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DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case





Return to the TOMB OF HORRORS Part 4: We Built This Skull City On Skulls and Bones

Shut up.
Anyways, if the PCs made it through the vast, swampy Vast Swamp they have arrived at the outside of John Blanche's reject bin Skull city!. Skull City is built around the Black Academy, a school for necromancers. It's full of undead and aspiring necromancers, as well as various sympathetic monsters and unscrupulous merchants (even necromancers gotta eat). There's a bit of background in the book, most of which I've already covered, and a note: because of the Dark Intrusion (see previous posts) undead and necromancers are a bit stronger in this area than they would be elsewhere. This makes encounters that would be balanced a bit more difficult than they might seem, and already-difficult encounters unfair. Is it TOMB OF HORRORS unfair? Well, no, but close.
The effects are:
-All undead are turned as if one category higher on the turn undead table.
-Spells of the "necromancy" school have their casting time reduced by 1
-Anything rat-sized or larger that dies in or near the city has a 20% chance to spontaneously zombify within 24 hours

Gettin' in
Around the outside of the city is the Quaking Bog, a mat of vegetation floating on the stagnant waters of the swamp. You can only get within 300 feet of the city by boat (boats are, thankfully, provided), but the peat supports your weight-- it does kind of shake uncomfortably below your feet, though. The real danger, however, is the fuckton of ghasts that live below the peat. The mistress of the Black Academy set them there and instructed them to attack anyone who crosses the peat and doesn't chant a dirge while doing so. However, underwater ghasts can't hear all that well, so you can basically just chant anything loudly and they'll leave you alone.

If you do get attacked, they burst up through the peat, releasing noxious odors that cause a saving throw vs. poison to avoid suffering a -2 on all attacks. Ghasts can paralyze with a touch, so they paralyze PCs and drag them down into the water, where they drown and/or get eaten. It should go without saying that the ghasts almost always get surprise. Needless to say this is a very nasty and potentially lethal combat; four ghasts attack round one and two more join each round until 14 in all are attacking.

Still, ghasts are pretty low-level compared to the PCs, so let's assume they make it past. There are ways to do this without fighting-- flying over the peat works, and if they wait and scope out the city some necromancers will cross the peat chanting, which may give them a clue. Anyways, however they do it, the PCs make it to the wall. Here they face their next challenge.

The wall is pockmarked with pits about 18 inches across. In reality, the holes are tunnel entrances and the entire wall is honeycombed with them. Inside the wall dwells a whole family of dark naga. They constantly patrol the walls using ESP on anyone who gets close. PCs stand a 75% chance of detection if they get within ESP range of the walls, ie 80 feet. If the PCs are thinking about breaking into the city, the naga emerge from the wall and warn them to enter the city lawfully. If the PCs tell them to gently caress off, combat ensues, and in 1d4+1 rounds the naga summon their matriarch. They also send someone in to warn the necromancers that rear end in a top hat murderhobos are comin'. The necromancers send the three vampires from before to attack, unless they've been destroyed, in which case Evil Dumbledore comes herself. If the fight goes on long enough, regular Joe Necromancers come and join in against the PCs.

This is an extremely nasty combat and it's likely that even appropriately leveled PCs will have a hard time with it. There are five dark naga, each of which has poison stings, lots of resistances, and spells as a sixth-level wizard. The matriarch casts as an eighth-level wizard and has more hitpoints and damage. It's very unlikely that this fight could wrap up quickly, and if the inhabitants of the city get involved the PCs will quickly find themselves overwhelmed.

So, let's assume the PCs bluff or fight or trick their way past the naga. Again, there are plenty of ways to do it, the easiest of which is probably just to agree to enter the city lawfully. This presents its own problems, however. PCs are directed to the Bone Portal, a 10-foot wide gate in the wall that appears to be made of bony plates and spurs in a vaguely humanoid shape. The gate is, in reality, a custom, intelligent bone golem that can see right through illusion and invisibility. Anyone approaching the gate is asked "What is the Sign?" PCs can, hopefully, guess at this point (from repeated references) that the answer is "The Devourer." They can also lurk in wait and spy on incoming necromancers to get the answer. If they do, the bone golem folds itself up into a mobile form and steps aside to let them into the city. If they fail to answer correctly, it does the same, but attacks. The Bone Golem is a horrible foe, since it has absolute spell immunity (except the spell "shatter"), resistance to edged and piercing weapons, and the ability to laugh in a manner so frightening that you drop dead. Fortunately, like the naga above, this combat can and probably should be bypassed.

Skull City Blues
So we're in! Hooray! Directly inside the city is a graveyard, known as the "grave district." At first blush, this makes no sense, since anything and anyone that dies in here rests for about ten seconds before some necromancer raises it. But think about it: tons of necromantic spells rely on components from a graveyard: grave soil, pieces of a tombstone, etc. Plus those are useful components in spell research. So they do have a graveyard, the turnover rate is just extremely high. The necromancers capture people from outside (see previous segments), kill 'em, stuff 'em in the ground, then dig 'em up and raise 'em.

The next interesting thing to note is this wall:

See, one of the necromancers, Danele, was driven mad by visions of Acererak and expelled from the Academy, but allowed to stay in Skull City itself. He's torn out his own eyes to get rid of the visions, but they still come, and he still is compelled to draw and sculpt them down. He'll speak to the PCs, but nothing understandable; "At the Conclusion, the Devourer awaits your souls" and the like. He explains about the picture of the woman and child, "We made him what he became. The scorn of man birthed the rage of the Devourer." There is one vital clue to get from Danele, though, even though it's not important until the very end of the adventure. If asked about the glowing orb, he says "The Devourer's phylactery holds the souls of the lost. The souls can only be saved by the pure light of the sun; all other roads shall drat these souls eternally." There are also stats for Danele, but there's no earthly reason to attack him other than spite.

Back to the city, the book provides some descriptions of residential districts, and the contents of houses, in case your murderhobos want to go all Legend of Zelda on you. There's also a giant circus-style tent called the Dead Pool, full of skeletons and zombies. See, the necromancers drop off any undead they don't need here, and anyone who wants can come and pick up some for whatever purpose he requires. It's like necro-Communism!

There's also a market (a Black Market!), a courtyard with skeletal koi in the pond, and the Academy itself. It's basically a standard D&D village, but SUPER EVIL. It's Lawful Evil, though, so unless the PCs are openly displaying marks of Pelor or whatever, or actively trying to shut down the necromancers, they can basically wander unmolested. Getting into the Academy is something else, however.

Evil Hogwarts
The Academy itself is an imposing dark stone building built over the TOMB OF HORRORS itself. Much like the original hill, the facade of the building looks like a HUGE SKULL FACE, with giant pillars for teeth covered in EVIL CARVINGS. The PCs' real goal here is the recovery of the Amulet of the Void, which they read about in Desatysso's journal; asking the necromancers (politely) will get them the information that Mistress Ferranifer aka Evil Dumbledore wears a medallion during certain necromantic rituals. The best way to get in is, of course, to pretend to be necromancers; a frontal assault on the Academy is really really dumb and fatal, since it brings everything in the city down on the PCs at once. Getting in while ethereal is an extremely bad idea due to the Academy's location near the TOMB OF HORRORS; I'll leave the details to my next post, covering the TOMB OF HORRORS itself, but suffice it to say it is a very rapidly fatal plan.


So true

The Dark Intrusion in here is double the strength it is outside: Undead are turned two levels higher, necromantic spells have casting times reduced by 2, and dead things have a 40% chance to reanimate within 12 hours.
In the entrance, there are a few necromancers just mancin' around, plus a guard. The PCs can chill and talk with the students if they want, but the guard (Leon) keeps everyone out of the Academy unless 1) it's nighttime and 2) they have legitimate business in there. He also tells them that the TOMB OF HORRORS, as a holy place, is off limits. The only way to get past Leon is to convince him that the PCs are established members of the Academy or want to petition to get in. If you want to fight him, sure, but he's a 14th-level fighter covered in magic items and, of course, everyone nearby comes to help him.

Beware: EVIL!

There's four bone naga lounging around in the foyer, making attacking Leon even more of a bad idea. Once inside, PCs can poke around various classrooms. Each one has a percent chance of being in session-- there's a few instructors, each of which might be in one of several places throughout the school, and if they happen to be in their classroom then class is in session. Closest to the door, there's an anatomy class (described as "remedial" ). If the PCs arrive while class is in session (40% of the time) Instructor Ngise says "Sit down, sit down! Take your seats in the front here, since you are so late!" and attacks if they try to skip class without a good excuse. He's a necromancer-- they don't do detention, I guess. Ngise is a pretty nasty and crazy necromancer, who will attack students or PCs for any reason at all.


Next class is "Adventures in Animation," an advanced class Ngise teaches to more high-level students, who are all armed with their own magic items (Deathteeth and Blackcloaks from my prior post). If the PCs wander in here, Ngise knows they're not supposed to be here and kicks them out, violently if necessary. The blackboard has his complex and fascinating theory of necromancy:



After this is "Applied Necromancy," taught by Academician Drake, who's much nastier and crazier than Ngise. If the PCs come to the class while it's deserted, they can peek at Drake's tome (a Libram of Ineffable Damnation,) but doing so without saying a command phrase summons a minor Death just as if they drew the Skull from the Deck of Many Things. So, to recap: it's a book that's got a really nasty and probably fatal trap preventing you from reading it, but if you get past this trap the book itself is useless and horribly fatal to non-evil characters anyways. Attached to this room is a "Necrohazard" lab, containing the results of some of Drake's experimentation: the Moilian Heart from my previous post. An attached lab contains a sample of blackfire also from a previous post, which is (in some ways) substantially more dangerous than the Heart. This version causes permanent Con damage instead of temporary, because of Drake's experimentation.

Drake's lab is attached to these "Necrohazard" labs and contains more of his research. Drake's been to Moil (quite by accident) which is where he got the Moilian heart and Blackfire, and he's obsessed with becoming a Moilian lich and giving himself the Moilian ability to steal life. There's a mostly-dissected by somehow still alive cat in his lab, which the PCs should probably put out of its misery, as well as Drake's book of research. Connected to this lab is his personal meditation chamber. See, Drake's so infused with negative energy from years of study that he doesn't sleep anymore; he just meditates and has horrible necro-dreams. He is a 16th-level Necromancer, though, and therefore a really serious threat if the PCs are unlucky enough to run into him.

The academy also has an auditorium (if there's a lecture going on and if Mistress Ferranifer is the lecturer, she'll be wearing her half of the Amulet), a backstage section with a secret passage to Ferranifer's quarters, some open-use labs full of low-level necromancers and their concoctions, and importantly the Hall of Petition. This is where Leon directs you if you pretend to be trying to enroll in the school. There's a big statue of a skeleton with hands upraised that says "Enter and be judged, petitioners!" to anyone who comes into the room. If you do enter, it says "To gain complete access to the Black Academy, place your hands in mine." If you do, it says "Hold still" and grabs your hands. This is an exceedingly bad idea, because the statue proceeds to scan you with eye lasers. You have one round to get free (bend bars/lift gates) before the Evil Sorting Hat finishes and sorts you into Dead. See, if your alignment is good, or you're any class other than mage or necromancer, you have to make a saving throw vs. death or die instantly and have your soul transported to Acererak's phylactery. Your body takes 20d6 points of damage with no save in any case. The statue then releases you and says "Admittance denied. Next!"

If you do meet the requirements, the beam burns a skull tattoo into your forehead and the statue releases you and instructs you to see Ngise for remedial classes.


Anyways, the statue swings out on a hinge if you find the secret activation stud. Back here is the entrance to Ferranifer's rooms and the TOMB OF HORRORS itself. She doesn't want people getting in who shouldn't be there, so Ferranifer trapped this hallway; Leon knows the way through, but cannot be compelled, even magically, to spill the beans. The walls are lined with sarcophagi, each a bit different.
-One has a depiction of a noble elf-lord on it. Opening it (bend bars/lift gates) reveals a poorly concealed false door in the floor. Stepping on this floor causes sharp blades to shoot through slits in the ceiling for 5d6 damage to anyone in the sarcophagus.
-One has a female warrior in full plate on it. Inside there is an actual, non-undead mummy. Behind that is a double-secret door (elves do not get a special chance to discover it) leading to Ferranifer's rooms. There's a small metal button that opens the door, but it is double-trapped. Pushing the button triggers a save-or-die needle trap; pulling the button opens the door and sets off a separate save-or-die needle trap. Ferranifer has learned assholishness from the master.
-A statue of a robed skeleton with a scythe. This is just decoration to wig out the PCs.
-One has a burly dwarf depicted on it with emerald eyes. Any attempt to tamper with the statue makes it open its mouth and spew forth green gas that makes PCs save vs. petrification at -4 or turn to stone. Also, the sarcophagus is empty. Also, the emeralds are cursed.
-A statue of a demonic skeleton with a scythe. This is an iron golem with a +3 scythe. Extremely powerful and nasty. There is a secret door behind it, however. It won't attack unless you try to get into the door or attack it.
-A sarcophagus with a human male warrior on it. It's empty; but if you search for traps inside it, the door slams shut (unless you propped it open with something that resists 20th level magic effects). The person trapped inside saves vs. spell at -4 or is subject to the sink spell, causing them to sink into the floor and be trapped, at which point the sarcophagus reopens.
-A sarcophagus with a human barbarian depicted on it. Bend bars/lift gates to open it, at which point it sprays you with iron shards for 6d6 damage, save vs. breath weapon for half.
-A sarcophagus depicting "three innocent children, holding hands in merry laughter." Empty, but a secret door in the back leads to the room of the Dim Triad.
-Sarcophagus depicting human male undergoing horrible torture. Empty, but with a door (with a viewing grate) leading to a room full of live captives.
-Sarcophagus with a human skeleton in flames. Empty and not trapped.
-Sarcophagus with a fishman hybrid on it. Secret door leads to experimentation chamber. No traps.

Some of these rooms are useful but not necessary; if the PCs haven't killed the Dim Triad, they'll find them in their room. The room of captives has 20 innocents in it; freeing them safely without being noticed would be very difficult, but is worth 1000xp per captive that makes it home. The experiment room has a grisly Frankenstein's monster chained to a table; PCs should probably put the poor guy out of his misery. The important rooms are Ferranifer's. There's her drawing room, complete with tea set (full of blood, of course); her study, complete with a massive library; her bedchamber; and her crypt (she is, of course, a vampire). PCs might encounter her in her study. If they study her notes (and take long enough-- it takes a full day to glean this info, during which time they will certainly run into her) they can discover the following:

The last is false, of course. Ferranifer only has half of the Amulet, which is why she can't understand it, but she doesn't know that.

Ferranifer's bedroom is full of Nice Things, because just because you're undead doesn't mean you don't appreciate them. Her dresser is trapped, however, and if tampered with releases an incendiary cloud while the door closes and locks itself. The trap is super dangerous and does tons of damage each round, destroying all of the furnishings (but she's rich enough to rebuy them whenever and regards the trap as conspicuous consumption). Reopening the door is difficult and requires finding a secret door, with difficulty modifiers due to the room exploding around you.

Her crypt contains a flameskull, which the party may mistake for Acererak (especially as it rises into the air and proclaims "You have found me and I am Death!"). Ferranifer will be here, lurking invisibly, if the PCs set off her bedroom trap; otherwise she may or may not be here. She is a deadly enemy, since she's an 18th level necromancer and Vampire Scion, covered in magic items. She also has a perma-contingency spell cast on herself. If she takes enough damage to cause her to shift to gaseous form, it casts a magic jar that shifts her essence into the Amulet of the Void itself. At some point later in the adventure she will attempt to possess one of the PCs from the amulet, usually while they are unconscious, and attempt to pretend to be the PC him or herself. So there's that to worry about. Also, 18th-level spellcaster.

After beating Ferranifer and taking her amulet, PCs can head into the corridor. There's a trap here, of course; opening the door at the far eastern end of the corridor reverses gravity, causing the western end to be the new "down" and PCs to fall all the way down the corridor, a usually fatal distance. Closing the door fixes gravity. The real exit is a secret door in the wall. Passing through it takes you to a shrine built around the original entrance to the TOMB OF HORRORS. And with that, we end our time in Skull City!

Next time: Into the TOMB OF HORRORS!

DAD LOST MY IPOD fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Jul 7, 2013

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Ars Magica 5th Edition: Against the Dark: The Transylvanian Tribunal

Giants can come in all sorts of sizes, from 'very big for a person' to 'truly immense,' but in Transylvania they are more cultured and refined than most other giants. They tend to dress as knights, ride horses and have fiefs of some kind. They can even be witty and charming, though most prefer to be violent. Many can change their size, shrinking down to just 'very big' so they can ride horses. They can also often change their shape, too, becoming something apparently harmless like flowers or a brook, though this inconspicuous forms are often easier to hurt. One thing in common to all Transylvanian giants, however: they have mothers. (Well, strictly speaking they don't, they're faeries, but they have faeries that claim to be their mothers.) A giant's mother is always a sorceress and much smarter than her son. She manages the household and wrathfully pursues anyone who defeats her son. A giant could exist without a mother, but the mother requires a son as a focus for her control and her verbal abuse. Without one, she becomes irritable or withdrawn until she can adopt a new one. It is also common among giants to have hair growing under the tongue or in the cheeks. This is common also in the giant-blooded of the area, though it doesn't impair speech and can be hard to notice.

Another common critter of the area is the faerie horse, which is mount, companion and advisor to heroes. They know they must spend their time imprisoned on the ranches of giants' mothers, kept filthy and underfed to hide their natures, and then be found by heroes and saved, after which they serve until the moments of final victory, when they leave to allow the hero to accomplish the goal on their own. Sometimes, the faerie horse is the giant's mount and is rescued from that. Faerie horses tend to be the most cognizant faeries of the Tribunal, and most are fully aware of their own roles and how they interplay with those of other faeries, especially giants and their mothers. This can often make them seem able to see the future, since they know how the story is supposed to go. They can't see the future - they just have experience with these things. They're utterly unhelpful in this way against, say, Infernal creatures.

Now, vampires. The Tribunal is loving infested with vampires. All kinds of vampire. Vampires, as defined by House Tremere, are those creatures that take on the form of the dead to drain the life of the living. They are not, contrary to Slavic belief, the spirits of the dead possessing things. Rather, they are a form of faerie (usually) that derives vitality from the blood and fear of its victims. Each time a superstitious ritual repels them, the story is enforced and they gain vitality. They usually kill by sucking blood, but may drain the breath or eat the flesh. All vampires are unique. Their properties are often similar, but each has its own set of rituals to ward it off or destroy it, and that's why so much of vampire lore is contradictory.



There's a lot of beliefs about how you become a vampire. Most commonly they involve things like animals jumping over the corpse or landing on it, shadows falling on the corpse, untimely deaths, deaths by natural forces, animals or murder, bloodless deaths like drowning, death while unbaptized or excommunicated, those who, in life, committed mortal sins, anyone born on the 12 Unclean Days of Christmas, any witch or sorcerer, anyone born with a caul, or the youngest of seven siblings of the same sex. None of these are guaranteed to make a vampire - they just attract the attention of a faerie who takes on the role of the vampire if the correct rites are not performed to prevent it. Consecrated burial may not stop a vampire from forming unless that's one of the faerie's specific conditions.

Folklore gives a lot of ways to prevent vampires. These feed the faeries, and if not done correctly, the faeries seek blood and fear instead to get their vitality. Not all methods work on all vampires, but folklore includes ideas like cutting off the corpse's heels, hamstringing it, placing its head under its knees, turning the body face down, driving thorns or nails into the soles of the feet, placing a thorn or nail under the tongue, filling the mouth with garlic and salt, driving thorns under the fingernails, putting small stones in the ears, mouth and/or navel, binding the hands behind the back, putting a red hot needle through the corpse's heart, driving a nail into the place where its head laid, scattering the place of death with millet, red thread or thorns, putting millet in the coffin, binding the corpse with ivy or wild rose, sticking nine distaffs in the soil above the coffin, burying the body in a swamp or forest, burying it at a crossroads, driving an iron spike through the head, driving an aspen or hawthorne stake through the navel, heart and/or rear end or piling stones on the grave. Any or none of these may work on any given vampire.

Common to vampire legends is a life cycle. Each phase feeds on life, but differently. Immediately after death, the vampire is ghostly, the zduhacz, and haunts its family for either seven or forty days. Then it takes on the shapeless but physical form of the gadja. If it lives 40 days as a gadja, it takes on the human form of the dead, the platenik. It now preys mostly on humans, starting with its family. The longer it lives, the more powerful it gets, until after seven years it moves out to a far region, becoming a kukudhi, which masquerades as a living human and even settles down to a family while going out at night for blood. Kukudhi are not weak to sunlight as much, though direct sunlight can hurt them and they prefer to stay inside by day. Any children of a kukudhi are dhampirs. Vampires are most active between Saint Andrew's Eve (November 30) and Saint George's Eve (April 23), which is when most dhampirs are fathered.

Vampires are not a PC option. No one likes them, though it might be possible to play a kukudhi. Barely. All vampires have one to three traditional limitations on their actions. Almost all cannot leave their resting place by day. Many cannot spend power on a Saturday or harm anyone born on a Saturday. Some can't cross lines of thorns, leave millet uncounted or cross running water. Some are repulsed by garlic, can't cross a barrier or garlic or can't attack a person or animal smeared in garlic. Some are repulsed by black hawthorn, can't pass a tangle of red thread ot can't approach those who are telling stories. Some can't ask the same question three times, or are repulsed by the Cross and prayer. There's also all kinds of ways to kill vampires, only one of which will be correct for any given vampire. Some require the body be exhumed on a Saturday or a Sunday, some require women or virgins to exhume the body, some require the heart and/or liver be burned or cut to pieces by a scythe or thrown in running water. Some require the body be burned or decaptitated. Some require a hawthorn or aspen stake through the navel or heart.


So in theory an rear end in a top hat magus could farm a town's vampire for vis.

Some vampires - perhaps most - take a human form, often that of a recently dead person and often wrapped in a burial shroud. The most potent are the kukudhi, but other names for humanoid vampires include platenik or ubour in Bulgaria, drakus among the Thracians of Rhodopes, moroi among the Vlachs, oiocoi among the Transylvanians, lampir among Bosnians and upir to the Ruthenians. Some vampires take bestial form. In Slavic areas, they are called vukodlaci, though that is also used for werewolves. Other names include farkaskoldus in Hungary, blautsauger among the Saxons and pricolici to the Vlachs. They have thick gray fur and usually appear as wolves, or more rarely a sort of bear or furry dragon. They have no bones and can fit through the tiniest gap, despite their size. Commonly they are caused by being killed by wolves or eating from a beast killed by a wolf. Murder can also cause them.

Slavic vampires start as ghosts, called zduhacz or sjenovik, before becoming material. Other vampires may stay in that ghostly form, haunting the family of the dead and being a nuisance. They can visit dreams and can impregnate widows, and often appear as glowing lights or burning shafts. Hungarians know them as luderc, while the nekrstenik or ustrel is caused by the death of unbaptized children and haunts newborns and young mothers. The sjanka forms from the blood of those killed by knives, and the ljugat is a more benign ghostly vampire, which feeds but briefly on victims. Some vampires, like the early lifecycle of the Slavic ones, are formless. These gadja appear as bags of skin and hair, full of jelly-like blood. They have a sharp snout to suck blood with and move about mostly by rolling. Sometimes they resemble ox heads. They are particularly susceptible to thorns and piercing weapons.

Not all vampires are human. Snakes can become vampires, especially venomous ones, as can stallions, lambs or other animals. Wolves and dogs are never vampires, ever. They are caused by the same methods that make human vampires. Even plants can become vampires. Plants that cause human deaths or which grown in soil fertilized by human blood can become vampires - even gourds are at risk. The most dangerous of these is the vampire tree, and trees are likely to become vampires if someone was hanged on one, especially a suicide. Thorn trees never become vampires, so they are often used as impromptu gallows.

And some vampires are actually a sort of demon that eats the corpse and takes on its form. These are similar to the Greek vrykolokas, and are known in Bulgaria as the broukolak. The most sure way to become a demonic vampire is to be cursed at the moment of death. Some particularly evil people who do with evil yet undone may curse themselves as they die in the hopes of becoming vampires. Broukolak are good at blending into society, and they eat flesh and drink blood, first of relatives and then others. There are also the living vampires, that is, witches or sorcerers who prey on people in the same ways. They are human, not faerie or demon, and they don't need blood, though they may drink it anyway. When they die, they often attract powerful vampire faeries. In Romania, the term strigoi is used for all vampires, but the living are strigoi vii and the dead strigoi morti. In the Balkans, the strigoi vii are called vjestitza. They are a form of Nightwalker witch that takes the shape of an owl, hen, moth or fly and feeds by night. You can learn to become one! They often have malefica or the Goetic arts if Infernally inclined, or the Ars Fabulosa if inclined to Faerie.



Next time: Werewolves and the Vila

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

I'm glad they took the step away from the WW style of vampire. Vampires as just another (and particularly annoying) kind of fairy is much more bearable, if they need to have them at all.

Also:

quote:

blautsauger
Bluesuckers?

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


I wonder if anyone playing Ars Magica would ever create a vampire vis mine. It's such a dickwizard thing to do.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I could easily see a player doing that if they felt like being a dick.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Against the Dark: The Transylvanian Tribunal

Werewolves are known among the Romanians as varcolaci, and among Slavs as vukodlaci or kudlaci. They are seen as a sort of vampire, and often referred to by the same terms. A child born with a blood-red or black caul, born feet-first or born with teeth becomes a varcolac, and a man can become one by magic. Some turn into hens, horses, cows, dogs or cats rather than wolves, but the wolf is most common. All are treated with suspicion, but not all are evil. Some form "wolf brotherhoods," secret societies dedicated to protecting their communities and hunting vampires, for the vampire is the well-known foe of the wolf, and the werewolf even moreso. Others use their power for mischief, attacking cattle or suckling from sheep and mares, causing plagues among cows or strangling horses, or even attacking humans. It is also said that the varcolac eats the moon during an eclipse, and certainly werewolves have power at that time.

Not all werewolf legends focus on remote rural areas. Not every werewolf is a living vampire. Some tales speak of werewolf kings, given their power by God as an example of His promise that man should have dominance over the beasts of the wood and field. In Ars Magica, this means that Slavic, Magyar and Vlach kings get a second power when crowned by ecclesiastical authority, in addition to the Divine Right. They become shapeshifters, able to take on the form of a wolf, or sometimes a bear, or sometimes even a dragon. The Divine nature of this power allows for the dragon shape despite the usual inability of shapeshifters to take on such forms. For the record: Stefan II of the Serbia has the magic power to become a dragon if he feels like it.

Now then the Vilas, the White Ladies. Most areas of the Tribunal tell stories of beautiful faerie women, dressed in pale clothes or naked. All have similar names but diverse roles. Most Vilas can be warded against by a lock of their own hair. They revert to their basic form (usually human, sometimes animal) when cofronted with it, and cannot harm those who have such a lock by any means, direct or indirect. Their hair often contains Vis, which means that while it survives, they cannot truly die, and if lost, it will reassemble their body. Some of their hair is potent enough to be carried off when they are defeated, allowing them to survive. Other wards include food, special cakes or ribbons, which protect a house that offers them or can be given directly.

Vilas can commonly shapeshift, enthrall with their voices, give magic powers to those who dance with them (or curse those who dance with them), and can draw people to the Faerie realm. Other powers are related to their roles. Some vilas who shapeshift, especially into birds, can be captured by hiding their skins or feathers. They then marry their captor until they find the lost item or are released by some condition laid into the marriage. Their children often have strong faerie blood and may be visited by their mothers, though they aren't very good mothers. In some areas, the vilas are ghostly women who can lure travelers astray or control weather. In others, they play a role that warns girls not to fall in love too easily by repeatedly falling in love with a mortal who dies. They tend to not be aware that they are the ones killing their lovers. Others are huntresses who ride deer or horses and have lethal arrows that slay oathbreakers. Yet others are temptresses who kidnap men or the (apparent) spirits of drowned maidens who can give the power to breathe water. Yet others are weavers who can weave warriors into existence by calling in other faeries, or woodland nymphs with control of nature. And some others are wise women, often confused with folk witches.



Now, let's talk about Transylvanian hedge mages. We'll start with the Storm Wizards. For millenia, some children of the Tribunal have been born deformed, mad or by incest. These are left to die of exposure, in the hopes of exorcising the sins of the parents. Usually, the child dies. Some few have the Gift, however, and their cries call out to the storms. And then come the giant men with beards thick with ice, and these men take the babies and raise them. This is the manner in which all storm wizards are found and in which all are Opened to the Gift. They are an ancient but very lonely tradition that is almost exclusively male. Most magi know very little of the storm wizards, apart from their power over storms, and there may be no more than six in the entire Tribunal. Many common folk believe they cause all storms, but magi can plainly see that only a small fraction are caused by magic. Of course, since storm wizard storms appear natural, the magi might be wrong and the common folk right, and there may be many more than six storm wizards.

Because storm wizards are Gifted, they technically fall under the Join Or Die provision of the Code, but most have so far managed to avoid the dangers largely by being rare and nonthreatening enough that they don't meet many magi and few know that they're all Gifted. Several did join House Ex Miscellanea during the Schism War and fought beside the Tremere, but this has largely been forgotten by the Order, and no texts survive on their powers. One possibility is that, as their non-Hermetic magic was used to baffle the Diedne in battle, House Tremere deliberately tried to obscure their powers for future tactical use. What, if any, goals the storm wizards have as a whole are a mystery.

All storm wizards possess the blood of giants, but not by birth. Rather, at the end of their apprenticeship, Storm Wizards undergo an initiation in which they kill a giant and eat their heart, gaining giant's blood. This is the mark of a true storm wizard, and it can take some time for an apprentice to manage the task. Their magic is available to use in the process, at least. They possess three powers: Storm Calling, which allows them to conjure up a storm by use of Auram vis, which centers on them when called but does not move with them. They can move storms by focusing, however, which costs no vis. The storms do not move unnaturally fast, but can move unnaturally, such as going against the wind or going through windows or doors. A storm wizard can move any storm, regardless of its maker. Second, Storm Riding, allowing them to sense or travel to any point within the storm. They must be able to see the storm, and get a bonus if they are actually within the storm. ('Within' being defined as any air or ground being rained on. Indoors usually doesn't count.) They may also use this to teleport others within the storm. Lastly, the Storm Wizards have the power of Storm Fighting, allowing them to use the storm itself as a weapon. They may buffet others with wind easily, and can attack multiple times in a round that way - a rather unique trick, for straight fighting. They're also very potent winds, though armor helps. They can call down rain and hail to trip people or hammer them with ice from the sky, focus their power on erodigin a structure or even call down lightning to destroy their foes. Because storm wizards need vis to create storms, they hunt for magical, unmelting ice. It takes a full season to harvest this ice properly, and they guard their ice sites jealously. The ice contains Auram vis, and Hermetic magi would interpret this harvesting as being able to pull it from magical auras, and certainly any Auram vis will work for a storm wizard, but they'd be unlikely to believe such suggestions.

Now, Hunters. Vampire hunters are nearly as common as vampires in the Balkans and Transylvania. They are those who have some special effectiveness against vampires or other monsters. Traditionally, one is either born to hunt by circumstances or by having a vampiric parent. However, a third type has started to show up - the fectores of the Order. In the Balkans, there are a number of taboos about birth that, when broken, make you a Hunter by virtue of your liminal role in society, even if you didn't break the taboos by any fault of your own. One of the most common inabilities of a vampire is to go out on Saturday or harm those born on a Saturday. Thus, being born on Saturday makes you a sabotnik, according the Bulgarians, and suited to hunting. In other places they are called vaperar or in Greece akaphroiskiotos. The sabotnik can also be born on one of the 12 Unclean Days or during the Wolf Holiday of November. These are fated to become vampires on death, or (for the Wolf Holiday ones) to be werewolves and to become a special type of vampire on death. Not all sabotnici become hunters, but they are protected by birth. Often they can sense the unseen or detect even immaterial vampires. Sometimes they can detect witches. Most sabotnici with magical powers are men, but some women also do, and tend to be the most powerful sabotnici. A dog can also be a sabotnik, easily identified by the black marks over each eye, which has led to them being called four-eyed dogs. You also get the glogove, those born feet-first or with teeth and red hair. The glog is named for the black hawthorn, also called glog, which defends against vampires. Unlike sabotnici, who specialize in finding vampires, the glogove are protectors or occasional destroyers. They make weapons of black hawthorn wood, mainly for defensive use. They tend to be aggressive and argumentative, with bad tempers, which can get them into trouble. They also commonly excel at physical skills. You also get your taltos, who we covered way back in Nightwalker land.

And then you have the dark parentage, those born of vampires. The dhampir is the most common name for them. They inherit vampire-slaying magic, and the names of some dhampiri, such as Obrad of Nis (who is both priest and dhampir) and Murat of Terezin (who killed 200 vampires himself), have become legendary. Dhampir typically charge for their services, and traditionally they cannot be bargained down. They also often receive gifts of food and clothes. However, they all bear the dark curse of the dhampiri: on death, they will become vampires. They try to ensure that another will be ready to slay them when they die - generally their children. In Bulgaria, vampiric children are known as vampirdizhia, and in Bosnia or Albania, lampijerovik. Elsewhere, they are vampijeroviks. The vampirdzhi is usually a hunter by necessity, not tradition, but some do have an innate talent for the job. In the Sanzak are of Serbia, everyone in one district is a lampijerovik descended from one vampire, and they know quite a lot about killing the vampires. Like dhampiri, they will become vampires on death unless precautions are taken. They may not know this, and thus cause a perpetual vampire problem via their bloodline.

Hunters typically practice the Hunter's Arts, a remnant of a shattered hedge tradition from a thousand years ago. They are fragments of old taltos lore, passed on incompletely. There are three Arts: Scry, Ban and Slay. There are also the Foe Arts, which determine what you can use your Practice Arts on. Most hunters are unaware that Foe Arts exist and never gain experience in them, so they are only able to hunt one specific kind of creature - usually vampires. Other possibilities include ghosts, Aerial Powers (a sort of demon), witches, shapeshifters or dragons. Any distinct type of creature or specific tradition of humans aligned to a supernatural realm.

Scry allows the tracking of the creature by forming a mystical connection to it. The scryer must either touch or see the foe to make that initial connection, or else touch an Arcane Connection to them. This takes only a single round, though it doesn't always work. The strength of the Scrying then determines what you can do. The weakest kind can only track direction and distance to the foe. Above that you can also smell what they smell and hear muffled sounds. Above that, you hear all they hear and have a vague impression of what's going on around them, plus a sympathetic connection. The top level lets you see and hear everything within five paces of the foe and a stronger sympathetic connection. It's easiest if you touched them, harder if you only saw or had an Arcane Connection. If you gently caress up, the connection goes the other way. Oops. You can have one connection at a time, and can't easily cancel it unless you can beat your old roll at dawn or dusk. If the foe dies, the connection is broken. Now, the foe can use the sympathetic connection if they somehow learn of it by detecting the scry, but the only automatic detection is if you hosed up. Further, whenever you use the connection, if the foe is aware of it, they may use any power that would require them to touch, see or have an arcane connection to you, though they must be waiting for your contact and be able to use their powers to do so.

Ban protects you or others from the powers of the foe via warding amulets. There are three types of Ban: Physical, Supernatural and Weakening. The first two protect people, the last an area. You can only have one Physical or Supernatural Ban on you, and only the most powerful works. And if you have magic resistance, the amulet has to pierce that to protect you. A Physical Ban lessens the effects of wounds caused by the foe, though only from direct attacks and not, say, a fallen tree caused by the foe. It takes twelve hours to make a Physical Ban, which lasts until sunrise or sunset from the time it is put on the neck or wrapped around the left hand. The effects end immediately if the amulet is removed, and it becomes nonmagical. If unused within three days, it goes inert. However, it need not penetrate the foe's Magic Resistance - it just absorbs and negates wounds for as long as it lasts. Enough wounds will break it. Any secondary effects such as poison are also negated, but supernatural powers delivered by touch are not.

For that you need a Supernatural Ban, which also takes twelve hours and lasts the same way. The weakest of these lowers the duration of the foe's powers and causes them to have to focus more to use them. Above that reduces the duration further and makes the concentration harder. The most potent reduces the duration massively and causes extreme need for concentration. Bans against mortal foes are especially hard to make. However, a Supernatural Ban works only once, as soon as an applicable power is used. A Weakening Ban is not for a person, but wards an area demarcated by stakes. At least four stakes, which must be at least a foot long, hawthorn and decorated with blessed ribbons with special knots, all made by the hunter. It takes no special skill to make them, at least. You need more stakes for a wider area, and each takes 15 minutes to make. The circle they envelop need not be unbroken, just clearly defined. When the last stake is placed and the spell is sung, the ban becomes active for three days. It may be put in place earlier and activated later, so long as the stakes are not moved at all between the two. It isn't too hard to check that out, though. Weakening Bans work only on creatures with Might, and must penetrate. Those foes then lose some of their Might within the warded area, suppressing their abilities down to that level. However, it all returns when they leave, and the ban does not prevent them from leaving. They do not die at 0 Might due to this, they just can't use their powers and have no magic resistance.

Slay lets you make a weapon designed to kill a specific foe. When correctly made, it can kill in one blow. First, you must find out as much about the foe as possible, as each is unique and each weapon is unique. The more you learn, the more potent the weapon, and lies can make your weapon weaker. First, you need a new, unused weapon, and most slayers learn to make those themselves and keep several on hand. It's not always a weapon, either - some Romanian vampires have died to a hemp brake (a tool used to make linen). Commonly, the weapon is carved of black hawthorn, which is potent against vampires. It takes 24 hours of continuous work to turn a normal weapon into a slayer's tool, and it is very tiring. It involves a chalk-and-flour circle and chanting ancient songs as well as meditation and incense. Once done, the weapon becomes magically charged indefinitely.



Mortal foes are harder to slay, and the more facts you know, the easier the weapon is to enchant. Incorrect facts make it harder, so it's better to omit information you're unsure of from the ritual. When the weapon is finished and used against the foe, it needs to hit, which doesn't get any bonuses. But it doesn't have to do damage - once it hits, by any means at all, if it penetrates the foe's magic resistance, it immediately causes an incapacitating wound. Once used, the weapon loses all magic and can never be used for Slaying again, even against an identical foe. If the foe dies by other means, the weapon also loses its magic. Expired weapons are magically inert and, while usable as normal weapons, can never be enchanted by any means.



A Gifted Slayer from the Fectores learns three Foe Arts and all Practice Arts; most unGifted have only one Practice Art and the free Foe Art that comes with the first Practice Art you learn.

The End!

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:


Return to the TOMB OF HORRORS Part 4: We Built This Skull City On Skulls and Bones


-A sarcophagus with a human male warrior on it. It's empty; but if you search for traps inside it, the door slams shut (unless you propped it open with something that resists 20th level magic effects). The person trapped inside saves vs. spell at -4 or is subject to the sink spell, causing them to sink into the floor and be trapped, at which point the sarcophagus reopens.
... really. Really now.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

The Bone Golem is a horrible foe, since it has absolute spell immunity (except the spell "shatter"), resistance to edged and piercing weapons, and the ability to laugh in a manner so frightening that you drop dead.

Thanks, Ravenloft!

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: 2ND EDITION - The Complete Psionics Handbook
Chapter 7 - TELEPATHY SCIENCES AND DEVOTIONS OR THERE'S WAY TOO MANY POWERS THAT ARE INAPPROPRIATELY PREOCCUPIED WITH TASTE

I'm not going to lie, I've been dreading doing this chapter for a while because it's really tedious and most of the rules and powers set forward were actually covered way back in Chapter 2. There's drat near 50 total Sciences and Devotions, though I really feel like the powers in this chapter are mostly representative of what your average person would equate with psychic power; not that the preceding four chapters full of superhero fantasy bullshit weren't just amazing to read through, but I think the powers in this chapter should have been reworked so that they made up the entirety of powers in the book. At any rate, I'm not going to bother listing and defining every Science and Devotion because most of them either do exactly what they say on the label (Domination is a straight copy of the Wizard spell dominate person except shittier because you have to constantly expend PSPs, etc.) or have been previously outlined. Instead I'm going to look at some of the more uselessly silly powers that Steve Winter somehow thought someone somewhere might want to use.


SCIENCES:

Fate Link - PSIONICIST USES DESTINY BOND! IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE! Link your fate to that of another so that if either of you take damage or die then the other has take the same amount of damage or make a save vs. death or else also immediately die. As a kicker, the penalty for rolling a natural 20 causes you to lose d6 CHA for one day. Why? Why not, asks Steve Winter.

Mind Link - Your Psionicist becomes a 2 way radio and you and one other creature can send mental messages back and forth. If you botch your power roll, instead you must save vs. petrification or be stunned for d4 rounds.


Click here for the full 714x924 image
Noting says PSIONIC! like abstract art of purple face lasers overlaying a solar eclipse.

INVISIBILITY SIDEBAR - So you might recall that in an earlier update, I made fun of how completely useless the Telepathic Devotion invisibility was compared to the Wizard spell of the same name, because the Psionic version doesn't actually turn you invisible, it just projects a mental block into the mind of your target that prevents them from seeing you. Critical to note here is that the power only prevents your target from seeing you, they can still smell and hear and touch and taste (?) you. Well, rather than deal with that waste of poo poo power, you can instead learn the superior invisibility Science, which functions similarly, only with the added benefit of masking your sound and smell too (although you can still be tasted (?) and touched). Both of these powers still require that you waste a huge amount of effort and PSPs to hack into your target's mind, overcome their resistances, manifest your lovely invisibility power, and oh yeah all of those steps are required per each person you want to fool into thinking you aren't present. Or you could just be a Wizard and cast a second level spell and be completely invisible with no other effort required. These two powers, along with the entire Clairsentience school, have more or less convinced me that Steve Winter actually hated Psionics in his games and made it his personal crusade to make the Psionicist character class as useless as possible.

Switch Personality - Just in case you ever wanted to recreate FREAKY FRIDAY: THE MOVIE in your fantasy elf game. Bodies that have been switched begin to decompose daily (because why wouldn't they) and both people have to make daily system shock rolls or else lose one point of Constitution permanently or until the manifesting Psionicist activates the power again to switch back to their original bodies. Barring that, the switch is permanent, so it's a pretty cool way to literally become the king of the realm or whatever, provided you have something to keep you from failing those CON checks. It doesn't say what happens if one person dies before being switched back, so I assume the survivor just has to make daily CON checks or else degenerate into nothing.


DEVOTIONS:

Attraction & Aversion - Two sides of the same coin, which probably should have just been one power that could do either effect. You can either make someone really really uncomfortably obsessed with a person/place/thing or you can make someone really really irrationally afraid of a person/place/thing. There's no actual mechanical implementation for what being attracted to or averse to something means, so you'd better hope your DM isn't a pedantic rear end in a top hat or else these powers do fuckall.

Awe - This power forces other characters to become in awe of your psionicist. The rules explicitly state that this power gives the target no desire to serve or befriend the psionicist, but they won't try to attack you either, unless someone else tells them too. So basically, you wasted a bunch of PSPs for no effect!

Daydream - Cause a target with less than 14 Intelligence to become completely lost in their imagination of what it'd be like to get rescued by Drizz't or whatever. This power actually has mechanical effects associated with it although they're pretty underwhelming - Thieves get a +20% to all their thief skills against a daydreaming target, and non-thieves can attempt to use thief skills as an average 4th level thief against the same target. On the plus side, this power has a range of Unlimited, so if you're ever caught daydreaming it's good to know some Psionicist from another galaxy is just loving with you out of boredom.

Incarnation Awareness - You can tell how many times a given person has been raised from the dead / reincarnated / etc. There's no real mechanical benefit to this, it's more of a "gee whiz ain't that barely useful" kind of thing.

Mind Bar - Not a trendy Psionicist hangout, instead this power gives the manifesting Psionicist a flat 75% resistance to Wizard spells from the Enchantment school. This is actually a legitimately useful power as long as you know ahead of time what kind of wizard you're going up against. Seems oddly out of place given the relative uselessness of the rest of the powers.

Phobia Amplification & Repugnance - Hey remember the aversion power from several pages ago? That power was pretty vaguely defined, so Steve Winter though he might as well add two additional powers that completely duplicate the effect of aversion, because you can't have too many poorly defined powers that make characters nebulously averse to a given person/place/thing.

Sight & Sound Link - See or hear whatever your target sees or hears. If they're subject to an effect that forces a saving throw while you're linked up (like say a Medusa's gaze attack) you're also forced to make the same save or else suffer the appropriate consequences. Another set of powers that fit thematically with the psych schtick but fail to deliver interesting or useful implementation.


Click here for the full 573x831 image
The erotic side of sense linking always starts with a probe.

Taste Link - I'm really not even sure what to say here. Steve Winter was scraping the bottom of the barrel so hard he actually thought that there would be merit behind developing a power that would explicitly allow you to taste what someone else was tasting. This probably says more about me than anything else, but I feel like this is a power that would have gone better in the Book of Erotic fantasy or something. Why the gently caress couldn't they just make one power called Sense Link and then scale the level of success such that you got to choose how many of your target's senses you actually got to share? Why were Smell Link and Touch Link conspicuously omitted while Taste was the sense that just couldn't be left out? The mind boggles at you, Steve Winter.


IN CONCLUSION: Taste Link is a power that was seriously printed in a core AD&D splat book. Steve Winter unironically thought this would be something people would be excited to use in their fantasy elf games. Between the needlessly convoluted rules for establishing telepathic contact with someone else and the redundant powers and the egregiously useless poo poo (invisibility and taste link et. al.) I'm pretty sure that this chapter is the worst in the book. At least the Clairsentience powers didn't loving include Clairtastience.

NEXT TIME: CHAPTER 8 - METAPSIONIC SCIENCES AND DEVOTIONS OR AFTER CHAPTER 7 HOW COULD HELL BE ANY WORSE

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.


Congrats, you have officially broken the F&F record (which you also previously held, 7th Sea at 212 posts) with Ars Magica: 221 posts in the end.

I look forward to, and dread, whatever the hell you think up next to try and cover to go for the hat trick.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Watch it be something like Vast & Starlit or Sacred BBQ.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Syrg Sapphire posted:

I look forward to, and dread, whatever the hell you think up next to try and cover to go for the hat trick.

Remember that Mors also did In Nomine, but spun it off to its own thread because he was afraid he would drown out F&F in a deluge of words the likes of which hadn't been seen since his 7th Sea overview.

Also, someone do Vast & Starlit please.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Lemon Curdistan posted:

Remember that Mors also did In Nomine, but spun it off to its own thread because he was afraid he would drown out F&F in a deluge of words the likes of which hadn't been seen since his 7th Sea overview.

Also, someone do Vast & Starlit please.

I would have liked to see the In Nomine review completed.

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



Can someone link his In Nomine thread? I'm interested.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Forums Terrorist posted:

Can someone link his In Nomine thread? I'm interested.

It hit archives a few months ago:

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3510404&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


quote:

Plants that cause human deaths or which grown in soil fertilized by human blood can become vampires - even gourds are at risk. The most dangerous of these is the vampire tree, and trees are likely to become vampires if someone was hanged on one, especially a suicide. Thorn trees never become vampires, so they are often used as impromptu gallows.

Ars Magica, the serious historical game that has rules for Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Little Shop of Horrors.

quote:

Taste Link - I'm really not even sure what to say here. Steve Winter was scraping the bottom of the barrel so hard he actually thought that there would be merit behind developing a power that would explicitly allow you to taste what someone else was tasting. This probably says more about me than anything else, but I feel like this is a power that would have gone better in the Book of Erotic fantasy or something. Why the gently caress couldn't they just make one power called Sense Link and then scale the level of success such that you got to choose how many of your target's senses you actually got to share? Why were Smell Link and Touch Link conspicuously omitted while Taste was the sense that just couldn't be left out? The mind boggles at you, Steve Winter.

This is an awesome power for the Sensates from Planescape, or anyone else really. Imagine watching a cooking show, casting it, and being able to taste what the guests at Heston's Feasts are tasting. You could have a Sensate cast this on a PC and hire them to hunt and eat exotic foods or beasts. Or maybe there are decadent nobles who love the taste of human flesh but don't eat it themselves, just taste when others eat it.

Could you recreate it as a spell in Ars Magica?

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

My understanding of Ars Magica is that the answer to that question is always "Yes, but..."

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Just thought of another use for Share Taste: losing weight. You cast it on somebody eating unhealthy but tasty food and then eat whatever diet greul you need to lose weight. The shared taste masks the taste of the healthy food. You could probably use science to imitate this psychic power in Eclipse Phase too:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Yeah, the In Nomine stuff I lost track of and eventually stopped doing because of school, and by the time school let up I kind of forgot about it. I might cover it again some day but I dunno. I really, really dislike the game's mechanics. A lot. The setting is cool, if tragically flawed in several places. But it's not like Ars Magica where the system is just annoyingly crunchy and getting in the way - In Nomine has an actively bad system.

Count Chocula posted:

This is an awesome power for the Sensates from Planescape, or anyone else really. Imagine watching a cooking show, casting it, and being able to taste what the guests at Heston's Feasts are tasting. You could have a Sensate cast this on a PC and hire them to hunt and eat exotic foods or beasts. Or maybe there are decadent nobles who love the taste of human flesh but don't eat it themselves, just taste when others eat it.

Could you recreate it as a spell in Ars Magica?

Altering the taste of something is almost trivially easy in Ars Magica with Imaginem. Using it in conjunction with Mentem to pull a taste out of someone's memory for use with whatever you were eating would be a bit more difficult, but I think it could be done fairly easily.

Also: There is an Ars Magica recruit going on: link

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


If I understand the rules right:

Taste of the Distant Tongue
Intellego Imaginem 15
Target: Individual, Range: Arcane Connection, Duration: Sun
(Base 1, +4 Arcane Connection, +2 Sun)

Taste what someone else tastes for one day, for the low price of a thimble of their saliva.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Count Chocula posted:

Just thought of another use for Share Taste: losing weight. You cast it on somebody eating unhealthy but tasty food and then eat whatever diet greul you need to lose weight. The shared taste masks the taste of the healthy food. You could probably use science to imitate this psychic power in Eclipse Phase too:

Tread carefully, for down this path lies the lesbian sex scene in the Ghost in the Shell manga.

Young Freud posted:

At least Shirow gave a reason for the lesbian sex: a lack of desire to draw men's butts unwanted feedback from phantom organs, so only same-sex experiences could be looped in that way.

It isn't exploitation, she's a strong female character!

HitTheTargets fucked around with this message at 01:07 on Jul 8, 2013

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kellsterik posted:

If I understand the rules right:

Taste of the Distant Tongue
Intellego Imaginem 15
Target: Individual, Range: Arcane Connection, Duration: Sun
(Base 1, +4 Arcane Connection, +2 Sun)

Taste what someone else tastes for one day, for the low price of a thimble of their saliva.

That...I think would work, yeah. And without any need for the mind-reading part.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



HitTheTargets posted:

Tread carefully, for down this path lies the lesbian sex scene in the Ghost in the Shell manga.

At least Shirow gave a reason for the lesbian sex: a lack of desire to draw men's butts unwanted feedback from phantom organs, so only same-sex experiences could be looped in that way.

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


Count Chocula posted:

Ars Magica, the serious historical game that has rules for Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Little Shop of Horrors.


Vampire gourds are a Real World historical myth. Also, the best myth.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Lemon Curdistan posted:

Remember that Mors also did In Nomine, but spun it off to its own thread because he was afraid he would drown out F&F in a deluge of words the likes of which hadn't been seen since his 7th Sea overview.

Also, someone do Vast & Starlit please.

The thing is, any review of Vast & Starlit would pretty much have to be longer than Vast & Starlit.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 04:07 on Jul 8, 2013

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Evil Mastermind posted:

The thing is, any review of Vast & Starlit would pretty much have to be [i]longer/i] than Vast & Starlit/

I think it would also probably give away the game, and the means of getting a copy sounds really awesome. I might actually do it.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Apparently, he gave Vast and Starlit away for free RPG day this year.
By tweeting it.
The entirety of it.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Well. I see they sent a poet!

ThisIsNoZaku
Apr 22, 2013

Pew Pew Pew!




A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying is, as the name suggests, an RPG set in the world of George R.R. Martin's books. (Copyright puts my copy of the RPG approximately a year before the show came on.)

The introduction is a bunch of stuff no one ever cares about.

Chapter 1 is a primer on Westeros. To summarize the summary: Westeros is a single state made up of seven kingdoms united a long time ago. Seasons last years and there's lots of old poo poo everywhere; it mentions lineages that can be traced back thousands of years. Magic is rare, some argue completely gone. SIFRP, as the game acronymizes itself, is a game about court politics and family alliances and war, and on a personal level honor, love, leadership, betrayal, etc.

The next section is an Almanac, done in character.

Three hundred years ago, the Targaryens first landed on Westeros, and with their dragons united the continent, facing the kings already there with a simple choice: submit or burn. They ruled over civil war, rebellion and expansion, until the Mad King Aerys II who was overthrown in a rebellion and slain by Jaime Lannister, who earned the sobriquet “Kingslayer.”

A long, long time ago, during the Dawn Age, the only people who lived in Westeros were the children of the forest, who lived with nature and worshiped nature deities. 12,000 years ago, the first Men came to Westeros over a land bridge and through the region that would become Dorne. The first men brough bronze weapons, horses and their own gods, and made war against the children of the forest. Centuries of struggle ended with a Pact sworn between the two. Both prospered during 4,000 years of peace, the Age of Heroes, and the Seven Kingdoms had their beginnings in this time, with some noble houses tracing their bloodlines back to the fabled figures of this time. The Night Watch was also founded in this period, to defend against all of the weird poo poo that wanders out of the Very Most North (not the real name) and the Wall was also raised then. Out of this time came the Seven Kings: the King in the North, the King of Mountain and Vale

Happy times ended with the arrival by ship of the Andals in the Vale of Arryn. This fresh batch of invaders brought even more gods, and steel weapons and just as the first Men had done, they went on a conquering and killing spree, destroying the children of the forest's sacred weirwoods and either slaughtering them completely or driving them so far north as to make no difference. Regardless, the children of the forest vanished from history. The only kingdom not to fall to the Andals was the North.

1,000 years ago, the queen Nymeria arrived with a huge fleet that landed in Dorne. She eased the friction between her people and the natives by marrying Mors Martell and their combined might consolidated Dorne and established the Martells as the masters of the land.

During this time a lot of fighting between the various kings was going on.

400 years ago, the Doom (yes it's capitalized in the book) came to Valyria and lots of refugees fled to Dragonstone, an island off the east coast of Westeros and the western most outpost of Valyria. This is how the Targaryens came to prominence; as the masters of Dragonstone they became the leaders of the Valyrian remnants. 100 years after that, they landed on Westeros proper and under Aegon the Conqueror began their campaign on conquest, uniting all of the kingdoms except Dorne. Dorne was taken by a future Targaryen king, lost through insurrection and finally integrated through marriage.

King's Landing
The spot where Aegon first set foot on Westeros, King's Landing went from a tiny fishing village to an enormous modern city and the capitol of the kingdoms.

The king rules from the seven-towered Red Keep, on the highest of King's Landings three hills, with his advisers. The most important is the King's Hand, the only man other than the king himself allowed to sit on the throne and who is invested with all his authority. The city is surrounded by walls with seven gates for passage and the peace is kept by the City Watch, called “gold cloaks.”

In the last moments of his reign and life, King Aery's sent his pregnant queen and son to Dragonstone. He kept the crown prince's wife, a Dornish princess, and their children in King's Landing, as leverage to keep Dorne on his side. When Lannister sacked the city, however, she and her children were killed. When the Targaryen's were defeated on the mainland, the rebels sailed to Dragonstone to capture the rest of the now-deposed king's family. However, the queen had died giving birth and Prince Viserys and Princess Daenerys escaped.

The North
The North is ruled by the Starks of Winterfell. They are served by many lesser families: the Karstarks of Karhold; the Mormonts of Bear Island; the Umbers of Last Hearth; the Boltons (it doesn't say where they're from); plus a bunch of mountain clans who swear loyalty to the Starks but don't get out much.

Also in the North is the Night's Watch, who defend the wall against whatever wanders down from farther north. The 19 castles of the Wall can hold 5,000 warriors, but these days there are only around a tenth that many brothers and 3 castles remain manned.

The Iron Islands
A cluster of barren rocks jutting out of the stormy and cold Ironman's Bay, the Iron Islands are the realm of the Greyjoy's. The people of the islands are the ironborn, or ironmen to the rest of Westeros and are famous sailors, pillagers and raiders. They posses a brutal culture of violence and worship the Drowned God.

When the ironmen want something, they take it, including thralls to work their farms and mines and “salt wives” for their beds.

Leadership of the ironmen was given to the Greyjoys after Aegon destroyed the line of the previous ruling family. He allowed them to choose their new lord and they swore to follow Vickon Greyjoy.

Seven years ago Lord Balon Greyjoy named himself King of the Iron Islands, of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind and Lord Reaper of Pyke. His lords flocked to him, eager to return to a life of raiding and piracy.

Much less excited was everyone else in Westeros, especially King Robert Baratheon, who marshaled his own forces to put down the rebellion. The ironmen destroyed the ships of Lannisport, but Stannis Baratheon caught the ironman fleet and destroyed most of it. (drat, I don't remember Stannis being so badass in the books.)

Balon lost his two eldest sons and his youngest was taken by the victors to be warded by the Starks to ensure his future good behavior.

The Riverlands
Once under the rule of ironmen, after Aegon the Conquerer took these lands from them he granted them to the Tully's who rule today. They get their lands from the Trident, a series of three rivers that come together before emptying into the sea.

The Tullys had joined up readily with Robert in his rebellion and their bannermen had followed. There's lots of Andal blood in the Riverlands, and most follow the Seven Gods, though some worshipers of the old gods can be found.

Mountains of the Moon
This was the first place that the Andals landed when they came to Westeros and is ruled by the House of Arryn. Among the mountains is the Vale of Arryn, home to the most imposing mountains in Westeros and the demarcation between the northern and southern kingdoms. Among the mountains is the Eyrie, the most impregnable fortress in Westeros. Two gates guard the approach to the castle, a very long and winding road up the side of the mountain.

Lord Arryn fostered Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon and remains steadfastly loyal to them both, serving as the Robert's Hand.

Other families within the Vale include the Baelishes, the Redforts, the Templetons and the Royces.

The Westerlands
Lion Territory. The Lannisters are the richest house, controlling many productive gold mines. They have some of the best trained and disciplined soldiers in Westeros and skilled horsemen, and a respectable fleet rebuilt since it's destruction at the hands of the ironmen.

The Lannister Patriarch is Lord Tywin. He brought his family back from the disgraceful state his father had left it in and was named Hand by king Aerys at the age of 20. He served for twenty years before being dismissed, and when he marched on King's Landing during the rebellion, the king had the gates opened expecting his former Hand had returned to aid him. Not so much, as it turns out, and the Lannisters sacked the city while Tywin's own son in the Kingsguard killed Aerys.

The Lannister sworn houses include the Cleganes, the Crakehalls where Jaime Lanniser squired, their cousins the Leffords, the Marbrands, the Paynes, the Swyfts and the Westerlings.

The Reach
The second largest region behind the North, the Reach is well known for it's flowers; the main road in the region is even called the roseroad and it connects the home of the Maester's in Oldtown, King's Landing and High Garden, the seat of the Tyrells who rule the Reach.

The Tyrells are second only to the Lannisters in wealth and with the larger army, while they combined fleets of their bannermen could challenge the royal navy. In Robert's Rebellion, the Tyrells had remained loyal to Aerys, but sworn loyalty to him after the defeat of their previous king and were accepted by the new one.

Beyond the Tyrell's, the Reach has lots of big, powerful and influential families: the wealthy Florents; the Hightowers, one of the oldest families in Westeros; the Redwynes who control a powerful fleet; the Tarlys famous for battling with the Dornishmen; the Rowans; the Fossoways, of Cider Hall and New Barrel and the Oakhearts.

The Stormlands
This region gets its name from the ferocious storms that sweep over it, comparable to those of the Iron Islands.

The stories say that the castle of Storm's End was raised by the first Storm King, who married the daughter of sea and wind. As punishment, the gods threw an enormous storm at him, killing everyone but him. In return he declared war and raised six castles, which the gods destroyed, but the seventh, Storm's End, stands today.

The Stormlands passed from the hands of the last Storm King and into the hands of the Baratheons by Aegon who killed the former and put the latter in charge.

Also found in the Stormlands are the families of the Carons; the Conningtons; the Dondarrions; the Estermonts, whose patriarch is the kings grandfather; the Selmys and the Tarths.

Dorne
The southernmost kingdom, Dorne is also the most different from the rest of Westeros. Dorne was conquered by the Targaryens, but they couldn't hold it. It was a marriage between a Targaryen king and a Dornish princess that finally brought them into the fold and the Martells and Targaryens were close ever since. In fact, the Targaryen crown prince was married to the sister of Lord Doran Nymeros Martell and he was extremely upset by her death. It took all the diplomatic efforts of Jon Arryn to keep the peace between the Dornish and the new regime.

The Dornish use “prince”, instead of king, and inheritance favors the eldest child, regardless of gender. There are three types of Dornishmen, the “Salty” who live on the coast, the “Sandy” who live in the deserts and along the rivers and the “Stony,” who live somewhere the book doesn't specify.

Beyond Westeros
There's all kinds of stuff across the sea. The two most noteworthy are the Free Cities and the lands that the Dothraki call home.

This is mostly geography that isn't interesting.



Now that that's all out of the way, after this we start getting into the parts more directly relevant to playing the game.

Edit: Added an image of the cover.

ThisIsNoZaku fucked around with this message at 09:25 on Jul 21, 2013

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


I am going to say that the Stony Dornish live in the mountain ranges that separates Dorne from the rest of Westeros. And yeah, Robert Baratheon was pretty badass early on in his reign until he smashed all descent and started drinking heavily.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case





Return to the TOMB OF HORRORS Part 5: gently caress you, gently caress you, gently caress you

So, here we are. At the dread portal to the TOMB OF HORRORS itself. I'm going to cover the first half of the TOMB OF HORRORS in this post, and aim for another post later for the second half.

So, you've probably heard that the TOMB OF HORRORS is insanely fatal. And this is true. But why is it so fatal? A few reasons. First, there's a lot of instant-kill poo poo. There are exceptions, but most effects don't do damage (or don't JUST do damage), they flat kill you. Second, a lot of the traps force you to make a decision with limited or no information/time, and making the wrong decision (which may seem as wise as any other) will kill you.

But mostly, it's because the TOMB OF HORRORS breaks rules. All of the rules.
Stuff in here is just more fatal than stuff outside. Lots of effects kill you without rolling. Lots of stuff that would normally allow a save simply doesn't. Some magic items or spells that might work well for the TOMB OF HORRORS specifically don't work, or work poorly. Your poo poo breaks. Your spells fail. You are eaten by a Grue.

This is originally a 1st edition AD&D Module. Here, in a 2nd edition adventure, it's included in its original form, with instructions for the DM to modernize it. Doing so is not so difficult, since 1st and 2nd edition AD&D resemble each other much more than any other two editions (unless you count the different 3.xs as different editions). In modernizing it, you may choose to make it less fatal. You may choose to allow saves. If you do, you are WEAK. This is the TOMB OF MOTHERFUCKING HORRORS. If gruesome, wanton PC slaughter was not on your menu, you should not have opened this adventure in the first place. This is the one area I really grog out about D&D. I'm not normally a fan of PC death in games; I think it should happen by mutual consent and serve to advance the story, so my favorite systems are ones like Dark Heresy with "Fate points" one can burn to avoid death. But not here. Here, the Old Ways rule.

So, before we plunge in, a few notes. There are some effects that are present throughout the TOMB OF HORRORS. First is the Dark Intrusion, which is three times stronger than its original form (60% chance of spontaneous zombification within 1d6 rounds, undead turn as three categories higher, etc.) Second is the dangers of otherplanar travel: for each round you spend ethereal or astral, you have a one in six chance of attracting a vrock, hezrou, glabrezu or nalfeshnee. These demons serve Acererak indirectly. See, part of the ritual Acererak used to turn himself into a lich required him to know the "true name" of his demonic father, Tarnhem. Through this name, Acererak controls his father; and as his father is an extremely powerful balor who rules a layer of the Abyss, Acererak controls many lesser demonic servitors. These servants are in charge of "cleaning up" the TOMB OF HORRORS; resetting traps, repairing damage, etc to ready it for the next party of adventurers. The point is that going ethereal to just waltz through the dungeon is simply not going to work unless your party is capable of fighting off a horde of true tanar'ri-- tanar'ri who are likely to gate in friends as soon as they see the intruders "cheating" the Tomb.

Other notes: the TOMB OF HORRORS is, appropriately, festooned with pits. Unless stated otherwise, every pit is ten feet deep, and lined with five iron spikes coated in poison. Anyone stepping on a pit trap has a 100% chance of falling in, minus 1% for each point of Dex 1-12 and 2% for each point of Dex 13+. When a character falls in, in addition to falling damage, roll a d6; on a 1-3 that many spikes have wounded the character, on a 4-6 none have. Each spike that wounds you does d6 points and forces a save vs. poison or YOU DIE. Expect to see a lot of that.

Anyways, here's the map. I'll be going through the rooms in order.



Sections 1, 2 and 3 are entrance tunnels. 1 and 2 are false, 3 is correct. 1 is a shallow tunnel with big oak doors at the end and a cobwebby ceiling. If you clear away the cobwebs, you see that the roof stones are ill-fitting. Opening the doors or prodding the ceiling causes it to collapse on the PCs for 5d10 damage, no save. Section 2 has a low ceiling and doors at the end. When the PCs get 50' in, you let them know they hear a rumbling, then start counting to 10 at about 1.5 seconds per count. See, a 10' stone block has started to seal off the entrance, and when you reach 10 it slams shut and pulps anything caught in it. PCs who start to move get to move their movement rate per count out, so if they book it at 5 they get 5* their movement rate. An iron bar placed on the floor can wedge the door open, but if it's placed elsewhere it snaps, delaying the block only by one count. Once trapped, PCs can ONLY escape by disintegrate, phase door, stone-flesh (and then hacking), transmute rock-mud, wish. The adventure explicitly says only these means will work. Yay!

3 is correct. The floor is a colorful mosaic with a red band in the middle. The walls and ceiling are plastered and then frescoed. They depict animals, humanoids, human-animal hybrids, and places like a wizard's tower, a torture chamber etc. The Xs on the map are all pit traps, of course. The section marked "A" is the torture chamber painting; part of the painting depicts a door hiding a scaled and horrible creature. If you chip away the plaster and stucco, behind that door there's a real door in the wall. We'll get to that in a bit. If you study the mosaic to the end, you are rewarded by a sudden flash of insight, realizing there's a message in them: congratulations from Acererak on your powers of observation, and a poem:

"Go back to the tormentor or through the arch,
and the second great hall you'll discover.
Shun green if you can, but night's good color
is for those of great valor.
If shades of red stand for blood the wise
will not need sacrifice aught but a loop of
magical metal - you're well along your march.

Two pits along the way wiii be found to lead
to a fortuitous fall, so check the wall.
These keys and those are most important of all,
and beware of trembling hands and what will maul.
If you find the false you find the true
and into the columned hall you'll come,
and there the throne that's key and keyed.

The iron men of visage grim do more than
meets the viewers eye.
You've left and left and found my Tomb
and now your soul will die."

As I said, he is a huge rear end in a top hat and loves to taunt people, knowing that he's smarter than they are and even with his help they'll die painfully in the end. This poem does have important clues, though.

Anyways, the section of the wall next to A, marked 4, is a fresco of a wizard's lab. There are two jackals, or jackal-headed men or whatever, painted on the wall, and between them is a bronze chest that is actually real and sticking out of the wall.

There's a catch on top with a poison needle trap (easily detected) that, when pressed, opens the chest. But it's empty! Although if you actually feel around, there's a lever inside! If you pull the lever... it opens a pit trap 30' deep below your feet! Full of spikes as the others are! Also, this trap's entrance is thicker, so it can't be discovered by probing with a ten foot pole (the 1st edition PC's best friend), and the spell true seeing only reveals a faint rectangular outline around the stone plug of the trap. There are no other treasures and nothing to gain here.

Area 5 is an archway into which the path leads. The arch is full of mist which cannot be magically dispersed or seen through. If you come within 1' of the door, the base stones will glow yellow on the left, orange on the right, and blue on the keystone. If the stones are pressed Yellow, Blue, Orange, the fog dissipates. Any other order does nothing. If you step through the wall arch while it's foggy, you are teleported to Area 7 (of which more in a bit). If you clear the fog, then stepping through on the path takes you to Area 11, off the path just back to Area 3.

Area 6 is a dead end with a huge green Face of the Devourer.


The statue's mouth is absolutely pitch black. The whole thing radiates evil and magic. The mouth is a sphere of annihilation and anyone or anything entering it is immediately and irrevocably destroyed. This is, incidentally, how Grunther lost his hand. There is literally nothing to be gained here.

Area 7, as you can see from the map, is a tiny prison. There is no means of exit, not even magic can detect one. The south wall has three iron levers that can move in any direction. Moving them all upward opens a small trapdoor in the ceiling, 10' above. Moving them all downward causes the entire floor to drop away into a pit 100' deep, and after 1 turn the floor seals up again. The trapdoor in the ceiling leads to a tiny crawlspace; it goes northward a ways, then terminates in a stone plug. This can only be detected a secret door by magical vision or, literally, rapping on the walls. Explicitly no other means will work. If you find it you can crawl east a bit until, as you see, the tunnel ends in a magical one-way door which deposits on on the floor of one of the pit traps in the entrance corridor.

Area 8 is a room containing a mutated four-armed gargoyle in temporal stasis. Opening the door to its room frees it from its stupor, and it immediately attacks. It's a nasty foe, with 12 HD, six attacks per round plus a bonus rend per two claws that hit, but if you beat Ferranifer you should have no trouble with this thing. It has a gem-studded collar with a secret compartment, containing a note from Acererak; "Look low and high for gold, to hear a tale untold. The archway at the end, and on your way you'll wend. -A"

Area 9 is, seriously, just one secret door after another. Each room has a secret door in the wall. Each must be opened by hand and each has a different required method. There are two "clear" rooms in the center, but aside from those each round anyone is in any of the rooms, concealed devices in the wall and ceilings are firing bolts at you, and one randomly determined PC per room must save vs. magic or take 1d6 damage. Each round. And there is no way to make them stop shooting. To quote verbatim from the adventure: "There is absolutely no way to prevent the bolts from being triggered and from hitting, and armor and spells will NOT have any effect either." The required methods for opening the doors are as follows:
Door A: pull down
Door B: pivot centrally
Door C: pull inward and up at the bottom
Door D: slides up
Door E: double panels pull inward
Door F: slide left
Door G: 7 buttons; if you press 1 or 7 the door falls inward for 3d6 damage, if you press all 7 it opens.

Area 10 is another tiled-floor room; the walls and ceiling are painted with weird animals, glyphs (meaningless) and humans/humanoids, each holding a sphere of a different color. On the west wall, the figures are from north to south:
-A gold sphere held high above the head (this is an illusion covering a crawlway to area 11)
-A false door
-An orange sphere held waist high
-Another false door
-A purple sphere held at the feet
-A grey sphere held at the shoulder
-A blank space
-A bright blue sphere held at the feet
-A white sphere held high above the head
-A turquoise sphere held at the shoulder
-A scarlet sphere held waist high
-A pale green sphere held at the feet

On the east wall, from north to south:
-A pale blue sphere held at the shoulder
-A silver sphere held at the feet
-A secret one-way door that can be opened by knock, disintegrate, rock to mud or stone to flesh.
-A green sphere held high above the head
-A yellow sphere held at the shoulder
-A pink sphere held high above the head
-A black sphere held at the feet (actually an illusion covering a crawlway to area 14)
-A pale violet sphere held at the shoulder
-A blank space
-A red sphere held waist high (actually an illusion covering a crawlway to area 13)
-A buff sphere held at the feet
-A blank space
-An indigo sphere held high above the head

Whew!
Anyways, the area in this room marked A is another foggy arch. Same rules as before. This time, the colors are olive on the lower left, citron on the lower right, russet at the keystone. No matter in which order they are pushed, the arch remains foggy. Anyone stepping through is teleported to area 3. Oh, that's not so bad? Ok. Only the person him or herself is teleported to area 3. All of their clothing, gear, items etc. is teleported to Area 33. They arrive at Area 3 totally nude and defenseless. Snort.

Area 11 contains a broken 8' tall statue of a four-armed gargoyle. One arm is on the floor and cannot be reattached no matter what the PCs do. The three attached arms each have a concavity that exactly fits a gem... say, one of the ten gems from the prior gargoyle's studded collar. If a large gem is placed in each of the three hands, the hands animate and crush them to powder. If nine total gems are crushed this way, putting one more in one of the hands triggers a magic mouth which says "Your sacrifice was not in vain. Look to the fourth to find your gain." As it says this, an invisible gem of seeing appears in the fourth hand. Be careful not to knock the arm around and cause the gem to fall off! The gem is covered in an oil which renders it invisible, which must be wiped off before it can be used. Detect Invisibility and similar spells will not work; explicitly, only feeling around will find anything. The gem will operate 12 times, then shatter.

I was hoping to do this place in two posts, but I think it'll take three. Join me next time!

Next time: More suffering!

Synthbuttrange
May 6, 2007



DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

Area 6 is a dead end with a huge green Face of the Devourer.


The statue's mouth is absolutely pitch black. The whole thing radiates evil and magic. The mouth is a sphere of annihilation and anyone or anything entering it is immediately and irrevocably destroyed. This is, incidentally, how Grunther lost his hand.

Man, I thought it was just going to be a blade trap to tempt the greedy and uncautious idiots who stick their hand in right away. But nope, ANNIHILATION.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I laughed when I read that Grunther only had one arm. This is why.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Holy poo poo, I think I'd actually take a swing at a DM that dropped this on the group with no warning. This doesn't even sound fun.

secretly best girl
Mar 27, 2007

I see you choosing that other route. How dare you.

See, I find this hilarious, but this might also be because my own group has threatened to brain me if I ever run the (somewhat toned-down!) 4e Tomb of Horrors stuff again.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

I actually ran ToH when it was first released. 2 page body count.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



I knew this sounded familiar. Jason Thompson did a one-page comic detailing a party's adventure through the Tomb of Horrors. I'll spoiler tag the image link, to not step on DAD's read-through.

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/toon/TombHorrors

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

There is literally nothing to be gained here.

I don't know if it's also the case in AD&D1, but IIRC in AD&D2 this isn't strictly true - you can control a sphere of annihilation, so the players should be able to just use it as a wrecking ball.

Tasoth posted:

Holy poo poo, I think I'd actually take a swing at a DM that dropped this on the group with no warning. This doesn't even sound fun.

Run it like a game of Paranoia, where you're all students in the necromancer school trying to spy on the necromancers for various organisations who band together without knowing the others aren't real necromancers either. You break into the Tomb of Horrors, ostensibly to become the teacher's pet, but in actuality to accomplish your secret mission. If you die, the school resurrects you free of charge.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Lemon Curdistan posted:

I don't know if it's also the case in AD&D1, but IIRC in AD&D2 this isn't strictly true - you can control a sphere of annihilation, so the players should be able to just use it as a wrecking ball.

IIRC it's based on intelligence, and if you lose control it starts rolling towards you. Also once you get to the lich he's probablu going to take control due to having a higher Int.

Also, how the hell is it being contained in that carving?

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




A little explanation: It's not technically a sphere of annihilation, it just acts like one. For one thing, it's much bigger-- 3' across. For another, it's not spherical, it's shaped to the inside of the statue's mouth. It's more of a "zone of annihilation" than anything else. There is a real sphere of annihilation later on in the adventure, the controllable kind, except not quite.

Also, I'd love to run this Paranoia style. A six-pack is the best way to run through the TOMB OF HORRORS because a lot of the stuff that kills you also explicitly disallows resurrection. In the original adventure, it comes packaged with a bunch of pregens, with instructions to let each person control 2-3 of them. The idea is that if you throw about 10 appropriately leveled PCs into the TOMB OF HORRORS maybe one or two will come out.

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Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Angrymog posted:

IIRC it's based on intelligence, and if you lose control it starts rolling towards you. Also once you get to the lich he's probablu going to take control due to having a higher Int.

Also, how the hell is it being contained in that carving?

Yeah, but in-between you just bulldoze through walls with it. Problem sorted!

It floats a few inches off the ground, so I'm guessing Acererak just parked it inside the mouth.

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