A few more previews from Cush – I’ve been remiss about posting these lately. NOD 16 should be out by the end of the month – I’m just putting on the finishing touches now.
09.21 Goddess: A 20 ft. tall statue of a Hindi-style goddess lies belly-up in the river here. The statue is tilted, so that its face peers out at the north bank of the river. 1d8 crocodiles sun themselves on the statue, which is missing its arms and legs and looks to be very ancient. A secret door in the statue’s navel can be unscrewed, leading to a crawlspace that ends in the statues head. Inside the head there is a golden orb studded with gems (5,000 gp). The statue is all that remains of a stone golem destroyed a milennia ago during a war between Kolos and distant city-states of Ende.
11.04 Mufo: Mufo is a large town (pop. 4500) that receives some caravan traffic between Ophir and the Carnelian Coast, and also acts as a trade center for the local region. The city is surrounded by walls of reddish stone that are studded with bronze spikes. The front gates are thick, dark oak, heavily glazed, that are bound in bronze. The walls are anchored by five stout towers, about 30 feet tall. The walls and towers are patrolled by the town’s 45 guardsmen (men-at-arms; leather armor, shield, spear, light crossbow). The town is known for its green tile roofs, that sparkle like emeralds in the sun and help to camouflage the town from above, hemmed in as it is by the surrounding jungle.
Mufo is governed by a council of wealthy men and women, the head of which is Kanda, a rather famous merchant who once adventured throughout Cush, Pwenet and the Carnelian Coast and who now commands several caravans who ply the same area. Other members of the council are the monster trainer Mbando and the infamous duelist Muamba the Snake, who runs a a fencing academy.
Mufo has two ghettos, one of Ophirian traders, craftsmen (especially weavers) and adventurers who traveled down with the caravans from Ophir, the other of gnomes who have quit their traditional forest home and now make a living as wood-carvers and fortune tellers. The Ophirians of Mufu number about 250, the gnomes about 180. Both are treated reasonably well, though the gnomes are considered dishonest schemers by the locals, and the Ophirians are considered to be greedy.
11.27 Baobab the Mighty: A baobab tree that covers much of this hex has lived long enough that it has achieved sentience and a sort of godhood among plants. The forest creatures of bow to it as they pass along their way, and the beasts that dwell within its branches serve as a sort of priesthood. Key among them are a tribe of 30 monkeys who gather the sap (which can apparently neutralize poison, who knew?) and allow it to ferment, making a crude spirit that grants them low intelligence for the period of 1 month, before they must drink of the sap once again. The tree desires nothing but peace and tranquility in its domain, and a complete absence of fire.
12.36 Nettles: This hex is filled with many large patches of grass topped with tiny, stinging nettles. There is a 4 in 6 chance of any given adventurer being painfully stung and suffering a -1 penalty to all rolls for 1d4 days or until the bathing in urine.
14.30 Ghost Apes: Ghostly white apes crawl through the trees of this hex, leaving icy finger and foot prints whereever they go. The apes are true ghosts (treat as spectres), and their haunting howls and calls put people at ill ease and force animals to pass a saving throw each hour or flee in fear. The ghost apes only rarely attack travelers, having a 20% chance of attacking (in a group of 1d6+1), the chance increasing to 35% if there are spell casters present, and 55% if they are divine spell casters.