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Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.

Night10194 posted:

Speaking of the noble tool of murder, I can't remember; what actually happens if your party goes with the badass Romani party and they bring down the Walker with shotguns in the surprise round?

Big SAN boost, new Romani friends for life, satisfaction of a job well done.

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Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.

oriongates posted:

I can understand why the hosed up racist crap in Lovecraft's stories turn people off...but ultimately I feel like I have to make peace with the fact that the past is a terrible place. If I like anything written or created more than 30 years ago, odds are good that the creator held some beliefs that I would find intolerable (I mean, odds are still pretty good now, being honest). If I cut myself off from anything created by an rear end in a top hat then I deny myself the benefits of a lot of great stories and art. Now, I definitely draw the line at financially supporting monstrous people, but fortunately that's not a concern for Lovecraft.

And if you remove the arbitrary line of only looking at artistic works... well, I hope you like abandoning probably half or more of the modern conveniences you use. Because terrible people have made a lot more than just books, etc.

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.
Oven Wrangler
Oh boy, got my desktop working again.

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.
Oven Wrangler
Way of the Wicked - Book 2 - Grab that Horn by the Horn


There is some disconnect between the end of Act I and the start of Act II. You end with the assumption of finding the Horn but Act II starts with the search, it's a weird blearing of the two parts. That said we can learn what the northern Caer Bryr is like and what dangers await the PCs. It’s a temperate rainforest (not unlike the Pacific Northwest where the publishers are located) full of giant trees and thriving with all manner of wildlife. The Lake of Skye feeds numerous streams that in turn the Salt Brack. This great brackish swamp is teeming with reptiles, amphibians and birds; it is also home to many boggard tribes, these disgusting frog people despise human and elf alike. The most prominent feature of the region are the stone spires that dot the region. Local legend holds they were carved by giants in time immemorial.


This is the GM map

ACT TWO: TAKING THE HORN
Before we enter the Horn there are a few exterior encounters the PCs may have to deal with.

Event 1: Jurak the Elder
Long before the Victor destroyed the Cult of Vetra-Kali this self righteous pile of kindling was doing his best to hamper their activities. After the Victor’s triumph he charged Jurak (NG Treant CR 8) with defending the Horn against the return of evil. Fortunately for the PCs he’s not very bright and can be easily deceived. Or the PCs can murderize him. If not dealt with prior to the start of Act III he will do everything in his power to oppose the PCs once the Ritual starts. He can also summon his ally Calliaste Shanda (Event 3) who won’t arrive in time to save Jurak but will mess with the PCs later.

Better than bad, he’s Good
I enjoyed running Jurak as so helpful, friendly and stodgy that my players killed him just to stop the unwanted dadly advice.

Event 2: Rare Pepes
The base of the Horn is riddled with caverns and fetid swamp water, a tribe of Boggards, the Bane-Wogs, call these warrens home. They believe the Horn is sacred to their patron deity Dagon; they’re wrong, ain’t religion a funny thing.
The tribe is led by Kumanda Slays-Nine-Men (CE Boggard Barbarian 5), he’s got a sweet masterwork greatsword he took off a Farholde guard captain and controls the tribe by force in traditional Chaotic Evil fashion.

The other major player here is Zikomo Hears-the-Father (CE Boggard Oracle 4) a drug-addled shaman that spends most of his time preaching the good word about Dagon rising from the sea to kill us all. Praise be to Dagon!

These frog people can be brought to heel if the PCs slay Kumanda; if they do so Zikomo will declare them the new emissaries of “Father Dagon” and the tribe will serve them*. The cavern system can hold 32 Boggards and Zikomo will proceed to recruit more frog people to serve as (minions for the PCs, more on minions next time). Zikomo will help the PCs for a time but will ultimately betray them to serve Father Dagon. Chaotic Evil going to Chaotic Evil.

Event 3: Stupid sexy Snake Lady
Some time ago an Callista Shanda (CG Lillend CR 7) came to the Caer Bryr on an errand for her extraplanar overlord. She liked the place so much she stuck around and has ever since been a force for good in forest. In her centuries inhabiting the area she’s picked up a group of elven consorts (CG Fey Elf Ranger CR 2), male and female, that will fight alongside her. She is also good friends with Jurak the Elder and is in regular contact with him via speak with plants.
If Jurak stops responding she will assemble her crew and come looking for answers in a few days. If she finds evidence of Jurak’s death and of the evil PCs about doing evil things she’ll attack directly. The PCs will likely defeat her allies and drive her off; the lillend has an impressive array of spell-like abilities and can easily evade the PCs to revenge herself another day. Callista will find good adventurers in Farholde to support and guide towards defeating the evil menace at the Horn.
There is an alternate resolution though. If the PCs can make friendly contact with Callista and convince her that the humans in Farholde are responsible for the death of Jurak she will turn her rage against the city. She’ll eventually be defeated by the battle sisters from the Abbey. Score one for the bad guys turning the forces of good against each other.


THE HORN OF ABADDON
With those side events out of the way let us actually seize the Horn of Abaddon. The Horn consists of five levels, 3 of which are accessible from the ground by a normal PC group. The top two require flight to get at from the outside but since the whole place is overgrown with vines they are unlikely to see these points on ingress. It's quite the fixer upper, approximately 14,000 square feet of of unholy real estate. This place will be the PCs fortress for the 222 days it takes to complete the ritual so as we explore we’ll get some history of the place and future opportunities. The GM advice make no bones about two things; first that NPC do-gooders will attack the Horn trying to disrupt the ritual, and second that the PCs will think of defensive measures not suggested by the authors. We also get a bonus XP chart based on the “Security Points” accrued by the PCs in coming up with ways to defend the Horn, smart PCs are going to want to find ways to improve the defenses of the Horn.


Lower Caverns


The lowest level of the Horn has become home to the previously mentioned Boggard tribe, the Bane-Wogs. It’s also the most likely point of entry for the Ninth Knot.
  • C1 – The Maw of Dagon - The entryway faces south and looks like a giant toothy maw ready to devour prey. The entire area is dotted with pools of mud and stinky swamp water.
    • C1a - Stationed here are a pair of boggard sentries. They’ll attack any groups that look like easy prey, otherwise they retreat, alert Kumanda and prepare to attack with reinforcements.
  • C2 – Pool of Acid - The pool here collects an acid excreted by the north wall. It's your standard 1d6 damage acid but the pool will refill once a month. 100 vials of acid can be collected from the pool each month, some of which can be sold to alchemists in Farholde. More valuable though is that the excess can be used to seed traps around the Horn.
  • C3 – Empty Cavern - This a boring, empty cavern with a pool of water at the back end. The book does suggest once the Horn is under your control some crocodiles or other water based monsters can be placed here as trap.
  • C4 – Boggard Ambush Site - The boggards should have more sentinels here but they’ve gotten lazy. If the PCs take control of tribe they can station sentries here or dig a pit trap in the more solid area in the middle of the chamber.
  • C5 – Empty Cavern - An empty cavern but it holds a secret. Hidden in the southwest corner is secret door (DC 30) that leads the spiral staircase going all the way up to the Sanctum of Vetra-Kali.
    • C5a - Just notes that this corridor is too narrow for a medium sized character to easily pass through.
  • C6 – Empty Cavern - Another area of the Lower Caverns best suited as a place stash a monster as an encounter for NPC adventurers.
  • C7 – Empty Cavern - Curveball! Again a place to stash a monster of some sort. The book suggests this as the perfect lair for the dire tiger we’re going to meet in Act III. It can easily control C5, C6, C7 if some sort of fence or wall is erected at the western passage from C5.
  • C8 – Mud Pits - Natural geothermal activity far below the Horn has resulted in the pit at the back of this chamber being filled with slightly magical, slightly evil, boiling hot mud. Higher up in the Horn there is a ritual that can summon some mud elementals as servants. The book also suggests that the shelf at the back of the chamber can be planted with treasure, as a trap, to tempt adventures into the hot mud.
  • C9 – Boggard Village - Home the Bane Wog tribe. There’s 1-4 boggards living in each of the mud huts in A-F. Only about half of the tribe is here at any time.
    • C9g - This hut belongs to Kumanda-Slays-Nine-Men along with his two consorts. There’s a few hundred gp of assorted treasure along with a helm of comprehend languages and read magic. That’s kind of cool. This is also the most likely place to find Kumanda if the PCs haven’t previously alerted the Bane-Wogs to their presence in the Lower Caverns. In NecromongerBoggard tradition you keep what you kill and whoever defeats Kumanda gets his treasure stash and his two sexy frog ladies.
  • C10 – Empty Cavern - Hooo boy. Nothing here but a suggestion to station sentries once the PCs take control of the Horn.
  • C11 – Strange Fish - At the back of this cave is a small pool containing blind fish. These fish are death-angel cave tetras; their spines can be harvested for a potent poison, the uses of which we leave to the wicked imaginations of our PCs.
  • C12 – The Cavern of the Blue Slime - This might seem like another boring empty cavern, but it contains an interesting blue slime. An astute PC may notice a tiny fissure on the southern wall only large enough for a mouse.
  • C13 – The Horseman’s Last Redoubt - That tiny fissure on the adjoining cave leads to one of the Horn of Abaddon’s greatest secrets. In the chaos of King Markadian’s raid on the Horn one of the death-cultists, Rhinehart Kappelbrenner, fled with one of Vetra-Kali’s emerald eyes, some supplies and 2 potions of gaseous form planning to wait out the raid then reform the Pale Horsemen. This was a great plan except for the part where he broke one of the potions and trapped himself in the tiny cave. The Eye of Vigilance allowed Rhinehart to watch the extermination of his co-religionists and the creation of the Seal warding this realm from the return of Vetra-Kali. Thanks to the combination of general death-cult madness and starvation Rhinehart was able to identify a flaw in the Seal and recorded an unholy ritual that would break the Seal and return Vetra-Kali to Talingarde.

  • C14 – Empty Cavern - Nothing to see here.
  • C15 – The Backdoor - This westward tunnel path is the best way for attackers to get around behind the Boggard village, The book suggests stationing more sentries here.
    • C15a - There are crystals at the back of the cave, they may be useful later.
  • C16 – Fungus Farm - In this muddy cavern the boggards grow their sustenance crop,
  • C17 – The Breeding Pool - The spawning pool for new Boggard tribesman; the tadpoles look like small fish. If the PCs destroy the pool it will drive off the sexy frog ladies and a few other members of the tribe.
    • C17a - Gross tentacled frogman statue of Dagon.
  • C18 – Bone Pit - Here is where the Boggards dump the bones of their prey. There are more than a few humanoid skeletons in the pit and it can produce 100+2d6 skeletons for a necromancer PC.
  • C19 – Deadly Diamonds - This chamber is a faire wonderland of crystals. Anyone foolish enough to enter will fall through a thin stone layer on to stalagmites (taking on average 5d6+5 damage, ouch). There is a weird little Earth spirit that will regrow the stone layer once a week, making this a natural trap, but its well hidden. How the PCs will learn this, other than trial and error with minions, is unclear.
  • C20 – Empty Cavern - Our last empty caven and also the least interesting. We don’t even get a suggestion to shove a monster in here.
  • C21 – Fungus Farm - Another mushroom farm to feed the tribe in lean times. Meh.
  • C22 – Holding Pen - Any humanoids unlucky enough to be captured by the Bane-Wogs are held here until the tribe is ready to sacrifice them to Father Dagon. If the Boggards manage to capture any PCs this is where they’ll be held.
  • C23 – Zikomo’s Temple - This is the place the PCs are most likely to encounter the boggard shaman Zikomo-Hears-the-Father. The chamber is one of the largest in the lower caverns and the majority is taken up by Zikomo’s living quarters/temple to “The Father” (aka the demon-Lord Dagon). The interior of the temple is a charnel house of bones surrounding a sacrificial altar. Whenever the PCs arrive Zikomo will be getting high on his own supply of vision juice and will deliver a very useful prophecy to the PCs.

    Zikomo posted:

    The cave of the blue slime conceals your future. Learn its secret or fail at ye master’s charge.
    Hopefully this will be hint enough for the PCs to investigate room C12 more closely. There’s about 3500gp in loot to be had in the Temple but they have to kill Zikomo first. Killing him would be a mistake since he can help them cement control of the boggard tribe and his crazed prophecies can be a useful source of information (especially useful for the DM to throw the PCs new leads).

Level One


  • 1-1 The Left Eye - A wide set of stairs, starting on the west side, wraps around the outside of the Horn leading to an entrance facing south, about 100 feet above the jungle floor. This is the first defensive position in the Horn proper, should probably station some minions at the half wall in the north end of the corridor.
  • 1-2 Eastern Guardroom - Now empty, but during the time of the Pale Horsemen cult guards would have been stationed here to take advantage of arrow slits along the western wall,
  • 1-3 Western Guardroom - Also empty and would likewise have been garrisoned with cult guards armed with crossbows.
  • 1-4 Lower Storeroom - This room has been magiced up so that any food or drink stored here will never spoil. It’s empty now as the Talirean soldier looted it during the raid. In the northwest corner is the perfectly preserved corpse of a minotaur cultist that was slain during the raid by King Markadian himself. The minotaur can be raised up as a zombie using animate dead. (Shame on my players for not doing this.)
  • 1-5 Pillaged Quarters - Dust and cobwebs fill this room that was once quarter to temple guards. Anything of value was looted by the Talireans.
  • 1-6 Blasted Room - The walls and floor of this room are blackened with char marks and soot. During the raid a handful of acolytes took refuge here but did not survive a bunch of fireballs being tossed into the room. Their damned souls left a psychic imprint in the room that will come back to haunt the PCs in Act III.
  • 1-7 Pillaged Quarters - Another small room that once guard’s quarters, careful search will find 30gp in loose coins and an elixir of truth.
  • 1-8 Stone Cutter’s Quarters - Quarters for the masons that served the Pale Horsemen. Not sure what they did here since it’s mentioned later on the whole place was transmuted out of the ground using foul daemonic magics.
  • 1-9 The Death’s Head Tavern (west wing) - Even death cultists need a place to cut loose, enjoy some R&R. It was sacked during the raid but a few hundred gp in repairs would return the area to working condition for the PCs own henchmen.
  • 1-10 The Death’s Head Tavern (north wing) - There’s a bar and grill here to serve the tavern. This begs the question why the PCs don’t quit the adventuring life and open a more evil Applebee’s.
  • 1-11 Servants’ Quarters - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-12 Guard’s Barracks - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-13 Acolyte’s Quarters (north) - Empty, but it does contain something of value. A DC 20 search will locate the journal of a long dead acolyte of the cult, Zander Trask. Brother Trask was none too bright but a careful examination will give a few clues to the PCs:
    • The pillar at 1-27B is hollow and there may be a secret door.
    • There are two powerful daemons in the upper levels.
    • Trask saw a priest sit on the throne at 1-27 and disappear.
  • 1-14 Acolyte’s Quarters (south) - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-15 Servant’s Quarters - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-16 Lower Courtyard - In the heyday of the Pale Horsemen this area was center of bustling activity for cultists. The fountain at the west end features a statue of Charon on his skiff, it magically produces fresh, clean water and will fill the 100 gallon basin at the rate of 1 gallon an hour.
  • 1-17 Armory - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-18 Alchemist’s Laboratory - During the raid on the Horn the alchemical golem Artephius helped to fend off the Talirean invaders but was broken in the battle. Cultists brought him here, to their alchemical workshop, in hopes of repairing him and returning the golem to battle. Before they could the cultists were defeated and King Markadian himself dashed out the brains of this automatic abomination. The golem was left behind by the invaders believing it to be beyond repair, they were mistaken. In the ruins of the laboratory the PCs can find: plans for the alchemical golem, three ounces of stone salve and a glass reservoir for Artephius.

    There’s a whole list of parts needed to bring Artephius(N Construct 9) back to working condition that will fit into the slots above. Once he’s up and running he talks like a droid programmed by a Sith Lord and will occasionally slaughter your minions if left unsupervised. It’s a small price to pay, like any proper evil overlord you’ll have a few lieutenants that casually execute the underlings.
  • 1-19 Guardroom - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-20 Sergeant of the Guard’s Chamber - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-21 The Trophy Room - The trophies that once dotted the walls here are long gone, destroyed by the Talireans. The plaques that hung below them remain cataloging notable persons that crossed the cult and paid with their lives.

    quote:

    “Laedrissia the Beautiful who believed she need not honor her promises to us.”
    “Markhan the Golden, the draconic protector of Lossewyn. He slept then and now he sleeps forever.”
    “Kallister Feign, an illusionist too clever to keep his head.”
    “Lazarus M. Who mourns for you now?”
    “King Croc, 23 feet snout to tail, delicious on a spit”
    “Iris of Ghastenhall, dead from a broken heart and a poison dagger.”
    “The Great Serpent of Korokunga, slain for its venom”
    “Lord Jurys Hallifax called the Just hid in his castle and hope we had forgotten. We hadn’t.”
    “Snorri Five-Axe died on a sixth.”
    “The ears of Lord Kelerrian. If only he had sense enough to listen.”
    “Chief Gorgun Sakkathet, invincible in battle, careless in choosing his cup bearer.”
    “Ergun Nigma, The third scion left in the House of the House Hyrhul, second greatest swordsman in the land, the first to die.”

    Hidden in the plaque for Iris of Ghastenhall is a silver signet ring that is worthless, unless the PCs have the foresight to hold on to it until Book III, at which time they might be able to complete a minor side quest.
    The last plaque hides a wall safe, the combination of which can be deciphered from the legend. Hidden inside is 400gp in loose treasure and manacles of cooperation.
  • 1-22 Smithy - The once functional forge has fallen into disrepair like the the rest of the Horn of Abaddon. For a small investment the PCs can return it to working order.
  • 1-23 Capture Cell - High above this chamber, about 60 feet, at 2-1 is the opening to a pit trap that would drop the unwary into the cage waiting here below. The cage door is busted and will require repairs. There are also manacles attached the the south wall at A. THe pit trap can be rebuilt and there are suggestions with costs for varying levels of deadliness.
  • 1-24 Prison Guardroom - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-25 Torture Chamber - This room now contains twisted heaps of rusted metal and broken wood, but if you listen closely you can hear the screams of its victims long ago. The chamber can be returned to its dark glory if the PCs are willing to spend the cold, hard gold. Up to 8000gp will equip it for 6 guests, all you’ll need is an experienced torturer. If only we could find one… For any decent campaign of WotW this place should see plenty of use, remembering to fade to black and not get graphic. A torture chamber is textbook villainy, Evil 101.
  • 1-26 Holding Cell - The door to this chamber was busted by some do-gooder knight but it can be repaired. A great place store the subjects for the chamber beyond.
  • 1-27 Lower Temple - The main place of worship for cultists admitted to the first level of the Horn of Abaddon. The walls are carved with images of daemons and men united in the service of Vetra-Kali. At the far end is a huge throne.
    • 1-27A Throne of the High Priest - The Throne has more unholy carvings and radiates an aura of conjuration. Hidden at the base is an Abyssal syllable “Yah”. It’s the activation word for a teleporter that allows faster movement within the Horn. Using the command word will teleport the speaker to the associated area.
      • 1-27A ------------------- command word ‘Yah’
      • 2-20A ------------------- command word ‘Rah’
      • 3-9 ----------------------- command word ‘Nen’
      • The Lost Throne -- command word ‘Vah’
    • 1-27B The Hidden Stairs - The column here hides the spiral staircase leading up to 3-12. The book states that senior cultists would descend to the Lower Caverns then ascend the spiral stairs for important events. A DC 20 to search check can discover that the pillar is hollow.
  • 1-28 Acolytes Preparation Chamber - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 1-29 Sacrifice Holding Chamber - Empty, nothing of value here.

Level Two

quote:

Note: Casting any spell with the evil descriptor is impeded on this level until the Knight’s Shrine is desecrated. See 2-18 for details.


  • 2-1 The Right Eye - Another staircase winds around the exterior of the Horn of Abaddon, starting on the east side, and ending on the south face 200 feet above the floor of the jungle. These stairs are more difficult to locate as they are narrow and overgrown with vegetation. The defenses include arrow slits to the east and west and pit trap that is now obvious. A narrow plank now extends over the pit. Hope a PC doesn't fall crossing here.
  • 2-2 Eastern Guardroom - Another empty guardroom, but it’s got a secret door to the west and a non-secret door to the north. Routing your guard shift changes through the temple seems profane but whatever, I’ve never been in a been in a death cult.
  • 2-3 Western Guardroom - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-4 Barracks - Empty except for a note that will give the PCs an additional clue to the use of the teleportation thrones.
  • 2-5 Capture Pen - The pit trap at 3-1 drops any victims into the cell here. Everything is in working order.
  • 2-6 Barracks - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-7 Statuary Graveyard - The shattered remains of statues that once decorated the courtyard at 2-16. On a successful skill check a PC may notice that there is one more head than statue.
  • 2-8 Captain’s Quarters - Once the quarters of the guard captain for the Horn of Abaddon the room was ransacked long ago. The knights did leave behind a massive oak four-post bed frame that the PCs can sell in Farholde for 2000gp. It will require a lot of effort to get it out of the Horn and through the forest, it’s a good job for your minions.
  • 2-9 The Beastmaster’s Quarters - No, not Dar. Chambers of the evil dude in charge of all the monster used by the cult. The room is badly burned from a fire set by the Talireans, but there is an intact mural showing the Beastmaster summoning two bear-like daemons, Hexor and Vexor, that we’ll meet shortly.
  • 2-10 Barracks - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-11 Antechamber of the Master of Acolytes - This room is empty except for the impaled skeleton hanging from a spear driven into the western wall. Above it is inscribed. ”The Master of Acolytes, stealer of children. Let all who would turn to darkness see his fate and return to the light.”
  • 2-12 Master of Acolytes’ Private Chambers - Now thoroughly wrecked up this was once the abode of the Master of Acolytes’ whose job was to kidnap children from around the island to raise as new cultists. In the smashing process one of the knight knocked a medium sized hole in the west wall. Vegetation has started to infiltrate the Horn and there are a variety of vines creeping through the room. Hidden amongst them are two Verdurous Oozes (N Ooze CR 6) that will attack the PCs. If the hole in the wall is not repaired it may be used as a point of ingress by the do-gooders that will attempt to thwart the PCs.
  • 2-13 Acolyte’s Quarters - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-14 Acolyte’s Quarters - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-15 Acolyte’s Quarters - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-16 Upper Courtyard - Once the center of social life for this level of the Horn all that now remains is a fountain similar to the one on the floor below that creates pure water. At the center is a statue of three daemons.
  • 2-17 Priests’ Quarters - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 2-18 The Knights’ Shrine - After the raid the Victor and his knights occupied the Horn for several weeks while the Seal was forged, several of the knights built a crude shrine to Mitra and thanks to the power of prayer were able to consecrate the shrine. This has the side effect noted above that evil spells cast here have a chance to fail (DC 20+ spell level). A simple desecrate spell will cancel this effect.
  • 2-19 The Broken Statue - In this room is an extremely life-like statue missing it’s head. If the PCs put 2 + 2 together, reattach the extra head found at 2-7 with the stone salve they found in the Alchemist's Lab a cultist can be restored to lie. Halthus the Flayer (N Human Expert 5/Fighter 2) was a low ranking acolyte of the cult that got a face full of flesh to stone during the raid. He’s now happy to serve new masters and knows quite a bit about the Horn that may be useful to the PCs. He’s also an accomplished torturer and can be put to good use if the torture chamber at 1-25 is rebuilt. Halthus also has a prize, hidden in his satchel is another of Vetra-Kali’s eyes.

  • 2-20 Temple of the Priests - This temple is more impressive than the one below; the murals, frieze work and carvings depicting beautiful but horrific images of daemons, the dying and the undead. At the back of the temple is a skull shaped throne that also acts as a teleporter with the keyword “Rah”.
  • 2-21 Hall of Murals - The halls depicts important events in the history of the Sons of the Pale Horseman. Careful examination will also reveal instructions for three unholy rituals to summon and bind creatures from the Lower Planes. Call Forth the Hounds will conjure 3 Hell Hounds, Call Forth the Steed will raise up a Nightmare named Carnitheria Rex and Cauldron of the Earth will call forth 4 evil mud elementals from the pit at C8. Obviously the big get here is the nightmare, a flying, intelligent mount is tremendously useful.

Level Three


  • 3-1 The Center Eye - A grand arch opens to the south 200 feet above the forest floor. The only way to gain entrance here is climbing the exterior of the Horn of Abaddon, no easy task, or by flight. The platform is elaborately decorated like other important areas of the Horn with images of daemons. Hidden at the entrance is a pit trap that will drop the unwary down to 2-5. Inside there are more decorations and a written history of the many triumphs of Vetra-Kali Eats-the-Eyes. The room corridor is lit by six sickly green continual flames.
  • 3-2 Blasted Chamber of the High Priest - Formerly the chambers of the last high priest of the Pale Horsemen, Ezra Twice-Damned, now it contains nothing but ash and debris. Hanging open at the back of the chamber is a secret door.
  • 3-3 The Burned Library - Ezra’s private library was discovered during the raid and all the unholy tomes within were burned at the order of the Victor.
  • 3-4 Guardroom - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 3-5 Fane of the Three Eyed Prince - The ultimate temple for the Sons of the Pale Horseman, only the most elite members of the cult ever bore witness to the strange, unholy rituals performed here. The decorations in the chamber depict daemons committing all the most foul acts imaginable. Three rows of pews line the aisle approaching the rear of the chamber where a lectern stands in front of four shrines. Each shrine is dedicated to one of the Four Horseman (Pestilence, War, Famine and Death). In Pathfinder they are powerful, nihilistic daemons that seek to bring an end to the multiverse. Carved into the wall behind the lectern is an image of Vetra-Kali, any that approach within 30 feet without saying the phrase, “Hail Vetra-Kali” are affected by a fear spell, DC 18. Hidden on the eastern wall is a secret door, DC 30 search check to locate. The door radiates strong conjuration magic but the room beyond contains junk, stuff that was garbage long before the Mitran raid on the Horn. The storage room is a clever disguise though, if the words “Hail Vetra-Kali” are spoken while opening the secret door it will instead open into a pocket dimension containing a horde of treasure.
  • 3-6 Treasure Vault - This room was never discovered by the Victor and his knights as they were more interested in purging the unclean than wealth. There’s a lot hidden in the pocket dimension, treasure and story wise. The loot haul is significant; a belt of giant’s strength +2, ring of mind shielding, rod of elemental metamagic [acid], lesser, a dozen potions of cure moderate wounds, a literal ton of assorted silver furnishings worth 10K gp, 600 pounds of gold furnishings worth 30K gp, six chests of assorted coins worth 5.5k gp and two iron plates with Abyssal words carved on them (the control amulets for Hexor & Vexor). Glowing on a pedestal in the center of the chamber is an enormous emerald that is another eye of Vetra-Kali, the Eye of Hatred.

    The chamber is also inhabited by the spirit of Ezra Twice Damned, last high priest of Vetra-Kali, now Ezra Thrice-Damned(NE advanced giant wraith CR6) and 3 wraith spawn(NE undead CR5). The wraith rose up a decade after the massacre at the Horn and aside from a general hunger for souls of the living he would like to break the Silver Seal and return Vetra-Kali to this world. The Seal prevents Ezra from entering the Sanctum but the PCs would serve as useful stooges for his purposes. Ezra knows quite a bit about the PCs and their mission as he’s the reason Aiden Kael and the Fourth Knot failed to report back to Cardinal Thorn. The three wraith spawn were members of the Fourth Knot, slain by Erza, and now serve him in undeath; their souls when consumed gave him some knowledge of Cardinal Thorn’s plans. Ezra will agree to help the PCs in their mission with the intent to betray them and complete the ritual himself.
  • 3-7 Antechamber - Empty, nothing of value here.
  • 3-8 The Lightning Scarred Room - During the raid this room was blasted many times with electric magics leaving the walls scored deeply. Otherwise nothing of value remains.
  • 3-9 Meditation Hall of the High Priest - The walls, floor and ceiling here are completely covered in Abyssal writing. In the center of the room the syllable “nen” appears repeated in a circle; this is the command word for the teleporter hidden here. The mediation hall also has a chance to cause anyone using it to go insano like draino, shifting alignment to Chaotic Evil and being compelled to kill a sentient being once a week. This seems like a terrible choice for a neutral evil cult so there's a 1 in 20 chance some of your senior leadership could turn into a serial killer. On the upside if you complete the meditation 3 times you get the Iron Will feat or Improved Iron Will if you qualify.
  • 3-10 Sacrifice Holding Cells - The rooms name explains it all. The cells themselves are sturdy and have good quality locks. This should be useful later in the campaign.
  • 3-11 Chamber of Delights - Elaborate murals depicting carnal debauchery once decorated the walls of this room that served as brothel for senior leadership of the cult. The murals are now almost entirely obliterated. I guess daemonic orgies are part of being evil but visiting the brothel in a cult dedicated to disease seems like a great way to catch a case of super gonorrhea, literally pissing fire.
  • 3-12 Top of the Secret Stairway - The exit from the spiral staircase that started in the Lower Caverns at C5A. Two skeletons in rusted full plate remain here, fallen defenders of the Horn.
  • 3-13 The Daemons’ Charge - A half wall block access to the spiral staircase leading out of this room. The walls are covered in horrific images of the Abaddon the realm of daemons. Hanging out here are, Hexor and Vexor (NE Greater Ceustodaemons CR7), charged with protecting the Sanctum of Vetra-Kali they were killed during the raid, reforming on the material plane a month later. They will attack any intruders unless they possess the iron plates located in the secret treasure vault at 3-6 or express an intent to free Vetra-Kali.


Spiral
The last leg of our journey before the PCs reach the unholy chambers at the peak of the spire. The 200 foot high spiral is well lit by sickly green continual flames, the walls are decorated with the daemonic end game of destroying the higher planes and their celestial inhabitants.

The Sanctum of Vetra-Kali

  • S-1 The Sanctum - The spiral stairs open to a large domed chamber with its apex 50 feet over head. Walls partition off the areas at B and C that were used by the cult for ritual preparation. The room is dominated by the statue of Vetra-Kali at A.

    The dark green alabaster statue is wrapped in heavy silver chains connecting to a heavy Silver Seal emblazoned with the holy symbol of Mitra. No magic or physical force available to the PCs will remove this artifact that prevents the return of Vetra-Kali. Also anyone evil touching it is going to suck up 10d6 damage, Fort save for half. The statue radiates an evil aura that is outshone by the aura of good from the Silver Seal. Some of the statue's magic does still function, any water poured into the basin will become unholy water.
    Before the PCs get to any of this they have to deal with the Huge Lightning Elemental(N Huge Outsider CR 7) lurking at the top of the dome. Shouldn’t be too difficult.
    Something else interesting may occur when the PCs enter this chamber, if the ogre Grumblejack is still alive and henching for them. The ogre becomes dizzy and confused and will complain of a thirst that cannot be quenched by ordinary means. Only unholy water from the statue's basin will satisfy his craving. This will also activate his latent daemonic heritage, turns out good old Grumblejack is the last surviving heir of a tribe of ogres that served the Sons of the Pale Horseman. Grumblejack(LE half-fiend ogre fighter 1 CR6) can now fly and do some limited magic, it's a solid upgrade for the loveable fuzzball to keep him relevant to the party.

    This lovable fuzz ball

  • S-2 The Balcony - The balcony here faces west looking over the vast forest beneath the Horn of Abaddon. Falling from here is a bad idea. Once the ritual described below has begun the balcony will be shrouded in a sickly green aura of the unholy blight spell. Anyone trying to fly in here is going to take some damage with do-gooders punished harshly.

The Ritual
With the Horn explored the PCs will need to figure out how to complete their task from Cardinal Thorn, obtaining the super-plague known as the Tears of Achlys.

quote:

To perform the ritual the villains need eight components:
1) “The Dirges of Apollyon” (C13) -- This is the holy book that details the ritual.
2) 666 doses of unholy water (S-1) -- The statue of Vetra-Kali creates unholy water at will.
3) The Eye of Vigilance (C13) -- this jewel, restored to the statue, lets our villains scry (as the spell scrying) the entire Horn of Abaddon.
4) The Eye of Hatred (3-6) -- this jewel, restored to the statue, glows whenever a divine spell of Mitra is cast within the Horn.
5) The Withering Eye (2-19) -- this jewel, restored to the statue, desecrates the Horn (as the spell but for both undead and daemons).
6) a death priest or descendant (2-19) -- Halthus the Flayer, a petrified priest can be restored using stone salve (2-12). He has The Withering Eye in his pouch and can serve as the sacrifice. Failing him, there are doubtless other descendants of the “Sons” living in Farholde. The Baron could dredge up such a descendant if asked.
7) A devout follower of Mitra -- This is easy to acquire. Sister Marta Dian (of Hallack’s Crew -- Act 3, Event 2) or any of Harkon’s Hands (Act 3, Event 7) certainly count as do any number of nuns and priests in Farholde.
8) The bloodline of the Victor -- There is only one relative of the Victor in Farholde -- Sir Valin Darian, commander of the Hamarhall. Inside his castle he is a daunting target but he will in time come to our villains of his own accord(Act 3, Event 13).

RUNNING THE RITUAL
We conclude with some advice from the authors on how the GM should handle the Ritual. The PCs should be concerned with defending the Horn but on your side of the screen it’s about pressure but not actually disrupting the Ritual. Not, that is until the final 5 days when a hell breaks loose and the PCs will face their greatest test yet. Once the first days worth of prayers is completed the Ritual should be treated as something going on in the background since we won’t be playing out every one of the 222 days of the ritual. The AP itself goes week by week
The Horn of Abaddon under their control the members of the Ninth Knot are now level 7. As every boy and girl knows 7th level is a very special time in an character's life. It’s when they can take the Leadership feat.

NEXT TIME: Fantastic minions and where to find them

LongDarkNight
Oct 25, 2010

It's like watching the collapse of Western civilization in fast forward.
Oven Wrangler
Also, Loose Treasure, is my documentary about how the Time of Troubles was an inside job.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Ah, Leadership. The feat I can't believe no-one ever sat down and said 'You know maybe this is a bit insane and also doubles the party.'

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Night10194 posted:

Ah, Leadership. The feat I can't believe no-one ever sat down and said 'You know maybe this is a bit insane and also doubles the party.'

Leadership is perfectly cogent with old-school D&D characters attracting followers after reaching high-level, although it probably would have worked better to limit it only to Fighters or martials.

White Coke
May 29, 2015

Night10194 posted:

They specifically mention that in the main rulebook when they go 'It should be taken as significant that the first skill you will encounter is Accounting, not Aikido or Attack.'

When really it should be Aardvark husbandry.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:

I was trying to mentally parse what the gently caress this thing was, and it's ludicrous appearance also meant it took me about 30 seconds to realize it didn't have a XBox360 controller hanging from it's neck.

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

Tibalt posted:

I feel like maybe I should clarify, I actually love Lovercraft and Howard and Burroughs, but my fave is problematic. I don't think that disqualify them from modern media, but it's part of the legacy that every work carries, and has to be dealt with (even if you deal with it by ignoring it and excising any mention).

I just feel that mentioning Aurthur Jermyn really helps to contextualize Lovecraft and his derivatives.

I was going to say "Hey, Burroughs wasn't a racist or a contemporary of Howard and Lovecraft" but then I realized you were talking about Edgar Rice and not William S

If you want to play the latter, there is always, somehow, Over the Edge

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.

Down With People posted:

[b][u]BY THE SKIN OF THEIR TEETH – PART THREE

I can't help but feel that the adventure isn't taking into account that this is Istanbul, and so the investigators should have access to a limitless number of friendly cat allies wherever they go...

Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.

Angry Salami posted:

I can't help but feel that the adventure isn't taking into account that this is Istanbul, and so the investigators should have access to a limitless number of friendly cat allies wherever they go...

Now I'm imagining the brotherhood just getting continuously clowned on by cats throughout this entire scenario.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


Obligatum VII posted:

Now I'm imagining the brotherhood just getting continuously clowned on by cats throughout this entire scenario.

Everything past Belgrade sucks and should be solved by cats. Fenalik? Investigators are given big bundles of garlic by friendly strays and warned of his assault by two stowaway cats chasing each other shrieking down the passenger car at 2 in the morning. Brothers of the Skin? Cat swarms of Istanbul.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007

oriongates posted:

I can understand why the hosed up racist crap in Lovecraft's stories turn people off...but ultimately I feel like I have to make peace with the fact that the past is a terrible place. If I like anything written or created more than 30 years ago, odds are good that the creator held some beliefs that I would find intolerable (I mean, odds are still pretty good now, being honest).

Yes, well, the problem here is that Lovecraft was a horrible screeching racist even by 1920s standards.



Obligatum VII posted:

And if you remove the arbitrary line of only looking at artistic works... well, I hope you like abandoning probably half or more of the modern conveniences you use. Because terrible people have made a lot more than just books, etc.

No one's telling people to stop reading Lovecraft just because he was a racist. They're choosing not to because the racism is obvious and unavoidable in a lot of his work.

I usually don't have to be subjected to the horrible opinions of the creator of whatever other "modern conveniences" I care to use.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



I feel like the Fenalik endgame is easily improved in a way Istanbul isn't.
The idea that the Brotherhood looks unbeatable then gets totally shredded by Dracula is a great if a bit railroads way to lead in to the actual confrontation. Maybe have Fenalik actually try to converse (maybe through intermediaries) with the Investigators, give them a sense of the haughty French noble/undead monster they've been traveling with.

Then have him be ready to murder them unless they really impress him-, possibly focus his assaults on limb tending (in ways that fit Baleful Influences). I'm fine with the penultimate challenge of the campaign being potentially lethal to an investigator, but make it fun and flavorful, not just a boring slap fight with a vampire.

In short I think Fenalik is a way less natively terrible session than all this Orientalist crap.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Fenalik should legit just be the endgame. He's the one behind everything. Have the Nyarly influence behind it, sure, have there be people who want to take the artifacts for themselves, fine. But make lifting the curse the last thing that happens before Fenalik decides to take it back from them. Remove the brotherhood of skin entirely and just have assorted weirdos who have it out for the PCs. Fenalik wants it to be clean of gribbly magic taint before he turns it into his skin and the end of the campaign is then fighting a centuries-old vampire while he fucks up the train and tries to take his new skin.

In retrospect what I'm kinda describing is something a little along the lines of Stardust Crusaders but set in the era of Battle Tendency but still, yeah, Fenalik should just be the BBEG and he doomed himself by helping the investigators out. Irony's good! Irony works!

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



Joe Slowboat posted:

I feel like the Fenalik endgame is easily improved in a way Istanbul isn't.
The idea that the Brotherhood looks unbeatable then gets totally shredded by Dracula is a great if a bit railroads way to lead in to the actual confrontation.
And then after dealing with Fenalik we move on to the next stop and hey, they're unbeatable again!

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!

Kavak posted:

Everything past Belgrade sucks and should be solved by cats. Fenalik? Investigators are given big bundles of garlic by friendly strays and warned of his assault by two stowaway cats chasing each other shrieking down the passenger car at 2 in the morning. Brothers of the Skin? Cat swarms of Istanbul.

The Something Awful Forums > Discussion > Games > Traditional Games > FATAL & Friends 2018: Cat swarms of Istanbul

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.
I'm imagining stuff like cats innocently knocking pot plants off high windowsills directly onto cultists heads, running through their legs as they're trying to aim shots, playfully batting at grenade pins, and so on.

If you want more horror, have a feline magus show up and bind someone's soul into a toy mouse.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Cats do make terrific allies against Cultists: Very sneaky, exist wherever people live and cultists HATE being disrupted while performing some magical ritual.

Zomborgon
Feb 19, 2014

I don't even want to see what happens if you gain CHIM outside of a pre-coded system.

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Cats do make terrific allies against Cultists: Very sneaky, exist wherever people live and cultists HATE being disrupted while performing some magical ritual.

"I would go and get out my good heart-removing knife for the meeting tonight, but this cat has been sitting on my face for the last 12 hours. Oh well. I guess it can wait until the next lunar cycle."

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

"Someone left a dead mouse lying across the summoning circle! IT'S LOOSE!"
\"

The Lone Badger fucked around with this message at 09:06 on Jan 19, 2018

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


I was thinking more spilling alchemical regents, jumping and clawing at the sorcerer and even stealing choice pieces of the sacrifice.
Mr Unspeakable Horror would not be pleased.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
The cat stares right into the lich's eyes as it slowly inches his phylactery towards the edge of the table.

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?

Mors Rattus posted:

Also there were two actual full-length adult novels. I still haven't gotten my hands on those.
You should, Dinotopia Lost is great (Hand of Dinotopia is kind of mediocre though).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

U.T. Raptor posted:

You should, Dinotopia Lost is great (Hand of Dinotopia is kind of mediocre though).

I've been trying to attain a full collection. So far I have Dinotopia, The World Beneath, Journey to Chandara, Windchaser, River Quest, Lost City, Sabertooth Mountain, Thunder Falls and Chomper.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
But do you have the pop-up book?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

No, but my collection's aim is primarily to get enough information to decide what I want to do gamewise, so.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

Really enjoying that Grumblejack's EVIL THIRST may only be quenched by Abyssal Mountain Dew

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.

Down With People posted:

Big SAN boost, new Romani friends for life, satisfaction of a job well done.

Also you serve evolution, next time she'll make sure to birth a bulletproof baba yaga hut.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

The Vosgian Beast posted:

I was going to say "Hey, Burroughs wasn't a racist or a contemporary of Howard and Lovecraft" but then I realized you were talking about Edgar Rice and not William S

If you want to play the latter, there is always, somehow, Over the Edge
Now I'm imagining a Victorian investigators confronting a police officer turned cytoplasm in an opium den and losing their sanity when confronted with Steely Dan.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013

Night10194 posted:

Aren't SMGs incredibly dangerous to human enemies if anyone in the party has skill with one? I'm not quite sure which edition I have and which edition this is but I kinda remember Tommy Guns adding +5% to-hit per extra bullet fired in a burst up to doubled to-hit chance, randomly deciding how many rounds you hit with after that roll, and then doing like d10+2 which against unarmored humans is pretty brutal.

It's a noticable problem in Achtung Cthulhu!, which is 6th Edition Coc with a minor coat or paint and set in WW2 so everyone is armed to the teeth. Your told flat doubling starting HP's for players is an option for a more cinematic game, and it's pretty much mandatory if you don't want to spend half your time rolling up new characters.

I playtested Elder Godlike (adds lovecraftian superpowers based on the old Godlike system to AC!) and we lost 3 characters in the first 2 rounds of combat, 15 minutes into the game, and had to 'Well that didn't happen' to finish the brief scenario.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Mors Rattus posted:

I've been trying to attain a full collection. So far I have Dinotopia, The World Beneath, Journey to Chandara, Windchaser, River Quest, Lost City, Sabertooth Mountain, Thunder Falls and Chomper.

I actually copyedited the YA books and wrote up a "Dinotopia Encyclopedia" of people, places, and things for our writers to reference. (James Gurney liked the idea and was talking about actually getting it published, but it never happened. Oh well.)

Re Way of the Wicked: My players had a lot of fun with Jurak because one of the group was a druid and he was all "uh, guys, I really don't wanna fight a treant even if we're evil." Of course, this was a mistake, because Jurak eventually figured out what they were up to and came back with reinforcements, although I used a war-band of local elves instead of the lillend.

The puzzle to find the way into the real Treasure Vault kind of stalled my players, though -- they had to resort to "praying to Asmodeus" for a hint.

I didn't really like the lightning elemental in the top room because it seemed kind of boring and random, so I replaced it with a couatl who was there to guard the shrine. Couatls don't get enough love.

And it is always fun to watch the players freak when they do the math and realize that they have to stay in the Horn for the next 222 days.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Tibalt posted:

Now I'm imagining a Victorian investigators confronting a police officer turned cytoplasm in an opium den and losing their sanity when confronted with Steely Dan.

would play, no lie

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
One of my life dreams is to play a character half as great as Joseph Joestar.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Selachian posted:

I actually copyedited the YA books and wrote up a "Dinotopia Encyclopedia" of people, places, and things for our writers to reference. (James Gurney liked the idea and was talking about actually getting it published, but it never happened. Oh well.)

Oh wow, smallish world that you happen to be reading the thread. Any interesting tidbits that never got into the books or is that covered by a NDA?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Selachian posted:

I actually copyedited the YA books and wrote up a "Dinotopia Encyclopedia" of people, places, and things for our writers to reference. (James Gurney liked the idea and was talking about actually getting it published, but it never happened. Oh well.)

Oh, nice! They're honestly pretty well-written, on average, for YA. Certainly better than I was expecting. Is that encyclopedia something you can share or is it bound beyond the gates of NDA?

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Mors Rattus posted:

Oh, nice! They're honestly pretty well-written, on average, for YA. Certainly better than I was expecting. Is that encyclopedia something you can share or is it bound beyond the gates of NDA?

I'd love to be able to drop some dramatic tidbit like "Peter David wrote in a hardcore Compsognathus-on-human gangbang scene and had to be forced to remove it," but honestly there was nothing unusual -- James Gurney is a heck of a nice guy, and the writers were all seasoned professionals who just wanted to do their work and get paid.

As for the encyclopedia, I may still have it buried somewhere on my computer, but even if it's still there I wrote it in ClarisWorks (this was, uh, a while ago), which Apple no longer supports, so I may not be able to even open it.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


BY THE SKIN OF THEIR TEETH – PART FOUR

Dealing With Daddy


Escape is extremely unlikely. The investigators are herded through the graveyard and brought into a circle of cultists, where they are disarmed and tied to ancient graves. The cultists make way for a huge oilskin-wrapped bundle to be brought into the circle as well – whatever's in there squirms and whines. Behind that is the elderly Selim Makryat, who is carried on a chair supported by four cultists.

Selim doesn't bother with introductions and skips straight to questioning the investigators through an interpreter. If he doesn't know already, he wants the location of the Simulacrum and the Scroll of the Head. If the investigators refuse to answer, he hits them with Curse of the Putrid Husk, a particularly nasty spell that makes them feel like they are trapped in their own body while their organs rot and fall out. It's an illusion but an extremely convincing one. He does this to each investigator in turn until they go insane and tell him everything he wants to know.

After this, he mocks the investigators and casts Create Skin Beast. I feel like the description really speaks for itself.

:nms: posted:

Unwrapped, the oilskin bundles reveal twelve writhing children, alive but in horrible torment. They have been literally sewn together with stout twine—almost randomly by limb, by torso, by nose or ears. Wherever sufficient skin might be pulled away from a body, there it has been stitched to another child. A few pitiable victims snivel and wail, but most kneel dazedly, beyond all belief, reason, or tears. Three large tubs are brought forth. Gesticulating cultists gather around each. The air crackles with dark magical energy, and soon the contents of the vats are heard to sputter and hiss. A smell rises up which reminds the investigators of the Beylab-Beast. In the tubs is human flesh, heated to melting with Melt Flesh spells. The contents are then poured over the screaming children. As the greasy, scalding flesh envelopes them, Selim chants the words of the spell, accompanied by those Brothers whose dead men’s tongues can chant the unutterable secret syllables that accompany the casting. The hot flesh melds the obscene mass into one. As it settles over the children, all that can be seen are their maddened staring eyes, and their mouths through which shoot tentacles of skin. The whole entity begins to undulate, and arms and legs of the children poke through the hardening crust of flesh. It is upon these limbs that the now-formed Beast begins to slowly move, always toward the horrified investigators. Sanity loss to witness the entire despicable creation of the Skin Beast is 1D3/2D6+4 Sanity points.

James Rutherford isn't in there, before you ask.

I have a problem with this scene because while it's undoubtedly horrific, it goes a bit too much further than what I'm comfortable putting into my game. When you have something terrible happen to kids in your game, you really do risk alienating your players unless they're total sociopaths – I can't speak for your group, but I lost interest in having children murdered and tortured in my games a long time ago. In addition, having your bad guy hurt kids is pretty lazy writing of the kind that plagued the 90s; I particularly like Darren Maclennan's quote on the subject, saying that oWoD bad guys tortured so many children there must have been vending machines where you could get a six-pack.

Even if you're on-board with the horror here, this is like bad supervillain poo poo, leaving the heroes to get killed by some awful death trap while you walk away. Selim and every other cultist immediately leaves after creating the Skin Beast, so uh, what's the game plan here? Are they just gonna let it roam around eating people in the morning? Not to mention that this is a significant amount of resources to put into just killing some dudes. That's 120 MAG and a dozen children, plus whoever else you had to kill to get all that melted flesh. And Selim wants to make two of these things? Just for shits and giggles? If they're able to do this kind of poo poo in Constantinople, why haven't they just completely taken over the place yet?

God, whatever.



Bear With Me

The Skin Beast attacks by absorbing its victims into its mass. Things are looking pretty bad for the team, and it's unlikely they'll be strong enough to break their bonds on their own. Instead, it's probably Companion-to-the-Dead who comes to their rescue, cutting the investigators loose. The Skin Beast doesn't get a chance to properly eat anyone either – just as it's about to, a loving bear comes roaring out of the night to fight the thing. At this point, some of the departing cultists realise they should probably check on their pet monster and find out things have gone wrong. Depending on how many come to look, this might be a fatal mistake, since they explicitly leave the investigators' weapons behind.

As the investigators escape, someone beckons to the investigators. It's the Romani bear-tamer they might have seen earlier. The book says that if Feyar's still around, he'll reveal that Feyar's a spy but uh, why would he still be around? Surely he would have hosed off with the other cultists by now.

The Romani is named Aktar and he helps the investigators get back to Stamboul where he offers them refreshments and helps them patch up any injuries. As they sip tea and cope with the horrors they've witnessed, Aktar tells them his story. He is not Romani but actually a Turkish spy working for Ataturk. He was keeping track of the Brotherhood's movements. They couldn't get him, but they did get his only child. Pursuing them, he tracked them to the Shunned Mosque, where he unfortunately found what was left of his daughter. He wants revenge but knows he can't go to the police; he proposes that the investigators join forces with him, as he knows the secret way into the Shunned Mosque.



One small problem: this is all a lie. Aktar is actually Mehmet in disguise. He had always planned for the investigators to get captured and lose the Simulacrum, you see. It's not clear what he would have done if Selim had just sealed the investigators' faces shut instead of loving around with the Skin Beast, but maybe I'm just not as smart as Mehmet.

See what I mean? At this point, the investigators haven't been able to do a single loving productive thing in the scenario. We're like halfway through and they're still gonna get jerked around some more.

Next time: skin, interrupted!

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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Selachian posted:

I'd love to be able to drop some dramatic tidbit like "Peter David wrote in a hardcore Compsognathus-on-human gangbang scene and had to be forced to remove it," but honestly there was nothing unusual -- James Gurney is a heck of a nice guy, and the writers were all seasoned professionals who just wanted to do their work and get paid.

As for the encyclopedia, I may still have it buried somewhere on my computer, but even if it's still there I wrote it in ClarisWorks (this was, uh, a while ago), which Apple no longer supports, so I may not be able to even open it.

Looks like LibreOffice and Open Office can convert ClarisWorks

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