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.
No. Encountered: 1 or 1d6
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1
No. Attacks: 1
Saving Throw: 17
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...)