Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Catacombs of Ptolemides - IV

AREAS 16-18

These areas of the dungeon are filled with thick and clinging spiders' webs (except for where noted). The passages and rooms average 10ft in height except for room 16 whose ceiling arches to a 15ft peak at the center. The walls are smooth stone. Entrances to passageways are arched and framed in stone. Doors are thick, hard wood with iron bands and hinges hidden in equally thick beams used as frames. The average door takes 300hp of damage to knock down. 

The spiderwebs  are thickest near the ceilings and thin near the floor. They obscure vision and make it hard to move. Vision is down to 10ft even with a bright lightsource. Movement is also slowed down to 10. Fighting within the webs is at -2 to hit and damage for all weapon types except for piercing weapons which receive no penalty. 

The webs are sticky and clinging, but not strong enough to hold up more than a hat or a small dagger. 

The webs are unusually moist and have a sickly sweet smell. An open flame will cause the lower webs to crinkle and blacken while emitting a thick smoke, but to set them afire requires an open flame to be held to them for at least 2 combat rounds or the use of magical means.

If the flames do catch fire the results will be spectacular and a bit explosive.


The upper few feet of the webs near to the ceiling are heavily permeated with fumes from enchanted embalming barrels (A new item noted below). Any open flames which reaches reaches to the ceilings, such as a torch thrust above 8ft or burning webs, will cause the fumes to ignite in a greenish flame. Anyone within the 10ft block where the fire began must Save versus Dexterity or receive 1d8 damage (The save will reduce this to 1d4 damage and the character will have dropped to the ground). There will be a 1 in 6 chance that the fire will ignite clothing, hair, etc... though a successful Save versus Avoidance will negate any potential damage. 

If the webs are ignited there will be several effects:

Flames will spread through Area16-18 at a rate of 20ft per combat round. 

All Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders will take 1d8 fire damage.

All Pickled Zombies (New Monster) outside of their embalming barrels will be ignited. 

All seals on embalming barrels will crack though the barrels will not automatically open.

All open doors will slam shut unless prevented.

The cracked walkway at 16b will collapse. Specific damage and effects are noted under 16b's description.

Area 18a will explode. Specific damage and effects noted under 18a's description.

AREA 16-18 cont...

Wooden embalming barrels are stored throughout this area. Several of them have been cracked open and are releasing a sickly sweet stench whose fumes have filled the webs along the ceiling.

This entire area is home to a large colony of Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders. They have been attracted by the fumes coming from the cracked embalming barrels). All Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders in this area are slightly poisoned and inebriated do to the inhalation of these fumes. They are at 1/2 hp and are -3 to hit.

Zombie, Pickled
No. Encountered: 1d6
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Size: M
Movement: 20
Dexterity: 3
Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
No. of Attacks: 1 (Pummel or Bite)
Damage: 1d6 Pummel or 1d3 Bite
Saving Throw: 16
Morale: 12
Experience Points: 52
Treasure Class: J,K,L,M

Pickled Zombies are the result of unhallowed corpses left inside enchanted embalming barrels. These barrels (combined with a specific fluid) are normally sealed with a clay and wax ward that inhibits reanimation, but over time or if the seal is damaged, the bodies placed in these barrels will reanimate as a slightly weakened form of a normal zombie.

In appearance these Pickled Zombies are undecayed. Their flesh is moist and covered in a viscous goo which exudes from their pores, mouth, nostrils and other bodily openings. This goo smells sickly sweet and the fumes which come from it are flammable though the goo is not. Anyone trying to grapple with a Pickled Zombie will be at a -2 disadvantage. They are literally as slippery as a greased pig.

2 or more Pickled Zombies will attempt to grapple or overbear an opponent. If they are able they will then stuff the victim in an enchanted embalming barrel in an attempt to create another zombie. It takes at least a week for a body to ripen in a barrel and emerge as a Pickled Zombie.

Pickled Zombies are immune to fire based attacks. If exposed to flame, magical or normal, they will ignite with a shimmering blue flame, but the viscous goo that they exude protects them from fire damage. A burning Pickled Zombie does an additional 1d4 per attack with a 1 in 6 chance of setting their opponent afire for 2 combat rounds (at 1d4 damage per round). Save versus Avoidance for no damage. This blue flame will last around a Pickled Zombie for 1d6+3 combat rounds unless reignited by another flame source.

Pickled Zombies smell sickly sweet and attract spiders of all sorts. The fumes are a mild poison to spiders as well as an intoxicant. A spider exposed to these fumes for more than a week will be poisoned at 1/2hp and intoxicated for a -3 to hit penalty.


Enchanted Embalming Fluid
This fluid is normally found in conjunction with Enchanted Embalming Barrels and Pickled Zombies. Though it can be found on its own, it has a shelf life of only 2 weeks before losing its potency when not in a Enchanted Embalming Barrel or Pickled Zombie. It is a mild poison which will reduce most non-magical creatures to 1/2hp if exposed to it for more than a week. It is a greenish, thick liquid that emits a powerful sickly sweet smell. This smell attracts spiders from as far away as 60ft+1d10x10ft


Enchanted Embalming Barrel
These were designed years ago to preserve the bodies of the dead for a more elaborate interment. Each was sealed with a priestly ward set in clay and wax around the barrels lid after the body was placed inside. Unfortunately these wards decayed after only a few months and were easily damaged. A body placed in an unwarded Enchanted Embalming Barrel will become a Pickled Zombie after a weeks marination. 

3 poisoned Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders reside in this area. They will attack anyone passing through the center section of the room.

In the South-West corner of the room there is an over-turned hand-cart with a broken wheel. Beneath the cart is a large wooden chest. The chest is unlocked and has inside a large quantity of spoiled trail rations, 3 skins of dank but drinkable water (1 quart each), a glass jar  with a waxed top containing 1 pint of moonshine. In a secret compartment at the bottom of the chest are 2 healing potions and 1/2 a dozen empty potion bottles.

Along the North wall are 6 Enchanted Embalming barrels, 4 of which contain Pickled Zombies.

AREA 16a
These corridors contain webs, Pickled Zombies, poisoned Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders, and Enchanted Embalming Barrels,

For every 20ft of corridor there is a 1 in 3 chance of encountering the following:
1). 1d2 poisoned Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders
2). 1d3 Pickled Zombies
3). 1d3 Enchanted Embalming Barrels that are:
a). Empty 
b). Sealed with the body of a corpse - Treasure Class - L,K,M
c). Unsealed with a Pickled Zombie
4). The drained hulk of some creature
a). A dog
b). several rats
c). The body of a man in leather armor. He clutches a short-sword in his withered hand. A small case on his belt contains ink, quills, parchment and a partially completed map of this level.
d). A man in robes. He wears an enchanted +1 silver dagger on this right arm. Inside his robes in a hidden pocket there is a tube containing a scroll of Burning Hands and another scroll of Flame Missile.
e). The body of an Giant Ogre-Faced Spider on its back with its legs curled around it. It is not dead, only dead drunk and poisoned like its fellows. It will spring to life if awakened.

AREA 16b
This 10ft section of hallway is piled with a score of Enchanted Embalming Barrels. At some point these were used as a make-shift platform to reach the ceiling. Some took a hammer and chisel and did substantial damage to ceiling, even gouging a few holes to the passage above. The barrels have no fallen and several are cracked open and oozing a greenish viscous goo. 

The heavy fumes in this spot have attracted 1/2 dozen Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders who lair in this passage. They are both poisoned and drunk like their fellows in other areas. 

If exposed to open flame these webs will ignite with a powerful explosion. Anyone in the 16b square will suffer 3d8 damage (Save versus Breath Weapon for 1/2 damage). Anyone in the two adjacent squares will suffer 2d8 damage, Save versus Breath Weapon for 1/2 damage). 

If an explosion occurs the ceiling will crumble and now have a 5ft diameter ragged hole (or from above a 5ft diameter hole in the floor of that passage). All barrels in and around 16b will split apart and 8 flaming Pcikled Zombies will crawl from the wreckage.

This room is littered with smashed barrels, the dismembered bodies of 5 Pickled Zombies and 7 dead Giant Ogre-Faced Spiders. The door to the East is open, but has been severely damaged and hangs only from an upper hinge. The secret door beyond is closed and a bar has been dropped across the inner side to keep it shut.

The webs in this room have been hacked apart at 6ft high and lower, but the upper webs are still thick and permeated with embalming fumes. These webs will ignite if exposed to flame but will cause only 1d3 damage to anyone beneath them and a Save versus Dexterity (which will mean dropping to the floor) will negate any damage.

AREA 18a
This small room is jammed with Enchanted Embalming Barrels, the Southern 10ft square is packed floor to ceiling with over 25 barrels alone. All the barrels are cracked and leaking fluid.

The door to this room is shut but not locked. Anyone opening the door will need to Save versus Breath Weapon or become immediately nauseated and subject to vomiting. Each combat round that this door is open or anyone is within the room, a Save must be made. This door is partially cracked and leaks fumes from the concentrated source within. If the hall outside the door is ignited then area 18a will explode violently.

The door will be shattered and cause 1d10 damage to anyone standing in the 10ft block front of it (in the 18b hall). Anyone inside the room will suffer 3d8 damage. After such an explosion the room will contain only a large amount of shattered barrels and body parts. If anyone sifts the wreckage they may find 280gp, 584sp, 2,000cp and 12 30gp gems. To recover these items by mundane means will be slow and disgusting work.

AREA 18b
The Northern door to this hall is shut with a bar across it, but is also nailed shut with iron spikes from the other side.

The Eastern door leading to area 18a is shut and the door is cracked

The West door is open.

This small hallway is filled with webs. See area 16a for possible encounters.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Catacombs of Ptolemides - III

9a). At both of these spots marked in the corridor there is a large pool of dried blood. Between these marked spots on the map and location 9b there are smears and drops of blood streaked across the stone floor in the direction of area 9b.

9b). This area is layered with debris; wood that has been splintered, cloth torn into strips, even vegetation such as roots and wild vines. The debris is spread across the room and several feet thick. At a point near the center of the room a man's foot and lower leg is half buried under this mess.

If anyone pulls at this foot it will resist slightly then pull away revealing a foot with a leg severed a few inches above the knee. If the leg is pulled free or if anyone searches or disturbs the debris 2 swarms of baby giant ticks will erupt from their layered nest and attack. There are a total of 5 baby tick swarms within this room. After the initial 2 that attack, another 1 will form and attack whenever anyone disturbs the debris or tries to search.

If the debris is searched carefully, a long, messy and disgusting job, they will discover the upper body of a man in chainmail, a severed hand with a gold ring with ruby chips worth 10gp, a chipped and dulled longsword that radiates magic, which is -1 to hit but +2 to damage, and 32gp, 15sp and a small bag containing 5 uncut diamonds which appear to be cloudy crystals but are worth 50gp each.

New Monster:
Tick, Giant (Baby Swarm)
No. Encountered: 1d6
Size: S
Movement: 25
Dexterity: 12
Armour Class: 9
Hit Dice: 5
No. Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4
Saving Throw: 10
Morale: -
Experience Points: 50
Treasure Class: -

A swarm of baby giant ticks represents 40 of these little monsters. Each is about 3 inches long and has 1hp. Any damage to the swarm represents the actual number killed in the attack.

Fire will keep them at bay
Piercing weapons do only 1hp damage per attack
If reduced below 16 in number the swarm will dissolve and the surviving baby giant ticks attempt  to skitter away.

10). This circular niche off the west side of the corridor contains a fountain and a small pool that is about 2ft high and the diameter of the niche. The water pours from a pitcher in the hands of a statue of a voluptuous naked woman. The water is collected in the circular pool at the statues feet. Followers of Lunaqqua will receive a blessing following their first drink of this water. This blessing will give them a +1 advantage in all dice rolls for the next 6 game turns. Subsequent drinking at this fountain will be refreshing but does nothing but dispel thirst.

Anyone desecrating this fountain (which includes attempts to damage it) will receive a curse of lycanthropy unless a save versus magic succeeds.

An overturned wooden bucket is at the edge of the stone pool.

11a). The door to this room is ajar. It can be barred from inside the room but no crosspiece is in evidence. It can be locked but the key is nowhere to be found.

11b). Three long tables are set side by side toward the center of this area. On each table is a nude body, two men and one woman. An overturned metal tripod and metal basin is near the west-most of the tables and half-burnt coals, now long cooled, have spilled from it. (The coals can be gathered and will burn for an hour, giving off a good deal of heat but very little light). Under the coals is a dagger made from a chunk of obsidian and wrapped with leather. It radiates magic if detected.

New Item: This is a Dagger of Mordezzan. It is a +1 magic weapon, but its main use is in the creation of animated skeletons and the production of Skins of Mordezzan. The dagger can make incisions in dead flesh that when complete will animate up to 3 skeletons per day. These skeletons will be at the command of their creator, except they will take no actions against a follower of Mordezzan who wears a Skin or bears the symbol of Mordezzan. A follower of Mordezzan who is a cleric or necromancer may wrest the command of these skeletons if they are of higher level.

New Item: The Skin of Mordezzan is the specially prepared skin of a sacrificial victim. It radiates evil and is worn by a follower of Mordezzan granting him the same armour class as that of leather armour, provides +1 to saving throws, and protection against paralysis, cold based and charm spells and abilities. Arcane markings are placed on the victim's skin, then they are submerged in a vat of enchanted liquid, then a Dagger of Mordezzan is used to remove the skin. Anyone trying to wear a Skin of Mordezzan who is not a follower  must save versus poison of suffer 1d6 hp damage per combat round (save for half damage) and will suffer 1d6 hp damage per combat round until such a save is made even after the suit is removed. (Only 1 saving throw is necessary once the Skin is removed, but a save must be rolled each turn the Skin is worn.

A giant tick sits on top of the man's body on the center table. It has been poisoned while trying to drain the body. The tick is at half-hp and -1 to hit and damage. The bodies of 4 dead giant ticks are scattered around the floor north of the tables.

If anyone examines the bodies they will find arcane markings on the flesh that a necromancer will recognize as part of a ritual to animate the dead. Each body has bone deep incisions and it would take little effort to remove the skeletons from the surrounding flesh.

11b). A set of spikes on the east wall holds 7 human skins. These are completed Skins of Mordezzan. No trace of internal organs or bones are in evidence.

11c). The drained and dry body of a man in a dark blue robe is crumpled here. If searched it is revealed that he wears a Skin of Mordezzan beneath his robe, but it is damaged beyond repair showing many knife wounds in the back and head of the Skin and the man almost completely severed, hanging together only by the skin at the back of the neck.

12). The west wall of this room is lined with skeletons who stand motionless until someone approaches within 20ft, opens the northern doors or who attacks them from a distance. There are 9 skeletons lined up in two rows facing the west wall. In each of their hands is a human thigh-bone, one end spiked with nails, which they use like a spiked mace, damage 1d6. A stack of boxes three high is on the north wall and the south. Each box contains 2 skeletons. These will attack if the crate is open. These skeletons will obey the commands of anyone in a Skin of Mordezzan and will not attack anyone showing a symbol of Mordezzan.

12a). This door is shut but not locked. It can be barred from inside the room. The wooden crosspiece is on the floor near the door.

12b). This door is shut but not locked. It can be barred but no crosspiece is in evidence.

13). There is a large vat in the center of this room 5ft high and 10ft in diameter. The walls of this room are set with iron spikes and the bodies of 12 men are hanging upside down from the spikes. Each has been marked with arcane symbols and the sign of Mordezzan. Their bodies show lines of deep incisions head to toe.

An iron chain hangs from a pulley above the vat. Inside the vat is a thick, dark liquid that radiates magic if anyone detects such. The liquid is a primary ingredient in creating a Skin of Mordezzan, and a flask of it would be worth 5gp to an alchemist, Necromancer or seller of spell components. There is enough liquid in the vat to fill 1,000 flasks.

If anyone peers into the vat an Undead Minion of Mordezzan will reach out from the liquid and try to first grapple with the character then drag them into the vat. If this is successful the character will be attacked by 5 Undead Minions of Mordezzan

If the attempt to grapple the character fails, all 5 Minions will burst from the vat, pulling themselves over its edge and attack.

At the same time the Minions attack the bodies on the wall will begin to writhe and shake. In 2 combat rounds 5 of the bodies of the wall will have had their skeletons pull free of the flesh that surrounds them. They will drop to the floor and attack. 2 combat rounds after that 5 more will pull themselves free and 2 rounds later 5 more till a total of 15 skeletons have left their skins hanging on the walls. The empty skins are not yet enchanted and are merely dead flesh.

New Monster: Minion of Mordezzan Undead Type 3
No. Encountered: 1d6
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: M
Movement: 40
Dexterity: 10
Armour Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
No. Attacks 3(Claw/Claw/Bite)
Damage: 1d3/1d3/1d6
Saving Throw: 15
Morale: 10
Experience Points: 41
Treasure Class: S,T

Minions of Mordezzan are similar to ghouls but lack the ability to paralyze their prey. At one time they were loyal members of the Mordazzen cult and wore sacred Skins of Mordezzan. Upon the death of the cultist this Skin bonds with their own flesh and they rise after a short time as an undead Minion of Mordazzen.

Immune to poison, paralysis, fear and cold-based attacks
Protection from evil holds them at bay

14). This chamber has walls covered in torn, blood spattered and shredded tapestry. 2 of these hangings have gold thread woven into them and are worth 25gp each, even in their mangled condition. In the south-west corner is a pile of broken wood made up mainly of chairs but some larger furniture of unknown type as well. Along the north wall there is a table, swept clear but covered in dried blood, as is the floor around the table. Against the east wall there is an overturned and smashed cabinet. Mixed in with the cabinet are torn books and scrolls and broken glass.

If the cabinet is searched there is a 50% chance that a hidden drawer at the bottom of a splintered shelf will be found. The drawer is locked and a thief can attempt to pick it. If the secret drawer is smashed open the two glass vials in will be smashed.

The drawer contains 2 potion vials and a small spell book.
Potion #1 is of Healing
Potion #2 is of Fire Resistance

The small book holds 3 spells; Animate Carrion, Extermination, and Skeleton Servant.

14a). A bench runs along the south wall of this alcove. Huddled against the east wall on the bench are two figures in blue robes. If approached closer than 10ft these 2 Undead Minions of Mordezzan will attack. If attacked from a distance they will also attack.

14b). This alcove at the south end of the main room is hidden from casual view by a torn tapestry. There are pegs running down the west wall and 5 dark blue robes are scattered beneath them on the floor.

Most noticeable is the Undead Minion of Mordezzan, stripped of its blue robe and nailed to the south wall with iron spikes. The creature is at only 5hp but is still animated and struggles to free itself.

15). This door is locked and barred shut from the east side of the door. A glyph has been carved into the wood of the door. If shown around the city above it will be found out that it is the mark of Ptolemides Thieve's Guild, but such questions will be noted and the Thieve's Guild will be informed. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Catacombs of Ptolemides - II

2). The center section of this hall is blackened from a recent fire and there are also signs of battle, but one that happened long enough ago for the stink of burning flesh to have faded to a mere memory.

2a). The secret door at this location has been made to look like part of the wall, but it is partially ajar and anyone searching this area will have a +1 chance of noticing it, while any thief passing within 10ft will have the same chance at detecting the secret door as if they had performed a search. If a thief actively searches for a secret door at thus location they will automatically find it.

The door opens inwards away from area 2 but pushing at it will not open the door, It will take a combined strength of 25 to move door and then it will only open wide enough for 1 person to squeeze through at a time. What anyone slipping through the door encounters is described in area 5.

2b). This secret door is fully open. If shut it is undetectable with the wall and will latch itself closed. It opens inward to the small room and can be opened or closed from the inside. The latch can be picked, or magicked open, or forced with a test of strength, or battered down if 300hp damage is inflicted on the door.

2c). In this area there is a wide burnt space centered around a smashed lantern. Within the burned area are the bodies of 3 dogs and a man. They have all been rat-gnawed and what remains of them has been crisped by the fire.

If searched the man's body has a fire-blackened dagger in his fist and a shortsword in a serviceable sheath beneath him. The remains of his belt, again underneath his body, has a set of thieve's picks and tools in a leather case attached.

The pack he wore was burnt by the fire and gnawed apart by rats. If it is touched it can be lifted waist high before coming to pieces and the contents spilling out on the floor. Inside the pack is a congealed pile of twenty lead sling bullets which can be picked apart and reused, a hammer with a charred handle that will snap at the head if used, 12 iron spikes, a knife in a gnawed leather sheath, 12gp, 23sp, 18cp (once in a small pouch but now loose. The entire mess will come cascading down and scatter across the floor. This may, at the DM's discretion, attract the creatures from area 4.

3). The stairs from all 4 entranceways to this area lead down in the direction of the map arrow so that the floor of this chamber is 15ft lower than the surrounding halls and passages. The roof is also higher and angles upward to meet a single, large beam in the ceiling. From floor to roof is a 40ft distance.

Hanging from the ceiling beams are 3 giant ticks. 1 tick will drop upon the first person to pass more than 5ft into the room from any of the sets of stairs. The other 2 giant ticks will leap down the following combat round. All 3 ticks will jump down if attacked.

In the corner along the west wall is a pile of debris which includes the carcases of 2 dogs, sucked dry of fluids by the ticks, as well as the drained bodies of several giant rats. The exoskeletons of 5 giant ticks are also scattered among the debris.

While the ticks possess no treasure their exoskeletons are worth 5gp each if sold to an alchemist or dealer in spell components. Each exoskeleton is 3ft in diameter and weighs several pounds.

4). This room may once have been used for storage and along the west wall can be found the broken staves of barrels as well as their rusted iron bands, broken bottles and glass fragments. If someone sifts through this they will find 1 unbroken bottle of lamp oil.

More recently this room appears to have been used as a campsite. There are half-a-dozen blankets and bed rolls spread out along the south wall and some gear such as armor, cloths and weapons along the east wall. If anyone approaches the south wall they will see that 3 of the occupants are still wrapped in the bedding.  On close examination, within 10ft, it will be apparent that the occupants are long dead, their faces dried and withered.

These 3 adventurers have, at some past time, succumbed to wounds received from zombies and are now zombies themselves. They died while sleeping and were abandoned by their comrades. When inactive they return to their bedrolls and attempt to find the sleep they are now denied.

If anyone comes within arm's reach of any of the bodies the corpse's eyes will flash open and the zombie will attack. If attacked themselves they will awaken and attack. Loud noise may also rouse these zombies and they may proceed into area 2 to investigate.

The zombies themselves are wearing only the clothes they had on when they died. Their gear and weapons, that were unwanted by their comrades, were left piled against the east wall.

In this pile can be found 3 dagger and sheaths, a hand axe, a halberd, scale-mail sized for a large man, chainmail sized for an average man, a helm, a shield, 2 backpacks.

Backpack #1 contains: A skin of spoiled wine, trail rations which are now a hardened rotten lump, a small throwing dagger in a sheath (+1 to hit if thrown due to exceptional craftmanship, non-magical), 50ft of tightly coiled rope, a half-dozen iron spikes and a small mallet.

Backpack #2 contains: A flask of whiskey, rotted trail rations, a set of prayer beads, a pair of thick gloves such as a smith might use (non-magical but helpful when dealing with sharp or hot objects) a polished steel mirror in a soft cloth bag, and at the very bottom, a small gold signet ring worth 15gp, but if asked about in the environs of Ptolemides it will be discovered that the crest is of a local family and a 100gp reward is offered for its return.

5). This good-sized room may once have belonged to watchmen of servants. Its most recent use has been as a nest for giant ticks. A large fire was set in its center and the cracked and worthless exoskeletons of a dozen ticks are scattered among the ashes.

The west door is shut but unlocked. Both this door and the southern secret door can be barred shut, but the crossbeams to both are missing.

5a). The bodies of several dogs are jammed against the southern secret door. These dogs have been dead for some time but were obviously killed by sword or axe. There is even a broken arrow head lodged within one body. If the bodies are removed the door opens and closes without problem.

6). There is a 3d6 chance of encountering 2 giant ticks battling 5 wild dogs when entering this juncture for the first time. These animals will battle each other or any other creature that enters the fray. If 2 of the dogs are killed the remainder will run for the northern passage (and then east if followed). The ticks will battle to the death.

At any future time entering this juncture there will be a 1d6 chance of encountering a single wild dog which will immediately run away up the northern passage or on a roll of '2' or '3' on a d6, the chance of encountering a pack of 6 wild dogs that will attack the party and retreat to the north if half their number are killed. This encounter can happen again and again unless the source of the wild dogs is discovered and actions taken to prevent further attacks.

7). This long hall is filled with long niches cut into either side of the passage. Each niche contained the body or bodies of the dead, but that was long ago and now only the fragmented remnants of those bodies can be found. Fire has scorched this long hall and ash and bone fragments are brushed up against either wall though a clear trail down the center of the floor shows recent use.

This hall has become a resting place for giant ticks.

7a). At each of these points 1d3 giant ticks are located within the niches. These ticks have all filled themselves with the blood and precious bodily fluids of their many victims, rat, dog, human, etc... and are slower to react than their more hungry kin (-1 to surprise rolls). They will still spring out and attack anyone passing in the hall or examining their niche, as will any ticks in an adjacent 10ft section.

7b). Someone dropped a heavy wooden box at this point. The lid has snapped and the box was overturned. If a 30ft area of hall is cleanly sifted 312cp, 31sp and 3gp can be found among the thick ash and bone fragments.

8). 2 giant ticks have taken up residence in this area. The will lurk around the corner near the ceiling opposite whichever way the party is approaching. If undetected they will attack the last person in the group to pass near to them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Catacombs of Ptolemides- I

Continued from Clark Ashton Smith - Some Ideas and Descriptions from his Stories - 6a

The Catacombs of Ptolemides

Rooms and passages in the catacombs normally have ceilings roughly 10 feet overhead and sconces or holders where torches or lanterns can be set, but are no torches or lanterns will be found unless specifically mentioned. Light must be provided by the player characters otherwise the catacombs are lightless black (unless the described areas mention illumination).

The initial area is formed from carved stone with wooden supports for the typical entranceway. 

1). The platform that the characters are standing on is circular and a little over 20ft in diameter. Large torches (taking two hands to hold) are set around the edges of the platform in metal standing brackets welded to the platform. These torches will burn for a full hour before guttering and going out. A slow but continual circulation of air bends the flames from the torches slightly to the west.

As the platform nears the last 10ft to the floor the PC's will see skeletal bodies in ancient armor affixed to the north, south and east walls. Iron spikes are set into each 10ft section of these walls the bodies of these long dead warriors have been thrust upon the spikes with enough force to pierce the ancient verdigris encrusted chest plates they all wear. 

Several large mallets, some of wood, and some shaped from human thigh bones, are scattered near to the walls, and these can be used to beat upon the armor of the dead hanging upon the walls. If hammered for more than three combat rounds this noise will alert Tomeron's servants who man the winches above and they will begin to draw up the platform. If the room is dark a circle of light will appear 50ft above as the iron cover is first lifted before the chains take up the slack and the platform begins to rise. It will be several combat round before the platform begins to rise after the winches begin to turn but then the platform will be drawn up 10ft every 3 combat rounds. No amount of shouting will get Tomeron's servants to stop or bring the platform back to the ground once they have begun drawing it up, unless it is the command of Tomeron himself.

If anyone begins beating on one of the chest plates, tries to remove the armor or searches the bodies, a normal sized rat (stats as per the ASSH rulebook) will leap from the mouth of the dead body and attack. 1 combat round after this attack, 6 rats will begin to pour from the various bodies and attack the PC's. 6 more will appear the following combat round, and finally 6 more after that in the next combat round for a total of 19 attacking rats. 

If more than 8 of their number are slain the rats will flee toward area 1b where a rat-hole has been gnawed at the bottom of the secret door. 

The 20th Rat

There is one rat that will not take part in the combat but will be the last rat through the hole at area 1b. If it is attacked it will continue in its attempt to flee. If it is slain and the body examined it will be revealed as some type of autonomaton formed of wood and metal enclosed in the pelt of a rat.

*Clockwork Scout
No. Encountered: 1 or 1d6
Alignment: Neutral
Size: S
Movement: 15
Dexterity: 12
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1
No. Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4
Saving Throw: 17
Morale: -
Experience Points: 15
Treasure Class: -

Clockwork Scouts are part of a mechanical species developed during the height of Hyperborean civilizations in ages past. They have survived and can be found mainly in the ruins of Hyperborean centers of learning and sorcery.

Clockwork Scouts have a rudimentary sentience but what will and independent thought they might have is subsumed by the greater purpose and willpower of more powerful members of their species. They have no known language but can somehow communicate all the have seen, heard and experienced to there more powerful Clockwork beings. 

Each clockwork scout is shaped into a skeletal version of a small animal and covered with such creatures fur, flesh or hide.

While a Clockwork Scout possess no treasure of its own their non-functioning bodies can be worth from 10 to 50gp depending on the type of damage. A function Clockwork Scout is easily worth over 250gp.

*The Clockwork Scout is from Frog God Games 'The Tome of Horror Complete S&W version' though slightly altered for my Astonishing Swordsmen campaign.

1a).  The dead body of a mangy dog is crumpled in the upper corner of the south facing passage. It is a thin and rat-eaten corpse, mainly skin, hair and bone. If closely examined a fragment of blue cloth can be found in its clenched teeth.

1b). This is a secret door that has been well-crafted to appear as a section of the north wall. It even has one of the old dead bodies and an iron pike set into it. At the bottom edge of the door the rats have gnawed a small hole. If a lightsource such as a bullseye lantern is directed through the hole a space or chamber can be seen on the otherside.

The door is stoutly build and an iron bar is set in place. It will take at least 300hp of damage to batter down the door. Any noise may attract a wandering monster but will not in itself signal for the platform to be raised. 

(To be continued...)