferno, it is provided by any number of contrivances, but whatever the method, one must show a silver key. These keys might rarely be found on random encounters (and there are many counterfeit keys), but they are most often won by providing services to one of the arch-devils or demon lords of the city. The only way to escape Dis is to become involved in the politics of the place – a tricky thing indeed, and sure to wear on one’s soul.

Among the lords of Dis (most are courtiers and bureaucrats) are Medusa, Titivilus, Adramalech, Astaroth, Behemoth, Buer, Leonard, Glasya-Labolas and, of course, Dispater, the grim king and final authority of the city (or so he thinks). Dis also holds the parliament of Hell, Pandaemonium.

The look of Dis will differ from block to block, from heaping ruins to the cobblestone streets of Dickensian London to Hell’s Kitchen to Babylon to the soulless blocks of buildings of Soviet-era Russia. There are streets of embers, canals of magma and more than enough horrors to keep a party of adventurers busy for a session or two.

Stygian Depths – Dark Diplomats, a Fierce Tomb and Macrosian of the Long Shadow!

Illustration by Sidney Sime, because you never need a reason to post a Sime piece!

A few more from Stygia! NOD 14 is pretty much on schedule. I’m 95% finished writing the Stygia hellcrawl, and am ready to tackle the city of Dis. I’ll post my thoughts on Dis tomorrow.

43.69 Diplomats: There is a vast expanse of mud flats here. The mud is fairly solid, though strange, burrowing worms sometimes push up from the mud, “stare” vacantly at passers-by and then disappear once again. Ten rusty, iron pylons form a gathering in the mud flats, each one a bit tilted. They are, at the moment, occupied by a ten bat monsters, envoys of Bael who are hearing the pleas of a diplomat of Adamantia, one of the Queens of Elemental Earth. The diplomat, if anyone so brusque can be called a diplomat, is an elder xorn called Xaanon. He has been accompanied by six normal xorn, and they are demanding that the soul of a wicked elementalist who did much harm to their people be turned over to Adamantia for proper punishment. Bael is not inclined to agree, though he is willing to make a deal that Queen Diamond will probably find repugnant.

48.31 Macrosian: A tower made of nightmares – surging and writhing like a tower of crimsons, ambers, golds and bilious greens, screaming or weeping faces appearing and then dis-appearing on the surface – stands here, overlooking a dismal landscape of frothy water and black claws that might once have been trees. The tower seems solid enough, despite its moving surface, and it has a wide door composed of black oak embossed with a golden eye.

To enter, one must simply push through the door, saving as they do against a nightmare spell. Inside, they find themselves in a throne room with walls lined with books (most are false, containing only the screaming faces of damned souls that attempt to steal levels per a wraith). In the middle of the room there is a throne of built of metal cubes, shimmering with peacock brilliance. One’s footsteps echo in the chamber and the air is so still it almost strangles a person’s words before they can utter them. Spiral stairs of hepatizon rise from the four corners of the throne room to other chambers and halls.

When a person enters the tower, a shadow version of them emerges from the wall. These shadow clones (the effect is similar to greater shadow conjuration or greater shadow monsters) act very much like their doubles, but one of them, randomly, is possessed by the spirit of Macrosian – He of the Long Shadow – a powerful sorcerer (Mage 17; 44 hp) consigned to Hell. Macrosian seeks to conjure the Typhon from its slumber in the abyssal depths.

The tower is inhabited by hundreds of shadow people, the clones of people who have passed through, and any one of them could be Macrosian. He speaks with a thunderous whisper, and it is through his speech that one can identify him. He can move from body to body at will, and is canny enough to take on the mannerisms of the person he is, at that moment, possessing.

53.80 Athachs: A pair of athachs are clumsily working their way through a village of mostly ruined brick hovels in search of a very special child. The inhabitants of the hovels are twisted, little grey men and women in dirty smocks who seem to make a living raising cabbages. The child was found by them in the swamp. He is a frail lad of about 7 years with opalescent skin that gives off a coiling green mist and completely black eyes that mirror one’s soul.

56.30 Bronze Tomb: On a high, flat mound of earth, surrounded by a picket of bronze spears, there is a tomb of bronze in the shape of a demon with a distended belly. The demon sits in a squatting position and its clawed arms drag the ground at its sides. The demon’s belly is made of glass – in fact, it is actually a sphere of glass about 3 inches thick and mingled with silver dust. This sphere is filled with a pale, grey ichor and floating in it is the preserved corpse of a murderess. The corpse is in a fetal position, clinging to an iron chest, her black hair fanning out in the weird liquid.

A flight of harpies protect the tomb, swooping down on any who would disturb it within 3d6 rounds of their first approaching the tomb. The tomb is also capable of defending itself, for the wicked soul within it can animate the monstrosity, making it arise and flail at tomb robbers with its claws.

Tournament Time for Sir Basil of Lyonesse!

Mike Davison has started a FlailSnails Jousting Tournament on Google+ that my brand new knight, Sir Basil of Lyonesse, has entered. The jousting started today and, glory be to God, Sir Basil managed to squeek out a win, despite having his helm knocked off and being unmounted.

Best of all, it’s giving me a FlailSnails character (I have a winsome wench named Lucretia who is eligible as well) I can use in future in other games.

I don’t know if outsiders can get a ringside seat to the “FlailSnails Jousting Field” or not, but if you can, do so. There’s chicanery afoot, some side bets happening, and I must say I’m having a ridiculously good time with it. Google+ might not be the best social media concept in history, but it’s doing wonders for the OSR.

Fight On!

Update: Sir Basil goes down in the second round. Alas and alack!

The Polyhedroids [New Monster]

Two of the creatures that proved popular in my best.monster.ever poll were the modrons and the slaad. Since neither is open content, I’ve had to create my own versions for inclusion in Blood & Treasure. The polyhedroids fit the role of “agents of absolute law”.

POLYHEDROID
The mechanisms that regulate the clockwork movement of the cosmos are unseen, but they do exist. And while sages and theologians may argue and fight over who designed and put them into motion, they rarely worry over who maintains them. More importantly, when the cosmos needs an upgrade such as a new moon, who builds it, puts it in place and sets it off on its merry way? The who in question are the polyhedroids. The polyhedroids are like organic constructs. They are creatures of absolute law and order; every polyhedroid has a place in the scheme of things and every polyhedroid wants nothing more than to perform the task they have been assigned. They oppose chaos because it is an opposing force, not out of any love or comprehension of virtue, and since they see all living and non-living things as mere gears of the cosmos, they have no compunction about using these gears as they see fit to maintain cosmic order.

Spheroid
Spheroids are the least of the polyhedroids. They have a single eye, which can seemingly travel around the surface of their body as they like, and a small mouth that always sits at the bottom of the sphere. Once given a task, a spheroid works at that task until it is complete and then become idle, waiting for a new order from a more complex polyhedroid.

Spheroid, Small Outsider, Lawful, Low Intelligence: HD 1; AC 13; Atk 1 tentacle (1d4); Move 20; Save F 13, R 13, W 14; XP 100 (Basic); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, surprised on 1 in 4, resistance to electricity, spells (at will-levitate), telepathy 100 ft.

Tetrahedroid
Tetrahedroids are the engineers of the polyhedroids. They look like triangular pyramids turned on their points. From each of their four vertices, they sprout a tentacle. On three of their four faces, they bear a single large eye. On the fourth face, that which points up, they have a mouth. They are capable of balancing and moving on a single tentacle and attacking with the other three. Tetrahedroids often work alone or in small groups on major tasks or command a work crew of four spheroids.

Tetrahedroid, Medium Outsider, Lawful, Average Intelligence: HD 4; AC 15; Atk 3 tentacles (1d6); Move 30; Save F 11, R 11, W 11; XP 400 (Basic); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid and electricity, magic resistance 10%, spells (at will-levitate, mage hand), telepathy 100 ft.

Hexahedroid
Hexahedroids are employed to command work details of spheroids and tetrahedroids or to fight in polyhedroid armies when chaos threatens the cosmic order. They appear as cubes turned on their points, with eight tentacles sprouting from their vertices. Three of their faces bear great eyes, while the other three bear mouths. Hexahedroids attack with four tentacles and can cast spells as 6th level clerics. They can cast one spell per round, even while attacking. Hexahedroids command crews of six tetrahedroids.

Hexahedroid, Medium Outsider, Lawful, Average Intelligence: HD 6; AC 17; Atk 4 tentacles (1d8 + constrict); Move 40; Save F 10, R 10, W 10; XP 600 (Expert); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, fire and electricity, magic resistance 15%, spells (at will-levitate, mage hand; 1/day-magic missile, shield), telepathy 100 ft.

Octahedroids
Octahedroids are governors among the polyhedroids. They appear as octahedrons (or 8-sided dice if you please) lying on their horizontal axis. They have six tentacles sprouting from their vertices. Those that ring their center are used for movement, while the two on the ends are used for attack and manipulation, though technically they could use two of their central tentacles for attack if need be. They have four eyes and four mouths and cast spells as 8th level clerics. They are capable of cast two spells per round, even while attacking. Each octahedroid has a bodyguard of 8 hexahedroids.

Octahedroid, Large Outsider, Lawful, High Intelligence: HD 8; AC 19 [+1]; Atk 2 or 4 tentacles (2d6 + constrict); Move 60 (Fly 180); Save F 9, R 8, W 8; XP 4000 (Master); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, cold, fire and electricity, magic resistance 20%, spells (continuous- detect lies, protection from evil; at will-levitate, mage hand, telekinesis; 3/day-command, detect invisibility, detect magic, magic missile, shield;1/day-interposing hand, wall of force), telepathy 100 ft.

Dodecahedroids
Dodecahedroids are lords among the polyhedroids. They appear as dodecahedrons (or 12-sided dice if you please) sprouting 20 tentacles. They have 6 eyes and 6 mouths spaced around their bodies, and cannot be surprised. They cast spells as 12th level clerics and are capable of casting three spells per round even while attacking. Each dodecahedroid commands a council of 12 octahedroids.

Dodecahedroid, Large Outsider, Lawful, High Intelligence: HD 12; AC 21 [+2]; Atk 10 tentacles (2d6 + constrict); Move 90 (Fly 270); Save F 7, R 4, W 6; XP 6000 (Master); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonics, magic resistance 30%, spells (continuous-detect invisibility, detect lies, protection from evil; at will-command, detect magic, detect thoughts, levitate, mage hand, telekinesis; 3/day- dimension door, magic missile, shield, wall of force;1/day-dispel magic, force cage, forceful hand, interposing hand, teleport), telepathy 1,000 ft.

Icosahedroids
Icosahedroids are kings among the polyhedroids. They appear as icosahedrons (or 20-sided dice if you please) sprouting 12 tentacles. They have twenty complete faces consisting of an oblong eye and mouth. They cast spells as 20th level clerics and are capable of casting four spells per round even while attacking. Each icosahedroid commands a kingdom of 20 dodecahedroids, 240 octahedroids, thousands of hexahedroids, millions of tetrahedroids and untold numbers of spheroids.

Icosahedroid, Huge Outsider, Lawful, Super Intelligence: HD 20; AC 23 [+3]; Atk 6 tentacles (3d6 + 1d6 electricity + constrict); Move 120 (Fly 360); Save F 3, R 3, W 3; XP 10000 (Epic); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire, negative energy and sonics, magic resistance 50%, spells (continuous-detect invisibility, detect lies, detect thoughts, protection from evil; at will-command, detect magic, dimension door, levitate, mage hand, telekinesis; 3/day- dispel magic, magic missile, planeshift, shield, teleport without error, wall of force;1/day-clenched fist, crushing hand, force cage, forceful hand, grasping hand, interposing hand), telepathy 10,000 ft.

Antikytheres [New Clockwork Monster]

During the best.monster.ever discussion there was a request for clockwork horrors. Here’s my version of the, sort of the fantasy version of self-replicating machines that just don’t know when to stop.

ANTIKYTHERES

Antikytheres are clockwork creations of magic-users designed to retrieve rare earths, metals or gemstones for their alchemical work. They look like scarabs fashioned from precious metals and their dim programming sometimes blossoms into true intelligence, allowing them to reproduce and form hordes. These hordes can descend on a region and strip it bare of mineral resources, all for the purpose of making additional antikytheres. It is not for nothing that dwarves and gnomes attack them on site and then pursue their creator with a rare determination.

Antikytheres are small creatures that look like scarabs with six jointed legs ending in spikes, mandibles capable of chewing through stone and wing flaps that can open to release razor-sharp chakrams. An antikythere holds six of these missiles.

The bronze antikytheres are the basic models. Silver antikytheres are more intelligent than bronze antikytheres and are also immune to acids. Through a nozzle in their mouths they can spit acid once every three rounds. The acid emerges in a 10-ft line and otherwise conforms to the acid arrow spell. Gold antikytheres are the most intelligent form of the construct. They are also immune to fire and, in instead of spitting acid every three rounds can spray a 15-ft. cone of alchemist’s fire once per day.

Although terrifying enough alone, when five antikytheres work together they can set up vibrations that can cause a small earthquake (per the spell). Each round, there is a 5% chance per antikythere involved (remember, there must be at least five) of causing the earthquake effect. Other antikythere in the area of effect have a +3 bonus to save vs. the earthquake due to their knowledge of it coming and their ability to clamp their spiked legs into the ground for stability.

Bronze Antikythere, Small Construct, Neutral, Non-Intelligent: HD 2; AC 17; Atk 1 bite (1d6) or chakram (1d4); MV 30 (Burrow 15); Save F 16, R 15, W 15; XP 200; Special: Immune to electricity, paralyzed by dispel magic, vulnerable to sonic attacks.

Silver Antikythere, Small Construct, Neutral, Animal Intelligence: HD 4; AC 16; Atk 1 bite (1d6) or 2 chakram (1d4); MV 30 (Burrow 15); Save F 15, R 14, W 15; XP 300; Special: Spit acid, immune to acid and electricity, paralyzed by dispel magic, vulnerable to sonic attacks.

Gold Antikythere, Small Construct, Neutral, Low Intelligence: HD 6; AC 15; Atk 1 bite (1d6) or 2 chakram (1d4); MV 30 (Burrow 15); Save F 13, R 12, W 13; XP 300; Special: Spray alchemist’s fire, immune to acid, electricity and fire, paralyzed by dispel magic, vulnerable to sonic attacks.

Deviant Friday – Metal Snail Edition

The mysterious artiste known as MetalSnail and/or Vindaloovian draws what Carcosa looks like in my admittedly more whimsical/less Lovecraftian horror mind’s eye. Love his stuff – check it out and throw out some possible stats in the comments if you’ve a mind to.

Stygian Depths – Hellcrawl Preview III

Gustave Dore – Satan talks to his children, Sin and Death

37.41 Ossuary: A muddy little island here is topped by a stone building about 30 feet wide and 100 feet long, with a peaked roof that is also made of stone. The building is sealed by double doors of polished oak that bear four brass medallions, each one depicting a grinning skull. The door opens easily.

The building within is composed of a single large chamber wracked with thunder and lightning. As soon as the doors are opened, the storm spills out from the building, with almost hurricane force winds that make closing the doors very difficult. The winds swirl around the building, forming clouds in the sky overhead. After one minute, the clouds erupt in lightning (per the call lightning spell cast by a 20th level druid). The storm soon covers the entire hex, and an hour later expands into all of the surrounding hexes. If the doors are closed, the storm soon ceases.

Inside the building, there are stored hundreds of skulls engraved with glyphs and runes that emit a phosphorescent glow. Each round, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the skulls, which are blown around the room by the violent winds, swarm around the adventurers and attack.

If a skull is removed from the ossuary, its animation ceases and it gives its bearer the power to cast control weather and call lightning once per day.

SKULL SWARM: HD 12; AC 1 [18]; Atk 3 vicious bites (1d8); Move F15; Save 3; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: +1 or better weapon to hit, immune to electricity, half damage from bludgeoning weapons, 1 point of damage from slashing and piercing weapons.

38.70 Temple of Sin: There is a temple here, standing above the swamp waters on vaulted granite legs. Will-o-the-wisps swarm beneath the temple and around these legs, tracing out glyphs of warding (no magical power) to frighten away travelers.

One enters the massive structure by catching hold of a barbed chain (holding it inflicts 1d4 points of damage per round) and climbing 20 feet up to an alcove in the wall that holds an iron door. There are a dozen such doors, each looking like the monumental brass of a warrior king.

The temple proper is a tall stone building covered with patches of purple moss; it is about 40 feet wide and 200 feet long with a ceiling 30 feet high. The temple holds an idol to Lucifer’s daughter, Sin. From this sanctum, there are six portcullis-barred tunnels (three per side) leading back into the living quarters of the thirty hobgoblin priests of the temple and their mistress, the so-called Woman of Many Faces.

The Woman of Many Faces is just that, a humanoid woman with coppery skin and wearing heavy black robes. She has no face, the front of her head being perfectly smooth and flat. She has five artificial faces that she can hold up to her face, as one holds up a mask, and animate. These are her porcelain face of beauty (cast charm monster and suggestion), emerald face of envy (cast mage’s lucubration and transformation), her ruby face of rage (cast flame strike and rage), her iron face of war (cast ironskin and spiritual weapon) and her wooden face of contemplation (cast augury and divination).

42.38 Bodikar, High Inquisitor: The necromancer Bodikar (Mage 16; 43 hp) occupies a tower of granite faced with sheets of beaten bronze. He serves as the chief inquisitor of Bael, seeking out high-ranking demons who may be disloyal to Bael and putting them through trials and eventual imprisonment and torture. Torturing a demon is, of course, a tricky thing to do.

The offenders have strange metal boxes strapped to their heads. The surfaces of these boxes look into the Empyrean Heaven (per a crystal ball), showing them a world they may never visit again. All the while, lumpy green energy leeches draw their vitality from them, making them as weak as humans. When the leeches grow fat, they are removed from the demons and polymorphed by Bodikar into amber globes that hold the devils’ ichor and a portion of their power.

Bodikar uses these globes to create clones of some of the devils and demons that are loyal to him above all else. Other globes are retained as ingredients for potions or to be used as splash weapons, the ichor acting as flaming oil that causes double damage to lawful creatures.