35). The Minions of the Moon
NOTE: These are adventure seeds and setting work for my own Hyperborea campaign inspired by the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea Gazetteer
(Note: In My AS&SH campaign I have only the single moon which we all know and love, rather than the two moons Selene and Phobos, at least so far...)
North of the Hellenic City-State of Ptolemides, beyond the forest of the Crowned Beast (but known to most as the Foxwoman's Domain), lies a pool of liquid silver metal that is death to touch. Around this pool can be found white-clad devotees of a new cult that has followers in both Khromarium and Ptolemides and seems to be spreading like fire among dry leaves to every city and large town in all of disparate Hyperborea. These are "The Minions of the Moon" and they worship both the Moon as a divinity and the silver pool as the Moon's avatar upon the earth.
It is rumored that at both the waxing and waning of the moon human sacrifices are performed which the cultists call 'The Silver Death' and the victims are submerged in the liquid metal pool. The bodies are said to be held by chains and drawn back from their fatal bath now withered and hardened like iron. Their spirits are then purposed to walk the environs of the people serving the will of this new lunar divinity. The reality is much more deadly.
These sacrifices have become servants of the silver metal pool, which is a living entity fallen to earth millennia ago. It is an animal creature without need of sustenance and without language. It can rise into a wave and move, sometimes at great speed, but will always return to the basin where it now resides connected by a cord of liquid metal to a crystal-like object buried deep within the earth below. These servants act as automaton akin to those of Iron but with several differences (See New Monster).
The truth behind the cult is the discovery of the crystal by a notorious thief from Rusland, Mikhaliov Fydrovich, who , fleeing from a monstrous guardian of a Ptolemides merchant's treasure, came across the pool of liquid metal and the fragment of crystal which lay almost within the pool itself. The body of a dying manticore had come in contact with the pool and with the crystal Mikhaliov was able to summon it to his defense and defeat the guardian Daemon which pursued him. Much to his disappointment the silvered form of the manticore fell to dust within a few weeks time.
Mikhaliov was not one to let a good thing go and his quick mind immediately formed the idea of the cult and "The Minions of the Moon". Originally all the members were thieves or the like, but the cult has taken on a life of its own and only the original core (and some select recruits) now know that the cult is false.
Worshippers of Lunaqqua are the dire enemies of the cult and minor war of assassination and retribution is being waged between the two.
Automaton, Silver Metal [MON]
No. Encountered: 1-6
Size: Varied, most common size is M
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4+2
No. Attacks: varied most commonly 2 (Pummel) (see Notes)
Saving Throw: 14
Experience Points: 750
Silver Metal Automatons are formerly living creatures (most notably human but to a much lesser extent any creature existing in Hyperborea and even some that do not) whose flesh and bone has been consumed and replaced by the creature that is the pool of liquid metal. They have only an animal intelligence regardless of their former intelligence as a living creature and a life span of under two months. At the fullness of the moon above Hyperborea they must return to the liquid metal pool where they merge with the creature or harden into a solid piece of dull grey metal and fragment into a powder that will eventually sift away to nothingness.
These Automatons can be controlled by a fragment of crystal that is now set within a small medallion (and worn by the Master of the Minions of the Moon. They will obey basic commands when within a 60foot radius but otherwise act as an extension of the pool of liquid metal with a completely alien set of reactions and desires. (They my stand still and let themselves be hacked to bits, walk into a fire, off a cliff, attack wildly, etc... )
NOTE: Silver Metal Automatons that are formed from monstrous creatures retain and physical type of attacks including number and damage of attacks of the formerly living creature with a +2 damage per attack. All other stats remain as per the basic listing (AC, Dex, Etc.. ) for any form the Silver Metal Automaton may take regardless of previous HD or abilities.
NOTE: These Automatons are not constructs and are much quicker, moving with a high grace and dexterity, than magically created Automatons. Part of their AC comes from a bonus for high dexterity.
NOTE: Sacrifices to the pool of liquid metal can only be done at the waning and waxing of the moon. At other times anything entering the pool is simply absorbed into the liquid metal. Even at these time there is a 75% chance that anyone or thing of flesh placed into the pool will simply be absorbed.
NOTE: These Automaton's can regain full HP by resubmerging themselves within the pool, but will also regenerate 50% of their total HP every night when the moon rises (up to their original HP total). If reduced to 0 HP they turn into a grey metal and fall to dust.