Stygian Depths – Hellcrawl Preview II

Writing has begun in earnest on the Stygia portion of the Hellcrawl. Here are some samples of what I’ve written so far.

33.50 Tree Temple: The mangroves here grow to a truly enormous size. A city of 500 frog men is built in the tree tops, centered around an abbey dedicated to Tsathogga. Their matriarch is an engorged female frog man, bedecked in amber beads and holding in her hands two crystal balls, each one colored bright green with a white, star shape in the center that spins and waxes and wanes. Though they appear identical, one seems to promise security and safety, while the other promises unending struggle and chaos. As soon as people enter the temple their gaze must be drawn to one or the other.

Those who choose safety and security gain the ability to commune with Tsathogga once per day, but whatever advice he gives, they must obey. Those who choose unending struggle have chosen life, and suffer no ill effects other than the ire of the frog men, who attempt to sacrifice those who reject the fatherhood of Tsathogga in his name, hosting a grand feast of them for those who have chosen Tsathogga’s blessings.

34.59 Love Shack: A red, serpentine dragon courses through the mud, battering down trees as it does so. When it spots travelers, it slinks close and opens its great mouth, revealing a door of ruby crystal. It waits patiently for 1 turn to allow people to enter the door, and then moves on.

Beyond the door there is a grand hall of red velvet and marble floors. The spirits of jealous, bitter lovers slink by the walls, hissing at travelers. The twisting hall leads to a shrine in which there is a throne of green stone. Sitting on the throne there is a handsome youth who looks much like Cupid, but has glowing green eyes and pincers in place of hands. This is Phthonus, a daimon of jealousy who stirs the fires of love and unleashes it in violent passions.

36.48 Flooded Temple: A sinkhole here might send unlucky travelers into a series of flooded caverns. The largest of them holds an ancient, partially ruined temple. The temple is composed of blocks of lapis lazuli. The temple is dedicated to Omoo, a sahuagin goddess regarded as the mother of the species. The idol holds a statue depicting the demon lord Dagon simultaneously copulating with and tearing apart Omoo, whose blood, according to the myths of the sahuagin, turned into the first sahuagin, who then fed on her flesh and drew on her powers. A reliquary hidden in a dungeon beneath the temple holds her dismembered hand, which gives the bearer command over sahuagins, sharks and rays and denies creatures struck by it the ability to regenerate for 24 hours. If the hand is planted, it grows into five fiendish sahuagin warrior-maids who persist for as long as they are fed the blood of their summoner. They obey their summoner loyally.