Quicksand, Evil Gnomes and Pearl Trees – Cush II

03.31 Quicksand: Adventurers moving through this hex have a 2 in 6 chance of stepping into a pit filled with quicksand. The trees surrounding the quicksand are inhabited by a race of talking monkeys, who will cast bets (using cowrie shells) on whether the unfortunates will live or die. They will not render aid unless they are somehow tricked into it. If attacked, they flee into the forest; from that point on, random monster encounters occur on the roll of 1-2 on 1d6.

[Because a jungle without quicksand is just bogus]

05.13 Gingi Tribe: The Gingi are a tribe of lizardmen (pop. 331) descended from the lizard kings of old. They have faces that resemble the gallimimus and green scales with yellow stripes. The tribe has 200 spear-armed warriors. Their village is surrounded by a ditch and palisade. The ditch is filled with humanoid and animal bones, and skulls are attached to the tops of the walls by leather thongs. The wall is guarded by 8 elite warriors (3 HD) armed with blowguns and poisoned (sleep) darts. Water for the village is drawn from a deep well.

The village consists of huts made of woven vines covered in dried mud and a large, octagonal wooden house. The house is occupied by the tribe’s chief Jumbaba, his harem of six females and his fifteen hatchlings. The tribe’s treasure consists of 4,000 gp taken from an exhausted (and heavily laden) party of adventurers two months ago.

06.34 Pearl Tree: A large tree resembling a baobab grows here. In the late summer the tree will be filled with large, prickly, yellow fruits with delicious pink flesh. There is a 1% chance that those someone eating a fruit (roll once for the entire party) will find a perfect, pinkish pearl (100 gp) at the center instead of a pit. Fruit that is opened up but not consumed will cause the person wasting it to be cursed by the tree’s guardian spirit. The pits can be used to make fire seeds (as the druid spell) by knowledgable wise women.

08.03 Gingdaja Village: The small village of Gingdaja (pop. 300) is inhabited by a clan of wicked gnomes led by a council of elders that consists of Zangdok, Pukulga and Jajujh. The village is surrounded by a short picket of sharpened stakes, all of them meticulously carved into whimsical animal shapes. The people live in clusters of huts surrounding a wooden shrine.

The gnomes of Gingdaja were created by Azba, their patron deity. They are lithe and agile, and their scholars are well versed in elemental magic. In place of a normal gnome’s innate spells, the Gingdajans can cast create water, endure elements and magic stone each once per day.

Gingdaja has a small tavern run by Momwi, a retired slinger. The tavern is a long, narrow lean-to that serves a light, frothy ale made from roots and a powerful liquor made from tree fungus, as well as a hearty mushroom stew. The village also has a blacksmith named Pukdaja, a healer named Zuljujh and a monkey-trainer named Keshu. The village’s temple is a one-room, wooden structure surrounded by a yard edged by white stones. The shrine is tended by Zagu, a priest of Azba.

Azba is a goddess of chance and gambling. She appears as a tall crone with lemon-yellow skin and large, round, red eyes. She carries a simple hammer that randomly blesses or curses those it strikes in combat. The gnomes believe that Azba embodies the vital forces of the universe (i.e. chaos). They also believe that she dwells in the cave in [0802]. They throw their old and infirm in the cave as sacrifices to Azba.

08.27 Ape Boy: A cave system here is inhabited by a clan of thirty carnivorous apes and an adopted human boy they call Gargan. The apes are led by a massive male called Jorak (30 hp). In the deepest cavern of their lair, secreted there by an unknown party, there is a treasure. It consists of 80,000 cp in a dozen small chests, a golden yellow topaz (700 gp), a white pearl that has been delicately carved to hold the silhouette of a woman (80 gp) a cylindrical chunk of polished coral (60 gp) and a vial of phosphorescent liquid in a pewter flask. The liquid removes paralysis but causes intense hunger (double ration consumption for 1d6 days; -1 penalty to all rolls on less than double rations due to hunger pangs).